Sunday, November 14, 2010
Friday I took a small spill while riding my brand new bike. As I promised myself - and my fellow Sparklers - I got back on this weekend. Today, specifically. And it was rough.
First of all, it took me about a dozen tries and four minutes to even mount and get started. I kept overthinking and tipping over. I very nearly gave up and went back in the house. In fact, I would have if DH's buddy Mike wasn't over to help him with home repairs. I couldn't bear the thought of going in the house and admitting defeat or, worse, asking DH to hold the bike for me while I got on. That was far too embarrassing of a prospect. So, after much trial and error, I finally got started.
Everything went fine until I met a man walking his feisty rottweiler. I was pulling up to the intersection they were standing in when the dog suddenly started barking and lunged for me. I screeched and came to a halt. Usually I'm not at all afraid of dogs; I grew up with big dogs and know that usually their bark is far worse than their bite. But I already felt vulnerable on the bike and know that rottweilers can be a pretty vicious breed. The man apologized and explained that the dog almost got run over by a bike when she was a tiny puppy, and so is scared of bicycles and consequently gets aggressive around them. (Thus my fear of rottweilers versus, say, schnauzers.) He hollered at the dog and got her to sit, to my great relief. I remounted easily that time and got underway again.
But then I started speeding down a big hill. A steep gravel hill was the cause of the accident I had as a kid that kept me off bikes for 20 years. So I had a sudden vision of myself flying over the handlebars. I took a deep breath, told myself not to be silly, eased off the brakes (flashback to driving lessons: braking and steering are a zero sum game, so ease off the brakes to have more control), and coasted down the hill without incident.
Oh, how I longed to go home. But I didn't. I kept going. The next time this happened, though, I did head home. The ride took me a good 5 minutes, though, and I took the long way around so I didn't feel too much like I had chickened out. My ride, not counting the 4 minute mounting disaster, took me 18 minutes. I'm certainly not thrilled with it, but I'll take it.
I won't have another chance to take the bike out again until Friday and honestly, I'm glad for the break. I think doing something else for a couple of days will help me to regroup. But I need to ride on Friday, as DH and I are going on a cruise starting Saturday.
Something tells me that bike riding is going to be a medium to long term project in overcoming fear. And I don't like it one little bit. I almost never let my fears rule me or keep me from doing what I want to do. Coming so close to capitulating to fear is a rare and unpleasant experience for me. But I'm too darned stubborn to give in. I'll learn to ride smoothly and with confidence if it takes a year!
Friday, November 12, 2010
I bought a bike as my reward for dropping my BMI to overweight, from obese. The bike is a huge reward for a huge step, and will help me continue to lose. This is also a pretty courageous step: I haven't ridden a bike since a bad wipeout when I was 13. But I really wanted to try it, and I hate living hemmed in by fear. So, fears be damned. I bought the bike.
Today I took the bike out on a serious ride for the first time. And I was alone. I thought about running errands in the neighborhood on the bike, but decided to just tool around instead. And it was a good call. I'm still not a very confident rider, so venturing onto the larger roads to the post office and dry cleaner was a bigger challenge than I'm ready for.
Turns out I was smarter than I thought. I was heading slightly downhill towards a stop sign when I heard a car behind me and panicked a bit. I threw on the brakes, slid on some leaves, and tumbled off the bike. Luckily I managed to half jump off so that the bike didn't land on me. And I fell right by a steep slope covered in ivy (in lieu of a retaining wall). So I leaned into the hill and ivy, caught myself, and righted the bike without harm to either of us. (Yes, I was wearing a helmet. A cute pink one with little multi-colored starbursts. Thank God I didn't need it! Still, that little tumble proved to me why I wear it.)
I was already red-faced, breathing heavy, and surging with endorphins due to exertion. Add the fear, and I was a bit of a mess. So I stood there and tried to decide what to do. I could either walk the bike home or continue my ride. First I thought of my horseback riding experience. I am not a trained rider, but I learned on a greenbroken horse and am therefore very confident. I've been bitten, dragged, stepped on, and kicked. But every time I got right back on. So I didn't see why the bike should be any different. (It is different, though, because I've always trusted the horses I've ridden even when they're acting up. With a bike, it's just me and my own skill - or lack thereof.) Plus I'd earned that bicycle and spent a lot of money on it. That means I have to use it.
With some trepidation I climbed back on. I took the direct way home, which was still a 7 minute ride. Admittedly, I was relieved to hop off and head into the house. But I did it: I fell off and got right back on. And I'm proud of that. But I need to take the bike out again this weekend and prove to myself that it's really not that scary. That I can do this. This is going to be my fitness challenge for the WTF weekend special template.
Wednesday, November 10, 2010
I am very luck y to have a quality gym at work and time on the clock to use it. I am even luckier that we have trained fitness staff available to us. Today I finally took advantage of it and did a fitness assessment. The assessment is pretty thorough and covers 11 areas; it's scored from "needs work" to "fair" to "fit" to "excellent."
First, the good news: I scored excellent in my resting heart rate (62) and push-ups (25). My systolic and diastolic blood pressure were both fit, at 127 and 83 respectively.
My bicep strength was fair, at 41 pounds.
Now the bad news: body fat (31.2%), aerobic fitness (22.4 ml/kg/min), back flexibility (28 cm), BMI (31), waist to hip ratio (0.81), and sit-ups (15 in 60 seconds) all need work.
I was surprised that I was rated excellent in anything at all, but resting heart rate kind of made sense. The push-ups were a big shock; I never thought of myself as having much upper body strength. And I was unpleasantly surprised by my low level of aerobic fitness and high waist to hip ratio. The trainer said I carry my weight through my middle, which is NOT how I think of myself. I tend to carry my weight in hips/butt/thighs and the bust; my waist is defined and definitely smaller. So this came as a blow.
The trainer said that I should focus on doing 4 30-minute workouts a week at 125 average heart rate. She said that would help with body fat, aerobic fitness, back flexibility, BMI and waist to hip ratio. We plan to meet again on 1 December to work on a more detailed workout plan, and I'm to follow her aerobic advice in the meantime. She'd also like to see me drop to 179 pounds, from 186.4, by 1 January. We'll do another fitness test on 1 February to see how much I've improved.
Bad as most of this news is, it's what I needed. I needed both a swift kick in the rear and a reality check. I've done a decent job with nutrition but I know that my workouts weren't intense enough. And here's the proof in cold, hard data. The good thing is that I have an improvement plan and support to reach my goals. And the opportunity to retest and document improvement. So overall I'm happy.
Tuesday, November 02, 2010
Late afternoon/early evening is always the hardest time of day for me. I work late, usually until around 8. So I work out around 6 or so then have a small snack before heading home; DH and I generally eat dinner around 9 then go to bed at 10ish.
This week especially, the time in between when my coworkers go home around 6 and when I go home has been killing me. Yesterday I didn't want to go to the gym. Today I went without a struggle but my snack proved the problem.
I grabbed what I thought was a 100 calorie pack from the snack drawer. Then I thought "Huh, this seems awfully big," so I checked the nutritional information. I bought the wrong box! The packets contain 210 calories, not 100! And I'd only budgeted for 100 calories (I've got turkey breast, roasted veggies, and boiled potatoes waited for me at home...drool). So I ate half the pack, folded up the package, clipped it closed, and put it back in the drawer.
And I'm really proud of myself. The way I figure it, these small victories of discipline over the little red devil are what makes or breaks my weight loss journey. Small, regular wins like this are going to eventually lead me to a healthy lifestyle and a healthy weight.
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