MNCYCLIST's SparkPeople Blog MNCYCLIST's Blog on SparkPeople, home of free diet plans and a healthy living community Finally, a Day of Rest Just life--I haven't had a day off in three weeks, and I'm exhausted. But tomorrow I get to do nothing but rest and I'm so glad. I really need it, and the timing is great as I'm still glowing from the glory of celebrating the risen Jesus Christ. He is the dawn of light, he is the Lord of life, and because of his grace I love him so much! Can't wait to rest and enjoy him all day. Sun, 20 Apr 2014 21:57:37 EST High Stress = A Test I serve as the preaching Pastor of a church near Minneapolis. I can't go into details, but right now the stress of this role is exceedingly high. In addition to this, my family is going through some things that are fairly heavy as well. As I add up the pieces, I'm facing seven ministry related and four family related situations. Of these eleven things, only 2-3 are notably heavy in themselves, but it's the combo of all these things that's making the stress in my life palpable. <BR> <BR> But... Thu, 17 Apr 2014 08:07:04 EST Spring in Minnesota--Yah Sure, Check These Pics! Oh boy... <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <img src=""> Wed, 16 Apr 2014 21:54:50 EST More Snow? Yeah, More Snow It is Minnesota, don't know why I'm surprised. I guess it's just been a long winter and that last week of bike riding really got me used to spring. But alas, starting tonight we're supposed to get another 2-4" of snow. But the good news is that it won't stick, and soon enough--like within 3-4 days--the warm temps will return! Tue, 15 Apr 2014 20:27:01 EST Pics from a Great Race, the Paris-Roubaix! Congrats to Niki Terpstra on winning the Paris-Roubaix! Niki races for Omega-Pharma-Quickstep out of the Netherlands. Here are some pics of my favorite race. <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <img src="http://photos-ak.sparkpe... Mon, 14 Apr 2014 09:16:21 EST Paris-Roubaix Rolling Today! If you'd like to know a little more about my favorite pro-cycling race, you can see my blog from a couple of days ago. For now, here's a picture of the cobbles upon which the peleton will ride at full-speed--shoulder to shoulder for 51.1 kilometers (36.7 miles)! Oh and of course there are those other 206 kilometers (128 miles) as well! <BR> <BR> <img src=""> Sun, 13 Apr 2014 05:22:26 EST A Rest Day After riding my bike for six days in a row at a fairly brisk pace, I decided to take a day off today. The weather was descent in Minneapolis but I'm just so tired, and in fact, I didn't even want to ride today. That's good, because for the last day or two I knew I should have rested but I couldn't help myself. So it was good that I didn't have the drive today. I'll rest another day, probably, and then hit the road again early next week depending on the weather. <BR> <BR> Here's to rest days... Sat, 12 Apr 2014 21:35:03 EST Paris-Roubaix Rolls Out in Two Days The one-day pro cycling race from the north of Paris to the city of Roubaix is, with little doubt, the hardest and most dangerous pro-cycling race of the year. The route stretches out for 257 kilometers (160 miles), and includes 28 sections of cobblestone that date back to the times of Napoleon. The 51.1 kilometers (31.7 miles) of cobbles are treacherous, and when wet are treacherous beyond belief. In 1994, rain soaked the course so that only 14 of 151 riders even finished the race, and these... Fri, 11 Apr 2014 10:53:11 EST Oh, My Bike, Why Dost Thou Beckon Me? I'm tired. I exercise regularly but at this time of year, when the weather turns warm, I hit the road on my bike and, bottom line, the bike trainer and the gym are different than the road. Quite different. The road is harder. <BR> <BR> I've put in just shy of 80 miles over the last four days and I really should take a break to rest and recover, but alas, the temps are again in the high 50s, the sky is clear, and even though the wind is blowing I can hear my bike beckoning me from the garage... Thu, 10 Apr 2014 12:07:20 EST On the Bike Yesterday...and Today! Well, I decided to take a quick 11 mile bike ride yesterday. I was kind of tired from the previous two days since it's so early in the season, but with the temps high and sky so clear I just couldn't resist. It was a very nice ride and I'm glad I did it. <BR> <BR> And as for today, it's going to hit 70 in Minneapolis--I can't remember the last time I've felt temps that warm! So of course, I'm going to hit the road at some point, but I have a busy day and I'm sure how long of a ride I'll be ... Wed, 9 Apr 2014 07:11:23 EST Oh Decisions, Decisions I love this time of year! After it's been so cold for so long, every 45-50 degree day just seems like the middle of summer! So I'm sitting here facing a big decision: do I go outside and jog with my wife and dog, or do I go outside and ride my bike for a while? Oh decisions, decisions! What joy! <BR> <BR> I seriously don't know what I'm going to do, so tune in tomorrow for the big reveal! Tue, 8 Apr 2014 18:43:46 EST Great Day, Another Road Ride! Had a great 22-mile ride yesterday, and since today is my day off, I plan to take another ride today. I think I'll do a 25-mile route that I take from time to time. It's a little hilly, but not too much, and there's a coffee shop located at the half-way point. <BR> <BR> Since it's so early in the season, I plan to do a cadence workout on the way out and a mellow sprinting workout on the way back. Here are the descriptions of the workouts. <BR> <BR> 1. Cadence Intervals: Within an aerobic ... Mon, 7 Apr 2014 10:09:00 EST On the Road Again! it's nice and warm today, 52 degrees, the sun is peaking through the clouds, the wind is gently blowing, and I am about to hit the road for a great road ride. The plan today is to go for about 22 miles and do a cadence workout wherein I warm up at 90 rpm and then do 2.5 minute intervals at 100 rpm for the remainder of the ride. <BR> <BR> I cant wait to get out there, but I'm old and I first need to take a nap! Sun, 6 Apr 2014 15:02:40 EST Great Bike Trainer Workout Well, after snow-blowing and shoveling 6" or so of snow yesterday, I went about my day, had a good one, and then in the evening found some time to hop on the bike trainer. I completed a cadence interval workout that goes like this: <BR> <BR> After a five-minute warm-up at a cadence of 80-85 rpm, ramp it up to 100 rpm for 2.5 minutes and then take it down to 90 rpm for 2.5 minutes. Repeat this cycle seven times for a total of eight intervals (45 minutes). <BR> <BR> The workout is simple an... Sat, 5 Apr 2014 07:54:58 EST A Shoveling We Will Go (Snow that Is!) And a one, and a two, and a... <BR> <BR> A shoveling we will go, <BR> A shoveling we will go, <BR> Hi-ho the derry-o, <BR> A snow-shoveling we will go. <BR> <BR> Alright, enough singing for the morning, I'm off to shovel 6 inches of snow off my driveway so that my friend who's coming at 9 can make it up our driveway...and so that another inch or two can fall on it in the next three hours! <BR> <BR> Merry Easter, everyone! Fri, 4 Apr 2014 07:49:34 EST Piles of Snow are On Their Way--HELP!!! Winter just has no quit in it this year! You never know what will actually happen in Minnesota, but from what I can see the threat is pretty real. We are slated to get 6-8 inches of snow today, tonight, and tomorrow, and let's just say I've had enough of winter this year! <BR> <BR> But alas, this too shall pass, and there is much for which to be thankful! I must go now and convince myself that I believe what I just wrote! <em>30</em> Thu, 3 Apr 2014 07:04:37 EST One Thing in Common with a Pro Cyclist! Sometimes when you're really struggling with illness or injury, it's at least mildly comforting to know that you're not the only one! Here's a quote from a few days ago from one of my favorite cyclists, Mark Cavendish: <BR> <BR> “I am really disappointed. Sunday I felt better and I was able to train well, but Sunday night I was sick again and had diarrhea. I am in no shape to start [a three-day race that began yesterday], especially because I can’t eat or drink anything.” <BR> <BR> This h... Wed, 2 Apr 2014 06:37:24 EST Finding the Right Pace Not to be a broken record, but I've been quite sick over the last two or three weeks, and I've been struggling with various colds for months. Today I'm feeling better than I have in weeks, and so now the trick is to find the right pace forward. I so want to get into the gym, and on the bike trainer, and go full-gas but that will not serve me well. So if you think of me, please pray for me, that I will have wisdom to know how hard to push, how fast to go. Some activity will help at this point,... Tue, 1 Apr 2014 17:39:38 EST The Plan for Week 9 Well, last week didn't go as planned! I am still struggling with illness and so I was only able to put in two full workouts, and I'm not sure if I should have done that or not. Well, I guess I got in three workouts because Tuesday I went into the gym, Wednesday I was on the bike trainer, Thursday through Saturday I had to take off due to illness, and then yesterday it was in the 50s here in Minnesota and so I took a 13.5 mile bike ride which took me about 50 minutes since I'm not feeling well... Mon, 31 Mar 2014 10:20:57 EST Good Road Ride Today I've put in over 300 miles on the bike trainer this year, but today it was finally warm enough--and the roads were clear enough of ice--that I could ride outside. I took a 13.5 mile ride because that's all the time I had available to me. It's a good ride--eight climbs, eight descents, enough hard stuff to test my level of fitness, and enough easy stuff to make me feel like a kid again! <BR> <BR> In fact, at one point, I passed a teenager and he asked if I wanted to race. I said, "Let's go" ... Sun, 30 Mar 2014 21:41:45 EST A Brief Warm-up in Minnesota? The weather channel is saying that, here in balmy Minnesota, it's supposed to get up to 41 degrees today and then 58 and 48 for the next two days. I can only hope this is real, as I am SO TIRED of winter! Sat, 29 Mar 2014 08:31:48 EST Sickness Tests Resolve I was very sick last week, but then began feeling better on Monday and especially Tuesday. So i went back into the gym on Tuesday and then got on the bike the next day. Unfortunately, I woke up yesterday morning feeling as sick as I was ten days ago, and things got worse as the day went along. By around 5:00 p.m. I had to lay down because I was so dizzy and--well, I'll spare you the details. <BR> <BR> I feel horrible again this morning, but as I sat here thinking about my pursuit of health ... Fri, 28 Mar 2014 08:18:59 EST Sucking on Chocolate? Yeah, Sucking on Chocolate! I am an unapologetic chocoholic, so whenever I see an SP article on this fine food I read it! A few weeks ago I read an article that, among other things, suggested that we should suck chocolate like candy rather than eat it like food. I decided to give this a try, but at first I didn't like it. I was too impatient and wanted my shot of dark-chocolate-joy sooner rather than later. <BR> <BR> But I hung in there and soon learned that this is a much better technique for (1) truly savoring choco... Thu, 27 Mar 2014 08:35:13 EST Love the New Gym! I finally got to go to the new Anytime Fitness in Elk River, Minnesota yesterday. They're still working on it and therefore it will only get better, but I love it! Same machines, which is great because I'm used to them and I like them, but a much better facility--better entrance area, 1,500 sq ft more space, new TVs and fans, great layout, a separate room in which to do ab work etc. There are other AFs in the area which I like better, but this is a great improvement on the former location, an... Wed, 26 Mar 2014 08:28:03 EST Feeling Better I'm feeling much better today and finally back to work. I just hope that I keep feeling better. I've been knocked down so many times this year that I'm afraid to declare, "I feel better," but alas I do! So it's a lot of catching up and then finally back into the gym today. Hope you all have a good one. Tue, 25 Mar 2014 14:07:57 EST The Plan for Week 8 Well, last week was not what I thought it would be. I came down with a sudden and severe cold or flu on Sunday evening, and I ended up spending most of the week in bed. Every time I tried to get up and "push through" I'd ended up just getting knocked back down on my butt! So, in some ways it's been a tough and disappointing week, but it is what it is and I'm putting my face forward. <BR> <BR> I'm still sick, but I think I'll be able to get back to it this week. The plan is to work the norma... Mon, 24 Mar 2014 08:49:52 EST At my wits end I have been knocked out, can't function sick for the last seven days. Nothing I've tried has worked, so I'm going to break down and go to the doctor on Monday or Tuesday. Perhaps I need antibiotics rather than normal cold medicine, I don't know. I'm so sick of being sick that I hardly know how to put it into words, but I simply must overcome because the temps are supposed to rise in Minnesota this week and I AM GOING TO RIDE MY BIKE OUTSIDE! <BR> <BR> Help me, Lord! Sun, 23 Mar 2014 13:58:26 EST SOS from Minnesota It's 7 degrees this morning--please send the troops to Minnesota to help us chase winter out of our state! Sat, 22 Mar 2014 07:37:45 EST Lost 11 Pounds so Far! Several years ago I worked very hard to lose 40 pounds but unfortunately I got undisciplined last fall and put about 30 of that back on. There were reasons for this that I've identified and addressed, and so it's face-forward for me! No regrets. <BR> <BR> The turning point was January 7 when my doctor gave me the kick in the butt I needed. On January 8 I got back on track and as of this morning...I'm down 11 pounds! This means that I'm about 1/3 of the way back to my normal weight, and more... Fri, 21 Mar 2014 10:54:22 EST Have to Push Through This week I've taken two days off of work to rest, replenish, and do everything I could to get well, but to no avail. I started feeling better yesterday afternoon, but am back to square one this morning. However, I can't take another day off, so I must push through, and now my prayer is that I won't get others sick along the way. <BR> <BR> Lord, thanks for the grace thus far, and help me push through this day! Thu, 20 Mar 2014 07:50:14 EST Still Resting I had hoped to start CP25K week 4 yesterday, but I just wasn't up to it. After I wrote the blog yesterday, I stood up to have breakfast and immediately knew that I would not be able to push myself. The same is true today. I don't want to rest, but it's what's best right now, and the time will soon come when I'll be back at it! Wed, 19 Mar 2014 09:19:46 EST CP25K, Week 4 Starts Today? I'm still feeling pretty wiped out, but I'm eager to start CP25K week 4 so I'm going to try to press through. Also, the new Elk River gym was supposed to have opened on March 15 but I've been out of town so I'm not sure if it did or not but I can't wait to find out! Tue, 18 Mar 2014 09:49:51 EST So sick of being sick I arrived home late Saturday night, about 12.30 a.m. actually, and then had a good day yesterday until the evening. Around 7 p.m. I was hit by another cold--sore throat, bad headache, very dizzy, etc--and wondering if I am going to be able to function tomorrow. I have so much to do, I can't afford to be sick, but beyond that I am just so sick of being sick! I have never been hit by so much sickness in one year in my life, and I'm so ready to be over it. <BR> <BR> But it is what it is, we'll... Mon, 17 Mar 2014 19:32:33 EST Heading Home It's been a good trip to Chicago and Grand Rapids, but I'm really looking forward to being home. For a number of reasons it was best to drive this time around, and so I have a 9 hour road trip ahead of me today, but I have good plans for making use of the time so I'm actually looking forward to my time on the road. <BR> <BR> And with that, I'm off! Eager to be back home today. Sat, 15 Mar 2014 09:26:30 EST In Grand Rapids, Michigan for a Day Well, my time in Chicago has come to an end once again. It was good, but the internet service in my motel, for some strange reason, just would not load SP's pages and so I couldn't be on the site most of the week. It was very strange because I was able to use the internet for everything else but SP. <BR> <BR> Who knows, but be that as it may, I'm now in Grand Rapids, Michigan visiting with a young pastor who I'm mentoring these days. We usually "meet" via Skype but I wanted to make a site v... Thu, 13 Mar 2014 23:28:38 EST Found an Anytime Fitness in Chicago-Land As I shared yesterday, I'm in Chicago this week for my latest doctoral course. I've always had a hard time finding an Anytime Fitness here that's close enough to where I usually stay, but for a variety of reasons, I determined to just figure this out today--and I did. <BR> <BR> So I visited the AF in Roselle, IL and it was awesome. Loved the treadmills, completed a 5k walk/jog, felt great, burned 500 cals, and had a good time! So I'm happy and look forward to going back tomorrow to check ou... Mon, 10 Mar 2014 23:45:39 EST In Chicago this Week Besides being a pastor, I'm a doctoral student at the Trinity Evangelical Divinity School which is located in a northern suburb of Chicago. This degree requires me to come to the campus 2-3 times per year, one week at a time. So I'm here this week to study three small books or letters of the New Testament that are entitled 1 John, 2 John, and 3 John. Can you guess who wrote them?! It was the apostle John, a man who walked closely with Jesus for several years and who wrote 5 of the 27 books of... Mon, 10 Mar 2014 00:07:04 EST So Good to See the Sun! It's been warming up here in Minnesota, but it's been overcast for days. Finally this morning the sky is clear, the sun is shining, the temps are rising, the roads are melting, and hearts are glowing--including mine! <BR> <BR> Oh it's so good to see the sun again, and I for one am grateful the Lord for this easy-to-miss gift of grace. Sat, 8 Mar 2014 09:00:42 EST Challenging Bike Trainer Day Ahead On Sunday I travel to Chicago for a week for my latest doctoral course. This means that I will not be able to ride my bike on Sunday, and thus must squeeze an extra bike ride in today or tomorrow. As it works out, today is the best day for that, so here's what lies ahead: <BR> <BR> 1. Work until noon and then complete this strength workout: <BR> Strength Endurance: After a 10 minute warm up, set the resistance to maximum, shift into the biggest gear in the third chain ring, and push as har... Fri, 7 Mar 2014 09:36:25 EST Today I Am Determined... Determination: "the act of coming to a decision or of fixing or settling a purpose." <BR> <BR> Having determination: "to be resolute in accomplishing a fixed or set purpose." <BR> <BR> Today I am determined... <BR> <BR> - To love the Lord my God with all of my heart, soul, mind, and strength... <BR> <BR> - To exercise even though I have a 12-hour work day ahead of me... <BR> <BR> - To eat well even though busyness always tempts one to eat conveniently... <BR> <BR> - To go out of my... Thu, 6 Mar 2014 08:57:49 EST Curbing Impulse Eating or Drinking I often work in coffee shops. My favorite chain is Caribou Coffee, and my favorite drink is their dark chocolate cooler. I love the taste, the texture, the smell—but I don’t love the calories! A medium cooler without whip comes in at 450 cals, and while I know that their northern lite option cuts this down quite a bit, I don’t drink caffeine and they don’t make the lite version in decaf. <BR> <BR> One reason that I put on so much weight last fall was that I stopped counting calories, and I ... Wed, 5 Mar 2014 08:37:32 EST CP25K is in Full Swing! I first attempted the Couch Potato to 5K program in 2010 but failed due to shin-splints. I tried again later that year, purchased some better shoes about 1/3 of the way through, and ended up completing the program and my first 5K on March 11, 2011. I worked up from there to a half-marathon the next year and then intermittently jogged as part of my fitness plan, although cycling always remained my first love. <BR> <BR> This year, I’m determined to pick up my jogging speed to about 6.5 mph or... Tue, 4 Mar 2014 07:38:26 EST The Plan for Week 5 Mondays are for reflection and planning, so here's how it went last week and how I hope it will go this week. <BR> <BR> REFLECTIONS ON LAST WEEK'S GOALS: <BR> 1. Take more time in the mornings to be still before the Lord (beginning Tuesday). I failed at this again. I have been busy, blah-blah-blah, but the bottom line is that I just have to do this. I love being with the Lord for extended periods of time, and like nutrition and exercise, I simply have to do what I love even when, for whate... Mon, 3 Mar 2014 09:01:51 EST One More Workout this Week Well, after I write this blog, I will make my dinner, and then be off to the gym for one more workout this week. Monday is my one day off each week, and so my week goes from Tuesday to Sunday. This evening I plan to... <BR> <BR> 1. Hop on the elliptical for 30 minutes <BR> 2. Complete a full-body strength training circuit <BR> 3. Complete Week 1 of the Couch Potato to 5k program. <BR> <BR> I'm a little tired from a long day, but I'm very eager to get into the gym! Hope you all had a grea... Sun, 2 Mar 2014 17:55:52 EST Recovery & Rest--An Important Part of Training My 2014 training strategy is made up of five parts: nutrition, physical fitness and sport-specific skills, mental toughness, recovery, and rest. I'll write about the first three parts some other time, but for today I want to write about recovery and rest because, frankly, I need to remind myself that these things are important, especially rest. <BR> <BR> For me, "recovery" refers to my post-workout routine and consists of cooling-down, stretching, massaging my muscles, refueling, and at tim... Sat, 1 Mar 2014 07:38:56 EST So Long Anytime Fitness Elk River--Well, Sort Of I joined my local Anytime Fitness in 2009, the year I lost so much weight. My main club is in Elk River, Minnesota, a suburb of Minneapolis, and I have spent more hours there in the last five years then I could count! But it's over--the gym is closing, and I have put in my last workout at that location... <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> Well, the gym isn't exactly closing, it's moving about two miles up the road and it will be about 1... Fri, 28 Feb 2014 07:43:51 EST Who do You Want to Be? I did not write down the quote, but I remember it verbatim. Doctor Russell Tuck’s words made such an impact on me in August of 1992 that it’s no exaggeration to say they have helped shape my life to this day. <BR> <BR> His words were simple but profound: “Do not deceive yourself, you will never be what you are not becoming.” Or perhaps we can state this positively: we will only be what we are becoming. We will only reap what we sow. The process will determine the outcome. Particular daily h... Thu, 27 Feb 2014 08:18:38 EST Fitness Update Things are going well for me this year as far as fitness goes. I'm not where I was three years ago, but I'm getting closer and soon enough I'll catch up and pass myself! At this time of year, there are three parts to my fitness plan: cycling, walking/jogging, and strength training. <BR> <BR> CYCLING <BR> My goal for February was to put in 100 miles on my Cyclops bike trainer (one on which I can place my actual bike). To date I have ridden 157.8 miles and I expect to log another 27 or so b... Wed, 26 Feb 2014 08:36:49 EST New Recipes: Last Week and This Week One of my 2014 goals is to experiment with 1-2 new recipes per week. So let me tell you about the two recipes I tried last week, and then the two I plan to try this week. <BR> <BR> Last Week: Honey Garlic Pork Chops <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> Oh wow, just thinking about this one makes my mouth water! I made the sauce as written, but then marinated the chops for about 8 hours. Since it's just the wife and I at home, we cooked only two ... Tue, 25 Feb 2014 08:13:09 EST The Plan for Week 4 Monday is my one day off per week, so I've decided to devote my Monday blogs to reflecting on the previous week and planning for the coming week. Last week was week three in my 2014 training plan and next week is week four. So with that in mind, here are some reflections on last week's goals, followed by my plans for the coming week. <BR> <BR> <BR> REFLECTIONS ON LAST WEEK'S GOALS: <BR> 1. Spend 2-4 hours re-ordering my priorities, and then adjust my calendar accordingly--I did not do thi... Mon, 24 Feb 2014 10:44:51 EST