Sunday, June 30, 2019

Traumatic Mountain Bike Weekend

Hello July!   Where in the world did June go?  Seriously, I blinked and it was gone!   I did manage to work on my monthly goals and I feel as if I made some amazing progress during the month of June in some areas.  However in others I feel as if I’m spinning wheels and going nowhere.  We had another amazing weekend....even if it was a bit rough at times!  So lots to talk about it all today!!!

The weekend
Wow...Saturday was hot!   

We spent Saturday morning running our errands.  It was also grocery week so that took some extra time!  But by lunchtime we were ready to head out with our bikes!  Did I mention that it was hot?  Oh and did I also mention that my shoulder issue that I wrote about in early May had reared its ugly head again?  Why yes...the arm was aching more all week.   But even with these two factors, we were determined to get out there and keep up the trend that we started...the good habit of riding on the weekends.  I was a bit hesitant about the ache in my shoulder and the heat...but I am tired of being fat and unfit so out I went!

My legs were stiff and tight when I started but they did eventually loosen up and I had a surprise for Jason.  I usually lead the way so I led him to a new trail within the park that we were riding in.  The trail turned out to be short but really cool.  You climb for a short bit and then you ride a ridge for about a half mile. All was going well until.......yup, it happened!  I was traversing the trail and well...I don’t rightly know what happened. I know I skidded a bit and then I was flying through the air.  I ended up in on the side of the trail, tangled up with my bike!    I didn’t care about the bike at that point and just worked to untangle my legs and get the bike away from me!  Jason was by my side in mere seconds.  Honestly, I feel for Jason. I have gone down two other times in front of spectacularly on a trail with a drop off to my right!     Each time I can see the utter panic and terror in his eyes!  Anyway, back to this wee little tumble. I got myself to a sitting position. I had fallen on my right side and my bad shoulder/arm took the brunt of the fall.  But somehow my left wrist ended up scraped.  My right leg had brush burns from my calf up  to and covering my thigh.  And somehow my left ankle ended up with brush burns.  Literally all four quadrants of my body got mangled.  (I don’t THINK I went over the handlebars...but maybe I did!). I sat on the side of the trail a bit.  I may have cried....but not out of pity...out of shock and pain....remember my bad arm/shoulder took the brunt of this fall. The tears stopped and  then I began to moan!   Oh no, I wasn’t in any physical distress!  But I noticed my bike!  My poor perfect baby!  She is perfect no more!  She had a scratch on the front fork!

After whining about my scratch, I got back up on that bike and started riding again.  We rode awhile  and then headed up a big hill.  Halfway up that hill I knew I had a problem.  I stopped.  I started to walk. I didn’t know what the problem was, but I suspected that it was just a let down from the adrenaline rush I had experienced through my tumble off the bike.    I however knew I was pretty much done riding for that day. (Other  than for the return ride back to the car) I pondered my options.  We hadn’t seen a soul on any of the trails. (Did I mention that it was hot...REALLY other fools were out!).  I caught up with Jason who had stopped to wait for me.  I told him I just wasn’t right... he was concerned but I told him that I wasn’t sick or anything, just probably the after affects of my accident and my shoulder hurting.   I sent him up the hill to finish the trail that we were on/heading to. (It was an out and back).  I took his knife (I knew he wouldn’t leave me out there without some form of protection) and I sat down in the shade to wait for him.   It was exactly what I needed.  

Turns out I was suffering the very early stages of heat stroke. I figured it out while I sat there.  I have had some serious issues with this in the past...even to the point of passing out. But it has been quite a while so it took me a while to put two and two together.   Sitting in the shade sipping my water for the 20 minutes it took him to finish the trail and return was just what I needed. 

He returned to me and we set off back for the car....I was fine!    Well...sore but no longer feeling sick!

So on Sunday we headed out with our bikes again! I was still sore...all over, but I’m no sissy!

We headed to the Trail of Tears.  Yes, back there again.   I had completed it both of the previous weekends so I had no doubts about my abilities.  We also went much earlier in the day to beat the heat.  We started to ride.   I could tell that I was riding a bit more tentatively, I’m assuming due to my tumble from the day before.  About a mile or so into the ride my shoulder started to ache....and then that pain started to radiate into my chest.   Now, I KNOW that the muscle/nerve issue that I’m having will cause that chest to hurt...but when your chest hurts it is hard to NOT obsess about it!   But I kept going.   For some reason my feet would NOT stay on the pedals!  (I will be soon upgrading from the stock cheap pedals to a good pair!).  Then  my hands started to sweat and my grip was constantly slipping!   It was ugly!  My shoulder started to pound with each bump we hit!  And I was stopping constantly to take breaks.  Finally We decided to turn around.  The ride back was BRUTAL!   The pain in my shoulder and arm only intensified.   My right hand and thumb became excruciating pain any time I squeezed the handle bars, shifted gears or used my breaks.   I actually cried the last mile of the ride.  (Yes, I cried while riding...and at one point we stopped to rest and I just kept my head on my handlebars to ‘rest’ and hide my tears.). It was a bad ride all around!  The Trail of Tears took me down again!   But in all fairness...I’m sure a lot of that had to do with the aches and pains from my tumble the day before.  

Even with the two rough rides...between the accident and the bad ride, I saw improvements.  I saw myself get further up a hill than I have before.   I saw myself handle each and every stream crossing without wimping out and walking across.  I definitely saw improvements even amidst the ruin!

My thumb was in bad shape the rest of the in I struggled to hold Jason’s hand because my thumb was that tender.

It was a gorgeous day that we didn’t want to waste.  So after dropping off the bikes.  We turned around and headed out for a hike.  Yup....we were out for about two hours hiking.   Felt good!!!

So we had another active, even if traumatic weekend of exercise!

Food wise, I nailed the weekend!  I was within my target each day!

Monthly Goals

At the beginning of each month I set a few goals for my month.  I have them in the back of my mind during the month...but they are not something I have to think about each day.  (Well...maybe I should!). June was no exception.  I set some goals in this post

Here are my June goals with the results!

1.  Track every bite of food!   Victory!
2.  Put money into my savings.   I totally smashed this goal and put quite a bit into my savings account!
3.  Weigh less than I do now!  I don't care if it's a measly ounce...I want to weigh less!   As of the 31st of May that number is 247.2.    I managed this one also...maybe not a smashing success...but I managed of the last day of June my weight was 246.0 (I did see 245.6 on Saturday!)
4.  Do something active (a walk suffices) at least 3 times a week and at least two runs a week.  I had to adjust my goals mid way through.  I decided that I couldn’t focus on biking AND running and have any success at both.  So running is on the back burner until a time when biking is easy and then I will jump back into running.  But in terms of exercise. I walked at work most days...and we got at least two HARD bike rides in each week!  So VICTORY!!  I have also seen some incredible improvements on the bike!  I have been mountain biking religiously each week and it seems as if each week I see some sort of improvement.  
5. Keep my eating in check for at least 6 days a week. I managed this.  There were a few days that I was higher but it was almost always totally in check!
7.   Walk at least  of 5 k steps a day at least five days a more average for the month!!!  This is the rough one. I didn’t make this one!!  But I came very close.  I will be adjusting this goal in future months!
8.  Transparency with my weight...even if it goes up!!! (Not gonna.. thisis my month!!!). I feel as if I have continued the trend of transparency!!

So what are July goals?
1.  Track every bite of food! 
2.  Put money into my savings. 
3.  Weigh less than I do now!  I don't care if it's a measly ounce...I want to weigh less!   As of the 30th of May that number is 246.0.
4.  Do something active (a walk suffices) at least 3 times a week and aim for at least two bike rides a week.
5. Keep my eating in check for at least 6 days a week. 
7.   Walk at least  of 5 k steps a day at least four of my work days.   Weekends...I need the steps OR a bike ride!  
8.  Transparency with my weight...even if it goes up!!! 

So there you have it.  My crazy weekend and a recap of my monthly goals.   July goals are quite similar with just a few tweaks!   But I am confident that July will see more weight loss and even more improvement on the bike!!

Friday, June 28, 2019

The Banana Binge: takes from a food addict

With the weekend just around the corner it, it is time to recap my week and see what I have done (or not done) in terms of my pursuit of healthy living.  So without further ado, here we go!

 My weight was at right around 246.8 last week at this time.   It popped up to 249 early this week but then settled back down to 246.0 around mid week.   I was ok with this because it is within my three pound ‘maintain range’ that I spoke about a while back in this post .   But then here on Friday morning I popped up to 246.6.     I am ok with that although I was certainly hoping to see 245!   

This little 0.6 pound uptake was  unaccounted for for....well......maybe not.... there may have been a banana binge incident on Thursday night.  And I DID wake up thirsty on Friday so that could have affected it too!

 I had an amazing victory early in the week in terms of my food intake.  I was right on target for most of the days.  Which is the first victory.   But the biggest victory was on Monday morning.

Last weekend I decided to forego the Chick Fil A milkshake when Jason picked one up for himself.  Instead I decided to make a half  (or even quarter) batch of edible cookie.  The smaller batch would give me just enough to have a sweet treat without blowing my caloric budget and it would be gone at the end of the weekend.  Perfect!   I laid out the butter on the counter to soften...the amount for the reduced batch size.  However when I went to make the cookie dough, I was talking and not paying attention and just was following the recipe as it was written.....without reducing the size of the batch.  Oooops!   It was either throw it all away and start over or just go ahead and make the full batch.  I made the full batch.  (Of course I did!).   I didn’t do too badly over the weekend but admit to indulging a bit more since there was so much extra cookie dough.   On Monday morning is when I had my victory though!  I got out small containers and packaged it up and threw them into the freezer.  Out of sight out of mind!   I did pull one out during the week but one is better then the whole tub!

And of course I had the great banana binge...which I will talk about in a bit!


Well....does it count that I walked on my lunch break 2 out of the 5 days?  (And I already know that I most likely won’t be able to walk today...Friday). Does it count that I am leading a training class for new hires and I’m on my feet all day??? (And that I spend my breaks and lunch prepping for the new hire training and/or reassigning my daily work to others...since I still have stuff being assigned to me to do?). 

Ok, so I didn’t set the world on fire with exercise this past work week. As for the walking...2 days is better than none!!!

Banana Binge goes!  Thursday night rolled around.  My weight had been sitting steady at 246.0 for a few days and I really wanted to keep it there!   But I wanted a treat sooo bad!   So I decided to have a banana!  A healthy snack right?   Awesome choice!  I discovered long ago that the attraction to a banana split was the banana and the toppings that mixed with the I actually enjoy a bowl of cut up bananas with some chocolate topping!   So that is what I aimed to do on Thursday night!   But,  my bananas were on the cusp of being too soft. I knew that it I wouldn’t eat them if they ripened any further.  So I cut up ALL of  the bananas into my bowl.  Ok, it was just two...but that is 210 calories!   Still not too bad.  But then we had to add the chocolate syup!  And after that there were so many bananas that I figured some peanut butter would be good.  A banana binge that cost me 550 calories!  Oops!  Healthier than a piece of cake...but still too many calories!

So there you have my week in a nutshell!   The good, the bad and the ugly!  I am not perfect. I don’t ever hope to be perfect.  My main goal is to make steps each and every week toward a healthier lifestyle.  Yes, I had some missteps this week but I think that I did make some healthy progress.   Next week is another oppportunity to take another step forward!  I will do this!!!

Wednesday, June 26, 2019

FitBit Alta: my thoughts

This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my disclaimer  for details. 

It is widely accepted that the average person should be taking 10,000 steps a day.  Almost every  healthy lifestyle organization promotes this number.  But, how do you know how many steps you take  There are quite a few devices and gadgets out there to help you with the task of monitoring your steps.  The fitbit is one of the biggest names in step counters, with multiple devices on the market aimed to please any user.  Just recently I replaced my Fitbit Alta..and I upgraded.  However, my Fitbit was fantastic!  So while I don’t use that Fitbit Alta anymore, I wanted to stop and pay tribute to a great product that I actually highly recommend!  

The Alta  (Amazon Affiliate Link) was released in March of 2016.  It was just another trend setting device for this health minded company.  The alta was slim and operated as not only a step counter but it could also be used as a watch. I wanted one!  I pondered this fitbit for quite some time.  Would I even use it?  Were there enough features for my lifestyle needs.  Were there too many features for my needs?  I debated back and forth for months.  One minute I was ready to buy the Alta, the next minute I was saying "NO", Not yet.

Finally, during a celebration I was given some gifts.  One of my gifts was the Fitbit Alta.  Mine had the  Plum colored arm band.  I was so excited.  I couldn't wait to try it out!   The opinions listed below are solely my own and are totally unsolicited.  I have received no compensation for choosing to write this review.

Easy to Use
Straight out of the box, this device worked perfectly!  I did have to set up an account and download the application for my phone.  But that took only a minute or two.  Even better, the bluetooth paired up with my phone immediately with no issues!   The set up really was only a few minutes from start to finish!  Before I knew it I was prancing around the room ecstatically counting my steps!  The Alta is really that easy to use.  The steps count automatically without having to reset the device each and every day, which really does make this a device that you put on your arm and forget about.
Straight out of the Box and onto my arm
Syncing your Alta 
The Alta is designed to automatically sync up with the online profile. (If you have it set to all day Sync.).  I found this process to be a bit hit or miss.  I could never find a rhyme or reason to when my Alta would automatically  send the information over to my profile versus when I would need to log onto my phone app to manually sync the device.  Luckily, syncing the two together to upload the stored data is as simple as opening up the fitbit app on my phone.  Whenever the application is opened, it prompts an automatic upload/sync.  If it hasn't been done in a few days it may take a bit longer, but usually it's only a matter of seconds for this information to be transferred.  For me this is no inconvenience and has no effect on the usage of either the app of the Alta.

The Battery
I had absolutely no problem with the battery life when I first started using the Alta.  It held it's charge for a week and a half.  It wasn't until the Alta went over the two year old mark that I had to charge it more often.  But even then, it only needed charged every 4-5 days.  I definitely give the battery life two thumbs up!

The Phone App and Website
The phone app interface in which a user can interact with the gathered statistics is very easy to navigate. The stats that are gathered are informative and helpful.  The sleep cycle is particularly interesting as it notes your sleep patterns....usually quite accurately!  Navigation through the phone app is easy and very intuitive.  The website definitely shows more information and details.  Admittedly, I rarely went onto the website, simply because the phone app had everything I really needed right at my fingertips!

The Community
A Fitbit comes with a ready made community.  There are people, even random strangers that are willing to accept a challenge to step more.  You can participate in a weekend step challenge, a daily step challenge or a work week step challenge in order to motivate you to walk a bit more.  I was also pleased to see quite a few of my friends already within the FitBit community when I joined.  

If you are more of the solo challenge type of person, there are adventures that you can embark upon.  With each step you take counting as you virtually tour a location   Fitbit will also reward you with a badge for each achievement you make as you progress through various predetermined goals.  (I.E.  your first time stepping more than 25000 steps in a day, etc.....) I never paid much attention to these......but they can be found on the online website. 

When you set a step goal for your day the Alta will celebrate (vibrate and fireworks type graphics on the face of the Fitbit) when you reach your daily goal.   It is an easy neat way to celebrate reaching your daily goal!

The community and challenge area is very much designed to keep any and every type of person motivated to move more and to achieve step goals.

The Arm Band
I found that the arm band that arrived in the box with my FitBit Alta lasted about 6-8 months before needing to be replaced.  It was fine at first,  but then the latch that attached the band to the face of the Alta would not stay attached any longer.  I purchased a replacement band.  That one also only lasted about 6 -8 months.  I switched to an after market (non Fitbit name brand) band....simply because I didn't want to be without my Alta (I do love it that much).  The after market bands were the only ones I could find in stock at my local stores and were readily available...I would have had to order a Fitbit brand replacement band from online....and wait a few days to get it!   The after market bands lasted about the same amount of time before they needed to be replaced.  The cost was so much more affordable that from that point on, I used after market bands!  (In fairness, I did take a tumble at one point..ok maybe two....over the handle bars of my bike and the wrist that I had the fitbit on took the brunt of the fall, so that could have affect one...or two of the bands!)

The Alta as a Watch
This fitbit doubles as a watch.  The watch face actually remains dark for most of the day.  To access the time or your step count it requires a light tap on either end of the face of the device or a certain wrist movement that will wake up the face.  The  movement is described as just turning your wrist toward you to wake it up.

After a while I was an expert at awakening my Alta.  However, when I first started to wear this fitbit, I could be seen tapping the watch rather uncontrollably and with increasing frustration.  OR I would be moving my arm up and down trying to awaken no avail.   But as I said, with time, I did become adept.     I find that it takes a bit more of a swooping motion to get the Alta to awaken and as for the tapping...well, it just took some time to learn the quirkiness needed in my 'tap tap'.  Once again, minor issues and honestly, mostly user issues and not any issue with the Alta.

Jason, my boyfriend, was always teasing me and giving his wrist a double tap as he teasingly mocked me.  And when I did the swoop of my arm, he just about always fell over laughing as he lovingly teased me.  (Jealousy maybe since he didn’t have a cool watch...hahaha)

Smart Notifications
I didn't think I would like this feature.  Oh, I thought I would have fun with it as a novelty at first.  But I didn't think it would ever be a huge feature that I would never want to live without.  Boy was I wrong!  This became my most favored feature about this fitbit.  I LOVED that I could see my incoming texts and phone calls without having to find and pick up my phone.  It very quickly became something I relied on All. The. Time!   In fact THAT is the reason that I was also so desperate to get a new arm band when they broke....sadly not because I was desperate to count my steps.  But no, I was desperate for the convenience of my smart notifications!    Is this a necessary feature?  Of course not.   Is it a totally convenient and much appreciated feature?  Absolutely!  I'm hooked!

Overally, the Fitbit Alta (Amazon Affiliate Link) is a great purchase.  You get a lot of bang for your buck!  It is the perfect purchase for someone interested in taking steps to more closely monitor and improve their fitness.  The quality of the product has been amazing! I have absolutely no complaints and I have actually recommended this product to quite a few of my friends.

Monday, June 24, 2019

Is it growing on me: mountain bike update

Happy Monday!   Another work week is upon us.  I am totally blown away to realize that this will be the last week of June!   Where has time gone?   This year is flying by!!!!   I am sure some of the fast passage of time is due to the long work days and commutes...and of course we have kept so busy over the weekends...and that has added to the speed of time.

Before I go into the weekend of bike rides, I am proud to announce that we got out two times after work.  Why yes, we rode our bikes twice after work last week.   Not perfect, but a really good start!!!

This past weekend was no different.   We knew we had a few obligations so we planned out our bike rides.  Therefore, Saturday morning rolled around and we were headed out by 9 or so!   We headed to a bike trail that we have been doing pretty much weekly.  We knew that this was only going to be a lighter easy ride because of time constraints.   It was just that.  However, the ride winds us uphill...and then we go up a steep fire road to get to our current favorite trail in that park (ok, ok,’s the main trail we ride in that park...I’m thinking exploration of some more of that parks trail system is in our near future!). Once we get onto the trail we are mostly uphill until we get to the upper parking lot. I have managed to climb the fire road without having to stop to walk.  Just last weekend I managed to navigate that trail without stopping.   BUT, I have always had to take a break between the two sections.   On Saturday I climbed the fire road and I didn’t take my customary break.  I just turned right onto the trail and kept riding.  I rode my heart out and did not stop until I got to the upper parking lot.  I had a momentary thought of taking a ride  around the parking lot and heading back down the trail with no break.  However, I figured that I had already had a major victory....and that a little basking in my glory was in order!     Victory.....Ahhh it sure does feel sweet!

We ran our errands and completed our tasks Saturday afternoon.  My legs were a bit ...well I can’t even say sore.  They weren’t sore but they were tired.

Sunday morning we headed to the Trail Of Tears.  Oh yeah, apparently just conquering it last week was NOT enough. Noooooo, we went back!  (Jason is such a slave driver!  Shhhhh don’t tell him that I said this, but it’s good for me!). It wasn’t exactly easy.   But I had a few victories. 

Never in my life have I been fast enough to ride up on a group of riders.  But on Sunday I did.  We arrived at the trailhead and we saw some bikers heading out.  We took our time getting ready to give them some space and then headed out.   Within a mile I was nipping at their heels. What?   No....we slowed down and killed time and then started riding again.    Once again I was back to nipping at their heels.   It was a totally new experience.   They did leave us after about 3 miles...mostly because we stopped for a bit...but then again, maybe they took a side trail because this is an out and back trek and we never saw them again.  Hmmm.

The second victory?   I did have to walk a few times on the way to the turn around.   I think it was two or three times.  I also did have to walk up two hills at the beginning of the return trip after the turn around.  But about 3-4 miles into the return trip I realized that I had only had to walk twice since we turned around.  I started to think about the near impossible feat (for me).  Could I make it the rest of the way without stopping to walk?   Last week I had walked multiple sections...but I had already rolled those sections.  Could I do it?   I was going to try!   I almost failed twice.  The first time I was ready to give up...but then saw some hikers on the uphill section that I was struggling to climb.   Heck no was I going to walk with people looking!!!!  I somehow found the strength.   The last time was at the very end.   I held it together simply  because I knew how utterly close to the end I was!  And I made it at least 5.5 miles with no walking!

No that’s not to say that we didn’t break.   We stopped once or twice to let a biker go by.  We also stopped at one stream crossing to enjoy the scenery and drink some more water.  It wasn’t perfect...but I can see improvement!  It is still tough, but there are improvements

Sooo. At the turn around Jason asked if I was having fun.   I refused to admit any such thing!!!  (And that’s what I said...I admit nothing!).  It’s hard though...still sooooo incredibly hard.  But the fun times are starting to pop through!  Just don’t tell Jason...because I can’t admit it to him...I’m having too much fun calling him a slave driver or my personal favorite...I call him Hitler!    Don’t feel too bad for him though...I give kisses as I hurl my names at him!    But being honest...I’m finding it more difficult to come up with insults about the trail of tears.   I do refuse to acknowledge the beauty...I just say ‘I can’t tell, there is too much sweat rolling into my eyes’.  He knows the truth though.   And that truth????  It’s kinda...dare I say.... growing on me?

Wednesday, June 19, 2019

Intermittent Fasting

This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my disclaimer  for details. 

A few months back I decided to restart the process of  intermittent fasting into my life.   It has now been about two months and I thought it would be a grand time to discuss my methods and what I have discovered.

I actually learned about intermittent fasting quite by accident.  It started simply enough(and I wrote about it here ).   I leave my house super early and I just can’t stomach eating that early.  I was finding that by the time I got to work I just wanted  to get the day started and would forget to eat whatever breakfast item I packed.  It was purely accidental and I knew I would get a lot of slack for ‘skipping breakfast’ so I didn’t mention it much.  But one day, I mentioned it.  I had a few conversations and low and behold, I found that I was  doing something that is actually quite poplular.  Even better, it worked for me!  I followed the intermittent fasting plan for a few months and then somehow got off track.  Recently,  I picked it back up.  

What is intermittent fasting
Intermittent fasting is the method of fasting on a regular basis for a set period of time.  There isn’t a whole lot of testing and results on intermittent fasting. However some people say that it works because your body is burning fat during those regular times of fast. 

There are many variations of intermittent fasting. Some people will fast for 24 hours and then have a 24 hour period where they can eat.  In this way they are alternating days of fasting and eating.  Some people will do a 5:2 fast.   This is where they eat normally for 5 days and fast for two. Some fast all day and only eat once a day.  I could go on and on with the options. There are so many variations.

The method of intermittent fasting that I follow is the 16:8 method.  Simply put, I fast for 16 hours a day.  I allow myself to eat in an 8 hour window.  For me, I break my fast at lunch, which is usually somewhere around 12 or 12:30.  I typically am done with dinner by 8PM.  That works well for my schedule.  

If you read about intermittent fasting and specifically the 16:8 method, many people say that they love it because they can eat anything that they want within that 8 hour tracking involved.   Maybe someday I will get to that point.  However, I have an addiction to food.  I can do quite a bit of damage in an 8 hour window.  Therefore, I track every bite, regardless!   

Why Intermittent fasting works for me
Intermittent fasting works for me for variety of reasons:
**  The first reason is simple. It reduces temptations.   I have an addiction to food.  I can not walk away from my addiction and remove myself from the temptations of my addiction.  No, I have to face my addiction every time my body feels hungry.  And even more realistically, I face my addiction each and every time a meal hour is upon me. Three times a day I have to stare my addiction down.   I can lose control very easily  and let the addiction control my food choices.  But by eliminating one of those meals, I am eliminating 1/3 of the temptation each day.  I really enjoy the reduction of that worry....and my body certainly doesn’t miss the meal.

** The second reason that this works for me is that I do still count my calories.  By eliminating the breakfast I am freeing up those calories that I would have eaten and it allows me a bit more freedom within my caloric budget later in the day.  (For example.  A 1200 calorie budget...if broken evenly between three meals allows for 400 calories each meal.  With no breakfast involved, I can take those 400 unused calories and apply them to the other meals)

** The last reason this works so well for me?  I have never been a big breakfast eater and have only ‘forced’ myself to eat because I was told that I had to eat breakfast to be ‘healthy’.  I always struggled with this concept.  I’m eating breakfast to lose be healthy.   But that is just adding more food and more times to fail into a food addicts life.  I know the whole concept of ‘starts off your day and all that’ but I have always preferred to NOT eat and I have seen no diffeeence in functioning without breakfast.  So, this plan of intermittent fasting  works well with my natural tendency and schedule!

What happens if I am ravenous?

So what happens if I am just plan hungry and it’s. Or my window to eat?   Well, I am not sadistic!   There have been a few instances where I find myself so utterly hungry by 9AM.  (Real hunger...not just the thought that something would taste good at that moment....real honest hunger!).  I have no problem saying ‘I’m going to be  eating something before the 16 hours is up!” In fact I keep some individually wrapped fig  bars in my desk at work just in case this happens.  (Amazon Affiliate link).  They are delicious and really hit the spot.  But honestly, the kind of hunger that gnaws at your stomach making it truly ache, the hunger that gives me a headache...that happens very rarely during my 16 hour fast.

Furthermore, I also know that heading out for a long bike ride at 10AM on an empty stomach is probably not going to go well.  So by all means, I will break that fast earlier so that I can properly fuel my body, even though it is not yet time to break my fast.  I am aiming for health, not rigidity.  This plan is not set in stone and sometimes it does require a little shift of thinking and adjustment!

I am sure that intermittent fasting is not for everyone.  I am also sure that it hasn’t always been the perfect solution for me nor will it probably always be the perfect plan for me in the future.  But for right now, right here it is working well for me.   I like the freedom from worrying about one less meal! 

Sunday, June 16, 2019

I did it: mountain bike victory

What a tiring yet victorious weekend!

We managed to get all of our errands done.  We visited my mom and we also visited Jason’s parents.  But...we made it a priority to ride our bikes even amidst everything else.   We had a plan for our time at the beginning of the week and no matter how badly we each wanted to not follow through and not ride our bikes, we did it anyway.  So let’s talk about these bike rides.

On Saturday afternoon, after our weekends errands were done we headed out with our bikes.  Where did we go?   No where other than the Trail of Tears, the location of not one, but two meltdowns.  I figured I could at least make it to the furthest meltdown location.  Am I a glutton for punishment or what?   My goal was to make it af least to that 4.5 mile mark with no tears.  Well....I charged onto the trail.   I even hit the stream crossings like a champ! I didn’t end up with a wet foot either!!!   I also did not rip my pants like the week before!  I was slow at times...but the miles passed and low and behold I made it  to the END of the trail!  Really?   But yes, the trail marker clearly said ‘the end’.   I wasn’t to gung ho about the 6.2 hilly miles I had to ride in order to get back to the car(this trail is an out and back.). But I attacked them like a trooper.   I did have to walk a few hills on the way back, but for the most part I was in the saddle propelling myself forward on the bike. I did it!!!!!

I was sooo sore and tired! My body ached!   That night while I slept every time I moved I was cognizant of my body and the sore muscles.  I believe at one point when I woke I even though, ‘we have a bike ride scheduled for this upcoming morning shortly after we wake up......there is no way!’  I ended that ride completely decimated!   Did I mention that I DID IT?  

On Sunday I woke up pretty much dreading the scheduled morning mountain bike ride.  I knew we had to go in the morning due to plans to visit our families in the afternoon.  I luckily knew that we had planned a shorter ride.  But still, I sooo did not want to go.  When we started to watch a movie at 7am  I was secretly relieved because I was thinking that  we wouldn’t have time for the ride if we watched the whole movie.  But alas we did.  We went out to a trail  that is a bit closer to our place...the one I have  been riding as I have tried to avoid the trail of tears.  I got on the bike and immediately my legs burned like they were on fire.  I knew it wasn’t going to be a pleasant ride.  But I pushed on.   We headed up the hill and while me legs burned, it didn’t seem quite so difficult. It was really odd to be hurting more but handling the trail better than ever.   The trail kinda flew by.  Jason even mentioned that my speed had increased since the last time we were on the trail.  Before I knew it, I was at the top of the trail!  What????? I have had to walk a portion of that trail each time recently (I did manage to ride it once without walking last August....and I pretty much collapsed with exhaustion at the end of the trail!).   So I had a victory on Sunday, even though I was so tired and achy!   I managed to ride the trail without stopping...and it seemed, well kinda easier!!!

Two victories!!!!  Two HUGE victories!   I have also managed to continue making good choices with my eating.  I again passed up the chick fil a milkshake and  the cookie from Jimmy Johns.   I did have a small piece of cake that my mom made.  So I did splurge a bit...but it was controlled and only ONCE! Oh and did I mention that I burned mad calories bike riding?  And did I mention that my calories each day was only  about 1500 calories...kinda what my garmin said burned on the Saturday bike trip alone!  

So it was quite the victorious weekend.  Now it’s time to rock the work week.  I plan on focusing on the fact that what I do is a choice...and I can indulge with unhealthy choices or I can do the healthy choice that will bring me closer fo a healthier life.   Oh and yes...this week after work..I plan hope to exercise after work!  

Friday, June 14, 2019

Fat versus muscle

The weekend is drawing closer and I couldn’t be more excited. The work week has been a long one and i am ready to relax and enjoy life!

We have been talking a lot about work life balance.  We don’t have a good balance and honestly I am not sure how to get it.  My commute sucks up so much time of my day.  I leave the house at 6:30AM and if I’m luck I get home at 5:30.   That is dependent upon. It getting tied up at work completing a task and of course the never ending rush time traffic.  On Thursday it was a combination of both and I didn’t get home until 6:30.   Make dinner, eat, clean up and’s bedtime...because that alarm is going to wail in my ear at that ungodly morning hour!  For this reason, I again struggled with exercise after work.  Grrrr!  It is also the reason that we are so protective of our weekend time together...making the most of what we get!

Yes, I am so looking forward to the weekend!  Yup, even though Jason is making talks of going back to the trail that I I have dubbed the ‘trail of tears’ after this experience and that experience    Of course it frightens me, but...well....I won’t conquer it if I don’t go and ride it...over and over!

I managed to keep my weight within a pound of my lower weight this week, no nasty jump up!  I was tickled and hope to have a stellar weigh in tomorrow morning!  But even better?  All week long I have been receiving compliments.  I have had four different people, at different times tell me how I look like I’m losing weight...slimming down.  Uhhh?  Yeah, no weight lost...but thanks a bunch!  Seriously, the first day it happened twice...I was ready to vow that I would wear that outfit every day of the week!  Because surely it had to be the outfit...right?

  But I have been working my tail off on the weekends and keeping my food under control.   I know that muscle weights more than fat.  I also know that my muscles have been working HARD when I ride and that those neglected muscles are growing and coming back.   So honestly, maybe...just maybe I AM losing fat but gaining muscle.   Totally feasible.  In terms of my weight maybe it has just been an even exchange...lose a pound of fat and gain a pound of muscle!  But in terms of mass, a pound of fat is greater than a pound of that would account for the unexplained ‘slimming’ look.    Either way, I’ll take it...people are noticing a that’s a good sign.  As for the scales....they will figure it out sooner or later.   (And the bonus...those muscles will burn more and more fat!!)

This week has been easier.  I have been focusing on the ‘choices’ concept. The idea is that  that everything I do is a choice.  So think about it as you have two options...indulge or lose weight.  (When talking about eating something unhealthy).  I was in the cafeteria yesterday. (I had PLANNED to splurge for was rainy so I wasn’t walking and I knew that my planned dinner would allow for the calories in my chosen lunch).  I saw the chips and I chose the baked chips at 140 calories versus the ones I normally get which are 300 calories!  I chose to stick with my water.  And the biggest choice of all?  I certainly saw the Reece’s cups.  But I CHOSE to forego.   I knew that if I wanted them, that I could have them.  No one is telling me to not eat them.  I could work it into my daily calorie budget if I really wanted. But the choice was mine. And when I thought about it I realized that the fleeting pleasure of the candy was not worth it.  It was my choices that brought me to this weight.  It will be my choices that take me away from this weight.    Now tomorrow, I may make a different choice.  I may have more calories to play with.  I may decide to indulge for any number of reasons. But that day in the cafeteria, I chose health.  It was really quite empowering.

So that was my week...choices for health and that ever present unhealthy work life balance.   And this weekend...let’s see how the mountain biking goes!  

Tuesday, June 11, 2019

Choices: decisions that will bring success in my fitness levels

Every day we make choices. I would like to think that I make wise choices. But then again, I weigh just shy of 250 pounds so apparently I don’t always make wise choices. I am trying to change that. I was proud of some of the choices that I made this past weekend. While I am not happy with one of the choices I have come to make, I know that it is probably for the best.

Good choices over the weekend. In my last post, I wrote about my choice to not get the cookie at Jimmy John’s. I also wrote about my choice to not get the super high calorie, albeit tasty milkshake from a popular fast food chain. I was trying to break the barrier of that weekly rise of the scales  What am I talking about, I seem to have a pattern where my weight drops during  the work week… It’s very low during the weekend… And then it’s back up high again on Monday. I don’t like that pattern. So I made choices this week to try to break that pattern.While the choices that I did make were still not perfect (I made edible cookie dough for myself in a very small batch which was a much lower calorie count than the other options), I did not see my weight rise by the typical 3 pounds.   I am within a maybe a bit of a jump on the scales, but NOT the three pound jump!       I will take that as a successful choice.

I had that meltdown on the bike, while riding the trail of tears. I was four or five miles from the car. I had a choice to make. I could walk the bike out of the woods or I could ride out of the woods. I rode, I made a choice and I got back on that bike and I rode. I am very proud of that choice. I turned a failure into a success… OK maybe not a success but I at least kept the failure from not being absolute and complete. A good choice!

Sooo here comes the big choice that I have been contemplating!   I miss running.  I made a vow a few weeks back to start running again.  I meant it from the bottom of my heart.  The problem?  I am being pulled in two different directions.  I am riding my heart out on the weekends.  I come home decimated.   Ok, that’s a bit too over dramatic.   But I come home tired!   Running on top of that is just not wise or even really feasible.   I can do one but then the other suffers.  If I run in the morning my legs are already half dead by my bike ride and vice versus.  Sooo...I have had to come to a conclusion.   Right now, my focus is on riding. If there by chance is a day when no bike ride happens, well then I will go out for a run.  It won’t be a fast run or any great run.  In fact that day may be mostly walking.   In time when I start to feel amazing on the bike (or if we have to slow down the biking at any point for some unknown reason) I will THEN add running into the mix as a priority.  Right now however, I feel as if  I am spreading myself too thin if I try to conquer both of them at the same time.  .   I want to be successful at both but I will be only partially successful and it will take a lot longer if I try to split my time and focus.  That means that for me, right here and now, I need to focus on just one.   So biking it is!  It was a choice...and I’m prettty sure it is a good one. 

This doesn’t mean that I am giving up on the running.  NO!  Im just pushing that to the back burner.  If I have a day where I’m not on my bike when I should be, running it is.  I will enjoy the run and wait for the day when I can have the bike thing under control and be able to give running my all!   The bonus for when I start running?  My cardio fitness will be strong due to the riding, my legs will be strong due to the riding.  I will be one step ahead of the game.  But for now,  one thing  at a time as I make myself fit and strong!   

Sunday, June 09, 2019

If happened again: Mountain Bike Meltdown

We had another fabulous weekend.   Hey, what can I say, we enjoy each second together!!!  This weekend was full of bike riding, a few errands, lots of time together and some choices.   So much happening!  


Last weekend I decided to splurge and get a chic fil a milkshake on Saturday.  Those things are so tasty!    They are also ungodly high in calories.  Last weekend I also had a cookie from Jimmy Johns on Friday and a cookie for Jersey Mike’s on Sunday! (Both are sandwich/sub shops) Honestly, I should have been ok.  I burned mad calories with the biking.  But...I didn’t drop weight.   SO...this weekend I made some tough choices.   On Friday night of this weekend when we got subs from Jimmy Johns ...I did NOT get a cookie!  On Saturday when Jason got a milkshake...I did NOT order one!  I made the choice to not blow that many calories!   I did make myself a small batch of edible cookie dough and I thoroughly enjoyed that....with far fewer calories!!!   Will it have the desired affect?  This upcoming week will tell on the scales!   But, choices  were made and I am happy with my choices!!!

How in the world have I made it to this age and never seen the Rambo movies?   Especially since it is based after  a book by one of my favorite authors.  Well this weekend I began my induction into The Rambo movies.   Yup, I’m way behind the times.  But we enjoyed relaxing on the couch together.

Saturday bike ride
On Saturday we went out to the ‘hard’ trail that I have no emotional problems with and that I rode last weekend.  Yes, it was still tough!  But I did it...and I can slowly see improvements.  Slow.  But there are signs!   It was not a bad ride at all!

Sunday and the Trail of Tears
Riding high on my successful rides on the Little Bennet trail (the trail and park we have been riding the last few rides) I decided to give the lake trail that I have been totally dreading a try on Sunday.   Jason has been REALLY anxious to ride this trail.  I could certainly do it...right?  I had a blast  all morning giving Jason grief and talking about how I was heading to the death march...yes like a Nazi prisoner of war!   Oh, I had the comments and loved every second of laughing about it.   After all,   I was SURE I could do this trail!

We started out and immediately and I was shocked!   The trail starts with a hill right out of the gate.  Last year I had to walk it.  On this day, it was...dare I say easy?    My legs burned here and there as we got going but I wasn’t too miserable!  In fact, it might have been a wee little bit fun!  (I know...kinda shocked me too.). It started to get hard though.   Seriously...that trail is all climbing.  Climb and then 3 seconds of downhill bliss and then back to climbing.   I never had enough time on the downhill for my heart rate to slow was beating like crazy! 
The ride wasn’t without trauma.  I decided to try a stream crossing and went a bit haywire and I had to put my foot down.  Right in the stream.  I lost my balance because there stream was...well...wet and slippy.   As I struggled to catch my balance my pants caught on the seat of my bike....rrrrriiiipppp!  From the inside hem up through the crotch and back down to the other legs hem was ripped clear through.  My thigh took a beating too!  

A while later after crossing a stream (on foot) I went to get back on my bike and found some sharp wire that impaled my knee.   All the while  doing what felt like continually climbing.  

Regardless I pushed on.  Finally we made it to the location where I had a meltdown last October    I was so proud of myself...but I was TIRED!   We kept going...on and on.  My heart rate was constantly high, my shoulder was hurting (nope, still not totally healed from this injury yet), my foot was still wet and I was dripping blood.  (Ok we had bandaid so I only dripped blood for a half mile or so). And then it happened, I started to focus on the fact that I was already wiped out and the ride wasn’t even half over.   We were still about 2 miles from the turn around point.  Ohh yes, this was an out and back ride!  I started to struggle more and more.  Admittedly I know that some of my issue was a mental struggle as I focused on the miles ahead of me.    Oh and have I mentioned that it seemed like this infernal trail was constant inclines?

At one point Jason remarked that I looked angry.  I just smiled through gritted teeth and kept riding.  You see, at that point I was about ready to lose my cool! Ok,internally I already had lost it!  But I didn’t want to disappoint him.  He really wanted to do this trail and I didn’t want to let him down.  Yet that blasted trail kept winding upward to the heavens. (Ok so maybe I’m being a big melodramatic...but we did have 1300 feet of climbing....have I mentioned that I weigh just shy of 250 pounds and that I’m not as fit as I was a few years ago? The trail was also never ending and hard for me!!   Ok, the climbing ended..I’m sure....but the turn around point was at the same mileage that I had been riding the last few rides.  In essence I would be doubling my mileage.  The shorter miles during previous rides had wiped me out....and here I was doubling my mileage overnight!  I was already wiped out and we weren’t even halfway yet!

The tears started.  Do you know how hard it is to climb a hill on your bike.....while your heart rate is beating out of control.....while you are crying? No,  you’ve never had the pleasure?  Well don’t!  It’s hard!!!

Finally I had enough.  I brought my bike to a screeching halt. (Ok my brakes don’t screech but you get the idea!). I  got off my bike as quickly as I could (without allowing my flapping shorts to catch on the seat...that’s harder to do than you think!).  I let the bike drop...right in the middle of the trail and wailed ‘I don’t like this stupid trail!’  I am sure I said a couple other things...but things were blurry at that moment.  I do remember jason saying ‘we are more’. (Ha...we were five miles in...I wasn’t done...I had to get out off of that stupid trail somehow!).   I also remember him picking my bike up from the middle of the trail and moving it off the trail to a safe spot.  He also had me move to a safer place...not on the edge of a narrow trail right after a blind corner.  And that is where I sat for who knows how long.  Yes...I cried!

It was ugly!  Jason sat beside me the whole time....trying to make me laugh!

And he did succeed.   Even as I babbled about my wet foot, my torn shorts, my bruised thigh, my wound on my knee and of course the never ending climbing he had me laughing.

Yes I better put a good picture of him after his goofy one...just to prove that I have a normal man and not some weirdo!

Eventually I had to do it.  I had to get back on that bike and get myself back out of the woods and back to the car.  Back in October when I had my meltdown I pretty much totally walked out of the woods.  I was determined that I was not caving, I may have had a meltdown but I wasn’t going to let it totally decimate me!   I got back on that bike and I rode that blasted trail of tears back to the car.  Now don’t get too excited.  I did get off and walk about 3 times...for about 20 seconds each time.   And even while I was riding I was SLOW!  I wish I could /would have rode the whole way out...but I am very proud that I rode most of it!

The weekend was a good one.  Even with the trail of tears, it was good.   I was able to see my bike riding abilities very clearly this week.   Each time I ride I see a place to focus on and things I need to improve.  I can even see minor improvements.  I still fear the trail of tears.  It is my nemesis!  But I KNOW that I will conquer it!   I just won’t attempt the whole thing at at time I will just make it my goal to get a half mile further before I cry!  

Friday, June 07, 2019

Health results versus weight

This week hasn’t been a failure.   Not really.  Although I certainly feel like a failure this Friday morning!   

Let’s start with the victory first.  I tracked every bite of food!  I am proud of what I ate!  My calories were in check!  For the total calories you can see my weekend was over.

But when you add in my exercise (my bike rides and runs...not my lunchtime walks) I was totally perfect!

I do know my dinners had carbs. (Pasta a few nights). But that was my only carbs for the day so I should have been ok!

So with my food in check, let’s see how my weight stacks up this week.  Grrrrr!  Well...I’m up!   I do know that I have this recurring pattern that has been going on for a while   I am down on Friday and Saturday but then pop up through the work week.  Yes I know that my higher eating on the weekends contribute...but look at the figures net calories is lower...even though my intake is much higher.    So this morning I sit at 250.0. 2 pounds up.  Grrr!   (The morning was off, in terms of my daily....ahem, routine so that affects the I do expect it to be lower shortly!)

I kinda nailed this first week.  Kinda!   I ran twice in this last week, once after work!  I rode my bike twice (hard rides over the weekend) and I walked every lunch break and every 15 minute break!   

I did something once after work...but wimped our the other evenings!!! 

So that is a total victory.   The failure is the after work workouts.  I need to get that into place!

So there you have it.   My weight is up, and while I do expect it to drop back to the lower weight, it is still totally disheartening!    But I did good for my body this week in my tracking and the movement that I did do!    Maybe I’m grasping at straws but I’m hoping the higher weight/more of a maintain  is also indicative of muscle growth...I know my muscles have had a workout and that they have been sore!   It’s plausible.  I did also have someone tell me yesterday that I looked like I was slimming down.   Plausible again...but I don’t see it.      Either way, I am going to continue pushing forward!   I KNOW that I am making strides toward being healthier and that counts...even if my weight doesn’t!!!

Wednesday, June 05, 2019

Best time to work out: mornings or nights?

As I am trying to get back into the swing of things with my work outs I have been struggling.  I struggle with work day workouts!  It is nuts!   Weekends seem to be no problem, but work days...ugggh!  I realized the issue on the is all about when is the best time to work out?

I am one of these people that researches a subject  when I come up with a question.  I google.  I buy books and read. I talk to experts. So it should be no surprise to hear that I have researched the question of when is the best time of day to workout.  I’ll even tell you the answer that I found.  But then later I will give you MY conclusion!  

The typical finding when you read about this subject is that a morning workout is best.  The theory is that after  your long sleep aka 8 plus hour fast, your body is primed to burn this is a good time to exercise because it will prompt more fat burning.  There are also proponents that say that morning exercise is best because it wakes up the body in preparation for you sat  versus Stimulating our bodies when our bodies should be powering down in preparation for sleep.  

I have mostly always followed the morning routine for other reasons.  I have always prescribed to the morning workout because morning workouts just naturally fit into my work schedule.  I enjoyed it because it gave me a boost of energy to start my day.  I started the day proud of my accomplishment and ready to conquer the world.  It just worked.  Even better it fit in with what the so called experts said!    

But what about those evening workouts? 

I experienced my first consistent evening workout plan when I started to attend a Zumba class after work.  Very quickly I learned that even though there was time for me to stop by my house after work to change and relax for a few minutes...that I could NOT do that.  I had to change at work and drive straight past my house.  I would sit in the parking lot at zumba for a half hour and read a book.  Why?  If I went home the process of leaving to go workout just didn’t happen.....I talked myself out of it!

As I began to make friends at my zumba class, it became much easier to go to the class.  I had accountability. My friends would be asking and contacting me if I wasn’t there.  AND if I didn’t go I missed the camaraderie.    I didn’t want to miss that class  for anything!    I still changed my clothes at work...but that was because my friends also got there early and we enjoyed that half hour of chitchat. The accountability and partnership took away any chance of me talking myself out of the evening workout.

So I switched jobs a few years ago.  My Zumba class also closed down, so the evening workout wasn’t happening.  I tried the morning workout.   Seriously, I did!  But my new schedule already hade waking up at 5am.  So crawling out of bed at 4 in the morning is ROUGH and left me exhausted!  Not to mention the fact that I don’t like to run in pitch dark! I just don’t feel safe!    Ugggghhh!  So that pushed me back to evening workouts!  As I mentioned earlier, I struggle with evening workouts. It is hotter outside. I’m tired after a long day. I want to get working on preparing dinner.  And a whole slew of other reasons that sidetrack me.  But that is what fits into my life right now.  I struggle with the evening workouts.   I cheer when it’s rainy and I have to forego it!  I talk myself out of going.  I invent aches and pains and feel excessive really is a struggle!

So, what is my conclusion for when is the best time to exercise?    We need to do what ever is best for our personality AND what is best for our lifestyle and schedule.  While I like morning workouts much better, that doesn’t fit for me right now.  That means that evening workouts is where it is at for me at this point in my life.      I may not burn as much fat in the evening but I am still burning some fat.  I am still making my body better and healthier!   But I will tell you this....I love the weekends when I can get out and get that workout done in the morning, and hey...maybe I’m burning a wee bit more fat on those workouts!!!

I still walk on my lunch break…(even when my zipper is down the whole circuit of the it was on Tuesday...SMH) 

But I really am trying to work in those evening workouts… Just like I did on Monday night when I proudly managed to get in a run...yes it made the evening quite hectic...but I did it!

So when is the best time to workout?  It’s not when a book tells you to work out.  It’s not when an expert says to get moving.   The best time to workout is the time that you can and WILL consistently get out there and do it!  If that is during your hour lunch break....that’s awesome!  If it is in the mornings.  Great!   If a workout isn’t possible until 10PM...then go for it!  Just workout!!!!!!

Sunday, June 02, 2019

Fears: the incredible way it affects our workouts

We had another busy weekend.   We took time to relax but we also continued on with working on our quests to get and remain active.  I think we succeeded!  While we were out there working it though, I had to come to terms with a big fear that I have....or at least accepted its presence in my life and it’s effect on me. 

On Saturday morning I woke up and immediately headed out for a run.   I am working on the C25K program again.   I started with week two and Saturday was my first day to do week three.   It was a piece of cake and I didn’t feel as if I worked hard at all.

I completed it and added in about two minutes extra running.  I am toying with jumping ahead to week 4....but then again if I complete week three maybe it will help my speed increase. Hmmm decisions!   

This past Saturday was our bi weekly shopping trip day, so we spent a good portion of the morning with those tasks.  But shortly after lunch we were ready to head out....and that is where the fear reared its ugly head!    Jason has been wanting to go ride the trail by the lake.   Uhhh. Yeah.   This is the trail that I had a mental breakdown on last fall, if you have a desire to read about it and see pictures of me sitting along the trail fighting tears you can check it out here .   But the end result is that  I have a very real this fear of the place!  Dread coursed through me all morning as I anticipated this trail ride!  When we got there it was packed!   We went elsewhere!  Whew...dodged that bullet!  And I was so happy and relieved! But....while we had said that if it was busy that we would default to the flat canal, I did decide to push it and we went to a different trail.  It is also a trail that I have previously been on.   In fact it was a trail where I had incredible victory last August when I pushed myself to conquer the trail, which you can read about here .  I wasn’t dreading this trail...even though I was still concerned about my diminished fitness levels AND this pinched nerve issue.   

We completed the trail and while it was difficult, I didn’t hate it!  I also didn’t end up sitting on the edge of the trail crying!  (That’s a win!). Jason rode with me (of course) and he just laughed at me and my willingness to ride that particular trail but not the lake trail.   Why?   Because the trail that I was happily attacking (it was rough...for sure!) is ten times more difficult than the lake trail that I fear!   The lake trail is very flowy and smooth.  Short inclines followed by short downhills...and a pretty smooth path.   The one that we rode had some longer downhills...which meant a LOT of climbing!   Yet there I was pushing through.   (Ok yeah, so I got off the bike and walked four  times...for about 1-2 minutes each time!).   

Fear of that stupid’s all mind over matter. I know it...I know my fear is somewhat irrational!  Yet it is debilitating.  I can go to another trail without the dread. I can ride a a tough trail (not the lake) and take the negatives as points to work on and as a benchmark for improvement.  Yet I think of the lake and I tense up in fear and absolute certainty that it will be an absolute failure!  Fear really affects everything.  I know without a shadow of a doubt that if I headed out on my bike on that lake trail on Saturday that it would have been a failure.  My mind would have worked against me and MADE it a failure!  It is a self fulfilling prophecy!  I experienced it on my run from last Tuesday when I went out thinking it was going to be a rough run....and it was. No Matter what happened, my mind would have turned any ride at the lake into a failure. Every negative would have been magnified 100%!  Because, the  key to success with exercise is all in our mental state!

 So what is the plan?  Are we going back to kill that demon of a lake?  Of course!    But not quite yet.  We are going to hit up the harder trail that I don’t fear for a few weeks. First of all, it is not at all crowded (probably because it is more difficult...the only other bike rider we saw was on one of those assisted motor bikes).  But secondly we will stay there for a bit  because it is pushing both of us.  The plan?  Ride that consistently for a few weeks and when I conquer that I can head to the lake with confidence and riding high on that confidence AND on my improved fitness levels.   The small climbs on the lake trail will be ‘nothing’ theory!

Sunday I woke up and my weight was up a bit.  I did indulge in a milkshake on Saturday...and I had sore muscles so I wasn’t too concerned. (I was up 0.8 of a pound to 248.0).  I decided to not run so that my legs would not be shot before I eve got on the bike!  I did howeve have a vague idea of going for an evening run if I had the energy. 

On Sunday we headed out to the same difficult trail that we rode on Saturday.  My leg muscles  were already super wore out when we started....but I pushed through.  I pushed so much in fact that I actually had to get off the bike and walk less times then I had just the day before!   It was hard but I did it!!!  I was still slow, in fact I joked that my speed is negative 3 mph.  But while I was slow....I could see improvememt!!

I was whipped...that’s why when I got home I didn’t go out running!  But while I wanted to run....the ride was more than enough activity!   I still totally ‘won’ in terms of my activity for Sunday.

It wasn’t until Sunday evening that I realized I failed though!  I failed to snap any pictures!!! It is a fail for this post (luckily I got a running selfie) and it is a fail for our yearly memory book that I put together!  Hmmmm....must improve!!!  A memory book?  Every year I create a book (I use blurb) with a combination of pictures, paragraphs depicting our activities and even written stories remembering crazy things that happen. It runs from each anniversary  of our first date...November 20th and I print it (and save a digital copy for both of us).  That is always one of Jason’s Christmas gifts.   When we moved in together he very clearly said ‘that isn’t stopping now is it because I want to keep doing it and I can help!  It’s the best project ever!  And yes we both go back and read the books!

So I had a super active weekend. I ran and rode my bike...hard difficult riding!   And while I haven’t conquered the fear, I have come to terms with it and come up with a plan to prepare myself to conquer that fear AND succeed when I make that attempt!!!