Sunday, July 29, 2012

Walk about 5KM

My friend Julie hosted a virtual 5km on or around July 27 where you could bike, run, or walk. Since I already cycle I thought I would try walking. For me this would be not just any walk either, but a walk with a destination in mind: my favorite local grocery store, Kowalski's, only a walking mile form my house. A 5km is about 3.10 miles. That meant I had to be a little creative in the route I took. Here is a visual of part of my route so you can see what I did to make a two mile round trip into a 5KM:

As I walked, I could not help but notice how many curb/boulevard strips were planted in wildflowers. I decided to document the various small gardens along the streets as I walked. 
Here are some of the beautiful gardens I walked along.

Most of the streets in my neighborhood are
 treelined which made for great shade and sun protection as I walked.

My meandering totaled over two miles which was exactly what I hoped.
I knew I would not meander any on my way home.

Koawalski's is my favorite grocery store not just because it is close, but because it has the best produce outside of a farmers market and a wide variety of excellent foods and other goodies.
 I also love the smaller size and ambiance.
I was strategic in selecting the bags I would take home. I knew I would sling them over my shoulder as I walked straight home with NO meandering on the way back. That was indeed a heavy load as I walked along. I was curious as to what the weight of the bags and content were so I weighed them when I got home. I bought mostly veggies, fruits and some bread that totaled about 30 pounds. I was astonished. Not just that the groceries weighed that much but I had shlepped those bags that whole mile home. I am not sore at all.

What I also thought is how it was little more than 1 year ago that I was carrying an extra 30 pounds on my body. Carrying those bags was a good reminder as to how my weight weighed me down both literally and figuratively. Before I started on this journey, it was just plain hard to move my body. I had no stamina and little strength. That is not the case anymore as you all know. But that reminder is important and profound. We weigh down our bodies both physically and emotionally by dragging around those extra pounds. Each and every day. Take care of yourself. Move more. Eat less. I am worth it.  You are worth it.

Thank-you, Julie, for hosting this virtual 5KM!


Women's cycling in the rain; cycling with a friend and summer sizzle update 8

Greetings on a rainy Sunday in Minnesota!

Do you like to watch the Olympics? Me, too. Especially the cycling (no surprise, huh?). Today, a Dutch women, Marianne Vos, won the gold medal in the 87 mile road race in the rain!! Yeah, Duchies.

I figured if the women cyclists could ride in the rain today, so could I. My son met me on the Minnehaha trail where we did a quick twenty miler during the middle of the women’s race above. It rained the entire time we were out as you can see in the picture.
I need to ride in rain so I am prepared for Boulder, just 4 weeks away. It was a gentle rain and warm (70 degrees F). Plus, it was super fun to know that while I was doing my twenty, those women athletes were doing an 87 mile course. Kept me going hard with one of my own best times of 13.59mph.

Speaking of riding buddies, Julie, came down to Minneapolis yesterday. We enjoyed our time together immensely. Julie does not cycle much (yet!!), but always wanted to see the Minnehaha Falls. No better way than a 12 mile roundtrip ride from my house on one of Minneapolis’ signature trails and part of the Grand Rounds trial system.
Julie rode my very comfy bike (Myrtle)
It was an enjoyable ride for both of us, full of conversation with a little sight seeing along the trail, too. Julie was able to see first hand just how many people use these trails on a wonderful and sunny Saturday afternoon. I am guessing we passed by a couple of hundred cyclists while we meandered through the trails. Families with Burleys in tow, folks riding tandems, road cyclists, cycling clubs, folks on the Nice Ride bike rentals and plenty of single riders out on just about any kind of bicycle. Julie did so well I think she is thinking of getting another bike that fits her better than the one she currently owns.
As my bike fitter says: “you should never ride in pain.” If you do, the bike does not fit you properly.

All of us weight loss bloggers share a common bond, right? Well, that was certainly true of meeting up with Julie. We share that getting healthy and fit bond, but so much more. You are right, Sharon, there is nothing like meeting a fellow blogger in REAL time.

How about another update from:

1. Weigh in: I will weigh in next on August 5, so nothing new to report here. I am excited though because I know I broke into a new decade last week (the 160s).

2. Calories: I was consistent with my calories this past week, although only 5/7 days were under 1500.

3. Exercise: I biked 114 miles last week. All of my rides were shorter, most between 15-22 miles. I worked on my time, pace and from this week.

Rochelle challenged us to face a fitness fear. I don’t really have any fears about exercise or fitness activities. My only fear is getting injured. I face this everyday while cycling and try hard to listen to my body. I also face my fear of getting injured by working on my core and upper body strength. I am getting better and stronger doing crunches, modified push ups, squats and others. I feel that strength, too, when I am cycling.

What’s on tap for me for week nine?

Exercise: I will continue to work on time, pace and form doing the next week, at the same time I will shoot for one long ride of about 50 miles with hills. I plan to did some more stairs, too, and of course continue with my strengthening exercises.

Thanks for reading.  Have a great week! Stay strong!  TTFN, Michele

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Mid-summer in the upper Midwest and Summer Sizzle update

Happy Midsummer and Greetings with a few pictures from a beautiful area to beat the summer heat: NW WI!

Do you like ice cream? I do, too. I build into my calorie budget one ice cream every 7-10 days. Dairy Queen ice cream Is one of my favorites and they are plentiful around the upper Midwest. A small cone is 300 calories, so I can appease my ice cream fairy only occasionally and stay within my caloric budget. Well, last week is was hot and with heat my inner ice cream fairy woke up full throttle. I kept her at bay for a few days through sheer determination. When my craving did not go away after  three days, I decided to step on the scale and see where I was, even though I do not have an official weigh in for about two weeks.  Guess what?  I am in a new decade: the 160s. Just barely in, but there never-the- less. I can not tell you how exciting this was and what an incredible deterant it was from eating any ice cream. Actually, knowing that I finally landed in a new decade has pumped up my motivation like nothing else recently. I can not remember the last time I was in the 160s, at least 20 year or longer! So in trying to manage my cravings out jumped some very good news!

I spent the last few days at our cabin with three of the grand babies. We spent a lot of time in the water but we also managed to put in a few biking miles. There is a pirate ship not far from our cabin that they adore. That was a great incentive for them to do the 13 mile round trip and for me to get some much needed exercise. I towed the Burley with the almost three year old and a picnic lunch. Here are the two older ones on the country road on the way to the park. 

Stopping for a water break!
Happy Noah in the Burley. 
You can not see that he has a small back pack with his toys, too. 
It was quite a work out pulling that Burley up and down the hills that are around here. Noah, my passenger, weighs in at about 35 pounds. 

The Burley easily weighs around 15. But, I did it and did it just fine. That combined  total of boy plus Burley also represent close to how much weight I have lost. I used to carry that 45 pounds of extra weight on my body. Those days are over, but pulling that Burley was a good reminder to me about how it felt lugging those extra pounds around. 

Now on to the Summer Sizzle update for week 7:

1.     Weigh in: I am into the 160s which is a great milestone for me. 
2.     Calories: I was very consistent again with my calories this week. Coming in at 1500 on average.
3.     Exercise: I biked 54 miles last week. That is my lowest total for this summer, but, that was part of the give and take of watching over the three GBs.  I am sure my miles will be back to close to about a hundred this coming week. 

Rochelle challenged us to do a 5km last week. I am going to make it a walking 5 km which I will do in conjunction with Julie's virtual walk on July 27.  

Thanks for reading.

Have a great week,  TTFN, Michele

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Bayfield, 40 miles and Sizzling

Hubby and I spent Saturday in the lovely town of Bayfield, Wi, gateway to the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore, about two hours east of our cabin and on Lake Superior.
Bayfield Harbor

Apostle Islands
Crystal clear water of Lake Superior
We brought our bikes and toured around the town. We planned to go back another time this summer and get out to one of the islands. On our way home we went through the town of Hayward, home of the Birkebeiner, cross country skiing race. It is lovely country side around Hayward with rolling hills. Hubby dropped my bike and I off and we started the ride home.

Here you get a glimpse of the rolling hills. The road is newly paved which made for a great riding surface.

I saw a soaring barred owl on my ride. This is not my image, but at least you can see what this owl looks like.

I rode a little over 40 miles before it started to became too dark. It was one of my best rides this summer. Exhilarating. I did the 40 miles of rolling hills with an average of 13mph in under 3 hours. It was warm too, with starting temps about 90 ending at 8:30 pm at about 80. Here is a partial terrain map of my route. I will definitely do this route again and allow more time to get all the way home.

 I have biked more miles, but never so many in hilly terrain like this. I can not tell you how much fun it was to do this ride. It was another indicator of how far I have come. I found myself just grinning as I tackled the hills and coasted down the other side. Yes, it was hard at times, but I did it. I know now that I will be able to do that Boulder ride in late August. 

Time for the Sizzle Update
1. Weigh in: I will weigh in next on August 5, so nothing new to report here.

2. Calories: I was very consistent with my calories this week. Coming in at 1500 on average, except for my long ride yesterday.

3.Exercise: I biked 99 miles last week. Besides my 40, all my other rides were over 20 miles which was exactly my goal for last week. For the next 4 weeks, each ride will be about 20 miles as I continue to ramp up my miles for the Venus de Miles on August 26. I did get in three days of core workout, too.

Rochelle challenged us to go meatless last week. I do not eat much meat for a number of health and ethical reasons, so this was not too hard for me. I did have fish, dairy and eggs. We have found a wonderful smoked salmon (1 cup is less than 70 calories) that has become one of our salad toppings. With summer fruits in abundance, we also add strawberries or blue berries to that salad, too. Today I made omelets featuring a cup of chopped green peppers, onions, and garlic. Delicious.

What’s on tap for me this week? I intend to complete my core-strengthening workout 4 times, plus do some stairs. I hope to get in another 3-4 twenty mile rides, but also a longer one of about 40 or more miles. I also plan to stay within 1500 calories each and every day.

Thanks for reading. Thanks for your comments on my blog. Have a great week, TTFN, Michele

Sunday, July 8, 2012

More natural wonders and update on Summer Sizzle

Greetings Bloggers!

I will start today's post with a short tour of a few of the natural wonders found in NW WI where I have spent the past week.

First, everywhere you look is this beautiful plant: common milkweed, a main source of food for the milkweed butterflies both as adults and as larvae.
Butterfly weed and beebalm growing along the side of the road.

I snagged this picture a Fritillary
 (not sure if the exact species)
Not the best shot, but that is one beautiful butterfly!

Another view
One of the many meadows I pass on my bike rides around this area.

Today I found this old country road.
Not the best surface for riding fast, but it was so scenic!

As I wrote above, I spent the last week in NW WI basically on vacation. Some of our adult children and their families joined us over the Fourth and stayed for a while. I was able to get in four 20 or more mile rides last week. The cool thing is that I was accompanied by one of my two sons who were with us on three out of my four long rides.  One of my sons is a fairly decent runner having run a number of marathons and 10 miles events over the past years.  I consider him to be quite fit and healthy. NW WI is rather hilly in some places, so I tried to  pick out routes that would not be too strenuous for any of us. Both of them bike, but do not put up the mileage that I do. We took our time and set a fairly easy pace. I learned a few things from them , too, while riding. I mostly ride alone so it was a special treat to have them along to talk with. We share a deep affinity to the natural world. What can be better than riding along with someone else who appreciates the beautiful natural world of this wonderful corner of WI. I enjoy the companionship of my adult children and their partners/spouses tremendously. They have full lives, just like I do, so these kinds of events are really special. For me, doing those rides, and comfortably, with my grown sons was another reminder to me about how far I have come. Only two years ago, I could never have imagined keeping up with either of them on a bike. But not any more. Getting healthier and fitter is one of the best things I have ever done in my life. The rewards are sweet and come in ways I never anticipated!

Speaking about cycling: I am starting to ramp up my training for the Venus de Miles which is my next bike event in late August. I hope to get in another 3-4 twenty mile rides this week and one other longer one of about 30 miles.

Time for another update for the Summer Sizzle challenge:
1.     Weigh in: I will weigh in next on August 5, so nothing new to report here.
2.     Calories: I was not as consistent with my calorie intake last week. I know I went over on all 4 days that our family was with us. Part of the reason I rode over twenty miles so many times was to bank some extra calories. I burn about 1200 calories when I ride 20 miles.  Those extra calories burned allowed me to enjoy some of my favorite foods over the Fourth of July holiday and the days following as we continued to enjoy summer as a family. I never went crazy, but did enjoy potato salad, a burger, fish tacos, my own homemade scones (which are delicious, BTW!), some chips with guacamole, an ice cream cone from West’s Diary in Hayward, WI (the best ice cream in the world, IMO) and some tasty beverages. Biking those extra miles made  it easy to enjoy every bite of those special foods. Today, I am easily back on track.
3.     Exercise: I biked over 100 miles last week. I have to admit that I did not do any of my core strengthening exercises, but chose to focus solely on cycling.

Rochelle challenged us to lose 2 pounds last  week. Losing 2 pounds in one week is just not realistic for me, thus, I did not really participate in this mini-challenge. I did keep my eye on my calories though as I wrote above. I believe my cycling mediated the extra calories that were part of our family fun. The Fourth of July was not a license for me to overeat. Rather, it allowed me to plan and incorporate some of the summer foods that I enjoy in a way that, hopefully, will not impact my overall weight loss record.  I have no regrets and no guilt.

What’s on tap for me this week?
I will be working at the U of MN. For me this means getting up extra early to exercise. I intend to complete my core strengthening workout 4 times, plus do some stairs. I hope to get in another 3-4 twenty mile rides, but also a longer one of about 30 miles. I also plan to stay within 1500 calories each and every day.

How did you do over the Fourth of July holiday??

Thanks for reading. Thanks for your comments on my blog.

Have a great week,  TTFN, Michele

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Fish tacos and Sizzle update 4

Happy July First!
Summer is full and fabulous now in the upper Midwest! That is of course if you like your temps in the upper 80’s and low 90’s. I do, as long as the humidity is low. We take advantage of our short summer by swimming just about every day we can. Nothing like a dip in a lake to cool you off. I am watching Ellery and Hann, two of the grandbabies, for the next week. We will spend the next week at our cabin in NW WI where we can easily play in many bodies of water.

For the Summer Sizzle mini challenge we are to post a new recipe that we enjoy.  For me it is fish tacos. I recently found the recipe below online We like our food with a little kick, which this recipe has.  I altered the original recipe a bit so here is my rendition:

Pan Seared Tilapia Fish Tacos
Makes 4 tacos (can be doubled)
1 teaspoon chili powder (you can cut this in half if you do not like the kick)
1/2 teaspoon cumin
½ teaspoon cayenne pepper (you can cut this in half if you do not like the kick)
olive oil
2 limes
2 6-ounce tilapia fillets (or other mild white fish)
salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 corn tortillas

For the toppings: I use shredded lettuce or cabbage, diced tomatoes, avocado slices, some kind of pepper (bell peppers or Anaheim peppers are great), diced onion or green onion and roughly chopped cilantro to top them and serve lime wedges on the side. In addition, you can add your favorite salsa, chopped jalapeños, cheese or other taco toppings you like.

Prepare the fish. Mix the chili powder, cumin, cayenne pepper, 1 tablespoon olive oil and the juice of 1 lime in a small bowl. Arrange the fish fillets in a glass baking dish or on a nonreactive platter (no metal). Brush fillets on both sides with spice mixture and season with salt and pepper. Let marinate at room temperature for 15 to 30 minutes. Heat a large nonstick skillet over a medium flame. Add enough olive oil to coat the bottom and sauté the fillets until browned and cooked through, about 4 minutes per side. (Note: I hardly use any olive oil, but I do cook them over a low flame). Transfer to a plate and break into bite-sized chunks with a fork.

Warm the tortillas. Heat a large dry skillet over medium-high flame and slightly brown the tortillas one at a time, about 30 seconds per side. You can also nuke them in the microwave (they won’t brown, but they’ll be nice and pliable) or if you want to live authentically and dangerously, you can lay them directly over a gas burner, browning them briefly and carefully on both sides.

Assemble the tacos. Divide fish among four tortillas and add your favorite toppings. Cut the second lime in wedges and serve with the tacos.

I estimated calories, but a corn tortilla is about 100 calories, tilapia is less than 100, and the veggies are next to nothing. So, one fish taco is less than 250 calories, even with a bit of cheese.

Our other challenge was to drink 100 oz of water a day. I do that easily because of all my bike riding. But, Rochelle only a couple of years ago I hardly drank any water. Now I have a glass as soon as I get up, one before my daily ride and take one along when ever I do errands or go to work. With the 2-3 liters I drink on my rides, I am well over 100 oz.

Other updates for the challenge:
1.     Weigh in: I am down 1 pound since the start of this challenge and so near a new decade (I am at 170) that I can taste it. Now that pound is not much, but I will take it. I will not take my measurements now,  but will wait until later this summer.
2.     Calories: I am very consistent with staying under 1500 calories, unless my daily biking tops 15 miles or greater.
3.     Exercise: I biked about 75 miles last week. I worked last week at the U of MN. This meant that I had to get up early (by 6) to squeeze in at least a 10 mile ride which take me about 45 minutes. My summer teaching at the U is very intense with long days, so I simply could not do any more. Today I got in a twenty miler otherwise my weekly total would only be 55.

I hope the rest of my fellow Sizzle challengers are rocking this challenge. The very best gift you can give yourself is to care for yourself. Get healthy. Get fit. You can all do this.

Thanks for reading. Have a great week and a Happy Fourth of July! TTFN!