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


  1. Good luck this week Michele. You really are doing great. Enjoy your teaching. I loved your pictures and remember what you taught me last year about the butterflies and all.
    I'm a bit embarrassed to be seeing you the end of this month. While you have done awesome losing more weight, well it hasn't happened for me. Oh well, just look at my face, skip the fat stuff. :)
    You will do awesome Michele, I know you will. Take care my friend, blessings!!!

  2. That sounds so nice to be riding with your boys. You're right, without the last two years, your ability to keep up with them would be so different. It gives me hope as I age. Anyway, I'm sorry to say I haven't been on the bike this year...until today! It was fantastic. Life has been crazy, and I had been doing more with stairs and an ill-fated attempt at running, but now I'm back on the bike and am greatly looking forward to more throughout the summer. My goal is to get my 11 year old out there with me.

  3. It sounds like you had a great holiday week! What a gift to be able to ride with your children and spend such quality time with them. Your gift of fitness to yourself benefits your family, too!
    Hope you have a great week! Do you plan on doing the vegetarian week? If so, enjoy! I am excited to try many new recipes this week. I'll be posting throughout the week on my blog. :-)

  4. I saw the fireworks in Chicago this 4th. The 4th at your cabin sounds fun. Just saying hi and letting you know I stopped by.

  5. Love the pictures and info about the bike ride. I am still so sorry the fire happened, but am equally grateful that you turned that sorry into a beautiful place to make new memories.

    Another thing I love is the systematic way in which you approach your journey. You know what works for you and are never swayed by trends or fads(or challenges). I cannot wait for you to arrive at your goal weight and so hope I'm the first in line to help you celebrate!!

  6. Thank you for sharing the thoughts on your biking with your son and reflections on where you were and are. Meaningful.

    How long does it take you to ride the 20 miles?

  7. 100 miles for the week is awesome!
    Good luck with the week ahead :)

  8. Loved the photos! We were at the lake with some of our family over the 4th, but it was soooo hot! We were in the water and sometimes in the cabin with the AC on. We left for home last Saturday, and wouldn't you know it--the heat broke, and it was one of the most gorgeous days we had ever seen at the cabin. Too bad we had to leave, but will be returning soon.

    I continue to be amazed at your progress and consistency. Glad to be reading your blog!

  9. It's always better when you've got someone else to ride with, right? I'm so envious. I don't have anyone to ride with at the moment, so I just don't bother. Also, good work with how far you've ridden in the last week. 100 miles!

  10. Hi honey, just stopped by for a visit. Have missed being on here. The photos are beautiful. You sound like you are having a great summer. Hopefully I am back to blogging again. It has been a crazy spring and summer healthwise and power has been off in WV for 2 weeks. Have a great day and keep up the good work.