Sunday, May 27, 2012

BD ride, Six Days and Counting until the Tour and Update Nine for RFSC!

Greetings Bloggers!
On my bike ride this morning, I spotted that beautiful turtle (above) crossing the road. I had to double back to snap a quick picture. 

Speaking of riding,  yesterday, I got a glimpse of a BLACK BEAR while riding on the road in NW WI. He or she was a beauty. Dark black fur that to me looked silky soft and a large brown snout. She turned around and trotted off as she heard me on the road. It all happened so fast I did not even think to grab my camera.  I have never seen a bear that close.

I celebrated my birthday last week by completing a 58 mile bike ride the morning of my birthday (can you guess how old I am?). I started from home, looped around Minneapolis proper twice (including twice under Target Stadium, home to the lackluster Minnesota Twins...), winding up at Minnehaha Falls. Minnesota is considered to be one of the top two biking states. Except for jumping on my bike at home and riding about 1/2 mile to the trail, my entire route was trail based. A part of my route was on the Midtown Greenway, which features a great bike watering hole (i.e. coffee and the like) and bike shop set up to offer any needed repairs. To begin with, you are welcome to bring your bike into the shop while you rest, shop, or rehydrate.
 In case you need air there are plenty of pumps!
 Here is some of the fun merchandise!
 My son and grandson, Hann (5) joined me for about 10 miles of the route. 
Minnehaha Falls, 58 miles complete!
What better way for me to celebrate my incredibly improved health and stamina than to ride a mile for every year! I planned well in advance for this long ride to be sure I had enough snacks, knew the route that I would take and did only short rides on the days leading up to the 58. It was a sunny, but very windy ride with gusts up to 25 miles per hour. But I did it, in about 4 hours. I did not ride hard, just steady and even. After my birthday ride, some of my family met at the Sea Salt, a fabulous little cafe close to the Falls, for some lunch.
Here we are at DQ, my two daughters, my son and two of the grandbabies, 
Aiden and Hann.


I know I will be able to handle the 62 miles for the American Diabetes Association Tour de Cure, now only 6 days away.  This year I plan to ride the 62 (metric century) mile course that winds in and around the beautiful cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul. As many of you know, I do not have diabetes, however, my brother (Type 2) and my nephew (Type 1) do. My mother was impacted by the progressive nature of the disease for many years before she died. Riding in this event is one way that I continue to mark my own progress toward better health and raise funds for a very worthwhile cause at the same time. A win-win in my book. Click on the Tour icon on my sidebar to read more. Your contributions are most welcome, too!

Week Nine of the Ready For Summer Challenge is now behind me. Here is my update. 


  1. Weight loss: My weight loss goal is to lose 7 pounds. I am down four so far, but, I will not weigh in now until June 3.

  1. NSV (Non-Scale Victory): I think my biggest non scale victory last week was enjoying my BD treats without going overboard at all. Just enjoying each and every bite. Yum!

  1. Exercise: As far as my three targets for this goal:
1.  Improving my strength and stamina. This week I rode 116 miles over 5/7 days!.
2.  My second target is to work on my cycling distance. My longest ride now is at 58 miles. I managed my nutrition during that long ride by setting a timer to go off every 30 minutes at which time I had a high energy snack and of course water.  
3.  Increasing my speed: I am doing well here. Still hovering at about 13 mph.  
4.  Cross training: I did not do any of my core exercises. So, fail in this area for the first time for this challenge.

Nutrition: My goals are to stay at about 1500 calories a day. On most days I did just that, but on my long ride days, especially that 58, I was over, but then again I burned many calories too. On my birthday, I burned over 3,000 calories which was great because I enjoyed two pieces of carrot cake, a DQ soft serve ice cream, one scone and one buttermilk donut. Yum!

I met both of my week nine goals (a 50 miler and hills twice), too. For the last week of the challenge my goals are to prep for the Tour with a tapper down of only a couple more short rides and a couple of days off. 

Last but not least, it is Memorial weekend in the United States. My father, who passed a couple of years ago, served in WW II. I am grateful and blessed because of his service. Thank-you to those of you with family and or friends who are serving or who have served.

Have a great week, friends. Stray strong and TTFN,
Michele

Monday, May 21, 2012

MN Lynx, a fall and RFS update


Today I begin with a picture of Ellery standing with one of our favorite Minnesota Lynx players Seimone Augustus. The WNBA champs opened their season yesterday and some of my family and I were on hand to take it in. They scorched the Phoenix Mercury with a score of 105 to 83. Looks like a fun season!

What was not so fun last Friday is that I had my first real fall on my bike. I was going uphill and approaching an intersection. I clipped out, but did not move my foot enough and I clipped right back in while I was losing momentum. I panicked a little which made it impossible for me to clip out, so I knew I was going to fall and did. Squarely on my handlebars. Lucky for me I only have some dark bruises on my chest and abdomen where I hit my handlebars. I actually BENT my bars with the fall so much that I had to buy a replacement.  Lesson learned: clip out way before you have to stop….

Week eight of the Ready For Summer Challenge is now behind me. Here is my update.

 1. Weight loss: My weight loss goal is to lose 7 pounds. I did check my weight this week and am happy to report that I finally lost those few pounds I gained over winter, plus one additional pound. I am now one pound under my lowest weight in many, many years: 172!

 2. NSV (Non-Scale Victory): Definitely going to the game and having no diet soda or any other snack or food. I brought some yogurt with berries and that was enough!

3. Exercise: As far as my three targets for this goal:

 a. Improving my strength and stamina. This week I rode 112 miles over 5/7 days! All of my rides were on flats.

 b. My second target is to work on my cycling distance. My longest ride now is at 47 miles. It was not my best ride being that my little accident happened at mile 42, plus it was very windy.

c. Increasing my speed: My average speed still is around 13 MPH. I am regularly riding at 15-17 MPH when the wind is “just right.”

 d. Cross training: Last week I skipped out some on this and only got in 3/7 days.

4. Nutrition: I stayed under 1500 calories on 6/7 days.

For week eight my goals were to:

a. Do hills twice (nope)
b. Ride a 50 miler (47 but not 50)

Since I did not meet either of my goals last week I will make these my mini goals for week nine.

Looking forward to catching up with all of you! Thanks for stopping by. Stay strong and TTFN,
Michele



Sunday, May 13, 2012

Bike fit, a long ride and end of week 7


Happy Mother’s Day to All 
of you many readers who are Mom’s!


I begin today with a picture of a little patch of milkweed that is coming up on our farm property. There were many eggs already laid by monarchs. Earliest eggs (May 10) we ever found by three weeks!

Last Thursday I had my bike fit to me by an expert. He, Chris Balser, was recommended to me by my orthopedist. I have some aging knees (don’t we all!?).  I can tell already that it was worth the effort and of course a fee to get this done. He readjusted almost every part of my bike, including retaping my handle bars and moving all the brake and gear wires lower so the entire handle bar is even (without any bumps) for me to rest my arms on. He also used a tape that buffers the vibrations I feel in the handle bars (noticeable change already) when I go over bumps or uneven terrain. Plus he gave me a new seat (especially for women) and new stem for my handlebars that work better for a small stature person like me. His whole premise is that you should never ride in pain. By adjusting your bike to fit your body and riding style, he can basically guarantee a pain free ride. I rode on a trainer with my bike locked in while there. After he finished, he took a sophisticated blue print of the specifications so that I can have any bike set to meet my needs. It was terrific.


 Week Seven of the Ready For Summer Challenge is now behind me. Here is my update:

  1. Weight loss: My weight loss goal is to lose 7 pounds.  I will not weigh in until June 3; so nothing to report here. Although, I must say that I am beginning to feel a difference in my clothes!!

  1. NSV (Non-Scale Victory): My biggest NSV this week was figuring out how to sustain myself nutritionally so I do not “bonk” while biking. I will share more below, but on my long ride this week, I paced myself and ate a snack every thirty minutes. The result was by the time I hit mile 35, I  still had plenty of steam to step up my MPH and finish without a hint of exhaustion.

  1. Exercise: As far as my three targets for this goal:
1.     Improving my strength and stamina. This week I rode 105 miles over 5/7 days! Most of my riding was on flats, with one hill day.

2.     My second target is to work on my cycling distance. My longest ride now is at 45 miles. Like I said above, I figured out my nutrition so that I sustained myself throughout the ride. There are a number of good and credible websites to help anyone figure out what to do in terms of nutrition when you go the distance.  I loaded on carbs by eating an entire bagel and large glass of OJ before I started. During my ride, I ate two Cliff bars and one additional bagel every 30 minutes.

Bruce had a great piece about pacing yourself (he is running a marathon). I followed his advice and paced myself for 13-14 MPH. That worked great, too. My ride lasted 3.5 hours and I am proud to say that I made it just fine all the way to the end. I cannot believe the difference for me in terms of ending feeling a little tired and sore, vs completely depleted. Every hour I took at least a 6-7 minutes pause, too, to walk around. This helped too. So, I am making great progress on my cycling distance, nutrition and pacing.

3.     Increasing my speed: My average speed finally landed at 13MPH. I am regularly getting up around 17 MPH now, too, on some legs of my rides. Cross training: I did all of my core exercises 5/7 days, including a series of squats.

  1. Nutrition: I stayed under 1500 calories on 6/7 days. The only day I was over was on my 45 miler.

For week seven my goals were to:
1.     Get comfortable riding with my new clip less pedals and shoes: Done. I loosened the tension and they are a SNAP to get in and put of now. I am still cautious, but my fear is gone.
2.     If I accomplish # 1 then ride for 40 miles…. Done.
3.     Keep working on figuring about the right number of calories for my rides: Done
 
For week 8 my goals are to:
1. Ride over 50 miles
2. Do hills twice

Maren asked us to write a letter to ourselves last week as a mini-challenge. I used my other blog for this particular post. You can read more here if you like.

Hope you are all making progress in your own efforts to regain your health and fitness. Have a great week! Stay strong.  TTFN and thanks for reading!
Michele

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Pictures and update on week 6 RFS!

We enjoyed a live broadcast of Prairie Home Companion on Saturday as a birthday gift for our nine-year-old granddaughter and her cousin. The nine year old actually ASKED to go. We our regular listeners (this is Minnesota, don’t you know?!?!?) almost every Saturday evening. Both the girls listen when they are with us and laugh along. So, it was a special treat to go on Saturday. Garrison Keillor is a national treasure, IMO.
He can sing and spin a yarn on just about any thing. This show featured a number of tid bits about Minneapolis and some terrific music by the Steele sisters. Have a listen if you like.

It was our second sewing weekend for the women in my family. My daughter and two daughters-in-law are starting to get the hang of sewing simple things like skirts and elastic pajama pants. The young maidens are part of the fun, too. Here is a picture of nine-year-old Nani helping me make some pajamas for her cousin.
Biking shoes and moving to a clipless pedal" have been on my "purchase" to do list for quite some time. Frankly, I put it off because I am so afraid of falling. You see with a clipless system your shoe is clipped on the pedal. You unclip by twisting your ankle just "so." My fear is that I would not be able declip my shoe in time to stop. However, I do know that this clipless system may improve biking performance which is also important to me. So I set my fears aside, did a great deal of online research and some shopping around. Here are the pedals, the cleats under my shoes that hook into the pedals and my new shoes!
The new pedals are entry level and easier (or supposed to be) to clip in and out of. My news shoes are a hybrid type that will allow me to walk comfortably. I tried them out today on a slow 11 mile ride. I was very cautious and found out that I can pedal with just one shoe clipped in. I did not do this very long, but it did help build my confidence.

Week Six of the Ready For Summer Challenge is now behind me. Here is my update.

1. Weight loss: My weight loss goal is to lose 7 pounds. I will not weigh in until June 3; so anything yet to report here.

 2. NSV (Non-Scale Victory): For me my NSV for this challenge is in moving forward in my health and fitness so that I am able to ride the 62-mile bike event that I am registered for on June 2. I didn’t really have any extraordinary NSVs last week to write about. Two minor ones are eating out after PHC and staying on plan, including not partaking in the icecream dessert enjoyed by the rest of my family.

3. Exercise: As far as my three targets for this goal:
a.  Improving my strength and stamina. This week I rode 93 miles over 5/6 days! I continue to incorporate a little hill work in every ride, to.

b. My second target is to work on my cycling distance. Yesterday I rode my longest ride so far of 35 miles. I still have not figured out the right amount of calories to ingest before and during these long rides, but I am working on it. I took along two Cliff bars and ate them both.

c. Increasing my speed: My average speed is getting closer to 13MPH. I know that my new shoes and pedals will help here, too.

4. Cross training: I did all of my core exercises 5/7 days, including a series of squats.  

5. Nutrition: I stayed under 1500 calories on 5/7 days. One of my over days was the 35 mile bike ride.

One of my goals for week six was to cook some beans and eat these for breakfast (thanks, Karen for this idea). I did just that several times last week. This week I plan to eat beans before I head out on my bike. Great protein source. I met my exercise goals, too.

For week seven my goals are to:

1. Get comfortable riding with my new clipless pedals and shoes

2. If I accomplish # 1 then ride for 40 miles….

3. Keep working on figuring about the right number of calories for my rides.

Enjoy a few pictures of my long ride on Saturday via roaring Minnehaha Falls...
Along lovely bike paths
Past Fort Snelling
And across the Mississippi River (in three different places!)

How about you: are you finding more time for outdoor exercise now that temperatures have warmed up?

Thanks for stopping by to check in with me.

Have a great week.

Stay strong! TTFN, Michele