Preparing for the BIG RIDE

Saturday/Sunday is the big ride of the year — 75 miles each day.

I did the 50 mile Sweet Corn Challenge with all those hills and was exhausted when I got home – took a shower and slept on the couch for about 2 or 3 hours in the afternoon.

Still felt a bit tired on Monday, but that’s how I’ve felt the past 4 years of doing that ride. First year was 25, other 3 have been 50 mile.  About 2900 feet of climbing.

Plateau Breaker

I’ve been fighting a 5 pound plateau every since winter when I hurt my piriformus. Even thought I’ve been riding and running, I haven’t dropped those 5 winter pounds I gained when I stopped working out and just stretched.

So this is a quick summary from My Fitness Pal post on how to break a plateau:

  • Foods high in fiber are nutrient-dense and often lower in calories and higher in volume than other foods. Examples include apples, raspberries, blackberries, pears, beans, lentils, split peas, artichokes, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, avocados, nuts, seeds and 100% whole grains.
  • No package foods… if it comes in a bag or a box, don’t eat it, switch to a “whole” food. Or at least no more than  5 or fewer ingredients.
  • Power up protein: Cottage cheese, Greek yogurt, hard-boiled eggs, tuna and chicken salad (no mayo) are great go-to high-quality protein sources of fuel.
  • More water.
  • Fewer (or none) empty calories.

Hot Day of Biking Yesterday!

Yesterday was the Dog Days Wine Tour. The weather got very hot! In fact, 89 degrees and sunny as the day wore on. At 2 pm, after only 56 miles, (I wanted to do the full 74 miles) I decided to get SAGged in. Was just on the edge of heat problems (slight head ache, upset stomach, too hot core body and started not to think straight, getting into a bad/mad mood.) There was no shade on the ride the last 18 miles between stops and I ran out of water.

Dumping water over my head and soaking my scarf helped cool me down, but I still couldn’t get my core cool. Even sitting at the picnic table for an hour plus afterwards my heart was going at 88 or 89 beats per minute.

This morning as I sit here typing and drinking coffee it is at 50 BPM give or take 5 or 8 beats. Even saw 42 beats when I wasn’t moving at all. So 88 is a high resting heart rate for me for sure. Feeling normal this morning!

Meanwhile, my piriformus muscle performed wonderfully yesterday. I brought my roller and rolled before and after. Also did some stretching at mile marker 38 with pidgeon stretch. I was so loose during the ride that I couldn’t even feel the pidgeon stretch on the right side. So I’m feeling good about that part.

Wish I hadn’t got so overheated. Maybe if I drank more water before the event I would had been in better shape. Just had a coffee on the hour drive there. (woke up at 5:15, left the house at 6:15, arrived at the event at 7:15… left the parking lot at 7:45 with temperatures at 73 degrees and sunny. By 2 pm the sunny was NOT WELCOME! I drank at least 4 water bottles during the ride and 2 glasses of gatorade, ate 3 or 4 pickles (out of character for me! But “they” say the salt helps you.) I think I will skip the pickles next time. I thought it might work, so I ate them over the course of 4 hours. Definite skip next time.

Hopefully next week’s Corn Challenge won’t be as hot and the MS ride will be in the mid 70’s and overcast. Love that kind of weather for riding.

In other news, I ran 3.1 miles Friday 7/10 13:27, 3.1 miles on Sun 7/12 13:22 and did a good 4 miles on Tuesday 7/14 with a 13.33 pace. Feeling good about the Relay Team training. Right where I want to be. Going to try to run twice this week, but just 3.1 runs… back to the mileage after Buckeye Breakaway Aug 1-2. My plan is to get to 6 miles at a 12:30 pace by Sept 20 or so.

Been doing lots of riding.  20 miles on Thursday for Potluck, 56 yesterday and probably a short 15 or so today to the Taste of Tremont.

My weight is very high at 159 today. I’m sure that all the salt I ate yesterday is at least 2 pounds of it.  Going to eat clean today (although we are going to a street fair so I may have to start Monday when I can control all my food choices!)

Not sure this is true, but it sure does the “ego” good. Sorry for bragging!

v02max

Seeing results like this, even on an arbitrary online test, makes me feel like I’m doing the right things. It would be very interesting to me to take the real VO2Max test.

But not arbitrary, last week at the doctor visit, blood pressure was 106/66.  So bike riding and running is keeping most of my numbers good.  The scale is high, so I will be modifying my eating a bit more to change that. Fewer carbs, more “good” fats. Also, more water!!

Jog 1.77 mi on 6/22/15 14.02 pace

Today has been 3 months since my injury and I’m getting back into it. Started today with a light jog/walk on my usual path of Rave. Round trip was less than 2 miles, but I was only shooting for a mile and a half at a 15 minute pace, so I actually was faster on both.

No earphones or music because I didn’t want the distractions. Was trying to run on the “palms” of my feet instead of the heels or outside edge where I usually wear down the shoes. Kept feeling it on the inside of my instep.

I think i may take a trip to the shoe store and get some opinions. Now that I’m not 65 pounds overweight (only 15!) I think that they will talk to me instead of being so rude.

Hard to “forgive” them, but it was probably all in my head since I felt so weird walking into a running store when i obviously was big.

Had a great weekend, Rode bikes at Chatauqua Lake – about 30 miles on Saturday. Thursday got 18 miles in. Weekend before did 50. I’m going to try to ride tomorrow and also on Thursday.

Run on Weds and Friday mornings if possible. When I say run, I mean light jog. All of this is holding back just trying to build up some stamina and muscle memory.

Upcoming:

  • Dog Days Wine Tour of 65 miles (bike)
  • Sweet Corn Challenge of crazy hills 50 miles (bike)
  • MS150 Buckeye Breakaway 150 miles (bike)
  • Training for September 26 Saturday Akron Marathon Relay 5.8 miles (run)

Funny, the 5,8 miles has me SO MUCH more intimidated than the 150 miles or even 50 sweet corn.

My Fallback Plan to Get Moving Forward Again

I just love the idea of a “Fallback Plan” where I figure out my least difficult forward option to keep the momentum moving forward.

After my piriformis glute problem that has persisted for 3 months now, I’ve had a steady increase in weight (157.2 today) and a steady decline in exercise (only 80% of my 5 mile a day goal over the past 3 months.) I’m still doing a plan, but its more like 3 notches down.

Instead of exercising 5 days a week (2 spinning and 3 bootcamps) I’m more like 3 or 4 days a week with mild physical therapy.

My exercise is spotty. I don’t wake up and put on my exercise clothes, I have been forcing/dragging myself into it.

My eating is too mindless. I’m looking in the fridge and then grabbing something that looks good. At least I’m still mindfully shopping. Lots and lots of veggies. So sometimes the mindless is roasting veggies and snacking on those. Good.

But this post about how not to lose momentum by having a fallback plan that you will do even when the doing’s hard is great.

  • Salad at lunch (I did that yesterday with a lot of spinach in a pita, but I wasn’t interested in the pita.)
  • tuna on cut up veggies
  • cauliflower fest dinner
  • Go to the gym later if I miss my morning time slot. Or even do the routine at home.
  • Leg lifts – body weight squats – lunges – bird dogs – lots of piriformis stretches.

Yesterday was a good day at the gym. I did two rounds of reps of the hard stuff and everything in the right order (dynamic stretching first and static stretching at the end) with tow rounds of “hard” reps in between.

Not so good at the fridge. Breakfast was good, but still hungry after. Lunch was good, but still hungry after.  Dinner wasn’t planned, and turned into a lot of snacking.  Lots of “good” snacking, but not satisfying or feeling like I had a good dinner.

So if I was giving grades: B+ at the gym for exercising (maybe even A-) and a C+ for the eating. Today I’ll work on making my fallback plan for the days that are really tough.

How to Enjoy Parties But Not Go Down the Slope

I can’t stop thinking about the last post.

It sounds like so much deprivation. Which is the enemy of long term maintaining.

But if I start down the slope of eating party food and indulging in party drinks, I know what happens.

Not starting is the only way for me. I’ve tried having “just one” or having just the “special” hors d’oeuvres.

The special ones are not all that special. Fruit with sugar added. Cream cheese that I thought was the low fat kind, wasn’t.

Angel Food cake “fluff” was not with the special weight watcher recipe (and I had thirds! thinking that it was.)

Potlucks, holidays. Birthdays. Grad parties. Networking cocktail after hours events. Weddings. All are challenges for me. But only if I eat.

If I can get my food before I get there. GREAT! I’m not so hungry and resistance doesn’t feel like resistance.

Nervous social situations make me eat as using food as a crutch. I have found if there are shrimp, I can take 2 shrimps, put some cocktail sauce on my plate, eat them and be okay. My plate has their tails and tell tale signs of sauce. And I don’t have to eat any more.

Carrying a dirty plate around when it’s not a sit down is helpful.

But if there are drinks, I can’t shake hands, so I keep the drink to a minimum (water) or don’t do the plate.

At the wedding the week before. I did great. Except our table was closest to the food. And I was so close to the table, I could reach over to the pita chips and hummus. A healthy slippery slope that I slid down. By the end of the night when they were calling for somemores (it was a BBQ) I couldn’t resist.

There was dancing. That’s usually my strategy.  But my piriformis was acting up even from playing cornhole! And I couldn’t stop thinking about the chocolate.

On my way up to the beverage table to get another water, I opened a chocolate bar (reese’s cup large) and ate one.

Tasted like all the other reese’s cups I’ve had in my life.

I resisted the wedding cake and almost all the deserts (ate on small cupcake) but went home with a sugar buzz. And feeling like I didn’t do my resisting best.

Earlier in the afternoon, when I asked for water (alternating wine with water) the server insisted I carry the bottle of water around – I wanted it in my glass just like the people with beer and wine. We had a tugging (opposite) of war. I ended up leaving the bottle, but she wasn’t pleased. Weird. She didn’t make the beer drinkers carry their bottles. or the wine drinkers.  Later, I gave up and just carried around the water bottle. Felt at first like I was screaming “loser/light weight – can’t handle the alcohol”… until enough other people were drinking water.

I find I get mad about people not helping me keep it off. It feels like everyone wants me to add it back on. They, of course, don’t. Most of the people don’t even know me or know that I’ve dropped over 60 pounds and kept off over 50. So why does it still feel like such a personal sabotage that people are doing “to” me?

I rant about a birthday party. A LOVELY birthday party, like it is the devil. A snake. (like eve’s garden.) It really really really feels like it is to me.

Resistance and deprivation are not the way to live.

Endorphins made it all up to me by the end of the night.

But I can describe almost all the evenings out, weddings, parties, family get together’s and fun times with friends with what I’m not eating. I’ve got to get a handle on this or I’ll be back in the overweight category. Already my BMI’s been in the 26 range for almost 6 months. Maybe 9 months. I think it’s the lack of meetings.

I quit weight watchers this month. Yes, after almost 7 years. Oct 2009 to May 2015. Whoops, I guess that is 8 years. Got to find another outlet/meeting that works.

I wasn’t doing anything except taking my money every month. I would track my weight every Tuesday, but the meetings were counter productive. Their snacks were carb/salt. or sugar/salt = another slippery slope.

Enough thoughts for today.

Resisting the Birthday Celebration Cheats

deck_bdayIt’s a beautiful day and I snuck out of work early to meet my friends for a quick birthday celebration. Out on the deck, my buddies are sitting around an umbrella shaded table heaped with birthday bags, colorful table mattes, paper plates and festive balloons and flowers. Birthday cards with funny covers and silly sayings get passed around the table.

Center of attention are the appetizers. So lovely. Obviously hours of work went into their preparation. The food looked  beautiful and appealing. Like out of a magazine.

Then the giant birthday cake… made from scratch.

And a wide choice of wine, beer and other alcoholic beverages served in fun glasses.

How to resist. Ugh. Not only am I hungry (it’s 4:30 pm) but we  (my husband & his/my other friends)  are going bike riding at 6:30, (meaning I need to leave the party by 5:30, to get home, eat, changed and leave in time to get to the parking lot where we will meet.)

So I didn’t drink. That part wasn’t hard. Thank goodness I don’t have much of  a problem with resisting the alcohol or I don’t know what I’d do to try to lose/keep off the weight!!

And I was able to resist the food. They know me pretty well by now. It’ll be 3 years in 60 days from now.

None the less, I get all this:

  • You’re missing out
  • just this once
  • c’mon try some
  • aren’t you going to have any?
  • You are so good

Maybe they didn’t say all of these, but I heard them. The ones they didn’t say,  I heard in my head.

I left after an hour. I was there, but I didn’t feel like I really connected.  Food definitely makes you connect.  Drinking my water while they had beer/wine/etc. felt like deprivation.

This is the 4th celebration this month.  The others were at Panera, our usual coffee hang out… where I can grab a coffee black and not feel as out of place.

You might wonder, why not just have a taste?!  I can’t. Especially when I’m hungry. I want to eat, not nibble.

Sometimes they serve fruit, but there is sugar on it.

Part of it was my clothes. I was in work clothes, coming straight from the office, not the party style.  Part of it was who I sat by, there is one other who is “really good” and usually just drinks water. But she seems not tempted by the treats and there isn’t the usual cajoling to get her to sample the beginning of what I consider the “slippery slope.”   And my head was still in the work projects that I left unfinished.

Next time I need to bring something. But I don’t want to take all the time to prep something when I have to take it to work and then take it to the party. And it would be “healthy” ie not eaten.

Once I got home, heated up my chicken breast, added the veggies and wolfed it down in 3 minutes… hurrying to change clothes, load up my bike, water bottle, cleats, helmet, bike pack etc and hop into the truck to head to the trail. Very  glad I resisted.

The food was just right in my belly.

At 9 pm at the restaurant, after the 22 miles ride, I ordered a spinach salad with dressing on the side.  Tomatoes, eggs, cucumber and a bit of cheese.  YUM!

Woke up to a happy scale on Friday morning!!!

If I didn’t have bike riding on the agenda, I wouldn’t have resisted. At least one… maybe even 2 glasses of wine. And then I can’t resist the food.

I hope they keep inviting me to the party. I hope I don’t make them feel bad by not eating or drinking.  I hope I can keep it up.  When I secumb, I end up trying to get the weight back off for months. (Right now I’m still fighting down a few pounds from the prior weekend potluck.)

Keep the focus. Good nutritious food in the right quantity.  Exercise that doesn’t hurt, but brings out the endorphins.  Restful sleep where I wake up rarring to go!

PS – the 22 miles was strenuous enough I had endorphins floating around until around midnight.  First time I felt my bike ride had been hard enough to feel like a workout.

Going out this morning for another one!!

Steps to Maintaining. So Simple. So Hard.

This PPT webinar talk about how values lead to thought patterns which lead to actions and actions lead to outcomes inspired me to figure out why I’ve been struggling for the months since I hit goal (149 pounds in July 2012) to not gain back  the weight on and off over the past 35 months.

I’m up 10% to 155.3 or 63 pounds lost, 6.3 gained.  I did get all the way down to 143 for a minute, but 147 to 149 is where I want to maintain.

So I spent a few minutes this morning analyzing what I do to keep if off and trying to figure out where my weakness is.

This statement is a “duh” obvious one, but is the fact of the matter:

Keeping weight off is a combination of eating healthy, exercise and enough sleep.

Each element is hard in it’s own way with internal struggles and external struggles. But just setting up some plain old habits and routines for keeping the actions and doing the actions without interruption will keep the end result.

1) Eating Healthy Actions:

  • meal planning
  • shopping
  • meal preparation
  • prep snacks, lunches and pre dinners
  • doing dishes
  • putting away

Positives:
Feeling good, not feeling cravings. Not making a decision each time I eat.

Hard Part about Eating Healthy

  • going out with friends
  • attending a party/BBQ
  • restaurants
  • treats
  • 3 oclock duldrooms/bored at work

2) Doing Exercise Actions:

  • getting up earlier
  • putting on exercise clothes
  • go to gym
  • take a shower

Positives

My friends at gym. Endorphin hormones on the drive home. I actually really like to exercise.  Bike riding with friends is awesome. Hiking is good. Walking the dogs is good (except for the dog hair in my car.)

Hard Part about Exercising

  • Injuries have limited my habits (do my hip exercises every morning right away!)
  • Embarrassed that I can’t do what I used to do
  • Easier to hide at home

3) Getting Enough Sleep Actions:

  • Limit caffeine
  • Go to bed before 10
  • Evening routine
  • Melatonin

Positives: When I get enough sleep, everything in life is easier and happier. Definitely affects my mood.

Hard Part about Getting Enough Sleep

  • Watching TV at night
  • Not going to bed, but falling asleep on the couch
  • Netflixs
  • The “doing one more thing” syndrome
  • Waking up in the middle of the night 3 am ish and not being able to fall asleep again
  • Naps (are they good or bad?… they feel to good to be bad!)

Next post should be, what I’m going to do about the hard parts to make them easier, right? Anyone have any good suggestions for me?

10 Tools I Use to Keep Motivated to Keep the Weight Off

  1. Scale (yes, everyday)
  2. Tape measure (yes, about every month)
  3. Tracking (find a better way. Tracking weight 3 ways, but I need to track food better. Using MyFitnessPal. But I need a paper system.)
  4. Drink Water (add tracking to this. Pretty water bottle. Cucu/Strawberry water)
  5. Skinny Jeans target (add this. I keep hiding my size 8’s so i don’t feel bad. Need to get an outfit front and center.)
  6. BFF (Angie. Margie.gini? via text. )
  7. Specific goal (run/reunion,30 day challenge) & Big picture (dr check ups, health #’s)
  8. Keep a chart of fitness ( daily mile, mapmyrun, strava)
  9. APP (sparkpeople, loseit, myfitnesspal)
  10. pedometer (movband)
  11. rewards (massage?)

Just read this article about how to stay motivated. Most of these I’ve already been using. but going to add in number 11 with a scheduled massage every month, track #4 and put #5 front and center on the ho0k in my closet.

Better! Finally!

Okay, it took 2 months of recovery this time.

I can lie down on my stomach and raise my leg up without it quivering and shaking and falling. So I’ve got my glutes firing in the right order (I think) and have strengthened and retrained my muscles.

In 60 days, I think I only skipped my exercises maybe 4 times when I was really hurting. I didn’t do 2 or 3 sets, only one set, but still, compared to what I do when I’m by myself, I’m really proud of myself for following thru.

Biking: On Sunday I did a 24 mile bike ride with only twinges getting back into the truck or sitting at breakfast maybe 3 times or so.

Diet – food

Not going as well as I’d hoped, but not a disaster either. I started a 30 day challenge on May 5, I’m halfway into it and have not really attended to it. But I’ve done it enough that I’m EXACTLY the same weight this morning as when I started. I’m 2.8 pounds heavier than when I got hurt.

Avoiding Reinjury
I’m going to keep up my warm up and stretching routine before working out and stretching after to keep my glute muscles from getting inhibited.

Sleep with pillow between the knees and don’t cross the knees. Stretch a little (20 seconds) thruout the day.

Change my Running:

To reduce the potential for chronicity, runners with piriformis syndromes should sleep on their side with a pillow folded between their knees, and sit with their knees straight. Because a piriformis syndrome tends to produce low grade discomfort that can go on for months, it is usually possible to continue running with this injury. To reduce strain on the piriformis muscle while running, consider shortening your stride by increasing your cadence 10 percent. Also consider switching to a midfoot strike pattern. By correcting common perpetuating patterns and improving hip strength and flexibility, most piriformis syndromes can easily be resolved in a few months.

You know, I had that low grade discomfort before the big event on 3/21 but just ignored it. I’m not going to ignore it again. When I feel it coming on:

1) go get a massage
2) do the 3 part routine of roller, side-to-side, standing out to side warm up. Then cat/cow, hydrants, straight backs, squats, lunges, bird dogs and mountain climbers. Then the side plank, 90 degree knee, twist to back, crossed leg standing and forward fold. First two parts particularly before a workout and the last one after.
3) ice, ice, ice. then heat for blood flow.