I am overweight!

Official weigh in yesterday. I was down 3.5 pounds which is really good. I'm not expecting to lose anything this week since that seems to be my pattern, but maybe that'll change now that I seem to have figured out the calorie situation [weeks I eat more, I actually lose. Weeks I don't, I stay the same or gain a tiny bit]. Still, 3.5 for the last two weeks is great. The only thing is... I was SO close to going from "obese" to "overweight". Just another half pound to go.

Did my body test on the Wii this morning, however...
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IT HAPPENED! I'm now overweight! Next step... healthy BMI! Okay, there are about 30 pounds between me and that but I'll get there soon enough!

Now I'm just waiting for my clothes to finish drying so I can go kick some ass at the gym. Week 3 of 5k training, BRING IT ON!
biking: 101 minutes, 1129 calories, 21.92 miles

yoga: 25 minutes, 114 calories

biking: 14 minutes, 142 calories, 2.55 miles
elliptical: 35 minutes, 470 calories
treadmill: 35 minutes, 379 calories
biking: 16 minutes, 163 calories, 2.6 miles

biking, 66 minutes, 685 calories, 13.6 miles
yoga: 25 minutes, 123 calories

biking: 14 minutes, 142 calories, 2.55 miles
treadmill: 35 minutes, 367 calories
elliptical: 18 minutes, 231 calories
treadmill: 11 minutes, 103 calories
biking: 16 minutes, 174 calories, 2.6 miles

biking: 105 minutes, 1103 calories, 22.34 miles

biking: 14 minutes, 153 calories, 2.6 miles
treadmill: 40 minutes, 432 calories, 2.81 miles
biking: 14 minutes, 155 calories, 2.55 miles

Posting early in the day because I'm going to be up in New Hampshire until late. It's my sister's last roller derby match, she's decided to stop playing to focus on her new career. I'm a little sad [I've only gotten to see her once so far, last summer] but excited for her new path!

I'm really happy about this week's workouts. Extremely happy. I finished week 2 of the 5k training plan today. When I started the week's plan on Tuesday, I thought I wouldn't be able to do it. My lungs didn't like the fact that I doubled the amount of time running, and I had to adjust the plan a little. I ended up doing 1.5 minute intervals instead of 2 minutes, but added in an extra interval to make up for the time lost. But when I went to the gym on Thursday [and saved the elliptical for after running], I did the 2 minute intervals with... well, I won't say no trouble but less trouble than Tuesday. I was able to do them, at any rate. And today, although my brain was telling me I couldn't do it [my legs were tired, morning workouts suck!], I put aside those thoughts and pushed through every interval and felt great.
What I kept telling myself!
I also got two yoga sessions in this week and although I kind of dropped the ball regarding strength training [oops], I'm going to try to make up for that this coming week. Week 3 of 5K training seems like it will be [relatively] easy-- still doing intervals of 2 minutes running, 3 minutes walking, just doing 6 intervals instead of 5. I can totally do that! So this coming week should have less doubt for me, and leave plenty of strength for doing weights.

Weigh in tomorrow and then onto next week!

adventuring on my bike

Although I lacked motivation to go for a bike ride today, I eventually finally got out there and did it. And you know what? I told myself I'd only go to the 12.5 mile marker [which is actually about 12 miles round trip for me] but I ended up doing almost twice that distance. You know why? Because once I got out there, of course I felt great and wanted to keep going! This happens more times than I keep track of. It's always the "getting out the door and doing the first mile" part that's the hardest. I ended up doing 22.3 miles, taking the "long" way home [there isn't really a long way home in a city that's one square mile] and exploring a bit. And yes, I took pictures today!

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nerd shirts ftw!
I make this very specific face when I'm riding, and I have no idea why. I'm kind of snarling. My nose is all scrunched up and my mouth is grimacing and my eyes are squinting [even though you can't see because of the sunglasses]. It's weird.

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I love this picture! My orange handlebars and my tiny tire and my heart rate monitor, and my SKINNY LEGS! If only I had remembered to put my streamers on my bike before heading out, this picture would be perfect!

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I got to the clover field at the end of the bike path, and they had mowed the grass and there was no more clover! Such a disappointment!

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I laid down to possibly take a nap, but freshly cut grass is very uncomfortable. Also, it started raining. 

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My legs get really dirty when I'm out on my bike. I don't know why. [Yes, I love my legs and yes, I will be taking a lot of pictures of them probably.]

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The river. Exciting, right?

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Such a long wooden bridge! This is the "extra" part that I don't normally bike on. The bike path ends just beyond this. Well, sort of ends. Mostly. It turns into back roads.

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And then you just keep following the signs until it eventually [supposedly] meets up with another bike path. I didn't go that far. I stopped before hitting the prison. But! Before that, I found something exciting!

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A public track! I didn't know my city had one of these! This will be monumental in getting my ankle used to running outdoors-- it has a little more impact than a treadmill, but still isn't as hard as pavement. And look, there's even a legit place to lock up my bike! That's so difficult to find around here! Ahh, I'm so excited about this and very glad that I decided to take the long way home and do some exploring.

I also noticed, during the ride, that my body's becoming much more efficient than just a month ago. Since I got my heart rate monitor, I've been paying attention to my heart rate [obviously] and how quickly it recovers from heavy exertion. At first, it didn't really recover at all. My heart rate usually topped out at 190bpm on hills, and stayed around 170 or above even on flat road. But that's really changed! Today, my average heart rate was a very respectable 153, and my maximum was 175. I even spent some time in the "fat burning zone" [below 130bpm] while biking, which I don't think I've ever done before. Amazing! And those times that my heart rate did get above 165 on hills, it dropped back down to the 150s almost immediately after cresting the hills. And this is with a higher average speed than usual. I love being able to point directly to these numbers and have proof that I'm improving, besides just how my body feels. This is one of the reasons I really wanted a heart rate monitor!

Okay, somehow it's well past midnight and I need to be up early for the gym, so I'm posting this and going to bed. Good night, and have an exciting weekend! I will check in on Sunday!
bike ride: 110 minutes, 1280 calories, 22 miles

triceps pushups, 3 sets of 12 reps
triceps kickbacks: 3 sets of 12 reps, 5lb dumbbells
biceps curls, 3 sets of 12 reps, 9lb dumbbells

biking: 65 minutes, 760 calories, 14 miles
walking: 19 minutes, 150 calories, 1 mile

biking: 14 minutes, 158 calories, 2.55 miles
elliptical: 35 minutes, 478 calories, level 9, 4.11 miles
treadmill: 30 minutes, 327 calories, 4min at 7.0mph, rest 3.3-3.7mph
walking: 30 minutes, 250 calories, 2.56 miles
yoga: 11 minutes, 50 calories

biking: 104 minutes, 1215 calories, 21.66 miles

tae bo, 42 minutes, 433 calories
kettlebell: 6 minutes, 81 calories, 15lbs

biking: 13 minutes, 150 calories, 2.55 miles
elliptical: 18 minutes, 241 calories, level 10, 2 miles
treadmill: 30 minutes, 325 calories, 5min at 7.0mph, rest 3.3-3.7mph
biking: 14 minutes, 148 calories, 2.6 miles

This week, I completed week one of the 5K Your Way training program! I also got a lot of miles in on my bike. I didn't do nearly as much yoga as I'd hoped, and I also fell behind on my 21 day meditation challenge. But I did bust out my tae bo DVD, which I hadn't done in a while [and my body definitely felt it!], so that slightly made up for the lack of yoga and meditation. All in all, a pretty good week. Too bad the scale didn't show it [but my pattern is to lose big one week and then nothing the next, so I was expecting it]. Here's to next week and hopefully getting out of the 190s!

Home gym!

I finally did it. This is something I've wanted to do for a while [since before I even moved in a year ago, actually] but never got around to it. I set aside an entire room for my home gym. I had been playing with the idea of setting it up in the basement [I even cleared out a space, until I realized that the floor was too broken to be safe on my sensitive ankle], but finally decided to clear out the spare bedroom, since it's completely unused [well, Felix seems to think it's her bedroom, but besides that it just serves as a place to ignore my piles of laundry!]. This way, I don't have to clear cat toys from the floor every time I want to work out [a serious problem, my cats are so spoiled!] and plus, this room has a door so I can close the cats out and exercise in peace! Also, my neighbors can't see my flailing around unless they really try [there's only one window, and it's on the second floor].

So in the course of one [long] afternoon, the room went from this:

To this:
Fun fact: that dresser holds a LOT of my "too small" clothes, mostly pants ranging all the way from size 11 down to size 4.
And there's still more to come! The impetus for this is that a couple weeks ago,my aunt offered to give me her TreadClimber. I'd never heard of the thing, but apparently it's really awesome and really expensive? She just wants it out of her house, she said she used to use it a lot and enjoy it but now she prefers biking [she got an indoor trainer to still ride during the winter]. Anyway, I'm excited about it, especially since my gym doesn't have a stairclimber. I don't have it yet [or else it would be in this picture!] but once I do and get a few workouts in, I'll do a review!

In addition to the TreadClimber, I still have a bunch of fitness stuff to get from my mom's. I'm going to get some stuff tomorrow, like a weight bench [possibly, if we can fit it in the car with everything else] and extra weights. She also promised me her treadmill about a year ago, but I might not take that now [the TreadClimber only goes up to 4.5mph but I still have my gym membership to run on their treadmills!].

Because I spent so long on the room, I didn't get to the gym today, but I'm going tomorrow morning and tonight I'm breaking in my new exercise room with some tae bo!
Long shot so you can get a feel for the size of the room!
Anyway, the process of clearing out the room and setting everything up was very long, and there was much whining on twitter. Mostly because the bed frame would not come apart [the bolts holding it together were completely stripped] so I had to move the assembled thing down two flights of stairs by myself [and my stairs have corners to them! Who designed this house?]. It got stuck quite a few times and I was convinced I'd have to leave it halfway down the basement stairs [I ended up having to move a fridge to get it all the way down!]. The bed frame is now sitting in the spot I initially cleaned out for exercise space in the basement, so at least I had that space...

So, what goes into my home gym? Well, at the moment:

TV [this one's not functional, but I'm getting an actual working TV from my mom's tomorrow], VCR [yes I still have two of those!], DVD player [not pictured], workout DVDs and tapes [yes, that is a Jazzercise tape from the 80s! I have to see if my mom still has her Richard Simmons tapes, I would love to work out to those], and a variety of resistance bands...

Lots of weights [and kettlebells, of course!], yoga blocks [even though I don't use them anymore, maybe someone will want to do yoga with me someday!] a couple yoga mats, and not pictured, a balance ball...

A book for working out with weights [I need to use this more, I used it to begin with but haven't really explored it fully], and a book holder to prop it up/open while I'm doing the exercises...

My vision collage of inspirational, healthy living...

A jump rope, some motivational clothes, and some of my old artwork [okay, this was previously hanging up in the room but whatever, I'm keeping it there!]. I can't jump rope at the moment because of my ankle, but it's hanging there and waiting for me!

Now I have the fun task of decorating the rest of the room! It's not the prettiest room in the world [why were my grandparents obsessed with wood paneling and brown everywhere?] but I want to make it pleasant to spend a couple hours a day in. Mostly, I need to cover this big expanse of wall:

That birthday sign is from when I was 15 or so, from my BFF Beth, back when I was going by my middle name! So long ago!
I do a lot of paper crafts, and want to cover it with something similar to what I did in the dining room, but still different:

More wood paneling! Seriously, only two rooms in the house aren't wood paneled: my bedroom, and the bathroom.
I was thinking maybe a big "park" scene, with a tree, grass, flowers, birds... maybe a rainbow and some adorable raindrops? I'm trying to get a lot of whimsy back into my life, and I think that would be nice and whimsical...

What would you do to cover that ugly, slanted wall? And what would your ideal home gym have?

Let's talk about these things for a bit. I think it's an important discussion to have. I know from experience that it's a thin line to walk between all three, but it's not impossible. It's something that I keep in mind every day.

Do you know, even though I was overweight/obese as a pre-teen, teen, and adult, I never hated my body until a few years ago? I know I'm pretty lucky in this, but nobody ever teased me about my weight growing up and it didn't stop me from doing what I wanted to do [I still played sports pretty regularly up through high school, even 50+ pounds overweight]. I never even thought about my body, truthfully, until I joined Weight Watchers when I was 20. And then, my love for my body only grew! I started working out regularly again [this was junior year of college, so it had been a couple years since high school and the cessation of sports] and I was constantly amazing myself with how much my body could do. I'd never really paid attention to how my body looked before, but now I loved that too. But the number on the scale and my body size only mattered a tiny bit; what really mattered was how far my body could run, stretch, and keep going long after I thought possible.

A year after reaching my goal weight and maintaining, I moved to Chicago. I stopped going to Weight Watchers meetings [couldn't find a meeting/leader I liked], and had to take some time off from exercise because of a back injury. A few pounds came back on, and then another few. After gaining back about 15 pounds, my insecurities grew. I felt fat and thought everyone was making fun of my weight behind my back. I'd never thought that of myself before, but there it was. [And I was only 150, at the top of my healthy weight range!] I started working out again, just a little, but I also started eating more. Food was a huge source of both comfort and celebration in Chicago.

Another problem with this was that in Chicago, my group of friends were… well, pretty radical. Actually, we were Radical Cheerleaders.

Radical cheerleaders! I'm the one in the red hat.
I felt conflicted about trying to lose weight because I thought my friends wouldn't understand, they were very into fat acceptance and one of our cheers was even "Riot Don't Diet". [I still don't believe in dieting, I believe in maintaining a healthy lifestyle, but it's tiresome to explain the difference over and over and over.] I felt that I couldn't talk to them about wanting to lose weight, and my journey with Weight Watchers, because they'd condemn me for being on a "diet". [Looking back, I don't think most of them would have, but I didn't realize this at the time!]

I'm the one with the blue hair... I can't believe I was so conscious of my weight here!

Like I said, my friends were very into fat acceptance. Which is great! Fat acceptance means loving yourself, and others, no matter the size or number on a scale. I'm all for that! But I'm also all for making a choice for myself to live a healthy lifestyle. I can't make this choice for anyone else, and I won't even suggest it to other people. But I personally want to be healthy, which for me involves losing weight. My family has a laundry list of obesity-related diseases and I don't want any part of them.

It took a long time for me to get back to this mindset. I was afraid of what my friends would think so instead of opening up to them, getting myself together, and losing those few pounds, I kept gaining weight. An average of 15 pounds a year every year I was in Chicago. In that time, I went through periods of hating my body and hating what I'd done to myself. I also went through periods of hating myself for wanting to lose weight. What can I say, it was conflicting! But I wasn't successful until I went through my old weight loss journal and started remembering how amazing I'd felt, running a 5k and flying on my bike and doing challenging yoga poses. I wasn't successful until I started loving my body, and all the things it had the potential to do, once again.

Even now, I still have over 50 pounds to lose but I can honestly say that I love my body. A couple years ago [when I weighed less than I currently do], I wouldn't look in full-length mirrors and would have cringed at the thought of exposing my stomach. But this week, I've been walking around just in running shorts and a sports bra [it's too hot for more clothes than that!] and I am okay with it. I'm more than okay. I can't stop admiring myself in the mirror!

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my belly's chubby but I still love it!
A part of me is still worried that some people will accuse me of being fatphobic. It comes up a lot when someone's very public about losing weight. But I know that I've never judged a person based on their weight, and I never will. I just personally want to lose weight so I can be the healthiest version of myself.

I'd been sitting on the idea of writing this post for a while but couldn't put the words together. Then I recently found my friend Raechel's blog. Raechel was a radical cheerleader with me in Chicago and just reading her thoughts on healthy living while also keeping a "radical" mindset was very encouraging.

Conclusion? Love yourself, and fuck what other people think.

a letter to my future self

Hey. Remember me? As of this writing, I have lost 30 pounds from an all-time high weight of 221. I feel great. I do yoga every week and frequently go on 20+ mile bike rides. I have no back pain anymore and my body's so strong. Sure, my sprained ankle is still giving me trouble but if anything, I've proven that I can lose weight even with an injury. Injuries don't hold me back. Only I hold myself back.

I'm writing this to remind you of how I felt 30 pounds ago. I was miserable and hated who I'd become, spending all day in bed and struggling just to walk the half mile to the grocery store. Suffering from painful muscle spasms in my legs because of malnutrition [despite eating too much food!]. Taking painkillers every day because laying in bed all the time made my back hurt, but doing nothing to fix it like the simple act of getting out of bed. Having every single extra pound weighing me down. Feeling absolutely worthless.

I don't feel any of that anymore. Sure, I still have over 50 extra pounds on me but they don't weigh me down like those first 30. I'm getting rid of those extra pounds, too, and they know it. They know their time is up. They may still be there on the scale, but they don't have any weight on my actions anymore. I don't let them hold me down. I get on my bike and fly.

I don't want to go back to feeling miserable with every step I take. I don't want to invite cancer, heart disease, and diabetes into my life without putting up a damn good fight. I don't want to feel worthless anymore. And I'm sure that you don't either. So, I'm writing this to remind you. You may have slip-ups, not even you are perfect, and there may be stretches of time where things seem out of control. But you can always get back on track. You can always fly again. I'm living proof, and I'm sure you are too.

I love you. Don't give up.

weigh-in and bike ride

Okay, first off, the weekly stuff: I weighed in at 190.7 today, down 2.8 pounds from two weeks ago [remember, I didn't count last week because I knew it was all temporary bloat... indeed, it all went away on Monday]. That makes 30.3 pounds lost total! I'm almost out of the 190s, and am over a third of the way to my goal weight. I was going to take some pictures, but those will have to wait because I had other things to do this morning.

This morning was a bike ride with the local cyclist meetup group. Neither my social anxiety nor desire to stay in bed got the better of me. Neither did the fact that I had to do a factory reset on my phone again this morning [third time in two weeks!]. I got to the site a little after 9:30, which gave me plenty of time to meet people and attempt to socialize before we set off at 10. Everyone was very welcoming and super friendly. I warned them that I'm horrible at names, so hopefully they won't take offense when I don't remember them next time! It was a pretty big group today, I didn't count but there were over 40 people confirmed for the event. The weather was beautiful and everyone was happy for such a nice ride.

It was a pretty diverse group, most people were middle-aged but there were a couple people around my age and a few older. All different fitness levels, from people who hadn't been on a bike in a year or two to people who regularly ride long distances. It was a long [20 miles] but easy route, so I think that was the appeal of this ride. Just a few hills and no need to keep up a fast pace. A lot of people had shiny, expensive bikes so I felt a little self-conscious about my beat up 70s Schwinn, but I love my bike so that didn't last long [and then someone made a comment about how vintage Schwinns are really great bikes, so there!]. There was no bike snobbery, which was great [something that cyclists in Chicago tend to be guilty of].

Since we kept a pretty easy pace [and it was go-at-your-own-pace anyway], it was a great opportunity to enjoy the weather and scenery. I also got to chat with a few people while we rode, I tried not to come off as desperate for friends but I really want some friends in the area! Haha. Anyway, it was a fun time and I hope there are other rides like this soon [they have events all over the state but since I can't get to any that aren't in the immediate area, I have to say no to a lot]. I have to say, 20 miles with a group of people seems to go by so much faster than 20 miles by myself. It was over before I knew it, and I totally forgot to take any pictures because I was having so much fun!

There were two things that weren't so great. Around the 3 miles in, a bee FLEW INTO MY EYE and stung me! I was taken completely by surprise and kind of flailed around for a bit before flinging off the bee, and my sunglasses with it. I had to turn around and go get my sunglasses before anyone else rode over them, haha. The sting was a little painful, but quickly turned to numbness and I was wondering if that was typical [I know I'm not allergic to bees, but I haven't been stung since I was really young so I don't really remember how they go]. When we stopped at a rest stop, I was telling people what happened and couldn't stop laughing. Yes, most people are terrified of bees but I just find them amusing.

The other not-so-good thing that happened was I hit a fairly large bump which knocked my rear wheel out of alignment. It used to happen a lot in Chicago, since the roads were so bad [reason #1 I hate these quick release wheels!], but it hadn't been an issue since moving. Anyway, it's mostly an annoyance because I had to stop and reposition my wheel, and I couldn't get it just right while I was on the ride so it remained pretty wobbly [but at least no longer rubbing up against the frame]. Just something I'd rather not deal with.

Oh, and I forgot to unpause MapMyFitness on my phone after the turn-around/break so I actually only recorded half the route. Oops. But I had my heart rate monitor going, so at least I got accurate time/calorie count and could figure out the distance, if not the specifics like the speed on hills, etc [yes, I LOVE comparing this data from day to day].

All in all, it was a GREAT day and I hope more of these rides happen near me! And yay me for not letting my anxiety get in the way of experiencing it!
bike ride, 1hr40 minutes, 1143 calories, 21.5 miles

yoga, 13 minutes, 45 calories
lying abductions, 2 sets of 15 reps
single leg raises, 2 sets of 15 reps

biking, 14 minutes, 158 calories
elliptical, 35 minutes, 494 calories
treadmill, 15 minutes, 162 calories
biking, 14 minutes, 173 calories

yoga, 10 minutes, 58 calories
30 day shred, 28 minutes, 279 calories

biking, 15 minutes, 188 calories
elliptical, 25 minutes, 358 calories
treadmill, 15 minutes, 157 calories
biking, 15 minutes, 180 calories

bike ride, 60 minutes, 745 calories, 12.45 miles
triceps pushups, 3 sets of 13 reps
biceps curls, 3 sets of 15 reps, 5lbs
lying triceps extensions: 3 sets of 15 reps, 5lbs

biking, 15 minutes, 184 calories
elliptical, 35 minutes, 505 calories
treadmill, 20 minutes, 239 calories
biking, 16 minutes, 191 calories

This was a fairly good week, despite not feeling my absolute best. I got in lots of strength training [30 Day Shred has a lot of core and weight work along with cardio, for those not familiar] and kept up with my cardio. I biked about 50 miles this week, which was 10 less than last week, but I decided to switch it up Wednesday and do 30 Day Shred instead of a bike ride so I'm okay with that. Oh, and I had a slightly pulled muscle on Monday that prevented me from doing much all day, but I still did some leg exercises! I did feel like I was only running at about 75% on Thursday and Friday, due to a slight change in sleep [amazing what only a half hour less of sleep can do!], but today I was back to 100%. At the gym, I beat my elliptical 5K PR again, by a minute and thirty seconds [! 26:37 is the new time] and also did FOUR MINUTES of running on the treadmill! Four minutes may not seem like a lot, but it is to my ankle. Last week, I only did 3 minutes, at a 5.0 speed [today's speed was 6.5 because I've remembered that I kind of fail at jogging], so I've increased by a minute. I'm hoping that my ankle continues to hold up and I can add another minute or two next week. My plan is to start Couch to 5K officially at the beginning of August, so I'm trying to get my ankle gradually used to running up until then. It's feeling fine, but I'm of course wary of over stressing it.

This week, I also completed my Le Tour Challenge on MapMyFitness to bike 100 miles in 23 days [it took me 11], and now I'm doing the challenge again although I may not complete it in time [I have a little over 80 miles to complete in 8 days]. That doesn't really matter to me, I just like having some goal to aim for.

Weigh in tomorrow [and the scale's looking great!], and then a 20 mile bike ride with a local cyclist meetup group [if my social anxiety doesn't get the better of me]. I've been looking forward to this, despite its 10am start time [but it's supposed to storm in the afternoon so this probably is for the best anyway] and despite not knowing a single person. The course is just on the bike path that I normally ride, and I know I can do the 20 mile loop with no problem, so I'm not worried about that. Just worried about... trying to socialize with complete strangers. Well, I'm trying to conquer my social anxiety so this will be a step towards that!

I gotta go figure out what I'm going to wear tomorrow... hmm. Preferably something that won't turn see-through if the rain comes early!

What makes an athlete?

I don't consider myself an athlete at all, but a bunch of my friends are. They regularly run 5Ks, 10Ks, half marathons and even full marathons. I can't run [grumble grumble stupid ankle], but of course there are athletic things other than running. I do bike a lot, I know. An hour a day, minimum, on days I don't go to the gym. 20 mile rides are becoming more of a norm. But I don't think that I qualify as an athlete. Not like they do.

So why not? I guess I don't feel like one because I know that my body is capable of so much more. I still struggle with hills, and my average speed is only about 13mi/hr [although it's steadily increasing, and I've been getting up to 17mi/hr on flat stretches]. But aside from hills, I don't feel like I'm really pushing myself. Despite living in a hilly area, the bike path is mostly flat so I don't get much practice with hills. [There are hills in the 2 miles to/from the bike path, and on my route to the gym, so I do get some hill practice in, but it's not a lot.] The rest of the ride is easy, even if it's over 20 miles. 20 miles isn't much, in the cycling world. I know that my body can do more.

Even though cycling is my exercise of choice [and has been for over five years], I've never participated in any races or even charity rides. The closest I've come to doing an "organized event" on my bike is Critical Mass in Chicago. I have plans to do organized rides, but they're far off in the future.

I guess my image of an athlete is just... not me. An athlete is someone who pushes their body to its limit, who's more fit than I am, who averages better speeds than I do. An athlete participates in races and charity events, and has a collection of medals to show their achievements. An athlete is not me: overweight, struggling to get up hills, taking time to enjoy the scenery. Or is it?
I refuse to acknowledge the scale today. There's no logical reason it should be saying the number it did this morning and thus, I'm going to ignore it. Sounds good, right? It's better than getting frustrated with it. Anyway, let's focus on other things! Like the shorts I bought yesterday!

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These are the shorts I was really excited about-- mesh running shorts with moisture wicking compression shorts underneath. I like the compression shorts underneath because they prevent the chub rub chafing [with my other pair of shorts, I wear bike shorts underneath for the same reason]. And moisture wicking fabric is always good! As a bonus, they also match my running shoes perfectly.
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These don't have shorts underneath, but they were too comfortable [and cheap!] to pass up. They also match a sports bra that I bought yesterday [and which I'm wearing], not that I'll be running in just a sports bra and shorts any time soon for people to appreciate my matchiness.

Now time to freeze my water bottle and then head out for a bike ride!
88 pushups
yoga, 24 minutes, 167 calories
kettlebell, 6 minutes, 80 calories

bike path, 62 minutes, 819 calories, 12.49 miles

biking to gym, 15 minutes, 183 calories, 2.57 miles
elliptical, 35 minutes, 514 calories
treadmill, 15 minutes, 163 calories
biking from gym, 15 minutes, 188 calories, 2.58 miles

bike path, 1hr 39 minutes, 1233 calories, 20.4 miles
58 pushups [I had to reset my app so the numbers are lower than I was working at]

biking to gym: 13 minutes, 152 calories, 2.57 miles
elliptical: 35 minutes, 489 calories
treadmill: 15 minutes, 163 calories
biking from gym: 15 minutes, 190 calories, 2.85 miles
triceps extensions: 4 sets/12 reps each, 5lbs
biceps curls: 4 sets/10 reps, 5lbs
triceps dips: 4 sets/20 reps
dumbbell hammer curls: 4 sets/12 reps, 5lbs

bike path: 65 minutes, 726 calories, 13.25 miles

biking to gym: 15 minutes, 163 calories, 2.57 miles
elliptical: 35 minutes, 464 calories
treadmill: 15 minutes, 148 calories
[no bike ride home because my mom picked me up!]

It's interesting to see that my calorie burn numbers are already going down, just from day to day, even though I'm constantly upping the intensity/incline/speed/distance. My body gets used to exercise really quickly, which is why I have to switch it up so often. And something that doesn't really show up in the numbers: on Thursday, I ran. I ran for a whole three minutes! I know that doesn't sound like much, but I had no ankle pain afterwards! I've been waiting for that day to come for so long. I'm still wary of pushing my ankle too hard, so I'm definitely easing into running [see: only running three minutes], but it's a start, and I'm very excited about it!

Today I had to get up really early and be out of the house by 9 in order to make it to the gym before my mom came over. I'm usually awake early, but I take my time getting out of bed and definitely when it comes to getting out of the house! But I did it, despite not being a morning exerciser at all. And then I had a full day of shopping with my mom, but it was worth it. I got two new pairs of gym shorts [one has built-in compression shorts! I am so excited to wear these!], three new sports bras, and six new pairs of gym socks. You know what this all means? I no longer have to do laundry every single time I go to the gym. Seriously, up until today I only had one pair of gym shorts and one sports bra that was supportive enough for the gym [all my others are old and worn out, okay for biking but not for things that require bouncing!] so I had to do laundry every time I came home from the gym. Now, with more shorts and bras, I don't have to do laundry all week [if I stick to going 3 times a week like this past week]!

I will take pictures of the new gear once I'm not stupidly bloated [of course this happens the day before weighing in!]. Speaking of weigh in, I'm not expecting anything tomorrow. My body has not adjusted well to sparkpeople's demands that I eat more food [even though I'm trying to ease into it] and I've just been feeling bloated and disgusting the last few days, which has definitely been reflected on the scale no matter how many calories I burn and how much water I drink. So, yeah. It sucks, because my number was looking GREAT until I started adding in more food, but... since then, it's steadily been climbing every single day. Uuuugh. I know sparkpeople means well, but it's really annoying at the moment! Hopefully it'll even out by next week. I was just hoping to hit 30 pounds gone this week. Oh well.

I'm a Disney princess.

The forecasted thunderstorms took a detour so I was able to get out on my bike today despite thinking [and planning] otherwise. I was really happy about this-- I had been looking forward to today's ride! I wanted to hit up the bike path and see how far I could go. I signed up to do a 20 mile ride on the bike path in a couple weekends with a local cycling group [yeah, I'm actually going to attempt to meet people!] and I wanted to make sure that I could actually do it before the fact. I'd only done about 20 miles on the bike path once before, way back in April and it had left me feeling completely dead [in actuality, I think it was only 17 or 18 miles]. Not surprising, because it was unseasonably warm [I hadn't gotten used to the heat yet], I didn't have enough water with me, and, oh yeah, I hadn't really been biking all that much yet. This time I was much more prepared: the weather was around 80, which I'd been out biking in for the past week, I had two water bottles with me [one completely frozen], and I've been consistently putting in ten miles or more on my bike rides [except on days I only bike to the gym, as that's only 5.15 miles round trip]. And I'd made significant improvements in my aerobic health and stamina [including those dreadful hills!]. So I figured it would be better this time around.

I was aiming for at least 15 miles today, I didn't want to severely push myself like that first ride but I figured that if I could do 15, I could easily work up to 20 in the next week and a half. As soon as I got out there, it was beautiful [aside from all the families who were trying to enjoy the holiday but didn't know the first thing about common courtesy on the bike path] and I was feeling great. I still have moments of my ankle bothering me [I think the sprain is healed but my tendonitis is acting up] but as soon as I get on my bike, it just disappears. That's part of the reason I've been biking so much lately! The other reason being that I've reclaimed my love of biking [not that it ever fully went away], especially now that I'm biking purely for fun [and fitness], not as part of a job.

I ended up doing 20 miles, again, and felt much better about it this time. In fact, the only time I felt really tired was at the end, the last 2 miles home, and that's because I'd stopped at the grocery store and was now lugging an additional 20 pounds of food up hills! [It was like my own little "putting the weight back on" challenge, and boy was it difficult!] I did take three breaks during my ride, to take pictures and switch out water bottles and enjoy the scenery. Here, pictures!

around mile six and going strong!
the river, as seen through trees
The dam!
Since the bike path [along with everything else in Rhode Island] is along ~historical~ sites, there are little helpful write-ups everywhere.
New handlebar tape! I loooove the orange! Now if only I could do something about all the ugly rust on the frame...
This is as far as I got on that other ride, but I kept going this time because my GPS tracker said I hadn't hit 10 miles yet. So, apparently, my estimate for that other ride was wrong. Oh well.
Ten miles happened to be right next to a huge clover field.
I took a break in the clovers. Next time, I'm packing a lunch.
Aerial handlebar pic!
Just chillin' around 16 miles or so. Or more aptly, just sweatin'. Please excuse the pit stains.
One thing happened on the way back that I unfortunately didn't get on camera but was absolutely amazing. I was alone on a stretch of road and out of the woods, a deer appeared! She looked at me and decided to run alongside me, staying with me for about 20-30 feet before going back into the trees. It was so incredible and beautiful. My camera wasn't out and ready, and she was gone before I got it, but I wish I had gotten a picture! Maybe it'll happen again [haha]. Anyway, it made the whole bike ride that much more wonderful, and I'm so glad that I got to experience it. I'm totally a Disney princess, y'all.

Totals for the bike ride: 20.4 miles, 1 hour 39 minutes, 1233 calories, 12.3mph average speed

Also, sparkpeople decided to increase my calorie goals since I've been doing so much exercise [I burn about 1,000 extra calories any day I go to the gym or on a long bike ride]. Now my calorie goals are between 1550 and 1950. That is TOO MUCH FOOD. I feel a little ridiculous saying that, most people would be excited about getting to eat more, but... okay, my calorie goals before were 1200-1550 and, because I eat a lot of vegetables, some days I have trouble making just the bare minimum of 1200 calories a day. Not always, but my calories are generally always under 1350 unless I splurge and order pizza or something. Which isn't a common occurrence, nor do I want to make it one. So I have absolutely no idea how to eat more, but healthily. I did it today, just barely, but I felt so stuffed and gross.

I must be the only "dieter" who complains about having to eat more food, I swear.
Weigh in today. I'm down 2.5 pounds, which is a decent number. I was hoping for over 3 pounds, to make up for the last two weeks of no loss [so I'd have an average of a pound a week], but this is close and I'm happy with it. Especially if the scale continues to move for the next few weeks and doesn't keep up this "lose big one week, stay the same the next two" trend that it's been doing. Anyway, I now have less than 60 pounds to lose, which seems completely within the realm of possibility. I'm actually just a little over 50 pounds to go from my WW goal, my WW goal is a little over my actual goal so I could give myself some wiggle room... yeah, that didn't work out so well and I wiggled a bit too much, don't you think?

This week's weigh in: 193.5
This week's loss: 2.5
Monthly loss: 5.7
Total loss: 27.5

Since it's the beginning of the month, I also took measurements. I've lost 0.25 inches in my waist, 0.5 in my hips, 0.5 in my belly, 0.5 in my thigh, and nothing in my arm and neck. My arm has only lost an inch total since the beginning of the year, which is frustrating. I carry a lot of fat in my arms. Most people are concerned about belly fat? Not me, I just want rid of these bat wings! Oh, the perils of having eastern European genes. I know they'll go away eventually, but they were honestly the last thing to slim down last time around and I'm not looking forward to dealing with them until I'm just 10 pounds away from my goal weight. Uuuuugh.

Okay, done with the negative topics! Onto something fun: my fitness bucket list. I've written down some of these goals before, some are more ambitious than others, but these are all things I want to do while pursuing this life of fitness. Here we go.
  • complete a cycling tour
  • run a half marathon
  • beat my 5k PR [30:30 when I was at my goal weight and very fit]
  • get heels to touch the floor during Downward Facing Dog [they've done it before, they can do it again!]
  • successfully finish 30 Day Shred [came so close before my ankle flared up again!], P90X, and Insanity… in that order
  • bike to New York [200 miles]
  • climb a mountain [just a moderate mountain, nothing outrageous like Everest]
  • complete 100 pushups in a row without stopping [I'm getting there!]
  • be able to do unassisted pull-ups
  • learn how to swim properly and complete a triathlon [I can swim, but it involves a lot of uncoordinated flailing]
  • become a yoga instructor
This week's goals are to bike 50 miles, go to the gym three times, and lose 1.5 pounds. The month's goals are to bike 200 miles, accumulate 2,000 fitness minutes on sparkpeople, lose 6 pounds, and lose at least half an inch in my arm. Also, to be able to run on my ankle by August 1st [but I'm well aware that I can do nothing about that so it may or may not happen].

Progress pics!
Uploaded from the Photobucket Android App
Who wears short shorts? I do... in the comfort of my own home during a heat wave.
Uploaded from the Photobucket Android App
I'm actually getting a booty thanks to all those lunges and squats!
I've been taking progress pics about once a month but usually don't post them because I hate how I look in them. But not anymore! Maybe one day, when I'm far, far away from them, I'll put the first few months' pictures up.

Do you have a fitness bucket list? If so, what's on it?