Monday, June 25, 2012

Beginners Guide To Biking . By A Beginner. Part III

You can also reference part I and part II.

Two of my biggest questions when I started were:

"How fast should I be going on my bike?"  and "How fast is fast?"

A general guide to speed is this: 


Depending on the bike you have "good" speeds will be different.  My current average is 14.5 mph on my road bike, but the hybrid is still 13.  A mountain bike would be lower.  My advice is to figure out your natural speed right now.  If your average is 10 mph with out pushing that's exactly where I started.  How do you get faster?
Your speed will increase on its own.  The more you go out, the stronger you will get, the better your cardio will be and the faster will you get.  Apps like Strava help me to push myself.   Strava lets you make segments or ride segments that are already there.  I segmented my whole route and started working on one segment at a time.  That way I only pushed myself hard for a pre set length. one by one I became Queen of the Mountain or moved up spots.  Then, after a while, I was beating records without trying.  If you are pushing hard to raise your MPH average I also suggest angry music.  I ride much faster when I am wearing my ipod and it is set to angry.  That was my route to going faster and it is what I would suggest to you.

The next big question:

How far should I be biking?

Most people can bike 10 miles at their current fitness level.  I started a 6.  The rule of thumb is to increase your miles 10% every week.  For example:

Week 1    10.00
Week 2    11.00
Week 3    12.10
Week 4    13.31
Week 5    14.64
Week 6    16.11
Week 7    17.72
Week 8    19.49
Week 9    21.44
Week 10  23.58

 I did not follow this in the beginning.  My goal was to go 1 mile more every bike ride and I went out three times a week.  I did that until I was averaging 50 miles a week.  Now I am in week two of a century training plan ( you can see it here) and I am more closely following the 10% rule.  You should do what feels right for you. 

This is where the bike computer that was discussed in Part II comes in handy.  You can't increase your miles very easily with out knowing how far you are going.  Map My Ride is also a good tool for figuring out distance and elevation.

Part 4, everything you ever wanted to know about pedals, here!

Friday, June 22, 2012

Happiness is the Little Things 6.22.2012

1.  Xtend Barre

I needed to do something other than cycle.  I am not losing any weight but I am burning a pound a week.  I think my body has gotten comfortable with my work out of choice.  I decided to mix it up with this dvd.  So far I love it!  I am going to post a review soon.  No impact, no up and down and smooth transitions.  All pluses for my knees. 

2. Rain

It is finally raining.  Last year the only weather we had was rain and we just wanted it to stop.  This year, my grass is brown.  While rain always upsets my riding schedule, I am glad for the crops, flowers and grass.  I also just enjoy it.

3. JalapeƱo Cheddar Bagel.

I just discovered them and they are delicious.  To bad I can only eat 1500 calories a day.

4.  Honey Dijon Kettle Chips.

More food from someone on a diet.  Shocking I know.  These are really delicious, and not to horrible on calories.  Check out the natural organic section at your grocery store.

5.  Lose It!

Might be my favorite calorie counting/workout tracking app of all time.  If they would partner with Endomondo and if Endomondo would add segments like Strava life would be perfect.  If you are looking for a food tracking app to loose or maintain your current weight you should give it a try.

What has been making you happy this week?

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Gone Girl

Gone Girl is about a marriage. A husband, a wife, and their interactions.  The hook is, the wife is missing.

This is an intense read.  The intrigue and pacing picks you up and doesn't let you go.  There are a lot of clues insights and directions, and I was trying to put it all together.  I usually have books and movies fifured out well before the end.  Then...


out of nowhere the whole game changed.  it's didn't stop changing until the end.

This is the best book I've read in a long, long time.  It is definitly in the top 3 of favotite all time books and I suggest it to anyone and everyone.  Excellent, excellent book. 

5/5 You should go read Gone Girl right now.

What are you reading?

Monday, June 18, 2012

Changing The Goals

It's not really a goal change.  it's more like revitalizing old goals with some new ones.

Losing 38 pounds by August has always been the goal.  I started in January and have since lost 14 pounds.  Since then I have been stuck in a cycle of gaining 5 pounds back and then losing it again.  I am on round 3 right now.  So it's time for a better plan.

1.  I am going to find and use an App/Website that I like to track my calories.  I am convinced the perfect one does not exist so I have to find one I am willing to use.  Loose It is my newest attempt.  So far, so good.  It is easy to understand and easy to use.  I also get more calories based on daily physical activity.  At a 500 calorie deficit right now!  Woot!

2.  Work out 5 days a week.  3 days of cycling and 2 days of Xtend Barre.  Which I am hoping to review for you all next week.  I am going to start my weeks on Monday for this and for #3.

3.  Start training for a century.  Using a training program I found on line, I am going to attempt to train for a 100 mile bike race.  It is a 10 week program but my real goal is to be able to handle one by September.  So if I am not stressed about the 10 week program,.  You can see my training plan and progress here if you are interested.

4.  The weight loss goal is more ambitious then I have attempted before.  Taking into consideration all of the tracking and working out I am planning, I think it is doable.  I want to loose 2 lbs a week hitting a total of 38 pounds lost by October 1, 2012.

I am planning A LOT of work but I am truly excited for it.  I am looking forward to my new healthier future. 

What are your goals?

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Happiness Is The Little Things 6.15.2012

1.  Bean Bag Toss

My husband and I have been going out at night and playing lawn games.  Sunshine and friendly competition is a great way to end the night.
2.  Chocolate Shot Gel!

The difference between a long ride without fuel and a long ride with fuel is intense.  I am attracted to the Goo's and blocks because they are formulated to have everything.  I know I could just eat a banana or nuts but this way I know my bases are covered.  They are small, which is a bonus when you are on bike.  That are also good!  I was really surprised!  My Aunt T told me they taste like chocolate frosting, which turned me off.  I don't like frosting at all.  But it really just taste like a chocolate bar.  Not to sweet, the texture isn't bad, and you are refueled and ready to keep riding!  Cheapest I've found them so far is $1 at Giant Eagle.

3.  Sunglasses

When I turned 30 I started getting food induced migraines.  Nothing in this world is more glorious then putting on sunglasses when you have a migraine.  Also, less squinting = less wrinkles, and I am all about that. 

4. Dutch Apple Pie

I could exist off of a diet of potatoes, coke, steak, and dutch apple pie and be completely happy with my life.  Something about crumbs just makes everything more delicious.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Dracula In Love

 I know, I know.  The whole "Chic Lit" thing is getting old.  My reading is usually more varied and interesting, I promise.  I've just been in the romance novel mood lately. 

Dracula in Love is a retelling of the Dracula story, wholly from Mina's perspective.

I truly enjoyed this book.  The twist on the story was more logical than the original and it really drew me in.  When I put the book down I continued to think about the story and figure out how it would interpret the next event that I knew was coming.  It was a page turner, and it made me think.  Both are excellent quality's in a book.

My only complaint is the ending.  **SPOILER ALERT**  but then,  I've always had a thing for the bad guy.

4 out 5 stars.  

Only because I am still upset about the ending, and am preferring to remember it the way I wanted it to be.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Beginners Guide To Biking . By A Beginner. Part II

You can read part I here and part three here.

3.  Equipment

The things you need:  Water bottle cage, water bottle, bike bag, mace.

Water bottle is so obvious I think it is easily over looked.  I have two on my bike, and most bikes you see on the trail will have two.  Bonus points if the cage and the bottle match the bikes color scheme.  I could have put the bike bag under the wait category, but I was a Girl Scout.  In order to always be prepared you need storage space.  See #4 for what you want in your bag details.

The things you can wait to get:  Bike computer, pedal cages, pedal clip and shoes, bike seat. GPS, rear view mirror.

Bike computer and GPS kind of go together.  You can get a bike computer expensive enough to track you by GPS, you can get an app on your smart phone, or you can use the GPS watch you have for running.  Even if you just get a basic computer it will tell you how far you've gone, how long you've been riding, your current and average MPH as well as any number of other things.  I am kind of a nerd, and I like the numbers.  It keeps me motivated, I can set goals for myself and push myself harder than I would if I didn't know the numbers.  I also enjoy going home, uploading my ride and seeing my results.  My two favorite apps/websites are Strava and Endomondo.  Both have different strengths. 
***UPDATE ***  Recently discovered that Walmart has bike computers.  I think most equipment falls into the " You can pay as little or as much as you want too." category.

Pedal cages and the special pedals and shoes are nice but not necessary.  Both help keep your feet in place over long rides and help you maximize your movement.  You are pulling the pedal up as well as down, much more efficient.

Bike seat.  I know what you are thinking.  " I am going to go out and get the cushiest biggest seat I can find".  Please don't.  That is what your padded shorts are for.  Something about the bigger more padded seats actually causes more soreness for most people.  It may take a while, and some money, to find a bike seat you like but it will be worth it in the end.  Also, don't make a decision about your first seat change until after you got that first months worth of riding and soreness under control. After that you can truly judge what you need from a bike seat.

4.  What do I put in my bike bag?

Anything you might need.  Your phone, lip balm, fuel, handy wipes, epi pen,mace, handkerchief, sunscreen and tire changing essentials.  Yes, you will have to change your tire eventually.  More on that later.  handkerchief is for bug protection.  Some days the bugs are so thick you would swear the air is chunky.  Putting a simple kerchief over you mouth and nose, much like a train robber, will help keep the bug issue under control.

5.  Trail Etiquette

My husband has observed that cyclist are much more friendly than runners.  I always say that's because cyclist are having more fun, and less of a mental war.  Be smart and friendly.  Think of it like a road.  Do not block the path in either direction, do not run people over and do not litter.  When passing either ring a bell or say clearly, " Passing on your left!"  Always pass on the left when possible, but if you need to pass on the right then say so.  Make sure and give pedestrians lots of clearance and remember that just like on a real road, they have the right of way.  Wave or nod to other cyclist, and try not to pity the runners to much.  Be aware that other people are stupid.  They allow their children to play at the bottom of blind curvy hills, and they will decide to get off their bike and stand around on 25 mph hill.  The best offense is a good defense.

Next Monday. 6/18/2012 I will cover how fast you should be going, ride progression and road safety.

Anything to add to these categories?  Leave a comment and let me know!

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Food Induced Migraines

When I turned 30, everything went to hell.

One of the ways my body betrayed me was migraines.  Anyone who knows me is probably thinking, but you have always had head aches.  

Yes.  I have always had headaches.  I probably have a sinus headache at least once a week.  Oh the joys of living in Ohio.

Migraines are an entirely different beast.  Mine seem to have a direct food correlation.  I have a bachelor's degree is psychology, so let me take a moment to say this.

I understand that I may be blaming food, and it's not food's fault or it is not entirely food's fault.  let me whine anyway, I have a migraine.

First migraine was after eating salami for lunch every day.  I decided no more salami and definitely not in large quantities.  Second migraine was after eating pepperoni and a small glass of wine.  Third migraine was after one slice of pepperoni pizza, and the fourth migraine was after one serving of Slim Fast.

The first three are all obvious migraine triggers.  Nitrates.  The big bad that keeps we migraine sufferers on or our toes and in fear of our heads at all times.  Stress can be a secondary trigger, and I think this may be the case with me.  I try to be careful about nitrates regardless of my stress levels.

That brings us to this weeks migraine.  I am on day 5.  I am tired of hearing about how small I look when the scale has not moved in a month.  So, in a desperate attempt to get the scale to move and to force myself to be more strict about my eating, I tried Slim Fast. 

It sound's ridiculous, I know.  My co- workers are using a different product that involves a cleanse and meal replacements.  I asked them about the meal replacements and they said Slim Fast is cheaper, just get that!  So I did.  I don't know what it was.  It could have been the aspartame, a known migraine trigger, I found a web site claiming the that MSG is in the shakes.  I really don't know.  All I know is, I had one for breakfast Monday morning, and I have been a walking migraine ever since.

I am over it.

Does any one have any advice?  How to get rid of it, how to avoid more, how to not try to take shortcuts in my weight loss journey?

Friday, June 8, 2012

Happiness is the Little Things 6.8.12

Happiness is the Little Things 6.8.12

1.  My Springsteen shirt.  

It’s an XLarge which is down from my usual 2x size  Also, it’s the latest in my Springsteen tour shirt collection.  It’s also just cool.


2.  Thor....and Co-workers.  

My co-worker found these Thor valentines at a store and brought them to work for me.  You can see they are now plastered to my work computer.  It makes me happy every day.

3. Smirnoff Blueberry Lemonade.

I do not drink a lot of alcohol.  Especially since the year I was sick. This past weekend though I drank these.  On 90 degree days they are frigging amazing.

4.  Cycling Gloves.

Gloves were one of the first accessory purchases I made when I first started.  Still one of the best thing's I've ever done for myself.  It's one of those things I wouldn't even think about anymore, except two rides ago I forgot them.  18 miles later I was extremely thankful for them.  Padding makes everything better.

5.  Prime Suspect

We don't have cable, only Hulu plus and Netflix.  So not only was I late on this but also discovered it well after it was canceled.  The first episode attempts to cram a lot in.  After that the show finds it strength in portraying slivers of the detectives lives while they go about solving their crimes.  It will make you laugh and it will make you feel.  Everything I want out of TV show.  Do not be turned off by the woman vs men premise.  It becomes an ensemble drama, focusing on their interactions with each other very quickly.



Wednesday, June 6, 2012

More Like Her

More Like Her is about Frances.  It is a 3 month view into her life where we watch her come to grips with her past and embrace her future.

Don't read any other synopsis, including the back of the book.  They give way to much a way.  I also believe it leaves you with the wrong impression.  I started reading this book thinking Frances was going to be idolizing someone.  She never really did, no one ever seemed perfect.  From the moment of introduction all of Liza Palmer's characters had obvious flaws with in themselves or their lives.  I spent 40% of the book fairly confused about what the heck the back of the book was talking about.

I loved this book.  I laughed out loud, I felt France's pain, and I couldn't put it down.  You know where the book is headed, as it starts there, but you forget.  You are to busy watching Frances flounder and find comfort with friends.  You are too involved with seeing yourself in Frances and seeing your circle in her friends.  You are to swept up in her observations of people, visualizing the scenes as she lays them out, to remember what is coming.  And then it does.  There is a shooting.

The book keeps going.  You keep identifying, you keep laughing, you keep feeling, and you keep hoping.

5/5 on this one.  More Like Her  was so much more than I expected, and much more than the book it self purports to be.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Beginners Guide To Biking. By A Beginner. Part I

Part of my motivation for starting this blog was to create something I have not found yet. A cycling blog the way that others have running blogs. While I was researching running,  runner's blogs were a great resource.  I have found the cycling on line community to be much less present than the running community. 

(If you don't believe this to be true AWESOME.  Leave a comment about some cycling communities and blogs that you enjoy.)

I've been biking since April.  I hope that writing down what I have learned thus far will be more helpful to new cyclists than what I would write in say a year or two.  When I forget all of the questions and surprises  I had when I started.

Cycling isn't cheap.  But that doesn't mean it's not feasible.

1.  The Bike

Most articles you find will say something like this:

"Any bike will do!  Pull out the old mountain bike in your garage and take off!"

It's good advice.  You should be sure you are going to really take cycling up as a sport/hobby/lifestyle change before you start spending money.  However, don't let that thinking take you past the point where you should have been out looking for a better bike.  Struggling will sap the enjoyment out of anything.

My advice is this, the moment you realize that you are looking forward to the days ride, you are upset it's not a ride day, or you are seriously considering riding in the rain, it is time to get a good bike.  What's a good bike?  What are you doing?  It has a lot to do with your goals and what you want from biking. I currently have a hybrid and a road bike.  I love both but I they are not made for the same thing.  I take the hybrid out for long slow rides with friends.  I take the road bike out when I am biking for a work out and trying to break all of my personal land speed records.  I am on the road bike more because once you are pushing a 20lb bike with thin tires, it's really hard to go back to pushing a 26lb bike with wide tires.  Trust me. 

Go to a bike shop or 2 or 3.  Check out the bikes ask for advice, and get fitted on the different types you are interested in.  You want a strong, light bike with tires specific to what you want to be doing.  This doesn't mean you have to buy the bike from the bike shop.  Check garage sales and Craigslist and pick up a nearly new bike that someone bought and found out they really didn't like.  Just do your research first.  Know what size you are looking for, what type of bike you want and which brands will best cater to your needs.  Raleigh, Trek and Giant are the three names in my garage.  

Do not be fooled by the bikes at Wal-Mart.  They say Road Bike and Hybrid on them, they say "Pick me up, light aluminum!"   I tried to pick up a Light Wal-mart road bike, I couldn't.  I could carry my road bike over my head for a mile if I had too.  Well, if my arms were longer.

2.  Wardrobe

There are Four purchases that I highly, suggest as your basic cycling wardrobe.  Cycling gloves, Cycling shorts, sunglasses and a helmet.  Most of mine were amazon purchases. 

The further you go the more your hands and butt are going to hurt and they are at some point going to go numb.  Gloves delay all of that while you build up your tolerance.  Your hands will come back around in a few minutes.  Your butt will be hurting for the next month.  Even with your padded shorts it is going to take your butt about a month to adjust to your new activity.

Before I started riding I thought cyclist wore those shorts for speed or some other unidentifiable purpose.  My first month I went out 3-4 days a week in padded bike shorts.  It took me until the next month to be able to sit down like a normal person.  Every week is a little better until one day you wake up and realize your butt doesn't hurt anymore.  That's a good day.  Note I said padded shorts.

Sunglasses aren't just for the sun.  You need to protect your eyes from debris and bugs.  I started with my normal pair and have graduated to a Target "sport" pair.  I've been eying the $100 glasses at the bike shop though.

A helmet is like a seatbelt.  You know you have too.  And you may not realize it yet, but you are going to be going really fast.  Do you really want to be going down a hill at 25 MPH on a bike with no helmet on?  I didn't think so.  What is proper helmet wearing look like?  I used this article to help myself figure it out.

You can read  Part II here, and part III here. Do you have any advice for me or other new cyclists?  Is there anything you thing in these categories you think I missed?  Let me know!

Friday, June 1, 2012

Happiness is the Little Things 06.01.12

1.  Colby- Jack Cheese: 
To heck with calories!  Colby-jack is delicious and I want it on everything!

2.  Coke:  

Ok, so I am not new to coke.  But since I have started on my weight loss journey I greatly limit my intake.  This week I said “I DON’T CARE” and drank more than usual.  Ah coke, how I love you.

3.  City Parks:  

They are totally awesome!  Who knew!  I’ve lived in the same area of town for 5 years and never knew I was right next to a mini get a way spot.  If you have not gone to explore your local parks I highly suggest it.

4.  Moisture Wicking Shirts: 

 I had no idea cotton was holding me back and weighing me down.  Now it’s hard to work out in anything but a dry weave shirt.  

5.  Kindle: 

 As an avid reader, I really held out on this.  I had 0 interest in getting one until a recent trip to a book store.  I wanted 3 books, and even with soft covers I  was looking at $60.  I decided at that moment to buy a Kindle.  I really enjoy reading from it and I love the instant accessibility to any book I want at any time.  My bank account, not so thrilled.

What little things have made you happy this week?