Friday, April 11, 2008

Oh Joy!

It's Friday...Thank Goodness. This Sunday is my and Miguel's third anniversary. We're staying tomorrow (Saturday) night at a local inn and having dinner in their restaurant. It's supposed to be in the 80's here this weekend and they have a pool so I'm planning on doing plenty of lounging. Still, tomorrow morning we're planning on going on a bike ride, don't know where just yet.

By the way, what I really need to do right now is stop typing and go to the gym! But, I remembered what the third thing was...

So my friend Joy asked us along on a rafting trip later this summer. She described how leisurely and fun the whole thing is so we decided to do it. A couple weeks after we paid I decided to check out the rafting company's website. A quote from the description of our day, "You will venture through rapids such as Widow Maker, The Elevator, Mad Mike, Mario Andretti, and many other thrilling rapids." Ok, what? The Widow Maker? Mario Andretti? Am I a rafter? No. Do I know the first thing about rafting? No. Is this the sit back, relax, drink a beer while on a river rafting trip Joy described? uh, doesn't seem like it. So I called her all nervous and she assured me it's a piece of cake. Then she said, "if you fall out just float down." uh-huh. Well, this isn't until August so I'll be quiet about it until then.

Oh! I almost forgot, I lost 1.8 pounds at weigh-in this week! Yay! After all the meals out I wasn't expecting a loss. Slowly but surely. And, I rode my new road bike to the meeting. Riding a road bike is so different than a mountain bike. The pedals had these strap things you slide your shoe into (kinda like in this pic I found) and that made me very nervous. I've never ridden a bike with my foot encumbered in any way. Also, I felt much more like I could fall off the bike, like if a big breeze came along or something. I think it's because the bike is so light compared to a mountain bike, I don't feel grounded or something. Well, it's just going to take some getting used to. So after the meeting Miguel met me at a nearby coffee shop and took off the straps. I felt much more comfortable on the ride home. I think I'll ride like this until I get more comfortable on the bike and then consider toe-clip shoes. Being able to turn my foot and quickly get it off the pedal seems less scary than getting caught up in straps.

I'm going to ride it to the gym now, where I belong.

Update: Whew! My legs got a workout. Rode to the gym (about 2.5 miles relatively flat), did 15 minutes on the elliptical, then did c25k Week 4 Day 6 (which means on to Week 5 next week!), then 10 minutes on the stationary bike. Today's weight training was legs. I do squats, lunges, the leg press machine, standing and seated calves, hamstrings with the ball. I mix in Core work throughout doing crunches, oblique crunches, hanging leg raises and lower back extension. I do three sets of between 8-12 reps (depending) on every exercise. I had to rush toward the end because it was getting dark and I don't have lights on my bike. Rode home and had a nice, hot shower. I'm ready for the weekend!

Thursday, April 10, 2008

In All Its Glory

There's just so much going on over here that I don't know where to start! I'll narrow it down to three things so this post doesn't turn into an 11-page article.

1: I've been sadly lacking in knowledge when it comes to eating and working out. I was of the mind that it makes more sense to work out on the emptiest stomach possible so that you burn fat, not food in your stomach. I started reading up on the subject and decided I was somewhat misinformed. Lately my workouts (which average about 2 hours between cardio, weights, core, and stretching) have been leaving me feeling quite pooped afterward. I haven't had that bounce in my step as I walk back to my car post-gym. I decided that the advice to eat a snack a bit before, and a bit after, a workout was worth trying. I like the info in a Weight Watchers article and started on a search for something with ~100 calories and 5 grams protein and 20 grams carbs.

I bought PowerBar Gel, which the GNC guy told me was more for mid-marathon refueling and I noted it had no protein. I ate it about 20 minutes before the gym on Monday and honestly didn't notice that much of a difference. I was in a bike shop (surprise surprise) and found AccelGel, which had the perfect 4:1 carb:protein ratio I was looking for in 100 calories. Since it was only the first time I tried it I don't want to draw too strong a conclusion but I was energized through my entire workout. I felt great during my c25k jog and had plenty of pep during my weight training. After the gym I ate another AccelGel with some water while I made dinner. Well, you don't really eat these gels, you sort of suck them out of the package. Normally I don't eat any Activity Points (in Weight Watchers you can earn Activity Points (APs) through physical activity and then eat those points if you want) but I decided since my current ration of 23 points has been feeling sort of limited lately that I would use 4 APs for the two Accel Gels (2 points each). Alright, enough about gel.

2: I did it! I bought a road bike. I found it used on Craigslist and so far I looove it. Here's a picture of the model, a Bianchi Brava:

Isn't it beautiful? Alright, I know what you might be thinking, "Michelle, didn't you just buy a bike?!" Well, yes I did but it was a mountain bike, this is a road bike. Admittedly I used to think the only difference was the tires and the handlebars but I guess it's much more than that. Enough that if I want to get into road biking while I'm also getting into mountain biking I decided I need a bike.

Let me tell you, riding the road bike was a whole different kind of fun. It just feels so fast! Granted, I only rode it around a parking lot but I felt like I was turbo-charged compared to riding the mountain bike. I can't wait to get out on a more substantial ride. I got up early this morning and spent all my extra time researching rides in my area. Now I have to keep myself from going overboard buying accessories for it.

3: I would have sworn there was a third thing that's been going on but now I can't think of it. Anyway, today is Thursday, weigh-in day. I'm hoping to stay the same. I had a big loss last week (2.4 pounds) and often after a week like that I level out and I've been out to eat a ton this week! I went to Thai on Friday night, an Italian Dinner Party Saturday night, Cafe Lunch on Sunday afternoon, Indian Buffet Tuesday lunch...yeah, not exactly the recipe for a loss. But we'll see. I'll be wearing my lightest clothes on the scale today!

Finally, thank you to my friends for reading my blog and commenting. It's so nice to know I'm not talking to myself on here and the encouragement and "atta girl!"'s really boost my spirit.

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Sunday, Sunday @ Point Reyes Bear Valley Trail

Another fabulous day in my little corner of Northern California. A group of us went to Point Reyes National Seashore for a biking/hiking day. We started out on our bikes leaving Bear Valley Visitor's Center and taking the Bear Valley Trail through forests and past a meadow. This trek is labeled as "easy" in my trail book with a total distance of ~8 miles (6 biking, 2 hiking). Still, I'm sad to say I had to walk my bike up the latter part of a short climb. It's only a 200' elevation gain but the steady incline did me in. Three miles in we locked up the bikes and hiked the last mile to the seashore. Here we are at the bike rack.

At the end of the mile hike the ocean opens up in front of you. You can almost hear angels singing as it comes into view. We were treated to incredible views and soaked them all in.

We then took a short trail that drops steeply down to Coast Creek and out to the beach for a glimpse of the sea tunnel (the "arch" of Arch Rock) where the creek meets the ocean.
We sat on the rocks next to the water and shared some treats, enjoyed the beautiful surrounds and company, and plotted future events.

A few more pictures...

We then hiked back 1 mile to our bikes, hopped on our bikes and gleefully rode the mostly downhill 3 mile ride back to our cars. Weeee!!

Afterward we walked around the town of Point Reyes Station for a bit and then had a late lunch at The Station House Cafe. I had a green salad with an oil-free mustard vinaigrette to start and Fettuccine with Clams and Tomales Bay Mussels with a tomato, garlic, white wine sauce. Oh was even better than it sounds. Topped it all off with a nice beer. Who could ask for a better day? I know I can't.