Thursday, July 15, 2010

One 1/4 mile at a time

Um ... hello.

I was an original Cincy Loser. Now, when it comes to weight loss, I'm really just a loser. I completely gave up.

In 2007, I put on tons of weight due to several deaths in the family. So in 2008, I got myself a trainer, worked out with her diligently for 6 mos, all in an attempt to lose the funeral weight. I even ate better.

NOTHING HAPPENED. Seriously, getting a trainer was not the best use of my time or money. She never taught me the things I wanted to know (like how to correctly use the machines instead of how to modify the machines in ways she thought were better) and I neither lost weight nor gained muscle. She was a great person though, and currently the head trainer at my old gym.

I was ballroom dancing once a week too, but that (which I'm still doing) is an incredible amount of fun but not necessarily always challenging to my muscles. Ballroom dancing is now more of a stress reliever for me than a way to exercise.

I started traveling again in late 2008 and truthfully, I haven't really stopped. Staying healthy and traveling is a really hard thing to do, and I'm a big sucker when it comes to being lazy.

Where does that leave me? Way too overweight and not happy about it.

Me now. Even the groundhog
thinks I should get in shape.

I've had this weird flirtation going on with my bicycle for a year. Last year, I was amazingly inspired by my friend Jen, who has become a cycling goddess in less than 2 years. I got my poor dusty bike out of storage. I have a nice bike, a fancy Cannondale purchased for me about 15 years ago. 15 years ago I rode it twice before I decided that I was afraid of cars.

So, I stared at my bike for the last year. In June, before a 3-week round of travel, I dropped off my bike at the shop for a tune-up, cobwebs, rotted tires, and all. The cycle guys just stared at me then made fun of the cobwebs.

I picked the thing up - tuned up, new wheels, and shiny - on July 2, the day after I returned home from my trip, and proceeded to stare at it for two weeks. I made up all sorts of excuses, which included buying a bike lock and a helmet, amongst other things I don't need.

Monday I got on the bike. I have such a huge fear of cars and I'm terribly out of shape, so this was a pretty big deal. I rode around 2 blocks in my neighborhood, coming in at .94 mi. When I came back on Monday, I walked into my kitchen and fell down. My legs were - without exaggeration - jelly. I downed several bottles of water and dragged myself to the couch. By the end of Monday, my abs were hurting, my back muscles, and my shoulders and arms (from clutching the handles for dear life).

Tuesday I made myself get back on the bike and do it again - same route. I was still a little jelly when I came back, but I didn't collapse. My abs hurt less and I think I actually relaxed a little in my upper body.

Yesterday I was downtown all day, so there was no way I could have ridden the bike. But today I made myself get back on the damned thing and I rode 1.30 mi. (I added a block.) I know it's not much. I have friends who regularly ride 70-100 miles every weekend and here I am cheering about a mile and a quarter. But I'm so terribly out of shape ... Tomorrow I'm adding another block, I think. Or I might keep the same distance and change up the route. It's not all flat either. I hadn't realized how many gently sloping hills we had around here. (Hell going up, but fun coming down.)

I have it in my head that I can do this. I want to be able to ride to the grocery store - and back - which is 4 miles roundtrip and I want to do it by the end of summer. It's a physical challenge for me - and a mental one. There are a helluva lot of cars between me and the grocery store.

I also desperately need to find a gym. Near me, there is an LA Fitness, a Better Bodies, and an Urban Active. I want to do a free week at each and make up my mind. I hate gyms with a passion because I prefer to be alone when I work out. If I had a spot in my house for an elliptical machine, you would never ever find me at a gym. Picking out a gym is hard; making me go to one is about like pulling teeth.

My ultimate goal? Well, I'm not really looking at this in pounds or inches any more. I want my clothes to fit better and I want to feel better about myself. I also have promised myself a reward.

I love Seattle and our own Cincy Loser Laura has moved out there and is an avid cyclist. There's a town near Seattle called Skagit Valley that each spring erupts in tulips. If I can keep cycling, and stay in shape over the winter, I want to fly out to see Laura next spring and take a ride through the tulips. That's my reward.

Photo by kashyap_hc, used under a CC license


Laura said...

Hooray Michelle! I'm so happy for you! We did the 40-mile tulip ride this year and it was a lot of fun, and a pretty flat ride. I'm going to mark my calendar that we're going to do the 25-mile ride next year, because I know you'll be ready. The Tulips are amazing.

Oh, and as you get more comfortable on your bike, you'll loosen that grip and your shoulders won't hurt so much. It will make your whole experience less tiring.

Jen Rizzo said...

"Cycling goddess"?! You are the sweetest. And I am honestly so, so very proud of you.

Phyllis said...

Michelle, it sounds like you are off to a great start! you can do this and 1/4 mile at a time is the right approach.

Betsy said...

Keep up the good work! And keep your eyes on the various events at the Cincinnati Flying Pig Marathon in the spring. The new Flying Pig Wellness Team offers tips on the Flying Pig Facebook page for new walkers and runners alike. You'll find that advice helpful!

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