Cycling Gear

Last Ride

Well I’m pretty sure last week’s ride to work was the last bike commute for the winter. It was dry and crisp, the perfect fall day, but FREEZING. It was around 40 degrees when I got up and out of the house and I think that’s being generous. Even though I have decent gear (and supposedly cold weather gloves) my fingers were so frozen they hurt. Same with my toes and my face. The rest of me warmed up nicely on the ride.

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The Springwater Trail was fairly empty that morning. I stopped mid-ride to blow my nose (cold weather makes it runny, same with my eyes) and my friend Debby rode past! So I caught up to her and we rode the rest of the way into work together. It was nice because we chatted a little and it distracted us both on how miserable we were!

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So yeah, that was the last ride!

I was so cold the rest of the day at work. Even though I was wearing a sweater, I just had a chill. I was so freezing that I skipped my apple for my morning snack and got a cup of broccoli cheddar soup to warm me up. I ate half of it and then had the rest with my lunch.

The afternoon was much more pleasant. It was warmer and the sun was out.

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About 10 miles total for the day. It was a pretty good way to end the cycling season. I’d done Body Pump the night before (took it easier this time so I wouldn’t be as crippled). By the afternoon ride home I was starting to stiffen up and get more sore. I think the bike ride helped loosen me up a tad.

So how are the kitties doing?

I figured it was time for an update on how the wild beasts in my home are getting along. As I predicted, Maya is staying in the bedroom and doesn’t come out. I knew it would take her a lot of time. Fat Kitty, on the other hand, has FINALLY decided to assert his authority. He’s the King of the house and he’s letting Bella know it!

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Last Tuesday night I got home from Body Pump and watched as Fat Kitty and Bella met. For two hours. It was quite entertaining. He alternated what side of the gate he was on as he hissed and growled at Bella. Bella was really good and didn’t chase him or antagonize him. She’d sit on one side of the gate, Fat Kitty on the other. Bella seemed more curious and scared than anything! She’d run back to the couch and look scared:

That short video needs audio. That is Fat Kitty growling at Bella. 🙂 He’s so fierce! Last Wednesday night I hung out in the bedroom with Fat Kitty watching some TV. He sat next to me on the bed and Bella came in and laid down on the floor at the foot of the bed. It was awesome! Fat Kitty didn’t growl for nearly 30 minutes! The three of us just hung out together. I was so impressed at the leaps and bounds the animals are making with each other.

But they aren’t ready to be alone together yet. So when Michael I got dressed to go out to dinner for date night, I put Bella in the crate for the hour or so we’d be gone. She wasn’t happy about it and I felt badly but…it’s too soon for her to just be out and about without us there.

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Michael was going out of town for a week so we went to Eleni’s in Sellwood for dinner as a date night before he left. Eleni’s has a special place in my heart because it’s where we had our first date.

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I ordered a glass of  Pinot Gris with dinner and we started with Michael’s favorite appetizer, the “Ktipiti” which is a spicy feta dip. It’s so good! We always order it.

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It came with warm pita bread, veggies and Greek olives. If I could have licked the plate of the feta dip residue I would have, it’s that delicious. For my entree I went with the steamed mussels that were in a tomato and garlic sauce with onions and feta. I’ve been craving clams or mussels for weeks! Finally got to have it.

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Michael ordered the lamb special of the night. It was a leg of lamb where the meat was so tender it fell off the bone and mashed sweet potatoes. It came with sauteed kale but they’d used a really heavy hand with the lemon and it was basically inedible. Which was weird because we’ve always had a good meal at the Sellwood Eleni’s.

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On the way home we stopped at Dairy Queen for a blizzard. It’s been a good 8 years since I’ve been! I used to be obsessed with Blizzards and would eat the big ones at least once or twice a week. This time Michael and I ordered the mini–which surprisingly still had a lot of calories in it! The mini was about 350 calories. Eeeek. Oh well. It was worth it. It will probably be another 8 years before I go back. 😉

We got home and let Bella out of the crate for the rest of the evening and Fat Kitty was extra grumpy. Hissing, spitting, growling. It feels like we take one step forward, two steps back with the cat and dog!

QUESTION: If you have a dog and cat, how long did it take for them to get along? 

All About Gear

Last year I wrote a post, I Don’t Know Where to Start, that addressed the most common issue with weight loss: “I want to lose weight but I don’t know where to start.” It’s normal to feel that way. Check out some of my other posts if you need some motivation: How to Exercise Regularly, 21 Days to a New Life, Starting Over.

So if you’re just starting a workout program and you’re not sure where to start, this post is for you! It was inspired by an email from a long time reader:

“Hi! I’ve been a follower of your blog for a few years now and I want to start swimming for exercise. Are there any tips/advice you can share with a beginner? Wondering if a cap is necessary, how many minutes/laps to start with, what brand of goggles, etc? Maybe you already have a blog post like this, not sure? Thanks!”

It’s a fantastic question. I’ve written a lot of posts about swimming and you can check them out here:

My Favorite Swimming Gear

Swimming Tips for Beginners

So You Want to Be a Swimmer

But what do you REALLY need when starting a workout program? Honestly, you don’t need much. You can get all the bells and whistles and spend a lot of money on gear but it’s not necessary.

What You Need: Swimming

A lot of what you need starting to swim is based on personal preference. If you want to go the simple route you need a swimsuit, goggles and a swim cap. That’s pretty much it. My personal preference is to have ear plugs and nose plugs. I’m just more comfortable with those extra things and they don’t cost much.

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Try different goggles. I can’t really recommend a specific brand or style because it really is based on what fits YOU. I’ve tried a million goggles over the years trying to find the right ones that fit my eyes and don’t leak. I’ve settled on TYR goggles but Speedo makes some good models, too. The swim cap is recommended for two reasons, whether you are male or female: 1) it’s good hygiene in the pool (no one wants to see clumps of hair floating around) and 2) it’s so much easier to enjoy your swim when you don’t have to mess with your hair in your eyes.

What You Need: Cycling

Read Michael’s post: Day Zero – Bike Purchases. It’s very informative. So, you need a bike, a helmet and probably a decent pair of cycling shorts for comfort.

When it comes to cycling, you can go into debt buying all sorts of fancy things: the shoes, the sunglasses, the gloves, the gear…You have to decide what is absolutely necessary because really you just want to be comfort sitting on your bike and protect your head.

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I have arm warmers, compression tights and click in shoes. I also have various types of clothes depending on the weather. Weather can be unpredictable in Portland so I need stuff for rain and sunshine–we can have both in a single day.

What You Need: Running

All you really need for starting to run is GOOD SHOES. Get fitted at a running store before you start any program. Prevent injuries before they happen. I cannot stress this enough. It amazes me when I see people running in shoes that looks 10 years old. When I got fitted at Foot Traffic, I was fitted for Brooks Ravenna. Love them! They are fantastic.

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That’s it. That’s all you need! Good shoes. But if you want to get a little more…I recommend some good wicking clothes (you don’t have to spend a lot of money on fancy Nike clothes–running shorts should not cost $60!). I love my Polar Heart Rate monitor and could never go back to working out with one. You don’t need one, though, and you don’t need a Garmin. There are so many free apps for iPhone that you can use for mileage.

What You Need: Weight Lifting

If you’re working out at home then you’ll want to buy some free weights, maybe a medicine ball or a kettle bell. If you’re working out at gym you’re set. I’d suggest gloves. You can buy gloves that are specific for lifting but I just use my old cycling gloves. It’s worked well for me for years. Gloves are a personal preference. I wear them so that when I get sweaty I don’t slip or drop the weights but there are some schools of thought that say gloves prevent you from developing grip strength. I also wear gloves to prevent calluses (which I’m getting anyway!).

A training journal or notebook is a good idea to keep track of what exercises you are doing, what weight you are at and how you’re progressing. When I started working out with Suzanne, I got a journal to record the workouts and my PT exercises. I can’t believe it took me this long to get one!

What You Need: Walking

Just like with running, you need good shoes. It’s worth it to spend a little money on nice shoes. If you are an avid walker and want to track your mileage, you don’t need to buy a fancy gadget or pedometer. If you have a smart phone, there are free apps you can use to track mileage. I use Cyclemeter because it tracks my miles for any activity I select. I use it for biking and running.

Bottom Line

Bottom Line: you don’t need to spend a ton of money to get in shape. Please don’t let cost keep you from starting your weight loss journey. It doesn’t have to cost a lot of money. And in the long run, getting fit and healthy will save you money!

QUESTION: What is your “must have” gear for working out?