biking

Biking Legs

Friday Friday Friday!

Usually I run at lunch on Fridays but this Friday I decided to bike in to work. It was going to be such a nice day and I hadn’t been able to bike in earlier in the week so I switched my workouts.

It might be hard to see but there were people swimming in the Willamette (Gross)! There was a spotter in a kayak with them. I wonder what they were training for?

I was running late and had to really book it. I decided to take the Hawthorne Bridge even though I hate that bridge (it’s crowded, bikers are super aggressive, it’s hard, it sucks). It wasn’t too bad this particular morning, though.

Since I went over the Hawthorne Bridge, I got to check out the “Better Naito” bike path. They closed down one lane on Naito and made it open to just bikers (going both directions, which was slightly weird and unnerving) and walkers/runners). It’s awesome! You feel very safe in the new bike lanes and it’s a lot faster than trying to navigate the waterfront (which is currently closed anyways for the Blues Festival).

This post has better information and photos, if you want to check it out. The ride in was pretty easy and quick.

Lately I’ve been trying to bike into work once a week. I’ve noticed that I do not have my “cycling” legs back yet. It’s a struggle. I’m in ok shape right now–I work out a lot, but cycling fitness is very specific and I am so out of practice, it’s definitely harder this year. My legs just feel REALLY fatigued when I ride. 🙁

My calories were pretty low for the morning, which was weird.

Afternoon Ride

My decision to bike to work instead of drive was a good one. A few years ago I remember getting stuck in holiday traffic trying to leave work before the 4th and it took almost 2 hours to get home. It was such a nightmare!

Biking home from work was a new challenge this week. First, the Morrison bridge is closed (all summer!). So I can’t use that one. Second, the Blues Festival was going on so the Hawthorne was crazy, the waterfront was crazy, and I considered trying out the new Tillicum Bridge but I’d have to go through the chaos of the Blues Festival to get to it, so that was out. I decided to go a different route and take the Steel Bridge to the east side.

It was a hot day, too. 85 degrees!

Soooo going over the Steel Bridge was annoying in the afternoon! It was SO CROWDED!!! Like obnoxiously crowded. It took forever to get around other cyclists, runners, people walking 4 people wide, those stupid NikeTown bikes that people can rent were all over the waterfront but it was people who had clearly never been on a bike and didn’t know the rules of the road…god. It was a nightmare. I already miss the Morrison Bridge!

Once I got to OMSI it was fine. But dang, I need to find another route home!

It was a nice ride from there. I felt okay. I had leftover pizza for lunch and a protein shake for snack at work and I am kinda thinking the carbs had something to do with my better ride. My legs didn’t feel like lead or like the muscles didn’t work. It was just…better.

I got to Sellwood and back to the car and then picked up Logan. It was a good ride home despite the rocky start.

Total miles for the day: 12.75.

It was a good bike in and I missed all the bad holiday traffic, which was nice. I’m a bit frustrated that it’s taking so long for me to get back into “cycling shape” this year. I know I took almost 2 years off from biking but, still… in the past it only took a few weeks or a month or so of biking half way before I was ready to commit and bike from home and back. It could be anything…lack of desire this year (biking isn’t really the priority like running is this year), getting older, recovering from pregnancy and birth, doing a low carb diet…I don’t know. It’s hard to figure out. But I’m going to keep going! I’d like to be able to bike from home soon.

 

My Weight Loss Story – Part 1

My Weight Loss Story – Part 1

by Michael

 

Every year, I set personal fitness related goals for myself. In the past, my goals have been around cycling a certain amount of miles. I have a back injury that rears its ugly head from time to time and this has lead me to conclude that if I keep doing the same things, I’ll keep getting the same results. As a result, I’ve decided not to ride my bike everyday or do any of the same exercises on consecutive days.

Last year, I pedaled 2,100 miles over several commutes from my home to work and back. For all of my efforts, I lost zero pounds last year. Losing weight wasn’t the focus of riding all those miles but you’d think that I’d be able to shed weight without thinking about it due to the biking but that just wasn’t the case. I concluded that while I enjoyed exercising, the reason I hadn’t lost any weight was because of my diet.

IMG_4427

My goals this year are to be able to do 100 push-ups in one set and do 10 pull-ups in one set. When I say things like, “I’m going to do more push-ups this year” it holds no water because there’s nothing holding me accountable. I need an amount and a time frame in order to be successful. At the start of this year, I was able to do 15 push-ups and zero pull-ups. My goals seemed lofty for sure but I’m a numbers guy and measurables like this are what drive me to success. I just needed to figure out how I was going to be able to accomplish it.

My first goal was to work my way up to being able to do 100 push-ups in a day. On the day of the Super Bowl, I was able to do 100 push-ups in a single day for the first time in my life. I did them in 5 sets of 20 over about a half hour period. This was a major achievement for me and it was the first time I believed that I would be able to accomplish the push-up goal this year.

Then I was able to do them in 4 sets of 25 push-ups. Shortly after that, 30, 30, 30, 10. Last month, I was able to do them in just 3 sets – 35, 35, 30. The next step from this point is challenging and I’ve concluded that in order to be able to do 100 push-ups in just 2 sets, I will need to do 2 things. 1 – I will have to do more than 100 push-ups in a day and 2 – I will have to lose weight. For every 10 lbs I lose, that’s 1000 fewer pounds that I will have to push-up over the set of 100. Tipping the power to weight ratio in my favor was obviously going to be necessary in order to be successful.

Just like I said earlier about exercising, I need a weight loss goal. I cannot just say to myself that I want to lose weight and have it stick. I just don’t operate like that. At the start of every month, I assess my progress and set a new monthly goal for myself and I get on a scale weekly to monitor my progress. I don’t know how much weight in total I want to lose, I just assume that I’ll know it when I get there. I know that I’m looking for an optimal power-to-weight ratio that allows me to accomplish my push-up and pull-up goals.

What I don’t do is count my calories. I don’t do this because it constantly makes me feel bad. It makes me feel oppressed, like I’m doing something bad that needs constant monitoring when in reality, I’m eating food and I don’t want to beat myself up for doing that. I know what’s good for me to eat and what isn’t. I don’t need to quantify all of the calories I’m consuming.

The other piece to this is that I exercise. A lot. But this isn’t the reason why I’ve lost weight. I’ve lost weight because of the diet. My exercise looks like this – M/W/F, I bike about 21 miles to/from work. T/Th/Sa, I run in my neighborhood. I created a running goal for myself this year of being able to run 6 miles in under an hour. I’m currently up to 4.7 miles in about 45 minutes. All of this is in addition to my push-up and pull-up goals, which I’m working on each twice a week. I wear a heart rate monitor to track this data and on average, I’m burning 6000 calories a week while exercising. Unlike tracking the calories that I consume, tracking the calories that I burn is empowering. It’s proof that I’m working hard and that I’m getting better as I’m able to run further and my per-mile pace drops. This also allows me to not feel any guilt when I want to drink a glass of wine with dinner because I’ve earned it.

So where am I at now with my push-up goal? I’m up to doing 160 (8 x 20) or 150 (6 x 25) twice a week. For the pull-up goal, I’m just doing as many as I can with the assistance of resistance bands over a few sets. The best part about these goals is that I’m not concerned about failure at all. If I do fail, I will have done thousands of push-ups and pull-ups this year and that itself is a huge personal victory for me. I’ll post an update in January and will let you know if I was successful or not in achieving my goals.

Part 2 will be posted tomorrow and will detail the food part of how I lost the weight.