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Professional Bike Fit & New Doctor

I finally sucked it up and took my bike in to get professionally fit. I’d been dragging my feet all winter long and with my one and only bike commute attempt this spring, I realized I just need to do it. It’s definitely expensive, but I think the benefits outweigh the cost. Even though I bought my bike from Bike Gallery, I got the fitting at River City Bikes. It’s a great bike store, very highly rated and I felt confident going there for the fitting. I tried to get fitted at Bike Gallery, since they sold me the bike, but it was near impossible to coordinate and they had difficult times. River City had more of an open schedule and I could get in quicker and at a convenient time for me (i.e. not having to take time off work).

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The fitting was done in a separate building from the main retail store. It was a large room with a massage table and lots of gadgets. I was glad it wasn’t in the main store where it was noisy and crowded. I really felt like I was getting the undivided attention of the professional. Ward Griffiths was who I saw. She had a lot of experience and after only a few minutes she kinda already knew what was going on with my body and my bike.

She did an initial review of me on the bike trainer. Then she did a bunch of tests and measurements. She was testing my hips, how my knees track, my flexibility, pretty much everything. She took a log of every injury and surgery I’ve had. Then she set up the cameras in two different locations to get different views of me on the bike.

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She did her magic with the computer program to analyze how my body works on the bike and found a few things. First, I was stretching too far out to reach the handle hoods. That can put a lot of pressure on the upper body, strain the back and cause knee pain. How could that cause knee pain? Because I’m less stable and my center of gravity puts all the weight on my knees. Good to know!

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Second, she also moved my seat slightly up and slightly back. That sounds counter-productive to the issue of me stretching too far, right? But she also swapped out my stem or a shorter one. This basically moved my whole body back a little on the bike and should hopefully take some of the pressure off my knees. She was also going to change out the handlebars to a shorter model but we decided to wait and see how these initial changes effect my riding.

As part of the $175 fitting cost, I can go back to be re-fitted as many times as I want for the next 12 months. I think that’s fantastic. It’s going to take a few really good and maybe long rides to figure out if the changes she made worked. If they didn’t, I’ll go back and try the new handlebars. It’s going to be a trial-and-error experiment until we get it just right.

One other thing Ward did was put in a small plastic “lift” in my cycling shoes. The mechanics of my feet and the way I pronate could be part of the problem with my knees. We’re hoping the lifts in the shoes will help.

My “diagnosis” is that I have mild valgus in my left foot and knee, moderate valgus in my right foot and mild valgus in my right knee. Valgus refers to the structure of my feet and knees–basically I’m slightly bow-legged or knock-kneed.

After the fitting (which took 3 hours and not the 2 they said it would take), Michael and I went home famished and fixed dinner. We made the gluten-free garlic basil penne that I bought at Pike Place Market last weekend.

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I sprinkled on some of the basil olive oil I also bought at the Market, mixed in some sauteed kale and cut up chicken sausages. I shredded a little fresh parmesan cheese and called it good. It was a really tasty dinner. I liked all the flavors together. The gluten-free pasta had a different texture but it didn’t have an odd taste.

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Dinner was less than 500 calories and very filling! I like that the chicken sausages are only 100 calories per link!

Follow-Up Appointment

The following day I saw a new knee specialist. You may remember the last specialist I saw had zero bedside manner and his solution to my knee issues was to offer me a walker or wheelchair. Yeah………So I took his advice and rested my lower body for 6 weeks, didn’t see improvement and made a followup appointment with a different specialist. Enough of this. It’s gone on too long.

I saw the new doc, Carol, and loved her. She had great bedside manner, was an athlete herself and said she wanted to get me back to full capacity. She analyzed the new X-rays she ordered and reviewed the MRI results again. She said everything looks structurally good. There’s a small spot of wear on my right knee but nothing terrible and I don’t need surgery.

Her diagnosis was runner’s knee, of course, basically overuse in the kneecap. Something is weak in my knees and it’s causing everything to flare up from rubbing the wrong way. I’m paraphrasing. She gave me a few new exercises to do (one was flexing my quad and kneecap–it feels really gross and it’s creepy but she said it works). She gave me a plan for biking (no hills), hiking (recommended poles), and running (soft terrain and flat surfaces). She also referred me to a PT that she prefers. She also told me to do the leg press machine at the gym one leg at a time.

I’m going to do everything she said. I’m also back to starting Phase 1 of Suzanne’s program again. I decided it would be good to start it again because now I can do lower body exercises (squats, etc) that will help strengthen my quads and glutes. I will definitely be signing up with Suzanne again in a few weeks.

I’m happy with my doctor. I’m disappointed that it was basically the same advice I got from my regular Sports Medicine doc back in October –physical therapy and take it easy. But I’ll give it a go.

QUESTION: Have you ever had a professional bike fitting? What was your experience?

Lovely Lebanese

How was your weekend? Was it eventful? Low-key? Are you frantically trying to finish your holiday shopping? Thankfully I am done with all of my shopping and spent the weekend kind of chilling. Michael had a horrible head cold and spent the weekend on the couch. I ran a bunch of errands (I was OUT of library books and had to get some new ones…I’m totally like a junkie with my books).

I did have a great workout on Saturday morning. I’d been avoiding running for about two weeks. I’d run a mile a few times and the most recent time my knee hurt a bit so I back off. Luckily, Saturday’s one mile run was mostly pain-free. I think I have to let my knees warm a bit but once they do, the run always feels great!

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You know why that number is so high? KETTLE BELLS.  If you haven’t given them a try, do so. It’s fun and gets your heart rate up like nothing else. This time I even graduated to a heavier kettle bell. I’m now swinging the 20 pound bell instead of the 15.

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After the great run and workout, Michael and I met some friends at Nicholas restaurant for lunch and a little mini-Christmas celebration. My friend Star, Sam and her boyfriend joined us. The restaurant on NE Broadway is much better than the one on Grand (much bigger and not as busy).

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They brought out the piping hot bread that I love so much. It’s similar to pita bread but thinner. I got caught up with my friends and we exchanged cards and gifts. It was time to order lunch and everything sounded so good, it was hard to decide.

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I love Lebanese food! The flavors are always unique and a lot of the time I struggle to detect what spices they used. The dish I ended up getting was “Freekah.” It was smoked Egyptian rice with ground beef mixed into it, pine nuts, almonds and topped with shredded chicken. The Freekah looked like rice but it’s a unique grain that seemed similar to Israeli couscous. I think the chicken had a hint of cinnamon in it. I’m sorry my photo didn’t turn out better, because the food was really delicious. I especially liked the taziki sauce. I could seriously put that on everything. I had a ton leftover for my lunch (yay!).

We spent over two hours hanging out the restaurant and then parted ways. Michael was still feeling a little under the weather so he laid down and I finally go to spend a few hours of my own starting season 2 of “The Closer.” It was a nice relaxing afternoon.

We wanted something light for dinner after eating such a big lunch so we had pork chops and Brussels sprouts. I didn’t like pork for a really long time. It was just a boring protein, I guess. I’m completely converted now. Boneless pork chops are a great dinner option for athletes or someone trying to lose weight. Did you know that 4 oz. of pork tenderloin contains approximately 193 calories and has 33 grams of protein in it? That’s so lean and healthy!

A boneless pork chop (4 ounces) can be between 150-180 calories depending on what website tracker you use (I see varying numbers). According to Livestrong that 33 grams of protein in a chop is more than half the typical adult’s daily needs. It’s low in fat and packed with nutrients. Pork chops are relatively lean, not quite as low in fat as fish or a chicken breast, but still leaner than red meat.

Another great thing about pork chops–all you really need to season the meat is salt and pepper. Simple, delicious. Pair the pork chops with your favorite vegetable side dish and you have a very, very filling dinner for less than 500 calories. We eat a boneless pork chop for dinner probably once a week. Usually it’s paired with steamed broccoli or sauteed Brussels sprouts.

If you were like me and thought pork chops were kind boring, give it another chance. Here are some good recipe choices for pork chops:

Pork Chops au Poivre

Pork Chops with Ginger-Soy Glaze

Skillet Pork Chops Florentine

Let me know if you try any of those recipes and like them!

QUESTION: Do you like Lebanese food? What’s your favorite thing to order?