Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Cycling Blog and Happy Movember Eve

Well, I have tons of weight loss surgery blogs and now running blogs that I read and enjoy, but it turns out there aren't a whole lot of cycling blogs out there. Correction: there are a lot of blogs about bicycles, mechanical whoosies and whatsies and what's available and buy this and rate that, etc.

Maybe someday that will interest me. But it doesn't right now. I'm still all about "ooo, how I will I make rent this month and feed the children?*" No $5K bikes for me!

*I promise, as I'm paying for the plastic surgery, I will continue to feed and house my children. Maybe in a cardboard box whilst eating Top Ramen, but I will at least meet the spirit of my obligations.

No, when I am looking for cycling blogs, I want something like this: cool people talking about how cool it is to ride a bike. Anecdotal stuff, personal stuff. The kind of fluff I write, in other words.

I found a couple one: Jess Cutler. She lives in Seattle and races bikes. Alma also bikes and throws in little biking tidbits along with all her running, too. It's a start! Anyway, I'm looking for more, so if you know of any. I get sleepy when there are too many technical details about bikes, though. :)

God Watches Over Drunks, Children and Girls on Bikes Who Have No Sense
Now, for my own little biking tidbit this morning, I rode my bike to the P&R before work. Just a short little ride designed to put my bike in the right place after work so I can go on my now-standing Wednesday night group ride. Umm, standing ride for this week and next, anyway, haha. Then I'll be in recovery mode for awhile.

I opted to go down the very steep hill by my house, even though it was dark and rainy, because I was being lazy. There is a back route that is not much farther at all. On the very steep hill, there isn't really room for cars to pass, and it is the main thoroughfare out of my neighborhood. When I drive it in the morning, bicyclists irritate me make me wish they had taken the back route for their safety. Well, it was dark, and rainy, and I didn't want to hold up any cars (and really, there's so much traffic that the cars are certainly going slower than a bike can, jeez). But I was going fast, and at the bottom of the hill there is a hairpin-ish turn that also has a road divider in place. I always get on the sidewalk for that part, just so no cars get to run me over and say they had no choice but to squish me.

Well. I was going too fast to brake and move onto the sidewalk, and my bike started fishtailing like crazy, and PLUS it is garbage day in my neighborhood so the sidewalks are full of garbage, yard waste and recycling bins. I was very lucky to have not fallen, and it would have been at high speed into a curb line and maybe the garbage bins would have saved me from sliding into the road at the narrow hairpin turn, where, as I've said, cars have no choice but to squish you should you enter their path.

Oops. Lesson learned. I think God picked up my bike, with me yowling in shock and surprise, and set me on the sidewalk and told me to stop being dumb. I can still take the short route, but perhaps I should remember what a super-speedy cyclist I am now. :)

On another biking note: I stink. I rode in the rain and I don't have fenders on my bike (maybe I should read some of those techy-buy-this-for-your-bike blogs, after all). I am pretty darn wet at work, and I was okay with that because I will dry. But I think mud puddles must stink. Oh well. I'll have to continue to refine the process here, packing clothes or something. Honestly, it seems like much work. My mornings are already busy with "find your backpack, eat your breakfast, put your contacts in, don't forget to have me sign your agenda, are you bringing lunch or buying" etc. Not a lot of slush time available to get to work and take a shower, etc.

Plus, I hate this sling backpack I bought. Hate it. Maybe they have cycling blogs about cool bike stuff you can buy without wasting your money on things you'll end up hating, hahahaha.

Blogger's Remorse
Oh, I'm not sorry I did the Huff Post interview, but I am a little surprised at how surprised I am that people IRL would stumble on it. Oops. Thass okay. I can't really complain about them knowing about my weight loss woes when in a very short time I will GO TO THE MAT with HR to defend my right to wear a bikini to work, haha. Still, it's kind of weird, and kind of skeeves me out. It's a bit like in my old blogging days when I was blogging about my divorce and I found out X's family was reading it, haha. Not a bad thing, per se, just an "Oh, really?" sort of thing.

Mustache Dache
As you may recall, I really only think that men are able to grow facial hair in order to screen some of them out as to whether or not I will find them attractive. Don't like it. Although, speaking of X, I did have a startling revelation recently that X had facial hair for probably 90% of the time we were together (uh, only twenty years or so) - and I had completely overlooked this fact. Do you think this gave me weird facial hair issues?? When I was a kid, our cocker spaniel went ballistic any time the UPS man - dressed in brown - came to the door. Other delivery people? No problem. UPS? Those guys was not allowed on the property. Maybe my anti-facial hair stance stems from this in some deep subconscious level.

Jon Hamm can do whatever he wants and still be the most attractive man alive. But I do like stubble. A lot, actually.
I would still do him, but it would be out of pity for him as much as anything.

Anyway, it's Movember Eve, the time when many of my friends and coworkers decide to make themselves as humanly unattractive as possible by growing fur all over their faces. Go, boys! (I guarantee you none of them know this is tied to prostate cancer awareness and fundraising.) It's like puberty all over again...look at me, I can grow hair! My eleven year old son is also asking questions about when he can grow facial hair. (Not as long as you live under this roof, buddy.)

But my very favorite Movember activity is the Mustache Dache in Seattle. I (BIG HEART) their website. It is FUNNY! Go poke around. But better yet, sign up for the 5K! It's November 17th in Magnuson Park. They had a presence at the Snohomish River Run last weekend and they were cute. I saw many fake mustaches and a girl in an outfit like the one on their site:

I won't be able to do the 5K as I'll be just a few days post-op. I am coordinating with Alli's friend's mom to see if the girls, who both did cross-country at school, can go to the race together.

But if you have a strong stomach and are willing to brave a crowd this is concentrated with a higher than norm population of facial hair, go do this 5K! I'll bet it is going to be a ton of fun. If I don't make it there with Alli, I am looking forward to scrolling through the event pictures - they will no doubt be hysterical.

Dork Alert
Coming back to add that I am such a dork. Really, on my best days I am so far from smooth, you wouldn't believe it. I am clumsy, uncoordinated, I say stupid isht and put my foot in my mouth all the time. I don't care. :) But I hit a peak this morning at the park and ride. I was waiting in line for the bus, and I still had on my helmet and this headlamp, which is like a miner's light, not strapped to my helmet. (I really should look for some biking equipment blogs - I wonder if there is such a thing? With reviews? That would be so helpful.) So, this headlamp is COMPLETELY cutting into my forehead and I cannot wait to get it off. Nope, not the ten extra seconds it would take me to get my helmet off. I pull the elastic band of the headlamp and attempt to stretch it over the bike helmet. I fail, and the headlamp springs back and clocks me in the forehead, HARD. I bust out laughing so hard!

The guy in front of me in line? I swear to God he took one look at me and walked further back in line. Which made me laugh so much harder. I was dying. :)

p.s. no costume for me this year, but I told Sabrina that next year this is what I'm wearing:

I'm just sayin.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Tummy Tuck Pre-Op Appt and Other Good Stuff

I had my two-week pre-op appointment for the tummy tuck today. Yay! I am very excited. I decided to have the surgeon do both a vertical and a horizontal incision, so I'll be filleted open like a fish. It's actually called a "fleur de lis" incision." This will maximize the amount of skin they can take off and improve the final results of skin tightness and super-awesomeness.

All the skin in the shaded area comes off and is restitched together on the edges.
I get to keep my belly button, though. And if my stomach looked like this illustration, I wouldn't need a tummy tuck.
I am soooooo excited. The surgeon says I can expect excellent results: I'm really just down to extra skin and very little fat. What fat there is will be liposuctioned out (they also lipo that little pooch at my pubic bone, something that is very common with lots of weight loss). Then they'll tighten up all my abdominal muscles, overlap them and stitch them together. Cut off that excess skin and stitch me back up!

He says underneath the extra skin I am a very petite person, so the post-op change will be very dramatic. You'll all get to see that because I'll be running around naked everywhere I go once I'm healed up. ;) Or at least in my jog bra and shorty running shorts.

What do you mean this outfit is inappropriate for work?

I found out that I'll be off my bike for at least four weeks, and not running for at least three. I told him I liked biking more than running and asked to switch the figures. :) He said the leaning forward hunched over on a bike will not be so great for my recovery. Oh, plus, I have to wear a compression garment for six weeks! Ack!! Twenty-four hours a day, ew. I knew this, but I didn't realize I'd be wearing it for so long. Oh well, it's worth it.

To compensate, I am going on two long group rides this weekend: a 42-miler on Saturday and a 34-miler on Sunday. I'm not concerned about these distances - the mid-30s have been no problem whatsoever and I am looking forward to bumping up my distances. There are many, many cool cycling events starting in the spring and I will be participating in as many as I can!

I also have my new Wednesday night riding group, the ones I went out with last week. They do that ride or a variation of it every week, and so will I. I am really looking forward to it tomorrow. I'll be logging as much time on the bike as I can before my surgery!

Switching gears, I should recap the Zoo Dash 5K from Sunday. If I were an organized woman, I would have avoided scheduling a 5K on the weekend of the Snohomish River Run. But my daughter is very into the 5Ks and wants to do one a month, at least. I want to do anything I can to keep her motivated, so away we go. I was very lucky that Jen was willing to do this one with us, because I had a bit of a kid-scheduling snafu: nothing to do with my 7yo except bring him along! Accordingly, I registered my daughter for the race, but not me. Then I brought my 7yo's bike with us and he and I navigated the circular path around Green Lake on the fringes of the event. For awhile, he was really good about staying in my sights, but I guess he was familiar enough with the lake and confident enough in his navigational skills (which, I must say, have always been uncanny) that he frequently started taking off ahead. This left me with little choice but to run after him while Jen stayed with Alli and kept her motivated and moving.

Some of my peeps.
My quads took great umbrage at running again the day after the half marathon. But they did it, and they didn't complain too much! I was shocked pleased. Thus far, except for going down stairs, I have not suffered much post-event.

And here's the cool thing: while running the lake, two coworkers actually separately saw me *running the lake.* So I had some sort of rock star status yesterday at work when some coworkers knew I was doing the half on Saturday and some saw me running on Sunday...they think I am a great athletic beast. :) I played it non-chalant: oh yeah, just another weekend in my life, haha.

In an odd post-Huffington Post event, a coworker saw me on the webpage yesterday and sent me the url. Oops. When I agreed to the interview, I just assumed no one would see it, haha. Silly me. How on earth I would be seen and recognized on the aol page - that's just crazy talk. So I had to threaten him encourage him to keep his mouth shut about it. Then I had to confess the blog's existence to my Sugar Daddy and my MTB friend since I talk about both of them here occasionally. Neither cared. Sugar Daddy said he didn't recall signing a release to have his photo included and MTB friend said my blog looked interesting but seemed to be largely about me. Doof.

It's not that I'm ashamed about who I am or where I've come from or anything like that. And my weight loss has certainly been plenty public. And I am guilty of making selected coworkers look at the same nekky lady pictures in person that I've posted on the blog. You know, it's just one of those world-collide things.

Finally, on the dating front, I'll do a brief update since I haven't in awhile. Boy, do I ever love my bicycle. Things are slow in the romance department - I am still seeing Lance Armstrong from time to time, and possibly the tall Clint Eastwood-eyed motorcyclist. Lance works nights now, plus plenty of side jobs. I have been busy, busy with my group rides and my kids' sports; picking both of those over time with Lance. I really want to get comfy with the group rides and hopefully make some friends, because the big organized events next spring and summer are very, very important to me and I want to hit the ground running. Err, hit the pedals spinning. Something. So, mostly Lance and I talk on the phone and text. He is a big, big cycling cheerleader and full of lots of support and advice. He's a different caliber athlete, though, and has a hard time scaling back, so he's encouraging me to jump a little higher than I'm ready to. Go ride fifty miles, a hundred. I wouldn't know where to begin - I suppose I could do my routes, I'll just wait for the training program I plan to sign up for in January.

Clint Eastwood - well, we make plans but he gets called into work a lot, plus he's recently moved from Oregon and is terribly homesick, I think. He works 4/10's and spends most weekends back home. So, mostly, we just make plans. That's okay - he's a nice guy and very sweet but boring as heck.

See, some mind shift occurred in me over the course of this year. Now, these nice guys who just sort of hang out, the way I always have myself...well, they now don't capture my interest. I wanna go ride my bike. Every weekend, Clint and I talk, and I'm doing the rides or the races or whatever, and he is "just relaxing at home." He is very sweet about cheering me on, but boring as ufck. Pardon my Rfench.

He's a diversion. I am needing diversions like this less and less.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Race Re-Cap: Snohomish River Run

I was tempted to get all "punny" with the blog title and say it was a poopy race, or a real stinker, and you'll find out why. :) But I didn't want the title to make it seem like it wasn't a good race, because it was!

Good race (Webster's definition): Finished. Can walk the next day. Came close to meeting goal time.

My goal going into the event was to finish in less than 2:30. My earlier half marathon in July was a 2:49, but we had walked a lot at the beginning and I felt like I could shave off a lot of time. Maybe I was overestimating how much time I could shave off, since I remember running by the time I passed the Mile 1 marker. But I'm in a lot better shape than I was in July. My projected time for this race was a crap shoot, in other words. (There's that underlying theme again.)

But I am running a heck of a lot less than I was in July. Oops, I haven't really been running at all.

But I cycle all the time now. I told everyone that this very closely correlates to biking. Well, maybe it does, maybe it doesn't, haha. Certainly my cardio is good, and my legs are sure in great shape.

The lead up to this event took forever! Oh my, it seems like I've been talking about it and thinking about it for months and months and months. I was glad the day had finally arrived. I was less glad that the day arrived super rainy and bleak. Yuck. Thankfully, Jen picked me up and provided expert luxury door to door service for the whole event. This cut down on my whininess factor quite a lot. :)

I was...hmm...not nervous about the event. A little unplugged, since I hadn't been running in preparation. Lance Armstrong and one of the massage therapists at my clinic assured me that cycling = close correlation to running. My final verdict on this subject? Yes. It closely correlates. Not perfectly, but pretty closely. Certainly if I were running regularly I would have done better and enjoyed myself more. But I got out there and got the job done and I felt strong enough to do it.

My final time was 2:32:56. Very close to my goal time of less than 2:30! I totally would have gotten it, too, if I hadn't...

Had to stop and poop in the bushes. Twice. Laugh!! Oh my, that sucked. I got to about mile nine, and my digestive system went into total meltdown. I was afraid of this happening. See, since my weight loss surgery, I just tend to be on the plugged side. Why is this? I was nervous about it a couple days before, but not insightful enough to consider taking a laxative. Sure, the night before the race I thought about it, but IT'S TOO LATE THEN, isn't it?

Sigh. So I was running along with my new friend Kevin, who was paced about where I wanted to be. And he was chatting away until I finally said, "Ack. I have to stop. Now."

And into the bushes I went. Thankfully, there were lots and lots of bushes along the way! I felt very sorry for myself, but I decided to do it because my choices either seemed to be "shit in the woods" or "walk the rest of the way until you find a bathroom."

I have to say that this was the inaugural year of the race. There weren't enough potties. Now, if I hadn't been desperate for a potty, I wouldn't have noticed how conspicuously absent they were at the beginning and along the route. But next year? Add more potties.

Well, after that first movement, I felt much better, but sadly, I had to stop again about a mile down the road. Sigh. That'll teach me a thing or two! It really goofed with my time, too. :( This, after an early potty stop in which I realized I didn't actually *have* to pee! I have mom-bladder, I think. It's time for me to accept that when I run (or jump rope, or jump in a bouncy house) I feel like I have to pee. Darn babies and their bladder-wrecking ways!

Okay, so after a couple poop-stops, I was able to chug through to the end of the race. I got really surly at about mile 10, when I no longer wanted to play runner. I wanted to get in the car and go home! It was made worse by the fact that at about mile 10, I actually had to run right past Jen's car. And I was carrying the car key. And I wanted to stop. I was never really going to stop, but I really, really wanted to stop, haha. Besides, I had just told the Huffington Post the day before that I was doing a half marathon, not that I was *quitting* a half marathon!

The last bit was an out and back along a paved trail. I was so tired, but the trail was pretty. Out and backs at the very end of a race really suck, though. Or, maybe they don't? I liked seeing the runners coming back toward me - it made me feel like the end was in sight. And on my way back, I like passing the runners heading out...that made me feel like I was almost done. Oh, I don't know. I guess I'm largely indifferent to the out and backs.

I was never so happy to see a finish line as I was that day. Damn, it was rainy and cold. They had hot soup and bread, and chips and salsa; I picked at it but it was really raining so hard I just wanted to get back out to the car. Jen had left me her key, so I walked out there and changed into my warm, dry clothes and turned on the engine (oh jeez, after running to a porta-potty to poop again, sigh) and cranked the heated seats. It was bliss! I told Jen she has the very best mobile spa around: she had brought me her roller stick to use on my legs afterward, and I was so happy I bought myself one that afternoon, too.

Half marathon veteran. :)

Friday, October 26, 2012

Huffington Post Live Interview - Cuh-razy, Man!

Okay, that was fun! Here's the video:

Crazy nerve-wracking! I had set up in a conference room at work and we had done an equipment test this morning. I had to download Google+ to my iPhone, since we were using the "hangout" video chat feature. Everything worked fine this morning (after some setup glitches). However, this afternoon, right before the interview, they decided my signal strength wasn't good enough, and I had to scramble to find another conference room with a land line.

They didn't prep us much before the interview. I didn't know what questions they were going to ask, or what order we'd go in, or the general format, etc. So it was all a surprise! During the interview, I couldn't tell if I was on screen or not, haha, so if I'm making crazy faces, it wasn't on purposes.


Variety is the spice of life, haha, it takes all kinds, I guess. ;)

That was too fun. I got a little rambly, but hey, what the heck, I do that in person, too. :)

Watch Me on Huff Post Live this Afternoon!

Crazy! I got an email yesterday from Huffington Post Live. They saw this post: The Elephant in the Room: Loose Skin and Dating. Y'all remember how much fun I had discussing my loose skin with Greg, don't you? Anyway, they are doing a live web cam chat show at at 5:00p.m. Eastern today and the topic is "dating and the elephant in the room." (So you can guess how they found me, haha!)

The producer said in her email: 
More specifically, as many people can probably attest, dating can be a struggle. It's even harder when there's an elephant in the room you don't want to talk about, like not graduating college, illness, or a particularly body part which you may not be 100% comfortable with. I read your blog post, "The Elephant in the Room: Loose Skin and Dating" [] and found it to be very powerful, engaging and really informative on a personal level. I would love to have you join our conversation and share some more of your story.
How cool, yes? The interview is at 5:00 p.m. Eastern today - I am nervous and excited. Come watch! I'll be on my iPhone web cam.

Come watch me here live or you'll be able to see it later at the same link.

Here's the video from interview!

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Be a Really Athletic Person

That is my unsolicited advice to you today. No, really, do it. It is so fun! Now, if you're not a Really Athletic Person, you are probably thinking, "Oh, that would be nice, but..." or "I don't have time," or "I hate exercising," or something along those lines. Believe me, I have thunk all those thoughts myself, many, many times, for many, many years.

Seriously, I am not even 5'3" and I weighed 263 pounds. More than that, even. When I was nine months pregnant with my second, I was around 280 and I had completely given up: I knew I was going to pass 300 pounds and I didn't give a isht anymore.

When I was big, it annoyed the crap out of me when people would tell me "No, really, you should exercise - if I can do it, anyone can do it! Find something you love!" I would want to smush those people's faces with my hands until they took their little exercise-addict talk away from me. Damn junkies.

So when I tell you that if I can do it, anyone can do it, you have to listen to me. Because I know how unbelievable it can be to hear and apply to yourself and I also know how incredibly annoying and hateful it can be to hear, but I'm telling you anyway. Feel my logic?

OH MY! I am having SUCH FUN! I went out on my third Cascade Bike Club ride last night and what a HOOT! It started after work, pretty much already dark when we started. We got caught in the world' most torrential downpours. No one could see. I have never been so drenched in my life as I was last night. I am not sure my shoes will ever dry out. And I never, ever, ever wanted the ride to end. (Well, that's not true, but I was having a wonderful time.)

It is a proven fact to me now that riding in a group is just more fun, even if you're not talking. There were eight of us last night, although two bailed along the way: one guy got a phone call he needed to take and one woman was having some sort of difficulties and turned back. (This was actually a comfort to me, because one of my fears in the group rides was that I was told the group will not leave you. How friendly! Except if I can't keep up and I want to turn back, I need to know that I can turn back. This is the issue I still struggle with from the See Jane Run half marathon when someone got upset for us leaving her.* WHY would you want to hold someone back? I would be so unhappy on a group ride if people were having to wait on me and I just couldn't keep up. Now, if they're happy hanging out with a slow poke**, go for it!)

*I still laugh when I think of my Alli saying, "It's a race! That's the whole concept!"
**I am not a slow poke. Read on.

There was a faster group that departed a few minutes before us. After the ride, the remaining seven from the two groups went out and drank beer and ate yummy bar food. I was very much looking forward to my remaining half-BLTA sandwich and fries for lunch today, but I forgot it at home. Sadly, this means it will be devoured by the wolves children after school and I will never see it again. Sigh.

It was about a 17-mile ride around Mercer Island. Not far at all in terms of bike rides, but plenty far in terms of being a dark and rainy school work night. I was super excited because I haven't ridden around the island before, even though I regularly ride across the top of it on one of my typical rides across the bridges. I haven't ridden around it because it is very curvy narrow roads and I was chicken. Even though people told me to do it: it's like bicycle paradise and all the cars are used to the many cyclists. But I'm a ninny and wouldn't do it by myself. Now I will! Such fun. That longer ride around Lake Sammamish last weekend was also great for me, because now that I've done it, I'm comfortable doing it again my myself.

Bounce, bounce, bounce. I am having such fun!
I am not sure why I am so insecure about my abilities on these I get comfortable, those nerves are dissipating rapidly, but I find my self apologizing, internally and externally. I just started riding this summer. This is only my second group ride. Blah, blah, blah. I am guessing that comes from my always-automatic assumptions that I'm the last place girl. I just sort of assume my abilities (or lack of them) will put me at the back of the pack. So now that I've done a couple of these "moderate" rides, I am realizing that I am plenty good.

    Easy: Under 10 mph
    Note: for rides described as HILLY, consider choosing a pace one step down from your usual comfort level
    Leisurely: 10-12 mph
    Steady: 12-14 mph
    Moderate: 14-16 mph
    Brisk: 16-18 mph
    Strenuous: 18-21 mph
    Super Strenuous: 22+ mph

I would like to go faster, even, than the moderate rides. There's a 44-mile "brisk" ride on Saturday that I would love to do, but it's half-marathon day! And forty-four miles would be my longest ride to date, so it would be nice to do a brisk ride at distances I've been doing of 20-35 miles for comparison. Again, I don't want to get out there and get over my head. But this ride is otherwise perfect, because it's flat. They do it regularly, so I'll have another chance soon!

So now this is my Wednesday night riding group. They ride every Wednesday after work - and I can't wait to do it again. Such a nice group of people. Several of them were ride leaders, and one of them is a group leader for the training program that I'm doing next spring for the Seattle to Portland ride. He had lots of advice and was very sweet about offering to give me a ride home on Wednesday evenings after our rides if I wanted to ride my bike to the Park & Ride. (For simplicity's sake, I had wanted to just ride my bike to the P&R, but I didn't want to ride it home alone in the dark, dark, dark through the scary woods after the ride.)

Umm, I need to stop talking about cycling now because the whole point of this post was to Be A Really Athletic Person, not You Should Ride a Bike - Seriously it's Like Crack But Legal. So, to show you how multi-dimensional I am, I will throw in some little anecdotes about other sports:

- I am super excited about Saturday's Snohomish River Run. How will I do?? I DO NOT KNOW!! That in itself is kind of like Christmas morning. Can I run the whole thing? How will my IT band do? Is my ankle, which only bothers me on stairs now, going to be okay? I am very happy to have this event FINALLY be here and I am very excited to see how I do. I plan to staple myself to the 2:30 pace person and let him/her drag me to the finish line, if need be. Is this crazy unrealistic? I DO NOT KNOW!! It all remains to be seen.

- So I have a friend who is a big mountain biker. He used to be a big road cyclist. (I am still working on my terminology here.) He is the one who has really pushed me into cycling and specifically into these group rides through the bike club (even though he's a mountain biker - he's also the one who pushed me to take Blake to the MTB park last weekend). He emailed me the funniest thing once about the differences between mountain bikers and road cyclists, oh, I wish I had saved it. The gist of it, though, was that that road cyclists fuss about their riding clothes and their clip-in shoes and sit around and bitch about potholes. Mountain bikers are, of course, much cooler and more well-rounded than road cyclists, in his opinion. Everybody loves their thing the most. So I was laughing last night when us road cyclists were sitting around drinking beer and yes, there was bitching about potholes, and then someone (not me) said something about running, and one of the guys said, "I don't get running at all. The only time you should run is when you are being chased by a bear." And we were all laughing, and I threw out the fact that I am running (walking? crawling? I did not admit this little fact.) a half marathon on Saturday then everyone's talk turned to triathlons and how so and so does them and we should talk, etc. etc. There was a woman there who loves to swim and cycle and she said she wants so badly to do duathlons but there are no swim/cycle events and she hates running.

- So I thought of all my runner bloggy imaginary friends and I thought of my hands-down favorite running slogan:
Blake lives in fear of the football practice punishment runs. He'd eat nails to avoid laps.
- And in the final cross-training anecdote, I was on the waiting list for a kayaking outing tonight right after work. This is one of those groups and the event had filled up. But then some people canceled and I knew I could move off the waiting list, but I didn't get notification (the group leader would have to manually do it at this late date so close to the event). I thought about skipping it. I thought about riding my bike alone tonight ('cept for all the wet biking gear at home). I thought about inviting my buddies out for happy hour after work, or coming home and doing my laundry, reading a book and vegging out in front of the TV.

And then I packed a bag of kayaking clothes to take to work, got to my office and shot off an email to the leader: Is there room for me?

I really, really want to go. I don't wanna do laundry, I don't wanna go for happy hour or go to a movie. I wanna go kayak, even if it's in the rain. And plus, last time, to get me in the kayak in the lake, he just scooped me up and carried me out there: remember, I like to be carried! Hahaha.

Remember when I went kayaking with these boys?
Happily, the group leader emailed back right away, of course there's room for me, come on out!

I'll be there. For sure.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Mega-Athletic Weekend

Talk about lifestyle changes! This weekend was a cornucopia of outdoor sports. (See how I have cleverly worked in an autumn reference?)

- Friday night: I went on a night hike with a group. I'd been wanting to go on a hike with this group: they host a ton of them. Often, though, they put some pretty rigid restrictions on who can attend (in terms of fitness/hiking experience) and they have scared me off. Plus, I have a friend who was sort of badgered by the group leader about her hiking experience when she signed up for a hike with the group. Eeesh! I suppose I can understand this if you have a group of skilled hikers and they don't want to be held back by a slowpoke. Anyway - if the intent was to intimidate, it worked on me! But this hike was right after work and right in my backyard, so I went for it. It was fun! It's never even occurred to me to hike at night: it was daylight for awhile, but about mid-way through the hike (6 miles or so) we were hiking in the dark, with only our headlamps to guide us. Crazy!

After the hike, we all went to a nearby Mexican restaurant for dinner and drinks. It was a very, very fun evening, I am so glad I went.

Nice people, fun night. I'm getting some mileage out of my new biking jacket.
p.s. My MTB friend was familiar with this trail, and when I said I was concerned about showing up in tennis shoes, he said I could hike it in flip-flops. But oh boy, when I showed up at that trailhead right after work in my tennies and that sling bag instead of like all of them with their boots and walking sticks and backpacks and such...hell yes, they gave me the dubious once over. But I was totally fine.

p.p.s. This group is 40+ Outdoor Singles. At 42, I was totally the baby of the group. The photographer is in his early 60s. He was also the fastest hiker, haha.

- Saturday morning started early with Alli's cross-country meet at a city park. Oh boy, she was nervous! This meet was against another school. This is the first year of XC at any of the middle schools in the district (it's just these two schools, I believe). The coach sent out a great email celebrating the end of the season and talked about all the work they are going to do to build this program in the district, and exciting plans for next year. I was so excited about it and what a cool program they're building - then I remembered my daughter will be in high school next year.

My daughter will be in high school next year??
Anyway, she did awesome. Damn, that girl has spirit. She is so tough. I maintain that it takes tremendous courage to sign up for a running team when you are an overweight teenage girl. And then to actually show up, haha. She impresses the hell out of me. She ran the event (they only had one) and even though she finished last, like two minutes after everyone else, she just kept going. She has been getting terrible shin splints: like bad enough to make her cry. I guess I better go get her some new running shoes this week in anticipation of Sunday's upcoming 5K. She hasn't gotten her *own* shoes - she wears my old ones. This could be part of the problem, I suppose.

After the XC meet, it was straight to my son's playoff football game. Sadly, they lost, which really stunk because they were a very powerful team this season. It was cool, though, my son's name was called over the loudspeaker so many times for tackles that the announcer was even saying things like, "Oh look, it's number 23, Blake...again!" And "Tackle by, you guessed it, number 23, Blake..." Very fun! His nickname is "The Hammer." 

Straight after the football game, Blake and I went to the mountain biking park for the first time! OMG - did we ever have fun!! As usual, I was nervous about showing up for the first time, but we got comfortable quickly. Blake was also very nervous. At the trailhead, we hung back waiting for three men to lead the way: they looked like veteran mountain bikers. One of the men had gone no more than ten yards when his bike slid out from underneath him and he BIT IT right at the entrance. You could see the tension completely evaporate out of Blake. :) He needed to know it was okay to screw up and be a beginner. All of us laughed it off and Blake and I went on to have an awesome time. Even though we got caught in a massive hailstorm! Dang, we were soaking wet and cold.

Me and my boy.

The Hammer.
- First thing Sunday morning, I was up and at 'em to go on my first "real" group ride with Cascade Bike Club. Really, it was my second ride, but that was an "easy" trail ride and I was nervous about this one because it was a faster pace and on the roads. I didn't want to screw up, hold people back or embarrass myself, haha. (Damn, I have a lot of nervousness surrounding my athletic pursuits. I suppose this comes from being many years out of practice, and trying new things.)

35 Miles around Lake Sammamish, and the weather was beautiful.

Totally cool. My friend Tina came along and we had a blast. There were six of us - I kept up just fine and will soon be looking to try rides at the higher speed. Although I didn't have much left in me on the hills, on the flats there were many times that I wanted to go much faster than we were. But those hills are a grind.

Anyway, I checked with the ride leader and another one who was on our ride, and they both said this was a very typical ride in that classification and I would have no problems with any other ride. It was very fun and I can't wait to do it again. Wednesday night, I believe. There is a ride out of my park and ride that includes a dinner stop toward the end, and I am planning to attend.

Super, super weekend. The kids were with their dad this weekend but I borrowed Blake for the MTB park. When I dropped him off at his dad's he gave me the hugest hug and told me he loves me with all his heart. Major accolades coming from such a football stud. :) (Who still cuddles on my lap every day, haha.)

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Belly Baby

Yesterday, my office went on a tour of one of the new fire stations we're building. I'm posting a couple pictures because, while I think I look great, I am also soooooooooo excited to get rid of the "belly baby," haha. When I think of the tummy tuck and my anticipated results, I tend to think of how I feel when I see myself nekked. But looking at this picture, I think it's going to affect how I look in my clothes, too:

Belly bulge. And say hello to my coworkers. :)

And that's why the surgeon said don't worry about a lower body lift, haha, there's a banging little butt.
Thank you, stairclimbing, running and cycling. Nekked, it is saggy but not awful.
I'm just so excited! This isht's getting real now, ladies! Less than four weeks to go. My big concern is how long the surgery will sideline my bicycling (and running, I suppose, haha, but that implies that I *am* running). At least I picked a fantastic time of the year to do it!

Our office had a nice field trip, but posing for a group picture remind me of our last group picture. Blergh.

I've come a long way, baby. (That's me in purple in front row.) This pic is dated 11/3/09.
Bring it on, plastic surgery! Let's do this!

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

It's All Relative

I have been obsessed with this Strava app. It tracks my rides, and if I were running, it would track those, too, haha. Actually, I did do the Cupcake Classic 5K on Sunday, remember? It tracked that.

One thing the Strava app does is pit you in cutthroat competition against everyone else compare your time to other riders. They have these pieces called "segments," little chunks of roadway that everyone's time is measured and reported on leaderboards. The more I ride, the more segments I've been stumbling across, and it is fun to try to beat my time, or anyone else's. Usually just my time, haha.

But I'm in excellent company and I can't feel too badly about my performance, even though my first inclination is always, "LAST?? What do you mean, last?? I'm friggin' flying out there!!" For instance, I delved deeper into the stats on a recent segment. I am ranked 11/11 women riders. Sigh. When I had lamented some similar stat to my MTB friend, he looked at the rankings and said, "Well, she's a professional racer, and she is, and she is..." He told me not to sweat the rankings.

I totally sweat the rankings.

Here's my 11 out of 11 placement:

9 AG 12/18/11 16.3mi/h 4:32
10 HB 2/12/12 15.6mi/h 4:43
11 FreeJulie 10/17/12 14.4mi/h 5:07

Okay, my time is 5:07, compared to their 4:43 and 4:32. That in itself is not too bad, I suppose. But let's look a little closer at AG and HB, shall we? I love that Strava does a side-by-side comparison. This is me and HB, aka my cycling nemesis:

Time234hr 49m11hr 58m
Elev Gain117,838ft6,453ft
Biggest Ride202.0mi31.6mi
Biggest Climb4,165ft1,899ft
Max Effort234 W196 W

Guess which one I am? Hahaha.

And here's me and AG:

Time280hr 48m11hr 58m
Elev Gain148,468ft6,453ft
Biggest Ride201.6mi31.6mi
Biggest Climb665ft1,899ft
Max Effort298 W196 W

Plus, I've decided they are both about 24. I have absolutely nothing to base this on, but it makes me feel better. Actually, a quick bit of research tells me that AG is actually 32 and places very highly in lots of bike races. And HB is 26 and she is no slouch in the saddle, either.

So, we'll just not think about how maybe these two ladies rode my particular segment with llamas strapped to their backs, no hands and two flat tires. When I look at it like that, I think, "hey, 11 out of 11 ain't so bad!" I'm in good company. Athletes.

Gettin' Bizzy

Freakout weight: 145.1
Today's weight 142.9

See, if I just cut the dry cereal out of my life my weight will fall back into place. :) On Monday, I only had protein shakes and tea with soy milk during the day, then I ate like a ravenous pig a sensible dinner. Just like the SlimFast commercials say to do, haha. Actually, I only had *one* protein shake that day, which was just downright foolish. Yuck, I just hate protein shakes. Tuesday, I vowed to do better. Protein shakes are just so gross.

By lunchtime yesterday, though, I decided I couldn't choke down another protein shake, so I got a sushi roll. Yum. And then my eating sort of fell apart at night - not horribly, but not good. I had acorn squash, and uhh, gosh, I can't even remember. There were Honey Nut Cheerios involved while I sat in front of the computer, however. And eating until I was too full. I really have to get a rein on this somehow.

It is amazing, though, how much different your body feels with just a few pounds, or probably more like it, how your body feels eating different foods. I remember getting into the car on Sunday to go to the 5K and LAX seminar. I felt so heavy and nasty and bloated. And I just felt like eating and eating. I was claustrophobic in my clothes and in the space I was occupying in the car.

After the 5K, I felt so much better. That yucky bloaty feeling was gone. So, naturally, I ate a cupcake, because, well, that's how I roll. And it was there. Oops!

Today, I made the effort to be able to ride my bike to the P&R, just so I could grab a little much-missed cycling time. I ended up riding to the closer P&R because I checked time and saw that I was really running ridiculously late. Still, it was a nice little ride and it keeps that Strava tracker in the upper right corner here from screaming, "NOTHING! NOTHING! SHE'S DONE NOTHING THIS WEEK!!"

After work, I'm going to sneak in a longer ride before going home to the kiddos. We've shaken the schedule up a bit and they're staying with me on what would normally be dad-days. But it's so nice outside! I'll either finish my normal ride across the Lake Washington bridges or slip in this little loop I've been doing near my house. I'm wearing jeans, which I tied to my ankles with socks this morning, haha. I need some bike clothes. I did wear my fancy new cycling jacket, which I love.

Bike commuting is not actually going to work for me, I think. Logistically, it is just a giant pain in the ass in the morning. We'll see. I'm still playing with it. But tying my jeans to my ankles with socks did not make me happy. Plus, they were still dragging on the chain.

Another busy weekend lies ahead! On Saturday morning I will be splitting myself into two super-moms and attempting to attend both Alli's XC meet (a real one, against another school, whilst wearing official t-shirts!) and Blake's first playoff football game of the season. Blake's football team was UNSTOPPABLE this season, with only one loss and one tie (which was frustrating and anticlimactic after a hard battle between two powerful teams). I'll miss some of Blake's football game but it will work out.

I'm trying to talk myself into going to the mountain bike park by myself later Saturday. My MTB friend seems to think I can do this - although I am terribly intimidated at the thought. Funny how I can be confident in general, but situations like this, even those that I REALLY WANT TO DO, I am just as intimidated as heck. Going to the MTB park, doing the bike club group rides, etc. It's hard to jump into this stuff feeling like such a newb. I did, however, join a MTB group that will hopefully get me pointed in the right direction. And my friend is always feeding me information about where to go, and just cheerleading in general.

So that's Saturday. On Sunday morning, my friend Tina and I are going to do one of the bike club group rides. Or this one. Probably that second one. I am very excited! This is technically the longest ride I've done, but I've done several of them in the 30-34 mile range. I'm more excited that it's a group ride and that second ride is in my stomping grounds - a ride that I can easily go out and repeat myself whenever I feel like it. Actually, I've done a chunk of that one before, along the east side of Lake Sammamish.

Oooo, look, a cool blog toy!! There's the second ride. Tina has just weighed in that this is her preferred ride for the day, as well. So there you go. :)

I am having fun planning out my 2013 calendar of exciting life events. I'll be doing that Seattle-to-Portland training series starting in April, and here's my latest baby...

6/1/13: 2013 Issaquah Triathlon!

The Course:

  • Swim: 1/4 mile, off Tibbetts Beach in Lake Sammamish (expected temp = 61)
  • Bike: 15 mile out-n-back course, mostly flat with one small hill at about the 4 and 9 mile marks
  • Run: 3 mile, "cross-country" style on flat trails with various surfaces
Although, honestly, I'm looking for something over in Eastern Washington. I'd rather travel to a warmer climate than swim in 61 degree water, if possible. Yesterday I was looking at the Walla Walla Onion Man Triathlon, which just sounds fun, doesn't it?

Monday, October 15, 2012


Freakout weight: 145.1 (more aggressive than July's freakout weight of 149.9!)
Today's weight: 145.1 (hence, the freakout)

I've been eating like a bear going into hibernation for the winter. Why am I so hungry? I doubt I am. I think I get those flipping carbs into my system and I want more, more, more. And with as much biking as I've been doing, it's easy to let myself believe that I need more calories. True, I don't want to re-create the experience of when I bonked so hard that day on the trail (I am not convinced I didn't hallucinate the biker man who was talking to me so loudly that I had a hard time staying on the trail, haha) - but I don't think the risk is so great that I need to eat dry Lucky Charms in bed, either. :)

Reality check. My weight this morning was 145.1, what we are calling the new FREAKOUT WEIGHT. If I'm going to spend eight grand to have my loose skin removed in less than a month, then I better have loose skin to remove, yes??

While it's true the weight loss ticker, above, says my low weight is 136, truth be told, I only *touched* that weight for one or two days. I was doing a really good job hovering at 137-139, and that's where I'm pushing myself to be again. A little lower, even. My goal would be to not be able to push the scale into reading 140-anything, fully clothed. My secret goal is to get into the 134-136 range before going into the plastic surgery. I'll lose 3-6 pounds just from the extra maybe I can make my uber-happy-ultra remaining goals of "losing half my size (131.5) pounds," and breaking into my 120s. Although that one might be a little stressful, because if I break into my 120s I will feel pressure to not let the scale reflect anything 130.x again. At some point, I need to just embrace a weight and focus on maintaining it.

Hullo, protein shakes. How I've missed you. Not. Also, how I've missed the realization from the last time around that I am so lactose-intolerant the protein shakes blew me up like a balloon. Oh well. :) I picked up some non-dairy protein shakes from Whole Foods last time around and didn't try them. I actually returned them one day when I was back at the store...umm, I can't remember why. They were still sitting in my car in a bag with a receipt, and I was there, and I hated protein shakes and never wanted to see them again.

A smart girl would be able to take this weight back off without resorting to a liquid diet. However, for me, it's a nice way to kick start it back down. It was just my time of the month (although I am SURE I had uterine ablation to get rid of my periods, grr) and for whatever reason I am stuck being bloated and hungry during that time. Hopefully these extra pounds will drop off quickly. Truly, it would be ridiculous to go into the plastic surgery on 11/12 with added pounds, duh. 

I'll start by giving up the dang crunchy carbs. Lucky Charms (which *irritates* the heck out of my 7yo when I eat them), Honey Nut Cheerios, pretzel sticks...I've been on a carb bender again. Not to mention the delicious cupcake featured in the photo, below, haha.

But, hey, great weekend! I didn't get to ride my bike. :( Boo! I did do the Cupcake Classic Virtual 5K with Jen and Alli, though. We did it at the high school track in the pouring down rain while my boys participated in a lacrosse seminar for interested new players. I cannot think of the last time I was so wet.

My fancy new cycling jacket.
(I really think that when I have the tummy tuck and recovery, I'll feel good/better about my weight and accepting myself for what it is. That awful loose skin makes me feel fat and incomplete in my weight loss journey. It's such a weird head game. I look at the above picture and am *forced* to acknowledge that I am tiny. I'm not quite 5'3", that is a women's size small jacket and I've got room underneath it. But you know what I see when I look at that picture...gut bulge. Muffin top. Wait 'til you see my flat tummy - oh, and you will, believe me, you will, haha.)

Jen (, me, my 13yo and my 7yo, with cupcakes :)
Happily, I did the whole thing without one little twinge of IT band/knee pain. I am thinking this PT is working well for me. I go twice a week until the Snohomish River Run half marathon on 10/27. Then I go twice the following week to see how my IT band held up for the event. :) 

A quick man update just for those keeping track: I am still "seeing" Lance Armstrong, if by seeing, you mean chatting and texting with periodically and getting together when we can. He found my new super love bike for me, he came out to meet him before work one day last week. We are not setting the world on fire romantically, but he is fun and I like him. He has this really wonderful super-cyclist body and I get to touch it. I call that a win-win situation all the way around. :) He is not Mr. Right. He was smoking last week (SERIOUSLY??) and he quit his good job in anger (SERIOUSLY??) although he does start a new one today that's as good or better. But I'm telling you, we share some impulsive/compulsive personality traits (Hi, I'm Julie-eats-dry-Lucky-Charms-in-bed-while-I-watch-Dexter) and I have mine under better control, I think. But I'm wavery in my resistance, and I'm afraid too much Lance Armstrong would lead to me smoking and him drinking. :) While we cover each other in nicotine patches, haha.

I feel funny putting his picture on the blog. He's cute. Trust me.

(Haha, I re-read that Freakout Weight post I linked to at the top of this entry. In that post, I confess to eating ungodly amounts of Cinnamon Life cereal. At least I am predictable in the ways that I get myself into trouble.)

Friday, October 12, 2012

Busy, Athletic Weekend

Oh, I hope we can become one of THOSE families. You know, the kind that are always doing fun athletic activities together? Well, this weekend, we sure are, anyway.

- Saturday: my son's football game. Ugh, this will be the first game of the season in bad weather! I was volunteered to work the chain crew. What does this mean?? They tell me I need no experience.Whew. It's bad when the team mom calls you out for not volunteering for any activities all season. Eek. Their volunteer activities are hard! Announcing, keeping time clock, video recording, chain crew...I don't know what the heck I'm doing out there. Don't they have volunteer opps to drop off snacks??

- Sunday: Jen from Runner Maybe, Alli and I are doing the Cupcake Classic Virtual 5K. The best part after what will surely be a long, rainy run is that we are having cupcakes afterward, haha. I expect I'll let my boys have a cupcake, too, even though I doubt they will do the 5K. And that's okay, because we're meeting at the high school and doing the 5K while the boys do a LACROSSE CLINIC. I know nothing about LAX except that Blake needs a spring sport and doesn't want to play baseball next year, and Reid needs a sport that he can run and run and run. This is a three-week Sunday clinic that we are all looking forward to trying out.

Eh, maybe there will be some bike riding thrown in there. I sure hope so, but it's supposed to be dreary all weekend. I don't have any rain gear...yet. I am working on it. I have also stumbled onto two pairs of bike shorts that someone is selling for cheap on the bicycle club bulletin board. Size small. Am I a size small? I think so - but I am sure I will be after the tummy tuck, anyway. In an interesting twist, the woman who is selling them is some sort of counselor or something - we talked on the phone for a few minutes while I was pulled off the side of the road on last night's ride. Anyway, she knows my weight loss surgeon and acted in some official guest capacity at the bariatric surgery support group. She seemed very nice and was interested in hearing about my journey - which came up after I said I wasn't sure if I'd fit the size small shorts now, but I bet I will in a month or so, haha. Lots of flab being removed - it's why I'm hesitant to commit to any new bike clothes (or any clothes, for that matter) until after the surgery!

And now for something completely different.

Ugh, I am so blah today. It's the first rainy day in 81 days, that might be part of it. I'm sorry, Seattle, I love you so much, but I hate the rain. I am eating soup for lunch - and I haven't eaten soup in probably two years. I'm not a big soup girl. :) 

I am lonely. Biking is *so fun* and I am so looking forward to getting more and more into it, but wow, I sure default quickly to lonely when I'm not fully occupied. I was thinking about it: I am not someone who *ever* thinks, "I just want to be alone." What is that? I think, when I was married, I probably felt that way a lot. X and I did not have a good marriage, so by default, we were just apart from each other a lot. 

Anyway, I say this because I am coming into the hardest time of the year for me, and I know it. I love the bright sunny days of fall, but they quickly turn into long, dark depressive days for me. This year, I hope I will have enough to keep myself occupied, what with taking and posting photos of my flat tummy on the blog, bouncing quarters off my new abs, etc. 

When I got divorced, even as fat as I was, I never expected I'd have such a difficult time finding a new partner. I mean, come on! I've got it going on, girl. I'm highly educated, terribly witty, well-employed, and cute as a button. (Look at me giving myself a dreary fall day pep talk, haha.) Sure, I'm bankrupt, and I have three kids, and I pointed out to a coworker yesterday that I haven't been on an airplane since 1996 and that was only my second trip. I'm not the pinnacle of interesting and worldly, in other words. But I have redeeming qualities.

I'm totally burned out on dating, in general, and online dating, in particular. I've decided that weird men gravitate toward online dating. Lance Armstrong and I have run our course - it was a very short course indeed, as I knew it would be from the start. We are very different people. Um, all he does is work and ride his bike. (All I *want* to do is work and ride my bike, haha, but I am forced to have other interests and obligations.) If he is not enough to make me take a hardline position against dating alcoholics, well then, I don't know what will be. He can't go into bars, he says I can have a drink around him but that seems wrong. The odd-but-true clincher for me was this week when he came by before work to see my new bike. He had been smoking. Here's a guy who rides 70+ miles with his friends every Sunday, who still wore nicotine patches when he sees his ex, and now tasted like cigarettes at six o'clock in the morning. Sigh. His addictive nature + my addictive nature = No Good. I couldn't decide if I should be irritated about the cigarette or bum one off him, haha. KIDDING! OMG, there have been times, of course, when I have wanted one again, but I am holding true to my promise to myself to never touch one again. Quitting is such an incredible hassle. Even my plastic surgeon is making me take a $35 nicotine test to prove I'm not smoking before he'll agree to the surgery. (Google image search "skin necrosis+plastic surgery" - gross.)

I saw that Clint Eastwood-eyed motor cycle rider a couple times, too. OMG, B-O-R-I-N-G. Nice enough guy, but holy isht, boring. And I'm not dating from the Federal Way pond anymore, do you know how far away from me that is? (Well, like 25 miles - but it's 25 agonizingly long miles.) I've got a friend here at work who online dates with large geographical settings. I set mine to the absolute minimum, which is usually 25 miles. I don't want to have to book a flight to say hello, haha.

Anyway, it's a lull, and I have plenty on my plate, anyway. It's just a tough time of year for me. I am actually planning to take a chance on a waterproof cycling jacket - even if it ends up being a bit big after the surgery, it will keep me on the road until the surgery date, and I think that's the best thing for me.