I Will Beat Her


I saw this yesterday on my cycling group page and fell in love with this.

I am totally putting this one on my bathroom mirror!

I’ve heard it said many times that performing artists are basically needy and insecure. I’d laugh, but it’s kinda true at least for me. I’m an approval junkie for sure. I also want to be fit and healthy again. I get really frustrated at times by how long that is taking me. I’m not rolling with set backs as well I used to either. My husband is a great encourager in that regard. He keeps me from giving up, which is a good thing.

My husband, son and I tried to go cycling last night. I’ll admit I really didn’t want to. I’d been to the doctors in the morning to talk about my neuropathy in my left leg and was feeling a bit overwhelmed at the possible causes, cures et al. I don’t yet know the full extent of what is going on with my leg and part of me is afraid to ride. I’ll see a specialist in the next week or so and have and EMG performed to test the nerve functions in my left ankle and foot. Hopefully that will provide some answers. I don’t have diabetes, we know that, and I’ve learned that peripheral neuropathy can also a sign of hypothyroidism and blood work will be coming up after the EMG. To add to the fun mix the middle finger on my left hand is now spontaneously twitching. I could very well simply have a pinched nerve in my back. I’ll know more in a couple of weeks, no point obsessing at this time. Not that logic like that stops me, you know?

I can ride, doc said so. I just shouldn’t ride alone, which I’m not. I always feel better after I ride. I just need to do it more often.

I ran out of excuses last night and recognized that look that communicates he’s run out of patience and conceded to ride with him. If I’m going to make him drink green smoothies and try vegan dishes, I darn well better hit the trails.

We finally get to the trail head only to discover our bikes were trying to copulate. His pedal was somehow stuck on my water bottle holder and nothing we did could untangle them and we had to go home and find a screw driver in order to separate the bikes. Amused is not the word I would choose to describe our mutual state of mind when we got home.

We’ll be getting a bike rack for the back of the pick up this week.

All that’s wrong really is I’m afraid. Old fears have no place in my world today. They still show up and it’s my job to silence them.

I’ve genuinely overweight for the first time in my life. This has been an eye opening experience, let me tell you. The assumptions, and prejudices that come with that are astounding. On one hand I enjoy not being hit on anymore and I do enjoy being taken more seriously on an intellectual level (both are bonuses to me) on other hand I don’t enjoy the whole stigma that comes with it. Not to mention the impact it’s had on my own self esteem or my health. My looks used to be very important to me. Not that I was ever vain or shallow, I just worked hard to look my best. I’ve really had to reassess how I see myself. I didn’t get this way because I gave up, truth is I landed here through fad dieting, bulimia, and probably menopause. I can change most of that.

 I’ll write more about that later. suffice to say, deep down there is this little girl who is afraid of failing yet again. She does like to show up once in a while and I’m not going to let her win. I will beat her, after all, no one knows her like I do. And that is a good thing.

Friday Funny: That’s Reassuring

images I bought clips for my bike the other week to help make my rides more efficient. After the bike shop mechanic installed the new pedals and I tried them out for size, I asked if they were difficult to unclip.

His exact words? “Oh no! My daughter got hit by a truck once and she came right out of them”

That is so reassuring.

I’m going to die, aren’t I?

I’m Riding in the Tour de Cure: Go Team Phoenix Rising

photo (2)Okay, I know I said I wouldn’t post while under the influence of cold meds, BUT I have got to share this with you guys. It’s official. My group of friends have all agreed (mostly all anyway) to ride with me in the Tour de Cure this year for ADA. I rode alone last year — yes they sent me out as the scout. I came back alive and so they’ve decided if I didn’t die, neither will they. That and the sub-culture at my husband’s office is one of physical fitness and it seems everyone and their grand-kids signed up this year —

Because I didn’t know what to expect, I only rode 10 miles last year — this year I’ve signed up for 25. All road, no trail that I know of . YIPES. (put paper sack over face, breathe deep, I can do this!)  Most of the team will hang at the 25 mark because this is their first ride for ADA. My base is presently at about ten miles, all trails, zero road. I need to up that over the next ten weeks or so in order to get ready — and ready I will be. I have to be ready, I’m the team captain for heaven sake. I mean how would it look if the captain dies mid route?

It would look bad.

Granted these riders are pros. They know what they are doing. They really just needed me to co-ordinate everything for them. I’m like the Wedding Planner only cooler. All they have to do is train and show up — I got the rest.

I have not ridden 25 or more consecutive miles on a bike since that day back in 1989 where Jeff (my then boy friend, now husband) tried to kill me. I still did not know my way around Chicago so when he suggested we take a “fun bike ride” from Niles IL to the Botanical Gardens, I had no idea how far it was.

I spent the night sleeping on the floor of my apartment with every muscle in my body seizing up because that was where I landed when we got back and getting up was not possible. I couldn’t walk right for a week. I should add, I was also in my best physical shape possible, weighing in at a whopping 124 pounds. I ran cable and installed PBX systems for a living. I rocked. And I still almost died.

And here I am ready to do it again — some 24 years later. HA This time, I’ll be prepared. This time I’m training. This time I have to because I don’t weigh 124 lbs anymore. My “diet” took a fun turn in December and January while I blew off some much-needed steam. (Translated, I decided to throw a major temper tantrum) I may have over enjoyed my newly discovered friends: Zacapa Rum,  and Glen’s Fiddich and Livet, My Irish Friend Jameson and my new favorite girlfriend Miss Tequila Rose with a splash of Baileys. I also discovered yummy smoothies made with avocado, cucumbers and coconut milk that probably pack half a days calories per pinch as well. While my calorie intake from food remained at 1,300-1,500, I’m afraid my beverage consumption offset that terribly.

Explaining to my doctor on Monday why I didn’t lose the ten pounds he suggest I lose two months ago was awkward and embarrassing.  He used the word “moderation” and I’m like okay, yeah, probably a good idea at this point. Alcohol has a lot of empty calories and I can either continue to be a brat or I can suck it up, find my resolve to get back in shape and start again. I’m not a heavy drinker, never have been, I just didn’t pay attention to the caloric intake and I’m paying for it with my lack of weight loss.

My temper tantrum is over.

I used to be an athlete.

I used to be a model.

I’m neither of those things today.

I’m not used to having to work at it. At least I didn’t consider it work when I was competing at Shaolin and Tai Chi. It was just fun.

Guess I need to learn how.

Now is as good a day as any.

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I Bonked, and I’m Back: Cycling Update, Unexpected allies and third base

Bonk : Hitting a wall, In endurance sports such as cycling and runninghitting the wall or the bonk describes a condition caused by the depletion of glycogen stores in the liver and muscles, which manifests itself by sudden fatigue and loss of energy. Milder instances can be remedied by brief rest and the ingestion of food or drinks containing carbohydrates. The condition can usually be avoided by ensuring that glycogen levels are high when the exercise begins, maintaining glucose levels during exercise by eating or drinking carbohydrate-rich substances, or by reducing exercise intensity. (Source Wikipedia)

I’ve learned that nothing kills my personal enthusiasm for cycling like having a hot flash while riding my bike in triple digit weather. Puking at the top of the hill in front of my husband and the cars passing by on Sheridan Road is a moment I will not soon forget. Neither will anyone else, I’m sure.

Star date – 360 something since I bought my first road bike, and I’m still learning. I’m a newbie in the cycling world and I spend a lot of time trying out new things, asking questions and following teams and cyclists on blogs and twitter. ALL of my cycling friends are male. I do not know a single female cyclist. Even so, my hope is to one day run with the big dogs, or at the very least keep up with my friends who are already road warriors in my opinion. The problem with only knowing male cyclists is they don’t have the female answers I sometimes need. Or so I think. Men don’t have hot flashes while riding, and being able to relieve the call of nature anywhere they want, personal restroom stops are not as important. Cutting back on fluid intake because I’m unsure of where the bathrooms are, is not smart and can put you in the ER with a bladder infection if you are not careful. Don’t ask how I know that.

I want to learn and therefore I read whatever I can find, and since I can only find male bloggers about cycling, I read them. While I do receive instructional benefit regarding diet, and how to avoid bonking I must confess, if I read one more cycling blog on the benefits of “man-scaping” for cyclists, I’m going to throw up again. While I realize that male cyclists who blog about cycling need to cover all bases, I really wish they’d leave third base out of it. But they can’t because it’s important to their over all health.

In my pursuit of cycling knowledge, I discovered that the universe is shrinking. I know this because I once saw my gyn’s name fly across my twitter screen. It seems he is an avid cyclist and I was following his racing team without knowing it was his team. Once I cleared the coffee spray off my screen, neurotic un-following and mass apologies quickly followed. Chalk one up for neurotic boundaries. I’ve been flying solo ever since and that journey has had more ups and downs than the hills on the trail I ride.

My husband purchased a bike this summer and I’m excited to have a riding buddy. He’s also taught me about shifting gears and powering through hills. The only real downside is the only time we could ride together was for 30 minutes in the morning. I push harder when I ride with him and I built muscle riding the hills. The downside is losing out on the cardio benefit with those short rides. While I haven’t lost weight, I have gone down a full clothing size. That’s a plus. Now that it’s too dark to ride before work, I’m back riding solo. Not wishing to ride alone, I got pissy and blew off September. Not surprisingly, my weight has plateaued again.

A friend from Colorado reminded me that if it’s important to me, I’ll find a way, if not I’ll find excuses.  It’s time to get back on the bike. For safety purposes, I’m hitting Riverside trails where there are people. Safety in numbers and all.

I’m also back to reading blogs, and asking questions.

Of all the people I thought to ask questions of, my doctor was the last person on the list. I didn’t know how to start the conversation – oh yeah I saw you on twitter and found out you ride — (that just sounded creepy to me) and I wasn’t sure that I want him in my personal life. I mean, he’s seen me naked, you know?

We run in adjacent social circles, have for years. How we’ve never run into each other is beyond me. Now that I’m cycling, our circles are intersecting more and more. I was worried that I’d crossed a personal boundary by following his team and tried to extract myself as discreetly as possible. Turns out I was worried for nothing. Having a doctor who is a cycling enthusiast can be an asset. At least, it’s an asset when I’m not being whiny or trying to make him laugh.

I do not suggest telling a man who just completed a 400 mile bike tour that you are working your butt off and still not losing weight as it’s all laughably relative at that point and it just sounds whiny. Just sayin.

Opening up and telling him what I’m attempting has been beyond beneficial. It also turns out that third base is important, especially if I want to ride more than ten miles at a stretch.

Three things I did wrong my first year out:

1. Hydration Hydration Hydration. — If I’m avoiding fluids because I’m afraid of being a water hazard he can fix that. I’m not alone on this issue. Many women wrongly adjust to their circumstances by cutting back on fluids and that is the worst thing you can do to yourself and your body. And trust me on this Bonking sucks.

2. Get fitted for your bike. – Form is important. Bikes are not a one size fits all. There needs to be a balance between the seat and hand rails in order to take pressure off your spine, shoulders and nether regions. A good bike shop will do this for you in no time at all.

3. Wear the right clothes. I’ll be honest, I avoided cycling shorts for obvious reasons. I think they look ridiculous and I’m attached to looking “cute” while I sweat and puke. Good quality cycling shorts come with much-needed padding in the right places if you know what I mean. Your seat is important. Chaffing can be avoided with the right gear. Your thighs will thank you. The right shorts make all the difference in how far I can ride. Being comfortable has now outweighed the whole “do these make my butt look big” issues in my brain; of course they do, accept that and move on. The trick to remember is don’t wear panties with these or you defeat the purpose and get out of those shorts as soon as possible after the ride to avoid unnecessary infections. Also a good chamois cream with anti-bacterial ingredients does not hurt.

Lastly doc put me on an estrogen patch to help with those hot flashes and night sweats. I presently believe that an estrogen patch is to menopause what a morphine drip is to pain — No more insomnia, hot flashes or night sweats. Does wonders for our married life as well. The mood swings, however, have more to do with my personal temperament than my hormones though so I need to work on that.  Comes with being a redhead.

Getting and staying in motion is important to my overall health. It impacts me physically, emotionally, and spiritually and that is a good thing.

Happy riding you guys!