November 28, 2011

Week 3- I call for a Do-Over

The Mediocre news:

Total Time: 33 min (7 hr 31 min)
Total distance: 11.6 km (161.3 km)
Weight Loss: don't want to talk about it right now

Week 3: Yeah, I blew it
As expected this week was challenging and I totally did not do what I was supposed to do. So I am calling for a do-over, a mulligan, whatever you'd like to call it. I will start over week 3 again today.

So what was I doing with my time instead of training, you ask? Well, these were my distractions/excuses:

  1. Black Friday- I went to Bismarck, ND with a pack of wild shoppers for the weekend. This eat up all of Thursday, Friday and Saturday. Although shopping for a 14 hour stretch should be able to count for something (besides an empty wallet). We had a good time.

  2. I knit a pair of mittens for Finn to give to the Red Cross for the Warm Hands Campaign within their school. I plan on knitting another 2 pairs before the December 12 deadline for each of the girls to bring too. I think they are cute. But the real problem is that Finn likes them and is mad that I am giving such fine mittens away. So I have promised to each of the kids that I will knit them each a pair to give away and then I will re-knit the same pair of mittens for each of the kids to keep. (That is a lot of mittens.)

3. I was especially lazy.

All of these were pretty lame excuses for reasons why I did nothing. This week I will get back to the program. I have to do better!

November 20, 2011

Week 2- A lesson learned

The Good News:

Total Time: 3 hours 10 minutes (6hr 58 min)*
Total distance: 69.7 km (149.7 km)*
Weight Loss: -1 lb (+0.4 lb)*
$ spent to date to upgrade my $99 bike: $0 ($189)

*The first value are this week and details in parentheses will show the cumulative for the whole project.

Week 2: A Public Service Announcement and Business Travel

Ahem, right, I will start with the Public Service Announcement:

left hand pedals have a reverse threading and thus have to be removed with a clockwise rotation. (So much for the righty tighty- left loosey rule.)

This was pointed out to me by a reader- who did not provide a name- with great mirth that the two tools installing the pedals had not bothered to research this fact. And you are absolutely right- we didn't. Didn't even occur to us. After I thought about it it totally makes sense that you do not want any possibility of forward rotation of your pedals causing your left pedal to come unscrewed- thus the backwards or left hand thread. Spot welding was not required after all. (Dad, I am talking to you!)

So thank you, nameless reader, for your help. I am learning all kind of things- the least of which is to Youtube things before you try new stuff. For those of you who are interested here is a good how-to video on installing pedals: noredirect=1
Learn from my mistakes!

I travelled for work this week and tried to stay on program in the hotel. I did okay. I have a total of four workouts this week when I was supposed to have six. But from a big picture perspective four workouts in a week- for me- is really good. I still take this as a win.

Eating out while travelling is challenging. I really admire those who have no issue with this. I do well for the first day or day and a half and any time after that I am in a flat spiral back to my horrible eating habits.

At home I am the primary cook for our house. You can see here and here that does not always go well- feeding a family is challenging too. (Understatement.) But at home I am in control. (In theory.) Eating out in Calgary, especially when dining with oil companies, tends to bring you to The All Beef Buffet. Where your lunch choices are girly-portion 10 oz steak, 12 oz steak and 18 oz steak. If you dare order anything but steak you have to deal with the justification of your life choices at the business table and the unintended insult to the quality of Alberta Beef. (Yes, I like it just fine. Honest! I just don't want to need a nap when I will be in two more meetings this afternoon!) Don't even get me started on how I ate there when I was a vegetarian!

Week 3: The High Holiday
This coming week will offer a new set of challenges- not pedals this time- but with my high holiday: Black Friday. My sister, a handful of girlfriends and I are heading to Bismarck, ND for our annual girls trip. We typically get up at redonculous times and shop until we almost literally drop. Now Friday is usually designated as my "cross-training" day (I have been using it as a recovery day to be honest) and I think this week I can legitimately say that I will be cross training. 14 hours of straight shopping- in those crowds- ought to count and maybe earn me a small treat at Cold Stone Creamery or Starbucks or the like. Saturday may be a wash as well. So my goal this week is to work out 5 days and to start and finish my Christmas shopping!

I'll keep you posted!

November 13, 2011

Week 1- A Good Start and OMG it is like high school all over again!

The Good News:

Total time: 3 hours 48 minutes
Total distance: 80 km
Weight loss: +1.4 lb (WTF!)
$ spent to date to upgrade my $99 bike: $189

Week 1: A Start
Okay- I won't lie: that was hard. But it felt really good to finish the week. I did all 6 days this week and matched the program for the most part. The only part I altered was the cadence (rotations per minute) on the "easy spin" days. I was supposed to be doing 85-92 RPM and I found that I couldn't maintain that for long so I was working at 72-78 RPM. One legged training- well, see below- was... challenging... on many fronts.

This is not an easy program despite being designed for the "beginner and overweight cyclist". This description matches me in both aspects but I think what was really meant was that it was designed for an overweight cyclist not just an overweight person. This, I think, is an important distinction. As a point of reference: at 92-100 RPM I am at literal risk of my pants catching fire and not because I am telling lies.

At the beginning of the week I read over my schedule and paused on what was listed for Saturday: "Warm up 10 min. After WU alternate 20-60 sec with 1 leg off the pedal and up on a chair. Get a total of 5min of 1leg training on each leg. Alternate legs as you feel. Cool down 10 min. 30 min total."

Um, 1 legged pedaling, right. Have you ever pedaled with one leg? I have. A lot. And it sucks. In high school I had my mother's old 10 speed which could be kindly described as a finicky beast. We'll call this one HIgh School Bike (HSB). You didn't dare change gears- even though it was stuck on the hardest one- or even think about pedaling backwards because even a gentle shift or backwards rotation would cause the chain to leap off and tangle in the pedals. I have more than one scar on my knees as a result. And, oh yeah, the left side pedal and/or whole pedal assembly fell off regularly. Usually when I was already late coming home and pedaling like a fiend to not miss curfew. Don't even get me started on the brakes.

My father fixed the pedals by welding the pedal assembly back to the gear bracket... as well as spot welding the pedal in place too. Well everything stayed firmly in place after that but FYI: pedals are MEANT to rotate. HSB was hard enough to ride without having to ride one legged ALL OF THE TIME in a hard gear! Shortly after the repair job HSB was run over by a garbage truck. I choose to think that the universe was trying to help me out.

That was my last bike until I spent $99 to buy this one. My bike is now code named B99.

So anticipating my one legged training this week I endeavoured to buy some pedals with clips and matching shoes. (Real cyclist have those you know.) The universe, again on my side, helped me out by making both items the last ones in stock, on sale and in my size! WOOT WOOT universe! These are certainly not my best looking shoes but they will do.

Pop Quiz: can anyone spot what is wrong with this picture? (Hint: look at the pedals.)

Some technical difficulties ensued in removing the the VERY well oxidized pedals off B99. (Understatement.) With Herculean effort the right one was finally removed but the left is still proving stubborn. And Scott did this trying to force the issue. In our house, it really isn't a proper project unless Scott gets to christen it with his blood. Ouch!

Summary to this point: Universe helping, Scott is bleeding, the right-hand clipped pedal installed, left-hand normal pedal can not be removed. And I still needed to do my 30 minute 1 legged workout. Yeah, you guessed it... it was like high school all over again.

Anyone have a spot welder I can borrow?

Footnotes: (pun intended)

This was too funny to not include. I am confident there is a both a lawyer AND an engineer joke within this picture about how many tools it takes to remove a pedal. But for the sake of my marriage I am going to just leave you with the picture.

How very Helen Bonham Carter of me, non?

Week 2- I needed to think of a way to make this harder (NOT!) so I am heading to Calgary this week for business. Travel, eating out and exercise in a hotel- Oh Dear! This will give B99 a week to think about her behaviour and her reluctance to give up the left pedal. Hopefully I have this figured out before next Saturday's 1 legged training.

I'll keep you posted.

November 4, 2011

The Challenge Ahead... and Fair Warning

The Challenger: Me!

The Challenge: To complete a 3 month indoor bicycle training program starting Monday, November 7, 2011. I have chosen this program. It will not be easy. My goal is to stick to this program as closely as I am able. This is going to be extra challenging for me to maintain this program through the Christmas and holiday season. I should finish just before Super Bowl.

What I will use to train: This is my $99 Zellers special. Not pretty but she will get me through this.

Why? This is a seasons worth of cheap entertainment, with purpose, and I suspect that my experience here will be rich in material for my blog.

Second reason of why: my parents are buying me snow shoes for Christmas (Shhh! Don't tell me!) and I want to be fit enough to be able to use them without the need of a standby Emergency Medial Technician complete with defibrillator. There's a lofty goal. No cardiac arrest!

Fair Warning to all: I will likely complain- even if I am enjoying myself. I try to be all Miss Mary Sunshine but my inner snark is a monstrous beast that could eat Miss Mary for a snack and still eat a truckers lunch afterwards.

Executive Summary- for those of you pressed for time:

  1. I'm going to be spending a lot of quality time with my rusty old bike over the next 3 months.

  2. Ultimate goal- no cardiac arrest. Ever.

  3. If I happen to lose a few pounds while doing this it won't hurt my feelings.

  4. I'll tell you how I am doing. Expect some sass. :)

Wish me luck!