april – The Shrinking Jeans of April

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April 5, 2011 By april

As everyone probably knows, I’m itching for the weather to decide to stay Spring so that I can ride my bike again. It has been a long winter, and I’m ready to feel the wind in my face (and feel cool wearing my helmet).

But here’s the thing. Something’s been nagging at me for quite some time now. I have felt this itch. I can’t shake it. I’m blaming every single one of you runner’s for this.

For quite some time now, I have felt this itch to start running. Again. I’m not sure why–no, I know why. You all talk about your runs and your training and your races. Every single one of you makes me so proud of you. I’m proud to know such a strong group of people, and you all have inspired me to run.

I got onto the treadmill today, and I knew I was starting all over. I knew pushing myself would be stupid. So, I started out slow. My goal when I run is to never walk until I reach my goal. Even if I’m barely jogging, I do not walk. As I gain endurance I go faster and run longer distances.

But I don’t get that runner’s high. The first mile has always been pure hell for me. Nothing about running has clicked for me. So, the fact that I’ve had this “itch” to run has both amused me and baffled me.

Today, as I ran, something hit me at around 0.45 of a mile. I wasn’t hating it. Like not at all. At 0.5 mile, I increased my speed. At 0.73 of a mile, I experienced something that I have never felt before. My brain said, this isn’t so bad. I was almost enjoying myself. I actually smiled when I thought about that.

I’m probably never going to LOVE to run, but I think that for some people, running may just be something I learn to love. A little bit.

Right now, I’m just going to go with it. Let’s see where this goes, shall we?

January 18, 2011 By april

A few days ago (I think), my company issued a new fitness challenge. They’re challenging employees to walk/run/swim/ride 100 miles in 100 days. That’s one mile a day for one hundred days.

I’ve decided I’m going to do this too, but with an April twist. For the next 100 days (starting tomorrow), I’m going to walk/run/swim/ride at least one mile a day. If I feel like going more than one mile on any particular day, I will, but no matter what, I WILL get at least one mile in each day. If I feel like walking, I’ll walk. If I want to run, I will. And I know that once the weather warms up, I’ll be on my bike. That much is certain.

I’m not going to set any specific goal for myself other than 100 miles. (Although, I hope to knock 100 miles out of the park.) There are also going to be a few days where getting in 100 miles may be a challenge, but I’ll figure it out. I’ll blog about this experience once a week.

I’m going to go one step further and issue this challenge to every single one of you. So, who’s in? Who wants to do 100 miles in 100 days with me?

Come on! We can do it!

January 12, 2011 By april

I spoke in my True Confessions this week how, through a string of events that weren’t my fault, I haven’t been able to work out for a while. It’s been so long that my body and mind are in a bit of a disconnect. This is the first time in years that this has happened to me.

I long to be back on my bike, but unless I want to ride in the dark (which isn’t really safe for me to do alone here), I’m going to have to wait until spring when it doesn’t get dark at noon. (Ohhhkay, I know it gets dark later than that, but still.)

I like to be fit. I feel like I am a better me when I’m fit. However, this winter has had me down for several reasons, and you know what? It’s OK to go through down spells, but there comes a time when you need to work to get back up. For me, now is that time.

With two dogs in the house all of the time because of the cold, doing my favorite work out DVDs is hard. I drop to the floor for push-ups and I have two furry faces looking at me as if to say, “Oh my god! Are you OK?!” So, I would rather go to the little private gym at work.

I decided to get on the elliptical yesterday. The elliptical trainer was how I got into fitness, and I figured with such a disconnect that I seem to be going through, getting back to the basics was best.

I was right. It was best. It felt good to work my body again and my mind even felt a little better. So, now, I need to figure out a schedule that works for me.

Maybe I’ll join a gym, even. Ya never know what– NAH.

PS. My bike says hi.

November 17, 2010 By april

Today, I weighed in for the first time in months. I stopped weighing myself because at the time, life happened. I had so many things happening to me personally and emotionally that losing weight could no longer be my focus. So, I decided to change my focus.

Sometimes we have to change what we’re focusing on in our lives. Sometimes because of that, other parts of our lives can slip. And you know what? That’s OK.

Honestly,when I stepped on the scales this morning, I was nervous. I hadn’t weighed in so long and I had a cold, so work outs stopped, so well, I was just nervous.

But then I was reminded that the scales just give us a number. They are not a true measure of our health. Yes, we need the scales to keep ourselves in check, but a big chunk of our health is emotional. And you know what? I’m happy. So, yes, my weight is up a bit more than I like. I will probably be on a constant journey to work on that. But life is a journey. So, all is OK.

Now, I do want to lose a few pounds this challenge. I haven’t gained weight during the holidays in years, and I don’t plan to start now. But my main reason in joining this challenge was to bring in some people who are very near and dear to my heart and because…

OK. Look. What ya’ll have to understand is that night on Twitter, I had had many, many a few beers. When I have many, many a few beers, I tend to agree to things that I normally wouldn’t while in a sober state of mind. That is what happened here.

Some of you are marathon training and have long runs on Christmas Day or the day after. So, that night on Twitter after many, many a few beers I agreed to run a 5K. On my own. Just so show support. On Christmas Day or the day after.

So, I gotta get my ass into gear. And get my ass into gear, I will.

August 25, 2010 By april

I am the queen of being hard on myself.  If you don’t believe me, ask any one of my best friends.  I will take the weight of the world onto my shoulders if I think it will help a bad situation turn good.  (By the way, that doesn’t help.  Sometimes it just creates more problems.)  So, before I continue with this friendly reminder, let me first say that I completely understand where all of you are coming from.  That said, I have something to say.

I love this Sisterhood.  I love that we interact every day.  I love that we look to each other for encouragement. I love that we are friends.  Not just online friends but real friends.  I know that I can count on any one of you should I need something.  And I love that.  It makes me happy.  But one thing that does not make me happy is seeing people being hard on themselves for having a bad week or a few bad weeks.  It hurts my incredibly sensitive heart.

Look, folks.  Weigh loss is only a PART of our journey here.  Sure, the weight loss part of your journey is the biggest reason WHY you’re here at the Sisterhood, but we all have to keep in mind that weight loss isn’t our life.  It’s part of our life.  Weight loss is a incredibly tricky thing.  I like to look at it like it’s a puzzle.  You find all of your pieces, figure out where they fit and connect to one another, and then you have the last piece into place and your puzzle is together!  You’ve figured it out!  And the weight melts right off.

Now, we all know what happens when we try to move a finished puzzle, right?  Odds are, unless you’ve mastered the art of moving a finished puzzle (If you have, I hate you. Okay, not really.), that at least part of the puzzle is going to come apart.  And what do you do?  You just put them back together again.  Right?

This happens in life, too.  When things become out of routine, your puzzle pieces come apart.  So what if they come apart?  It happens.  Conditions have changed, and it would be impossible for the pieces to not come apart.  You can’t always control life changes that create unbalance in your life.  You can’t always control that one day you’ve had such a crap day that you want ice cream, and by God, you’re going to have ice cream.

So what if you have ice cream that one day?

OK, OK.  I know what you’re thinking.  But I don’t want to let my team down!  I get that.  I do.  But we didn’t put you into teams so that you would be afraid of letting each other down.  We put you into teams so that you could pick each other up and cheer each other on.  We put you into teams because for some people, being a part of a team helps them focus better.  And it lets you get to know each other a little better.

I get that you are a bunch of competitive people.  I am competitive too.  Winning is fun, but it isn’t what’s important.  Our journeys are what’s important.  Reaching our goals and creating new life habits that are going to make us happier people is what’s important.

Think about how far you’ve come.  Not in terms of numbers, but in terms of life.  Even if you’ve only been with us for a short while, I’m certain that you’ve created at least one change that is going to help you in your journey.  One change leads to another and a bunch of changes lead to happiness.  I’m not telling you to not be competitive.  I’m not telling you to just throw every thing out of the window.  I’m telling you to just keep at it.  BE PROUD OF YOURSELVES.  If you hit a snag, don’t be so hard on yourselves!  Pick yourselves up (or ask one of us to do it) and start again.  A bad week isn’t the end of the world.  A bad week is fuel for the fire to have a good week next week.

So, now I’m challenging each and every one of you to think about this week in a new way.  If the scales are bad this week (and I know they won’t be), then write me a post focusing on the good things instead of the bad.  Then use those good things to turn around the bad things.  I KNOW you can do it.

And never forget, I’m proud of every single one of you every single day.

August 11, 2010 By april

It’s been a couple of weeks since I’ve posted about my Adventures in Cycling.  I haven’t posted because I figured you guys would get tired of me gushing about my bike and how riding my bike makes me feel like Harry Potter and how I never want to get off my bike.  So, I’ve spared you all the gushing.  You’re welcome.

A few days ago (or was it a week ago?), I noticed a few of you led by that mom, who wears a cape like no other, started chatting on Twitter about the 100 push-up challenge.

I’ve known about 100 push-ups for a while now.  Actually, the first time I heard about it was years ago on my favorite podcast Buzz Out Loud, and while I don’t mind push-ups at all, this has just scared me.

So, I’m watching some of you people talk, talk, talking that they’re going to start 100 push-ups, and then I couldn’t stand it anymore.  I caved and joined in.

Week1 Day1

I completed 8 in my initial test, which put me in the level 2 category. So, for Day1, my workout out was 6 push-ups, 60 second rest, 6 push-ups, 60 second rest, 4 push-ups, 60 second rest, 4 push-ups, 60 second rest, then max out.

I’m going to admit that the work out wasn’t that bad.  I like push-ups.  Even on my max out, it felt pretty good.

Then I woke up this morning and OH.MY.GOD. my armpits hurt like hell.  Seriously, I cannot lift my arms.

Of course, I blame Christie O. for this. (And don’t let her tell you that it’s MY fault her legs hurt.)

I’m actually excited for Day2.

So, who wants to join us?

And have I mentioned how much I love my bike?

July 27, 2010 By april

At work today, I noticed that I kept glancing nervously out of the window.  I soon realized why.

I was worried it was going to rain, and I wasn’t going to get my ride in.  I missed my ride yesterday and was itching to get one in today.  Don’t get me wrong, I can handle a little bit of rain.  I welcome it.  One of my favorite things to do is to hike in the rain, so a bit of rain on my ride would have been awesome, but the sky looked as if it was going to open up and dump thousands of gallons of water all at once.

But the rain gods were good to me.  They decided to just make it really overcast and cool and overall awesome riding weather.  (I may have bounced in my driver’s seat on the way to the greenway.)

Within minutes, I knew this was going to be a good ride.  I began to think about how I was raised with my brother and my two boy cousins.  When you’re the only girl, you don’t really get a choice on what is played.  It was either football, basketball, baseball, riding four-wheelers.  Because of all three of my “brothers”, I’ve always been pretty good at sports.  Not really because I have amazing athletic talent because I don’t.  What I DO have is the ability to learn the sports completely.   I love playing sports, but honestly, no sport has ever felt immediately natural to me.  (See, my previous posts on running.)

But riding my bike just feels NATURAL.  It’s amazing to have that feeling.  I feel like I’m free.  Like nothing else in the world exists but me and my bike. (And the occasional rider in front me whom I really, REALLY want to pass if I can.)  I love hearing the tires on the pavement and the sound of my feet pedaling.  I love wearing my helmet because I look super cute in my helmet. While I’m sure I don’t look AS cute in my biking shorts, I even love those.  I love passing an oncoming rider.  The nod you give each other that you understand why you’re there is awesome, and I love that you understand each other in that way.  Most of all, I love my bike.  And I know that she won’t last for very much longer, because she IS 22 years old and begging me to be retired, but I know she’s giving me all she has. While we are together we are one when we ride.

For some reason, the image of Harry Potter on his broom kept popping into my head on my ride.  I thought, this really must be what Harry feels like when he is on his broom.  Then the phrase, “This is almost like magic” started running in my head, and then I began to think, “Not almost like magic, this IS like magic.”

And magic?  Is amazing.

July 20, 2010 By april

Hello, my name is April, and I am a competitive person.  I’m so competitive, that even on solo sports, I will time myself or judge myself, and IF I don’t do better than before, I get a tiny bit angry.  Okay, fine. I get a lot angry.  At myself.  For not going faster or doing better.

I know.

Since I’ve started riding, I’ve had the front wheel go loose twice, the back brakes stop working, my speedometer go wonky, and chased by little bastards geese.  I was beginning to get a bit annoyed that every ride seemed like a struggle.

After a recent ride, that was the first in almost two weeks, I was bummed because it was one of my slowest times ever.  I expressed my disgust with a few of my friends.  One friend said something like (and I’m paraphrasing here) there was no sucking in cycling, it’s all about you and the bike and the wind in your hair.

Hmph, was my first thought.  But then I thought.  Maybe she has a point. Okay, FINE…she did have a point.

So, the next time I rode, I wore my watch, but I didn’t start the stopwatch.  I did keep an eye on the time, though.  (Hey, old habits die hard.)  That ride was probably my worst time yet, but the ride itself felt better.  Much better.

Today, I loaded my bike in my Escape, and headed to the greenway.  As I began my ride, I opted again, not to start my stopwatch.  AND I didn’t look at what time I started.  Instead, I started thinking of the wind on my face, and glancing over at the river and pedaling my feet.  At mile 3, I noticed the little bastards geese were back and I zoomed by once, and didn’t get chased.  Then, I saw a lizard and I had to really force myself not to jump off my bike to catch him all Steve Irwin style.  I turned around and headed back, and now the geese were in my path, yet they let me pass with only one hiss.  I have been stopping at mile 7 out of frustration.  Today, I rode 10.  And I loved it.

The whole time I thought about how it really IS about the ride and how riding my bike isn’t so different than these journeys we are all on.  It isn’t really even about weight loss (although, weight loss is a big part of it if you are here) it’s about life and what we make of it.  I had momentarily lost that.

No matter where you are in your life journey, do me a favor and realize that it’s all about the ride.  It’s all about the journey.

I may not have all the bits and pieces of my journey figured out, but I’m going to work damn hard to enjoy figuring them out.

Hello, my name is April, and I’m learning to just enjoy the ride.  Would you care to join me?

June 24, 2010 By april

So.  I’m just going to be honest.  The last two weeks have sucked my ass.  Well sort of.  As far as cycling goes, it has.

The last time we spoke, geese chased me, and while I’ve seen no sign of those little bastards lately, other problems have surfaced.

First, I’ve been battling allergies and a summer cold.  I was able to ride when my cold first reared its ugly head, but then the congestion moved to my chest….right in time for my beach trip.  I was super bummed about this because I was excited about riding my bike at the beach.  Our house was right on the ocean road, and the ride would have been amazing.  Instead, I was cooped up with the chest cold from hell.

By the time I got back, I felt well enough to ride again, but the week off from riding had done its damage.  I was back to square one as far as my time.  And to add insult to injury, I only had 7 miles in me instead of the 10 I was hoping for.

This week, I’ve ridden three times, and I’m ready to throw my bike in the river that I ride next to. (Funny image, no? Grown woman slings bike into river.  Hammer throw style.)   The front wheel is lose again and the back brakes have decided they’re not going to work anymore.  So, not only have I been fighting the what’s left of my cold, I’m fighting my stupid bike.  (How rude after the nice makeover I’ve given it.)

I realize the bike is old, and this sport will require a bit of maintenance but good lord, give me a break here, bike.

Oh, and just let me mention that the humidity here is about 10,000%, so by the time I’m done with my piddly 7 miles, I am soaked, and my lungs are begging me to stop.

I know I need to give myself a break and just go with it for a bit, but I long to be fast again.  I’m tired of fighting my body and my bike.

Oh well…I guess the key is to just keep pedaling.  Even if it is all Dory style.

June 4, 2010 By april

So, today marked the end of my first week in the world of cycling.  I rode 5 out of 7 days.  I rock.  I can’t get over how much I love being on that bike.  A couple of times this week, I fully admit to not “feeling it”, yet, I love being on my bike so much that I went anyway.  Anyhoo…I know you’re just dying to know how my rides went, so JUST FOR YOU, here ya go:

Ride 1: Rode 3 miles.  This was the first real ride I had with my bike and I could tell it needed tweaking so I didn’t push it, rode 3 miles, and packed it up and went home.

Ride 2: Rode 2 miles after tweaking bike.  Hills suck.  Like a lot.  That is all.

After Ride 2, my poor arse was SORE.  Like it hurt to walk, sit or stand sore.  Who the hell designed a bike seat anyway?!

Ride 3: Rode 7 miles.  Oh my word, this was awesome.  On a scale from 1 to 10, I give it a 500.  I finished in 30 mins flat.  Not too bad for just my 3rd ride!   PS. Because I know you’re wondering, my arse? No longer sore. You’re welcome.

Ride 4: Rode 7 miles.  This was one of the days that I wasn’t really “feeling it” but went anyway.  It was humid, breathing was hard, I pushed myself, I beat my time by 40 seconds and I LOVED every minute of it.

Ride 5:  Here comes the fun stuff.  Again, I really wasn’t “feeling it”.  The sky looked as if it would open up at any second.  It’s Friday and well, it’s Friday.  But I went.  At around mile 2.5, I go around a little curve and right there in the middle of my path are four adult geese and a million babies.  Shit.  Have any of you encountered geese before?  Geese with babies, especially?  They are mean little bastards.  I’d rather be chased by a pit bull than a goose.  Seriously.  So, I get as far right as possible, pedal hard, get up to 18 mph so I can just zoom by.  Right.  The head honcho goose chased me anyway wings flared and hissing.  I cussed, but got past them unharmed.  The problem with this is I have to turn around and go back.  So, I purposely slow down and save energy so that I can try to fly by those sneaky bastards.  When I know I’m close, I speed up, GET IN THE GRASS even, so far away from them that they will just leave me be.  Right.  She STILL chased me, and don’t you know, just about snipped my leg?  Stupid mean birds.  So, after that, and my front tire feeling sketchy, I was 5 seconds slower than ride# 4.  But oh well.  Not too bad still I guess.

On a side note, I’m still feeling a bit self conscious.  Especially on the days that there are a lot of people on the greenway.  Right before ride #4, I get to the greenway, a real cyclist was there unloading her bike off a bike rack (I just shove mine in the back of my Escape), and I was all nervous.  I hurried and got on my way so not to look like a nerd.  I know, I’m lame.  But I’m working on it.  Still, I just LOVE cycling…

Maybe it’s the helmet.  But that’s another post…