Saturday, October 15, 2011

The weight loss challenge is ON!

Every year for the past 4 or 5 years, my friend MaryEllen and I embark on a weight-loss program. Always begins at the official end of road season, the glorious "off season". Last year, we started it a bit early, as I had surgery and wanted to start the week of the surgery, due to the sheer volume of snack food that was available to me at work. I needed 2 weeks away from all of that crap before I could really resist it. That worked. It only took 1 week of longing, sideways glances before I was able to steer clear, and continue down the road to a lighter body.

Well, the challenge takes us into the holidays (accck), and into the new year, when racing begins all over again. Both of us reached reasonable losses, but neither achieved the lauded: GOAL WEIGHT.

Here we are in October. Both of us are at the same weight as January. Yeah, generally good not to gain it all back again, but this is the dreaded plateau. Ugh. For nearly 10 months, maintaining has been pretty easy. The first 3 weeks were fine. But I didn't drop a single pound. ME fluctuated a bit, but was generally heading in the right direction. My body is stubborn. Really stubborn. I actually gained a pound one week (sh*t), but quickly got rid of it again... What to do now? I had to employ serious tactics in order to start dropping weight:
  • Restrict ANY and ALL junk (stopped eating any candy,chocolate and/or chips)
  • Learn how to go hungry without getting into that weird "I'm so hungry I could eat my shoe" place... That's a fine line - trust me.
  • Employ drastic measures: my brain
Back when I was bodybuilding, the diet was the worst part for me. The WORST. I could lift weights, run, do whatever for however long, but when it came to dropping the necessary body fat needed to compete? Just shoot me. I remember being at shows, and someone would step out into the harsh lights, and the first thing that came to mind: "Damn. He/she should have dieted for another 8 weeks...". I never wanted anyone to say that about me! You're standing on stage, wearing 4 teensey triangles of fabric, under the harshest lights EVER (makes dressing rooms look weak, in comparison), and the last thing you want is for someone to see that Snickers bar you scarfed down a few weeks ago, planted firmly on your butt cheek. Sounds harsh, but it was a tough sport. Nobody cared what you looked like 6 months ago, how far you'd progressed, it only mattered what you looked like, for those 5 minutes (or so) you were standing on stage in a bikini. Nothing else mattered. You had to have a really thick skin... Totally unhealthy, for sure, and I blame that lifestyle for making it so darned hard for me to drop any weight now that I have a normal, healthy diet, but it was necessary to be that way for the sport. Of course, I had no butt back then, and was utterly unable to sit at the bus stop the last month or so before a contest, because any fat stores were just gone. Pfft. Just like that. But my brain was the most effective tool in my arsenal for dropping weight back then.

I'm using it once again. Much like the fear of being seen naked, the fear of "if I put this in my mouth, where will it end up on my body?" and "do I really NEED that? Or am I just wanting to eat something?"... Hey, it works for me. The weight is coming off now, FINALLY! All it takes for me is that first pound to be lost, then I'm on a roll... I won't eat the roll, but I'm on one. :o) And this time, I'm going for that elusive: super-stretch goal. I'm just 2 pounds from my goal as I write this, and it will be 4 to that weight which I've not weighed in over 10 years. When I get there, the first thing I want to go do is climb some big hill on my bike. Then I'll probably have to buy some new jeans, because even the skinny jeans are starting to be less and less snug...

Even using a scale, jeans are the better indicator of weight loss. They either fit, or they don't. No getting around it! I may have to go buy a new pair or two sooner than the holidays... Now that's an awesome dilemma!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Why I dont' like riding with non-racers

Okay. Not really non-racers. Mostly encompassing anyone who doesn't have a clue as to how to ride in a pack. I don't give a crap how SMART you are, if you don't know group etiquette, you are not someone I wish to ride with.

The first day of my new job, my boss introduces me to the group. They find out I ride, and I immediately get invited to a fund-raising ride on 10/1. "Sure, I'm in" I say. "But it's 50 miles", I'm told. "Yeah, so. That's fine." They had no idea...

As the weeks progress towards the goal, I'm continually talked to by the ring leader about how many centuries and double-centuries he's ridden. And I'm a bit nervous. It's only 50 miles, but he's talking 18-mph averages and I haven't raced since June. I'm way prone to leg cramps, so I'm thinking, "how can I keep up without cramping?" I settled on drinking a ton of water to stave off the cramps.

I get up a bit late on the morning of the ride. I'm tired from working for a living! 7 months of not working has totally ruined me for getting up and being someplace every day, and being PRODUCTIVE. I proceed to hurry to shower, eat, have a crapload of coffee and find the start of the ride. I estimate I'm leaving the house 20 min late. ACCCCCKKKKKKKK.

I arrive 15 min late. UGH!! I can get ready FAST, so I jam on my knee warmers, grab food, pump my tires, helmet and shoes on, set everything and am on my way to the start like 6 min later.... I saw one guy when I got there, so I head to reg, get my number and find the group. I only find 3 of the 7 others.

We head out on the ride, which is mostly uneventful. But I get the sense that 2 of the 4 of us aren't *that* used to riding in a group. We finally re-group at the last rest stop, and head out for the final few miles.

Then as we're crossing Monterey Highway, one guy gets a flat. So I go back. It takes him a LONG time to change that effing flat. I start giggling and say, "How many engineers does it take to change a flat?" because it was funny, but it was apparent that he was 'done for the day'. DONE. He gets it fixed, and starts to mount the bike, leaving the tube lying on the side of the road!!! LITTERBUG!!! I pick it up and hand it to him, and say, "You gotta take this along to toss it." I'm sure he hates me.

Off we go. I don't want the one guy to be last all day, so I let him go in front and give him a bit of room, based on his previous bad bike-handling skills. Apparently, one man had left his seat bag open, and stuff was starting to fall out. I noticed a tire lever on the side of the road, and when I looked up, the one guy was DEAD STOPPED, directly in front of me. UGH! I slammed on the brakes, managed to avoid slamming into his rear wheel with my front, but the back end of my bike came up and I endo'd. Fortunately for me, he had a saddle bag attached to his pannier rack over the rear wheel, which had his jacket in it, because I FACE PLANTED on that bag, and then continued my slow-speed endo, ending up on the ground, bike still firmly attached to my feet. I'm laying on the ground, still attached to my bike, I can't get up, and I'm confused why someone would dead stop for a tire lever - (it's an inanimate object! It's not as if it's a puppy and it's going to dart into traffic!!!!!). Luckily I didn't get hurt. I scared the crap out of one man who saw the entire thing. If he'd not had that bag on the pannier? I probably would have broken my nose, because I landed left side of my nose and cheek on that bag. My left sunglasses lens had an imprint of my cheek on it (thank God for shatter-proof sports glasses). I had not a scratch on me. My bar tape got a small tear in it, but that was it. I guess if anyone should have fallen, it should have been the one who KNOWS how to crash and not get hurt (me), but damn. Needless to say, after that, I refused to get within 20 FEET of the guy who braked, and I'd been about 3 or so feet behind him at the time of the wreck. Cripes. We were only about 4 miles from the finish, but still.

My neck is a bit sore, but nothing else. I have a few bruises. I can't post the picture of the one, because it's way too close to my kitty, but it's a pretty good mark. A couple on my knees, but literally nothing else. Okay, I admit it. My nose is still a bit sore. And frankly: it should be. Holy crap.

It could have been worse. Much worse. But I don't know what I'll do next year... full face helmet?

FINALLY, I have a job!

A bit behind, but I got a job. Finally. And what happens? 7 months of not-a-single-offer. Not even a crap one. And then what goes on? I get two offers. At once. It was awful. I know, I know. "You should have a choice!" and blah blah blah, but it sucked. I won't get into it, and sometimes you still wonder if you made the right choice, but I believe I did.

And now. How the hell do people do a full-time job, ride, grocery shop and keep up on life? Holy moly. I'm so freaking tired. ALL THE TIME. I'm just hoping that my "schedule" kicks back in. And soon!

Tomorrow marks 4 weeks of employment. And my benefits just kicked in last Saturday. That will be important in the next post...