Monthly Archives: October 2016

…and on the Fourth Day.

So, I should probably start by saying that going on a liquid diet is not for everyone. It’s really, really hard, and it can be dangerous. You have to get your nutrients, you’re gonna be light-headed – it’s not easy.

With that said, Day Four of the liquid diet, and I’ve dropped 2 pounds since yesterday. 2.1 pounds, actually. You’ll recall, yesterday was 172.9 pounds, which was a new low, and I was thrilled. Today…170.8 pounds. That’s right, technically I have hit the I-thought-was-impossible 170 pound weight goal. However, I’m going by when FitBit gives me a high-five, so I still have to drop that last 8/10ths of a pound. Therefore, the target is 169.9, so really, 9/10ths of a pound. But less than one pound. So, my grand total loss is 79.2 pounds. Awesome.

And not a minute too soon – I need some actual food. Or candy corn. Something.

Seriously, just because it works for me, don’t assume you can simply stop eating. You can’t. You need Ensure (Light), quality protein powder, meal replacement shakes, multivitamins. And willpower. Lots. But if you’re set on trying, and need some advice, just ask.

A New Low.

Thanks to a great deal of hard work, and Day Three of the liquid diet, I hit a new low this morning, weight-wise, I mean. Before the big reveal, let’s recap: my original final goal was 180 lbs, which I hit over the summer, and then promptly stalled. So, to re-motivate myself, I set the Super-Duper Dream Goal™ of 175 lbs. Some hard work at the gym, loads of time on the Bowflex Max, and that goal was achieved. Barely, but achieved, nonetheless. Then, I took some time off from logging everything, standing on the scale and so on (not really intentionally; just got lazy – and that, kids, is your worst enemy). So, of course, a few pounds crept back on. Just a couple, but still. Anyway, as I did my 80-mile bike ride on Saturday, I had a lot of time to think about it, and decided I needed to set a new goal, just to push beyond my limitations, because that seems to be when I do my best work.

Anyway, this morning (drum roll), my lowest weight ever: 172.9 lbs, almost two pounds less than my previous low, and only 2.9 pounds away from what is, most likely, an impossible target. Additionally, my body fat percentage is the lowest it’s ever been, at 14.7%. Really, I just don’t see hitting 170, but you never know – there’s a very real chance I may hit it. I’ve been doing the liquid diet again since Sunday night (you read that right; I haven’t eaten in 3 days), and I’m also wearing my awesome but dorky neoprene Kutting Weight gear at the gym (look at the picture – dorky, but holy moly, does it make you sweat; when I was done this morning, it was as if I had been standing in a rain shower)(and I don’t mind looking dorky – who do I have to impress? No one, that’s who.). The last time I did the liquid diet, I stalled out after 4 days, so I’ll probably try to maintain for one more day, then ease back into, y’know, food. Luckily, the 3rd day was probably the easiest last time, so I’m hoping today is uneventful. I’ve already done about 2 hours at the gym as well as a session on the Bowflex, so I might even shave just a little bit more off by the end of the day. Getting down to 172-point-low-something would be amazing, and seeing these awesome numbers is just the motivation I need. Watch this space.

primalTherefore, as of right now, total weight lost: 77.1 pounds. 80 pounds would be awesome, and because I love synchronicity, it would go nicely with my 80-mile bike ride. Just gotta dig.

Oh, and a little “Treat Yo’Self”. Found this awesome, turbo-80s style Primal Wear cycling jersey on clearance at Amazon. Normally, these go for about 80 bucks (and you’ve seen that I like funky jerseys, and Primal is the best); I got this for half that. Plus, I needed new shoes. No, “wanted” new shoes. My Brooks are amazing (all 6 pairs of them), but I’ve always wanted to try Newtons, so I ordered these Boca AT II trail runners. Coincidentally, they match the jersey – synchronicity. Like Brooks, Newtons aren’t cheap, but if the feel good and help me with my running/workouts, I’m all in. Fitness isn’t cheap. Pizza is, but not fitness. I think there’s a lesson there.

Eighty Miles

So, I rode my bike 80 miles yesterday. Obviously, a new personal best, shattering my previous personal best – last weekend – of 65 miles. I can’t remember the last time I drove 80 miles, but cycling? Wowzers. I can still remember the first time I rode 10 miles, and thought that was a big deal. This is my 4th ride of 50 miles or more, so there’s that.

click for larger, or Endomondo data

click for larger, or Endomondo data, or Movescount data

The ride itself was…unremarkable. Unlike last weekend’s Grand Prix II, this was all about the distance, not the adventure. All week, I’ve regretted not pushing harder last weekend, despite my (then) record-setting distance. So, with this ride, I’ve absolved myself. Somewhat. Burning 5000 calories doesn’t hurt, either.

80-mile-stats-622

As usual, I started out with 2 1/2 hours at the gym, from about 3:30 AM until 6:00 AM. Then, on the bike, some puttering around downtown and the Art District, waiting for daylight. Naturally, a stop at Maple Street Biscuit Company – quickly becoming my favorite place (and why burning 5000 calories was significant). Then, onward – Riverwalk to the Incline in St. Elmo, and 13 miles back to the dam at the far end of the Riverwalk. Next, back to Coolidge Park, then out to Moccasin Bend – there was a little adventure to be found here; I pedaled the Blue Blazes loop, which I had never done before. It’s short; only about a mile and a half, but the rugged terrain dramatically impacted my overall time. Still, a little uncharted territory was nice.

ross-622

From there on out, basically just cranking as fast as I could – back to St. Elmo, a stop at Crust Pizza for lunch (5000 calories, remember?), back to the dam with a quick side trip up the South Chick Creek Riverwalk extension, back to and through downtown, back to Coolidge and done. 11 hours on the clock; about 8 hours 45 minutes of actual riding. I know now that I can do 100 miles, which I will attempt in a few weeks, after the weather cools. I was doing fine yesterday, because when I started, it was cloudy and breezy – but about 1 in the afternoon, the clouds cleared, and the full sun upped the temperature to about 80 degrees, and that really zapped my energy. So, mid-November, with temps in the 50s or 60s, I should be good. And no gym that day! I’ll start riding around 4 AM, and just push. I’ll also have to cut the breaks down. At my yesterday-average of 9 MPH, it would take 11 hours to do 100 miles, and add in 2 hours of breaks, and – well, you can do the math. It will be a challenge, but I’m up for a challenge. If I can ride 80 miles by myself, with no one to push me other than the voices in my head, and on a hot day, yeah, I can do 100. I will.

flex2-activitiesOn a side note, I got my new Fitbit Flex 2 on Friday, just in time for the ride. So far, I really like it. More sleek than the Flex 1, but more importantly, it auto-detects the kind of exercise you’re doing, including cycling. So, it added my cycling workout automatically (although it saw it as several cycling workouts, because of the breaks I took – not just one long one)(which is why I also use Endomondo and Movescount)(and Movescount shows the ride at 81 miles, because I walked around some during my breaks to keep my muscles from seizing up – Movescount is on my Suunto watch, whereas Endomondo is on my phone, mounted on my handlebars, hence the variance). The Flex 2 also auto-detected what I was doing at the gym – running, walking, elliptical. It didn’t understand when I was doing weights, but I wouldn’t really expect it to. The next question will be how long this one lasts – I went through 5 Flex 1’s in a little over 3 years.

Oh, I’m trying a new flavor of my go-to Dymatize ISO-100 protein powder: cinnamon bun. Not too bad, especially in my Chef Lonely Heart’s Greek Yogurt Mousse for One. Not too bad in water, either, but better in almond/coconut milk (unsweetened, natch). Pricey, but worth it.

Next, new forks for the bike. The air forks just aren’t cutting it – I need to find something bigger and beefier; probably coil springs. Yay, shopping.

Today, I gotta get back on the Bowflex. It’s been too long since I did my soul-crushing Max workout, because I’ve been so busy with work, the deck rebuild project, blah, blah. I’m still getting tons of exercise, I just haven’t found the time to crush my spirit on the machinery. So, that today, and tomorrow, probably the return of the liquid diet, at least for a day or two. Damn you, Maple Street Biscuit Company. Nah, I could never be cross with you.

Grand Prix II: Grand Prix Harder

This weekend, an awesome bike ride – the Grand Prix II. A complete circumnavigation of the city; a stunning 65 miles in about 10 hours. I ran a similar ride in April of 2015, but it was a straight shot of only about 33 miles. This time, much more than just circling the city – lots of side roads and other exploring. Let’s recap.

Started at just after 6 AM (after about an hour and a half at the gym, of course), and headed out from Coolidge Park, across the Veteran’s Bridge through downtown, Station Street at the Choo-Choo, and on to St. Elmo via the not-as-dangerous-as-it-used-to-be Alton Park. Still a little sketchy, especially since the sun wasn’t up yet – nonetheless, uneventful. From the Incline, on to the new Riverwalk extension back to downtown, and a stop at Panera to fuel up. Holy cow, those gigantic cinnamon rolls are awesome (and yeah, no dieting today – but I was equipped with stevia and carb-blockers).

From Panera, up through the Art District, and onto the “old” Riverwalk, however, instead of heading to the dam (like on Grand Prix I), exited at the relatively-new South Chick extension to Sterchi Farms; one of my favorite places. This is a great semi-wilderness ride, on gravel trails and boardwalks. At the end, the steep hill up into the neighborhood where the trailhead is (and allegedly will be extended in the future).

Then, a somewhat dangerous part – surface streets to the Brained Levee. This requires riding on Highway 58, up to Bonny Oaks, to Jersey Pike, then Shallowford Road – about 5 miles of traffic, potholes, and few sidewalks. Not as bad as the first time I did this, because I knew what to expect, and traffic wasn’t too bad on a Sunday morning. Getting off the road on to the levee was a relief, though – but the winds were howling. At least at was sunny; the first time I did this, it was mostly cloudy, which exacerbated the wind blowing in on the levee. The trailhead at the levee was right at 28 miles from the starting point.

From the levee, across Brainerd Road/Lee Highway, under I-75, and on to Camp Jordan, then back to Eastgate and a stop at Starbucks – this was about 36 miles.

Onward, down Brainerd Road. Loads of traffic, but mostly sidewalks to ride on; only a few jumps into the road (and lack of bike lanes) to avoid obstacles. Despite the traffic, a relatively safe portion of the ride, and only about 3 miles from Starbucks to the Missionary Ridge Tunnels. And, like the last time, the tunnels are by far the most dangerous part of the ride. The tunnel is about 1/4 of a mile, but there is no place to go, no shoulder, no sidewalk, nothing – you have to trust that the cars flying through the thing won’t mow you over. So it requires a little finesse – basically, waiting at the tunnel entrance until there’s a break in the traffic, then hauling ass. Luckily, it’s downhill, so it can be blown through pretty quickly, and the light Sunday morning traffic made the transit uneventful. In the scheme of things, though, this is probably the most dangerous riding I’ve done – right up with the white-knuckle trip down Ochs Highway on Lookout Mountain. It’s not for the squeamish or for amateurs.

Missionary Ridge Tunnels

So, basically home-free now – through the easy streets of downtown and the Warner Park Zoo, then a quick stop at Jefferson’s for a burger (half of one, actually) and some rings. About 44 miles. Obviously, getting that close to my personal best, had to keep going, which meant across the Walnut Street Bridge, and out to Moccasin Bend. This is a great road to ride – mostly flat, hardly any traffic. Back to Coolidge, then a challenging ride up through Tremont and the neighborhoods above the North Shore. I’ve walked up here before, but never ridden. Very, very hilly and grueling (especially after 50 miles), but awesome views.

wsb-horiz

I broke my previous personal best of 55 miles coming down Market Street, heading to the Market Street Bridge. I didn’t want to just break my record, though, I wanted to shatter it. So, across the bridge, and back downtown, then out to Finley Stadium. From the stadium, once more back to the “new” Riverwalk, through Ross’s Landing, back in to the Art District, across the WSB and done. 65 miles (or just a hair under 100 KM). On the clock, about 11 1/2 hours, but just under 10 hours of actual riding; nonetheless, a long, exhausting and satisfying ride. Average speed was only a little over 6.5 MPH, which is basically my running speed. I’m going to have to crank that up if I’m going to do 75 or 100 miles. In fact, I think I’ll try 75 soon, but that’ll just be laps on the Riverwalk, I think, because I can usually average closer to 10 MPH, and I could exceed that if I wanted to. Therefore, I could do 75 miles in maybe 8 hours, if I set my mind to it. The mind is definitely willing – I hope the body will follow suit.

So, here it is:

Click for much larger, or Endomondo data

Click for much larger, or Endomondo data

Compare this with Grand Prix I, and you can see how much more intense this ride was:

grand-prix-1-622

Huge difference – downtown, Moccasin Bend, the North Shore; but, it was double the distance, and that was the whole point. Feels pretty awesome to set a new personal record, and really, 65 miles in one ride is pretty flippin’ astonishing. Next stop, 75 miles.