Wednesday, June 29, 2011


Boy has it been a busy/forgetful few days. You know what that means - no picture. I lost .6 pounds this week, which is fantastic. Much better than a gain. I swam for 45 minutes yesterday and then spent the rest of the evening wasting my life away watching Lost. I can't wait until I finish that stupid show.

When I was home on Sunday my mother gave me fresh lettuce and onions from the garden. I've been making sandwiches for work with the lettuce piled ridiculously high. My mother always called those kinds of sandwiches (with a lot of lettuce) Dagwood sandwiches. I asked her why once and she said it was because the comic book character Dagwood was always eating sandwiches with a lot of lettuce. I have no idea if this is a common term or not. I'm saying not. I'm gonna Google it real fast.

Well, it's a common term, but not because of the lettuce. A Dagwood Sandwich is just a sandwich with a ton of stuff on it, lettuce and all. Oh that Pastor Joanie.

But the lettuce is wonderful. I've been putting it on BLTs (with sandwich thins and turkey bacon) with light mayo. And 2 PP cheddar rice cakes for a side. And for an afternoon snack - pumpkin yogurt! That stuff is delicious and addicting. I pimped it out to Kristi today.

This weekend I am going with Hannah and hopefully Kristi to the farmer's market in Ligonier. I hear about it, I pass signs for it, but I've never been there. I'm on a fresh food kick currently. I looked up all the farmer's markets in Pennsylvania and printed out a list of the ones around my area. I'd like to check them all out, which is somewhat absurd because my parents have a huge, fantastic garden and will keep me in good supply all summer, I'm sure. But it's nice to see what's out there.

Tomorrow is a bike ride and Friday I'm going to have another go at jogging and then swimming at my parents (the swimming won't be too much exercise, mostly just leisure). Bike ride (with a picnic!) again on Saturday with Hannah and on Monday Clay and I are biking/fishing. Biking along the river, parking to fish, then biking to another location, parking to fish, etc. Pretty fantastic, I think.

Weight loss this week: .6 pounds
Total weight loss: 16.6 pounds

Sunday, June 26, 2011

My First-ish Run

Today I ran for the first time in over a month. My doctor gave me a clean bill of health for my tendinitis on Monday and I waited another week before I did anything too active on it.

My sister and I did a walk/jog combo for 25 minutes today. We ran about half the distance, which was 1.22 miles according to my HRM. So total running length would be .61 miles. And guess how long my longest run was?  Just guess. Go on. TWO FULL MINUTES!!! Can you believe that? I ran for two minutes straight. I think I could have went a little further, too, but I was pacing myself since it was the first time I've ran in some time.

I felt fantastic about the whole thing. I think I've said before how I eat like a jerk when I got home to visit my family. Well, today was no different, so this lifted my spirits a bit about over doing it on the food.

It wasn't necessarily horrible food. Well, some of it was. We had flash-fried goat cheese salads with salmon. They made broccoli cheese soup but I didn't eat any. Then in the evening we sat on the deck and played Yahtzee and snacked on some fruit and more goat cheese. I also had a few chips. Not too bad, I guess, but I still went over my daily points, which went down to 35 since I lost so much last week. Woohoo!

Now I'm going to succumb to another weakness of mine:

Exercise: 25 minutes walk/jog combo
Calories Burned: 160

Tuesday, June 21, 2011


I knew I had a loss this week. I had been weighing myself a lot throughout the week to see how my weight fluctuates throughout the day. Anyway, I had consistently been a few pounds lighter than last weigh-in, so I knew I had lost something. But I wasn't expecting the 5.2 loss that my leader recorded. That's a lot of weight. Oddly, I don't feel that accomplished. Because my weight has been fluctuating so much from week to week that I know I'll just go up again next week and that feels worse than a drastic weight loss like 5.2 pounds. Just to show you, here is my week-to-week loss for the past several weeks:

1.) 1.6 gain
2.) No loss no gain
3.) 4.4 loss
4.) 1.6 gain
5.) 5.2 loss

I've still come out ahead 6.2 pounds in the last five weeks, and I am thankful for sure, but I am actually concerned about my drastic ups and downs. I know my body carries water-weight and stress-weight, and all other kinds of weight, but isn't that dramatic to lose 5.2 pounds in one week? I can't help thinking that I will only gain again next week.

I think what it comes down to is all this information I'm given about how Weight Watchers is planned for a 1- to 2-pound loss each week. Also, I've been reading article after article about how slow weight loss is the weight loss that sticks. So am I losing too much in too short of time? I've lost 16 pounds so far over an 8-week period, but 5.2 of those was in one week. The only thing that has any drastic change in my weekly routine are my bike rides. My other exercise and my eating has stayed generally the same.

Anyway, yes, I am excited I lost 5.2 pounds. That's a big number. I haven't been this weight in years, so I'm holding on to my body feeling this way, even if it does only last one week.

Weight loss this week: 5.2 pounds
Total weight loss: 16 pounds
Exercise: 30 minutes; swimming
Calories burned: 317

Monday, June 20, 2011

Bike Trip Food

I was so excited to post my pictures that I forgot to discuss what I ate on my bike trip. I did fine during the ride. We stopped for snacks along the way where I ate any one of these things: pepperoni roll (with fat free cheese and turkey pepperoni), fruit snacks, Fit & Active fruit leather bar, pretzels, and rice cakes. But, once the ride was over, I felt deserving of something more. The first day, after the 6 hours and 40 minutes of riding up the mountain, I ate a cheeseburger, fries, and cheese balls. Now, I don't regret eating this. It tasted amazing and I was famished. I enjoyed every single bite. But I realized that it was an exception and not what I could eat on a regular basis. After our ride back the following day, we stopped at an ice cream stand and I had a regular-size (it was pretty big - maybe 16 oz?) cake batter frosty. When I got home and put that into my tracker I was mortified to see it was a whopping 28 points. Holy shit. Now that one, that one made me cringe a bit. At least the cheeseburger dinner was filling in a hearty, savory way. This ice cream was just filling a desire that could have been fulfilled with a smaller portion size. But it's done and I'm moving on. On the next ride I might allow myself the cheeseburger, and maybe even the cheese balls (a favorite of mine, and they were hot pepper cheese balls to boot!), but I will opt for a salad instead of the fries.

And the ice cream. If I need it again, I will get a child's sundae or a small cone. Those are points I can live with. But I'm happy to report I let those meals stay in those moments and haven't gone off track since. I maintained control, which is a huge accomplishment for me.

Cumberland to Meyersdale: A Picture Blog

Last weekend, Clay and I rode our bicycles on the Great Allegheny Passage from Cumberland, MD to Meyersdale, PA and back, breaking up the trip by staying overnight at Yoder’s Motel in Meyersdale (they don't have a website, but it was a great hotel and was right by a Sheetz and a fabulous restaurant - Take Six). I need to say before getting into the trip that the first 24 miles was all uphill. From Cumberland, we climbed a 1.75% grade until we hit the Eastern Continental Divide. It was torture. Had I been alone I would have backed out after the first two miles. But I didn’t want to let Clay down, and I knew I would also be letting myself down if I quit, so I kept going. My GPS said I averaged a speed of 4.9, if that tells you anything. The first day we did 32.85 miles and it took us 6 hours, 40 minutes. The second day we did 36 miles in 4 hours, 10 minutes.

Over winter, I gave myself the goal of climbing this mountain, but only in the fall after things cooled down since it’s hard to do anything too physical in Pennsylvania’s hot, humid summers. For some reason, the opportunity came to do this earlier and I took it. I lucked out with the weather, as it was in the low 80s on the first day and high 70s and cloudy the second. I even biked through a rainstorm! That mountain was awful, but in the sentiment of Dorothy Parker, I hated climbing it but I loved having climbed it. And after I finished I felt like the luckiest girl alive. But I guess I always feel lucky when I bike. You get to see secret pockets of nature that only a select few others get to see. For days after I was on a high. I felt better than I ever had before, both mentally and physically. In fact, Hannah and I planned a bike trip for August (she feels the same way about the views that a bike trail has to offer!), and Clay and I have two more planned. One for July and one for the fall (date TBD).

What's that? You want to see pictures?! Why, I just so happen to have a few ready for you. Of course, they come with a bit of commentary.

Big Savage Tunnel followed by Borden Tunnel. I believe Big Savage is 3/4 mile long. It's lit inside though, whereas the other tunnels are not. Good thing Clay got me a bike headlight!

One of the many beautiful bridges we got to cross.

Here's another one, but this one was special. It was made in the 1800s and relocated twice, most recently in 2006 when it was saved from oblivion by a wonderful group of people who wanted it for the trail. Look at that design!

This is my favorite shot from the trip, I think.

This was the summit of the trip. You'll see the elevation chart in a minute.

This picture captures, quite accurately, the way I felt while climbing the mountain.

These are not in any specific order, but this was on day two. We biked a few miles in the opposite direction to see the Salisbury Viaduct

In Cumberland, where it all starts. Or ends.

I adore my bicycle. Absolutely adore it. The panniers that I ordered didn't fit properly and I ran out of time to fix them, so I had to use the cooler again. Since the trip, Clay has fixed them using his super-duper engineering skills. Because he's cool like that.

Looking at the highway from the viaduct.

Just some scenery from various points of the trail.

On the climb up we saw a rattlesnake. Yes. A rattlesnake. I nearly shit myself.

And the best one. See that large drop in elevation to the left of where I'm pointing? Yep, I just climbed that.

As for calories, the websites I found to do an estimate varied drastically. Not to mention I couldn't plug in the exertion factor (I DID climb a mountain, after all!). So as usual, I went with a conservative number.

Day one; 32.85 miles: 2,745 calories burned
Day two; 36 miles: 1,720 calories burned

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

One Last Thing

I forgot a few things. First, I want to post my activity spreadsheet. I did a lot of exercise this week, as you can see. But you might also notice that my swimming calories for 55 minutes are not as high as I first reported (I believe a prior blog has me saying they are at 675). This is because I found another website that had a more conservative calorie count for 55 minutes of swimming (and swimming in general), so I went with that. I guess it's better to be conservative when it comes to calories burned. I don't want to fool myself.

So here it is, and it's a doozey! I hope everyone is sitting down for this one.

Weigh-In and the Return of the Green Pants

Today, I gained 1.6 pounds. Today, I feel wonderful. I had the best biking adventure ever this weekend and I rode 68 miles. That's the most I ever biked in a 2-day stretch. Monday alone I biked 36 miles. Thirty-six miles! Can you believe that? That's longer than Greensburg to Pittsburgh. And I biked it. Me and my legs. MY legs. And today, my thighs feel nice and tired, my posture seems slightly straighter, and my waist a bit thinner. I don't mind the 1.6 gain. Because I know I did something spectacular and I am proud of myself for accomplishing such a thing.

I will blog all about my bike ride tomorrow (and even post pictures!), but tonight I am exhausted, so I will leave you with this. My sister returned my green pants. I know you missed them.
Total weight loss: 10.8 pounds

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Bathing Suit Season

I swam for 55 minutes tonight and burned approximately 675 calories. I did 10 consecutive laps without a break! Usually I have to take a 10-second breather after a couple. But something weird happened tonight. After about 30 minutes into it I sort of zoned out. I stopped paying attention to the people in the other lanes, my arm motions, my breathing, whether or not I was pumping my feet enough, the lifeguard, the lane barriers, everything I find myself thinking about when I swim.

You know what I was thinking about? The number of points my dinner would be. And how many points my dinner would be tomorrow. Then I added up my projected points for my bike trip as far as I can predict. How ridiculous is that? I zoned out by counting up my WW points. That's madness, right? Normally, I would have laughed at the thought of getting through an hour-long lap swim by counting the number of food points I planned on using. But it feels okay to me now. 

Exercise: Swimming (55 minutes)
Calories burned: 675

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Bathing Suit Season and Weigh-In

I’m a day late with this blog. And I don’t have the right pants for my picture because my sister borrowed them to help me plant my flowers and she took them home to wash. I hope everyone can adjust to seeing me in a different outfit.

Yesterday was weigh-in. I wasn’t as nervous as I was last week because I knew I had had a decent amount of exercise in the past few days, unlike the two weeks before. I lost 4.4 pounds. The woman who weighed me even had to get out a calculator to make sure the number was correct. 4.4 pounds! That’s amazing! I don’t feel any different other than noticing that my one pair of pants keeps falling down. But it’s just the one pair. And they’re stretchy pants, too, so I don’t necessarily count them too much. Also, the one day last week, maybe Thursday, I felt very small. Not skinny or fit or svelte. Just small. I felt like my arms didn’t touch as much of my body when I crossed them, my stomach didn’t lap over my desk the way it usually does.

Due to my swimsuit snafu at the Y last week, I was on the hunt for a new one. Well, I found one yesterday at Burlington. It even has a skirt, which works wonders for flattery. I ended up sewing my straps in the back to make a racer strap that is convenient for swimming. But other than that small alteration, it was a perfect suit for me. I have a photo, but it's not cooperating at the moment, so I will post it later.

I lifted weights tonight with Hannah and I have swimming planned for Thursday and Saturday this week (I swam at my parents’ house on Monday) and my 64-mile bike ride has been rescheduled for this weekend. The first leg is all uphill. A 24-mile climb. Yikes! I apologized to Clay in advance for taking so long to climb it.
Total Weight Loss: 12.4 pounds
Exercise: Weight Lifting (20 minutes)
Calories Burned: 125 (approximate)

Monday, June 6, 2011

The Recording of Exercise

This week has been full of record-keeping. Hannah helped me start a budget, I started using my HRM (which records my exercise stats), and I implemented a new exercise tracker that I will be doing on a weekly basis. 

This idea came directly from, and it seems that I use a lot of her ideas (that is also where I learned about HRMs). Every so often she posts her exercise spreadsheet which has all the stats of every activity she did in the week. Now, she seems to be a bit more neurotic than I at record keeping, so mine is a watered-down version, but I'm proud of it nonetheless. This week looks like this:
I realized that since I am not using the arc trainer at the gym, which counts my calories for me, I wasn't really sure how many calories I was burning with any one activity. And since my HRM is a.) inaccurate with biking; and b.) unable to be used while swimming, I've been using various online calorie calculators to get an average number. Unless I go on a 26-mile bike ride every week, which I won't be doing, my calories won't normally be this high. But I don't think that's too bad for this week.

Tomorrow is weigh-in. I did very well this week and I hope that's reflected on the scale. I only used 6 of my extra weekly points and that was for rice cakes and a beer. I even stayed within my points on Friday when I had dinner with Hannah and her family, which consisted of fried fish and mac and cheese. 

I must say, Photobooth, the camera program on my MacBook, is not very kind to me. I think it makes my facial features look small and my head look big. I have a big head. And I had to do some fancy footwork to make my lazy eye look normal, which is why I look angry. I'm not angry though, but I think my face looks thinner.