The Bike Saga Continues

“Reality continues to ruin my life.”
― Bill Watterson, author of The Complete Calvin and Hobbes

The short story is: I did not get Big Blue.

The long story is below.

We don’t have the kind of lifestyle where I can just pluck $450 from the ATM and buy a bike from Craigslist. Sometimes I forget this. Okay, okay. I forget this most of the time.

See, I work part time, and there is a trade-off with that luxury. I get more time with my son and more “me” time, but less money to spend on extra things…like bikes.

So, after an honest discussion about money on Thursday night with my husband, and — I won’t lie — some tears, I e-mailed the owner of Big Blue and told him I wouldn’t be coming to the test ride on Friday morning. (And I’m only slightly bitter that the same amount I needed for a new bike went to dental work for the dog the day before.)

By later that same evening, though, I felt okay about it. I do already have a bike after all. It’s just not very fast. It’s just not a road bike.

I decided to go on a 10-mile ride on Friday morning on my mountain bike — you know, the bike I already own. I left before 7 a.m. and it was glorious, if a wee bit cold. I swear, I did not warm up until midday!

Riding a mountain bike will be my thing, I decided, while setting money aside to get a road bike in a few weeks or months. And so I took my Trek in to our local bike shop for a tune up. First gear hasn’t worked in some time, and if I was going to be riding more, I needed to get it fixed.

Also. I really hate pushing my bike up hills.

I got my bike back on Sunday, and I was able to go for a quick 5-mile trail ride on Monday before a 3-mile run. Later that day, I went to the library and got myself Every Woman’s Guide to Cycling by Selene Yeager. I am loving it! I promise to review it when I’m done.

I always used to hate the bike, but for some reason, I’m really loving it. I can’t put my finger on why, though. Guess I’ll have to keep on looking. Maybe I’ll find it and my road bike at the same time.

Going on a Quest

“Take time to deliberate; but when the time for action arrives, stop thinking and go in.” – Andrew Jackson, US president; quoting French military leader Napoleon Bonaparte

On Wednesday, I walked from work to a nearby bike shop. This was my second bike shop visit. I also went to a small shop near my house last week. Inside the one near work, there were three levels of bikes all the way around the perimeter of the store – more than 600 assembled bicycles actually. I walked slowly in front of the tiers of bikes. At first, I declined help from an inquiring salesman, but upon being asked a second time, I decided to speak up. “I’m a runner that wants to get into triathlons,” I said, and the young and trendy, polite bike shop dude nodded knowingly.

He was very helpful and told me that $500 wasn’t going to cut it for a brand-new quality bike. He also explained why a carbon fork is better (less vibration on the handlebars), and answered other random questions I had.

You know what? It’s okay to be a noob. If you don’t know something, ask someone. Read about it. Heck, I started buying Triathlete magazine and I won’t be doing one till next year. (I’m a nerd.) Just dive in to the subject. “Stop thinking and go in.”

The bike shop employee showed me the cheapest they had, a pretty black and purple Giant road bike that was $700, not including pedals. I didn’t know pedals aren’t included in a bike purchase. Sort of a necessity for a bike, right? This seems like a rip to me, but I guess this is how it’s done.

I left the shop after about 15 minutes to get back to work. As I walked back, really high numbers swirled around in my head. Maybe I’m old and cheap, but I thought $500 could buy me a pretty nice bike. But now, with the smell of rubber bicycle tires still lingering in my nose, I wanted one more than ever.

“It is only in adventure that some people succeed in knowing themselves – in finding themselves.” – French writer Andre Gide

I don’t know if it’s the idea of riding a bike so much as the idea of a new adventure. Nothing against running, I still love it, but part of the reason I started running was that it was a journey to go on. Now, I’ve done the half marathons and the full. I’ve done relays. I’ve done trail runs (although not enough). I’ve done the PR thing. I’ve done the injuries. I’m ready for something new.

When I was in high school, one of my mom’s friends was a triathlete. Not just a triathlete – an Ironman. I bet she’s still competing. She’s still kicking butt in my mind – she’s an inspiration. I also recently found out that one of my friends from childhood that I used to swim with just completed Ironman Coeur D’Alene. I haven’t seen or spoken to him in many years, but was proud when I found out.

Maybe this is a separate blog post, but I think we return to the types of “play” (hobbies) we loved as a child. Growing up, I rode bikes all the time – yes, I had one with a banana seat, but then later got a 10-speed and that’s what I used in my first (and only so far) triathlon in the 8th grade. Swimming was a also huge part of my childhood.

I hope to swim Friday. Maybe I’ll ride my new bike, too. Yep, I am going to look at a used 2006 Giant OSR3 I found on Craigslist. It’s blue and I am already in love with it even though I have not even ridden it yet. Apparently, I am third in line for this bike, but none of the other people have set up times to test ride it. SO, cross your fingers they don’t decide to before Friday morning.

I have a feeling it’s mine, though. I just have a feeling that Big Blue will be the start of something good – another journey filled with discovery and learning more about myself.

I might call her Big Blue. I realize that’s not very original, but what do you think?

What I Want

I want lots of things. Don’t we all?

I want a new bike. I want to do a triathlon. I want to run another marathon. I want, I want, I want. These are things that cost money and take up my time, and it’s just not realistic to get them all right now. And, they are just things.

It’s so hard, though, especially with social media…seeing everything everyone else is getting or doing, and knowing you have to wait. Wait because I don’t have extra money to spend. Wait because my kiddo is young and I also want to cherish time with him before he goes off to Kindergarten next year. Wait because my body won’t do what I’m asking it to.

Sometimes it’s good to remember that the real things we truly want are right in front of us if we are lucky. My son is at this wonderful age that I just love. My husband continues to be amazing. We are healthy. We are together. When I think about it, what more could I want?

Today, I am remembering to be patient. To breathe. I can have those other things if I really want them. Eventually.

My son, who is 4, on his new bike. I asked him why he was leaning forward like that. “This is how the racers do it, Mom!” Think we watched some cycling during the Olympics?

Are You Willing to Work a Little at Your Weight Loss?

It’s only taken me about 15 years to figure this out, so hopefully, my revelation can help cut that time down for you.

There are no short cuts when it comes to weight loss.

Ta da!

I know we’ve all heard that before, yet we still buy into it because of so many mixed messages. It’s difficult to decipher what is real and what is marketing hype when it comes to food.

We were living on pre-made dinners purchased at Costco for years. I tried to buy “healthier” ones, but now I know it was CRAP. I’m a busy person, I don’t have time to cook. That’s how I thought, though, until a month or so ago when I finally, FINALLY felt like I understood good nutrition and healthy eating.

A Review of The Skinny Rules by Bob Harper

My husband, who has battled with his weight for many years actually heard about Bob Harper’s new book The Skinny Rules and informed me he was getting it. We’d been trying to eat healthier (read: not as many Costco frozen dinners) for a few weeks. I was doubtful about this book that had the word “skinny” in it. To me, it just seemed like another diet book. (He listened to it on audio, and then ended up buying the physical book so we could use the recipes and refer to the meal suggestions.

I was so, so wrong. I totally judged the book by it’s cover. Don’t let the word “skinny” fool you. The Skinny Rules is actually about eating right. Balanced meals. Good nutrition.

This book has changed our lives – well, as far as eating goes. And dieting, too, since we are both trying to lose weight. My husband has lost almost 10 pounds in the last month, and he is not exercising. He should be, but he’s not. He really likes that he has a set of eating “rules” to go by. I, on the other hand, have lost only a couple of pounds, but I really only have less than 10 to lose, so that’s actually quite a bit considering. I really like having HEALTHY, balanced meal suggestions and recipes. I like eating fresh, and I am LOVING cooking. None of the recipes are complicated at all. I HATED to cook. Now, I am starting to enjoy it. I’ve even made fish! And, now that I know some things about nutrition, I can even confidently make up my own healthy meals.

The Skinny Rules gives you 20 rules to live, er, eat by. Some of them are simple: drink two glasses of water before every snack and meal. But some of them are a little tougher: no carbs after 2 p.m. I’m pretty good at that one – I make a well-balanced dinner with protein and veggies, but then…popcorn. Oy. Popcorn is my kryptonite.

The best thing The Skinny Rules has done for me, though, is help me realize the CRAP I was eating and feeding my son and husband! All the chemicals and unpronounceable words that give us cancer and do other bad things to the human body. I don’t know why I hadn’t realized it – maybe I’d just never really thought about it.

Now, I’d say 90 percent of my grocery bill is spent on fruits and veggies. The rest is meat, fish, dairy and nuts…and maybe 1-2 percent on grains. Grocery checkers comment on how healthy I eat nearly every time I go to the store. It’s kind of nice — it’s like encouragement.

Eating healthier is not easy. But it’s not that hard. You have to think a little more, plan a little more, prep a little more and cook a little more. I make chicken breasts and hard-boiled eggs ahead of time to have ready for salads for lunches. I’ve always been a dinner planner, so that wasn’t hard for me to do. I’m too busy to be able to think up dinner “on the fly.” And Bob (we’re on a first-name basis) has a section in the book that will help you stock your fridge and pantry with everything you need to eat well.

Yes, eating healthier isn’t cheap, but it isn’t that expensive. My grocery bill is about the same as it was before we started this whole nutrition journey. I know, if I were really diligent, I could even cut the costs down. I think just most people don’t want to plan, and then they end up spending more money at the store.

If you want to lose weight; if you want to be healthy; if you want to feel better; YOU HAVE TO WORK AT IT. It’s just like anything. You can’t go out and run a marathon without training. You can’t lose weight without training either — training yourself to eat better.

To me, this book is way more than a set of rules to lose weight by. It’s a way to LIVE by. Here’s an example of what my food looks like on a typical day:

  • Glass of water when I wake up.
  • Breakfast: 2 glasses of water, 1 slice of Ezekial bread (with the tiniest amount of butter on it), coffee with fat-free half and half (no sugar!), and a smoothie made with water, whey protein, and some combination of fruit (usually half a banana, blueberries and strawberries).
  • Morning snack: 2 glasses of water, an organic Pink Lady (apple), and 1 Tablespoon of peanut butter.
  • Lunch: 2 glasses of water, a whole-grain tortilla wrap (with Dijon mustard, half a small avocado, alfalfa sprouts, tomato, 2-3 ounces of chicken breast meat, spinach and I throw some basil leaves in there – yum!), and a cup of sliced fruit with a Tablespoon of Greek Yogurt on top.
  • Afternoon snack: 2 glasses of water, homemade hummus with half an English cucumber
  • Pre-dinner: A handful of almonds
  • Dinner: 2 glasses of water, Bob’s stir-fry (made with 1+++ pounds of veggies, olive oil spray, red pepper flakes and lime juice) with tofu. Sometimes I have a glass of red wine.
  • Dessert: I don’t usually have dessert, but last night, I used the Yonanas machine to make strawberry sorbet with frozen strawberries and a few dark chocolate chips.
  • Sometimes I have popcorn (made with 1 T of oil and 1/8th t of salt), later when I’m not supposed to. LOL

And, in case you are wondering, I am rarely hungry. When I do get hungry, I eat something. I’ll have a hard-boiled egg. Or an apple with a little cheddar cheese. Or a few almonds.

The Skinny Rules and Exercising

The one thing I wish the book touched on a little more is how to properly fuel or refuel if you exercise. Bob doesn’t have you counting calories, but the meal plans put women on about a 1,200-1,300 calories a day. What if I run 10 miles that day? I know I need to eat some more calories. I struggled with this at first. I was trying to eat all those calories I burned, and I was trying to track them and…I wasn’t losing weight. But then I realized, after listening to a Jillian Michaels podcast, that I shouldn’t be eating ALL those calories I burned. So, now, I just eat something reasonable — like an extra protein smoothie after I work out. And voila! that’s working. I’m not tracking calories anymore either. That’s because I’m learning the right way to eat. And I’m losing weight…very slowly, but I know that’s the best way.

I don’t feel like this “review” is doing this book justice. I kind of want to buy a ton of them and stand on the street corner handing them out to strangers! I feel like the book has information about food that everyone should know. Even people who don’t need to lose weight should read this book. That’s honestly the way I feel. I want everyone to feel better. I want everyone to eat right so they don’t get cancer or diabetes or heart disease or…

Do you have questions about the The Skinny Rules? I’d LOVE to answer them! I could go on and on forever about this book!

Is it Shin Splints? Is it a Stress Fracture? Nothing at All?

Am I Dealing with a Running Injury Here?

Remember yesterday when I posted about my sub-1:50 goal? Not even five minutes after it posted, I reached down to rub my left calf. It was feeling sore. But the more I rubbed, the more I suspected something wasn’t right. It was more than just sore.

I ran my thumb from my left ankle up my inner calf. Nothing unusual…until I got about halfway up. Ouch! One spot hurt pretty bad. Like real pain. Deep pain. Not soreness…and the worst part, it was just one spot. Pinpointed pain. When you can pinpoint pain, that’s not good. It’s easy to find, too, since it’s right under a little freckle. Ha!

Anyway, I quickly made a physical therapy appointment. If it goes away before my appointment, great! But, if not, at least I’m scheduled to see someone, who happens to be a runner and likes to work with athletes. Yay!

Yes, I will be going to a different PT this time. I heart Pacific Balance, but it is really far from my house. The PT I will see Tuesday at Pinnacle Sports is within walking distance. There’s a trail that runs behind it that goes directly to-from my house – heck, I may bike there. Of course, if I have a stress fracture, I may not even be allowed to bike. Last time, recumbent bike was the only biking I was allowed to do. And I definitely won’t be allowed to be power walking anywhere.

The funny thing is, I’m not stressing about this. If I’m injured, then I’m injured. Maybe I shouldn’t have run my 8-miler on the treadmill. Maybe I shouldn’t have done 5 on the ‘mill two days later. I KNOW that thing messes with my stride. But with my husband gone for almost two weeks, I didn’t think I had much of a choice. Oh well.

Remember when I hurt myself in 2010? I was freaking out. Freaking. And then, in 2011, when I thought I might be hurt, but luckily I was only on my way to being hurt, and I went to PT and got better? I was freaked a little then, too. This time?

Not freaked. At all.

So what if I can’t run? It’s not the end of the world. Okay, yes. Those other two times were before big races: FULL marathons that I’d been training for forever. This time, I’d like to PR at the River Run Half at the end of October, but maybe it’s not meant to be. Even if I have to stay away from impact sports, I could still pool run. Maybe I’ll train in the pool.

The other things that I think are keeping me from freaking are:

  1. My diet is under control, so I don’t feel like I have to exercise to eat (thank you Bob Harper).
  2. I have been practicing recognizing when things are out of my control. So many things have happened in the past two weeks where I’ve needed to practice this. I’m getting good at it. It is helping me live in the moment and be happy.
  3. I’ve been itching to swim and bike.

Maybe I’ll become a triathlete. Triathletes are pretty freaking awesome. I feel like I won’t get injured as much training for a triathlon. Of course, there’s the whole falling off the bike thing.

So, whether it’s a stress fracture, just shin splints or something else, I’ll be okay. I’m just going to roll with it.

Have you ever been injured? How did you deal?

The Snohomish River Run and the Sub-1:50 Half

Can I Run a Sub-1:50 Half?

I don’t know if I can run under 1:50, but I won’t know unless I try, right? To do this, I will have to run under an 8:20 pace. For 13+ miles. It’s not going to be easy.

Or maybe it’ll be easier than I think since I’ll be running it on the new flat and fast Snohomish River Run Half course. How flat? We’re talking only 115 feet of elevation gain. And the course runs along the beautiful Snohomish River. You know, any time you’re running along a river, you’re going to be on a pretty flat course.

This elevation map shows only 75 feet of elevation gain!

I’ve come up with a training plan for this goal – my own training plan based on past plans I’ve used, including the one my friend Mel made for me when I smashed my sub-2:00 half, coming away with a 1:52. That 1:52 was a year ago, but I feel like a smarter and stronger runner now, and I think that if I train well, I can do it. Here’s my half PR plan:

  • Follow my training plan, which includes speed work, recovery and long runs with goal-pace running worked into them.
  • Get back into the habit of strength work. I’ve fallen off the strength routine I was in and need to get back to it. It needs to be a short and effective routine – unfortunately 6 Week 6 Pack was just a tad too long, which makes it hard to fit into my schedule. I am going to use Ripped in 30 because it’s more of a whole-body strength routine and it’s 25 minutes.
  • Healthy, smart eating. I’m already doing this; I just need to continue what I’m doing. I may have lost a half a pound this week. That is something. And I know since I’m very close to my goal weight that losing those last few pounds can be difficult and can take time. If I can get my weight at or under 150, it’ll help. I’m only about 3 pounds away from that.
  • Cross training. I’m dying to get a road bike. I have asked for one for my birthday at the end of September, but I am impatient and don’t want to wait. I’m also itching to get back in the pool for some reason, so I’m going to go with it.
  • Know the course. I plan to go ride the Snohomish River Run half marathon course either on my mountain bike or a new road bike. *wink*
  • Stretching and foam rolling to ward off injury.

The Snohomish River Run Half Marathon and 10K

Come run the Snohomish River Run with me! It’s only $65 if you register before September 1. (There’s also a 10K that’s only $45 if you register before Sept. 1.) The half marathon course, which starts at Rotary Park in Everett and runs on the Lowell Riverfront Trail and on Lowell-Snohomish River Road, was designed to be fast! Not only is it flat, but it’s relatively straight.

Half marathoners will pass 10 aid stations along the way, which will have water and gels. Registration includes a race goodie bag, a long-sleeve technical shirt, finishers gift, pre/post event food, drink and festivities. For more information, visit http://snohomishriverrun.com or visit the Snohomish River Run on Facebook.

Zipfizz Healthy Energy Drink Review and Giveaway

Kasey was the winner. Thanks to all who entered!

**

What is Zipfizz?

Here’s what Zipfizz has to say about their product:

Ten Calories, Zero Sugar, 4-6 Hours of Energy: The Healthy Alternative to Energy & Sports Drinks
Zipfizz is the only healthy energy drink-mix powder in a tube. Delivering an advanced formula that provides a significant amount of vitamins, fewer calories, lower carbohydrates and superior taste! Simply put, it’s different because it’s good for you! Zipfizz is designed with a unique blend of vitamins and minerals, but it’s our signature Vitamin B12 that gets you movin’! Dedicated to providing consumers with a healthier alternative to energy and sports drinks we deliver an amazing amount of B12 41,667%. Straight to the point…Vitamin B12 equals ENERGY! Zipfizz provides you with an adequate amount without sacrificing your health with high levels of sugar which most energy drinks contain.

Zipfizz flavors

Zipfizz Review

Zipfizz vs. Nuun

Zipfizz, makers of the “healthy energy drink,” sent me their five flavors to review a little while ago. I was curious to try them and see how they compared to one of my favorite electrolyte drinks, Nuun. But, as it turns out, these two drink mixes are entirely different animals: Nuun is an electrolyte and carbohydrate drink meant for rehydrating and pre-hydrating. Zipfizz is an energy drink that also delivers a dose of vitamins. Zipfizz isn’t something I would take while on a long run, for example, while Nuun is.

Zipfizz Instead of Coffee

I used Zipfizz as a replacement for my morning coffee (with bad-for-you creamer), and that was great! I could see eliminating coffee altogether with this product. It gave me the little caffeine buzz I like in the morning with some healthy vitamins, and it tasted refreshing. Perfect for a summer morning drive into work.

I am not a fan of Rock Star or 5-Hour Energy or any of those trendy energy drinks. Frankly, they scare me. But I feel Zipfizz is geared more toward good health.

Zipfizz Flavors

Zipfizz powder comes in a handy little tube. You pour it into 16-20 ounces of water and then shake it up. Zipfizz is lightly fizzy, not nearly as much as a can of soda. I don’t care for carbonated drinks and this was okay. My favorite flavors were the citrus ones: Orange Soda, Citrus and Pink Lemonade. Grape tasted a little too close to a grape Flintstone vitamin – but some people love that flavor, so…

Click the link to check out Zipfizz’s five flavors: Berry, Citrus, Grape, Orange Soda, Pink Lemonade, and for a limited time on the Zipfizz website, Creamsicle! You can also see the complete list of ingredients for each Zipfizz flavor on their website.

Zipfizz Ingredients

Here’s what’s  in my favorite flavor – Orange Soda:

Ingredients: Citric acid, glucose polymers, potassium carbonate, calcium ascorbate, magnesium glycinate, natural flavors, potassium bicarbonate, sodium bicarbonate, silica, beta-carotene color, caffeine (guarana seed extract), L-arginine, potassium citrate, taurine, sucralose, beet color, d-alpha-tocopheryl acetate, niacin, zinc amino acid chelate, grape seed extract, manganese gluconate, green tea leaf extract, pyridoxal-5-phosphate, chromium dinicotinate glycinate, alpha-lipoic acid, D-calcium pantothenate, cyanocobalamin, KonaRed™ coffee fruit, American ginseng root extract, ginger root, selenium-L-methionine complex, xylitol, riboflavin-5-phosphate, thiamin hydrochloride, folic acid and methylcobalamin.

Supplement Facts:
Serving Size: 1 Tube (11 g)
Amount Per Serving – % Daily Value*
Calories 10, Total Carbohydrates 2 g – <1%,
Sugars 0 g – **, Vitamin C 500 mg – 833%,
Vitamin E 10 IU – 33%, Thiamin 0.38 mg – 25%,
Riboflavin 0.43 mg – 25%, Niacin 10 mg – 50%,
Vitamin B6 2.5 mg – 125%, Folate 13 mcg – 3%,
Vitamin B12 2500 mcg – 41667%, Pantothenic
Acid 2.5 mg – 25%, Calcium 60 mg – 6%,
Magnesium 100 mg – 25%, Zinc 2 mg – 13%,
Selenium 5 mcg – 7%, Manganese 1 mg – 50%,
Chromium 100 mcg – 83%, Sodium 60 mg – 3%,
Potassium 940 mg – 27%, Proprietary Blend
(L-Arginine, Taurine, Caffeine (from guarana
seed extract), Grape seed extract (95%
proanthocyanidins), Green tea leaf extract,
Alpha-lipoic acid, KonaRed™ coffee fruit,
Ginger root, American ginseng root extract)
317 mg – **
*Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. **Percent Daily Value not established.

Try it for yourself! Giveaway below…

zipfizz bottle

zipfizz

Win some Zipfizz!

One Mom vs. Marathon reader will win a Zipfizz water bottle with the five flavors of Zipfizz. Follow the instructions below. Make sure you leave a separate comment for each entry – you can enter up to four times! Here’s what you need to do:

Contest ends Friday, August 9 at 11:59 p.m. PST.