Tag Archives: blogging

10 Things I love About Biking

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I have been wanting to write this post for a while, especially since I wrote the 10 Things I Hate About Biking. So here it is:

10 Things I Love About Biking:

  1. Biking is Challenging – I love a good challenge. I tend to be singular in what I challenge myself with. Mostly, the only challenge I really have is my work. Last year was particularly difficult and work took up a huge amount of my time and focus. Biking offered a counter balance to the work challenge. It was personally challenging for me to get on the bike. I forced myself push a little farther every day.
  2. Biking is Fun! – Honestly, it really is. I have said many times it was hard work, but the pay-off for that hard work is that I get to bike. I love the feel of the sun on my face, the wind in my hair. I love flying down hills, or the steady pedaling of riding on a flat trail. I feel free in a way that I do not feel walking or *gasp* running, or doing any other kind of exercise.
  3.  The “Biking Community” –  I am not sure if it is the same in every community, but in Arlington, there is a big informal, (and probably formal if I looked into it more), biking community. A lot of people bike here. There are bike trails everywhere and most of the streets are accommodating to bikers. And other bikers kind of look out for one another. This is something I was not really aware of. One day in August was particularly hot. I was thirsty and pulled off the trail for a moment to drink some water. I’m sure my face was red and I was very sweaty and panting. One girl slowly road by me and asked if I was OK. I assured her I was just thirsty and she pedaled on her way. Occasionally, you get the person who is aggressively concerned with your biking. Annoyingly so, in fact. “That bike is too small for you!” One such person yelled to me as I was slowly riding up hill. “You need to raise your seat! You’ll blow out your knees!” I had to stop and walk the bike up the hill and he came over to try to show me how to raise my seat. Dude! Seriously? At that point in my biking I was just a few days out and feeling very unstable on the bike. Raising my seat was not something I was quite comfortable with yet. I waved him off and told him I was OK, and he grumbled his disapproval and walked away. Creepy. Fortunately, my experiences with other bikers has been much more pleasant.
  4. Supportive Bikers – This is probably a sub-group of the biking community, but I have really come across so many bikers who have been very supportive of my efforts. There’s the girl who offered to fix my flat tire. The guy who stopped to see if he could fix my handle bars. And bikers who just acknowledge me with a polite nod as they pass. But my favorite person, I “met” on one of my first rides. I was re-entering the Four Mile Run trail from South Glebe. There is a slight incline as you enter the trail. I was really struggling to get up the teeny hill. I wanted to push myself to the top. I was traveling at a snail’s pace. A woman rides up behind me and announces she’s passing me on my left. I was literally about to give up and get off my bike when she said as she rode by, “Keep pushing! You got this!” Her words were just the impetus I needed. Two, maybe, three pedals later, I crested the hill and yelled out, “I did it!” She raised her fist in the air in solidarity and rode off.
  5. Being Outside – I could go to gym and ride the stationary bike or join a spin class, but that really never held any appeal for me. I love being outside. The feel of the sun on my face and the wind in my hair. Amazing. Plus I get to see all the beauty around me. Spring and fall are my two favorite seasons. I love the feeling of renewal in the spring air, the blooming of the cherry blossoms, azaleas, budding trees. And the last splash of color and cool air of autumn. And everything in between.
  6. Pushing Myself – I love pushing myself. This past year, I have ridden harder and farther than I ever thought I could. I love to see how far I can go. There have been times I have pushed too far, but I’ve always made it back home, even if I had to walk. The farthest I ever pushed myself to date is my ride from home to Chinatown in DC. It was much farther than I thought it was. Google Maps initially said it was only 6 miles from my house and would take an hour. Google lied. On the bike trail, it was probably 10 or 11 miles. And it took almost two hours. I do not regret doing this though. It was hard and a little scary, but I had a lot of fun.
  7. Riding Downhill – Need I say more? Yes, it is a little scary, but man is it ever fun! I push myself to ride a 4 miles on a slow steady incline on my regular ride. The reward is, I get to ride about 4 miles on a slow steady decline on the way home. The downhill part of the ride is what everyone who dreams of riding thinks biking is like, pedaling effortlessly down the trail and enjoying the ride. And that is what it is like sometimes. But you do not think of the long slog of pushing up hill to get there. The uphill is what makes the downhill really worth it though.
  8. It Is Hard – I like that biking is difficult. One of my favorite movie quotes is from A League of Her Own when the obnoxious Tom Hanks character says to star player who is walking away from the game, “It’s supposed to be hard.  If it wasn’t hard, everyone would do it. The hard is what makes it great.” Of course, in Northern Virginia, I think everyone does bike, but that’s not the point. The point is, that I have forced myself to do something that was difficult for me. And the rewards have been immeasurable.
  9. Being Present – There are numerous articles about the benefits of being present in your life, living in he moment, appreciating the here and now. So many of us just coast through our days. Or our schedules are so full, we are just racing to get to the end of the day so we can collapse on our beds for a few hours of respite before we begin again. I often say that when I’m at work, I feel like I’m wishing my life away 8 hours at a time. I’m never fully there. Always planning for the next thing. When I’m biking, I’m not doing that. I have to be focused and present all the time. There are so many things that can derail my ride, cars, traffic, pedestrians, obstacles on the trail errant two-year olds running in front of the bike. You have to pay attention if you want to be safe. Of course, my mind wanders and I think of other things while I’m biking. I think about writing, and all the things I have to do when I get home or get to work, but always, I’m paying attention to the trail, the bike, how I feel, am I hydrated, should I rest, how far I am from home. Biking is one of the few parts of my life where I’m not just waiting for the time to pass so I can get to the next part of my day. I am happy just to be in the moment biking and loving it.
  10. Overall Feeling of Well Being And Accomplishment – I feel better when I bike. My health is better. My breathing is better. I feel stronger and more confident because of biking. I know something about myself. I know that I can push myself physically to achieve a goal. This is something I have not always felt I could do. As someone who spent most of her adult life morbidly obese, the idea of excelling in any kind of physical activity was almost unthinkable. That is no longer the case.
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Sort Of A Vacation

Well, I was supposed to be on vacation this week, but it has turned into something else.  As I have posted previously, my step-father was battling lung cancer.  Last week, he was in the hospital and they eventually sent him home on Tuesday.  On Wednesday, my mother fell and broke her arm.  She had been caring for my step dad up until then.

Once she broke her arm, she needed treatment too and could no longer take care of him.  My siblings and I decided we needed to schedule trips to Pittsburgh, spreading out the visits to make they would have someone there to help them as often as possible.  My sister drove to Pittsburgh on Thursday.

Saturday morning, my step-dad lost his battle with cancer.  Fortunately, my sister was there with my mom so that she was not alone.  The rest of us made immediate plans to get Pittsburgh.  I was there by 530pm.  My brother shortly after that.  My youngest sister and her husband flew in by 7pm.  The whole family is together again.  Of course, my mother’s house is now quite crowded, but we are all here.

On top of everything else, my mother is having surgery on her arm today.  The funeral will be Friday.

My step-brother and his wife have been an immeasurable help to my mom and step-dad over the past few months.  When my mom broke her arm, they dropped everything to get her to the hospital and get her taken care of as well.  I am so grateful they were there.

This week is very difficult.  Certainly, my whole family is grieving, but our grief is nothing compared to what my mother and my step-siblings are going through.  I know their dad was sick and they knew he would die from his cancer one day, but no one expected this quite so soon.  Nothing prepares you for the reality of a loved one’s death.  And losing a parent is hard.

I also truly feel bad for my mom.  She is really struggling.  I am very concerned about how she will handle things once we all leave town.  I am going to come up here again in a couple of weeks to help her out.  DC is just a short drive from Pittsburgh, so it is easy to get here, even in my teeny-weeny Smart Car, which got pretty good mileage on the way here.

So, blogging may be intermittent this week.  I can tell you that this trip has been rough on my diet.  I don’t think I’m eating anything particularly bad.  I did have to make a quick grocery run to grab some fruit and nonfat Greek yogurt.  I did not bring any protein powder, so I have doubled up on the yogurt.  I’m not too worried about being too low on protein as I am eating about 1200-1400 calories per day.  The Greek yogurt should tide me over until I get home or to a vitamin store or something.

I’ll be back on my regular blogging schedule next week.

What Do You Want To Know?

Lately, I have not been blogging quite as much.  I was on quite a tear there for a while blogging every day or nearly every day.  I seem to have run out of ideas lately.  My weight loss has slowed down.  I have been walking a lot more, exercising a little bit.  And in many ways, my life has become much busier recently.  And I seem to have run out of ideas to keep the daily posts going.  I fear that I am repeating myself a lot.  Still, I feel guilty about not blogging every day.  I feel that I should at least say something, because after all, the struggle to lose weight and make healthy choices continues every day even after weight loss surgery and losing a huge amount of weight.

I know that I have lost a lot of weight, I have purged my closet of big clothes several times.  I have bought some new outfits.  I even bought some used clothes.  And I inherited a large number of t-shirts, etc from my sister.  Even after all of this, I am still not done losing.  To reach my goal, I have 63 pounds to go.  If I never reach that goal, I’m OK.  I have achieved a lot thus far and I am happy with what I have achieved.

I can walk.  I can breathe.  I can walk and breathe at the same time.  I have a lot more energy.  My blood pressure is controlled without meds.  I no longer use the c-pap machine.  My cholesterol is under control, and my triglycerides are normal.  That last one makes me very happy because heart disease runs in my family.

I love the blog and I do not see an end to it, but I guess I need to find some more topics to cover.  I have written about a lot of different subjects.  I have tried to be as truthful as possible about my experience with gastric by-pass surgery, the good and the bad.  I have described the surgery, the recovery, what it is like to be fat, what it is like to feel invisible, what it’s like to no longer feel invisible, all kinds of subjects.

So, I am going to turn this blog around a bit and I hope this experiment works.  I want to hear from you guys, my readers.  I know most of you are friends and family and I have talked to you guys endlessly about the surgery.  But I also have a couple of readers I do not know personally.  In either case, I am looking for questions from all of you.

Tell me what you want to know.  Is there a subject that I haven’t covered that you want to know about?  Do you have a question about weight loss surgery that I have not answered?  Are there things in my life that have changed that I have not shared with the blogosphere that you want to know about?  Ask away.  I will use your questions as new subject matter for me to explore and write about.

I will answer any serious question about weight loss surgery or changes in my life as honestly as I can no matter how personal.  I know that opens up a can of worms for people to ask all kinds of ridiculous things, but I trust my readers.  If I come across questions I feel I cannot or will not answer, I will address that as needed.  I also reserve the right to mock people who ask questions that are intended to insult fat people, women, me, or otherwise corrupt what I am trying to do with this experiment.

So, tell me…what is it you want to know?

To Youtube or Not

So, I started a new Youtube channel and made one video.  I have not uploaded it yet.  I’m not sure I want to do videos.  Part of my fear is that I will have to do videos all of the time.  I’m also not sure I want to see myself in videos all of the time.  Yet another part of me wonders what will happen to writing blog entries.  Will I become too dependent on videos and stop writing?

I enjoy these blog posts.  I think writing posts is fun.  I don’t know.  I’m on the fence.  What do you guys think?   Do you want to see me add videos as part of this blog?