Weigh-In Update + Vlog #44: Going Back To Work!

Hi folks! It’s about that time for another weigh-in report. Last week I weighed in at 187.6 lbs, and this morning the scale read 186.0 lbs, so I’m down 1.6 lbs this week, for a total weight loss of 86 lbs since starting last summer. Go, me!

Watch my full video update with exciting news below!

I guess the title spoils the big surprise this week, but I’m stoked to announce that after spending a little over a month interviewing for a position, last week I was offered the job and I start TOMORROW! Squee! Going back to work is both totally exciting and totally scary at the same time. Excited because this is the place I’ve wanted to work at since moving up to Seattle, so obviously that’s worthy of excitement. Scary because I haven’t worked in over a year, and there’s a small part of me that thinks maybe I can’t hack living this new healthy lifestyle while working full time.

But that’s a very teeny, tiny part of me now! I’m confident that with the proper attention, I can continue my path of healthy eating and pushing myself in my exercise activities. So wish me luck!

Second thing corresponds to the above-mentioned exercise activities. A while back, I tried running a little bit during my training sessions on the 20/20 Lifestyles program. My body didn’t like it: shin splints and hip pain plagued me whenever I tried to switch up my walking cadence to a jog, so my trainer and I concluded that maybe I should wait until I dropped a bit more weight before my body could really handle the mechanics of running.

Well, this weekend on a stroll around the block I got the urge to run a bit, and managed to run a whole 0.8 kilometers WITHOUT STOPPING. My previous record for running was maybe two minutes at a time, tops – and this length blew that time outta the park! I was so excited I went out again the next day to see if I could break the kilometer barrier – AND I DID! So, so exciting. The first few moments while I’m running (okay, jogging), it feels really hard. But at some point it feels like things get better. I focus on my breathing: deep breath in, fast breath out; deep breath in, exhale again… and then I’m around the block.

While I’m still huffing and puffing and sweating like crazy after a mere kilometer, it still feels SO MUCH BETTER than it used to. I’ve decided I’d like to train to run longer distances (I’ve even added a “Running” category here on the blog – GAME IS ON!), and my next goal is to go a mile without stopping. And after that I’d love to run a 5k. If I can run a 5k by the end of the year (or ever, for that matter), I will be SO INSANELY PROUD of myself I just don’t know what I’ll do.

The final exciting thing this week (as if I needed any more) is that I’ve had my first fitness-related article published! Readers may remember that I bought a bike earlier this year and took a private course at the Cascade Bicycle Club to help me get back on the horse, so-to-speak. About a month back, someone from the club contacted me asking if I would be willing to translate my blog post about it into an article for their monthly periodical. And it just went live this past week! Head on over here to read the article!

Hope all you lovelies are having a great week yourselves. Thanks for reading!

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My First Cycling Lesson

When buying my bicycle, I knew I was going to need some professional guidance on riding. Sure, as a youth I rode bikes a lot, but that was a long, long time ago. It’s been at least 15 years since I’ve even been on a bike and I’m not eager to get off on the wrong foot. And even though there are some great bicycling forums available online, I’m a kinesthetic learner, and need to be out doing what I’m being taught.

Fortunately, I live in the Seattle area – one of the best places in the country to live for cycling. It’s the home base for the Cascade Bicycle Club, one of the premier non-profit community bicycling clubs in the United States. It hosts major cycling events as well as group rides of all difficulties numerous times every month, and is heavily into advocacy, lobbying local government on issues pertaining to the cycling community. They’ve been key in developing the greenways, bike lanes, and rails-to-trails paths that make the area so great for cyclists. But they also feature training programs for total beginners, those just getting back on a bike, and people looking to get more comfortable riding in an urban environment. It was the second set (those just getting back on a bike), that I found myself in, and while they didn’t have any of the 6-hour Back to Basics classes available for a couple months, they offered private education that could get me rolling sooner. It was a no-brainer to sign up.

This past Sunday I had my session with William Gerdes, a trainer for the club over at their Magnuson Park headquarters. I got lucky, as the weather was beautiful in Seattle this weekend. With the help of my boyfriend, I took the wheels off Gertie (my ridiculous anthropomorphic name for my new bike) and packed her into the back of my MINI. I must continue to practice this, as when I got over to the location I spent entirely too much time looking like a complete idiot while not being able to get my rear wheel re-seated. Fortunately, William was there to assist and I got some extra practice in.

After the wheel replacement, introductions, and a quick once-over of both my bike and my helmet, he asked me to mount the bike and do a little riding along one of the park streets so he could watch me ride a bit. The verdict? The seat looked a little high for me, and boy, was I fast! He said he was used to new students getting on a bike slowly, starting slow, and staying slow. But after a clumsy mount, I took off and was (relatively) blazing up the street. It felt good knowing that I had a little power under the hood to work with, at least comparatively!

The lesson covered many basics like how to properly mount and dismount my bike, braking techniques, and a little bit about gearing and cadence. I definitely have some work to do on those last two. Gearing is still a bit of a mystery, as I need to develop a feel of what gear I’m in, and what gear I should be in. What I gained most from this lesson was confidence. We rode around the park streets a bit, along with car traffic – something I’m terrified of, and being able to follow and emulate someone else while riding was a big boost to feeling comfortable about what I was doing (riding in comfort is another story – more on that in a future post, I promise!!). We even tackled a small hill, and on the way down I tucked into the drops for the first time. I’m a little fearful of taking downhills at speed but with the benefit of a little training, it was a lot easier to have fun with it.

He recommended I come back for the formal 6-hour course. Even though I would be a bit more advanced than the average participant he thought I could still gain some helpful insight into some topics I’m a little uneasy with at this stage. We talked about some of my shorter and longer term goals. I casually dropped the STP (Seattle to Portland 200-mile event ride which takes place every summer) as a pie-in-the-sky goal several years down the road, and he guesstimated that I would be able to tackle it in 2015. !!!! If I were to be able to do something like that I would be so, so insanely proud of myself! For now, I’m going to focus on maintaining my motivation to learn and continue to get out for short rides whenever the weather cooperates!