Category Archives: FITNESS

FitBit Round 2


“You look like a weirdo bouncing around out here,” said my husband from his open truck window. He had that look on his face. The one where he thinks I’m adorable on the one hand but doesn’t want to admit our marital status on the other. I grinned and leaned in the window, planting a kiss on his cheek, hoping that would sway him closer to “adorable” for the day.

I refrained from ‘bouncing” while he continued on his way to work, but as soon as he was out of sight, I began jogging in place again – I had to get some steps in before I was chained to my desk for the day.  Every morning I take the dogs for their “poop walk”.  The main goal is the production of outdoor tootsie rolls and not indoor tootsie rolls camouflaged on our brown carpet only to be found by an unsuspecting bare foot. Not a pleasant way to wake up.

However, our oldest dog, Lucky, is like a fussy old Englishman when it comes to picking his outdoor bathroom:  “Shall I poop here? No, no, no – doesn’t smell right. Shall I poop here, then? Hmmm. No, not quite right yet. Perhaps this spot? Drat! Still not right….Oh?  What’s this?  A delightfully dead worm!  I think I shall sniff it for 10 minutes and then roll madly about all over it!”

FOR THE LOVE OF GOD JUST POOP ALREADY!!!

FOR THE LOVE OF GOD JUST POOP ALREADY!!!

In the past, I just wandered along behind them, slack eyed and drooling before my first cup of coffee.  But, since climbing back on the FitBit pony, I realized there was a wealth of steps to be made on this walk, if only I was willing to look like the neighborhood idiot.

Seriously.  I look like that chick on the prancersize videos, only in the bustier Clydesdale version. Now, imagine seeing that come by your window when you first wake up in the morning. You can kinda see why Dave might want to deny all knowledge my existence.

Thankfully, I am NOT wearing revealing white pants.  Instead, I don the clothing of my people:  A Packer sweatshirt and pajama pants.  Hey, it’s 6:30 in the morning.  Be happy I have on a bra.

A bit of history: I bought my first FitBit Zip last year – you can read that story here – and proceeded to destroy it via wash machine. At it’s untimely demise, I fished out another crisp $100 bill and laid it down for the next step up – the FitBit Flex. Which I lost within a month because I had the great idea of attaching it to my shoe while I rode my bike (Note to self:  You are a bonehead.  That is all.).

I decided then that i was too irresponsible (and now too poor) to own a FitBit and I hung up my obsessive compulsive I MUST STEP ALL THE STEPS shoes.

Until, one day, I saw this beauty – the FitBit Charge HR.  Besides counting steps, it counts calories burned, flights of stairs climbed, and miles walked.  It has a sleep mode and an exercise mode.  It’s a watch and it pairs with my phone and buzzes with an incoming call.  Oh yeah, and it has a heart monitor in it!  Be still my geeky heart.  Nevermind that it cost more than both of my other two put together.  IT HAS A HEART MONITOR!!

FitBit Charge HR

FitBit Charge HR

So now I have this new FitBit and I’m in about a thousand challenges a week and let me tell you I am kicking FitBit ASS.

Some might say it’s become a little life controlling.  “Some” would be wrong.  I can quit anytime.  So what if we don’t have any clean underwear and I spend my evenings walking around the kitchen table until midnight?

Dave was downstairs watching TV and I had been marching around the kitchen for about 20 minutes when he came upstairs and glared at me. “What the hell are you doing?”

“Um…getting my steps in?”

“For the love.  It sounded like a herd of elephants from downstairs.  You need to get a grip.”

Fine.  I’ll walk outside.  In the dark, dark, dark outside, where we have no streetlights or sidewalks, past the woods and the cornfields, and pray I don’t get hit by a car.  Or attacked by a werewolf.  Or snatched by the Children of the Corn.

Now, if you will excuse me – I have to go find my crucifix and garlic cloves so I can go for a walk.

Until next time,

Werewolf Bait Sue

PS:  I have since learned from other people that FitBit has indeed sent people new units even if they have lost them in incredibly stupid ways, like drunk swimming, bungee jumping, wearing them during an alien abduction, leaving them in 1986 during a hot tub time machine incident, etc.

PPS.  I only bring this up because my very wise oldest sister told me to contact them both times and I didn’t follow her very sage and intelligent advice.

PPSS.  And it pains me to say this, but YOU WERE RIGHT, TERRI!

PPPSS.  Sue is still great.

 

“You Paid How Much For A Pedometer?”


Hi. My name is Sue. And I’m a FitBit Addict.

We recently had a family get together at my parents. We had relatives from my mom’s side in town, and we all gathered to chew the fat and catch up on everyone’s lives. During the course of the evening, I happened to fall into a conversation with my brother in law about his FitBit.

Seems everyone in my sister’s family has one, and they compete against each other each week to see who gets the most steps in. With a glint in his eye, my brother in law methodically sowed his seeds of temptation with stories of my sister walking around the driveway before bed trying to get a few more steps in to be top dog for the day. I knew he was setting me up,- I could feel the “MUST BEAT MY SIBLING” genetic factor flaring up. He sealed the deal by showing me how it synced with my phone and how you can send messages to your friends who also own FitBits.  It even has a “taunt” feature. A little family competition AND techie geekness? Take my money now.

A FitBit, for those of you not in the know, is basically a glorified pedometer. It counts steps, distance, activity minutes, and calories. You can also set up your account to have specific step and weight loss goals, and you can manually enter the amount of water you drank, extra exercise that wouldn’t be counted with the FitBit, and what you ate that day. They make fancier ones that also monitor your sleep, but I wasn’t interested in spending an extra $40 to find out what I already knew: Menopause = shitty sleep.

FitBit Zip

FitBit Zip

So now, I’m a FitBit addict. I wake up in the morning and put it on and don’t take it off until I wake up off the couch and go to bed. My dogs are exhausted from all the extra walks and I willingly accompany Dave to Menards (the local mens mall) and no longer break into tears as we troop endlessly down aisles and aisles of plywood, bolts, power tools, hoses, light fixtures, and paint. I find excuses to check on my irises down by the water and I feed the birds about 20 times a day – all those blackbirds are now too fat to fly south. I even like grocery shopping now. Okay that’s a big fat lie. But at least I get extra steps in.

"PLEASE!  STOP THE INSANITY!"

“PLEASE! STOP THE INSANITY!”

I recently coerced invited one of my other sisters into hiking Potawatomi State Park with me, under the guise of “Oh, I want to hike the Ice Age Trail – it’s about 3 miles and sounds really cool. Wanna go with me?” and then proceeded to drag her down every available hitch I could find. 7 miles later, we were back to our cars, and I’m pretty sure she was ready to kill me. Good thing all the cliffs were at the beginning of the trail.

She should have thrown me off the top of the tower when she had the chance.

She should have thrown me off the top of the tower when she had the chance.

I worried about hitting my step goal during the work week because I have a desk job. Turns out a trip to the lunch room adds about 100 steps and a trip to the bathroom about 100, so if I drink 5 extra glasses of water a day, I can add over a 1000 steps just going pee. Plus having CRS disease (Can’t Remember Shit) due to menopause adds about 5000 steps a day with all the backtracking I have to do. You know, the times I walk into a room to get something, forget what it was, leave, remember again, and then walk back. Beat that you young whipper snappers.

Right now I’m about 2000 steps away from my goal. It’s 10:30 at night. So if you happen to see a woman flailing her arms at mosquitoes while walking briskly along the side of the road in the dead of night with two pairs of glowing eyes at her feet, please don’t run her over. She’s not crazy. Well, that’s the second big fat lie of the night. She IS crazy. But that’s no excuse to run her over, right? RIGHT?

See ya next week, provided none of you run me over.

Sue

PS. On a side note to this whole thing – while writing this, I got up to put the dogs out and stood there walking in place for 5 minutes while they piddled, only to turn around and see my FitBit sitting on my desk. Rat bastard!

Oh Running, How Do I Hate Thee?


What I look like runningI have never been a natural runner. When I was in 7th grade, and in a public school for the first time, I found out that gym class involved actual exercise, like running, gymnastics, rope climbing, and sit ups. I loved being in a larger school, with more options for friends and fewer options for crabby nuns, but if I could have gone back to parochial school for any reason, it would have been gym class.

By 8th grade, however, I had my eyes set on attaining the Presidential Award for fitness. I no longer remember my reasoning – I think it was peer pressure – positive for once. So, Mom and Dad – I didn’t just skip out of school or drink beer underage or smoke cigarettes at the corner with Donna (which you might not know about. Mom – sometimes I stole your Pall Malls. Coming clean here….) – I actually exercised under the influence of my friends. You probably don’t know that, seeing as you were too busy driving around town trying to find me when I was skipping out. (To my nieces and nephews and children: I only skipped out ONCE. ONE TIME. And that single time, guess who found me? GRANDPA CONARD. Yeah. You know he is hardly ever angry but man, you don’t want to meet him in his yellow Country Squire when your supposed to be in school.)

The sight of this coming towards me will remain forever etched in my brain.

The sight of this coming towards me will remain forever etched in my brain.

 

If you wanted to qualify for the “Presidential”, you had to be able to run a mile in under 15 minutes. I practiced all spring. I ate salads instead of macaroni and cheese (a huge sacrifice, I’ll have you know). I asked my dad to measure the distance to the end of the road, and then when he told me it was a tenth of a mile, and that I would have to run back and forth 5 times, I wanted to die. I would never make it. But dammit, I was going to try.

On the day of the test, I remember running on the crushed black gravel of the school track, the hot sun beating down, and my vigilant gym teacher with her mocking stop watch, calling out my time with each pass. I got a side stitch and I had to walk a few times, but I persevered and ended my final lap under the 15 minute mark. I have no idea how much time I had to spare, but I don’t think it was much. I just remember that I did it, and even though I was the last kid on the track, I was pretty darn full of myself. My gym teacher just rolled her eyes, because seriously – running a 15 minute mile when you are 13 years old was pretty lame. But from the perspective of old school Catholic gym class involving scooter boards, it was a pretty big accomplishment for me.

presidential

 

 

I decided to never endure that hell again (giving up macaroni and cheese), and didn’t willingly run again until I was 43, once again influenced by peer pressure. Incidentally, I also gave up macaroni and cheese AGAIN. WTH.

I started out in my crappy yellow Kohl’s Asics, my floppy cotton shorts and t-shirts and started running. I gradually built up to a mile, then two miles, then three. I distinctly remember the jubilation I felt when I got home after making 3 miles. Never in a million childhoods did I ever think I could run that far. This was the turning point for me. If I could do this, I could do anything. Runners High, here I come.

In truth, I hate running, and always have. It does not come easy for me – I’m like a plodding, ancient, plow horse, prone to hip bursitis, plantar fasciitis, Piriformis syndrome, sore boobs, hemorrhoids and if that wasn’t bad enough: stress induced incontinence (SUI).

Yes, that’s really a ‘thing’. Many women can attest to the occasional sneaky leak produced after sneezing or coughing, but it can also come with exercise, such as running and jumping. I discovered this ‘thing’ on my very first run (age 43, not 13 – just to be clear), midway thru my neighborhood. I slunk home, hiding behind bushes and pulling my t-shirt down as far as possible. Needless to say, I no longer run without my protection, and I don’t mean a Smith and Wesson, although shooting my bladder doesn’t always seem like such a bad idea.

What I loved was being DONE running. The feeling of accomplishment, the endorphins, the victory, the conquest of each mile added, the drive to beat my last distance or time, filled my veins like heroin. I was off and running (get it? AH-Hahahahahahaaaa! I kill me!).

With my friend Shari after completing the New Year's Day Polar Bear Run.  I took 3rd in my division - mainly because only three of us showed up.   But I'll take it!

With my friend Shari after completing the New Year’s Day Polar Bear Run. I took 3rd in my division – mainly because only three of us showed up. But I’ll take it!

About 4 years ago, my clean food plan took a dive – sugar and flour and, specifically, my beloved cake, began to show up sporadically, and then frequently, and it became harder to run because my weight was going up (ironically, I still don’t eat mac and cheese). I started biking about 2 years ago, and fell in love with a sport that took me all over the countryside without injury (except when I fell in my clips – ow). My running distance dwindled, until last winter, when I was running about, well, zero miles a week. I didn’t miss it. At least, I didn’t miss it based on all the reasons I hated running to begin with.

The past 6 months have been rough for me, emotionally, spiritually, and physically – moving, losing two family members, hormones, a long cold winter, and stress. Lots and lots of stress. My body is protesting the extra weight and sugar filled diet – it’s harder to move, I’m tired all the time, and I have frequent headaches and body aches. You know, I don’t really even care about the number on the scale, or about how I look – I haven’t quit exercising and I still bike, lift, and do some cross fit. But I do care that it’s getting harder to get up in the morning. Harder to motivate myself. Harder to get off the couch.

So, I’m running again. A sane person might ask me why – thank goodness I don’t know too many of them. But for those of you who are – it’s because of the mental discipline and accountability that running brings to the table. When I’m looking at food choices, I have to decide if I want to haul that around on my two-mile run. A successful run starts in my head. If I walk around thinking about how much I hate it, my run is going to suck. But if I concentrate instead on beating my last time or running a little farther, always throwing my mind forward to the finish – it’s motivating and euphoric.

These are both tools I need to cultivate again in my daily life. By concentrating on bringing it into my physical world thru running, it will spill over into my emotional and spiritual world as well, helping me to cope with life’s curve balls in a much healthier and positive way. That’s the plan anyway. I’ll keep you posted.

Currently, I am running about 2.2 miles at a crack. I started with a 50/10 sequence of running 50 seconds, walking 10. I’m up to running my first 14 minutes, and then finishing at 50/10. I have found the 50/10 pace is pretty easy for me to keep up now, but my pride wants me to run without stopping. That dang pride! Always nagging me! But there is something disciplined about running according to a beep in my ear – obeying a plan instead of endangering my health, so I think the 50/10 or some form of split is here to stay. Again, I’ll keep you posted! I

Sue

PS – What do you do to handle stress or stay motivated in a healthy lifestyle?  I would love to hear from you!!

LBCOT 2


As promised, here is the 2nd installment of bicycle safety (see the first post – Let’s Be Careful Out There).  And really, this list covers all types of physical activity – not just cycling.  I wasn’t too thrilled to write this post because I DON’T DO ANY OF THESE THINGS!  At least not consistently.  Any why?  For the same reason a lot of people don’t do them – because they require extra time and commitment in our already busy lives.

THE HARD STUFF

Yearly Physical:  Okay, I get it that most women do get yearlies, but usually only for the type involving stirrups (which don’t even have the decency to be attached to a horse. If I have to have my feet in stirrups, there better be a pony around somewhere).  How many of you get a full physical, including blood work and a mammogram or prostate check?  Does your doctor even know you exercise?  Have you specifically asked him/her to clear you for physical activity?  Yeah, me neither.  

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CPR:  Also known as Cardio Pulmonary Resuscitation.  Most of us have seen someone perform CPR on TV, so we all have an ‘idea’ of how it’s supposed to be done.  On the ride I mentioned in my first post, there was a nurse certified in CPR on the ride, and she saved a life that night.  Had she not been there, would anyone else have had enough knowledge from “seeing it on TV” to save that life?  Probably not.  I plan on taking CPR classes this winter.  Heck, what else is there to do in Wisconsin when it’s 40 below?  I’m kind of scared and nervous, though, because it feels like a big responsibility.  So if anyone else wants to do it with me, let me know!  It’s always easier to do something hard with a friend.  Or, maybe misery truly does love company.

Gratuitous photo of Hugh Jackman because it's my blog. (Photo by Larry Busacca/Getty Images for People.com)

Gratuitous photo of Hugh Jackman because it’s my blog.
(Photo by Larry Busacca/Getty Images for People.com)

First Aid:  Pretty much the same thing as CPR, but without all the scary parts.  Like, it would be way easier to learn how to apply pressure to a wound or squirt some Bactine on a knee scrape, than to do chest compressions and mouth to mouth.  Unless it was Johnny Depp or George Clooney, in which case mouth to mouth might not be THAT scary.  Still, should someone break a leg, step on a nail, wonk their head, or poke their eye out with the scissors you told them not to run with, you would be very glad you knew the basics of first aid.

Dug

Diet:  I think this is the hardest one.  We have access to and ingest so much crap, it’s unbelievable.  Donuts, bacon, ice cream, potato chips, cake, candy bars, french fries, quarter pounders, fried chicken, pizza.  Don’t like veggies?  Wrap them in bacon!  Pour cheese on them!  Add more bacon!  And if that’s not enough, let’s deep fry those suckers.  Oh, and these Twinkies need some doctoring up – chuck them in that deep fryer while you’re at it.  And add more bacon.  Our arteries would cry if anything could fit thru them anymore.  America does not understand “in moderation”.  Just take a look at the size of Texas  and our 15 trillion dollars of debt.  But I can make difference in my own little world, and eat more veggies, fruit, lean meats and whole grains.   And my body will thank me by continuing to function as the highly trained athletic body it is…  BAH HAHAHAHAHHAAA.  Okay, it will thank me by hopefully not collapsing during a burpee.

burpees

Rest:  As much as I love to work out (cough, cough), my body needs at least one or two rest days a week.  Lately, that hasn’t been an issue with the cooler weather and less available light after work for biking.  But sometimes in spring and summer, I forget that my body might just need a break, and skipping a day of intense exercise won’t cause my fat cells to throw a frat party.  It just means I will regenerate and heal, allowing me to become stronger.  Rest includes getting sufficient amounts of sleep, and for night owls like me, this is  a challenge of Goliath proportions.  Seriously.  If I start going to bed before 11 each night, check the skies for the horses of the apocalypse.  Which is exactly why God invented “naps”.  Getting enough rest also means I will be less prone to injury, less likely to nod off while riding my bike, thus pedaling over a cliff like a mindless lemming, and less addicted to the detrimental affects of low cash flow caused by excessive trips to Starbucks.

sleep

And that’s it!  Of course, I might have missed something, so if you think of anything to add, please comment below!  I love to hear from you and always welcome your opinions and ideas.

Tune in next week for my 3 part series on a special guest!  No, he’s not Superman, but darn close!

Best,
Sue

Let’s Be Careful Out There


Today I want to talk to you about safety.  Primarily biking safety, but some of these can be applied to other outdoor activities and just life in general.  I decided to write this after a person on one of our bike club rides (I was not present but heard about it later) had a heart attack.  They called an ambulance, but it took what seemed like an eternity to arrive, and in the meantime, the man quit breathing.  One of the riders was a nurse, thank God, and she performed CPR until the ambulance came.  He is thankfully okay, but he needed bypass surgery.

Now, it’s not that this person was being unsafe, but it made me start thinking about it because what if there had not been anyone on the ride who knew CPR?  And what if it had been a bike crash instead of a heart attack?  Or accident a car or truck?  According to bicyclinginfo.org, there were 677 bicyclist deaths and 38,000 bicycling related accidents in 2011.  These are just the reported cases, and actual figures are much higher.  Interestingly enough, 80% of those injured were male, so maybe the best advice I can give you is “Don’t be a man”….HA!  So what can we do to reduce the risk of becoming a statistic?

THE EASY STUFF

Helmet: WEAR ONE.  End of discussion.

Okay, not the end of the discussion (you knew it was too good to be true).  Seriously – God gave you ONE HEAD.  Notice he gave you two eyes, two arms, two legs, etc.  If He only gives you ONE of something, it might be a good idea to protect it.  So use your head, and wear your helmet.  Sure, you might look like a dork, but remember – Pride goeth before a fall – Proverbs 16:18.  See, it’s biblical.  WEAR. A. HELMET.

HELMETS!  (Francois Lenoir/Reuters)

HELMETS!
(Francois Lenoir/Reuters)

Mirror:  There are a lot of great gadgets to buy for your bike (trust me, I have most of them) and it can be difficult to decide which one is worth your hard-earned cash.  A rearview mirror costs about 20 bucks, and it could very well save your life, so it’s pretty easy to justify this investment.  Of course, for it to be effective, it means you need to actually use it.  Which brings me to my next item…

Cannondale

Look at all the crap on this bike. Notice especially the rearview mirror and the blinky light – two things I would keep over all the rest.

Pay Attention:  Look ahead and around you  for any possible issues like gravel, pot holes, or dogs.  Look behind you for cars and other riders (using your rearview mirror, of course!).  And if you ride with music, please consider unplugging, especially when riding on the road.  Remember the head God gave you – the one you have your helmet on?  Well, it’s full of sensory organs to help save your life and if one of them is getting blasted with music, then you can’t hear the impatient jerk in the truck behind you revving his engine, who will then scream past you, spitting out gravel, mud, beer cans, and language that would make a sailor blush.

road rage

Bicyclists vs Drivers – butting heads since the dawn of time.
Photo courtesy of eta.co.uk

Use A Blinky:  A “blinky”, not a “blanky”.  Although there are days I wish I still had a “blanky”.  Anyway, a “blinky” is a blinky light.  Usually clear or red, attached to your bike and/or helmet (currently residing ON YOUR HEAD) and has a variety of settings ranging from constant, to strobe, to chase, etc.  If you can only afford one, get a decent one for the back of your bike.  If you can afford more, then get a small one for your helmet and one for the front of your bike as well.

Be Seen:  Besides your blinky, you can add to your visibility by wearing bright clothing.  This is a no brainer for exhibitionists like me, but others may not be as comfortable wearing neon.  It helps if yellow is your favorite color.  Or you’re in a wedding party.  Or a middle-aged gang.  

Obey Traffic Laws:  It’s very tempting for cyclists to invent their own rules on the road, feeding the road rage fire between cyclists and motorists.   A small list of common infractions include blowing thru intersections, swerving around cars at a stop light, riding against traffic, crossing the road at a non-intersection, etc.  WE HAVE ALL DONE THESE THINGS!  And one day, it’s going to bite one of us in the ass.  As much as I would like a reduction in the size of my ass, I don’t think I want the surgery done by a motor vehicle.  

Road ID:There’s a great company out there called Road ID where you can purchase a wrist or ankle band that lists your pertinent info, ICE (In Case of Emergency) contacts, and medical history.  It’s pretty cool, comes in fun colors, and it’s fairly inexpensive.  When an emergency occurs, others either won’t feel comfortable or won’t have time to dig thru your belongings for your health history and emergency contacts.  If it’s on your wrist or your ankle, the people who need it will find it.  I just got mine the other day, in fact!  And promptly forgot it on my bike ride tonight.  Geez Louise.

Road ID

Road ID. Get yours at http://www.roadid.com

Ride Together:  If you are riding with someone and something happens, there is someone to laugh at you and pull you out of the pickers.  Or maybe dial 911.  You know.  Whatever.  Besides, what are you – a hermit?  The most fun I have had riding has always been when riding with others.  

Let Others Know Your Route:  When your riding solo, be sure to leave knowledge of your route with someone else.  If you don’t show up for work the next day, someone at least knows where to start looking.  Scary to think about, but you need to think about it.  I usually ride one of three routes when I ride alone – I like them and they’re easy for Dave to remember.  There are also wonderful tools out there that allow you to map your rides and give them names.  You can simply tell someone “I am riding Route Q on MapMyRide” and give them access to your account.  Easy peasy.

That’s it for The Easy Stuff.  My next post will involve The Hard Stuff and I don’t mean moonshine, people.  I mean the stuff that needs extra time and commitment, and is often ignored because people just don’t want to do it.

Until next time – Let’s be careful out there!
Sue

Drafting Behind God


Drafting: to ride close behind another bike so as to benefit from the reduction in air pressure created behind the bike ahead.

I learned the basics of drafting while cycling last year from my friend Kay. It was a true case of the blind leading the blind, but we got the gist of it. I am not sure what surprised me more – that it worked or that I did it without crashing into her because I was following about 4 inches from her back tire. Afterwards, I went home and read a few articles on it (thus making me an ‘expert’) and learned there is a long stretch of beneficial air flow, and in the future I could follow at a safer distance. Practice makes perfect, and now I can recognize that sweet spot behind a rider much quicker. I usually feel a little guilty (Catholic girl problems) because I am leeching off the person in front, even though I know my turn pulling is coming up.

A couple of weeks ago I rode in the Ganther Race the Lake around Lake Winnebago. This is a 90 mile race – not a ride. Normally I take part in ‘rides’ which are not timed and nobody is trying to win, so this had a much different feel to it. There were waves of riders tiered on speed, with the élite riders first and the slowest riders last. I signed up with Kay, who had done this race last year, and we lied a teensy bit about our normal ‘average’ pace to get in a faster wave because last year Kay found she was dodging slower riders and had a harder time finding people to draft with.

This was my first bike race and I was pretty nervous. During the weeks earlier I wasted a lot of energy worrying about finishing on time and trying to devise a plan of action to make sure I finished in the allotted 8.5 hours. Kay assured me we would have plenty of time and she was right. It was finally our turn and we set off at a brisk 20 mph pace in our pack of 100+ riders. I found it was surprisingly easy to keep up that speed with so many riders drafting together, and we rocked the first 45 miles in two and a half hours, including one rest stop. It was a huge, exhilarating, bike vortex that just sucked us along, leaving us grinning and confident at the mid point High Cliff rest stop. I felt so…professional.

Unfortunately, the second half had higher elevations (the first being High Cliff Park’s mammoth hill) and it started out with me losing my chain and falling over in my clips (totally embarrassing – so much for my pro career). Because of the hilly terrain, we lost our ‘pack’ and the miles were a lot slower and harder without the momentum of drafting. However, we finished with an overall time of 6 hours and 15 minutes, and I was pretty happy with that (even though they were out of beer by then), considering how worried I was that it was going to take me the entire eight and a half hours.

I posted this vision of loveliness right after we finished Race the Lake.  Obviously I was delusional.  Notice how my hair molded to the vents in my helmet.  Not my best look.

I posted this vision of loveliness on Facebook right after we finished Race the Lake. Obviously I was delusional. Notice how my hair molded to the vents in my helmet. Not my best look.

Drafting is a principle I wish I could apply more often in my spiritual life as well. If I could follow God more closely and let him pull me along, life would be a little easier I think. I could catch my breath, check out the scenery, grab a drink. Maybe even have a conversation with him that didn’t start with “Lord, I’m in a pickle…”

Most times I am off on my own route, going uphill against a 50 mph wind, and then it starts to rain and my chain falls off and I get a flat tire and tip over in my clips, all while a manure truck flies past spraying me with gravel and poop spores. Poop spores are the worst.

Thankfully, God always comes back for me. He’s my spiritual SAG wagon. He fixes my tire, puts my chain back on and shields me from the next inevitable poop wagon. I keep telling myself I am going to try harder to keep my line behind the Lord but trying is not the same as doing (“Do or do not. There is no try.” – Yoda). I’m like my dog Daisy – easily distracted by the squirrels around me and getting my undies in a bundle about the dog next door. I can’t stay mad at her though even if it’s 3am and she won’t get her barking butt back in the house, and I guess God can’t stay mad at me either. Maybe cuz I’m just so darn cute.

How can I stay mad a this face?

How can I stay mad a this face?

Enter…If You Dare!


tshirt1As some of you know, a friend of mine, Vicki Wilson, is battling a rare form of MS called Primary Progressive Multiple Sclerosis.  PPMS does not respond to traditional MS treatments, and will continually progress with no remissions until death.  Since her diagnosis just over a year ago, Vicki has continually lost mobility and strength.  Simple things like walking her dog have become a challenge, and yet she has remained positive and hopeful.  She is getting ready to go to Russia for a stem cell transplant in the hopes of slowing or halting the progression.  Serious business, that.  Any help you can give her via prayer or donation would go a long way (you can read more about Vicki here).

Treatment will be arduous and sometimes frightening and lonely, as she will be far away from family and friends.  Therefore, Vicki has declared the months before she leaves in August as the “Summer of Fun”.  She has thrown down the gauntlet to family and friends to go out this summer and have as much crazy fun as they can, and then share their experiences with her.

Dare me to have fun?  Summer of Fun Challenge accepted.

Now, all of you can sit back and just read about my exploits in my blog, or you can join me in my quest for fun and foolishness.  You can take part in the Summer of Fun in a couple of ways – by sending me ideas of fun things to do, or doing your own fun things and letting me blog about them.

I do have a couple of rules, however.  Don’t get all freaky – they aren’t hard to follow.  Well, except the first one.  Okay, they are both hard but there are only two!

1.  NO WHINING DURING THE SUMMER OF FUN.  This means you.  No complaining about your job, the weather, being fat, flabby arms, cellulite, having hot flashes, and becoming an old bag.  These just may actually be my own particular “whines”, so really this probably means ME more than you.  However, feel free to fill in your own personal complaints.  And then, obviously, stop whining about them.

2.  CHANGE HOW YOU THINK.  Catch yourself when you start thinking something negative about yourself and replace it with something positive.  My personal favorite will be changing “my fat roll is showing thus making me self-conscious” to “nobody gives a rats butt about my fat roll.  I shall have a donut” or “I am a dork.  Nobody likes me” to “I may be a dork but I am good enough, I’m smart enough and doggone it – people like me!”.Smalley

And that’s it!  See?  Easy peasy, and now you will have the proper mindset for the Summer of Fun.

No Negative Nellies!

No Negative Nellies!

I have also given much thought to what should constitute “fun”.  Obviously, different people have different ideas of fun.  Therefore, I have selected a few categories of “fun” for you to use as a guideline.  You will notice there is no “Watching the Brewers Play” category. So not fun this year.

1.  Outside the Box Fun.  Something outlandish, like a Jell-o Slip n Slide or something. I will need help with this one, people.  Send me your ideas!!

2.  Risky Fun.  Like sky diving or bungee jumping.  I will be doing none of these.  Feel free to do them yourselves, though, and send me pictures and a paragraph or two about the experience.  I will enjoy posting about them from the relative safety of planet Earth.

3.  Spontaneous Fun.  Fun you have spontaneously.  Duh.

4.  Silly Fun.  Fun that you may not consider because you are an adult.  Like blowing bubbles or jumping in mud puddles.  Or fighting with your brother about what channel to watch because he wants to watch stupid Star Trek and you want to watch the Mickey Mouse Club.

5.  Kinda Weird Fun.  Fun that draws stares.  My friend Jeannie and I used to have a lot of Kinda Weird Fun in high school.  One time we drew Jeannie’s cartoon character on paper plates and tacked them all over our favorite teacher’s trees.  He was on vacation, and his entire neighborhood got to look at those plates for a week (see her character and order greeting cards here but I suggest you don’t tack them to anything.  Mail them instead.  Jeannie LOVES the United States Postal Service).  Or the time we dressed as trees and asked people if they were going to vote for George Bush (it’s a pun, and it’s not funny if I have to explain it).  Probably the type of fun I am most famous for.

dork

Weirdo Fun

6.  Messy Fun.  Fun that involves mud or something.  No dead bodies.  That’s a different kind of “mess”.

7.  Trashy Novel Fun.  Any fun that involves being lazy and wasting time but in a fun way – like reading a trashy novel at the beach or laying in your hammock in the back yard while your cabana boy brings you drinks with little umbrellas in them.

8.  Scary But Not Pee Your Pants Frightening Fun.  This covers any kind of fun that takes you out of your comfort zone, but doesn’t leave you needing to change your underwear.  For me, this would be something like zip-lining.

9.  Free Fun.  Is anything really free?  No.  Get as close as you can, and we’ll call it good.

10. Most Fun Had While Using Your Credit Card.  This would cover pretty much any fun had by shopping or traveling.  DO NOT send me pictures involving paid “escorts”.  Really.  Ain’t nobody wants to see that.

11.  Athletic Fun.  Fun had while bike riding, kayaking, roller blading, running, etc.  It can be argued by many that running is not fun.  Live and let live, I say.

We had fun.  Really.  Tears of joy.

We had fun. Really. Tears of joy.

12.  Geek Fun.  Fun had while playing video games, creating a working model volcano in the back yard with baking soda and whatever else it is you mix with it to make it erupt (I can’t remember that episode of the Brady Bunch), or watching endless reruns of the Big Bang Theory.

13.  Gender Fun.  Fun that tends to be gender specific and is stereotypical.  Things like pedicures, hunting, spa treatments, etc.

14.  Indoor Fun.  Museums, concerts, crafts, movies, etc.

15.  Hangin’ With Your Homies Fun.  Any fun you have fartin’ around with your friends.

Okay, that’s enough categories.  I’m running out of ideas and it’s past my bedtime.  Now, here is what I want you to do:  Partake in fun.  Shoot me an email or FB message me about your ‘Fun-complishment’ (see what I did there?) and include pictures if you got ’em.  I will in turn post them on my blog for all to read and enjoy.  I’m serious people.  DO IT.  My blog will be very boring without your contributions!!

Sue

PS: Don’t forget to visit Vicki’s blog (click here)!  And buy a T-shirt!  Anyone purchasing one of her t-shirts and sending me a photo of yourself in it while having fun will get their name in a drawing for $50.  Yes, you heard me.  50 big ones.  50 dolla-roonies.  50 green backs.  Fiddy.  Fiddy bucks.