Bike Training

In my last post, I told you guys about how I am training for a 265-mile bike trip across Missouri in October.  I planned my training rides out and have been following my schedule of riding for the past week.  I am already feeling SO much stronger on the bike!

Friday I was scheduled to ride 6 miles, but I didn't make it.  We had an insane storm on Thursday night, and this is what I woke up to.

There were also several HUGE branches that broke off and were still stuck up in the tree.  I spent several hours cleaning up the yard and got a real-world workout for sure.  I decided trying to ride my bike afterwards wasn't a good idea and called it a day.

Saturday was my rest day, but I had a 20-mile ride scheduled for Sunday.  On Saturday night I started getting really nervous about riding 20 miles at one time.  I didn't know if I could do it.  The longest ride I had ever done before today was 10 miles.

When I woke up this morning, I fought with myself for about 20 minutes before I finally decided to at least give the 20-mile ride a try.  I made a strawberry-banana smoothie, packed some nuts and fresh cherries in my bike bag to eat during the trip, loaded up my bike and set off for the trail.  The ride went absolutely fabulous!  I rode my bike 20 MILES today!!  I felt so accomplished when I pulled back into the trailhead at the end of the ride.  I am starting to really love riding my bike.

And do you want to hear the best news of all?  I burned 1173 calories during my ride today!  Wow!

I have some shorter rides planned for this week and then a 30-mile ride at the end of the week.  I can't believe it, but I am actually looking forward to knocking out some more miles this week.


If He Can Do It, I Can Do It

My grandpa is an amazing man.  He was born during the Great Depression.  His mother, father, and eight other brothers and sisters struggled through life in a small two-bedroom house (the house he still lives in today) in rural Missouri.  His father died when he was only 8 years old, and he dropped out of the 3rd grade to get a job to take care of his mother and other siblings.  He went on to fight for our country with the Navy during World War II.  As he got older, he got sick and had three strokes over the course of two years.

After his last stroke, his doctor recommended that he begin riding a bicycle to help him recover and improve his health.  Since the Katy Trail passes right through his yard, cycling was the perfect activity for him.  Less than eight years after his third stroke, he has now ridden his bike more than 10,000 miles!  Oh, and did I mention that the strokes left him unable to even use his left hand?  Like I said, he is amazing.

For his 80th birthday in 2006, he announced that he wanted to ride the whole length of the Katy Trail, from Clinton, MO to St. Charles, MO, a span of 265 miles.  My aunt and I planned the trip, and in October my grandpa rode the Katy Trail over the course of three days while we followed in a car in case there were any mishaps.  He had the time of his life and started talking about taking the trip again before even finishing the first trip.  So every year since 2006, he has made the trek from Clinton to St. Charles.

This year, my grandpa turns 85.  This October, we will once again be taking a trip across Missouri to ride the Katy Trail.  There is one thing different about this trip, though.  I am going to ride the ENTIRE THING (265 miles!) with my grandpa.  Now, I usually ride with him for small sections of the trip, but I have never tried to ride every leg with him.

As of Monday I had seven weeks to get prepared to ride about 85 miles a day for three straight days.  I mapped out a training program, and I feel confident that I can do it.  My mantra is, if my grandpa can do it at 85 years old with only one good hand, I do not have an excuse! 

I ride my exercise bike pretty often, but I haven't ridden my actual bike in...ahem...a while.  I decided to start off fairly light with a 5-mile ride on Monday.  The ride went pretty well, but riding the exercise bike is nothing compared to actually riding outdoors.  According to my Polar heartrate monitor, I burned 338 calories in 35 minutes.

On Tuesday, it was raining, so I rode the exercise bike inside.  I burned 283 calories in 36 minutes (proof that outdoor cycling burns more calories than an exercise bike).

On Wednesday, I discovered this awesome iPhone app, Cyclemeter.  The app works like a bike computer.  It tracks your speed, location, elevation, time, and distance using the built-in GPS on the iPhone.  I love that it's integrated with Google Maps and shows your route.  Here are my Wednesday stats.  And by the way, when it says 2.55 mph for my speed, I was walking then.  I'm not that slow on the bike!

Today, I upped my mileage and did 10 miles and burned 640 calories.  The last three miles were tough, but I felt so good when I finished.  I love how I feel when I get off the bike.  I don't know why I haven't ridden more often.  Here are my Thursday screenshots.

Do you ever cycle for fitness?


The Real Food "Rules"

A couple of days ago, I announced that I am making a drastic change in how I eat.  Now the question is, what am I going to eat?  What actually constitutes "real food"?

Real Food

Fruits - fruit in its natural form with no added sugar or unnatural preservatives

Vegetables - vegetables in their natural form with no added sugar or unnatural preservatives
  • Citric acid is an acceptable and natural preservative.
Seafood - Wild-caught is preferred over farmed seafood.

Meat - Any type of meat is fine as long as it hasn't been processed.  Local, organic, grass-fed meat is best if it is available.

Whole Milk

Unsweetened Yogurt

Eggs - organic, free range if possible.



Whole Grains




Honey - in moderation.

100% Real Maple Syrup - in moderation.

Fruit Juice Concentrate - used as a sweetener in place of sugar (in moderation).





Extra-Virgin Olive Oil

Unrefined Coconut Oil


A Drastic Change

I just can't be trusted when it comes to food.  I have been telling myself that a calorie is a calorie.  I can eat whatever I want in moderation as long as I count calories and stay under 2,000 calories every day.  For me, this just isn't working.  If I leave room in my calorie budget for, say, a cookie at the end of the day, there is no way I am going to stop at one cookie.  If I have them in the house, I will eat them all.  If there is sugar in the house, I will eat it.

My goal when I started this new lifestyle was not only to lose weight, but also to be healthy...really, truly healthy for the first time in my life.  Technically I have been able to lose weight eating processed, low-fat foods and then using the rest of my daily calorie budget on sugary desserts...but I'm not getting any healthier.  In fact, lately I feel worse than I have in a long time in terms of my health even though I've lost 20 pounds.  I have started to feel like I am never going to lose weight, like I am never going to be that healthy person that I so badly want to be.  I don't want to struggle every single day for the rest of my life against this power food has over me. 

So what's a girl to do?

I have decided to make a huge change in how I eat.  I am going to transition to a real food diet, eating food that comes from the ground or the field in as natural a form as possible.  I am going to have to sever my love-hate relationship with sugar for good.  Is it pathetic that I want to cry right now just thinking about how hard this is going to be?  However, I feel like if I want to be healthy and live the life I deserve, this is something I have to do.

What exactly is "real food"?

Eating real food is both extremely simple and difficult at the same time.  It is simple because real food is simply that...real food.  Real food is unprocessed, unrefined.  Real food hasn't been altered to be low fat or sugar free.  Eating real food is difficult because grocery stores are literally teeming with thousands of products posing as real food that are really something else entirely.

I know eating this way is going to take dedication.  I won't be able to just grab something from a fast-food restaurant and call it a day.  If I lived in a big city and had more money, I'm sure I could find more real food restaurant options.  Since I live in a super small town, my options for real food are very limited.  I am going to be spending a lot of time in the kitchen developing a whole new repertoire of real-food-approved recipes.

I'm working on a list of "real foods" that I'll be posting by the end of this week.  I'm also going to be scouring my local grocery store to find some quick and easy go-to items that will make my new lifestyle a little bit easier, and I will be keeping a list here on shrinkella.com. 

If you can think of any products that are readily available that use only real ingredients, please let me know!