Monday, May 31, 2010

Tweaking and Timing

Week three of Aspire is done and dusted and after consulting the dietician I have made some changes to get my wildly swinging blood sugar levels under control. The good news is I’ve been feeling much, much better. The bad news is I’ve put on a massive 100gms! Actually I’m not even slightly worried that I haven’t lost any weight over the last week. Now that I can actually do some proper exercise I’m sure that will soon sort itself out. I hear you ask: what are these amazing changes you have made?

Tweaking Portions
I’ve had quite a few comments from people that I seemed to be eating quite a lot of grain portions. So I talked to the dietician about that and we agree that I’d move down to 5 portions of grain and have an portion of protein OR legume a day. This has been great. I’ve been getting protein in the middle of day now and I’ve been feeling much better for it.

Timing Portions
This has actually been the most important change. I’m still eating only 20 portions in total a day, but I’m making sure I eat certain things at certain times to make sure my blood sugar doesn’t start doing the crazy dance that leaves me lying on the couch feeling like passing out. The first thing was when I was eating my grains. I’m now having 2 for breakfast and 2 for lunch, meaning I only have one at dinner, much better. Also I’ve split lunch into two meals, one at 12 and on at 2, meaning although I’m eating the same amount, it’s released into my body at a more consistent rate, meaning no big highs and lows.

I’ve also realised I have to eat between breakfast and lunch. I was letting myself get super hungry and weak by not eating anything for 4 hours and that was setting me up badly for the whole day. Now I have a portion of legumes at 10:30ish and that helps even things out and means I’m not as starving at 12 so only eating half a lunch is fine then.

What a change a week has made. I’ve been on a couple of hour long roadie rides during the week, in the rain and hail (I love my Helter Skelters) and yesterday I took the singlespeed to McLeans. It was wet and hard going, but I still felt human at the end of it and had a big grin on my face. Today it’s not raining and I think I might just have to take a jaunt to Sumner on the roadie and see how this new eating plan holds up to a longer ride. I will be taking Replace and a snack with me! Now I just need this crappy weather to go away for a decent amount of time and I can get back to having fun on my bikes.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

How to catch and release a mouse

A Tribute to Allie Brosh, genius behind Hyperbole and a half - go there!

WARNING: This blog post contains no traces of cycling or even dieting, but with winter here I thought those of you who don’t like squishing any little mice who venture into your warm house would find this informative.

The last couple of nights hubby and I have watched a rather cute little mouse race around the skirting boards of the lounge and scale the curtains like a little Sir Ed. Many of you will no doubt be grossed out by that, but both hubby and I thought he was very cute. Unfortunately your average mouse is not toilet trained and neither of us is particularly fond of the prospect of mouse poop everywhere, so with a heavy heart I set up the traps.
However our mousey friend didn’t seem interested in being flattened so when it started zooming around the room last night we decided to try and employ a catch and release technique which had proved most successful last year when we had a mouse in the kitchen.

Step 1
You’ll need three things to successfully capture your speedy little rodent. One of you, in this case me, will need to be wearing a long sleeved top with sleeves that can be stretched and will be the trapper. The other of you will need a torch and long arms, in this case my lovely hubby and will be the frightener. Finally you’ll need an object that you can chase the mouse behind and only has two points of exit, in this case a piano. (In a kitchen I recommend an oven or refrigerator).

Step 2
Spend many amusing minutes chasing the mouse around until you can get it behind the object you have chosen.

Step 3
Deploy the frightener to one exit and the trapper to the other. The trapper should place their hand flat on the floor palm up at the exit point to act as a little mouse ramp and with the other hand lift their sleeve to ensure the mouse only has one place to go.

Step 4
The frightener should then start making lots of noise at the other exit, poking things towards the mouse and bashing the floor till the mouse decides to take the lesser of two evils and head up the dark tunnel you have created at the other exit. IMPORTANT!! The trapper needs to stay very very still during this process, if you get a fright and squeal and withdraw your arm as the mouse approaches you will fail and may have to resort to killing it, which seems very unfair.

Step 5
Hold your sleeve closed with the hand the acted as a ramp for the mouse and with your other hand grab your sleeve further up your arm to prevent the mouse from making a break towards your neck.

Step 6
Go outside and find a suitable place, preferably away from your house, to release the hand that is holding the sleeve closed. How far you get will depend upon how you feel about having a warm furry thing scampering about on your forearm. When you open your sleeve the mouse will immediately leap forth and be returned to nature none the worse for wear and you will be happy in the knowledge you haven’t murdered an innocent creature who just wanted some warmth.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Diet and Exercise – Ur doin it rong!

Turns out I’m not very sensible when it comes to this dieting thing, and in the last week I’ve paid the price for my silliness. I made two key mistakes and I’m going to tell you about them so you don’t make them if you ever decide to go on a diet. Not that I’m saying you need to, you look great in those pants!

Mistake 1 – Not eating all my portions
I’m sure you’ve all heard the saying “too much of a good thing”, well that applies to dieting as well. When you’re on a diet that says “Hey fatty, you get to have 6 portions of grain/starchy veges, 3 portions of fruit, 3 portions of vege, 3 portions of dairy, 3 portions of fat, 1 portion of protein and 1 portion of legumes, chow down!” you should indeed chow down. It will NOT help your diet if you go for a whole week eating less than 17 portions in total when you have 20. It will not help your diet if you think “Hmmmm, I’m not soo hungry today, I’ll just miss a few portions, that’ll make me lose weight faster. Muwhahahahahaha!” Actually all either of these things will do is make you feel terrible, you will have no energy, you will get incredibly hungry and you will not be capable of doing the easiest of exercise. You will also become an irrational and grumpy cow who is a threat to the health of friends and loved ones. Ok, you might lose a bit of extra weight, but it’ll come back with mates if you keep under eating. Now I am being very careful to eat everything I’m allowed to and I’m starting to feel better and as a bonus my husband doesn’t look like he’s going to divorce me.

Mistake 2 – Doing high intensity exercise after making mistake number 1
Ok, I really am a doffus. I actually know I shouldn’t be hammering myself too hard when I’m on a diet, but my passion for cycling saw me doing a full on sprint into town on my roadie and then smashing the Cashmere Downs on the way home. I felt like falling off my bike at the top of the last pinch on the Downs, my head was going round and round and round. Then for the next two days I couldn’t move from lack of energy. Consistent exercise fail. And because a constant lack of food makes my brain not work too good, I made a very similar mistake yesterday when I took my singlespeed to Bottlelake. I started writing a sentence that started “In my defence...” and then I realised I had nothing to finish it with. I wanted to ride at Bottlelake and I didn’t want to ride the Anthem there, so that meant the power of one for me. Of course not having any gears meant I couldn’t regulate my intensity towards the lower end of the scale and in no time I was bonking like one of those little robots that scoots across the floor and then fails to turn round once it hits a wall. Bonk, bonk, bonk. I barely made it back to the car park and was unsure of whether I would be safe to drive home. Luckily I found my hubby’s secret stash of peppermints in the door sill and scoffed one down. Unfortunately I was a little delirious because of my non-existent blood sugar and keep laughing to myself as I imagined I was in the scene from Black Books where Manny, in a fit of absinthe induced delirium, eats Bernard’s bees. My hubby was a bit confused when I got home and apologised to him for eating all his bees. Rest assured, once I’d eaten some lunch I was almost coherent again and had learnt an important lesson. Long leisurely rides good. Hard fast rides bad. Poor singlespeed, it will be locked away for the next few months. Sad.

So this week I’ve resolved to be more sensible. Easy rides only and eating all my portions. Last week I managed to lose another 500gms bringing my two week total to 3kgs so I’m really happy with that. I’ll be happy if I can continue to lose 500gms a week for the next ten weeks.

Monday, May 17, 2010

I'm Aspiring

Once upon a time, about 2 years ago, a young woman started a blog. This blog was about her quest to get fit and lose weight and it was this blog. Over the course of two and a bit years her fitness has improved and improved and her weight has gone down a bit and then up a bit. In fact when I weighed myself last Monday I weighed more than when I started this journey. Bugger. So over the next three months while I’m not full on training for anything I’m taking this dieting thing seriously. If there’s one thing I’ve learnt over the past couple of years it’s that even though I eat extremely healthily and exercise a lot that’s not enough for me to lose weight. I’m obviously doing something wrong so I’ve paid my money and joined up with the Plant & Food/ Uni of Otago created diet called Aspire.
Already I’m learning a lot and have discovered that I eat waaaaay too much. I’ve been on it for a week and luckily it’s been pretty easy for me. This first week came with a sample menu, which was just what I needed, something to tell me what to eat. I stuck to it really well, and made some substitutions where things weren’t working and made sure I stayed within my allotted portions for the week. The biggest change, apart from portion size, has been eating legumes every day. Yum! As the last post pointed out, I’ve been laid low by the dreaded lurgee and haven’t really been able to move off the couch much, let alone exercise so there’s not been much going into my activity diary. So imagine my surprise when I got on the scales this morning for my weekly weigh in and discovered I’ve lost 2.5kgs in the last week! Yusss! My power to weight ratio is going to be looking better by the end of winter.

I also managed to get out on the roadie today to return some DVDs. It was raining. It was windy. There was loads of traffic. I still loved it! It’s been two whole weeks since I’ve been on the bike and it felt great to be riding again. It made me rather light headed, which probably means I’m still fighting germs, but I still ended up singing “The legs on the Mel go round and round, round and round, round and round” because I was feeling so happy. Unfortunately I did manage to get quite cold and created some yucky chilblains on my legs when I jumped in my hot shower. So Week 2 on Aspire has started and we’ll see how I handle riding and dieting. Wish me luck!

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Who dun it?

One of the benefits of being a reclusive writer is the lack of contact with people infected with hideous illnesses who refuse to stay at home and get well, but instead choose to infect those around them. Unfortunately this is mitigated by being an avid mountainbiker and helper outer at races. I know that racing my lungs out at the Singletrack Fiesta seriously compromised my immune system, paving the way for this lovely chest infection I now have. But what I want to know is, who gave me these horrible germs?

I have a number of suspects. Top of my list are the two nefarious banditoes from the Singlespeed race. Either one of them could have been out for revenge after I forced them to eat extra delicious nachos (and thereby comply with the rules). My second guess would be one of the many germ infested children running around. Everyone knows that children are made of germs and are disgusting.

Perhaps it was this dodgy looking specimen. He obviously has some sort of horrible disease, that’s why he’s wearing a Hazmat suit.

My final suspect is Death. Although I didn’t actually come into physical contact with Death, being in his presence may have been enough to see me afflicted with this terrible illness.

Needless to say I’ve spent the last week with fevers, aches, globs of green being expelled from my lungs and a throat that someone has been putting razorblades into every night. This has meant no riding, and actually very little walking or anything involving being off the couch for long. I’ve missed the first night race of the season and will also be missing the second one tomorrow night. I’ll also be missing the MTB Orienteering that’s going on at McLean’s Island on Sunday. Stink. Still I’ve had plenty of time to plan my winter training so it wasn’t a total loss. Also all the resting has really helped my chest/shoulders and elbow heal and I’m feeling way better about those owies. I’m dying to get on my bike and hope for a couple of gentle roadie rides at the weekend. If not I will have to use my voodoo powers to discover the evil perpetrator of my illness and cast a pox upon them. Or not, I just don’t have the energy at the moment.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

What’s more fun than racing?

The Christchurch Singletrack Club had its club champs on Saturday and it was a fantastic Mexican singletrack fiesta with a race for everyone. Not only was I racing, but I was also helping with setting up, timing, and running other races. The weather forecast was ominous so I was glad to be attired in a nice heavy poncho and warm cowboy hat. Unfortunately my moustache was horribly uncomfortable and kept falling off. Stupid thing. Luckily the day dawned beautifully and we managed to get everything set up in the morning sun. Soon the whippets were arriving, cheesey moustaches, both real and stuck or drawn on, fluro ponchos and other Mexican paraphernalia arrayed about their persons. It was most amusing. I was doing the computer timing for the expert (Rapido) race and having never done it before I was feeling slightly nervous. Luckily it was easy and fun and I loved every second. I was particularly enjoying watching one the battle between Slim and JD, but unfortunately I had to leave my post before all the racers finished as I was racing in the next race and needed to get the circulation going in my legs again after sitting in the chilly southerly wind for over an hour.

Riding down Zane’s was great fun, but I was feeling very apprehensive about climbing up the 4wd and the Pines 3 times. I’ve never yet managed to ride all the way to the top without stopping and I’ve only ever managed to ride 2 laps of the course. This was going to hurt a lot. All too soon we were off and I spun up the 4wd track as well as I could. My lungs felt pretty rough by halfway up the 4wd drive track and I was fully in survival mode right from the start. I kept going and really loved the new Pines extension and the fabulous “never-ending berm”. Then it was back to the climbing. My legs felt pretty good and up I went, winding through the switchbacks and getting my heart rate under control on the flatter sections. Soon I was at Rhymes with Orange and being roundly heckled for my feeble pace. Oh well, that’s one of the draw backs of being a mouthy heckler and a popular and well loved blogger. Up into Goodie Gum Drops for the first time ever and it was a fun little bit of track and finally I was heading down hill.

Back through Zanes and I was loving this bit of track. I knew I was catching the guy in front of me and stretching a gap to those behind me, but I knew I’d need it because just like at Hanmer my back was spasming. Back onto the 4wd track and there was no way I could put the power down I needed and I stopped for a second and tried to loosen my back up. I trudged up the 4wd track with my bike feeling pretty shit, but then rode all the singletrack of the Pines, although I needed a few breathers along the way. I was glad the hecklers had moved on, I was not in the zone at all and probably wouldn’t have handled it very well. I got great support going across the finish line, but I felt like fraud. Down Zanes again and I actually wasn’t loving it, the thought of the last climb was making me feel sick. I hit the last climb and hit the wall. I’d only eaten a muesli bar in the previous 3 hours and I bonked big time struggling to push the bike up the hill.
My legs felt like spaghetti and the marshals had even left. I wanted to pull the pin, but the idea of DNF was completely hideous. I had to walk up a couple of the higher switchbacks as downhillers bombed down beside me. I struggled on and was determined to not look like death on wheels when I popped out of the trees. Up Goodie Gum Drops for the last time and reaching the top was a huge relief. I was so glad the climbing was over I did a couple of hucks on the descent, and hammed it up over the line. Then I collapsed at my car and drank 500mls of replace.

I felt like crap, but I got changed into my lovely poncho again and scoffed my free pie and felt like a new person. Then it was time for the singlespeed race, where I had to help with the “activities” the riders needed to complete between laps. The costumes on display in this race were fantastic, and watching the crazies dash up a hill to find a plant pot, then run down, put it on the end of a 3m pole and spin round with it on their heads was so funny that my mood was transformed. Then I proceeded to the table of Tabasco and helped the lovely Sarah set up the plates of nachos and beans, which the riders would have to eat ALL of sans hands before proceeding. The first two riders arrived, Dayle on his sexy new ti Singular Pegasus. I feel very privileged to have been allowed to stroke such a divine creature, and Nick Bushlove close behind. 

Unfortunately these two finely tuned athletes were not very good at following instructions and after a rather token effort the need for the race saw them leaving with their plates still full of food. Not good. Not long after Ollie arrived and with great encouragement from his lovely mother, who obviously raised him right to finish all his food, Ollie got the whole lot down. More racers rolled in, including young Anton on his insane 10” kids bike, and cleaned their plates amidst much complaining and much laughter from those of us in the vicinity. After some serious conferring amongst the race officials it was decided that the two leading banditoes had managed to save a significant amount of time with their wiley ways and they would have to be punished. So it was with a heavy heart I was sent to stop them before the end and ensure they eat their nachos. The controversy was great and the outrage was evident, especially when Ollie sailed past Dayle and Nick as they wolfed down their nachos. Nick took off like a man possessed to reel Ollie back in and almost had him on the line, but Ollie’s skinsuit gave him that tiny edge over the fluro poncho and he maintained a slim lead over the line.

There followed an epic prizegiving where I actually got a prize for getting 2nd in my age group for my race! OMG! I also scored a lovely box of Barkers jams and chutneys. Om nom nom. It was a great day and for me the best part was being involved in running the day. It was great being part of such a fun community and providing an event that had something for everyone. I missed it, but there was even a fantastic children’s race which saw loads of kids having a great time and giving it their all. Although I’m not sure whether the presence of death in their midst was fun for them or not.

Thanks heaps to Rebekah and Craig and the CSC, and to my lovely supporters. Now I’ve been laid low with a flu and ideas of racing the night racing series are drifting away and I’m considering just hitting the roadie and training for some mid-winter madness which I’m really not qualified to take part in.