Category Archives: Exercise

Week in Pictures

What a great first week. Honestly, moving up here has gone much smoother than I ever expected. However I’m partially convinced that I haven’t had much homesickness simply because I haven’t yet had any time for it.

Between learning the ropes at work, getting my “life checklist” in order, keeping up with Ryan and Shaina, and spending as much active time as possible, I have had very little time to myself. I think that’s probably a good thing.

Anyway, here’s what I’ve been up to:

Skiing with Shaina in Bicentennial Park

Learning to skate ski. Progress is a little slow…

Completed my first week of work downtown at REAP. I think I’ll really like it there.


Shaina and I did some bouldering (v2 baby) and got belay certified to do some indoor (and hopefully outdoor) climbing. Climb on!

The sun came out for a few hours so I finally got a glimpse of the mountains. Otherwise it’s been snow, snow, snow!

No more jogs down city blocks for me! This is in the park right near Shaina and Ryan’s house.

Took in a spectacular view of the city from the coastal trail. I would say I get overly excited about things like this.

Not pictured: We also attended Arctic Entries, a storytelling event where seven people each tell a seven minute story on a theme, which changes each month. This month was “Commitments: Makin’ em, Breakin’ em and Fakin em.” Since Sam and I are huge fans of the Moth podcast, I knew I would really enjoyed this as soon as I heard about it – and I did!

I can’t remember everything else because it’s been a blur. More to come soon!

Just. Get. On. The. Bike.

I have had a major case of the winter blahs. A few weeks back, Sam had to pretty much hoist me off the couch and onto my bike trainer in the basement and start pushing my feet in circles to get me going.

I’m exaggerating, but only a tiny bit. I had a pretty bad attitude about the state of my fitness after I read this article about how your fitness level drops dramatically within twelve days of inactivity. My thought process was pretty much, “Sooo… what you’re saying is I’m not still in shape from that half marathon I ran last November?” Bummer.

But I already knew I was far from in shape. Many things cause the winter blahs for me, including but not limited to: dirty snow banks; mucky puddles slowly draining into your basement; zero leaves on the trees or growing green things; relatively short days, lingering cold temps, etc. But for me, nothing causes them worse than months of inactivity. I’m pale, I’ve put on at least five pounds, my muscle should now be referred to as “former muscle,” and I’m getting bored.

SO. Back to the trainer. I really don’t like that thing – but this time, Sam had the sense to put the documentary Ride the Divide on Netflix while we watched – the story about a bunch of people who decide to race from Canada to Mexico along the continental divide.

IT IS SO MOTIVATING. Wow. There is an awesome woman competitor, Mary Metcalf-Collier, for whom I was rooting out loud, in my basement. I cheered, I cried, I laughed. It was just great. She had this awesome line about heading out with one of the other male competitors for the day, as he was worried he may slow her down. She goes,

“Well, let’s get started. And then we’ll see on the hills….”

Love it! Anyway, the point of this post is not to get you to watch Ride the Divide while you exercise in  your basement (though I do recommend that). The point is to remind myself and all of you that getting going is so hard, but that the pain is temporary. Making a routine is harder than keeping a routine. This is something we all know, but it’s easy to forget. I struggle with it every March.

After this, I still needed a few more pep talks and kicks in the pants, but I’m starting to gear up for a busy season. I know that in order to be able to do all the stuff I want in Alaska, I’m going to have to be in good shape.

But, until I feel like I can call myself in good shape, I will continue to just. get. on. the. [expletive]. bike.

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It has been almost a year since I’ve blogged. A YEAR. Luckily, I have good things to say about the end of 2011 and most of 2012. In fact, I have so many good things to say I hardly know where to start.

Actually I do. It’s with this guy —-> 

I have always liked to do stuff. Just in general. But this guy takes “doing stuff” to a whole ‘nother level. He has that good initiative to bundle up and strap on some skis when it’s 10 degrees out. Or that motivation to start training for biking season…in March. I have never had that “get up and go.” But, he inevitably brings me with him and although I grumble and whine (a lot) getting out of the warm car to put on my bike shoes or ski boots on days the sun is NOT shining, I get going and always end up thanking him for forcing us up and out.


His “doing stuff” also occasionally results in me sitting in a diner in Copper Harbor, Michigan surrounded completely by mountain bikers (read: really, really smelly dudes) after a night of sleeping in a tent in a storm yelling, “Ifeellikeicantkeepupwithyou!”

But that’s getting ahead of myself. Here’s a quick rundown of some of the awesome stuff we (I) have been doing since I last posted:

Rock-tober 2011: This was the month I ran my first half marathon. I attempted to write a blog post about that milestone, but decided I was better off relishing in my personal victory all by myself. My journal from that day starts, “I do not want today to end. Today I finally proved that I am capable of setting a lofty goal, dedicating myself to work toward it, and reaching it – all by myself.” This taught me the value in goals – especially when it comes to athletics.

Thinking of doing one for the first time? If you’re anything like me, you’ll need a schedule. Print it and put it somewhere you see everyday. I liked this one.

November: This is the month I discovered Pinterest. I know this sounds lame to list as a milestone, but this means that I found a lot of really good new tips, tricks and recipes that have now become staples. I could do a whole post on this, but here are three of my faves:

December: I can’t remember a damn thing about last December except that it was really busy at work and then I got to spend Christmas in MN followed by a week on the beach in Florida. Not too shabby.

January: Someone wonderful sent me this quote that I have come to love:

Bessie Stanley, in the Lincoln Sentinel on Nov. 30, 1905 wrote:

(s)”he has achieved success who has lived well, laughed often and loved much; who has gained the respect of intelligent men and the love of little children; who has filled his niche and accomplished his task; who has left the world better than he found it, whether by an improved poppy, a perfect poem, or a rescued soul; who has never lacked appreciation of earth’s beauty or failed to express it; who has always looked for the best in others and given them the best he had; whose life was an inspiration; whose memory a benediction.”

February: Got to see so many of my favorite people all in one place. I am so proud of my friends from high school (many of whom live in Chicago where this picture was taken). They’ve all gone on to do such wonderful things!

March: Sam finished chemo this month. He’s been on the up and up for a long time now, but every time I watch him cross any finish line on his bike, I still have the urge to yell, “HE SURVIVED CANCER… RECENTLY!” What an inspiration.

April: Oh you know, just BOUGHT A HOUSE. We love it, but for most of the summer it has merely served as ‘homebase’ in between activities. Cook a meal, clean, sleep, store the bikes for the night, load them, go to work. Repeat. (Or some variation of that.)


June: Tackled Horribly Hilly Hundreds (“the toughest one day challenge ride in the midwest”) number two.

July: Did July even happen? It was a blur. Aside from attending some bike event, family occasion or work trip constantly, I also started indoor climbing as a result of purchasing a groupon to the local climbing gym and LOVED it. It’s a workout, a puzzle to be solved, not terribly time-consuming and just plain fun. I highly recommend it. And, I got to visit Hannah in my first trip to the Big Apple!

August: Biking, biking, biking. Then, started training for my second half marathon. And, for the first time in my life I feel like an athlete.

I am sure I forgot a lot. But, I have had a great year. I feel tired so often, but I also feel really, really happy.

…which is something to remind myself next time I am rushing to load the car up with a canoe, paddles, PFDs, two mountain bikes, gear, clothing, toilitries, a tent, sleeping bags, pads, (etc) to get on the road to make it up north before 2 am. Or something like that.

Thanks for reading this long blog post. Let’s do it again sometime- soon!


Wishes, Loves and To-Dos

Approximately two and a half months ago I promised to document my half marathon training. Sadly (and somewhat unsurprisingly), that didn’t happen. Luckily, the half marathon training has happened, and I’ll be running it in just a little over a week. (eek!)

Tonight’s run was the kind that would have made this blog awesome had I documented the whole process. It was colorful, warm, quick and reminded me of how far I have come.

The jury is definitely still out about how much I actually like running itself. But the time to think, and the opportunity to notice little things to add to the list of all I love about Madison make it well worth sore hip flexors and inability to gracefully ascend or descend the stairs.

Anyway, tonight I particularly appreciated the thinking about nothing and now I have separated my “nothing-thoughts” into three categories for your enjoyment. (Amusement?)


– I wish I had taken the following classes in college: forestry, horticulture, creative writing, photography, pastry making (is that real?) and lots more. Just more variety. I miss learning.

– I wish I hadn’t stopped writing for so long. Ira Glass is currently my main source of inspiration on this matter: (click the image to enlarge)


So many things!

– The houses that are growing beautiful things like pumpkins, colorful flowers, mums, etc, and have done it in lovely ways that I am determined to someday master.

– The block of Spaight Street that had the most perfect fall colors. Bright yellow, electric green, deep red. Oh boy, oh boy it was amazing. I gasped outloud.

– All the smells while running. Tonight’s highlights: the autumnal smell of decaying leaves that smells dirty and sweet at the same time, lots of dinners (particularly one that reminded me of Grandma Lynes’ goolash), french fries, and Sam’s cooking when I walked in the door.

– How I felt like I had a relatively easy run and it was five miles! I will never get over how awesome I think that is.

To Dos:

– Write more. (Do it, do it, do it. DO IT.)

– Take some sort of class to chisel away at my “wishes” list.

– Get awesome at baking bread and do it regularly.

Ready? Go.

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Renaissance: Round 3

FORWARD: I’ve said it before, and I’ll likely say it again:

I’m going to start blogging again!

Ever since college ended last spring, I have been very unsure of what to do with my blog. While in school, it was a perfect outlet for my new-found environmental endeavors: things I learned in class, reporting on environmental extra-curriculars, musings on current events, and then some other fun stuff added in here and there. Now that I’m working full-time though, I don’t learn quite the variety of new and interesting stuff that I did while in college, so I keep telling myself not to waste my time writing – and others’ time reading – boring mundane stuff.

Except tonight I realized something. Not only do I think about blogging all the time, I read blogs a lot and often want to know more of the boring mundane stuff. Who is this person who bakes/crafts/story-tells/reports so well? What is he/she like? What does this person do for fun?

So, here I go. The renaissance begins.


Accountability. I hate it.

Here’s an example: when you announce that you’re going on a diet, and then the next day your friend sees you eating french fries and you feel like you have to justify it: “uhh, I was so hungry. I got these because didn’t eat lunch today.” (Or something like that.) That’s why I hate it.

But now you are all in charge of holding me accountable to the fact that on Saturday, October 15 2011, I am going to run a half marathon!
The training schedule has been created, first runs ran, and registration fee paid – so I’m not sure why I’m so nervous to start telling people that I’m training for a half marathon.

Anyway, tonight was actually my first run. It was really nice (minus the big bowl of spaghetti in my belly that I had just eaten). I’m looking forward to this challenge.

Other than that, this weekend I went dress shopping for some upcoming weddings, and Sam and I went riding on roughly 1/2 the course of the Horribly Hilly bike ride we did earlier this year. Holy crap, how did I ever do that? Overall, not too much in the way of adventure, but we’ve had so many traveling weekends lately that it was nice to stay in Madison and get stuff done around our apartment.

Alright, time to go to bed, but this has been nice. I think I’m going to have fun with this.



This is How I Lost 40 Pounds.

I can’t believe I just wrote that.

This is the second week that I’ve been at my imaginary “goal weight” that I set oh so, SO long ago. (And I mean consistently at that weight, not those first-thing-in-the-morning-completely-naked-before-breakfast-but-after-you-poop kind of weigh-ins). Anyone dieting knows what I’m talking about. I think. Right?

Anyway, today I went for a run and I was thinking about what it took to get me here, and all the lessons I’ve learned about myself along the way… all four years of the way. Surprisingly, almost nothing about my life now is the way I imagined it would be when I thought about what life would be like “as a skinny person,” as I would say.

I don’t think this post will contain the answers for many people. I think that’s just it – weight loss is 100% individual.

But as a form of reflection, here’s how I did it anyway:

1. Got happy. I recently realized that I used to think of it all wrong. I used to think, “Once I’m skinny, I’ll be happier.”

Wrong. It wasn’t until after I addressed my bad habits, took on new challenges, tried new things, and made some big changes that my self confidence improved. Along the way, the weight came off. Once I became happier by actually doing things that make me happy, I spent a lot less time stressing about and wishing things were different, and more time just living a happy life than sitting around thinking about living one. (Usually with a snack.)

2. Got realistic. I still don’t look good in skinny jeans. I won’t go running only in a sports-bra, and I still have a lot of… well, jiggles. Being at my goal weight doesn’t look like what I thought it would, and I’m surprisingly OK with that. (And who has the time to do all those sit-ups?!?!)

3. Made goals. Lots and lots of goals. Many of them I never met. So then I made smaller ones. For example, last year I wanted to run a half marathon. So, I started by running for 25 minutes. Then I added a block at a time. Then I ran 3.5 miles quite regularly and came to really enjoy it. Once I made it 5 miles. I never ran a half marathon, but I did complete a 5k and loved it. It wasn’t my original goal, but it got me running across a finish line and that felt awesome.

3. Got going. I used to look at blogs, attend meetings, read books, and actually fantasize about weight-loss and healthy people. But it was so hard to translate reading about someone else’s success to my own success.

First, I got going the classic way: Weight Watchers. There, I learned exactly how much of what I usually ate was superfluous to what I needed to eat. I talked with others with the same habits and actually really, really enjoyed it (the chatting, not the non-eating). Weight Watchers’ Points system sucks and takes tons of time to adjust to, but it is a great way to learn what my body needed, how to find good healthy alternatives to favorite foods, how to create and maintain portion-control, and very importantly; it teaches you the lesson that if you screw up and over-eat, it’s OK.

All that said, I would never go back to Weight Watchers. My last 20 pounds were lost in a much more simple way than points equations and weekly weigh-ins and I think if I would have come up with it from the beginning, it would have worked just fine.

It finally took me equating “getting going,” with “getting happy” to eventually get healthy. Once I wanted to see some scenery on a hike, unwind by taking a jog, ride my new bike, or try cooking a new recipe, (and actually make time to do these things regularly) I simply found myself busier, and then healthier, and then happier, and then skinner. And it was fun. I don’t think I could have lost the last 20 pounds without a whole lot of fun because prior to that, I was in a big, fat rut.

And that’s what I did. 🙂


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