Riding 50 Miles and Not Getting Anywhere + The Big Challenge of Dining Out

Yesterday, the weather in Boston was awful.  I rained all day and was just down right dreary.  Ken and I slept in until about 8, because who doesn’t like to stay in bed when it’s gray out.  Then, after eating a bit, I went to the gym in my building for a nice ride on the stationary bike.  Basically, I spun my legs for 2 hours and 49 minutes, riding a total of 50.02 miles.  When I tell people of these long rides on the stationary bike, they ask how I can do it.  How can you just sit there for that long.

I looked out on a gloomy Boston during my 50 mile indoor bike ride

Well, here are my answers:

1.  I work with what I have.  My building has a small gym I have access to for free.  It has 2 elliptical machines, 2 treadmills, 1 regular stationary bike, 1 recumbent stationary bike, a decline abs bench, and a circuit weight machine where you can do a total of 7 exercises, I believe.  I don’t have a good road bike (it’s on my wish list), nor do I feel confident to ride long in the Boston traffic, so the stationary bike does me just fine.

2.  On the stationary bike, I’m in control of everything.  No need to worry about traffic, stop lights, flats, excessive wind or rain.  I just set the resistance and go.  Now, I do think that the factors of biking outdoors are part of what makes it fun, but I often enjoy the simplicity of hitting the gym especially when it’s nasty out.

3.  I love NPR.  While I’m on the bike, I enjoy listening to NPR or some good music.  The time actually flies by when I’m laughing at Wait, Wait, Don’t Tell Me, Car Talk, or humming along to a favorite song.

After knocking out my 50 miles, I cooked a recovery meal of eggs, sweet potatoes and avocado, ran some errands and did some cleaning.  I love that I am strong enough now that I can run or ride a significant distance, and feel pretty dang awesome afterward.

After my 50 mile ride

So, last night’s dinner out with friends at Brookline Family Turkish Restaurant was a bigger challenge than I anticipated.  I checked out the menu beforehand and had chosen salmon with eggplant and an arugula salad.  When looking at their menu, I didn’t see any alcohol offerings, and I thought I remembered my Turkish pal, Sean, who has eaten at the restaurant several times, saying they didn’t have alcohol.  I didn’t think I’d have that temptation.

Well, when I arrived I saw that they did have wine and beer.  I decided then that I would have a couple of glasses, but no more.  When I told Sean what I was going to order he said that wasn’t even Turkish and recommended the Grilled Lamb served with a tomato, cucumber and onion salad.  I decided that would be a healthy, Paleo, Turkish option.

As everyone dug into their Turkish pizza appetizer while we waited on another friend to arrive, I drank water, sipped my Cabernet,  and answered questions as to why I wasn’t eating.  Everyone was supportive and didn’t bug me too much.  When our main course rolled out I was amazed at how much food was there.  I decided that I would eat the salad and half that grilled lamb.  I had to estimate on the calories (especially on the amount of olive oil used on the large salad), but in the end I think dinner was around 765 calories without drinks.  Wine added another 245.  So, 1000 calorie meal out, something I can’t do often and shouldn’t be doing at all during this challenge. But, I was really hungry after riding 50 miles on the stationary bike and feel like I made smart decisions up until this point.

Then, dessert came out.  I was strong.  I was offered “just a bite” a couple of times and declined.  But then, I was confronted with my weakness again.  The crew wanted to go out for a couple of more drinks.   I had already reached my self-imposed two drink limit but I had only had one drink on Friday, so I rationalized and told myself I could have Friday’s second drink now.  So, off to The Asgard we went.  Ken climbed into the car with our pals Sean, Bea, and Paula to give them directions, and I rode with a new friend, Phil, who I discovered is an ultra runner!!!  We talked the whole way about the 100 miler he did a couple of years back (San Diego 100 – I just checked his results and he finished in 23:41.  Pretty awesome!), the differences between road and trail running, future running goals, races, and the beauty found out on the trail.

You’d think all this talk would make me super honed in on my 30 day fitness goal, but the moment I walked into the bar, I was ready to order what I had decided was my last drink of the night.  I ordered a Stoli dirty martini and sipped it for the next 45 minutes, primarily because they had made it so dirty I couldn’t bear to drink it any faster.   But then, the curve ball was thrown – someone ordered Patron Silver shots.  I took the bait.

Image Credit: lechicelefant.com

So, just two days into my 30 day challenge and I failed to follow my own rules.  I’m chalking it up to a learning experience and going to do my damnedest to succeed from here on out.


4 Weeks to Greece! Beach Ready 30 Day Challenge – What is it?

Yesterday, I was thinking about Greece and my 30th birthday which will happen while on vacation, and how I’ve been working to be as fit as possible when I hit 30.  Somewhere in the midst of these thoughts/daydreams, I decided that it was time to challenge myself and see what kind of changes I can accomplish with my body in just 4 weeks time.  To help me along in this sure-to-be-tough journey (that’s’ why it’s called a ‘challenge’, right?), I started a Facebook page to share my blog posts, workouts, recipes, and to have the support of friend.  I also committed to the following:  sharing all workouts, documenting and sharing all food and drinks using my public MyFitnessPal Food Diary, and working my ass off (details below) for the next 30 days.


30 days works because basically, that’s all the time I have left until I go to Greece.  Also, I turn 30 next month.  Oh yeah, and it just so happens that 30 days is a great amount of time to challenge oneself to something new.  And, while working out isn’t new to me, keeping a food and workout diary is.  Check out this great TED Talk on committing to something new for 30 days below and start thinking about how you would like to challenge yourself.


*I will be recording all workouts

*I will be recording all food and drinks

*There are not cheat days or cheat meals.

*2 workouts a day, 6 days a week

*There are no “rest days” only “active rest days”

*No refined sugar.  None.

*2 drink max, 2 days a week.


I will be using a combo of the following:  Spartan Race WODs, Tough Mudder Training Workouts, BodyRockTV workouts, HIIT workouts, Bikram Yoga, weight-lifting, and lots of regular cardio primarily using the elliptical and stationary bike, but will use the rowing machine and stairclimber as well.   I will grab exercises that work for me and create workouts.  I will post each day’s workout on Facebook and possibly here, too.

If you’re wondering why I haven’t mentioned running, it’s because I am taking 6 weeks off from running to make sure that my right foot, which is stress-fracture-prone, is 100% healthy before I embark on my Run 30 on my 30th adventure in Greece.  Following the Reach the Beach Relay where I logged 36.5 miles on the roads as part of an Ultra Relay Team, my foot was tender and achy.  A week later I completed my second 50 miler with no foot pain, but I don’t want to push it, so I’m taking some time off doing what I love so I can make sure that I’m able to do what I love.  This is also the reason you will not find me doing plyometrics or other high-impact exercises that I truly enjoy.

I will do several workouts a week that can be done anywhere with minimal or no equipment, so you can see what can be done in your own home.


Your challenge is just that – YOURS.  Research shows that if you can consistently do something each day for 30 days, it is very likely to become a habit you will stick to.  So, you want to workout each day?  Wake up and try doing something like this each morning.  You want to cut out dessert?  Commit to it for 30 days with me and share your 30 day challenge in the comments of this post or on Facebook.


To kick things off, I photographed, measured, and weighed myself as the first part of the measurable baseline (I’ll go over the second piece to this in my Day 1 post which should go up tonight) .  Below you can see how my hard work over the past months has paid off.  The pic on the left is of me on vacation last July.  On the right and at the bottom, you can see the pics taken yesterday.  In 10 months I have lost over 20 lbs and added significant muscle.  I didn’t realize how much my body had changed until I saw the pictures side-by-side.  Now, it’s time to kick it up a notch.

Before 30 day challenge pics

Here are my starting measurements:

Weight – 131.8

Waist – 28 inches

Hips 35 1/2

Thighs – 22 1/2

I will weigh in each Friday and post.  I will take new photos and measure again on June 30th.