Jun. 7th, 2013 10:14 am
melaniesuzanne: (Rat)
**Hubbyfink is recovering amazingly well after his surgery. As of today, it's been a full month since the tennis ball-size rock was removed from his head. He still fatigues easily and the deafness in his left ear is going to be permanent, but he is otherwise back to himself. He'll be home for another week and I'm trying to convince him to go back for half days when he starts back at work. He'll have to check with HR to see if that's allowed.

**The Tour de Cure for the American Diabetes Association went SO MUCH better than I'd expected. [ profile] carthew and I started our route about 90 minutes prior to the official start time so as to beat the forecast blistering temperature. We rode fairly slowly -- somewhere in the 9 mph range -- and took lots of water and rest breaks. That was good for me in that it reined me in and kept me from pushing so hard that I couldn't finish the ride. We rested for 45 minutes or so at the turn-around point and then rode even more slowly with more breaks on the ride from Vienna to Reston because that route is mostly uphill. I was so jazzed when we got to the finish that I danced around like a crazed weasel, cheering on other riders as they cruised down the finish line chute.

A few photos. )

Our little team raised nearly $2,047 (thus blowing away our $1,500 goal) for the American Diabetes Association. GO, HULA BEARS! And thank you, thank you, thank you to everyone who donated to our cause.

**I have begun shrinking out of my shoes as [ profile] hannnahkl promised. Ack! I also have a humongous pile of clothes for donation in the craft room. HU-MON-GOUS. They're mostly 18s and 20s and 2XLs. I need to throw some of winter coats on that pile as well. I can't think of any body local who would need those sizes, but if you're local and COULD use some of those sizes, give me a holler and we'll set up a time for you to dig through my clothes. I'm going to put out a call on Facebook as well. This weekend will be for inventorying the clothing in preparation for donation.

**Related to the shoe- and clothing-shrinkage, I have officially hit the two-teens. Eeeee! I haven't been in the two-teens since early 1997. Seriously. I remember living in Annandale with Tansey and going to Weight Watchers because I'd hit 215. I am beyond thrilled. BEE-YOND.

**Today is the 6th birthday of my twin nieces: Anne and Emily. It's hard to believe that they're SIX! They're going to have a surprise Merida-themed birthday party tomorrow. I can't wait to see their faces. :)

**Last, but certainly not least: HAPPY FRIDAY!
melaniesuzanne: (measure by measure)
We're chugging right along.

Physical changes: As of today, I'm down 40 pounds which was my record with Jenny Craig and way more than I ever lost on Weight Watchers. My thighs and belly look like a Sharpei. My neck probably would, too, but I've been slathering Murad Resurgence Rejuventating Lift on my neck and decolletage every other day (it's too drying for everyday use) and I think it's been helping. I still hate my neck profile, though.

Mental changes: This is a toughie. I'm wrapping my head about my relationship with food. In my head I want to EAT ALL THE THINGS but I physically can't which is one of the reasons I chose WLS rather than yet another commercially available deprivation system. I'm forced into portion control, learning when I'm actually hungry and not, and making better nutrition choices. I've also self-diagnosed myself with body dysmorphia, else how would I have let myself get so huge without noticing. Now that I'm losing weight, I can only barely see it in the mirror and photographs. Hubbyfink took the photo below a couple weeks ago and I love it.

My first 'hot' photo in a long time. )

Clothes: I've had to purchase new capris because most of last summer's clothes don't fit, quelle surprise. I did save a couple pair from my Jenny Craig days, thank heavens, so I didn't have to go nuts on new clothes just yet. I'm also swimming in my bras and have snagged a few cheapies from Target to tide me over. The donation pile for Goodwill is turning into a mountain.

Food: I can tolerate chicken (fried strips, pad thai, salad), BBQ pork, bread, fish, shrimp... You know, all the tricky foods. I CANNOT tolerate humus, chicken quesadilla, pork "products" like sausage, biscuits, some crackers, muffins... you know, a lot of not-so-good-for-me-anyway foods. I've had a rough few nights this week where I couldn't keep anything down, and I commented to Hubbyfink last night: "You know, I could have simply become a bulimic without all the pain and expense of surgery."

Energy level: Meh. Not enough protein, I guess. My surgeon doesn't buy into the YOU MUST EAT ALL THE PROTEIN, but it is supposed to be my primary food source, followed by veggies then fruit then starches. I can add protein shakes -- I LOVE the Atkins Advantage ones -- when I increase my activity level, but I have a hard time chugging one when I'm actually out in the field. The Tour de Cure is on Sunday and I'm veeeeery nervous about being able to ride more than five miles. (The route I'm taking this year is only 14 miles.)

Two months out and would I do it again? Last night, after puking for the fourth time in 20 minutes, I'd have said 'no'. Today, when I'm feeling better, I'm a definite maybe. My occasional word choice of "mutilation" when I talk about the surgery should be telling. Anyone who says that WLS is the "easy way out" is misinformed.
melaniesuzanne: (Bike: rat)
No, no. I'm not on the bikes yet.

Called my surgeon yesterday to complain about my lack of stamina and he told me to rein in my activity. Fft. Yes, I knew that was the answer but it doesn't mean I have to be happy with that response. However, I think that my new protein supplement -- Atkins Advantage -- is tastier and has more protein per serving than the supplement I used before. I'm almost kind of sad that I have to give it up next Sunday.

Last night, I pulled out the front basket for Lily the hybrid bike and a garland of silk lilies. Scott gave me the stink-eye and asked what I thought I was doing. (He wasn't out of line; I have been whining at him to let me ride my bike and he's been good about saying no, not even the low and slow Kate the beach cruiser.) I was merely prepping Lily's accessory for when I can ride again. Tonight I'll adorn Beatrix the city bike's basket with yellow and peach roses. (I've been lax about removing the holly garland and Christmas lights from her.)

Oh, and speaking of riding, I have my three week appointment with my surgeon on the 23rd and I will ask at that time when I am cleared for getting back on two wheels. I really want to participate in the 10-mile route of Paul's Ride for Life, but as that'll be only a few days after clearance (hopefully!), it may be too much. We shall see. I'm still riding in the ADA Tour de Cure in June. I'd planned on the 43-mile route, but I'm going to pull back to the 14-mile Fun Ride (with an additional 12 mile or so ride to and from Reston). If you're local and love riding your bike, please consider joining my team: Hula Bears which is named in commemoration of our dear [ profile] tirloch who passed away last March. The event is well-staffed and a total blast!
melaniesuzanne: (Bike: Circe)
This past Saturday evening was the Champions Dinner for the 2012 Tour de Cure. I was pretty inspired by all the great folks in attendance, especially the Red Riders (the participants who have diabetes) and the Youth Ambassadors. I'd been on the fence about riding next year but now I'm motivated to not only ride but also captain a team. I've put a call out to my bicycle-loving SCA friends to join the Hula Bears* and ride in memory of Tom B./Tirloch.

*We're Hula Bears because Tom was "the Bear" and loved Hawaiian shirts.
melaniesuzanne: (Bike: Circe)
Long story, short: I rode just over 55 miles, raised $1,225 with the help of many generous donors, and had a pretty good time.

The people for whom I rode.

Long story, long. )

The big day

Jun. 1st, 2012 11:05 am
melaniesuzanne: (Bike: Circe)
Sunday is the big day. It's the National Capital Area's Tour de Cure in support of the American Diabetes Association. At this point, I am riding the half century (+4 miles) plus an additional ten or so miles from my house to the start/finish and back home which will equal a metric century. It'll be the farthest distance I've ridden even if I'm able to do only the "official" route. I'm nervous about this -- dull surprise -- but I will ride with the knowledge that the donors to my fundraising efforts and the people for whom I riding in memory of and in honor of will be with me in spirit.

I made these tags to attach to my bike as a visual reminder of those who live and have lived with diabetes. If you donated and wish for me to include the name(s) of someone(s) special, please let me know in the comments or by email (melaniesuzanne AT gmail DOT com).

THANK YOU to everyone who has donated and/or cheered me on. You are all fantastic people and my life (and the lives of those who will be helped by the ADA) are better for knowing you.
melaniesuzanne: (Bike: rat)
This past Sunday was my last good training ride day. I will be in New Orleans for Memorial Day weekend and the Tour de Cure is on the following Sunday. My plan was to ride from home to Reston Parkway, turn around and ride west to Purcellville, then turn around and ride back home. That route is 56 miles, only five miles short of my Tour de Cure if I have Scott drive me back home and ten miles short if I ride the bike back home.

I got on the trail at 11:30am, much later than planned, but the trail wasn't too crowded. The trip to Reston and the return past home were easy. I worked on keeping my pace at a reasonable 13 MPH but it kept creeping up to 14.5 or so. I got into a spot of trouble in Ashburn when my sunscreen started running into my eyes. After clearing that up, I continued on while being pounded by the sun. The air temperature was only 80F and the humidity was tolerable, but that sun was baking me pretty hard. I couldn't wait to get into the tree cover outside of and through Leesburg. I got to Raflo park -- mile 22 of my trip -- and seriously considered calling Scott to come pick me up. But I rested in the shade and breeze, ate half a sandwich, ate a banana, and drained both water bottles. Thankfully, there was a working water fountain and I was able to refill.

Let the collapse begin. )

You know, my not being a morning person makes me grumbly about tours and supported rides starting so blasted early in the morning. But now I understand why they do that. My Tour start time is between 7 and 8am so I feel a little better about not getting too sun baked while riding. Of course, now watch us get a monsoon on the day of.
melaniesuzanne: (Bike: rat)
Since I skipped the group ride from Leesburg to Purcellville on Saturday, I made Sunday a training ride day. Scott agreed to meet me in Leesburg and ride to Purcellville and back so I had the first and last legs to myself. The ride out was pretty easy and, due to the gloomy skies, the W&OD wasn't too crowded. I found myself amongst a group of the lycra set and kept up with them through the downhills, eventually losing them before we got to Ashburn.

I made the twelve mile trip to Raflo Park -- middle of Leesburg -- in 49 minutes and waited for Scott to arrive. A couple with two young boys stopped in the gazebo where I waited and asked for suggestions on bikes for them and a carrier for the boys. I may have overwhelmed them with answers, but I stressed the importance of finding a good bike shop and asking lots of questions.

Raflo Park.

Scott finally joined me and, after chatting with the family for another 30 minutes or so, we hit the trail westward. That climb to Clarks Gap is a bugger and the downhill side is a welcome respite. I started to bonk around mile 20 as we made the final climb into Purcellville, but again the slight decline as we hit the town limits revived me enough for us to pedal slowly through town and find a restaurant for a well-deserved lunch.

Elevation map. )

I feared that heading back out on full stomachs might not be the best idea. Scott may have had the same thought and suggested that we stop and browse Trails End Cycling. He may have regretted that decision as I found a pair of white shoes at a significant discount off MSRP. A girl does want a choice in footwear... Of course the problem became how to get them home. We were both on road bikes with no baskets or racks. Scott volunteered to play his usual role of porter and crammed the shoes into his jersey pockets. Bless.

My hero. )

The downhill ride home was a breeze and Scott was pleased to note all the recumbents out on the trail. He's developed a fascination with tadpole recumbents and I see a trip to bikes@vienna in our future. Anyway, I still felt great when we hit Leesburg and continued home alone as he loaded his bike onto the truck and drove home.

My final leg was pretty easy and I'm happy to say that I avoided any crashes with the ground, or anything else for that matter. I was able to play good Samaritan to another cyclist whom I noticed bleeding and limping along the side of the trail just east of route 15 by giving her some wet wipes and a band-aid. She said she didn't need any other assistance and I continued on my way. I even had enough energy to race a guy up the route 20-hate bridge (Scott's clever moniker) and not let him pass me until about half a mile from my neighborhood. I wound up with 46.99 miles in 3h 29m, a mile farther and 21 minutes faster than my last time riding this route. Color me very pleased.

Route map. )

We ended the day with an hour at Scott's gym where I enjoyed feeling weightless in the pool and getting pounded by the waterfall in the spa. Now I just need to work up adding another 21 miles for the Tour de Cure in four weeks.
melaniesuzanne: (SnoopyDance by peaces_icons)
We've hit my goal of raising $1,000 for the American Diabetes Association and I couldn't have done it without your generous support. To all the kind donors here is a great big


I am still accepting donations, of course. :) If you've donated and your company does corporate gift matching, please consider checking in to that for this worthwhile cause.

melaniesuzanne: (Default)
...since I last thanked donors. THANK YOU to courtney_d_h, psalite, and sskipstress for your donations to my fundraising effort of raising $1,000 for the American Diabetes Association by June 3rd, 2012. Your generosity has put me at 76% of my goal. THANK YOU!!

We're 32 days out from the event and I'm training hard for the 50 (55 actually, and 67 if you count the round trip from my house to the event start/endpoint) mile route. I'm gathering supplies to make the honor/memory ribbons which will adorn my bike and I will be sure to take lots of pictures for all of my supporters. Y'all are the absolute best!

melaniesuzanne: (I'm on a bike on OBX 10/5/11)
This coming Saturday is the fourth annual Paul's Ride for Life in Reston, VA. According to the event's website, this ride is dedicated to the memory of a cyclist, Paul Rossmeissl, who died in June 2006 from injuries sustained in a bicycle accident on the W&OD. Paul's unfortunate death allowed three organ recipients to live. All proceeds from the ride go to the Washington Regional Transplant Community.

If you're localish, this event might be of interest. It looks like Saturday is going to be pretty nice for cycling with overcast skies and a high of 55F. Well, it'll be nice for me as I prefer chillier days. Scott and I are being punks and riding the twenty mile route, but we are going to ride our bikes to and from the event which will put another ten miles onto the day for us.

In addition to the ride, the sixth annual Cyclefest Expo will be going on from 10a-3p in Reston Town Center. "Multiple vendors"? Oh, yeah; I'm there. Although, I'll be on the Dolce which doesn't have much in the way of cargo capacity... Hrm. I suppose putting Lily's metal or Kate's wicker basket on Circe would be the peak of silliness.
melaniesuzanne: (Bike: Circe)
I hit the trail at the crack of 1pm on Saturday (so not a morning person) for another training ride. Just like last weekend, Scott met me at Idylwood Park in Falls Church, but this time we continued east along the Washington & Old Dominion Trail until its junction with the Custis Trail and rode that to Rosslyn. Since I'd ridden that route before, I called out to him the blind corners ahead of time -- for which he was grateful -- and gave him a heads-up on potentially troublesome intersections as well as the switchback ramp leading down to the Roosevelt Island parking lot. The ramp was much less scary my second time down but he found it terrifying. He kept one foot unclipped and extended the entire ride down just in case... but we made it to the base safely.

(Yes, there are commuters who face that ramp just about everyday, but we live in the sticks and don't have to deal with switchbacks... except for the one just west of Clarke's Gap which is especially fun in autumn when it's blanketed in leaves. But anyway...)

Route map. )

I realized something as we pedaled along the Mount Vernon Trail: that multi-use path feels about half the width of the W&OD. It seems like the MVT could almost fit in one lane of W&OD. I find passing other cyclists and pedestrians fairly harrowing. I always feel like a jerk because I'm passing too closely, following too closely to wait for an oncoming cyclist to pass, or nearly running oncoming peds and cyclists off the trail. Suburban trails, like suburban streets, are wide expanses compared to their more urban counterparts, I guess. Yes, I'm generalizing a bit.

You can easily ride two abreast on the W&OD, but I wouldn't try that on the MVT. )

We stopped for a short picnic break between the Memorial Bridge and Lady Bird Johnson Park where I marveled at the Washington, DC skyline. I still feel a flutter in my chest when I see the monuments and Smithsonian castle across the river and realize that I live in the nation's capital. Okay, I live twenty-five miles northwest of the nation's capital, but you get the picture. The hubs, who spent most of his years in Annapolis, is less impressed seeing as how he had field trips there all the time. But for me, despite living in Virginia for sixteen years now, that skyline still gets to me.

We hopped back on our bikes and reached Gravelly Point Park -- which was CLOGGED with people -- easily. The ride to and past National Airport was harder because we were beginning to tire and the wind from the south kept getting stronger and stronger, but once we turned onto the Four Mile Run Trail, it was smooth sailing again. I have to say that I was very glad to have Scott with me at that end of 4MRT because the isolation creeped me out pretty badly, but I eventually relaxed and enjoyed the scenery. We returned to civilization fairly quickly and panted our way up to the W&OD trailhead in Shirlington.

Oh my goodness, I had NO idea how pretty the trail is up there. Well, once you get out of the urban part, that is. I want to explore the paths down along the stream. I guess that's still Four Mile Run? Somewhere along the way, I called out to Scott that we needed to stop. He was worried that I'd hurt myself, but I was scrabbling through the bush of the side of the trail trying to find the plant that smelled like the plant that used to grow in the bayou near the farmhouse where I grew up in Arkansas. I love the scent of whatever it is, but I have no idea what the plant is and I can't remember what it looks like. But gracious, does it smell sweet and it send me right back to my childhood.

Back on the bikes and we pushed to the meeting point of W&OD, 4MRT, and Custis. I began to tire and was nearly done by the time we got to Shreve Road. I bargained with myself, promised myself that I could walk Circe up the formidable hill that is Virginia Avenue (like last weekend), told myself that the truck was less than a commute distance away, and I didn't have to ride fourteen miles against the wind back to Sterling. The ride up Virginia Avenue was hard and I pushed myself to "get to the next driveway" and then I could walk and just as I thought I couldn't climb any more, the street leveled off and I could get ready for the downhill into Idylwood Park.

Route elevations. )

I wound up with just under forty miles with the ride. I'm trying not to be disappointed in my stamina and reminding myself that I'm still adjusting to the road bike and new posture. Scott stressed that I'm riding faster than I could on the hybrid and I'm able to go farther with each ride.
melaniesuzanne: (Bike: Circe)
I've been moping about how much solo cycling I do. While I adore my alone time on the bike, occasionally I do get a little lonesome putting in all those miles by myself. With that in mind, I jumped at the chance to ride on Sunday with friends who are also training to ride in the ADA Tour de Cure in June.

Team us!
Bel, Bob, Scott, & me with our trusty Specialized steeds.

My route was slightly shorter than my planned fifty mile ride, but I still managed almost 37 miles by riding from Sterling (mi 22.5) to Idylwood Park in Falls Church (mi 8.5) , backtracking to Hunter Mill in Reston (between mi 14.5 & 15) with Bel, Bob, & Scott then riding back to our meet-up spot in Falls Church (mi 8.5) and continuing with Scott up to the spot in Arlington where the W&OD meets the Custis (~ mi 4), and then back to the park in Falls Church where the truck was waiting to carry us back home. I am so thankful that Scott drove the truck to meet me at the park. While easterly tailwind got me to Falls Church in an hour, that same wind was a killer going westbound. My legs were killing me on the final leg and I wouldn't have made the slog back to Sterling in that headwind.

Elevation map )

During the ride, I took my first clipped-in spill. I unclipped on the left and promptly fell to the right on to a, thankfully, super soft patch of grass. Also thankfully, I remembered to leave my right foot clipped in so I wouldn't possibly sprain it or worse. Bob and Scott were horrified, but I threw my arms in the air -- once crawling out from under the bike -- and hollered "Whoo hoo! I'm a real cyclist now!" Circe was fine and I was merely covered in chain grease from my knees down. My pride wasn't even bruised; I was too jazzed that the fall wasn't anywhere as painful or scary as I had imagined it would be

Scott in the overbrush. )

The training ride shook my belief in my being able to ride a metric century, much less a full one. But I have to keep reminding myself that this was the first longish distance ride on my new bike and I have six more weekends of training -- I'm out of town Memorial Day weekend) before the big event. There's plenty of time to continue training and the ride will be okay.


Apr. 6th, 2012 11:30 am
melaniesuzanne: (I'm on a bike on OBX 10/5/11)
It's T-minus 58 days to the Reston, VA, edition of the American Diabetes Association's Tour de Cure and I am at 61% of my $1,000 fundraising goal. Based on promised donations by family members, I'm going to get pretty darn close to my goal and may actually have to ride the full century plus the ten mile round trip to and from the Tour starting/ending point. This mileage calls from serious training because, at this point, I've put only twenty miles in one trip on my road bike.

Luckily, the weather is supposed to be gorgeous tomorrow and I will take advantage of that blessing by getting my booty in the saddle and taking a long ride. My goal is to ride to Arlington/Rosslyn and back which is about fifty miles round trip. Should be fun!
Map of the W&OD
Map of the eastern half of the Washington & Old Dominion trail (in green).

An idea!

Apr. 4th, 2012 09:40 am
melaniesuzanne: (Ratatouille: Right on!)
I've just thought of doing something additional for my charity ride for the American Diabetes Association. If you have donated to my effort and have someone you would like for me to ride in honor of (including yourself) or in memory of, I will write your/their name on a ribbon and attach it to my bike for awareness of just how many people around us are touched by this disease.

Please email me at [LJ username] Thanks!
melaniesuzanne: (I'm on a bike on OBX 10/5/11)
Many, many thanks to azpapillion, LJ-less fiery_lil, and salviati for your donations in my fundraising effort of raising $1,000 for the American Diabetes Association by June 3rd, 2012. Your generosity has put me at 61% of my goal. THANK YOU!

The local ride coordinator says that I can adjust my mileage and make a final route decision on the day of the Tour de Cure. I'm definitely doing the 50 mile route for you guys and the ADA. It's a good thing I've got those new pedals and shoes; next up is becoming acquainted with chamois butter. Good times. :)

Anyway, y'all are the best people in the world and both I and the American Diabetes Association and all the people they help thank you!

melaniesuzanne: (hearts)
Y'all rock so hard and I appreciate it SO MUCH.

Many, many thanks to severus_bracae & strawberrykaren and vvalkyri for their donations to my fundraising effort of raising $1,000 for the American Diabetes Association by June 3rd, 2012. Their generosity has put me at 52% of my goal. THANK YOU!

I still haven't heard from the ride coordinators about changing my mileage to meet the donations, but I'll let y'all know what happens with that when I find out.
melaniesuzanne: (I'm on a bike on OBX 10/5/11)
Many, many thanks to weebaby and chickenhat for your donations in my fundraising effort of raising $1,000 for the American Diabetes Association by June 3rd, 2012. Your generosity has put me at 33% of my goal. THANK YOU!

I'm currently registered for the metric century route because that's the distance my teammates are riding. However, I want to put my booty where the money is -- or something like that -- and equalize the route mileage with the funds raised. If the Tour de Cure folks will let me change my registration thusly, I will ride 50+ miles for $500 raised, 75+ miles for $750, and 100+ miles for the full $1,000 enchilada. We all know I can do fifty without blinking an eye. Seventy-five and one hundred will require some training, chafing, and possibly tears.

Come on. You know you want to make a girl cry.

Thank you

Mar. 8th, 2012 09:54 am
melaniesuzanne: (hearts)
My friends are the most wonderful and best people in the world. Many, many thanks to reedrover, dwildchil, bittibuddha, and thisoldgrouse for your donations to my fundraising efforts for the American Diabetes Association. You've put me at 18% of my goal. THANK YOU!

In other news, today's commute was another glorious one. There was a light, warm breeze for most of the trip and birdsong filled the air. I even stopped to listen to a robin perched on the branch of a bare tree. At first I though he was a cardinal because I could see only bright red, but then he turned and I saw the definitive robin profile and brown wings. A couple of commuters smiled at my floral basket (or maybe my bare knees when my skirt hiked up a bit).

Speaking of the skirt, I noticed absolutely no Mary Poppins effect on Smith Switch and Waxpool. In fact, I got more crowded and squished against the curb than usual with vehicles accelerating and passing aggressively. I get more space in jeans and a windbreaker! Hmph. And I am NOT going helmetless to see if that "helps".

And I've decided to rename the Ariel as "Lily". I find it rolls off the tongue more easily, and I'm pretty fond of liles. I'll refrain from renaming her "Tulip" or "Hydrangea" in the future. Maybe.

melaniesuzanne: (I'm on a bike on OBX 10/5/11)
Because some family members and close friends are living with diabetes, and I have flirted with being diagnosed myself, I am riding in this year's National Capital Tour de Cure and raising money for the American Diabetes Association.

Please visit my page if you are able to help me reach my goal of $1,000. I am grateful for anything you are able to give, even if it's just an "atta girl!" :)

Thank you!


melaniesuzanne: (Default)
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