Tag Archives: Reach the Beach

Newbie Bikers

A reader of mine recently posted on her own blog about her struggle with cycling. It sounds like she is new to biking and I commented with some tips. That inspired me to write my own post about biking.

I sometimes assume my readers know everything that I know. I’m finding that knowing how to ride a bike isn’t just a given. I’ve met several people lately that have told me they never learned! Same with swimming!

I learned how to ride a bike as a little kid and sort of always did it. I had a mountain bike though, and this year was the first time I’ve ever been on a road bike.

First, the big difference between a mountain bike and a road bike are the tires. Mountain Bikes have thick tires, road bikes have skinny tires.

The next difference is the handlebars. Mountain bikes usually have flat handlebars. Road bikes have drop bars like this:

That means instead of sitting upright on the bike, you are hunched over. This can cause a lot of back pain for new riders–I know I suffered from this. The tip to overcome it? Keep practicing and STRETCH A LOT! Stand up on the bike every few miles to stretch out; get off the bike and stretch. After practicing for awhile, you’ll get used to it.

Here is a picture of time trial handlebars. I’ve yet to try these:

2010 was a huge Cycling Learning Curve for me. I learned how to change a tire, I learned how to ride better and smarter, and it all helped me complete Reach the Beach (55 mile bike ride). It was a fun experience I want to do again!

If you are new to cycling for fitness or competition, here are some recommendations I have:

  1. Get Fitted: It makes all the difference in the world to get properly fitted for a bike.
  2. Padded Shorts: I cannot stress this enough. Padded Shorts are awesome for a reason. They are worth the money spent too. Don’t wear underwear under the shorts either because the shorts are made to wick moisture from the body. I got my shorts at an outlet store for less money.
  3. Chafing Cream: Chamois Butter, Lanacane…whatever brand you use, it can help a lot with discomfort.
  4. Be Safe: wear a helmet. Cycling glasses that wrap around the face are good and keep wind and dirt from irritating your eyes. Wear a RoadID. Tell people where you are riding. Have lights on your bike. Wear reflective clothes, stickers, etc.
  5. Gloves: Padded gloves can range from $10-100. They are worth it for the safety issue (road rash prevention) and also the padding for long rides is nice.
  6. Work up to Mileage: No one can bike 100 miles their first day. Start with 10. Then next time, bike 20 miles and so on.
  7. Work up to Hills: Nothing says you have to try to tackle insane hills right away. Learn how to use your gears, practice, and slowly attempt hills.
  8. GUs: I highly recommend GUs for energy on long rides. They really do help prevent blood sugar and energy crashes.
  9. Learn how to change a tire.

When Michael and I were training for Reach the Beach, we practiced riding for about two months before the Big Day. Every weekend we built up our mileage. The first weekend we did about 25 miles. The next weekend was about 30 miles, the following was 40 or so, and finally we made it to 52 miles. We took a bike maintenance class, Michael commuted to work whenever he could to add mileage. I practiced on the Bike Trainer in the living room whenever I could. It was all about prepping our bodies for the big day. And it worked!

  • Reach the Beach was a success.
  • We both recovered FAST! There was no crippling the next day.
  • My running speed increased a great deal from all the bike training!

QUESTION: Do you have any other tips I forgot to add?


Hello New Readers!

I’ve been seeing a lot of new people visiting my blog lately and I wanted to say “hello” and give new readers a short recap of what’s been going on and who I am.

First, the basics. I’m Lisa, 30 years old. I live in Portland, Oregon with my boyfriend Michael and my two kitties (Maya and Fat Kitty–not his real name, of course).

April 2009

I grew up in Seattle and when I was 19 I moved to Portland, Oregon. I’ve been here ever since.

Seattle, stock photo

Oregon is a pretty good place to live if you enjoy the outdoors. We are an hours drive from the desert, the mountains, farmlands, wine country, and 2 hours from the Oregon Coast. There are always fun outdoorsy things like hiking, biking, camping, etc.

Portland, stock photo

I also have a younger brother, Andrew. He lives in Philadelphia with his wife and their cat. One of the motivating factors for my weight loss was the fact that I was going to be in my brother’s wedding. I did not want to be 250 pounds in those wedding pictures! I lost 50 pounds before his wedding.

My Fat History Page has more history on my weight gain and How I Lost 100 Pounds details how I lost the weight.

My weight loss journey took me just under two years. I lost 110 pounds and was 143 pounds at my lowest. Then I started taking Celexa. In the 10 months I took it, I managed to gain about 15 pounds! I decided in January of this year to stop taking the drugs and since February, I’ve lost almost 9 of those 15 pounds.

On May 15th, Michael and I participated in the Reach the Beach bike ride for the American Lung Association. We’d raised money for the charity and had been training for months. Many weekends were spent biking all day long–30, 40, and finally 50 miles. Michael rode 80 miles in Reach the Beach and I rode 55. Check out the recaps for the full story. It was quite the exciting adventure and I’d do again in a heartbeat!

I’ve previously mentioned that I am now training for Hood to Coast. I am really excited and nervous about theย endeavor. It takes place at the end of August. Basically, each team has 12 members on it and we rent 2 vans and the vans leap-frog each other during the course. The first runner in the first van will run their FIRST leg of the course–between 4 and 8 miles, then they get back in the van and the next person (I think in Van #2) takes over and does their first leg and so on. By the end of the 200 miles, I will have run 3 separate legs of the course for about a total of 15-18 miles.

*Not My Pic

My team captain, Leslie, is a very experienced runner and she’s done Hood to Coast for 8 years. I’m confident in her abilities to lead the team. She’s given me pointers and tried to tell me what to expect. But still, I really have no idea what to expect. I know that my first leg is somewhere in Portland. My second leg will be in the middle of the night — in the middle of NOWHERE–and my last leg will be towards the end of the course. The course goes from Mt. Hood to Seaside (200 miles).

Most of my summer will be training for Hood to Coast. After that, I hope to participate in another bike ride–possibly a Century.

Another goal I have been toying with is the Las Vegas Half Marathon in December. I haven’t fully decided yet if I’m going to do it. I want to. But I’m also apprehensive about whether or not I can actually run 13 miles at once! I decided that I’d make the decision after Hood to Coast.

So that’s the recap of what’s been going on lately. Thanks for reading!

The Naked Post

I’ve been a bad blogger. I’ve been in a funk lately. This weekend was a bit of an emotional roller coaster and I’m trying to dig myself out of the hole I dug. There’s nothing beneficial about having a pity party!

I don’t want my blog to just be a “diary” of the food I eat.ย  I don’t think that’s interesting and I want this blog to be of more value to people who are struggling to lose weight and be healthy. Because of the blahs lately, my blog has become a “food diary.” It was easy.

Lately I’ve had a touch of the Post Race Blues. Reach the Beach was awesome and fun. I had a great time training for it. Every weekend revolved around long bike rides.ย  I’ve had nothing to train for since May 15th. The easy, logical solution would be to pick some event that’s sooner than Hood To Coast (end of August) and train for that. Unfortunately, our schedule is pretty packed for the summer. We have weddings, family reunions, our anniversary weekend, friends visiting from out of town, and family visiting. There’s just no time!

Reach the Beach

Another factor has been the weather. It’s been solid rain since May 15th. Seriously–the most depressing weather! This is the time of year we start hiking on a regular basis, plan camping trips, and BBQ. I am so sick of this weather!

My body image issues of late are stupid, I know. I shouldn’t be down on myself. I’ve come a LONG way and I should be proud of what I’ve accomplished. I should focus on the positive things and loving my body the way it is.

-Loving the few extra pounds because they are a part of me.

-Loving the layer of fat on my stomach because it protects my vital organs.

-Loving my curves because that makes me a woman.

-Loving my large hips and breasts because some day when I had kids, I’ll need them!

-Loving my big thighs because they are strong and powerful and as a result I swim a mile in 40 minutes.

A lot of “I shoulds”. Despite reminding myself of these things and trying to think positive, it’s been really hard lately.

QUESTION: How do you get out of a “funk”? And how is your body/self image right now?

The Post Race Blues

I Had Junk Food for Lunch

I drank this:

And ate this:


Okay, I didn’t really just eat junk food for lunch. I had a cup of Garden Vegetable Soup (90 calories) and some Rice crackers too (about 100 calories). I also went for a brisk walk outside in between rain showers. It was a nice temperature outside, even if it was gloomy.

While I was out, I stopped in a liquor store to buy a lottery ticket and a raffle ticket. ๐Ÿ™‚ Oregon has a state raffle a few times a year and I actually know someone that won the last one! She won $20k! Talk about exciting. So I broke down and spent the $10 on a ticket. If I win, I’m paying off my car, buying a whole new workout wardrobe, and entering EVERY race I can! ๐Ÿ™‚ What would you do if you won the lottery?

Speaking of Races…

I definitely have a touch of the Post-Race Blues. I’m sure everyone has heard of this phenomenon. Even if you’ve never run a race, or biked a race, it can happen with any “BIG” event that takes up a lot of your time. For example: planning a wedding. You can spend all your waking moments eating, breathing, and thinking wedding plans. You put everything else aside for that time period. Then the wedding comes, everything’s grand, but what happens after the wedding? When all of a sudden you have tons of free time and no focused goal?

That’s when the sadness, boredom, depression, blues, disappointment–whatever you want to call it, can come into play. It might be subtle, it might be severe depending on what you trained for. Was it a marathon? Did you spend 6 months doing nothing but running?

I didn’t think the Post-Ride Blues would happen to me. First, I knew I’d immediately start training for running Hood To Coast this August. Second, I figured Michael and I would continue to do long bike rides on the weekend but instead of training it would be for fun.

Well, the weather is clearly preventing that from happening. The next 10 days look like solid rain. Blah.

And to be honest, Hood to Coast feels like a million years away for me. It’s the last weekend of August and it certainly does NOT feel like summer yet. I think I need to have a mid-summer event to plan for.

So how do you prevent/overcome those Blahs?

1. Make some plans/goals for after the race. Maybe a smaller 5k run, or less strenuous ride. Or a vacation!

2. Hang out with friends. You probably neglected happy hours, dinners with friends, or just girl time while you were training. Or maybe you neglected having “special time” with your significant other. How many times have we said, “Can we see the movie next weekend honey? I need to train.”

3. Let your body rest after the big event–but don’t stop exercising. Keep doing a lighter version of your workout routine to stay in the “groove” and routine of exercising.

4. Try cross-training. It may inspire you to start training for a triathlon!

5. Be prepared for how you’ll feel after the race, and don’t beat yourself up for it!

6. Change your workout. Maybe start working on speed work, try distance running. If you bike, try mountain biking. Swimmer? What about switching to open water swimming instead?

QUESTION: Can you relate to this? Are there any other tips or tricks you’ve discovered to cure Post-Race Blues?

Low Key Dinner

I felt sucked of all energy yesterday. By the time I got home from work, I didn’t want to spend a lot of time on cooking. First, I made a salad using the fresh greens from our friends.

Fresh Greens

I used green and red leaf lettuce and spinach. I realized the leftover chickpeas I wanted to use were bad. ๐Ÿ˜ฆ Tossed those! The salad entailed:




-Blue Cheese

-Orange Peppers

-Sliced black olives

-Fresh pepper and oil and balsamic vinegar

The salad was good. I also cooked some spinach ravioli from Costco and topped it with pesto. It may look ugly, but it’s delicious!

While I was making dinner, the skies seemed to explode. There was an intense downpour, thunder, and hail! Fat Kitty was fascinated by the hail.


We watched this week’s episode of “Lost,” “The Middle” and “Modern Family.” I was so exhausted, I don’t even remember falling asleep!

I’ve been doing the Foam Roller every night and I did it this morning too. I can’t remember the last time I was this sore from a run! I so don’t understand it. And using the Foam Roller on my IT Band is brutal.

I don’t know what is in store for me this weekend. It’s the first weekend in months that we weren’t training for Reach the Beach. I suppose I have a touch of the “After Race Blues.”

QUESTION: Where you live are you actually experiencing spring weather? Or is it crazy weather like it is in the Northwest?

What I’d Do Differently

Today I went back to work after taking Monday off to relax. Of course, I am wearing my medal. ๐Ÿ™‚

Breakfast Time

Yes, I am eating breakfast with my medal. ๐Ÿ™‚

After some reflection, I know now what I would do differently next year if I do Reach the Beach.

1. Use sunscreen lip gloss. I realized too late that the Burt’s Bees chapstick I grabbed was NOT the one with sunscreen in it. Ooops.

2. I would start earlier so that I can enjoy the finish line festivities.

3. Drink more water. I refilled my water bottles at every rest stop, but I still feel like I didn’t drink enough water during the day.

4. Reapply sunscreen throughout the day. For some reason I did not reapply. I didn’t get sunburned thankfully but I need to be better about that.

5. Check a bag with a change of clothes, snacks and a blanket for the finish line. We realized this was a possibility after the fact, of course, and a change of clothes would have REALLY made a huge difference.

6. Don’t spit into the wind while biking. Even if you swallowed a bug. ๐Ÿ˜›

On another note, I decided not to run today at lunch. Besides the ugly weather (downpour, then clear skies, then more rain), I think I should rest my body. I haven’t taken a rest day since Reach the Beach.

Sunday Recovery

I woke up Sunday morning feeling like a million bucks! I had no idea what to expect after Reach the Beach. Would I be sore? Would I be crippled? Would I have to spend the day in bed? Nope! I woke up feeling absolutely refreshed and not sore at all! I was shocked. I made us breakfast of scrambled eggs, turkey sausage and toast. I used Dave’s Killer Bread (which is now my new obsession):

Dave's Killer Bread

It tastes so much better than any other bread I’ve had.


After breakfast, I headed to the pool to stretch my legs. It felt great to swim. I was wondering if my tightness/soreness would show up when I started to swim but it didn’t! I didn’t feel any soreness. I also swam as fast as I’ve ever swam with ease. I was confused. I thought I’d be a wreck after RTB. After swimming, I sat in the hot tub for awhile and relaxed. It felt wonderful. Once I got home, I worked on organizing and labeling all the pictures from Reach the Beach and started to write Recap 1 and Recap 2.

Michael got on the bike trainer for 15 minutes and did an easy recovery ride to loosen up his legs. He was feeling pretty sore. Poor guy! Sunday afternoon we took off and went to Pizza Schmizza for lunch. I was famished! I got a slice of the “Don Ho” aka Hawaiian pizza, and a pepperoni slice with peppers, onions and olives.


I only had a few bites of the second slice and decided to save it. We headed to the theatre to see Ironman 2! It was pretty good. Dinner last night was the leftover pizza slice and 1 beer.


I also steamed some veggies and topped them with a little Goddess dressing.

The rest of Sunday was pretty low-key. We got caught up on some TV shows and relaxed. It was a good day!

UPDATE: I forgot to mention that when we got home on Saturday night from Reach the Beach, we both used the Foam Roller. I also used it Sunday too. It made a WORLD of difference!