Tuesday, May 31, 2011

More of the weekend

So as I watch this video from our training this weekend, I notice a few things:

1. My arms and the way they hang when at rest make me crazy. They don't rest by my sides but rather bow out and just scream "FAT CHICK ARMS" to me.

2. The above impression is only exasterbated by how I think I look when I squat doing these exercises.  I don't for a second think I'm not strong but I just look uncomfortable and chubby in all these videos. (I AM chubby but I'm not uncomfortable!) I don't look at all fluid or graceful which brings me to my third point:

3. I need to learn to "finesse" the kettlebells rather than muscle them into the position I want. The movements on the Clean and Press (second exercise we do) are not fluid or correct at all. I'm lifing that Kettlebell into the rack position every single time and that's not what it should be. My movements are jerky and rough not smooth and effortless looking.

I think we are going to the playground tonight to get a quick workout in (we have a key now! How cool are we?!) and while Mike hits the heavy bag and the kids play, I'll be out on the loading dock with a light weight working on my motions and getting comfortable with all the components of the testing moves.

I'm really glad that I'm bringing the camera to these practices beacuse I had NO idea how bad my form was till I watched these videos.

Don't worry. I'll have the camera with me and will take lots of footage!

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Certification Practice

Today "The Playground" or the nickname given to Hoboken Boot Camps home studio was officially closed except for head coach David, myself, his lovely wife, my husband Mike and our kids.

David and his wife and I were training for the Kettlebell Certification and Mike was working with the heavy bag and ship ropes.

This was our workout schedule for today.
The numbers on the left side are our swing reps. Do one set, rest, second set, rest, third set. rest and so on.
If you do the math, you will see that we did a total of 200 swings today.

The numbers on the right were for our clean & press-es and snatches.  I honestly cannot remember how many of the C&P's we did but I think we went up to 10. We did it as we did the swings. 2 on the left, 2 on the right, rest, 4 on the left, 4 on the right, rest and so on.

By the time we got to the last set I was exhausted but we weren't done.

Then we moved onto snatches.
Same deal with the reps, 2 on the left, 2 on the right, rest, 4 left, 4 right, rest all the way up.
Again if you do the math, you will see we did 110 snatches.

By the end of the hour, I was hot, sweaty and my legs were so exhausted they were shaking.

This is somewhere in the middle of the snatches.

I think out of the 110 snatches I did today I had maybe 5 I was really happy with. The rest were okay but for the most part, not right at one point or another.

I'm not unhappy or discouraged though. I did over 100 snatches and 200 swings today. I am strong and powerful and by the time August comes I'll be totally comfortable with this whole thing...

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Certification Training

Today we went to the 8am Boot Camp and then I went back at 2pm to train with David for the Kettlebell Certification.
We worked on all the things we will be tested on. Swings, Snatches and Cleans.

From the IKFF site:
All CKT Level 1 candidates must pass a stringent assessment in order to successful complete the requirements and achieve the Level 1 CKT distinction. The assessment is to be the performance of all level 1 techniques (swing, clean, press, push press, snatch and squat). Jerk is taught in Level 1 because it is an important lift and one of the key lifts tested in Level 2 CKT courses. However, because of it's relative complexity, some Level 1 candidates will not quite have the timing and execution mastered before the completion of Level 1 courses. So you will be taught the lift, but will not be required to test on the Jerk until CKT 2. For all lifts, form is checked to assure effective understanding and performance of the movements. In addition to the technical assessment, all registrants must pass the following Level 1 test. This is simply a test of minimum standards for Level 1 and a building block for continuous progression in abilities. Thus, the focus is on lighter weights and lower volume with exceptional technique.

Men: Hand-hand Swing: 20kg x 100
1 arm Clean& Press: 20kg x 2 min per hand (4 min set); minimum 8 rpm, 32 reps total non-stop
Snatch: 20kg x 30/30
Front Squat: 20kg x 2 min, 15 rpm

Women: Hand-hand Swing: 12kg x 100
1 arm Clean& Press: 12kg x 2 min per hand (4 min set); minimum 8 rpm, 32 reps total non-stop
Snatch: 12kg x 30/30
Front Squat: 12kg x 2 min, min 15 rpm

*The above is performed one right after the next with no rest or breaks inbetween exercises.

I've done swings galore, done the clean and press but today was the first time I've ever done a snatch and we didn't do squats beacuse we weren't sure what kind of a squat they will have us doing. Once we find that out we will add it to the practice rotation.

The certification will be done with the blue kettlebell which is 12kg or 26 pounds. We were practicing with the pink bell which is only about 17 pounds or 8kg.
Today was not bad. I felt okay about the snatches I did since it was the first time I'd attempted them. At least I felt okay when we were doing it with the pink bell or the 17 pound one. When I went to the blue, I struggled to the point where I let the bell slip and it hit me in the head.  It wasn't a huge whack as you will see but you hear me yelp beacuse it did hurt. It was also the first time I'd ever clocked myself. After I hit myself, David comes over to spot me and it looks like he's helping me lift the bell but he's not. He's got his hands there in case my arm gives out but he's not assisting my lifting in any way.

Here ya go. Ignore my yapping. I tend to talk a whole lot. Also know that David had a private student and her daughter so you will hear him swapping from English to Spanish.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Saturday Class

It is a very rare class when I'm the only student. I think in the year and half I've been going to class I've been solo maybe 5 times.

Today is Saturday and that means the kids came with me. Mike was teaching today which was great for me but even better for the kiddos.

My boys LOVE Mike and he's amazing with them. He's patient and he's willing to horse around and keep them entertained and off of me so I can do my thing.

Since it was just me today I pulled out the camera and decided to videotape class. I took 4 separate videos and as it turns out my cinematography skills are seriously lacking. For the first three I had the camera pointed at only three of the stations Mike had set up for me.

I got my warm up though...

It was only after the third round of stations that I moved the camera so you can see the other stations. By this time I was tired and moving slower so know that I was a little stronger and faster than what you see but no matter.

My favorite exercise is one that Mike came up with and I've never seen before. The kettlebell and rope one you see me doing. That's a 26 pound bell I'm hoisting. I also feel the need to add that the work you see me doing with the band at the end of the station cycle is deceptive. It looks harmless and easy but it's an ass kicker. I always struggle with evil muscle burn and the shakes when I do these exercises.

Here it is. You can turn the volume off or leave it on but I overdubbed it with some crappy music so you don't need to hear my banter...
Also, forgive my sweet Lion for dropping his pants AGAIN. Kid can't seem to keep his clothing on!

Friday, May 13, 2011

hour long boot camp

Editing this post to add that Blogger was having issues yesterday so I couldn't publish this. I did this all yesterday.

So today I decided I was going to try to do two Boot Camps back to back.
I had no idea if I could do it since my reaction when others told me they were doing it was that they were crazy and that I could never do it.

Since I'm all about pushing my own limits and seeing where my breaking point is, I decided to give it a shot.

Normally in class I push myself to work as hard as I can and at the end of the 35 minutes I'm wiped out.
Today, I knew I was going for a second class and so I decided to work smarter not harder.

Lighter weights, taking my time on the stations, not trying to pack as many reps of whatever the exercise was in the 30 seconds we have before we switch to the next station.

I still worked hard and was tired and sweaty at the end of class but not exhausted as I usually am.
My classmate Ed decided to stay with me for the 10am class. I called it a show of insane solidarity. 
Class ends at 9:35 and the next class doesn't start till 10am so we were able to rest a little, catch our breath and compose ourselves before starting up again.

Jesse kept the stations indoors mostly the same but the work outside changed.

Overhead walking press half way down the loading dock, Ed and I did 30 squats with the Kettlebell then overhead press again to the end of the dock. Halfway is where the stairs are.

Normally we would turn around at the end but she had us go off road. I'll have to get some photos of the side of the building but it's dirt and weeds and gravel and LOTS and LOTS of broken glass. The footing is uneven and you really have to focus on where you are walking.

There is a line of railroad ties separating this area from the paved sidewalk and we went up and over the tie onto the sidewalk (still with the kettlebell overhead)
Jesse instructed us to hold the kettlebell to our chest and hop onto the railroad tie with two feet at the same time 10 times.

I CANNOT hop vertically. I can do a two footed leap forward but to hop from the ground up onto something I can't do it.
I wish to God I knew why but I can't. My body simply refuses to obey that command.

So rather than get all pissed off with myself I did what I could do and did step ups onto the tie.

We then hoisted the kettlebells overhead again (Everyone else was doing a 2 handed press but I was doing 1 handed and switching arms. I find it so much easier.) and walked down the sidewalk, around the other side of the building, through the parking lot and up onto the loading dock where we ran a lap.

I'm aware you guys have no real visual of what we did today but that was both fun and a total ass kicker.

I'm proud of myself for pushing but not being stupid about it. Now that I know the secret on how to do two back to back classes and not drop from exhaustion, I'm going to try to do them 3 times a week.

On another note, remember how I told you I took the kids the other day and how much they love Boot Camp? This is my little guy, Brian the Lion. He took it upon himself to put the gloves on and go a few rounds with the heavybag.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Insanity or Dedication?

Tonight one of the very sweet gals that I take the morning class with was in the evening class as well.
She's got a sprained ankle and is still pushing herself to do two classes a day.
One in the morning and one in the evening.

There is another gal who takes the 8:15 class in the morning and then takes the 9:00am class with us as well.

Boot Camp is designed to give you a total ass kicking workout in 35 minutes. It's tough and it's intense.
Before tonight, I couldn't imagine doing two classes in a day or two back to back.

Of course, me being me, wants to push myself and see if I can do it.
I think tomorrow I'm going to do the 9am class and stick around for the 10am class.

Next week I'll try to do a morning and an evening class.

See which way kills me first.

I skipped class this morning because I had to clean this place for a potential buyer who was coming in the afternoon so I decided to go to the 5:15 class.

That means I had to bring the kiddos with me.
Always a crap shoot on how they will behave.

Tonight there were 5 of us in class & class was taught by my fellow student and apprentice coach Mike. Myself, my beloved coach Jesse (I lovingly call her "The Mistress") a friend of Mike's (who was really easy on the eyes) and a couple.

The kids were evil from the first second we go there and didn't get any better.

The 9am class is mostly parents and if I bring the kids, they understand and have patience for them.
The evening classes are made up of folks who want to kick ass and take names. Most of them don't have kids and I'm not sure they know what to do when I have the boys with me.

Tonight we did a lot of work on the loading dock and somewhere in the middle of class as I'm carrying a 30 pound Kettlebell overhead I see my youngest son The Lion come flying out the door waving his shirt like a flag overhead. He then proceeds to stand dead center on the dock and pull his pants down.

Thankfully he kept his Star Wars underwear on. He thought it was hysterical, I was mildly annoyed (had he pulled the underwear down too I would have been really annoyed but I was thankful for the small miracles) and I truly have no idea what the other folks in class thought.

At the end of class I apologized to everyone and hoped that they would forgive Patrick for galloping around hollering directions at them like a small dictator and for the Lion's strip tease.

I can't promise that I'll never bring the kids to class with me again, because it's going to happen but I can promise that I will subject some other class at another time to them next and will spare the poor 5:15 class for a little while.
Give them time to forget.

Never ever a dull moment with my kids around.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011


Yesterday was my first day back to class and it felt really good.
Headed back today but I realized too late that I have no clean pants to wear which gives me an option. Don't go, or wear shorts.

I don't wear shorts thanks to the bulging varicose veins on the back of my right leg. It's the one part of my body that I'm insanely self conscious of. I don't wear skirts or dresses for the same reason.

I put the shorts on the bed and had a whole long conversation with myself as I stared at them.
I pride myself on truly not giving a shit about what folks think of me or my appearance but by the same token I do care what I think.

I don't want to leave the house in something I'm not comfortable in or anything that makes me feel less than 100% confident and not madly in love with myself as I usually am.

These shorts make me feel self conscious and with every step I can feel them and I'm aware of them and I feel much less than pretty. (I never feel ugly because I'm too fantastic to feel ugly)

I own these shorts with an eye to the future. When my legs are in better shape, perhaps then I'll be able to wear them.

That however does not help me today.

So I thought about it and considered my options (not go to class or wear the damn shorts) and I realized I was behaving like a shallow twit and put them on.

I immediately became conscious of my legs and how fat they felt and how bulging the veins felt.

As I walked I felt them riding up as my thighs rubbed together and I felt my mood go from happy to angry.

I sat down at the computer and tried to regroup and get my head right.
To have a piece of spandex fabric crap all over my day was insane and yet, I couldn't help it.
I know some of my dramatic reaction was because I have my period and I'm bloated and crampy and hormonal but these damn shorts were screwing up my day!!!

I wasn't NOT going to go to Boot Camp. Out of the question, not going to happen.
I thought of my best friend and what she would tell me.

She would tell me two things:
 If you have to wear the shorts, fucking own them. Rock them like you have legs like Betty Grable.
(Please tell me you all get this reference and know who she was. Because I KNOW one or two of you young pups won't get it. Here is the Wikipedia on her)

 The second thing she would tell me is if you have to wear something that isn't 100% flattering wear something that you love with it. Something that makes you feel good or makes you happy. Focus on that item of clothing and let that drive your mood.

Even from beyond the grave, she gives me the best advice.

Since I was going to boot camp I wasn't going to get dressed up but grabbed one of my favorite teeshirts.
That's not me just the photo from the website that makes the tee-shirt that I happily own.

My zombie Audrey Hepurn teeshirt. It's so absurd and slightly inappropriate and it always makes me happy.

As an aside, I really don't think the other parents or the teachers quite know what to do with me when I wander into the school with some of my outfits and accessories. 

This shirt gets me some really weird looks but couple it with pigtails (also worn today because they make me happy) and a Hello Kitty purse and I know I confuse more than one or two moms at drop off. 

So I decided to stop thinking so much about it and since I couldn't change it, I'd have to accept it. These shorts were what I was wearing today.  

On the walk to school as I tugged at the shorts to keep them from riding up too high on the insides of my thighs (We've all seen that or experience that horror show right? Gals with bigger thighs that rub together and the shorts get caught and ride up and up and up till they are all bunched and look and feel HORRIBLE)
I started thinking about my legs and how I've been pushing them so hard lately and how the muscle definition is starting to come back. 

I decided that today was going to be a chance to make a change. Today I was going to show off the one part of my body I hate more than any other. Today I was going to force myself to be uncomfortable and vulnerable.

I needed to learn to accept and love my legs since they were going to be with me for a long time.

So I went to school, dropped the kids off, walked to Boot Camp, got my ass handed to me in Boot Camp, walked home again and I'm getting ready now to go and get my nails done. As much as I want to take these shorts off, I'm not going to.

Consider it exposure therapy.
By the end of today I'm hoping to feel a little less hateful of my gams and a little more comfortable in these shorts.
I'll update you tomorrow...

Friday, May 6, 2011

Is this thing on?

(looking around and blinking) Wow. Uh, hi! There are a whole lotta new faces here. (deep breath) WELCOME to MY FAT JOURNEY!!

I'm Diana and I am immensely flattered that you have all come to check out my story.
I guess I should tell you a wee bit about me and what you are reading.
First let me slap a big ol' disclaimer on this blog.
If you go back to the very start you will see that there are no words, just photos.

The reason for that is really simple. I'm not a writer.
I won't pretend for a second that I have any talent for telling stories or blogging. My sentences are often run-ons, I rely on spell check more heavily than I care to admit, I suck at closings and often leave tales hanging or ending abruptly, and often I write as a I speak and forget that inflection and tone don't come through. I curse, I can be crass and I'm completely open and honest.
I will put up photos of my bruises, my varicose veins, me in a bathing suit, my boobs (G rated only) my ass (again, only G rated) and anything else I feel the need to blog about.

Somewhere along the way, despite my lack of writing skills I decided to say "Screw it" and began to use this space as a journal.
A place to log my accomplishments and my defeats, my goals and my mistakes.  I didn't write with the intention of sharing but you know, life is odd and shit often goes a different way than planned.

It was also my vain hope that perhaps somewhere out there someone might be as inspired by my stories as I was by the blog that started my journey to the land of thin.

So a little bit about me and what got me to where I am now.

I'm a 38 year old stay at home mom to two of the most amazing, fantastic, insane, wonderful, maddening little boys ever created.
Patrick is my oldest at an ancient 7 1/2 and Brian or as we call him The Lion turns 6 today.
They are 16 months apart to the day and to the hour. Pats was born January 6th, 2004 at 9am (delivered via C-Section) and Lion was born May 6th at 9am. (Also delivered via C-Section)

I wasn't always fat. All my life I rode horses and was always in awesome shape.
I won't bore you with all the details but after my sweet horse (That's he and I above) died on the way home from a horse show I stopped riding. Lost complete interest.

No horses, no exercise. I've always been far too lazy to go to a gym so it's fair to say that prior to my finding my beloved and life changing Hoboken Boot Camps a year and a half ago I had not done any exercising at all in oh...15 or 16 years.

Before the kiddos I was overweight but I could still fool myself into thinking that I liked what I saw in the mirror and that I was "okay"

The kids are 16 months apart and when Lion was born we were in a really isolated part of Brooklyn and I was totally stuck. I was alone all the time, stuck in a house with two small children, no friends, no time to myself, no freedom and very little happiness.

My escape was eating. I ate all the time and nothing that I put in my body was remotely healthy for me.
By the time we moved back to Hoboken, NJ I was up over 200 pounds.

I was an overwhelmed mom who shoved my own needs, wants and desires deep in the back of a closet and focused completely on my kids & food. Lots of snacking and junk food and stuff that was just awful for me.
I honestly didn't care. I was overwhelmed and depressed and food was my friend.

In September of 2009 I finally had both boys in school and was able to have a few hours a day to myself. Slowly my sanity and my sense of self starting to creep back.

I distinctly remember the day I decided enough was enough. I was walking, not running or even moving quickly, just, walking down the stairs and I heard "slap, slap, slap, slap" and realized it was my stomach fat making that noise.

I thought "Jesus H. Christ Diana! You used to rock leopard print spandex and have boys breaking their necks to get a look at you WHAT happened?!"
I wish I could tell you that at that point I steeled my nerves and my life became a Rocky training montage.  I think I went home and hopped on the internet while eating a box of Entenmann's Doughnuts & drank a Diet Coke. (Yeah, because THAT makes sense!)

Then something really cool happened.
I somehow found Sheryl's Blog.
I won't link it because she has it disabled at the moment but it was the one that is NOT her weight loss related one.
I instantly loved the gal. Her style, her outlook on life, her attitude all reminded me so much of my best friend who I lost in July of 2007 in a motorcycle accident.
I gobbled her adventures up and I eventually wandered over to her weight loss blog and HOT DAMN I was inspired.

I'll admit that I was initially inspired by the photos of her when she was heavier because even for a fat chick the gal had some amazing style.

Then I started reading and couldn't stop. Her blog  told a very real, honest, relatable tale. I found myself nodding and smiling and grimacing and cheering her on and at the end, I was blown away and completely and totally inspired and motivated.

I clicked off her blog and searched the internet for exercises classes in Hoboken and divine intervention, fate, whatever, placed me on the Hoboken Boot Camps web page.

At the time David was just starting out and was holding his class at one time of day only, 5:50am. It was also outdoors, rain or shine.
I didn't know what to expect but by the end of the first class I knew I was hooked. Never mind that the next morning I couldn't lift  my arms to brush my hair or that it hurt to stand, sit, walk and even breathe. I couldn't wait to go back.

I had to get up before the sun each morning and go and drag my 205 pound outta shape carcass to work out with the gal you see in my photos above.
That's Krista. She's a beast. She's in the most amazing shape and was initially very intimidating.  (I've since discovered that while she's a beast in class, she's really an amazing gal and not so scary once you get to know her.) Often the classes were just me and her and David.

Gyms never worked for me because the second I stepped into them I felt stupid for not knowing how to use the torture racks, I felt that the bitch sitting next to me on the stationary bike was always checking out what I was doing and competing with me (that's the bitch in general. Not one specific bitch) I felt like the staff really don't know how to use the equipment and I always felt self conscious and stupid. Doesn't really motivate one to go to the gym when you feel stupid once you are there.

Boot Camp made me feel strong and powerful. Having a coach like David who has the ability to push you to your limits while cheering you on is amazing.  I never felt judged, never felt like I had to compete (Even if I'd wanted to, it would have been pointless. Krista would have smoked me.)

Day by day I felt myself grow stronger and more confident and dare I say it? I was having FUN working out!

He had us use these things I'd never seen or even heard of before called Kettlebells. They look like a cannonball with a handle. He taught me how to do a basic move called a Swing and that was all she wrote. I was hooked.

Again, I wish my life was a movie and I could show you the Rocky Balboa training montage.  It might make all this more interesting for those of you still reading. This is the best I can give you. I'm the fat chick in both videos:

I started out working with, and being exhausted by a 5 pound Kettlebell.  By November I was able to do 10 jumping jacks and jog a very short distance without feeling like I was going to drop dead. We moved to the 10 pound Kettlebell and we are slowly working our way up the scale till I can work with the 100 pound Kettlebell. Seriously. That's my goal. I'm currently working with a 45 pound momma.

In reading Sheryl's blog I got hooked on her adventures on her Hello Kitty Bicycle. I hadn't been on a bike in over 25 years but I remembered how much I loved biking.  I decided I wanted to be just like her and I wanted a bike of my very own.

In December of 2009 I ordered a pink beach cruiser. I'd only ever owned a 10 speed and as I said, that was 25 years or more ago. I'm not sure I'd ever even ridden a beach cruiser but seeing how cute she looked on hers totally sold me on getting one of my very own.
I also saw how her biking helped her transform from this:
to this:
and eventually to this:
Perhaps I'd hoped that the Cruisers possessed some magical weight loss powers but I think I just really liked the way that they looked and the fact that I could get it in pink.

I got it, and the first thing I did was take her in the 5 boro bike tour.
I shit you not.
If you didn't think I was insane before, this should cement it in your brain. After only being back to working out for less than 6 months and not having ridden a bicycle in over 25 years I signed my fat ass up to bike 42 miles. On a 60 pound single geared pink bicycle.

Surprise, surprise I couldn't finish but I was still able to do 30 of the 42 miles before dropping out.
I'm supremely proud of that 30 miles I did.

No doubt in my mind that the work I did in Boot Camp was the reason I was able to push and go that 30 miles.

Back in class I was pumped up, rededicated and totally motivated. I decided that I wanted to be the biggest Bad Ass in all of Hoboken.

I wanted to be strong and have defined muscles and be able to push myself to the ends of my bodies limits and find all the potential I had hidden away for so long.

That's sort of when I took this blog from being a photo essay to a journal.

If you are still with me and haven't deleted this link due to the length of this post I can assure you that most of my posts aren't ever this long.
Sometimes this place turns into a little bit of a brain dump...

Tomorrow I head back to Boot Camp after a week away.
I'm quite sure I'll be blogging about it!

Again, welcome to all the new faces and I hope you stick around. My life is never ever dull...

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Taking a breather & looking ahead

So I've completed the 5 boro bike tour and met a personal goal. I should jump right back into training and Boot Camp but I've decided to take the week off.
My body needs a rest. I'm tired of being exhausted and exhausted of my muscles aching all the time.
I did take the bike out yesterday and did 10 miles which were insanely taxing and not too much fun.

I'll start back to class on Saturday morning. I just need to rest my joints and muscles and my soul too I guess. I worked really hard on Sunday.

Of course even though I'm resting, I'm never really still. I'm always looking for my next challenge, the next goal to work towards.

(And this is the point in the blog where my darling husband filed the divorce papers)

The Ride To Montauk - That is a link. Links on my blog come up gray for some reason

The Ride to Montauk 2011
Beautiful Flat Routes for Beginners & Experts
30 miles • 70 miles • 100 miles • 145 miles

I'm considering either the 30 or the 70 mile routes.

Come ride with us to Montauk on June 18th and have a blast!

The Route

This ride is flat, Flat, FLAT!

The ride has wonderful scenery, fantastic rest stops, free bike repair, and full on-demand S.A.G. (bike rescue) support.

We pedal on quiet back roads past mansions, the ocean, farms, windmills, and the most beautiful sections of the Hamptons. Whether you are a beginner or an expert, this is the ride for you!
Start your day in Manhattan or Long Island and pick the distance that’s right for you -- 30 miles, 70 miles, 100 miles, or 145 miles.

We’ll ask you during registration which distance and check-in location you prefer, but you can change your mind if you like, even on ride day, at no additional cost.
ALL routes end in Montauk, so even if your friends are pedaling a different distance, you can all meet up at a rest stop or at the finish for the post-ride party!

Along the way enjoy our beautiful rest stops in Lynbrook, Babylon, Blue Point, Westhampton and Water Mill -- we were the first to find these great spots, and we’ll be there this year to welcome you with great food, support, and a place to relax.

Get home from Montauk on your own, or sign up for our optional transportation for your bike and you. The first run is at 12:30 p.m. for our super-speedy riders!  The last run is at 7:30 p.m., and we’ll make sure you don’t miss the last trip home.

The Best Bike Ride Food Ever

Bike ride food should be nutritious.
Bike ride food should ALSO be fun.
This is the sort of cool stuff we serve on The Ride to Montauk:
Homemade pie from legendary Briermere Farms, along with fresh whipped cream that is made on the spot.

  • Our Peanut Butter & Jelly Buffet at each rest stop.
  • Hummus with Pita (for those who want extra protein in the middle of the ride).
  • Ice cream.  Some people love ice cream during a ride; some people hate ice cream during a ride. Our promise: there will be no MANDATORY ice cream eating on this ride! When we serve sweet treats like pie or ice cream, there will ALWAYS be healthy snacks too.
  • Artisan whole-grain breads from Balthazar Bakery; plain or with fantastic organic preserves.
  • Fresh fruit. Not just bananas and oranges, but local Long Island strawberries or grapes too, depending on what looks best in the market that day.
  • Foccachia from Balthazar Bakery. Biscotti. Muffins from Yura Bakery. Pound cake in a half-dozen different flavors from La Bonne Boulangerie.Gatorade and water, of course.

At the end of the ride there’s a big post-pedal meal with food for vegetarians and meat-eaters at no additional charge.
Do we seem food obsessed? We are! Our menus change every year, but if it’s not incredible, we don’t serve it.
Compare all of this to what you were served on the last big bike ride you did. OK? OK.
(Diana note: 5 boro had mini Lara bars, raisins, bananas, & those atomic orange cheese and cracker sandwich things oh and lukewarm water)

Free Hot Showers at the Finish

We offer free luggage service from the morning check-in location of your choice.  Bring a small bag with a towel, shampoo, and a change of clothes for our free hot showers at the finish line -- we’ll truck the bag to Montauk for you so you don’t have to pedal with it.  (I searched a long time to find amazing shower trucks, and was the first to bring a shower truck to a NY ride!)  At the finish you’ll find free massage too.

Help On the Way

We have the best S.A.G. (bike rescue) service around anywhere. Need a hand? Too tired to go on? Just call us and we’ll rush to your aid -- we have staff and vehicles all along the route.

New to long-distance riding?  We offer an optional escorted ride for the 30- 70- and 100-mile routes at no additional charge -- pedal with our trained leaders who will help you have a great ride.

We Support Our Community
It’s important to us to leave money behind where we ride. That’s why we donate to charities all along the route such as the Lynbrook Fire Department, Blue Point Boy Scouts, and more. You do not need to raise money to pedal this ride -- just pay the basic ride fee and you’re ready to ride.

I wanted to do this ride last year and still want to do it this year. Unfortunately I have this whole guilt complex thing about being a mom and doing something selfish like this so last year I skipped it.

This year, I'm learning that to be a good wife, and good mom, I have to do things for myself, things that make me happy.
Which is why I go to Boot Camp 6 days a week and why I'm going for the Kettlebell Certification and why I love these bike events.
It's still insanely odd to me that these forms of exercise, these very physical goals, these things that leave me with sore muscles and achy joints and a tired body are what makes me happy. That being strong, and pushing myself makes me happy gives me brain cramps.

In perusing the website for the ride (which you really should do. Glenn is insanely thorough if he is nothing else) I came across this: Overnight and thought
"AHHA!" That's my in! That's how I get everyone to agree to this day of mommy disappearing  from dawn till dusk only to come home tired, bruised and sore."(Remind me why I like this sort of thing again?)

I started planning it in my head that I'd leave the kids with my mother and sister and Mike could meet me in Montauk for a really romantic, beautiful overnight. How awesome would that be? Just the two of us in such a beautiful little town.

So I started doing research because with my hubs he likes to know all the details before he agrees to something. (Though really at this point I think if I told him it was just going to be he and I, alone, with no kids he'd be on board)

I found the perfect hotel: The Montauk Manor.
I was all excited till I checked out the calendar. I'm sure by now those of you with kids know what I discovered.
June 19th is Father's Day.

Insert very loud, very long string of expletives.

Okay, so that wouldn't work. I STILL want to do this ride though!
It looks like I'll have to go back to my old standby sale tactic. I take the kids to my mother's the night before (which means we still get our overnight just minus the sea air and romantic setting) and get someone to watch the dog for the day and he gets a day of peace and quiet to do whatever he wants with. He can sleep late, play his video games, watch TV and just chill with no interruptions.

Win win for everyone.

Of course I'd love to follow that ride up with this one but I think I know better than to push it.


Monday, May 2, 2011

5 Boro Bike Tour 2011

Saturday I had my fundraiser (as you know if you've been following this blog) and by the end of the day I was EXHAUSTED.

I went to bed at 9:00pm and set my alarm for 6:00am. Woke up at 3:15am and that was it. I was up and awake.

I checked the weather on every website I could and they all told me the same thing. High of 66 degrees and partly sunny.  I grabbed my hoodie but wore shorts and a short sleeved teeshirt. A choice I would come to regret later on in the day.

I left my apartment at 6:30 and walked to the PATH train. I missed the 7am train but got on the 7:30 train. This meant I was cutting my own schedule really tight and I wouldn't have time to fart around at my mom's place when picking up the bike. (I keep my bike at my mom's place on Christopher Street)

I got off the PATH and was mildly surprised at how many folks I saw line up waiting for the tour to catch up to them so they could join and  not have to wait in the sea of folks at Battery Park. I growled a little to myself for running so late and having the corner I'd planned on staking out jammed with bikes already.

Ran to mom's, said hello to them, smooched their dog who thinks the world completely revolves around me (I chose her at the pound for my mother. I saw her and told mom that this was her dog and I don't think Georgie has forgotten it was I who sprung her. Either that or she just understands my true bad ass rock star-ness more than humans do.)

Grabbed the bike, did a quick spray of sunblock and raced out of the building. I decided rather than going to the spots on 6th that I knew were crowded I'd go up a block onto 10th Street.

My timing was insanely accurate because just as I hit 10th and 6th the cops on motorcycles and all the bike marshalls came flying by. Watching the pack of marshalls actually gave me goosebumps (Thinking about it now gives me goosebumps again) They seemed to be moving so insanely fast like a large sleek animal. They were hollering at each other and the people on the sides of the road waiting to join the tour.  They were packed in so so close to each other and seemed so at ease and strong.

Really impressive to watch, though I have to wonder now why they send the all important bike marshalls (and that's not at all tounge and cheek. I really mean it. Those folks are AWESOME and make the tour run smooth) out so close to the tour participants.  

I didn't hesitate and lept right in behind them and the second I did I cursed myself. Because of my "perfect" timing I hadn't had a chance to turn the Ipod speakers on or get my camera out.  At Times Square I pulled over and put on the music and forgot the camera. ::sigh:: 

Even with my one break that was all of 30 seconds, buy the time we were close to Central Park we were backed up two blocks away.
Last year I was routed through the entrance right off of 6th into the Park where we stopped and waited for a good half an hour as the bottleneck up on 116th street funneled people through.

This year avoiding that was my whole point for not starting at the starting area so when they directed us to go down to the 5th Avenue entrance I pedaled my heart out to get there fast. It didn't matter. I could have saved my energy.

HUGE hill first thing in. I tried to pedal it and got about half way up struggling when a voice piped up "Smarter, not harder. You have 40 more miles to go!" and I hopped off and walked her up the hill.

"Save your energy" I told myself. "You have nothing to prove to anyone but you and your goal is to get to Staten Island."
At the top of the hill I hopped back on to cruise down the other side.
I love the Central Park part of the ride. It's such a beautiful huge huge park and you see so many fun people and dogs out and about.

At one point we passed the Engineer's Gate on 90th Street and 5th Avenue I looked to my left to catch a peek at what used to be the bridle path and found myself fighting tears.

20 years ago I had my horse at Claremont Stables and every single day after school I'd take him out to Central Park for a gallop (he was an off the track thoroughbred who LOVED to run). 

That section of the Bridle Path was always my favorite beacuse it was straight and flat and the tourists were always horrified when he and I came flying through.

Before yesterday the last time I'd been in that spot was on his back.  Guess the memories are stronger than I thought they were.

I shook it off and reminded myself that this tour we were going to look all around us and really take in the sights and sounds and smells and feel of what we were passing.  I squared my shoulders and pedaled on up to 116th Street where we rode through Harlem and were quickly upon the first bridge.

I dismounted and didn't even attempt it.

There is a very large part of me that hates the fact that I'm not yet strong enough to pedal up big hills or bridges with my bike but there is also a rational side of me that knows the bike I've picked is big and heavy and is much harder to ride then the bikes everyone else is riding.  I've set myself up with a real challenge and my bike forces me to work twice as hard, even pedaling on the flat roads than those with  lighter multi-geared bikes. 

We made it off this bridge and into the Bronx. (I think it was the Bronx.  I'm a Born and Raised NYer who never explores the outer boros.) as quickly as we were off the one bridge we were at the second bridge. Again I had to dismount and walk. Mile 10 and I was feeling okay!

Then we were on the FDR Drive. Last year at this point I was so tired and in tears. I didn't think I could finish.

This "tunnel" is a treat for bikers and most go through it whooping and hollering. Last year I pedaled through it in total distress. My legs were cramping, my stomach was in knots and I was in full panic mode.
NOT any fun at all.
This year I had a huge stupid grin plastered on because I felt really good. Not tired, legs felt strong and I was ready to keep pedaling.

This is one of the spots I had to stop last year and regroup myself. Not this year. I passed it with a big grin.

I knew that there was a hill ahead that a marshal made me pedal up last year and I prayed it wouldn't happen again.
It didn't. I dismounted and walked it.
Then we were at the Queensboro Bridge which is where I truly melted down last year. I pulled over and sat for half an hour struggling with the idea of quitting the tour. I finally decided to keep going but I was so tired last year. This year I was tired but the question of whether or not to continue didn't enter the picture.
Then we were in Queens and apparently I was early in the tour enough to not hit the bypass and was able to pedal 4 miles in parts of Queens I didn't get to see last year.

Then we were at the Queens Rest Stop where they made us dismount and walk our bikes. I didn't want to stop so I was following the flow of traffic headed back to the tour when, amongst the sea of bikes I saw a flash of pink and knew immediately that it was Sheryl.

Can you spot her in this photo?

For a split second I debated not approaching her and then I realized it had to be fate that put us at this spot at the same time and if I didn't go introduce myself I'd regret it later.

I found her blog almost 2 years ago and was so inspired by her weight loss journey I decided to embark on one of my own and started to exercise. She's the reason I ever got back on a bicycle.

Our encounter was brief because she and the gal she was riding with wanted to get back on the road.

I was so glad to have finally met her after all our failed attempts and email exchanges.

Back on the bike we almost immediately encountered ANOTHER hill. I tried to pedal it but couldn't do it.

Sheryl pedaled past me and apologized for the short encounter.
Great. Pretty, fit and polite. If I didn't think she was so cool, I might have to hate on her for being so close to perfect!

Queens is a boro that I've not spent too much time in so I reminded myself to really look around and take in what I was passing.

My brain didn't want to go to the rest stop but my body won out. I had to stop for a snack and some water.

Last year this is where I really really hit the bottom of my tank.
I didn't stop at the rest stop last year but I remember passing it as it was shutting down which meant I was at the tail end of the ride. I tried to will myself to pedal on but couldn't go much further.

Last year I dismounted my bike right in front of that doorway and called my dad to come and get me.
This year I waved to the doorway as I passed.

Then we were in DUMBO Brooklyn and the ride was nice and smooth till we hooked a left and started to ride under the BQE and I knew we had a HUGE HUGE hill coming.
My photos don't do justice to this highway incline. I of course was walking the bike and I think I walked it for a good 15 mins till we crested.

Once we got  up onto the BQE it was semi flat riding till we ran into the single lane getting down onto the Belt Parkway. They were funneling riders through only a few at a time to avoid accidents but it caused a HUGE backup. I waited about half an hour to get through.
At this point in the tour my legs were so exhausted I was happy to be off the bike for a while. All too soon though we were on the Belt Parkway with the Verrazano looming ahead of us. Cross that bridge and you were at the festival!

Not so fast or easy for my now completely exhausted gams. I had to keep reminding myself to stay loose and breathe and I was going so so slowly.
This was the first time all tour that my eyes filled with tears. My thigh muscles were just so exhausted and didn't want to work.
When my right calf cramped I had to get off and walk for about half a mile.
This was hands down the most frustrating part of the tour for me. I was SO close to the end and my body wasn't cooperating! It's very frustrating when your limbs won't follow the commands your brain gives them.

So I walked and then had to walk up the ramp to the next rest stop where I stopped and sat in the grass and took a few deep breaths. I drank my lukewarm water, ate another package of crackers and got back on to cross the Verrazano.

This is the last photo I was able to take beacuse my camera battery died.
I knew I'd be walking this bridge. It's HUGE and INSANELY steep and goes on for what feels like forever.
I walked and walked and walked and my hands cramped and my shoulders cramped and my lower back screamed and then we were at the middle and I mounted up again and cruised down into the festival.

I'd been getting frustrated calls from my husband all day about the kids and I knew I had to get home quickly. I'd wanted to stay at the festival and walk around a little and maybe eat something but I grabbed my teeshirt and remounted for the last 3 miles. 

My body has a weird sense of humor because I got my second wind for the ride to the ferry. No aches in my legs, energy to spare and I pedaled my heart out getting the bike up to 16 miles an hour for over a mile. I hit the Ferry at 2:58pm and didn't load on till after 4 and then didn't leave Staten Island till almost 5. 

I was freezing cold at this point, cursing myself for not bringing the sweatshirt, my legs and feet were so exhausted and I had to pee but mostly I was stressed about my poor husband and the kiddos. I just wanted to get home but I knew it wasn't going to be that easy.

I still had another 3 miles once we got off the ferry and I had to drop the bike off at my mom's and get on the PATH home. I didn't get home till 6:30 and I was so sore and tired but really proud and felt like I'd accomplished something huge.

It was an amazing day and I'm glad I did it!!!