Thursday, June 18, 2015


Technically, it's the panniculus,
but most medical folk know it as the pannus...
And, some time in March of this year
I decided to finally wage a strong battle against it.
So far, I think I might be winning...

Earlier that month, I came back from two back to back trips:
one to New Orleans and another on a two week cruise.
If either of those doesn't scream out LOTS of GOOD FOOD to some of you, 
then you've got some traveling to do.
But, I digress...
Much to my chagrin, after these two trips despite my best efforts
to get in lots of walking and, at least, an occasional trip to the workout room,
I came back to find none of my clothes fit me comfortably.
Even my scrubs were a bit on the tight side.

So I did something I've only done like 4 times in my adult life...
I weighed myself.
Now, I like using kilograms because as a physician we
use the metric system all the time.
Plus, when you see 70kg on a scale, it doesn't seem so scary.
Imagine my consternation when I made the conversion from
kilos to pounds (multiple by 2.2)....!!!
I was very close to the 200 pound mark.
When did that happen??
And, how did it happen so easily??

Well, I am sure this had a lot to do with it,
but now I really needed to do something about it...

So I bought a bike:

Now, I know nothing about bikes, so all I asked for was:
something that was a road bike, not a mountain bike
something that didn't weigh a lot
something that was middle range in price
and something that would be durable.

After trying out different models and seats,
I ended up with a Fuji Absolute

So I went on my first ride in Folsom where I stay when I work in Sacramento...
I planned out a route and thought,
seriously, how hard could five miles be?
Almost immediately I thought I was going to die
either from a heart attack or due to my thighs exploding
from the strain...
and I hadn't even gotten to the hilly part yet.

But I made it through that ride... 
note that GoogleMaps says
I should make the ride in 30 minutes... 
yeah, right...

Not fully discouraged, I kept riding and came up with the hashtag
both as a tongue-in-cheek inspiration for weight loss, but also because
having something hitting/resting on the top of your thighs
when you're riding is not conducive to good cycling form
and definitely slows you down.

So I rode:

And, I rode:

And, I rode:

Building up some distance...

And pushing myself farther:

Then came the hills.  I christened this one
"Lung Vomit Hill"

The distance wasn't so long, but check out the grade at the beginning..
I seriously was going to raise my arms above my head 
and cheer when I made it to the top!
But my lungs and thighs were on fire,
and I think I might have been hallucinating the 
"Rocky" theme song at that point.

Once I was back home on the coast, I took to our local country roads...

And found that I had a perfect route for some interval training...

And, then, I became "that person" 
You know, the one that takes their bike on vacation...

And, I challenged myself to this ride...

At the top... ouch...
which screamed for this hash tag

Then I went and did it... 
I bought bike shorts.
I was starting to consistently ride close to 10 miles,
and I started to notice around mile 7 that my butt was getting kinda sore.
So, I made the investment.  And, my ischial tuberosities thank me...

As I've progressed in distance, my DH has become
part of my support team.  He offers to drive me places
so that I can get in a longer ride...

Like cycling down the Avenue of the Giants...

There were some challenging hills on that route...

He also challenged me by offering to buy me lunch...
if I rode my bike into town...
the extra 30 minutes on my time is because of
Loleta Hill which is
but those extra 1097 calories burned were so worth it
because let's be honest...
I love to eat..!

A couple of days ago, he dropped me off on the highway
so I could do this ride from Scotia to home...

Those three bumps you see below on the elevation chart 
are the "Three Sisters"
with yet another "Lung Vomit" hill...

So, after three months, the pannus is slowly shrinking,
clothes are fitting better again,
I've been able to work off a lot of recent personal stress,
and my bike and I seem to suddenly be getting invited to a lot of places.

Locally, there's a 30 mile ride through a lot of the same
routes I've been riding while at home which I've challenged 
myself to do in October.

My best friend from college has challenged me to
do a 50 mile ride with her in January in a town just east of San Diego...
and, I actually registered for it...!

And, who knows, maybe a year from now, I'll be able to ride a part of the 
Tour of the Unknown Coast as a cyclist and not just as medical support... 

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