Rediscovering “The Why” The MS Ride 50 Mile

Staci pre MS Ride

Goal complete! This past weekend I accomplished a goal I set out for back in the springtime when I wrote about setting up a bicycle workstation.  In the past three months, using skills learned in the 8WW program, I fought my way through a sedentary work-lifestyle habits.  I started feeling stir crazy for a rewarding athletic accomplishment, and started looking into benefit, organized, bike rides, and thought the MS Ride in Colorado would allow some training to reach the goal.

Since getting my road biked in 2011, I would head out for 15-25 miles, but never really called myself a cyclist.  Upon completing 8WW in 2012, I experienced how just by improving my health and fitness level with the 8WW program, my beginning mountain biking improved.

My longest ride on the road prior to the MS Ride, was sub 30 miles.  But I had spent some time during the workdays on my trainer, and on uphills on my mountain bike, building up endurance, and adding some fun cardio workouts to my routine.

I’ve made a better habit to drink enough water whether or not I have a workout scheduled.  When I was journaling my 8WW experience, I struggled to reach my recommended water intake per day.  The day of the MS Ride however, I was well hydrated, and kept hydrated throughout the ride.

Early on, and most frequently when I would start a ride on the trainer, I would feel like my right hip seized up, leaving a sharp pain, that prevented me from pedaling until I had stretched it out.  A couple adjustments, and some stretching assignments was able to work out these muscles (which were probably trained to hold together while sitting at a computer).  And through the regular riding, stretching, and chiropractic adjustments, this pain and most of the pain from my right hip, thigh, and knee have dissipated.

Thanks to Kambeitz Chiropractic Health and Wellness Center P.C.’s doctors, trainers, massage therapists, and staff for their encouragement and insights for me to accomplish my next set of goals.

My victories range from completing a distance I had never before ridden, finding a cardio activity that I enjoy, keeping fueled up to adequately finisht the ride, and resetting my “why.”


Fighting the Sedentary Workday: The Bicycle Desk

In 2012, I participated along with the KCHWC staff in the 8WW program.  As the years went by after college, my level of physical activity continued to decline.  There was the summer I ran a couple of half marathons, and of course the long runs leading up to it.  There was the summer I hiked over twenty of Colorado’s 14ers.  But in between there were plenty of weeks that I didn’t do anything to stay in shape.  Fortunately for me, my body shape doesn’t revolt against me for not working out.  But when I participated in 8WW, it proved that I wasn’t in as great shape as I had assumed.  It opened my eyes about how poorly I kept hydrated; and my cholesterol ratio and phase angle had shown how physical inactivity was affecting my health down to a cellular level.

Throughout the program, and in the months prior I kept a good lifestyle, with better choices on food, and hydration, that the 8WW program instilled in my habits.  But getting in workouts has never been easy for me.  I work for myself, and am not paying the bills unless I’m planted in front of my computer.  Just to get work done, I’m used to working 10-12 hours per weekday, sitting at my desk.

Then one morning I kept finding myself looking at paved bike path routes from Vail to Glenwood Springs, and discovered a new “why” to make the workouts happen.

Immediately I got to work on a solution.  Using all items I already had, I assembled the bicycle desk that I’ve wanted to construct for months…

bike deskUsing a card table elevated by four orange home depot buckets I was able to raise a work station, complete with water, a wireless keyboard and mouse, and my computer over my road bicycle.  I had the road bicycle from occasional summer rides, and the trainer that I swore I was going to use daily at the time I ordered it, like so many others who purchase home workout equipment.

I don’t have a set amount of time that I set up at the bicycle desk.  But I do change into workout clothes to pedal more seriously.  I save work that is best to be done by bicycle: reading through emails, quick replies, and some writing or reports.  Sometimes I step off the pedals and use it as a standing desk, while deep in thought or have to make a phone call.  Then I get back to pedaling.  If I’m set up at the bicycle desk for two hours, I figure I get an hour and a half of medium cycling at a medium resistance.

I look forward to seeing how this change in my workday will pay off once I’m out on the road and trails this summer, and hopefully feeling the fitness level to accomplish the bike rides I strive to do this year!

8 Weeks after 8WW – Staci’s Story

Here I am, 8 weeks after 8WW!  Crazy to think that 16 weeks have gone by since I started the journey at KCHWC.  That’s more than a quarter of 2012!

I received my new wellness report a few weeks ago that showed progress with the program.

  • My Cholesterol/HDL Ratio improved from 3.89:1 to 3.27:1
  • My intracellular water improved a little bit, but keeping hydrated will continue to be an important priority for me.
  • My Health Satisfaction Survey improved dramatically.  I felt better having workouts planned and healthy meals already scheduled from the moment I left the grocery store.
  • My Phase Angle from the BIA test improved from 6.2 to 6.4
  • Overall my Wellness score improved from 89 a B+ to 91, an A-.
  • In the Wellness category of General Health, I went from 69, a D+ to 81, a B-

I have continued going to KCHWC to work out in the gym with Cassie one time each week.  While technically there are ski areas that have opened, once the real ski season starts, I’m excited to see how my time in the gym pays off on the slopes.  It’s been awhile since I had a regular gym routine!

That bum knee of mine is feeling pretty good now, allowing me to put full weight on it, without feeling like I’m standing lopsided.  I attribute these changes to better stretching, regular adjustments, and strengthening it during our workouts.

Besides the changes I made for diet, exercise and chiropractic, I’ve prioritized one activity that gives me huge personal satisfaction.  I’ve started reading nearly every evening again.  While schedules get busy, it’s one rewarding thing that usually has nothing to do with work or my busy day.  I relax to a story, and it is kind of my own meditation. I’ve probably finished six or more books in the past 16 weeks when I decided to put my health and happiness as a priority!

I still have some room for improvements, but very happy with the lifestyle and fitness changes I’ve started!

Kale Chips

A few years back I was at a dinner party and saw a bowl of something I had never had before.  I saw a friend take this thin green flaky thing and eat it while we were having a conversation waiting for the main course. I took one to sample while talking and thought, “hmm, what’s that?” I continue talking but I didn’t see anyone else grab one.  Then I started to feel embarrassed that I ate some sort of garnishment for the plate, so I finally asked her what was it.

…Kale Chips, so it turned out.

Since then, I’ve been hooked. I’ve grown kale and I’ve purchased it; in a clump bound by a twist tie and in a bag. And I’ve also gotten a few others hooked on kale since.

It’s super easy…

  1. I always rinse the kale carefully.  Sometimes dirt can be hidden inside its curly edges.  If there is visible dirt I will let it soak for five minutes in salt water then rinse. If I got long stemmed kale bound with a twist tie I will cut or tear them into smaller pieces. If the stems are thick I will cut the leaves off of the stem.
  2. Preheat the oven to 225 degrees
  3. I then dry them using a salad spinner.
  4. I then either prepare them in a bowl or directly on a large cookie sheet.  I will pour a little bit (but not a lot of) of olive oil on the leaves and toss it like a salad making sure each leaf has a little bit of olive oil on it.
  5. I then spread them evenly across a cookie sheet and sprinkle a dash of salt on them and throw them in the oven.
  6. The cooking time will vary depending on the thickness of the kale leaves and how much olive oil you used.  (Some varieties differ from others) Usually they are done (crispy) within 20-30 minutes.
  7. I bake them until the they’re a crispy dark green leaf that almost looks made out of stained glass.


8ww Graduation Day!

Yesterday I completed the eight weeks of the 8ww program!  Boy do 8 weeks sure go by fast!

My original goals were focused around hiking 14ers, having energy on the weekends, stronger in my recreational activities of skiing and biking better, reduce pain from former injuries, and having more ideas for preparing healthy meals.

  • My schedule hasn’t been convenient to hike 14ers this summer… but perhaps I’ll get the chance to do one or two before they’re covered with snow!
  • Energy on the weekends… I still end up missing a lot of hours of sleep during the work week, leaving the weekend for catch up.  It’s something that has a lot of influencing factors, but I’ll be working to improve on for month after month.
  • Strength for rec activities… I’ve definitely improved.  While ski season is at least a month away, I just had a great weekend mountain biking in Durango. I’m pretty intermediate on the mountain bike, but I have to say my improvements on the bike are related to feeling stronger in the arms, legs and core.
  • Reduce pain from former injuries… a lot of progress here! I have a bum knee from running, hiking, skiing that I would rarely put weight on for three years.  While it’s not perfect and still needs time to get 100% this is the first time there’s been any improvement in it during the last three years.  Each adjustment the doctors would test my range of motion, something I didn’t realize was so bad.  The massage therapists focused many myo treatments on my super tight IT bands and hip flexors, which made a huge difference.
  • Healthy meal preparation… I am doing way better, rarely skipping meals! I’m planning better when at Costco or the grocery store.  I knew how to read nutrition labels before, but I just didn’t.  I’m better at taking the time to read food labels.

I will have my post 8ww exam this week.  I’m really curious to see if my cholesterol level went down.  I’ve laid off the bacon, worked out way more, and planned better meals.  I’m definitely excited to see the results that aren’t as visible from the outside!


Two weeks in…

Two weeks in and I feel like I’m making some progress.

The diet part is easy and yet not.  I just got back from a weekend in Vegas.  Even though I packed healthy snacks and brought my Ultrameal and Blender Bottle, my intentions and what I really ate fell short.  Even though I can order something healthier off the menu, making food in the hotel room was a hassle.

I have made myself work a bit harder with planning meals and making sure I have a good variety of healthy food in my fridge.  I am not a huge fan of breakfast, so it isn’t easy to plan the protein, fat and carbohydrate…

The workouts have been fun and make me feel like I’m working hard for the scheduled hour.

I haven’t been as good with pulling out the meditation CD.  I have taken a couple minutes here and there while waiting for something to sit back close my eyes and take a few deep breaths.  I have been making an effort to give myself a little bit of R&R time that I haven’t been able to get around to in months… reading before bed.  Even though work is getting busier and busier I feel that along with some good food, more exercise, I’m feeling more motivated.

The chiropractic adjustments have helped my right leg that I’ve favored for three years now since running and hiking injuries summer of 2009.  Dr Jim has shown me how my range of motion is improving.  I also noticed, that it seems my circulation in my toes has improved…

The improvements with that bum leg can definitely be attributed to the myo therapy work as well.  I discovered how tight my IT band has become, along with my hip flexor.  While the ‘massage’ isn’t relaxing with ocean sounds playing in the background, I find it becoming less painful and more tolerable over the past two weeks.  I am putting more weight on my right leg without it feeling so off balance, and I think the improvements with that leg will allow me to get the most out of the workouts…


No Recipe Required Cooking

So I’m not going to lie… I’ve never been much of a follow a recipe type person.  Maybe if I’m making something special, but I don’t frequently pull out a cook book.

One meal I’ve made twice (in week 1 and week 3) are spiced chicken tenderloin strips.

I usually get the boneless skinless chicken tenderloin packets from Costco.  They’re convenient to freeze to have a quick meal on hand.

Once defrosted I use Savory Spice Shop’s Wash Park Seasoning on one or both sides.

And then I throw them onto my George Foreman grill.

Three minutes later I have dinner and some leftovers.  (And of course I add a couple veggies or a salad with my spiced chicken tenderloins too!)

Now that’s my style!

Staci: Week 1 of 8ww

I’m half way through the first week of 8ww.  I’m excited for the program, but can’t quite say I’ve got it all down 100%.

This week has been busy with work and errands making it hard to keep up with the nutrition and workout part.

I relaxed for my first time on day #3 for the meditation component.  I relax easily so that was no problem.

I also got my first adjustment today on day #4.  I got to see my new x-rays, which showed that I sit in a desk more than I am on my feet and active.  My spine and hips don’t have the same alignment that I had 7 years ago.  I’m also going to try to take a better focus on my posture.  I don’t think it’s that bad, but when I’m tired of sitting at my desk I think I start sliding further and further under it.

The group workouts have been good.  I am always more motivated if I know the others who I am at the gym with.

I also had my first myo treatment, and let me tell you, I didn’t know or expect that my IT band and hip flexors were so tight.  I make my way through the treatment alright, but will definitely be pulling the foam roller out of my closet!

All in all I think this is going to be baby steps to get everything up to 100%.  I thought perhaps I’d be able to get everything under my belt within a few days but diet and exercise certainly need a lot of planning and scheduling to get done!


Staci’s Pre 8ww Thoughts

I too feel excited and nervous to participate in the 8ww.  I had the opportunity to start the program with the Kambeitz Chiropractic staff when I just started to learn about the program.  I feel that I eat well, but don’t always take care of myself well – I don’t get enough sleep, I don’t really enjoy working out, I don’t plan my meals and will often skip meals when I’m busy.

I definitely think this program can be an opportunity to learn how to do better things for myself from nutrition to exercise.  I was active and athletic in high school and college and enjoyed the structure from high school cross country to college ski team.  After college there was a while that I  enjoyed going to the gym, and a while that I enjoyed running with a friend.  I enjoy less structured sports like biking (road and mountain), skiing, and hiking 14ers, but these are all rather seasonal sports.

I would like to improve my strength for hiking, biking and skiing and avoid some of the injuries from these sports that continually pester me.  I also think this program will allow me to be more introspective on how I can maintain a lifetime of good health while I’m still in my 20’s before I reach my 30’s!