Avoiding Painful Rides

Whether you are a beginner or just doing something wrong biking can be a real pain. It’s no fun to find yourself 30 minutes into your ride wishing it was over with already. Hands falling asleep, arms hurting, backaches and backside aches are common complaints that make us want to give up but with practice, we can avoid some of that pain.

What hurts you beforehand?

Before taking up any sport it’s good to be aware of your weaknesses. Prior injuries or disabilities will haunt you if you don’t plan ahead and protect yourself. It’s a good idea to have a talk with your doctor about biking and whether it’s something you can do first. Your doctor will tell you the best way to protect yourself so you don’t make any problem areas worse.

A pain in the butt.

Not many people come away from a bike seat saying it feels great. Most bikes come with the smallest size seat you can get similar to what comes on a 10-speed bike. There are 3 sizes of seats and unless you want to buy a new seat you can learn to use the one that comes on your bike.

20160627_132344.jpg

My bike has a medium size seat which is standard on a touring bike but even my seat was painful at first. Instead of buying a new seat, a cheaper alternative is a seat cover. They cost about $20 and come with memory foam or gel to give you a more comfortable ride. Easy to install and remove you can take your seat cover with you if you change bikes.

When riding your bike you’re not always pedaling. When coasting, lift your rear off of the seat a little resting it. You can always stand while coasting stretching out your body and giving your rear a rest. Added up these small breaks can really help.

Benches give us a great place to take a break but rather than sitting again stretch in place or take a small walk.

If all else fails a new seat may be in order but make sure you get one with springs underneath they make all the difference in smoothing out your ride.

My aching back.

Back pain is always a sign that you are straining rather than letting your legs and core do the work. When riding a bike you don’t want to “put your back into it” you will be in extreme pain. Before your legs are strong enough to take the slack it’s easy to pull or tense your back going up that hill rather than relaxing in the seat and using your legs.

Concentrate on letting the bike carry you. Sit high in the saddle and don’t hunch forward or round your back. Don’t lean heavily on your hands keep a light grip and relax.

When you are tired this is the time you should be the most careful with your back. Take a break, stretch your back and remember to pull with your thighs and core when you pedal relaxing your back. Develop a good riding style watching the angle of your back and stay comfortable.

Make sure the balls of your feet are on your pedals pushing forward. Be patient, in time you will build the core and leg muscles it takes to bike with less effort without back strain or pain. The key words are bike fit, core muscle stability and riding style—all of these likely contribute to back pain.

 

correct-bicycle-posture

Use the correct bike posture for your type of bike.

My hands are falling asleep and my arms hurt.

If you are grasping the handgrips too tightly you will be on pins and needles. Leaning heavily on your handlebars will cause your arms and shoulders to hurt moving into your back. It’s good to have some options so you don’t have to keep your hands in one position during your ride. Changing hand positions is a big help.

If it’s possible, ride with one hand resting the other. I can do this with my touring bike because the handlebars are upright. Put the weight on your seat not your arms or hands. Keep a light but firm grip on your handgrips.

Watch your wrist and arm position with elbows bent depending on your handlebars. It’s possible to get padded riding gloves and handlebars that offer more than one hand position if you can’t get used to your setup.

My neck is killing me.

Whether in a bike lane or on a path when cycling you must watch for traffic. On bike paths, you ride on the right-hand side and get passed on the left, always. You need to be aware of what’s around you. It can give you a sore neck. If you are tense this can get worse.

Relaxation goes a long way in bike riding. I look at it like Yoga on a bike. If you keep the parts of your body relaxed you will have less pain. It takes concentration and if necessary, stretching beforehand. Do some neck circles before riding…simply sit and gently move your head in full slow circles one way, and then the other.

Keep your head moving when you ride. You’ll want to take in the view and watch for other bikers, people walking, objects in the path and cracks in the path that can capture your tires. Keep your eyes and ears open.

50ecceb36a8e3b3a63a1bb3053d1bbf6

The position that you ride in makes all of the difference. Get acquainted with your type of bicycle and select the right bike fit for you. Adjust your seat and handlebars as suggested for your bike. When done right it will serve you well and keep you comfortable while you ride.

Pick the right bike for you and where you are going to ride. 

There are many kinds of bikes to choose from when you buy your bike do some research and get what you need. If you are going to bike on pavement but take the occasional dirt or gravel path a touring bike is your best bet. A 10-speed type of bike is good for paved bike trails.

If you don’t mind a little extra weight on your bike you may rethink having fenders on your bike when there’s a puddle or you drive over hot asphalt. I’m not talking about high-performance biking on Bike With Bekkie I’m talking about biking for good health and enjoyment.

Many people ride mountain bikes on the Bay Trail but they are made for mostly dirt paths and don’t offer the best ride on pavement. They make the mistake of buying mountain bikes for everyday riding but they are uncomfortable for long rides and the gearing is different. The right bike makes all the difference.

cyclists

If you still have pain after doing all you can with your bike it might be time for a new bike. I feel biking is for almost everyone and see people of all ages biking when I am out. The common denominator is the smile I see on everyone’s faces.

20160625_131912

Here I am taking a break to stretch. I do this at least 2 times while I’m on a ride. I used to have terrible back pain, a nerve would get pinched and half of my back would go numb. One day it hit me that I was putting my back into it not my upper thighs and on hills, I’d tense up my back muscles. When biking into the wind I’d yank my back around instead of gearing down and relaxing. It is so easy to ride the wrong way if you don’t think about what you’re doing. Now my back never hurts and the pinched nerve has not come back.

iPhone 5 Wallpaper
Keep these tips in mind and ride pain-free.

Got any questions or comments leave them behind and I will give you the best advice I can muster. It’s summer in the US and prime riding time.

The more you ride the better you feel!

San Francisco From A Bike Seat

Biking the Bay Trail from the San Mateo side of the San Francisco Bay is wonderful for I get to see San Francisco when I ride. I have now seen it in 3 seasons and all kinds of weather from the seat of my bike. I hope you enjoy the view.

IMAG0357

They don’t call it “the city by the bay” for nothing. This is the view from Coyote Point, the city looks quite close from here.

IMAG0328

This is in Foster City near 3rd Avenue on the bridge. The land mass to the left is part of the Bay Trail in San Mateo.

20160618_140356

Windsurfers Beach is this patch of beach used by the windsurfers when the wind is up. I like to watch these guys out on the bay and when they “get air.”

IMAG0380

San Francisco is not always visible on rainy days sometimes it disappears completely. The tide is out making it look like SF is sitting in a giant mud flat. I ride in all weather.

20160606_124123

SF in the background on a very windy hot day. You can almost see SF shimmering on the horizon.

20160606_131500

At high tide SF seems to be floating on the waves under the fog bank.

20160606_134950

A close up of SF from Coyote Point which is a good place to view the city by the bay.

DSCN4723

On a cloudy day at the beginning of my ride, the tide is out. See the bicycle in the foreground on the right? It’s been there forever and is a full bicycle someone left behind. Unfortunately, this area has its share of litter and dumping that can be seen when the tide is out.

DSCN4821

SF is almost more interesting when the weather changes which can happen fast around the bay. The water has many looks and personalities.

DSCN4508

Amongst spring flowers, SF looks like it’s next to the Coyote Point boat harbor from this view but it’s behind it across the bay.

IMAG0356

They have put rocks like this around most of the bay. SF is in the background on a crisp day.

20160606_123930

San Francisco can be seen from the San Mateo side of the Bay Trail all the way to the San Mateo Bridge. It’s wonderful to see it all kinds of weather and seasons I’m a lucky person to be able to bike here daily. The only season left for me is Fall and I can’t wait!

These pictures were taken with a Nikon Coolpix digital camera and a Samsung Galaxy s7 cell phone camera. The moving pictures were taken with the Animated GIF Mode on my s7.

I recommend the Samsung Galaxy s7’s camera, with all of the modes included it’s one of the best cameras I’ve ever used which is saying a lot for a cell phone camera. I now use the S7’s camera for all my photography.

I hope you liked my photographs! Riding a bike is the best way to see and photograph the world in my opinion. Happy riding!

Everything is better on a bicycle seat!

Sleep 101

If you’re going to bike or do any kind of exercise sleep is something you’ll want to get enough of. Without sleep, you won’t have the energy or concentration needed for your day or ride. There are things your body needs to do that it can only do while you sleep. Many people have trouble sleeping or take sleep for granted but it’s one of the most important things you can do for your body and future health.

Screenshot_20160628-121636

This is a screenshot from my Jawbone UP3 showing a typical night of sleep for me. Let’s see what we can learn from it. As you can see there are 3 kinds of sleep cycles during the night.

Sleep cycles are important.

Not everyone gets the same amount of REM, deep or light sleep a night. It depends on age, the individual and quality of sleep but everyone has these cycles of sleep during the night.

When we are in REM our bodies are paralyzed and we dream. This is why our bodies don’t try to run when we dream about running. REM is not only for dreaming it’s when the mind does it’s sorting of what’s happened during the day. Whether you remember your dreams or not everyone has deep sleep. Our mind needs REM, it makes up sharp and helps us to learn complex things.

For more information on REM sleep: http://www.howsleepworks.com/types_rem.html

Deep sleep helps our bodies repair themselves. During deep sleep, our bodies chemically do all the good things we’ll need for the daylight hours. There are functions our bodies can only do at night while in deep sleep. Cells repair themselves and hormones are released. Deep sleep restores us physically and mentally. Deep sleep heals the daytime wear and tear on our bodies.

For more information on deep sleep: https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/sleepless-in-america/201010/the-mysterious-benefits-deep-sleep

Light sleep makes sleep cycles possible. During light sleep our bodies transition between deep and REM sleep. The body rests during light sleep and we can wake up easily.

For more information on light sleep: http://www.sleepdex.org/light.htm

For all of this to happen, we need to get enough sleep each night. We need a full 7 to 8 hours of sleep per night. Finding the time for this in our busy lives isn’t easy but if you want the benefits that sleep offers you’ll have to make the time. It takes good sleep planning.

Bedtime is not just for children. 

Give up the late TV shows, get off of the computer and if you go out, plan to get home early. Pick a bedtime you can do every night and stick to it. Set an alarm so you can get ready for bed and be in bed when it’s time to go to sleep. Now that we have On Demand TV it’s not important to stay up for TV shows or movies. Life has its ways of getting in the way be firm about your bedtime.

Before bedtime read or meditate in the dark. 

Some people have problems quieting their minds before sleep. To make sure you’re relaxed enough to sleep after getting ready for bed meditate or read a book for a 1/2 hour or more before your bedtime. Turning the lights out in your bedroom ahead of time and lying in the dark can help bring on a good night’s sleep. Drinking alcohol can help you get to sleep but will play havoc with your sleep cycles giving you a bad night’s sleep.

Here is a good article with tips for better sleep. It states that you shouldn’t read before bed but new studies have found that it can actually help. I read before bed and it puts me right to sleep. It still gives a lot of good information: http://www.webmd.com/sleep-disorders/news/20011004/12-tips-better-sleep-troubled-times

Set up your bedroom for sleep.

The bedroom should be as cool and dark as possible. Keep your blinds or curtains shut. I have a window open even in the winter, a stuffy hot room will not help you sleep well. It’s good to keep your bedroom around 50 degrees. I love being warm under a big blanket in a cold room, makes me sleep like a baby.

I make sure all electronic devices with LED’s are off or I put tape over the LED’s so I can’t see them. Blue LED’s or TV/stereo box lights can keep you awake by stimulating your mind just by looking at them in the dark. The darker the room the better.

Make sure your bed is comfortable. Dress in something loose and cool you want to be as comfortable as possible.

If you still need help getting to sleep.

Scent can help you sleep. Lavender is wonderful for sleep I have a spray I can spray on my pillowcase and it puts me right to sleep. Before you go to bed you can take a hot bath and put lavender in it. Either way, it’s heavenly.

Nature sounds of any kind are very relaxing and playing them while you go to sleep can help. There are many applications for cell phones that include timers so you don’t have to turn them off after you fall asleep. This is good if you can’t relax, or if your bedroom tends to be noisy. Do not play music it will keep you and your mind awake.

Make sure you get enough sleep.

I like to get 7 1/2 to 8 hours of sleep a night including weekends. The recommended amount is a full 7 to 8 hours a night. I set my alarms so I go to sleep at 10:05 and get up at 7 am. That leaves me about 9 hours leeway and most of the time I can sleep 8 hours or more. Part of that time is spent reading. I used to be an insomniac now I sleep like a baby but it didn’t happen overnight it took some time and planning.

It’s up to you!

You need to find what is right for you and stick with it. It might take you as long as a few months to get settled into it. Sleeping well is hard work for us folks that have trouble sleeping. It will happen! Things will come up that mess with your sleep plans but the next day get right back at it. As long as you leave time to get ready for bed and have your bedroom set up for sleep you’ll be doing awesome in no time.

Sleep has super powers.

There are new studies coming out all of the time about the powers of sleep. It’s been proven that getting enough sleep makes you live longer. People who get enough sleep actually eat 300 less calories a day when they were well rested. Sleep brightens your mood for the day. People who get enough sleep don’t get sick as much. Your blood pressure goes down when you sleep giving your heart a break. Sleep helps you make better decisions and boosts your creativity. It also gives you more energy. They are finding out new things about how sleep helps us all of the time.

Let me know how you’re doing or if you have any questions about sleeping better.

Now, get some sleep!

Links from howsleepworks.com, psychologytoday.com, sleepdex.org, and webmd.com.

Just My Bike And Me

Wetlands passing by
the waterbirds feed
it’s a very good day
on San Francisco Bay.

To be out of the city
yet see it ‘cross the bay
even foggy days
it’s there on display.

Wind in my hair
just a gentle breeze
sun hot on my back
as I follow the bike track.

The sharp salt smell
clicking of the gears
the songbirds sing
colors on the wing.

Drifting down the trail
I feel like I’m flying
at peace so quietly
just my bike and me.

© Rebecca Sanchez 2016

I am very lucky to be able to bike the Bay Trail up close and personal at this time. Sharing my photographs and poetry is one way I can show you just how special this area is to me and why we should keep it as pristine as we can. The animals who live here and nature depend on us.

20160529_133452

The featured image is San Francisco with the fog coming in as seen from Coyote Point. This image is the San Mateo Bridge, Highway 92, looking from Foster City towards San Mateo. The tide is out so the wetlands are exposed but when the tide comes back in the waters of the San Francisco Bay will be all the way up to these rocks and beaches.

The Nod

The serious bikers out there all wear these funny helmets. If you ever rode a motorcycle (like me) we call them “brain buckets” and for good reason. If you have a fall or god forbid, get in an accident you will be glad you are wearing one.

20160602_114414

They come in all styles, even aerodynamic if you’re one of those crazy fast cyclists who move at the speed of light. It’s important to be safe but without a helmet, you will be hard pressed to communicate with the other bicycle riders and that would be sad.

Being the friendly person I am when I first started riding my bike I’d see the other person coming towards me on a bike, have a big smile plastered on my face, make eye contact and before reaching them say hello. I would feel the blast of wind, see the person streak by and nothing….

Surely it wasn’t me? I pushed on….

Soon it was clear that unless it was a family biking, people walking or someone moving at a slower speed that I wasn’t doing something right. These “bikers” were just unfriendly! How could I make contact with my own kind? I kept trying, watched and waited.

Then one day I saw it…I almost missed it because it happened so fast. To be sure I watched carefully and saw it again. It was not always accompanied with eye contact but it was given freely and in solidarity. It was “the nod.” Suddenly I understood and was elated!

It’s not always easy to see and there are some cyclists who really don’t bike to be social so they will ignore you and that’s ok but if you are like me you will want to communicate with the others.

Some people smile, some don’t but you will see the nod of the helmet, a slight, quick, forward dip of the head made easier to see by the funny helmet they are wearing. Now that I’ve cracked the code you know what to do.

Next time we pass on the bike trail I’ll not be saying hello but I will give you “the nod” meaning all is well-enjoy your ride!

Safety is no joke get a helmet and wear it when you ride.

Bekkie’s Healthy Chili

Chili is a wonderful food it sticks with you is easy to make and 1 cup is about 266 calories. It can be made and ready to eat in a little over an hour. This is my own recipe and I used it throughout my weight loss journey and after dinner, I was never hungry. You don’t have to be dieting to eat this chili it’s just good healthy food.

20160517_182918

Ingredients:

2 pounds of hamburger (I like hamburger with some fat it tastes better)

2 green peppers (any color)

1 onion

2 cloves of garlic

1 teaspoon of salt

3 shakes from the bottle (or what you like) of paprika

parsley flakes or fresh (as much as you’d like)

1/4 cup chili powder (or less it’s up to you)

2 fresh tomatoes (I leave the skin on)

1, 28 ounce can finely chopped tomatoes

1 bay leaf

1 cup of water

1, 15 ounce can kidney beans

1, 15 ounce can black beans

1, 15 ounce can garbanzo beans

Let’s cook:

Put the hamburger in a non-stick dutch oven. Chop the green peppers, onion, and add. Chop the garlic very fine and add. Add the salt, paprika, and parsley flakes. Chop the tomatoes and set aside.

Cook on high stirring occasionally so it doesn’t burn until almost all of the liquid disappears.  (This should take no more than 15 minutes but don’t time it, watch the liquid and don’t leave it.) Then add chili powder and stir until the mixture is coated with it.

Add the canned tomatoes with the liquid from the can. Add the fresh chopped tomatoes, water, the bay leaf, and stir.

Reduce heat by half, cover with a lid and cook for 45 minutes. Make sure the heat just cooks the chili without burning it on the bottom. It should be gently boiling when you peek under the lid.

When 45 minutes is up, drain the kidney beans, black beans, and garbanzo beans and mix them in. I like to make a 3 bean chili but you can substitute any kind of beans you like or use all kidney beans. Keeping the lid off, heat for another 20 minutes until the beans are hot. Because the skin was left on the fresh tomatoes you may see little pieces of the skin rolled up in the chili. Eating the skin is good for you.

Remove the bay leaf when it’s done. I like to have a piece of Safeway nut and grain bread (my favorite) with a 1/2 tablespoon of butter on it with my 1 cup of chili. My whole meal, with 8 ounces of milk is 566 calories and it gets a good “food rating.”

Enjoy! My chili will keep you full for hours your body will love it and it’ll give you plenty of energy for your bike rides. It keeps well just put it in the fridge.

Sorry, I don’t have a picture of the finished chili I ate it all before I thought about taking a picture for this. Lol! If you try this let me know how you like it!

Still Alive And Biking

As you can see from the date of my last post that I’ve been too busy to get a new post up. Shame on me! It’s not because I’ve quit biking, in fact, I’ve been enjoying my rides very much. Life just happens and I’d like to touch bases before I get on with my normal posts.

What’s Happening?

I don’t know if I’ve mentioned this in the past but I write poetry. Every week I write with at least 4 different groups of poets and I enjoy it very much but it takes up a lot of my writing time. I’ve been doing this for years now. I often write about photographs I take on my bike rides and make my own animations. Come visit and read my poetry at Capricious Poet.

I have been blogging since around 2008 that’s a long time! I have more blogs than I have time for but I don’t write as much on the older ones. The writer resides deep within my soul and my muse never takes a break only when life interferes.

Deep Sadness

bekkiesbooboy

My beloved cat and 8-year companion Boo had to be put to sleep on May 6th. He was hit with Lymphoma and a bad liver, a double whammy that took him down very fast. It broke my heart in many places and my apartment is so empty without him. He was a very good boy, a lover and a clown that made me laugh and filled my life with smiles.

Birthday Girl

20160511_210634 (1)

May 11th was my 62nd birthday and I spent that week with my best friends in Oakland, CA. Here I am at Spenger’s Fresh Fish Grotto in Berkely where we went to eat that day. (My Jawbone UP3 is on my wrist quietly monitoring.)

20160511_210043.jpg

These 2 are my most favorite people in the world. I had a really good time that week going to 2 movies and taking long walks with Marguerite (on the left) and the dogs. Staying at their house in the Oakland Hills is a real pleasure and break from my small apartment and helped lighten my load. It has been years since I had such a wonderful birthday!

As a side note, CA (on the right) belongs to the famous Oakland Yellow Jackets a biking group that rides all over the Bay Area. Check them out, anyone can join them for rides of all types from beginners to expert.

20160510_063050.jpg

This is the view I had waking up each morning from the Hinton’s living room. The fog would go away by 10 am leaving beautiful and sunny weather all week.

Back Home And Biking

20160521_130822.jpg

It had to happen, all good times must come to an end. Lol! Just look at this view from my ride yesterday! I saw the most beautiful clouds ever on one side of the trail.

20160521_130830.jpg

Only to turn around and see this on the other side. It never did rain and despite the heavy winds we’ve been having I managed to ride 19 miles of blue sky and cloud bliss.

Things are pretty much back to normal and I have a lot more to say about biking and health. What it’s done for me has been amazing and I have a real need to pass it on to you. I’ve not only lost more weight being closer to my goal set last September but I am so much stronger. I joke with people that I just can’t seem to get depressed or run out of energy. The old me would have still been sitting on my ass all day crying and feeling sorry for myself. Different as night and day.

20160521_133716

Check back for more and if you have a blog about biking I’d love to hear about it and visit. Just leave me a link in comments telling me about it.

My bike is my antidepressant, take one with plenty of water and fresh air.

Earth Day

As bike riders, we have seen pollution first hand, up close and personal. If you ride in the city it’s in the gutters of the bike lanes, in the parks (despite the many garbage cans) you see bottles and trash all over the ground. I always ask myself, “What’s wrong with people?” But there is no answer.

Riding in the country is no picnic either. Dumping is done anywhere and everywhere. There can’t be trash cans placed all over the earth and it’s really not that hard to carry your trash back home. Then why can’t people do it?

There are recycling centers and places to dump any kind of garbage you can produce and yet people just don’t have the time or inclination to do it. I’ve seen every type of person out there chuck garbage. Parents littering with their children are teaching another generation not to respect our planet. I hate to say this but people are just that selfish.

We are creatures that want fulfillment instantly. If we don’t feel it’s going to benefit us immediately we’re probably not going to do it. We are a short-sighted race with limited intelligence for all of our so-called smarts. I notice many people can look at a nature area covered in litter and not even see it. That kind of thing chills me to the bone.

To me, there’s nothing worse then riding the beautiful Bay Trail and seeing the trash and dumping that’s still going on. There are trash cans all along the trail and sometimes there’s trash on the ground right by the can taking laziness to new heights.

DSCN4629

Looking towards San Francisco during low tide you can pick out all kinds of trash in the mud including a whole bicycle that’s been out there since I’ve been riding. Tires are numerous and I’ve seen shopping carts. I’m not surprised by anything anymore.

I try not to include the trash in my daily photos of the Bay Area but the birds pick at cigarette butts, the fish are swimming in god knows what and it makes me sick. One part of the trail has a large tidal pond where I take pictures of white herons, ducks and other large waterbirds feeding when the tide is low and there are tied bags of trash floating amongst them. San Mateo residents should be ashamed.

There’s not much that can be done about controlling other people’s littering. Shaming doesn’t work and education is falling short of making a difference. I’m usually a positive person seeking answers but each year when Earth Day comes around I find myself a little sadder. Talking about it once a year is not enough when it’s a daily problem.

tumblr_mwn6r5kjX21ru5h8co1_500.gif

Make A Difference-Don’t Add To The Problem

We can make a difference by making sure we don’t add to the problem. I will even pick up other people’s trash if I find a plastic bottle or yogurt container at my favorite bench and have a place to carry it. There’s always a trash can ahead or at home. In our own lives, we must be proactive and pick up our messes. By doing so we are helping the planet by being responsible and it adds up.

When we control our own trash it never turns into a problem for someone else to handle. We can be proud that we are doing the right thing keeping the earth clean and our trash away from wildlife. They don’t know any better but we do!

If You Have To Smoke-Take Your Butts With You

Both of my parents smoked around me growing up, I was lucky enough to be turned off by it and never start. I know people who religiously pick up their litter but never think about what they do with their spent cigarettes. They don’t disintegrate or go away and the filters last forever. I see them everywhere on the bike trails it’s a disgusting habit. Hurt your own health but don’t ruin my view!  Please don’t empty ashtrays on the ground near your vehicle either take it back home.

earth

I’m a poet and can’t let Earth Day go by without writing about it. Hope you like it.

Earth-Day-Dana-Gray

Believe

Believe in a better tomorrow
believe that the air is pristine
believe that there’s nothing endangered
the future remains to be seen.

Believe in a world that is caring
believe that the oceans are clean
believe companies are recycling
the future remains to be seen.

Believe in a healthier planet
believe if together we lean
believe we can all do what’s needed
the future deserves to be green.

© Rebecca Sanchez 2016

Artwork: Earth Day by Dana Gray

e16e74a63567ecb44ade5c87002bb1d9

Have a great Earth Day! When you ride your bike pick up your litter!

Earth Day is every day-your actions make the difference!

I’m A Jawbone Ambassador

I have worn a Jawbone UP3 health band since Oct. 11th, 2015, (see my wrist) and lost (as of now) 40 pounds. They had a contest to tell your story about how owning a Jawbone band has improved your health and I entered. I was thrilled at the beginning of the year when Shannon Sweetser called and told me I was picked!

Jawbone’s main office is in San Francisco so most of us picked already live in the Bay Area. We were invited to come in for a photoshoot, get videotaped, lunch, a tour and more. I was so nervous!

This was before I started biking I lost the first 30 pounds by logging my food every day, staying on 1,200 calories and counting my steps. I am disabled so walking was my “go to” exercise. I needed a stronger heart, I was a fat ass that had insomnia, depression and was always feeling sorry for myself. It had to stop!

I wasn’t always like this before my knees were bad I jogged and did a lot of sports including outdoor roller skating. I was living in Madison, Wisconsin when outdoor skating (showing my age) became popular. Before these new skates for outdoors it was rink skating indoors and there were no inline skates invented yet. I remember as a kid I had “steelies” those metal skates with metal wheels that you clamped on your feet with a skate key. Not the same experience at all!

145722076498333

imageedit_243_9976147014

My now X husband bought us the skates on my birthday and because there weren’t many people out using them yet the newspapers got interested in us one day when we were skating through the zoo. It was pretty cool.

Of course around 1990 I had to give up skating and my options for exercise were few by 2015. I decided a health overhaul was the answer so I bought my UP3 to help me track. I picked the UP3 because it does heart rate, monitors sleep, steps, exercise, weight, food and more. The smart coach crunches numbers and gives me an overview of how I’m doing along with suggestions/articles that were a big help. When I turned in my application to be a Jawbone Ambassador and told them my story they liked it enough to use me.

When I got to Jawbone’s office in San Francisco they directed us (I brought along a friend) upstairs where a makeup artist/hair stylist was waiting for me. We had a whole floor for this day. It was so awesome the woman was very reassuring and made me look amazing!

Next, I was taken to wardrobe where they picked 2 outfits for me to wear adding a UP3 band. I was ready for my interview and photoshoot. At the interview, Shannon asked me a series of questions about how I use my UP3 and I felt stupid answering them. Let me say here that I never did anything like this before and had stage fright. The guys doing the videotaping were very sweet and made me feel at home telling me not to worry they can make me look great in the final take.

It was time for lunch so I sat down with some Jawbone employees and we talked. Everyone at Jawbone I had contact with was supportive and I had a good time with them. We talked about social networking and all kinds of things. We watched another ambassador having her photoshoot (we could see the output on a screen) it was good to see what to expect. Soon it was my turn.

It was intimidating but the photographer was very good at her job telling me how beautiful I looked, talking me up and even playing music that I picked out. Once I relaxed it was fun. I could see my photos on a screen and some of the faces I made were really bad. I was embarrassed but the crew made me feel like a million bucks and it started to show. I looked like a movie star! They took a lot of photos.

They gave my friend and I brand new UP bands of our choice and the day was over. I was told the promotion would last a month and it would come out in March. Shannon Sweetser, heading up the promotion said that there would be a main story and maybe soundbites and quotes later on the Jawbone site and social networks. It was an amazing, positive experience and I’m so glad I was one of the people they choose to use.

Shannon emailed me in March telling me my story would come out in April and that it was such a good experience for Jawbone that the promotion was extended for more time, maybe permanently. I’m going to include my story here but if you want to read it and the other Jawbone Ambassador’s stories on the site here’s the link: #GetUPTogether.

Here’s my story:

REBECCA FINDS HER STRIDE WITH UP3™

Rebecca Sanchez

UP3 Silver Cross

I’m disabled, and it’s very important for me to stay active. I don’t have much of a medical support system—that’s why the UP means so much to me. The UP is my doctor.

“I don’t think I could have lost 30 lbs this quickly, and I am still losing weight,” says 61-year-old Rebecca Sanchez, a writer and UP3™ wearer since October of 2015. She finishes her thought with a smile, “As a matter of fact, I just lost about 3 more pounds recently. I couldn’t have done it without the UP. It just gives me the information I need.”

Living with a bone and joint disability commonly referred to as windswept knees, Rebecca was crestfallen to give up her favorite outdoor activity: rollerskating. Fortunately, she’s found a new way to fill the void and stay healthy. She’s been using UP® to track her steps. “Because of my disability, I walk a lot,” she says with emphasis. “That’s my best work out. Every day I get up and go out somewhere really pretty to walk and just be at one with nature, I love nature.”

With her positive outlook, Rebecca has lost 30 lbs, and doesn’t plan on stopping there. “Now that I have lost 30 lbs, what a difference. I can move better, I have more energy, I feel better—there’s not one negative thing about it,” she says laughing, “The fact that I haven’t gained anything back and I am still losing—it keeps me hopeful for the future.”

As a writer and avid reader, Rebecca was immediately drawn to the data-inspired health tips Smart Coach gave her in the UP® App. “I had such bad problems with sleep and insomnia,” she explains. “But, by going to bed at the same time every night, and doing things that I learned from reading all the great links [in the UP App], my sleep has improved so much. I get enough deep sleep that repairs the body, and I get enough REM sleep that repairs the mind. I just can’t believe it—UP tells me how much time it takes to fall asleep now, and it takes no time whatsoever. I’m out like a light.”

It’s all a journey, and Rebecca acknowledges the ups and downs, “Failures are hard to bounce back from,” but her positivity always triumphs, “I say, ‘Well, I failed on this day, but tomorrow I don’t have to fail. Tomorrow I can correct it.’”

Want to become a Jawbone Ambassador? You can share your own story just follow the link for mine and you’ll see the offer on the same page along with all kinds of info about the different UP bands, what they do and the Jawbone company in general.

I hate talking about my age but now I’m rather proud of looking and feeling so good at 61. I tell my friends 60 is the new 50, maybe even a little younger. Good health is the key. I answered a group of questions that tell you your real age and mine was 59.7.  I’ll be 62 May 11th, so I’ll take all the help I can get.

My biking has done nothing but put icing on the health cake and besides being totally enjoyable, aerobically it’s a really good way to lose weight and tone the whole body. Even my waistline has shrunk it’s not true that it only helps the legs but you will get stunning legs in the deal.

No matter what tools you use to help you in your quest for better health and fitness you must want it bad enough for it to work. Wearing a health band is not magical, you have to put in the effort, log in results daily, and do the exercise! No excuses, you will fuck up but when you do, you start again and do it right the next time. It will add up to sweet success.

Enough rights will overcome any wrong.

Dealing With Sickness

The trail ahead finally came to an end as the sign clearly said, “No Bikes” causing me to turn around and head home.

Little did I know that when I biked this new trail on March 29th going 23 miles round trip, that the very next day I would become deathly ill with the creeping crud that’s going around. My roommate was already complaining about coming down with it from his work-mates, but since he wasn’t staying home from work or acting very sick I just ignored his warnings. I’d had my flu shot like I get every year and I never get sick! Famous last words.

I woke up the next day with a small cough. I keep a glass of water by the bed because I get a dry mouth at night so that’s what I was thinking that morning as I gulped some water. I felt fine and was proud of my 23-mile ride, even bragging about it to my best friend.

I bike every other day come rain or shine and today was an off day so I planned to get some steps in between my writing and bragging. As the day went on I felt bad and it overcame me so fast that by nightfall I had a fever of 101.5, a headache that wouldn’t go away and was coughing so hard I thought my head would explode. I actually saw lights inside my head and immediately all my new-found energy was gone. For the first time in years, I was sick and all I could do was crawl into bed.

I felt betrayed by my body, after all, everything I’d read told me that people who sleep right, eat right and exercise don’t get sick as often as the average person. In fact, I read that a healthy person only gets sick half as much as the rest of the population. I was angry that I couldn’t get on my bike and felt that all of my hard work of the last 6 months was being lost. I was angry and felt depressed for the first time in ages.

a173697d886a13f80ba533111d340414

After a few days of this negative thinking while laying in bed it came to me. I had become part of the problem. There was nothing I could do about getting sick, I had done everything right and still caught the bug. All I was doing with my bad attitude was making things worse for myself. I stopped my complaining and refocused on taking care of myself.

Some-Quotes-poetry-18250364-2304-1728

Just as I’d learned how to be healthy again after decades of bad habits I relearned the importance of  patience and acceptance. Once I did, my week of sick time passed, my fever broke and I felt ready to get back on my bike.

Screen-Shot-2014-06-02-at-11.08.44-AM1

On Tuesday, April 5th, I got dressed to go biking for the first time since being sick. It was a sunny, windy day nothing unusual for the Bay Area in the springtime. I was weak but feeling happy.

The first thing I noticed was the wind gusts hurting my ears which never happened before. I pulled over and used my ear buds without plugging them in which happened to work. I was puzzled since I had no ear aches and on the way home I was able to remove them with no further problems.

After the first half of my ride, I noticed a lack in stamina and my back was hurting. My endorphins never kicked in and I wasn’t enjoying my ride. I still had plenty of strength for hills but wasn’t feeling it. I had to bike against the wind gusts on the way home and as soon as I got in the door I peeled my clothes off and fell back into bed.

bicyclequoteinspiration

After sleeping a few hours I got up had something to eat and started hydrating myself. I’m not young anymore and had a private laugh at how silly I was expecting to just fall back into my biking routine after being so sick. Instead of getting upset this time, I made sure my choices the next day were well balanced towards good health hoping to have a better outcome.

On Thursday, it was a gorgeous day with high temps, low wind gusts and sun. I did my normal route this time, it was much better and more enjoyable. I finally felt that it was all coming together again.

DSCN4714

Yesterday it was lightly raining when I went out and the weather report said rain so I expected it but by the time I got to the San Mateo Bridge it was pouring and I was soaked. I usually go under and past this bridge but I had 4 and 1/2 miles to ride to get home so I headed back rather than take a chance on catching cold. There were no wind gusts so I made good time.

DSCN4718

Before I got back home I stopped to photograph 2 jackrabbits that were chasing each other in the rain oblivious to me. This is the best picture I got of them and all you can see are the ears sticking up on one and the head on another. Bad weather brings the animals out they feel safe because people aren’t out in the rain. I see more animals during bad weather it doesn’t keep me from biking.

0872d57a73114a6d612c2a5b6bc7c33c

When I got sick last week I felt that my body betrayed me, that all of my hard work biking was lost and that I’d have to start over again. Then I rediscovered what I already learned, that balance is the key to good health, mental and physical, and the weakness was in my mind not my body.

With the right balance of sleep, healthy food, exercise, and water, with a little fun thrown in, you won’t have time for depression or unhappiness. We all get sick but the better you treat your body the more resources it will have to protect you and your mind in times of stress.

Treat your body well and your mind will follow.