Thursday, June 14, 2012

Adventure on another Ozark Greeways Trail

Photo: This morning we checked out another trail.

South Creek Greenway  - National Recreation Trail

      My husband looked on Craig's list Sunday, and found a bike carrier for our car. Because he was going to be going back to work soon, he decided to put the carrier to the test that we would check out another trail. He decided the place to go was South Creek Greenway which runs east-west through the center of Springfield. We loaded the bikes on the rack and left the house at about eight o' clock Monday morning. After we left the house we checked the weather. We saw a major storm system north of here, but we figured that we might hit the edge of it, and the rain would pass us by.

We started at McDaniel Park Trailhead at National & Sunset. Jeff and Boni got on their bikes, but I knew I would not be able to ride bike just yet. I did want to get some exercise though, so I decided to hit the trail walking.
      When we were on the Galloway Trail Saturday, I left my phone in the car rather than taking it with me on the bike. I wished I had taken it Saturday so Monday, learning from Saturday's mistake, I took my phone with me. We decided that since I was walking, they would call me when they turned around. That way, I figured, we would arrive back at the house at about the same time.However, that's not what happened.
      They took off on their bikes, and I took off walking in the same direction. I saw the sky grow dark to the northeast. It started to rain, but I decided that I didn't want to stop until I reached the mile marker so that I could return and have walked 2 miles. It started to pour, but still I pressed on. I was soaked to the skin. I would later learn that winds were up to 68 mile an hour winds and 8000 electricity customers were without power. The wind blew off a North Springfield church. I turned around at the mile mark. I heard thunder above my head. Rain pelted my head, the wind blew. I arrived back at the car soaked to the skin. I was so wet that I had a hard time getting the phone to work. I made a note to self to keep several towels in the car for that kind of emergency. I talked to Jeff. He told me that he and Boni were safe in a tunnel under S. Campbell Avenue. I put the car into gear and went to get them. I got turned around and it took me longer than it should have to get there. We loaded up the bikes on the car.  when we all were in the car Jeff showed me this picture of these ducks who lived in the tunnel where he and Boni found shelter from the storm. We were cold and wet but fortunately safe. We arrived home. Someday return to this trail and try it again. For now, we are simply glad that we were not harmed.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Our New Family Hobby

  Friday evening my husband bought himself and me a bicycle. He had been wanting to get a bike for a long time. When he was a kid he used to ride his bicycle all over town (This specific town where we now live, Springfield, Missouri.) He had bought a bike for our daughter earlier this spring and she loves to ride bike as well. Because my husband and daughter love bike riding, I decided I would also get into bike riding. The problem is, I haven't been bike riding in 30 years!

       Yesterday we went to the Galloway Creek Greenway trails which runs north-south in southeast Springfield, from Pershing Middle School to Nature Center and Old Iron Bridge.It's a six mile trail but only just over 3 miles of it are available to bikes. This section of the trail runs from the Pershing School through Sequiota Park and beyond about a mile. This trail gave us the ability to bike a short distance without having to deal with too much car traffic. We decided this was an excellent trail for us to cut our biking experience baby teeth on.
      Our first major obstacle in our bike riding experience was that we had to figure out a way to get our bicycles from home to the park. We couldn't fit all three bikes into the trunk of the car. Fortunately we don't live far from this park so Jeff, my husband, decided he would ride his bike to the park and meet our daughter and I at the school.
      After I made a stop at the library to drop off some tapes and then again for water for our adventure, we arrived at the school and started on our journey. I have to admit that I was actually afraid of riding my bike. I was new to the bike and I wasn't used to the speed that a bike can have. Plus anytime I came near another rider or a pedestrian I was afraid I would lose control and run into them.

     At the same time I could feel the muscles in the front of my thighs burning. I didn't realize those muscles were that far out of shape. Between my burning muscles and my fear of speed or fear of losing control, I ended up doing a lot of walking in certain places. I couldn't build up enough speed to go up hills so I had to walk. At road crossings I had to walk. I walked through the tunnel the first time through. We went beyond the park and just past the three mile mark where the bike trail ended. (In October, a tunnel under the major highway there will be opened so that the trail bike trail will go even further. I hope that by that time we will be able extend our trip down that trail.)
     I told Jeff and Boni to go on ahead of me. I didn't want them to have to wait for this slowpoke. I rode at my leisurely pace and then went on ahead together. They would stop sometimes to make sure that I was okay. We stopped at Sequiota Park for a while to enjoy the caves.
     Sequiota Park is extremely unique in that is one of the few places where you can find public caves on the premises. At Sequiota Park there are three different caves. Two are smaller and there is one larger one were you can see into the cave to see the cave formations. Because of fear of visitors transmitting diseases to the bats, at present visitors can no longer go into the caves without protective gear.  This thirteen acre paradise is open year round, in addition to the caves the park also features a duck pond, grills, picnic tables, restrooms, play areas, and of course acres of natural undisturbed land.
      We appreciated the coolness of the air emitted from the mouth of the caves as we sat took in the beauty of the scenery around us.  After about an hour at the park, we continued our biking adventure back toward the car.
Photo: Donna's grabbing a quick nap while Boni looks for crawdads...
      Again I allowed Jeff and Boni to go on ahead. This time they didn't stop to check up on me but continued down the trail leaving me to my own leisurely pace. I was feeling more confident and was actually enjoying the ride except for the fact that my bottom was getting sore from the bicycle seat.
      At about 9/10ths of a mile from the car my legs suddenly refused to move. I tried to put my foot down to catch my weight, but I had no strength left in my legs. I fell there in the middle of the bicycle path. I couldn't get my legs to support my weight at all. I had totally used up all the energy reserves in my legs.
       A jogger came by and helped me. He picked up the bike and I finally was able to get back on my feet. I decided to walk that last 9/10ths of a mile. I arrived back at the car and we went home to nurse our sore muscles.
      Despite my mishap, I intend to continue bike riding. Not only is the riding a good activity to promote family togetherness, it also is great exercise for the whole family. Here in Springfield, there are a lot of trails for us to enjoy together as well. I can see this activity becoming an integral part of my simply living experience.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

No Gimmicks Weight Loss

     Today I weighed in and found that I have lost a total of twenty pounds since I began my most recent weight loss experience. Today I also saw where a friend of mine had a video on Facebook about a weight loss product she is trying to sell. No offense intended for my friend, but I won't be buying her product. I would much rather continue doing what I am doing.
      First of all, I'm cheap. I don't like spending money on gimmicks. I don't buy weight loss products because I don't want to spend my hard earned money on things that I have to buy over and over again. The minute I stop buying the product, the weight comes back on. I'd rather spend my money on foods I know I should be eating anyway,  healthy foods that God created, healthy foods that once I get used to eating them, are filling and satisfying.
         I do not believe the idea that healthy foods are more expensive than unhealthy foods either. Contrary to what the media tells us, I find healthy foods more filling and keep me satisfied longer than unhealthy foods. I don't spend any more money now, buying healthy foods than I did buying junk food. Actually, I am spending less. (More on this subject on a later post) Because I'm cheap, I spend what money I spend on real foods, not gimmicks.
       Second, no matter what the hype, I don't believe that weight gimmicks really work. Most of the time I think we psych ourselves into thinking that they do work when they really don't. I have discovered a few things through my own weight loss experience are true.
      1) I learned that drinking water is important. Water provides me hydration. Water doesn't contain calories or caffeine. It is my body's most important nutrient. For a healthy human being like me, drinking eight glasses of water every day is insurance that I am getting enough water. I make sure that I stop drinking it when I eat my evening meal. I don't want the water interfering with my sleep.
     2) I know how many calories my body needs to maintain my ideal weight. If I eat that number of calories every day and no more, my weight will be at my ideal weight. If I create healthy habits that sustain that weight, I can begin today to live as though I have already reached that goal weight. I practice today what it takes to maintain my ideal weight and I will eventually reach that ideal weight. No guilt, no stress is ever needed. I know I am doing today what I need to reach that ideal weight.
     3) I need to take in at least 25 grams of fiber every day. This fact is important not only because fiber helps me feel full, but it also is necessary to help keep my digestive tract cleaned out. I know that I need both kinds of fiber in my diet as well. I need soluble and unsoluble fiber. If my digestive tract is not kept cleaned out by eating plenty of fiber, I will put on unhealthy weight because I am storing toxins in my colon.
     4) I need to be sure that I am eating enough protein every day to insure that I am getting enough protein to maintain muscles. If I don't eat enough protein, my body cannot maintain it and I will lose muscle mass. My body will start feeding on itself. Muscle will be converted into energy and my BMI will increase. (higher fat percentage). To find out how many grams of protein I should be eating every day, I divide my weight in pounds by two. The number I come up with is the number of grams of protein I need to eat every day in order to maintain my body's muscle mass.
    5) I use the LoseIt app on my phone and on my lap top as well. By using the LoseIt app I am able to keep track of my caloric intake, my fiber gram intake, and my protein gram intake. The best part about the app is that it is free. And as you know, I am cheap so I am into free.