Trek Women
October 31, 2008

Am I the loser…

Biggest loser tv My friends and I have been debating the reality of the “The Biggest Loser” on NBC. Not that the people aren’t real or that they aren’t really losing weight. Rather, the reality of a game show where the carrot for weight loss is mega money.

Believe me when I say, you don’t get to weighing 300 lbs by accident or overnight. So when I see contestants dropping 60+ lbs in 6 weeks and utter disappointment when the scale reads only 2 and they consider it a bad week, I want to scream. The message I’m hearing is that if you don’t drop big numbers then you’re a loser (and not in a good way).

Reality shows are all about the drama and in this case, finding out who’s going to make “Biggest Loser History” as the one who’s dropped the most weight in an extremely short amount of time. But is it healthy in the long run for the contestants or for viewers to absorb such an unrealistic expectation of what real-world weight loss should be? Weight really isn’t the problem, it’s all the emotional triggers underneath that I think causes the most damage and that can’t be magically fixed in the length of a TV season. I’m still working on it.

Scream at me all you want – it’s TVeeeee, it's a gaaaaame – but, it’s not. These are people’s lives and their health. One could argue that the contestants are better off now than when they started. They were supervised by a medical staff, nutritionist and the trainers during the filming.

However, I say it’s not realistic in the real world for real people to spend 6 hours a day working out. And, I say the exercises are not always realistic or safe for the contestants at their heavier weights. Will a 300+ woman drop a ton of weight quickly by running? Yeah, I know that. I’m a certified trainer too. But what about the damage to her knees for the rest of her life because of that? What about the guy who nearly had a heart attack because his trainer pushed him too far?

I guess some former contestants were on Oprah yesterday. Let me know if you saw it and what happened. What do you think?

Maybe I’m the sore loser??? I just don’t like to see people get hurt. Healthy weight loss is not a game.

October 28, 2008

She went the distance...

800px-MarineCorpsMarathon2006 Oorah* to my sis, Jen, who ran the Marine Corps Marathon on Sunday!!! She’s the first person I know who’s ever been crazy determined enough to subject themselves to the horrors challenge of running 26.2 miles

She and her running partner, Joanna, did GREAT and finished smiling and strong. Jen reports that the only bad part was waiting in line for the port-a-potties (up to 20 minutes once) during the race. I guess when you’re out for a jog with 30,000 other people, it takes a while.


I followed her journey by bike, stationing myself about every six miles to see if they needed more Gatorade, GU, toilet paper and that kind of thing.  Jen’s boyfriend and Joanna’s family and friends popped up throughout the course as well, and, like me, were bundled with supplies, homemade signs and shouts of encouragement. We joked afterwards that whenever we saw the runner in the Kermit the Frog outfit, the girls wouldn’t be too far behind.


At mile 26, I lined up along the road to root for them on the home stretch. Next to me were two, cute little girls waiting for their Mom to pass by. They came up with the best cheer ever – whenever they saw someone looking like they were struggling to make it the end, they would yell in unison, “Keep going, you’re a marathoner!” It brought tears to my eyes to see the runners gird themselves up to make that last push to the finish.


I’ve said this before, but, I’ll say it again – I’m always amazed by the people who participate in events, endurance or otherwise… people of all shapes, sizes and ages. It makes you think, if they can do it, maybe I can??? Hmmmm, thinking about… nope, no desire to torture myself like that.


My sis, Becky, has done the Chicago Big Shoulders 5k Swim twice, I’ve done the Chicago Triathlon twice – Jen, I guess you better start training for next year. Hahaha. I think right now, she’s grateful just to make it up and down the stairs. Way to go, you're a MARATHONER!!!


*Oorah is the Marine’s call/cry of enthusiasm.

October 21, 2008

Get outdoors, it's yours...

Logoget_outdoors_yours When’s the last time you encouraged somebody to get outdoors? That was the question posed by the Secretary of the Interior, Dirk Kempthorne, at a press conference I participated in last week along with Secretary of Agriculture Ed Schafer, and Department of Interior Assistant Secretary for Fish Wildlife and Parks, Lyle Laverty. I was to sign a pledge of cooperation (for the association where I work) to announce the new “Get Outdoors, It’s Yours!” campaign to reconnect children with nature.

“There is a crisis in America in which our kids are increasingly disconnected from nature,” said Secretary Kempthorne. “We must get children off the couch and outdoors. We must get them to turn off the computers and televisions and turn on to the power of wild places and wild creatures to lift them up – to rejuvenate body, soul and spirit.”

I think about my childhood and it was spent outside with my sisters and the other neighborhood kids -- riding bikes around the block, playing Ghost in the Graveyard, pretending we were Little House on the Prairie, and going to Girl Scout camp. No one told us to go outside; it was more like we had to be told (repeatedly) to come inside at the end of the day.

That’s sad to think about, that kids are plugged in or scheduled for structured activity and schools are getting rid of recess because there is no time left after no child left behind test preparation. One stat I came across is that there is a 30% decrease in bike riding among youth today. Here’s another, in a typical week only 6% of children ages 9 to 13 play outside on their own. Kids are losing their natural curiosity.

There’s a wonderful book by Richard Louv called
Last Child in the Woods: Saving our Children from Nature Deficit Disorder. In it, he directly links the lack of nature in the lives of today’s wired generation—he calls it nature-deficit—to some of the most disturbing childhood trends, such as the rises in obesity, attention disorders and depression. At times, it’s pretty frightening to read how lifestyle changes are impacting youth. Says one 4th grader in the book, “I like to play indoors better ‘cause that’s where all the electrical outlets are.” But, there’s also hope, because all you need to do is open the front door and step outside.

So, get outdoors and take someone with you – it’s yours.

Go to, for lists of places for all sorts of outdoor activities from biking to wildlife viewing. For more about nature deficit disorder, visit the Children and Nature Network at

October 17, 2008


Trek_rider2_023 As I was getting dressed at 0-dark-thirty this morning to teach my Friday morning spin class at the Marine Barracks, I started thinking about spin-wear -– primarily because I’m a little behind on my laundry and the pickings were thin.

Me, myself –- I usually wear cycling shorts, cycling socks since I have a ton of ‘em, a regular, old cotton t-shirt, and cycling shoes with SPD clips. My spinners typically wear their Marine-issue green shorty-shorts and a tee or work-out gear (except for Zoe, one of my regulars, who trains for triathlons and wears cycling shorts and shoes too).

At the gym, when I take other instructors’ classes, I see the gambit from baggy sweats (cook in your own juices why don't you) to full-on cycling gear, jersey too. I’m not sure I get that. Shorts -– yes, since the material doesn’t flap around and the padding is a bonus as well as the shoes, which are practical. But jersey, hmmm. You don’t really need the back pockets, so is it a statement? I can take this outside. Or, fashion? I’m cool if that’s the case. Heck, my bike helmet matches my messenger bag.

What do you think? What do you wear spinning?

October 15, 2008

The hostess with the mostess...

Trek_bc_aware_rideJen Polo really knows how to throw a party! She hosted an incredible Trek WSD Ride for Breast Cancer Awareness on Saturday at Bucks County Bicycles -- too bad I missed the actual ride part. :)

It's roughly a 3-hour drive from DC to Levittown, PA (north of Philly) that took me about 4 hours to complete between construction traffic, and then I nearly ran out of gas so I had to find a station, then I realized on the NJ Turnpike that I didn't have enough cash to pay the toll so I had to pull in to a rest stop and find an ATM. That's when I called Jen and told her I was going to be late and not to wait for me.

It was so frustrating, but what can you do (besides the obvious of 'be prepared the day before dummy'). Honestly, if it had been anyone but Jen, I probably would have turned around. But, it was the first big event she's planned for the store and I wanted to help celebrate as well as show my support for the cause.

Anyway, I arrived there and everyone was already out riding - Jen lead the 10-miler. I got the cue sheet and thought with luck I might be able to catch up with the group. Jen planned a really pretty route on a paved pathway around a lake. There were folks out in a rowboat fishing and folks strolling and enjoying the fresh, fall day.

I came upon a young family with 3-year-old on a tricyle and immediately thought of my nephew Paddy and how cute he looks in his wee bike helmet. I slowed and gave an early head's up that I was going to pass and they all moved over until the tyke on the trike made a sharp left and veered in to me, hitting me on the leg. Oh lordy, I thought I was going down onto the rocky'ish lakeshore and it was going to be a broken-arm type of hurt. I gasped, the parents gasped and somehow I managed to not fall over. Phew. I kept on riding and while crossing a busy intersection, I dropped the directions. I figured that was my sign to backtrack to the store and call it a day.

Trek_copilot_2 Jen was there and we hung out for a couple of hours, catching up on our goings-on that you can't do over email. She had a delish lunch waiting for the riders to enjoy and then all too soon, she had to head out to catch Cam's soccer tournament and I back to the Hill with the top down and my Trek in the passenger seat.

P.S. One thing we forgot to do is take pictures, hence the recycled ones from last year.

P.P.S. Amy from Team Survivor Tri-State, even though you won't post comments despite the fact I think they would be hilarious, it was a pleasure meeting you.

October 10, 2008

Happy riding tomorrow...

Just a quick note to everyone out there joining one of the Trek WSD Breast Cancer Awareness Rides -- here's wishing you sunshine, no flats, good company and an awesome ride!!

Jen Polo, I'll see you bright and early!

As always, if you send me photos from your event, I'll post 'em.


October 9, 2008

Foam fabulousness...

Foamhenge1 On our trip this weekend, I saw quite a few things. There was the natural stuff like critters, fall foliage and a place called Natural Bridge (a stone archway taller than Niagara Falls). And then, there was the decidedly unnatural -- Foamhenge!!!

Why go to England when you can see Stonehenge replicated in foam -- fab-u-lous! Only in America.


October 8, 2008

Recycling fabulousness...

Campfire_girls_3 To my mind, there are 3 kinds of campers. On one end of the camping spectrum are the (1) movable mansion dwellers --starting with the luxury RV bus that is typically seen towing an SUV behind it to the more modest pop-up -- all sharing the distinction that the camper sleeps several feet off the ground. On the other end of the specturm are the (3) minimalists/survivalists with the jones to trek around the woods with a compass, change of underpants and some freeze-dried chili packets.

The guys and I fall in the (2) category, I'll call the cozy campers. We sleep in tents on the ground but on air mattresses and we bring hummus, tapenade and various cheeses to nosh on while sipping cabernet sauvignon by the fire. Oh, and we can go a few days without showers if need be.

This past weekend, we took our cozy campsite to a whole 'nother level thanks to Bill who just finished remodeling his dining room. He replaced his dining room light, so he brought his old chandelier with, replacing the bulbs with candles which he hung over our picnic table via a tree limb.  Recycling Fab-u-lous!!! People were stopping by our campsite all night long to check it out. Unfortunately on Day 2, the limb cracked and the chandelier fell, breaking one of the glass panels. But, it's fixable and the candle-lier is definitely going to become a regular fixture on our outdoor outings.

Other than that, the trip was fun though CHILLY! The temperatures plunged at night; but the days were sunny and crisp and the leaves were just beginning to turn. No bear sightings just deer and some wild turkeys.

October 3, 2008

So long summer...

SquirrelyEvery morning before I hit the shower, I like to sit on our back stoop, drink a cup of coffee, write my to-do list for the day and work on ideas for the blog -- just me and the squirrels. Lately, it's gotten downright chilly out there (and the squirrels are getting fiesty). Then, yesterday I got an email from the Trek Online Store about "Cool Weather Cycling Clothes." Where did summer go? Was it me or did this one fly by all too fast.

So, to say goodbye summer/hello fall, the guys and I are heading out to Shenandoah for our last camping trip of the season. (Plus, the Hill is a little squirrely itself right now.) Anyway, this trip, we plan on driving south and camping along the way. I'll peel off on Tuesday to head back to DC for a meeting on climate change, but the guys are continuing on to Asheville, North Carolina. I hope the bears aren't fiesty too.

On a side note, I want to wish Rhonda, one of our dear Trek WWR friends, good luck tomorrow in the Bike MS: Valero to the Beach Ride from San Antonio to Corpus Christi. A year ago, she was in the hospital and had to get a pacemaker. But she keeps on pedaling and is such an inspiration. (She also owns a very sweet Madone.) So, if you see her team, the P2 Pacemakers, out there, give her a yell from me.   

October 1, 2008

I'm riding to raise awareness, will you...

Bcancer_logoI hate cancer. I hate that it has touched so many people that I care about. I hate that research has come so far, yet not far enough to save everyone and save the survivors from the side effects of treatment.

I hate feeling like a bystander in the fight for a cure, so I'm going to help by riding in the Annual Trek WSD Breast Cancer Awareness Ride on October 11th.  I hope you'll join me and thousands of others across the U.S. and Canada at a family-friendly, 10- or 25-mile casual Awareness Ride near you -- more than 100 Trek dealers are planning events, all starting at 10 am. Last year, I rode with my fellow Trek Chick, Jen, and it was so heartening to be a part of it and join her and other cancer warriors.

Let's unite together and show our support!

Find a ride location

Register to ride

All registration fees are donated directly to The Breast Cancer Research Foundation to help raise public awareness and fund breast cancer research in an effort to achieve prevention and a cure for breast cancer in our lifetime. Riders will receive a gift bag from Trek WSD and the participating Trek dealer at the event.