Monday, November 29, 2010
On with the show. . .
After a really good week a few weeks ago, here I am again in the rut. I've been hanging in the low 270's but can't seem to get out from there. 271 one day, 274 another. Lot's of riding, running even, too. Last week was a watershed week for me for this time of year. Six days of activity, more than 100 miles on the bike, a 5k with the kids and a day in the gym and I'm on a road to going nowhere fast. If the glass were half empty, I suppose I'd be thankful for holding my own through Thanksgiving. I won't be making my November goal, but December is just around the corner.
On Saturday, I showed up for the weekly Knobbies and Slicks ride. When I got there, one of the regulars came up to me and said "Hey, Jerry, I've got some shirts for you." Well, whomever Jerry is, I'll let him know. Turns out Doug (who's real name is Dave) used to be a big guy. At least as big as I am now. Doug was kind enough to pass on his old 2xl and 3xl bike jerseys to me. And, if you know me (which is to love me), you'd know that I was most happy to oblige.
I got to talking to Doug about how he lost his weight . . . down to under 200 now. He did it though Weight Watchers. I've known plenty of folks that have had great success counting points with WW. Might be time to give it a try. Thanks, Doug!
Be back around, soon, y'all!
Tuesday, November 9, 2010
I just saw a note from some buddies in Wisconsin. They're setting up a weight loss contest for tomorrow through March 1. Not sure of the details, but more likely than not, I'll be in. Will keep you posted.
On an entirely different subject. . . I work with a guy that eats everything. He's 50 years old, tall and lanky and just eats. We go to lunch and he eats worse than the fat guy that I was. One day he orders an appetizer of bacon wrapped tenderloins. I ate one tenderloin, without the bacon. He ate 11 bacon wrapped pieces and my piece of bacon. Then he ate a burger and fries. We go to a Mexican place and he finishes with a sopapia desert -- extra caramel sauce, extra whipped cream. Told me today he weighs less than he did in high school. (I do too, but I work at it a helluva lot more than he does.) I accept the fact that our bodies are different, yada, yada, yada, but I don't have to like it!
Thank you all for the positive vibes. It's good to be back in bloggerville.
Monday, November 8, 2010
I woke up on Saturday morning planning to head to Knobbies and Slicks for the group ride. The first thing that I encountered was the weather. Now, before I get too far along, I must remind and disclose to all what I wimp I am when it gets cold outside. Let's make that WIMP! I had set my biking tolerance to about 43 degrees and even that was pushing it. My Maryland biking buddies knew that there was a much better chance seeing me at the spin studio rather than on the roads between November and Mid-March. I digress. . . back to Saturday. As you might have guessed, I'm gonna tell you about the nip in the air. According to the Weather Channel, it was just 36 degrees before 8 am. WHAT? I thought this was Texas! I wasn't ready for THAT cold. I put on every layer I had, including the new thermal bibs and, teeth chattering and all, headed out the door.
It felt great to be out there, temps and all. I hung with a faster group for the first 25 miles or so and truly enjoyed the ride. By the time we got back to the shop, I had 35 miles on the Garmin at a 16.5 average. (Going back over my Garmin history, this was my fastest average EVER!)
The change in eating has definitly had a positive impact on my overall mood. Feeling less lethargic and a bit more energetic.
Looking forward to reinforcement of the week's activities via the scale tomorrow. Until then. . .
Thursday, November 4, 2010
Wednesday, November 3, 2010
I ate well yesterday. No crazy candy consumption. Nothing fried. Lot's of green food and some fruit. It was a good Day 1.
I wonder if there's some kind of four year itch after the big loss. I heard from my buddies Mike in Wisconsin and Dan in New Jersey. We had found each other through our blogs years ago. We're all going through similar weight pains, having bottomed out at around the same weight and we're all struggling in the mid/upper 200's now.
We did it before, we'll do it again. We can and we will.
Thank you for all of your support.
Tuesday, November 2, 2010
This past weekend was the Marine Corps Marathon. As I watched my buddies post their excitement and results, I couldn't help but to feel a sense of loss for not being able to be there in person to cheer them on in person. Other than missing celebrating the Jewish holidays with my family, this was one of the toughest "misses" so far. Congrats to all of my Team In Training friends that finished on Sunday.
It's been a time of reflection, too. Thinking back on my personal accomplishments as they relate to this blog, I can't help but to feel disappointment in myself. Just one year ago, October, 2009, I completed the Seagull Century bike ride and the Marine Corps Marathon. Truly a watershed month from where I had come. Since then, it's been mostly a dearth of activity. A DNF at the Hotter than Hell 100 in August, my longest ride of the year since. As for running . . . well, that's been almost non-existent. Last week I struggled to run/walk 2.15 miles in 30 minutes. How far I have fallen.
The understatement of the year is that I'm struggling with food. Many of the old habits that I haven't seen in four plus years are back. I know what needs to be done and I'm ignoring the little guy in my head that says to do it. I handled Halloween poorly and need a plan. It's not that I don't have plans. I've planned over and over. Sometimes that plans go all the way through lunch. But what the hell is it going to take to get my back to my old (good) eating ways.
Last October, I recall struggling with my weight in the 230's. When we got to Texas this summer, I was struggling with my weight in the 260's. This morning I breached 280. Struggling? Yes.
I can tell you about all of the plans that I've had, but if I don't put them into action, they're worthless. I plan to go to the gym. I plan to go for a run (or run/walk). I plan to ride my bike. I plan to eat better and I start the day right, but then . . . I slide down a slippery slope.
I look at pictures from a couple of years ago and struggle to find my current face in the frame on the wall. No need to remind me that I was once the guy in the volcano picture on my blog at 400+. I feel like this part of my life began sometime after July, 2006.
I'd like to share my goals, but for now, they seem so hollow. 260 by the end of November. 250 by the time we get to Baltimore. 220 by next June -- Zach's Bar Mitzvah.
I know where I want to go. Just need to find the path again to get there.
Friday, September 24, 2010
Friday night, about four weeks ago, I headed up to Wichita Falls for Saturday's Hotter 'n Hell Hundred. It's about a hundred miles from home, almost all of it on one highway. There's nothing better to get the juices flowing than seeing half of the cars on the road with bikes on the back, on the roof, in the truck bed, etc.
First stop was the expo to register. I must say, this was about as efficient a process as there could be. Five minutes, in and out. Walked around the expo for about an hour drooling over all the bike stuff, then off to the hotel.
The hotel was just about 2 miles from the start. I'm pretty sure there wasn't a single non-HHH rider in the place. I brought my bike up to the room, got it ready for the morning and off to bed.
Up early Saturday, well before the alarm, time to get ready. This was a quick process, with all of my gear ready to go. I went down to the lobby, bike in tow, to find a sea of spandex getting ready to ride. The hotel was truly a haven for the riders -- free full breakfast, open at 5 am. Way to go, Holiday Inn at the Falls!
Off to the starting line. Walking outside, it's seems to be a fantastic start to the day with temps in the upper 60's. Actually a chill in the air.
Unlike other organized rides I've done that have a "show and go" start window, the HHH has a 7 am start, just about sunrise. First off are the professionals. Then, the sea of 13,000 cyclists are grouped first by how fast they expect to be for the full century, then in groups for the shorter rides.
It's one thing to be in a mass start for a running event. You just wait until the people in front of you start to walk, then run. On the bike is another. There's that whole clipping into the pedal thing. Doesn't work so well at low speed, especially when you've got four blocks to the start line and carbon fiber and more spandex every inch in between.
After 15 minutes or so, I was off and riding. Once the riders started to break up, I was cruising. There weren't as many pace lines as I had expected. Skipping the first rest stop at mile 10, I pulled into the second after just over an hour -- flying at 19.5 mph. Couldn't help but to think how great the day would be if the pace was anywhere close to that.
A quick stop and back on the bike. By mile 30, my pace had dropped, but just slightly. The course went through the quaint little town of Electra, TX. The population couldn't have been more than a hundred -- all of the out to assist at the rest stop, replete with American flags anywhere that they could put one.
To this point, the course headed west. Now, turning north to just south of the Oklahoma state line, then east. Seems that the great ride so far was turning -- into the wind. As soon as the course turned, it was clear that the pace would suffer. All I could think was how much the next 40 miles into the wind would suck. If only that were to be the worst of my problems.
I felt good, but the ride was now a challenge. There was not much in the way of climbing, but rollers into the wind was not fun, especially without a paceline in sight.
By mile 42, I started to feel some cramping in my thighs. By 45 it was excruciating. I stopped, got off my bike and stretched. By 47, more of the same. Just three miles to the next stop. The next three miles were actually five miles and I know I spent a half hour doing that distance, stopping a couple more times.
As soon as I hit the Margaritaville themed rest stop (sans margaritas), I headed straight for the medical tent. I queued up for the physical therapist who helped to stretch me out. She also offered some pickle juice. Apparently pickle juice helps with cramping. (It is exactly what it sounds like -- YUCK!) Feeling better, but still not 100%, I walked the stop, grabbed some lunch -- grilled sausage, mmmm! -- and considered my options.
Hell's Gate is the point at which, if you don't pass through by 12:30, you don't do 100 miles. The ride diverts to an 80+ mile ride. At 11:15, with plenty of time to get to Hell's Gate, I realized that my day was likely over soon. I could make Hell's Gate in time, but the day was getting hotter and there was no guarantee that I wouldn't be confronted with more cramping.
I got back on my bike and headed for Hell's Gate. It was a slow ride, but I made it with about 20 minutes to spare. At that point, I knew my day was done.
During my earlier long rides of 50+, I had experienced some cramping. I am diligent about my banana a day for potassium, but the cramping keeps coming.
At the Hell's Gate rest stop, at about 12:20, the call went out for the SAG ride back to the finish line. I hopped in the back of the trailer with about 20 other beat cyclists for the 20 mile ride.
At the end of the day, I rode about 63 miles, my longest ride of the year to date. Without the cramping, I know that I would have finished the ride. I don't feel bad about the result, in fact, I feel pretty good about it, given that I had ridden very little much before six weeks leading up to the event.
As for the cramping, I think I've narrowed the cause down to a lack of magnesium. The cure is to take Rolaids before and during long rides. I haven't ridden long since the HHH, but I'll give it a try next time out.
I do have some pictures. Just haven't downloaded them. I'll post separately.
All for now. . .
Thursday, August 26, 2010
The kids started school on Monday. (Hallelujah!) (No, make that HALLELUJAH!) Zach started 7th grade in Middle School (which is 7-8) and Matt started 5th grade in Intermediate School (5-6). Deb jumped right in to VP of the Intermediate School PTA. (Shocking, I know.)
Work for me has been good. Since we've been here, I've only been away three nights. This is good.
I'm still riding a lot. Pretty consistently three days a week. Mostly early in the morning and long on Sunday's. One Saturday a few weeks ago, I wanted to feel the heat and did 16 miles at 2pm. What a schvitz!
I've been off and on about Hotter 'N Hell 100. Just about every day. Deb has been pushing me to do it. The biggest issue is that there were no hotel rooms available and it's a 2 hr drive. The thought of leaving home at 4am and then spending 6+ hours on my bike, then driving home was not appealing. As of this morning I was off. Just for the heck of it, I checked for hotels one last time and, much to my delight, there were rooms at the Holiday Inn, just a couple of miles from the start. The forecast is for a cooler hot -- high of 93. (Maybe just a Hotter 'N Heck?) So I'm in. I'm going up myself and I'll ride alone (other than the 30,000 other cyclists), but I know I'd regret it if I didn't give it a shot.
Thursday, July 29, 2010
So much has happened since then.
We're Texans now. I guess that's what you'd call us. We did the big move the first week of July and we were in our house on 7/7. Housewise, it was a rough start. We had to replace an air conditioning unit, our water was shut off by the town, our dishwasher was broken. . . then it wasn't. Shortly after that, our 10 year old mini-van died, so we replaced that. Somehow I was thinking that the cost of living would be cheaper out here, but not so far.
We've partaken in quite a bit of the local cuisine. Barbecue, Mexican and Italian have led the way. Not exactly cuisines known for helping dieters . . . diet! But we've all enjoyed it.
With all of the activity related to the move, there wasn't much activity of any other kind. Not that I didn't THINK about exercise (as I was stuffing my face), but it just didn't get done. Looking back on June, easily my least active month if four years -- one bike ride, no runs. Sad.
Inactivity continued through our drive west. My running shoes made the car trip. They just didn't see any pavement.
I was starting to feel that out-of-control old me. Eating whatever and whenever I wanted. No attention to feelings of actual hunger. Mostly drinking diet sodas and coffee, not much plain water. My waist line was clearly expanding. I could no longer shove my belly into the old 36's and 38's that I had been wearing for the past few years. I made a sad trek to Kohl's to buy some Dockers so that I'd have clothes for a business trip. Size 40. Then, a couple of pair of jeans at Costco -- 42's. (No pride here. . . Deb and I joked that I'd need to be sure to wear a belt, lest the Costco label be evident to all. What the hell, they were twelve bucks a pair, and a temporary solution, I swear!)
One of the things that excited me about this part of the country was the opportunity for year-round cycling. As I drove around town during the first week, I'd see cyclists riding and schvitzing in the mid-day heat. I started to crave a ride. And what could be bad about a state with a kick ass vanity plate like this one -- now on my car!
One of my new co-workers, a guy that I had known from my old company who knew me only as Fat Jeff before my first visit to the new company, is a cyclist. We had talked about riding together. I really needed to ride. Finally, on July 11, we hooked up for a ride. Ahhhh.
For our first ride, we did a loop around DFW airport. For 15 miles, I kicked Brian's butt. Then the heat hit. (Or maybe I went out too fast.) (Or maybe it was the extra layer of blubber I was carrying) . I wasn't sure I'd make it back to his house. Alas, the last seven miles were ssslllloooowwww, but we made it.
Since then, I've been riding. A lot. A couple times a week in the early morning. (I knew those lights I bought a couple years ago would come in handy some day.) Long on Sundays with Brian. Even the scale is moving in the right direction. When I'm not riding, I'm thinking about riding. When I'm driving, I'm thinking about whether the road would make for good cycling. When I ride in the morning and see someone riding in the afternoon, I'm jealous.
A few years ago, I came across an ad for a ride called the Hotter 'N Hell 100. It held at the end of August in Witchita Falls, TX. As the move became evident, the ride crept up on my radar. A few weeks ago, I had totally written off the event for this year. Deb continued in her roll as biggest supporter and kicker of my ass, saying I was nuts to write it off, there was plenty of time. After the past week, not so fast. Hoping that Brian will go too. Would still like to drop at least 20 pounds before then, but things are going in the right direction.
Saturday, May 29, 2010
The big news is the move. We're moving. Not just any old move across town, a big move, halfway across the country. In another month, we're heading to Keller, Texas, just north of Fort Worth. It's a job related move and I'd say we're all nervously excited about it. It's big for us and we'll be sad to go, but we're ready to take it on.
We've got plenty of room at the new place. Just let us know when you'll be in town for a visit!
While all of this is going on, I've been working in Florida. You might have heard something about this little oil thing in the Gulf of Mexico. Well my company helps to clean up the mess. It's a seven day a week all hands on deck thing, so Deb is left with house duties while I'm on the Florida panhandle.
I'm really missing the family right now. They're off at Ocean City, MD while I'm in Panama City, FL. Wish they were here. Wish I was there.
In the mean time, I'll admit to doing a pretty poor job of taking care of my body. Working 14-16 hour days doesn't leave a lot of time to take care of yourself. Not to mention the endless quick meals -- fast food, subs, etc. I did just join a gym near where I'm staying. Hoping to get into a routine to hit their 5 am classes before heading in to work. Gotta do something. Feeling FAT!
Sadly, I'm conceding the goals that I set for the year. Won't hit the weight goal. . . or the running goal. . . or the biking goal . . . or the blogging goal. Running would certainly be easiest, since no equipment is required. I just can't get moving. When I think back to my training last summer, I can't even imaging running ten miles right now. I've got work to do. I've fallen and I need to get up.
So, that's the down and dirty. Lots going on. Lot's to do. Next report, I expect, will be from Texas (Y'all!)
Saturday, April 3, 2010
It's been a good week back on the exercise wagon. A workout every day including a nice bike ride yesterday for 23 miles in what might have been absolutely perfect weather.
Last night, I was chatting online with my buddy Dave and he suggested that I join him today for a FREE 10 Miler, including a free t-shirt! Now, free always gets my attention, especially with the lure of a t-shirt.
Only issue was that little 10 miles part of it. I've always been up for a challenge, but man, I'm totally untrained. I've run only 11 miles in all of March and just 22 in all of February. Not exactly "In Training".
Dave was there when I was in a panic before my first 10 miler three years ago. (See my very first blog post to read about that.) He got me through that one, so, of course, I said yes. A reluctant yes, but the peer pressure worked.
I arrived at the shoe store that was sponsoring the event and I ran into my old Team In Training coach, Mohan. Was this a mirage? Mohan and I had always been pretty close in speed. The guy just enjoys the events with no expectations. I knew I wouldn't be alone. (Especially looking around at all the "hard core" runner types that had just finished six or eight miles BEFORE the ten to get in their long runs. Okay, not so long ago, that was me, but I'm just sayin'.)
After the instructions, we just started down the road. Quickly Mohan and his friend and I settled into an 11 minute pace. It was comfortable, but for how long, I didn't know. We ran through parts of Columbia that I've not been through before, so that was cool. By four miles, there was some walking, but mostly running. By six miles, I knew my endurance was about gone. I struggled to seven, but then walked much of the last three miles. Mohan stuck with me the whole way and, as always, I was appreciative of his sacrifice. We finished.
It was good to finish, though there were few options. No SAG support to pick anyone up. I felt good about finishing, but it certainly reminded me of how far I've got to go to get back. But I'm on track and I look forward to sharing more successes.
What's next? I just signed up for the Pikes Peek 10k. This is my favorite race and it will be my third time running it. Just three weeks from tomorrow.
Sunday, March 28, 2010
The past few months have been crazy. Travel nearly every week. One or two good weeks of exercise on the road, but most trips just one shot at the gym or on the road. It's been tough.
Eating has been tougher. I've tried, but not enough. I get on a plan for short bursts, but then I'm off again. A great weekend of working out turns bad on Monday's travel.
I feel like I've gone back to that fat guy that I'd left behind. My clothes don't fit and I've even been forced to buy new pants and shirts. Size 40 and XXL. (Though I insist on wearing my 36 jeans way-too-tight.) Thankfully, I'm teetering in the mid-250's, sometimes almost 260, and not the 300's or, god forbid, the 400's.
The big boss at my company is impressed with my loss and is generous in sharing my accomplishments with others. I wish I didn't feel guilt that "almost 200" is now "well, about 150" pounds lost.
I've lost such fitness, I can hardly believe it. Running a mile without stopping is difficult. I read my friends facebook posts about 10 mile runs and I cower to think how far that is. Then I recall that just five months ago I completed a marathon!
This was to be the year of the bike. My neighbor and I had talked about doing a 100-mile ride on May 1. Last weekend, I though 22 miles was going to kill me.
I go to boot camp where I could not so long ago push out a couple hundred push ups in the hour, not to mention whatever else Kenny had to offer. Now, I'm reduced to my knees after a dozen or two.
I'm lost. I need to find that mojo that I kept for three years. I need more than one day in a row of good eating and exercise.
It's me. I'm not looking for compassion. I'm not looking for a kick in the ass. I know what I need to do. I just need to do it.
Sunday, January 17, 2010
Today's event, Too Cold to Hold , had a 5k or a 15k option. In my mind, I kept going back and forth as to whether I would do either and, if I did run, then which event. I knew from history that anything short of getting out there for the 15k would leave me disappointed in myself. I had packed for a chilly day.
Yesterday, I made schlep #1 to register and pick up my packet at the Run On! shoe store. This was the first event that I've ever done with a Clydesdale category. That's for men over 200 pounds. I signed up for the 15k. When checking out, the clerk says: "Are you from Baltimore?" Wow, I said, how did you know? Uhh, the Raven's jersey you're wearing. Duhhh! She's from Havre de Grace, MD, and, she told me when I saw her before the run, she's the cousin of a very famous Marylander also born in HdG . . . Guesses anyone? How about Cal Ripken, Jr! Pretty cool.
There were about 1200 runners starting out -- 700 for the 15k, the balance for the 5k. As the race began, I found myself with an 11 minute pace group led by the running store. Pure luck, no doubt. I was able to keep up with the group, getting past them at one point. It felt good to be out there and I never questioned my decision to go long.
Time to start planning the next one!
Friday, January 15, 2010
Why is that? Well, my "involuntary semi-retirement" is over. (Yeay!)
I started a new job as Director of Special Projects for a company in my old industry, based in North Florida. (No, no relocation planned.) I couldn't be more excited.
It's not that I didn't accomplish anything during my hiatus. I watched the complete The West Wing tv series on cable. There was also the Daniel Silver thriller series featuring Israeli Secret Service killer Gabriel Allon. (Outstanding reading, by the way. Check out The Kill Artist first.) I'm very proud.
There was also the daily morning coffee that I shared with my Mrs. I'll most certainly miss that the most.
The new position will require a lot of travel. Though travel can be diet and exercise destructive, I'm determined not to let it be so. I found a 24 Hour Fitness near my hotel in Fort Worth, TX Wednesday night and had a great spin class and run. Gotta keep that up.
It's time to move on and put 2009 behind me and have a great 2010 and beyond.
Tuesday, January 5, 2010
Since last Monday's crash, I've been going non-stop, hitting the gym every day since Tuesday. I've finally gotten my running back going with 11 miles last week in addition to 33 spin miles and 3 Body Pump classes.
My diet has gone back the right way as well. While I'm not full blown South Beaching, I am using that as my base with added fruits like bananas and oranges. Other than that and a Clif Bar before workouts, it's all going well. I've dropped 12 of the refound pounds, now weighing in at 252.
So far, I've run every day in 2010, at least two miles. I've never done any "run every day" kind of self-challenge, but I think it's time. For the month of January, my goal is to run at least two miles a day. It would be a great start to the year.
Now, I've bowed to my many fans for more posts. Hope to have many more to come.
Monday, January 4, 2010
I had a great summer of biking last year and on numerous occasions, running got in the way. Not to say I won't run this year, but I really am focused on bike fitness.
My calendar isn't complete, but in the early part of the year, the only event will be the Tri-to-Help indoor tri in early March. This was the same event that I did last year.
I'm looking at a number of biking events of metric century (62 miles) and century distance. A few are on my calendar to the left.
As for running, no marathons planned for the year. The training is just too intense. I'm focusing on distances from 10k to half marathons.
So, here are the targets for 2009:
- Running: 800 miles
- Cycling: 2,000 miles
- Spinning: 1,000 miles
These numbers will be tough to hit, especially depending on how the job situation works out, but I'm game to give it a try!
What's missing? Oh, my weight. Well, I've got to give that elusive 199 another shot. Yes it's a long way, but that too can be done!
Onward. . .
Saturday, January 2, 2010
The year started out with grand plans. I was finally going to hit that weight goal and was finally going to crack the 1,000 mile barrier for both running and cycling. With four half marathons and a full on the schedule, I'd need my feet to stay healthy, but I figured that the mileage goals would be hard to miss with those big runs planned.
Unfortunately, early in January, my professional life came to a halt as I was laid off from my job after 19 years. With a decent severance package, I didn't worry too much early on. There was plenty of time to get working. As the days became weeks and weeks became months, it's suddenly 2010 and I'm still not employed. This cast a pall over the last half of the year as I struggled to keep positive.
The layoff was great for cycling. In June, I rode more than 300 miles, much of it with my neighbor, also laid off. Good news for him that his layoff was short. By the end of the year, I had eclipsed 1,100 miles, beating 2008 by 200 miles including a return to the Seagull Century and a new ride at the Covered Bridges ride, both of which I look forward to annual rituals.
As for running, there was tremendous progress here as well. I completed four half marathons between March and May and trained for the Marine Corps Marathon in October. Over the course of the year, my times continued to improve. Though my weight was stagnant for most of the year, I credit my new found speed to weight workouts and the morning boot camp.
When the marathon training heated up with more and more miles, I dropped my strength program. There is no question in my mind that this had a negative effect on the marathon as I slowed considerably and a toe issue as well as illness the week leading into the marathon really impacted my endurance. Though I did finish, I feel like there is unfinished business there.
After the marathon, my running essentially stopped. With 860 miles run, I beat 2008 by 300 miles, but still fell short of my elusive goal, which was well within reach at the end of October.
The scale was my nemesis as I stagnated around 230 for most of the year. Given the volume of training through the summer, to stay even was a true disappointment, and I knew that if I stopped training or even slowed my routine, I'd need a big change in my diet. Ultimately, I proved myself right on the money here (see my last post!)
So that is the year in review. Stay tuned for 2010 goals . . .