Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Leap Day

It's Leap Day today. I look at it as kind of an extra day that I don't normally get to have. I figure with a whole extra 24 hours that I don't normally get, I would be a lot less rushed and frazzled and I think that's the case. Today I'm going to hug my kids a little bit more and give my wife some nice long kisses. I'm going to make the most of my extra day. I'm going to smile and have fun. Later I'm going to take my bike upstairs and lean it on the edge of the couch. Later I'm going for a ride.

It won't be a long ride or a hard one. It's going to be short and easy. Partly because it's been snowing off and on all day and will probably be raining or snowing or both once I finally get out there on the road. It is going to be windy and cold. Not just one windy but too windy. Cloudy also. And I'm going to enjoy myself out in the winter air on my new(er) bike. I'm going to ride for an hour or less and probably only cover 15 to 16 miles. Maybe even only 13 miles. It's going to be great.

I look at this free day as a gift and I want to make the most of it. It's not just another day - it's a day that I don't normally get. It's a perfect opportunity to sharpen my focus on what's important to me. To be a better friend. To be a better father and to be a better husband. A day to calm down and focus on what really matters. I want to give it my best shot. I'm going to try to do that today. That's why I need to spend at least about an hour on my bike.

Monday, February 27, 2012

His Name is Trouble

I'm sitting here in my office waiting to go to work. In thirty-five minutes it's going to be my son Trevor's birthday. At the tick of midnight while he is asleep in his Lightening McQueen bed two stories above my head he is going to snooze right into that milestone of childhood that is known as being four years old. I'm sure not much is going to change for him really. One sleep doesn't really do a lot to make that much of a difference in a little boy's life but I know that tomorrow he is going to feel ten times more important than he usually does every other day and believe me that feeling of importance is something that he has to tote around in a wheelbarrow along with his awesome personality.

Trevor cracks me up daily. Two things about him are especially funny. When he is at home and playing with his older sisters or baby brother he will dig around in his closet and drawers and find the best pants he can find and a nice shirt and a vest and a tie. He puts them on and calls them his boss clothes. His sisters let him boss them around a little bit which is surprising because he has such strong opinions about everything and has no problem telling you where he stands. My older daughter is always playing that she has a restaurant or a store or a refreshment shoppe or something and Trevor is always the boss as she tries to make him think that her ideas of how to be a good boss when they are playing are actually his ideas. It is pretty funny at times.

The other thing that I find especially funny is when a grown-up asks him his name. He answers: "Trevor." The grown-up always laughs and says: "Oh, Trouble!" because when Trevor says "Trevor" it sounds EXACTLY like "Trouble." When the grown-up says that, Trevor gets a little louder and says "No! Trevor" which sound EXACTLY like "Trouble" so the grown-up laughs a little more and a little louder and repeats "Trouble!" which starts to make Trevor a little mad.

Trevor has a way of being mad and still being able to smile and raise his eyebrows and exude very animated facial expressions and body language so the conversation escalates rapidly with the grown-up laughing louder and saying "Trouble" over and over because they think Trevor is trying to be funny and Trevor gets louder and louder and more animated because he is getting mad in a happy expressive kind of way thinking that the grow-up is making fun of him and playing with his name in a friendly way.

It always gets to a point where my wife or I have to step in and let the grown-up know that he's actually saying "Trevor" and that it just SOUNDS like "Trouble." The grown-ups always immediately correct themselves with a lot of laughs and smiles and at that very instant they have a new best friend named Trevor who won't stop talking to them about anything and everything. And how do you break off a conversation with a little boy like that? You can't. He will just follow you around until he's done letting you know what's on his mind. It's especially funny on plane rides as you can imagine.

It's funny because it's a simple misunderstanding. Trevor is absolutely sure that he is communicating his name clearly and that the grown-up is just trying to have fun with him. The grown-up is absolutely sure that they are hearing his name clearly and that Trevor is just trying to have fun with them. It's a simple misunderstanding and it always cracks me up and brings a smile to my face.

Earlier today I was out on my bike testing my legs on some hill attacks and I ran into a couple of misunderstandings that didn't crack me up and didn't bring a smile to my face. It seems I can be just as opinionated and strong willed as my son Trevor and I frequently find myself wanting to let people know what is on my mind too. Sometimes it's hard to be tactful because I don't have much of a filter. Sometimes I just stumble right into sarcasm which I've been told is my superpower and often times its difficult to keep a smile on my face and not go from everything is great to getting mad.

I was heading east in the bike lane and cruising along a slight downhill at around 28 mph and about a half mile in front of me I spotted a salmon plodding and weaving their way up the wrong way in the bike lane. I hate salmon in the bike lane. I want to stop and then stop them and just grab and shake them until they realize the error of their ways and repent. You don't ride the wrong way in the bike lane. You just don't do it. What part of the arrows painted on the tarmac about every 40 feet do you not quite understand? Reminds me of a quote from John Wayne: "Life is hard; it's harder if you're stupid."

Right after I slowed down and awkwardly negotiated my way around the salmon in the bike lane while simultaneously yelling "Don't go the wrong way!" I came upon about five vehicles parked right smack in the bike lane outside of a local church. Fortunately I had regained my speed, signaled and merged quickly into the traffic flow. As I pedaled by the cars in the bike lane I couldn't help but notice the BIKES ONLY sign and right after that the sign that said NO PARKING AT ANY TIME. I wondered what part of these signs those bike lane parkers just couldn't understand. The signs seemed pretty clear to me.

I couldn't quite wrap my mind around just what exactly the salmon or the bike lane parkers had misread or misseen or misunderstood out there on the road today. I couldn't quite fathom how a misunderstanding like they were immersed in could have possibly occured. I didn't quite get it. All I knew is that something about really big arrows painted all over the tarmac and designed to point cyclists in the right direction had failed to do their job. The BIKES ONLY on the sign and the NO PARKING AT ANY TIME I thought were pretty clear as well but somehow the bike lane parkers had misunderstood what was trying to be communicated.

It was just like Trevor and the grown-ups except I didn't think it was funny. It's hard to smile when your eyes are rolling back in your head just about as far as they can go but I tried anyway. I tried to smile at the salmon as I was yelling at him and visualizing shaking some sense into him. I tried to smile at the bike lane parkers as I rode on by wishing I had a billy club to clobber off their side view mirrors. I tried to see the funny in their misunderstanding. But I couldn't

Unfortunately these misunderstandings are not few and far between. These misunderstandings today are not really isolated incidents. It seems they happen on almost every ride I take and in almost every bike lane I'm in and outside almost every church I pedal by. It's unfortuate in my mind because I believe there is right and wrong. Things are black or white. I do believe in absolutes. An arrow on the tarmac can only have one meaning. To me it's extremely difficult, if not impossible, to misunderstand that meaning.

A sign that says NO PARKING AT ANY TIME is hard, if not impossible, to misunderstand. BIKES ONLY can only mean bikes only. Even for someone who's life is harder because they are stupid. So I roll my eyes and then I think of my son Trevor and how easy it can be - how easy it must be - to have a misunderstanding. So I think of that person salmoning up the bike lane going the wrong way against the big arrows or the self absorbed obliviots that NO PARKING AT ANY TIME and BIKES ONLY does not apply to when parking in the bike lane and I say to myself "his name is Trouble" and he obviously misunderstood. Yep, his name is Trouble and he misunderstood and I can smile again and pedal on down the road.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Never Going Back to OK

It's not the end but it feels like it is
I'm waking up like I'm back from the dead
I'm stepping out and it feels so free
But as long as I'm moving it's alright

That's the opening verse in a song sung by The Afters and the song is titled "Never Going Back to OK."  I've heard the song a lot but today I listened to the words for the first time. The song isn't about cycling. It's about something else that's much more important but just like most everything else I run up against in life it reminded me of my cycling. I've had my share of struggles and have come out of some pretty bum-deal things and I don't want to get too over dramatic and say that cycling saved me because it didn't and it hasn't but cycling has allowed my to "step out" and away from some things about me that I don't like and has made me free and alright.

I can't remember how many years ago it was but it had been a long time since I had been on a bike. I decided one day out of the blue that I was going to do a triathlon after seeing one in process at Yuba Lake. Well, I needed a bike and found a used bike on KSL that looked OK and I thought I could afford it. Actually it was half a bike and after buying it from the guy I had to find a bike shop that could help me with the other half of the bike that I needed.

It was on old Vitus 979 from the mid-eighties. I could only find one bike shop in this area that had ever heard of Vitus bikes so I took it there and Scott Golsen helped me put my half-a-bike together. Looking back and knowing now a little more about bikes than I did then, Scott did an extremely good standup job of helping me piece the old Vitus together. I needed a front wheel and tires, bar tape, a seat, shoes, pedals, cleats, a helmet, a tune-up and some other odds and ends.

Vitus 979
The old Vitus was actually a pretty cool bike. It had a good mix of old components, even if I didn't know it at the time. And I remember the first time I clipped in and went for a ride. That front tire looked SO thin. That bike was SO quiet. It didn't make a sound as it rolled along. Even when I stopped pedaling, you could barely hear the pawls in the rear hub. That old bike was extremely smooth and fast. Unfortunately it came with a 12/21 freewheel and I quickly found out I could barely make it up an overpass.

I feel alive and it hurts for a change
I'm looking back its hard to believe
That I was cool with the days that I wasted
Complacent and tasteless and bored
But that was yesterday

That seems like forever ago and it did take me a few years to get serious about cycling because I didn't like the pain involved. Eventually I began riding enough to improve some and I started liking it more and more. The pain I mean. It is hard to believe that I ever got past that point of being OK with it hurting when I rode but I did and I got better at it. I never did the triathlon but I'm still convinced that someday I will.

We're never going back to OK
We're never going back to easy
We're never going back to the way it was
We're never going back to OK

The chorus of this song pretty much sums things up for me. I'm not going back to the way it was. I'm not going back to OK. I'm not going back to easy. I can't imagine not riding again. I know a day will likely come when I can't but until that day I'm going to ride. It's going to hurt. I'm going to feel alive and it is going to feel so free. It's going to be alright and I'm going to keep moving as long as I can.

This discontent, like a slap in the face
A mediocre I've had enough of this place
This party's over and I'm moving away
From the frills of your Beverly Hills
That was yesterday

We're never going back to OK
We're never going back to easy
We're never going back to the way it was
We're never going back to OK

We're here to stay
This is our time
My only life
Our chance to live

first long ride years ago on the Vitus 979
with my cotton base layer, triathlon shoes
and mountain bike helmet - total FREDness

I've had enough of mediocre and the frills so to speak. I'm not going back to the way it was. I am here to stay and it is my time. In my mind I have put a quarter in a big jar to represent every week that I thought I might have left in this life and with every week that passes I take one out. I did this in my mind because my wife doesn't want me to do it in real life. She says it makes her sad and depressed about my mortality. It seems she doesn't want to imagine a day without me.

But that day is coming and I'm counting it down in my mind by taking one of my imaginary quarters out of my imaginary jar for every week that goes by. I know that I'm not HERE to stay but I know that NOW is my time. As my imaginary jar gets emptier and emptier I try to remember to live my life in a way that makes a little bit of a difference to me, my wife, my kids and other people around me. That imaginary jar of quarters helps me to remember that this is my only life and it is my chance to live just like this song says. And every time I can get on my bike it is a gift. I feel alive and it hurts for a change and I'm never going back to OK. I'm never going back to easy.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Call it Cross Training

It doesn't take too much to make me real super happy. Sometimes. I'm a pretty simple guy and I lead a pretty simple life. Sometimes all it takes is about two hours spent on my bike. I like to think that I'm happy most of the time anyway but getting some time on the bike always has a way of amping that happiness up a notch or two. A common expression in cycling is "long rides rule." Fine but so do short rides and medium rides and medium short rides and medium long rides and short long medium rides and long medium short rides and medium long short rides. Rides in general rule so when I have a chance to get a ride in it makes me real super happy.

Last Saturday was just such a day and I was stoked. The weather was perfect as far as winter weather goes. High 40Fs and a nice breeze from the south and sunny. Just right for a ride and I had the time. In fact I had the time for a long ride even. I had the time for any kind of ride I wanted to take that day. Everyone in my family also had an expectation of me taking that time and going on a long ride. What more could I ask for? I would say that's as nice a setup for the opportunity to have a nearly perfect day as I could have and I was real super happy. I love it when a plan comes together.

There is a point in time in a day like that that I really enjoy. It's that point in time where I grab whatever bike I'm going to ride and walk it up the stairs and lean it against the edge of the couch in the living room as I get ready. I enjoy that point in time. It's right at that moment when a good day instantly transforms itself into a great day. It's right at that moment when I go from being a dad and a husband and instantly become a cyclist. It's right at that moment I know that in a few minutes I'm going to be out there riding and the road and the bike are going to let me know who I have become.

So the other day when I had my perfect day all lined out and I had a long ride planned and the weather was perfect and the bike was ready and that point of time that I really like was right there in front of me - I made a decision to NOT go for a ride. I made a decision to NOT bring my bike up the stairs. I made a decision that long rides were not going to rule that day. Not right then. The bike was going to stay home and I was going to do something else. At that moment that I like so much I made a decision to spend some time with my family.

I decided to take my family down to the river parkway and go for a long walk and that's what we did. We walked for almost two hours that afternoon. The weather was perfect and the river parkway was beautiful. My wife and I took turns pushing the boys in the stroller and the girls scootered and roller bladed up ahead of us. I gave my younger daughter a piggy-back ride a few times when she got tired and we turned around at a little playground and let the kids play there a bit before heading back. It was fun and we had a great time together. My wife and I walked and talked and we remembered all over again why we fell in love with each other.

That day was still a perfect day for a ride but the tables were turned. I was at that moment in time that I like so much and instead I decided that on that perfect day for cycling that I would not cycle. I would not go for a ride. Instead of becoming a cyclist at that specific moment in time I decided instead that I would remain a dad and a husband. Instead of the road and the bike letting me know who I had become I was going to give my wife and kids an opportunity to do that. I was going to focus on them instead of on me and I was going to have fun. When we were done I realized that everyone - including me - had had a fantastically great time and I decided right then to call it cross training. I also decided right then that I need to do more cross training and do it a little more often.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Ride of Defiance

I snoozed once and then turned off my alarm which had rang fairly early. As hard as it was I had to work a little bit this morning. My wife was already up making breakfast for everyone. I brought my egg sandwich downstairs and when I was sitting in my office I looked out the window and saw about 3 inches of snow in my window well. My heart sank. I looked up through the window well cover and the sky was grey and dark and there was snow built up everywhere I could see. We had a small winter storm and it was a real winter wonderland or as I like to think of it - winter contamination. It made me mad.

I don't like winter and I don't like the snow. I guess it had snowed off and on most of the night and while it had warmed up to 30F by the time I was done working there was still a lot of ice and snow and wet and crud out on the road and the chilly presence of a 12 mph wind coming steady out of the north. Ugh. I didn't want to have another day with a ride on the trainer. I sat there in my office looking at my old bike. The tray table with the fan on it was still sitting there off the front wheel with the old bike still hooked up to the trainer. The old bike was clean and looked new. The old bike was ready.

I looked at my new(er) bike and I looked at the snow and I decided to go for a ride out in the muck. Outside in winter wonderland. Out in the winter contamination. The new(er) bike was already pretty dirty and when I peeked out the window again I imagined that it was possible that the roads might be fairly clear. Well clear enough anyway. I guess. Hopefully. Traffic should be fairly light too on a Sunday morning so I grabbed my gear and took my bike upstairs and leaned it against the edge of the couch and got ready.

When I started out I didn't think I would go very far or very long or even very fast. The wind was cold and strong and it was still pretty slick. Instead this would be a nice easy and calm ride of defiance. My personal snub to the winter that I hate. Kind of an "occupy winter" one man rolling protest where I would get out on my bike and pedal it around and try to melt the snow right now and end winter right here by my sheer force of will.

Taking a break in the sticks in Draper. I was getting off my bike to take this picture and some nice folks stopped and asked if I needed a ride somewhere. Not every motorist is a jerk just like some cyclists actually follow traffic rules.

Getting things ready to roll. The driveway was very slick in my Speedplay cleats and my neighbors think I'm crazy for riding in the winter. I think I would be crazy not to.

The ride of defiance - "occupy winter" - my own personal protest complete with a life size fist pumping action figure.

The front derailleur was getting real cruddy. I don't know what the heck is on there but it looks like I ran over some raw spaghetti. I hate a dirty bike only a little more than I hate cleaning it. I have to try to find my Dumonde Tech chain lube. I can't wait for Spring.

Share the road signs were everywhere today. I like them. The bike lanes were fairly clear as well. Only a couple of problems with snowplows piling snow around some corners in the bike lanes and some thoughtless church-goers thinking that the bike lanes are there for the sole purpose of being their personal parking space when they attend Sunday service. Sharing the road is especially important when there's less road to share due to snow and ice. Also as a courtesy to cyclists - please don't park in the bike lanes.

The bike, my back, my shoes, my socks, my leg warmers, my bibs - just about everything got a little muddy today. I did wipe my tires off and tried to bounce any moisture off my bike before I brought it inside today. I don't want winter contaminating the inside of the house too.

It was snowing on the way home and snowing when I got home. What started out to be a really short easy ride gradually morphed into a 25 mile ride with slightly more effort than easy. Nothing too outrageous but I didn't want to give winter the impression that I was giving this ride of defiance only a token effort. Let's hope the snow is not long for this winter because I'm really really ready for winter to be over right now. I keep looking for the little buds on the stark tree branches and I noticed my wife was looking for them too yesterday when we went on a long walk on the river parkway with the kids. That moment yesterday when I saw my wife do that - that was a cool moment.

Friday, February 17, 2012

THE Day of Awesome!

Antelope Island
THE Day of Awesome! I heard that somewhere on facebook or online or somewhere and I thought "that would make a great blog post." So I tried to remember it and it's been sitting on a shelf in my mind for a while now. What would make a day of awesome? What would qualify for that? I would imagine that there can by many days of awesome but only one THE Day of Awesome! When was it or is it still to come?

Was it my first time riding without training wheels? Graduating Marine Corps boot camp? Climbing Mt. Fuji or El Porvenir or Ensign Peak? Was it my first time up Emigration Canyon on the old bike? Or up Big Mountain on the old bike? Or the day I did my first Snowbird Hillclimb? I was wondering if I would ever be able to figure out THE Day of Awesome! enough to write something about it. THE Day of Awesome! carries with it some pretty heavy weight.

American Fork Canyon
Fortunately my wife crystal cleared it for me about three days ago with a quick and short random text message. Come to find out it wasn't that day of awesome that I can barely remember from before Kindergarten in Japan when I was riding my little blue bike with training wheels so fast down the sidewalk that I amazed my mom enough to get her camera out and record that moment's place in the history of my days of awesome that I have enjoyed over the years. I remember that day of awesome because of the picture. It was my first aero tuck.

It also wasn't that day of awesome Christmas Eve when I got my first real bike: a Schwinn Stingray. I don't remember what year that was but I remember the bike like it was yesterday. Gold paint with a banana seat and ape hanger handlebars. I learned to skid on that bike. I learned to go fast and how to pop a wheelie. I tasted real freedom for the first time as I spent time on that banana seat.  I remember my first upgrade - an aftermarket tall sissy bar. I put a lot of cards in the spokes too and I spent a lot of days of awesome on that first real bike.

most fun you can have with rope - spy rigging
THE Day of Awesome! wasn't that day of awesome spent rappelling and fast roping and spy rigging out of and off the bottom and back of a CH-46 Sea Knight helicopter or the day spent trying to surf for the first time but never being able to get up on the board long enough to have said that I actually did it. It wasn't that day that I woke up one morning in the Philippines and realized that I was not going to stop sweating for 18 months and it wasn't that day 18 months later when I was flying back to the states on a 13 hour plane ride and I realized the guys I was sharing bottles of champagne and celebrating the trip home with were the guys from the band Air Supply.

THE Day of Awesome! wasn't that day when my parents gave me a new shiny chrome Mongoose BMX frame to go with my Ashtabula fork and Webco mag wheels that I had spent two summers mowing yards to be able to afford. It also wasn't that day of awesome that I flew so far and high off a jump while doing the perfect cross-up and landed so hard that I cracked my down tube where it met the head tube and it wasn't the day that I found a guy in a shop by the flightline that took some time out of his workday to weld it back together for me. It wasn't the day any of my kids were born even though those days were days of awesome.

resting at Ophir
I've had a lot of days of awesome. I've forgotten more of them than I remember. There are just too many days of awesome to remember them all. Riding my first 10 speed with my Dad on the frontage road for what seemed like forever in the Nevada desert. Days of awesome spent on a cruise. Racing my motorcycle. Racing my car. Camping. Watermelon. Days of awesome with a magnifying glass and ants. The beach. Old silver mines. Coyote hunting. Decorating the Christmas tree. Finding one. My first century. My first 10 miles. The iron butt ride to Reno and back on my Street Bob. KCLV. Leaving Clovis, New Mexico. Returning to Clovis, New Mexico. Leaving Clovis, New Mexico.

top of Butterfield Canyon
Was my THE Day of Awesome! spent on a bike? Was it any of those rides where I felt like I had a tailwind pushing me the whole way? Or one of the days with the 25 mph headwind no matter which direction I chose to ride? My first Gran Fondo or my first time over 60 mph on a descent? I've had a lot of days of awesome on a bike. Brighton. City Creek. Hobble Creek. American Fork Canyon. Riding out and up to Ophir. Having the old bike on Antelope Island. Great Salt Lake Marina. Butterfield Canyon again and again and again. The first time I passed and dropped someone. Lots of days of awesome on the bike.

Great Salt Lake Marina
It was a day of awesome when we finally got picked up by the CH-53 Sea Stallions after spending three days of not awesome on a tiny no-name island way off the coast of Okinawa. It was colder and more wet and windier than I had ever been or been since from a typhoon that wasn't supposed to be there. We weren't suppose to be there either having gone out for one night to shoot our 81mm mortars but the rain started coming down in sheets sideways and the helicopters couldn't find us and then we waited three days for them to be able to fly again.

The typhoon went right through us instead of skirting around us like it was supposed to. We ate little hermit crabs and bugs and anything else we could find while we drank rain water out of puddles off the rocks and in the mud waiting to be found. When we finally made it back to Camp Hansen I went straight to the Burger King for a Triple Whopper with cheese and jumbo fry and a Gold Medal Ribbon milkshake from the Baskin Robbins right next door. That was one awesome meal on one awesome day of awesome.

my beautiful wife at Chillz Frozen Yogurt
But THE Day of Awesome! wasn't any of those days. My wife's quick text reminded me of that. It was the only text I received from her that day. It was short and out of the blue. I smiled when it hit my phone: "Happy 13th first date anniversary babe!!! I love you xoxo." That was it. THE Day of Awesome! I fell in love that day thirteen years ago.

I also had double pneumonia and was hospitalized that afternoon after having spent all of our first date at lunch coughing the whole time. I ate a club sandwich in my red shirt and she ate some Cajun chicken tenders in her white blouse and we shared some French onion soup. That date lasted maybe two hours, but that day - February 15, 1999 as it turns out and now that I think about it - that day was THE Day of Awesome!

Thursday, February 16, 2012

No Big Deal

Monday 13 February, 2012

07:47 - First thing out of bed and I get on the scale. The moment of truth. Just how good are these 7 Fitness Rules anyway? Time to find out. Time to measure. Time to see the result of the effort (such as it was) this week. I am nervous because I spent the last four days doing absolutely NOTHING as far as exercise and not much in the way of any other Fitness Rules either. I try to stand on this electronic scale as lightly as possible... For a moment, while the numbers are flashing the electronic zeros, I feel like a contestant on the biggest loser... The electronic zeros are still flashing... There's a knot in my stomach... I look down... 176.4.


With that, the knot is gone. I have done it. I reached my goal. I started at 182.8 pounds on Monday, February 6th and planned to lose 6 pounds in a week. I lost 6.4 pounds and you know what? That's no big deal. Sure there's a lot of crazy ways to lose way more than 6 pounds in a week. There's a lot of crazy stuff you can do to loose way more weight than that in way less time. But you know what? That's exactly the point I'm trying to make: it was no big deal. But I'm getting ahead of myself. Let me back up a day.

Sunday 12 February, 2012

08:02 - Snick. Beep. 95 mg/dL. A good number in the morning. Salads love me (and they will love you too) and I had one for dinner last night. This is a good number to start today and I'm off to church with my fried egg sandwich folded over on one piece of white bread. 16 carbs and 2 units of NovoLog insulin. I gobble down the egg sandwich noticing how much I do not miss the cheese or the mayo or the three or four slices of ham - all extra calories I can really do without. There's a pot luck after church and it's going to be hard enough to eat less and eat less crap and I know there will be no exercise today as there is just too much going on.

12:22 - My beautiful wife made some beautiful Mounds brownies for the pot luck and as she's cutting them up I'm going to try the first one of course. Wow! Talk about awesome. My teeth are sinking into the quicksand of sugary goodness and I hate to even think about how many carbs might be in these so I don't. For long. I guess about 25 grams for the half a piece that I share with my wife. Man they are good! I've got to keep track because I will need to dose my insulin. Unfortunately I cannot find my blood glucose monitor. I might have left it at home. I wade into the potluck as I assume that my serum glucose is good.

I grab two plates like I always do. One for a big salad and one for the food. I get a humonsterous cabbage roll, about 7 of my wife's grape jelly meat balls, a big pile of green beans, some carrots and some chicken curry. All of it was deelish. For seconds I went back for another plate full of salad and had some scraps of whatever baked chicken was left too. It's always hard to really know how many carbs are in food that you don't prepare yourself so I guessed an amount that 7 units of NovoLog insulin would cover and hoped for the best. Oh, and two smallest I've ever seen gingerbread cookies that my wife had hand picked special for me. I love potlucks.

18:50 - Snick. Beep. 105 mg/dL. Where did the day go? We are finally not feeling full any more from the potluck earlier and now realize that there is nothing thawed out to prepare for dinner and not really enough left-overs for a decent meal for everyone. I suggest two options to my wife: " we could microwave a 60 carb frozen burrito or I could take you out to dinner?" We pack up the kids and head over to Wingers. The "60 carb frozen burrito" has not failed me yet. I try to keep a few in the freezer at all times.

After walking my kids through their options on the kid's menu I take a moment to look over mine. It's all I can do to keep my hand out of the popcorn bowl that's just sitting there on the table staring me down and begging me to dig in and take a bite or two or a hundred bites. Ugh, why did we come here? Do you know how many carbs are in barbecue sauce. Especially Winger's barbecue sauce. A lot.

I want to eat something that I like. I want to eat something that has a slim fighting chance of offsetting the fact that I have done nothing in the way of exercise for the last four days. I want to eat something I like. I want to eat something that at least gives the impression that I am making an effort to obey my own Fitness Rules. Obviously I want ribs and wings and sauce and fries and everything else with too many carbs and too many calories. I ask my wife what she is getting because I'm going to want to eat some of whatever she is getting too. It's just how we do it in my family.

She is going to order the half chicken. Barbecue chicken of course. With barbecue sauce. OK. I tell her I will just get a water. She doesn't even flinch. She just rolls her eyes because she knows that's a load of crap. I can't fool her. I order the fish tacos. They come with chips and salsa plus the twofer deal we are doing comes with an all-you-can-eat salad. Yes, it seems, we are the all-you-can-eat family. I eat my three bowls of salad without the croutons and mix balsamic and blue cheese for my dressing. In moderation of course.

I trade my wife a fish taco for about about 3 ounces of her barbecue chicken. I split my chips between my four kids to make their kid's meals a little more robust. I also scrape the fish tacos out of the tortillas and into a bowl and dump the salsa in there too. I fold up the tortillas and my kids split those as well. 6 units of NovoLog insulin is going to shoulder the load. I have a few bites of everyone's fries as I try the different barbecue sauces available at the table but to my credit I lay off the popcorn and we don't order dessert.

23:22 - 15 units of Lantis insulin and it's almost time for bed. I think about riding my bike on the trainer. I think about doing something - anything - that might help me feel like I've at least put forth a little effort to lose the 6 pounds that I was talking about at the beginning of the week. These are my Fitness Rules after all. I think about it. For a second. But I don't.

I am looking forward to finding out how things have gone when I get on the scale first thing in the morning. I realize that I really haven't done much but it seems that I have done enough that my jeans are slipping down around my hips a little more than they were before as I head down the stairs toward my office for work. I've been tugging up on my belt loops lately and I haven't had to do that in quite a while. In the morning, we will see how things have gone.

What happened here?

Success. I lost a little over six pounds in a week of really doing not too much out of the ordinary. And really, nothing very hard or anything that felt like it was requiring too much sacrifice. In other words, it was no big deal. If I could lose 6 pounds every week for the rest of this year I will have lost 276 pounds. The trouble is I only weighed 183 pounds when I started this one week experiment of obeying my own Fitness Rules. That would put me at a minus 93 pounds and you can't weigh a negative amount. So what does all this mean?

First and foremost it means that in general I do and had been eating too much. You probably are too. Most people do. The food just seems to find a way into our mouth. Some of that too much food gets there because we are doing things that the experts or the government has told us we should be doing. A lot of that too much food is finding it's way into our mouth in the name of good healthy eating. Well look at the result. Do you have love handles on your spare tire? Look in the mirror and if you are not pleased with what you see there you need to eat less. Get on the scale. When you measure things it is easier to see the truth of the results. If your scale runs and hides from you every morning as you stand there in the bathroom you need to eat less. So eat less.

Second eat less crap. Don't let the dump truck back up to your mouth every day and dump its load after load after load after load of crap into your mouth. C'mon back. beep beep beep. Every time you eat, hear the dump truck. Every time. Hear the dump truck backing up to your mouth. Beep beep beep. Remember the 80/20 rule. Are you eating the power window breakfast? Are you eating out a box or a wrapper all the time? Are you falling prey to the insulin flood producing overload of carbs on the food pyramid? Are you eating bad fat or are you wallowing in it? Crap makes you fat. Eat less crap.

Third work out hard core. You don't need to do anything exotic. Nothing too out of the ordinary. You don't need an X or a shred or Billy Blanks. You don't even need Gilad. None of that will hurt though. All you need to do is build the big muscles in your body. Muscle burns fat plain and simple. If you want to burn fat then you have to build muscle. As you build the big ones in your legs back and chest all the other ones are going to come along for the ride and you will turn into a fat burning machine. All it takes is 5 minutes a day three to five days a week. Really. Try it. Work out hard core.

Measure what you want to improve. Measure your food every so often. Do you really know how much you eat? How many calories it really truly is? No you don't because if you did, you would be at or below your ideal body weight. Eat a good power breakfast. A power breakfast will turn off your body's own fat factory. A power breakfast will help you lose weight. Watch out for Twinkie the Kid and actually learn what a good breakfast is. For other meals, use a small or at least a smaller plate. Use the peace sign portion technique.

And what ever you do - don't diet. Diets don't work. They never have and they never will. Change your lifestyle instead. Live and eat a  healthy lifestyle. Really think about anything you are doing now or considering for the future. Ask yourself: is it something I can do for the rest of my life? Really? Make sure it is or you'll be getting right back on the fat roller coaster in short order. Don't diet. It doesn't work. Instead try this: follow these 7 Fitness Rules and see how great and how fit and how slim your life can be. Go ahead. You are worth it. Go ahead. It's no big deal.

The 7 Fitness Rules

Fitness Rule #1: That which gets measured gets improved.

Fitness Rule #2: Diets don't work. Lifestyles do.

Fitness Rule #3: Eat Less.

Fitness Rule #4: Eat a power breakfast

Fitness Rule #5: Exercise.

Fitness Rule #6: Eat less crap.

Fitness Rule #7: Get plenty of rest and recovery

There you have it. No big deal. Right? Is it really that easy? Is it really that simple? Yes it is. It's so easy that it's hard. It's so simple that it is one of the most difficult things you will ever set out to accomplish. Simple. Easy. And cheap. Nothing exotic. Nothing weird. No needles. No pills. No 20 pack of DVDs. Nothing that really even takes a lot of time. Oh, and there's no excuses either. There's really nothing new when it comes to losing weight and fitness. There hasn't been for a long long time. This stuff has been around forever. No big deal.

Think about it. Go back and look at the food I ate and where I ate it. Restaurants, a pizza party, Maverick, Maverick, Maverikc and a potluck. Pizza, eggs, bacon, a cupcake, cookies, milk and all-you-can-eat how many times? Wienie wraps, chili cheese dog and corn dogs. Interesting isn't it? Four days with no exercise. It's a little plus a little. It's slow change. Its commitment. It's awareness. C'mon back. Beep beep beep. It really is that easy. It really is that simple. It's the 7 Fitness Rules. That is all it is. A lifestyle. No big deal.


Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Well Rested

Saturday 11 February, 2012

they got that right in Taiwan
11:05 - Snick. Beep. 122 mg/dL. Another "no bad number." OK, let's see how many rules I can break today. It started with skipping breakfast due to some odd hours scheduled working. I'm not too functional in the morning anyway, but when I've got to mix an early morning with doing something with a smidgen of skill and courtesy, it gets real hard for me and important things like breakfast and setting a good example just kind of slip through the cracks. I walk upstairs and all I can smell are sourdough English muffins toasting in the toaster oven. A late breakfast is in the works. How can I say no?

So I have an egg, fried not quite soft and not quite hard on a toasted sourdough English muffin (21g carbs) with melted cheddar and a bunch of mufaletta spread. When I'm done, I call it brunch and I have olive oil all over my plate, fingers, hands and chin. I didn't need the carbs but hopefully the 5 units of NovoLog insulin will calm things down in my bloodstream. It's going to be a busy day today and I wonder how I'm going to eat right, exercise and basically have the kind of day that's going to help me reach my goal of 177 pounds.

mighty? no. fatty. carby. etc.
15:37 - A McDonald's Quarter Pounder with Cheese has 40 grams of carbohydrates and 26 grams of fat. Oh, and 510 calories. I find myself standing at the counter and I'm feeling a little pressure because I'm running out of time before I have to be back at home and ready for work. But the kids have been promised McDonald's so I say: "I'd like three kids meals, 1 with chicken nuggets and 2 with plain cheeseburgers, 1 boy and 2 girls, all with diet coke to drink and no sauce for the nuggets. I also need a Quarter Pounder with Cheese, just the sandwich not the meal." I'm trying to save time by giving the person helping me at the register all the information she needs to help me quickly.

"What size Quarter Pounder meal?....Oh, just the sandwich?.....Did you want a drink?....How many kids meals? many nuggets?....What did you want on the cheeseburgers?....Both plain?....2 boys' toys and 1 girl?....What did you want to drink with those?....Did you want frys or apples?....Oh, that's right. You get both now....What kind of sauce for the nuggets?" OK. Really? So much for expediting the order process. I wait. I get my food. I leave. Not a power lunch but not a power window lunch either. I walked inside because the window in my van's driver's side door doesn't work. So that was my exercise for the day.

pink gooey slime that is ammonium hydroxide
In my haste to pack my youngest daughter and 2 boys in the van and go pick up my older daughter, I have left my blood glucose monitor at home. I'm feeling a little jittery. I don't know if it's because I'm running late or because my blood glucose is going low. That's why instead of waiting until I get home and having something semi-healthy I opt for the Quarter Pounder with gooey "pink slime" ammonium hydroxide and Cheese. Better safe than sorry and even though McDonald's has confirmed that they have stopped using the "pink slime" in their burger meat, I can't get the image of ammonium hydroxide out of my head. Splurp yum yum yum yum yum.

I did bring my NovoLog insulin pen and I inject 4 units to try and overcome the charge of the Quarter Pounder with Cheese into my bloodstream. It was all I could do not to get the meal, but aside from saving the money, I didn't need the extra 380 calories, 19 grams of fat and 48 grams of carbs that a medium fry would add to my folly. So I enjoy my Quarter Pounder with Cheese as I rush home with everyone eating a late lunch in the van. In my haste I squirt a little drop of ketchup on my shirt. Grand.

Fitness Rule #7 - Get plenty of rest and recovery

I'm having no problem with Fitness Rule #7 over the last few days. I haven't done any exercise and I've spent a lot of time recovering. I'm not sure today is very restful. But I know for sure that today I'm not going to have the time to do anything that's going to help me lose weight or add to my fitness. And you know what? Sometimes that's OK. For your efforts at fitness and weight loss to work, you have to get plenty of rest and engage in plenty of recovery. It's just as important as the other stuff.

If you're working out hard core, you're going to need to rest. You're going to have to give your body time to recover between the stress that you are creating to make your muscles grow stronger. You're body can only grow and get stronger during the process of recovery and to recover you need rest. Rest can mean many different things. It can be both active and passive and both are very important.

Get lots of sleep - Sleep is the time when your body's glands and organs help your body recover and heal. Get lot's of it. As much as you can. It will help you build muscle which will help you loose weight and be fit.

Take naps - If you are worn out and feel tired. Take a nap. Naps are powerful healers.

Don't over do it - Don't "over-train." Most of us are not in much danger of over-training. Frankly, if you're just starting out with exercise, it's almost impossible to do. You are going to see your biggest gains in fitness right away and thank goodness for that. Hopefully that will keep you motivated to continue. And if you continue you will eventually plateau. That might be a sign of over-training or it could be a sign that you need to move to the next phase of whatever you are doing to make you fit.

If you do over-train your progress will stop or slow to a crawl. If you notice that happening to you it is likely that your not mixing in enough rest and recovery. So sleep more. Mix in naps. And lay off the animal workouts here and there. Your body needs time to repair the damage that those work outs are causing. That is how your muscles grow stronger. Not from the working out, but from the recovery. Give your body the recovery.

Rest good - I spent a little time in the U.S. Marine Corps as a forward observer in the infantry and I learned a lot. I did and saw a lot of things that helped make me who I am, both good and bad. I think probably the most valuable lesson I learned while serving was to take cover under fire. The next most valuable lesson, and the one that has had the most impact on my life outside of the military, is "Never stand when you can sit and never sit when you can lay." Wise words. Make sure you rest good. It will help your fitness and weight loss.

Use active recovery - Rest and recovery isn't just about sleeping and being lazy. Spend some time doing what you do for your fitness and weight loss but just take it easy while doing it. Are you sore from doing push-ups to failure? Do your workout, but don't go to failure. Just do a few. Recovery. If you cycle, you can still go for a ride, just make it a recovery ride. I wrote about recovery rides last year. The Fat Cyclist also has some good information on a recovery ride as well.

a salad as big as your head
18:22 - Snick. Beep. 132 mg/dL. Not bad after a Quarter Pounder with Cheese but now it's time for a real meal. A meal that obeys the Fitness Rules. 4 units of NovoLog insulin and a nice big salad with onions and green onions and an ounce of grated cheddar and a half cup of mufaletta spread and four wafer thin slices of ham sliced up and some Tony's and Italian dressing to top things off. There's still no time to exercise. I've got to eat quick and get back to work.

23:21 - It's a good thing resting is a Fitness Rule because I've spent the last three days obeying that rule. And the way things look tomorrow, I will probably be obeying that rule for a fourth straight day. I inject my 15 units of Lantis insulin and head off to bed later than I should for another night of not enough restful sleep.