Tuesday, February 28, 2012

RBL - Mid-Assessment review

Today was my Mid-Assessment review with my Wellness Works coach as a part of Rob's Big Losers. I went into today confident that I was really improving, but I was glad to have the numbers (everyone remembers that I am a numbers person, right?) to really quantify it. Some of the numbers really shocked me in what I was able to accomplish in just 6 weeks.

For starters, what I knew. I dropped close to 20 lbs so far. I've been really pushing on watching my food intake, and making sure that I eat the right kinds and amounts of foods in the last 6 weeks. What I've learned from this is that making good food choices is a daily requirement. I refuse to call it a struggle, as life should be about experiences and not struggles. Good nutrition is about a new lifestyle and a whole new ballgame, not just shoehorning food into your existing lifestyle. I've been purposefully bringing my lunch, and eating out as a family is now a special treat instead of a "we need to eat because our schedule is so crazy". Dinner time has become more enjoyable overall, and I feel like everyone in the family has more energy.

The blood pressure and heart rate tests were what I expected, and were a nice surprise. While the official paperwork states that my blood pressure is WAY down, the kickoff meeting was probably not the best time to gather that particular statistic, as I was extremely stressed out going through the battery of tests. That said, it was nice to re-affirm that my blood pressure is lower than it's typically been, and I attribute this to the workout schedule that I've been keeping. The amount of endurance workouts that I employ help me to manage my stress a lot better, and has helped out my resting heart rate as well.

What I didn't expect was the body fat % change. I reduced my body fat percentage from approximately 32% down to under 25% in just 6 weeks! That is a pretty major body composition shift, one that I haven't personally reconciled yet. While I fully recognize that my body composition is changing, since I refuse to wear my "fat" jeans anymore because they feel so terrible on me, when I look in the mirror I really don't see the drastic change these numbers imply. This is where prayer and conquering my own self image will be key. For me to see the changes in myself I know will take a lot longer than the changes that are happening (since I see myself every day).

The rest are exercise related changes. The first was a step test, which was testing my HR recovery. It was in line with the other tests and expected.

The second was a core test, doing half situps. First, I will go on record to state that I enjoyed these excessively more than doing the full situps that we did the night of the Kickoff. I didn't exhaust myself and start attempting to use my back to force myself up as much, and I felt I did better. The official numbers seem to corroborate this, and my core improved from a 19 to 29 in the past 6 weeks. My upper body tests showed a similar improvement from 6 to 9 reps before exhaustion.

The last was my flexibility, and this really is my Achilles' heel (pardon the pun). Flexibility is not my strong suit, and I know it. Even at my most fit playing baseball I wasn't flexible, even with all the stretching we used to do. It's something I really need to work on in the coming weeks and months as I continue my journey. That said, I improved from a score of 5.5 to a score of 10 during the 6 week period.

In recap, the 6 week review indicated the following:

7% reduction in body fat (23lbs of body fast lost)
19.4 lbs overall (thus gained 3.6lbs of muscle)
8 bpm reduction in RHR
3 point reduction in BMI (35 to 32)
almost doubled Core Endurance (19/29) and Flexibility (5.5/10)
drastically increased Upper Body Endurance (6/9)

To me, this is just incredible.  I have been working hard, and really watching how and what I eat.  I've been making sure to get in exercise as much as I can.  I've been spending the time to understand how wonderfully created my body is, and how much God loves us by the bodies that he crafted for us.  I am respecting myself more by how I treat myself, and how I think of myself.  I'm glad that my body is responding so positively to the challenges.  I cannot imagine that the next 6 weeks will bring similar changes, but rather a smoothing out of the rough spots for me.  I know that I need to work harder at core and upper body strength, and that my flexibility needs to be a goal.  The deal is that my goals after the 12 week program are strong at this point, and balancing my personal goals with a good overall fitness routine will be one of the biggest challenges I face in the next 6 weeks.

Monday, February 27, 2012


Today was my last planned ride for the month, and I had about 21 miles left to reach a personal milestone of 200 miles in a month.  It seems like every time I get close, I either do a very challenging event or weather gets the best of me, or I just seem to fall a little short.  Last month I came within a few miles and just missed the mark.  This month I ended up needing 1 good ride to finish up what should be a spectacular month for me.

That said, today was a planned ride with a few of the guys from work to go over Paris Mountain.  This makes 3 rides in the past month to tame the beast, which almost seems unimaginable to me.  The route took us up the Swamp Rabbit past Furman, and then up the steep side of Paris Mountain and over the top.  This would also be the first time planned where I didn't go back down the same side I went up on Paris Mountain, which would be a new experience for me.  With a fantastic day ahead of us, we took off on the route.

It's still amazing to me that riding up the Swamp Rabbit is a relaxing ride, even at a 16 mph pace.  We didn't rush up to Furman, but we didn't dilly dally at all.  We made our way up to Altamont road, and started the accent up Paris Mountain.  The first half mile or so I felt really strong, but I could tell that my legs were tired from the Boot Camp and the Sunday Brookwood ride.  By the time I reached the water tower, I had some doubts on if I'd have enough legs to make it all the way up to the top.  That said, I was still determined to NOT let the mountain beat me.  I had to struggle more this time than my previous attempts to keep my heart rate in an acceptable zone while climbing.  I had to find ways to recover whenever possible.  I kept my wits about me, and took the chances I had to recover instead of attacking when I really thought I should be.  I made it to the top, and checked my time.  Not a lot faster than last week, but still faster.  Not what I was expecting, nor what I was attempting to do with the run.  We got back downtown, and I needed just a mile to complete my goal of 200 miles.  Thus I took a longer way back to the car, and got a fantastic ride in.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Progress on the Bike

Last week when I went up Paris Mountain I was realizing that I was getting through to a new level on my cycling, and that just getting up the mountain wasn't enough to make it feel like a long enough ride. Because of the weather last weekend, I didn't go out on the Brookwood ride. The ride is most Sunday afternoons, and is a gorgeous trek through the countryside near Simpsonville, SC. It's typically around 25 miles, and has classically been a sufferfest for me as I attempt to keep up. Today we had a smaller turn out than I expected, since the weather was in the mid-50's when we started out.

About 5 miles into the ride, we realized that one of the new folks was very new to riding, and really shouldn't be attempting a 20 mile ride just yet. So AJ went with Jennifer back to the start, and we split up the original group some. At this point we really picked up the pace, but even then it was a lot easier overall of a ride than what I've been used to. I found my cadence to be much higher (sometimes topping over 100!), and my legs did feel stronger overall. I think one of the big reasons for this was my new attention to attacking hills, although I think the spin classes have helped build the capillaries in my legs a lot to drive more endurance. Hills have been a constant struggle for me. I grew up in coastal Florida - hills were what the ants pushed up before we killed 'em. An incline was the bridge we used to get off the barrier island during Hurricane evacuations. Hills weren't something I grew up around. That said, I absolutely love them, but biking on them has been a challenge for me. My bike before I moved to the upstate was a 1 speed cruiser, and it did what I needed. Now I have all these gears that I have to make use, and figuring out which one, and what level of effort for a given climb, takes a LOT of practice. Not climbing Holland road at the end of this ride for 2 weeks was an eye opener, though. When I climbed it today, and didn't really have an issue until we were almost to the turn off going back to Brookwood, I was amazed at myself. This puts me at an ever increasing milestone for the month, though. Right now I'm at 179mi for the month of February, not counting perceived miles on the spin cycles. I have a planned ride to go over Paris Mountain tomorrow, which should put my total for the month at just over 200. This will be the first month that I have gone over 200 miles since I started 5 months ago. Hopefully I can continue to increase that mileage as the year goes on, especially over the summer.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Shipped off to Boot Camp!

Okay, full disclosure:  I went Rob's Big Losers Boot Camp, not an actual military establishment.  Today marked the end of Week 5 of our 12 week Challenge with Rob Dempsey's "Big Losers", and this week's agenda was to attend the boot camp.  So the pack of us all assembled at the East Side YMCA in Taylor's SC and went through the paces.  A good majority of the "Losers" showed up for the workout, although a few had to miss it for family reasons.

Gonna make you Sweat!

We started out with a warm up that consisted of walking and running some laps.  I haven't spent a lot of time running since I had the issues with my feet a few weeks ago (and that was the beginning of Week 2!), so it was a good test of how I'd do.  I was happy that I was able to "bring it" through the warm up, and get plenty of time at an accelerated pace.  I need to schedule with myself some time to actually run a few miles to see how my feet will handle the 5k in 7 weeks.

After the warm up, we did a cross training routine that included 8 stations.  We were set into groups, and went through the routines.  We started on push ups, and continued through a kickboxing station, rowing, jump rope, stepping, more kickboxing, squats and jumping jacks.  Every 40 seconds (times varied, but not as much as the 1 song challenges during Friend Raiser!) we changed stations.  I think the only stations that didn't challenge me during the sequence were the step station and the kick boxing, although I definitely felt a workout during those. I wish I had brought my lumbar belt for my water bottle, so I could get more hydration as we went along, though.

After we finished several rotations (I'm not sure if we started or complete 4 full sets), we had a cool down period for a few minutes while we moved into the group workout room, which was set up with floor mats.  Here we went through an abs routine (youch it was a good workout!) as well as a Yoga class.  Yoga is definitely not on my top 5 things to do, as many of the poses put a lot of strain on my joints.  It also reminds me that I have a lot more work to do in my overall fitness.

At the end we gathered up and had a group photo shoot.  Afterwards I was tired, but it was a great time and I had fun in the larger environment going through the workouts.  We have another Boot Camp closer to the end of March, and I'm looking forward to seeing how I do on that one as well.

Click on the Y to see all the photos!

Friday, February 24, 2012

A Cyclist looks down 20

Today is a "Rest Day" for me, and as it happens it's also my weigh in day.  Since I started tracking my weight back in early January, I'm now down approximately 20lbs, to a hefty number of 235.  I have a ways to go at this point, but it's nice that the numbers moved for me early, as it's given me some motivation to keep working hard.  I need to adjust my schedule some, and be more regimented with "this is a swim day, don't go riding" for a bit to balance out my workouts, and time with the wife at the gym, some.   At the end of the day I feel a lot better, have more energy, and I'm energized to battle the next 10 lbs, which I'm figuring will take a lot longer than the first 20.  The last 10-20 I'm expecting to be the "long haul" of the journey, where I'm expecting that it'll be next cycling season before I'm even close to where I want to be.  But the effort will pay off.

What I also realized while looking back at the last 20lbs is how blessed and fortunate I am.  I've tried to make changes before, and they have gone okay, but I always end up slipping in the end.  I have too many temptations, too many distractions, too much of my old life in the way.  Even up until January this was an issue. I was working out, getting in 2-4 rides a week, working hard.  The weight wasn't coming off and I wasn't really feeling all that much better.   Since starting Rob's Big Losers though, things have been different.  I've already blogged about how much I'm proud of how my family has taken to the challenge along side of me, and I think the prayers that I've had with my friends, my family, and my church has gone a long way to extend that.  Temptations and cravings just don't seem to be there.  I go to Wild Wing Cafe and broccoli is just a natural change for me from fries.  I don't even want them (and I'm a salty carb fiend!).  I find myself wanting to find more ways to add veggies and fruits to meals, not trying to dodge it or forcing myself to eat them.  It's truly a blessing, and I cannot thank God enough for that gift during this journey.  Even when my 12 week journey with Rob's Big Losers is done, I don't think I can return to having fried food 5+ times a week. I just don't crave it, and I the few times that I've had something heavier my body has rejected it pretty strongly.

I started this entry with a more general title, but I think this one fits.  There will be a day this year when I'll have to post up "A Pirate looks at -40" for the parrot-head in me, and this is my reminder that I'll be down 40 soon enough.  I'm not going to rush for it, but I'll be as excited to write that post as I was to write about the first time up Paris Mountain (as read in the entry "Over the Mountain")

Thursday, February 23, 2012

More Jelly Arms

After a week of pretty punishing cycling workouts, I really was ready to hit the pool.   Well, kind of ready.  The last few times I've been in I was disappointed because I bonked way too early, and only got in a few laps.  To me, 3 laps just isn't enough to be happy with spending time in the pool.   Tonight I had hoped to get in a few more laps, maybe even double my previous efforts.  What I did this time was set a time limit, I was going to spend at least 30 minutes in the pool, and just do laps as I could.

With this in mind, I got to the pool.  Tonight, for a change, it was a quiet time and the pool was pretty empty.  Getting a lane wasn't an issue, and I hopped in and got adjusted to the water (I mean, there's really only one way to adjust to water temp, and that's feet first!).  Once I got in, I did a little bit of warming up, and took a lap.  What I noticed first is that my form is horrible (something I'm really going to have to work on) and that I was tired after 25m.  After the first full lap I was pretty darned spent.  I was determined to not bomb out after 3 laps this time, so I rested for a little bit, and went out for another lap.  At the halfway point I stopped to catch my breath, and this time instead of just doing freestyle on the way back I did a backstroke.  I was still pretty darned tired by the time I got back, but at least I wasn't doubled over and feeling my heart attempting to leave my chest.  It took a little less time to recover, so I went out again.

I repeated this same cycle for several laps, and realized I had gotten to 8 laps and still had over 5 minutes left to go in my 30 minute time period.  I went out for 2 more laps going freestyle out and backstroke back, and still had just enough time for a last lap.  I decided I'd encap the set with freestyle both ways, since it seemed to be the more exhausting of the moves for me (probably because my form was so bad).  The way back wasn't easy, but I managed to complete the 11th lap.  At the end I was tired, but also I also felt very accomplished.  11 laps is a number that I can be happy with completing, and to me it's a real starting point.  I wasn't quite to "jelly arms" this time, but I think that's because I was working on a recovery strategy the entire time so I could go longer.

My hope is that as I work in more swimming into my routine I can see gains similar to my success in biking in the pool.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Too Much of a Good Thing (sometimes it's still good!)

Today ended up being a "back to back" day for me with challenging climbs.  And when I say "challenging climbs", I actually am refering to climbs that when you get about halfway through them you say "why in the world did I choose this route?!?".  My buddy John couldn't make the trip up Paris Mountain yesterday, so I wanted to come up with a route where he could get some good attacks in and then we'd meet back up.  Overall the plan went well, although my legs were still tired from the effort up PM yesterday.  We did hit a hiccup when while not together the route I had put together called for a turn he wasn't sure on, so we ended up not following quite the same route for a bit.  We also ran a little short on time before nightfall, so instead of taking the hills back to downtown we ended up traveling back on the Swamp Rabbit to downtown.

That said, it was a really good ride. My legs are definitely tired at this point, but because of schedule and weather I don't expect to be doing any hard rides between now and Sunday.  The goal is to get to spin class in the morning for some more training, and then hopefully some time in the pool on Thursday.  I *may* attempt to make a second "omg how early is it?" spin class on Friday morning, but it would be quite a stretch, and it puts a pretty big crimp on the morning routine.

Moment of Praise, well overdue.

Sitting at my desk this morning, I got an occassion to think and reflect a bit.   Since about mid-December I've been using SparkPeople.com to log my food on an on-again, off-again basis.  I also take a moment when I can to read an article or two that they present me, to read and reflect.  The one today was about consistency.  There was a line in it about not wanting to cook dinner, because of the effort put into it.  I know this feeling, it's a feeling that we've struggled with as a family for years.  By years I mean over a decade.  I get home from work, my wife is frustrated and dinner isn't started (let alone ready), and we're off to some place with a drive thru (they don't even take the time to spell "through" properly they are so fast!) where we can get a slab of grease on a bun slathered in butter and a bunch of starch sticks.  We knew we needed to eat, and we wanted to provide a level of consistency for the kids with bedtime and structure, so we gave on nutrition.

Fast forward to 2012.  We're in a new home, in a new state, and building a new state of mind.  I'm coming home later than I used to because of work as well as my new biking habit. Even through the first 3 weeks, I can remember a couple of times that we resulted in a quick trip to Belly King or something.  Even the first week of Rob's Big Losers we ended up taking the kids to Chick-Fil-A because of time constraints.  Now, what we did was not order off the "number plan" that all of these places have set up, but we created our own meals from their healthier options, and just had water to drink.  It's been almost 5 weeks since that trip, and our time eating out has drastically changed.  We go out to eat as a family about once a week, and what I find absolutely amazing is that we do not react to a bad situation with another bad situation.  My wife has taken on the challenge of creating a new meal plan and cooking new recipes every night, and working out how to incorporate better decisions even in our breakfast choices each morning.

Last night is a perfect example of the changes that have happened for us.  I went out riding last night, and it was a longish ride.  I didn't get home until after 6:30pm.  The plan was for us to make up a healthy meal using spaghetti squash with some sauce and some left over veggies from a meal over the weekend.  When I got home instead of being in the old routine of her being exhausted and upset and trying wildly to figure out what to do, concerned with the clock, she told me that dinner wasn't ready yet because she couldn't get the squash opened up.  I changed clothes (since cycling clothes really aren't comfortable to cook in), and went downstairs to help before I iced my knee.  I got the squash cut and arranged on in the pan, and got it into microwave to help speed along the cooking.  We worked out the final details of the meal, and kept moving towards getting dinner on the table.  We ended up eating very late, which in turn really impacted the girl's ability to get to bed "on time", but everything worked out.

In reviewing the past 2 months, I'm so excited to see that we are seriously building a new normal around the house.  Even when things aren't ideal we are able to keep with important details (like making sure everyone has a healthy meal) and we're slowly rebuilding how we do things.  I'm so proud of my wife and how she manages to keep things together right now, and how she's really putting forth the effort on the home front to make things not be what they were before.  When I think to what our life was like just 6 months ago versus what it is now I feel completely blessed, and I can see the changes that God has walked us through.  My RBL journey may have started in January, but without the faithfulness and obidience that we had in August of last year, I do not believe any of this would be possible.

Monday, February 20, 2012

A 5-month review point

On September 17, 2011 I purchased my first (and so far only) road bike.  After making the purchase, John made a point to bring me over to the Swamp Rabbit Trail (SRT for short) and show me the path as a training ground.  It's still an area I love, and I intend to bring the girls out there one of these weekends for a ride to get them riding somewhere new.  It's mostly level, although it does get into a 3% incline over by Furman (about 7 miles up the trail).  Where's it's more interesting from the vantage point of this post is to review my performance comparing a few specific rides.  The first is my ride from 9/17:

Since this was my first ride on the new bike, and I didn't have a real bike computer yet (this data was taken from my phone), it's interesting from the time perspective.  Only my memories really document how it felt to slog up SRT for the first time.  When we got through Furman there is a sitting area, and for the first month or so it became my "turn around" point, and a place where I could take a break, sit down to rest and get a quick snack.  Just getting this far on the bike was a real effort most of the time, although if you dig through my Strava report for September and October you can see where I often went further up the trail.  I borrowed a HR monitor watch from John back then, and I remember having to make a conscious effort to make sure my heart didn't go over 160 while going ~12mph up the trail, and my cadence was sporadic at best, needing to often stretch out my legs.

The second of the rides would be the first SRT spin that I had the bike computer.  This also happens to have been my first group ride with the Spinners up on their "Ice Cream rides" on Sundays.

This had a different start place, and went a little further, but you can see that I was able to ride further and harder than the first ride.  This one is interesting because I have the cadence and heart rate data to compare to other rides.  You can see that my heart rate is still going over 170 here, even in the more flat areas of the ride (and in some cases downhill).  You can also see the first real data I have for cadence, and you can see even 3 weeks later I'm still not spinning for any serious length of time.  Some of this is because of the nature of the trail, although you can see that I'm more than likely pushing a big gear to keep up more than really trying to keep a decent cadence.

Fast forward to today.  Today was an easy spin up SRT, up and down Paris Mountain, an extended trip up SRT to Traveler's Rest, and then back to downtown.

What you will see here is that until we got to Furman my heart rate is sub-130, and recovered extremely quickly when we had rests.  The trip up Paris Mountain was a challenge, but it was a manageable task and I didn't reach max heart rate until I was powering over the last grunt on the trek.  You notice on the trip back down that my heart rate recovered very quickly.  You'll also notice that the cadence stays strong throughout the ride, and you notice when the cadence stops is typically at a crossing point where we actually had to slow down and stop.  The entire 25 minutes it took me to go up the mountain I was peddleing without any major break.   The cadence was a little low (sub 60), but it's improving.

What it's showing me is more proof on how my cycling skills are improving.  I spend a lot of time being upset that I cannot keep up with the Brookwood Rides or with some of the guys from work when we go out.  I don't want them having to wait up for me all the time.  The fact that I can see the gains that I'm making right now is encouraging, and knowing that the efforts I've been putting forward as a part of Rob's Big Losers is paying dividends is comforting.  I now look at a ride up SRT as something to do for recreation instead of for fitness gains, and I need the challenge of extending the ride just to make it worth going out.  I look forward to a time when I can say that about more rides.

Body Fat % check-up

So this weekend was rather droll.  I rested on Friday, icing  my knee to make sure it didn't have issues.  It felt good Saturday, so I took my oldest with me to spin class.  It was a really aggressive class, and my legs were tired afterwards but felt good.  Iced my knee to make sure it didn't hurt later, and then rested the remainder of Saturday.  Sunday it rained all day long, so I ended up running a bunch of much needed errands instead of working out.  I had hoped to get to the pool Sunday afternoon, but the errands ended up taking longer than I expected, and we literally ran out of time.

That said, I had more time to look at my progress this year, and take down some real numbers.  I'm a numbers kind of guy (if you haven't noticed from my Strava usage), so I like to keep track of where I am and what's happening a lot.  I had noticed that my body fat % on my scale had changed from around 38% in early January down to around 32% last week.  A 6% change seems massive but what does it really mean.  From my reading up online, the math for making this into real numbers is pretty simple, and since I weigh myself at approximately the same time every week (first thing in the morning, typically on Friday), the water % issue is less of a worry as far as the "relative change" perspective.  Is my scale 100% accurate?  I doubt it, but since I'm using the same scale for all of these reports, I feel I've been consistent on what I've experienced.

In early January I weighed in at a heft 257 lbs and 38% body fat.  The simple math shows that I had around 98 lbs of fat lying around under my skin at the time!  Using the math in this regard really grosses me out.  It also tells me that as of mid January my lean body mass was around 159lbs and my "ideal goal weight" should be around 205lbs (a weight with my lean body + approximately 18% body fat).  Last week when I weighed in I was at a trimmer 238 lbs and 32% body fat.  That means in about a month and a half I dropped down to 76 lbs of fat and a lean body mass of 162.  So I gained 5 lbs of muscle while dropping 22 lbs of fat.  Also calculating the "goal weight" at this point still shows me looking at 205 lbs as my goal if I get to 18% bodyfat (210 if I go up to 20% bodyfat which is the top end of the "normal" range).

What does this mean?  Actually it speaks volumes for me.  First it's a great way to show what the efforts that I'm putting in mean without just looking at a scale.  Second it gives me a "Real" goal weight, instead of just some number pulled out of dark and stinky places to put onto a "Goal" line in my head.  Having a realistic number to look at means I know what my body is actually capable of, and gives me something to look forward to.  The last time I was sub-220lbs was in 1993, and I wasn't all that healthy at the time.  19 years later I can say with strength that a goal weight of 210 is reasonable for 2012, and something I can aspire to.

I'm interested in doing the math on fat lost over time.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Thursday 2/16 - Swamp Rabbit with some Elevation

Today started out as a kinda dreary day.   After spin class AND swimming yesterday and the nice weather we had, it was wet and a bit chilly to start the day off.  I brought my bike stuff with the hopes of a ride this afternoon.

By about 3pm the rain had subsided, so we got a chance to head out on the Swamp Rabbit trail.  We got up near Paris Mountain, and instead of taking a left and climbing the mountain, we went right to go around the base.  The end result is about as much elevation (if not a little bit more) even though we didn't climb the mountain.  Instead of having a 6% climb for 2.2 miles, you get rolling hills with up to a 12% incline.  It's a good training ground, as I can do near intervals on some of the roads, but it definitely takes a bit out of me.

About halfway through dreamland my knee started to bug me some.  With my history of knee issues, I know to listen to what my knee is telling me.  Even though the weather is supposed to really good tomorrow (and a crummy weekend) I'm thinking I need to cool it and let my knee rest some and just do a spin class on Saturday.  My knee isn't bugging me unless I put out a lot of effort, so as long as I'm careful I should be okay.  I just know better than to exhaust and overwork knees.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Wednesday 2/15 - Cycling and Swimming

5:30 rolled around again this morning, and somehow I managed to get up and make it to the gym for another cycle class.  I dialed the gear up to "11" and went through the course.  Lori does a fantastic job with the class, and I was totally spent by the end of it, feeling like I need a hose to clean up the bike from all the sweat.  I did have to take it easy the last ~4 minutes tho, as my right knee was getting really sore.  The one thing that I learned  long ago is that when you knee is talking you have to listen.  Not listening to your knees is a recipe for a lot of pain and a lot more downtime.

So after work I met up with my wife back at the gym, and we hit the pool.  It took a little bit this evening to get a pair of lanes, but eventually we were able to be in the pool together and had a chance to get a few laps.  I managed to complete 3 laps without completely gassing out today, so that's a good thing.  Hopefully in a week or two I'll get to the point where I can add a 4th lap in.  It feels a little embarrassing that I end up with no energy and sore arms so quickly in the pool.  The awesome thing is how much both my wife and I enjoy it, it's definitely an exercise we can schedule to do together more.

Tomorrow should be interesting because the weather is hopefully going to clear by early afternoon so we can get a good ride in.  Since the weather is rather iffy for the rest of the week, we have to get in rides wherever we can.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Tuesday 2/14 - The Valentine's day workout

Nothing really exciting marks today, outside of the fact that Rob Dempsey took a few minutes to talk about my Rob's Big Losers blog on HIS Radio this morning.  The part that I posted up was the same part I quoted in my blog here about yesterday, and he really had some good ideas on it that were a lot of good common sense.  I cannot rely on others to determine my fitness and health, I have to make it happen.  If there's going to be something provided at lunch where I question if a healthy option exists, I need to make sure I have a healthy option with me.  These are the changes to my overall lifestyle that I have to reconcile, and determine where things like Pizza fit into my life going forward.

You can Listen to Rob talk about my blog entry

After that, I had a coworker come by and offer me support, bringing an orange and tell me "no pizza".  He happened to be in the same meeting today, and we were able to get salads instead of the pizza.  I was really pleased at the better option that became available.

I went to the gym this evening and met up with several of my team mates for Rob's Big Losers.  Tera is having a tough time, as she's struggling with an injury to her knee that is limiting her workouts for at least a few weeks.  I'm praying for healing on her knee, and comfort for her while it heals.  It was good to see so many RBL shirts in the gym, it really lifts me up and I know it is inspiring to others.  The employees at the Y are really excited to see us in there, and I think it gets them inspired to see us putting forth the effort.

My workout tonight was rather simple - I did an upper body workout on the machines, and spent some time on the "Beast" machines (elliptical stride machines).  I felt good afterwards, and on at least one machine I worked my arms to exhaustion, to the point where I couldn't finish the last rep completely (got to 11 out of 12  on the rep before I had to take a break and finish the last one).  I'm hoping that by adding more core and upper body workouts to the mix I can keep from hitting a plateau for too long.

Monday 2/13 - Attack of the Bla's

I'm starting out my blog from yesterday not only a day late, but swiping a part of an email that I sent to the rest of my Rob's Big Losers team.
Yesterday was a tough day for me:  no energy, low willpower, lots of hunger.  I realized this morning I had totally forgotten to make sure I had fruits in my diet.  I think this is the first day since the challenge started where I had left out at least some fruit from my diet, so I'm not sure if that made a difference in my mood and energy or not (my initial guess is yes).  Today is going to be a challenge because I have a lot of temptations in front of me, including a meeting where pizza is going to be served as "lunch".  It's going to take a lot to be social with it and not overdo it.
As you can see, it wasn't an easy day for me yesterday.  I started out with way too few calories, tried to be good through my morning snack and lunch, and by about 3pm I could tell things were not going to go well.  I powered through my afternoon snack and the rest of work, and had a light cycling trip (I'm going to call it a recovery ride).  Strava shows it to be an "easy" ride, but honestly it was rough on me to keep up on a pace that typically is a stroll in the park.  Now, on the fair side of that, I was keeping my cadence up and trying to keep my heart rate down on purpose during the trip, but I was constantly fighting fatigue and lack of willpower and energy.

I got home last night and I was tired and hungry.  Christy didn't have dinner done quite yet, so I sat down and ended up having some crackers with pepper jelly on them.  After helping out with getting dinner finished, I made sure to make at least half of my meal the side dish (a really yummy warm Zucchini salad with corn, tomatoes and black beans) and tried to be good with the fajitas.  I was under my calorie count, even with the Chocolate covered espresso beans for dessert.  

I'm going to try to keep my fruit intake higher, especially in my morning and afternoon snacks, and see if I can keep these bla's away.  They definitely allow the enemy to attack my self confidence and energy levels, and make my willpower weaken.  It's easy to get veggies into almost any meal, but adding fruits can be tricky.  I like fruit, but it's not something I instinctively reach for when I'm not consciously thinking about it yet.  I'm going to have to strive to work better on that.

Monday, February 13, 2012

What exactly does a temple look like?

I know that the image that is always brought up is that our bodies are a temple, and I've always struggled some with that image.  I mean, what exactly does a temple look like?  Typically they are granite or some other stone or concrete material, designed to be large and have stained glass or some other ornate fixtures around them.  They also typically have pillars inside or outside of them, and are designed to hold a host of people in a grand fashion. Even going back to the days of Moses, the temple was in a tent.  My imagery with that would be more of what we today equate to a circus-style tent (being large and made of pieces of other cloth, with a main shaft to hold the center of the tent up).  How in the world am I to make my body into a temple?

1 Jesus spoke to them again in parables, saying:  2 “The kingdom of heaven is like a king who prepared a wedding banquet for his son.  3He sent his servants to those who had been invited to the banquet to tell them to come, but they refused to come.   
4 “Then he sent some more servants and said, ‘Tell those who have been invited that I have prepared my dinner: My oxen and fattened cattle have been butchered, and everything is ready. Come to the wedding banquet.’
5 “But they paid no attention and went off—one to his field, another to his business. 6The rest seized his servants, mistreated them and killed them. 7 The king was enraged. He sent his army and destroyed those murderers and burned their city.
8 “Then he said to his servants, ‘The wedding banquet is ready, but those I invited did not deserve to come. 9 So go to the street corners and invite to the banquet anyone you find.’10 So the servants went out into the streets and gathered all the people they could find, the bad as well as the good, and the wedding hall was filled with guests.
11 “But when the king came in to see the guests, he noticed a man there who was not wearing wedding clothes. 12 He asked, ‘How did you get in here without wedding clothes, friend?’ The man was speechless.13 “Then the king told the attendants, ‘Tie him hand and foot, and throw him outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’
14 “For many are invited, but few are chosen.”
Matthew 22:1-14 (NIV)

One of the big changes for me with that imagery was to change the image that I'm thinking about.  Our pastor a couple of weeks ago brought up the imagery of the wedding feast, with Christ as the Bridegroom standing there welcoming the Church as his Bride.  Timing-wise, it was interesting because we had just celebrated our 14th wedding anniversary, and I had found some of our wedding photos while unpacking from the move.  One of the strongest things that I remember from our wedding was how much we committed to preparing ourselves spiritually, mentally and physically for marriage.  We went to marriage counseling with our pastor, an engaged encounter weekend, and dieted so we would look our best for the wedding.  Honestly, I look at the pictures of myself from our wedding and I believe I looked about the best I have in the past 20 years during that day.  I don't believe it's just because of the dieting, but because of why I was doing those things.  I was dedicated to being prepared for the life experience that I was going through, and preparing myself for the life long journey with the woman of my dreams, the person that God had prepared to be my companion throughout life.

What it comes down to was a question for me:  If I was willing to spend SO much effort for the preparation to spend this life with the person that God has prepared for me, shouldn't I spend as much effort preparing myself for the time when I go home with Christ?  To me, the question of how to prepare myself to be traveling with God should be just as important as preparing myself for an earthly marriage, and the imagery put forth in the scripture works so well.  When I'm invited to the feast in the Kingdom of heaven, will I be wearing wedding clothes and be chosen?  I know that I am not worthy of the feast on my own merit, but by the saving grace of Christ alone.  Even with that, should I not prepare myself as much spiritually, mentally and physically  for the wedding banquet as I did for my earthly wedding?  If I do not, am I putting myself, my own pride, my beautiful bride, or my own self worth ahead of Christ in my heart?

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Sunday 2/12 - Tough, but not a Sufferfest

When I woke up this morning, my phone informed me that it was 19 out.  Winter finally decided to chill us out a little bit.  That said, it's Sunday, and that means Church and then a bike ride in the afternoon.  I got to the meeting spot a little before 3, and a grand total of 2 other people showed up.  This was both a good thing and a bad thing, as the two folks that showed up I had riden with before (thus I knew they were strong riders), but I also knew they wouldn't just leave me sucking wind trying to catch up.  It was cold, and a bit windy, but it was a really good ride.

From the statistics over at Strava, I averaged a better pace and kept my heart rate down better than last week.  The other side that you will see is that all of the Personal Records I accomplished last week still stand, but I was in second place for all of the same segments.  What I'm taking away from that is that while I didn't put forth the monstrous effort on the known segments today, in the places in between I was able to properly rest and efficiently climb and use my energy instead of just trying to hang on for dear life on the group last week.  

I also think that I will start seeing a lot of benefit from going to the cycle class as well as the gym in general in the coming weeks, where efforts like last week start to wane and I have more realistic challenges on this particular ride.  I've lost about 12lbs so far on this journey, and while I still have around 40lbs more to go before I get near my "goal" weight, I hope that I'll start seeing the benefits of the lighter me in my ability to manage some of these routes.  I cannot imagine strapping another 12lbs onto my stomach and attempting to ride!

One of the things I'm most proud of is the 2nd place in the Scuffletown Sprint Zone.  This is a stretch where I have tended to hang on with the group for dear life, and a place where I really challenge myself.  Today it was  just 3 of us, and that typically means a slower pace than when it's a group of 10 or 12.  That said, we all took turns pulling through the Sprint Zone, and as such I came out with a really strong score.  I was really  happy that in the section where I managed to pull I was able to push the speed up to almost 30mph and really give John a good shot to finish strong.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Saturday 2/11 - Cycle Class

This morning started out early, with a trip to the gym for a cycle class.  I was a bit worried, as my left calf was a bit tight last night.  It was a good class, and I averaged 200watts for 67minutes, totaling 775cal burned.  I was able to follow the entire routine without having to back off.  Hopefully I can slowly up my base gear and build some extra cycling endurance.  I treated myself to a "Hulk" smoothie at the gym as my breakfast after class, which was really yummy!

My oldest turned 13 yesterday, so she spent about an hour with the trainers learning all of the equipment at the gym, and she got her own badge today.  When we were done we went down to the bike shop and she tried out a new hybrid bike.  We took a 5 mile journey on the Swamp Rabbit to see how it felt for her, and she really enjoyed it.  After paying for the bike, and getting Christy some new running shoes, we had lunch and headed home.

It was a long day between the two activities, but we all had a lot of energy to take care of the day.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Thursday 2/9 - Restorative Yoga

Today was my weigh in day, as well are our Team Meeting for Rob's Big Losers.  This week Jeff (the Wellness Director) set up to have a private Yoga class for us to take together.  Before class started, I had to weigh in.  At weigh in time I was at 245lbs, which is down 4lbs for the week and 12 lbs since the program started almost 3 weeks ago.  This is really good for me, and it keeps me on track to be in the 220's, which is where I want to be at the end of this 12 week program.  It's not the end of my journey, but it'll be a great start to getting where I want to be.

After my weigh in, it was time for Yoga.  For being mostly stretching exercises,  it is a pretty rough workout.  Anyone that isn't sweaty and tired at the end is either in really good shape already, or isn't doing it right.  We spent about 40 minutes doing the various poses, and even though I feel like my legs are relatively strong at this point, my quads were just burning in some of the poses.  And my arms were just sore after the planks and downward dogs.  At the end I felt good, and I'm glad I experienced it.  It's an exercise class that I'll have to seriously try to keep moving through my routine.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Wednesday 2/8 - I got up HOW Early?!?

Last night I made the decision to get up and go to a spin class today.  The kicker is that the class was actually at 5:30am!  So I set the alarm early, and got to bed .. well.. kinda early.  It took a few false starts to get going, in which time I forgot my bike computer (so I could watch my heart rate) as well as my water bottle at least once, as well as my breakfast.  I had only intended to have a few waffle biscuits (similar to the Honey Stinger waffles that Fat Cyclist loves so much, but smaller) to make it through the class before I had a real breakfast.

I made it to the class a little bit early, and I got myself fitted for the the spin cycle.  The thing to realize about spin cycles is that you cannot just rest, the bugger keeps your legs moving even if you want to stop!  That is, unless you are crazy enough to attempt to FORCE your legs to stop, at which point I think the spin cycle decides that you really don't need those kneecaps anymore.  After a little bit of time on it, I got the hang of it.  I dialed in my "home gear" and the instructor got us going.

Problem #2 is that my legs are strong, but only for about 2 minutes.  So I followed the instructors directions and got my home gear, but it was way higher of a gear than I should have been in.  Like 4 or 5 gears too high!  So I got about 15 minutes or so into the course, and my legs are just completely spent.  I had visions of overcooked spaghetti legs when I got off the bike.  I adjusted my "home gear" down a bit over a few attempts, and finally got to a gear where I felt like I could follow the class without having to take breaks.

I did have to go get more water about 3/4 of the way through the class, but overall I was really happy I went. 6:30 came around, and I asked for a hose to clean the cycle up, as I felt like I had sweat about 18 gallons of water onto the unit.  Instead I wiped it down, and we went through the cooldown stretches.  When all was said and done I was very spent, extremely ready for breakfast, and very happy I managed to get up early. So happy in fact, that I decided I should go back to the gym after work and get a little more of a workout in.

I met my wife and kids there, and while the kids were in Zumbatonic we decided to head over the cardio theater.  After about 10 minutes on the recumbent bike and I was definitely feeling the effects of the spin class in the morning.  It was about then that I was glad I didn't attempt to go out on the roads for a bike ride this evening.  The good thing is that I could just dial down the difficulty and watch "Mr Poppers Penguins" for a bit.  We finished up about a 30 minute ride on the bikes, and it was time to go pick up the kiddos.  From there it was home and dinner.

It's been a really long day, but I'm still very glad that I made the decision to get up this morning for the spin class.  I hope I can continue to make Wednesdays my early day and keep going to the class.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Tuesday 2/7 - More Cycling in the Hills!

Today was another great day in the Upstate, so that means I took the opportunity to get out on the bike.  I realize that the Stars and Stripes challenge is in May, and I have a LOT of training to get done.  John took me a different route up to Paris Mountain this time, and it has a LOT of elevation.  I struggled a lot through it, don't believe the crazy Strava report.  I seem to be doing better and better on each downhill, but the uphills are still killing me.

The one thing I realized while suffering up one of the climbs (about 8-10%, that's a breeze!) is that I'm feeling the same level of struggle on a lot harder hills now.  Back in the fall, I would have been totally gassed on any of these inclines.  Now they feel like I felt on the climb through Furman back then.  It's going to be a long road to May, but if I just stay diligent with it I'm sure I'll do fine.

Now to just manage to get out of bed at 5am tomorrow for spin class...

The Stars and Stripes Challenge

This is definitely a year for me to push myself outside of many of my comfort zones, not just physically with getting active, but spiritually and emotionally.  I knew that moving to Greenville would mean a lot of changes, but I feel like I'm being led more to move beyond who I was into who a person that God can use as a vessel for His glory.  In some ways it's not a comfortable experience, but I am striving to take each challenge with a "Dive In" mentality.  I've taken that to my cycling, and to the Rob's Big Losers contest, as well as getting back to regularly attending church and even joining a Sunday School group that both Christy and I deeply enjoy.

As a part of that, I have signed up for the Palmetto Peloton Project's "Stars and Stripes Challenge".  This is how they describe the challenge on their website (http://www.p3ride.org):

A ride like no other. Sandwiched between the USA Professional Cycling Time Trials and Road Race, the Stars and Stripes Challenge weekend puts you on the very roads where cyclists train year-round in Upstate South Carolina. Join us for a fun day benefiting cancer research, outreach, and advocacy.
To qualify participate in the Stars & Stripes Challenge, cyclists are required to donate and/or raise an entry fee, as well as meet a fundraising minimum. 

This creates two different challenges for me. First is the ride itself. The course is a pro-course. I'm going to be focusing on training for it between now and May as a part of my routines. It's going to be challenging still during the race day, and it won't just be "me against the mountain", there will be a bunch of other riders on the course. The physical aspect will bring a new level of accountability to my workouts, and a goal that I'm not going to back down from. It's a challenge I can rise to meet, as my internal fortitude is strong enough for that. The second half of the challenge is going to push me well beyond my comfort zone, into a realm where Dragons of my own fear reside.

"[C]yclists are required to donate and/or raise an entry fee, as well as meet a fundraising minimum." 

Fundraising is a challenge for me.  I dread dealing with fundraising, as I always do some research and find out that some suit is pocketing up to 49.5% of the money that I think is going to a good cause.  Many of you have heard me state that on some of my kid's fundraising exercises I feel like I should be buying them a fez and getting out an organ grinder with how they make them peddle goods to make us feel better.  So thus me asking others to support me is a stumbling block, and a stresser automatically.  I set myself a goal of $475 to raise by May, and with my typical fervor I intend to make or surpass it.  I just need to get off the blocks somehow.

One thing I have found while reading through P3's site is that a vast majority of the funds they raise go to 3 specific organizations (you can read the full information on their site (link):  

  • Amgen's Breakaway from Cancer:  An cancer resource and advocacy group aimed at helping patients.
  • Greenville Hospital System, University Medical Center's Cancer Research:   They are aimed at new cancer treatments as well as being a local system not a national organization.
  • The Lance Armstrong Foundation:  "The Lance Armstrong Foundation serves to inspire and empower people affected by cancer".

What I would challenge you to do is do your own research, but I did find out while going through P3's site is that a vast majority of the funds raised went to Cancer Research in the Greenville area (not some national organization with a lot of overhead). In fact, of the $210,000 raised last year by P3, $140 ,000 of that went to GHS Cancer Research! The remaining $70,000 went to Amgen. You can read all of their history on their site (link)

If after spending time praying on it, and doing your own research, you felt led to support me in raising money for Cancer Research and Treatment, I would be humbled if you donate to my efforts. P3's site is set up to support the riders, you just have to select "Brian Lube" on the dropdown list on their donate site.

Palmetto Peloton Project's Donation Page

I deep appreciate all the support I've had so far, and look forward to having a follow-up to this post with pictures from the Stars and Stripes Challenge!

Monday, February 6, 2012

Monday 2/6 - Mystery Cardio Theater 3000 (plus Swimming!)

Today was a crosstraining day for me, and I fully intended to spend it doing my routine in the weight area.  That said, when I went down to the free weight section, it was rather full of people.  I couldn't tell if folks were actively waiting to use the weights or not, but there were definitely more folks there than I wanted to deal with.  So instead of doing weights, I opted for a trip up to the "Cardio  Theater".  This is probably one of the coolest things I've seen, as it's a room full of cardio equipment (elliptical machines, cycling machines, treadmills) in front of a large-ish screen that plays a movie all day.  The movie changes each day.  Today happened to be "Apollo 18", which was an interesting show for the 1/4 of it I saw during my workout.  I sat down and ran through a relatively quick 15 minute workout on the recumbent elliptical, where I was doing intervals.  So far, that seems like the best of the machines I've worked out on at the gym.  Without feeling like I overdid it, my legs felt like they got a really good workout throughout the program.  When I was finished with the elliptical, I figured it was time to try out the pool, as I've been meaning to give it a whirl.

As a little background, I grew up on the beaches in Florida.  I don't mean "oh yeah, we went to the beach a few times a season.  I mean, I lived about 500' from the dunes, and spent almost every day during Summer Vacation in the water.  I honestly cannot remember a time when I couldn't swim, or that I didn't spend time in a pool in some manner.  We've taken the kiddo's to the Springs in Florida on a regular basis for snorkeling, and I consider myself a relatively strong swimmer.  Not Olympic standards, but I've always felt like I can do "well enough".  So thus when I figured I'd do "some laps" in the pool, my intention was that I'd do at LEAST 10 laps.   I had backed it off to thinking I'd do 5 and see how I did, but honestly I had figured I'd take a break and finish the set.

After getting changed, I went into the "bubble" (the gym has a shell over the salt-water pool to keep it out of the elements during the winter.  That itself is noteworthy!)  and found a lane to swim in.  I'm not used to swimming in a lane per se, but I didn't have a big issue with it.  I wasn't trying to do anything fancy, just swim a few laps.  Well, I got to the turn on the first lap when I realized this wasn't just another swim.  While they say that your heart rate doesn't get all that high in a pool (insert medical reasons here if you must), I was definitely getting winded right off the bat.  I made it back from the completion of my first lap and thought "whoah".  

I was still determined that I could complete at least *5* laps, I mean, common! I grew up around water. So I started on my second lap, and got to the turn and was getting pretty gassed.  I took a few seconds to rest (it took me about 45s to get to the turn, btw), and went on my way back.  I made it back, but by now I've realized there is no way I'm making it to 5 laps.  Actually by this time I was thinking I may need a nap...

Even with that, I was determined to at _least_ finish 3 laps.  I gave myself time to catch my breath, and went out for the 3rd lap.  I made it to the turn but I was pretty winded, the water was definitely winning.  I took a minute or so to attempt to get myself together, and started back.  About halfway back I had wished I had taken 2 minutes instead of 1 to rest at the turn.  At this moment I made a mental note that I was NOT going to be 'that guy' that had to have the lifeguards get out after just 2.5 laps in the pool.  What I did I realize was that I should really just set the goal of finding out what I could do, and 3 laps was definitely all I could do (and then a little bit).  After the effort to get back, I decided it was best to be done for the night, and to do some cooldowns and head out.  I got out, and headed back to the locker room.  At this point I realized that my arms definitely got a serious workout, as they felt like I had replaced the muscle with some jelly-like substance.

That said,  I'm happy that I got in to the gym today and got the level of workout done that I did.  I hope to look back at posts like this in April and see a huge difference in the intensity and time I can spend doing activities like this.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Sunday 2/5 - Extreme Sufferfest

Sundays are the day of the week that I absolutely enjoy the most.  After church, we come home and I get ready to ride with the folks over at Brookwood Church.  This is the ride that I typically push myself outside of my comfort zone while I attempt to keep up.  Today was no exception.  We started an hour earlier than usual, but we had a great group of folks show up.  I knew that I when I chose to go with the "fast group" that it was going to be a day with plenty of "Quiet Time" with just me and the bike on the back of the ride.  Little did I know it was going to be an "Extreme Sufferfest" in the making!  Before I go on, let me say I had a great time, and really showed improvements even with pushing myself so hard so early in the ride.

27.3 Mile ride according to Strava

The ride started out about as normal, heading out on Holland Road, which is the first challenging climb for me, and one I try to hit as hard as I can, as a way to test how I feel.  I did pretty good most of the way up, but this hill is always deceiving because of just how long it goes after the main climb.  By the time we made it to Harts road I was off the back a little bit, and as luck had it I missed the light.  So while everyone else is pacing away at a nice clip, I'm looking at the light waiting for it to change.  I took this as a challenge, and did my best to sprint the whole distance of Harts road to make up time.  I got there before too long, but I was completely gassed.  It took me until almost the Scuffletown Sprint Zone to really get myself back together.

Then there was the Sprint Zone.  We started on the sprint zone, and I felt strong, so I caught up with the pack leading out, and just kept on the back tire.  John and Paul passed us about 1/2 way down the sprint zone, so I switched to following Paul, and just pushed as hard as I could until the end.  With a Heart Rate of over 185, you'd think I would be ready to leave my lunch on the side of the road at the end, but instead I really and honestly felt great.  We then had to climb up Garret Patton Road, and keep on driving on.  I got back to League Road, and stayed somewhat up with the pack the rest of the way back (although I did take the shorter route back to Harts near the end).  Overall I'd say it was an Extremely productive ride, and I felt really great for doing it.

I had originally intended to check out the pool at the YMCA after I was done, but I think that the level of effort on the ride was enough for one day.  We have some cloudier days later this week, so I'll just reschedule that workout for then.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Saturday 2/4 - 1 mile on the track + Bike Cleaning

Today is Saturday, so it's track time.  Today I didn't attempt to run, since my foot is feeling better but not 100% yet.  Instead I set to goal to mostly walk at a decent pace.  I got in about 15 laps again, taking about 22 minutes.  I'd like to get the time down, but first I want to work up to walking the whole 5k.  I need to set up a baseline time to actually walk further, as I'm not to a "wait wait, I need to stop.  Does someone have a jelly donut I can borrow?" after 15 laps on the indoor track, but I want to feel strong on the ride.

After getting home, I finally took the challenge of cleaning my bike chain.  I bought the bike back in Sept, and since then I have been remiss in taking care of cleaning off the old grease and gunk that the rear cassette and chain.  After borrowing a chain cleaner from a good friend of mine, we (that is, Christy, 2 of the girls, and myself) took on the challenge of cleaning the chain.  Amazing how much sticky, gooey grease can come off of such a small chain!  After getting it cleaned off of the chain, I managed to find it on the rear wheel, the cardboard I put on the driveway, and least of which was my hands!  I managed to get the cardboard, chain cleaner, and rear wheel cleaned up (I could have sworn that the shop towel was white when I brought it out to work on the project?!?) , but my hands are a different matter.  I have a feeling that I'm going to be spending a few days attempting to get the last of the grease off my hands, or spending some money at Target tonight on some of the Lava-style soap that cleans grease off of hands (not to mention a layer or two of skin) better.

Earlier this morning I took a gander at trying on some of the clothes I keep around to mock myself from time to time as well.  You know, the clothes that you get out of the drawer when you've been bad about doing laundry and go "oh.  yeah.  I can't wear these".  Over the years I've gotten rid of most of these clothes, but I still have a few pairs of jeans that  I've kept around.  What I found is that for the first time in close to a decade, I can actually button/zip my 38" jeans while I'm still inside them!  I have a long way to go before they'd be wearable OUT somewhere, mind you (unless you really like the "Muffin Top" look, which btw I do not), but just getting that far is amazing!  4 months ago I wouldn't have even been able to come close to getting them on.  That bring on the new challenge of having to figure out what I still own that I can wear without it spontaneously falling off of my at inopportune times.  Oh the hardships of weight loss!

Friday, February 3, 2012

Friday 2/3 - Crosstraining workout

Woke up this morning feeling definitely under the weather.  Sore throat, stuffed up nose, etc.  "This morning" also was several times before my alarm went off.  Got up and took some medicine, and vegged most of the morning trying to rest.

Christy had her Wellness Works appointment at 1, and I figured if I was going to get any workout done today I should go with her, and crash afterwards.  I went through 2 reps of my strength training, about 15 minutes on the recumbent bike (I really like the Cardio Theater!), and then took a walk/jog with Christy around the track outside (since it was nice out).  My foot was still a bit sore afterwards, but overall I felt well.  Hopefully I can shake the rest of this cold pretty quickly so I can get more workout time in.

The weather doesn't looks favorable for a ride on Sunday, have to see what happens.  Have my 1 mile run tomorrow, too.

Thursday 2/2 - Crosstraining

The foot is feeling a lot better, especially since I got some new shoes!  That said, tonight I have scheduled to work out with Nina, my wellness Coach.  I went into the gym, and she had me go around the outside track and do some crosstraining routines.  I have to say that skipping rope while running around a track isn't my personal favorite, but it definitely got my heart rate up.

I did enjoy the medicine ball routines, though.  Especially the football routine where we ran with it down the track and rolled it back to each other.

Coming down with a cold, but hopefully I can push through it enough to get a workout done Friday.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Tuesday 1/31 - The Metatarsus Strikes Back

For those very astute out there, you will notice that the post date for this is Wednesday, even though I'm writing about Tuesday.  There is a reason for this, as Tuesday was not the most uplifting for me.  Monday was an amazing day for me, and I was very excited and honestly had issues sleeping Monday night. Tuesday I was awake and ready to get the day started at 5am.  I knew I hadn't gotten quite enough sleep, so I attempting to rest until closer to my normal wake up (around 6am).  For those that have had just an amazing day that keeps them awake at night, it just didn't work.

What I noticed what I got out of bed was that my left foot ached when I put pressure on it.  For those that have followed along, remember how I wore my five fingers for the 1 mile training last Saturday?  And how on both Sunday and Monday I did some challenging cycling rides?  Yeah, my foot let me know that it wasn't happy with that.  After I got moving it wasn't doing horridly, I just figured I'd have to be careful with what I did, and not "overdo" it.  It felt okay throughout the day at work, although it wasn't real happy with walking around for any distance downtown.  Tuesday is supposed to be a running day for me right now, but I figured I'd go to the gym and just walk for the time in order to get some of a workout done.

By the time I got to the Y, my foot was really not happy.  In fact, I would say it was rather ticked off that I wasn't listening to it.  I changed and went out to work out with my wife, who found a stationary bike pretty quickly and was peddling along.  The treadmills near her were all in use, so I sat down at the stationary bike next to her and cycled for about 10 minutes.  During that time my foot felt fine!  Finally a treadmill a couple of machines down opened up, so I figured I would finish up on the treadmill to at least do what was on my weekly setup.  Not a bright idea.  I did a brisk 15 minute walk, getting in almost a mile on the treadmill (although I swear that I would have walked at least half again as far on the track as I did on the treadmill!) and at the end I could barely put pressure on my left foot at all!  At this point I think my foot was trying to tell me "get off!  get off!", and it was at a volume where I really couldn't ignore it.

So I went home and elevated the foot for the rest of the evening.  I didn't enjoy having to eat dinner in the living room, but I managed (although I need to get my food journal up to date now, and I probably had more than I should have).

The silver lining here is that I think I broke through a plateau that I haven't been able to get through in years this week.  I've been stuck at the 250+ mark for so long, I'm pleased to see results both on the scale and in my clothes!  I'm just keeping myself focused on all the good, and elevating my foot while at work today.