A Fat Man's Journey (Working my way back…)

An Attempt to Journey from Fat to Fit in a Lifetime. Eat right, Eat less, Move more


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Time, Life, Moving along, a Reminder of the circle of life and Hikes and My Annual Maudlin List of Thanks


Time

I have been a busy fellow.

I have been working 11-12 hours per day at my regular job.  Many reasons.  We have much to do and the goals are high.  We have all been pushing to improve operations and we are making headway but it makes for long, long days.  I have stopped working at the bike shop for now.  I need the time off to rest on weekends.  The shop owner has been very good about giving me this time off.  I have been off from my regular job the last five days.  I burned off my last vacation day for the year on Wednesday and the plant has been closed since Thursday for the Thanksgiving holiday.

This adds up to five much-needed days of rest.

Now I have the energy and the time to sit and write  blog post.  See how neatly this all fits?

Life gets in the way

I have been trying to get the time to work on this blog.  I know I haven’t posted in a long while.  Really I have been just too tired and too wrapped up in my day-to-day to sit and put my mind at rest enough to write.  It’s a shame because I love writing this blog and it just hasn’t been in me to write.

I have also gotten careless and lazy.  I haven’t been recording my weight or what I have been eating and the result is that I gained back 20 pounds.  I am very unhappy about this but I am working hard to take it back off and get focused back on the plan and the goal.  There  are a great many reasons and excuses for this.  The truth is I simply lost focus.  Life got in the way.  Work at both jobs, stress, a battle with the Black Dog…  I lost focus.  I am getting back to the focus now.

Moving Along

A co-worker at the bike shop, the fellow who brought me in to the shop as an employee, the fellow who sold me my Trek Madone two years ago, is moving along.  He has been at the shop two or three years and he has decided it is time to move on.  He has taken a “dream job” with a bicycle company and will be moving to the Midwest.  NP has been a source of support, information and inspiration for the last two plus years and I have enjoyed working with him the last year plus.

Missus and I met with NP and his Missus this morning at a mutually favorite place for breakfast.  It is actually the first time we have gotten together socially.  It was enjoyable.  We chatted about the shop, about his new job, the move to the new area, the adventures he and his Missus have in front of them.  We laughed a good deal, Missus and I enjoyed their company a great deal and we wished them the very best and asked them to stay in touch.  Missus sent them off with a couple dozen of her famous chocolate chip cookies.

We all meet people in our lives who in a quiet way help you move along.  NP was one of those people for me.  Though a far more skilled and faster rider than I am, NP never declined an opportunity to ride with me, never showed impatience with my struggles up hills, never failed to listen attentively to my dumbest questions.  He helped me a good deal to move along in my cycling life and along my Journey.

Now he is moving along to a great adventure and opportunity.

I hope we do stay in touch.

The Circle of Life

Wally and I met the first week or so of our freshman year of high school.  He introduced himself to me by saying (in a deep bass voice no 14-year old should have) “HI, I’m Big Wally”.  I responded “yes, yes you are” and a friendship was born.  We would remain friends for the next 35 years.

Thanksgiving Day would have been Wally’s 54th birthday.  He died in 2010.  It was a tough Thanksgiving for me in any case.  No friends or family for Thanksgiving dinner, nowhere to go for the holiday.  Just a quiet day with Missus and the boys.  That it was also Wally’s birthday made the day darker and harder.

The next morning I learned that old friends of ours were presented with their second Grandchild.  On Thanksgiving Day.  On Wally’s birthday.

My mood lifted.  I now have a happy thought to go with November 27.  I will always think of Wally on that day.  Now I will also think about my friends and their second Grandchild.

You can always find a happier memory to soften the harsh memories.

The circle of life.

Hiking

??????????MT and PGB and I went for a hike today.  Seven or so miles, some climbing, on snowy, slushy, sloppy, and sometimes icy trails.  It was chilly but not COLD and it was a good brisk hike that soon had us opening our jackets and taking off our gloves.

??????????

Though it was a gray day, it was not a bad day for a hike.  There were a great number of people on the trails with us today and everyone seemed to be enjoying the day.  I think everyone was also surprised as we were at the number of people out and about.

??????????

The hike was fun, pure and simple.  MT and PGB are intelligent and knowledgeable on a range of topics so the conversation is good.  The park we went to, Harriman State Park in New York State, is not all that far from us and it presents some challenging trails and some easy trails and some of the views are spectacular.  The three of us have hiked it together several times and PGB and I have hiked it together a few times as well.  I always enjoy the hikes.

??????????

Today was not a difficult hike but it was a hike that demanded our attention.  The trail was slippery from the recent snow and the warming temperatures had turned some areas to slush and some areas wore a thin layer of ice.  Concentration and attention to the trail was important today.  At the end of the hike I was tired.  I also felt great!

??????????

Cycling has become painful for me due to some issues with my right shoulder so I need hiking to tide me over while I allow the shoulder to heal (or not).  Last time I went on a hike with PGB and MT, about three weeks ago, I had some problems with an erratic heartbeat.  I have had the issue for years and it is not anything that I worry about.  It just flares up and saps my energy when it does.  That hike was difficult.  I was very tired and the climbs were difficult due to the heartbeat thing.  As suddenly as the flare-ups occur is how suddenly they stop and the next day I was fine.

The heartbeat thing hasn’t reared up since that day and it left me alone today.  I was able to climb and hike strongly and I felt good throughout.  So yes, I was tired but I felt strong and I came out of the woods energized.

My Annual Maudlin List of Thanks, 2014 Edition

I am thankful for my boys.

The Younger One is growing in to a pleasant young man who has a level of kindness and patience in him that he certainly did not inherit from me.

The Older One is loving, sweet and funny.  The last year has been difficult but he has settled down a little bit as the new medications have helped.  He still will always face challenges and life will always be shaped by his needs but the love we get from him and the beauty he brings to our lives is immeasurable.

I am thankful that Missus and I are still together after 26 years.  No marriage lasts this long without some major bumps in the road.  I am glad that we always seem to find a way to smooth them over.

I am thankful for my siblings. PCG, BMS, and PCS are good, caring and loving people.  It is an unfortunate fact that we are scattered across the country and we do not see each other as often as we would like.

I am thankful for my siblings-in-law. KBS, who has been in a part of my life for longer than nearly anyone I am not a blood relation to (except for JKN and KEB), and who is much more a sister than a sister-in-law, CBS, whose company I truly enjoy and who I wish we could see more often (if she wants to bring my brother along that is ok), and GG, with whom I know I would be close friends if he didn’t live 3000 miles away.

I am thankful for my nephews and my niece.  MS, GS, and NS are wonderful people.  Caring, intelligent, loving and committed.  They are proof that involved and loving parents raise good children.  I am proud to be their Uncle and thankful that they seem to enjoy spending some time with me.

I am thankful they have J, A and H in their lives.  I adore J and A and I am truly happy that MS and GS have such wonderful ladies in their lives.  I haven’t had the opportunity to get to know H but I look forward to it.

I am thankful for my Grand-Niece.  She is a real cutie and I am excited by the opportunity to watch her grow.

I am thankful that I have the world’s best Mother-in-law.  She is a caring and wonderful lady.  She has never once interfered in our lives but has always been there for us. I am thankful that at Ninety she is still with us and still sharp.  NC is a pretty great sister-in-law.

I am thankful for SR.  She is a Grandmother to the boys and a friend and advisor to us.  She is involved, supportive and loving to all 5 of her “grandchildren” and we are all better for it. And I am grateful that I have formed such a good friendship with her son.

I am thankful for our group of friends.  The last few years have seen our group shrink for a variety of reasons but those remaining are dear to me and I am truly thankful to have them in my life.

I am thankful for the 39 years of friendship with the girl with the yellow rose.  Everyone should have in their life a friend who will embrace you when you are down, smack you out of it and hold you while you steady yourself.  We are that for each other.  I never doubt that when I need her she well be there.

I am thankful for the 41 years of friendship with The Little Girl Next Door. I have not been the friend to her that I should have been over the last year plus but she has understood and she has accepted.  I am thankful that she is finding her bearings again after her loss.

I am thankful for The Teacher.  She is a good friend and though we don’t see one another often, I know she is there and I am thankful that she will kick me when a kick is what I need.

I am thankful that SS has HH and I am thankful that I can call them both my friends.

I am thankful CRF has MF and that they are both my friends.

I am thankful for the friendship with NI.  He is a true friend and a great partner in cycling crime.  The good times and the laughter do not seem to have an end.

I am thankful for the friendship of The Friends.  My hikes with PGB and MT and our occasional dinners are a critical part of my journey.

I am Thankful that MTT found UJT and that they have committed to a life together.  Though MTT and I are not as close as we were years ago he is still my third brother and always will be.  His joy in his life is a joy I share.

I am thankful for and grateful to BP and CB.  Welcoming me in to the CC family and their support, patience and encouragement is deeply appreciated.  They have helped me on my Journey in more ways than I can list.

I am thankful that when the new ownership of my company “cleaned house” I was one of the few left standing.  I see good things ahead and I am grateful that I have the opportunity to “show my stuff”.  That is all anyone can ask for.

I am thankful that I have seen the age of 53 and will soon cross 54 in good health and fit and trim.  The Journey continues and despite some setbacks and stumbles, it moves along. I am thankful that I have a family that understands that I need to cycle and hike and they are patient and forgiving of my time away from them to do this.

I am thankful that I can laugh and love and write and talk and can be with friends and family.

I am especially thankful that my friends and family have made it through since last Thanksgiving.

I am thankful for life and the richer place that it is because of the people who are readings this.

Back on the Journey, back on the path, back towards the goal.

Peace.


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Losing Myself


A Hard Stretch

I haven’t written in a very long time. I just haven’t had my brain in the game.

I will not make excuses. I have put on 15 pounds and I am not pleased with myself. I know why. I have been eating too damned much. And I know why I have been doing that. The Black Dog has won a few rounds recently.

I have been working 12-14 hour days at my regular job. I have been working Saturday and Sunday at the bike shop.

When I take time off on the weekend it has been for organized rides or to attend to family responsibilities.

What I have not been doing is taking time for me.

And I am paying a price. Maybe a very high price.

I am exhausted. My abnormal heartbeats have returned. I am not sleeping at night. If I had much hair I am sure it would be falling out.

It is hard to put to words exactly what I have been feeling. Almost numb but not numb enough.

Vacation would be good but I am out of vacation time.

This has been a hard stretch and I don’t see an end.

I took Sunday off this past weekend. I had hoped to do the Tour De Bronx, a nice relaxed pace ride around The Bronx, but shoulder pain is keeping me off the bike right now. I hiked instead. MT and PB, my hiking partners of the past couple of years, and I went on a hike here in North Jersey. 7 miles or so. Not too difficult. Fun. When the hike ended, we went to lunch and shared some good conversation. I didn’t really want the afternoon to end but they went their way and I went home. Reorganized and rearranged our bedroom. Relaxed.

Not nearly enough but it helped.

Yes, this has been a hard stretch.

Finding me.

The last couple of months I have had the sense that I am having trouble finding my center.

In the past just being on the bike has been enough for me to clear my mind, correct my mood, get me centered.

Lately it has not worked.

Riding has been painful. My right shoulder. The muscles between my shoulder blades.

I last rode three weekends ago. My shoulder still hurts. Deep in the joint.

Cycling never hurt before.

Now it is hurting every time I ride and I am developing a fear of the pain.

I am trying to rest the body, give it time to heal, give me time to rest.

But not cycling hurts the mind. I miss the feeling of the bike under me. I miss the rides.

The last time I was off the bike for any length of time was in 2012 when I injured my knee. I am not enjoying this right now anymore than I did then.

So I have to find a way to find me. A way to blow out the buildup of stress. Away to clear my mind. I need to find a way to focus on me so I can focus on my family, my friendships, my life that does not include working.

I have 15 pounds to lose.

I have a mind to refocus.

I have much to do.

 

Peace.


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Ramapo Rally, Cycling and Reasons


It started with an injury

It is well-known that I love to ride my bike. I take every reasonable opportunity to jump on the bike and ride. I take the long way from A-B so I can spend more time on the bike.

So why would I give up a perfectly good Sunday to work the rest area of a large ride rather than ride in it myself?

It started with an injury.

In the early summer of 2012 I signed up to do the Ramapo Rally in New Jersey. I had heard great things about the ride: well run, well supported, challenging and beautiful routes. I heard the rest areas were well stocked, the volunteers were fun and enthusiastic and that a good time was had by one and by all. As I was just getting in to good shape and had just missed out on doing the Five Boro Bike tour (sold out before I registered), I was looking for a challenge and I figured the 50-mile route would be JUST the ticket.

June 22, 2012 is the date I registered for the ride.

June 23, 2012 is the day I went on a Club Ride.

Twenty-five miles or so in to the ride I dropped my chain, spun out and tore the meniscus in my right knee.

The ride was out.

The club was fantastic and refunded my registration fee. That is unusual. Most rides will not refund money and for good reason. The money goes towards planning and if everyone who had second thoughts about a ride got the money back it would be impossible to plan accurately.

Seeing as I had the injury and had JUST registered… They were very kind.

Now the thing to know is that I was able to walk, climb stairs, stand… All without pain. Cycling hurt like crazy.

So I offered to volunteer and I was assigned to a rest area. We worked like crazy that day. And I loved it.

Last year I did it again and I supplied 14 dozen of Missus’ home-baked chocolate chip cookies and three of my wonderful apple cakes (recipe below). It was a fantastic time. So, this year I did it again and supplied the same fresh-baked goods.

At the Ramapo Rally Rest Area

At the Ramapo Rally Rest Area

Yes, most times I would rather ride. Most times I would rather feel the road under my wheels. Once a year, for this ride, I love to give my time and encourage the other riders. I do a number of organized rides each year. Most years I try to do the Five-Boro Bike Tour, The Ride for Autism, The NYC Century, Hub on Wheels and The Turkey Ride. The friendly faces at the rest areas, the tech support from the local bike shops, the banana, the cookie and the refill of the water bottles are very welcome. They add to the experience in a very positive way when done well. They are usually done well. On my first Ride for Autism I was pretty shot when I rolled in to the rest area at the 40-mile mark. I had ten miles to go, had become separated from my friend, and was really wondering if I should take the SAG (Support And Gear) wagon the rest of the way. After stopping at the rest area, getting the enthusiastic greeting, getting some encouragement and a quick bite, I felt revived and was back on the road, found my friend and finished the ride with him. Sometimes the rest area volunteers are the difference in finishing the ride on the bike or finishing in the SAG wagon.

So my knee injury turned me in to a volunteer this one ride per year. It was the best thing to come out of that injury.

Sticking to it

I looked back at the blog post I wrote about the knee injury. I realized I am still doing so much of what I was doing then. Eating right, eating less, moving more. Yes, I have gained a few pounds back, I am over the goal weight I had set of 210 pounds. I am not thrilled with this but I am OK with it for now. The weight will go up and go down. I understand that. I just have to stick to the plan which has worked so well.

I find that looking back at the posts helps me. It reminds me of the steps I have taken and the steps I need to keep taking. I will never give up this way of life. I am not going back to eating indiscriminately. I am not going back to being a couch potato.

I am sticking to it and I am enjoying the life I have now.

Yesterday at the rest area I so enjoyed being a part of the cycling community. I know so many of the riders and I have even sold a few of them bikes. They recognized me and I recognized them and we got to chat, we got to laugh and we shared that thing that cyclists share. The love of riding.

So I stick to it because I love it. I know what I was. I know what I am now.

This is why I do it.

Saturday Mornings

If I leave my house early enough, 6:30 AM or around there, I can get in a nice long ride before I need to be at the Cycle Shop for the day. If I plan it right , I get to SmartWorld Coffee at a little after 7:00 to 7:15 and I have time for a good cup of coffee and a whole wheat muffin, a few minutes of relaxation and then I get back on and ride another 25-30 miles to the shop.

This Saturday past was just such a day. On the road by 6:40, at the coffee shop by 7:15, coffee and a muffin, a little chit-chat with a fellow sitting outside at the sidewalk tables and then off on my ride. 2 hours and 51 minutes of riding got me to the shop on time and I had 40 miles under my wheels.

A muffin, a coffee and a bike.... Life is good....

A muffin, a coffee and a bike…. Life is good….

It was exactly the type of ride that I love most. A solo ride at my pace, my challenge and a little break to refresh the body and the soul.

The simple fact is this: I work long hours at my full-time job and there is a good deal of pressure. The Sunday shop rides are wonderful and I love leading them. They are fun and I enjoy the groups and the individuals but the rides are not relaxing. I watch out for the new riders, try to remember the route, try not to lose focus watching out for the other riders and crash (did that, not fun) all the while watching the clock and making sure we are going to make it back to the shop on time.

It is the Saturday morning rides that refresh me, clear my mind, rejuvenate my spirit. When I am riding on Saturday mornings I am alone with my personal challenges. I am free to fight my way up the hills, blast down the other side, watch my cadence, keep the pace up, challenge myself to ride better, not just faster. I am free to clear out the cobwebs and fight my personal battles on my own terms. Flying along the roads of Morris County NJ I am able to focus sharply on the task at hand to the point that it is almost as if nothing but the bike and the road exist. I hear the cars, I see the animals along the roads, I feel the air and hear all the sounds around me but I am not thinking about work, or pressure, or deadlines or anything but the focus of the ride.

Alpacas and a Synapse....  The farmlands of New Jersey

Alpacas and a Synapse…. The farmlands of New Jersey

It is on these rides that I understand the adage that cycling is as close to flying as you can get and still be on the ground.

There are times I want company on these rides and I will ride with others if I come across them on the ride. I have a friend with whom I have done a Saturday morning ride and we had a great time.

Mostly though, Saturday Morning is my personal time. The time I get to be alone with my thoughts, my energy, my efforts and my needs. I can ride as fast as my legs will take me. I can attack a hill in my way, not worrying about keeping up or waiting up…

I can stop for the cup of coffee without concern for another rider and whether or not they like a coffee stop on a ride.

It is my most selfish time. On these rides I am accountable to no one but myself and the rules and laws of the road.

Soon enough I will pull in to the parking lot and it will be time to clean up and get to work. The Floor Manager of the Day will have tasks for me to do, there will be prep work for opening up, shelves to fill, floors to vacuum.

Soon the customers will come in and I get to talk about bikes all day and be paid for it. A great way to spend the day. There are joys in the job. Selling a youngster his or her first “good” bike, a man my age getting back into cycling and the smile on his face when he rides the bike in the lot, the husband who comes in with his wife to buy her a bike and buys one for himself as well after seeing how much she is enjoying the test ride… This is why I love selling bikes.

But it is the Saturday morning ride that reminds me why I love cycling.

Peace.


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Just a few Comments


This is my Diary

This blog is my diary. I write about me. I write about what frightens me, inspires me, confuses me, compels me, enlightens me, entraps me…

So I use the word I a great deal when I write. I use the word ME when I write.

Because this is my diary.

This is a blog about my Journey. It is about my efforts and my tribulations and trials.

No, I have not discovered the cure for a dread disease. I have only lost weight and (thus far) kept it off.

I will continue to write about it.

When the mood strikes, when I feel I have something to say. When I need to say something.

Then I will write.

If what I write means something to you, if you find some pleasure in reading this blog, if it help you or encourages you at some level, then I am glad.

If not, if this blog bothers you at some level, if your life is so hollow and sad that you need to read the writings of others and find fault and then insult, degrade or demean, then please just go away.

Because this is my diary and if I let you and others read it, if I find energy in sharing this part of who I am, then that is all that matters for me.

Is it the 12th already?

Time does go by quickly.

I reached my goal weight on August 8th 2012. It was only 226 days after I had started this Journey. I am now more than two years since I reached the goal weight and I am still holding the weight down. I am still riding the bike, getting the exercise, eating right, staying trim.

Time for the annual pizza. Need to find the time. Work is killing me….

Am I proud? YOU BET. I am proud, I am pleased, I am overjoyed at the results and the continued travel along this road.

I am getting to the point where I am accustomed to being lean. I am accustomed to being healthy. I love the way this all feels and I am not giving up this feeling at all.

Four days past the anniversary.

Yeah, gotta find the time for that pizza.

Distance

I rode 100 miles last week. That is not a remarkable achievement by any means. It isn’t even close to the most I have ridden in one week. It is however important to me. It is important because it took so long to get there this year.

Cold and wet spring. Work. All the other reasons, valid or not, played in to limiting my total miles.

Getting to 100 this week was fun and satisfying.

I need to get another few hundred in this month to be ready for the 100 miles in one day that I plan to ride September 7.

Missus said this when I told her I finally got in a 100 mile week this year:

“to think how hard it was just to do that first ten miles three years ago”.

The more miles I put on the bike the greater the distance from where I was.

This is why it is so important to me.

And one or two words

 

I have spoken very openly about the visits of The Black Dog, my term for depression.  I have dealt with minor (relatively speaking) depression for as long as I can remember.  One summer as a child I barely left  the house to play but a few times.  I spent the summer sitting at the picture window trying to convince myself to go out and play games with my friends.  It was that summer that would convince my parents to send me to my Grandparents home each summer.

It helped.

To this day I deal with it.

There are triggers for me but it is not something that can be fixed with encouraging words, platitudes, hugs…

For me it is time and rest and then it passes.

For others it takes far more.

Depression is not something to be taken lightly.  It is not about realizing how good life is and cheering up.

Depression is serious and it has to be treated seriously.

If someone you know battles the Black Dog of depression help them get the help they need.  Professional help.  Medical help.

 

Peace


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Thoughts on Life


Been Looking Back

I was reading some of my old posts today. One was remarkably like the one I posted last week. Only the passage of about 18 months and the perspective that brings really differentiates last week’s post from the older post.

I think this is telling. I think it points to a truth about this Journey. For all I have learned about myself and my needs and my motivations, the same thoughts, fear, concerns, and questions exist today as when I started. The truth is that it will always be this way.

And I am ok with this. I understand that the scars never really heal over. It never really goes away, the urge to eat; the desire for food is always there. It is controlling it that matters.

If I have learned a lesson on this Journey, it is this: each day is important. Each meal matters. Everything I do will affect what I am trying to accomplish. For all the weight I have lost, for all I have learned about myself, I am nowhere near the end of the Journey. I can still fail. I don’t fear it as I once did. The potential will always exist.

I have kept the weight off longer than most who lose a great deal of weight. This does not make me immune to the traps and pitfalls all around.

I have a healthy fear of gaining the weight back. I know how easily I can fail, fall back, slip up…

Cutting back

I love working at the bike shop. If I could go back in time to my early twenties knowing what I know now I would find a shop like this one and BEG the owner for a job and I would do it for the rest of my life. Too soon old, too late smart…

All this said, and as much as I can use the income, working at the shop had one notable drawback. I have so little time to do the things I love. I have less time with my family, less time to ride, no time at all to hike.

I think come fall I will ask the owners if I can cut back to just Sundays and the occasional Saturday and weeknight. I would never cut back now. Summer is BUSY season and I think I am a help. At this point I have gained knowledge and experience and I would not want to leave the owners short-handed. They have been extremely good to me and there is no way I would leave them short.

I just need more time for family. I need more time to hike and ride.

We will see. I hope that it would work for them..

Weekend Plans

The July 4th holiday is coming right quick. No work ANYWHERE on Friday. Golden opportunity for a long bike ride and a hike.

I have a couple of people interested in a fifty-plus mile ride on Friday morning. I think that would be a great time if the weather agrees.

Afterwards I would like to get a hike in. I should see if PGB and MT are available. It has been a very long time since we have hiked together. In between I will spend time with my family, cook on the grill, have family time… Mixing the two is a challenge but I need both to maintain my sanity (such as it is).

Saturday I will ride in to the shop and on Sunday I will ride in and lead the Sunday Ride. I Evening with Missus and Da Boys.

Bliss.

Oh, the Younger One is nearly my height now. He just turned 14.

Sigh.

He will pass me soon.

An Interesting side effect of the weight loss: I shrunk in height.

I was just under 6’2″ when I was at my peak weight. I am now JUST a hair above 6’1″. Makes some sense I guess. My shoes size dropped from a 12 EE to an 11.5 D and my hat size dropped as well. Ya lose weight nearly everywhere… Just hard to imagine I could drop nearly ¾ of an inch.

It’s OK. I would rather be lean and shorter than what I was and taller.

Thinking about this: What I was…

What I was and taller. Interesting that I should write it that way.

What I was…..

What was I?

I was fat and I was miserable and I hated who I was and what I was.

I think about this a great deal because I have never stopped exploring why I got so heavy.

What I was….

I will never be again.

 

Peace.


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The Black Dog Won


Not the Weekend I Wanted

This was the weekend of the Five-Boro Bike Tour.

I look forward to this ride for one reason: Riding with my friend NI.

The rest of it is OK.  Thirty-two thousand riders make for quite the spectacle.

The ride was Sunday.  I had a good time on Saturday.  I met up with NI and a friend of his and we traipsed around the city, had a good lunch, did the registration thing…

It was Sunday that The Black Dog took his bite and I couldn’t, or didn’t, fight back.

I awoke at 4:00 AM, got ready for the ride, loaded up the car and drove in the New York City.  By 5:30, I was approaching the area where I would meet NI.  Then it happened.  The stress?  A stomach bug?  I am not sure.  I pulled over to the curb on a side street in lower Manhattan.  There and then, I lost what little breakfast I had.

I contemplated this.  Thought about what it was all about.  What caused this?  I turned around, went home and went to sleep.  I didn’t do the ride.

I never really felt any better yesterday.  I thought I would ride in the afternoon if I did but I didn’t  I didn’t feel much better and I didn’t ride.  Riding might have been the best thing for me.  Doing the tour might have been the best thing for me.

I simply couldn’t fight The Black Dog.

I sat on the sofa speaking to no one, doing nothing.  I wanted to climb into a hole and pull the earth back over me.

I don’t like when this happens (no kidding, right?) and I am not sure why it does.  I wish I could understand what is happening in my head a little better.

If I did understand it better, then maybe this would have been the weekend I wanted.

Guilt

I am not living the life I imagined I would have when I was a teen and well in to my twenties and even my early thirties.

I didn’t expect to need two jobs.  I didn’t expect not to be able to afford a vacation once a year or to have the difficulties I have.  This is not what I expected at all.  I really don’t like my career.  I am good at it.  I just don’t like it.  I don’t have time to do the things I like.  I work seven days a week.  I take off a weekend and I feel guilty.  I am taking money out of the family pot and I am leaving the shop shorthanded.  I don’t get to do the activities I so enjoy: hiking, cycling, spending time with my family and friends.

It is the guilt that cripples me.  If I work all seven days, I feel guilty for taking time away from the family.  If I don’t work the weekend, I feel guilt over not making the money.

This is not a way to live.  This is a way to die.

At this time there is little I can do to change all this.  I have to keep pushing.  I am not sure where this pushing will get me but I have to.  There is no other choice.

So I deal with the guilt.

My weight

I am the heaviest I have been since the middle of the summer of 2012.  I am up to 217.  This is not a good thing.  I have no excuses.  I have given in to the depression and the stress and I have over-eaten.  I have not pushed past the depression to get on the bike.  I have walked.  HUGE amounts of walking.  I have set a course in the factory and I make sure I walk it throughout the day.  It is great for fitness.  I am fit.  But I have out-eaten the calories I am burning and that is no one’s fault or responsibility but my own.

217-pounds. Pants are getting a little snug.  T-shirts are getting a little tight.

I have to get back to what I know works and I need to stay there.  I have indulged.  Cookies.  Buffet.  Not what, who or where I want to be.

It will not stand.

Getting it back together

I will take some days off work in the next couple of weeks. Take a few vacation days.  I will get on my bike and ride.  I will get out and hike.  PGB is sometimes available mid-week.  Perhaps he will be able to join me for a hike in Harriman.

If I don’t get my mind cleared and my heart right I will surely end up either insane or fat.  Insane I can accept.  Fat I cannot.

I understand the expression “a life lived in quiet desperation” now.  I didn’t always.  I do now.

Things have to change.  I need to make them change.  I need to get my heart and mind back on the same page, focused on the same goals, the same life plan.

I cannot accept what I am doing to myself with food, with stress, with life in general.

Getting it back together is must happen.  It has to start happening now.

Is life a constant battle for everyone? So many people I see seem to have it together.  I sometimes feel I am a single step away from the abyss.  Stepping back from that fall is the hardest thing to do when the Black Dog seems to be standing behind me baring teeth and growling.

Cycling, and time with friends, has been my escape from The Black Dog.  This weekend I didn’t fight hard enough.  I let the Black Dog win.

I have to find a way to fight harder. Or maybe I just need to be smarter than The Black Dog…

 

Peace


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Turns


Life

I was sick two weeks ago. I wrote about it. Just feeling normal again now.

Life has been interesting recently. I would like life to be a bit less interesting.

I love being who I am now. I have to tell you that.

I was never all that much a fan of me over the years. I have battled depression, fought off per self-image. I have been shocked when I was complimented on anything. I have been riddled with doubt.

I caved in to the negatives and I made them self-fulfilling.

I just don’t do that now.

And I like this about me.

Yesterday I led the shop ride and had a really good time of it. A group of seven of us left the shop at 8:30 in the morning and we did a 25 mile ride over the roads of Northern New Jersey. It wasn’t a fast ride but it isn’t intended to be a fast ride. It is a beginner/intermediate ride and we try to keep a moderate pace. Yesterday we averaged about 13 miles an hour while moving. And that is just fine. The important thing is we had a good time.

Living is what you decide it will be. I have decided life will be fun.

I am not going to live the rest of my life the way I lived the first 50+ years.

That Said…

I have been dealing with The Black Dog recently. I think the flu had something to do with it. Also stress at work. My “real Job”, not the bike shop job. The only stress there is I don’t get to work there often enough. Like Every Day…..

The shop can induce some stress. Trying to keep several customers happy at once when the store is very busy… But there are rewards. Making friends out of customers. Seeing a customer get on a bike after years of not riding and seeing the joy on their face as they test ride a bike. A customer recovering from an accident getting the bike of their dreams…

There are the rewards of working with really fine people. People who are passionate about bikes. Passionate about customers. Passion is something missing from my “real Job”. No one there has it. They go through the motions. They get the job done.

The Black Dog tends to hide after a couple of days with me at the shop. He can’t keep up with me. If I didn’t work at the shop I would surely go insane.

Recovery

This past winter was hell. Truly hell. I was depressed much of the winter. The cold kept me from riding. The ice, the snow, the rains, the grey… I gained a few pounds. Nothing terrible. I expected it but I did gain a few more than I thought I would. That gain is mostly gone now. I am riding. Eating right. I am doing the things I know will help me stay in the range.

I am recovering. Slowly.

My head concussion symptoms are fading. I do still have some trouble putting a sentence together once every so often. The owner of the shop asked me a question and I had trouble answering. He said for a moment he thought I was having a seizure. I think it scared him a slight bit. Just the way my mind works now. Sometimes the words get stuck on my tongue.

I am told by people with MD after their name that this is normal and it will pass. I didn’t do what the Doctor told me to do when I got the concussion. I didn’t stay in bed for a week with not TV, no computer, no books. I took two days off and I went to work. Why? Because I was afraid of losing my job. Because my company has an immature approach to illness and injury. Such is life.

The effects of the flu lingered longer than I expected. Two weeks later and I am finally feeling myself….

This is good.

So I can ride. I can eat right. I can work at the shop and I can save my sanity by doing so.

I am recovering from a lifetime of issues. These latest are just minor bumps in the road.

Rides

Ride season is here.

Next Sunday I will take part in the TD Five Boro Bike Tour

Me and 32,000 of my closest friends…

It will be insane but I am looking forward to it. There is only one reason I am looking forward to it. The opportunity to ride with my friend NI. We met through this ride and we have now been friends since 2010. I list him high on my list of good people and I only wish we lived closer together so we could ride together more often.

NI and I do five rides together. The TD Bank Five Boro Bike Tour, The Ride For Autism, The NYC Century, The Discover Hartford Ride and, Boston Hub on Wheels (the best of the bunch in terms of quality of the ride). I would do Montreal as well but it is out of the scope of my budget….

I cannot tell you how enjoyable rides like this can be when you ride with a friend and you can share the accomplishment.

Fun time.

I am a little discouraged with the fund-raising efforts for the Ride for Autism and Danny’s Team. I had hoped we would raise more than last year. I raised $1495 last year. This year we are at $1,118. Maybe more will come in. It is for such a good cause….

We do have 8 or 9 members of Danny’s Team now. This makes me very happy. That is a few more people who signed up for the ride and that is the primary fund-raising means for the ride anyway.

I hope to find a few more rides to do this year with NI.

Join us!

 

 

Peace