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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The Cold of the Winter


Not a Fan

When I was a teen and then in to my early twenties I enjoyed the cold.  It rarely bothered me.  I would shovel the snow in a T-shirt.  I walked two miles after a blizzard to see my girlfriend when I was sixteen.  Winter was not a problem for me.

It is now.

I hate the cold.  Truly hate it.  I rarely ride in the winter.  I barely get out to hike.  I dream of a job transfer to the dessert southwest….

I haven’t cross-country skied this winter.  Not nearly enough snow most of the time and a little leery of it since my concussion last winter.

So I sit and wait for spring.

Winter?  Not a fan.

Plans for Spring

I have the usual bike ride planned this year.  I am doing the 5-Boro Bike tour again.  I went off the deep edge and paid for the VIP package so I can be sure to start near the front of the 32,000 riders.  Nuts?  Yes.

I am doing the Ride for Autism as I do every year.  It is the one ride it would hurt me to miss.  Eighteen people have signed up to ride as a member of the team.  I hope we get more before the ride in June.

I hope to lead the beginner/intermediate bike rides again for the shop.  If I don’t lead I will still partake.

I didn’t come anywhere close to my mileage goal last year.  I hope to get the miles in this year.  If all goes well I may be able to limit working at the shop to Sundays.  That would certainly make Saturday an easier day to get in the miles…  Maybe get some club rides in.  I haven’t ridden with the club in three years.  I pay dues…  I really should get out on a club ride or two.

Spring is only 6 weeks away, not matter what the forecasting rodent says….

Cooking

Udon and VEgetable Soup.  Perfect for this cold winter night

Udon and VEgetable Soup. Perfect for this cold winter night

This time of year there is a positive for me: I cook.  I make soups.  Pot upon pot of soup.  Today I made my “everything in the pot” veggie soup.  Whatever is in the fridge and the freezer and is considered a vegetable gets tossed in and I cook it until it is soup.  Today it was mushroom, onion, kale, corn, broccoli, sugar snap peas, tomato and tofu.  Cover with water, season, cook…

I served it with Udon noodles…  It made for a wonderful dinner.

Tomorrow I will roast some squash and make roasted squash soup…  Fill up the freezer, it is a long winter.

I also plan to bake some breads.  I am picking up a computer from a friend and I am going to bring him some breads to thank him for his help.  Good man.  Deserves some fresh-baked breads.

I love to cook.  I just wish I could get out of the house…  I need to hike… I need to bike…  Cooking will have to do.  And the treadmill….

My Weight

I am doing OK.  Not great.  OK.  I have put on a little weight, 10 pounds, this winter.  It is slowly coming down.  Lost 5 last week.  Want to lose 20 more by the end of March and then 20 more by June.

I sometimes stop fighting the fight.  I admit it is hard to always say no to pizza and cookies and donuts.  I do.  I still do.  But the fight is hard.

I have been fighting The Black Dog again.  It has had the upper hand recently but I can feel that I am pulling out of it.  Missus is so tolerant when I am in the cave.  She waits, knowing I will pull out of it somehow.

I have some very big decisions to make and I am struggling with the choices.  It isn’t always easy to know what to do with one’s life.  I am still trying to decide what to be when I grow up and here I am in my mid 50’s….

So eat right, eat less, move more….

It is always a struggle.  I will not be fat again.

A Little of my prose:

One advantage to being depressed is I write….

 

I wrote this last week.

The Photograph of the Moment

1/24/2015

 

Sitting on the hill, waiting to take photographs in old style with film, sitting on the ledge looking out to the valley with a camera ready in hand.  Looking for that moment when the light would be just right, the perfection realized, sitting still up on the hill waiting for the sun to set.

 

Sitting in the special quiet and looking out to the distance where a bird is gliding. Sitting waiting for that perfect moment in old style with film, when the moment would be just right, nearly perfect, sky and earth one.

 

Sitting, now watching as the sun begins to set, sitting on that ledge, sitting as the slight chill sends a shudder along the arms.  Sitting on that ledge as the sky begins to glow a softer light, nearly perfect, nearly right.  Sitting on that hill with the old camera in hand, film is wound and shutter cocked and the light is nearly there.

 

Sitting on the hill with the camera at the ready, sitting watching for that moment coming soon, with the sky now orange and the clouds now fringed with light, sitting on the ledge, feet near the edge, watching for that perfect moment, that perfect light. The sun now setting in amber, the sky now perfect, the moment is now and then nothing.

 

Sitting on the hill, the moment passes, camera hanging from the hand, the sky was perfect, too perfect to photograph in old style on film.  The moment committed to memory where it will stay in perfect light. Now standing, now walking away from the ledge.  

 

 

Peace


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OUCH


I Crashed HARD

In the words of my oldest brother, the one who played Rugby into his late forties despite being half the size and twice the age of the other players, “that good health stuff is going to kill you.”

I do try to stay active. Despite the snowy and cold winter to which we have been subjected, I have tried to keep moving. Not always have managed but I have tried.

I have not ridden a single foot outside on my bike this year. Too much snow, too narrow and icy roads….

I did, however, have an opportunity to get in some cross-country skiing.

The Monument in the distance from the Patio at the Lodge

The Monument in the distance from the Patio at the Lodge

High Point State Park is, as the name implies, the highest point in the state of New Jersey. A mere 1803 feet above sea-level, it does not impress people from New England and it is barely a foot hill to people from the west. It is ours and we love it. The state runs cross-country ski trails around the park when the snow fall will allow and this year the snow fall allows…

I asked the owner of the Bike shop if I could start and hour late on Sunday, he said yes and so early on Sunday morning I drove the 45 minutes from my home to High Point, paid my $18.00 for a trail pass (which is ridiculous…) and off I went.

I was the first person out on the trails! Fresh snow! I was having a blast! About 1 km from the lodge I had to cross an asphalt paved road. Now here is where we come to the part of the story where I say “I knew better” because I did. I do. I know and I knew better than to do what I did.

You see, though I have been cross-country skiing since 1990 (there was a ten-year period when I didn’t at all) I have never been “Good” at it. Truth be told I am pretty bad at it. I am clumsy, not at all smooth, never get in to that nice rhythm that “good” skiers get in to. I consider it a great day on the trails if I only fall 4 or 5 times. I know it will happen and so I have become quite good at falling. Despite this I really enjoy the skiing and I love the feel of the cold air and the special quiet of the woods after a snow fall.

So I came upon this asphalt paved road. Covered in snow. Sloping down across the level trail.

I knew better.

I knew I should take off my skis and walk across. It is exactly what I did when I skied the same trail last year.

I didn’t do that. I got stupid.

I tried to ski across the road.

If it had not been snow-covered I would have walked across because I would not have wanted to damage my skis on the road surface.

It was snow-covered.

I got stupid.

I tried to ski across.

Now to understand this you need to understand what I mentioned above. The trail was level. The road crossed it at 90 degrees and sloped down to the left.

If I had entered the road left ski first this probably would not have happened the way it did. I would have ended up sitting on my rump, questioning my sanity. I would have kicked the skis off, stood up, walked across the rest of the way and reminded myself to walk across on the way back. It would have been an amusing little story to tell on myself.

I entered right ski first.

There was ice under that snow.

The right ski slid left and before I could even think about the fact that I was falling I hit the road HARD. Damned HARD. Painfully hard.

I landed on my right side. My shoulder taking most of the impact. That drove my arm in to my ribs. My head snapped violently to the right and hit the road. I rolled on to my back and laid still for a moment, assessing the situation, hoping the stars would clear out of my eyes, trying to determine just how bad this fall was.

It was not good.

After a moment I figured out nothing was broken (as far as I could tell) and I could probably get up OK. I popped off the skis and I did get up just before the plow truck came through. Despite the ringing in my ears and the pain on my right side that started at my lower rib cage and continued unabated to the top of my right ear, I crossed the road and continued skiing. For about 200 yards. At that point the pain in my right side and the ringing in my head convinced me I should start back towards the lodge.

Here is the kicker: I was still having fun. I was hurting. I was hurting a great deal but I was enjoying being outside, skiing and feeling the cold and that special quiet after a new snow.

At some Point I noticed that I had broken my left ski pole and I was having trouble controlling the left ski due to problem with the binding. I actually skied past the lodge and went up a side trail when I finally gave in to the broken equipment and the aching body and I went home.

I showered and dressed and I drove to the bike shop to work, arriving on time for work despite it all.

All day long it sounded like I had my head in a bucket. I felt light-headed and I needed to sit down often. My neck was now tightening up and I was exhausted.

I went to work on Monday and after not sleeping well Sunday night I was really feeling it all over. I couldn’t turn my neck to the right, my shoulder wouldn’t let me lift my arm over my head and my head was still not feeling right.

Missus made an appointment with the Doctor for me and after the usual tests and such he declared that I had suffered a head concussion. He sent me for x-rays on my neck and told me to get a few days of bed rest and be prepared to not feel right for a week to ten days, go to the emergency room if I start to vomit or lose consciousness….

OUCH

OUCH

I rested all day yesterday. Really had no choice. I would not have been good behind the wheel of a car. I went to work today but came home early. Too light-headed and out of balance when I was standing. It is the tiredness that really bothers me. And the Nausea. Well Ok, most everything about this bothers me: neck pain, rib pain, arm pain, headache, dizziness… Crashing is not fun at all.

I have to work tomorrow and Friday. I am conducting the monthly safety training. The Topic is “Slips, Trips and Falls”. I couldn’t make this up.

I wish I could say I have learned some sort of lesson beyond “don’t try to cross a road on your skis”. I haven’t. At least none that comes to mind right now. I am only disappointed that I won’t be able to get out and ski again next weekend.

Maybe the lesson is to listen to the owner of the bike shop and take up snow shoeing.

The Journey and a Detour

I wish I could report that my weight has held steady and I have been keeping my eating in check as this cold winter has moved along. I can’t. I am over 215 pounds right now. I am not happy with myself at all. I can think of many excuses for this slip but they are just that, excuses. The simple fact is I have slipped. I have been eating more than I have been burning. I have been finding reasons to eat more than I have been and I am paying the price with a climb in my weight.

Today I got back to the plan: Light breakfast, light lunch, light afternoon snack (an orange today) and a good dinner. Later I will have a simple light snack of a slice of bread and a slice of cheese. This is what got me to 200 pounds. This is what will get me back there.

I will write daily again. Even if I think I have nothing to say. That focus of reporting on the Journey helped me get there. I slipped away from it and I have paid the price.

I suppose we all have slips and trips and falls.

The real problem isn’t that you slipped or tripped or fell on your Journey. The real problem is failing to get back up.

I am getting back up.

Peace.


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A Look Back at the NYC Century


It doesn’t feel like more than a week ago….

Here are some pictures of me on the ride. I didn’t stop to take any pictures so I can only show you the pictures

taken of me. Here are also a few taken from my handlebar mounted camera.

I had a great time and despite pain between my shoulder blades that nearly had me stopping early, I rode well and I was strong and I really felt great after the ride.

This weekend is Hartford and Boston.  110 miles for the weekend.  40 in Hartford and 70 in Boston counting the 10-mile ride to and from the ride!

Get up and do it.  You can.  I did.

At the Start Line at 6:40 AM and ready to ride.

At the Start Line at 6:40 AM and ready to ride.

On the Streets of Lower Manhattan

On the Streets of Lower Manhattan

 

Crossing the Brooklyn Bridge.  I really LIKE this picture.

Crossing the Brooklyn Bridge. I really LIKE this picture.

Crossing the Bridge with the skyline of lower Manhattan in the background

Crossing the Bridge with the skyline of lower Manhattan in the background

On the bridge

On the bridge

The Streets of Manhattan

The Streets of Manhattan

The Streets of Manhattan

The Streets of Manhattan

The Streets of Manhattan

The Streets of Manhattan

The Streets of Manhattan

The Streets of Manhattan

The Streets of Manhattan

The Streets of Manhattan

Approaching the Brooklyn Bridge from the west.

Approaching the Brooklyn Bridge from the west.

 

Nearing the west tower

Nearing the West Tower

 

Crossing through the East Tower

Crossing through the East Tower

 

Approaching Brooklyn

Approaching Brooklyn

 

Passing the world famous CYCLONE ROLLER COASTER on Coney Island

Passing the world famous CYCLONE ROLLER COASTER on Coney Island

On Coney Island

On Coney Island

Nathans Famous Franks on Coney Island.  A World Famous destination.  MANY cyclists stopped for a dog and a shake.

Nathans Famous Franks on Coney Island. A World Famous destination. MANY cyclists stopped for a dog and a shake.

Exultation as I pass the 2000 mile mark.  NI took the picture.

Exultation as I pass the 2000 mile mark. NI took the picture.

In Queens with the Throgs Neck behind me

In Queens with the Throgs Neck behind me

Riding along the Bayside Marina, approaching the Throgs Neck Bridge.

Riding along the Bayside Marina, approaching the Throgs Neck Bridge.

Crossing the finish line.  75-mile ride under my belt.

Crossing the finish line. 75-mile ride under my belt.

NI bought some Soul Food after the ride.  I had a couple of pieces of catfish.....

NI bought some Soul Food after the ride. I had a couple of pieces of catfish….. Texting home “MADE IT SAFELY” 

 


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Don’t Read much into this


Monday

I am not doing well today.

It was a good weekend but it was a hard weekend. I work seven days a week. I could have used a couple of days of rest but it is not to be right now. It isn’t easy but it has to be done.

I ride because it is my time to do something for me. I know that the blog might make is seem that I am always doing for me but the truth of the matter is that I rarely have time for just me.

Working my regular job 11-12 hours per day, Family in the evening and then I go to sleep and start all over again. Weekends I work at the bike shop. I get in a ride in the morning on Saturday and Sunday but rarely can get anytime during the week and it is months since I rode with the bike club.

When I do take time to do something just for me I feel tremendous guilt because I am not with my family or it is taking away from the hours at the shop and reducing our income.

This coming weekend is a good example. I am not working at the bike shop on either day. I am taking part in two rides in New England. I am looking forward to the rides but I feel badly taking time off from the shop and time away from the family. To top that off, I know I am leaving the shop shorthanded and I feel badly about that.

It is not easy to reconcile all of these conflicting emotions.

I know that for my physical and emotional health I need time for me. I also know that I need to take care of my family. Not an easy tightrope to walk.

But today I am in a mood. I am not sure if I would call it depressed or just grumpy. I am not happy, I can tell you that.

The pressures of life can be rough.

At least I have learned enough and grown enough, and developed enough that I no longer fill this mood with eating.

Fitbit Addiction

I was just a bit discombobulated on Sunday.  I was dealing with the cold weather and how to get to the shop on time for the morning ride and generally rushing around and I forgot my FITBIT!!!

I went on a 29 mile ride.  I walked all over the bike shop.  I was ACTIVE all day and NONE OF IT COUNTS because I didn’t have my Fitbit to record it all.

Only a fellow Fitbit addict can truly understand  😉

 

Poison

The folks at the bike shop know my story. They remember when I was HUGE and would come in a look at bikes, telling them I was working on taking off the weight and would someday be back on the bike and then I would buy a new one. They know my story. My story is part of how I landed the job at the bike shop.

A young man I work with at the shop brought in a box of doughnuts on Sunday. I don’t eat doughnuts.

Now understand that he is a good kid. And I don’t call him a kid just because he is young enough to be my son. Most everyone at the shop is young enough to be my child. No I call him kid because he is under 18 and really is a kid.

The Kid kept offering me doughnuts. He was doing it good-naturedly and I was amused by it. We had fun with it but a part of it really came down to his not understanding why, when I am in such good condition and have lost the weight, I would not allow myself the occasional treat like a doughnut.

The simple fact is I don’t consider a doughnut a treat. I consider it poison.

There is nothing good about a doughnut. It is fat and sugar and it is poison to me. I think it is poison to anyone.

There are a great number of edibles that fall in to this category. The look good. They smell good. They taste GREAT.

They are poison.

Exactly how I feel about it. Thanks SRS for the picture.  Apologies to whoever created it, I would love to give credit....

Exactly how I feel about it.
Thanks SRS for the picture. Apologies to whoever created it, I would love to give credit….

These foods are a big part of how I lost weight. I stopped eating them.

I won’t list here the foods I think fit this category. It would be a long and boring read. I think you can probably figure it out.

The simple fact is I think I spent the majority of my life eating poison. Edibles that seemed like a good thing at the time but were doing nothing but addicting me to fat and sugar and mass consumption.

I think the “treat” mentality is a big part of obesity for some. It is for me.

Good day? I deserve a treat. Big accomplishment? I deserve a treat. Rough day? Hard loss? Disappointment? I deserve a treat.

Food as a reward. BAD food as a reward. Poison as a reward.

I don’t reward myself with food. I did. Now I don’t.

On a day when I burned 5000 calories I did allow a homemade chocolate chip cookie. I found myself finding excuses to reward myself… I stopped that right there.

Now I consider staying trim and fit to be the reward.

I never stray from the plan now. I never allow myself to treat poison as a reward. The fact is it is not, it is slow death. I will not “reward myself” with something that may well shorten my time.

Can you tell I am in a mood?

Peace


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Thoughts and Meanings


Thinking about it

I don’t know what I had in mind when I started my Journey. I wanted to lose weight. I wanted to be more fit.

I set what I thought were modest goals. I wanted to lose 75 pounds and be able to ride the 40+ miles of the 5-boro bike tour. I am certain I didn’t consider just how life changing this Journey would prove to be.

I was so tired. Tired all the time. I never slept well. Even when I felt well I felt lousy. I didn’t realize how horrible I felt most of the time.

I just knew I had to do something to change or be prepared to die. No, that is not overly dramatic. Fifty-year old men who are more than 100 pounds overweight are living on borrowed time.

I really hated it, being fat, being out of shape, the joke about my size, even the jokes I made about my size. I hated it.

I really just wanted to lose 75 pounds.

I didn’t set out thinking I would write a blog and 500 people would sign up to follow it. I thought the blog would serve as motivation for me. It never occurred to me that anyone would take inspiration from my stories of angst and struggle.

I certainly never thought anyone would call me an inspiration.

I know the numbers well by now. I have looked at them, written about them, talked about them…

200 or so pounds, 52 years old.  Healthiest I have been in 20 years...

200 or so pounds, 52 years old. Healthiest I have been in 20 years…

So many of the numbers are in the past now.

The numbers that tell a Doctor that his patient is on the slippery slope. The numbers that SHOULD tell the patient to wake up and get to work.

Blood pressure off the charts.

Heart rate that sounds like a drum roll.

Weight that sounds like a side of beef

When I was 36 years old and hospitalized with an irregular heart beat that was causing me to be dizzy and out of breath….

When I was 47 and in the hospital again for the same reason.

When my Doctor, time after time, warned me about what I was doing to my body….

Why December 27, 2011? Why that day. Why not until that day.

What changed in me?

I keep thinking about this. I need to know why, what…

I keep thinking about it and I never seem to get closer to the answer. I only know that something was different that day. Something, as I pushed out-of-the-way the pillow I used to support my belly when I slept, something,. as I swung my leg to get the momentum to sit up in bed to take my blood pressure pills, something as I struggled to get out of bed and stand up first thing that morning, something changed.

I keep thinking about it because I am afraid that the something, whatever it was or is, will disappear.

Something changed that day. Someone changed that day.

Meanings

I am riding this weekend. I have not ridden since the July 4th weekend as the weather and my schedule have gotten in the way; mostly the weather.

I will ride a little early tomorrow morning, maybe a quick thirty miles. Sunday will be my bigger ride day. 16 miles to the shop, 30 miles with the group.

Each and every ride I take has meaning to me. Each ride is a victory. Each ride means I am not HIM anymore.

Every time I mount the bike and click in to the pedals I am continuing the Journey.

The meaning is more than I can express. As I struggle up a hill (and I still struggle more than I should) I find motivation in the idea that what I am doing at that moment, cycling up a hill, may be hard for me right now but it was impossible just a short time ago.

I lead rides now. I could hardly stay with the rides a year ago. Now I lead them.

Meanings.

The meaning of all this is deep for me. I will never lose my sense of wonder.

What does it mean when I get on my bike? It means I have turned it around. Not just my weight. My life.

Riding the bike as I do, with strength and power and skill… No I am not up to the skill and speed of some of the other riders, many of the other riders, but I am a world from where I was when my belly kept me from pedaling.

Meanings.

Riding the bike means I am on the Journey and the Journey is taking me places I only dreamed I would go.

Peace


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Thoughts….


Going over it all

I am closing in on one year since I went under my goal weight. I have been on this Journey for 563 days.

I don’t look like me. I look at my face in the mirror and I see a thin and angular face. That isn’t my face. My face is round and has several chins. I look at the arms. They are not my arms, not the arms I remember. These arms are lean and sinew. The skin is tight on the forearms. The veins are clearly defined. My arms are thick and pudgy.

All of the person I see is not the person I remember. This is much harder to grow accustomed to than I ever thought it would be.

When I started this Journey of mine I knew I would have many bridges to cross. I would face many problems. I would learn things about myself that I might not want to know. One of the things I have learned is that as much as I hated being fat I was comfortable in my discomfort. Now I am uncomfortable in my comfort.

I continue to have that fear. The fear of regaining the weight.

It is a rational fear. By many well researched estimates, better than 90% of all dieters will regain all of the weight they have lost within a couple of years. Why would I have the belief that I will not be one of the 90%?

SO I go over it all. Time and time again. I think about it all the time. I worry about it all the time. I read the labels of everything I eat. I count the calories and record my weight and I balance what I eat with what I burn and I make sure that I am never out of touch with my weight and my eating and I never eat anything without thinking about it long and deeply first.

And yet this week I stepped on the scale and say 209 lbs. I was careless. I went out for lunch with a co-worker twice this week and I had dinner out with friends one night. I ate a little too much for dinner and I had too large a snack a couple of times and suddenly I was 4 pounds above the weight I have set as the maximum allowable.

209 lbs.

And it scared the hell out of me.

So I cut way back. I ate very lightly. I walked a little more. I paid close attention to everything.

And I stepped on the scale tonight and it said 201.8 lbs.

I suspect the 209 was a combination of water retention and a bad reading on the scale….

But I was too panicked to think that way.

I still have that fear. Maybe I will always have that fear. The fear of being one of the 90+ percent who gain back all the weight.

I am under 205 lbs. More than 100 pounds lost and I am afraid of gaining back even one of them.

In 28 days, exactly four weeks, I will have been under 210 pounds for a full year. I am going to eat two slices of pizza with PGB at our favorite place. Then I will cycle or hike or walk until I know I burned off those calories.

And for two days before I will cut back on my calories.

I am already planning for food I won’t eat for four weeks.

209 pounds scared the hell out of me.

Dealing with the stress

Food was comfort for me. A refuge from the world. While I ate I thought of the food, the taste, the texture. I didn’t think about the world, what the food was doing to me, whether I was actually hungry or not. I just wanted the food. I wanted the place to hide and the food was it.

Now I deal with stress by writing this blog, riding my bike, talking about the weight loss, hiking… What I do not allow is for me to feed the stress. Mostly I ride.

Life has gotten so busy. I am working two jobs. The primary job is a 10-11 hour a day thing. Well, really 24 hours a day because I get calls at all hours. The second job is at the bike shop and I truly love it. I am not working this weekend and I feel like I am really missing something…

I am managing to get in my miles. I am staying on the plan. Staying the course. Continuing on the long strange Journey of mine. Tomorrow I hope to get in 25-35 miles in between working around the house.

Dealing with the stress.

Getting through it

I sometimes wonder if this will ever get easy. I worry about what I eat all the time. I obsess about what I eat. I have become a zealot for fitness and weight loss. I talk about it all the time. I think about it all the time. I have taken to posting a single word on Facebook posts for fast food places: Poison. I know I shouldn’t do that…

I ate that way. I ate bacon by the pound. I burgers and hot dogs, chips and dips and artificial sweetener…. I ate all wrong. It was going to kill me.

Now I speak up against all those foods. I never eat red meats. I won’t go near artificial sweeteners nor do I add sugar to my beverages. I avoid any added sweeteners at all.

I can see what those foods and my abuse of them was doing to me. They were killing me. Slowly. Surely..

Now I am spending my energy living a healthier life. I eat huge amounts of vegetables and fruits. I eat very little of anything else. Some fish. Occasionally some poultry. This weekend I am smoking some turkey so I will have some. Not much. Mostly vegetables. I am making gazpacho. I will eat a good deal of that.

I am getting through it. I am living a life I should have lived for years before.

This has not at any time been an easy Journey.

It has been overwhelmingly rewarding.

But it has never been easy

I am getting through it…

Peace


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Reflections on the last few days


Sorry About That

My last two posts have been something less than cheery. Part visit from The Black Dog, part anger over the insulting post, I lost track of the positives for a little bit. Sorry about that.

But I feel much better now.

I am by nature an intense person. I let that tendency get the better of me.

Along the road at the Ride for Autism

Along the road at the Ride for Autism

I am feeling good overall and I should let that out a bit more.

I am truly enjoying my new job. For the first time in a very long time I feel like I have a good fit at work.

I am also enjoying the part-time gig at the Local Bike Shop. Great group of people and I get to talk bikes all day. How could that be bad?

I am having trouble finding the opportunity during the week to ride but I am getting in my miles on weekends. If the weather allows, I will ride my bike to the shop each day this weekend for work and I will do the early morning ride on Sunday at the bike shop as well. That should bring me close to 100 miles for the weekend.

It is a funny thing, emotions. How one little insect was able to ruin a harvest of good feelings from the wonderful weekend I spent riding with my friend NI and then hanging out. Foolish of me to allow it.

The Ride For Autism (again)

I know I wrote about it a little yesterday and I hope you will forgive a revisit.

I had a great time. I felt great on the hills, I felt great in general. It is a wonderful thing to be at the 25 mile point and not feel any weariness when engaged in a 50+ mile ride. So much has changed in the last year. A year ago NI had to put his hand on my back and push me up a hill. No need this year. This year I had all that I needed to ride. A great feeling in deed.

The people who organize the ride did a fine job. The rest areas were good, the ride reasonably well-marked, the post ride meal a vast improvement over last years, though soft tacos were a challenge to handle.ride for autism 4 ride for autism 2

You can count on me doing the ride again next year.

Maybe someday there will be no need for the Ride For Autism…

My Quest For a Century

In cycling a Century refers to a 100-mile ride. It is something of a badge of honor for the weekend cyclist to say they have ridden 100 miles and I know many cyclists who can tell you every detail of their first century.

Even when I was young and deeply involved in cycling, I never rode a Century. Came close. Did 65 miles rides, 70 miles. Never broke 100.

I have set challenges for myself all along the Journey.

The High Point-Cape May ride is high on that list. Even though the ride will be 208+ miles, we will not do a Century. We will likely do 60 the first day (the hilliest section) and then 75 each the last two days. No century.

So I am looking for a century ride before the summer is out.

Why?

Because I know it will push me to a psychological limit. I have never gone there. I don’t know if I can. It is my personal distance barrier. The place I have never gone and thus I am a little intimidated by it.

This Journey has been all about pushing myself past the limits I have imposed on myself.

Breaking this one down will be one more important step in redefining myself.

Anyone want to come along?

Experimenting in the Kitchen

Our friends PG and DG came to dinner Sunday night.

I made salmon marinated in low sodium soy sauce and ginger. Slow cooked on the grill, served with grilled Kabocha squash, roasted onion and mushrooms steamed on the grill with sun-dried tomatoes, rosemary and mild chili powder. We served this with a green salad. All very good. All very low-calorie and yet filling.

Tonight I am going to try to invent a new recipe for vegetarian stuffed grape leaves Starting with red and black rice and red lentils, some finely chopped onion, fresh dill and some other spices…. I will let you know how this works out.

I have been asked several times if my meals are boring without red meats. I now reply that my meals are much more varied than they were 18 months ago. With the range of vegetables available year-round now, our meal have grown in diversity. Yes, we eat a great deal of Kabocha squash when we can find it. We also eat six or seven types of rice, a variety of lentils, many different beans and greens. We eat 4 or 5 varieties of fish and we have discovered vegetables and fruits we never knew existed.

Our range of cuisines has expanded. We now frequently eat Indian food and eat a wide range of dishes. We have Japanese and Chinese, African and South American foods.

Think about that range as you eat that burger and fries for the third time this week.

Not everything we have tried has been wonderful Several fruits and veggies we have tried have been less than enjoyable but most have added variety to our menu. I had never cooked plantains or quinoa, only rarely had couscous and had no idea that there were white sweet potatoes or purple potatoes.

Among the many food stuffs in my kitchen right now are the grape leaves, five kinds of rice, a bag of fresh lychee, Kabocha and butternut squash, a variety of chutney, two types of curry powder, dried chilies, four types of fish, plums, apples, onions, and a range of greens.

Nothing dull or boring.

I think the best thing I did in terms of adding variety was eliminating red meat.

Peace