Friday, August 27, 2010

May the Force be with you!

Soooo...things are actually falling back into order. My eating has been under control. I have indulged, like drinking a few beers after work yesterday and having a scoop of fake-fried ice cream with my wife last night, but I have also been much better with my choices of food and portion control. Wednesday night we were in Champaign to see our new nephew and we were there late enough that we needed to eat out and went to the Courier Cafe. I ordered the salad bar, but was still careful with my portion of potato salad. Last night ,we pooled our dinner together with some neighbors and I was conscious of not going back for seconds until I gave my first plate some time to digest. I have had a couple of salads at lunch and overall things are going pretty well.

On the topic of exercise, I had the fastest 4 mile run I have had in weeks yesterday morning. I ran 4.082 miles in 30:36; that works out to be a gnats hair under 7 1/2 minutes per mile. I was stoked! And oddly enough, it never really felt like I was killing myself during the run. I could not have been more excited about it. I am also excited about riding my bike tomorrow morning; it is going to have to be early and fast because we are leaving the house at 8am to go to Chicago.

And that brings me to my last point, I am nervous about going to Chicago and over-indulging. We have a party for some friends that are getting married. the invite says that food, wine and beer will be provided. When food and beer are free, I have a really hard time not taking advantage of that. Plus just being with friends and socializing is a great reason to drink 12 beers. We plan on meeting some friends and my sister for brunch on Sunday. Breakfast at a restaurant is a very dangerous situation for me. Breakfast foods can pack a ton of calories especially if you drench them in sausage gravy (mmm...). So, I guess I will do my best monitor my intake. Maybe have a water (chased with some scotch) between every beer, just to cut back a little on the calories. Or maybe I can use the Jedi mind trick on myself? "These are not the potato skins you are looking for." Who knows?

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Now that's just embarrassing!

This week's weigh-in: 209 lbs

What the [eff]? I spent all last week talking up a storm about how I was so committed to losing weight and blah, blah, blah...and what do I get? The exact freaking opposite. I went out and gained weight. I feel like such a schmuck!

There are no real excuses for this hypocrisy. I just went out and was completely undisciplined. I already talked about my delicious BBQ ribs on Thursday. Those were followed on Friday with a dinner out with my wife and some friends. I had appetizer, soup, lamb chops, and quite a few bites of a dessert. Does that even sound like a guy trying to lose weight? It sounds more like a Joey Chestnut (see above) warm-up. Followed up on Saturday with a 4 year old's birthday party. I had a burger, beans, chips, dip, cake and about 10 beers to wash it down. Again not exactly the Seattle Sutton menu. On Sunday, I was hungover like a big bear's ass. Those 10 beers had killed me. I didn't even feel well enough to eat until well into the afternoon. Luckily, Sunday afternoon was our annual block party. No beer, but I did have the brisket, the beans, half a brat, cucumber salad (w/ sour cream), baked macaroni and cheese, and topped it off with a couple of cream puffs.
Seriously, I should have weighed 250 again. It was ridiculous. It really makes me question what deeper issues I have that food serves to mask? Why do I find so much comfort in food? And why can I not be more disciplined with my eating?
So I guess that is certainly a goal for this week. I am going to be more disciplined with my eating. One day at a time, right?
"Hi, my name is Brian, and I am addicted to food..."

Friday, August 20, 2010

Riding and Ribs

While not quite as entertaining as this story, I do feel it necessary to talk about both riding and ribs.

First of all, I have had the chance to get back on Roxanne for the past 2 Saturdays. I have gone for quick 20 mile rides and have had so much fun. I take a great route the takes me around Allerton Park, and most of the time it's like you are not even in central Illinois. There are trees, hills, and the occasional pond. The whole time I am on the ride I have about 1500 acres of forest on my right hand side. And just like always you never know what you are going to see in the way of wildlife. My first ride back I was cruising down the road, and had come up on a stretch of downhill. I decided to push it just a little and was cranking pretty hard when I came around a curve and right there in the middle of the road was a mother deer nursing her 2 babies. When I did come around the corner, I don't think either mom or I was prepared for it. We caught eyes and I hit the brakes; she took off into the woods. And for a moment the youngins were left wondering where breakfast had just run off to. Then they saw me as well and they ran off too. It was pretty cool to see and I know that this was not the busiest road in the world, but it still seemed like a strange place to be breastfeeding.

On the second ride, I had just finished a tough climb up a hill from a creek bed and was catching my breath when I looked up and saw a bunch of "things" on the side of the road. As I got closer I saw they were birds and I initially thought it was a gang of turkey vultures. No relation to an actual turkey, but they have the same coloring on their heads, and they are everywhere at Allerton. But when I got closer, (and I had to get real close to tell the difference) I realized that it was a family of wild turkey hens. No toms, but I had never seen so many wild turkeys in one area; there must have been ten of them strolling through a little grove on the side of the road. they seemed very disinterested in me, but they certainly were not frightened either. I guess I thought turkeys were more jumpy.

It is certainly cool to see so much wildlife on these rides again.

The second part of this post is far more serious. It's about ribs. Now I know that I said I was going to be more disciplined about my diet, but I had to make a trip back to Galesburg for a visitation. And I had the good fortune of having time to stop by my favorite bbq rib place in the whole world, the Bar B-Q Rib Shack. Now, when one is faced with this kind of opportunity, discipline flies out the window. Especially, when one is the first person in the dining room like I was, and the good people there provide with a free, heaping pile of onion rings. the order of o-rings is so big that I shared with 4 other tables in the restaurant, plus I didn't want to fill up on rings when I still had the main course. I ordered a regular order of ribs, add spicy sauce, with beans, slaw, and fries. It was amazing; everything I remember them to be. I would put the rib shack up against any ribs in the nation (trust me I lived in North Carolina; I know these are fighting words). It was simply an amazing experience.

What does any of this have to do with fitness? If I had been running the half marathon this weekend, there is no way ribs would have fit into the program, and I would have been missing out. I don't have any guilt. I know that in a couple of days the pounds from that decadent meal will be gone, and I still had the joy of the experience. Simply, I am glad that I made the decision to step back, enjoy my fitness more, and not take things quite so seriously. Bon Appetit!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Wednesday Weigh-in

So I thought I might throw in one more post a week, this one based solely on my weight loss goals. I mentioned months ago that I thought I would weigh less than 200 lbs. any moment. Well, that hasn't happened. In fact, some weeks I have been further away from 200 than I really care to talk about. Again, there are a number of reasons why this is the case, but the most influential reason has to be a lack of discipline. So in the hopes of finding some accountability, I have decided to let the whole world, or at least the portion of which reads this blog, know how much I weigh on a weekly basis. I would appreciate any encouragement you may have in the comments, and when its called for, a little critical motivation. Please understand I do not have a digital scale, so don't look for a ton of accuracy, but I expect to lose more than a pound a week. My ultimate goal: 185 lbs.

This week: 206lbs

Friday, August 13, 2010

A weather report

Note: One might have noticed that I have not been very diligent about posting to this blog. I have to say that my excuses are limited, but I can assure you that my time has been extremely limited over the last couple of months. I do think a big part of my apathy was grounded in the idea that I wasn't really enjoying my fitness experience with training for the half marathon. So, as part of my re-dedication to my fitness, I am going to rededicate myself to this blog. Time is still in short supply, so the only thing I can promise right now is one post every Friday. I know, that doesn't seem very dedicated, but that is what I can offer right now. Truly, this is just a a shameless ploy to be the Blog of the Week on the Friday Round Up.

Thank you for that report, Roosevelt! While I have not been stationed in Poontang, I couldn't agree more with your assessment. It has been freaking hot!!!! Katie just got back from her run, and I ask her how it went. "It's HOT!" And at 4:30 in the morning, much like Roosevelt's evening, it is hot and wet. I can't even imagine what it would be like to run at 2:00 in the afternoon. I have to walk about 10 blocks to and from my car at work (That is no exaggeration. Parking on campus is not easy, you gotta work for it), and by the end of that stroll, I am miserable.

The heat index has been near 100 degrees or higher for a week straight, and the last 2 days it has been closer to 115 degrees. That is just ridiculous. There has been a bunch of recommendations on the news about what people should do when the weather is so hot (spoiler alert: Stay inside) and Dave Wallach gave some ideas about how to keep working out when the weather gets so miserable. I hope they translate to Russian, because this heat wave goes all the way over the Iron Curtain. It was 99 degrees actual in Moscow this week. And Kenya is experiencing a heat wave as well (how hot does it have to be for an African country to call it a heat wave) It is almost like something, I don't know what, is causing the temperature to increase globally. Weird!

Seriously though, it's hot. If you have to be outside, be careful. If not, enjoy the beautiful indoors. I hear the Bachelor_Pad is a riveting show.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Am I a failure?

Let's just get straight to the point: I have decided not to run the half marathon on Aug. 21.

I know, I know! All that crap I had been spouting about my enthusiasm for running and sense of accomplishment looks like a bunch of BS now, but truth be told it probably was a bunch of BS. But I feel strongly (right now, anyway) that I have several valid excuses for bowing out. The biggest of which is that training for a half marathon had taken all of the fun out of running. I was stuck on what I believed to be this rigid training schedule. Every run was mapped out and measured. After a run was over, I calculated my total time, distance, and pace. If i missed a run, I felt tremendously guilty, and if I finished a run I scrutinized my pace and performance. All of this rigidity, analysis, and scrutiny turned running from something I enjoyed doing, a hobby, to something more like a job. It sucked!

Another reason for bowing out: it's fucking HOT this summer. And not like a normal "Wow, it's warm outside!" hot, but a "Holy shit! I feel like I am standing on the surface of the sun!" hot. I heard recently that this summer is shaping up to be one of the hottest summers on record (maybe Al Gore wasn't full of shit?). This morning it was 76 degrees at 5 am, and the heat index was around 451 degrees Fahrenheit. The humidity is so bad, when I step outside it feels like I have a hot tub in my jockstrap. And I am not cut out for running in these kind of temperatures. Again, it sucked!

And another reason: I am not educated on the ways of long distance running. Specifically, I am bad about nutrition for these kind of things. For a typical 3/4/5 mile run, I will get up at 4:30am, put on clothes (that's right ladies, I sleep in the buff!), stretch, hopefully have a bm, and go out and run. I may drink few ounces of water, but I never eat anything before I run these distances. Anything further and I try to eat a little something about an hour before I run. Usually like a whole wheat bagel or english muffin with peanut butter and a piece of fruit. Typically, that would be more than enough food. Except when I ran an 8 mile route on a Saturday, I noticed some of the telltale signs of low blood sugar about 7 miles into it. My lips started to tingle and my thought processes were not real clear. I drank some gatorade and a kashi bar when I got home, but it had me really worried. Another nutrition problem was that when I wasn't running, I was eating everything in sight. My appetite was insatiable. It got so bad that I actually started to gain weight during this program. So I dieted...wrong idea! When I went out to run the next weekend, I had no energy at all. I barely made it 5 miles, and I even had brought a water bottle of gatorade with me. I read up on some nutritional info for marathon training, but I found it to be somewhat confusing and definitely not appropriate for me. Most info said that hydration was important, but a runner only needs to eat about every 2 hours. Hell, I couldn't make it 45 minutes without feeling like I might pass out. if I should try anything like a half marathon again, I believe I would look into some nutritional and physical training.

And another thing: I was so dedicated to my running, that I had not ridden my bike in over a month. Now I have two problems with that. First, I invested a lot of money in that bike. too much for it to just be sitting in the garage collecting dust. Second, I really like biking. Sure riding any kind of real distances takes a lot of time (time that is in short supply in my life), but riding is very liberating and comforting to me. I enjoy riding because it doesn't feel like a workout, and I really missed that feeling.

So, what now? Well I have rededicated myself to running (what?). Except now I am running some shorter distances (no more than 4 or 5 miles) at a pace where I don't feel like I am having a heart attack. I have also started some weight training again, and I am going to watch what I eat. Which is much easier when I am not dying for food after running. I have also gotten out and ridden Roxanne again. I had a nice ride last Saturday around Allerton Park and back into town. It was really fun. So, if time allows, Saturdays will be my riding days.

I thought about it today on my 4 mile run...when I started working out I needed the goal of a race to really get me moving. And that first 5k was really fun, but now training for the half marathon was more like a job. I actually missed working out for fun! Maybe I don't need a race goal anymore, or maybe I just wussed out. I am not too broken up about it, but I have to ask. Am I a failure for dropping out of the half marathon?