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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A few Thoughts in the Aftermath


Just a thought, something to think about:

16996455_10154384967016593_6380890565890889414_nI was not in an accident. “Accident” implies something unpreventable, unavoidable.

I was in a crash, a collision.

Everything about what happened on Friday was 100% preventable.

I was traveling at nearly 23 miles per hour in a 25 mile per hour zone. There was no reason for the vehicle to pass me.

I clocked it on the video. Seven seconds elapsed from the time she began to pass me until the point we collided.

In no more than two more seconds, had we not collided, I would have passed the entrance to the parking lot. Had she waited behind me instead of passing me she would have reached the parking lot entrance three seconds later than she did by passing me.

She risked my life to try to save three seconds.

If I had been in a car traveling 23 miles per hour, two miles per hour under the limit, she would not have even considered passing me.

Fact is, I am not aware of any Bike/Car collisions that were not preventable if either the motorist, the cyclist, or both had exercised a little more care, attention and consideration.

Is the life of a cyclist really not worth three seconds of your time?

Mental Changes

The collision occurred at about noon on this past Friday.  It is Wednesday morning as I write this.

In the five days since the collision I have run through every imaginable emotion.

In the immediate aftermath I tried to make the people around me more comfortable.  I was joking with the police officers and EMTs.  I was lighthearted and casual on the phone with Missus.  I was trying to reassure them and myself that I was ok.

Then I was frightened.  I was in pain.  More pain, covering more of my body than I can remember ever experiencing before.  I was starting to feel the effects of the concussion and that frightened me.

in waves came despair, anger, fear and more anger.  I was confused, felt guilty for getting hit, worried in turns about getting on the bike again, worried about missing work….

I really don’t know how I will feel when I am able to ride again and I get on a bike for that first ride.

I do know how Missus will feel.

She watched her husband get on his bike and ride off.  She fully expected that she would see me in about two hours, tired but smiling and ready for a shower.  If she got a call during the ride it would be a mechanical problem I couldn’t fix on the road and a “please come get me”.

Now when I go out the door and she watches me go down the road she will fear an entirely different phone call.

I won’t forgive the motorist for that.

On The Grand Scale.

This is not all that bad.  I am alive.  I should be grateful and move on I suppose.  I get that sense from some of the comments I hear.

A friend and cycling buddy suffered a far worse collection of injuries from a car/bicycle collision.  EJ was hit when a driver turned in front of him from the left.  It was also a t-bone but where my bike and I were pushed sideways, EJ hit straight on.  The results were nearly fatal.

I know of others who had it worse than me.

I know this but this is me.  This is my trauma.  Make no mistake.  This is a trauma.

My head is feeling the effects of the concussion and will for months.  My left leg is in constant pain.  The damage to the skin will take weeks to heal, months to fully heal. My right shoulder is in steady pain and I face weeks of physical therapy to get the shoulder moving right.   My arms, hands and fingers are all dealing with some sort of physical issue.

And I feel fear about riding again.

SO I get it.  I know that on the GRAND SCALE I am alive, all my injuries will heal, I will be able to ride again and I get to go on with my life.  I know.

But I am hurting.  Physically and emotionally.  I always trusted my riding skills.  I always trusted my decision making skills out of the road.  I believed that my awareness of everything around me would help protect me.  Maybe it did.  Maybe this was the one I could not have prevented.  Maybe this one required the driver to care enough about me as she did about saving three seconds.

 

Peace.  And be safe.


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That didn’t go as Planned (WARNING: GRAPHIC CONTENT)


 

Friday, February 24, 2017

What a beautiful day it was going to be! The weather forecasts for the New York City area promised a late spring day in February: Seventy-two degrees, clear blue skies and nearly no wind. To a cyclist that is as perfect as it gets.

I decided on Thursday that Friday would be a vacation day. I would do a little work on the house in the morning and go on a 25-30 mile bike ride at midday. The temperature would be perfect, the roads less heavily traveled.

I was excited. I would take my brand new bike on its maiden voyage. A Cannondale Synapse Black Inc.  Like a Porsche for the cycling world.   The local bike shop had built it up over the winter and it stayed in my living room until the weather and road conditions were favorable. Friday was the day.

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Cannondale Synapse Black Inc Edition

At 11:30 AM I changed into my cycling gear, put the GPS and video camera on the handlebars, filled my water bottles, pumped up the tires, kissed The missus and my older boy and at 11:50 I turned on the GPS and rode out down the street.

 

Less than 5 minutes later my first ride of the year was over.

1.34 miles from my front door I was lying semi-conscious on the roadway. I could hear people running towards me and I heard them yelling to me not to move. I was face down but my face was not touching the road surface. I remember taking inventory. I could feel my toes. They wiggled when I told them too. I knew I was in pain. A great deal of pain. People were now at my side and I felt hands on me. Very gentle hands. I remember someone asking me if I could hear him. I remember mumbling yes. He asked if I could feel everything and again I said yes. I heard sirens and very soon I recognized that EMTs were at my side. I could hear people talking about me. Someone said I was hit by an SUV, another said I went flying. My brain was starting to assemble disconnected fragments.

As my wits came back to me I started to remember what happened. I remembered the red Chevy SUV passing me on my left, slowing and then turning right directly in front of me. I remembered the realization that I was about to crash. The next thing I remember is people running towards me and telling me not to move.

A police officer on routine patrol was already near the collision scene when it occurred. He later told me he saw my bike flipping in the air though he did not see the actual impact. As soon as he saw the bike flipping he turned on his lights and accelerated to the scene. It was his gentle touch I felt on my back and his was the voice I heard asking if I could hear him and feel his touch.

Soon I was on a gurney and in an ambulance. My bike was in the back of the police car. I was on my way to the hospital. My sense of humor was still there. Video after the crash picks up my laughter and me cracking jokes with the EMTs and the police. From the ambulance I called Missus and told her as gently as I could what happened and asked her to please come to the hospital.

Once at the hospital my wounds were cleaned and examined and bandaged.

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Let Leg Road Rash

I was a bloody mess. Both hands were bleeding; my left leg was raw from my lower shin/calf to my knee. My right leg was also bleeding, as were both elbows. I suffered a head concussion and a strained neck. It hurt to swallow. My left shoulder ached. My right shoulder was agony.

 

I was given a cat scan of my shoulders, neck and head and x-rays from my ankles to my shoulders. The left shoulder was only bruised. The right shoulder was separated.

By the grace of genetics, luck, and a great deal of milk as a kid, I had no broken bones.

By 4:30 PM I was back at home, trying to rest, my right arm in a sling, my head feeling like thousands of tiny bubbles were floating around inside.

DATA

I ride with a Garmin Edge 810 Cycling GPS unit on my bike. It records all sorts of information about the ride. It records every inch of the ride, speed, altitude, distance and so forth. I have a surprising amount of data from this four minute and thirty-four second ride. I know I traveled 1.34 miles and my moving time was 4 minutes and 34 seconds and my average speed since leaving my home was 18.2 miles per hour.

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The blue graph shows the sudden stop

I know I went from 22.9 miles per hour to zero in less than 3 seconds. It is that last bit that tells me how violent the stop was.

 

How do I feel today?

Compared to Friday after the collision I feel much better. Compared to Friday before the collision I feel like hell. The good new is the right shoulder is feeling a little better with not nearly as much pain. It is still very messed up, it feels weak and disconnected and I can feel all sorts of pops and snaps when I move it. I can lift my right arm higher than shoulder height now. Saturday I could barely lift it at all. The bruises and the road rash are painful and raw and stinging.

My head still feels “not right” and it will take days, maybe even weeks for that to resolve. Concentrating on a task is difficult. It is taking me forever to write this post! This is my fourth or fifth concussion over the course of my near 56 years. I know the drill at this point. I really shouldn’t even be working at a computer screen…

What’s Next

I am not working. I cannot drive. I hope to return to work by Wednesday if I am feeling head clear and able to function.

I have to get the police report and file claims with insurance. To make sure I am not missing anything, I am contacting a lawyer we have worked with. I want to make certain I cross all T’s and dot all I’s.

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Closeup of the cracked seat tube

The bike is wrecked. First ride on the bike. It lived all of 1.34 miles. I will work with insurance to replace the bike. Mostly I am focused on getting healthy. This was quite a shock to the system, proof that it is the sudden stop that gets ya.

 

Helmets

As a cyclist and as someone who works at a local bike shop on weekends I get to hear a great number of comments about helmets.

  • “I never wore one as a kid, I’m fine”
  • “Helmets are just marketing to get you to spend money”
  • “I hear they are more dangerous than not wearing one”
  • “My friend wore one and he got hurt because of the helmet”

My helmet died a hero.

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The road surface imprinted on the front of the helmet

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Some of the cracks from the impact

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My head tattooed with the pattern of the ribs inside the helmet

The front of the helmet clearly shows the imprint of the road surface when my head hit. The inside of the helmet is cracked from absorbing the impact. The top of my head showed the imprint of the ribs inside the helmet where they pressed into my head on impact. I have no doubt that without a helmet my injuries would have been severe, even life threatening. It would have been my face that impacted the road, not the helmet. It would have been my skull that cracked, not the helmet.

Remember in the first part of this post I mentioned I was face down but my face wasn’t touching the road? My helmet was toughing the road. It was my helmet keeping my face off the road surface.

The helmet didn’t prevent the concussion. It did prevent much worse.

I implore you: wear a helmet if you ride.

AFTERMATH.

I have received well over two hundred good wishes from friends, family and people in the cycling community. So many people imploring me to take the time I need to heal properly, not push it and to count my blessing. Many people reminded me how much worse it could have been and to look at my family and realize that I am at least still here for them. I could not agree more.

As a cyclist I know how risky this sport can be. I know that when a 20-pound bike and 200-pound rider meet a 5000-pound SUV the results are always worse for the rider than the driver. I know that, considering the violence of the collision, I came away in pretty good shape. I’m walking, talking and laughing and crying. I am hugging my children and kissing my wife. I am texting and talking to friends.

At 2:00 AM on Saturday, I awoke with a start. Sleep was fitful at best but I must have finally dozed. My eyes popped open and I realized I was shaking. I had the clear realization that I was lucky to be alive. It was suddenly clear to me in the dark bedroom at 2:00 in the morning that I could have been killed. I knew it intellectually. I knew it when it happened. At 2:00 in the morning on Saturday, 14 hours or so after the collision, I understood it at an emotional level. The adrenaline had worn off. Now I was just lying in bed with my aches and pains and the certain knowledge that I could have died. Not the intellectual knowledge that tells you “it could have been worse”. This was the emotional knowledge, the sudden gripping, gut wrenching, wide eyed, suddenly ill to my stomach knowledge that hits when you don’t expect it.

In a few weeks I expect I will be healed enough to get on a bike.

I will wheel my All-City Mr. Pink (my other road bike) out of the living room and on to the street out front of my house. I will throw a leg over the bike and I will snap into the pedals and I will start down the road. I have no idea how I will feel. I don’t know if I will feel the exhilaration I have always felt getting on a bike or if I will feel a new found trepidation.

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Mr. Pink becomes the primary bike for a bit

I know I will ride. I have to ride. It’s in my DNA. It is who I am. I can’t let this change that.

 

 

Peace and Stay Safe


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February? ALREADY?


 

febHow Did That Happen?

I am trying to wrap my little brain around the idea that it is already February. January went by so quickly and I feel like I have done NOTHING. No hikes, no long walks, haven’t been on the trainer… The only thing I have done is a walk at lunchtime two of the last three days. Nothing to brag about. 20-minutes each.

As soon as I am done writing this I am getting the bike mounted on the trainer. That’s step one. Actually getting on it is the rough part…

The year goes by too quickly.

Falling in Love Again

I work at a local bike shop on Sundays. At one time I worked both Saturday and Sunday but that was too hard on me with a full time job the rest of the week. It was taking too much time from family and from actually riding a bike…

Working at the shop has always been enjoyable for me. Talking bikes all day with people who want to talk about bikes. It was great.

Then about a month ago something strange happened. Instead of waking up on Sunday morning and thinking “OH BOY, OFF TO THE SHOP!” I was waking up on Sundays and thinking “Oh damn, off to the shop”.

It reached a point that I was considering talking to the owner and, in essence, resigning from the shop, maybe just staying available if he was really shorthanded. I even discussed it with a co-worker.

I don’t really know why this happened and I really struggled with it. I discussed it with Missus, a friend or two, and really was ready to have that talk with the owners of the shop. Maybe I was burned out from too much work and not enough play? Maybe I had simply run my course there and it was time to step away?

I worked last Sunday and really entered it with sort of a fatalistic feeling. If I didn’t enjoy work that day I would speak to the owners that week. They deserve better than a salesperson whose heart is not in it.

The day started slowly. Winter is quiet time in the bike world and it is expected that it will be a slow day.

Mid-day things picked up and I sold a bike to a nine year-old just a day or two from his tenth birthday. He was a tall youngster, ready for his first Adult sized bike. Discussing options with the young fellow and his dad we soon came to a narrow selection and the boy picked out the bike he wanted. The smile. The enormous smile.

About an hour later a young man of about twenty-two or so came in with a friend. He was looking for his first “good” mountain bike.   I showed him a few options, discussed what the various features on the bikes added to the experience, what justified the price on bike A versus bike B. His friend was doing a good job of egging his buddy into buying a bike and pretty soon that selection was made and a young man was ready to go flying through the woods on the local trails.

As the day began to wind down a father and son came in. It was the son’s birthday, turning 14. Time for his first adult sized bike. Again we discussed options and choices and dad encouraged his son to consider this versus that. Soon decisions were made and another young man had his dream bike.

Three sales in the cold of winter, three young men, ages 9 through 22, leaving with big grins and good bikes.

I now remembered why I used to wake up on a Sunday morning excited to go to the shop.

Suddenly I felt the passion again. I remembered what it felt like in May of 2013 when I sold my very first bike on my very first day at the shop. IT is an interesting thing. Yes, you are happy that you closed a sale. That is a part of our jobs after all. There is more to it I think, at least there is for me. Selling bikes is selling passion. We are all there, at least in part, because we have a passion for the sport. When we have sold a bike it is tangible evidence that we have shared that passion.

Maybe it was just the winter doldrums. Maybe it is just being tired. I’m not sure. I am sure that this past Sunday I rediscovered that part of the passion, the passion for sharing this sport. It felt like falling in love again.

Weight Loss

I have hit a small plateau. The weight has stabilized briefly at 12 pounds down. Up a pound down a pound but averaging the 12 pounds down. I expected this and I am ok with it. All the more reason to get the bike on the trainer and kick up the activity a little bit. Or a lot.

I am down a waist size and that makes me grin. Shirts are starting to hang a little more. More smiles.

I like being thin. On my way back there.

 

Peace


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Update and Stuff


How’s The Knee?

knee-anatomy

The knee is not making the progress I wish it was… Yesterday, while working at the Bike Shop, I turned on the knee and experienced eye-crossing pain in the area of the Lateral Collateral Ligament, one of the two that have minor tearing from my injury in 2012.

In general terms the knee doesn’t feel right. The bone bruise still hurts, I was told it would hurt for a couple of months, but more than that is the pain I feel in the areas of the MCL and LCL.

Time for me to schedule another appointment I think…

How is the Weight Loss coming along?

 

Not badly at all! I am glad to say that I am down 12-13 pounds (depending on whether or not I have had a cup of coffee) and I am pleased with that.

I am on the second to last hole on my belt. This is a belt from my days over 300 pounds. I started wearing it again when I gained back some weight to remind me that I had come along way and I could get back to where I was, either for the good or the bad. It was entirely within my control. I could work towards the short end of the belt, meaning I was gaining weight, or I could work towards the long end, meaning I was taking weight off. I am moving in the right direction. I have moved four holes on the belt. One more and I can move to the shorter belt.

I have also dropped a pants size, back to 38-inch waist. Soon a 36… Then back to the 34-inch waist. That is where I belong…

How is the Eating Right part of this going?

breakfast

Two eggs, a slice of toast, grits with cherries, a glass of OJ and a cup-a’    Such a good and nutritious breakfast.  This is what I mean by eating right.

It is going well. I am still struggling a little bit with portion control but I have the right foods in the plan. When I started this Journey, Missus and I changed the way we cooked. Not just the foods we cooked but how. Instead of making large quantities, we changed to making just two servings of whatever the meal was to be. In other words we moved away from family-style cooking to portion based. Two pieces of fish, two servings of vegetable, two salads… You get the idea I am sure. We cooked separate foods for our boys. Missus made meatloaf or mac and cheese and so forth for them but for us we made fish or vegetable dishes in two-portion quantities.

For some reason, we started to drift from that and started to make extra. We have gotten back to portion controlled cooking.

I am also counting calories actively again. Every single thing I eat is recorded and tracked so I know if I am getting away from my plan…

Working… 12 pounds or so down. Happy with that.

And the Move More part?

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One of my favorite places to walk, The Rockefeller Preserve in Sleepy Hollow, NY.  It is also a really good place to trail run….

This is the challenge with the aching knee…   I went for a long walk with a friend through a neighboring town this past Saturday. The town is known for its steep hills and quiet neighborhoods. We started just off Main Street and walked to the highest point in town, known as Sheep Hill. From there, on a clear day, you have some beautiful views of the surrounding town and can see New York City, some 35 miles away. Saturday was not a clear day. The views were restricted to the surrounding towns. All told we walked a hair over five miles. Felt good at the time for the most part. Some minor knee aches but certainly tolerable.

It was later that night when the knee really let me know it was unhappy with my efforts. Ibuprofen and rest.

So I am moving but not as much as I would like. The cold has kept me off the roads on my bike so I am uncertain how the knee will behave when tasked with pedaling. I can do deep knee bends without increased pain. I am hopeful that this will mean pedaling is not going to hurt….

If I find the knee can take the stress of running, I plan to do some trail running in the spring. I used to trail run as a teen-ager and I enjoyed it a great deal. I still did some in college and even in my early twenties. I haven’t done any type of running with any serious intent since then. I have done a few laps of the track just to see if I could but that is it.

I think some trail running would be fun and maybe a little easier on the knees than road running.

Of course there is the cycling and I have already talked about those plans. I truly love being on a bike.

The knee is the key. I think it will be OK.

Peace


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Another Day, Another Effort.


Back to the Walking

When I started the Journey back in 2011 the first bit of exercise I did was to walk the track at the local high school. Today I did just that. Unlike my first walk, where I struggled to walk one mile, today I walked three miles at a brisk 15-minute mile pace.

Felt good.

With the walking and some hiking, and time on the trainer with the bike, I plan to keep the fitness level up this winter as I continue to shed weight.

Lunch with a Friend from long ago…

Today I went to breakfast with my younger son. It is a Saturday morning tradition for us. The younger fellow and I go to a local landmark diner for breakfast, conversation, some laughs, mostly for time together.

grange-rougeFour hours later I was back at the same place with Missus. We had lunch with a friend of mine from high school. JKS and I were friendly in high school. Not close but always a warm welcome and a how are ya. We had choir together for three years and one summer during our college years we worked at the same plastics plant in the neighboring town. My nickname for her was Twiggy, after the 1960’s supermodel. It always elicited a roll of the eyes…

In any case, we had not seen each other since that long ago summer at the plastics plant and recently reconnected due to Facebook.

Today we met for lunch. Missus and Me and JKS and her husband SS.

I hope they had as good a time as Missus and I did. Good conversation, good food, good company.

I had a Greek Salad.   Very tasty. Very in line with how I like to eat.

Eating out has always been a challenge. Servings are large and it is difficult to estimate how many calories are involved…. I think I did well by eating the salad. The veggie burger and fries was tempting…..

Writing even when I am not sure I have anything to say….

I am committed to writing every day when ever possible to do so. I will write even when I have nothing much to say because I need the discipline that comes with the writing. Bear with me.

As when I first started this blog, there will be days of triumph and days of disappointment and I will write when I am manic and when I am depressed… The point is to write, the chronicle, to keep the light on.

Goals

  • Back to 210 in late spring, early summer
  • 3000 miles on the bike in 2017
  • My first century ride
  • Raise $5,000 for the Ride for Autism
  • Ride the Century in the Light House ride in Maine
  • Run a 10K (Yes, run. Me. Run)

The first one is the tough one.

 

I hope you will keep reading and commenting….

It helps

 

Peace


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Back to it, Or how I learned to forgive my failures.


 

So, what has been going on?

Good question. The simple answer is I stopped writing and I started gaining weight.

The real answer is far more complex.

It starts really in June of 2014. June 1 to be precise and at about 8:15 AM.

I crashed my bike. I got careless and I crashed my bike. I went wide in a turn and clipped a curb and went over the handlebars.

I didn’t know at the time, and I wouldn’t know for nearly a year, that I had broken my clavicle. Actually I had shattered the tip. I rode through increasing levels of pain and finally had to stop.

It was in March of 2015 that an MRI showed the damage. I tried to keep riding but I wasn’t able to ride much. I canceled several planned rides, rode only on Saturday so my shoulder would be functional by Monday and I saw the length of the rides get shorter and shorter until I was having a good day if I could ride 25 miles.

While my activity level was dropping the quantity of food I was eating increased. I started snacking and the size of the meals got larger. More rice and pasta entered the diet…

My weight climbed and soon I found myself at 259 pounds.

Finally, in October of 2015 I had surgery to repair the damage and correct some structural issues. I was able to start riding again in March of this year and I started out slowly but by May was able to do the 40 miles of the Five-Boro Bike Tour and in June the 62 miles of the Ride for Autism. In September I rode a metric century in Maine.

This year I have about 1800 miles on the bike. More than last year by a thousand but less than I wanted.

The weight continued to be an issue. I kept promising myself that “tomorrow I will get back on the plan”. Tomorrow never comes. I didn’t gain but I didn’t lose and I would see my weight go up and down by five pounds but no real progress was being made.

So it was time to take stock and try to understand what has been going on.

Riding

I was able to ride again this year. I have some discomfort in my shoulder but not pain. I really feel it after 50-60 miles…. The 1800 miles or so that I did this year was far less than my goal of 3000 but I am not unhappy. I rode and I rode without pain and that is what I wanted. After two years of pain in the shoulder whenever I rode it was nice to have only a little stiffness at the end of a long ride.

Riding is far more than the exercise, the calorie burn. Riding, for me anyway, is freedom from the everyday. It is my time alone, my time with friends, my time of challenge and my time of accomplishment. Even in failure there is accomplishment on the bike. Maybe I didn’t ride the 75 miles I wanted on a particular ride but I still rode the 62. This is more than I rode sitting on the couch or in front of the computer.

Riding is both a solitary pursuit and a social activity. It depends on the circumstance. Most of my rides are solo. This is my time to let the brain relax and focus on just the task at hand: ride. I also got back to leading entry level/beginner rides this year. That is my time to teach and encourage and meet and socialize.

Riding is my anti-depressant. I need higher and more frequent doses.

Thoughts and processes.

I have never claimed to have found a magic formula to weight loss and weight maintenance. I have always said it is work and a constant effort. I also never said I would not fail or never again fight the weight.

It has always been a struggle and I am relearning that it always will be.

So what happened?

I have always struggled with The Black Dog, my term for depression. Not riding, the pain in the shoulder, issues in my life with friends and family all served to exacerbate this and my succor was food. Just as weight does not come off overnight it does not come back overnight. First it was 220 pounds and my mumbled commitment to get that off. Then it was 230, 240, and finally 259. The depression would come and go and I would be fine and the weight would stabilize for a little and then again it would climb. I found myself eating more than the occasional doughnut, a slice of pizza, the extra serving.

I went hiking less frequently. I sat and played on the computer when I could have been walking. I passed on bike rides when the shoulder was a little stiff. I found excuses to not do what had worked so well for so long.

I know I have beaten the odds so far. Statistics will tell you that 95% of people who lose more than a third of their body weight will gain back 80% within three years. I lost 110 pounds and I gained back 50 three years after I started. Ok. Not good, OK.

Giving in to sloth. Giving in to lazy. Giving in.

The one steady was I am still not eating red meats or poultry. Only occasional fish. Trust me when I tell you that you can get plenty fat on a vegetarian diet….

So I have had to reassess. I have had to look at relationships and put some behind me. It has been hard, and continues to be hard, to walk away from some of these friendships but I had to. I have had to relook at my approach to food and exercise. I have had to find the motivation to get back to the Plan and back to “eat Right, Eat Less, Move More”.

I am making progress.

Six pounds down.

253

Goal is 210. As it was.

I also have come to recognize how important this blog was for me in staying on The Plan. With that in mind I am going to get back to writing this blog. I am also going to try to write more prose and I hope you won’t mind if I post some of them in the blog.

So I am back. I am back on The Plan. Eat Right, Eat Less, Move More. The details of the plan will change. The goal will not.

Thanks for reading.

Peace

 


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The Journey, The Shoulder, The Winter and the Coming of Spring


The Journey

Long time. How are ya?
This winter….

Despite the impression some may have, I am not done with my Journey. I took a break from writing because I wasn’t sure I had much to say. After this difficult winter, the pressures of my job (I got a promotion!) and the depression I have been dealing with over some physical issues, it just wasn’t in me to write. I am still working on a healthy life, eating right, moving more. I did gain weight this winter, a little over 20 pounds, but nothing like the weight I have lost and nothing that sets me too far back of my plans and goals or discourages me. I knew from the start that I would have successes, failures, victories and setbacks. Admittedly, this winter was not a victory and it was not a success. It is not how many times you fall that determines success. It is how many times you get back up. I keep getting back up. I am back up now.

The Journey, as I have said from the first, is a life-long thing. There is no final stop but there are many stops along the way. I know what I want from the Journey. I know what I want from me. I want to be fit. I want to be reasonably lean, 200-210 pounds. I want to eat right and still enjoy what I eat but in smaller portions and without snacking and indulgence.

I want to encourage other and to be encouraged by other. I want to recognize in myself the issues that have driven the obesity. Why I overeat if I let my guard down. I want to be optimistic but cautious and practical in my approach. I want to ride my bike, go on hikes, be comfortable in my skin and happy with the course my life is taking.

I see in some people a disturbing tendency to revel in the failures, misfortunes, missteps and pain of others. I feel sad for those people. Sad and twisted little beasts who cannot enjoy the success of others because their own life is hollow and riddled with failures they cannot see as their own.

When I learned that I am responsible for all that I am I was able to start this Journey and make of it what it is. It is a ride. I have had up days and down. I have lost weight, gained a little back, lost it again, gained a little back….. I blame no one because this is not an issue for blame. It is a part of life, my life, my Journey.

Anyway, Hi, I am back and I hope you will stop by and read a little….

My Right Shoulder

A couple of years ago while doing longer rides I started to experience pain in my right shoulder and between my shoulder blades. In 2013, while riding the NYC Century, the pain became so sharp that I nearly abandoned the ride at the 35-mile mark.   I continued on despite it all and I was able to ride 75 miles. It was a week before the shoulder stopped hurting. It has been a constant issue since then and it has really caused issues with my riding. Anything over 35-40 miles and the pain in the shoulder and between the shoulder blades became hell. The pain in the shoulder became a constant companion. Something like a dull toothache with occasional flares of eye-crossing pain. Since I crashed last summer there has not been a day without some pain in the shoulder. Since last fall it has been a steady presence.

I finally went to the Doctor about it last week.

The news was not good but it could have been worse.

Torn Labrum

Bursitis

Arthritis (this getting old stuff…)

 

A cortisone shot has helped with the bursitis. We are taking a wait and see with the rest of it.

The upshot is that I was able to ride yesterday for the first time in a long time. I did a short ride, fifteen miles, and I didn’t push it but I rode and I didn’t have pain in the shoulder.

This is a victory.

I am out of shape, carrying 20 pounds more than I want to, but I rode and it didn’t hurt.

It’s a start.

Winter

Maybe winter is finally leaving? We had snow just a few days ago. Not much, an inch on the lawns, sidewalks and cars…

But still snow.

My mother used to have the “winter blues”. Today they call it Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). I too do not deal with the long winters as well as some. I wouldn’t go so far as to say I have SAD but I don’t like the winters the way I once did. I didn’t do any cross-country skiing this winter; I didn’t ride my bike at all. I went outside only so much as necessary. And this has been the winter that refuses to end.

Yesterday made it to the low 60s and I rode my bike for the first time since last November. It is a grey day today but warm enough to ride and I will get in another hour ride today. Tomorrow I will hike with my friend PGB. Starting to get outside again. Starting to get fresh air in my lungs.

It is finally feeling like spring. Finally feeling like there will be warm sun on me.

Though my ride yesterday was short it was a great feeling. The wind over me, the legs pumping, the heart beating harder the lungs pulling in the air… I love the feel of sweeping through a turn, bike leaning, tires digging in to the road. I got that feeling yesterday and though I only averaged around fourteen and half miles per hour I did have short stretches of good speed. And it felt wonderful. It was the type of first ride of the year that makes you want to get back out the next day.

So, yeah, winter seems to be leaving and spring, though a little later to the party, seems to be bringing with it the excitement I usually feel when spring and cycling season arrive…

The Journey…

Peace