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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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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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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14 years ago


the familyApril 5th, 2001 was the last time I saw my father.

We stood on the front porch of the house on a very warm early spring day and watched the children playing in the front yard and Lucky barking at the dog across the street. Dad gave me a pack of film for my camera, we were laughing and enjoying the weather.

Then I went upstairs to dinner.

I never saw my father alive again.

He died the next day; a heart attack in the parking lot of the bank. He died before he hit the ground.

The call from Missus came at about 10:00 AM as best as I can remember. The police had shown up at our door. They told my wife Dad had a heartattack and was rushed to the local hospital. They didn’t tell her he was dead.

I drove from work to the hospital at barely controlled speeds. I don’t clearly remember the drive. I don’t remember much of anything. I only remember the nurse leading me in to a room and telling me that they had done all that they could but my father had died.

And so the hardest day of my life had begun.

I went in to the room where my father was. I stood and sobbed for a few minutes as a nurse steadied me. I then drove home and tried to think how I was going to tell my wife. How was I going to tell The Older Son that his beloved Pop-Pop was gone? We lived in the same house. The Older Son saw Pop-Pop every day. He adored his grandfather. How do you tell a learning disabled child, or any child for that matter, that his grandfather is gone and never coming back?

Missus met me at the door and she saw in my face all that she needed to know. I told her that he was gone; he had died. And we stood in the doorway and we cried.

I sat with The Older Son, not yet ten years old and I told him that Pop-Pop had become very sick and had to go to heaven and could never come back to see us. Tears were in his eyes but he didn’t cry. I didn’t know if he understood. Months later The Older Son would ask me if Pop-Pop could come home.

Now I had to call my family and the family friends and I had to tell the people at work. Dad and I worked together. Everyone knew my father, some for 25, 30 years; some for longer.

The first person I tired to call was my eldest brother, PC. No answer on his cell phone. Not sure how I came across his work number but I called him there. Out to lunch. I had to call SR, my father’s girlfriend. She was expecting him to be at her home in the early afternoon. I don’t remember if I told her before I told PC. The day soon became a blur.

I called SR and told her. “Dad had a heart attack, he’s gone, he didn’t make it”. She started to cry and begged me to tell her I was kidding. I think I called her son and told him. He was working in Maryland at the time. He left immediately for NYC to be with his mother.

PC called me back and had me on speakerphone. I asked him to please pick up and I told him exactly what I had told SR. It had become my script. My brother’s reaction was shock and I could hear the strain and pain in his voice. I could also tell that he was struggling to keep it together.

The hardest call was to my Aunt. I didn’t know how to reach her. She worked at a bank and I had no idea where. I called her son, my cousin, and spoke with his wife who gave me the number to reach my aunt. ES, my cousin’s wife, called my cousin.

I should have waited. I should have told him and asked him to tell his mother. I wasn’t thinking very clearly. I called my Aunt and they put my call into her office and I told her that her brother had died. She began to scream and cry and became hysterical. Fortunately, my cousin on getting the news immediately headed to the bank. They would later tell my grandmother.

What followed over the next few hours were more phone calls. A call to my sister, PS. She cried but regained her composure. She offered to tell our brother, BM. I was relieved to take at least that call off the list. I have always felt guilty for not making that call. Somehow, I feel I didn’t live up to an obligation.

Aunts, Uncles, cousins, co-workers, friends….

I don’t know how many calls I made. I don’t know how many calls I received.

PC arrived at my house in the mid-evening hours. He had reached his wife who had flown to Texas with their three children to spend Passover with her sister and now had to turn around and get to New Jersey.

BM and PS and their spouses were getting flights arranged. My 89-year-old grandmother was preparing to make what would prove to be her last trip, to bury her son.

As the night drew to a close I climbed in to bed physically and mentally exhausted.

I don’t remember much of the next several days.

I remember that day in chunks and vignettes. I remember the agony I heard in the voices of the people I called. I remember the awful pain of having to say again and again “my father had a heart attack, he’s gone, he didn’t make it”.

I would relive April 5th for several years after he died . I asked myself time and again if there were signs I missed. Was there anything I should have seen? Should I have realized that he was close to a heart attack? If I had been paying closer attention might I have realized that he needed to get to a hospital on April 5th so he might have lived past April 6th?

Slowly I have come to accept that there was nothing. No hints. He was happy, laughing, looked well, seemed to feel well. He was moving and acting and looking normal.

I can still hear his voice and his laugh.

I am in the same industry where my father spent his career. I still come across people who knew him. They all knew the same man. They speak of his honesty, his fairness, and his integrity. They speak of his brilliant mind, gentle nature, sense of humor, storytelling ability and his generous nature.

Fourteen years have gone by. I have missed him every single day.

He was my father, my mentor, my guide. I followed in his footsteps in the plastics industry. He lead the way, taught me the industry, taught this Theater Major to think like an engineer, a manager, a leader.

Far more important than my career, he was the example of what a father should be. Dad was firm but loving. He would get loud only when the situation truly warranted it. He was steady, strong, and gentle and devoted. His love for us was never in question. He worked two jobs when we were young. At a factory Monday through Friday and waiting tables in the Catskills on Weekends. Somehow he still managed to share a lunar eclipse with me when I was five, still managed to come to my championship Little League game when I was ten. He never missed a single play I was in. He made every concert his four children were in. He never let us feel that anything came before his family.

He took us hiking and camping. He became a scoutmaster so he could spend that time with his boys.

His love of music and theater was shared with all of us. One day he even, grudgingly, admitted to liking the Beatles.

Fourteen years and the wounds are still raw. I do still, once in awhile, wonder if I should have seen something, some clue…
Fourteen years later I still wonder if I could have told people more gently.
Fourteen years later I still think to myself “I should ask dad…”, oh yeah.

I look at my siblings and I know Mom and Dad would be proud. PC, BM, PS and I have all grown to a productive adulthood. PC has raised three children to productive adulthood. I see in my siblings the generous spirit of my parents. I hear my fathers voice in the stories we tell, the laughter we share. I see my mother in the family ties and the gatherings we all seem to have, and our shared tendency to show our love for friends and family with food.

After my father passed away one of my mother’s cousins told my brother PC “J and H batted four-for-four”. They had raised four children in difficult times and had raised four good people.

Fourteen years. I miss my father. I miss him everyday. Every day I find myself trying to live up to the example he set.

I guess there is no better tribute than that.


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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.

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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.

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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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The Monday after a Really Good Weekend


A Week can Change so much

A week ago, I was counting the wounds, measuring the damage and thanking the fates that the crash was not worse.

On the scale of bike crashes, mine was quite minor. I had road rash, a broken helmet and some sore spots. Overall, I was lucky. The was nothing broken and nothing requiring surgery to put right.

This weekend I returned to riding. I have never been the sort to be afraid to do something that got me hurt previously. If I were, I never would have fallen in love a second time. There was no hesitation to getting back on the bike. I never worried about it, never questioned anything once on the bike.

Saturday was the day of the most important ride on my calendar. The Ride for Autism. I first did the ride in 2012. Now it is my annual focal point. So appropriate that the ride would fall on the Older One’s 23rd birthday.  He was very excited that I was riding for him on his birthday.

It was also my first ride since the crash. My only concern was the ability of my body to rise to the occasion, past the bumps and bruises, past the lack of conditioning. There was no fear.

I love riding. No crash was going to change that.

My annual picture at the first rest area of the ride for Autism.  Missing NI

My annual picture at the first rest area of the ride for Autism. Missing NI

The ride was WONDERFUL! Sixty-two miles through the New Jersey countryside, past horse farms and cornfields, through small towns and along country lanes and orchards, rolling hills and long flat sections. It was a blast.

I was tired and sore at the end of the ride. The body was not quite ready but we managed, my body and mind, to get the full distance in. I might have been able to do the 100 miles. I am glad I did the 62 instead.

Overjoyed? The first time I did the ride it was the furthest I had ridden in 20 years. It was a slog. My good and true friend, NI, pushed me up hills. Exhorted me to push myself, nearly dragged me across the finish…. Last year I was very strong and we rode together well. This year I rode with a group from the cycling club as NI was unable to make it. WE had a good time. They rode better than I did but we finished close together and enjoyed lunch at the end of the ride as a team.

Yes, I was Overjoyed.

Saturday night I sent a text to my friend and co-worker asking him to lead the Sunday ride. My legs were tired and sore and tight. I didn’t think I would be able to ride on Sunday morning.

Sunday I awoke feeling strong and rested with no tiredness or soreness in my legs.

I lead the ride on Sunday. We rode Twenty-five and a half miles. There was one good hill and it let me know the legs were tired. On the downside, I blasted. I went in to the highest gear and spun like mad. I hit 40+ miles per hour and felt no fear at all. Only exhilaration.

Feeling Right

I am feeling “right”. I like the way I eat, I like the activity level, I like the way I look. Most importantly I like the way I feel about ME. The inside ME. I feel so right within my skin.

Yes, this is because of the weight loss. It is more because of the changes I need to bring about for the weight loss to happen.

Introspection, deep-diving one’s brains….

Has its place.

Just thought I would mention it.

The Sunday Ride

So, as mentioned above, I rode on Sunday. I led the Sunday ride with the able co-leadership of JS, one of the people I work with at the shop. I took lead, he was the sweep. The sweep is the fellow who ride along at the back of the ride to make sure we don’t lose a rider off the back…

We had nine other riders along yesterday. Nearly perfect weather for eleven riders to explore northern NJ.

What a fine ride. I think the good weather put everyone, riders and drivers alike, in good moods. We had none of the typical close encounters with drivers. No nasty long and loud honks of the horn, no close buzzes…. Several times the drivers stopped to allow us to cross a street or hung back until there was a good and safe place to pass. I cannot tell you how much that was appreciated.

Getting in the 25.5 miles on Sunday told me so much about myself as a person and a rider. I was sore from Saturday. Not painfully so, not “DON’T RIDE” sore, but the kind of sore I might have used in years past as an excuse to chill in the morning, have a lazy morning… I rode. I knew I could work the kinks out. I knew I WANTED to ride.

Felt great. Felt truly great.

Rides like this remind me why I love to ride. I am not a racer. I never was particularly fast. I can hammer it on the flats when the spirit moves me, but I was never a racer. I have never competed on the bike…

I love to ride to the best of my abilities, get out on a beautiful day, feel the road roll under the wheels, the bike banking in to a turn, the satisfaction of getting to the top of that brutal hill, enjoying the thrill of the fast downhill and enjoying the properly sore muscles at the end of a good brisk ride.

And I am able to do this now. Not three years ago. I couldn’t do it. Three years ago, Summer of 2011, I couldn’t do this. I couldn’t ride. I could barely walk up stairs.

While riding yesterday I thought about this. I thought about riding 62+ on Saturday and another 25+ on Sunday. Not bad for a man who was close to 320 pounds three years earlier. I kind of smiled as I thought about it.

The Journey… 88+ miles of cycling this weekend. Another 6 miles of walking. All in all a busy weekend. I have done more miles in a weekend that is certain. But it doesn’t matter. What matter is I what I did this weekend. What I will do the next weekend. What I CAN do now. All this is what matters. I can play with my children, take walks with my sons, work in the yard, climb the stairs, take hikes with friends, ride…

I can do this now. The Journey has brought me here.

All it took was deciding to take the first step.

 

Peace.


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Family, Overindulgence, and a Ride with a Friend


Memorial Day Weekend with Family

Friday night was a visit to hell.

We drove from New Jersey to Virginia on the Friday night of a long weekend. Had to be done. No other option. It was hell.

The drive from Jersey to my brother’s home in Virginia is a five-hour affair on most occasions. For the annual Memorial Day weekend visit we typically leave at silly o’clock on Saturday morning, pull up to the hotel at 11:00 or so, rest up and then go to my brother’s home around 1:30 to visit a little before the festivities start at 2:00.

That would be normal.

This year was not normal.

This year we had a naming ceremony for the first member of the next generation, my nephew’s daughter, a two-month old bundle of love. This required arriving Friday night for the early Saturday service.

Six and a half hours of heavy traffic, much of it stop-and-go.

The Older Son does not deal well with this. I don’t deal well with this.

We survived.

Grand-Aunt Missus with Grandniece

Grand-Aunt Missus with Grandniece

The festivities on Saturday, both the naming ceremony and the cookout, were smashing successes. Visiting with my niece and my nephews, seeing my brother and his wife and all the friends I only see at the annual cookout, and meeting my Grand-Niece, all added up to pure joy.

The weekend was too short. I would have liked to stay longer on Sunday but obligations drew us home. We had to be back in time to pick up the dogs from the kennel. Other responsibilities had to be met.

But it was a joy.

Overindulgence

I thought about it carefully. Then I decided to allow it. I overindulged on Saturday. After a light breakfast, I allowed myself to eat and enjoy the foods at the cookout. Well, not all the foods. The stars of the menu are all red meat related. Ribs, Skirt Steak, Beef Chili, Burgers, Hot Dogs…

I brought a vat of Vegan Chili. It was very well received and went quickly. There were also homemade black bean veggie burgers made by AH, the partner of my Nephew G. They were delicious. And I had fruit, salads, brownies….

Oh yes, rum chocolate bon-bons…. OH MY they were good.

So I went way overboard.

And it is OK.

This morning I was actually down one pound from Friday.

Still heavier than I want to be and I am back on the plan and I am working it off.

But for one day…

It was OK.

A Ride with a Friend

I met ES when he and his wife AS started showing up last spring for the Sunday Shop Rides. A really nice couple. Pleasant to talk with, great to ride with. Bright, Enthusiastic and engaged in the rides.

Everything a Ride Leader could want from riders.

When they didn’t show up for the ride one summer Sunday I assumed that their children were home from camp and that was that.

It was more than that. ES had been involved in a bad bike crash. It took a great deal of focus and effort, I am sure, but he returned to cycling and it was my joy to be involved in helping him select his new bike.

ES and AS have rejoined the Sunday rides and it is once again a pleasure to ride with them. I didn’t lead the ride yesterday because I was heading back north from the family visit.

Riding Country Roads in New Jersey

Riding Country Roads in New Jersey

I had planned to do a 60 mile ride with the bike club in The Hudson Valley but I just could bear the thought of a 120-mile round trip in the car.

I was really pleased when ES told me he was available for a ride today.

So we met a the bike shop (a good midway point between our homes) and set out on what we originally planned as a 48 mile ride. Memorial Day Parades changed that to a 42.5-mile ride… It was Great.

I can’t speak for ES but for me… It was GREAT. We rode at a relaxed pace, took one long break and a couple of short breaks and chatted much of the ride when we could ride side by side. It was a ride with two personalities. The first half of the ride had nearly 2000 feet of climbing. The second half was flat to downhill…

I knew I would enjoy selling bikes.  I knew I would enjoy leading the Shop Rides.  I didn’t know that I would develop friendships with “customers”

Fun time. ES and I are well matched in our riding abilities. ES is MUCH better on the hills than I am but I am able to ride the rolling hills and the flat areas with him and he is patient about the long climbs.

I am working hard to be ready for the Ride for Autism. A ride like this is good prep….

Thanks ES.

My Attention

I have not been tending to this blog much recently. My efforts have been directed towards WORK and the Ride for Autism.

This ride is very important to me. Raising funds, getting people to join the team… So far the Team has raised $2,600.00. A wonderful thing. Wonderful and generous people have donated whatever they could and I appreciate it more than words can express.

It will be a fun ride. Some are doing the Century. Some are riding shorter distances. It is all good. The important thing is to show up. To engage. To make the effort. I appreciate it all.

So that is where my attention has been. Diverted from this important part of my life to another.

Today I rode 42+ miles. I am preparing to ride 100 in June 7th. I am doing this because The Older One cannot. I am doing this because I want other parents to have the resources available to them that were not available to us 20+ years ago.

To all who are supporting the team or have joined the team I offer you my deepest thanks.

Today’s Ride was beautiful.

June 7th the ride will be meaningful.Dannys team 2

 

Peace.


3 Comments

Health


The Healthy Choice

I started losing weight because I was tired of being fat, out of shape, ugly (in my eyes) and embarrassed. I started losing weight because I was afraid of dying early. I started losing weight because it was the right time in my life to change.

From the beginning I understood that it would be about more than taking off the pounds.

It would be about understanding me.

It would be about getting fit.

It would be about staying lean and fit and getting healthy and staying there.

I knew from day one of my Journey that I would have to travel the path physically as well as emotionally. I understood that there would be much more to this than merely eating less and eating right. Moving more, moving right would be a part of it as well. A big part.

It is very possible to lose 100-plus pounds and not significantly improve one’s health. It is very possible to do so and injure one’s health.

I didn’t want to simply lose the pounds. I wanted to roll back the clock if I could. I wanted to be younger. I felt so old on the day I started the Journey.

It is Mid-April now. 2014. I am still 100+ pounds down from my peak. Still where I want to be with my weight. Still building the fitness, riding the bike, walking.

I made a healthy choice. I never have followed a diet. No WW, Jenny, Atkins, South Beach…. I have never followed an exercise plan. I eat right. I eat less. I move more. I didn’t start a diet. I didn’t start and exercise plan.

I started a new lifestyle. I change my life and I made the healthy choice.

The Healthy Choice does not mean illness always leave you alone…

I am getting over the flu right now. It is part of why I haven’t posted on my blog in a while. It really knocked me on my back. It came on last Saturday. I was feeling a little off on my bike ride in to the shop. I started strong but faded badly as I approached the shop. I showered up and started work but by mid day my head felt “off” and I was feeling congested. I thought it must be allergies. It was busy at the shop and I was running about but losing energy with each step. At some point CB, one of the shop owners, asked me if I was OK. I think I was coming across as “cross”. I told her I thought I was dealing with allergies…

By night fall I was sick.

By the time I crawled into bed Saturday night I was running a fever of 101.1. Overnight the fever climbed and I was in hell by 3:00 AM when I sent a text to the bike shop boss that I would not be able to lead the Sunday ride nor would I be able to work. Sunday was hell. 103.4 fever. Joint aches. Violent shivering. Sweats.

Monday morning the Dr. confirmed it was the flu and ordered me to bed rest for the week. Anti-viral meds to fight the flu and antibiotics to prevent the secondary infections that often accompany the flu.

Here it is. Thursday. I am FINALLY starting to feel OK. The fever broke a couple of days ago but the joint aches and the general malaise that comes with the flu linger. Today is the best day so far.

The worst part for me was having to cancel the Father-Son vacation the Younger One and I had planned for this week. I was going to work Monday and Tuesday and then he and I would travel to New England Tuesday night to enjoy three days exploring.

I know it disappointed him but in classic form, he has handled it with grace and understanding.

I doubt I will be able to ride this weekend but I will keep the option open for Sunday. Monday I will return to my regular job healthy and strong. This was not how I wanted to get the rest I needed but at least I rested.

 

Peace