Archive for the ‘Physical activity’ Category

I just looked and I’ve not posted anything on here in 10 months.

10 months?!?!?

I’m not going to make excuses… I wrote no fewer than 12 drafts that referenced the 2016 election and wound up purging them.  Too political, too negative, take your pick. I realize you don’t really need to hear my political ramblings. Plus, I’m sure that it wouldn’t do much good.

I know you’ve read my trials and tribulations of getting exercise and losing weight. You’ve heard the tales of my blistered and mangled feet.

I’ve gotten a solution.

I’ve rediscovered just how much I enjoy biking.

This started a couple of years ago when I visited my local Trek dealer. I didn’t know much about bikes (my last one was a 10-speed Schwinn from 30 years ago). I left with a pretty metallic blue Shift 1. I rode it sparingly the first two seasons. I was always finding excuses not to ride… my legs hurt, it was too hot, it was too cold. You get the point.

Then, for whatever reason, it clicked.

Shock’s Mill Bridge over the Susquehanna River

I started riding regularly. First three days a week, then four. Now it’s usually six days a week (I mow grass on the seventh day), and I have been known to get all seven days. What started off as a struggle to reach five miles a day has me feeling like I’m not getting it done if I don’t get 15-20 miles a day. Some days I do the entire trail for a grand total of 23 miles. There’s some lovely scenery along the way… old ruins from the region’s pig iron days, a really neat railroad bridge, and lots of wildlife. I ever rescued a really cute box turtle today after he was almost mowed down by some Lance Armstrong wannabe. I stopped, picked him up and carried him to the side of the trail. Figured it was better than having Lance get a second shot at him on the return leg.

Yes, my tubby ass has grown to love the biking.

As a result, I found that I was outgrowing my beloved Shift 1. Limited to seven gears, it wasn’t allowing me to get the work I wanted. So, I went shopping for another bike. Since I was so enamored with the Trek product, that’s where I started and where my search ended. The Shift line was no more, but Trek had introduced a line called Verve. Bigger tires, stronger wheel construction, all aluminum frame, and 24 gears.

It was a no-brainer.

The new bike as I left the shop.

I was fitted for the bike, and I took it for a ride the day I picked it up. It was a little too tall for me and given my normal choice of riding attire, I managed to fall off. See, I usually opt to spare the world from the sight of me in bike shorts, so I would generally wear a pair of gym shorts over the bike shorts. They got caught on the seat and I ever so gracefully landed on my keister. No harm done… plenty of padding. I lowered the seat a little and it’s been smooth sailing ever since. It also helps that I just said the hell with it and let people see me in bike shorts.

An old high school friend asked me why I loved the new bike and the best thing I could say was that it works for me. Maybe Trek isn’t the greatest thing on the road, but I enjoy riding this bike and I look forward to riding as far into the fall and winter as I can.

It’s nice to be able to get the activity I’ve been craving.

P.S. I have no idea what my weight is these days. I haven’t looked at a scale in months. I’m not stressing and I know things are working because I can feel changes in muscle tone and how my clothes fit. Eff the scale.

So, after working until 2AM, I staggered home and pretty much collapsed into bed. Supportive Partner Woman (Sleeper of extraordinary soundness!) didn’t even stir and I was sleeping the sleep of the dead (or the truly exhausted).

SPW’s alarm went off and I staggered downstairs to pack her a lunch and make my own breakfast. I was folding some laundry when I heard an insistent knocking at the door. I opened it, fully expecting to find some overzealous proselytizing religious fanatics.

Instead, I found Brad.*

Brad is my neighbor. I didn’t know his name, but I did know him from his kids selling subs for scouting. Brad was wearing a somewhat sheepish grin. I lowered the screen and the exchange went something like this:

Brad; Howdy, neighbor!

Me: Um, hi?

Brad:  Is that your green car?

Me: Yes.

Brad; I was taking my daughter to school and got freaked out by a spider on the windshield, and, well, I kind of sideswiped your car.

Me:

Brad: I’m really sorry. We can exchange information.

Me:

Brad: It’s still drivable.

Me:

Brad: Looks like the mirror, primarily

Me: Ummmm, you hit my car?

This does not bode well for my day. It could be worse… the car is drivable and a little superglue will set the mirror enough to keep it from flapping in the breeze. Plus, Brad’s insurance company already called. They will even provide a rental while mine’s in the shop. The damage is to the driver’s door, left front fender and the mirror.

I was a little pissed, but I’ve calmed down. After all, while he didn’t stop immediately (he took his daughter to school), he stopped on his way back and took responsibility. I can appreciate that.

I only hope this isn’t an omen.

In other news, I finally bit the bullet and booked an appointment to see the wound care specialists regarding Wayne. My podiatrist and I are both hopeful they have some magic up their sleeves so we can get Wayne healed up and maybe get a good blister prevention plan in place. I’ve been doing some research and I’ve found a few products that look like they might be promising. This whole blister saga has me second guessing my 10K plans for January. If a 5K tore it up this much, what will a 10K do to me? It’s a question for my medical team. Although, as my co-captain Michelle has told me, “You tell them what you want to do and let them figure out how to make it work.”

Sounds like good advice.

* Name changed to protect the innocent and arachnophobic

I’m pleased to report that the six day period of hell has come to a close.

This started last Saturday when we buried my cousin Bill, who had passed away a few weeks beforehand. I had written about the sense of loss I felt at that time, but we finally got his ashes to their final resting place. We followed up with a family brunch at the Exeter Family Restaurant , which was underwhelming to say the least, then Supportive Partner Woman and I made tracks back to cow country. The following day, my mom came up so I could do her taxes. We then took her for her first ever visit to Wegman’s.

She was a bit overwhelmed.

She called when she got home to let us know she was safe, then a few minutes later, the phone rang again to let us know that Aunt Marie had passed away on Saturday night.

(thump)

The other shoe had dropped.

That funeral was this past Friday… bookending a six day stretch that was crappy, to say the least. This week was also filled with too many work obligations, not enough sleep, and not enough fresh air.

All it proves is that life is too damn short.

In the good news department, though, I did manage to construct a solidly-built ramp for my in-law’s home so my mother-in-law can get out to the family room. It was a chance to use power tools (which I’m always in favor of), and a chance to bitch about cheap Chinese-made wood screws. I might have something there… there’s NO reason an 18v cordless drill should be able to torque the head right off the screw. This happened twice. Not happy, but what can you do? I also opted to build a computer stand for the iMac, freeing up space underneath for the external hard drive and the Time Machine.

I also got some good exercise in. My group meeting took place with the exercise physiologist and he had us doing circuits. I was doing OK, but the mountain climbers really hurt on Saturday. The part that made me feel pretty good was the running in place… I was able to go 45 seconds without too much effort. This leads me to believe that I can do some intervals during the Troegtoberfest race and not be dead last. Woot!

I’ve also come to a conclusion that I’m going to go see a wound care specialist about Stubby and Wayne. These things are healing, but it seems the podiatrist doesn’t have a clue on how to make it more permanent (and faster). If I have to go back in the boot for awhile, so be it… if it really helps, I’m all for it.

So, I’m calling it a night. Hope that you all have a very happy Easter (Passover, etc.) and I’ll catch you in a few days.

Greetings, my friends.

It’s been a little bit since I’ve written. There’s been a lot happening, but that’s no excuse. Fact is, I’ve been pretty darned tired and haven’t really felt like it.

So, the big news is that Wednesday was my one-year anniversary of my bypass. Hard to believe I was propped up in my bed moaning and begging for death. It was almost like having a hangover, except for the five holes in my abdomen. People have asked me if I had any regrets. I think my biggest regret (other than being in such a bad way that I needed the operation) was that I didn’t do it sooner. I could’ve maybe avoided the diabetes and not have the damage to my feet that will probably stick with me the rest of my days.

I had my one-year appointment with Dr. McPhee. He was concerned that I had gained 26 pounds back, but since starting in the Back on Track program, I had lost 11 of those 26. That’s been going great… I find that Dr. Collins has a way of hitting the root causes of why I eat like I do. She’s been able to get me refocused and nudge me in the right direction, which is a good thing. I was starting to really feel down about myself during the two months I was on the shelf. Between the group and the fact I can be back at the gym, well, it has made a world of difference.

What a coincidence... both Flexes that we got in the same picture. Mine is the black/gray colored band and SPW's is the slate blue band.

What a coincidence… both Flexes that we got in the same picture. Mine is the black/gray colored band and SPW’s is the slate blue band.

One of the other things I did was to get a FitBit Flex. It adds a bit of a game to my daily routine and I love those days when I hit my goal and my Flex will start buzzing at random. I guess I’m intrigued by the gamification of calorie counting and fitness tracking. The sleep tracking is a nice feature as well. I also got one for Supportive Partner Woman… I hope she likes it as much as I do. I must remember not to cheer or taunt too much because that can get to be annoying. It’s like when someone will comment on EVERY Facebook status you post. It’s irritating and the last thing we need is more irritation.

The actual process of getting these bands was kind of comical. I had swung by my local Best Buy with the intention of looking at the band. In a surprise move, no one was around to help when I could’ve actually USED the help (Usually, I get one creepy dude who keeps asking me what he can help me with… when I really don’t need any help), so I left there and swung by the Apple Store, on the off chance they had them. They did, although the associate there tried to talk me into the Nike+ Fuelband. I tried, but it’s too rigid and didn’t fit my wrist comfortably. I took it back the following day and so far, I’m very happy. Supportive Partner Woman wanted a different color than I got, but they only stocked pink and black. I had the black and, well, she’s so not a pink person. Luckily, the Apple website had the blue band available and was able to ship it to the store in a couple of days. Problem solved. The website said shipping it to our home would take a week, but I could pay an extra $10 and get it by Friday. Or, I could ship it to the store for free and I could have it Friday. That’s a basic no-brainer, so, yay me.

Speaking of Dr. McPhee, he recently published another cookbook for bariatric patients. It has many of the same recipes from the first edition, but there are plenty of new ones, along with portion guides and some nutrition information. Not to mention the fact that the stuff is tasty. So, if you are a bariatric patient or know someone who is, click over to lulu.com and check out the book. It’s only $4.99 for a digital download and well worth it.

That’s all I have for today.

Song of the Day: Colin Hay – Overkill
Currently Reading: The Chariot Builders – Steve Matchett

Good news!

I’m finally cleared to exercise again.

Yeah, I can go and hit the elliptical starting today. Still need to stay off the treadmill, but I’ll take what I can get. First thing I did was call Ryan and Cory, since I still have a few weeks left with them. Hard to believe I’ll be a year post-op at the end of this month.

I also started the Back on Track program at LGH. It’s for folks who are struggling a little. Dr. Collins, the bariatric psychologist, leads an eight-week session focused on getting you refocused and rededicated before the wheels completely fall off. It’s a small group, six people, and Dr. Collins has a whole program set up. I think being able to get back to regular exercise will help me… I had gotten so used to working out that it really took a toll on me when I couldn’t. Dare I say some depression set in, and I’m someone who tends to eat when depressed. Ergo, not a good combination.

To help, I did buy a resistance band at my local Target. It has helped me at least get some strength training in while I was sidelined. I would usually change things up by using the bands. The fact that you get a constant force working against you seems to make sense.

The feet are feeling good in the new kicks. They are a little flashier than I’m used to, but I can’t argue with the comfort. I was able to rehab my old Beasts by putting a spare set of orthotic insoles in and they feel pretty much brand new.

So, I’m actually thinking that the WDW 10K in January might be the last runDisney event for me. Not because I don’t think I could do it again, but because of the price. RunDisney is getting a little out of hand. The prices for the 2015 weekend are going up like a rocket ship and that’s not cool.

The prices for 2015 are as follows:

Dopey Challenge: $530 (this is the 5K, 10K, ½, full, extra medals for the Dopey and for the Goofy, and a load of shirts)

Goofy’s Race and a Half Challenge: $360 (1/2 and full, plus extra medal and required shirts)

1/2 or full marathon: $170

10K: $105

5K: $60

Add to that price the need for airfare, lodging, meals, park admission (granted, not required, but you’re in Disney, you should probably get to a park), getting up at 2:30 AM on race day, and you start to wonder if it’s really worth it. Supportive Partner Woman and I will be doing it, as we are hoping our niece joins us as she will be done with graduate school at that point and could probably use a vacation. If it wasn’t for that, well, I’d consider not even participating. But, it’s all about the profit and 55,000 folks participating brings in a lot of scratch.

On that happy note, I’m going to get myself moving and over to the gym. I have two months to catch up on.

20140311-233915.jpg

I had a follow up with my podiatrist yesterday, before the snow got to be too bad. I went totally redneck, though, wrapping my left foot in a plastic sack before putting on the Boot of Shame. It worked, too… kept the foot mostly dry.

To make a long story short, Stubby has been released from care. I still need to keep an eye on him, but he’s really shown improvement. Wayne has also shown improvement, but nothing like what Stubby has achieved. Wayne’s wound measured 12mm yesterday, which was less than the 16mm it measured last week. I’m taking heart in this, hoping that I will be able to get back to training sooner, rather than later. The other good news from the appointment concerns footwear.

Dr. Miller said that I really needed to get fitted for better shoes. I restated my objection that the shoes are simply butt-ugly. He asked if I’d take a look at the selection before I dismissed it as out of hand. I agreed.

Brooks-Adrenaline-14_3In a bottom corner of the display rack, I found something I could more than live with… the Brooks Adrenaline GTS. I’m more of a Beast guy, but if I can get a pair, fitted to my particular feet and have my insurance cover part of it, well, I’m OK with that. I just want to stop the blisters. If they can’t do it right, there’s also a selection of New Balance that I can work with. The point is that while I’m not very vain about what I wear, I was drawing the line at plain white grandpa sneakers with velcro closures. I’m 43, not 73.

I did manage to get my cardio in today… in the form of shoveling snow. For whatever reason, Wanda, evil bitch queen of our HOA, didn’t dispatch the crews throughout the development until late and they never got to our house until late morning. No worries… I just did the whole driveway, sidewalks and out into the street. Felt pretty good to get 90 minutes of cardio. The downside to the whole snow thing is that Supportive Partner Woman was stranded at the office. Fortunately, she was prepared and had food and a sleeping bag, but I’m sure she can’t wait to get home. I opted to not even go in yesterday, when it took me just under an hour to make it home from the foot doctor (it’s normally 10-15 minutes tops). It means that I had to forgo holiday pay for Monday, but my life is more important to me than a day’s pay.

I have my show fitting appointment as well as another followup with the podiatrist next week. I’ll keep you posted.

I also have have wonderful team news to report. A teammate of mine, Ed, was told by his doctors that he was not to run anymore. Undeterred, he got a handcycle on December 26 and was at Walt Disney World to complete the Dopey Challenge two weeks later. His is an inspiring story that I hope to share in more detail in the future, but he was able to let the team know that his regional VA has asked him to represent the regional VA team at the National Veterans Wheelchair Games in Philadelphia. If he finishes well there, he can earn a place on the national VA team. That is such an amazing opportunity for such an inspirational guy.

At any rate, going to call it a day for now. Hope you all manage to stay warm out there.

 

Yes, I’m STILL coming down off the weekend’s good feelings, but I’m headed back to work soon, so I’m pretty sure it won’t last much more than three or four minutes once I get back.

Them’s the breaks.

I’m planning on doing a couple of upcoming posts on some of the inspiring people I met over the course of the weekend. Hoping I can make that happen, because these are stories that need to be told.

One of the best first-hand reports of the weekend’s experience has been put on the WDW Happy Place podcast. I recommend you give it a listen… Ashley and Sam do a great job and it’s inspiring to hear Sam talk about his personal journey.

I had also told you that there was video of my running across the finish line… without further ado.

With Bryan and Melanie after finishing the 5K and receiving our medals

With Bryan and Melanie after finishing the 5K and receiving our medals

It’s not much, but it’s way more than I could’ve done last year at this time. I just hope to keep improving as time moves on. Now if only my stupid big toes would cooperate.

I know I had previously stated a desire to compete in a half marathon by next January. Sad fact is that the evil toes will probably not allow that. Instead of setting my sights on a 5K and 10K back to back. The reasons are varied, not just my toes, but I saw the kind of grit and determination those folks show and I know I’m not there yet. Maybe by 2016? Who knows… maybe the feet will cooperate.

Speaking of feet, I think my trusty Beasts have given their last. I have put well over 300 miles on them in training, and that doesn’t count the times I’ve worn them for every day use. Soon I’ll be heading back over to Inside Track for another pair. I’ve become quite enamored of Brooks… they have pretty much surpassed New Balance as my footwear of choice.

Alas, I must return to my daily humdrum life. More in the coming days!