Archive for February, 2007
As I was eating lunch yesterday, it occurred to me that I was starting to make a shift in my attitude towards food. It reminded me of one of the things my coach told me at the very beginning:
If you think of yourself as an active person and use food as a fuel to rejuvenate that active self, I think it will go a lot further than “dieting”.
The big change in attitude – I can now order just one thing when I go to Taco Time (and for those counting it’s usually a vegetarian soft taco). Before, I always had to order more than one thing when I went to Taco Time or any other fast food restaurant. I was always afraid one thing wouldn’t be enough. I thought I needed more. I thought I wanted more. Now I’m starting to order one thing and be okay with it.
The sister of always getting more than one thing to eat is that I always ate until everything was gone. For me, that was how I measured full. When the food’s gone, I must be full. But after the Chilly Hilly on Sunday we went out to lunch at a mexican restaurant. I burned 2,400 calories on the ride according to my watch, and that definately seemed accurate based on the way I felt. But as hungry as I was, I was satisfied with over half my meal left. To be fair, that was one huge plate and one big meal. It wasn’t like I ate like a bird, I ate a lot. But there was more than I needed, so I took it with me. In my 45 years of life, I can probably count the times I’ve taken food from a restaurant on two fingers (and I’m not sure about the other one).
I have thought a lot about why it is that I eat like I do. I also, by the way, am a fast eater. Better shovel it in there before it gets away. I know growing up that I never went without, but it did seem like there was always just enough, never too much. I grew up as the last of three boys, all one year apart. We were not fussy eaters; I think because if you stopped to complain about your food, it would all be gone. Seconds tended to go to whoever finished their plate first, and there wasn’t that many seconds to begin with.
Again, we never went hungry in our house; I was blessed with all I needed growing up. But somewhere along the line I took on an attitude of scarcity instead of abundance. I know that there is plenty of food available, 24 hours a day. Yet when I ate, I was eating from scarcity – always afraid I wouldn’t get enough. Somehow not trusting that more would be available if I needed it.
Now, I’m trusting more. First of all, it’s better to eat more often with smaller meals. So I started eating less and telling myself it was part of the strategy. Even my eating less was probably eating more than I needed at one sitting. But over the the last two months, I have noticed my habits are changing. I am naturally eating less. I am naturally thinking about what I need to eat for the exercise level I have planned for the day. I am starting to think more like an athlete. It’s a wonderful change.
Now I’m off to eat my oatmeal. For the record, I still eat two packages of oatmeal…
I gained 0.6 pounds this week. So far I’m down 10.8 pounds for the year and 26.7 pounds overall.
No worries on being up in weight this week. I snuck a peak in the middle of the week and I was down. This gain is strickly a pre-ride pasta weight gain, and I fully expect that I rode it back off during my 2.5 hour Chilly Hilly ride later in the day. The great news from the week is that for the second straight week my blood pressure was under 120/80. Still not ready to start resting on my laurals, but I’ll take it.
I don’t remember much about how I ate during the week. I don’t think I was ultra strict, but I also don’t think I ate horribly either. I know I stuck with my oatmeal, no eating 2 hours before bedtime plan.
For exercise, I did a lot, but it was all really low heart rate. I knew I would tax my system with the Chilly Hilly ride, and I wanted to have a calm week leading up to the ride. Starting tomorrow, I begin training for Bloomsday. I haven’t ran in the last couple of weeks, so I’m a bit apprehensive.
I Here is how I did in week 8 against my goals:
Today was the Chilly Hilly bike ride on Bainbridge Island. The temperature was in the low 40′s (wind chill in the 30′s), and it rained for most of the second half. I had no problem keeping my upper half warm (in fact I had to stop and take off a layer), but my feet were frozen by the end.
I rode with my Uncle Mark and my friend Mitch. The three of us have ridden many times together and have more than our share of cold weather cycling stories. This was my fourth time riding the Chilly Hilly, so I was familiar with the course. I remembered many of the hills, although I’m not sure I would call them old friends. This was my first time cycling outside, and I felt it. But all in all it was a good time.
I ended up setting a PR for me – 2:33 over 33.5 miles, a 13.1 miles per hour average. We climbed 2,675 feet over many hills (there aren’t many flat spots on Bainbridge Island). I ended up burning 2,400 calories on the ride. My average heart rate was 157, with a high of 186. I was over a 170 heart rate more time than I could count, and over 180 multiple times as well.
Overall, the good news for me was that I could hold a high heart rate for so long – especially this early in the season. I felt comfortable sustaining up to a 174 heart rate, not bad for a 45 year old. The bad news was that my heart rate was getting that high or higher on just about every climb. My legs did start to fatigue at the end, and my lower back started bothering me – probably a result of not being use to the geometry of my bike since I haven’t been riding it.
As I was riding, I couldn’t help but think of the dilemma faced by a rider my size. Weighing 228, I am probably 50 to 80 pounds heavier than the average cyclist. It’s not so much a problem on the flats, and is an advantage going downhill. But uphill is a different story. I know I have to drop into my granny gear on long hills, that’s just a given. But the big problem area are the intermediate hills, which is pretty much the entire Chilly Hilly ride. I can stand and use the power in my legs to get up the hills without dropping down in gears, but it drives up my heart rate and will burn out my legs over the long run. The alternative is to drop my gearing and spin up the hills, but do that every time the road goes up and I lose incredible amounts of time.
The solution, of course, is an easy one. LOSE WEIGHT. It’s the piece of advice that Lance Armstrong gives every time someone asks him how to get faster going up hills. It was the biggest factor in Lance changing from a really good one day rider into a GC contender in the three week tours. The same thing was true for Miguel Indurain when he started his five consecutive Tour de France victories. The year he finally started winning was the year he showed up 12 pounds lighter than he had ever been as a competitor.
For me, I have to lose weight for my health, but I also want to lose weight for my cycling. And by the way, the last time I averaged over 13 miles an hour on the Chilly Hilly was in 2004, and I went on to have my best year ever as a cyclist. I expect nothing less this year.
See you down the road.
I was bummed yesterday to learn that Dennis Johnson had passed away at the age of 52. Dennis was a professional basketball player, in fact many believe he was one of the most underrated basketball players of all time. He was my favorite player on the Sonics back in the 70′s because he was a scrappy player. I always like scrappy players – probably because I don’t see myself having much extraordinary talent, but I’m willing to fight for what I want in life.
He was the MVP the year the Sonics won the championship. I remember it vividly. It was 1979, and I was a senior in high school. They won the final game on a Friday night and I had a party to go to afterwards. I remember driving down Ranier Ave – a main street in culturally diverse South Seattle. Back in the 70′s there was a fair bit of racial tension in South Seattle, but on that night EVERYONE was driving down the street honking and waving to each other. It united my neighborhood like nothing has before or since. Dennis Johnson was a major factor in that event.
Dennis eventually was traded away. He was considered a “moody” athlete. By today’s standards his behavior would probably rate him as teammate of the year, but back then he was considered a problem. So we traded him to Phoenix for Paul Westphal. It never worked out for either team. After three uneventful years, Dennis Johnson was traded to Boston, where he won two more championships. Larry Bird rated Dennis his favorite player because of his professionalism, tenacious defense, and commitment to winning.
Long since retired, Dennis became an elder statesman. He was an assistant coach in the league, and even headcoached for an abbreviated season. Lately he was a coach for the developmental league. He coached a practice, then played a bit of one-on-one with one of his players. He was walking back to his car when he collapsed. He never regained consciousness.
For me, other than being sad at the passing of someone for whom I rooted, it reminded me of my own mortality. I will be 46 in May, my own mom passed away at 49 (wow, am I as old as I remember my parents). I have high blood pressure. A lot of guys my age are starting to have heart problems. We don’t last forever. We need to make our time here count. And we need to take care of ourselves while we’re here.
My father-in-law had a triple bypass when he was around 50. But that was around 15 years ago, and he has been fine since. He totally committed himself to taking the coaching from his doctor. He changed his diet and never cheated. He started exercising (although he was a very fit man from his career of building houses). He did his part to protect his health.
But the truth is none of us are going to make it out of this thing called life alive. At 45, I am most probably on the back half of my life. I intend to prepare and behave as if I have a long full life ahead of me. In fact, I am currently reading a book called “Bike for Life” which takes the attitude of being prepared to ride a century on your hundredth birthday. That’s all good. But we should also be aware that we can go at any moment. How would our relationships change with our spouse, our kids, others – if we thought of every time we left them as potentially the last time we might see them. Would we treat them differently? Would we say things that currently go unsaid? I think about this more now that I’m riding a motorcycle – but the reality is that anyone can go at any moment for any reason. That’s not morbid, and it’s actually an opportunity. Here’s a challenge: Live each day like it might be your last, and see how the quality of your relationships improve.
One last thought on the passing of Dennis Johnson – and it actually has to do with the person who is was traded for, Paul Westphal. The Seattle Sonics have had two dynasties in my opinion. One in the late 70′s/early 80′s that resulted in two trips to the finals and one championship. The other was in the 90′s when they went to the championship (losing to Michael Jordon) and had a run of many years with 50 plus wins. Obviously these are team dynasties and not league dynasties.
In both cases, the icon for the end of the dynasty was Paul Westphal. Once he was traded to Seattle for Dennis Johnson, the team started a slow decline. He never played well for Seattle and as I remember was injured a lot. His career in Seattle was so irrelevant that I don’t even remember how it ended. The trade did coincide with Magic and Bird entering the league – so maybe the decline was inevitable, but that trade and Paul Westphal will always represent the end of the dynasty for me.
In the 90′s Seattle enjoyed a very long run as one of the best teams in the league. That run started with George Karl being named the new coach (incidentally the other run started when Lenny Wilkens was named coach – in both cases the change was immediate). George was an abrasive character, but he could win. We had Gary Payton, Shawn Kemp, Detlef Schrempf, etc – all players who played hard for George. But George didn’t get along with Wally Walker the new GM. So they finally let him go. The coach they brought on to replace him – you guessed it, Paul Westphal. Immediately the streak ended and the Sonics rapidly declined. Sure there were extenuating factors. Shawn Kemp was traded for Vin Baker – and we won’t even go there. But for me (and I think Gary Payton), Paul Westphal is the icon for the end of the run. Here’s to hoping Seattle never brings him back for a third run.
Good bye Dennis. You will be missed.
In a brief moment of insanity, I’ve decided to take on the Bloomsday run on May 6th. This is a just under 8 mile run in Spokane, WA. It is one of the biggest runs in the world, and will have in excess of 50,000 runners. The run is two days after I turn 46, so it will be a bit of a birthday celebration as well. Maybe we can go out to dinner the night before the run and have a combination birthday, last rites celebration.
According to their website, I have 73 days and some change before the run starts. So far this year I have run about a half dozen times, once making it a whopping 2.5 continuous miles. Lisa, my personal trainer wife, is going to put together a running program to get me up to 8 miles in 73 days. She is going to target my running three non-consecutive days a week, and doesn’t think it will be a problem. I’ll share her program as soon as it’s completed.
I am mainly taking this challenge on to motivate myself until cycling season begins in earnest. I am really struggling to make it to the gym 6 days a week right now. My motivation is near zero. I want to get on withmy goal of accumulating 100,000 feet of elevation, but I’m pretty much limited to cycling outdoors on weekends unless I want to start cycling in the dark – which I don’t.
Hopefully this will jumpstart both my motivation and my weight loss. I’m told nothing works for weight loss like running. I’ll let you know…
I am frustrated with the weather – but not for what you might think. I am looking out my window, and sure it’s cold outside, but it’s also bright and sunny. It was the same way yesterday, and that is the frustrating part.
I didn’t commute to work on my motorcycle either day. The weather forecast said it would be raining, with thunderstorms, possible hail, and maybe some snow flurries thrown in for fun. Same prediction for today. Well, I believed them and drove my car. And now; gorgeous weather for February in Seattle. Frustrating.
You’d think I’d learn not to trust anything predicted about the weather in Seattle. It’s rarely accurate. I’ve lived here my whole life and know this, I guess I just needed a reminder.
Tomorrow – I ride my motorcycle to work, no matter what. If everything goes to plan, my kids should enjoy watching the snow fall
I lost 0.2 pounds this week. So far I’m down 11.4 pounds for the year and 27.3 pounds overall.
I am surprised to see I’m down this week. I didn’t work out that many days, I ate out a lot, and I ate things I don’t normally eat – specifically ice cream twice! Yet I did lose some weight and my blood pressure was under 120/80.
A lot has been written on blogs lately about this being the danger zone. Two months into the year is when most people start falling off their resolutions in droves. I don’t want that to be me. I have upped my conversations with my coach and I have recommitted to taking only Friday’s off of exercise during the week.
For eating, I have been focused primarily on two things, and I haven’t compromised on either. First, I eat oatmeal for most breakfasts. Second, I don’t eat two hours before I go to bed. Everything else I do is just be sensible. Most people know what’s good and what’s bad to eat. Most people know when they are overeating and should cut back their portion size. I quit both counting calories and even keeping a log of food. But those two tweaks sure made a difference – thanks coach!!
I Here is how I did in week 7 against my goals:
I took my daughter for volleyball practice on Saturday morning. We spent an hour working on her overhead serve. We worked on the correct elbow position, how to coil her body for power. I had her do drills such as hitting the volleyball against the wall, throwing the volleyball over half a basketball court, and serve, serve, serve. Last year Natasha served at a 91% success rate while serving underhand. Our goal is to have her serve at the same rate overhand.
After we were done, we stopped by Starbucks. It’s a father daughter tradition. Okay – it’s actually a family tradition because our family pretty much goes to Starbucks whenever we can. What can we say, we’re from Seattle.
Starbucks has these nice quotes on their cups. This is what mine said on Saturday:
“Growing up, my parents always said, “You will leave this world the same way you came into it: with nothing.” It made me realize that the only things we do in this world that count are those things that make the world a better place for those who will come behind us.” – Tyrone B. Hayes, Biologist, herpetologist, and National Geographic Emerging Explorer
It got me very present to the difference I make in this world. It’s not my accomplishments at work, it’s not how fast I ride a bike, or how many toys I have in the garage. The biggest difference I make are with my children, Christopher and Natasha. Sure, this blog is about me and my trying to get fit. But being fit just gives me better quality and hopefully more longevity to pursue what really matters. It’s the difference we make for others that matters in the end. Everything else becomes noise.
Here are some pictures of one of my difference. . .
When I decided to stop working out every day, I had one big fear. The fear is actually the reason I worked out every day to begin with. The fear is this – if I stop working out every day I might stop being consistent. When I worked out every day, I had the frame of mind that I “had” to work out and then I found a way to make it happen no matter what else was happening in my life. If I stopped the streak, then I might not “have” to work out, and exercise could get crowded out by whatever else is going on in my life.
Well, I ended my streak last week, and so far I have not worked out three days this week. In fact, I have not worked out more days than I have worked out. I have some great reasons – work projects, valentines day, etc. I also have great excuses – I have been consumed by the motorcycle bug and have chosen to ride my motorcycle a couple of days when I could have worked out (great exercise for my motorcycle, not so much for me).
So what to do about it? The first thing is always to admit you have a problem. This is my problem. I have never had a period in my life where I wasn’t doing something physical (basketball, weightlifting, cycling, etc). But I have also always been sporadic and inconsistent as well. This is the habit I need to change.
My wife Lisa took up serious running about 13 years ago. I asked her last night – in the 13 years she’s been running, what’s the longest period of time she went without doing any exercise. Her answer . . . MAYBE one week. I bet over the last 13 years she has averaged at least 5 days a week, and probably closer to 6.
If I want to really lose weight; if I want to really lower my blood pressure and get off meds; then I have to have the attitude that working out is non-negotiable. And this month is the danger zone. Neil was commenting that the gym was crowded and he was looking forward to March – when people start to fade on their commitment. I don’t want to be that statistic. I am going to fight for my health and fitness.
My commitment – I will take Friday’s off and no other day. Here’s to supporting me on that journey.
I have now passed my motorcycle safety course and can legally start riding motorcycles. The course was 2 1/2 days and included classroom and riding 125cc motorcycles. We had 12 people in our class, and none had ridden street bikes before.
I was amazed at how much value my bicycling and mountain bicycling skills came in handy. I already have decent spidey senses to keep cars from running over me on a bicycle. Pretty much the same skills are needed on a motorcycle (except you tend to be on the left hand side of the lane instead of on the right). I also was able to handle tight turns, running over objects, stopping quickly, etc. with a bit more ease because I’ve done them a lot – just at lower speeds.
My motorcycle is a Kawasaki 800 Vulcan. It’s definitely bigger than the one’s we rode in class, but I’ve already taken it out and it was no big deal handling the larger bike. Definitely more get up and go, but also a lot more responsive clutch and braking.
As soon as I trust the weather, I am going to begin commuting to work on the motorcycle. I figure I will get twice the gas mileage and be more environmentally friendly.
I love the two wheel life…