Through a variety of life circumstances that won’t see ink in this blog, I was forced to bail out on my intended first-ever true 5k (that is, the first one I would run-walk), which was this year’s Rock the Parkway.  I also got in only very little running-specific training for that.

But, there’s a new “first 5k” on the horizon – the Ottawa Color Craze 5k on Saturday May 18th (so about 2.5 weeks away).

This morning before work I resumed my running training in earnest.  I walked/ran ~2.3 miles at a local park with a buddy Mrs. O.  Public disclosure here, my total time (I would roughly guess I walked about 50-60%, ran about 40-50%) was about 32 minutes, or a roughly 14 minute mile.  Yes, a brisk walker could have kept up with me 🙂  But everyone starts somewhere.  My initial goal is to shave off maybe a minute per mile by the time of the 18th and complete the 3.1 mile 5k in 40 minutes.

It’s my intention to keep running training in the arsenal, for a variety of benefits, and to participate in a few more 5k’s this year.  Maybe work up to a half marathon in time.

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Proving once again the correctness of my old friend and boss BL who used to say to me, “Billy, nothing is easy.”

Doing some grocery shopping this morning, I was reminded in looking at the aisle after aisle of “stuff” that a HUGE portion of the foodstuffs in your average American grocery store is pretty darn bad for you.  At least, in any kind of “normal” portion.  That is, one cookie or one potato chip isn’t going to kill you; one small portion of anything in the grocery section isn’t terrible; but at portions sold and commonly consumed, the shelves are filled with borderline poison.  Insidiously, this poison usually tastes fantastic, is packaged in a manner to incite purchase, and as a nice kicker is frequently addictive to boot.  One of my heroes, Jack LaLanne, was substantially on the money when he said “if it tastes good, spit it out.”

The person working to recover from obesity or morbid obesity, or even the average joe who might be a little overweight, little out of shape, and looking to improve his health, truly has an uphill climb navigating the maze of food options out there.  As with the broader topic of healthy living, it’s so easy to go wrong/make bad choices, and it’s so tough to consistently make good ones.

Here’s to carrying on and winning that fight.

THIS is why we ride.

April 20, 2013

Had a good solid 50+ mile ride this morning – to Garnett and back on the local Prairie Spirit Trail. My first half century of 2013.  “Good” does not equal “easy”, as a stretch early in the return tested me in most ways a cyclist can be tested.  But in that inimitable way, the entire undertaking is mentally filed away under “great ride”.

Early in the ride, though, a “theme” emerged – as one seems most fascinatingly to do nearly every ride – and that was, THIS is why we ride.

We ride to test our limits.

We ride to escape.  To escape everyday stresses; to escape ourselves for a little while; and paradoxically to escape back TO ourselves.

We ride for health.

We ride for the thrill of speed.

We ride for companionship.

We ride for the rewards – rewards which often come disguised as challenges.

We ride to defy death just a little while longer.

We ride to remind ourselves of all the reasons we ride.

99 Days to RAGBRAI!

April 12, 2013

We’re down to double-digits days until RAGBRAI!!

And roughly 3 weeks away from the publishing of the lottery results to determine who may ride this year.  Again, it is, functionally speaking, a formality since an active market arises post-lottery-announcement for buying & selling of entrance wristbands; plus chartering with a group (as I am for this first year, in my case PBV) also enhances your likelihood of getting in.

Still, always simplest just to dunk the ball or in the case of RAGBRAI, make the lottery.

Cannot wait to roll across Iowa in July with thousands of other sweaty enthusiastic fools!!

Bike Therapy

April 6, 2013

Storm in her element, during our first 25+ miler together.

BikeTherapy

Storm Paris

April 5, 2013

So, I finally broke down and bought myself a road bike proper.  Tuesday of this week, I picked up my new baby, below:

Storm

I’ve named her, interchangeably, Storm, Paris Storm or Storm Paris.  Most of the time, though, I just call her Storm 🙂

She’s a 2011 Specialized Roubaix SL2.  I got her at a solid price in an inventory-clearance sale from a LBS.  I’ve wanted some flavor of Roubaix for almost as long as I’ve been interested in cycling; and given the amount of bike for the price, I pulled the trigger.

More about her later, as I have only a moment this morning.  But I wanted to at least introduce Storm to all of you, and vice versa.

March is in the books, and with it a new personal record for monthly mileage, clocking in at 591 miles, surpassing by about 10% my previous best (October 2012) of 539 – which in turn was 11% better than the previous best (September).

I really ramped up in March after setting my 5000-mile goal for the year in late February.  I rode 22 of 31 days in the month, including 6 of the last 7 days and, in the first part of the month, a 9-day stretch.

Year-over-year, my March mileage blew away last year, where I totalled roughly (don’t have exact records with me) 200 miles – in other words, almost 3x as much this year.  However, last March I was in a pretty low place motivation-wise, and I have long considered the “beginning of my modern cycling era” to be late March 2012.  So April will be the first month in this hobby that I can validly do a year-over-year comparison.

Won’t be too long now before I will finally do a 1000-kilometer (620 mile) month – something I’ve wanted to do for a while now.

My traditional monthly first-of-month weigh-in was this morning.  I was overjoyed to see that the first number on the scale was a “1”, i.e. I’m now in “Onederland” – finally.  The weight was 196.2.  I stepped on the scale multiple times, as is my custom when I weigh in, and each time showed exactly 196.2.

This also brings into question a topic I’ve been curious about now for some time – what will my “final healthy weight” be?  What will I weigh when my weight loss totally slows & stabilizes and I enter strictly into the “maintain” phase?

When I first began losing, at 284 pounds, I set an initial goal of 209.  I knew then that I’d still be pretty “chubby” at 209, but once I neared 209, I was surprised at how much more weight I really had left to lose.  I set a secondary goal of 184, i.e. a loss of 100 pounds.  But, at 196.2, I’m now more than halfway between these two levels, and when I assess my physique, I don’t see merely another 12 pounds to lose.  I would guess I have at LEAST 20 pounds to go, if not more.

My intention is to reach 184, at which point I’ll be super proud – I’ll have lost 100 pounds from my heaviest recorded weight!! – but then to set another goal of another 10 pounds, to 174.

For now, though, I’ll be on cloud nine all day long. I’ve lost about 5 pounds since March 1st, roughly 87 pounds since my heaviest weight, and the number on the scale starts with a “1” for the first-ever time on an official weigh-in.