Sunday, February 28, 2010

The Food Thing

Yes, I know it is a creepy and disgusting picture.  But it is also kind of cool and for me, represents the love/hate feelings I have toward my new plan of eating more healthy foods.  Let's face it...for many of us, pizza and pancakes seem a lot more appetizing than an apple (especially, THIS apple!).

I don't know how many people read this, but my recent posts have been about my frustrations in the lack of weight loss I have had since I started cycling last May.   Though I would have brief periods of eating well, I really have not changed my food choices since exercising.   Consequently, I have not lost weight.

My friend Larry wrote a great comment in this recent post "I Been Thinkin..." that contained this line:  You will NEVER lose weight unless you eat less and eat better.  Others have made similar comments.

So, today I will go to the grocery store and make sure that the kitchen cabinets and fruit bowl are stocked with foods that are healthier and will fit with my plan.   I'll weigh in tomorrow and likely weigh once a week.  I may or may not post my weight for awhile, but it is time to benchmark it.  Until now, I would only check it every few months.  My friend Tony also wrote about drinking lots of green tea.  I lived in Japan and it was a staple there, but I need to study up on its health benefits (toward weight loss?  exercise recovery?).

I also wanted to end with a quick comment about this blog.  The initial focus was simply on the cycling project, mostly leading up to a big race.  The ramp up toward that race was fun, but it is morphing into an overall healthy lifestyle change for my life.  Having said that, I also want it to be interesting to people and I don't want to just focus on what I ate or how I exercised each day.  So, I'll continue to have other content like Music Monday (every two weeks) and some of the everyday life stories that come to mind.  I'd appreciate your comments, as always, as to what is of interest to all of you.  Thanks for reading.

Controlling the Beast,

Big Clyde

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Thanks For The Feedback!


I am very grateful to all of you (and also to those who have been e-mailing me)!   The responses have been informative and encouraging.  I am taking it all in like that dog in the old RCA ads...

Today, I'll work, then the family and I are away for a few days.  I will use this time to let the comments settle in, develop a simple plan and move forward.  While on the trip, I'll do my best to make good decisions.

The essence of the plan will be two-fold: 
  1. It's time to do something about my food intake.  I hoped that the cycling alone would do it.  It doesn't.  I need to be aggressive about less calories, better food and more water.  Message received.
  2. The second major element is to move each day, mostly cardio, but some weights as well.  Whether cycling, walking, steps, or hiking...it won't matter, as long as I'm moving daily.  My new goals should reflect that.
I just re-read this and realized that I forgot to say something very important to me:  I will do this!  I will make strong improvements in my health by losing weight and getting stronger.  I know I can.

I am blessed to have such great support from all of you and my family.  Thank you.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

I Been Thinkin'... (and now I need your feedback!)

I need your advice, please.  My efforts to lose weight by cycling are not successful and I am ready to make some changes.  First, let me give you some background:

 
I was reading through some of the blogs that I follow and was struck by the amazing results I read on Fat Daddy Rants' blog.   He started his blog on May 5th of 2009 at a weight of 355.  This is more than I weigh, but I am definitely very overweight and I identified with him.  He now weighs 211.  I have not read every post on his blog, but an early post indicated that his "master plan" was simply to walk 30 minutes each day and to eat smaller portions.   There are definitely many other blogs out there with amazing success stories, such as ZeusMeatball who weighed 534 pounds in January of 2008 and is now at 324 lbs and falling. 

 
I'm 6'4".   In 1987, I lived in Japan for less than a year and rode my bicycle everywhere, worked out often, ate small portions and ate very few sweets and returned to the States weighing 217...my folks said I was skinny.  I could rationalize that that was over 20 years ago and everything in my life was different then...but my life looks pretty similiar to Fat Daddy's...except he has dropped a ton of weight in a short time

 
I have three kids (ages 8-14) and my wife works Sunday mornings and a few nights a week. We are not on the 9-5 work schedule where our family is all together on weeknights and weekends. With meals, homework, chauffer duties for the kids' activities, etc., I need workout activities that allow me to do more frequent 30-45 minute workouts (oftentimes at home or on neighborhood streets) that will also burn more calories than cycling.

When I go cycling, I have to ride for about an hour to get in a short route of 13 miles.  Mid-sized routes of 20-30 miles take 1.5 - 2 hours.  A challenging, "long ride" (40 miles +) would take at least 3-4 hours on a weekend.

When I put those time commitments up against my goal of 40 cycling miles per week (and look back at my heavy mileage months last fall), AND STILL SEE NO SIGNIFICANT WEIGHT LOSS, I think I have to make a change.  It is also depressing to continue to miss my activity goals with an activity that requires me to leave the family so much.

In January, I started experimenting with some very simple cardio exercises that took only 30-45 minutes.  I did a walk/jog for 30 minutes that was quite a workout for me.  I did "steps" on one of those platforms in my house for 30-60 minutes...also a good workout.   Both of these types of workouts took far less time than cycling (which means I could do them more often, even daily).   But I only did them a few times, because I've been trying to chase the cycling mileage goal...and failing.

So, here is what I am considering:
  1. Take my cycling mileage goals off of my plan (at least for several months). 
  2. Add a weekly goal of "cardio" hours (walking, jogging, steps, etc.) of approx 30-45 mins, 5-7 days per week. 
  3. Add a nutritional component that might be as simple as "smaller portions" or maybe a calorie budget of 1,800 per day, drink lots of water, eat more fruits/veggies.
  4. Go cycling whenever I feel like it, especially with family and my friends...not as my main method of exercise.  I'll likely still be going out at least once a week.
  5. Continue to ride in all scheduled cycling races (1 in March, 2 in April, and El Tour de Tucson in November).  I believe that cycling will still be my best long-term hobby/exercise and want to keep the carrot in front of this horse.
  6. Finally, I wonder if it would be helpful for me to add my weight and a weekly weigh-in.  I have not disclosed my weight so far on this site, because it is so personal and yes, embarrassing.  Yet, would that disclosure somehow help me to be motivated?
So many of you are heroes to me, based on your dedication and the results that you have achieved.  If you have some time to send a comment with guidance or feedback, it would be much appreciated.

Sincerely,

Big Clyde

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Perfectly Calm About Monthly Mileage Goals

When I set the monthly goal of 175 miles, it seemed challenging, but attainable.  Yet, here I am in mid-February and I am struggling (again!) to get it done. 

I'm not discouraged, I'm calm....in fact, calmer than you are.  I just need to be more disciplined about getting in 40 miles each week.

For Feb, I am going to have to try to get it in during the last two weeks.   With 10 miles done on Monday night (half with my sweet daughter!) and another 14 miles tonight after work, I will have to ride about 12 miles per day for the rest of the month (or longer weekend rides).

Looks like 1 or 2 of my kids (Samson and BookReader28) will be joining me for the Tour de Cure on March 7th, to raise some funds for the American Diabetes Association.  This will be their first race and we will be doing the 30k (18 miles).  I am delighted, they are cautiously optimistic.  Good enough for me.

Keep riding everyone!

Big Clyde

Monday, February 15, 2010

Music Monday: Top 6 Cover Songs, Better Than The Original

You know the songs, but do you know the not-as-famous, but-much-better versions???
  1. ...Baby One More Time, by Bowling For Soup (originally by Britney Spears)
  2. I Will Survive, by Cake (originally by Gloria Gaynor)
  3. We Can Work It Out, by Stevie Wonder (originally by The Beatles)
  4. Sledgehammer, by Dave Matthews Band (originally by Peter Gabriel)
  5. Come On Eileen, by Save Ferris (originally by Dexys Midnight Runners)
  6. Smooth Criminal, by Alien Ant Farm (originally by Michael Jackson)
Check them out.  Also, give me your list of best cover songs. 

By the way, I've decided not to link to YouTube for these vids because they often have bad language in the comments section, that are beyond my control.   Regardless, please find the music on iTunes, YouTube or wherever and give it a spin.

Big Clyde

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Shuddup and Start Pedalling!

My recent trip and the fasting event of last weekend are now behind me.  I am grateful for your recent comments.  I'm especially challenged by the comments from GuinneMick and Old Chain Ring that encouraged me to "get back to work".    Larry and Rock Star have also challenged me in positive ways.  Thanks, guys...it helps me.

Rode 20 miles today. Crazy Jim joined me for 13 of those miles, which was his largest distance!  I have 155 miles to go this month and my next race will be in early March with my buddy Graham (Tour de Cure for Diabetes), then likely two in April.

You might have read my recent post Lessons From Avatar: Taming Your Beast that talked about how we have to overcome our individual beasts, or else they will dominate us.   In that post, I wrote this:
"Plans and charts and BLOGS might be helpful little tools, but this battle requires ACTION. You must launch a focused attack on your personal beast.  Either it controls you, or you control it."

It's time to "Control the Beast". 

It's time to shuddup and start pedalling! 

Big Clyde

P.S.  Since some of you have requested more stories about the hunting trip, I'll drop in a story or two later. It was fun, challenging and I learned a lot. On that trip, I hiked a lot of miles, but none of that really counts toward my cycling goals and I don't want to dwell on that.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Working for the Weekend


Just dropping in to say that I have been unusually busy this week and unable to work in a ride.  Long days (with long commutes for some company training) have ended with homework sessions with the kids.  

My hardcore friends would say that I should "make the rides a priority"...I get the idea, but this week is about reclaiming some balance in some key areas of my life:  kids, marriage, and work.   

Life should look normal again by Saturday morning (maybe even Friday night).  Back to training then. 

Hope everyone is doing well.

Big Clyde

P.S.  Yes, I actually had this Loverboy album in the late 80's.  No, I am not the guy in those red leather pants. 

Saturday, February 6, 2010

30-Hour Famine this weekend



No riding for me today because my family and I are participating in a famine...going without food for 30 hours (actually, about 36 hours) as a way to raise money for the hungry and poverty-stricken people across the world. 

Here is the dominant fact that is on my mind this weekend:
  1. 26,000 children die EVERY DAY due to preventable diseases, poverty and hunger...that is about one child's death every five seconds.  Through no fault of their own, just based on where they were born.    This number is much improved over where it was 10-15 years ago.  Change is happening.
We are doing this event with World Vision and the website for the famine is http://www.30hourfamine.org/.  Of course, there are other organizations and other communities in great need as well.

I just wanted to put this out there, for each of us to take a minute to consider how fortunate we are and to encourage everyone to find some way to give back.  This is such a horrible condition, yet preventable.

Thanks.

Big Clyde

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Hunting in Mexico: Lessons Learned

(WARNING:  This is a bit long.  Condolences.)

So much to say...but this is not a hunting blog.  I want to get back to my cycling (and now even some running!), so please bear with me as I rattle off some highlights on my recent five-day hunting trip in Mexico (given that the earlier post titled "Hunting in Mexico:  What Could Go Wrong?" received more comments than any other post I have written).   Also, I should add that this post involves some swearwords and references to peeing, toilets and farting...my apologies to my more delicate readers, but after all, this was a hunting trip.

If I get some favorable comments back, then I can answer some questions or tell the story behind my new nickname (Grizz) and tell the story about "the banana in the tree".  Please let me know if this is of any interest.

There were nine of us on this trip:  the man who organized everything, my four friends*, two guys from ESPN (and other shows on hunting channels) and one awesome younger guy from Texas who is a dead-ringer for the more manly-version of Leonardo DiCaprio.  Also, helping us were some local ranch hands, guides and cooks that made the trip so much more bearable.

*My four friends...earlier I said this was a business trip, which was an easy way to describe it because we all are in the same industry, etc.  I also thought of it this way, because I was not looking forward to it because it was out of my comfort zone...easier to think of it as an obligation.  In reality, I knew three of these guys pretty well and we all get along...they all love hunting and encouraged me to join them as a way to have fun and build closer relationships.  That definitely happened.  I now consider them close friends and they certainly tolerated my lack of experience.  I laughed more this past week than I have in the past few months. 

We travelled a few hours south of Douglas, AZ onto a private ranch of a bazillion acres in Mexico.  I have travelled the world, been to 15 countries on four continents and have never seen land prettier than this.  It was breathtaking!  Beautiful colors throughout the high desert region and beautiful sunsets. 

Two of my friends and the ESPN guys and "Texas" all stayed upstairs in the "Ranch House" with bedrooms with linen and paintings on the walls.  They had a massive bathroom with all the facilities, including a huge shower.  This looked like the spare bedrooms that someone's grandma might have.

Ah, but there was not enough room for all of us to stay in this inn...so four of us had to stay in the "Bunk House" down the road, where the cowboys usually stayed (yes...they actually had cowboys that round up the herd, etc.).  We stayed upstairs in the bunk house in a small room made of plywood and 1x4 flooring.  The narrow room had four bunk beds with badly stained mattresses (no linen).  There was a sink in the corner and a wood-burning stove.  Do all hunters use diesel fuel to start fires indoors (in a very dry climate)?   Seemed dangerous to me, but I didn't question it (out loud). 

For a toilet, we could use the one downstairs in the house, but had to risk waking everyone up.  So, instead, we just peed off the second story outdoor stairway.  My apologies to the white cow that was standing below on Night #3.  I didn't see you and let's agree that we were both surprised and a bit startled. 

And can I say this about toilets on a bazillion acre ranch (and the gas station near Esqueda)?  Aside from the "fancy" toilets in the Ranch House, why did every other toilet either have NO seat or such poor water flow that we were encouraged to "throw a cup of water down the bowl when you flush"?  Toilets have been around for several centuries now, can't we just expect a seat and some decent water flow (especially when virtually every meal contains the entree "chili colorado" or refried beans)?

I also learned that on a hunting trip, whether you are surrounded by friends, family, strangers or hired help, farting is acceptable pretty much all the time (except at mealtime).  It was especially funny when someone did it while on the hunt and our guides would instantly look up and around, as if a rare animal was approaching.  This is perhaps the most basic of all unspoken jokes since the dawn of humankind.

Moving on.  Here is what I forgot to bring on my 5-day Mexican Hunting Trip:
  • a sleeping bag
  • a pillow
  • soap and a towel (I am more of a hotel-type of guy)
  • a backpack for my "gear" (like binoculars, gloves, etc.)
  • binoculars
  • gloves (did I mention all of the cactus and near freezing temperatures?)
  • benadryl or an epi-pin (only needed for those allergic to bees...like me)
  • thermal underwear (seriously, I thought they quit making this stuff in the 70's)
  • a Spanish-English dictionary (sorry, Chino...my inability to speak spanish made for a long day on that hill).
  • My own camoflauge jacket...had to borrow my father-in-laws, which did not match my camo bib overalls that I got at Wal-Mart for $4 on close-out.  For all of you metrosexuals out there, let me assure you that it wasn't a problem that the jacket didn't match the pants...at least no one said anything about it and I definitely was not going to ask (but I had wondered about it!).
Things I DID bring that have never been seen during a hunt in Mexico:
  • 16 small cans of Starbucks Double-Shot, bought by my wife...likely more important than the bee sting medicine.
  • My beloved iPod, including the movie "The Big Lebowski"...who says you can't hunt and watch a movie at the same time?  That "no electronics" policy of the ranch was just unreasonable.
  • An Eddie Bauer pocket knife that somehow was designed for "bears", according to the engraving.
  • Mints!  Sure, we're in the woods, but should we not have good breath (especially after refried beans for breakfast)?
  • A book...one of the guys just had to keep asking "why would someone bring a book on a hunt?"
Handy phrases that were often heard on the trip (nearly all phrases were spoken in a southern accent, including by me...I don't know why):
  • "Sh*t".  Pronounced in two syllables, starting with the sound "shee".  This could be used as a starter or an ender to your own sentence.  Or as a response to someone else's sentence.  I have never heard this word used so many times in my life.
  • "I tell you what..." also as a starter or an ender to any comment.  When used as an ender, it is okay to just let it trail off, smile and take a sip of your drink.   A variation on this (as an ender to your own comment) would be "I sh*t you not".
  • "Man, it looked just like a yard sale...there was just sh*t spread out everywhere!"  This phrase could be said when you talk about falling down, a messy pick-up truck or when dropping your backpack to run fast after something.
  • "It was like trying to dance with a bobcat in a phonebooth".   Use this phrase when describing how you were awkwardly trying to get too much done at one time and getting all messed up.
  • "Mornin' ".  Good morning!
  • "Well, boys...it's time to p*ss on the fire and call in the dogs".  Bedtime. 
That will do it for now, friends.  I figure I done wore out my welcome already.  If you want just a few more, well, just let me know and I'll get 'round to it. 

Adios.

Big Clyde (aka "Grizz")

Monday, February 1, 2010

Music Monday: Top 5 Songs You've Never Heard Before

Not a new idea, but since I so often listen to my iPod when riding, I thought I would share some lists of the music I listen to on my rides.  So, my first Music Monday list will be the...

Top 5 Songs (I'm guessing) You've Never Heard Before
  1. Let's Dance To Joy Division, by The Wombats
  2. The World Is New, by Save Ferris
  3. Bang Bang, by K'naan
  4. Henrietta, by The Fratellis
  5. Mr. Hurricane, by The Beast
Find them on YouTube, iTunes, or wherever and let me know what you think.  Also, I'd love to hear any suggestions you might have for the list.

Big Clyde