Posts Tagged ‘health’

Training for STP 2016

Sunday, March 6th, 2016

20160306_143137-1I’m thinking of changing my name to Duncan, because my exercise habits and weight have been all yo-yo the last few years. I was having a really good go of crossfit, but random aggravations of my back over the years have prevented me doing it consistently. I’d lost 20 pounds crossfitting a few years ago, then gained 10 pounds back in 2014 after injury. I participated in a weight loss competition at work in early 2015; losing most of those 10 pounds by April. At the time I was still going to crossfit, but doing a specialty program to protect my back and build endurance for my first 5k. I ran that in April 2015, a week after reinjuring my back again, and thought I’d found something to do while rehabing. I did another 5k two months later, but stopped running when I realized the shock wasn’t allowing my back to heal effectively. I spent the fall trying to get into swimming, but I stopped that because I couldn’t get over being the youngest person by ~30 years. I stopped exercising while doing 3-4 months of intense PT and gained those 10+ pounds back this winter. I’ve definitely been losing muscle all the while, so I’m sure it’s more than those 10 pounds in fat making my clothes uncomfortably tight. That was a ton of information – still with me?

My back is a lot better lately (not perfect by any means), so I’m getting back on the horse by training for the STP in four months. STP stands for “Seattle to Portland,” and is a ~200 mile ride… you guessed it… from Seattle to Portland. It’s a very popular ride in an area where there are a lot of rides and I’ve wanted to do it since learning about it a few years ago. A friend of mine, who rides like it’s his job, did it a few years ago and wasn’t crazy about it. I think partly because he decided to do it in one day 1.5 weeks before the event, but also because it’s really damn far. I know someone else, similarly trained as me, who did it for the first time last year and will be doing it again. Weighing those items, I’m choosing to believe it’ll suck and I’ll be glad I did it. I have a habit of signing up for things that force me to motivate; this is one of those times. The good news is I’ve already proven this works when I did 50 miles nearly three years ago. The bad news is I think that’s the last time I was on my bike.

It’s still the rainy season in Seattle – how you gonna train? Technology! My momma got me a brandy new smart trainer for my birthday, which is a cool piece of kit that attaches to your bike and controls the resistance to simulate elevation. Pair that with a training/simulation program like Zwift and you’ve got the closest thing you’re going to come to riding outside on a budget. I really, really do want to go back to crossfit at some point this year, but I’m going to use this over the next few months to turn the weight tides in my favor. I can toughen up my coccyx, get used to clipping in again, and do it at any time schedule permits. It’s gonna be a hectic summer, so I like having access to exercise in my basement. Only 130 days to train!

Pro tip: You can, in fact, fall over while clipped into a trainer.

Year Off Beer

Thursday, December 31st, 2015

i-would-like-to-formally-invite-you-to-beer-me-J2l…and all other alcohol, that is. Midnight tonight will mark the end of our year without consuming any alcohol [full disclosure: other legal items were enjoyed]. Reading back at my post this time last year, it’s interesting to see how life throws you curveballs. I talked Melissa into doing this, in part to get my health back on track. I’d gained 15 lbs since my all time low and I wanted to turn things around. I lost 10+ pounds in the first four months of the year, but then hurt my back in April. I tried various exercise routines, but nothing really stuck. I did do my first two 5Ks ever, which I don’t think would have ever happened had I not been drinking. I also haven’t gained much weight since hurting it; likely another benefit. All in all, we slept better, we went outside more, and we probably saved a good bit of money. I learned a lot about myself and am glad I was able to stick with it.

The question I get most often is whether I will continue into next year. For awhile, I seriously considered never drinking again. I had my reasons, but I don’t think they were entirely the right ones. Truth is, I now think a moderate amount of social drinking will be good for me. I don’t want to ever get anywhere close to where we were in 2014 and yet, abstinence is not for me. I have actually had two medical professionals tell me, in so many words, that I should have a drink and relax. I wouldn’t call that a license, per se, but it tells me being hard-nosed about not drinking didn’t mesh well for me. The short answer is yes, we will reintroduce it into our lives.

The second question I get most often is how we’re celebrating and/or what drink I’m going to have. The answer is we currently have no plans and, given the drink is probably a function of the place, have no idea what drink I want. In what is likely a sign of things to come, we’ll probably have a quiet night at home or do something low key like stop in a neighborhood bar. Hard alcohol doesn’t appeal much to me these days, so I’ll probably just have a really good beer. We are hosting a small get together at a newly opened beer hall in Seattle, so that’ll be a nice way to take have beverage with friends, take a deep breath, and relax.

As I mentioned, I learned a lot over the course of a year. Included below are a few that really stick with me. Would I do it again? Maybe… but not for awhile.

  • A lot of people told me I’d never make it. I don’t know if that’s an indication of their opinion of me or they’re speaking subconsciously about themselves, but there it was. I was really surprised at how pessimistic some people were. As you probably know, this made me want to be successful even more.
  • Bartenders are your new best friends. They’re either giving you free (non-alcoholic) drinks or giving you emotional support for, what I think, is being an alcoholic. I was surprised, in a very different way, just how supportive they were of complete strangers. Working at a bar has it’s risks and I think I saw a side of them.
  • Dinners out aren’t nearly as… special. Alcohol doesn’t make the world go round, but there’s something mechanical about going out to dinner and then heading home. Having a glass of wine or a nice cocktail just seems to slow dinner, and the world, down. I’ve found taking an Uber can really help make it feel like you’re not just running another errand.
  • People are sometimes uncomfortable… or considerate… about drinking around you. We had to remind people more than once that we were making a personal choice and they didn’t need to change themselves because of it. Then, there are others who will wave their drink in your face or work hard to convince to “just have one.”
  • I was on 25 planes this year. I didn’t drink at any of those destinations, including 50 cent beers on my birthday in Vietnam. It felt really forced.
  • Water is boring. I have one cup of coffee in the morning and that just wasn’t enough to keep my palette happy. I took to drinking a lot of calorie free sparking water because I needed something that tasted. Cranberry and soda became my “going out” drink.
  • I am uncomfortable meeting new people and being in groups. I am even more uncomfortable when I’m trying to figure out how not to be an introvert without alcohol. I never did figure out a way to prevent anxiety when going to social gatherings, especially if it was in public and/or they were drinking. I actually had to pass on, or leave early, more events than I care to admit.
  • There were quite a few events that we passed on because the price included open bar. I get that we can elect not to care, but paying a premium to be around… well, see previous and next comment… wasn’t for us.
  • Drunk people are way more obnoxious when you’re sober.

Off the Wagon, Then Back On

Sunday, December 7th, 2014

Somewhere during moving, recovering from a back injury I sustained moving, obsessing over my job, and going on vacation, I fell off the wagon. What wagon? The health wagon. I turned eating paleo fairly consistently and doing crossfit 3x/week into a license to eat anything I wanted (as long as it was gluten free) and averaging crossfit less than 3x/month. In reality, it meant french fries, bacon, and eight total visits to the gym in four of the last five months. The result? Clothes are getting a little tighter, my endurance is shot, my digestive system is angry, and I’m 15 lbs heavier than I was at peak form. Granted peak form was after three months of strict paleo last year, but I’m still going in the wrong direction, know it, and have one or two pictures to prove it. You wouldn’t really know to look at me, but a comparison to pictures from last year show subtle hints I’m not happy with.

So, it’s time to get serious. Serious is a commitment to go to the gym three times a week and clean up my diet. No more fried foods, no more buying my lunch every single day, choosing lean meats where possible, reducing my carbohydrate intake, and… for all of 2015… no alcohol. I made that decision a month or two ago; recent events have strengthened my resolve. A whole year without booze? Yeah, a whole year. A number of people have told me it’ll never last. The person I am, it makes me want to succeed that much more. You know, ’cause I like being right and all. There are many people who don’t touch the stuff and I will be one of them for at least a year. I’ve even convinced one or two people to try it with me. Oh, and I’m taking parting in a weight loss challenge at work too. Yeehaw!

2015 is the year of health. Period. With ay luck (read: perseverance), 199 should be right around the corner!