Sunday, October 26, 2008

Happy tree lifting day!

OK, that's not really what Saturday was about. In Germany there are church holidays (every holiday seems to be mixed with some reason or another to party, called Fests) such as this weekend in my town called Kirwa's which is supposed to be the annual rededication of the local church. This is joined with a party for late teenagers when they take center stage around the kirwabaum or kirwa tree to dance the day after the tree is put up and after a night of seeing how much beer they can drink. So Saturday we walked the two blocks to our castle to watch the tree go up. Unbeknownst to me all the able bodied me are enlisted to push the tree upward with a precarious leveraging of long poles lashed together at the top. This particular tree was not that big apparenlty, only 22 meters or 72 feet. But a tree this size is HEAVY! So, with two other guys on our pole (there were five or six sets of poles each of varying lengths and used as the tree is elevated from the horozontal until it slides into the 5 foot hole) we heaved for TWO HOURS, well around 1.5 hours, hefting this thing up. Imagine grabbing a pole and doing squats for that long with each effort about every three minutes. So I felt at the end like I earned the liter of beer! Of course today I was so sore, my legs, arms and back are tired! A good workout all in all but probably not on the cyclo-core program.

We hit daylight savings here so it is now dark at 5pm so my weekly commute home will be in the dark from now until spring. YUCK! At least I'll have some light in the morning although it's supposed to snow this week. YUCK! Cross time!!!!!! I watched the cross world cup and it looks hard but I think if I just take off across the terrain here I'll get a good equivalent workout.

Weigh in tomorrow but I'm not worrying. Whatever happens will happen and I'll take it from there. Cheers to all!

Monday, October 20, 2008

Bouncing back and up

OK, the results of the bad week are in and I put on a couple pounds. This is the opportunity to assess what happened this past week, what I could have done and learn what to do next time.

The list I made last night of the distractors all came into play leading to this morning. Despite trying to get to sleep early (got my 5 year old to be by 8:30) the following happened: my mom called from the States at 9 although I had left a message 15 minutes earlier that we were going to bed; my 5 year old woke up at 10:15 and I had to get him back to bed; around 3 am the 5 year old came into our bed to sleep; just before my alarm went off at 5 my 8 year old got up. The alarm didn't go off at 5 because I got up before it and started the coffee, with my 8 year old getting up too. I looked at the thermometer and it was 32 outside but not raining so I could ride to work after my morning workout. Unfortunately, my laptop with the workout I loaded took 15 minutes to configure some updates that happened during the night so I missed out on the trainer workout. Then I tried on the super winter stuff I got and I think it shrunk so it doesn't fit and I ran around the house trying to find my gear, winter boots, wool socks etc. Eventually got everything together and out the door late to ride to work. VERY COLD! ride but I goofed again and didn't check the forcast and it's going to be around 60 today, so the jacket, winter shoes, wool socks and helmet with winter liner will give me a good sweat session on the way home!

So, my day is dorked up right? Well, here's the thoughtful part:

1. I can do the trainer workout tonight and then stretch so missing my planned workout this morning because of all the stuff is overcome by shifting it to another time.

2. I can't do much about the weather being warmer except to enjoy it and remember to check the forcast ahead of time (again which I couldn't do because the laptop was tied up and the boys were on the other computer).

3. The boys will be tired tonight so they'll get to be early and I'll be more able to get up early tomorrow to workout.

4. I put on 3 pounds, which I can get off and more this week. The back is better today and I'll see the doc about the ear sometime, maybe, so all is not lost.

All in all nearly everything that could go wrong that I anticipated did occur. But I can overcome that and still pull a successful day out of it. I did ride to work and while it was very cold and my muscles were stiff I concentrated on spinning rather than pushing a big gear. Although I didn't ride yesterday I did play soccer for about two hours with my youngest and I did feel it today.

So a bad week and a bad night/morning aren't the end, you just need to think ahead about what distractors will occur and plan a way around it. I feel better knowing I have anticipated this and that I can overcome it.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Nervous time

I knew this week was going to be a challenge and it has. Unfortunately the challenge came in the form of a flare up in my back pain and a clogged middle ear that's still sloshing around. I could not ride . . . I tried a couple days in the early morning fog and dark but the low back pain from spasmy muscles which also hit my mid back nearly put me down. I did adapt though. While I didn't do the full strength or yoga workouts I emphasized the stretching routines which helped. That and doing nearly the whole workout in the sauna at the gym!

From experience I know that once I can warm up my body in the sauna and lay back and let the hot boards work on the tense back muscles I can stretch and loosen everything up. The pain would go away. Eventually I would get tight but those stretched and the at the desk energizers REALLY help! I think it's stress.

So given the horrible week, how will the weight come out tomorrow morning? I probably put back on a couple pounds because I feel my tank is still about a quarter full and I haven't drained it out with a long hard workout. I mentioned the weather before and had some challenges with winter coming on. I have to be at work at 8 so I need to leave at 7:15 but the sun isn't coming up until 7:45! So I bought some lights for all the bikes I usually ride.

Before I close, thanks to Graeme for getting the Zen disks to me so quickly. And for the saddle! I'm honored, don't think I've done anything to deserve "winning" anything yet, but thank you very much!

I compiled a list of distractors and ways to overcome them which I'll post tomorrow but I think it would be great that if you would drop me a comment with one of YOUR distractors and how you overcome it. Please?

Monday, October 13, 2008

YEAH! I did it, now the hard part . . . maybe

I had a bad weekend. Did pretty good on the nutrition but fell off yesterday, Sunday, although I did pretty good. My youngest wnet to a birthday party and I did let myself have one small speck of cake but also had my salad. I knew the day would not allow me to follow the schedule so I jiggled it a bit. We went to a restaurant but they were out of pasty so I had a burger. All in all I adapted and did meet my goals.

So I woke up today early and after weighing I treated myself to a long ride and basically just went wherever I wanted! It was foggy so you don't notice the 6% grade until you feel it in your legs but I decided to amble through the hills. It was fun and I got a good workout in. Now for some more house duty and a stretch tonight.

I'm behind the curve on planning this week out but am working on my strategy to overcome distractions. The basic thought I need to keep in my mind is that no matter what happens in each day I NEED and WANT to workout whether this means a ride or a strength workout. As long as I do SOMETHING then I win and get closer to my goal.

Right now I have a 5 year old pestering me so I need to go but while I know that there is alot of planning and documenting to do the biggest thing I can do to make this easy is to believe in ME. I know I can do this and I've done harder things before so I can do this. And it's really not HARD to exercise, ride the bike and eat well. What is hard is to overcome inertia and get moving but once you get moving you keep moving.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

I'm so hungry, and weak . . . oh wait, that's good!

Day Four and it's the very low carb day of the Cyclo-Fuel Fat Loss week. I get carbs tonight but the ride into work this morning was horrible! I felt so weak at the beginning but better toward the end. No energy in the legs so it was easy pedaling up hill and not pushing a big gear on the flats. Just get there I told myself. I think I was hallucinating too, I remember seeing a log by the side of the road and it looked like an eclair! Mmmm . . . NO I can't let myself think that.

Here's something to think about though (I was thinking about this in bed last night having a craving then turned it around): We have Burger King here and I like the Whopper no cheese. Occasionally I'd get the double without cheese but mainly the single. Don't like fries so that saves calories and hate soda (I stopped drinking fizzy drinks a couple years ago). A Whopper is 670 calories. I want to loose 80 pounds which is 280,000 calories. This equals 418 single Whoppers without cheese. That's a LOTTA FOOD! Oh and while we're at it that's 107 POUNDS OF MEAT!

Anyway, I'm hungry but not that hungry and I have choices.

So next week is rapidly coming and I need to keep on with PHASE TWO - the plan. I'm going to start the Cyclo-core Off Season Intermediate Plan and adapt it to include more riding since I'm bike commuting. Josh Liberles has some good morning rituals I'd like to incorporate but I need to stretch and do core in the morning and do stretching in the evening. Even 15 minutes is paying off in loosening my core and tight muscles and relaxing me.

I will gear the workouts to the templates in the Fuel plan, what I mean is to watch the workouts I have on certain days and eat what my body needs. As a top level master/senior amateur racing cyclist (which is what I need to think of myself and my new life as) I need to eat what my body needs to be able to function optimally.

Now that I have somewhat of a plan (I'll refine it this weekend watching Paris-Tours) I need to especially focus on the last Phase . . . PHASE THREE - the plan to deal with distractions.

I mentioned that this is like D-Day, well I got the troops together and hit the beach this week. I know now where to push the bridgehead out to continue the advance but PHASE THREE is really the plan for when the counterattack happens. To be prepared you need to anticiapte the issues and this is questions, questions and more questions.

For instance, what happens when I need a ride and I wake up and it's snowing? Or what do I do if my kids are up late and have trouble sleeping which leads to when I wake up and am dragging my sorry fat butt out of bed, that I can reengergize and salvage the day physically, nutritionally and emotionally? Those questions are the ones we all seem to have . . . how do I deal with distractions to be able to keep on track?

I need to stretch now, been at the desk and feel my back knots cramping up more because I've been slouching! More later, I'll write in the morning on how great the carbs were (pasta with olive oil and cheese with toasted spelt bread and butter) and if I feel really jazzed in the morning.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Day One, Phase Two . . . huh?

OK, it's Monday 6 October and D-Day. Day One is the first day of the Fat Burning Week of the Cyclo-Fuel plan to jump start my metabolism. Phase Two is the second part, planning, to achieve the Phase One goals I identified previously. I have this week to work on it since the fat burning week is an all in one program.

Bad weekend though, did too much yard work raking up fallen apples and cleaning up in the garden which triggered back muscle spasms and a wicked migraine that lasted most of Sunday but with two shots of anti-migraine meds I was a zombie yesterday!

Then the weather hasn't cooperated and we blew the power out to the first floor which means that until the electrician comes I don't have power, light etc. for my trainer and computer set up. I have a Tacx VR Fortius and 17" screen laptop set up for winter training and for bike stuff so that's where I download my Garmin data and other stuff into. So this morning I look out the window and it's not cold, maybe high 40s, but the trees are all over the place and the rain is coming down. Typical fall but also at this high latitude, we are about the same as Maine, the sun doesn't come up until later and sets earlier so riding is a challenge in the dark even if the weather is ok. That's why I have the good trainer!

Anyway, day one is here so off I go! I'll let you know tomorrow how today goes but my adaptation to overcome the training distractor of the weather is to do an hour on the trainer tonight when I get home and be extra careful of my eating today.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Counting down . . . three two one! This is #3

Made it through the VERY stressful end of fiscal year where we spend all the money by midnight on September 30th. Long night and two days later I'm still destressing and recovering. The weather is miserable, rainy, cloudy, dank and dreary . . . typical europe! So Monday is D-Day in the war and with the help of Graeme Street and Josh via Cyclo-club and with the cyclo-core training programs I will hit the beach!

However, I need to state publicly my goals, the plan and the strategy to overcome resistance. I wish I had a little Borg from Star Trek which could jump in and say "Resistance is futile" whenever a distractor pops up to try to block my progress. But I'm the Borg . . . anyway this post will go over my GOALS.

I already mentioned I want to loose a certain amount of weight and I've calculated that to be 10 pounds per month. That's the first and immediate goal. I'm NOT thinking about overall how much to lose or things like that, just 10 pounds per month. So that's the weight part of the goals. Then there's the issue of my back and overall strength. My goal is to increase my flexibility and every month to make more progress on completing the Cyclo-core training workouts and on being more flexible with a stronger core to help eliminate my back pain.

That wasn't so bad and they are reasonable, measurable goals for short term success and to gauge my improvement. Longer term goals are harder because you want to be realistic. Not being terribly realistic myself I needed to scale back my ambitions for right now. I won't be getting back on the track and planning on Masters World Track Championships next fall. I won't be racing in the Senior 2s here in Europe. What I can do is finish the longer route of Nove Colli in May in under the time it took me to do the shorter route two years ago. The the ultimate goal is to complete the challenge for the Club des Cingles Mont Ventoux by climbing the basic three routes to the top in the same day. This is a challenge for any cyclist but especially for a big guy like me.

Now I have short and long term goals. I may throw some fun events in along the way but this is the plan. You notice I left out nutrition? I haven't talked about that because that's not a goal but a segment of my lifestyle change that will morph along with me. But keeping it basic I figure I need to eat lots of complex carb vegetables, fruit and lean meat. Stay away from processed food, fast food, simple carbs and the other easy stuff.

I'll go into this more in post #2 on the countdown to D-Day where I'll discuss the specific PLAN to achieve these goals. Thanks for reading!