Time To Change – Numbers A Little Better

This was a high-stress week.  Which makes the outcome a little better

The second round interview dominated the first half of the week.  And wondering if I would get the job has dominated the second.  I feel all the usual stress related symptoms – poor sleep, poor focus, strong desire to binge eat.  I’m happy to report that I’ve avoided that third one.  I’m still a little concerned about my eating but I’m logging again.  That helps in focusing on what goes into my mouth.

I don’t want to be too grumpy about the exercise.  I essentially equaled last week’s riding distance in a single ride.  It was a challenge but it felt very good.  Active minutes are good but steps are down.  I need to focus on those a little more.  It was easy when I was teaching!

On the diabetes front, the numbers have popped up slightly.  The uptick (about 5 points) came along just as school ended (and the end of that pay) and the interviews.  So it’s possible it’s a stress reaction.  I just did an A1C which I will discuss with my doctor next week.  It is better than it was in January, though still above the healthy number.  Out of the “Diabetes” zone and back into the “Pre-Diabetic” range.  So we seem to be headed the right direction.  We’ll see if the doc agrees!

At this point, I need to begin adding some different workouts to my exercise, keeping a lid on the carbs, and keeping track better.

Oh, and getting rid of this stress wouldn’t hurt either!

Onward.

My resolution remains:

want to am going to be The Guy again.  The Guy weighed 175 pounds and looked good and felt good.  And his blood pressure was good and his blood tests were good.

Active Minutes – 340

Steps – 25,656

Watch my activity at my Fitbit page

Biking Mileage – 40.14 miles  (1 rides)

Biking Total to Date – 201.84

I track my mileage with MapMyRide

The next milestone is getting back below 185.  I will get there and go on.

Official Weigh In Weight

186.8 pounds

Weight Change this week: – 0.2 pounds

Total Weight Loss To Date: – 18.1 pounds

Goal Weight and Total to Lose – 175/25

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Filed under Bicycle, Diabetes, personal, Weight Loss

Time To Change – Just A Note

Not a lot happening this week.

Not a lot has changed either.  The main number went down by one.  I’m not convinced I have my eating locked down again, but it’s OK.

My head is in a bit of an uproar.  Last week’s phone interview turned into a second round interview on Tuesday.  I have some prep I have to do for it, which is well underway.  But I keep swinging between “I got this” and “This is awful”.  I’ll be fine, eventually.  🙂

Exercise continues to do well.  Active minutes are up because I added a bike ride.  I only subbed a couple days last week, so my steps were way down.  Overall I think I’m still in a very good place.

On the diabetes front, still working back into the routine.

Like I said, not much changing.  We’ll see what happens next week.

Onward.

My resolution remains:

want to am going to be The Guy again.  The Guy weighed 175 pounds and looked good and felt good.  And his blood pressure was good and his blood tests were good.

Active Minutes – 351

Steps – 29,614

Watch my activity at my Fitbit page

Biking Mileage – 47.29 miles  (3 rides)

Biking Total to Date – 161.70

I track my mileage with MapMyRide

The next milestone is getting back below 185.  I will get there and go on.

Official Weigh In Weight

187.0 pounds

Weight Change this week: – 1.0 pounds

Total Weight Loss To Date: – 17.9 pounds

Goal Weight and Total to Lose – 175/25

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Filed under Bicycle, Diabetes, personal, Weight Loss

Adventures in Urban Bicycling – Adjusting Equipment

till learning all the ins and outs of riding the city vs. the country.  There is one piece of equipment on my bike that I have to remind myself to use.

My mirror.

Riding in the country, traffic overtaking you is relatively infrequent.  Plus, the overall noise level there is lower.  I usually heard the cars/trucks coming.  None of which is true in the city.  Someone is constantly overtaking you.  There are more things that require your attention and the noise level is both higher and nearly constant.

Don’t even get me started on hybrid/electric vehicles.  Damn sneaky, they are.

With all of that, my mirror is a highly important part of my defensive riding.  Or it would be if I remembered to look at it.  It’s just not a habit right now.  Consequently, I spend way too much time repeating some variant of “Crap!  Where did you come from?”

I’m also fascinated by the folks who don’t believe bicycles have to obey traffic laws.  Particularly lights at intersections.  Now I will admit that I do not routinely come to a full and complete stop at stop signs.  I slow way down, and carefully check in all relevant directions.  It’s a hassle to stop, disengage my foot from the pedal, and teeter virtually en pointe.  If there is traffic, I always give them the right of way.  I understood that much of my physics courses.

But I come to a complete stop at a red light, and I wait till it turns green.  Turns out I’m one of the minority of riders who do so.  Every time I ride in the city, I see some take a quick glance and then sail through on the red.  They act as if that light doesn’t concern them at all.  I will note that a very high percentage of them are riding without a helmet too, which another form of stupidity IMHO.  I can only assume that their own safety is not concern #1.  Last week I came to a relatively busy intersection near the VCU campus and caught the red light.  I stopped and waited, as did the pickup truck going the opposite direction.  Suddenly, a rider appeared and sailed blithely through.  The light went green as I was still shaking my head in disgust.  As I and the truck passed each other, the driver leaned out the window and commented that rolling through lights like that struck him as a pretty good way to get killed.  I couldn’t agree more.

Experience tells me that there are plenty of folks out there who do not like sharing the road with bicycles.  One of the reasons is that riders don’t always behave in predictable ways.  Following traffic regulations may or may not be the law here in Virginia (but I’m betting it is).  It strikes me that it should be simple, common sense.  Behave consistently with the rest of traffic.  Live to ride another day.

Oh, and remember to check your mirror.

May was a very good riding month with 7 rides, including several stretch rides on the Cap2Cap.  My butt is getting used to the saddle and I hope to do my first RVA to Williamsburg ride in the next couple weeks.  Right now, I’m sidelined!  The straps on my bike carrier for the car have rotted and are getting replaced.

I track my riding using MapMyRide.

Ride Total – 11

Mileage Total – 134.56

Let’s roll.

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Filed under Bicycle, Diabetes, personal, RVA, Weight Loss

Time To Change – So Where Are We?

I mentioned before that the grind of my employment situation has been weighing heavily on me.  Those kinds of mental/emotional burdens have a profound effect on my weight loss.  Emotional eating, lack of inspiration or energy to follow through on the plan, just a general feeling of “Oh hell, why bother?” become obstacles to be overcome.  While it’s easy to identify the problem, it’s not as easy to overcome them.

The major shortcoming of the week was diet.  I ate relatively poorly and didn’t track it at all.  The major win of the week was in exercise.  Take a look at the numbers below.  Between active minutes and steps, I blew my goals overall out of the water.  Ideally, the steps would be 70,000.  But the Active Minutes goal is only 150!  So I would say I’m well over the top.

So I was a little disappointed that the weight didn’t move.  Then I thought about it.  On a week when my eating was less than optimal I held station at my current low weight.  Plus, my clothes were clearly looser on me, especially my belt.  I’ve never tracked inches simply because it’s so damn depressing.  On a week like this, it might tell me that I am still making progress.  When an exercise program gets goosed, it’s not unusual for the change to come in dimensions other than weight at first.  Obviously, my legs are getting a tremendous workout, and probably building some mass.

On the diabetes front, I have done very few blood glucose tests.  Which is bad, and not helpful and needs to change.  Generally, the numbers have been good.  There was one exception, I woke up and did a stick.  The number was 20 points higher than my usual for that time of day.  Why?  It took a while, but it occurred to me that I had forgotten to take my Metformin the night before (my usual time is after dinner).  Hmmm, that’s an easy fix.  But I need to make that part of my routine again.

So overall, it’s been a good week.  I rode twice, got lots of walking in.  I maintained my weight loss.  I would love for this to be the face of a “bad week” moving forward.

Onward.

My resolution remains:

want to am going to be The Guy again.  The Guy weighed 175 pounds and looked good and felt good.  And his blood pressure was good and his blood tests were good.

Active Minutes – 321

Steps – 55,937

Watch my activity at my Fitbit page

Biking Mileage – 26.0 miles  (2 rides)

Biking Total to Date – 83.78

I track my mileage with MapMyRide

The next milestone is getting back below 185.  I will get there and go on.

Official Weigh In Weight

188.0 pounds

Weight Change this week: -0.0 pounds

Total Weight Loss To Date: – 16.9 pounds

Goal Weight and Total to Lose – 175/25

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Filed under Bicycle, Diabetes, personal, Weight Loss

Time To Change – A Quick Catch-up

It’s been a couple weeks since I last posted.  I’d love to report that it was because lots of wonderful things were happening, but that would be a lie.  Nor has anything horrible happened.  That’s really the problem.  It’s just more and more and more of the same.  What it’s really been is depressing.

I will be back on the usual schedule starting this weekend, I promise.  I’ll also bring all the various details up to date as well.  I will say this, my activity level has been better while my eating has been a bit worse.  The primary number did show some improvement and I’m hoping to build on that.

I will add updates for my active minutes and ride mileage moving forward.

Onward.

My resolution remains:

want to am going to be The Guy again.  The Guy weighed 175 pounds and looked good and felt good.  And his blood pressure was good and his blood tests were good.

Active Minutes – 248 (!)  That’s just Saturday to today.

Steps – 33,176 (same)

Watch my activity at my Fitbit page

Biking Mileage – 26.0 miles  (2 rides)

Biking Total to Date – 83.78

I track my mileage with MapMyRide

The next milestone is getting back below 185.  I will get there and go on.

Official Weigh In Weight

188.0 pounds

Weight Change this week: -1.0 pounds

Total Weight Loss To Date: – 16.9 pounds

Goal Weight and Total to Lose – 175/25

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Filed under Diabetes, personal, Weight Loss

At the encouragement of my parish priest, I started cycling about fifteen years ago.  It wasn’t a brand new activity. I had biked in college.  Two of my friends were serious cyclists and I tagged along with them.  These two chapters of my biking life have two things in common.  Then and now, I was always among the slowest riders in the group, and both groups rode mostly in rural settings.  Wide, quiet, tree lined roads are still my favorite place to ride.  On those rides, my primary concern was keeping the faster riders in sight.  Far too often that sight was my friends stopped at the top of a hill waiting for me to struggle to the join them.  As both my experience and strength improved their waits were shorter.

Living in mostly rural Chautauqua County gave me lots of rural roads to ride.  Because it’s snow country there is a berm along all but the most back country roads.  While they are not always smooth and clear of obstacles, they always gave me room in case traffic showed up.  Long, uninterrupted rides are a great time for fellowship with friends, or for cleansing the brain when riding alone.  The greatest danger is topping a rise or rounding a corner to discover a surprise.  Like the day I crested a hill and saw a lump of something in the middle of my lane twenty feet or so ahead.  There was enough time to slow down and identify the surprise as a snapping turtle making its way from one side of the road to the other.   That kind of room for error and surprise was a great gift.

Riding in Virginia has presented new challenges.  Country roads here don’t come with berms.  Which means there is no room for error by rider or driver.  Either of us can come around a corner and discover a very serious issue and no margin for a mistake.  The upside is that there are a lot of cyclists here, so drivers are accustomed to us.  That doesn’t seem to slow them down or make many adjustments on those roads, however.  Plus, there are just a few too many roadside memorials to fatal bike accidents for my taste.

Maybe I’m just getting old and less brave, but I don’t feel comfortable riding the way I have in the past.  That has meant very little time in the saddle over the last three years.  This year I made a pact with a friend (that same priest!) to shoot for a thousand miles in 2017.  That’s a big ask, about twice my best year ever.  The difference is that the riding “season” in Richmond is a lot longer than it is in western New York.  The goal is challenging (because all goals should challenge you), but it ought to be doable.

So the first challenge has been finding a place to ride.  The obvious choice was to become an urban rider.

Riding in an urban environment presents a different set of variables to consider.  More traffic, coming from more directions.  Pedestrians, speed bumps, stop signs/lights (obeyed to varying degrees) and the general impatience among city drivers.  Left-hand turns that require the rider to cross traffic to get into the correct lane position to make the turn.

And then there is the issue of car doors.  My encounter with the snapping turtle gave me time to figure out what was happening, and then sweep around the obstacle.  This past week while riding in the city, I had just enough time to swerve violently into a blessedly empty lane to avoid a door flung open into my path.  The driver was on her phone and pushed the door open with her foot.  The image of the door and her foot is burned into my memory.  This possibility had occurred to me from the start of my transformation into an urban cyclist.  When I ride along the rows of parked cars I try to keep an eye into the passenger compartments, looking for heads.  So I either missed her, or she was using her foot because her free hand was reaching for something in the passenger seat.  That would have put her head in a position not to be seen.  I have no idea what happens to either bike or rider when they slam into a car door at ten miles per hour or more.  My bet is that it’s painful.  I’m just as happy to avoid it.  The only other adventure so far was making a bad turn onto a major thoroughfare and realizing that I needed to cross two lanes of traffic to get where I wanted to go.  Lots of cars moving faster than my poor legs were really able to propel me.  I survived.  That mistake will not be made again.

Once a get a little more saddle time, (it’s less a matter of getting my legs ready than it is getting my butt used to the saddle) I’m planning on riding the Cap2Cap trail.  Fifty-two miles between the two historic capitals of Virginia.  The goal is to ride it several times this year.  I’m still on the hunt for other, longer interesting rides to help me make the goal.

I track my riding using MapMyRide.

Ride Total – 4

Mileage Total – 37.44

Let’s roll.

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May 23, 2017 · 9:59 AM

Life Among the Underemployed – Psychic Shock

(These posts will appear when there is something to report)

You may notice a change in the headline.  It should have come up sooner but I’m still wrapping my head around it.

need-a-job

I am no longer technically “unemployed”.

I never appeared in the government’s unemployment statistics for the simple reason that I never qualified for them.  While I have certainly BEEN unemployed since November, I was not among the statistics.

Back in February, my status changed.  I even talked about it here.  After undergoing the necessary background check, health check, and application process, I became a substitute teacher in the local school district.

But I still thought of myself as “unemployed”.  In reality, I was bringing in a regular check.  Well, the check was regular, even if the amount wasn’t.

By definition “underemployment” is – “the condition in which people in a labor force are employed at less than full-time or regular jobs or at jobs inadequate with respect to their training or economic needs”.

That’s me.  Employed at less than full time at a job that is inadequate to our financial needs.

We’re paying our bills, but having to dip into our reserves every month to do it.

I’ve applied for 60 jobs, I’ve gotten one interview.  For a job that would have made our lives and finances worse rather than better.  I never hear back from most of them.  It’s a grind.  One that is beginning to wear me down.

There’s a part of me that is dealing with a change in my fundamental belief in my future.  This isn’t the future I believed was coming.  I’m not sure I’m capable at this point of putting into words the paradigm shift that I’m in.  You work hard, you get an education, you work hard some more.  There will be some dips along the way, but in the end, everything will work out.  Hard times are for people who weren’t blessed with the starting point I had.  It was supposed to be a kind of insurance policy against hard times.

It was always a lie.  But it was a comforting lie and so I believed.  Having that belief taken away carries an enormous psychic shock that I am only just beginning to confront.  It makes everything harder.

There’s a story that I have repeated for years.  I remember it being told to me as “an old Indian tale”, but I have no idea if that’s true.  It’s the story that I cling to at moments like this.  The story goes as follows:

One day Rabbit was out foraging for food and didn’t notice how far he had gotten from his burrow.  Suddenly, Wolf sprang out from the bushes, jaws snapping.  Off went Rabbit as fast as he could go with Wolf just a half step behind.  As he ran, Rabbit passed the burrow of one of his brother rabbits, who watched the chase coming towards him.  He looked at Rabbit, and he looked at the distance to the burrow, and he looked at how close Wolf’s teeth were to his friend.  As Rabbit raced by, the other rabbit called out, “Do you think you’ll make it?”

To which Rabbit responded, “What choice do I have?”

I’m tired.  And scared. And angry.

But what choice do I have?

 

So I will keep my head up, my eyes open, my heart strong.

Waiting to see the next chapter in my life.

Whatever it turns out to be.

And I’ll keep you up to date on how that goes.

Peace.

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Filed under personal, Unemployment