So now it is time for a new challenge! This one is inspired by some recent self-discovery which I will get into in a bit.
From Today Sunday August 23rd until September 24th the challenge is to exercise for 30 min. every day. The intensity and what you do is dealers choice, and if you already work out daily, add an extra 30 min.
Many of you might be thinking that it is impossible/impractical for you to exercise EVERY day for 30 min, but I guarantee you it is not. Exercising is more than just hitting the gym or jogging for 5 miles! It can be playing with your kids, walking around the mall, building a life size replica of the Star Ship Enterprise (letter of your choosing) out of Popsicle sticks! Ok maybe not that last one, but you get the point. Though, when will you find the time? Do I really need to say it? Do I? As a character on the big bang theory might say “if you have time to lean, you have time to exercise!”, it’s about prioritizing our time. The other thing is, if you can’t do 30 min at once, can you do two 15 min or three 10 min? It’s ok to do it that way too! I know when I first started 30min wouldn’t have been do able, and if that’s the case, break it up to what ever amount you need to in order to get through the 30.
Here is my before picture(Taken after my first 30 min work out):
Take your own and if you want to share it feel free to post on my Facebook!
What brought this about? As I wrote before I was doing really well, empowered and on top of the world. I quickly found myself laying face first in the mud (cake?) and struggling again. Why did I do so well the previous weeks, and do so poorly now? There is ONE thing that stood out to me, and it’s something I have been dealing with along time. I am a computer gaming addict.
I have been getting on my computer the moment my kids are in bed, sometimes even before, and I won’t get up (outside needing to take a Bio break for bathroom/food/drink) till 12-1am. 7:00ish-1am I am on the computer. That is a part time job. If it’s the weekend and we aren’t busy, I’ll be on it all day as well. I can easily put in 40 hours a week of gaming, and when I am not gaming, all I think about is gaming. Building a new design in Space Engineers, or what quest should I run next in Guild War and so on. If left to my own devices I would, and have, game non-stop. It is effecting my health and my relationships, as I don’t want to do things with others when it might take up gaming time. I worry/freak out if I won’t be able to log on to get my “daily” reward on GW2. There is an upcoming trip to Raleigh NC for the National At-Home Dad Network annual convention, and I almost wasn’t going to go. Reason being? I won’t be able to log in for my daily reward. A trip I have been looking forward to since last year, missed, all over a stupid game. About a month or so ago, I felt the game was taking up to much of my time and I deleted it. I said goodbye to my guild mates, and in less than 24 hours I was back on again. It is addicting being someone else, in a world that you “control”.
What does this have to do with my challenge? For about 2 weeks I wasn’t playing my game very much, just logged on and got my daily, putzed around, and done. Not only did I feel focused, I felt happy and alive. I was wanting to do things, and be with people! I started playing again, and the more I played the more those happy thoughts disappeared. Spending time with my wife or working out on my bike seemed less enjoyable than slaying centaur or mining some ore on a distant asteroid. My hope is to try and find a balance between the different areas of my life. I made my personal goal to workout after the kids go down for the night and before I do any gaming. 30 min on my trainer and perhaps add in some running during the week when my oldest is in preschool.
I am focusing on my after picture, how amazing I will feel when I get to take it and say that I accomplished this small goal!
Big Boned Biker
Sorry if this post seems scattered brained, I am starting to come down with a cold, but that won’t stop me :)
Whiting Hammond After-Midnight Ride 2015
Man, I can’t believe it has already been an entire year since the 2014 WHAM ride! Last nights ride was just as epic as last years too.
I arrived with my friend Kool-Aid at about 10:45 this year, since we knew what to expect as far as entertainment is concerned. Sure enough, it was the same as last year, a DJ and not much else going on. I was looking forward to meeting up with a couple of folks from last year and as we make our way from the parking lot to the pavilion we run into “Sierra Nevada” from last years ride! I wasn’t expecting him to make it, so it was an awesome surprise. He was riding his 1975 Schwinn road bike, nearly all original if I remember correctly. Fun fact, someone had almost the exact same bike as him on the ride too!
I was a bit worried about getting a swag bag this year, as I forgot to sign up, and they have limited amounts. As I roll up to the tent I am told the have exactly one bag left. I ask the size and it’s my size too, woot! As I was heading back to the car to drop off a few things who do I come across? “Red” from last year. Though this year he was wearing a kit from a local bike shop Michigan City Bike Shop, and also riding a different bike. I forgot to mention that Kool-Aid was also riding another bike, as his main bikes frame cracked on him. That meant I was the only one of the 4 of us who was riding the same bike as last year. I also brought with me my kitty litter panniers, which have sort of become my signature/branding. Here we are before the ride:
I haven’t been out riding as much this year, and my average speed has typically been around 10-11 without the kids. I also haven’t even done a 30 mile ride this year, so I was a bit nervous about keeping up and finishing.
The weather outside was perfect again, not to hot or cold, and just a beautiful evening. Again, they separated the riders by 3 groups: Fast, Normal-Long, and Short. Last year we decided to ride the Normal-Long group but this year we figured it would be smarter to ride at the tail end of the fast group. This had me worried, would I really be able to keep up? As we took off, every peddle stroke felt like my feet were made of lead. I was keeping up, though sustaining it was getting iffy. Suddenly I realized , I was doing well. The real realization came to me when we hit the first “hill” (bridge); where instead of slowing down, I was actually passing people (on the up hill even). I soon found myself near the head of our portion of the faster riders (so the back half of the fast section). I was feeling like an animal, and just having a blast!
I was up near the front, feeling like a winner and Mr. Murphy comes to say hello. My chain came off, and after stopping to fix it, I was no longer near the front. I decided that was ok though, this ride is about fun, and I sink back into my groove. I look behind me a bit later and realize I wasn’t near anyone anymore. I could see the tail lights of others up ahead of me and I just keep on rolling. I was able to actually catch back up to where I was! What really made me feel amazing is when I heard “wow, he caught back up! You’re an animal man!”. So I am flying along and Mr. Murphy says hello again. This time it is my water bottle that goes flying off my bike. By the time I stop go back and find it, I figure I may as well grab a quick bite of my power bar as I still had a ways to go till Cabela’s ( which I was NOT going to miss this year). When I finally get back on, the rest of my friends had caught back up to me and so we ride along till we get to the sag stop. Would you believe we missed it again this year? Yup, well almost. The turn was so poorly marked that we actually had to turn around a bit and go over the curb to get to it. It was a welcomed break, and I was very appreciative that they had the bathrooms open. Here are some photos:
“What do you have in that bucket?”, everyone was wanting to know just what I was carrying. My first response was to joke and say “cocaine”, which I realized was not a good thing to joke about with all the cops around (they blocked the roads so we could ride through). Some of the guesses ranged from explosives to smuggling babies. I will say I am surprised no body put rocks or other heavy objects in it when I wasn’t looking. Sierra Nevada decided to make it his mission to try and touch my bucket while we were riding. It made for some interesting off-color banter back and forth for sure.
As I was leaving the sag stop, Mr. Murphy paid me one last visit. Again, my chain came off, and this time my rear break decided to start acting up again. I found myself in the back of our group again, but like last time I didn’t let it stop me. I dug in deep and was able to catch back up with everyone again. The rest of the ride was pretty uneventful, and I completed the ride in 2 hours 10 min. and an average speed of 14.5mph! It was a freaking awesome ride!
The food this year sucked though, went through the line received 2 small pancakes, 2 sausage links…that was it. I burned 3200 calories riding and I was starving. They also ran out of food for a bit and a few people just left rather than waited.
NOW for some “feed back” to the folks running it:
1. LIVE music, I am positive you could find some local bands willing to play.
2.The food this year sucked. It wasn’t near enough and Kool-Aid’s pancakes were crunchy.
3. Consider a beer tent.
4. Maybe have a bike mechanic at the Cabela stop.
5. More stuff going on, maybe add some vendors/food vendors.
Hung out with some good friends, made some new ones, and had a fantastic time.
Keep On Rolling,
Big Boned Biker
Ever feel like no matter what you do, no matter how much you try, you just can’t win some days? Welcome to my life the other day! It started out with me being very tired, like 3 cups of coffee and I am still yawning tired. What I have learned about myself is that on those days, my food choices SUCK! This day was no exception, and included big bowl of cereal, brats, ice cream bar, and more. I knew if I didn’t do something, there would be nothing left to eat for the rest of the week. I needed to do SOMETHING to get out of the kitchen.
I made a choice that I later came to regret, I decided to go biking. I get the trailer out, the bike out, the kids dressed, diaper bag loaded, water bottles filled, and go to pump the tires. Well I quickly find out that the left wheel on the trailer is flat. Ugh, really? No biggie though, I am at home and it will be a quick fix. My oldest liked watching me fix it and was done in about 15 min. Before I forget, I also moved the cleats on my shoes further towards the heel. This was recommended by a LBS to help with some knee pain. I was excited to give it a try, but for some reason I only did one shoe (still tired I guess).
Son: “Daddy, you forgot my backpack! I need my toys!”
Me: “You won’t need them, this will be a quick ride. Just sit back and enjoy the ride”
Crisis averted, and after about 3 miles my left leg is hurting but the right wasn’t. I decided to go ahead and stop to switch out the other one. I pull out my biking multi-tool and flip open the hex-wrenches. Doesn’t fit. Ok next size! Doesn’t fit. Ok NEXT size! Really doesn’t fit. None of them fit, and I was going to be stuck with the shoes like this till I got home. I tried one more, it wasn’t a hex-wrench but it was able to sorta work. I quickly moved them and burnt some rubber to make up some time.
Thumpty, thumpty, thumpty, what is that noise? I look at the trailer, and it’s coming from the left wheel. I figured something just must be clinging against it and decided to wait till the next road crossing to move what ever it was.
It was flat again, and this time it was right by a busy road. That meant the kids couldn’t get out to play while I fixed it. Had I stopped originally when the sound started, I could have gone to the playground. Argh. The only bit of luck I had was this was a trail parking area. I was able to set them on top of a parking spot concrete thingy (what are they called?). I get my patch kit out, pull the wheel off, get the tube out and try and find the hole. While doing this I am also hearing my son whine in my ear about getting out. I reminded him that it wouldn’t be long and we would hit the road! I was wrong, dear god was I wrong.
After about 5 min. I finally locate the whole, and it turned out to be from the exact same spot as the other one. When I changed it before, I thought it was a clean puncture, but it really was a small piece of glass embedded into it. No biggie, and I quickly get it patched with a glue-less patch (love them). I pull out my frame pump and get to work. Pump, pump, pump, pump, pump, pump, pump, pump, pump, pump, pump, pump, pump, pump, pump, pump, pump, pump, what the hell is going on? This pump had great reviews, and is a dual action. It should be done already, but when I stopped I figured out what was wrong, another hole.
Funny thing about holes in bike tubes is that they are like real estate: Location, Location, Location! I just got the “death hole”, the whole was a small rip at the base of the valve stem. I knew a patch wouldn’t do the trick, but being prepared I had some electrical tape wrapped around my wrench. Huzzah! I wrap it up, remount the tire/tube on the rim and get to pumping; admittedly feeling a bit proud how I solved it so easily. Pump, pump, pump, pump, pump, pump, pump, pump, pump, pump, pump, pump, pump, pump, pump, crap. It wasn’t holding ARGH! At this point about 15 people had gone past me, with only 2 stopping to ask if I needed help. I had declined both of their offers, confident that I could take care of a little hole. I try more tape, patches, and start even thinking about stuffing grass into (this was a recommendation I received on a facebook group).
It had been at least an hour at this point and I break down and text my wife. I ask if she can get off work early or not? No reply. At this point I have 3 options I can think of:
1. Walk home (about 4 miles) with a flat tire and having the kids walk. I would have to be pushing the bike and watching them at the same time.
2. Call my friend who I think has a mini-van. He lives about 30 min away though and has his own kids he stays home with.
3. Wait for my wife to get off work in 2 hours or so.
As I am contemplating this, and debating it my mind, another person stops. This man asks if I need help? I quickly responded that yes I do need help. He said that he should have a spare tube back at the house and would be back shortly. I thanked him profusely as he left and waited for his return. It felt like an hour but he had come back, but he didn’t have a tube. Instead, he was running to the store to buy one for me and would again return shortly. He also brought ice cold water and snacks for me and the boys. After having so many people (including a bicycle cop) go right on pass me, it was nice to receive the kindness. I had no money on me to give him and he left before I could even bring it up. When he returned he had one request, that I tell folks that not everyone from Illinois is an asshole.
Not everyone from Illinois is an asshole!
I quickly got the tire fixed, being very careful with it this time and went straight home. I was beat and didn’t want to make dinner, so instead ordered pizza and relaxed the rest of the evening.
So in closing, thank you to those who stopped, and not everyone from Illinois is an asshole :)
Keep on Rolling (because flats suck!),
Big Boned Biker
The day started like any great day should, with a lovely breakfast in bed (I had already eaten some of it before I thought to take the picture). Much better than the oatmeal I had been planing on having hands down. Looking outside, the weather was cloudy and looked like it could turn to rain. There went my plans for a bike ride with the family, I had been really looking forward to it too. We spent the morning just chilling out around the house, watched a movie, my oldest helped me switch out the pedals on Katrina (I decided to put the original ones back on her), and had a quick-lunch. Fun times, fun times.
I decided at this point to check the weather report and it said it was supposed to clear up and be sunny. Sure enough, having stepped outside to check, the weather was getting nice! It’s at this point when I asked my wife if she REALLY wanted to go for the ride I had planned. Surprisingly she was still up for it, and so I began the laborious process of getting ready. In case you don’t have kids, getting ready for anything isn’t a 1. 2. 3. task. It’s more like:
You get the idea I think at this point. Add into this I need to get the bikes/trailer all ready too, we worked up a sweat before we even left. The fun part of that is my landlord is fixing up our house, and is storing the supplies in my garage. The very front of the garage, and it’s a PITA to get the bike and trailer out of there now. Mind you, when you asked I thought it would be a couple of buckets of paint, not 3 ladders, a door, lumber, plywood, and a few things that I don’t know what they are. Our back porch/playroom is also filled with windows too, so can’t store them there either. I digress though, and after getting the tires all pumped, the trailer hooked up, and helmets all rounded up, it was time to get going. Oops, wait, someone needs to go potty. Ok now it’s time to go!
A few key points to remember, this is my wife’s second time on a bike since middle school, my wife has a medical condition that can cause her to faint during an intense workout, and finally her first ride was a total of about 4 miles. We decided to take the bike trail up to Chesterton, IN, which is only about 10 miles each way. Ya, that’s about 20 miles! We were set for a fun-filled time, and our adventure started early. We were heading to the trail head on some quiet suburban roads and we had a left hand turn to make into the park where we would meet the prairie dune land trail. A truck was behind me and I signal very clearly that I would be making a left hand turn. I begin to make my turn when half way through it I realize the truck had tried passing us! Had I been 2 seconds slower I think I would have been hit. I brushed it off, I was pulling the kids and didn’t need them to get upset. Truth be told though, I was rather rattled by this, with a flash back to a news article I read a few weeks ago. One of the folks I rode with on the tri-state bike ride was hit by a car and died! This happened about 15 miles from my home, this is one of my biggest fears with cycling.
Every made a promise to a kid, and instantly regret it? Ya, I sorta promised we would stop at a park on the ride. In the mind of a 4.5 year old that means we will stop at the first park we see, as well as every subsequent park that we pass. I knew that if we stopped this early we would never get anywhere! I did the reasonable thing though, I told him that the park was full. It had 2 kids playing in it, and someday if he reads this, I’m sorry, sorta. Something that you should know about this route, is that we pass by about 5 parks. That isn’t counting the fact that when we turn around we pass them again. To make it up to him though, I told him we would stop at the dragon park on the way home. It’s the nicer of them and its about 2 miles from home. This seemed to work better than I had expected, leaving me to solve the next problem.
“THAT’S MY TRANSFORMER! HE WON’T STOP TAKING IT! STOP IT!” is what I heard from behind me. A 4.5 year old trying to reason with an 18 month old doesn’t typically get the result that he would like. Just for the record, we brought 2 toys for them to play with. This went on for about 20 min, finally ending when one of them zonked out. This was followed shortly by the next one, this lasted until Chesterton.
I loved the fact that this gave my wife and I a chance to just chat. It reminded me of when we dated, those ideal conversations that had nothing to do with anything important. We made it all the way to the end of the trail without stopping for a break. When we did stop for a quick 10 min break before turning around the boys woke up, a bit crankily unfortunately. It was getting hot out and my they both looked very warm. We decided to give them a quick cool down with some water, and they both seemed to be in great spirits afterwords. A happy child, is a happy daddy.
The ride home was uneventful until we got to the park, the dragon park. When we arrived it was empty and the boys were having fun playing. My youngest ,just happy to be free from the restraints of the bike trailer, was just running around with no real objective. About 10 minutes into it a family shows up with their kids, about 6 of them (I think it was 2 families together). It was quickly apparent that it would be best if we just left. If you ever are looking for something fun to do, I suggest you try to get a toddler and a preschooler to leave a park after 15 minutes! We finally got them wrangled, my youngest being exceptionally fast for having little legs! We headed home, where everyone decided to enjoy a nice summer time snack of peaches and watermelon. Before I could enjoy my snack though, I put the bikes away. Katrina first, followed by bulls-eye (the trailer), finally Tallulah. As I lifted her up to carry over the mound of supplies in the garage, the back wheel came right off! Sometime during the ride it had come completely loose, while hooked up to the trailer filled with 66 pounds of kids and diaper bag(not sure which weighed more). To say I was shocked is an understatement, because I had checked them the last time I rode. Moral of that story, you can’t check your bolts/screws to often.
So, for father’s day, I didn’t get a card, I didn’t get a present, I didn’t get a little trinket to sit on my desk. I got the best damn gift I could ever ask for, a memory!
Big Boned Biker
My son was begging me all day to do one thing, care to guess what it was? He wanted to go for a bike ride! I told him no, and no, and no, and no. My ankle is still really hurting and I wish I knew why, but I tried putting some heat on it, to no avail. However, I finally relented and took the boys on a trip in the magic cart (because somehow they almost always magically fall asleep).
It was nice and warm out, not hot, just warm. The bike felt amazing today, she responded like a dream and even pedaling didn’t hurt! As I rode down the path I started to think about somethings that have been on my mind lately. I have been going through a major depressive spell, and it has been sucking the life right out of me. I have been doing a lot of computer gaming lately, and even that isn’t making me happy. Nothing at all is making me happy right now, not even cycling. Depression rips the soul right out of you, it makes you just want to crawl into a hole and hide for the rest of your days. It blows monkey chunks. I remember looking up, and seeing something though, it is my absolute favorite part of the entire Prairie Dune-land trail!
I don’t know why, but this stretch it so amazingly peaceful to me, and brings warm fuzzy thoughts into my mind. Even today, it worked it’s magic on me. I looked over the side of the rails at the grassy area’s below and just felt peaceful, relaxed, and content with everything. I found the bike moving effortlessly along, and a smile slowly crept on my lips. Regrettably though, I couldn’t make it last. When I finally left this part of my ride, happily peddling my way home, the previous feelings and thoughts found their way back into my mind. This time though, they came back stronger and more fierce!
These are the thoughts that are in my mind. Silent to everyone else, screaming at me in my head. This is what I am dealing with right now, and it sucks. It makes it hard some days for me to function outside the basics. How am I suppose to do well on weight watchers, when I can’t find that voice inside of me. The one that says “STFU all you other voices, I’m in charge now!”. Where are you? Where are you hiding? I know it’s in here somewhere, I just need to find out where and how to get him out again. I will though, I have to because what other option do I really have?
This is a journey, I just wish this mountain wasn’t so steep.
Big Boned Biker
I have been writing this post for awhile now, I get a few lines in and delete it. I have been in a bad spot, and just not happy about where I am at with things. I was on some medication that had a side effect of weight gain, and it hit me hard! In 2 months around 30 pounds, but I am finally off of it.
I had hoped/thought that once I was off, things would be fine and the weight would come of quickly. Nope. I can’t seem to refocus on weight watchers, the weight I gained has left me feeling so horrible about myself. I hate that I let myself regain so much weight, even though I know it was a side effect. I feel that I should have been stronger, and I am frankly embarrassed by my new weight. I already lost this weight, I don’t want to do it again! Argh!
I have gotten out biking a few times, but I can tell a difference from last year. I am struggling to do the mileage that I was able to do last spring, which just adds to my shame. Emotionally, I don’t know what to do, I am spinning out of control. This is how it has always been for me when I began to slip of the cliff, though this time one important thing is different. I normally can’t “see” myself doing well, I just see myself gaining hundreds of pounds. This time, I can see myself getting back on track. I can picture myself looking back on this time and the struggle I am facing, and how I was able to turn things around again.
My Action Plan
I am taking a baby step the rest of the week, I am going to get 30 min of some sort of activity in everyday. This could be cleaning the yard (or the house), playing with the kids, riding, learning to dance polka, what ever. It needs to give me a steady elevated heart rate, and I will count it.
I will track, and no “short hand” tracking! I will track it BEFORE I eat it, and not after.
I will talk to those who will help support me, and that I know won’t take my crappy excuses.
I will remind myself, that this isn’t a punishment. This is simply a journey, and just because I took a wrong turn, doesn’t mean I am going to strap c4 explosives to the bottom of the car, drive it towards a cliff at 100mph, and jump out at the last moment in a dramatic slow motion style as the car explodes. Instead, I am going to ask for directions, plug in the gps, and get back on the road.
Signed: Big Boned Biker
I will do my best to keep some updates coming, and don’t forget o check out my Facebook page for more daily activity.
This really is a journey of a 1000 miles, and I’m already taking step number 2!
Keep on rolling!
* I am finishing this up really late, and I hope the writing makes sense *
Saturday, a fellow father and blogger, Oren Miller, passed away from cancer. I knew him as the admin and founder of a Dad Blogger group I am a part of. I never had much one on one talking with him, but still his death hurts. It really really hurts. It hurts more than I “think” it should, I feel like I don’t have the right to feel this way. I feel that I am being selfish in a sense, that this grief shouldn’t belong to me. Yet here I am, crying at my keyboard at 1am, wondering why?
I feel for his children, his wife, and his loved ones. I know exactly how it feels to loose people you love to illnesses that they didn’t deserve. Why can’t all the pedophiles, rapist, and murders get all the cancer? How come it is amazing people like those I have known? WHY?
Since reading this news my eating has gone downhill. Pizza, Chinese, and candy. I haven;t exercised and I feel like crap from doing all this. I need to put the brakes down today. This post is short and to the point, but it is important to me. While it may not “flow” nicely, I am getting these thoughts out,! Letting myself bring back some room for some positive thinking and acting. Everyday is a new day, and a fresh start can happen when ever you wish it.
Keep On Rolling,
Big Boned Biker