Heading Into The Weekend

Something cool happened yesterday. Well, two cool things. The first is that I realized that I still get to walk home with my son after school. The bus drops him off about halfway between our condo and his old kindergarten, so we still get to look at lizards and talk about things as we head home. (There’s also exercise, because he likes to climb up in a retaining wall and jump so I can catch him. 60 pounds of flying 6 year old is a workout.)

Here’s the second cool thing. After he put his backpack back on, he yelled “catch me daddy!” and took off running down the sidewalk. So I took off running after him, and chased him about 150 or 200 feet. When I stopped, which I only did because I’m not entirely confident in my ability to make a sharp turn and transition from concrete to grass yet), I realized something: I wasn’t winded. Not in the slightest.

It’s a little thing, but it felt good. Even better, I’d realized that I could have run farther if I’d been inclined.

Progress!

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5K Training: Week One, Complete!

My legs haven’t been this sore in years. I mean, they aren’t as bad as when I first started walking when I first started trying to lose weight, but… ouch. Stiff and aching, and I hobble a little when I stand up after sitting a while.

Is it ridiculous that I’m enjoying the sensation? Because I am – it feels like proof that I’m working hard. Well, that and all the sweat. I’m usually soaked by the time I finish.

It’s also nice because it’s helping me easily hit my walking goals. I’ve been averaging about 7 miles a day this week, and (thanks to a family walk) hit 8.49 miles last night. Yes, I kind of collapsed into bed at the end of the day. I rather think I earned it.

All of this goes a long way towards giving me a feeling of confidence that I’ll be seeing some positive results when I get on the scale tomorrow! Particularly since yesterday is the first day this week that I missed my calorie budget, and I only went over by about 40 calories!

So, I get the weekend to rest up. Then, come Monday, the 5K training gets harder. I’m looking forward to it!

What I Did With The Last Day Of Ny Vacation

I went to church.

Yes, there’s a story here. See, the first thing I did was drop off my son for his first day of first grade (where has the time gone?), and then I had to go and pick up the prescription for my glasses so that I could order a new pair. Well, on the way back, I spotted Christ Baptist Church (seen above) and said to myself “I bet there’s a Pokestop there, and I could stand to stretch my legs.” So I pulled over, and checked.

There wasn’t just a Pokestop, but a gym! A gym with a raid in progress!

A weak enough raid that I could probably beat it all by myself!

So, I entered the raid.

To make a long and potentially extremely boring story short, I won. And, in honor of my solitary win, I named the Bayleaf for the church (within the confines of the character limits):

Now, the point of all of this is not that I drove to a Pokestop and won a raid. Yippee, right? No, the point was that I was feeling busy when I stopped. I mean, I wasn’t actually all that busy, but I felt busy. Up until I stopped. By the time I was done, I had noticed how pleasant the weather was. I went walking, just to enjoy the day. I even took a picture of some ducks.

Real ducks. Not some sort of “Pokéduck”.

In short, stopping to play the game for a few minutes reminded me that there’s a reason beyond weight loss that I’m doing all this work. I’m doing it to be able to go for long, impromptu walks with ducks. I’m doing it to enjoy myself. I’m doing it because it makes me feel good.

Christchurch the Bayleef is a wise, skilled teacher.

What I Did On My Summer Vacation

Hi! I’m back! I hadn’t originally planned it n not posting for all of last week (in fact, I’d planned on writing every day), but life sort of got away from me. Along with my walking goals, and my exercise goals, and my calorie budget. But, on the up side, I feel great!

So, what did I do?

Let’s see. On Tuesday, I went with my family to the Pyramid Hill Sculpture Park and Museum, a 300 acre park on the north side of Cincinnati. We didn’t do anywhere near as much walking as I’d planned there, since it started raining and we ended up renting a golf cart to go see the sculptures, but it was still a good time.

How much of a good time? Well, my six-year-old son declared that he wanted to go back for his birthday.

Thursday, or maybe Friday, I took my son to Force Friday II at Toy’s R Us. It was at midnight, which entailed getting the six-year-old up at 11 pm on Thursday to go and get to n line. We ended up getting there a half hour early, which worked out well. Why? Because at 11:40 he told me he had to go to the bathroom. So we had to leave the line, drive to a nearby Meier, discover that the doors closest to the bathroom were locked, and sprint the length of the building and back to avoid accidents. All ended well, and we made it back with 7 minutes t spare.

Force Friday II was actually a bit of a letdown. We had no idea what to expect, but all we got was a poster.

Still, we had a good time going out and doing this utterly ridiculous thing. He wants to go again next year. Just… somewhere else.

Saturday I got myself back to the Zen Zone to get my flabby butt kicked by my personal trainer. Well, all right, I joke. But I was sweaty and sore by the time we were done, so that was a good thing. It helped with the discovery that I’d gained weight over the last week, mostly (I assume) from eating badly and not exercising,

Speaking of exercising, we took my son and my nephew to Sky Zone yesterday. That’s a big indoor trampoline park, and I got a ticket to jump with them. “How hard can it be?” I told myself. “It’s just bouncing. How hard can it be?” Five minutes later, I was soaked with sweat and out of breath. Trampolining is hard work.

Which gets me to today. I’m not actually done with my vacation until tomorrow, but I’m rested and refreshed and ready to get back on track. I’m trying out the Zombies Run 5K app, because I’ve still got the itch to see if I can build up to be able to run 5 kilometers, and I did the first set this morning. And I’ve planned out when I’m doing my exercises (and how to fit them into my study schedule), and I have two weeks of healthy meals planned out.

I am feeling great!

Three AM Musings

I’m on day three of my new “get up and walk two miles before work” program, and I’ve noticed an interesting pattern. The first few moments of consciousness have me lying in bed, contemplating not getting up. I am not one of nature’s morning people, despite my work schedule. Left to my own inclinations, three AM would be a thing that I see because I haven’t gone to bed yet.

And then I get up, usually before the alarm in my phone goes off. See, in an effort to not wake my wife up, I have the silent alarm on my FitBit set for 3 AM and the alarm on my phone set for 3:05 AM.  It works out pretty well, I think. But I get up, and I get dressed, and I start walking.  Usually I’m listening to my podcasts and playing Pokémon Go as I walk, but I’ll probably mix that up next week and get back to Zombies Run as well.

Anyway, I’m out walking. It’s dark out, and quiet, and warm but not hot. The only sounds (other than my podcasts and music) are my feet on the pavement, and the wind, and the distant sound of traffic – and there isn’t a whole lot of that at 3 AM.  And by the time I’m up the low hill to the complex clubhouse, I’m glad I didn’t stay in bed.

Then I’m across the street and past the Methodist church, and I’m crossing another street and walking past Kroger, and suddenly I’ve covered a mile and it’s time to turn around and head home. And I haven’t seen another human being the whole time, just a few cars with black-looking windows reflecting the streetlights.

Walking home feels even easier. I’m sweating a little, and paying attention to the changing textures of the ground beneath my feet. Concrete resists my weight. Asphalt seems to spring and rebound. Grass and dirt yield and compress beneath me.  Tiny rocks crunch and skitter.

Then I’m home.  As I shave, I realize that I’m wide awake and ready for the day – far more so than if I’d hit snooze and dozed for another 40 minutes.

If I’d realized it would be this much fun, I’d have started it last year.

Before the Crack of Dawn

Because of the way my schedule works out, I realized last night that getting up and going for my 30 minute (building up to a) run wasn’t going to work in the evenings.  I want to spend time with my family, after all, and I get up crazy early in the morning.  So, going for a 30 minute speedwalk on the treadmill after my son goes to bed doesn’t leave much time for things like spending time with my wife.  Which is, when you get right down to it, something that is far more important than exercising.

So, I got up this morning and went to the little workout room in our complex.  At 3 am.  And it was surprisingly nice.  Oh, don’t get me wrong, I was staggering a little for the first few steps, and blinking sleep out of my eyes, but it woke me up nicely.  I managed to put in 1.75 miles on the treadmill, plus another third of a mile walking to and from the workout room.  So, it was a good morning.  Even if I’m not used to being that sweaty at 3;30 in the morning.

After that, hitting the rest of my walking goal should be a cinch.  The other exercise goals, though?  Not so much of a cinch.  I’ve clearly allowed the muscle tone I’d developed to fade away, and I can feel my situps and pushups in my arms and shoulders and gut.  I’m not in pain, precisely, but I can clearly tell that more exercise is needed.  Which I got, simply because the pool is open and my son is insisting (not unreasonably) that we go every night (another reason that the treadmill probably won’t work out in the evenings).

So, all told, it was a good first day back to my exercise program.  Here’s to many more!

The Best Sign of Progress

“Are we walking home today, daddy?” my son asked me, when I picked him up from kindergarten yesterday.

“We are,” I told him.

“Yay!” he gushed.  Then, on the way home, we chatted about anything and everything.  What happens to people when they die.  Whether a motorcycle could beat an AT-AT.  What we’re going to have for dinner, and whether or not he can play before he does his homework.  He finds “treasures” – rocks and sticks, and tried to bring them home.  And we swordfight with other branches that he picks up – when he isn’t throwing them like spears or just showing me how far he can toss them.

I love these afternoon walks with my son.  They’re a pure reminder of the fact that I’ve made a whole lot of progress, and that I’m in better shape now than I was when he was born.  I can carry him around when needed, and give him piggyback rides and wrestle with him – all things I struggled to do, two years ago when he was a lot lighter and I wasn’t.

I’m pretty sure I’ve said all of this before, in more than one post.  But I’m saying it again, because he and my wife are my reasons for keeping this up – even when I’m feeling tired, or discouraged, or frustrated by lack of progress.  Because they remind me that I’m not just doing this to lose weight.  I’m doing it to have more moments like this, and to be able to spend more time with them.

It’s a great feeling, knowing that I already can.