I really really am having a hard time concentrating at work these days. So much random things on my mind. Like for instance:
The shape of our country Woah there… this could be a hot button topic. Actually, I am not talking about the current state of politics at all. I am actually thinking about the shape of our states. The ACTUAL SHAPE. A few weeks ago NASA released what I consider to be a beautiful image. The folks at the Woods Hole Research Center, and others, used satellite imaging and ground surveys to create a map of forest biodensity (The National Biomass and Carbon Dataset). What I think is the most amazing is that they broke up the map into 66 distinct ecoregions. These ecoregions are generally created using natural features (mountains, rivers, etc.) as boundaries. The shapes are so much more organic than the shapes of our current states. Imagine if the country had been populated and broken up in a different way, and each of these ecoregions became a state. It would totally change our country, politics, regional economies, population centers… everything! It has consumed a lot of my mental space thinking of this.
#fridaycoffeeclub I almost went today, but then woke up at 730 and realized that not only did I super-snooze my alarm, but my only bike right now is my fixed-gear beater that has 2 flats and a rusty chain. The LHT is at BicycleSpace right now getting some love. I’ll pick it up tonight.
Glen Echo 106K Populaire I’m really nervous about this ride because not only is it the first DC Randonneurs ride that I am going to try, but also the course has more elevation gain than I am used to. I want to “do good” on this ride, plus a few other weekend training rides so that I have confidence to start (and finish) the March 17th 200K dubbed the “Wilderness Campaign”.
Photography. I want to maybe take a class or two this year to get some skills and learn how to use my camera better. But I am also looking for a new one. Shopping for something you care about (camera, new bike, ???) can really suck you in and become an obsession. I have it narrowed down to 3 options. I may impulse shop tonight so I can have it for tomorrows ride.
Job Things are good, things are bad. When you work as a consultant, you don’t always get to pick the type of work you have. I’ve just found out that I am going to be spending a lot of time in the next few months helping build a highway. Boo. Some potential good news may come from that, but I will wait and see before I say anything. At the same time, I was able to meet and talk with a major developer in Tysons Corner yesterday. I really dislike Tysons, it is a super auto-centric place with absolutely zero charm or character. But after listening to this person, and seeing plans, I realize that people are trying to do the right thing in making it a walkable/livable space. Of course, there are many different players, and all have different visions. But I do think that things will get better (over the next 10-15 years anyways).
But do I always want to do this? Thats another one that keeps popping up in my head. Parts of me are pulling me towards learning how to become a: farmer, brewer, or bicycle frame builder. I think the concept of crafting something with care and passion is exciting. Certainly I can do all of those things at home, but then they are hobbies, which take up already precious free time. Why not do what you are passionate about for a living (this is not a pity story, I am often passionate about what I currently do).
2012 Goals! I succeeded in meeting 2 goals last week. Joining a gym (and the unstated goal of using it) and eating no cookies until Jan 25th. Why was that a goal? No specific reason, I like cookies, they are bad for me… so it was a willpower challenge. Next up is vegetarian for 2 months. I am amending this one for 2 reasons, a) I am trying to get myself to start a higher protein/lower carb diet compared to how I eat now, and b) it will be easier to succeed on that diet by allowing a limited (3-4 meals per week) amount of meat. Also, the gym is hard when you actually try (compared to my old routine of 2-3 easier weight machines followed by 45 min on a stationary bike) My muscles are sore!
I make too many lists. I keep track of running mileage, cycling mileage, the fuel economy of my car, places to visit, searching for monuments and markers in DC… I’ve been this way since my college years. My list of Goals and Resolutions for 2012 is quite long. But here goes:
Continue to make friends in DC
Read 3 new books
Take a photography class
Continue this blog (aim for 8 posts per month and 3,000 views)
Try a new cuisine (Afghan, Ethiopian, ?)
Lose 20 pounds
Visit Boston at least once
Drive less than 15,000 miles
Vegetarian from Jan 25-March 25, and Oct 15-Nov 15 (fish and eggs ok, meat allowed on certain weekends if I add another 2 days to the duration)
No Cookies from Jan 1 – Jan 25
No Candy Bars Nov 15-Dec 31
No Chips June 1 – June 30
Cycle 1,000 miles
Run 200 miles
Cycle in 2 new states (WV, PA, NJ I’m looking at you guys)
Lets hear it for 2011! Hooray, huzzah and all that goodness.
Talk about changes – 500 miles closer to the equator, warmer, under new employment, engaged to be married, 18 pounds lighter, so many new places to explore.
Many of my 2011 goals were met or exceeded – which has caused me to set even more ambitious goals for 2012. This may pose to be a problem, since I tend to be a “list-maker” and like to track data from all sorts of things. I’m stepping back to look at my goals for 2011 before I finalize the 2012 set and see how I did:
Ride 1000 Miles and finish a Century: Last year I fell a few hundred miles short of my cycling goal and it really bummed me out, so I set out in 2011 determined to meet my goal, and to push myself more than ever before by finishing one century ride. Well I met my goal 1011.7 miles, and I completed not just one, but 2 centuries (100 Miles of Nowhere, and SeagullCentury) Goals Met!
Run 200 Miles and a Half Marathon:This was a huge accomplishment, seeing as I am not a runner. But Not only did I run 233.9 miles this year, I also completed the Stratton Faxon Fairfield Half Marathon in June just under my goal – 2h29m9s. Goals Met
Get Engaged: Maybe this is a resolution more than a goal? But on May 14th this year at Fort McHenry in Baltimore Kate and I got engaged. Resolution Met
Lose Weight: I started 2011 about 10 pounds above where I was for most of 2010, so I knew that I wanted to shed that weight – and them some. I set an ambitious goal of losing just over 30 pounds. Well I didn’t make it all the way there, but I did lose 18 pounds – and I feel so much better. Partially Met
Healthier Living: This one was simple, eat healthy, with good portion control, more greens, and less junk food. This one was one goal I didn’t work too hard for. Not Met
Read More: Over the past few years I have taken to reading (only a tiny bit) so I wanted to push myself to keep pace with 2010 by reading at least three books. I may be missing something, but I know I got through at least 3, possibly 4 and have started two others. In 2011 I read Jonathan Franzen’s “The Corrections“, “Freedom” and Fat Cyclists “Comedian Mastermind“. Goal Met
Make New Friends in DC: This was a weird one because I am not sure how to qualify it. I met some great people in DC this year, and hope to meet even more in 2012. I still don’t feel like I have a core group of friends like I did in Boston – but I’ll have to work on that. Partially Met
Work out at least 10 times per month: A simple fitness goal, and I am going to claim victory even though 119 “activities” is slightly under the 10 per month average. All told, the year ended with 119 work-outs, 1254 miles cycled, run or hiked, 124.6 hours of activity and 91646 calories burned. Goal Met
Participate in a DC Randonneurs Event: Failed, no more to say. Not Met
Drive Less: I used to drive somewhere near 25,000 miles a year – many of them driving to out-of-the-way destinations around New England for work. This year I wanted to cut that down to less than 17,000 miles. I am happy to say that I drove less than 14,000 miles – significantly cutting down on my emissions. Goal Met
January 2011 - Such a change from January 2012
Theme of 2011: Changes
February 2011 - A New 'hood
First Nats Game (I still don't like them, Red Sox or O's for me)
May 2011 - New Orleans for Jazz Jest
I read an article that quoted the chef from H Streets Granville Moores that said if you are ever not wowed when you see the Capitol Building, then your time in DC is near an end. I am still amazed when I see that building.
Bad new to report after week 1 of my goal to shed 20 pounds before the wedding.
I gained 2 pounds.
For the week I had 2 resistance band workouts, 1 run of 2.75 miles and 1 bike ride of 45.5 miles. I also had no will power when it came to eating healthy, and I think that is what killed me in the long run. Parents are in town this weekend, but I should be able to avoid anything too bad. Bike ride tonight and a run before they get here tomorrow should help too.
I’ll be the first to admit that I am not a slender dude – currently I am tipping the scales at about 242 pounds (though I have been up a few earlier this week due to vacation beer drinking). I’ll also be the first to admit that I have struggled with weight for many years, rocketing up to probably an all time high of 280 lbs a few years ago, and only years before that being below 200 lbs. after dropping from another previous high.
Sitting on a 6’2″ frame I think I carry my current weight “mostly ok” – I’ll compare myself to my Surly Long Haul Trucker. At a glance I don’t look too heavy, on closer inspection you can tell things are going to be heavier than a carbon fiber racer, and then you try to pick it up and realize the damn thing must be made of lead pipe.
For 2011 I had a number of goals, among them are weight loss, total miles run, total miles in the saddle, and a number of events (a few of which are upcoming and I will post them shortly). So far I have:
Missed the weight loss targets (but still down about 18 lbs. from Jan 1!)
Hit the running target (6 miles over my 200 miles goal as of Sept 4)
Am way under the cycling target (~520 of 1000 miles completed), but have some long rides planned
And will do more cycling events than planned, but less running events
The cool thing is that I am getting married next May to the most wonderful person in the world – and we are going to team up together to shed some extra weight. We were on a walk a few nights ago and settled on a percentage drop… which brings, as you may have figured out is 222 lbs. It will drop me below a BMI of 30 (which is still bad, but I thing BMI is too simplistic anyways). Cool thing is… there are nearly 222 days until the wedding too! Ideally I’ll hit the target before that day, I could even shoot for the 20 lbs. over 20 weeks – that’s only 1 lb a week!
I’m sure it will be tough, but I can’t wait to see how I feel running and on the bike when I am not only fit, but a lot leaner. I’m going to use the blog, a la Fat Cyclist, to keep myself honest about my progress. Hopefully there will be more readers who will provide the shame factor as well.