kazatasupa: (burney mountain)
[personal profile] kazatasupa
Dead legs.

A couple of years ago, out of shape and depressed, I started riding my mountain bike and was startled to realize how much I enjoyed the experience.  I was 306 pounds at the time and started with a leisurely 1 mile journey to work every morning.  It wasn’t long until I was bombing up and down local skidder trails and logging roads and after four months, or so I had reduced my weight by almost 50 pounds.  I was happy, in good enough shape to backpack (my favorite activity) and suffering fewer of the aches and pains that come with aging (I’m 44 now).  We had a mild winter that year, and my biking daily began in January and lasted until almost June.  By June I was riding 8 miles to work (I had developed a “course” through town), and up to 23 miles on other outings, but it had started getting too warm and I was a swampy mess when I would get to work.  I started to scale back my morning workout and, because I don’t tolerate the heat very well, I chose not to torture myself under the oppressing afternoon sun.  While I still rode my bike every day, I wasn’t pushing myself to stay in shape.

In July my wife and I discovered that we were expecting.  We had been trying to conceive for a couple of years and I had given up hope that we would get pregnant.  I was making the case to adopt.  Having been adopted myself, I felt like I had a unique perspective on the mind of the adoptee and that my experience could be a great be benefit the psychological growth of an adopted son/daughter.  My wife’s pregnancy put an end to the adoption talk.

I spent time researching what to expect with a pregnant wife and how to handle being a first time parent.  I had an idea of what was coming, but the truth is – nothing can prepare you for pregnancy or fatherhood other than the experience itself.  Even though my wife doesn’t read this blog, I endeavor to be as delicate as possible when broaching this subject because it’s always easiest to place blame on the other when you are in a relationship.  I had difficulty dealing with the changes that were happening with my wife during and after the pregnancy.  I won’t go into details, but simply acknowledge that I often struggled to find a good balance of nurturing her growing needs and giving her space to grow with the changes in our life.  I think I tended towards “hovering,” because I wanted to be near her and supportive at all times.  I sacrificed myself in many ways when it wasn’t called for and I let myself go in the process.  Over the last 21 months I stopped riding and began eating in excess to deal with stress of life.  While basking in the glory of bringing a beautiful new life into the world, I was also falling into a darkness and finding myself overwhelmed with family matters that were out of my control.  I knew I had gained most of my weight back, if not more but was afraid to step on the scale to see.

It has been a long winter, and I had been mentally preparing myself to begin the painful journey of getting into shape again.  The first break in the weather came a couple of weeks ago, so I hopped on my 2004 Diamondback XSL Trail and started pedaling myself to work with the idea that I would commute to work in the morning and take a longer trip after work.  Unfortunately, 1000 feet from my house, I heard a “pop” and my tire started rubbing against the frame.  I hopped off the bike to inspect and found my frame fractured in two locations.  The bike had died on pavement at 6 miles an hour.  I was slightly dejected, but felt fortunate that the frame didn’t break while flying down a hill on an isolated forest road.  A wreck at 30 miles an hour could have been horrific.

Fast forward a couple of weeks:  I have purchased a new mountain bike.  This one is  a Trek X-Caliber 7.  It’s not full suspension, which is hard on the tail (my butt hurts a little), but it has bigger tires than a standard  bike and the larger surface area allows the bike to naturally absorb some of the bumps on trail.  I am really out of shape.  I weighed myself on Saturday: 320 pounds.  It’s Wednesday and I am already down to 307.2.  I carry my weight well at 6 foot five inches, but my ideal weight is about 220.  So, that’s my goal.  I don’t care how long it takes to get me there.  A year, or two would be fine.  My goal is to finish my life with good health.  I want to see my son through his 30’s if possible and help him succeed when life gets difficult.  It’s going to take a concerted effort to push through summers (when I usually get lazy) and to motivate myself through the winter months (gym time when I can’t ride a bike).  My diet usually falls in line with my physical activity.  I eat less when I am happy and working out releases endorphins that keep me happy.

I use the strava app on my phone to track distance and time.  I live quite close to work (about 1/3 of a mile) and have difficulty getting out early, as I am always running behind in the morning.  I ride my bike to work, but only have enough time to get ½ a mile to a mile in.  I have given myself a half an hour ride after work.  This allows me a decent chance at some cardiovascular activity and I am home early enough to get my son out of Marie’s hair while she finishes making dinner.  Monday I was able to go 3.7 miles and yesterday I did 4.4 miles.

Even though I have dead legs, I am very much looking forward to my post-work ride this evening…

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kazatasupa

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