Sunday, April 29, 2007

Saturday Doubleheader

I may have overdone it...

My scout troop had a 10-mile hike planned for Saturday afternoon. So far we have already done three of these on our way to earning the Hiking Merit Badge. Actually the requirements are that they do 5 ten-mile hikes and one 20-miler. I think they have 8 ten-mile hikes planned and two 20-milers on the schedule before the end of the year.

Unfortunately my assignment was to scout and plan the route on the Jordan River Parkway so that we knew where we were going and so that we could do a kind of scavenger hunt to help the miles pass. I had planned on riding a couple sections on Thursday or Friday, but the insanity that is my life right now found me on Saturday morning with no route planned.

So, I hopped on my bike, rode the 8 miles from my house to the parkway, and then rode north and south a couple of times until I was happy with the route. By the time I rode back home I had done about 35 miles.

I spent the early afternoon coaching my son's AAU basketball team, and made it back just in time to find 12 scouts and 3 parents ready to go in my front yard. Off we went, and within the first two mile I knew that this was going to be a shock to my system.

We had four kids from our new scout patrol who only hiked about 6 miles, and I found myself playing the sweeper. I actually finished a lot stronger than I thought I would. But today I am pretty sore. This is classic overtraining, but I hope that the 'shock' will jumpstart my training for the MS-150 and help me push through a weight-loss plateau I have been stuck on since just before going to Disneyland.

Then again, there is something remarkably invigorating about realizing that you went 45 mile under your own power.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Calories Burned

As a self confirmed geek, I occasionally browse over to the OmniNerd blog to check out the ramblings on tech, science and random nerdy stuff. I came across this post that is really interesting to someone like me who is interested in losing and then maintaining a healthy weight.

Calories Burned

Basically, the author of the post wore an heart rate monitor for 24 hours and tracked the calories burned as reported by the gizmo. I have one of those and have worn it for a few hours before and after exercise. Based on how my trend (not daily) weight behaves and tracking my diet, I would say that the measure on my gizmo is accurate to within +/- 5%.

Of course, knowing how many calories I am burning has never before stopped me from hitting a sticky plateau. It hasn't this year either. But one of the points that I like from OmniNerd is that a few small activity changes can make a big difference.

...physical mobility equates to energy burn and sedentary activity does not. It was surprising, however, to realize how even small amounts of activity could have such large gains in overall calorie consumption. If I were to eliminate walking to my bus, never use the stairs and skip days at the gym, my personal calorie burn would quickly dwindle into a deficit.

I have always been intrigued by how I take shortcuts on 'fat' days - those days where you suffer the acute pain of your excess baggage dragging you down. Rather than ride to work I drive. After walking from my parking area to the lot my building is on, I walk diagonally across the lot and in the South door, rather than staying on the sidewalk and walking around to the North door. Once in the building, I take the elevator to my 6th floor cubicle, rather than the stairs. On and on it goes as I avoid getting up from my chair and making any 'excess' movement.

On the flip side, I am always amazed at how big of a difference it makes when I ride 15 minutes longer twice a week, or when I start lengthening my weekend rides. What we forget often is that when we move, we feel better, we actually have more energy, and we don't think twice about moving more.

Friday, April 13, 2007

Back to the Real World

Hey! I'm back!

I can't believe how long it has been since I did a real post. Sometime in mid March we realized that the stars had aligned perfectly, and we decided to take a family vacation to Disneyland that we have been putting off since forever.

Shortly thereafter the stars when haywire for me. I had Scouting and volunteer responsibilities to tie up before we left. On top of that I neglected to check the list of deliverables on my major project at work, and had to scramble to cram about 200 hours of software development into about 95 hours of time.

Then I took over coaching an AAU 9th Grade basketball team that was short about 5 players. My son who plays on the team essentially announced an open tryout at school, and we had 12 players show up for the first practice, not counting two of the players that were already on the team. I almost have the roster settled and am very excited because this team clearly has the most talent of any team I have ever coached. Seven of the players just finished playing varsity for their Junior High teams.

Finally, it was time to jet off to 'slightly overcast' Southern California. Overall the trip was a great one, and we enjoyed three days split between Disneyland and California Adventure with one day a Universal Studios and one day just sleeping in and wandering around Downtown Disney in between. My personal favorite ride was The Mummy ride at Universal Studios. The family favorites were that one, California Screamin' and Space Mountain.

We came back to reality earlier this week, and I have literally been scrambling every day to get a handle on everything and back into some kind of routine.

My 'diet' didn't suffer quite as bad as I would have expected over that crazy 4 weeks, and I am only 2 pounds heavier than I was at the beginning of the insanity. I am looking forward to a long training ride tomorrow, and a normal routine starting next week.