It. Was. F-ing. Cold.

For the past three years I’ve been an escort rider for the MS Blues Marathon and it’s usually a lot of fun.  This year, though, someone forgot to pay the heating bill.  When we picked up the runners at mile 9, it was about 20 degrees. I’ve never ridden my bike in 20 degree weather.  Hell, I have trouble riding it in 70 degree weather, but since I volunteered myself and a friend, I couldn’t back out.  Well, I could have, but my friend promised to repeatedly kick me in nads if I did and that’s really something I try and avoid. 

My hands and feet were numb before we even got on the bikes.  Our plan was to suit up at the pickup point and get warmed up before heading out.  This was partially successful since the “warmed up” part never happened.  Since it’s hard to dress while wearing gloves, my hands were exposed for the 30 minutes or so it took to get ready.  And they got so cold they were getting stiff…and not in a good way.  We had enough chemical hand and feet warmers to start a small fire, but the damn things wouldn’t fit in my gloves or shoes.  And I was out of time.

I’ll take a second here to mention something about marathoners…they’re nuts.  Why would you pay $90 to run in 20 degree weather for 26.2 miles?  If your answer doesn’t have the words “hoardes of loose, naked women” in it then stop, because I’m not interested.

My group was escorting the Top 3 Male runners and by mile 9, these guys were hoofing it.  We had to stomp on the pedals at first to get in front and from then on it was all pedaling.  At one point, I saw a guy run…and barf…and run some more…and barf some more…and run some more.  I gotta give that dude credit.  Barfing while still is a bitch so I can only imagine what barfing while in motion must feel like.

It was about this point that I realized I was slowly getting feeling back into my hands.  My guess is that my core was warming up so the body could afford to push some blood out to my hands.  My hands have since sworn total allegiance to my core and have promised to punch me in the nads should I ever think of doing this again.  Within about 10 minutes, the only part that was still cold were my toes.

In case you’re wondering, I was wearing neoprene leg warmers, tights, bib shorts, a long sleeve, wool/thermax shirt I use for hunting, a long sleeve cycling jersey, a cycling jacket, and a windproof vest provided by the marathon.  I had a Turtle Fur Shellaclava (this thing ROCKED!) under my helmet, two pairs of gloves, and a pair of wool socks and toe covers for my shoes. 

Now let’s skip ahead to mile 23 when I quit.  The previous miles consisted of a frozen water bottle, rock hard Clif Bloks, and Hammer Gel that I couldn’t reach.  Although I didn’t know how long I’d been riding, I did know that I could no longer feel the front half of both feet.  When I tried to wiggle my toes, I couldn’t tell if they were moving.  It was at this point that my brain said, “Fuck it, y’all.  We’re done.”  And true to it’s word, we were. 

I’ll be honest, Dear Reader, and admit that my feet have never, ever been that cold.  It was like pedaling blocks of ice.  All I could picture were red and black stumps that used to be toes rolling around in the ends of my socks. 

I was wise enough to stop at a portable toilet occupied by a Salvation Army Emergency Services worker who promised to send someone to pick me up.  The easy part was being picked up.  The hard part was explaining to my friend that I punked out 3 miles from the end.  She was a good sport about it and plans to use it to her advantage for a VERY LONG TIME.  I can’t argue with her…because she threatens to kick me in the nads.

For the record, it took until the next morning for my feet to feel completely normal again.

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Got a new scale yesterday.

You did?  What did it say?

GET!  OFF!!

Well, Dear Reader, it’s that time of year when all good people make resolutions about weight-loss and working out and getting into shape and yours truly is one of them.  For me, it’s one of those “got to” things…blood work came back about two weeks ago and I have enough triglycerides for 3 people.  It was so high the Doc said they couldn’t measure the LDL (bad cholesterol).  He’s giving me 3 months to get it down or I have to go on cholesterol meds.  Already on blood pressure meds and I HATE taking medicine.    The other reason is that I’ve finally gotten sick of being fat.  When tying your shoes becomes uncomfortable, it’s time to do something about it.  When I was in Colorado, I got winded going up 16 stairs…SIXTEEN STAIRS.  That is just pathetic.

The thing that makes me mad is that 4 years ago I was in good shape or at least getting there.  It was April 2006 when I finally hit my goal of 185lbs…well, I was at 190, which was close enough for me.  Today…234…and that’s capital numbers in case you’re wondering.  It’s what happens when you quit working out but don’t stop eating.

I’ve been doing a lot of reading/research on diets and weight loss and have come to a very simple conclusion…no one knows what the hell they’re talking about.  On Yahoo, one article said “don’t eat potatoes and bread” and then a link to another article said, “It’s ok to eat potatoes and bread”.  No wonder people are so freaking confused.  The other thing I’ve noticed is that most diets (South Beach, Atkins, Fit for Life) tell you to eat foods that, quite honestly, I don’t like.  Why would I want to diet by eating foods I don’t like?  Can’t stand Splenda (can taste it in most foods), hate nuts, not fond of squash, cauliflower, and quite a few other things.  Anyway, my point is that most of these diets don’t work because I don’t like what I’m supposed to eat.

What I’ve decided to do is pretty simple.  I’m going to find foods I do like and eat those.  I’ll supplement them with other “good foods” while cutting out things like sweetened iced tea, soft drinks, and coffee (sugar in my coffee is a must).  I’m also going to concentrate on portion control.  I honestly think this is the key for me to lose weight.

It’s weird…I seem to have this mental thing about a) leaving food on my plate and b) thinking I’m going to be hungry.  I know where the first one comes from (my grandmother) but not sure about the second.  I’ve never had to go to bed hungry and have always had the ability to buy food if I wanted it (thank God) so I honestly have no idea where it comes from.  The third mental thing is I will wake up and think, “I’m going to stuff my face at lunch”…and usually do.  Again, no idea where that thought comes from, but it’s something that I have to control.

I’m already trying the portion control…half a can of Campbell’s Chunky soup instead of the whole can, less deli meat on sandwiches, etc.  Now all I have to do is get rid of the fudge, chocolate covered pretzels, brownies, and cookies that people gave me over the holidays.  I plan on taking them to work tomorrow…let those people get fat instead of me. 🙂

The other part of my plan is exercise.  I belong to a gym, have a stationary trainer for “The Greatest Bike Never Ridden”, and friends who will ride with me or go to the gym with me.  It’s just a matter of me getting off my ass to do these things.  I know the more I do it, the easier it’ll get, but getting started is the hardest part for me…if you want an excuse for anything, let me know because I’ve got a million of them.  I am extremely lucky that I have close friends that want to exercise with me and I am going to take them up on their offers.

For right now, the goal is 190 lbs.  Once there, I’ll decided if I want to go lower because even at 190, I’m still considered “overweight”.  I’m going to post my progress so I can keep a log of what’s going on and also to let others know what I’m doing. I honestly think, Dear Reader, that if people stop trying to diet and, instead, change their eating habits, they’d be happier and better off in the end.  Now it’s time to put that theory to the test.