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It’s time to ride, ride, ride the wild surf

Surf City USA

Some months back, when I was still wearing my Fat Boy clothes, I wrote a couple of blogs about how I was going to learn to surf.

Now I’m ready.

I went to Huntington Beach today to scope out the situation, and it was a very interesting time to visit Surf City. Starting next Saturday and running for nine days, Huntington Beach will play host to the U.S. Open of Surfing, which will bring together all the top surfers for a massive competition.

The facilities — mostly some pretty massive grandstands — are going up fast, and there were plenty of wet suits in the water today as folks appeared to be practicing their tricks.

Me, I checked out the cost of surfboards — most of the new ones were $600 and up and even the used ones were $300 or so. So I went on line later and found a Ventura company that sold me one for $105. It should arrive sometime next week, and soon after that, I’ll try to find a place to learn how to use it.

Gee, I hope it isn’t made out of styrofoam.

I ordered a paperback book from Amazon, and I picked up a Corky Carroll video on “Learn to Surf: The Safe, Fast and Easy Way.”

Corky Carroll

“Easy is good,” says legendary surfer Carroll.

Heck, he’s two years older than I am, although he has been surfing for about the last 50 years.

I don’t have any illusions about this being easy. The last thing I taught myself to do was play golf, and even after about 15 years, I’m still not all that good at the game.

I don’t expect to be able to do a lot of tricks, and I doubt I’ll be driving up and down the coast looking for the biggest waves. I just want to be able to paddle out, turn around and raise. Heck, that’s all there is to the coastline craze.

Then if I can stay up and ride a wave in, I’ll be a happy man.

posted by Mike in baby boom,California,Happiness,surfing and have Comment (1)

Two months down, weight still dropping off

Two months down, 17 days to go here in Texas.

I had hoped to lose 50 pounds in May and June, but I came up short. Just short. When I weighed myself this morning, I had lost 49.5 pounds since checking into Rancho Cortez on May 3rd.

It would be silly to be disappointed, and of course I’m not. Fifty pounds was never a goal, but just a step along the way toward losing 100 pounds by the end of the calendar year, and even that is just a step along the way to doing something I have never done before — maintaining my weight loss.

The trail was wet

So I went out today — the start of my third month — and got after it. I did a tough circuit training class and then went out for my daily hike.

There was one problem. It was raining. We’re getting a lot of the weather being caused down at the Gulf by Hurricane Alex, and I wound up doing my hike in rain that ranged from drizzly to steady.

It isn’t easy to hike through puddles while using an umbrella, and I actually cut the final loop out of my hike, which made it about 4 1/2 miles instead of the standard 5 1/4.

It’s OK, though. I’m going to try and do the entire 12-mile hike between the Missions in San Antonio tomorrow, so I ought to save a little energy today.

I’m still hoping to drop another 10 pounds before I leave.

Actually 10.5, but who’s counting?

posted by Mike in Happiness,Health and have Comment (1)

A weak back leads to days of rest

I don’t have a picture to use with today’s post. I’m not sure you would want to see one of me broken down and doubled over with pain, although the pain is already starting to get better.

My back started hurting late last week, mostly fatigue from the fact that I have been doing so much more this month than I have ever done before. Even during my marathon diet-and-exercise sessions in 1985 and 1989, I rarely exercised more than once a day. This month I have been working out two, three, four times a day and it was really starting to get to me.

On Saturday for the first time, I couldn’t finish a hike.

Then on Monday, when we hiked the San Antonio missions and finished up at the Alamo, I only managed two of the four legs of the 12-mile hike. Even then, I was clobbered. I was told in no uncertain terms to take two or three days completely off, to give my body a chance to regain some strength.

That didn’t mean curling up with Ben & Jerry’s or heading out for barbecued ribs. I’m still on the same diet, but for the last couple of days I have been sleeping more, laying around a lot more and regaining control of my muscles, such as they are.

Tomorrow I’ll ease back into things and then plan on going full tilt again on Friday. I’m still down 24 pounds in 23 days, so I’m on target for my goal of 50 pounds in two months. I looked in the mirror this afternoon and I don’t look too horrible, considering I still weigh nearly 250 pounds.

The one thing that did surprise me was my hair.

I’ve been seeing gray around the sides for a few years now, but the last month or so, I’m seeing it all across the front and the top. I won’t be surprised if I’m completely gray by the end of the summer.

No problem.

I’ll gladly trade what’s left of my brown hair for a pain-free back.

posted by Mike in Happiness,Health and have No Comments

A chance to solve some real problems

Sometimes things happen in our lives that we don’t expect, and they push us to solutions we could never imagine.

For most of the last 40 years, I have had to battle my weight. Until I was 21, I never had any problem. I could eat whatever I wanted and never gain a pound. Part of it was probably my metabolism, but the biggest reason was just that I spent a lot of time in physical activity — basketball, football, etc. Just before my 21st birthday, though, I realized that I had gone from my normal weight of about 175 pounds to almost 190.

It was the first time I had ever felt heavy, and I took the weight off over the next couple of months by playing basketball two or three hours every afternoon instead of going to classes.

Good move for my health, stupid move overall.

Once I wasn’t in school, I got a job — a sedentary job — working in a bank. Within a year I weighed 200 pounds and the struggle had begun.

The irony of it is, as much time as I spent back then trying to get under 200 — and succeeding in 1985, 1989 and 1992 — now it will take a major effort to get anywhere close to that. A few months ago, I weighed 280 pounds, which is way too much when you’re 60 years old and are only about 5-foot-10.

It’s really a terrible place to be, because let’s face it. People who are as much overweight as I am generally don’t live to be that old. I have high blood pressure, I’m at serious risk for diabetes and I’m putting a tremendous strain on my heart, lungs and legs. I also have a very serious case of sleep apnea. I have gotten down to 270, but I really don’t seem to be able to do what I’ve done before — get serious about diet and exercise for 4-6 months.

The irony is that my eating problem has always been the classic one. I didn’t eat to fill a hole in my stomach; I ate to fill a hole in my heart because I wasn’t happy with myself as a person. Well, the last few weeks I have actually been feeling pretty good about myself. Except for the weight, of course.

My wife made a suggestion that bothered me at first, but when I started looking into it, I became more enthusiastic.

She said I should go to camp.

I immediately felt 12 years old.

Some of the most enjoyable weeks of my childhood were spent at three different summer camps — Camp Kern and Camp Templed Hills in Ohio and a camp in Pennsylvania for which the name just flew right out of my head. Kern was a YMCA camp that I attended at ages 10 and 11, while Templed Hills was a church camp where I spent a week each summer when I was 11 and 12.

The one in Pennsylvania was also a church camp, I attended as a camper for two or three summers in my early teens and then for one week as a counselor when I was 16.

I always had a great time, and my only regret was that it was always for just one week.

Yoga on horseback

This one is going to be very different. It’s a fitness camp in Texas, and I will be there for two months starting at the beginning 0f May. I’ll be on a strict diet and I will be exercising three or four times a day. Sounds more like a boot camp, but surprisingly, I’m looking forward to it. One of the great things about camp when I was a kid was getting away from everything for a week and just being able to enjoy myself.

That isn’t exactly what I’ll be doing here, but I do expect to do something entirely different and very rare. I will in effect be stepping outside my life for two months, getting a chance to do healthy things and maybe getting some of the poisons out of my system.

I’ll actually be working on the ranch for about 10 hours a week, sweeping out horse barns and various other chores. I’ll be up at 6:30 most days and in bed by 10 p.m.

Pretty different.

It will be very strange to be apart from Nicole for two months. We’re in our 18th year of marriage, and only once have we been separated for as much as one month. I will definitely miss her, and I will be eager to return home in July.

But drastic problems require drastic solutions, and this might be my last chance to get my weight — and my health — under control. I’m going to have to live into my eighties to see little Maddie graduate from college, and that’s something I definitely want.

I would also love to someday celebrate 50 years of marriage with my wife, the love of my life, and we will both have to live till almost age 93 for that to happen.

It’s very strange. I never wanted to be old; I always thought if I lived 75 years in decent health, that would be plenty for me. But not anymore. There are people I love dearly, and I want to be around as long as I can for them.

So I guess I’m going to camp.

posted by Mike in baby boom,Family,Happiness,Health and have No Comments
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