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  1. Week 18

    Sep 28, 2008

    It seems we have a hurricane grazing our coast here in Maine. I've really got no reason to gripe considering what so many have gone through in the U.S. during this hurricane season. However the incessant rain has made it difficult to get outside during the last couple of days. It's had a bit of an impact on my weight. That coupled with draining a six pack of Dogfish Indian Brown the other night. Unfortunately there's not much to report during this weigh in. Thankfully I didn't gain, but I don't really feel like I made any ground either.

    Starting weight - 315 lbs. Last week - 271.4 lbs.
    This week - 270.8 lbs. Progress since previous weigh in - .6 lbs.
    Total weight loss - 44.2 lbs.

  2. Condensed Vacation

    Sep 23, 2008

    It really doesn't do my vacation weekend any justice to have to condense it down to one blog post, but alas I have to. Last week I went to my hometown of Orland and it's neighbor, Bucksport to visit family, staying from Thursday through Monday. I was a little apprehensive about the idea of trying to adhere to a weight loss plan while on vacation. I really didn't need to be though. I've learned enough in the past few months about balance and lifestyle that things really weren't that different after all. As I said in my last post, I wasn't concerned about finding workouts since I have feet and there's pavement in Bucksport too, just like here. So this is how I managed to get a solid workout in on a trip over the long weekend.

    I've gotten to a point where I know I can afford to take 1-2 days of rest a week. It's actually advised. So Thursday itself went down as a rest day. I was going to have plenty to do over the weekend anyway. I was planning to go caching, and to focus on the more physically challenging and beautiful caches of the area. But what to do Friday morning? I figured a run would suffice and plotted this route as I had stayed at my grandmother's house that night. It's an interesting run. While mild, there are some hills and it never really seemed all that flat at any one point. The terrain seemed to constantly change. It proved good for the resistance as I had only for the most part run on flat terrain. Quiet road too. Oh yeah, I'm also doing longer routes now. Where 3 miles was a challenge a few months ago, I'm now running 4 - 4.5 miles regularly. This run would set the tone for the weekend.

    That brings us to Saturday, the grandest day of my trip, and a day that totally changed my perspective. A little history : I was a lazy kid. I would much rather have chatted on the phone, eaten, or watched satellite tv than climb a mountain. As it so happens there is a decent sized mountain only 2 miles from where I grew up. Of course I never took advantage of this mountain as a child. I was too busy doing absolutely nothing. Saturday was my chance to prove to myself that I had changed. I'm no longer the lethargic oaf I once was.

    There are 2 geocaches on Great Pond Mountain in East Orland and Saturday I summited the peak and found both. It's one of the two proudest achievements of my weight loss effort so far, the other being last weekend's 5K. GCJXV3 - Salmon 'R Us is located along a trail just off of the main route to the Great Pond summit. It lies along a trail called Mossy Rocks Trail that's appropriately named. There is something about the lush green color of mosses first thing in the morning. I don't think that color is present anywhere else and shouldn't be replicated anyway. The cache was a simple hide and not really the main focus of this trek so I had to get on my way. Bigger fish needed frying and so I got back on the main trail promptly.

    GCGD3V - I'm Fond of Great Pond is at the summit. Unreal. That's really the only way to describe it. I was so proud of having climbed what is a relatively steep trail and at no time did I really feel taxed. I was certainly getting a workout, but it was never more than I could handle. Now I know why Eric has had me doing squats for the last 3 months. I decided to head for the top before making my way to the cache. I summited the mountain at 7:49 AM feeling immensely satisfied by my effort. I took in the sights of fog on the surrounding ponds, the new Penobscot Narrows Crossing in the distance, and hawks practicing aerials just overhead. After savoring the sights I pressed on to the cache, finding it not so different from others. It's a regular sized container with the ordinary swag and pencil. Somehow it felt more special than that. Maybe it's because in 5 years this cache has only seen a few dozen visitors. Only a few put in the effort to come up here to this one. Maybe it's too much effort for some, but I feel that the effort itself is just as much the reward.

    While Saturday provided the greatest sense of personal achievement, Sunday was a great day of personal growth as well. Fitness and wellness has much to do with your mental health as well as your physiology. I spent a portion of my day Sunday connecting with my father. He's a long time outdoorsman and as long as I remember he's been involved in hunting, fishing, boating, and ATV riding. He tried to share all these things with me as a kid, but again, I was too lazy to take advantage of the things he knew. I decided to reconnect on Sunday by taking him out for his first geocaching outing. He's super familiar with the area and knew of the remote pond where I told him there was a geocache stashed. GC13QYB - Hothole Pond Cache is a traditional cache that has seen only a little action in the year it's been there, likely due to the difficulty of the terrain and accessibility issues. Again, the effort proved to be the reward. A rough haul, we had to portage over several beaver dams that my dad didn't remember being there. It should be said that the last time he was in here was 20 years ago. We paddled just over 3 miles round trip and saw probably one of the most majestic things I've ever seen. A gaggle of 18 Canadian geese came into Hothole to rest for the night as we were paddling out. They were only 20 feet overhead and the impact of the sheer size of the birds was only surpassed by the impressive sound their wings made so closely above. We got soaked and bonds were made. I love my father very much and was happy to finally spend this time with him I should have been spending all the while.

    I returned on Monday feeling refreshed, and satisfied that even though I was away from home, I managed to adhere to a plan that allowed me to challenge myself physically. I feel rested even though I worked hard. My father said it's the best time he's had in years. I was overjoyed, and felt exactly the same way.

  3. Back once again and feeling fresh as a daisy due to a few days respite amongst family in Bucksport and Orland. I think I learned something too. Your health doesn't pause for your vacations. It's important to be just as vigilant while away from your normal environs as when you're at home. Temptation is everywhere. For example I took tabbouleh and turkey burger to a family bbq where I knew the normal burger and dog fare would be. I exercised just as I would at home, maybe a little harder. I'm finally starting to catch my stride and understand the real lifestyle change involved in getting healthier and staying that way in the "real world". Plus anywhere you go, if you've got feet you've got a workout.

    Down another 2.4 pounds this week. Finally broke past the point where I got tripped up two weeks ago. I didn't let it psyche me out and just plowed through it. I feel gratified right now. Check it out :

    Starting weight - 315 lbs. Last week - 273.8 lbs.

    This week - 271.4 lbs. Progress since previous weigh in - 2.4 lbs.

    Total weight loss - 43.6 lbs.

  4. Long Pond Bound

    Sep 17, 2008

    I've been trying to be pretty active in posting to this blog. There have been periods where I've gone a few days without posting but I think I've been pretty good. I'm actually heading out of town for the next few days, and in an effort to unplug (as much as anyone can nowadays), I won't be bringing the laptop. I'm visiting my family in beautiful Bucksport, Maine and plan to spend the next few days relaxing on the pond where my family has a generations old camp.

    That's not to say that I'll be ditching my efforts though. It's important to still visualize your goals even though you're on vacation. There is a cache that's just a few miles from camp. This cache has gotten rave reviews from those who visit. It's at a site I remember from my youth accompanying my father partridge hunting and I plan to revisit it when in the area. I'll be posting pictures here too when I get back since it's such a beautiful, scenic, relaxing place.

    It's likely I'll also get a run in, nay, HAVE to get a run in while there. Maybe some swimming too although it's been years for me and some childhood traumas still haunt me making it almost impossible to simply relax and swim. Oh well, have to face your fears sometime I guess. Weigh in will also be done out to camp. That will be interesting. I look forward to trying to find level enough ground to try to get a decent read on the scale.

    So you'll hear from me as soon as I get back from my respite. It's important to take care of your mental health as well as your physical, and I think this is just what I need. Expect pics and stories, caches and runs, when I get back Sunday. Have a great weekend everyone.

  5. At the time of this post there are currently 845 entrants from 38 countries signed up to participate in the Worldwide Festival of Races, of which I am one. You should be too. This is the third year for the Worldwide Half but the first year of it's new incarnation as part of the Festival of Races which includes a 10K and 5K. I'll be doing the latter. It's a celebration of our humanity and commonality. I really do believe that we in the running community are all one, so go out and show your support. Keep some time free on the weekend of October 11th and 12th to fit in your run.

  6. The Biggest Loser

    Sep 16, 2008

    Not that NBC really needs my plug, but I just thought I would let it be known that I love The Biggest Loser. I've been watching for the last few seasons and have found the stories inspiring. I even mentioned trainer Bob Harper in earlier blog posts here.

    I haven't really gotten a look at the contestants yet but it's another season of couples. That is 4 husband and wife teams and 4 parent and child teams. I'll be glued to this season more than any other before as I feel now that their struggle is also my own. The new season kicks off tonight at 8 PM EST.

  7. Going out to the race today my primary goal was really to not die. I was pretty sure I could achieve that. In practice runs I had managed to run 5Ks and even 4.4 miles the other day so I was pretty sure I could survive. Next goal, to finish. I was pretty sure that wasn't going to be a problem either. So next, to possibly improve my time. I had been running 5Ks in about 36 minutes in practice. Since I'm just starting I've really only got two paces, stop and go. The idea was to try to get about 36 minutes again today. I set a goal to crack into the 35 minute mark. So how did I do? Read on.

    I've never run in the rain before so today was a change. I really can't say as I even noticed the rain until after I stopped. The course was nice. Fairly flat and through an area lush with greenery. I've been running in Old Orchard Beach so it's flatter than flat down here with no trees. It was a welcome change of pace. I didn't really mingle too much as I was running a little late with little more time than to park the car and get to the starting line.

    I could not have expected this in a million years. I was actually performing. That big bowl of oatmeal Eric recommended really did the trick. I felt great going in, and found that I could regulate my breathing easily and my heart rate, although high, was manageable. I actually pulled a 10 minute mile for mile 1! In the end I placed 248th overall with a time of 33:43! 2m 17 sec better than any time I had gotten in practice.

    Nothing can bring me down today. I even enjoyed a somewhat indulgent lunch today, complete with french fries. That's the first bit of junk in a while. This could become an addiction. Not the eating, the racing. Look out for me at the next race.

  8. Yo - Yo. Not like the greeting, but like the childhood toy. That's how I feel today. I've essentially broken even. Last week got me down a little but I swore not to make it break me. I worked extra hard this week so as to not have a repeat. I'm pretty sure the body fat percentage is coming down right now though so that's a plus, and I think muscle development might be what's making the difference on the scale. Oh well, the scale says I'm down 4 pounds this week so I'll take it. Nothing could kill my buzz right now anyway. More in the next post.

    Starting weight - 315 lbs.
    Last week - 278.2 lbs.
    This week - 273.8 lbs.
    Progress since previous weigh in - 4.4 lbs.
    Total weight loss - 41.2 lbs.

  9. Beach Bocce

    Sep 13, 2008

    This is to be an condensed update for the last 2 days. Been unable to post due to connection issues so I figured I would post both now while I had the chance. I've been keeping to a pretty rigorous schedule in order to make up for past transgressions. I've decided to keep with the concept of outlining a schedule for the upcoming week and then keeping to it religiously.

    Thursday was a gym day. I may have mentioned that I've gone to a more time compressed circuit training schedule. It's more focused though and I think it's pretty much doing the trick. I love the chest presses on the ball and have actually enjoyed going back to the machines for my rows and lat pulls. In addition I did 28 minutes on the cycle at weight loss level eight, and 40 minutes on the elliptical at weight loss level 10. I ended up spending about 2 hours in the gym all told. I felt fantastic afterward! Average heart rate was 134 bpm and maximum heart rate was 165 bpm. I burned 938 calories! That day's good workout really helped exorcise any bad feelings I had about the previous weigh in.

    In preparation for this weekend's race, I've fit another run in on the beach this week. I've decided that running is not that much unlike geocaching in that the goal of both is to get you outdoors, and now that I'm using, to be able to see new places I may not have gone before. It made my day to see some straggling visitors to our now relatively quiet town playing bocce out on the beach during my run. The sandpipers are constant company as well. I've really been feelin' the beach lately if you can't tell. It's good therapy.

    I extended my run on Thursday to 4.4 miles just to see if I could do it. It was great. I plotted my run, again on mapmyrun, to determine just how far I had gone after I got home. I impressed myself. Average heart rate was 161 bpm. This number is possibly skewed since my monitor also told me my maximum was 219 bpm. Anyway, another 727 calories down and the gratification of knowing I can actually run four and a half miles! A great day! Next post is race results!

  10. I've been waiting all summer for this. The time when this small destination town in Maine would finally lose the interest of travelers and I could finally get out on that beach and run. That happened yesterday. It's been a few months since I started out on my mission, and a few months ago I attempted the same thing. Please refer back to GC9DB8 - Norge Troll, posted early June. I can't help but think back to how much that run beat the hell out of me. Now I'm out there running with ease.

    I basically did the same run as I've done down here before. Previously it was on the pavement but since I have a race later this week and I didn't want to beat my feet up, I figured the sand would be more forgiving. Right way to go. I felt great afterward with no pain on my tootsies. I ran a course previously plotted on Grand Avenue in Old Orchard. That street runs parallel to the beach and is only separated by 100 yards, so from my starting point on the beach I could see my previous starting point on the road. The turnaround point likewise. The curve of the beach might have forced me to run a little further than 5k, but the difference was slight, and I think a good practice run for this weekend.

    Time was 37:24:68. Not bad as I consider the sand slowed me down slightly. Average heart rate was 168 bpm and the maximum was 182 bpm. Quite high but still felt manageable. According to my monitor I burned 468 cals along the way, 30% of which were from fat.

  11. Holiday Cardio

    Sep 8, 2008

    It's important not to get discouraged by minor setbacks. It would have been easy to have been derailed by yesterday's weigh in, and yes, I did some emotional eating. However, I think my self-image has improved to the point that even though I experienced a gain this week, I'm not questioning my worth because of it. Plus I've worked too hard and come too far to give up over something so piddly. It would be an insult to my efforts thus far.

    So with that in mind, I'm back at it. I'm visiting my brother-in-law and his wife who just had their first child. I'm an uncle! To give the new parents and baby some much needed space, we're staying in a nearby motel (the one mentioned in the title of this post). I was excited to discover their on-site fitness room for the use of the guests. Have they always had these? Maybe I overlooked them because I was too busy watching free cable and ordering Chinese food in, the latter of which was a repeat offense last night.

    My point is that I could have let this beat me, and give up on it just like everything else I've ever done in my life. Instead I turned all that frustrated and resentful energy into an hour long cardio exorcism of that angst. I'm glad I did. Here are the results.

    30 mins Elliptical, Hill interval setting level 8
    30 mins Cycle, Weight loss setting level 14

    Average heart rate : 143 bpm Maximum heart rate : 159 bpm
    Percentage cals burned from fat : 45 % Total cals burned : 613

  12. Week 15

    Sep 7, 2008

    I haven't prepared myself for this. I was quite sure when I started that I was ready to take the good with the bad and roll with the punches. After having seen 3 straight months of loss I hadn't really readied myself for a gain.

    I've been using The Daily Plate to calculate my needed intake and I've been trying hard to get my calorie counts up. There has been change to my program. I need to assess if that was the correct change to make. It's my understanding that the body needs more calories to burn in order to lose weight, or if too few, the body goes into starvation and will hold onto anything you give it. I was honestly getting better results when I had less calories. So maybe a little research and a new game plan is in order.

    This isn't bound to break me, but it's not exactly the best news.

    Starting weight - 315 lbs.
    Last week - 273.2 lbs.
    This week - 278.2 lbs.
    Progress since previous weigh in - +5 lbs.
    Total weight loss - 36.8 lbs.

  13. Saco River Walk

    Sep 6, 2008

    GCR0AT - By Rail or by Sea
    GC1B6T5 - Ocean View *DNF*

    It's amazing the different perspective you get on a location when you see it on foot rather than in a vehicle. I've never really thought all that much of Saco and Biddeford. Turns out the area is steeped in history, and the areas I may have previously seen as 'unsavory' are full of charm if you just look at them with the right eyes, graffiti and all.

    I started out this little hike in downtown Saco, exploring the Saco River Walk. I started off at Pepperell Square and explored the area by the dam a little proceeding downriver slightly to the first cache site. There was some light bushwhacking involved as the cache was about 25 feet off the trail and uphill. This was a really cool spot and the steep rocky trail directly adjacent to the river was awesome. I look forward to exploring this trail further. It is under development to run further down river past a boat launch and the water treatment facility. Should be a nice trail when completed.

    After that I made a quick run up to Main St to grab a quick micro but really what I was looking for was a walk in the woods so I attempted a cache across the river in Biddeford. I've driven past this place before on the way to Biddeford Pool, but had no idea just how expansive the trail was back here. The trail had me winding this way and that on the way to the cache location. It was very quiet and peaceful. Just what I was looking for. The cache location really was quite interesting. In Maine, I've seen many a rocky hilltop with smatterings of blueberry bushes, and it's a sight I never actually tire of. Unfortunately I didn't get the find. The hint provided by the cache owner is helpful to some degree, describing rocks encircling a birch tree. Well, there were about 5 birch trees scattered in a large rock pile about 30 feet wide. I was perplexed, and if I wasn't being eaten alive by mosquitoes, I would have taken more time. It certainly was a nice walk though. These trails were great and I am anxious to try this cache again on a less muggy and buggy day.

    I managed to put down 3 2/3 miles yesterday at 3 mph average speed while moving. Average heart rate was pretty low, 115 bpm and the maximum was 171. I'm not really sure how it got that high actually as caching has become a bit more leisurely of an activity for me. I'm just glad it's gotten that much easier for me. It means I'm becoming healthier and more apt to handle more strenuous hikes down the line. 60% of the total 804 cals burned today were from fats.

  14. Quote Du Jour

    Sep 5, 2008

    My wife on how proud she is of my progress.
    "It's more tears than talking."

  15. Feelin It

    Sep 4, 2008

    I found out a few things about myself today. Like that I'm capable of bouncing back after being knocked down, and that the encouragement of others REALLY means a lot to me. The highly complementary comments I've received here, through Twitter, or on PodCacher and, have thrown fuel onto the fire. Today was the proof.

    I was back into the fitness room with a vengeance today. I went in on Tuesday as dictated by my self contract for this week, but I can't say it was especially productive. I didn't even post it here. I had forgotten just how hard the gym could be, how unforgiving. With the encouragement of the SlimCache readers as ammo, I reloaded, and made a second run at it for this week, with encouraging results.

    I'm looking at this time for a more compact workout. I need something that's quick but focused and thorough. With Eric's help we tweaked a little, finding a shorter routine that could be done in the gym. A few other exercises will be done at home in a circuit workout, on cache days, to supplement my efforts in the gym. Today I did one set of each of the following.

    15 reps/70 lbs Row/Delts
    15 reps/20 lbs Chest Press with stability ball
    15 reps/20 lbs Deadlift/Curl/Press with hand weights
    15 reps/120 lbs Lat Pull Down
    15 reps/15 lbs Squats with hand weights @ sides

    This was followed by cardio which was invigorating today.
    30 mins. Treadmill 2.3 miles
    30 mins. ARC/Elliptical, weight loss program level 8, 128 strides per minute

    Average heart rate during today's workout 147 bpm with a maximum of 168. 45% of the 679 kcals burned were from fat.

    Thanks again to the very supportive readers of this page. You're encouragement is appreciated far more than you'll know. You keep me going.

  16. GC12NQH - Brooke and Koda's Jumpin Cache
    GCJYT5 - Sylvan Trail/ALK

    These caches were actually done yesterday. I was looking for something that wasn't too far from home but offered a decent hike that was in a place I had never experienced before. I decided to head toward Buxton, and the Saco River.

    I really don't know all that much about the Saco River except that it seems to have a reputation as a drunken yahoo party zone, and due to lack of judgement I decided to head out here on Labor Day. Seems the rumors are true. This place would be beautiful if not for multitudes of discarded cans previously containing macro-brewed swill beer at the bases of mighty trees made ugly by homemade rope swings with DIY 2X4 ladders covered with salty languaged graffiti. That being said the trails really are quite nice. If it's a workout you are looking for these trails are decent for moderate terrain changes that actually left my quads burning slightly today.

    Due to the muggle factor involved with caching on Labor Day in such a location, I was unable to attempt two other caches out here in addition to the two I found. There were so many people hanging out at these cache locations that I just decided to skip these and leave them for another day.

    After Salmon Falls I headed over to Sylvan Trail in Saco. It runs directly along the side of the interstate, so if it's a quiet location you're looking for this probably isn't it. It's mood however is uplifting and relaxing. The trail I started out on from the parking location seemed a little rough. Although not a long trail, there were a few times I wondered if I was still indeed on the trail at all. As I got closer to the cache location, I noticed more lush, green grass along the path along with a few wildflowers. Peaceful, barring the din of the highway. I don't think I would be giving away too much to mention that the final cache location sits alongside a brook that makes for a good location for the hide. It's for these little treasures that I cache. These places are simply a few miles from your home, but you may never have slowed down enough to notice.

    Try it out sometime. You'll be glad you did.

  17. PodCacher Props

    Sep 1, 2008

    The biggest thanks to Sonny and Sandy of PodCacher for their recent mention on the show. PodCacher is probably the most widely known podcast on geocaching. Their show is absolute quality! The sound and production are great and since caching is such a family friendly activity, their show is much the same. If you haven't checked out their show (and if you fancy yourself a real cacher, you probably already have) please check it out in the link to the right. Also thanks to all the supporters who have found their way over to SlimCache via PodCacher. Your encouragement and support go a long way toward helping me on my mission.

    On the same episode they've got Dutch bomb scares, a discussion on cheating, Sonny's plan to get his 900th find at Half Dome in Yosemite (WOW!), and the next World Wide Flash Mob. Thanks again PodCacher for your support. Stay safe, and keep on cachin'!