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  1. Vernal Pools

    Feb 25, 2009

    A little something new. For the blog and for me personally. I've not paid all that much attention to the natural world in my life. But since becoming more active in outdoor pursuits I've started making efforts toward learning about my surroundings. The first shock to my system was an experience in North Yarmouth in July of last year. It was impossible to overlook the sheer quantity of wild mushrooms along the trail, and with a little research I found out more about the peak mushroom season, foraging, and the mushroom 'guru' the trail was named after, Sam Ristich.

    An opportunity to continue my growth as a naturalist presented itself midweek last week when my company posted a volunteering opportunity to it's internal web page. It was somewhat vague, mentioning that it was a study on vernal pools, and that the volunteers should be good with a map and comfortable in the woods. What could this possibly lead to? I had to check it out. Turns out several towns in Maine are working with some University of Maine professors and Maine Audubon to research potential vernal pools, either confirming them as such by cataloging the presence of indicator species, or de-listing them so the landowner may use that space for development without stepping on a local habitat. The indicator species are the wood frog (pictured), blue spotted and spotted salamanders, and the very rare fairy shrimp.

    I learned all this at my first training Monday night. The talk was extremely thorough and I feel energized about going into this project. One of the towns participating in the research is only a few miles from home so that's a big plus. I think I will mostly be counting egg sacs. (Really when they pitched it they made it sound more interesting then when I say it.) I'll be required to provide digital photo documentation. Also, one of the organizers said these towns really love GPS data so my Vista HCx should come in handy.

    The next training session is a little ways off but I'll keep you updated as I hear more. I'm just really excited for the opportunity to get out there, get a little dirty, and learn from some of the most qualified people I can learn from. I don't know how often opportunities like this come up, but I would like to work on more projects like this in the future. If you ever have the chance to do so, I highly recommend it. More to come.

  2. Week 39

    Feb 22, 2009

    Maybe I'm onto something. I'm not into the idea of completely giving up beer and those of you who know me well know that fine crafted beer is somewhat of a passion of mine. But maybe exercising more moderation would enable me to lose more weight. I've not had any beer for a week and a half and this week's weigh-in yielded a three and a half pound loss. Coincidence?

    I would also like to refer back to Some Basics, posted in June of 2008. That post was to be a marker for my starting point regarding statistics on overall health, not just weight, including blood pressure readings, fat percentages, and BMI. At the time I said that I would update you on some of those numbers as I went along. My body fat percentage then was 34.3. Yowza! This could be considered a more accurate representation of overall health as relying on the number on the scale only is somewhat misinformed. I'm glad to say I'm down about 10% body fat now, clocking in at 24.7% this morning. BMI is also a somewhat inaccurate representation as it's a ratio of weight to height but at that time I also recorded my BMI for reference. It was 40.8. It's now down to 30 even. I've gone from being scientifically classified as obese, to very overweight, to simply overweight. It feels great to break through those walls.

    Starting weight : 315 lbs. Last week : 224.6 lbs. This week : 221.2 lbs. Since previous weigh in : -3.4 lbs. Total weight loss : 93.8 lbs

  3. Feeling Fine

    Feb 21, 2009

    It's been a strong week. I'm pretty proud of the fact that I ran the most miles I've run in one week to date last week. 17.1 miles is one long run for the marathoners I follow, but for me it's a pretty big deal. I'm really enjoying logging my workouts on Buckeye Outdoors. There are some handy features there including my full week in summary which I'm consulting while writing this. In looking at previous months I'm seeing an improvement in my average pace by about 30 seconds per mile in the last month. The tools over at Buckeye are helping immensely, and I can't wait to talk to Ben on Runners Round Table. Should be fun.

    I'm also real excited about tomorrow's weigh-in. Nothing's official yet of course, but I stepped on the scale this evening to see where I stand going in. I'm down 2 pounds from last week's numbers, and I'm not going to gain weight overnight, so I figure I'm golden for tomorrow morning. No stall this week. Maybe I'm onto something by forgoing the celebratory beers every Sunday evening. I was likely doing myself a disservice. Well let's not get crazy. Maybe just one beer tomorrow night instead of five.

  4. Week 38

    Feb 15, 2009

    *Shrug* Oh wells. At least it's not a gain. I can definitely pinpoint some things I did wrong this week, or even the last few. Every week lately when I get on the scale and see a loss I feel it's a reason to celebrate. Since I've always heard that most successful diets include one indulgent day, I've been celebrating on the evenings after my weigh in. Call it a reward for the previous week's hard efforts. I tend to go overboard though. Last week it was Victory's Golden Monkey Tripel and Thai food. It seems to put me at a disadvantage going into the next week though, and so I think I've decided to lay off the beer this week and see where that gets me. I'd rather not spend the better part of the week bailing out from the damage I did over the weekend.

    There is some good news to share though. Even with this weeks stall, I'm 3 pounds ahead of my goal set for this week, and I have 8 more weigh ins to lose 9.6 pounds. That's not an unreasonable goal. I just have to plan and execute, something I haven't been doing lately. I only put in two workouts this week as a raging cold tore through my house leaving the crumpled forms of my family members in it's wake. It caught up with me at the beginning of this weekend, though not as severe thankfully.

    I mentioned in last week's post that I would be putting in some time with The Runners Round Table. It's confirmed. I'll be contributing to an episode in mid-March on creating, sharing, and selecting routes by GPS and sites like BuckeyeOutdoors. Creator of Buckeye, superheroben, will be joining the Round Table discussion. Should be fun. See you there.

    Starting weight : 315 lbs. Last week : 224.6 lbs. This week : 224.6 lbs. Since previous weigh in : 0 lbs. Total weight loss : 90.4 lbs

  5. Week 37

    Feb 8, 2009

    Sorry I missed last week's posting. An unreliable connection had me floundering to find the support I've come to rely on from the running, outdoor, health, and nutrition communities. Though not posted I managed a really great loss last week. I updated it to Twitter so those who follow me there know that I lost 3.4 pounds last week.

    I' m back. And I have some really good news from this week's weigh in. I've broken the 90 pound mark. I absolutely wasn't anticipating such a solid loss for this week. It was, frankly, a big surprise.I'm in the second week of fairly strictly adhering to an 1,800 calorie per day daily intake. This plan has yielded such positive results that I plan to continue on the same track for some time.

    Look out for my upcoming participation on The Runners Round Table. Nothing is set in stone yet on when I'll be popping in, but after hearing their requests for more community members to join the panel, I signed on. Please check out their next episode live on the TalkShoe network February 11th at 5:30 PM EST.

    Starting weight : 315 lbs. Last week : 229.2 lbs. This week : 224.6 lbs. Since previous weigh in : -4.6 lbs. Total weight loss : 90.4 lbs

  6. It's Snow New Thing

    Feb 5, 2009

    Snowshoeing is certainly nothing new, but new to me. Today I tried it for the first time and found that I absolutely love it. Thanks to my company's wonderful health and wellness department I attended an hour long workshop of sorts introducing me to the sport. Afterward I had to fight off the urge to go out and buy a new set of shoes on the spot.

    It was a relatively short jaunt, probably only about a mile, behind our warehouse. We wound around a short walking path, across the train tracks, and into a nearby field where clay shooting and other outdoor discovery programs are held. The snow was deep and untouched along the path. I felt terribly awkward as I clumsily punched through the crusty snow. My form needs work. A few of the attendees were experienced in the sport, and were a massive help to this noob. They told me to shorten my stride, widen my stance, lift my knees more, and brace for my footfall thereby softening my impact. It's a somewhat different motion to get accustomed to, but I think with more experience I could get it down.

    I realized that this could be extremely liberating. I knew there was a trail there, somewhere underneath the foot of snow, but the trail no longer mattered. The trail is now everywhere. The idea of a trail somehow now seems limiting. With this new tool I can blaze my own trail.

    Average heart rate : 111 bpm Maximum heart rate : 130
    Percentage of cals burned from fat : 60% Kcals burned : 221