Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Diary of a Bearded Man

Well, as usual, my life has been a whirlwind of activity. Unfortunately, none of that activity has included biking or running. In fact, as I write this, I think it’s been almost two weeks (or more?) since I’ve had a good workout. Yeah, probably more.

As you may have heard, the wife and I are putting the house, or “crib,” up for sale. If you’ve ever sold a house (this is my first), you know what an overwhelming amount of work this entails. First, there was a furious effort to pack up any “extraneous” stuff around the house that we could put into storage.

Then, there was a furious cleaning effort (assisted by my helpful mother-in-law), and then there was complete re-arrangement of our furniture and rooms to make the house more “potential buyer” friendly. We moved some rooms around, the wife packed up her studio, and we’re back to having three bedrooms. While this was going on, our bathroom was also wrapping up the final stages of remodeling and I still need to hang the towel racks.

With just about every room full of boxes, I needed a storage solution—PODS to the rescue. They dropped off their biggest, baddest storage container (8x8x16) and we filled it to the max. My original plan was to fill it in one night, with some help from our friends, but that was clearly crazy talk. With a few extra days of on-site packing, we were able to make better use of the space, and cram it full to the gills. When we next open it, it’s going to be like those old fake cans of peanuts with the spring snakes that pop out. What fun!

I should note, that being the responsible adult that I am, I did purchase additional property insurance for our stuff that’s in the PODS. It’s a pretty good policy, but it does have some interesting exclusions. For example, it does not cover any damage that is as of the result of earth shrinkage. I can imagine the dialogue now:

ME: Hi PODS, I just went through my belongings, and there appears to be some damage, how can I file a claim?

PODS: I’m sorry to hear about your damages, but the Earth is much smaller now, and we can’t be responsible for your losses.

Those lawyers think of everything.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

2010--what does it mean?

It's only about two weeks in to the new year and there's already been more disturbing news than I'd care to stomach in a whole decade. Mark McGwire used steroids (but, reportedly, only mild ones, so maybe that's okay... it's like smoking pot and not inhaling), there's in-fighting at NBC between Conan O'Brien and Jay Leno, Simon Cowell is leaving American Idol, Sarah Palin is going to be on FOX "News" and apparently Tobey Maguire (no relation that I know of to Mark) is getting the boot from Spiderman 4. WTF? Has the whole world gone insane?

In a word, "yes."

But while the world of entertainment feels the repercussions of these poor stars and their personal struggles, I'm focused on the upcoming year, and more importantly, myself.

Yeah, yeah, yeah, family, and OF COURSE Jean comes before me... we all KNOW that. I'd give Jean both my kidneys and spleen if she needed 'em, even if it was only for a surface design project. Fortunately, she wants me to keep my internal organs, well, internal. Which lets me focus on bikes, running, travel, races, photography and bikes.

First off, for the past couple of months, I've been on a new diet. Nay, I don't want to call it a diet, it's a new way of eating. It's based on the principles in the Paleo Diet. I'm not going to get into the details, and to be honest, I'm sick of explaining what I eat to everyone. Essentially, I'm trying to eliminate all modern processed foods and primarily consume lean proteins, vegetables, and fruits with very little grains. No breads, no pasta, no cookies, no cakes, no candy. Have I done this 100%? No. But have I made considerable changes? Yes. I still allow myself my one daily treat--a protein Builder Bar in the morning with my coffee (but hey, it's all natural, 1/3 organic, low glycemic and damn tasty). Otherwise my day consists of apples, carrots, salads, nuts, clementines, eggs, etc, etc. Depending on my workouts, I may supplement with some higher glycemic foods (energy bars, gels), but for the most part, that stuff is a no-no. I met with a nutritionist and his recommendations coincided with information I read in The Cyclist's Training Bible and The Paleo Diet for Athletes. I admit, I'm 100% addicted to sugar. Cookies and chocolate are like heroin to me. However, I made it through the holidays without a single sweet. That in itself was an accomplishment. We'll see how this goes...

I've also been looking at the year ahead and trying to plan some races. I've signed up for the Wildcat Epic 100--a back to back 50-mile mountain bike race. Singlespeed? Of course. There's also going to be an EFTA race on one of my favorite trail networks, Willowdale State Forest in Ipswich/Topsfield. I can't wait for that. Otherwise, I'll primarily be focusing on cyclocross races which don't start until the fall.

My "photo a day/365 project" wrapped up on 12/31/09. It's been nice to NOT have to take a photo every day, but after a little more than a week, the Canon G10 was feeling neglected. I'll be thinking of another project to keep me motivated this year, but it won't be pic every day.

The more I think about it, by the time I factor in some racing, some training, some travel (of course there will be travel), home projects, photography, writing, lecturing (I'm actually heading up to UNE today), and that pesky work, my year seems pretty full already. That, and waiting for the new Clash of the Titans movie opening in March...

One question remains... am I man enough to wear the kilt I got for Christmas? Time will tell...

By the way, I forgot to mention that this past November marked the first Year of Gary. He's made amazing progress and is totally integrated into the house now. He no longer vomits with every car ride, and he doesn't hide in terror every time I sneeze. He's still a little skittish at times, but overall, he and Luna make a great pair of dogs!

Hmmmm... trouble in the neighborhood last night... At least it wasn't at MY house...