Last real entry concerned my new road bike, which I am happy to report I am riding as regularly as I can. I took it up to Austin last weekend for a visit to my parents and rode it once, a tough 43 miles - tough due to hills I'm not used to. I meant to ride it a second morning up there, but ended up going fishing instead, on the premise that a) I really only like fishing in Austin, whereas I can ride plenty in Houston and b) I was really tired.
On the fishing subject, I entered a fly fishing tournament while I was up there - the fly fishing store in Round Rock was holding their "2nd Annual Brushy Creek One Fly Tournament". The idea was to pick one fly, and try and catch as many species as possible. The winner got 7. I only got one before I lost my fly. I picked much too large a fly, because I figured that if I went with a small fly which I knew would get me the four or five smaller species in that creek, I wouldn't attract any of the larger species and would not have a chance of winning. Well, there was a five-way tie for second place with four species. Dumb. Anyway, I went back the next day and caught some small ones.
I try and ride in groups when possible, for the added safety and also because they almost always push me to go faster than I would on my own. However, I don't really enjoy group rides sometimes - the close in feeling, not being able to see the road ahead of you, the people barking out "CAR LEFT! HOLE RIGHT! SLOWING! CRACK!" constantly...not so fun. That's mainly the Thursday night group. What I do like about that group is that they have defined A, B, and C packs for different speeds, and they don't run red lights. There's another group I've ridden with once, on Sunday mornings, that is a lot more relaxed, but also less well-behaved. Also, they are hardcore and I have a hard time keeping up. A good rabbit to chase though.
One my MSO's friends is training for an MS150 up in Amarillo at the end of July (which is just crazy) and we've been doing our best to ride together on the weekends. I'm trying to build up endurance to do Bike Around the Bay, which is a two-day 170 miler in mid-October. I plan on doing Tour de Pink in mid-September, and going the full 100 miles, as an intermediate goal.
As far as other exercise goes, I think the last thing I said was that I had quit strength training in order to focus more on cardio because I wasn't losing weight anymore. As it turns out, towards the beginning of June, I ended up quitting tennis in order to rest my ankle (I have developed a tendonitis issue in my left foot) and therefore have time, theoretically, for both weight lifting AND cardio. It also helps that Teh Duke has started doing Starting Strength with me, so that keeps me on schedule (and gives me somebody to talk to with MSO gone away to grad school for the summer). I'm back up to 275 on the squat and finally up to 225 (a nice round number, in base 45) on my deadlift.
I still have been sucking at losing or even maintaining weight - I had gotten as low as 215 after Mexico in March, but I have been creeping back up ever since then, hitting over 230 after this weekend in Austin (although I'm back down to 226.2 as of this morning, since getting back on track Tuesday). Stress about flying, stress about work, general lack of motivation...I can't trust myself eating-wise. If I'm not tracking calories and working towards a fairly aggressive weight-loss goal, I just lose control. It doesn't help that weight training gives you a voracious appetite (my experience in this has been confirmed by Teh Duke), without actually burning many calories.
My holiday yesterday consisted of hitting the gym with Teh Duke and then spending the whole day cleaning my garage and my big storage closet. I am incredible behind on home upkeep. I have a big punch list of things to do this summer before MSO gets back (and then we both travel up to NYC for Sir Roderick's wedding, and then I head to Portlandia to visit TRASG0 for a week). I doubt I'll get to half of them. Yesterday was just laying some ground work. I have to prioritize.
I should give myself a break as it was very accurately said by Philip Greenspun that if you are a person with a regular full-time day job that flying is going to be your only hobby while you are working on any major certificate or rating. And I have been maintaining my fitness hobbies and a new relationship and membership in a professional choir during the whole process, on top of my day job, which has suffered as a result, and about the only two things I have put on hold during the flight training process have been housework and sailing.
Anyway, I am almost, almost, almost done. My final checkride is scheduled for Monday. I certainly plan to keep on flying afterwards, but I won't have to commit so much time. I won't feel bad for just coming home after a hard day at work and just flipping on Netflix instead of reading the FAR/AIM or the Practical Test Standards or memorizing checklists. And perhaps most importantly I won't have to stress about what will happen if I schedule a critical lesson for some evening with an instructor who is nearly impossible to schedule and then something comes up at the office that they want me to stick around for, or the weather turns out crappy.
None of this is a plea for sympathy as I doubt anybody reading this has any for me in the first place, and I also realize that all of this is self-inflicted and certainly not "real problems" on the order of long-term unemployment or chronic health issues or major family drama. On the other hand we all calibrate our happiness to whatever is in front of us, it seems. I'm just, it would seem, not a happy person in general and so I'll always find a reason (or give myself a reason) to be unhappy with my current situation.
Anyway, I celebrated July 4th by myself yesterday evening with a giant 22oz piece of global-warming-causing, saturated-fat-laden, carcinogenic cow meat, grilled to perfection along with some asparagus and a couple of Texas craft beers I'd never had before. America, fuck yeah!
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