If you’re a fan of My Cousin Vinny – and how can anybody not be – you’ll recall the scene where Vincent Gambini starts to feel the pressure a bit, when everything is coming to a head at seemingly the same time.
“I got no money, a dress code problem, and a little murder case which, in the balance, holds the lives of two innocent kids, not to mention your biological clock; my career, your life, our marriage, and let me see, what else can we pile on? Is there any more shit we can pile on to the top of the outcome of this case?!”
Here is why I am feeling a little bit like Counsellor Gambini today. In just about six months from now, I will be running a marathon (Chevron Houston on 19 January), attempting to summit Kilimanjaro for the second time (Feb 20) and then celebrating my 50th High School graduation reunion, on February 29, 2020. Oh, and doing three Table Mountain hikes back to back to back in mid-March. Platteklip Gorge, Skeleton Gorge and India Venster.
So the pressure is on. Anything else we can pile on that heap? How about losing 20 or even 30 pounds between now and then. Have to be trim for the reunion, don’t we?
So here’s what I’m doing:
For the marathon: I signed up. Duh. $175.00 for what it’s worth. Plus I’ve already notched up 3 consecutive weeks of 30-plus miles; now in week 2 of what will be a 21-week training program. A fairly ambitious one with several 20 mile runs lurking ahead.
For Kilimanjaro: Bought a new rucksack with a 40 lb. iron weight in it; doing about 30 minutes per day with this thing weighing me down, as I walk the dog. Interesting effect: it really makes you keep the core tight and the back straight. No slouching when you have 40 pounds sitting right behind your shoulders. In time (when it gets cooler) I will go back to walking the levee hills west of here.
For the weight loss program: I paid a few dollars to get the Cronometer app on my i-Phone. It is the best program I’ve tried to date, to keep track of calories consumed & calories burned with minimal effort. Plus I have it linked to Strava so my running activities are automatically uploaded to Cronometer. For the initial weight-loss period, I have set my daily calorie intake goal at 1500 which is the number that has worked for me in the past, for steady weight loss. It does seem low at first glance but having tried this before, the moment I go up to 1800 or more, the weight loss stops. So 1500 it will have to be. Plus I do about 30 to 40 minutes of calisthenics of one kind of another, every day except Friday. Medicine ball, Swiss ball, dumbbells, Bosu Ball, and boxing (heavy bag and speed bag).
On the good news front: I quietly celebrated one year without alcohol, on August 24. A year prior – on August 24 2019 – a huge international study (Global Burden of Disease study) confirmed the alarming fact that there is no safe minimum daily intake for alcohol. Period. Have I lost any weight since then? No. But do I feel a lot better, sleep a LOT better and generally find myself a more pleasant person to be around – without alcohol in my life? You bet. And of course I have ‘saved’ a ton of money – approximately $3,984.39 I reckon. Well, that is according to Nomo, a sobriety app.
I do find that I have a lot more time on my hands, which is good. All the more time to run or walk around with a heavy weight on your back. Or cook or bake sourdough bread which I’ve done a lot, lately. I wonder if that has anything to do with not losing any weight since leaving the booze behind… Augusten Burroughs writes in his hilarious and sometimes scarily revealing memoir ‘Dry’, that alcohol time is slippery whereas sober time is like cat hair. You can’t get rid of it. The extra 850 ‘cat hair’ hours which I’ve gained this last year (again an estimate by Nomo but I think it feels about right), have been well spent – mostly . A lot of it walking with Kathy and Coco, both mornings and afternoons. Same route, day after day: down the road to the end of our townhouse complex, around the pool, back to Memorial Drive, right on Legend Lane, and finally around the Memorial Green strip center. Some of my reclaimed time activities are admittedly not as much fun as drinking. Such as using a Swiffer (when I’m in a hurry) or a mop (when I have time) to clean the floors in our townhouse, and in the garage. Which I oddly enough find to be not an unpleasant little chore. Another rather mundane ‘new activity’ filling up the sober time? Doing the dishes with Kathy the old-fashioned way, with me washing and she drying. No machine doing it for us. Many of us need fewer machines and more human time in our leaves, I suspect.