On Reading

In the past I’ve written about my struggle with writing. Reading is writing’s little brother and I also struggled with it. I’ve never read for fun. I typically only read whatever I HAD to.

Over the past few years I’ve slowly been reading a more and more. I’ve made it a priority. In the past few months I’ve been listening to audio books while I jog or bike. It’s super convenient. One of my goals is to read more and read more broadly.

I figured that I should be able to get the essence of a book by reading or listening to it. There are certain benefits to READING for me. My vocabulary continues to expand and spelling has improved because I’m seeing the words on the page. Downside of me reading: there are words I don’t know how to pronounce. Downside of audio books: I don’t see how words are spelled; I can become distracted while listening, I’ve had to go back and re-listen to sections when I get distracted.

I’m looking forward to exercise my brain as well as my body.

Back to ‘normal’

I feel as if I’m getting back to my cadence from a month ago. As a matter of fact I think I might be doing better. I had my weekly goal of 4+ active days. I’ve increased it to 6 active days a week.

During the two weeks I was sick I was active only two days per week. Last week I started my new regimen of 6 active days a week. I didn’t do anything on Friday, every other day I was doing something; jogging, biking and walking.  

The weather is getting cold. Soon I won’t be able to do much outside. Typical this is the time when I hibernate and don’t come out until next spring erasing any progress made this year.

This year I’m determined to break this cycle. I have a gym membership and I believe I’ll be cancelling it. I’m thinking of joining a crossfit gym instead. Having different activity options will probably help me keep me going back. 

New goal: keep blog  entries short and frequent. 

Keep moving. Keep making progress. Keep going. You’re doing great. 

Weekly update #12

Health and wellness is the catalyst of my recent lifestyle change. At the end of last week I felt discouraged and deflated. The lack of active days, pain, and gaining 5 lbs overnight! Needless to say last week was really tough; but it helped me refocus and also reminded me why I started my lifestyle change. It’s not going to be easy, it’s not going to be quick, it’s not going to be fun. It’ll take hard work and it’ll take a long time. 

This week was the complete opposite of last week. I feel re-energized and super satisfied with my activity and overall results. I feel I’m back on track. I lost 6 lbs this week, 1 lb net lost since last week. My goal is to lose another 2 by the end of the month. I should be able to lose that in the next 4 days. 

I had been putting off jogging due to the pain from plantar fasciitis the day after the jog. I had been icing and rolling my affected foot without much improvement. It was suggested by my manager to ice and use the roller immediately after jogging. I don’t want to  jinx it but it seems to be doing the trick.

This coming week I will be on vacation, staycation. I’ll be playing host to my childhood friend visiting from California. I love playing tourist around Boston. I’m sure we’ll be doing a lot of that. I should also have some extra free time to explore new bike courses and jogging routes.

Weekly breakdown:

Monday & Wednesday & Saturday: Jogged the 3.7 mile course around my house and the beach. The time ranged from 50 min and 30 sec to 51 min and 30 sec. Not too fast and not too slow. I walk for the first 15 minutes to warm up. 

Friday: Biked 19.8 miles / 1 hour and 21 minutes / 689 ft of elevation / 14.6 mph average speed / average heart rate 152 bpm. I emphasized heart rate because it’s the primary way to know I’m actually doing work and burning fat. I’m still obese and speed will come as I lose weigh and get stronger. 

Friday Night: I went out dancing. I’m counting it as exercise because it was four hours of nonstop dancing (30 mins break for a drink). I think I sweated more than any of my jogs or rides.

Sunday: I’ll be repeating the same course as Friday, 19.8 miles. I’m expecting similar stats too. Although I want to break the 15 mph speed average.

Some noteworthy items throughout the week: 

Wednesday I had my first James Hook lobster roll. I’ve walked/driven by this iconic place in Bosyon for so many years and never went in.

Thursday night I went to the movies, watched the Mechanic. I thoroughly enjoyed the movie. Jessica Alba and Jason Statham are some of my favorite actors. Before the movie I treated myself to a Salvadoran delicacy: Minuta!

Saturday night I served as a judge of a beauty pageant. A friend has been running this pageant for about 9 years. It’s always a fun show. 

I’m really looking forward to this coming week.

Weekly Update #11

Last week was the slowest in months. Last Friday I woke up with pain between my back and chest. Felt as if I had pulled something. I had some trouble moving and breathing at times. 

Monday my friend and I went out for an easy walk at Deer Island, 2.7 miles. We jogged up some hills, but we walked most of the peninsula. 

Friday I went out on the bike and completed 25 miles. My body was complaining for the last 10 miles. Saturday I was feeling pretty damn sored. I suppose it’s to be expected when I took a full week off from the bike. 

The good news is that my chest and back pain are gone.

Saturday my brother and I decided to take the boat on the water for a couple of hours. The sea was pretty damn choppy for some reason, but it was lots of fun. 

Lucas is home! Vero, Jose and Lucas left the hospital on Tuesday evening. 

That’s pretty much the week. 

Some of the issues that have risen can be discouraging but I have to make sure to remind myself why I’m trying to get healthy in the first place and push myself when I’m down to keep going.

Thanks for reading. 

Weekly Update #10

I feel the week flew by too quickly. Work was pretty hectic and before I knew it it was Friday. 

This week was didn’t meet my desired goal of 4+ activities a week. I only went out on the bike on Tuesday and Thursday. Both days I rode the 27 miles course. Although on Thursday I only intended to do 20 miles but my GPS took me through the 27 miles instead. Both courses are the same for the first 10 miles, then they splits in the middle of the forest.

Saturday was a lot of fun. I had a school reunion at an amusement park. I got to go on some fun rides with my son and some old friends. 

I intended to do another biking session on Sunday morning but plans changed. A problem I’ve had this week is insomnia. After my run of shame I couldn’t fall asleep until 4:30am. Monday I went to work on two hours of sleep. On Saturday I also had a hard time going to sleep. I think it wasn’t until 3am when I finally fell asleep. So Sunday morning I slept in instead.

Today I’ve been on baby stand by. My sister in-law, Vero, and my brother Jose went to the hospital at 2am because she was having contractions. It’s almost 10pm and baby Lucas doesn’t want to come out yet. I’m currently at the hospital and hope that she has a safe birth soon.

On Friday morning I woke up with a pain on the right side of the back which hurt a lot when I breath or eat. I think I either slept the wrong way or pulled something. It has gotten better over the past two days. If it doesn’t go away I will go see a doctor and make sure it’s nothing serious. 

Throughout the week I’ve been rolling and icing my foot in an attempt to get rid of my plantar fasciitis once and for all. It definitely has gotten better. The pain is back to the way it was a week ago. 

This coming week I need to do better and get more active. I’ll also start to be more careful with what I eat. I’ve been neglecting my diet for a while now. I want to look better in two weeks. I’ve been asked to be a judge at a beauty pageant 😎

That’s it for now.  Hope you had a great weekend and look forward to the new week. 

Guilt Run

Sunday I decided to go out for a jog at 11:05 pm. Why did I do this? I felt guilty 😔 It was my jog of shame. I was procrastinating most of the day before I decided to jog last second.

Why guilt? Two reasons 1) my goals have  4+ active days out of the week. I had only gone out on the bike three times. 2) I went  out with my friend Oscar to celebrate him getting his GED. I stuffed my face with a 20 oz T-Bone steak. 

Saturday I rode 27 miles and I wanted to use Sunday as my rest/recovery day. But at the last second I jumped in my running shoes and shorts and headed out for a 3.7 mile jog from my house to the beach and back.

I thought to myself don’t make excuses. Check off the 4+ activities for the week in your goals. Also, I shouldn’t need too much recovery time after only 27 miles. 

The good news: I came back 48 minutes and 30 seconds later. When I started jogging back in April this same course took me 1 hour and 4 minutes to complete. I’m happy with the progress. 

The bad news: Monday I woke with a really bad case of plantar fasciitis. PF had all but gone away. I had gone out multiple times for longer jogs at Breakhart Reservation. The two differences 1) Breakheart has lots of hills and 2) I was moving faster on Sunday. I felt good; I didn’t feel pain; I wasn’t tired. I was really surprised when I almost fell to the ground when I got off my bed Monday morning!

My solution: Stop jogging/running for a couple of months until PF is completely gone. I will probably see a therapist about it. I’ll be going out on the bike on a regular basis to stay active. 

I’ll increase the distance of my rides every week. Last week I did 20 miles. A few days later I did 27. This week I intend to do a 46 mile course. I don’t care about speed for now. I’ll focus on distance first. Speed is next on the list, but I want to be comfortable on the saddle for 3-4 hours. 

I’ll keep you posted.

Thanks for reading. Keep moving. 

Weekly Update #9; 27 Miles and 1 Good Samaritan

This week I didn’t run, it was all about riding! Although I might go for a 4 mile jog tomorrow to achieve my goal of 4+ activities a week. 

I’m happy to report I haven’t fallen off the bike again. I was close to toppling down in two occasions but managed to stay mounted. And my scraped knee is healing well. All is good in my world. 

I’m also happy to report that I made it back to the hills of Breakheart Reservation and completed both loops without having to stop or walk the bike up the steepest hill. It’s a good training course. I’ll be heading back this coming week. I’m not going to be satisfied until I’m able to complete 5+ loops in session without feeling like I’m dying. 

I jumped into the deep end of the cycling world without training or life vest and I love it. It has definitely been a learn as you go experience. 

Today I rode for 27 miles which is the longest I’ve ridden in one session. I know it’s a warm up for a serious rider but I’m a baby rider. Next week I might try going for a 35 miler. 

Wednesday after work I wanted to try the 27 mile course but decided against it because I had to catch an early morning flight. I decided on the 19.7 mile course instead.

This week’s goals included a 25+ mile course. So, today was as good as  any other the day give it a go.

I got up at 8am and gathered my gear. It was overcast so I checked the weather, not looking forward to getting soaked, it didn’t mention any rain so I was in the clear. With my gear in hand I grabbed my bike and noticed the rear tire was flat, whomp whomp whomp whomp. But I was prepared for this! I reached for the replacement tube, tire levers, and compressed air gun; 20 minutes later I was ready to go, again!

The course is about a 25 minute drive from my house. I jump in the car and the gas light comes on! Damn it, quick detour. As I’m pumping gas, I catch a few people checking me out, I’m with my biking shorts, I’m not sure if this is a good thing or not. And I’m off, again!

I managed to start riding at 9:11am. Not too late, but not as early as I would have liked. I’m feeling good after two days of rest. The weather is pretty damn nice. The route is beautiful. I’m having a grand old time!

About 19 miles into the course, I feel my rear tire is losing pressure. Damn it! It’s a brand new tube, why o why? Now I’m stranded in this beautiful town without a spare tube or compressed air. Walking the last 8 miles was out of the question. 

First I attempted to call an Ubex XL so I could throw the bike on the back. For some unknown reason there were no Uber XL available in the area, damn it! 

Bike rack is not a standard offering when calling a taxi or a regular Uber. I texted my brother to see if he was available to go pick me up on his truck. As I’m texting him the directions another rider pulls up and asked if I was okay or if I need help. 

I explained the situation and he offered me HIS replacement tube! His name is Matt; an older gentleman and an avid rider. 

We removed the tire, replaced the tube with the new one. Matt got frustrated as we attempted to inflate the tire with a minimalist hand pump. He offered to take the tire to his house where he had a proper pump. He happened to live less than 5 minutes from where I was stranded. Within 10 minutes he was back in his car with a fully inflated tire.

It’s hard to express my gratitude to Matt. His generosity and willingness to go above and beyond to help a complete stranger is admirable. I offered to pay for his trouble but he simply said to pay it forward. Needless to say that I intend to do so in the future. 

One hour and a new tube donated by a good samaritan and I was on the bike again for the last 8 miles of the course.

When I get to the car it’s 12:15 and I still haven’t had breakfast! Time to head to my parents’ house. By the time I get to their house my mum had already made soup for lunch! It was delicious.

Sooo, critical lessons learned: don’t go out on a ride without a replacement tube and a way to properly inflate it. Also, there are good people who will go out of their way to help others in need. Today I was fortunate to come across Matt. 

Weekly breakdown:

Monday: 7 miles at Breakheart reservation. Nice and hilly course. My cousin Jesus joined me. 

Wednesday: 19.7 miles starting at north reading. It was a beautiful scenic course through quiet suburban roads and the Harold Parker State Forest. It almost makes you forget that your body is in pain, almost.

Saturday: 27 miles, with an hour intermission to replace a tube. It’s a variation of Wednesday’s course. It takes you through more state forest roads which adds about 8 more miles.

I’m looking forward to the day when I can ride more than 50 miles in one session, but for now I’m happy with my 54 miles a week. 

Thanks for reading! 

  • Keep moving
  • Keep pushing
  • Keep active
  • Get healthy, stay healthy