JMT-J

NurseBob_1
JMT-J??? I’ve decided to keep a journal of my John Muir Trail planning, training, prep, logistics, etc., and then the trek itself. Actually there will be a couple of journals – this one is text-based, the other one will be video-based and posted on my video blog). So, if you’ve any interest in the logistics, etc., as well as the trek itself, stay tuned-in. Otherwise… 🙂

For now my biggest challenge has been figuring out how to incorporate the time required for training hikes into my daily/weekly schedule. The time demands of teaching for a nursing program and tracking 150 students are challenging, and it’s very easy to put off the excercise and focus on trying to stay abreast of the work, the students’ needs and expectations, as well as managing my own expectations about the quality and quantity of my work.

Today’s goal: Start this blog journal, capture and edit related video to post on my vblog, and most importantly, do at least a 3.5 mile hike with pack and camera(s).
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Well, it’s post training hike. Shot some video; met a PUC Business Major student who expressed an interest in hiking the JMT and had two brief but enjoyable conversations. Video needs a little post-processing, so Friday??? 🙂

Want to know more about the JMT?
Very enjoyable video on Netflix: Mile, Mile and a Half

Stay Well!!!

Bob

Three, count ’em, Three meals a day!

NurseBob_1
Well, as of last evening, my cohort has progressed to three “actual food” meals per day, with consideration regarding the meal replacements, which can also be included depending on need.
For me, I’m still including a couple of the chocolate shakes (320 calories total per day) in my meal planning. They are convenient, and while not absolutely “tasty,” they are better than a mere “OK.”
Since I am hoping to continue to lose weight for awhile, I’m targeting a total of 1200 calories per day, and the old carpenter in me seems oddly attached to 3-4-5 (a handy right triangle for determining if a corner is “square” – 90 degrees). Of course, I need to adapt that to my current situation: Weight loss, and the multiplier of 100 for each digit. Thus, the reality of my plan is actually… Breakfast – 500 calories, Lunch – 400 calories, and dinner – 300 calories. However, I’ve broken away from the traditional “three meals per day” and am back to what I did as a child – grazing my way through the day. The variation? Now the first six hours of the day will be breakfast and a mid-morning snack – the first 500. Then lunch and a mid-afternoon snack that combine to the the next 400, and finally dinner and an evening snack that complete the plan with the last 300 calories for the day.

Perhaps the most significant change to my diet behaviors (this is, after all, a behavior modification program), has been to break free of my “addition” to milk, half and half, and white sugar. Like an alcolholic, I always made sure that there were sufficient supplies of all three on hand. And “sufficient” could be read as “lots.” I’ve not touched the unholy trinity for over four months, and attribute most of my weight loss success to that simple change. I do, at times, really miss the cream in my coffee, and that “white” concoction sweetened excessively. Happily, while missed, it’s not missed to the level that I can’t wait to get back to the pattern. Surprisingly, I really am OK for the vast majority of the time with keeping the new status quo – coffee “whitened” with unsweetened almond silk, then sweetened with a touch of stevia. While it tastes nothing like what I used to drink, it is surprisingly acceptable. And on those days when I need something more, I do a mocha instead, using the soy-based chocolate shake – though that does add 160 calories. The silk adds at most 15.

I’m off on a five day trip to Death Valley with my best friend. The challenge on the trip will be to make appropriate menu selections from the restaurant fare. I believe my friend can be easily recruited as a supporter for my continuing goal.

Well, time to post grades for my RN students, then pack and prepare for my 04:00 departure tomorrow. If all goes well, there should be some photos, and maybe a video or two, to share. Fingers are crossed; there’s a report of another “super bloom” in Death Valley. I had the good fortune to see a similar event in 2005.

Stay Well,

Bob

Hiking Backwards on the JMT

NurseBob_1

OK, I’ll be facing forward, but hiking the trail in the “wrong” direction, which I believe I mentioned in my last post. Why be the “wrong way Corrigan” of the Sierras? I find some strange comfort in the thought that the trail gets marginally easier each day when heading north. Of course, that leaves out one fact: six of the highest trail passes in the continental U.S. are in the first 100 miles when heading north, which is one reason most choose to do the trip in the traditional direction – hiking themselves into shape. (BTW – getting on a trail as rugged as the JMT without prior training and conditioning is a VERY BAD idea.)

Last year my wife pointed out to me a documentary: Mile, Mile and a half. The film features a group of artists hiking the trail and recording their experiences. It offers insight into both the beauty and challenges of the JMT.

I have gotten past my blister episode and am now doing 5-mile training hikes. Next, it’ll be time to add a light backpack, extend the length of the hikes, and start getting all my gear in place. I have mapped the trail from Horseshoe Meadows (about 30 miles south of Mt. Whitney) to Toulumne Meadows and have everything in place to upload the trek to my handheld GPS. I checked with the ranger station in Lone Pine today to confirm that I’ll be able to get wilderness and fire permits when the time comes. All that’s left is to get in shape and hike the trail. Oh, and make sure I can capture both still and video of the experience – my own JMT diary.

Stay Well,

Bob

221 Miles by Foot – The John Muir Trail

Bob at 240#

Bob at 240#

I’m at least 50 pounds lighter now, but still have a pair of unmet goals: 1) Drop yet another 20 pounds. 2) Repeat the trek I did in 2000 from Horseshoe Meadows (just south of Lone Pine, CA) to the Yosemite Valley – the John Muir Trail, but in reverse, just shy of 250 miles. Last time I lost some 20 pounds on the trail – then gained all back, and a bit more, after returning to a desk job with no plan to watch my diet.

Why south to north? Well first, I tend to be a contrarian, that, coupled with the “fact” that the trail gets incrementally easier each day when heading north is a significant psychological boost. Knowing each day’s effort may be just a smidgen easier is enough for me. Further, I know, from previous experience that I’ll meet a number of people worth talking with who are travelling in the “correct” direction, and few are heading my way; a solitary hike. 🙂

For now? I’m actively hiking in the local open space and Cal dept. of Forestry lands in and around St. Helena. Today’s plan was 5 miles in under two hours. However, a new blister on my right heel which developed at about 2 miles convinced me to bail at four miles. Tomorrow? Five’s the plan.
Ultimately, my goal is 3 – 4 ten mile practice hikes (with a 35 pound pack) each week, coupled with at least one, if not two 15 mile hikes per month. I know from past experience that to accomplish my goals I need to be able to do at least 15 miles a day, and at altitude, if I have any chance of meeting my goals.

Stay Well!!!

Bob

Fifty, and counting…

 

Bob at 240#

Bob at 240#

Actually, this image is closer to where I am now…

NurseBob_1

While it is some 15 years older, it’s closer to my current look. The weight is right, but I am MUCH more grey… As Billy Pilgrim would say, “So it goes.”

For the first time in the better part of a couple of decades, when I walk towards the mirror in the bathroom, I don’t cringe; in fact, I’m pleased with what I see. While not at the goal I’d set, I’m on the right side of the curve, and feeling I just may make it back to what I weighed back when a college student. FWIW, that’s still heavier than what the BMI charts indicate are “correct” for my height. However, those charts have wide error ranges. If I get down to 170+, I will be ecstatic. As it is, I am able to see parts of my anatomy that have been hiding for quite some time. And, more importantly, my wife is very, very pleased with my new, reacquired physiogonmy.
In short: On Track.

Stay well,

NurseBob

T Minus 45 and holding…

Bob at 240#

Bob at 240#

Well, if your memory of “T Minus… and Holding” has you recalling NASA’s missions to land a man (uh, person) on the Moon, then you’re likely in my age cohort. If not, well you’re likely a bit younger than I.
Then again, from my current perspective the phrase has nothing to do with Space, NASA, or astronautical adventures. Once again it’s a weight reference. In this moment it’s my hovering around 193 lbs (87.72Kg or 13st 11Lb – I LOVE Scotland and the Scots!!!), which is a couple pounds away from 50 pounds lost. Fifty is neither my goal nor a magic number, but has become significant since I’ve been feeling stuck.

What’s up? Well, I’ve been hovering at that weight for most of the last week. And, “Why stuck?” you ask… Well, I’m struggling to stay on plan; struggling to increase my level of exercise from sedentary to not sedentary. Did I mention struggling to stay on the plan and not exercising enough?

’nuff said. The short, insight-less vision: some weeks are harder than others. This week has been one of the more challenging. In my last group meeting we were all to select a partner we could confide in. While there is an individual I would like to add as an understanding “sponsor,” he’s out of town. Hell, he’s out of country in Patagonia. So, I’m opting to use my other connections as part of my support network. Those would be all of you on FB, Twitter and Linked-in. I appreciate all the wonderful expressions of support I’ve received from all of you. While I may not always adequately acknowledge the support and comments, they are deeply felt and appreciated. Setting out on a more beneficial and insightful path, I have come to realize it’s time to use other additional resources and help. This is not something easily accomplished in state of emotional or social isolation, which is where I tend to go in times of stress.

Thus the work continues. Currently my greatest food/feeding challenge is when I have engagements that have me traveling in the greater Bay Area during business hours. I find I’m near OCD in my newfound desire to eat in places, and have dishes, I don’t normally care much about at all.

Where do these near-overwhelming urges and desire originate? Who knows? Is it just my physiological being, my body, saying, “Eat More! I need FAT! I need SUGAR! Oh, and a bit of protein would be OK too. Then again, is this related to my gut bacteria, my microbiome , calling the shots? Who’s in control, or out of control, here?

Short answer: I don’t know. All I “know” is, at times I am very hungry, and if I’m out and about, the temptation is overwhelming. On the other hand, and perhaps most importantly, I know you are out there on my side; rooting for me; and whether I want it or not, reminding me of the goal.

So, the story, and challenges of my weight loss journey continue, but not without a massive “Thank YOU!!!” to you all. You have no idea of how important and effective your support has been, and will continue to be… 🙂

Stay Well,

NurseBob