1998 Fitness Diary

Note: This page contains the entire contents of my second blog, from one week in September of 1998. There was no notion of “blogging” back then. Instead, I called this my online fitness diary, and I updated it by hand. I have no idea of the links still work. Here’s my 1997 fitness diary, which was my first blog.

The information below is presented in chronological order and is primarily for my own record-keeping. However, I am putting it on the web in the hopes that it might prove useful to at least one other person who has struggled as I have. Also, it will probably keep me more motivated.

15 Sep 98
172 pounds — This is it: my first fitness journal entry in eight months. It seems that I cannot maintain my desired weight (or even reach it again) unless I make my struggle public knowledge. Over the past eight months, I’ve remained relatively fit, but I’ve gained a lot of weight. While I’ve continued to exercise several hours a week, I’ve been adding a couple of pounds a month. I maintained a gym membership until mid-March; I used the pool, lifted weights twice a week, and worked often on the treadmill and the recumbent bicycles.

On 12 March, I bought a bicycle: a Bianchi Volpe touring bike. A touring bike is basically a sturdy road bike. It can take some abuse, but is not designed for off-road travel. Since purchasing the bike, I’ve managed to ride over 1500 miles. And during that time, I’ve gained about ten pounds. Imagine how many calories I’ve consumed!

My weight peaked during the middle of August when Kris and I vacationed in Victoria, B.C. Because of a highly favorable exchange rate (and lots of coupons), we were able to dine at restaurants we normally would have considered far too expensive. And boy, did we dine. We ate fantastic food and lots of it. When we returned, I weighed 175 pounds and hadn’t exercised in two weeks. Since then, I’ve managed to lose some, but it’s rough going.

Last Saturday I did my third 50-mile ride of the summer. Then, on Sunday I did a 15-mile hill ride (ouch), ran a mile, and walked about five miles. I managed to reach 168 pounds. But, on Monday night I gorged myself, so today I weighed in at 172. Much of that will fade over the next day, but I stil hurt myself by eating so much last night. I haven’t exercised since Sunday because I’m sore. I need to exercise tomorrow. I have a craving for Fruit Loops, but I’m not going to give in. So: today I consumed 1546 of 1669 planned calories.

16 Sep 98
170 pounds — I had intended to ride to work today, but I snoozed instead. This is, of course, a bad habit to get into. Since the middle of March, I’ve been riding to and from work most days that I’m able, but lately I’ve begun to get lazy. Part of the problem is that temperatures are dropping. It’s one thing to ride to work when it’s 62 and light; it’s another thing to ride to work when it’s 49 and dark.

I have two routes that I take to work. One is a 5.8 mile path that takes from 20 to 22 minutes. The other is an 8.5 mile route that takes from 30 to 32 minutes. Both of them take longer to ride in the morning than they do in the afternoon. Last week, I walked and/or ran during lunch on the days I didn’t ride to work. I’d do the same today, but I’m way behind on this month’s book club book and the meeting is on the 19th. I have 500 pages to read and I need my lunch breaks to help me finish.

Today at lunch I did the Rockport One-Mile Walk Test. Twice. I always forget that fitness in one exercise does not equate to fitness in another. A good bicyclist, for example, will not necessarily be a good runner. The exercises use different muscles. I’ve been riding a bike for six months with an occasional run thrown in. But, I haven’t done any serious walking. Walking for exercise, walking briskly, is not the same as walking out to get the mail.

The Rockport One-Mile Walk Test requires you to time yourself as you walk as fast as possible for one mile, after which you take your pulse for fifteen seconds. The first mile today was hell. My walking muscles have not received such a workout since last spring when I was still going to the gym (I used to walk on the treadmill extensively). I finished the first mile in 14:09.18 with a pulse rate of 112. This translates into a VO2max score of 50.6, which is awesome.

My second mile was quicker, but my pulse rate was naturally higher: 13:23.72 and a pulse of 136, yielding a VO2max score of 49.2 (excellent, but not as good as 50.6). Averaging the two scores produces a score of 49.9. (By the way: VO2max is a measure of lung capacity. My lung capacity was dreadful last year when I began my fitness regimen, and it has been on of my primary focuses as I’ve increased my fitness. I think I’ve got a link to a thorough explanation on my fitness diary from last year.)

The weather is supposed to cool dramatically over the next few days. The days are getting shorter, too, reducing the window of opportunity for riding without needing lights (I don’t like to ride at night, even with lights). And rainy weather is sure to set in. This summer has been very warm, but this winter is supposed to be wetter and cooler than normal. Based on these facts, I intend to take my bicycle into the shop this weekend so that I have it available for lunch rides on nice days. I’m basically giving up on bicycle commutes until next spring.

I haven’t decided whether or not to rejoin the gym, though I’d like too. It will depend on my finances. I’ve just recently vacationed in Canada, bought a new cassette deck, paid Teleport for the next year, bought a new dining room table (and chairs), etc. And I still need to save money to build bookshelves, fix the lawn sprinklers, repair the car, and more. A gym membership seems a low priority when I can get a perfectly good workout via my bicycle and my own two feet. The pool at the gym is nice, though. Enough rambling for one day. I’m dying of hunger (because it takes a while for my stomach to become accustomed to smaller meals and fewer of them), having consumed 1558 of 1797 planned calories.

J.D.’s vital statistics as of 16 Sep 98
FRAME = medium
ACTIVITY = light
HEIGHT = 69 in.
WEIGHT = 170 lbs. (healthy = 144 to 176; ideal = 146 to 158)

WHR = 1.00 (0.90 or below considered ideal)
BMI = 24.5 (within recommended range; 25.0 upper limit of healthy)
BP = 120/60 (healthy — taken 3 Aug 98)
RHR = 60
THR = 96 – 176 (sources vary widely; all agree that it 133 – 153 is acceptable)
VO2max = 49.9 (rated superior by HealthCalc Tools)

17 Sep 98
170 pounds — I did absolutely nothing physically active today. I did not walk, I did not run, I did not ride my bike. This is primarily due to the fact that I must get The Power of One finished in time for book club Saturday. I’ve put it off all month, opting to read Dickens and science fiction short stories instead.

I started today only on page 60. I’m up to about 260 now, but that leaves me with another 260 pages to go. This wouldn’t be such a big deal (because I could read the rest of it tomorrow [Friday] night) but the National Honor Society is running Canby High School’s first dance of the year tomorrow night. Since Kris is one of the advisers, I’ve been drafted to chaperone (which means I’ll stand at the back entrance and piss kids off by not letting them go in-and-out…fun…). This takes away a chunk of my reading time.

I intend to stay up late tonight (Thursday is, after all, almost the weekend) to read another large chunk of the book. If I get enough done, I’ll run tomorrow during lunch. It’s supposed to rain tomorrow, so I can’t ride the bike. My eating habits over the past two days have been great, despite the lack of exercise. But, I’m left feeling quite hungry. I just had a mug of hot chocolate (the pitiful water-based variety) as a small treat, and it put me just over my calorie goal for the day. I finished having used 1706 of 1654 planned calories.

19 Sep 98
167 pounds — My lowest weight since Kris and I left for Canada! I may not have exercised much this week, but I’ve been very careful to stay within my calorie goals. I generally aim for a 500 calorie deficit for each day, which translates into approximately a pound per week of weight loss. Since I use very conservative estimates for everything, I lose more than a pound per week when I’m seriously watching my health.

The last two days have been rainy. Yesterday was our first real rain since May or June, and it rained hard. It was great to finally have some wetness. I loved the smell of impending rain on Thursday afternoon. Some people say they can’t smell it coming, but I sure can. The smell of rain coming after a long dry spell is one of the most thrilling anticipatory sensations I know.

Today’s rain was gentler than yesterday’s; as we drove to Hillsboro for our book club meeting, the mists were clinging to the West Hills in Portland and the wipers were set on their slowest interval and the roads were black and wet and all the greenery was glossy and I was truly pleased. Sun is nice sometimes, but being Oregon born and raised I prefer the rain.

Book club was great today. Our book, The Power of One, prompted a good decision. But the primary reason for the good discussion was that we were focused. For the past several months the discussion has had a tendency to waver into the details of the members’ personal lives. We’ve had difficulty staying focused on the book we’re supposed to discuss. We tried something new today, and it seemed to keep everybody on task, providing us with out first good discussion since last year’s Lila, I think.

I exercised restraint with the food, which is unusual, so I had some calories left over for a largish dinner. On the way home we stopped at Nature’s Northwest (a local organic/health food grocery) and picked up some treats, including some garlic/rosemary chicken that I grilled for dinner. Delicious.

Also on the way home, we stopped at Powell’s Books to get next month’s book, A Natural History of the Senses by Diane Ackerman. I splurged (I don’t really have much spending cash since our vacation) and bought a new baseball book (like I don’t have enough already) and some science fiction by Iain M. Banks. I’ve been telling myself that I need to take a couple of weeks off from reading, but I can’t help myself. *sigh*

When I got home, I discovered that my checking account was overdrawn. Again! I have a nasty habit of not depositing my paychecks. I just bring them home and set them on the counter and carry on as if the money was in the bank. This doesn’t work too well, as you can probably imagine. I find myself overdrawn a few times a year, and each time I tell myself, “Remember to always deposit your paycheck the day you get it.” I never do, though.

What all of this boils down to is: I consumed 2017 calories of 1632 planned and I didn’t do a lick of exercise. I do intend to make one final lengthy bike ride tomorrow if the weather cooperates.

21 Sep 98
168 pounds — Well, I didn’t get any exercise done over the weekend, but I didn’t eat poorly either. In fact, I didn’t eat much of anything on Sunday. I spent most of the day working on the web site and just forgot about nourishment. But, I took my bike in to work today and did get a ride in at lunch. I managed 10.11 miles in 34:20, which is 17.69 mph (if I remember correctly). This isn’t a great time, but it’s not too bad considering that I’ve taken a week off from riding and that the wind was gusting 10-15 mph from the NNE. I also sent e-mail to Dave Carlson about rejoining the gym we used last fall/winter.

Though I ate well over the weekend, I may have gone overboard today. I’m not sure how many calories I consumed, though I was up to 1095 out of about 2450 planned before dinner. On Monday nights a group of friends gets together to (ostensibly) watch Monday Night Football. More often we play cards or just chat. The women play cards or dominoes or chat or quilt. Tonight we had fondue. Though I don’t think I went too overboard, I did eat quite a bit. Fondue is good stuff and it doesn’t come along every day. In fact, I only get to have it about once a year. So, I’m not sure how many calories I had today…

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