Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Wisconsin cold, dark, cheesey and home

"Yeah now I’m rolling down this canyon drive

With your laughter in my head

I’m gonna have to block it out somehow to survive

And I’m alive"

Jackson Browne
So as I am driving through the Rockies and I got a call from someone I love telling me that a person who has brought much joy to my life has passed away. Everyone knew Paul Newman was sick, and his death came as no big surprise but still I would certainly be remiss if I didn't acknowledge the contribution that Mr. Newman made not only to cinema but also to making the world a better place. He starred in the two greatest movies of all time The Sting and Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. He started a charitable food business that raised over 250 million dollars for various charities. If I could have 1/1,ooo,oooth of the impact on people that Paul did I would consider my life a success. So I gladly salute you Butch Cassidy, Eddie Felson, Reggie Dunlop, Judge Roy Bean, Hud, Cool Hand Luke, and the great Mr. Henry Gondorff.

So I wrapped up trip two to Fitness Ridge last Saturday and headed out on my 28 hour trek across the country from Utah through Colorado, Nebraska, Iowa and Wisconsin. I
had a very nice weigh out Friday checking out down 32 lbs for the trip, down 9 per cent in body fat, down 6 points in BMI and down 17 inches on my chest, waist, hips, arms, and legs.

I need to thank so many people for aiding me on my 5 week stay. It is hard for me to imagine a place where I feel more loved than at the Ridge. Again the staff is simply amazing, supportive, motivating, and friendly. I need to give a few special thanks. There is no one cooler at the ridge than marketing director Eric Jackson. He pushed me through extra circuit classes, kicked my ass in two on two basketball, shared some meals and lots of sports talk. If you have problems at the ridge he is the guy to talk to, and he knows deep inside that a mountain west team in a BCS bowl is well not appropriate. He shares an office with new program director, Paige. She has really added to the program and gave me a great sounding board about how I think the program can move forward. Finally, I can never say enough about Sharon. She is the most compassionate, loving personal trainer God has ever created. She motivates every camper that comes through the door, and when anyone contacts me who has been at the Ridge they always ask about Sharon.
As great as the staff is; the greatest thing about the ridge is the other campers. Each week you throw together 30 to 40 people from all over the map wake them before sun up, torture them with 6 hours a day of exercise, and feed them table scraps. And you know what it does for them? It binds them together, gives them a sense of teamwork, and makes them want to help everyone in the same boat as them. There are way too many people that shared my 5 weeks to list here and I am sure I would omit someone from the list so let me just thank everyone who was at the Ridge with me. I owe all of my success to the the campers and when I feel like I can't take another step, I can see you guys cheering at the stop sign or fake laughing at something stupid I said or convincing me that a trip to Vegas will be "relaxing" and it makes me take that next step. I hope some of you will consider coming in back in March for a week or two when I make trip 3 to the ridge. Until then you can always get an update on my life here. And aster 28 hours of driving I am happy to report that my volleyball team won 15-5, 15-7, 15-7 Monday night. Until next time Peace and Love and one picture that sums up what all of you think, Jim

Thursday, September 18, 2008

8 days left

"I find it magical (hey)
I feel like I'm loving you in 1963 (hey)
Flowers in my hair (hey)
Little bitty hearts upon my cheek
Baby, you'll be on my mind 'till I kiss you next time"
Rachael Yamagata
So I have finished close to four weeks of my current 5 week stay. Jacky got on the plane this morning and is safely back home in Madison. She left losing three pounds in her 3 day stay at the ridge and and with a little more respect for what her husband has been doing for these 10 weeks in Utah. She really held her own, participated in the hikes and classes and lectures, and made some new friends. It was good to have her see what I have been living.

Here's a picture of Jacky and her hiking group after completing a very tough hike named camelbak

Thursday is of course treading day at the ridge and I spent my hour of class jogging laps around the pool. It was over 100 today and I was sweating like Sarah Palin at a Teen sex clinic but it was a damn good workout. We had the frittata again( breakfast never changes) and a turkey BLT for lunch. I was at the frosh football game again and settled for Subway for dinner.

Weekend plans call for the five people pictured here and 1 or 2 not pictured to head to Vegas. We'll be staying downtown at the Golden Nugget and have plans to see Mamma Mia Saturday night at 10 pm. There's no one in that picture that has stayed up past 10 pm in weeks but I have high hopes we can get it done.

I need to again thank the person that made it possible for me to spend this additional time at Fitness Ridge. My total weight loss is over 120 lbs and I'm going to need some new clothes that's for sure :) I'm looking forward to getting home again. I have a volleyball game next Monday the 30th of September and I plan to be home for it. The badgers have back to back home night games coming up the first weeks of October vs Ohio St and Penn St and I'm not sure there is enough beer in the state to satiate the UW students those two weekends. I hope everyone has a weekend as exciting as the one I have planned. my last trip to Vegas for a while but it feels fresh again for sure. Peace and Love, Jim

Monday, September 15, 2008

22 days, 22 lbs.

"You are like a hurricane
There's calm in your eye.
And I'm gettin' blown away
To somewhere safer where the feeling stays.
I want to love you but I'm getting blown away."
Neil Young

Here's the winning team from the birthday pictionary. Congrats left to right Adriana, Heidi, Ronnie and Caroline.

The race and sports book at the Fiesta Henderson. Certainly not a "cave" and certainly good luck as it was where I watched the Terps dismantle the Cal Bears.

Jacky at 5:45 am obviously excited to be getting ready to head up the mountain. She kicked ass and made me proud wiping out the full 4.5 miles and adding 2 more miles heading down the hill.

Here she is. The wicked old witch of St George, Utah. Now A funny thing happened on the way to me and her hating each other. She started to respect my new found jogging and I tried to forget she was a grumpy old lady. Oh well at least today we were buddies. The hiking guides would not have been more amazed had a mountain lion come down and devoured our entire group. I felt like the dali lama spreading love and changing the miserable.

Shaved 6 minutes off last weeks time, but still got beat by Jacky, much the same way Secretariat would have beaten a goat.

I hope everyone is happy and in good spirits. I will be back in Madison two weeks from today. Peace, Jim

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Birthday and what not

"I've been through the desert on a horse with no name
It felt good to be out of the rain
In the desert you can remember your name
'Cause there ain't no one for to give you no pain"
I have a number of people I need to thank for making my Birthday so very special this year. We had game night last night with a rousing game of pictionary. I was on the losing team but it was still a great birthday party by Utah standards and pretty good one by Jim standards. I of course started the day hiking up to the stop sign. Spent the morning in the pool and some of the afternoon in napland. The party had some exciting drinks. Diet 7up, Diet Pepsi, and the always popular Water. No food. So here are the thank yous. To Meredith thanks for gift of the massage, same goes to Caroline and Donna. To Sharon thanks for the Beatles cd, To all the people at the ridge who signed my card, sang happy birthday to me and came out to game night thanks for your support. To Wendy thanks for the pool toy...love it. To Leigh Ann the dukie thanks for the card, and to Nancy thanks for the support and the kind greetings, and to my parents and wife thanks for boxing up and sending me some birthday cheer.
Thursday was a full day of exercise. It started with the 5:42 wake up call, the 6:30 van to the canyon, and the walk up which included sprint intervals, some climbing and some more intervals. Got the always special frittata breakfast. Swam laps with 4 other people easily an all time record for the pool. Played pool volleyball with between 6 and 13 people hitting the ball. Did an hour of pool aerobics. Had the ever popular turkey dog for lunch. I could have eaten 6. Afternoon was two hours of treading intervals. I would run around the pool and then do medicine ball sit-ups for recovery. Eric joined me in hour two. Caught a quick shower. Drove with Eric, Ronnie, and Adriana to the local football game. It was her first football game ever. Got some subway for dinner. Typed as fast as possible this blog and will be heading to sleep in 5 minutes.
I thought for fun and discussion I would rank my ten favorite musicians/groups for you. This is just personal preference not the impact on music or how others perceive their brilliance, but simply I get one cd, what am I grabbing:
10) The Carpenters
9) Neil Young/ CSNY
8) The Beatles
7) America
6) Elton John
5) Jack Johnson
4) Tom Petty
3) Chicago
2) James Taylor
1) Jackson Browne

Peace, Jim

Some weekend show pics:

Barry singing Mandy

Copa-Copacabana and a side shot of the nose which is clearly the only original piece of face Barry's got

The cast of the rat pack is back.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Weekend in New England

"You came along just like a song
And brighten my day
Who would of believed that you where part of a dream
Now it all seems light years away
And now you know I cant smile without you"

Barry Manilow

    Sorry it has taken me forever to get this updated and I swear I have pictures of Barry and the rat pack to share with you but I am having some slight computer issues at the new house I am staying at this week.  I agreed to move off campus so that four women from Toronto could share the room that I was scheduled to be in.  No biggie and the place I am in is very nice and very close and will be housing tomorrow night's big birthday bash.

   Vegas was fun, I spent all of saturday with two other ridgers who had finished eight and two weeks.  I don't want to call it a prison break but it wasn't 1200 calories of tofuliciosness either.  The Manilow show was pleasant.  His voice is a little scratchy and he has trouble hitting some notes but he was very entertaining and played at least a piece of every song imaginable.  I'm not a big fan of the medley but I guess with his songbook it's impossible to play it all with out some concessions.   He finished with Mandy, I Write the Songs, and Copacabana.

   Saturday night was "The Rat Pack is Back" which is a tribute show to Frank, Sammy, Dean and Joey.  The Sinatra guy was spot on and the show moved quickly through lots of hits.  I have a picture of this as well and I swear I'll put it up.  It was the 10 pm show and after countless 5:45am wake ups in a row it was hard to stay awake.

  The new week started just like the last, except this week is the biggest in Fitness Ridge history with 46 guests 41 of whom are women.  The classes are split so there are always two options but the place still feels full even more so the dining room which is packed.   I shaved a whole minute off my time going up the hill.  I jogged almost all of the first mile and a half, but struggled the last mile and a half up the steepest part of the hill.   

     Classes are virtually the same as they have been.  Food is the same as well.  I got some volleyball in the pool today thanks to Caroline, Heidi, Martha, and Adriana.  Nancy didn't play but was there in spirit.   The temperatures are still getting into the upper 90's, lower 100's but I refuse to complain as I am saving that for the winter in Madison. 'Cause snow and cold bugs me ten times more than hot weather. 

   Looking forward to the birthday bash tomorrow.  Looks like water, some diet sodas, and a big old game of pictionary.  Just what you would expect from the party mecca that is SouthernUtah.   I hope all's well in your hometowns and as always Peace and Love, Jim

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Week two

"Talkin’ ’bout life and what it means to you,
It don’t mean nothin’ if it don’t run through
I got one thing to say, you know it’s true
You got to find some time to get this thing together.
Todd Rundgren
Well week two is just about in the books, and like just about everything else in life some weeks are amazing others mediocre. The campers week one were simply amazing, of my eight weeks I have spent here they were easily the best. This week not the same intensity, joie de vive, or playfulness but productive. It started with my fastest time up the mountain, had extra night sessions in the gym, had lots of circuits, lots of sit-ups, and for the first time in many a moon, some sprint work. And on a down note after eight weeks I have picked up my first blister :(
Here's the chicken dinner. Someone complained that I only gave it a 3.5 on my 5 point F.R. food rating scale. It is actually one of my favorite meals, however there are two mandatory deductions. If you don't stick the landing in the Olympics you lose some points. There is a mandatory .5 deduction for the tofu in the mashed purple potatoes, and a.5 deduction for the fact the chicken breast is so small it may be a Cornish hen.

Here is the fritata. The highest scorer on the F.R. food scale. Hopefully it is the Thursday morning staple from here on out.

Eric Jackson, marketing director at the Ridge hustling on the treadmill during one of our night time circuit workouts. Eric will be happy this weekend if BYU and the Chicago Bears win.

One of this weeks hikes took us by some old Indian etchings. This one in particular seemed to catch my eye. It seems to be indicating that I should bet the one horse this weekend in Vegas. I'll shall not disappoint my Indian friends.

spent a very hot late afternoon Thursday watching the local high school freshman football game. It has been 30 years since I played freshman football at Prep:( I am pretty sure I was the only one in attendance sporting a Terp shirt and a Brewers hat( thanks T)

I am off to Vegas tomorrow night for Barry and some football watching. I hope everyone has a great weekend and prepares wisely for the big day next wednesday. What's next wednesday? Lets just say there's a chance there's a candle in my wednesday tofu cake. Peace, jim