Thursday, December 31, 2009
Friday, December 25, 2009
Here we are as in olden days,
Happy golden days of yore.
Faithful friends who are dear to us
Gather near to us once more.
Through the years
We all will be together,
If the Fates allow
Hang a shining star upon the highest bough.
And have yourself A merry little Christmas now.
Blane and Martin
Christmases come quicker and quicker each year. I can remember sitting here last Christmas' morning and writing an entry while Jacky and the dogs slept. And now one quick year later I am doing the exact same thing:) 2009 has been a fabulous year for me. These last two years have been without a doubt the best two years of the decade for me. Part of it is some of the changes I have gone through but the biggest part of it is the friends I have and the new friends I have made over these last two years. I'm still a work in progress. I'm still a big hunk of clay that needs to be chipped and sanded and buffed. I am, however, starting to grasp that if nothing else I get a whole lot of joy out of making people smile. I used to use it as an overcompensation for things I felt I lacked, and maybe I still do to an extent, but deep inside it is who I am.
It wouldn't be a Christmas post without me complaining about winter. It has a chilling effect on me both literally and figuratively. Our weather has just been bizarre as can be these last few weeks. A foot and a half of snow, followed by arctic temperatures, and now Christmas rain and freezing rain. It makes a greyhound unhappy :)
Wednesday, December 16, 2009
Let's enjoy it while we can
Won't you help me shed my load
From the dark end of the street
To the bright side of the road
Well lets face it I complain a lot about the Madison winter weather. And now it has apparently made me insane. I have convinced my workout partner that we needed a new goal to motivate us when I return to Utah. So, and to be honest he really needed no convincing, Eric and I will be competing in the April 3rd St. George Sprint Triathlon. Just so there is no misunderstanding what this entails it's not exactly the Hawai'ian ironman. It is a .5k swim, a 16k bike, and a 5k run. I have no fear of the swimming part of it. Have a great fear of the biking seeing as the last time I was on a bike that actually moved the first George Bush was in office. And I'm not afraid of the run/walk because I will most likely have wrecked my bike prior to that so I won't have to do it. I have run one 5k race and that was in 1984 as a junior in college. I think I finished last unless you count the one person so disgusted they were behind me they dropped out. We have enlisted the fabulous triathlon trainer Ms. Paige Corley to be our coach and principle motivator for this undertaking. My only instruction to her being try to make it so neither of us die on the course, especially me. So I will be trying to do something that I have never attempted before, never thought of doing to til yesterday, and can't imagine I will want to do again. Special thanks to Linda M. who suggested that I try this and to Jen M. who inspired me by doing this same race this fall.
Here was my first day of triathlon prepping. I don't foresee doing bike work before Utah and certainly not outside on the roads where I need to do it.
For the record my 1st day of tri prep:
30 minutes treadmill at 3.0 1.5 miles
1 Hour personal training
5 minutes treadmill
30 side medicine ball lunge/squats
50 up and down on the box with the medicine ball
2 4 minute heavy bag sessions
reverse crunches and sit ups to opposite raised foot These suck
40 medicine ball sit ups
4 trips up/down 20 stairs with medicine ball above my head
41 Medicine ball sit ups
4 trips up/down 20 stairs with medicine ball above my head
back forth over 1 foot hurdles in the sand hitting the volleyball
Don't forget only 9 days of Christmas shopping left and Beatles Tshirts, posters, blankets and mugs make wonderful gifts. This is my good friend and
volleyball teammate Tanya who truly dressed the part for her Christmas party. I am all about Christmas cheer and she personified it. Tis the Season and its the only thing getting me through December, well that and the chance to be the the biggest loser/finisher at this year's St George Triathlon. Peace, Love, and Happy Chanukah. jim
Friday, December 11, 2009
It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas
Soon the bells will start
And the thing that will make them ring
Is the carol that you sing
Right within your heart
Here is State Street in downtown Madison, home to Sunshine Daydream. Just the kind of weather you want to get out in a walk around and do some Christmas shopping :( You can always take a bus, well if the bus can stay on the road. Speaking of buses. My wife and her friend flew back into Chicago Wednesday evening after five days in Puerto Rico where she was nice enough to complain of the heat causing her to sweat. I had planned to make the drive to Chicago to pick her up but instead I thought I would give her an early Christmas gift of a one way bus ticket back to Madison. I am Mr. Thoughtful.
Thursday, December 3, 2009
With the chords I'm playing
I can't pretend there's any meaning here
Or in the things I'm saying
But I'm in tune
Right in tune
Monday, November 30, 2009
Had a good-lookin' mama who never was around.
But she grew up tall and she grew up right
With them Indiana boys on them Indiana nights.
Thursday, November 26, 2009
Show me a smile then,
Don't be unhappy, can't remember
When I last saw you laughing
If this world makes you crazy
And you've taken all you can bear
You call me up
Because you know I'll be there
I certainly have so much to be grateful for, it's been an amazing year filled with new friends, new adventures, a few volleyball championships, so much great music, and lots of love. No complaints from Jimbo.
Spent Thanksgiving morning in the gym under the tutelage of my new personal trainer who made certain I would remember the work out all day by absolutely pummeling me. Started with some 3 on 3 full court basketball and finished with me running receiving routes around well spaced cones and catching footballs. In between was running up some steps, chest presses with 50lb dumb bells, seated and standing rows, some treadmill work, and of course over a 100 sit ups with the 15 pound medicine ball. After hoops he asked me if I would rather do more conventional work and I said the main reason I work out at all is so I can do things like play basketball.
Have spent such time in the sand pit they have at the gym. We all know I love being in the sand however doing the tires and running the ins and outs of ladder carrying the orange heavy bag is a very long way from from playing volleyball. I really love the so called cross training routine of this gym. I don't love treadmills, will never love pressing iron, or moving machines. But I really loved playing hoops and catching footballs brought me back to my playing days. Not that I ever touched the ball back then except for a fumble recovery or two. It's still fun and gets the heart rate going without tedium.
I hope everyone had a great fun filled holiday. Sorry Canadian readers ( Sabine). I spent today at my shop ringing some black friday sales. I don't really get this phenomena that really seems to have grown in the last few years. I don't for a second believe that most of these people are using today to shop for anyone but themselves. But long lines at the big box stores around the area seem to say some people are willing to spend. Does it help small local businesses? In a word No, but if you want to line up to save a few bucks on some stuff..... have at it. Used a Cyndi Lauper quote to honor the very first celebrity shopper to spend time in my store. Cynthia Lauper on her credit card. We have seen a few others over the years mostly musicians like Chris Robinson shopping for then wife Kate Hudson, Boyd Tinsley of the Dave Matthews Band who spent a few hundred dollars and passed on a handful of backstage passes for the show, All of the Goo Goo Dolls, and Michael Franti. However one of my favorite celebrity shoppers, who makes a yearly stop to buy Phish merchandise for his children, is Senator Russ Feingold.
I hope everyone is ready for the 28 remaining shopping days til Christmas and remember tie-dye makes an awesome Christmas gift. Peace, Love and still no real snow, jim
Wednesday, November 18, 2009
Jacky and I went to see Steely Dan Saturday night at The Riverside Theater in Milwaukee. They put on a great show and played a full hour longer than when I saw them in Vegas. We were 20 rows back center stage. They just sound fabulous and have an exceptional band. I real nice appetizer to the main course I was going to get Sunday night and believe me that turned out to be an epic banquet of music and energy.
Let me preface all this by saying I understand the impact Bruce Springsteen has had on music. I like his music just fine. My favorite workout song is Rosalita and I often use it as the initial leg when do interval training and have used it to help me up the stop sign hill as well. I'm not a huge fan and it has been almost a quarter century since I last saw him live in the Orange Bowl in Miami in 1985. I didn't have a ticket, and I couldn't talk any of my friends into making the trip to Milwaukee for the Sunday night show. And I just wanted to say to all of those friends that passed up the chance to be part of this evening. Your mistake was epic because I have never in my life seen a show like the one I saw Sunday night.
I walked up to the window an hour and a half before show time and picked up a seat in the upper level for $50. I was a long way from the stage but there were quite a few empties around so I moved closer to the stage but still pretty high up. The band came on at about 8:20 and started with Cadillac Ranch. Two songs later possibly the biggest rock star in America was out in the crowd and doing a "Lambeau Leap" into the crowd which then passed him overhead back the 50 yards to the stage. This 60 year old in amazing shape had the crowd enthralled and in a frenzy like state.
They played the entire Born to Run album from start to finish. It sounded flawless. Took requests from the fans who were prepared with all sorts of posters naming songs. Played a song that hadn't been heard on tour since 2003. And gave in to the crowd's pleading and broke out the seasonal classic Santa Claus is Coming to Town. Bruce also joked about his faux pas when he talked about Ohio while on stage in Detroit. I have never seen a band of this magnitude have so much fun. I used to think that the Stones were the hardest working band around but they can not hold a candle to the E Street Band. It takes a lot to blow me away and this show was untouched in my mind. A copy of this show should be required viewing for any touring artist and any aspiring musician because this is how you get it done. Congrats to The Boss I feel as if I wasted the last 24 years by not partaking in more of these shows.
And just to cap off the perfect concert night Bruce and the band broke out a stirring rendition of Rosalita in their encore. A little over 3 hours after they started the sweaty, and spent band said goodnight and no one who was there will ever forget it.
I signed up at a new gym and had my first supervised session. I was greeted by a personal trainer that looked like he was made of stone. He asked if I had worked out at all. I was able to push down that feeling that said maybe I should say I was a novice. I should have said I was a cripple because when I was done that was how I felt. Lunges with medicine balls, steps with the medicine balls, swinging a fitness ball filled with water, sprints at increasing speed on the treadmill, sit ups, crunches, weights. I think he stepped it up when he caught me checking the clock with 20 minutes left in the session. I was happy with my level of fitness even though at one point I was looking for the nearest trash can just in case. Got back on the treadmill this morning in an effort to stretch out those sore muscles and joints. Going to do laps tomorrow. Get to personal train again Friday where he casually added at the end of our time that now that he knows I can take it he will really push me next time. It was nice knowing you guys :) Seriously bring it on!! Hope everyone is doing well, getting ready for Thanksgiving a holiday dedicated to two of my favorite things food and football. However whomever scheduled these crappy games for the NFL should be shot. Don't forget to add some music to your day, and if Springsteen is anywhere near you make a point to go see him, he is one of kind. Peace, jim
Thursday, November 12, 2009
I'll take your hand
Together we may get away
This much madness
is too much sorrow
to make it today.
Tuesday, November 3, 2009
Knowing that love is to share
Each one believing that love never dies
Watching her eyes and hoping I'm always there
To be there and everywhere
Here, there and everywhere
Will you keep writing the blog?
Right now I don't see why not. I do struggle to find interesting things to blog about especially when I'm at home. I do, however, think that some people enjoy reading it ( I have no clue how many) I do think it helps some people in their search to learn more about The Resort and what it offers and if it is for them ( I have no clue how many) I know my Mom likes reading it (just the one) and I'd do anything to make her happy. Feel free to email me any other questions :) Peace, Jim
Wednesday, October 28, 2009
So no mention of Fitness Ridge in this blog, this one is all about the past weekend where Sunshine Daydream helped sponsor the Ingrid Michaelson show in town. We turned it into a festive weekend complete with a pre-show party to raise money for The Barrymore Theater Restoration Fund, an in-store signing by Ingrid, and the sold-out show at the Barrymore.
The night kicked off with a two hour set from the Madison band Letter 8, seen here cranking a little Petty's American Girl. They played originals and covered some fabulous tunes, They also brought a big crowd of fans with them.
Next up was The Sarah Pray Band. Sarah just wrapped up an east coast tour including a gig at New York's world famous Bitter End that has hosted such stars as Linda Ronstadt and Jackson Browne. She has a mesmerizing voice and just entertained the crowd til past 1am. I can not thank both bands enough for donating their time to us and helping to make the night so successful.
Your hosts for the night
Two of my favorite volleyball players Tanya and Leah enjoying the inside of Club Tavern without being covered in sand.
My good friend Ryan Rammer who coaches the Verona High School football team currently making their way through the Wisconsin state football playoffs.
Everybody wants to be loved. If you haven't gotten her new cd Everbody please buy it or download it is so good.
The marquee lighting up the Madison night with the news that sorry no more tickets were available for her show. 3rd appearance at the Barrymore and first sell-out. Over 1,000 happy fans in attendance.
On stage at The Barrymore.
The whole six piece band. The current traveling party on one bus includes 13 people. They had one room the previous night in a local hotel where they could shower and clean up. But it was another night on the bus for most of them when it came time to bunk down. Not the glamorous touring life that young rockstars dream of.
It was quite the week for Ingrid as she spent Monday morning performing on Good Morning America and Saturday afternoon at Sunshine Daydream. You can see her performance on GMA by clicking on the link below.
Monday, October 26, 2009
As the name change has happened, and so many new people are finding out about The Biggest Loser Resort at Fitness Ridge, I have been getting emails, and facebook inquiries about a day at the ridge and plenty of questions about how the Ridge is equipped to handle people of substantial size, with lots of weight to lose. I wanted to do a blog addressing this topic and hopefully alleviate any fears anyone and particularly bigger people have about the place.
When I stepped into the lobby of the Ridge for the first time in February of 2008 it was one of the scarier moments of my life. I was way out of shape and way is an understatement. I expected to see lots of other people like me but I didn't. The scale they were using at the time didn't hit my happy number. I was intimidated, petrified, and wondering dear lord what have I gotten myself into.
I have said it 100's of times but the people went out of their way to make me feel like I was in the right place. They will do the same for you. But even with the encouragement I struggled at first. It is a diverse group of people but really big people are still a minority. The other guests were as encouraging and understanding as you would hope them to be. They were then and they still are the rock I lean on.
So what's a day like and what issues may someone of size or with some limitations expect.
The day starts with a hike. You climb in a van. Sit in the front seat if it makes you happy, I know I do most of the time. There are varying levels of hikes but there is always one on flat ground and pavement. The stop sign hike is every Monday and most people complete the 4.5 miles to the top. Some do it in an hour some take as long as two and a half. My first time... not even close. I may have been the worst ever I don't know. Let me quell any fears you may have of this hike. You do the best you can, and you improve everyday. There are 4 benches along the route and believe me my butt has been on every single one. They are at the 3/4 mile mark, 1.5 mile mark, 2 mile mark, and just past the 2.5 mile mark. There are none once you get on the road for the last 1.5 miles, and I wish there were. There are some ass-sized rocks available if you need a break. You are never far from the road, there are plenty of guides to help you and you really should start by doing this as often as possible. If you are not comfortable hiking at all the gym is also open during this time. The gym has elliptical machines, treadmills, recumbent bikes, and spinning bikes available for cardio work.
When you get back from your hike you have your choice of a stretching/yoga class or a pool class. I choose the pool class without fail. My aching joints and muscles enjoy the pool. No one cares what you look like in your swimsuit. You want to wear shorts and a t-shirt? Do it. No one will give you a second look. If you have a fear of deep water, no problem stay in the shallow end. The pool is heated and the water usually fairly warm. And if it's cool the hot tub is a welcome joy after class. The hot tub is large, in ground, and something I really miss.
Lunch comes next. Big sturdy chairs with plenty of room in the dining room. I have raved about the food. You will be full. Will you have cravings? Oh yeah. But you're active, there's things to do and there is no drive thru at the kitchen. If you're a first weeker there is always a post lunch lecture. If you have been on this train your whole life you will know most of what they speak about. But you will learn, and you will realize, and you will have an "a ha" moment.
There are 3 afternoon classes. Some are very hard. I won't lie. There were some classes I felt unable to do when I started and even now there are some classes that I am not comfortable in. If you are in a class and you don't feel comfortable there are chairs you can sit on and do the class. There are always fitness balls you can use. Classes that will be tough are Step and Pump, Kickboxing, Total Toning, and the Friday dance class. You can always take a break if you want to. Again no one is judging you there.
There is always a cardio class every afternoon. Their names are Circuit, Mountain, Treading, and Cardio Circuit. These classes are done in a group but they are done at your own pace. Push yourself for sure, but you will have no problems in any of these classes. Have people barfed? yeah, fallen off treadmills? yeah, but not because they were big or out of shape but because they pushed too hard.
The last class of the day is usually again a stretch or yoga or a pool class. If you're not comfortable doing anything or feel like a class is not for you, find Sharon or one of the other trainers, they will make accommodations for you. Don't let your size or current lack of exercise keep you from signing up. I used my size as a crutch for so long, I let years of my life slip by because I was afraid that I had let it slip too far to bring it back. Don't feel that way. If you are searching for an answer this place can point you towards that goal.
There are without a doubt a myriad of reasons to come or stay home. It is an expensive undertaking without a doubt. Is it worth it? I would not have done it without their help. Am I cured or over the hump? Not by a long shot. I have bad days, make horrendous food choices, daydream about pizza, hop off the treadmill when I should keep going. Am I better today than I was that first day I stepped into lobby? Yes way better, way, way better. I'm off all the meds I was on. I don't stop and rest when I'm walking around malls and casinos and airports. I play sports, jump and jog ( not high or fast mind you), and like life better.
So why all this? It's not to make you say I want to go to the Ridge. I love the place. Not everyone does. There's lots of information out there, plenty of reviews, and blogs. I have wanted to write this particular entry for one reason. I don't want anyone to think they are too big, too out of shape, or too sedentary to go to the resort. Don't use your size as an excuse for this. Maybe the roller coaster at Disney isn't the place for you, possibly you get anxious around other people, possibly your size restricts what you are comfortable doing. Do not let it stop you from coming to The Resort. It's not a viable excuse. If you're still apprehensive email me email@example.com I will tell you when I will be there next and I will personally make sure you can do this. I will see that you are 100% comfortable. That's my promise to anyone who thinks they are too big for this.
Next blog is about my awesome weekend and the fact that the fabulous Ingrid Michaelson was riding around Madison in my car...no she was not duct taped :) As always Peace and Big, Big Love, Jim
Wednesday, October 21, 2009
Wow, I love these pictures so much that I am giving it it's own blog entry. As you get to the zenith of the Camelback hike you come upon a currently dry hole called The Vortex. This is me climbing in and out of it. New experiences, things you never believed you could do, setting the bar higher, scaring the hell out of the guides; all in one morning hike at the Resort.
Monday, October 19, 2009
As a fan of Maryland Terp football and the Washington Redskins, I have only one thing to say... thank heavens that college basketball got under way with midnight madness this past weekend. Only 150 days until March Madness and one shining moment.
I wanted to wrap up my most recent trip to the Ridge which I am now going to abbreviate as The Resort or BLR. Began in the 110's and ended with mornings in the 40's. Not a bad 7 week transition. It is not going to come as much of a surprise to anyone who reads this but give me the 110's any day. I like the warm, like sweating, and love being in shorts which is remarkable because I went a good 5-7 years without wearing them out of the house. Not that 40's in the morning and 70's in the afternoons was bad either. I did see some snow driving through the peaks of the Rockies.
Speaking of the Rockies,and this is not a picture of them, I found myself doing a very strange thing. Certainly something I had never done previously and never imagined silly thoughts like these would ever creep into my head. As I drove through the Rockies and stared out the window at these majestic mountains, do you know what entered my head? How would I attack these mountains, what looked like the most accessible path to the top, and Could I actually climb that sucker? Wow, what have I become?
Paige loves to stress how each of the hikes is a fitness hike. She's correct, but do not let her scare you into not bringing your camera. The sights are amazing and you will want to have a record of your time in this beautiful part of the world. The guides all have cameras to record your journey for the week ending dvd and they will listen to you when you ask them to stop for a moment.
I want to talk a bit about the training staff. Some of you may be expecting a Bob and Jillian experience and I don't want you to be disappointed that the trainers at the Ridge don't feel the need to break you down, cuss at you, and make you cry. Will they push you? Of course they will make you work hard. They will make sure you show up to class. They will try to get you to do things you didn't know you could. They want you to succeed and they will give you the tools to do so. It is up to you however. I need to thank the trainers and all the fitness staff. It starts with the top of the fitness ladder at the Ridge and that is Paige. Congrats on winning the award from Spafinder, no doubt you earned it. This program is hers and she has made it so that it works for everyone willing to give it a go. Sharon is simply wonderful. I love her to death. She teaches, she consoles and she is there for you. She was there when I wanted to die a half mile into my first hike and she is there pushing me to increase my speed up the last 1/2 mile of the 4.5 stop sign hike now. I owe her an awful lot.
The "Campers" at the BLR. They come in every size, every fitness level, some are extremely self motivated, some need to be pushed extra hard, some used their life savings to book a week, some come for two months and don't bat an eye at what it costs. They come from every state in the Union, They come from the Far East, Africa, Europe, and a lot come from Canada. And every single one of them is at the Ridge for a reason that is right for them. No one is too skinny, although some may think they are :) None are too fat, or slow or old, or beat up. I have seen 100 lbs women throwing up from working hard. And I have seen 500lb men swimming laps around other campers. I have watched grandmothers run past 20 year olds heading up that mountain, and I have seen teenagers inspire their parents to work harder.
The campers will make you laugh and make you cry. You'll hear stories of their kids and their
families, and their pets. You will get to know these people. They will become your friends. You will struggle together, you will ache together, you will sweat together and each day you will look to see that they are back at it. When they are missing you will notice and be worried. When they are around they will inspire you and make you want to work harder for them. It is a community to like no other I have been a part of. It changes each week. The personality of the group is always different, but always good. It is the single most important aspect of your time there.
Someone sent me a question about leaving campus for activities. Would I recommend it? Sure if you are there more than a week or two it is necessary for your sanity. Should you use it as a license to go crazy? That's up to you. But being at the Ridge is living in a cocoon and you will be expected to be a butterfly one day. Is there temptation out there? Of course, just like in real life. You don't have to run to Vegas. There are amazing hikes within a few hours. There is all sorts of local sports, amazing golf, and bike trails. Tuacahn is a beautiful theater with concerts and plays. There is shopping from cute and quaint to outlets within ten miles of the ridge. There are a handful of movie theaters as well. I think ten of us went to the movies together on this trip and it took all 18 of those other eyes staring at me to keep me from wandering into the popcorn line. But it worked.
So we all know that Fitness Ridge has hopped into bed with The Biggest Loser. Will there be changes to the place? Of course, aesthetically the place is already changing with posters and new signs, and new t-shirts. Will the core of the program change. I do not think so. This program was built by the owners and they have too much invested to let the name of the place dictate the program. I think you will continue to find that camaraderie, that sense of purpose and caring that made the Ridge what it is today. It's a family and it feels like one when you are there. Was it a good decision to team up. Only time will tell. But I have an awful lot of faith in the management at the Ridge and I think they will continue to make it work for the campers.
So I am going to leave you with my favorite picture from this trip. A sweaty camper having just finished some sprint intervals getting a fist bump from a trainer. We're not always happy in the middle of those workouts but we always feel good at the end. And I need to again thank my main man at BLR at Fitness Ridge, my morning workout partner, my ear at the ridge, and my very good friend Eric Jackson. I feel like part of the family there and I have you to thank. Peace and Love, Jim