Monday, August 31, 2009

The Grand Illusion

Baby, you've got the sort of laugh that waters me
And makes me grow tall and strong and proud and flattens me
I find you stunning, but you are running me down
My love's too big for you my love
My love's too big for you my love
And if I was stronger then I would tell you no
And if I was stronger then I will leave this show
And if I was stronger then I would up and go
But here I am and here we go again
Ingrid Michaelson
I know you guys want a first day update so I will give you a quick rundown of day one and a weekend wrap up. Lets start with the hike. I somehow deluded myself that I have done enough to prepare myself that I have made enough forward strides that this wont kill me but alas it is all in my head and I suffered big time on the hill. Hated it, was miserable the entire last two miles. My feet hurt and virtually every volleyball injury from this summer ached. There was a nice mix of 6:30 wake up, a lot of wildfire smoke lingering in the air and the fact I hadn't done any exercise in a week. I made it but only because I would have been two embarrassed to tell you guys I hadn't. And it took my the entire time, and then 10 more minutes.
Had breakfast of dry english muffin, morning lecture, and then pool class, lettuce wraps for lunch, afternoon lecture, got assigned to the red team for this weeks battle of the bulge. Did 3 afternoon classes of circuit, than a step class called step and pump, and finally one more pool class. Dinner was the chicken and purple potatoes followed by one last lecture. One long day. I have some pics I will get up tomorrow I swear and give a Steely Dan review. Shout out to Kim from Milwaukee who id'ed me from the cartoon picture, and Sharon and Victoria who were the first of quite a few campers that commented they had read this. I would love to write more but I would love to sleep even more. I am sore in a whole lot of places. Peace, Jim

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Let's go to the Ridge

You call me a mountain
And I call you the sea
I'll stand tall and certain, and watch you swallow me
You can move me, if you want to
You can move a mountain
You can move a mountain
You can move me, if you want to
You can move everything
You can move everything
Ingrid Michaelson
Greetings from Vegas. Sunday will mark my fourth trip to Fitness ridge in the last 18 months. It will be my longest stay and I am looking to kickoff a really productive year. At the sunday night orientation people usually stand up and introduce themselves and tell where they are from. Veterans give a little talk and advice to the newbies. I pretty much always tell one of two stories. The first story tells how I was so excited to have lost 50lbs in my first trip to the ridge. I couldn't wait to get home and show off to everyone. However, much to my chagrin the only thing people noticed was just how tan I was. And how I thought hell if it was a tan I was after I could gone a really fabulous cruise for less money. But I'm back now and really hoping to come home with a reallybitchin tan to impress my friends this time.

More recently I have preferred to talk about the reasons people are at the ridge. Everyone is there for a reason, be it to lose weight, try to get fitter, work on food issues, because they love hiking, or just because their idea of fun is a really active vacation and I stress that no matter why you are there you are there for the right reason. And that in no way should you have any shame that you choose to spend time at the ridge. And how the people there are a resource to help you when you need someone to lean on but more importantly your friends and family at home want to be there for you. Don't be afraid to ask for help. Be proud of what you're doing and the people that love you will embrace your philosophy and be a huge asset to you when you get back into the real world.

So why do I tell this story to you guys today? I want this to be a great year for me, and I need my friends to help me and motivate me and push me and stop me when I am making mistakes. I want you to work out with me, I want you ask how I am doing and I want you to continue to be such an important part of my life. But you guys know me I would never ask for something without offering something back. So I want to make this offer to anyone who reads the blog, anyone who knows me, anyone who has ever been to the ridge, or basically anyone who wants to take a shot.
My goal for the next year is to lose 100lbs. I have had such an outpouring of support from my friends and from the people at the ridge that I want to thank you and keep you on my back so here we go:
I am going to pay for one of you to go to Fitness ridge next year for a week. And I am going to hold a contest to see who it's going to be. All you need to do is guess who much weight you think I am going to lose or God forbid gain :) between Sunday August 30th when I weigh in and my birthday September 10th, 2010. You can email me your selection ( , you can leave it in a comment, you can text it, you can phone it in. I don't care how you make your selection.

The person who comes closest without going over (price is right rules) gets the week. You're on your own for travel. If you win and don't really want to go or you want to donate it someone who can use it, let me know and I will see that your week is awarded to the camper that I have met and whom I think is most deserving. I have had a lot of people step up to help me and it's time for me to pay it forward. No one can have a duplicate number, so that the first person in gets that number and I will move the next person to the closest available number up or down from their original choice. And because it's Price is Right rules I will be very disappointed if someone doesn't bid a dollar. You're not going to humiliate me by picking a low number, and for goodness sakes don't flatter me by picking high because you're throwing away your pick. In fact since I am in Vegas I asked the sportsbook to set a line and he made the under 100 a 4-1 favorite to win. I realize 99% of the people that start with this type of goal don't get there and that is why I am asking for your help. You have until September 10th to submit your pick. Good Luck to everybody. I am giving my blog readers first shot at their numbers before I pass this on to my facebook friends and email buddies.
Now before you make your choice let me give you some stuff to think about:
1) I love food
2) I will be at the ridge for 7 weeks and then most likely a month in the spring
3) When winter comes and it snows for the first time I tend to get so depressed that I hook a few pizzas up to an IV drip and watch sports on my couch til the thaw.
4) I have a really good workout partner and I will be playing a bunch of volleyball indoors this winter
5) I'll be in Vegas for March Madness this year and that is usually good for about a pound for every white stiff on the end of Duke's bench and that's a big number.
6) Did I mention I love food?
7) I have started running and jumping and jogging and doing things I wasn't sure I would be doing again
8) I don't do well under pressure and by doing this I am ratcheting up the pressure tenfold
9) I would like to delude myself into believing I thrive under pressure on the Volleyball sand where my teams won the regular season Monday, Wednesday and Sunday and picked up the tournament win on Sunday and Wednesday as well.
10) Have I mentioned I have this love affair with food?
11) I have an amazing group of friends whom I love dearly and the support I receive from them and the Ridge is so valuable to me.
12) According to the USA Today there is like a 97% chance I get Swine Flu and die this winter in which case the person picking the highest number would win but have a damn hard time collecting.
So choose wisely and best of Luck to all of you.

I know that the management at Fitness Ridge checks in on this blog and they are such wonderful, giving people that I just know that they would offer to sponsor this, but that's not what I want. I want this to come out of my pocket. I want this to be a gift from me to my friends. I will, however, let that match it if they want :) and will, of course, let anyone match it if they want. But I am no way fishing for that.... Maybe a little :)

Since this will be one of my most read entries let me remind everyone that Sunshine Daydream is hosting an amazing weekend of music and fun October 23rd and 24th. The highlight being the Ingrid Michaelson show we are sponsoring on the 24th. We have a fabulous party on the 23rd to raise money for a cool old theater in Madison and have two fun bands to showcase that night. We will have an auction and raffle for lots of fun prizes. And we also have Ingrid Michaelson coming to the store to do an appearance and sing some songs.I really encourage everyone to come out that weekend. When I posted the event on facebook my wife asked me if I was insane and did I really just invite all my out of town friends to crash with us? I said sorry honey. So when she asks me if I just invited all my blog readers to crash with us that weekend. I'll just smile and say hell yeah the more the merrier. Peace, love, and I lose you win, Jim

Thursday, August 13, 2009

End of Summer

What I feel, I can't say

But my love is there for you anytime of day

But if it's not love that you need

Then I'll try my best to make everything succeed

Tell me, what is my life without your love

Tell me, who am I without you, by my side

George Harrison

Well I have a little over a week left before I get in the car and make the 26 hour drive west. I'm leaving Tuesday August 25th and start my 7 week run at Fitness Ridge on Sunday the 30th. It can't really come soon enough as I have really struggled since the first of the month. My exercise is still good, but being out so many nights between volleyball and trivia and weekend fun has just made it hard for me to keep the calorie end of the equation intact. I just need to feed myself at home much more. Wanted to say hi to Rachel who was the 4th ridger to come visit and partake in Madison. But since she is a UW grad and a UW Law grad it was more of a homecoming for her. I did make her watch a volleyball match which thankfully we won.

Speaking of volleyball we played in the Monday night championship last week. I have been involved in tons of games in my life. Most every sport you can compete in and I have never been involved in a game where I felt that winning was more improbable than Monday night. Not before the match mind you, but as the match progressed and we got spanked around and lost the 1st game 15-3. We were behind the entire second match and facing a match point when a ball we dug out of the net was sent up, but not going over the net. However, their spiker reached across the net to block and caught a piece of the net. Given a second lease on life we rallied to win game 2 16-14. Now I would love to tell you that inspired by this gift we charged to the lead and coasted to the championship. But no, we fell behind again. Trailing 14-9 we staved off 3 match points and rallied to take the lead at 15-14. With our first championship point I watched as one of our players served into the net, however the next two points went our way and we wrapped up the championship 16-14. Now granted this is just a bar league volleyball match, but damn I haven't been this happy about winning something in a very very long time.

I want to say thank you to so many people that made this the best.summer.ever. Let me start with my workout partner Karen, who pushed me on the treadmill and had to put up with me groaning through medicine ball sit-ups. She is nice enough to let me use her facility and I promise I will be back in two months to keep moving. And thanks to the great staff at Club Tavern, which was easily my second home this year as I played volleyball there 3 nights a week. Especially Matt, who had to put up with my bitching when he reffed our matches, and Maddy, Erin, and Ashley who fetched me many a shandy and had to listen to way too much Sara Bareilles on their jukebox. I want to thank Joyce who got me great Billy/Elton tickets. I want to thank my employees who made the summer at Sunshine Daydream successful and my good friend Paul who makes me laugh and has already signed on for March Madness in Vegas again. Also I need to say thanks to my wife who had to put up with me leaving sand around the house, and staying out and being out much more than at any time in our marriage, and for being understanding when I say I am leaving for two months to drag my fat ass up a Utah mountain...again.

Finally, I have to thank my teammates this summer who really have reignited a competitive spirit in me. Trivia: Jon, Sara, Allison, and the others who came out on occasion. Sunday Volleyball: Sara, Luke, Leah, Matt, and Allison. Monday Volleyball Tim, Zach, Tanya, Sara and Allison. Tuesday Volleyball: Karen, Becca, Todd, Zach and Allison. Wednesday Volleyball Tim, Tanya, Laurie, Dan, and Allison. I really need to give a special shout out to Allison who lined up next me in virtually every time I walked out into the sand. I am going to forgive her for not thinking about how her going to South Korea for a year would effect my summer of '10 volleyball teams :) She will be missed and you can see her in the pictures enjoying her going away cake and showing her amazement that I would don a PSU shirt for her at her last volleyball game.

Its now time to start packing for the trip west. I bought some new Brooks running shows today despite the completely condescending attitude of the clerk at the Madison store that is the home of the most serious long distance runners in the area. Yea, I don't look like anyone else in your store but don't treat me like I don't belong or make some comment about how these shows would help me with my "issues". I am looking forward to seeing everyone at the ridge. Looking forward to you guys kicking my ass. Looking forward to getting in the pool, treading, and sweating in the 100+ degree weather. But I'd be lying to you if I said I was looking forward to going 4.5 miles up that damn mountain every morning. :) I hope everyone enjoys their remaining summer and next time you read this I will be reporting from the new look Fitness Ridge. Peace, Love, and Safe Travels, Jim

Friday, August 7, 2009

wednesday night champs...again

And I wish you all the love in the world

But most of all

I wish it from myself.

And the songbirds keep singing

Like they know the score

And I love you, I love you, I love you

Like never before
-Christine McVie

Let's start with something that made me really happy. My team clinched the Wednesday night championship by beating the one team that had previously beaten us. My team played fabulously and I was just overwhelmed by our effort. Although I did hear through the grapevine that one girl on the team said she didn't have as much fun this year because it was so competitive. And the inference was that I was too competitive. What I had to say was you don't want to compete put up a net in your backyard and play with the neighbors. yea I am competitive, but to me winning is fun and the whole team would agree that she was 5 times the volleyball player she was last year cause she was pushed to be better. Anyway it felt good to win and we happily left our mark.

I spent one day last week at the Nationals Brewers game. I am a quasi-Nationals fan in that I kinda root for them. This marked my fifth time seeing the Nats and they are now 0-5 with me in attendance. I might be a jinx although I was reminded that they lose plenty of games without me in attendance. It was a fun game, we had amazing seats, and I actually enjoyed baseball for a change.

This made me day when I parked my car and got to see these bumper stickers staring back at me on a random car. That Sunshine Daydream sticker is easily 4 years old and was when I was in my Brian Wilson faze. I have sold literally 100's of those Coexist stickers as well. Add some music to your day and Coexist, hard to go wrong if you do those two things each day.

Trivia night after the Nats game. My trivia team has been slumping and mostly because I can't seem to answer a sports question correctly which is pretty much why they have me around. It's still lots of fun and I will surely miss my teammates when I am in Utah.

Speaking of Utah, I will be leaving in a little over two weeks. I have my last WW weigh-in next week and while it will be ok it's not going to be great by any stretch. But I can still say that I am in the best shape I have been in over a decade and when I started I couldn't imagine the profound effect it would have on my life. Just keep doing better. Bad weeks will happen, bad months don't ever need to happen. Speaking of the Ridge, we all know that they have been flirting with the people at Biggest Loser for awhile. It seems to me that all that flirting is about to bear fruit. It will be another change to the place we love, hopefully it moves the program forward, but one thing I can guarantee you about it. You'll be able to read all about the campers thoughts right here. It's been a quick summer, but I am still so excited. Peace Love and safe travels, jim