Mine…

One of those mornings it hits me *hard*.

Something like 7 years ago I was a dead man walking…well north of 427 pounds. Every blood marker there is, kidney, lipids, liver, “off the charts” bad. Blood sugar had gone over 500. A1C was beyond accurate measurement. 8 ‘scrips. TWO injectables. Near $16 grand/year worth. No less than 8 Advils a day. Sometimes much, much more. A dozen? Sixteen? Yeah. Bad. I know. But the alternative was “non-functional.”

Asleep at the wheel…not somewhere I went deliberately, but I had arrived there nonetheless.

The morning I realized this…that I was dead but just hadn’t bothered to lay down yet…woke me up NOT because of the seriousness of my condition…but what I realized at that moment was that I really didn’t *care*.

It was also an impossible task. I was 50! Too much. Too far. Too old.

Far, far too late.

But the old me…buried deep down…the one that climbed out of poverty, the one that’s fought himself out of countless life and death situations piped up and said, “WTF?”

So I set to work on it anyway. And I beat it. Diabetes gone. Blood pressure, blood makers, heart/lung function…all ideal. Off all those drugs. I haven’t taken a pain reliver in months.

I’m NOT yet where I want to be. I still have fat to lose, and I want to pile on even more muscle. Vanity? Meh…not really.

Or perhaps.

But the muscle really is the fountain of youth, and the fat loss is the longevity. I’ve SEEN it. I’ve proved it.

Or at least, some days I believe that.

See, that Fat Man in the Mirror still beckons. I still hear him…and worse, see him every time I look. I still fuck up the diet. I still go backwards. I still have bad days. I still fail.

Today I was feeling it. The Fat Man in the Mirror was laughing at me. “Lie down.” he seems to say. “You’ll never make it.”

But I’m still here. I’m still working it. Month by month. Day by day. Hour by hour. I succeed just slightly more than I fail…and THAT…is what progress is.

I usually wear a heavy-cotton, loose fitting t-shirt for my daily activities. Habit and utility. Usually a size too large or more just to have room to move and bend. Also a left over habit from when a 6XL was too small. Big clothes and heavy fabric hide the bumps and unwanted curves. Light fabric and tapered shirts just show how fat I am.

Today, as I’m putting on a XL heavy cotton shirt getting ready for breakfast, the wife hands me a light cut/tapered shirt, size L.

“Here. Put this on.”
“Why?”
“Because you look damn good in it.”

*looks in the mirror*

“Huh. Well I’ll be dammed.”

My life is MINE…I took it back.

The Fat Man in the Mirror doesn’t get a vote.

Maybe one day I’ll even be able to tell him that.

I’ll see you on the road.

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Even They’ve Gotta Eat

A long and lonely night run. Feeling it. Wondering just why I do this to myself sometimes. Too little sleep. Too many miles away from the woman. Too many miles alone with my own thoughts. Sometimes just what’s needed. This time…a toxic combination.

The glimmerings of dawn coinciding with the need for a splash of fuel for the big cruiser…and some food for the soul piloting her. This sort of stop can be therapeutic…encountering other people on their own journey might convince me mine wasn’t so damn futile.

I find that all sorts…meet at these kind of crossroads. Sorts I’d normally never encounter. Occasionally some I’d never want to.

Small town diner. Odd hour. Open and serving, but the assortment of old pickup and work trucks usually filling the lot and heralding such a place haven’t arrived yet.

Damn. More lonely. Ah well. At least I’d have a side of coffee to go with it.

Coffee. Eggs. Cheese. Various hams, bacons, and sausages. Much of that arranged in a rather excellent omelet. Buttered grits and fruit served up without being asked for. Some perfectly crispy hash browns to top it all off. A coffee cup that never went empty.

Perfect.

Only one other patron…and he was a odd one. I’m a fair judge of people…and I go by far more than their dress. It’s manner and presence that really cue me in. And instinct. I couldn’t get much of a read on him.

Dude was a puzzle. He hadn’t looked up at the waitress the entire time I was there…or at me…nor spoken. He had, for lack of a better description, growled at her a few times. She apparently understood as she had brought him breakfast and kept his coffee full.

I could describe him no other way except as…unsettling. Perhaps with a dash of evil tossed in. Or maybe the other way around.

Only thing about him that I could read clear…was that under the proper circumstances he would be a very, very dangerous man.

Note that “dangerous” is not why I was “unsettled”. Some of the finest men I know are very, very dangerous given the proper circumstances. It’s part of what makes a man…a man. But I operate in a similar enough world to them that I understand the situations where these men would become dangerous. This guy? I didn’t move in his world at all.

I chuckled at a sudden thought…I’d mark him as a werewolf…just needing a full moon to break out in a frenzy of fur, violence, death, and destruction…were it not for the fact that I’m a supposed adult in a world all declare as mundane.

We don’t believe in such things. Or so I’ve been told. Supernatural isn’t real…well…except if it occurs in any of the roughly 4200 religions practiced around the world.

I shook my head and dismissed the thought. Or tried to.

A single glance from the man…piercing green eyes meeting my blue ones. Then he was back to ignoring me. I shivered. And believed.

“Unsettling.”

So much so that after I’d finished breakfast and was checking out at the front counter, I asked the waitress, “You gals gonna be okay?” while nodding in the dude’s direction. It was just her and another lady at the grill in the place…and they’d be alone with the growler when I departed.

She grinned at me confidently. “Him? Oh yeah, we’ll be fine.” She glanced his way, “I’m pretty sure he’s a full out demon, but he’s a regular and he tips well.”

I blinked. Not sure what answer I WAS expecting, but that was NOT it. Somehow I wasn’t all that surprised though.

“Uh. Okay? You’re sure?”

“It’s a *diner* hun. We see it all. Even demons’ gotta eat.”

She patted me on the hand and tilted her head at me. “Just like the wandering souls do. It’s what we’re here for.”

Demons and wandering souls.

…and they all gotta eat.

It’s what we’re here for…

I’ll see you on the road…or perhaps at the crossroads.

CUAgain,
Daniel Meyer

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Listen…this is important…

Spawned by a conversation with a “demotivated” person that’s been following my fitness quest:

No, I am not a success…and no, you are not a failure.

This is NOT an “all or nothing” quest. I am not success or failure. Rather, I progress.

Success? Ha! I fail…regularly, repeatedly, and distressingly often. The Fat Man in the Mirror is often keen to point this out.

I am NOT a machine. I’m a bundle of instinct, emotions, passions, desires, wants, and needs…with a vastly imperfect cobbled together attempt at a logical matrix, educational core, and moral/ethical code kind-of sort-of imposed over the animal beneath. Mostly…the civilized, motivated, logical, analytic “skin” keeps the rest barely in check.

Maybe. You really think I jam these two-wheeled machines a thousand miles though the Texas heat or into the heart of a thunderstorm because I’m being particularly rational at that moment?

A toxic mix on some days…an ideal blend on others. Even the measure moves.

I fail in my eating goals. I fail in my exercise goals. I fail in my career goals. I fail in my personal development, hobbies, projects, and rest. I miss my target body-fat percentage goals. The sacrifices I made to my health early on were a failure. They still cost me successes today. It’s a long road back.

My “self-care” gets put on the back burner far too much. Life, family, work…all intrude where sometimes they have no right…it’s a failure for me to allow that. Perhaps. See, whether it has the right or not, the world
HAS to be dealt with anyway.

I fail at all of these things…but here’s the key…I succeed too.

There are things I want to achieve that may not be possible…I may fail in attempting…or it may be a failure to even consider trying. I’ll likely try anyway. I’ve no doubt I’ll fail. But I’ll succeed too. It’s the balance that matters.

Fail. Succeed. These are not “all or nothing” for life.

I was, no lie, right before writing this, sitting here jamming to some VERY good music and trying to figure out how my plans for the week and weekend went SO far awry and dejectedly wondering WHAT…if anything…of my goals for the week I could salvage…and if it was worth the bother to even try.

We all have our moments…our successes…and many, many failures. I am no exception.

I only progress because I succeed, on average, more than I fail. I can’t let it get to me that I’m not 100% successful. Nobody is. I’ll aim for it but I can’t achieve it.

What I CAN do…is work at moving the line…set out, every time, with the goal of progressing…and understanding that means succeeding just slightly more than I fail.

I am NOT where I want to be. But I am moving the line.

Do what you can with what you’ve got. Move the line. Success is taking the steps. Failure is just a stumble. Neither are definitive. PROGRESS is the goal.

Celebrate the successes. Learn from the failures. Get back up and do it again.

Move the line. You’ll be amazed where that takes you.

I’ll see you on the road.

CUAgain,
Daniel Meyer

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She followed me home…

Me -leering-: “Hey Honey, she followed me home. Can I keep her?
“Her -rolls eyes-: “Well, you’ll have to take care of her and feed her and exercise her and play with her and pet her and take her out a lot and….
“Me: -zoom zoooooooom!!!- 

Yeah, she’s a keeper. So is She.

(2015 1800CC Fuel injected Valkyrie)

Much zoom zoomage will commence. There’s now THREE Valks hanging out at the Meyer Casa…

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The Man in the Mirror

A quick video from my trainer on my journey (so far).

I do need to thank Rowelett Transformation Center and my trainers not just for teaching me how, but for teaching me that I could.

Main lessons learned?
–Life, not just fitness…is mostly…a head game.
–I am, above all else…a work in progress.

Shortly I’ll be moving all the fitness blogs to their own site…and getting back to the motorcycling books/stories on this one. More about that later!

I’ll see you on the road.

CUAgain,
Daniel Meyer

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A post/surgery fitness update…

For those following this fitness journey of mine…I owe you an update!

I originally started blogging this stuff for a couple reasons…heh…partly because it’s become habit for me to blog stuff to help organize my thoughts, and later, because some folks were following along and told me recording my struggles and progress was helpful.

*shrugs* I’m a writer. It’s what we do.

So along those lines, I resolved to blog the good AND the bad of this journey. Transparent. Well…as transparent as the Fat Man in the mirror can be anyway.

It’s been 3 months since my skin removal surgery…and while I’m on schedule for recovery, it’s not quite as far along as I’d like.

Current state is the numbness around the incisions is fading fast, and the result is they are quite sensitive and incorrectly “stimulating” any area on or near an incision results in a pronounced weakness/shocky/shudder that follows the entire lengths of them…and that’s somewhat over 6 feet of ’em!

It’s annoying…BUT, it is NOT overly painful…just somewhat surprising when it occurs (and it’s getting more frequent/intense) and has more impact on my mood and abilities/performance than I want to “allow”.

It’s also not unexpected really, as I AM where I and my surgeon expect me to be in my recovery. This was a serious/major surgery and the issue is basically a stage in the healing. I knew from the get-go that 6 months is the “full recovery” period.

Sings in my best Bon Jovi voice “OhhhOhh, we’re halfway there!”

With the surgeon’s blessing I’m back in the gym, and progressing rapidly back to “pre-surgical” performance. Despite some real improvement, I’m NOT there yet…as I proved to myself with some rather lackluster dead-lifts this week. I didn’t hurt myself or anything…I’ve learned good form and to listen to my body…and I hit a certain weight (315 pounds I think) and it didn’t feel right and I didn’t complete the lift. I ended up with a max 2 of 290 I think (I’m a bit fuzzy on the weight of the trap bar I was using). Anyway, I’ve done the higher number and more before.

Didn’t feel “right”. One of the tricks is deciding whether the “shut it down” signal is a real limitation or your brain…I am uncertain here, but willing to work my way back and want to avoid injury.

Now…the “full disclosure” for those following along…it’s not all good news. The bad news is that I’ve let my weight creep up 10 pounds since the surgery.

Not quite as bad as it sounds, as a couple pounds of that is added muscle. The important number is body-fat percentage which I’ve let go over 20%. Not good…

I AM still dealing with rather random swelling/puffiness/water retention as an after-effect of the surgery and experience shows that can dramatically impact the InBody scan…

…BUT…

Let’s not make excuses here…the numbers are slowly rising and consistent. I could list lots of reasons…heck, “post surgical swelling” sounds great and is even validated by my surgeon.

…BUT…consistent numbers tell the undeniable story.

…and excuses don’t get the job done. That right there…the head game…is the ONE thing that matters most in this journey.

This is on me, plain and simple. I’m not watching the diet (specifically the quality of it) close enough, and not exercising enough to overcome that.

The exercise I’ve been phasing in…and I think I’ve been hitting it as hard as is wise to do so. Continuous improvement of my performance is a sign of that.

But the diet I CAN control. That’s on me, and I’m disappointed in myself. Many have heard me say, “I’m not going back to what I was.”

That’s an “all costs” thing. But it’s slow and insidious. It requires attention. It mandates the head-game.

On the other hand…I am solidly in the “fit” category of the world…and in better shape than I’ve been in my entire adult life.

But that’s not good enough.

So, 20 pounds or so to hit 15% body fat…and I know how to do that.

It’s time I got back to work.

I’ll see you on the road.

CUAgain,
Daniel Meyer

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Not Morning Girl

The wife shook me urgently awake. “Don’t you have to work today??”

I sat bolt upright in bed. “Shit!” It’s been a while since I forgot to set an alarm. Usually doesn’t matter as I seem to wake about the right time anyway. I leaned over to give the wife a smooch, but “not morning girl” was already sound asleep, back into whatever dream she was having.

I rolled out of bed, put on some coffee, and hit the shower. Drying off afterwards I noted the Big Orange Cat eyeing me sleepily from his usual place on the bed between our pillows. That was important somehow…but I couldn’t figure out how at the moment.

I grabbed for some socks and underwear and stumbled into the living room. Flipping on the tube to check the traffic report I grabbed for my coffee and began to rapidly dress. It’s a particular talent…to simultaneously sip coffee WHILE you’re putting on your underwear…

The TV was weird. There was no traffic. There was no news. Rather, some infomercial was trying to sell me some oxygen generator or sleep therapy thing. I flipped to another channel. It was a talk show hosted by some singer I vaguely recognized.

What the heck?

Then I realized what the location of the Big Orange Cat meant…see…as soon as I’m up in the morning he’s quite verbal about asking me to let him out for his dawn patrol. If I’m not up by 0-stupid-30 (4:30am or so) he’s not shy about telling me to get my ass out of bed to let him out. He takes his dawn patrol quite seriously.

But it wasn’t time for a dawn patrol. Or a traffic report. Warily I eyed the clock, trying to focus on the sleep blurred red numbers.

2:27. Yes, that’s AM. Sigh. “Not Morning Girl’s” dream was apparently that I was late for work.

Oh…and as I’m climbing back into bed she mumbles, “You’re home late…”

I’ll see you on the road.

CUAgain,
Daniel Meyer

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Reflection?

I celebrated a birthday yesterday. It marks an interesting day…as 5 years ago my health was such that there was no way I was going to make it to this day.

I changed that.

The passing of time…usually marked by things like a New Year, Christmas, or birthdays, inevitably leads to reflection, and often to evaluation.

So many view that year gone by…as a step closer to the end…or away from things “they could” and the like…and it colors not only their reflections of the present, but their view of the future.

As a young man from my position and background…with my future prospects…I would have bet I wouldn’t make 30.

I just passed my 55th birthday. Is that too late? Is my life over? Have I peaked? Physically? Mentally? In my enjoyment of life? Experience make me jaded? Grumpy (as it seems to do to so many). Weary of the world? Is THAT my topic of reflection?

I’ve always tried to make my way…but mostly…for my first 5 decades, I went were the winds blew…yes, I worked hard…but really I coasted down the easy or expected paths. It took me to a “not good” place. Was that my lot? Was that all I could expect?

Hell. To. The. Nope. Not reflecting on that.

So what ARE we supposed to reflect upon?

Shit, I don’t know…but I do know this…the future…tomorrow, next week, next year…are what we CAN exert influence on…what we can steer or lead…and as long as we’re breathing it’s not too late.

I *know* this. I’ve done it. Am I another year…or decade older? Sure as hell am…and I’m better than I’ve been in decades…physically, mentally, financially.

It didn’t “just happen”. It was not luck. It was a choice, followed by learning what it would take, and most importantly, by DOING those things.

Ten years difference in the photo below. I was even heavier after that 1st photo…and didn’t really start on this endeavor until I hit 50. On the right…I’ve lost more weight then I weigh today. 222 pounds down. Added muscle too. Beat high blood pressure, diabetes, metabolic syndrome and a host of other things that were adding up to take me before 55.

And I’ve not peaked. Not even close.

If experience has made you weary…it’s time to take a different road. There’s more to see…do…experience…than can be done in a dozen lifetimes.

It’s nothing more…or less…than a choice.

Get on it.

I’ll see you on the road.

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Mostly Human

Sitting here in my recliner…casting music vids at the “wall ‘O boob tube”…taking a much needed rest day. Sleep is still tough…work has been at its most challenging, and recovery from this surgery takes a LOT out of you.

I had the shakes this morning. They were, at least, somewhat less than yesterday.

Yeah, I went back to work too soon. Can’t be helped. I am what I am…I do what I do. I’ve made my way in this world on my will and ethics…work and otherwise…despite some bad hands dealt. I come from a *long* way down and am constantly aware that because of what and who I am, there’s no safety net.

One or two missed steps and I’d be back in the mire I fought my way out of years ago.

I am unlikely to change “what brung me” to any serious degree.

I’ve time to reflect today…the human organism is a fantastic thing, at least if you give it half a chance. The sheer severity of the punishment you can inflict on the human body…that it can and will recover from, all the while permitting you to be as functional as is possible, is truly amazing.

But the mind must be involved. Resilience, it turns out, is an act of sheer will. The hard work is the easy part. If I regret anything of the past…it’s that it took me so long to understand that.

This isn’t just about the recent surgery…it covers near 5 decades of bad choices, overwork, self-neglect, and injuries.

And despite it all…today, finally, I’m healthier than I’ve ever been. I did the work. I paid the price…and the interest.

The “tearing me down” phase is over. It’s time to remake the man.

So yeah, I need this break…and a few more. I still feel guilty about it…but my focus is changing.

I stared at the man in the mirror for a long while this morning. I STILL don’t recognize him…but…at least now I can see he’s on his way to becoming the man I always thought I was.

…or perhaps dreamed I could be.

It’s a high bar I’ve set…but I’ve already decided that I’ll clear it.

Whatever it takes.

I’ll see you on the road.

I still don't recognize the man in the mirror.

Me at 205. That’s 222 pounds down and I’m still puffy/swollen from the surgery.

“Break me down and build me up
Whatever it takes
‘Cause I love the adrenaline in my veins
I do whatever it takes
‘Cause I love how it feels when I break the chains
Whatever it takes…”

You can read more about my fitness journey here.

CUAgain,
Daniel Meyer

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Viking Cycle-Sport/Street Medium Backpack Review

This spring Viking Cycle provided me with a couple of products to review.

I reviewed a pair of gloves from them here. Yep, I’m still using them.

Next up up is a backpack. Now, i’m normally NOT a backpack kind of guy…as a distance rider one of my secret weapons is a backrest on my cruiser and that’s not normally compatible with a backpack.

I DO commute though, and nearly always have some sort of bag with me. Laptop, chargers, lunch, workout clothes, whatnot…all travel to work with me nearly daily. I’ve been using a duffel tied down on the back seat for the task. Once at my destination, I have to toss it over my shoulder for the trek up and down at least a half dozen floors of stairs, crossing the world’s most dangerous street, and so on, so a backpack wouldn’t be out of place.

Viking provided their Medium Black Street-Sportbike Backpack for review so I gave it a go.

The backpack turned out to work as well as the duffel for me, as the backpack has plenty of straps and loops etc to be able to strap it down as easily as the duffel when I’m on the bike with the backrest. When I’m on the other machine, the backpack wears comfortably and has a good arrangement of straps and adjustments so it stays in place and isn’t distracting.

It’s semi-rigid, has compartments that easily hold my laptop and junk, and the medium will accommodate my “commute load”. It would not be big enough for overnight.

The backpack has good quality, durable zippers and it looks like quality stitching and construction. I’m happy with it.

The Viking medium Sport/Street backpack

The strap arrangement is comprehensive and effective

Suitable compartment for laptop/tablet

Viking also markets in the UK and “Down Under” so if you’re there, hit up your local sites:

Motorcyclehouse AU
Motorcyclehouse UK

Full disclaimer: Viking provided this bag free of charge for me for review.
Full full disclaimer: If I didn’t like it I wouldn’t say I do…and I DO like it.

I’ll see you on the road,
CUAgain,
Daniel Meyer

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