Monthly Archives: January 2015

Getting a grip…

Published / by Tim / 3 Comments on Getting a grip…

This is a continuation of my last post, if you didn’t read the first post, you can go HERE to do so…



Yeah! Holy crap! Right?

And so there I am, about to cry, craving a coke to make it all feel better and realizing I am in a sort of pickle. Gaining weight took NO effort. I ate. I sat around. I grew. I knew, however, based on everything I’d seen, heard, read and done… losing weight takes effort and lots of it. HOW DID MY LIFE COME TO THIS?

I always have this feeling that people are reading this and thinking, “This guy is such a pig. How does a human being do that?” or “Poor fat slob… deserves everything he gets.” or “256.6? EEEEwwww!!!” I have that feeling, because it’s what I thought. My perception was that I was this fat, flabby, piglike pile of lipids and goo with no friends and no life and no one liked me…. WHAAAAA!!!! I pouted.

Pouting didn’t help. A week went by and the scale didn’t budge an inch. I recall a Friday rolling around and it was clear, warm, pleasant. I’d been messing around with riding the bike, but I had never really gone very far, very fast or with any real purpose. I threw a leg over and took off. I rode 5.7 miles. The next day I did it again. Sunday I did it again and then I realized that when you don’t ride consistently, there are anatomical structures that need time to adjust to the curious demands of bicycling. I took a day off, but really missed being on the bike. So it became something I looked forward to.

I didn’t lose any weight though. I felt stronger. I could breathe easier but the weight just stayed. Exercise is frustrating when you don’t see any change. I did start to listen to people who were saying, “Have you lost weight?” I wasn’t but people thought I was. Weird. Then I realized I felt stronger… and it occurred to me that perhaps muscle was replacing fat… which isn’t a bad thing.

I kept riding and stopped watching the scale. One week. Two weeks. Then, one morning, I was standing there waiting for the shower to warm up and saw the scale. I stepped on. It flashed and flashed and then said…. 250.8. It was a good morning.

I have ridden, gotten lazy, lifted weights, gotten lazy, taken long breaks, ridden some more and I’m losing weight slowly but surely. So there are some things I’ve learned.

Weight is one of those things that can be all-consuming and it shouldn’t be. I have the most success when I am riding regularly and not stressing about how I look or what the scale says. It really boils down to being sensible.

I’ve learned that consistency is a key. Consistently riding (or just being active), eating and resting make the most difference over time.

Ultimately the greatest things I have learned is that if I can set my mind to something I can accomplish the thing i set my mind to. Where there is a will, there is a way. And I have really great friends who love and respect who I am no matter what I look like. That’s pretty important as the story continues to unfold. More on that another time.

Health and fitness?

Published / by Tim / 1 Comment on Health and fitness?

When everything you think you should write about scares you to write about, what should you write about? Yes, that’s what has been banging around in my brainpan this week. I have all these ideas, but they require vulnerability and a willingness to reveal some weakness I have. This week, being “open” doesn’t really set well with me.

So after a lengthy internal debate, I’ve decided I will begin to tell you about my exercise and fitness… struggles… adventures…. dilemmas… whatever you want to call them. I’m not “excited” to share this, but I think the story is getting better. So, here we go…

When I was in high school (every fitness story seems to start in high school) I was a soccer player. My high school was small. To field a team we needed 11 boys. We had 11. This meant that we all ran our guts out almost all of the time, whether we were practicing or playing a game. I was probably in the best shape of my life at that time. I have always been heavy framed. Which is not to say fat, but even when I was very lean, I was not “skinny”. I weighed 175 lbs and was in good health. I drank too much coke.

College rolled around and I got married. My wife is a good cook. I ate well and stayed around 180 lbs. I walked or bicycled all over the place in college so I got enough exercise to keep my soda pop habit from taking over my midsection. I remained in decent shape through college.

I graduated and got a job teaching and started making a good living wage. We did not have children and we were pretty active. Having a good job meant that we could buy “better” groceries, Tillamook ice cream, and real Coca-cola. It was at this time in my life that I really started gaining weight. Teaching, while keeping me mentally challenged, had me slowing way down. Even when I was moving around the classroom, it was not strenuous. I didn’t walk as much and I never rode my bike any more. 4 years in I weighed 220 lbs. Then we had kids.

It’s a strange thing that happens when people decide to have children. Eating is important for the mother. My wife is a healthy eater. She eats veggies, salads, lean meats and she is skinny. I ate more too. Sympathy? I don’t know. but I gained a few more pounds and the baby arrived. I was still teaching all day and sitting grading 8th grade essays in the evenings. Between the sitting and snacking while I was grading, I grew to 235 lbs. I knew I was getting fat at that time and it was frustrating… but not enough to move me to action.

Me (256 lbs)

Me in white @ 256 lbs.

I taught for several more years. We had a second child and I got a master’s degree. Going back to school kind of did me in. I was either reading, writing or grading papers during most of my free time.  With the reading, writing and grading came glasses of soda and cookies or other munchies. I knew I needed to be more active so I tried golf, but it was frustrating. My bike sat in the garage unused and deteriorating. I was plumping up. And then I took an office job.

The office job meant that I switched to drinking coffee as it was in good supply at work. Drinking coffee, in and of itself, isn’t horrible. The problematic part is, the perfect complement to coffee is a pastry. Sweet pastries and doughnuts seemed to show up in the office with some regularity. A coffee and a maple bar were a great way to start a fun-filled day of meetings and paperwork. It was during this time that I also discovered beer.

One thing led to another, I became a school principal and one day I woke up feeling horrible, looked in the mirror and I was horrified. There was a fat old man looking back at me. I decided to get out the scale and see what the damage was. The scale broke which was a bad omen. I purchased a new scale and it revealed that I weighed 256 lbs. (the heaviest I have ever been) It was a sad and sobering moment. I was sick, tired, fat, and unhealthy. I had all sorts of bad eating habits and I didn’t really feel like being active. I stood there with tears streaming and a craving a coke. I knew something had to change. That was 18 months ago.

To be continued—

Stopping for a breather.

Published / by Tim

For me, riding my bicycle is aStopping lot like writing. It seems like I get myself into these kinds of activities with some regularity. Specifically, activities that, on the surface, look like they are easy, enjoyable, rewarding, exciting and energizing.

There is a certain romanticism around writing. Ask anyone and they will probably tell you that at one time or another they thought they should write something. It has a unique allure. Most of us know how to write, so it seems like it should be a simple task.

Riding a bicycle is similar. Ask anyone if they would enjoy riding a bike in some beautiful place and most will agree. Many will say that they have, at one time or another,  thought that going on a trip by bicycle would be fun as well. Bicycling is popular and many people know how to ride a bike.

It’s when either of these things becomes a discipline that they begin to look and feel different. Committing to write once a week on this blog was no small thing for me. I have tried in the past. It takes a level of dedication that I didn’t consider when I created this space over a year ago. I bought a road bike in 2013. I had every intention to take it on a 100 mile ride that year. I have yet to ride the bike farther than 64 miles in one ride.

I like to write. I like to ride my bike. Last year, when I decided to transition these activities from interesting pass-time to something a bit more serious, they took on a new level of difficulty and I pushed myself. Not being able to reach my goals was not ok. Everyone can write, but not everyone has the stamina to write a novel. People all over ride their bikes, but most of them would not venture to ride 100 miles in a go. When I started, I went at it with a fury. I ended up burning myself out and feeling like I had failed. Somewhere along the way I convinced myself that since I didn’t reach my goal in just a few weeks, I never would. I ignored the blog and I wanted to sell the bike.

Just a few months ago, Feeling frustrated and defeated, I started to think, instead of writing amazing stuff every day, why not commit to write something  weekly? Why not go ahead and ride a 100 mile “century” ride this year but don’t worry about maintaining an 18 mile per hour pace. The common theme was, instead of trying to be superhuman, I needed to do what I could do and see where that would take me. I needed to go at my pace, rather than someone else’s

I think everything in life is like that. We can do anything we set our minds to, but in getting to the end result we want, we need to be able to stop, regroup and recharge occasionally. I give myself a whole week to write one post. If I attend to it several times during the week, the writing is easy (well, easier).

When I’m riding the bike I have learned that it’s better to think about the end result than to think about the time it takes. I’ll not be doing 100 miles this year if I have to do it in under 5 hours. Instead, I have to give myself the whole day and permission to go at a pace I can sustain. I can do 100 miles in a day, of this I am certain. I can also write one blog post each week. I need to allow myself to take a breather now and then in order to reach my intended results. When I give myself permission to go at my pace, the activities once again become enjoyable, rewarding, exciting and energizing

Do you ever feel like you push yourself too hard? Can you see a way to give yourself a breather? What would that look like for you?

Well now, what’s this?

Published / by Tim / 1 Comment on Well now, what’s this?

Holy cow! I made a commitment to write something each week and post it on Monday. Today, I had something to share so you get, shall we call it, bonus material? Ok, so here goes…Quote - Brene Brown           Photo ©2015 Tim Geoghegan

Along with the “commitment”, I set up a semi-formal writing schedule to help facilitate meeting my self-imposed deadline. The plan is, by Wednesday, I will have an outline, a rough draft and possibly some art or a quote or something to go with the post. The last post had no color at all and that fact is still bothering me.

Today, when I woke up, I had a really great start on the post. I was feeling happy about it. In my mind, it was going to make me seem totally cool, wise, clever and probably even pretty suave. And then something happened. I won’t go into the gory details, but after the “event” I retreated into my writing and realized that if I were to actually post what I had written, I would be a fraud. I would be lying to myself and to you. That is no way to start a long and wonderful relationship.

I just scrapped an outline and 270ish words… well, I put them on ice anyway, until I can get my act together on the topic. The topic was about being present and mindful. Both of these are things I have been reading a lot about and which I think I understand, in theory, obviously. Because today I was neither mindful or present at a critical moment. For that I am paying a price. But it is mine to pay and it will be alright, once I get myself reset.

I notice that when I mess up, I usually take the position of beating myself up. This comes across like I’m being a passive aggressive jerk. It is really me being angry that I am such an idiot and taking it out on the world (or my family and friends).

Sometimes the hardest thing I have to do is hit the reset button. That button is admitting that I blew it. I don’t like to admit that. It’s no fun. It doesn’t make me look cool, wise, clever or suave. It is necessary though, hitting the button, taking the lumps and moving on. It boils down to forgiving myself for being Impetuous, foolish and imperfect.

So, there it is. I blew it.

Now, I guess we will all be surprised by what shows up here on Monday. 🙂

How do you “reset” when you’ve messed up with people?

The New Year is Here!

Published / by Tim / 2 Comments on The New Year is Here!

Happy new year.

One Sure Chord, the blog, kind flopped in 2014. I whined about Facebook and talked about cool things on Kickstarter. I had good intentions to write all the time but I never really got into the writing groove. I procrastinated. I read books. My life became busy and did not give me any time to breathe. I have decided to take back some of my time.

In the last several months I have been reading almost constantly (especially if “listening” to books counts) and I have realized several things about myself. I’m not who I thought I was. I have several bad habits. I am not always good to myself. I lack focus. I have big dreams. I have a set of values I live by, even though I never took the time to identify them until recently. Those things are not the topic of this post but will eventually make their way into the blog.  The real purpose of this post is to make a simple commitment.

Commitments are scary things. It’s making a promise, but when you call it a “commitment” it is like a really important promise, like those you make to a spouse or a significant other. The kind of thing that, if you don’t follow through, might get you stuck sleeping on the couch, or worse.

So, here goes, my commitment is:

I will write each week and post something of interest to me every Monday. I can do this. I committed to write a poem each day in the month of December and I was successful (except for the one day I wasn’t). In the instance where I was not successful, I forgave myself and moved on. Part of me thinks that I’m overplaying the idea of commitment. The reality in my mind right now is that there are probably three people who will read this and they might actually read this every Monday. For them, I am committed. If more people join in I will be happily even more committed.

Notice, I did say that the posts will be of interest to me. For now, this is important because if I am to actually do the writing, I have to write for myself first. I will be entertaining to me, and if you enjoy it, let me know. If you don’t, you were warned. I am currently thinking about bicycling, writing, health, fitness and graduate school just to give you an idea where things might be headed. I will not be writing about the Common Core standards because I don’t want to.

The poetry challenge in December showed me a couple of things. Sometimes the product sucks, but I published it nonetheless. No one died. No one cried. It was what it was. I imagine if the whole world could have commented I would have found a few folks who wanted to point out how crappy a given poem might have been. I probably would have agreed. It also showed me that simply doing the activity, even when it was painfully hard, didn’t hurt me. I learned and It was good.

There’s a lot I could share, but I am going to save some of that so I have one or two future posts. I may post more often, but you can expect something, good, bad or ugly… on Monday. I shall leave you with one of my “December Dailies” poems so you get an idea of what lies ahead…. 🙂

The Pity Party Poem (12/11/14)

This is a poem.
It’s not very long.
It probably won’t rhyme.
The meter is off.

But it’s a poem,
because I say so!
It was written today.
Does anyone care?.

This poem,
Boring and uninspired,
doesn’t really matter

What good is this poem anyway?
It exists and sits alone,
bits and bytes on a lonely flash drive

©2014 Tim Geoghegan