Here's the skinny: I've been near 300 lbs. for years and need to lose weight. I'm married to a wonderful lady, and we have a family. One of our boys often asks if I'll run with him. I've always had to tell him, "No." In August of '09, my wife learned about a couch-to-5k running program, and I agreed to try it with her. This blog chronicles our progress on that training program. I hope I'll soon be able to surprise my son by telling him, "Yes, I'll go running with you!"

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Back from a nice weekend away

Aside from a trip to visit family over Christmas a couple of years ago, we've not had a week-long away-from-home vacation in nearly 10 years.  Typically, it's due to financial constraints.  Since changing employers a couple of years ago, limited vacation time has also become an issue. Still, we try to make the best of what we already have, so I took off this past Friday and Monday to allow us a long weekend away.  One of my brothers has a house in northern Minnesota, so we stayed there, with most of our gang divided between a little cabin (imagine two connected storage sheds remodeled to serve as a simple shelter with a bedroom, pseudo kitchen {no water}, and electric power), and a large tent.  Our eldest daughter was treated to a spare bedroom in the house.  My father lives there, and another of my brothers (and his wife) came up for the weekend, too.

All in all, it was a wonderful and relaxing weekend, though I'm sure my caloric intake was off the scale.  We had many family favorites, including Italian beef sandwiches, and fried fresh fish.  As much as I knew I should have limited my intake, I indulged in these familial delicacies, though I avoided some of the extras (sides) that were served with them. In some ways, it really felt like being home again (though my family was not from Minnesota), but all the pleasures of the weekend came with their share of stress.  Foremost among those also tied to food.  Our hosts have a "we'll eat when we get home" mentality, and they also tend to have only one large meal a day (my brother skipping both breakfast and lunch and then eating a large supper).  They didn't seem to understand that our kids, and especially our youngest and our special needs son, were used to a predictable schedule: breakfast not long after rising, lunch between noon and 1 PM, and dinner sometime before 6 PM.

We tried to be flexible.  When they told us they wanted to have the big fish fry around 7 PM, we figured we could make it work.  We packed snacks and even let the kids get desert before dinner (a little restaurant nearby has huge "small" soft serve cones for one dollar each).   Even with that extra food, nerves were frayed by the time 7 PM arrived, since we all were accustomed to eating earlier.  When we got back to the house, my brothers and their wives were nowhere to be seen.  We waited a bit, but when faced with growing meltdowns from the youngest ones (whose bedtime would normally fall around 8 PM), we broke out the food we set aside for our return-trip lunch, and served up homemade bread, cheddar cheese, good summer sausage (from a small processor, not mass market Yard-O-Beef type stuff), and a stick of pepperoni.  Soon, the kids were fed and the little ones were bedded down.  Our hosts returned around 8:30 PM and commenced with the fish fry.  They seemed surprised that we fed the kids, and that some were already bedded down for the night.  There even was wondering aloud why I didn't start frying the fish when we got back.  Besides not knowing which pots they wanted used for the frying, we had no idea what they were serving with the fish or what time they were returning.  So, I think we'll arrange to prepare all of our own meals next time, or at least make them realize that we need to stick to regular meal times, or at least the times agreed upon.

Anyway, I don't mean to rant here.  It was a good weekend overall.  I got to go out fishing on Friday night with my brothers--something I never would have imagined years ago.  It was the first time I was out trolling on big water for walleye in almost a decade, and the only time I've fished apart from my immediate family in six (or more) years.  The kids got to swin in a lake with exceptionally clear water, and we made our return trip at a relaxed pace later in the day on Sunday.  That gave us one more vacation day in our home area, so we headed off to a park in a neighboring town where we spent most of the day with the kids fishing and playing.  It was, by far, the most enjoyable vacation time I've used in the past year, and the best long weekend we've had in a while.

It's just a shame my available vacation days are so few--two weeks of personal time (combined vacation and sick time) with my current employer, whereas I had four weeks plus dedicated sick time at my former employer.  Of course, the cost of that extra vacation time was a commute that averaged nearly three hours a day, and that ate up far more time each year than four weeks of vacation (it was an equivalent of over 15 work weeks of travel each year!).

Anyway, I feel the weight (figuratively and literally) of how I ate this weekend, so I know I'll need to run it off.  Now that we're home, my portions are back to their controlled normal, and I'm looking forward to my next run...when it cools down just a bit.

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