“Walking to New Orleans?”

Chad and I had a pretty healthy 2013, and we both want to be sure that trend continues. In order to focus and set some goals, we looked ahead to races and events we wanted to accomplish, from our first obstacle course race to our “main event” the Susan Komen 3-day. (More on that later.) You may have seen my Chad’s posts this January about his goals for 2014, and many of them are mine, too.

But because we often do a variety of things, walking, biking, etc., for training, we were interested in finding a way to tie it all together as we work on all of our “smaller” tasks. Since we track our workouts on myfitnesspal and/or mapmyfitness, it just made sense to see what our total distance covered would be, and see how far those miles might take us. The data geek in me that likes any bit of motivation and reward I can find thought, “Cool, but how do we really get a concept of have far we have traveled with these miles?” That made me think of places I wanted to go that also might actually possible to “get to” during this little tracking project, and the answer popped into my head…New Orleans! Just for fun, I choose one of our favorite French Quarter bars, the Old Absinthe House. So this is the question: How long would it take to travel on foot the 961.5 miles from our house in Waterloo, Wisconsin to 240 Bourbon Street, New Orleans, LA?

Walking to NO main map

Map courtesy of mapmyfitness.com

Now for all the disclaimers and data.

  1. While we will be as accurate and consistent as possible on our end, this is a goofy project that is not at all precise and certified in any way, and Chad and I acknowledge this is all just a huge estimation. Basically, our margin of error is +/- 50%, but, it will be fun!
  2. Looking at different mapping tools, the distance can vary over 30 miles, due to route differences, measuring errors and even rounding differences, I suppose. So to make it a bit easier on ourselves, we are choosing mapmyfitness, since we are already set up with that website. (Also, word has it that they now sync with myfitnesspal, so when we start actually working out outside and covering actual distances, things will be that much easier to track.)
  3. We have another small glitch to overcome; unlike runners who run all their miles, how do we equate a bike ride with a run with a swim when it comes to miles covered? Again this is a huge “grain of salt” issue; depending on hills and intensity of the workout, actual mileage will vary, so we had to decide on some rules. After a bit of online “research” we have decided to follow these guidelines:
    1. Walking and running are counted as 1:1 straight-up miles.
    2. Biking to on-foot is 3.5:1
    3. Swimming to on-foot is 1:4
    4. The elliptical was a harder call, since it is lower impact, but I can vary the incline and resistance. Since my slow and easy miles are 12 minutes, I will count every 12 minutes as a mile.
    5. Extras: we went snowshoeing this January, where we just had to estimate the distance, and other activities will have to be judged as they come up, an others, like kayaking, may not even be added to the total.

I didn’t post this in January because I wanted to test things out a bit, and after the first month, here is my status:

walking Jan total

Looking at a map view, you can see that I’m on my way:

The blue-ish point is how far I've gone.

The blue-ish point is how far I’ve gone.

Looking forward to a healthy and happy 2014…Join us!

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Week #72 Weigh-in…and time to get back on the horse!!!

Like the rest of the world, the start of a new year gives me pause to reflect on the past and to set goals for our future. So, what’s happened in the last year?

  • Family trip to for 12 to Walt Disney World
  • Met my 40 by 40 BMI goal
  • Completed two half-marathons
  • Completed a 60-mile walk
  • raised over $3,000 for cancer research and victim support
  • Finished my tenure at Rice Lake High School
  • Started my tenure at Sauk Prairie High School
  • Moved back into our house in Waterloo
  • Lost two more friends to cancer
  • Celebrated my 40th birthday
  • fell even more in love with my wife 🙂

That’s not a bad year. Like all of us, the day-to-day life that falls in between those milestones is where the living really happens. Since I haven’t blogged here since August, I haven’t shared as much of that day-to-day as in the second half of the year as I did in the first. My excuse is that the 47 mile commute I have is taking too much time, almost 2 hours a day. My excuse is that as a new principal 12 hour days are sort of the norm. My excuse is that I already met my 40by40 goals, so what was I going to write about. My excuse is that I’ve been using some of these excuses to avoid exercising and eating right too, so I didn’t have too much positive to write about. In fact, here’s a glimpse of my weight over the last three months:

3 Months Progress

Not so good, huh? 20 pound gain? It’s even worse than that going back another month. I hit a low of 296 early in September. So I’m actually up almost 30 pounds. And my BMI is 42.2, so while I hit my goal of a 40 BMI by my 40th birthday, I wasn’t able to maintain it. (See above for a few of the excuses I’ve been using for why.)

Now, that’s the negative. But if I take a longer view, I did start 40by40 with a BMI of 49.5 and a weight of 385. So I am still down almost 60 pounds. Here is a view of the entire year of weight:

IMG_20140101_162540_684

Still down about 15 pounds over the course of the year, which means that I just had two years, 2012 and 2013, where I weighed less at the end of it than I did at the beginning. And I am pretty sure that hasn’t happened since….ever? Honestly, I think it is possible that this is the first time I’ve ever had two consecutive years of weight-loss in my entire life! That’s a pretty big deal as I think about it, so maybe, instead of focusing on the last 3 months of failure, I need to focus on the last 24 months of success!! And instead of slipping into despair and giving up, as I have so many times before, I’m taking the long view here and making sure I rebound and make this happen.

To do that, I need to have some goals, and as the last year has made clear, I need to have them out in the public eye; because part of what motivates me is knowing that I’ve made a public commitment to making these positive changes. (And getting your encouragement and positive vibes!!) So here goes:

Goals for 2014

  1. Complete the 3-Day event in Minneapolis/Saint Paul, raising at least $3,000 for Susan G. Komen in the process
  2. Complete my first Sprint Triathlon
  3. Complete my first obstacle race, i.e. a Warrior Dash, Tough Mudder, or Spartan Race
  4. Finish a half-marathon in under 2:45.00
  5. Cover at least 1300 miles in training
    1. 646 of that are the recommended training miles for a 3 Day.
    2. The rest of it will be in training for the other races.
    3. I will count all miles as walking/running miles, using the following conversion:
      1. 3.5 miles biking = 1 mile walk/running
      2. .25 miles swimming = 1 mile walk/running
  6. “33by41”  Lower my BMI to 33 by my 41st Birthday on August 17, 2014.
    1. To do this, I’d have to weigh just over 250 pounds.
    2. Losing 75-ish pounds in 32 weeks.
    3. That’s a bit aggressive, and since I haven’t consulted my dietician, I’ll give her veto over that. But we’ll start there.
  7. Post at least once a week to this blog, sharing my progress, lack there of, and general observations about the world.

That should about cover it. Hope you’ll enjoy following along. Love you all and have a Happy New Year!!

Week #54 Weigh in…and who’s not a 300-pounder!?!!??!

In the fall of 1991, I showed up on the University of Wisconsin – Stevens Point campus at 242 pounds. Shortly, it became clear that among offensive linemen there, the expectations was that you would need to weigh 300 pounds to have a chance at starting. (To be fair, there were starters who didn’t weigh 300 pounds, but I definitely felt pressure from my teammates and coaches to get bigger, and 300 pounds was sort of alluded to as the bench mark.

So I ate a ton and worked hard and came back to school after X-mas break in January 1992 at 275 pounds. And in August 1992, at 295 pounds. And around January 1993, I crossed the 300 pound mark and never looked back. I weighed 320 pounds on the day of my wedding in 1996. I weighed 330 pounds in 2000, when I hiked the Grand Canyon. I weighed 360 pounds in 2006, when I took a position as an associate principal. And I weighed 375 pounds in 2008, when I became a principal.

In August of 2009, after a year of bachelorhood and the stress of being a first year principal I weighed 404 pounds, my personal high point.

So this morning, when I stepped on the scale, and it said:

299.6!!!!!!!

…I might have been a touch excited. 🙂

So to recap, as of this morning, I have hit a 21 year low for body weight, lost a total of 104.4 pounds from my high point, lost 81.4 pounds since August 17, 2012, and lowered my BMI from 49.4 to 38.8 in the same time frame!!

Yep, it’s been a damn good year!!

 

Weeks 42-52 Weigh ins….And Mea Culpas galore!!

So, this is my first post since June 2nd. My fault. Between finishing up in Rice Lake, starting up in Sauk Prairie, moving my entire life from Rice Lake to Waterloo, commuting 47 miles one way from Waterloo to Sauk Prairie, going to Canada, and training for and completing the 60-mile 3 Days for a Cure, I haven’t made this blog a priority. Mea Culpa. I hope you will accept my apology, and continue to read on.

On my last post, June 2nd, I weighed 303.2. Then Week #42 was 303.6; #43 = 308.6 (Week in Trego at cabin), #44 = 310 (no excuse), #45 = 302.4 (Worked my tail off), #46 = 303.4 (little setback), #47 = 301.6 (getting there!), #48 = 301.6 (static!), #49 = 311.3 (Canada!), #50 = 304.2 (Back to working my tail off), #51 = 300.5 (so damn close!!), #52 = 302.5 (3 Day walk, still a bit swollen and likely water weight, but I’m totally ok with that.)

Tomorrow is my 40th birthday, that means that “40 by 40” has come to an end. Lets review the successes and failures of the year, shall we? I started the year, last August 17th, at 381 pounds. I now weigh 302.5. I’ve lost 78.5 pounds, an average of 1.5 pounds per week!!! I think just about anyone would tell you that is an amazing year and a really healthy rate of loss. Measured in pounds, no doubt, 40 by 40 has been a success!!!

On August 17, 2012, my BMI was 49.38. (Normal is below 25 and obese is over 30.) (Right Michelle?) Today, my BMI is 39.21!! I’m not a mathematician, but that number, 39.2, looks to be below 40 to me. And since the title of this project was “40 by 40,” referencing my goal to have a BMI under 40 by the time I turned 40, and since I turn 40 tomorrow, measured by BMI, again the last year has been a smashing success!!!

My blood pressure, blood sugar, and joint pain were all out of control a year ago. Today, I have a normal blood pressure (though still controlled by medication), my A1C has dropped down to 5.4, well into the normal range, and other than the aches I have from walking 60 miles last weekend…wait a minute, let’s jsut say my joints are in good enough shape that I could walk 60 miles if I wanted to!! Health-wise, this last year has been a smashing success!!!

If there has been a failure, it is this. I hit my 40 BMI goal for the first time in April, after only 8 months! At that time, I reset and established a goal of 35. I did not make it. The last 4 months have been some of the most hectic of my life, and I was not able to focus the way I needed to keep up the pace of loss over the entire year that I had established in the fall and winter. That means I did not hit a goal I had set, and that is failure.

However, through all the stressors of the last 4 months, I never weighed more than 311 pounds, within 3 pounds of the 40 BMI mark, and I continued to trend down in terms of overall weight, even if the pace slowed considerably. The old me was a stress eater. The more I stressed, the more I ate. The new me doesn’t do that. I may occasionally put too much in my mouth, but that happens briefly, for very short periods of time, and then I work out like a madman to try to  counteract the effects. In the last year I’ve learned that exercise is a much more effective stress reliever than eating. Go figure?

I absolutely could not have done as well as I have, without the support of everyone who reads this blog. Making my journey a public things was super scary at first, but the rewards of this public accountability, combined with the unwavering support of so many of you, have made this one of the most rewarding years of my life. Thank so much for that wonderful gift!

My co-travelers on this trip; myfitnesspal.com friends; my mom and sister; (All of them are the same people by the way) have been the heavy lifters. Every week for the whole year, we held each other accountable to completing our food-logs, a critical step in weight-loss by the way, with encouraging words when things were going well, and not so well. I could not have done this with you, Mary Harnisch and Ellen Race. I love you both and am so proud of the changes you have made in your lives in the last year as well!

Lastly, we all know how lucky I am to have a live-in dietitian. We all know how lucky I am to have a life partner whose love for me is so strong I can sometimes feel it’s presence like it is a physical thing. We all know how lucky I am to have found so young, and held for so long, someone who is the perfect match for me and whom I am comfortable loving for all time. Michelle, baby, I love you so much! And your love, support, expertise, patience and partnership have been so inspiring, so transformative, so comfortable! I don’t know what took me so long to figure it out; but I am so grateful that you hung with me. Thank you for everything you have done for me and with me. I look forward to 40 years of trying to pay you back!!

I have more I want to say, a long post about the amazing experience of the 3 Day, and another about my next goal. But I will save it for another day. It’s time to go home, celebrate my successes, and get ready for the next challenge. Talk to you all soon.

Be careful out there!!

Week #39, #40, & #41 Weigh-ins…and did I mention I’m a half-marathoner?!?!

Folks, I’m sorry about the gap between posts. I often get asked by well-meaning members of the public, almost every day in May and June in fact, “So, school year winding down?” I try to swallow my annoyance at the comment, and say something like, “Not too far now.” I realize that if you don’t work in schools, maybe even high schools specifically (having never worked in a different kind of school, I have no frame of reference) you have no idea that a school year is like the first rise on an roller-coaster. Things just keep going up, and then suddenly, the day after school lets out, you look up from a pile of rubble and ask, “Hey, where did everyone go?” In my job, then, I typically take the rest of June and the first two weeks of July to put a bow on the year just completed, take the last two weeks of July to recover, and starting August 1st, I get back on the roller-coaster for the next ride to graduation.

Not complaining. I like my job enough that I went out and found another one. Its just tough to get some people to understand what I do, when I do it, and that the end of a school year is definitely not a “winding down” kind of a thing. All of that was a long way to say I’m busy and blogging has taken a back seat.

Additionally, I’ve had a hard time being as motivated as I was in Aug.-April. Now that I’ve met that big 40×40 goal, it seems as if some of the weight-loss urgency has gone out of my sails, and it’s not nearly as much fun to write, “No significant loss this week,” as it was to write about losing 5-8# at a time.

I did weigh in at 304 in Week 39, at 304.6 in week 40, and at 303.2 on Thursday for Week 41. This means that I am, for the most part, maintaining my weight at that level and not gaining. However, that is disappointing because other goals are right there for the taking – dropping below 300#, hitting a 35 BMI, weighing 250#, being skinnier than Marcus 🙂 – these are all good goals and ones I haven’t made much progress on lately.

I have been keeping up the physical activity though, and I am confident that when things slow down a bit after graduation, I’ll be back on it.

Speaking of the exercise, if you read Michelle’s post earlier this week, you saw that I successfully completed my first half-marathon. This is not something that was on any goal list of mine; as you can imagine, offensive tackles don’t typically associate fun time activities with long-distance endurance events. However, Michelle wanted to run it, and it coincided with a long-walk training day in my 3-Day walk training plan…so I figured what the hell.

I set a goal of 3:30:00. That was based on the fact that I’d spent lots of time walking long distances, 7 miles or more, in the 16-17 min/mile range. I calculated that to walk 13.1 miles in 3:30, I’d need to average exactly 16:00 min/mile…and I thought this was doable. (Though I was secretly worried that I would not even finish before they closed the course at 4 hours and 15 minutes.)

The kink in my plan happened while in the starting que. I overheard a woman about my age talking with some of the other competitors that she was shooting for a sub-3 hour race. She said that she had done two other half-marathons and that her best time was 3:03. My strategy changed to “Stay within sight of that lady” immediately. Right or wrong, since I was already worried about finishing, I thought if I could stay with her as long as possible, I had a good chance of finishing sub-3:30.

I stayed right next to her, or a dozen steps behind, until we hit the bottom of Observatory Hill. We even struck up a conversation on the climb, one where I shared with her that she was my unknowing pacer. I learned that she was a dietitian; I shared my story with her, in between gasps of air. And she left me in her dust just after mile 2. I was a bit despondent, but I continued to try to struggle to keep her in sight. Even doing some light jogging when the gap started to get too much for me.

However, it seemed that, other than some real pain in my feet, I got stronger as the race went on. I think all of the strength work I did in the winter on the stationary bike, really seemed to help. As we got to mile 7, or 8, I passed her by, and for the only time in the race, I got a bit competitive. I had been running on the downhills as it seemed to save on my joints, if not in pounding, then in time it took to cover it. And as I passed her, we entered a long, sloping downhill. I ran it through, and ended up covering almost all of the next mile in a light jog; my most extended run of the day.

After we left the Arboretum, and then Vilas Park, I too struggled up the steep hill Michelle mentioned. I was alone at that point in the race though and didn’t have anyone to pass or to get passed by. It was a pretty solitary struggle, with a lone spectator at the top of the hill adding his shouted praise. It might actually have been my favorite part of the race.

At mile 11, I had 28 minutes to cover the remaining 2.1 miles to make it in under 3 hours. It was here that I both started to think it was possible, and began to worry that I was going to be just short. I alternated speed walking and really ugly shuffle jogging for most of that two miles. I did however, out of pride, refuse to run the last 1/2 mile, at all. Michelle had sort of intimated that she didn’t think I’d have the mental toughness not to run. I felt that anyone finishing in 3 hours, to run across the finish, who are they kidding, really?

So I walked across the mat in 2:58.xx. Pretty thrilling, really. I was exhausted, but also happy to have completed my first half-marathon. I was a little emotional, worried even that I might start to cry, but I kept it together. My emotions at a time like this are a little conflicted. One, I am amazed that I have come so far in such a short time. Two, I am proud of the effort I have put forward in the last 9 months. Three, I am ashamed that I let myself get so far out of shape. Four, I am embarrassed to celebrate completing something that, the only reason it’s an accomplishment, is because of the decades of no activity. Five,…well, you get the point. It’s not so clear cut for me. Maybe when I get to the point where I accomplish something I know I couldn’t have done at 20, then I’ll feel a more purely happy response.

As always, thanks for reading and…be careful out there!!!

Week #32 & #33 Weigh-in…and I think this is starting to take :)!!

Sorry I missed writing last week folks. I took a day off from work last Friday and headed up to the cabin to help my dad and his maple syrup operation. No WiFi up ‘der, so no updates. By the time I got back to the world on Sunday night, the week already seemed to be spinning off of the rails and I ran from one thing to another…so no time to blog. I’m trying folks. So, here is the deal…

In week #32, predicted to be the second week in my two week up/down cycle, I lost. Stepped on the scale at 314.4, losing exactly 1 pound and dropping my BMI to 40.88. Not bad, but certainly not the kind of 4-5# drop I had been experiencing in my down weeks lately.

So I was a little worried heading into the week this week. I didn’t drop like I usually do. I then went to the cabin for two days, and while hauling sap is brutal work, I also spent some time in the cabin talking stupid. Then I went to Easter dinner, were I felt I ate pretty well, but I am never as good on the road as I would like to be. Then I had an unexpected trip to Madison. Went by myself, without Michelle and ate on the road for 4 meals, and missed two work outs.

When I stepped on the scale this morning, I was saying…actually saying out loud, by the way…please be under 320, please be under 320. I was positive that with the week I had after only losing the 1 pound the week before I was in for a disappointing performance.

Well…I was wrong. I weighed in at 310.2 this morning. That puts my BMI at 40.2!! My theory is that a couple of things happened. First, I weighed in on Friday because I was on the road Thursday. This is one more low calorie day, one more day to lose, one more day to slough off pounds. I think that is part of it. Second, I think I have adapted to my new lifestyle so well at this point; that it has become so much a part of who I am, that when I “feel” like I had a bad week, I am still infinitesimally better, more healthy and aware of what I am eating  and how I am moving, that everything is still relatively good. Certainly that is true when compared to my past self. Last, I do believe I’ve had a change in my metabolism…(if that is possible, and I think Michelle has written about this in the past and said no…but I am the patient and like all patients, I hear what I want to hear.)

So am 1.6 pounds away from my “40by40” goal and I have 19 weeks to lose it. Feels like I might make it. I have lost 70.8 pounds since August 17th and am down 93.8# from my high of 404. I played full court basketball this morning, 2-on-2, and ran for almost every trip down the floor. I am headed back to the cabin tonight for another weekend of hauling sap and making syrup. I am loving my life. Thanks to all of you for your support and encouragement, I couldn’t have done this without you. I am hoping that sometime soon, I’ll be writing the “40by40” goal accomplished blog, either next week or the week after. Each one of you will have to own a little piece of that accomplishment.

Be careful out there!!

Week #31 Weigh-in…and accepting the 2-week cycle!

Yep. I gained weight this week. Why?

Well, since I’ve gained, or at least failed to lose, every other week for the last two months, it seems like we’ve established a pattern. So, why the pattern? I am hoping that Michelle will share her professional opinion in a post this weekend; but I am going to try my hand at amateur psychology here.

So, first, I think that when I lose 5 pounds at my weigh-in on Thursday, I am totally excited. Thus my Friday, Saturday and Sunday tend to be a little bit celebratory and I eat and drink too much.

Second, I have had to really blast my exercise routine to have those big drops and I’m having a hard time sustaining that level of activity two weeks in a row.

Third, it seems like I’ve had sort of a bi-weekly schedule that has required a little more consumption and a little less laser-focus on the plan. Last weekend it was the Men’s Playdowns at the Curling Club. Means that I am eating food that I don’t prepare myself or that Michelle prepares for me and I am drinking more low-nutrient, high calorie beverages.

The upshot of it is, though, that I totally expected to either gain or stay the same this week. So when I weighed-in at 315.4#, which was a gain of 1.6#. Since I lost 5# the week before, that means that my two-week trend has me down 3.4#. And since I’ll be down 3-5# next week, that puts my three-week trend down 8-10#. I’ll take that and I be glad.

BMI this week is 40.9. 21 weeks to go and 7 pounds or so to hi a 40 BMI. Again, thanks for the support. Have a great weekend.

And be careful out there.

Week 28 Weigh-in…and Chad gets SERIOUS!!!

I’m really starting to love the new me. 🙂 I had a tough week last week. All who read about it know how I responded to a little weight gain. But you also know that my slip lasted about 4 hours. Since then, I spent 556 minutes working out and burned an additional 9,004 calories as a result. I also, without consulting my dietitian (bad), lowered my rate of weekly weight-loss from the 1.5#/week I had been on to a 2#/week pace. That dropped my calorie intake from almost 2400 a day to 2070 a day.

What was the result? …Doesn’t matter. The point is that when faced with a challenging day, week or month, the new me doesn’t quit. The new me sees the challenge, formulates a plan to address the challenge, and then works the damn plan. In some ways, the new me is a lot like the me that was able to play college football. Hard work wasn’t something I was afraid of then. I’m starting to wonder if I going to have to break down my life into a series of scores. (You know, as in “four score and seven years ago…)

My first score was dominated by the last 5 years of it, and my drive to be a great football player. I fell a little short, but for most of the time was relatively healthy and active. The next score, by slothfulness and over-indulgence. And now, the third score of my life, by a drive to add a fifth score. 🙂 We’ll see how I do.

Ok…enough screwing around. I weighed in yesterday at 318.6!!! First time in the teens since my wedding in 1996, for sure. Also, I am now exactly 10 pounds from the 40 by 40 goal of 308.6. (It’s not a weight-based goal, but I can do the math and know that if I weighed 308.6, I’d have a 40 BMI.) Boo-yah!!!

So from last week, I lost 5.2 pounds and a total loss from August of 62.4.  Not a bad week and definitely makes up for the weight I put on the week before. It looks like maybe I should just have a two-week weigh in cycle. Since for almost two months, I’ve gone up 2 steps and then down 5 on an almost perfect 14 day cycle.

My BMI is now 41.3. (Interestingly, if I hadn’t been measured in October and found out that I was 3/4” shorter than I thought, my BMI would be 40.5) Pretty darn close to that goal, either way.

I got a call from a parent today who saw me at the Basketball game last night, who just wanted to let me know that he was amazed at how good I looked and wanted to know what I was doing. I told him what I tell everyone…I’m listening to my wife. 🙂

Oh, and Team Harnisch has cracked the 120 pound barrier with a combined total loss between the three at 122.2 pounds. That is even more amazing. I couldn’t do it without you!!

Be careful out there!!

Weeks 25 & 26 Weigh in…and the winter grind starts!!

When I first became a school administrator, my wife’s co-workers would ask, “So what exactly does a principal do all day long anyway?” To which she would often smile, shake her head, and reply, “It’s hard to explain.”

One day, a co-worker asked, “Describe a typical day for your husband at work.” So Michelle said, “Yesterday, was a typical day. Yesterday my husband came home wearing not a single piece of clothing he had even owned when he left the house that morning. New shirt, new pants, new underwear, new socks, and new shoes. That is typical.”

After getting the story about why I was without clothes I had owned just 16 hours earlier (It involves frozen heat exchangers, broken pipes, a furnace on overdrive, and rain and fog in the band room), the coworker wanted to know how that was typical. Michelle said, “Because every day is like that. No matter what he might plan to do, no matter what he needs to do. It seems like every day, the universe conspires against him to cause chaos around him.”

Now that I’ve worked in administration for almost 7 years, I realize a couple of things about that statement. 1) It doesn’t sound like I was a very good principal that first year. Being reactive to chaos is a sign of poor leadership. Proactively planning for minimizing chaos is good leadership. 2) The chaos still exists, but now that I have two assistant principals, most of the student-generated chaos is filtered out. 3) I haven’t had to buy new clothes while at work in over 6 years. 🙂

But the last few weeks, I’ve begun the budgeting and staffing process. And neither of those things are particular strengths of mine, so I have to work doubly hard to make sure that I get it right. Also, as many of you may have heard, Wisconsin education funding and the rules governing staffing have really been unpredictable these last few years. I never seem to be able to predict who will retire, who will leave for another district, or what the end revenue from the state will be. So, right now I’ve been spending the last two weeks trying to fit the constantly moving pieces of a $6.5 million budget with 120 employees together into a cohesive puzzle that every day is a different shape from what I thought it was when I started the day.

I can honestly tell you that it is the one time of the year, budget and staffing, that I worry the job of principal may get the best of me. So far, in 4 years, I’ve trimmed almost $900,000 off of that in staffing and materials, and have only had to  issue two-part time lay-offs. We’ll see if I can continue to be so lucky.

(So I’ve been writing the above paragraphs, off and on, since Thursday morning at 7:15 am. And I just re-read them and even I can’t tell if I am bragging or whining. 🙂 Fairly pathetic blog-post so far, really. I believe the point that I was trying to make was that from the end of January until the first of April, I’ll be really surprised if I am able to blog as regularly as I like and that is why I missed blogging last week. Hope you can deal with that. I’m hopeful that Michelle will keep up her regular writing.)

Week #25 Numbers: I weighed in last week at 323.4, down 5.2 pounds from week #24. That put my BMI at 41.9 and my total loss to date at 57.6#.

Week #26 Numbers: I stepped on the scale on Thursday morning (Thursday’s now instead of Wednesday for a few weeks as I’ve joined a team of colleagues in a community wide healthy living challenge and they weigh in on Thursday) at 321#. Again, I found that number to be disappointing. (Crazy!!) Because I really wanted to see a 31x option. I just think that “three hundred ‘something’ teen” sounds immeasurable better than “three hundred twenty-one.” And I wanted the teens this week. I wanted ’em bad. Is that so wrong?

To focus on the positive, I weighed 381 pounds on August 17th. That means this week I crossed into the 60 pounds down category!!! Now that feels good to type. Also, my BMI is 41.6. Only 1.6 more to go on the BMI and only 13 more pounds to realize my 40 by 40 goal. And I have 26 weeks to accomplish that!?!?! That’s right! I am 82% of the way to my first yearly goal, and I’m only 50% of the way through the year!! I rock!!!!!! (Ok, that last part was definitely bragging. 🙂 )

Also, this week, we did a spontaneous fundraiser online to show support for a friend of mine who recently learned her cancer had returned. In 24 hours, we raised over $600 for our 3-Days for the Cure team, all going to the Susan G. Komen Foundation. Our team total is over $2,200, which is totally awesome, but we also need to get to over $10,000 to meet our goal. (I promised on Facebook I wouldn’t post a plea for donations for the rest of February if we got over the $2,000 mark this week, but if I put a link to the team here, for people who might have extra money lying around, that’s not cheating is it? No, I didn’t think so.)

If you care to look into our team, and maybe feel a longing to support breast cancer research or victim support financially, feel free to click on this link: http://www.the3day.org/site/TR/2013/ChicagoEvent2013?team_id=217416&pg=team&fr_id=1830

Thanks for reading, and thanks for the continued support. I literally cannot count the number of people who have given me positive support this week. Teachers texting me during staff meetings to say that I look good. Parents grabbing me at sporting events and in the grocery store. Board members emailing to tell me they have noticed the change and are happy for me. Students tweeting about their awesomely handsome new principal. (‘Kay, that last one hasn’t actually happened, but that might be a moment.:) )

Week #23 Weigh-in…and Various other life stories.

As I write this post, I have just crawled out of bed after 15 straight hours. I have some weird intestinal bug, picked up on the plane back from Disney World or from the beautiful cesspool of germs a high school in Wisconsin in January becomes. So while I haven’t exercised even one time this week, I’ve still been shedding pounds because I can’t eat, don’t want to eat, or simple don’t have the energy to eat. Sounds like fun, huh?

I figure it is karmic. Since I had such a great time at Disney with my family, when I complained to most who would listen about how I was positive that much close family time would drive me nuts, and then I loved every minute of it, I sort of deserve a week where I feel extra crappy. Again, karmic.

Disney really can be the happiest place on earth. I am surprised to learn that because I can be extraordinarily cynical when it comes to multi-national corporations whose primary reason for existence is to make money for their shareholders. It turns out that Disney, much to my surprise, is still trying to make money for their shareholders, by making sure their customers have the best possible experience. That seems like an antiquated business model in today’s world sometimes, but it did dent my cynicism for the week I was there.

Watching the faces of my nieces and nephews, my sisters and parents, and especially maybe my Disney crazed wife, I couldn’t help but have an extraordinary time. I also completely took the reins off of my diet while I was there. I had ice cream and steak, cheese cake and cheeseburgers, corn dogs and creme brule, margaritas and wine, croque monsieur and pizza. It was a little ridiculous. However, because I also walked about 60 miles in 7 days, I gained 1.4 pounds though the whole deal. I stepped on the scale on Monday, not my normal weigh-in, but I wanted to get a post-vacation read, at 332.2#

And because I’ve been sick since Tuesday afternoon, I missed my weigh-in yesterday too. But I did step on the scale this morning at 325.4# My first foray in the 320s since the 1990s. 🙂 It’s not a real number, I know that. The lack of food and the dehydration are certainly a part of that low number, but I still looked extra long at the scale today. I can’t believe that as sick as I am, I could feel so good about a number. But that number represents 15 years of struggle, almost all of it losing.

As to the 40 by 40 goal, my BMI today is 42.2. I’ve lost 55.6# since August 17th. My BMI is 77% of the way to my 1 year goal, with 29 weeks to go. Another 17 pounds and I will be at a BMI of 40. Who wants to party?

Thanks for all your help. Thanks to my wonderful mother and father for giving our family such an amazing trip last week, our first full family vacation since 1994. I love you very much. Thanks to my amazing wife for all her help, with this project and with her planning of the vacation; without you, neither would have had any chance of success.

Be careful out there.