May 2009 Archives

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As I mentioned earlier, I am in Wisconsin for my brother's wedding, and I'm happy to say it went off flawlessly yesterday. It was an absolutely perfect day - from the weather to the ceremony to the reception and dancing (well, so maybe the dancing wasn't perfect, but it was fun) - you couldn't have asked for a better time. I'm happy that everything went so well, and I was glad to be a part of the festivities.

Lots of pictures on this one, so click here to continue reading.

Catching up!

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Apologies for going nearly two weeks without creating a blog entry; I honestly don't know where the time has gone. Things are so busy, and I know you're all tired of me saying that, but I don't have anything else to offer. I literally run out of time every single day, sit back and wonder what happened, and worry about how I'm going to attempt to keep up with the next day. I've dropped a lot of things recently - the blog is one of them - just because there's so much going on at work.

So... where do I start? How about with last week? Went to Arkansas for a birthday party/small reunion party, and had a really great time. It was Debra's birthday, and we all got together for a cookout, conversation, camaraderie, cocktails, and cake. (How's that for alliteration?)

For those not familiar, Debra was the president/COO of ANB and is a great friend - I admire her tremendously and would give anything to have the bank "back" if for no other reason so that I could continue to work with and learn from the wonderful people that made up ANB. I was recently chatting about the bank with my folks, and we summed it up pretty simply: the OCC and FDIC ruined a ton of people's lives through a hasty, knee-jerk response. Rather than recognize the impending problems that our nation faced as a whole, they focused on one smoldering pile of ash, not realizing that the entire environment was engulfed in an unstoppable wildfire.

Anyway, back on track. As I mentioned, there was a cookout - it was hosted at Michelle and Jeremey's house (Debra's son and daughter-in-law); they have a great farm with a really nice "barn" that served as a perfect arena for our get together. I say "barn" because it's really not a barn - it's a 60x40 shed with a Bose surround sound system, big screen TV, furniture, and some farm equipment.

One of the family dogs took the time to acquaint himself with the guests (that's Joe (on left) and Crash (on right)):

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I enjoyed seeing my old pals from ANB - here's me, Joe, and Nat:

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And me with "Cookie" (Mary):

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Jeremey tended to the grill (while Michelle supervised):

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Crash was not pleased to learn that he would not be having a hamburger (he's actually smiling, but it looks like he's angry):

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While Wyatt (Michelle's son) was pleased to learn that he would be having both a hamburger and cake.

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And finally, here's a picture of the cake - it was from Shelby Lynn's in Springdale, and it was FANTABULOUS. White cake with raspberry filling - wow - I had 3 huge pieces of it and woke up the next morning with a cake hangover. I literally felt like the cake was trying to kill me the next day, but it was worth it. So good. Yum.

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All in all, it was a great party and a great weekend. I got to catch up with a bunch of people that I hadn't seen for quite some time, and I was sad to see the time pass by so quickly. But the night quickly came to an end, and before I knew it, I was back in Austin. Got back in time to sneak in a quick bike ride (25 miles) and short run, and then it was back to work.

On Thursday night, I drove up to Dallas, and caught a flight home for my brother's wedding. I've been sitting on the couch most of the day working from my laptop and working the phone... even on vacation things are hectic. (sigh!)

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Weather here is wonderful - low 70s, sunny, breezy. Went for a run this morning, had a turkey/bacon/avacado wrap for lunch, and am getting ready to head to the rehearsal dinner. I'll check back in a bit!

I guess I'm official...

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I bit the proverbial bullet and bought a pair of killer boots. I've been wanting to buy a pair of "rocker" boots for a while, and I saw a piece about Allens Boots on the news the other night and decided it was time to pull the trigger. So I moseyed my way on down to Congress Avenue and visited the store. They literally have thousands and thousands of pairs of boots there - it's quite impressive.

I quickly made friends with Luis, who it turns out has friends and family that live in Rogers, AR. Crazy. Luis worked patiently with me while I tried on dozens and dozens of pairs of boots. I really liked a pair of Sendra boots, but unfortunately they didn't have them in my size... and Sendra is a small company from Spain that hand makes small batches of boots, so the likelihood of getting a pair was looking slim.

I eventually found another pair of Sendras that I really liked - and you're seeing them here.

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They're actually quite comfortable - I wore them all day today and really like them. I wish the toes weren't quite so pointy, but I think I'll get used to them. My "dream" boots would have squared toes, and look pretty much similar to these. The boots here are python and leather - pretty rad... :-)

I also rode today (45 miles), ran (5 miles), and had some awesome shrimp for dinner. Bought jumbo (16-21 count) shrimp from Central Market, added in some baby red potatoes and an ear of corn (cut in half), and boiled it for a good 20 minutes or so. Sprinkled on some Old Bay seasoning, squeezed on some lime, and enjoyed it with a glass (or three) of white wine, and wow - amazing.

Hope everyone is doing well - I'll be in touch soon!

3:26am on Sunday morning and I'm wide-freakin'-awake. Nice. I don't know what it is, but I absolutely cannot sleep. Tossed and turned for the past two hours with zero sleep, so I decided to get some things done. Answered a ton of work e-mails from the weekend, made a to-do list for Monday morning, and crafted an idea for this blog entry.

In the past, I've been rather critical of Oklahoma drivers, and prior to moving to Austin, I was convinced that the world's worst drivers were from Oklahoma. And while I still firmly believe that Oklahoma drivers are awful, Texas drivers have officially won the award for the world's worst drivers, without a doubt, and beyond any exception. Congratulations, Texas - you hold a unique distinction!

I have never had more bad experiences while driving than I have while in Texas. It's ridiculous how badly people drive here - they have no regard/care/respect/concern for anyone else on the road, and it almost seems as though they blatantly try to spit on the rules of the road. It's so maddening.

So, in the interest of helping illustrate just how bad the drivers are, I've developed this quiz. See how you stack up against the selfish, inconsiderate, obtuse, rude, and genuinely awful drivers from Texas. Let's begin. Oh - just a word of advice - if you've completed a single hour of drivers education at any point in your life, you're already going to score light years ahead of any Texas driver...

And before you think I've lived a sheltered, traffic-free life, please keep in mind that I have spent many years living and commuting in San Francisco and Washington DC, so I'm not really a stranger to heavy traffic...





Question 1: Were you at any point in your life taught or otherwise educated on how to drive in Texas? Or, do you currently hold a Texas-issued driver's license?

A. No. I am educated, considerate, understand and observe the rules of the road, realize I am not the only person on the planet, do not tailgate, do not camp in the left lane while going 55, do believe in using my cruise control, and try my best to properly signal impending traffic maneuvers such as lane changes.

B. Hell yes! Screw everyone!!! Y'all!!!!


If you answered "A," please continue to try and avoid driving in, near, or through the state of Texas. You will only become frustrated and your life will most definitely be placed in immediate and extreme danger. Nuns and Buddhist monks alike have been blinded with rage from encountering Texas drivers. If you answered "B," I have nothing to say other than, "Lord help us all."






Question 2: This picture shows:

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A. A 5,000-horsepower NHRA Top Fuel Dragster as it leaves the starting line of a closed-course race track, where the environment has been strictly controlled to facilitate professional drivers operating and competing with technologically advanced machinery designed for maximum acceleration over the course of a quarter mile.

B. A typical Texas driver at any given stoplight in any given part of town.


The correct answer is "A." Unless you're from Texas... in which case, you should substitute the multi-million-dollar race car for a: pick-up truck, SUV, ratty old Hyundai, or Vespa scooter - the result is the same. No one else can accelerate as quickly as a Texas driver. When the light turns green, you absolutely MUST floor it - don't look back, don't look around, just gas it and go. And don't you dare stop accelerating unless you've run into someone in front of you - just go, go, go! (y'all!)






Question 3: You are the only car on this particular stretch of road. You do not wish to exit from the road. Which lane should you be driving in?

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A. The lane to the right (not the exit lane).

B. The left lane would be my preference, especially if I was going 57mph in an area zoned for 65mph. Or, hell, since I'm a Texas driver, whichever dang lane I want, including the exit lane and both shoulders, y'all!!




The correct answer is "A." Unless you're from Texas, in which case you don't care about lanes. Your vehicle has wheels, a motor, and at least one gun rack, so you'll drive wherever you want to.





Question 4: Reference the picture from question #3, and imagine there is a ______ (insert: bicycle, pregnant mother pushing a baby stroller, pack of baby ducks, or other defenseless entity) traveling on the shoulder. There is no traffic on the road. You are the only vehicle on this particular stretch of road. When passing the non-motorized entity as described earlier, you should:

A. Allow a safe distance between your vehicle and the cyclist/pedestrian/creature. It would be best to move over to the far left lane, and pass with some degree of caution.

B. Hug the shoulder as closely as possible in an attempt to buzz the cyclist/pedestrian/creature. If available, you should throw something at them while whooping and hollering. After all, this is YOUR road and who the heck do they think they are by riding/walking/traveling on YOUR road, y'all?!!


The correct answer is "A." Unless you're from Texas, in which case, answer "B" would be the natural, knee-jerk response.






Question 5: You are traveling in heavy city traffic on a multi-lane highway, where the speed limit is 65mph. There are vehicles in every lane, and there are signs that clearly indicate that "slower traffic keep right." What does this mean?

A. Traffic that is preparing to exit the highway should be in or near the right-most lane so that they may efficiently and safely exit the highway. Traffic that is traveling at a normal pace should attempt to occupy the center lane, and traffic that is passing the slower traffic should temporarily occupy the left-most lane, then return to the center lane so as not to impede other drivers.

B. Who the @*#&$!!@ cares?! I'm from Texas, y'all!! I drive where ever I want to, and I'll drive at whatever speed I want! If I want to go 45 in the left lane and then swerve over to the far right lane, speed up to 100, then slam on my brakes as I dive over to the left lane so that I can squeeze within inches of you and another car while going 50, I'll do it, y'all!! Get outta' my way, y'all!!! Yeeeeeee hawwww!!



The correct answer is "A." Unless you're from Texas, in which case answer "B" seems completely plausible, especially if you add in that you're texting on your iPhone and jamming out to some country music while driving like a complete jack-and-apes.





Question 6: True or false - when traveling on the freeway, where the majority of traffic is flowing smoothly and the road is wide open, straight, and free of obstruction, you should use your cruise control to maintain a consistent rate of speed.


The correct answer is "True." Unless you're from Texas, in which case, you will most likely do your very best to disrupt that even flow and rate of travel. It is your God-given right (and duty) to drive like a complete jerk, so you will speed-up whenever someone attempts to pass you, and you will attempt to make it nearly impossible for anyone to get around you. If you're in the left lane, you will be going slower than everyone until someone attempts to pass you. If you're lucky enough to spot another driver from Texas, the two of you will form what is often referred to the "Texas roadblock" by driving side-by-side at exactly 8 mph slower than the posted speed limit, thus impeding and inconveniencing every other driver around you. Occasionally, your Texas roadblock will speed-up to a high rate of speed, still traveling side-by-side, and then abruptly slow back down. You will repeat this process for miles and miles.





Question 7: When approaching a stoplight where all surrounding traffic has come to a stop and the signal shows "red," you should:

A. Remove your foot from the gas pedal, apply the brakes, slow down, prepare to stop, and be aware of the traffic around you.

B. Keep on accelerating toward the stoplight, screw y'all!! I'm from Texas, I'm driving a big truck, I got my 10-gallon hat on, I got my country music crankin, I got a big wad of dip in my lip, and I ain't slowin' down for nobod--- oh crap!!! SCREEEEEEEEEEEEEETCH!!!!! What the heck are y'all doin'?! Get outta' my way!!!


The correct answer is "A." By now, you've probably got the idea of how bad things are around here...






Question 8: You live in a city of nearly 2-million people. There isn't a dirt road, field, or any type of farm within a 30-mile radius. Parking spots are tiny, parking garages are short, and gas is both limited and expensive. What type of vehicle should you consider purchasing?

A. A reasonably sized vehicle that suits your needs; if you have a family, you might purchase a minivan. If you're single, you might purchase a smaller vehicle, such as a MINI Cooper, or a Honda Civic.

B. The biggest truck you can find, in 4x4, with the largest motor available. You should then modify the truck so that it is lifted beyond the legal limit, fit it with the loudest exhaust possible, tint the windows as black as possible, install an oversized and unnecessary trailer hitch, and install a large brush guard on the front, complete with as many fog lights as possible. If there's any room left on your credit card, extra chrome trim is always a welcome option.


The correct answer is "A." Unless you're from Texas, in which case, you will answer "B," and you will then drive that obnoxious truck in an equally obnoxious and unsafe manner.






Question 9: What is the purpose of a speed bump?

A. To slow the speed of traffic, usually in an attempt to encourage safety and awareness in an area that may be heavily populated by pedestrians.

B. A jump for my vehicle and a major inconvenience to my busy schedule, y'all!


The correct answer is "A." Unless you're from Texas, in which case the answer is "B." You will accelerate at a high rate of speed toward the speed bump, slam on the brakes at the last possible second, fly over the bump, and then gas it to the next speed bump.

Wait... check that - if you're really from Texas, you would never slam on the brakes - you'd just keep accelerating, so disregard the explanation. Just gas it, y'all.






Question 10: You are driving on a busy section of road, where there are exactly 117 other cars around you. How many other cars are around you?

A. 117.

B. Who cares?! I'm from Texas, y'all!! I'm the ONLY car on the road!! I'm the ONLY one that matters!! Don't mess with Texas!!


Sigh.....





If you answered "A" to any question above, you are most likely not a Texas driver, and for that, I thank you and welcome you as a fellow driver. I also encourage you to stay as far away as possible from any vehicle that displays Texas plates, because you will most likely go from being a peaceful, law abiding driver, to an enraged, ready-to-snap, wanting to pull your hair out driver within a matter of seconds. Trust me.

Bonus question:

This is a picture of:

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A. George W. Bush, our previous president

B. God's gift to the world and a fellow Texan. But what the heck is he doing driving so slowly?! That boy's spent too much time in Warshington DC, y'all! Tell him to gas it and go! What? No, he don't have to look ahead - he can keep lookin' over his shoulder, just gas it! Go, go, go!!!! Yeeeeeeeehaw!

Another one down.

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Happy Mothers Day!

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Oh, and I did another triathlon today. This one was part of the Texas Tri Series - The Pure Sport Rookie Triathlon - in New Braunfels. We sponsor the series (along with several other companies), so I was able to get free entrance to the race, and I was able to sneak in at the last minute, which was nice. As you can see, I was entrant number 944... they allowed approximately 1000 people into the race, so it was a decent-sized event.

New Braunfels is about 30 minutes south from Austin, approximately half-way between Austin and San Antonio. The race started at 8:00am; the transition area closed at 7:40am, and you had to be there by no later than 7:00am; they recommended a full hour before close of transition, so it was up at 4:30am... nice.

Not many pictures to share, sorry... here I am coming out of the water (not dead last in my group, but pretty close!):

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My swimming is still so awful. I thought I had done pretty well on the swim, but nope - I pretty much got my butt kicked by everyone else... my swim time was just under 10 minutes (9:35) - 300M... ick. I didn't use my wetsuit because the water temperature was warm (75F), and the water smelled like sewer, so I didn't want to stink up my new suit.

I am proud to say that my transitions have improved tremendously since my last triathlon. I spent a total of 2:35 in the transition area (out of water, run 100 yards to bike area, put on bike shoes, helmet, glasses, run to bike mount area, and start riding), so that was great. Once on the road, I got after it pretty good - it was only an 11-mile ride, so I was able to crank on it. I finished the ride portion in just under 35 minutes, for an average of about 19mph. Back in transition, I spent just under 3 minutes dismounting the bike, running with it to the rack area, changing shoes, taking off my helmet, putting on socks & shoes, and leaving the transition area.

The run segment was a short 2-miles; I finished it in 16 minutes. Here I am coming toward the finish line (behind the open shirt dude - I slowed for the photo):

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Total time: 1 hour 6 minutes. Not great by any real means, but I did finish 182 overall (out of about 1000), so that's not too horrible. Especially considering I didn't start swimming again until Monday of this week. :-)

We had a small booth at the event - here are Amy and Richard in our "booth lite":

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With the race finished, it was down to San Antonio to grab a bite to eat on the Riverwalk and to see the Alamo. I had been there a few years ago, but figured that since I was so close, it might be nice to stop by.

Had breakfast tacos for lunch - yummy:

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And then stopped and saw the Alamo:

Ran into this cute little kitty along the Riverwalk:

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And then drove back to Austin. Did some laundry, sat by the pool, and am now contemplating dinner...

Speaking of dinner, we had a farewell dinner for Lina, our graphics artist intern, on Friday. We stopped at Maria's Taco Express for some happy hour fun and delicious tacos. Here's a picture of part of the Trigger Point crew:

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From left-to-right: Jessica (marketing/events), Lina (graphic arts), Me, Thomas (east coast sales).

That's about it! Looking forward to a busy week at work, so the blog will probably be a bit slow. Oh, before I go, here's a picture of my neighbor's dog, Zeus - he's the cutest Chihuahua I've ever seen:

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Tengo caliente

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So it's a little warmer down here than I thought...

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That's what the 'ole temp-o-meter showed while on my way back from an afternoon swim. Good thing it's also super sunny - that just makes it feel all the more incredibly hot. :-)

I've been swimming in the outdoor lap pool lately and I much prefer it to the indoor pool. The outdoor pool is a bit longer, the lanes are wider, and for some odd reason, it's not as busy as the indoor lap pool. I still sink more than I swim, so I'm looking into taking a few "stroke lessons" from masters coaches around here. If I could get my roll and breathing down, I probably wouldn't hate swimming so much. Turns out that one of our sponsored athletes (we sponsor about 35 athletes from various arenas) is also a masters swim coach, so I may hit her up for a few lessons.

Happy Mother's Day, Mom, and hope everyone has a good weekend.

I am a big loser.

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I've managed to shed 118 pounds.

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The scale shows 167.0 lbs, as of late last week. The highest weight I recall having seen over the past 10 years for myself was 285-ish. I think I may have been as high as 295, but I'm not sure, so I'll just stick with 285 as my official high weight. I was 275-ish when I went on a cruise back in April of 2006. I wore a size 44 - 46 pants, a 3XL t-shirt, and my dress shirts were 18" in the neck. My belts were a 48. I constantly tried to hide in my clothes - I'd buy stuff that was a bit too large, pull on it constantly, stretch it before putting it on, all of those fun gimmicks to try and disguise my body shape.

Here's me in April of 2006:

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And here I am today (actually last night), in my new wetsuit. Granted, it sucks in the body a bit, but you can tell a difference (and what an awful picture - ugh!).

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Today, I weigh in at between 167 - 171, depending on the time of day. I wear a size 32 pants, a size M or L t-shirt, and my dress shirts are 15 - 15.5" neck size. My chest went from a 48-49 to a 40. My belt is a 34-36.

Everyone asks, "How did you do it? What's your secret?"

There's no real secret, although I have learned a few tricks along the way, and I'll share them here. I'll start with some background on how I got started.

Sometime around October of 2007, I started trying to jog a little. I bought a treadmill, and would walk on it every so often, maybe do a light jog, but it was frustrating - I couldn't really jog for more than a minute or two before becoming completely winded. I gave up after a few weeks.

Then I saw an Ironman triathlon on the TV and figured I'd give jogging another try. I still couldn't jog much, but I was determined to do it. I went online, found a program called "couch to 5k" and tried to follow it as best I could. A few months later, I bought a used bicycle and started riding it. I felt better, but the weight wasn't really dropping off.

I continued to jog and ride my bike. On weeknights, I'd jog my 25-minutes (per the 5k program) on my treadmill. On weekends, I'd take the bike over to the Military Park and ride. I started with 6 miles, and within a few months was up to 50-60 miles. I vowed to do a triathlon before the end of 2008, and set my sights on a few.

In the meantime, I adjusted my diet - I never ate breakfast, I'd have a dry, grilled chicken salad for lunch, and I'd eat a handful of pretzels with peanut butter for dinner. I kept running at night - 3 - 4 times per week. I kept riding on the weekends. Just before my triathlon was scheduled, I went for a few swims. And on August 10, 2008, I did a triathlon. I thought I was in unbelievable shape. My pants fit loose, my shirts were too big - I was a lean, mean, fighting machine. Or was I? Here I am immediately after my race:

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UGH! At this point, I was wearing a size 40 pants, and weighed around 225 pounds. I'd lost at least 60 pounds, but crikey - I was still chubby. About a month later, I took a roadtrip to California, and it was there that I discovered a few secrets to weight loss.

I wasn't eating enough. I wasn't eating in the morning. And, I wasn't exercising in the morning. I firmly believe that those three things are the key to successful weight loss. Here's what changed when I was in California...

I went to CA weighing around 212 pounds. While there, I rode my bike every morning (for about 45 minutes), and went for a 15-20 minute jog. I did this immediately upon waking up - I'd roll out of bed, stretch, put on some clothes, and hit the road. An hour later, I'd come back and take a shower.

I'd then grab a light breakfast (cereal with skim milk, an english muffin with an egg and some turkey bacon, or something like that), and I made sure to wait at least 30 minutes after exercising before eating. I'd eat a light lunch (a turkey sub, no cheese; a salad, no dressing; etc), treat myself to a snack in the afternoon (a cookie or a churro), and then eat a normal dinner.

I felt like a pig the entire time that I was in California - I thought for sure I'd gained 10 pounds. But, when I returned home some 10 days later, the scale showed I was 200 pounds. I'd lost 12 pounds while on vacation - how does that happen??

From that point on, I vowed to always exercise in the morning, eat breakfast, and eat reasonably throughout the day. I've continued to follow that routine and it's helped me shed another 30 pounds in just over 4 months. I've plateaued at times - it's not like I've continued to lose weight every day, but I stayed persistent and consistent.

So, in summary - my tips/secrets go like this:

  • Exercise in the morning. I was exercising like crazy every night and not realizing any kind of significant benefit/change. As soon as I started jogging in the morning, I dropped weight in big chunks. It stands to reason - you crank up your metabolism for the entire day by doing some activity early on.

  • Eat breakfast. You always hear this advice, but it's true. These days, I'll eat a Special K Protein Bar (180 calories), or a bowl of mixed fruit (190 calories), or a bacon egg and cheese muffin (245 calories), or a breakfast taco (egg, pico de gallo, turkey bacon - 190 calories). It's critical - eat in the morning!!

  • Eat more food. I thought that by just eating some pretzels at night that I'd drop weight, but it didn't work. I've added more calories to my diet - I now try to average around 1000 calories per day (versus 500-600 back in August of 2008).

  • Be persistent. I track my food intake online, over at the Livestrong.com website. I enter in everything that I eat and drink, no matter what. If I eat 4 donuts from Round Rock Donut, I enter in 4 donuts. If I drink a few beers at the taco place, I enter them in. It keeps me honest, and it lets me see where I'm at each day. I enter in my exercise as well, which is rewarding - I can look back and see that I've run almost 150 miles since moving to Austin on March 20 - that's pretty cool.

  • Know what you're eating. This is critical. Eating at restaurants every so often is fine, but know what you're eating. Case in point: I can make a chicken fajita taco at my home, and if I make two of them (two tortillas, one chicken breast, bell pepper, onion, tomato, a small scoop of salsa), I consume 300 calories. If I eat two chicken tacos from Taco Bell, it's 420 calories. From Taco Cabana it's 530 calories. And that's without any dressings or sauces... Again - by tracking food via a service like Livestrong.com (which has 550,000+ foods listed), you can really get a handle on things.

  • Don't give up, be realistic, and try to enjoy yourself. This one sounds odd, but I'll do my best to describe it... It's hard to lose weight. It's frustrating, especially at the beginning. Be realistic - you're going to eat pizza. You're going to go to Buffalo Wild Wings and eat waaaaay too many wings. Get back on the plan as soon as possible! But at the same time, try to avoid the pitfall of gorging yourself... I'm definitely guilty of binge eating from time to time - I'll be super good all week, and then one night, I'll order a huge hamburger, fries, cheese curds, and have 3 cookies for dessert. That's no good; consistency is the key - just don't be too much of a nazi, or you'll get discouraged.

So there you have it. Not sure if this info is helpful - it's not really revolutionary, but I can tell you that it works. I never took any pills or supplements (other than the occasional protein shake as a replacement meal). I didn't get hypnotized or follow any fad diets. The age old rules of "eat less and do more" stand firm. I just modified them a bit to "eat more in the morning and do more in the morning."

Ultimately, everyone is different, and our bodies all respond to weight loss in different ways. This is just what has worked for me, and your results may vary. I figured I'd share the info since everyone asks me "how I do it" - and now you know... :-) No secrets, no magic, no mirrors, just the old fashioned "do more" approach.

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Typical day:

7:15 am = Run for around 35 - 45 minutes
8:00 am = Shower
8:15 am = Drive to work; drink a coffee, eat a Special K bar
12:00 pm = Eat lunch (grilled chicken salad; turkey sub; in a pinch: a protein bar)
5:00pm = Ride bike for an hour (I know; I'd rather ride in the AM, but I like sleeping)
6:15pm = Shower
7:00pm = Eat dinner (grilled pork tenderloin, chicken or fish + roasted vegetables)
9:00pm = Eat a snack (apple, cereal, sugar free Jello pudding, etc)

Quite often, I'm busy at work late into the evening, so it's been more difficult to keep this schedule, but I try. Just take it one day at a time! Oh, and thanks for letting me brag a bit... :-)

Spent the weekend in Fort Worth, Texas at the GSX Southwest Regional Crossfit Qualifier: Hell's Half Acre event (talk about the longest name for an event, ever). We loaded up the Trigger Point RV on Friday afternoon, hit the road, and spent the weekend working with about 300 of the Southwest's toughest gladiators, and it was both interesting and fun.

We got into town early Friday evening, found our spot, and parked the RV. After a quick trip to Lowe's for some last minute supplies, it was off to dinner and then to bed - we would have to be set-up and ready by 7:00am on Saturday, so that meant the alarm would go off at around 4:30am. Nice!

We got the RV set-up and by 7:15, we had people stopping by to "roll out" in preparation for the day's events.

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This was our first event with the RV; the company has owned the RV for quite some time, but hasn't used it much for events over the past few years as we've focused on Expos and events where we would set-up a tent/booth. The RV got pulled back into action because we'd like to start attending smaller and local/regional events, to help bolster recognition and branding in our area. It also allows us to try new events like Crossfit (we primarily focus on Triathlon and Marathon) without a ton of additional expense.

So, the first order of business was getting some graphics applied to the RV, and our friends over at Lewis Sign did a marvelous job of applying the graphics in short order. They picked it up from us on Wednesday and had it finished by Friday morning. We've got ideas to "wrap it" further, but the logos would suffice for now. But enough about that, let's get back to the weekend...

The Crossfit Qualifier was an event that served as a stepping stone for the Crossfit Games, which are hosted in California this summer. The Crossfit Games are like the "world series" of Crossfit - the best of the best compete for title of Crossfit Champion.

Crossfit competitors are a bit different from your standard triathlete; they're big and muscular, full of knots and tight spots, and haven't been exposed to our product like triathletes have been. So, we spent a lot of time educating them about our products, letting them "roll out" and test the products, and impressing upon them how important it is to roll out on a regular basis.

Here's some of our crew working on a few of the spectators:

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The ground looks wet because it rained like crazy while we were at the show - if you haven't already heard about it, the Dallas Cowboys practice facility collapsed over the weekend due to some severe storms. We were about 10 miles from the facility, so we experienced the same storms and are happy to report that the RV survived with nary a scrape.

We sold out of product at the show - the response was unbelievably great. People were skeptical at first, but all it takes is a 2 minute demo and they're hooked. We had huge guys and "ripped" girls coming up, hugging us, thanking us, and telling everyone around us to buy our stuff - they were so impressed with how well it all worked. So by early Sunday afternoon, we were completely out of product - we also sold out of product at the Boston Marathon a few weeks ago (and we took $25k worth of product there!), so things are definitely going well.

Here's one of the guys that I spent about 30 minutes working with - he didn't qualify for the Games, but he's no slouch... he came by twice on Sunday to thank us for helping him.

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So, that was the weekend. It was a great learning experience for me; I got to see how the events take place, and that helps me understand some of the logistics and supply side challenges. I also got to experience the Expo environment, learn more about our products, and see firsthand how people perceive and use the products. So, it was a win-win scenario, for sure.

I know you'll all want some food photos... :-) So, here's a picture from dinner on Saturday night - that's a chicken fried steak that's roughly the size of Texas itself:

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Believe it or not, but Jessica, our Events and Marketing coordinator is the one who ordered that monster... I had a salad... :-)

Also stumbled across this interesting beer at one of the convenience stores:

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Finally, I've stumbled across a website called Yelp, and it's pretty cool. You enter in your location, select a category (like Restaurants), and it'll find all of the places that meet your criteria. It'll then share member reviews, recommendations, and all of that fun stuff. I was in the mood for a good burger the other night, and Yelp had a few suggestions.

I ultimately chose to go to "El Casino del Camino," in downtown Austin. It's categorized as a "dive bar" but was supposed to have amazing burgers. It had a cool veranda/patio area out back:

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But sadly, that's about it. The food was terrible. Driest, most stale, and most tasteless burger I've ever had in my entire life. I was so disappointed. It doesn't even deserve a picture on my blog... ick. So, Yelp failed me... but it's been pretty good with everything else so far, so I'll keep using it.

Finally - you can read more about the Crossfit event over at the company blog; I was tasked with posting info and updates, so check it out for some more pictures and details.