Monday, December 20, 2010

The Week

I'm still crunched for time with a Wednesday deadline for semester grades and a large grant proposal (sent off to our grants and contracts office today for internal review - yay!), but wanted to get some thoughts/events from last week down on virtual paper before I started forgetting about them.

The start of our annual weeklong extension meeting tour.  We kicked off in Champaign with our first meeting.  I was there to help setup at 7 am and presented at 11.  We decided to leave for Northern Illinois at 4 pm, so I decided to bring my car home and have the group pick me up there.  Bad decision.  On the way home, as I was driving in the left lane on a west-bound one-way street, the drive next to me in the right lane decided to abrubtly make a left turn.  Into my passenger side door.  No injuries (I know you were worried), but it did result in a pissed off me and a pissed off wife of the driver of the other car.  She showed up with his insurance information, yelled at him, and gave me some very dirty looks.  The police "investigation" found him to be at fault, the officer wrote him a few citations and sent me on my less-than-merry way. 

So we got on the road about 2 hours later than anticipated.

Day 2 of the meetings which means that my presentation was more polished and I wasn't quite sick of it yet.  Good deal for the day 2 attendees.  First real extension meal of the trip - meat, potatoes, gravy, vegetables in a pool of glorious butter. The University vehicle we took did not start in the morning.  We called AAA assuming it was the battery.  They determined it was a bad starter.  So we stayed a few extra hours after the meeting waiting for that to be replaced, and ended up getting on the road to Western IL a few hours later than expected.  Dinner at a steakhouse called "The Packinghouse."  Not very many diet- or heart-friendly items on that menu.  60 minutes on the hotel treadmill following dinner to try and combat the damage done during the day.

The final for my undergraduate course was Tuesday evening.  Luckily the course TA was able to proctor it.  Beyond a few student emails pleading their cases for passing grades in the course, the exam seemed to go fine.

Day 3 of the meetings, 3rd time giving my presentation and starting to get sick of it.  More food, followed by more driving back to Champaign for the evening.  Wednesday was fairly uneventful, which was welcome after the previous two days.

Bad weather and day 4 of the meetings in Central IL.  Despite the weather we had probably the biggest crowd of the week.  Literally standing room only, followed by yet another lunch fit for someone who had been doing manual labor all morning (but not fit for someone who had spent the morning working on his laptop, drinking coffee, and presenting for 30 minutes). We got back to Champaign fairly early and I was able to make the training session at the bike shop.  We did the CTS Climbing II video (which happens to be on my Amazon wish list).  It made me want to puke, but was a lot of fun and also made me sweat off what I am assuming was close to 5 lbs.  I literally left a puddle on the showroom floor.

The 5th and final meeting in our series was held in Southern IL.  The rest of the group headed out Thursday evening, but I chose to drive my (damaged) car down that morning and return early so I could make it back for the final exam for my graduate course in the afternoon.  My presentation this day went surprisingly well.  It was fresh enough (I changed some numbers for Southern IL, which is much different than the rest of the state) and I was practiced enough by then to do a really good job (if I do say so myself).  I made it back with an hour to spare for the exam, gave the final, and then proceeded to head out with friends for a much needed dinner with a heavy focus on the adult beverages.

Christmas shopping the weekend before Christmas is a bad idea.  What you think will take 3 hours total will take closer to 5 and you won't even take care of everything on your list.  I ended up just quitting out of frustration.  The housekeeper showed up on Saturday, which was good as I was having a Christmas party on Sunday with coworkers and friends (some were both).  She found it odd when I came home from shopping and changed into bike gear (not in front of her).  Apparently she is not used to seeing people in thermal tights going out for a bike ride in 20 degree weather, but I needed it.  Then I spent my Saturday evening grading and finishing up some things on a grant proposal.

I had planned to do my first cyclocross race today in Bloomington, IL but decided to just go for a ride in town and get some much needed work done prior to the party.  The party included a lot of food and a white elephant gift exchange.  A few people forgot to bring gifts, which I anticipated, so I wrapped up a few extras:
  1. Two slightly used bike tires (more than 3,000 miles on them and they were paper thin).  The person who chose this gift was sure it was a hula hoop.  They were disappointed.
  2. A cycling grab bag complete with two platform pedals off an old mountain bike, two tubes with holes (they could be patched), a package of ShotBlocks, a reflector off one of my bikes (have to take those off to save the much needed weight, who cares about safety?), and some used cycling gloves that were all kinds of grossness from a full season of sweaty riding.
  3. A paperback copy of an old Rush Limbaugh book.
Overall it was a very fun and entertaining evening.

The Aftermath
So the week included a lot of travel, a lot of food, and not a whole lot of exercise (although I did make the time I had count).  Much to my surprise, the weekend ended with some more actual weight loss.  As of Sunday afternoon (before the party), I was actually down 10.2 lbs since the start of December.  This should mean that I successfully qualified for Fatty's 10 lbs by Christmas Challenge.  But there was a lot of good food at my house on Sunday night. I was too scared to step on the scale today.  So tonight I am going to spend some time on the treadmill while watching the start of the now infamous Bears-Vikings game being played at TCF field in the cold and snow.  I will weigh in tomorrow and see how much damage was done on Sunday and what I need to do before Thursday to say I officially hit the 10 lb. goal.

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