Monday, April 2, 2012

Changes in Blog Focus

Hello everyone, This is Toby reporting from the Square One residence of Maiko, Toby, Bomber, Fonzie and Jack! Up until today, the blog has been giving updates from a 3rd person perspective (or maybe Bomber's perspective), but as you all are surely aware, it has been me writing the updates. Going forward from today, we are going to change things a little bit with a little bit of a different focus of this blog space.

The original purpose of the blog was to share our story from when we moved out of Seattle and went to Hokkaido with this big dream of building a straw bale house there. That climaxed in 2009 and then had some final finishing touches put on it over the Summer of 2010. Now, two years later, we have been just posting random updates from time to time with no real purpose or focus. Now.....we have one again.

I (Toby) have been focusing on my health for the last year and have really increased the amount of daily exercise I do. When I was younger, I participated in many sports from age 5 until college. After college, I became more active in outdoor activities like skiing, hiking and cycling. Last summer, I started to combine both my passion for the outdoors and the competitiveness I was raised with in sports and started to compete in some races/events. I tasted some success last summer and it has only made me desire to get more. However, I know that in order for me to be completely happy with any results from any race or event, I need to get in the best peak performance fitness that I am able to. My biggest obstacle to date has been comparing my current body to what I was in my early 20's. Now, I understand that my peak fitness during that time is going to be different than what it is now, 20 years later.

When I returned to Hokkaido from our 5 week trip to The West Coast of The USA, I had to really fight to lose the 3kg's I gained on beer over there. Now, 7 months later, I am happy to say that I not only lost those 3 kg's, but lost an additional 3 kg's and feel in excellent shape. However, I also know I can do so much more and have been looking at ways to increase my exercise activity, as well as keep a public diary of my progress and what I am doing on a regular basis. That is where this blog page will come into play.

From December 28 ~ last Tuesday, March 27th, I exercised for 91 consecutive days. Many of those days included the challenging back country skiing (climbing, traversing through deep snow, etc), but many of the other days included swim sessions (60 minutes of intense drills on every Tuesday/Thursday), bicycling on my indoor trainer for my road bike as the first thing I did out of bed every morning (5 days/week), as well as other times when I just got on that indoor trainer and rode for 60-90 minutes at a time at high cadence. Many days, approximately 2~3 times/week, I would do two of these workouts/day. All along, I was keeping track of all my training on my diary at myfitnesspall which has a convenient app' for my iPhone.

Last September, I set some goals for my weight and I reached those goals last week (6kg's lost by April 1st). I set another goal at the same time and that was to lose another 6kg's lost by September 1st of THIS YEAR which is only 5 months away. My friends, who have been much more active in recent years than I have, informed me that it's much easier to lose weight in the non-snow months, but I am a little skeptical as I feel I have been very active this last Winter (it's still snowing as I type this). Consequently, instead of just assuming I will lose the weight with increased training and focus on my diet, I am going to share my progress here on my blog to not only share it with all of you, but to push me into working harder and, ultimately, force myself into reaching that September 1st goal.....if not more.

Last Fall, I purchased a book titled, "Racing Weight: How to Get Lean for Peak Performance" and it has really opened my eyes to how I can lose weight while maintaining the power and strength I currently have. Because of this book and my determination these last 7 months, I slowly reached my goal weight with as much or more power/strength than I had before. At the same time, I didn't take the actually dietary steps in this book to heart and just tried to eat healthier while increasing exercise. Now, I am ready to get serious about the dietary part of the concept. Therefore, two weeks ago, I purchased the supplemental book by this author titled, "Racing Weight: Quick Start Guide" to help me get started and well on my way to my "Peak Performance" weight.

I don't expect to reach my "Peak Performance" weight by this year, but I hope to get there by next year at the latest. This year, I currently have 3 race dates to test my progress. The first will be the Sea to Summit race in Shimane Prefecture on May 27th. The second will be my best effort to defend my title in the local Sea to Summit race here on Asahidake come June 17th. The final progress check, and true test (since it will be after my next weight goal date), will be on September 16th when the Tour De Hokkaido one day citizen race is held on the roads of Tohma, Higashikawa and Biei. I am confident that with the right focus of exercise, weight loss and training on those roads (in my backyard with much of the course being on my commute to/from work), I will perform well. However, that race is still 5 months away and the much more challenging Sea to Summit races are starting in less than 8 weeks. Yikes!!

So, without further ado, the blog posts going forward are going to be more regular (daily is my goal) with updates on my training and progress. From time to time, I will show Maiko's progress as she starts to increase her fitness and energy levels through exercise, as well. And, of course, we will still show fun updates from life at Square One, the progress on our big garden project this year and/or some trips, daily or longer, that we take. For example, Maiko and I went to Tokyo for 3 days last week to watch The Mariner's play the 2012 MLB opening series against The A's. It was fun and we enjoyed our time in Tokyo visiting friends, cat cafes, coffee houses and craft beer pub's. We will share some pictures from that trip soon. In the meantime, I just wanted to post this update as a type of "warning" of what you'll see as we go forward with this blog.

As always, thanks for taking the time to read our blog. We hope this finds you well and healthy!

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