Thursday, July 03, 2008

Celebrating 41, The Hard Way

Last year I impressed even myself, celebrating my 40th birthday by posting 40 times over the course of the day.

How to top that this year?

41 posts?

Hmm. Not likely. I don't have the time to compose so many posts, or at least interesting ones. That wouldn't be quite fair, I believe.

So what, then?

Then an idea struck me on July 1, two days before my birthday.

Several months ago, I saw my doctor for the first time in quite a while. The blessing of good health kept me away from him. And when they did a full work-up of my blood, I was the model of health, with one exception - my cholesterol is through the roof.

This, frankly, pissed me off. Ever since losing 55 pounds with Weight Watchers several years ago, my diet has been incredibly healthy. I rarely eat red meat, I only use skim milk, I eat soy cheese and other soy-based meat substitutes. I rarely eat eggs. Rich desserts are treats, not the norms. I have large salads for dinner multiple times a week. How did this happen?

So we waited six weeks and ran the blood again. During these six weeks, I incorporated more bran into my breakfast (generally fruit and yogurt). I eliminated a lot of the chicken from my lunch salads. I patronized the local fruit vendors around Madison Square Garden and shunned unhealthy foods. I continued my regular lunchtime walks (from 31st Street down Seventh Avenue to 14th Street and back up Eighth Ave).

Last week I got the results back, expecting great news. My cholesterol actually went up a point.

As the youngsters say, WTF?

So my doc says I'm going on a statin med to lower my cholesterol. I protest. "What if I ride my bike more?" He looked at me and said, "That would be like pissing into the wind." I knew what he meant, but now that I think about it, it's not really that good a metaphor.

With my family history (see my Pop's recent posts over at his blog), I guess we can chalk it up to genetics.

But, getting back to the matter at hand, my what-to-do-in-honor-of-my-41st-birthday conundrum, I looked to the fact that I have barely been on my bike since April. In fact, I rode it more in the November-March period than in the April-June period. Defies logic.

So, to make a long story longer, I have decided to gift myself this 41st birthday with a challenge. And I'm posting it here on BillyBlog to cement in a higher level of accountability.

This morning, on the anniversary of my birth, I got my old middle-aged (ugh, really?) ass out of the house and on my bike, and I rode it.

And here, dear reader, is a photo of my 41-year old self, still tired, posing with the Verrazano Narrows Bridge:

And here is the celebration part. It is my goal to ride my bike, every day, for the next 41 days.

Yes, between my birthday and August 12, I intend to ride my bike. And I will bore you all with the details like, today, July 3, 2008, I rode 5.14 miles and I saw a dead rat. Or whatever. I'll try to keep it interesting for all of us. I'll even keep you posted on other vital statistics.

On the ride, I decided to give a snapshot to you all whenever I hit, you guessed it, 4.1 miles. Here's today's 4.1-mile picture:

I started my cholesterol prescription last weekend and I didn't sprout a tail or anything weird. It's a low dosage and I'm looking forward to good numbers in August when I re-test.

And if this sounds like all work and no play, don't worry. I'll drink at least 41 ounces of beer tonight in celebration of another milestone.

Thanks for reading.

By the way, first order of business was filling my flat tires with $0.75 worth of air:


Leon said...

What can I say Bill (other than Happy Birthday)? You are at least the 3rd generation of Cohanim to have high cholesterol. And before your grandfather Bill's time, I suspect that it was not even something that could be measured. I'm delighted that you are doing all the right things but regular check-ups are the key. And, oh yes, to cheer you up even further, make sure your blood glucose levels are checked regularly too! There's a long family history of diabetes.

Having said that, there is a lot of life left to be lived. Let this birthday be the beginning of many healthy, happy decades.

- Dad

Ben said...

Go Billy Go. I think exercise is the key. I think this diagnosis of high cholesterol is a plot that MDs have hatched to limit their exposure to liability. I think they sound the alarms too soon. My mom & sister are doctors so I should know. That said, you mustn't ignore the ravages of time, and exercise is the main line of defense. In fact, in anticipation of my 41st birthday (sort of) I tried hatha yoga last night, the kind in a steaming hot room. I'm going to continue if it kills me. How ironic. Benjie (I got my messaging privileges back!)

Cristina said...

Happy Birthday!
Happy Riding!

Tattoosday said...

Thanks to everyone for their birthday greetings!

Anonymous said...

I'm late, i known.
Anyway Happy birthday!!
your blood will be better soon!!