Monday, October 31, 2005


My friend Mark "Mok" Alexander would have turned 38 today, but he didn't. After 12 years I still don't understand why, but I know he was my friend and he'll always be missed. Happy birthday dude and I'll check in on you in a few weeks.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Breaking D.B.A.N. News

My weight is officially down to 296 today. The walking and low calories are paying off. I only walked half a mile today since the blister on the ankle is still pretty painful. I'm still on track to walk more than 10 miles this week though. My sinuses are better but there is still lots of drainage and a little bit of a cough.
Halloween Comes Early to Hermitage

So about five months ago, just before I started my current job, Marissa and Victoria went to Miami with her mother and I spent about four days in Shelby County visiting my mother with Annie the dachshund. At some point during that time one of our cats, who we called Baby disappeared. Either my sister-in-law let her out when she came to feed them, or I did before I left to go to Alabama. Either way she was gone when we returned after Memorial Day.

Now my wife and daughter have been suspicious of me during the last five months, because I've taken cats to the pound before and I had been grumbling about having too many animals. At the time we had two dogs and two cats and it was about two too many. Marissa even asked me in private if I had done something with Baby but I swore I hadn't. Honestly, I figured she got out and a raccoon ate her or she got run over and the vultures got her. She was fairly scrawny. Marissa and Victoria have maintained the firm belief that Baby was taken in by someone and was being taken care of.

So this morning as I'm getting ready for work, Marissa starts saying "Alan! Alan! Come here quick," from the kitchen. I go in the kitchen and look out into the back yard with her. Just past the trampoline next to a tree is Baby walking towards the back fence. Marissa goes out on the deck and yells "Baby!" and the cat turns around and looks and meows and then starts walking again. Marissa goes out into the back yard and calls her for about five minutes, but didn't see the cat again.

I still feel like I saw a ghost. Now I just need to figure out if I didn't tie the burlap sack tight enough or if I didn't put enough rocks in it. Heh, heh, heh.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Hatch Got a Boo Boo

Well, I pushed it during my lunch walk today and walked a total of 1.7 miles by adding an extra block on my route. Unfortunately, a few hours later I started feeling the beginnings of a blister on the back of my right ankle. After peeling off the boot and the smart wool it's about the size of a nickel and had already burst and mostly peeled away. I'm currently letting it air out under my desk and hoping no one notices the odor. Heh. I've already acquired bandaids from the first aid kit for later. I'm not letting it discourage me, since my feet have to get used to my boots once more and I need some calluses in those spots again anyway. I guess it's time to get some Moleskin.

Here's a map of my various walking routes. I found a steep hill close by that I'm going to add a route to soon. Click on the image to make it larger. The green route is the one I walked today. The brown route is a total of 0.5 miles roundtrip down to the Harris Teeter grocery store and back.

The Awful Green Things from Hatch's Space

The Dayquil is keeping my sinus problems in check for the most part, but when I wake up in the morning after sleeping for 8 hours I'm miserable still. I might have to set my alarm to get up about 3am and spend some time clearing things out and take some more medicine.

The scales read 296 at first this morning, but then became completely unreliable. I'm not going to officially say I'm down to that weight yet, but I'm pretty sure I'm close. The adjustment to the low calorie diet has gone pretty well for the most part and I haven't even had to eat many baby carrots to stave off the hunger pangs. Actually, I haven't eaten any of them yet now that I think about it.

The feet are feeling good today, so I'm going for the 1.1 mile walk at lunch. I did that yesterday and also walked the dachshund last night for another 3/4 of a mile. She's lucky she's still breathing since she completely destroyed our nice comforter yesterday while Marissa was at her bible study. She pulled out most of the stuffing and now she's going back in the crate when she's left alone. No more free range wieners at the Hatcher house for a while.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Happy Birthday Bubba!

My best little buddy turned 7 today, marking the end of the October birthdays obviously designed to make Uncle Hatch feel really old.

Happy Birthday Garrison Edward Hatcher!

Uncle Alan loves you and will see you soon!
We few, we happy few, we band of brothers

Today's the 590th Anniversary of the Battle of Agincourt. It's a great object lesson in how important well disciplined troops and battle terrain can be. The Agincourt article at Wikipedia makes a great start to find out more about one of the greatest butt whuppin's the French ever took.
Hatch Boots Are Made For Walking

My feet are feeling much better today although there are some small twinges. I wore the boots to work again today and I may make it a regular thing since my goal is to get into hiking shape anyway. I walked the 1.1 mile route today at lunch and while there was some minor discomfort at first about half way through things started feeling pretty good.

I didn't get as winded on the uphill part today as I did even just a week and a half ago. I really need to find a steep hill to walk up at least once a week. I walked up a nice one this past Saturday at the lake and when I got to the top two whitetail deer bounced away from me. They were close enough I could hit them with a rock. That is if I had a rock and could actually hit a barn with one from 10 feet away, which is not a given for me. Heh.

I've been tracking my walking for the past 24 days now and updating a spreadsheet with the results. Yes, I love spreadsheets so make as many snarky comments as you want, it's not going to change anything.

I walked on 19 of the last 24 days for a 0.79 ratio. My total distance the last 24 days was 26.6 miles for an average of 1.4 miles/day for the days I actually walked or 1.1 miles/day spread over all the days.

Here's a chart of the last 4 weeks. The 4th week isn't finished until Saturday so I expect I may go over 10 miles this week if nothing starts hurting too bad.

14 Minutes

Marissa and I toured the Women's Hospital at Centennial Medical Center yesterday evening. We got to see the labor and delivery rooms, which are very nice and talked about all the procedures and exactly where I should come into the hospital with my wife and at exactly what point I should start yelling and screaming and causing a ruckus. It turns out there actually is no appropriate point for the ruckus raising. Huh...weird.

Anyway, at one point they showed us a nursery and through the glass we could see them working on getting what was obviously a newborn cleaned up. The dad was standing inside next to the nurse watching her work on the baby. The rest of the family was on the other side of the glass with us and the tour guide asked what time he had been born. One of the relatives said "5:58." I looked at my cell phone and it was 6:12. Fourteen minutes old.

That had me thinking curious thoughts for the next little while. Fourteen minutes. He's been breathing for 14 minutes. I had been breathing for approximately 19,766,000 minutes at that point. Yes, I know it sounds strange, but that's the kind of stuff that runs through my head all the time. Welcome to your small peek into Hatch's head for the day. Drop something in the tip jar on your way out.

Monday, October 24, 2005


Hatch can't breath so good today. My nose is really stuffy or really runny, it alternates several times per hour right now. It's not green anymore, so I guess that's a good thing.

As expected, my ankles are aching a little today. I wore my boots to work and I walked a half mile at lunch to the store to get some Dayquil and keep everything stretched out. I didn't take any pain killers before the Dayquil, so it's not unbearable pain, but I don't want to overdo anything and not be able to walk for several days.

I was at 300 today, so I'm bouncing up and down from 298 to 300 every other day. I think the switch to the new diet style and continued exercise should help the weight start coming off again in the next few days. This is my current plan:

Breakfast: 1 Bowl of Product 19 with 0% milk. 150 calories
Lunch : Two sandwiches. Bread x 4 = 140 calories Meat slices x 4= 240 Calories Pickles = 20 Calories Mustard = 0 calories
Snack : One small bag of pretzel sticks = 110 calories
Supper : One Frozen Healthy Choice Meal = ~325 Calories
Hunger Pangs = Baby Carrots = Negligible Calories.

Total Calories = 985

The bread is a lower carb variety that has 5 net carbs per slice and only 35 calories.

Sunday, October 23, 2005

The Sidewalk Was Angry That Day My Friends

My sinuses have really been acting up the last couple of days. It was causing an itch somewhere between my throat and my right ear that kept me up most of last night with lots of sneezing and snorting thrown in as well. I really and truly did not want to go do the Heart Walk today, but since I conned so many of you into making donations I felt guilty.

So after skipping church, eating lunch with Marissa and Victoria, and then dropping the pregnant woman off at her mother's house, Victoria and I drove towards Vanderbilt and got there about 1:30. By the time the walk started at 2:00, the temperature had dropped down into the 4o's and the wind was blowing pretty good. Just as we got started I told Victoria, who was my little skinny popcicle at this point, that to make it a perfect day it should start raining. About 10 minutes later, just as we turned onto West End Avenue, it did. Not hard mind you, but just misting enough to make it feel even colder.

I made myself finish it though. We went 3.2 miles and it took us about 68 minutes. It's the farthest I've walked at once in probably 2 or 3 years. I wore my hiking boots and I'm not too sore right now, but I think my ankles will probably be complaining for a few days.

I'm also going off the low carb diet today and switching to a 1200 calorie or less diet for a while. I need a break and the low carb thing is just getting old. I've been on it for 40 days now and I've lost 26 pounds. I'm not eating nearly as much food every day anymore, so I think doing the lower calories should be easier for me at this point. I guess we'll see in a week if I've lost any weight or not.

Despite the stuffed up sinuses, it was a great weekend. Watching Tennessee fumble out the back of the end zone and Auburn bounce one off the goal post were definitely the high points. Driving home from a cookout at the lake yesterday evening, I got to listen to the lamentations of the Volunteers on their postgame call-in show. It's a great thing to see their spirit broken like it is right now, especially when you have to live and work near so many of them.

Friday, October 21, 2005

Oops, Missed It

I can't believe I forgot to post about it this past weekend, but October 15, 2005 was my 5th anniversary of quitting smoking. Yes, I took my last puff off a cigarette in Nashville on that day five years ago and haven't looked back. About a month and a half later I was struggling to make it to the top of St. Paul's Cathedral in London and that's when I promised myself I would get into better shape.

Speaking of shape, it hasn't been a great week for walking since the top of my foot started killing me after my lunch walk on Monday. By Tuesday afternoon I could barely walk at all. I think it's a complete lack of arch support in my work shoes, so from now on I'm going to bring my sneakers to work to walk in.

I even blew out the diet Tuesday night by going to Cici's Pizza Buffet after an argument with the wife. Despite that, I have still lost weight this week and today I'm at 298 for a total of 26 pounds lost so far.

I also surpassed my AHA Heart Walk goal this week thanks to some generous friends. Feel free to still contribute if you're moved to. Victoria and I will be walking this Sunday afternoon at 2pm near Vanderbilt. It's a 5k walk which is about 3.2 miles. That's further than I've walked in one day for quite a while, but the route is mostly flat and I'm going to wear my hiking boots for extra arch support.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Cheap Blog Readers?

Of all my possible blog readers, only Poobie has donated for my AHA Heart Walk this coming Sunday, and he has a wife in med school. Are my 7 other loyal readers going to stand for that? I would hope not. Even Burt donated and we all know tight he is.

So please Click On This Link and make a donation. You can even add a challenge or dare to your donation. You can rename one of my pets for a week, challenge Hatch to finish the 3.2 miles under a certain time, or get to see that picture of Will and Burt kissing.

Monday, October 17, 2005

Sneezy Monday

I spent some time on Saturday and Sunday organizing and cleaning out our garage. I've still got plenty of work to do in there, but at we can put the Montero in and not have to turn sideways to get to it. The dust has severely messed up my sinuses, so I'll try to wear a dust mask next time I get in there to finish up.

I hit 300 lbs for real on Sunday morning and I was at the same weight today. I didn't walk too much this weekend due to some lingering foot pain, but the exercise from cleaning the garage made up for it some. I'm slowly, and I do mean slowly, trying to add just a touch of abdominal work. I did some leg lifts and a few pitiful crunches last night. There's still a lot of gut down there and tearing up my abs when I'm this big is not a pleasant thing to do.

My newest favorite low carb food is a big bag of frozen Tyson chicken tenderloins. I throw about 6 of them on a cookie sheet for about 25 minutes in the oven. I squeeze a little ranch dressing onto each one then sprinkle with Tabasco Chipotle and it's a pretty good supper. I may cut a slice of cheddar to go with them if I'm really hungry. A bag runs about 8 bucks at Kroeger and it provides about 4 or 5 meals, so it's a pretty good value.

So today is 34 days on the current weight loss plan. I'm over my bread cravings for the most part. I can watch people eat Cracker Barrel biscuits and cornbread and not have too much jealousy pop up. I just calmly eat my turnip greens and visualize myself jumping rocks in the Savage Gulf or pulling myself out of Sinking Cove Cave next spring. Yaulp!

Friday, October 14, 2005


This week has mostly been a wash as far as the weight loss plan goes. I reported last Sunday that I was down to 300 pounds, but that seems to have been a bit premature. The next day and everyday through yesterday it was stubbornly stuck at 304 again. This morning it was back down to 302.

I think I overdid it last week, especially last weekend. My knees and ankles complained loudly through Wednesday night. Today at lunch was the first time since Sunday that I walked over a mile, and it felt pretty good with no pains. I'm going to do one 2 mile walk on the greenway either tomorrow or Sunday and a short distance the other day. Doing 5 miles in two days last weekend just did too much wear and tear while I'm still this heavy. I won't do that again until I'm down below 275.

I ate with Marissa at a Chinese buffet for lunch Wednesday. I didn't blatantly eat a lot of carbs, but I was out of ketosis for a day or so. No real harm done, since I'm following the same pattern as 2000 when I lost weight. I go for about 4 weeks of strict adherence to the low carb plan then I ease up for one meal. I should be able to go close to Thanksgiving now without cheating. Patience is the key, now. I won't see five pounds melt away in a week anymore, so I have to be satisfied with 2 pounds or so every 7 days.

Thursday, October 13, 2005

Happy Birthday Lizziepoo!

To continue a month of making Hatch feel older, my niece Elizabeth Megan Hatcher turns 9 years old today. My little Lizardbreath is almost into double digits. That's hard to believe. I love you to the moon and the stars sweetie!

Tuesday, October 11, 2005


I nearly wet myself when I saw the latest headline at tonight. Looks like Uncle Bull has started a new job there.

Happy Birthday Dave!

There are certain moments in life that are frozen in almost perfect clarity. There's the time I broke my arm jumping out of a swing about 12 feet off the ground. I sat there on the ground and looked at my right arm, which having both bones broken appeared to have two wrists that dangled my hand uselessly back in forth like a slinky.

Then there's a time about 11.75 years ago in Alabaster, Alabama in the mop room at the back of the FoodMax. I'd been working there with Heff for a while mopping floors for 20 dollars a night. We usually rode there together from Columbiana but since Heff had been dating a girl named Janesa we had lately been arriving separately. I was in the back filling up the mop machine when Heff walks in, taps out a cigarette, lights it and stands there like he's wanting to tell me something.

I wait patiently for a few minutes, then he looks up at me and says "Janesa's pregnant."

I stand there stunned for a second then my mouth opens and I said "Is it yours?"

I don't know exactly why I said that, even to this day. I never liked Janesa it's true, but I don't think I ever would have conciously said those words, even to Heff. A lesser friend might have taken a swing at me, but Heff just stared at me a second and incredulously said "Yeah!"

So about 9 months later James David Falkner was born. I was at the hospital when he came out and Uncle Hatch has always been proud of the little bugger. Happy 11th Birthday Dave! You're making Uncle Hatch feel really old today.

Monday, October 10, 2005

Walking Totals

Here's my walking totals graph for the week ending this past Saturday. I totaled 11.9 miles for the week and averaged 1.7 miles a day.

Sunday, October 09, 2005

Sunday Afternoon

Annie and I walked 2.6 miles today on the greenway. We started from the Percy Priest Dam trailhead this time. I hadn't planned to walk that far today, but that particular section of the greenway doesn't really have any hills worth mentioning so I walked a little further to make up for that.

Annie, being the typical dachshund, is fine with people walking on the trail, but she doesn't like people running and she goes ballistic when she sees other dogs. She also has a bad tendency to want to walk on the opposite side of the trail from the one I'm walking on. This is not good because bicyclists have a bad habit of not calling out when they're about to pass you from behind so I've had to yank her out of the way a few times. Is it so hard to call out "left!" when you're coming up behind someone on what is basically a silent bike? At least go with the old tradition and put a baseball card in your spokes. Heh.

I also walked around Kroger tonight with Victoria, so I've gotten a good bit of exercise in this weekend. My back and ankles are aching some, and I actually walked enough that my ab muscles are complaining a little. I'll probably only walk a little tomorrow to let things rest up a little.
Weekend Update

I took it easy for the most part on Friday. Marissa and I had supper at Chili's that night and I had the Portabello Fajitas. It's an extra two bucks, but adding the big shroom onto it is worth it. Chili's doesn't really put enough meat on their fajitas in my opinion, but I have them hold the green peppers and then mix in the cheese to make it my favorite low carb meal right now.

We went to the mall after dinner and I did end up walking a little over half a mile there after I bought some new boot laces and tried to find Marissa. I checked out some caving gear I want to buy soon. I'm planning on spending a little extra and getting a Petzl Ecrin helmet since head gear is probably not something you want to skimp on.

With my new laces installed on the hiking boots, I wanted to wear them on the greenway on Saturday. I couldn't find either pair of Smart Wool socks, so I dug into our master closet and ended up washing about 5 loads of clothes. Since I've lost a good bit of weight already, I found a lot of clothes I haven't worn in a while and got them washed and ready. My size 44 pants are starting to fit a little loose, so I should be able to move into my old size 42 stuff soon.

After I found my socks, I laced up the old hiking boots and took the dachshund out to the greenway. I'd forgotten how comfortable those boots are to walk around in. Having all that extra ankle support and shock absorption from the Vibram soles makes you feel a lot better about walking, even though the boots are a lot heavier than my sneakers.

I pushed myself harder this time and added another half mile with a round trip total of 2.4 miles this week. This also included a fairly steep hill going up to the halfway point. From past experience, when you're trying to loose weight and push your endurance, hills are your best friend. The more elevation you can force yourself to do, the faster that fat burns off.

I keep forgetting to take my camera out to the greenway when I go. Yesterday there were two really pretty herons on the water, plus there's a really big ground hog that has a burrow about 30 or 40 yards off the path.

I know you're all wondering about the latest D.B.A.N. This morning it was right at 300, so I've lost 24 pounds and should crack under 300 in the next couple of days. I still haven't cheated on my low carb regimen. I've had some dreams this past week that I cheated, and I had some real cravings yesterday afternoon, but I resisted. At this point my goal is to not cheat until Thanksgiving. There's no way I'm not going to eat a bunch of dressing with my turkey. I'll be right back on it the next day though.

My first long term goal is to do a long hike in the Savage Gulf area the weekend of my birthday, March 26. It'll be about a 10 mile hike with about 800 feet of total elevation change. Everyone is welcome to join me. That's a little over 5 months from now, so I'm shooting to be down to at least 250 by then. I think 10 pounds a month on average is doable.

Ok, I'm off to walk on the greenway again. Can't have that dachshund getting chubby on me.

Thursday, October 06, 2005

2005 Heart Walk

On October 23 my daughter Victoria and I will be walking in the annual American Heart Association's Heart Walk. My employer is sponsoring several teams this year and we all have personal goals of raising $200 for the AHA.

As most of you know, I received a pacemaker implant back in January of 2004. Even though I'm no longer dependent on the pacemaker, I still have a keen interest in keeping up with research in heart disease, which the American Heart Association is a great supporter of.

I'm also in the beginning stages of a long term plan to change my life style from fat couch potato to healthy outdoors stud. I started on September 13, and in the last 23 days I've dropped 20 pounds and I'm walking almost 2 miles a day.

I'm asking all my friends, family, and strangers who happen to stumble over this blog to consider making a donation to the American Heart Association by clicking on this link. Thanks in advance from Alan, Marissa, and Victoria.

Please feel free to post the link to my AHA website on your blog or website. Every donation helps. Here's the full link:
Wednesday Night

I made it to the Nashville Grotto monthly meeting last night at the Adventure Science Center here in Nashville. There were about 25 or 30 people there and I met a lot of nice caving folks. Someone gave a slideshow presentation showing how he had visited approximately 100 caves in Tennessee and North Alabama during the last 12 months. Very impressive and informative. I'm definitely going back and I'm going to be joining the local grotto and the NSS. There are a lot of vertical caves that the grotto members visit regularly, so being able to go up and down 200 feet of rope is a great incentive to keep dropping weight.

After I got home last night about 9:30 I changed into my walking outfit for my nightly 1 mile trip. I had a lot of energy when I started, so I actually jogged for about 50 strides on three separate occasions during the walk. This is basically me starting to do some interval training, so if I can keep it up along with my good diet habits there should be no problem with me being in good hiking/caving shape by the spring.

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Fat Memories

On May 12, 2004 I weighed 281 pounds. So in one year I packed on 43 pounds on top of already being fat in the first place. Oh well, at least I'm losing again and I'm a lot more serious about it this time.

I did my 1.1 mile walk today at lunch. I'm going to the Nashville Grotto caving meeting tonight and I'll walk another mile when I get home and get the wife tucked into bed. So far this week I've been eating about 1000 calories a day with less than 10 carbs, and except for Monday I've walked at least a mile each day. This morning I was down to 304 or 305. My scales still suck, but I'm down almost 20 pounds in 23 days on my current fitness plan.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Another Boring Walking Post

Since it's been getting a little cooler and my wind is getting better I added another block to my walking route at work today. After I walked it I drove it and it's 1.1 miles. It also has a nice uphill segment so there was some extra burn there.

I walked another mile tonight about 10 and I've still got a lot of what feels like nervous energy. I think getting lots of sleep last night probably helped with that. Speaking of which, it's about time for some of that now.
When I Turn Sideways, I Disappear

OK, not really, but I am down to 306 this morning. The plateau has finally been overcome and hopefully within a week I'll move below 300. I walked for 15 minutes at lunch yesterday, and had planned to walk last night, but after I ate supper I just became exhausted and could barely hold my head up. I snoozed on the couch most of the evening and then slept from 10:30 til 7, so I'm feeling very refreshed this morning.

It's already great not to have an extra 18 pounds to lug around anymore. I picked up a 20 pound bag of dog food at the grocery store this week to remind me of how much weight that is. Now imagine carrying five of those bags strapped around your waist every day and that's what I've been doing for the last 4 years. Gravity sucks. Heh.

I'm also planning to go to the Nashville Grotto meeting tomorrow night. It's the local caving society and I'll probably become a member. One of my goals for 2006 is to make a trip back to Sinking Cove cave again. You have to hike up the side of a mountain, slide down a huge sinkhole, crawl under a waterfall into a hole, then follow the water down the mountain underground for about 2 miles. There's another entrance I didn't do last time where you have to rappel into the cave, so I'm hoping to learn some rope techniques and try that sometime as well.

Sunday, October 02, 2005

Weekend Update

During the day Friday I took two 15 minute walks around the block at work. I've got a nice little route going and the weather was perfect Friday for walking at a brisk pace and not sweating too much. I met Paul for supper about 6:00 and we ate the huge Ruby Tuesday burger sans bun and a trip and half to the salad bar. I ate too much, but there were practically no carbs involved.

We walked from the Ruby Tuesday to the movie theatre to see Serenity. It should have been a 5 minute walk, but some construction was in the way. Paul had the brilliant idea of taking a route through Dillards and the mall. So instead of a one minute detour we took almost 20 minutes to get to the movie. Never follow a Clemmons anywhere. He's got no sense of direction. Must be how he was raised. Heh. (Just kidding Mrs. Clemmons!)

Anyway, Serenity was truly an incredible movie. I rarely gush over a film, but I plan to see it again in the theatre and definitely buy the DVD when it comes out. Paul and I agreed that to come up with another Scifi movie that was this good, you have to go all the way back to Aliens or Empire Strikes Back. It's seriously that good. If you like Scifi at all, go see this movie.

So Saturday I didn't feel so great when I woke up. I might have overdone it slightly on the walking on Friday. I was still at 308 of course. I'm on a serious plateau right now. I pretty much stayed glued to the couch, especially when the Alabama game came on. What a great game. Unfortunately I made the mistake of watching Prothro break his leg frame by frame. Nasty break. I hate to see him go, but I don't think it should kill our chances this season. If our defense keeps playing the way they're playing we should be able to dominate other teams like we did in 92.

After church today I dropped Marissa off at her dad's house and Victoria and I hit the greenway. I walked about 1.7 miles in about 35 minutes. Not very fast, but I maintained a good walking rate and wasn't heaving at the end. It's sad to go as hard as you can and your 12 year old daughter is staying about a quarter of a mile in front of you telling you to hurry up. Then earlier tonight I walked the dog about 3/4 of a mile, so I put in 2.5 miles in today. I'm going to have to keep this kind of thing up so I can bust through the plateau. I can't be too upset though, tomorrow will be my 21st full day on my plan and even if I'm still at 308 that's 16 pounds in 21 days which is not too shabby.