What a day! I’m beat and ready for bed. I thought I’d share some photos first, though – because today I went on my 1st big reward trip, to Six Flags Magic Mountain! A little background: months and months ago, I decided that my first weight loss goal would be 100 pounds. I chose it because it was more than I’d ever lost on a diet before, and because, well, it’s a nice round number and I like nice round numbers. I also decided that I should motivate myself with some sort of reward once I read that goal, and it took me a little while to figure out what that goal should be. It seemed wrong to reward myself with food (“I’ve lost 100 pounds, I’m gonna buy me some FUDGE!”), so I went with roller coasters. I love Love LOVE roller coasters, and because I was so overweight (or, in theme park parlance, a ‘guest of exceptional size’), I haven’t really been able to ride them my entire adult life. In fact, the last roller coaster I had ridden before today (excluding 2 kiddie ones at Legoland in June) was the one that goes around New York New York in Las Vegas in July of 2002, and it was a tight fit. I had to suck in my gut and hold my breath to get that harness to click into place, and once I did, there was no room for me to exhale completely. Good times.
That, however, was a better experience than the time before: maybe a year prior, I had an awful experience with friends at Cedar Point in Sandusky, Ohio (the park I grew up going to, America’s Roller Coast, my all-time favorite park), where I was kicked off Raptor because I didn’t fit, in front of everyone in the station, by a thin (naturally) ride operator who really couldn’t have been ruder about the whole thing. Now that’s a walk of shame – holding up a train full of people who have waited an hour or more, while a punk-ass guy scolds me, then tells me I have to leave, then getting up out of the train while trying to laugh it off and fight back a tear then shouting to your friends over your shoulder, ‘I’ll wait for you by the exit!’ as if I had any choice in the matter.
But I digress. It’s all in the past now, because damn it, I’m skinny enough to ride roller coasters again! I actually reached that 100 pound milestone in July, much faster than I anticipated, actually. I decided to hold off on the Magic Mountain trip until now, just so it wouldn’t be so crowded. Man, was that a good idea! The park was not busy at all. We waited 10 minutes or less for about 8 different coasters, and the most we waited was about 50 minutes, once, for X2. In total, we went on 12 different coasters (all of them except the 2 that were closed for maintenance or whatever), and we went on 5 of them twice, for a total of 17 coaster experiences, plus 5 non-coaster rides (“carnie rides” as my friend Jen, who came with me, called them) – 22 rides total. In 8.5 hours. A great day!
Here’s some pics of Jen and me in front of our favorite rides:
X2. The favorite ride for both of us. The seats are on either side of the track, and they rotate in a complete circle, so at any point on the ride, you don’t know what direction you’ll be facing. Craziness. You go up the lift hill backwards, then you’re rotated so you go down the first hill face first, and so on. It’s fast and smooth and unpredictable (the first time you go on it). Amazing. Oh – the loop in the picture in the top right isn’t actually X2, it’s Viper, which is right next to it, and my least favorite coaster, because I am a little too tall. I’m 6’4″, and the over-the-shoulder harness dug into the tops of my shoulders. Plus it was jerky. Jerky + Painful = Bottom of the list.
Tatsu. This is the flying coaster, where you’re in the train lying on your stomach, head first, with the track above you so you have no idea where you’re going. Lots of big hills and swoopy curves and inversions. It was the only coaster we did twice in a row – we loved it so much we did it again, in the front row the second time. It helped that we waited, like, 10 minutes combined for the two rides – we got there pretty much just as the park opened. Jen’s head kept getting cropped in these pics – whoops! I was taking the pics myself, and it was hard to get me, her, and the sign all in the frame!
Colossus. I got all of Jen’s head in this pic! Colossus is their big, older wooden coaster with twin tracks so 2 trains could race each other. But when the park isn’t so busy, like today, they only run 1 train. That’s ok, though, because the ride is awesome. It’s everything you want a wooden coaster to be: Loud, clackety, steep drops, lots of air time. Reminded me a lot of Gemini, Cedar Point’s twin wooden coaster.
Goliath. I finally enlisted a stranger to take a picture, since their entry sign is so huge (huge enough to not even fit entirely in the frame). One of the park’s tallest coasters with a first drop of 255 feet (into an underground tunnel!). It doesn’t go upside down, but it’s super fast and only has a lap bar, so your butt rises off the seat at the tops of the hills.
Jen and I also loved Scream, where your feet dangle beneath you, and I loved Riddler’s Revenge, which is their stand-up coaster, but Jen didn’t like it nearly as much.
Since this is (or will be, as this is my first post) a blog about weight loss and food, I thought I’d mention what we ate there, since there’s so many unhealthy choices, and I didn’t want to go off my diet, especially since I had decided I wasn’t going to reward myself with food. Around 1pm, we started looking for a healthy lunch, and decided upon the “family-size” salads at Papa Johns. Here’s a photo:Lettuce, 2 cherry tomatos, 2 pepperoncinis (but Jen gave me hers, so I had 4) and dressing – I had a couple tablespoons of Ranch. A few hours later, we stopped and got big turkey sandwiches (bread, turkey, lettuce, tomato, relish, mustard – we both removed the cheese), and I had half a single-size bag of potato chips – about 3/4 of an ounce. Add in a good breakfast beforehand of fruit and eggs, and a good dinner at home after of carrots, celery, leftover cauliflower mash (cauliflower, yogurt, scallion, herbs), and strawberries, and a ton of water, and that’s my food log for the day. More on food logs in future posts.
One final picture: The last moments of daylight behind the coasters as we walked to the car:The wooden one in front is Colossus, and Goliath is behind it, and the vertical tower is Superman The Escape, which was closed today.
It’s just after midnight as I type this, and as I think back about the day, there’s one highlight that I will remember most of all. It’s not the short lines, or seeing employees on 2 different rides cleaning up other riders’ puke, or the wonderful people-watching (theme parks are great places to see lots of what-were-they-thinking tattoos). The best highlight of all is that I fit. I worked hard, and as a result, I fit on rides that 8 months ago I couldn’t go on. There were moments during the day where I felt like crying when that harness clicked into place, and I didn’t, because the excitement about the coaster itself was overwhelming as well. But what a feeling! My determination and willpower brought me to Magic Mountain, and sent me flying along miles of track and through countless inversions. What am I gonna be able to do next? That journey really is the most exciting ride of all.
Keep it up, David!