Sunday, October 28, 2012

You ever wonder why ...?

Day 65, Oct. 28

Today I am 189.4 pounds of rolling thunder.

Sometimes I miss Andy Rooney. Not really Andy Rooney per se, just the thought of being able to be old, curmudgeonly and not care what people think about your bushy, bushy eyebrows.

Seems like the more you run, the more you think like old Andy. About the first thousand times you heard it, it was OK that he started most of his monologues with "you ever wonder ..." and then launch into why they sell batteries in packs of two but you really need three batteries to make most things work.

I had one of those 'do you ever wonder" moments last week, and I'm not sure any amount of running is going to solve it. Our house has several computers of ages varying from newborn to teenager. You ever wonder why it is that as soon as you go out of warranty on one of these modern marvels something inevitably goes kaput?

Take our touchscreen computer. It's great. Big screen. Easy to use. Decent price. Did I mention the Beats Audio speakers up and crapped out?

So I IM's my handy support person who for $200 a year is supposed to be able to repair anything. And for the most part, these guys do an OK job, unless of course I have to tell them how to repair something and then I start thinking I've been fleeced.

So the tech ran his diagnostics, loaded some drivers, rebooted and then decided it was a hardware problem and he couldn't be sure or fix it. Nice!

So I turned to the manufacturer. IM'd the help desk and talked to another person in India. He proceeded to try and sell me support service, which would not cover broken hardware since the warranty had expired.

Did you ever wonder who you could send the bill to when a company or organization wastes your time? Sort of like a cosmic desk where you can send billable hours. If there is such a place, I'm sure Andy is working at the counter with those bushy, bushy eyebrows.

So after taking a skip day last week, I got back out on the road trying to forget that my touchscreen would no longer have its awesome Beats Audio speakers. 8(

Anyway, the running has been good. I've gone from bundling up to running in shorts. I guess that's a sure sign of autumn in the Midwest.

Did you ever wonder why every day isn't clear and 70? I came across this last week in my Internet cruising and it might just be the answer. Race Motivation (and runner motto!): "If you wait for perfect conditions, you'll never get anything done."

Nuff said. You know the drill. You see the world's slowest human, you know what to do.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Thanks, I'll Take A Mulligan

Day 64, Oct. 26, 2012

Today I am 190.0 pounds of rolling thunder.

You know the interesting thing about writing a blog is that it's akin to being a comedian. The folks that live in your house are never quite sure what will or won't end up in print on the InterWebs. Or just blabbed about it on Twitter. Or posted it to Facebook.

SME XC Slideshow

Everything is grist for the blogging mill. Unfortunately, most of the goofy and off the wall stuff happens to me and not my family and friends. Or maybe I'm just witness to most of the tidbits that no one else cares about. Hey, I'm the guy who laughs at his own lame jokes.

Don't you hate it when the things you've "got" to do get in the way of the things you "want" to do? Or even worse, when something you want to do trumps other things you want to do.

That's a roundabout way of saying I haven't updating in a week because life has gotten in the way of life. Fortunately, life has only gotten in the way of running one day this week.

Not even a sore back has kept on the sideline (thank you very much Naproxen) this week. About once a year I twist, turn or pick up a small laundry item, and my lower back reminds me how painful breathing can be let alone sitting, standing and carrying on with life.

Sore back aside, this has been a bit of a renaissance week for me. In addition to running, I've spent time blogging, editing college essays, mowing lawns, wrestling with computer support, gardening, filling in a garden pond, battling the DMV, painting porches, attending meetings, writing and rewriting television scripts, updating social media sites, shooting senior pictures, prepping pictures in PhotoShop, building a music and picture slideshow and, oh yeah, applying for jobs and actually going on a job interview.

It's kind of amazing to think how busy you can make yourself seem when life gets in the way of fun. Or how busy you feel when fun gets in the way of fun.

After a day off from running, today's run was great. The weather was crisp, but my legs were fresh and my lungs were strong. My normal 6.5-mile loop clicked off with only stops for a few lights. Otherwise, I made the entire loop without a walk.

I considered today a mulligan for playing hooky yesterday. My plate was full of things I wanted to do. I built an online sweepstakes for a client. I messed with prepping picture for my slideshow, and eventually loaded sound and images into the program. And finally, I spent a few hours prepping for my job interview.

So today was a good do-over. I got some real work done; some fun work and I got to run.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Trust Me, Stress Is Loaded With Calories

Day 63, Oct. 19, 2012

Today I'm 195.4 pounds of rolling thunder.

It's good to see that my two month of yo-yo dieting mixed with daily exercise has given me enough string to lose 7 pounds but then bounce right back up to my starting weight.

Where did it all go wrong?

Perhaps being a charter member of the Carbohydrate of the Day Club was my biggest undoing. As a practicing non-vegetarian carbohydrates are my constant companion. Breads, cereals, pancakes and worst of all cookies.

And perhaps the biggest poison of the past week were the chocolatey peanut pretzel bars I found a recipe for at work. Now I consider it a professional obligation to try anything that looks this good.

And let me tell you folks, glasses of milk were lining up to be the ones to wash these babies down. And while my version of these tasty treats weren't nearly as pretty, I guarantee you they were every bit as tasty.

Chocolatey peanut pretzel bars

There isn't a 12-step program out there that could have derailed chocolatey peanutty goodies from being ingested. 

I swear vegans would starve if I was put in charge of their menu. Although carnivores might flourish as never before. 

And mark it down that you heard it heard it here first. Stress is loaded with calories. The more you worry, the more weight you gain regardless of how much food you consume. Although there's no firm science to support this discovery, I'm telling you it's a fact.

Give yourself a weeks' worth of worry about kids, jobs or relationship and you'll pack on the pounds like a college freshman dining on dorm food and beer every night.

I even had my worst run/walk/run I've had in weeks yesterday. There were many moments when I folded the tent and just walked. I honestly thought I was past this stage of my training, but apparently this is not the case.

So the yo-yo will continue as will my efforts to get some form of exercise every day. Someday when you see the world's slowest person out there running, you won't be waving at me. Until then, give me a wave.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Good Day To Call It A Career

Day 62ish, Oct. 16, 2012

Today I am 191.8 pounds of squishy rolling thunder.

Yesterday I skipped my blog and barely got in a 60-minute jog. I yielded much of my day to go to the last cross country meet of the year. A rain delay over the weekend pushed the event to Monday afternoon, which meant 80-degree weather and gusty winds. But still a good day to get out and run.

This was the grand culmination of not just a season of racing but the four-year cross country racing career for our oldest son.

It probably won't sink in that this was his last race in high school, and other than the occasional fun run this might be the end of his cross country competing days. But there's still track season ahead in the spring, so we'll get to see him run again and listen to him gripe about having to run in circles on the track.

In yesterday's race he finished in 43rd place out of 96 racers. He was second on the jayvee squad of his team and interestingly just 13 seconds away from securing a spot on the varsity roster for the district meet.

It seems like a long time ago when we went to our first cross country meet where the lad ran and walked his way around the 5K loop with iPod ear buds tucked neatly into his ears -- a violation of team rules. His time that day was well north of 30 minutes.

There were two things we came away with from that day. He needed to get into better shape. And second, his gains the first year would be significant.

Over the course of four seasons he inched under 30 minutes and then below 25. Finally, last season he made it to the 20-minute marker and this year he went well below that.

He progressed from being a back of the pack run/walker to top 20 runner on a team of more than 100 or so runners. He pushed his way from the back of the "C" team to the front of the JV squad. 

This final performance wasn't exactly what he wanted. He'd set his sights on a personal best at the meet but the heat, hills and wind put that goal out of reach.

To his credit, however, he battled to the end and had nothing left in the tank at the finish. I'd say it was a good career when you consider where he started from.

Me? I ran like a rock but did not walk. Today was better when I went out for my 5.5-mile loop. I'm still the world's slowest human, but it was a good day on the road nonetheless. 

Sunday, October 14, 2012

To The Victor Go The Spoils

Day 62, Oct.  14, 2012

Today I am 191.6 pounds of rolling thunder.

Or better yet, today I am 191 pounds of sleepy thunder. Or perhaps I'm 191 pounds of over-chocolated thunder.

I'm definitely 191 pounds of lying thunder.

So yesterday I told you all about my day of cross training. And yes, I took advantage of a rainy day to take my workout inside and climb on the stationary bike, which I hadn't done for a long time.

And no, it wasn't a lie that cross training is good for you. Any break from the ordinary routine offers your mind and body a needed change of pace.

But darned if the weather didn't start to break about the time my dinner break rolled around. Those little you-better-go-run gremlins crowded their way into my head, and before I knew it, I was up putting my running shorts and shoes on and heading out the door.

The day had been filled with torrential downpours mixed with steady rains, and thunder had echoed on and off throughout. The temperature had warmed Friday night and remained warm throughout Saturday.

When I finally hit the road it was damp, breezy but comfortable to be outside in shorts and a T-shirt. Funny how fall weather is. The day before I bundled up in tights and sweats and a long-sleeve shirt to make my run. 

While this wasn't quite a traditional brick workout, it was the kind of thing I'd like to do more of. A brick is when you do biking and running (or any two activities) in combination, so that you're stacking your workout. Many triathletes do it to build their training base, and to get used to the transition from one activity to another.

Chocolatey Peanut Pretzel Bars
Mine was much more like running with bricks. I started off just fine, but then the humidity and the fact that I'd eaten too close to my run began to take their toll. So what had so much promise ended up being a sweat fest of the first order.

But I was out on the road after some much-needed rain and that's a big plus. So brick or no brick, I'm declaring it a victory.

And to the victor go the spoils (note brownies in photo). Or at least to those who endure really bad football by their local teams. I might have to run several extra miles today.

So if you see a bloated slow guy out running today, give me a wave.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Run Rained Out? Time To Cross Train

Day 61, Oct. 13, 2012

Today I am 188.8 pounds of rolling thunder.

Today, I am also a cross trainer. No, not a cross dresser, a cross trainer.

The forecast for today was so bad on Friday that the local high school postponed its league cross country meet to avoid having kids out in the rain, lightning and who knows what else Mother Nature will throw at us. 

When I left the house this morning, I saw runners hurriedly scampering about trying to get their workouts in before the big rain that was predicted for the afternoon. Saturday mornings in my neighborhood are always filled with runners, joggers, walkers and people pushing jogger strollers with kids on board.

But today's crew had that look of determination mixed with worry on their various faces. It's that look of wanting to get something completed but not wanting to risk life and limb if the rain suddenly turns to lightning.

I, on the other hand, decided to roll the dice and get my shopping and other chores done before the big rain hit. I had lawns to winterize and groceries to get home.

By the time I started putting on my running shoes I realized the weather was sketchy at best, so I turned to my second best option -- indoor cycling. And while I'd hoped to still sneak in a run later in the day, the bike was my best alternative.

I've had a steady streak of getting out on the roads of late, so a day on the bike wouldn't be so bad. Plus, I took my lung exerciser out on the bike to work my lungs a bit during the ride. I'm glad, however, I was hanging out in the garage because I'm sure my neighbors would get quite a chuckle seeing a man on a stationary bike huffing and puffing through a PVC plastic lung exerciser.

One of the nice things about being back on the bike is the break it gives your joints. Spinning for an hour or so gets your heart rate up without stressing out your knees, hips, ankles and back. 

The other benefit is it's not running. The motion is different, so you're taxing you muscles in a different way. Personally, I enjoy biking, Nordic Tracking and inline skating, although I never seem to cross train nearly as much as I promise myself I will. 

The other benefit is with cycling you can catch up on all those running magazines that have stacked up in the house while you're out on the road. Who knew there was a whole Summer Olympics and I wasn't invited? OK, I did, but you get the picture. Indoor cycle time can be reading time, just don't let your pace slack and be sure to crank up the resistance and switch body positions from sitting to standing.

Just sitting and gliding isn't going to do you any good. You should build up a good sweat on the bike.

Outside, the monsoon rain comes and goes. We're 14 inches of rain behind for the year, so this is a welcome break from the drought. And for me, a welcome time to ride the bike and get off the street for today.

So if you see the world's slowest person out on the road tomorrow, give me a wave.