Monday, April 29, 2013

Lawn Mowing vs. Running: The Winner Is?

April 29, 2013

Today I am 196.2 pounds of rolling thunder.

Forgive me runners, it's been six days since my last blog post.

The weather has been on and off as has my running what with a variety of part-time jobs and full-time parenting to do. So this week I'm reduced to rationalizing.

On Saturday, I ran 3 miles before reporting for duty on the gravy train of sedentary activity known as editing. Sure the money is nice, but the sitting still part is a killer if your ready to get out and run.

So here's where the rationalization starts rearing its ugly head. On Sunday I knew time would be at a premium, so suddenly lawn mowing was going to be my exercise out. You may want to get a pencil out here to follow along.

According to my friends at Fit Day, an hour's worth of mowing burns about 345 calories. Nice. But I had four lawns to mow, so two-and-a-half hours later I was finally done with my chores. So that's a whopping total of 870 calories.

I can see it already, the "World's Slowest Human's Guide to Weight Control through Lawn Care." Between the blog, the book and the speaking tour, I'll never have to spend another day doing honest labor.

So now the cogs are turning on the wheels of progress. If mowing is good for calorie burning, what other stuff can I count as exercise? Hmmmm. How about the walking commute to and from my car. That's about 15 minutes each way.

Fit Day says: 184 calories per hour. So that's 92 calories just walking in from the car.

OK, this can't be right. Fit Day says just sitting at my desk I give back eight calories an hour. And the 23 calories you burn during sex, you'd be better off walking.

It's still hard to beat running or jogging for calories burned and boredom overcome. The folks at Fit Day say for my age, height and weight, I should burn about 460 calories an hour.

So much for the rationalizations. The math just doesn't add up.While lawn mowing makes the neighborhood look better, it doesn't replace getting out and running.

So if you see the world's slowest human pushing a lawnmower, give me a wave, and then guilt me into a run.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

What Good Is Having a Lucky Horesshoe Anyway?

April 21, 2013

Today I am 192.6 pounds of rolling thunder.

Author Josh Stern connected with me recently on Twitter. You've got to like a guy whose wit and wisdom is encapsulated in a thought like, "In a scam or be scammed world, the best that can be hoped for is to land on top a little more than hitting rock bottom. But what good is having a lucky horseshoe up your butt when the horse is still attached?"

 All this harkens back to the old notion that sometimes you eat the bear, and sometimes he eats you.

Yesterday for the first time in a long time, I ate the bear. I hit the streets and only took one walking break along my 5-mile route -- and even that break was two-thirds of the way up the first big hill.

Yep, I managed -- with the help of some stoplight breaks -- to make it up the steep hill, over numerous short climbs and then up the final big hill that is usually the test of my physical and mental fitness.

 I'd like to be able to say that I push this, pull that or stretch something and then the light turns green, and I am able to run without pause. If that were the case, I could bottle and sell the formula to all of us couch to 5K heroes.

But alas, this is not the case.

For all I know this has as much to do with getting back out on the streets as it does having a lucky horseshoe -- horse optional -- located somewhere in my nether-regions.

What I do know is there is something profoundly satisfying in cresting a hill, regardless of how slight the rise, and being able to flow back down on the other side without feeling a winded tightness in my chest or a stride-breaking fatigue in my legs.

The other thing I know is that I'm going to accept the day's run with graciousness and hope. Sometimes it feels like you'll never make a weight goal, or a distance goal and then you surprise yourself. You have to remember these feeling when you fall back, and they will guide you along the path until your next victory, no matter how large or small.

So hopefully today I can run more like I have a spring in my step than a horseshoe, well, you know where.

And if you see the world's slowest human out on the road, give me a wave. I'll be the one without the horse but ready to eat some bear.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Suffer Not Fellow Runners, It's OK To Rest

"The true measure of a runner isn't in time, but rather in the effort it took along the way."

Coach Jenny Hadfield, Ask Coach Jenny blog, Runner's

The other night I was at our son's high school track meet, and it was bitter cold with a strong, biting wind.

I mentioned to the group of parents I was sitting with that I was thinking about skipping my daily run given the lateness of the hour and the raw nature of the day. Most of the group members nodded their heads that I was making the right decision.

Then there was the lone voice of dissonance. One person quipped, "but you've got to do your run."

Damn if that didn't ignite my inner voice -- that little character that stands on you should like in the cartoons and tells you that you know what you have to do. That little voice that reminds you that you skipped the day before because you were too busy to make it out onto the streets.


I was offering up every rationalization in the book to keep the guilt at bay. I'd done a ton of yard work. Yeah, what else you got? Naddah. Zip. Zero. Zilch.

But it was cold and after 7 p.m. when I finally got home from sitting on the cold metal bleachers at the track meet. I paid my dues, I told myself. I had been up moving around and out in the weather for five or six hours.

I also have a rule, if your hearts not in it, give yourself a break and take the day off. So I did.

You know what? The world didn't end. The sun came up the next morning. And I ran really well in a light misty rain the next day. It wasn't a perfect run, but it wasn't the suffer-fest that I would have endured the night before.

So, my fellow runners, I grant you permission to give yourself an unexpected day off, just don't make it too many in a row. And if you see the world's slowest human out on the streets, give me a wave.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

If Your Friend Falls Down, Be Sure To Help Him Up

"If one falls down, his friend can help him up. But pity the man who falls and has no one to help him up!"
Ecclesiastes 4:10

April 14, 2013

Today I am 198.0 pounds of rolling thunder.

I'm a sucker for anything that will get me down the road better, faster or just less slowly.

Sometimes I feel like Kevin Costner's character from the movie "Tin Cup" when I suck air through my lung exerciser or comb the Internet looking for tips on how to run more and walk less.

I like the pithy little sayings people use to motivate them to get out on the road. Maybe it makes us feel like kindred spirits as we beat feet on the neighborhood streets. Or maybe it speaks to a part of us that knows we'll never be an Olympic champion, but that's OK because the runner is the reward.

Recently this inspiration floated into my in-box to remind me how important the person within is when compared to the world around us.

"What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us."
 Ralph Waldo Emerson

Funny, isn't it, that the universal themes remain the same no matter how smart or advanced we thing our culture has become.

Yesterday I pounded out six miles on my familiar loop. It was only the second time I've run the route since the snow has thawed, and while my running was better there was still a fair amount of walking involved. The important thing for me was to enjoy the moment, move my legs and feel my body getting stronger.

What lies behind us we cannot change. What lies in front of us we cannot control, nor would we want to manipulate our fate.

What we can control is who we are and how we navigate the challenges or our lives. The truth today is the same as it was in the days when Ecclesiastes was written. The measure of a person is the integrity with which they live their lives.
Kara Goucher

We all fall down in our lives -- physically, socially, mentally and in our humanity. The measure of a true friend is one who picks you up in your darkest hours. Sometimes life surprises you when you learn who your true friends really are. Sometimes you surprise yourself by being the kind of friend who reaches out in a fellow human being's darkest time.

I'd like to think as I run down the road -- either in life or on my daily jog -- that should I fall, a friend would be there to help me up. 

So if you see the world's slowest human out there on the road, pick me up with a little wave.

Here's one parting bit of wisdom I'll leave you with thanks to marathoner Kara Goucher.

"The journey isn't always perfect but always worth taking."

Friday, April 12, 2013

Time to quit slacking off and get running

April 12, 2013

Today I am 196.2 pounds of rolling thunder.

I'm also 196.2 pounds of work and workout avoidance. It's been days since my last blog post, and I'm a post-a-holic. I can't live without writing something, and I can't go too many days without issuing at least one pithy blog post.

But, alas, I've let work and life get in the way of letting you know the sad tales of the world's slowest human.

So after days cold weather combined with bad timing with work, I finally got back out on the road this week. And while I love to run, I hate feeling like I've started my running efforts all over again.

I am by no measure a great runner. I'm not even in the same area code as being an OK runner. I'm sort of like the guy who has golf clubs and considers himself a golfer. I have running shoes and I hit the streets, but you can argue that what I'm doing is actually running, since it seems to be a mix of walking, jogging and a lot of movement in between.

But I do like to go out and get moving. I like the feeling of coasting in after a good hour or so of jogging. I like being able to eat cookies when I want and the occasional handful of chips without much guilt. I like how much better feels when you slip off to a sound sleep after a good, long run.

This week has felt like a do-over. It feels in many ways like I have let my aerobic capacity slip. I've walked more and run less than in about a year. Maybe it's the rainy weather or the timing, but I just don't feel like I've got the same stamina as I did last fall. But that's not going to stop me. I've got running to do and conditioning to achieve.

OK, my fellow slackers. Time to get off the computer and back out on the streets. There are miles to be traveled before I can rest.

If you see me traveling those miles, slowness and all, give me a wave.

PS - If you need a good laugh, check out this blog post: The Secret to my Sex-Cess

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Blasphemy, Pure Unadulterated Blasphemy

April 6, 2013

Today I am 197.4 pounds of rolling thunder.

What a long strange trip this week has been. And somewhere amongst all my comings and goings I did manage to get out on the road and do some running. And somewhere along the line, the days have started to be more spring like and Old Man Winter has loosened his grasp.

As a contract writer, the paydays come pretty sporadically, so I jump at the chance to do some work -- any work. It should come as no surprise then that there are days when I have plenty of time to work out, and then there are the days like Monday when I answered the bell at 8 a.m. and punched out the following morning at 2.

Now I'm not whining. Work is work, and I accept it with a smile. But the first few days of this week running time was crowded out by the need to make some cash.

On Monday, I went to my newest part-time gig for four hours of orientation and new employee meet and greet. That was 8 a.m. to noon. Then it was on to my contract gig as a guinea pig patient for doctors in training -- mark that noon to 5 p.m. for those of you scoring along at home.

And I rounded out the day by working as an online editor from 5 p.m. until 2 a.m. Tuesday. Luckily, my day was shortened on Tuesday when I only did two jobs -- from noon until 2 a.m. Wednesday and a return to my day job at 8:30 a.m.

So by 5 p.m., it was all I could do to come home and walk a few miles. Luckily, my day-side gig requires some walking. And to top it all off, I was up at 4:30 a.m. Thursday for a trip to the airport.

Yes, there will be time for sleeping when we're on the other side of the grass, but my body needs to get out and move. Running had somehow taken a backseat to real life. Blasphemy, I say, pure unadulterated blasphemy.

By Thursday afternoon I was back running and again on Friday. I'm still the world's slowest human being, but at least I'm moving. So if you see me out there on the streets flailing away at running, give me a wave and a smile.