Saturday, January 21, 2017

I actually ran!!

Saturday, January 21, 2017
I often ask myself what it will take to start writing…consistently…in my blog again.  I start, write a couple of days, and stop again.  I can’t seem to find the necessary consistency in my life to make the writing…or the exercising…happen.
Then, on Christmas Day, I opened a present from my two girls.
“Hey!  A Fitbit!”
“Yeah, dad.  Now you can challenge us to step competitions and we’ll see just how active you really are,” Savannah said.
“Well…nothing is going to happen until this thing is programmed and I’m NEVER going to figure it out,” I said. 
Savannah took the hint and linked me in.
So, since that day, I’ve been averaging about 18,000 steps per day, which is blowing away the competition on my ‘friend’ list with the exception of Savannah.  She stays close, but can’t quite handle my need to ‘win’.  She’s running her steps though, and I’m only walking.
Until today, that is.  It’s sixty something degrees and although I wanted to get in a ride, ran out of time.  Then it hit me that I could get in a short run.  I’ve been meaning to get myself going again with the thought that I’m too young to retire from running.  Sure, I’ve had foot and knee surgery and sure, it would probably make more sense not to run ever again, but in the end I have always defined myself as ‘a runner’.  I hate to get beaten by physical circumstances and to go down without a fight.
I went to the park as dark was settling in with Dakota in tow.  The trails were extremely sloppy from several days of rain.  My goal?  I figured I’d run a mile, which would mean around 1800 steps or about ten minutes since I planned to move slowly.  I started out at an 8-minute pace out of habit, but quickly switched gears when I felt every muscle and organ in my upper body rebelling.  I reminded myself I simply needed to get in the steps today – forget the pace – and finish with my knees intact. 
I finished the run on the other side of Clear Creek, which was difficult to cross since it is running high.  From there, I added another 5,000 walking steps before returning to the car, pleased and sweaty.
I don’t know if I will keep writing.  I don’t know because I have been failing miserably for the past year.  I do know there are some things are really need and want to accomplish this year and exercise, writing, and staying focused will help tremendously.  I have some things to say about several different subjects and my views, I know, shape world events and need to be shared.  Here’s some topics I hope to write about over the next month:
Ø  Trump
Ø  My atrial flutter.
Ø  My high blood pressure.
Ø  Putting my house on the market this spring and moving out of the place where I’ve lived for the last 20 years, raised my four children, and enjoyed so many of the most important events of my life.
Ø  Retiring.
Ø  The next big physical challenge of the year.
So we’ll see.  I suppose if I can’t stay committed to writing, I’m not likely to stay focused on any of the above and I need to.  Yeah…we’ll see.
Run duration:  10 minutes. 
Training Heart Rate:  120 bpm.

Calories burned:  150.

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Day two...

Tuesday, December 6, 2016
It worked.  It DEFINITEY worked!
I had reached the end of the day, a day filled with outdoor, tiring work.  And I was chilled.  On such days and after eating a dinner over the past several months, I would think it was time to just vegetate.  I wanted to and I was close to doing it, but I thought about this blog and what I’d written the day before and so I went and donned my riding outfit, put the trainer in the middle of the family room, tuned into an episode of ‘Shameless’ and began to ride.
I felt something unusual in my right knee as I rode, but was determined to ride the forty minutes I’d told myself I was going to do.  I’ve been adding five minutes to each ride over the last two weeks, but giving my knee a day off between rides.  So far, it’s worked.  I made it to the forty-minute mark easily and could have gone until the end of the show, but why take the chance?  I’ll do forty-five minutes the next time out.
I went to Heinens and bought quinoa, turkey meat, and loads of vegetables and made my special, low-fat concoction, which I just call quinoa.  I made enough that I can scoop some into a container each morning and take it to work for lunch for a week.  Time for paleo-like eating to go with the exercise.  The next step is to get my under-toned butt back to the park and into the Survival Workout.

Bike duration: 40 minutes.
Training Heart Rate: 135 bpm.
Calories Burned: 600.
Bonus: 10,000 steps.

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

The return of the prodigal son..

Monday, December 5, 2016
Bless me Father, for I have sinned.  It has been five months since I last wrote in my blog and I feel like a slob.”

“Do 1,000 push-ups, ride your bike for three days straight and don’t eat any ice cream until you’re 100th birthday.  Now…go…and sin no more.”

I could have written.  I have done some exercise during the hiatus, just not consistently enough to make me want to write.  Then there was my personal life getting in the way of being properly inspired and that held me up, too.

Those things still exist, but they really aren’t good excuses.  Since I last wrote, I’ve gone through a period with my surgically repaired right knee where I thought I’d torn my meniscus again.  I’ve had the absolute high of believing the Indians were actually going to win the World Series, only to be disappointed again (it was one hell of a ride though, and I’m really not complaining).  I’ve made three trips to the Adirondacks and struggled with that same knee.  And I’ve had ladies in my life who have offered ways to make me a better person…or at least one they would like more.

Exercise?  Not so much.  I’ve been lacking direction and goals.  I’ve been thinking more about selling my house and retiring, but really not taking the necessary steps to make things happen.  I’ve been in a funk, a limbo that I need to pull myself out of.  The best way for me to do that is to find something to challenge myself and second, to write about it.  I haven’t come up with that first thing yet so I’m writing about how I’m thinking about it.

At least I’ve decided to work through the knee pain and start riding on the trainer again.  I’m watching ‘Shameless’ on Netflix to divert my attention and make it bearable.  I’ve also gotten into the woods more with Dakota to add more steps to the mix.  I have not done the Survival Workout in two months, though, and I’m losing my tone.  At least the job remains physical and with the side jobs, I manage to keep a semblance of shape.

Yesterday was 12,000 steps and work.  Nothing else.  I’ve been eating a lot of salads and lean meats over the past week in an effort to redirect myself, but Savannah invited me over for dinner last night, which consisted of a Jets sausage pizza.  I ate five pieces.

Today?  Side job tonight so exercise may be limited.  I will have time to ride the trainer so we’ll have to see whether or not I’ve overcome some of my laziness.  Tis the season to get my butt in gear or I’ll head into January with an even larger mountain to climb.  Until tomorrow then?

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Heat, biking and excuses...

Tuesday, July 26, 2016
Yesterday marked day two of bike riding.  Two in a row, that is.  In days gone by, that would not be worth mentioning, but in my current state of slovenliness, it is.  Excuses?  I’m loaded with them.  Jack has been home for the past two weeks and I’ve spent a lot of time either with him or accommodating his schedule so we could maximize family time.  And then there was, and is, the heat.  All too often I would find myself driving home from work too exhausted to do much more than drag myself to the shower to wash off the salt and sweat and then fall uselessly on the bed for a rejuvenating nap.  The sun and heat have been acting to just suck the life right out of me.  Finally and most importantly, I don’t have a goal right now.  I need a date in the books to return to the Adirondacks, and now I have one.  It’s mid-August, which is only three weeks away, and although I don’t know the exact weekend, mid-August is close enough to have gotten me back on the bike.

I pulled out of the driveway Sunday morning with a Kleifeld’s breakfast still settling in my stomach.  Alaska Paul had joined me and described his new camping/traveling vehicle, which he plans to use to tour North America with bikes and skies.  He is living his dream, no doubt.  I got home knowing it would reach the middle nineties shortly and decided if I was going to ride, it was then.  I was on the road by 9:30 and pedaled into Waite Hill wondering when, or if, I would hit a wall.  As I climbed out of the valley an hour later, I found that wall.  My legs were screaming from inactivity and the heat was taking a toll.  I pushed through the final thirty minutes at less than race pace (a guy with a walker passed me as I went through the park) and reached my driveway in time to fall gently into the grass without dismounting.

Inactivity is a killer and one shouldn’t go through long periods of it and then ride thirty miles in oppressive heat…in case you didn’t know that already.  I didn’t. 

Monday…after a day of work in the heat and extreme humidity, I did it again.  Same course, but better results.  Though my legs hurt from climbing the day before, I felt better and stronger.  It doesn’t take me long to ratchet up as there is some advantage, and muscle memory, to fifty years of bike riding.  Let’s see how long I can keep this going…shall we?

Bike duration: 90 minutes.
Training Heart Rate: 135 bpm.
Calories Burned: 1250.
Bonus: 13,000 steps.

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Solstice, full moon, and the year of The Tribe...

Monday, June 20, 2016

So…tomorrow is the longest day of sunshine for the year…the solstice I think they call it.  And it is also a full moon.  Big deal you say?  Well, actually it is and not because it happens only once every seventy years or so…no, no…something much more significant to those of us who are hoping to live long enough to see the Indians win the World Series.  The last time this phenomenon occurred was 1948.  If you don’t know the significance of that year, then you’re not really a deep and abiding fan of The Tribe.  It was, for all you neophytes, the last time the Indians won the World Series.  And here we are in 2016.  The Cavs have broken the spell of no major championships for Cleveland, the Indians are in first place, and it’s happening again…an equinox AND a full moon.  Coincidence?  Let me know.

It was an exhaustive day.  Temperatures in the low nineties and humidity high enough that I was wringing out my shirt like it was a sponge.  I was six feet down in a ditch for much of the day trying to get to the bottom of the leaking foundation on our rental house, but the narrowness of the trench and the rocks were making me work for every shovel full I pulled out and threw.  I was light headed by noon and after copious water and some lunch, returned to the hole until I received a distress call from the farm.

“There’s a bird in one of the furnaces in the large arena, John,” Gail said.

“And?” I asked.  There were hundreds of sparrows and barn swallows flying all over the indoor arena every day of the year.  For one of them to fly into one of the five overhead furnaces, currently turned way off, was not unusual.

“I guess the horses are afraid,” she said.

I climbed from the hole, changed back into my farm outfit (digging in shorts which is taboo gear on the farm) and headed for the arena.  Locating the offending furnace, I wondered out loud of the necessity of pulling a ladder and disassembling it for the sake of a chirping bird.

“It scares the horses,” I was told by the Equine Manager, wondering again why they weren’t disturbed by the ones chirping next to and all around the furnace as they flew in search of tasty insects…or to annoy me.

I don’t question what scares them too loudly and went about getting the ladder and pulling the bottom from the furnace (it’s suspended in the air way above where horses can run into it) to find that whatever bird had been in there had rediscovered its powers of flight and left through one of about fifty openings to the furnace.  I put everything away, notified everyone it had been a successful mission, and returned to my hole. 

I continued to feel like crap, but dug on until quitting time.  Exhausted and covered in filth, I went back to my shop, grabbed a change of clothes from the Jeep and took a shower.  I went home to meet up with Jason and drive ninety minutes to Poland, Ohio where we were to pick up lots of furniture and home accoutrements from my sister.  He’s a pack rat and we had to load the truck to the maximum before we could leave.

“I’m tired, hungry and getting angry.  Let’s please go!” I said to him and he finally stopped looking for useless trinkets to pack in his truck.

I walked a lot, dug a lot, sweat a lot and didn’t do a workout.  I didn’t need to.  

Monday, June 20, 2016

All the way with LBJ!!

Sunday, June 19, 2016

“Donnie…I’m telling you…it is IMPOSSIBLE!,” I said on our morning chat.

“John…have some faith!  All the way with LBJ and then the Indians are going to win the World Series,” he replied.

We’d been talking about the Cavs winning the NBA championship throughout the playoffs.  He is an avid LeBron fan…who isn’t...and had been making this prediction all season long.  I would constantly remind him that no team in Cleveland had won a championship since 1964, which meant around 150 straight seasons when you included all three Cleveland sports teams.

“There’s too much stress after all these years.  If a team gets close…a key player will have a meltdown.  Don’t you remember ’97?” I asked.

Donnie and I had gone to games six and seven in Florida in 1997 to see what we hoped would be the end of the championship drought if the Indians could defeat the Florida Marlins.  Instead, with a lead in the ninth inning of game seven and the Indians only two outs from the championship, Jose Mesa gave up the tying run and eventually we lost in the 11th inning.  Heartbreaking.

“And if we did win, don’t you realize the earth would spin off its axis and we’d all be doomed to another ice age or something?”

He wasn’t buying it, and neither was LeBron James last night as the Cavs did the impossible, becoming the first team in NBA history to come back from a 3-1 deficit to clinch the title.  I will admit to tears of joy and more importantly, new found hope that the Indians CAN win a World Series in my lifetime.  Thanks, Cavs.  Go Tribe!

Friday, June 17, 2016

"Hey...slow down!"

Thursday, June 16, 2016
“I did a hike with the pack and managed 150 step-ups,” I bragged to John knowing full well his lazy ass hadn’t done a thing.

“My lazy ass hasn’t done a thing!  You said you were out of shape and wouldn’t be training for this trip,” he whined.  “You lied…again!”

“That’s what I do…lie and train,” I said.

But I really haven’t done nearly enough to consider myself in shape.  Yet I am pleased that despite not hiking with a pack since last fall and not having done much with the Survival Workout, neither has left me sore this past week.  I have been particularly active both at the farm and on my second jobs, but I’m surprised at my level of conditioning for not having trained.

We discussed the itinerary, which would include camping on the Bouquet River just outside of Keene Valley and eating at the Noonmark.

“It’s a short trip and I’m not sure I feel like lots of dehydrated foods since we won’t be in the back country,” I said.  John was all in.

I had another grueling day dealing with issues at the farm, exacerbated by torrential rains.  I’ve been trying to waterproof the basement on our rental house by digging out the foundation and then patching, but the giant hole is collecting water and sending it into the basement faster than ever without any soil to slow its progress.  It’s also a horrible idea to pick up bags of cement, put them in the back of an open truck, and then have it rain like hell on them.  When I tried to pull them from the bed, they broke open and spilled their sixty-pound contents on the ground.  Oh…and it gets hard when mixing with water.

I went to scrape the inside of a garage to try and clear it of loose plaster and black mold after leaving the farm, which  didn’t work out so well.  I should pull the wall down and start over, but the owners want a band aide…not surgery.  I picked up salmon, ground turkey meat, spinach and other vegetables on the way home and cooked up bunches of good paleo meals until 8 p.m. when I finally collapsed and rested.

So…another day without a formal workout.  John should be happy, but I’m functioning on overdrive and may walk him into the dirt in the mountains.  That, or I’ll kill myself.
Bonus: 10,400 steps.