An August occasion

August 2nd, to be specific. But more August activities in another update.

Here’s a quick rundown (geddit?) of Week 7: Redux of my jogging.

I restarted Week 7 — a straight 25-minute run — on Monday. I switched from late afternoon to early evening as we were still in the middle of a fierce heatwave. Even an hour before sunset the air was still furnace-like. As I jogged, I noted several girls in the play area and mindful of the recent past, looked upon them as the Eye of Sauron might as I jogged past them. It was apparently too hot for them to think delinquent thoughts. Really, it was too hot to jog and it was only the sweet mercy of the fountain that sustained me. I made three quick pitstops for a couple of sips of water. The problem with the fountain is you have to come to a full stop to use it and when it’s already very hot out and you yourself are also very hot, coming to a sudden stop results in your body heating up like a nuke plant. You definitely don’t dawdle.

Wednesday’s run was much the same but maybe even hotter. I went a we bit earlier because I was catching the fireworks that evening. Three pitstops once again but I managed to make it through. Both nights there were points where qutting felt like The Right Thing to Do, but I pressed on, not wanting to lag behind in the program even more.

By Friday evening the heatwave finally broke and while temperatures are still above normal, it’s now just really warm. By evening there is actually a slight cool breeze. I was curious how the lower temperature would affect my run. I ended up not making any stops and ran the full 25 minutes (plus 45 more seconds out of the park) uninterrupted. The difference was astounding. My only disappointment was a guy with a radio-controlled plane never actually flew it the whole time I was there. There was a soccer scrum in the middle of the field, so perhaps he was concerned about creating a miniature replica of an air show disaster. Several smartypants (including one guy in a kangaroo jacket — this is in weather that is over 30ºC) ran past me in great manly strides during my jog, outpacing me without trouble. Each conked out after half a lap. The kangaroo jacket guy was only wearing a t-shirt the next time he attempted the feat. I kept motoring along for a full 8 laps.

Overall, I feel I am in good shape for Week 8’s 28-minute runs if the weather doesn’t turn icky hot again.

Jogging a so-so

Wednesday’s jog didn’t happen as I was still feeling a bit too much pain in parts that would hurt even more if I was running around. It was too bad as it was overcast — perfect jogging weather.

Today it was back to sunshine and it was warm but not hot, so I decided to salvage one part of Week 7’s regimen. About 15 minutes or so into the 25 minute jog my legs turned to lead and the sun became malevolently hot. I came very close to packing it in but decided I’d try to reconstitute myself at the fountain first, assuming it had not been vandalized yet again. Good news on two counts — the fountain provided the gulp of cool water I needed and I was able to finish out the jog without further pain or discomfort. I still find it slightly amazing that I can jog for nearly half an hour without stopping now. A year ago I’d have curled up in a ball by the side of the path ten minutes in.

Since I only completed one of the three parts of Week 7, I’m planing on a re-do starting Monday before moving onto Week 8, stretching the 9 week program to a total of 10 weeks (counting my initial week of runs where I expertly botched the timing every day).

The sty is also mostly gone, too, so hooray for my body still being able to recover from junk. Excelsior!

I am the sty in the eye

Within days of each other I get both a sty in my eye and my most fun organ (hereafter referred to as my MFO) decides it is suddenly going to become infected again and no longer be in a pro state (see what I did there?) Every time I put my right foot forward I get a small jolt of pain in my abdomen. It’s great aversion therapy to keep one from walking about on a hot summer day. But I’m going for a 25-minute jog tomorrow no matter what so I insist my MFO co-operate fully in this matter and stop being a nuisance.

Whilst I strolled about today gnashing my teeth with every other step, I observed that pretty near every young male (let’s say 40 or under) had a distended belly, as if they were bodily trying to empathize with the malnourished children of some impoverished African nation. Having had this sort of prominent midriff myself until recently, I know that it is in fact a kind of malnutrition that causes this. I call it The Twinkie Diet but it goes by other names, too:

  • Ronald McDonald is My Father
  • The Sugar & Fat is Where It’s At Regime
  • Chocolate is a Food Group, Right?
  • Jolly Elf Fitness Plan
  • My Shirt Doubles as a Tent Diet

I now regard the movie WALL-E and its depiction of our future aboard the Axion as prophecy. Choose your super-reinforced hover chair today!

How to read this blog, Part 1

How to Read This Blog, Part 1
by Creole Ned

This site is divided into six categories:

  1. Dating
  2. Gaming
  3. General
  4. Health and Fitness
  5. Photos
  6. Writing

Every post has at least one category attached to it. The content of each category is as follows:

1. Dating There are no entries for this because I am writing about my dating experiences elsewhere, therefore this category should have been removed but I forgot. Oops.

2. Gaming In which I share my gaming experiences or write about games like roughly one billion other people on the web do. As I don’t game as much as before, these posts are becoming less frequent. If you are not a gamer there is probably only a 50% chance you will find my insights worth reading. I arrived at 50% by just making a number up, kind of like a review score!

3. General The inevitable catch-all category. Random nonsense about life, media and anything else that doesn’t fit into the other categories.

4. Health and Fitness Currently I lift dumbbells three times a week and jog three times a week and it is here where I chronicle my hi-jinks, ranging from pulled muscles to getting rocks thrown at me by ill-mannered children. I also chat a bit from time to time about diet and food choices. If these things don’t set your heart a-flutter, safely ignore!

5. Photos When I add images to my gallery I post about them under this heading. However, I am currently debating over how to add photos to the site and my current hodgepodge method means I’m not adding nearly as many as I could. On the one hand, entertainingly bad pictures from my youth are going unshared. On the other hand…well, the exact same thing.

6. Writing Here I talk occasionally about the process of writing and books I have read. Mainly I discuss my ongoing writing projects, whether they are exercises, short stories or one of my novels.

Now that you know more about each category you can better choose how to read through this rich tapestry I call my blog. Or just skip all this and skim for saucy words like “hooters” and “malfeasance”.

Like Lord of the Flies with estrogen

This past Wednesday I was in the middle of Week 6 of my jogging plan, a pair of 10-minute runs with a three minute walk between. The 10-minute runs are a little over three complete laps. On the second run I’m motoring along and notice about four girls at the little playground near the northern baseball diamond. Three are younger, perhaps 6 or 7. The fourth is bigger and older, probably around 10 or 11. A cursory glance makes it clear she is the leader.

As I jog by the first time, enjoying the music on my Sansa Clip, I observe the big girl leading the others in some kind of cheer that is directed at me as I go by. I can’t hear the exact words but the tone from her is unmistakably sarcastic because if there’s one thing I know, it’s the sound of sarcasm. I do a mental eyeroll, note how precocious they are and jog past them. They resume their previous activities.

The next lap the same thing happens and again I run past without acknowledging their presence. The third time and when I am on the cusp of completing my jog I go by and sure enough the cheers erupt as I move past. They are, if nothing else, devoted to their shtick. But then I feel something plinking against my back. Many little somethings. They are throwing gravel at me. I come to an immediate stop and pause for just a moment. This is where I wished I had a picture of their faces, for it is at that moment — when I had stopped and altered the course of events but had not yet made clear what was going to happen next — that I wanted to see their expressions abruptly shift from evil glee to uncertainty. I walked a few paces toward them, still being serenaded by whatever song was playing. I looked at the leader, holding her imaginary conch shell and simply said, “Don’t throw rocks at me.” I turned, finished my jog and left the park without looking back.

Now, the gravel at the playground is small so getting showered with it did not hurt at all and I’d previously witnessed a couple of kids playing the “Let’s throw rocks at each other or actually just stand there and I’ll throw rocks at you” game so the whole thing didn’t surprise me as much as it should have but I do still ponder what the goal of the leader was. Did she want to provoke a confrontation and if so, to what end? To prove her authority over the others as their superior? To establish at as early an age as possible that men suck and throwing rocks at them is about as good as it gets? The simplest explanation is that she is a budding sociopath or in the old school language, a mean kid.

Friday’s jog was to be an epic 25-minute journey but with the thermometer reaching 30C and the sun blazing mightily in that way it does, I only managed about 16 minutes or so before my head started to hurt. I had a good pace going and without the weather being so fiendishly warm I’m confident I would have made it otherwise.  The small bonus was it was too hot for any kids to be present, psychotic or not. The only others around were a few couples (the guy is always as white as physically possible, glaring like a slab of ice under the steady eye of a relentless Arctic sun) and a few other nutty joggers. Onto Week 7 Monday.

Jogging a go-go

Today I began Week 5 of my 9 week jogging plan. I approached it with some trepidation because Friday’s jog found me coming up a bit short on the last five minute segment, mostly due to the sun beating down on me like some giant hot thing and making me want to pass out. Today, however, it had cooled off and was overcast, so that wouldn’t be a problem. To further distract myself, I picked up a cheap 2GB Sansa Clip so I could focus on music rather than my lungs burning. For today’s run, which consisted of three five minute segments I chose:

  • Boney M, “Rasputin”. It’s hard to beat disco for jogging. It keeps you going. As a bonus, the song is over 5 minutes long.
  • Pink Floyd, “One Slip”. Also 5+ minutes. I actually find the lyrics of this song insipid: “Then drowned in desire, our souls on fire, I led the way to the funeral pyre” — uh, what? I can’t even begin to decipher this. It’s like someone partook of some peyote and tried to rewrite “Evil Woman” as a love song. Or something. But the song moves, Dave Gilmour plays his guitar and that’s the important part.
  • Blondie, “Atomic”. It’s good until you get to the bridge or whatever them fancy music people call it because the song slows down a lot at that point. It feels like a good place to rest, whether it is or not.
  • Bananarama, “Venus”. More disco, hooray!

The music not only provided ample distraction, I think I actually jogged faster than before and when “Rasputin” ended after the third 5-minute segment, I checked my stopwatch and found I had jogged almost a minute longer than I was supposed to. Madness!

I like it.

Why I am not an engineer

Last week I officially™ began the Couch to 5K running plan. Or so I thought. Thanks to my awesome math skills I figured I needed four circuits to complete the Week 1 jogging regimen. It turns out it was actually eight, so I now consider that to be Week 0 and began Week 1 properly this past Monday. If I was an engineer my bridges would collapse, roofs would cave in and babies somewhere would cry.

As mentioned previously I am jogging at China Creek Park. Despite the fact that there has always been a baseball game in progress (and sometimes two) I have yet to be beaned by a baseball. One did actually land on the jogging path ahead of me once on Wednesday (foul ball), making an impressive plume of bark and dirt kick up. I always keep my eye open when jogging within batting distance.

The park has been quite nice for running and so far easing into the routine has gone well. There is even a fountain ready to deliver a welcome sip of water right along the path, although on my last jog there was a half-eaten crawfish in it. Ew. When not being grossed out by fountain food, I enjoy the spirit, nay, stink of fitness that permeates the area. Every evening there have been other joggers, walkers, people doing aerobics, playing badminton, croquet or baseball or just hanging out. It makes the exercising just that smidgen more pleasant than it would be if I was humping along a sidewalk through the neighborhood.

Chalky coconut ass update!

Last night I tried the Strawberry Banana Burst protein drink powder (with water) and as expected science cannot successfully mimic the flavor of banana or strawberry. Plus the use of the word “burst” is totally gratuitous. There was a vague hint of something strawberry-like in there somewhere but mostly it tasted like scrapings from something dry, gritty and with all flavor carefully stripped away, like bones collected on a dusty summer day out in Death Valley. It might be better if you added real bananas and strawberries to it, skipped the powder and devised whatever you deemed an appropriate “burst”. On a scale of one to five steroid-injected weightlifters with huge muscles, tiny brains and no ability to touch themselves, I give Strawberry Banana Burst one weightlifter.

Protein A-Whey!

After seeing someone ask about “tasty” protein drinks on Quarter to Three, I thought it might be a good idea to look for something myself to help boost my protein intake post-workout.

I went to Whole Foods today and found this:

whey_protein

As you can see by the mungy cup and torn packaging I have already sampled the “decadent chocolate” variety. The directions advise you to add the powdery whey protein goodness to water, milk or fruit juice. I imagine milk is the preferred choice to create a pseudo-milkshake but I have no milk and it’s more sugar than I’d like, anyway, so water it was. Having read stories describing these mixes as tasting like “chalky coconut ass” (!) I was prepared for the worst but in fact, it was kind of tasty in a diluted sort of way. Next up is “strawberry banana burst”, which may be trickier to fake than chocolate but I’ll know in just two short days!

I also bought a pair of proper shorts for jogging. Like nearly every other item of clothing I have, the shorts I bought two years ago are now too big. The new shorts are very light and perhaps a wee bit shorter than I expected but since my legs are the one certifiably* sexy part of my body, I’m okay with that.

* really, give me a minute and I will print the certificate

Yet another weight post

Some random thoughts on the weightlifting:

  • the 3-times-per-week routine is working out fine so far, I don’t feel like I’m overworking myself
  • I am no longer feeling sore between sessions
  • I do not look different nor has my weight changed but it’s still early
  • I have girlie shoulders. Any exercise that involves the shoulders (like the shoulder press) makes me cry.
  • I am probably going to move from 10lb to 15lb weights. For most exercises the 10 pound weights don’t seem to be pushing me enough.
  • Slowing down the reps has helped by requiring a bit more effort
  • the cheapo mat I have curls up and sucks. Not that it curls up and sucks as part of some trick, though that would be neat. It just generally sucks. I’ll probably be getting a rubber-backed replacement.
  • I actually remember to stretch before starting now. Woo.

The real test will come when I am once again gainfully employed and have to sacrifice “fun time” to maintain my routine. I think I’ll be okay there, since I usually work out in the evening.

A-weigh we go

I did my fourth full workout tonight and have now started taking pictures (on a weekly basis) of my upper body to record any possible progress. Looking at pictures of my body is not something I recommend to anyone, really. Not even my cat.

Shoulder presses still make me cry like a little girl. My benchmark is to get through them without tearing up like jackrabbit at the end of Titanic*.

* this is a test to see if anyone — like jackrabbit — reads this thing.

Weighing in

How many weight-related puns can I come up with for post titles? Let’s find out!

After doing my third full weight-lifting workout I’ve decided to go from two workouts per week to three, mixing in jogging as needed. I’ve suddenly become mildly obsessed with shedding the last bit of fat around my gut and it ain’t gonna happen through diet from this point forward, so exercise it shall be.

The bonus side effect is getting into better shape, having more stamina and becoming irresistably sexy. I’m also thinking of going from a full beard to a Vandyke just for a change. And a purple Mohawk. Or something.