Complaint-free me, Day 2: Boogaloo

I admit, it feels like cheating to be doing the Complaint Free challenge when I’m working from home. It’s much easier to keep from complaining when you have to type out your complaint in a chat program and then hit the Enter key to send it vs. just opening your mouth and letting it spew out without thought.

Today that did not happen, so I am two for two so far on the challenge. I’ll admit there were a few times I came close, but I recognized each one and held my virtual tongue.

Treadmill workout: The start of hands-free

One thing I am doing as I engage in these daily workouts is to try to not be as grippy.

When the treadmill is set to a speed of 6.5 and an incline of zero, the pace is brisk, but entirely manageable. It’s just a fast walk. Set the incline to 10 and that brisk pace now requires me to hang on for dear life.

Almost. Over the last few workouts, I have been trying to use a much little fingertip-style grip on the treadmill’s “handlebars.” Today I even went hands-free a few times, which requires not just sheer physical effort to keep from sliding toward the back of the treadmill, but also a good bit of balance, which I do not have in great abundance.

Still, I am making progress and it’s one of the things I can do to make the treadmill workouts more interesting because, let’s face it, walking on a treadmill for 30 minutes is not something that makes one’s socks roll up and down in excitement.

I felt pretty good today, but my first two km were strangely slow. Maybe I felt too good. I ramped up the effort for the last ten minutes and was much faster. I felt manly and all my stats were slightly improved.

Here they are:

Speed: 6.5 km/h
Incline: 10

Pace: 9:35/km (9:41 km/h)
Time: 30:03 (30:02)
Distance: 3.13 km (3.10 km)
Calories burned: 309 (306)
BPM: 140 (141)

Complaint-free me, Day 1: Third time lucky

On February 3, 2018 I declared myself a victor in the 21-day Complaint Free challenge. By August I had started the challenge again, feeling I had lapsed. According to the entries on this very blog, I lasted seven days on my second attempt before going curiously silent about the whole thing.

Here we are more than two years after my initial success, in the middle of a global pandemic, a recession caused by the same, worldwide protests over police brutality and Donald Trump is President of the United States. If ever there was a time where it felt A-OK to complain, 2020 would seem to be that time. It’s also a great time to challenge myself to rise above the urge to complain, to stay positive and focus on the good, to find solutions instead of just griping about things, especially things I can change.

And so I have donned my purple Complaint Free bracelet again. For the first day I think I got through okay. If I complained to someone else (and I did ask some people to verify if I had), it was too subtle to notice, or I just wasn’t paying enough attention. While either is possible, I think I came through with a legit victory for the day.

The toughest part, as before, will be refraining from sarcasm, or at least sarcasm in the form of “complaining with humor”, which is very close to all sarcasm.

I completed the initial challenge very quickly–the book notes it takes most people 8-10 months to hit 21 consecutive days of no complaints–so there was always that nagging doubt I had complained a few times and not noticed it. We’ll see if I get similar results this time.

I’ll report back in 8-10 months (ho ho).

Treadmill workout: Off

In which I now refer to my treadmill walks as treadmill workouts because it sounds more macho.

The workouts remain the same.

Today’s workout was a bit off. I was slower, to start. Monday blahs? Tired from the weekend? Impending illness? In the last five minutes I felt a little light-headed and my legs became unto spaghetti. Well, not that bad, but I could sense the beginnings of spaghettification. As with so many things in life, I don’t have a good explanation for this.

But I did complete the workout, kept my streak intact and have these stats to share (note that the comparison stats are for a 40-minute workout; today’s was 30):

Speed: 6.5 km/h
Incline: 10

Pace: 9:41/km (9:32 km/h)
Time: 30:02 (40:02)
Distance: 3.10 km (4.20 km)
Calories burned: 306 (439)
BPM: 141 (143)

Treadmill walk: In for another 40

Since I had time today, I decided to go for another 40-minute workout on the treadmill. Let’s see how yesterday’s workout, along with 17 km of additional walking throughout the day affected my stamina today.

I was a tiny bit slower but burned more calories. BPM was also down a bit, which goes hand in hand with being slower. Overall, the results are very similar. In terms of pace, I noticed I flagged around the 3km mark, but picked up again for the last km. I again found myself experiencing the weird sensation of having my mind go off thinking about other things than the actual exercise, something that is relatively rare when I’m on the treadmill, so this is a good thing.

Speed: 6.5 km/h
Incline: 10

Pace: 9:32/km (9:29 km/h)
Time: 40:02 (40:02)
Distance: 4.20 km (4.22 km)
Calories burned: 439 (431)
BPM: 143 (145)

Treadmill walk: Insurance not needed

Concerned that the weather might not be nice and I would turn into a couch potato for much of the day, I opted for a noon hour workout on the usual settings, but stretched it out from the usual thirty minutes to forty. This allowed me to complete both my exercise and move rings early, clearing the way for some serious couch potatodom.

But instead, Nic and I went for a long picture-taking excursion through Hume Park, down the Brunette River and partway up the loop at Burnaby Lake. As I type this I sit at 21.04 km walked (26,415 steps).

The walk on the treadmill, meanwhile, went well and I felt peppy, maintaining a good pace for the first three km before flagging a wee bit in the final stretch.

The stats are boosted where expected with the extra distance, and it was nice to see the extra time did not result in any real change in BPM (ie. not higher) and my pace was technically better, too. Overall, another pleasing result, and I kept my exercise streak going.

Speed: 6.5 km/h
Incline: 10

Pace: 9:29/km (9:30 km/h)
Time: 40:02 (30:04)
Distance: 4.22 km (3.16 km)
Calories burned: 431 (320)
BPM: 145 (144)

Treadmill walk: A very brief experiment

For today’s noon workout I thought I would try an experiment, by setting the incline from the usual 10 (steep) to zero (very much not steep) and see what difference it made in terms of energy expended. After a minute of this I had burned a whopping four calories, so I was putting in a little over a third of the effort. I no longer had to hang on for dear life. I probably could have started dancing a jig. I set the incline to 10 and finished the workout as I normally would.

I made sure to add some extra zip to the closing stretch of the workout and was rewarded for my effort.

The stats show the difference, with everything improved over the last workout. Even the BPM was marginally better.

I am pleased.

Speed: 6.5 km/h
Incline: 10

Pace: 9:30/km (9:44 km/h)
Time: 30:04 (30:04)
Distance: 3.16 km (3.08 km)
Calories burned: 320 (311)
BPM: 144 (145)

Treadmill walk: Odd

Odd because I usually finish strong, but the last workout was the opposite and today, I felt for sure I finished stronger on the last km but was in fact slower.

I have no explanation for this.

But I did sweat a lot. And I am two for two on my 30 minutes of exercise each day thing, so that’s good.

The stats are mostly worse than yesterday, though. Bluh, I sez.

Speed: 6.5 km/h (6.0)
Incline: 10

Pace: 9:44/km (9:41 km/h)
Time: 30:04 (30:03)
Distance: 3.08 km (3.10 km)
Calories burned: 311 (300)
BPM: 145 (140)

Treadmill walk: 30 today, 30 everyday (or bust)

Starting, let’s say…today, I am committing to a 30-minute workout every day. Yes, all seven of them, every day that ends in “day.” That workout could be any of the following:

  • treadmill walk
  • treadmill run
  • outdoor walk
  • outdoor run
  • 30 minutes of pushups. Actually, this would probably cripple me.

Today I did a 30-minute treadmill walk. It went fine, though I actually got slower as the walk progressed, which is the opposite of what usually happens. I don’t have any particular explanation for this.

The stats are all slightly worse than the previous walk, except for BPM, which was down a wee bit due to me not trying as hard. Maybe I was weighed down by the ravioli I ate last night.

It was good ravioli.

Speed: 6.5 km/h (6.0)
Incline: 10

Pace: 9:41/km (9:34 km/h)
Time: 30:03 (30:05)
Distance: 3.10 km (3.14 km)
Calories burned: 300 (321)
BPM: 140 (143)

Jeremy (in 2020)

As happens sometimes, I went to watch a video on YouTube and found myself going down the rabbit hole, bouncing from one video to the next and there goes an hour of time in what feels like seconds.

It started with watching a live version of “Live and Let Die” from 2009, followed by the opening credits version, then another live version from 1973. The song was a big hit, but I’m still surprised because structurally it’s a bit odd, with no traditional verse/chorus and several sudden shifts in tone (which McCartney was known for, especially in his early 70s songs).

This eventually, somehow, led to an “uncensored” version of Pearl Jam’s “Jeremy.” I love just about everything about this song: it’s catchy, evocative, haunting, it’s great fun to sing along with (“You too can be Eddie Vedder!”) and the video, which won MTV’s Video of the Year award in 1992, is equally effective, due to the young actor playing Jeremy, the striking art direction and, of course, the ever-intense Vedder howling away, veins on his forehead bulging.

I figured the uncensored part was the line “seemed a harmless little fuck” because MTV generally did not allow f-bombs to be dropped on air. But it turned out to be a mere second of footage right near the end, where Jeremy walks into the classroom, tosses an apple to the teacher, then turns to face his classmates. You see him make a motion as if he is raising a gun, then the shot cuts away to show the other children in tableau, with looks of shock and horror on their faces, many of them splattered in blood.

Some took this to mean Jeremy had shot up the room, but the uncensored version, in that one second of previously unseen footage, shows him raising the gun and putting it in his mouth. It’s quite chilling, and while I always thought that’s what happened, it was still stunning to see it. I get why MTV would not air it–probably out of fear of inspiring troubled kids to emulate Jeremy–but it’s good to see Pearl Jam finally make the original version of the video widely available. Its message of bullying, depression and suicide are probably more relevant now than they’ve ever been.

A sad coda in the comments (I know, never read the comments, but the ones I read are surprisingly decent) notes that the actor who played Jeremy died in a drowning accident in 2016 at the age of 36. The band went to his funeral.

Here’s the video: