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Monthly Archives: December 2011

And on Friday, he rested

I’ve only been able to get minimal, mostly treadmill running in since Christmas.  The weather has been ridiculous, raining one minute, snowing the next, clear for five seconds with gale force winds, 53 degrees one day, 30 degrees the next.  Year end has me scrambling at work as folks visit their tax planners at the last minute and find out they made too much money (the horrors) and have to buy something (oh no!) expensive from me.  While I don’t care for the tax code, I’ll gladly take the indirect subsidy.   An evening workout is a welcome break when you’ve spent your day selling machines, writing purchase orders, chasing down inventory, and setting up finance contracts.   The clip clop of my feet on the treadmill and the sweat dripping down my nose is like music to my ears.  Focusing on my breathing and nothing else makes the brain numbing numbers and forms disappear.  I feel better immediately and the feeling lasts.

The Brambleton Ringing in Hope 5K is Saturday.  While I am doubtful my time will improve much, if at all from my last race due to some training setbacks and screwups I’ve had this past month, I expect to run strong.  At times I find it hard to believe I only restarted my fitness journey a little over 5 1/2 months ago.  Running a 5K without dying seemed like a far off goal back then, now 3.1 miles comes and goes, my biggest problem is trying to run them too fast too soon (my fast= your slow….just watch your back).  While I don’t look at New Years as the start/stop point outside of accounting purposes or a time to set goals (set them regularly and follow up), this year the anticipation of 2012 seems greater than any other year in recent memory.  This is probably due to the fact that A) I am getting married in June B) I am running my first half marathon(s?) and C) I am actively seeking new business ventures to compliment and or offset my day to day work.   All of this, coupled with the anxiety I have as an economist makes 2012 very exciting.  We live in turbulent, unprecedented times, but time does not stop for any of us.

Now get off the computer and go exercise!  You’ll feel better!

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Posted by on December 29, 2011 in Uncategorized

 

I’m glad the hills don’t reverse directions

I had off yesterday, Christmas Eve, so I ate breakfast early and took off for a run a few hours later.  I haven’t quite figured out how to dress for winter running.  It wasn’t super cold yesterday, but it was cold enough.  I start out freezing, and end my route feeling over dressed.  I guess that isn’t bad though.  My biggest problems with running in the cold is A) getting warmed up to a pace I can handle and B) dealing with the wind.  I tend to want to go fast to soon when it is cold, and then I struggle at the end.  I find it much easier to regulate my pace on warm days.

Yesterday, I ran into a strong wind on the first half of my route.  I thought, “I guess its better to start against the wind than to have to end with it”.  I got to my halfway point and turned around.  About five minutes later the wind was blowing in my face again!  DOH!   As I usually do, I immediately searched for the positives: 1) there will be days when the wind is at your back and 2) at least these mountain hills don’t change directions on the way home (though I’m not sure sometimes).

Merry Christmas and Happy Running!

 
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Posted by on December 25, 2011 in Uncategorized

 

The 3×2 Flu

Maybe you have never heard of the 3×2 flu.  I know some far more seasoned and superior athletes read this blog, so this is not surprising.

I couldn’t find a good medical explanation, but there are plenty of pictures out there.  The 3×2 Flu looks like this:

It doesn’t have to be Molson, 3×2 Flu comes in lots of flavors.   The 3×2 Flu will end running streaks and throw training plans all out of whack.  Now normally a few (or six) beers won’t do much to me.  I might be a little more groggy than usual the next day if a late night was involved, but on Friday, I went overboard.

OFFICE PARTY! (only I don’t work in an office, I work in a shop….guys in shops throw down on the bosses dime…..the only thing embarrassing would be drinking so much that you passed out while at the party and woke up with penis drawings on your face or found yourself in an awkward position in a piece of farm machinery)

There they were, ice cold Molson’s, Schlitz (that only one guy drank), and Coronas.  The generic beer kings of an entire continent represented, all snuggled up in a cow trough of icy goodness.  Things started out innocent enough, beer is painless and barely makes a dent.  Then the bosses kid broke out the whiskey.  No big deal, whiskey isn’t just for tooth aches and colds anymore.  Then old Al showed up with what he calls “wine” but can only be described by this song…..TAKE IT AWAY GEORGE!   

Let me tell ya, unless it is some sissy garbage your brother in law made in his Mr. Beer maker, homemade alcohol is to be avoided.  I’ve had my fair share of run ins with guys all whacked out on shine and homemade wine.  A moonshine drunk is a different kind of drunk.  STAY AWAY!

Thankfully, I had my designated driver there and she got me home safely and put up with my intoxicated in car rantings.  You know, the normal in car conversations about how pine trees should be illegal and how all squirrels are causing the economy to suffer (see what I mean about moonshine drunks?).  Normally, a person who had a few too many would lay down, call it a night, and wake up a little sore in the morning.  One problem:  Al’s “wine” wanted out.  I got half way up the porch steps and away it went!  I heaved for a good five minutes.  I felt MUCH better, but in the process of heaving I pulled every muscle in my neck, chest, back, and proceeded to fall over said railing into my flowerbed two feet below.  No one has ever accused me of doing anything halfway.  Needless to say, I didn’t run Friday night, couldn’t even laugh without hurting on Saturday, REALLY needed Sunday as my weekly day of rest, and finally punished myself with a good run tonight.  I don’t know how far I went, but it felt good, like I was releasing demons that I let in on Friday.

Let me tell you, there is nothing wrong with a little fun and a little al-key-hall, but I crossed the line the other night and my training and focus suffered.   I’ve generally been on the wagon, specifically the “self control wagon” but when it is free and a good time is rolling I have a hard time.  Once old man Molson got my guard down it became impossible to stop.   The good news is, I can breath and laugh without hurting now, I ran tonight, I plan to stay off the sauce until maybe after my New Years’s Eve race in Ashburn (Ringing in Hope Brambleton Ashburn, VA 5K) www.ringinginhope.com, and I was reminded of what a bad bender feels like.

Now that I’ve proven myself mortal once again, falling to the temptation of a good time and spirits, it is time to get back on the training circuit and push myself.  No buzz is quite as good as the one I get from working out…..oh, and running doesn’t give me a hangover.

 
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Posted by on December 19, 2011 in Uncategorized

 

Diet Pitfalls for Mortals

Forget about the holidays.  Aside from truly elite, paid athletes, or people who make their living by looking good, 99.9% of us are going to eat more, eat worse, and work out less over the holidays.  The question comes down to “how bad?”  You need to manage your portions, push the seconds away, and stay away from the sweets.  However, the temptations are greater than during the rest of the year because it is a celabratory time for some and a “break out the self medication, I hate this time of year” for others.  Either way, unless the stakes are high (you make $120 an hour as a swimsuit model or you run back punts for an NFL team), you will most likely have “diet fails” during the holidays.

But what about the little things you do 365 days a year?  How much do they really contribute? 

1) the morning drink:  are you a 200 calorie soda guy like me?  This is my number one struggle.  Caffeinated, carbonated beverages as a kickstarter.  I fail miserably at cutting these out every time I try.  Tomorrow I will stop drinking them.

2) breakfast:  Do you eat it?  Do you eat crap from a convenience store when you do?  I either don’t eat it, or I eat a sandwhich out of the warm rack at a convenience store.  On really bad days I eat sugary crap from a snack machine.  Tomorrow I will get my ass out of bed a little earlier (there is no excuse for this as my signifcant other wakes me up super early anyway), and I will eat a good breakfast at home.

3) lunch:  I eat out almost everyday.  It is nearly impossible for a busy professional NOT to eat out at times, but my choices could be better.  Not to mention the money I’ll save.  Tonight I will pack my lunch for the next two days (and remember it in the morning).

4) back to the snack machine:  Does that mid afternoon snack attack get you?  Is there absolutely nothing that isn’t mostly sugar in your office snack machine?  It is high time I bring that bucket of peanuts in here and set it by my desk.  (not to mention the money I’ll save)

The point to all this is that there are going to be times when we fail at eating right.  The holidays increase the number of temptations.  However, if we look at our day to day diet for the other 10 or 11 months, we’ll find there are PLENTY of opportunities to do better with our eating.

It is the small things that add up.  I don’t expect anyone to adopt a drastic eating plan change and stick with it.  Most of us, unless faced with harsh medical realities, aren’t capable of making such drastic changes, and even then, some don’t (see: heart patients who smoke and drink).  Changing your life is about baby steps.  Very few people wake up and run a marathon at will, but most of us can go out tonight and run for fifteen minutes.  Most of us can cut something out or alter something in our diet TODAY.  Old habits die hard, so start stabbing them!

 
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Posted by on December 14, 2011 in Uncategorized

 

Stress Redux Monday

Today was just all wrong.  I don’t normally have bad days as I refuse to let them happen, but today was stressful and annoying.  Certain voices just became like nails on the blackboard.  Routine tasks gave me no satisfaction.  A migraine set in not long after I OD’ed on caffeine this morning.  It was one of those days where a person just feels like they are stuck in the mud.

I cut out a half hour early and headed home.  I picked up some vegetables on the way.  My mood soured further as the girl on the cell phone, in front of me in line of course, read off her lotto numbers and the lotto numbers of the person she was on the phone with to the clerk.  Lotto tickets make no sense to me.  You give additional after tax money to the state in hopes of winning a giant prize that they tax.  Granted I don’t have much of a savings with interest or investing strategy that the average person could implement right and I’ve found my econ and finance lectures generally fall on deaf ear.

When I arrived home, my mood started lifting.  I saw my house in the daylight!  I saw my dog, waiting for me outside of my house in the daylight.  My beautiful wife to be was inside my house making me dinner.   I had vegetables in my hands and a quarter of a leftover chicken in the fridge for STEW.   Nothing fixes a mood like a good home and good food.  We ate and I made up some stew for tomorrow, nothing fancy, just some leftover meat, veggies, broth, and my 14 herbs and spices that that fake colonel stole from me, but MAYUN is it good!    After dinner settled, I headed to the gym for a quick treadmill run, as Monday is usually a rest day for me.  I busted out two miles at sub-9 minute pace which is a huge improvement for me. My goal is to burn a minute of my time of 28:08 in my next 5k, Ringing in Hope down in Brambleton/Ashburn, VA.  My schedule got a little off this weekend due to the 3-2 Flu, but I still think my goal is in reach.

I hate running on the treadmill but it is hard to get motivated to run in the dark.  In my last post, I alluded to the good night conditions around here, but tonight I figured I would do a quickie on the old mill, watch some football pregame stuff, and do some weight work at the gym.

Do you think my mood lifted after those two miles?  YUP!  The worst thing you can do is let your mood keep you off the road or out of the gym.   Sure, a bad workout or a bad run can happen and ultimately add insult to injury, but the odds are that if you go and get a good sweat going, you’ll feel better.

 
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Posted by on December 12, 2011 in Uncategorized

 

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Cold Night in SmokeTown

I ran a little over 3 miles last night in 30 degree temps.  I know it will get colder, but I really haven’t had to deal with the cold yet this year.  Last night, winter officially made it’s presence known.  The biggest issue for me to overcome in the cold air is the whole breathing thing.  That cold air just has a way of making it harder for me and my nose likes to freeze shut at times, especially when the days and weeks before saw 50 and 60 degree temperatures.  Like anything, you make the adjustment, autonomously or otherwise.

Brunswick (SmokeTown) isn’t a bad place to run at night.  The streets are pretty quiet after 6:30PM and the sidewalks are ample should you need to get off the pavement to let cars pass.  Most of the houses in the older sections of town are built up on hills with retaining walls in the front yards down by the street. It isn’t uncommon to have a cat sitting eye level on a retaining startle you, but none of them have ever gone Pet Cemetary on me (yet).  While hills are abundant here, there are plenty of flat spots on days you just don’t feel like hitting hills.

Last night the smells of winter were all around.  The diesel from the railroad travels farther and everyone’s woodstove was puffing away.  Every now and then I’d catch a whiff of pine from someones door wreath or Christmas tree that hasn’t made it inside yet.  It was a good night for a run and a great way to clear my head. 

Now get off the computer and go do something!  You’ll feel better!

 
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Posted by on December 9, 2011 in Uncategorized

 

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Old Man Winters Gonna Rock and Roll Tonight!

It is officially snowing up on the North Side of the speed bump (South Mountain).  Down here on the South Side next to the sewage grate (The Potomac) a cold nasty rain is falling.  Our power went out earlier so my dinner>>workout schedule got a little screwed up.  Th’ Wife and I headed across the bridge and grabbed sandwiches.  After roughing up my K9 pal in our nightly game of tug-of-war I headed to the gym and got some speed work and weights in.

Now I’m just chilling out and reading some other blogs (subjects vary) and waiting for this cold, icy rain to turn into some white stuff.  Most folks would disagree but I say, “BRING IT ON!”  I’m a bit of a nut when it comes to weather.  If it is going to be 90 degrees, why not 100?  If it is going to snow, why not make it a blizzard?  I guess the  same thing can be said for life.  If you’re going to be here, why not do something?*

 

*my phone is on should any of my friends get caught in a weather related jam this evening or tomorrow morning.  You know how this region is…..two DC soccer moms get in a fender bender on a quarter inch of snow and the whole damn Interstate System shuts down.

 

 
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Posted by on December 7, 2011 in Uncategorized