Friday, March 30, 2007

I'm still here.

I haven’t written in a while because I haven’t been in pain. Everything is fine in week two of the new training regimen. I’m not sore. The hammy’s healed up. I’m not having a problem with the incremental increases in my exercise intensity. I only have to get my diet fine tuned. I’m not a bodybuilder eating everything I can to maximize growth. I don’t want to grow significantly. I want to be on the Six Million Dollar Man plan: make me better, stronger, faster (cue theme music).

I’m having a change in attitude. I think I might be morphing into a Kenyan. I’m finding running a suitable means of transportation to more and more destinations. I need to go to the Y? Screw it, I’ll run; Publix, I’ll run. If I could not stink when I got there I would run to work, but a Harvard study has shown that body odor is a deterrent to business. It’s science.

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Jeez! How Stupid is this Jackass?

I’m noticing from my previous posts that I spend a lot of time in pain. Most of it falls into the “no pain, no gain” and “no guts, no glory” categories, which is no problem. However, today’s pain chronicle doesn’t fall into either one of these. Today’s pain falls into the “What’s wrong with that old guy?” category. I skipped my leg workout yesterday and did my shoulders instead. I figured I would hit my legs today, rest Sunday, and that would give my lower back time to recuperate. I planned ahead like a 36 year old should. I drove to the gym instead of running so I wouldn’t get stuck on the way home if the unforeseen should happen. I did five minutes on a bike to warm up my knees, and then I headed to the squat racks. I was in the middle of my routine; everything was going fine. Then the unforeseen happened; a couple of kids who play football for Bolles – I know this because their T-shirts told me so – started their routines. They were both big guys. One of them was as big as me, and they were going heavy. Naturally, I had to protect what was mine – the squat area. I try not to exceed a certain amount of weight when I squat. I’ll never set a world record, and I can seriously hurt myself doing heavy squats. Squats are the only exercise that I do more than ten reps in every set. Unfortunately, Chris and Isaiah were in my zone so I went real heavy. I went heavier than I have in more than a year, even though I haven’t done this exercise in about six weeks. I actually put on a weight belt. It was worth it because Chris, the big one, said, “Man, you’re gettin’ low for going so heavy.” The savannah was still mine. I responded, “You’ve got to.” This is where they introduced themselves and I found out their names. At this point I didn’t care about the alpha male stuff – and yes I was irrationally competing with 17 year old boys – it made my day to meet a white gentile named Isaiah under the age of 90. His nickname is Zeke. I told him that was the coolest thing I’d ever heard. We chatted about lifting and football for a bit and then I needed to do my cardio so I could get back home in time for the NCAA tournament. I decided to run on the track today – bad decision. There was a girls running club at the track doing time trials. I should mention that heavy squats hit my hamstrings right where they meet my glutes, and I’ve known this since I was fifteen years old. Strangely enough, just like running. Today was farltek day so I was supposed to be pushing the pace anyway. The girls were doing time trials for a mile. If you’ve read this far you know the chances of me letting a 14 year old girl out run me are what mathematicians call statistically insignificant – aka Z-Ro. The track is big enough so that I wasn’t interfering with them and they weren’t interfering with me – other than I had to run faster than whoever was on the track at the time. I had planned on doing 3 miles and I finished the first mile in a little under 7 minutes – well ahead of the first time trial 14 year old. The second 14 year old started fast, so I had to pick up the pace. My heart said easy buddy and about 200 yards into the lap my left hamstring said, “I’ve been shot!” Yeah, the hammy popped. I didn’t fall down, but I looked like a complete retard. There were about eight 14 year old girls and two coaches – not to mention the people on the riverwalk or the homeless dude resting on the bench – who I pretended didn’t exist as I hobbled back to my car and drove home. I don’t think I tore it, but it hurts like a bastard. I keep hoping that my galactic level stupidity has bottomed out, but I keep finding sub-basements: Lift heavy after six weeks of inactivity in the most dangerous of lifts, run as fast as you can immediately afterwards as a 36 year old man competing with teenage athletes, how could this possibly end badly?

Thursday, March 22, 2007

My Love/Hate Relationship with Squats

I don’t want to do my legs. I was supposed to do them yesterday, but I was able to find excuses not to. I quit weight training my legs about a month ago in favor of additional running as the River Run approached. But the River Run has come and gone, and I need to start blasting my quads again. Squats are sometimes my favorite lift and sometimes the exercise I hate most. Right now I don’t want to do any squats. They hurt. They make me light headed, which is how I know I’m doing them correctly. And since I haven’t done them in a month I will be sore for a minimum of four days. I’ve thought about moving shoulder day up one day and leg day back one day, but that won’t work. It would mean immediately following legs with a back workout. My lower back and hamstrings can’t take that type of abuse anymore. So not only is my procrastination affecting my legs it’s affecting my shoulders. I’m thinking about blaming my wife for all of this. She’s on spring break, and she’s seriously hampering my aggression. Squats require rage. I do them best when I’m worked up into a borderline psychotic frenzy, but she plays The Cure and Bret Denen(sp?), and I enjoy being around her. None of this is conducive to belligerence. So if my legs are skinny it’s MJ’s fault.

Monday, March 19, 2007

New and Improved Training Regimen

I started my new routine today, which is my old routine plus a 2 mile run to the YMCA and a 2 mile run home. I got to the gym in about 15 minutes, caught my breath, and reintroduced my back to Dark Lord Deadlift. All – and I mean all – back workouts begin with deads. They don’t necessarily have to be done first in the back workout, but if deads aren’t done then the back wasn’t hit. For my money, it’s the best compound movement. It’s natural and I can pile on the plates. I’m too lazy to put on a weight belt so I don’t go super heavy very often, and I was feeling lazy today. Did I mention that I ran to the gym? I also did pull-ups, seated cable rows, and then I did my biceps – upgrading the guns. The arm workout consisted of cambered bar curls, seated dumbbell curls, and hammer curls. I’m keeping it simple; I’m keeping it moving. Then I burned 423 calories on the elliptical machine in 30 minutes. Normally, in my old routine, I would hop on the treadmill and walk for half an hour, but not today. Today is the first – it was almost the last – day of the rest of my life, and I was running home. My heart had other plans. El corozon said, “No, call a cab. Stay here, it’s the Y. I don’t care. We’re not running home.” I had never started a run fatigued. I had no glycogen left. I burnt it up blasting my back like Big Ronnie Coleman. This was the first time I had to shorten my stride just to get started. I wanted to stop from the first step on the trip home. I had to start making deals with my self from the get go – just get to Fidelity, just get to Riverside Avenue, just get to the Cummer, just get to Memorial Park. When I got to Memorial Park my heart seemed to concede that it was easier to just keep going than to stop. I was going to pass a hospital anyway, and that part of Riverside Avenue is a major ambulance conveyance. I don’t know how long it took me to get home. I forgot to look at the clock at the Y before I left. But it wasn’t too long and my heart settled down pretty quickly. I doubt my lower back is going to be agreeable tomorrow morning, but we’re going to try the new routine chest and triceps version.

Friday, March 16, 2007

Meme Thursday: Am I Organized? Can I Find My Keys?

I am very organized at a strategic level. I know where I'm supposed to be, what I'm supposed to be doing, and how I'm getting there for the next 6 weeks. Tactically, I'm lost. I work on the 29th floor of an office building, and I park on the 6th floor of a garage across the street. I have, on more than one occasion, grabbed everything I need for a presentation, printed my route and sent it to my Blackberry, rode the high speed elevator down 29 floors, rode the rickety POS elevator up six floors (I'm not Catholic but hail Mary full of grace), reached into my pocket for my car keys and came up with lint. This is where the fun part begins. I start by bellowing a 15 second three octave F-bomb that echos in the garage. Then I take the garage elevator down six floors (Our father who art in heaven), the office elevator up 29 floors -- I get a good head rush -- and I find my keys on my desk right next to my cellular. I don't know how to get these ten minutes of my life back

I have a detailed workout plan; running has recently been added. I know what muscles I'm working, how much weight I'm lifting, the number of sets, the number of reps, and the order. I know what I did the last time I hit a muscle group. I don't need a log to help me remember. However I do need something to help me remember my gloves and my iPod. I live and work two miles from my gym. It's tap dead center on my commute route(this may or may not rhyme depending on how one pronounces "route"). I never forget my keys because I can't get out of the house without them. However, I forget my iPod at least twice a week. Sometimes I will remember it as I back out of the driveway. Sometimes I will remember it as I get out of the car at the gym. At which point I get back in the car to go get the iPod -- no iPod, no workout. There is no echo so the F-bomb antic isn't nearly as cathartic. I just leave my gloves in the car. I don't wash them until they start to make my hands itch; the smell doesn't bother me. Yeah it's disgusting, but I can't do deadlifts without gloves. Leaving them in the car may not be personally hygienic, but I'm not wasting gasoline making two trips to the gym. I'm reducing my carbon footprint, and I stink. Wow! I'm a hippy and I didn't even know it. That's an inconvenient truth.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Training Day 1

So Denzel asks me to stop by this diner... Training Day get it?

Actually I ran for the first time since the River Run today. I ran from my house to Fishweir Elementary school. It's a roughly 4 mile run through scenic Riverside and Avondale. I ran at the mad dog and Englishman time of 3pm. It was a comfortable 87 degrees(MJ would need earmuffs brrrrrr). Man, do I love Florida. This is the first time I've run this route in about 6 weeks, and I took about 3 minutes off my time. I ran it today in 29:50 at a pretty steady pace -- steady being the operative word. I was still having to slow myself down, which means the pace my body wants to run is nearly ready for next year. All I have to do is improve my cardiovascular endurance. If I can run 5 miles at this pace, which would be under 38 minutes, in March I'll be very happy. We'll know before the weekend is over, and before the hangin' and the bangin' gets added back into the routine.

Sunday, March 11, 2007

'06 Recap '07 Goals

In '06 I dropped more than 40lbs, my waist went from 42in to 36in, my pullups went from 12 to 30 reps, and my bench press reps at 225lbs dropped from 15 to 12( a small price to pay for the weight loss). I was also bitten by the running bug, and finished my first 15k yesterday. I'm happy with everything except my bench and my race times. Unfortunately, my ego Old Scratch, has gotten involved with the decision making process for my '07 goals. The following are carved in stone, and barring my maimage(it's a word. I just wrote it) and/or death, will be accomplished by next year's Gate River Run.

1. Finish the River Run with a chip time of 59:59. That's almost 18 minutes behind the race record so it's not impossible.

2. I'm bouncing 225 lbs. twenty-five times. There will be no steroids, no HGH, I won't even use creatine.

We're going to keep it simple. We're going to keep it moving. These goals may seem counterintuitive, but they're not. I just have to eat right, and eat a lot.

Saturday, March 10, 2007

The 30th Annual Running of the Gate River Run

I finished my first 15k/9.3m race today. Not to sound too arrogant, but there isn't much in middle class American life that I find truly difficult -- this was. I don't feel good physically. I couldn't feel better mentally. There were 14 thousand other people who ran the race today, and I have have respect for each and every one of them. Congratulations to all the finishers. I want to thank E&J for allowing me to tag along -- not the brandy, but the nice couple pictured above. I ran the race to enjoy it and hang out, not to try to win it. If I hadn't decided to run with them one of two things would have happened: I would have run a sub 1 hour race, or I would have died slowly and painfully. I'm pretty sure the 180 foot high Hart Bridge would have chosen option 2 for me, and that would have been embarrassing. I haven't felt this good about a physical accomplishment since I first dunked a basketball on a legit rim. My next post is going to be my goals for the upcoming year and option 1 is going to be near the top of the list -- it's the testosterone poisoning, there's nothing I can do.

Thursday, March 8, 2007

Bringing Sexy Back

I got an e-mail from a photo guy with pictures of Ya Boy from the Retro River Run. But he's offering packages like he was Olan Mills. I'm not interested in matte or glossy. It's 2007, I'm interested in gif or jpg. I don't mind paying for the photos per se -- everyone needs to make a living -- but am I narcissistic enough to pay to put photos of me on a coffee cup? The problem is that I really like the picture. I look like an athlete. I look like a guy in his early thirties. The only problem with the picture is that I'm not exercising my 2nd amendment rights. I've tried every way I know of to steal the image from the site i.e. I right clicked on it. Unfortunately the guy has some copyright software going or something. This is a link to the picture. You may want to save this page because if I do drop the $8 to $10 on a package I will edit this post and pretend that I'm not a failed cyber petty thief.

Tuesday, March 6, 2007

Signing In

I'm on the "New" Blogspot. Apparently the "Old" Blogspot has been assimilated by Google aka Microsoft aka the desolate one. I understand that security is needed for legal and money sites, but this is a free blog service. If I don't want certain info on here I won't put it on here. I'm frustrated that I have to sign in every time I come to my blog. I wouldn't be so frustrated if there wasn't a "remember me" check box under the login that refuses to remember me. I'm also frustrated that my "password strength" is evaluated. I won't be surprised if in a year I'll need a retinal scan to write about why the right socks are just as important as the right shoes when running more than five miles. My dear, dear friend Beth's son has pink eye. What if he needed to blog about why shrink wrapped tissues are better toys than talking dolls, but the pink eye prevented him from giving a definitive retinal scan? If the children can't blog then what the hell are we doing?

Saturday, March 3, 2007

Retro River Run

I just finished the Retro River Run. You can find out all about it here It was a 5k (not mile) so it was short. However, we did go over both the Main Street and the Acosta bridges. I was using this as a tune up to the real deal next week. My instinct was to haul ass (running term) but I knew that wasn't what I needed. I needed to learn how to pace myself so that I'll be able to get over the friggin' huge (engineering term) Hart Bridge. So I got behind this chick that was puttering along, and let her set my pace. She was running about an 11 minute mile, which was frustrating because this was a short race. It's weird running in a race and not pushing myself. I wasn't even breathing hard following her. We ran through downtown, over the Main Street Bridge, through South Bank, to the Acosta Bridge. At the base of the Acosta was the 2 mile marker reading 22m48s. I thought to myself cool I can cruise at this pace all day; I'm ready for next week, so when I get to the top of the bridge I'll let myself go. Which I did, and I finished the course in 30m04s. I ran the last mile in 7m16s, and that was fun. I got pitched on this race back in October by a guy I know who used free beer as a selling point. Free beer, cerveza gratis, 免費啤酒, whatever the language it's music to my ears. I thought the free beer was going to be for the runners only, but no. It was open to anyone who happened to be at the Jacksonville Landing after the race, and there was only one station serving the free Miller Lite. So of course there was a line all the way across the mall. I'm not waiting more than 2 minutes for Miller Lite let alone an hour. It's watered down swill not Splash Mountain. So I rounded up my groupies -- my wife and my mother-in-law -- and we walked from the Landing back to the YMCA where we parked and drove home. This is my second race in two weeks, and I had am having a blast.

Friday, March 2, 2007

What constitutes a perfect evening for me?

My dear, dear friend Beth has declared Thursdays Meme Days, and she has given us our first topic to discuss. What constitutes a perfect evening? An 8-ball of coke and a couple of hookers. Whoops! wrong blog. My perfect evening would be spent at a high end steakhouse -- the J'ville Ruth's Chris on the river most likely -- surrounded by family and friends. What I really enjoy about Ruth's Chris and Morton's is that they do what they do. It's about the food not the chef. Their genius is in choosing the best beef available, and not in the chef's take on mango mayonaise or asparagus flan. Not that there is anything wrong with mango mayonaise or asparagus flan, but this is my perfect evening. I would get the cowboy ribeye (does that sound gay to anyone else?). It's an extra large piece of meat with the bone in it for flavor. Choosing wine is like taking a test, so I just order Heineken. We spend the next three hours eating too much, drinking too much, and thouroughly enjoying each other's company. It's a time to catch up and grow closer. Everyone seems to forget their problems for a moment, and that is a wonderful thing. Nights like these should only happen four or five times a year because the law of diminishing returns definitely kicks in and we start to take each other for granted. I'm lucky enough to have more of these evenings than most

Thursday, March 1, 2007

The Scope of the Blog

My baby mama (MBM) wants me to write here more often, and not restrict this to a running log on the web. She also wants me to keep it PG-13. I have a tendency to get a little dark, and she doesn't want a concrete record of my quirkiness -- psychosis is her word. Stream of Consciousness alert! I'm looking at my first sentence and I'm almost overwhelmed by the "running log on the web" pun opportunities. She says that once I start down the dark path, forever will it dominate my destiny. I don't remember if she put it just that way, but more eloquent she could not have been. So this entry is about how I came to running. Last March when MBM was on her "Hens' Weekend" I ate nothing but pizza and bratwursts, and I drank nothing but St. Paulie Girl (pbuh). I stepped on the scale the following Monday and tipped that bad boy at 259.5 lbs. Enough was enough. I dropped twelve pounds effortlessly, but then I couldn't lose another ounce. Apparently, when I turned thirty-five certain large chunks of fat decided to retire around my waist. They dug in like Zionists on the West Bank. This waist was promised to them by God, and they would not be removed. I was like Ariel Sharon. I had a large hand in putting these chunks there, and we'd had a lot of fun doing it. But for a healthy Israel/me some changes needed to be made. I saw a nutritionist in June, and she put me on a diet. I added an hour of cardio to my weight lifting, and I started to shrink. Maybe I'm not like Israel. Maybe I'm like Great Britain in the first half of the 20th century. I spent a long time building a glorious empire and now I was giving it back -- we'll call it streamlining. Anyway, I was in decent shape by October when a colleague of MBM put together a group to train for the River Run. I figured what the heck. J'ville is my home, and I should run the River Run at least once. Unfortunately, as is my wont, I am now obsessed with running faster and faster. I'm not running as a way to stay healthy. I'm running to beat whatever time I ran the last time. After the River Run -- if I survive -- I will be posting my fitness goals for the coming year.

Oh yeah, I've discovered the dietary wonder that is prunes. I've added 4oz. of prunes a day to the pound of spinach and 2 servings of oatmeal. You may refer to my colon as Chuck Norris.