Friday wrapup

A bad haiku

Today is Friday

The last work day of the week

Let’s all hit the beach!

Morning running

Let me reiterate one more time, I am not now, nor have I ever been a morning person. And yet, when my alarm goes off at 5am, do I hit snooze until my normal wake time 45 minutes later? (Ok, I did on Monday, but that was because my 70-pound dalmatian must have been having nightmares and used me as a pillow all night long and I woke up too stiff and exhausted to move.)

Surprisingly, I get up and put on my running clothes and head out the door. Granted, I’m not chipper or bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, I’m more like an automaton. I have just enough wherewithal to keep putting one foot in front of the other until I’ve completed my run.

But it’s become a habit now. I forced myself to do it throughout June, often battling my normal inclination to say, “This is stupid. I want to sleep!”

Now I don’t think, I just turn off the alarm and keep moving. And I haven’t put a different pair of shoes on lately. Different socks, yes.

Today I made it to 1.75 miles, up from the 1 mile a day I was doing in June. I think I’ll stay at this distance for a bit to let my body acclimate before going further. Granted, I was regularly running 5k on the treadmill, but that was a treadmill. It does a lot of the work for you and absorbs much of the pounding, unlike cement.

I really don’t want to risk shinsplints again. They curtailed my running activity for nearly 20 years the last time. That sucked.

Running wear for colder weather

This morning was somewhat chilly. Around 60°F with low humidity. Not like the humid, hotter temps earlier in the week. Which made me think that I soon will need to address Fall and Winter wear. Running in shorts when the gales of November come is probably not a good idea.

For those of you thinking, “It’s July. Isn’t it a little early to be thinking about Winter?” No. This is Wisconsin. It could snow tomorrow. (Ok, for real, no, from what I could find there isn’t any measurable snow here in June, July, or August. But September is coming up fast!)

For now, I have a pair of those long running tights and a long-sleeved exercise shirt (with the strap that goes around your thumb) which will serve me for Fall. But Winter? I don’t know.

Back in the ’80s I had a winter running suit. Sort of a wind-breaker material with an inner lining that wicked away the sweat from my body. I believe it was something made by a company called Nor’Easter or that was the outfit’s name. I don’t recall which, but it kept me warm even on the most brutally cold days.

Anyone have any recommendations?

Weigh-In Friday

Nothing much to speak of. I lost 0.3 pounds.

My fault, really, because I like junk food. Sorry, Piccard.

Also I ate store bought bagels for breakfast instead of the high fiber English Muffins (Thomas’s) I usually have, so those were an additional 110 calories each day (220 calories with 1.5 grams of fat and 2 grams of fiber vs. 100 calories with 1 gram of fat and 8 grams of fiber).

Any loss is good.

Virtual Races

Have you heard of these? You race online, somehow. I just read about it. You can run it from any location. Basically, you run your own race, at your own pace (I guess you can even treadmill it), then get bling, like a medal or something that shows you competed.

Weird, right? But it sounds cool, too. I mean for someone like me who hates crowds and isn’t really much of a people person at all, running a race virtually sounds right up my alley. Or street. Whatever.

But, you ask, won’t people cheat? Well sure, in this day and age of TheRump, his supporters believe lieing, cheating, and committing fraud are the new black, so there is definitely a chance some will cheat. But it isn’t like it’s an officially sanctioned race so you won’t see anyone at the Olympics being announced as, “The man to watch is in lane 3, Brad Liarliarpantsonfire, a relative newcomer to the International race scene. He’s posted the fastest recorded virtual race times in history and with these weather conditions today, he has a good chance to set a new Olympic record.” As far as doing it to get bling, you have to pay an entry fee, so basically, you’re not cheating anyone. They have your money, you have a cheap medal not worth what you paid for it.

For us honest folk, who seem to be becoming a minority, a virtual run helps to motivate us and gives us a chance to see our progress and how we compare against others without actually being passed by an 80-year-old.

I have to look into this further.

And as they say in the Charmin commercials: Enjoy the go.

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Random Friday

Just a few random thoughts for a Friday, none of which deserve their own blog post.

Public Service Announcement

Before you put on your shoes, tie them tight, and head out for your run, a word of advice: ALWAYS CHECK THE INSIDE OF YOUR SHOES FOR DEBRIS!

Especially if you have cats who like to push things off the dresser where they land inside your shoe or you have dogs who are messy eaters and when they bite into a hard treat pieces go flying everywhere, including into your shoe.

Said foreign object becomes very painful after a mile or so and it starts to work it’s way underfoot.

Now maybe unlike me, you’ll stop running, take your shoe off, and shake it out. But if you are like me, you’ll keep running, wincing in pain each time the object that feels like a huge rock (but turned out to be just a small eighths inch piece of dog treat) slips under your big toe.

That Extra Shoelace Hole

I just found out what that extra lace hole in my running shoes is for. Yes, for lacing. Smartass. What I mean is, how to correcrly use that extra hole. Everyone else probably already knew what it’s for and I’m just late to the party, but in case you’re one of those who missed the memo as well, then read on.

My heels tend to slip in my shoes. I don’t know why, maybe because I buy one whole size larger shoe than my foot size so my toes don’t get mashed against the toe box like they do if I only get a half size larger.

Onward. Here is what that extra lace hole is for: to make your shoe fit around your ankle (and in the process, your heel) more snuggly and with minimal slippage. The technique is called the “Heel Lock” amd you start by threading the lace back through that last hole (so the lace is now inside the shoe) forming a loop between the last two hokes, then pass the right lace through the left loop and the left lace through the right loop, cinch it tight by pulling donward, and tie it like normal. Now you’re on your merry way with no heel slippage. (The only drawback is, now your shoes are harder to get off. A fair tradeoff if it prevents heel blisters or premature wearing out of your socks or the material inside the shoe’s heel itself.)

Here’s a video that demonstrates it better than I probably explained it.

That extra Shoelace Hole in action

The Fly

No, not the movie, although if I were to discuss it, I’d have to expound upon how superior the original with David Heddison was in every way: story, acting, dramatic suspense, compared  to the dreadful Jeff Goldbloom remake, which was just gross.

Warning: The following may be TMI for the more delicate flowers among you.

No, I’m talking flies in men’s underwear, or the lack of them in some men’s underwear. A month or so ago, needing new underwear, I stopped at TJ Max. I was looking for something thinner, lighter, and more breathable than cotton. Active wear, I guess it’s called, because I do a lot of mall walking during the day. Something along the lines of compression-like shorts, except as everyday underwear.

I found an inexpensive pair by RBX Active that seemed to fit the bill. Except when I took them out of the package, I realized they didn’t have a fly, which I found odd because I thought all men’s underwear had a fly.

Not having one makes them nearly useless for everyday wear. I mean, men urinate standing up. We don’t undo our belts, open our pants and pull them down. We’re not kids any more learning how to use the urinal. We only unzip our pants, reach in, and fish out our yahoo through the underwear hole. Without one, there’s all this extra yanking and tugging and painful maneuverings going on as you try to pull down these flyless wonders through the zipper opening. No one wants that, it just attracts unwanted attention. Men are all about going in, doing their bizness, and.getting out without any conversation or eye contact.

On the one hand, sure the RBX, made of lycra or other synthetics, are very comfortable, they dont bunch up, they breathe and I guess wick away sweat. They’re very good for exercising in. But not to pee in. Or through, rather. So I use them for running.

Still needing everyday underwear, I went back and picked up a pair of their flied underwear. Seemingly the same material, the same size, but when I got home and tried them on, they were too tight. They had a different cut and the wasitband didnt ride at the same height as the other pair by RBX did yet they were the same size. Yup, I double-checked the package. Same company. Same stated size. Totally different fit. For some reason these were like bikini briefs compared to the other ones.

Which begs the question: if there is such a size disparity even within a manufacturer’s own line, why can’t we try them on before we buy?

Belay that. The very thought that someone else’s nutsack was getting all jiggy with the underwear I just bought makes me squeemish.

So I’m still looking for new underwear. And I’m finding that a lot of them don’t have a fly. I don’t get it. In my experience, the only underwear that was flyless were those embarrassing jockstraps we had to wear in high school gym. Maybe it’s because I’m looking at the type more for athletic use instead of your traditional tighty-whiteys or your grandfather’s boxers? I don’t know.

But here’s the interesting thing. I was looking at Puma brand underwear and making sure they had a fly, when I noticed the flied ones were labeled “with keyhole.”

Keyhole? That’s great! I’m going to refer to the fly as a keyhole from now on.

/End TMI Warning

Friday Weigh-in

I weighed myself today. Friday has always been my normal weigh-in until I became enamoured with all the cool features of our new smart scale.

Well, if you remember Tuesday’s blog post, I was whining I had gained 2.6 pounds over the weekend.

Well, today? I’m back on track. I lost that 2.6 pounds I had gained.

And the.moral of that story is: Only weigh yourself once a week. Pick a day of the week, Friday in my case, and weigh yourself that day only!

You’ll save yourself a lot of grief and time spent writing angry blog posts.

Lace up. Go run.

-30-

The lost weekend

I had a bad weekend. I gained 2.6 pounds.

Should I throw in the towel? Give up? Become angry and depressed over that?

Or should I just take the setback in stride? Refocus on what’s really important, like where I’ll be down the road instead of worrying if I’ll fit into that cute bikini for this upcoming season? Well, since I’m a guy I’d probably look silly in a bikini, so that isn’t the point.

The point is, when you suffer a setback in the short term, you should refocus on your long term goals. When you look at your overall progress, where you were and where you want to be, that 2.6 pound gain will appear to be nothing more than a tiny temporary blip on the entire weight loss graph.

I admit, there are times when it gets frustrating. For instance, when someone says they lost 50 almost overnight, you can’t help but compare. Why has it taken me over 2 years to lost 30 pounds and they did it like that? (Snap your fingers.)

You need to focus on the fact that you lost 30 pounds and not how long it took. That deserves congratulations, not chastisement.

Comparisons are self-defeating. People have different metabolisms. Some lose weight easier while others struggle. Accept that fact and move on.

I work with a guy who was overweight and now he’s not. He did it with an extremely restrictive diet, denying himself all foods that weren’t considered healthy.

If someone brought in donuts to work for their birthday, he wouldn’t eat one.

Wouldn’t. Eat. One!

That’s crazy talk. One donut won’t kill you.

Neither will one bad weekend of fast food and over snacking.

You’re not an idiot, just human

Face it, we all fail from time to time. We sneak that donut. Eat nearly a whole bag of Xtreme Cheddar Goldfish (guilty!). Go on vacation and enjoy all sorts of good foods. Overeat during the holidays.
Everyone except that guy at work, but then he’s always Grumpy and has become a judgemental asshole. “You’re not going to eat that, are you?” “Do you how many calories are in that?” 

Don’t be an asshole.

Treat yourself once in a while. There is no ice cream in Heaven, that’s why we eat it here. Just don’t overdo it.

And when you stumble, pick yourself back up and continue down your path as if nothing happened. Don’t look around to see if anyone saw, their opinion shouldn’t matter.

This is why you shouldn’t check your weight obsessively. I used to check it only once a week on our old mechanical scale so I probably wouldn’t even have known I had trended upward when I finally checked on Friday. That’s my fault for getting a cool new smart scale with a phone app that shows me all my stats. I need to focus on just the Friday readings, as I did before. 

Don’t let one misstep derail your whole program. Think of it this way, sure you might fit into that cute bikini this summer, but if that was your only goal, you’ll just yo-yo back up over the winter and be stressing again next spring.

Think about the long term and how good you’ll look next year and the year after that and about all those nice outfits you’ll be able to fit in for the rest of your life.

I just purchased a cool pair of running tights, something I never would have even thought about 10 years ago. And no, I’m not posting any pictures. 

Stay focused. Think long term. Don’t give up. Don’t be an asshole.
Side note: I had to completely rewrite this entire article because, as I discovered, if you don’t put in a title when you’re writing using the phone app, it forgets the entire post when you close the app. I reopened it to continue editing and it was gone! I could have given up and not posted anything today, but I didn’t. I rewrote the entire thing from scratch. You’re welcome.

-30-

A weigh we go!

I’m reaching what for me is a milestone in my weight. 

Me, after my thyroid went wonky

Back in 1999, I blew up like the Michelin Man when my thyroid went on the fritz. Seriously, I have one picture that if I find it shows that is no exaggeration. My skin is white and puffy and you can hardly see my eyes because they’re just slits surrounded by puffy flesh. My lower legs were the worst. They had lost all their hair and were like playdough. You could push in on the flesh and leave a one-and-a-half inch indent that would stay there for quite some time. (Anyone remember the old pulp fiction action hero, The Avenger, who had lost nerve function to his face and could mold it like putty, changing his appearance to that of anyone? It was a little like that.)

I thought I was dying. I was scared.

My doctor ran me through a whole battery of tests to figure out what was wrong — nerve testing for my carpal tunnel syndrome symptoms, chiropractors for my severe back pain, blood tests to see why I was cold and tired all the time — which is amusing (now that I look back on it), because we had a ferret who had a thyroid problem and he lost all the hair on his legs, so my wife kept saying it was my thyroid; it took my doctor months to come to the same conclusion!

And my weight shot up because my thyroid wasn’t regulating body functions properly; I was retaining fluids and I was just too damned tired to exercise. This experience has also made me a little less critical of people with weight problems because as with me, it might not be their fault and might be a medical condition.

So since 1999, I’ve been well over 200 pounds. I think I might have peaked close to 250 before I started taking my thyroid medication.

Today, I weighed myself and I’m almost, but not quite, at the point where I’ll drop below 200 pounds. Honestly, I can’t remember when I was below that. Early 1990s when I was still running seriously, before I developed shin splints? 

Now I’m only a couple pounds on the wrong side of 200. Part of me wants to fast just to reach it, but my luck, my body will think it’s experiencing a famine and it will hold onto its fat reserves even more tenaciously. So, no. Fasting isn’t the answer.

I do think I’ll run more often now that I see I’m approaching that marker. Instead of running three times a week, I’ll try to run five. Yesterday was the first time i ran on back-to-back days and i felt good.

Even though i can see 200, I’m nowhere near finished; after 200, I’ll still have at least 15 more pounds to go to reach my goal, but 200 is a great marker indicating my goal is within reach.

Yesterday, for grins, I lugged around a 20 pound barbell. It was exhausting! And I used to carry that, and more, around all the time!

By the way, losing weight is hard. You have to do exhausting aerobic exercises, get your heart rate up, sweat, breath heavy, for at least 20 minutes at a time, every other day preferably, plus you have to watch what you eat, count calories, watch fats, increase fiber, eat more fruits and veggies, and drink a lot of water (not soda or sugary energy drinks), and even then, depending on your.motabolism, you aren’t guaranteed fast results or huge losses.

Anyone who tells you losing weight is easy or all you need is their magic pill or secret formulation or miracle diet or superfood, tell them to Fuck Off. In fact, punch them in the nose, give them a good kick in the groin, then tell them to Fuck Off. The punch and kick will be good exercise.

Eat right. Drink water. Exercise your ass off.

-30-

Junk Food Junkie

Yes, folks, I’m here to tell you I’m a junk food junky. Always have been, probably always will be.

Now let me tell you, I try, yes I do. I try to eat healthy, or at least healthier than I have, but there’s just a certain something about heavily salted snack chips that I find irresistible. 

As I’ve said, I’m down 20 pounds from a year ago, part of that is walking, and now running, and part of that is eating salad or something light for lunch. 

I’ll eat a big breakfast, essentially an English muffin, egg, bacon,  and cheese (a slice of Velveeta! I can hear the gasps from here) sandwich. And I’ll eat a good dinner. In between, I’ll have some pretzels, a fruit like an apple or cutie, and a salad, just lettuces and spinach–I no longer add cheese or croutons or bacon bits or other salad accessories–and a low fat, low calorie dressing like raspberry walnut vinaigrette. 

But come evening time, like the song says, I become a junk food junkie. I know I shouldn’t, but I get this craving for salt, for something crunchy, crispy, and flavorful. I’ve tried munching carrots or apples or raw broccoli, but none of that satisfies my craving.

So I grab a bag of chips, or sometimes a can of shoestring potatoes, and I go whole hog. Lately, I’ve been scarfing down Lay’s new flavors (damn you, Lay’s!), but my old standby is cheddar and sour cream.

I’ll polish off a bag in a couple nights. We’re looking at 160 calories and 10 grams of fat per ounce. In a 13 ounce bag. That’s 2,080 calories and 130 grams of fat in just a few nights! Considering a 3,500 calorie gain or loss equals a pound of fat, that extra 2,080 is putting the brakes on the weight loss.

I’d probably have lost an additional ten pounds by now if it weren’t for junk food.

Guess I just have to run faster and farther.

“But at night I’m a junk food junky, good lord have pity on me.”

-30-