Friday and a long holiday weekend

TGIF, people! Although my weekend started yesterday. We’re vacationing in the Wisconsin Dells.

June Challenge Day 30

Today is the last day of my June run a mile a day challenge. It was also the only day I didn’t run on a treadmill; I ran on the street. 

I also ran 1.8 miles, according to the tracker I was using, PumaTrak.

I was a little disappointed in PumaTrak because for the first minute or more, it kept pausing on its own and I had to continually restart it. So I’m not sure if it gave me an accurate rating. Tomorrow morning, I’ll use the ever-faithful Runtastic to get a better measure.

Now that thw challenge is finaihed, what wonderful changes have I seen? To be honest, nothing. I’m sure there is something, but I must be pretty self-unaware. 

Friday Weigh-In

Technically, I weighed myself yesterday, but since I knew today I wouldn’t have access to a scale, I did it early. My new weight? 197.5 pounds. I dropped 2.1 pounds.

Whoohoo. 

Time to celebrate!

Let’s all dive into some Suicide by Chocolate. Bottom layer is chocolate cookie dough, middle layer is Oreos, and the top layer is fudge brownie mix. Baked until it’s one, rich enticing treat, perfect for celebrating life.

We’re also in the Wisconsin Dells at Mt. Olympus Resort for my younger son’s seventeenth birthday. The Dells is an area know for having a ton of great waterparks. 

Poseiden’s Rage. That’s a 9 foot wall of water heading for the crowd

One of our favorite rides, if you will, is Poseiden’s Rage, where a giant nine-foot wall of water crashes into you every ninety seconds.

And that’s it for my Friday report. Time to jump in The River Troy.

Later.

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A Friday haiku

The week is over
It seemed so long and dreary
Let’s start the weekend!

June Mile-a-day challenge Day 23

I can’t believe I made it this far without waking up at least one morning and going, “Maybe I’ll sleep in and run later.” I’m actually proud of myself for getting this far.

Wednesday I added at 1° incline to the treadmill. The readout says that means I burned an addition 5 calories per run, if you believe in the accuracy of those things.

I did notice my cool down heartrate went up from 114 up to 124 after that first incline run. Today it was down to 119.

Something else I noticed which surprises me. I’m not feeling stiff or have any aches in my joints despite not taking any rest days.

Add in that I also walk an average of 20,000 steps each weekday, so my leg muscles, ankle, knee, and hip joints are always in use.

If you had asked me what would hapoen if I ran a mile a day for a month before I started this, I probably would have predicted some sort of overuse or stress injury. Shinsplints, for example, which had forced me to quit running almost 2t years ago.

But no, I feel pretty good. I’m contemplating keeping this up as a regular daily activity. Maybe I’ll even bump my distance up, gradually, and start July running 1-1/4 miles each day. That means I would have to get up 5 or 10 minutes earlier.

Hmm. We’ll have to think about that.

Music and running

When I first started treadmilling, I’d put on a record. A record. Yes. Some of us still call them that and for a very good reason: I still have a vinyl collection and a quality turntable — a classic, refurbished AR XA.

Anyway, when I was starting out, I could listen to one side of a vinyl record and my run would be over before the record was. Each side of a vinyl record usually has a pkaying time anywhere from 15 to 22 minutes.

Once my runs went longer, I switched to watching something on TV because otherwise you have to jump off the treadmill, lift the needle from the record, flip the record over, then tey to gently place the needle down despite shaking hands from an elevated heartrate. It just wasn’t worth it risking a scratch.

So television. I found coverage of Track and Field events were the best motivator, but unfortunately, they’re few and far between.

Since I’ve now been running just a mile each day, my treadmill time is less than 10 minutes, which means I can go back to enjoying one side of an album.

Yesterday, I put on Boston’s eponymous (I always wanted to use that word) first album and listened to side A. Today, I ran to Side B.

And I discovered something. Running to music makes the time seem to go by faster whereas watching an episode of television seems to make the run drag on and on.

I wonder why that is?

And commercials last forever!

Weigh-In Friday

I’ve managed to drop below the 200 pound wall again. I’m at 199.4 now. And my average fat went down -0.7% while my average muscle went up +0.5%.

Life’s Good = LG

We’ve been with US Cellular for almost two weeks now. So far, despite my problems with all my previous phones, my LG V20 is holding up nicely. By now, my other phones would have been starting to show signs of glitchyness trying all day to find a crappy Verizon Wireless signal here in my Faraday Cage we call a building.

But so far, the LG is working flawlessly. I always have a 4Glte signal (knock wood) and I can place phone calls from nearly anywhere inside the building. Even it’s battery lasts for most of the day. All my other phones needed to be recharged after just a few hours.

I’m not claiming the LG is the best smartphone out there, but on the US Cellular network in downtown Milwaukee, it is greater than any Verizon Wireless phone I’ve ever owned.

So glad I made that switch.

Gina update

I’ve been driving our 2013 Fiat 500 Lounge for about 2 months now. Usually, by this time with any newer car I’ve owned, the newness and novelty would have worn off. I’d become, if not jaded then bored with it.

Not this car. I’m still having a blast driving it around town. I actually look forward to driving to and from work.

I’ve read many a review on this little Fiat and the majority of them are, if not downright negative, at least less than praising. I can’t help but wonder if they’re talking about some other car. Or possibly, years of driving and reviewing dozens of cars has made those automotive journalists jaded or possibly they just don’t appreciate the fun someone can have driving a minicar; they only value cars that have peel-your-face-back acceleration along with a throaty growl.

I feel sorry for them. My Fiat still is bringing a smile to my face.

Welcome to the new dark ages

Anyone else beginning to feel triggered just seeing TheRump’s face or hearing his voice?

Anyone else feel that, “OK, things couldn’t possibly get any worse?” And then it does? How many more rights, how many more safety and environmental regulations can they dismantle?

How much more power can they give to the rich and corporations? How much further can they erode the middle class’s ability to make ends meet?

How many more lies will the American people swallow before they finally rise up and scream, “ENOUGH!”

Resist.! None of this is normal. We don’t have to accept it. The revolution must begin now

The Revolution Will Not Be Televised

because this land was made for you and me, not the corporations, not the robber barons, not the elites, and definately not some ignorant, bigoted Orange Turd.

Woody Guthrie – This Land is Your Land

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Freya’s Day

Welcome to another action-packed Friday blog! Let’s get started, shall we?

June Challenge Day 16

I’m still running a mile every day and still doing it in the morning. I know, right? Me, getting up early and running fifteen days in a row? Inconceivable!

I’m not sure what gains I’ve made. I do feel more erect when I walk, so it must be benefiting my core, which is good because I sit at a desk all day at work slouching.

And my legs feel more muscly, less flabby. And as I mentioned before, I feel more sure-footed carrying my elderly, 70-pound dalmatian upstairs at night.

Cardiovasularly, it’s hard to tell if I’m making strides (strides… Running… Ha!). If I push myself to a pace of over 6.7 mph, I tend to start gasping and I’m not sure if that’s helping or hurting my progress. 

I’ve always heard that you should be able to carry on a conversation. Well, that’s only going to happen if I jog at a slow pace, not run, and what’s the fun in that? Besides, I run solo; who am I going to talk to? The television?

Photographic Proof of Bigfoot?

I think I should have taken some semi-naked photos of myself before I started the June Challenge so I could compare and see if I’ve had any visible physical changes. I really regret not taking any “Before” pictures a year and a half ago so I could see how far I’ve come. (I imagine they would resemble a hairless version of the infamous Bigfoot picture.)

Oh. OK. Nevermind. Now that I see him, Bigfoot looks in better shape.

The photos would be helpful because now I look in the mirror and I don’t see much change, but considering I’ve dropped 30 pounds, there must be a change. Photographic evidence woukd have been nice to verify it.

The tape measure, after all, only shows minimal changes in size and that always depresses me. How is it possible that I’m now down to a 34 inch waist in my pants but the tape measure still shows it is 38 inches?!?

Weigh-In Friday

I’m down a pound from last week. I’m at 201.8. I’m still above my lowest weight of 198.6 from back on May 12th.

However, looking back, in the last month I’ve dropped -3.4% in average body fat and gained +2.3% muscle mass. 

So why can’t I lose the weight? Because I love junk food, that’s why. I love salty snacks, especially cheddar and sour cream potato chips. Don’t leave that bag near me or it is gone. Put a few in a bowl and I’ll be fine. Wait. It’s empty already. Just one more bowl.

And last night, I baked the Bigfoot-sized bag of frozen Jeno’s Pizza Rolls for dinner. Sorry, not sorry. Had a craving. Usually I’m good with portion control for dinner, but last night I went a little overboard stuffing those delicious little pizza-filled wonton-like things in my mouth. It was like the old Alka-Seltzer commercial:

https://youtu.be/VFKifpMtlNs

On Becoming an Auto Geek

I’ve never really been a car guy. By that, I mean, a guy who fusses around his cars, spending entire weekends in the garage massaging and oiling and pampering them.

Sure, I like cars. One day, I’d love to get a classic muscle car and attempt to restore it, except we haven’t the garage space for that and to me, a header is the thing at the top of a document.

The closest I came was my 1986 Dodge Daytona Turbo Z. I did change its oil. And I hand washed it. Applied polish. But to be honest, I never understood the process. 

Did you know that polishes and waxes are two totally different things? I didn’t. I learned washing from my dad, who also wasn’t a car guy. You got a bucket of hot, soapy water (dish soap, why spend money on car wash soap?). Then you’d dry it with old beach towels. Then lather on some Turtle Wax. Voila. Done.

And after the Daytona, I kind of lost interest in band washing, mostly for two reasons, 1) We were living in an apartment without access to an exterior hose, so automatic car washes became a habit, and 2) None of our cars really had a very impressive looking paint job.

And up until recently, my philosophy on car washes had devolved to, “If the rain can’t get it clean, it ain’t getting clean.”

That changed when I got the Fiat. Part of the reason I was attracted to it was the paint job, olive green metal flake that sparkles in the sun.

So I’ve been researching how to detail a car to preserve and protect that shine. I’ve spent hours on sites like Autogeek.net watching videos on car detailing.

Thursday, my order from Autogeek.net came. I can’t wait to take my new random orbital polisher and the detailing products to our Vibe and see if I can’t make her shine again. She’s got a bad case of neglected, oxidized paint. White? I thought she was supposed to be dirty dishwater grey?

Stay tuned.

Making Baseball Great Again

Did anyone watch the Congressional Baseball Game last night? It was very enjoyable, and not because the Democrats destroyed the Republicans 11 to 2. 

No, it was enjoyable because you could sense, despite the athletic competition they were in, that there was a sense of comraderie that probably hasn’t been evident in Congress for a long, long time. 

Sad that it took a shooting to make everyone realize that, despite our political beliefs, we’re all still human beings.

And who knows how long it will last.

The part of the game I found touching was (and I swear there was something in my eye), at the end when the Democrats received the trophy for winning, they called out the manager of the Republican’s team and gave it to him to put in the office of House Majority Whip Steve Scalise of Louisiana to keep until he recovered from his wounds.

That’s the spirit of cooperation and civility we should all be living every.single.day.

Currently Reading:

The Complete Guide to A Show Room Shine by Mike Phillips

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June Challenge Day 7

Today is the seventh day of my June Mile-a-Day Running Challenge and you’ll be amazed at what I found out!

See? I can do clickbait with the best of ’em!

I’m surprised I made it this far. Usually I would have given up by now despite announcing publicly that I would do it. 

I’m particularly surprised because except for the first day, I’ve run all the days IN THE MORNING!

Yes, Friday was not a fluke. I’ve actually gotten up early, even on the weekend (hey, 7am is damned early on a weekend. My normal wakeup time is well after 9am). 

Am I becoming a morning person?

You tell me. This morning, after finishing my run and getting ready for the shower I noticed that I had my shirt on inside out and I was wearing a Brooks Adrenaline 17 on my left foot and a Hoka Clifton 3 on my right and I never even noticed.

Additionally, I have decided Friday was an aberration after all and not a trend. The getting to work and being bright-eyed and bushy-tailed was a one-time occurrence. The rest of the mornings I’ve struggled to stay awake for the first couple of hours at work, as well as falling asleep during the church service on Sunday.

To answer the question plainly, I am definately still not a morning person. 

Which isn’t to say I might not continue running in the morning, despite being in a near comatose state.

The pros of a morning run are:

  1. It gets done — I don’t have to worry about missing a run because of evening scheduling conflicts or because what I ate isn’t sitting right.
  2. I can fall quickly asleep at night and not suffer from insomnia or joint stiffness.

The cons of morning runs:

  1. I put on two different shoes. 
  2. If I want to run more than a mile, I would have to get up even earlier than I do now.

The pros of the evening run are, for one thing, it seems to drive away the stress of the day. I finish exhausted, but refreshed in a mental sort of way. Like a great weight has been lifted from my shoulders. I don’t get that from a morning run probably because I’m too groggy to be worried about any of the previous day’s stressors. 

I can also run longer in the evening. I don’t have to rush to get into the shower, make breakfast, and get ready for work. I can just run. 

And lastly, I seem to be able to push myself, motivate myself, easier in the evening. In the morning, so far, I seem lucky to make it through the mile at a decent pace without slowing down or even quiting, but I don’t have the motivation to really push myself. Evenings I am more motivated do intervals where I sprint for an extended period of time or to do faster long runs.

I’m debating if I should continue morning mike runs after the challenge, but also incorporate three more strenuous workouts in the evening per week.

I wonder if my body, at my age, can take that much running with little or no recovery time between runs?

Only one way to find out.

As far as any changes resulting from my mile-a-day challenge, I think it’s still too early to notice any trends. I’d like to say that my heart rate recovery after about two minutes into my cool down walk after the run has been improving, from about 124 to 118 or so, but I can’t. That’s because recovery heart rate wasn’t something I tracked prior to this challenge. My bad.

I also only weigh myself on Friday’s,  so I can’t report any changes there.

To be honest? I still feel the same and my mile time is still the same.

But I haven’t given up, so that’s a plus.

Run. Rest. Drink some coffee.

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June running challenge

I decided to challenge myself this month. In June, I am going to attempt to run a mile every day.

I’ve been rather slothful lately in my workouts, running only once, maybe twice a week, if that, and I’m feeling a little schlumpy, if you know what I mean.

If you do know what I mean, tell me so we’ll both know.

At this morning’s weigh-in I realized I was above the 200 pound plateau I was so happy I’d finally broken (200.5 pounds, to be exact). The weight gain might have contributed to my recent running slump or the running slump contributed to the weight gain. Whatever.

On the last day of May, the 31st, I ran a slow and schlumpy 5k on the treadmill. For whatever reason, I just didn’t have the energy to run at the more intense pace I’d reached just a month prior. I kept slowing down, even walking, before forcing myself into a sprint, with the hopes of burning off the lazy. It didn’t and I finished the run very disheartened and unsatisfied. 

Because I felt so out of shape  (even though I’m still in better shape than I was just a year ago when I returned to running), I decided to take up the … drumroll, please  … June Mile A Day Challenge

I believe Runner’s World has one of these mile-a-day challenges going on, but when I looked it up, I was already too late. It started on Memorial Day and will run until the 4th of July. I guess that adds up to 37 miles in 37 days.

Since I missed it  (although I guess I could have cheated and said my 5k counted as a mile for May 29, 30, and 31st), I decided to run my own challenge starting on June 1st.

Yesterday I ran a decent mile in about 8:48, I believe. 

This morning, yes, I said this morning. I know, right? Me, an affirmed hater of mornings and morning people, actually getting up and doing something strenuous before I’ve had my coffee?

To put this in perspective, the last time I ran in the morning was 1985. I hated it and never did it again. And before that, it was a decade earlier at boot camp, where I didn’t have much choice,  except in the hating of it.

But I figure, if I’m going to complete a challenge of running a mile every single day, then I don’t want to take the chance that something might come up in the evening that could interfere with me getting my run in. 

Thus, I ran this morning.

Typically in the morning, my wife gets up first, takes her shower, then I get up and stumble downstairs into the shower. This morning however, I got up when she did (on the sly so she wouldn’t ask me a bunch of questions before I had some coffee — yes, I’m a complete bear in the morning), did some calf stretches, put on my gear, and hit the treadmill. 

And To be honest, it wasn’t that bad of an experience. I did not hate it, which I was totally prepared for. I got a decent time in, I forget exacts — c’mon, it was 5:30 in the morning! — but it was slightly over 9 minutes. Not too shabby for my first morning run in over thirty years.

Afterward, I took a cool, almost cold shower, which again, if you know me is completely divergent from my normal shower which is so hot it’s like a steam bath in there when I finish. Since I was already hot from running, I figured the shower would cool me down.

One benefit of a morning run I did not foresee — and since it’s my first morning run I can’t really extrapolate today’s experience as the new normal — is that I was not tired and sluggish when I got to work.

Mornings are usually a struggle for me to stay awake, no matter how many coffees I guzzle, which is why I’ve always hated them. I operate in this fog for the first couple hours. Given my druthers, I would rather sleep until 9:30 am to avoid feeling so muddled.

But this morning, I felt bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, as they say. If I discover this is an actual sustainable benefit, then I might continue to run in the morning. *shudder* Did I really just say that?

I hope another benefit of morning runs is that I won’t struggle to fall asleep at night. As I’ve mentioned previously, evening runs tend to make for restless nights. I haven’t figured out why. Usually an aspirin or two and a melatonin help. Last night they didn’t. But with a morning run, all that excess energy or adrenaline or whatever it is that courses through our veins after a run will have long since disappated by the time I lay down to sleep.

Maybe that’s why I’m more alert this morning, because the post-run juices that prevent me from falling asleep are helping to keep me alert now.

One last thing just so there’s no misunderstanding: I am not now, nor will I ever be, a morning person

Just because you happen to see me up and running in the morning and you give me a chipper “Good morning!” along with a cheerful smile and an enthusiastic wave, does not mean I will reply in kind.

If I do growl, “morning,” however, it is merely an acknowledgement as to the time of day and not to the quality of it.

A curmudgeon I am and a curmudgeon I will remain until the sun reaches its zenith and I’ve had my four cups of coffee.

Have you joined the mile-a-day challenge?

Day 2, Mile 2.

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