Saturday, January 12, 2013
Friday night’s trip to the gym included a stop on the treadmill. Now, this doesn’t sound all that out of the ordinary, except me and the treadmill, we don’t get along. Me and running don’t get along, but there’s something about the treadmill, any activity on it, and my ankles and shins whine about it. So I’m not sure why I wandered over to the treadmill area after I hopped off the elliptical.
I suppose it might have been as a way of avoiding the stepper, which is a piece of equipment that was used in the PT clinic I went to after tearing up my knee back in 2000, and which I’ve never used since. I’ve thought about it on the occasions I’ve been to this gym, and likely would have given it a shot – after all, it’s right in front of the TVs permanently tuned to EPSN (I haven’t actually tested that theory yet) – but for the fact that Wednesday, I had a massive flashback to those rehab days, upon seeing a piece of equipment that, to the best of my recollection, I haven’t seen since that clinic. It was one of those machines for hip flexion/extension, where the bar extends over the standing platform, and you either push up with your quad, or you hitch a leg up over it, and use the hammies to pull the bar down. The flashback wasn’t disturbing, nor did using the machine hurt or really bring back bad memories, but it was enough to maybe put off the stepper until next week. Maybe.
So, in lieu of stepping out, I treaded…ummm…mill. A week or more ago, I had a thought that I might try jogging this year, maybe learn how to run a bit, so I set the treadmill speed at 4 miles per hour, a not very fast 15 minute mile pace, not much more than a walking pace. I mean, after all, there are kids who finish entire 5K races in that time. Sure, they’re freaks of nature, but if they could do three and change in 15 minutes, then surely I can do a mile in that time. Now, I wasn’t really thinking that I would indeed do this 15 minute mile, partly due to the treadmill issues detailed here, as well as fact that I severely doubt I can run a mile straight at this point. I used to play soccer as a kid, through high school, and to this day, unless I’m chasing something, I hate running. It can be a ball, or a Frisbee, but I need something to go after in order to make running worth it. I hear running types talk about a runner’s high, and I’m convinced they must be smoking something. But I plugged in 4 mph, and off I went nowhere.
For two minutes, I kept running, and I didn’t feel my ankle say a thing, and I wondered if I could make it to 5. Unfortunately, I hadn’t accounted for technology conspiring against me. Exactly 2 minutes in, the treadmill demanded that I give them a heart rate, because unbeknownst to me, I’d signed up for a program of constant heart rate on that machine. And, having just completed a spell on the elliptical, the two minutes of jogging already had my heart rate higher than their arbitrarily chosen 119 BPM. So the treadmill slowed down to allow my heart rate to relax to that standard. Since my heart was going up in the 130s, it slowed down another 3couple times, until it was convinced that I was within its preferred range. 3.4 MPH. Too slow for running. Very comfortable walking speed.
So I played its game, walking for the rest of the 20 minutes I’d chosen. But it wasn’t through mocking me, no sir. All the machines at this gym have a default 5 minute cool down period, with the elliptical, for example, choosing a low but constant resistance for that time. The treadmill scoffed at constancy, choosing instead to decrement its speed by 0.5 mph for each minute of the cool down. So, from 3.4 down to 2.9, down to 2.4 and so on. The last minute of that trek was spent at 0.9 MPH, or as the treadmill so condescendingly informed me, on a 66.5 minutes per mile pace.
Sure, I could have jumped off at any time, but I wasn’t about to let that sucker get the best of me. I was going to ride that ride the full 20 minutes plus the cool down, and by golly, that’s what I did.
So, yeah, the first running ‘adventure’ netted me about 2 minutes of running. When I got off the machine, I was a bit disconcerted to find myself wobbly, as if I’d just returned to land after being on a boat for a while. It’s been long enough that I’ve avoided treadmills that I can’t recall if that’s how I usually react.
On another note, the transparent yet mirrored glass of the cardio room didn’t much help matters, as it revealed a rather unwieldy guy lumping along on the treadmill. Despite the modest loss to date, my belly and my butt remain, well, sizable. I saw a fitness site describe my shape as “skinny fat”, where you wouldn’t say I was obese if you looked just at my arms (no problem circling my fingers around my wrist for example), but take a peek at the trunk, and you’ll see where the weight sits. I’ve always had the issue of having Medium arms, and an XL belly (XXL at the start of this trip). According to the reflection in the window, where me and my big butt were just trundling along, that hasn’t changed a bit. But hey, there’s another bit of motivation. Time to throw it on the pile, and see if it burns.
Friday, January 11, 2013
Turns out the quote is attributed to Liza Minelli. I know it from the Marillion song, “Rich”, which also posits, in the very next line, “We don’t see things as they are, we see them as we are.”
And then there’s the line from “Totem” by Rush, which declares, “I believe that what I’m feeling changes how the world appears”.
I believe both statements. How you or I feel about any given situation will usually color our judgment and action in relation to it. There are exceptions, of course, people who can truly act without regard to their personal feelings (lawyers defending criminals they know to be guilty comes to mind first). But most of the time, we act and react based on how we feel.
On a macro level, it certainly played a role in my checking out this site, finally feeling like the weight train had gone too far down the wrong track. On a smaller level, though, there are a lot of individual decisions, driven by how we’re feeling on any given day, that might help or hinder our getting to where we want to go. Things like going to the gym, or grabbing extra cookies, all affected by the mood of the moment, subject to the tone of the day, buffeted by longer terms winds.
Haven’t got the solutions; if I did, I wouldn’t have the problems, right? Just thinking out loud, brought about by one of my answers on the quizzes I posted yesterday, where I couldn’t decide which of my many self-perceived flaws I hated worst. Just made me think, not for the first time, about the impact that negative self-image might be having on a day to day basis. Writing that particular thought down in a publicly consumable manner for the first time, so that’s different.
And, as ever when I express these doubts on here, I feel compelled to state that I’m not doing this for any pity or sympathy, just to have it out there for myself to look back upon. Eventually, I’ll feel free to vent without such a disclaimer.
Thursday, January 10, 2013
Saw REDDBETSY do one of these get to know me memes (The ABCs), and suggested she should have done a combo with this title. She told me to do my own, so, umm, I did!
Stealing the title back for myself, and doing both 50 questions and ABCs, since well, that’s where the title comes from, rather than any overimaginative love life.
If you make it to the end, you’ll know more about me than you ever wished you did.
A - Available or married: Available
B - Book: “Forrest Gump” and “The Godfather”, two instances where the movies do the books justice.
C - Cake or pie: Pie. Even better than death: www.youtube.com/watch?v=BNjcu
D - Drink of choice: Faygo Rock n’ Rye
E - Essential item: Computer
F - Favorite color: Blue. Lifelong Michigan fan, might have something to do with it…Go Blue!
G - Game to play or watch: Ultimate Frisbee to play, hockey to watch
H - Hometown: Ypsilanti, Michigan
I - Indulgence: too many
J - Job: none at the moment. You hiring?
K - Kids and names: Not applicable
L - Life is incomplete without: Music
M - Music group or singer: Rush, Dream Theater. A guy named Fish for a solo artist.
N - Number of siblings: 1 brother, Soumya
O - Oranges or apples: Oranges. Though…can you make a pie out of ‘em?
P - Phobias/fears: Drowning
Q - Favorite quote: “If you can’t take it with you then what’s the use? I never saw a U-Haul being pulled behind a hearse.”― From the song, “Cynical” by the band Extreme www.youtube.com/watch?v=jtlhQ
R - Reason to smile: My nephew, Sohan. 20 months old.
S - Season: Summer. Gotta cherish the good weather living in the upper Midwest.
T - Tattoos: None.
U - Unknown fact about me: Entirely defeating the purpose of the question, but…I can claim shepherding experience.
V - Vegetable you love: love might be to strong an emotion, but I’m very fond of cauliflower.
W - Worst habit: Procrastination
X - X-rays: A few. Teeth. Knee. Ankle. Hand. Face.
Y - Your favorite food: Pizza
Z – Zodiac sign: Gemini. (Born on the border, so some hororscopes say Taurus. They are wrong.)
1. WERE YOU NAMED AFTER ANYONE? Kind of, yes. A god. Seriously. “Partha Sarathi” (first and middle) refers to Hindu deity Krishna, in his role as charioteer (Sarathi) for Arjun (Partha) during the battle mentioned in the Bhagavad Gita portion of the Mahabharata (one of the two major ancient Indian epics). en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gita
2. WHEN WAS THE LAST TIME YOU CRIED? Not sure. Movies can cause me to spill a tear or two easily enough (like when we beat the Russians in Miracle, which I watched a couple of weeks ago), but out and out crying hasn’t happened in a long time.
3. DO YOU LIKE YOUR HANDWRITING? No, not distinctive enough. And rather messy, too.
4. WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE LUNCH MEAT? Honey ham
5. DO YOU HAVE KIDS? No
6. IF YOU WERE ANOTHER PERSON WOULD YOU BE FRIENDS WITH YOU? Yes
7. DO YOU USE SARCASM A LOT? It slips out on occasion
8. DO YOU STILL HAVE YOUR TONSILS? Yes.
9. WOULD YOU BUNGEE JUMP? Sure, why not?
10. WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE CEREAL? Cinnamon Toast Crunch
11. DO YOU UNTIE YOUR SHOES WHEN YOU TAKE THEM OFF? Not if I can help it
12. DO YOU THINK YOU ARE STRONG? No
13. WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE ICE CREAM? Mint Chocolate Chip
14. WHAT IS THE FIRST THING YOU NOTICE ABOUT PEOPLE? Eyes, probably
15. RED OR PINK? Red – lived in Madison, home of the Badgers, for 9 years, closet has a few red items as a result
16. WHAT IS THE LEAST FAVORITE THING ABOUT YOURSELF? Geez, where do I start?
17. DREAM VACATION: Egypt, perhaps? So much history.
18. WHAT IS THE SPARK FEATURE THAT HAS HELPED YOU THE MOST? The people
19. WHAT COLOR SHOES ARE YOU WEARING? Barefoot at the moment.
20. WHAT WAS THE LAST THING YOU ATE? Fake cheez-its (store brand, reduced fat, the type that makes you wonder, “why am I even bothering with this flavorless cardboard stuff?”)
21. WHAT ARE YOU LISTENING TO RIGHT NOW? Music on random, right now spinning the Suicidal Tendencies song, “What Else Could I Do?” www.youtube.com/watch?v=D87R6
22. IF YOU WERE A CRAYON, WHAT COLOR WOULD YOU BE? Burnt Umber – closest shade for self-portraits when I was a little kid.
23. FAVORITE SMELLS? Apple Cinnamon
24. WHO WAS THE LAST PERSON YOU TALKED TO ON THE PHONE? My brother
25. MOUNTAIN HIDEAWAY OR BEACH HOUSE? Beach House. Just not on a hurricane prone beach.
26. FAVORITE SPORTS TO WATCH? Hockey
27. HAIR COLOR? Black. A very few grays.
28. EYE COLOR? Brown
29. DO YOU WEAR CONTACTS? No
30. FAVORITE FOOD? Pizza
31. SCARY MOVIES OR HAPPY ENDINGS? Scary movies
32. LAST MOVIE YOU WATCHED? This Film is Not Yet Rated, documentary on the MPAA’s arbitrary rating system
33. WHAT COLOR SHIRT ARE YOU WEARING? White…wearing the ugly t-shirt! (a highly questionable prize for checking in on facebook 25 times from my former gym…it’s hideous and I wear it with pride. Just not out in public!)
34. SUMMER OR WINTER? Summer
35. HUGS OR KISSES? Hugs
36. FAVORITE DESSERT? Cookies
37. STRENGTH TRAINING OR CARDIO? The latter.
38. COMPUTER OR TELEVISION? Computer. Though the tv is necessary for being a sports junkie…hmm…
39. WHAT BOOK ARE YOU READING NOW?
When March Went Mad (about the Magic/Bird 1979 NCAA championship game), A Tale of Two Cities (Dickens)
40. WHAT IS ON YOUR MOUSE PAD? No mouse, so, uh, nothing!
41. ANY TATTOOS? No
42. FAVORITE SOUND? The loser trombone from the price is right. Cracks me up for some reason. www.youtube.com/watch?v=1ytCE
43. ROLLING STONES OR BEATLES? Rolling Stones
44. WHAT IS THE FARTHEST YOU HAVE BEEN FROM HOME? India. The Taj Mahal is one of those places that no matter what expectations you take with you, the reality is even better.
45. DO YOU HAVE A SPECIAL TALENT? no
46. WHERE WERE YOU BORN? Ann Arbor, MI
47. WHERE ARE YOU LIVING NOW? Ypsilanti, MI
48. WHAT COLOR IS YOUR HOUSE? I live in a brown house
49. WHAT COLOR IS YOUR CAR? Silver
50. ANY PETS? Nope. My old roommates didn’t let me steal their dogs when I moved.
If you made it all the way through, that might qualify you for a masochist badge, which would fit nicely with the title of this entry. But my life, sadly, is far, far tamer than what I've heard about those books.
Wednesday, January 09, 2013
...a mystery to me. Depends on what I'm looking for, really, doesn't it? I can name a favorite cookie (Keebler's grasshoppers, girl scout thin mints), but these days, the standard of perfection lies in a different direction. I'm looking for that cookie that is delicious, but not irresistible. One that I turn to when I need a sweet treat, but not one that I'd desire immediately when my eyes fell upon its box. One that's there for me, but won't weigh me down, hold me back...wait, what was I talking about again? Oh yeah, cookies!
I'll tell you one that does not do the trick, the Kroger (upper midwest grocery chain) brand peanut butter chocolate chip cookies. They're a bit too delicious, to where I find myself grabbing a couple every few hours. It's a good thing when the store brand is a buck cheaper and better than what I remember the chips ahoy pb/cc tasting like. It's not a good thing when they won't last very long.
On the opposite end, it's can't be too bland, or too blase. Graham crackers just won't cut it, not without some accoutrements. And when you add chocolate and marshmallows to the mix, you've kind of defeated the purpose. There are other cookies that wouldn't cause me to reach for the box every time I pass by, like pecan sandies, but, seriously, does anyone actually like those things? This sort of thing ain't my bag, baby. (Cue chorus of sandie defenders in 3...2...1...)
So what is that perfect cookie, delicious enough to satisfy the occasional desire, and stolid enough to withstand cursory attention?
Wouldn't mind hearing nominations, or what you consider your own favorite cookie.
Tonight's music is Rush, the Hold Your Fire album, but I'm compelled to share this video instead...a PMV done of their classic, 2112. And if you're not familiar with PMV, as I just found out from google a half hour ago, it's like anime, but done entirely with cartoon pony stuff...so, this vid is Rush, set to My Little Pony video...and it's bizarrely fantastic...
It's the whole song, 20+ minutes, so if limited for time or not a Rush fan (blasphemy!), just check out the Temples of Syrinx part, from about 3:30-6:15.
Tuesday, January 08, 2013
Tonight's title brought to you by KMFDM. The second half of it, anyway.
The first bit refers to a quick pit stop made at the store between the gym and home to remedy an appalling lack of appealing junk food in the latter location. Perhaps it was to be expected that the proceeds of that pit stop found themselves disappearing down my gullet later on in the evening? Well, that's what they're there for, their value measured solely in noms. Well, their positive value, anyway.
Negative values were probably counteracted at the gym today, where I experienced pickleball for the first time. As far as a description, the video from the CBS early show from a couple of years ago does it justice with, "A combination of tennis, ping pong and badminton".
It's basically mini tennis played on a badminton sized court, so a lot less running, which is great for me. I used to play tennis, but haven't swung a racket in maybe 5 or more years. Also used to play a fair bit of table tennis, having grown up with a table in the basement, but again, I haven't played that in many years. So I went into it with a basic familiarity with racket sports. That said, the long non-participation has robbed me of any court sense, and the fact that the pickleball paddle is about half the length of a tennis racket, well, that led to a few hilarious whiffs early on.
While I wasn't very good, I wasn't horrible either, for the first time playing a sport. The competition (8-10 others, who apparently play pretty regularly) was mostly older, including one guy who I'd guess was in his mid 70s. Apparently, the game has appeal to older people for the tennis like gameplay within a smaller area. Not sure why that distinction needs to be made; I mean, after all, I like the less running part, too.
Though it does occupy a smaller space, that doesn't mean you can't get a good sweat going, as I certainly did. Playing 90 minutes, using muscles long dormant (lots of quick reflex action at the net, plenty of impromptu lunging and squatting to get to and dig balls over the net, etc), all that is a recipe for aches tomorrow. Probably didn't help that I rode the stationary bike, did some minimal strength (a few squats, lunges, and crunches), and shot a few basketball thereafter. I think I'll wait until a subsequent Tuesday to see if anyone shows up for the 7 AM ultimate frisbee session advertised on the gym corkboard.
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