Sunday, April 15, 2012
Made it in to Kansas City earlier tonight....a surprisingly uneventful trip (except for the high speed abort on the runway in Atlanta....we taxied off, then got right back in line.....pilot said he had "a false positive" on an engine light)
Grabbed the rental car and drove to my hotel marveling at the rolling hills that make up this part of the country. For this Boston boy, transplanted to the flat Florida coastline, seeing undulating hills, covered with green, green grass and more than just a few cows & horses was a heartwarming sight.
But man 'o man the wind! Those big storms must have left something fierce in their wake here because it was a beautifully sunny day, but every time I stepped out of the car, I would get hammered by a deafening wind. I remember being fascinated as a kid, reading stories about the Mistral winds in Provence and how they would drive people mad after weeks of constant howling....how could wind do that to people?.....today I could see why!
Checked in to the hotel around 5:00, scoped out the area nearby and found the gym, changed, and went to get in some cardio, when....
Gym closes at 6:00 PM! What the HELL is up with that!!! It's 5:15, what kind of self-respecting gym would close at 6:00 PM on a Sunday?!?!
I just cursed under my breath and made a bee-line for the nearest elliptical (I didn't want to waste any time scoping out the rest of the joint!)
Plugged in that neat little Beatburn app I mentioned yesterday and cranked away for the next 45 minutes....and a good 45 minutes it was!
After reading and listening to the directions on the app a little better, I found out how to adjust it and it's a pretty cool piece of work! It keeps adjusting resistance settings and pace, giving very good audio cues and changing the tempo for the music to match your stride. There's supposed to be a way for it to read your playlists, grab songs that have the BPM required and/or adjust the BPM of your songs without messing with the pitch....more to follow if that works as advertised or not.
On the way back I spied with my little eye a very interesting looking Thai restaurant. Pointed the iPhone there and Yelp came up with a nicely augmented reality rating of 4.5 stars! Good enough for me, especially since some little banshee voice in my brain kept screeching "BBQ, BBQ, BBQ!"
Had a nice cup of Coconut Milk Soup and a serving of some quite nicely prepared Pad Thai Chicken....figured I couldn't go wrong ordering some staples of the cuisine and they did it just right. But whoa, here I was less than half way through the Pad Thai, when all of a sudden....I felt full.
It's an odd thing for me on the road to not clean my plate....but here I was, looking at a whole lot of rice noodles, strips of chicken breast, scallions, and bean sprouts telling myself, "I'm done"
Banshee voice in my brain: "But you're not done eating....there's more food there...that's wasteful!"
"Yeah, but I'm full....I just had a great workout....drank a lot of water....I'm full. Maybe I'll take it back to the room with me and have it for breakfast....that won't be wasteful will it?"
Banshee grabs head and screams, running around my table in a panic yelling NOOoooooooo.....
So that's what I did....Pad Thai is sitting in my fridge right now.....and hell, if I don't feel like eating it in the morning....I might just throw it away....in the end, I got a good meal, stayed within my calorie limits, got what I paid for.....and none of that is wasteful at all!
Have a great night Spark friends...tomorrow DC!
Saturday, April 14, 2012
So my boss calls me up from Vegas Thursday night and says, "Hey, can you go to a conference for me in DC next week?"
Me: "Well I'm going to be at meetings in Kansas City on Monday & Tuesday....when's the conference?"
Boss: "It's Tuesday and Wednesday....I really need you to go....we NEED to be there....it'll be noticed if we're not"
By which he meant I needed to be there.
Me: "OK, let me do some juggling around, see if I can't cram all our stuff into Monday. I can probably catch a late flight to DC Monday night"
Boss: "Great, let me know if there are any problems!"
Of course there won't be.....that's what I do.
And it really isn't that big a deal, but I've got to admit, the only part that really bugs me is that I'll miss my ST sessions on Monday & Wednesday night.....I've been on a really, really good roll.
I've been making great progress, and I feel like I've got myself on a real good weekly routine combining ST, cardio, HIIT, abs, push-ups, back strengthening.....everything's hitting on 8 cylinders. I workout 4-5 days in a row, take a day off.....hardly ever take 2 days in a row off anymore....3 days off is a red flag for me.....more than 2 days without working out is my path of decline
So it'll all workout. I can get in some pretty decent ST maintenance on my own. I freely admit, having trainer guy there pushes me way harder than I normally do on my own, hence the progress.
I tried out a new workout app today....I think I like it, but I'll need to try it out a few more times. It's called BeatBurn Elliptical and it was a pretty tough 45 minute workout.
It's pretty well designed and keeps the workout interesting, having you change the intensity and/or the strides/minute every 30-120 seconds.
All I know is I worked up a great sweat and the time flew by! Got in my push-ups today too, finishing another 6-day run.
Which is real good, because tonight we're taking #2 son out for Teppanyaki dinner at his favorite Hibachi grill! He gets to pick a dinner out when he brings home an all A report card. His choices vary between Hibachi grill, Chinese buffet, or Red Lobster....ahhh to be young and 18 and eat all you want without gaining an ounce!
But I was ready for him! Had a big green smoothie this morning (Yum!), grabbed an 8 piece sushi combo from the grocery store for lunch after working out, and here I am sitting at 800 calories for the day ready to face down the Iron Chef!
Have a great night Spark friends.....tomorrow, from Kansas City!
Thursday, April 12, 2012
SWMBO and I are big believers in community service and we try to take on a couple of projects every year in our local area.
This year I was asked to host the annual Holocaust Remembrance Day here.....interesting, since I'm not Jewish.....but I'm an avid student of history....and a pretty darn good public speaker!
We've been planning it for a few months, and we were able to put together a pretty decent program. The theme for this year was "Choosing to Act - Stories of Rescue". I invited two local European history professors (one a former Navy SEAL!) to give us a quick historical context of Europe and Germany in the 20s and 30s as well as some well researched stories of Jewish resistance fighters in the forests of Poland and Germany.
Then we asked the daughter of husband & wife concentration camp survivors to talk to us about growing up in America as the child of Holocaust survivors. WOW! Talk about putting teenage angst in context! Her story was amazing and incredibly moving. She also brought her two teenage daughters....incredibly well adjusted teens whose grandparents lived their teen years in German concentration camps in Poland. SWMBO and I made sure to get as many young kids into the audience as we could so that this wouldn't become just a history lesson, but something real and tangible to draw a straight line connection for them to a past that was not that long ago.
We ended with a Dutch gentlemen who told the story of how he and his friends, none older than 20, helped feed, hide, and later repatriate 103 of their Jewish friends from occupied Holland. He spent his entire youth in Nazi occupied Holland and is as lively today as he was in his youth.
My goal was to have people walking out of there thinking and knowing that this was not just a lesson on something that happened long ago, but to feel how the events of just 70 short years ago were real and still resonate and touch the lives of many around us.....and that every year there are fewer and fewer people around who can connect us with that past.
I ended it with one of my favorite quotes, "All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is for men of good will to do nothing"
As we walked out, SWMBO and I remembered why it's important for us to do these events.....whatever we have going on....daily angst, worries, concerns, the future etc, all these felt like they were really no big deal by the time we entered the sunny spring day outside!
Have a great night Spark friends!
Wednesday, April 11, 2012
Well today I had an interesting conversation with a guy that works for me.
I've known him for coming on 20 years....at one point he was my boss when I first started out. We lost track of each other over the years, and when I took over this division of our company he was working here.
He's a good guy, but the years have not been kind to him. He weighs over 300+ lbs, has lots of family troubles, and is not a very healthy person. On top of that, the quality of his work is not up to speed.
He actually scheduled a meeting with me for some "mentoring" and also to explore options for upward mobility.
When I saw this pop on my schedule, I had to spend a lot of time thinking about how to approach the conversation.
In then end, I decided frankness and honesty was the best approach.
I started off by telling him that personally, "as someone that has known you for a long time", I was very concerned for his health. That the amount of weight he had gained, the way he carried himself, the respiratory problems that he had, compounded by the personal issues he had going on at home, had me wondering if he wasn't headed for a heart attack, stroke, diabetes, you name it.
"Brother, any one or two of the things you are dealing with is a lot for any one person....you're dealing with 5 to 6 crises simultaneously, in a frame that doesn't look like it's built for endurance. If your health fails you, you're not going to be any good to any of those folks that need you, forget about what I need you to be doing here."
Then I had to tell him honestly that he had a lot of room to improve in his current job performance and that I wasn't entertaining any thoughts of moving him up until he started stepping up and getting some things done that I had been talking about for months.
"Believe me, it does not get easier to stay in shape as we get older! And you can't wait till you're less busy because we're always going to be busy with something!"
Here's the interesting part. I've been giving feedback and mentoring people for years. This was the first time where I decided I needed to talk to someone professionally about their weight and health and how I thought it affected them personally as well as in their job.
I don't think I would have done that prior to Sparkpeople.
I'm not 100% sure how he took it. He said, "Yeah you're right, I need to lose weight" and moved on to other topics. It'll be interesting to see what happens....I'll probably get charged with something like harassment or discrimination bringing an end to a somewhat mediocre career!
Have a great night Spark friends!
Monday, April 09, 2012
So I've got to admit, I suffered some "gender embarrassment" today.
My extra office time this weekend paid off....by about 10:30, it looked like I could actually take a bit of a break before my 1:00 meeting. So I ducked out at 11:00 and hit the gym for an 11:30 spin class....WOO-HOO!
There was a guy teaching that I hadn't seen before, and some of the folks I chatted up before class said, "Oh he's real good....very regimented. He's a professional cyclist so he gives you a realistic workout"
Methinks, "OK, whatever that means", but out loud I say, "Sounds good, I'm all in!"
So Spin Instructor Guy is very business like (I like that), takes time out to explain the equipment and the routine for the day ("we'll start with a warm-up, build into a steady climb, do some speedwork intervals, then end with a long hard climb for the last 10 minutes")
I LIKE IT!! Tell me what to expect so I can mentally prepare!
So we start up, he tells you what setting you should expect to see in either Heart Rate (if you have a monitor), or in Watts, to include suggested resistance settings based on the readings from these cool new bikes!
I LIKE IT!
Well so he's not all flash, he doesn't whoop and holler like the other instructors I've seen, but he's real steady and encouraging and he's working as hard as anybody else (which I also respect....I have no tolerance for an instructor that takes rest breaks pretending to walk around and "check on people")
Now I like to plant myself smack up front for these classes, but as we start to get in to the high intensity phase, I start to hear these little "yelps" from behind me and some "oohhhhhh"s from bikes a few seats to my right.
What the hell was that?!?
"Put it up a gear....you should see yourself at 85% on the heart rate or pumping out about 250-280 watts," says Spin Instructor Guy
"Yikes" from behind and "OOwwwwww" to my right
Were those really male voices? Who are these guys?
I crane my neck to the right and see this pretty buff 30-something dude, sweating away, eyes closed, moving his head left and right like Stevie Wonder with a big fat grimace on his face as he lets out a big "ooohhhhh man!"
I couldn't stand it any more! "Let's go, there's no crying in baseball, push it up" I yelled.
That felt good!
It did nothing to shut these guys up though.....they were back to puling and whining at the next interval. I try to get a bead on the guy behind me in the mirror.....sure as hell, he looks to be in his 20s and his face is scrunched up like he's about to cry because his girlfriend just broke up with him and he lets out a high pitched "Yooooow!"
I caught the instructors eye, cocked my head at the clowns to right of me, jokers to the rear and gave him the look signifying "Really?"
He hunched his shoulders up in the universal signal of "I don't know"
It only got worse as we entered the steady hill climb for the last 10 minutes.
Now I won't kid you, this was tough....steadily increasing resistance every minute, sitting down in the seat (no standing), getting the heart rate up to 95% of max or pushing the watts up to 350-370.....I was focused on nothing but my breathing and the reading on that dial as we climbed to the top of Agony Hill.
But nary a sound passed my lips! Unfortunately, the Sisters of Pain shared every excruciating moment of their journey with the rest of us.....I seriously considered getting up and leaving, but then those two clowns would have felt like they won.
Now I'm a very tolerant soul and have the greatest appreciation for those who struggle in the gym as we all try to get healthy. But come on gents....show the world you know how to suffer well! These are the kinds of sounds that jungle predators listen for as they single out the weak and lame before they hunt you down for the kill!
So, a real good workout, but my psyche suffered some damage. It will take some serious therapy to keep from remembering those haunting sounds and contorted faces on my next ride.....and I may need to plug in my own music to drown out the whines!
I did my ST session with trainer guy after work. I related the tale about the embarrassing display of manhood at this morning's cycling class. "If I ever make sounds like that, you're cleared to kick my ass!" I told him.
Have a great night Spark friends!
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