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Banh mi on the grill and showing kindness

Saturday, May 07, 2011

Old school soundtrack for the day

So today, rain was threatening, yet again, but with interspersed periods of sun. Naturally, I thought, maybe I can bring out the grill.

I've had my mind on banh mi the last couple of days.

A beautiful thing I've learned is that as long as you're tracking, and figure out how to make a lot of tasty eats at home, you will NEVER have a feeling of being "deprived" while on program. My dear wife brought home the whole wheat baguette, fresh cilantro & cucumber, and I went to town. Marinated the chicken for three hours, prepared teriyaki kebabs, did my Supreme 90 Day Shoulders/Arms while the flavors sank in, then lit the grill. Sprinkled a bit, but the rain never came down hard.

We had a delicious meal that stoked my metabolism, fueled muscle growth, and tasted vivid rich and savory. I have to say, there is some satisfaction knowing that we can make pretty much anything we want at home, with few exceptions. When I look back at how much we used to spend eating out, not knowing what was in the food, I just shake my head.

Our 3 year old, Mr. Tiny, showed that he takes after his mother after dinner. He went up to some neighborhood kids and said, "Do you want to have marshmallows with us?" Reminded me of the quality I noticed in my wife when we first met, what I can only characterize as a pure kindness of heart.

With all the stuff on the news, it was a good reminder of the good things, the daily kindnesses you see people perform that don't get reported on. The kid I saw offer to carry an old lady's groceries that he didn't know down the street. The guy on the bus I saw playing peek a boo with a stranger's baby. I don't live in Mayberry, I live in a good sized city. Stuff the suspicious cynic in me tries to play down.

Half empty, or half full?

A kindness to someone you don't know, paid forward, can have a great impact on the type of world we want to live in.

When it comes to our health, there is no magic bullet. Before P90X and the Eat Clean Diet there was Jack LaLanne. Make the decision that the future is important to you. Live it every day.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

RYDERB 5/13/2011 1:38AM

    You may see your wife's beautiful heart in your son, but when you described the kindness he showed strangers, I saw you.

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UWHK8STER 5/9/2011 10:52PM

    Half full. Your son sounds adorable. Overall, that sounds like a pretty good day to me.

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MSJWIN 5/9/2011 9:14PM

    Banh mi is so easy, tasty to make; that's why I'm addicted to them! I made a grilled jerk chicken styled version for my friend's last Super Bowl party and they were all gone before half-time. I love marinating thin cucumber slices, shredded carrots + jicama in a little bit of vinegar or lemon juice to add acidity/more veggies to the sandwich besides the cilantro/jalapenos. Plus any leftover marinated veggies get eaten throughout the week on top of salads if there are any leftovers.

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    Dinner sounded tasty!!! Your son is so sweet! Definitely half FULL!

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REVJVH 5/8/2011 9:26AM

    Sounds like it's way more than half full! Paying it forward just keeps refilling the glass, y'know.

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MEGA_MILES 5/8/2011 2:22AM

    Amen brother. Always pay it forward. emoticon emoticon

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Go for the gold, eating fish tacos, and free comic book day

Friday, May 06, 2011

I was thinking today that our journey can be compared to a race. We face daily hurdles when (work/school/family) responsibilities must be dealt with. Sometimes we have to deal with factors like (spouses, kids, pets, bosses, etc.) that can (help/hinder) our progress on our respective programs. I like to think that these are just challenges to see how much we want to achieve certain goals. We can look at them as things we can anticipate, grow from, and use to strengthen ourselves both mentally and physically. We can address them in different ways, leaping over them to finish

or conversely, we can attempt to push through.

Either way, we should attempt to make the decision to participate, and to finish what we start.

Today was a high allergen day, left me feeling drained and tired. It would've been easier to just blow it off and mope around miserable, but it was a beautiful day outside, and we've been dealing with long periods of no sun and steady rain.

Got the weed-whacker out, felt like I've been mowing the lawn nonstop for the last 2 weeks, got that done and made the conscious decision to ride today. Chose road vs. a light XC ride because I felt like I wanted to feel a bit of distance and speed vs. grinding through technical climbing today.

I always said that I wouldn't let any program I was on limit or affect my cycling, but today, I'll admit that I held back a bit because I knew I was going to do Supreme 90 Day - Tabata Inferno and I would need a little bit to put in a decent effort. Allergies and that reserve made for a quick errand run to the post office and library, followed by a light rec road ride.

20.47 miles on the day; roughly 97 minutes ride time. Had to increase caloric intake to defend against the "bonk". Been using a pedometer to count steps and entering mileage on

Plus 3 Network www.plus3network.com/home

to help raise money for World Bicycle Relief. You log your miles/exercise minutes and earn money towards charities. Free. Pretty cool, you can win swag, too. I've gotten a set of Avid Shorty 3 cantilever brakes, a shirt, socks, some other cool stuff. Check it out, if you're so inclined.

Tomorrow is free comic book day www.freecomicbookday.com/

Check it out.

Yesterday I had a yearning for fish tacos. I had them hard shell, with whitefish with a squeeze of lime, some Drew's organic salsa www.chefdrew.com/ , and fresh cilantro. I should've prepared some mango salsa, but I was lazy.

This blog is all over the place, but that's what happens when fatigue and the histamine gets to you, I guess. Perhaps I should try a neti pot.

Hope this finds you all well and jumping the challenges you face, daily. We all make the choice whether or not to line up, and whether or not to finish what we start, get to it!

Edit: Homemade breakfast sandwiches fuel my day, if you like a hearty breakfast sandwich to start out, check this out.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

RYDERB 5/7/2011 6:17PM

    Another great blog! Full of inspiration! I must admit, I've been pushing through my challenges lately. It's not pretty, but I'm not giving up!

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    Awesome blog!

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REVJVH 5/7/2011 1:12AM

    I love my neti pot!

Great blog.

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JANETRIS 5/6/2011 10:19PM

    Thanks for a peak inside your day! Ahhh,,,,so much to do, and so little time. I can also relate to the allergy issues. You write beautifully. It is a real treat to sit back and take in your views. Please keep it up.... emoticon

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Here Comes the Rain Again & Happy Asian-American Heritage Month!

Tuesday, May 03, 2011

Spinning the current track of the day

So the rain has pretty much been steady for the last two months. Time to man up and put on the rain gear I picked up at Big Lots (waterproof, but not cycling specific, so no pit zips or ventilated back). I used the old trick my friend taught me when you don't have booties. Slid my cycling socked feet into some plastic bags, secured with rubber bands, slid on my cycling shoes and voila, dry socks! I had a dental appointment and some other errands to run, and, surprise surprise, it's raining out.

May is National Bike Month, what better way to kick it off than going out in the rain?

The roads here are still in pretty bad shape after winter. Lots of rain filled potholes. Part of the reason I love mountain biking so much, in contrast to road cycling is that when I ride trail, I feel like I can operate largely on instinct. I don't worry about getting tagged by some pick up truck's wide sideview mirror. Don't have to worry about getting doored. Don't have to worry about peds jumping out in front of me. For me, riding dirt is 1) learn and practice the skill 2) turn off conscious thought and find flow. Road cycling is heightened awareness and sharp skills. You need to be on, constantly scanning, high operational awareness of the things surrounding you at all times, using all your senses to navigate through safely. Don't get me wrong, I enjoy it, but to me, it's a different animal.

The rain was steady, but not torrential and not so severe that it would've limited visibility. I was running full lights, anyway, but fog and heavy rain make me antsy.

I was on time, inbound to my appointment, when I made the turn to climb Locust Street. It's a climb, so I'm in granny gear. A big guy on a smoke break was watching me thread my way up and said, "Wow, are you tired yet?" about mid-way up the hill. I smiled and told him no. It's nice to have someone appreciate your work. There was a time, not so long ago, I wouldn't have been able to clean that hill.

The beautiful thing about conquering a hill, is that if you're lucky, you get to ride down that bad boy! I sailed down, the warm rain pelting my face. Couldn't get that self satisfied grin off my face. emoticon

Did my second round of Supreme 90 Day Chest/Back, felt like it went better because I inflated my Swiss/exercise ball higher and had the weights dialed in this time. I have nice feelings towards this ball because it's my wife's pregnancy ball we used for both the boys. My glutes are sore and so is my chest from my workouts. I'm pleased so far with how the program is making me feel.

My wife prepared fennel the other day because we were talking about how we need to switch up our veg. You can only eat the basic french-cut green beans, carrots, broccoli so much before you get bored. It had an anise seed/licorice flavor, not bad, different, but in this case, different is good. I've been working hard at getting my 5+ of veg, kimchi (cabbage/peppers/ginger/garlic/radishes/le
eks), collard greens, bok choi, broccolini. I want to try some of that kohlrabi and maybe celeric, though we're unsure how to prepare them so they are tasty. I'd prepare ampalaya/bitter melon, but that's the one vegetable, aside from okra, that I have trouble with.

Oh, almost forgot that it's Asian American Heritage Month, so Happy Asian-American Heritage Month!

Good luck to you on achieving all your goals! At the end of your journey, don't let it be said that when faced with adversity, you balked in the face of struggle. Fight hard!

"If you always put limit on everything you do, physical or anything else. It will spread into your work and into your life. There are no limits. There are only plateaus, and you must not stay there, you must go beyond them." - Bruce Lee

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

RYDERB 5/4/2011 7:32PM

    Checking out your blog is the last thing I do before I sign off. It always gives me something to think about for the rest of the day. Thanks again for another great one. And the gym equipment!!

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Sally is a Terminator (T-800), circa 1984 & why you should donate blood

Monday, May 02, 2011

Today's soundtrack (I was singing this with the boys in the car with the window down today, though I didn't sound like this)

So today was Supreme 90 Day Legs. I timed it and it was 35 minutes including warm up and cool down, thank God. It was tough, but after donating blood, I couldn't hit super hard today.

I was watching and trying to follow "Sally" on the video. Imagine an Amazonesque virago who is ripped and you'll have a general idea of what I'm talking about. Today, she outpaced the 2 dudes, who are ripped in their own right, and made them look like lazy slackers. She was like Arnold Schwarzenegger in the Terminator, circa 1984. Ripped to the bone and in the zone. Very motivating to try to follow along.

I worked out about 3 hours after donating blood. I find that as I get older, I get a slight headache after I donate. I hydrate aggressively after donation, but it doesn't seem to really affect the headache thing.

Just for fun, I looked up how much blood I've donated since the Central Blood Bank started keeping records online, in 2002. Since then I've donated 36 pints=18 quarts=4.5 gallons of blood. Positing that each donation helped the maximum number of people per donation (3), then in a best case scenario, I've been able to help out 108 people.

This guy is a real mensch. In 2002, he was at 28 gallons. Talk about hardcore.

I donated sporadically when I was younger, but got serious after I met my wife. When she was a young girl, she was in an accident where she was on a moped/scooter and she rear ended a car whose driver slammed on the brakes. She was in the hospital for a long time and used up a number of units of blood. I thought that I would "repay" that debt, if that was possible, on her behalf, because she has a permanent deferral due to the fact she lived in the UK for a period of time. In my thinking, someone gave their blood and helped her so that eventually, I would meet her, we would have our family together, and all our fun adventures. Had they not, I wouldn't have had the life I live now, and wouldn't be the person I am. So, anonymous blood donor, I thank you for your sacrifice and pledge to pass on your kindness to others so that maybe they can meet and be with their loved ones too. Having adventures is cooler when you have cool people to share them with. So if you haven't thought of blood donation, give it a thought. I'm sure the people who are helped by your blood appreciate it.

Don't take your health for granted.

Best wishes to you on your pursuit of your personal goals!

Carpe Diem!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

RYDERB 5/3/2011 5:10PM

    Awe... What a beautiful family! i'm touched by how much you give back, and I'm inspired to be a better person.

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    Great pic of you and the family!

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MRE1956 5/3/2011 8:38AM

    Here, here! I'm a veteran donor (however, the last time I attempted there was a concern about one of my numbers, so rather than try another test I left - perhaps I'll try again, perhaps not - that situation upset me greatly) - THANK YOU for this post!

(FYI - did you know there's a "Give Blood-The Gift of Life" SparkTeam?)

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MADYANKEE 5/2/2011 10:55PM

    I couldn't donate blood for many years because I was aenemic. However, you spell it. the reason I wanted to donate blood was because in the 50's, my mother was hit by a truck,had lost so much blood and they couldn't get a pulse that she was declared dead by three doctors. The fourth detected life and called for blood transfusions. My mother was type A-, and in New york City, there were exactly three pints of her blood type available. She did survive.
When I finally could donate, I became a gallon donor, something I am very proud of. Then I moved and they told me I couldn't donate blood because in the 70's I had had cancer, which is untrue. Now I am back in the area and as soon as I am healthy enough will donate again. I am type A+, not as rare as my mother but I also have had the hepatitus vacinations which they like.

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Let your light shine!

Friday, April 29, 2011

Day 4 - Tabata Inferno. This one has a lot of plyometric moves on it, took me about 50 minutes including warm up and cool down. Some of the reviews don't like the fact that the warm up and cool down sections for the most part seem to be repetitive, but from my perspective I see it from the viewpoint that the same warm up/cool down series is functioning like Pavlovian/classical conditioning. When I see the same warm up, my mind goes into the zone to prepare itself for a ramp up and attack. The cool down, gets me to gear down mentally, while doing the same to my heart rate. I don't see it as a problem.

Some thoughts about the Chest/Back disc, it would be easier if you had a full set of hex dumbbells. I have adjustable dumbbells with spinlock collars, so it takes a bit longer, but is still doable. You could get a set of adjustable, have them at a heavier weight, then get a cheap set of lower weight dumbbells so that you can stay with the instructor.

The Ultimate Ball disc was good. It seemed shorter, as did the Chest/Back disc, when compared to the Men's Health Belly Off Workout (Strength Training) video I was doing. The thing is, I was taking a full rest day in between sessions. With the Supreme 90 Day, you're working different muscle groups. My heart rate was high for the first three workouts, and I felt them the next day.

Edit: On the support website, some proactive soul has made worksheets available for download where you can record the number of reps and weight used. Useful.

I also saw gains and an early loss of 2lbs. Now whether or not that's due to the rigorousness of the workout, or a newly attentive and focused approach on my caloric intake, or a combination of multiple variables, who knows? We'll see after 2 weeks if I am seeing steady progress. I do know that it seems to be promising regarding breaking the plateau I've been on. I've started to weigh myself daily again, not to flagellate myself, but to ensure that I have a visual representation of my work, and so I can address trends decisively and proactively.

I'm fueling well, we had grilled salmon steaks last night. I enjoyed a scoop of ice cream with my family the other day, I don't feel as though I'm living a life of deprivation.

A good blog resource that helped me focus:

I tried out a pair of 32 jeans as an experiment, they fit. We'll see if that was an aberration or indicative of a more positive trend.

My wife and I were talking about priorities. We were discussing how sometimes, people will approach us and say something like, "Oh, the Peace Corps, I wanted to do that" but they never did. Our response, privately between each other, is typically, "No, you really didn't, because if you did, you would've made it a priority and done it." Assuming that the individual didn't have any say, health hurdles (though we've known many who served who did and overcame way more than we could have). That could go for anything, be it a healthier lifestyle, travel, whatever.

We try not to say, "I wish I had the time." For some things, you have to make the time. If you don't make the time, it's not a priority, and that's okay, assuming it's not something you truly want. If it's something you do want, for example, a new healthy lifestyle, you have to make it work. You have to make it a priority, and likely, you'll have to put other things on the backburner to make it work. Run a mental cost/benefit analysis, do a list of pros/cons. Measure what you'll lose vs. what you'll gain, and make sure to factor in the qualitative intangibles.

When we embark on this journey, we have to make the conscious decision to make it a priority. For me, it has been a long hard struggle, and is still a long hard slog to get to where I am now. I try not to get discouraged, because of the fact it took over a decade to get to a point where I was at my heaviest and unhealthiest. I know that it won't be overnight, or even 90 days to achieve my goals, but I'm all in. There will be setbacks, but if I'm victorious over 50% of the time and trending towards progress and my goals, as noted cultural d-bag Charlie Sheen once opined, "I'm winning!"

My plan is not to have to do this again. I am a long way from the days I could just landfill garbage into my body, go for a long bike ride, and seem like there were no consequences to my actions. Like Mother Earth, your physical body can only absorb so much before it starts protesting and speaking to you in the form of chronic health issues. We have to value ourselves and our work and efforts enough to ensure that we are vigilant about tuning our physical machine.

We can do this! We decide. It's a head game. We train ourselves so that we have cognitive dissonance when we don't behave in healthy ways. Make those positive habits stick, and fight for what you want and deserve!

Our Greatest Fear

it is our light not our darkness that most frightens us

Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate.

Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.

It is our light not our darkness that most frightens us.

We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous,
talented and fabulous?

Actually, who are you not to be?

You are a child of God.

Your playing small does not serve the world.

There's nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other

people won't feel insecure around you.

We were born to make manifest the glory of
God that is within us.

It's not just in some of us; it's in everyone.

And as we let our own light shine,
we unconsciously give other people
permission to do the same.

As we are liberated from our own fear,
Our presence automatically liberates others.

—Marianne Williamson

Madiba, Nelson Mandela quoted her. Look around you at the people you admire, the ones who dug deep, within themselves, to rise above. Strive to let your light shine!

Edit: I liked what this guy said "Technique + Intensity = Results"

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

JANETRIS 5/2/2011 7:49PM

    WOW....Your focus and drive are amazing. I love when you said..... I'm all in.....That just says it all. Please keep posting. Take 4 minutes to check out my friend/cousin LUCKYDOGFARM May 1st blog. It is a youtube video....I promise you will get so much out of it.....just check it out......keep up your momentum! emoticon emoticon

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KITTY1970 5/1/2011 11:42PM

    I love this blog. You've come so far. Keep up the great work.


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RYDERB 4/30/2011 4:24PM

    Wow! You've really given me a lot to think about. Thank you for another inspirational blog. You are such a talented writer.

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SUGARBABY60 4/30/2011 1:00AM

    WOW great blog some heavy thinking here, thanks

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