Saturday, December 31, 2011

so long 2011

It has been a bit of a funny week.  Made yet a few more contacts.  It is always nice when you actually have a little time to read and do some things you have wanted to get to for a while. 

This past week has been a touch unusual in that I was able to do a few things, not strictly out of necessity.  I even managed to make a trip to the library (rare than I would like lately) and breakout some microfiche.  However the efforts were rewarded with some things from the past, which I was hoping to be able to find.  They have already served as a bit of motivation to actually get some long-overdue personal work done.  The kind of things that you want to wake up for in the morning.

Of course, breaking out to a local game and having your team come from behind in the 3rd Period to win a clincher by 1, makes the taste of victory that much sweeter!

The year closes today, in some places has already closed.  It is worth reflecting on the past and recommitting to stare down the coming future.  As is often phrased in football discussing defenses " their ears and just flat out go after it..."  That will be my 2012.

Tomorrow is today.  It is not the time to wait.  I once heard the saying "Today is a great day to die" and that is an excellent starting point.  This of course does require a touch of explaining, as the true meaning is a much deeper philosophical perspective rather than being a literal sort of death wish.

In my personal interpretation, it means a person should pursue their dream(s) - by living 'in the moment' without submitting to fear, a person frees themselves of those pesky self imposed psychological hurdles.  If you refuse to fear success, you live to win, instead of what many and myself are often so guilty of playing to not lose!  If you live, to live, you get to experience life.  I have often said and completely believe that living life is the hardest thing any person will ever do.

If I never taste bitter defeat, how will I ever appreciate triumph? I think it is only possible to realize the sweetness of triumph when it is combined with its nemesis, defeat.  Once the two experiences have become part of the same life for us, only then can we fully appreciate triumph.  Knowing the incredible work and determination that is required to accomplish something great, then you become prepared to first dream great accomplishments, second to accomplish those great things.  Just because no one has done it yet DOES NOT mean it cannot be done.  I do not accept that, I never have, and I refuse to surrender to such narrow perspectives of the world that reinforce such a false reality.  It is not my reality.

Thus the equation makes the statement ANYTHING IS POSSIBLE or NO LIMITS true.

To that end, comes 2012.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

The "WK" Playlist debut

WKH  - this week's playlist - 

Dan says  "live to your own soundtrack... Blaze your own trail!"

  1. "Barroom Hero" - Dropkick Murphys
  2. "Heresy" - NIN
  3. "On The Mountain"- Throttlerod
  4. "Thunderhorse"- Metalcalypse
  5. "I'm Shipping Up to Boston"- Dropkick Murphys
  6. "Same Direction"- Hoobastank
  7. "A Will To Exist"- Burning The Day
  8. "Head Like A Hole"- NIN
  9. "Song 2"- Blur
  10. "Die Walkure"- Wagner
  11. "Requiem Aeternam"- Mozart
  12. "Down With the Sickness"- Disturbed
  13. "Just One"- Hoobastank
  14. "Confusion"- New Order
  15. "Faint"- Linkin Park
"I would suggest staying out of lane 1.  It is for your own safety."

Saturday, July 9, 2011

The coming week (Jul 10-16)

This is what is on tap for the coming week.

Sunday- will be a rest-carb/load-stretch day.

Monday- ("O dark thirty") Early morning crawl, 6 miles.

Tuesday- Stretch and Ab workout.

Wednesday- Part A, Mt. Van Cott 6338 feet (1932 m; Part B, Mt. Wire 7137 feet (2175 m)

Thursday- Recovery and stretch

Friday- "Friday Night Sprints"  - an unknown number of accelerations, 300m sprints, and stairs (total 8 miles)

Saturday- Recovery 2 - Saturday night - Ice Hockey baby!


The only question left is Can I hang with me?!?

Pain and determination (July 8)

Last night I returned to the track.

When I showed up, it was noticeably empty.  It was a little later than I had wanted, but life - things come up that need to be done.

I decided this week I am going to start pushing on the workouts at the track.  It will still hurt.  I need to use some care when pushing - as the danger of injury is always lurking.  I have moved to a point that reconstructing sprint or endurance workouts, at least partially, is an acceptable risk.

This is complete with proper warmups, more stretching, and now I can add calisthenics.  It seems a little on the crazy side to many - not the least - the other people at the track.  Usually a few joggers (who last from 30 - 45 minutes) or walkers who last about a half hour on average.

There was more sun, but with partial cloud cover not as much as two weeks ago.  I was able to pull off something resembling a proper warmup and this confirms the state of the body.  Too bad it doesn't look better.  But after confirming many pounds lighter and seeing my blood pressure trend all the way down to 'normal' range is encouraging.  It certainly took long enough on both counts.

I was definitely on my toes today.  I was able to finish off an 8 turn workout of sprints.  I probably pushed a bit too hard today.I can feel a couple of knots in the left calf, which has been especially susceptible to injury - but it is a good sign of the increase in muscle strength.  Of course for the others at the track to see an obviously fatter man to go screaming by at a full sprint is probably not the most thrilling thing in the world.  Of course I am not there for them, this is about me getting to where I need to be.  Push the lungs, make them expand beyond what they can do - is the only realistic way to get them whipped back into shape.

Trying to get used to people using the track, without knowing proper track etiquette - is a rather frustrating prospect.  The faster you are going, you are supposed to be closer or all the way to the "inside" lanes of the track.  Of course people bring their kids, most armed with bicycles or foot scooters.  And then there are the people who bring their 'little dog' syndrome pets who think the track is their personal home ground they need to protect from any person who even looks at the track.  (I reserve further comment on this.)  Several people bring their dogs - and most of them behave very well, as a dog person myself, I have no complaints.  If it doesn't bite me (nor act like it is going to bite me) hey it is a public place. Some are quite friendly.

Last night was a lot of stairs.  In two weeks, I will break out the "leg-stair" workouts.  I think at that point I will have lost enough weight that I can push the tendons in my legs further than they have been in a decade.  In the meantime I want to make sure I don't risk any major injuries of that type.  A sort of wait and see how this week goes. 

If the next two weeks go well, I may just peel the the top off a case in three weeks.  This would mean that I would reach into the closet, pull out the spikes, and do some serious "toe" sprinting.  The track is a beautiful mondo surface track now.  Gone is the nasty black fiberglass that wears away.  In that case, I will most likely scare a few people.  As it is, I can accelerate for about 180 meters, and full out sprint (although much slower than I ever was before) for 130 meters.  Not to get ahead of myself, but I may be pulling 300's in a month, and possibly 500's by the end of summer.  So far so good.  As the weight slims off the pulls get faster and the workouts can get more serious.  All bodes well for the start of over-distance by September.  That will help to line me up for a couple of 5k, 10k shots in the fall.  Hopefully with improved times.  Even finishing a 5k at this point would be a big step.

Time to get serious and start putting some 'workouts' together - finally.  A decade in the making.  Progress is good.  Planning is key.  Perfect practice makes perfect.  This journey is not and will not be perfect.  It just needs to be the right kind of journey for me.

The 4AM patrol (July 5)

Let us just say that I do not react well to loud, successive explosions.  Sure it is just the 4th of July and people like to celebrate with fireworks, it is understandable.  A career of dodging similar sounds...  it was a bad weekend.  I got about 4 hours of total sleep.  The thing is, in other places, explosions mean you are up preparing for the next bit, and at 150% alertness for 2-4 hours AFTER each additional explosion.

Bottle Rockets = incoming artillery
multi-explosive color wheels = incoming zip rockets
firecrackers = eerily familiar to AK-47 or SKS bursts
then there are the roses = sound like friendly flares, starclusters usually marking shift-fires or signal flares
cherry bombs = grenades or RPG impacts

Of course where I live, people are not real considerate on any count and this mischief goes on until 2 or 3 in the morning.

So for the Fourth this year, as the Sun crawled behind the mountains, I put myself out for the night early.  I ran a loud fan and tv for background noise to help dampen the 'outside activity' that had kept me from sleeping all weekend.  It worked.

I woke up around 4.  It was some pretty good sleep all things considered.  I was not pulled from sleep by noise, which was precisely my point after all.  I figured, I had taken a weekend off, no time is better for a run than right now.  I pulled out the gear, and went out the door.

It was only about a 4 mile run, but it felt good.  Cool summer air, it was dark, and no one was out - not yet.  A few cops passed me as I trotted down the sidewalks in my unconventional gear.  There is always something surreal about that.  I have an old "torch" flashlight, that will blind the jeepers out of about anyone or anything.  It is an effective thing to have.  It happens to not be dangerous by most standards and can double as something else in a pinch.  By the last mile, I had attracted the steady interest of the cops.  After the 4th pass, and they slow down as they pass me, you know you are being watched.  Frankly a little funny.  It must have been the almost all black get-up.  But I carry ID, in case they decide to be more curious.  I can't say that I blame them, the area is crawling with with, misguided teenagers.  I used to be one myself.

At the end, it felt good.  A solid workout.  The stamina of the core muscles continues to improve.  There will always be the latent soreness and what not.  It is what it is.  But that is to be expected, I know this whole venture is going to just hurt on many days.  The nature of things.

Mosquitoes and Sunburn (June 24)

I arrived at the track early.  The sun was just baking.  No worries, another hard day of workout.

After managing to get up on my toes a few times, it just felt good.  The body is starting to accept the workouts.  Certainly no more happy about them, but when muscles are being somewhat cooperative - this is not a small victory.  These days every victory is important.

It was a good solid workout, and I knew I was going to be sore.  But this has never been about the easy path.  There is no pampering on the track.  You push hard, until you can't push anymore.  Then you push a little bit more and turn the volume down a notch or two.  Once the reserve is back, you turn the volume back up.

A three hour workout, you can't go full speed for the entire duration.  As much as these are about the workouts, they are also about the building up the stamina.  The darker side is the realization that there needs to be more mental focus, more grit, more determination.  It is a practical restoration of many things lost or shattered.

This also means that I must fight through the hot spots, blisters, aches, and sore muscles.  They are all required.  Pain is not some cliche, it reminds you of the simple fact you are alive.  It also happens to be a barometer of measurement - measuring progress.

Of course even with good (dark Mediterranean) blood, it has been many years since my skin has been exposed to summer sun for hours.  The result a nice sunburn.  It turned to a very deep tan for about a week before peeling.  Par for the course.  Due to that I took the weekend of the Fourth off.  My body probably needed the rest anyway.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Hell Week, Day One

   Well it has begun.  Hell week begins with a 6.5 mile workout.  A new tradition has begun.  Every Friday night is a return, a pilgrimage to that storied track of mine.  Last week there were at least 20 people jogging and walking.  This week about 12, in small groups of 2 and 3, spread over a 3 hour block of time.
   It is not about them, this what I do, is about progress and improvement.  Not a major bump, but tonight I realized in the latter half of my own workout that this journey of mine is going to be chalk full of scrapes-bruises-soreness, and just downright pain.
    Grit and determination.  It is pretty evident that I pulled my left leg calf muscle tonight in my run, jog, walk, spring combination.  Re-instill discipline.  There will be no running for one week.  Still workouts, but zero running.  I managed to walk out the pull after stabilizing it.  I walked it out for 2 more miles.  It is going to hurt and throb tomorrow like a sonovagun.  Massaged, and prepped for the ride home.  No problem already feels a bit sore, but it is lightly wrapped for the night to prevent out of control swelling.
  Today was tough.  On the bright side instead of consuming 3 meals in post recovery shut down for the night, It was kept at about 300 Calories.  I did not feel like I was going to die, and my body does not feel nearly as depleted.  The workout breathing has improved, and I have seen my HR/BP dial back to near normal, finally, for the first time in more years than I want to remember.
   In 2 days I will hit a short 2 mile trail hike.  Then we will see for next week.  Looks like some hard core body workouts, and dial back the distance workouts until next Friday.  Next friday will see a very light version of tonight for only 6 miles, provided the calf is doing okay.  Can not afford muscle tears.  It seems and acts like a minor pull, as it has yet to swell up.  Keeping it working should help the recovery, which will hurt like hell, but come out undamaged, just touchy pain nerves. 
   This is a small bump, as I knew there would be and will be many, that is livable and does not change the dynamic of training.  More motivation to ditch 40 pounds in 4 months.  That will have a significant reduction of injury risk factor for sure.  Tired of looking at the extra person anyway!

   On the way.  This won't be easy.  It will test my mettle everyday.  It will be the next toughest thing I ever do.  But this is my journey.  This is the path that I have chosen.  For me, this is the right way.  Grit and Determination will get me through, once again.