Saturday, November 29, 2008

The Post-Thanksgiving Eating and Running

THE RUN

The 10K Cotton Row run (personal) this morning was just nice.
Nothing spectacular or bad, just nice.
The prediction from them-what-get-paid-to-know-such-things was for rain.
And, in fact, it did rain a little.
So, dressed for a drenching, I started out (a bit later than I planned) in rain hat (which I have yet to be able to test in a true frog-floater) and rain top (tried and true).
Start time was 6:07:25.
It was 48 degrees.
Almost bare leg weather.
I had not gone half a block when the drizzle quit for the duration.

I just putted on in the gray/cloudy morning hoping all necessary body parts and processes behave themselves for the next hour or so.
I was not out of mile one before the zipper of the rain top came down.

In mile two the hat came off, and in mile three the knit gloves came off.
Fortunately, I had my kangaroo pouch in my rain top to store all this stuff.
But I felt like a pregnant woman running. (I know all you pregnant runners will disagree with a smirk and slow shake of the head.)

The Hill was slippery as it seemed that the light rain had not been enough to wash the car oil/grease off the rough concrete.
I climbed carefully up the grade then began running again.
I felt a bit tired today, perhaps because I walked six miles yesterday instead of my usual three. (I had done my usual three miler in the morning then joined a friend later to show them another three-mile course they were considering traversing after work.)

There was a brief sharp complaint from left knee for about ten seconds, that was serious enough to warrant executive attention, but before a council could be assembled the problem went away.

Evidently, the other runners in the area are water soluble because they all stayed in today.
Even though it was not raining, I saw no one except two young ladies being walked by their dog, and another older lady walking by herself.
Everyone else slept in.

My finish was strong, if not a true sprint.
End time was 7:07:30.
Call it sixty minutes.
Not bad for an old guy.

THE EATING

The Feast of the Leftovers has begun.
The redundant turkey dinners are being enjoyed by all (me, myself, and I) and the turkey sandwiches are awesome.
My turkey breast turned out just right, fully cooked and still moist, and I am loving every replay of it (and dreading its disappearance).
In just a few minutes I am going to do it all over again - warm turkey breast, cranberry sauce, cornbread dressing, sweet potatoes.
No pies this year. (sadly....)

But I checked this morning and my cephalics are still on display when I am warm.
This attribute will be the gage of my bodyfat/water retention in the near term.
Lean is good.
We will see how my upcoming work schedule affects my eating/exercise/leanness plan.

Just three more weeks of shortening days and then we reverse the process until next June.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Thanksgiving Day 2008

3:35 AM

I wake up, look at my clock, roll over and enjoy some more relaxation.

4:25 AM

I wake up, look at my clock, roll over and enjoy some more relaxation.

4:58 AM

My radio starts playing quietly.
I debate with myself whether I want to hear any world news.
No, wins.
So I throw my warm, snuggly covers back, swing my legs over the side of the bed and sit up.
My back is a bit stiff from my one hour leaf-raking session yesterday, so I do a few left and right twisting moves to loosen things up a bit.

I stand up, turn off my radio and shuffle to the thermostat.
It is 67 degrees in my house.
The radio lady said it was 33 outside.
My new insulation is doing a good job.
I reset the temp to 72 and begin my morning ablutions as the heater begins its warm-ups.

After cutting little face hairs and a nice, warm shower, I am ready to cook food.
Today will be a high carb day due to the turkey dinners I will consume, so my breakfast will be a low carb session.
Three eggs fried/steamed and a half glass of milk.
That's it.
By 6:30 I am done cooking, eating, and washing the dishes.
I turn on my computer and check my email and the news.
Nothing much is happening - other than a terrorist attack in India.
And 32,000 children around the world will starve to death today.

7:00 AM

Time to begin my Thursday weight workout.
I change some clothes, call up the spreadsheet on my computer that shows my training log.
I start with lying leg lifts but my lower back is very upset from my raking session yesterday (I guess) and will not cooperate with the ninety-five degree angle range my leg lifts want.
So, we go to Plan B for abs/warm-up (I hate ab work so I use my abdominal exercises as my overall warm-up exercise), hanging leg lifts.
Everyone in back is happy with this angle of movement (still about 95 degrees but the greatest stress in on the top [contracted] of the movement rather than the bottom [stretched] part) and I do a set of 30.
Done.
Then it is on to standing bent barbell rows.
I do a warm-up set of 25 with 95 pounds.
Then two sets of 20 with 135 pounds.
Done.

Then it is on to incline bench press.
I set my bench back to 45 degrees.
I do a warm-up set of 20 with 55 pounds.
Then two sets of 14 with 75 pounds.
My strength is up a bit today.
Done.

Then it is time for bent dumbbell rows.
I load one of my dumbbells with 75 pounds.
Left arm 14 reps.
Right arm 14 reps.
Rest.
Left arm 16 reps.
Right arm 16 reps.
Rest.
Left arm, 14 reps.
Right arm, 14 reps.
My strength is still up a bit.
Done.

Time for incline dumbbell butterflies (or just dumbbell flies, as some call it.).
I unload the 75 pound dumbbell and reload both to 30 pounds each.
I set the bench to 22 degrees from horizontal.
I sit down.
With a dumbbell in each hand, I lift the two weights from the floor to my lap, lean back, press the two weights up over my shoulders and begin.
Out to the sides and back up, 20 times.
Rest.
Set two is 18 reps.
Set three is 15 reps.
Not bad.
Workout done.
Total weight lifted today = 23,140 pounds.
Amazing.

8:30 AM
It is time to begin preparation for the great feast.
My turkey breast has been thawing in the refrigerator for two days.
With my cook book in hand, I repair to the kitchen to begin the preparation of the bird.
Remove bird from refrigerator, unwrap in sink, extract gravy packet, wash, drain and pat dry, place in special rack in special baking pan, rub with vegetable oil, sprinkle with basil and sage, install meat thermometer in side of turkey breast, the oven beeps indicating assumption of 335 degrees, open oven, slide pan/rack/turkey breast into oven, close door, start timer.
Woo hoo
Good stuff coming soon.
It is 9:03 AM

10:00 AM
I check the turkey breast.
All things appear nominal.
I check my four solar heaters in the back room.
The air rising off the top of them is 95.3 degrees.
The sky is mostly clear with a few thin clouds drifting by.
They will cook until about noon, when the sun moves too far west to provide any direct light on them.

12:00 PM

The turkey breast is finally done.
My oven took its time getting to the correct temperature and so it took longer for the bird to reach the desired internal temperature.
But it is now done.

Now to cook the dressing.
Pre-made and frozen, fresh from the store.
About ninety more minutes and the feast begins.
Sweet potatoes and cranberry sauce will be prepared while the dressing is cooking.

2:00

The turkey breast has been carved to the bones and is ready for serving.
The dressing is done.
The sweet potatoes are done.
The cranberry sauce is ready for serving.
The Messiah is playing on the stereo.
Anticipation is running high.

2:15

I sit down to eat my feast.
No pies this year.
I will just have a couple of cookies after the main course.

2:30

Time to wash the dishes and pans.
Five hours of preparation, and cooking for about 15 minutes of eating.
Actually, the stove did most of the cooking.
I just watched.
In all fairness, "all" this prep and cooking has produced enough food to supply about 12 meals.
I'm fixed up for the rest of this week and most of next week.

2:37

Everything is washed and set out to air dry.
I feel a nap coming on....

And I ponder my state of blessedness.
I am very blessed of God.
He has given me salvation from sin.
He has made me part of a good congregation of dear people.
He has given me a spiritual mind and eye.
He has given me a gift of the Spirit - teaching.
He has supplied my material needs and most wants to this very moment.
He has given me very good health.
He had given me a nice family.
He is my shepherd and I have no needs.
Life is good.
God is good.

Monday, November 24, 2008

JUST SO YOU KNOW...

... I'm not dead.

The run Saturday morning was mostly good.
It was only 25 degrees instead of the predicted 19.
I was three layers deep top and bottom and that proved to be just about right.
The top zippers came down toward the end of mile three, and the mittens came off at the end of mile three.
And, amazingly, my time was 59 minutes.
I don't know how that happened.
I did not even try to go faster.

The other walks and runs and weight workouts are all going well.
Well enough that my bodyfat is inching lower.
I am at the point now where my cephalic veins are starting to show on my upper arms.
This is the mark of leanness - a la Dara Torres, as I mentioned previously.
I managed to take a picture just to document the progress.




All of this may disappear for a few weeks, what with Thanksgiving and Christmas vacation coming, and the associated excesses therein.
But wee shall see.

Monday, November 17, 2008

There is a reason they call it Fall

Remember my big tree in the front yard with all the pretty yellow-gold leaves?



Well, it took only three days for it to fall apart.



So, I spent two and a half hours to day adjusting the disposition of the leavage in my yard.



Instead of a generally even distribution of parts all over the yard (and that of the neighbors), I moved them all closer to the curb so the city men can vacuum them up some day soon (one of the benefits of living in the city).

At the risk of TMI I will provide some details of the raking session today.

Some background:
Mondays are weight lifting days and I exercise in the morning about an hour after breakfast.
Which I did this morning.
It is an upper body session involving back, chest, shoulders, biceps and triceps, and abs.
(Lower body - legs - are handled by my walking and running five days a week.)

Three weeks ago I added three new exercises to the Monday party to bump up the total poundage lifted to make it more closely match the total pounds I lift on Thursdays - about 23,000 pounds if you are counting.
End of background.

This morning's session was very productive in that I pounded my upper body parts into useless pulp and it took almost an hour for them to recover enough for them to be useful again.
I waited a couple of hours for the outside temperature to warm up a bit, had an early lunch at 10:30 (I was HUNGRY), then grabbed my cotton gloves and went outside.

I knew that a couple of hours of raking would further exercise my already pounded upper parts, but I wanted to get this done before tomorrow, when it would be even colder (and maybe windy-er).
So, it was suck-it-up time.

Raking leaves is a great whole body aerobic/anaerobic exercise that involves legs, hips, back, tummy obliques/intercostals, lats, front, middle and rear deltoids, biceps, triceps and forearms.
EVERYBODY dances at a leaf-raking party.

About a half an hour into the festivities, my biceps began to cramp.
This had never happened to me before and was a weird sensation.
Sadly, the only cure for muscle cramps is cessation of the stimulus, stretching the affected muscle and ingestion of potassium.
Bananas and orange juice are very good sources of potassium but I had neither of them on hand.
So I adjusted my technique to give my complaining bi's some rest.

More background:
After I started weight lifting and studying for my ACE personal trainer exam, I realized that almost every household task was similar to an exercise I was doing in my gym. (pushing the lawnmower was similar to doing bench presses, etc.)
I was amazed at how many gym moves were mimicked by real world activities around the house or at work.
End of more background.

So I was interested in the amount of work my intercostal/oblique abdominal muscles were doing as I twisted my torso while raking my leaves toward me or next to me.
Similar to sweeping the floor, but with more resistance. (leaves are heavy - especially if they are wet.)

Anyway, after two-and-a-half hours of playing in the front yard, the leaves are ensconced next to the curb for the big sucker truck to come by and eat them.
Tuesday is running day and I may be sore tomorrow when I run in the sub-freezing pre-dawn local three-miler.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Some of This And Some of That

The run this morning was a mixed bag.
I traversed the six-mile Cotton Row course once again.
As I stepped out the door and 5:45, I found that in addition to the 51 degree coolness, it was drizzling.
So, it was back into the house to adjust the outfit by adding my "rain cover".
My rain cover is an old nylon anorak, which, while not "waterproof" does keep all but the mightiest downpours off of my inner layers.
Also, I have just acquired a new nylon ball cap made for running in the wet.
I thought this would be the perfect morning to try it out.
Well, sort of.

By the time I got the the parking lot of the VBC, the rain had all but stopped.
But the dark clouds looked ready to supply more at any moment, so I kept the rain gear on.
The official start time today was 5:57:18.
I have no idea how I remember these trivial numbers, but I do.

The goal, again today, was to beat the 59 minute time of a few weeks ago.
The rain (which was virtually gone now) clothes would not help.

The cool weather required long pants and long sleeves.
But I had pulled on my medium-weight top, which would have been just dandy for a dry, windless jaunt - but not under my rain top.
The proper top layer under the rain cover is one of my light-weight Coolmax tops.
And, though I felt toasty in the first quarter mile, I knew in my heart that I had over-dressed.
(I hate that...)
So, I was not out of Mile One before I was pulling zippers down to vent Steevee heat.
Then the hat came off.
And late into mile three, the mesh gloves were shed. (shedded? sheddened?)
Fortunately, my rain anorak has a kangaroo pocked and I stuffed all my unneeded accouterments into it, otherwise I would have looked like the Rag Man.

I walked up the first half of The Hill, doing my usual (lately) heel raises.
Bankhead Parkway was so covered with wet leaves that I could not see the sidewalk for long periods.
And the leaves were slimy and slippery in places.

And then.... my left knee/thigh started acting like it wanted to lay down and rest a while.
Nuh uh.
This was not a muscle problem (although the quadraceps muscles were acting like they did not want to contract), nor a connective tissue issue (like that?).
It was some sort of neurological malfunction.
Not good.
Running Central, Coach, and Runner held a hastily arranged conference.
The decision was to keep going at pace until something deteriorated further.
It was a good decision.

As in virtually all other cases of impending physical disaster during a run, this problem went away.
By the time I had arrived at Pratt Avenue, I was chugging along like a teenager with nary a leg problem in sight.

When I turned onto Clinton Avenue the second time (at the parking garage) the predicted/promised cold wind hit me in the face and I was glad I had my rain cover on.
That wind would have blown right through my mesh top, had it been my only layer.
Up to that point I had a nice light sweat going.
Not no mo.

The last quarter mile was a good steady push against the wind and the clock.
But, alas, the effort was insufficient - 6:59:25 - 62 minutes.
Oh, well.

Epilogue....
When I got home and was walking into the house, my left knee had plenty to say about abuse and pain and whatnot.
That was when I realized that my problem may be a nerve that crosses my knee or stimulates my quadriceps.
Not sure.
Anyway, after I nice hot shower everyone was happy and quiet.

AND....
.... for those of you who were wondering what I was referring to when I mentioned my Cephalic veins (which are still coming out a few more nanometers each day) and Dara Torres, here is what I was typing about:



Dara with her hair pulled back and her Cephalic tubes in full bloom.
Awesome.

Friday, November 14, 2008

A FUN TIME WAS HAD BY ALL...

I did, anyway.
It has been a week of surprises.
First, my Check Engine light came on in my car.
That was Sunday night after church.
Then Monday morning I got a call from Matt Wingate inviting me (and my instruments/equipment) to a Wingate family music party.

I have known the Wingate family for over thirty-nine years.
One thing they have in common is a genetic ability to sing/play music (among many other talents).
So, once in a while (not often enough) they/we get together and play music.
They are also nice people and fun to be with.



Anyway, Monday evening, we partied (much to the distress of the neighbors, methinks).
A highlight of the festivities was the attendance of Jim Wingate and his wife, Faye.
We actually did not get to visit much, what with all the singing and playing going on nearly non-stop.
But it was good to see them again since they moved (for employment) to Tallahassee, Fla.
Jim has been a true friend to me in many ways and in many circumstances in these many years.



In addition to Matt, Jim and Faye, there was his brothers Allen, and Tommy, and children Jessica, and Amanda (two different ladies in some ways but both precious and delightful in unique ways. I love them both.)
My son, Josh, was the designated drummer for most of the time, with Allen spelling him a time or two.





At the end of the Monday hoedown, it was decided that once was not enough, so we/they decided to do it all again on Thursday evening.

The three-mile run Tuesday morning was good.
No issues, no physical complaints.
Live was good.

Tuesday morning I took my baby to the car man to have its tummy checked.
While we were at it, I decided to have the steering gear replaced because it had developed a leak (the kind of leak combined with the design of the mechanism requires that the whole thingy be replaced - not my favorite design.)
Soooo.... I was carless Tuesday, and Wednesday.

The three-mile walk Wednesday morning was uneventful and, in spite of forecasts of wetness descending from the sky, mostly dry.

I found out the car would not be ready by Wednesday evening so I missed church for the first time in Minnee months.
Then I found out the car would not be ready Thursday either.
Hmmm.
This was getting monopolous.

Sooo... I had to hitch a ride (me and the "equipment") to the music shindig #2 with Tommy on his way home from work.
THAT meant I had to hitch a ride home with Jim and Faye after the dance (we didn't really dance - well, Allen did, if you want to call it that).

Round two was at Matt's pad and we had the volume up.
Everyone was in a chipper mood and the music reflected it.
We, again, recorded everything on CD, just in case something came out good.

I will say this, for the ensemble to only play together one or two times a year, this is one of the tightest bands you will ever hear.
The skill, musicianship, sense of rhythm, and balance is amazing.
You will not hear a better band in any club or concert.
They play Together.
Everyone gets a shot at a solo.
And when they do their individual thing, the others blend and compliment the work.
And these folks can PLAY.
There was some amazing chops going down at the hoedown (we have the CDs to prove it).

The walk this morning was in a wet, light fog.
The light wind was from the south so I heard the recorded bugle calls and our guys shouting as they ran on the Arsenal.
I only got four and a half hours sleep last night so I was feeling a little sluggish as I trod the asphalt.
Coach kept urging me on, to burn a few additional calories.

I am pleased to report that my body fat has continued to diminish to the extent that my cephalic veins are starting to show.
I like that.
I would love for my arms to look like those of Dara Torres.
But, alas, I do not have the muscle mass that she has (the curse -or blessing - of genetics).

Hopefully, my Baby will be fixed today, I need to go food shopping.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Nature Ignores ...

... the workings of people, for the most part.

While the news media is all atwitter about the mumblings and movements of the President-elect in the United States, she (as it is commonly ascribed) is going on with her annual leaf-color change thing.

My tree (of which I know not the precise make, model or year) in the front yard is showing off its colors again.
You may notice in the far picture that my tree is the only one on my street that adorns itself in this manner.


Sunday, November 09, 2008

Simplistic Notions

“Now in the last seven years we have had the highest corporate profit ever in American history.
Highest corporate profit!
We’ve had the highest productivity!
The American worker has produced more per person at any time, but it hasn’t been shared, and that’s the problem because we have been guided by a republican administration who believes in this simplistic notion that people who have wealth are entitled to keep it and they have an antipathy towards the means of redistributing wealth.”

- U.S. Representative Jim Moran
Democrat, Virginia
November 4, 2008


This is the philosophy of your new leaders.
Enjoy your poverty.....

"Fools and blind!..." Matthew 23:17

Saturday, November 08, 2008

In God We Trust

Another Lovely Run

I again, ran the Cotton Row course.
The new daylight made the journey less forbidding.

My goal was to beat my 59 minute time of a couple of weeks ago.
But early into mile one I felt less than as strong as I would have liked.
I soldiered on with no physical problems and, at the urging of Coach, pushed a bit on any slight downhill parts there were in the first three miles.
I walked the first half of The Hill and did heel raises as I walked the steep incline.
I tried to push a bit going down Bankhead Parkway and Pratt Avenue, Clinton and Randolph.
By the time I reached Clinton again for the final quarter mile, I was into level three breathing and not feeling confident about my time.
There was little left for the Big Finish I had planned.
The two ladies I have passed in weeks past, were still in the VBC parking lot stretching.
They were late.
My time came out to 59:45.
I was disappointed with my time, but pleased with how I felt.
No joint issues, no muscle/connector issues.

A PROGNOSTICATION

What does the future hold?

January 09 is too soon to see much change.
We will have a better idea by January 2010, after 12 months of a deepening depression.
I expect a replay of Jimmy Carter's dance.
Stagflation.

Near zero growth of GDP, inflation of 5-10 percent annually, productivity at near zero, massive federal deficits in spite of 20 - 50 percent increases in income taxes, business bankruptcies at record levels, unemployment at 8 - 10 percent, 25 percent reductions in defense spending turns Huntsville, Alabama into a ghost town.

With no one left to tax, the Congress has to delay the implementation of the new health care rationing system, doctors and nurses strike sporadically across the nation, the price of gas goes above $6.00 per gallon for the first time, lack of supply causes spot shortages, and there are food riots in Detroit.

Six months after the last American troops leave Iraq in June of 2009, Iran invades and overwhelms the Iraqi army, but Israel makes surgical strikes on Iranian nuclear facilities which destroys their bomb-making abilities.
Iran does not retaliate because all resources are consumed with the drawn out battle with the Kurds in the north of Iraq.
The Obama administration sends an envoy to Tehran to negotiate a more moderate solution, but nothing meaningful results beyond a joint statement of mutual understanding and Arab unity for greater regional stability and world peace.

China, while liking the new "moderate" tone of American foreign policy, invades Taiwan and installs a puppet government.
Thousands of protesters are murdered in the streets.
The Obama administration sends Jesse Jackson to negotiate a compromise arrangement, which fails to produce anything meaningful beyond a joint statement of mutual understanding on regional stability for greater world peace.

China also takes over North Korea with a new, more "enlightened" hand-picked leader.
The military of South Korea goes on alert, while the Obama administration sends an envoy to negotiate a more moderate solution, which fails to produce anything meaningful beyond a joint statement of mutual understanding of regional stability which ensures greater world peace.

I can hear it now...
"The state......of our nation.....is good.
But there are .... still challenges .... that we must.... overcome.
But Americans.... are a resilient ... people.
And together.... we shall overcome.... the challenges we face."

Ad nauseum.

The deluded American public, not wanting to believe that their historic, first black president is a failure, wait nervously for a miracle.
Sarah Palin is accused of incest by Rahm Imanuel.

Enjoy your freedoms today.
You will not have them much longer.
.

Friday, November 07, 2008

An Outline For the Coming Deconstruction

With Democrats/liberals/socialists in every elected branch of government, they can easily feel that they have a "mandate" from "the people" to enact whatever their little black hearts desire.

As they do, all the protest emails to congress from the defeated, squabbling conservative losers will fall on blind eyes.

The star-struck populace so enamored with their new messiah will accept every act of dismemberment of morality, structure, and economic institution in the belief that he is making things better for them.

When it finally becomes apparent that he and his demons have killed the goose that lays the golden eggs, it will be too late to resuscitate and resurrect the bird.

Remember the "Stagflation" of Jimmy Carter?

Get ready for it again.

One day of terrorist attacks on Washington, D.C. will provide the final bullet to a nation, bankrupt morally, philosophically, politically, and economically.

To the few of us still with a will to fight, we will try to mount a revolution.

It will be too little too late.

In God we trust....

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

They Bought The Lie

Well, a sufficient number of Americans believed the lies to elect a socialist as President of the United States.

God as allowed the Chaldeans to invade our nation.
We are about to be taken captive and marched off to Babylon.

Over the next four years, we will witness the wholesale dismantling of virtually every institution we have.

Soon you will no longer have the right to property; it belongs to the state.

Soon you will no longer have the right to whatever wealth you have earned; it belongs to the state.

Soon you will no longer have the right to listen to whomever you desire on the radio; programming will be controlled by the state.

Soon you will no longer be able to go to the doctor of your choice and be treated in a timely manner; healthcare will be rationed by the state.

Soon your income taxes will go up 25 to 50 percent when the Bush tax cuts are allowed to expire.

Soon you will not be able to say anything negative about homosexuals (including quoting from the Bible) because it will be classed as "hate speech" and you will be prosecuted for it.

Soon your IRAs and 401k's will be taken from you and transferred to the Social Security Trust Fund so the politicians can pass it out to others who contributed nothing to it.

Many of you who work for defense contractors will be unemployed because the defense budget will be cut by 25 percent.

And it is possible that you just voted in the last presidential election you will ever vote in.
A "state of emergency" may be in force four years from now which will suspend all political activity.

I expect a massive depression in 2009 as the business sector begins to comprehend the scope and depth of the changes proposed by the liberal socialists as they run amuck overturning virtually every right and privilege we assume is guaranteed by the Constitution.

May God have mercy on us.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

On This Momentous Day....

My the time gets away.

Since we last visited, I ran nine more miles, studied for, and passed my HR Block tax preparation course (woo hoo!) and stood in line this morning (after a nice run in the semi-darkness) and voted.

I wonder if God is going to let the Chaldeans invade this country and take us all to Babylon.

Here is the scripture that has been on my mind for the last week or so regarding this event...

10 ... because they did not receive the love of the truth, that they might be saved.
11 And for this reason God will send them strong delusion, that they should believe the lie,
12 that they all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness.

2 Thessalonians 2:10-12

I realize that this passage is referring to people in a spiritual context, but it seems to apply to us in a national/political aspect as well.

We shall see....
Tonight there will be a news blackout at my house.
Much more edifying activities to pass the time doing.