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I didn’t really feel like running this morning.  I didn’t feel like going to work today.  I guess I had what some people might call a “bad day”.  I’m not sure why.  I don’t really care.  The fact of the matter was that I ran 2.75 miles in 25:30 and that was the highlight of my day!  I tried to get out of it but that son of a bitch Kevarcen wasn’t cooperating.  Tomorrow is a weight day, and I think I’ll start posting a “Wordless Wednesday” and I will upload a random photo that I’ve taken… takes the thought out of the blog, which is sometimes nice.  It also allows me to express a little creativity which is sadly lacking in my life.

I hope  you have had as good a weekend as I have!  This is my fourth day off and I have thoroughly enjoyed every last-minute of it.  Yesterday Kevarcen and I completed the fifth week of Hal Higdon’s novice 5k program.  We got to the YMCA track at about 7:00 a.m. to escape the heat we’ve had the past few days.  We ran 2.5 miles in 22:16 according to my iPod Touch.  I think Kevarcen’s time was 22:13 according to his iPod.  I like his iPod better than mine.  The Runner’s World pace calculator gives us a pace of 9 minutes and 18 seconds per mile.  Not too bad.  I would love to finish the 5k with a 9 minute per mile pace giving us a total time of 27:54.  What do you think Kevarcen, doable?  I think so.  After the run we headed into the YMCA to lift weights.  We focused on biceps/triceps and shoulders.  It was pretty intense.  I actually reached muscle failure during several sets and I wasn’t able to complete a full minute of reps.  This will make tracking progress fairly simple!  I feel a little sore this morning when I flex and/or extend my arms and I feel some tightness in my shoulders.  If it hurts it works!  I haven’t lost any weight this week.  I weighed 210 pounds this morning.  I’ll attribute this to the fact that I have eaten like a pig since my mom and sister arrived last Wednesday.  I will do better this week!  My goal is to reach 205 pounds by next Saturday.  In addition to the runs and weight lifting this week I have walked my dog like a maniac.  We did 9 miles on Thursday, Friday and this morning.

No exercise today.  I’m working on some photos I took for a friend of mine.  He’s a clown and is working on putting together a website.  We went to a local park and started shooting.  It was a lot of fun.  There must have been 20 or 30 kids gathered around us while he was using  his clown props such as bubbles, a puppet and balloon animals.  I’m going to post a few here using the new WordPress slideshow feature.  Screw the slideshow… I decided to go with youtube instead!

This morning was the first time that I have consciously tried to make my weight lifting routine intense.  I decided that I don’t want to spend several hours a week working out.  I’m willing to do 3 or 4 hours a week so I need to make that time count.  This has worked fairly well when applied to running.  Why not make our weight routines shorter and more intense as well?  Today Kevarcen and I decided to work only chest and back.  We picked  8 exercises that we wanted to do, half of which were chest and half of which were back.  In the past we did the standard 3 sets of 10 reps.  We decided to do each exercise for a full minute or until muscle failure, whichever came first.  The first exercise was standard bench presses.  In order to spot each other we alternated sets of bench presses.  After three minutes of benching each we both went to a different exercise, one focused on back and one focused on chest.  We then simultaneously did a minute on different machines/exercises and after that minute immediately swapped to whichever exercise the other was doing.  Rest time in between sets was no more than 20 seconds at most.  This continued through all the exercises until the final exercise.  For that exercise (supine rowing) we then again alternated sets like we did the bench presses.  Today was the first time I ever broke a sweat while weight lifting.  I think we might be on to something here!  I know for a fact that most exercises ended up with between 45 and 55 reps total.  Low weights, high reps equals definition!   I am not sore at all at the moment, although I know from past experience that I’ll have the most soreness about 2 days after finishing a workout.  We will be working biceps/triceps on Friday, so I expect that by Sunday I’ll be pretty wiped out.  I’m looking forward to tomorrow as it is only a 2 mile run.  Thanks Hal for giving me an easy day!  Kevarcen and I will be off tomorrow, but we are still meeting at 7:00 a.m. because we are dedicated like that!  O.K., that’s total bullshit, we are meeting at 7:00 a.m. because it is fracking hot and we want to run in relatively mild heat!  After the run I plan on walking the dog for a good 5 miles as my cool down!

O.K., so I suppose that global warming is kicking in in a huge way!  It’s April 6 and today we had temperatures of at least 88 degrees today.  I didn’t want to run in that shit!  I didn’t want to do anything except crank my air conditioning.  Alas, that was not to be.  Today was the first run of Hal  Higdon’s fifth week of joy!  Novice joy that is.  So basically that meant a 2.5 mile run.  I wasn’t worried too much about the time.  I simply wanted to finish.  This has been a prevalent theme during my past few runs.  I am starting to get a little worried that my mental preparation for these runs isn’t quite what it should be.  Tomorrow Kevarcen and I are also  tweaking the weight lifting routine.  I think you can expect another whiny post similar to this one.  I found the Spartacus workout at Men’s Health and adapted our weight lifting routine to be similar to that.  First off, if you don’t watch Spartacus Blood and Sand on Starz, then you certainly should!  It is better than most network television, actually make that all network television.  In keeping with my current workout motif of intensity versus length… I think what Kevarcen and I have decided to do will be very beneficial.  My goal is to reach a weight of 200 pounds by my birthday, which is May 10.  I feel confident right now that I can do that.

On a different note, I am having trouble finding my blogging voice.  Somehow, what I write is not even coming close to the way that I actually speak.  I’m not really sure what to do about this, but any of you folks that have been blogging for a while, I would love a little advice.

Peace, Love and Happiness

Art

19. Turtle training

Today was an absolutely beautiful spring day.  The sun was shining and the sky was blue.  I walked the dog this morning and simply enjoyed being outside experiencing nature.  We returned from our walk at about 11 a.m. and it was getting hot.  I knew that the run would be brutal.  After a few hours of trying to talk myself out of running I got dressed and headed to the track.  The last run of week 4 of Hal Higdon’s novice 5k program called for a 2.25 mile run.  I pulled up to the track and turned on the iPod Touch, or rather I tried to turn it on.  The battery was dead.  Just great.  No mental distraction.  On top of that I realize that I am wearing a black shirt, black shorts and black socks.  Really?  The temperature is in the lower 80’s, the sun is beating down on me and I decide to wear all black.  I amaze myself with my stupidity sometimes.  I walked a lap around the track and did my customary stretching.  I turned on the stopwatch application on my phone and got ready to run.  I told myself that I wasn’t concerned with the time for the run.  I focused on my breathing and counting the laps.  I decided not to look at the stopwatch to see where my lap times were, as I felt this would simply demoralize me if the laps were slow.  During lap 5 coming around turn 1, I noticed something on the track.  A very big turtle.  This reminded me of something that Kevarcen and I have joked about in the past.  We named our weight lifting and running program turtle training at one point.  The idea being that fast lap times and heavy weights were not necessary to get healthy.  Slow and steady wins the race.  A cliché certainly, but there is an undeniable truth in that statement.  I finished the ninth lap and looked at the time.  I had run 2.25 miles in 19:37.  Not bad.  I instantly felt better about having finished my run.  I walked 2 laps and stretched before heading back home.

This is the second run I’ve completed recently without the use of my iPod.  I’m not sure where I stand with regard to running while listening to either a novel or music.  On one hand, it is a nice distraction and definitely helps the time go by quickly.  On the other hand, listening to my breathing, my footfalls and the various sounds of nature are a distraction in and of themselves.  This week will see the long runs increase by another lap to 2.5 miles.  The weight lifting regimen we use is going to change this week.  I’m not sure how that will work out, but I want to increase the intensity.  I’m not really sure how to go about that, but here’s what I want to do.  Right now we do a full body workout with about 8 or 9 exercises.  We use relatively light weights and do 3 sets of 10 reps.  What I want to do is to focus on two body parts such as chest/arms and do 8 or 9 exercises.  The next workout will focus on back/shoulders for another 8 or 9 exercises.  I am skipping lower body all together as I think running is plenty of exercise for my lower body.   I’m open to any suggestions.

Saturday I weighed myself after returning from my son’s field trip.  We were gone for three days to a barrier island on the South Carolina coast learning about the ecology of the barrier islands.  It was a total blast!  The food was good, but certainly not healthy.  Pizza, chicken tenders, pasta and meatballs, sausages, eggs, bacon… all the good kid type food.  I was sure that I was going to see an increase on the scale after we returned.  However, I was pleasantly surprised.  I weighed 208.8 pounds.  I would like to get down to 205 pounds by next Saturday.  That’s my goal for this week.

Running is without a doubt a mental challenge more so than a physical one.  As an example, let’s look at today’s scheduled training session.  On paper it looked simple, a 1.5 mile run.  Nothing to it right?   I just ran 2.25 miles this past Sunday, so today was a full 3 laps less!  Sunday I dreaded the workouts and put them off until later in the day.  I tend to do better with morning runs.  Today though, morning meant being at the YMCA track at 5:15 a.m. instead of at 6:00 a.m., this proved a  more difficult hurdle.  I only managed to get about 5.5 hours of sleep last night and I know that is nowhere near enough… I need a minimum  7 hours of sleep.  I checked the weather this morning, but really only to see if it was raining… which it was not.  I should have stepped outside to test the air!  I wore a simple long sleeve shirt and a pair of sweat pants.  When I got out at the track I realized it was cold as hell and windy on top of that.  I dare say it was in the upper 30’s.  After walking a warm up lap and stretching I went to the Jeep and got out my jacket and a pair of gloves.  This wasn’t ideal for running, but I figured a little comfort would go a long way.  We started running and I swear it seemed like torture.  I was counting the run down in 100 meter increments.  We finished our third lap and I started my mental countdown… only 1200 meters to go!  This continued every 100 meters until I completed the 1.5 mile run.  It felt like I had just run 10k!  Kevarcen kept our time and I believe the total was somewhere around 13:30.  I’m happy with that, hell I’m happy I simply finished.  The sad thing is that now according to my new friend Hal Higdon my shortest runs will be 2 miles.  I’m going to have to dig deep in the coming weeks.  If you’re listening Kevarcen, bring a shovel!  Not just for my usual bullshit either, I’m going to need you to dig deep with me!

I’ll be gone for the next few days chaperoning a field trip for my youngest son.  I’ll likely not get a chance to either exercise or post again until Saturday.  My thoughts will be with all of you that are in this struggle of the will with Kevarcen and myself.  Stay strong!