grandmas-marathon-logo

Here I go again!

I registered for Grandma’s recently and am super excited. I’ve got a much better idea of what it takes to train and what to expect while training, as well as what’s going to happen during the race itself since I ran Chicago last year. If I can meet a planned goal time of 4:15 for this I’ll be really happy. That’s a super aggressive time when you look at my previous time of 5:28 but that was running/walking in extreme pain just hoping I’d make it to the finish line before they closed the course. It was rough and I know for sure I can do better. 4:15 was my previous goal time and I’ll be happy if I come close.


If a red panda can do a muscle up so can I dammit.


In the Zone (diet)

Have officially start counting blocks and macros and all that silliness today and I can tell (at 10:00am on the first day) it’s going to be HARD. I pay very little attention to calories and overall diet with the exception of knowing I don’t eat terribly and can say that with relative certainty. That mentality isn’t going to get me very far (or lighter) any time soon, so here I go.

I have done the calorie tracking thing before in addition to exercise and it paid off. I lost about 30 pounds altogether and have kept it off since. At this point I’m dealing with a bunch of things I haven’t dealt with before like wanting to lose weight without sacrificing muscle mass and being over 40. I also used cardio almost exclusively for long stretches to burn calories (1 hour or more) and I don’t have that kind of time now. I’m not even sure if that would work at this point or if it’s the right thing for me. Thankfully my coach will be helping me with tracking my diet.

I haven’t finished the zone diet book yet or figured out a formal plan for the diet so that needs to happen before I can even say I’ve officially done anything but I have a general idea to keep in mind for the next few days before a plan is in place. Looking forward to how it’ll change the way I approach a daily routine since I’m just kinda winging it from day to day. I wake up, go to CrossFit, eat breakfast, go to work and eat whatever then go home and eat whatever. Not a great plan for weight loss.


Hugs

I’ve largely stopped paying attention to news cycles, specifically local and regional news and opt to stay informed via social media, specifically Twitter. My disgust with television news began about ten years ago when my wife and I lived in our last apartment in Chicago and literally everything reported on was death. Non-stop death and pain and I just didn’t see the point in turning on the tv to that every morning. I couldn’t even watch the local news if I wanted to since I’ve been without an active television signal for about six years now. I’ll not turn this into a rant about how much cable services suck on pretty much all levels as this is largely a rant about sensational news reporting and my extreme distaste for it.

Life is hard, people get hurt, people die, bad people get away with things that they shouldn’t get away with, I get it. To wake up every morning and have someone smilingly read you those very same points over and over again day after day is very tiring. I dared not become desensitized to it and just turned off the tv. For good.

Entertainment delivered to me via a large glowing panel of liquid crystal are now mostly fictional tales about people who run fast or have some other sort of superpower. I like it this way since the death and dismemberment news cycle is still spinning, faster and more furious than ever before.

When I do occasionally catch a glimpse of the cold world outside that feeds the mass media all I want to do is go home and hug my family until they get sick of me, which is sometimes pretty soon if I haven’t shaved in awhile or someone’s in the middle of a video game. And my wife just thinks I’m trying to get fresh so I can’t really catch a break when there are hugs to give out.


Oh yeah, this happened.

Took the boys out for an official run. Jimmy made it a half mile and Charlie went 1.11 miles only slowing around .85 for a brief second. Always proud of my boys.


Over the weekend while visiting my parents, my dad asked me “why do you keep trying to kill yourself?” Now, out of context this might seem like a pretty horrible question and something I’d need to seek help about but it’s really the opposite and in reference to how I was sore from running a lot the previous week. I don’t intentionally hurt myself but by slowly pushing my limits I get sore from time to time. I’m running faster than I have in the past six years (by a lot: avg running pace down to 8:30 vs. 11:00), lifting considerably more than I have since I started weight lifting (recent 1RM deadlift PR of 345), and the injuries that have plagued me in the past are no more. I’m confident that the combination of weight training and aerobic exercise in equal balance has contributed to my progress.

This year’s running goals aren’t as aggressive as last year but the calendar is pretty full. Why am I killing myself? Well, this year I’d like to: run a sub-2 hour half, run a 21:00 min 5k (or at least very close) and try something different (tri, obstacle race, whatever). I’m learning what it is to diligently train for these events with hard goals in mind and it’s not easy nor is it quick and steady. There’s ups, downs, setbacks but best of all, little victories that give you hope it’ll all be worth it when the time on the clock is THE time.

I’ve also got the wife doing some strength training to help with her hip issues that have kept her from competing in years past. So far things look good and she’s anxious to keep going. Have the first few bits of our garage gym sitting in a box at my house, just delivered today. Mats next, weights and squat rack last. Then onto victory.

And probably some donuts.


Death of the pizza

I’ve been making pizza from scratch for a good long while now. I started when Ginger and I were living in the apartment in Chicago and I got a bread making recipe book that had a really good pizza crust recipe in it. I would up serving that pizza at parties and for guests to many favorable reviews and continued to make it when we moved out to the house in the burbs but eventually started using a pre-made dough that a local grocer offered. It made things much easier and didn’t taste all that different and I’d actually grown to like it even a little better than the recipe I started with.

Eventually it became a tradition to make it for the kids, one I very much enjoyed. It’s really nice to be able to make something for someone where that’s their favorite of that thing, I was always happy to do it. Well, just recently my oldest decided that my pizza is no longer his favorite, even so much as he didn’t eat any of it when it was served and opted eventually for something else that night for dinner. At first I was a little rattled, wondering the whole time if I’d somehow screwed up the recipe or maybe did something slightly different that would throw him off. He’s actually very sensitive to little changes in food and has been for a long time, it would not have surprised me if it was a small misstep that I was unaware of that threw him. At least I hope it was that, until it happened again.

With Charlie’s relatively recent expansion of his palette, I can’t take it too personally and really shouldn’t even if that wasn’t the case. My tastes have changed over the past few years to include things that I wouldn’t have ever considered eating previously so I understand how it all comes around eventually. I do hope I can find something that he enjoys me cooking for him but with as much as I cook lately it’ll probably be a bit before that happens.


Old

Other people make you feel old, sometimes just by existing. It seems like taking notice of all the things that can make someone feel old is the first step to actually noticing that you’re getting older. Yeah, that sounds pretty stupid as I read it but I haven’t really taken notice of things like that as they might apply to me only until the past year or so … after turning 40.

I suppose 20 years is a good amount of time to look back on and most of what I’m referring to are instances where people refer to songs that were popular “TWENTY DAMN YEARS AGO” like that’s basically some horrible span of time and that it all would have been forgotten about without some sort of shocking reminder. Really, songs that were popular during my senior year of high school still get air play so I’m not sure how much shock value one gets from all that.

Noticing that the other people around me are pretty much half my age isn’t all that bad, until the culture shock. Yesterday someone whim I work with didn’t know who Demi Moore was. Honestly, that’s not huge since she’s been out of the spotlight for awhile but not even knowing her existence was a little bit shocking to me. I haven’t even really processed it yet but it’s not the first time this has happened with some of the younger folks around me and when I take note of how one of them was born the year I started college leads me to believe that I might be aging just a bit, as time just keeps moving and there are gentle reminders all around but until you’ve got more time behind you than possibly ahead it doesn’t nag at you so much, or you don’t even notice it at all.

Honestly, I can’t say that I feel any older. I’ve been taking much better care of myself in the past couple years and my body isn’t all pissed off an achy like I might have imagined (if I thought of that sort of thing) when I was 20ish. Not exactly remembering if there were ANY aches and pains back then makes it easier to think not much has changed, so I’ll go with that.


Thank you, best family ever.

It’s nice to sit back and count your accomplishments for the year and realize that you got there with the help of a fantastic support system, specifically an amazing family that has achieved quite a bit on its own in the very same year and it still going strong, full speed into the next year without showing signs of slowing down.

My amazing wife is a published illustrator, again. She might take her previous efforts of getting published in fantasy work lightly but it was really an affirmation that showed she’s had it in her all along. Not small potatoes either; however, this is big time now. Every major book retailer sells her new book, and it’s something she’s really proud of and me and the boys are pretty damn proud of her for it. It’s a major accomplishment and totally freaking cool to go to Amazon.com, search for her name and have legitimate results come up. People try their entire lives for something like that and never make it, this was her first try at children’s book illustration. First. Proud hubby, very proud.

My boys continue to amaze me on a daily basis but sitting back and taking stock of a year to realize how well they are growing up and how wonderful they are gives a different perspective on their overall achievements and development as boys on their way to adulthood. I say that lightly since I’m sure that if I pause for at least one second to let them get ahead of me I’ll be staring at two full grown men before I know it so there’ll be no resting and plenty of reflection on their years as well as mine. Especially since they’re doing so well with that growing up thing they keep doing.

I thank my family for being the type that pushes you to be better, the type that supports you along the way and the type that makes it easier to do the hard stuff because they are totally worth every bit of blood, sweat and tears that goes into it. Love you, best family ever, and happy new year.


I suppose on some level I understand people who get inspiration from a constant barrage of inspirational sayings and posters. The effect of a positive outlook on things seems to have a positive effect on life, or at least my life at this point in time. No, I haven’t been shopping at Successories and gone all kumbaya or whatever but I have taken notice of people that I follow for fitness tips and their posting of daily affirmation type of stuff and managed to pay attention without it turning me into a cultist or one of those people who won’t brush their teeth because of fluoridated water.

So, I’ve officially gone through one year of CrossFit and don’t think I would have expected to be saying that a few years ago when I took fitness a little less seriously (read: not at all). Sure, I’ve been an active runner for about five years now and have had a bit of exercise in some form for about that long as well. I started when I noticed my general overall health starting to turn into a less than desirable state and stuck with it in a general sense up until this year when I decided to train for the Chicago marathon and recognized the need for a little more in the training arsenal.

I’ve got a lot to be thankful for, a family that depends on me and a lot to look forward to, I needed to be in good shape and healthy and a lax approach to that wasn’t cutting it and didn’t want to get hurt or waste all that time training for something and have it up going to pot because I was too lazy to work hard. I’ve also made a conscious effort to eat better, paying better attention to what I’m eating and how often and have seen results. This year was good, but I can do better and realize now how my past efforts didn’t produce the results I was looking for. For as much as I tell myself I’m eating better, there are times when I don’t and simply just not paying attention to calorie intake, and that always winds up negating any previous efforts to right the wrongs so to speak.

There are a ton of programs and information out there on eating better an getting in shape and the CrossFit community is not shy about sharing what it thinks is the best for its athletes. A lot of the nutrition information centers around a paleo diet, which I can honestly say I’m not up for completely, it’s just not realistic. It does introduce a good amount of guidelines on how to eliminate sugars and carbs, which I’m trying to do more of but that’s where we come back to the realistic part. I do like cereals and oatmeal for breakfast (along with other things on the no-no list) and they don’t require a lot of prep time, so they get chosen over more paleo choices and I go on my merry way.

I can’t say I even really gave paleo enough of a shot to see if it would be worth the trouble but I’m not sure I even care. It’s just too much of a pain in the ass, even without kids and a 9-5 schedule. I think diet is one of those things that evolves as you get older and your body changes so just roll with it, be smart about what you eat and pay attention to how your body acts to certain foods. Maybe try different diets to get an idea of what works for you but if you can’t commit entirely just figure out what that diet was trying to teach you from the beginning and take away the good parts. Eating while training is a little different but I’m not on a level where it matters enough to become ridiculous about the whole ordeal.

I’ve got some loose fitness goals set for the upcoming year but I’ve come far enough at this point to know that I’m better off focusing on things one or two at a time and not trying to cram all the things together since I may or may not be able to do them down the road or however I’ve motivated myself in the past to push through training and meet deadlines. Barring any unfortunate setbacks, 2016 should be my best year yet.