One Man's Fitness Fitness Adventures and Musings

Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Break Time Over, Back to Work

I will admit that I have been 100% slacking this holiday season. I had hurt my calf and was trying to get to the gym to hit the elliptical machine but I realized that I was doing more harm than good, it happens to us all. Since the first part of the month I have been really focusing on my martial arts training and not so much on running. I think it has been a couple of weeks since I had a real run. But that's fine, a little down time is needed every now and again. I can say that my body feels rested and now I am itching to get back into things again. But before I go into what will be I will look at what has been.

This year I accomplished quite a few things and had quite a few set backs. I turned 4o this year, which seems to be a bit of a milestone. I wasn't sure if I would make it to 25, so I am on borrowed time. :)

What did I do that was good?
  • Ran my first marathon
  • Ran a 5k at less than a 10:00 pace
  • Ran two half marathons and qualified for the National Marathon in DC (It's not the same as Boston but I will take it for now.)
  • Overall got a good deal faster
  • Lost about 35 pounds (but gained 15 back ... what can you do.)
  • Practiced martial arts a great deal during the year
  • Read about 50 books
  • Maintained a positive outlook on life

What happened that was not so good?

  • Fell into a serious funk after my marathon
  • Suffered what seemed to be injury after injury from the Summer on
  • Turned 40!!! yikes. (just kidding, I don't really care).
  • Did not reach my 1000 mile run goal, sad a little on that one.

Well it looks like the good has outdone the bad, so I think I will label it a successful year. So that leaves me asking what comes next? I am a bit of a planner so I will give you a tentative list of things on the horizon.

  1. Run in the American Odyssey Relay in April
  2. Run half marathon at the National Marathon in D.C. (still thinking about this one)
  3. Run Philadelphia Distance Run in September (half marathon)
  4. Run full marathon for Philadelphia in November
  5. Continue to keep at my martial arts training and hope to inch closer to black belt by the end of the year.
  6. Read another 40 t0 50 books.
  7. Lose that 15 pounds that came back and 20 to 25 of his brothers
  8. Keep a positive outlook on life.
  9. Try again to hit 1000 road miles for the year.

So there is my year in review, it is positive. I have had some tough times and some not so tough times. I want to thank everyone for being there and wish everyone well in the New Year.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

In Memory

On Christmas Eve of 1995 my father passed after a long battle with cancer, he was 54. It was too much for me to deal with then and even now I miss him, I suppose I always will. I have tried to make his birthday the day that I really try to remember him but I think because he died on Christmas Eve it is hard not to remember.

I do not remember in sadness as much as I once did. Recently, I wonder what he would have thought of what I was doing or if something strikes that he might have enjoyed. When he passed I was only a sophomore in undergrad and was working toward a teaching degree at the time. I wonder what he would have thought about me going to law school. I know he would have loved his grand daughter.

My father, like so many of his generation was a hard and determined man. He was on his varsity basketball team and won state one year. Later on he served in the Special Forces in Vietnam. He worked many jobs. He was a barber but for most his working life he was a truck driver. The hours were hard and I know he wasn't ready for a family when he had one. He was an alcoholic and smoked like a chimney. He was strong willed and could be difficult to talk to. This was especially true when I was growing up.

My parents divorced when I was in the 6th grade and my brother, sister, mom and I left state to stay with my Grandparents. I saw my father infrequently during this time, It was hard for everyone. I did not really get to know my father until I was a teenager and we didn't become close in anyway until after I returned from Operation Desert Storm. Now I know he was being a parent. It was not his job to be my friend, he did me more favors by not being a friend. But when I was a teenager, he would visit me at my part time job and came to my martial arts tournaments, it meant a great deal to me. Teenagers are brain damaged and I know I was not exception, I am sure I gave him headaches.

I remember not being able to carry on much of a conversation and then when I was back from the Middle East our relationship was suddenly easier. Cancer is hard as many people know, it was only five years later that he was gone. It is hard to think of it in those terms.

My father was an excellent basketball player, a very good fighter, a fan of country music, a good listener, he was really funny and had a great sense of humor, he had lots of friends (I learned this at his funeral, I wish I had known before), he tried to do his best to be a parent under difficult circumstances, he was a flawed man who did his best to deal with those flaws (especially alcohol), he was a man who did his best to support his kids even after they were adults, he always did his best.

Today, I always think of him ... I try not to be sad but there is always some of that mixed in.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Ambition with a Dose of Reality

I had been off to a good start of my December-thon; however, Friday changed that. I tried to go to the gym to keep up my streak but did not know that it closed earlier on Fridays. This left me holding the bad so to speak. I am not recovered enough to run the roads so I could not run. I have decided that as I am officially injured that this was probably poor timing on the run thirty days in a row thing. I ended up taking Saturday off as well. On the plus side my leg feels much better today than it did last week. It is obvious I needed time to heal.

The thing I notice about being 40, rather than when I was 30, is that I get injured alot more. It is a nagging sort of thing that takes a day here and there from me. One has to be relentless in regard to this sort of thing. I would rather live with the little injures here and there than not do the exercise in the first place. But it has taken some getting used to. I am generally in good health and as a result these sorts of nags here and there are not that much of an issue. So I will need to keep my ambition in line when I need to recover. It will take some doing as my sense often times is out of line with my desires. In other words, I can be a knucklehead at times.

For the rest of the Month, I will do my best to do 5 days of week either on the elliptical or on the roads. I won't try running outside until Friday, this will give my left calf extra time to get back into line. I do feel about 95% better today, but I want to take it slow just to be sure. I have no pain walking up and down stairs. I only get a little jolt when I stretch it. So there it is.

What is next??? That is a good question. I have the American Odyssey Relay with some great blogging pals coming up in April but that feels like I should do something else before then. I did qualify for the National Marathon in D.C. which takes place in March. I would only do that half, I like the half. It is a challenge but it doesn't beat you to death like a full will do. Also, the training for the half is more manageable with my life. The marathon training consumed my life. Hmmm, not exactly sure, I will get back to you on that one.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

December-thon, Day 4

How: Elliptical Machine (dull)
Injury: Improved, but unchanged from this morning.
Miles (day): 3.40 miles
December-thon total: 13.27 miles
Song of the Day: Rihanna -- Don't Stop the Music

I was a little tired so I slowed down a bit on this one. I hope to be able to actually hit the road again by the end of next week. I am not sure how long this calf injury will take but based on previous injuries, I think this one is going to stick around a bit. The good news is that it is not a pain killer type of thing, so that is nice.

December-thon, Day 3

How: Elliptical Machine (dull)
Injury: Improved. It doesn't really hurt when I go down stairs any more. Not bad.
Miles (day): 3.25 miles
December-thon total: 9.92 miles
Song of the Day: The Strokes - Last Night

Nothing exciting to report. It was a late night at the gym after everyone in the house was asleep.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

December-thon, Day 2

How: Elliptical Machine (dull)
Injury: Improved. It stills hurts a bit up and down stairs but less than yesterday. So a step in the right direction
Miles (day): 3.42 miles
December-thon total: 6.67 miles
Song of the Day: Pretender -- Foo Fighters

The good news and good news. The good news is that I found that my gym is open until 11:00 pm during the week. I think this is a change, I remember a 10:00 time frame last time I checked sometime in the spring of this year. So this means that when my daughter is in bed I can sneak off for my elliptical time, well at least until my calf recovers.

The other good news is that my good friend, Aaron made it through his heart surgery fine. My thoughts are with him today.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

December-thon 2008, Days 2 - 4, and 1 again

The December-thon was going well until day 3 rolled up on me. I went out for a run at night and I landed ... well wrong. I am not sure what the actual cause of the injury was but I hurt my left calf pretty badly. It is tight beyond belief and it is slowly, very slowly getting better. I get a nice pain to wince at every time I walk up and down stairs so that is nice. But I can walk fine. I can tell this will be with me for a couple of weeks at least. I can still use the elliptical machine at the gym so that is what I have been doing. But I did take Sunday off to see if some rest would speed things along, not so much.

This is a manageable injury, I just have to conform to the limitations that it presents. So I had to re-start the December-thon on December 1 with some elliptical time. I am willing to drop the December-thon if the injury proves to be more serious but for now it looks more like a serious pull than a tear. As I said, it does not hurt to walk only when I over extend the calf muscle when walking stairs. I will just try to gently stretch and loosen it up with some heat. It will take time - the funny thing about being 40 is that you get injured more.

So 1 day down and 3.25 miles in the book. As one of my Kenpo instructors, Bud Barrett, would say, "If you look for an excuse long enough you will find one you like." So I won't be calling off the December-thon unless it is absolutely necessary.