Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Another Blood Donation

I was able to give blood again this week - Tuesday to be exact. My cholesterol numbers are on-line already and were 163 this time. I'm good with that. I'd like to have an annual blood exam sometime to see what the other numbers are.

Here's a good site for giving blood (Carter Blood). I hope everyone that reads this has given blood or maybe gives annually. Not everyone that wants to give blood is eligible to do so. Even if you're squeamish, they are very attentive to your needs and how you feel. And, most importantly, your given blood could very well save the life of one or more people!! That's a pretty good return for a little discomfort.

As for exercise: 27 miles last week with a 7 mile run under 8 min/mi avg which is very good for me. I'm not sure when I did that last. This week, is a reduced week, not so much by choice but out of necessity of a 'full life'. And I'm sure the reduced mileage will be good for my body.

I've started back some regular strength training exercises and am hoping to see some lost strength return over the next weeks - months.

Being "Well" or "Healthy" is a long-haul assignment .. not a sprint, but rather an ultra! :-)

PS - If you want to see your health take a giant leap forward, don't use your exercise as a license for eating nutritionally dead foods (pleasure foods ... for me chocolate, Blue Bell, etc.)

Monday, November 1, 2010

Blue Angels and F22

Some photos from the air show this weekend. Good family time.

The Blue Angels were GREAT!!

The one with the six of them is where they all come in from different directions and cross around the center. (I was glad to see that they are all in this photo: not bad for an amateur photographer and his Canon Powershot AS710! :-)

... However, I think the flight of the F22 was even more amazing. It was flying in ways like I've never seen an airplane fly before. It was truly amazing to watch. The photo of it here shows the back wing/flap/surface out at a weird angle .. part of the amazing way that plane flys. It was VERY Cool!

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Albino Squirrel photo on my 10 mi run today

Albino Squirrel
Over the last few years I've seen an 'Albino Squirrel' on part of a regular route that I run. When I run I don't bring my camera; and usually don't have my phone except for long runs. Today was a longer run, so I had my phone and stopped to take a few shots. The photos aren't exceptional, but rather provide proof that there are some of these 'white' squirrels on my routes. He watched me long enough to allow me to get a few shots, but my phone-camera is not a 10th of the camera my A710IS is. (That's why the photos are a bit grainy.)

The second photo is from one of my lunches this past week. It was nice to have a different work schedule and get to run with my wife as well as fix her breakfast (enhanced oatmeal) and lunch (stir-fry: onion, yellow squash, sweet potato, bell pepper, garlic, rice, chicken and spinach at the last minute. Spices include: turmeric, cayenne, ginger, fish oil and 'Bragg' liquid aminos (similar to soy sauce)). Most days my wife is now fixing my lunch for me, which is a change from the last several years; but a change that I'm grateful for.

One of the changes that we are just starting right now is switching from Olive oil for cooking to Grapeseed oil. This was the first lunch that I used Grapeseed oil to cook the vegetables, rice and chicken; and I liked the lighter taste of it. The reason for switching is mainly for the higher smoke point (the point where the oil starts to breakdown). Nutritionally the oils are very similar and taste-wise the Grapeseed is lighter.

Work continues to challenge my routine and I've still not gotten into a consistent routine with biking, running and weights. So for now I've put the emphasis on running as it is easy to do, I enjoy it, it helps me relieve stress and it burns some calories.

Today I did my long run and it was 10.5 miles. No speed records as it was 1:30:39 @8:38/mi pace. My avg HR was 143 which is in line with it being a lower steady run.

I've been running a 3.5 mi loop with the intent of staying under 8 min/mi pace. This makes me run a little faster than is easy for me, so I consider it good training for improving my speed. The pace for the two (3.5 mile) runs this week were 7:24 and 7:40. I also got in a 3 mi run with my wife at her pace. Before running with her I did 7 miles at my comfortable pace which was 8:29/mi for that run. The total distance this week was 27.53 miles. My Garmin says it was 4299 calories - thankfully more than my 'Blue Bell' consumption this week ... :-) Last week was 25.13 miles with a long run of 9.5 miles. And the week before that was 17.11 miles with the longest run being 7 miles.

Life continues to be quite full and I'm glad for the weekends and the break from the routine that they provide. Today was a day with rain forcasted. But, as I've experienced on enough occasions over the years, I often start off to see how far I'll make it before the rain hits asking God for a dry path to run; and return home to sprinkles as I turn onto my street! No Joke! (As a work colleague of mine says, "True Story!") So, it's been raining off and on, sometimes quite hard, since I got home.

[Last photo is of my middle daughter on her birthday, taking a shot of her dessert. Taking photos runs in my blood, and hers too.]

Sunday, August 8, 2010

A 'hot' week...

No PR's this week ... well, I take that back, I think my run of 6.5 miles yesterday may be a PR for the slowest I can remember doing it in quite some time .. 9:24 avg pace with some speeds over 10 min/mile: it was a run that I was glad to just finish! :-)

My total running miles were down this week ~15. I really want to get it back up to 20+, but am just not able to right now. Due to a couple primary reasons: fatigue, heat, schedule, ...

I did get to bowl another two games with my family and some friends. I bowled the second game at 202; maybe I should spend less time running and more time bowling as it seems my bowling is improving and my running is not-improving.

I also got a bike ride with Omar this morning in early: 23 miles for 90 minutes. It was a beautiful morning and nice to ride with a friend. Other than almost getting run off the road by a car I we were riding up a hill into the sunrise - it's was very nice. That wasn't too fun. I saw him in my mirror but was surprised when he passed me at about 10" to my left. That's why I had 'two' Planet Bike Blinky lights on the back of my bike in the past (now I have one on my mtn bike that my wife rides), and I'll be looking for another one so I can again have two as it's worth having a second light if it helps to be seen. (Being almost run over by cars and almost caught by chasing big dogs are my least favorite parts of morning rides. Thankfully they don't happen on every ride!)

So, not much to report. Expecting another full week and wanting to get my miles in .. we'll see. I also wouldn't mind dropping a lb this week as my stress eating needs to be better managed.

Thought for the day: Be careful what you sing and where you sing it. EX: after commenting that the waffle mix was to thin after returning from my ride this morning and sometime there after subconsciously starting to hymn the Veggie Tales song "It's plane to see .." --- whack .. I guess I didn't realize what I was singing, nor how close to my wife I was. None-the-less, we got a big laugh out of it as I tried to explain that I wasn't saying her brain was to small ... Since then, we've had a theme of 'brain' jokes today, including the relationship of dying brain cells and yawning, and mush for brains, ... it's been quite entertaining! So, the thought was, catchy tunes can sometimes end with a "Whack": don't forget your surroundings! :-)

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Bowled a 236 game

[Photo: my best bowling game to date: 236 :-]

This morning I got to go bowling with my family - that was nice. As a family we bought shoes years ago and have a large container of them now for our family and 'guests' that join us too. This morning it was just the six of us though and the bowling alley was mostly empty. We have an offer that my frugal wife bought at the beginning of summer so we can bowl two games each. Since we all have our own shoes - there's no cost.

Before today I bowled one game probably 15+ years ago over 200 (in the low 200's). Well today, started with remembering where I was standing and aiming from the last time we bowled as a family (179 and 169 that time). But today was different that first game: I was able to put the ball over my mark .. and get strikes; seven of them in that game with two spares and one open frame - the 10th. When it was finished my score was 236. It's my best game to date - and I was able to do it with my family! [For those that are interested: I throw a straight ball, I stand two boards to the right of the last dot on the floor and aim for the fourth dot from the left of the first set of dot's on the lane.]

So, I don't know who like to bowl that reads this - but it's a fun family activity and if you make the investment to buy shoes it becomes very affordable.

My Grandma used to take me bowling when I was a kid and she's the one that gets credit for teaching me how to bowl (even though I don't quite have her unique approach walk). She was a good bowler - and for you that remember the game show 'Bowling for Dollars' - she was on that. She didn't win much as I remember, she said the lanes were very waxed (slippery). She also used to fish with me and taught me how to play penuchle! And I think she was better at both of those activities than I was too!! She has passed away for many years now, but Grandma Rose was quite a character, fun and silly ... and some might say that I too am becoming a bit of a character too!

So this morning I bowled the highest score game of my life to date!

Monday, August 2, 2010

3 weeks 3 rides

[Sorry, no photo this time .. no time. ]

It's a far cry from previous training ... but when priorities and life squeeze, I'm glad to be getting one ride a week in: and have managed to do so for the last 3 weeks.

I'm still running - that not as much as before too, but I'm trying to get my miles back up over 20-25 again. In my running last week, I did 2 miles @ 13:11, and on my 7 mile day I did mile 4 at 6:40. For me that's good, but I'd like to do better. So, I'm trying to add a few more miles each week and adding more speed training (which is my least favorite thing to do: running speed training that is). Intervals on the bike I enjoy much more for some reason .. probably because I'm faster on the bike than I am running.

I also recently did 61 sit ups in 60 seconds and am going to work on that to see if I can get 65. I could do 53 push ups and would like to see that improve too .. but then again, priorities and time limit training.

The weight lifting has been another area that has taken a time/priority hit - and I've lost a fair bit of strength and muscle. I'd like to add it back, but for now am going to focus more on aerobic fitness so will expect to loose some more muscle. :-(

Eating wise - I'm still enjoying my salads, and almond butter, jelly, spinach and black pepper sandwiches: and I'm enjoying the 'Blue Bell' a little to much too! I know it's a stress releaser for me, but I still struggle with it.

Something that I'm mindful of these days: "Knowing what to do isn't enough: doing it is!" It's a valid truth for all areas of life: health (eating, exercise, sleep), family, friends, God. It's certainly one that I struggle with in the area of health, as I know when I'm not doing what I'd like to be doing, but yet still find myself doing it. (EX: getting a second or third serving of the 'Blue Bell' [the Best ice cream in North America!])

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Finially A Bike Ride

[Photo: Ahhhh ... snow. No snow here now, but 5 months ago it was Amazing!! Now it's just hot; with 'hot' forcasted for the next several months...]

June 4th was my last ride - prior to this past Sunday morning. Sunday morning I was able to get out and rode 26.26 miles according to my GPS. Nothing spectacular, but that wasn't the purpose .. instead it was being drawn to ride again! I've missed it.

Every time I take my bike off the rack, I am thankful for it. It's a great bike that rides super and with regular care it performs like a champ. Certainly I am the limiting factor ...!

I rode the bridge Time Trial, but forgot to stop at the end, so I think my numbers were just over 30 mph avg for the 1/2 mile and max HR of 177. For the whole ride it was avg 18.5 mph, max 45.7 and avg HR of 148.

There were other cyclists out and I was able to ride up and chat briefly before continuing on. I'm looking forward to this Sunday's ride already. I'd like to leave a little earlier so I can ride for more than 85 minutes. I've mostly been running and working; the weights and cycling have fallen away due to priorities and time.

Training wise: I'm having a hard time pushing myself to the higher training heart rates. In the past when I was cycling focused I'd get my intervals in on the bike. Recently I've been running intervals on the track .. but I'm not seeing the numbers that I was last year. Working those higher numbers is more uncomfortable ... , but I need to get that mental desire back to the point where I can push through those discomfort barriers. We'll see.

Don't forget to get your rest, and try to lay off the Blue Bell (I'm talking to myself here).

Monday, July 12, 2010

Two Full Photos...

Here are the two full size photos (not just the zoomed in portion as in the last blog entry). One is a hard candy on a cup-cake (something I don't like to eat) and the second is the word "Game" on an old TV (you can see the RGB rectangles with their analog intensity values..).


Sunday, July 4, 2010

Two New Mystery Photos

Ahhhh ... a few minutes to enjoy my camera again ... nice!!

So, lets see if anyone knows what either of these two 'macro' shots are. Both these shots were inspired by my kids; one by my daughter by accident and the other by my youngest son. I'm still pleased with the quality of this Cannon A710 IS Macro lense! It takes GREAT macro shots.

So, be brave, any guesses...??

Friday, July 2, 2010

New blood...

My wife has (had) never given blood before .. well before today that is! :-)

I had mentioned it in the past: as something we can do together; and she doesn't know her blood type, so we could find that out and her cholesterol level too. So, today we went and did that together as one of our errands. It was Good!

It being the 4th of July weekend - it's probably a good time to make extra blood available. And we have these neat Carter Blood Red White and Blue T-Shirts that match that we can wear together: and are planning too at the 4th of July party we are planning on going to. (It's kind of fun, even if it's a little corny, to wear the same shirts; for us it's good for our marriage and relationship - and that important; so we do things like that together.)

I will throw out a plug for those that haven't given before or haven't done so recently: giving blood is a great thing to do. To have a body that has good blood, and can surrender a unit of it for someone else that may not have good blood or needs it - it's a pretty unselfish and thankful thing to do. So, please consider giving blood sometime soon this Holiday weekend: Your blood may save the life of another person!

It's been a looooong time since my last update. Life has been very full do to work and schedule changes. I've not been able to ride much, but have been running a moderate amount: an interval at the track once a week; another moderate run; and a 7 mi run on the weekend (for fun and enjoyment). I've not been doing weights due to my schedule change, but am still trying to do pull ups (able to do 1 set of 10 reps and then need assistance on following sets). I have been doing some cross-fit type of workouts though - and they've been good.

With the warm months I've been trying to stay hydrated and have noticed my body water content is up from what it used to be. This is a good thing I think as water is so vital to a well functioning body. (I have a scale that gives weight, fat% and water% - based on some entered body information. The absolute number may be off, but the change is what I'm watching; and my change in water is about 2% up from my previous normals.)

[Photos: my wife and I with our shared 'blue' post donation wraps, one of my greetings to my wife..., a nice sunrise this week.]

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Intervals and Hill repeats

This morning I was going to go for a run - but my wife said, "You ran yesterday morning, shouldn't you ride today?" Hmmm?? Yep, I guess so. I was kind of planning on riding tomorrow morning with Jon (if we still hook up while he's in town), but a ride this morning sounds good.

So, a little bit later, I headed out for a what turned out to be a 61 minute ride. It was warm up to the dam and then 30/60 intervals across (30 seconds hard - 60 seconds recovery); the return trip was steady state trying to keep my HR between 145 - 155; then on the trip back home I went up the hills in my second gear (I used to use 3 and 4 last year when I was in better bike shape).

On the last hill (Mountain Creek ~ .5 mi) I did it in 2nd gear. At the top, I decided to do it again, but in the next gear. (Kind of like the ladder I've done in the past up a steeper but shorter hill - Prayer Mountain.) Second and third gears were all managed in the saddle, but 4th required me to get out of the saddle part way up and stay out for the remainder. Fifth gear required me to get up even sooner - and with that one I decided it was late enough and just kept heading home.

With today being the last day of school for the kids - tomorrows routine is at 'risk'. Saturday I expect to participate again in a group CrossFit type workout. Last Sat I got 10 honest pull ups in on the first rotation. And on Tuesday's work out I got 10 again. That's probably only the 2nd or 3rd time I've got 10. I sure would like to see that increase.

That's all for now. What are you doing, as much as it depends on you, to stay healthy and fit: physically able to enjoy life?!

[photo: "Enjoy the smells of life - especially if they are being warn by your wife!"]

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Memorial Day 2010

Yesterday was Memorial Day. A Great day for many reasons!

With the kids home and me off of work, it usually creates problems for scheduling in the regular exercise. For starters, I usually don't get up so early which often costs me that strength training session (yesterday was no exception). My wife and I did get our run in together, but then I made my following run alone. And that was it as far as planned exercise goes (as I don't count mowing the yard as exercise - nor do I consider throwing kids in the pool exercise).

Aerial Battle
On the run I saw two Mocking birds chasing a crow and then later I saw another Mocking bird chasing a squirrel across the road up into a tree. I saw a Blue Jay chasing a flying bug (or that's what I'm guessing it was doing as I couldn't see the bug). Birds are fun to watch! A few days before I watched an aerial battle while I was waiting outside of a store for my wife. High above was a hawk being chased by a crow, which was being pursued by a smaller bird. These birds were probably 200 feet up as the hawk was mostly gliding back and forth increasing it's altitude while the crow was often having to flap it's wings as it tried to dive bomb from the rear (giving respect to the hawk in doing so). The little bird was only a part of this battle for a brief time before diving out of the sky into some structure for refuge. It lasted 5 minutes or more before the crow also tucked it's wings and dove down at an amazing speed (I've never seen a crow go that fast) - leaving the hawk high above (3-4 hundred feet up) gliding back and forth, much like it had been doing even as it was being taunted by the crow. It was quite neat to watch. I wonder how many other 'people' saw that battle going on above? Are others to busy? Am I to idle to make time to 'watch' birds; or smell flowers, or watch the sun rise, set or look into the night time sky?


It was nice spending time with my family. We barbecued meats and vegetables on the grill and later cleaned our pallet with some Mint-n-Chip and Cookie Dough Blue Bell ice cream!! Mmmmmm... As I am known to say, if you're going to eat ice cream - you might as well eat the good stuff : closer to the form it was when God first made it. :-)

I called my friend Bob - a Vietnam veteran and talked briefly. We don't see each other much any more, but I try to call him and pass on my thanks to him on Memorial Day. We often remember those and their families that gave their lives, but many came home and 'live' with the costs of their contribution to our freedoms. He (and they) also deserve our support and prayers. So it was nice to reflect on this Great Country, even with all the issues and things going on that I don't agree with - I am still thankful for the freedoms we have and for those who have helped to give them and keep them for us, for me and my kids to have.

We got to go to a friends house and swim (thanks Rick and Peggy). That was the kids idea and my youngest daughter called and worked it out. It was sunny and most of us got a little pink - even with sun screen, but it was very nice. [At my house, if you get pink - you can be pretty certain that vinegar and aloe are going to be a part of your near future: meaning that my wife will be spraying you with vinegar (to stop the burning she says) and later some aloe will be rubbed on to ease the discomfort and aid in healing.] So, I too was sprayed and it actually burned a fair bit, but it's fine now. And she adds that I'm not pink anymore. :-)

Missing-Man Formation

In the morning as I was sitting in the yard with my wife after mowing and she had watered, the kids just went inside and I heard it: the military jets coming. We live in the normal flight path of the National Cemetery, and will have the 'missing man formation' fly over every year - several times. I jumped up and ran to where I could see them with out the trees. It was very nice and loud (the kids came running out, too late, but thinking we were having a tornado!)

It made me think how nice it is to live where we live: we have amazing sun sets and rises, see animals doing all kinds of crazy things, have tornado's, hail, torrential downpours, have seen the sky 'boil' as a storm builds, intense heat, humidity and cold, ... so much, so neat, ... so much to be thankful for.

That'd be my theme for yesterday: a day of being thankful for SOO Much!! I'm a very thankful Man!!

11 Workouts 6 Days...

Last Week
It was nice last week to get in all my morning and lunch workouts in - as well as a group CrossFit type workout in too. So that was 5 strength training workouts, 3 run / rides with my wife, 1 longer run by myself, 1 interval ride on my bike and the CrossFit workout. Five days of two-a-day, one on Sat and the week started with a rest day last Sunday. It was nice!

A Vehicle
I can't say why exactly, but exercise for me has many benefits: health, stress release and probably more important it is a vehicle for me to get closer to God. On my runs and rides I choose not to listen to music so that I can exercise my mind too. Sometimes I daydream; sometimes its fully engaged keeping my body doing the workout; often it's praying or thinking through things that haven't been given time up to this point. I will often listen to music when I'm doing my strengthening exercises, but outdoors I like to hear everything around me; the cars, animals, wind, airplanes, etc. I like to smell peoples breakfasts cooking, their laundry softener, the flowers, freshly cut grass, ...etc. There is so much to hear and smell. And then to see: the Mocking birds chasing crows in the sky and squirrels across the road, crows being chased and still chasing other birds of prey, spotting an all white albino squirrel, who knows what will be seen or smelled or heard when you're watching and listening ...

Too much?
So, there is a fair bit of time spent in exercise, but the reality is that it is a key part of much of my life. I get so much input by it and so much release through it - it's a very key part of my life.

What are the vehicles in your life that draw you to God? Those are probably worth pursuing. And the ones that fill your life with out drawing you to God - those are probably worth dropping.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Intervals ...

When I'm lucky, I've been riding once a week; usually Thursdays. Today, no one else was riding with me, so it was a good day to do some interval training. For some reason, most people don't like to train with intervals: I know they can hurt, but they can also bear so much fruit; so they're worth the pain.

The intervals were done over 8 miles: out and back across the dam. Since I'm out of practice, I opted for an easier interval: 30 seconds hard - 60 seconds recovery (easy spinning). The total time was 24:28 with an avg speed of 19.4 mph (149 hr) and mx of 28.1 mph (165 hr). The hard time was 8:55 for 3.26 miles. The total number of intervals was 16 (hard and recovery).

I seem to be going through one of those "always hungry" phases again .. yikes!! So, I just finished a Vanilla yogurt and will go brush my teeth for the second and last time tonight. (Usually brushing my teeth is a reminder that my mouth is 'closed' for the rest of the evening, but tonight .. not so.) Other wise the eating has been good nutritionally, just lots of it.

Strength Training

Kind of plateaued here .. but that will change soon when I start incorporating more CrossFit type of workouts in a couple weeks. So, I'm kind of in a maintenance mode with the disciplines and routine right now. And I'm OK with that. Trying to increase the activity level a little with out getting injured.

That's all for now... don't forget to add those Interval sessions in you weekly routines. If you want to see some serious improvements that is ... :-)

Monday, May 24, 2010

Even less rest..

My Monday routine is still a bit like a routine, but I'm trying to mix it up some too. Today I added some sit ups to the mix and took out most of the recovery time (used the sit ups for the other muscle recovery).

I normally include them in the warm up, but today I did a 60 second test and did 60 sit ups (where I was going elbow to opposite knee) in that minute: last time I remember doing that was in High School ... a few years ago now.
- The first routine was dips, bench, decline sit ups: 3X - no rest.
- Then it was dips, decline bench, decline sit ups: 3X - no rest.
- Then incline and butterflies: 3X - no rest.
- Then tri-bar push downs, forward and reverse: 3X - 15 seconds rest.

And that was it. It was a good workout. I added some knees to elbows in the warm up: and those sure get your body engaged (from the pull up bar, in a chin up position, elbows at 90 degrees, pull knees up and touch elbows).

At lunch it was then regular run and ride with my wife: it was a bit warm today and we're both sporting a little extra 'red' in our complexion. Just over 5 miles total.

Eating was good. I'm still hungry a lot, but just dealing with it and letting myself be hungry when I know I've recently eaten.

No photos today. I need to relax a little with my camera and add some photos soon.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

And all went quiet...

Wow, it's been a long time since my last Blog. I am still exercising; I am still eating fresh raw spinach most every day; I am still struggling with Blue Bell and I am going thorough some changes in my work that may have me run silent for a season as my time gets re-prioritized in a couple weeks.

I don't know where to start with an update .. I guess I can say that I'm modifying my routines a bit again with the intent to make them a little more like circuit training. As it is I don't take much rest between sets: 0-60 seconds, but I am thinking when I was taking 60 before I will try 30 this week, and 30 before will be 15. Should make for a challenging workout. The reps may suffer enough that I will likely have to back down the weights to get in 4-6 reps min. We'll see .. just experimenting .. trying to work hard, mix it up and maybe even have some fun too. I tried a group workout this past weekend where they train with high intensity for shorter times: I like it. I've kind of done it some, but want to try it some more.

Nutrition wise I've decided to give my self some grace on the weekends and try to live tightly on the week days. I guess that's all for now.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

What Am I?

Can you identify these? We're growing some...


The Closer you get...

[Photos: this mornings post workout drink: soy milk, whey powder, carob powder, cinnamon, turmeric, cayenne pepper and olive oil; before being stirred and after.]

This must be my fourth or more attempt at starting this blog .. it's like trying to write with a 2x4 dipped in ink, rather than a quill: there's just to much and it all comes gushing out. Much like trying to drink from a fire hose. So, I'll try to reduce the volume, take a deep breath and start again...

Other than over-eating I'm doing good. But then that's a lot like saying, "Other than not having any self control over the quantity and frequency of my eating - I'm doing Great!" What a contradiction. Rather than feeling good about the types of foods I'm eating and ignoring the amounts and reasons for such eating, I should (and am) continuing to be amazed at the struggles that food can have over this life. But then, the original sin involved Food - that doesn't surprise me much! And this is all coming after a 4 day juice fast.

This is down from previous routines. Mostly due to getting busy with other "Big Rocks". My wife and I got a run/ride in yesterday, but missed Monday and didn't get the core workout either. But we were happy for the run at least. It was hot, windy and dry. Our run together was slower than normal and my run I had a hard time keeping under 8 min/mi pace (my GPS kept playing the slow pace alert - meaning I was going to slow).

Still struggling a little here, but today was a little better as it was my Heavy Bench routine. I'm not gaining any reps, but I am still maintaining. The last three work sets are 225 and I'm still getting 3 reps each with 90 seconds rest. I also do a couple sets of close grip decline at a lower weight; and some incline dumb bell sets too; and dips and tri-bar sets too ...

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Motivation is down...

The time after a fast can often be more challenging than the time during it. Such is the case this time.

I've been forcing myself to do my strength training, but the intensity is down A LOT. But, I'm just trying to push through this knowing that it will pass soon (hopefully a few days to a week). So, there was no running yesterday: alone or with my wife. Other priorities are pushing and getting more time. It was inevitable .. and has begun.

The biggest pressure for me is an upcoming teaching event, where I'm going to speak on the subject of "Healthy Living" to a Ladies group. I've lead several small men's groups on various topics including Health and Nutrition, a mixed group, and a couple single sessions on the topic of Nutrition, but this will be my first 'conference' type event.

It will also be my first time speaking to a women's only group: one session Friday evening and two sessions on Saturday; with some break out topics, healthy snacks/menu, and ice breakers too. And it will involve not just the physical side of being Healthy, but the more important and often overlooked Spiritual side too.

I'm very excited about it, but the preparation for teaching causes a fair bit of anxiousness for me as I prepare, but knowing that I like to be free and go with the flow of the group. With under two weeks left for preparations - I'm starting to feel it more. This rock is becoming bigger than exercise and many other rocks in my life, so things are getting shuffled around a bit right now. If you want more details, please let me know. :-)

The photos are from the rain that blew through last evening. It was nice to have my camera and take photos again ... it was very relaxing and enjoyable. Nice to see the intense Rainbow and the reminder that it is of God's promise to never Flood the World again (Genesis 9:12-15).

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Day Four .. broke fast this evening

We started Wed night after dinner and my wife ended Sunday morning and I will likely end Sunday evening. The main purpose was for Detoxing and doing it together.

The menu has been juice and broths. We've juiced carrots, sweet potatoes, apples, oranges, lemons, grape fruit, grapes, strawberries, parsley, beats, spinach, ... and I'm sure I'm missing somethings. The broths have been made by warming pressed garlic, pressed onion, parsley, peppers, some home made salsa, sweet potato, and various spices: turmeric, mustard powder, cayenne powder, black pepper, olive oil, paprika, Basel, and a few other that escape me now. The broths would be warmed and then strained. They were a bit spicy from the pressed garlic and onion, but those are good ingredients for a detox and I didn't want to put them through my juicer and contaminate it.

I also brushed my skin daily with a luffa sponge and had an enema each evening - even though I had a natural BM each day. I guess I measure the success of the detox by the stool. Having regular natural BM's while not eating I see as a good sign, as I am normally very regular after eating a meal and before exercising. I will not describe it here.

Exercise these last for days has been two mornings of strength training, a run with my wife on Friday, Sat was a 30 mi bike ride with Ed, and Sunday was an indoor soccer game.

I have in the past taken supplements and also soy milk and whey protein powder after working out, but this time it was just juice. I would also use psyllium husks in the past, but this time used a nightly enema instead.

The total weight loss was 9 lbs, most of which I expect to get back as my colon starts working again. My stomach is flatter, but that is likely due to the colon being empty.

So, tonight I broke the fast with a salad: spinach, onion, crasins, mustard, olive oil, honey, black pepper, cayenne pepper, turmeric, and some refried beans (something I've been craving). Not the best meal to start a stomach after a 4 day juice fast, but .. that's what I did.

That's all for now. If there's something you are curious about or want to know, just ask and I'll respond.

Friday, April 30, 2010

Juice Fasting...

Thursday was the start of a Juice Fast. This one is different as my wife and I are doing it together.

We both started the day with exercise, independent of each other: me in the garage with the weights and she on a bike with a girl friend. I was making juices while the kids were getting ready for school.

We sat down together after they were taken to school for our juice meal. Before us were four jars of freshly made juices, vacuum sealed (to keep out the air) until we were ready to drink them. This morning we juiced carrots, spinach, grapefruit, sweet potato, orange, lemon, kiwi, pear and apple. I made one container of spinach and another of carrot. Then the other two were combinations of carrot and the others. (Carrot is a good 'cleaner' of the juicer, so I run it through after softer fruits, or at the end of the spinach to squeeze out all the spinach juices.)

The first we had was spinach and carrot. It looked like a fluid that you'd put in your car (my wife said), but the flavor wasn't too strong and was actually good. Then we had some of the fruit juices - diluted with water.

I usually use psyllium husks to add volume to keep my bowls moving during a juice fast, but am going to use enema's instead this time. (Psyllium can be mucus forming, so I'd like to have as much 'cleaning' benefit as possible from this juice fast.) I will leave most of those details out, although they are an important indicator of how the cleaning is going.

Before heading out the door I had a tablespoon of Apple Cider Vinegar with some water. I'm not taking my supplements during the fast. I am planning on keeping all my regular exercise. I'm not going to be taking any whey protein drinks after working out - which is something I've done off and on in the past. The key here is to allow as much cleaning and detoxing as possible.

I had 30+ ounces of water by 10:30; used the restroom 5 times; and am looking forward to sharing this experience with my wife. She says she's done this before, but I'm not sure how long, so it will be neat to kind of 'coach' her through this and see how it impacts her physically, emotionally and the rest.

Small group ride (three of us), but a good one with all the wind. Afterwards I fixed juice for my wife and Mathew.

We made some broth from some warmed water with garlic, onion, bell peppers, cabbage, celery, cayenne pepper, mustard, black pepper and I cant remember everything else I put in there. We then warmed it and then strained it and drank the broth: not bad actually.

The skin is vital for getting rid of toxins, so I used the luffa sponge in the shower. I had three bm's naturally by noon and then an enema that evening before bed. Day one ... ending.

[Sleep was good (Th night), HR was down just a little (as is normal). Expect to be a little cooler today (Fr) and have a lower HR. Worked out this morning, but a little less intensely. Am ready to make and drink some juice (a little bit hungry). Scale says 4.8 lbs difference. I would say most of that was in the further emptying of my colon with nothing filling it up.]

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Two for Two so Far

[Photo: some extra garlic that I pressed this evening. I put some on my garlic bread, and this will end up in tomorrow salad. Garlic is very good for us, so I eat it often. Some people say I smell like garlic, but I don't smell it, so they must be pulling my leg ... ]

Monday morning was my normal workout, but I worked out with the garage door open (I forgot to close it the night before). So that allowed me when laying down on the bench to be able to look out and see the transformation of the sky. It started out dark, then lighter on the horizon and dark up higher, then clouds, then more light, then some pinks, then orange .. it was quite a sunrise. I would have got my camera, but I didn't want to wake anyone else up. It was a nice addition of a dimension to the workout.

The workout is still the circuit type - bench, dips, etc... with short (30 seconds) or no rest in between exercises.

Later in the day my wife and I did our two mile run together and then our 3.2 mile run/bike together. The first two miles were at 9:38 pace and the last 3.2 miles were at 7:21 pace. It was a gorgeous day and nice to be able to run.

Tuesday morning was mixed up with a different schedule for the kids. So the weights were done in the evening before dinner. Nothing real notable. Just glad to get it in and see a little improvement again. During lunch I was able to enjoy a 7 mile run with 1 mile at a little faster pace of 7:10 and the avg pace for the 7 miles at 8:10. It was good to run for fun and allow my mind to think of other things.

Last week was the first week that I had all five strength training sessions in several weeks. I'm hoping for a repeat this week and have M and Tu on track so far.

Tomorrow should be work out with my wife and running. Thursday should be weights and then a group ride with a new rider joining us. Should be a lot of fun.

Life continues to be full - and good.

That's all folks .. don't forget to say why you're saying I love you to the person you're saying it to. It is sure to improve your relationship in BIG ways!!

Monday, April 26, 2010

Love Training...

Not, do you love training? But rather, this is about 'love training'.

What do you do when your spouse says you are saying "I Love You" so much that it doesn't have any meaning? Do you have a pity party? Get angry? Stop saying it? Shutdown? There are many not helpful responses, but I think my wife and I are on to something BIG here...

This last week I started a "NEW" practice - at the request of my wife. Rather than saying I love you, I first started thinking about why was I feeling love for her right now? Then I would say something like; "If I were to say I Love you right now, I would mean that I ...." and I'd describe the reasons for wanting to let her know that I love her. Then with that communicated, I could say "I Love You" and the meaning was clear and known to us both.

The result has been really neat for both of us. For me: to have to think about what I'm trying to express and then actually trying to express that. I'm finding that what I'm expressing can be quite different, even though in the past I would have used the same three words to express it. So for example, after our exercise today, I told her that if I were to say that I loved her I would be saying that I appreciated her riding with me, coaching me, encouraging me, helping me to work hard and not leaving me behind - then I told her that I loved her - and she knew what I really was trying to express. For her: it seems to me that she's opening up and wanting to 'hear' what I'm wanting to express. It's almost like I'm able to see further into her eyes - like she's more open to hear my efforts at deeper and more meaningful communication of thoughts and feelings. Even though the idea was hers, she hasn't started doing it much yet, but I did ask her this evening after she said she loved me, "Why?": So she too shared what she was wanting to communicate in those familiar words and it was very nice to hear why she was wanting to express her love to me.

A parallel is apologies. How many of us like to be told "I'm sorry." Nothing else, just that? Not me. When I hear those words, I will usually ask a question, "What are you sorry for?" Then I can understand what they are sorry for and it leads to a better understanding as the speaker has to think about what they are really wanting to say, and the hearer gets to listen with out having to guess what they are trying to communicate. I've been doing this for quite some time (read many years - and requiring my kids to do the same).

So, just as earnestly as I would encourage you to add some interval training to your running and cycling workouts, so I also encourage you too try out this replacement for "I love you." Make an effort to say "Why" you are wanting to express your love, and then finish with those familiar 3 words - where they will now have specific meaning and communicate deeply. Take the risk, open your heart, this is your spouse - go for it!

Just trying to pass on something that has taken us years to discover. Try it, I bet your relationship will like the results!

[Photos: more nice roses, fruit from the Mulberry tree.]

Friday, April 23, 2010

Trading Progress for Perseverance

[Photos: "I'm Loved", my youngest son winding up for a 5' 8" jump, lunch time salads ... yummy!]

The weeks continue .. and so does life. Often it seems the events of a day are what would normally occur over a week; and the events of a week are those of a normal month. So it is in my life ... again and again; living months in weeks and weeks in days...

Indoor Soccer:
We had another game last night, 2nd one for me (missed the last two Sunday games). The first game caught me off guard 2 1/2 weeks ago: I thought I was in pretty good shape, but the high intensity running had me winded in 5 minutes. I had been running, but not doing any intervals or high intensity training. So that next Monday my wife and I started our current routine where we run together at her pace (2 mi) then she rides with me while I run (3.2 mi) at a challenging pace for me (usually 7:30 range).

We've been doing this for 2 1/2 weeks now and I was much better off Tuesday night at the game: not the winded problem of the first game. We lost, but it was fun. I got to score two goals: one header and one by foot.

Strength Training:
I missed my Friday routine last week, so I had 4 times including Wed with my wife. This week I got in all 5 routines; what has become a rarity these last weeks. I've backed down just a small bit on some of the weights where I felt like I was sacrificing 'good form' for number of repetitions. Over all strength seems to have plateaued for the last 3 weeks, but with all that is going on I'm OK with that and am just working on persevering at this point. This is week 25 - with just the one week off due to sickness.

We're still doing our run/ride combo 3 days a week. Wed we saw a new PR in the run with my wife! She's still complaining some, but her times are getting faster. It's fun doing together. I ran 7.6 mi on Tue, but at a relaxed 8:40 avg and 138 avg HR.

I cycled last Th at lunch and did again this week. Last week it was just me and Ron. This week it was Ron, Steve and I. Every time I get on my bike .. I think how fun it is to ride, to go fast .. it's a fun sport! I am only riding once a week now, and before it was none. Just no time since it's not my priority right now.

I got a call from Ed who will be visiting next week .. with his bike. So, I expect to get a beating when we go riding as he too is a ferret, but I expect he's in much better cycling shape than I - and he will probably enjoy putting the 'hurt' on me at least one or twice on our ride! :-)

Pretty much the same successes and struggles here - mostly eating well, but eating to much. Did have an encounter last week with some bears, the small gooey kind ... but I eventually was victorious after their population was taken to zero (I'm speaking of gummy bears). Salads prevail for lunch; protein drinks after the morning workout and oatmeal for myself and wife after the kids are gone. I'm trying to cut back on snacking and desserts.


The priority in the area of health right now is to not over eat, strength training and running. Along that path I'd like to see my weight come back down 7 lbs or so. (It's not good when you eat 5 lbs of gummy bears in a week....)

As I started this write up, so I will end it: with the fullness of life. The Bible talks of how the things we go through will later be used to help others. What I'm experiencing right now is that while the paint is still wet and even still splattered on my face .. it's time to help others. It's not my goal or desire to have an 'easy' life, but rather a 'full' and 'good' life - and that's what it is.

My life feels like a hike right now: where the trail changes (rocky, dangerous, level, steep up and down, wide, narrow with overgrown brush, wild animals - some small and some big, ..) and the weather changes (sun rises, sets, dark cold nights, beautiful days, intense downpours, a rainbow, ..).

Sometimes the uphills aren't so bad in the middle of the day, but in the dark of night in a downpour ... sometimes I just have to look for shelter and continue when it's safer.

So, my desire is to persevere: even when it's more than I can handle alone, for in those times I experience the intimate care of my God: and what can be more important that that?! (Not getting another rep, not another PR, not loosing more weight, not ... nothing!) Life can be challenging, but that's OK.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Mystery Bug - Exposed

The previous photo is of a "Mayfly", or that's what my wife and I think it is. We have many of them around these days; sometimes we refer to them as mosquito eaters, but I'm not certain what fact that is based on...

The Mayfly was on the window of our car drinking the drew from the windshield. :-)

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Mystery Bug

My daughter saw this this morning as she was heading off to school. So, she does what every kid would do; she calls her Dad to "get the camera!" :-)

My family's always on the look out for possible "Mystery Shots" or other cool shots. It's fun to see their 'eyes' developing as they are 'seeing' much more than many these days as they see flowers, bugs, clouds, ... and other amazing things in God's Creation. (Had my daughter had more time, I'm sure she would have grabbed my camera and tried to take this shot herself. But, she hasn't quite gotten the macro photography down yet. Soon I'm sure.)
  1. Can you tell what this is?
  2. Can you tell what it's doing?
  3. Can you tell where it's at?

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Still recovering...

[Photos: a little 'lady bug' like bug that landed and crawled up my arm as I watched my son's soccer game, rear drum van brakes - a bit more work than disc..., another little bug enjoying my arm at the soccer game.]

This last week was #23 since starting back at strength training after taking most of last year off for cycling. Before getting sick two weeks ago, I was mostly seeing continued progress; but the last two weeks have been full of broken routines...

Strength Training:
This past week I got in my Monday, Thursday and Friday routines. (Tuesday was spent working on the car with my Dad. Wed was time talking with my wife instead of working out together.) The other days all saw a little decline in the repititions, especially the Friday routine that hadn't been done for 4 weeks [note to self - need to get those friday routines in]. No break throughs or noteables other than having a failure on my 'close grip decline' set with 135 lbs on the 20th rep. Failures are always fun: having to crawl out from under the bar as it rests on the stops on the frame...

Exercise with my wife:
We too have been missing some of our workouts (runs and Wed strength / core) in weeks past, so this week we got all our running in, with a few modifications: rather than two runs of 2 miles and one run of 3 miles we did three runs of two miles. But, we added a three mile bike/run after the two miles: where she would ride my Mtn bike with me while I would try to run 3 miles at a quicker pace (7:30 ish). So we did this three times and then got a 7 mile bike /run in on Sat. So, my wife ran 6 miles and biked 16: the most for her in a week with out question!

Six days of running this past week:
It always seems that as one area struggles another will abound. So this past week the running was 'abounding' as I ran M-Sa: 5.25, 5.6 , 5.25, 5.4, 5.25, 7 ==> ~32+ miles for the week. That's more than normal for me in days and quantity. No real long runs in, but there were 3 runs of 3.25 miles that were in the 7:30 range (good for me). My max HR on these runs was in the upper 170's (177, 178). Not what I've seen on the bike last year, but still reasonable for where I'm at aerobically.

My struggle with proper nutrition continues to be portion control. Now that I'm allowing ice cream again, I have to be careful there too. And my wife brought home a 6 lb bag of gummy bears ... I've asked her to put them away for me as they are easy for me to over eat. But the albacore, spinach, protein drinks, salads, chicken, water, etc ... all continue. All in all - no complaints. I still enjoy an active and fit lifestyle!

This week: #24
I would like to see all my strength training sessions again. I'd like to see all the bike/run sessions with my wife and some of my own too. For this to be a reality, I have to get to bed earlier - on time. So: this will end my entry for tonight.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

How big are these flowers?

Can you guess the size of these flowers? (Even though most might call them weeds, if they notice them at all...)

When I'm not exercising I sure do have a lot more time for taking photos ... :-)

I hope to have some more 'training' articles this week. If you're not training, take the time to see and smell the flowers!

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