Coffee

Apr. 13th, 2011 08:47 am
jayfurr: (Coffee at Nickels)
My main Lenten vow for 2011 was "cut waaaaaaaaaaay back on coffee."

That may not sound like much of a vow; people seem to think that a Lenten vow involves completely abstaining from something. The real purpose of a Lenten vow, in my opinion, is to work for several weeks on things that might be getting in the way of you having a proper relationship with God (or your choice of deity).

If you watch so much television, for example, that your laundry goes undone and you're never in a state of reflective peace, maybe you should drop back or eliminate TV for a few weeks and see if it positively changes your life.

Similarly, if you work as a trainer and regard coffee as Perkiness Fuel, keeping you bouncy and cheerful... but are actually drinking quarts of the stuff each day and you've built up a huge tolerance, requiring ever greater amounts to really feel revved up, well, that's not a good situation. Ideally, humans aren't supposed to require constant infusions of coffee alkaloids to be able to function, you know?

I had the sense to try going cold turkey on coffee a few days before Lent began. Just to see if it would make for a suitable, workable Lenten commitment.

Boy, howdy, did that work out badly. I had massive cranky achy sick headaches that left me feeling like someone had crammed cotton or perhaps steel wool into every compartment inside my head.

So I said "Okay: revised and official Lenten vow: no more than one cup of coffee per day. No caffeinated colas or energy drinks. No caffeinated tea. As little chocolate as you can possibly manage." Each morning I get up, have one cup, head off to work, and that's it for the day.

Even that regimen was hard for the first week. I felt mega-groggy by the end of each day, but kept on going. The situation improved after that: today, for example, I have not yet had a cup and I'm functioning. (Yes, I probably will get a cup before I go in to the office for today's class. I don't want to spend the morning slowly waking up -- I want to be wide awake right now.)

I've been telling myself that the final piece in the puzzle would come when warm spring weather arrived and I could get out on my bike and ride 20 miles in to work, or go out and run five miles. Then my knee got injured and I've been taking it easy. But I still think that replacing a big chemical caffeine boost with the boost that comes from exercise and physical fitness will be the step that lets me strip out the coffee from my life altogether.

I have a physical therapy appointment today at 6. I hope I have good news to post thereafter.


Coffee

Apr. 13th, 2011 08:47 am
jayfurr: (Coffee at Nickels)
My main Lenten vow for 2011 was "cut waaaaaaaaaaay back on coffee."

That may not sound like much of a vow; people seem to think that a Lenten vow involves completely abstaining from something. The real purpose of a Lenten vow, in my opinion, is to work for several weeks on things that might be getting in the way of you having a proper relationship with God (or your choice of diety).

If you watch so much television, for example, that your laundry goes undone and you're never in a state of reflective peace, maybe you should drop back or eliminate TV for a few weeks and see if it positively changes your life.

Similarly, if you work as a trainer and regard coffee as Perkiness Fuel, keeping you bouncy and cheerful... but are actually drinking quarts of the stuff each day and you've built up a huge tolerance, requiring ever greater amounts to really feel revved up, well, that's not a good situation. Ideally, humans aren't supposed to require constant infusions of coffee alkaloids to be able to function, you know?

I had the sense to try going cold turkey on coffee a few days before Lent began. Just to see if it would make for a suitable, workable Lenten commitment.

Boy, howdy, did that work out badly. I had massive cranky achy sick headaches that left me feeling like someone had crammed cotton or perhaps steel wool into every compartment inside my head.

So I said "Okay: revised and official Lenten vow: no more than one cup of coffee per day. No caffeinated colas or energy drinks. No caffeinated tea. As little chocolate as you can possibly manage." Each morning I get up, have one cup, head off to work, and that's it for the day.

Even that regimen was hard for the first week. I felt mega-groggy by the end of each day, but kept on going. The situation improved after that: today, for example, I have not yet had a cup and I'm functioning. (Yes, I probably will get a cup before I go in to the office for today's class. I don't want to spend the morning slowly waking up -- I want to be wide awake right now.)

I've been telling myself that the final piece in the puzzle would come when warm spring weather arrived and I could get out on my bike and ride 20 miles in to work, or go out and run five miles. Then my knee got injured and I've been taking it easy. But I still think that replacing a big chemical caffeine boost with the boost that comes from exercise and physical fitness will be the step that lets me strip out the coffee from my life altogether.

I have a physical therapy appointment today at 6. I hope I have good news to post thereafter.


Hey, ow

Mar. 2nd, 2011 09:14 am
jayfurr: (Yaaaaaaaagh!)
I went to the gym last night and ran another 5K. I didn't have a noticeable improvement in my ability to maintain a running speed for all 25 laps, but I didn't have to walk any more than I did this weekend. And I finished in 29:57 or so. Still under 30 minutes, but only just.

My left knee was feeling a bit stiff when I finished, but I grabbed my gear and jumped in the car and drove home. When I got home, I had a very rude surprise: my knee hurt. It mainly hurt if I tried to put any weight on it -- if I hopped on my right leg it was mostly okay, but straightening it out and planting weight on my left leg caused no end of "AAAAAAAAAAAAAARGH" moments.

I took ibuprofen and Carole brought me an ice pack, but even after icing it for a half hour it didn't feel better at all. I took a hot bath because I was still sweaty from the run and my knee felt better while in the tub, but then went right back to hurting afterward when I tried to shamble from the tub back to the bedroom.

[livejournal.com profile] caroleotter made the most of the opportunity to mock me, asking if I needed to be taken to the emergency room and stuff. I kept telling her "It'll be fine in the morning." Carole tends to over-dramatize things when she's ill or stiff or sore, no matter how much TLC and help I give her, and on occasion I've had to do the whole "if it hurts so much I guess we'll just have to CUT IT OFF" thing that moms sometimes do.

Unfortunately, she doesn't get that I'm only doing that to gently hint that she's gone, um, above and beyond the call of what's appropriate for a given situation. There's only so much I can do to make her comfortable when she's feeling achy or sick, after all.

So: when the shoe was on the other foot, she thought "Hot damn! Payback time!"

Sigh.

Denouement: my knee feels more or less fine this morning. I can tell that it was sore in that lingering-aftereffect kind of way, but it's certainly nothing I can't walk on. I'm at work and not at the emergency room. Carole (of course) then had to marvel out loud that my knee couldn't have been that bad if it could be all better today.

Some folks just don't have empathy. My dear wife is, unfortunately, one of 'em.


Hey, ow

Mar. 2nd, 2011 09:14 am
jayfurr: (Yaaaaaaaagh!)
I went to the gym last night and ran another 5K. I didn't have a noticeable improvement in my ability to maintain a running speed for all 25 laps, but I didn't have to walk any more than I did this weekend. And I finished in 29:57 or so. Still under 30 minutes, but only just.

My left knee was feeling a bit stiff when I finished, but I grabbed my gear and jumped in the car and drove home. When I got home, I had a very rude surprise: my knee hurt. It mainly hurt if I tried to put any weight on it -- if I hopped on my right leg it was mostly okay, but straightening it out and planting weight on my left leg caused no end of "AAAAAAAAAAAAAARGH" moments.

I took ibuprofen and Carole brought me an ice pack, but even after icing it for a half hour it didn't feel better at all. I took a hot bath because I was still sweaty from the run and my knee felt better while in the tub, but then went right back to hurting afterward when I tried to shamble from the tub back to the bedroom.

[personal profile] caroleotter made the most of the opportunity to mock me, asking if I needed to be taken to the emergency room and stuff. I kept telling her "It'll be fine in the morning." Carole tends to over-dramatize things when she's ill or stiff or sore, no matter how much TLC and help I give her, and on occasion I've had to do the whole "if it hurts so much I guess we'll just have to CUT IT OFF" thing that moms sometimes do.

Unfortunately, she doesn't get that I'm only doing that to gently hint that she's gone, um, above and beyond the call of what's appropriate for a given situation. There's only so much I can do to make her comfortable when she's feeling achy or sick, after all.

So: when the shoe was on the other foot, she thought "Hot damn! Payback time!"

Sigh.

Denouement: my knee feels more or less fine this morning. I can tell that it was sore in that lingering-aftereffect kind of way, but it's certainly nothing I can't walk on. I'm at work and not at the emergency room. Carole (of course) then had to marvel out loud that my knee couldn't have been that bad if it could be all better today.

Some folks just don't have empathy. My dear wife is, unfortunately, one of 'em.


Running

Mar. 1st, 2011 01:30 pm
jayfurr: (Zzyzx)
Today is 'running day' -- in other words, the day I need to get my butt to the indoor track over at the gym and run another 3.125 miles. My improvised training plan for running may seem self-evident (or stupid) to experienced runners, but what I'm planning is:
  • run a 5K every other day on the indoor track
  • try to run as many laps in a row as I can before having to slow down and walk a lap
  • try to exceed 30 minutes each time

That's pretty much it.

Until the snow clears from Vermont roads, I can't really run outdoors, not out where I live in the sticks. We have NO SHOULDERS when the snow is piled high and we have no dedicated running-biking-walking trails that far out in the country.

I grant you that I could go downstairs and run on the treadmill in my company's fitness center, but my experience has been that it's a lot easier to keep moving when you're on a treadmill than it is to keep hauling it around an actual track. I could obviously set the treadmill for a 6.2 mph pace and just have at it, but I'm trying to accustom myself to the actual work of running... and not just do a treadmill workout. So, for the time being, it's the gym.

Come the warm weather, if it ever comes (and locals don't have to have me explain that, but if you don't live in Vermont: this has been just about our snowiest winter on record), I plan to try running to town. My house is 3.1 miles away (counting our driveway) from "downtown" Richmond, VT along a moderately hilly two-lane paved road (Route 2) and I'd love to be able to walk out my front door, bounce thoughtfully on the balls of my feet, and then take off running... arriving at the stoplight "downtown" less than a half hour later. You can see the intended route here.

Any experienced runner would go "Pfaugh, is that all?" I'm not an experienced runner. I'm a 43-year-old man who can walk at 4+ miles an hour for essentially an unlimited amount of time but I've never been a runner. I love to bicycle and kayak and hike, and my endurance is good, but my ability to function at really high cardiovascular fitness levels just isn't there.

Yet.

Stuff

Feb. 27th, 2011 09:07 pm
jayfurr: (Coffee at Nickels)
This has been a weird year so far.

Until last week, I had been on the road EVERY SINGLE WEEK of 2011.

And I was battling severe depression. Depression so bad that after a very minor "why'd you skip the weekly team conference call?" query from my manager I was so bummed and full of I-am-so-useless thoughts that I found myself seriously considering calling up to quit my job. (I had somehow misread the cancellation of another meeting as cancelling our team scrum for that week, and upon being asked about this, absolutely couldn't even find the cancellation notice I'd misread let alone demonstrate whether or not it was in regards to our team meeting. Good times.)

Before you ask, I did not quit my job. I called my boss and told her how crazy and irrational and down on myself I was feeling, got reassured that I was not in imminent danger of being fired and in fact would be a huge loss for the team if I ever left, and then called our EAP to get a referral to a local counselor/therapist. And I went to the therapist last week and I dunno, I guess it helped some. I have another appointment this week. We'll see if that helps. Can't hurt, I guess.

This kind of depression isn't common with me. Okay, I'll be the first to admit that I can be moody. But I rarely have outright gonzo-level depression. My latest theory is that I need be more physically active and burn some of the crazy out.

Over the last few years, during the spring and summer and fall I've done a lot of walking to get ramped up for the Susan G. Komen 3-Day For The Cure walks... but come winter my level of activity has slowed down. This past November I made a brave noise of going to the hotel fitness center or gym each day and managed to actually carry through right up through Christmas, but ... then let things slide as my schedule got weird and busy in January. And that, combined with the winter weather (I've managed to be on the road and hit several blizzards in various cities, so, no, being away from Vermont hasn't helped) and short days, probably hasn't done my brain any good.

So last week, when I was actually here in Vermont and therefore able to actually make use of my gym membership, I went to the gym and tried, for the first time EVAR, to run a 5K on the indoor track. I found that I wasn't actually able to run continuously for the 25 laps that it would take to do 5 kilometers, but by running a lap, walking a lap, running a lap, walking a lap, etcetera, I was actually able to do the distance in 31 minutes or so. I went back a couple of days later and tried again and JUST slipped over the 30 minute mark: 30.01. Today I tried again and this time was able to run continuously for 10 laps before having to walk, and only walked four laps in all (if I recall correctly). My time was 29:52. Not a huge time improvement, admittedly, but I think I'm learning to moderate my running pace so it doesn't wear me out and therefore I can do more continuous laps, and I guess that's good. Once I can run 25 laps continuously I can work on decreasing the time each week.

I'm not trying to become a runner. I doubt I'll ever be one of those people who religiously has has to get out and run every day, but it can't hurt to increase my cardiovascular health. Obviously, as any 3-Day participant would leap to tell me, I can't run exclusively; I have to do my walking too if I'm going to continue my never-had-to-ride-a-sweep-van record in this year's San Francisco and Atlanta 3-Day walks. But that being said, running more often would probably be good discipline, probably helps my heart and my stress level, and, hopefully, will achieve the stated purpose of "burning the crazy out."


Stuff

Feb. 27th, 2011 09:02 pm
jayfurr: (Coffee at Nickels)
This has been a weird year so far.

Until last week, I had been on the road EVERY SINGLE WEEK of 2011.

And I was battling severe depression. Depression so bad that after a very minor "why'd you skip the weekly team conference call?" query from my manager I was so bummed and full of I-am-so-useless thoughts that I found myself seriously considering calling up to quit my job. (I had somehow misread the cancellation of another meeting as cancelling our team scrum for that week, and upon being asked about this, absolutely couldn't even find the cancellation notice I'd misread let alone demonstrate whether or not it was in regards to our team meeting. Good times.)

Before you ask, I did not quit my job. I called my boss and told her how crazy and irrational and down on myself I was feeling, got reassured that I was not in imminent danger of being fired and in fact would be a huge loss for the team if I ever left, and then called our EAP to get a referral to a local counselor/therapist. And I went to the therapist last week and I dunno, I guess it helped some. I have another appointment this week. We'll see if that helps. Can't hurt, I guess.

This kind of depression isn't common with me. Okay, I'll be the first to admit that I can be moody. But I rarely have outright gonzo-level depression. My latest theory is that I need be more physically active and burn some of the crazy out.

Over the last few years, during the spring and summer and fall I've done a lot of walking to get ramped up for the Susan G. Komen 3-Day For The Cure walks... but come winter my level of activity has slowed down. This past November I made a brave noise of going to the hotel fitness center or gym each day and managed to actually carry through right up through Christmas, but ... then let things slide as my schedule got weird and busy in January. And that, combined with the winter weather (I've managed to be on the road and hit several blizzards in various cities, so, no, being away from Vermont hasn't helped) and short days, probably hasn't done my brain any good.

So last week, when I was actually here in Vermont and therefore able to actually make use of my gym membership, I went to the gym and tried, for the first time EVAR, to run a 5K on the indoor track. I found that I wasn't actually able to run continuously for the 25 laps that it would take to do 5 kilometers, but by running a lap, walking a lap, running a lap, walking a lap, etcetera, I was actually able to do the distance in 31 minutes or so. I went back a couple of days later and tried again and JUST slipped over the 30 minute mark: 30.01. Today I tried again and this time was able to run continuously for 10 laps before having to walk, and only walked four laps in all (if I recall correctly). My time was 29:52. Not a huge time improvement, admittedly, but I think I'm learning to moderate my running pace so it doesn't wear me out and therefore I can do more continuous laps, and I guess that's good. Once I can run 25 laps continuously I can work on decreasing the time each week.

I'm not trying to become a runner. I doubt I'll ever be one of those people who religiously has has to get out and run every day, but it can't hurt to increase my cardiovascular health. Obviously, as any 3-Day participant would leap to tell me, I can't run exclusively; I have to do my walking too if I'm going to continue my never-had-to-ride-a-sweep-van record in this year's San Francisco and Atlanta 3-Day walks. But that being said, running more often would probably be good discipline, probably helps my heart and my stress level, and, hopefully, will achieve the stated purpose of "burning the crazy out."


jayfurr: (Taco)
I has STUPID FITNESS PLAN! Details below! ZOMG!

I am scheduled to fly home tomorrow night from Los Angeles and arrive home around noon on Friday. Assuming nothing untoward comes up, Carole and I will then drive down to Boston for two events: ROFLCon II and the Boston Susan G. Komen 3-Day For The Cure Preview Expo. When the weekend is over, I'll actually be working out of the office for three straight weeks before beginning a few back-to-back-to-back weeks of travel.

So here's my lame-o fitness plan for the month of May and June:

When I'm at home, every non-teaching day that it's not predicted to snow, rain, or be excessively windy I will bicycle to and from work: 18 miles one-way, 36 miles round-trip.

On days I'm teaching or that the weather forecast doesn't look good, I will have Carole drop me at the office and then I will walk home from work: 18 miles.

On May 9 I'll be doing a 30-mile bike ride for the Lund Family Center.

On Friday, June 11 I'll be doing the Chittenden County, Vermont Relay For Life -- and I won't stop walking all night long to take any rest breaks. We'll see how far I can walk in 12 hours strolling around a track with a bunch of other people. I don't expect to be rocketing along at a 4 mile an hour clip, but you never know. This will be my first RFL and I get the impression that it turns into a slow plod in the middle of the night.

I hope to also lead some 3-Day training walks for local 3-Day walkers -- too bad we don't have more of 'em in Vermont but we are sort of the rural back end of the universe and we usually do well to get even a handful of people to join us.

Finally, on either Saturday, June 19, or Sunday, June 20, I will walk 60 miles in one day. I'll have Carole drop me off at midnight at the USA/Canada border (for her sake, I may start the walk at 10 pm so she's not driving all the way back home after midnight) and walk home, Alburgh to North Hero, North Hero to South Hero, South Hero to Grand Isle, Grand Isle to Milton, Milton to Colchester, Colchester to Essex, Essex to Jericho, and Jericho to Richmond. Sixty miles. 24 hours. Should be fun.

jayfurr: (Taco)
I has STUPID FITNESS PLAN! Details below! ZOMG!

I am scheduled to fly home tomorrow night from Los Angeles and arrive home around noon on Friday. Assuming nothing untoward comes up, Carole and I will then drive down to Boston for two events: ROFLCon II and the Boston Susan G. Komen 3-Day For The Cure Preview Expo. When the weekend is over, I'll actually be working out of the office for three straight weeks before beginning a few back-to-back-to-back weeks of travel.

So here's my lame-o fitness plan for the month of May and June:

When I'm at home, every non-teaching day that it's not predicted to snow, rain, or be excessively windy I will bicycle to and from work: 18 miles one-way, 36 miles round-trip.

On days I'm teaching or that the weather forecast doesn't look good, I will have Carole drop me at the office and then I will walk home from work: 18 miles.

On May 9 I'll be doing a 30-mile bike ride for the Lund Family Center.

On Friday, June 11 I'll be doing the Chittenden County, Vermont Relay For Life -- and I won't stop walking all night long to take any rest breaks. We'll see how far I can walk in 12 hours strolling around a track with a bunch of other people. I don't expect to be rocketing along at a 4 mile an hour clip, but you never know. This will be my first RFL and I get the impression that it turns into a slow plod in the middle of the night.

I hope to also lead some 3-Day training walks for local 3-Day walkers -- too bad we don't have more of 'em in Vermont but we are sort of the rural back end of the universe and we usually do well to get even a handful of people to join us.

Finally, on either Saturday, June 19, or Sunday, June 20, I will walk 60 miles in one day. I'll have Carole drop me off at midnight at the USA/Canada border (for her sake, I may start the walk at 10 pm so she's not driving all the way back home after midnight) and walk home, Alburgh to North Hero, North Hero to South Hero, South Hero to Grand Isle, Grand Isle to Milton, Milton to Colchester, Colchester to Essex, Essex to Jericho, and Jericho to Richmond. Sixty miles. 24 hours. Should be fun.

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