Oct 28, 2010

Weekend Update

Well, as is usually the case when a person goes a week and a half between posts, there is a certain amount of catching up to do.  And so it is, with a whole lot of pomp and circumstance, I will jump right into the meat of two different subjects.

Update Numero Uno:

About two or so years ago, I came to the conclusion it would be necessary to remove the deck from the back yard.  There was actually a two part post about this whole subject at the time I started the project.

You can refresh your memory of Part 1 and Part 2 by clicking the links respectively.

This last weekend, my father-in-law and I decided to tackle the project head on and get it finished.  In part 2 of the refresher coarse, you could see a pretty nicely laid out square, with a wooden border and gravel filling.  This was quite an undertaking at the time, and the half finished project was actually better looking than the deck itself.

Over the course of 2 and half years, though, it became rather unfinished looking.  But money and time kept getting in the way of progress.  But now, the money was there, and oddly enough so was the time.  And I had a willing helper there in the form of a father-in-law. 

The bulk of the project took the better part of three days.  A full yard of gravel and nearly 2 full yards of sand, and 167 12" x 12" paver stones.  And thus, we have the finished project.

Over all, I couldn't be much happier with the project.  Of course, as the guy who did the main bulk of the paver laying, I could sit and tell you all the little imperfections in the finished project.  But instead, I will tell you how much nicer the yard looks.  And, if you'll not the to BBQ's offset  from the side of the patio, I'll take a lot of the credit for.   I wanted my BBQ's on the new patio, but didn't want them taking up a lot of room on the patio itself.  So we made the simple addition.  And now, I can grill in comfort.  As time goes on, I plan to get some patio furniture and fire pit as well.

Its a welcome addition to our backyard, and a tremendous improvement. 

Update Numero Two:

The quest to complete a 5 3/4 run continues.  My plan of action seems to be on track at the moment, and after this week (of about 2 miles at a shot on the treadmill) I'll be upping the distance to about 2.5 miles at a shot.  I can see the finish line now.  Its a little far off, but its completely attainable.  
More to come in the near future. 

Oct 21, 2010

Ankle pain, I scoff at thee; or, How I got motivated to actually run a race.

I'm beginning to feel a bit like a broken record.

"I want to blog."  "I want to revitalize my blogging."  "I wan to do this... I want to do that...."  The worst part about this habitual complaining, which is promptly followed by absolutely zero followthrough, is it has slowly affected other portions of my life as well.

My prime example, and general focus of my posting here, is my gym membership.  I have had a Cal-Courts membership for over 3 years now.  There was a time, at the very beginning, where I was a regular attender.  And in the space of about 2 months, I had whipped myself into the what was arguably the best shape I have ever been.

But of course, as with anything that actually requires commitment and follow though, its so blasted easy to skip a day here and there.  And once you start down that path, you get to where I am.  I am no longer in a state of fitness.  I am in a state of Un-Fitness.

Yes I know, that's not really a word.  But it is certainly a state of mind and overall well being.  Lets rewind the clock about 20 years, shall we?

Afflicted with habitually sore ankles, at the ripe age of 12  I found myself undergoing major surgery on both ankles.  The Doc, who mumbled a lot and had the bedside manner of a Troll with a bad case Giardia, was actually a brilliant surgeon.  Even still, his prognosis for continued happiness when it came to my ankles was bleak.

"You'll be looking at ankle fusion at the age of 20," he mumbled.   And so it was I mentally limited myself in all things strenuous.  I couldn't possible do cross county with all my friends.  That would hurt my ankles.  I couldn't possible run in track, that would hurt my ankles.  I couldn't possibly do many things in life that boys the age 12 and 13 should be doing because I wouldn't want to hurt my ankles. 

Really?  That was my excuse for being a completely lazy teenager?  What a joke. 

Now, at the ripe age of 34, I seem to be suffering from a bad case of Motivation.  I want to go to the gym.  I want to be active, and I want to do some of the things I have always told myself (for some stupid reason) I could not do.

So its back to the gym I go.  This time, however, its not just a half assed attempt at being a little more active.  Remember, I've got Motivation.  So I actually have a plan.  Yes, a plan.  And as part of my plan, I have a goal.  Something to strive for at the end of a finite time.  A simple and yet realistic and totally attainable goal.

First, the Goal.  After all, its the goal that determines the plan, right?  What is one thing I have always held myself back from doing? Running.  And what, around here, and all over California, do people do all throughout the year?  They run races.  So I got online and started looking around.  There are two main runs here on the Lost Coast. 

The Foggy Bottom Milk Run, which is in March.  After a little consideration, I decided this was too far in advance.  I needed something closer and more attainable. 

And so it was I decided to run in the Clam Beach Run.

Every year, in January, hundreds of people gather to run from the city of Trinidad, down Scenic Drive, and then to Clam Beach, ending at Strawberry Creek.  Its cold, its wet, and people look like they are having one heck of a good time.  This is an attainable goal.  The CBR is broken into three run lengths: 3 miles, 5 3/4 miles, and 8 3/4 miles. 

And so it is I chose to make the 5 3/4 mile run my goal.  And now, a plan.

First off, register for the race as soon as possible.  My logic here: although the entry cost is only $18, any money spent will bestow a certain amount of obligation to see matters through. 

Second, a training regimen that will prepare me for the run.  I have about 15 weeks to get myself ready.  And so it is I am back to the gym.  I found a 9 week training schedule for the purposes of preparing a complete couch potato (like me) to run 3 miles (or what is typically known as a 5K).  With a little imagination, I was able to extend this program out to have me running 5 miles within the required time, which at the start of this plan was 15 weeks. 

Three days a week I'll be running the training program and working an easy weight lifting regime.  This, in and of itself, should have me in a general state of Fitness (not Un-Fitness) in about 2 months.  On the off days, I'll be using the elliptical trainer for 30 minutes of solid cardio training.

I have a note book with my schedule in it, and I'm tracking my progress on a daily basis. 
And finally, in order to cement the idea in stone, I called my pops, who has been an avid runner for as long as I can possibly remember.  Both he and mom, a couple of fitness junkies, are both in for the challenge.  And besides, something like this should be done in a group.  It should make it far more enjoyable. 

And so it is I'm setting out to do something I have never done before.  At any time in my life, I think the farthest I have run in one stint is about 2 miles.  So I am looking to up that by 3 1/4.  Not too shabby.  I have to admit, I feel a little sill about the whole thing.  After all, I'm 34.  I should be in better shape than I am now.  I shouldn't have waited all this time to actually do something like this.  On the flip side, there is a first time for everything.  And you have to start somewhere. 

And so it is, with all the gusto I can muster, I'll be going to the gym.  A lot.  But I have the support of my wife, and the support of family, and even some friends. 

How can this go wrong? 

More to come later....
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