Tag Archives: beer

Not Just Lip Service

I did it. I threw out a goal. I said I was going to run a 5k faster than I did in high school. I said I was going to train. I said I was going to lose weight. And then I went and dropped out of the blog-o-sphere.

That time I was missing was not time wasted. I jumped back into weight watchers. And I started losing weight. I’m proud to say I’m back to my weight watchers “life goal” weight. But there’s a difference between “life goal” and “race” weight. So I’m going to stick with it.

And I’ve been active. I haven’t been running as much as I wanted, but I’ve been skiing a ton. I do telemark skiing. For those unfamiliar, the important conceptual difference between telemark and alpine is that a telemark skier is basically doing lunges down the mountain. It’s a real quad burner. And if that isn’t enough, you can ski up the mountain too. But I usually just take the chair lift.

I’ve also started cross country skiing. A lot. So far I’ve got over 30 miles on my skate skis. And I’m even considering a 15k race at the end of this month. The only reason I’m not jumping head first into the idea of the race is I took the time to ask some people about the course. It looks like there are a couple miles of “black” or “most difficult” trails. I need to check that section out before I just go and sign up. If it looks like hitting that with a race mentality will land me in the hospital, I’ll just sign up for the 5k race.

An important aspect of training is remaining flexible. While I hadn’t exactly expected to keep my cardio base by skate skiing, I’m willing to embrace it and run with it. Now that I’m back to work full time after the holidays I’ll still be running to stay in shape during the week and I’ll get one or two good ski workouts each weekend.

Interesting side note: I was also invited to an “ultra” running event. There were two distances – 30k and 60k. I turned it down because I had tapered my training schedule for the winter, and it all just seemed kind of crazy. The 30k is about 18.6 miles. So a good distance between a half and a full. Now that I know about the event, I will keep it in mind as I figure out what to do with myself in the November-January time frame. Given the small group, I fully expect that I would finish last (and probably wrap up my 30k about the same time the leaders wrap up the 60k). But given the small group, I expect the whole thing would be a really good time.

Stay tuned, this is going to be a fun year.

And until next time, don’t let the fat man catch you.

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Hold my beer. Imma go for a run.

For as long as I can remember I’ve been told that drinking is bad, bad for you, and just completely unhealthy. And here we are in 2012 when there have been several studies published that would tend to indicate the opposite is true – in moderation of course.

Somewhere along the line I got signed up for newsletters from Active.Com. I won’t pretend to read over each and every spam-o-gram, but I do usually at least give it a quick look over to see if there is anything interesting. And this week there was.

The headline and quick article summary that caught my eye was on the subject of alcohol consumption and exercise. Specifically there was a study performed to determine what the relationship between exercise and drinking might really be. The full article is here.

Honestly, I’m pretty amazed. I think we all understand the stereotype of the fat, lazy, constantly pickled alcoholic. The article sort of turns that upside down.

Perhaps the biggest shocker to me was an article linked in the original. Our fine German friends have performed a study on marathoners and beer. It seems specific kinds of beer can do good things to immune systems for athletes. So while you kick back and enjoy that post-race brew or a cold one after a hard work out, rest assured this article condones your choice as a good thing.

I feel the need to add a quick disclaimer. First, I am not associated with active.com in any way that could make me money. I use them to sign up for events now and again and after many years they finally sent out some spam that was worth not only reading but sharing.

Second, moderation folks. Excessive alcohol consumption has been proven to be really, really bad. Please make good choices.

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Everyone has a plan until they get punched in the mouth

Mike Tyson is credited with that quote. Taken out of context it is an incredibly deep and meaningful statement.

And my plans as a college freshman were simple. I was going to walk onto the hockey team and show everyone what I could do. Then, I got punched in the mouth a little bit. There were eight goalies at tryouts that year. Eight. At most there were four open spots. But that would assume the senior starter, and the two juniors would somehow not make the team. The rest of us, four freshman and a sophomore, were fighting for one remaining spot. Two of us freshmen were mostly unknown. One had been recruited. The other had at least talked with the coach before applying to the school. I don’t remember much about the sophomore, but I don’t think I saw him much after tryouts.

And there I was. A hockey player without a team.

So what did I do? Hey, it was college. I drank beer, ate pizza, and used all my spare time trying to impress girls by studying. (Never said I was smart. Not once.) Eventually I wandered into a team situation with a school across town, but that was short lived due to liability reasons.

And I started gaining weight again. I couldn’t really notice at first. But it didn’t take long until those baggy pants I was wearing weren’t so baggy anymore. Even after making the JV squad my sophomore year I didn’t really drop pounds. I would tell myself I was working out more (which I was) and I was gaining muscle. I’m sure that is partly true, but I was up about 50 pounds over two years. And I wasn’t built like Arnold.

Then I got punched in the mouth again. All that hockey meant less time trying to impress girls by studying. I was facing academic probation at the end of hockey season. I was at what is known as a crossroads. Hockey, or college? It was right about that time I realized I wasn’t going pro. (Like I said, I wasn’t all that smart.) So, I picked school. And that meant less exercise.

A couple more years pass and I graduate college. I went in weighing about 140 pounds and graduated right at 190. I was able to maintain fairly well playing ultimate frisbee. It’s mostly running. And drinking. And eating junk food.

And there I was, a hockey player with no team, an ultimate frisbee player with no team, and a college graduate with no job.

For some reason I decide to start with the job.

It was the ’90’s and employment was plentiful for people with my background. I was easily able to land a desk job hustling computers. Not only was I not playing hockey, I wasn’t playing ultimate frisbee, and I wasn’t walking across campus for food or classes. Knowing I had to take care of myself I joined a gym. I went pretty regularly for most of a year. I also bought a bike. A good one. And I rode it several times a week. But all that work sure made a guy thirsty. And the beer was cold and it cured that thirst. And the TV dinners were so easy to make.

Next thing I know, 190 pounds is somewhere in my past. Somewhere along the lines I picked up rock climbing and ice climbing. Mountaineering was always sort of in there as well. And I was a 200 pound mountain biking, rock climbing, mountain climbing, ice climbing, peak bagging, maniac.

At one point my typical Saturday would be a 20 mile bike ride, a five mile hike, and a couple hours playing around on house-sized boulders.

And it was all capped with good beer and even better pizza.

And I don’t think I dropped below 200 pounds for more than a couple days each year – a back packing trip usually. Fast forward a couple more years and I meet a girl. She’s wonderful, but my Saturday routine and after work biking excursions are pretty much eliminated. But it’s OK. She’s nice. And she can cook! And, she likes beer! At some point we get married and have a beautiful baby girl. Never mind the exact order of events.

And then I get punched in the mouth one more time.

At work, we have a health fair. Everyone else was going, so I go too. They weigh me. Measure me. Poke me. Pinch me. Even take my blood.

I learned after the fact that a proper cholesterol test requires fasting. So, stuffing myself with a monster breakfast burrito at my desk a couple hours before probably wasn’t the best idea. But I don’t think the results would have been so dramatic and caught my attention quite like it did.

The doctor took me into the corner to go over my results. I had never before or since had a doctor talk to me in this tone. He pulled me in close, looked me in the eye and said, “Son, you’re 30 years old. You have a family. You’re morbidly obese, and your cholesterol is through the roof. If you don’t change something fast you won’t be around much longer.” He shook my hand and we parted ways.

I did what any self respecting 30 year old would do. After work I went home and drank several beers.  Me?  Morbidly obese?  High cholesterol?  Dude!  I’m the guy on the bike roaring through the hills.  I’m the guy climbing rocks, ice, and other natural formations.

Unlike a true punch to the mouth, it took most of a week for the impact to settle in.  And when you get punched in the mouth, there are two options 1)  Just take it.  2)  Punch right back.

Up next – punch back.

Until next time – Don’t let the fat man catch you!

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