This past year has been a year of change for my fitness and health. Nearly a year ago, I began a military training class at 211 pounds. Over the course of the 6-week class, I got down to 195. I lost another 4 pounds a month later when I had some wisdom teeth removed. In September, I injured my back, and put those 4 pounds back on. Through the winter holidays, I put on another 3 pounds. I lost a few pounds, but I was stuck between 195 and 197. In April, I did a two-week liquid diet (protein shakes and soups), which broke me out of that rut, and took me down to 186. As of this morning, I’m now down to 184, and the liquid diet has shrunk my appetite so that I’m eating at most half of what I used to at each meal.
Over the course of this year, during the periods of training, my focus has been on short-term goals - lose 1-2 lbs/wk. I’ve been thinking about what I wanted to select as a “high-water mark” - a weight that I do not want to ever be over again. I’m not planning on making any major changes in my training and diet, and I’m sure that my weight loss will slow. I’ve selected 175 as my first high-water mark, and set as a goal being that weight by my birthday, September 14th. That will put me at 3 lbs/month loss; along with running speed work and endurance, and body-weight-resistance strength training, I believe that’s a reasonable rate of loss.
I also have performance-related goals for my running. By July 1st, I want to be able to do 1.5 miles in 14 minutes. (That’s a requirement of my employer.) As long-term goals yet without dates, I’d like to do a 5K in 30 minutes, then a 10K in 60 minutes. All 3 goals involve running approximately the same pace, just for a longer period of time straight.
Why am I making this public? Well, first, I’m excited about the progress I’ve made; I’m in better shape than I’ve been in 10 years. Second, by making it public, it makes it a lot tougher for me to change them (to make them easier, anyway). So, to summarize, my fitness goals as they currently stand:
I completed my second 10K this morning, running the inaugural Dam to Dam Run to benefit Brent’s Place. Brent’s Place is a set of apartments in Denver, Colorado, meticulously maintained to prevent infection, where families with children with severe medical conditions (cancer, transplants, etc.) can live together during important times in their life. I had never heard of them before signing up for the race, and hadn’t really heard about them until the start of the race. It was nice to know that most of my registration fee goes to helping these folks do their great work.
On the performance side, I beat my Chunky Monkey (CM hereafter) time by 3:22. This was especially exciting because the CM course was pretty much flat, and this course was more like a cross-country course. I ran sub-12 minute miles at this distance for the first time. It wasn’t an easy run, but I was exhilarated when I turned the corner towards the finish line and saw the clock.
Starbucks, Keva Juice, and Great Harvest Bread were three of the sponsors of the event. I felt better after this one than I did after CM, and the water, bread, 1/2 pint of chocolate milk, and bold coffee really hit the spot. Plus, during the awards ceremony, they picked some runners at random to give a door prize. When they called out 102, it took me a second to realize that was me! :) I got a pair of sport socks that are themed from Brent’s Place - a picture of them is at the end of this post.
Up next, I’m still undecided. The next Athlete’s Edge run is a trail run - not quite sure I’m ready for that, but not unsure either. We’ll have to see how that goes.
Come 1 Sep, I’m going to register for the Dam to Dam Run 2009. This route for this run starts at Tramway and Academy, and goes north along the dams on the arroyos coming down from the Sandias. There’s a 200-foot gain throughout the run (and a 200-foot loss, as the course is an out-and-back), so this should be a bit of a challenge, especially the hill between miles 2 and 3.
I’m looking forward to this, as I had to miss the race I was going to do on August 16th due to my wisdom tooth extraction. You Albuquerque people, come out and join me! Registration is open until September 3rd.
I have now finished my first 10K! It was quite warm, though a little wind and cloudcover made it not quite at hot as it could have been.
I had settled in to my place in the group, and then the 5K runners caught us. It wasn’t particularly pleasing to be passed by hundreds of people who weren’t even sweating yet! However, I told myself that my goal was to finish, and I did. I didn’t feel particularly excited or pumped when I crossed the finish line, which surprised me - this morning, though, I do feel much better about it.
My oldest 2 sons also did the Kids K - both of them ran the entire way. I was very proud of them.
My next race will probably be the Albuquerque Cross-Country Classic 3 on 16 Aug 09, assuming my wisdom tooth surgery recovery is as quick as they’ve said it should be.
I got registered for the 10K I had decided to attempt first! I tried to register online yesterday, but the 10K wasn’t showing available anymore. Through some research, I saw that you could register in person. I went by The Athlete’s Edge, and there was room! I was able to pick up my materials right there as well. Here’s the t-shirt that I got…
And, I feel so official - my number!
The race starts at 1900 (7pm) tomorrow evening. I’m excited, and a little nervous. :)
I’ve been doing a big push to improve my fitness as of late. A friend pointed me to Active.com, where you can search for things to do in your area. One of the things that came with the membership on that site is a fitness blog. I’ve decided to use it to chronicle my fitness activities.
Welcome to my new fitness blog. This will be a spot for me to record happenings in my continuing adventures in fitness.
I’ve had a love/hate relationship with fitness - I enjoy the way I feel when my fitness level is up, but I don’t always feel motivated to keep myself in that shape. It’s had a negative affect on my career (I’m military), and I’ve decided that enough is enough. I recently got myself within the standards that my branch of the military has set, but I’m not going to stop there. My goal is to be able to pass their test any day they come to me and tell me that it’s time.
To keep myself motivated, I’m going to register for a 5K / 10K at least once per quarter - this will help me make sure that I always have a goal no more than 3 months away. I’ll be doing my first one before my birthday, which is September 14th.
This past year has been one of the most eventful years I can remember in the recent past. Continuing a now 3-year tradition, this is the first of three posts that comprise “2008 Year in Review - The Good, the Bad, and the Ridiculous.” I post them in reverse order, so that they make sense when reading them in the archives.
So, let’s look at that the things that went beyond bad (AKA ridiculous) this past year…
Sarah Palin’s Treatment
In August, John McCain announced his running mate - a virtually unknown Alaskan Governor Sarah Palin. However, she was not unknown to those of us in conservative circles (even if we thought her name was pronounced PAL-inn instead of PAY-lin). In fact, I still credit Cassy Fiano with being prescient on this - she posted about her way back on June 23rd. We knew her story, her accomplishments, and her attitude. Although this was her first national campaign, she already had a nearly 20-year career in governmental leadership. With the opposing party running someone with 120-some-odd days in a legislative office, one would think that she would be dealt with on her merits.
But, as we all know, that’s not how it went down. From day 1, she was called inexperienced. Remember this press release from the Obama campaign, released the day her selection was announced?
Today, John McCain put the former mayor of a town of 9,000 with zero foreign policy experience a heartbeat away from the presidency. Governor Palin shares John McCain’s commitment to overturning Roe v. Wade, the agenda of Big Oil and continuing George Bush’s failed economic policies - that’s not the change we need, it’s just more of the same.
And, it didn’t stop there. The women who get attention from the media, AKA radical feminists, piled on, calling her everything but a woman. I’m not lumping the Saturday Night Live satires in with this; they spoof everyone, and they invited both McCain and Palin to be on the show (and they both did a great job). Her experience was ridiculed, her wardrobe maligned, her children jeered - and the list at this point is charitable. Rumors swirled that Gov. Palin’s special-needs child was actually borne by one of her daughters, fathered by her husband; and the rumor of her daughter Bristol’s pregnancy, while proved true, was played to make her look like a backwards hillbilly redneck. It was all truly despicable, which is why it leads this year’s list.
Don’t Taze Bail Me Out, Bro!
Government interference in the private sector came to a head this year in a bad, bad way. Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, entities that helped provide “sub-prime” mortgages (a euphemism for “loans people can’t really afford”), were providing these loans the same way they were in the late 1990’s, at the crest of the Internet wave. I remember a scare after 9/11, when the housing market really went south - but, we didn’t learn from that. Banks continued making loans they had no business making, to people who had no business seeking out such loans to begin with, for real estate that, contrary to the view of some in this country, is not an entitlement.
The bubble burst! (surprise, surprise) With the downturn in the economy (which even Bill Clinton understood - “It’s a crisis of confidence”), banks were having to foreclose on these loans to get their money, and people were being evicted from their homes (technically “the bank’s houses” at that point). I’m not completely heartless - losing a home stinks; but, the true heartlessness was letting them get it in the first place. Politicians demagogued the issue - how many times did you hear “Owning a home is the American dream!” - and people bought it, literally. With lots of foreclosures and slow sales, this snowballed from Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to Lehman Brothers and AIG, and soon we heard about impending financial collapse.
Fast-forward to November - the “big three” auto makers say “Hey, we need a bail-out too!” The CEO for GM actually apologized for their making crappy cars (in a manner of speaking). The cause in this case is related in mind-set to the mortgage problem - an entitlement mentality. The United Auto Workers union had strong-armed these companies into providing compensation packages for their employees that, given their sales and profits, were unsustainable. The UAW refused to match packages that are successful for Toyota, Hyundai, and other manufacturers outside of Detroit, and Congress refused to give them money (quite possibly the best thing this current Congress has done). The Bush Administration has opened up money design for financial loans for these companies - we’ll have to see how that pans out into 2009; GM and Chrysler took it, Ford did not.
The biggest problem with all this is something I’ve been saying for years, which was only confirmed when I took my Microeconomics class last year. Government interference in free markets only causes problems. Oppressive regulations suppress innovation, and incentives create bubbles that cannot be sustained. So, in my opinion, the best way out of this is to let the bubble burst, clean up the mess, learn these important lessons, and move on. These packages, whether you call them “stimulus” packages or “bail-outs,” what they really are is rewarding irresponsible behavior, by taking money from those who have been more responsible.
The 2008 Olympics
No, I’m not talking about Michael Phelps’ ridiculous diplay of athleticism. :) This is more for China and its show. The opening ceremony was certainly impressive, to the point of being creepy. Fake fireworks? Isn’t this the land known for it’s fireworks? Just because communist countries get Olympic games doesn’t mean that I have to like it - I remember the USSR games in 1980. But, to watch the coverage of these games, you wouldn’t know about China…
…except for their women’s gymnastics team. Although the IOC eventually determined that all of their team members were 16 years old, I’m not buying it. However, I’m glad they tried it - it brought their “reality is what we say it is” style of heavy-handed government to the attention of many, many people.
Burma Refuses Aid after Cyclone
In the spring, a horrible cyclone hit Burma (AKA Myanmar), a nation in southwest Asia. Aid workers and aid began to pour in from all over the world, only to be rebuffed by the militaristic governmental dictatorship. Visas were held up or denied for many aid workers, and the government refused to allow aid to go directly to the people; rather, it mandated that all aid be given directly to the government, for it to distribute.
This is absolutely ridiculous. Even when nearly half a million (yes, that’s 500,000) of its citizens have lost their lives, the government continues to keep a stranglehold on this country. By not allowing aid into the country, the after-effects of disease brought on by contaminated water only added to the death toll. Even today, the country is still stiff-arming offers for aid, insisting that things are back to normal. I’d rather live through 100 Obama presidencies than live one day under a government like that!
What did you think was ridiculous in 2008? (Just a note - I’ll have the 2008 election in the “bad” entry…)
The game was great - Fresno State got the ball first, and marched down the field and scored. CSU did the same thing on their drive. It was pretty tight throughout the first three quarters, and both teams played great ball. However, in the fourth quarter, CSU broke it open, and Fresno State wasn’t able to come back. We were sitting near the 1 yard line, and had a great view of Gartrell Johnson’s touchdown run late in the game, which gave CSU what proved to be a game-winning margin.
So thank you, CSU fans, for allowing me to attend the New Mexico Bowl; you have a new fan in Albuquerque. And congratulations, 2008 New Mexico Bowl Champions!
Is it just me, or is college football officiating in general (and SEC officiating in particular) this year just atrocious? I don’t know if the fact that they can review every play has made them sloppy, but the pitiful calls on the field cost Tennessee dearly in Saturday’s 29-9 loss against Alabama.
As the second quarter came to a close, Tennessee was driving. They pushed themselves back with an ill-advised holding penalty. Tennessee runs a play and makes a completion that puts them close to a first down - but out comes the laundry. They call Tennessee for offensive pass interference, and the replay clearly showed no such interference. This was an additional 15-yard penalty, and the kicker missed the field goal attempt. Zebras +3.
Midway through the third quarter, Alabama was getting a drive going. As one of their players was tackled, the ball came loose, and one of Tennessee’s players picked it up and hustled it back 40+ yards for a touchdown. As the celebration commenced, the referee came out and said “The ruling on the field is that the player was down when the ball came out.” The review confirmed the call. Alabama eventually scored a touchdown on that drive. Zebras +7. This drive was also a huge momentum swing for what had been a back-and-forth game up to that point.
And, a note to you [EPSN] announcers - when Tennessee gets called for phantom pass inteference, don’t keep holding it up as a way that “Tennessee just can’t capitalize on these chances Alabama’s giving them.” How are you supposed to capitalize when you do nothing wrong and are penalized 15 yards? (Yes, PK Daniel Lincoln is not having his best year, but still…)
So, what do you fellow college football watchers think - has there been a rash of bad officiating this year? The Tennessee/Alabama game is not the first time I’ve noticed it - Tennessee had a really bad call in the Georgia game too, and even the people calling the game said “Boy, I think they got away with one there.” And it’s not just games involving Tennessee (though, of course, those hold a special place in my heart). And, if you’ve noticed this, what do you think is the cause? Too many rule changes? Instant replay? Aging referees with declining eyesight?