Reluctant Return

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Two long weekends in three weeks. And now I must return to work again. A feeling of great loss overwhelms my being. I remind myself that it is only a four day work week. I then remember that the following week is another four day work week thanks to required child sporty travel. I then remember that I have booked all required and planned vacation days till end of calendar year and I still have seven days in the bank to fritter away. Methinks that this year I shall use them wisely. I’m older now. Almost 49. I like my time off unlike crazed boomers who actually don’t use all of their allotted vacation each year. I shall never be like them. I have books to write and read.  And clouds to watch.

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Karen Says No – To A Pet Goat

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A Goat

We are cat people.  We have two, though the second was “gifted” upon us by my eldest who couldn’t keep a cat anymore due to living situations and a housemate with a large dog.  Note: His situation has improved twice since the “gifting” yet the cat remains.  We have reminded him of this as recently as last evening.  Sigh.  Fat Cat is here to stay I guess.  As I was saying, we are cat people, not dog people.  We like clean self reliant beasts in our home.  Clean the cat-box every so often (more if the furnace guy is coming to do annual maintenance), feed them, let them sleep on your legs, let them out then back in four hundred times a day.  Easy.  We couldn’t stand the smell of a dog or the constant need for friendly socialization or walking the thing every few hours.  Hence, cats.

My wife is firmly against any more pets, mostly due to some immature pet rearing and cleaning my my eldest (and myself) about 20 years ago.  The only recent other pets we had were two finches (then one after the jilted male murdered his mate) and very recently a brood of triops.  Nasty looking primordial creatures in a small bowl in the bathroom window that seem to be a cross between a horseshoe crab and a face-hugger from alien.  My wife allows these as they are self contained and don’t need to be walked.

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A Triop (not a goat or cat)

So, for some reason, temporary insanity most likely, I asked Karen (She who must be obeyed) if perhaps I could have a pet goat.  A small one.  A miniature one.  You can guess the answer.  Granted it was followed by a perfectly logical “Not a chance.  Who would end up having to clean up after it? You, not me.  You don’t even like cleaning the cat boxes which you should clean once a DAY not once a week! No, no goat!”

Being honest and truthful and lacking some of that animal compassion that poor people with seventeen kids and pets combined have, I tried with “if we got sick of it, we could just eat it.”

More no’s followed.

I briefly thought about bringing up her plan for us to have chickens for “such wonderful eggs!” but held back as I remembered my response when she brought it up as a plan was something like: “Not a chance.  Who would end up having to clean up after it? Me, not you.  I don’t even like cleaning the cat boxes which should probably be cleaned once a DAY not once a week! No, no chickens!”

She has a point.

But it didn’t stop me from imitating goats screaming like humans for a few minutes as I made my morning tea.

No goats.  I guess we both say no.

Screaming Goats!

Training Tip #1 : Box Jumping

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Well.  Since a number of people at the gym of late have been ignoring my borderline offensive t-shirt selection and scowl and asking me how I do certain exercises that I am using to train for the Spartan Run in July, I must look like I know what I am doing.  I therefore thought “I should write this down so people who read my ranting can at the very least have a bit of useful knowledge and not just “grr this make me mad” being their only memory of me after I die”.  I previously thought to myself “huh… I tag a post as having something remote to do with “fitness” and I quadruple my daily readers”.  So yeah.  Box Jumping.

Lets go.

I backed off of weights a while back due to a need to be better prepared for the Spartan Race thing and not just ready to punch people and lift heavy things repetitively.  Yes, more rowing machine, more running, more stair work, more incline treadmills.  Also, more bar work based on my son’s gymnastics conditioning workouts.  Also also (yes that is grammatically correct dink) I added box jumping.

Watch the video below (WITH THE VOLUME OFF because the guy is a bit bro-droney) and ignore his bad choice of socks.  Watch it for technique.  Also ignore his girly man calves (he needs to do more box jumping).

Box Jumping Video By Some Gym Brodude

Essentially:

  • Pick a smaller box to start.  12″ most likely.
  • Stand back 1-2 feet, band as shown in the video, swinging arms back behind you as you “load” your muscles.
  • Don’t squat down too far.
  • Land SOFTLY. If you are banging as you land you need to get a smaller box and practice before you move back up a size.
  • Land on your toes not your heels. Jump or if you need step back down and do it again after a rest.
  • Don’t do what I did and work your way up to a 24+ inch box as fast as possible and go for 5 sets of 10 jumps as if you are curling 35 lb weights to tone.  I shredded my shins twice on the edge of the box and I still have the scars*.

Pro-tips:

  1. When you land, stay on your toes and raise yourself up to half squat, hold it for 5 seconds before you step back or jump back down.  Oh and DO NOT fall and smack your face on the box. I have not done this but seen someone almost do it the other day.
  2. Sets: as many as you can safely do but STOP when you start to feel like you are actually getting something out of it. Yeah, helpful, I know.  Lets say 3.
  3. Reps: not as many as you might think. Three (3) sets of 5-10 is pretty good but as you increase height decrease numbers otherwise your shins will look like shredded cheese, but red and gross.

*When a pretty gym girl walks by DO NOT WATCH HER if you are jumping.  Do not watch her.  Seriously. Do not. She’s too young for you anyways. That little laugh she made after you slipped and smashed your shins?  That’s how it sounds when your manliness has evaporated.  In fact, a pretty girl laughing at you is how your manliness IS destroyed.  it’s one of their magical powers, these pretty young gym girls.

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Goodbye Burger, It’s Been Nice

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Goodbye hamburgers. I’ll see you again on the fourth of July. It’s been good. I still care for you deeply, you just can’t be part of my life right now.

Yeah. This is when I start to get annoying. I’m going to be one of “them”. I’m in training.

And I DO love hamburgers.

Don’t get me wrong, by “I Do love hamburgers” I don’t mean the overly trendy grotesque monster gourmet burgers slathered in cheese and an assortment of odd ingredients (I am I admit partial to one called a Sk8R Boy that is made with peanut butter and banana and bacon, though I can never finish one). I mean a basic condiment, single burger, basic meat, basic bun hamburger. I much prefer homemade but I will happily have one from (in order of preference) Dairy Queen, Burger King, McDonalds (just a small single burger) and if pressed, Harveys. I also hardly ever have them really but at least once a week due to enforced eating out and sheer laziness.

But they are henceforth evil, at least until July 4, 2016.

I’m in training. I’m in training for a Spartan Race and I am REALLY REALLY old. Okay, not REALLY old, just old in my mind. I’m forty-eight and will be forty-nine before the race. Sure I have the mind, hobbies, tastes (and sadly for my wife, libido) of an eighteen year old nerdy college student, but the body, it’s old.

What is the Spartan race? Well, it’s a five kilometer run up and down a ski hill with fifteen of twenty one random obstacles. It’s hellish. It’s not one of those “tough” mud  races aging soccer moms love. It’s difficult. If you cannot finish an obstacle on the first try, you have to do thirty burpees. Yoips! Yoips I say!

I have run many five kilometer races in my life. Many ten k’s and four half marathons. Up until a few years ago I played soccer year round (still wish I was by my wife keeps reminding me of this FANTASY that she has that my knees don’t like playing anymore and I hobble for days after I play..women.) In recent years, I’ve alternated between road races and weights at the gym. I’ve never done anything like this. I have modified my training regimen to be focused on other muscle groups, more bar-work, box jumps (my scarred shins hate me), hanging L-sits etc. And now, three and a half months away, a shift must occur. I need to reduce mass, run and that means sacrifice.

Goodbye hamburgers. Hello chicken and fish. Hello high protein low carb higher number of veggies and less fruit. None of this is terrible to me as that’s most of my normal diet but yeah, no more weekly hamburgers.

But why you may ask, why do this, why not just run more and do more weights? It’s working. You have really defined legs and arms and shoulders and you certainly wouldn’t want to get punched by you. Because age. I hate age. I hate getting old. I hate being older. I hate the speckling of gray in my thick youthful hair. I hate wrinkles. I hate reminders that I am a little over two years from being the same age my father was when he died overweight and unhealthy. I am Peter Pan, or I was. Lately I feel like “The Pan” as played by Robin Williams, who accidentally got old.

Age sucks donkey.

SO I am in the race with coworkers much younger. I am working out three to four days a week and bumping that up to five. I am preparing for the final obstacle, the leap over a pit of fire. Then I can die a Vikings death. No not the one involving scurvy on a stinking boat in the middle of the Atlantic, lost and alone. The other one! The glorious one! To Glory! To Valhalla, oddly via Sparta!

I am so going to scarf down a triple meat DQ brazier burger and chili fries on July 4 and wash it down with about four cans of German beer. Damn, I should probably quit beer too.

Goodbye Hamburgers!

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