Same, same, but different

Yeah, so…. the world and stuff. Am I right?

Still working from home and really enjoying it. I find I’m so much more productive this way. Well, aside from the daily Zoom meetings which I feel are largely unnecessary. Many of my coworkers seem to socially benefit from them, so I suppose there is a benefit. It’s just not one I’m seeing.

I take some joy in being a touch subversive with my Zoom backgrounds.

Monday begins furlough time. I have to take at least one unpaid day off each pay period for the next year, or until I’ve taken all 26 furlough days – whichever happens first. So while not great, it could be so very much worse. (And I’ve no illusions that it could still get worse.)

The garden’s footprint has tripled in size, and I think that’s as far as I’m going to take it. It has expanded to include zucchini, yellow squash, Mexican grey squash, pumpkins, three varieties of tomato, three varieties of peppers, garlic, carrots, cantaloupe, watermelon, bunching onions, basil, and chick peas. Yeah…. I think that’s everything.

Still managing to work out six days a week. Running three days, and doing my old Power Half Hour DVDs from Beach Body three days. I’d been training for the Yellowstone Double Bison (back-to-back 5k and half marathon in early June) but that was cancelled earlier this week. I opted to defer to the virtual race version, so I’ll still get some swag plus a $75 credit toward a future race.

While I do miss many of the exercises that I was able to do at the gym, I don’t really miss being at the gym. I’ve got the space in my laundry room. I think I’d like to invest in an adjustable bench (incline/flat/decline) and some weights. I’m hoping that a bit further down the road I’ll be able to score a gonga deal at a yard sale or something as people start trying to clear out the workout gear they panic-bought at the start of all this. But now is not the time for that. Not yet.

My annual physical which had been rescheduled to a phone call was eventually cancelled. (Makes sense, how do you do a physical exam over the phone anyway?) I checked in with my doctor about my blood lab results from March and his response was “Nothing of concern.” So that’s that until in-person appointments can happen safely again.

My weight progress is still maddeningly slow. I credit this largely to getting lazy at times about my calorie logging. Being in the house – where all my food also happens to live – has also made me a bit more likely to snack than when I’m at work and the only food I have is what I brought with me for the day. And there’s the part where I’m not burning quite as many calories as I was before the world stopped. I’m floating between two and five pounds away from Ultimate Goal Weight, depending on the day.

It’s frustrating to be so close and not see marked movement in that direction. Some days I just want to call it “good enough” but I’ve come so far, it would be a shame to give up when I’m so close. I’ll get there. “The body will do what the body will do.” “The less you have to lose, the harder it is to lose.” “Trust the system.” These are all the things I say to friends in my r/loseit challenge team when they’re struggling. I need to take my own advice.

The thing that has ultimately been the most difficult for me in all this is being unable to play music with my friends. Oh, I’ve got a couple of different remote projects going on with different folks, and I’ve been making music on my own to help myself stay grounded. But it’s not the same as that energy that happens when you’re in the same room as other people, playing live. Or even better, at a venue playing music with friends for a bunch of people, everyone’s energy feeding off each other… It’s something special. And I miss it so very much.

This is the playlist I’m keeping of my “Quarantine” music.

C25K Report: Week 9

  • W9D1 (Mon)
    • Felt fine.  Was a little bummed that I only added a tenth of a mile to my W8 distances but then remembered that W9 runs are only two minutes longer than W8, so that’s about right.
    • Treated myself to the movies.  Decided to see the new Nutcracker flick.  Cute.  Enjoyed it, though the Mouse King was rather unnerving.  And the Mirlitons were terrifying.
      • Was planning on having a “movie lunch” of popcorn and soda.  Then I saw the calorie counts on the menu board, decided I didn’t want them that badly, and that I could wait until after the movie to get one of my favorite burgers on the way home.  Which is what I did.
    • I’m also going to take this film as an opportunity to plug my Switched-On Nutcracker album.  For those of you familiar with the old Switched-On Bach records, this is the same idea, just with selected pieces from the Nutcracker Suite.  All analog synth goodness, all played by me one track at a time, over and over and over and over and over.  No MIDI involved.  I’m pretty proud of it, even in the spots that are a little rough around the edges.  Please check it out.  And if you’re so inclined, you can even throw a few bucks my way.

  • REST DAY (Tues)
    • P90 Sculpt! Level 3-4
      • My Garmin crapped out about 80% of the way through.  Apparently 7% battery is not enough to get through this workout.
  • W9D2 (Wed)
    • COLD.  Not quite Minneapolis cold, but cold.  Wore two layers of long sleeves, wouldn’t have been a horrible idea to also wear two layers of long pants.  Note taken for Friday morning when temperatures should be similar to today.
  • REST DAY (Thurs)
    • No exercise today.
  • W9D3 (Fri)
    • FINISHED!  Mostly felt good, except for the little bit toward the end where I felt like I might puke.  Which was odd since I wasn’t pushing any harder than usual.  I suspect I was underhydrated.
    • Also, apparently the grumpy old men of my neighborhood come out to walk about a half hour after I usually finish my run.  At least, I’m assuming so given the number of them I passed on my way back home.  (Started my run about a half hour later than usual.)

This week’s rediscovered running music is…  well, there isn’t any.  Didn’t have anything come up this week that made me go, “YEAH!”

Since this marks my completion of C25K, I’ve registered for a 5K on December 1st to benefit arthritis research.  If you’d like to make a donation, you can do so here.  If not, no worries.  Everyone is asking for money this time of year.

C25K Report: Week 8

  • W8D1 (Tues)
    • Walk 5, run 28, walk 5 (all three days are the same)
    • Felt WAY better than the last two runs of Week 7.
    • Environment felt… strange.  Like, quasi-unsafe strange.  Kept my pepper spray ready in my hand for most of the run.
    • Think I’ve almost got my stride length figured out in my Garmin app.  C25K app logged 2.87 miles, and my Garmin watch tracked 2.82.  That’s only about a 105 foot difference.  It’s definitely better than the Garmin adding nearly half a mile to my actual distances.
  • REST DAY (Wed)
    • No exercise today.  Woke up too late and there wasn’t enough time after work.
    • Learned that I like Eritrean food.  Very much a lot.
  • W8D2 (Thurs)
    • Time was operating very strangely this morning.  I’m not convinced I was really out there for the full 38 minutes, despite what the C25K app and my activity band say.
    • Garmin step-counter recorded about a tenth of a mile shorter than the C25K app’s GPS tracking.  Still close enough for government work, I think.  For now, at least.
  • REST DAY (Fri)
    • No “proper” exercise, but I did move a bunch of printers around at work.
    • Also relocated all of my drums from the guest room closet at one end of the house to the laundry room shelves at the other end of the house.  Oh… and then had to figure out what to do with all the junk from the laundry room shelves.  Definitely worked up a good sweat with all that.
  • W8D3 (Sat)
    • Edited down my running playlist to remove the tunes it kept insisting on playing every week.
      • Seriously, what’s up with that?  My playlist was like 8 hours long!  How was it playing the same tracks so often on shuffle?  Anyway.  It’s about 5 hours long now.
    • 2.94 miles.  Felt good.  Just one more week to go!
  • REST DAY (Sun)
    • P90 Sculpt Level 3-4

This week’s rediscovered running music is “Would You Like To Go To The Rock And Roll Show?” by The Bittersweet Way.  You wouldn’t expect this version of this tune to be particularly conducive to running, but it just seemed to fit a dark, cool morning.  It also helped me keep a maintainable pace.

C25K Report: Week 7

  • W7D1 (Wed)
    • Walk 5, run 25, walk 5 (days 2 & 3 are the same)
    • It’s that awkward time of year when it’s just a touch too chilly for shorts and short sleeves when I head out, but not cold enough for long pants and long sleeves once I get going.  Have compromised with running shorts and a hoodie these last couple of runs.  Seems to be working fine so far.
  • REST DAY (Thurs)
    • P90 Sculpt 1-2
  • W7D2 (Fri)
    • Legs felt a little tired.  Willing to chalk that up to poor sleep thanks to the take-home sleep test I did the night before.
    • Wanted to stop for a walk break at the half-way turnaround point, but pushed through.
  • REST DAY (Sat)
    • P90 Sculpt 3-4
      • Felt like I was having trouble sticking with P90, maybe because I was getting bored with it, so decided to try the Level 3-4 DVD.
      • First three rounds are the same as the three rounds of Level 1-2, except at a quicker pace and with a major increase in push-up and squat reps.  Fourth round is new exercises.
      • Kicked.  My.  Ass.
  • W7D3 (Sun)
    • SUCKED.  Serious DOMS in my legs – particularly my thighs – from the new P90 routine.  Felt like I was fighting for every step.  Made it through, though.
    • Also, if you find yourself wondering the night before a run if you’ve charged your running headphones?  Just charge them anyway.  Made it *almost* all the way out and back before they died.
  • REST DAY (Mon)
    • Actual rest day.  Okay, maybe a walk before dinner.  But that’s it.

This week’s rediscovered running music is Venjan by Hurdy-Gurdy.  Helped me find my zen place at the end of W7D1.  I can’t find it streaming anywhere, but you can check out a snippet here.

C25K Report: Week 6

  • W6D1 (Thurs)
    • Walk 5, run 5, walk 3, run 8, walk 3, run 5, walk 5
    • Went fine, though finished session a good half mile away from my starting point.
    • Think I need to recalibrate my running stride length on my fitness tracker.  It thinks I went a good half mile (at least) further than I actually did.
    • Travel day (last day of JNUC, returning home).  Very tired.  Looking forward to my own bed.  And the cats.
  • REST DAY (Fri)
    • Got home around midnight last night/this morning.  Grocery/pet supply shopping after sleeping in, then orchestra rehearsal in Sierra Vista.
  • W6D2 (Sat)
    • Walk 5, run 10, walk 3, run 10, walk 5
    • Felt… not great.  Legs just didn’t feel good.
    • Orchestra dress rehearsal and concert in Sierra Vista.
    • Didn’t quite make it back into my smaller tux for this concert, but I did get back into one of my proper tux shirts.  And my old larger jacket fit properly again.  Here’s a photo comparing last April’s concert with this weekend’s concert. Didn’t quite manage to get the same angle, but I think the difference in my face is noticeable. tuxprogress
  • REST DAY (Sun)
    • Actually rested, for the most part.  Laundry, dyed pants for Halloween costume, was otherwise a vegetable.
  • W6D3 (Mon)
    • Walk 5, run 22, walk 5
  • REST DAY (Tues)
    • Sick day.  Woke up and the world would not stop spinning.  Called in sick and spent most of the day asleep.

This week’s rediscovered running music is another one of my originals, the EdBot5000 Megamix.  Did this as an art trade with EB5K a bunch of years ago.  He got this podcast music, and I got the painting shown in the track artwork below.  I really should make some more 8-bit style music again.  This was fun.

C25K Report: Week 5

  • W5D1 (Fri)
    • walk 5, run 5, walk 3, run 5, walk 3, run 5, walk 5
    • Not awful, but I wasn’t too worried about it.  Days 2 and 3 (especially 3) however…  Yikes.  This is where it ramps up fast.  Which I guess makes sense.  Next run is the half-way point for Active’s version of C25K.
    • P90 Sweat 1-2 and Ab Ripper 100
      • Decided after work to see if running helped my endurance with this at all.  It did, but I still can’t quite make it all the way through yet.  Damn run-lunges and cross-hops are hard.
  • REST DAY (Sat)
    • P90 Sculpt 1-2
    • My abs hurt from yesterday.
    • Orchestra rehearsal.
  • W5D2 (Sun)
    • walk 5, run 8, walk 5, run 8, walk 5
    • Wasn’t entirely sure about those 8 minute run segments, but a chill tune came up in my playlist when the first run started and reminded me to slow down.  Got through it just fine.  Didn’t burn out but didn’t have a whole lot left in the tank at the end, either.
    • Abs are still a little sore.
  • REST DAY (Mon)
    • Travel Day (attending JNUC 2018)
  • W5D3 (Tues)
    • walk 5, run 20, walk 5
    • Made it through the 20 minute run just fine, actually.  Only real issue was that I got turned around in the park by my hotel, so I didn’t make it back to my starting point by the time the app said the workout was finished.  Well, that and it was 34°F outside.
    • JNUC Day 1
  • REST DAY (Wed)
    • P90 Sculpt 1-2
    • Feeling frustrated because of my weigh-ins while traveling.  I know part of it is the increased sodium intake and decreased of rest. I also didn’t weigh my clothes before leaving home and I usually weigh nekkid, so there are a couple of pounds accounted for.  Plus, different scale, so there’s no telling its calibration.  I purposely moved to maintenance calories for this trip because I didn’t want to feel like I was failing by not meeting my deficit goal and I know things’ll even out once I’m home and back in my normal routines.  It’s just hard to focus on the big picture when I’m this tired.
    • JNUC Day 2

This week’s rediscovered running music is this instrumental version of Namaste by the Beastie Boys.  The chill vibe and laid-back groove helped me remember to slow down for the increasingly lengthening run segments.

C25K Report: Week 4

  • W4D1 (Sat)
    • Running segments this week are 3:00 and 5:00 with walk breaks of 1:30 and 3:00, respectively.  Didn’t hate it.  Didn’t die.
  • REST DAY (Sun)
    • Actually rested.
  • W4D2 (Mon)
    • Another chilly morning.
  • REST DAY (Tues)
    • Actually rested.
  • W4D3 (Wed)
    • Felt… not awful, but not great.  Legs were not happy with me.
  • REST DAY (Thurs)
    • P90 Sculpt 1-2

This week’s rediscovered running music is actually a track that I made as part of a commission for a friend.

C25K Report: Week 3

  • W3D1 (Sun)
    • Looked at the breakdown for this week: 5:00 warmup walk, (1:30 run, 1:30 walk, 3:00 run, 3:00 walk) two times, 5:00 cooldown walk.
    • Wait… I already have to run 3 minutes solid?
    • Okay, I made it through the 3:00 runs.  It was tough, but I did it.
  • REST DAY (Mon)
    • P90 Sculpt 1-2
  • W3D2 (Tues)
    • It was COLD out this morning. (What? 52° F is cold to us desert dwellers.)  Opted for long pants and a short-sleeved shirt instead of my usual shorts and sleeveless shirt.  Also a beanie.
    • Almost wished I’d had long sleeves and light gloves.  Almost.  By the time I hit the cooldown walk, I was feeling pretty comfortable, so probably would have been a bit too warm had I worn more.
    • Unrelated: I finally fit back into the t-shirt I wore in the photo I use here.
  • REST DAY (Wed)
    • P90 Sculpt 1-2
      • Discovered my gut has shrunk enough that I can finally comfortably do a runner’s stretch.  Thinking I should maybe bust out the Sweat 1-2 session again and see if the Power Yoga bit is any less awkward for me.  (I’ve let C25K replace the P90 cardio days for now.)
    • Given yesterday’s t-shirt success, decided to try another one that I haven’t worn in ages.  Also fits.  I may have to go “shopping” in my “smaller shirts” bin this weekend.
  • W3D3 (Thurs)
    • Didn’t feel great, didn’t suck.
    • Not sure if I’m ready for Week 4, or if I need to repeat Week 3 days a couple more times.  We’ll see how I’m feeling next run day.
  • REST DAY (Fri)
    • No time for P90.  Steelband gig after work.

This week’s rediscovered running music is Romantika by the Apparat Organ Quartet.

C25K Report: Week 2

  • W2D1
    • Remembered to trust the app and go until it alerted me of the half-way point.
    • Clouds left-over from the previous night’s rain meant no false dawn to run in.  Realized that the mornings will swiftly be getting darker now, so I need to find my headlamp and ensure it has good batteries installed.  And maybe find my pepper spray.  You know, just in case.  It’s not the best area, or very well-lit.
    • P90 Sculpt 1-2
  • W2D2
    • Pretty sure I slept wrong.  Right thigh and ankle were a little twingey until I’d warmed up.
    • Found headlamp, but batteries were dead and I didn’t have time to put in fresh ones.  Was light enough out to not need it yet, so that was okay.
    • Also found my pepper spray, which I did take with me.
    • P90 Sculpt 1-2
  • W2D3
    • Bluetooth earbuds ran out of battery five minutes in, which was unfun.  Now I know they need to be charged after 5 runs at most.  Fortunately, there was nobody else around so I didn’t feel too weird about using my phone on speakerphone for music and C25K app cues.  (That’s a major pet peeve of mine – people broadcasting junk via their phone’s speakers rather than using headphones.)
    • Feeling ready for Week 3, I think.
    • Ran errands.  Lots and lots of errands.  This day is poorly named.

This week’s rediscovered running music was Ya Leil by Sufjan Stevens.  Gets me into my zen place, but not so much that it’s shocking when whatever the Shuffle Gods decide to play next.

C25K Report: Week 1

What’s C25K?  That’d be Couch to 5k, a program to gradually build up running stamina.  There are tons of different versions out there, but I’m using the app available from Active.  Basic idea is you walk/run three days each week with rest days in between, gradually decreasing the amount of walking and increasing the amount of running until you can run for 30 minutes without stopping.  It did wonders for me when I used it the first time I lost a bunch of weight and I really do miss running, so I told myself I’d do C25K again once I’d dropped 40 pounds.

I don’t anticipate each day being worth an entire post, but I think I’d like to keep a “weekly wrap-up” type log going here.

  • W1D1
    • Didn’t suck nearly as much as I was worried it would.
    • Forgot to bring water.
    • Took a meandering route through the neighborhood.  Upset a lot of dogs.  Plus, trip-hazards galore and lots of street-crossings.
  • REST DAY 1
    • Serious DOMS (Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness)
    • P90 Sculpt level 1-2 (resistance workout)
  • W1D2
    • Still some DOMS, but not so bad I couldn’t run.
    • Remembered water bottle.
    • Discovered route through local park to a multi-use path.  Have to cross one major street to get to it, but not too bad.  Turned left on the path, which runs alongside another park in that direction.
    • Forgot that the app will tell me when I’m half-way through, at which point I can turn around.  Turned back early, so had to make up a little time in the first park.
  • REST DAY 2
    • Legs still a touch sore.
    • P90 Sculpt 1-2
  • W1D3
    • Still just the slightest bit of soreness in thighs, but almost gone.
    • Took Day 2 route but turned right on the multi-use path.  Goes over a wooden bridge, which is NOISY.  Pretty sure I woke up a homeless person underneath it.  Likely won’t go this direction again so early in the morning.
    • P90 Sculpt 1-2
    • Rested Sunday

I’m also gradually re-learning my running playlist as I go through all this.  As I rediscover tracks which I particularly enjoyed running to, I’ll include them here.  This week was one from a band I used to play with.  Close to Odd, by Wight Lhite.  Tempo seems to match my running cadence pretty well, and the driving rhythm seems to help my forward momentum.

And now, on to Week 2.