Monday, October 27, 2008

Whoops, I've been meaning to post... but who has the time?

Wow, October is practically gone and I'm still trying to figure out what happened to September. On the fitness side, I feel great, but I'm way out of shape. It's ugly. Training has been sporadic with leanings toward non-existent. I'll fix that, it's just a matter of getting it in. In fact, I ran today and it was simply gorgeous. We're experiencing unusually good weather, and I just couldn't let another beautiful day go by without enjoying it. It was just a little 3 mile run prior to lunch, but it was really good. My iPod was pumping out the bluegrass instrumentals and I just trucked along.

Speaking of bluegrass I got to spend a week with my dad, uncle, and family friends at Turkey Track earlier this month. We had just an amazing time. I haven't played as much in the previous year as I played over that one week. We'd get up for breakfast, clean up and pick. We'd break for lunch, clean-up and pick. We might catch a stage show, eat dinner, clean-up and pick. The ends of my fingers are still flat. By the end of the week, I was playing as well as I've played in years. I just need to keep it fresh in my head on my own. All those years of having Dad playing rhythm for me in practice spoiled me. I just don't like to practice by myself. The other funny thing was we both brought a digital recorder with us. And do you think either one of us actually recorded a single tune, nope. Not a one. I could kick myself now. I learned a couple of new tunes, dusted off some really old tunes, and came up with some new stuff for a few regulars in my arsenal. Mostly though, we had a great time and weeks like that are what music is really about. Family and friends, new and old, sharing the music and sitting around a campfire just playing until your fingers are sore, and then playing some more. I hope we get to do it all again very soon.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Another old tune

Here's another old tune for a buddy of mine. This is St. Anne's Reel.

Monday, September 8, 2008

A lazy weekend

Well, it was lazy with respect to actually working out. I made it 7 days in a row. I kept to the same premise as before and added a little extra to each run. So Wednesday I made it 28:30 and Thursday was 29:01. The Thursday run was particularly good. We had a few mild mornings as a result of Gustav and a small northern front that made it through. The combination gave us some unseasonably dry and cool air in the mornings. It very nearly felt like fall, until about 3 in the afternoon, then it was time to get everyone inside and soak up the AC. Anyway, with those runs under my belt I spent Friday catching up on errands and work. My dad was coming down for the weekend. We had been planning to build a new run-in shed and hay storage in my front pasture for a while and with the need to store more hay, we needed to get it done. We spent all day Saturday and half a day Sunday building. It's not the same as running or cycling or swimming, but damn I'm sore. Particularly my hammerin hand. My wrist must be twice the size it should be. I guess sitting in front of a computer all day every day doesn't really prepare you for honest work. Anyway, we had a fruitful weekend and only have to shore up the stringers and add the metal. We should get that done in a couple of weeks. Then I get to move a bunch more hay. Oh boy.

Saturday night my dad and I went over to Fayetteville and played in a jam session over on the square. That is just a cool little town and we had a great time playing with some new folks. Here's a little video I did for a friend of mine, he sent it to me played on mandolin, I sent it back on fiddle. The tune is called Bonaparte's Retreat and I'm playing using an alternative tuning. This is a very old tune and style of playing.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Does 5 Days in a Row Make a Habit?

Today marked 5 days in a row of running. Granted its no great feat standing on it's own, but 5 days in a row is 5 days in a row! Sunday I ran just a driveway further than Saturday and did that in 29:14. That was a pretty hot run and my quads were still barking at me from the Day 0 run. But, I got it done and I was pretty well chuffed to hit 3 days in a row. Yesterday was a lesson in planning (or not planning.) By the time I had time to run it was stupid hot outside and I just don't play well in the heat. I fired up the treadmill and knocked out 3.1 miles at 1% grade. That included 5 minutes of warmup and 5 minutes of cooldown with 25 minutes of running sandwiched in between. As you can tell, I'm not exactly breaking any landspeed records. (But I may be redefining how slow you can go and still call it running.) Regardless, with the Rifleman watching and killing bad guys in front of me, I was able to maintain the effort and even pick it up a little at the end. I was running a slightly faster pace on the treadmill than I have outside and that got my legs to thinking a little more about running and less about the 23:30 hours a day I'm not running.

So, that brings us to today. #5. In a row. How about them apples? I headed out the door with my iPod blaring out the latest in 1920's string band music and poured myself into another run. Hurrican Gustav spared our area entirely and was even nice enough to deliver us some drier air and winds out of the North. That was pleasant. I headed out with the idea of running the same route as Sunday. I'm going to hold that distance until I naturally negative split it. With the out taking me into the teeth of the wind, it was a little hard to get some rhythm going. But, with a little help from the bluegrass gods of mandolin I found peace in the iPod and some rhythm underfoot. I noticed that I immediately started looking for the pace I held on the treadmill. It was tough at first, but my legs found the groove and we trundled along to the end of the paved road. I hit the turnaround and walked for a minute (just like Sunday, no cheating the splits) and only had to pause long enough to go Cesar Milan on a little dog that had escaped its yard. Once we had determined that he was not the boss and had not won our confrontation I was back underway and keeping a tempo. For some reason, it was a little tough maintaining momentum on the way back, but I kept chastising myself whenever I felt the effort sag. I rounded the turn for home and glanced at the stopwatch, this was going to be a big win. I hit the end at 27:40. Now, I'm going to have to go a bit further tomorrow.


Sunday, August 31, 2008

Day 0+1

I started this count with 0, not because I'm a technology geek, but because it truly represented the bottom of how I felt about my physical self. It wasn't just the weight, it was the softness. The addiction to the couch/chair/bed whatever was handy to hold me up. The realization that I would rather lean than hold myself up, figuratively and literally. Day 0 represents the bottom and the beginning.

Day 0 was 28 minutes of running/jogging/walking that carried me 2.5 miles. I ran without the gadgets, just a stopwatch to let me know how long it took. I know it was 2.5 miles because I measured it years ago and have that spot, along with many others, marked on the roads around my house. The difficult part of it was how difficult it was. I knew it would be hard, I never questioned it being hard, but from the first step to the last step, it was a constant conversation with myself that this was what we needed to be doing. When I finished, I felt that slight twinge of pride (and a slight twinge in my quads) and I allowed myself that moment to relish a new beginning. I had truly started back. No more talking, just doing.

Day 0+1 was even better in so many ways. I woke with the knowledge that today I would run again. It wasn't a matter of "if" I would run, it was only "when" I would run. I slid out of bed and immediately felt the effects of Day 0. I've heard so many people complain about starting a new program and how much it hurts. They just don't get it. I felt that soreness. I welcomed it. I smiled. Why would I smile at the soreness that a mere 2.5 miles put in my legs? Because it meant that Day 0 actually counted. If where we are today is a culmination of all the days that preceded, then I know that Day 0 was a good day on which to build my foundation. Day 0 wasn't just a nod at getting started. It was truly a start to breaking the body down so that I can rebuild it the way I want it. Day 0 counts and I have the sore legs to prove it. Every step I took on Day 0+1 reminded me of the effort of Day 0. I smiled at every step.

It finally came time to run yesterday and I went out just like I did on Day 0. I strapped on the wristwatch and headed out the door. The only thought I had in mind was to honor the previous effort with another. To be honest, it took a little bit to shake yesterday's soreness out. But I didn't mind. It was the effort that put it there and another effort will clean them out. As I turned down the road for the bulk of the run, I still hadn't decided how far or how long to run. I was just going to run. I had a few things to think about, but even those thoughts quickly went to the wayside and I only concentrated on the effort. I'd pick signs, driveways, whatever as little intermediate goals to run to. Then I got to where I turned around yesterday. But, I wasn't ready to turn around. I went one driveway further. I grinned at myself. It might only represent an extra 40 yds, but further is further and I did that today. I walked the turn around and started back. I don't think I stopped smiling the rest of the run. I rolled back up to the house and stopped the watch. 27:30. There it was. I went 2.5 miles plus one driveway and did it faster than yesterday.

I can't wait to run again Sunday.

ORN: 2.5 miles plus a driveway 27:30

Friday, August 29, 2008

Day 0

I just looked. I haven’t taken a step, turned a pedal, or taken a stroke with purpose since April 8, 2008.

I just looked. I’m the heaviest I’ve ever been in my life, by a significant margin.

I just looked. I don’t like what I see in the mirror. I don’t recognize that person.

I just looked. I considered signing up for Canada. I had a shot. I had the card in hand and everything ready to submit. I was one of the lucky ones that got through. I looked inside; there’s no way. I closed the page.

I just looked. It’s 91 degrees with a heat index of 98. HTFU.

I just looked. It was 11:45. Time to go for a run. 2.5 miles. No gadgets. Just shorts that fit differently. A shirt that isn’t as loose as it used to be and some shoes that have been missing me.

Day 0. August 28, 2008 11:45 AM. Time to start over.

ORN: 2.5 miles 28 minutes