Thursday, September 16, 2004

Finally, someone let me out of my cage...

I rowed for an hour this morning. I am awesome.

Which is to say, OMFG, I can't believe I finally exercised again -
something I hadn't done since I last saw my trainer on Friday. I was
scheduled for training this morning - and dreading it - but my trainer
called to say his wife was having a baby. Mazel tov, Trevor! So I
went back to my place and rowed for an hour instead.

Then I ate 3 eggs scrambled with cheese, plus juice and vitamins, and
made a ginormous salad for my lunch: spinach, broccoli, red bell
pepper, green onion, cucumber, soy nuts, hearts of palm, tofu, rice
cheese (no kidding), capers, black pepper, Tobasco sauce, and Bragg's
Liquid Aminos.

And I've only had 1 cigarette today. But don't worry. I'll catch up.

Gotta go - time for whey.

Monday, September 13, 2004

What's in my salad?

Spinach, red bell pepper, cucumber, unsalted roasted soynuts, cubes of
soy mozzarella with Italian herbs, capers, and Bragg's Liquid Aminos.

Washed down with today's 3rd quart of water. The first two had whey
powder equal to 54g protein per quart.

12:05 pm and no cigarettes.

A date that shall live in infamy...

Today is my Quit Date. I decided last week that on this date I would
once again cease smoking. It's almost 10:30 am. I've had no
cigarettes today.

I began taking the homeopathic smoking withdrawal pills at about 8:45
am. You take one of these pills three times a day, crushing it with
your teeth and letting it dissolve in your mouth. You repeat this
cycle for 20 days. If at any time you smoke a cigarette, you have to
start the 20 days over. These things are way cheaper and way better
for you than any nicotine replacement therapy.

I've also started back with the toothpicks, a special variety by
Thursday Plantation called Tea Tree Australian Chewing Sticks. These
really helped the last time I quit.

I'll be picking up my Zyban around lunchtime. That's the ticket.
Bupropion, same active ingredient and the anti-depressant Wellbutrin.
Helps my mood, regulates my ADHD, boosts my energy and reduces my
craving for cigarettes.

Finally, I plan to go to yoga tonight. I believe this was essential
before in clearing my lungs and detoxifying my system post-quit.

Right after my haircut. So long, Ronald McDonald 'fro.

Also, I've got a new goal for my birthday (10/27). Assuming that with
work I can lose 2 lbs. of fat and gain 1 lb. of muscle per week, I
figure that by my birthday, I get down to 219 with a body fat
percentage of 11.5%. With work. Lots and lots of work. Right now
I'm about 225 and 16.8%.

And I wonder what gives some people the impression that I have a body
image problem.

Friday, September 10, 2004

Wagon, handbasket, whatever.

Status report:

Went to the gym this morning, arriving 15 minutes late as usual.
Awful, awful workout, the fruits of drinkin' an' smokin' an' dancin'
the hootchie koo, especially in San Jose, and of not going to the gym
or doing any kind of formal exercise in the last 10 days.

Had about a pint or so of orange-carrot juice before the workout, but
that didn't quell the nausea or dizziness very long. Started with
jumprope and foot drills, then weights. Didn't get a whole lot done.
Ended with some crunches and pushups, then he gave me the medicine
ball to work my oblique abnominals. About five reps into the first
set I had to dispose of my juice. No boot & rally. Just boot.

Actually, maybe the cigarette right before going to the gym didn't
help either. But the one I had right after was fabulous.

whatever. I got through it. Lesson learned, back in the saddle, etc.

Now I'm back to chugging mad protein, and I'll start the creatine load
cycle back up since I've been off it for a couple of weeks. I brought
8 pieces of fruit to the office today; so far I've eaten 5 of them.

This morning, post boot, I weighed 225 lbs.

Tonight, the rowing machine comes out again. Then I'll play around
with my new computer programs for learning Chinese.

Sayonara, biatches.

They only come up to your knees...

At a part of my quest for Olympic gold in Beijing in 2008, I'm
learning Chinese. I got some language CDs to listen to while I row on
my ergometer, as soon as I dust off my ergometer.

Knee how?

I'm going to bed now. I meet Trevor for training in 3 hours and 54 minutes.

Thursday, September 09, 2004

Getting back on the horse that bit you

Breakfast:

Nothing, per se, but I did have 3 bananas over the course of the
morning, and almost no water.

Lunch:

Ick.

Some spicy eggplant dish over rice. Beer and cheese soup. Two fortune cookies.

This has got to stop.

As you can see I'm prepared to restart my food blog. I can't catch
the wagon. I'm building my own damned wagon.

OK, so here's the new diet:

With the occasional exception of work-related dining out and eating at
restaurants with friends, I propose to eat nothing but raw fruits and
vegetables, bulk nuts, grains, and pulses (see: beans), and whey
powder, along with 1-2 gallons of water a day. I'll be starting this
diet right after this afternoon's happy hour with the other
consultants from my agency.

Also, I'm (re)setting my quit date for Monday, September 13, 2004.
Will spend the weekend smoking and stocking up on Zyban, toothpicks,
homeopathic cessation pills, etc. Maybe even that aromatherapy nasal
inhaler.

Now, time to make a whey shake. Later, freaks.

What was I planning to do with my life again?

Long time, no blog.

I fell off the wagon so hard I can't even see it down the road. I haven't exercised at all since a week ago Monday, with the exceptions of walking around San Francisco Friday, walking four miles to the Rosicrucian Museum on Saturday, and the hour and a half on the bicycle pump it took me to blow up Elaine's kiddie pool. I'm meeting Trevor the Trainer again tomorrow. Consider my ass fully kicked.

So, yeah, last weekend I went to San Jose for a crash course in Orkut freakology. Met: the Hussy (aka Marie, Andie, and Elaine), Mr. and Mrs. Karl Elvis and Barb MacRae, Kevin and Kenny and Girl Kelly and Tall Eric, Laura K, Rob and Binky and others from the defunct game company Origin (see: Ultima). Saw: San Francisco (the Wharf, a Trolley, Alcatraz, Chinatown) and San Jose (Rosicrucian Museum of Egyptian Stuff, the Tapestry & Talent street fair, Casa MacRae, Elaine's back yard, assorted bars and restaurants).

Last night I went to my first Meetup, the monthly Vegetarian Meetup. It was part meh / part awesome. It was held and the hippy-dippierest Galactic Pizza, a joint that has mostly vegetarian and vegan fare, is powered by wind energy, and makes deliveries in little electric buggies. The meh part was that everyone was kind of quiet, as can be expected at a dinner with a group of random strangers with very different backgrounds meeting for the first time at a dinner table. The awesome part is that I met four new people who I'm pretty sure will be more laid back when/if I meet them again. We went for drinks after dinner, but I had to leave early to review a PowerPoint for work that had to go out last night. But, as I learned from Sister Robin, it's good to leave when you're having fun.

Anywaze, stay tuned for pictures of my NoCal trip and exhaustive analysis of, er, stuff.

Has anyone seen my wagon?

Friday, August 27, 2004

Where have I been?

This must be the nadir of my training regimen. It's nice to hit bottom so soon after starting out.

I lifted on Monday, and I told my trainer I wanted to take the personal sessions down to once a week instead of thrice, but could he give me workouts to do two other days a week? He could.

Monday I felt weaker than usual. I don't know if it's because I think I've been taking in less protein, or because I didn't sleep well Sunday, or I'm losing steam, or it was all in my head.

With the exception of jumping rope while in Texas for the funeral, I still haven't done any cardio in my off days. Monday I'm going to ask the trainer to do a body fat test again, now that it's been a month, and I expect marginal if any decrease in my body fat as a percent of weight. My baseline is 16.5%. I'd be psyched to have it at 15% just for having gained a few pounds of muscle.

Tuesday, my excuse for not exercising was the arrival in Minneapolis of the notorious Dr. Nicole S from Holland. Dr. Nic is a bona fide internet celebrity on Orkut and assorted other social networking sites, and she came to our fair city for a little sight-seeing, a little commune with friends (among whose number I feel lucky to count myself), and as a little stopover on the way to Los Angeles to visit other Orkut friends. We had dinner at Chiang Mai Thai in Uptown. The decor was nice, the food - seared tuna in a garlic sauce and some vegetable curry over white rice - was strictly "meh", but the company was superb. Nicole will be returning from LA Saturday, and then we'll join a gaggle of other Orkuteers at Azia on Nicollet. If anyone within the sound of my zip code is interested in joining us, please e-mail me so we know approximately how many to expect.

After a Tuesday of carousing, I naturally bagged my first solo gym day scheduled for Wednesday morning. I did Jacques Merde for exercise Wednesday.

Thursday, on the other hand, I went to the gym in the evening for some lifting, following the routine my trainer, Trevor, worked out for me. It was the usually fully body workout: warm-up with jumprope and foot funny-running drills, followed by machine work on most major muscle groups. The lowlight of that endeavor, as to be expected, was the assisted pull up. Yes, I use an assisted pull up device due to my inability to do a single unassisted pull up. Okay, to be fair, I may be able to do a single unassisted pull up, but certainly not 3 sets of mutliple reps. My upper back muscles are disproportionately weak for my size (as are most of my major muscle groups) which, for the purposes of competitive rowing, suX0rz. My legs, however, are now so thick with muscle that I can barely fit them in pants that are loose around my hips.

It was a pretty good workout, other than the pullup sitch. At the end I even powered through th sets on the Theracrunch abdominal torture device. I had my 6g creatine maybe a half hour before and followed it with 54g of whey protein mixed with 32oz. water. Then I went to Whole foods and made a giant salad which i washed down with a pint of pure pomegranate juice.

Tonight I have my boys, and I think I will enlist them in my quest for Olympic gold in Beijing in 2008. I think what I'll do is dust off my Concept2 indoor rower and test myself at 2000 meters, the benchmark distance for indoor races and one of the 2 distances needed for erg scores to submit for national team entry. The boys can be my cheering section, and maybe they can help me by making motivational posters to put on the wall in front of the machine.

I'm guessing I'll do well to do the 2000m in about 8 minutes. The world record is, I believe, about 5:15 minutes. The qualifying time for a free trip to Boston for the CRASH-B indoor regatta is 5:48.6 minutes. This is the time set for the men's heavyweight (>165 lbs) age 19-29 category.

And this, of course is my short term goal: to qualify for the CRASH-B. Now, anyone can enter who can make it to Boston, but I want to beat the qualifying time before I go. The race is Sunday, February 13, 2005.

Let me repeat that.

The race is Sunday, February 13, 2005.

And from this day to that, every day, I must ask myself, what am I doing today to make myself faster? And every day, I must have a good answer.

Yesterday, I lifted weights.
Today? So far I've had about 80g of protein, but that's all I've done. Tonight, I'm thinking of a 2000m test, followed by an hour of slow and steady rowing.

Tomorrow? A morning row, something to mix it up, like two 6km pieces with a break, or light interval training. I'm thinking of taking the boys to the gym with me for my lifting, then yoga after I drop them off.

Of course, I also want to burn whatever minimal amount of fat I can before Trevor the trainer tests me Monday.

Friday, August 20, 2004

Several cigarettes and donuts later...

I've now had three weeks of personal training. How do I feel?

Thick.

Still fat, but harder underneath.

Dense. Like a star is dense.

I feel like today I ate a ridiculous number of Krispy Kreme donuts.
Like, 5-7. Which is roughly the caloric equivalent of a pound of body
fat.

Yesterday, I DID go to yoga, after stopping by the Wedge and loading
up on clean protein - whey powder, tuna, eggs, tofu. And some grape
juice. And a great big pineapple. Yoga went well; I fell out of a
few postures here and there, but didn't sit any of them out for
dizziness or exhaustion. Then, after yoga, I skarfed a Wedge protein
salad and a quart of 2-scoop wheyshake and a banana. Then I went and
met Mike at the CC Club and consumed the following: a pint of
hefeweizen, half a pitcher of Grain Belt, and most of 2 baskets of
1/2-price appetizers, fried things composed of potatoes, cheese,
peppers, batter, and oil. Not to mention (but I will anyway) several
cigarettes.

This morning at training (only 15 minutes late) I was puzzled when
after warming up with the jumprope, the trainer didn't have me go
through the usual foot drills. Later, I discovered why: he had me put
on the weight vest (27 lbs.) and run up and down stairs - 3 sets of 12
flights. This, plus assorted leg-machine activities, plus an ab set
and a lower back set.

For some reason, the upper machine room was blaring Christian rock.
Now, I can tolerate the bland hip-hop they always have on in the men's
locker room, but this stuff was positively nauseating. Not because of
the message, mind you - I'm sure it inspired someone to peak
performance on the leg curl machine - but because of the poor
aesthetic quality of Christian rock in general. If you've ever heard
any, you know what I'm talking about. It usually has the lyrical
value of a grammar school valentine and the musical virtuosity and
oomph of secretarial pool muzak. The one good thing was that it help
me keep up a good pace on the weights...I just wanted to hurry up and
finish my set and get the hell out of that room.

Washed down my workout with a quart of grape juice, 36g of protein,
and 6g of creatine. I'm now in my maintenance cycle with the
creatine, 6g a day for the next 3 weeks.

I brought another tub of the protein salad to work, only to find that
my account rep had dropped by and dropped of 4 dozen Krispy Kreme
donuts for the department.



Along about my 4th donut, I decided to get serious about this whole
Olympic rowing thing. If you qualify for the team with ergometer
(rowing machine) scores, then the trick is to train to compete as an
indoor rower. That means the CRASH-B Indoor regatta in February,
Presidents' Day, in Boston. So I went to the website of Concept2, the
monopoly producer of quality rowing ergometers, and began reading
their training plans.

Stay tuned, people. I'm dusting off the erg tonight.

Ooh, and if you beat the qualifying time, the organizers of the race
will fly you out to Boston and put you up for free for the race. I'm
glad you asked: it's 5:48.6 minutes for a 2000m row. Right now, I
could row 2000m in about 9 minutes. Like I said, stay tuned.

Right after this pack of cigarettes. And box of donuts.

Thursday, August 19, 2004

Yes, Ashby, I AM a Crea-teenager.

When last we left The Captain, I was on my way to Dallas for a
funeral. I had just begun my creatine loading after spending my last
dime (quite literally) on a short lived can of whey powder. I'd
basically been excused from my current work assignment.

I won't say too much about the weekend in Springtown, Texas.

Springtown is a tiny town about an hour west of Dallas where the
majority of my extended family lives. They have no broadband. I got
in Saturday night and had a couple of beers with cousins while
watching the Dallas Cowboys get killed by the Houston Texans. Sunday
was the "viewing." My first time in the presence of a dead body.
Their reconstruction of her face was uninspired; it looked nothing
like her. It was all very sad. That night I debauched further with
cousins I hadn't seen in 10 years or more, if ever. Sunday was the
funeral. I was a pallbearer. That was sad, too. She was buried next
to her son-in-law, hero of WWII and Korea, and the late mayor of
Springtown. After the funeral we went back to the church, where I ate
too much potatoes and cake. Then I flew home. I only hope someday I
can capture in words what happens to the family at the passing of a
(the) matriarch. Someday, but not today.

There. I said too much about my weekend in Springtown, Texas.

Training on Tuesday. I was out of whey powder - and groceries in
general - but I kept up with the creatine. Fire drill at work. In my
absence they had rushed completion of a model and the accompanying
presentation, and there were errors on both; however, I must give all
due credit to my associates for their valiant efforts. Spent Tuesday
and Wednesday cleaning up that job, largely subsisting on candy from
secretarial candy jars. Oh, and creatine.

Thurday: payday. Worked upper body this morning, but felt noticibly
weaker due to the break with my protein regimen. Afterwards chugged 3
cans of Atkins-like shakes from a nearby gas station for a total of
about 50g of protein, followed at home by 6g creatine and the usual
vitamins. At work I had a big bowl of oatmeal with raisins and
pineapple and 8oz skim milk.

Snack: protein bar, 32g

Lunch was an open-faced sandwich of seared ahi tuna over some weird
greens. Lots of bread and fries too.

Snacks: 10oz skim milk, 6g creatine in 10oz apple juice, and another
protein bar.

Probably a half gallon of water with Emergen'C along the way.

Tonight, I'll attempt to go to yoga for the only time this week. Then
beers with Orkut's Minneapolis Mike at CC's to discuss the impending
arrival of a mutual friend from afar.

Today is my last full day of creatine loading. Tomorrow, I go down to
6g per day, immediately following my workout.

Tomorrow, 6am training. Lower body. Yikes. Glad I'll be stretching tonight.

Still smoking.