First Steps 2020: Conditioning/Indoc

The thermometer read 43 degrees as I began my first outdoor run of 2020, but the 15 m.p.h. northwesterly winds said the temperature was much colder. It would be a short run up and down the northern end of Willow Road, heading towards the corner of Shangri-La/Willow Rd./Great Mills Rd.-MD-235. Nothing fats nor furious nor fancy. I didn’t even do my traditional stretch and Japanese ham sandwich before the run. It was just all about getting back on the road and remembering how to run.

There was a stiff wind out, but I only felt it briefly, both on the way out and on the way back. Given that it was my first run in about 44 days, the 13:21 pace was not much of a surprise. I likened it all to my probable weight and lack of regular exercise since the 44th Marine Corps Marathon last October.

Other than the post-run selfie which I posted to Facebook, there were no trumpets or fanfares. No “eternal Olympic flame” was lit in my honor, either. Just the simple act of beginning my training for 2020.

I just got down with my first trip to the gym of 2020, working out at the fitness center in the Apex Clubhouse at Abberly Crest Apartments (where I live). No stretching this morning either, just an indoctrination workout to see how much I had atrophied in the there-plus months since I had done a circuit course cycle. My focus was doing two sets of the eight exercises. The first set was closest to the “tapering” weights I used during the last three weeks before the MCM; the second set would be a closer Keith, approximating the peak weight on the exercise. If I was able to match my peak weight. I would use that as mt starting weight for my Wednesday workout.

Here are my circuit course exercises, with first set, second set, and “starting” weights:

Exercise                1st set                2nd set                Starting

Leg Press              100                     120                       125

Chest Press           90                       100                       100

Lat Pulldown       90                       100                       100

O/H Shoulder Ps (2*20)12             (2*25)8                (2*20)12

Leg Extension     100                      120                       125

Bicep Curl            (2*20)12             (2*25)12              (2*25)12

Leg Curl                100                     120                        125

Abs Curl                120                     160                        160

Circuit Course Standard Operating Procedure:

  1. Two sets of eight exercises
  2. 12 full reps the right way
  3. Work the body, not the clock
  4. Feel the burn, feel the sweat, breathe hard
  5. Strengthening the running core, but not body-building
  6. Reinforcing muscles and ligaments in the legs/thighs/groin
  7. Getting back to running weight (goal is 205 lbs)

Yep…I’m back to work.

So the current running calendar is alternating between running Tuesdays/Thursdays/Saturdays and weights on Mondays/Wednesdays/Fridays. Right now we’re in the teeth of winter in regards to temperature (no snow yet, thank God) so getting out of bed at 0430 will be a challenge until it gets warmer. I plan on running at work around lunchtime until maybe April (or sooner if it gets warm enough), maybe sneaking in an early morning run if there’s a full moon. I will also attempt to join the Chesapeake Bay Runner’s Club on a 3 mile jaunt if the schedule aligns.

Short term, there are the annual St. Mary’s Hospice and Leatherneck 5Ks that I run very year; near term is the Historic Half Marathon on May 17th. I entered the HH as part of this year’s Semper Fi Challenge, where you have to complete the Historic Half as well as the 45th Marine Corps Marathon on October to earn a special Semper Fi Medal. Running the HH also means accelerating my training schedule by a couple of months, which means I am back to running now instead of March.

The journey of a thousand miles begins with one steps…consider the first steps duct taken.


Flashback Blues

About an hour before taking my shift on the Toys for Tots donation collection crew at Wal-Mart, I made an impulse buy of an Atari Flashback 9. Long story short, it is a small game system that emulates, as faithful as possible, the hardware and software Read-Only memory programs of the Atari 2600 game system from the late 1970s. Small issue: I have no HDMI television to hook it up to, nor an HDMI cable to complete the connection.

About two weeks ago, on another boring Friday night, I remembered that I had a 22-inch LCD monitor. All I had to do was purchase an HDMI cable and I was in business.

Saturday morning, I made a Wal-Mart run for the HDMI cable. Saturday night, I hooked up the new HDMI cable between the Flashback 9 and the LCD monitor, attached the joysticks and powered up the Flashback.

It powered up, and the Main menu screen came on. Hallelujah!

After playing around with the menu and buttons to make sure the joystick worked, I selected Yars’ Revenge as my first game on the Flashback. Unfortunately, when I hit the joystick fire button to start the game, the screen went black…and instead of starting the game, I went right back to the game instructions screen! After a half hour of playing with the joysticks and console buttons, I deduced that I had a broken system.

I digitally vented my spleen and frustration to the Atari Age Facebook page, and didn’t get much help; only condolences and snarky comments. Not much technical help.

Last weekend I took a short trip to Washington DC for one last “foodie bacchanalia” before getting back to getting in shape and running again. I took the Flashback with me.

In my room at the Washington Hilton, I hooked up the Flashback to the flatscreen TV. Since the remote control could not provide switching between the two HDMI inputs, I replaced the Flashback HDMI cable with the Direct TV HDMI hookup.

Powered up the Flashback…game powered up and back to the Main Menu.

Selected Yars’ Revenge again.

Press Fire to start game…and the main screen for Yars’ Revenge came up at last.

Hallelujah and game on!

The game that I got the most “burn” out of was not Yars, but a two-on-two basketball game called “Double Dunk.” I got about a half-dozen or so ass-whuppins from the computer-controlled team. They hit the threes like Steph Curry, they drew charges and fouls at an alarming rate, and stole the ball from me every other time I drove the lane. meanwhile I turned over the ball while stepping out of bounds or forgetting to clear the ball and couldn’t hit a three point shot to save my life. Oh, and my right pinky got sore after about 20 minutes of play.

So, flash-forward to about 0930 this morning. I tried troubleshooting the LCD monitor to see if I could adjust the settings to get the Flashback to work. After 20 minutes of fumbling with the monitor buttons and the instruction manual…nothing. Bottom line: no actual TV, Flashback no worky…end of discussion.

Postscript: buying a flatscreen TV is a bucket-list item. It’s not a matter of finances, it’s a matter of wanting to accomplish something and buying a TV as a reward. More on that later…watch this space.

It is past my lunchtime, so Song of the Day will have to wait until tomorrow…sorry.

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