Category Archives: Conditioning

MCM 2021 (pending): Capitol Crescent 10

Be advised: I just got back to the hotel and I am just free associating this to a tee because I am trying to get something between a snack and a sandwich…at 9:30 p.m. in Washington, DC.

About 5:00 p.m., as the UEFA Champions League Final was marching towards the 1-0 final score for Chelsea over Manchester City, I got dressed and lubed up for a 10 mile run that should have happened thirteen hours earlier. I got up at 4:00 a.m. this morning, spent 20 minutes on the throne, and then dreaded the prospect of a ten-mile ruck through the rain. I promptly went back to bed putting the run off until after The Game.

At 5:15, I set about stretching for 15 minutes. Unfortunately, after yet another trip to the can, I didn’t leave the hotel until ten of six. In theory I could have taken an Uber to the Georgetown Waterfront Park and been there in five minutes, or driven down there myself and parked. But you know…lazy.

I was let out at the parking lot and walked about a half mile to the actual entrance/start of the Capitol Crescent Trail. The area around the waterfront has been greatly improved since my last run of the Crescent about two years ago. It used to be really seedy and dirty and perpetually under construction; when I got there about sixish, I noticed some newly opened up eating and drinking establishments and other nightlife. The Georgetown waterfront had opened back up since my last trip in February.

I made my way to the trail’s unofficial start/finish line, a strip of pavement with the yellow dotted traffic stripes. One last stretch, and off I went. As I launched my run, I realized I had to tinkle; however, I was able to hold it until just before the tunnel just before the four-mile mark.

The Capitol Crescent Trail has mile markers and half mile markers just before the opposite ends of the trail. That was good, because my MapMyRun app wasn’t sounding off with my split times and mile markers.

Frome the Georgetown end of the roundup to the five mile marker, it is mostly uphill, with the uphill culminating after crossing a bridge about Mile 3 (7 mile marker). Even though I was climbing most of the way, I felt good and I believed I was going faster than my final splits were telling me. After turning around just after the five mile marker, I pushed my pace on the downhill back towards Georgetown.

The rain was there, but mostly…not. In retrospect, I should have just dealt with rains best as I could. There were no real heavy torrents, and I was soaked with mostly sweat rather than rainfall. It was kind of chilly at 55 degrees, so I opted for long sleeve tech shirts and my Brooks running tights.

Before I knew it, the ten miles had come and gone. MMR took forever loading my run time and splits, and I had to wait before I could take a couple of pictures to post to the app as well as Facebook.

Although today was the longest run of 2021, my pace was one of the slowest at 13:06. I attribute that to my weight (around 230 lbs despite running since March) and the weather. That and maybe the two meals I had before the run.

But anyway, I just wanted to post this and let y’all know…

I’m back, baby.

Refresher Week 2020: Nike

Tuesday and Wednesdays were no shows.

Thursday morning, I packed my running gear, to also include my post-run shower gear, for my bike ride to work. Just after noon, I made my way from my workspace to the Moffat Building locker room to change over into my running gear. Changed into baselayer plus tech shirt, running tights, balaclava and gloves, and running shoes. Couldn’t find my phone, so no MapMyRun today. Brisk walk from the locker room, through security, through the lower floor double doors, across the parking garage and out to the parking lot spur to start the run.

Last time I checked MapMyRun, this was a 2.65 mi. run. The spur went out to Buse Road, where I turned left onto and followed to Cedar Point Road. Turned right to take CP to Gate 2; turned right onto Cuddihy Road and followed that back to Base Road. Followed Base up to CP Road and turned around down Buse back to the parking lot spur.

It was cold out, and there was the usual heavy lunchtime traffic aboard NAS Patuxent River, but I was bundled up. I got my sweat on and my run in and I was fine.

Friday morning I got up at 0400 to prep for my first actual gym workout of 2020. Got bundled up and made the trot over to the Apex Clubhouse to work out in the fitness center. I got there in time to see one young lady leave, and then another young lady came in a minute after I started stretching out.

The weights were more or less the same weight that I ended 2019 with, before I tapered off in October. I focused more on doing the reps right and getting in the sweat as well as the muscle burn; I was not in a hurry, so no need to rush. I did two sets of the circuit cycle and accomplished my mission for the morning. Another young man joined myself and the young lady, but he went to going her on an adjoining treadmill, so I had the machines and barbells to myself. The two were still on the treadmill as I headed back out.

4:30a this morning: Cold, dark, and raining. No run today, back to bed.

2:30p this afternoon: OMG, is that the SUN??? Marine Corps running cadence plays in my head as I prep for an afternoon run. Put on my gray US Marines tech shirt over my compression shirt. Gray running shorts. Long sleeves? Tights? Gloves? For fifty degrees and sunny? Dropped my last Nuun tablet into a coffee mug of water to hydrate and hopefully loosen the bowels so I can get rid of some of this bloat.

3:25: A big blanket of haze gray where the sun used to be. The temperature dropped a bit as well, but no sense in going back for warmer gear now. Quick trip to the housing office; do I need special permission to install a flatscreen TV on my wall in my apartment? “Nope; and thank you for asking.” Coolness.

A bit after 4:00: Either I had the phone on mute or I couldn’t hear it over the Saturday afternoon traffic, but MapMyRun recorded me at 2:47 mi., going up and down north Willows Road to the MD-235 intersection and back. Although I didn’t street AGAIN ( a habit I need to break next week) I felt good. Not my greatest pace, but with some road time, a proper diet, and hopefully better weather, the times would bet better…as my weight gets better.

I am taking tomorrow off. M/W/F I am back in the gym. I bought some whey protein, but it will have to be with water since I am starting a milk-free but very basic keto diet next week. Maybe mix my protein with a cup of coffee?

Tu/Thu I will do my run-for-lunch at work, shooting for a start time of no later than 12:30 p.m. Because I will have a doctor’s appointment Tuesday morning and I will be late, I will have to either stay later at work or try and run after work. Saturday’s run time will be TBD.

Hot pizza and boneless wings for dinner, cold pizza for breakfast…cold pizza for late lunch?

Song of the Day:

The Cars: “Moving in Stereo/All Mixed Up:” I picked this live version to see if it was either Benn Orr or Rick Ocasek who sang lead vocals on this track. Yep, it’s Ben. From Genius:

“Using stereo as an allegory for putting thoughts you might not want to have into other place, and excellent audio mixing and use of the stereo effect, this song conveys the too prevalent habit of putting your problems aside rather than dealing with them.”

These two tracks ended the Cars’ 1978 debut album, although “Moving” was the only one released as a single.

 

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.

MCM April-May 2019

I spent a wonderful Sunday morning with Apple’s MacKeeper tech support, trying to fix a problem with my six y/o iMac’s increasing slowness and sudden crashed on the Safari internet browser. What should have been a half-hour (at most) service call turned into a two-hour sales call from Kromtech, attempting to sell me three to five years for a glorified tech support service costing me about $1000 upfront.

I paid $1300 for my iMac six years ago. For what Kromtech wanted to charge me, I could have spent an extra $200 or so and just purchased a new iMac/Macbook/Mac tower and been done with it. Anyway, after two hours I just cut the conversation, since the tech guy/salesman wouldn’t take NO for an answer and just disconnect himself.

The above is just one of the reasons I’ve been ‘radio silent” for the past month. I have been in the marathon training grind, with a brief pause the Saturday before Easter and two unscheduled days off due to prepping for potluck at work (lame excuse).

I have spent about $150 on a work potluck and a going away party. The work party: $100 worth of salad, dressing and meats and cheeses for a charcuterie board. The going away: three sodas, two iced teas, a 24 pack of bottled water, and ice for two coolers. The majority of all of that is in my fridge or freshly thrown away this morning.

Which brings me to my weight and blood glucose, both of them way above normal. Two days after Easter, and the end of my “lenten” fast, I stepped on the scale and read 221 lbs. Either I was real fat to begin with or I didn’t “sacrifice” enough for Lent. I will need to adjust for between meal sweets and soft drinks when I get back from helping my sister move in to her new home this week.

I do plan on running and making the trips to the weight room while I am home. My sister’s new home is a stone’s throw from the old one, so my running trails will be virtually the same, give or take a few hundred yards/meters. And my MapMyRun app is updated on my new phone so I can start timing my runs again. There’s also good old Landmark health and Fitness Club, where I can take a short stroll and get my circuit course on.

I have been in something of a rut lately, and sometimes I have to workout after work instead of answering the 0430 reiville , but I have been training. I still need to make a decision on scheduling my training since I am already into May and I’m about six months out from the Marine Corps Marathon.

Speaking of which…I need to arrange a room sometime soon.

Okay, not quite an in-depth “story so far” after my month long absence, but I’m still here. My iMac was acting up again this morning, and YouTube has been a little biz-natch lately, so no Song of the Day today. When I get back, I need to take the iMac up to the closest Apple store I can find and get it “optimized”/overhauled/tuned-up/whatever.

See y’all in a week or so!

MCM 2019: Reiville

Leo Sayer and Madonna, back-to-back on 97.7 The Bay.

97.7 The Bay used to be 97.7 The Rocket before they explicably, and without announcement, fanfare, or even a fair warning to their audience, changed their format on Friday December 14, 2018. The Rocket was the only classic rock station with  decent signal in Southern Maryland; most of their classic rock has been sidelined with 70s disco, 80s pop rock, and similar BS.

To be fair, The Bay has their moments, but sometimes I think they’re scraping the bottom of the barrel.

Would love to see The Bay’s balance sheet since December.

 

Oh, right, that “training-for-a-marathon” thing.

Getting out of bed was a problem on Monday and Tuesday morning, so I had to settle for afternoon workouts in the gym (Monday) and on the road (Tuesday). I got up on time and made my gym workout on Wednesday and had no serious problems, and this morning’s three miler on HWY-5 south was actually a little faster than my first two runs.

One change to my workouts: I have started to work out at the Apex Clubhouse (the Apex) at Abberly Crest Apartments, where I live. The machines are a little newer and more modern than the Valley, where I have done most of my workouts since I got back in the saddle in February. More importantly, the televisions all work, so I can catch some Fox News while I grind.

Saturday I am going on my first competitive race of the year, running the Hospice of St. Mary’s 5K/10K in Leonardtown. I could have pre-paid by now and guaranteed myself one of their custom tech shirts; however, it’s for a good cause so I have no heartburn about paying an extra $5-$10.

The Hospice 5K is a nice way to open the running season. The course has some gently rolling hills, but nothing overly strenuous. It’s a good crowd, and they have an excellent post race spread. They don’t give out medals for 5Ks, but this race is good about letting you see your run time and pace after the race is over.

I haven’t really set a schedule for myself, it’s just alternating between the gym and the road right now. Still not sure about the intermediate training schedule that I pulled down last week. Running four days and sometimes five out of seven, including s short run and a long run on back to back days. Intervals? Strength and race pace short runs?

We’ll see…

Song of the Day:

Leo Sayer/”When I Need You:” **sigh** You know, when you get closer to 50 years old, and popular music sounds like so much crap nowadays, I guess you start to get attached to songs that were popular when you were much younger.

Madonna/”Frozen:” **sign** Madonna’s early offerings (“Borderline” and “Lucky Star”) got on my nerves; however, I can say that there are a handful of songs that I would stop and listen to. This song was a pleasant surprise when she dropped it back in 1998. Maybe the first time I really appreciated her voice. Loved the arrangements: strings, sparse guitars, exotic percussion.

 

MCM 2019: Three Weeks Later…

I started this blog in 2014 as a diary for my running the Marine Corps Marathon that year. AS you can see from my archives, I have been doing more training than blogging.

So, what have I been doing the last three weeks?

Training:

I have been transitioning from my conditioning to actually training. I started running again last Thursday afternoon, running Willow Road north for three miles. I went from the entrance to Abberly Crest to Willow Road-Shangri La and Great Mills Road, then back.I was under no time limit or any pace goal, I just wanted to start getting my running legs back. I got up for my first 0500 run on Saturday morning (yesterday). Nothing but street lights and some fog, heading down Willow Road South to Highway-5 and back. It wasn’t as warm as I wanted it to be, but I went out and got the three miles in. My thighs started to burn a little bit, and I felt heavy as I finished up.

I am back on the road for good this week (bye-bye elliptical!), running Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays and keeping the milage to 3~4 miles for the time being. I al planning on timing my circuit course tomorrow morning to see if I want to add two more cycles or more weight in the next week or two.

I finally printed out the intermediate marathon training schedule. Looks like I’m running five days a week, including back to back runs on Saturday and Sunday. This is a typical running week:

  1. Tues: Short (3 mi.) run
  2. Wed.: Intervals for 800 to 1600 meters
  3. Thurs.: Short run
  4. Fri.: Rest
  5. Sat.: Short run at race pace
  6. Long run

I need to study this regimen in depth before I commit to it. I’m not sure I’ll be able to work in my circuits cycles, and I haven’t run on back-to-back days since my last few years in the Marine Corps…and certainly not a short run at race-pace followed by a long run. A lot to think about and to plan for…

Abberly Crest:

My apartment facility has three work-out rooms: The Valley is at the Clubhouse at the bottom of the hill on my complex main drag. I have been working out here since my primary “gym” at the Office (apartment main office) was undergoing renovations. There is also the Apex,  located at the Apex clubhouse.

Last Saturday I decided to use the ellipticals at the Office for my last elliptical conditioning workout. The Office now has two Star Trac ellipticals and three Peloton-type spinning machines; unfortunately, the weight-lifting machines and the dumbbell weights were taken out for good. After talking to one of the office ladies, I found out that the Office will be used for planned yoga classes.

Having televisions in the “gym” is a privilege, not a right (and sometimes a distraction), but lately they’ve been more trouble than they’re worth. The Office had a nice 55-ich flatscreen on the wall, but it was all hooked into all the streaming (Hulu, Netflix, etc.) channels; good luck if you just wanted to watch Mark-1, Mod ) basic cable. The three TVs in the Valley weight room are all inoperative; they’re all old Visio 32-inchers that have been there since the Valley was established, so their tubes  are all probably burnt out by now. So, if I want workouts with a side of TV, I may have to go the Apex for now.

March Madness:

I spent my birthday weekend (March 22-24 for a March 25 birthday) in Washington DC, where I had March Madness with a side of the cuisine of the Nation’s Capital. All but three of the Friday thru Sunday games were blowouts, and one of the better games (Duke escaping Central Florida) I missed because of my Sunday dinner at Fogo de Chao. Since I wasn’t driving that night, I decided to have a glass of Pinot Noir with my dinner. I had a full belly from dinner so I had to settle for the Brazilian flan for dessert instead of the richer offerings on the finishing menu.

Every game from the Elite Eight (last Sat./Sun.) thru the Final Four games has been competitive and compelling, with everything needing to be settled in the final minute. I winced at Duke’s loss to Michigan State, and I kind of felt Auburn’s pain in their Final Four loss to Virginia. Texas Tech’s shutdown of Michigan State was the first double digit decision since the Second Round, but TTU went on a 9-0 run over the final three minutes.

I am not sure if I want to watch tomorrow night’s title game. Right now it looks like a very low-scoring (for college basketball) game with a 9:20 p.m. tip-off. Nine o’clock on the East Coast to watch two teams struggle to reach fifty points is not a promising sports entertainment option.

I think Capital One needs to fire Charles Barkley and Spike Lee, hire Quentin Tarantino and John Travolta, and let Tarantino write and direct “Pulp Fiction at the Final Four” commercials for Capital One. Sir Charles has jet-ski jumped over a school of sharks this year (Chuxedo? Chuckmoji’s? A parrot as a “bracket buddy?”) and there’s no way any normal sixty-plus year old black man would put up with Chuck’s BS from this year. Intervention, anyone?

The Beard:

The Marine Corps Marathon will be run on October 27. On March 27, exactly seven months from the date, I shaved my face for the last time. This Thursday will make two weeks since I have been growing “The Beard.” To improve the looks for this year’s Beard I am using the following products:

  1. Blue Magic hair and scalp conditioner. I am using this on my hair as well as my beard. The goal is to keep my  beard hairs on my cheeks from curling up
  2. Clubman Pinaud Beard Oil. Beard conditioner, I guess. Using this to keep the beard itch to a minimum. Using this and the Blue Magic twice a day.
  3. Bump Stopper 2: Started using this today to try and reduce the bumps of ingrown hairs in my cheeks. Using this once a day (for now) in the evenings.

Songs of the Day:

Adam Ant/”Friend or Foe:” I have always liked Adam and the Ants’ songs that take a tongue-in-cheek shot at pop culture. Adam And is a good singer and lyrics, and the two drums on the arrangements are catchy. Adam Ant can also rap better than any of the hip-hop out there nowadays. He’s also touring, thirty-five years later.

Sister of Mercy/”Gimme Shelter:” A Goth cover of the Rolling Stones’ classic? Yes, please. I eventually purchased the “alternative hits compilation” that this song was on, because there were so many damned good tunes on that album (Pete Shelly/”Homosapien” and pre-solo Billy Idol with “Dancin’ With Myself” from his Generation X days).

Tina Turner/”One of the Living:” I love this song from the movie that Ms. Tina sang for and acted in (Aunty Entity!). I have NEVER sat through this movie end-to-end, even though I enjoyed both of Tina’s OTS songs. Never…why???

 

Conditioning/Lifestyle 2019: Birthday

On Sunday I “celebrate” my forty-ninth trip around the sun. I plan to do so at a hotel in Washington DC, watching some March Madness with some exotic, expensive snacks from Whole Foods, before a nice dinner at Fogo do Chao, a Brazilian steakhouse in the Nation’s Capitol. Holy cow…they have BRUNCH?

A few notes from the week while I get ready for the Uber trip to DC:

  1. Three workout facilities at Abberly Crest Apartments: one is the Valley, located at the bottom of a hill in the complex. One I have named the Office, because it’s located in the apartment offices. The last I call the Apex because it’s located in the Apex Clubhouse, which is also home to a few banks of big-screen TVs, a pool area, two business offices, and a computer room. I moved my workouts to the Valley because the Office was being renovated. I stopped by the Office on Tuesday to see the progress of the renovations, and saw that the “closed” sign was gone. The Office got two new ellipticals and two Peloton’ type (but not Peloton-brand) spinning machines with most of the bells and whistles. Sadly, all the weight machines and free weights were removed for good, and the TV/kids room has been stripped down.
  2. I am not the only one using the Valley or the Apex for my workouts, even in the early morning. This morning, a fellow retired Marine was working one of the ellipticals, joining myself and the young lady who has been working out on the same M-W-F schedule that I am on. This means having to work around them if they have the free weights or any of the machines that I want to use. This also means I can’t turn the TV to Fox and Friends First to FBN:AM. I could just grab the remote and do whatever, but I follow the “first come, first served” rule as a courtesy.
  3. Although I paid about $60 more than I should have, I am officially registered for the Marine Corps Marathon in October. Rush Registration was easy, and I got my reservation with ten minutes to spare (ran from 12:00 to 12: 20 P.M on Tuesday). Next week is my last week for conditioning, and next Monday…I’m back on the road.
  4. Dates: 27 March-last shave before MCM. April 13- Hospice 5K. First full week of May-Intermediate Training Schedule begins. May 14-Leatherneck 5K. October 27-44th MCM.
  5. Ummm…room reservations? Especially now that I am running solo again this year???
  6. The Bradley Braves’ season is all done. There is a full-blown blog post I could do on this subject, but in short: Bradley is a mid-major school in a mid major conference. Like about 300 other Division I schools from coast to coast, everyone wants to be 2018 Maryland-Baltimore County, 2018 Loyola of Chicago, and eventually building up to what Gonzaga’s men’s basketball program has become over the last 25 years. Like I said, long story.
  7. Oh, look…the sun is out today. Now that spring is here, as of Wednesday, can we please get some warmer, drier weather?
  8. That being said, I am seeing a few people running out in the Patuxent River area. Shame on me for not being out on the road…I guess?
  9. On Not Shaving ‘Til MCM: Last year I spent about $60 on beard care products and my beard never came out like I wanted. Over Christmas, my sister bought me a 12oz. tub of Blue Magic Hair and Scalp Conditioner. Can’t wait to start rubbing that on my face every morning.

Song of the Day:

Alphaville/”Forever Young:“I actually liked this song way before Napoleon Dynamite. I saw a YouTube of the band playing this song live somewhere in Europe, in 2016. The lead singer looked like he hadn’t lost as much of his 80s luster.

Duran Duran/”Ordinary World:” The triumphant return of the musical idols from my misspent youth. They’re still making music with most of their original lineup (less Roger Taylor, and not the one from Queen), and I still have no idea what lead songwriter/singer Simon LeBon is talking about after all these years.

Divinyls/”I Touch Myself:” Arousal. The only word I can think of to describe this song.

 

Conditioning 2019: Wednesday

Maryland 79, Belmont 77.

Michigan State 76, Bradley 65.

The Land of Lincoln and Maryland, my Maryland sent one team each to the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament. The U of MD moves on, while my Bradley Braves go home.

Because of the workload at work, making more money this month, and no car to traipse on down to the local bar to watch the games, I’m not THAT into March Madness this year. I might adopt Maryland as a “team to follow,” but Bradley going home all but ended March Madness for me.

For the third consecutive Wednesday morning, I slept in instead of heading to the gym. Actually that was the second Wednesday out of the last three. After a long day at work followed by a 25 minute bike ride home, I made it to the gym within the hour and got my circuit course done.

Because I was so lazy yesterday morning, I didn’t get breakfast. I rode to work-late-on an empty stomach, so I had to break my Lenten “vow” of getting a meal and Starbucks from the on-site cafe at work.

On Sunday, I bought a pineapple from Giant Supermarket, wanting to try out the pineapple trick. Haven’t done it so far. Maybe this weekend?

Allegedly, I want to go spend the weekend in DC for my birthday. Technically, I haven’t even booked a hotel room, yet. Same for packing for the trip.

Song of the Day: Violent Femmes/”I Can Change:” Okay which came first: the potty mouthed Saddam Hussein version from South Park: The Movie, or this catchy tune by the Femmes? By the way, I want an extended version with some bluegrass banjos and fiddles for about three minutes…whom do I talk to about that?

DVDA/”What Would Brain Boitano Do?:” I totally forgot the first SOTD song, so I kept with the South Park: The Movie theme. Can’t believe South Park is still on TV after-what-twenty years?

 

Conditioning 2019: Stimulant

Five days. Five trips to the Valley at Abberly Crest Apartment: four dark mornings and an early Thursday evening. Five workouts (three cycles, two ellipticals) in the books. Five good bike rides to work, and five better bike rides home. Also, five days without lunch in the on-site cafe and five days without Starbucks.

I have increased the weights on all my circuit course cycles and I am doing well on all of them. I am even sweating while I run through the second set of exercises. The two elliptical sessions were longer this week, with today’s session being somewhat lighter in the overall workload than the last two. I had a slight twinge in my lower back over Tuesday through Thursday, which kind of contributed to my sleeping in that morning and me postponing the session until after work.

In the distant past, I used to take supplements like B-vitamin complex and L-carnitine before my runs and trips to the gym. However, if I ate a little too much the night before, the first thing I would be stimulating would be my bowels. More than a few sessions were postponed by a half-hour due to time lost on the commode, getting rid of everything I ate last night.

Today I purchased a SoBe Energy drink, citrus flavor. It has the B-vitamins and ginseng, along with a fairly high sugar content. I remembered the impacts of stimulants to my insides because I spent much of the afternoon getting rid of my breakfast and lunch, rather than working. Thank God it was a Friday.

Two days until Selection Sunday and four until Registration Tuesday.

Song of the Day: Today’s selections are from Eurythmics, the English synth pop duo of vocalist Annie Lennox and instrumentalist Dave Stewart. It was good, even great while it lasted, but the breakup was somewhat bitter. Annie did have a noteworthy solo career.

“Sweet Dreams Are Made Of This:” The classic that introduced them to the world, back when MTV was Music Television. This was Annie’s first and last known “gender-bending,” as she appeared in the video with a short haircut and a three-piece suit. AS the years and the albums passed, the red hair became blond and her dress was more feminine.

“Here Comes the Rain Again:” The inspiration for today’s SOTD artist. Yes Eurythmics were a synth group but that is a string section in there. Sweet tune but there’s that video of Annie walking around barefoot at night while Dave is videotaping her. Creepy.

“Would I Lie To You?” A funky, Motown-inspired move away from their synth-pop roots. YouTube commenter note: Annie and Dave started out as part of a band called the Tourists.

 

MCM 2019: March Madness

From my “March Madness preview” about ten days ago:

“It has been 37 years since I watched the Braves defat the University of Tulsa 82-79 to clinch the Missouri Valley Conference regular season title. Although they lost the MVC tournament semifinal to archival Illinois State, they did make a run to the 1982 National Invitational title. I was in the stands for the quarterfinal victory over Tulane that put them in the semifinals to be played at New York’s Madison Square Garden. Courtesy of my high school speech therapist I got a chance to work Bradley games my sophomore and junior year (1985 thru 1987).

My beloved Braves have had a long, rough year plagued with issues on scoring points. They have had a brief revival of a four game winning streak, ended abruptly with a 77-68 loss at Drake on Wednesday. Starting today, they have three games left, and sit in a four team jam at 7-8, just outside the top six teams that will receive first round byes in the conference tournament. If Bradley finishes 7th or lower, they will play the dreaded Thursday play-in game, and will need four straight wins to win the tournament and the trip to the Big Dance.

Today the braves host dead-last Evansville, then host Valparaiso, one of the teams that they are tied at 7-8 with. They end the regular season next Saturday at defending champion Loyola of Chicago, Bradley REALLY needs to sweep all three games and get that top-six birth; from there, anything can happen. The Braves did beat Loyola at home earlier this season…if that means anything.”

Sunday, March 10, 4:20 p.m. EST: Bradley 57, Northern Iowa 54.

MVC Tournament Champions for the first time since 1988, and first NCAA bid of any kind since 2006.

I couldn’t pick out any of the current roster out of a police lineup, but I DO know that fourth-year head coach started his Bradley career with a roster of eight freshman. Three of them took the floor in today’s starting lineup.

The game started out like butt for the Braves. They couldn’t shoot field goals, they couldn’t shoot free throws, and they couldn’t defend UNI’s three point shooting. Despite a brief rally, BU trailed the Panthers 27-15 at the half. On merit.

The Braves were down 18 with about 14 1/2 minutes to go, and then they got HOT. The defense made some stops, they Braves shooting got much better, and wouldn’t you know it, they Braves drew a flagrant foul 1…four straight unopposed (no rebounding the miss) and the ball.

“Please, God…please, God…” four times, and four times he made the free throws. The Braves inbounded on the next possession and got the bucket. BU 56, UNI 50. After a nervous final minute plus, two more free throws and a missed Panther three pointer…

…and there you go.

A week ago last Saturday the Braves got rolled at Loyola-Chicago. I stopped watching the game with about ten minutes to go, thinking that the Braves were headed for the Thursday Matinee of Horror. They ended up as the fifth seed with a bye to the quarterfinals. For the record, UNI was the sixth seed, finishing 9-9 and ending 2019 at 16-18…

…and there you go. Anything can happen.

Now that I’ve been back at the gym for about a month, it’s time to really start working out. Here’s my proposed weight increases for the next 30 days:

  1. Leg press: 80 to 100 lbs.
  2. Chest press: 60 to 80 lbs.
  3. Lateral pulldown: 60 to 80 lbs.
  4. Overhead (dumbbell) shoulder press: (2 x 15 lbs.) x 12 reps
  5. Leg extension: 80 to 100 lbs.
  6. Bicep curl (dumbbell): (2 x 15 lbs.) x 12 reps
  7. Leg curl: 80 to 100 lbs.
  8. Abs curl: 100 to 120 lbs.

All of this is subject to me being able to perform 12 repetitions of each exercise, using proper form and technique. My focus is on gradually building a physique that is able to withstand the rigors of training for a marathon. I’m not gonna be the next Arnold, but if my legs can go 26.2 miles without straining my hamstrings, thighs groin, or ligaments, then it’s all good.

I am also lengthening my elliptical time from 32 to 47 minutes, with the goal of burning more calories and helping me get back to my running form. I am thinking first week of April (April 2 to be exact) before I actually hit the road.

I t has been months since I actually hit the scale, and I’m getting ready for another double dose of MLS Soccer with a side of DiGiorno’s Deep Dish pizza for the second game. I’ll probably weigh in before I start my trek to the gym tomorrow morning.

Song of the Day: three random tracks because MLS is stating in about 60 seconds:

Kasabian/”Club Foot:” band named themselves after on of the Symbionese Liberation Army members that kidnapped Patricia Hearst. or was she a member of the Manson family? Good trivia question. This band plays some killer make you wanna jump up and down stuff, tho’.

Led Zeppelin/”Immigrant Song:” “On we sweep with/A threshing oar/Our only goal is the western shore!” Yes I picked this over Kashmir. My blog, my rules.

Iron Maiden/”Run to the Hills:” Bradley University adopted the nom de guerre of “Braves” in reference to the Native American influence on the Peoria area. If I could go to the Braves upcoming NCAA game, I would attend in full “Injun” headdress, war paint, and leather made trousers and moccasins, political correctness and social justice warriors be damned. By the way, I didn’t know there was a seven minute version of this song, unless this version is about two minutes of silence…DAMMITT!!!

Sorry, game’s on…talk to you tomorrow.