MCM2020/Day 96: Orange

It is twenty minutes to seven on a warm evening somewhere in southern Maryland. I am enjoying a dinner of cold cuts, olives and pickles as I type this.

Tested negative for COVID-19, FTW!

Right eye cataracts surgery went smooth as glass this morning.  The only pain I really felt was when the nice nurse stuck a needle in my had for the intravenous drip. What I saw during the surgery would be great CGI/laser images for a Pink Floyd show, but it was painless.

As I type this, and not necessarily in need of reading glasses (yet), I have no swollen right eye from the surgery, nor am I suffering headaches of any magnitude.

My diabetes is mostly under control, except for today. I will fix that with my second dose of medicine.

Alive and healthy…once again, For The Win!

 

The bad news is that my marathon training schedule has been put into arrears. I just spent twenty minutes on my work laptop rearranging my schedule.

Starting tomorrow, I will alternate runs (of gradually increasing distance) with some of the more cardiovascular workouts from P90X. Not in any particular order: Cardio X, Core Synergistics, Kenpo X, Yoga X, and X Stretch.

I also made a strategic decision regarding resuming P90X. I will be resuming P90X in August, after my last eye surgery. I will be repeating P90X Lean instead of going to P90X Classic.

First reason: I FAILED TO GRADUATE.

Second reason: I need to get back on the losing weight program. My purpose is to build a stronger, leaner, more durable core and strengthen my legs for what may be an aggressive program.

I also want to get under 205 lbs.

Third reason: I need stronger muscles and ligaments, but not necessarily bigger ones. I’m not traveling to neither Ocean City, MD nor Arlington this year to display My Personal Gun Show, and I may be still struggling to much with my longer runs.

Looking back at my Marine Corps Marathon schedule since May (right after the Historic Half Marathon), I am seeing far too many missed workout days. I color code my workouts like this:

Green/done!   Gold/P90x and a run done, same day! Blue: Shortened/aborted run. Orange: F’n lazy a$$ no-show (did not do)

Not really wanting to count, but I bet I have more orange than green on the board…or maybe 52% to 48% green and blue (combined) over orange.

However, the calendar still reads July. I am still motivated to complete the virtual  Marine Marathon on October 25.

Quick aside: The MCM Organization officially cancelled the on-station MCM Weekend in the DC Triangle this year. No Runner’s Expo National Harbor, MD), no special events in the DC/VA area, no running events in the Nation’s Capitol, no Beating the Fourteenth Street Bridge or the party in Crystal City, Va. No uphill finish at the Arlington Cemetery or post-run photo by the Marine Corps’ Iwo Jima Memorial.

Okay sadness over. the thing is, I have mapped out a course that threatens to be much tougher than the traditional MCM course. Uphill/down hill, then downhill/uphill on Three Notch Road/MD-235, then downhill/uphill on Chancellor’s Run towards Great Mill Road, MD-5 south uphill/downhill towards Holy Face Church/Little Flower School. And then all the way back in reverse.

That’s the opening 18 miles.

The final four mile out and back is running all the way south down Willow Road towards MD-5 North and then out to whatever MapMyRun declares to be Mile 22. The finishing 2.2 is one last climb up the hill of Willow Road going back to Abberly Crest, with a last triumphant run past the Three Fireplugs and the finish (Mile 26 and change, for the official MCM record).

Objectives:

  1. Getting out of bed at 0430 for a 0500 workout
  2. Getting the workout started no later than 45 minutes after getting home from work
  3. Slowly but surely getting back on the road
  4. Finishing the runs, especially the Sunday (and occasional Saturday) long runs…pace be damned
  5. Working the hills…as many as possible, and looking for survival and consistency
  6. P90X: Hit play. Engage the core. Breathe.Work the hips.
  7. X Stretch every Sunday afternoon/evening. Before bed of you have to.
  8. FINISH. EVERYTHING.

 

The fun starts Wednesday morning.

 

Songs of the Day:

Bob Dylan/”Jokerman:” I have always loved how the images from the video (ancient and modern art, popular culture images/scenes) hep tell the story that Bob is trying to tell…even if he admits that he may have overthought this song and the rest of the album (Infidels). From Genius:

“ ‘Jokerman’ is the first track from Dylan’s 1983 album Infidels. This album is often seen as Dylan’s return to secular music after a conversion to Christianity and three gospel records.

However, “Jokerman” is still laden with religious imagery and biblical references. Like Christ, the Jokerman has messianic aspirations, but unlike a legitimate godly figure who will die for others, the Jokerman ultimately is unaccountable even to himself

Dylan: “That’s a song that got away from me. Lots of songs on that album [Infidels] got away from me. They just did.”

ST: “You mean in the writing?”

Dylan: “Yeah. They hung around too long. They were better before they were tampered with. Of course, it was me tampering with them. [Laughs] Yeah. That could have been a good song. It could’ve been.” If the YouTube comments section means anything, Bob Dylan’s fans would respectfully disagree.

Bruce Springsteen/”Atlantic City:” I think this song is just Bruce on acoustic guitar and some dude (maybe Little Steven?) on mandolin. It works…and my God is it so hauntingly beautiful.

” ‘Atlantic City’is perhaps one of Springsteen’s most dour songs. It depicts a young couple’s romantic escape to the New Jersey seaside resort of Atlantic City, where the man in the relationship intends to take a job in organized crime upon arriving in the city.

“The song wrestles with the inevitability of death and the hope of rebirth in various ways, especially in life and in the actual city of Atlantic City, which was going through an attempted mob takeover while the state government was trying to implement casino gambling within the city.

” ‘Atlantic City’ started as a demo recorded in early 1981 at Springsteen’s home studio at Colts Neck, NJ called “Fistfull of Dollars” (for the Clint Eastwood movie). He changed the title and the chorus to “Atlantic City” later that year, and on January 3. 1982, recorded 4 takes, along with other “Nebraska” demos that later made up the album of the same name. Take 2 was the one chosen for the album, released in fall 1982.”

 

MCM2020/T-Minus 97: Vision

Twenty-four hours from now, I hope to be walking out of MedStar St. Mary’s Hospital taking my first steps towards improved vision in my cataracts-infected eyes.

Tomorrow morning, I am scheduled for the first of two cataracts laser surgeries. My right eye will be done tomorrow, and my left one will be done two weeks from tomorrow.

Wednesday, I was tested for COVID-19, a prerequisite for my surgery. Unless I get a phone call or get the bad news upon reaching the hospital, I will presume I have tested negative. The testing required that I immediately depart the testing area and go straight home into lockdown: no trips to the store, to work, to anywhere. Also, I assumed no running.

My lockdown meant that I have not run since last Sunday, and I have not done any P90X, or any other cross-training, in two weeks. Getting back on schedule is going to be quite the long climb.

I plan on running again Wednesday morning, barring any prolonged medical problems after the eye surgery. From there it will be running every other day until next Sunday, then another two day hiatus, then back on the road the Wednesday after the second surgery. Running distance will be progressive distances, with longer runs on Saturdays and Sundays.

I will also ease back into P90X again, doing workouts on every other day. When I get back into shape (and lose my “fear” of doing P90X) I will start P90X Classic in August. P90X will be may preferred cross training routine throughout the rest of my Marine Corps Marathon training schedule.

To this point, July has been mostly shot, and hopefully I can rebound quickly, now that I am under the hundred-day mark.

Meanwhile, I do have a few “projects” I would like to complete today:

  1. Update MCM Training Schedule
  2. Work project, because I may be out of pocket until Wednesday morning
  3. Firmware/game mods load for my Atari Flashback 9 Gold

In between all that, there is the matter of getting enough food and hydration, because I am not allowed any food or beverage after midnight tonight…that includes water and any medication. I will be on a twelve hour fast until after the surgery.

And…that’s it until Tuesday. Just thought I’d post this here to let everybody know I’m still alive and relatively healthy. Alas, no Song of the Day either.

Talk to you Tuesday!

MCM 2020/T-Minus 100: Awaiting

Two years ago, I revived this blog by tracking my training for the Marine Corps Marathon from one hundred days out all the way through race day.

A lot has changed in those two years…hell, a lot has changed since I started training for the Historic Half back in February.

Today marks sixty days since I finished the Historic Half Marathon run for the 2020 Semper Fi Double (Historic Half plus MCM in the same calendar year). The last sixty days have not been kind.

Two DNFs while trying to run double-digit runs.

Failing to graduate P90X Lean.

All but scrapping the keto diet.

Plateauing in my struggle to lose weight/

But wait, there’s more…

In preparation for my cataracts surgery next Monday, I had to get tested for COVID-19 yesterday. As soon as the doctor got done swabbing by nostrils, she told me to come immediately and forthwith, putting me in isolation until I was cleared for surgery (or until I got news that I tested positive).

Lockdown means staying in the house until I get word, one way or the other. Outdoor PT wasn’t mentioned so I assumed it meant no running. So, right now, I am pretty much on a training time-out, at least until next Wednesday morning.

I was supposed to start P90X Classic next week, but with surgery on Monday and not knowing WTF on Tuesday, I’m pretty much on standby for that as well.

Oh, and I STILL haven’t ordered my new dumbbells from Amazon, either.

So, all I am doing is putting everything on hold until at least Tuesday night. Right now I am just watching the cell phone waiting for THAT CALL. If I don’t hear anything by 4:00 tomorrow, I start calling around to see what’s going on.

But at least I have a Song of the Day:

Violent Femmes/”Blister in the Sun:”This song was unplugged before MTV Unplugged was cool.

Genius:

“The lyrics are about heroin abuse and getting rejected by girls. You know, a normal teenage frustration tune from Violent Femmes.

“In 2007, Ritchie filed a lawsuit against Gano for band earnings and ownership rights stemming from Gano’s approval for their song “Blister in the Sun” to be used in a Wendy’s commercial. Once again, the band broke up.”

Ritchie: bassist Brian Ritchie. Gano: vocalist/guitarist Gordon Gano. And Victor DeLorenzo is the drummer, for completion’s sake.

“I Can Change:” Written by Trey Parker and Matt Stone (South Park: Bigger, Longer and Uncut… FTW!!!) and covered by the Femmes for the excellent movie soundtrack.

MCM 2020: Reset/Refresh

Great Mills 8

0400 reveille as usual. No breakfast, because the last tub of Chobani yogurt in the fridge was three days past its sell-by date, and I did not want to look at mold or get food poisoning this morning.

Dressed and lubed by 0430. Stretched at 0440-0450. Out the door at 0455.

It was cooler than I expected this morning, after running in the humidity all week. As I started the eight mile trek around Great Mills, I noticed the first-quarter moon was out. A good sign.

The goal today was a good, solid eight miles. Not so much worried about the pace, so much as I wanted to feel like zi could go a little further than eight miles. There were a lot of inclines and declines in the eight miles, so no use pressing for negative splits.

I actually felt good over the first four miles, as I rounded the turn from MD-5 onto Great Mills Road. While the splits may not have been with me, I did feel good about the run. I was even able to shrug off not having my Under Armour fluorescent white running ball cap, which I didn’t notice that I had forgotten until just after the first mile marker.

The ball cap serves two purposes: 1) to protect the top of my head from mosquitos, and 2) to help block out the sun with the bill of the cap. The route had some woodlands, but the mosquitos were not quite the problem as they were aboard NAS Patuxent River the last two Sunday. However, as I headed down (up?) Great Mills Road, I realized I was running in the direction of the rising sun…and with no visor to at least partially block it, I could barely see where I was going.

The blinding sun aside, the made the there miles go Great Mills Road with no problem, as I made the final turn onto north Willos Road. There was even a convenient Port-A-John, across the street from Lancaster Park. The stop was a relief, although that may have impacted my last mile split. I just barely made eight miles as I passed the road crossing into Abberly Crest Apartments, topping out at 8.04 mi. as I ended the run.

I finished with no real negative splits, but an acceptable 11:28 pace. Not bad.

 

P90X and Other Stuff

My strategy of performing P90X after the end of the workday went belly up, as I finished late and tired on Wednesday and Thursday. I was already a week late on finishing P90X Lean, but having screwed up the schedule I had to throw in the towel on this cycle.

To be frank, I really have no excuse as to why I didn’t finish. This was the last low stress portion of the cycle, with routines like Yoga X, Cardio X and Core Synergistics, and Cardio X on call for this last week. I was just too bummed out from sitting on telecoms all day to execute anything at midweek. So, not only am I STILL NOT a P90X graduate, but I paid for it on the scale this week with two pounds added onto last week’s total. Looking back, I really could have used the Kenpo X and Cardio X on tap for the Wednesday and Friday runs.

So while the runs are slowly getting back to normal, I am going to take a week off and start P90X Classic next week…maybe.

 

Good news is that I am still healthy and COVID-19 free, although I am still a bit heavier than I’d like to be.

The bad news? As part of my prep for my cataracts eye laser surgery next Monday, I have to have a COVID-19 test this Wednesday. If I don’t hear anything by Sunday night, I am cleared for the surgery next Monday morning. If I get the call, it won’t be just the eye surgery that gets put on hold.

I believe that COVID-19 test has somewhat upset my equilibrium this week. That and the added logistics of my transportation to and from the eye surgery. It can’t be just an Uber driver who drops me off an picks me up; someone has to stay with my at the hospital then monitor me as I come home from the surgery. So, there’s that as well.

It is now almost 8:30 on Sunday night, and I am now just eating my second full meal of the day. Yeah, I’ve got a few things on my mind.

 

Song of the Day: I’m sorry…I have none, and I know it’s been a while since I last posted. YouTube isn’t cooperating tonight.

 

 

Dear Tony/P90X, Day 85: Yoga X

Dear Tony,

A day and a half late, but Yoga X is in the books.

By the time I got to the ohms that traditionally end the workout, I was asking myself, “Why didn’t I get up and do this yesterday or this morning? I’m sweating as usual, and I feel great after every Yoga X period.”

I shouldn’t be afraid of the hour and a half it takes to work P90X. I may never get the crane or the plough stances right, and I will always struggle with everything from Warrior Three onwards on the advanced warrior poses. Ditto with tree/royal dancer/standing leg. So? It’s about adjusting my body to make the effort, not trying to catch up with the Joneses (AKA the other people demonstrating the workout with Tony).

Gonna be a lot of sweating the rest of this week. Run tomorrow morning, and Core Synergistics after work. Thursday is Kenpo X and X Stretch. Friday is another run in the morning and Cardio X in the afternoon. Yoga X again on Saturday.

Day 90 will be Sunday, with an eight mile run in the morning (Great Mills 8) and ending with X Stretch late Sunday afternoon.

See you next time, Tony!

Dear Tony/P90X, Day 83: Last Double

Dear Tony,

If not for one muscle twinge, I would have graduated P90X Lean today. That week off kind of cost me.

Not that much to elaborate on on this last day of the Independence Day weekend, but I do have a few notes:

Today’s Kenpo X was fascinating, in terms of my heart rate. My heart rate got progressively higher as I progressed through the routines, taking a big drop off after the vertical punches (why?)

BPMs: 52 @ 38:11/56 @ 28:15/62 @ 21:11/76 # 14:53/53 @ 4:38.

Just finished X Stretch. Seriously considering X Stretch as a part of my pre-race routine when I do my Virtual Marine Corps Marathon this year. I feel pretty good next year.

So…tomorrow morning will be my make-up three mile run from Friday (MD-5 3) and I will perform Yoga X as soon as I get off work tomorrow (back home teleworking this week).

Off to cook dinner: bacon-wrapped corn on the cob and pan-fried ribeye. See you next time, Tony!

MCM 2020: Independence Day

No fireworks, no picnic…just a double PT session for the holiday.

NAS Pax River 5

Not even gonna look at the mile splits. Bigger issue is that I was getting tired just after the four mile mark. I want to sat that it was the humidity, just after 0500 this morning. My arms were slick with sweat on the way back from the gate.

The summer humidity is nothing to take lightly. If I have to breathe harder, that means I’m working harder on the runs than I should, Also burning and sweating  lot more water. My Ucan hydrate packs worked well, but that was in the spring. How long will they last through a summer where the sun burns and the air is like soup?

So…unless absolutely necessary/very last resort: no afternoon or early evening runs. Aside from the heavier traffic, now that Maryland is slowly reopening, but good luck trying to grind out a four-miler at ninety-something degrees and eighty0five percent humidity.

 

P90X, Day 82: Core Synergistics:

Dear Tony,

I’m not going to advocate eating homemade Taco Bell (square corn shell) tacos with 12-oz. of pepsi before any P90X workout. However, I had a full meal about an hour before I popped in the Core Synergistics CD and today I felt great.

With a meal in my belly and feeling good for five o’clock on a hilly afternoon, I set  a goal to meet or exceed my rep numbers in each exercise. I did just that. Even the bonus stage wasn’t the struggle that it usually is, although I need to learn how to keep count during the halfback routine.

I also put on my heart rate monitor to check my pulse. It was at 80 beats per minute after the first water break, then dropped to 73 after the second. After I finished up my table top leg raises, my bpm dropped to 60. Hmmm…

Okay, it’s Kenpo X in the morning, and X Stretch tomorrow afternoon. See you next time, Tony!

 

Song of the Day: Rick Derringer/”Real American:” The hell with Genius today, it’s Independence Day!

MCM2020/Uncle Albert-Admiral Halsey

We’re so sorry/Uncle Albert/

“But we haven’t done a bloody thing all day/

“Were so sorry/Uncle Albert/

“But when the kettles on the boil/we’re so easily called away”

Paul McCartney and Wings/”Uncle Albert-Admiral Halsey”

Blew off the three miler to MD-5 this morning, and I just waved off Core Synergistics for P90X.

It is currently 94 degrees outside and humid. Those morning runs are gonna be a killer.

So, this is my Independence Day Weekend:

Saturday: NAS Gate 1 5 (0500) and Core Synergistics (1700)

Sunday: Kenpo X (0500) and X Stretch (1700)

Monday MD-5 3 (0500) and Yoga X (1700)

I am back teleworking on Monday, so I should be up at 0500 hitting the last week of P90X Lean.

Paul Mc Cartney and Wings:”Let ‘Em In”

Okay, no training today…but you got a couple of Songs of the Day out of it.

Gotta take ’em where you can get ’em.

Dear Tony/P90X, Day 80: Balance

Dear Tony,

So, the resistance/weightlifting portion of P90X Lean is over, and now it’s about cutting the last few pounds and toning those newly built muscles. Started that process tonight with Yoga X.

I knew I was in for a difficult evening when I stumbled a little bit on the standing hamstring stretches. I usually have good balance, but not tonight. Of course, I was doing the yoga wobbles during the advanced warrior poses and the standing balance postures (tree/royal dancer.standing let balance).

Maybe that Baby Ruth and the bag of Skinny Pop kettle corn? Nahh….

Unless I can find some way to do something about my bow legs, the crane and plough-to-shoulder postures will be challenges. But I won’t stop trying.

Schedule change: I am going to do my Sunday run on Saturday, a nice five mile stroll to NAS Patuxent River Gate One and back. Weekly weigh-in will go right after the run.Kenpo X will go in the afternoon, followed by a nice Independence Day supper of surf and turf.

And yes…I will do X Stretch on Sunday.

Engage the core…breathe.

Core Synergistics tomorrow afternoon, Tony…see you next time!

Marathon Training During COVID-19: Reset

With back-to-back DNFs on the last two Sunday runs, I decided to scale back my planned distances over the next month and start as if I had finished conditioning, instead of training for the Historic Half Marathon.

This Sunday I am going for five miles (course TBD) so I took the Shangri-La not-quite-three miles. I turned around at the corner of Willow Road and Great Mills Road, instead of going all the way up Shangri-La Drive. I guessed wrong about the actual turnaround point and came up at 2.95 miles instead of the full three.

Two things of note: 0500 and Daylight Savings Time doesn’t necessarily mean sunrise. I still need to dress for low-light/very early morning. Also, I had a nice sheen of sweat on my arms as I approached the two mile point; gonna be a very humid summer.

 

P90X, Day 80: Back and Biceps/ABX

Lessons learned on the final resistance/weights routine of the P90X lean Cycle:

  1. Learn to hit “pause” if you don’t know what to do on the lawnmower routines. I think I got some of them bass-ackwards.
  2. I didn’t hit the heavier band until the second half of the workout. Got a bunch of reps but did I get the pump or the burn?
  3. When I get down to my “fighting weight (maybe 205 lbs?) I need to hit a pull-up bar on base.
  4. GO BUY SOME WEIGHTS, DAMMIT!

Too tired, and not a good day, so no SOTD today. Yoga X tomorrow.