Tag Archives: videos

Dear Tony/P90X Week 1 In Review

Dear Tony,

I didn’t do Stretch X today, but I didn’t rest either; I went on a ten mile run.

While P90X does offer Stretch X as an option, aside from a rest day, I have considered running Stretch X before or after a run. Stretch X is just short of an hour, so I’m not so sure about using it just before a run; if Stretch X is as intense as the other eleven workouts, I may be “too pooped to pop” for a ten-mile or longer run. Perhaps immediately after Kenpo X, or maybe a few hours after a run as a “cool-down” routine? Those are options, but then again, this is extreme home fitness and there’s only so much a body can do.

Thanks to P90X I am back to exercising six days a week: P90X six days a week, plus runs on Wednesday and Friday, plus a long run on Sunday. On W/F, I do P90X in the morning and run after my workday is done; I try to start the run no earlier than twelve hours of doing the P90X workout of the day.

Lessons learned from the first week:

  1. FORM FIRST, REPS LATER.  Rather than try and chase you and your team for reps my goal should be to do each routine as close to”just right” as I can. Burning fat and building muscle is possible only if I work my body the right way.
  2. Coordination: This was especially relevant on yesterday’s Kenpo X routine. For example, the “jab/cross/hook/uppercut” routine. With each punch, I need to turn my hips in the direction of the punch. Engage the hips, engage the torso and drive the legs. If I’m just throwing punches at will, I’m not working anything.
  3. Learn to work the HRM. I bought a $20 heart rate monitor from Wal-Mart. It doesn’t come with a synchronized monitor band, but the watch does have a small sensor where you plan a fingertip and the watch measures your heart rate. This is tough to do under stress, but I have to learn how to do it. Doing the HRM kind of cuts into my breaks as well, so I have to balance that out.

After the first week of P90X and running three days a week, I am guesstimating that I am running a 12:07 pace. I realize that I am in the “breakdown” stage of P90X, so as long as I am not pulling any muscles or experiencing more post-run soreness than usual, I will be fine. That being said, it is important that I listen to my body while I’m training.

Did I say I was on a keto diet? I am, but I have been cheating (Fruit-Rollups and raisins). So, I need to try not to overdo or cut out the between meal snacks…as usual.

Today is cheat day, but tomorrow I’m back on the keto-wagon. I’m going to sleep in tomorrow, and save Core Synergistics ’til noon-ish.

My goal is to graduate P90X lean, but as long as every gym in Maryland is closed, I will ride the P90X train for as long as my body can take it.

See you next time, Tony…Happy Easter!


HH20: Planning

So this is going to be my weekend:

Normally on runs of ten miles or longer, I carry a 16-oz. bottle of water mixed with Mio Energy water additive. I do this in addition to downing another 16-oz. bottle of Nuun Energy prior to the run. As of now, I have plenty of water…just not in 16-oz. bottles.

Last week I went 8 miles with a single packet of UCan hydrate, and managed to maintain a 12:00 pace on a fairly hilly run route. Eight miles, do I hear ten?

So this is what I will do tomorrow: I will get up a little early before the alarm and get dressed and stretch. First I will get the 8-oz. protein shake that I usually take after my circuit cycle workouts; this way I will get a shot of protein without having to take a pre-run or an in-run “No. 2.” Just before I go out the door, I will take my 16-oz. dose of water with Ucan. That will be it; no in-run hydration of any kind until after the run.

It will be 55 degrees at 0500 tomorrow, with clouds but no rain (probably no moon either). I plan to run the Little Face 10; that course is the run to Sheetz, but this time passing the gas station/connivence store and continuing up MD-5 (HWY-5) on an uphill until I get to the Holy Face Church/Little Flower Grade School facility. I will run around the parking lot uniting the two buildings, then back down…and then back up…MD-5 until I get back home.

The question for tomorrow’s run: can I maintain a 12-minute pace with somewhat steep ascents going out and back over ten miles, and still be properly fueled and hydrated?

I will gladly pay you cash for a DVD today…all I need is a basic Mark 1 Mod 0 DVD player. Wal-Mart has one, but can I make the trip up there? If not, I will have to get creative in regards to playing my P90X workouts. I may also have to get other equipment for P90x, which I am planning to start the Lean workout schedule on Monday.

I finally got a cheap flatscreen TV to play my Atari Flashback 9. I did get the firmware downloaded via SD card. Unfortunately, I need something to fix the spaces and .bin from my iMac OS when I downloaded it onto my SD card. Tech assist time!

So…with my movement limited, how much personal stuff can I accomplish online? We will see…

Song of the Day: Robyn Adele Anderson/”Personal Jesus:” The missus is good looking and has a good voice, and has a talent for taking a jazz/blues twist on popular music. Thank God for YouTube and Patreon.

MCM 2019/T-minus 28: Traffic

About 20 minutes out from Arlington, VA I ran into congested traffic on the _695. Turns out that weekend construction work had turned the already heavy two-lane highway into a one-lane highway. Then the four-lane 1-295 going into DC was also a heavy mess. AS a result, I ended up spenign an hour more in the car than I had originally planned. I made it in time to Pacers Running to pick up my packet for the National Capital 20-miler tomorrow, but I was late getting lunch.

I made it to the hotel about 3;15 p.m. About 4:20 I drove out to Carderock Park to check out where the runners would be forming up the run.

I tried to type “CARDEROCK RECREATION AREA_ into my rental car’s dashboard GPS, but all I got was CARDEROCK PARK.” To-may-to, to-mah-to. Whatever. On the road.

Aside from the constant worry of hitting one of Virginia’s toll roads, with only my debit card to pay for anything, I hot another road-work snag on the I-395. Yay, more road time. To make matters worse, I missed the run going into Carderock (the GPS’ fault for giving me faulty instructions), and ended up about two miles from where I should have been. I turned off my car’s GPS, activated Google Mpas on my smartphone, and I made it to the Carderock Recreation Area.

I confirmed the parking lots where we would be allowed to park, as well as the Picnic Pavilion, where runners would check in or get last-minute packet pickups. I took a look around to see if I could find the Chesapeake and Ohio Towpath, on which we would be running tomorrow.  I walked over to the tunnel I had driven through to get to the park, and saw a path leading upside the tunnel. I assumed it would cross to the other side, but instead it led to a trail of hard-packed broken gravel.

Well, hello, C&O Towpath!

I tok a quick walk up the path to see if i cold find any landmarks or mile markers to identify the course. I couldn’t find any, and I was becoming sharply aware of my need to get dinner and hydrate for tomorrow. Looking at the forest and the small lake of standing water next to the trail, I made a note to remember to apply my Skin-So-Soft (GI-approved best insect repellent ever) for tomorrow and made my way down the hillside and back to the car.

More car time, more than I wanted. HILTON GARDEN INN didn’t lead me back to the one in Arlington, by the courthouse, but to the one in Tyson’s Corner. Back to the smartphone GPS, another congested two-lane highway, and one last half-hour trip back to the hotel. It was 4:20-ish when I left the hotel, and I drove back just after 6:00…after almost an hour and a half in the car that I didn’t want or need, hungry as hell, riding on low blood sugar, and NO i had not been hydrating since 12:30, when I left Lexington Park.

So, tomorrow I will sleep in a little bit, with reveille going at 0500 instead of 0345~0400. I will try to get on the road by 0530 so I can get to Carderock by 0600. I want to get at least 15~20 minutes to stretch before the run tomorrow.

Five miles incline leading to the finish.

Must finish in five hours.


Song of the Day: Steve Miller Band/”Heart Like a Wheel:”

I don’t trust Genius right now, and I can’t think of any other song that describes the time I wasted behind the wheel of the car today. But I can say it’s been damn near a few decades since i first heard/saw this song on MTV. I have no idea if it charted, but all I remember was “good song” and “good video.”

Steve Miller really worked it on the six-stringer on this one.

MCM 2019/T-Minus 39: Roxette

Taking a break from the circuit cycle today. Slept in this morning, and I’m going shopping after this blog post.

My train of thought was “something something Scandinavian rock,” then something something Roxette,: and then it was like, “Hey I know four songs from Roxette, and I didn’t totally hate them, so I’ll do a Song of the Day post for the blog tonight.”

And so, as I take a brief respite from training, I present the Swedish pop duo Roxette for tonight’s Song of the Day quartet:

The Look:Okay the gent is Per Gessle on guitars and vocals, and the blonde with the funky hairdo is Marie Fredrikkson on vocals and keyboards, though I guess she can play guitar as the video suggests. Per and Marie were established artists in their native Sweden, and Marie once sang with Per’s band Gyllene Tider. Long story short, Per was working on a slow career after the demise of Gyllene Tilder’s attempt at a US tour, and Marie had sone some solo albums as well as some time backing per, when the manager of EMI suggested they record a song together. Although the song was successful only in Sweden, the duo only went up from there.

It Must Have Been Love: This song was originally recorded as a Christmas song, and after a bit of back and forth with the producers of the movie Pretty Woman (Julia Roberts/Richard here) and a quick editing of Christmas from the lyrics, it became a Number One hit in the US. Marie really does let go in this song, and kudos to her if she was overdubbed for the backing vocals as well.

Listen to Your Heart: Is this an actual concert or was it staged for the video? God only knows, but I think Per gets a little too footloose onstage, considering he’s not even the lead guitarist on this song (or at least the video). Per stated that he always preferred songs where Marie took the lead, and he can rightfully point to this one as Exhibit A.

Dangerous: Still a fun song, although not a No.1 like the other three (and “Joyride” was the fourth US No. 1 for Per and Marie). Whether you’d want ro run to it is up to you, but it’s still a pop song in a good way.

Roxette are still recording albums and touring to this day, after 33 years. 75 million records sold and four No. 1 hits in the US. They probably still have a fifth column of fans worldwide…nice work if you can get it.

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: Raise the Seat

Random notes from being two-thirds of the way through my current week of conditioning:

So, I remembered that if I raise the seat on my bicycle to where I can fully stretch and engage my legs when I pedal, it is a little easier for me to pedal. I noticed this on the road outside Gate 2 of NAS Patuxent River, which is a steady incline from the light to the gate. The ride home felt faster going home then going out this morning.

Update on my March Sadness Previews on Illinois: Bradley won back to back over Evansville and Valparaiso…YAY! Going into the final regular season game at Loyola-Chicago, they are the tail end Charlie of a four team 9-8 jam, and sitting seventh in the conference. They need to win at tied for first Loyola and hope the other 9-8 teams choke on it this weekend.

It took me a day and a half to mail out a piece of equipment from my workplace to Florida. Filling out paperwork I ultimately didn’t need, driving out to a shipping site I ultimately wouldn’t use…and using packing tape that needed WATER to activate the adhesive, instead of using ready-made packing tape like a reasonable human being. And this was packing tape from our OFFICE.

It looks like I will be the lone ranger for our Yuma Gang of Four again this year. One of my friends it setting me up with the room; I will change it to a single room when I get the reservation.

First road races of the year: Leatherneck 5K at NAS Pax River May 4th, and Hospice of St. Mary’s on April 14th.

I need to buy some new cookware this weekend, to include a new electric griddle, a new frying/sauté’ pan, and two saucepans to cook my Gordon Ramsay scrambled eggs, canned tamales, vegetables, and whatever else you can cook in a saucepan.

I had absolutely NO motivation to get out of bed Wednesday morning. I woke up to the 0430 alarm, gave myself the usual five minutes, then promptly went back to sleep. Woke back up at 0550, then 0645, then finally got out of bed to get ready for work at 0730. I borrowed a friend’s car to do my mailing errand, so I didn’t have to worry about riding to work on an empty stomach. I did get my workout in within an hour of getting home from work yesterday, though. Other than that, the workout cycle for this week has been pretty smooth. I wish this weather would warm up, though.

Two weeks ago I checked out prices for Hilton hotels on the HHonors app, and  most of the prices per night looked okay. Checked again Tuesday morning and the prices freakin’ DOUBLED! WTF?!? Is it Cherry Blossom weekend in DC or something?

Okay it’s time to do the Song of the Day because I’m not feeling Peter Cetera right now.

Phil Collins-“Take Me Home:” Because he don’t mind/because he don’t remember/just take, take him home. The former (?) Genesis lead singer/drummer plays this as an encore on his “Not Dead Yet” tour. Such an awesomely winsome song. By the way, Phil…if you’re not dead yet, will there be a Genesis reunion before you do leave this earthly vale?

Madness-“Our House:” First off, I am way overdue for getting my AdBlocker re-installed. Second, I have a bad feeling that this song is a retread, but so what? Third, I believe that Madness cut their teeth and made their bones as a ska band. I don’t hear anything “ska” about it, but that doesn’t make it any less fun. Nice to see an 80s band with a horn section AND strings!

“Something tells you that you’ve got to get away from it…”Be careful what you wish for bro’…

Billy Idol-“White Wedding:” Yep, probably another retread. But man…does this song have a whole “horror movie soundtrack’ feel about it? This video is 35 years old, but I still get jumpy about seeing a barbed-wire ring put around some woman’s finger.


CBB 2019: Maryland, My Maryland and the Big Dance

In regards to collegiate and professional sports, my emotional connection to the State of Maryland is nil. However, since I do live here, and because I went through the trouble of previewing the chances of the major and mid-major Illinois NCAA Division I school’s chances for the Men’s Basketball Tournament, it’s only fair that I assess the opportunities for Maryland’s Div. I reps to make it to March Madness.

University of Maryland (12-5 Big Ten, 21-7 overall). Sports Illustrated.com’s Bubble Watch has the Terrapins as near-locks to grab an at-large bid to the Tournament. Home losses to Seton Hall and Illinois are question marks. The Terms have a home win against #15 Purdue and road losses to #7 Michigan and #10 Michigan State. Forcing a season split against Michigan, sweeping their other two regular season games (at Penn State, vs, Minnesota), and a deep run in the Big 10 Tournament should get them a good at-large bid (9 to 12 seed, maybe).

Maryland-Baltimore County (10-4 America East, 18-11 overall) The Terriers were the first #16 seed to beat a #1 seed in NCAA Men’s Tournament history. They’re third in the AE but have already swept league leading Vermont and have a home win against Stony Brook, so they should not fear them come AE tournament time.

Towson (6-10 Colonial, 10-19 overall). The Tigers do compete, to their credit. They were swept by league-leading Hofstra and split with Northeastern, and lost at home to Charleston. There is nothing to suggest that they will be an easy out in the conference tournament, but unless the Tigers find an extra gear, they will be an out nonetheless.

Coppin State (6-7 Mid-Eastern Athletic, 6-22 overall). The Eagles have become a tougher out as the season has progressed. They had a tough loss at Notre Dame just before the New year, and pulled off an away win at second place North Carolina Central. If Coppin State gets a few bounces going their way, the may be able to steal a march on some of the MEAC’s betters. However, they are 3-15 on the road for a reason. They haven’t been able to finish all year, and that may nor change during the conference tournament.

Morgan State (3-9 MEAC, 8-17 overall). Lost a thriller at home to Norfolk State, but that’s their fifth straight loss. The Bears are trending in the wrong direction thought you could say the same thing about them as I did Coppin. Sorry, no.

Maryland-Eastern Shore (3-11 MEAC, 5-24 overall). Just playing for the love of the game at this point.

Mount St. Mary’s (3-11 Northeast, 8-21 overall). A home win against third place Robert Morris…so? There’s a reason they’re tied for last in the conference.

Loyola University Maryland (6-10 Patriot, 10-19 overall). The Greyhounds lead a logjam of 6-10 teams behind another logjam of 7-8 teams. That being said, there is nothing to suggest that LU will finish any higher than seventh, maybe win a their play in game, then go down fighting in the Patriot quarterfinals. And as much as this old Marine will be “Go Navy! Beat Army!” the Midshipmen (6-10 Patriot, 9-18 overall) are riding the same boat as the Greyhounds.

To paraphrase an old but somewhat recent commercial, there’s not a lot of March Madness, but plenty of March Sadness.

To brighten up the mood, my Songs of the Day come from Swing Out Sister.

First is the defiantly happy “Breakout,” followed by the double cover of “Am I the Same Girl?” Lead singer Corrine Drewery was so much fun in the video for “Breakout,” and helped revive the 1968 song by Barbra Acklin (“Am I…?”) while her bandmates set a good foundation for Young-Holt Unlimited’s “Soulful Strut,” which backs up Drewery’s excellent vocals.

Is Barbara the same girl? Is it the same song? Should I stop jamming out to care?

Back at it tomorrow…

Lifestyle 1989: The EP

Confession: I never made it out of the house today. All it did today was rain, and I didn’t;t feel like dealing with that today.

However, as promised, my Songs of the Day for my extended college basketball post today.

In 1989, I was in my first full year as  Marine. I was finishing up my A school at Naval Air Station Memphis in Millington, TN, then I headed to Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point, NC for my actual Military Operational Specialty training. I reported to MCAS Yuma, AZ on July 31 as my permanent duty station. I didn’t have a car so I didn’t;t go out that much, but as long as I had a walkman and a way to make tapes, I always had music.

MY SOTD Extended Play album comes from the Entertainment Weekly Greatest Hits 1989 collection. 1989 was a pretty good year…

Soul II Soul-“Back to Life:” Ahhh, Caron Wheeler and Jazzie B…where have you gone? A lonely music world needs you so bad. The original album version was sung a cappella by Caron, Not sure about the decision to add the music track, Not that I’m complaining.

Young MC-“Bust a Move:” With a slamming’, slapping’ bass line by Flea of Red Hot Chili Peppers (or so the video tells me), this is yet another chapter in man’s ongoing quest for female companionship…or something.

Art of Noise w/Tom Jones-“Kiss:” There is a fascinating short story behind how art-house instrumental group AoN teamed up with Welsh superstar Tom Jones (italics borrowed from Memphis radio show hosts from my NAS Memphis days), but I don’t know it right now. They didn’t try to ape or outdo Prince; Art of Noise did what they do best and turned Tom Jones loose. That’s what’s new, pussycat, and it isn’t that unusual.

Michael Damian-“Rock On” Damian was starring on soap opera “The Young and the Restless” when he cut this cover of the David Essex 70s hit. This song was for the soundtrack of the movie “Dream a Little Dream,” starring 90s broheims Corey Feldman and Corey Haim. I actually enjoyed the movie, and I liked Damain’s version better than Davis Essex’s version; Michale had a little more snap and more bite to it.

Love and Rockets-“So Alive:” Because SEX, that’s why. Seriously, if you don’t get a LITTLE turned on by this song, then you’re missing something.

Fast facts from the album jacket:

  1. Soul II Soul member Nellee Hooper also produced hit singles for Madonna, U2, Tina Turner, and Bjork
  2. Marvin “M.C.” Young won a Grammy for Best New Rap Performance for “BaM” and co-wrote Tone-Loc’s “Funky Cold Medina.,” which also appears on this album.
  3. Tom Jones’ work with Art of Noise on “Kiss” garnered him his first Top 40 hit since 1977.
  4. Michael Damian Weir (full name) was a struggling young singer during his tenure on Y&R.
  5. Love and Rockets, formed by former members of the goth group Bauhaus (“Bela Lugosi’s Dead”), took their name from an underground (independent/alternate) comic book publisher. I do remember picking up a few issues, way back in the day. Not enough interest for me to buy any.

PS: Bauhaus lead singer Peter Murphy kept himself busy after Bauhaus folded, with a solo hit single in “Cuts You Up” and with the group Spacehog and “In the Meantime.”

Did Peter Murphy play bass for Bauhaus? Not sure.

Update: Bradley 63, Evansville 61. One down, two to go. Bonus track: “Fire on High” from Electric Light Orchestra was the bumper music for local NBC affiliate WEEK-TV, when they used to carry Bradley Braves basketball games…like the one I watched on TV thirty-seven years ago.”

The Music is Reversible, but Time is not. Turn Back, Turn Back, Turn Back, Turn Back!”


MCM 2018/T-minus 73: Home

Everything went smooth today.

5-miler at 11:07 pace? Check.

Got picked up by Uber driver and made the airport on time? Check.

Mostly uneventful flight home? BWI to Atlanta was good. Atlanta to Peoria was a half hour late and had minimal air conditioning for the flight.

Portillo’s for dinner? Check.

Logged into WordPress so I can do my blog? Check.

Song of the Day: “Blue Monday.” One song by New Order, three covers:

First cover by 90s nu-metal band Orgy. Added guitar crunch and goth synthesizer. Guitar riffs before the chorus are awesome.

Second cover by Bythroniaid Male Voice Choir. This version was commissioned for the Festival No. 6 Music Festival in Portmeirion, UK. Male voices backed by piano and full orchestra. Go YouTube it.

Third version by Orkestra Obsolete, commissioned by BBC Arts. Musicians using instruments from the 1930s and 1940s. Again, go YouTube it.

The Original Piano Man

For some strange reason, my chain of thought drifted towards a Billy Joel song. I went to my desk at work and listed all of the Billy Joel songs that I enjoy listening too (or at least, wouldn’t just flip the station if I heard it on the radio):

Piano Man

New York State of Mind

It’s My Life

Movin’ Out

Always a Woman

Tell Her About It



Downeaster Alexa

River of Dreams

You May Be Right

Sometimes a Fantasy

Still Rock n’ Roll To Me

Only the Good Die Young

A Matter of Trust

The Longest Time

Uptown Girl

Goodnight Saigon

We Didn’t Start the Fire

Just the Way You Are

1) This would make a real good “greatest hits” album

2) Somewhere there’s a dictionary, where the entry of “singer-songwriter” has a picture of him, playing a piano.

3) I’m a bigger “Billy Joel” fan than I ever thought I was.

That’s your Recovery Day rant for this week.

Haven’t heard this one in years…

Don’t get a lot of radio ply for this one…