Monday, May 28, 2007

Gonna do this thing

Goddamn it, my weight won't change. 25 miles this week. No change. 1,400 calories a day. No change. Time to get obsessive.

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Mileage Report: 5.27.07

Miles: 5.7
Type: Street
Time: ?
Avg Mile: ?
Calories Burned: 760

Yup. Another bad run. Another race with the devil home to the bathroom. I hate that.

Tired. Overweight. Losing momentum. Losing motivation. My weight has a hell of a time going down. It seems to be despite calorie deficit, outside of exercise. I just hang at this weight. My effort is honest, and focused.


Saturday, May 26, 2007

Mileage Report: 5.26.07

Miles: 6.42
Type: Street
Time: ?
Avg Mile: ?
Calories Burned: 850

I have no idea how long it took me to do this run, but I'm sure I wasn't moving very fast.

It's been raining on and off for the last week here in Austin. That's the reason I haven't been doing much in the way of trail runs. I love trail runs, but after a rain most of the trails become unpenetrable. After a week of rain most of the streets become unpenetrable, the trails become epic battles against mudslides and torrental floods.

I really am a fan of trail runs. Outside of the wear and tear it saves on your joints, it's just so much more interesting than steets. Cleaner, in an earthy, muddy, spider-infested way. There's more to look at than people and their cars. If I may go all tangent here, people and their cars make me angry in an irrational way. People with expensive sports cars represent people with more money than brains. People blasting thug music are congealed ass dropping and testosterone. People going too fast are jerks, people going too slow are morons.

You don't see that shit on the trails. Nope, just joggers, hikers, rock climbers, and evil, homocidal bicyclists. My mortal enemies.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

I waste my own time

I'm starting a new book. Writing it, that is. This is a phenomenal waste of personal time and energy. I am not a good writer. I have no sense of plot, character, theme, or those things that are interesting to read. I am also a horrible speller. The part of the brain that absorbs language, interprets, and then allows reciprical response was badly damaged during the journey through the birth canal.

I have written, in their entirety, four complete novels. In addition, I have written fifty or sixty billion failed attempts at novels, various articles, opinion pieces, short stories, song lyrics (for a friend's punk band) and so forth. It all falls nicely along the bell curve of suck.

But I'm starting a new one, which means for the next month or so (I write 2,000 words a day when I write these things) I will become withdrawn, obsessive, and depressed.

In the meantime, an older book called The Best Of Gas Station Sluts is available at , a wonderful little resource for people like me who desire to create and share, but lack what the industry calls "talent." Check it out.

Mileage Report: 5.24.07

Miles: 6.83
Type: Crazy Busy-Ass Rush Hour Street
Time: 54 (+/-)
Avg Mile: 7:54 (+/-)
Calories Burned: 930

I wanted to make up for my lack of a long run yesterday, but I'm not sure I did it. I ran from my house to my older children's school. This was entriely along major streets during rush hour. Which added an element of excitement that only crossing the street in the blind spot of GED-failed city bus driver can deliver.

Outside of sucking in huge gasping lung-fulls of vehicular excrement, I got to experience the joy that is Austin during the summer. Now, some of you scienticians out there may want to point out that it is still spring. Spring is a vestigal season. We get about three weeks of it now and then five months of summer. So, here in Austin, the Summer is dominated by humidity. Running through humidity is like trying to breath through cheesecloth. Now, despite the fact that I am from the desert (Phoenix, AZ) I have never managed to adjust to heat. Once the temperature, real or imaginary, rises above 82 degrees, I'm out. Today was rough.

But I made it and the day is young. And that always feels good.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Mileage Report: 5.23.07

Miles: 4.75
Type: Street
Time: ?
Avg Mile: ?
Calories Burned: 640

All I have to say about today's run is: wow, did that suck. It was supposed to be my long run for the week. Didn't happen. We'll see if tomorrow's run is the long run.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Goals of The Struggle/ Mileage Report 5.20.07

Miles: 4.75
Type: Street
Time: 37min
Avg Mile: 7:45
Calories Burned: 640

Wow. This run sucked. It was a struggle the whole way. It really should have been longer, but (excuse time) the train was coming, so I didn't cross the tracks and die, choosing instead to tack on some extra mileage somewhere else along the path. It wasn't enough. Oh well.

The reason this run was such a difficult one is this: I got my college transcripts.

I have several personal goals: (in no, particular order)

1.) Permanently tame my weight. I've made some distance in this. I used to weigh 275lbs. Now I weigh 169. Sounds good, but at one point I was down to 155. So we can see weight is still an issue. I am actively working to reduce my weight again.

2.) Actual athletesism. This goal is a bit finicky. I want to reach a level that can be called "athletic." How does one determine that? Don't know. I think it probably has to be leveled on you by someone on the outside. So I work towards this through body transformation (the shifting of body composition towards more lean mass and less fat), physical fitness (sub 20 5ks, marathon distance long runs, a triathalon) and overall mental attitude.

3.) I will get a degree. This is a big one. I have been to no less than four (4) different colleges and universities across two states. I have completed over 140 credit hours. I have been an english major, psychology major, computer science major, and now, a biology major. I clearly, one way or the other, have a problem with school.

Perhaps it is that I had a child at eighteen. Followed by another. Perhaps trying to afford a home, a family, and all that comes with it makes school difficult. Perhaps it is because my chosen occupation, programming, underwent a radical shift leaving me unemployed for over a year. Perhaps I just suck. Don't know.

But now I am going for the final push. I'm applying to my last college, the one that I am going to make it through or give up entirely and retire to a life of a stock boy. I have received my college transcripts. And they are baaaad.

So i am down.

Oh well.

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Mileage Report: 5.19.07

Miles: 5.85
Type: Street/Hills
Time: 48min (guess)
Avg Mile: 8:12
Calories Burned: 770

I did the same hill routine I did last week only I tacked on an additional hill. I'm certain I could have ran more but today - as I sift through my rolodex of excuses - I chose not to because it is my understanding that as you increase your weekly mileage, you aren't supposed to increase it by more than about 10%. This week will easily be more than 10% longer than last. Both in miles and daily accumulated misery. But that's for other reasons.

So the routine was fine.

This Monday I will be restarting my weight training after a prescribed week off. I take a week off every eight weeks to allow the injuries to heal just enought that when I reaggravate them, they will become inflamed and deformed and leave me with permanent, life-long maladies.

A week from today my pool opens so I will be adding a thrice weekly swim to the mix. And If I can ever summon the patience to get my bike working, I'll be using that to get to and from work.

And then I'll be a man. Or hit by a car. One or the other.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Mileage Report: 5.17.07

Miles: 4.51
Type: Street
Time: I dunno
Avg Mile: Felt fast
Calories Burned: 550

I did what I would call my average run. A very typical, easy loop through my neighborhood. I'm going to have to increase the length of this loop. It's far too short. During the run today I knew - felt it on the inside - that I could tack on another couple of miles. Normally I would listen to this internal motivation, but today I sensed - felt it on the inside - that my bowels had woken right on up and I was now engaged with a race with the devil home. This happens periodically, and I know it is the result of some alien and evil sentience that has taken resident in my gut. This only ever occurs when I am at exactly the peak distance from home on a run.

I would classify today's run as short, but quality. I started at a mean pace and ended at a mean (if worried) pace.

I'll tack on some extra miles today with a long walk. Just to even it all out. My local pool opens, not this weekend, but next, so on my off days (which are also my lifting days) I'll start hitting up the pool. We'll see how that goes. I swim as well as a rock flies.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Why People Believe Weird Things

Pseudoscience, Superstition, and Other Confusions of Our Time
By Michael Shermer

Background: Michael Shermer, the founder of Skeptic magazine (which I recommend) is a formal born-again, fundamentalist Christian, professional ultra-cyclist, alternative medicine disciple turned, uh, skeptic. This book is considered by many (ask me how I define that!) to be a classic of skeptical thought, philosophy and discussion. Perhaps not the rival of Carl Sagan's The Demon-Haunted World, but I haven't read that yet (it's on my stack) so that comment is simply the culled opinion of those in the circle.


Grunt, street reaction. This book was fine.I enjoyed it and will read another of his books, but I can't give it a blazing bad-ass recomendation. Above average, given that if you're a prolific reader, reading the average becomes painful drudgery. This isn't drudgery. His writing style is clear. He isn't obtuse. He has a fine grasp of the language although he lacks flare. Which is fine. My all-time favorite non-fiction cultural review style book is Fast Food Nation by Eric Schlosser. Schlosser's writing is fast, gripping, loose and brotherly. He injects humor and opinion and backs up every claim with a mountain of documentation and research. Nearly a hundred pages of the book is simply bibliographic reference. I love it. The read is fun, informative and entertaining. He will be my golden standard for comparison.

Shermer breaks the book into sections describing in turn what is skepticism, what is science, why we should be skeptical for the first several chapters, and then spends the rest of the book dissecting specific examples of thinking gone wrong. These include such phenomenom as Holocaust denial, Intelligent Design and Creationism and Alien Abduction. These deseminations are intelligent and backed up by research, facts, and studies (look them up yourself.) And Shermer isn't dry. This isn't the same as reading a programming manual (as a former programmer I still have nightmares of parsing through pages of the most mind-numbing c/c++ books delivered to this Earth by the Gods of valium.) But I still found myself sort of bored while getting into the details of these examples. IS this Shermer's fault? Perhaps not. As an active skeptic myself, seeking out information and reading all that I can get my hands on in the worlds of science and conflicts between science and "magical thinking" and outright bad thinking, this book was nothing new. It was all things I have thoroughly studied myself.

So who would this book be for? That's hard to answer. Like Dawkins' latest book, The God Delusion (recommended), the people who most need to read it are the least likely to ever do so. Perhaps there is a receptive state that we enter into mentally from time to time and if you managed to stumble across this, or if someone recognized you in this state and gave you the book, it would help bring you over into the fold.

If you are a person that looks around you, to family, friends, and the culture at large, at the religiosity, the anti-evolution nonsense, at the snake-oil alternative "medicine," at the world of mystic spirituality and psychics, and thinks, wow, this is stupid, and you feel alone and lost as the only person that doesn't see the world through the eyes of instant credulity, this book is here to say you aren't alone.

Mileage Report: 5.16.07

Miles: 8.63
Type: Street
Time: 73min
Average Mile: 8:28 (which sucks several types of animal genitals)
Calories Burned: aprx 1200

I wanted to do a long run today, from my house to the park a mile away, through the park, back through my neighborhood. About 8 miles. But it rained last night. So when I reached the park, unless I wanted to add a swimming portion to my run, I was forced to turn around. The park, the pretty part, the part I run in, is almost entirely surrounded by the meanderings of Slaughter Creek. It would be an island except for an enterance from a different neighborhood so far out of the way as to turn a normal run into a mini-marathon. I discovered this enterance this morning after runnin to the park, turning around, and blazing a new path to make up the lost miles. It's easy to make up lost miles when you are ass-lost.

One of my goals in life is to get my doctorate in biology. I want to get involved in field work. I want to spend long hours in miserable conditions in the last wildernesses of this Earth, doing pure research. If I manage to get through college, get my degrees, and land the positions I'll need to complete this dream, there had best be a native path finder in my research group because whatever brain center that allows for a sense of position, direction, and travel was binge-drunk on out of me.

Back to the park. The pretty part of the park is the hundred acres or so that supports trees and a creek and various wildlife. I've seen deer and armadillo and coyote and rabbits. There's an additional 50 acres set aside as a model plane airfield. All little runways and mown grass. A nice place if you're really into model planes. Then there's another 150 acres set aside for disc golf.

Let it be known, now and forever that disc golfers are an evil breed of man. For months when I first moved into my neighborhood, and worked my endurance to a point where I could run for miles at a time, I wanted to run the disc golf course. It is a beautiful thing, with the highest elvation in the park at which sits a little bench. You can look for miles, and when the sun is just coming up, peaking over the horizon behind you, it is a spiritual moment (I mean that in an atheist, secular way). In order to experience this pristine glory you either have to be way fucking early, like 5AM early to beat the golfers to the park, or you have to be one hell of a runner. These golfers take their "sport" seriously. Forgive me for lumping a diverse group of individuals into one writhing mass of stereotypes, but your average disc golfer, to judge from the people at my park, is a well fed, highly intoxicated, stoned group of men. You would think this would leave them in a relaxed state.

Oh no my friend. Uh, uh.

To run through the golf course while populated with disc golfers is to find yourself in a warzone, with large, sweaty, tattooed men, clouds of atomized alcohol and marijuana like little personal atmospheres of hate, throwing eight pounds plastic blades at your body with the force of their failed lives behind them. This being Texas, and seeing as when you cross the border you are handed either a Colt revolver or a Glock 9mm as a "starter" weapon to welcome you into the state, these men, with their discs of anger, if they haven't killed you with their words, or stares, or plastic projectiles, will happily move on into full fledged warfare.

I remember playing disc golf (which we called frisbee golf, and there weren't any of these nets) growing up in Isla Vista California. It was a relaxed game consisting mainly of walking. There was an occasional throw. And then more walking. I can't remember a single time when I felt the need to kill during a game of frisbee golf, and I'm a guy who will take out a room full of people as simple collateral casualties during a bad run of Mario Kart.

So in conclusion: fuck disc golfers.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Mileage Report: 5.13.07

Miles: 4.95
Type: Hills/Road
Time: 40min - 44min (didn't pay close attention to what time I left)
Average Mile: 8.04 - 8.53
Calories Burned: 600 or so

What I wanted to do today was speedwork. What happened was I got up at 5AM and my body said, quote: "Fuck you." All I could squeeze out of it was a five mile run (but I tricked myself and did hill intervals.) A lot of running sites talk about the benefits of doing hills. I read these and laugh and laugh. People talking about how hard hills are, about how they have to go out of their way to find a hill, how they dread training on hills. I live in Austin. There is no flat ground. All running is hill running. The only thing that made today any different is that I exagerated the hills. Really focused on them. Rather than do a five mile loop that might include one long-ass mile long incline, I ran six different hills up and down, in my neighborhood. I'm you're half-naked sweaty neighbor.

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Mileage Report: 5.12.07

I work in the morning today. Usually I get my run done in the morning. For a couple reasons: 1.) The heat seeking nuclear mosquitos haven't yet got their reactors spinning 2.) The humidity is bearable being no worse than wading at a high rate through a swamp 3.) Nobody can see me because in my neighborhood, people sleep it off until at least noon 4.) I haven't gone to work and lifted heavy shit for eight hours.

But, I'm going to work this morning. So I will do my run after work. I want to do a short run with speed. So my plan, at the moment, is a simple 5k. I'd like to see if I can break the 20min mark, but given that when I get home, the weather is expected to be ninety degrees and 90% humidity, if I can simply complete a 5k without the fire department involved will be an accomplishment.

As a side note, if, somehow, the place where I work ceased to exist before I got there today, that would be okay. I work for a Young Earth Creationist. It wouldn't be so bad if he just raptured on away.

Miles: 3.1 (5K)
Time:20:07 (Damn)
Average Mile: 6:27
MPH: 9.31
Calories Burned: 431

Well, I didn't get a sub 20. As way of concilliation, this was my first try for time. I think I can get this with in a month. I'm going to go for a walk now to round out my miles for the day. Tack on an additional 2.58 miles. I was wrong about work. I work later.

Friday, May 11, 2007

Boring Nonsense

Today is a weights day, but I won't be doing any lifting. Every eight weeks, I take a week off to allow what amounts to eight weeks worth of stress fractures and other slowly nurtured injuries to recover slightly before I reinforce them. This time I skipped the last two workouts of this cycle because my shoulder started squirting blood and crying out in pain if I so much as mentioned "military press."

So, to make up for this lack of wright training, I have been going on long walks. You may ask, how do these compare? They don't except that in my mind If I am not actively involved in some kind of activity everyday I will wake up the next day and be 300lbs again. So i take longisg walks.

By longish, I mean ten or more miles.

The local pool should be open soon. When that opens I will swim.


This is boring.

His thick, throbing pole of justice slid deep into her well oiled post-hole, and their union stood strong and hard, a symbol of this great and groaning nation.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Mileage Report: 5.10.07

Trail Run.
6 miles
7:47 average mile
43 spider webs broken with face
17 actual spiders (unintentionally) eaten

It was about, maybe, shoot, 70 degrees this morning and 430% humidity. So a cool, dry day in Austin. I would guess I came back from the run weighing an additional 13 pounds from the sweat – not my own but the collective sweat of the college students secreting bodily fluids the night before on 6th street that hung in the Austin atmosphere over night waiting, with evil efluvian sentience, for the first idiot running in the morning, which was me – also, from the dew collected on the leaves of the rain forest trail I run in the morning.

Wildlife was relegated to the small and spooked. Lots of rabbits and squirrels.

I have not had a drink in two whole days. I will not weigh myself again until it has been a month. My most recent binge episode, which lasted the month of April, helped me balloon up 15lbs to my current weight of 170. This is bad. Because 170 is not sexy. It's not sleek, cat like. And I want to be sleek. Cat like. In the most heteroseual way possible, but failing that, anyway that comes off as sexy to anybody will do.