LGN 29: Endurance

Realization.  Having attended another family birthday/gathering.  My relatives, the elders, who are suffering from all kinds of ailments.  They believe that they’ve earned their vices.  It’s like they feel entitled to them.

I guess I can understand that.  Kind of.  But still.  I don’t ever want to … I mean, if I ever get bacon cancer and survive the illness and treatment, I’ll thank my lucky stars for all the bacon I have enjoyed up to that point.  And then I’ll move on.  In theory.  In an attempt to improve the quality and length of my life.

It’s not far from October.  Nearly Autumn.  Not to be maudlin, but it’s been almost a year since my father passed away.  Complications from throat cancer, more or less.  Up until his death he still partook of the two things that are most strongly linked to throat cancer: smoking and drinking alcohol.  He cut back, for sure, and that took a considerable amount of will on his part but still.

If I put some thought into it I’d have to admit that it was that life event and upheaval plus fallout from social incompetence and irrelevance (which is my way of trying not to mention the words “girl” and “rejection”) that prompted me to pick up the slack on the fitness thing a few months later.  Coals on the fire.

Cravings

I asked my trainer, Justin, if cravings mean anything.  He makes it clear that he’s not a dietitian or nutritionist.  I was wondering, though, if the fact that I crave, let’s say, fruit juices after workouts or on hot summer days means anything.  Does that mean that my body is low on vitamin whatever?  Carb cravings?

He said that it’s probably more psychological than anything else.  Hmmm.

And I was listening to a radio show where someone said that satisfying cravings is childish.  It’s just lack of impulse control.  A little harsh, but yeh.  I’m not sure how that translates for an addiction.

Point being, just because I have a craving doesn’t mean I have to satisfy it.  I got a Pumpkin Spice Latte the other day.  First one of the season.  I saw a sign and that started some ball rolling in the back of my head.  The desire multiplied.  I did some stress imbibing but you know?  I wasn’t all that impressed.

I can’t handle much sweet these days and fast food is either too sweet or too salty for me.  Good grief.  Who is coming up with these recipes?  Where are they getting these taste-deaf focus groups?

Hm.  I can taste … a flavor.  It confuses me.

Well, we can cover that up with more sugar.

It’s like my nephews who will eat any processed, flourescently colored, day-glo, corn or petroleum based pseudo-food, but are grossed out by the taste, smell, and texture of real food.  I bought one of my nephews a lemonade on our road trip a few weeks ago and he looked at it, nose wrinkled, and said dejectedly, “Does it have pulp in it?”

Anyway, lesson reaffirmed:  I need to get back to cooking and preparing meals for breakfast and lunch.  I tried the coconut flour pancake recipe today.  Can’t remember the last time I whisked anything.  Good stuff.

Photography

I’ve been gettin’ into the photography thing.  I used to only take pictures of animals when I was but a we’en.  Now, with a decent camera, I like taking pictures of people.  It can be awkward, though.  But I had an idea recently.  Well, if you want to take pictures of people that you don’t know well, you either have to have an appealing and comforting personality, or have some kind of official creds, or go to a public place/event where one doesn’t expect privacy, or go to some place where people will appreciate photos of themselves.

Like a gym.  I’ve taken a some good sets at Underground Athlete that I’ve shared with the group on Facebook.  I also leave the camera on the table so that anyone else can pick it up and snap pics while I’m doing my exercises.  That’s where the pics of me came from.  These ones.  I still have a ways to go but I’m making progress, peoples.

I really want to show you the rest of the photos that were taken, but … eh.  Hopefully, Justin and the other trainers and gym members can use them somehow.  Website, blogs, whatever.

1.8/50mm.  Need as much light as possible to get action shots in indoor lighting.

Endurance

Circa the Summer of 1994, I interned at Apple Computer in Cupertino, CA.  Silicon Valley.  I chose not to rent a car that Summer so I biked everywhere.   5 miles or so each way to work.  Groceries, errands, exploring.  On the weekends I would ride through San Jose, exploring the trails near Curtner that eventually lead to the Coyote Creek Trail and then I would see how far I could go on that.

I think the longest ride I did was about 40 miles.  I loved it.  To the point where I still dream about it (mixed together in a dreamscape with Fremont Older Space Preserve, the hill up to the graveyard behind Holabird Middle School and Patapsco State Park).  It was a bit boring, though, because each time I explored and went a little further I had to ride the entire trail.  But still.

I was riding about 90 miles a week.  Not too shabby.  Somewhere during the Summer I went on a hike up in Big Basin with some co-workers.  It was a 10 mile hike.  I had gotten a little car sick on the way up (and back), but the thing is, my legs were killing me on that hike.  I was winded on inclines, my feet hurt and so on.

One of my co-workers said, “I thought you said that biking got you into shape this Summer.”

I was thoroughly disappointed and a little embarrassed.  All that riding I had done that Summer was in the valley.  It was all flat.  I guess I had been training my body to ride 90 miles a week of flat, steady riding.

That’s not the same as tackling hills, doing intervals, running, climbing, jumping and so on.

Years later after I moved out there, working for Apple, I decided to try to get into shape.  I mountain biked a lot but … you know.  I decided to go to the track to jog.  I’d jog once around the track and my lower back would tighten up and feel all crampy.  Past the point of discomfort and well into pain.  I mean, even a bike ride twice a week compared to the amount of time sitting at work and home … you know.

Strength training.  Man.  I got on the treadmill the other day with the aim of doing intervals.  It felt good.  First time on the treadmill or jogging at all in 6 months and it felt good.  Train so you can run as opposed to the other way around.  Something like that.

Enduring The Finisher

I didn’t realize when I first started this that strength training was cardio-intensive.  I had no idea.   Not even including the intentional steady state cardio or intervals.  I’d like to get to the point where the Finishers don’t make me feel like I want to die.  But you can always push yourself harder so I guess I just want my muscles to last longer, breathing to be more efficient, heart not have to work as hard, and to recover faster.

I got some pics of Justin during the Saturday morning class and a lot of things made sense.  He does not mess around.  I’d never seen that before.  I’ve never seen anyone push themselves like that.   Those pics of me on the ground, muscles aflame?  Let’s just say that those could be considered payback for the ones I took of him.

I’ve experienced some major muscle burning in recent workouts, but … it’s really about mental endurance.  You know that pain in your muscles — the gnawing, growing, blossoming burning flame — is only temporary and you’ll be stronger for it.  But it’s so immediate.  It’s so Now.  It tries to override your logic and intent to stay calm, breathe, do one more rep or 20 more seconds.

That’s what it’s about.  So much of it is up here.  Now let’s see if I can remember and maintain that attitude during my next workout.

Things to ponder.

Click here to see all of my LGN (I want to Look Good Naked) posts.

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