The Magic of Repetition

I’ve been waking up every morning for two weeks at 6:15. There was only one snafu, and that was on me. I mean, the weekends are also sacred, so those are days off, just because I have time to do my routine later in the day. Back on track.

So I wake up at 6:15. In two weeks I want this to be 5:30. Bracing myself.

When I wake up, I go downstairs, start the coffee, and do stretches. Salutation to the sun. Though I just looked up videos, and apparently Wii Fit did a super modified version of the stretch. I will have to modify going forward.

Either way, at a point you reach for your toes. When I first started, as I breathed out, I could get maybe halfway down my shins. This is what I’d expect.

Today as I went into my third rotation, I touched the floor. I gained an extra eight inches of flexibility after two weeks of doing this. Imagine what will happen now that I’m doing it right! I feel like a putz.

After that I go and write for an hour, give or take. Really it’s 45 minutes. Once I wake up at 5:30 it will be an hour. That or I’ll workout in the morning, then write in the evening. Though then the writing usually gets eaten up by Paragon and I feel horrible.

Anyway! Get into a habit. It’s amazing what very little time in that habit can look like. Sometimes it looks like eight inches. Innuendo intended.

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Congestive Heart Failure

Click bait! Kind of. I wish it was more click bait than it is.

Since Sunday I’ve been having heart palpitations. It’s that thing where you have a flutter in your chest, but it’s not because of some gorgeous woman you’re in love with. Monday I felt exhausted after the palpitations. I was eating a lot of potassium, I was going to start working out in preparation for Tough Mudder, and I was drinking water like Europeans drink alcohol. Or Wisconsinites drink beer.

Then yesterday hit. They were ever fifteen minutes, I felt drained, I had a cough, I looked up the symptoms. Congestive heart failure. First, apparently crack and meth can lead to this, and medical experts suggest stopping to help lessen the damage of congestive heart failure. Or, you know, everything that will kill you within five to ten years after taking it.

Second, the name is a bit of a misnomer. Congestive heart failure to me sounds like something that means I’m humped. I should write some letters to loved ones because I’m dying. Not so much. Basically watch sodium and water intake. Take medication. Boom. It can last a couple years or the rest of my life, but it’s strangely treatable for how terrifying the name was. Either way, you don’t get treated if you don’t get it checked out.

I was doing the Guatemala meeting. I had set the date, thought I should see it through. We had our meeting, I cut it short, and on my way home I called mom. “Mom, I’m coming home. When I get there I’m changing. If you could take me to urgent care, I’d appreciate it.” It was later in the night, so I assumed she had on pajamas. I was changing because I was still in work clothes, and I was not going to be uncomfortable while dying.

I am very charming when I think I’m dying. I made a lot of beautiful medical workers laugh last night. No numbers. Married or dating.

I also found out the waiting line gets really short when you have heart palpitations. It was maybe ten minutes before I was strapped into a chair giving vitals with base reading materials.

Just like a car taken to a mechanic with a funny sound, my heart regulated. I was fine. Just fifteen minutes ago, while in the car, I was having them every few minutes, and they were gone. The cough was still there.

Soon I went from a small room with a technician to a larger room with three nurses and a PA. Two nurses? I can’t quite remember. There were a lot of people, I was bleeding into little containers, jokes were cracked, and I had sticky things applied to my chest. I was being monitored by a thing and I was told I’m likely having PVCs. Basically heart palpitations, but a specific type.

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Does this count as being tapped? Like, if I was a nurse, I’d say, “I tapped that.”

They also asked about the symptoms I wasn’t showing which related to congestive heart failure. Web MD can’t be wrong all the time.

I had an X-ray at a point, finally caught a heart palpitation, which they said was definitely a PVC, I enjoyed messing with my monitor so it would shake all over and show my oxygen count as low (this freaked out my mom the first time, then I started laughing and she saw I was tapping my finger), and my heartbeat went down to 49. I was informed I have a slow heartbeat, which happens in men sometimes. How is it only 49?!

Anyway, mom enjoyed her revenge for me freaking her out. She got to rip off the sticky pads on my chest. They hurt. I had more applied for a heart monitor, and there was a threat they’d have to take them off and reapply them. I made darn sure they exhausted every possible avenue before we hit that point. Eventually the heart monitor worked.

I can shower in about 40 more hours. I feel disgusting. I can’t wait for this heart monitor to be off.

In other news! I signed up for Tough Mudder. Because who wouldn’t? Heart palpitations? Just an excuse to skip anything which can electrocute me.

I hope you’re in good health! And I’m hoping I’m in good health. Live on.

Whole30 Take 2

It all started about three weeks ago. A friend asked if I was interested in doing Tough Mudder in Chicago next year. It’s in August. Truthfully it’s in Rockford, but it just has to be within two hours. The Milwaukee one when I went was in Oshkosh. I agreed because I’m fat and I want to not be fat.

Then my sister-in-law asked me if I wanted to do Whole30, because she was going to do Whole30. I’ve done it before. I visited her a couple times while in the midst of it and she made delicious dishes based on it. It was amazing. So I agreed.

On top of that, this weekend I moved in with my parents. I still have my apartment, but the mold is to the point I cannot stand it. So I will be figuring out how to get out of my rent. Why is this important? The exquisite gym I’m a member at is 10 minutes down the road.

I have the end goal of Tough Mudder, the dietary aide of Whole30, and the workout equipment to get ripped. I am excited for this. However today is day one of Whole30.

What does that mean? That means I’m going to be ornery in a couple days. That will continue for about two weeks. I will want to devour all things that are in front of me. And after two weeks? I will be quite excited and happy. I will have energy. I will be working out.

I’m glad that I’m getting a routine going. I’m glad I’m taking better care of my body and making positive routines. It’ll be good.

I hope you’re achieving your goals and your health is good!

Swimming in Molasses

I didn’t want to go to the gym. I didn’t want to workout. I just finished with the Guatemala group, and I thought, I could go home, cook dinner, watch an episode of Leverage, and write and read. But I’m fat and I don’t want to take health meds, so I went to the gym.

There was only one guy in the pool. There were eight women in the pool. Old women, probably in their upper forties to mid fifties. They were doing aquatic aerobics. It looked like tae bo, but you could only tell from the instructor. Everyone else you just saw their heads bobbing up and down.

I jump in, sort of excited because the music was good and I still got my own lane. There were only two open, but hey, there were only two of us. The rest likely read that there was an aquatics class at the time. Wiser men than I.

I figure 750m, because I’m trying to get my rhythm back. I’ve been in the water since Monday, so it was the fourth day after a week away due to the pool being closed.

The breast stroke is my go to. I went in, stretched, admired the vigor of a bunch of old ladies doing something underwater to loud music, and took off. Slowly. Each attempt to kick, every time I extended out and pulled my arms back to propel myself, I felt like I was going nowhere. The tiles below didn’t move. When I could usually glide through the water, now I struggled as if sloshing through mud. As if swimming through molasses.

I was startled. Was I dying in this moment, were my muscles more tired than they were willing to gripe? Was my head just not in it?

I felt myself shift left to right, a current pulling at me. The women. With their vigor, it created a wave pool that was fighting against my every motion. I did freestyle for a while, and every time I came up for breath was a struggle, as small waves were created and I couldn’t just pop up seamlessly.

While there were two of us in the lanes, another guy hopped in mine when I reverted back to breast stroke. I never understand this. I never understand why people seem to like joining my lane. But there he was. The last two times were gorgeous women. This was a little chunkier of a guy, without all the right equipment. Who goes swimming seriously without goggles? Anyway, can’t win them all.

As I continued to struggle, he left from the exertion, and I reached 650m. That was it. The final 100m would only come if I was willing to risk drowning. While I wished to clear my mind, while I strove to remain in the water as long as possible to drown out all the thoughts bubbling inside me, it wasn’t going to happen. I would have to find a new outlet.

I resigned to the waves, to the motion in our concrete ocean, and exited the pool, sore, exhausted, and gasping for air.

What do you do to clear your mind? What helps you focus? What workout stories do you have?

 

Pool Debacle

I went to the pool early today. I had gotten in most of my sales calls, I could take a lunch break, I figured I’d get the pool to myself in the early afternoon and spend the rest of the day doing emails and phone calls. Even when I drove by the club there were maybe thirty cars. And let’s be honest, ten of those were staff.

Know the secret to afternoon at the gym? It’s empty. Except the pool. There are four lanes and everyone thought, “Let’s hit up the pool.” When I arrived, I did laps in the current pool until a lane opened up. Some guy with a bunch of tattoos and no goggles. That’s how you know he’s a bad ass. He just opens his eyes as he glides through the water. Muscle upon muscle. Square jaw. I’m totally not jealous, nor did I glare at him as he walked to the hot tub, all nonchalant. Because you can’t. You have to sprint to the lane or you’ll lose it to some guy who just walked in. But mentally I totally did.

So I have my lane. But apparently in pool culture it’s cool to share. However, I do not share my workout space well. At all. Which is why I waited fifteen minutes for a lane that I would use for thirty minutes. Tops. Because I already worked out lightly for fifteen minutes.

Now, reasons I don’t share:

First, I do breast stroke, and I have a pretty good wingspan. Why don’t I do free style? Because I lack restraint. In two laps I’m puffing and huffing and those pigs are safe in the straw house because I can barely get enough air in my lungs to make a twig jiggle, let along fall over. This is why when running I use a treadmill. I can cap myself at five or six miles per hour. Otherwise I would just run as fast as I could for five minutes before someone found me dead on the side of the nature trail. Or at the very least they’d be wondering where my inhaler was and if I was asthmatic. I’m not. I just don’t comprehend my body has limits, and the longer I go without maintaining a good workout, the lower those limits get.

Second, I do not like sharing my workout space. When I workout, it is me, my demons, my desires, my goals, and my thoughts. That is it. I do not want someone else swimming next to me, brushing up against me, apologizing that we got a little too close. Even if she was attractive. Just, no.

So I no more than hop into my lane when a big guy comes up and asks if we can share. There was a lady two lanes over hugging the wall doing stuff. To the wall. Share her lane. I sighed, “Man, I do breast stroke,” ever say that out loud to someone? It sounds ridiculous. Because it was. “I use up the width.”

With a sigh, a huff, and a “Whatever,” he went to the next one over where the lady said, “I’m just doing one more lap and then I’m out anyway.” And then he did stretches. Really weird, I feel uncomfortable seeing you underwater, stretches.

I felt embarrassed, like I wasn’t fulfilling my contractual agreement with myself to love all people, including sharing my lane. Even if it feels creepy that two chubs are in the same lame when there was a 60 year old molesting the wall in lane one. So obviously I couldn’t do the leisurely breast stroke I so often do. I was swimming faster than anyone doing free style. That should not happen. But one was old and the other guy, chubs.

After going about 150m, a woman came up to my lane because I stopped to do some stretching. I never comprehend this. In most cases, people give me a wide berth. People are a little creeped out by me. But it never ever applies to certain things, like reading books in hotel lobbies or swimming laps. When I am doing something that is expressly “Do not talk to me, I’m busy,” people always feel a need to approach me.

Anyway, she was very attractive, but still. I just want my damned lane. My own lane. Meanwhile the old woman was still feeling up the wall. For the past thirty minutes. Maybe that’s the key. If I’d just hump the wall every time I reached an end, no one would ask, “Hey, can I use this lane?” But since I’m not old, I’d likely get escorted out.

“I’m done anyway,” I said, hopping out of the pool, unable to endure the shame of saying yes to her after telling the man no, and knowing that I had to show some sort of appreciation for mankind, to show that I’m not actually the selfish bastard I revealed myself to be. So I jumped out, which was good, because I forgot my boundaries. There were little speckles of black in my sight as I walked to shower off, and when I sat in my car, I could feel cramps all the way from my calves to my gluts. Or butt. Heh. Gluts are totally your butt. I’m like six. Leave me alone.

My arms hurt, my back tingles, my legs still ache. I’m still breathing hard and it’s been like three or four hours. I also learned a lesson. Wake up at 5:30am, or kiss your chance of a guaranteed lane goodbye. Unless I like sharing. And I do not.

Note: I totally wrote this yesterday, then closed my laptop to hunt down monsters. When I looked at what I had running this morning, this was up. So when I say “Today,” I mean “Yesterday.”

Being A Titan

I caved the other day. After being disappointed I couldn’t buy an FWC shirt from Destiny, I purchased the Last Light Installation shirt and a Titan water bottle. What’s a Titan? It’s a force of nature which wrecks bad guys. That’s what. In Destiny, I play as a Titan and it is by far my favorite class. You are the hammer and shield, with which all things are forged and impurities are purified.

We have kick boxing classes at my gym, so I will be getting into those to break up the monotony of swimming, though I still do enjoy swimming. Just as soon as I get over this devestating cold. It’s a little something to make the work out routine less of a routine and more entertaining. Without entertainment, I’m sunk. Punching a bag is very entertaining.

I can also purchase one for around $100, so that might end up in my living room. My Titan training has begun!

The arms are really turning out nicely, though the gut has definitely suffered over the past two months. I’ve been eating horribly, and that will change now that I’ll be eating at home. It’s hard to eat well when you’re at your own apartment for three meals in seven weeks.

I hope all your goals are coming along nicely. Life has been great, and hopefully it will continue to be incredible. Aside from having more snot than I thought physically possible and a really sore throat. And bloody nose. Oh did it bleed yesterday. It was all “Faucet on!”

Keep up the good work!

Our society is poisoning itself

I’ve been trying to eat healthy. Get in the right amount of carbs, vegetables, proteins, and so on. I eyeball it, don’t get me wrong, but I know processed is bad, fresh is good, so this has been my guiding star. I’m going away from gluten and coffee because they both make me want to throw up. Maybe I’m pregnant and suffering morning sickness, which would be great in a way because I’m sure I could make millions off the medical journals wondering how I got pregnant without sex and as a man. Virgin Mary has nothing on me.

Back on task, I finally reached a point in my eating habits that I didn’t feel like throwing up yesterday. I was giddy. This morning we had a meeting at A&W. They make root beer and tasty hot dogs. So I was informed I’ll be leading a group to Guatemala in July or October, which I’m immensely excited about. I have dreamed about this, and I know a few people I’m going to try to recruit into it. But this is beside the point.

So I order an omelet with mushrooms. Ever taste something and you know things are about to go poorly? The mushrooms were off, the omelet was not an omelet but more like an egg crepe, and I knew it wasn’t settling. I have this happen every time I eat McDonalds, but I still do it.

Here I sit, at my desk, early for work, trying to hold my gut in check. I can feel my chin swelling so I will have three shortly. Fortunately eating wise for about 48 hours is all that’s required to get rid of one and a half of them. Eating wise for a month or two while working out hammers that final half chin.

While I sat at this table, talking about the possibility of leading a group into the middle of no where in a third world country I adore and love, I was fighting an internal battle. My stomach was screaming, “Let me purge! Release the demons within!” Does this any time I eat at a fast food restaurant. My intestines were saying, “There’s no usable nutrition in this, pass it quick, before it kills us!”

I feel we are all at this point where our bodies have simply accepted this is the way it is. It has accepted our heavily processed crap that we keep pumping into our stomachs. We can’t tell we’re sick, because as a society we haven’t been healthy. As early as two kids are munching on fries and potato chips. We don’t teach kids how to cook, and because of TV everyone has this perception it takes an hour to make anything. I cook my meal within twenty minutes, and I put in about two minutes of work. The rest of the twenty minutes I’m watching anime, waiting for the rice to finish cooking or the chicken to be less full of E. Coli than it was when I put it in the oven.

I want to challenge you to cook for yourself. It’s really easy. Go shopping. Find a carb (long grain brown rice and egg noodles are my preferred), vegetables (I always do spinach, then whatever hits my fancy at the store), and a protein (chicken is my go to, but I’ve heard I need more beef in me). I cook enough carbs and protein for a week, sometimes two weeks on protein and I freeze half of it. Vegetables will not likely remain good for that long. I end up shopping every half week for vegetables. Sometimes I’ll pick up a new carb or protein to cook up in order to add more variety than what spice I put in.

While it’s cooking, especially the chicken which takes 45 minutes, I either clean, wash dishes, watch anime, or get a few quick video game rounds in. I honestly spend maybe five minutes on the entire actually working on the food. Have some containers on hand, and throw leftovers in them later that night.

I have a basil vinaigrette, marinara, and numerous spices (of which I use maybe four). I add them as I see fit. Sometimes I don’t add them. It’s amazing what your taste buds will pick up in a week.

To those who are still eating the disgusting food so readily and cheaply provided to us, it’s not that hard to cook your own, you’ll feel better, you’ll realize how sick you were. It’s not easy. The temptation to back slide is always there. “But I don’t want to cook tonight, and I’ll drive right past McDonalds.” Believe me, I’ve been there.

Good luck to healthy habits, to fighting temptation, and to those who are already eating healthy, good on you. Keep it up. Some day I hope to have your level of discipline.