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.

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!

Pokemon Go: Day 4

I think it’s day four.

For those of you unaware, wondering about all the weird people glued to their phones outside major landmarks and stores, Pokemon GO released last week. The game is AR, where Pokemon are placed in our own world, and we go catch them.

There are gyms and poke stops at places marked by Google Maps. The gyms have people vie for power to show they are the very best. Some of these gyms are really hardcore, and I feel lacking with my 200 power, compared to the 700 I often see.

I digress.

The last few days I’ve gone on several walks. We walked downtown when visiting my brother, from nine to ten at night. I went for walks with my niece and nephew to catch some Pokemon and collect a poke stop.

The first night, my brother and I walked around three blocks, and I was winded. In this moment I had a realization: The game would make me fit or kill me.

Yesterday I bought a bike so I could go down to the lake which is two and a half miles, in order to catch water Pokemon. Really, the idea is to start this as a Pokemon thing, then make it so I bike pretty much everywhere in the city, even if not Pokemon related.

What I learned is bikes are hard. There’s the balance thing and peddling. This one has gears, so it’s figuring out how much friction and which gear to be in for the best peddling. I found a good middle ground that lets me get going good enough.

In time I was pretty capable on the bike, though it was a little weird. I’m in my 30s, biking around a bunch of high school kids. Really need to knock someone up so I can share this with a kid and not look all sorts of creeper.

However, I was living the dream. Those of you who never touched Pokemon or grew up don’t get it. This dream has been 20 years in the making. I mean, I only hardcore got into it in college, but I still have some of the old school stuff.

On top of that, some people are living this out to extremes.

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There is a gym out in the ocean, in the middle of a bay, because there is a landmark out there. These two women got a kayak and went out there to battle the gym and claim it.

“Well that’s just nuts,” you say. That’s because you don’t get it, you didn’t live the game. I just finished the end of Omega Ruby. You enter a volcano to capture a massive dinosaur. There is a gym where you climb a rock wall to reach the battle. You bike for miles, which now that I’ve tried, I wish I had started this quest as a 12 year old where the bounce back is quicker.

To point, these two women are living out dreams twenty years in the making. They saw a test and challenged it to prove they’re the very best like no one ever was.

Now others did take it from them, but that’s not really the point. Sure it’s cool to have and hold gyms, but there’s something I really loved about Pokemon: it was as much about the journey as about being the best. The destination is impossible. There’s always someone better. It’s all about how you get there, and these two women got there in style.

Anyway, now I have a bike. I’m excited to get on my adventure, even though there’s not a whole lot immediately around me. Looks like it might be a mile or two bike ride just to hit good places, so I’m guessing my chunk is going to burn off pretty quick. Should be good.

Happy hunting to the other trainers out there!

Runner High

So I ran again today. I wasn’t going to because I ate disgusting things for lunch and felt funky. Then I decided I was going to run. And I did.

It’s day two. Just day two. I ran a ridiculous amount. I ran far better than Monday. My lungs burned as they expanded. My legs ached. My knee hurt. My vision tunneled. My gut rebelled. I ran.

I ran past the cute girl with the adorable dog. I ran past the adorable couple with the dog. I was passed by a lot of people. On bikes. Running. Walking because I got something lodged in my shoe.

I returned home, dying. I didn’t sweat because it was too cold. I took off my Last Light shirt, the shirt that made me think, “I’m a Guardian. I’m a Titan,” the entire run. I jumped in the shower. I ate. I ate more than I should have, but at least it was lean, healthy, clean.

As I started to relax, as the shower and the food kicked in, my mind exploded. I did push ups. I bounced up and down. I wrote. I read. I lived. Oh how I lived because of the life giving exhilaration of running.

I bothered the crap out of my friends because I feel like a puppy without training. Aside from using the toilet. I totally do not go on the floor.

Oh how I hurt, how my calves are sore, how my lungs still suffer, how my head swoons, my breaths are ragged, and I am alive. I feel alive.

I miss this. But I also hurt. I hurt so so bad. Which usually makes me sleep so so good.

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!