It's cold(ish) and breezy here today, with an official promise of snow. Something -- perhaps the feel of the air or the slant of the sunlight occasionally peeking through the overcast -- calls up a memory from the distant past. Elementary School spring Track Day.
|Something like this, only colder. And everything was black and white back then.|
I have a memory of one such day when I was probably in fifth grade. It was cold and breezy like today and more than a bit on the miserable side. But it was outside, away from the classroom, and there was less than a month remaining in the school year. So it was great!
As of this morning, here in Kimball County, Nebraska, slam in the middle of the High Plains of North America, we're in a winter weather advisory.
It's cold out right now, only 27 degrees (I guess it was actually 31), and there's a brisk north wind. It's overcast and looks a lot like there'll be snow. The NWS forecast is predicting 6-10 inches.
The dogs don't mind.
The cats don't care.
No matter how much I whine, it is, after all, only April 29. In this part of the world the long-term frost-free date is May 20, and I myself have seen big snow storms as late as June 3. My Grandpa Wilbur told me that he'd seen snow in every month of the year, save July.
If this storm system does what the major media proclaims it will, this will be my last ever blog post, for after tomorrow I will be dead and gone, along with all my fellow High Plainsians. We will have been murdered by the Reagan/Bush/Bush/Trump Global Warming Catastrophe.
If that should be my fate, see ya on the other side!
However, if by chance I don't get kilt by the global warming, I'll probably be back.
Today is April 29, so that's 365 days of dedicated working out. I started on April 30 of last year, and with the exception of a week when I had the death flu in November I've managed to do some level of weight/resistance and/or cardio every day since then. It's been a good year and the results are more than I hoped for. When I began I could walk 3-4 miles but I was pretty sure I'd never be able to run again. To my great pleasure and surprise, along the way I found I could run again.
Since last April 30 I've done 2,547 exercise miles (6.97/day), 16,606 flights of stairs (45/day), and far too many of various lifts and calisthenics to enumerate. If I'd have known all that misery was ahead of me, I'd never have started!
It's kind of funny and ironic. I have a lot of memories of how easy running was when I was a lad. It was work and took a lot of effort, but in some ways it seemed almost effortless. The ironic thing is that I really hated it at the time. It was so boring, and such a waste of my valuable time! I only did it grudgingly, because I had to be fit to be allowed to keep doing the job I wanted to do, so I endured it. I usually tried very hard to get that shit over with as soon as possible in the morning so I could get on with doing valuable stuff, like flying, drinking, and chasing girls.
My morning routine at Oceana was to roll into the clinic at 0530, run a 5.5 mile course, shower and change into uniform, and be ready for morning muster at 0645.
|Roughly, more or less...|
On the boat it was different because air-ops dictated the routine of the entire ship, and there wasn't always a daily opportunity to run. When there was opportunity, I ran on the flight deck or in the hangar bay. When there wasn't, I didn't. I managed to keep fit on the boat though.
|We actually had airplanes back in the day, so the running was a bit more, er, complicated.|
Fast forward 3-4 decades, and after a year of getting fit my daily workout routine is starting to become something a bit more planned and tailored to specific goals and needs. After a year of work, I'm kind of back at a basic level of fitness, and that's good. Strength and endurance are much improved and trending in a good direction. However, my flexibility and mobility are not so good, and have in some ways been reduced by the last year's physical exertion. The running and lifting are great and I'm really enjoying them, but I've overworked/over-strengthened some muscle groups while leaving others to whither on the vine.
I've had some nagging injuries, and my physical therapist has convinced me that the way forward is to do more targeted stretching and begin building strength in the muscle groups that I've been ignoring. That's great and everything, but I find that stretching and fine tuning, well, boring.
I've added a daily dozen mobility stretches, illustrated here.
And to address the neglected muscle groups in my legs, hips, and lower back, I've added a shin box routine. This one hurts a lot. Well, parts of it do. But pain is weakness leaving the body!
Unsurprisingly, to get where I'd like to be, I'm going to have to manage my own worst enemy, which is me!
So far so good though. After a week of stretching and strengthening, I'm feeling remarkably good. It's a slog to get through my new pre-workout routine, and there's a good bit of pain involved as I stretch and push the tight and weak stuff, but there's been a solid payoff. I'm already feeling better, moving more smoothly with less effort, standing and sitting with better posture, etc.
Over the last year I've had a lot of people praise me for my efforts. I've had even more people ask me what I'm trying to accomplish and why.
I like being praised as much as anyone, but in this case it feels kinda squishy. I feel like getting fit is only remarkable because I was so unfit at the beginning, so along with the praise I should be hearing, "Of course, you shoulda never let yourself go like that."
As for what I'm trying to accomplish, I'm simply trying to feel better and place myself in a position where I continue to feel reasonably good for as long as possible as I go forward. There'll come a time when I lay down and die, but I want to do my best to be active and engaged up until the very last possible moment. I don't want to spend months or years in the recliner covered in doughnut crumbs. That's not much of an existence.
Perhaps most importantly though, I look around and see a lot of people who've had the choice of fitness taken away from them by disease or injury. It makes me feel guilty to squander something that they'd give anything to possess. As I work out, I try to carry those folks with me in a way. I doubt that makes any sense, but it's part of my motivation.