Monday, July 25, 2005


I'm tired and frustrated.

I'm tired because I worked out hard yesterday and didn't get enough sleep (only about 6.5 hours).

I'm frustrated because two days ago I bought TWO POUNDS of blueberries, and last night in the middle of the night, probably in an Ambien-induced haze, my little sister ATE THEM ALL. I had eaten exactly two blueberries. Oh, but that's not all: The reason I bought all those blueberries is because the two pounds of blueberries I purchased last week had gone missing. You know why? BECAUSE MY LITTLE SISTER ATE ALL OF THEM TOO! In the middle of the night! GAAAAH!!!!!!!!

One more month until I am back in Washington. Thank God.

Workout log:
* Sunday: 42 minutes on the recumbent bike (8.5 miles, 300 calories, avg. HR 141, max HR 183)

Sunday, July 24, 2005

PowerGel Goo SUCKS

Yeah, there's really little more to say about that. I bought some PowerGel because I thought it looked neat and I had always wanted to try it... and I went to the gym, and sat in the parking lot, and i ripped open the package, ready for some delightful orange energizing goo, but what I GOT was some DISGUSTING orange HORRIFYING goo, reminiscent of something a mother bird might regurgitate for her babies. Soooo gross. Blech. Eww. I drove to the Taco Bell a quarter mile away and ate a rather healthy and definitely tasty soft chicken taco. That was all the energy I needed, for I had a rather productive session on the bike. :-)

In other news, there are still only two diamond triangles, and they appear to be somewhat lighter today. I'm still suspicious though. Aliens like to bide their time.

Exercise Log:
* Wednesday: Back/bis
* Thursday: Excessive drinking at Hockeytown before the Tiger's game
* Friday: 30 minutes on the recumbent bike
* Saturday: Chest/shoulders/tris

Saturday, July 23, 2005

Alien Hickeys or Broken Vertebrae?

I felt nothing, I heard nothing, I sensed nothing. So I was surprised when my sister (having stumbled upon me shirtless in my room), saw my back and gasped. "What's that?" she said with a mixture of shock and curiosity.

"What's what?"

"That purple mark thing!"

I ran to the hall mirror and tried to see what she was talking about. It is, of course, incredibly difficult to see something that is exactly dead center on your back. One's head simply does not swivel in that direction. But after many seconds of contorting, and the help of a hand mirror, I saw it.

Two purple diamonds, directly in the center of my back. One was dark purple, about 2.5 inches wide and 1.5 inches high. The other one was directly below, and looked like an echo, slightly smaller and lighter. What on earth could that be? My sister tried to wipe it off, but it was indelible.

I ran to the computer and took a picture:

I sent it to various friends who were online.

"That's gotta be a bruise," most of them said.
"Can't be, it doesn't hurt," I replied.
"Maybe you laid on something?" a few said.
"Have you been drinking excessively lately?"

Ooh, a direct hit! It just so happens that last night I went out with some buddies and I did indeed drink, possibly even to excess. But still, I remember the evening. At no point did I or anyone else brand myself with a diamond shaped poker!

This left only one possibility: Alien Abduction. Strange marks have appeared on my body before, with me having no idea how or when they got there... but these were the strangest yet. Two diamonds? Directly on my spine? One above the other, the second a visual echo of the first? This was too freaky. This had to be... ALIENS.

[Editor's note: A split-second after I typed that last word, my computer speakers made a very odd low rumbling noise. No audio applications were playing. I am now officially scared.]

I told my friend about the aliens. He agreed there could be no other explanation.

Then another friend with whom I have discussed my fitness endeavors asked me something to the effect of, "Have you been lifting any weights and putting pressure on your back?"

"No, I.... OH!"

It turns out I have. A couple days ago I attempted dumbbell pullovers. And it just so happens that in order to do this exercise, I have to balance my back perpendicularly on the edge of a bench. This could conceivably cause the exact pattern of markings on my back.

"That's it," said my friend. "You did most of the pullovers and then you changed positions slightly and did a few more. That's why it's darker on top and then gets lighter."

This all seemed reasonable enough. Had she left it at that, I would not have been freaking out. But then she admonished me: "Those markings look like vertebrae. Be careful."

Vertebrae, huh? Those spinal column things? Hmm. A quick Google Image Search later, and a superimposition in Photoshop, and I was freaking out:

If that diagram was right, (and I got it from the INTERNET so it HAD to be right!), the marks corresponded PRECISELY with two of my thoracic vertebrae!

I showed her this picture. "Oh my," she said.
"What should I do???"
"Well, does it hurt?"
"Is it sensitive?"
I ran my fingers across it. The skin felt kind of rubbery there -- it definitely didn't feel like the rest of my back -- but it wasn't sensitive.
"Then it's probably just a bruise," she said. "Don't worry about it. But don't do that exercise again."
"But it can't be a bruise," I pressed on. "It doesn't hurt!"
"Then maybe it's almost a bruise. Enough to make a mark, but not enough to hurt."
I was about to dismiss such a notion as nothing more than foolish hobbledygobble, until my mind recalled that hickeys are kind of like that.
"Okay..." I said.

I was placated. But then a new thought entered my mind. One even more terrifying than the possibility of broken vertebrae...

What if the aliens gave me hickeys???

I choose not to think about this anymore. I am going to try to sleep. And yet I fear that when I wake up, I may have three diamonds, or four, or perhaps two really big diamonds that cover the entirety of my back. And when that happens, we will all know what happened. The aliens had a taste of my sweet back. And they couldn't stay away. Not even galactical distances would keep them from a second helping.

God help me!

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

*zoom zoom zoom*

No more turkey bacon guacamoles for me. :-) Maybe a bit too much Thai food, but I refuse to give up my favorite parts of life!

I'm working on the Mountain Dews though. I tried to drink a Diet one today. The first second of the first sip was somewhat tolerable... then it hit me. I was drinking diet. There was no substance. Zero calories. What the hell am I drinking? Air? And what's with that aftertaste? How can there be an aftertaste when it barely has a taste to begin with?

So I plan to stick with regular Mountain Dews for the foreseeable future. Hey, I know I want to get in shape, but let's do this gradually, okay? I'm down to one 20 ounce a day. That's good enough for now.

So, last night I was allll set to do my back/biceps workout, but then Donnie called with a last-minute invitation to poker with him, his family, and some friends, including but not limited to Jeremy! And since Jeremy was about to return home to North Carolina, I felt obliged to skip the workout and come see him before he left.

It was well worth it, as I played well enough to knock Jeremy out of the game. And then I gave him some of my chips so he could play some more. And he went out again. And again. Yes, Jeremy has the questionable honor of being the 1st, 2nd and 3rd person eliminated from our poker tournament. Congratulations are in order, I'd say. :-)

Workout Log
* Monday: None
* Tuesday: 35 minutes on the recumbent bike (300 calories burned, ~8 miles traversed)

Monday, July 18, 2005


I had a quizno's turkey bacon avocado sandwich and Mountain Dew for lunch... and now, an hour later, I am so sluggish. I can barely move my arms. It is like all my energy has been drained out of me.

Imagine a generator humming with power. Now imagine it turning off. Imagine the whining sound of the motor as it cycles down. See the lights flickering, and then going out.

That is me.

I'm sure there's a lesson to learn from all this, but my mind is too sluggish to figure out what it is... think it has something to do with eating... more? less? sugar? blah? can't think.

Workout log:
* Saturday: Rest (the previous day's cardio really wiped me out)
* Sunday: 30 minutes on the recumbent bike (pulse generally ~140; max pulse 183)

Friday, July 15, 2005


Tonight I surprised and impressed even myself. After a day of not-so-hot eating (hey, it's not my fault someone put a big tasty cake in the break room!), I went to the gym and did 45 count'em 45 minutes of cardio! Not only that, but I wore my heart rate monitor and set the recumbent bike so that my pulse would be around 145 the whole time. Not only that, but at one point for about a minute I pushed it up to 183! Of course I didn't hold 183 for a minute, but it was still wild. You should have seen it. One second I was at 153 bpm, and then I increase the resistance a few levels and start pedaling a lot faster... and my pulse rose around 1 beat per second, so within a half minute I was at 183. I kept that for 15 seconds or so, and then decreased the resistance. Within a minute my pulse was back to 150 and dropping.

*Whew!* Wild, man. Wild and absolutely invigorating!

Tired progress

I went to the gym again last night. So far that makes about, oh, 4 times since Sunday? I think that's about right. Last night I worked on chest/shoulders/triceps, and by the time I was done, I lacked the strength to even take off my t-shirt in the locker room. Seriously, my muscles had failed. That's a good thing, but it also leaves me very tired as my body works to repair the muscle and make it bigger and stronger. So I didn't get enough sleep last night, and my plan to do cardio this morning was foiled (again)! I will do it tonight.

I got a pretty good surprise this morning. Pants which one month ago had been unbuttonable were buttonable today! So I think I have probably lost an inch, which is good, and it means what I am doing is working, and all I have to do is keep it up. The only thing I'm frustrated about is that last month I bought $200 worth of pants, and now they might become too loose. Dammit.

Friday, July 08, 2005

Wasted June

At the gym anoche, I asked the front desk person if their computer kept track of how often I'd gone to the gym.

Indeed it did. For this month and last month, anyway. I took a look.

Not Encouraging.

It turns out that in June, I only went to the gym five times. This is bad, for many obvious reasons, the two most important being 1) I cannot get into shape if I do not exercise, and 2) I am wasting money. The gym costs $199 for three months. So July was about $66.33. This means that each trip to the gym -- usually lasting less than an hour -- cost me a bit over $13. Now, I can think of many things I would pay $13/hour for. A good meal. Drinks with friends. Sweating at the gym is not up there.

It's weird though. I know that going to the gym and getting in shape is WORTH far more than $13 per hour. Indeed, if I could get in shape without any exercise -- just pay a lump sum and boom! I'm in shape -- I would probably pay a couple thousand dollars. That's how much it's worth to me on a perceptual basis. Yet once I have already determined that I can get in shape for the low, low price of $199 plus the cost of meals, I don't like learning that I am being jipped. What's worse is that I am the one doing the jipping.

The good news is that so far in July, I have gone to the gym three count'em three times! I told the lady at the front desk that by the time the month was out, I would rack up 20 count'em 20 times. This will require me to get there 5-6 times a week for the next few weeks. This is my plan.

In other news, I was slightly perplexed yesterday in trying to do decline dumbbell presses. Doing them is straightforward enough, but actually getting on the bench and leaning back so that I'm laying with my head at the bottom and my feet up top... that's kind of tricky, what with the heavy weights in my hand and all. Any advice?

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Yesterday I attempted to eat right and exercise -- and I succeeded. Raisins, protein bar, South Beach frozen meal, protein bar... and then after work I made dinner for the family: grilled chicken breast marinated in teriyaki, with noodles, olive oil, garlic and a little curry. It was pretty good, and it was very healthy. Then I went to the gym and lifted weights, and had a grilled chicken sandwich after that. Total protein for the day was probably around 130 grams -- lower than it should be, but much better than it had been.

I don't have cravings when I eat well, and I am generally satisfied... it's just the urge to have bad, really tasty food... is strong. The dark side is strong in me. I must learn to overcome it.

I was going to do cardio in the morning, but I was far too tired, completely turning off my alarm clock in my sleep, and having weird dreams about the fireworks merged with Pistons playoffs. I blame the healthy eating.

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

"When we judge or criticize another person, it says nothing about that person; it merely says something about our own need to be critical."--Anonymous

Various family members have been telling me that I have to lose weight. It is frustrating enough when one of them does it, but in recent days they have all been doing it, jointly and severally. This is very frustrating because A) they are all very fat and have no right to tell me to lose weight when their daily diet consists of pizza and Thai and five coffees and no water and they never exercise at all and probably wouldn't even know what a Swiss ball was if they were laying on one, and B) I know I have to lose weight. I know I am chunkier than I should be. And when I know about a problem and I know that I should fix the problem and I am making vague plans to actually correct it, I rather quickly lose my temper when others make a point of making the same diagnosis and suggestions.

The extremely active fitness blogger Skwigg linked to an interesting article today about workout perserverance. I highly encourage you to read the article. I think Skwigg had a nice summary of it: "NFL quarterbacks don't go sit on the sidelines and cry and eat donuts every time they throw an interception. If you think about it, the best athletes in the world screw up all over the place. They fall down, miss serves, drop the ball, run out of bounds and don't always stick the landing. They're world class athletes not because they never make mistakes but because they succeed in spite of them."

In other words, if you make a mistake, don't throw your hands up and eat an entire pizza. Get up and keep moving.

The article made another interesting point: If you tell people you lost 2 pounds last week, they're not all that impressed. But if you tell them that you lost 100 pounds last year, well then they start pounding down your door to find out how you did it! Slow and steady is never that impressive... until it actually wins the race.