fitness

You are currently browsing articles tagged fitness.

NOTE: This post is from Christmas, the anniversary of the car accident.  The weather is warming up around here, and I look forward to getting back on the bike.

It’s Christmas morning…

Instead of gathering around a sparkling tree and tearing away at presents, I’m on my bike riding the North Central Rail Trail. While I’ll be headed to see family soon, I need this time in the morning for me. The universe was stingy with its gifts this year, so it’s important to observe this one: time on the trail with the bike. A gift from my youth rediscovered, what a lifeline it would become this year.

The trail is cold and–past the first mile of the trailhead–mostly empty. A few hardy types like myself and few locals walking their dogs. The green and gold have given way to gray and brown. It would be easy to call it ugly, but as the trees stand naked, one can seen the hills beyond them. Crags of schist and gneiss stone, breaking through skyward, as the Gunpowder River winds bayward below. The occasional quartzite boulder face stands strong, indifferent to the oncoming winter.

This trail, where a century ago industry lurched from Baltimore to Sunbury and back, has become a refuge. A year ago on this day I was lying in an emergency room, having just survived a head on car collision. And this on the heals (days after) of one of the bigger relationships in my life ending. The breakup at the time had seemed a relief, but I had yet to dive into the well of misgivings lurking behind me… and the mental health problems that would follow the closed head injury would only make all of that worse. I tried to do a lot of forgetting, but what I did instead was a lot of letting go. The accident took me close to the brink, and the major change in life would have me gazing deep over the edge… into life, into myself. It was a journey. I wish I could say it was fun, but the most transformative seldom are.

I’m at the point where I’m mostly recovered and am finally starting to talk about it. “Hey do you remember how I suddenly ran out on your birthday that night? Panic attack.” “Hey do you remember that concert I inexplicably bailed on? Depression’s a bitch.” “Hey do you remember that crazy letter I sent you? I was on the verge of a breakdown. Still not sure who I was even trying to help.”

I’d been talking to some close friends about it the whole while, but not many. I learned a LOT about my support network–a process that involved some painful trial and error at times. I saw a whole bunch of doctors and professionals for therapy both physical and mental. It’s interesting: the one who was with me and remains with me after the whole ordeal? My acupuncturist. Big advocate. If you’re thinking about going, go.

It’s hard to talk about these things, though. It’s hard to write this. But a lot of recovery is talking about things. Hell, a lot of just being better and a little more alive every day is talking about things. And the truth is that I started seeing a therapist and working on improving myself a year or two beforehand. But you learn a lot in the crash and rebuild. If people were like computers, every day crashing and rebuilding, we’d each be amazing in our own lifetimes. As such, we build and rebuild simply what we can.

In either case, it is Christmas morning, and here I ride: on trails resurrected from the bones of industry, bicyclists and dog walkers trekking the hills of the Piedmont Plateau as it leans towards the great Blue Ridge. After each ride, I feel a little more alive than when I started it. I’m glad I started doing this. For me, this motion, this vitality is both the build and the rebuild.

Tags: , , , , , , ,

I ran into a friend at work yesterday, and he asked me how I’d been lately.  It had been awhile, I realized.  We used to see each other often, but I couldn’t actually tell you the last time we had spoken. I like him.  We haven’t known each other long, nor were necessarily besties or anything, but he is one of the few coworkers who I actually feel like I can talk to.

My answer, “Well…”

He’s not on my social media, and as I began to casually comment on bouncing back from things, his eyes began to grow wider.  The last six months were something of a Greek tragedy, a Southern gothic.  I told him about the family stuff (which I won’t mention here), but I had a lot more to say about the car accident and the breakup that happened right before it.  And there was more… so much more.  But why get into the minor stuff.

It was a strange moment for him I think because I was smiling and looking great as I recalled a litany of drama.  I’ve been on the upswing.  I was speaking to my acupuncturist (a treatment I highly recommend if you’ve recently experienced trauma), and I observed to her that my life of late has been in strange sync with the seasons.  Winter was awful.  A winter among winters.  But spring… ah spring.

“Most people wouldn’t think of it that way,” she said. She meant that in a good way.  So far I really like her.

So: spring.

Having weathered a saga of things that I won’t get into much here, I’ve turned with the weather to greener things, newer things.  As rough as the past six months have been, there’s a great relief that comes from passing through hell:  freedom. I find myself very unencumbered as of late.  Perhaps I set the stage for much of this last year when I was busting ass and paying off my student loans, maybe I would have gotten here sooner had not life intervened, but in either case I’ve entered a phase where I’ve put down or been released from a number of burdens. Work, family, debt, relationships. Unencumbered.

I’ve been doing things on my own lately.  Going to shows.  Exploring new places.  Pushing hobbies to new places.

This weekend I dropped by a Maryland trail that I can’t wait to get back to: The North Central Rail Trail.  It runs from Hunt Valley up to PA, close to York they tell me.  It used to be a railroad but became one of the many Rails-to-Trails projects that have swept across the country (an awesome parks project that everyone should support!).

On a chilly Sunday in March, the winter still holding spring back for one more week, it is a very peaceful place. The last of the season’s white was trickling through the trees, while the first of the season’s green was pushing up along the path.  Once past the first mile marker, I had the place to myself.

2016-03-23 12.23.15

I plan on buying a new bike soon, and this is the first place I intend to ride it.  The crushed gravel is easy, and there is plenty of shade.  It’s one of those strange places where one can feel very removed from society and yet in fact be still quite close to it.  The peace of a country garden without losing any cell signal.

2016-03-23 12.23.56

I’ve taken up trail running.  That’s what I was up to this weekend.  I do a few 10k’s every year, but I want to add some trail runs in this year.  They just sound fun.  I might have to join a runner’s group or something, as I can’t seem to generate any interest in it among my friends who run.

Or I could just keep going it alone.

2016-03-23 12.24.30

More to come.  Tonight I start another new thing: Pilates.  Since my car accident, I’ve become committed to developing more and better-balanced core strength (I might even start observing leg day at the gym!). I’m looking forward to tonight. It will be fun.

 

 

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

So I have a new hobby. It’s called annoying the living hell out of everyone by going on nonstop, seemingly uncontrollably, certainly–to say the least–with an egregiously unchecked sense of enthusiasm, about my shiny new juicer. Yes I am that guy: the dude who bought a juicer and won’t shut up about it.

It’s only been a week, and it’s been amazing. I’m still in the early stages, experimenting with recipes, but I’m in love with this new appliance. Just the hum of it as the engine spools up, it sounds like a mini aircraft engine. It hums. And then with frightening ease and efficiency the little bad boy shreds up anything I can put into it. Carrot-apple-ginger, my morning green juice, my homemade V8 (still a work in progress…) Juice man, it’s the best!

I’d already been incorporating V8 into my diet as a snack anyway, but this has felt like a gateway being thrust open. Just a whole world out there of juices to make. And all of them (well most of them), delicious, fresh, healthy snacks. This all ties into my healthier diet of late, which I’m not even sure if I’ve journaled about here.

It’s funny, for a guy whose pride and joy was once his secret chili recipes, I’m subsisting these days mostly on things like chick peas, juice, granola, greek yogurt. And cheese. Of course, delicious life-giving cheese. It has been good, and I have been feeling great (and not to mention looking better…).

But the juicer has kicked it up a notch. I feel as if a new plateau has been reached. In fact, our house has quickly become such a juicing hotbed that my roommate showed up the other day with a Fronana. This is a type of juicer that makes deserts with yogurt and frozen bananas. I promptly dubbed it the Bronana maker and declared it as a victory for our house.

So perhaps in the coming days I’ll post some juice recipes. At the least it would be nice to figure out my own homemade V8. My first attempt did *not* go as planned… but some experimentation is to be expected, even desired.

Anyway, spring is starting and here are the things I am currently looking forward to most:

Sunshine
Kayaking
Floor hockey
Bocce
Game of Thrones Season 3
NOLA
Swimming
BBQs
Gardening
Fitting into all of my old t-shirts again (woohoo!)

Tags: , , , ,

Do you know what I don’t understand? Why don’t painters have bodies like athletes?

I got back to painting this weekend, and all I’ve got to say is holy shit, man, what a workout. Through the move and all the painting and everything, I’ve actually gotten toned up a bit. This is great, since I haven’t had time for the gym. Today I actually threw on a polo shirt that the last time I tried to wear it was a little tight in the middle. Not today. Pushing that roller up and down for hours at a time. It’s an upper body workout that’s hard to get on any fitness machine. My chest and arms feel great for days after painting a room.

But what about people who paint houses for a living? You’d think that such people would have the bodies of swimmers or something. Hours and hours spent breaking in that body. You’d think that desperate housewives would have painters on call instead of pool boys.

In either case, the progress on the house continues. I’m hoping that after this week I can ease off and take it easy, most of my immediate projects being completed. I think the next big thing will be painting and re-hardware-ing the bathrooms. That and upgrading some security items.

I think there still might be some summer left for me to enjoy once this is wrapped up. Which is good because I’ve been out of touch with like everybody lately. And let’s not even talk about the last time I did something as leisurely as read a novel.  Buying and working on a house mostly by yourself is some pretty time consuming shit–especially if you’re as dogged as I am about making it not just livable but enjoyable.  But then again, I have more than occasionally been accused of having a one track mind.

Tags: , , ,

Everything seems to be happening at a slower pace than I would like right now.  In too many aspects of my life.

The main frustration today is my training room.  We keep encountering these hold-ups, and right now I just want to get everyone through this and to the holiday weekend.  Grr.  I don’t think anyone realizes that I’m actually really irritated.  I’ve this tendency towards the copasetic that I’ve long considered to be one of my flaws.

Two more days.  I just want to get these folks through this week.

I weighed myself the other day and clocked in at 200 pounds.  Jesus Christ man!  It’s remarkable because I have gained ten pounds, and my waist size hasn’t changed in any noticeable way.  It’s all muscle.  Or maybe it’s 8-to-2 or something, but whatever.

I feel like I’m evolving into a beefy sort of guy, and this creates mental dissonance for me.  I’ll always think of myself of this skinny, non-athletic type.  But lately my exercise has been coming together.  I think I’ve just been following a more rounded routine when it comes to lifting and cardio.

Anyway, it’s all transitional right now.  Stepping on the scale and seeing 200 makes me freak out a little, because I don’t want to turn into a big giant fatty.  So I’m gonna need to watch with it my diet over the holidays here, as I continue to trim a little padding off.

But it’s weird.  I think I’m just gonna weigh more with a full rack of muscle on my frame than I thought.  My weight is likely to stay in the 190s, when previously I thought it would be more like the 180s.

It’s strange to muse over how in my 20s I was always struggling to be perfectly fit and never quite getting there, and now all of the sudden I’m finding it easy.  Then again I’m not out drinking five nights a week and eating cheese fries at the diner all the time like I used to, so perhaps it all makes sense.

Anyway.  Sort of a quotidian sort of journal today.  I had this post I was going to write up about Ingourious Bastards and Godwin’s Law, but I didn’t get to it.  Maybe later.

Tags: , ,