Tuesday, April 22, 2014

The making of an action hero pt43

Several months ago I had issues with foot and joint pain. That resulted in a month and a half of down time. I can’t say I was happy with that development. Complicating things, my talking scale gave up the ghost. It declined to take weights or gave measures varying by as much as ten pounds. Switching the batteries didn’t help. So it’s toast.

There was a period there where I just didn’t want to get back to exercising. I like exercising. It feels great afterward. The catch of course is that one has to find the time and motivation to start the process. I didn’t want to go back to having a sprung back, foot, and elbow; so I waited longer than I had to in order to make sure I was back on my game—that and the lazy is strong when it takes hold. Now I’m back on the wagon with some small changes. For one, I’m taking it much easier during stretches. I’m pretty sure that some of the joint problems I was having were due to attempting to push joints, especially hips and knees, farther than they were designed to go. So I’ve “adjusted” my expectations. Second, I’m exercising every third instead of every other day. My rule is it’s ok to be sore—it is not ok to have significant joint pain since the last session. Throw a couple four year olds around for 6 hours, climb up and down stairs for a day, and stay on your feet for 8+ hours— these things are going to hurt until the weight comes off. So I’m finding a better balance of frequency and intensity that will let me enjoy life while getting fit. If things even up in a few weeks I’m going to move on to the next section on the video past the lunges—which did more damage than good. Seriously, I have no idea how I ever did lunges—stupid knees.

I am feeling better now. It only took a few sessions to make me feel stronger. Which is probably why when my department decided to pimp a “get active” program I signed up. You record the number of steps taken each day, your daily weight, and the number of minutes exercised. The objective is to get to a set goal in each category—thereby advancing your team’s standings. Since I don’t want to let my coworkers down, it’s a nice motivator.

I’m going to hold off checking the weight. Obviously, I don’t have a scale. Every once in a while I need to change things up. I’m going to use this get active initiative to focus on exercising. I need to build up strength. I need to reintegrate exercise into my life. I’m looking forward to using the pedometer. If the one they give me isn’t accessible, I’m going to get a fit bit or some such item. Living more actively would be nice. Being able to actually evaluate how active a week has been would be better. Oh, and with summer coming on, this is the time to get it done.

You may have heard of the game “are you smarter than a 4 year old?” Saturday MX, Squish, and I played a slightly different version called “are you faster than a 4 year old.” It worked like this. We took MX and his new bumblebee transformer bike, complete with training wheels, out to the old NCR trail. I started power walking while Squish got MX settled. MX would then take off like a shot and pass me. When he thought he was far enough ahead, he would look back and taunt me. I would sprint after him, catch up, and the process would start over again. I was impressed that I could catch him in the first place. I was more impressed that he made it 6 miles on his bike without help. It was a good follow-up to my club workout that morning. The weather was clear and crisp—no bugs, dust, muck, just a perfect Saturday afternoon.

Sunday we hosted Easter for MX, Squish, and my family. I tried a few new recipes including scorpion bourbon scalloped potatoes, baked ham with sriracha brown sugar Dijon glaze, and Kielbasa sausage. Things I learned:

1. Precooked ham needs to be cooked at 325 not 350. Looking back, I didn’t distinguish between the bone in and precooked ham recipes—resulting in a wonderfully flavored but slightly over cooked dish.

2. Always be careful to validate the recipe you are using. Different components cook at different speeds so you can’t always substitute on a one-for-one basis and use the same cooking times and temperatures. I almost didn’t follow the direction for the potatoes and would have severely undercooked the dish.

3. Most of my family love spicy food. The rest will tolerate it if the flavor is good enough.

4. Recipe portions lie. They lie about how many people they will serv. They lie about how much material is required to fill a slow cooker. I now have way more potatoes than I know what to do with.

5. Cheese graters are amazing. I don’t know why it took me this long to figure it out, but the ability to add smoked Gouda to any dish is a terribly wonderful discovery.

6. Cooking things in bags has potential. This bares further investigation.

Unfortunately, I was rather ill throughout most of the event. This was particularly sad since I have been collecting laser tag guns for months in anticipation of my tiny relatives showing up. You know you’re doing something right when the first thing the three year old does when he comes through the door is to run up and whisper in your ear “can we play with the nurf guns?” It about broke my heart not being able to play with them. They will be coming back for mothers’ day, so we’ll see if the second time is the charm.

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