In search of health

For the last couple of years, on and off, I’ve been looking for ways to lose weight and lower my blood pressure.  The start of that was to start exercising more as I was not exercising for awhile.  Additionally that lead to “I should eat less so I’ll lose weight” (which I think is probably the biggest cause of my problems).  But as much as I tried it didn’t work.  Or it didn’t work that well.

If we fast forward to March of this year I was once again on my quest for health.  I’d been running more than ever but my weight would not budge.  And on a couple of weeks it went up.  How could it be?

So we did ketogenic for awhile.  It helped some weight come off, but my wife didn’t like that style of eating.  I did some more research and headed down the rabbit hole pulling a string here and a string there.  Where we ended up at was intermittent fasting.  Or Eat Stop Eat.

We’ve been doing a fast twice a week.  I’ve hit 24 hours a couple of times, but haven’t been consistent about it.  And you know what? Weight is coming off!!  More than anything I think it’s gotten the insulin back in control which I believe is the key to most things related to weight these days.

I hope to be a bit better about sharing on here but just wanted to start somewhere!

Journey to sub 20 minute 5k: Sharin’ The Green

Today was the first 5K race of the year for me. Over the last couple of months I’ve been pretty consistent in my running. For days a week, sometimes three, a day of speed ( last 6 weeks ) and a long run on the weekend (peak of 7 miles ). I really wasn’t sure what to expect from this race but I had to find out.

The website said it was fairly flat and fast. Flat is up for some discussion but looking at the over all profile it may have been. This was the first chipped race I had been in and the largest as of lately. After a fair amount of warm up and walking it was s tarting time. I did get a starting spot near the front, right behind the ‘fast runners’. Not long after the start I found myself being passed by a lot of people. My pace was not slow but apparently I had started to far forward.. or it was the uphill at the start! I covered the first mile in 8:18. A few turns later and we were at mile 2 where I think my watch said something like 16:45 (8:27). At this point I was passed by a couple of girls who couldn’t have been any older than 12. What slap in the face. The last mile or so was total pain and misery. At one point I considered walking but didn’t. I ended up crossing the line in 26:14 which is 24 seconds slower than my PR. A good effort for the first race of the year but kind of disappointing with all the work that had been put in. But we are going to take it and improve upon it.

Improvement in my opinion is going to come in the form of losing some weight and more running. I think that running will be a variety of types but probably more speed in one form or another. More on both of those to come!

Being sick and running (or not!)

I’ve been on my journey to run 4 days a week longer than I care to admit. However things, the last two weeks, have gotten in the way. The first week it was our youngest son getting up in the middle of the night a couple of times. This last week I came down with some sort of cold and have been out of commission since.

Even though I’m still fighting the cold I am bound and determined to get a run, or perhaps a walk, in tomorrow morning. The shoes are out the clothes are in the bathroom ready to be put on. And I will get 4 days of exercise this week!

For the year of 2016 I have 3 goals that I’d like to accomplish. One of them will be pretty easy to reach and the other two I’m not sure about.

  • Run half marathon (easy)
  • Run 500 miles for the year ( probably easy with consistent training)
  • Run a sub 20 minute 5K ( hard and not sure if I will get it this year )

So that’s what I’m shooting for this year (and of course running 4 days a week..or 5!)

Maffetone running

At this point I don’t consider myself a runner but I am working my way towards there. If I can get to a year of consistent running I’ll then consider myself a runner. Despite that I am considering this time of year my off season. My hope and my goal is to build a bigger base but most of all be consistently running 4 to 5 times a week. For building the base I’m following some heartrate training called Maffetone training. Basically you take your age and subtract that from 180 and this is the heart rate you should train at ( there are a few modifiers here and there that add or subtract from the initial number ).

This morning I went for a run, in the cold, and took my heart rate monitor with me. While it didn’t seem like I was going all that fast my heart rate showed that I was. I was definitely not in my Maf zone (137-142).  So not the best run for the heart rate training but I did get some miles in.

As I was running and seeing my heart rate be out of the zone I wondered if this is the best way for me to train. I plan on following this for another month or two to see how things progress, hopefully, and then deciding if I should change things up. My goals for 2016 are a sub 20 minute 5k and to run a half marathon. The later of those two is easy. The first not so much. I guess the more important goal is consistency!

Happy running.

Interview Part 2 – Fiction

This is a continuing story.  You should The Offer and The Interview Part 1 before reading this!

“Have a seat,” Haldon said.

Haldon’s office was on the 5th floor.  It wasn’t lavish or even that big.  It did however have a great view looking to the mountains to the west.

“I apologize for not giving you more information on what 12 does.  I’m usually talking to people who have heard about us or have worked in an environment like this before.  12 is a intelligence agency.  I suppose that’s the best way to describe it.  But we’re a bit different.  We are a non-profit and we are supported by Christian organizations across the world.”

“That seems a bit odd.  One doesn’t think of a Christian organization supporting what we know of intelligence agencies.  Tell me more.”

“True.  The media doesn’t give intelligence agencies enough credit for what we do.  We, like other agencies, have agents in the field.  We don’t make it a point to kill or harm anyone, but sometimes that can’t avoided.  But lets get to what we need you for here.  We need you to get our network up and running and our computers.  As Shawn may have told you the contractor on the building didn’t finish the job so we’ve just been getting by.  As great as Shawn is he is not a systems administrator.  We need your help.”

“I can probably help you with that however when I’m done with that then what?”

“Well there is of course maintaining.  Shawn can help with that, to some extent, but I need you to do that.  I think you’ll find that there is plenty to do.  From keeping the operatives laptops going to introducing new technology.  Despite being a non-profit organization we have a rather large budget so we’d like to stay up on technology,” Haldon explained.

“Okay.  Can you talk about pay and benefits?”

“Only fair I suppose,” Haldon said.

“Well we have full health insurance for you and your family.  100% paid.  The family also has access to the gym and Rich and his training staff.  Free.  As for pay you name what you want to make.  We believe that if you are making what you want to make that you’ll do better work.  So we cut that out of the way.  The budget you know.”

“WOW…that’s incredible.  Any retirement?”

“Of course.  Are you interested?  You’d have access to everything so some descretion would be needed.  Are you interested?”

“This sounds like an incredible opportuntiy.  I’d have to talk it over with my wife, but I think she’d agree we’d probably take it.  But let me talk to her.”

“I’d expect nothing less.  We encourage our employees to work with their family through everything,” Said Haldon.

 

 

Why ESports could be bigger than the NBA and other sports

I’m usually not one to make big predictions but over the past year I’ve been following some ESports…well just League of Legends (LoL).  There is of course a lot of other games that are in the ESports arena, but LoL is the one I’ve been following.

And the reason why it could be bigger than the NBA and other sports?  Because anyone can compete.  Granted most of the people playing ESports are younger than myself at 37, but those of us who will never compete can feel the thrill of competition. I’m sure those people playing the game professionally need something more than hours in front of a computer (ie: fast twitch), but for the most part we don’t need to be tall, or strong or whatever other thing that you need to be born with.

Those of us who will never compete will watch to see if there’s something going on that we could use in our games.  Is there something new that I don’t know about?  Should I be buying something else instead of what I currently buy?

The one thing that I hope doesn’t happen is that we have professional players that start making the huge amounts of money that the NBA/NFL etc make.  Why?  Because I think the wealth needs to be spread a bit more among other people. I’m all for people making a buck but the amount of money that some of these players make is just a shame.  I’ve wondered what would happen, if for one year, no professional player made over 1 million dollars (what they took home!) and no owner made of 5 million dollars.  The rest of it went to charity or back into their community.  What then?

In the mean time, if you haven’t checked out some ESports I highly recommend taking some time to sit down and watch a game or two.  You can find a bunch over on Twitch.TV!

Have a great weekend.

Interview Part 1 – Fiction

This is a continuation of The Offer – Fiction.  You probably should read that first and then come back here.

“Welcome to 12,” Haldon said the next day.

“Thanks,” I said as I looked at the building.

We were on the east side of town, in what had to be one of the newest buildings in town. The sun was going down and the building had a golden glow to it.

“So after I got home yesterday I realized I hadn’t asked you what you did here.”

“It’s kind of hard to explain.  Let me show you around first and I’ll let that do the talking.  If I’ve done a good enough job it will show you what we do. Fair?”

“Odd, but I suppose,” I replied.

“Alright,” Haldon said and led me inside of the building.

“Faith has been with us since the start and is control of our front desk and a few other things.”

I nodded hello to her.

“Behind here and on each side is our gym.  All employees have access to the gym and personal training by our trainers.  Lets go in and see what’s going on.”

Haldon opened the door into the gym area.  I was expecting a rather small area that had a few pieces of equipment strewn about but this was the exact opposite.  What wasn’t taken up by the entryway and elevators was indeed gym. There was weight racks, a basketball hoop, a rope climb and anything else you’d want in a gym.

“Our head trainer is Rich.  He’s with one of our operatives right now, but I can bring you back down if you like.”

I mumbled a thanks.  My jaw was on the floor at this point.

“The second floor is kind of empty at the moment but it’s where we have the start of our computer operations area. Where you’d be working.  Currently we only have one other person in that department, Shawn.  He’s an amazing kid.  Bit different but he has a gift with programming and he’s been an asset to the company.”

When the elevator opened on the second floor it was mostly dark, but to our right were some lights from machines.  I saw a movement as we got closer and realized it must be Shawn.

“Shawn,” Haldon called out.

“Hey Haldon,” Shawn said and came into the light.

His clothes were a few sizes to big and he had bright blue hair.

“I’d like you to meet Chad.  He’s here for the systems administration job,” Haldon said.

“Good to meet you.  When are you starting?” Shawn asked.

“Ahhh, I’m just here to see the facilities and interview.”

“Oh.  Well welcome aboard,” Shawn said with a smile.

“What do you mean?” I asked.

“No one that I’m aware of has been interviewed and not accepted the job.  You checked out the gym right?  I mean come on.  Only gets better from there.”

“That’s enough Shawn,” Haldon said with a smile. “Would you mind showing Chad around for a couple of minutes.”

“Sure.”

Shawn walked into an area that he been partially built up but was far from being finished.  The area contained a couple of desks.

“Well I’m over there,” Shawn pointed to a desk that was quite the mess.  “You’d be over there.”

“Back here we have the start of our server setup, but we need you to come in and get us rolling.  The people that built this building did us no favors.  Additionally James, the guy here previously, didn’t do anything. So there’s lot of work.”

Haldon had walked back towards the elevators and was talking on the phone.

“So what goes on here?” I asked.

“Knew you’d be asking that, everyone does.  But Haldon will tell you.  It’s awesome man.”

“Thanks for your time Shawn,” I said and walked back to Haldon.

“Lets head up to my office, so we can talk a bit more about the details.  I fear what you’ve seen may be a bit vague.  Right?”

“Yeah I’m still a bit confused.”

 

The Offer – Fiction

“I hear you want a new job,” A voice said.

I put the can of tuna I was looking at back on the shelf and turned around.

And older gentleman of average height, gray hair and glasses was looking at me.  He had a sport coat on, a nice pair of shoes that shined from the overhead lights.  Not who you would expect in Walmart.

“Hi,” I said.

“Hi,” He replied.

“What can I help you with?”

“Oh I just wanted to offer you a job.”

“A job?” I asked.

Were there hidden cameras somewhere? Was I being punked?

I looked behind me and above.  Behind the old man I saw nothing but people bustling about with their carts and chasing kids.

“Who are you?  I don’t even know you and you want to offer me a job?”

“Yes.  We just lost our systems administrator and I heard you were looking for something.”

“Who told you that?”

“Someone we both know.”

This was getting weirder by the second.  Who in their right mind would just offer someone they didn’t know a job.

“So who are you?” I asked again.

“Oh sorry,” He said.  “Name is Haldon.  I run a company called 12.  Out on the east end of town.”

“Good to meet you Haldon,” I replied and shook his hand.

I looked again for cameras.  Nothing.

“Tell me more about your job.”

“Why don’t you come down tomorrow and I can show you. Here’s my business card and the address is right there.”

“After work okay?” I asked.

“Yeah that’s fine.  See you then.”

He turned around and disappeared into the crowd of people.

“Weird,” I muttered to myself and continued shopping.

“Hey honey,” I called out as I walked in the back door.

“Hey how’s it going?” She called out from the kitchen.

“Had the weirdest experience ever at Walmart.”

“Were the weirdo’s out in the day instead of night time?” She asked.

“No.  Someone offered me a job.”

“Really?  That is kind of weird.”

“Yeah and older guy.  Looked like a banker or something. Said they needed a systems administrator for their company.  Place called 12.  Have you heard of it?”

“No. Can’t say that I have.  What did you tell him?”

“Well I told him I’d come out tomorrow, after work, for an interview.  Nothing to lose right?”

“Yeah.  Maybe this is the one?”

This is a story that’s been bouncing around my head for the past few weeks and at time earlier than that.  I think there’s something here and I need to get it out. So here we go!  Probably what I’ll be posting a lot of in the coming days or weeks. 

The evil that is ISIS

Thoughts about ISIS have been bouncing around in the back of my mind for a few months.  Probably since late summer of 2014.  It was once again brought to the forefront with the recent news about the American hostage that was killed this week (or last).

As a Christian I ask myself how God can allow such an evil in this world.  Beheading, burning people alive and other acts we probably can’t imagine.  My first thought is lets nuke them to the ground.  Send everything we have and put them into the ground so we never hear from them again.  But then I have to back track and realize that God has a plan.  It’s not on our timetable but on his time table.  It is hard to see evil in this world, and this being one of the worst that I’ve seen in my life time, but there is.  Despite that God does have a plan and he knows what he’s doing.

Words seem to be coming hard this week, for what reason I’m not sure, but they are.  I hope to have some fiction tomorrow.