Looking back at 40

Earlier this week I left 40 and moved into 41.  As I do when I’m a bit bored or when I left my mind wander I started to reflect back on the last year.  The highs and the lows.  I will say that sometimes when I reflect back on past times I don’t always like what I remember but it’s probably important to remember that.  Here are some reflections on the past year and some goals I hope to accomplish during this 41st year.

  • Reflections
  • Figured out that usually when I’m down it’s because I’m having a pity party for myself. I don’t know if this is the case with everyone but it’s something I’ve discovered.  They happen from time to time, but at least now I know how to get myself out of them!
  • Enjoying hiking with the family.  Wishing we could do more of it and were not limited by the season we have here in Wyoming.
  • Watching my boys grow up.  I can’t believe that I have a 7 year old and a 4 year old.  The 7 year old is getting to the stage where I can joke with him and he knows it.  And the 4 year old is just a ham but very challenging at times!
  • Even after 18 years of marriage the relationship with my wife continues to grow and we enjoy each others company.
  • I didn’t get the time to head back home to visit family in this last year and that’s something I hope to change in this next year.

Goals

  • Finally get that weight off that I’ve wanted to for the last few years! I feel like I’ve made some progress in what works and what doesn’t and I hope I’m able to get this done.
  • This one’s a bit more obscure, but I’d like to find something that really challenges me.  I’m not sure what that means, my first thought was of a longer trail race (13.1), but this also might be more related to life in general.  As I write this down I’m not really sure about this on.  This one I’m not sure that I have that much control over it!
  • Write and read more. I feel like I’ve done a bunch of this in the last year, but I still would like to do more.  This means getting off of the computer and doing it!
  • Run a website.  I’m not sure why I keep having this ‘need’ but it’s one that I haven’t been able to get out of my system so I’m going to try and do that.  Not sure what it will be about but it will give me a bit of time to tinker with something which will keep my brain engaged!
  • Visit someplace new with the family. This will probably just be a short trip to Colorado or perhaps up to South Dakota…or maybe even just in Wyoming. But I think it’s important to go and visit some place new to take yourself out of your element and just enjoy it.

I could probably ramble on with a bit more but this is where I’m at for now.  Hopefully I’ll remember next year to check in and see where I’m at!

Random Banter – September 2nd 2018!

This week was one I’d not like to repeat.  Just felt blah.  Going to work on Monday I felt like it should be Friday already and the rest of the week didn’t get any better.  It was just a trudge thru the whole week.  I’ve been trying to figure out why this is, but so far I’ve not come to any conclusions.  Only ran once during the week, but will probably hop back on that tomorrow since I have the day off.  It’s dark when I go running now and I’ve found that I don’t really care for running in the dark so it might be more time inside working on fitness (kettlebells and some time on the treadmill).  I feel the fire of ‘training’ for the trail race being put out so I need to get that fire back or at least find some enjoyment in the training.  Eating has been going well but I have my days where I’m a sugar monster and fall off of the track, but overall I think I’m doing pretty good.

My wife and I have been looking forward to watching this new Jack Ryan series since we knew it was coming out. The first two episodes did not disappoint.  Hopefully the rest of the series goes as well.

At the same time we’ve been working our way thru the first season of Homeland.  It’s less action, so far, than Jack Ryan, but is also keeping our attention.  I can feel my need for ‘kill the bad guys’ getting full and will probably slow down on watching one of these two series at some point.  But good show.

This blog, All The Little Peaces, popped up in my Twitter feed a few weeks ago and I read thru the first couple of posts and subscribed to it.  It’s not for the faint of heart.  What I thought was going to be about a wife coping with her husband suicide turned into so much more.  It’s a sad story, but also one that I am curious to see how it turns out.

Have a great rest of the weekend and a good week.

2018 Antelope Dash Trail Race Recap

I knew going into this race it was going to suck. I just wasn’t sure how much it was going to suck.

I arrived at a little after 7:30 and picked up my race packet. In all honesty I did the race for the T-shirt. The shirts are awesome and have a great design on them. There was no line and I was able to get the packet and head back to my vehicle to put my race number on.

After putting my number on I did a very slight warmup run/jog/shuffle down to a bathroom. Going thru the crowd it looked a little smaller than the last couple of years but I’m not sure.

Not to long after getting back to the start area the 8 mile race went off at 8am. It was rather interesting to see the way the race started and then have them come back thru the 4 mile racers and see what position they were in.

The 4 mile race would start about 15 minutes after the 8 mile race. I took my place near the back of the pack and intended on staying there. My motto was turtle steady for the whole race.

For about the first mile of the race it’s uphill. I knew this and was intending on walking a good part of it. But I found myself shuffling along for the first half mile and feeling okay. Eventually I did stop to walk and catch my breath, but also because there were other people in front of me that I couldn’t easily pass. Eventually things got strung out and I was able to start jogging again. I told myself that if I felt like walking I should stop and do that. For the first couple of miles I felt like running so that’s what I did for the most part. There were some uphills that I did walk but overall I was surprised that I was able to run as much as I did.

At the three mile marker things changed. However I didn’t notice this until almost another mile later when I was still running (on the plus side I did look at my watch at this time and I was approximately 3 minutes behind my time last year..which I was super stoked about!). The race director had mentioned prior to the race that the 4 mile course was a bit different this year. In the end it ended up being closer to 5 miles than to 4 miles. I did really well up until the distance after 4 miles. After that I was burning things pretty hard. Luckily I kept my feet underneath me and finished. I finished in 59 minutes and 22 seconds! In my age group I believe I was fourth which is pretty awesome!

So a good race over all. I’m glad that I did it and it’s given me a bit of motivation to put into the bank. Might try and get another race in before the end of the year but I’m not sure. Still three days after the race I’m a bit gimpy in certain movements (going downstairs!). But I think I’ll try and get out for a run tomorrow to see how things are working.

Going to the doctor

When you’re a kid, going to the doctor is pretty painless for the most part. At times you will get shots but that moment of pain passes pretty quickly. Things change when you reach middle age..or at least I believe it does.

This is when you start to realize you are mortal and your body is on the downhill slide. The doctor tells you have high blood pressure when you’re 34 or 35 and you think he’s full of shit and you’re to young to have high blood pressure. But you go home and measure it and realize he’s not so full of it. Or like this week when you visit the eye doctor and the assistant makes a little joke that you don’t need readers.. yet!

Little things like this start to creep up in middle age and just make you realize it’s only going to keep going this direction so buckle in and do what you can to hold them off. Or it makes you think about not visiting the doctor like some other people do!

Running

Running is a lot of work.  It’s not always fun.  Sometimes there’s pain and a lot of sucking air.  But it is also the opposite of these things.  It can be enjoyable.  It can be relaxing and meditative.

I started running because the doctor said that I needed to get my aerobic activity in.  Five days a week for 30 minutes.  I’ve never been able to consistently run 5 days a week so right now I’m doing three days a week. Additionally when the weather changes, which it is starting to, I tend to go inside and hibernate (or not run!).  However I’ve been thinking about all of the time I’m not running and how if I’m just consistent, even at three days a week, I’ll get to where I want to be.  Not fast, but I’ll get there.  I do intend on using more kettle bells this fall and winter, but at a minimum I’d like to have one of my three workouts be running.

For all the things that I enjoy about running there is, now days, so many things that make it hard to enjoy running.  Mainly that’s Strava.  I still use Strava to keep track of my runs but it took me about 6 months of not running to finally realize that there are people of all abilities and speed.  In this day and age it’s so easy to get caught up in who is running the fastest mile splits and how you compare.  Who ran the most days this week and did you run as many more more than them?  Once I put these things, and many others, behind myself I became more comfortable with my running and where I’m at.  I heard the wonderful David Roche say to put all the judgmental devices behind you or don’t wear them. So I don’t.  I have a GPS watch that I use, but that’s it.  It does sync to Strava, but I don’t spend a lot of time on there comparing myself anymore.  My heart rate monitor might make an appearance here and there, but for now it’s collecting dust somewhere.

I’d like to think that if I lived near trails I’d run more.  Maybe I would and maybe I wouldn’t.  I’d probably get caught up, again, with trying to run more vertical feet etc.  I see a few people that continue to get caught up in running, like I did, and they are just not consistent.  I’m not saying I’m the most consistent person right now, but I’m hopeful that by doing what feels good for me I’ll be able to make some progress.  And more than anything enjoy that journey.

Next weekend I’ll be participating in my only race so far this year.  It’s a 4 mile trail race called The Antelope Dash.  I know I’m going to be sucking air.  I know I’m going to walk a lot.  And I’m fine with that.  I think it will give me the motivation to continue on and hopefully do another 5K race later this fall.

Exhausted

Yesterday morning, Friday, I woke up totally exhausted.  No idea why, but I could have spent another hour or two in bed.  I thought a little bit about this and why it might be. There are a couple of reason’s that I came up with.  But first let me explain why I was thinking about it.  Whenever I start to exercise, strive for better health, I reach this point, usually a little after the two week mark, where my body is just tired and I have no desire to go exercise (usually early morning runs) or to eat healthy.  It’s almost like clockwork and I’d like to get over this.

So for what I think might have happened.

  • Stressful situation right before I left work the previous night (Thursday night)
  • Fasted on Tuesday until lunch time – Don’t think this was the case, but it’s something I’m looking out for.
  • Ate like crap on Thursday – I’m a stress eater and due to situation number 1 above, I didn’t have exactly the best diet that night.  M&M’s and an ice cream sandwich!
  • Slept worse than I thought I did

I’m not sure which one of the above things it was, or a combination of all of them, but in an attempt to find my best health I’m going to be putting these down when I notice them.  It might just be a mental block, but it’s something that I need to figure out.

How it all began

I think I was probably 34 or 35 when I had my first physical in awhile and the doctor told me my blood pressure was to high. As with most doctors he told me I needed to get 30 minutes of aerobic activity 5 days a week. So I set about doing that.  What I found out was that I have white coat syndrome, for whatever reason, and my blood pressure spikes. So I started tracking it at home. It was better there. I did however try to get in the prescribed aerobic activity. This might have brought my blood pressure down a little bit but I know it did not help me lose weight which is what I had really started chasing after.

I’ve learned a lot along the way, but as I mentioned in the previous post, I feel like I’m spinning in circles with all the information out there. Here is my current mode of thinking about this.

  • What and how we eat is most important for blood pressure and weight control.
  • I enjoy running and will continue to do it but it is probably more important to get some sort of weight training and HIIT in. I will begin to work that in after my upcoming trail race.
  • There is a mental aspect to this that I believe I’m pretty weak on and I want to put some focus on this to try and bring some balance to the three aspects of health.

It’s not always easy to do all of this stuff with a family. Especially the eating part but I’m trying my hardest to figure it out.

I’m trying to keep it simple otherwise I find myself getting bogged down in the details.

Health after 40

I believe when everyone thinks of health they think of ripped bodies that are able to run for miles or can lift a ton of weights. And part of my view of health is like that but as I’ve struggled to get healthier, in my opinion, I realize it’s a lot more. Not only do I think there’s a physical aspect to it but there’s a mental aspect to it and there’s a nutrition aspect to it. I believe that those three things need to work together to achieve health.

Back in the day I had a blog tracking my weight lifting progress and other things. A journal. My hope is that despite all that is going on I’ll be able to put down notes here on my journey and hopefully get feedback in due time. Right now I have little accountability and I’m hoping that by ‘reporting’ here I will gain some accountability. Additionally I hope that I will be able to pick up some patterns to help things go smoother. I feel as if I’ve been drowning in all this health information and I just keep spinning in circles going nowhere. I’m ready to go somewhere.

So what will I define as health or moving the bar in the right direction? Losing weight is the easy one to pick and I hope that will drop but I have something else I want to try and track. That is the waist to height ratio. Basically lose inches around the waist until we are at half of our height. I believe that right now I’m near a 40″ waist vs my height of 71″. That works out to: .56 (I will get more specific later this week). So I have a ways to go. From what I’ve read this ratio is a good indicator of health and your risk. Along the way I suspect I will come up with other goals to add to the list. Hopefully not getting to many of them!

So here we go!

Facebook is stalking me!

Around the first of the year I decided that I wasn’t going to spend as much time on Facebook.  I just wasn’t finding any value in it.  I didn’t kill my account but I told myself I was only going to check in once a week.  And to date that has been the case.  Once a week for maybe 15 minutes and then I’d sign out of my account again.

Somewhere along the line I gave Facebook my phone number.  I don’t remember if this was on purpose of if it was voluntary.  I suspect I had to for something. But this has turned into something bad.  About once a day now, for some reason, Facebook sends me a text that reminds me of something someone has posted on Facebook.  It’s as if I’ve reached some point where I don’t visit Facebook enough so they are trying to entice me with text messages.  So far I haven’t given in to these messages.  But what it will do is make me kill my account.

Just something to note.  While I don’t find much use with Facebook I do find other uses for social media.  Specifically with Twitter I find much more value out of it.  Weird since the people I follow on Twitter are not people I know.  More than anything I’m following “experts” in the fields that I enjoy following! Just an interesting observation.

Work

While I consider myself a good worker, I struggle with work.  Odd you may think, but let me explain.

It was about 2000 when I first remember the drive to create something great on the internet.  I don’t know if, at that time, it was so that I could try and be a bazillionaire or what (for what it’s worth I wanted to create a high school sports site).  From there I think it just kept growing here and there.

Somewhere along the line I came to think that well since mom and dad were self employed maybe  I should be as well and I’d be much happier if I was self employed.  But wait…mom and dad didn’t have health insurance or retirement.  They had to work thru those sick days and it was a struggle at times.  Maybe that wasn’t such a good idea, but that being self employed still sticks in the back of my mind.

In addition to wanting to make boat loads of money and be self employed I think, for my generation, or perhaps just in the field I’ve worked in, I feel like if you don’t have some sort of side gig making you some extra money your doing it wrong.  Or if you’re not hopping from exotic location to exotic location working for 2 minutes a day your doing it wrong.

Lastly working in the newspaper business for a fair amount of my career so far probably has not been the best.  I never chose to work in that industry because it was my calling and I wanted to hold the government accountable (funny that I now work for the government).  I chose it because it paid the bills and at the start it was a good wage.  But over time that pay degraded, or my thoughts of what was good pay was upped, and I felt like I was under appreciated.

Bosses also didn’t help.  I don’t think, until now, I’ve ever had a boss that has been for the employees.  It’s always been about the bottom line.  My current boss, for all of her faults, is for the employees as much as she can be. She understands, I feel.

I’m coming to grips with all of these thoughts that have been haunting me the past 20 years.  They still poke their nasty heads out, but I’m feeling like I have better control over them.  I think a big part of it has to do with being grateful for what I do have.  Yeah I haven’t had a pay raise in years and even took a pay cut.  However I do have a job with pretty good benefits.  When I stop and really start to focus on what I don’t have, that is when I get down and get pissed at work and wonder if I could do it better on my own.  I’m not saying that maybe I won’t have a side gig that makes a bit of money, but I’m also happy not having it and thinking about it all the time.

I don’t know if these feelings are a generational thing, but I kind of think it might be.  I look at some people I know who are a big older and they, to my knowledge, are not trying to create a side gig or hustle.  They are just enjoying the time with their family.

Lastly this leaves us with the current work situation. As I’ve mentioned with many members of the family I feel as I’ve I’ve gone from one side of the pendulum where it was crisis all the time (newspaper; perhaps also my view point) to the other side where at times I have very little to do and it borders on boredom. My feelers will be out there this year looking at other opportunities and maybe something will come from it. Perhaps this is where God has me and where I will be until he says differently. I don’t know. I do know that staying here at the state for the long term is probably not doable (perhaps in another position it might be).

I’m curious to hear other thoughts on work and I suspect as this year goes by I will revisit this issue.

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