Friday, May 30, 2008

"Hey, Lucifer, Check The Anti-freeze!!"

Based on my racquetball match today, I'm predicting that Hell will freeze over tonight!! I don't normally play on Fridays because I'm eating lunch with my grandson at school. But with school out for the summer, Ron and I got together for what I assumed would be my normal beat down. I played pretty well in the first game and lost 15-13; however, I considered that one a moral victory because I saw something I had never seen before. Ron was breathing hard after a couple of points!! That's pretty damn rare! We had some good rallies and he had to run a little. The second game, however, saw me on the top side of a 15-11 -- one of my very rare wins. Now I have to state here for honesty's sake that this is sort of like a better golfer giving me several strokes in a match. Ron usually doesn't use his good service game for any game we play unless I'm threatening to win. And there are some points where he probably could have gotten to a ball with more effort. But Ron does not want to lose so I have to earn those last few points. I got some good returns in against his serve, and he uncharacteristicaly skipped a few balls when he could have put me away. But the bottom line is - I WON!! :-) Based on past history, my next scheduled victory should come around November. :-)

The Tale of the Scale

Today's digital downer:


Last week I was sure that this was going to be the day when I would be typing 199.X for my Friday weigh-in. I guess that big meal yesterday did me in. I had stepped on the scale Thursday morning and I was at 200.2. I'm starting to think that this scale watching is counter productive at this point. I'm admittedly in a slow loss mode which I believe is good for sustainable loss even if it isn't as satisfying as watching the pounds drop in big chunks like it did in the first 3-4 months. So I think my plan at this point will be to shove the scale under the bed and leave it there for at least a couple of weeks--maybe more. I know I'm eating and exercising according to plan, and I don't need to be demotivated by the variances of the scale.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

I'm Stuffed!!

We had a pot luck lunch at the office today in honor of a retiring member of our crew. So I ended up in a "good news-bad news" situation. The good news is that I managed to avoid the rice, potato salad, cake, pies, and the like. I ate some beef, sausage, and a gumbo-like mix of shrimp, sausage, and okra (and other stuff). The bad news is that it was very good so I ate some rather large portions. Normally I prefer playing racquetball rather than eat a big lunch--especially the day before my normal Friday weigh-in. So it will be interesting to see what the Tale of the Scale produces tomorrow morning. I may have to delay that "sub-200" celebration! :-)

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

The Big Salad

Trust me - it looks a lot better than this washed out phone camera picture. The ingredients include:

A Bed of Baby Spinach
Two Roma Tomatoes
One Avacado
Two Eggs
One Fuji Apple
Olive Oil & Vinegar Dressing

It tastes great but now I have to go floss--lotsa green stuff in my teeth!!

This evening's menu - some grass fed top round and asparagus!

Racquetball, Squats, Press, & More

A mini catch-up post. I played Neal in racquetball yesterday and it was a tough match. I fell behind 7-0 in the first game before rattling off seven straight points and going on to win 15-10. I had my normal second game letdown and lost the second 15-8. I lost the last one 15-12 but it was a very hard fought game and I turned back a couple of match points. This seems to be a pattern that repeats itself often. I think part of it is that when I get tired I don't remain patient and wait for good scoring opportunites to try for winners. Instead I end up taking some low percentage shots or skipping balls when I'm not in good position to hit a kill shot.

Yesterday evening I did the two mile walk with my grandson while listening to Dire Straits.

Today was a lift-at-lunch day and it went like this:


15 @ 140lbs
8 @ 170lbs
4 @ 200

Overhead Press
15 @ 45
8 @ 50
4 @ 55

Chin Ups (Gravitron @ 60)
10, 6, 5

Reverse Crunches
2 sets of 15

I did some good, full squats today. I don't have great hip flexibilty so they weren't terribly deep but I was definitely past parallel.
Finally learned my lessons from the past and started light and minimal increase on the press. It's a damn puny weight but it is what it is. At least I finally managed a full hierarchal set!!
I grew up differientiating a "pull up" from a "chin up" by the grip--reverse grip being a chin up. So I'm going to go with that for my description. I just decided to try that for a change. That might be an easier path to finally getting up on my own power.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Boogie Golf - Holiday Edition

No 39 on the front today. It took me 14 strokes to get through the first two holes!! I was having some trouble with the full swing all day, mainly in the form of fat shots. There are some bad shots that don't bother me such as a big pull because that normally includes solid contact. There's just something about the feeling transmitted to your hands and the sound made when a ball is really well struck. The fact that your shoulders got off plane and hampered the outcome detract from the satisfaction, but it still feels good! The same can be said for a shot that you hit thin but still send towards the target. But when you bury the clubhead into the dirt and barely move the ball, that just plain sucks! There is nothing to like about a serious chunk shot.

The good news is that I still hit quite a few good shots, made four pars, and sank one 30 foot putt. I just wish I could get up and do this every morning! But, alas, it's back to work tomorrow. I have a racquetball match with Neal on the schedule.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Unusual Sighting On The Golf Course

This is truly an unusual site. A few years ago, our course was shut down for a major overhaul. One of the things they did was add a "state of the art" irrigation system. It has dual lines running down each hole, and it's integrated with a computer controlled weather station. Real fancy stuff. The only problem is that shortly after the install, the suits controlling the money decided the course was using too much water and they cut back to only watering greens and tees. All of the nice bermuda grass they had put in the fairways started to die and the weeds took over. Eventually it all turned to crap.

Fast forward a few years and we finally have some new leadership in the MWR (Morale, Welfare, and Recreation) office, and apparently getting the golf course back in good shape is one of their priorities. I talked to the course super and they have seeded several of the fairways and once that takes they are going to go after the weeds. Our course has the potential to be very nice--hopefully that will happen!

Boogie Golf - What A Day!!

I had a really good outing on the golf course this morning. Normally a round of Boogie Golf does not involve keeping score. All I'm really interested in doing is getting good exercise by trying to stay on the move, and that can be hampered by spending time looking for balls, taking drops, going back to the tee, etc. If I can't find a ball in a matter of seconds, I just drop another and keep going. So it doesn't make a whole lot of sense to keep score when I'm not following the rules of golf. HOWEVER, if you are having the kind of round where you are hitting it well, and scoring pars and bogeys, it's not hard to calculate your score. On the front nine this morning, I had four pars, and five bogeys for a 39 (one par 5). All the pars came from up & downs that included real good pitch/chip shots. All of the par putts were inside of four feet. And that was good because I DIDN'T HAVE A PUTTER!! When I set down my bag on the first tee, I realized that my putter was still in the living room near the six foot strip of carpet I use to practice my stroke. I did all my putting with a six iron, and I did very well!! I only had four clubs in all--PW, 8I, 6I, and 31 degree hybrid. I don't remember the last time I broke 40 for nine holes.

I didn't do nearly as well on the back. I doubled three of the first four holes. But after that I made bogey on the next three holes before making a very improbable par on 17. I had hit a poor second shot that scooted off to a barren water collection area. I was about 90 yards out with a my ball sitting in damp sandy soil, with trees and a large bunker between me and the green. I managed to get the ball airborne and on to the green; however, I was 40 feet away from the flag. So I took out my trusty six iron hoping to get close, and damn if I didn't sink it!! Unfortunately, I doubled 18 for a 49 on the back. So I shot a legitimate 88 using four clubs and no putter!!

The danger now is that I will have to fight off having expectations of similar results the next time I go out. The odds are that I won't have the same magical touch around the greens that I did today that enabled me to get all those up and downs. Hopefully I'll just get out there and boogie down the fairway and if the good shots happen--they happen!!

Friday, May 23, 2008

Bicycle Sprints

I opted for another gas saving/stay-at-home workout Thursday evening. Warmed up by walking two miles with my grandson while listening to The Doors - Morrison Hotel. Followed that up by doing some bicycle sprints on my beater bike. I did a total of six circuits--sprinting one straight (about 250 yards) and recovering on the rest of the loop. The bike has a 21-gear drive chain and I'm using the middle chain ring and the middle rear gear because I don't have a shifter for the back (I just bought one but I haven't got around to installing it yet). So these are high RPM sprints without the benenfit of being clipped in--definitely different from the big gear sprints I used to do in my serious cycling days. Trying to get into an efficient sprinting position on a "city-bike" is tough. I wonder if I could put some 44cm Cinelli drop bars on the thing! :-)

The Tale of the Scale - Oh So Close

Just a fraction above the Mendoza line!!


Just another week and I should see something other than a "2" in that hundreds column!!!!! :-)

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Kettlebell Thrusters and Swings

I had planned on going to the gym at lunch today to do some squats and presses; however, it wasn't to be. So this evening, instead of burning up some $3.69 a gallon gas to go to the gym, I enlisted the help of my cannonball with a handle.

Kettlebell Thrusters

4 x 20 (35# kb)
1 minute rest between sets

Kettlebell Swings

3 x 40
1 min rest

Notes: For the Thrusters I held the kb upside down with two hands. Getting the last few reps in during the last two sets were tough. For the swings, I alternated hands as my grip dictated. Not an immense mount of work, but not bad for sweating in what is supposed to be the formal dining room! :-)

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Catch Up Time Again

Neglecting the blog again...tsk, tsk.

Sunday I got in a round of Boogie Golf. It wasn't steamy like last weekend; in fact, it was quite pleasant. I teed off a little before 6:30am and finished up around 8:45. It could have been quicker but I practiced a couple extra chip shots on some holes. That's not in the design of Boogie Golf but I would like to see my short game return to where it was a couple years ago when I was playing pretty well. Maybe what I need to do is finish on 18 and then zip over to 15 and play the last four over again and use those holes for practice. I might try that.

A couple golf notes unrelated to my quest to get fit. There was an article in the paper today about how the Navy base has a provision in their 20 year plan to move the golf course. Interesting but I won't be around to see it happen. I'll be retired and playing golf in Thailand. The other thing is that for almost as long as I've been living in Corpus Christi, there's been talk of building a resort course out on Padre Island. Well it finally happened and we're getting close to being able to play. It's an Arnold Palmer design and I'm told it's beautiful by those who have made the drive to check it out. It's supposed to open in the end of July. I probably can't afford to play it often but maybe I can get some twilight in.

Monday my scheduled was sabotaged. I couldn't play racquetball at lunch because I had to be home for some workmen doing some repairs at my home. I figured I'd go for a vigorous walk in the evening but that plan ended when my wife called me out to the front porch where she had poured a couple glasses white zinfandel. So much for that plan!

Today I played racquetball with Ron again. I played well in the first game and actually held a 13-10 lead before eventually losing. We played three more games and I scored a total of four points. Ooooops. I 'm ready to play the other guy!! :-)

I went for a two-mile walk with my grandson today and followed the pace set by Elvis Costello and the Attractions. Did some push ups and sit ups afterwards.

Squatting and pressing tomorrow - a glass of wine now!

Friday, May 16, 2008

Racquetball with Ron

This is a little out of sequence but I had a busy evening yesterday and didn't get around to writing this up. I played four games with Ron on Thursday. I scored 3, 9, 12, & 5 points (for Ron's points divide 60 by 4). :-) It was a good workout but not as vigorous as the one I played with Neal on Monday. The problem with playing Ron is that each game is handicapped, but it's not a hard handicap that can be quantified. I know, for example, in golf that if I play a match, I know how many strokes I have to give or be given based on our established USGA index. But with Ron it's not that simple. The fact is that if he played all out, I would stand a chance of getting shut out every time. He has a very good drive serve but rarely uses it against me. He also hits a lot of defensive shots that keep rallies going when he probably could have just killed the ball and ended it. I have a pretty decent serve myself and am capable of hitting some good shots so some of my points are earned. But if I'm having a bad shot making day and taking myself out of points by skipping the ball, then I shorten the rallies and hence the intensity of the workout. Yesterday was one of those days!

The Tale of the Scale

Slow but steady:


I jumped on earlier in the week and I was under 202. So even a weekly weigh in is subject to variance that can be affected by the meal of the previous night (a good size chunk of steak in this case). But as long as the trend remains downward, I'm a happy camper. Yesterday was my grand daughter's 17th birthday and to celebrate I PASSED on cake and ice cream. The 90 days of NO CHEATING is still intact!

Wednesday, May 14, 2008


After a couple of fairly hard days, I decided to head to the gym at lunch and get in some stretching. I had a little twinge in my back yesterday evening, and I find that if I don't follow that up with a good stretching session, it gets worse. I'm feeling a lot better this evening. I didn't mention in my other posts that I walked two miles each evening with my grandson. The pace was easy but moving rather than sitting is a good thing!

My wife cooked up a batch of red beans and sausage tonight. I used to heap that on a large bed of rice (my New Orleans upbringing), but now I just dish out a small bowl of the beans and sausage. Of course, I nibbled on a few pieces of sausage before they ever made it into the beans! I'll need to take it easy tomorrow if I don't want to be disappointed come time Friday for the Tale of the Scale!!

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Press 'n Squat

I know I've flip-flopped more than a politician on my weight lifting methodolgy but I think I'm back to the hierarchal model to stay. I started this way at first but then switched to the 3 x 5 method when I was having trouble with the overhead press. The decision to go back is based on a couple of things--the fact that I haven't had any formal training in doing the lifts properly, and that I workout alone. The hierarchal model calls for doing every lift with good form and not flirting with failure. So I think it's much safer way for me to work out. So here's what I managed at lunch time today:

Overhead Press

15 x 45lbs
7 x 55lbs
4 x 55lbs


15 x 135lbs
8 x 185
4 x 195

Incline Dumbell Press

15 x 15lbs
8 x 20lbs
8 x 25lbs
4 x 30lbs

Pull Ups

2 sets of 8 (Gravitron on 70)

Notes: The press is obviously still a problem. Even though I had worked up to three sets of 85lbs, doing that opening set of 15 really does me in. I think I will either start with doing these with the set of non-olympic barbells with a lower weight, or use dumbbells. The squat went pretty well but I shortened up on the eighth rep in that second set. I decided to go with 195 instead of 205 for the last set to be on the safe side. I wasn't sure what weight to start the dumbbell set and I went too low. I'll bump that up next time.

Exhausted !!

If I had to pick one word to associate with yesterday's racquetball, this would be it. I felt totally spent after the third game and the feeling remained with me for awhile at my desk afterwards. Whew!! I fell behind early in the first game, fought very hard to make it up, but still lost. I won the second game 15-7 but I worked much harder than the score would indicate. There were lots of points that featured extended rallies. By the end of the second game, I was ready to call it a day; however; I decided to continue the match. Again I fell behind early as I was basically going through the motions. But with the score 11-3 I tried to make a charge. I managed to get it to 12-9 but that's as close as I got. It was a terrific workout.

If I get two matches in a week of this caliber, I don't feel there is any need to go doing some bike or rowing based intervals. I would love to see a print out of my heart rate during that 70-75 minutes on the racquetball court!!

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Boogie Golf - Putter Shows Some Life

If the object of Boogie Golf is to get exercise (and it is), then the objective was met this morning. It was quite warm and humid even for the 6:30am tee off, and my shirt was wringing wet within a couple of holes. I played pretty well overall including three pars on the front. What got me those pars were putts of 6, 8, and 20 feet! I decided to ditch the "hockey" swing with my home made hAMMY clone, and to use it as a belly putter instead. For the most part, it worked real well as those par putts would attest. I didn't make any more long ones but I was real close on others and only had two three-putts. I figure that's pretty good since I haven't practiced it at all. I was considering going back to my long putter, but decided it would be two awkward trying to put that thing in a carry bag (it's not easy to get it in my trunk either).

My ball striking overall was pretty good but I hit a few stinkers. The good thing about playing with the hybrid for anything over 130-135 yards is that even the bad misses tend to be playable. I managed to keep my emotions under control for the most part--it goes with trying to play down expectations. But stringing a couple pars together makes that process challenging!!

One really big change from a few months ago is that I really look forward to getting out on the course now. I can't wait to play again (a curious figure of speech because obviously I AM going to have to wait to play again)!!

Friday, May 9, 2008

The Tale of the Scale

A small step but in the right direction.


My wife's birthday is tomorrow and her coworkers bought her a cake. Normally I would walk over there and have a piece but the 90 Day No Cheat trumps the celebration.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

J. Geils Fartlek

There were no racquetball partners available today, and I was stuck with a fairly short time window for getting in a workout at lunch. So I decided to jump on an old standby--the Lemond Revmaster. This is a good stationary bike that can be fully adjusted to match the setup on your own bike. Although I don't ride seriously anymore, there was a time when I measured my saddle height to the centimeter so I appreciate the adjustability of the Lemond. So what I did today was climb on, cranked up the J. Geils "Full House" album, and rode to the music. There are parts that just cry out for a 135 rpm sprint, and other parts where I would just sit and spin at 90 rpm. It was a great way to get in a workout without following some formal interval pattern.

Good work!!

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Fighting the Flexeril Fog

I took my muscle relaxer last night and it didn't seem to zonk me like muscle relaxers had in the past, so I felt safe taking one this morning. Bad move. I was dying at work by 9am. Instead of going to the gym at lunch, I headed over the the Wellness Center as the base hospital, and crashed in their massage chair for a 45 minute nap. I won't make that mistake again.

Although I felt more like napping on the couch then heading to the gym this evening, I did manage to drag my butt out the house. Short workout but better than nothing:

30 Minute Walk (Treadmill)

135lbs x 15
185lbs x 8
205lbs x 4

Leg Curls (prone on machine)
70lbs x 15
80lbs x 8
85lbs x 4

Notes: I screwed up on the squat rack. When I racked the bar after the first set, I didn't realize that I didn't get the bar on the catch on the left side. I also didn't use the collars so a 45 pound plate went crashing to the floor. My grandson was on that side but not close enough to get hit thank goodness. I used the collars for the next two sets.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

The Sinus Rythym of an Athlete

That's what my doctor said upon looking at the results of my EKG. Sounded good to me! :-) His diagnosis was a deep muscle spasm in the rhomboid with some nerve impingement causing the numbness in my hand and the pain in the shoulder and chest. He prescribed a muscle relaxer and ibuprofen, and a series of stretches. My own prescription is that I'm going to lay off the upper body work until this heals, and I'm going to take it easy on doing overhead presses when I do resume lifting. He agreed with the ER doc and is setting me up for a stress test, and he's putting me on a daily asprin regimen.

Bottom Line: Dave is still getting fit - but there will be little detours along the way.

A Health Scare

I've been experiencing some pain in my upper back the last 2-3 weeks. I usually describe it as having a knot in a muscle although that is probably a figure of speech rather than an accurate description of what's happening. But the pain is centered in a particular spot. The last couple of days, however, I started having other pains both on top of the shoulder and in the chest. Yesterday afternoon after coming back from playing racquetball, I started feeling some pain in my chest like before, but this time I also felt some tingling and numbness in my left arm and hand. I decided I needed to employ the "better safe than sorry" strategy so I headed to the ER. They did an EKG, X-ray, and blood workup and I waited an hour or so for the results. Everything came back negative. Looks like instead of a cardiologist, I need to go see an osteopath or a massage therapist! I've got a 10am appointment today with my regular doctor--hopefully he can get to the bottom of this.

Monday Racquetball

Ron, my normal Monday partner, is out of town this week so Neal stepped in. I took the first game 15-10, lost the second 15-3, and won the third 15-14. That last game was really hard fought--we both served for the win a couple times before I finally put it away. I seem to repeat the pattern of letting down in the second game after winning the first. I need to work on that!!

I took a sneak peek at the scale this morning. Just needed a little confirmation that my "no cheat" effort was having the desired effect. Looking good! :-)

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Boogie Golf - It Comes and Goes

I played 31 holes of golf this weekend. Friday I played twilight golf with my son and my grandson. We played the entire front nine and four holes on the back. There was enough light to get a few more holes in, but my son was riding and had to return the cart. I was ready to go though--I was playing like crap. It's funny--a few weeks ago I was starting to play very well. I was hitting so many "good shots" that I quit keeping count as I had been doing. I almost never hit a really bad shot with one of my hybrid clubs. But the last couple of weeks, it seems I lost the swing I had, and I started hitting some stinkers.

I got to the course this morning and got off to a lousy start. It took me five shots to get on the green on a short par 4. I hit a couple good shots over the next three holes, and I started reminding myself that the point of Boogie Golf is to enjoy the walk and not worry about the score. But this game can be a real teaser, and when I started having some success, I wanted more! On #6 I was on a mound with a side hill, down hill lie, and I shanked that puppy. But then I hit a smooth 8 iron to within five feet of the pin. So I tried to make a mental note of how that swing felt so I could try to duplicate it on my next full shot. It was like someone threw a switch and my swing was back. I started hitting the hybrid well every time. The key seems to be keeping a smooth tempo and "oily" hands. I had started putting a vice grip on the club, and lunging at the ball instead of making a smooth turn. Once I corrected that I was back in business. I went the rest of the way with four pars, two doubles, and the rest bogies. I walked off a happy camper.

I'm going to try hard to keep "expectations" low, and out of the picture. The goal is still to get some exercise; HOWEVER, it sure does feel good to clock a few!! :-)

Things are going well with the "90 Day No Cheat" plan. Temptations abound (like that Bluebell Homemade Vanilla ice cream in the freezer) but I'm hanging in there. I enjoyed a nice New York Strip at Chile's today. Good stuff!!

Friday, May 2, 2008

The Tale of the Scale

This is unreal! I've managed to hit the same number to the tenth of a pound for the second time.


I never thought I'd be as pleased as I feel this morning to see a flat line. But after reading 204.2 last Friday morning, and then going on the worst carb binge since I adopted my low carb eating style, I stepped on the scale Sunday night and it read 214.6! That served as a wake up call and prompted my "90 days--no cheat" declaration. NOTHING is going to derail this train now. Next stop - 185lbs!!!!

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Bicycle Sprints

Events worked against me getting to the gym during lunch today so I decided to do something close to home. I live on a street that forms a "U" and the loop including the main street connecting the two ends of the U is a little over a half mile. I sprint one of the straight-aways (around 230 yards) and then recover for the remaining part of the loop. I did a total of 8 sprints with the corresponding recovery. I was going to do a couple more but I got side tracked stopping my bold but small Jack Russel Terrier (someone let her out the house) from taking on some big dog that had been running along side me (anyone remember Eddie from American Flyers?).

I expect the Tale of the Scale results tomorrow to be a little higher than last week but that will be ok. I'm back on track and I'm confident it will be heading in the right direction after this week.

No, It Ain't Rabbit Food!

Below is a sight that can be seen around 2pm every weekday inside a windowless office on Corpus Christi Naval Air Station.

When I first logged onto Mark's Daily Apple around nine months ago, I read Mark's description of his big salad that he eats daily. I immediately started doing the same thing, and it's been an essential part of my nutrition ever since. I try to vary the ingredients often but the overall construction plan is always the same--lots of green stuff and other veggies with some protein thrown in as well. I had been using a slightly smaller bowl then the one in the picture, but this one makes it easier to toss a large salad with losing some of it over the sides! The composition of this salad was something like this:

Romaine lettuce
Green Leaf lettuce
Red Cabbage
One apple (Fuji)
One Tomato
A Few Artichoke Hearts

I top it off with some Newman's Own Olive Oil and Vinegar dressing. I think it's a pretty decent compromise between a healthy, home-made dressing and the convenience of a commercial product.

I had never put an apple in a salad before I started making these, but I really like the mixture of tastes sensation in this salad, and the apple really adds to that. I'll throw some mango or even a banana in there sometimes. Instead of tuna I might throw in some left over pork or beef from the last evening's meal. Just about anything is game for inclusion in my Big Ass Salad!!!

My plan was that the picture would have shown the salad better, but by the time my co-worker had downloaded and emailed the picture to me, I had already eaten half of it!!