One Month At A Time

Spartan Race: nothing runs like a deer

I parked the car near the swimming pool, but almost had the lot to myself.

At 7:30 in the morning, not many people were out at Coonskin Park –just a handful of men on mowers, a few others driving around in beat up county trucks and whoever had been banished from the civilized world to sit behind the lonely desk inside the building by the tennis courts.

Stretching was modest, but more than usual. I’m working on stretching before exercising. Not stretching, not warming up is an old, stupid habit. So, I did ten air squats, bent and twisted my spine, held on to my car with one hand and one after another, tried to wake up my thighs and hamstrings.

I hate running.

As a teenager, I’d been a distance runner –not a good or really competitive distance runner, but I’d run some races. I’d earned a couple of t-shirts. I’d sat in the bus after and eaten the french fries.

I needed to get my legs back. I needed to get my lungs back, and I needed to dump 30 pounds of weight.

Running is the only way I know how to do that inside of a couple of months –along with a tedious diet.

As stretched as I was going to get, I plugged my earbuds into the iPod strapped to my arm and chose something fun as my morning workout soundtrack.

What I listen to varies from day to day –a lot of the time I will go with aggressive or up tempo rock stuff. Heavy metal is great for lifting heavy weight, example, but for a run, I wanted something that would distract me from the basic unhappiness of having to do it at all.

Today’s run was accompanied by music from the Broadway musical “Fiddler on the Roof.”

Agreed, kind of a weird thing to listen to while you run, but the struggles of Tevye and his family in late Czarist Russia soothed me as I hacked my way through about three miles of some running and a lot of brisk walking.

Along the way, a deer stumbled out of the woods like a drunk fraternity pledge lost during homecoming weekend. It looked at me, watched me struggle to maintain a trot for a few moments. Then, as if to mock me, the beast pranced away at full speed across the road and toward the golf course.

The “run” took me about 40 minutes, but it was good to get it out of the way.

I’ll do it again tomorrow, same course. Maybe tomorrow, I’ll run a little more, walk a little less and think to bring a rock to throw at smug forest animals.

 

Spartan Race training

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It was a weird way to spend my birthday.

June 18 (contrary to what Facebook says) I turned 47 and went over to the University of Charleston for a Spartan Race workout.

My race is coming up August 26 (now, just two months away) and I’m getting nervous about it. So far, I’ve read two books on the subject, but only have a general idea of what to expect, based largely on a few stories from very, very fit people who’ve attended a few of them.

So, I went because I wanted to see what kind of exercises would help and also see what kind of people do Spartan Races.

I learned a little –how to do a proper Spartan burpee, for example. I also saw people who will probably ace the West Virginia race in August. They seemed superhumanly fit, like the kind of people who wear spandex and fight crime on the cover of comic books.

But I also saw some people like me –not in terrible shape, but not really ready to run 15 miles while climbing walls, jumping over hot coals or crawling under barbed wire.

It was one of the most vigorous 90 minutes I think I’ve put myself through. I drank three bottles of water while on UC’s lawn overlooking the river and had a fourth one in the car.

I figure I got my money’s worth for the class. Ten bucks netted me a t-shirt, four bottles of water and about 10 Cliff bars.

I also met a woman with MS who told me she’d done six Trifectas –that’s when you do a sprint, a super and a beast race within a year or so.

The beast is usually a 13-15 mile race. She said she did a beast in New Jersey last year and with her illness, it took her 13 hours to complete, but she finished.

“A lot of people got a DNF –a Did Not Finish,” she said. “I didn’t quit.”

I took a lot of encouragement from that.

If she can do it in 13 hours, I can do it in 13 hours.

But I hope I can get it done a little faster than that, get home and maybe watch a lot of Netflix while eating my weight in Fritos.

This is the dream.

I didn’t do much in the way of exercise for the week following my birthday. I slacked off and focused on my upcoming show at The Comedy Zone, but I’m back at it today. I did a bunch of new exercises that are supposed to help me get ready and I’m going to do a better  job of watching what I eat.

Tomorrow, I’m going to try to run/walk five miles before work. There’s no way that’s not going to suck. Tomorrow’s post will be all about the bellyaching.

 

Back in Black –so to speak

Sorry about not updating the blog since February…

It’s a little funny, but bloggers have a habit of dropping out –unless they’re specifically paid to maintain a blog.

I’ve been a blogger off and on for over 10 years and I’ve gone through hiatuses, but the boss said, “Get back to blogging or you should just give up the site.”

Maybe he thinks we should do a blog about pet pictures. That could be fun.

The main thing that’s brought me back to blogging is that a lot is happening –or is about to happen and it felt like using a blog regularly was a good idea.

I just won’t be able to get as much in otherwise.

The Spartan Race is coming up in August. I have made little sustained progress, though I have lost a couple of pounds.

As of Sunday, I will be starting a grueling, new exercise plan and diet (Yay, journalism), which I’ll be reporting on.

I hope this works. Race time is getting closer.

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Also, next month (SPOILER), I’m taking on traveling the state of West Virginia. The idea is to hit 55 counties within roughly 30 days. Actually, it will be 55 counties in less than 30 days –more like 55 counties in roughly 12 days. That’s about all I can do and still have even the barest hope of maintaining the other parts of my job.

I’m getting this information out a little early because I could use some help on this one.

I need places to maybe visit, possibly places to stay for the night.

So, if you want to help, chime in here with suggestions (including where these places might be found) or send me an email at lynch@wvgazettemail.com.

 

Kilt Run update

Training for the Celtic Calling’s Kilt Run has been a little slow –slow enough that I figure I’ll be taking the two-mile Kilt Walk option, which may probably include some light Kilt jogging.

I’m a little disappointed, but the Kilt Run was supposed to be the first step toward the Spartan Race coming up in August –and I cannot complete a full mile without stopping.

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Getting your running legs back takes longer when you’re 46 instead of 15 maybe. Also, while I was making some progress the first couple of weeks, I slacked off last week.

I just didn’t get out on the practice field and run laps.

ymca-field
A safe place to go where the other runners won’t laugh at you.

I’ll get back to it this week, which probably won’t help much for Saturday’s run, but this is all a process. I get that.

My time is limited.

I now have just six months to get myself up to running 14 miles and capable of leaping over fire or fighting dinosaurs or whatever it is they’re putting out there for the Spartan Race.

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I have no idea how you train to deal with this.

I haven’t looked too deeply. Why spoil the surprise?

In the meantime, I’ve subscribed to an email newsletter that’s supposed to provide me with workout tips and things to help me prepare.

I haven’t actually opened in any of these emails, but it’s a process, right? One step at a time.

Back in the saddle

It’s been a while since I posted anything on the blog. There are a million reasons why I stopped, but the biggest reason was that I just needed a break.

“One Month at a Time” has been an amazing experience. Even when I haven’t enjoyed a particular thing I’ve done, I’ve enjoyed being a part of it, but it’s a lot.

Through October, it always felt like I was running somewhere or trying to cram one more thing into my day. It didn’t really slow down through the holidays either -and it felt good to just stop for a minute, slack off a little bit.

I might have come back sooner, but I forgot the password for this thing and finally had to ask somebody what it was.

Aa couple of months seems like a long enough time to take a break. I’m already back to work with “One Month at a Time.” January finished up Sunday. I completed my month of self-defense classes with maybe a broader understanding of what it means to choose to learn something like that.

I may write a little more about that on the blog since I’m currently still taking classes at Butch Hiles Brazillian Jujitsu and Mixed Martial Arts.

I’m also about five days into my next topic. More about that this weekend. I also have the following month locked down and a thumbnail sketch of things I might take on over the remainder of the year.

Basically, emails have been sent and I’m waiting to see if anybody bites –but it’s not all settled.

My wish list of stuff to do is long, but I’m always glad to hear a better idea. If you have an idea that sounds workable, let me know.

I will consider just about anything.

As far as updates –am I still a vegan?

Sort of. The working term I use is “veganish,” which I totally stole from the cover of a cookbook.

In the month since I finished up my year with being a vegan, I’ve had a few things outside of a vegan diet, but a lot less than I would have imagined a year ago.

I had some chocolate, which contains dairy. I’ve eaten two chocolate chip cookies and five pancakes, which were awesome.

I didn’t worry about the tablespoon of cheese on a mound of refried beans at a Mexican restaurant and had the vegetarian option at Bluegrass Kitchen, which wasn’t vegan.

There are probably a couple of other instances, but I don’t buy meat or meat products to take home.

I’m perfectly fine.

With other projects -I’m still reading about self-sufficiency and planning a big garden in the spring. It seems like a good time to do that.

I also got an Eton American Red Cross weather radio –found it on clearance for 9 bucks. It goes with the rest of my “prepper-lite” gear, along with the camp stove and a solar lantern.

I’m hoping to get into a half-triathlon in 2017, which means some training.

I’m also planning on returning to the Charleston Ballet next fall to be part of their production of “The Nutcracker” again. I didn’t even delete the video of the dance steps from my phone.

So, here we go again. More blogging. It’s good to be back.

Here’s another blog post from June’s unplugged experience.

 

Lynch list2

Triathlon: Final week

Well, here we are, down to the last week of my training.

Looking back on it, I think I should have pushed the running portion a lot harder in the beginning. Also, I think I should have jumped harder into the mix rather than eased into training. Those first couple of weeks, I did a little cycling and a little swimming.

I wish I could have found a slightly better bike.

I almost bought another bike. For the last two weeks, I’ve been driving past the Capitol flea market on Greenbrier Street and noticed a blue 10-speed sitting out in front of a junk dealer.

I stopped in Saturday to look at it. The bike was $30, but needed new tires and probably brakes.

I decided to pass.

I’ll manage with the one I have. It’s a tank, but it’s my tank.

During this last week, I’m tinkering with my nutrition to see if by cutting out some of my starches I can maybe drop a pound or two and increase my energy a little. One of the books I’ve been reading, “Primal Endurance,” pushes staying away from refined grains, potatoes, and basic starches.

It may be too late for all of that, but a pound is a pound, right? That would be one less pound to carry.

I’m also going try out some of these energy gels I’ve been hearing about. “Primal Endurance” doesn’t like them, but I need to be able to refuel somehow during my race –and I can’t handle much on my stomach and still run. I don’t think I could keep down a banana or a Cliff bar.

I plan to work out hard the first part of the week and then slow it down by Friday. I won’t do a lot Saturday, just rest, stretch and try to hydrate up.

I’m going to try to get some extra sleep somewhere and try to meditate to relax.

Right now, I figure my biggest problem is anxiety. I’m worried that I won’t complete the race. I’m worried that I’ll embarrass myself and come in dead last.

All of this is silly. None of it matters.

I’m doing this.

Throw Back Thursday: Dispatches from the dark

After a long break, we’re back in the blogging business.

Here are a couple of “official” blog posts I did while I was unplugged in June.

Thanks again to Sullivan’s Records and Bluegrass Kitchen for putting up with my nonsense (though not a lot. I only wrote four posts by hand)

It seemed like I should have shared this earlier, but meh… triathlon training is hard.

To put it in perspective, I started blogging late. Mostly, because in the beginning, I wasn’t sleeping particularly well.

 

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Here’s another:

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I’m working on some meaningful things to write about yoga. The trick with this is that there are few pictures. I keep bringing a camera, but it’s hard to take photos when you’re doing downward facing dog. Basically, you’re not shooting anything anyone wants to see in a family friendly newspaper. I could let the instructor shoot photos, but imagine that might interfere with teaching the class.

Also, I’m pretty sure the paper wouldn’t pay them for the pictures.

In any case, what I can talk about is where we are with classes. At this point, at The Folded Leaf, I’ve taken Basic Hatha, Yin, Gentle Yoga, Basic Vinyasa, Saturday Early Bird and the potluck community yoga class, which varies according to the instructor I think, but is probably generally sort of gentle.

The goal is by the end of this month to give hot Vinyasa and Hot yoga a shot, but I’ve also got to fit in some classes at the YMCA and at the Elkview Community Center –that’s my neighborhood yoga.

I actually meant to go to Elkview Community Center last week, which, according to the web, is about six minutes from my house.

It’s also conveniently located near a Dairy Queen, which would have mattered a lot more a few months ago, but I didn’t know this when I went out looking for the community center last Tuesday. Nope, I just glanced at the screen on my laptop, grabbed my purple mat, and dragged my 10 year-old to try some local yoga.

If things went well, we could stop and get the boy a cone. I might try one of the Orange Julius things. I’ve read some of them are vegan, which is probably mostly wishful thinking. The only place less vegan sounding than a Dairy Queen is a Lonestar Steakhouse.

Luckily, things went very badly.

Ten minutes into the drive, I started swearing and openly wondering where I’d missed my turn.

The kid, meanwhile, stared out the window at the passing landscape wistfully while I ranted about the $#@%* internet and then Elkview.

This is not the first time I’ve gotten turned around while looking for something in the vicinity of Elkview. For me, the place is like the Bermuda Triangle. I’ve lived near Elkview for years, but have no idea where anything is. At Christmas, we missed making cards with the Cub Scouts because I drove us around for half an hour before finally giving up and going home. Holiday team and craft building exercises would be damned, I said.

Afterwards, there was quite a bit of grumbling then, along with eventual apologies for once again screwing up Scout night.

The kid just sighed and said, “It’s OK.”

So, we drove around until, fed up, I plugged in the GPS and the preceded to guesstimate the address.

That went not-so-well, too, and took me halfway to Clendenin until I drove back toward Elkview and looked the address up on my phone. From there, it only took a minute to find the place, but we were half an hour late.

So, no local yoga. We went home, where I sulked while he watched cartoons.

But tonight, I’m going. I got my directions. I know how to get there. I’m bringing the kid. There may be a frozen treat afterwards, if not for me, then for him.

I can do this.

Improv: Getting to Know You -Craig Snider

This is another of The Fearless Fools. There are still a couple left in the box. We’ll finish these off before we stretch into the new month of stuff.

 

Name: Craig Snider

Age: 36

Hometown: Volga, WV

Occupation: Receptionist/writer/editor/TBD

craig
Craig is to the left of the creature in red that will haunt your dreams.

 

What’s your life like outside of comedy?

I spend most of my time either reading, writing, watching television, or quietly ruminating on life’s mysteries, or as a friend of mine calls his process, “have a Big Think.”

 

How did you get started in Improv/Comedy?

My friend and mentor, Steve Goff told me he was going to start doing improv workshops, and asked if I’d help. I had always loved Whose Line, so I was eager to assist. After several of his workshops were a success, he said he had been approached to put together a team, and asked if I’d help with auditions. I later learned I had made the team.

 

What was your first workshop or show like?

Our first Fools show left a huge impression on me. I have never been a performer, unless you count class clown, but being on stage, essentially playing make-believe was like nothing I had ever done before. I get nervous if I’m doing a play, or if I have to speak in front of people, but not when I’m doing improv. I have never had any problem making a fool of myself. It was an experience I’ll never forget, and probably many others won’t either, for good or bad.

 

In comedy or the improv comedy world, who do you look up to?

As Steve Goff helped us learn the art of improv, he brought us a DVD called, “Trust us…,” which was a documentary about TJ Jagodowski and Dave Pasquesi, two improvisers who have a two-man, 60 minute improv show. They create an entire comedic drama, complete with characters they each take turns playing, and by the end, you never second-guess the reality they’ve created. It is a brilliant combination of acting and improv that had our whole team captivated. We still refer to that video often, and have even created improv warm-ups we call a “TJ and Dave.”

 

What’s the best part about what you do?

I get to be a kid again. I always played make-believe, and there were always strange characters and voices in my head when I was young. Possible psychosis, or future skill? Either way, all through my life, I spent most of my time trying to entertain myself or others by being silly. As we grow up, it becomes harder and harder to find venues for that type of outlet without being shut up in a rubber room. With improv, I get to do that again. It is a liberating and cathartic experience.

 

What’s the hardest part?

For me personally, it has being trying to deconstruct improv from an artistic standpoint, how to improve and make my game better. I can’t afford to go to Second-City, or have one of the fantastic teachers from Unplanned Comedy or Steel-City Improv come down. At least not until my one man show about the bubonic plague takes off. So, in the meantime, I find myself just trying to be a cosmic improv sponge, and I hope the universe will send me the knowledge I need.

 

What’s (almost) always funny?

As far as improv is concerned, it is when the performers are completely invested in the reality they’ve created, and they aren’t TRYING to be funny. That is the surest way to kill an improv scene. It is hard to just let go of the comedic instincts that tell you to go for the punchline. It is a very zen experience to just trust in your scene partner and see where you end up.

 

Advice for someone who might want to do Improv?

It is absolutely vital to get some kind of guidance. Go see other teams perform and talk to them afterward about their process. Take a class, and join a group. Just jump in and say, yes.

 

Are two drink minimums necessary or are they just a rip off?

Depends on the context. Hanging out at the bar? Rip off. House party? Rip off. Seeing a comedy show? Recommended. Monday morning staff meeting? Absolutely essential.

 

Do you believe in Santa Claus, unicorns or global warming (choose one)?

Personally, I think if Santa Claus would stop feeding his unicorns high octane fiber, we would have less methane, and global warming wouldn’t be an issue.

 

If you could ask Drew Carey one question, what would it be?

Why do you always look like you are staring into the sun?

 

Is prison really as bad at they say or is that just the media?

I think prisoners are just misunderstood, and need a big hug. And an improv show.

 

How good is your spelling?

Perfekt.

 

Do you have any time/money saving tips for our readers?

If you want to save money, don’t spend any. If you want to save time, stop doing other stuff.

 

Have you ever been to Ohio?

Cleveland rocks.