Fitness Journal 9.12.17

Workout Area? Not today...More Like Library

Our little workout area, doused in the chaos of my second-to-last trip of this recent move.

 

My happy little place has been turned upside down yet again, this time by the second-to-last trip (pictured above) of this move.

Still remaining is my coat-rack, my couch and my shoe-stand, but this…this is the bunk of it. My primary collection of books is back in my immediate possession, though I’ll need to buy new ones, and am still deciding what to buy exactly. Pictured just beyond the boxes in the foreground is my group of my favorites, the rest are off-stage (obviously). Couple of collections of Jack Gilbert, a few study Bibles, a regular Bible, the Alexander Hamilton bio by Ron Chernow, Etc.

But all that, dear Reader, is not why you opened this writing. Nor do you perhaps particularly care about how I took the weekend off from fitness, but got in 35 pushups and 40 sit-ups yesterday.

Alas, here’s what I did today:

Fitness Journal 9.12.2017

– 35 pushups
– 40 sit-ups
– 50 bicep curls with 5lb weight with right hand
– 60 bicep curls with 5lb weight with left hand
— (*Sidenote: Did each set with the other arm holding its allocated weight in Ballet 1st position arms. See this link but imagine that instead of out front with empty hands, you’re holding a 5lb weight between thumb and index finger. Trust me, you feel it).

– 30 Overhead presses with 5lb weights

Stretched my achilles’ in the shower, but felt soreness afterward (as I have a lot lately). So I’m going to start back up on a steady, rigorous ice regimen like when I first injured myself: ice applied via ice-cup to each, 10 minutes at a time, three times a day. That felt great this morning. We’ll see if I can use that to heal up a bit more and build back into stretching. In the meantime, we’ll start finding some core and butt workouts to start sliming down that way and building muscle to support running again once I’m ready.

Have a great day everyone.

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Poetry: Let Me Show You What I See

Let me show you what it feels like:
Waking up at 5 a.m., semi-groggy
and going for a drive.
Smell the country, Kansas air
mixed with the sounds of
city. A mixture of smells assaulting the nostrils
horse-manure and diesel engines, united
by country music
in a place everyone thinks they want to get the hell out of.

But I know something they never knew,
like Steven Curtis Chapman dancing with his daughter
I know the oft-overlooked energy
of a place 26,000 strong, going on 100K.
I can feel the energy.
It calls to me on my balcony at 6 a.m.,
in sounds of car horns and air-brake discharges. It invigorates,
energizing the soul like a deep-tissue massage
to the heart.

Yet I also understand Cinderella’s youth
is fading, transient, and prone to missing.
I understand perfection is relative,
and this isn’t always relatively-perfect.
All the while, Chapman knows
what I too am old enough to:
Beauty in the eyes is fleeting,
but there’s inherent humanity in choosing.
To look below the surface.
To be wounded by the flaws
Yet still feel blissfully lovestruck.

By a job.
By a place.
By a person.
By an idea.

To feel i from the Spanish
shouts you don’t understand at a high-school
soccer game, or with a camera
on a sideline, under Friday-night lights.

If I am Johnny Cash
this place is my El Paso.
I don’t know that I always love it
But I hope I’m always strong enough
to choose to.

Fitness Journal 9.7.2017

Personal note: left out yoga today and the last few days due to Achilles soreness. We’ll see  if my traditional stretching routine helps prevent that the next time I practice. I’m indescribably frustrated that I can’t even do a few days of downward-dog without issue, but that’s where we are I guess.

9.6.2017

– 35 pushups
– 50 situps
– 50 bicep curls (right arm) with 5-pound dumbbell
– 60 bicep curls (Left arm) with 5-pound dumbbell
– 50 grips (right hand)
– 60 grips (left hand)

Sports: Week 1 College Football Observations: Bama’s Good, Texas Is Unpredictable, And OU’s Offensive Line Is A Vulnerability

By tonight’s end, the first week of college football will be in the books for DI schools. With that, here are a few observations. Enjoy.

Observation 1: Alabama = ….just…damn.

Everyone in the country knew Alabama probably wouldn’t drop off too much from last season, but the defense was one area of concern entering this season in part because seven players from the Crimson Tide’s defense went in the 2017 NFL Draft, according to SaturdayDownSouth.com.

Everyone got their answer Saturday in the Tide’s 24-7 win over No. 3 Florida State. This was the fourth straight year the Crimson Tide recorded three sacks in their season-opening game. The most recent two were against the No. 20 teams in the nation.

That doesn’t bode well for Alabama’s next opponent, unranked Fresno State. Neither does the fact that the Tide haven’t slowed down off those performances, winning their last three week-2 matchups by a combined score of 116-20.

Week two should be a cakewalk for Alabama. In case you somehow thought Fresno State had a chance before…

Observation 2: Texas is too inconsistent to predict, both now and for the next two-to-three years.

In his Monday press conference, first-year Texas head coach Tom Herman said “We’re in this for the long haul.”

Herman was equally as candid about the depth of work needed in the program immediately after Saturday’s 51-41 loss to Maryland.

“If we all thought that we were going to come in here and in nine months, sprinkle some fairy dust on this team and think that we’ve arrived, then we’re wrong,” Herman said after the game.

Last year, the famous quote that came from broadcasters during Texas’ 2OT win over Notre Dame to start the season was “Texas, is, back folks.”

First, Texas isn’t.

Second, I’m not sure we’ll know in any one second when they are.

I don’t think that when Texas actually is “back,” there will be one defining moment when we know. I think we’ll look back at maybe a season, or a couple of them in a few years year, and realize “OK, Texas can legitimately contend this season.”

That’ll only happen if Tom Herman gets time though, something Texas fans and regents have historically been reluctant to allow. Still, looking back statistically at previous seasons, there really aren’t a lot of scoring trends that point to simple conclusions like “Texas needs to play better defense” or “They need to score more points” to be able to armchair-quarterback Texas to success.

Realistically, Texas just needs to play better.

If they give Tom Herman time to make the cultural-shift he’s curating work, then they’ll be back at Alabama’s level before long.

But it will take two to three years.

For now, I wouldn’t bother trying to predict what they’ll do until they do it, because Texas is just too unpredictable at the moment, and it’s impossible to say how long that will last.

Observation 3: Oklahoma’s offensive line might be a real vulnerability this season

This morning, I watched the replay of the first half of the game Saturday between UTEP and Oklahoma.

My opinion: Oklahoma kind of got away with one in that game.

Who knows, maybe I’ll eat what I’m about to say next week. Maybe Oklahoma will come out, drop the hammer against No. 2 Ohio State in the Horseshoe.

But watching that replay, the part before OU quarterback Baker Mayfield came out, that Oklahoma offensive line did not look very good. Here are some statistics to back that up.

UTEP had a sack and five tackles-for-loss against the Oklahoma offense. OU, ranked No. 7 in the nation going in, had a sack, and four tackles-for-loss against the UTEP offense.

Same number of sacks.
UTEP had more Tackles for loss.
OU had more points and got the win.

In the half I watched, UTEP got fairly regular pressure on Mayfield, who started off 16-16 passing and ended up going 19-20.

Still, this was the first time since 2014 Oklahoma has had fewer sacks than an opponent in a season-opening game, and won.

Last year, they were out-sacked 5-2 by No. 15 Houston, who pulled out the huge upset under the guidance of then-head coach and now conference-rival Tom Herman. Two weeks later hosted No. 3 Ohio State, losing 45-24 and again getting out-sacked, this time 3-1.

Now, Oklahoma only gets a week to prepare for a road-game against an Ohio State squad fresh off beating Indiana 49-21 behind senior quarterback J.T. Barrett, who had 150 yards and four touchdowns with no interceptions on 14-20 passing last year against Oklahoma.

Maybe it won’t matter. Maybe this week, the Sooners players will get a lot better from week one to week two just like many teams do after they’ve tasted actual gameplay for the first time in a season.

But I’m predicting Ohio State will win by at least 14 points, largely because their defensive line will rock Oklahoma’s offensive line.

Fitness Journal 9.1.2017, With Notes, Explanation

I’ll make two disclaimers here.

First: My GOSH, it’s been a hot minute since I published under the “fitness” category! January 2015? Wow. Well, we’ll do what we can to keep that particular period from happening again.

Second: These workout-diary entries I’ll be posting will be indicative of fairly-weak workouts at first. I’ve let myself slip a bit this summer, largely out of fear of re-aggravating my own self-inflicted (accidentally) injuries. Rest, I’ve found, only provides so much of a remedy. If there’s one fitness lesson I’ve been perplexed by, it’s been the idea that rest is great and in today’s fitness community, a bit underrated, but movement is also vital.

Thus, here we are; having freshly moved to Dodge City, Kansas this week to assume the sports editor position at the city newspaper. Here we are; currently living in an apartment with yoga equipment, about six dishes, a cot and an internet connection.

That, friends, is all I need at the moment, as I wait both for finances to give me a bit more breathing room and for my upcoming trip out to Topeka later this month, at which point I’ll bring back many of my other household items.

In the meantime however, I’m not sitting idle. Sports reporting is wonderful in the sense that it’s mostly an evening task, and during fall sports season specifically, most full-time sports reporters report to work later in the day because they often work until 10:30 or 11 at night covering games.

That leaves my mornings open. And, being a morning person, gives me all the time I want to wake up, have coffee while watching Sportscenter, and then get in a good workout before a preparing my notes for whatever reporting the day will bring.

That reporting today includes my first high-school football game. I’ll be on assignment to Wichita to cover the season-opener of the local high school team, the Dodge City Red Demons.

For now, here’s my workout log. Feel free to shoot me questions or comments either here or via twitter, (or Facebook, if we’re friends). The extra repetitions on left hand with the wrist-grip thing (those spring things that resist when you close your hand around them) come because I am right-handed. Last time someone measured, my right bicep was actually a whole inch bigger than my left one. Hence, the 10 extra reps on that side, intended on developing equality. Yoga, and future fitness goals (which I’ll post tomorrow, but include handstands) will necessitate sincerely increased strength, and not just in one side.

Thoughts or suggestions? Hit me up. Here’s my log:

Workout Journal: 9.1.2017.

– Erin Motz video two, “Detox” video two, “Detox” 

– 5, 10, 15 workout series, full five cycles (From Pinterest)

– 10 minute stretch sequence (memorized from a book I have in Abilene right now)

– 10 calf-raises (Intended 30, halted due to Achilles soreness/sensation)

– Grip repetitions:
– – Right wrist: 50 (slow)
– – Left wrist: 60 (slow)

– Focused foam-rolling
– – Targeted left thigh due to tension of intense nature experienced during yoga.
– – – No to little effect noticed, indicating (to me anyways) thigh is probably tight due to tension elsewhere, likely in calves.
– – Targeted right calf, also due to tension noticed during simple yoga.
– – – Targed whole calf, found one really tight spot. Held on it for 15-20 second.

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How I Told Dodge City’s Power Grid “Stop Breathing” Within 10 Minutes of Getting Here, and Other First Impressions

Dodge City: So far, it doesn’t suck.

That’s the simmered version of the first impression I have of the place.

It’s 7:31 a.m. as I type this. I drove my Dodge into Dodge just under 14 hours ago, and immediately got a laugh. If you ever get the chance to see that movie “The Dark Tower,” or if you read the book it’s based on, you’ll recall the “Man In Black” who (I think) is basically a killable version of the devil. Well, one of this man’s powers is to be able to kill people by simply telling them “Stop Breathing.”

It felt like I did that very thing to this city last night. The forecast called for sunny skies and 81 when I would get there, having left Manhattan, Kansas earlier that morning in the middle of heavy thunderstorms.

But as I arrived, Dodge City actually got hit by one, a fairly large one that brought patches of heavy rain. As I walked in and introduced myself to the young hotel clerk at the place I’ll be staying these next few days, I handed him my debit card and ID, the former of which he ran like all hotels do when you check in.

As he ran it, there was some thunder outside, a flicker of the lights, then all the power went out. To the entire hotel. The young man (probably 17 but nice enough) went to get the manager who lives on-site, and before long she got it all setup and me checked into my room with a master-key. I told them I’d leave to get dinner and hope things would be on when I got back.

I got in my truck and departed for the nearby Applebee’s (what better way to eavesdrop on the community a bit than to people-watch at a bar), only to find on the way that it was about half the city that had lost power. Patrons and employees of businesses along Wyatt Earp Boulevard stood outside their business, police coordinated traffic at busy stoplights, and I instead had to figure out what else to do with my time.

I found the city’s one Wal-Mart. That’s how I spent my first few hours in Dodge City. Sidenote, I did eventually go to Applebee’s. Stomach: 1, Thunderstorm: 0.

This morning, however, I think I’ve had a little more success getting a feel for the city, or at least a first-impression.

After waking up due to a nightmare about being on a six-mile run on my first day of work and realizing I’d be late to my first day (which today is), I decided to shower, watch a little Sportscenter, and go find breakfast.

I had seen on maps that there was a coffee shop. Not a Starbucks, mind you, but a coffee shop. Also, I wanted pancakes and the “Big Breakfast” thing from McDonald’s, not realizing my hotel offered continental breakfast (but which I probably wouldn’t have done anyways because I wanted to get out and see the city in the pre-dawn hours).

Dodge City has two, and according to Google Maps, they’re both open 24 hours. That already gives this city a plus-1 in my book. Say what you want to say about how it “isn’t real food” or is terrible for you, but there’s something I believe to be absolute fact: when you need cheap, bad-for-you-but-filling food, you really really need cheap, bad-for-you-but-filling food. Like when you’re drunk. Or when you haven’t slept a lot because you woke up from the most lame nightmare ever. Neither of the two McDonald’s in Manhattan is open 24 hours.

Which brings me to point out another thing that’s open apparently 24-hours per day here:

Just about friggin everything.

Dodge City: 1, Manhattan: 0.

Maybe, as I drove around at 6 a.m., the places I saw closed overnight and just had their employees come in super-early, so “24 hours” might be a little hyperbolic.

Here’s what I noticed though. Perhaps by virtue of this place being a major trucker location in the far southwest corner of Kansas, compared to Manhattan which basically just has a Big 12 university and is 10 miles away from the interstate, I still find it exciting to see just how many people are on the roads and at work at 6 a.m. here.

This is, of course, perhaps purely a “me-problem” I’ve had with other places, because I am both an extravert and a morning-person. So I draw energy from being around people, and am at my very best in the mornings.

There’s more hustle-and-bustle in this city at 6 a.m. then there is in Topeka, Kansas, and certainly in Manhattan, Kansas, each of which has at-least about twice as many people.

That, is exciting to me. Sure, I’ll probably have to become more of night-owl here soon because today I start my new job as the sports editor at the Dodge City Globe, and who knows, maybe my first impression of the place will prove totally false and today is just an exception to things.

My first-impression of the city, however, is a good one. Now, if I can just find a nice apartment and a decent mocha, it’ll be about perfect.

 

Wedding Season, Part 1

I guess you could say it’s my favorite time in my life.

Sure, I’m between moves, and sure I’m technically homeless until I land my next job as a journalist (though I am staying with my parents, it doesn’t count as “home.” More on that some other time).

But tomorrow, I get to attend a wedding.

It’ll be only the second one I’ve been invited to and the first I’ll have attended because of prior work commitments which kept me from attending the other one.

The wedding is between two great people I know, one a dear friend who I took multiple English classes with. The other is her hilarious future husband, who’s comments on the wedding’s Facebook page crack me up to no end.

Then there’s the fact that it’s a wedding.

To me, as a practicing Christian, there’s really no celebration more meaningful except perhaps a baptism ,but I’ll leave that one up for debate for now. Whatever your spiritual beliefs, these two amazing people have been led to each other, whether that be by God, the stars, or “mere circumstance” and have decided to commit to being life-long best friends. Tomorrow, when they take their vows, they will commit to that, before God and country and witnesses.

Two people have fallen in love.

Despite all of the chaos in the world. Despite all the evil and darkness humanity sometimes seems to bring upon those who seek to be or do good. Despite the tendency of so many people to serve as naysayers to nearly everything. Despite it all, they have found light in each other.

They have fostered themselves as people, fostered themselves spiritually, and started to learn to foster each other. And, what is more, tomorrow they’ll commit to keep working at it. They’ll commit to keep enjoying it sure, but even more, they’ll commit to keep working at it.

That’s a special thing. It isn’t a commitment everyone can make, not one everyone does even when they have the opportunity. But tomorrow, Lord wiling, the world will become a little bit better because of the joy they have found in each other and the courage they now exemplify.

Can there be a more joyous occasion?

I somehow doubt it.