Swordfighting For Health

We were out…well, not really late last night. Except maybe by my “I get up at 3 am” standards. When we got home, my son still wanted to play. He didn’t have to go to school in the morning, and wanted to stay up. I hesitated at first, but… “for a little while,” I said. “What do you want to play?”

“Let’s swordfight!” he declared, handing me his light-up Minecraft Christmas sword (yes, that’s a thing) and then running off to get one of his lightsabers.

Well, I decided, if we’re going to do this we’re going to do this right. So I’ve got John Williams’ Duel of the Fates queues up by the time he gets back, and we go at it – with my son declaring himself Obi-Wan and me filling the role of a Christmas-theme Darth Maul. It ended with me getting my legs cut off and stabbed in the stomach repeatedly.

Somewhere in there, I also covered the last quarter-mile I needed to walk for the day. I guess we were pretty energetic.

Is there a point to this? Sure. Exercise doesn’t have to be work. In fact, if you’re having fun with it, you’ll be far mire likely to do it.


It’s Halloween!

Ah, Halloween – historically, my second most favorite holiday. And if we could move the gift-giving and tree-decoration to Halloween, it would bump up to all-time favorite. Imagine singing Halloween carols for all of October, and decorating a Halloween tree, and hanging witch hats for Jack Skellington to fill on Halloween Eve, and…

And, well, I digress.

The point is, I love Halloween. And I’m pretty sure I’ll help me get in all my walking today. My son is old enough that he’s starting to plan for the long haul. His costume has a backpack, and he’s planning on filling it up and his truck or treat pumpkin as well. And so nice he’s only 7, he’s not going alone. I figure I’ll be walking all over creation tonight. Or, at least, all over a neighborhood or two.

I am so looking forward to this!

That’s A Lot Of Stairs

Let me show you something…

That is the view down the central stairwell at work, from the third floor. It’s a heck of a walk. Way back in the day, it was my Everest. My goal was to climb it without stopping, and for a long time it was a distant goal. At first, I had to stop and catch my breath at every floor. By the time I reached the top my heart was hammering away and I was gasping for breath and I was wondering why I was doing this to myself.

I bring this up because my department moved up to the third floor a few weeks ago. Every morning I climb those stairs, log onto my computer, and get ready for the day while it boots up. I’m a little winded, but not badly. And it wasn’t until this morning that I really thought about that. I’m now (almost) casually doing something that was an achievement, a year and a half ago.

Yay me!

I suppose I’ll need to start working together able to run up them now…

Not So Much “Motivational” As “Entertaining”

It’s Monster Day! Last time, I was 37,557 steps ahead of my fuzzy pursuer. And now, a week later?

Uhm, more.

Honestly, when I downloaded this app, I thought it would be motivational. Yet another fun game to play, as I go and walk. And it’s still kind of fun, checking in on the maniacally gleeful little guy. But motivational?

Nah. Not really. Not yet, anyway. Maybe someday, when I see that it’s starting to gain on me.

You know what is motivational? Lizards. These guys:

All summer, my son and I have been trying to get a picture of one of these little guys. They run around 3 to 5 inches long, and they’re all over my neighborhood. And we finally managed it, at which point I uploaded it to INaturalist for help identifying it (and, so far, the best guess is an Eastern Fence Lizard) – a fun little app that’s turned walks with my son into a real-life game of Pokémon.

I mean, don’t get me wrong. We still play Pokémon Go as well. But now, anything we find something interesting, he wants me to take a picture of it so we can find out what it is. Even if we already know what it is.

Is there a health and fitness point to all of this? Uhm… uh… exercise more? So you can outrun weird little green monsters that try to eat you and spend more time with your family as you do?

Nah, I got nothing. I’m just having fun here.

Some You Win, Some You Lose

We had my 6-year-old nephew over to spend the weekend, a fact that resulted in a great deal of excitement from my son (right up until we had to take him home on Sunday afternoon). This little fact resulted in some success and failures for me. And, in the interests of getting it out of the way, I’ll hit the failures first.

In brief, I’m back to 323 pounds.

No, I’m not blaming him for this. The weekend was really a continuation of the “eating poorly” trend I’d established by Thursday of last week. Something in my head said “well? I’m not exercising anyway…” and I sort of went off the rails. Then we had a busy weekend and ate out a bunch, and the end result is that I put some weight back on.


Now. Onto the goodness. I took my son and my nephew for an accidental mile-long hike around a lake.

I can hear the question now: “how do you go for an accidental mile-long hike?” And the answer is simple: you take the wrong trail.

See, we went to the Cincinnati Nature Center on Saturday, because it’s pretty and because they were having a free orienteering class for kids as part of the Great Outdoors Weekend. So they learned about how compasses work, and wanted to go hiking. So we headed out in a trail, and I thought we’d taken the trail that just went around the back of the Visitors Center.

It did. For an extremely generous understanding of “around the back”. I mean, the lake was around the back. Right?

The kids did great. They loved walking through the woods, and over the two bridges we came to, and they found all kinds of cool sticks and rocks and places to see birds. They would sprint up the hills and stare back at me impatiently, and had a great time. They were also really glad for the water we got when we got back to the Visitors Center, since we hadn’t brought any (see “accidental”, above).

I felt good, too. I mean, sure. I was drenched with sweat and my legs were a little sore, but it was nothing that sitting for a few minutes couldn’t cure.

Next time, though? I’ll check the trail maps and take water.

Heading Into The Weekend

Something cool happened yesterday. Well, two cool things. The first is that I realized that I still get to walk home with my son after school. The bus drops him off about halfway between our condo and his old kindergarten, so we still get to look at lizards and talk about things as we head home. (There’s also exercise, because he likes to climb up in a retaining wall and jump so I can catch him. 60 pounds of flying 6 year old is a workout.)

Here’s the second cool thing. After he put his backpack back on, he yelled “catch me daddy!” and took off running down the sidewalk. So I took off running after him, and chased him about 150 or 200 feet. When I stopped, which I only did because I’m not entirely confident in my ability to make a sharp turn and transition from concrete to grass yet), I realized something: I wasn’t winded. Not in the slightest.

It’s a little thing, but it felt good. Even better, I’d realized that I could have run farther if I’d been inclined.


5K Training: Week One, Complete!

My legs haven’t been this sore in years. I mean, they aren’t as bad as when I first started walking when I first started trying to lose weight, but… ouch. Stiff and aching, and I hobble a little when I stand up after sitting a while.

Is it ridiculous that I’m enjoying the sensation? Because I am – it feels like proof that I’m working hard. Well, that and all the sweat. I’m usually soaked by the time I finish.

It’s also nice because it’s helping me easily hit my walking goals. I’ve been averaging about 7 miles a day this week, and (thanks to a family walk) hit 8.49 miles last night. Yes, I kind of collapsed into bed at the end of the day. I rather think I earned it.

All of this goes a long way towards giving me a feeling of confidence that I’ll be seeing some positive results when I get on the scale tomorrow! Particularly since yesterday is the first day this week that I missed my calorie budget, and I only went over by about 40 calories!

So, I get the weekend to rest up. Then, come Monday, the 5K training gets harder. I’m looking forward to it!