Rain. Rain, and Treadmills

I didn’t get in quite as much walking this morning as I have on other mornings. For a couple of reasons. I was running a little late, so I didn’t get out the door until 3:15 – not so bad, in and of itself. But there was rain drizzling down, so I figured this morning would be a treadmill day and went back inside to get the clubhouse key.

When I got back out, the heavens had opened and water was falling in great gouts. It was coming down so hard that, even with an umbrella, I was soaked by the time I made the 3 minute walk to the clubhouse. And it was 3:30 by the time I hit the treadmill.  So I only got 1.5 miles of walking in (well, 1.75 with the walk to and from the clubhouse). Which is still pretty good, but it just wasn’t quite as much fun as the other days. Treadmills are a little boring, and the workout room is warmer than I like. Give me the outdoors any day.

Still, the treadmill was better than nothing. And I’ll probably appreciate the warmth come winter, right?

Three AM Musings

I’m on day three of my new “get up and walk two miles before work” program, and I’ve noticed an interesting pattern. The first few moments of consciousness have me lying in bed, contemplating not getting up. I am not one of nature’s morning people, despite my work schedule. Left to my own inclinations, three AM would be a thing that I see because I haven’t gone to bed yet.

And then I get up, usually before the alarm in my phone goes off. See, in an effort to not wake my wife up, I have the silent alarm on my FitBit set for 3 AM and the alarm on my phone set for 3:05 AM.  It works out pretty well, I think. But I get up, and I get dressed, and I start walking.  Usually I’m listening to my podcasts and playing Pokémon Go as I walk, but I’ll probably mix that up next week and get back to Zombies Run as well.

Anyway, I’m out walking. It’s dark out, and quiet, and warm but not hot. The only sounds (other than my podcasts and music) are my feet on the pavement, and the wind, and the distant sound of traffic – and there isn’t a whole lot of that at 3 AM.  And by the time I’m up the low hill to the complex clubhouse, I’m glad I didn’t stay in bed.

Then I’m across the street and past the Methodist church, and I’m crossing another street and walking past Kroger, and suddenly I’ve covered a mile and it’s time to turn around and head home. And I haven’t seen another human being the whole time, just a few cars with black-looking windows reflecting the streetlights.

Walking home feels even easier. I’m sweating a little, and paying attention to the changing textures of the ground beneath my feet. Concrete resists my weight. Asphalt seems to spring and rebound. Grass and dirt yield and compress beneath me.  Tiny rocks crunch and skitter.

Then I’m home.  As I shave, I realize that I’m wide awake and ready for the day – far more so than if I’d hit snooze and dozed for another 40 minutes.

If I’d realized it would be this much fun, I’d have started it last year.

Early Morning Walking

The fact that I get up stupidly early in the morning isn’t really a surprise at this point.  But, historically, I haven’t done much with that. Usually, I just complain and hit snooze and generally regret the poor life decisions that led me to get five hours of sleep that night.

None of this, clearly, is useful.

I did things a little differently last night. My wife and I were trying to strategize about how to support each other as we work on our various family and career goals, and part of that was figuring out how I could get my exercise in. Long story short, I decided that I’d get up in the morning to get some of my walking in. Hitch led to me going to sleep about… 7:45?  I don’t know, but the app for my CPAP machine tells me I used it for 7 hours last night, so that seems about right.

I was out the door at 3:05 this morning, walking. And it felt good. I covered 1.95 miles in 40 minutes, walking over to the Anderson Town Center and back on a meandering fashion. It wasn’t as fast as if I’d hit the treadmill, but the weather was pleasant and it seemed a shame to be stuck in a small room if I didn’t have to be there.

Yep. I think this will work nicely.

Worse Than Hoped, Better Than Expected

I finally weighed in again this morning, after avoiding doing so for the past couple of weeks.  See, there’s been a combination of family health issues and assorted drama, and I haven’t been hitting my goals very well at all. This sort of thing inevitably leads to me hiding from the scale and then assuming the worst. So I was expecting, oh, I dunno. 320?  325?  Something bad like that.

Which made the actual result of 315.4 something of a relief.

Oh, don’t get me wrong – I’m not happy about it. It’s still a gain, and it’s still the result of not really trying (and yes, I know there were reasons). But it’s kind of nice to find out that it wasn’t as bad as I thought it was.

Well, now it’s time to get back to work. I’ve functionally rendered snacking impossible by packing breakfast nd lunch, and I’m going to be sure to hit my walking goaliday. Possibly by using a treadmill, if the thunder I’m hearing outside is any indication.

Eating (Kind Of) Well: Szechuan Chicken And Vegetables

Last night, I made a Szechuan chicken and vegetable dish from Martin Yan’s Yan Can Cook Book. I love this book, mostly because I remember watching Yan Can Cook on PBS back in the Seventies – he was my first exposure to Chinese food outside of La Choy canned chow mein of dubious authenticity (although, when I was six, I loved those crunchy noodle things they made…).

There was just one little problem.  I entirely cut the hot pepper oil and red pepper flakes from the dish, because it would have been far too hot for my wife and son (neither like really spicy food. But that left it with next to no seasoning. All it had was a little soy sauce, and a little chicken stock, and a dash of chili powder. The result was subtle. Or, less charitably, bland.

I liked it, enough to try to play around with the recipe and see if it can be salvaged when it’s not face-melting Szechuan hot. But it was uninspiring enough that, until I do, I don’t feel like posting it here.

Aw, what the heck. Bonus content!  Not a full recipe or anything, but a quick description. Shred 6 oz of leftover cooked chicken, a stir-fry it in hot oil with hot pepper oil and red pepper flakes to taste. Toss in and stir fry a shredded carrot, a shredded celery stalk, a shredded bell pepper, and 2 shredded soaked dried black mushrooms. Add a quarter cup of chicken stock, a tablespoon of corn starch, and a tablespoon of soy sauce. Serve over rice or rice noodles.  Assuming brown Jasmine rice, the dish comes out to 1157 calories and serves 4, so you’ve got a roughly 200 calorie meal here.

Stuff And Miscellaneous Nonsense

Ah, me. Second Monday. See, I had to work July 3 but not July 4 – the 4th is a market holiday, after all, but the 3rd is nothing special.  So I had a Monday, and then a day off, and now a Wednesday that feels distressingly like another Monday. No fun at all.

I’ve got my Raichu!  I even held off so that my son could hit the Evolve button, because he’s been wanting me to get one ever since he realized I had a Pikachu.  He is now convinced that I can win every gym battle ever, because I have Raichu.

Next up is my Bulbasaur (well, Ivysaur) named Audrey:

And I’ll only need to walk another 262.9 km to evolve her!

Finally, I have gotten really and truly off track recently. It’s a combination of things – family health problems, and getting burnt out on my test, and all of the other usual suspects. So I’m now trying to use Second Monday to restart. Meals have been planned and packed, and cash has been left at home (making snacking difficult), and generally I’m recommitting to hitting my goals. Which includes this blog, so you can expect to see regular posts again!