Monday, March 1, 2010

"What are you, dense? Are you retarded or something? Who the hell do you think I am? I'm the goddamn Batman!"

Well, today marks me hopping right back on the saddle, once more with feeling. And how.

After 10 days of not smoking, I fell off the wagon recently, but I'm going to grit my teeth and wade right back in and whatever other metaphor I can think of to muddy that statement up a bit. It's amazing how myopic I can be; those first three days of withdrawal are absolute hell, but they're not enough to dissuade me that, shucks, one cigarette couldn't hurt. That one turns into two turns into five, and then I'm buying a pack. You'd think I'd be smarter than that. But time and time again, I've outstupided myself.

I just got back from a short run—enough to make my still-tender ankle throb a bit but not enough to land me back on crutches. I definitely wasn't up for a full 5k over lunch today, but spending some time getting trail mud all over my new shoes was terrific in its own right, even if I ended up walking about a full third of the few miles I did manage to pound out in order to baby my ankle.

Tonight, I'm going to attempt kickboxing again. And this time, no matter how withdrawal-y I am, I am going to spit out the piece of gum I'm chewing. Yes, it's occurred to me that when I injured myself, I did so because I was chewing gum—and that too uncoordinated to chew gum and kick at the same time.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

I did it! I finally killed Batman! In front of a bunch of vulnerable, disabled kids!!! Now get me Santa Claus!

That there's a quote from the Joker instead of Batman, because I'm feeling a little purplish. This picture's a few days old, and I can assure you my foot is whole lot more black and blue, although the swelling has gone down a ton:

I'm healing very fast, which means that either the doctor was mistaken about the severity of my sprain or I've got Wolverine-like healing abilities. I've been able to walk without crutches for the past few days, getting around fairly well. My foot is still too swollen on which to jam a shoe, so I've been set up with the glorious sartorial choice of a running shoe on my left foot and an Ace wrap, gel splint and sandal on my right. I may be crippled, but at least I get to look stupid while being so.

The good news—and it is good news—is that it's been a week since I've smoked. This has made for topsy-turvy moods, and, since I haven't been able to exercise as an outlet, that topsy-turviness mainly trends toward bitchiness. My commute to work, a normally 20-minute affair chock-full of some of the dumbest drivers in the state ("Hold on a sec, rush hour traffic. I'm-a turnin' my Hummer into the Chick-Fil-A parkin' lot. Nows, I know the drive-through is full, so you'll jus' haveta wait while I stick out into the road for 10 or 15 minutes to get me a chicken sammich. These colors don't run."), which has, in my nicotine-deprived state, turned my vehicle into a maelstrom of creative profanity. But I've been good! I haven't cheated once (what we perennial ex-smokers call "chipping"), and I've done it without the patch or Zyban or any of the crap I used in recent attempts. I've reason to be proud for that, and I'll be much happier when I can actually start exercising again.

Tonight I'm going to attempt whatever sort of core workout I can manage without stressing my ankle. I assume this will include push-ups and sit-ups and, I don't know, hopping up and down on one leg, or something. But I've been eating like a crazy person, and it's time to start working some of it off. Go-go setback.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Nothing matters, except the mission.

Yep. Yessiree. I am out of commission for a few weeks, which I can chalk up only to hubris or stupidity or plain bad luck.

Last week was supposed to be my last hurrah of drinking and smoking and treating my body like poo. I did my last pub quiz, smoked my last cigarette on Thursday. My new running shoes arrived via Zappos on Friday. I went for a 5k run on Saturday, feeling terrific and eagle-eyed and looking ahead to a future of being tanned and lithe and runner-y—albeit scowly from lack of nicotine—and then went to my Saturday kickboxing session and, ten minutes in, promptly sprained the hell out of my ankle.

It made a sound like a handful of Rice Krispies being crushed, and two minute after, it looked like I had a grapefruit attached to my leg. I went to the doctor on Sunday and had X-rays done. He said that although it looks like I might have chipped my fibula, there's no fracture there, just a sprain, but still put me into a gel splint and ordered me off me feet for four to six weeks.

This sucks. Although I can walk today, or at least approximate one via hobbling on the corner of my splint since I suck at using crutches, I'm still more or less immobile, and the setback has put me in the foulest of moods. But there's some sort of lesson here, I guess, although I'm too pissy to care what it is.

Stupid sprain.

Friday, February 5, 2010

I am night. I am vengeance. It's almost my birthday.

Despite my lackluster posting, things are going well. I've lost another five pounds or so and my wife and I are training for the Denver marathon in October (training: reading books and occasionally running). My kickboxing this week has been productive and awesome, and I'm getting to the point where I'm one of the more advanced people in the class, as can be evinced by my thunderclap-like punches. POW! ZAM! ZIFF! And so on.

It's my 31st birthday tomorrow, and my sister sent me this pleasingly Dadaist e-card:

(A lush orchestral version of "Jingle Bells" plays while you read it. Over and over and over. This speaks volumes to the fact that my ingrained silliness is in fact genetic.)

Last year at this time, I was jobless and without a drivers license, planning on spending a month in a tiny cabin in the middle of winter to figure things out a bit. I'm happy to report that things are much improved, and a lot of that I can attribute directly to this Batman project and the mentality that goes along with it, namely, "Hey, wouldn't it be a great idea if I stopped abusing my body and instead tried to treat it well? Even improve it a bit?"

Speaking of which, I'm going to try to quit smoking next week, after my retirement from being a pub quizmaster. That's sort of an important step in, say, learning to run 26 miles. Wouldn't you say?

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

I can see 15 ways to kill you from this position. But I'm not going to kill you. I'm here to bring you to justice.

I spent the latter half of last week alternately puking and being lazy. I did go for a few runs, but because of my torpor—and the combat gym being closed on Saturday—I didn't make kickboxing again until Monday.

But hey, this week has been terrific so far, and I'm losing weight again and feeling light and strong and healthy. Monday and yesterday, my kicks were hard and fast and I was balanced on the balls of my feet even as I was peppering the mat with droplets of my sweat. I ellipticalled and pumped iron and did circuits and in general pushed myself, and I'll continue doing that until I find another reason to be lazy.

My wife read Born to Run (and I'm actually re-reading it now, I loved it so much) and she went onto Amazon and ordered a crap-ton of books about running. She wants to run marathons now, and I want to join her until we are a nut-brown pair of wild-eyed running psychopaths, fleet of foot and possessing 1% body fat, our hair and eyelashes bleached white from the time we spend under the sun. We'll see how this works out.

I need, need, need to make a full five kickboxing sessions this week, to blast through the five-or-so pound region I've inhabited for the past few weeks, just sort of bobbing up and down in it as I lose and then regain the weight. I get through that, and I've only got 15 pounds left to go. My belly is being stubborn; although I've lost a lot of midsection fat, it's the beer roll that continued to stubbornly resist the ridiculous amount of ab work I've been doing. I shall defeat you yet.

So I'm sort of at a crossroads, training-wise. The fitness kickboxing I've been doing is very, very good for me, yes, and I'll continue doing it. But if I want to get better, I need to get more intense muay thai and MMA training. The question is: do I want to? I have very little interest in fighting anybody, in the ring or otherwise, and while the self-defense aspect would come in handy if I ever found myself in a crumbling alley in the Reagan-era Lower East Side, I'm doing all of this for my own health and well-being, not to prove anything or to compete with anyone. Taking additional fighting classes would set me on the competitive course, I think. I'll mull that while you prepare for my impending 31st birthday.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

I'm a detective. If I worship anything, it's logic.

My quads and triceps are killing me today, thanks to a pretty awesome workout yesterday in which we did circuits and then roughly 10,000 squat/touch-kick combos. This followed an extremely packed Monday night kickboxing session, with a ton of adorable newbies who were aghast at the things they were being asked to do. That aghastness fades into mild surprise, I wanted to tell them.

I just finished reading Born to Run, a Christmas gift from my sister. Now, I have to admit that I wasn't at all excited to read this book; I've always gone running for necessity only, and nobody has any business calling a book Born to Run unless it's about Springsteen. And I've always taken issue with runners' culture, which, like much of Colorado outdoor culture, focuses on gear. "If I can only spend thousands of dollars on equipment designed to heighten my enjoyment of the outdoors, I'll really enjoy the outdoors," goes that credo. "And how can someone possibly enjoy the outdoors without ripstop nylon and Gore-Tex and a North Face colostomy bag and fly-fishing gear designed by astronauts?"

Running is, in other words and like the hippie-industrial complex, a pastime or avocation that fetishizes the equipment you use to do it. I think it's horseshit, and my assumption was that Born to Run would make me roll my eyes and throw it away after ten pages. But goddamn if my sister wasn't correct—and I found myself doing something I only do with books I really love: limiting my reading to a few dozen pages a day to make it last longer. It's sort of a life-changing book, and it did exactly what my marathoner sister hoped. It made me want to run. Like, not just two miles around the track in the morning, grumbling the whole way. Not five miles or ten or twenty six point two. It made me want to run hundreds of miles at a clip, because that's what my body was designed to do.

That's the central thesis of the book—that humans were engineered from our evolutionary origins as a running species, and that we do ourselves disservice by ignoring that. We are supposed to be lithe, sinewy creatures, trotting lightly with bare feet over tracks hundreds of miles long. Our bodies function best this way. Our psyches function best this way. Our societies function best this way. And you'll forgive me for drooling the way I am over this, but for the present I'm less Batman and more The Flash.

So. I'm going to run. Or, more specifically, I'm going to run again, and reincorporate this into my workouts—which, although I've been doing religiously, have seemed more and more sort of humdrum and normal over the past few weeks. I'm not going to buy expensive shoes or marathon nipple-tape or carbohydrate gels. I'm just going to run, barefoot if need be, and then I'm going to run some more.

And then I'm going to quit smoking.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Brave new world, which has such yutzes in it.

Back from the regular gym for one of my lunchtime sessions, elliptical and Ratatouille. Had a brutal kickboxing session yesterday during which I almost passed out—which might have been from either the lack of food I'd had that day or the vodka I drank the night before at pub quiz. Generally, a hangover is entirely banished through the sweating, but it didn't seem to work that way yesterday.

I'm still losing weight, which is terrific; I stepped on the scale yesterday morning and was shocked to see "192" looking back at me. I think it was a fluke, though.

Tonight: kickboxing, then some comfort food, as it's still cold as balls.