Tag: Running

What’s Your Habit, Dude?

So, the other day I stumbled upon a YouTube channel. It’s a middle-aged guy who lost a hundred pounds and now competes in all kinds of running, cycling, and general fitness events. He’s articulate, funny, and doles out some pretty good, motivational advice. I’m not sure why, but I gravitate to those types of channels. Probably because in my head, any day now I’m going to go run an ultramarathon. Never mind that I’m struggling with 3 miles at the moment. The training is really going to kick in soon.

Anyway, in one of his videos he mentioned creating habits. He referenced a book that he says completely changed the way he thinks about this sort of thing. It’s called Atomic Habits by James Clear. Well, if it’s good enough for this guy it’s good enough for me. I jumped on to Amazon’s book site, found the book, and… it said I’d already downloaded it. I checked my Kindle and sure enough, there it was. I’d even read it. And I had absolutely zero memory of it. Clearly it didn’t make much of an impression on me.

But maybe I was taking too much cold medication that week? I decided to give it another go. Sure enough, something jumped out at me several chapters in. Something that further proved, once again, that Mrs. Troutdog is the smarter one in our marriage. She didn’t like my post from the other day, saying she hates when I talk negatively about myself. I agree that I tend to be very self-effacing when I write. Sometimes it’s for brilliant comedic effect. Sometimes it’s authentic voice. The truth is that I’m not much of a self-promoter. Besides, it’s hard to fail if you set the bar ridiculously low to begin with. Right?

So, what does this have to do with habits? One of the things that the author said about creating a habit is the importance of creating a positive affirmation. It’s a subtle thing, but one that makes a difference in how you view the habit you’re trying to start. Rather than saying, “I’m going to go for a run because I’d like to be considered a runner one day”, you need to tell yourself that you ARE a runner. It doesn’t matter that you can barely go three blocks… you ARE a runner and therefore you need to train. That subtle shift in mindset makes a huge difference in motivation to continue a habit.

I realized that this is exactly what I’ve been doing to myself, for years, and why it probably drives Mrs. Troutdog crazy. While a pure beginner may not know the difference, someone who’s participated in a sport or activity for a while can recognize the difference between an amateur and someone who’s actually good. For many of my activities I can tell when someone really knows what they’re doing. In my head, those are the people who can call themselves a cyclist, skier, runner, writer, etc… I’ve never viewed myself as one of those people. For anything. In my head I always see myself as a beginner. Not worthy of a higher rank.

I need to go for a run this morning because I’m a runner. That’s what I do. And runners need to train. Boom! Mind blown. It’s weird how such a small change in thinking, can influence your motivation to do something.

The other nugget that was in the book is about quantity vs. quality. I’ve always struggled with habits because when starting out, it’s hard. Your form is bad. You don’t have the coordination. Endurance and strength limits what you can do. You watch videos that tout “do this one exercise for 20 reps to make major changes!”. I can’t even to 10 reps, let alone 20. Guess I won’t be doing that one.

As the old saying goes, perfect is the enemy of good. Habits are formed by repetition, regardless of the quality of what you do. The author suggests that if you want to run every morning, start by getting up every day, lacing up your running shoes, and walk around the block. That’s it. Do just that for three weeks. Every single day. It makes no difference that all you did was go around the block. You’re creating a mental cue. Rewiring your brain to change what your morning routine is. It takes hundreds of repetitions to create a lasting habit. It doesn’t matter what your running form is, if you get better, how far you went, or how fast you go. What matters is a hundred times you reinforced that cue – get up, put your shoes on, and step out the door. It’s a habit.

I am a runner. I am a mountain biker. I am a skier. I am a motorcyclist. I am a fisherman. I am a photographer. I am a writer. Now please excuse me, I need to go train.

I Don’t Care About Weight

Last night Mrs Troutdog told me that she thinks I’m obsessed with my weight and is convinced I’m trying to get back to what I weighed in high school. Ouch. I probably got a little defensive at that, but there is some truth to what she said. Just not in the way she thinks. (Like most males, communication is not my strong point)

I don’t care what I weigh. Honest. What I do care about is body fat percentage and BMI. Healthy numbers are around the low 20’s for both categories. But nobody talks about those numbers. (Hey girl, that BMI is looking mighty fine. wink, wink) We tend to incorrectly use weight as a proxy for “health”. I want to get to a sustainable body fat/BMI level that’s considered to be just barely in the fitness category. Having achieved it before, I know what number on the scale corresponds to a healthy body fat percentage for my body frame and current muscle mass. So therefore, it’s easiest when talking about goals to simply say that I’m trying to get to a certain weight.

If I could put on 20 pounds of muscle, the number on the scale would be much higher when I reached my body fat/BMI goal (but very unrealistic without the aid of HGH, T, and possibly steroids). I don’t care what the number on the scale is – I’d be perfectly happy to walk around at 220 pounds as long as my body fat was 18%. Is there some vanity associated with this? Sure. I’m human. Who doesn’t want to look great strolling down the beach? But at my age that’s a much, much smaller motivation than it was when I was younger. What I do care about is health and longevity. And I’m more and more scared about it.

At my hospital the overwhelming majority of the people I see are there as a result of weight and a lack of strength and balance. People in their 50’s, 60’s, and 70’s who can’t lift themselves off the toilet. Folks who can’t wipe themselves, trim their toenails, or tie shoelaces due to a lack of flexibility and obesity. They are so deconditioned and weak that navigating steps, reaching for something in the cupboard, or bending down to pick something up is a dangerous minefield. They fall and break hips or suffer brain bleeds when their head hits the floor. And when that happens, more often than not it’s the beginning of the end. They get placed in a rehab facility, then a skilled nursing home. And within six months to a year… they’re done.

I don’t want that. I want to be active and participating in sports as long as I can. I don’t want someone to have to tie my shoes for me when I’m 80. And I’m scared. This is the first year that I really noticed my balance is diminishing. Strength is less than it was. I became aerobically deconditioned incredibly fast during these last two years of covid-induced inactivity. And yes, the weight poured on faster than it ever has. My body fat percentage increased 6% and my BMI ballooned into the overweight category. That’s why I seem obsessed with weight at the moment.

I am determined to not let sloth get the better of me. I desperately need to develop health habits that are sustainable. But the truth of aging is that you are going to decline no matter what. You have to push harder at my age, just to maintain what you have, than you did in your twenties. The longer you wait to make a change, the harder it’s going to be. Personally, I’ve reached that tipping point of concern. All joking about giving up and just wearing velour tracksuits aside… I’m genuinely worried. It’s time to right this ship before it’s really too late.

I’ve hired personal trainer to help build back strength and mobility. I started running again. And I’m desperately trying to find an eating plan that is sustainable. Sorry to disappoint all the Keto fanatics, but zero carb full time isn’t it. Life is too short to banish tacos for the rest of my life. And by taco, I mean a real taco. Don’t give me one of those weird zero carb tortillas and fake cauliflower-based rice. I don’t know what the right eating plan is yet, but we’re working on it. None of this is easy. I don’t particularly enjoy it. But I want to be mountain biking into my 70’s and there’s only one way to achieve that.

What I care about are my blood pressure, resting heart rate, lactate threshold, A1C, strength, mobility, body fat percentage, and BMI.

I don’t care what I weigh.



	

Who Doesn’t Like The Theater?

  • I hate to break it to you, but none of this is real. The politics, the spending, the daily media-driven outrage, none of it is reality in the way you and I think of the real world. Everything you see is manufactured theater. All of it. The speeches on the house and senate floor, press conferences, social media interactions, news show appearances – they’re all deliberate, manufactured, and designed to spark outrage with the base. The same with the “media”. Pick whatever news source you like, they all intentionally craft a narrative that creates anger and frustration amongst their target audience. Why? Money. 2020 election spending was more than $14 billion dollars. Think about that. You don’t spend that kind of money without expecting a return on the other end. The deep state, unfathomably large bureaucracies, super PACS, the military industrial complex, unions, big tech, law firms, education, they are the new oligarchs of our times. They make the decisions. And they want more. More spending. More dump trucks of cash printed out of thin air. It’s been 23 years since the federal government actually passed an annual budget. The last deficit balanced budget was in 1969. Government is in the business of seizing, printing, and redistributing wealth. Period. So please, take a deep breath and realize all the outrage being shouted at you is manufactured to drive and control the narrative. And the narrative is designed to keep the spending going in the direction the collective power brokers want. Yes, that’s a bit pessimistic. But it’s the truth. And the sooner you realize it’s all theater the better you’ll sleep at night. Do your best to carve out what you can for you and your family. And then go enjoy life. Because devoting large amounts of brain time to something you can’t win isn’t healthy.
  • On a less dystopian note, this short video is pretty funny. Although you’ll only really get it if you already watch the over the top dramatic videos produced by outdoor gear manufactures. And the best part is it’s made by a gear manufacturer channeling some Mystery Science Theater.
  • Ok, back to the outrage. The blame for most of this rests on our shoulders. I saw this link about Representative Maxine Waters giving a million dollars in campaign cash to her daughter. My only thought was how do these people keep getting elected year after year? McConnell, Nadler, Graham, McCain, Pelosi, Schumer, all of them on both sides of the aisle. People in LA can’t possibly be thinking, wow she’s done an amazing job for me. I can’t get over how well my district is being represented. Yet they’ve been sending her back to Washington for 30 years. Why? The sad reality is that the few people that actually vote, tend to vote against someone, not for someone. They see a campaign ad saying candidate X grinds up puppies in a blender and drinks them as smoothies in the morning, recognizes a name with the appropriate R or D in front of it and that’s it. It’s all very depressing if you think about it. But those in power will never actually implement meaningful voting reform or term limits for themselves. Some sort of public referendum seems to be the only way to circumnavigate the power circles.
  • A friend of mine sent me a link to the 2021 World Senior Games and asked if I’d be interested in the trail run. He’s going already to participate in the Cowboy Action Shooting (gasp, outrage alert – guns!). I’m slightly suspicious of “World Games” that don’t have any sort of qualifying requirements. But since I don’t have any hope of actually qualifying for anything, the idea intrigues me. For about 30 seconds. There’s just something that compels me to think about signing up for a race or event to prove to myself that I’m capable of doing it. I’ve signed up for a handful of marathons, half marathons, road and trail, and mountain bike races over the years. Some I’ve done, some I’ve abandoned. My favorite was the 100 miles of Nowhere race. It was an annual event to raise money for cancer research. I rode 100 continuous miles around my block. Alone. That’s a long time to ride in a small circle. It was silly but it felt good to prove to myself I could do it. For that same reason I enter the lottery to ride the Leadville 100 mountain bike race almost every year. Which I wouldn’t have a hope in hell of actually finishing. I’ve contemplated a 100 mile trail run race every year as well. Probably have an equally low chance of finishing that as well. So why do I think about it? I have no interest in becoming a runner or competing. There’s just something compelling about completing something not many people can do. I suppose it’s vanity, wanting some bragging rights. So when I saw an article talking about the Grand Canyon rim to rim to rim run, my brain briefly went, hmm….
  • February 5th is international Clash day. The Clash were at one time referred to as “the only band that matters”. As Joe Strummer described the band, “We’re anti-fascist, we’re anti-violence, we’re anti-racist, and we’re pro-creative. We’re against ignorance.” How can you go wrong with that? So you know what that means….

Song of the day: The Clash – London Calling (Official Video)

More Power Scotty!

  • I’ve been out of technology for roughly eight years now. When a tech challenge comes along it’s a painful process to try and dredge up past knowledge of how things work. Like trying to start an old lawnmower that sat in the garage for several years. Runs great once it starts, but takes a lot of pulling, fiddling with adjustments, and a few curse words before it gets going. The brand new ginormous TV was delivered and installed in a room we’ve mostly never used before. All is good except the Wi-Fi signal in that room is pitiful, resulting terrible buffering when watching my Real Housewives episodes. No problem, just install a Google Wi-Fi mesh network. And… the Wi-Fi signal is even worse than it was before. Long story short, there were multiple factory resets, some cable changes, changed the router to bridge mode to get rid of the double NAT, a small prayer to the network gods, and we’re back in business with reasonable speeds. All in all, probably still easier than helping grandma set up a Zoom call.
  • To become a politician you have to be a massive, tone-deaf narcissistic asshat. After De Blasio told everyone to stay away from the New York New Years eve ball drop, he and his wife showed up and danced on stage. Sometimes it’s unfortunate we’ve become too civilized to simply run people like this out of town.
  • Continuing with yesterday’s Fed vs state and local thread… New York is sitting on 2/3 of the Covid vaccines they have. It must be Trumps fault.
  • Please look at this chart and tell me where the science is showing that masks are working. Montana implemented a mask mandate and South Dakota didn’t. Can you spot the difference? You can’t even talk about correlation and causation because there’s nothing that points to any sort of correlation. Here’s the chart of California. Please show me where in the data it shows masks are doing anything. Japan was a fanatical mask wearing society before all this and they’re now seeing a spike in Covid. How could this be? Again, this doesn’t “prove” that masks don’t work. I’m simply saying that at this point we should be seeing signals in the data that would give some indication of correlation, and it isn’t there. You know, science and all.
  • Just like last year, the entry date for a big running race is coming up. And just like last year (well, many years if you include the annual Leadville 100 mountain bike race) I spend roughly two weeks wondering if I could do it. It’s beyond a stretch goal and the odds of a disastrous failure and injury would be very high. I think I’m mostly interested in seeing if I’m mentally strong enough to commit to the training and perseverance it would take to accomplish something like that. And bragging rights. And then I come to my senses and back away from the keyboard. But that little voice in the back of my head keeps whispering…
  • It’s day 11 from my Covid vaccine and, according to researchers, I should have roughly 80% protection at this point. Another 10 days until my booster and then I’ll be immortal. Or was it invincible? I get those confused.
  • Speaking of immortal, watched the new Wonder Woman movie last night. I never saw the first one, so it didn’t make much sense to me. Not the strongest script ever produced, that’s for sure. But what really bugged me was the film format. They filmed it in 4K Ultra HD, whatever that is. They must have filmed it in a higher frame rate because it just didn’t look right. It looks like some sort of hyper-realistic video. It didn’t look like film at all. I didn’t care for it.

Song of the day: Spin Doctors – What Time Is It? (live TV 1993)

It Could Be The Ebola

Cool things, random thoughts, advice, and independent thinking from someone who’s been around the sun a few times.

  •  I work in a hospital. I am literally surrounded daily by nasty bugs. I never get sick. Never. Mrs Troutdog has a new territory and had to fly to Vegas and LA. Sure enough, several days later she feels like crap. And… several days after that I now have the Ebola cold. It sucks majorly to feel horrible on my precious few days off. I don’t do well just sitting around. I tend to get very negative about life in general, nap, and buy useless junk on Amazon.
  • Speaking of bugs, have you been following the news about the latest epidemic? This year alone there have been 19 million cases, 180,000 hospitalizations, and 10,000 deaths. Oh wait, that’s the flu not the Novel Coronavirus. But yes, let’s freak out about 12 cases in the US. How about we put our critical thinking hats on people? (no, not the tinfoil one)
  •  We’re applying for a very hard to get permit for an outdoor activity today. Fingers crossed. More to share if it comes through.
  •  On that crazy running goal I was contemplating… I clearly haven’t been watching enoughDavid Goggins, because I bailed. I can’t seem to muster up the discipline to get my ass up early every single day. More importantly, Mrs Troutdog yelled at me for thinking I was 25 again. It was all in all very demotivating. I need to find some focus with activities and hobbies. I lurch from hobby to hobby, never getting good at any one thing. I think part of it is I have zero structure to my life. I know what days I work and beyond that, there is no plan. On my days off I wake up and try and figure out which of my 37 hobbies I’m going to do. No goals, no plans. There are certainly times I wish I had a more structured calendar. I’m sure there’s a YouTube video somewhere to help with this.
  •  I’ve completely enjoyed watching the goat rodeo that is the DNC this week. They better right their ship in a hurry if they want any chance of competing in the general election.
  •  I spent some time talking to one of our hospital case managers about insurance. Major insurance company A owns insurance company B. Patient who has insurance company A gets approved for rehab in hours. Patient who has insurance company B routinely takes 72 hours. The approval agent is THE SAME PHYSICAL PERSON for both company A and B. It defies description how convoluted our system is.

Song of the day: “Walkin’ On The Sun”  Smashmouth

I Have A Problem

Cool things, random thoughts, advice, and independent thinking from someone who’s been around the sun a few times.

  • Confession time. I have a weakness. A dirty little secret. I’ve developed a.. rice problem. Yes, rice. I never eat rice. As in I couldn’t tell you the last time I ate rice. It’s not that I don’t like it, it just never occurs to me. Then a month ago I was shopping at Costco while hungry. This is a bad thing. The end result was I came home with a 25 pound bag of jasmine rice. Since then I’ve had a huge bowl of the stuff daily, sometimes twice a day. I’m craving it. I literally wake up in the morning thinking about it. It’s medium in the glycemic index so it’s not the most horrible thing I could be eating, but certainly not something I should be consuming daily. Such a strange craving. So now on top of all the other bad habits I have, I need to break my rice addiction. Sigh…
  • The Far Side comics are now online. This is a good thing. Gary Larson even wrote a long letter explaining why.
  • I had fresh powder yesterday for my first day of the alpine season. This makes me happy. Also, I should have done more some squats over the summer. I’m not walking so well this morning.
  • I wrote the other day that I’d ordered some pants from Northbound Gear. Still very happy with them, but I discovered that one of the pairs was missing a belt. No biggie, sent email to customer service asking if they could send a replacement belt. Received a reply back informing me that my pants had been delivered. Hmmm. Not what I was asking. Sent another email. Received a reply back this morning asking for images of the pants?? Ok. Stay tuned.
  • Still undecided on the running goal. Still drifting towards no. But… I really want to. Can I go from couch to goal, or is it just stupid and I’m begging for injury? Skiing yesterday showed me my legs are not nearly as “in shape” as I thought they were. I’m paralyzed with indecision.
  • We’ve been thinking about a vacation. We have a timeshare in Mexico we haven’t used in a while, so why not go there? The US state department just updated the Mexico danger map. The odds of an issue in a resort town are pretty low, but still. It’s incredibly sad that Mexico is a failed state. Fantastic people, food, sights, and resources. Corruption and cartels have ruined it.
  • I’m working Christmas eve and day. That means well intentioned patients family members bring us large plates of every possible cookie, chocolate, and candy. It’s a serious willpower test. I may bring bowls of rice to distract myself.

Song of the day: “One Day” Matisyahukid in a coffee shop performing it and doesn’t realize the guy at the counter is Matisyahu.

I Am Freaking Out

Cool things, random thoughts, advice, and independent thinking from someone who’s been around the sun a few times.

  • We recently had three patients on our floor that were early to mid fifties and in relatively good shape (compared to the overall population). All three had a sudden stroke. We also had an extremely nice patient who suffered a horrible, life altering, work accident. Just in the wrong place at the wrong time. These kinds of patients freak me out and make me want to sell everything and travel the world because you never know…
  • I passed a coworker in the hall and I said the standard, “How’s it going?” as I walked by. He replied with great enthusiasm, “Amazing!”. It was such an unexpected reply I had to stop and laugh. It actually brightened my day a bit.
  • I stumbled on this emergency dog carry harness. I hadn’t really thought about it, but I get pretty far out there with the hound and I’m not sure how or if I could carry him out? Seems like a good idea but it’s expensive and a bit large to pack.
  • The possible crazy running goal I’m toying with… Now I’m on the fence, scared, and thinking it’s a pretty stupid thought. From near zero to goal would be extremely hard. I have no desire to build up with smaller goals, or do anything similar beyond. I’m too damn old for that. It would simply be a one time, “could I do it?” thing. Still a few weeks to decide. I’m trending towards no. I simply don’t know if I have the mental discipline to do the training.
  • Pat Mac’s Basic Dude Stuff cracks me up.
    * outrage warning for millennials
  • We got a pretty good dump of global warming this week. Cross country and downhill season starts (for me) next week! That pesky work thing keeps getting in the way of my fun.
  • Speaking of snow, I was totally planning on doing this run sometime this year. I may have to rethink now.
  • Staying on the snow theme, I’ve really been enjoying Cody Townsend’s “The Fifty” project.

Song of the day: “Pancake” by Jaded

Staying Focused

Cool things, random thoughts, advice, and independent thinking from someone who’s been around the sun a few times.

  • The receipt for my WordPress renewal showed up in my inbox this morning and reminded me that I haven’t bothered writing anything since April. There’s a number of reasons for it, but mostly I have the attention span of a hamster. The number of hobbies I have divided by the available hours in the day plus day-to-day life activities is a mathematical problem that would take some theoretical Einstein/Stephen Hawking level shit to solve.
  • I’ve experimented with a bullet journal in the past. I’m not one for carrying around a book, so I opted for an electronic version. Maybe it’s time to revisit it to try and keep myself somewhat focused.
  • Speaking of minimalism, I’m trying a new wallet. I liked the previous one, but it had no option for cash and I didn’t care for how it slid around in my pocket. I just got this one and so far so good.
  • Staying on the EDC theme, I stumbled on the KeySmart. I really like it… except I literally have only two keys on my keychain. Probably not worth it.
  • Very intrigued by the new Mavic Mini. That would mean committing to actually making videos, which should be easy since I built a PC specifically for video editing. The problem is that I need to get over my aversion to speaking to a camera and videoing myself. As they say, I have a face for radio.
  • I finally got around to getting my TSA Precheck. Renewed the passport. Now it’s time to watch 1,200 hours of YouTube videos on where to travel. I anticipate actually booking a trip sometime in 2021.
  • November was rough in the exercise department. I got sick, recovered, and then got my first ever case of food poisoning… resulting in a nightmare 14 hour airline travel day. Recovered, then crashed on the motorcycle and messed up my foot. Grrrr.
  • Generally I do better with goals. When I have something to plan and focus on I’m more likely to train and stay committed. I’ve been toying with a crazy (for me) running goal, but can’t decide if I want to commit to the required training time. Or if I could even do it. I’ll have to decide in January. Stay tuned.
  • Mrs Troutdog got me the PowerBeats Pro. I’ve never worn earbuds before. It’s been nice to get back into to music.
  • A podcast worth listening to: Joe Rogan with Tulsi Gabbard and Jocko Willink.

Song of the day: Fight! Smash! Win! Street Sweeper Social Club