world http://www.cracked.com/article_20704_the-6-creepiest-places-earth-part-5.html (“just in case you want to visit the entrance to Japanese hell”) and plenty of places that have been abandoned for all to see http://www.cracked.com/article_20558_6-places-where-you-can-visit-post-apocalypse-today.html. My favorite article was the one titled “6 Abandoned Places That Will Make Awesome Supervillain Lairs.” http://www.cracked.com/article_19678_6-abandoned-places-that-will-make-awesome-supervillain-lairs.html It kind of makes me long for a day where I can actually travel and see some of these places. While I love my hometown of Tucson, it does feel a little isolated from time to time. Seeing the random photos of an armada of ships stranded in the desert or viewing a massive bomb shelter originally built to house the entire Third Reich would be interesting places to check out, merely to the tune of finally experiencing the history I so love to read about. Heck, I even have a death wish to make an adventure to the only known island on the planet that is actually home to the most isolated tribe of people in the world (though I would have to bring a few guns with me, hehe) http://www.neatorama.com/2013/07/08/The-Forbidden-Island/ A wanderlust is still inside my heart, but the wallet tends to disallow those insinuations. So these longings manifest into other areas, which is why the whole fitness thing for me is such an anomaly in my life.
Usually I get pretty bored with a lot of stuff rather easily, mainly because of the disconnect I might feel with the subject, attempting to understand it to merely break the tedium. I had a short lived video game phase, but that died when I realized I could not keep up with updating my darn computer, phone and video game system all at once. The cycle of consumption has limits for someone like myself. Writing is something I tend to love quite a bit as well, even if I run out of steam, and forget about certain stories for long periods of time. Right now, I am currently in my “no TV” phase, which I am finally starting to get used to even though it still feels weird. I had no idea what people were talking about the other day when they were discussing the football game between my alma mater Arizona and Boise St. Usually, I would be quite boisterous in such an old conversation, but I kept my mouth shut merely to the tune I actually didn’t know the score of the game until after the conversation. If anything, being disconnected from the rest of popular culture, especially when I used to have such a finger on the pulse of trends, is one that will take some getting used to. So for me to be a vegan for more than two years and still working out for nearly three kind of frightens me. I’m not used to clinging to such things.
One thing I will considers regard the year 2014 as a transition year. Not only did I become content with working out while finding a bit of peace with it, I also made some leaps in regards to emotional side. Before I started working out at Parsons Training 2012, I was very much addicted to the old emotional spectrum of “Love and Hate” that I remember seeing from one of my favorite movies “Donnie Darko.” There was really nothing in between for me, merely for the fact I had been so shut off from the world for so long, I had to relearn a great many things this past year. I loved, laughed, felt despair and even dread. For the first time in my life, I was living a life where I had no job and suddenly had to hustle and think about everything every day. I slipped in some respects in my health and fitness, merely because all of these emotional changes brought about some old habits and exposed a great many flaws in my life. It really wasn’t until the last month of the year when I realized all of this and decided to make an ultimate change. I wrote at one point that I wanted to become more aesthetic in my appearance. http://blog.parsonstrainingtucson.com/2014/12/setting-up-new-priorities.html
It might seem a little selfish to make such a mighty claim, that I should be content with the idea of being just being healthy and fit. But if anything, I want to be more than that. I want to look the part in addition to being healthy. While I still have some work to do in regards to the fluff around my stomach, I see everything else continue to change. I’m slipping into jeans and fitting in them when before, they were tight and would cut off blood flow in my groin. Some of my favorite shirts are a little loose, which means I might have to go on another shopping trip with my old shopping buddies Kim and Janelle. http://blog.parsonstrainingtucson.com/2012/09/stephens-journeyday-35-of-36-fitness.html I want to start pushing myself to places I have never been before. Focus may be a problem for me, but if I have managed to stick this long with the it, then clearly this is not just some trend I merely got sucked into. To truly achieve what I want, this means I’m going to have to shed some old habits. I’m already two months into my beer reduction, which when I really think about it, was a real problem for me. I never drank beer too often, but I would still go through a six pack just about every week. And I drank the good stuff, the craft beers that relied heavily on good hops and high alcoholic contents while also providing a boatload of sugar and calories. No more home drinking, and I already am feeling the effects of this new measure on my health. Apparently beer goes straight to my butt! While I am still working on the food reduction angle, it is much easier to maintain such a mantra now that I have gainful employment again and judging by the workflow, will be employed for at least six months (hopefully it is longer, I hate not having a job due to the lack of cash). And now I have gotten serious with my competition, for I’m going to participate in another half marathon in March and if I can scrounge up the cash, join an ultra team for Ragnar Mt. Zion in April. The ultra trail run I want to do at Ragnar McDowell Mountain later this year is still on the table, but that is still a ways away.
So in order to achieve all of these things, I have to be more than just a regular Joe at the gym. I have to be much more than a guy that wants to maintain. I decided to start the year off right on New Year’s Day, joining Jon and Christa for a little workout along with fellow Parsons Training lifer Jim Porter. Since I was broke and didn’t go out or even take a drink, I was ready. I could have just stayed at home and be done with it, but I was still reeling from the weird schedule due to the holiday season. For the previous two weeks, I had barely been to the gym twice. This is the problem you will run into when you have Christmas and New Year’s on a Thursday. It not only has affected my schedule at work and my work priorities, it has put a serious dent into my weight lifting. While I was breaking the 700-miles-in-a-year threshold and the 100-miles-in-a-month threshold, I was seriously missing out on the weights. So that was what I decided to do on New Year’s just to get myself back into the grove and let my body feel the burn of lifting 50-pound dumbbells over my head. I only did four exercises, merely to the effect I needed to reboot my body for the workout. I decided to do 50 dead lifts at 225 pounds (20 pounds more than what I did the last time), 50 push-press-squats with the 50-pound dumbbells, 50 barbell curls at 100 pounds and 50 kettle bell rows with the 53-pound kettles. I was a little exacerbated by my lack of fitness, but then again, 50 dead lifts at the weight I did them at, which I did with no real warm-up mind you, really took a lot out of me. Time was also of the essence, for Jon and Christa were just there for a short while, so doing heavy weights was really all I had time for. Even though I went home pretty tired after that, the seeds for some good running were planted.
The next night proved to be quite ground breaking for me. With the temperature hovering near the freezing point, I decided to go for a run. While the rest of Tucson was nestling in their homes, lighting fires and turning up the furnace, I was running. Predictably, the course at Reid Park was pretty darn empty, and a faint haze of fog was hanging over the path. It was so darn cold that I was pushing hard just to get warm. And this was when I realized how fast I was going. For the first couple miles, I was running at a pace of 9.28-per mile, which is pretty darn fast for me. Usually when I run six miles or more, it hovers in the mid tens. So I kept pushing, staying ahead of the game and trying to see just how fast I could actually go. I finished my first three miles averaging 9.35 per mile, 19 seconds better than I had ever done for six miles or more. I kept pushing hard, getting a little inspiration from some old iTunes favorites like MASERATI, Sigur Ros and Black Rebel Motorcycle Club. Even though my breathing became a little labored from the smoke of many chimneys coming from an apartment complex next to Reid Park, I pushed on. By the time I passed the six-mile mark, I had realized I finished with a 9.37-per mile average. The cold had kept me from overheating and I was able to destroy my previous best time at that distance. During the run, my RunKeeper app keeps me updated every five minutes. Not once during the 11 updates I received did I dip below a 10-minute per mile pace. Basically, I kept my pace pure and consistent, never over relying on the declines or slowing down too much on the the inclines. While I may have paid for the speed of my run rather quickly when I realized I had no body warmth, at least that was remedied by the fire of accomplishment.
I could have called that a week, I went in to work out with Jon and Christa once again on Saturday morning. I chose a pretty hard one, which I titled “Into the Void,” which had no real reason for the name other than the fact I didn’t want to call the workout by it’s original name, “Pizza.” It had all the usual assortment of exercises, like lunges and push-ups, but it was the weights that made it tough. I went heavy on the V-ups, using a 25-pound weight rather than a 20. I did 70 kettle bell rows with 53-pounds weights, which I normally do half that number. I went wit h40-pound dumbbells with the lean down curls, ten pounds heavier than normal. All of this excess made the box jumps difficult, but it never stopped me or slowed me down. Eventually, I want to push the weights even heavier, making a workout so difficult that it would make Jon and Christa proud. Later this year I suppose, for there instill some building to do well before then. At least I am off to a pretty good start!
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Parsons Training is a Tucson leader in fitness and personal wellness training. Every personal trainer with this company designs and implements effective fitness programs for their clients; these programs serve as the foundation for good health, fitness, and wellness. Additional information about Parsons Training is available at http://www.parsonspersonaltraining.com
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Steve, a Parsons Training Client, went from 400 pounds to Running half-marathons, from lifting pizzas to lifting hundreds of pounds through training with us.