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Monthly Archives: December 2013

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The Nerf Arms Race – The Nucular Option

My daughters both own an impressive array of the Nerf Rebelle weapons. They found it humorous to pepper their old man whenever the mood struck. To make matters worse, Mrs. Bgddy enjoyed either egging them on or starting a battle herself with a borrowed Nerf gun… And she asked for a Rebelle five-shooter of her own for Christmas.

Now, I like to think of my wife as the kind and caring, wonderful mother of my children – unfortunately she’s got a mean streak too and I didn’t see an unarmed me fairing too well.

Ronaldus Magnus

Having Ronaldus Magnus as my tied for second favorite President (George Washington being an obvious first, Lincoln tied for second), and not having a $17 Trillion deficit, I knew what to do…

Meet the aptly named Retaliator:

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18 and 12 shot clips, pump action, removable stock with top and bottom picatinny rails… If there was a such thing as an assault rifle, that’s the toy version of it.

Sometimes, ya know, ya just gotta go nucular.

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Miss me yet?

W photo credit

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Merry Christmas My Friends…

I saw the following photo on a blog that I follow closely – the story behind the photo is quite special but the lone cyclist working up the mountain really hit my recovery bone too.
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I love being that guy – on my bike. I love knowing that most people will never bother getting on a bike on a daily basis, let alone ride it to the base of a mountain for the joy of riding up it… I just love being that guy.

Recovery is a different animal entirely. Going it alone doesn’t get it . Oh, I can make it through the lonely times, I’ve done it before, but true happiness and enjoyment spring from my enormous group of friends – from the recovery community, of which I am a contributing member. From my wonderfully devoted and loving wife, from my kids. From my blogging and cycling friends.

Cycling solo and pushing myself until a point when most people think I’m nuts is fun, cool even. In life though, drafting – having friends who are happy to share the burden – is much preferred.

Once in the draft, all that is left to remember is that the draft does not exist for my comfort or to ease my journey… It exists so that I may recharge and hit it harder when it’s my turn to take the lead. It exists because we are greater, faster and stronger than me.

😉

Merry Christmas from the winter wonderland that is Michigan and Fit Recovery.
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Cycling: The Perfect Adult-Adolescent or Mid-life Crisis Sport/Passion/Hobby

I have found cycling to be the perfect adult-adolescent or mid-life crisis sport (I’ve got a little of both going on).

First, and let’s be frank here, bikes run on fat while a sports car, muscle car or a motorcycle runs on your bank account. Also, bikes increase health while the aforementioned motorized vehicles increase gray hair. For these reasons alone, cycling is one of the best mid-life crisis remedies known to man. But it gets better… Much better.

While bikes can get expensive, I ride the bicycle equivalent of a Ferrari for a few thousand dollars. Purchased wisely, I’ve built a decent stable of rides with less than a couple thousand more (I have two more road bikes and a mountain bike that cost $1,300 total – all high-end manufacturers, bought used). Add in my race-bike and I’m still under $5,000. Include my wife’s and kid’s bikes and I’m still less than a sixth the cost of a new Vette – and I don’t have to worry about insurance, heavy maintenance charges or gas – I can maintain the whole stable for less than the cost of one oil change a year. In short, one need not be rich to enjoy the finery of cycling.

More important, cycling has helped my relationship with my wife. Our weekly ride together is time spent chatting about how much we enjoy spending that time together, and other than the cost of lunch, there is no cost – it’s free!

Also, while there are sports car clubs for the enthusiast, I get to ride with my club, a 30-strong group of like-minded friends, every Tuesday evening – and it costs less than two bucks (the cost of my natural [read that UCI-USADA legal] human fuel H2O additive)… And we get to talk about what interests us while we’re having our fun – not afterwards. On other days, especially weekends, I get together with several of those friends again to explore the back roads of our surrounding counties for the grand cost of a lunch or a muffin and a Coke, or I go it alone if I wish.

Now, and I would be remiss to leave this out, part of the fun of cycling as the adult-adolescent mid-life crisis sport/passion/hobby is that there’s always something to pick up – a jersey, pair of shorts, water bottle, cage – if you so desire. There is literally no end to how far you can take it. On the other hand, if you’re frugal, cycling can be done on a fairly tight budget too. How far one takes the spending end is entirely up to the individual. I’m in the middle somewhere. I’ve got a cheap streak but I like my toys… And the best part of this is you are judged on ability to ride and maintain your steed rather than how much it cost – so going whole hog only means that you spent more money.

Finally, as I touched on before, is the fitness… It won’t be a heart attack that does me in (possibly a Buick in the butt, but not a heart attack) so I you’ve gotta have a mid-life crisis or an adult-adolescence streak, I know of nothing better than cycling.

Trainers and Treadmills vs. Bikes and Pavement

I rely on a bike trainer for winter workouts. I would also sooner kick my own ass than run on a treadmill. On a bike, I like fast – can’t do that safely in the snow and ice so I simply use the trainer to keep as much of my fitness as I can over the winter months.

Running outside however, except during heavy snow and ice storms, I find quite nice – I become accustomed to the cold easily enough though it does take a some time.

I’ve also heard from plenty of friends who actually prefer, for one reason or another, indoor cardio training.

As far as I’m concerned, I say whatever floats your boat. However, and this is the purpose of this post, I’ve heard from a few people who don’t bother with cycling because the indoor trainer bores them.

I’ll be the first to admit that cycling isn’t for everyone – it takes a certain adventurous kind of person to take their bike out for more than a 20 mile ride – especially when you’re using lightweight equipment (road bikes, thin tires). Also, depending on where you live, there may be safety issues to consider.

Many people fear mechanical issues or flat tires on a ride… However, consider that bicycles not like cars, they are made to be easy to fix and adjust – you just have to know the steps and sequence in which those steps go. Once you gain this knowledge (use a smartphone app), it’s a snap – you can carry simple tools to fix virtually anything that can go wrong on a ride.

The point I’m trying to get at is this: If you find that you are bored by indoor cardio, don’t assume that the outdoor counterpart is the same – it most certainly is not – especially cycling.

Cycling, done properly on a proper bike, is the closest thing there is to owning your own roller coaster. It’s also a fantastic way to see the world without windows – outside “the box”, if you will.

So consider, please, just for a moment, that if you’re bored by the indoor trainer, take it outdoors and smell the fresh air at 20 mph… It’s sweet!

How I Stay Thin… Specifically, How I Do What I Do…

I read a post the other day that really touched me.  I didn’t know much about how the world worked when I was younger but I had it set in my head that being skinny was a bad thing.  I had it in my head that being a thin guy was on the same level of “society looks down on you” as being an overweight woman, so I set to working out at the college gym with a friend of mine who was quite big.  I did progress – I pushed heavier weights (up to 250 on the bench – and for a 6′ tall 135 pound guy, that’s pretty good) but I didn’t gain a pound.  I stayed stringy and after several months, gave up on it…  Right when I should have stuck with it.  In hindsight, I probably wasn’t eating enough.  Of course, this was back in the days when my money was going to a liquid diet.

After I got sober and quit smoking, I found out that food tasted really good.  Then I went the other way.  I went from 150 pounds to almost 200 before I realized how big I’d gotten and the fact that I couldn’t see a way that I’d stop, at least at first, before I hit 250 simply shocked me into action.

I started running shortly thereafter and lost much of the weight but I was never really able to get to where I wanted to be…  I wanted 160-165 and I was hopelessly stuck at 175.  I just had that gnawing feeling that if I could just knock of ten more, I’d be right where I wanted to be…  I was so close – but so far.  I tried for the better part of seven years to get my diet and exercise right to no avail.  Enter cycling – that sweet, minimally painful way to burn an absolute buttload of calories, and it just so happened that I loved to ride a bike.

After my first five months I’d dropped every pound I wanted to.  I was my estimation of perfect.  The next season, 2012, was more of the same and my mileage increased from 2,000 to more than 5,300 for the year but I had the same problem heading into the summer.  My weight dropped from a healthy 164 after the winter to 160, to 158 and I started panicking at 153.  I was down to 150 pounds when I bit the bullet and added fast food back to the menu during the riding season and I managed to stabilize at 160.  This year, same thing again:  Pizza, Burger King on Tuesday nights, Wendy’s every now and again…  The sky wasn’t the limit but I had some serious fun eating – and maintained a perfect 160-161 all season long.

Now, the first secret to my success is my diet.  I naturally eat just enough calories in a day to support a short 30 minute workout.  I’ve crunched the numbers before and I’m just that lucky.  I don’t bother with which foods are considered good or bad, I still eat pizza every Wednesday night for dinner (three pieces deep dish in the winter, four in the summer).  When we have nachos, I have a decent plateful but nothing ridiculous…  The point is, I don’t eat a lot.  I eat until just before I’m full – not uncomfortable full either, and I push myself away from the table.  Also, if I feel I’ve eaten a lot – especially during the off-season – and I’m still a little hungry I wait five minutes before getting seconds.  If I’m still hungry after those five minutes, I’ll go back.  80% of the time I’m full by the time the 5 minutes are up so I skip seconds.

The second secret to my success is the cycling.  I cycle hard and I’m a lot faster than most – I put some ass into those pedals.

First, for the winter, I ride my bike on the trainer four or five days a week 45 minutes a day minimum.  To fight boredom I watch movies while I ride.  Then I run on Saturday – nothing special 3-5-10 miles.  For the workouts I vary degree but it’s all by perceived effort (I do check my heart rate from time to time with an Azumi App on my phone).  Monday is a hard effort 150-160 bpm with spikes up to 185 for the full 45 minutes or as long as I can take it – I’ll slow down for a few and then pick it back up (21-22 miles)
Tuesday is an easy effort 130 bpm give or take (about 15-16 miles)
Wednesday is a medium effort around 14o-145 bpm (about 17-18 miles for the 45 minutes)
Thursday is a hard effort and Friday or Saturday is easy.

This works out to about 1,500-2,500 calories burned a week but I only use the winter to maintain my fitness for the spring.

Now, in-season I follow the same alternating hard, easy and medium workout schedule.
Monday is off
Tuesday is my 38 mile club ride (5 mile warm up and 33 mile ride) – and that’s one tough day…  The warm up takes 17-18 minutes and I get the 33 miles done in less than 1-1/2 hours.
Wednesday is an easy 16-18 miles in 52 minutes to an hour.
Thursday is a medium effort (16-20 miles 50 minutes to 1:06
Friday is an easy ride with my wife – 20 miles.
Then Saturday and Sunday are my big mile days.  30-100 miles.  If I ride 100 on Saturday I’ll take it easy with a 20 on Sunday.  If I’ve got a long ride on Sunday I’ll only go 30-45 on Saturday.  The efforts here vary by how the group goes on the long ride but it’s usually above a 20 mph average and I’ll stick to 18.5 or so on the other.

Roughly, depending on how many miles I can put it, we’re talking about 8,000-11,000 calories or 2-3 pounds each and every week from April until I slow down in November.  When you’re burning calories like that and not overeating, losing weight becomes easy.  Many would argue that they can’t find the time but for the most part, during the week, we’re only talking about an hour a day after work.  The weekends are a little tricky sometimes but I manage.  Sometimes I have to trade-off or ride early (or later) to make scheduling work – the important thing is that I make the time.

Finally I believe a lot of the success I’ve had is due to the amount of effort I put into cycling.  I’ve never used a cycling computer but I do track my rides with Endomondo on my cell phone.  I’ve never used a heart rate monitor either.  I do everything by feel – and go with the assumption (on the hard workouts) that I’m never working hard enough – I’m always leaving something on the table.  I don’t necessarily kick my own ass with it, but I’m not easy on myself either.  Where most people will go out for a comfortable ride and average 110-120 bpm, my easy ride is around 130-140.  A mid-range ride is 140-150 and my big efforts are 155-175 on average…  In other words, I work harder, which takes more effort and burns more calories to maintain that effort…  I wrote a post the other day highlighting a study that showed 1 hour of a hard workout at 75% of a person’s max heart rate is the equivalent of 50 hours of easy walking.  75% of my max is 142.5 bpm – going by that study even my easy rides are at the study’s high-end definition of “rigorous activity” so every hour I’m on the bike – up to 13 hours a week – would mean I’d have to walk for more than 500 hours to get the same benefits.  In short, the fact that I can work that hard has a lot to do with how easily I can stay svelte.  All of this, again, I did naturally without the help of electronics – the only thing I had was my Endomondo app to track my workouts.  I only figured all of this out after I successfully dropped my weight.

Now, if that isn’t enough to go by, I wrote a post where I broke down my caloric intake on a couple of average days – I did the math.

And here are two months from this year (August was a personal best of more than 800 miles while September was closer to average for the summer at 658):
August Mileage September Mileage

Flight: The Insanity of Alcoholism

I watched the movie Flight for the first time.  That movie gets the greatest compliment I can give to a movie about alcoholism and the road to the bottom:

It gets the insanity right.

If you don’t know already just how messed up in the head an alcoholic can be, watch that movie – and then come back to this post because this is going to contain spoilers.  If you have no desire to watch the movie, don’t mind having a few things spoiled before watching it or have seen the movie, read on… (more…)

Bring Back The Spittoons! And Other Fun News Items

Ah, the killjoy anti-smoking whores are at it again.  Now they want to stop people from puffing on e-cigs in public “because it’s unclear whether it’s safe or not”.

I’m about this close to chewing (tobacco, girls) so I can hock a big, fat, juicy, brown loogie on the sidewalk every chance I get.

Unclear whether steam is safe?… If you want e-cigs banned indoors because you really are afraid it may be unsafe, you might want to check your wife’s purse for your balls [I came up with the female equivalent and it’s funny as hell, but I think it’d go over like a lead balloon so I’ll refrain] – or you may even be a nut.  If, as is normal with these liars, you’re using the health angle as an argument only because you hate seeing e-cigs – you simply don’t like it, you’re more than likely a lying, manipulative, first-class f***ing a$$#ole.

I have chewed in the past…   Think about it smokers – you can get your fix on a plane, anywhere, and there’s nothing that can be done about it. Nothing.  These anti-smoking dopes are two steps away from bringing spittoons back – and I hope they get some loogie on their shoe.  At least that’ll be safe for their lungs, spiteful b@st@rds.

PS  I quit cigarettes more than a decade ago and I don’t plan on going back to it.  On the other hand, the “second hand smoke” crowd is going too far with their attacks on e-cigs…  IMAO.  Take the “third-hand” smoke argument they’re turning to.  What the hell is that?  Whiffing the fart of someone who smelled second-hand smoke?  C’mon.

In other idiotic newsThree inmates sued because it’s too hot on death row.  Well, that can be rectified, can’t it?!  Next!  “Any last words”?  Somebody obviously wasn’t thinking when they filed that lawsuit.

Finally we have this:
Pajamaboy
Dear God in Heaven, where to begin.  I would kick my own ass simply for wearing those pansy PJ’s in the first place.  Seriously.  Bloodied and battered.  Now some accounts say that you’re not supposed to like pajama boy, that the advertisement is some subliminal dog call for young people to do what the ad says because they don’t like the guy in the ad.  Uh, yeah.

Here’s the reality:  That ad is Washington DC.  It encapsulates in a picture exactly what Democrat politicians and spinster bureaucrats think should be popular with men – limp wristed, onesie wearing, hot chocolate drinking sissies – because this is who they are.  Now I’ve seen another ad (again for Obamacare) with that guy and that dude isn’t that much of a sissy…  It looks to me that he was done-up and posed that way on purpose.  Can’t make it up.

My personal advice is absolutely talk about getting health insurance – with an insurance agent and quickly.  You’ve just been given a year’s reprieve to get into an existing plan.  I wouldn’t go near the exchanges if you paid me…  Oh wait, you would have paid me in the form of a subsidy.  You ever wonder how many other things were lied about to get that Bill passed?  You already know the president was crossing his fingers when he said you could keep your plan – and if you didn’t lose it this year, you will next year when the business mandate kicks in (65% chance).  How about price controls and that non-elected death panel?  How about the promise that your taxes won’t go up if you make less than $250,000?  The subsidy cutoff for the exchanges is just over $80,000 if I remember correctly – so much for that.  The truth is Democrats sold you out to get that Bill passed and you will pay – no matter what the promises were.  You’re seeing this reality already if you’re paying attention.  The one thing the president did say that we know wasn’t a lie is this:  “There’s no such thing as a free lunch”…

Unless you skip the cafeteria and head out to Burger King.  But then that depends on your definition of the word “free”, eh?  Mmmm.  Whoppers…