Well, I haven’t lost any weight. But I’m not particularly concerned about it just yet. The reason is that I feel like I have been taking care of myself physically.

Peter-man and I have been doing daily push-ups, and we had a contest on Sunday to see who could do the most in one day. I got 500! I definitely couldn’t have done that a few weeks ago, especially considering that I wasn’t sore the next day.

I got a new cheap digital watch for Christmas, and I have been using it during my runs. It made me realize that my standard run was shorter in time (and distance, it turned out) than I thought it was. So this morning I decided to run out thirty minutes before turning around. Here was my route:

View Larger Map

I set out at 6:30am, when it was dark, so I got to see the absolutely beautiful sun rise, and the cityscape as well, from atop Diamond Heights.

I was getting frustrated by a recent slew of minor injuries. Minor ankle sprain thing, minor ab strain thing, minor knee hurty thing. But this time instead of just resting to cure the injuries, which is also important, I have asked for Mags’s help in giving me physical therapy to do for injury recovery as well as injury prevention. And I have been sticking with the PT routine pretty well.

So, adding all of that up, I feel pretty good, even though I’m not dropping the pounds yet.

I think my body is better adjusted to the exercise after this three-and-a-half weeks, so I can hopefully expect to be injured less often as well as be able to do more. I feel confident that, given the time and motivation, my body will allow me to complete a ten-mile run. Maybe this weekend?

After my monster workout a couple of days ago, I am finding it hard to muster up motivation to work out. I think I need two things to succeed:
– no hangovers. Hard to avoid on New Year’s Day, even though I didn’t drink much on NYE.
– early to bed, early to rise. Mags just left for a week this morning for work out of town. This involved going to bed late and waking up early. This shall be fixed tonight! And I’ll still work out tonight, after I feel a bit more “with it.”

Today’s weigh-in: 159.5 lbs.
Goal weight for February 1: 150 lbs.
Pounds I must lose per day to reach this goal: .297
Calorie deficit needed per day: 1,039
Hours on the bike trainer today: 1
Minutes biking on city streets: 50
Minutes running: 43
Miles run: 4

Here is today’s running route:

View Larger Map

Happy New Year!

Our honeymoon is over and so is the holiday visit to the East Coast. In between the two I got some form of the flu that was one of the worst illnesses I have had. It lasted about a week.

With all of this comes a few extra pounds and also some restlessness – the need to move, to feel the cold air, to breathe hard, to be sore. Basically, I need to get back in touch with my body after all of this.

I have stayed pretty fit and healthy ever since I took off about 50 pounds a few years ago. But I never did get all the way to my end goal. So that’s what I’m going to do here, cliche or no.

I don’t have a detailed plan as of yet. But the idea is to exercise as much as I can without injuring myself. I want to run. A lot. And my buddy Peter-man gave me a bicycle trainer. So I can use that when I don’t feel like going out into the weather, or if I have limited time. I can do calisthenics in the garage and also hit up 24-hour fitness. So, I just want to make sure I exercise a lot every day, and within a couple of weeks I may put together a more structured plan based on what I know works.

As far as diet, I want to eat healthy stuff like I usually do, allowing myself the occasional treat. I’ll probably have to set up a set of rules for this so I don’t have a slippery slope problem.

I want a big component of all of this to be data and blogging. I want to track my runs, including their times and their routes. I want to track my weight daily. And I want to take pictures of my progress.

Exciting times! I know I can do it, and I could use all of your encouragement!

So as y’all probably know via word-of-mouth, email, Twitter, Facebook, or otherwise, Mags and I are getting married. I’ve decided to buy a tuxedo for the occasion rather than rent one. And I’d like to lose some weight for the wedding. So if I want to buy the tuxedo sooner rather than later, I’d better start losing weight now.

The goal is to lose ten pounds. I am at 161 this morning. Two pounds per week will put me at 151 on November 12.

I can certainly do it. I’ll be alternating running and biking along with push-ups, chin/pull-ups, and ab workouts. Of course I am going to try to improve my diet as well. I’ll go with my previous strategy of cutting something out of my diet if I get off track.

Wish me luck!

So I officially gained about ten pounds in maybe a little over a month. Unacceptable.

It’s time for another turbo diet and exercise program!

This one is for serious. By the end of it I want to be “carved out of wood,” as señor Peter so aptly put it (as also heard in Fight Club). I hope to get to “carved out of wood” status in maybe a little over two months. Here is my plan:

Exercise
The main component of my plan will be exercise. Three days per week I will be going on a long-distance run. I am currently planning on this being a twelve-mile run, which is actually two miles more than I have ever run. But I am confident I can do it (especially with the sweet new kicks that I just got). The other three days per week, the main two components will be a calisthenics workout that my buddy showed me a while back (and almost made me puke the first time I did it) along with the one hundred push ups program. Sundays will either be a day of rest or a fun exercise day – basketball, bike ride, whatever. Since Monday, Wednesday, and Friday consist of little more than thirty minutes of exercise, I’d likely mix in some bike riding, walking, a short run, or some pilates on these days as well.

Diet
I am going to start out my diet in a non-strict way. Having said that, I will aim in general to eat better but I am not going to wholly restrict myself to start. I think my staples will be yogurt with granola, eggs with oatmeal, Clif Builder bars, and stir fry.

But one concept that worked well in the past was the idea of punishment. So, I’ve got my weight-tracking spreadsheet going again. If I am above a weight goal on a certain morning, then I have to cut something out of my diet for the remainder of the program. If I miss a day of exercise, same punishment. Things that would be cut out would/could be: sweets, cheese, alcohol, red meat, all land meat, all meat and fried things.

Anyhow, I am excited to get started! On another note, I am going to be sore as hell by the end of this week! 🙂

I’ve been neglecting this blog a bit lately. I’ve basically been busy as hell lately, and I suppose the blog has taken a back seat. So this post will be a rambling one bordering on stream of consciousness. So grab a cup of your favorite hot, cold or lukewarm beverage, get someone to rub your feet, and read on.

The fitness side of things has been going very well. It has been mostly bicycling (more on that soon!) but I have also been doing some calisthenics, push ups, basketball and pilates. However I guess I am drinking enough beer and soda to negate any exercise progress I am making. I am still holding steady at my (healthy) weight but I’ve still got that blasted belly fat. I think at some point I may abstain from alcohol for a month just for caloric reasons.

Now onto bicycling. I am surely becoming better at it. My legs are getting stronger and I am becoming more confident in riding. I let myself go faster down hills and don’t mind small bumps as much. I am actually surprised that I have not gotten a flat from some of the huge goddamn pot holes I have unintentionally gone over. I have also somehow managed to not pierce my tube on all the glass I have seen on the street. Also, yesterday I participated in my second Critical Mass. It is quite an empowering experience. After spending all month being a second-class citizen on the roads and being scared out of my wits several times by inattentive or malicious motorists, it is nice to have the bicyclists own the roads for a change. Yesterday I especially had fun stopping for a few seconds directly in front of some cars in a couple of intersections to let the mass go through. I did have to break off rather early, however, to meet some friends in the Sunset for dinner. On my way there I kept running into break-off massers. I am not sure what you call it, but I went through a group of bikers who were using an intersection as their own personal traffic circle, stopping traffic in all directions. Beautiful thing. After passing through that I had all four one-way lanes of Fell Street to myself. I love Critical Mass. I wish it were two times per month, every week, twice a week, every day. Maybe some day…

By the way, a quick “shout out” to my friend Peter’s excellent San Francisco bike blog.

School has been going well, although I probably need to start working harder at it. Last semester I worked too hard at school; I probably worked twice as hard as I needed to to actually get an ‘A’ and ended up with super duper A’s. Right now I am probably working hard enough for everything to be borderline A/B and I would really like to get straight A’s again. Unfortunately this semester there are no term papers like last semester where we get to pick our own topic. I really enjoyed writing my paper Anarchism in Spain during the Spanish Civil War last semester and I wish I had the opportunity to do something like that again. Unfortunately it is mostly book reviews, midterms, and one term paper on which our topic is rather narrow. School has been rather tiring, for sure. 11 out of my 12 weekly class hours are packed between Monday at 4pm and Wednesday at 10am. With bicycling to/from school most of the time I am pretty exhausted by the time I get out of work on Wednesday. But I keep on truckin’. I think I can wait until December and January for a decent vacation.

In December I will be going to Maryland for about a week. I’d like to be back in San Francisco for New Year’s Eve, and then I’ll be off to Hawaii to visit Kelly, Conor and Caleb. Hopefully Tim will be home by then. I’m very much looking forward to this vacation. But the real doozy will be next summer when I plan to go to Europe for a month, couch surfing as much as possible. I should probably get on getting that passport…

Talking about Couch Surfing, I have been hosting a LOT. The vast majority of the days I will have one or more (sometimes as many as four) couch surfers staying with me in my studio. I am taking a several day break from it right now but I really enjoy hosting people. I have met so many people and I’ve stopped counting how many I’ve hosted. Besides the obvious social benefits of it, I am looking at it from an anarchist perspective. It is essentially a gift economy; the apartment is theirs to stay in with no strings attached. They also get to avoid spending money at a hotel and I get the joy of knowing they kept money out of the hands of the big hotel owners. And to be selfish, I am racking up a huge list of people than can host me in the future!

To change gears here, work is also going well. We are trying to spin off a separate company. I won’t go into the details right now, but it’s involved setting aside a few weekend days to get some work done on our project that we are trying to launch. I don’t mind so much; the solitude while I work is nice and it is what I was looking for when I volunteered all of us to work on the weekends. The regular during-the-week stuff is going fine but I am looking forward to this new company getting launched and hopefully working in that line a lot more.

Now onto the “having fun” part of this post. As I posted before, I have recently launched a San Francisco drum and bass blog where I am keeping track of the different drum and bass events upcoming in the city, posting pictures and writing event reviews. I had a tremendous time last Sunday at Compression at The Cellar. I hope to go to more drum and bass events now that I am keeping track of all of them for the new blog.

A few fun things that are upcoming for me: Next weekend I am going to Monterrey for a night with a few friends for a birthday. I’ve been to Monterrey a few times but never spent the night. I think I won’t go to the aquarium again, even though it was great last time. I want to check out other parts of Monterrey, whatever they may be. The weekend after that I’ll be in LA visiting Alyssa. I haven’t been to LA for a while and I’m looking forward to it. I’m sure we’ll have a great time.

Now just some comments on our current political atmosphere. I become more and more turned off by mainstream politics every day. I am especially jaded by the Obama campaign. I can’t stand to see Obamamania going on here in San Francisco. If I had more time (how many times have I said this?) I’d challenge the Obamamania. I want to put up posters that say “Obama is a warmonger.” I want to make t-shirts to the same effect. I want to challenge the Obama street table volunteers to an impromptu debate.

What, you didn’t know that Obama was a warmonger? He has voted to fund the war in Iraq. The same war that has killed an estimated 1.2 million Iraqis, many more than you may know who have been killed directly by American soldiers. The same war that has made five million Iraqis flee their homes, internally and externally. Well, surely, you might think, Obama will change all of that when he takes office. Think again. He plans to keep thousands of troops in Iraq, including in the Green Zone, thus completely ignoring the will of the Iraqi people and destroying any hope of Iraqi sovereignty. Obama also seems to think the Iraqi people should be paying us money for our war that is essentially no more than mass murder. Should someone with this mentality be our president?

But it doesn’t stop with Iraq, of course. Obama’s effort to be “tough on terror” includes sending more troops to Afghanistan. Send them there for what? What are more troops going to do over there? It doesn’t take tens of thousands of troops to combat Al Qaeda, who are evidently holed up in the Afghanistan/Pakistan border. I’ll tell you what more troops will accomplish however. They will, intentionally or not, murder more Afghan people, like the close to 100 that were killed a couple weeks ago by an American bomb. Is this who you want to be president?

This is the same man who thinks it is wise to leave “all options on the table” with regards to Iran. The same Iran that several years ago agreed to stop all nuclear activity if we would only promise to not attack them. We reprimanded the third party diplomat for delivering the message. Are we really going to consider bombing Iran, too? Or maybe we’ll just starve them out like Bill Clinton did to Iraq. 1 million dead Iraqis thank Clinton for that, and the rest of the Iraqis thank Clinton for making them more dependent on their dictator, making it extremely difficult to overthrow him. And this is who the San Francisco “liberals” are so excited about?

This is the same man that actually wants to increase the size of our military. Our military expenditures are already higher than the rest of the world combined. This is our idea of a presidential candidate that stands for peace, that wants to use diplomacy to settle our differences with the world? Diplomacy at the barrel of a gun, maybe. Change, my ass.

And just a bit on the economy here. I am actually kind of excited about the state of the economy. I think economic collapse would certainly be painful in many ways but it would also be a time of opportunity. An opportunity to make a change in our lives on an individual level and also an opportunity to replace what we have on a systemic level with something at least slightly better. We’ll see what happens, but my opinion is that the current bailout plan will make the decline of the American economy happen slowly rather than suddenly. Either way it’s going down the tubes.

Lastly, a quick comment on some stuff I am reading right now. I am reading Living My Life by Emma Goldman, an autobiography if the title didn’t give that away. An excellent book so far, talking about all of her travels, lectures, romance and more. I certainly like Emma Goldman much more than Lenin after reading his biography. Lenin was essentially a mass murdering elitist who did it all in the name of the working class. One thing I am getting out of all of this, however, is that I think I would admire someone much more for their actions rather than their words. Emma Goldman, until this point in the book at least (I think she’s about 30) has mostly done lecture tours. Anarchist lectures are generally meant to agitate the working class so they take action. Seems like a bit of a cop-out to me. But I still like Emma Goldman.

I also started reading a journal I subscribed to, Anarchist Studies. An article in the current issue discusses Leo Tolstoy’s Christian anarchism, which is something I had never heard of until now. There’s a lot about laws, slavery and non-violence in the article. I am skeptical of some of Tolstoy’s arguments, especially the one that declares that laws are slavery. I think the term slavery is cheapened when it is used so broadly like this. Having said this, I’d like to read some of Tolstoy’s books and articles that this journal article mentions.

Until next time, faithful readers…

I was having a great bike ride this morning from my apartment to SFSU and back. It looks like it will take about 40 minutes each way.

On the way back, I was going eastbound on Market Street, wanting to go left onto 7th St. So I started to get over. I tried to go diagonal over the street car tracks. I made it over the first one fine, but the second one, my front tire decided it wanted to align itself into the track. Down I went. OUCH. I banged up my left leg and scraped my left elbow. I got up pretty quickly and walked across the street into UN Plaza. Then something weird happened. My hearing was pretty much shot for about a minute. After that I was fine. I think my body was just like “What the hell just happened?”

As of now my leg hurts but I am sure it will be OK. And I will have some nasty scabs on my elbow.

The bike is mostly OK. I just have to put the chain back on and straighten the handlebar.

Recently I have changed my routine a bit and done short runs in the morning and long runs after work. I have noticed that I run much better in the later parts of the day, hence the short runs in the morning. One other thing I noticed is that when I run in the morning, my mood and energy levels are higher throughout the day.

I took these observations and wondered if they were normal or it was just me. What I found from this site was pretty interesting. In terms of actual scientific studies it has been shown that:

Subjects who exercised at night had much larger drops in glucose levels in response to exercise than at other times of day. Exercise in the evening and at night elicited large increases in the levels of two hormones important for energy metabolism, cortisol and thyrotropin. Exercise at other times of day had much smaller effects on these hormones. In contrast, marked increases in growth hormone levels in response to exercise were not effected by the time of day.

The doc doesn’t go on to explain what that means exactly, but it seems that it means exercising at night will better increase your metabolism.

In general I think I will stick with my routine. Running in the morning some days for that good-feeling mood and increased energy. And long distance at night because I can do the distance better then and it seems like it would be more effective in burning calories.

Update: This article supports what I have read, and spells it out much better.

One of the great things about running is that the further out you go, the further you have to come back. It is a commitment you can’t get out of. I have realized this for a while but it hit home yesterday when I did a 10-miler, the longest run I have ever done. I got 5 miles out and I think I actually said out loud, “I did it!” I immediately reacted, thinking to myself that no, I hadn’t done it, that I had to come all the way back. But I made it inevitable that, short of an injury, I was going to do it.

I find this to be a very valuable concept. I began to wonder what other kind of activity there is that once you get to a certain point you have to finish. I haven’t been able to think of any. Any ideas out there?