Wednesday, July 10, 2013

My old Acura

What do you do with a 17-year old car that you are completely upside down on, as in you've spent much more on it than it is worth?  Easy answer - you keep throwing more money down the same rathole. And keep hanging on to the thing for sentimental reasons. 

Yesterday my old 1996 AcuraTL 2.5 - one of the increasingly rare 5-cylinder versions - threw a bit of a vehicular fit when the alarm rather alarmingly went off for no apparent reason when my son tried to start it.  With no way to stop the alarm - the only remaining key does not have a mechanism for that - he had to disconnect the battery.

Well it turned out that an old problem - bad battery cables - had reared its head again.  I had asked our automobile repair shop (we've used them for 15 years+) to fix the problem about 2 years ago but they  ignored me.  Not this time.  The new cables have been ordered and will be installed today.

What is next?  Can't be the air conditioning, radiator or alternator, those have all been fixed.  As was the - ultra expensive - oil leak.  Every time I pick it up from the Hondacar Center it is $500+, never less...  And sometimes much more.  I console myself with the thought that the car is paid for.  Most of the time.

Diet Notes:

Getting back  on a more strict 'No S' regimen is showing results very quickly.  Just since last Sunday, my weight has dropped by nearly 3 pounds.  I think running again - albeit just 3 times per week for about half an hour per outing - is also starting to make a difference.

I will make it a mini-goal to be down to 180 lbs by next Tuesday for the weekly boot camp at Terry Hershey Park with Miriam Terc. 

July 10 2013:

Weight: 183.8
Bodyfat percentage: 22
Miles run:  0
Strength + conditioning: 50 minutes @ LA Fitness with Amy
Mountain bike:  8 miles (40 minutes)
July 9:  'No S' GREEN day

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Supermarket blues

Once again my local Randalls (owned by Safeway) did not have an express check-out lane open at 5:30P yesterday, with the store crowded with dinner shoppers.  When asked, a manager said: "Most people have more items (than you), so we don't keep the express lane open."  Really?  He denied that Randalls is trying to force more people to use the self checkout lane, which I positively detest.

Forget about it Randalls, I won't darken your door again.  We do have a choice you know.

Whole Foods is one of them, but the closest WF is almost 5 miles from our home - and not easy to get to, on the other side of Beltway 8.  We have a new Fresh Market opening in late July, barely 500 meters from our driveway down Memorial Drive, that might be the ticket.  As long as they stock extra-firm tofu...  If not, I will just have to drive the 3 miles or so to Trader Joe's on Voss Rd.  Where they are smart enough to make checking out a pleasant experience, unlike the service-challenged managers at Randalls.

I am getting a little burned out on steelcut oats.  Latest favorite breakfast cereal is Kashi GoLean with a whopping 10g of fiber (42% of RDA) in a 1-cup serving.  It contains a little honey - oops!  Sorry to the bees responsible but I am going to have to overlook that.  I like the crunchiness of the cereal with its 'fiber twigs' and 'soy protein graham's.  As much protein as an egg, to boot!

One more grocery note:  I spent more than $6 on a tiny 4.4 oz bottle of Marmite yesterday.  South African would cringe at the price, and I do too, even after more than 20 years here.  I guess I just can't do without the stuff!  And it is loaded with Vitamin B-12, a sorely needed supplement for us vegans. 

July 9 2013:

Weight: 184.6
Bodyfat percentage: 22
Miles run:  2
Strength + conditioning: 1 hr
Mountain bike:  0
July 8:  'No S' GREEN day

Monday, July 8, 2013

Gym doubts

I'm not sure if I need to continue my LA Fitness Gym membership ($33 per month) which costs me an additional $100 per week for 2 X 1-hr sessions with the Personal Trainer.  Nice as she is - and knowledgeable - it is difficult to justify such an expense as I am perfectly capable of designing my own workout sessions - using the home gym.  I will think about this for the next few weeks and decide by the end of the summer.

A few things things which I dont like about LA Fitness:

  • No antiseptic wipes for the machines, god knows what kind of bacteria or other bad germs I might be picking up...  Last Friday they completely ran out of paper towels.
  • People lounging (resting) on the machines between sets.  WTH?  I even asked one guy the other day (while he was resting on a machine in-between sets) if he was using the machines.  He just nodded yes and continued to rest... 
  • Horrible music.  Is it really necessary to listen to Britney Spears and similar 'no talent' people almost all the time? 

What I do like?

  • The hours - they are open early and late.
  • The multitude of machines: you can try a new one every 4 or 5 days and won't run out.
  • The place is brand new so everything works, most of the time. 
  • Nice lockers and bathroom facilities
  • A large pool that is almost always available: now I just need to get Kathy to teach me some proper swimming strokes. 

Here is my planned 'Monday' circuit at LA Fitness:

Bench press
Military press

Shoulder pull-up
Pec deck

Glute kickback
Shoulder press

This guy's double is at my gym. Makes me feel a little better about my own 185+...

July 8 2013:
Weight: 184.8
Bodyfat percentage: 22
Miles run:  0
Strength + conditioning: 0
Mountain bike:  0
July 7:  No S GREEN day

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Back on the road again!

I am finally able to run again, after a forced lay-off of nearly 18 months.  Last week I ran three times (Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday) - no more than 30 minutes at a time. Even though I am running without any pain, I am still very concerned about re-aggravating the plantar fasciitis so for the foreseeable future that will be it:  3 times per week (Tue, Thu and Saturday) and no more than 30 minutes duration.  Will increase the duration slowly - no more than 10% per week - once I start feeling a bit stronger.

So what does it feel like to start running again?  Fantastic - and horrible.  Fantastic because at one stage there I thought I might never be able to do it again.  Horrible because said running is taking place in Houston in summer - even the minimum temperature is over 70F and it gets into the mid to upper 90's in a hurry, almost every day. 

Since I got back from Africa from my most recent inspection trip I have not yet gotten back into the gym, mostly because my personal trainer has been away or had other(better?) things going on.  From next week, I will start to re-integrate twice weekly PT sessions with the running.  I will try to do the gym session (with the PT) on Wednesdays and Fridays, and work on my own on Sunday and Monday, for a total of 4 times per week.

On top of that I'm planning on about an hour or so of mountain bike cycling on Sundays, Wednesday and Fridays (i.e. non-running days).   Will try to increase the Sunday bike outing to 20 miles+ as time goes by. 

And finally, it is time to kick-start another period of 'No S' dieting: no snacks, no sweets and no seconds on any days except those starting with S, or Special days such as public holidays, festivals and birthdays.

How about one more mid-year resolution?  We will be traveling to French West Africa (Republic of Congo) in November this year, so I had better shape up on my French.  From today I will be tackling  Rosetta Stone French lessons and from next week - or as soon as I can get my courage up - attending the French conversational meetups in our neighborhood.

July 7 2013:
Weight: 186
Bodyfat percentage: 22
Miles run:  0
Strength + conditioning:  50 minutes
Mountain bike:  14 miles, 1 hr 15 minutes.

Today's workout:  The Andy Routine (Wimbledon)

15 reps of each

Medball situps
Rocky solo with medball
45 degree twist with medball

Lying opposites with Swiss ball
Hip cross-over with Swiss ball
Reverse hyperextension with Swiss ball

Seated Ab crunch
Crunch with a cross
Pushups (aka press-ups)