Fitfy: 49.19

I think it’s time.

I’ve been focused on preserving my physical well-being and developing some routine around structured exercise.  

I’ve been cleverly denying curbing my bad dietary choices at the same time.  Sure, challenging myself to cook at home versus eating out – which has become more of a necessity since tax time, too – but I’m still cooking more comfort food to soothe my emotional self than food that supports my entire self.  

It’s time to focus on integrating diet into this hopscotch toward success in my exercise regimen I am currently on.  I do feel better for the once weekly fit of exercise I get outside of my 6-9 miles walked at work daily…but that ain’t slimming the old silhouette, if you get my drift.  I know a diet based more on lean protein and vegetables will improve that result.  Further, those foods with their added latent results will probably mentally and physically stimulate more of a post-workday activity mindset.

I’ve been avoiding supplements to help reduce my body fat.  I don’t want a crutch.

I’ve been stalwart in my resistance to far diets, whether it be a juice cleanse or going paleo.

I’ve been contemplating a return to a diet prescription an obnoxiously fit gym owner my age once gave me.  He recommended only chicken and green veggies like broccoli after lunch…he’ll why not for lunch, too?

I’ve been glaring at my iced lattes, mentally preparing myself for a return to home made cold brew.

Making those moves would be a jolt of support toward my goals.

Ironically, I realized that diet regimen has been given a trendy and modern name:  a sugar detox.

Plus, it’s a fairly stripped down version of a paleo diet, too.

So, starting Wednesday…three days of hardcore focus on this diet plan and the layering some different foods in while maintaining that base.

After all, what’s in a name, as long as it works for me?

Fitfy: 49.19

Fitfy: 49.18

Well, there’s a break in my weekly fitness accountability updates.

Perhaps I should just call this one Fatfy.

Six weeks off between posts.  I blame The Silver Fox, but only recreationally.  Overall, I’m in charge of me, but here’s the story…you may enjoy it.

It all started with The Fox taking one of his ever more present weekend trips away.  While also having cataloged the rest of his upcoming weekend getaways.

It might have been our Friday coffee before his family vacation in Bend, OR where he, his ex-wife and son from south of Portland and his Seattle son and his family all rendezvoused in this Oregon high desert brewer’s delight of a town.

Perhaps it was the weekend after, where he went north to Seattle to dog sit while his Seattle son’s family went to the in-laws for a visit.

Or the weekend when he popped down to the coast to work on the beach house renovation his ex-wife – the perfectly lovely Sallory – and he were embarking on.

Definitely not this past holiday weekend when he went down to yurt erection party at the beach house.

At one point during his laundry list of upcoming weekends away with his family and/or Sallory, I exclaimed, “You guys are retired! Why can’t you go away in the middle of the week?!?”  A thought that caught him a little off guard, I could tell he was briefly considering the worker bee ritual of maximizing one’s weekends that no longer strictly applied to him.  Ultimately, he set that aside to declare that he couldn’t do that for the yurt building party because the other folks helping still worked.

But he left me an 18 pack of Mac and Cheese from his pre-Bend provisioning Costco trip, so there’s that.  It’s great when your best friend knows you so well that a box of Kraft soothes all manner of sins.

Also, I’m quite simple.  Not basic, since my tastes tend to run either rather high brow or – as in this case, obvs – low brow in the extreme versus basic…which is just common.

I’m gonna have to think about the amount of justifying that my admission of love for the comfort of Kraft Mac and Cheese just required.  But, Myrtle likes it too!  Or the box, at any rate.

So why is my absence from blogging about – or even actually participating in – my fitness journey as I approach my 50th somehow The Fox’s fault…even if only for my amusement?  He’s one of those…motivated people.  It’s so disturbing to my natural state of procrastination.  On my Fridays off, he likes to get our coffee and chat about the week and then make for the gym, which is basically kitty corner from the coffee shop we hang out in.  Well, he hangs out there.  I am a squatter, since my caffeine tastes run to Nossa Familia down the block, but his coffee shop has better seating.  Still, the gym is right in the middle of the two, so he’s right on that we should go to the gym while we are in the area.

However, it’s not my style.  I’ve always been a post-work gym goer.  As I’ve gotten older, my energy level has…leveled off.  The result is that after ten or more hours at work, I’m just as likely to fall asleep on MAX as I am to have the energy to break out of my couch’s orbit once I get home.

Ergo, gym-going has been relegated to my days off.

While this yearlong journey is intended partially to help me find new habits that I can adopt to move forward with into the back third of my life, I have not fully explored too many things that felt like a sustainable routine.

For one of these weeks away of his, I decided that I would have coffee with The Fox and then go home, do some chores and then go to the gym afterward instead of the somewhat established routine of wake up, coffee, gym…it’s such a breakneck pace for what is essentially my Saturday morning.

Looking back, that was the last time I even planned to go to the gym over this six week hiatus.

I was busy.

Eighteen is a lot of boxes of Mac and Cheese.

Plus, I was working.

A lot.

A couple of six day weeks.

Averaging about 7.5 miles of speed-walking around PDX during those hectic workdays…it’s not like I wasn’t getting some exercise in.

So, I forgave myself my weakness and indulged my inclination to potato myself on my couch.

After a few weeks of seriously sedentary days off, I started thinking that it was getting to be bike riding weather in Portland.  Another week of not pulling that trigger and I began experiencing lower back pain.

A side effect of my sofa slouch.

Good news for the Needle Man.

Bad news for my future fit fifty year old self.


You’ll be glad to know that as of last weekend, I have returned to my reluctant cyclist self.  My first ride was a shorty.  A ride that I hear others talk about as an achievement and roll my eyes – a simple 10 miler.


See?  That right there was an error in judgement on my part.

I was looking for a scenic ride on a sunny Portland day.  Thinking, “Hey, it’s just five miles away…” and completely forgetting that it was five miles uphill.  Crazy, windy, two-lane roads through a part of Portland’s semi-exclusive west-side hills.  It took me an hour to make the ride up.  the view I had on my beautiful city once I got there was worth it.

You can’t see the floaters in my field of vision in the pictures, but you can still see Mount St Helens and – what I think is – Mount Adams in the distance.

The ride home was – obviously – much easier.  But harrowing as I rode my brakes most of the way downhill into town.

In rush hour traffic on the Friday before Memorial Day weekend.

Yeah, this was a super well thought out excursion.

On the decidedly plus side:  endorphins.

On the decidedly not-plus side:  my ass feels like hamburger from my saddle rash.

But, I’m not going to let that stop me.





Fitfy: 49.18

Fitfy: 49.11

Nothing to see here, folks.

Move along.

Not only did I skip an entry last week – after my finest week of the year, too – but I compounded that by quite nearly doing nothing to report on during the week past.

I am a big believer in down weeks to let your body rest and also create a bit of a jolt to get you past a plateau when you resume exercise that next week, but let’s face it…I’ve hardly been doing anything consistent or impact-worthy that my body would need a down week.

Yet, here I am.

That said, I did manage to drag my old ass to the gym yesterday after my standing coffee date with The Silver Fox.  I had planned to lift and then do cardio, but his Foxiness is not back to lifting yet, and when we don’t both follow similar routines, it’s difficult to sync up our arrival/departure times.  Not that our routines are mirror images.  He prefers to do cardio and then lift, I am the opposite.  But time-wise, it marries up well.  If I lift and he doesn’t then I usually only get a half hour of cardio in before he’s ready to leave.

Which is odd, since I would normally prefer to avoid cardio altogether.  But, after a down year, my body needs cardio to burn that fat.


When we go for an hour of cardio, we generally try to grab side by side machines.  There is exactly one set of our preferred machines that fit this side by side mold, so it’s not always possible to make that happen, which was the case yesterday.

I walked upstairs while he grabbed a locker and our sweet spot was half occupied by a woman on the treadmill he would normally use.  Instead of conspicuously grabbing the machine right next to her when there were eight of the machines I like sitting empty in a row, I went to the opposite end of the row.  This had the added benefit of allowing me to watch The Masters while I huffed and wheezed instead of some new channel showing the batshit craziness that is haunting our White House these days.

Of course, my machine had some sort of hitch in its giddy-up and I could make out some weird click-snap-pop on the right side as it articulated, even over my headphones – Annie Lennox, in case you were wondering – but I was just glad it was the machine and not my body making the noise.

I turned up my music and huffed merrily along.

I looked casually over twenty minutes into my workout, longing for the silent companionship and smooth-working-sussurations of my normal Fox adjacent machine only to see that The Fox had somehow taken up residence.  It’s unlike me to move from one cardio machine to another during my hour, especially if it’s only from one broken down machine to the exact same model that is in full working order, and this was no exception.

Hey, I can commit, ok?  Just look at the embarrassment of romantic riches in the broken down boys I have dated in my life.

So I stayed put, texting The Fox, “You were a great white whale when I walked by that machine earlier” or some equally angry for no real reason other than to point out that I had at least looked to see if our machines were available when I came upstairs.  I then began text-complaining about how lackluster my workout felt.  Probably because of the wonky machine.  Also because a breakfast of iced latte just wasn’t giving me the energy to exercise with my normal faux enthusiasm.

Also, Annie Lennox isn’t an artist that inspires a lot of moving around…lesson learned.

Of course, this morning The Fox indicated that he hadn’t slept well last night, which usually means we are just grabbing coffee and not working out afterward.  Which is fine since I woke up with a soreness in my usual knee and an added return of an old injury in my left toe.

Gotta love waking up with random injuries.

Sometimes I miss the good old days when I would wake up with a disco related injury on a Saturday morning from the prior evening’s goings on.

Who knows?  Maybe I’m sleep dancing now.

But, not going to the gym after coffee gave me time to come home and pop out an exercise blog entry about – basically – not exercising.  Now, the big question…to post a retroactive entry about my best week of exercise year to date or just go to the gym and do something constructively physical to close out the week?

Facebook seemed to be suggesting that I day drink by posting this photo of me doing just that five years ago in Seattle with my one worthwhile ex-boyfriend…

But I’m really trying to balance my work-night drinking, and tomorrow is my Monday.

Ugh.  Big-boy decisions…guess you’ll have to check in next week to find out what I decided!  (Hint:  it’s probably Netflix on the couch!)


Fitfy: 49.11

Worlds Collide

Well, in a fit of what can only be rampant Xtopher’s persistent survival, today at the gym I found myself caught between two of my ongoing musings:

The Red Shirt Diaries and Fitfy.

Just a real quick glimpse for you into what happens when those two worlds collide…we’ll call it Fitfy 49.7 and The Red Shirt Diaries #8.  Don’t worry, I am sure I’ll find more to share on the whole Fitfy phenomenon later in the week for the half dozen of you with nothing better to do than wonder whether I’m eating right and exercising…we’ll call that Fitfy 49.7.5 but don’t look for it until Saturday, my work schedule changed a little this week.  The upside is that I get a mid-week break from my early mornings.  The downside?  Well, there really isn’t one that I can think of.

Since I’m off today and working Friday, that effectively ruins my standing Friday morning coffee – and occasional gym – date with The Silver Fox.  I made sure to tap him for coffee this morning.  Can’t have my best friend feeling neglected.  He accepted, but seemingly on the condition that we actually go to the gym after instead of just talking about it.

So, really, this is all his fault, now that I type it out.

I wake up at 7, after a luxurious eight and a half hours of solid sleep.  Seriously, this was some coffin sleep if I ever have experienced it.

Coffin Sleep, for those unfamiliar, is basically falling asleep on your back and sleeping so deeply that you wake up in pretty much the same position you fell asleep in.  No tossing, no turning.  Just sleeping.  The repose is reminiscent, I suppose, of a body in a casket, hence the name.

I felt friggin’ fantastic.

Naturally, I resisted getting out of bed, even though I was completely refreshed.  I laid in bed for an hour and a half; playing Words With Friends, checking The Facebook and Instagram and reading news…then I texted The Fox and shared my self-indulgence.  Turns out that he’d been engaged in basically the same.

We met up for coffee about 20 minutes later, dressed for the gym.  Me, freshly showered, because that’s how I go to the gym.

Coffee passed with our normal blend of chatter and phone checking, either for additional discussion topics or to phone fact check something in our conversation.  I think most of the latter was related to his recent re-decent into the rabbit hole that is Game of Thrones…what I recall with certainty was IMDb entering into the equation.


No, wait…he was looking at IMDb because we started chuckling at a meme he had sent me, which brought Jessica Walters into the conversation.Naturally, that created a tangent, as often happens with our conversational relationship, and I wondered aloud whether Jessica Walters was yet 75.  Seventy-six, it turned out, a fact he shared right before he realized that she had been in Play Misty for Me and shortly thereafter he started waxing nostalgic about Clint Eastwood playing Rowdy Yates.

Neverthemess…we make our way over to the gym and find our respective favorite cardio machines.  His is a couple rows back and over to the left from mine.  I’m well aware of this fact, but don’t usually check on him, outside of an occasional text to see where either of is in the progress of our sesh.  That said, I wasn’t surprised to get a text from him at about the 55 minute mark.  I was surprised that it said he’d taken a pee break and needed 15 more minutes.

Here’s what he missed:

Me, almost dying.

I was huffing and puffing away on my elliptical when I got this weird feeling in my stomach, right below my sternum.  I thought maybe I swallowed wrong and took a couple of deep breaths and a swig of water to clear it.

Nevertheless, it persisted.

Of course, I started to worry that something was wrong.  Well, not something generic, specifically:  abdominal aneurysm.

sanfordI grab the handholds and just brace for the worst, hoping I don’t shit myself in the gym as my circulatory system makes like the Oroville Dam and I ride out of this world like Fred Sanford.

Of course, having successfully failed at finding a partner to spend my life with, there’s no Elizabeth for me.  I’m just hoping I don’t get “Carried” at the Pearly Gates.

Of course, amusing myself with Fred Sanford and the Sanford & Son theme playing in my head whilst dying at the gym prevents me from realizing that I’m in good company…Douglas Adams having suffered a similarly public demise.

Of course, that wah-wah-wah-dum theme music in my head also prevented me from following the life lessons Douglas Adams tried to impart in one of my favorite books of his – The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.  Namely:dont panic

And, of course, everything was alright.

Seventy-five minutes of cardio, a haircut and a shower later, I was having a delicious mexican lunch with The Fox, including a well deserved margarita to calm my near-death nerves.

Worlds Collide

Fitfy:  49.6

I had this great idea for goals that would refresh my commitment to working out consistently.  I thought it would be fun to commit to five cardio sessions that matched the distance I walked at work during my five day week.  I was thinking it didn’t have to be on the exact day…my work week didn’t have to be mirrored by my cardio days.

It’d be a lark!

I mentioned it to The Silver Fox during coffee on Saturday and…he poo-pooed it!

I think it was just to prove a point.  Occasionally, he’ll get bristly when I call him things like an enabler or supportive.

I think over correcting gives him a good chuckle.

Me, on the other hand…tell me something isn’t a good idea and dollars to doughnuts, I’ll try and make my point!

Ergo, here’s what happened at work last Sunday:

The 5.5 miles walked at PDX on Sunday meant my cardio goal for the evening was another 5.5 miles on the elliptical at the gym!  Of course I needed to make a statement by ensuring at least me work and cardio weeks began on the same day.

Sure enough…stubborn Xtopher made his point.

On my way home from the gym, I couldn’t stop thinking about the pasta with Italian sausage that I was gonna dive into when I got there.

Somehow, that morphed into a can of Progresso, a bottle of wine and a half bag of Cretor’s.  What?  I was too wiped out to cook!



At least I can say that 5.5 miles on the elliptical = 633 calories, and I have it on tenuous authority from Little Buddy that a bottle of wine is 620 calories…

So, there’s that.

Then on Monday, this happened:img_1856
I mean, c’mon!!!

I put a pin in that lil hurdle and took the day off from the gym.

Tuesday is acupuncture day, so ditto on the day off.  I intended to go in at my regular 6:00 am start time and leave at 1:00 that day, get to the gym by 2:00; lift, do some cardio – especially since it was only a 5.1 mile day – and then head home to shower before my 4:45 appointment.

I can have it ALL!!!

Except I forgot about a standing – particularly when I make alternate plans – meeting at 2:00 on Tuesdays.


Fine.  Day two off from the gym…but I could make up ground on Friday and Saturday.  I mean, it’s not like I wanted to go to the gym every day.

So, Wednesday I go and knock out a nice lil 5.26 cardio sesh.  It’s like I got a point to make.

I don’t remember Thursday, although, I do know that it’s my Whine Down with The Fox to detox from my work week and get mentally prepared for my “weekend”.   The not so secret ingredient is wine.

Oh, wait…now I remember.

So, how about that Friday workout?!?

I got my lift on with a nice full body workout and then went upstairs to do some cardio.  I ended up riding out the full hour, even though that put me in between any of the remaining goals from my work days.

img_1860There was an extenuating circumstance or two…I had a celebrity look alike stretching in front of me for the last 20 minutes of my session.  The guy that plays Ryan from Quantico.

Not just stretching.

More what my dog trainer would call presenting.


I definitely got time for that!

Saturday, I intended a good old lather, rinse, repeat type workout – at least as far as the cardio went.  I did a full body workout with weights on Friday, so I was out for recovery on Saturday.  The Fox and I did coffee in the morning and then compared notes on the rest of our day.

Me:  errands and gym before my grandfather’s 95th birthday outing.

I needed kitty litter.

He:  off to the grocery to grab some fixins for an hors d’oeuvre he was taking to dinner that night.

I say “night”, but both of our dinners were starting early.  My family’s reservation was at 4:00, because:  95 years old eat early.  He was due at his friends’ at 3:00 so that their dogs could play around in the yard while it was still light out.

Somehow, I ended up getting a ride along for my kitty litter errand as he went to the grocery.  Oh yeah…it started raining.  Like, biblically raining.

We went to Mud Bay, got some litter – he also decided on the impulse to grab some toys for his pup.  Then we hop in the car and go after some of what I can only call…the best hummus on the planet.  I hope I didn’t undersell that.  Seriously, though…if you are in Portland, you need to get a chance to grab some King Harvest Hummus.

So good!

You can only get it at a few places.  The closest place to us is the New Seasons Market over in the Conway district.  As we walked in, they had a yoooge stack out of Juanita’s Tortilla Chips.

Great chips.

The best.

Even better are the Chilipeno flavored variety.  And they had Sweet Chili and Jalapeno, too.  Neither of which I had tried…and they were 2/$5, so…yeah, that happened.

But, I thought it might make a nice lil treat for after the gym.

Until I realized that it was really raining now.  I guess I was just kidding about it raining hard earlier.  This was a downpour!  So, I figured that I could go to the gym after my grandfather’s shindig and plus, if I went to the gym and then had a snack of chips that I can never stop eating, I would probably be too full come dinner time.

Just like I was too full at 7:30 when I got home from dinner.  I guess I conveniently failed to factor in that we were eating at The Old Spaghetti Factory.  Not exactly light fare.

But, still…27.6 miles walked – briskly, I might add – and 16.5 miles on the elliptical?  That ain’t too bad.  The Fox was right, I’m not up to matching my walking output on the elliptical yet.  Nor am I anywhere near the work/life balance getting to the gym five times in a week requires.

But there’s a goal for the next few weeks!

Fitfy:  49.6

Fitfy:  49.5

The Silver Fox tries to be supportive.  He follows up on my gym invites with a text to confirm I still want to go.  Sometimes he even proposes a time.

Silly Fox.

Ok, so it was my intent to go after work on this Sunday.  It really was!  But after a 12 hour day, a beer just sounded better.  Pretty much this last week was downhill from there.

My goal for the week was to complete two cardio sessions, two full body workouts and one yoga…class?  I’ve been pretty committed to back to back gym days on my days off since kicking off this initiative.  These last two weeks, though…they’ve got me batting 600 on that goal.

Sports analogies.  Not really my strong suit.

Fridays are my opportunity day.

The day to kick start an active weekend, my days off being Friday and Saturday.

Well, the last two weeks, my opportunity days have been…well…opportunities.

That Silver Fox.

Last week, when my back was hurting me?  He was as supportive as ever when I said I was planning a “down day”, telling me that I deserve a day on the couch watching movies after as many hours as I work.

His support works both ways.

It’s kind of exciting.

Yesterday, though, he did give me some tougher love on the whole “couch situation” but ultimately did not judge me when I failed to drag my Michael Douglas ass to the gym.

But, he rallied me this morning for a post coffee trip to the gym, declaring last night that he was coming to coffee dressed for the gym.

And that was my salvation for the week.

On my goal, I managed to get one cardio sesh and one full body workout in.  I still managed to get plenty of steps in at work, logging 29.9 miles of schlepping around the airport.  It was also feeling pretty damn tropical at the airport this week, so whenever I found myself pushing some stock between stores or breaking into a pallet of stock I was guaranteed a decent moistness quotient for my efforts…but it’s just not the same level of reward as grinding it out at the gym.

I really need to work on that.

Whatever my physical activity shortcomings may have been this week, they pale in comparison to the lack of discipline I applied to my diet.  One of the things that I like about taking sandwiches in from home for my lunch is that I’m not really tempted to over eat at the food court.  I also tend to spend a lot less during the week.  Last week I spent $400 on coffee, snacks and meals out.  The week prior, when I had taken sammies for lunch, I spent less than half of that for the entire week.  It’s crazy, I even found that I was skipping buying coffee at work, which is a $5 endeavor per each episode.  And there’s not even a cute barista working there anymore.  Well, there’s that one guy…but he’s so tall.

Sadly, my lazy ass didn’t make sandwiches once this week.

Here’s a lowlight on the dietary front for last week:

Yesterday, I woke up and made a PB&J – because I’m basically a toddler that drinks – for breakfast before going to coffee with The Fox.  At coffee, I had an iced quad shot filbert latte.

That’s right, I’m from Oregon, where we call hazelnuts filberts.


After coffee, we both had appointments.  There was still time for me to get an hour of cardio in before my appointment, but I didn’t.  I went walking around the Pearl with The Fox, instead.

But I didn’t get a bagel while we were out walking around.  So…there’s that?

bing-miI had to run home and get some insurance information before my appointment.  While I was rooting around in my hallway table, I found my unfinished snack from the prior evening’s ride home:  red licorice!  That paired nicely with a diet coke on the walk to my doctor’s office.

Afterward, I figured I was so close to the food carts that it would really be taking them for granted not to go.  However, my favorite food cart in Portland was only seven blocks away, so I hoofed it up there…arriving at 12:02.  FML.

But, so. worth. it.

I walked my little Bing Mi baby home and ate it on the couch while watching some 30Rock.

the-best-cheese-popcorn-everThen, really feeling that 30Rock vibe, I ate an entire bag of the best cheesy popcorn ever.

I was – and I’m not kidding here – just killing time before meeting up with a friend for Happy Hour.  She had suggested a sushi place up on Mississippi Ave as a meet up location.  I’m not wild about sushi – at all – so I had countered with any alternate location, especially since I didn’t plan on being hungry for a couple of days after what I had just done to myself.

Linda Belcher’s alternative to sushi was to lose a temporary crown and spend the rest of the afternoon in a dentist’s chair.  She really knows how to have a good time.

Which was good, because:  full.


I had said something to The Silver Fox about dinner after my happy hour with Linda Belcher.  Secretly, I wasn’t even hoping he would let it go for the day if I didn’t bring it up again.

Lucky me, The Fox knows fat, old Xtopher well…he knows when to drop the gym and when not to drop food adventures.

My Needle Man had suggested a new Chinese Street Food restaurant a few weeks back, even – I think – suggesting we go after my appointment one night.

He’s Chinese, so I take his recommendation seriously.

He, on the other hand, takes his Tai chi instructor’s Chinese restaurant recommendations seriously, since the guy lived in Beijing.

Somehow, there’s a transitive property win there.

I didn’t go, but I future filed it for later.


Well, a few days back, this same restaurant – I guess I can type the name, it’s not a secret – Danwei Canting came up on another blog that I follow.  This writer had also lived in Beijing, so…shit was getting real around this place.

This was the adventure that I had mentioned to The Fox earlier in the day.

danwei-cantingAnd did we go?

Yes, yes we did.

Did I order a side and two entrees all for myself?

Yes, yes I did.

And a beer.

Which ended up being a 22 oz.

God bless Portland.

I left one, teensy morsel uneaten on one plate, just for the sake of propriety.

Then The Fox and I came back to my place and watched a few episodes of our latest binge, Quantico and had one more beer before calling it a night.

Yeah, the week might have been a fitness loss, but I’d say if Friday was any indication of the overall quality of my week…well, yeah…it was a fuck, yeah week!

Praise Cheeses I went to the gym today.


Fitfy:  49.5

Fitfy: 49.2

Well, what a week.

I mean, for me…it wasn’t that big of a deal, or anything.  Not compared to the week our country has had.  But, for me it was simply a much needed good kick in the butt.  Who knew I was flexible enough to do that to myself?


It was a figurative kick in the butt.

I came back from the gym all high on endorphins last Friday and tapped out the first of what looks like a 52 entry commitment – from the guy who couldn’t successfully complete a tryptich blog entry.  It surprised me how much input that first installment received across all of my social outlets.

The support was motivating.

I am happy to report that I was able to complete my accountabilities last week, returning to the gym to lift the next day and even making it through an hour-long session of cardio during the week.  But it was a much more cathartic and ever so slightly entertaining week than just accomplishing those goals.

As I mentioned, Saturday I made it back to the gym – after coffee with the Silver Fox, natch – and did back, biceps and legs.  A good follow up to the prior day of chest, abs and triceps.  I’ve always enjoyed splitting my workouts up by muscle groups or push/pull rotations.  If I did full body workouts, back to back gym days would be inadvisable.  The whole goal of this fitfy adventure isn’t to bulk up so much as get fit (aka:  trim some of the fat) and get comfortable with the white ape looking back at me in the mirror every day.

He’s so judgy.

Splitting up my lifting days by muscle group will just allow me to go to the gym more frequently to lift versus going and plugging into a cardio machine, something I still hesitate to overdo because of my knee.  That said, getting out of bed at 3 am on Sunday morning for work was…a reminder of both why I need to do this and why I dread doing this.

Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness.

My poor chesticles.  I was a little stiff in the back, which isn’t entirely abnormal after a good 8 hours of sleep, but my chest.

Oh, boy.

Raising my arm to pull back the shower curtain and then again to wash my hair?

So tight.

It felt like fire.

It was awesome.  Crippling, but in an awesome way.

To add to the delight of rising early Sunday morning for work, the Silver Fox and I had indulged in some Chinese food for dinner the night before to celebrate the Lunar New Year.  To say it was a tasty treat was to downplay the yum factor of a food I don’t indulge in too often…generally eschewing the walk to Old Town/Chinatown to get my Golden Horse for the walk down the stairs of my building to get some Thai.

The added delight?  A Make So Good hangover.  One that had me up to use the bathroom and hydrate myself three times during the night.

But, by Monday afternoon, it was all pretty well settled.  The DOMS and the MSG hangover…luckily Monday wasn’t leg day, though.  No need to tempt fate.  Recovery after a workout is motivating in and of itself.  So, Monday afternoon I leave work and go to the gym.

I hate Mondays at the the gym.  Pretty much Tuesdays, too.  Everyone is there paying for their weekend sins.  I hadn’t had any – aside from the Chinese Food Fiasco – this particular weekend since I was in bed between 7 and 8 both nights so I was particularly not looking forward to the Monday/Tuesday gym bunnies.  The gym starts getting busy by 3 those days and I was aiming to get there before it got really bad at 6.  The Fox had planned to go at 3:30, but when I told him I was leaving work at a reasonable time and planned on getting to the gym at around 4:30, he decided to wait and go with me.

It wasn’t too busy when we arrived.

At 4.

You know, this Silver Fox guy…never late.  Definitely never late.  Usually because he’s early.  So when I tell him my plans, I can usually expect him to follow up in what would be considered timely if it weren’t so preemptive.  At 2:35-ish, I get a text that says, “I’m dressed for the gym”, which of course I have to respond to with the observation that he’s just gonna be chilling in his gym clothes for two hours.

Alas, this is The Fox’s way.

So, I’m completely unsurprised to get another text at 3:45 saying, “You must be getting close to home”.  Yeah, yeah…sure, sure.  I was, but I was also writing a blog on my way home, so I had back burnered my bestie and put him on mute while I finished it up.

Like I said, though…we arrived at the gym at 4:01 on an original E.T.A. of 4:30, so I forgive myself.

alien-cardioThat earlier arrival was still not early enough to merit two cardio machines next to each other.  He likes the traditional treadmill and I prefer this machine that kind of reminds me of that hydraulic lifter that Ripley uses to fight the Alien queen in Aliens.  Well, but for the legs.

We have an unmatched pair that we can usually get together, but not today.


It was really fine, though, that machine is a little more stressful on my knee than I wanted to endure, so I grabbed an elliptical.  I was surprised by how well I performed after a long break.  The hardest part of cardio for me is usually shutting my brain down for an entire hour.  I’ve never figured out how people actually read while working out on an elliptical, so I am stuck listening to music and watching whatever is on TV without and sound.  It’s hard to not get bored.

And watching everyone else exercise.

My heel started aching in the final 10-15 minutes, but otherwise, it was a nice, successful 5 mile and 600-ish calorie return to cardio. The next day was my acupuncture day, so I felt like I could make it past the heel pain.  In addition to my acupuncture to treat my general decrepitness, I’ve been trying out a pill that is an herbal blend that reduces lower body pain.  I had been off of those for a full week and figured that they could be a useful crutch as I transition my body out of healing mode and into a more active mode.  Ironically, I was shoving this cardio session down my own throat simply because I wanted something to bridge the days between working out on my days off.  I walk a frantically paced 5-8 miles a day at work, so I get my cardio unofficially in on a weekly basis.  But my heart fitness and waistline don’t particularly match up, so more equals not worse in this case.

After the gym, The Fox declares he’s going to the Safeway to get some stuff for dinner.  I tag along, but only after lamenting that I hadn’t brought my wallet with me.  He promises to front me, so I tag along intent on getting some chicken for dinner.

I go butt wild while we are there.  I’ve been resist-attempting to take my lunch to work.  I started at the new year – the other one, not the lunar one – with salads, but ended up eating them for dinner the night before and buying lunch at the airport.  Still, I was eating salad.  At Safeway, I decided to take a page out of my boss’ book and try taking a sandwich.

Or two.

I end up owing The Fox $60, which I discovered last night he has forgotten about.

Tuesday morning I spring out of bed like a near 50 year old who thinks he’s 30 and get to work by 6.  It’s a close call…my 6 o’clock mornings start at 5 am and are pretty much a carefully timed routine that gets me reasonably presentable and on the 5:39 Max to the airport.  I call them my 6 o’clock mornings, but I get there at 6:10.

Sue me.

The amazing part of this isn’t that I managed to cram some barely competent sandwich making into the 39 minutes between my alarm going off and hearing “The doors are closing” on the Max…it’s that the 5 minutes that took had reduced my normally fast paced 9 block morning walk that I allow ten minutes for to a frantic and awkward 6 minute jog.

Which, of course I bragged about to my Needle Man that evening.

So, here I am…telling him that I’m working out, eating slightly better and experiencing much less pain.  Actually able to jog, FFS.  I think he was proud of one of us.

Maybe both.

Maybe surprised?

Wednesday begins much the same, but my sandwich making game is much improved.  A moot matter of pride given that my boss declared he was taking his assistants out to lunch that day.

Chinese Buffet.


I rallied.

Fat, old Xtopher can knuckle down when the going gets tough.  I managed to keep it to a respectfully packed two plates.  Plus, I could eat my sandwiches on Thursday.

Speaking of Thursday…not to brag, but I had a kombucha.

I don’t know what’s come over me.

Kombucha is a pretty tough sell for this E.O.G. guy.  After trying it and absolutely hating it ten years ago and then watching Rib make it in our kitchen when we lived together…well, I come by my lack of enthusiasm pretty honestly.  Despite the olfactory flashbacks to smelling the fermentation happening in our kitchen and seeing the floating “mother” in our fridge and assorted kitchen cabinets as Rib moved his concoction from place to place, I suspect just to catch me off guard, I graciously forced myself to try another ‘buch last summer…and liked it.

When I showed up on Thursday to one of our vendors bringing in samples from the same brand that I had tried last summer, I figured it was a safe endeavor.  It was a different blend, but still drinkable.

And did I die?


Not all week.

Only 50 to go…I guess that makes this T-minus 50 to 50, eh?

Fitfy: 49.2

Fitfy: 49.1

In true procrastinator’s fashion, I’m getting around to executing my New Year’s resolutions about the time everyone else’s start to crumble.  But, to be honest, I’m not a fan of the New Year’s resolution…nevertheless, I had committed to myself to find a fitness balance in my life in this last year of my 40s.

Well, my birthday was last Saturday, so it’s time to get that party started.  The 2017 snowmageddon is behind us, the flu to beat all flus did not kill me before my birthday…so, I’m left with no choice but to honor my commitment to myself and get back to the gym.

I knew this was coming.  I took most of the end of last year off trying to let my myriad piddly injuries heal up in so-called preparation for this effort.  I finally sought treatment for my physical maladies in actual preparation for this year of embracing my physical self before the big five-O.

Nothing left this morning but to just do it.

I went back to the gym.

I probably should have called ahead to warn them so they could evacuate, since the collective intake of shocked breath as I re-entered the building nearly collapsed the walls.

There I was, though, ready to get my fitness on.

Wait, I should back up a little.

Back when I started working at PDX, I was pretty fluffy after a few months of inactivity.  I spent many days at work sweating through my clothes as I put about seven to eight miles in walking at a breakneck pace around the airport each day.  My focus being Human Resources, I was a little surprised at how much time I spent schlepping merchandise between my warehouse downstairs and our five stores in the airport.  Being a retailer for 30+ years, I enjoyed every second of it.  I was looking forward to the HR training I needed prior to diving into my primary focus, while secretly worried I would lose out on the opportunity to indulge in the physical side of retail I so enjoy.

I didn’t need to worry, as it turns out.  I probably spend two full days involved in my HR responsibilities and the other three are mine to support the platform pretty much however I want – or in true retail fashion, however the business dictates I must.

In that first month or so before I went to Boise for HR training, I probably walked off a pant size.  Less fluff, hoorah!  Over the holidays and my birthday, I probably put a good chunk of it back on.

Such is life.

See?  I’m already finding balance.

Last week, I was at my acupuncture appointment and chatting with my Needle Man about my physical self as I got weighed in, as is the norm at this clinic.



Fully clad in my winter coat and shoes, I feel compelled to add.


My back pain had gone from a “waking me up at night 6-7” on a scale of 1-10 to an occasional 1 on that same scale.  My knee pain had gone from a feeling that it might buckle walking up stairs to an awkward ability to actually walk up friggin’ stairs.  My heel pain had been the last injury we started to treat and was still present, although was no longer the type of pain that made me worry that I might fall over when I put weight on it while getting up in the middle of the night to pee.  My hobble is much more infrequent, even though the pain is still probably in the 2-3 range.

Beats an 8, though.  I seriously did not know how I kept walking, other than simply telling myself that I had to just keep on doing so.

After that recap last week, I proudly (cautiously) declared to my Needle Man that I was ready to get back to the gym that weekend.  His response was to move into how my sleep was.


Well, it was great.  I had been sleeping a good seven to eight hours each night, even though I was still getting up around 2:30 to pee each night.  The good news is that I was able to get to and from the bathroom without much pain and able to get back to sleep afterward.

Good, he says, transitioning back to my statement about exercise by recommending that I keep focused on resting up for another week and get back to the gym after the Chinese New Year, which is this week.

Hey, I’m a procrastinator.  It doesn’t really take much more than that to keep me away from the gym.

But then there’s this looming commitment I made to my favorite person…so, I wait another week for the Chinese New Year, but not until after the CNY per se.

The Silver Fox was over last night and mentioned that he wanted to go to the gym and I figured that was as good a sign as any that I had waited long enough.  Coffee in the morning followed by the gym after was the plan.

I woke up at 7:00 and zombie-walked around the house for a couple of hours before texting him that I was getting ready.  We made a plan for coffee at 9:30.

Dressed for the gym, he stressed.

Yes, mom.

And we did it.

Each of us with our individual old man pains, damn them all…we went.  I lifted while he found a cardio machine to make his bitch.  I had entered with the caveat that I wasn’t doing cardio, just lifting, and even then would probably only be there a half hour.

He expressed his surprise at my planned short stay.  I defended myself with the fact that – optimally – I only needed a half hour to lift.  All things not being optimal wasn’t going to change that.

No need to overdo it.

We both made it to about the 45 minute mark and left…planning a return tomorrow, which I take as a good sign.  I shared that the only discomfort I felt was emotional, not physical.  Specifically, that I felt fatter than ever around all of those fit folk.  Those folk that used to be my people.  Of course, he p’shawed that and told me that they didn’t matter.

I know…I know.

Trust me, if I’m ever judging an overweight person…it’s certainly never at the gym.  At least they showed up.

Today, I showed up.

I had told The Fox at coffee that I had decided the way to keep myself accountable to my commitment was to post a weekly blog update on my progress.  So, that is the naming paradigm you see in the title here; each Friday’s post will have a new 49-point-whatever week it is in my 49th year.

49.1 was the less than glamourous return to the gym.  I did chest, triceps and (fl)abs.  My plan is to return tomorrow for legs, back and biceps and to find at least one evening next week to get on a machine and do some sort of cardio.  I’d like to take that fully clad 194 and drop it by 10.

That will likely be the toughest commitment to keep…cardio.  Simply because of timing.  Not that there isn’t enough, more that the most optimal evening – midway through my work week – is Tuesday and that’s my acupuncture evening.  I think Wednesday is my newly minted “whine evening” with the Silver Fox, which we all know he’d gladly change for me if I asked.  Thursday is my Friday and I have no problem going that night, but then I’m basically at the gym three days in a row, which isn’t ideal.

That leaves Monday evening.

I hate going to the gym on Mondays…it’s so packed and the only thing that gets a workout is my rage – er, my early onset grumpiness.

I guess I’ll let you know what happens next Friday in 49.2.

Oh, and I had pizza for breakfast today.  Woo!


Fitfy: 49.1