More Reading and a General Update

It’s been a month since my last post, and I figured I’d give an update.  Got some more writing done; almost finished with a story I’ll be submitting to Writers of the Future in a few days.  Participated in some cool operations, but of course I won’t go into that here.  Maybe some other time, and someplace else that’s not so public.  🙂

I’ve been working out, of course.  I’m one week from finishing Insanity for the second time this deployment.  That’s been fun, and of course, the workout is no joke.  Once I’m done with this round, I’m going to focus on weights and the exercise bike (I hate treadmills or I’d run.  At least the bike we have has videos of various routes on the Tour du France, so it’s not completely mind-numbing).  Earlier in the deployment I had been working hard on my pull-ups, but I got tendonitis in my elbows so I stopped for a while to heal.  It’s been a couple months now and the elbows feel 100%, so I re-started my pull-up regime yesterday.  Obviously, I’ve lost some of the progress I’d made before, and I went with sets of two (before I was doing sets of 3 or 4) so as to not press too hard too soon.  But I’m back on the horse again, which is good.

And of course I’ve been reading and listening.  Here’s what I’ve finished over the last month.

Audiobooks:

  1. The Legend of Drizzt – R A Salvatore
  2. The Telltale Heart and Other Stories – Edgar Allan Poe
  3. Eternity Base – Bob Mayer
  4. The Gripping Hand – Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle
  5. Jumper – Steven Gould
  6. Dead in the Family – Charlaine Harris
  7. The Lies of Locke Lamora – Scott Lynch

Written Books:

  1. Totaled – Kary English (it’s a short story, but it counts.  And, it’s awesome)
  2. Fiction River: Moonscapes – Various
  3. The Black – Paul E Cooley

Of course, the next question would be what did I think of these various books?  Well, you can look to Goodreads for that.  But suffice it to say I enjoyed all of them, to one extent or another.  Can’t say any of them left me disappointed or pissed off, and most left me grinning.  So that’s a good thing.

I’m currently reading the following.

Audiobooks:

  1. The Sam Gunn Omnibus – Ben Bova

Written Books:

  1. Colonel Roosevelt – Edmund Morris (going slow on this one)
  2. Monster Hunter Vendetta – Larry Correia (I was just starting this as of last post, but got distracted with other books first, obviously. I’m about 1/3 done now)
  3. Trigger Warning – Neil Gaiman (After all the whining from the continually offended over the title, I HAD to get this book and read it.  I’m about 2/3 done)

So…what’s next up?

Audiobooks:

  1. The Damnation Game – Clive Barker
  2. A Canticle of Leibowitz – Walter M Miller
  3. The Bourne Identity – Robert Ludlum (I keep meaning to come back to this one.  I started it about a year ago but stopped a couple chapters in.  Not that I don’t like it, but for whatever reason I just felt like moving on to other things)

Written Books:

  1. Darkship Thieves – Sarah Hoyt
  2. Running From The Night – R J Terrell
  3. Monster Hunter Alpha – Larry Correia
  4. The Disappeared – Kristine Kathryn Rusch
  5. On Basilisk Station – David Weber

Yeah, I know.  My list of upcoming written books is different than it was last month.  And I read some things this month that weren’t even on the upcoming list last month.  What can I say, I’m flighty.  Or something.

So that’s what’s up over here.  Deployment’s still fun, but I’m getting to the point where I’m ready to be done.  Just one more month to go.  🙂

Max Interval Destruction

It’s Week 6 of Insanity, which means it’s time for another fit test.  Behold, the results:

Insanity Fit Test 9-22-14Pretty good.  Making progress still.  I’m pleased.  🙂

However, after the fit test, the workout had to go on, and here’s where it gets painful.  Going into it, I heard that the Insanity world totally changes in Week 6.  What had become a difficult workout just gets taken to a whole new level.  And I believed it, because that just makes sense to do.  All the same, I wasn’t quite ready for the reality of it.

Put it this way.  By the end of Week 4, I won’t say the workouts had become easy, because they hadn’t.  But I had definitely become used to them.  I knew what to expect, where the real ball-buster parts were, and I’d gone through all of the various workouts enough so that I was comfortable with them.  And then last week, the Recovery Week, the workouts pulled back a step or so in intensity, which made me even more confident.

Tonight was Max Interval Circuit.  The first thing that stood out was its length – a full hour, as opposed to 37 minutes for its equivalent in the first month.  Add to that the fact that the Fit Test took 25 minutes, and I was already fairly tired at the beginning.  Not to mention by the middle.  Nkechi Kwenu, who I mentioned before is my favorite of the people who documented their Insanity experiences on YouTube, said at the end of this day’s workout, “Shaun T is a murderer.”  I’m not going to go that far.  But it was pretty intensely challenging.

Great fun!

This next month is going to be pretty interesting, looks like.  I’m looking forward to it.  🙂

 

Fit Test

Two weeks into this Insanity bit, and tonight’s task was taking the program’s fit test for the second time.  Now, fitness tests are nothing new for me; I have to take one every six months in the Navy.  But let’s face it, the Navy PRT is pretty easy.  2 minutes of sit-ups, 2 minutes of pushups, and a 1.5 mile run.  You would have to TRY to not pass it.  But yet, somehow, I know of people who have failed the dang thing, multiple times.

Anyway, rolling into the fit test on Day 1, I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect, but I also wasn’t too terribly intimidated by it.  And yeah, the exercises are different than what I’d been used too, but it was not too bad. I had a harder time with some of the exercises than I thought, and an easier time on others.  You know, the usual.

Tonight, knowing what to expect, and with my previous scores in hand, I wasn’t nervous per say but I was mindful of the desire/need to show progress, if only to myself.  So how’d it go, you ask?

Insanity Fit Test 9-1-14

 

So yeah, showing some improvement.  The only areas that didn’t go up were the Globe Jumps and Power Knees.  Globe Jumps – I just hate them and I think they’re a little silly, and I suck at jumping.  But still, that should have gone better.  And the Power Knees…I think the reason for that is I did it with my right leg for the first test, and the left for this one.  Dumb – should have kept it consistent and my left is my weak side.  But it is what it is.

So already seeing some good effects from the program.  Hard to argue with raw numbers, eh?  Although amusingly enough, you wouldn’t know there’d been improvement from looking at the scale.  *shrug*   Oh well, no doubt that will come.

Ok, time to hit the rack.

Too. Much. PT.

As I stated before, I am totally ramping up the amount of PT I’m doing, because Hooyah.  But even considering that, the last few days have been…strenuous.

A little background.

On Saturday, we decided to splurge and order out for dinner (we don’t do that very much – budget, dude.  Budget.).  We had some Olive Garden gift cards, so what the heck right?  😉  So I roll on out to pick up the yummy vittles, and on the way to the restaurant, I came down HARD on a dip in the road that I didn’t see coming until it was too late.  Didn’t think much of it though, because these things happen.

Fast forward to Monday morning.  The car starts up just fine, but will not shift out of park.

Crap.

So I rode my bicycle to work.  It’s 23.6 miles each way.  I’ve done it before; in fact many weeks I’ll ride to and from at least once.  But typically I’ll drive in one morning with my bike on the rack, ride home in the afternoon, then ride back to work the next morning and drive home.  Used to be, when I lived closer to work, I’d ride my bike there every day.  Not so much these days.

Anyway, you can do the math – I cranked out 47 miles on the bike on Monday.  Then still had to do Insanity Monday evening.  It was very tempting not to, but of course I couldn’t skip out.  Because what am I, a slacker?

Yesterday, I drove the Admiral’s minivan to work because she had a light day, and I had to pick my Mom up from the airport on the way home and that would be tough to do on my bicycle.  😛  I was freaking tired last night, and the hustle and bustle around the house didn’t really die down until about 2245, but hang it all I did my Insanity.  Last night was Pure Cardio; that one’s a grinder, too.

Today, I rode my bicycle in to work again, and I’ll ride it home.  So another 47 mile day.  And no, I’m not going to skip tonight.  Probably going to do the same tomorrow.  Thankfully, Friday is a day off at work, so I’ll get a little break there.

Long story short, I’m getting a metric butt-ton of PT this week.  95 Weightwatchers activity points worth so far, and it’s only Wednesday (by way of comparison, I’m allocated 45 points of food a day, and last week between Insanity, Pull-ups, and running a few times I only generated 73 activity points).  That’s pretty awesome.  Feels good.  🙂

I know what you’re thinking, though.  Kingswood, what’s up with your car?

Well…  I didn’t anything done with it until this morning.  I figured it was a transmission problem or maybe an interlock sensor issue (you know the brake-transmission interlock; if the brake ain’t depressed the gears won’t shift.  If the brake sensor dies…).  Now, the car’s 10 years old, but I have an extended power train warrantee that I bought when I purchased the car last year.  Normally, I don’t go for those sorts of things, but I may end up being happy I did this time.  Problem was, I couldn’t find the information the policy until last night, so I only just this morning called USAA to tow the car to a service station.

Interestingly enough, when the tow truck lifted the car up, the driver found a ton of transmission fluid on the street beneath.  Which has me thinking maybe that dip in the road from Saturday has something to do with this.  Which could make it an insurance claim as opposed to a warrantee claim.  So looks like either way I’ll avoid a HUGE financial hit.  It still sucks though.

So that’s the latest around here.  Go buy some books, will ya?

😉

Insanity

Those who know me know I generally keep fairly active.  I do triathlons and running races, train in martial arts, lift weights, things like that.  I also enjoy beer and wine and love good food.  Lots of good food.  Consequently, though I’m in pretty good shape in terms of strength and endurance (my resting heart rate the other day at the doctor’s office was 56), I’ve always had more of a twelve-pack than a six-pack, if you know what I mean.

Hell, in 2008, when I checked off the submarine at the end of my Department Head tour, I had more like a pony keg.  I got a big wakeup call when I transferred to that shore duty, let me tell you.  I had the trifecta of anti-fitness occur, all at once: I went over 30, served as Department Head on a submarine, and got married.  Any one of those three might have been easily overcome, but all together?  *headshake*

November 2008 - Ugh

November 2008 – Ugh

I weighed in at 240 lbs when I checked in to my new command in November of that year, and measured something like 26% body fat.  Unsat.  So I hopped on Weightwatchers, got back into running more, really started hitting the weight room, and by April I’d dropped to 215 and gotten back within the Navy body fat limits.

October 2009, while sailing my sailboat from Annapolis, MD to Charleston, SC

October 2009, while sailing my sailboat from Annapolis, MD to Charleston, SC – much better

At that point, I figured I should keep going, get back below 200 lbs for the first time since 1999.  But I didn’t feel a lot of pressure to do so, so I didn’t.  Subsequently, I transferred to Upstate New York for a couple years, then here to San Diego.  I put some lbs back on (depends on the time of year), but by and large I’ve stayed at the same overall place since 2009.  Except I’m in much better shape now than I was then.  Not as good as when I was  Junior Officer on shore duty (3 marathons in 24 months and five days a week in the dojo will have a good affect on a body), but still pretty darn good.  I beat much younger guys at the Navy PRT (not that this is all that difficult a feat…the PRT ain’t exactly hard).

But, all the same, a few things have been nagging at me.

First, Pull-ups.

I’ve always sucked at pull-ups.  Situps?  I make sit-ups my bitch.  Pushups?  I can crank out a lot.  But Pull-ups… Oy, pull-ups.  Back in 2009, I managed to get to the point where I could do 3-4, but that was the best I’ve ever done with pull-ups.  Well, I guess a month and a half ago, I got to thinking I was sick and tired of sucking at pull-ups, and I found this guy’s website where he described how he made his own pull-up bar using materials from Home Depot.  I thought, “What the hell,” and built one myself the next week, drawing off his plans.

Pull-Up Bar

At the time of it’s completion, I could maybe do 2 pull-ups at once.  But that’s ok.  I decided I’d do 10 sets of 1 every day.  Doing that would inevitably enable me to up my reps, over time.  And sure enough, it worked.  Within a week I was doing sets of two.  Now, I’m doing sets of 3 or 4, depending on the day.  I intend to continue working on them until I’m up to Marine Corps standards (technically I’m past their minimum spec, which if memory serves is three or four pull-ups for the PFA.  Or is it 5?  Regardless, I can do that minimum now.  But they get max points at 20, so that’s what I’m shooting for).  I figure I can be there by the time I get back from deployment in April.

Yes, deployment.  More on that later.

Anyway, I’d been making such good progress on the pull-up front that I got to thinking about the the second thing that keeps irking me: the twelve pack.  And I started thinking about what I’m going to do on deployment.  Obviously I’m going to write a lot.  Read a lot.  Work a lot.  But also work OUT a lot.  And that led to thinking about what manner of workout I wanted to do onboard ship, since i hate – and I meant HATE – treadmills and stationary bikes.

And then I remembered Insanity.

I heard some of the guys at work talking about Insanity and P-90X and the like, but never took part in them.  I had no interest.  But for whatever reason, the middle of last month I got to thinking about it, and I went online.  I found some articles reviewing the Insanity workout, watched some YouTube videos that people made documenting their Insanity experience (he series of videos I enjoyed best was by this lady named Nkechi Kwenu – she’s pretty funny).

And, again, I thought, “What the hell,” and ordered the DVDs.

The Admiral here at home wanted to participate as well, but she had a half-marathon to finish training for and run last weekend, so we didn’t start until this week.

I’m here to tell you, I’ve done some intense workouts over the years.  Conditioning and Sparring at Masters Studios of Self Defense in Charleston (my all-time favorite dojo) kicked my butt thoroughly.  As did each marathon I’ve run, and the Olympic length triathlons.  So I know how to deal with a hard workout.  No lie, Insanity is legit.  A good, hard workout, across the entire body.

It’s hard.  Totally doable, but hard.  And that’s good.

Today (it’s past midnight now but it’s still Saturday night so I’m thinking of today as Saturday even though technically it’s really Sunday) was day 6, and it was a repeat of the circuit workout we did on Tuesday.  Already I can tell it was just a little bit easier than it was just a few days ago.  Easier in that I was able to push a little bit harder before failure, if you know what I mean.

So that’s what I’m up to now.  I’m back on weight watchers, cranking on pull-ups, and working Insanity.  All with the goal of really getting back below 200 lbs by the end of my deployment.  After all, the Admiral at home, post kid #4, has become a PT machine and trimmed down to a size 2, which is smaller than she was when we met in bygone days of yore.  I should probably return the favor.

It’s going to be a lot of fun.  And now that I’ve finished blasting The Pericles Conspiracy at you, I figure I’ll bother you with workout reports for a while.

🙂

Hope you don’t mind.

Now, it’s time to hit the rack.  Later.