Gotta go somewhat hastily

Last summer, I decided that “running” was a thing that I was going to do. I came up with a specific course, and my goal was to decrease the time it took me to get around it. While I did not achieve my target time, I did get my time down quite a bit from the initial run. So that’s good! Something to be proud of!

This year, I’ve gotten a late start on the actual running thing, but I have been getting out for long walks every weekend, so it’s not a complete wash. And since I’ve been displaced from my course, I have to come up with a new one. Or maybe not. I might not set a clear goal this year. For whatever reason, having goals is more likely to dissuade me from doing things. It’s weird. I’m weird. I much prefer to just go with the flow. Like a hedonist but with more body image issues.

Going out for a run is so hard at first. Even with a little stretching and a glass of water to prep, I get done with that first burst of energy, and then things just go to pot. I puff and I wheeze and my mouth gets all full of that sticky saliva that makes everything worse. I’ll walk for a bit, then try to run some more, but can’t get nearly as far. Rinse an repeat until I get back home, but with the walk cycle getting longer and the run cycle getting shorter each time.

Then I get back home, have a nice glass of water and sit for five minutes. I’m absolutely dead when I get back, but after a short rest and rehydration, I feel as though I could conquer the world. So I go back out, and that’s where the bulk of my time is spent. The second “leg” of my journey is always so much easier. I still puff and wheeze, but I feel that it’s a lot easier to push myself at this point than on the first part of the run. Also, much less of the sticky saliva, so it no longer feels like my throat is closing off from the goo.

I am not a runner, or an athlete of any capacity. So I have no idea why it’s so much easier to run more after pooping myself out and taking a short break. I don’t think it’s the runner’s high, but maybe it is? I thought that was more of a “during the run” kind of thing.

Either way, I’m going to do my best to keep it up this year. The main sticking point is going to be getting out more than once a week. I just feel so emotionally drained after a day at the office that it’s difficult to summon the will to do anything, never mind a physically taxing exercises session. And I’m not doing two weekend days in a row. No, sir! I mean, I could, but there is only so much weekend to go around. If I spend it all running and recovering from running, where am I going to fit in all my lazy time?

A weekend of games and stuff

I hate to admit it, because I’ve been trying to diversify the ways I waste time lately, but I spent pretty much the whole weekend playing video games. Well, the time during the weekend that I was conscious. I spent way too much time sleeping in and napping, but I slept terribly last week, so I suppose that I needed it. Anyway, for some reason I feel the need to write about all the nothing I did over the weekend. Really Live Journal it.

Friday night was a blur. Because it’s already so far away, you see. But I do recall that after a long Friday at work, I decided that it was in my best interest to get some physical activity, I opted to take a short walk. Partly because I wanted to do something good for my body, and partly because I wanted to listen to the Talk Nintendo podcast special on Ever Oasis. And by golly, did Casey and Neal ever do a good job of selling that game. I was planning on skipping it, but their gushing praise started to make me reconsider my stance…

Upon returning home, I finally set aside a little time to play ARMS, which I am desperately in love with in theory, but I need a lot more practice because I am awful at it. I managed to get through the easiest level of the single-player mode, but not without some struggles. Also I need to get online and get in on that party mode. Once I was done with that, I cracked and bought Ever Oasis. In retrospect, I should have played the demo first to make sure, but in the end it wouldn’t have dissuaded me anyhow. Although the game was surprisingly small (just over 6200 blocks), the download was slow and would not finish until early the next morning.

Finally, I began playing what might be the only free PS+ game that I’ve been at all interested in since I’ve had the service: Anna: Extended Edition. It is pitched on the store as a psychological horror game wherein you explore an abandoned sawmill to discover its spooky secrets. Late Friday night is like the only good time I get to play horror games, so I was pumped. And then the game turns out to be something of a janky mess. I was so befuddled by the odd control scheme and got stuck on a stupid(ly simple) puzzle that I only played up through the first “stage” before calling it quits and turning in for the night.

The next morning, I woke up late because I had opted not to set any alarms. Then I chose to relive a ritual of Saturday mornings from last summer: watching Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2003 series) while playing Tap My Katamari. I had four episodes left to watch from season four’s “lost episodes” (not on DVD) and burned through those right quick. Afterwards, I wasn’t quite sure what I wanted to do and curled up in bed for a quick nap.

It was after I woke that I realized that Ever Oasis was probably done downloading, and then most of my afternoon just vanished into it. Ever Oasis is a really good game. What Casey and Neal neglected to mention is that it is very slow to start because holy crap does it ever like to take its time explaining everything to you. Also, it is just as hand-holdy as the Zelda series is infamous for being. At least for the first few hours. Eventually it gives you a little more freedom, but the beginning of the game is a slow, unskippable slog. This will undoubtedly discourage replays.

I then decided that it was my mission for the rest of the afternoon to finish Anna, and so I booted the ol’ PS3 back up and jumped back into that mess. The game does have its charms once you let yourself get into it, but I maintain that it could have used a lot more polish. At least have a few of the rougher edges sanded down. Case in point: I was not interested in the game enough to care about solving its obtuse puzzles, and it didn’t take me long to pull up a walkthrough for consultation whenever I felt stuck. I cleared the game, and am weakly considering a quick second playthrough to round up the leftover trophies. On one hand, it’ll be a very easy task that should take no more than half an hour. On the other hand, I don’t really care about this game and should probably just delete it and forget it forever.

Saturday night was the usual board games party. The major difference is that when my brother and I made a trip to the liquor store, we found something highly unexpected: Freedom 35 lager! It’s the Trailer Park Boys branded beer! We were so excited that we each filled up an 8-can carrier and merrily went on our way. The checkout guy must have thought we were nuts.

Many beers led to a hearty sleep-in on Sunday morning. Sort of. I got up at 8:30, had breakfast, watched an episode of Bob’s Burgers, and played some Mighty Gunvolt Burst to grab a few screenshots for the article I wrote on it. Then I passed out again and slept until after noon.

To round out my activities, I went out for an extra-long walk/run after waking up. I was out for two and a half hours, which I think is my longest journey on record so far. Especially since it was only my second outing that included running this year. And yet it was still not long enough to listen to the regular weekly episode of the Talk Nintendo. When I got back, my legs were so done that I showered off and flopped onto bed to nap for an hour, then watched several more episodes of Bob’s Burgers. And then I ate a metric ton of food for dinner and way too much in the way of ice cream treats, completely invalidating all the exercise I’d done earlier.

Finally, I ended the evening the same way that every Sunday evening ends: laundry. In between throwing dirty clothes in the machines and putting away the clean laundry, I tacked a few more hours onto Ever Oasis. Turns out that it’s quite difficult! Monsters hit really, really hard and you can’t dodge-cancel out of attack animations, so you’ve got to be careful. It’s still limiting how far off-course I can explore, but at least it’s not pushing me along the intended route quite as sternly any more.

Alas, eventually the laundry was all done, and that’s my cue to stop whatever fun I’m having and go to bed. I think that’s probably why I hate doing laundry so much. It heralds the end of the freedom of the weekend, and the return of the dreadful work week. Ugh. So disheartening. At least I had a lot of fun over the weekend. And when put into words, it almost seems like I accomplished much more than I actually did. Hurray!

Feel the burn

Should you happen to follow me on Facebook, you probably already know that I’ve taken up running as a way of trying to get into better shape this summer. In my case, it’s really closer to awkward jogging, but that still a lot better than my usual zombie-like shambling. I’m putting a lot of effort into it, too. I try to get out at least every second day, and if I really feel like I can’t push myself that hard, I’ll still make sure to go for a walk, just so that I’m doing something.

Results are mixed thus far. While my legs are pretty much constantly sore from being put through the most activity they’ve seen since I was a child, I do typically feel really great after a run. Oddly enough, despite my massively increased exercise and not eating any differently than I used to, my belt is actually feeling tighter. Which sucks. I’ve also gained a couple kilograms, but I’m going to chalk it up as muscle (I’ve also been working my dumbbells harder than ever). If I accepted it as fat weight, I’d instantly lose all motivation to keep going.

Also, when I was out yesterday, I slipped in a puddle of sludge and tore up my knee a little. I didn’t realize it right away, but it got pretty bloody! Check it out!

Continue reading Feel the burn

Wherein oats are a meal

I began eating oatmeal for breakfast last week, in an attempt to make my diet more healthy.

What I want to know is, how do people eat this stuff? It is disgusting. All goopy and bland and gross. Bleeeech. I tried tossing some fruit and cinnamon on there, but man, it only helped so much. The flavour is really the least of its problems. I just… ugh.

So yeah, I hate oatmeal. But I will continue stuffing it into my face-hole.

This is the price I pay for trying to be less fat.

Wheezing along

I am not in good shape.

As much as I have trying to be more active lately, I seem to be making very small strides. That’s nothing to be ashamed of, of course! You can’t just magically become fit overnight. It takes a lot of time and effort. Unfortunately, since I’m lazy, the more effort something takes, the less encouraged I am to do it. Path of least resistance and whatnot.

Point is, I tried rollerblading last night. It… didn’t go especially well. I lasted approximately 20 minutes before I had to pack it in because I felt like I was going to simply collapse. While I remember them hurting the most during previous rollerblading attempts, my feet seemed quite okay with it all. The pain was almost all in the shins and mah buns. Calves and thighs burned just right, though.

Funny thing is, while I hadn’t strapped on the blades in years previous, last September I managed to rollerblade all the way to my parents’ house one time. I mean, I thought I was literally going to die of heart failure, but I did it. That’s just over an hour walking, so I’d say it must have taken somewhere between 30 and 40 minutes to blade that far. I refuse to believe that I was in better shape in September than I am now. There’s simply no way.

So how did I manage that back then, but I was unable to get even a full half hour last night? Probably that I just lacked motivation to keep going. In September, rollerblading was the only way to get there on that particular day. And while I could already tell it was a terrible idea ten minutes out, turning back would just result in me feeling dead at home, instead of having a fun video game evening with my brother. Last night, I was just doing it for the exercise, and that is rarely motivation enough for me to keep going if I’m getting worn out or just not having any fun with it.

I know that exercise and being in better shape should be its own reward, but unfortunately, that’s not the case for me. Every time I really feel motivated to get my exercise on, it’s because I’ve got a girl on my mind. I don’t know if that says something about misplaced priorities or some other horrible mental failing of mine, but that’s how it is. The worst part is, I’m not really interested in any women who would only be interested in me if I had a more appealing physical figure. So it’s all moot! My life is one big ouroboros of hypocrisy!

I had typed a couple more paragraphs here going to greater detail about my fractured psyche, but that’s no fun, so I erased them. We can talk about that another time. Let’s just stick to my main point for now:

Rollerblading! It’s hard when you’re fat!


Quest for the Abs

I made that “Fitness” category last month, so I guess I should probably make use of it, eh?

I don’t type “eh?” all that often. It looks weird.

But that’s besides the point. Working out! I’m doing it! Sort of.

See, I’ve always lived a pretty unhealthy lifestyle. Not making a point to exercise, eating more junk food than anything, just generally not caring about my body. This had never really been a huge issue before. In school, I was young and my metabolism was naturally high enough to keep me from becoming a fat pile of gross. Then high school ended and I took on a string of moderately physical jobs. Toys R Us especially was great for me because I was on my feet for eight hours a day, pushing, pulling, lifting, and building. I could basically eat whatever I wanted and still remain In pretty good shape. I used to wear super-tight t-shirts because I was proud of my physical form.

Then I moved to a desk job. Started spending all my free time with a girl. Got married. Got complacent. Didn’t change my habits to compensate. And I got fat. Not really fat-fat, but chubby enough that most of my wardrobe needed to be replaced and I did not feel good about myself. My thighs ballooned up to massive size, my gut and man-boobs became prominent, and love handles appeared, as if out of nowhere. It was terrible. For too many years, I’ve had an exceptionally poor body image.

So now that I’m a free agent again and I’ve got all the time in the world to fritter away, I’ve been trying to dedicate more time to getting myself in shape. Not to the point where I look like some sort of Hercu-man, but to the point where I feel comfortable with my body again. I want to be able to look in the mirror and be happy with what I see. I want to be able to wear my got-danged Goonies t-shirt again.

My exercise routine has been scattershot at best, however. Routine, in fact, is a terrible word to describe it, because there is no rhyme or reason to what kind of exercising or when I do it.

It started with Wii Fit U. I still log on once in a while when I’m looking for a more structured workout, but it’s not the most effective solution to my woes. A great place to start, mind you! But eventually you have to grow out of it and move onto some more intense, self-directed workouts. My favourite activities are the hip-hop dance and the 15-minute rhythm boxing. They’re both aerobic exercises that don’t push too hard, but get you pumped and work up a bit of a sweat. Of course, I like to mix some yoga and strength training in there as well, but my Wii Fit sessions definitely focus on aerobics.

The elliptical machine that resides in my home (for now) is also getting a decent amount of use lately. A couple times a week really doesn’t seem like “enough,” but it’s a heck of a lot more than never. It was tough to get into, and I still haven’t made it a regular habit, but I’m trying to force myself to do 30min+ at least twice a week. The problem is that the elliptical is more of an annoying way to watch TV than anything else, and if I’m not really feeling it, I can’t be bothered to keep going for more than ten minutes or so. When I do get in a full session though, I end up sweating buckets, and I can only assume that means I done good.

I’ve also been working on getting better at jumping rope, which I do nearly every day. Not for very long, mind you. I can currently make it to about 120 before tiring, but I’m getting better at the exercise, that number is up from about 40 when I started, and my coordination still needs work. I have a difficult time jumping and keeping the rope spinning, as odd as that may sound.

There have been some rinky-dink little 2.5lb dumbbells living in my house for a long time, and while they’re good for adding a little resistance to shadowboxing, they’re worthless for lifting. So I jumped up to 15s. I was a little concerned that I was putting the cart before the horse there, but they seem to have been a perfect starting point. Eventually I intend to pick up a barbell, too, though that may still be a ways off (I just don’t feel like incurring that expense quite yet).

And that’s more or less what I’m working with over the last couple months. I throw push-ups and planks in there for good measure, and I go for a lot of long walks. I don’t really feel like I’ve made much progress (at least visually), but the proof is in the pudding: I used to have to squeeze my gut to reach the third notch on my belt, and now I use the fourth notch very comfortably. If I’m wearing tighter pants, I sometimes even reach the fifth. Many of my work shirts are definitely too big on me, so much so that I’ve been buying new ones that are down a number of sizes. And I just feel better overall. Like I stated before, I don’t really think that I look any better (to my own hyper-critical eye), but I certainly feel less like a worthless lump.

So, we’ll see how well I keep up and where it takes me. Hopefully I can maintain a certain level of physical fitness form this point on. I really just want to be able to wear skinny jeans and fitted t-shirts.

Got that, Future Ryan? I swear, if you let me get fat again, I’m going to find a way to reach into the future and sock you right in the kisser.

In the wake of a Pepsi addiction

Over five months have passed now since my life sort of unravelled, and I’m still trying to stitch it up as best I can. It hasn’t been easy, and there’s still the looming threat of the financial and legal burdens (it’s complicated) hanging just over my head. But! I’ve been doing fairly well, and have made a few little changes to my lifestyle for the better.

All of them revolve around simply being healthier. The first -and this is a big one- is that I’ve cut out soda almost entirely. For as long as I can remember, I’ve been a heavy soda drinker. Like, we’re talking a can a day during the worst parts. I know that’s not quite as bad as it could be, but it was still pretty bad (I’m honestly not sure how people who drink multiple cans a day stay alive). There were days when I would sit at work and daydream about getting home to a sweet can of ice cold, delicious Pepsi.

The really fun part of it, is that it wasn’t a struggle at all! Despite my previously unquenchable thirst for fizzy pop, it turns out all I had to do to quit was to say “No, I’m not drinking that.” That’s not to say that I haven’t had any soda over the last few months, but the numbers have gone way, way down. Maybe one can a month? I suppose that I can’t in good conscience say that I had a soda addiction, since my mind made absolutely no effort to stop me quitting.

I’ve had half a case of Pepsi in my fridge since February. I don’t think it’s going anywhere anytime soon. I tried drinking one a couple of weeks ago, and it was awful. I did enjoy the taste and fizziness, but as soon as the fluid touched down, my teeth felt as if they wanted to jump out of my face, and the entire inside of my mouth felt gross as soon as I swallowed it down (and remained gross-feeling all night, even after brush/floss/Listerine). It took the whole evening to finish that can of Pepsi. Previously, I’d have polished it off in minutes.

These days, my beverage of choice is coffee. Usually free of sugar (I do indulge occasionally). At the office, it’s pretty much all I drink. At home, coffee is more of a Sunday morning treat, and my go-to drinks are tea and water. Sometimes I mix it up with a big glass of milk. At a restaurant, it’s just water (a nice bonus is that water is free!). And you know what? I have no cravings whatsoever for soda. It’s really great!

The only caveat to this change is the Slurpee. The Goddamned Slurpee. This is one thing that I cannot part with, as hard as I may try. I’m still on the Slurpee, but I’ve got it down to one a week, at the most. Sometimes I’m able to ignore it, but more often than not I give in to the urge. But I will defeat this foe as well! I’m done with soda, and I can cut out Slurpees too! I just need to find a suitable substitute.

Anyway, I’m not entirely sure what kind of health benefits this change will incur. I haven’t really read up on the technical aspects, but I know for damn sure that soda is a terrible, terrible thing for the human body. I think that I’m probably less fat than I was a few months ago, but I don’t know how much that has to do with the lack of soda, as I’ve also been making it a point to eat better in general and get significantly more exercise. My teeth are infinitely grateful for the change, at least.