Netflix Binge Watching…

…Sons of Anarchy style.

Well, a lot of my summer geek watching…Killjoys, The Strain and The Last Ship…have been put on hold as I’ve been binge watching Sons of Anarchy on Netflix. We had watched into season 3 a year or two back but got sidetracked and it fell by the wayside. I finally decided to start watching it again and it’s become a nearly nightly obsession to get my fix of SAMCRO. The show is so well done and the story arcs draw you in making you want to keep watching to find out what happens next.

As I’m watching I often find myself thinking that these are some pretty cool and nice dudes…just the kind it would be nice to sit down with and have a drink or three. Then I realize that no, the aren’t nice guys since they just a scene or two back they beat the crap out of someone, or chopped their hands off, or killed them and then chopped something off! Yea, it’s a trainwreck sometimes but the characters are so well done that even if they have very few morals you want to see what happens.

I’m nearly done with season 5 and have pretty much stayed spoiler free…kinda not looking forward to finishing up season 7, the final one.

Back to the Beginning

I’ve been pretty re-invigorated since deciding to not run the Tommyknocker 55k in September, as I recently posted about it’s been like an anvil removed from my back. I’ve been pretty much on-point with nutrition, walking almost every day, hitting the trail for an easy and non-stressful run and getting out on my bike again. However the biggest change has been refocusing on what took me from a 250ish pound couch potato to the 180ish pounds I am today…CrossFit and similar style training.

After deciding that trail running will be used as a passion again instead of a goal, I wanted to get back to doing something that I didn’t have to schedule the training day for…removing one more burden from my shoulders. After doing research on a good CrossFit affiliate’s programming to following I happened upon moveSKILL, an online site that programs CrossFit workouts that’s run by the folks from CrossFit Seattle. They use Train Heroic to deliver and log daily workouts and their programming is top notch for a very reasonable $10 a month or $100 a year.

A typical day will see their staff programming a couple of different warm-ups, a skill or two, some strength and lifting, a work (aka WOD) session, then some recovery and perhaps more skill work. One of the best things I’m digging is that the movements are varied and interesting and so far a vast majority of them have been things I would have never programmed for myself. There is also a burgeoning community beginning to form around the daily workouts as well…for someone that works out along in their garage that growing sense of camaraderie is certainly nice to have again.

If you are looking for a change up in your fitness regime or work out alone I’d highly recommend checking them out…plop down the $10 for a month, it’s a small investment to check it out.

Crushing the Sweet Tooth

If you’re like me you get the craving for something sweet now and then…it’s usually no problem when we don’t have anything just lying around the house as the sweet tooth is often in the evening and it passes. However on some nights it’s stronger than others and just flat won’t go away…that’s when a pint of Ben & Jerry’s or some other type of ice cream would hit the spot…I certainly do love me some ice cream regardless of the weather outside.

Well, it hit one night last week and just wouldn’t go away, but instead of heading down to the store I whipped up something at the house…enter FROZEN BANANAS! We keep them around for smoothies but I decided to desert those bananas up by putting them in the Nutri Ninja along with some crunchy Nuttzo, maple syrup, vanilla and a few tablespoons of cocoa powder. I added a little water so it would blend and boom…instant “ice cream” without the chemicals and other stuff.

It certainly felt decadent to my palette and crushed my craving…bonus that I didn’t feel guilty or bloated after finishing it off.

Yea, bananas are awesome!!

Weight Off My Shoulders

It’s been a few days since I posted about this and a few more than that since I decided that my priorities just aren’t in running another ultra or in fact pursuing any such distance goals. I must say being removed from that decision by a handful of days is like having a giant burden taken from me. I have been lifting and doing some CrossFit style workouts, walking almost daily, did a short (very short) run the other day and am planning on hitting the trail tomorrow with my dog for a short jaunt and every single one of these is once again beginning to feel like a joy rather than a chore. I haven’t gone for a bike ride yet, but when the mood strikes me I will…what a great feeling.

My oldest daughter, who is the running and not swimming daughter, asked me if I was ever going to race again…good question. I told her given my competitive nature I probably would race again at some point, but it won’t be doing anything approaching an ultra distance. It will certainly be on trails but will be something that I don’t have to dedicate months upon months of focused training to achieve. It will be a race distance that I can just decide to jump into on a free weekend that I’m capable of running or might just be on the fringe of my capabilities. It might be 5k, 10k, 15k or perhaps even a 25k if I’m really feeling like stretching my boundaries…who knows, right now that isn’t in the cards or even on the distant horizon for me.

I’m going to continue getting back in tune with a variety of things as the mood strikes me…and all for fun!

Throwing in the Towel

Well, I don’t know if I’d call it throwing in the towel as much as finally coming to the realization that running uber-long distances just really isn’t in my wheelhouse. So yea, I guess I  am actually throwing in the towel as far as running the Tommyknocker 55k goes and attempting to run any other 50k races again in the future. I’ve been thinking about this for some time and over my last two long runs (23.5 and 25.5k respectively) it finally hit me that once I get in the high teens to 20’s in distance the joy of running on the trail just kind of melts away.

My long run last Friday went well enough, I did my first leg of 15.2k and hit the trailhead to reload my pack from my car and set out for the other leg feeling great…spirits were high and my body was ready to go. I had tackled the harder of the two 15k segments and was ready to be in cruise control, but somewhere in the upper teens, the fun of being on the trail started to dissipate as it had done before. I started to ponder why I was doing it if it wasn’t fun for me, so at around the 22k mark decided to call it a day and head back to the trailhead.

I finished tired and worn, a wee bit battered but not broken. I have no doubt that I could have continued on and done the planned 30k as well as I have little doubt that I could go out and run the Tommyknocker 55k…the desire is just gone. I can crank out 10k, 15k and even runs in the high teens without any adverse after-effects…sure the legs might be a bit heavy the next day but I’m physically ready to get back to any fitness or life endeavor I might choose to do. Once I get over that 20k mark it seems like I’m lethargic and need a couple days at least of rest to feel back to my normal self.

That just isn’t what I’m in this for…I love trail running and lifting weights and doing CrossFit and riding my bike, etc. and I don’t want anything to impede me in enjoying these things. The pursuit of running another ultra was doing just that so it’s time to move on. I will likely race again some day, but I might not…if I do it certainly won’t be anything approaching an ultra distance and it’ll be done to enjoy the atmosphere and camaraderie of other trail runners.

I’ll still be hitting the trails once or twice a week but now it’ll be for fun and no longer being zeroed in on distance or pace or whatever…I’m going to rekindle the joy of the mountains in my soul.

Coal of the Sapphire Sea

This is a GIANT work in progress, but the discovery of new types of coal is what is pushing the reemerging interest in the Caribbean region including Central and South America. These new fuel sources exhibit strange properties that are just beginning to be studied and understood.

Green Coal: Associated with earth, stubbornness, vigor, and substance, green coal is found in places where vegetation and wildlife is plentiful. Its mystical properties strengthen and fortify, imbuing things with resilience and toughness. When added to concoctions, it enhances vigor, but causes one to become stubborn and difficult, easily irritated by changing situations.

Red Coal: Associated with fire, courage, and power, red coal is found in desolate or hot places, like deserts and volcanoes. Its mystical properties are energy and extreme volatility, imbuing things with such energy and force. When added to concoctions, it bolsters one’s courage and energy, but also makes them restless and easily enraged.

Blue Coal: Associated with water, cold, cunning, and change, blue coal is found near large bodies of water or ice. Its mystical properties are fluid and adaptable, giving the power to freeze, heal and become flexibile. When added to concoctions, it heals the body and speeds up mental processes, but causes single mindedness and over attention to details.

White Coal: Associated with air, breath, reason, and freedom, white coal is found in extremely high locales or places continuously battered by high winds. Its mystical properties lighten and clarify, imbuing things with the ability to defy gravity, increasing perception and labor efficiency. When added to concoctions, it makes the person physically lighter and calms the mind, but may cause the user to become easily distracted.

Black Coal: The tried and true fuel source used to heat and power, so far nobody has discovered any mystical abilities associated with it.