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recuperate

December 31, 2012 Leave a comment

The worst of the flu was on Saturday. All day long, when I was awake, the muscles and joints ached. But mostly I slept. Fortunately when I woke up yesterday, the aches had largely disappeared. I still had some cough remnants and a sometimes drippy nose, but I was able to move around, and put out a couple of small efforts, including doing laundry and shoveling the couple inches of snow that had fallen on Saturday.

Saturday, I didn’t eat except for a tiny bit of soup for dinner. Yesterday, I had some more soup for lunch and dinner, as I finally had some appetite again.

But it looks like I’m about 4 or 5 pounds down from where I was before the flu broadsided me. I suppose some of that might be water weight, although I was pretty good about drinking fluids. It feels like I might be able to lift tomorrow although I shouldn’t be surprised if I don’t exactly hit the reps and weights I might be expecting based upon what I was doing before getting sick. I’ll just have to try and see what happens, then consider what adjustments might be appropriate.

Saturday was also day with the lowest number of steps ever since I started carrying the pedometer back in October. It only counted 1502 steps. That’s about as many as I could get. There was just no energy to do anything more than shuffle between the bed, the bathroom, the chair in front to the tv, and the kitchen. Yesterday I was recovered enough to get over 5500.

Metabolism is also reverting back towards normal. Saturday I injected almost as much Novolog as I tend to use during a typical weekday, and all I had on Saturday was about 10g of carbohydrate. Yep, all day long, I would check my blood sugar it would be somewhere up between 160 and 200 and I’d inject another 2 or 3 units, but those units were just enough to keep my blood sugar stable up in that range. It wasn’t until yesterday afternoon I finally saw a blood sugar under 100 again.

So hopefully that’ll be my last run-in with the flu for some time to come.

ow

December 29, 2012 Leave a comment

Fuck, the flu has been putting a whomping on me. I am somewhat hopeful that maybe I’ve already hit the turnaround towards improvement point, but I’m not going to bet anything on that. After I got home from work, I very nearly just went straight to bed. I didn’t sleep straight through of course, but the sometimes urge to cough is less now. Overnight I woke up a couple of times and hacked badly, along with the nose dripping. Nose drip has nearly disappeared.

But I got serious aches now. Every muscle in my body hurts. Even the little ones in my fingers. Every muscle that gets used to move any sort of body part says ouch. Fever seems to be mostly gone now though. I woke up around 3 hours ago and it felt like I was on fire almost. Got up and peed, I could smell ketones. I checked my blood sugar but it was fine at 129. My body is just burning a lot of fat right now because I haven’t eaten in over 16 hours. I’m probably burning some muscle too. Oh well. I have no appetite right now.

I farted around on the computer for about 20 minutes in that wakeup around 4:30, then went back to bed. Now one of the reasons I had gotten up then was because I felt overheated in bed. I still felt feverish when I got back in bed, but it took a long time before I felt warm in bed again, in spite of burning with fever. Maybe the fever was breaking then and that led to me feeling a sense of being cold while trying to find the oblivion of sleep.

I’m not going to lift today. The thought of trying to pick up a heavy weight makes my muscles want to cry. It’ll hurt and there’s no way I can go anywhere close to full strength.

Just going to rest and hope that I’ll slowly feel better as the hours pass, and that maybe eventually I’ll have a bit of appetite to eat again.

flu?

December 28, 2012 Leave a comment

I woke up about 4:30 this morning and have since found myself with a slight tickle and cough, little bit of tickle in the nose too and general sense of blah. There’s supposed to be a lot of flu going around right now and I’ve heard that one of the strains circulating wasn’t in this season’s vaccine. If it is that flu strain I’ve caught, I’ll hope that the vaccine will provide me some boost in immunity against it so it doesn’t lay me out.

It’s disappointing some because I went to bed last night feeling good after a strong workout where I squatted, did some farmer’s walks, and chin ups with isometric holds at various angles. It felt energizing almost, a bit of satisfaction at having done the work to improve strength. And even if it meant some chance that I might wake up a bit sore in places from that workout today, I wouldn’t have minded it.

I’ll have to see how I feel tomorrow morning and make a decision then on whether or not to deadlift. It will be a little frustrating if I have to cancel any scheduled workouts. It’s been a small source of rejuvenation for my mood that I can feel myself getting stronger and can see the difference in how my body looks again. Although the legs are still very skinny, but I think now that I’m smarter and more knowledgeable, I will be able to make my legs grow some more. One big part of that, I believe, will be doing plenty of deep and effective squatting, along with the work I’m doing to improve the function of my glutes. Increasing the muscle mass in my legs seems particularly more important in view of how a Danish study found a link between lack of muscle in the thighs and heart attack risk. It occurs in both women and men, so that’s another good reason for women to squat and deadlift. Being strong as you get older not only helps protect you against falls and frailty, but also can help protect the heart and metabolism.

Yuck, as I took a break from working on this, I began to feel the first bits of fever. All I can do now is hope that it doesn’t last too long and I get back to full health soon. Also getting the first sensation of just wanting to crawl into a bed, pull the covers over me and go to sleep. I like to sleep when I get sick, that seems to do more than anything else on helping me recover. Sleep seems to be my body’s way of shutting down things so the immune system can get to work.

dreams of dad

December 24, 2012 Leave a comment

I’ve been having lots of dreams lately with dad. It’s been a long time since I had so many, seeing how it’s going to be 17 years that he died this coming January. In the last one that I remember, he was showing me a complex form of calculus that could be used to figure out a one-rep max from a person’s weightlifting. I couldn’t make much sense of it and told him how I just always kind of went by with how if someone could make 10 reps with a weight, that weight would be approximately 75% of the one rep max weight. Then you just sort of approximate the rest, I said.

Another dream last night turned semi-lucid for a bit. In it, I suddenly noticed there were lots of snowflakes floating around in the air and I could see them in vivid detail. I thought, wow, my dreams are high-def. Which was the point that the dream became semi-lucid as I had become aware that I was dreaming. I continued to float around in the dream and thought that looking at my right palm would be interesting in high-def, but found it was hard to see because of the twilight conditions. I thought to myself, no problem, and conjured up a ball of light in my left palm to shine light and with that I could see very clearly the scar that’s on my right wrist, although it was strangely shifted a bit to one side of the arm. That’s when I began losing more control of the dream and I noticed that a giant, way giant, farm tractor combine was coming down the road. And that it was going to run me over. I tried to run, but couldn’t. But in spite of how I couldn’t move, I remained very calm about how I was going to be run over, as I reasoned that it was only a dream. Sure enough it ran me over and chopped me up, but there was no pain and the dream drifted off in a new direction, and I woke up some time later.

—-

It was crazy windy on Saturday this last weekend. I woke up during the night because of how loud it was blowing and then all day long it just kept blowing. It wasn’t the coldest of days, but 40 degrees with a lot of wind is uncomfortable. Yesterday it was slightly colder, but comfortable outside because the air was fairly still and a good amount of sun was shining. Still I went out for a walk in the afternoon and it wasn’t too bad back in the woods, although I felt some nervousness about the possibility of branches falling. Saw a couple of hawks flying around. I wonder if they like a lot of wind like that.

—-

And 2012 is almost done. The left shoulder is a lot better than it was at the start of the year. I’ve gotten stronger again thanks to the last 5 weeks. I still mostly just talk to myself for conversation and that’s not good, but I just always feel so lost when actually talking to other people. I don’t think I’m anti-social, just more asocial and utterly confused by how it is other people manage to converse and interact. Sometimes I feel frustration from the lack of that in my life and get near to crying. Other times it just sits by itself blankly in the corner, a fact of things that I don’t need to think about if I concentrate on something else.

I still can’t string any words together that would make it past my sense of what I feel poetry is. That frustrates me greatly.

Onwards to 2013.

solstice, la unua tago da vintro

December 21, 2012 Leave a comment

Today will have the shortest time period between sunrise and sunset in the northern hemisphere. Although because of a kind of asymmetry, sunrise will continue to be later for the next 10 or 11 days or so, before it finally reverses course. The sunsets started becoming later 10 days ago.

—-

Wednesday evening, after work, I went to the nearby park to do a little walking and running. For me, the most remarkable occurrence with the short intervals of running I did, longest being about .2 miles, is that I felt the strongest sensation ever that my glutes and hamstrings were firing. There have been times in the past when I have tried to have that mind-muscle connection, and sometimes I’d think that I would feel it, but those were just faint echoes compared to what I felt Wednesday evening. It seems that the glute targeting is maybe breaking through, I’m learning to use my glutes thanks to doing bodyweight glute bridges and barbell glute bridges. Other factors which might be waking them up is I often try during the day to squeeze the glutes. The left glute is the laggard glute though. It does well when I squeeze both glutes, but it’s harder for me to get it to contract when I try to do that by itself. The right glute is fairly responsive.

So last night, I paid special attention to doing bodyweight single leg glute bridges.

If I go rummaging in my memory, I don’t know if I can ever pull up a memory that says to me my glutes were ever really functioning like they should. Of course, maybe when I was really young I would have never paid attention to it, and much of my gluteal amnesia has come about from too much sitting. On the other hand, I’ve never been a fast runner. Some of that may be because I don’t have much fast-twitch muscle fiber, but what if another part of it is that I never really used the glutes while running, even as a young kid?

—-

Last night I had a strange dream where it was a mixture of English and Esperanto. Probably inspired some by reading the Esperanto translation of Murder On the Orient Express, which actually mixes between Esperanto and a little bit of French. So seeing those two languages intertwined some, ended up carrying over into my dreams kind of.

damnit

December 19, 2012 Leave a comment

6 more victims of the Sandy Hook Massacre will be buried today.

There is no comprehension here. I can’t understand the mindset of someone who kills his mother and then goes to elementary school and shoots young children. Sometimes when I hear a news story about one of the victims I start to cry. It happened again this morning when the radio said there will be 6 more funerals today, 2 of them adults, one the principal of the school who tried to take down the killer and the other a teacher who sought to shield the kids in her class.

If there is one tragic symptom of a form of insanity that has gripped my country, it is this tragedy. But symptom is the wrong word, isn’t it? Manifestation maybe? What word really describes what happened there last Friday? Beyond that, what word describes a nation where a large enough segment of the population, even after Sandy Hook Elementary, would believe that the answer is more guns in more hands?

Fuck that. It’s simple math. The more guns that are available, legal or otherwise, the more chances there are of someone sufficiently disturbed or evil enough getting their hands on guns to do shit like Sandy Hook.

In spite of that simple environmental fact, there will still be those who think we need more guns in more hands.

I suppose in my ideal world with a 2nd amendment interpretation about well-regulated meaning that the government does have the authority to regulate gun ownership, I would see something like this:

–Individuals could still own guns if they have no criminal record and they receive certification from qualified therapists. At the lowest level of gun training certification, those guns could only be kept at licensed ranges with proper storage facilities. Possession of guns at home would be restricted.

–No more handguns. I know there are some legitimate purposes to handguns even in hunting, but other than that, handguns are more about being able to carry a potentially lethal object without others knowing about it.

–Definite restrictions on how much ammunition a person may be in ownership of.

–Gun buyback program by the government. Buy up the guns that people turn in and melt them down. Maybe turn them into a monument that can be placed in Newtown, maybe a simple monument of two words saying, “Never again.”

–Regulation of what kinds of guns the gun industry can make.

–All gun owners must purchase gun liability insurance, insurance which must cover all health and injury related expenses caused by the gun owner’s gun. If you’re going to own a gun, be prepared to pay a steep price to keep it around. If you let your insurance lapse, your guns are seized.

Work on those areas and over time reduce the number of guns that are out there. No, it won’t stop all massacres, but fuck, it will reduce the ease of someone deranged enough to go on a shooting spree. It’s time for some sane regulation of guns in America. It’s time to kick our love affair with guns to the curb, it’s time to take steps so one day there will be next-to-no-chance of Sandy Hook happening ever again. 20 kids. 20 kids. 20 kids sacrificed for the strange warped conception of freedom by America’s right-wing.

—-

It’s a rest and recovery week after 4 weeks of heavy lifting. Yesterday I did some pushups, chin ups, light squats, barbell glute bridges and glute-ham raises.

I’ve gained about 5 pounds over the past month, but it’s muscle. So that’s good weight to put on.

glutes and hamstrings versus the quads

December 14, 2012 Leave a comment

The 2 largest muscle groups in the human body are the glutes and the hamstrings. It’s that backside that ought to be propelling you along when you walk and run. But it may be that in this day and age of comfortable chairs and jobs sitting at a desk much of the time, that many people have a posterior chain of reduced consequence. I was thinking about that yesterday as I tried to remain conscious that when I go up the steps, that I put my heel down on the step and drive myself upwards through my heel.

I also carried that same thought into the deadlifts of last evening. I wanted to feel very strongly that I was pushing the basement floor away with my heels. It seemed to work nicely, too. The pulls felt strong and I went to 10 reps, the same number of reps I did last Saturday but with 10 lbs less on the bar.

After deadlifting, I then did some farmer’s walks and closed out with carrying a sandbag with over half my bodyweight for about a 1/4 mile of distance. All in all, it was a good workout. I already feel a lot stronger than almost 4 weeks ago and it feels like I’m being smarter about my training than when I first began fumbling around with strength training back in 2007 — I’m paying more attention to the lower body and paying very close attention that I improve how much the glutes and hamstrings are doing what should be their proper share. If I’m correct in my suspicions, I don’t think it’ll be any great difficulty for me to move past my old deadlift PR. A little over 2x my own bodyweight ain’t a terrible PR, but it’s probably far short of what I should be able to achieve.

Another way I’ve been focusing on reactivating the glutes and hamstrings is to do simple squats more often. Now, when I go to the wood stove and check how it’s doing, I squat down instead of dropping to one or both knees. Doing that, along with the goblet squats in warmups before lifting, has helped a lot with me restoring better hip mobility, and use of the glutes and hamstrings when standing up.

Another daily use trick has been to change how I sit in my office chair. Instead of sitting back fully in it, I sit at the edge of it and with my left and right legs forming a right angle with each other. Then when I stand up, I do it with the thought of the glutes driving my body straight up.

—-

I almost didn’t want to get out of the bed cocoon this morning. It was one of the colder night we’ve had lately, and it was really nice in that warm shell. The bedroom had become quite chilly overnight.