Running Again?

I may take up running … again.

I used to run, a lot. Although I was never a contender for any kind of medal or cash prize at any event I enlisted in, I did participate. I got a medal for participation but everyone gets one of those. Got the T-shirt, too.

At my zenith, I ran (probably) 20 – 25 miles a week. Usually outdoor, sometimes on a treadmill. I’ve run a few half marathons, haven’t done a marathon, many 5Ks and 10Ks. At my fastest, I was averaging about 9 minute miles. I once ran a 7 minute mile when I was in my 20s.

I gave up running shortly after Nikki left. I started drinking heavily and over eating. I couldn’t find a reason to continue running as the joy faded from it. What’s the point if the love of your life is gone. In those years, I bloated to over 220 pounds, felt lethargic, fat, useless, worthless.

I bought a new pair of running shoes about four years ago. Haven’t opened the box.

Now that I’ve lost some weight on my new eating plan, I may take up running as a form of exercise and meditation. In the past, I would get up at 5:00 am to run a few miles before I had to clock in at the desk. I would like to do that again.

I’m not interested in 20 mile weeks. I don’t want to be a contender. I don’t want to be on the cover of Running Magazine nor do I want to join a Running Club. But, I would like to get back into shape and run a few 5Ks before too much time passes and I kick the bucket.

Painted Parade Lady from the Fountain Square 2014 Art Square Parade.
Nikon D600 photo taken by Dave O on September 20, 2014.

How Do I Cope

If I was asked “how do you cope with the Office” I would answer by saying :

  • I don’t care anymore. This is not to say that I don’t care if the Company doesn’t survive or turns a profit or matters like that. I just don’t care anymore about what the issues are and what people get so uptight about. In the past, other people’s issues became my issues. I would twist myself into a knot to please people, compromise my attitudes to conform to theirs. I do care if my job performance lacks, but in this culture you don’t know if your performance lacks until they yell and scream over a typo or mistake or show you the door. I am just an employee and have always been just an employee.
  • I mumble. In a low breath, I mumble about ‘whatever’, usually what the Service Narcissist is spewing. I mumble incoherently in a quiet voice so people around me can’t hear me. But the mumbling helps. My favorite phrase is “ho-ho-ho”, not in the festive Santa spirit but in a low mumble of nonsense. Another phrase is “yie-yie-yie”. Maybe one day the phrase will be “hio-hio-hio”. If someone was to hear me they would believe I have a mental issue.
  • I put in ear buds. When the chatter is too much for me, usually when the Service Narcissist is talking about the food he eats, details how he prepares it and at what temperature, on what grill, how it tastes, who is eating with him and where, I put in the ear buds. Usually this is a last resort but it helps to listen to the Red Hot Chili Peppers or John Mellencamp to drown out the Service Narcissist.
  • I write. I write for the blog, letters to people or short story ideas. I used to feel bad about the time I spent in the office writing for my personal pleasure, but if the Service Narcissist can use company time to brag about the points he gets on his credit card that he uses for his personal use (vacations – toys) when he is traveling on Company time then I can spend company time writing a few sentences. And when the Owner Narcissist can produce his ‘afternoon drive time’ segment where he brags about his exploits out west or in town and proclaims himself master of the universe, then I can post something to the blog.
    • I walk away. If none of the above works, I will walk away from the desk. Usually, I’ll go to the potty or walk outside to see the sunshine or clouds or rain depending on the weather (since there are no windows in the Office). Or, I will walk to another building under the guise of ‘doing something’. Maybe, I will talk to people to say hello and be sociable. After a few minutes, hopefully he will have run his talking course and the office is quiet again.

Just this morning the Service Narcissist, in great detail and with great inflection, talked about the dinner he had at a local pub. He talks as through when he walks into the place everyone shouts out his name. He talks as through he is friends with every customer and wait staff and bartenders and cooks. Yet, I know differently. I’ve been to the same pub and the same time he has. He is just like all other people, nothing special. Yet, in the Office, he gaslights you to believe that he is everyone’s friend, an inspiration to all, loved by the peasantry and the aristocracy, the master of all knowledge.

Ugh.

Somewhere near the Indiana – Illinois border on US 136.
Nikon D600 photo by Dave 0 taken on May 27, 2017.

Return to the Weekend

The feel like the first weekend of the year has past into history, that is the weekend of June 12-13, 2021. It was the first weekend of my return to the Office after fifteen months of Quarantine. During Quarantine weekends became an extension of the work week, where there was a mixture of work and play (more play than work of course). Now that the Office contains all the equipment and tools I use to craft effective web sites and there are no tool at home to work with, the weekend has become all play. 

I returned to the Emporium on Friday night, the first Friday night Emporium walk through I’ve done in fifteen months. Before Covid, I went to the Emporium after work on Friday to spend a few minutes walking through the booths. It’s a huge indoor flea market and there must be over a 100 hundred booths where people sell ‘anything’ from shampoo to paint to furniture to appliances. I found a comic book and a pint glass to buy for $4 total. 

Afterward, I stopped at Harbor Freight to buy a new chop saw. The brand is Chicago Electric. I paid $129 plus tax for the 10″ Sliding Compound Miter Saw. I hope it lasts longer than the $169 Craftsman compound miter saw that burnt up ten cuts into its work life.

Saturday was spent working in the yard, continuing effort on the MCS (mulch containment system). Sunday was a relationship day.

On Saturday, I went for an afternoon beer at That Place. Sunday lunch was at Between The Bun.

Emporium goodies I bought on June 11, 2021. iPhone 7 photo by Dave O.
Emporium goodies I bought on June 11, 2021. iPhone 7 photo by Dave O.

Premium Chicken Breast

Recently, I decided to change my eating plan. There are two element to this plan:

  • Keep minimal food at home
  • Go out to eat more often than not

The second item isn’t like it seems, where I ‘go out to eat’ at casual places like the Cheesecake Factory, Applebees or Bubbas every night or every meal. That would become too expensive quickly. However, if I go to McDonalds or Jaggers once a day then I would be fine, I believe.

The first item is really the critical element. If I don’t keep food in the house then it is not available to eat. If I want to eat then I need to go out. I’m more lazy than normal people so I just won’t go out. Hopefully, then, I won’t over eat.

A great example is this present moment. I am hungry. Before this new plan came into play, I would step to the freezer, microwave two $1 Banquet pot pies and then consume. I kept a stock of pot pies as they are easy to prepare and eat.

At this moment, I don’t have a stock of pot pies, so I don’t eat. I can’t leave the house to go get something from the drive thru because I’m ‘on-duty-working-from-home”. So, I don’t eat.

Yesterday, I was hungry but didn’t want to go through the drive thru so I hunted for food in the deep recesses of the pantry. I found a can of Krogers Premium Chicken Breast. I must have bought this can many, many months ago. I ate it. Actually, there were two cans of Krogers Premium Chicken Breast and I ate both cans.

Maybe I will keep a stock of Krogers Premium Chicken Breast in the pantry for times like this. It seems to be a good Atkins approved food item with 3 grams of carbs per 10 oz can. If I was counting calories, a 10 oz can is 210 calories.

When I say “keep minimal food at home” I mean that I don’t want to keep a stock of chips, crackers, cookies, cheese (although it is a good Atkins approved food item), peanuts, cakes, frozen meals, pot pies and other stuff that I usually buy from Krogers and mindlessly eat in time of slight hunger and slight boredom. There has to be some food in the pantry. If anything, to survive the zombie apocalypse.

So far, after a week of this new eating plan, things are going ok. I seem to have lost some weight and I’m not over eating. So far, so good.

630 calories and 9 grams of carbs in these 3 10 oz cans of Kroger Premium Chicken Breast. iPhone 7 photos taken by Dave O on May 3, 2021.
630 calories and 9 grams of carbs in these 3 10 oz cans of Kroger Premium Chicken Breast. iPhone 7 photos taken by Dave O on May 3, 2021.

Eating So Much

Hopefully, I have changed my eating habit.

Recently, I decided to stop buying solid food groceries from the local market (Krogers) to stock the cupboards for future consumption. Instead, I will go out and buy food from local eateries for immediate consumption.

My thought is … if I make it difficult to eat at home then maybe I won’t overeat. If I have to make an effort to ‘go out’ and hunt for food to eat, then maybe I won’t eat as often.

Maybe I have an eating disorder, but, I can’t ‘just stop’ eating. Meaning, I will eat an entire bag of Kroger breaded chicken tenders, several cans of Campells creamy chicken soup and other stuff until I am physically sick. Then, a few hours later, the bathroom effort is gruesome and painful. I repeat this cycle. I’ve been doing this for years and I am just becoming sick of this cycle.

So, if I don’t stock food in my cupboards, then I will need to go out and ‘hunt’ for food. Hopefully, since it will become an ‘effort’ to eat, I will just stop eating so much.

And, buying food, with the limited quantity from a local eatery as opposed to the limitless quantity of food in the cupboards, maybe I will just stop eating so much.

I will still buy liquid food from Krogers, soft drinks, beers, slim fast. But, solid food, with the exception of cheep frozen hamburger patties and American cheese from Walmart, I don’t plan to buy any more solid food.

Hopefully this effort will last for a long time and I will lose some weight and be happier in my own body.

This strategy will not help me if the Zombie apocalypse starts tomorrow or Russia or China sends a thermo nuclear device our way. If I don’t have a stock pile of food in preparation for these events then I will quickly starve if these events occur.

Hopefully, I will start to exercise again.

Inside a local eatery, Between The Bun. Nikon W300 photo taken by Dave O on January 6, 2019.
Inside a local eatery, Between The Bun. Nikon W300 photo taken by Dave O on January 6, 2019.

Standing in the Outfield

Now that I am in my late 50s, I look at life from the outfield. Meaning, the outfield fence is closer than the home plate. Meaning, there’s less field to play in the outfield there there was if I played catcher.

My only experience with Baseball as a participant was when I was ‘manager’ for my eighth grade school’s team. I was the guy who counted strikes, balls, run, hits. I collected bats, gloves, helmets in bags to store in the locker room. I was treated by the players with kindness and empathy. Overall, it is one of few good times in school. Yet, unlike the guys on the team, I had no dreams of playing the ball in the Majors.

I come across this ad in the batch of comics I bought on Wednesday, April 7, 2021. Unfortunately there were no school like this when I was of the age to develop such a dream, such a career path. And, there would have been absolutely zero support or encouragement from the people who gave (or could give) it if I choose a school such as this. Yet, I wonder, had I gone to such a school and pursued such a career path, what would life be like as I now stand in the outfield of that dream? Would I have the same dilemmas, the same questions are to whether my life has been ‘well lived’ playing in that outfield?

It would have been very difficult to raise four kids, support two ex wives, buy and maintain houses and mortgages, cars, sport equipment for kids, computers, food, entertainment, beer, clothes, vacations, education, taxes, insurance at the level I did on an artist’s (comic book or otherwise) salary. It was difficult on the salary I did earn.

In my youth, it was drilled into me that productivity is supreme, that if you don’t work (that is, be productive) you don’t eat or feed your family and provide all the things listed above. So, working a productive job and climbing the ladder (even though the ladder might have been on the wrong wall) was of importance to me and all other things were only done when there wasn’t the job to do. I suppose ‘art’ would not have been an example of a productive career, especially comic book art.

Advertisement for the Kubert School. April 8, 20221 scan by Dave O from the Batman #107 issue.
Advertisement for the Kubert School. April 8, 20221 scan by Dave O from the Batman #107 issue.

Learn to Like Fish

My triglycerides are 670 mg/dL. Someone said that is too high.

From this web site … https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/13-ways-to-lower-triglycerides … there are thirteen things I can do.

  • Lose Some Weight.
  • Limit your sugar intake
  • Follow a low carb diet.
  • Eat more fiber.
  • Exercise regularly.
  • Avoid trans fat.
  • Eat fatty fish twice weekly
  • Increase your intake of unsaturated fats
  • Establish a regular meal pattern
  • Limit alcohol intake
  • Add soy protein to your diet
  • Eat more tree nuts
  • Try a natural supplement

I am trying to Lose Weight and exercise regularly. I have also limited my alcohol intake to zero. I will try the other suggests as well. 

The “Eat fatty fish twice weekly” and “Try a natural supplement” seem to play in hand with this bottle of Nature’s Bounty Orderless Fish Oil coated soft gels. Pop two soft gels twice a day and my triglycerides worries are over.

Someone said this will help lower my triglycerides? Is that true?

Someone said this will help lower my triglycerides? Is that true?

Although there is a calorie impact from taking these order less fish gels. There are ten calories per gel with one gram of fat and seven and a half milligrams of cholesterol.

But, these fish gels will give six hundred milligrams of the Omega-3 Fatty Acids and a thousand milligrams of fish oil. 

Cool. 

The only kind of fish I like is from Long John Silvers. But, I don’t believe I will not be eating there any longer. Although, I worked at a local Long John Silvers for a few years in the early 1990s.

I will need to learn to like the fatty fish. I have learned from the above web site fatty fish  is salmon, herring, sardines, tuna and mackerel. There could be others but they were not mentioned on the web page. Maybe I can do salmon, but sardines, probably not. Maybe tuna if I can get over the foul smell.

The Fish Oil wiki page has a more in depth narrative of fish oil. As with the benefits of fish oil, there are some dangers, like toxic pollutants. It appears CVS, Nature Made, Rite Aid and GNC sold fish oil with high levels of PCBs. 

At least I bought my Natures Bounty fish oil from Krogers, so I must be safe.

Ah … carry on.

Day 11

Since I’ve been motivated recently, I’ve stopped drinking beer and begun to watch what I eat. Not that I have establish a die cast eating plan but I am becoming aware of what I’ve been blindly eating for so many years.

The Doctor says I need to follow a low carb / low fat / low sodium diet. So when I’ve looked at the nutritional labels on the food stuff that I normal eat I was simply appalled at the amount of sodium. Soups, canned chicken, salad kits all contain sodium.

One of my favorite meals is Mac and Cheese. It is easy to cook for a lonely single middle aged old man. It’s quick, easy.

However, Mac and Cheese is not cool on a low carb / low fat / low sodium diet. The package Mac and Cheese has mega sodium. I discovered that cheese contains sodium. Go figure.

So I looked at a box of raw macaroni. At least this particular Kroger brand has no sodium. Cool. I can eat macaroni with no cheese. Yet, the particular box of macaroni has mega carbs, which I am suppose to avoid.

Ugh.

At least my blood pressure was 137/85. A huge improvement from a few weeks ago.

A simple box of raw macaroni has zero sodium but mega carbs in a single serving. Ugh.

A simple box of raw macaroni has zero sodium but mega carbs in a single serving. Ugh.

Day 10 Update

The headache still persists.

Ugh.

The headache could be from the caffeine withdrawal. I went cold turkey on the caffeine on April 29, 2019. The only caffeinated beverages I’ve had were when I ate out with family. Otherwise, at work and at home, it has been only flavored water.

At least that is what some people tell me … that the headache is from caffeine withdrawal.

Otherwise, my 60 day Beer Moratorium is still in effect. It’s been 10 days since I stopped drinking beer.

Maybe the headache is partially a result of going cold turkey on the beer?

I’ve been trying to ease into the low carb / low fat / low sodium diet the Doctor prescribed. I find it hard to balance the low carb and low sodium. It seems like it is either low sodium and high carbs or low carbs and high sodium.

The only packaged food stuff that I found with 0 sodium is un-popped popcorn.

A bit of depression has crept into my psyche in the last ten days. I used the beer to stay partially ahead of the depression. The meds help too. But alas, the depression is creeping again.

If there is any feeling of success it is that my pants are not as tight as they used to be.

Yay … go me.

At least I still have the Nikon W300. Thankfully, I haven’t given that up.

A photo of the Nikon W300 taken as a reflection in the side mirror of the Honda.

A photo of the Nikon W300 taken as a reflection in the side mirror of the Honda. Photo taken on June 28, 2018.

What amazes me the most is that it has been 10 days since the start. Time certainly moves fast.

My Current Reality

So … I finally went to the doctor after an 18 month absence.

  • Weight … 211 pounds.
  • Blood pressure … 153/92.
  • Total Cholesterol : 237 mg/dl
  • Triglycerides : 670 mg/dl
  • HDL : 33 mg/dl
  • LDL : unable to calculated since triglycerides are above 400 mg/dl.
  • Chol/HDL Ratio : 7.18

The only item that remained stable during those 18 months … the weight.  Go figure.

She also said I’m at risk for Type 2 Diabetes.

Ugh. Double Ugh.

Immediate Reaction:

  • Stop drinking beer for 60 days
  • Stop drinking Diet Mountain Dew or any caffeinated beverages while at work and home. Drink flavored water.
  • Get serious about a walking program

Maybe I will do the following :

  • Buy a new bicycle … gave my old bicycle away about twelve years ago.
  • Start the Couch to 5K program again

The Doctor wants me to :

  • Focus on weight loss
  • Exercise for 30 – 40 minutes 4x weekly
  • Follow a low carb / low fat diet
  • Stop eating bread, potatoes, rice and pasta.
  • Keep salt intake to less than 1500 mg.

Ugh … Some minor thoughts …

Velveeta Mac & Cheese has been my staple for a while now. I’ll need to stop eating that.

I’ll need to order a chicken Caesar salad when I go out to dinner with my parents on Thursday nights. Usually, I order the Smothered Chicken with mashed potatoes. Although the chicken would be good on a low carb diet and the cheese and bacon it is smothered in but the mashed potatoes … probably not.

The doctor said to keep my Sodium intake to under 1500 mg. A can of Campbells Creamy Chicken Noodle Soup has 1,720 mg of Sodium. I usually have one can (sometimes two) for lunch on a normal workday. It only has 470 calories, which is ok for a lunch meal if I was calorie counting but not when I’m counting Sodium.

I don’t like cooking meat products in the kitchen as the grease seems to splatter everywhere. Maybe this is an excuse to buy a propane grill.

I love this soup. But, the sodium content excludes my consumption. Bummer

I love this soup. But, the sodium content excludes my consumption. Bummer