Well, I guess I’m not the man of steel after all.

After slacking on my workout for most of July, I recently began once again. I’m now taking advantage that my agency provides us with an hour of fitness three times per week – paid. Sure, it sucks that my employer has no facilities, which means that after my run I have to sit in my cubicle and marinate in my own sweat for 15 minutes before I drive home. Still, at least I get paid for that one hour I exercise.

I managed to run for only 1.9 miles the first time as the weather turned particularly nasty (I barely made it into the building as a thunderstorm raged) and 2.5 miles the next. I started running with a coworker but she clearly had more stamina and lung power than I did. It was a bit humbling.

That once again prompted me to try to quit smoking. Sure, I have tried to quit before, but I wind up falling into bad habits and settling into them rather smoothly. A lifetime ago, I quit for several months for a girl I was dating who had a particular dislike of the habit. I figured I could do it for me this time. I know. Five days doesn’t sound like a big deal to any non-smoker, but it really is. I also use an app to track the immediate information of this. It strikes me that the estimated 40 cigarettes I would have had sounds like a huge number.

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The other day I went out for a run and managed to hold up for 6.1 miles though I did have to walk a couple of times to catch my breath. I’ve had some aches and pains and I’ve spent the evening icing my shins. I fully intended to run a 5k in Virginia this weekend despite how stupid of an idea that was. The pains I’ve had are lingering and I haven’t wanted to see a doctor for fear that they may suggest I not run again. I hope it simply goes away and I’m worried about nothing.

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This weekend was more relaxing than that. Although I hope to use the treadmill later today, I have taken it very easy but still managed to do one good workout. This weekend found me visiting a small farmer’s market. It was a small one so I haven’t quite had the full experience yet, but I had some giant sandwich with sugar cane drink and some home-made dessert. I know, it doesn’t sound particularly “healthy”, but I work out to allow myself to enjoy things like this.

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Next to the farmer’s market happened to be a nice looking bar with outdoor seating. It was irresistible. I was already in my car overlooking the bar when I changed my mind and went in for a drink. It was a warm day with a cool breeze and not a cloud in the sky. How could I pass up the opportunity to enjoy myself? These days I live for little things like this. I can remember clearly when I would have passed by both things because I was angry at everything and didn’t want to be bothered.

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I have tried to keep a consistent workout now during the week. It’s so easy to fall out of the routine of doing it, particularly now that my schedule has me coming in from work an hour later. By the time I get my workout done and I shower, cook and eat, my evening is done. It’s really easy to not do anything on those days. Yet, on those days is when I remind myself that it’s most important to not stop. When there’s not one cell in my body that wants to exert any energy is when I force myself to work out.

It doesn’t take much to get me started. One brief motivational thought and I work myself up to a good workout. It can be as deep as thinking about something that hurts or angers me or as simple as looking at an old photograph and asking myself what I want to look and feel like.

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I am now up to 70 reps with slightly higher weight for 3 exercises and 210 reps with the same weight for my triceps.

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That aside, I’m doing 550 crunches with 7 different exercises. There’s not a day where it’s easy. The days it felt easy are the days that I raise the reps on any exercises.

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Now, granted I’m still about 15 lbs from where I want to be, but all it takes is one look at the picture above and I know I’m doing the right thing and slacking isn’t an option (I still can’t believe that fat version of me actually got people to have sex with him). I mean, everyone likes to say they aren’t shallow but I can tell you from first hand experience that people treat you differently when you are in better shape.

Granted, I’m not going to land on a billboard, but these days I get propositioned for things with no room for misinterpretation (subtlety isn’t their strong suit, it would appear) even as I’m not interested in it. They weren’t clamoring for indiscretions 50 lbs. ago.

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In all fairness, I wasn’t the same guy 50 lbs. ago any more than I was the same guy 2 years ago. I try to keep my cool at all times, I try to remain positive and stress free as much as possible. The other day I went to a store. I was at a standstill because the car in front of me had stopped to stare at some cars, I guess trying to figure out if they were leaving or not. Eventually I briefly honked my horn so he would know I would be passing him. He made some very jerky motion for me to pass him. I drive down a couple of spots and find a parking space. I guess the guy was unable to find one so he drove on to where I was and stopped. “What” an older black male asked me. “You came up here, what do you want” I asked. “You had a lot to say back there” replied the man. “Oh!” I said while laughing. “Did you drive up here and pull over to try to intimidate me, Sir?” I laughed again. “Better luck next time” I said. The man looked angry and confused as he drove off.

Two years ago? Two years ago this would have had a high probability of turning into a really nasty situation. Of course I’m not Zen. I had to push down my initial reaction, but I got it all under control. Back then I would have taken offense to someone thinking they could intimidate me and would find the need to show them it was a bad idea. I couldn’t determine what I could gain from doing that so it was simply not an option. I didn’t have to get violent to show I wasn’t intimidated. Plus, had he escalated the situation I had no doubt  I could have fed him a knuckle sandwich (and that’s how little I care for confrontations that I would refer to it as a knuckle sandwich or fisticuffs).

I didn’t know what that man’s problem was, but I know he was not OK. It also seems that so many people around me are not OK either. I’m cursed with the gift of paying attention to details. Because of this I have been able to notice behavior changes and have spoken to people who have stuff going on in their lives and they’re not happy. Some of them struggle with it while others struggle with lying to themselves and trying to convince themselves that it’s not that bad. I feel bad for them, but not in a condescending way. I feel bad because I know what the lows feel like. Hell, having struggled through ACTUAL depression throughout my life I know better than they do how dark rooms can get.

It seems to me that most of life is a matter of perspective. I couldn’t pass up the opportunity of a cold beer on a beautiful day, particularly with outdoor seating. The place was going to be there tomorrow and another nice day would likely be as well…but I was there that moment. Me. The guy that spent hours upon hours of keeping myself away from everything and everyone being consumed by anger, depression and violence couldn’t pass it up. I laughed at the thought and in a silly moment took a selfie because I know that I would share the experience. That’s correct. I’m a grown man who will go out with a half ass plan while wearing a Batman tank top and will take random, odd pics just to share the story.

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It also has been common that unless I have tons of stimulus my mind wanders and takes me to very dark places. Same as with my temper, sometimes it creeps up and I have to push it down. It works far more than it fails. I rarely have to fake how I feel to prevent people from asking me questions. I settled in for some TV shows over the weekend.

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I told someone in my personal life recently that going through bad things can be good for you. There’s nothing like serious adversity to bring out the best in someone. You can either walk out of it changed and improved or you fold under the pressure. It is a choice, though not an easy one. It never is. The easiest thing to do is usually not the right one. Hell, sometimes the right thing doesn’t even feel like a good thing. Sure, things get confusing at times, but as long as you’re always trying to improve and do the right things, it’ll all work out in the end. Something always has to give.

Oh, and for those people who have the unfortunate pleasure of knowing me in my personal life – if you’re down or upset, you can always hit me up (Text me first, please. Don’t push it). There is hardly a soul on earth that knows chaos and confusion like this little brown dude. I’ve managed to come out of it feeling better, looking better and continuing to try to become better.

Before I forget: shit, fuck, motherfucker, bitch. Sorry. I couldn’t leave this blog sounding so deep and shit, without adding a little bit of my other personality into it. As you were…

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* Parting thoughts. I always type as I think to keep it honest. I often read it once it’s done just to try and find errors, though not to change the content. I had a few thoughts when I read this:

  • Congratulations to me for the 5 non smoking days. It tested me to have wine & beer and purposely not smoke. It makes me happy.
  • Drinking sugar cane juice reminded me of one of my few happy childhood memories. I’m glad I got to do that.
  • I truly can’t believe that’s actually me next to the fat picture. It blows my mind.
  • The picture of me next to the pushup picture clearly shows the scar on my nipple. You’re welcome.
  • One day I’ll smile properly….
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