Thanksgiving 2011

November 27, 2011

In my last post, I wrote about my Thanksgiving Day exercise – the Louisville Turkey Trot 5K. In this post, I’m going to catch you all up on my Thanksgiving eating.

I established two rules to help guide me through the big Thanksgiving meal, because I was determined to not let the holiday be an excuse for reckless, uncontrolled eating. Like I mentioned in my Thanksgiving Day post, those two rules were:

  1. NO SECONDS. I will indulge in a reasonable portion of whatever food I want, but I will not go back for more.
  2. I WILL PHOTOGRAPH EVERYTHING I EAT DURING THANKSGIVING DINNER. Those pictures will end up on this blog. This means that you all are going to help me maintain accountability.

How did I do? Well, I technically broke both rules in minor ways, but I’m very proud of my eating. Here are the pictures that I took, in accordance with Rule #2.

First Course – Oyster Soup:

My brother-in-law Justin did the lion’s share of the Thanksgiving cooking, as Thanksgiving is his favorite holiday. It’s a tradition in his family to start Thanksgiving with oyster soup, and now it’s my tradition, too, since I’ve been eating Justin’s Thanksgiving meals for 7 or 8 years now. The soup is not healthy, in any way, shape, or form – it’s basically butter, cream, oysters, and seasoning. It’s really good (with those ingredients, how could it not be?), and I asked for a mini-portion, and only ate about two-thirds of it. Bread was passed around for dunking purposes, but I didn’t take any. Oh, and the nametag leaf was a joint project between me, my sister Laura, and our 3-year-old niece (and goddaughter) Allison. Cute, right?

Main Course:

Most of your Thanksgiving standards: turkey, mashed potatoes, stuffing (Justin added pork sausage and dried cranberries to it, and it was amazing), green bean casserole, and sweet potatoes (my sisters made it, and they cut about half the sugar from the recipe). My contribution to the meal was the asparagus, which I sauteed in a little salt, pepper, lemon, and PAM. I limited portions of everything to between around 1/2 – 3/4 cup, ate slowly, and enjoyed everything.

Then I broke Rule #1, and went back for more asparagus, but I’m okay with that, because it was the healthiest option on the table. Round #2 of asparagus:

Third Course – Dessert:

My mom, my sisters and I teamed up and made three pies: 1 apple, and 2 pumpkin. My contribution to the apple pie was carving a little turkey into the upper crust as a steam escape route, and I made the filling for the pumpkin pies. Despite the sweat equity, when we had dessert a few hours later, I decided to skip the pie and eat fruit instead: a banana and an apple. I did have one bite of my sister’s piece of pumpkin pie (and it was delicious), but I didn’t photograph it.

It was a guilt-free day, and thanks to my rules, it wasn’t a stressful one, either! And there was no food coma afterward, no loosening of the belt or struggling to get off the couch because of overwhelming fullness. A successful day!

How was your Thanksgiving? Did you keep your eating under control? Did you exercise?

I woke up on Friday jonesin’ for a workout, so I went for a run. I normally don’t like doing the same workout two days in a row (I had run the day prior in the Turkey Trot 5K), but since I was away from home and without my usual resources, running fit the bill. I ended up doing a big loop around my sister’s neighborhood. My route:

That’s 3.8 miles that I ran in 37.5 minutes, which works out to just a hair over 6 MPH. My quads were really sore towards the end, and it was chilly outside, but it was a good run, and I enjoyed the new scenery. Time to update my Running Chart!

Lastly, after over a week, I’ve think I’m finally at the tail end of whatever it was that caused my sore throat. It’s still itchy and a little painful when I swallow, but I feel 80-90% better and am looking forward to it not being an issue any more. There were a few days, early on, where I was too sick to work out, but my workouts over the past few days have been a huge help, because for those hours, I didn’t think about my throat at all. I only thought about pushing myself in other ways, and that shift in focus proved to be beneficial and a relief.

Keep it up, David!

Open Your Eyes

November 10, 2011

I’ve been thinking a lot about running this week. There’s no big mystery why – my first 10k race is this weekend, and I’m looking forward to it, and I want to make sure I’m prepared. I went to Universal Studios today to see the course, thanks to my friend Chris who works there and showed me around on a golf cart, and apart from some minor undulations, there’s only 1 big, notable hill that I’ll have to run up (and down).

I’m feeling prepared. Today, my workout started with 5 minutes of warm-up on the arc trainer, then 35 minutes of weightlifting, and I ended it by going for a run. Even though I had an exhausting run the other day, when I kept upping the incline on the treadmill, I wanted to make sure I had completed a practice run on actual hills. So I ran around my old neighborhood in Burbank, which is built on the foothills of the Verdugo Mountains.

My route included a 7-block run up Olive Avenue (my old street), which was uphill the entire time, with an incline that got steeper and steeper. Here’s a view from the top of it. It may look like the street is flat in the foreground and ascends a big hill in the distance, but it’s actually the other way around:

I made it up that 7-block hill. It was tough and I was huffing and puffing, but I did it. Then I wound my way back down, and ended up passing a house that I love and had forgotten about. The house is a great example of storybook architecture, a playful, exaggerated variation of Tudor design with the goal of making the structure look like it came out of a fairy tale (see more pics of storybook design here). It was popular in southern California in the ’20s (Charlie Chaplin was a fan), although I’m not sure when this house was built. It’s not the sort of house I would ever want to live in, as I prefer more modern, less fussy environments, but I love this house because it’s so thoroughly and meticulously designed and maintained. Check out the whimsical details: the walls that weave bricks through rocks, the stucco that looks like it’s applied over stones, and there’s a turret! It’s quite unique, and if I were a little kid and it were a little dilapidated, I’d have no trouble imagining it to be the home of a child-eating witch:

In total, I ran 2.9 miles, in 32 minutes, which averages out to a MPH of 5.4 – and that includes half a block of walking after reaching the top of the hill to catch my breath. Time to update my running chart! My route:

I have a new go-to song on my iPod when I’m running. It’s called “Open Your Eyes,” by Snow Patrol. I got the song off of Sean Willson’s playlist. Sean is a fellow weight loss blogger (check out his blog, Learn Fitness, here) who went from 450 pounds to 250 pounds – incredible! I saw this song on his list, and realized I already had it in my iTunes, but never listened to it, because I’m not a huge Snow Patrol fan. I gave it another listen, and immediately added it to my workout playlist. A big thank-you goes out to Sean.

The vocals aren’t especially uptempo, but it has a dramatic build that I enjoy, and a chord progression that makes me push myself. You may be familiar with it – it was played on a slew of TV shows in 2007 and 2008, including ER and Grey’s Anatomy, and was a campaign song for Barack Obama in 2008.

Here’s the music video. It’s footage from a short French film made in the ’70s, and it’s one singular shot of the streets of Paris taken from a camera mounted to the fender of a car. That the video looks like a runner’s perspective is another reason why I’ve latched onto this song as much as I have! Check it out:

The main chorus of the song is this lyric, which is sung over and over again:

“Tell me that you’ll open your eyes.”

There are plenty of other lyrics that I haven’t bothered to learn, mainly because those seven words have really resonated. I interpret them as a message to myself, a reminder to open my eyes to all the great things that I’ve accomplished. I have a tendency to compound my struggles – if I have a bad day, I start thinking about all the other times, throughout my life, that things haven’t gone my way. When that starts happening, it’s time to open my eyes. I need to remind myself of the positives, because I don’t do it enough. I need to open my eyes to the fact that I’m intelligent, talented, and funny. That what I’ve achieved with my weight loss is extraordinary and life-extending, and that I share it – all of it – on this blog shows courage. That my family and friends love me no matter my weight, and that I have the capacity to recognize and share this love with the people in my life. And, most importantly, I must open my eyes and remind myself that I’m worthy of all of this, and all the good things that will come.

There is so much to see, isn’t there? What is there for you to see? Tell me that you’ll your eyes. And I’ll tell you that I’ll open mine.

Keep it up, David.

Running Update and Produce Haul

November 4, 2011

Let’s talk running first, and produce second.

1) Running. I’m a little behind on updating this blog about my running. It’s been a week since I last wrote about running (at the end of this post), and during that week, I’ve gone running three times. Three times! I’m in training, after all – my first 10K is a week from Sunday, and I’m getting excited! You can read about the race here, and since there’s a fundraising element, it would ever so lovely if you could make a contribution. I’m running to support weSPARK, which provides support to cancer patients and their families. As I type this, I’m about halfway to my fundraising goal, so click here and chip in a few bucks, if you can! Every dollar counts!

Back to my runs: On Friday, October 28th, I went for a run that lasted 53 minutes, and 5.2 miles. That’s a speed of 5.88 miles per hour!  Then, on Monday, October 31st (Halloween!), I headed out with the intention of running all the way to the closest subway station (a distance of 4.8 miles, round trip), but about 15 minutes into the run, my side cramped up badly, so I switched to walking, turned around, and headed home. Between the walking and the running, I was on the streets for about 45 minutes, but I’m not gonna add this to my running chart.

Last night, I met up with my friend Tiffany, and we went running together. Tiffany is running the 10K with me, and it’s also her first ever race. Tiffany, though, hasn’t run in 10 months, so good for her for tackling something with so little time to prepare! We started at her apartment, walked a few blocks, and started running. We ended up running 43 minutes total. Our route:

That’s 4.7 miles! Tiffany did wonderfully. She took a few super-short breaks (while I jogged in place), but found her second (and third, and fourth) wind. She’ll complete the 10K easily. I calculated our speed for this run, and it came out to be 6.55 mph! That’s over half a mile per hour faster than my fastest run to date! Which means either my calculations are erroneous or Tiffany and I are well-matched to push each other while running!

Next goal: A practice run on some hills. There will be hills at Universal, and I don’t have much experience on hills.

2) Produce. I took Richard Simmons’ class at Slimmon, and afterwards, went about 5 or 6 blocks to the Whole Foods in Beverly Hills. This was my first time in that Whole Foods, and it’s a nice store, and I should know, because I spent entirely too much time wandering every aisle, because I had no idea where anything was. I came home with a boatload of produce. Take a look:

What do we have? Moving clockwise from the lower left corner: bean sprouts, holiday grapes (two bags), two heirloom tomatoes (stacked, one yellow, one purple); baby carrots, a container of pre-sliced celery, a bag of green beans, a tray of broccoli, a bag of kale salad, bananas, red bartlett pears, honeycrisp apples, red bell peppers, and 2 red onions.

I also bought a few more things that really excite me:

It’s the return of the BUDDHA’S HAND! This citrus fruit, which looks like the cross between a lemon and a squid, is one of the most bizarre and interesting items I’ve ever pulled out of the produce section. I bought one last winter when I was in Michigan, and used it a couple of different ways: as an ingredient in a chicken dinner, and I also candied it. This one’s gonna stay in a bowl on my dining table as decoration for a while, since I love looking at it, and I don’t know what I’ll do with it. Yet.

I also bought two of these guys:

The sign said “feijoas,” and that’s a word that I’d never seen before. I do love trying new things, so I bought two, but when I got home, they seemed awfully familiar. Their smell seemed familiar, specifically. I dug through the Keep It Up, David archives and realized that last year, I bought the same fruit at the farmers’ market, where they were called pineapple guava (see my post about them here). So, they’re not a new-to-me fruit at all – but they are tasty, and I’ll enjoy eating them.

Then there’s this guy:

This is a new-to-me type of produce. It’s called a Red Kuri Squash, and I’d never seen one or heard of it before. I love squashes, generally speaking, so I look forward to cracking this one open. I don’t know when I’ll get around to it – the good thing about squash is that they keep for months – but you’ll see the end result once I do!

Keep it up, David!

All My Friends Move to Europe…

October 19, 2011

…and I’m sick of it!

First, two years ago, my friend Katherine up and moved to Sweden.  Now my friend Jen is moving to Germany – later this week!  What’s going on?  They both have positively revolting reasons for moving to the other side of the world:  Jen’s going to get her Master’s degree (gag), and Katherine moved because of love (barf).

One by one, my friends are abandoning me.  Just so they can be happier and lead more fulfilling lives.  Well, fuck ’em.  I hope they choke on a meatball (in Katherine’s case) or a bratwurst (in Jen’s case) and then have horrible hospital experiences because Sweden and Germany have terrible, appalling universal health care systems, according to conservatives.

OK, two things:  1) I’m totally kidding.  2) Did I just get political?

Anyhoo, tonight I hung out with Jen for the last time in a long while (which bummed me out).  Some of you long-time readers have heard me talk about Jen before:  She appeared in my very first post (about going to Magic Mountain), and has appeared many times since, during sad times and happier ones.  I’ve known Jen since college, and she’s been a great friend that whole time, and I will miss having her so close.

I picked Jen up tonight (since she sold her car yesterday), and she came bearing gifts!  Jumper cables, a roll of bubble wrap, and a pomegranate from the tree in her courtyard:

Although I’ve had pomegranate juice and pomegranate-flavored foods, I’ve never had an actual pomegranate in my house before, mainly because I’m not a fan of pomegranate seeds.  I’m not exactly sure what I’ll do with this sucker, but it might be destined for my juicer.

Jen and I headed out for dinner, and we ended up at Phil’s Diner, a little restaurant in our neighborhood that’s both new and very old.  The restaurant, which is inside a dining car, dates back to 1926, and served North Hollywood for decades and decades, in a few different locations.  Then, 12 years ago, it closed, until an enterprising couple bought it, restored it, and opened it up again in a new location about six months ago.

Here’s the exterior (my camera didn’t capture their neon sign):

And the interior, which was beautifully restored:

That’s Jen and I way in the back (our server, Malissa, who’s one of the owners, took the photo), and another patron sitting at the counter (we got there late, after the dinner crowd, which is why it’s so empty).  The first thing I noticed when we walked in is that place would have been really uncomfortable for me when I was at my heaviest.  I probably wouldn’t have fit at the counter (those chairs are bolted to the floor), and while the little tables on the right had stools, there just wasn’t a lot of room.  But none of that is an issue now!

Phil’s Diner gets MAJOR bonus points for having Etch-A-Sketches lying around for patrons to play with:

I talked with Malissa about healthy menu options, and took her suggestion and ordered the Tuna Salad:

Malissa described the tuna as not being “wet” – meaning it’s not loaded with mayo, and I had them hold the oil and vinegar that normally comes on the greens:

It was delicious.  The tuna was very flavorful – I really liked the pumpkin seeds in it, and the lemon-lime dijon dressing was great.  A 7-screen movie theater is under construction right next door, and I look forward, in the future, and enjoying dinner and a movie all on the same block!

Here’s the Etch-A-Sketch doodle I made in honor of Jen’s impending departure to Germany:

It was pretty late by the time I dropped Jen off, but not too late to exercise.  I’ve done three great weightlifting-based workouts in a row, so it was time for some cardio.  Due to the late hour, I thought a run would be best.  I threw on some workout clothes before dropping Jen off, and went for a run in her neighborhood, for a change of pace.  She lives close to Toluca Lake, a very affluent and fancy part of town that’s been home, at some point or another, to all sorts of famous people:  Bob Hope, Frank Sinatra, and Amelia Earhart all called it home, as have Miley Cyrus (and her family), the Jonas Brothers, Jason Priestley, Steve Carell and Eric McCormack.  It’s a beautiful part of town to run in, because of the lovely (and large) houses.  Here’s my route:

I ran for 45 minutes, and went 4.2 miles, which means I averaged a speed of 5.6 mph.  Not my fastest run, but still pretty good, especially considering it was at the end of a long day and it was kinda chilly outside.  Check out my Running Chart to see how this run compares to my other runs.

When I got home after the run, my workout wasn’t over.  I still had my burpees to do.  It’s Day 2, which means 16 burpees, and the lesson I learned today is that burpees after 45 minutes of running is exhausting!  I’m doing them first next time.  Definitely.

Keep it up, David!

Exciting Changes at Keep It Up, David!

October 13, 2011

I’ve been workin’ hard on the blog today, and am excited to share some new changes!  Perhaps you’ve already seen them, because they’re already up and running.  I added three new permanent pages to the menu bars at the top of the page, all based on popular (to me, at least) Keep It Up, David features:

  • Weight Loss Chart.  I’ll update this page every time I have a weigh-in.  I get lots of questions about my weight loss chart, so this page will always have a link to the latest weight loss chart pictures.
  • Skyscraper Collection.  Whenever I update my skyscraper chart, I need to scour the archives to find it.  Not anymore.  This page will permanently house my skyscraper collection (click on it to learn what my skyscraper collection is!), and will be updated every time I complete a StairMaster workout.
  • Running Chart.  Since I try to add all my runs to my running chart, I thought it’d be smart to give my running chart a permanent page of its own, too.  I actually updated my running chart tonight (more on that later)!

I invite you to click around and see all the new pages.  I’ve enabled comments on all of them, so if you have any thoughts, be sure to let me know!

This is only Phase 1.  There are some more changes I’d like to make – mainly, the My Favorite Posts page has grown to include around 75 links, so I’d like to reorganize and sub-divide them between 3 or 4 pages for easier navigation.  I’ll get around to that one of these days.

I also made a change a few weeks ago that nobody noticed! (Based on the zero comments that I got.)  When working with Lisa on the design of my business card, we decided that the Keep It Up, David logo shouldn’t have a comma or be underlined:

So, a few days later, I changed the banner at the top of the page so it’d be consistent.  Old banner:

Current banner:

I snuck that past everyone!

A few other quickies:

Facebook.  In yesterday’s post, I urged everyone to like me on Facebook, because I was soooo close to reaching 5,000 fans.  Well, you guys came through, and I thank you for it!  I reached the big milestone…

…and now, as I type this, I have 5,010 Facebook fans!  For the record, according to Facebook, my 5,000th fan is a Facebook user named Elizabeth Maracle, so if you’re reading this, Elizabeth, congratulations!  I wish I had been a better blogger and made a contest out of this, so I could give you something, but alas, I didn’t.  I will next time.  In fact, I’ll announce it now:  My 10,000th Facebook fan will win an awesome, fantastic prize*!

*prize to be determined at my sole discretion.

Scale.  I also mentioned yesterday that I’m kinda enjoying not weighing myself and letting numbers affect my mood and attitude, and I didn’t weigh myself yesterday, either.  It’s official: This week’s weigh-in is cancelled.  I’ll weigh myself next Tuesday!

Fox News.  In a post last week, I talked about appearing on Fox News.  Well, I found a clip of it on the internet!  CLICK HERE to see the video greeting that Richard Simmons and a bunch of Slimmons students (including me) made for Fox News host Neal Cavuto.  The relevant part starts at 1:24.

Run.  Lastly, I went running this evening for the first time since my glorious, triumphant strip club run a few weekends ago.  I didn’t give much thought to the route, except that I didn’t feel the need to go by any strip clubs.  I failed!  I ran by two before I even realized it!  Oh, the perils of living in such a strip-club-filled neighborhood!  My route:

Including a few blocks of walking before and after the run as warm-up and cool-down, I was pounding the pavement for 51 minutes.  The running portion of the evening was 45 minutes, exactly.  No, seriously, EXACTLY.  My iPod has a stopwatch on it, and when I hit stop, I looked down and this is what I saw:


The route was 4.3 miles, and since it took me 45 minutes, that means I was clipping along at 5.73 MPH – my fourth fastest pace ever!  I just updated my running chart, so you can see how it compared to previous runs there.

Keep it up, David!


October 3, 2011

This post is a long one, and it’s one solid year in the making.  Oh, and the title of this post is true.  I hit six strip clubs in one hour.  Well, it’s almost true, because it actually took 1 hour and 6 minutes.  Little tiny fib aside, I’m so fucking proud of myself I could scream.  Yesterday, I actually did!

What are you thinking right now?  Is it that I’ve gone off my rocker?  Is it that I must be a sex-crazed pervert?  Do you remember reading about my first strip club visit and think I must’ve developed a taste for them?  Or perhaps you’re a long-time reader of this blog, and the mention of six strip clubs sounds awfully familiar for some reason…

All you long-time readers are on to something.  For all you Johnny-come-latelies, I’ll do a quick little recap.  (And if you think I’m a pervert, well, that’s true too.  No, I’m kidding.  Or am I?  I am.  But not really.  Why don’t you let me slip something into your drink so you can find out for yourself?  No, I would never do that.  Or would I?)

Back in September 2010, when this blog was just a wee little blogling, I made my first ever fitness goal.  I had recently taken up running, and while exploring my neighborhood on foot, I discovered an abundance of strip clubs.  Yep, my neighborhood is super classy!  I decided to create a running route that would take me past all four, and my first goal (articulated in this post from 9/15/10) was to complete that route without stopping.  Then, just a few weeks later, I discovered two more strips clubs, so my goal grew to include them.  In this 9/27/10 post, I shared my revised goal: to run 6.4 miles, without stopping, past all six strip clubs.

And then… nothing.  I kept running, and slowly got better.  Every few months, I would think, Man, I’m getting good!  Maybe it’s time to tackle that strip club goal!  But I never did.  Occasionally, I considered turning the completion of my strip club goal into an event:  Pick a day, invite friends to run with me, have someone take pictures and video, maybe even invite my blog readers to join in.  That never happened either.

I wouldn’t say that I’ve ever forgotten about my strip club goal, but it’s definitely been on the back burner lately.  Until last night.  Last night, I really needed to rally.  I had spent two days doing practically nothing.  On the first day, I couldn’t even rally to get to the gym.  On the second day, I caught myself thinking things like:  eh – there’s no time to work out.  I’m gonna watch Saturday Night Live, and it starts in only 6 hours!

Finally, at 9pm, I shook myself free from the shackles of procrastination and laziness, and decided I had to work out.  I was pretty sure my gym closed at 10, so I decided to just hit the little gym in my building’s lobby.  As I made my way downstairs, I started thinking about two friends, Collin and Stu, both of whom are running marathons next weekend (Collin’s running the Portland marathon, and Stu’s running the Chicago marathon).  The thought of running 26.2 miles makes me want to curl up in a fetal position, but I’ve talked to both of them (a little bit) about their training, and a little light bulb went off in my head:

Both Collin and Stu are pushing themselves to run a marathon.  I should push myself RIGHT NOW to do something amazing.  Maybe, just maybe, I can run past all those strip clubs!

And that’s how, at 9:15pm on a Saturday night, I found myself walking a few blocks to a park near my house, gearing up for the longest run I’ve ever done in my life.

One of the things I promised to do when I set this goal was to photograph myself in front of every strip club.  Since I ended up running so late at night, I held off until Sunday to go back and take the photos.

Here’s my run past all six strip clubs.  For kicks, I’ve thrown in select quotes from actual Yelp reviews to add a little flavor about what it’s like inside each establishment.

First, the route:

Starting Point: Dot H.  It’s a park near my house.

Strip Club #1: Godfather (Dot B).  Exactly 1 mile into the run.  As I pass Godfather, I can’t help but notice that no lights are on, and there’s dumpsters full of construction materials in the parking lot.  Turns out that since I established my strip club goal, Godfather’s has closedOut of business.  What a crappy way to start my strip club run!  Here’s my frowny face:

It’s probably a good thing, for my property values and all, but I wonder if someone bought it, stripper poles and all, and is renovating it with plans to reopen in?  I’ll keep my fingers crossed!

Strip Club #2: Deja Vu (Dot C).  1.4 miles into the run.  As I approached Deja Vu, I realized that running at night was a good idea, because all the strip clubs would serve as lighthouses, guiding me towards them with all their neon lights, in every color (especially pink), shining through the darkness.  Deja Vu has big colorful signage advertising their perks (“Totally Nude Entertainment!” “Bachelor Parties!” “Free Valet!”), but there’s not much to look at during the day:

Here’s what a helpful Yelper had to say about Deja Vu:

“Now, I have been to many many strip clubs in my day. Some would even say I am a strip club aficionado. But my visit to Deja Vu yesterday was pretty disappointing… As far as the girls go, they were about as enthusiastic as an altar boy at a catholic church. NOT ENTHUSIASTIC AT ALL. They looked completely bored on stage.”

Strip Club #3: VIP Showgirls (Dot D).  3.5 miles into the run.  It was 2.1 miles from Deja Vu to VIP Showgirls, the longest leg of the run, and it was on this leg that I started questioning if I’d be able to finish it.  But when I saw the red and purple neon on the horizon, I got a second wind.  Here’s the pic (and VIP Showgirls gets bonus patriotism points, don’t you think?):

Click here to see a pic of VIP Showgirls all lit up at night.  Curious how a patron would rate the dancers on a scale from 1 to 10?

“I give the dancers a solid 7/10. I like chocolate but I still like what I saw. Some dancers were really lazy and some tried too hard, I mean the older ones that shouldnt even be there anymore.  I wouldnt consider myself a regular but a few of them know my name.”

Strip Club #4.  Venus Faire (Dot E).  Only .7 miles beyond VIP Showgirls, so 4.2 miles into the run.  The second wind is still carrying me.

Venus Faire didn’t have any reviews on Yelp.  Odd.  I looked around for reviews on other sites, but didn’t really find any.  I did learn that Venus Faire is a peepshow, instead of a regular strip club, but I have no idea what that means.  Enlighten me in the comments section if you can help!

Strip Club #5.  Star Garden (Dot F).  Venus Faire and Star Garden are the two strip clubs on my route that are closest together, with only .2 miles separating them.  Barely had the neon glow from Venus Faire left my periphery when the neon glow from Star Garden appeared up ahead!

Star Garden gets bonus points for having my favorite signage.  I’m bummed the picture isn’t in focus, because underneath Star Garden, it says “Class Entertainment.”  I’m so intrigued!  There’s also a banner that says “Cold Air!  Cold Beer!  Hot Chicks!”  Seriously, folks, those are three of my very favorite things!

Star Garden is also the best-reviewed strip club in my neighborhood by far.  Glowing reviews!  So if you’re reading this post to figure out which strip club to go to, stop reading right now, grab your singles and just go to Star Garden.  This guy says it’s worth it:

“As we arrived in the Los Angeles area, slightly buzzed from bourbon and coke, we decided that the only logical thing to do was drink more and look at some titties. Star Garden certainly did not disappoint. We had $3 happy hour drafts, shot some pool for a buck a game, and saw about 9 girls shake their groove thangs — all at 2:30 in the afternoon.”

Strip Club #6.  Blue Zebra (Dot G).  5.2 miles into the run.  The final strip club of the evening!  On the way there, I passed a prostitute (I presume) who gave me a little wink.  I interpreted that wink to mean Keep it up, David!  So I did.  Blue Zebra is on an industrial street with no street lights whatsoever.  It was deserted.  So I tried to run a little faster.

My favorite review of all:

“The ladies are super friendly and touchy feely and get on your lap and such from the stage. They also do some really amazing pole tricks which is always a bonus. they also pull girls from audience on stage and molest them which is fine for me- but i know some girls out there don’t like it. so its a toss up- check it out if your not a drinker and wanna see some nice ass [ and everything else ] but be warned the smelly crotch roaming around the club.”

After passing Blue Zebra, I only had 1.2 miles until I reached the park where I started.  I cranked up the volume on my iPod, and I ran.  I was exhausted and my legs were sore, but I ran.  I wanted to finish strong.

And I did!  When I reached the lamppost where I started, I screamed out a loud and triumphant WOO-HOO!  A nearby dog answered with a few barks, which I interpreted to mean Keep it up, David!  I walked around the park to lower my heart rate, stretched, and walked back home.

That’s that.  Done.  My running goal is…

And I am proud.  PROUD.  Proud that I finally reached my goal, and proud that I did it on a whim, to break myself out a two-day exercise rut.  I’ll have to come up with a new workout goal soon (and, no, Collin, I’m not ready for a marathon), but until then…


So… who wants to go look at some titties with me?

Back on an Actual Bike

September 5, 2011

Remember at the beginning of my last post when I said that it would be the only post during this long Labor Day weekend?  Well, I lied.  Enjoy this bonus post!

Is it sad that I can’t remember the last time I was on a bicycle?  I mean an actual bicycle – I use the stationary and recumbent bikes at the gym a couple times a week.  But an actual bicycle, with two wheels and the ability to take me places… well, it’s been a long, long, time.

The last bike I owned as a bright yellow Schwinn that I got in middle school.  I had an odomoter/speedometer on it, and I loved it.  I clocked some pretty impressive rides on that bike – going to the movies about 5 miles away, and even, a couple times, riding to Tel-Twelve Mall about 7 or 8 miles away.  I never told my parents that I rode my bike on Telegraph, a major six-lane, sidewalk-free divided road near our house, because I’m sure my mom would’ve freaked out.  But I did.  And since they’re both readers of this blog, they know now!

When I got my drivers’ license and gained access to a car, my bike usage plummeted to pretty much nothing.  My older brother, in college at the time, borrowed it to use on campus, so it went to Ann Arbor, where the odometer was promptly stolen.  I ended up at the same college as my brother (Go Blue!), and we overlapped by a year, so I got the bike back from him when he graduated, but never really used it that frequently.  By my junior year, I had a car on campus, sending my bike usage plummeting back to zero, and when I graduated and packed my things to move to California, I ended up donating the bike to the student-run theater group that I was involved with.

That was 2002.  It’s very likely I haven’t ridden a bike since.  I can’t remember an occasion where I would have.  I didn’t really miss it, either.  I got heavier after college, and had decided that biking, like so many other physical activities, was something best left to other people.  Skinnier people.

Now it’s Labor Day weekend 2011, and my parents and I met up with my sister Laura in St. Joseph, Michigan, right near the shores of Lake Michigan.  And guess what was waiting for us in the garage there?

My parents told me they’d gotten bikes this summer so they could ride around St. Joe, but it had slipped my mind until I saw them.  Laura was down for some biking, so on Saturday morning, we headed out for a ride.

It felt great to be back on a bike, and the old saying is true.  You don’t forget how to ride a bike.

St. Joseph has a really cute downtown on a bluff about 4 miles away, so a round trip would make for a nice 8 mile workout, and that’s what we decided to do.  Along we way we passed…

…nifty old houses…

…St. Joe’s main downtown shopping district, which is paved with bricks…

…and best of all, some of our route was right along the edge of the bluff, overlooking the water…

Laura and I did the 8 miles downtown and back, and tacked on a few miles on top of it.  It took us a little over an hour, and I was tired and sweaty afterward.  Here’s our route, which totaled 11.3 miles (“E” marks where we started and stopped):

Laura left that night to return to Chicago, but since I wasn’t leaving until Sunday afternoon, I decided to take another bike ride, solo, on Sunday morning.  I planned a route ahead of time, and it was designed to take me by a very special landmark:

That’s the house that my grandmother lived in for all of my childhood.  Lots of memories.  Great to see it again.

Here’s my 14-mile Sunday route:

My thighs were aching (in a good way) when I was done!

25 miles of biking in 2 days?  Not too shabby!

Lots of other fun was had in between the two bike excursions.  More family joined us in St. Joe, including aunts, uncles and cousins, and later in the day on Saturday, we headed to the best feature St. Joe has to offer.  I’ll give you two hints as to what it is:

Hint #1:

Hint #2:

It’s the beach, dummies!

I’ve lived in Los Angeles for 9 years, and can count the number of times I’ve been to the beach on both hands, and still have some fingers left over.  I’m just not much of a beach person, normally.  But I don’t think I’ll ever tire of the beaches in west Michigan.  They’re spectacular!  The sand is really fine and rock-free, the water is refreshing, and it stays shallow for a really long time – I went swimming with my cousin and uncle, and we went all the way out to the swimming boundary, and the water was only up to my chest.

We weren’t the only ones who had the great idea to head to the beach:

The beach, by the way, is sponsored by Taco Bell – can you see their ad on the side of the lifeguard stand in the second picture?  Nothing says ‘beach’ like a Crunchwrap Supreme!

One final photograph from my weekend in St. Joe – actually, it’s a little photo montage:

That’s me and my doggie nephew Conrad!

I’ll end by saying that I ate pretty well all weekend long.  I abstained from the cupcakes that my aunt made, ate lots of fresh fruit and vegetables, and drank a ton of water, both flat and sparkling.

Keep it up, David!


August 5, 2011

Yay – you’re back! Yesterday’s post was a whirlwind marathon through most of the food that I ate while on my three-day trip to Seattle earlier this week.

Did you miss yesterday’s post? Click here!

Get ready, because I kept quite busy in Seattle in between those meals! That’s the subject of today’s post: a whirlwind marathon through the exercise that was completed.

I teased yesterday that I tallied the numbers and, in total, I walked or ran over 20 miles during those three daysPhew!  I’ll take you through the three days by breaking down those 20+ miles.

Saturday Afternoon: 7 miles.  Collin and I walked from his neighborhood all the way downtown, through various parts of downtown, and back.  It was on this trek that we dined at Plum Bistro, bought the Oprah fish at Whole Foods, and visited Pike Place Market (all of which you can read about in yesterday’s post).  Those weren’t the only highlights, though.  Here’s some more:

We wandered into the lobby of the downtown Seattle Art Museum.  We didn’t tour the entire museum, Collin just wanted to show me a nifty installation that’s called Inopportune: Stage One.  The installation is a series of nine white Ford sedans, suspended from the ceiling, each one punctured by light tubes representing fireworks:

That’s Collin with me in the second pic, and holy crap, check out how defined that tendon (or whatever) is in my neck in the first pic!  I’m just not used to seeing pictures of myself like that!

As for the artwork, It was really bizarre to see these massive objects positioned so they seemed utterly weightless, and they’re arranged so they seem like moments in the same story – a story that involves a car taking flight at one end of the lobby, tumbling through the air and exploding, but landing safely at the other end.  What fun!

We also shopped at a few stores.  Neither of us found anything we wanted to buy, but we did have some fun exploring AllSaints Spitalfields, a UK retailer that’s opened stores in about 10 US cities.  This was my first exposure to the brand, and my initial reaction to the store was positive: it used a lot of industrial elements in the design, like giant vintage looms, machinery, and walls of vintage sewing machines, but once we got into men’s section in the basement, I changed my tune.  The clothes were all so odd.  Well, odd for me, at least.  If you like wide scoop-neck collars, asymmetrical lapels straight from Dorothy Zbornak’s closet, and have no shoulders, than maybe you’ll love this place!  I tried on a couple things, and couldn’t even get their size 2xl shirts over my shoulders – maybe it’s European sizing?  I also tried on this top – I think the collar may be a little too high, don’t you?

Nope, I’m not in a castle dungeon or vile public restroom – that’s the dressing room.

Collin, who also has broad shoulders, didn’t care for the clothes either, and he was noticing that the sales force was a group of very thin, slight model-type guys… and the clothes didn’t fit well on them, either?  Who are these clothes designed for?

Moving on…  After a stroll through the Olympic Sculpture Park, we headed away from the water and came across another landmark.  Do you recognize this building?  I don’t mean the Space Needle, I mean the building in the foreground.

I’ll give you a couple hints:

  • It’s the home of KOMO, Seattle ABC-TV affiliate, but that’s not why you’d recognize it.
  • You see it frequently if you’re a fan of a certain soapy medical drama.

Still stumped?  It’s Seattle Grace, the hospital on Grey’s Anatomy!  They don’t film the show there (they film it here in Los Angeles), but this is the building that’s used in establishing shots of the hospital.

Here’s the route for our 7-mile walk, which, with all our stops, took well over 5 hours to complete:

Collin’s house didn’t even fit in my screen grab – it’s off the map to the right, but that’s OK, because I have no intention of showing where he lives anyway.

Sunday Morning – 6 miles.  This is an estimate.  Collin and I went for a run, and we were gone for 90 minutes.  In our best estimation, we ran for about 45 minutes, and went 4 miles, and then walked the other 45 minutes, going at least 2 more.  I do enjoy mapping my routes, but I couldn’t do it with this run, because a lot of it was in the Washington Park Arboretum, where we were on paths that don’t show up on Google Maps, and, for a while, we weren’t even on paths!  The Arboretum was beautiful – it has a big Japanese Tea Garden among other things, and it’s full of towering trees and it’s green, green, green.

I grew up in Michigan and am used to very green summers – Los Angeles, thanks to a lack of rain, has lovely brown summers – but what I loved about Seattle (and miss about Michigan) is how passionately and aggressively green it is.  It’s not just that the trees are lush and full of leaves, is that everywhere you look, you see plants bursting forth and really thriving – bushes and branches creeping around fence posts, flowers and shrubs practically exploding from their planters and pots.  It’s seems like the foliage expands at such a rate, that it’s not even possible to keep up with trimming and taming it!  Simply beautiful.

After leaving the Arboretum, we wound through Madrona, a neighborhood which is partly perched on high, windy streets above Lake Washington.  Kurt Cobain lived in Madrona before he passed, and Collin pointed out his house.

Sunday Afternoon: 2 miles.  Our Sunday afternoon started with lunch at the Ballard Farmer’s Market (which I shared yesterday), and from there, we walked to the Ballard Locks.  Locks are basically big elevators that allow boats to get from one body of water to another when those bodies of water are at different levels.  The Ballard Locks allow boats coming from Puget Sound, located at sea level, to head into Lake Washington, which is about 20 feet above sea level.  Boats navigate into the lock, and then water is added, which raises the level of the lock, bringing boats from sea level to Mount Washington level.  And that concludes today’s marine engineering lesson.

This afternoon also included a visit to the Fremont Troll, a piece of public art that I adore.  Fremont, a neighborhood in Seattle, is at one end of the Aurora Bridge, a main thoroughfare in the city.  In 1990, the Fremont Arts Council commissioned four local artists to create a sculpture of a troll underneath the bridge!  How cool is that?  This is what they came up with:

My favorite part is that the troll has, in his grasp, a vintage VW big – you can see it behind Collin’s left shoulder.  Here’s what the troll looks out over:

It’s a big bridge!  And the street directly below it is appropriately named Troll Avenue.

Monday Morning – 4.5 miles.  Monday morning I was on my own: Collin headed to work, and Blayne took off for a gig at a big music festival.  Have I mentioned that Blayne is a concert violinist?  I’ve never heard him play, but hopefully someday.  He’s also a great violin teacher – so look no further if you’re in Seattle and want to start (or your kid wants to start) taking lessons – here’s his website.

With free time on my hands, I decided to head out for another run.  Collin, who’s in training for his second marathon, had suggested a route he thought would be good for me, and I stuck to it, more or less.  Here’s the part that I ran, which equals 4.2 miles:

Tack on a few blocks of walking before and after, to warm-up and cool-down, and it’s 4.5 miles.  I was gone for an hour, which includes the run, warm-up, cool-down, and some stretching.  Since I didn’t specifically time my run, I don’t have enough information to update my running chart, but I’m proud of it nonetheless, mainly because Seattle offers something I’m not used to when I go running in my own neighborhood: HILLS.  And some of them are STEEP!  This run included two notable hills, one at the beginning, and one at the end, and I ascended both without stopping!  Definitely a good feeling.

Monday Afternoon – 2.5 miles.  After having lunch with an old friend, Shawn, at Portage Bay Cafe, Shawn drove me to see a few more neighborhoods in Seattle (between Shawn and Collin, I feel like I saw most of the city!), and brought me downtown, where I had a couple hours to kill before Collin was finished with work.  I was having issues with my phone, so I dropped it off at a repair center to see if they could diagnose any problems.  While I waited, I walked a few blocks to the Seattle Central Library, a stunning piece of architecture by Dutch architect Rem Koolhaus that opened in 2004.  It’s 11 stories, and wrapped in a steel and glass diamond-shaped netting.  It’s probably the most awesome library I’ve ever seen.

I think libraries have a reputation of being stuffy, dark, and claustrophobic, and this library is none of those things.  I love how natural light permeates nearly every space I saw, and how, despite being a highly organized space (as all libraries are), there are elements, features, and points of view that continually surprised and astounded me.

Eventually, I picked up my phone (which came back with a clean bill of health), and I wandered over to meet Collin.  After a happy hour, some shopping, and dinner (read all about all three in yesterday’s post), we walked back to Collin’s place, a good 2 mile walk.

SO.  Did anyone bust out their calculator and keep track?  Punch the numbers, and see for yourself:

7 miles + 6 miles + 2 miles + 4.5 miles + 2.5 miles = 22 MILES!  In three days!

That brings the coverage of my Seattle trip to a close.  The one thing that all these pictures and links don’t accurately portray is how much fun I always have when I see Collin.  He makes me laugh like not many people can, and I’m just plain lucky to call him my friend.  This past weekend, I was also lucky to call him my tour guide, dining partner, shopping consultant, and running buddy!

COMING THIS WEEKEND:  Get ready for 2 blogs this weekend, both stemming from parts of my day on Thursday.  Tomorrow, I’ll write about restocking my barren kitchen (when I packed my road trip food for Vegas, the only produce I left behind was 1/2 a head of garlic and 2 lemons).  And Sunday… well, Sunday will be a treat, because I’ll be writing about my Thursday evening, which started at Slimmons, and ended at… A STRIP CLUB.

You don’t want to miss it!

Right now though, all I can think about is that math equation a few paragraphs up.  22 Miles?  In three days?

Keep it up, David!

Chart Update, Salad Bar, and a Run!

May 25, 2011

Just in case you’re wondering, YES – I did use my new RediSetGo for the first time, and YES, it was fabulous, and YES, I did document it, and YES, I will be sharing the photos and blogging all about it.

But that’s gonna happen tomorrow.

There’s some other things I was planning on sharing today, starting with…

1) Chart Update.  For a long time I didn’t have a set weigh-in day – I would just weigh myself every 5-7 days or so and then update my chart accordingly.  At some point during the past few months, I got into a rhythm of weighing myself on Tuesdays – I think primarily because my sister in Colorado has Tuesday weigh-ins (she’s lost 10 pounds!), and we got into the habit of talking about our progress on Tuesdays, although we haven’t chatted in a few weeks, and so I should really call her and how did I let this sentence get so freakin’ long?  My friend at work recently pointed out a couple terrible run-on sentences in one of my reports.  Use your periods, David!

Anyhoo.  Since yesterday was Tuesday, I stepped on the scale.  And… I stayed the same.  238 pounds.  And I was fine with that.  My week had been good, both food-wise and exercise-wise, and all I can do is continue to work at this, and not go nuts about the numbers.  Chart updating time!

Hmmm…. staying the same at 238 pounds seems awfully familiar…  I wonder why that is…  OH!  Maybe it’s because I stayed at 238 pounds for about a month not too long ago!

For everyone keeping track, weighing 238 pounds represents a weight loss of 164 pounds.

HOLY CRAP!  In honor of the The Biggest Loser finale last night (a show that I don’t watch), I just crunched the numbers for the first time in months, and figured out that my weight loss of 164 pounds represents 40.79% of my original weight!  I usually save it for the end of my posts, but now seems like a great time to say… Keep it up, David!

2) Salad Bar.  Right near my office is a cafeteria that has a salad bar, and it’s often the source of my lunches.  It’s a good salad bar, but not mind-blowingly awesome.  What I like most is that there’s usually a couple good lean protein options – beans, like garbanzos or edamame, grilled chicken breast, and, if I’m lucky, tuna.

Here’s today’s salad:

There’s spinach, carrots, mushrooms, cucumber, corn, black beans, cauliflower, beets, tuna, and a few peperoncinis (which I love).  And I splashed some red wine vinegar (no oil) over all of it.  The reason I show my salad today (in addition to sharing how I manage a healthy lunch at the office) is that today’s salad was the most expensive salad I’ve ever purchased from that salad bar.

The salad bar charges by weight.  It’s $6.25 a pound.  They have 2 different size containers – the one pictured is the larger one.  Anyone want to guess how much I paid for that salad?




$12.01.  My most expensive salad by, like, a dollar or more.  That’s 1.75 pounds of salad!

Oh no wait – I lied.  I didn’t pay $12.01.  I paid $12.00.  As I was fishing some cash money out of my wallet, the cashier said she had an extra penny.  How kind!

3) A Sunday Run.  Somehow it got to be Wednesday, and I’m just now getting around to talking about my Sunday run.

My interest in running has been slip-slip-slipping lately.  In the fall, I was super gung-ho about running – I set a goal to run past all six strip clubs in my neighborhood (seriously – I figured out a route; it’s a 6.4 mile loop), and then ran almost once a week and slowly improved.  Then, in mid-April, I went running with two of my cousins, and my 16-year-old cousin Aaron (who’s on his school’s track and cross-country teams) pointed out that my form is shitty (my words, not his) and not good for my body.  Read about that running lesson here.  About a week after that, I tried running again, focusing on my form, which Aaron taught me, and it was hard.  Having good form is much harder than having bad form!  But I don’t want to destroy my knees or get shin splits or anything, so I’m not going to revert to my old form.

The only thing is that now that running is more difficult, I like it less.  Isn’t that always the case!  My most recent run, which was that outing a week after my lesson with Aaron, was tough and frustrating.  I caught myself reverting back into my bad form, and I only went about 18 minutes before walking the rest of the way.  It was so tiring and frustrating that I opted not to even blog about it – the run only got a quick mention, in passing, in this post.

I don’t want to give up on running though.  I like the idea of keeping it in my exercise arsenal – because I can do it anywhere, without needing equipment or a gym membership, and I really would like to reach my goal of running past all those strip clubs.

So, on Sunday, a full month (to the day!) since my last run, I laced up my shoes and hit the sidewalk.  I focused on proper technique and caught myself  a bunch of times before absentmindedly reverting back to my old form.  And when all is said and done, I was pleasantly surprised with what I accomplished!  Here’s my route:

I walked to Point A as a warm-up.  I ran from Point A to Point B (2.3 miles) in 25 minutes.  I was really exhausted, so I took a little breather, and walked from Point B to Point C, and then resumed running from Point C to Point D (1.2 miles), before running home (sorry, stalkers, but I’m not saying where that is!).  So add it up, and I ran 3.5 miles in 40 minutes.  That equals a pace of 5.25 mph.  It’s been a while since I’ve dusted off the ol’ running chart, but here it is:

  • 9/21/10: Distance: 3.1 miles.  Time: 41 minutes.  MPH: 4.53
  • 9/27/10: Distance: 3.3 miles.  Time: 45 minutes.  MPH: 4.4
  • 10/5/10: Distance: 3.2 miles.  Time: 40 minutes.  MPH: 4.8
  • 10/12/10: Distance: 3.8 miles.  Forgot to note time and MPH
  • 10/16/10: Distance: 2.9 miles.  Forgot to note time and MPH
  • 11/1/10: Distance: 3.1 miles.  Time: 36 minutes.  MPH: 5.16
  • 11/6/10: Distance: 5.1 miles. Time: 60 minutes.  MPH: 5.1
  • 11/14/10: Distance: 3.9 miles. Time: 45 minutes.  MPH: 5.2
  • 11/28/10: Distance: 4.2 miles. Time: 46 minutes.  MPH: 5.47
  • 1/4/11: Distance: 3.0 miles. Time: 34 minutes.  MPH: 5.3
  • 1/24/11: Distance: 4.4 miles.  Time: 45 minutes.  MPH: 5.86
  • 2/1/11: Distance: 1.9 miles.  Time: 20 minutes.  MPH: 5.7
  • 2/9/11: Distance: 3.5 miles.  Time: 38 minutes.  MPH: 5.52
  • 2/16/11: Distance: 2.9 miles.  Time: 33 minutes.  MPH: 5.28
  • 2/27/11: Distance: 5 miles.  Time: 60 minutes.  MPH: 5.0
  • 3/3/11: Distance: 5.4 miles.  Time: 57 minutes.  MPH: 5.13
  • 3/10/11: Distance: 3.0 miles.  Time: 34 minutes.  MPH: 5.29
  • 4/10/11:  Distance: 4.5 miles.  Time: 47 minutes.  MPH: 5.74
  • 5/22/11: Distance: 3.5 miles.  Time: 40 mintes.  MPH: 5.25

A few runs are missing on the chart: my two most recent runs before this one (the lesson with Aaron and the one a week later), as well as another run in March, just because I didn’t note distance or time during any of them.  My 5.25 pace isn’t my fastest, but I wasn’t expecting it to be.

Keep it up, David!

Back to the Blog

April 12, 2011

Yesterday’s post, where I compared my weight loss to M&Ms, bowling balls, country music stars, and more (did you read it? It’s quite fun!), was my first real blog post in almost a week, and it felt nice to post something again, although I must admit it also felt nice to take a little break from the blog for a few days.  I find that I put undue pressure on myself (in many regards), and last week I found myself getting stressed because I was struggling to come up with blog topics, and I started feeling like if I didn’t post I’d be letting my readers down, and that stressed me further and made it tougher to come up with compelling things to write about…

It was a nasty, vicious circle (and so unimportant, in the grand scheme of things), but I recognized it, and decided to step away from the whole situation altogether.  I don’t want that stress in my life, especially not linked to blogging, an activity that I enjoy, and find motivating and therapeutic.  Not thinking about the blog for a few days was a lovely respite, and, of course, once I stopped looking for topics, all sorts of great ideas came to me, including some of the weight loss comparisons in yesterday’s post.  So now there’s some catching up to do, and I look forward to doing it!

I thought I’d first catch you up on my exercise.  Last week I didn’t work out as much as I would have liked (which, I think, added to my stress).  Monday was a planned rest day, but on both Wednesday and Friday laziness got the better of me, and I didn’t move a muscle.  Luckily, I had great workouts on Tuesday (boot camp class) and Thursday (ellliptical, free weights, and recumbent bike at the gym), so the week wasn’t a complete wash.

So, on Saturday morning, I decided I couldn’t let the past week become a habit, and since then, I’ve had 4 fun, great workouts, and lucky for you, they all come with visual aids!

1) Slimmons (Saturday Morning): The theme for Richard Simmons’ class on Saturday Morning was all new music, and Richard decided to dress as a pink poodle to lead the class.  Because I’ve been posting videos from recent classes, you know that Richard goes all out when he dons a costume (this post has a video of him as one of The Four Tops, and this post as a video of him in KISS make-up and wardrobe), and Saturday was no exception.  Check it out!

Did you see me in that video?  I’m in a green t-shirt.  It’s strange – when you watch the video on YouTube, you can easily see me behind Richard during the last 10 seconds or so, but when I embedded it here, I get cropped out.  Oh well.  It was a crowded class, but a good one, and I’m quite certain the first class I’ve taken that was taught by a dog!  I saw Richard kiss a few people after class, and then wipe away the pink smudges he left on their faces… hilarious.  I got away pink smudge-free (we air-hugged).

2) Fryman Canyon Hike (Saturday Afternoon). I was putzing around my place later that afternoon when my friend Chris texted me, and proposed going hiking.  I didn’t have plans, so why not?  We headed to Fryman Canyon (which I’ve blogged about before – here and here), and had a great hour-long hike.  At one point, Chris snapped a picture of me on his phone, which he emailed to me later, with a subject line that read “Album Cover”.  Sure enough, it looks like it could be the cover image of a 1960’s folk album, so I had a little fun with photoshop and came up with this:

It’ll be available on iTunes and Amazon soon (and by ‘soon’, I mean ‘never’).

3) Run (Sunday Afternoon). It’s been a loooong time since I’ve gone running – the last time was way back on March 17 (with Chris, folk album photographer extraordinaire, at Porn Star Park).  So on Sunday, I laced up my shoes, grabbed my iPod, and hit the streets.  I set out without any goals, as far as route, distance, or time were concerned – I just decided to go for as long as I could, and since it’s been about three weeks since I’ve gone running, I didn’t have huge expectations, either.

So how did I do?  Not too shabby at all.  I ran for 47 minutes, and went 4.5 miles.  Here’s the route I ended up taking:

Wanna know how many fast food restaurants I passed along the way?  Ten.  Del Taco, Subway, KFC, Carl’s Jr., Taco Bell, another Subway, Burger King, McDonalds, El Pollo Loco, and Jack in the Box.  I’ve eaten at every single one of them, too, back when I used to eat fast food (I still eat Subway every once in a while).

Time to update my running chart:

  • 9/21/10: Distance: 3.1 miles.  Time: 41 minutes.  MPH: 4.53
  • 9/27/10: Distance: 3.3 miles.  Time: 45 minutes.  MPH: 4.4
  • 10/5/10: Distance: 3.2 miles.  Time: 40 minutes.  MPH: 4.8
  • 10/12/10: Distance: 3.8 miles.  Forgot to note time and MPH
  • 10/16/10: Distance: 2.9 miles.  Forgot to note time and MPH
  • 11/1/10: Distance: 3.1 miles.  Time: 36 minutes.  MPH: 5.16
  • 11/6/10: Distance: 5.1 miles. Time: 60 minutes.  MPH: 5.1
  • 11/14/10: Distance: 3.9 miles. Time: 45 minutes.  MPH: 5.2
  • 11/28/10: Distance: 4.2 miles. Time: 46 minutes.  MPH: 5.47
  • 1/4/11: Distance: 3.0 miles. Time: 34 minutes.  MPH: 5.3
  • 1/24/11: Distance: 4.4 miles.  Time: 45 minutes.  MPH: 5.86
  • 2/1/11: Distance: 1.9 miles.  Time: 20 minutes.  MPH: 5.7
  • 2/9/11: Distance: 3.5 miles.  Time: 38 minutes.  MPH: 5.52
  • 2/16/11: Distance: 2.9 miles.  Time: 33 minutes.  MPH: 5.28
  • 2/27/11: Distance: 5 miles.  Time: 60 minutes.  MPH: 5.0
  • 3/3/11: Distance: 5.4 miles.  Time: 57 minutes.  MPH: 5.13
  • 3/10/11: Distance: 3.0 miles.  Time: 34 minutes.  MPH: 5.29
  • 3/17/11: Distance: ? Time: ? MPH: ? (I forgot to note everything.  Oops!)
  • 4/10/11:  Distance: 4.5 miles.  Time: 47 minutes.  MPH: 5.74

Hello, Speedy Gonzalez!  That’s my second-fastest pace ever! Wowsa – wasn’t expecting that!

4) Gym (Monday Evening). After work, I headed to the gym, where I did 35 minutes on the Arc Trainer, and 13.5 minutes on the StairMaster.  Like last time, I tried to do as much of it (excluding some warm-up and cool-down time) doing 2 steps at a time, and this time, I also decided to push myself and see how fast I could go.  Normally I top out at Level 12 or so, but this time, I made it up to Level 14 (for about a minute).

The total numbers of floors I climbed was 70, so for today’s visual comparison, we’re going all the way to Yokohama, Japan.  The tallest building in Japan is located in Yokohama – it’s called Yokohama Landmark Tower – and whadya know? It has 70 floors!  Yep, I climbed the equivalent of this:

Between the Arc Trainer and the Stairmaster, I burned over 900 calories!

Keep it up, David!