Updated Every Monday, Wednesday and Friday

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

A Re-Introduction

Hey folks,

Some of you have been popping by this blog for a while now, a few of you since the very beginning about 4 years ago.  A bunch of you, however, are new to this place so, well, let's get caught up with what you've missed:

Hi there, I'm Brandon.

I've been an aspiring/emerging writer for a while now, hoping to break into the TV biz here in Canada.  Most of the last four or so years has been spent honing my craft, writing scripts (some of which you can find on the side bar over there), critiquing them and generally trying to ensure that I'm 'good enough' to make sure that once I 'break in', I stay in.

I've had a fair amount of both successes (and two and three) and failures over the years -- made a fool of myself at least once (okay, more than once) -- and generally tried my best to chronicle my 'adventures' and insights (this one's not bad either) as I go about this crazy ride.

I got involved with this great group of people over at a place called 'inkcanada' and it was there -- as the first 'Inktern' and then, later, as a 'Junior Editor' -- that I cut my teeth and learned about the intricacies of the craft of writing for TV.

I got political for a while -- still am, and there'll be more on that coming up -- and learned a ton about how the TV industry in Canada works, how the CRTC works and how messy/confusing the act of getting legislation through (or blocked) in Parliament can be.

I chronicled a couple of unsuccessful attempts to get into the CFC (the first one more successful than the second).
I wrote a quite successful document called 'The Newbie's Guide To Writing a TV Series Pitch Bible'.

I've gotten engaged, gotten married and became a dad on this blog. (Holy crap, I'm growing up...)

Hell, I even wrote a novel.  In 40 days.  Right here.  (And it's good too!)

But here's the thing:

Over time, I've felt myself, and this blog, steering away from where I wanted it to go.  Started to watch the dream fade as I got comfortable doing other things.  As the machinations of life started to take over and forcibly steer me away.

Worse: I started to get complacent.  Started to lose the hunger, the fire.

So it's time to right the ship.

Let's take stock:

Right now I've got 4 original spec pilots under my belt.  2 spec bibles (and one on the way).  4 spec scripts -- all of which are old and of little to no use -- 10 short film scripts, a myriad of half-started/half-finished projects and a Novel.

So... yeah, time to get myself back on the scoreboard with something I can use. Time to make a new spec script.

But which show should I tackle?

Well, that's something we'll get into more depth with on Friday.

Until then,

Cheers!
Brandon

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

The Workout: Day Thirty


So here we are, all the marbles and all that.

Today was an interesting bit of entertainment in that I went into today's session knowing that there was no way that I was going to pull it off... but I was determined to bust my ass going as far as I could.

If there's one thing I've learned over these last 30 days it's my limitations.  As temporary as they may be, there hasn't been a spot yet where I just suddenly blow past all prior expectations.  I'm a worker, I get that now.  Diligent, hard-nosed.  Once I set my mind to a goal, I get there.

But it takes time.

So today when I stepped on that treadmill at 17% incline at 4.2 miles per hour... well, I actually laughed at how quickly it set about kicking my ass.  Within 5 minutes I was drenched and those new muscles I've gained on the front of my shins (seriously, my shins bulge out now... it's weird, but cool) started burning like they were covered in napalm.  I pushed onward until the edges of my feet were almost coming off the treadmill, crossing the 10-minute mark before slowing things down and lowering it.

Unlike most of the other instances where I'd been pushing myself and then slowed it down I know that here, in this instance I pushed myself to the absolute limit.  I hung on as long as I could.  There was no 'okay, we'll just take a rest' it was 'push. Push. PUSH' past the point of hurting.

Weird as it is to say, I'm pretty proud of that moment.

My legs at that point were burning so bad that I can honestly say that I considered calling it a day right there -- you see how easy it is?  In the midst of a personal high it's still so easy for those ideas of 'well, good job, let's hit the showers' to snake their way through and bubble to the surface.

Instead I slowed it down a tad, dropped the incline to something I knew I could manage (ended up being 15% at 3.7mph) and I walked the fire out.  In fact, I ended up walking for the next 40 minutes at that speed; catching my breath, getting my strength back.

See, one other little trick I've learned recently is that when I've got a setting that's just kicking my ass, well, I don't let it get the last laugh.  For the last 10 minutes of the session, after 50 minutes of being tired and sore and worse, I pumped it right back up to 17% incline at 4.2mph.

I pushed it back and I hung on for dear life.

Half-walking, half-jogging, trying to figure out a way to dampen the tinderwood that my muscles had become.  Of course, by that point there wasn't much that I could do except put one foot in front of the other and try to keep myself standing.

Again, not the most graceful of events... in fact it was the most brutal ending that I've experienced so far.  By the end of it I was barely standing; breathing like some rasp-throated beast as I counted out the final seconds.

And yet, as the cool down started and the incline began lowering itself back to base position, I couldn't help but feel... energized.

After so many years, after so many attempts to get myself into shape I finally feel like I have a real understanding of how my mind and body work -- how they work in tandem, how easily they can throw each other under the bus, or, more importantly, how I can best use both to get to where I need to be.

And through that I also feel like I've come to understand the darker side of my nature - the part of me that wants nothing more than to go with the flow, to take the path of least resistance.  I've learned how easily these seemingly harmless notions can sneak up and how seductive they can be when I'm at my lowest -- how easy it can be to just let go.  Yet I've also learned how to spot them when they show up, how to be vigilant and I'm learning how to harness that fear toward something productive.

Reminding myself that being 'easy-going' can be a great trait, as long as it's tempered with ambition; as long as there is some sort of balance.

For a long time I've been going with the flow and then getting frustrated at myself for not being where I'd dreamed I'd be by now.  The sand in my own shoe, so to speak.  Letting my own listlessness wear me down.

You know, it's an interesting thing, being alone on that treadmill -- with no one to blame but myself when I falter.  Through the sweat and pain there are real moments of introspection, if I let them come.  And heck, I know I've needed it lately.
There are decisions I've been putting off, and some that I've been afraid to make -- some that I'm still afraid to make... but I feel like I have a better understanding of what's ahead of me now.  A better understanding of what I want and what I need to do to get there.

It's going to take work.  Endurance.  Passion.

And a bit of luck.

(But that pretty much comes with the territory)

On a lighter note, it also doesn't hurt that I managed to get myself into a shape other than round.

Here's today's stats:
User
Age = 31
Weight units = 230

- Workout
Elapsed Time = 60:00
Avg Heart Rate = 169
Max Heart Rate = 188 <-- Still strong at the 188 mark.  That's fine with me 'cause 190+ is NOT fun.
Avg Speed Units = 3.9 mph
Max Speed Units = 4.2 mph
Avg Pace = 15:30 /mile
Distance = 3.87 miles
Calories = 1291

- Cool Down
Elapsed Time = 2:00
Avg Speed Units = 3.9 mph
Max Speed Units = 4.0 mph
Distance = 0.13 miles
Calories = 24

- Total
Elapsed Time = 62:00
Avg Heart Rate = 169
Max Speed Units = 192
Avg Speed Units = 3.9 mph
Max Speed Units = 4.2 mph
Avg Pace = 15:30 /mile
Distance = 4.00 miles
Calories = 1316

All-in-all, adding in yesterday's count and today's (1289+1316 = 2605) and subtracting it from what's left (450) I end my 30-day journey having burned a total of 32,155 calories in 27 days (30-3 rest days)!

So, what does that mean for yours truly?

Well, remember that belt loop that I went down?  That officially took me from a size 40 to a 38 (which fits rather nicely at the moment, no pinching or digging in).

Weight-wise I started this thing at 230 lbs and, as of my last weigh-in, after my workout tonight (at 7pm) I'm 221.5 lbs (using one of those fancy medical scales).

30 days, 32, 155 calories burned, 1 belt size lost and down 8.5 lbs.

Not too bloody shabby.

Tomorrow I'll be tackling that 17% at 4.2mph again, but I've got something else in store for you all.

It's time I took this blog back to its roots, back to the 'blue-haired' passion that I started out with and feel like I sort of lost along the way.

I'm going to take a bit of a break, about a week; enough time to finish up my pitch-bible for Pipeline and then I'm going to start my next spec script.  On here, step-by-step from beginning to bitter end.

If you're interested, come on back, 'cause it should be quite an interesting experiment.

See you next Wednesday!

Cheers,
Brandon

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

The Workout: Day Twenty Nine


Today I had to fight for it.

No, really, it was like my body was conspiring against me or something 'cause today's session, even though I did manage to make the whole hour at 16%/4mph, was just brutal.

It was like all that I'd managed to accomplish over the last few weeks didn't matter, like I was almost back to square one.  10 minutes in I was a huffing, puffing mess and I could already feel those 'helpful' little notions bubbling around in the background.  Ideas like 'you've made it this far, what do you have to prove?' and 'you only need 450 calories' and 'why not take it easy?'

I remember this saying that I read on the bottom of a SoBe's bottlecap many a moon ago -- does it make it any less noble a saying depending on where it's found?  I dunno, but anyways, it stuck with me:

"It's not the mountain ahead that wears you down, it's the grain of sand in your shoe".

And, you know, throughout this whole thing, this journey or quest or whatever... I've been the grain of sand; the one wearing myself down, standing in the way of my own success.

For all my work and successes, today, on that treadmill I wore myself down -- every confused step, every wonder of 'why is this so hard?'.  Every time I started to take the notions in my head seriously.

The amazing thing is that I can come this far, accomplish as much as I have and then, today, in 10 minutes, allow it all to evaporate.  And it did evaporate.

(Today was not the day to photograph me for the cover of Sports Illustrated.)

But, like I said, I still managed to complete it; still made it to the end.  It was a hell of a slog though and I pretty much powered my way through it with my eyes planted on the clock, counting down the seconds.

So I'm proud of myself, yet I'm also... humbled.

And maybe that was the point of today, a reminder that it's not 'easy' and it never gets 'easy'.  Success takes constant effort -- mental, physical and more.  A reminder that, often, the hardest parts of succeeding involve getting past all the obstacles I place inside myself.  'Cause today, I was most definitely in my own way.

Tomorrow, however, is a new day, a new chance to succeed.  And since tomorrow is the end of my 30 days I've decided to go out swinging.  I'm going to try to do my next session at 17% incline at 4.2mph.

Honestly, knowing what my limitations are right now... I'm expecting it to be, well, ugly.  But we all gotta start somewhere, right?

Here's today's stats:
- User
Age = 31
Weight units = 230

- Workout
Elapsed Time = 60:00
Avg Heart Rate = 178
Max Heart Rate = 188 <-- Holding strong at the 188 mark... considering how hard I found today's session, I'm pretty impressed that it's not higher.
Avg Speed Units = 4.0 mph
Max Speed Units = 4.0 mph
Avg Pace = 15:00 /mile
Distance = 4.00 miles
Calories = 1266  <-- Pulling off a full hour at 4.0 actually ended up with me burning about 50 less calories than if I'd done the trip at 3.7mph.

- Cool Down
Elapsed Time = 2:00
Avg Speed Units = 3.8 mph
Max Speed Units = 4.0 mph
Distance = 0.13 miles
Calories = 23

- Total
Elapsed Time = 62:00
Avg Heart Rate = 178
Max Speed Units = 188
Avg Speed Units = 4.0 mph
Max Speed Units = 4.0 mph
Avg Pace = 15:00 /mile
Distance = 4.13 miles
Calories = 1289

Final stats and wrap up tomorrow!

It's all over but the cryin' folks.

Until then,

Cheers!
Brandon

Monday, August 22, 2011

The Workout: Day Twenty Eight


Of course, everything didn't quite go as planned.

I went to use my regular treadmill today and found it occupied.  With not a whole heck of a lot of time to spare, I ended up trying out one of these new 'fancy' treadmills.  Well, for all the 'fancy' (it apparently had the ability to work with your Nike shoes or something) it couldn't manage an incline higher than 15%.

Call me spoiled if you like but I found it incredibly frustrating that, so far, there's only one treadmill in the whole gym that can go higher than 15%.

On the bright side, I'm proud to say that I did really well on the 15% incline at 4.0mph.  By now I know better than to scoff at a 1% difference in incline, especially when hitting it over the course of an hour -- and yet I did rather well, I pulled the whole thing out and barely sloshed my martini.

Okay, I didn't have a martini... and it was still a challenge, and I'm pretty sure I didn't look any better than the last 27 or so times I've attempted to not look like a dork... but I'm definitely getting stronger, getting better.  I know that this wasn't as much of a challenge as the 16% would have been... and I craved it.  I was amazed at just how disappointed I was that this silly treadmill, for all it's flashy design, couldn't eke out another 1% incline.

Bah.

At least the interface is pretty.

I've got two days to go on this thing.  Two days to knock out another 4.0 at 16%.

Hopefully tomorrow will be the day I can put this nemesis to rest once and for all.

Finally, if we take yesterday's calorie burn and add today's (1288+1379 = 2667) then subtract it from what's left to burn (3117) we end up with 450 calories left to burn in 2 days.

Wow, we're really down to the wire now, aren't we?

Only two sleeps left.

Honestly, it's starting to feel like the run up to the weirdest, sweatiest, most painful Christmas Day ever.  I'm getting all excited now and stuff, especially now that I can see the finish line in sight.

I'm so close now.

Cheers!
Brandon

Sunday, August 21, 2011

The Workout: Day Twenty Seven

Holy shiat.

No.  Really.

I did it.

Today, I managed to pull it off -- one whole hour at 4mph on a 16% incline.

I'm still kind of in shock, I mean, I got to the 40-minute mark... and I was still feeling okay.  I was all kinds of the usual: sore and sweaty and gasping for air like a beached whale... but when the 40-minute mark rolled around... I was okay.

And I could feel it in my legs, no longer the usual throbbing pain, but a surge, a rush... a need to push onward, to see this thing through.

I got to the 40-minute mark and in my mind all I could hear was "only 20 minutes left to go".  No screeches of 'you'll never make it' or 'aren't you tired' or any other such nonsense; no tiny, self-destructive notions offering me a way out.  Just me.  Just my voice egging me on, saying "you're doing good, keep it up".

So I did.  I kept plodding along, watching the time tick on, counting down every 5-minute chunk; breaking each one down into 2-and-a-half-minute segments.  Each segment a fraction of the goal, each segment bringing me closer to the end; to victory.

And when that last minute rolled around, as those last seconds ticked down... to say it was euphoric was one hell of an understatement.  I'm pretty sure I giggled out loud. 

Not really a dignified end, to be sure, but at that point I didn't care.

Of course, in my distraction I didn't manage to get a photo of said momentous occasion... Not that I didn't try, but by the time I realized and got my stupid phone camera ready, well, the darned thing had reset.

Blarg.

On the bright side, I do have my stats for today... and they, well, they say it all:

- User
Age = 31
Weight units = 230

- Workout
Elapsed Time = 60:00
Avg Heart Rate = 177
Max Heart Rate = 188 <-- Slightly less than my last run at the fence... but not too shabby overall.
Avg Speed Units = 4.0 mph
Max Speed Units = 4.0 mph
Avg Pace = 15:00 /mile
Distance = 4.00 miles
Calories = 1266  <-- Pulling off a full hour at 4.0 actually ended up with me burning about 50 less calories than if I'd done the trip at 3.7mph.

- Cool Down
Elapsed Time = 2:00
Avg Speed Units = 3.7 mph
Max Speed Units = 4.0 mph
Distance = 0.12 miles
Calories = 22

- Total
Elapsed Time = 62:00
Avg Heart Rate = 177
Max Speed Units = 188
Avg Speed Units = 4.0 mph
Max Speed Units = 4.0 mph
Avg Pace = 15:00 /mile
Distance = 4.12 miles
Calories = 1288

Of course, the big question now is: What now?  I'd figured that this 4.0 beast would end up being my final stand, that I'd end up trying to beat this thing right 'till the bitter end (of my 30-day adventure).

So what DO I do now?

I guess, tomorrow, I try to do this again.  Try to make it a two-fer, go for the full hour at 4.0mph and see if it gets any easier.

After that?  Well, I guess I'll have to get creative.

But for now... it's time to bask.  Enjoy the accomplishment, maybe have a nice hot soak in the tub.

And do it all again tomorrow.

Cheers!
Brandon

Saturday, August 20, 2011

The Workout: Day Twenty Six

40 minutes today.  Well, 35 with a 5 minute kicker at the end.

I'm catching up to my goal pretty fast -- Thursday I managed 10 minutes at 4mph on a 16% incline.  Yesterday I managed to more than double it to 25.  Today I slugged it out and made it 40.

It's always when I get *this* close to a goal that it starts to mess with me, starts to psyche me out.  I faced it with my ol' 3.7 nemesis and now, here as I approach the 4.0 I can feel it peeking around the corners once more.

Writing's been tough as of late, trying to find the quiet time I need to get my head back in the game.  Unfortunately one of the side effects of all this exercise is that I've been sleeping my eight hours even if I don't intend to.  My ol' 6am writing sessions, the last bastion of 'me' time, have started to go the way of the Dodo thanks to my increased need for sleep and our son's new wake-up time of 7am (which means we tend not to be able to get him back to bed until 8-8:30... which means I basically have to start getting ready for work).

I'm currently trying to figure out a way around this but so far it's a bit of a no-go.

Back in the day, I could sit there and write in the middle of a house party -- I could just shut everything else out and focus.  Now, the slightest sound seems to break my concentration.  I'm sure a part of that has to do with that whole 'making sure my son is still alive' thing... but man, what I wouldn't give for a decent pair of noise-cancelling headphones and the ability to actually use them.

That said, as I've mentioned before, my workout times have become a sort of new creativity bubble for me; a place to test run ideas in my mind as I pound the calories into the ground.  I thought about running a microphone or something to talk out my ideas as I do my workout but a quick little jaunt into Imaginationland showed me that that'd not end well.  I have enough problems keeping oxygen in my lungs as it is, wasting it on silly things like 'talking' would surely put me into full 'faceplant' mode.

Anyways, yes, today I pulled out 40 minutes -- I think these last ditch 5-minute bursts are actually helping me along somehow.  Some of it's physical, but most of it's mental.

It's an odd thing because I've talked to a few people at the gym now and the general message has been 'don't watch the clock!', telling me to just forget about it and push onward.  Except that the clock has actually helped me -- I use it to psyche myself up, to keep track of where I am, to see how much I have left to go.  It's become a valuable tool -- honestly, there's nothing as amazing as watching those final seconds tick down just as you feel like you've got nothing left in the tank.

Here are today's stats (and yes, the lower calorie burn is actually from moving at a faster pace... I'm not sure why jogging at 4.0mph burns less calories per hour than walking at 3.7 but that's how it goes, apparently):

- User
Age = 31
Weight units = 230

- Workout
Elapsed Time = 60:00
Avg Heart Rate = 179
Max Heart Rate = 192 <-- These final bursts of speed are really kicking the shit out of my heart rate.  Today I looked at the 'heart rate scale' on the treadmill and 192 is so deep into the Red that I'm almost at 100% heart rate capacity.  The more that I think about that the more I realize that that's probably not a good thing.
Avg Speed Units = 3.9 mph
Max Speed Units = 4.0 mph
Avg Pace = 15:23 /mile
Distance = 3.90 miles
Calories = 1282  <-- Yes, I moved faster, ran farther... and burned less calories than yesterday and the day before.  Sheesh.

- Cool Down
Elapsed Time = 2:00
Avg Speed Units = 3.6 mph
Max Speed Units = 4.0 mph
Distance = 0.12 miles
Calories = 19

- Total
Elapsed Time = 62:00
Avg Heart Rate = 179
Max Speed Units = 192
Avg Speed Units = 3.9 mph
Max Speed Units = 4.0 mph
Avg Pace = 15:23 /mile
Distance = 4.02 miles
Calories = 1302

If we subtract that from what's left to burn (4419) then I've got 3117 calories left to burn in 4 days.

Fingers crossed, I'm going to push for the whole one hour tomorrow.  It's only an extra 20 minutes.  Mind over matter, right?

Cheers,
Brandon

Friday, August 19, 2011

The Workout: Day Twenty Five

So my wedding ring fell off today.

Okay, less 'fell' and more 'flew'.

I was talking to a co-worker of mine and gesturing toward something and... PING... pingpingping... off it rolls down the hall.  Uhh, yeah, that's not good.

So I ended up doing a little race to collect my bouncing/rolling ring before it could get stepped on or kicked into a corner or something.

Gonna have to be more careful about being a hand-talker going forward.

The workouts are definitely having an effect and I'm getting better at pushing myself, pushing my limits -- I  managed to go for a whole 20 minutes this time at 4mph on the 16% incline.  I struggled quite a bit to get there, but I managed to cajole myself into hanging on for that long.

And yet, still... I there was definitely a part of me that felt I could go longer; that by agreeing with the little 'just hang in there until the 20 minute mark' voice I'd managed to talk myself out of pushing myself harder...

So, for the last 5 mins of the workout I pushed it back up to 4mph and finished strong.

Okay, more like I 'almost collapsed on the moving treadmill', but I managed to push myself that extra bit further... a sort of 'Fuck you' to the little quitter inside me.  It was rather glorious.

To the lady running beside me, who kept giving me sincere looks of concern as I gasped and plodded along beside her: Thank you.  Whether you know it or not, the need to not fall flat on my face with an audience helped to push me through that last 5 minute burst.  (I believe my heart rate was firmly in the 190's at that point).

So it turns out that as this adventure of mine comes to a close, my final boss, my nemesis is going to end up being that 4.0mph jog on the 16% incline. I definitely want to make a full one hour run on this thing before my 30 days are up... but it's gonna take work, that's for sure.

Just gotta keep plugging away at it.

Here's today's stats:
- User
Age = 31
Weight units = 230

- Workout
Elapsed Time = 60:00
Avg Heart Rate = 178
Max Heart Rate = 192 <-- The 192 came from my last 'burst' of speed.  Holy crap... that was an experience.
Avg Speed Units = 3.8 mph
Max Speed Units = 4.1 mph  <-- I overshot my 4.0 by .1 for like 2 seconds and it still counted as my 'max speed'... sheesh.
Avg Pace = 15:46 /mile
Distance = 3.80 miles
Calories = 1288

- Cool Down
Elapsed Time = 2:00
Avg Speed Units = 3.5 mph
Max Speed Units = 4.0 mph
Distance = 0.12 miles
Calories = 20

- Total
Elapsed Time = 62:00
Avg Heart Rate = 178
Max Speed Units = 192
Avg Speed Units = 3.8 mph
Max Speed Units = 4.1 mph
Avg Pace = 15:46 /mile
Distance = 3.92 miles
Calories = 1308

Anyways, combining yesterday's run with today's (1317+1308 = 2625) and subtracting it from what's left (7044) I've got 4419 calories left to burn in 5 days.

Looks like the calories are going to be a lock... let's see if I can take down that bloody 4.0 wall.

Back at it tomorrow.

Cheers!
Brandon

Thursday, August 18, 2011

The Workout: Day Twenty Four

Well, I didn't knock it out of the park... but I managed to pull off a full 10 mins at 4mph on at 16% incline.

It's not the world-shattering result that I would've hoped for... but considering how much of a beating my lower back took in those 10 minutes, well, I'll take my victories where I can.

On the bright side, I finished out the rest of the workout at my old nemesis: 3.7mph.

I've now managed to do 3 full one-hour sessions at 3.7 or higher.  That's pretty freakin' sweet.

Tho' that said, there is one little odd little thing I noticed: when I was doing my workout at 4mph I was actually burning less calories per hour than when I was doing 3.7.  On the 4.0 I was burning around 1240-ish (I think) but on the 3.7 I was burning 1316.

Weird.

That said, though the calorie burn was lower, that higher speed kicked my ass like I stole something.  Yikes.

Seriously, I'm going to feel that tomorrow.

Here's today's stats:

- User
Age = 31
Weight units = 230

- Workout
Elapsed Time = 60:00
Avg Heart Rate = 170
Max Heart Rate = 183 <-- Yep, that 4.0 did a number on the ol' ticker
Avg Speed Units = 3.8 mph
Max Speed Units = 4.0 mph
Avg Pace = 15:59 /mile
Distance = 3.75 miles
Calories = 1307

- Cool Down
Elapsed Time = 2:00
Avg Speed Units = 2.0 mph
Max Speed Units = 2.0 mph
Distance = 0.07 miles
Calories = 9

- Total
Elapsed Time = 62:00
Avg Heart Rate = 170
Max Speed Units = 183
Avg Speed Units = 3.7 mph
Max Speed Units = 4.0 mph
Avg Pace = 15:59 /mile
Distance = 3.82 miles
Calories = 1317

Tomorrow I take another run at it.  See if I can't do better than 10 mins.

Cheers,
Brandon

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

The Workout: Day Twenty Three

Today was a rush -- so much going on at work and at home these last few days that I barely have time to sit down and do much for myself.

Thankfully -- thanks to a very supportive wife (who, incidentally, likes these new improvements), I've still been able to sneak in my workouts.

Workout-wise, I didn't challenge myself today, I didn't push it.

Why?

Because I'm saving my strength for tomorrow.

What am I doing tomorrow?  I'm going to try for and complete an hour at 4.0mph on a 16% incline.

Just so you know, a 4.0 is pretty much a full-on jog.  No more 'hill-walking'.  I'm going to swing for the fences.

Will I be able to pull this off?  Who the heck knows?  3.7 has been one hell of a challenge, pushing it to 4.0... it's going to be tough.  It's really going to make me work.  I don't know if I'm strong enough yet.

But at the same time: It's all about the push -- and, yes, the push-back.

To be honest, I'm more than a touch nervous just thinking about it.

Fingers crossed.

Here's today's stats:
- User
Age = 31
Weight units = 230

- Workout
Elapsed Time = 60:00
Avg Heart Rate = 166
Max Heart Rate = 176 <-- That heart rate of mine is still going down, which means that this setting's getting easier all the time.  I'm getting better.  Time to move on.
Avg Speed Units = 3.5 mph
Max Speed Units = 3.5 mph
Avg Pace = 17:08 /mile
Distance = 3.50 miles
Calories = 1251

- Cool Down
Elapsed Time = 2:00
Avg Speed Units = 3.9 mph
Max Speed Units = 4.1 mph
Distance = 0.13 miles
Calories = 25

- Total
Elapsed Time = 62:00
Avg Heart Rate = 166
Max Speed Units = 176
Avg Speed Units = 3.5 mph
Max Speed Units = 4.1 mph
Avg Pace = 17:08 /mile
Distance = 3.63 miles
Calories = 1275


If we take what's left to burn (8319) and subtract it from what I burned today, then I've got 7044 calories left to burn in 7 days.

Tomorrow's going to be... interesting.

Wish me luck!

Cheers,
Brandon

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

The Workout: Rest Day #3


Today I officially tightened my belt a notch.

I don't know if the picture above displays just how badly that hole has been abused since I got it but let's just say: There was a time when getting the belt to close around that hole was a bit of a challenge.

Even better, it's not too tight a fit; in fact, the belt sits rather comfortably -- if I do say so myself.

And so I decided that to celebrate this day by, well, relaxing of sorts.  I can push myself and my body tomorrow.  Today... today is a good day.

I still had an insane amount of work to finish and lots to do at home, but it was nice to be able to get it all done without worrying about how I'm going to fit in my gym time.

That said, I actually kind of miss that time now.  Just an hour to myself -- even if it a huffing, sweaty sort of agony.  But it's progress.  Moving forward.  Getting better.

Yes, tomorrow I'll pick up the slack, but for now... this is nice.

Cheers all!
Brandon

Monday, August 15, 2011

The Workout: Day Twenty One


One of the best things about this near-constant stream of exercise is that I'm spending a lot more time in my own head. Just... thinking.

Watching ideas burst and fade against the backdrop of my agony. Most of the time they're really, really crap ideas, or ideas that've been done before and better.

But every once and a while, every so often I get a little burst of something special. Something that catches the breath in my throat, that makes me forget all about what's going on around me.

I got a peek into that today. An idea for a spec. I don't know if it'll pan out, or even if I'm the guy to do it justice... but it's worth checking out -- once other things get sorted, of course.

Of course, that's another thing I end up having to contend with -- my amazing ability to jump to various tangents on a whim. Getting excited about new ideas before I've put old ones to rest.

It's a fun dragon to chase -- there's always new ideas -- but that way lies ruin. Or, at least, a host of half or never-completed projects.

So, yeah, sticking to the game plan for now: Put the finishing touches on the new, improved Pipeline pitch bible; finish up the last episode of the web series. Those are top priority.

Then we get to 'Good stuff, round 3' er... or is it 4? I can't even keep track anymore.

Anyways, in exciting workout news, I ended up pulling a 3.7 on a 15% incline because, again, the treadmill I got stuck with couldn't go any higher.

I don't want to say that I killed it, 'cause I didn't -- the last 5 minutes were a serious fucking challenge. But those first 55... yeah, I was sweating and ugly as all hell... but I felt damn good. I felt the progress I'd made. It was only 1% lower on the incline than what I'd been doing normally, but it was a huge difference.

Also: I went and got my body fat percentage checked. When I started this thing I was hanging around the 232 to 234lbs mark (it tended to range as much as 230 to 234). I don't know what my body fat percentage was, but being as my clothes were a hell of a lot tighter on me, I'm going to say it was pretty high.

After doing a caliper test -
Bicep: 20
Tricep: 20
Shoulder (?): 30
Waist: 36

It basically worked out that I was about 30% body fat. Since I weighed in at 228lbs today (which seemed high, but whatever) it would appear that I've got 68.4lbs of fat on my body.

That said, I've also been putting on muscle -- to the effect that people have actually started to notice (and someone please bless those kind souls).

Anyways, 30% is a mental image I'm not too fond of -- I tend to imagine toes to mid-thighs as sticks of butter -- but considering I'm *this* close to going down a full notch in my belt... I'll take it.

All-in-all, I managed to burn off 1243 calories in 65 mins. If we subtract that from what's left (9562) I've got 8319 calories left to burn in 9 days.

Fingers crossed.

Cheers,
Brandon

Sunday, August 14, 2011

The Workout: Day Twenty

It's official, I'm now 2/3rds of the way through this little journey of mine.  Only 10 days left to go.

So how are things going?

Well, today, I managed to complete another full hour of 3.7mph on a 16% incline.  I don't know if it got any 'easier' but I made it through without losing any limbs.  I'm still sore, things are still creaking about... but hey!  That's twice I've managed to pull this little feat off now.

Not too shabby.

In other, related news:  Today, I learned that yawning in the middle of a heavy-duty workout is not a great idea.  I mean, yeah, one would think that goes without saying -- that whole 'do not mess with the steady influx of oxygen' thing -- but the weird thing about it was that although I was yawning, I couldn't actually... finish.

You know how at the end of a yawn there's that moment where everything just sort of opens?  There's the half-closed eyes and the big, wide, gaping mouth and then that rush of oxygen to the brain.

I had the first two down but for the life of me I couldn't get that big oxygen rush that I was yawning for.  And so I just kept on this weird stream of half-yawns for about 15-20 mins.

I'm not sure how it all came to an end; when my body decided that the rubber wasn't going to meet the road on this one, but somewhere around the 45-minute mark my body just hit the 'chill' switch and I was back to normal.

That said, I've been yawning like crazy ever since I got home.

Damn, I'm definitely going to sleep well tonight.

Here's today's stats:

Okay, so I've just discovered that the bloody thing didn't save today's stats to my USB key.

I'm not sure why that is, but I'm not impressed.

The long and short of it is that 3.7mph on a 16% incline burned a good 1316 calories. After the cooldown, I was at 1342 calories.

It would be nice if I had the stats to share. I know that, unless there was a blip that I missed, my heart rate was actually below 180 on this one. I was actually kind of excited to see that one in print.

Anyways, if we take today's count and subtract it from what remains (10911) then I've got 9562 calories left to burn in 10 days.

Nice to know that I'm finally getting ahead here.

Hey, maybe I'll actually earn myself that day off instead of putting myself in debt to get it.

Will wonders never cease?

Cheers all,
Brandon

Saturday, August 13, 2011

The Workout: Day Nineteen

Yeah, I paid for yesterday in spades.

This morning I woke up to find pretty much every muscle in my lower back, thighs and lower legs swollen and achy.  Things were creaking.  Like old hinges in need of oil.  It was pretty crazy.  Oddly enough, my shoulders seemed to come out of it all unscathed.

Hrmm.

Today ended up being a pretty busy day full of chores, sending me off rollerblading around the city -- yes, one of the cool side effects of this little quest has been that I broke out my old rollerblades... man, I forgot just how much I loved zooming around on those things.

So after a good bit of shopping and tearing around the city picking up this and that (as per my wife's list) I felt suitably limber to try and give it another go today.

It didn't go all that well, to be honest -- probably should've taken a rest day, but I got through an hour.  I ended up going to the other gym today ('cause it was closer) and using one of the less... uh, advanced... treadmills (the incline on that thing maxed out at 15%).  I managed to pull a good 32 mins on 3.7 on a 15% incline but my back's just not having it.  I pushed myself, really dug deep to get to that 32 mins... but there was just no way I was going to hold out for the remaining 28.  So I dropped it down to 3.5 and put the incline down to 14% -- and immediately noticed my life get exponentially easier.

Tonight I'm going to take a nice, friendly dose of Traumeel, have a nice long, hot soak and maybe (hopefully) find the guns to give the 3.7 a run for its money tomorrow.

All-in-all, I ended up burning 1229 calories in 65 mins (this treadmill's cool downs are longer).

If we take that and subtract yesterday and today's totals (1345 + 1229 = 2574) from what remains (13485) then I've got 10911 calories left to burn in 11 days.

Not too shabby.

Night all!
Brandon

Friday, August 12, 2011

The Workout: Day Eighteen


My lower back is throbbing like it's just had a beatin', my legs, knees, shoulders and ribs are achin' like the dickens...

But I did it!

I made it the full hour at 3.7mph on a 16% incline.

And yet the hardest part out of today's workout -- I mean besides my body acting like it was 3 steps from a meltdown -- was the mental game.

I went into this challenge knowing, knowing that I was finally ready for this thing.  I was going to go the distance.  And yet the first thing that popped into my mind once that track started moving was a moment of doubt.  A simple, innocuous thought on the surface, but one that surely would've derailed me just the same:

"I think my insole is rubbing on my foot, better stop and adjust it"

And I'd have stopped, taken my shoe off, maybe my sock.  Rearranged it all, made sure it was nice and snug.  Probably would've gone for a drink of water.

No.  Push on.

Going into it I knew there were going to be two major hurdles.  One was the 33 minute mark, which was the longest I'd managed to make it recently.  Two was the 45 minute mark, which was the longest I'd managed to travel at that speed in one go.

It's funny how my own mind'll get sneaky on me, especially when I'm coming up against something that worries me or concerns me.  That's when the excuses come out in force, for sure.  And sure enough, as I rounded the 30 minute mark, I could already hear them sneaking their way in.  Telling me that I didn't need to go further, that even 40 minutes was a damned good job.  Telling me that I'd quit all those other times, what harm is one more.  Why should I push myself?  I'm going to get there eventually, what's the rush?

The odd thing is that it's not like they're really 'voices' or anything so much as notions.  Just odd little fragments of thoughts that pop into my head.  The thing that's most messed up about them is that, by and large, they make sense.  They're rational. 

It's not like 'you should go and lick that light socket', more like 'close enough kid, way to go, now let's pack it in'.

On my earlier attempts, I'm not sure why my body wasn't up to the task, why my back felt like it was seizing up or why my legs would start to buckle.  But it's certainly at times like those where notions like 'hey, why don't you just drop the speed .1 or .2' make a whole hell of a lot of sense.

And sometimes they win out.

But each day I go back, push myself to go farther, to do it better.  Prepare myself.

The 45 minute mark today was the hardest, because by then I really was tired.  My back had started to ache around the 40 minute mark, my legs around the 37.  My heart rate shot up, my breathing felt like it wasn't making it all the way into my lungs.  My hair was matted and sopping wet, my shoulders tired from keeping me steady on the treadmill.


And, like clockwork, there it was: "Just... take it down a notch.  3.6 is still damned good.  Push it back a day.  Who cares, right?"

In my head I counted with facts.  Just the facts.  45 minutes.  2/3rds done.  15 minutes -- 14:59 -- left to go.  I watched the clock, trying to let it all wash over me, to ignore the internal klaxons that had started to go mad as the time ticked down.

At the 6 minute mark, I coughed and somehow managed to suck all the air out of my lungs at the same time.  Not only that but my cough had managed to loosen some phlegm that was lining my throat.  So now I'm barely holding onto the bloody track bars, trying to breath with a long, thick, nasty rope of phlegm rolling around in my mouth as my lungs burn in my chest.

Everything inside me is saying 'great job, let's go' and 'slow it down, take care of this nasty shit in your mouth' but I see that I'm at the 3:30 mark, that I'm so freaking close.  So I close my mouth, start trying to breathe through my nose.  Watching the clock, watching it tick down to 2:50.  At 2:45 I realize that breathing through the nose isn't doing the job though at this point.  I'm too far gone. 

I've gotta breath through my mouth.

I can't spit this stupid thing out -- this stupid thing that, now, since I've had my (incredibly dry) mouth shut, seems welded to my tongue.  I'm still plodding away now, fighting to get air into my lungs through my nose -- wanting desperately to hold it in for the next one minute and thirty-five seconds.

But my lungs would have none of it.  So, with my mouth wide, I suck in a desperate lungful of air -- the this long tendril of phlegm doesn't move.  I can feel the wind rushing over it like some newfound appendage and it doesn't budge. 

Until I follow that breath with an instinctive swallow.

Those last 30 seconds, watching them count down as I feel this thing make contact with the roof of my mouth, as I feel it stretch, as if pulled like the worst flavour of taffy ever -- I'm still feeling nauseous as I write this.

Holy crap, that was insane.


As the last few seconds count down, as the cool down session begins and the incline resets to zero, I take a mighty gulp of air, flexing my tongue... and solve that particular problem once and for all.

Able to breathe now, noticing that I've managed to walk off 1316 calories, I suddenly feel the need to increase that number as much as I can.  So, ignoring the fact that my back is killing me, that my legs are ready to mutiny, I increase the speed to 4 then 5mph. 

I practically run for my 2 minute cool down session.

Holy shiat.

Yes, I'm feeling like I've taken one hell of a lickin' today.  Like I'm gonna pay for this thing tomorrow. 

But, all said and done... I feel good.  I feel damn good.

I slayed a monster today.

And that monster was me.

Cheers all!
Brandon

Thursday, August 11, 2011

The Workout: Day Seventeen

Hola!

It's a beautiful night out there, a little cool, a little breezy, but undeniably Summer.  It was quite a treat walking home tonight.

Today's workout was an interesting one.  I ended up doing the whole thing on a lower level -- on the 3.5 mph vs. the 3.7 that I've been struggling with -- and it was rather heartening to realize just how, well, easy it was.  Now, not easy as in 'I didn't break a sweat' or 'I laughed the whole way through' but this workout, here at 3.5mph on a 16% incline, compared to how hard I'd struggled at the beginning of my journey... to be able to confidently pound out a full 60 minutes without aching or creaking or hurting (significantly) after just 17 days.

I'm blown away.

I still managed to soak through my shirt, I still managed to have a beet-red face and generally look like I'd gotten a soggy ass-kicking at the end of it all... but I made it through and I did it well.

I'm ready.

Tomorrow I'm going for the big thing, the whole hog.  One full hour at 3.7mph on a 16% incline.

It's weird, the first time I tried to do this thing, I managed to get a full 45 mins out at that speed.  I managed to push myself just enough to make it, but in the days that've followed since then, I've been barely able to pass the 30-min mark. 

So far, whenever I've tried to push past that 30mins, everything gets all tight, gets too painful.  My back strains and my knees buckle, my heart races.

But no more.

Tomorrow I lock it in.

Here's today's stats:

- User
Age = 31
Weight units = 230

- Workout
Elapsed Time = 60:00
Avg Heart Rate = 168
Max Heart Rate = 179 <-- Even though I was .2 mph lower than my max, the fact that I managed to get to the end without clearing 180... well, I think that means some serious progress.  I'm definitely getting better.
Avg Speed Units = 3.5 mph
Max Speed Units = 3.5 mph
Avg Pace = 17:08 /mile
Distance = 3.50 miles
Calories = 1251

- Cool Down
Elapsed Time = 2:00
Avg Speed Units = 3.9 mph
Max Speed Units = 4.1 mph
Distance = 0.13 miles
Calories = 25

- Total
Elapsed Time = 62:00
Avg Heart Rate = 168
Max Speed Units = 179
Avg Speed Units = 3.5 mph
Max Speed Units = 4.1 mph
Avg Pace = 17:08 /mile
Distance = 3.63 miles
Calories = 1276

If we take today's count and subtract it from what remains (14761) then I've got 13485 calories left to burn in 13 days.

Bit by bit, I'm wearin' it down.  Walkin' it down.

Until tomorrow,

Cheers,
Brandon

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

The Workout: Day Sixteen

I think one of the things that always bothered me about the whole 'fitness' thing is how it's been sold to me over the years.

It's always either '10 minutes a day' or 'an entire lifestyle overhaul'.

The 10 minutes a day crap came about many years ago, when I was far more sedentary (and also 250+ lbs). Oh, I tried a great number of different devices: rockers, squeezers, pullers -- and, surprise, none of it worked. Certainly not in '10 minutes a day'.

Then, years later, once I'd begun my first real attempt to get myself into shape, started going to the gym 3 days a week, started Rock Climbing the other 3 days a week -- hell, at the time I was 220 lbs and able to do chin-ups. Not many chin-ups. But I could do 2 or 3 consecutive (which... to this day, I'm amazed at that fact).

But what 'ruined' it for me was this idea that I wasn't 'doing it right'. I was doing all this working out, all this exercise but all these folks started coming out of the woodwork, telling me how I should be eating this and counting that and basically... took a lot of the fun out of it for me.

I actually tried to do that too, started seeing a nutritionist who gave me these incredibly intricate (and, food-wise, expensive) meal plans. Eat five times a day, protein here, carbs there (very few carbs) lots of liquids here. And I did my damnedest to stick to it. I spent a lot of money (actually more than I was spending by eating out almost every day) and I did start to see results... but I don't know, it just... wore on me. Having to remember to eat, having to only eat specific things -- can't enjoy myself when I'm out with friends.

It was only a matter of time before I fell away from it.

I think I've finally managed to strike a balance here -- something that, at least for me, is working. I've decided that I'm going to keep eating what I'm eating, doing what I'm doing. If I want a beer, I'll have a beer. But at the same time, I'm more conscious of what I want. You see, now that I'm older, I realize that I'm not about having that crazily cut body, the rock-hard abs with 5% body fat.

I'm a big guy, I accept that. My goal right now is to get in shape. Get my heart, my body, my mind healthy.

So I eat what I love... just less. I know enough to go easy on the carbs, eat a small bowl of pasta or rice instead of the mounds I used to consume. Eat more veggies, eat more meat -- and, no, not always lean meat 'cause, as it turns out, Saturated Fat is actually, well, good for us. Very good, actually.

I've made myself aware of what I'm eating.  Not obsessive, not calorie counting, not stressing myself out if I go over 1500 calories (or whatever).  I understand now that my body, like so many things, is all about give and take.  Just do the work, feed it well, and it'll, largely, take care of itself.

So that's what I've been attempting to do.

Every day I'm putting forward an intense physical exercise -- just an hour, or less -- and then I'm eating with a bit of common sense all the things I love.  Sometimes my weight goes up a bit one day, within a day or two, it'll go down again.  But -- and this is the key thing here -- it's always going down.

Will I plateau, will my weight loss peter off?  If I allow myself to get complacent, to stay at my current level, probably, yes -- already, I managed to get in a full 35 mins on the 16% at 3.7mph workout that's been my nemesis lately.  I'm getting better, getting stronger, getting my confidence back.

I think that at some point we all have our choice to make about what we're willing to accept about our physical performance; at what point we lay down our guns and say 'well, this is it for me'.

On my end, I've laid down those guns a fair number of times -- had more than a few false starts, talked myself out of so many potential victories.  But this... this time, I think I'm finally ready.

I've found my equilibrium.

You know, it's kind of funny because I look at this whole thing, this event, and I see so many parallels in other parts of my life.  Places where I've talked myself down -- or let others talk me down.

I know I've brought it up before about how I can be my own worst enemy sometimes; about how I can go about wrecking my own success -- and even now, looking back on the close calls that I've had, it's amazing to me sometimes just how hard it can be to ride out a good thing; to have the confidence to say Yes and keep saying Yes and just let myself be amazing.

*fingers crossed* I think I've finally got it figured out.

Here's today's stats -- note, I only had time for a 45 minute session today, so I tried to squeeze as many calories as I could into the time that I had.

- User
Age = 31
Weight units = 230

- Workout
Elapsed Time = 45:00
Avg Heart Rate = 172
Max Heart Rate = 186 <-- Throughout the whole bloody workout I'd managed to keep my heart rate at 182 then, with literally 5 mins left in the stupid thing, it spiked up to 186... *scowl*
Avg Speed Units = 3.7 mph
Max Speed Units = 3.7 mph
Avg Pace = 16:23 /mile
Distance = 2.75 miles
Calories = 977

- Cool Down
Elapsed Time = 2:00
Avg Speed Units = 4.4 mph
Max Speed Units = 5.9 mph
Distance = 0.15 miles
Calories = 23

- Total
Elapsed Time = 47:00
Avg Heart Rate = 172
Max Speed Units = 186
Avg Speed Units = 3.7 mph
Max Speed Units = 5.9 mph
Avg Pace = 16:23 /mile
Distance = 2.89 miles
Calories = 1001

Subtracting today's workout from yesterday's total (15762) I've got 14761 calories left to burn in 14 days.

Cheers all,
Brandon

Tuesday, August 09, 2011

The Workout: Day Fifteen

Here we are folks: The halfway point.

15 days in, just under 15000 calories burned. So far, I'm down about 3.5 lbs to 226.5lbs as of today. I'm not noticing a HUGE change physically yet -- I've started to have to wear a belt with my shorts... but just barely -- but I've noticed that I'm definitely more... alert?

Exercise-wise, my body is getting stronger every day on the treadmill. Today, though I didn't make it the full hour at 16% and 3.7mph, I did manage a full 33 mins. Again, I had to slow it down .2 mph, but I did manage to put it back up to the full 3.7 at the end and finish the last 5 minutes strong. I know I'm being pretty hard on my body here, especially with how much I've increased the workload in the last bit, but there really is no more pussy-footing around anymore. I've been making excuses for myself for far too long and this, well, this is an important step. If I can get past this first 30 days then I can make this new lifestyle a habit instead of a constant mental push. Then I can focus on other things.

Speaking of which:

I've been writing away on this bible for the last few days, now officially in 'wordsmith' mode as I go through this thing weighing my options; trying to figure out how to share the concept in the shortest possible combination of words.

Strong words.

Action verbs and the like.

I've also been looking at my options for spec scripts. A lot of people, so I hear, have been tackling Castle and The Walking Dead (which are fan-freaking-tastic shows). I'd been considering both but I dunno... there really doesn't seem to be a strong 'format' for The Walking Dead yet and Castle, well, I'm sure I'm boarding that train long after its left the station. I've been considering a Breaking Bad -- God, I love that show -- but again, it's so tight, so serialized, I'm not sure if I could slide a story in there.

Anyways, the search continues.

Here's today's stats:

- User
Age = 31
Weight units = 230

- Workout
Elapsed Time = 60:00
Avg Heart Rate = 175
Max Heart Rate = 185 <-- No change. That's... good, right?
Avg Speed Units = 3.6 mph
Max Speed Units = 3.7 mph
Avg Pace = 16:28 /mile
Distance = 3.64 miles
Calories = 1294

- Cool Down
Elapsed Time = 2:00
Avg Speed Units = 1.9 mph
Max Speed Units = 2.0 mph
Distance = 0.06 miles
Calories = 8

- Total
Elapsed Time = 62:00
Avg Heart Rate = 175
Max Speed Units = 185
Avg Speed Units = 3.6 mph
Max Speed Units = 3.7 mph
Avg Pace = 16:28 /mile
Distance = 3.71 miles
Calories = 1303

If we take the balance so far (17065) and subtract today's workout, we end up with a remaining total of 15762 calories with 15 days to go.

Monday, August 08, 2011

The Workout: Day Fourteen

The funny thing about sending things to print is how -- no matter how much you pore over the work, how much time you've spent making sure every little tiny detail is perfect -- immediately you find an obvious error.

The great thing about printing my book through a place like Lulu is that I was able to make the fix in the file, upload it to their servers and, from that moment on, all future copies of the book will have said fix.

Brilliant.

Today I took a running leap at the 16%, 3.7mph bar... and still didn't quite make it. I managed to get about 25 mins in this time at 3.7 but my body is now officially in full-blown rebellion. I ended up slowing down to 3.5 -- it doesn't seem like a huge thing, numerically, but I'll tell you this: those .2mph were like manna from, well, you know.

On the bright side, I'm able to make it through a whole session now without it turning into a pathetic display -- it's not much better than a pathetic display, mind you, but at least I can manage to keep my torso and head mostly upright when I walk now (this has done wonders for my ability to breathe fresh-ish air).

Here's today's stats:

- User
Age = 31
Weight units = 230

- Workout
Elapsed Time = 60:00
Avg Heart Rate = 171
Max Heart Rate = 185 <-- Down quite a bit from the last report. With a bit of luck, I think my body might be adapting to these new settings.
Avg Speed Units = 3.6 mph
Max Speed Units = 3.7 mph
Avg Pace = 16:42 /mile
Distance = 3.59 miles
Calories = 1276

- Cool Down
Elapsed Time = 2:00
Avg Speed Units = 2.0 mph
Max Speed Units = 2.0 mph
Distance = 0.07 miles
Calories = 9

- Total
Elapsed Time = 62:00
Avg Heart Rate = 171
Max Speed Units = 185
Avg Speed Units = 3.5 mph
Max Speed Units = 3.7 mph
Avg Pace = 16:42 /mile
Distance = 3.66 miles
Calories = 1285

All-in-all, I managed a full 10 more calories than my last workout. Not an earth-shattering amount, by any means, but still, progress.

Can't argue with that.

If you add up Saturday's and today's counts (1275 + 1285 = 2560) and subtract them from what's left (19625) then I've got 17065 calories left to burn in 16 days.

Man, those days off really hit like a load of bricks, huh?

Well, more to come tomorrow!

Cheers,
Brandon

Sunday, August 07, 2011

The Workout: Rest Day #2

Today, after chores, running around and sneaking in a bit of writing on the newest version of my Pipeline bible, ended up being an inadvertent rest day.

Unfortunately, I managed to miss the 8pm cut off for the gym.

Sooo... yeah, that throws me off another 1000 calories from my target... but it does allow me to get some much needed rest.  My feet've been aching something fierce since I upped the difficulty of my training so this is a minor blessing in disguise.

Still, it does leave me further in debt just as I was starting to get caught up from last time.  Frustrating.

On the bright side, I've made some significant advances in my pitch bible.  For the first version I overwrote it to the tune of almost 20 pages, trying to cram in as much detail and interesting factoids as I could about my characters, my show and my world.  Then, thankfully, with the further help of Mr. Sheasgreen I've been working to pare it down to a more delectable/digestible 5 pages.

The great thing about overwriting is that you end up with a lot of great points -- a lot of chaff, to be sure -- but a lot of great nuggets that you can strategically use to help sell this product. 

Of course finding said nuggets, finding out how best to slot them in together, how to make them make sense side-by-side... it's like some literary version of Tetris.

Yet all progress is good progress in the end and, thankfully, the 'save' and 'undo' functions are my friends, protecting me from screwing this thing up too badly.

Well, one can hope.

Tomorrow I begin anew, well-rested and ready to rock the inclines once more.

But for now, it's time to catch some Z's.

Cheers,
Brandon

Saturday, August 06, 2011

The Workout: Day Twelve

Hey all!

So today I tackled the new, new settings.  Decided to push myself like never before.

Apparently the hill was taller than I thought.

So, basically, what happened was that I started off at a 16% incline at 3.7mph and I thought I was doing fine.  In fact, I was doing fine... until minute 15 hit.  I'm not sure what it was -- like a pressure in my lower back that radiated down my leg but I figured that it probably had to do with the incline.  Whatever it was, it was just too much, that my body was crimping or cramping something important.

Either way, I ended up changing gears for a while, slowing things down, trying to take the pressure off.

I dropped the incline to 15% and the speed to 3.5; hunched over deep into the walk figuring that I'd try to squeeze some blood back into my lower back, hoping that that might reboot the ol' pain sensors.  And, luckily, that seemed to do the trick.  After another good 5 mins or so my lower back started to chill out and my heart rate returned back to, well, normal levels.

But yes, my goal for today of rocking a full hour at 16% incline @ 3.7mph didn't really take off today.  I only got 15 mins in, really.  But if you add it into the 45 I got yesterday then, well... hey there bright eyes.  Looks like you got yourself a winner.

Still, my lower back's not pleased with me; my legs and hips are, well, separating and my feet have started to develop 'pressure spots'.

'Pressure spots' as in I'll be walking along and then step the wrong way (usually on a toe) and it'll feel like it's mere seconds away from exploding like a mushy grenade.

Good times!

On the bright side, I cleared 1275 Calories today which is pretty freaking swanky.

Stats below:

- User
  Age = 31
  Weight units = 230

- Workout
  Elapsed Time = 60:00
  Avg Heart Rate = 171
  Max Heart Rate = 192   <-- Remember that whole 'heart beat' thing?  Yeah.  I could hear the ocean inside my own skull.  Exciting!
  Avg Speed Units = 3.6 mph
  Max Speed Units = 3.9 mph
  Avg Pace = 16:46 /mile
  Distance = 3.58 miles 
  Calories = 1266

- Cool Down
  Elapsed Time = 2:00
  Avg Speed Units = 2.0 mph
  Max Speed Units = 3.0 mph
  Distance = 0.07 miles
  Calories = 9

- Total
  Elapsed Time = 62:00
  Avg Heart Rate = 171
  Max Speed Units = 192
  Avg Speed Units = 3.5 mph
  Max Speed Units = 3.9 mph
  Avg Pace = 16:46 /mile
  Distance = 3.64 miles
  Calories = 1275

In other, writing-related news: I've now officially got the printed softcover and hardcover versions of my book -- the Hardcover art, for some reason, didn't sit properly on the cover so it's pretty off center.  I'm working on re-tooling the art for that one so that's a little something to add to the list.

The hardcover version, other than the cover art, looks phenomenal tho' -- the whole thing just sings 'quality' and I can't wait to see people's faces once they get to hold this thing in their hands.

It's pretty darned sweet.

Anyways, that's enough for now -- more to come tomorrow.

Until then,
Cheers!
Brandon

Friday, August 05, 2011

The Workout: Day Eleven

Coming in under the wire here.

I was in a bit of a rush tonight, didn't have time for a full workout, so I decided to try and see if I can get that whole one-hour workout in 45 mins.

Needless to say, I pushed the envelope a tad.  Marched boldly (blindly) into undiscovered territory.

I pumped the hell out of the settings, trying to see if I can burn 1000 calories in 45 mins.

Turns out I can.

If I'm willing to sacrifice my ability to walk for an extended period of time.

Anyways, I'll let the stats speak for themselves here:

- User
  Age = 31
  Weight units = 230

- Workout
  Elapsed Time = 45:00
  Avg Heart Rate = 175
  Max Heart Rate = 188   <-- Yeah, funny thing about when you heart rate starts to get that high: I actually started to hear my heartbeat in my ears.  Crazy.
  Avg Speed Units = 3.7 mph
  Max Speed Units = 3.7 mph
  Avg Pace = 16:12 /mile
  Distance = 2.78 miles 
  Calories = 985

- Cool Down
  Elapsed Time = 2:00
  Avg Speed Units = 3.2 mph
  Max Speed Units = 4.0 mph
  Distance = 0.11 miles
  Calories = 15

- Total
  Elapsed Time = 47:00
  Avg Heart Rate = 175
  Max Speed Units = 188
  Avg Speed Units = 3.7 mph
  Max Speed Units = 4.0 mph
  Avg Pace = 16:12 /mile
  Distance = 2.88 miles
  Calories = 1000

So... yes.  Technically, I can actually burn 1000 calories in 45 (47)mins. 

Of course the one little stat they neglect to mention here is that I did that 3.7 mph on a freaking 16% incline.

Okay, I thought 11.5% was tough at first.

I thought that 12.5% was pushing it, a real "wow, this is something.  This is just tough, this is".

And then I go and pull this stunt.

I'm actually sort of pissed at myself that I managed to pull this off.  'Cause now, now I can't go back, can I?

No.  Now I'm going to be out there kicking my own ass on a 16% incline.  Great.

Ugh.

Crap.

You know, one of the bullshit things about this whole 'pushing your limits' thing is that once you've pushed them and realized that you can go farther... dammit, if you take a step back then you're just being lazy.

You know you can do better but you're just like 'meh, I'm good here'.

Alright.  Anyways, so yeah.  Looks like tomorrow I'll be hitting the slopes at a 16% incline at 3.7mph for a solid 1320-ish calories per hour if I can survive the whole enchilada.

It's tough.  Crazy freaking tough.  That 45 mins damn near broke me.

But now I've gotta know if I can last out the whole hour.

(Sometimes I wonder what the hell is wrong with me...)

Anyways, adding up all the counts for the last few days -- 1127 + 1129 + 1000 = 3256.  If we subtract that from the last official count of 22881 then I've got 19625 calories left to burn in 19 days.

Fingers crossed 'cause, man, by dogs are barkin'.

Cheers all,
Brandon

Thursday, August 04, 2011

The Workout: Day Ten

So, today's day #2 of working out at the higher level.

What I wanted to say yesterday, that I just didn't have time to write, or go into detail about was how much of a reboot that was.  I was going to go into a big writeup about how utter insane it was, how hard it suddenly became... but I was too zonked yesterday.

It wasn't a huge change, adding an extra 1% and an extra .2 miles per hour... but holy crap did I ever feel it.  My feet, even today, feel a bit... I don't know... 'crunchy'?  Like there isn't much padding there right now or all the bones are just crushed together into some sort of club-like object.

Either way, I wonder if this is how extreme runners feel like.  Or, just 'runners' really.  Even when I was training for my CN Tower climb I never had my feet ache as much as they have been in the last couple of days.

But other than that, I feel good.  I've noticed that I'm breathing more.  Well, breathing deeper.  Getting more air in my lungs, feeling more energized -- and hey, my pants are fitting better too.  Can't argue with that.

In other news:  I got the first softcover printed copy of my book today, should be getting the first hardcover one either tomorrow or Monday.  I'll post a picture after both arrive to show how both turned out.

That feeling today, getting my hands on that package, opening it to see the first-ever printed copy of 404... it was pretty intense.  A feeling that I can only describe as a sort of 'Fatherly pride'.  I showed it to my wife and to see that look on her face all the time... yeah, I could live with that.

Accomplishment.

A physical manifestation of something that I created exists here in the world.  Hell Frickin' Yeah.

If course, that means I gotta get back to the creative side of things, start writing something new.  Start on that spec, finish that bible.

But yeah.  Hell yeah.

Anyways, here's the breakdown for today's workout:

- User
  Age = 31
  Weight units = 230

- Workout
  Elapsed Time = 60:00
  Avg Heart Rate = 167
  Max Heart Rate = 182   <-- a bit of a spike in my heart rate 'cause I almost dropped my music player onto the treadmill :P
  Avg Speed Units = 3.7 mph
  Max Speed Units = 3.7 mph
  Avg Pace = 16:12 /mile
  Distance = 3.70 miles 
  Calories = 1120

- Cool Down
  Elapsed Time = 2:00
  Avg Speed Units = 1.9 mph
  Max Speed Units = 2.0 mph
  Distance = 0.06 miles
  Calories = 8

- Total
  Elapsed Time = 62:00
  Avg Heart Rate = 167
  Max Speed Units = 182
  Avg Speed Units = 3.6 mph
  Max Speed Units = 3.7 mph
  Avg Pace = 16:12 /mile
  Distance = 3.76 miles
  Calories = 1129

Until tomorrow!
Cheers,
Brandon

Wednesday, August 03, 2011

The Workout: Day Nine

No time for long explanations tonight but will fill in more tomorrow.

Long story short: I didn't wait until tomorrow to up my difficulty.

11.5% @ 3.5mph (1012 Calories/hr) upgraded to
12.5% @ 3.7mph (1120 Calories/hr)

- User
  Age = 31
  Weight units = 230

- Workout
  Elapsed Time = 60:00
  Avg Heart Rate = 166
  Max Heart Rate = 177   <-- my overall heartrate was even lower than last time!
  Avg Speed Units = 3.7 mph
  Max Speed Units = 3.7 mph
  Avg Pace = 16:14 /mile
  Distance = 3.69 miles 
  Calories = 1118

- Cool Down
  Elapsed Time = 2:00
  Avg Speed Units = 1.9 mph
  Max Speed Units = 2.0 mph
  Distance = 0.06 miles
  Calories = 9

- Total
  Elapsed Time = 62:00
  Avg Heart Rate = 166
  Max Speed Units = 177
  Avg Speed Units = 3.6 mph
  Max Speed Units = 3.7 mph
  Avg Pace = 16:14 /mile
  Distance = 3.76 miles
  Calories = 1127

More to come tomorrow!

Cheers,
Brandon

Tuesday, August 02, 2011

The Workout: Day Eight

Gotta keep it short and sweet today, folks - lots on the go.

Had to wait until 6:30pm tonight to get my ass over to the gym, basically spent all day (which will probably end up being the rest of the week) catching up, getting work up to snuff.

On the bright side, it really fired me up for my workout.  By the time I was done I was just chomping at the bit to get out of there and onto the treadmill.

Also: The settings are definitely getting easier now.  I was pretty psyched to get up on there so I didn't even really flinch until minute 20.  (and that's without a vitamin B pill!)

As an added bonus, since I ended up taking Monday off, my blister appears to have (mostly) healed.  I've still got this weird-feeling bit of loose/floppy skin over the wound, but the liquid inside has gone away on its own.  Yay healing.

I think that come day 10 I'll have adapted to this routine enough that I can see about messing with the settings.  I'm currently at an 11.5% incline going at 3.5 mph, I think that on Day 10 I'm going to push it to 12% and 3.6 or 3.7 mph.  We'll see how that goes.  With a bit of luck, by the end of the month I'll be rocking a 13% incline and 4.0 or more.  Again, I'll try not to get ahead of myself, but I'm starting to plan a bit.

On another side note, I'm officially down about 2.5 lbs since this thing started.  Normally, at the end of the day, after everything's been counted I'm usually coming home rocking a good 230 - 233lbs.  Tonight I came home and stepped on the scale to see that I was a solid 228.5lbs.

Wow.  I'll give myself a weigh-in tomorrow morning to see what happens post-digestion/empty stomach, but I think it's gonna be good.  Maybe even a 227.  We'll see.

Anyways, it's a start.  A good start with a simple premise:  Walk it off.

For now, just gotta keep on keepin' on.

Today's workout saw me clear 1010 calories in 62 minutes. 

If we take that away from the 23891 remaining, we end up with 22881 left to burn in 22 days.

Not bad.  Not bad all.

Back at it tomorrow.  Until then,

Cheers!
Brandon

Monday, August 01, 2011

The Workout: Rest Day

So, as it turns out, Monday ended up being my 'rest day' after all. 

My wife and I had a bunch of chores to run today -- well, not all of them were chores, we finally got around to having a professional photo shoot of our son (almost 6 months now, holy crap!), which turned out pretty darned good if you ask me... the lil' bugger's a darn sight more photogenic than I am.

Anyways, by the time everything was done, by the time we'd set foot back in the house... well, it was almost 8pm.  And since today's a civic holiday, meaning the gym closes at weekend hours (8pm) yeah... I missed the boat there.

So what does that mean for yours truly?

It means that Tuesday's gonna suck.  I get to come back to work after a week off, try to catch up and keep up with current workload levels... and not let my workout slide.

I'm aiming for a lunchtime workout.  We'll see how that goes.

On the bright side:  Short work week!  Right?  Right?!

In other news -- and, really, I'm kind of burying the lead here, but here it goes:

The print editions of 404 are sorted out and online!  You can get the softcover here and the hardcover here.  (and no, I haven't forgotten those of you who've been with me from the start -- you'll still be getting a free printed copy.  Many apologies for the wait!)

See, one of the things that slowed me down with this project -- and believe me, I wanted this up and running a long time ago -- was that as I started to prep this thing for print, I realized that there were certain parts of the book that I just wasn't happy with.  So I went in and, over the last many months of small moments of free time, I rewrote it.  A lot of it is stuff that just allows it to read better, the wording is a lot stronger in some places, but there are some moments that I felt needed to be expanded upon -- that I really sort of breezed over earlier -- so I went back and I did them justice.

All-in-all, I think it's a much stronger read than my earlier edition and I'm proud as all heck to have this thing go out to print.

As a pretty interesting bit of news for my fellow would-be self-published Canadians: Did you know that you can get free ISBN numbers from the government?

I did not.  In fact, I almost bought one (they're like $125 a pop!).  Thankfully, a Google search and a bit of digging showed me the way.  Of course it's not an instantaneous thing, it takes around 10 days to get set up and running, etc... but it's a pretty sweet setup for the low, low cost of free!

Not too shabby!

Anyways, it's been an eventful day but that's it for now.  More to come tomorrow.

Until then,
Cheers!
Brandon

P.S: I know that those book prices are a bit steep unfortunately, like 80+ percent of the cost is Lulu.com's charges.  Off the softcover, at $12 for the book, I make $2.06 profit.  Yeah.

That said, if you're okay with a digital copy (for your Kindle, PC, iPhone/iPad or otherwise) you can always get a copy of that here for $1.99.  Just sayin'.