Monday, January 31, 2011

Dropped off a lot

Dang it!

2011 in 2011 has hit its first (yeah, I said first) hiccup. I've had a crazy travel schedule these last few days and I'm behind on my running. I'm going to get back on the wagon tonight...or maybe tomorrow morning.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Dropped off a bit

I've had an incredibly busy week and wasn't able to find time to run Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, or Saturday. Before that I was running more than my daily goal of three miles, so I was actually a bit ahead of schedule. However, missing four days put me 4.25 miles behind.

That's not an unreachable deficit to overcome in a short time. If I ran 7.25 miles in one day, I'd be right back on course. But that's just not going to happen right now.

True, I ran 7 miles last Monday, but I'm in the tropics this week and the 80 degree weather and 90 percent humidity it tough. Still, I managed to run 3.4 miles yesterday and 3.8 miles this morning.

So I ran 3.8 miles today, bringing my total miles logged for 2011 to 65.95. With 341 days left in the year, I have 1945.05 miles to go before I reach my goal of running 2011 miles in 2011.

By the way, I literally ran into my favorite priest while running yesterday. We're going to go for a run together tomorrow at 9 AM.

Arin talks about her new book, silly clothes, and an exorcism in court

I first met Arin Greenwood at a blogger meetup on Saipan in 2006. Those blogger meetups weren’t really meetups in the sense that we would hold actual meetings with agendas and things like that, a bunch of us would just go to Java Joe’s and nibble on chicken nuggets while we IM’ed each other and avoided making eye contact.

Arin just published her first novel, Tropical Depression, which is loosely based on her five years practicing law in the Northern Mariana Islands. I was recently able to catch up with Arin over a cup of coffee and a blueberry scone in Washington, DC. After comparing notes on life after Saipan, we had the chance to talk about her new book.

Angelo O’Connor Villagomez: Can I just start by saying that I really love this book? I read it from cover to cover on a flight from Detroit to Tokyo. I loved it so much, in fact, that after a short nap I opened the book back up and read it again.

Arin Greenwood: That’s about the nicest compliment I could ask for – thank you! And I must say: I love a captive audience.

AOV: No, really. Nina’s story just sucked me in. I don’t know if you’ll appreciate this comparison, but I haven’t enjoyed a book this much since I read the first Harry Potter book about 11 years ago.

AG: Now THAT is the nicest compliment I could ask for!

AOV: So let’s talk about the book. The main character, Nina, is a twenty-something neurotic non-practicing Jewish vegetarian from the East Coast. How did you come up with this character?

AG: It was a real stretch, despite that I was in fact a twenty-something neurotic non-practicing Jewish vegetarian from the East Coast when I started writing the book. By the time I finished writing it I was well into my thirties, though, and was a little less neurotic. Only a little though.

AOV: So would you be offended if I say that I wanted to break up with Nina about half way through the second chapter?

AG: No way. She was a mess. You’d have been completely right to break up with her.

AOV: One of the things about this book is that it’s not quite memoir, not quite fully fiction. What made you decide to take this middle ground?

AG: I didn’t want to write a memoir because, thankfully, my own life isn’t interesting enough to turn into a memoir. Also, I wanted to be able to make things up. As for why it isn’t entirely fiction – it actually is mostly fiction. I mean, I’m not imaginative enough to write sci-fi or historical fiction, or to write about people or places that I’ve got no experience with whatsoever, so my characters and stories will always have some element of real life in them. But the book really is fiction!

The book went through about a hundred drafts and revisions, and early versions were much more autobiographical and non-fictional than how the final book turned out. I had this idea that I wanted to write a book that was like life – the word I used to describe what I was trying to do, in the early drafts, was “drifty.” I wanted people to drift in and out in the book, the way they do in life.

But I was working with an agent who convinced me – correctly, I think – that all the characters got confusing and a little bit boring, and that the book needed more of a clear narrative arc. So by the time the agent thought Tropical Depression was ready to go out to possible publishers, it had been turned into something that – while still clearly rooted in real life – was most definitely fiction.

AOV: So how much of the book is based in experience and how much is fictionalized memoir? I mean, is the nudist lawyer Nina meets on her first night on Miramar in the Bitter Haole (Miramar’s most popular watering hole for ex-pats) a metaphor for something else, or are there really pot-bellied naked haoles running around that I don’t know about?

AG: I never met a nudist in Saipan. Except at the strip clubs, and I’m not sure that counts. For sure I never met a nudist lawyer, sadly. Sadly?

As for the Bitter Haole – mostly that was just supposed to be funny.

AOV: Let’s discuss the characters some more. Most of the characters seem like caricatures, with an Alice in Wonderland quality to them. Is everyone on Miramar mad?

AG: No comment. You know, on a side note, I now live with a man, who I’m marrying soon, who doesn’t believe in the concept of madness. He thinks the mind is a metaphor and therefore can’t be “sick” the way that a physical body part could be sick. My mother, who has an MA in psychology, is just thrilled at his analysis, as you can imagine.

AOV: The character I liked the most was Captain Joe. To me he was the only voice of sanity in the entire book. What’s the story with him?

AG: I love that character. He was based on a few people I’ve known, in different places. One was a guy I knew in Florida – and, actually, the apartment building where Nina lives in Tropical Depression, was based on an apartment building I lived in Naples, Florida, when my college boyfriend and I decided to drop out of school for a while and live at the beach for a while. It was this great run-down old building, a few blocks from a pier where people would go fishing and pelicans would fly around to try to get the fish off the lines, where working people would live nine months of the year, then would get kicked out during the high season. There were lots of characters who lived in the building, including a boat captain I got to know, who I always thought would make a wonderful character.

Captain Joe is also based on some people I met in Micronesia – some really amazing people I met in Guam and Saipan when I was working on a story about Carolinian star navigators for ANA’s inflight magazine. He’s also a little bit based on another person I met in Saipan, who was in fact searching for a rare starfish he’d spotted once and then had never seen again.

So that character, like almost all the characters, is a composite character – he shares qualities with some real people, and has a lot of made up stuff about him, and it’s mixed together into a fictional, hopefully lovable, character.

AOV: Nina’s fashion sense (or lack thereof) plays a big role in the story. You go to great lengths to describe just about every single article of clothing Nina wears during her year in Miramar. Were you channeling Memoirs of a Geisha for goth vegetarians?

AG: Ha. No. So for Nina, I think she feels like her clothes are supposed to be her outward manifestation of who she really is. But she obviously has terrible fashion sense. So the clothes, in a way, are supposed to show that while she considers herself to be so self-aware, she’s really displaying in full show what a mess she is on the inside. I think she’s also trying to use clothes to make herself feel comfortable in her own skin – they are supposed to be her skin, in a way. But of course by dressing in this silly way she makes herself uncomfortable, in the end, because she’s not dressed appropriately for her situation. She’s wearing silly dresses to serious jobs, for example – but in a way I think she’s trying to make herself uncomfortable in these situations. Like, she could just go out and buy herself a suit and wear a suit to work, right? But instead she purposely doesn’t wear a suit – she wants the world to know that she doesn’t belong in any of the worlds where she’s found herself. But she’s also looking for a world where she can be herself, and have that be all right. See – actually, the whole clothes thing is very deep!

AOV: You were a practicing attorney on Saipan for five years. How closely do Miramar’s courts resemble real life?

AG: Well, some of the more surreal parts of the Tropical Depression courts actually are true to life. There really was an exorcism at the court, after a law clerk died there, for example. The prosecutors really did complain that witch doctors would come to trials, and intimidate witnesses and jurors. There really was a case where an inmate escaped from jail, repeatedly, after the guards left his cell door open, and claimed he couldn’t be sent back because he was too claustrophobic. I wish I could have made this stuff up, but I’m just not that creative.

And, just being serious for a second, I think that there really is an issue in Saipan – as in all small communities – about how it is possible for justice, which presumes objectivity, to be meted out when everyone knows everyone. I actually have thought about applying for a Fulbright or some other fancy grant to study juries and justice in small communities. One day perhaps I’ll go beyond just thinking about it?

But I never heard judges or justices use personal connections with people as a reason to decide a case one way or another – that part of it is made up. And while there was quite a lot of talk about Spam at the court, no one ever actually tricked me into eating it; I was far, far too clever to fall for that. There was a lot of cha-cha at the court, though – that part is true.

AOV: And now for my last question: So who gets to play Nina in the movie?

AG: Is this the part where I get to be wildly optimistic? My mom thinks that Natalie Portman should play Nina. I think my fiancé would like it if Mila Kunis played Nina. I think either of them would make an excellent choice for the role. Who do you think should play Nina?

AOV: Well, after watching Black Swan I have to admit I’d go see just about any movie with those two. However, they might not be kooky enough. How about space cowboy turned robot assassin turned crime-fighting blogger Summer Glau? Christina Ricci would also be great, too. She’s does weirdo like nobody else.

Angelo O’Connor Villagomez is a regular contributor for the Saipan Tribune. You can keep up with him on The Saipan Blog, Saipan’s most popular blog since ever since. Tropical Depression is available in paperback and for Kindle on Amazon.com.




Rob Stewart Cleans Up Saipan

Photo: Aya Matsumoto
'Sharkwater' director, volunteers conduct Sunday beach cleanup
Saipan Tribune

Rob Stewart, the acclaimed director of the documentary Sharkwater, joined some 30 volunteers during the beach cleanup behind Aquarius Beach Towers in Chalan Kanoa yesterday morning.

The volunteers collected a truckload or about 120 lbs of trash from the beach down by the Sugar Dock and all the way to the Aquarius beach.

Beautify CNMI!: Cinta Kaipat, Rob Stewart, Shawn Heinrichs, and Aya Matsumoto
Having participated in a recent beach cleanup in Hong Kong, Stewart noted the importance of doing beach cleanups regularly.

“It shows a great sense of care and investment in your land,” Stewart told Saipan Tribune.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Quote of the New Century

“I want to know where those panties are and who are using them.”

-Felipe Q. Atalig, after accusing Tinian Mayor Ramon M. Dela Cruz 
of using public funds to purchase edible panties.
Meanwhile the CNMI Department of Finance reported that they expect tax collections to be about $60 million this year, down from a high of $240 million the year Ben Fitial took office.

I just don't know what to say anymore.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Do your pants hang low?

The ultimate compliment is having the woman you love tell you that you look good. And so it was when I logged into Skype yesterday and was greeting with an enthusiastic, "Baby, you look skinny!"

Somewhere in a magical land called Saipan, 214 lbs. is skinny. But 214 lbs. is so three days ago. When I got on the scale this morning a bright 212.9 shined back up at me, making me just barely fatter than I was the last time I decided I was so fat I had to lose some weight.

Still, running is going great. I didn't feel like 3.5 miles per day was enough, and doing it twice (7.0 miles) was too much, so I came up with the brilliant idea of finding a 4-mile course around the neighborhood. I still have to come up with a fun name for my four-mile course (I'm accepting suggestions), but I've run the as-yet-to-be-named course for three days now.

I've also been using my super fancy new watch to time my runs. I can hit 10-minute miles pretty consistently, at least for four miles. I took it easy yesterday and ran a bit slower, completing the trail in 44 minutes. When I finished I thought back to my college days. I remember we ran a four-mile time trial my freshman year. My time was 22 minutes something, about twice as fast as I am now.

I doubt I'll ever be in as good shape as I was when I was 17, but I can certainly do better than 44 minutes. I'm getting there, too. Not only does my girlfriend think I'm skinny, but today I realized that my jeans were sagging off my butt. There was a time in my life when I thought that was the height of fashion, now it's just indication that a big chunk of my ass has melted.

That makes Angelo happy!

So I ran 4 miles today, bringing my total miles logged for 2011 to 58.75. With 347 days left in the year, I have 1952.25 miles to go before I reach my goal of running 2011 miles in 2011.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Timing Those Runs

I got paid on Friday, so I went out and made a few purchases.  I picked up this super fancy Armitron sports watch for the fantastic price of $34.99.  I looked at the watches at Best Buy, but don't really see the need in knowing my heart rate.  Sports Authority had a much bigger selection for much better prices, and I decided to go with this one because the display was big and clear and because it kind of reminds me of a dive watch.

So I timed myself for the first time today.  I did the 3.5 mile Fat Boy Flit trail in about 36:00 flat.  It is a short jog before the start and end of the trail, so I actually ran the 3.5 miles in a little under 35:00, which is a 10 minute mile pace.

Not to shabby for a fat guy.

Speaking of being a fat guy, I also picked up a bathroom scale.  I'll weigh myself in the morning and report on how it goes.  I actually started gearing up for 2011 in 2011 on the last day of November, right after I got back from the Philippines.  I only ran a handful of times in December, but I haven't been drinking (regularly) since Thanksgiving.  That's got to count for something, right?

So anyway, I was tipping the scales at about 220 lbs when I started this thing is all I'm trying to say and that I weigh less than that now.

So I ran 3.5 miles today, bringing my total miles logged for 2011 to 46.75. With 350 days left in the year, I have 1964.25 miles to go before I reach my goal of running 2011 miles in 2011.

Friday, January 14, 2011

First Running Streak Ends at 12

I didn't run today.

I haven't taken a day off since I started and my body was tired and sore and I've been kind of out of it for a week now, so I decided to take a day off.

I'll get back into it tomorrow.

NOAA Chided for Misleading Report

From Ruth Tighe:
Guam's scare story about marine protected areas causing more Guam fishermen to drown is a scurrilous piece of sabotage put out - no surprise - by the Western Pacific Regional Fishery Management Council. MPAs serve to increase the number of fish in a [usually depleted] area over time. The deaths occurred because the fishermen began diving in more dangerous waters along Guam's eastern shore, not because the MPAs were established. There is no record of whether the fishermen attempted to negotiate with the agencies that imposed the MPAs to provide them with more range for their fishing. Nor is there any indication of whether the fishing was done for subsistence, or for commercial sales.
I don't think anyone who isn't on WESPAC's payroll has said anything good about the findings of this mostly made-up report. Total garbage. Will someone tell John Boehner that Kitty Simonds is blowing taxpayer money on this crap?

Thursday, January 13, 2011

I respond better to ridicule

I managed to keep the streak alive today. I rolled out of bed, bundled up, and got my run on. There was still about a half inch of snow on the ground from Tuesday night and a lot of places were slick with ice.

Running in the cold is taking some getting used to. When I was in college, I hated running in the cold. It doesn't bother me as much now, maybe because I have 60 lbs. of insulation I didn't have in 1996.

Pretty Damn Sweet: You have
to admit that hat is awesome!
I also bundle up. I've got some sweatpants and a running jacket I picked up at Old Navy a few weeks ago that serve as my running uniform. I also wear a long-sleeve shirt with a short-sleeve shirt over it. I finish the ensemble with a hat and gloves. Usually I wear this brown North Face hat that I have, but when I'm feeling sassy I put on my Spiderman hat from Universal Islands of Adventure.

It is pretty damn cold when I first start, but within the first mile I'm sweating. By the time I finish I'm usually drenched in sweat.

I've been keeping up with the 3.5 mile Fat Boy Flit trail and even managed to do it twice on Monday. I finished it and was feeling pretty good towards the end, so I did it again. I've been tracking my weight and I've already lost about 5 lbs. That's like 2% of my body weight, but I can already feel a difference. I'm not sure if it is when I bend a certain way or what, but every once in a while I'm like, "whoa, I feel better."

The trick will be keeping this up. I invite you to encourage me, but I have to be honest, I respond better to ridicule and competitive challenges.

So I ran 3.5 miles today, bringing my total miles logged for 2011 to 43.25. With 352 days left in the year, I have 1967.75 miles to go before I reach my goal of running 2011 miles in 2011.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Borderline Obese

So the last time I went on a weight loss binge, I discovered that I was on the wrong side of borderline obesity. Now that I'm fatter than I was the last time I tried losing weight, I'm even further over that line.

I'm not really into this weight loss thing to lose weight per se, I'm more interested in living a healthy lifestyle and being able to run up and down a soccer pitch. Weight loss just happens to go along with that healthy lifestyle.

So I decided to see how far over the obesity line I was this time around and found this Body Mass Index calculator online. When I weighed myself on New Year's Day I tipped the scales at 220 lbs. Chunky, yes, but somebody had to keep Papa John's in business.

Plugging in my height and weight gives me a BMI of 31.6 at the start of 2011 in 2011. Obesity rates 30 and above. That makes me obese, at least until I get under 209 lbs. From that point I'll only be overweight, at least until I get down to 174 lbs. That's assuming that the BMI calculator works, of course.

In the meantime, like Forrest Gump, I just feel like running.

So I ran 3.5 miles today, bringing my total miles logged for 2011 to 36.25. With 354 days left in the year, I have 1974.75 miles to go before I reach my goal of running 2011 miles in 2011.

Sunday, January 09, 2011

Week One: 23 Miles

Saturday was a tough run. That lightness in my step that I wrote about in my last post wasn't there. It was back today, though.

Today's run was short. I went for a 5 mile walk along the Potomac with some friends this afternoon and then took a nap when we got back. I ended up running the Golf Course loop at 8 PM in 29 degree weather. I rocked it, though. And then sat down to a nice chicken curry meal I put on the burner right before I ran out the door.

2011 in 2011 is now one week old and I've run for 8 straight days. I'm going to keep track of my per week total, adding up my miles from Monday to Sunday. For the first week of 2011 I managed to knock out 23 miles. That's only about 1/100 of my annual goal, but it's 23 miles more than I've run in most other weeks. Added to the 2.75 miles I ran last Saturday, I've now surpassed the 25 mile milestone.

Go me!

So I ran 2.75 miles today, bringing my total miles logged for 2011 to 25.75. With 356 days left in the year, I have 1985.25 miles to go before I reach my goal of running 2011 miles in 2011.

Saturday, January 08, 2011

It Hurts So Good

Thursday and Friday were tough days. The 40 minutes or so where I was actually running were great, but the rest of the time I felt like crap. Thursday was especially bad. The running is taking its toll, but it should only be a temporary feeling.

While I feel sluggish during the day, the running is at least coming easier now. I feel a lightness in my step that I haven't known since I was running regularly in 2009. It took nearly all I had in me to finish my first run last Sunday. Now I feel like I could extend my 3.5 miles even longer. I may try that this weekend. I'll see how it goes.

I have to admit that I think a lot about my running during the course of the day. I've told a few people about my goals and the response from everyone so far has been along the lines of, "That's a lot of running. Are you sure you can do it?"

I'm only six days in and I haven't slipped yet, but I feel that 2011 miles in a year is doable. It averages out to about 5.5 miles per day every day for an entire year. At a 7 minute mile pace that is only 40 minutes of running. Now I'm nowhere near that kind of fitness yet, but I can go out and run for an hour. As my fitness improves, I'll be able to run longer distances within that allotted hour. And that's basically what 2011 in 2011 comes down to, getting an hour of strenuous exercise every single day. For now that hour of exercise equates to 3.5 miles of jogging and some stretching, but that will improve over time.

The one thing I have going for me is that I really like running. I like going outside for an hour and pushing my body. I like running through neighborhoods and saying "hi" to the people walking their dogs. When I'm out running I'm able to reflect on work and on my personal life without the distraction of my blackberry going off. I feel that running improves my mental health just as much as it improves my physical health.

But running is just part of my overall fitness goals. I also plan on drastically reducing my alcohol intake and going vegetarian by the end of the year. To wean myself off of meat I've decided to cut red meat from my diet first. I've already cheated. Yesterday I grabbed lunch at Au Bon Pain and had a bowl of beef chili. While not exactly an 18 oz porterhouse, I'm not supposed to be eating beef. I also raised my total number of alcoholic beverages consumed this year to four. A friend won a big contract this week and we celebrated with some adult beverages after work. My goal is to keep my total number of drinks this year at 12. One week into the new year and that goal isn't looking very good.

So I ran 3.5 miles yesterday, bringing my total miles logged for 2011 to 19.5. With 358 days left in the year, I have 1991.5 miles to go before I reach my goal of running 2011 miles in 2011.

Thursday, January 06, 2011

100 Best Blogs for Studying the Ocean

Whoa!

I made the list of 100 Best Blogs for Studying the Ocean. Here is what they say about the Saipan Blog:
Not every posting here concerns itself with something ocean-related, but the blog does keep readers updated on marine issues in and near Saipan, the Mariana Islands and the Mariana Trench.
Heck yeah, number 39!

Wednesday, January 05, 2011

Under 2000

It really sucks getting up early in the morning and running. It is really hard to motivate myself to run in the first plan, never mind getting out of bed early, bundling up for the near freezing temperatures, and heading out into the dark.

There was a time in my life when a quick three mile jog was a warm up for a grueling track workout. Or maybe mile repeats on the University of Richmond campus. Today, this week, three miles requires maximum effort, but I can already feel my body getting stronger and the run was easier today.

My legs are still a bit sore, especially my quadriceps just a few inches above my knees. Some extra stretching will probably clear that up.

Today I could have gone a bit further than normal (If one can come up with a definition of 'normal' after three runs). I was thinking about finishing the Fat Boy Flit (3.5 miles) and then doing the Golfcourse Loop (2.75 miles), but decided at around mile three that I would stick to today's goal and maybe shoot for a longer run tomorrow.

I am going into the city today for Kilili's swearing-in ceremony. I'm going to go into the office for a few hours first (and probably after), so I wanted to finish up my run, stretch, and start to get ready.

So I ran 3.5 miles today, bringing my total miles logged for 2011 to 12.5. With 360 days left in the year, I have 1998.5 miles to go before I reach my goal of running 2011 miles in 2011.

Tuesday, January 04, 2011

Saipan Blogger Tackles Fat Boy Flit

Now it hurts.

My legs were sore after yesterday's 2.75 mile run and they were sore when I woke up. The inner part of my quads and the outer part of my hamstrings feel tight and makes it uncomfortable to walk.

Regardless, I still got up this morning and knocked out the Fat Boy Flit.

So I ran 3.5 miles today, bringing my total miles logged for 2011 to 9. With 361 days left in the year, I have 2002 miles to go before I reach my goal of running 2011 miles in 2011.

Monday, January 03, 2011

World Heritage on the Ocean Portal

This fall I worked on a collaboration between the Smithsonian Institution and UNESCO's World Heritage Centre.  Earlier this year, the two organizations signed an agreement to develop programs that foster cultural and natural heritage and my project was one of the first of this new collaboration.  Announced in the World Heritage Marine Programme's January newsletter, the Smithsonian has teamed up with UNESCO to make the Marine World Heritage sites available to the public in three new interactive mediums.

First, some background:  The World Heritage Marine Programme exists to effectively conserve existing and potential marine protected areas of Outstanding Universal Value.  In layman's terms, they've identified the world's 43 most important marine protected areas and help where they can to conserve them.

So what is a World Heritage Site? To quote one of my college professors from a previous post:
"If aliens were to land on Earth and you wanted to tell them where the most important ecological, cultural, and historical sites on the planet were, you would use the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites."
Thank you, Barry Allen.

So UNESCO's job is to identify and keep the Taliban from destroying these things. As we've learned from the Micronesia Challenge, a major component of effective conservation is outreach & education.  That is where the collaboration with the Smithsonian Ocean Portal comes in.

Click the photo to visit the World Heritage Site on the Ocean Portal. From there you can follow a link to download the latest version of Google Earth to view the sites on a 3-D interactive map, or watch a slideshow with detailed information on each Marine World Heritage Site, or explore each of the sites on a 2-D map.

There are also links to more information, including an Ocean Portal blog post World Heritage Goes Marine.

******
Speaking of World Heritage Sites, I visited one during my November visit to the Philippines. It wasn't a Marine World Heritage Site (although the Philippines has two), but I still need to add it to my list of World Heritage Sites I've visited.

I know, I know, you are super excited and want me to post about it now. You're just going to have to wait. I'm going to subject you to more fun adventures from the Fat Boy Flit first.

Selena Gomez Kissing Justin Bieber

Amber Pattillo emailed me this photo she took of Selena Gomez kissing Justin Bieber while on vacation.

2011 in 2011: Day Two

The battery on my phone died, so my plan to get up at 6 AM was a miserable failure. Hopefully tomorrow goes better. My feet were a little sore when I finally got up. I'm hoping it's because I was wearing a new pair of shoes and not because of some debilitating foot bone wasting disease.

I didn't go for a run when I woke, or after breakfast, or around lunch time, or in the early afternoon. I waited until the late afternoon, after I had done several hours of work. And since I worked from home today, I did a load of laundry, too.

I ran the same loop I ran last night and the run went pretty much the same way. In the first mile I was wondering if this was going to be the day that I ran the loop twice, but in the last half mile my only hope was that my lungs wouldn't collapse before I got back to the house. Or maybe it was my kidneys. In the home stretch the lower part of my back had a dull pinching that didn't really hurt, but didn't really feel all that great, either.

After I got back and stretched out, I plopped myself in front of the computer and updated my campaign plan. I also mapped out my loop on Google Earth and found that it wasn't long enough. I thought I was running 3 miles, but my course ended at 2.75 miles.

golf course run
That puts me about 1/2 mile behind on my goal to date, plus I think I can handle a slightly longer run, so I mapped out this new loop. This new loop, let's call it the Fat Boy Flit, is 3.5 miles. I'll tackle this tomorrow at 6 AM, alarm clock depending.

So I ran 2.75 miles today, bringing my total miles logged for 2011 to 5.5. With 362 days left in the year, I have 2005.5 miles to go before I reach my goal of running 2011 miles in 2011.

Sunday, January 02, 2011

2011 in 2011

Sometime in the last five years I turned into a fat guy. It crept up on me for a while, but accelerated this year thanks to two inter-state moves, three new jobs, long work hours, and the convenience of ordering pizza on the Internet. This was also the first year in many that I haven't played in a recreational sports league, belonged to a gym (even if I paid the monthly fee and never went), or at least had a job that kept me on my feet (most of my time is spent staring into a computer screen these days).
Man Boobs: When did those get there?
I've tried losing weight three times in the last five years.  In 2007 I played on the Northern Mariana Islands Football Club and lost about 20 lbs training for two games against Guam.  I put the weight right back on after we lost 3-2 on Saipan and 9-0 in Guam.

In 2008 I probably drank a beer every single day thanks to the stress of the Mariana Trench Monument campaign.  I joined Gold's Gym Fat Guy Contest, but actually ended up putting on weight, not losing weight.

In 2009 I tried the Fat Guy Contest again, but after losing 10 lbs. in the first month I stopped dieting and exercising and started drinking again.  I actually lost weight over the course of the contest, but by the end of the year (and after my run at Mayor of Saipan), I'd put it all back on.  Over the course of 2010 I put on even more weight.

Now I'm closing in on 220 lbs., I feel like crap, and none of my clothes fit right.

So this is a really horrible first blog and they'll hopefully improve as time goes on, but I've decided to come up with a long term plan for getting healthy again.  I write and execute campaign plans for environmental organizations for a living, so it shouldn't be a stretch for me to come up with a campaign plan for me to get back into shape, eat better, and shed a few (score) pounds.

So this is my New Year's Resolution:

I am going to run 2011 miles in 2011.

I am also going to limit myself to 12 alcoholic drinks over the course of the year (one per month) and I'm going to stop eating red meat.  These are things I have done in the past, so they should not be difficult to do again.

I am also going to consider going vegetarian by July 1.  I am going to slowly wean myself off of meat, not because of health reasons, but because I've known for years that eating meat leaves a bigger environmental footprint than driving a dreaded SUV.  But it is also healthier.

And that's how I roll.

So I ran 3 miles today, bringing my total miles logged for 2011 to 3.  With 363 days left in the year, I have 2008 miles to go before I reach my goal of running 2011 miles in 2011.

I have a three mile loop mapped out that starts and ends in my front yard.  I didn't time myself (I need to get a stopwatch), but I was able to run the whole distance without stopping.  The first mile is mostly downhill and I was feeling loose, the way one does when they daydream of losing 50 lbs.  Two and a half in and I was feeling sluggish.  But like I said, I was able to finish the run without stopping.

I stretched out for about 5 minutes before and after, and did 50 situps and 15 pushups before I hit the showers.

I've never been a morning person, but I'm going to attempt these runs every day at 6 AM.

I'll blog about Day 2 tomorrow (technically Day 3, I guess).