posted byMichael Hickerson at 4/15/2010 04:46:00 AM |
| Monday, April 12, 2010 Swim, Bike, Run
Last day-after-Thanksgiving, a group of my friends and I were issued a challenge. A group of early morning work-out warriors challenged us to find out which group was in "better shape"--the early birds or those of us who actually saw the YMCA during daylight hours.
We accepted the challenge and began building our teams and training.
The challenge was to participate in and complete the indoor triathlon.
I participated last year and had been pleased with more time. Actually, I was more pleased with the fact that I had finished the entire event in a good time (I wanted to finish in under an hour and a half) and with no injury. The event inspired me to run my first half marathon last fall and I decided that I wanted to try the indoor triathlon again this year just to see if I'd improved.
So, I accept the challenge and joined the ranks of the daylight hours YMCA group.
And then the training began.
It all reached its culmination Saturday morning when I hit the pool to swim to begin the event.
For me, the best part of the triathlon is the swimming. It's my favorite form of exercise and I've been working on my speed a bit in the past year. I wanted to knock some time off my speed from last year and for the past six or so weeks in Masters' Swim Team, I've been working on that.
The swim portion was 500 meters or 10 laps (one lap being once down and back). The biking portion was done on a spin bike and covered 12 miles. The final leg was running for 3 miles.
Last year, it took me an hour and twenty minutes to do all then.
This year, it took me one hour, five minutes and three seconds.
I won't lie to you...I'm pretty proud of the results. And while I was part of a great team of people and I enjoyed the competition against our fellow YMCA members, I will admit I loved pushing myself during the past year to get better and to keep in good physical shape. When I started back exercise on a regular basis a dozen or so years ago, my main goal was to and get back into shape while I was younger so that I might reap some benefits when I got older. I figured anything I could accomplish with keeping my heart in shape while younger couldn't hurt as I got older.
And that's what I've done all these years. Though I do find it amusing that I used to tell people I could never see myself running a half marathon simply unless something like a bear was chasing me...
And while I did enjoy the good-natured ribbing and banter that took place between our two teams, I was really happy to see a lot of old and new friends using this chance to work on their physical fitness and to improve their health. And then to hear the conversations Saturday about how to improve for next year's triathlon and wondering what other kinds of events could be done between now and then. (Last year, I decided that I'd try to do one "big" event every six or so months to give me a goal and to have something to work for....so now after I rest up a week or so, it's time to get ready for my second half marathon this fall).
So, I say to all of you who might be thinking about wanting to get into shape or might be bored with your current work-out routine that trying something new can be fun. Also, I say to you that if I can do it, you can do it. No, I'm not going to be Michael Phelps any time soon, but I still enjoy competing against myself in the swimming. I won't be running a four minute mile any time soon, but I do what I can. Lance Armstrong will beat me in a cycling race, but I still can push myself up and down imaginary hills in spin class. (I hope to try an outdoor bike at some point in the future to see if I like that....I imagine having wind, hills and other real world obstacles will be something entirely different).
I heard a line that the best exercise is the one you'll actually do. I agree.
Now if you'll excuse me, I'm off to get ready to hit the pool for some more laps this afternoon.
posted byMichael Hickerson at 4/12/2010 03:30:00 PM |
| Wednesday, April 07, 2010 TV Round-Up: Chuck
"Chuck vs. the Tic Tac," "Chuck vs the Final Exam," "Chuck vs the American Hero," Chuck vs. the Other Guy"
The third season of "Chuck" has been an interesting ride. Saved from extinction by a massive fan campaign last year, the show was given a 13-episode pick-up by NBC. Then troubles fell on NBC in the crash and burn of Jay Leno in primetime and suddenly "Chuck" was needed and needed very badly. So, we got an extended season.
But rather than offering filler episodes or more fluff, the producers decided to stick to their original 13-episode plan and then add a second arc of six episodes for the end of the season.
The last month or so of "Chuck" has been the final run of those first 13 episode and it has been, quite frankly, a lot of fun to watch.
The third season has been about Chuck growing up and becoming a real spy. Early episodes were given over to Chuck learning about the upgrade to the Intersect in his head and what that meant to him as a character. Now that we've found a way for Chuck to fully access the information in his head, we've got Chuck moving into the arena of being a real honest-to-goodness spy and all that means. As the story progressed, we found Chuck slowly realizing that in achieving one of his dreams, he may have to give up on another--namely a relationship with Sarah.
If there's been one frustration I've had with season three it's the way that will they or won't they aspect of Chuck and Sarah has been dragged out. While I can see why Shaw was brought into the show and what the series did with him in order to finally get Chuck and Sarah together, I still can't help but feel that the character as a whole was a bit of red herring. I guessed a few weeks ago that Shaw would somehow be connected to the Ring, so the big reveal in this week's episodes wasn't necessarily that huge. And surely Sarah should have had a greater clue about things when Shaw tells them to leave the elevator and they don't actually see Shaw kill the leader of the Ring.
It also brings up some interesting questions about Shaw and his loyalties. Before his death, Shaw claims he hasn't told the Ring about Chuck and the Intersect. Was that necessarily true? Given that a lot of the other statements he's made are all based on lies, could Shaw be lying? It's apparently the Ring has figured out that there's something more to the Buy More than meets the eye, but will it be followed up on? Or is the Ring really destroyed and we'll have a new threat in the second part of the season? Also, I have to wonder if Shaw's professions of love for Sarah were real or were they done as part of his cover? Again, if Shaw's intention was to be a double-agent and we see that by playing on Chuck's emotions we can disable the Intersect than why not use Sarah to do that?
It's some things that I think a review of the season on DVD might help answer. And heaven only knows it works far better than the Dana Walsh in the latest CTU mole storyline on "24." (I will post a long reaction to the current day of "24" as soon as I catch up on this week's two hour episode.)
It's always interesting to watch how far the show will go to push the characters and then have to work to hit the reset button. We knew that Casey couldn't remain on the sidelines forever and the show at least earned his return in a good way. I wasn't expecting Casey to pull Morgan in as part of his reinstatement, but the whole concept for Morgan being part of Team Bartowski for the rest of the season (and hopefully for season four) holds a lot of promise.
Also, I will admit that I'm glad they finally got Chuck and Sarah together, if only so we don't have to have yet another complication arise in the back half of the show. I'm optimistic that the show can balance things so it won't be all about whatever relationship issue Chuck and Sarah face next. Hopefully we'll see them together and happy for a few weeks before the inevitable relationship breakdown that generally occurs on most will they or won't they couples.
The last two episodes, in particular, have been great examples of "Chuck" at its best. I'm just glad we don't have to wait six months for new episodes--instead it's just two weeks.
Hopefully the repeats won't drive off fans and the show can get the fourth season it deserves.
And if we have to lose "Heroes" to get more "Chuck" than that's a trade-off I can live with.
posted byMichael Hickerson at 4/07/2010 12:15:00 PM |
| Monday, April 05, 2010 Trading Away the Future
When I heard the news last night that my beloved Redskins were trading away draft picks in this year and next year's draft to acquire Donovan McNabb, my first thought was--are you kidding me?!?
Once again, it appears that owner Daniel Snyder is mortgaging the future and the potential to build the team into a solid contender again for the sake of playing fantasy football. The only problem is that he keeps forgetting that the Redskins are actually a real world team.
I am left, once again, scratching my head. I know we've got some QB issues and maybe Jason Campbell isn't the answer. But then again, the poor guy has had a new QB coach every year he's been in the league. It's no wonder the poor guy gets a bit confused.
Mayhaps bringing in McNabb could work as a mentoring type of thing for Campbell. Or whoever Snyder and company spend the fourth overall pick in the draft on next month. (Somehow I have a bad feeling that we're going to have a lot of high draft picks for the next few years).
My other thought was a reminder of something a friend said to me on Facebook last year after the Vikings acquired Favre. He said that it was hard to suddenly embrace a guy that, as a fan of a certain team for so long, you'd naturally grown to dislike. I'm kind of feeling that same way about McNabb and his changing over to my team. I guess I will eventually get behind him because he's our guy now. But I'm still not certain this was the right move.
Two guys were hovering near the "S" section of the TV shows on DVD area with a scientific calculator between them.
They were looking at the backs of boxes and running some figures through the calculator.
They apparently reached their conclusion and left with no boxes in their hands.
As they wandered back toward central area of the DVDs and music section, the attractive female clerk asked loudly, "So, what's the conclusion?"
One of them spoke up, saying "Well, clearly 'Stargate SG1' is a good value because you're paying less per minute of entertainment, though we've only see the movie and it wasn't that great...."
The other spoke up saying, "Yes, everyone knows the best entertainment is 'Star Trek: The Next Generation.' Nothing can top that."
I have to admit I had to glance over at this point, to see what kind of reaction this was having from the attractive female sale's clerk. It was about what you'd expect, the look of "What have I got myself into here?" (I've seen in many times from women, usually after I've launched into the discussion of the lost episodes of "Doctor Who" or started the twentieth minute of my lecture on the series when I should have just said, "It's this British science-fiction series I enjoy").
I will admit I smiled to myself and went back to browsing. Because we all know the real way to impress girls with our love of sci-fi television series is to pick up and look in the "Doctor Who" section...