I was back on the road again this week and I'm exhausted. Travel shouldn't take this much out of a person but the very fact that you aren't at home makes it hard to rest and will take the life out of you. This weeks trip started with a very early flight out of Dulles out to California. As is the tradition when our little group travels to California for this particular audit engagement, we always stop at In-N-Out burger on the two hour drive from the airport to the hotel. I know this isn't healthy. It isn't even close but I consider it a small success in that I got a single, not a double, cheeseburger and a small, not a large, fries. Of course the single cheeseburger and the small fries probably represents three servings of beef and at least four servings of fries but it is better than going all the way with it.
We arrived at the hotel really early in the afternoon due to our early fight out of Dulles which I was hoping would allow us to check in early. The early check in was going to allow me to strap on my shoes and get in a good long run before the evening Skype call with Rizzo and Cece and before dinner with the rest of the team. Unfortunately it seemed that everyone in California was either checking out or checking into the hotel so the rooms weren't ready. We were told that the rooms would be ready by 4:00pm, which was the normal check in time but was also about 3 1/2 hours away.
We went down to one of the many bars (we stay at a casino when we are on this trip. Don't get to excited, it is the business rate so the rooms are reasonable as well as the rates) to watch some football. I made sure to avoid any alcoholic indulgences to make sure I was still ready to run once I could get into my room I could change quickly and get to working out. Well 3 1/2 hours turned into 5 hours. At this point I was exhausted and starving so once I did get to my room my planned long run turned into a shorter 20 minute jog so I could get downstairs to the restaurant and get some food. Sure, I should have been upset for taking so long to get my reserved room to me but the resort made up for it.
After the run dinner was quick. I grabbed a spicy tuna rolland a Newcastle Brown Ale with the audit team before heading back up to my palatial estate for some much need sleep. After relaxing for about 20 minutes I was starving again. I certainly didn't want to eat too much so I hopped on the elevator, headed downstairs, found the biggest fresh fruit cup I could find and scarfed it down. Finally feeling satiated I laid my head down for a long fall nap.
On Monday I tried to really get back in to gear going for a 67 minute workout that consisted of 5 minutes of warm up then three sets of 18 minutes running and 1 minute walking and finishing up with a 5 minute cool down. It is amazing how quickly you can become accustom to cooler temperatures. it is been fairly cool at home in Virginia for my evening runs but Southern California is having a heat wave, even for Southern California, with temperatures reaching the triple digits. The higher temperatures made the run very challenging even if it was relatively flat.
Unrelated to working out or weight loss (shocker I should write something that has nothing to do with weight loss in my weekly weight update) is a picture I wanted to share with the group. As is common in many areas across the country, California has an Adopt-a-Highway program. I'm sure you are all familiar with the program, but basically an organization can sign up to do community service by cleaning up all the liter all the savages in a particular location throw haphazardly out their window and in return the organization gets some free advertising. I'm often skeptical about how much of the highway is actually being cleaned but the named organization as usually the "highway" being adopted still looks pretty sloppy. None of this is really important to the story. Really I just wanted to share the picture of the organization that adopted the small strip of highway near where I'm working in California. The company name made me laugh and I hope it give you a little bit of a chuckle.
This week I wanted to try and implement some weight training into my workout program. Running is great and I'm beginning to enjoy it more and more, even to the point of missing it when I don't get in my regular runs, but there is only so much cardio a guy can do. However, being on the road for work in a hotel room (albeit a very nice hotel room) left me without access to weights. So I decided to do a body weight workout routine that Rizzo told me about from her Body Back class (you still need to get her to write that blog about all her exercise classes).
The workout starts with a deck of cards. This is something that you would think would be readily available in the gift shop of a casino but no such luck. I know friends that have been to casinos in Las Vegas and Atlantic City with souvenir decks of cards used on the casino floor. They typically have a hole punched through them so they can't be used in some sort of scheme to cheat the casino. That isn't the case with the Pechanga. I searched high and low and was unable to find a deck of cards. Luckily for me there is a grocery store right next to the client's office so I popped in and grabbed a deck for $3.99. I'm sure a souvenir deck from the casino would have cost much more than that and I was going to pay it. Their loss.
Once you have a deck of playing cards each suit is assigned an exercise. In my case, hearts were push-ups, diamonds are crunches, spades are squats, and clubs are burpees. The number on the card represents the number of reps to do. An ace is low, or one rep, jacks are 11, queens 12, and kings 13. Now that you have your cards and your exercises assigned simply set a timer for 30 minutes, press start, and start flipping cards.
It may sound like an easy workout and that is because of the simplicity of it. You don't need any machines or weights. All you need is a deck of cards and a little bit of room. After the first 5 minutes I was sweating bullets. After 10 minutes my legs were shaking (I'm not sure if this was the workout or the hunger). At the 20 minute mark I had to stop when my arms literally gave out from under me and I fell on my face mid push-up. I made it through 25 cards in 20 minutes and my shirt had the same sweat soaked appearance as it does after a 35 minute run. This workout is killer and it is something I'm going to keep doing. The goal: finish the deck.
As I've said before in previous blogs and I'll say again, eating out while traveling for work and losing weight do not mix. This week is entirely my fault and I should have been paying closer attention to what I was eating. By Wednesday afternoon I was feeling very much bloated from eating too much. I wasn't intentionally going overboard but who goes overboard on purpose. So (as I'm writing this in the middle of the week) I've decided to post another topless picture to show myself as somewhat of a punishment. That's right kids, here comes a before an after picture. The first picture was when I started up this blog again back on August 12 and the second picture is from today (10/14/15).
I can't tell if things are getting better or staying the same but I'm not too disappointed because I don't think things are getting worse. The only thing weird about the second picture is that my belly has started to look a little like a butt.
My plan when the week started was to get in another run on Wednesday evening but unfortunately plans change so you have to be flexible. Instead of working out we went out for dinner with the client. I know, I know, it is a tough life but someone has to do it. We went to a great local steakhouse that served some good local beers. I was pretty happy with my choices of a Blood Orange Wit by Refuge Brewery right in Temecula, CA as well as a lean lamb steak with green beans and potatoes. There were no appetizers and no dessert which is unusual when taking a client out but I was too busy talking beer with the client to worry about such things.
Thursday got me back on the exercise wagon as I hit the roads of Southern California for another 67 minute run. These runs were feeling longer and harder but what I found interesting during this run, and tried to pay attention to, was how my body was feeling during the run. It was feeling sexy! (just kidding, that's sorta gross). My muscles were screaming to get this run over with but I wasn't gasping for breath. I think this tells me (1) I'm certainly getting in better cardiovascular shape, (2) the playing card work out I did on Tuesday was still being felt, and (3) I need to do more of weight training. Perhaps hitting the weights a bit more might help with the muscle fatigue I've been feeling over my runs.
Friday was a lost day as I was traveling back home from California to picturesque Herndon, VA. After a two hour drive, a two hour wait, and a 5 1/2 hour flight the day was shot completely so there was no working out. That's okay because I finally got home and bright and early Saturday morning I had a breakfast date with Cece. We went out to Ted's Bulletin in Reston Town Center and shared a big breakfast of eggs, sausage, hash browns, toast, and pancakes. It wasn't the healthiest in the world but it was worth it to spend some time with my best girl.
Saturday was full of spending time with the family, a revisit to the playing card workout (it was still awful) and an evening drinking wine, eating grapes and cheese, and watching TV with Rizzo. We also threw in a visit to what was called a pumpkin festival at Lake Fairfax but what turned out to be the worst fall festival I've ever seen. There were only pumpkins available to those who preregistered, a "slide" lined by hay that was supposed to be fun (it didn't look like it) and a puppet show that would have looked great if it was held in the basement of my house. I know I'm usually the type of person to exagerate but we literally have a better set up for a puppet show than this festival. It was a total bust.
My intent this morning was to get up at 6:00am and get in a long run before the weigh in but I'm still on California time and was just sleeping like a log. I don't get much sleep when I'm on the road so laying down at 9:45pm and waking up at 6:30am felt great! Instead of a planned 67 minute run I got up a bit later and went for a 30 minute run before heading up to the Weight Watchers for my weigh in. Sure, it wasn't 67 minutes but it was still a good run.
Since I was away for another week my goal was to keep my weight gain down to a minimum. I felt like I did a good job working out during the week but my meals were far from the best. I didn't go crazy but I still didn't keep my Weight Watcher's points down to the level I should to promote healthy weight loss. In my mind I thought that if I gained two pounds or less I would be happy. I met that goal and gained only .4 pounds, bringing me up to 221.6. I'm still not at my lowest but after being on the road for essentially 5 weeks to only gain 2.4 pounds is a pretty big success. It only tells me that if I keep up my workout routine and get back into a normal diet (by diet I mean what I eat not like the Atkins Diet or the South Beach Diet) then I should be able to get these few extra pounds off pretty easily.
With no more traveling on the schedule until Christmas time I'm looking forward to attacking weight loss head on and shaving off some more pounds. Stay warm everyone.
Update: I decided to look up the altitude of where I was staying in California compared to Herndon, VA. It turns out that Herndon is about 350 feet above sea level where Temecula, CA ranges between 1200 and 2600 feet above sea level. No wonder I felt like I was going to pass out every time I went running out there. Altitude can mess you up, people.