Wednesday, June 22, 2011

To the Flea Market!

Last weekend, Sallie and I grabbed our secret wad of cash (when I say wad, its only a wad because its made of $1 and $5 bills) and we drove to the monthly Belleville flea market.

We didn't have anything in particular we were looking for. I had some comic books and Playstation 1 games on my list and Sallie had a bunch of vintage items for Lacy's bridal shower to look for. We figured we would find some treasures like records or movies as well.

The flea market is set up on the Belleville fair grounds. There are probably a few hundred vendors set up across this large warehouse, few smaller buildings, and parking lot.

The best way I could describe this event is... well, think about Grandpa Dobyn's basement and office spread out on a bunch of folding tables while strangers rifle through and talk about all the cool collectables. Seriously, I know why Grandpa Dobyns loved going to flea markets. He could buy everything he wanted for just about nothing.

The first table we saw had a few dozen rifles, pistols, and this guy...

That's right, that's a freaking mounted machine gun. For the low low price of $800, you can fire 450 X .50mm rounds toward your enemies out of this authentic World War II M2 machine gun.

There were booths with knives, swords, hot wheels, Nazi paraphernalia, red neck clothing, street signs, food, and knock off sports jerseys.

I think the strangest thing was a guy selling medicine. He had two folding tables worth of pharmaceuticals, most of which were probably going bad in the heat if they weren't already expired. Across the way from Dr. Weird was another man exclusively selling women cleansing products.

Sallie ended up finding a great necklace and a vintage punch bowl set and spent less than $20.

We spent a little less than three hours roaming around and I'm ready to go back next month.

Monday, June 20, 2011

The Perfect Run

I've been diligently trying to work off that vacation gut I talked about a few weeks back, but the humidity and terrifying thunderstorms haven't been helping my motivation. (Sallie and I are both winter runners for sure)

A few days ago though, I had one of my more perfect runs since the half marathon Sallie and I ran last year.

I had spaghetti the night before, three Lion's Choice roast beef sandwiches (this was my only real meal of the day, I'm not fat, just really love roast beef sandwiches) for lunch that day and a banana about an hour before my run. So in those three meals I had the trifecta: carbs for energy, protein for muscle rebuilding, and potassium to kill the cramps. I didn't plan it out that way, just sort of happened.

I spent the last twenty minutes of my work shift stretching, which I don't normally do before a run. I was feeling pretty great, even before I took my first step.

The thing about a perfect run is its not just how well you run that makes it. It's a combination of yourself and the environment around you. The classic character vs environment conflict.

I hit the pavement just as the sun was going over the horizon, but I still had plenty of daylight to see well.

As I rounded the corner, the Bosnian bakery down the street from me was baking cookies and cake. A scent that put me instantly in a great mood. I couldn't help but ignore the humidity. The cookies made me think of Christmas.

I have a pacing problem when I'm alone. I go into a full sprint without paying attention and burn myself out quickly. This was the case at about the mile mark. I had to slow down and walk. Just then a toothless man in a fishing hat sitting in a lawn chair yelled out, "Ah man, that's alright. You gotta walk it out. You're going to pick it back up in a minute here, I can tell." He punctuated his cheering with a laugh I could only describe as Ving Rames playing Santa who had been smoking for 40 years.

I was propelled forward again and started running. I made it to about the 2.5 mile mark and was joined by a five year old who ran next to me for a few houses. I let him beat me to our imaginary finish line and he looked satisfied.

The next mile and a half was rough. I ran along Kingshighway, my Zune constantly battling with traffic noises. It was picking the correct music, but the sounds of horns and sirens often over-powered.

Then as I made it to my street, I could see my house towering above the rest. My 4.5 mile loop was just about complete for the night. I was ready to be in the air conditioning again. I was ready to park my ass on the couch, put my knee in its brace and ice my feet. Right on the home stretch, my Vietnamese neighbor was in his front yard, drinking a tall boy, with a very obvious drunk smile, and he says the only English I think he knows, "It's a good day yes!"

Yes sir, it was a good day.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

A Long Sunday

Usually on the weekends, I split up errand running and yard work. Usually I'll go to the grocery store on Saturday and then spend Sunday out in the yard. Sallie had the car this Saturday morning, so I decided to put it off and just do it all Sunday.

So, we went to Target and the Grocery store this morning. Wasn't the worst trip I've had, people weren't really getting in my way, but still, a tiring trip.

We came home and started prepping some food because I'm working overtime all week and probably won't feel like doing it then.

Then I decided, I have to at least mow the lawn before it rains again tonight.

So I go outside figuring this will be quick. Lawn mowing turns into weeding the garden, putting in the landscaping trim, and replanting some spices. Total time on my feet today: About 8 hours.

So, as I'm tearing up the weeds, I fill my landscaping bag and then bring it to the alley to throw the weeds away when I find this.

That is a picture snapped after I cleaned it up a little. When I originally went outside, this six month old Christmas tree was just on top of the lids of the dumpster and surrounding it on all sides.

What's even more lazy is they just left their Christmas tree lights attached to the tree and just chain sawed it into pieces. Trees in the yard waste dumpsters get turned into mulch that anyone with a St. Louis City address can get for free, which means, someone is going to get ground up light bulbs in their mulch. Not cool.

So I spend15 minutes breaking the branches into smaller bits, shoving the tree into the yard waste bin, and removing the Christmas tree lights when I could find them.

So, now that I'm back inside, I'm f-ing tired. My feet hurt, my hands hurt, my back is sore, and my eyes feel puffy. So now, I'm sitting down, just having one of my newly brewed beers, the Imperial Nut Brown...

...and it's delicious.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

The After Vacation Gut

After two mini-vacations, its time for me to get back to working out.

After eating out most meals, drinking beer to wash down that food, and generally lazying about, I've gained weight. I'm not sure how much, but I don't want to know. I think I'm probably hanging out around 215. My goal weight has been 190-195, which was my high-school weight.

Today, I've cut back on food. I worked out in the morning and am getting ready to work out again tonight.

I also spent all day in an office without air conditioning. That means when its 97 degrees and miserable outside, its about 103 with the computer running in the office. I'll admit, I took a large amount of calls today without a shirt on. Can't wait for winter... I hope it snows so much we have to start using the metric system to make sense of how many meters of snow there are.

So I'm eating less, working out, and sweating all the toxins out all day. That's a pretty good strategy for losing my vacation weight and to be able to wear something besides sweat pants. Yeah, feeling pretty good.

The thing is, I'm STARVING right now. I don't need food. I've still had about 2,000 calories today, but I'm used to having huge rich meals at least twice a day. All I can think about is how much I could eat five Taco Bell tacos right now. Yeah, that's right, five tacos. I would eat the crap out of them. With double hot sauce and probably some sour cream.

Sallie needs to get home ASAP so we can go for a run and I can occupy my mind. Maybe I'll wear myself out enough to fall asleep. I think if I can eat like a normal person for the next few days, I'll be back to normal appetite by the weekend.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Ultramarathon Man

Whenever I can show some support for Sallie's hobbies, I will typically try to jump on it. It's sort of hard when her hobby is running and fitness. You can't just buy her dumbells for her birthday and you're good for a while.

Don't get me wrong, I liked being in shape and working out, but Sallie drinks this stuff in. She gets special socks, counts calories all day, spends tons of money on equipment, shoes, and gyms. She likes talking about "PRs," blood pressure levels, insane feats of humanity, and every step she learns in ballet class. I don't understand a lot of it, but I try to listen. (I imagine I do the same to her when talking about tech.)

I'm perfectly happy going for a 45 minute run after work or doing some weight lifting. That's really the extent of my life in fitness. I usually feel too busy for leisurely jobs. I'm mowing the lawn or fixing something. And generally, this is how I feel before and after a workout.

So Netflix recommended a documentary about a guy that ran 50 marathons, in 50 states, in 50 days called "Ultramarathon Man.". Sallie would love to see this, I know she's already read about him. I love seeing people overcome extreme situations.

The guy was a badass, don't get me wrong. He ran 50 freakin' marathons in 50 days. But his times weren't spectacular for the most part. I mean, he would've smoked me. His legs were as big as my torso. But he was coming in for the most part in the 3:45-4 hour range.

It was inspiring, made me want to get out there and run. (Sort of how when you watch Rocky, you want to train and box.) I was thinking, if this guy can do 50 full marathons, I would easily do another half marathon.

Then the last race, in New York, the bastard finishes in 3 hours. That's only 15 minutes more than it took me to finish the half marathon. Seriously, he ran 13.1 miles farther than me, and it only took him 15 minutes more. Screw that guy. Him and his super human strength. He needs to join the freakin' X-Men or something.

Anyway, guy raised a bunch of money to fight childhood obesity. He seemed really down to earth. Scientists basically said he only had the muscle damage of 1/4 a normal runner after a marathon after running all 50. So he's totally a freak, but at least he's doing it for a good cause. The film is interesting and well worth a watch.

Here's his website if you want to check him out: