Archive for the 'sports' Category

The gym as a reward

Saturday, March 10th, 2007

Yesterday I went back to the gym for the second of my two weekly workouts. It felt fantastic afterwards, I just smiled all through my post-workout sauna. There was a couple of things I did that caused this.

First, I set the workout as a reward for myself for getting the week done. I started my work on Friday with the sentiment of “what I need to do before I can go to the gym”. So instead of feeling tired after a week’s work, I was happy to reach my goal.

Second, I further increased the rewarding feeling of the workout by incorporating a couple of things I’d been looking forward to. There was a podcast (One Life Left, good introduction here) I’d wanted to listen to but hadn’t found a suitable one-our slot – listening to it while working out was a very good idea. Then there’s the issue of pedaling. I pedal to warm up and wind down, which requires at least half an hour of sitting. I find this various degrees of dull. A portable music player alleviated the problem somewhat, but yesterday I realized I could read the week’s economic news while pedaling. Score two for time management! Reading the newspaper is another thing I rarely have time for, so a twice-weekly recap ought to come in handy.
With just two workouts behind in my renewed efforts to stay fit, there’s a huge addictive feeling going on. I can’t wait to get back to the gym. Unfortunately, my muscles ache enough to prohibit more than two workouts a week for now.

Back to the gym

Wednesday, March 7th, 2007

With the winter receding and spring rolling in fast, I got inspired enough to return to the gym. My target is a pace of twice a week workouts. The first time after the winter felt very good indeed. I’m delighted to notice that I’m not nearly as broken as the last time I returned to the gym after a long hiatus; my legs ache a bit, but that’s about it.

Once the snow’s really gone, my intent is to also return to running, also going for a twice-weekly rate. About time, too, the stomach was beginning to gain bulk. I’m aerobically clearly more fit than before, though, so last summer’s running didn’t go to waste.

Better living through technology

Monday, December 4th, 2006

Sports, or the lack thereof

I regret to say I’ve slacked off on sports. With first snow I stopped running and while the snow has melted away, I haven’t been to the track since. I’m not sure why. Partly because of being tired and stressed out at work, partly because I just can’t bother myself. With that said, I realized the situation last week and decided to go running again. We’ll see how it goes, I’m hoping to do a run three times a week. That way it would maybe become routine and not something extra I have to bother myself to do after a tiring day at work.


I’ve been a little active in other ways. I set up a forum for my class from 1999, as I promised. I chose BBPress, which isn’t really that suitable for us, but I’ll see if it’s worthwhile to tinker with it. I do like it how it’s very stripped down.

I’m not posting the URL because the forum’s not closed to outsiders and I rather wouldn’t have to deal with spammers.


I set up a forum for my friends, too. We’ve spoken about it many times, but now it felt like a good idea, with the hosting already available. I don’t really know if we’ll learn to use it, but it’s there, now. There have been quite a few times I’ve felt like posting about something, but not really considering it worth an email or a call. I chose Simple Machines, which initially feels alright. There are troubles with updating it, though.

If I know you, especially in real life, you’re likely welcome on the forum: It does require registration and activation by a member.

I’m not really active in any other forums these days, apart from my roleplaying association’s rather active forum. I do post in the comments of Kotaku and Eurogamer, but they’re not societies like forums are.


Thursday, November 2nd, 2006

It snowed yesterday. I understand they already have knee-high snow to tread through further up north, but it’s often anybody’s guess if the capital area gets snow before Christmas. I think it’s the sea which warms this area so much that winter is all wet and rarely white and beautiful for more than a couple of weeks in the heart of winter. I do vastly prefer winter’s snow and light freezing to fall’s wet and cold.

While winter is the darkest time of the year, the world actually feels much lighter once it snows – simply because light reflects off the snow and illuminates the night. And it’s lovely how snow changes the city soundscape, muffling the noise. And while the absolute amount of sunlight is reduced, it’s often clear in the winter, as opposed to the permanently overcast fall skies.

My sports goal was to keep running until it snows. I accomplished that. Granted, I’ve slipped to once a week for the past three weeks, but I haven’t missed a single week and I have plenty of excuses (flu, hurt knee, hurt ankle, wedding anniversary trip) for the slower pace. Now we’ll see how I find running in the winter. It’s not an unpleasant thing to consider and the track I use should be in a running condition through the winter. Progress has been slower than I thought, but I don’t mind, really.

All in all, things are pretty sweet right now. Work is super exciting due to new colleagues and clients, I just ordered a new PC (my first in, what, someting like eight years) and there’s plenty of good stuff on the TV. Oh, and my second to last “must see” band, Nine Inch Nails, is coming to Finland for their European 2007 tour’s final gig in April.

Now if I can only figure out how I’m going to change my tires to studded ones from the slicks with roads frozen and snowed-in.


Wednesday, October 4th, 2006

While “routine” may very well become part of the “grind”, I still think it’s a good idea to establish some social routines to prevent the situation where you’re too tired to arrange meetings with friends.

My wife introduced a habit of hanging out at a coffee shop on Mondays, post-school and -work. I think that’s a great idea. Mondays always go to waste, as you’re too stressed or zoned out to really do anything at home, anyway. We did that this Monday, and it was good. We’re also thinking of hanging out regularly on Fridays, watching telly and whatnot. Most people have probably come up with similar schemes ages ago, but they feel like revelations to me. I’ve been really holed up at home when I’m not at work.

I’m thinking that maybe I could extend this to the other things I never find the time to do. Like gaming – besides videogames, that is. I’d like to continue our shelved roleplaying game campaigns and play with miniatures, but we haven’t been able to come up with dates. It might be a good idea to agree upon playing every other weekend or so. There’s still the problem of our university-going friends finding the time, but maybe the rest of us could play something else when they can’t make it.


Yesterday I did the six-minute run with no problem whatsoever. It was raining properly, too – it felt absolutely great to run in the rain! My ankles didn’t hurt either, though they’re aching a bit today. Still thinking about those running shoes.

Setbacks and good encounters

Sunday, October 1st, 2006

My ankles have hurt all past week. I kept off running for a few days because of that. On today’s run they hurt in the beginning, but it subsided, so I guess it’s all right. Maybe they’re just protesting about not getting to lay there uselessly, maybe I need to invest in some proper running shoes. Today I did the six minutes target. It was hard, and I was running in the rain, but it does feel good afterwards! I really can’t wait being able to run for, say, half an hour at a time.

Yesterday I was seeing off an old acquintance who’s moving abroad. We’re not at all close, and some months ago I maybe wouldn’t've gone, but going by my new rules, I knew I had to. It turned out to be an excellent night. The music was very good, the bar was cozy, the GTs all right and there were a lot of guys I see rarely to catch up with.

I met three new people, one on account of a really cool shirt he was wearing. We talked about videogames for a long time – our friends must’ve been pissed off. Sorry about that. I’ve never met a hardcore videogame enthusiast with a perfectly matching taste in games in real life before. So it serves to wear your colors!

And I don’t have the slightest hangover! Today’s supposed to be Zombie Walk Helsinki, but the weather’s… lacking. Which of course may fit the theme rather well.

Update and SketchUp

Tuesday, September 26th, 2006

I’ve progressed somewhat in the fitness game. It’s mostly noticeable in the speed of recovery after a run; I breathe easier. I’m trying to add one minute to the run to make it six, but yesterday my legs began to cramp up and I had to stop early. I suspect it’s because I ran faster than what I’m used to. It may also be lack of intake of fluids, coffee notwithstanding.

Regardless, I’ve managed to stick to my every other day -plan. Also, my social rule has stood. This week’s “dosage” is still in the air, though.

And now for something completely different

I was thinking where I’d put this, but I suppose I’m not going to publish a separate “arts and hobbies” blog (aside from gaming), so here it goes. I read about Google’s SketchUp in Edge. It’s very near revolutionary, I’d say.

I’ve dabbled in various 3D software packages, but they’ve all been so hard to use that I’ve given up. SketchUp is designed for normal people. I guess it could be easier still, but the basics are very easy to grasp and the presentation is not intimidating – on the contrary, it invites you to model.

Movement of the mind

Monday, September 18th, 2006

Running is fun. I didn’t think it would be so much fun. The weird thing is, it gets inside your head. I’ve now ran on four consecutive days, and I feel energized – my mind is on the move. The physical act of propelling yourself forward is just very enjoyable. This is coming from a couch-dweller, mind, maybe this wouldn’t be such a revelation to many people.

The five minutes of walking followed by five minutes of running (jogging), followed by five minutes of wind-down walking seems very good to me. I get mighty sweaty, but my muscles don’t protest at all, and I don’t have real trouble breathing. My plan is to keep doing this every other day until it feels too easy, at which point I’ll likely look into a ready-made running program for beginners. Or I’ll just start increasing the running distance a little bit every week.

I’m enjoying my runs so much that I’d like to run every day, but unfortunately even the fifteen-minute exercise is too much of a daily dose. Since yesterday my butt’s been aching, even though I’ve stretched my legs post-running. And I had trouble running softly yesterday, probably due to muscles being tired. So every other day it is.

Initial efforts

Thursday, September 14th, 2006

In which I bring you an update in two parts.

One: friends

I reached two old friends of mine in one day. Effort taken: 30 seconds on writing an email, 172 seconds on the phone. Seemed like a worthwhile endeavour; I met with one of them the following day. The other one is living abroad, but we agreed on seeing each other when he visits Finland the next time. We haven’t seen in, oh I don’t know, around three or four years, despite being good friends in high school.

It was about high time, too: his old university email address wouldn’t've worked in two weeks’ time. So don’t just sit there thinking about maybe trying to reach your old mates one day – do it today!

Sitting down with my college buddy yesterday, I took it upon me to arrange a meeting with the rest of the class, too. Well, the ones we can still reach, anyway.

I’ve actually set myself some social rules to ensure I don’t lapse back into a working coma any more.

Two: sports

I told everyone at work that I’d go running yesterday, just to generate some pressure on myself. In the end, I didn’t, as I couldn’t bother to after a heavy dinner and a couple of beers. I did go today, though.

Sticking to my plan, I did a 5-5-5 running routine. It turned out that it takes me exactly five minutes to walk to the park and warm up in the process, another five minutes to run around the park, and of course a further five minutes to walk back home. With the shape I’m in, it’s enough to start with. I was winded, but not exhausted.

With such a quick exercise, I’m thinking I might get into a habit of running before work. For now, I’m sticking to a twice a week minimum, but I’m really pretty psyched about this.


Monday, September 11th, 2006

We talked about running the other night. I went on a “let off steam” type of run a couple of weeks ago and discovered that I’m in rather poor shape – no big surprise there, I haven’t had any exercise in ages. I must’ve been winded for an hour afterwards. I did go to the gym during last spring, though, but somehow I dropped that along the way.

This is precisely the kind of “numbing” I meant in the introductory post; stuff just flows into a routine, where the loss of some detail or other – sports, friends, acquintances, hobbies – doesn’t feel like much in the day to day grind, but you end up much poorer. I’m hoping that since putting these developments up here means that I need to process them, maybe I won’t let it all slide.

Now, some of my friends have picked up running this year. They’re doing this interval training program where you begin with only a couple of minutes at a time, gradually working your way to 10 km (6.2 miles. Get metrical already) runs. That sounds like my kind of thing. I can spare half an hour or so (to begin with) a couple of times a week. As it happens, there’s a nice track through the woods and a park right outside my front door.

So beginning this week, I’m going running. At least twice a week, preferably three times. My first goal is to be able to run to the nearby train station and back, a 3.2 km roundtrip.