Category Archives: health

Orthodox Small Groups (And also a running update)

Tomorrow will be the 2nd weekly meeting of a small fellowship group I’ve been trying to get started at my church. I was encouraged that a few folks came on the first night and am hopeful for at least the same number or perhaps more tomorrow.

I’m keeping it extremely casual and freeform for the moment just sort of talking about whatever folks want to talk about. The main goal is just for more frequent fellowship and getting to know each other better, and I think that is something that we accomplished last week.

It’s strange to me that small groups like this seem to be uncommon in the Orthodox world, as virutally every church I was ever a part of in the Protestant world had such things. It’s not surprising that these sorts of groups might would look a bit different in Orthodoxy, but the total lack does seem strange. But I’m glad to be trying it out in our community, and initial feelings are that I think it’s going to be a success. We’ll see where we are in a few more weeks, and months.

As for running, I went ahead today and signed up for a 5K event, the first one I’ve been signed up for in a good while. It’ll be on April 14th, so, just a couple weeks away.

I decided I’d sign up because I have started to be able to hit the full 5K on my runs without having to resort to walking a few times now, so I figure in another couple of weeks I should be able to count on making that happen. So far, so good there. Once it’s complete I’ll either pick a 2nd 5K, or a 10K, or maybe both, as the next step. I also will likely be getting myself to go back to Soldierfit instead of simply donating my money to them as I have been for awhile now… 😉 I wanted to start running first and then start fitting that in as well, and I’m close to having the running habit down well enough that I can expand my efforts.

Successful 5Ks and Dumb Talking Points

After returning home today from a conference in DC, I let the dogs out (yes, it was me who did that) and then immediately got ready to go for a run as it was already well passed the time I normally get home from work. It needed to happen today, as I’ve got church tomorrow evening and fitting in a run would be extraordinarily difficult (note that I don’t do morning runs – maybe one day, for now, getting out of bed when I need to for work is triumphant enough).

My last run on Sunday afternoon had been a bit of a bummer for me. Following the run where I’d felt like I maybe could have hit 5K without any breaks if I’d pushed myself really, really hard, I went into it with hopes that maybe it would be the one. Alas, it was not. Pretty early into the run I started to feel like I just had no energy in my legs, and I was walking somewhere around the 1.4 mile mark. I continued to try to jog when I could, but there was a lot of walking in the remainder of the 5K. So, it was a bit disheartening.

Today, on the other hand, was the total opposite. I started off my jog and it was feeling pretty good – well, it was also feeling pretty cold as the temperature has dropped quite a bit since Sunday. During my 2nd lap around the lake where I’ve been doing my runs, I decided to just take a peek at my fitbit to make sure it was tracking everything OK and then try to not look at it at all until I was basically done. I was just over a mile in at that point. I kept going, and, well, I completed the distance without having to walk at all. Add to that, it’s the first run since I’ve started again where I was feeling really good and sort of in the zone when I reached the end of the run.

There were a few things that were different today than on Sunday. As I’d mentioned, the temperature, it was much cooler today. I did it later in the day, and I’d definitely had more to eat prior to the run than I had on Sunday. As the amount of rest my legs had prior to each run wasn’t really meaningfully different, I don’t think that had anything to do with it, and so really I surmise that probably the issue on Sunday was a lack of food resulting in feeling like I had no energy. So, I’ll try to avoid that moving forward. Next, once I’m able to get several of these jogs done in a row with no walking (this could be a fluke and my next run I’ll have to walk again after all), I’ll start to actively try to increase my speed to bring my time down under 30 minutes – it was 33:51 today.

Anyway, the conference I was at in DC was related to Information Security, particularly as it applies to government. It was worthwhile and informative, and a nice change of pace from the daily drudgery of my job, but I was surprised how partisan they came off when they were talking about infosec as it relates to the upcoming elections. The phrase “Democracy is on the ballot” was uttered from the stage, which earned an internal groan and a hard eye roll from me. That phrase is nothing but a DNC talking point to try to scare their base into voting so that Biden will win. I can’t say if anyone SERIOUSLY believes that if Trump wins the election that he will refuse to ever leave office again, but I know that’s the message the DNC pushes, and it’s the message most of the corporate press pushes, and it’s the only possible meaning of that asinine talking point.

If someone does seriously believe that, they’ve not possibly considered the facts on the table. Donald Trump was elected in 2016. He ran again in 2020, and it was determined that he lost. Whether anyone thinks anything sketchy happened or not is immaterial on this point. Donald Trump has said and I believe continues to say that it was unfair and he shouldn’t have lost, but the important bit is this: Donald Trump left office and Joe Biden is the sitting President. In the only way that actually matters, Donald Trump conceded the election, and there is no reason to believe he would not leave office again at the end of a 2nd term. To believe otherwise is to engage in fantasy.

TLDR: Whichever candidate wins, American Democracy will continue.

Ok, 5K celebration and venting about a statement that annoyed me over.

Solo Running (Actually, Jogging (Ackchyually, Jogging+Walking))

I’m trying to get back into running again. Last year wasn’t particularly great for me in regard to fitness. I let some stuff sort of throw me off course and I started this year in not the greatest place physically. So, I’m trying to get that going and reign in the eating which I have a tendency to let get a little out of control. Lent will also help with that, as, it gives me an additional reason to reduce food intake.

Back in 2011, I decided I was going to run a marathon. I had never done particularly long distance running before – I had taken up running around campus when I was at college, but at most those might have been 5k runs. It was right after Easter when I decided to do it, late April. And so I started with Couch-to-5K and between then and December built up to running the Rehoboth Seashore Marathon. I don’t really look or feel like a person who completed a marathon now, and I mean hey, it was 13 years ago at this point, but I’m really typing out this story to remind myself that I did it, and I went from a person who had never run more than 5k at a time to someone that completed a Marathon in 4:18:58 in about 8 months.

I’m older now than I was then, and so maybe it will be harder, and maybe it will take more than 8 months, but I can get there again. I want to get there again. And then I want to stick with it. That’s the problem I seem to face with the whole diet and fitness thing, maintaining it long term. Some of that just has to do with getting discouraged by other matters in life – I definitely am a person who turns to food as a panacea. But I don’t want to get to in depth in regard to that here.

But for now, this is where I am at: Working my way toward being able to run 5K without stopping. So far I’ve done 4 runs this year. This was the first week where I did 2 in the same week (the last couple weeks the travel to retreats resulted in me not doing any other runs on those weeks), and tomorrow I will do a 3rd run for the week. Then that will be the goal for the next little while, 3 runs a week. Now, as you may surmise from the title of this post, I say the word run, but a real runner would probably use the word “jog” to describe what I do. I also for the last several years have had a rule that I will never do less than 5K when I go for a “run”. Now, if it’s been awhile since I’ve done any running (and this time was probably the longest I’ve gone without since I began to prep for that marathon) then I may not be able to actually run all of the 5K. And that’s fine, I can’t make myself be physically capable of doing something that I’m not at this precise moment. But, I run/jog what I can, and I walk the rest. I’ve thus far been improving with each subsequent run, and I look forward to the first time I’m able to do the whole thing without slowing down – it’s going to feel like a big accomplishment.

Once I get there, I’m going to think about setting a timetable on making a marathon happen again. I’ll sign up for a couple 5K’s, a 10K, a half-marathon… but I’m getting ahead of myself. This is what I want to do. One of the things I want to do this year. So, here’s hoping I can remain inspired… or dedicated enough to persevere if inspiration fades. Prayers that this may be the case are appreciated.

Intermittent Fasting

Every now and again I’m randomly exposed to information that I may have heard of before but didn’t really know much about. Usually it’s by means of a podcast. I was listening to Rogan the other day and the topic of intermittent fasting came up, and since I’ve been wanting to get my eating back under control following the holidays in a way that is relatively easy to manage without having to make a lot of decisions, I’m thinking this might be a good thing to try.

To do it as Rogan suggests, it’s 16 hour fasting periods, so you get an 8 hour window to eat daily. From the bit of extra reading I’ve done, it sounds like 16 hours is considered to be the shortest fasting period. I also noted that a drink with under 50 calories seems to be allowable during a fasting period, though that’s unlikely to affect me as I don’t use sugar or milk in coffee / tea, and so anything I’d drink outside the eating window would be free of calories.

So, the basic idea is to eat your first meal of the day based on when you want to eat dinner. So if I want to eat dinner at 7 PM, I probably am going to eat my first meal at noon, because with an 8 hour window starting at noon, at 8 PM I can no longer eat anything.

I presume that it’s best not to change-up the window too often – especially if you’re wanting to move it earlier – because that’s going to make you have a shorter than 16 hour fasting period, but I haven’t really done any reading about it.

I’ll have some sort of common sense rules that I follow during the week as well… no sugary things like candy / sodas, probably no alcohol during the week – then on the weekends open it up a bit, but stick to the window – and see how things go. This might be just a thing I do for the rest of January, but if it seems to be going well, I’ll likely continue another month. Otherwise I’ll be back on slow carb, which I had been planning to do this month prior to deciding to experiment with intermittent fasting.