Random Thoughts from a Restless Mind

Dr. Darrell White's Personal Blog

Cape Cod

Sunday musings…1/10/2021

1 Larper. Live action role player. One who enjoys acting out fantasy adventures. New word for me. I came across it on 6 January.

So much meat on that bone.

2 Pescatarian. Welp, it’s been almost 4 months. How’s it going? To be honest, I feel great. Haven’t lost an ounce (because: bagels), but my energy levels are high (see also: bagels). Of greatest importance my sleep has been nothing short of fantastic (as long as I avoid mixed drinks).

Do I miss anything? Beth and I were chatting about this last night. She misses stews during the cold winter months, and maybe chicken. Beth really likes chicken. Me? Mostly I just miss red wine. There’s not a whole lot of stuff in the vegetarian/pescatarian world that cries out for a massive Cab or Zin, and Pinot just doesn’t move me like they do.

Still, on balance, it’s been a good call.

3 Bills. The Buffalo bills won a playoff game! How about that?! Oh sure, the octogenarian helming the Bucs won too, but just for a moment let’s let all of those long-suffering Bills fans have their day in the sun. Have they won a playoff game since Jim Kelley retired? If memory serves (Beth can fact check me, something she finds incredibly fun to do), didn’t both the Bills and the Vikings lose 4 Super Bowls with a single quarterback under center (Tarkington, Kelley)?

Who cares? Congrats to Steve Bu and all of my Williams cronies from Buffalo on “their” victory.

4 Measure. While thinking about health and fitness (and really, who doesn’t in January) I dug into the drawer where I keep all manner of fitness trackers accumulated over the years. I’d stumbled on PAI (Physical Activity Index) again and thought it would be fun, or maybe helpful, to track my HR and how it reacts to exercise as a measure of health predictably. You may recall that I have been “working on” a comprehensive health metric based in part on how CrossFit measures fitness (WCABTMD).

As it turns out all of my older trackers are either kaput or, if still working, need to be connected to an app that comes from a company that is kaput. On first blush that was pretty disappointing. However, thinking a bit deeper about the tracking thing, it occurred to me that the factors that will determine my training going forward are wholly independent of what a tracker might tell me about variations in my HR, or for that matter pretty much any other measurement other than sleep.

All I’m gonna get from measuring them is additional stress if it turns out my activity isn’t producing life-extending numbers.

So, will I (finally) abandon all tracking? Nah. Just the serious stuff. There’s really very little to learn now about sleep, too. I’m better rested with 8 than 7 hours of sleep, and I sleep better if I don’t drink any liquids at all after 7:00 or so. Sleep quality is driven by sugar consumption in the evening, whether in the form of mixers in a cocktail or dessert. Bummer, for sure, but highly reproducible results confirm the findings. I’ll stay on the lookout for a way to measure how well I’m actually moving when I do work out (perhaps the latest from PUSH), but that’s just for fun.

The gym is supposed to be fun.

5 Care. As in care facility. What an interesting label we’ve adopted to denote what almost everyone called a nursing home until they became kill zones in early 2020. Care facility. Greg Glassman once said that the goal was not longevity in and of itself, but longevity that outpaced decrepitude. Indeed, over the years, and especially in my most active CrossFit years, I was continually asked why, for Heaven’s sake, did I push my body so hard in the gym. The answer lies just around the corner of that weak sauce term above, “care facility”.

The battle is waged so that I can get my own ass up off the toilet, without anybody’s help, for as long as possible.

In the prevailing vernacular “care facility” denotes a dwelling in which the elderly or otherwise infirm live in a congregate setting. Nursing homes, senior living facilities in which the residents spend time in a communal area, or even group homes in which dwell people who for whatever reason cannot completely care for themselves. What turned these places, at least for the elderly, into kill zones was a virus that was more deadly to older individuals and those with certain types of compromise to their immune systems. 75 seems to be the “over/under” for the virus, give or take. It doesn’t much matter where you get it as much as it matters how old you are when/if you do.

How does this follow from thoughts on fitness trackers? Oh come on…you know where this is headed. I’m not remotely mysterious enough, or good enough at this writing gig to create an elegant or unexpected segue. I spend my working days in the company of older people who by and large get themselves in to my office on their own. They are not under the care of anyone, in a facility or otherwise. For whatever reason and through whatever route they took they arrived at a place where they can cart their 70 or 75 or 80+ year old asses not only up off the toilet seat but out the door. For sure some of that is nothing more noble than genetic kismet. But still, a continual desire to move on one’s own seems to be a common thread for those who are blessed to not have an uncontrollable condition that cannot be overcome.

I confess that I peeked at CrossFit.com this morning, curious to see how, or even if, the new owners were addressing the annual onslaught of New Year’s Resolutionaries who have begun a CrossFit program on New Year’s Day. No, this is not my announcement that I am either jumping back into formal CF training or in some way re-joining some part of the greater CrossFit community. “bingo” lives abroad now. Still, it was heartening to see one OG offering up his 13 year summary of WOD’s for those who wanted a copy. To see a couple of the “Usual Suspects” offering encouragement to a Newbie. No longer fitness “infidels”, CrossFitters are now firmly a part of the mainstream.

No, what I was doing there was reminding myself that if I want to avoid a “care facility” longer into life, some things remain unchanged even if what we call them changes. The enemy remains the couch. The goal is still to retain the ability to get up, from the toilet or a fall, at a very advanced age. The competition remains “you vs. you”, with the ultimate victory to be slightly better tomorrow than you are today.

And, in time, to hold onto the “you” of today for as many tomorrows as possible.

I’ll see you next week…

Leave a Reply