Tag Archives: fitness

Still breathing

20140221-hyacinths-on-my-dinner-table

I’ve been quite busy for a while, which is why I haven’t posted since February 3, where I wrote about an awesome run in the dark. To be somewhat honest, it’s that typical blend of a) a lot of stuff is happening, so I don’t have time to write about it, and b) some of the stuff isn’t for everybody. Living in the moment is more important than constantly wondering about blogging or Facebook-posting.

The picture above shows hyacinths and napkins on the dinner table in my living room. The flowers were fresh when they had their “dinner of fame” 😉
Also, the deer on the napkins suited the menu 😉

Even though I’m usually a very positive-minded person – I’ve even been named “the eternal optimist” by a colleague (it probably wasn’t meant exclusively as a compliment) – I’ve actually been even more positive for the past few weeks. Now I have to be careful what I write… Oh noes… 😀 The written word sometimes begs to be misunderstood. The reason for my exceptional happiness is that I’m dating a very sweet, beautiful, wise, interesting and creative girl. If she reads this, I fear she’ll put too much weight on the order of the adjectives. Maybe she’ll also wonder if I left some out. She shouldn’t, of course. There’s no ulterior motive – it’s nothing but a simple attempt at an unreserved compliment, left as a breadcrumb in the digital world.

Of course I’ll not reveal the identity of my princess. I know some of my colleagues have found out, but they are also quite capable detectives. Especially when I’m talking too much and giving them clues… 🙂

In other news, I’m now running regularly, even 10 km at a time, and I’ve started watching House of Cards.

Let me end with a few pictures. Each of them has a small story to tell.

201402-new-shiny-shoes-and-repairing-my-beltFor years (honestly!) I didn’t have a pair of stylish, shiny, black shoes. I had a pair of brown ones, Dockers, and they were kind of beautiful in their own way. They weren’t shiny though, and they didn’t match anything. Now I have a fine, black pair suiting my black belt. On the picture I’m superglueing my belt, as it has lost some kind of screw, which I haven’t been able to buy anywhere.

 

20140216-decorating-with-firewoodVisiting my parents, I got four boxes of ready-to-use firewood for my stove. I help my dad with forest work, and in return I get firewood. Since I was expecting a special guest, and I sort of had to carry firewood inside the house anyway, I decided to be creative. It doesn’t lean against the wall.

 

 

201402-one-of-those-late-days-at-the-officeSometimes it seems I’m the last one to leave the office. This isn’t true very often, as we have a few people raising the bar, but I do have such evenings. It’s typically when I’ve been busy fixing a system that broke down unexpectedly, deploying new software to a production environment, or when I’ve been running near work.

 

 

20140218-ready-to-run-at-the-officeYes, I’m a runner. Let me put it this way: I do not run to add days to my life – I run to add life to my days. At this picture I’m at the office getting ready for a 10 km.

\m/

Good energy in cold times

Last night I persuaded myself to go for a run in the dark. I had all day to do it in sunlight – well, to be fair, in overcast daylight – but those hours were spent washing windows, splitting logs, carrying the logs inside and watching The Devil’s Rejects. I thought “If I can just run 5 km, it’s okay. No need to overdo anything.” Armed with a positive mind, Five Finger Death Punch‘s latest album and a headlamp, I worked my way through snowy, wet roads in the countryside. Without doubt, the positive energy came from a very special Saturday evening 😉 I didn’t stop until my watch showed 9 km… 170 bpm heart rate on average… Click on the picture to see the original size.

20140102-out-running-in-the-dark

I cannot brag about the pace, but the heart rate shows that I did my best. I’m still running in minimalistic shoes – Vivo Barefoot Evo II – which means that technique is far more important than pace. Also, it was very slippery, and these particular shoes are very smooth on the bottom. They are primarily built for dry asphalt, certainly not trails, ice or snow. I’m thinking about buying some trail shoes, but I haven’t decided which ones yet.

nptmarathon

The endorphins from the run combined with the documentary Spirit of the Marathon made me sign up for my biggest physical challenge in 2014 – a half marathon at Nationalpark Thy Marathon in September. I do not expect to better my personal record of approx 1h and 36m. The primary objective is to finish and to do so in a relatively respectable time, i.e. way below two hours. I think a goal will make it easier to run regularly. Maybe 2015 will finally be the year where I run a full marathon. I would like to think so.

I have just stumbled upon this old post, where I had had my longest run ever. It would be awesome to reach that level again.

Within Temptation‘s latest album, Hydra, fills my living room and now I’ll add some logs to the stove. Thanks for reading this far 🙂

while true; do live; done

Yes, I’m still alive, and yes, so is this blog 🙂

In Denmark we’ve just had long weekend – some people might even think of it as a small vacation. Thursday, May 9, was a holiday, and most people, including me, had the day off on Friday. I visited my parents in Thy, where I ate a bunch of great food (e.g. pork roast in different ways, asparagus soup and roe deer goulash), helped my parents change the wall-to-wall carpet in their living room, went for a few walks with my parents’ dogs, ran in the forest (near Tovsig Sø), built, painted and placed hochsitzes for the upcoming bow hunting summer season, celebrated mother’s day (we bought her flowers and I went to the grocery store early for rolls), and visited my grandmother and grandfather in Øsløs. Oh, and I was on call for work the entire week and was woken up by alarms three or four nights… Argh… Well… I’ll survive.

On the following picture my dad and a fellow hunter are painting one of our hochsitzes. I helped paint another one (while also painting several parts of myself…).

The design is actually quite neat. Simple, stable and relatively lightweight. We did a Google Image Search to get inspiration. The green paint really makes them awesome. I look forward to the bow hunting season which starts tomorrow (Thursday, May 16).

I’m not going hunting tomorrow, though. I haven’t taken the day off from work, so I think I’ll be missed if I don’t show up 🙂 Actually, I do have a special arrangement for tomorrow… I’m going to the countryside to look at some real estate. More about that later – it’s time for metal music and heavy weights…

Building a power cage

This weekend I have built a power cage using wood poles, metal angle brackets, screws and hooks. It is still a work in progress, as the spotter functionality of the cage isn’t quite done yet. In the following picture I’m inaugurating the cage with a light squat set.

The picture is from this one-minute video 🙂

Rather than drilling a tedious number of construction-weakening holes for safety pins, I will use two pieces of strong rope to replace a human spotter. The rope has been bought, but I’m still pondering how to fasten it to the cage in a nice way. After that has been sorted out, the next step is to add a pull-up bar.

      

The cage is small enough to go through the doorways in my apartment, which means that it can be moved to my bedroom when I have people visiting. I’m still considering whether I should paint it. It will never be a beauty. Neither would a non-DIY metal cage. It is a functional and manly construction.

Do you even lift?

The beginning of a home gym

My right arm and shoulder are a bit sore today… Partially from playing badminton against my work colleague Normann yesterday and partially from assembling my home gym and trying it out 😉

20130412-3-my-home-gym-assembled

Yeah, okay, it is the very beginning of a home gym. And I don’t really have the space for it. The idea is that at some point, in a not too distant future, I will move into a house and dedicate a room to the gym. Until then, it can be put away in the bedroom when I have people visiting.

The simple table bucks are not meant to be a permanent solution, but for the time being they let me get started. They are quite useful for all sorts of tasks. I dream about a power rack/cage, but that might have to wait until the gym may take up more space. It is not practical to move a power rack around too much. The bucks provide sufficient safety when training without a spotter.

I received 187 kg of equipment:

   

The equipment allows me to perform:

  • {barbell,dumbbell} {ordinary,incline,decline} bench press
  • {barbell,dumbbell} military press
  • {barbell,dumbbell} squat
  • barbell deadlift
  • {ordinary,incline} sit-up
  • {barbell,dumbbell} bent-over row
  • pull-up / chin-up
  • {barbell,dumbbell} curl
  • {ordinary,incline,decline} dumbbell fly
  • {barbell,dumbbell} lunge
  • {barbell,dumbbell} shrug
  • dumbbell {lateral,front} raise
  • triceps dip
  • french press / barbell lying triceps extension
  • barbell pullover
  • barbell {straight leg,bent knee} good-morning

… and without doubt many more.

It didn’t cost me more than a cheap laptop and it will probably outlast me 🙂

February so far

Luckily, the paycheck in the end of January included a quarterly bonus, as February is and will continue to be an expensive month. It is certainly also a stressful and unhealthy month. Too much partying and drinking and too many things going on at work.

Usually months go by without me and Aalborg’s well-known Jomfru Ane Gade meeting, but during the previous two weekends we have met three times. Each time most of the night has been spent binge drinking at Heidi’s Beer Bar. The first weekend I lost my work phone at Heidi’s on Friday night, but fortunately I got it back the next night. The second weekend, on the third tour in the city, a friend and me decided to run home (6 km), because we got tired of waiting on a taxi. That was after an evening and night of drinking, after a double whopper burger, in fancy shoes, in a winter jacket and through snowy streets and alleys. It was great 🙂

With regard to work, it’s not that I have had extraordinarily many hours, it’s just that I have been working on many things simultaneously. Also, my physical training is at an all-time low, and it is clear that this affects my mood. I must get into a regular schedule, even though my feet say no to long runs and my crappy, half-broken bike makes it difficult to get to the fitness center.

On Tuesday I participated in coffee tasting with my work colleagues at the cozy cafe Behag din smag. I’m sort of a coffee nerd, so I knew a lot of what we were told, but I got to tasty some very nice cups of coffee. I can definitely recommend the place. They know what great coffee is.

This weekend I’m just relaxing at home. My parents (and perhaps my brother?) will come by for lunch tomorrow (Saturday).

Fighting cold weather

Me wearing a GripGrab balaclava and a bike helmet on January 30, 2013After a few days with temperatures between -10 and -15 ºC, I have bought a balaclava. Actually, I have bought two – redundancy is nice. It allows me to have one down for maintenance (washing) without downtime. The brand is GripGrab and I bought them at CyclingShop.dk. So far I wholeheartedly recommend the GripGrab balaclava. It will probably also work very well for hunting, but the winter hunting season in Denmark pretty much ends tomorrow, and I will not be hunting until the summer season starts on May 16. I imagine using a balaclava when going for a run on very colds days, but I expect it to get too hot after a few kilometres. It might also be difficult to breathe and get rid of snot while wearing it. Anyways, if the thought of wearing a warm balaclava can get me out the door on a very cold morning, it’s all worth it 🙂

By the way, try to look at Usain Bolt in slow motion:

At the workshop with posemand.dk, we started out by looking at sprinters and endurance runners in slow motion. It turns out most of them have something in common. Notice that the posture of Usain’s upper body is completely vertical and that he is very compact when hitting the ground (and very wide when he is not, which yields the insane speed). Also, he always he hits ground right underneath his body. At the moment I strive to achieve the same good posture, the same compactness and the same way of hitting the ground right underneath my body in each stride. Don’t get me wrong – I’m aiming for painless endurance, not speed.

Still alive, still rocking

If I wrote more frequently, I could write smaller and more specific posts 🙂 As usual it is easier to have good intentions than to do something about it…

One of the newsflashes since my last post is that three of my close friends have had problems with their female partners. I know, or at least knew, their partners, so it affects me to some degree as well. I have never really tried this, so it is a new experience for me. The problems range from temporary separation (that’s the most recent status known to me) to infidelity with an ugly divorce as a result. It’s sad and complex when children are in the middle of it all.

Barefoot running at posemand.dk workshop in Aalborg on January 20, 2013In an entirely different category, I have attended a workshop where I was taught how to run without getting injured. It was a workshop by Claus Rasmussen, the guy behind posemand.dk, and it was an absolute pleasure to be a part of it. The general theme was to avoid injuries in the long run (haha), but the specific solution was to do barefoot/natural running and to do it with the right technique. As you might know if you have read this blog before, I have run in FiveFingers for some months. Around Christmas, i.e. approx one month ago, I was actually running 10 km training passes (in Vivobarefoot Evo II) using what I thought was correct barefoot style. The initial video of my running at the workshop immediately revealed that I was landing on my feet in front of my body rather than underneath it. Moreover, I was forcing a forefoot landing and wasn’t relaxed at all in my ankles and feet. Claus taught me and all the other participants a number of exercises for correcting our posture and relaxing our limbs. It will of course take a lot of practice in the near future. I recommend the book/pamphlet Proprioception – Making Sense Of Barefoot Running by Lee Saxby and one of the accompanying videos.

On Thursday I visited the library in Hobro, where the two extreme runners Johnny Wulff Andersen and Andreas Carlsen shared their experiences and gave advice. Johnny talked about his participation in Jungle Marathon in 2012, which was a 256 km race through the South American jungle in Brazil. Undoubtedly too extreme for my taste, but it was great mental preparation for my participation in this year’s Copenhagen Marathon. Andreas had planned to show his documentary Ultra, but the electronic devices he had brought and the ones at the library wouldn’t cooperate, so he ended up given a talk instead. He is clearly a runner with many great experiences in his backpack and I look forward to watching Ultra at some point.

I have been using my new media center to follow e.g. NCIS and How I Met Your Mother, and I have also watched numerous semi-old Top Gear episodes. People keep telling me to give Game of Thrones a chance, but fantasy doesn’t normally catch my interest. I’m not saying never, though. The media center (based on a Raspberry Pi, an external hard drive, a wireless keyboard and the Raspbmc software, as you might recall) works pretty well. It is stable and able to be the secondary, authoritative name server for my domains at the same time. It would have been nice, however, if my music collection was properly tagged. Bugger. What a daunting task.

On behalf of the seller, the German Amazon has cancelled my order for the Cablesson HDelity HDMI Audio Extractor (ARC). I don’t really know whether they cannot or will not deliver the device, but the cancellation bugs me a bit, as I was looking forward to having the device solve my digital to analog conversion problem. The somewhat cheap alternative is a similar device by the brand ViewHD, but the seller apparently only ships from the USA at the moment, which means I will end up paying more for postage, import tax and fees than for the device itself. There are also more expensive alternatives, like devices from Luxi Electronics, but I refuse to pay four to five times the price of a Raspberry Pi for the functionality. At the moment I “survive” by using the DAC is my tv, i.e. my amplifier is connected to the headphone out on the tv. I have discovered that it doesn’t produce as bad sound as I initially thought. The volume on the tv just have to be set to max. The sound quality is decent, but the solution is a bit impractical, as the tv must be turned on and I have to remember turning the volume back down when disconnecting the amplifier. Oh well… It’s the little things 🙂

Update, 13:52:42: I almost forgot that I have been out hunting with Nordthy Jagtforening on a cold but very beautiful Saturday. In total, 10-12 roe deer were observed, while two were shot. I missed on a forest snipe. The headline was fox hunting, but no foxes were shot. As far as I remember one was observed, though. The day traditionally ended with yellow split-pea soup, sausages, bacon, potatoes, mustard, beetroot, schnapps, etc.

A new year begins

Weight training in Østerild Multicenter on December 27, 2012 - the shirt reads "pedal force, yes please" :-)Many exciting things happened in my life in 2012, and I had a plan to go through most of them in post. A huge task in itself. Moreover, I wanted to write about what I’ve done during the Christmas holidays and how I celebrated New Year’s Eve. I have realized, however, that I will never get that utopian post written properly, and that if I did, it would become too long for anybody to read. So many good intentions, so little time. I actually write less on the blog when I experience a lot, because no time is left for reporting… After all, it must be better to live in the moment than to always think about how to present it afterwards.

Here is a few headlines from 2012:

    • I began the year by saying goodbye to my old workplace Telenor and welcome to Netic. Also, I moved from the western part of Aalborg to the eastern part. I had 1.5 km from home to work, when I worked at Telenor. Now I have 1 km. After a year I’m still very happy with both my new workplace and my new apartment.
    • I trained for Copenhagen Marathon, but I couldn’t run it due to an injury. I travelled to Copenhagen and was a spectator, which was also a touching experience. The injury was the cause for my shift to minimalistic running in FiveFingers and Vivobarefoot Evo II. I cannot yet determine whether it has helped or not.
    • I attended an awesome Rammstein concert in Herning on February 22.
    • I ran a very brutal half marathon, Thy Trail (Half) Marathon, on February 26.
    • I attended Top Gear Live in Copenhagen with my work colleagues on March 31.
    • I participated in the Silverstone Challenge with a number of my work colleagues on April 24. Everybody should try that! This was my second trip to the UK ever – my first trip was in May 2011.
    • I became ITIL v3 Foundation certified on June 11-13.
    • I attended Nibe Festival with my work colleagues on July 7.
    • I attended TheCamp.dk in week 30 (give or take, i.e. July 21-28), where I, together with my friend and work colleague Georg Sluyterman, held a long and technical talk about DNSSEC.
    • I attended the wedding of my two good friends, Mads Chr. Olesen and Jane Billestrup, on August 4.
    • I participated in the relay running event at Elektronik Cup with my work colleagues on August 17.
    • I attended the wedding of my two good friends, Troels and Lone Frøkjær Christensen, on September 1.
    • I attended the 10-year anniversary party for my workplace on September 29-30.
    • I bought my first car, a Toyota Aygo from 2008, on October 1. This was approx ten years after I got my driving license. I managed to drive approx 4,000 km during October, November and December.
    • I participated in Xtreme Mandehørm Aalborg with Hans Jacob Møller and Morten Klingenberg on October 6.
    • I participated in BakkeChallenge in Silkeborg (beautiful but exhausting 10 km of forest) with Hans Klemmensen on November 3.
    • Together with my brother, Christian Toft, I was photographed, such that we were able to give our parents (and grandparents) a photography of us. This happened on a very cold and windy Friday morning on November 23 at Click Foto in Aalborg.
    • I became 28 on November 26. I’m becoming somewhat old, hmm…
    • My parents’ silver wedding anniversary was on November 27.
    • I had my car treated with a Dinitrol anti-rust treatment on November 28.
    • I attended the Christmas party for my workplace on December 1-2.
    • My parents held a very fine party for family and close friends on December 8, where their silver wedding anniversary and my mother’s 50-year birthday were celebrated.
    • My mother became 50 on December 15.
    • I held a small, semi-spontaneous party on New Year’s Eve for my three friends Steffen Troldtoft, Kenneth Holleufer and Chris Nielsen. I had made shrimp cocktails and braised roast beef. The roast was served with baked potatoes, onions and carrots from the braising of the roast, garlic bread, homemade brown sauce, salad and a delicious bottle of 2012 game-wine from Holte Vinlager. The dessert was icecream with caramel sauce and waffles.

Apparently, “a few” is now redefined to be 24 🙂

I hate to use the term “New Year’s resolution”, so I will not, but I’ve decided to start getting up early and do most of my training in the morning. My circadian rhythm will no longer move daily, at least when I haven’t been to a party and haven’t had my sleep disturbed by work.

My left ankle is sore at the moment, so regarding fitness I’m focusing on eating healthy and doing weight training rather than running. Besides that, I’m playing with a Raspberry Pi, which will be my new media center.

Update, 2012-01-05 07:07:42: Like 2011, 2012 didn’t bring a girl into the picture. It didn’t even bring real desire to go look for one. No, I’m not gay. No, I don’t think it’s wrong to be gay. A few of my best friends are.

Plans for the Christmas holidays

Do you have plans for the Christmas holidays? I do 😉

Unlike last year, where I spent a large part of my Christmas holidays closing loose ends at my previous employer (before leaving), I have true freedom this year. Some of my plans, if you disregard celebrating Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve:

  • Run, preferably in my new Vivobarefoot Evo II shoes, if I receive them before Christmas (update: I did! Wee!)
  • Hunt, both with rifle and shotgun.
  • Finish reading the book Born to Run and start reading the book Flaskepost fra P.
  • Configure and use my Raspberry Pi, if I receive it before Christmas (update: I didn’t… second update: I’ll get it on December 22! Wee!)
  • Do some light weight training in the fitness center.
  • Change the bulbs in my car’s dash board/heater module, if I don’t get it done before Christmas.
  • Participate in the annual family Christmas party.

Christmas 2012