Loyal Blog Readers: Please Help Me Get Less Fat.

Happy New Year!!  Like the start of every other new year dating back to 2001, 2014 began with me making irrational commitments that I am unlikely to keep.  This year, I resolved to blog every week, to eat healthy, to be a more positive person, to get back into shape and to once and for all stop asking for things from other people.

What’s that you say?  “But, Rob.  You’ve never asked for anything from us before, and I love your blog so much that I would be willing to do anything to get you to write more or get back into shape.  And I do mean anything.”

Wow, you’re kind of a dirtbag, random internet reader, aren’t you?  It appears that we are on the same page, and because I’ve never asked you for anything before (other than your unfailing loyalty, an occasional facebook share or retweet, parenting advice, and money) now seems like a perfect time to hit you up for even more money!

http://www.crowdrise.com/freshairfundnychalf2014/fundraiser/robpollak (Pretty much click any link on my blog for more info.)

Before I get to the nitty-gritty details of just what I need from you, here’s a quick update on the end of 2013 (none of which should be to surprising if you a) have the internet, b) have a phone, c) know me personally, d) are the NSA, or d) stalk me and my family in some other way :  Anne and I welcomed our son Owen into the world on August 14th:

Inline image 2

Much like Owen, who has been growing steadily since August, my waist line (not pictured above) has been climbing its way up the growth chart.   That’s why I need your help!

Weight v Time

In an effort to reclaim what I once had – a perfect greek statuesque physique – I have committed to the NYC Half Marathon in the name of charity.  (Click here to donate!!)

Now, you may recall that I have made bold commitments like this in the past.  Three times I registered for the NYC marathon, and three times I failed to run further than 3 miles while training.  In each of those failed attempts, something was missing:  Outside forces to make me feel shame and guilt if I fail in my challenge.

If you hadn’t let me down so badly in those past efforts, here’s what I might have looked like crossing the finish line of the famed NYC Marathon:

Inline image 4Instead, I made it through about 1/30th of my training schedule, and most of those efforts looked very very sad.  Like this:

Runwalk

So in the name of charity, I am inviting you to be the physical embodiment of my shame.  Your heckling and jeering during training should push me to the finish line.  Because I know it will be nothing compared to the heckling you will spew upon me should I fail.

Picture it:  Every morning when I wake up at 6 am to brave the elements and log my miles, I will be thinking of you.  I will be counting my blessings that you were generous enough to give a little bit (a lot) of your hard-earned cash to me.

I mean, what could I possibly doing at 6 am other than going out for a run on a 9 degree day?  Not sleeping, of course.  It’s impossible to sleep with an infant at 6 am.

Inline image 5

So thanks so much!  (you dick…)

As always, each donation will earn you a valuable gift that I may or may not follow through on.  (Probably not if we’re being honest with each other).  In the spirit of the Olympics, you can achieve three levels:

Bronze Donor

– All donors who contribute any amount above $0 will receive a Rob Complains autographed drawing.  It will look something like this (autographed not pictured to maintain claims of authenticity):

Rob FAF

(That’s a door not a penis on the building, you sicko)

Silver Donor ($50 or more)

You will receive the entire bronze package PLUS:

– A phone call (or email if you’re scared to give me your digits) from me directly thanking you for your efforts.  I will not be offended if you send me straight to voicemail, but I won’t try to call back.  So, if you don’t answer, that’s really a win-win for everyone.

Platinum Donor (Contribute $100 or more)

You will receive the entire silver and bronze package PLUS:

– You may select the topic for one blog post that will appear on robcomplains.com within 4 weeks of your donation.

Holy S**t Donor Level (Contribute $500 or more)

– Wow.  Just tell me what you want from me.  It’s yours.

Welp, that’s all I’ve got to say.  I guess I should mention that I’m running on behalf of the Fresh Air Fund, an organization that does good things for people.

And in case you missed the 17,000 links posted about, here’s one more link to where you can donate:

http://www.crowdrise.com/freshairfundnychalf2014/fundraiser/robpollak

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A surefire way to offend a room full of pregnant woman

I learned a valuable lesson recently.  When dealing with pregnant women, it’s sometimes best to keep certain thoughts to yourself, even when those thoughts may be factually accurate and supported by science.

Let me explain.  A few years ago, before I discovered yoga, I fancied myself something of a runner.  I was no Dean Karnazes, but my weekly mileage often soared into the double digits.  I envisioned a future filled with health and happiness, jogging strollers and Gu packs, spandex onesies and body glide.

All those dreams disappeared one cruel day at the TriBeCa Equinox.  Fresh off a sub-60 minute 10-K, I set out to become the world’s chubbiest sprinter by employing a training theory called “Speed Work.”  To do speed work, you supposedly just start at a nice warm up pace and then add periods of sprinting followed by a nice easy cool down.  I did my first speed work session on a treadmill.  I began with a nice warm up at 6.0 MPH and, when the time was right, cranked that puppy up to 6.2.  Whoa baby!  I had that thing  humming!   I loved speed work!

I’m a very logical person, so the next week when I tried speed work, I thought I should progress to see whether I’d improved.  Indeed I had.  I did my short warm up at 6.0 MPH and then steadily increased the speed to about 100000 MPH.  Here’s a video of what happened:

About half way into my last lap of speed work, I pounded my foot into the treadmill belt and screamed out in pain.  Fine, it was more of a yelp.  Or a whimper.  But holy hell did it hurt.  I limped off the treadmill and immediately consulted a medical professional, WebMD, where I learned that I definitely had either cancer or scoliosis.

Some more research and a trip to an actual doctor confirmed my worst fears.  I had something called Morton’s Neuroma, a thickening of the nerves between the third and fourth toes.  Anne still questions the existence of this condition.

Although I am prone to exaggerate things, I hope you’ll believe me when I describe the pain.  It felt like there was a little pebble in my shoe and every time I took a step, the pebble caused me a slight degree of discomfort.  On some mornings, the pain got so bad that I would take one, or maybe even two Tylenol.  On the worst day, I had to use extra strength gel capsules.

You might be asking yourself, “why is Rob talking about Morton’s Neuroma?  How does this relate to offending pregnant women?”  Good question, and believe me, I know exactly what you’re thinking.  You’re thinking, “why is this jackass trying to predict what I may be asking myself right now.  He doesn’t know me.  He doesn’t know anything about me.  I wish he’d just write about yoga again.  Or interview Ryan again.  That guy was funny.”

Well it turns out that studies have shown that Morton’s Neuroma may be as painful as childbirth (refer to the section on symptoms).  Lucy Waite, a well-established blog commenter over at the Angry Orthopod summed it up best.  She said, “[The] only comparison [to Morton’s Neuroma” is natural child-birth, which I did four times.”

A comparison of pain - Morton's Neuroma and Child Birth - Drawing by Rob Pollak

Who knows if the pain caused by Morton’s Neuroma actually is anything like child-birth.  Lucy Waite, that’s who.  But in case you don’t believe her, then let me give you some helpful advice:  If you ever find yourself in a hypnobirthing class where scared pregnant women are discussing their fears about pain, just keep your mouth shut.  I promise you that they will not feel comforted when you say, “Actually, I’ve had a Morton’s Neuroma, and according to studies conducted by researchers at KimsFoot.Com, it is supposedly just as painful as child-birth.  I didn’t think it was so bad, actually.  In fact, a little cortisone should clear it right up.”

A Reflection on my 2012 Goals that I’m Retroactively Setting for Myself Right Now

Around Thanksgiving of last year, I set out to write a blog post reviewing my accomplishments from 2011 and setting my goals for 2012.  I never got around to it though, because just the thought of embarking on such a task sent me into a tailspin of creative blocks and self-loating that lasted for the rest of my life.  Or at least until my mom sent me on a yogic retreat intended for women experiencing midlife crises.

But now that a year has passed, my creative blocks have disappeared, and my outlook on life has shifted from severe cynicism to just mildly severe cynicism, it seems like a perfect time to reflect on 2012 and retroactively set the goals that I might have imagined for myself a year ago.  Then, I can reflect on how successful I was at achieving those goals.

Goals

Goal 1:  Set attainable goals for myself and then periodically measure my progress.

Damnit!  How can I fail at retroactive goals, you moron?  All I have to do is list out all of my achievements for the year and pretend that they were my goals and then I’ll feel really great about myself.  But nooooo, instead the first one I list is an utter failure.  Damn you mildly severe cynicism!

Okay.  Start over.  Goal number two can be to use the rest of this blog post to imagine what 2011 me might have written on New Year’s Eve 2011 for present me to reflect upon in a hilarious blog post that present me would write while wearing jeans that he had not washed for the entirety of the year.

–A brief aside:  Disregarding for a second that what I am about to say addresses a topic that most certainly has a correct answer, and that I am not sure whether I fall on the good side or bad side of that answer, or that I don’t care about which side I am, here’s something that’s bothering me:  

      I hate people that use the word “an” instead of the word “a” before a word that starts with H and has a hard H sound.  That’s why I said “a hilarious” not “an hilarious.”  I would also say “an hour” because I don’t say “an how-er,” I say “an ow-er.”  Ow starts with a vowel.  How doesn’t.  Did I make this more confusing because hour and how both start with Hs?  How would one spell the sound a hard H makes?  Eight-ch?  Speaking of eight-ch, who decided that g and h should go together?  Ghod?  Probably not, right?  Any way, this whole thought process is giving me an headache.  It’s a probably as ghood a time as any to return to the list of failures goals I set for 2012. 

 

Goal 2:  Run the New York City Marathon

In December of last year, I had hit the nadir of my running life.

graphUnless nadir means top, in which case I mean zenith.  So in an effort to get back in the game and enjoy running again, I came up with an elaborate plan:

Step 1: I forced myself to run the NYC half marathon (check)

Step 2:  I swore I would run my personal record time for that race (check)

Step 3:  Right now, I amended step two to clarify the the word “record” could mean either the fastest or slowest time I’d ever run.  Both would be records, right?  (nailed it!) (suck it mildly severe cynicism!)

Step 4:  While on the 45 minute walk home from the finish line, shivering from the cold, dehydrated, hating running and myself, thinking of nothing other than how I never wanted to ever run ever again in my life for any reason whatsoever, decide that I should definitely run the New York City marathon this year.   (check)

Step 5:  Cancel my entry for the marathon even though canceling does not benefit in me in any way.  It is a courtesy to the New York Road Runners so that they can plan their race accordingly and order one less water.

Step 6:  Have ING and NYRR cancel the marathon and allow all entrants to run the race in a future year!  Except for those who canceled their entry as a courtesy to ING and NYRR.

So, I’m doubly screwed.  Since even if I had spent the entire year training for the marathon my dreams would have been shattered, I am calling this one a win!  Mission accomplished, MF’ers!  I’m a marathoner!

runpic2

Goal 3:  Visit the gym 120 times.

120 visits has been a steady goal of mine since 2008, when I first joined fancy pants Equinox on a whim.  I remember it well because Anne and I had just moved to the Upper West Side, and we both agreed that me joining the fancier (but closer & eucalyptus towel sporting) gym would most likely turn out to be an enormous waste of money.  But I was really lazy, so I disregarded our collective common sense and signed up for Equinox with the promise that I would make sure to visit 120 times for the year.  An impossible goal to achieve, but one that would justify the cost.

Turns out that it worked!  Maybe it was the eucalyptus towels, maybe it was the angle of the mirrors that made me appear slightly less pudgy than I really was, or maybe it was the layout of the locker room in the Connecticut gyms that ensures every other guy will walk nude for an extremely inappropriate distance before grabbing a towel.  No one can be sure.

Whatever it was that got me 120 times in 2008 did not help me this year, when I only had 110 visits.  Why even bother?   I did some research on this, and for optimal results, you should be working out 2 hours a day.  At least according to science:

How many days should i work out    Yahoo  Answers

How many days should i work out    Yahoo  Answers

Goal 4:  Write a blog post that is published by an online media outlet that shares a name with an animal typically found in zoos:

Whoa!  Nailed this one.  Great job, 2012 Rob!:

http://www.elephantjournal.com/2012/12/9-things-i-learned-from-my-first-year-of-yoga-rob-pollak/

Readers, I’ll need your help to achieve a related goal in 2013.  Even after a really great day, fewer people viewed my article than viewed an article titled, “Your ugly vagina is normal and gorgeous.”  So if you want to make me more popular than an ugly vagina, then share my link!  By the way, I’m not linking to the ugly VJJ article for obvious reasons.  (the obvious reason being that you will click and then it will continue to rack up more views than my article).

Goal 5:  Build up my blog a little bit and then lose all of my followers.

Wait, that doesn’t seem like something 2011 me would set out to do.  Oh, ok 2012 Rob.  Then why mention an article about ugly vaginas?  You’re going to drive everyone away.  Or will I?  Google Analytics says that in 2012 the search term that most often directed people to my blog was “Jamaican Penis?”  (This is the space where I am providing a link to the post about Jamaica so no one has to click on a link with the word penis [but if you like clicking on penises, then this is for you: 8======> ) (FYI if you’re reading this mom – that’s internet slang for a picture of a penis).  So if you’ve found me through either of these search terms, Welcome!  Bienvenue!  Bonvenon!  G’Day!  And if that offended you, I’m sorry to see you go.  But at least I won’t have to draw any more thank you pictures.  See ya suckers.

Goal 6:  Eat 200 pints of ice cream.

Finally!  I totally nailed this one.  And not only did I accomplish it, I completed the whole thing by February.

icecream

Up next – My goals for 2013…if I get around to it.