Treadmill Desk: my first EOW report

Totals for the five-day work week:

This is 7 a.m., morning hair and breathing treatments. Yes, @seanset, those are my new whale boxers.  The good part about my wife discovering the blog is that she can pictures.  However, I thought I looked like a cool, hip dude while I was multitasking. This picture proves I'm more like that guy at Venice Beach who plays the harmonica, guitar and knee cymbals all at one time. How depressing.

This is 7 a.m., morning hair and breathing treatments. Yes, @seanset, those are my new whale boxers.
The good part about my wife discovering the blog is that she can take pictures. However, I thought I looked like a cool, hip dude while I was multitasking. This picture proves I’m more like that guy at Venice Beach who plays the harmonica, guitar and knee cymbals all at one time. How depressing.

Time Walking: 24.77 hours

Steps taken: 71,050

Miles walked: 21.26

Calories burned: 3,951

Mini M&M’s eaten: 3,951

Body weight: Forgot to check this morning

Thoughts for the week:

If you’re considering a treadmill desk and are not an Olympian, or have not exercised enough in the past 12 months, listen to me closely, please. Do not overdo it during your first week.

After five straight days of walking, I can’t walk anymore. Everything from my waist down hurts, is tight, is sore. And if I were to sit down on the couch right now, I would Rip Van Winkle it and wake up on Monday.

TGIF carries new meaning as I try to find a comfortable position while sitting. I’m 14 again with growing pains. Motrin, if I could take it, would help. I’m considering half a pain pill.

Now, despite my whining and crying, and fighting through the aches and pains this week with my OCD running wild, I am so glad I bought this LifeSpan treadmill. I really enjoy walking while working. That’s it. I like it better than sitting. And once I get conditioned, I’m sure I’ll like it even more.

The big surprise of the week: how much I enjoy walking after dinner. I didn’t expect that would happen.

And, best of all, I’m getting better at harder tasks, such as concentrating on conference calls and eating M&M’s, while walking. It was more difficult earlier in the week.

At times during my stressful week, the treadmill really helped. I can’t explain it. The rhythm? Exercise? Concentration on walking and not the stress? Who knows, but this week came with crazy, “why do I work for a corporation,” stress, and I still managed to overdo it and log good steps and miles.

So, a giant “thank you” and writer’s hug to Susan Orlean and her article about treadmill desks. The universe led me to it and I followed its lead. Luck rains down on me once again.

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Treadmill Desk: Day Three

Day-Three Results

(Sung to the Nancy Sinatra version) These boots were made for walking, and that's just what they do, all day, while I work.  Okay, it kind of sucks, but I'm tired.

(Sung to the Nancy Sinatra version) “These boots were made for walking, and that’s just what they’ll do, all day, while I work.”
Okay, it kind of sucks, but I’m tired from walking in those boots all day.

Time Walking: 6 hours, 1 minute

Steps taken: 17,340

Miles walked: 5.12

Calories burned: 945

Body weight: Who cares after three days

Thoughts:

My calves are broken. I don’t think they work anymore. It’s like I’m wearing ski boots, but not.

After stretching on the floor this afternoon, I couldn’t get up and had to crawl to the chair for support to stand up again.

Late this afternoon, I sat down on the couch next to my daughter. Then I was asleep. Bang, just like that, lights out, until my wife woke me for dinner.

Holy mother of god, this walking stuff is almost like exercise. Who knew sitting all day wasn’t a sport.

I find it easier to walk 6 hours over the course of the day than to exercise on a treadmill for 30 minutes watching the clock. Time on the hamster wheel moves unlike any other form of time. (Thanks to @seanset for calling me a hamster, indirectly.)

If I could still take Motrin, I’d down one of those 800mg tablets like I was drinking the finest wine ever made. I may dream of Motrin tonight.

When I take a break from work now, I sit down.

Treadmill Desk: Day Two

The good news for today is that I start the TOBI Podhaler tonight for the first time. However, I'd like to speak to Novartis about the design of the packaging. It's a little bit feminine. Can they create a more masculine design and color scheme? Camouflage with dead bacteria piled up would work for me.

The good news for today is that I start the TOBI Podhaler tonight for the first time. However, I’d like to speak to Novartis about the design of the packaging. It’s a little bit feminine. Can they create a more masculine design and color scheme? Camouflage with drawings of bloody, dead bacteria heaped in open graves would work for me.

[I’m behind on replying to your comments. My apologies.]

Day Two Results

Time Walking: 4 hours, 37 minutes

Steps taken: 10,850

Miles walked: 2.93

Calories burned: 652

Body weight: Didn’t check. It’s only been one day.

Thoughts:

I overdid it yesterday and the CF gods punished me for my hubris.

I didn’t feel so hot when I woke up this morning, and I had some mild hemoptysis (lungs opening up yesterday? Desatting?).

My lower back is sore and my ass hurts. And my calves feel like someone whacked them with a cricket bat (that’s for all the Brits who read my blog while sitting on the can).

My wife wasn’t surprised when I told her my results yesterday and how I was hurting today. “You always overdo it, don’t you?” she said, or something close to that. Yes, I do. And I completely ignored the advice everyone gives about starting out slowly on your treadmill desk, which you’ll ignore too when you get yours. (You know who your are.)

So, overall, I was in pretty bad shape today and had to walk at a snail’s pace throughout the day. Yet, even slowly, I put some miles behind me. And I got my work done.

After dinner, my wife was amazed, yes, amazed, when I got back on the treadmill to work and didn’t sit down. Wasn’t I tired? Yes, I was, but that’s exactly it: the treadmill improves energy, the chair doesn’t. I’ve had it backwards all of these years.

Key lessons learned:

For the second day: the more the complicated the work, the slower I have to walk. It takes concentration to walk on a treadmill and keep your balance. Reaching for a pen or nebulizer while on a moving belt is like that moment where you slip on a wet floor but catch yourself just in time. Whew, that was close. Now I know why the treadmill I have has a speed limit of 4 mph.

You can’t pace back and forth on a treadmill, but you can dance. I did spend time pacing back and forth a lot today, but not on the treadmill. Rather, in my house, as work was a stressful, solid 11-hour day.

Here’s today’s work joke: How many [insert your job title in plural] does it take to screw in a light bulb? One, and nine managers, GMs, and VPs to tell him/her nine different ways it should be done and take credit for it when it’s finished. 

Ah, corporate life and decision-making by committee. Delightful.

Keep on trucking.

Treadmill Desk: Day One

Day one results:

Time walking: 4.0 hours

4 hours on the nose. Now I just have to do this for the rest of my life, or the rest of the work days in my life.

4 hours on the nose. Now I just have to do this for the rest of my life, or the rest of the work days in my life.

Steps taken: 15,130

Miles walked: 5.18

Calories burned: 757

Body weight: 213.5

Day 1 lessons learned:

  • I can read and type an email response and control the mouse at up to 2.5 mph. No problem. If I need to concentrate, I have to reduce the speed.
  • Treadmills generate heat. And in my small office it can be hot in the summertime. Our AC bill is going to go up.
  • My hip is killing me. Not sure why. When I walk the dogs, it never bothers me. Something about my stride on the treadmill isn’t right. I hope this won’t be a deal breaker, but I am concerned. Hopefully, my legs and surrounding muscles will continue to strengthen and the pain will go away.
  • My posture is much better on the treadmill than sitting. When I sat down today, I was surprised by how upright I was.
  • “Treadmill fail” videos are funny. Type it into youtube and prepare to laugh. I almost wiped out a couple of times today.
  • My friend Dr. Nanos would enjoy something like this. Or I think she would.
  • Wearing the Vest and doing breathing treatments while walking takes some coordination, though it seemed like my doses of hypertonic saline went fast. I need to time them on and off the treadmill.
  • Life is good.

Walking AT work: My new treadmill desk

Sitting is the new smoking.

And, as of tomorrow, Monday, I will be working while I walk. Albeit, at the very slow pace of 0.7 mph, but moving and not sitting. And that’s what counts.

I’m now the proud owner of a LifeSpan walking treadmill, and builder of a homemade treadmill desk because I was too frugal to buy the fancy one that came with the treadmill.

This idea started when I read an excellent article in The New Yorker written by Susan Orlean about treadmill desks and the dangers of sitting all day. They’re bad, the dangers. In fact, as I told my wife, it’s more dangerous parking your ass all day if you’re a woman. My prediction: She’ll be using one of these within the next 6 months.

So, after weeks of reviewing treadmill ads on Craigslist, and having one sold before I could get there and finding another that required a moving crew to get it out of the condo, I decided not to take the risk of buying a dud with rat-chewed wiring and spiders living in it, and splurged and bought a new one designed for walking and working.

Saturday, I spent the afternoon building my desk. The first one I designed mirrored the one I didn’t buy and was pretty complicated, with lots of moving parts. So, as I didn’t want to spend two days building a desk, I pretended I was water and took the easiest path downhill: I attached brackets to the wall and a piece of wood for the desk. Total cost: around $40, which made the blow of the treadmill cost easier to swallow. Barely.

Here are some pictures. And here’s a nice page on the dangers of sitting, including some nice simple graphics that even idiots like me can understand. Sitting is killing you

I cleared out a bookcase and made room for the treadmill. These things are big and I have a small office. At first, I thought I'd slide it under my desk, but it was too cramped. So, bookcase to the garage and treadmill to the corner.

I cleared out a bookcase and made room for the treadmill. These things are big and I have a small office. At first, I thought I’d slide it under my desk, but it was too cramped. So, the bookcase moved to the garage and treadmill took its place.

I bought three brackets from Home Depot and mounted 2x4s on each. This way, if I'm not happy with the height I can take the 2x4 out or add to it. I thought about putting a cleat around the wall but I didn't think it would give the desk enough support beyond the wall and I'd need a leg or two. It's amazing how long it took me to find the studs and put the brackets in.

I bought three brackets from Home Depot and mounted 2x4s on each. This way, if I’m not happy with the height I can take the 2x4s out or add to them. I thought about putting a cleat around the wall but I didn’t think it would give the desk enough support beyond the wall and I’d need a desk leg or two. It’s amazing how long it took me to find the studs and put the brackets in, but I’m slow in the head, so it makes sense.

I bought this $22 piece of pine at Home Depot, where they've finally hired employees to help customers, thankfully. My wife helped out and put two coats of amber shellac on it. I added three more. I thought about using melamine, but I'm just a wood guy. Just am, always will be.

I bought this $22 piece of pine at Home Depot, where they’ve finally hired employees to help customers, thankfully. My wife helped out and put two coats of amber shellac on it. I added three more. I thought about using melamine, but I’m just a wood guy. Just am, always will be. (BTW, the sprinklers were on when I set this up for my wife to shellac. The board was a little wet and I told her it would be fine. I forgot shellac isn’t water based. Oops. She was pissed.)

Here it is, ready to go. Monday morning I'll be working and working on improving my health. It's a win/win. I still have some work to do with the cords, as one of my plugs isn't working properly.

Here it is, ready to go. Monday morning I’ll be working and working on improving my health. It’s a win/win. I still have some work to do with the cords, as one of my plugs isn’t working properly. I’ll get it all cleaned up and looking pretty. Or not.

Father’s Day 2013 and other thoughts

I’m grateful for my wife and daughter and two labs, though the black one is a pain in the ass sometimes, but in a good way, or not. I’m not sure.

So, I received white boxers with blue whales on them, Godiva chocolate bars (because I’m eating a lot of it to keep me going during long workdays), and noise-reducing headphones to protect my Tobramycin-damaged hearing while I use power tools.

Best of all, my wife wrote a long note all about me and how great I am. I wrote back right away and asked who she was writing about and how I’d like to meet the guy who does all of this stuff.

I’m not going to post the entire letter here, as I don’t think I can live up to the high bar it sets, but here is one of my favorite quotes: “The father who quizzes us on how to spot potentially unsavory characters on the street and what we should do in any potentially risky situations.”

You bet I do, baby. And you better pass that quiz each time. Keep your eyes open for those “unsavory” types, though I’m not sure I’ve ever used the word “unsavory,” which makes me think of poorly cooked food, not scumbags.

This reminds me of one of the first dates I was on with my future wife. I had a black soft-top Jeep Wrangler and we were in West LA stop and go traffic and one of them thar’  (cowboy voice) “unsavory” types approached my honey bunny while we were waiting at a light. With no windows on the Jeep and no six-shooter at my hip, I had to use my highly advanced communication skills to defuse the situation.

“BACK OFF, dickweed,” I said.

What did he call me?  © igor - Fotolia.com

What did he call me?
© igor – Fotolia.com

Being that my wife is a nice catholic girl and lived a sheltered life, her first question was, “What’s a dickweed?”

It was a really tough question. And I wasn’t sure how to answer it. But I guess my overpowering delivery won her heart and she stayed with me. I’ll never understand why, but then it’s never a good idea to question or analyze love.

It just is, and I’m lucky I have it.

Holland saves my blog

I gave some deep thought to quitting this blog after my last post. Then the comments started rolling in – 4 of them.

I have four readers?

Holy cow. How did I get that many readers? That’s four times as many as I thought I had.

I can’t quit my blog. There are four people out there crazier than I am and depend on my mad rants to make their day. I can’t let them down.

Or can I? Four readers? I’m sure they could find another blog. But I like those Four readers. Hmm, what to do? Stay or run?

And then I read the fourth and final comment and this quote: “if it helps… your blog is WORLD FAMOUS! Seriously, in holland, basically every single person reads it.”

Every person in Holland reads my blog?

If only I could fly, I'd visit my pals in the summer. © Lsantilli - Fotolia.com

If only I could fly, I’d visit my pals in the summer. © Lsantilli – Fotolia.com

Well, that’s a lot more people than four. What’s the population of Holland? (Let’s see, I have to multiply the number of tulips by the number of wooden shoes, then add the number of bicycles and windmills and divide by 1,000, which equals a population of 6,065,459. Or around that. Math isn’t an exact science after all.)

How could I possibly let down over 6 million hard working people from Holland? What kind of person would I be if I did that?

After all, I’m the David Hasselhoff of Holland! But without the singing.

So, thanks to my four readers and the region of Holland, I will continue to blog. My friends for life: Larry, Karyn, Tara, Djun and the best and smartest people in all of the Netherlands – those pals of mine in wonderful Holland.

Party like it’s your last, and always take the time to smell the tulips.

I heart Holland.