The Running of the Zombies

The Running of the Zombies

Anyone who follows Misdirected knows that I have a pretty simple rule I live by regarding weight loss/weight maintenance. The rule is this: Keep Moving. Every case of serious weight regain after bariatric surgery that I have been able to research had one thing in common. In every case, the patients (without exception!) stopped exercising.

So, it was with a certain amount of fear and trepidation that I hopped on the scale this morning. October has not been a good month for me. My writing production and my exercise both plummetted to nearly nothing. Now, there were some good reasons behind this – 10 days each of house-sitting and recovering from another round of kidney stones. But the fact remains that I have been sitting a heck of a lot more than I have been moving.

I was lucky – my weight is still dialed in at 177 pounds. I could have very easily taken a few steps back rather than maintaining the 175-ish weight I have settled in at. However, I’ve decided to reenergize my exercise routine. In honor of the season, and to really motivate me to get back in gear, I’ve decided to be pursued by flesh-eating mutants.

Umm, What?

For those who have no idea what the heck I am talking about, let me clue you in. I am referring to the 5K-training app called Zombies, Run! produced by Six To Start. The premise is simple – you are unceremoniously dropped into a post-apocalyptic wasteland filled with the walking dead and must run to avoid them. The catch is that you are a “Runner”, being directed by an air-traffic controller of sorts. This controller tells you when to speed up, when to slow down, etc.

The premise is brilliant, and it works extremely well. It doesn’t hurt that the story you are participating in is written by novelist Naomi Alderman. There is plenty of exposition, character development and, of course, sheer mind-numbing terror as your imagination (and audio cues) feeds you the idea that you are this close to being eating by a pack of mutated cannibals.

I was introduced to the concept by Wil Wheaton, (whose blog I follow semi-religiously) who has been using the app for his own self-improvement program. I had tried it last year but found that it didn’t lend itself to working out in a gym.

This year, I revisited it and found that it now works fabulously not only for free-form running but also for treadmills and other types of stationary exercise equipment. It has now replaced C25K as my 5K trainer of choice.

Amping Up The Creepies

One of the neat things about the software is that it enables you to run your own music in the background, during periods where the narrators aren’t directing your next moves. I had been using this to build an exercise-themed Spotify playlist to work out with.

But, the thought occurred to me…what if I could improve on the fight or flight factor?

So, instead, I am no longer using music as my soundtrack for running. Instead, I have loaded up Podcast Addict, and am streaming the entire run of the Lore podcast. If you don’t know about this, you should. It is some of the creepiest story-telling around. Narrator Aaron Mahnke delves into real-life tales of grim death and horror. These stories serve as the perfect background “music” for the increasingly scarier story developing with Zombies, Run.

It also is a great research tool for me as a horror writer. I am simultaneously working out and working. It is the kind of life hack that just makes me quiver. In fear. Of the monsters beneath the bed.

Those wanting to give their adrenal glands a break may want to stick with music from Nickelodeon or something, though. It can get a little rough at times the way I am doing it.

5K By December 31

And, though we may not get the opportunity to run in an “official” 5K before the end of the year, I am still determined to run a full 5K before the year is out. Lor and I will continue to train diligently. If we can’t find one to sign up for in December we will simply design a 5K course here in Albuquerque and run it ourselves. It seems a fitting way to close out the year that has seen so much personal and physical development for us.

In the interim, though, I will keep running from the blood-curdling horde of zombies that are right on my heels…and take “breaks” by listening to Aaron Mahnke talk about hauntings and mass murderers. To give my fight or flight system a rest.

There might be something wrong with me…

Hoping There Is A 10K Version Of “Zombies, Run” For Next Year,

Jeremy

My Thoughts on #MeToo

 

My Thoughts on #MeToo While I was away house-sitting, a social revolution erupted. Harvey Weinstein got himself deposed on the basis of his assaults on women. This led to a Net-wide discourse on sexual assault and harassment, which was topped off by Alyssa Milano creating the following Tweet on Twitter:

And the Internet exploded.

Hiding In Plain Sight

I’ve seen many a Twitter trend in my years near the platform. But I don’t know that I have ever seen one with such a broad demographic. Many authors I follow “Me-Too”-ed. But so did many of my friends, who’ve never mentioned it to me before. My wife, of course, was not hesitant to #MeToo, given some of the horrendous experiences she has endured over the years. But many of my female family members were also not silent, with aunts and cousins all speaking up about this shared awful experience. My own mother, for heaven’s sake, felt compelled to add her voice. Where there had been nothing, suddenly a tribe was forming through a public statement of two words. It was like watching a vast army erupt from nothing, all united against the foes that had spent so long hiding in plain sight.

I saw a few men, both gay and heterosexual, attempt to jump on board as well, I also read a few well-reasoned opinion pieces on why maybe they should remain silent. Their experiences are no less valid, of course – but this was, at its heart, a battle cry of millions of women who have been victimized by a system of male hierarchy and dominance. In my mind, this would be like joining a symposium on breast cancer and spending time talking about epilepsy. It is not that the subject is less valuable – it is just that this is not the time or place for that subject to be aired.

By The Way, #MeToo

I say that because I do not want my own silence in the Twitter uprising to be misunderstood. I will stand by and watch (and cheer) as these women gather together and recognize their numbers and their strength. Who knows what they will do with such a powerful consensus? In an age when an admitted sexual predator holds our nation’s highest office, there is no better time for these women to stand together and speak together with a single voice, demanding change.

However, Misdirected is my personal forum, and here I am perfectly comfortable saying whatever I wish. With those caveats in mind, here goes:

#MeToo

It was 1991, and I was only 21 years old. Those who know me know the department store I was working for at the time. An extremely aggressive female supervisor began making flirtatious advances. Then unwanted physical contact. And eventually began proposing sexual acts. I attempted to back off on the basis of my marriage and my religious beliefs. She was unmoved and unrelenting, being also married herself.

My male co-workers were of no help. Their opinion was unanimous: “Dude, you should just hit that.” Most were baffled as to why I would turn this woman down in the first place. My female friends at the store were sympathetic, but had some bad news for me: “You’re just going to have to put up with it.” They had, of course, been dealing with this kind of behavior from their supervisors for their entire careers.

Desperate, I spoke to the store manager. (There was no HR department to chat with in those days.) He grimaced, turned red, and said something to the effect of: “Yeah, Jeremy, sorry, but…no one is going to believe you.”

I quit the next day.

You Go, Girls

So, ladies, thank you for stepping up and stepping forward. I applaud your courage and your self-worth. And I can only hope that, out of this movement, changes will come.

The kind of changes that a single young man was not able to make because no one would ever believe him.

Sound familiar?

Stay Strong,

Jeremy

…And Here We Are Again

Jason Aldean Quote

I had a blog post ready to roll this morning. A charming little piece, talking about back-sliding and goal setting. Just the thing to inaugurate our re-focus on all things fitness here at Misdirected.

And I woke up this morning to a Facebook report from a close friend who had been at the Jason Aldean concert in Las Vegas last night. “Active shooter situation Mandalay Bay dozen or more shot shooters on 32nd floor…confirmed one officer down with GSW to neck.”

The Morning Brings No Answers

His post was dated seven hours ago. First, I confirmed that he was ok – he was still posting to FB as of a couple of hours ago, so I can breathe a sigh of relief that someone I really care about – someone who has been a surrogate son to Lor and me – is currently out of harm’s way. I quickly checked to see if my cousin, who also lives in Vegas, had checked in. Using the Facebook “Safety Check” he, too, had declared himself safe. Another sigh of relief.

Then, turning to CNN, I found out that a whole lot of other loved ones are not OK this morning.

Deadliest Mass Shooting in US History.” I won’t repeat the details here. I am no journalist, and you can get far better info than I can give you. But, once again, a single person (apparently) has decided to act upon their rage by attacking a large group of innocent people.

I don’t know what this person’s motivations were. In truth, I don’t particularly care. There is no motivation that justifies attacking thousands of people whose only crime was being in the wrong place at the wrong time. (Yes, that sounds like Queensryche, and no, I don’t particularly give a damn about that either right now.)

One man. More than 8 rifles. Thousands of fans enjoying Jason Aldean.

And now we have more than 50 people dead, and better than 400 injured.

And, today, my own perspective has shifted. These weren’t just random strangers I feel sort of vaguely bad about. My own family members were among those in harm’s way last night.

A Harsh Slice Of Reality

And the damnable thing is, I am a gun owner.

My guns are securely locked up in a gun safe miles away, but they are still mine.  I am part of what gets referred to as “gun culture” in the U.S.

You know, the same culture that works tirelessly to protect the rights of people who want to haul multiple rifles into a hotel room in Las Vegas.

I am sure that, as the days and weeks roll on, we are going to hear about the various laws that are already on the books that this shooter broke. The new gun control laws that would have had no effect, the existing laws that weren’t properly enforced…all the usual tropes and quotes that emerge after another mass shooting.

Yeah, there’s the rub right there, isn’t it? “Another mass shooting.”

And, in response, the families of nearly 500 people will be asking why something wasn’t done to protect their loved ones.

Kurt and Jeremiah, I am so thankful that you are safe.

But half a thousand other families have nothing to be thankful for this morning.

The gun control debate is about to get rolling again, and I am no longer sure I am on the right side of it.

Pray For Las Vegas,

Jeremy

 

I Am Officially Certifiable

Ace Personal Trainer Certificate

The rain was drizzling down not unlike Boston or Seattle when we pulled in the driveway last night. We had spent 12 of the last 36 hours in the car and were worn down to nearly nothing. I shuffled over to the front door, unlocked it, then listlessly flopped open the mailbox, only to discover a certificate sized-envelope from ACE Fitness.

I then spent the next ten minutes running around the house in glee, shouting “It’s here! It’s here!”, much to the consternation of the puppies and the exhausted amusement of Lor. Funny, that.

Recognition In An Envelope

I eventually calmed down enough to open the envelope, and was able to spend a few moments basking in the glow of my achievement. There, in my hands, suitable for framing, was my ACE Fitness Personal Trainer Certificate.

You might find my enthusiasm a little odd. I’ve just finished getting my first book published. I’ve spent the last 14 months losing nearly half my body weight. Why all the excitement about a professional certification?

Mainly because I wasn’t sure I could manage to earn the certification.

My novel is very exciting. Losing 130+ pounds has been life-changing. But the certification…it involved using my brain. Extensively. Including parts that don’t work so well anymore – mainly my memory. I can barely remember my own name half the time. And I was supposed to learn enough to get through a 150 question exam? On subjects that I knew almost nothing about?

Remember, I am the guy that flunked out of Biology twice in High School.

So, yeah. This is a really, really big deal for me.

Base Camp Achieved

Let’s take a look back in the rear-view mirror, shall we?

In September of 2015, I was morbidly obese. I weighed almost 300 pounds, and the majority of life was barred from me.

 

In September of last year, I was 2 months out from bariatric surgery. I was down to 224 pounds and was beginning to think that I had achieved my weight loss goals.

And as of last night, I am professionally certified to assist others with their own fitness journeys. How about that?

If the “weight-loss” journey is like climbing a mountain, I can safely say I’ve reached a major base camp before tackling the higher parts of the ascent.

I needed a publisher to get my novel written. I needed an awesome medical team to get me started losing weight. But I had to take that ACE Fitness exam all by myself. With a broken brain, no less.

This achievement was personal.

The Climb Goes Ever Upwards

So, I am a certified professional. Now I am going to start taking on clients and building a practice, right?

Well, no. Not exactly.

I began my CPT training largely due to Misdirected. I kept fielding questions. About diet. Or about exercise. Maybe pertaining to obesity and surgery and genetics and fat-shaming.

And I did my best to answer these questions, I really did. But, anytime someone would ask me what my qualifications were, I would have to say something like “Well, I used to weigh a lot more…”

I realized that I was going to have to expand my scope of knowledge, and in an organized way. Certified education seemed to make the most sense. Since I am mainly dealing with questions about day-to-day life, becoming a personal trainer just made the most sense.

When creating content for Misdirected, I now have the backing of an international organization with 65,000+ healthcare professionals to draw on. I can look through my manuals, check online training, or chat with fellow trainers. I feel much more secure now, creating content from the perspective of a trained professional.

Also, this isn’t the end of my education. My intention all along has been to specialize in working with obese patients, especially those who are looking into or who have just gone through bariatric surgery. There is additional training available for me to broaden my knowledge in those fields. And I will be pursuing it, as time goes by.

A Laser-Like Focus

Also, now that I’ve split my fiction news off to a whole new website at the Ash Falls Gazette, Misdirected can get back to what it does best. We will return to exclusively focusing on weight loss, exercise, diet, and the occasional “this is my life” post. Many of you have requested that change, and here it is.

I am very excited to have made it this far with all of you! I look forward to our continued growth as a weight-loss and lifestyle change resource for you.

We’ll see you here next week. To stay plugged in throughout the week, remember to follow us on Twitter @tjschofield or on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/tjeremyschofield.

Keep Putting One Foot In Front Of The Other,

Jeremy C. Schofield

ACE Certified Professional Trainer

 

Boise Book Fest 2017

Boise Book Fest 2017

Howdy, readers! Bet you thought I had abandoned you, right?

But, no, actually I have been a little busy. First, I was sick as a dog. Then, after I recovered, I had to start preparing for the BIG IMPORTANT EVENT coming up in my life…

I am going to the Boise Book Fest. In Boise (duh), where I have never been. To hang around with the folks from Fiction Vortex, who I will be meeting in person for the first time.

But, most importantly, I will be going to Boise as an author. Like, of my very own book.

The Dream Is Real

As anyone who follows me on Facebook, Twitter, or here knows, I have been waiting for Inheritance to get published for several months now. And it turns out the book got to FV headquarters a couple of days ahead of schedule. (Our pre-order period is still in effect, though: 4 more days till the 15th, then they go up to full price!)

And, with that, I am officially “official.” Even if I never write another word of fiction (not likely), I will forever be a professional fiction author. People are actually paying to read a story I wrote.

How about that?

I was discussing this with my writing group over the weekend. Authors have very strange egos, consisting of multiple personalities. On the one hand, we think so much of the stories in our heads that we want to share them with the world. Egotism, maybe? Narcissistic personality disorder, possibly?

But, after the stories are created, we are inevitably crushed with self-doubt. Everything else we read is so much better than anything we could ever create. Why on Earth would anyone want to read what we have written? Much less pay for it?

I don’t know if I will ever cease being surprised when someone buys a copy of Inheritance. Check in with me after I’ve sold a few hundred thousand copies.

Into The Wild Blue Wonder

And so, it is with equal parts excitement and trepidation that I am planning on getting on a plane to head to Idaho.

For one thing, I am just flat out excited to go somewhere I’ve never been before. I love to travel and haven’t done much of it the past several years.

On the other hand, I’ll be sharing oxygen with several other, much more successful authors at this conference. That is a bit intimidating. Part of me wants to soak up brain-share from those who have Been There and Done That.

The other part of me wants to be recognized as an equal, fellow author.

I mentioned the split-personality thing previously, right?

Conferences are supposed to opportunities for learning. You should be spending your time in workshops, metaphorically sitting at the feet of the masters of the craft. Time should be invested in networking and making important contacts. If the opportunity presents itself you might meet a publisher or an agent who is interested in a potential project.

I, however, will be spending my time behind the Fiction Vortex table, explaining episodic fiction and trying to sell my books. Since I may have overestimated demand for our samplers on my initial order by about half a case’s worth.

Still, I will be doing even my sales routine as the author of a real, live book. Of my very own. That I totally wrote.

Who am I kidding? I am as giddy as a preteen at a One Direction concert.

One Direction is still a thing, right? I haven’t been paying attention – I’ve been busy writing a book.

Boise Here I Come,

Jeremy