Blogs > Lighten Up With Jim

55-year-old James Horejs, of Mentor, is a contestant in The News-Herald's Lighten Up in 2013.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

New Aerobic Activity

Things have a way of working out.  I was trying really hard to break 160 lbs by the weigh-in, but missed by less than a pound.

The reason was obvious.  It was something I have tried to avoid the entire duration of this contest: an injury.

Last Tuesday, I was running on the track at the Y on a day that was too hot for outside.  I got a cramp in my calf, then tried slowing down to a jog to loosen it up.  Big mistake.  I heard a pop, pulled up lame after about 30 minutes and needed a few days of rest.  Although I feel 30 years younger now, my 55 year-old brain took over and said "Forget this.  Rest up until you are 100 percent."

Just as I started to feel better with virtually no pain, I was climbing up the basement stairs the other day and felt the same funny calf muscle pull.  Another two days off.

With Fourth of July weekend and our first barbeque approaching on Saturday, I discovered a new "aerobic" activity: building a BBQ smoker.  This has been an ongoing project and is truly an engineering marvel - my adult science project that puts out really good food.

Your average BBQ smoker is an ashtray compared to this baby.  And it has all the bells and whistles: an industrial automation controller, automatic cook chamber door opener, 3-zone industrial-grade temperature sensors, and a light beacon to indicate whether hickory wood needs to be added to the firebox.  And these are only a few features.

You may scoff all you want at this project, but believe me, building it is WORK.  Real work.  Handling firebrick and steel bars weighing 10 or 20 lbs apiece, bending, lifting, climbing and stooping over to grind, weld, and assemble this monstrosity is physically grueling.  Some nights, this work goes on into the wee hours.  It is a labor of my love of BBQ.

Not surprisingly, after only a couple days of this slave labor, I hit my intermediate goal of under 160 lbs this morning.  Fabricating a few more accessories for my cooker will probably get me to my final weight goal.  And get me a cool cooker as a bonus.  A win-win situation.

Now I know what all the contestants mean who blog about gardening.  The bending and stooping has to be a real workout.

It's Tuesday.  Why doesn't Cabanas have baby back ribs on the Light Menu?


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