by Michael Arnstein

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Otisville, Day 61

Today is 2 months in Otisville.There's been some down moments for sure, but it's mostly been very good if I'm being honest and speaking relatively about being in 'prison'. The really only bad experience here was when I was moved to a really crappy sleeping location about a month into being here. Part of the problem was having a roommate that was super-not-from-my-neck-of-the-woods if you know what I'm saying. Thankfully my situation improved quite a bit when I got a new bunkie, who is one of the best guys I'd want to room with here; so that's been helpful, but the location is still really bad and I hope to get permission to move sooner than later. Noisy, smells, can't sleep well, I force naps every day to make up for the situation.

Some stats:

I was 144 pounds when I got here.
I was 135 this morning (2 months in), which frankly was not very encouraging. I really thought I would have lost more weight in 2 months with the regular running I’m doing. My diet has been pretty amazing considering I’m supposed to be in a prison.

Most days are like how I ate today:
7 bananas, 5 apples, 7 kiwis, 7 brown pears, 650 calories of dates that I soak overnight in herbal tea, 700 calories of brown rice (small bag), some carrot and celery sticks.

I log my daily miles, I’m just over 800 miles as of today; been averaging over 100 miles a week, but not too much more than that usually. It might sound like a lot to most people, but when you have almost zero obligations and nothing but free time, running 2~ hours a day is really not that much. I almost always run twice a day. I don’t run much more than an hour at a time mainly due to the frustration of running in a 4/10th’s of a mile circle (parking lot). I also like running twice a day, breaks up the day which I like, helps with digestion, recovery and mental attitude vs running just one 2 hour run. the longest run here so far was 28 miles. I plan on running 100 loops (40 miles) sometime in the next few weeks when the weather and my mood say to go for it. That will surely be a ‘camp record’ here lol.
The weather is getting really nice lately, season is changing, almost all the snow is melted now, was in the 60’s a few days ago, I will run more when I can wear shorts (I’ve run over 800 miles in polyester pants, button down shirt and a belt!)

Started doing 100 push ups a day about 2 weeks ago (I do 4 sessions of 25 reps throughout the day).
I’ll get into the gym and maybe do some heavier stuff when I get below 128 pounds.
Just last week I started working in runs holding plastic water bottles that I filled with sand, they are about 2 pounds each, this has really made the running a full body workout.
I don’t think I’m going to be back in good shape by my own standards for another 2.5 months.

I have a good core group of guys that I get along really well with. I still haven’t scratched the surface with stories from all the other inmates, there’s some really awful ones, my situation is embarrassing to tell, most guys react to my story: ‘that’s it?!, they gave you 9 months for that?’ yea, kind of pathetic.
I never watch TV or listen to music yet, glad I don’t need that distraction, most guys don’t understand how I don’t watch TV or listen to music when I run. I’m really grateful I don’t need that stuff. I do like the social jokes and practical jokes these guys play on each other. Some guys have serious PTSD issues, I stay away from them, oh god so so glad I haven’t had to go to a real prison for 10 years like some of these guys, I might have had a bad stretch of luck in the last few years, but I feel like it could have been so much worse hearing about what some of these other people got pulled into and too far down the rabbit hole… then disaster striking.

Emotional state:
I’ve yet to feel bored, never been depressed, although was super aggravated and plain angry for about 2-3 days after I was moved in mid Feb, actually it was my 20 year wedding anniversary to be exact, ugh I spent that day with a guy named Yo Yo. don’t ask! will have to write up a good story on that day in one of my blogs.
Generally I’m worried about how things are going with my wife/kids/work but so far they all seem to be doing well.

I spend about 90 min a day on the computer, I still get/send about 20 emails a day believe it or not. Mostly work related stuff. Generally this place feels like I’m stuck at a 1 star resort and the bus broke down and no one can come to pick us up for quite a while. I read the Wall St Journal every day, mail, The Week magazine, I call Vicky almost every day, my kids about once a week but they often don’t answer! I really enjoy reading the NY Post, makes me feel like I’m in Manhattan. I make my ‘what’s Gump eating?’ meal twice a day in small batches: soaked dates in herbal tea. I then forage for fruit from all the other inmates who save it for me daily. There’s a lot of love in prison. A lot of these guys are super impressed with my daily distance running and super healthy diet. Got a few guys trying to improve themselves.

I nearly never feel like I’m ‘trapped’ although I do get sick of running in that loop in the parking lot!
Friday night to Sat night I turn into super-jew and do all the Jewish stuff. It’s a mix of meditation, lots of joke telling and the one day I eat too much (way too many baked yams+potatoes, pickled veggies, stewed apples, grape juice).

Yea, sorry for no more war stories, it’s kinda boring to report to anyone how things are here for me at this point. I think it will likely stay that way.

What’s next that I think about here:
I’m 25% done with my prison sentence here, hopefully I’ll get out early and I’m more like 30% done. I think of the ‘time’ like ‘miles’ in a 100 mile race. I still got a way to go here, but I’m certainly into the challenge and looking forward to the spring weather and getting more fit. The other day I slept a solid 10 hours, then took another 2 hour nap on top of that, and then went running. I had eaten super clean and lower calorie the day before, and felt really light, the run was effortless; I am really looking forward to being 125 pounds again when running an 8 min mile is like walking on moving escalator.

My bunk mate is in charge of putting together this huge greenhouse that is in the warehouse for the last 3 years. apparently no one wanted to take on the challenge of assembling this huge structure, and then all the work that goes into actually making a hydroponic system. My bunk mate has 5 engineering degrees, ran a huge business for 30 years and is extremely well read, he reads books all day on hydroponics and wants to do it as a business when he gets out of here. So he’s putting me on his crew team to build this thing. it might be super awesome experience. lettuce grows in like 5 weeks in a hydroponic system.

Ok that’s it for now, don’t cry for me I guess. I like the attention, letters, emails of course, but I’m kinda spoiled here for prison standards if I’m really being honest. Let’s just hope I don’t get put back into a bunk with a guy named yo yo and get to move to a much better location asap for sleeping. right now I’m right next to a bathroom entrance, cops office, and the dining room, I basically sleep next to a bus station bathroom that’s busy with people and a cops office 20 hours a day… ugh yea ok you can feel sorry for me a bit again!



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