Tuesday, January 25, 2011

The hum and whir

Monday was a weird day in the pool. I was feeling a bit out of it after my massage on Sunday, and all sorts of odd creaks and cracks happening. Going into the water, everything hurt a little bit, so I took my time with a warm up. Even then I got into the groove pretty quick, and even though I didn't think I was working that hard, I was going pretty quick. I ended up doing 1 K, and several laps in the middle of that were very quick. Lots of dolphin kick and pull, thinking about stroke. One hour total.

Linda won tickets to see the Flames in action against the Predators. We haven't been to see a live hockey game since the mid-nineties. I met her downtown, then we walked through the +15 to the Jamieson Centre to see a Mexican art exhibit. This is a new building that I've never been in before, just across the road from BP. When I worked there the building wasn't connected to the +15, now it has 3 of them. Then we went back to Sunterra for a wonderful dinner, and on to the game afterward.

It was a pretty good game overall, but I don't think we'll repeat the experience any time soon. Our tickets were pretty good, about $100 each, near the start of the first balcony, up behind one of the nets. That makes it a very expensive night out for us, by my standards, what with dinner, and parking. We didn't spend anything at the game, but it's almost as effective money vacuum as a casino. $7.50 for a beer!!! And it's cheap beer at that. Plus the seating is brutal for someone my size. By the end of the night my knee was aching, even after standing and stretching periodically.

After dropping Linda off at work today, I went back to bed. Out like a light for 3 hours. About 30 minutes of core workout had me feeling pretty good. Then an hour on the bike trainer. Warm up, settling right into 90 rpm or so in an easy gear for my legs for about 15 minutes. My knee was feeling pretty happy, so after a couple minutes of easy pedal, went a gear harder for about 10 minutes. This felt great, finally beginning to work the cardio system a bit and bringing on a sweat. After a few minutes of easy pedal, one gear harder. This was big ring, 3rd easiest gear. I couldn't quite maintain 90 rpm here, but I was solid between 85 and 90. This was beginning to pull at my knee a bit, so I only went 7 minutes. Then cool down.

This will be the part that many of you will think is perverted. I typically don't listen to music or watch a show while on the trainer. I like the silence. Today I was listening to the hum of the tire on the trainer wheel, and the whir of Estela's chain going round and round. I was thinking about my pedal stroke, trying to even out the hum. When I started all this I could easily hear the change in the hum since the only time there was power going to the wheel was when each foot was going down. Now my stroke is better and the hum is more consistent.

The workout was boring to most people. I just sat and pedaled, trying to maintain about 90 rpm. Many of the spin sessions I've been to have all kinds of different stuff happening, and it seems like every few minutes there's something different. But when you get on your bike there are long periods of time where nothing much changes in terms of pedaling. You sit there and pedal at what ever rpm you are trying to maintain. Every now and then you change gears. For us triathletes we don't surge past people. Typically if you're going to pass, you're already going faster than the person in front so nothing changes. The scenery goes by. So my thinking is that I need to build my skills at just sitting there and pedaling. I don't have music during the race, so I typically don't have music during training. I listen to my bike and think about what my body is doing. I fully realize there are specific drills that are good to do, but I sometimes wonder how much relation they actually have to the kind of riding we do.

In fact, I often find the music at a spin session to be distracting. It's often much louder than I'd like. My hearing is sort of funny in that I have tinnitus. I have a constant hiss in both ears. Most days I think of it as a bit of hiss on the soundtrack of my life. But what it means in practice is that I can't separate out sounds very well anymore. For instance, at the camp bike session, I essentially didn't hear a single word Michelle said. The mic she was using is horrible. It isn't just her, Chris tried it once and I couldn't hear him either. When I can't hear the instructions I make it up. If there's a lot of chat happening I can't hear the instructor either. Think of any normal house party where a group of people are chatting. If someone comes up and starts talking to me I'll never know it unless I see them. Even then I sometimes have difficulty.


  1. That makes sense. I remember when I used to swim, once I'd get into a rhythm it was easy to keep going, and I didn't need music to keep myself entertained.
    Running, on the other hand... :(

  2. It is funny how we all train a bit differently. I always have music or the TV playing (usually music). Even though I can't race with music I listen to it intensely on the trainer. This might sound crazy but during a race I often sing the words to some songs in my head. But the point you bring up about the hum makes total sense.

  3. I definitely don't feel the same way- I like music/TV when on the spin trainer or treadmill.
    I don't have any problems riding outside without music (thankfully b/c that's a little dangerous!)- I think because there are so many things going on for me to concentrate on.

    Feel the same way about the hockey games- so not worth it in my mind unless the tickets are free. Even then I don't like being out late on weeknights.


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