Monday, December 31, 2007

A quiet day at the pool

What with the time of year and all, I had no idea of what to expect at the pool this morning. I ended up sharing a lane with two other people. Both swam a little slower than me, but were really good about waiting at the ends for me to go by. I have to say that this is the politest pool I've been to recently for that.

However, I do have to say that swimming in circles brings out the competitor in me. I hate being passed. So that lead to a fairly brisk swim this morning. Yes, it was nice to pull ahead of the other two guys in the lane. But there was a girl in the next lane going much faster than her shitty stroke indicated. She gradually pulled away from me, sloppy arms and messy kick and all. I felt better when she stopped, got a drink, and did other strokes. I kept going, swoosh, swoosh, picturing myself wearing a swim cap with a shark fin on the top of it.

44 min, 38 seconds for what I think was 2250 m. I admit the possibility of 2300 m, but I'm not going to claim it, since I couldn't see the pace clock. The first part of the swim felt fast, but unless I can talk myself into believing an 18:02 K, it was 19 min exactly. Which seems to be my usual brisk pace these days. Then I settled down into my usual pace as my arms got tired.

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Another recovery workout

After my adventures last week with the rebellion in my legs, I thought a lot about the planned workout today. It called for a 1.5 hr spin and .5 hr run. My calves have come along well and I didn't want to overdo it today. Even though I see the value in them, and need to do them, I didn't take any chances by doing one legged drills.

I spent a few minutes massaging and stretching my legs before the bike and started slow.
10 min warm up
10 min gradually increasing to 85 rpm and holding for last 5 min. I didn't feel smooth till the 15 min mark.
For the main workout I did 6 sets of 7 min on and 3 resting. Most of the on parts were at 100 rpm in a fairly easy gear, enough to get heartrate into the middle of my aerobic zone. I experimented with several different gears. One was significantly harder gear but I did that set at 85-90 rpm.
10 min cool down. I was almost surprised the bike workout was done so quickly.

3 min transition, including a few short stretches while changing. The plan was to keep my heart rate about 135 during the run. I was running gently (8 min for 1st K) for 11 minutes when I started to get a tickle in my left calf. I slowed down more, stopped to rub it a few times, then walked a few steps. I started running again slowly, but it didn't get worse. After a few more steps it settled down and I kept going. However, at the 20 minute mark both calves gave first notice they had had enough, thank you very much. I walked another 10 minutes without any further bother from them, then did some more stretching and massage. Right now they're both tired, but not complaining. I'm in the process of booking an appointment with my wonderful massage therapist.

I'd hoped to get though the whole run, and start benchmarking where I am, but given the circumstances I'm fairly pleased. I could have stayed on the bike much longer. My hands were the part that were the most tired, and I had to shake them out several times each, but my arms and butt didn't bother me hardly at all. There's times the spinning is coming really well; I'll be going along ok then suddenly everything comes together, and my feet are going faster with less effort. Now if only I can make that happen more often! This was the first ride where my toes didn't start going to sleep on me. I guess that means I'm developing a lighter foot on the pedals.

Weekly summary
Swim 1.16 hrs
Bike 2.75 hrs
Run .33 hrs
Total 4.25 hrs.

When I bought my cell phone in July, there was a money back program or something and they gave me a gift card for it. It fell out of my wallet the other day when paying for Thai food. I'd forgotten about it, so I went into London Drugs to see if there's anything I could buy for $75. My female fans will be happy to know that I did NOT buy a present for my 23rd anniversary with it! But I did discover I can no longer install the newest version of the Mac operating system on this computer. Sigh. That's normally my signal to go buy a new computer. I don't quite want to just yet, I've spent a lot of $ on stuff (hello Greg!) lately, and there's still eyeglasses to buy in Jan. But soon. I was thinking about Greg and how we were chatting on IM while he was riding, and I was thinking about installing the computer in front of where I spin on the bike in the basement, and watch movies while spinning. Bike training motivational movies, of course. My wife suggested if I get a treadmill it could go right there too, but I'm resisting that idea. I'm not big on them, and there's very few days in Calgary where it's too crappy outside to run.

Another year is coming to an end, and this is my traditional time to look things over and reflect on the year past, and the year coming up. It was a big year for me in that for the second time in my adult life I said enough and changed my habits to trim off major weight. I'm not sure what I peaked out at, but I'm reasonably sure that it was mid 270's early in the year. So I'm pretty comfortable saying I'm down 30 pounds this year. I won't say I'm in the best shape of my life; that's not even close to being true. But if I keep it up, that could be during 2008. I changed jobs unexpectedly, and I'm pleased where I am now.

We ended up visiting Linda's family quite a bit in 2007, and finally said good bye to her mom. She beat an aneurism that was one of the biggest seen in Canadian medical history, but the complications from brain cancer got her in the end. I guess my best tribute to her is that I lost my taste for mother-in-law jokes after meeting her. I miss her. There were several other deaths in my family, one expected, one decidely not so. It's always a big shock when someone your own age dies unepectedly. I guess all I can say is that it reaffirms my determination to make the most of what I've got, appreciate it for what it is, and live to the fullest.

I wish you all the best in 2008.

Friday, December 28, 2007

That's better

Last night's spin workout was moderate, aimed more at helping my legs recover and practicing round and round, rather than working the lungs and heart. So after warming up, which happened a lot quicker than yesterday, I settled in at 85 to 90 rpm. Moving from gear to gear, up and down to simulate different levels of effort broke the monotony. Every time I noticed my mind wandering from my feet and legs, I brought it back, settled down, relaxed my legs, and tried to let them do their thing. Mostly the effort felt even, but a few times it seemed like my right foot was making bigger circles than my left.

I even did a little in a big gear at about 40 rpm. This was sort of an odd feeling but it gave me time to think about what my legs were doing. Afterward I found it hard to get back into the high rpm mood. I called it a day when my legs started feeling a bit twitchy and the round timing was beginning to come apart. That was at the 45 minute mark. A few minutes of stretching and leg massage was the end of the physical workout, then I started another of some brutally hard Sudoku puzzles in a book I got.

The swim this morning was excellent.
1500 m 29 min
This felt strong and comfortable, but I could tell my calves wouldn't want to do much more. Tomorrow is a rest day.

Oh, and I was dreading the number this morning. I was thinking about the shorter, lighter, and missing workouts. I was thinking about all the chocolate and general piggery, though there was less of it than in previous years. There I was, standing before the machine of truth, watching this killer workout class, and thinking my abs hurt just watching the class. Enough suspense. 246. Again. Which, all things considered, pleases the heck out of me. On track for the goal next week.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Slooooww swim

For a while this morning I was wondering if I'd forgotten how to swim. And given my keyboarding so far this morning, my fingers have forgotten how to type.

1 K 20:20 nice and easy.
20 minutes of pool pilates.

The rest seems to have done my calf muscle lots of good. I can walk without it reminding me it exists, but I can still feel it being tired.

Between the minor injury and Christmas, the schedule this week is out the window, but I'm not gonna worry about it. I'll maybe bike tonight and swim again tomorrow and see how it goes.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

more gentleness

Tuesday was another nice walk.

Wednesday was a very gentle spin session. My heart rate didn't even crack 3 digits it was so gentle. I wanted to do an easy spin and see what my calf thought. It's still a bit sore and I didn't want to overdo it. For a half hour I concentrated on light feet, going round and around in an easy gear, at max rpm of 88, and much of it was between 80 and 85.

Monday, December 24, 2007

A gentle walk

I bailed on the plan to swim this morning. I slept in instead. My calf is still cramped, though better. About all I can say is that in the morning walking wasn't actively painful. Linda massaged it for a while, and I blasted at it with the shower nozzle. Later we went for a gentle walk down to Fish Creek. The pain gradually went away, and for a while it didn't bother me at all. Toward the end it started coming back again, and I was pretty glad to sit down.

However, we walked to the base of what I remember being a very steep hill that might be good for run and bike training. Here's a couple photos of it, though they don't really give a true impression of how steep it is. It keeps going up after the corner you can see. At some point I'll have to try riding up and see how far I get, and if I can get my feet unclipped quick enough when I stop.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

spin and run cramp

The bike was a bit of a mix and match today. I felt reasonably good, but not great. Somehow my feet felt just a bit out of time. It's like I could feel my right foot doing an arc, then my left foot. I had the oddest feeling of not being grounded or stable on the bike.

10 min warmwup
10 min set 1 min each at 100, 110, 120, 130, 120, 110, 100 without a rest in between. That got the heart rate going.
10 min doing some one legged drill.
10 min at 100 rpm in medium gear on small chainring, HR low 130's, then 5 minute recovery.
7 x 20 sec at 140 to 150 rpm with 1 min 40 second recovery.
1 set on big chainring, 100 rpm, then 85, then a harder gear, do it again, harder gear, do it again.
spin it out to the 1.5 hr mark doing easy spin cool down.

3 minute transition
I got 10 minutes into my 20 minute run, and got a cramp or something in my left calf. That came on almost between one step and the next. I ended up walking gently back to the house after trying to stretch it out and massage it a bit. I'm not quite sure what I was doing different today, or if muscles are just tired after a long hard week. I'll see how it feels tomorrow, and maybe give it more rest if needed.

My weekly total
Swim 2.5 hr
Bike 4 hr
Rune 1.66 hr
Total 8.16 hrs.

Friday, December 21, 2007

A swimming schmodge

I wasn't totally awake when I went into the pool this morning, and figured I'd best do some high intensity stuff.

500 m warmup 9:45
100 m one arm drill
250 m with pull buoy, and that's a weird feeling
50 m kick
10 x 50 m in 45-47 seconds on 1:15 start
50 in 39 seconds!!!! A personal best ever! (just for the one who got her ego kicked to the curb, I hope you feel better now.)
50 m kick
100 m pull buoy
200 m cooldown

Total 1800 m
This is the first time in a long while my arms have felt like they're falling off.

And, wait for it, waaaaaiiiit

Thursday, December 20, 2007

My first negative split ever!

I was going to update tonight after the spin, but I just couldn't wait. The plan called for 50 min, 5r 2w.

5 min warmup
6 x 5r 2w
3 min cooldown and I was back at the car!!!! I was figuring 5 min cooldown for a 52 min workout.

I had a brisk warmup, and ran well down the hill, and along the Nose Creek path north past the golf dome up to beside the City roads facility. As near as I can tell from Google Maps, that's 3.3 Km. Turned around right on 26 min. At the bottom of the hill I looked at the time and realized I was ahead on time. So I churned up the hill, and kept running, then picked up the pace as I recovered. I was so pleased to be back at the car at 50:15. The run out took 26 min, and back 24:15 including up the ginormous hill.

For those of you who care about such things this works out to 7.9 Km per hour, or 7.6 min/Km pace, including warm up and cool down.

My hour long bike ride in the evening was uneventful. I did some cadence pyramids, one minute at 100, 110, 120, 130, 120, 110, 100 with a minute rest in between. On the big chainring picked a medium gear and maintained 90 rpm for 10 minutes. My heartrate settled in just under 130. I also did one minute bursts of 100 rpm with rests at 85, in 3 successively harder gears. I did this on the small chainring and ran out of gears. I guess I have to start on the big chainring if I want to do this again.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

drill at the geezer pool

I actually felt like doing some drill in the pool this morning. Gasp, astonishment.

250 m warmup 4:30 or so.
10 x 50m on 1:15 start. fastest was 41 or 42 seconds, slowest was 50, most were 45 to 50 seconds.
500 m in 10 min exactly, well, 1 second under if you want to be picky. Some slow, some fast, some working on stroke elements, some working on kick.
15 min pool pilates, for 45 min or so total.

I could still feel it from the spin session last night. Even now, in the evening, I'm looking forward to bed as soon as some house chores are done. The person that invents a washing machine that collects the clothes, sorts them, washes, drys, and folds/hangs/ puts away in your closet again is going to make a fortune.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Good run, strong spin

I was still tired from staying up late on Sunday night, but it was be at work at about 6:30 or go for a run. The IGP™ called for 40 min 4r 1w. Oddly enough, that's almost exactly what I did.

5 m warm up
6 x 4r 1w
5m cooldown

Total time was 40:20, which was a bit of a surprise to me. You see, I park at the top of a big hill, and run down it near the start, and have to run up it near the end. I ran fairly hard on the way out, turned around exactly on 20 min, and pushed harder on the way back. Up the hill was part walk, part run, then a brisk walk to cool off.

And it was frigging cold in the valley!! Up top was nice, but along the creek had my glasses fogging up for the first time this winter. I ran south this time along the Nose Creek path, and turned around where the path makes a sharp jog to the left then right, between 8th Ave and Memorial. That's for those who know the city, or are really good with Google Maps.

The spin was an even bigger surprise. I kept looking at my gears, thinking I was somehow in an easier gear than what I normally do. But no, I was in a harder gear. I got on the bike feeling strong tonight and looking forward to a good ride. Greg gave us all kinds of crazy stuff tonight, several one legged drills, some cadence pyramids, some hill simulation, some high cadence work.

I can feel the improvements. It used to be I started bouncing under 100 rpm, now it starts about 110. The one legged drills started hard and got brutal quickly, now I can almost get through the sets. Gear and cadence combinations that sent my heart rate into the no-fly zone are now doable, at least for a little while. Progress is very nice.

It all worked out to a solid 1.5 hours for me. Let's hope this was enough to work off the cookies I nibbled today.

Monday swim

1000 m 19:20
20 minutes pool pilates
5 min stretching in hot tub.
Bed early.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

nice day for a spin and run

The IGP™ called for bike 80 then run 15. However, I'm consumed with guilt about missing my Thursday/Friday 45 min bike. I figure I feel as much guilt as Greg does about missing a swim. It's that season; I went to a bit of a reunion with some a group of us that used to work together, and the other night was an office party.

So I decided to ride a bit extra today. What was odd is that the last few sessions my bike and trainer have been quiet. Today the bike sounded like a bowl of Rice Krispies right from the start, and no, it's not my joints. There was also a whoosh, whoosh sound I don't remember hearing before. I managed to mostly ignore it, and they mostly went away.

I looked at the trainer after the run, and found the hinge a bit loose, so I tighted it up. It might have been a bit tight on the tire, so I slacked it off a bit. Then I was spinning the back tire and looking at this fine line on the rim, and it's moving. As in up and down. I'm guessing my back wheel is slightly out of true, but I'll get Greg to look at it next Tues.

Overall the spin session went quite well. The bike is getting more comfortable, and I think I've migrated up a gear or two for my base spin setting.

20 min warm up, nice and easy.
1 legged drills for 10 min, 3x 30 sec rl, 30 sec both, 30 sec ll, 30 sec both
4 sets of 90 rpm for 1 min each in progressivly harder gears, rest 1 min
5 min at 100 rpm 3 min rest, 2 min at 110 rpm, 3 min rest 4 min at 100 rpm, 3 min rest.
8 minutes big gear 60 rpm 2 minutes rest (was concentrating on going round, rather than up and down, could feel it!)
30 seconds fast then 1.5 min rest, with fast being 90, 100, 120, 130, then 160. That last one was all out and I was seeing spots in front of my eyes, and I'm not sure I actually did the full 30 seconds. HR zoomed to 145.
10 min cool down
1.5 hr altogether

Then a 3 minute transition, and a 20 min run that was about 3 K. My heartrate started at below 100, and spent the entire run in the low 140's. My breathing was strong, no gasping, but I'm glad I wasn't trying to carry on a conversation. At the end of the run my HR was 145, and a walking minute later it was 117.

My weekly totals
Swim 1.9 hr
Bike 3 hr
Run 1.75
Total 6.66 hrs.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Pretty strong swim

Still not feeling like pool drills.

2K 39:12
15 minutes pool pilates

I've broken 39 minutes a few times, by really working at it, and doing a bit of a sprint on the last few laps. This time I wanted to break 39 min by swimming consistent laps. I was playing with a stronger kick and tweaking my stroke a bit. Mostly it went well, but for a few laps in the middle it all fell apart. I'm still learning to pace myself. It turns out I could have pushed a bit harder throughout, since I'm pretty sure I could have done another K at that pace.


Thursday, December 13, 2007

84 feet

That's what Google Earth tells me the elevation is from the top of the path down to the bottom. Or vise versa which is much harder.

6 min warmup
Some number of sets with some number of run minutes with some number of walk minutes.
5 min cool down

The plan called for 45 min 5r 2w. And I've totally spaced on what I actually did. I'm not even convinced I did the same set 4 times. I do know total time was 46:19, and I got all the way to the golf dome. It's not that I stopped running because I couldn't go on. I'm pacing myself so I'm in control of my breathing. I think I just messed up reading my watch, or lost track of when I started or stopped a segment. The run was good though. For a while it sounded like the pavement was hollow under my feet, which was sort of odd. I remember pushing hard on one of the middle sets. Must be time for bed. This rest thing is becoming really important to me.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

The necessities

After the big spin workout last night, I wasn't up for a really intense swim. I had started to get some back muscle cramping on the way home last night. It got better during the spin, then I cramped up again overnight. I was hoping the swim would relax me, and it did for a bit. The planned walk at lunch was called off because of windy and blowing snow, and some general wimpiness on my part. I'll probably end up taking some Robaxisal for it tonight, and putting on some Tiger balm.

500 m nice and easy, 9:45
5x50 m hard, not sure of time because pace clock is way off to the slow lane side.
500 m easy 9:51
20 minutes of pool pilates

total 1250 m.

So far this pool has been really good, much better than I remember it being a about a year ago. There isn't quite as much choice for run routes, unless I want to run on the streets, but there's a heck of a hill. I'll have to look at Google Earth and see how much elevation change there is. The one shower is totally the bomb, and the others aren't bad. Not like the ones at the geezer pool where 3 drunks peeing could put out more fluid and pressure.

The less glamorous side of the fitness adventure is upon me tonight. Laundry. The thought of putting sweat dried workout gear back on again just grosses me out. And what would you all say if I dropped a run because I didn't have clean socks? You'd laugh, that's what you'd do. That and the extra towels adds up pretty quick. Eventually my employer will complete the gym and shower, and then there will be a place to hang stuff. For now, I have to do it somewhat discretely in my office, and I don't want any complaints.

Somewhere along one way, one of my fuzzy running socks has escaped. I suspected it of consorting, cavorting, and otherwise carrying on with one of my wife's socks, but a careful search of the sock harem didn't turn up mine. We now suspect it's hiding inside a folded up T shirt, or maybe a towel. Does this ever happen to anyone else?

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Easy run, hard bike

The plan called for 40 min 3r 1w. And that's mostly what I did after parking at Renfrew. I got as far as the little wooden bridge, and did a brief Rocky dance on it, then turned around. Going up that hill again is tough. I was chugging away and made it to the top without stopping, but I wouldn't want to have been looking at my heart rate. It was really neat feeling it get much colder going down the hill. On the way back I was warm enough that I didn't notice a temperature difference.

Then came spin class in the evening. Lots of people tonight and I think almost everybody had a good time. It's a lot more fun being in a group. I got there early, and was on the bike about 20 minutes before class started to warm up. Let's see, we did some 1 legged drills, then some high cadence sets I couldn't keep up with, then some steady cadence moving into higher gears every minute for 4 minutes, then resting, and doing that 4 times, and if that wasn't enough, we did some short all out bursts with a long rest, and we did that a bunch of times.

I ended up being on the bike just over an hour and a half, and felt good the entire time. Well, let me rephrase that. My hands and butt felt good, though my legs and lungs were getting a bit tired. A lot tired. I think of tonight as a good solid workout. I'm feeling strong and steady maintaining 90 or 100 rpm, even in the harder gears, at least until my heart rate tops out. I don't yet have the skills to pedal at 110 for very long at all.

I miss riding my bike outside. I'd love to go for a ride out highway 22x and not worry about drills or anything. Just ride and look at the scenery. Look at cadence and heart rate every once in a while to be sure I'm not slacking off, but mainly just going for a fun ride. With any luck a chinook will come along on a day I'm not working, and I'll be gone.

Monday, December 10, 2007

swim day, nickname needed for this pool

Today I went to Renfrew pool to swim. It involves a little less driving than the geezer pool, though I have to go through downtown. Hardly anyone there, and although I had to share a lane, we did circles and she was really considerate.

No drill, just swam 1.5 K in 29:30, then did pool pilates for 15 minutes. I was thinking about some swim technique stuff, trying to keep elbows high, and it seems to help.

This pool has the informal slow, medium and fast lanes. Slow is for standing around chatting and cooling down after the hot tub or steam room. Medium is for people that are swimming, or trying to. Fast is for people that can actually swim. And they have real taps for the showers, not the stupid buttons that spray water for 8.6 seconds.

Sunday, December 9, 2007

long (for me) spin and run

The IGP™ called for an 80 min spin and a 20 min run.

Warmed up, then did some one legged drills.
Did some pyramids, 85, 90, 100, 110 rpm.
Did 10 min at 100 rpm, HR in low 130's, then some recovery.
Then 15 min at 90 rpm, HR in low 120's.
The last 20 min was a mix of speeds, grinding it out.

5 min transition, including fluid management.
20 min run went well, started easy. Most of the run was over 140 HR, ending at 149. A one min walking recovery dropped my heart rate down to 123. The run worked out to almost exactly 3 Km. The run was cold, and if we hadn't had a social obligation this morning and early afternoon, I could have timed it better so I'd be out running now, for instance. It's nice now.

Overall it went well. Right about the hour mark I had a bout of the fidgets and was thinking about packing it in. Then I flashed on what 5'2 of disappointment looks like, and I settled in. I can feel the effort in my calves and hips; they know they've had a workout and are tired.

I'm not so interested in drills in the pool, but I think I need them for the bike. Thinking about finishing this one, and getting read for the next one keeps my mind off my hands and butt. It seems that as soon as I finish a tough drill and relax, everything starts hurting.

Weekly total
Swim 2.25 hrs
Bike 3.33
Run 1.66
Total 7.2 hrs

Friday, December 7, 2007

Quickie spin and Golden Compass

I slipped out of work a bit early, then jumped on the bike almost as soon as I got home. The IGP™ called for a 45 minute spin.

10 min warmup, then onto the big chainring and the 3rd easiest gear on the back.
5 min at 90 rpm, then one harder gear
5 min at 90 rpm, then one harder gear
5 min at 90 rpm, then one easier gear (breathing hard and sweating a bucket by now, with heart rate about 145.)
5 min at 90 rpm, then one easier gear (heart rate down a bit)
5 min at 90 rpm, then back into a way easier gear (heart rate coming down nicely)
10 min cool down. (heart rate ending about 115 or so)

Then we met some friends to go see The Golden Compass. I loved it! The story is wonderful, the characters superbly portrayed, the mix of real world and CGI is brilliant. I want to see the next two made, so go see it in the theatre. You might have heard about the controversy caused by some religious people claiming it's an assault on religion, especially Christianity, and especially the Roman Catholic faith. I can see how some people might read it that way, but it could equally be interpreted as an assault on all authority figures. Other than that, I say if the shoe fits....

So THATS a fast swimmer

Yesterday's run was a new route, parking at the Renfrew Aquatic centre, then running through the neighbourhood to the Nose Creek path. From there I went down the hill, up to the big golf dome, and back, in 45 minutes. For all that you're close to Deerfoot there's very little traffic noise. Was cool and calm and it felt good.
5 min warmup
5 x 5r 3 w. Note that the first and last were very gentle runs.
5 min cooldown.

My swim this am was great after a rocky start.
500 m warm up
30 x 50 m in 45 to 50 seconds on 1:15 start.
15 minutes pool pilates.
2000 m total.

Most of the intervals were around 47 seconds. Slowest was 49, and fastest was 43. Got into the groove and rocked.

Toward the end of my intervals a slender guy jumped in to share the lane. Fine. He starts off a few seconds before me. Then I push off and figure I'll catch him part way. Hubris thy name is Keith. We pushed off together once, and I swam my lungs out trying to keep up. I did the 50 m in about 43 seconds which is the best I've ever done, and he was already turned around and headed back. A few laps later we're both stopped at the same time again, and he doesn't even have the decency to be breathing hard. Later I was watching his stroke trying to learn something. I was chatting with some of the other swimmers after, and we timed him. He was swimming sub-40 second 50 m pace and keeping it up, just cruising along, not even working hard. In my dreams, baby, in my dreams. And yes, he has a fast tumble turn.


Wednesday, December 5, 2007

swoosh swoosh

Great swim this am.
500 m warmup
5 x 50 m in 45 - 47 seconds on 1:15 start
250 easy and smooth, thinking shark-like thoughts of preying on all the slow geezers, but figured they would be bad for my health.
5 x 50 m in 50 seconds on 1:15 start, trying to be long and strong
250 m aiming to be about 55 seconds/lap, feeling how fingertips were moving through water.
250 cool down

total 1750 m, plus 15 minutes pool pilates.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Not hurt'n (much) anymore

Ran on the treadmill at the geezer pool this morning. What a place. Yesterday, there I was sitting in the hot tub, when in wanders this woman and sits down. Hair done, and it's hard to tell when I'm not wearing my glasses, but I have the honest belief she was wearing makeup. This morning, in the weight and cardio room, this late middle aged women gets on the eliptical machine next to the treadmill I'm on. She is dressed in slacks, a blouse, sweater, and practical shoes. You'd not have looked at her twice in a mall or on the street. I'm surprised she didn't have a purse in hand. She gets the machine going, then starts primping her hair. Sheesh.

Warmed up on a stair climber for 10 min, then 3 sets of 4 run 2 walk on the treadmill. Not really happy with about it, since it's clear to me that I do not run at a consistent pace. I like to be able to speed up or slow down depending on how I'm feeling and my stride is working.

I did the tele-spin thing tonight. I was looking forward to getting onto the bike, and it went really well.
10 min warm up 85 rpm
10 min further warm up 95 rpm
set of harder gear 1 minute 85, then 1 min at 100 then twice more each in a harder gear then rest a few minutes at 85 in easy gear.
Same set again only over 4 gears, rest at 85 in easy gear till 40 min.
5 x 1 min 100 rpm, 1 min 85, 1 min 110, 1 min 85
set of progressive harder gears at 85 then 100 again for 3 gears, then back down again.
Easy spin at 85 to cool down.
Total 1.25 hours, pedaling all but a few seconds, plus another 10 minutes of stretching afterward. I'm sure I'll get over the novelty of being able to touch my toes again with straight knees. Any month now, I'm sure.

I have to say I'm really pleased with the spin. I was in control and going round and round lots of the time. I could see my cadence pick up when I got it right, or if I kept the cadence the same it seemed like I was putting less effort into the pedals. It would be really interesting to see what my watt output is, and how much it varies during my pedal stroke. I'm feeling really steady at 100 rpm, and the bounce starts about 110 unless I really concentrate on spin and engaging the core muscles.

After an hour on the bike I was beginning to shift around a bit, but neither hands or butt hurt as much as they have in the past. Tonight I could have kept on going, but I'd had a really good session and wanted to finish it feeling good. The muscle soreness is almost all gone now, but we'll see how I feel in the morning.

Fridays, for 9 weeks starting mid Jan, Linda and I are taking Argentine Tango lessons. We've done a bit of this before and it's a lot of fun. Yes, when you really get into it, ballroom dance is a workout. Give me the right song and I'll have you sweating during Cha-cha-cha. And glassblowing!!!! I signed up for a weekend session Jan 12 and 13. Of course I'll post more photos when I'm done. You guessed it, that's a workout too.

Monday, December 3, 2007

still a hurt'n unit

My hams are still sore from the garage cleaning. I was sure happy to get into the pool this morning, thinking that the swim would help work out some of the soreness. It did for a while, but it's creeping back in. Plus, my office is freezing today and my shoulders are now beginning to tighten up. Yuck.

1000 m 18:57, then 10 minutes pool pilates, then a few minutes on the monster jet in the hot tub.

Tonight is yoga, and that should help stretch things out. Or kill me once and for all. Stay tuned.

Sunday, December 2, 2007

light recovery bike spin

The IGP™ called for a 60 min spin session on Friday. I didn't. zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

Saturday was a 6 hour workout cleaning the garage. This became necessary earlier in the week when it became clear we had aquired some univited guests. We had waaaay to much crap in the garage anyway, so it needed doing, no question. It's just that a day when it's -15 or so wouldn't be my first choice. But it's done, though the 4 bags of fence post cement just about did me in. You can actually walk around the car now!

I even skipped yoga on Saturday evening because I hurt so much. I didn't think the promised "active" session would be a good idea on top of exhausted muscles.

Sunday I was back to a normal stiff and sore and I still had the bike session in mind. I did a few minutes stretching then onto the bike. The plan was a nice easy smooth spin for as long as it felt good. The warmup was slow, gradually building speed to 85 rmp in 10 min. Stayed there for another 15 before I felt comfortable, then spent the next 20 spinning between 85 and 90 rpm in a nice easy gear, concentrating on light feet going around and around. Mostly it felt good, though my arms and hands were still sore. At the 45 min mark my calves and hams gave up and said "enough!" in terms that couldn't be ignored, so I did about 15 min yoga stretching them out and doing a bit of massage. I'm pretty pleased, mainly because my legs feel better, and I pedaled for 45 min straight without stopping or even feeling particularly uncomfortable. I think the clicking or popping noise that was bugging me earlier in the week is my shoe. I think. That noise only sort of appeared a few times.

Weekly totals
S 2.16 hrs
B 1.25 hrs
R 1.25 hrs
Total, 4.66 hours, not counting Monday Yoga, and not counting 6 hours garage workout. If it was warmer I'd certainly have worked up a sweat, and I'm fairly sure heart rate was edging into training zone.

Friday, November 30, 2007

running outside in freaking cold

Yesterday's run was pretty good, though it was outside in -10 weather, with a wind that dropped the wind chill to -20 or so. This was the nice route on top of the hill south of the Canoe club. The view is worth the chill.

7 min warm up
4 x 5r/3w
8 cool down

Running on snow is a bit different, and I think I strained my right Achillies tendon a bit, or landed on my right heel more than I should have. It was a bit sore at the end of the workout, and is a bit sore even now.

No workout Thursday evening; I think I was in bed by 8:30.

The swim in the fast pool this morning was great! There were at least 4 people swimming faster than me, and a couple of others about the same speed. You have no idea how nice that feels. Especially when you can keep up for a little bit.

500 m easy warm up. Really easy.
50 m back stroke (gack what a mess)
10 x 50 m in 50 seconds, on 1:15 start.
50 m kick
3 x 100 m done "pretty" then 100 m flat out, which is 95 seconds. 45 s/ 50 s split.
50 m breast
250 m cool down
Total 2000 m.
Then some pool pilates.

Oh, and that number? 248.

Tonight's plan calls for a 60 min spin session. We'll see. The weather is supposed to be so crappy I might do it on Sat instead.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

another no drill swim

Today was a quickie; in the pool and powered through 1000 m in 18:58. My split was 500 m in 564 seconds (9:24), so I didn't slow down too much in the second half.

No geezers! This is a personal best for me though not much of an improvement. I was sort of hoping for a bit of a breakthrough to get down to about 18:30. I felt strong, but not as smooth as I would like. Maybe next time.

Then 15 min in the dive tank doing pool pilates. I'm sure looking forward to my massage tonight.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Shite spin session

I did wimp out and go to the Talisman Centre to run indoors. $11 for one time adult admission!!! Eek! Won't be doing that too often. But it is a nice facility. The run went fine, aside from forgetting how my stop watch works, and buggering up my time near the beginning. So I warmed up for a short while, ran for a while, then got stopwatch going again and settled into 4 min run, 2 min walk, done 5 times, and a short-ish cool down session. I've not a clue in the world how far I went. It felt ok.

Running on a track is sure boring. Well, for brief seconds it wasn't, but we won't get into that.

Weather and traffic here is horrible today, so I got the spin plan for tonight and decided to ride it at home. So much for good intentions. I got on the bike and felt comfortable enough, but could not maintain a cadence at all. Any cadence, any gear. Normally I settle down and can maintain 85 and not even look at the computer. Tonight I'd check, thinking I was ok, and it would be 80, or 90, or something. And certainly not steady. Then I was looking at my heart rate monitor, and noticing I was breathing WAY harder than usual for a given heartrate. Then I noticed I was back to pedalling up and down rather than around and around, and the more I tried to fix it, the worse it got. Then I noticed my bike making a funny noise. It's done that before, every once in a while and I didn't worry about it. Tonight I couldn't stop worrying about it, and was trying to figure out what it was. Of course that made the cadence issue even worse. I got through the one legged drill ok, but bailed out shortly after. I need to practice doing better to get better; practicing doing worse isn't going to do me any good at all.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Drills?! We don't need no steenkin drills!

Back to the geezer pool, and I couldn't face keeping count to do drills. I just wanted to swim. So I did.
2000 m 39:10.
The first few laps were ok, then it all fell apart and I struggled for another 10 or 15 laps having to work to keep on a 50 m in a minute pace. Somehow I managed to get my groove back, and I settled into a nice strong and even stroke, reaching forward, then rolling and pulling. My 1000 m time was probably about 19:50, so the second 1000 m was way faster than the first.

That went great till the attack of the geezers. My empty lane started filling up with a few laps to go. One chick had the nerve to push off in my lane just where I was turning. She was keeping up for a few strokes, then I squeezed her into the ropes and she moved into another lane. Then the idiot who likes swimming against traffic showed up, but I didn't get a chance to line him up and take a run at him. Still, it was a good swim.

Yoga in the evening had some balance poses. Tree pose (standing straight on one leg, the other sole flat against the straight leg as high as it goes) only works for trees because they have roots, dammit! I can't describe the other pose, but I was better at it.

It's Fricking cold out there tonight, and who knows what the temperature will be at 6:30 am tomorrow when I start my run. Maybe I'll wimp out, pay the big bucks, and run inside at the Talisman Centre. I've been meaning to check it out because my city facility pass expires the first week of December. I have to keep in mind that at the Talisman Center I'm likely to be the geezer!

Saturday, November 24, 2007

First Brick, if I've got the slang right

Today was the first day I looked at the IGP™ with a bit of trepidation. It called for 60 min spin and a 15 min run. This after a good night's sleep that came after a yoga class that was advertised as a "Stress-Buster". NOT! Some of it was, I have to admit I nearly fell asleep twice. The only thing keeping me awake was the gentle snores of someone who beat me to it. But some of it was nearly brutal.

So I puttered around getting everything ready, and did a bit of stretching before the ride. Then I started, and it went like this.
10 min: easy warm up
10 min: one leg drills, 30 seconds alt left and right with a minute in between, and cheating at the end to sneak in another left
10 min: shift into 1 harder gear
1 min at 85, then 1 min at 100
shift into 1 harder gear again
1 min at 85, then 1 min at 100
shift into 1 harder gear again
1 min at 85, then 1 min at 100 then back down 2 gears and spin at 85
10 min repeat the one legged drill as before
10 min progressive drill again, only this time after the hard one, go up one gear, 1 min 85, then 1 min 100, then up another gear and do another 1 min at 85 then 1 min at 100. This got me up to 50 minutes with a minimum of moving around on the bike, and the last 10 min were tough, even though it was an easy spin, concentrating on smoothness. My hands were pretty good, and my butt mostly pretty good, but the back of my arms was the sore part of the ride. The yoga downward dog really takes it out of me.

Off the bike, change, and out the door in 2 min 30 seconds.
Ran 15 minutes, then walked another 8 to cool down. It just so happens, completely by accident, that the loop I ran walked is nearly exactly 3 Km. The 15 min run took me 2.3 Km. If you do the math, just as a baseline, you end up with 9.2 Km/hr, or 6:30/Km pace. Considering that a few weeks ago anything more than running for the bus would do me in, I'm really pleased. My heartrate was high 130's, low 140's for the run, and breathing felt good. Quads felt fine, calves are a bit heavy.

Totals for the week
Swim 2.5 hr
Bike 3 hr
Run 1.75
Total 7.25, plus if you care to count it, 3 hrs yoga.

Friday, November 23, 2007

A great start today!

I was a little tired after my spin session last night, didn't go to sleep right away, and actually had to be woken by the alarm clock this morning.

The swim at the fast pool was great!
500 m warmup 10 min
10 x 50 m aiming for 50 seconds, never slower than 53, on 1:15 start. (25 min)
100 m junk laps, kick or breast stroke
250 m swimming with one arm alternating every 25 m, with no pansy floats or aids.
250 m cool down
2100 m in 50 min altogether, then 10 min in dive tank for pool pilates.

The intervals went really well, concentrating on smooth strong strokes. The last interval was 45 seconds, which is just about top speed for me. On the cool down I tried swimming by force of mind, pretending that my arms were just windmilling in the water breeze. That was fun.

249. That number is great news. Yahoo!

Oh, and the sunrise slowly lighting up the mountains was gorgeous today.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Great new run route, and lonely spin

There was still a bit of snow on the ground this morning, so I wanted a route where I could see the path. So much for down beside the canal. I parked up on top of the ridge beside the Canoe Club, then started walking south on the path. Partway along there's a road that crosses over top of Deerfoot that leads to the Inglewood Golf Club. My first thought was to take it down to the canal path and keep heading south, since that part of the path is flat and reasonably well lit. But where the road turns right, there's a locked gravel access road for the canal, and there were lots of people and dog prints along it. I thought what the heck, why not?

It turns out that road goes back up hill and along south way above Deerfoot. You get an absolutely stunning view of the city, including downtown. I ran all the way down to a cellphone tower, then it was time to turn around and retrace my steps back to the car. I spent half the time enjoying the view of the city, and the other half of the time looking at the pre-dawn sky. I'm sure going to do this route again!

Something that's new to me, but will be old hat to all you runners, is that I noticed I was carrying tension in my legs. A few steps and I managed to get rid of it, and in the process run smoother. A minute later I noticed tension in my shoulders and upper back, and managed to get rid of that as well. Later during the run, I was starting to slow down as my bod was thinking "3 min, time to walk", and I told it to keep going and pick up the pace, and it did. For much of the run portion I was breathing deeply and evenly, with no gasping, and could still talk. I haven't run this fast since high school! Yeah Susi, I can hear the smug "told ya so."

7 minutes warmup walking briskly
4 x 5 min run 3 min walk
8 min cool down walk
45 minutes total, and I'm guessing from Google Maps, about 5.5 Km.

Busy day at work, then zoomed straight to the Library for my volunteer stint helping to teach computer courses to run into a brand new project we couldn't get going. Then home to grab a quick small bite of food.

Then, evening spin in my basement! I tell you, it doesn't get anymore more exciting than this. The IGP™ called for a 45 min ride. I really couldn't face doing one legged drills, though I know I need them. I wanted to sit and pedal the entire time. Well, I didn't quite make it; I started feeling uncomfortable on the bike at 40 min and shifting around. But throughout the spin, there was a number of times where all my weight was on my butt and the spin was really happening. Every time it did, my cadence picked up by about 5 rpm or so.

10 min warm up easy spin at 85 rpm
shift into 1 harder gear
1 min at 85, then 1 min at 100
shift into 1 harder gear again
1 min at 85, then 1 min at 100
shift into 1 harder gear again
1 min at 85, then 1 min at 100, and about here my HR topped 140 so I decided not to go another gear
Then back to easy gear again and spin 4 minutes to bring heart rate down
Do it all again on 20, and again on 30.
on 40 go into an easier gear yet and easy spin for 5 min to to relax the legs.

45 min run, 45 min bike.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

swim day at the slow pool

My body has been conditioned to treat exercise as a wake up call, since almost all my swimming is done in the early morning, and almost all my riding has been during the warm part of the day. Now I've got spin class in the evening, and my poor brain and bod doesn't quite know what to think. I found it difficult to relax and go to sleep.

Getting up wasn't the problem but actually getting out of bed was a struggle. The blankets, you see, had a good grip on me and weren't letting go. I'd got them all warmed up and they weren't going to give up without a struggle. That's my story and I'm sticking to it. What did the trick was to think of the pool, and how nice it would feel to be in the water again.

500 m warmup, 10 min
5 x 100 m in 100 seconds, on 150 second start. (not quite as quick as Greg but I'm pleased.)
500 m easy and relaxed, 10 min 30 seconds.
15 min pool pilates.

Total 45 minutes.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Cold run then hot spin

I'm still getting used to this whole running thing, and it's gradually getting colder out. This morning was about -13 C, but I went and ran anyway, and had a good time. The sky was just beginning to light up in a pre-dawn sort of way. The stars were still out, just barely, but hard to see because of the city and traffic lights.

Today's route I think I will call the Susi route. The first one who can tell me why it's named that gets one of my special mint chocolate chip cookies. If it's Susi herself, I guess I'll have to come up with something else.

I parked at Bow Water's Canoe Club, walked under 17th Ave, up and over the bridge across the canal, then onto the path on that side. From there, I ran south along the path, underneath Deerfoot Trail, past the road leading to the Inglewood Golf Club, and some distance past that. Then back to the car. No idea at all how far that is.

I tried putting a map in here, but it didn't work right. I'll figure it out sooner or later. If you know Calgary at all and want to play with Google maps, this is just east of where Blackfoot crosses Deerfoot and turns into 17th Ave. You can see the roof of the Bow Water's Canoe Club as an orange dot, and the path shows up pretty good.

7 min warmup walk
5x 4 min run, 2 min walk
7 min cool down.

Total 45 min.

Looking forward to spin class tonight, details at 11.

The details are, warm up, spin faster, spin slower, and do that a bunch of times, spin one legged altogether too many times for altogether too long, spin slower in a big gear, spin faster in an easy gear, then do it some more, spin really really fast, then slower, then cool down. About the 50 minute mark I was beginning to think the end result of eating the bike would be less painful than sitting and spinning some more, but I stuck it out for 1.25 hours, pedaling most of the way.

This really is getting better. I can spin with the right leg for almost a minute now, but the left is weaker. The round and round is smoother. And Susi's goodies were excellent. You. Guys!!! She gave Greg some excellent cookies, and he was very nice to share. Yummy. Now I have a sugar rush going to keep me awake.

Yes, it's really snowing out. I'm glad tomorrow is a swim day. If the idiot drivers in Calgary let me get to the pool.

Monday, November 19, 2007

I sideswiped a geezer!

Swim today
500 m brisk warm up (9:25)
50 m kick
50 m backstroke
250 m 5 x 50 m 45-50 second, on 1:15 start.
50 m kick
50 m breastroke
250 m trying to minimize number of strokes per length, between 15-18.
50 m kick
50 m backstroke
250 m easy cool down (5 min)

1550 m total in a bit under 45 min overall, then did a few min pool pilates.

The pool was warm today, but I was determined. Grrrr. There was a young guy swimming in my lane when I started, or rather, I should say he was slowly waving his flukes looking for a beach. I passed him a couple times and he very graciously moved to the next lane. The geezers left me alone for a while, then one of them tried to swim down the lane I was swimming up. (The fast lane is a pair of lanes together, and they've arranged you swim up the middle, and back along the lane ropes.) I saw him coming, and aimed to graze him. I'm fairly sure my elbow was about an inch from his eyes, and I could have ripped off his very baggy shorts. I thought about it, but decided not to. Then basically my shoulder and ribs pushed him over and my forearm pushed one leg into the other and messed up his kick. Oddly enough, I didn't see him anymore, and I was really left alone. Gotta love it.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Who'd have thought that lying down could be hard work?

Yoga last night at the Harmony Yoga Studio. This was a relaxation class with some meditation. We did some basic poses, just to get warmed up. I don't know any of the names for these poses, so I either have to make like dance class and say "the one that goes like this", or pass on the whole deal and leave it up to your imagination.

For the last third of the class we were to lie on our backs, with a bolster under our knees and a blanket for our head if we wanted, and could wrap ourselves in blankets if we wished. We did some breathing exercises, then just lay there quietly, breathing to ourselves. That was fine for a bit, then my tailbone and hips started hurting. I was thinking I should have put a blanket under them too, bearing in mind that I was on 1 thin and 1 thick yoga mat. So I somehow suspect my mind was't where the yoga teacher wanted it. And I just spent a moment fondling my back where you can feel the back of the hip bones, and there isn't anywhere near as much flab there as there used to be. That's good I guess.

I was so tired going into the class I was a bit worried about falling asleep, and I had seriously contemplated a nap before class. At the end of it I was awake, but had no trouble going to sleep when we got home.

After a very relaxing Saturday morning reading the paper, I got dressed for a spin session. I suppose I could have cycled outside, but it was cloudy and not very warm. Plus, I wanted to pay attention to my cadence and heart rate, and not have to worry about traffic.

15 min warmup at 85 rpm
10 min of 30 seconds one leg, both for 1 min, 30 seconds other leg, 1 min both. (Left leg needs work!)
5 min recovery at 85 rpm
10 min at 100 rpm, still in a fairly easy gear. HR was low 130's throughout. Very little or no bouncing.
5 min recovery at 85 rpm
1 min at 110 rpm (little or no bouncing)
2 min recovery
1 min at 110 to 115 (with not much bouncing)
2 min recovery
1 min at 115 to 120 (just a little bouncing) HR just got over 140 as I was finishing, and my butt started complaining big time.
8 min cool down

60 min total, with about 10 minutes of stretching afterward. Legs feel great, the heaviness in my calves is gone now. I was fine up to about the 50 minute mark, but then couldn't get comfey on my bike. I guess my butt had had enough. My hands were ok.

Tomorrow is going to be a rest day for me, in preparation for starting the IGP. (IronGregPlan)™(trademark symbol) So the weekly summary, bearing in mind I was out of town.

Swim .3 hr
Bike 1.75 hr
Run 1.1 hr
Total 3.1 hr (not counting an hour of yoga, cause I wasn't sweating and breathing hard)

Last week was cut a bit short, and I didn't post the totals for it.
Swim 2.25 hr
Bike 1.5 hr
Run 1.2
Yoga 1.25 (hey, I was sweating and breathing hard so I'm gonna count it!)
Total 6.25 hr

Friday, November 16, 2007

tired this am

Woke up with a heart rate of 55 or 57 bpm, which is a bit high for me. Once I got out of bed my calves felt very heavy. I guess I didn't stretch enough after yesterday's workouts.

The swim was slow and easy today, 1 Km in 21 minutes. My heart rate after that was only 108, so it was a washout as far as aerobic conditioning is concerned. But it felt really good to stretch out and feel the water on my bod. Then into the dive tank for a bit of pool pilates, then into the hot tub to let the jets pound on calves and hip flexor muscles.

252. Eeek, there's that number again.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

4 minute run and 45 min spin

I'm on a bit of a different schedule this week, but I'm getting back on the fitness bus. Today was a run day.

10 min warm up
8 x 4 min run 2 min walk
8 min cool down, for an hour and 6 min total, over a route that is 7.8 Km long. This takes me down into Fish Creek Park, and it's quite dark.

Temp was just below zero, calm, and the paths were in pretty good shape. This run felt great. Once I warmed up and reminded myself of what running is like, I found I had no trouble going the 4 min, and once went almost 4:30 before I looked at my watch again. If anything, I wanted to run further.

My only difficulty is looking at my watch to know when it's time to start or stop running. Right now I'm pushing up my sleeve, then hitting the light button on my watch, then trying to read it. I don't know what I'm going to do when I finally have to wear mittens or gloves. Is there some runners secret here that I'm missing?

I had thought of taking my shoes to Ottawa to run in between various social obligations, but I'm glad I didn't. There really wasn't time. However, things went smoothly. In spite of the circumstances, it was nice to see everybody again.

It was time to get back on the bike and have an easy spin session. My thought was mainly to build some time practicing a light foot on the pedals and remind my butt that this bike thing is going to keep on happening. Yes, I checked the trainer setup to be sure everything was appropriately tight. Just in case.

10 min warm up at 85 rpm in a nice easy gear to see where my heart rate would stabalize.
4 x 2 min at 100 rpm (same gear) then 2 min at 85 rpm, concentrating on not bouncing.
4 min easy spin at 85-90 rpm, concentrating on light feet and going around.
2 x 1 min at 110 rpm then 2 min at 85 rpm.
4 min 90-95 rpm, concentrating on light feet and going around.
5 min easy cool down

45 min total.
For whatever reason, I felt it in my calves the most. Thinking about the longer run than usual, I decided to cut back on the bike tonight. Future days with run and bike will see shorter runs and longer bike time.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

That's much better

The swim today was much more like what I think of as normal. The total was 3000 m in 59 min in 59:39. The first 1000 m went by so fast I didn't look at my watch for that split, but it was probably about 19:20. The other splits were:
1500 m 29:24 (almost a minute faster than last Wed, with much less effort.)
2000 m 39:30

After the swim I went into the dive tank and did a bit of pool pilates.

The last three laps was where I slowed down because my elbows were starting to hurt. Up till then the lap splits were pretty well bang on a minute, except for some fast laps at the beginning. I didn't keep track of heart rate, but I was pushing a bit so I was breathing a bit harder than normal towards the end. Not so hard I was gasping, but hard enough I was expanding my lungs fully. There were a few times I got some water instead of air, but that wasn't catastrophic, it just made me really eager to make the next breath really good. I was concentrating on getting in a long strong smooth pull with elbows up throughout the swim, with a nice easy kick.

The next lane had a coached group going, with 4 quite fast women sharing the lane. One of them had a breast stroke that was almost as fast as my freestyle. Trying to keep up with them occasionally made for some fast laps, but also made for some choppy water when they were practicing dolphin kick.

I'm really pleased by this time. It's the first time I've done 3 K in under 1 hour in many years. The other times I've gone this distance I was a hair over, and had to sprint the last few laps to get there. Today didn't have a sprint at the end. I suspect I could have swum another 1000 m, but it wouldn't have been under, or even on, 1 hour 20 minutes, and my arms would have been hurting units.

That wouldn't have been good for the plane ride this afternoon. Linda I are going back to Ontario today to attend her Mom's funeral on Monday. This isn't particularly a surprise. She's been ill for some time, and the last several weeks have had been a pretty abrupt decline. Linda was able to spend several months with her earlier this year, and has had time to prepare for this. She's doing fine and gives her thanks for those who have called to express their sympathies. She's sorry that she can't cheer on Susi during the run on Sunday, as am I. It's a bummer to miss yoga and spin class, but these things happen.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Schedule disruption

I'll be out of town attending a funeral on Monday, so my schedule is all messed up till Wed. More news then.

So much for clean running shoes...

Sigh. I was running a bit late today, and didn't feel like looking at my watch to manage the run 3 walk 2 thing. So I decided to just run for a bit, and walk for a bit, as I felt like it. I don't even want to speculate how long I ran vs walked. But when I was showering after I remember thinking that it seemed pretty easy, and I could have gone longer, ect. That's progress of a sort, I guess.

On the way back from the run I thought I'd take a bit of a shortcut. Off the path. I can categorically state that the ground isn't yet frozen, and I found a mucky bit. And there's horrible little burrs all over my shoe laces. Nobody (and she knows who she is) never told me there'd be days like this, but I should have figured it out for myself.

If I'm feeling ambitious at home tonight, I'll climb on the bike and spin for a while. The other thing is to try to track down a missing running sock. I bought 3 pairs, and probably really should get more. One sock is AWOL, probably burrowed into a t shirt or cavorting with my wife's socks. This whole sock thing has thrown me a bit. You see, till now I've had two kinds of socks. White and black. Each are identical, and I can pick them out without having to open my eyes. When one wears out I throw it away, and periodically buy more of the identical socks. Now I have a third kind, running socks, that also happen to be white, and life is complicated again. Sigh.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

There's a line dance called the Achey Breaky

And that's how I felt during my swim this morning. Not, I think from spin class last night. This was in my mid-back and shoulders especially on the left side, hurting when I tried to breathe deeply. So I figured I'd do a nice easy relaxing swim. I haven't felt so bad during a swim since forever. I was slow slow slow, flailing around in the water like the geezers in the next lane. At about the 23 minute mark it came together for a while, then started falling apart again just at the end of the 30 minutes. The 1500 m took 30 min 10 seconds. I'm almost ashamed to say that.

In the evening I had a meeting with Greg to get started on the coaching thing. He's got the info he needs to come up with the plan to get me through the Chinook Half next June. Up to now I've done workouts based on how I felt when I started, with no overall plan. I'm really excited to see that there is a way to set up workouts so as to learn and practice certain skills, then use them to build endurance and strength, and get rest, all in an organized fashion. For me it's easier to do something when you know how it leads toward an overall goal.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Attacked by a yogurt container

Tuesday's are the big exercise day of the week lately. Maybe that will change once I'm on a formal program with Greg, but a morning run, and a spin class are big for me. Plus the unforseen adventure with yogurt. No kidding. Some of you may need to be warned about the hazards of blowing hot coffee out of nostrils.

The run was essentially a repeat of last Thursday. My thinking was that spin class was rumoured to be a 20 minute time trial. I'd never done one of those and had no idea what to expect. I seriously asked if I should bring a bucket. So I figured go easy on the running this week, and pick it up next week. I did 7 minutes warmup walk, 6 x 3 min run/2 min walk, and another 7 minutes or so cool down. I can't really do much longer without arriving at work after 8 am. This was on the path on the top of the hill just south of the Bow Waters Canoe Club. You get quite a nice view of the city from there, and the dawn sky was beautiful. Yes, yes, I'm getting to the yogurt. Patience.

It's not a good idea for me to eat right before exercise, so typically I have some fruit and juice for breakfast, then head off to swim or run. That's not enough to keep me going till lunch, so I've started taking some granola. You can't really eat that dry, so I started taking these small yogurt containers to mix with the granola. I've opened a million of these foil topped containers without untoward incident, sometimes under adverse circumstances we need not go into now. So today, I peel back the foil, and fwooof, a spray of yogurt ends up on the desk, my hands, my sweater, and one tiny spot on my glasses. I'm just a bit keyed up these days, what with a new job and wanting to make a good impression, and all the cobwebs being blown out of my brain with exercise. So I twitched backward in my chair, and came within a hairsbreadth of toppling over my gym bag that hadn't been tucked under my desk yet. (I was hungry, so SUE me!) and if I'd fallen over it and tried to recover, odds were even I'd have banged my head on the office window, or trying to avoid that, crash through it and topple out of a second story window, probably with the chair coming after me. If I lived the ambulance attendants would probably pee all over me cause they'd be laughing so hard. But it all worked out ok, I used a kleenex to mop up, and carried on. I don't think anyone else in the office even knew. How little they know what they got themselves into when they hired me.

At one point, via MSM, Susi was filling me in on what could be expected this evening, and from there we got onto fluid management, and what's the worst that could happen overdoing it during the time trial. Given the incident with the yogurt, you can't be totally surprised when my version of what's the worst that could happen ended up with an electrical fire.

But spin class was good, once I figured out why my computer cadence wasn't working. Somehow the two tiny wires had become disconnected. I'll maybe have to redo how I've got them routed. The idea for this was to spin consistently for 20 minutes at the max pace you can maintain. I've never done this before so I had no idea how hard to push. I settled for maintaining 90 rpm in a middle gear on the small chain ring, and keep heart rate just below my aerobic max. That worked out pretty well. Just at the end I was beginning to feel a bit of a burn in my calves. There was also some of the famous one legged pedalling drills to help us warm up. I still can't go a minute with those yet.

I'm also getting more comfy on the bike, and getting better at spinning. Practice practice practice!

Monday, November 5, 2007

Swim and 1st Yoga

250 m warmup, fairly brisk
50 m one arm alt 25 m right and 25 m left
50 m breastroke
50 m one arm alt r and left
500 m 10 x 50 m in 50 seconds on 1:15 start
100 m one arm alt r and left
50 m kick
100 m cool down
1150 m total, 30 min altogether

15 min pool pilates

For most of the swim I was sharing with the other fast guy at the slow pool. He started shortly after I did, and between us we punted a slow guy out of our lane. Let me tell you how slow these other people are. The next fastest guy after my buddy pushed off the wall next to me just as I'm about to start a 1 arm drill. I passed him. Quickly.

I'm really not sure about the one arm drill. Sure it builds strength, or it should, but it's also a much choppier stroke. Let's see how it goes for a while, and watch for any bad stroke habits creeping in.

Swim felt great today. But then, for me, there's no such thing as a bad day in the pool. (Come on, you know who, we're waiting to see the swim details in your blog. :-) ) I was thinking about Susi's sadistic swim drill instructor during the breast stoke. My kick is pathetic, and a few sessions with her might teach me what I should be doing. Or drown me.

I got signed up for yoga classes; my massage therapist says this should be really good for me. And so it was. Lots of Warrior pose, and some variants of that. To my astonishment there were people in the class much less flexible than I am. I guess all the pool work is paying off. I think I'm going to like it.

Sunday, November 4, 2007

The first lonely spin workout in the basement

These weather people are getting good. Sure enough, it snowed last night.

Timing is tight today, but I wanted to slip in a short workout on the bike, mainly to try one legged pedaling. Warm up 10 min at 80 to 85 rpm. Then 3 sets of 30 seconds pedaling with one leg, 1 minute with both at 85, 30 seconds with the other leg, 1 minute with both. Then in a fairly easy gear, trying to concentrate on going round and round instead of up and down, 5 minutes at 85 - 90 rpm, then up to 100 rpm for 5 minutes, then back to 85 for 5 minutes as a cool down. My legs and hands are ok, but my sit bones are protesting a bit. This added up to about 30 minutes.

Weekly hourly summary:
2.3 Swim
3.0 Bike
1.4 Run

6.7 hours total.

Saturday, November 3, 2007

The last semi-nice day for a ride

Once I had the bike computer installed, then noticed it was sunny and above zero, how could I not want to go for a ride? Life, as always, is more complicated than that. Normally I'd have waited till a bit later in the day so it would be as warm as possible. But it was supposed to get windier throughout the day, cumulating in snow tonight, and my wife's sister was flying in about noon. My first thought was to get home from the airport in good time and head out on the bike. Well, it being Air Canada and all, the flight was delayed. It also got nicer, faster, than I thought it would.

About mid-morning we figured I'd have time for a nice ride, if not terribly long, if I left that moment. The window was about an hour and 45 minutes max, for both the airport and how long I figured my butt would last. Dress and prep and zoom!

At first I thought I'd over dressed; within 5 min I was warm. Then I got into the wind and cooled down quickly. Slowed down quickly too. My thought was to ride for 45 minutes from the house on 22X heading west, turn around and come home. Well, my goodness. There I was, pedalling downhill, and not even going 25 Kph.

The mountains were gorgeous! The view going west on 22X varies from damn good to spectacular, and I had time to appreciate it. By the half way point my butt was getting sore again. Turning around all of a sudden it got way easier. There I was at near 40 Kph on the flats. Turning north on 37 st I saw a couple of guys getting ready for a ride, and I waved at them. A few minutes later I saw a strung out pack of about 8 people out for a ride, just as the day was getting to its nicest. I had a brief fantasy about having left at the same time, and joining them, and being able to keep up. My bike might be fast, but I'm not yet.

Here's the numbers. 29 K ride in 1 hr 15 minutes, for average 23 Kph, and an average cadence of 77 according to spiffy new bike computer. Now if only I can figure out how to start the timing NOW, and end it NOW, so average numbers are accurate. I wasn't wearing my heart monitor, so I don't know that, but it seemed like I was breathing harder than I normally do on a bike.

Who knows when I'll get to ride outside again? With Calgary's chinook winds it could happen any time.

Bike Photos

I was up early and installed the bike computer today. Here's the promised photos. It's kind of hard to take a photo of a bike because the camera tends to focus on whatever it is behind the bike. And yes, those are wine bottles. And yes, there's more than what shows up in the photos.

Hmmm, blogger doesn't seem to want to accept photos this am. So I'll cheat, and put them on my other website. Got to bike photos for the photos, or to Keith's Homepage for the home page, which has a link to the bike photos, and other non-fitness ramblings. The photos are fairly big, and might require you to resize your browser windowto get the full glory. I'm sorry if you have a dial up connection; the file size is fairly large because I was excited about getting the pictures and didn't reset my camera.

Friday, November 2, 2007

Good Swim

My last several swim days have been fairly easy, so I decided to push a little harder today.
500 m warm up at a fairly brisk pace, 9 min 31 seconds.
50 m kick
50 m breast stroke
250 m drill, 5 x 50 m freestyle pulling hard, mostly 16 strokes per 25 m on 1:15 start.
50 m kick
50 m breast stroke
50 m back stroke (And yes, there was a minor backflushing, but more body rotation mitigates the effect.) (And no, we won't even talk about the affair the ropes and my thumb were having.)
500 m drill 10 x 50 m in 50 seconds, on 1:15 start. (some were a bit slower.)
100 m easy cooldown.
Total is 1600 m if I've done the math right.

Then I did 15 minutes of pool pilates in the dive tank. This has really improved core strength and flexibility. One example for you to contemplate. Hold onto the edge of the pool with your arms straight, and toes touching the side, feet together. Sort of like a full push up position, only your body is vertical. Leaving arms where they are, and not lifting body up, or letting it sink, move your toes outward along the wall, and upward. Hang onto pool edge. Slowly slide toes along pool wall, lifting them higher and further apart, using core muscles. Tuck butt under and continue pushing. Stop when you have gone as far as you can, then slowly lower them.

When I started doing them the furthest up my toes could go was mumblety feet below the water line. Today, my toes go less than 11 inches from the surface. I know this because about 11 inches down there is a band of black tiles that stick out a bit from the rest of the wall. I can get my toes well above that band. Maybe soon I'll be able to get them out of the water.

Today's swim was in the fast pool, as I think of it. At various times there were people in the next lane swimming at about my speed or even faster. That's great for encouragement. I feel about the same about swimming as Greg does about biking. I didn't really want to get out of the pool, but it was getting crowded and I had to get to work.

Those that have read this far get a bonus tidbit of information. When I checked my heart rate first thing this morning, I got 49 bpm. I didn't believe that so I waited a few minutes and did it again. This time I got 45. That's certainly the lowest I've ever seen it, but bear in mind I was waking up in a position where all I had to do to see the clock was to open my eyes, and I could already feel my heart rate without having to move my hands. Lastly, a number for future reference. 255. Never mind. Move along, nothing to see here. Situation is under control.

I'm not sure about weekend plans. I'd like to get on the bike tonight and do some one legged drills. Tomorrow is supposed to be a nice day. Hopefully nice enough to go for an actual bike ride. And maybe, if I'm feeling really, really ambitious, a short easy run after the bike ride. If I do that I figure I'll have earned my Wheaties for the day.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Canal Run

Who would ever have believed that a path along a canal would be so hilly? The path goes up and down along the hillside, not just along beside the canal like I thought. This would be a really interesting run in the daylight, since you'd be able to see the WID canal headwaters, right where it ties into the Bow river. There was one idiot riding his bike without a light, on a path I could barely see at a slow running pace. I didn't hear any screams, so I guess he knew where he was going.

I parked at the Bow Waters Canoe club. 7 minutes warmup walk, 6 x 3 min run/2 min walk, and another 7 minutes or so cool down. This took me north, across the pedestrian bridge at Memorial, back down to the canal weir on the Bow (do NOT go swimming there unless you're tired of life!) and back again.

It was really interesting to vary my pace on the hills. For some reason, going up seems easier mechanically if harder on the lungs, and going down harder mechanically and easier on the lungs. Maybe I just need a lesson on downhill running. It wasn't what I'd call a peaceful run. Traffic noise from Deerfoot is quite loud, especially the indignant honks. But you're protected from the wind for most of it, and there's lots of branching routes. I think I'll have to run there again.

I could also park in the East part of Inglewood, and go running through the bird sanctuary, or along the Bow. Just because there's a park right behind the pool where I shower afterward doesn't mean I have to run there.

The verdict on running - so far so good. Which will be an astonishment to the people who used to listen to me saying that people running any further than for the bus were nuts.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

post spin class update

You were all speculating how bad I'd feel the day after my first spin class, and I can hardly bear to disappoint my adoring public. All 4 of you. Today was better than I thought it would be. It took a few minutes to go to sleep, since I was still winding down from the exercise. That's just about the first time I've done serious exercise in the evening. My body normally treats exercise as a wake up call.

Getting up wasn't bad at all. Nothing hurt, which isn't a given at my age. I didn't check my resting heart rate like I'm trying to get into the habit of doing because I spasmed and thrashed like a wounded water buffalo when the alarm went off. I was all organized from the night before and got to the pool in good order. With all the extra activity the night before I was a bit worried I'd forgot something.

The swim was not total geezer-tude after all. I decided that an easy relaxed pace would be good, and that turned out to be 1000 m in 20 minutes, followed by 15 or 20 minutes doing pool pilates in the dive tank. What was different is that this is the evenest lap splits I think I've ever done. My fastest lap was probably 55 seconds, and my slowest was 62 or so. Most of them were bang on 60. For a while I'd wondered if the pace clock had stopped. I think the catch work the other day was paying off because it felt like I could get a real grip on the water. I really must remember to check heart rate after swims.

The swim left me feeling nicely relaxed. Then the hard part started, sitting in an office chair all day. I should have gone for a walk at lunch, but we had a combined birthday to celebrate, and a departure lunch. This evening I'm feeling it in my lower back. Good thing my massage therapist is coming on Friday!

I actually thought about climbing on the bike tonight, but what with it being Halloween and all, and a few other things needing to be done around the house, I put it off. Run tomorrow. I think I'll stop at the Bow Water's Canoe club, and run along the river or canal for a bit.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

run and work and bike

I was determined to get in a short run before work today. Of course, it snowed last night. I still went anyway. Turns out there's a big park right behind the pool I swim at, and the road around it is almost exactly 4 K. So, 10 min warmup walk, then 5 times 3 min run, two min walk, then 10 min cool down walk. It felt good. The running is getting easier and feeling more natural. The semi-mythical "runners high" hasn't happened, but at least I don't look like I'm in agony when I run.

All in all it was a nice morning for a run, the trees were all covered with a bit of snow, so it was quite pretty. It's dark, of course, and about 0 C, but the streetlights light things up pretty well. I'd like to get there when there isn't any snow, and run through the park instead of on the sidewalk.

As you might recall, there were no shoes my size when I bought my bike. I was organized enough to get the bike, and everything I'd need for a spin session into the car last night. The morning was a bit of a shambles but it all worked out. The shoes came in, so I headed up to Speed Theory after work to pick out shoes and get the real pedals installed.

Then came spin class. I don't have the computer mounted yet (that's later this week), so I had to guess at rpm. Which is ok for the first class, since I'm still getting comfortable on the bike and the shoes on the pedals. I spent part of the time watching Chris's feet, and his rpm. It's really hard to stay in synch with someone else, and I didn't have much luck keeping up.

I forget who said it, but the key to success is in carefully choosing the terms. For my first class, I chose to define success in terms of nots. As in, NOT hurling, NOT falling off the bike or humiliating myself in some way, and NOT having to quit part way through. That last one was close, since my butt and hands were getting sore. I couldn't pedal the entire time. Maybe that will be success for the next class.

Overall it felt fine. I was sweating like a stuck pig, even though I was careful to keep heart rate well below max aerobic level. I'm sure glad I had a towel there. At the end my legs were tired, but not rubbery. I really need to work on the one legged drill. That was a shambles, and I think the low point of the session for me. It's only when I was cleaning out my bag at home that I realized I'd brought my gloves, but hadn't worn them. Doh!

The real test is going to be how I feel tomorrow. I'm glad it's a swim day, and I think it's going to be a long easy swim. Maybe so easy I'll fit right in with the geezers.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Backstroke Blues

Today was a swim day. (Note, all swimming is freestyle unless noted otherwise.)
250 m gradually speeding up warmup.
100 m backstroke.
4 x 50 m 45 seconds, on 1:15 start.
250 m working on specific parts of stroke. Particularly catch, keeping elbows up, forward quadrant elements, breathing every 5 strokes, every 7 strokes (gack).
300 m at moderate pace, trying to put all elements together, trying to swim so as to disturb the fewest number of water molecules.
100 m cool down.
15 min pool pilates in dive tank.

My problem with backstroke is that I haven't fully nailed down the stroke and breathing mechanics again. Today, this led to my sinuses getting backflushed pretty good, several times. There's a pause in my stroke, and it's like I slide backwards into the water, not unlike a ship being launched. I think I need to get a bit more body rotation going and get the arms back over my head out front quicker. If it works during freestyle, it stands to reason it will work in back stroke. Next time.

The good news was sharing the lane with someone that could swim just a little bit faster than me. That's no big news at the pool I used to swim at, but was a bit of a surprise at this one. Don't get me wrong, a nice surprise! I just hope he didn't think I was one of the geezers. The funny part of the morning was watching a guy trying to dive. He'd stand there, swinging arms back and forth, up and down, pumping his knees, then he'd leap as if hungry flesh-eating predators were after him. At the last possible second his knees would relax, and he'd go into the water like a falling tree. Ouch.

The run tomorrow morning should be interesting; it's supposed to snow tonight. I'm already trying to psych myself to run outside come what may. And with any luck at all, my bike shoes will come in and I can join the spin class after work.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Clothing Anxiety

Today was an easy bike day. But first, you need to know I just got a brand new Orbea Onix TDE, the one with the orange and black paint job. There weren't any shoes my size, so I have to make do with loaner flat pedals for now. Still, I'm totally thrilled with my new bike. The ride today was a 20 Km loop. I got around it in 46:28, feet scittering all over the pedals. There was one place where I was stopped at light, and tried to bring my left foot up to the top of the pedal arc, ready to pedal away when the light changed. Of course, without toe clips, my foot came up but the pedals didn't move. oops. I pulled my feet off the pedals a bunch of times trying to spin. Can't wait for shoes to come in, and real pedals to be installed.

The bike felt great!! I don't have a computer on it yet, so I don't know how fast I was going down hill, but I was still pedaling and wasn't in the top gear. I estimate it was, oh, about damn fast. It's so nice to feel pedalling effort going into making the bike go faster, rather than overcoming rolling resistance. I could have ridden further, but I was starting to feel it in my hands and butt. The positioning is quite a bit different from my faithful hybrid, and I'm still getting used to it.

At one spot I was passing a guy collecting some of the construction signage. He was nice enough to tell me I could pass his truck without worrying about cars. Then he looked at my bike and smiled. "Nice bike!" he said. That put a smile on my face.

In other news, at last I understand the anxiety girls feel as bikini season approaches. I went to MEC to buy some cool/cold weather gear for riding and running. The list included some more shirts, tights, and a wind breaker with lots of reflective stripes. Let's just say that large wasn't large enough, and leave it at that.

More fabulous Calgary weather, mostly sunny and about 13 or 14 C. A great day to be outside.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

The Beginning, or the smoke clears from the Trojan War on Sloth

Once upon a time, a guy named Keith was active, swimming, riding his bike everywhere, running, playing tennis, soccer, basketball, and generally moving the bod. Then, about the same time, he bought a car and discovered beer, with predictable results.

For a few years, now and then, swimming happened, or I had a physically active job, but gradually the spare tire around the middle got bigger and bigger. Then one fateful day I had a good look at myself sideways in the mirror. OMG! Enough was enough. A few years ago I realized I was dropping my wife off at work, then going to work myself and starting more than an hour early. That was nice in that I could then leave an hour early and beat some of the traffic.

So instead of being early, I started swimming again, and at first it was brutal. My body remembered sliding through the water with the greatest of ease. At some point in my late 20's I could swim 1000 m in 20 minutes, and not even get my heart rate into the aerobic zone. When I started again about 2 years ago, I could barely swim 100 m, but I had my eyes on that 20 minute kilometer again. It took much longer than I thought it would, but I got there on August 1 this year. My quickest 1000 m so far is 19 minutes.

I started riding my bike much more regularly this summer as well. And from somewhere, I don't know where, but I think her name starts with S, I got the urge to start running. That's been a cautious thing, since I'm a big guy, still carrying way too much weight.

All in all, I've slimmed down quite a bit; I get into pants I haven't been into for a very long time. And I'm feeling great about the whole darn thing. I have my eye set on completeing the Chinook Half-tri next June, and as soon as I get coaching arrangements finalized, I'll get signed up. Who knows where this will go? That's what this blog is about.

Today was a run day. Now, you have to realize I use the word run very loosely. Picture a very tired elephant trying to break into a trot in swamp and you've got about the right idea. Warm up walk, ran 2 min (gently, trying to place feet, rather than pound them into ground), walk 2 min to recover. Heart rate usually dropped from mid 130's down to below 110 during recovery. Did that 15 times, then a cool down walk, and some stretching.

It's a beautiful day to be going through Fish Creek, nice and cool.