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.