Wednesday, December 31, 2008

1000 m !! And year end

What a great way to end the year! My swim was 1000 m and could have gone further, though it was slow slow slow. But I'll give the number, mainly for reference. 21:38, and as background for new readers, I cracked a bone in my elbow Sept 5th, and it's been a long recovery. You can go back through my archives for details; look for posts with OW in the title, but beware the one with graphic followup. There are photos of teeth. Sorry to remind you Susi, but after your reaction it's only fair to warn them.

The swim felt great this am. My inner shark buddy showed up about lap 15, said hi, noted that I wasn't going to catch dinner swimming that slow, but that it was looking much better. I had looked over the video on flip turns again and tried one, just for fun, and did much better. I'm still not going to try it in a crowded pool yet.

Aside from my fall, 2008 has been a terrific year for me. I'm certainly running better than I was this time last year, and I'm way stronger on the bike. Of course, the swim isn't doing so good. Last year this time I was doing 1000m in 19 min or less, but it will come. While I'm not hung up about being a particular weight, I do keep track of it semi-regular. A year ago I was 245 or so, now I'm 230 or so. There's a huge pile of too-big clothing going to the Sally Ann.

In my personal life, Linda and I took a major vacation in England and Italy. You can see some of the photos by looking for my non-fitness web page in my blog list. Aside from some bad transit moments in Torino, we had a wonderful time. I'm enjoying the work I do, and hope that the economic slowdown doesn't find me scrounging for a job at Tim Horton's.

This blogging thing has turned out to be far more fun that I thought it would. I do it primarily for me, keep track of my little triumphs, my ups and downs. There's been several times where I've felt really bad about a workout. Then I go scrolling back to find it wasn't that long ago that I either couldn't do it at all, or had just done it. My coach reads it, (Hi Greg!) and finds it's a great way to keep track.

Most importantly, it's turned out to be a way of meeting the nicest people. I scoped out Greg through his blog, when Susi suggested him as a coach. Julie never would have banged on my door and showed me her new bike. I'd never have gone for that ride with Jenna and Susi, with the Sushi pig out, I mean, Sushi recovery dinner after. I wouldn't have known to say hi to Kelsey as we got rained out of the Vulcan Tri. Leaha would have been a stranger to me. I mean, how else can you walk up to a woman, on a beach, introduce yourself, and NOT come across as a creep? I haven't actually met Kelly yet, but I'm looking forward to introducing her to the Road to Nepal, and there's another thing. How else would you feel comfortable staying with someone you've never met before? When Shannon walked into spin class, it was like we were already old friends. I first met Darryl before a training swim at one of our lakes, but got to know him better by tossing around a ball, during a swim. Remember? The ball Greg swiped from some poor kid? (hahahaha, just kidding!) Leslie and I meet at spin class. There's other people I follow that I haven't met yet, and might one day. And lest you think I've forgotten Susi, (who could EVER do that) I knew her 5 years before I started blogging and this is just one way to stay in touch. Watching for her online as she worked through IMC 2007 is totally what got me into this. Thank you for everything Susi!

All you guys have been inspirational, funny, supportive, and a hundred other things. Your blogs are the 'must read' of the day, often several times a day to track the comments. I totally love following the various adventures and misadventures of real people, as you struggle to get through the workouts and races, while juggling family, work, friends, and life in general. From the bottom of my heart, I wish you all the best in 2009.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Breast stroke learning aid

I at least thought about running outside this am. Really! I laid out everything I'd need. Lately I haven't been sleeping that well, so I figured the odds of being up at 4 am were pretty good. As it happened, I slept fairly well, and woke up a few minutes after 5. Clock goes off at 5:15 and the race to get out the door starts. So I didn't run. Outside.

But FOMC has weight room with some cardio equipment. I get there, and there's hardly any cars in the parking lot. I can see a bunch of people in the pool and dive tank. Then I when I get to the weight room there are 6 people there. Three are taking up all the treadmills, one is on the only elliptical machine, one is on the nice recumbent bike, and one is pushing weights. Go figure. Warmed up on a stair climber for a little while. I hate stair climbers even more than treadmills. Way more.

The nice treadmill came free first, oddly enough, just as I was really sick of the stair climber and was thinking about going swimming anyways, in my running shorts, and wondering how that would work out.

Warmed up a little more, then cranked the incline to 6% ran 9/1 nice and easy. For the next 9 I lowered the incline but ran faster, trying to take quick steps. For the last 9 I gradually lowered it and played with different running speeds. Cooled down. I'll call this 45 minutes.

On the way out I was chatting with one of the pool staff. She had just got her order of pool toys, and one of them was a weird sock thing with a bent fin on it out to one side. It turns out to be a training aid for learning breast stroke. I told her my breast stroke only warms up the water and I don't go anywhere. She says it's my kick and a 5 minute session with her would have me screaming down the pool. Uhuh. Yup yup yup, and I've got this really nice bridge for sale.

Ate a little bit too much supper, then tried to find the sweet spot between letting it settle long enough, but not so long that I'd be up late still jazzed from the bike workout. For a while I wondered if I miscalculated, but it was all ok.

Warmed up 20 min.
3 min each hill climb then right into 100+ rpm, then one min easy,
4 min each hill climb then right into 100+ rpm, then one min easy,
5 min each hill climb then right into 100+ rpm, then one min easy,
4 min each hill climb then right into 100+ rpm, then one min easy,
3 min each hill climb then right into 100+ rpm, then one min easy,
Cooled down 15 min or so, for a total of 1.25 hr, with some stretching after.

Nothing special as far as the workout went. Wasn't really in the mood. Drove heart rate into high zone 2 or low zone 3, sweated a bucket, nice recovery during easy pedal. Bike workouts are more fun when there is someone to chat to.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Another swim

Slithered into the pool this morning. That seemed the best choice given the weird holiday hours this week. At this pool the kick boards are up at the far end from where I normally start, so I didn't go get one. Too lazy to walk the extra 50 m. Go figure, huh.

Started with a 500 m swim, trying to keep my right arm pull strong. I also thought about my kick, and tried to keep that strong too. I'm still way slower than typical, but there's been big improvement over last week. It was beginning to feel a bit weak at the end. After a bit of a rest I tried a bunch of flip turns. I didn't bash my feet, or get water up the nose, or really get any turns done. I tend to get to where my feet are up, I'm looking up at the surface of the water, and I sink like a stone. I brushed my shoulders against the floor of the pool a bunch of times. I got turned sideways lots. I think I'm going to have to watch those videos again. Trying to do an open turn using my left hand when I'm swimming in a lane counter clockwise (ie, swimming on the right side of the lane) is a royal pain in the butt and about once per swim I try it with my right hand which isn't fun at all.

From there I was into the dive tank for a bunch of core work. This is coming along pretty good. I'm just about back to where I was. For a long time I couldn't hook my just fingers over the edge of the pool for stability; my right elbow wouldn't take it. I had to hook my elbows over. But for most of it I'm back to fingers.

Because it's so close to Christmas, I'm going to be a little generous and call this .75 hr.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Julie's new bike, run, eat, swim visit

Julie bought a new bike! (ooooooohhhhhhh, aaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhh) A Cervelo P2C. It's beautiful. Since you all know what a P2C looks like, I thought I'd show you what her's looked like within a few minutes of finishing the first ride.

You'll have to go to her blog to get the whole story. So the deal was that she'd drop by Saturday afternoon, we'd do a bike workout, run, go for dinner, snooze for a few minutes, go for a swim, do breakfast, then she'd head home. Then I'd collapse. Gawd does that girl have energy!

We got set up in the basement, and did one of her workouts. Warmup, then a hard gear for 5 min, then the next harder gear for another 5, do that twice more, some easy pedal, then do that whole thing twice more. Then some accelerations, then cooldown. It was good. Julie looks totally at home on the new bike. We watched the last part of the Real Roads IMC course, up Yellow Lakes and back to town. With the sound off, listening to what's on my ipod. 1 hr 50 min. Here's us, hard at it.

It was warm, about zero or so. She brought some yak traks to put on our shoes, and we headed out for a quick run around the block. This is my 3 K route, and we did in almost exactly 20 min. Her bounding along, bouncing over packed down snow ridges from the plow, taking it easy. Me shuffling along, puffing like a steam engine. I'd have to go back through my posts, but I think that's the fastest I've ever done 3K. We walked past her car during the cooldown. I'm pretty sure I heard Madge crying quietly to herself about having some parts stripped off, being taken apart, and left in the cold trunk, knowing she's been replaced. Remember that IKEA commercial about the lamp? Yeah, sort of like that.

Back in, shared stretching tips, and stretched out. Cleaned up. We made total pigs of ourselves at Parthenon. I think that's the best Greek restaurant in Calgary. mmmmmmm. Back to our place where we chatted up a storm till zzzzzzzz.

Over to the pool. She's a better swimmer than her blog would have you believe. I managed to thrash my way through 1000 m freestyle. Kick, 550 m, rest, kick, 200 m doing 50 m intervals on 1:15, rest, kick, 150 free, rest, 100 m hard, rest, kick. There were a few smooth lengths, and a few semi-fast lengths. But it's coming together.

Oh, and the number. 231. Up a bit, but I've been pigging out on sweets the last couple weeks. Time to get serious about eating good again. After a huge breakfast at Belmont, we got her all packed up and sent off in a flurry of snow. Hope it's not like that all the way home.

Weekly totals
Swim 1.5 hr
Bike 5.3
Run .3 hr
Total 7 hrs.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

IG's avatar was watching

Once upon a time, someone asked an author how to learn to write. His answer "You have a million words of bad writing in you, and the sooner you start writing, the sooner you'll write it out of your system."

Someone asked IG how to get better on the bike. His answer, "Ride more!"

Today was a good day for a workout. Everything felt strong, including my arm, so I pushed for a good workout. Keep in mind that during the easy pedal I'm working the range of motion on my arm.

Started with some gentle stretching, then warmed up on the bike for 15 minutes. Did some slow accelerations during that time. Then started with 3 sets of one leg drill, each with accelerations after.

Then started the first main set he had given us. 3 min @100 rpm, 4 min hill, 3 min @ 100 rpm, 3 min easy pedal.
Then 2 min TT, 5 min 15/15, 2 min TT, 3 min hill, 3 min easy pedal
Then 3 min hill, 3 min 15/15, 3 min hill, 3 min 15/15, 3 min hill, followed by a few minutes easy pedal, and assessing how I felt. Still wanted to do more.

10 x 4/2, with the 4 min at 100 to 110 rpm, driving heart rate up into aerobic zone. Concentrating on keeping pedal strokes even and round, light and fast. Then some slow accelerations and 15 min easy pedal and cool down. Then a long stretching session. I tried, and can do plank position, which is new. Pushups are still right out.

Throughout this, IG was watching the stop watch, the heart rate monitor, and the rpm. There was lots of encouragement to get in the last few seconds of each segment, and to keep it smooth and fast. The 2.5 hours on the bike went by fast. I could have gone longer, and thought of doing so, but we've got Christmas dinner at friends, and didn't want to be totally wiped out.

I'm really pleased with how it went. This is the strongest bike session since the build to my last half IM race. My watch says I burned over 2100 calories, and I'm probably going to eat that all back again at dinner in a couple of hours. Burp.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

The butt on fire reference workout

As you may have noticed, I didn't swim yesterday. The main reason is that my arm was still aching, but mainly I was hoping to miss some traffic on the way to work. What everyone else was doing getting on Deerfoot at 6am I don't know.

I wanted to get one more swim in before the pools close before Christmas, so today was the day. At least it wasn't as cold out as it has been. Shared a lane with another guy and the mental pain was almost as bad as the physical pain. He swam quick enough, but he was sloppy. I burned to show him how to swim smooth and fast. Sigh.

What's interesting is that I could pull fairly hard, and get a reasonably long stroke in, and feel reasonably smooth about it at first. I'm still not fast, not by any means. Still, the arm didn't last all that long. I gave it a rest, then started doing 100 m sets with a rest. And when I couldn't do those I did 50 m. I worked it pretty hard, but it feels good, in a painful sort of way. The shoulder, elbow, forearm and wrist all hurt in what I hope is a good way. They're tired. I think I'm getting close to the natural limits of motion, so I need to start working on building strength through the entire range. Did some core work in the dive tank.

Me and another co-worker cleaned out the fridge of what was remaining from the Friday office party, and generally tidied. Then bailed out shortly after lunch with no guilt. Five days off, then 2.5 on, then another 4.5 off. Yeehaw!

Got home and hung out for a while, enjoying the novelty of being home while the sun was still up. Still I couldn't forget the regular Tues spin workouts. I would feel so much guilt if I didn't do something, and I know IG would be sadly disappointed. So I hope he likes this one. I didn't want to keep track of intervals, so many minutes at this, so many at that, and changing gears, and all that. Too complicated for my simple brain today.

Warmed up 15 min, even doing some one leg drill (the audience goes wild!) and slow accelerations. Then settled in. Found the 5th gear down from the biggest cog, on the small chainring, and dialed in 95 rpm. I started about mid 120's for heart rate, and slowly drifted up to 128 to 130 or so for most of the workout. The last 5-7 minutes it started drifting up to the mid 130's. Total time doing this was 30 min, just pedaling, trying not to move much, trying to make my feet light and smooth, imagining myself on a long flat straightaway with a headwind. I wanted see how long I could sit and spin. Toward the end things were getting a bit jerky, but my legs felt fine. I even found myself up over 100 rpm at one point. My butt was on fire about the 25 min mark. My left hand was going to sleep, so I think was was leaning on it more. Stood up right on the 30 min mark, and made sure the saddle hadn't become permanently attached, and was tempted to pour some water down the back hatch. Did a few minutes of slow accelerations and cooled down. Then did a little bit of stretching, might do more later tonight.

This was an interesting workout; mentally very tough to just sit there, maintain the same rpm, and try to keep the heart rate under control. I was never even close to being out of breath, but I was sure sweating up a storm. IG sent around some spin workouts for us to try over the break. I'm looking to get those in, and hopefully some nice long spin sessions.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

There is 25 cm of snow outside

At least it's fairly warm by recent standards, being only -20 C with a wind leading to a windchill of -30 C. Tonight and tomorrow are colder. With more snow on the way. Sunrise was at 8:36, and sunset was at 4:31.

After a crappy night's sleep, I got all prepped to ride. My arm is still sore. It was a nice solid workout, but not a stellar one like I was hoping for. Only a 20 min warmup, then 10 x 4/2, and a 10 minute cool down, with some stretching afterward. The 4 min sets were all at 100 rpm, at the high end of zone 2 or into the bottom of zone 3. This is a comfortable place to be working out. I was fine riding with two feet, but trying the one leg drill wasn't good for my arm at all. Even the end of the 1.5 hr it was getting tired, so I decided not to push it. I'll have lots of time for long rides over the coming two weeks.

I watched disc 3 of the Real Roads IMC course during my ride, with the sound off. That section sure looks boring. Oh, and look for the changes to my blog site. I spent some time last night playing with it.

Saturday, December 20, 2008


Things are better now. Took it easy the last couple days as far as workouts are concerned, unless you count shoveling snow as a workout. That's still happening. The arm rehabilitation has been going well, painfully well. Still trying to push range of motion.

I was up early today, and looked outside about 6:30. It's still dark, and looked cold. The weather channel said it was about -29 outside, with a windchill about -39. I thought about running outside, for about 2 seconds. It isn't the cold, you can dress for that. It's the thought of slipping, and there is nowhere to run without the ice. The roads are polished hard pack in between small patches of black ice. Most, but not all my neighbours are pretty good about shoveling, but at the least you still have to cross roads.

Can you say treadmill? There, I thought you could. I read a hint on another blog about increasing the inclination so I tried that. I set the machine to 5%, and did some 9/1 sets. Six of them, after a warmup walk. This treadmill was set to the SI system, so it took a bit of doing the first set to get into the groove, but I found a pace to keep my heart rate about the bottom of zone 3. The last set was fun. I ran the inclination back to 0, and upped the speed. I hadn't thought changing the inclination would make that much difference. For a while the 'mill said I was running faster than 10 Kph, which is really fast for me. Then I dialed it back down a bit, and eased into a cooldown.

Once home again, I left my half full water bottle outside while I shoveled the driveway again, and got the morning papers. It was outside for about 20 minutes or so, and you could see it getting slushy. Maybe another 5 minutes and it would have been frozen solid.

(Brace yourself Kelly.) Once inside I poured the first cup of coffee for the day, and settled in to read the papers. No cat, she preferred to meow at the door where the other human was snoozing. It's a beautiful sunny day out there. If I owned cross country skis I'd be out in the big open area across the road, or down in Fish Creek.

We had a low key office Christmas party Friday. Lots of really good munchies, and an exchange of Secret Santa gifts. I ended up with a Best Buy gift card and a very full tummy. Somehow, with the workouts, I don't feel as much guilt about pigging out on goodies. (More on this later.)

Last night I found out Google Earth will show me a movie of the IMC bike course and watched that. Then watched some IMC video, marveling at the fitness of those pros. There was one cut directly from a running pro ( I think it was Lisa Bently), to some running age groupers. What a difference! I've spent some time thinking about how far my fitness has come in the last year or so. A year ago now I'd still be called pudgy at best. Susi was kind enough to say my six-pack was 'insulated'. Polar bear class insulation, I say, and there's still lots of it around. I admire Jenna's bravery in posting before and after shots. I'm not sure I'd do that. In fact, I'm sure I wouldn't, unless the the muffin top fans out there convince me otherwise.

But all that goes into musing about fitness goals, and less directly, life goals. I know that sooner or later during a training session or a race, my body parts are going to start asking 'why are you doing this to us? or, We can stop sometime Real Soon Now, RIGHT?' Two years ago, I'd barely heard of triathlon, and certainly never dreamed to actually doing one myself. So things change. I'm still thinking I'll only do the one Ironman. The 'brag the rest of your life' is having a strong effect on me right now. But really, Ironman is only one step in a bigger goal. I feel better about myself these days. I'm sharper and more with it mentally, most of the time. Physically, arm aside, I'm in better shape than any time since my teen years, and I'm loving it. I don't want that to go away.

This is going to sound odd, but I mostly really enjoy the training sessions. Times like earlier this week where I simply don't want to are very rare. They are balanced by times like this morning where I was looking forward to getting onto the treadmill. (Brace yourself Susi.) I can't wait till I can run outside, since a treadmill just isn't the same. I like how things feel as I'm running, both mentally and physically, even if there's still more jiggle than I'd like. I'm loving the bike sessions. Just hanging around people that have done Ironman is a learning experience. I see how far there is for me to go. I've always liked swimming, and just now I'm really missing my inner shark. But he'll be back.

Working out alone, (I train alone, thumpthump, thumpthump) mostly without distraction, gives me the time to think about who and what I am. Mostly I'm liking what I find, and I'm starting to work on the things I don't like. What's interesting is that the more I work out, and the more I hang around positive outgoing people, the parts I don't like are getting smaller.

Part of the time is thinking about training technique, but part of it my imagination is off the leash. I try not to think about races or preparation for races because that tends to drive up my heart rate. But I've thought about some of the documentation for the various software projects I'm working on, the logistical implications of flying cars, resolving the political situation here, wondering why anyone would want to push weights, a warm beach where scantily clad women bring fruity drinks with the little umbrellas in them, trying to make up new songs to go with existing music, and all kinds of other stuff.

Reading about the changes in Jenna's life has been really interesting, trying to get a grip on food issues in particular. My wife is a really good cook, and I eat really well, sometimes too well. That's one of the reasons I was so big. I've been wondering if I really want to go through a period where I write down everything I put in my mouth, and how much of it. I fear just how horrifying the results could be, and how shocked you'd all be. "You ate *HOW* many cookies???" There's a ton of advice about fitness on the web. I think I've got the workout and activities piece under control and in progress (thanks Greg!) The next big step would appear to getting better control of what I eat. Too many sweet things, and probably too much processed food. My problem is that nutrition is like accounting. It probably makes sense in some abstract way, but doesn't have any relevance to the real world. I speak as a guy that is incapable of balancing a cheque book. Proteins? Carbs? Sugars? Fats? Olioglithic triglicerides? It's all Greek to me. Yet somehow I'm going to have to get a grip on this. I can't go on forever using the "lotsa different stuff" model. Can I?

Thursday, December 18, 2008


Firstly, let me put things in perspective. Compared to what Shannon is going through, life is good. Just the last day or so I've been going through a series of small, but annoying adventures.

It's been snowing off and on here for about a week and a half. Calgary has about as much snow on the ground as it ever does at one time. The plow finally came around to our street. It's a bus route, so we've been expecting it for about a week and a half. So there we are, driving along our street, wondering how high the ridge at the bottom of the driveway is going to be. It was pretty high, well up on the doors. At first I was going bash through, then I remembered how crusty this tends to be and decided not to. Just as well. I parked on the side street and tackled it with a garden spade. Half an hour, and a very sore arm later, I got it to the point I could get the car in. Ate dinner then went out to finish.

This wasn't good for my arm. Dealing with this you never know if you'll get a nice clean shovel swipe, or if the shovel will stop as if the snow was concrete, leaving your arms quivering with sympathetic vibrations and really bad resonance. That happened lots. It was really hard, really chunky, over top of light and fluffy.

Many people do Christmas baking. I periodically bake cookies, and I did last night, and well yes, it happens to be Christmas, but this is not, repeat not, Christmas baking. Just so we're clear on that. Normally, making cookies for me is a relaxing thing, and they normally come out pretty good. I have never before dropped an egg on the floor while making cookies. While making anything, come to think of it. I went to tap it against the bowl, missed, let go of it, and it bounced off the counter, my leg, the cupboard door, then the floor. Messy clean up. At least it didn't land on Amelia the Cat. The second egg was only marginally better. It took a bit of picking shell out of the batter before I could proceed.

While cleaning up after, I nearly dropped some fragile stuff, and this was having taken the eggs as a warning to be careful. The drying motion is hard on me, but it's been ok the last little while. I also finished off the last of the flour in the container, and had to add more from the bag. Needless to say, I was very very careful. I did not want Linda to come home from yoga to find me and the kitchen covered in flour.

I did a bit of my arm exercises, and I think I have a tiny bit more mobility, but holy hannah does it hurt. I took some Tylenol for it for the first time in quite a while Then during the night, I did something to it, and didn't sleep well after. And no, the something did not involve a trapeze. I did a very brief shamble around to start getting packed up for this morning's run, and this evenings spin. Then I stopped.

I didn't want to scrounge around finding things while half asleep. Even when packing fully awake the odds are good I'll forget something unless I've got lots of time to double check. Last time I tried this half asleep I forgot swim shorts. I don't mean to be a weenie here, but I'm still in pain this morning. I didn't want to be carrying around two workout bags, plus several meals, plus snacks for the spin class party, plus the bike stuff, plus shoveling the drive way again. I didn't want to run on the treadmill again. I don't think I'm up to hanging onto bike handle bars in spin class.

Right now, even resting my arm on my desk, then pressing down hurts. I may have jarred something loose. Hopefully it's scar tissue, and guck that has been restricting my range of motion, and if I stretch today, maybe I can make some progress. I have Tylenol and Ibuprofen in my lunch supplies.

I'm not thrilled about driving home, then up to the party after spin class. It's taking 2 to 3 times as long as normal to drive anywhere, at almost any hour. But I don't want to stay at work that long, and I don't want to hang around spin class if I'm not on my bike. But I do want to go to the party.

And computer stuff is happening too. Grrrr. For a half-a-propellor beanie computer guy, I'm sure grumpy with computers in general this morning, and my computer in particular.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Treadmilling away, again

Tues morning was another treadmill session at FOMC. The weight room was full when I started, and empty when I was done. Gee, I didn't think I was sweating that much!

Warmed up, then did 4 x 9/1. With the new batteries in the heart rate monitor, I now trust the results, and I dialed into the top of zone 2. It's a different treadmill though, and seems to be calibrated differently. According to it, I was running a lot faster at a lower heart rate. Cooled down and stretched a bit.

Spin class was a lonely affair. Only a few of us showed up and IG decided that the total class energy output had to match the standard set by other classes. So he worked us hard. Lots of one leg drill. Then 5 sets where we went from a high cadence to low, or vise versa, without a break in between. It's tough going from 70 or 80 up to 110 or 120.

Traffic getting there sucked big time, and it wasn't much better going home. Those of my faithful readers that don't live in Calgary should be happy. Here's a photo of what it looks like Wed am.

Monday, December 15, 2008

It was cold. I swam anyway.

Hardly anyone else did; the pool was nearly empty. 500 m in about 11 min, then 3 x 50 m on 75 seconds. Core work in dive tank. Elbow work in hot tub.

The 500 m was good though my arm was hurting a bit at the end. The 3 intervals nearly killed me trying to get them done quicker than a minute. I've got a long way to go.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Organoleptic weekend and 7 things

No fooling, that's a real word. It was much on my mind today, as I bottled two wine kits that have been on the go since Aug. I had a go at bottling them a month ago, but my arm betrayed me at a crucial stage. Some air ended up getting into the wine and I racked some must over with it. No problem though, it just needed to sit and settle for a while.

We tasted them both. (duh!) The red is very drinkable now, and will be really good. The white is ok now, still a bit sharp, with an even sharper smell, but I think in a year or so it's going to mellow out very nicely. It's a beautiful colour.

I also got the last of the 2008 limited edition kits started. That will be ready for bottling in 6 or 8 weeks. I never rush the wine, and often tend to let things go for a few extra weeks. I've already got a kit waiting for me at the wine store, but I don't know when I'm going to get time to get it. Certainly not this weekend.

Shoveled snow in the freezing cold. I ought to count it as an hour workout.

Susi tagged me, from
My 7 random things you probably don't know about me.

1- I do my own ironing.

2- I like to relax doing Sudoku puzzles. The hard ones. Some of them take a while, but that's ok. I love the Aha! feeling.

3- I choose my shirts more by texture than colour, but everything goes with everything. I can (and have) dressed with my eyes closed. Not that anyone notices what a guy wears.

4 - There are now 3390 songs on my ipod. The earliest is from the 13th century. I'm not sure what the most recently created music is on it, probably the new Enya disc. Bartok is the transition between new and old music for me. I haven't even heard of the top 10 bands in 2008, not even the names.

5- I get all sentimental about replacing things that have served me well, but don't anymore. For example, my old Mac Cube is over 8 years old in daily use, never really had a problem with it, and it's recently just got to where it wasn't keeping up. I like that Cube better than any other computer I've ever seen or used.

6- My all time favourite meal is peanut butter (Skippy Super-Crunch) and honey (non-pasturized, crystalized so it's slightly crunchy) on fresh multi-grain bread, with home made chocolate chip cookies, a glass of milk (1% partially skimmed) in my favourite glass that I made myself, and a banana. I'm so easy to please.

7- I can't watch violent, emotional thriller movies anymore. Even the sound track when Linda is watching will have me put the ipod on so I don't hear it.

The Rules for the game if you decide to play are: Link back to me for nominating you. Nominate a few other bloggers and link to them on your blog. Post these rules.

Over to you Shannon!

I'm really pleased with Sunday's spin session. Started with a 20 min warm up, with some slow accelerations. That means over 30 to 45 seconds, slowly picking up the pace to the max rpm without any resonance or sympathetic vibrations, holding a few seconds, then slowly coming back down, in control of the spin at all times.

Then 10 x 4/2, trying to drive my heart rate to low zone 3 at most during the 4, and easy spin on the 2. Alternated between 100 rpm in an easy gear, and hill climb. Then a few minutes easy pedal before settling into a steady 90 rpm, aiming for upper zone 2, then cool down to take me to the 2 hour mark. Throughout the entire ride, I concentrated on pedaling smoothly, and keeping my feet light. There is no graceful way to say this, but I tried to keep my butt firmly planted on the seat, taking as much of the weight as possible so my feet were free to go round and round. Long stretch after.

During the spin I watched the Real Roads DVD of IMC bike course that I won at Chinook last year. I prefer IG's workouts. The scenery is ok, but eventually I had to turn the soundtrack off, and turn on the ipod. However, it is nice to see the course, though it will be nothing like the training camp in May. Which I hope to attend.

Weekly total
Swim .5 hr (being generous)
Bike 5 hr
Run 1.5 hr (treadmill)
Total 7 hours. And the number is a slightly heavy 228, which is essentially unchanged from a couple weeks ago.

Friday, December 12, 2008

A pool full of treacle

That's what I was swimming in today. Oh, sure, it *looked* like water. But it was thick thick thick. And I was slow slow slow.

I paid attention to lap times today, just to compare time to how my arm was feeling. The first lap was 55 seconds, the next 60, and I stayed there a bit, then started slowing down. 70, 75, and the last one I did was nearly 90 seconds. For 50 m. I shit you not. I was in pain at the end, physical and mental. The arm hurt, but my brain hurt as well. I haven't swum that slowly in years.

Gave the arm a rest for a little while, doing some stretches. Then tried a couple 50 m intervals. I wasn't trying to swim fast, particularly, but trying to swim smooth and strong. My inner shark would not have approved the results. I think it's gonna be a while before I'm swimming with the sharks again.

In other news, I'm supposed to do a brick on Sunday. Chatted with IG about that, and going out in -25 right after a sweaty bike isn't the smartest thing in the world to do. So I'm thinking I'll do a longer spin, and then maybe a pilates DVD. And maybe, just maybe, I'll try watching a movie during the spin.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Treadmill part 2, hilly spin

Back into the FOMC weight room for another bout with the treadmill. Just not a fan of these. But I was there for a 40 min 'run' at varying speeds, from 5mph, up to as fast as I could run. That didn't last long. I wasn't trying to be really aerobic, but just wanted to run at different speeds. stretched after.

Greg tried to kill us with one leg drill tonight. I start off ok, then my legs get tired, then my arm gets tired trying to compensate for the unbalanced activity. Then it all goes downhill on a pear shaped path. Then we did a bunch of uphill bits, bigger gear, medium cadence. As he says, 'you legs should be talking to you, your heart should think it's on vacation.' That's about the speed of it. 90 minutes total.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Treadmill run, bike time trial

This was my first treadmill run since some time last year. After seeing all those 'reality' videos of people falling off the end of them, and the consequences of my own fall, I was a bit leery at first. However it all went well.

Did a 5 min warmup walk, then ramped up to what it said was 5 mph. I couldn't get metric numbers. This was a nice pace, with heart rate in mid zone 2. For the 3rd of 4 sets I wound the speed up to 5.3 mph for the first part of the run, but that started driving my heartrate up into zone 3, so I dropped back. Did another 5 min walk to cool down, and a little bit of stretching after. 4 x 9/1.

Running on a treadmill is weird. It doesn't feel at all like running. I don't think you are working as hard, since for me a 5 mph (8 kph) is a fairly quick pace, mid zone 3 at best. On the treadmill I was solid zone 2. My calves felt a little bit tight going in, but they didn't bother me at all during the run. I felt nice and strong throughout. Let's hope that carries into the bike workout tonight.

Estela had new bearings installed in the crank, and the spin was smooth as silk. Greg gave us a bit of warm up, and I found the one leg drill much easier than it has been. My muscles couldn't have changed that much in less than a week. Then the dreaded 20 minute time trial. Pedaled my brains out in a mid gear on the small chainring. Actually heart rate was steady at the top of zone 2, cadence was steady at 95, but my legs were getting a little tired by the end.

Monday, December 8, 2008

The snow makes for an empty pool

Organization happened yesterday. While the snow came down, and Calgary motorists were playing bumper-cars, in between episodes of shoveling sidewalks I puttered around the house. One of the bits that got done was getting set up to swim today.

The pool had only a couple of other people in it, and they were nice swimmers. So no great splashing waves. I was only in it for 500 m though. Mostly my arm felt good. It's still not what I'd call strong, but I can begin to pull a bit harder, just a tiny bit. That lasted till the last 50 m, when it started getting cranky and I stopped. What was odd is that for most of it my shoulder wanted to go click in a major way. Perhaps I should have stopped and indulged it, but I was enjoying the swim. Clicked it after, while doing the core workout in the dive tank. Which only had me in it. And water too, of course.

Let's not talk about my time for that 500 m, shall we? I was surprised at how hard I was breathing for such a slow pace. I've lost the feel of the water, but it will come back. Soon I hope.

The physio drills are just killing me. I'm trying to be good, but there was a time late last week, and into the weekend that I thought my arm was going to fall off. Just to help keep things balanced, I've started to do some of the same work with the left arm.

Here's a direct link to the London slide show. You can get at the Venice photos from that page.

Oh, and during the long stretching after the run on Saturday, I tried that push up thing with both arms. Good thing I've got the floor matting and yoga mat down. I went down even faster than when I tried it one armed.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Vacation. Snow. Workout.

I've started posting vacation photos on the web. In the section 'Other blogs I follow', click on Keith's non-fitness web page. Once on the London page, for example, there's a link in the upper right to go to the Venice page. More will be added. Watch for Milan, Rome, Torino, and Florence.

The workout today was shoveling snow. Lots of snow. Probably 6 inches or so. Perfect for making a snow man. A whole snow family that's been taking fertility drugs.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

in, 2, 3, 4, out, 2, 3, 4, in, 2, 3, 4...

According to the IGP, today was supposed to be a rest day. Yesterday I was still feeling generally crappy and run down, so I decided that would be my rest day. My schedule is further complicated by having Estela in the shop. We finally figured out the intermittent clunk. We're pretty sure it's the bearings in the bottom bracket. Took her into Calgary Cycle, and the mechanic agreed. He even showed me the replacement bearings, and how the repair will work. They promised to take good care of her. I pick her up again on Tues evening on the way to spin class.

So that leaves no spin session on Sunday. Neither did I swim yesterday. This afternoon was nice out, so I went for a run during the nicest part of the day. 5 x 9/1 nice and easy. Much of my breathing was in the title rhythm. I didn't wear my heart monitor, just went by my breathing, and tried to keep it nice and even. Much of the run was spent trying to run lightly and evenly. I was trying to picture myself just moving along from the hips up, with my legs rolling along underneath, not really doing anything. During the last 9 min run section, I was concentrating on keeping my feet nice and light, with a quick turnover.

One of my projects is trying to get the mess in the basement under control. See these before and after photos. Now I have a nice area to stretch in after workouts, and golly gee, I'm actually spending more time stretching. Who knew? Here's the before from one angle. And yes, that's the famous hybrid I crashed.

And here it is from another angle. But don't be fooled, even then though my faithful old cube is displaying a Pilates DVD, I haven't followed along with it yet. But blogger insists on messing with where I want to put the text, and I'm really not up to trying to fool it with some html hacks.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

I'm not a whiner, but...

Consider yourselves whined. Semi-upset tummy all day. Back of the neck muscle tightness threatening to headache all day. My arm ached all day. Some of the words that describe my performance tonight in spin class are: un-coordinated, heavy, flabby, slow, unsteady, weak, and generally unhappy. I dogged it. Sorry Greg. 'Nuff said. Tomorrow will be better.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Heart rate monitor weirdness

I ran between work and my massage appointment tonight. My heart rate monitor gave me some very strange numbers, both high and low. Do they start giving erratic results when they need new batteries? I'm just assuming the watch part of it is fine, since electronic stuff either works, or it doesn't work, and there is very little in between. Maybe it's time to move to a Garmin. I don't really mind a $70 timex lasting a year or so and pooping out, but I'd be choked if a $400 Garmin only lasted that long.

The IGP said aerobic, so I ran 4 x 9/1 trying to maintain a pace where I was breathing deeply and evenly, but not gasping or panting. That was supposed to work out to a heart rate in the low 130's or so, but it was all over the place so I stopped looking at it. My legs were feeling good, so I started with some light stretching, about 5 minutes walking, then running at what felt like a strong and confident pace. Things felt very natural and smooth, until the last few minutes of the run. Then I got tired and sloppy.

I wasn't really trying for a fast time, or any time in particular, I just wanted to run for 40 minutes at a strong pace. It just so happens I looked at my watch at the 5 K mark, and it said 32:15, but the heart rate was also 168 or something impossible like that.

People have asked how I'm doing with the one arm pushups. I actually tried one during the long stretching after the run, in our new workout area. My total is almost exactly one half. My physio therapist pummeled and contorted me this morning. My massage therapist worked on some of the same stuff in my arm, but also found lots of other owies. I ought to sleep really well tonight.

aerobically spinning our brains out

Last night's spin session was all about keeping a steady aerobic effort, 2 min on, 90 seconds easy pedal, and lots of it. Plus some one leg drills that went on forever, or it just seemed like it.

Last Sunday there was lots of front hub clunk, and I couldn't do it at all last night. Maybe it's because my basement is cool, and the spin session is practically a sauna.

This morning I was thinking about going for a run before work. If I was really really ambitious I'd go before leaving the house. If I was really ambitious I'd drop Linda off, then run, then go to work, then go to physio. And if I was just ambitious, I'd run in the evening, after work and before a massage session. I'll just say I haven't run yet today, but about mid-morning that's where I wanted to be, outside in a beautiful day. Yeah, some of the weenies think it's cold out, but there's no such thing as bad weather, just poor clothing choices.

My physiotherapist really worked me over today. A bit of pushing got my arm straight. ouch!

Monday, December 1, 2008

Quiet pool; short swim

Today would have been a great day for a long swim since there was hardly anyone in the pool. Sigh. Anybody that didn't know how I normally swim would probably think I was doing pretty good. But I know better. My arm still hurt a little during the stroke, especially if I tried to speed up. I went 250 m feeling not too bad, but I could feel my arm getting tired and sloppy. Rather than train myself to do a sloppy stroke, I stopped, and went over to the dive tank for some core work.

Hanging on the edge with just fingertips hurts, so I had to hook my elbows. After that I did my regular routine, and it felt pretty good. So it's a good start. I'm looking forward to building some strength in my arm, and getting some speed back.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Noisy spin

I had an easy spin workout today, as I get back on schedule. The problem was a clunk that is happening in the front hub. It's like the cranks are slipping just a bit, almost every rotation. It's been a year, so an overall servicing isn't a bad idea anyway. Now, where to take her to?

The workout was an hour 3/2. I even did some one leg drill. Went for a short run right after, and felt really heavy. Clump, clump, clump around the block. Lots and lots of stretching on the new mat in the workout area downstairs.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Got through one leg drill for the first time!

I can't remember if I got through any of Greg's one leg drill last year or not, but I think not. Tonight he took it easy on us, and I just barely squeaked through. Stalled at the top a couple of times, but kept going. The rest of the night was easy by comparison. Well, except for C trying to take out everybody to her left by riding her bike right out of the trainer. Sheesh. Some people will do anything to get out of the 120 rpm for a minute drill. Lets see, some 15/15, some time trial, some hills, and other stuff, all aerobic. I felt strong on the bike tonight, and even (gasp) did some extra one leg drill after the main set and before cool down.

The arm continues to feel both strong and weak. Strong because I can do more with it that I couldn't do even a few days ago. Weak because I can't do it for long, and weak compared to the left arm.

I really did lay out all my running stuff for Thurs morning, but I didn't go. I slept instead. Tomorrow, depending on how I feel, I might run or swim in the morning. Decisions decisions.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Toothly news (no gross photos)

Tonight was spin class. Greg worked us hard. I almost got through the one leg drill; I'm getting better. The aerobic sets were good. My feet weren't quite as happy as the other day, but still pretty good. Legs felt a little heavy and clunky. On the bike for 1.75 hours.

I've been working the arm hard with the physio exercises, and it got tired part way through class. Spinning got tougher after that. I can almost get it straight, and it continues to get stronger. Still a ways to go. I'm not looking forward to the session tomorrow. I suspect I'm really going to get worked on.

The teeth. I know you all wanted to hear how the root canals went. Yes, two of them, at the same time. The top front teeth. Once upon a time I had all 4 wisdom teeth out in one go. That dentist did a bit of hypnotism on me, and I've been able to relax in the dentists chair ever since. The high water mark for relaxation was to go to sleep in the chair during a regular checkup. That didn't quite happen this time, though I was working on it. The fire alarm (no kidding) and the security weenie kept me awake. Things went well. He said I had the nerves of a teenager. I was trying to work out if that was good or bad, but he suggested I'd had some trauma and things stopped growing then, and it's been downhill ever since. He also took a few minutes to work on the stain, and shaped the edges of the one tooth. Things actually look pretty darn good. And there was no pain. None. Not even any discomfort. This guy is good.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Exploratory swim, and (whisper) a number

Canyon Meadows pool saw me this morning at 7 am for the first time in about 3 months. That's the longest I've been off swimming in several years. What with arm I was wondering how it was going to go. I went in with no expectations at all.

Well, I didn't go very far, maybe 400 m or so, but certainly not 500 m. It's hard to describe how my arm felt. It didn't particularly hurt, but there wasn't much strength there, and the area around the elbow felt hollow. It twinged pretty good, and started aching. I didn't push for any speed at all, just tried for a clean stroke. Amazing what you forget. I might have to learn tumble turns after all. Mostly you turn left if you're swimming with other people, and the way I used to grab the lip of the pool with my right hand, tuck my feet, twist, and push off, is painfully impossible. I had to give myself a rest after doing that once by force of habit.

Afterward (if the word afterward applies to something so short) I went into the dive tank to try the core exercises I like to do. I can get my arms hooked onto the lip of the pool ok. The idea is to do the exercises without using my arms for leverage. That sort of works. I still have most of the flexibility I had before. About the same time, I twisted just a bit too hard, and the pool filled up with an oldies but goodies class. Time for me to hit the hot tub, and stretch a bit.

And I got a number. Patience.

Had a nice morning reading the paper, drinking coffee, and nibbling a goodie from Cobb Bakery. Then I started puttering at the mess in the basement. Lots of cardboard to go to recycling. Lots of clothes to go to the Sally Ann. Lots of mess cleaned up.

The run plan with JN didn't work out, but I went anyway. From my house up to the South Glenmore boat launch and back in 90 min. Well, almost. Started off a block or so from my house. Ran 60 min 14/1, then 30 min 9/1 as I was getting tired. At the end, I was a 4.5 minute walk (600 m) from my starting point, and I turned around at exactly the half way mark. This was all at a mid zone 2 pace. I had lots of heart and lung left, but I wanted to see how the legs made out. I promised my feet a nice scrub with a salt/sandlewood scrub we have. Mostly it was good, but it got a little choppy toward the end. Left calf was tightening up.

The out leg was 5.75 K in 45 min, for about 7.6 Kph
The back leg was 5.1 K in 45 min for 6.8 Kph
The total is 7.2 Kph.

Stretched lots after, nibbled a banana with Nutella and a glass of milk. Nice shower and the promised scrub. Drinking a Spanish Tempranillo wine while writing blog. Life is good.

There was something else.

I'll remember soon.

Oh yes!

228! I seem to have escaped the gelatos. There's new stuff below, keep on reading.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Fun spin session

This was the first spin session in a long time that was actually fun. I felt solid on the bike, my arm can take half the weight now, my butt is feeling better, and my legs are remembering how to go round and round. Up till now I've mainly been scraping through, nursing the arm. However, I have to admit, my fat jiggled. I thought my calves were pretty toned, but they jiggled. As did lots of other stuff. Personally I think it's all resonance, and sympathetic vibrations.

We did lots of stuff, some one leg, accelerations (got *that* close to 200 rpm) then aerobic sets with short time trials, hill climbs, 15/15's and other stuff. I had happy feet. Was on the bike for 1.75 hours. Hoping to try a swim tomorrow, and see how that feels.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Workout blur

We pedaled. We sweated. Greg yelled - up, down, 90, 100, 110, 120, 1 minute, 2 minutes, 3 minutes, 4 minutes. All at what seemed like random intervals. We pedaled more. We sweated more. Good work out. Butt doesn't hurt as much now.

Bone Dr says bone has healed well, and to work hard on range of motion.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Clothing treasure trove

Once upon a time, back in the early 90's, I was working an office job where I was expected to wear a suit, or at least a tie and jacket. I bought a bunch of dress pants and some nice tweed jackets for what seemed like a lot of money considering I was getting paid the cube root of diddly-squat. Gradually the dress code relaxed, and just as well, because I was getting bigger. The last thing I did with those was to dry clean them, and hang them up downstairs, thinking if I needed them I could wear them again.

Then at some point I took out one of the jackets and tried it on. I couldn't even get it over my shoulders, and I won't try to describe what it looked like around my tummy. So they went downstairs again, and essentially I forgot about them. Until today. I've been meaning to go buy more clothes. I looked at men's clothing in Italy. There's a real style to them. The suits look really, really sharp; even I can tell that. It's a pity that I don't like clothing that closely fitted, and I doubt the tailors would be up to a guy my size. Plus, I'd always worry about spilling something on them. And I saved myself a ton of money not looking at ties, since the office I work in now is fairly casual. Even though there was this one bronze tie with black square spots....

So I'm looking through clothing this weekend, figuring the Sally Ann is going to get a big bag. I tried on a suit that was hanging upstairs. I haven't worn it for quite a while, maybe a year, but probably not 2 years. The pants won't stay on, not even for a moment. The jacket is beyond baggy. I was going through the stuff downstairs, and the first thing I came across was those nice tweed jackets. I tried one on, and Holy Hannah!!! It fit, and fit nicely. Linda's eyebrows went up when I modeled it.

Then I dug out another of the jackets, and to my astonishment, there was a pair of dress pants hanging in there. I tried them on too, and OMFG, they not only fit, but actually were just a little bit loose around the waist. Not enough so that I needed a belt, but just loose enough to be comfy. If I was buying them, I might have taken them in half an inch on the waist, maybe an inch, no more. They're pleated once, which isn't my first choice of style, but so what.

The next thing I discovered was a group of 5 pairs of dress pants, still in the plastic from the cleaner. Two of them are still a bit snugger than I like, but all the others fit perfectly. This just saved me at least $1000 since I was thinking of going out to buy a suit and other nice clothes. I'll probably still go out for a couple more pairs of casual pants, and some nice shirts. But this drastically changes the shopping list. To say nothing about making me feel good about myself.

In one year, I've trimmed off something like 15 years of steady weight gain. I knew I'd shaved off a lot, but I hadn't realized I had changed my shape that much. No wonder I'm feeling 10 years younger these days! I'm going to dress up for work tomorrow. In most casual places, such a sartorial choice leads to comments about job interviews. We've got a financial seminar after work on Monday at the Glencoe Club, no less. So that will be my excuse. But I'm thinking about maybe giving Becky at work a run for dressing well. She's always very elegantly turned out, and is easily the best dresser in the office. Well, except for when John shows up in a suit. Let's see what she says....

Saturday, November 15, 2008

back into running

Today's run was so Greg could figure out out how much damage has been done by just about exactly three months of sloth and eating, and waiting for my body to heal. A few of the Italian gelato's are still lurking around my middle, but it's not as bad as I had feared it might be. Having wonky front teeth is one way to cut down on eating.

My route is just over 8K. See here for the route.

I had on a heart rate monitor, the same one I wore last week during spin class. It seemed to give believable numbers then, but today it was all over the place so I stopped looking at it. I tried to run nice and smooth, at the point were I was breathing deeply and regularly, but without panting or forcing. I wouldn't have been able to carry on a casual conversation for all of it, but could talk on the exhales.

I started with a little bit of easy stretching, very light. Then a 5 min brisk walk to my starting point. The run started easy, finding my pace and settling in. The long gradual downhill towards Fish Creek was nice and easy. Through Fish Creek was quite a bit colder, and the path was mostly covered with ice and snow. I had to be really careful of my footing in several places, but the run felt comfortable. Up the 24th st hill out of Fish Creek was where my breathing peaked, but I still wasn't gasping or panting. Legs feeling a little tired, but still moving well. Once I hit the 50 minute mark, my legs started feeling really heavy. This part is along the top of the berm along Anderson, somewhat uphill and it's a rough path. The last 3 minutes running was better, but I don't think I would have want to go much further. Stretched a bit, walked home, nibbled, stretched more, showered.

The actual time for what I think is 8.2 K is 1:03:30, running 14, walking 1. The breathing felt good. Calves felt good. For once it seemed to be my quads that were tired. Hip flexors started feeling it at the 50 min mark. I wasn't trying to push the pace at all, just staying steady.

I had wanted to get in a swim this weekend, but my physiotherapist asked me to hold off till next week after seeing bone specialist. She's a bit concerned about how my wrist is feeling, wants me to be sure to mention it to them.

So Greg, am I ready for the IGP™ build toward Calgary 70.3? Only a little over 8 months to go!

Friday, November 14, 2008

Thurs spin

Butt still sore, could feel it instantly as soon as I got on the bike. Warmed up a bit, then got off to stretch a bit, and get a break. Arm was still tired from Tues, and decided to be careful.

Greg did one leg drill from hell. About halfway through my legs fell off, right there onto the floor. I did the acceleration drills though, got up to 190 rpm for a few seconds.

Then some long aerobic sessions. Even in an easier gear, I found it tough to maintain the cadence. Couldn't get comfortable on the bike, legs felt very soggy.

Physio appt this morning. She's really pleased at my progress, and has given me some new exercises to do. Looks like two root canals on my two front top teeth, and then assess how it goes.

90 minutes bike.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

First 'real' spin workout this season

I don't think I'm gonna hurl, but my core is sure feeling it. Part of the issue is that I can't put as much weight on my hands as I usually do. The other part is that I haven't done this for a while. My butt isn't as sore as I thought, but it hurts too. During the session, my calves felt very heavy, which is a new one for me.

Lots of warm up, then some one leg drill, some accelerations, some 2 min on, 2 off, cool down, stretched after. It's all a blur to me. About the only thing I remember of the night is K and C comparing heart rates. If mine ever went that high I'd explode. K brought cupcakes!!

1.66 hr

Sunday, November 9, 2008

First spin in a month

It's so nice out today. Without the arm issue I probably would have dressed for it, and gone for a ride outside just for the fun of it. But I still don't have a new helmet, so I guess that's the official excuse.

Set up Estela and started off with a 20 min warm up easy spin, gradually getting up to 100 rpm.
Then 30 seconds on, 90 seconds easy, with the on being 115, 120 125, and 130 rpm.
Then 2 min at 110 or so, with 2 min easy for 20 min.
10 min cool down, and some stretching after. I can almost touch my toes. Total of an hour riding, and another 10 minutes stretching. Showered, and more stretching.

I can put some weight on the arm, in riding position, maybe even split the weight equally between both arms, at least for a while. But I can't put it all on my right arm yet. I have to be careful about position, just so is just barely ok, and almost any other way hurts really quick.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

So, photos info

There are 694 photos totaling about 1 GB on my hard drive. The first ones are fairly small, but photos from the new camera average 2 MB each. I haven't found how to control the image quality size, and the instructions are in Italian, German, French, and something else I can't read. Sooner or later, I'm going to look on the web for an instruction manual in English, but in the meantime, I'm a guy. We guys don't need no stinking instruction manuals anyway.

So there are lots of photos. It took me several hours just to go through, look at each, and get them rotated correctly. There are a bunch that didn't work out that I wouldn't show anyone, but there's enough there to remind me of what it is, and orient me to other photos. Many are part of a story about what we were doing at the time. Some are just me having fun with a new camera. Some are things amazing to a North American, like people parking within fractions of an inch of one another.

What do we have? Lots of street shots, of narrow little streets, interesting buildings, Venetian canals and stuff, some fashion stuff, some internal apartment shots, fancy buildings (churches, towers, castles, railway stations (and no I'm not kidding about fancy rail stations), squares, ect) shots, garden shots, statues, some of us standing in front of stuff, and an assortment of odds and ends. What do people want to see, and please don't say, 'all of them'. How much of a story do you want with each? Are you happy with a title like, Venice street and canal shots, and a bunch of photos with no further detail of what you're looking at?

Friday, November 7, 2008

Home safe

Got home all in one piece, something I was beginning to wonder if would happen. The last several days were kind of tough on me. Train from Florence to Paris was delayed 2 hours, leaving only 1 hour of our transition between stations. We get off the train, and join the line for a taxi. None come. I was alert enough to hear a guy saying 'gare du nord?', and three more of us piled into a van with all our luggage, 6 in total. Turns out there's a one day taxi strike, and those people will be waiting in line for a while. The Eurostar Chunnel train was also delayed, so the departure lounge was a zoo.

Other stuff happened.

Then, I swear this is true. We're at the departure gate in Heathrow Terminal 5. There is no airplane, no jet way, but there is a bus. Can you believe they put us on a bus for a freaking 10 minute ride around the airport, till the driver apparently picked a plane at random. However, it all turned out well. We even had 3 seats for the two of us. It was a good plane ride for me. I spent much of it snoozing or trying to, or meditating, in between all the wine they plied me with. I needed some time with no further sensory input. But it's about 4 in the morning London time, and I'm going to go to bed RSN. There is almost a GB of photos to be organized. Tomorrow.

Our cat missed us, but has been spoiled rotten by our wonderful house sitter. The siding has been fixed, and other requested tasks done. My arm can go almost straight, and is much stronger, but still a long way to go. I might try swimming this weekend, just to see what happens.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

My feet are tired

Tuesday early evening here. Very tired feet. Monday was a quiet day after the Sunday rampage in Rome. We did a bit of strolling, found a really nice food market, but spent a good part of the day at home with our feet up. Light rain. Went out for a really nice evening stroll in the shopping district. Lots and lots of people, the shops are open till 8, and if you don't look sharp, you'll be dragged in by the hucksters. I saw a hat I liked, but I'm not going to spent multiple 100's of Euros on a hat.

Today we slept in a bit, then went back to the nice market for supplies to make our last few meals here. That was after we found out the street construction had ripped out the sidewalk, such as it was, from in front of the front door. There was an additional step down to the muddy, under construction street. Linda was not thrilled. Once home again we dropped off supplies, then went off to the Plaza Pitti. This is quite the place. Some guy built it trying to outdo the Medici's. He went bankrupt and the Medici's ended up buying it. I nearly didn't come out of the section on the Renaisansce explosion of astronomy and science. They have one of Galileo's telescopes!!! Such a tiny thing to change the world.

The Boboli Gardens behind the palace are incredible, and huge. You could wander back there for a long time. It was raining, so we didn't get to sit and enjoy the views of Florence. There was other stuff there to look at, but we sure got our 10 Euro worth.

I'm going to pick up some Gelato for Linda, then we're going to put our feet up. It's raining too much for an evening stroll tonight, and our feet are too tired.

It's just as well I've been training, and doing all that running. I'd be a puddle if I hadn't. Venice and Florence are small, but there's so much to see, and much of it is by walking. If you come, get your feet in shape, and bring comfey walking shoes. And a credit card with a big max, of course!

I really don't know how coherent these posts have been. Hope you've enjoyed them. My next posting will be from home, I suspect. I tried, I really tried to get on MSM, but it just didn't happen.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Rome gets sacked again

Monday morning here. Checking weather in Pisa and Sienna. Looks like rain. Not sure what we're going to do today.

Yesterday was Rome, as in the trampling of. Linda was up for it, stoked to the max with chocolate and coffee. She leaped off the train with the light of determination in her eyes. The list included, the Colusseum, Forum, Trebi Fountain, The Spanish Steps, St. Peters Basilica, The Vatican Museum, and tea with the Pope to help set him straight on some doctrinal issues that he's got wrong. At the end of it all, I'm exhausted. She leaped out of the train back in Florence at the end of the day, and rampaged home, or at least to the gelato shop near our apartment. I could barely keep up with her. In the wind of her pasage during the day, I happened to see a purse, that if Susi carried a purse, she would carry this one. I have a photo. I think it was 435 Euros.

The photo show is comeing when we get back to Calgary and get a chance to sort things out. Since buying the camera I've taken several hundred photos. I hope I remember what they all are.

We spent a couple days strolling Florence, window shopping, looking at the pretty stuff. I'm not kidding. There have to be more handbags in this small city, than in all of Canada. There was one small market, with many stalls, stalls leading out of sight. Each of them is draped with handbags, several hundred at the least. And the stalls are beyond numerous. If you haven't found a handbag you like, the next shop will have it, or you're impossible to please.

I'm going to miss the gelato. I havn't gained any weight I think. My arm is getting better, I can almost straighten it out now, and it's getting stronger. The trip home is coming up fast. Sigh.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Florence, with some thoughts

It's midafternoon in Florence. We've been walking since this am, and Linda is back at the apartment with her feet up. We like Florence A LOT! Tiny little streets filled with motor scooters, bikes, and teeny tiny cars. We found a car that makes a Smart car look big! photos coming.

I got the best night's sleep since we left Calgary. There's a bit of street noise, but the apartment is quiet. So with a nice breakfast, and a shower that is at least the size of the two previous showers put together, with some water pressure, I was ready to rock.

Imagine a bridge with gold and silver smiths on both sides. There have to be two dozen shops with incredible displays of gold and silver jewellry. I'm sure they compete. In one small square, there are more handbags for sale than in all of Calgary. I'd put money on it. All styles. All colours of the rainbow. All sizes.

Purple is still in, in a big way. Lots of purple stuff. Saw one purple dress that Susi wouldn't have liked, since it shows off too much leg, and too much bust, even on her, and it was on a girl much taller than Susi. Everything is available in purple, all shades of it. Saw a black and grey outfit that Becky would sell her soul for. Cheerfully. I think it was only 700 euros...

Seriously girls, the shopping here is to die for. Fabric, scarves, handbags, gloves out the wazoo, dresses, coats, accessories, hats, and I don't know what else.

You have to keep an eye on the traffic. The streets are tiny. A major road has one lane for parking, one lane for driving one way, enough extra space for two scooter lanes, with sidewalks on either side that are at best 18 inches wide. In North America the biggest streets would be one way alleys with no parking. Each scooter driver is acting out their belief in reincarnation. As in, they are Mario Andretti, and if they die in traffic they'll be reborn a real race car driver. In other words, if there is space on the street, in a few seconds a scooter will be in it. You cross the streets here with a spring in your step. The few stoplights and traffic signs are advisory only. Honking is a language of it's own.

We had a late morning snack in a newly opened store that sells north american coffee!!! Coffee here is in teeny tiny little cups, cappucino and expresso, and that's about it. There are pastry's galore, and fancy little cookies, but no muffins, bagels or other stuff. This cafe had them, and it was nice to hear colloquial english.

The apartment has satellite tv, so we even get english there. Watching Starsky and Hutch, Gunsmoke, McGyver, and Stargate in dubbed Italian is an interesting experience. They rarely mention the weather on tv.

The end of our vacation is coming up fast. Not sure what our plans are, but tomorrow is probably some of the tourista stuff. Then side trips to Pisa, Sienna, and Rome. I think Wed night we leave on the overnight train to Paris, then the Chunnel train to London. We'll stay in my brother's flat for another night, (thanks Rick!) then back to Calgary the next day.

Overall this has been wonderful. Not a quiet relaxing vacation like previous ones in Nova Scotia, but except for Torino, lots of fun. I expect by the end I will be thoroughly arted out. We toured one building in Torino that had more gilt picture frames, gilt furniture, gilt crusting on decorations, gilt everything, to the extent I probably tripled the gilt exposure in my lifetime to date. There's fancy art everywhere. You can't avoid it.

I'm not sure if I'm going to be able to get in another run. I was hoping for a path along the river, but haven't seen one. There have been some runners in the street, but I'm not up to dodging traffic, watching out for loose or raised paving stones, and trying not to get lost, all while running. My arm is feeling better, with the weakest part being my wrist. Perhaps I broke something there after all.


Thursday, October 30, 2008

The Milano Fashion Police

Thurs late evening in Florence. Shop about to close. Typing faster.... Everything is wonderful about Florence so far, apartment is FAB!!!

Took a day trip to Milano. Fashion police watching me, since I was wearing my yellow rain jacket. Tried to get into one store. Got told, "If sir will wear a jacket of that colour in public, sir will not find anything of interest in this store." Milano is otherwise ok. Purple everywhere, have some photos for Susi. Picture bright purple fuck me shoes, 4 inch heel at least, plus thick sole. Have a photo.

Torino was a horror show. We hated the apartment. The Food stuff was great. Some nice shopping in covered collenades. So happy to be out of Torino. Linda lost an amber charm and one earring that she really liked. I had the camera stolen. We are so happy to be out of Torino. If you ever hear me say Torino, you know I'm swearing.

There are three internet shops within spitting distance of the apartment, so I'll try to update a bit more often and maybe include some photos. Have taken more than 100 since replacing the camera.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Torino, doing better now

It's midafternoon on Monday now. Just finished up at the Slow Food Festival, or the Salone del Gusto. We did a chocolate workshop with beans from South America. The hot chocolate was simply the best I've ever had. The Best. Period.

Ran this am for 40 minutes along the Po river, in the fog and mist. There is a castle in the parko Valentino. Lungs were doing fine, legs are tired. Don't forget we're on our feet all day, averaging 10-15 Km walking.

As you know, we had a tough start here, but it's getting better. I don't think I want to come back, but Torino is no longer a swear word. Later today is touring and sightseening downtown. Tues or Wed is anothr day trip to Milan for the fashion shopping quadrangle. Linda wants be to be able to dress better than Becky, if I should choose. I think that's reaching more than a little. Still, who knows?

Oh, and Grant, I bought a new camera. Just after I downloaded the pictures onto a USB card, it was stolen from me on the bus. They got a 4 or 5 year old camera, with no photos, and nearly dead batteries.

Must run...

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Torino Sat am

It's midmorning Saturday in Torino, and we've been having a few adventures. There have been a great many expletives removed, to make this suitable for a family blog.

We're both broken hearted to be leaving Venezia. We had a great time there, and want to go back. There was a brief bit of Grrrr when I mistook a route I thought I knew, but it all worked out.

The train to Torino was ok, then the descent into hell started at the station. Our instructions were to take tram 18 from outside the station. There is construction everwhere. Loud construction. As in can't hear yourself think loud. Read that as construction everywhere in Italy. There was no tram 18. De nada. There were a few unhappy phone calls, and we ended up taking a taxi. It wasn't far, 10 Euro. But that was grumpy making.

The apartment is a bit shabby, and noisy. Very echoy. And the neighbours are noisy, or were the first night. It's a small thing but there was supposed to be an iron, and Linda was looking forward to ironing some things. There was an ironing board, but no iron. They promised to bring it, but as of now, it hasn't come yet.

Then we went off to find the Salone del Gusto, or the Slow Food event. Our apartment contact said it was no further than 2 Km, and an easy walk, not worth taking the bus for. It's a long walk, even by our standards. And we didn't quite know where we were going, and didn't get much help. That was more Grrr. There was a mall the better part of a kilometer long, and I'm not kidding. It took us in the direction we wanted to go, at least, but we should have got out half way along because they closed the exits at the end closest to where we wanted to go.

Then we found it. Imagine a full trade show at the Big 4 builing in the stampede. Now double it, and you have the size of the main hall, and there's more off to the side. We got into our workshop ok. A taste of Honey. We had 8 different European honey's to taste, and a panel of experts to talk about each. They came in a wine glass, with a spoon. They supply translation, but the background noise was horrible, it sounded like someone was chopping veggies with a meat cleaver. As for the honey, each one was better than the others, and there was bread and water in between. We took the bus home after a brief stroll around the hall.

Friday, after some train adventures, (do not ask me right now to explain Torino Porta Susa and Tornio Porta Nuovo), we went to Milano. We liked Milan right off. We took the subway to the city centre, where there's a huge square and church with a zillion spires. Had a nice lunch outside beside the square and watched the world go by for a while. Inside the church, it's huge. HUGE! Strolled around, through some nice shops, then went to a nice park with a castle near downtown. And in the castle was a museum. Lombardi stone carving, furniture, art, musicical instruments, Egyptian stuff, oriental stuff. More stuff. More than you could look at in one day. I got art overload. Took the subway and train back to Turin. Found a nice little place for a late supper of pizza. Home, crashed.

Sat am, found lots of places for cafe (not coffee), a little supermarket, a bakery, and an internet point, all within a few blocks of our apartment. There's lots of services, really. We can walk to lots of stuff, and there's this huge park starting just across the road from us. Look up the parko Valentino in Turin, and we're at the south end of it. I plan to run in it later this week.

So far I haven't gained weight. Lots of small meals, and lots and lots of walking. Overall, except for the first bit of Torino, we're having a great time. I'm not sure what Linda is getting out of the people watching, but I'm having a great time. Italian style these days, for you girls that aspire to fashion, is to show off the leg. Small little shorts over top of hose or tights is very popular. Skirts are short. Wearing a long shirt over tights or jeans is popular. Italian women are very stylish, and colour conscious. Even the Italian men are mostly well dressed. Except for the ones that aren't, and they really aren't.

So all is good, more later...

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Last night in Venice (sob!)

Wed night now. We have to leave Venice first thing in the morning to head to Torino. I'm going to miss Venice and am really sad to be leaving. I could stay here a lot longer. We've barely scratched the surface.

I went for a run early Tues morning. 40 min or so, walking from home, through the rialto market, then to S Marco square, then running along the waterfront. Up and down lots of steps for bridges. Not working too hard, just enough to remind my legs of what they need to do.

The rest of Tues was wandering around, getting lost, getting unlost. We found a nice park up near the train station. The shopping here is incredible, shop after shop of stuff. Lots of glass of course, some of it is tourista tickytacky, but mostly it's really nice stuff. Masks to die for. Lots of scarves and other fashion stuff, with colours that have to be seen to be believed. A 'man pashima' nearly found it's way into my bag, but I held out. It was a beautiful coppery gold orange bronze. hmmmm.....

Today was nice, more wandering around. I'm really intersted in seeing how they do things here. For instance, every day except Sunday is garbage day. Imagine that, they organize garbage pickup, sorted for recyclables I think, for every residence in a city of 60,000. I don't have the faintest idea how they figure out the efficient way of doing it, or if they just send out guys with their pull carts.

We've just finished checking email, and are planning to go out for a gelato for dessert and do some more strolling. It's a fine evening here. Maybe if we find a nice little trattoria overlooking the water we'll have some more wine. But we do have to pack, and get up early tomorrow. Then in Torino I have to find another source of internet, but it shouldn't be hard. This one is in the back of a funky clothes shop. It's a little arched grotto barely tall enough for me to stand up in. I think it was a wine cellar at one point. Or a tunnel. Who knows? ttfn

Monday, October 20, 2008

More Venice, continued

Now it's Monday evening, back in Venice. We zoomed off to Verona for the day, just for fun. It was ok, but I like Venice better. We climbed the bell tower. A zillion steps double time. I was breathing hard when I got to the top. This counts as a workout, by the way...

Yesterday was out to Murano, but it being Sunday, nobody was actually blowing glass. Sigh. We're losing track of what day it is. And it matters here. Like it matters to keep track of what you've been eating, and remember to go to market. The market is amazing. Some of the seafood was still twitching.

Oh, and Susi, purple is IN here. Everything is purple. Including the 100% silk Pashmina scarves for ten Euro, or about $16.

Weather has been perfect every day so far. Excepting the one day we were leaving London, when it rained. Venice is tough to dress for, since it's cool in the morning, and it warms up a lot when sunny. But then when you get onto the water, or into a small courtyard in the shade, and it cools down quickly.

The most astonishing thing about Venice is that you can be in the middle of a crowd, and then in a few steps down a side road, you're all alone. I was out last night wandering about for a bit in the evening. I was in the mood for a gelato. The gelato in Canada is a poor shadow of what we get here. I could eat this all day long. What's tricky about wandering around at night is that you lose some of your landmarks. And once you are'nt where you think you are, you're lost. And if you go much further, you're lost big time. Which is fun during the day.

When I don't have to be anywhere, being lost is fun. You discover the most amazing things. But it's annoying to be lost when you're trying to get somewhere.

So in case you were wondering, yes, we're having fun. Leaving will be hard.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

More Venice

Still having a wonderful time. Getting lost regularly, which is remarkably easy to do. Under time pressure, appear to have accidently deleted some Venice photos from my USB drive. I'm about to try to recover them.

Friday, October 17, 2008

London, then Venice

We made it to London safe and sound, and met my brother Rick no problems. That was after a walk that took forever from the departure gate. Customs was nothing. We took a cab to his flat. Just as well. Getting there is easy, once you see how, but I can see how it was hard to explain. Essentially, right out the back door of his apartment is a train station. From there, you connect to Waterloo Station, which is also an underground station, which takes you anywhere in London.

I'm going to rave about transit for a minute. Calgary Transit can't even dream of being this good. Above ground trains run every few minutes. From early till late. Every once in a while you have to check to make sure it goes to the station you want, and occasionally you have to make sure you're in the front cars for short stations. The underground is a total maze. I completely lost my sense of direction every time. But things are well signed, and you never have to wait for long. We had no problems getting around. The bus from Richmond to Hampton Court Palace was an eye opener. The driver took his bus into places at speeds I'd be relucant to take my car. Driving here is a much more co-operative venture than in Calgary because the space is so tight. I'd be a nervous wreck if I survived. I've got 30 some years of driving reflexes that are likely to lead me astray here.

It took us a couple days to get up to speed, but we saw lots of stuff. Lets see. In no particular order, London Tower, Tower Bridge, the light cruiser Belfast, Buckingham Palace, Chelsea Physic Gardens, Greenwhich Observatory, Hampton Court Palace, the Fan Museum, and a river cruise. In between, we saw lots of other stuff, such as Trafalger square, Sloane Square, Pickadilly, the Eye, and all sort of other places in between the above. Couldn't see Cutty Sark, it's being re-restored.

In addition to all that, I've enjoyed watching the people. Some are smartly dressed and completely put together as elegant as could be. Some shamble around like unmade beds. There are languages from all over the world. People walk down whichever side of the sidewalk seems convenient, and cross roads whenever there is a gap in the traffic. And BUSY!!! Just about everywhere we went there are more people on the sidewalks than just about anywhere or anytime in Calgary.

We're really pleased and having fun so far. Rick's flat is a great place to stay, and I really appreciate him opening it up to us. We'll be back here on the way home. There is so much to see here, that we could spend another month, and still have things to see. I think we'll be back.

I tried to update before leaving London, but it didn't work out. So this is actually from Venice the day after arrival. To bring you all up to date.

The Eurostar train from London is FAST! Very fast. Lots of wine if you like. Paris traffic is a nightmare. We swapped tickets for an earlier train, and just as well. We'd never have made it otherwise. The Gare de Bercy terminal was under construction. Shabby. Cold. Crowded. Not fun.

But the train itself was ok. Our porter has this great voice, rumbly and gravelly, and pretty good English. He took good care of us. I didn't hurt my elbow anymore than it already was rolling over in the bunk. We got into Venice in the morning, and promptly stood in line for local transit tickets. That was forever. The water taxi to Rialto Mercato to meet our apartment contact couldn't be easier, and couldn't be more scenic.


more later.....

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Last post before departure

We're off to see the wizard!

Wait, no, wrong song, wrong destination. But we are off at last. It's been a long road getting all the details sorted out, but we're good to go. Or as gooder to go as it's going to get.

Always a last minute adventure. We had some siding blow off the back of our house during the big wind the other day. I had a bad few minutes thinking about how to find a siding guy, and arrange the details what with our trip. Then I thought of Chris. He was the contractor for many of the internal reno's we did a while ago. He came over last night to eyeball it. He'll take care of it, and a few other odds and ends. Thanks Chris!

Stay tuned!

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

First spin session

Doing spin training with a broken arm is difficult. My core muscles are going to get a workout. I'm glad Estela is a light bike, because putting her into, and taking her out of the car is brutal.

Still, Greg took it easy on us, a bit of one leg drill, and some cadence pyramids. My butt hurt. Nobody threw up. I took drugs when I got home. Several people suggested taking drugs before the class next time. Hopefully, next time, my arm will be healed.

Oh, and my teeth. More xrays today, and my dentist thinks I've cracked one of them beneath the gum line. He referred me to a specialist for a few days after I get back from vacation. And how cool is this? My dentist knows a dentist in northern Italy. Says if I have problems, give him a call or email, and he'll set up a referral for me.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

I ran today. I HAD to, because

Because, well, I ate a dessert cookie at Milestones last night that was bigger than my head. Maybe not in volume, but certainly in diameter. It's chocolate, with white chocolate chunks, with a chocolate drizzle, and a scoop of Italian gelato. Very yummy, and we estimate there was a zillion calories in it.

If you scroll down a bit, past the x-ray, you'll see a map of the run I did. This is a good one, so I think for a while it will be my reference for runs about an hour long. Today I ran for an hour, and made the 8 K mark in slightly, very slightly, under the 60 minute mark! This was run 10, walk 1 at a pace my legs and lungs felt comfortable with. I could have kept going, though really, not for much longer. My legs felt good, and really enjoyed the run. Stretched for a long time after, legs and my arm.

Generally I was breathing easily, no gasping or panting ever, and breathing deeply but controlled going up hills, and just at the end. My heart rate though, I couldn't believe it. There I am, chugging up the hill out of Fish Creek breathing hard enough that it would be tough, but not impossible to chat, and my heart rate was steady at 164. I flat out didn't believe it. During one of the walks afterward I even did the pulse thing, and the math came out to match the monitor, within a few beats, at the low 150's level. Throughout the entire run my heart rate was much higher, at least 10 to 15 beats per minute, than I would have guessed from my breathing.

I've NEVER, and I mean never, seen my heart rate stay in the 160's for so long. Usually getting past 150 or so, and I think my chest is going to explode. My watch says the average was 145, peak was 167, and min was 104, and I burned 1245 calories. I honestly don't know what to make of those numbers. The minimum I believe, since that was after a brisk walk to my starting point. But the rest??? Help me out here Greg, is my watch fubbared, or are the numbers real, and what does that mean?

We're getting stoked for our trip. I'm planning to update the blog pretty regular. The idea is to fill up the camera with photos, then transfer to a USB drive at an internet cafe. I couldn't get a bigger memory chip for the camera, and a 2 GB USB drive is less than $20. That should be enough. I'll try not to rub it in that we're touring London, Venice, Turin, and Florence, going to the 2008 Slow Food Festival in Turin, and generally trying to have a relaxing good time.

Oh, and Susi, you can scroll down with confidence. The photos are gone. It's your own responsibility not to click on the article link titled "more Ow!! Graphic Followup."

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Begone sickness, slugitude, and sloth

I am feeling much better. My cold is completely gone now, although my arm is still broken, alas. That didn't stop me from running today. Well, I call it running, though most of you would call it a brisk walk. Still, it was nice to be outside on such a nice fall day. I figured that I've lost significant fitness ground to sickness, slugitude, and sloth, to say nothing of pain.

So I wanted to start off nice and easy, with 10/1 very slow x 5. Walked before and after. My heart monitor was giving me some weird numbers at first, but then it settled down again. Most of the run was mid to upper zone 2, and when it got above that, I slowed down. There were a few niggles here and there. Hips had some creakiness for a little while, and my left knee let out some complaints. But mostly things felt good, and it was nice to get some fresh air.

Physio appt next week to work on range of motion. Given my previous experience with physio, I expect to need a tylenol the size of a baseball afterward.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

good news, bad news

Well, the good news is that they don't have to put me down, or amputate.

The bad news is that there is no new wonder operation with a squirt of magic glue to put it all back together again and take away the pain.

So for the next 4 weeks the bone will heal. My part in this will be to gently work on range of motion, drink lots of milk, take multivitamins, and try like hell not to hurt myself. That's an interesting thing, because I'm good up to a point, then sudden painful failure. Then for months after that, the bone will continue to harden, and the soft tissues will continue to heal.

Swimming will be right out for a while. Biking on the trainer is ok, provided I'm careful getting on and off. And getting Estela in and out of the car. Running should be good, providing I don't jar anything, or fall over, or run into anything. Some yoga is probably ok, but downward dog, for example, is going to be totally effing right out for months. Just the thought has me whimpering here.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

I thought about running today

I really did. It was so beautiful out. Then I realized how tired I still am, and decided not. Just walking around Millarville market had me ready for a nap. And nap I did this afternoon. We got some immunization shots for our vacation travel, and the nurse mentioned these could give some aches and really mild flu-like symptoms. Not like I'd notice....

I'm still tired after the nap. I think it's a chest cold I got, and it's mostly over now, still some coughing, and poor sleep at night. I sent a note into work on Tues or Wed saying I was home sick. That just about made people's day. They said that nobody that knew me, reading that note, could doubt that I was sick. I'm so glad I amuse people.

Dentist appt went well on Friday. Things are healing up as well as can be expected, but the jury is still out on the one tooth. Might need a skin graft. I'll be back in a couple weeks for a followup. My dental hygenist has a wonderfully soft touch, and didn't hurt me at all during cleaning and scaling. She'd seen the photos, heard part of the story from my dentist, but wanted THE DETAILS. I told her I fell off my bike and did a belly flop onto the pavement. She rolled her eyes and said that's what my dentist had said. Reminds me of the time (this was a while ago) I told my Granny that Linda was out of the hospital and doing fine. Two days later a letter arrived from Granny, addressed to Linda, asking for details, and bitterly complaining about the incompetence of men at remembering the simplest details about anything. What's to complain about? I'd given her the important information.

Oh, and my dentist loved the blog comments about the photos and says you're all a bunch of weenies for being squicked out, he has much worse. He grinned when I told him I'd posted a screen shot of the x-ray, and said he'd check it out.

I've got an appointment next Tuesday to see a specialist for my arm. At last! It's beginning to ache more and more. I can't do some of the stuff I used to be able to do. Pulling my wallet out of my right back pocket is so painful (and not because I'm cheap!) I had to start putting it in the left pocket. Cellphone has been in the left pocket for several days now. Even reading the paper today was a bit of an ordeal. Sigh. Typing is becoming a painful process, so it's a good thing I didn't switch to the Dvorak layout.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Updating for the sake of updating

The purpose of this update is to bury THOSE photos one post deeper. No training. Arm is feeling better, slightly better range of motion. Still haven't heard from Dr re: specialist, but will call this afternoon. All scabs healed, mouth is doing good, though I still can't bite anything tougher than a ripe banana.

The less said about the last couple days home sick the better.

Monday, September 15, 2008

X ray evidence

Doctor's appointment today, and in the tradition I've established, the evidence is attached below. And no, Susi, I don't think you'll gag on this. Just a nice clean x-ray image. You've seen hundreds, perhaps thousands of them. Think of this as a crack, or perhaps a lamination flaw. Not a manufacturer's defect, no corrosion, no icky bacterial growth. Pity they can't open it up, seal it with epoxy or equivalent, and carry on like new.

But still, it's fairly easy to see, look for the left hand smooth ball. Just underneath that, look for the smooth white pad that it rotates on, and look for the dark crack toward the right side of the pad. That's it, that's what's causing all my arm pain. As soon as the Doctor saw the bruise on my arm and I described my restricted mobility, he didn't believe for a second I hadn't broken anything. It just took a bit of hunting to find it.

There are several other images, and after a bit of a struggle to find a viewer that worked, I've taken a look at them. None of the other images show it as clearly as this.

What next? Well, my Dr is trying to book me into a specialist for this sort of thing. I guess it's on the borderline of doing something about it, or leaving it alone. As long as I don't do anything painful, it should be fine in the short term. That means, for the moment, living with restricted mobility. Riding a bike outside is totally, right effing out of the question. Sigh, and it's supposed to be so nice for the next little while. Given that I can't extend or straighten my arm, have essentially zero strength in my hand, and can't move my wrist much, swimming is pretty much out for a while too.

I still have my nice, husky, sexy voice that makes women go weak in the knees. Even when I'm talking work, and datbase stuff. Who knows what would happen if I were single, whispering sweet nothings into her ear, all alone in a private place??? At my age I probably wouldn't live through it anyway, but what a way to go!! I digress. The doctor says the only way to see if there's actually anything wrong with my voice box is to drop a tiny camera on a fiber optic (steady on, Susi!) cable down my throat and take a look. In living colour, no less. He suggests giving it a few more days, since it could be co-incidence. There's a lot of throat hoarseness from stuff going around right now. He thinks it's possible, but unlikely that I strained it in the fall. Not impossible, he admited while fondling my neck, shoulders, and jaw muscles, so keep an eye on that.

So I get to be careful for a while. Considering that my favourite cousin got cancer for a 50th birthday, my most serious injuries before this come down to strained muscles, scrapes, cuts, bruises, a tiny chip off one tooth, and a bit of flirting with heatstroke, all in a pretty active life with a few close calls. All things considered, you won't hear me complaining. Life is still good.