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.