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.