Tuesday, March 31, 2009

A regulation pushup!! Two of them!

A while ago Jenna had a little competition going about doing a zillion pushups. There was a build up program for it. Several of my fellow bloggers fell for this, I mean, participated. I could tell because of the blogging complaints about being unable to move their arms, and some stopped blogging altogether for a while because they couldn't type.

I had a really really good excuse, in that my right arm was non functional at the time. But it's been getting better. Today, almost by accident, I did a push up. A full regulation military pushup, then did another one just to prove it wasn't a fluke, and to debunk any nay-sayers about starting in the wrong place. I hear there is a big controversy about starting at the bottom or the top. Anyways.

Last my faithful readers heard I got an inhaler. I'm using it as directed. I'm now up to two nights in a row of good sleep! Imagine that. So this morning I puttered around for a bit, did some light stretching, a bit of yoga, then got on my bike again. I wasn't sure what to expect, but I felt better than yesterday right from the start.

I still didn't want to risk overdoing it, so I snuck up on my target heart rate carefully. My thought was to spin easy at the top of zone 2. After a short warmup my legs found 90 rpm quite easily. Shuffled through the gears a bit till I found the one that brought me to my target, and mostly settled into 8 min at target, and 2 min easy. Lungs felt good, worked up a light sweat. Shoulders and back didn't give me any sass and I felt happy and comfortable on the bike. I could have gone on, but remembered that I'm still recovering. Pedaled for an hour. Compared to bike workouts over the winter, this is pretty darn light, but compared to what I've done in the last week or so, it's big time.

Did a bit more yoga and light stretching. Was doing Downward Dog, and morphing into the stretch where your arms are pushing your shoulders up while your hips stay on the mat. Did that a few times, then did a pushup instead of going back into Downward Dog. I was so startled I did it again. And probably could have done another one. Did some plank for good measure, moving from front to side, to front to other side, several times. Didn't plank all that long, maybe a minute altogether, but it felt strong and stable. My elbow is still a bit crunchy, so I didn't think I could do this yet. I'm happy with the improvement, but I'm not going to go looking for a job as a fitness instructor or one of those demo models.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Well, I tried

I felt great this morning. I was almost wishing I could have Linda make her own way to work, so I could start a workout right away. As soon as I got home again, I checked out the bike setup, then got on the yoga mat. I figured some yoga, and paying attention to my breathing, would be a good warmup. Yoga'ed for a half an hour, or a little more. The moving and stretching felt so good. My lungs were mostly ok with it.

Got on my bike and started easy. I was hoping to go for an easy hour, going no harder than mid zone 2 or so. My legs felt good, but my back was killing me. By the time a half hour (only 30 minutes!) rolled around, I could feel a headache firing up, and could tell I wasn't breathing as well as I had been. My back was tensing up and I could feel some strain in my shoulders. Shut'er down.

Did some more stretching. Once I had a bit more to eat and took care of some odds and ends I headed out to the walk in clinic for a very long wait. I should have brought a book. Live and learn. The doctor says I've got what is going around, and it's a bad one. I'm not too bad compared to some that she's seen recently, given that my lungs are still inside my body. I told her this was the best I'd felt for a week and that my lungs remaining inside had been in considerable doubt for a while.

Supposedly, this cures itself. If you wait long enough. I told her I was going on two weeks now, and just starting to feel better. Was I looking at days, weeks, or months? Oh, she says, it could still be weeks. WEEKS!!!! I said. I don't have weeks. I'm sick of this. I have a half marathon to run in a few weeks. She told me it wasn't bronchitis or pneumonia, contrary to my wife's diagnosis, but it could develop if I don't take care. There isn't anything much they can give to cure it, but she gave me an asthma inhaler to help make me more comfortable. She didn't say so directly, but 'the get plenty of rest, drink lots of hot fluids, stay warm' seems to contra-indicate working balls out during Calgary's notoriously fickle weather to get ready for the Police Half Marathon. Still, the spin felt pretty good for the first bit. I'll see how it goes.

I'm going into the race with no expectations. It would be desirable to beat the race cut-off time, given that there are people with guns enforcing it. With all the police involved, attending the race is probably the safest I'll be all year. But I've never run a half marathon before, by itself. I'd like to be able to run the whole thing, excepting walking through the aid stations. I use the word 'run' very loosely of course. I have no idea how long it will take. But it doesn't matter. It's a baseline.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

More Springtime in Alberta. More!!??

How much more can there be? It snowed last night, in case you were wondering about the indignation in the title. When we went to bed it was snowing pretty good, but not much had arrived. I just looked out my window to see my neighbour shoveling their driveway. Her daughter is digging out her car. There is 6 inches of snow on it.

I think the problem is that I keep putting my heavy duty winter boots down in the basement. That's sort of like doing a thorough car wash in the summer.

I feel not too bad today, even though the transition from horizontal to vertical is incomplete. But I thought you'd want to know about the weather.

Yoga is on the agenda, and if that goes well, maybe get back on the bike and see how an easy spin feels. And snow shoveling, can't forget that. Sigh.

Friday, March 27, 2009

I miss working out

I do. Really. It's been a week, after all. I'm feeling more rested now, and I'm getting to the point where I want to start doing something. But I'm not ready yet. How do I know? Well, breathing during yoga can still induce coughing fits. Laughing at a post on Chuckie V's blog turned into coughing that had Linda wondering if I was ok. It's hard to get into an aerobic workout when your lungs aren't cooperating.

I've been feeling much better the last couple days, but there's still a lot of guck in my chest, and it periodically makes it's way out. I'm just assuming you don't need the gory details. Though I'm willing to bet some bloggers with this would video themselves and the results if only they thought of it in time. I should probably stop talking now.

I tried to seek medical attention. The nearby walk in clinic is closed for lack of medical staff. You can tell it's not a temporary closure; all the computers and file cabinets are gone. I'll bet if they don't find staff before the lease runs out it will be closed. I've been meaning to look for the next nearest one, but I know it's not close. I do have an actual doctor's appointment for next month, for what is supposed to be an annual physical. Considering that they are booking more than a year ahead for such things, it's a bit of a laughable concept. Still, I'm at the age where I really should get the slippery finger of life at least semi-regularly. And no, I'm not complaining, considering what my female friends go through.

According to the sign on the wall of the examining room, I'm allowed to bring up one additional item. This cough isn't going to be it. Nor will it be the fallout from my spill last year, other than to say it's doing as well as can be expected. I'm not sure what is. I'm wondering if it's time to get one of those fancy genetic tests where they look for disease or condition risks. I'm in way, way better health than I was 2 years ago, but I'm still carrying extra weight around my middle. One can see that. I want to know about the things that can't be seen. The things that can get taken care of when discovered early. What to watch for. Ect. We pay enough for our medical system, might as well try to get what we can when we have the opportunity.

Monday, March 23, 2009

So, who are you?

To some extent, you know who I am. Somehow you've found my blog, and you've become a reader. Maybe a regular, a semi-regular, a when you think of it or stumbled across by accident sort of reader. I'm curious about you.

I know who some of you are, of course, going back to some of the very first readers; Susi, Jenna, Julie, Kelly, Greg. Some are my fellow coachee's of Iron Greg. Some of you came back from comments I left on your blogs. Welcome. And most importantly, thank you for reading, and leaving comments.

Some of you, I have no idea, and I'm dying of curiousity. My site meter gives me the locations of people that visit. I get regular visits from places I've never been, and where I don't think I know anyone. But people get around, and I'm notorious for being behind the times. So please, feel free to introduce yourself, or remind me. I don't even mind if you leave a shameless plug for your own blog.

You aren't going to get workout news today, and probably not for tomorrow either. Unless you count a little bit of gentle yoga as a workout. Whatever this is, it's just kicking my tail. I'd be home from work today anyway. Co-workers have this aversion to working in a place that sounds like a TB ward. I've had a midmorning nap with Amelia, and a more serious early afternoon nap. Linda went to work today in a low grade panic; I had told her I was in a mood to, to (wait for it) tidy. Then, when I looked outside, the large new blue box arrived. So I've tidied at least some of the recyclables in the garage. Now we have to wait a month till pickup starts.

So it's your turn. Please tell me a little about yourself. Who you are, where you are, how you found me, why you return. I've turned on anonymous comments to make it easier to comment.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Springtime in Alberta. Again. Still.

Yesterday was so nice, mid teens, snow melting, warm and sunny. Last night and most of this morning it snowed. About 6 inches here, fairly wet and heavy stuff. Susi doesn't even want to talk about how much came where she lives, way to the NW of here, and quite a bit higher. Some places near her got a foot. More might be coming.

Plus, somewhere along the line, I picked up something yucky. I haven't coughed up a lung yet, but my body has been trying every now and again. Not fun. Workouts curtailed until further notice. A good sign would be my body deciding my lungs aren't foreign interlopers after all.

Weekly total
Swim 1.5 hr
Bike 2.5 hr
Run 2.25 hr
Total 6.25

Friday, March 20, 2009

And now for something a little different

I'm not sick. No, really. Well, maybe just a little. But it's weird. I've got the post cold coughing and hacking. But I didn't have a cold or flu. But my windpipe has felt kind of raw the last couple of days and I decided that adding a chlorinated water/air mixture wouldn't do it any good, so I've skipped my last two swims.

You know how easy yoga looks? You see the instructor or demonstrator doing a pose, and you wonder why everybody thinks yoga is hard. Till you try it. Then you wobble all over the place. You can't breathe. The instructor snickers under her breath when she looks at you. Well, no maybe she doesn't, but she wants to. Then she helps you.

I did not want a hard workout on the bike. I wanted to stay solid zone 2, and try to get the sludge I call blood moving. My heart rate wasn't bad for the pedal effort, but my breathing was way up. If I was estimating my heart rate, I'd have added 15- 20 bpm. At least. Which reminds me. I had a dentist appointment this morning. No icky stuff, just cleaning and scaling, and my hygienist is a dream come true. But they got a blood pressure machine in the office. So I sit down, she wraps me in the cuff, and a few seconds later we see 120 over 80, which is way high for me, and a heart rate of 54.

So as I got on my bike today, I was thinking of yoga. And I was wondering what I could do that wouldn't be too hard. After a slow warm up, I got the idea of spinning done as a yoga pose. I tried to imagine myself as a tree growing out of the bike, feeling solid on the seat and handlebars, with my legs going around and around. I put a lot of mental effort into this, trying to keep my upper body still but not rigid, and my feet light on the pedals going in perfect circles. I could only do this for 5 to 7 minutes at a time. Total time on the bike was 1 hr.

In between, I worked on my elbow, trying to rotate my arm with the elbow tucked in, rather than pointing out. I was also thinking about my positioning on the bike, how my arms felt, and where my knees were in relation to my elbows. I'm thinking I might need to make some tweaks to the saddle position. It feels like my body wants to fall forward off it, and my sit bones slide off the front edge. Our fancy digital camera can take short movie clips. I'm thinking about riding by slowly while someone snaps some pictures, and takes some video. The only problem is that Linda isn't very good with the camera. hmmmmm.

Essentially, while doing my yoga on the bike, I was in low zone 2, trying to spin evenly at 85 to 90 rpm. Even at this low level of effort I was breathing pretty hard. From there, I did some stretching and went for a short run. Shorter than planned. I for sure wanted to keep it in zone 2, and I knew it would be slow. When I'm feeling good, I can almost walk at the speed I 'ran' today. That was 20 minutes, and it was brutal. After the smooth spinning, it felt like I was running with a chord cut across my wheels. Step clunk, step clunk. Lots of little niggelies here and there, in places I don't normally get them. I took the hint and cut it short from the planned 40 minute run. Pity. It's warm enough to run in shorts and a t shirt.

Stretched for about 20 minutes afterward. Lots of creaky bits. This deep coughing isn't doing any of my chest or back muscles any good. It's nice that tomorrow is my rest day.

Update: The rack of lamb I BBQ'd for supper was wonderful! Tender, juicy, perfectly done. Plus wine, (duh!) salad, spuds. Maybe some desert later. Life is good.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009


No, that wasn't me during my swim or run today. But here it is, almost 7:30, and it seems like just a few minutes ago I was rolling out of bed, struggling free of the blanket love.

It was another quiet day in the pool today. Warmed up. Did some drill, and golf. 3 x 500m. First was slow, second was about normal for me, and I tried pushing too hard near the beginning of the third, and my arms fell off part way through, so it was slow, slow, slow. Did another golf,(ack!) and some backstroke, and a little bit of crawl to cool down. .75 hr. Stretching in the hot tub.

Visited my previous employers for some transition followup and picked up some contract work. Shopping on the way home. More notes and a flurry of phone calls, email, and MSM. Gosh, I don't miss playing telephone tag at all.

It was cool for the run, and I over dressed just a little. It wasn't as windy out on the path as it was in front of my house. Slow and easy aerobic, 5 x 15/1 for 80 min, plus some warm up yoga/stretches, walking after, and about 20 minutes of stretching after. Lets say 1.5 hrs to keep the math even.

Mostly the path was good, but there were some big puddles that were half water half ice, requiring some detours. My feet were a bit sore by the end. The shoes don't seem to be as cushiony as they once were. I seem to be running on the outside edges of my shoes at least somewhat. It doesn't seem that long ago since I bought these shoes, but I'm notoriously bad for remembering how long I've had something. Can it be time to replace them already? How do you tell?

Seemed like I had just time to stretch, have a quick shower, fire up the BBQ for bison burgers, eat, chat with Linda, now she's off to yoga, wash dishes, do my blog, dry dishes, go stretch some more. I already hear the bed calling me.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Only one workout, but it's IMC in 60 min

The IMC in 60 min says it all. Plus a bit of warm up and cool down. Got some commentary on the course from big Mark and Greg. Looking forward to riding it during May training camp. 1.5 hrs.

Somehow, when I get toward the end of the day without doing a workout, I don't want to do one. It was a bit of a struggle to get going. Mainly I wanted to nap with my cat a little, have some wine, and relax. But I was good.

Monday, March 16, 2009

So what was important today?


For some reason it has been some time since I made cookies. Linda has been on a real tear lately, so I haven't been able to get my spoon in, so to speak. These are pretty good, an 8.5 to 9 on Keith's cookie scale. And as some can tell you, I'm a hard marker when it comes to cookies. There isn't quite enough mint in these, and I didn't get the shapes right on all of them. I put in just a hint too much flour.

So what else? Oh yeah, workouts.

FOMC was almost empty today. I had a lane to myself. 500 m warmup, with no complaints from my left shoulder. Good. Did some drill. Golf scores are better, very low 80's. I'm swimming the 50 m faster, but taking more strokes. Did some front crawl to relax, and discourage a slow one from jumping into my lane. More drill and golf. Cool down. Stroke is feeling pretty good. All in all .75 hr.

Did some yoga and stretching. Went out for an easy .75 hr run down the path toward Fish Creek. With strides. An interesting thing happened here. Interesting to me anyway, since it's the first time. Maybe it's old hat to you fast runners. Just so you know, I'm a really slow runner. Considering that I'm overcoming the sloth of 30 years of not running, and my first priority is not to hurt myself, I'm pretty pleased with my progress so far. I think that if I put it together just right, I could do 10 K in an hour. I think. But there'd better be a bucket at the finish line.

Anyways. For the very first time when running faster, I could actually feel some of the muscle interplay in my legs. I could feel my calves, hams, and glutes working together to pull me along. There was even some sympathetic vibrations and resonance in some of the flabby bits at the top of my butt. This is just below where I jiggled when trying to pedal faster on the bike a while ago. I think one session of the strides is just about as fast as I can run just now. And it felt good. During one of the easy periods between strides, I suddenly noticed I was actually running quite fast, certainly no longer at an easy pace. Fast by my standards.

I stretched for about 15 or 20 minutes after, paying particular attention to my achilles tendon, top and bottom on my right leg. That's a bit sore these days. Weather was nice, sunny and cool, just above zero, so the path was wet.

I was reading about the 'Strong like Bull' camp in Spain next Feb. It sounded very attractive. Till I saw the hill climbs. I somehow think that even with another year of conditioning, I'd still be the designated coming in last rider. On the FAQ they have 'How fit do I have to be to enjoy the camp?' but they don't have an answer yet. Uhuh. That tells me what I need to know. You know the phrase, if you have to ask how much, you can't afford it. Yeah.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

I could have rode all night, I could have rode all night...

Fans of Hollywood musicals might already know where this is coming from. We were at a party the other night, and got to talking about how people always hang out in the kitchen, or the doorway to the kitchen. I was telling them how that was happening once at a party at our place many years ago. Then I told them how I got people out. I fired up the (for that time) big plasma screen, and put on My Fair Lady. People dragged beer and munchies into the media room, and that's where the party was. People sang along, one person got up and did the Get me to the Church dance. We had a great time.

At the party the other day, as I was telling this story, only a couple of the people in hearing distance had seen the movie. You could have knocked me over with a feather. I told them to waste no time and rent it. Today, as I was setting up for my trainer ride (still much too much guck on the roads for me) I saw it in the DVD collection, it was the right length, and it's been a while since I've seen it.

I did some stretching and yoga poses to the opening credits. Got on the bike and warmed up for 15 minutes. I was supposed to do aerobic sets, 10/5, which is easy for me to keep track of. The first one was a continuation of the warm up, getting into time trial gear minus one. Then got dialed into one gear harder and rode for 2.5 hours. I could have gone on, but the schedule said 2.5 hours and the movie was coming to a close. I've never had a trainer ride go so fast. Even the 10 minute work sets went fast.

And I was good, maintaining 90 rpm or so for almost all of the work sets, dialed right into my aerobic working heart rate. I only wish the computer sound system was a little better, since the whir of the gears and trainer drowned out some of the quieter dialogue. I'm still in a happy place, waltzing away. If Hollywood still made movies like this, I might watch a lot more new movies. As it is, the superhero movie seems to be the latest rage, and they bore me to tears.

Did my quickest transition in ages, since all I had to do was change shoes, put on a light jacket and head out. Ran 30 minutes, starting slow, and ending up at a fairly good pace. Feet and legs felt good. Streets and sidewalks are pretty wet, and I did a bit of puddle jumping.

Ate a spoonful of Nutella and peanut butter, with milk after the run, then stretched for about a half hour. The roller. Can you say oooooooooohhhhhhh???? From the heart? I thought you could. All in all, a really good workout today.

Weekly totals
swim 1.5 hrs
bike 6 hrs
run 3 hrs
Total 10.5 hrs.
Attentive readers will notice there isn't a workout mentioned for Friday. Shhhh! I slept in both Fri and Sat. Both days I asked myself, what do I need more, a swim or sleep? No brainer. I've been reading some blogs that talk about the Master's swim workouts. My goodness; I don't even belong in the same pool as them. But then, I only need to get out of the water in a decent time, ready for a long ride.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Elbow crunchiness revisted long after a warm -13 C dawn run.

Wed night I worshipped the foam roller some more. Where has this been all my (short) triathlon life? Oddly enough, and I checked the schedule twice, I had a run for this morning. Given that I promised myself I was going to follow schedule to the letter this week, I saddled up.

But first, I did about a half hour of yoga and stretches. It's almost warm out, but I still wanted to be well prepared for the cold. It was only -13 C or so, with a brisk west wind. Dressed about the same as yesterday. This was supposed to be an easy run with strides. In my rule book, strides only happen on shoveled sidewalks. Ran easy the first K, then started adding strides whenever I could. That lasted till about the 35 min mark, where my legs started complaining. I did a long run yesterday, remember? So for the last 10 min, I settled for a nice easy pace, trying for excellent posture, and nice smooth leg motion. Total .75 hr.

Walked a little for cool down. Needless to say it doesn't take long. I untied my hoodie, and pushed it back. There was a brief explosion of vapour as all the sweat and hot air was freed. Even though I had a hat on, it didn't take long before my head was getting cold, but I was only a minute from the house. Stretched another half hour.

All this happened shortly after dawn. The sun was just up, and the rush of commuters and school kids was done. It was very quiet and peaceful.

The afternoon was so nice. Water, actual liquid water started running down the street. Our front windows face south, for a while I basked in the sun. My legs liked the warmth. If I'd been a little more organized, I'd have set up the spin trainer in the driveway, and done my session in the fresh air. My neighbours already think I'm crazy, so there's no downside.

Oh, and during my internet wanderings today, I took this screen shot. A cookie for the first person who recognizes it.

And whatever I'd have done on my own would have been easier than what Greg gave us. Another 3 lap course, 20 min each, with bigger hills. Oof. Grunt. Splat. I had noticed on Tuesday that my right elbow doesn't rotate the same as the left when hanging on to the handlebars. Nowhere near the same range of motion, and what there is, is crunchy. I've been working on that a bit. Maybe a bit too much. Recently it hasn't bothered me much at all, well, maybe a little during hard swims. But during the spin session my elbow started feeling weak and sore in a way it hasn't been for a long time now. I bailed on the last 20 min set during the first hill climb. I had no stability anymore. Sat up and did an easy spin to cool down. It's still 1.75 hrs.

I hear the Tylenol and Ibuprofen calling me.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Still cold. Ran anyway.

The swim lane Nazi was there today. I could feel the remnants of her presence. There were two girls in the fast lane, swimming fast. The other fast lane had two slow swimmers that were doing something resembling front crawl. The medium lanes had people pretending to breast stroke. The slow lanes had the senator's meeting. Organization. I love it. Keep in mind that when I say fast, I'm talking community pool standards. I know some of you probably couldn't swim that slow if you tried.

I joined the fast girls and settled in to a nice swim. I was afraid to do anything else but swim for fear of upsetting the precarious cosmic balance. We swam, round and round. It was great! Both of them swim smooth and almost exactly the same speed I was, so I hardly noticed them at all.

Swam 1000 m in 19:45 nice and easy. We'll call this warm up, but really, I felt like some big ole piece of waterlogged wood that's been stuck at the bottom of the river all winter. My arms felt like overdone pasta noodles. I've been working on roll, and trying to pull from my core and using my back muscles, and I think I've messed up my stroke.
Did some drill. Golf scores still suck. Did some intervals, but not many. It felt like I was wearing football shoulder pads in the pool today. Did some nice laps during cool down. .75 hours altogether.

Got home and ate. More. Did some yoga and stretching for about a half hour. Dressed for a cold run. Tights, heart rate monitor, what I call my man bra (tight short sleeveless vest that shows lots of tummy), a tech shirt, heavy hoodie, wind breaker, hat, gloves. I didn't look at the weather page for a screen shot, but I think it had warmed up to about -20 C, with a light wind. Turned out to be a nice morning for a run. Clear and sunny.

Went down through Fish Creek along the cleared path. There's even pavement showing in places. Was planning to run 8 x 12/1, so 104 minutes altogether. JN, you know when you run west in Fish Creek, and come to the place where you can keep going straight and go up to Woodlands, or turn left to go down a small hill and across a bridge? That's the bridge I turned around at. According to mapmyride those bridges are still under construction. I'd forgotten what a nice run this is, through the trees, with lots of little up and downs.

Ran nice and easy, trying to land softly and move forward from the core. And yes girls and you know who you are, that means what you think it means. But I didn't drool. The fourth interval was kind of clunky and I thought I was getting tired, but the next three were great! I found a nice gait, stretched out a bit, while keeping my turnover the same. I got back to within about 70 m of the house, so my pace out and back was pretty consistent. Keep in mind the out is almost entirely downhill, and mostly downwind today.

Stretched for about 15 min after, showered, and stretched some more. The foam roller is great on the calves. I think I'll go down later and roller some more.

I've been having some adventures with the stupid blogger word verification that some of you are using on your blog pages. That's your choice, but lately my browsers have been barfing on it. Which means you could be losing out on my witty, thoughtful, ever so trenchant comments. I'm just saying.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Greg worked us hard

It's still frigging cold out. It took a real effort to get myself and bike gear into the car for spin class.

Warmed up lots. One leg drill. Then a 3 lap course with all sorts of stuff in it. Each lap was supposed to be higher intensities. Since he wasn't riding, Greg came around, looking at heart rates and gears. 'Go one more harder' he said, a lot. It was a really good workout. 1.75 hrs.

I've noticed an interesting thing with my elbows, as I'm riding. The left one rotates nicely, as is to be expected. The right one, well, it has some difficulties when my hand isn't moving. Played with that a bit during the ride. Feeling the tendons and bits of bone, or whatever else is in there, rubbing against each other during the rotation is very interesting. I think I'm going to have to work this into my bike rides.

Monday, March 9, 2009

A swim is just a swim

Especially today. Not many people in the pool today so I had a lane to myself till I was almost done. Warmed up. Left shoulder still hurting. Drill. Terrible golf scores. 3 x 500 m with 1 min rest. First one was ok, second was a bit slower, and the third was rescued from total slugitude only because I was trying to keep up with the girl in the next lane. I turn faster than she does, but she can swim a little faster. The last 200 m were pushing quite hard, but it was still the slowest of the three. The really slow swimmer joined my lane just as I was starting my cool down. I swam slow and easy for 6 or 700 m, trying for a nice stroke. Toward the end I started getting the feel of the water again.

Mega cold out there today. Didn't even think of doing a run. Did a bit of stretching, but I'm still sore and creaky.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Nice brisk day for a run

I trust that going for a brick run in that dispels any lingering taint of weenieness from last week. It was snowing, very lightly.

KS, my wonderful massage therapist worked me over for 1.5 hours Saturday. It hurt so good. If I could afford it, and if she'd be willing to put up with the drive across Calgary that often, I'd get one done every week on the run up to race season.

The spin went really well. I warmed with about 10 minutes of light stretching first, then got on the bike. Started with 20 min warmup, with some slow accelerations at the end of the warm up. Some one leg drill 90, 60, 90 seconds each. A bit of easy spin with some more accelerations, trying to slowly go through the rpms where the sympathetic vibrations and resonance normally set in, staying in control of the spin, engaging the core. oof. 6 x 8/2 aerobic. Settled into a nice gear most of the way down the cogs on the small chainring, maintaining 85-90 rpm. Speedometer said about 27 kph, for all that means. Heart rate bottom of zone 3, nice and steady.

What was annoying is that it sounded and felt like the back shifters were changing half a gear on me. Lots of pops, snaps, but no crackles. Not sure what it is. Maybe tomorrow I'll dab in a few drops of chain lube and see what happens. It only did this during the aerobic sets. 1.75 hrs on the bike.

Did a 4 min transition, and out for a 15 min run. My legs are still feeling a bit heavy, and kind of all shook up from the earlier run and massage. Pace was slow, but I had to be careful of my footing anyways. I was thinking about how I was planting my feet, and I'm going to have to watch the right one. I think I might be doing something odd there. More details as it happens.

Weekly totals:
Swim 4 hrs
Bike 4.5 hrs
Run 3.25 hrs
Aerobic snow shoveling 1 hr (told you I was going to count it!)
Total 12.75 hrs.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Strrrrrreeeeeeetttttttttccccccchhhhhhhhhhh! ooooooo

When faithful readers last checked in, I had bailed part way through my spin session and did some stretching and oozing back and forth on the roller. Before bed I took some pain pills, and rubbed Tiger Balm into my hip. Slept like a rock.

Pretty well first thing I shambled downstairs and stretched for an hour. Gently, trying to work on hamstrings, glutes, IT, Hip Flexors. Played a Yoga DVD while doing this, and incorporated some of those moves, if they looked like fun. Felt much better. I had to laugh at the one demonstrator, with the yoga mat well anchored down with rocks all the way round.

The plan calls for a short easy run today. I thought about it for a while, thinking about getting back on my bike instead. Poked my nose outside, and figured it was -15 C or so, with a light wind. Legs feel much better, and I thought that a short easy run could be considered hair of the dog. Plus, I think I get back some of those weenie points I racked up last night. Gotta get something for saying, 'I ran outside for 30 minutes in -15 C, with a stiff wind.'

Ran easy around the neighbourhood, keeping turnover light and quick. One advantage to it being this cold is that you know everything is ice all the way through. No worries about breaking through and getting feet wet. And oddly enough, lots of the ice offers fairly good footing. Just toward the end my legs were getting a little tired. Stretched more afterward.

So there's the workouts for today done. Yahoo!

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Results of a nearly sleepless night

One of the hangovers from shiftwork is poor sleep every now and then. It doesn't happen as much since I started working out, but it still happens every once in a while. Last night was it.

Getting up was groggy and slow. Once I got to the pool I found I had done something to my left arm overnight. I could barely get it above my head. I found this out pushing off the side of the pool. Good thing my mouth was underwater so the other patrons didn't hear my scream. Warmed up really carefully and for longer than normal. Did some drill. Tired arms, the left much more so. Tried a golf and was appalled by the number. Started doing the many 150 m intervals the plan called for. The first was nearly 3 minutes!! The second was only slightly quicker, and the third about the same. The fourth was brutal, and I stopped. Did a bit more drill, and tried one more golf. I don't even want to talk about it. No feel for the water at all today. Cooled down. Half an hour tops. Did some core and careful stretching in the dive tank for 15 min. Did more stretching in the hot tub, trying to get various bits into the good jet.

Came home, and had a bit of quiet time. It's not the day I'd have chosen to clean out the recyclables in the garage, but it's that or start parking the car outside. It wasn't cold particularly, but the wind and bit of snow was brutal. I'm ready for spring, just in case anyone was wondering.

Couldn't face going out into the cold again for spin class, along with all the packing, unpacking, repacking, and driving. Call me a weenie if you feel you should. I got the work out from Greg, and set up a bit early to get'er done.

Started warming up, and found more pain. Right hip now, some weird twinges in my left knee, and my left shoulder isn't liking the bike position. I hopped off the bike to do some stretching and rollering. Ouch. Back on for the one leg drill. That wasn't so bad. Greg had laid out a three times 15 min course. We can tell his brain is still on vacation because there was actually some flats and downhill in it. First one was ok. Just barely. Got part way through the second one, and stalled on the hill. My legs didn't mind moderate spinning, but they weren't happy about hills. Shambled through the remainder of that lap. Sat up, assessed, then did some easy spin to try to flush out the legs. Did more stretching and rollering after. My massage therapist comes on Sat, and I think I could die happy if she was here now.

Linda is thinking that the scittering and near fall yesterday may have strained things a bit more than I thought. Or the run was harder than I thought and I didn't stretch enough after. Or what little sleep I got was in some weird contorted position. Or, just being thorough here, maybe I was kidnapped by aliens last night and they did all sorts of weird things to my poor bod.

Needless to say, I'm hoping for a much better sleep tonight.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

map, photos, pool zoo, run!

With yesterday being crappy weather, I think all the people that missed their swim showed up this morning. It was a total zoo. I didn't even try to get into a lane. There was 3 lanes, with 3 people in each, with a perfectly imperfect mix of fast, medium and slow. It begs for organization. I went into the dive tank, and kept an eye on the pool. Normally, shortly after 7, things calm down. Not today.

After a bit, I slipped into a lane with another girl that swims about the same speed, and life was good with just the two of us. Then this ditz plopped into the lane. Didn't even look, just started swimming. Very slowly. Very, very slowly. I chatted to same speed girl during the interval breaks. Both of us are touching her toes and lapping her, quickly, and she didn't get the message that maybe, just maybe, she was in the wrong lane. Eventually, when we were almost done, she moved into the next lane. With a girl that was swimming the same speed as us. The other guy noticed we were leaving when done, and slid into our lane. He caught our eyes, gestured at the slow one, and rolled his eyes.

The actual workout was a warm up, and a short session of drill. Then 5 x 250 m, essentially on the 5 min. Took 30 seconds rest each time. Cooled down. 45 min. Did core work and stretching in the dive tank before and after the swim for another 15 min at least, and probably more.

The run today was really good. I was planning to redo the route I did last week, and take some photos. Well, there was a hitch there, but I still got photos. Here's the map of where I went.

Walked out to where the pathway starts at Anderson and 37. This is what it looks like. The first one is a view of the mountains, and the second shows the traffic lights where I started my run.

My thought today was to run easy, being careful of footing. There's some icy patches on the paths. I remember Kelly saying she wanted to follow the path I showed in a photo a while ago. That goes south. I'll get pics of them when the ice on the path melts. This is going north. Here's a series of photos showing the path.

The space off to the left is a huge off-leash dog run area.

This is just one of the puddles. I think I get extra points for the run, having to leap over the smaller puddles, run on snow and ice drifts, and stride carefully on ice.

I was surprised to find the path I wanted to go on to get to Glenmore closed. They were doing something with Osprey nests. I thought it was a really pretty helicopter.

I took an alternative route to get to the pathway around the reservoir. Here's some views of the reservoir, and across it, you can see some of the taller buildings downtown.

From the map you can see where there is a point of land jutting into the reservoir. From there, you get a great view of the mountains across the reservoir.

This is where I turned around last week. You can see I'm a bit slower here. In the background is Heritage Park.

Rather than go back the way I came, I followed the bike path through a semi-ritzy neighbourhood to get back to 90th Ave. This is one of the roads that Calgary never plows. The ice on this street is at least 6 inches thick.

Ran back to 24th St and headed south to get home most directly. I have photos of this, but it's just sidewalks on a busy street. This last photo shows how Calgary is at least consistently inconsistent. Just like they don't plow all the road, they don't plow all the bike paths either. This is a small park not far from my home. Can you see the paved path starting where the road stops? No, I thought not.

Aside from a few scitters on icy bits, it was a good run. Mapmyrun says 10.25 K in 80 minutes. There was starting about the hour mark where I couldn't find a stride. My right foot was hurting a bit, feeling tender, so I was wanting to limp on it a bit. After a while I found another stride, clumping along like one of those big horses that pull the beer wagon. Couldn't ask for a nicer day to run! Stretched after a 10 min walk home, and stretched a bit more throughout the rest of the afternoon.

Must say, I'm not thrilled with how blogger behaves when you want to add lots of photos. Grrr.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Extra workout shoveling snow.

Back to the plan again today. Went in hoping I'd be able to get to do drill.
Warmed up. Did a bunch of drill. Shared lane with a fairly fast breast stroker so this all worked out.
3 x 500 m, with one minute rest. Did them in 9:28, 9:32, and 9:33. Just as I was starting the breast stroker went away, and my buddy Deb joined me. She normally swims ever so slightly slower than my regular pace, and I was pushing a bit today. Still, only passed her once in the 1500 m. Drafted her to cool down so I wouldn't swim too fast. Sort of a cool feeling, but I'm still not convinced that swimmers can draft each other. Yes, I know many of you say so; I've never experienced it. To me, it seems that you'd swim best in non-turbulent water. Following someone, you're going through their turbulence. If anything the lead person is pushing water back, and at least some of it is pushing against you harder than still water would. So maybe some of you more experienced swimmers can explain where I've got this wrong.
So after the cool down, we chatted and got caught up. I think she said she's doing Chinook again, and will be doing IMC this year. She gave me some great volunteer tips. So an hours swim, then into the dive tank for core work for 15 minutes.

This morning when I woke up it was raining. Shortly after it turned to snow. Lots of snow. Thick, heavy, wet snow. I got home to between and inch and 2 inches of this on the driveway and sidewalks. I shoveled it. It took an hour. I'm counting this as aerobic workout. People that don't think that's fair can write to me at keith@bitemybutt.ca.

One thing you can say about Katie's bike workouts is that you know you're going to work. She mixes it up and keeps it moving. And except for one particular song, the music totally rocked tonight. Not pumping bike music, but it made me feel young again. Warmed up, did some one leg drill, some cadence drill, then into the 3 x 12 min main sets. She broke these up into smaller 2 or 3 minute bits, always changing things. There was even a little bit of downhill!!! This was 1.75 hr altogether. Great workout!

Monday, March 2, 2009

A fun visualization

And no, I'm not talking about Jenna's new suit that didn't quite work out as she had expected.

I'm plan free at the moment, so technically, I could swim anything I wanted. I really was thinking about doing drills. But my lane-mates were stupid this morning. I hate it when slow people swim in the fast lane. And yes, I realize in some company I'm a very slow swimmer, and you can be assured I'll be in the correct lane. Compared to some of my buddies, I don't even get a lane, I go straight to the kiddie pool. Neither of these people clued in when I lapped them several times. As I was warming up. I wanted the swim lane Nazi to yank them out and shake some sense into them. Alas, I was disappointed, and didn't feel like pulling a Shannon to impose some order. I was there to swim. Eventually I moved over one lane since that girl is considerate and swims about the speed I do. We cruised back and forth happily.

So by now, I was in no mood to do drill. My inner shark had come out, and I wanted to be fast, at least for today. I'd been thinking about this whole swimming from the core thing, and other technical bits of stroke. So kept on going, pushing fairly hard, projecting a 'I will eat you if you get in my way' aura. But mainly I was watching my stroke. Tinkering with the roll, since I don't roll enough. Using my core to get my arm forward and into the water and catch and pull all in one smooth motion. Trying to keep my hands moving smoothly to the appropriate hip, with no waggle or squoogilyness. Trying to keep my head down, and my push offs strong. And what do you know, 1500 m in 29:30. Did some pretty cool down stroke, trying to get my elbows high out of the water on recovery. Throughout, I visualized the water flowing around me smoothly, constantly. Did another 15 minutes core work in the dive tank.

My arms were a bit tired after that, but not the big pulling muscles. What I think of as the stabalizing muscles, that prevent squoogilyness were tired. This was a moderately hard push for effort, still breathing well, and not gasping.

Right at the nicest part of the day I went for a run along the 37th St path. Lots of dogs out again. Footing was great, though the sidewalks between here and where the path starts were wet and slushy. Lots of water running. I was out in shorts and a tech shirt, and felt a bit over dressed, it was that warm.

I'd thought about what to do, and decided think about running smoothly, with light feet. My visualization for this was to imagine a little cart being driven along the path ahead of me with a big bungee cord connected to my navel. For some reason I'd been thinking of ballroom dance. Linda and I were teaching assistants for many years, and got to interact with some amazing instructors. Some of these people have an amazing grasp of how the body works, and unbelievable muscle control. One of the exercises is to always be on top of your feet as you go through the dance steps. It's harder than it sounds. The other is to move from your core. If you do that, it becomes very difficult to step on your partner's feet.

That's what I was trying to do today, move my navel forward, imagining the little cart pulling me along with the bungee cord, and have my feet and legs just being the instrument to hold me up. Well, that got very interesting. I was running at whatever pace my legs and lungs could agree on. I didn't want to get winded, or puke, but I did want to push myself a bit.

I was really pleased with how it turned out. It's still slow compared to lots of you, but I went a lot further, well, at least some further in an hours run than I've ever done before. And could have kept going. Breathing and heart rate were under control, but my feet were getting tired. And the little guy in the cart was thinking I was stalking him for some perverted purpose.

Walked before and after. Stretched 15 minutes after, and will do more this evening before bed. Things feel pretty good.

I have to say this, but in the nicest way. Several of my blogger buddies (and you'll know who you are in a minute) are being teases. No audio track of the singing heart; I'm dying of curiosity here. Talk of peanut butter and dark chocolate, together, but without a pic of the label or describing the mail order procedures. Talk of a peekaboo swim suit, but no evidentiary photos. They don't have have to be 'naughty'. And discussion of mystical 'muscles at the top of thigh' exercises that would make us faster runners while hardly breathing at all. No Canmore cross country skiing photos. Telling us about a ride called Fruit Loops, but without a map or photos; I mean, how could you??! Talk of how beautiful Fish Creek park is, but no photo. I guess this being provocative, hoping to increase readership through mystery, and leaving a bit to the imagination.

But, in fairness, I have to say we did get a photo of pink compression socks. Life is good.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Only the bike

Yesterday as a rest day was so nice. We drove down to Turner Valley, checking out the roads. There's still lots of gravel and crap on the shoulders. It will be a while before they are ready to be ridden on. Had a big breakfast at the Chuckwagon. Their food is so good, and you need to be hungry going in there. I was. Over to do some shopping/browsing in Black Diamond, then down in High River where we visited our favourite pottery shop. Hit Okotoks on the way back, but the stores we wanted to visit were closed. Cruised up Deerfoot to check out where Linda will have to be going to yoga, now that the studio is moving. Hung out at home, went to bed early. Slept like a rock, in spite of all the coffee during the day.

Today is a bit more active. Puttering about the house has happened, and is happening. Skype has been installed. Laundry is being done. Cookies are being made. (Linda snuck them into the oven before I got a chance to QC them, so I have no idea what kind.) Tidying is in progress.

And the bike workout. Warmed up for about 20 minutes, at variable gears and rpm. Then, settled into 90 rpm, at a pace where I wasn't panting, but was needing to breath deeply, regularly. I was thinking of it as a race pace. Stayed there for 30 minutes, just pedaling, focusing on keeping an even stroke. Barely paused to wipe away sweat, and I was sweating like a stuck pig. Did a few minutes easy to dry off a bit, and get more fluids into me. Settled into the Tuesday workout I missed. TT plus a gear, 90 rpm + gears, hill climbing seated and standing, MAP's, 15/15, a bit of everything. Cooled down. 2 hours altogether.

Stretched 30 minutes after. This stretching thing is good. I'm going to try to keep up with it. There's a book taking up residence there, called Yoga Anatomy. It shows a bunch of different poses, and shows the muscles affected, tells you what the pose is good for, what the challenges are, and how to mitigate them. Some are easy, some are very hard.

Oh, and I have to tell you about lunch. Remember the lamb that was roasted on Friday? It's from Grazing Acres, at the Farmer's Market, and it's totally to die for. Tender, not fatty, and just fully of lamby goodness taste. While at the market we got some Grizzly Gouda from Sylvan Star Cheese. These guys have won prizes for their cheese. With a roasted red pepper mustard, on gourmet bread from Cob's Bakery. MMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMM!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Now THAT'S a sandwich! I won't need to eat again today. But I just did. Had to test the cookies. Chocolate chip. More MMMMMMMM!!!!

Weekly totals
Swim 4 hr
Bike 3.5 hr
Run 1.5 hr
Total 9.0 hr.
Before a couple weeks ago, this would have been a huge week for me. Now, after the last couple weeks, it seems like a relaxing easy week. Now I'm ready (I hope) to gidyup and go for next week.