Thursday, April 30, 2009

low key day, and Tagged!

Today is a low key day. Walking and some yoga. Slept in.

I was tagged by Amy.

The rules are:
1. Fill it out
2. Change one question with one of your own
3. Add an additional question
4. Tag 3 other people to do the same

1. What are your current obsessions?
Really good chocolate (see later.) Japanese chef's knives from Knifewear. I like looking, and if I can afford it, buying stuff that is absolutely the best in the world. And these two are just across the street from each other. An iPhone. Garmin 310XT. (Waterproof!)

2. Which item from your closet are you wearing most often?
Workout socks.

3. Last thing you bought for yourself?
I don't buy much, so I can't remember. I think a new bike helmet to replace the one I trashed last fall.

4. What’s for dinner?
Maybe left over lamb roast and fresh veggies, with wine. Linda is getting off work early today, so we might go out. Turned out to be Sushi.

5. Say something to the person who tagged you:
I found your blog through Jenna. I keep coming back because you're honest and funny about the struggles you have balancing a real life (including wine and chocolate and pizza and fun) with the workout stuff and somehow making it work.

6. What is your motivation for continuing to work out? No, your REAL motivation. (my new question, to replace the one I didn't have an answer for.)
Getting rid of the spare tire. Feeling better about myself. Not look bad in front of fellow blogees because I weenied out on a workout when I didn't need to.

7. Vacation spots you must visit before you die?
Venice again. Australia, New Zealand, Iceland.

8. What is your most immediate short term goal:
Get a real job. Make my recent workout improvements the new normal.

9. What are you reading right now?
Just finished Gusher of Lies by Robert Bryce. Not sure what's next.

10. What is the last movie you saw and enjoyed?
In the theatre, Wall-E. At home, a dreadful direct to DVD called Nautilus. (We like a good bad movie.)

11. What’s your guilty pleasure?
I have no guilt about my pleasures. Wine. Chocolate, the good stuff. There's a new place in town that makes their own chocolate. Not chocolates, they make their own chocolate mixes, and then make stuff from that. Their hot chocolate is only marginally not quite as good as the 'better than sex' hot chocolate we had at the World Slow Food thing in Italy. I'm getting better at not eating the whole pizza.

12. What’s your favorite smell?
Chocolate chip cookies baking.

13. Whats something you look forward to?
IMC 2010.

14. Favorite Quote?
If it was easy, everybody would want to do it, and then it wouldn't be fun anymore.

16. Whats one thing you can't go a day with out doing?
Reading blogs. I have become well and truly hooked. I read the blog, then come back to read the comments, and to check and see if there are new comments. Then I'll follow commenters back to their blog.

17. What do you have an addiction to?
No addictions, though this fitness thing is nearly there.

18. Whats your favorite holiday?
Don't have one. They're just excuses for Hallmark to sell more paper, and people to buy each other more junk.

19. How many pairs of shoes (not just running) do you have??
Hmmm. (Now I'm curious, goes away to count.) Shoes = things to put on feet for some reason or another, not including socks. 12. Which I think is an all time high. I went years with just 2.

20. Tell us one random thing about you.
Would you believe I was a driver before I had pizza? True.

21. Why did you start your blog?
I started the blog when I started this tri stuff. My thought was that it would be an ongoing story of workout progress. When I was feeling blue about a workout, I could go back and read about the first time I did what I was feeling blue about. Then it expanded.

Tag three more:

Why them? To encourage them to post, and learn more about some neat people.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Next wine step uses power tools!

One of the rituals that tells me it's spring is cleaning the barbeque. We use it year round. I try to clean it every time I fill the propane tank, but don't always. It's been needing a cleaning really badly. Mainly it's getting all the guck off the bottom of the rack, and cleaning out the bottom where all the charred bits go.

This evening was the next step in turning a wine kit into bottles of wine. Up to now I mixed it all up, kept it warm, and let it sit. Tonight I racked it into a carboy, added some stabalizers, stirred the gas out of it, and now it will sit again for 30 days or so. Here's some photos.

The primary. No fizzing anymore, all the oak chips have sunk to the bottom.

Here I am siphoning the wine from the primary to the carboy, or racking it, as we wino's like to say it. I need to hang on to the top of the siphon to keep it out of the sediment, and that limited how far away I could get the camera. Not the best shot of the process.

This is what is left at the bottom of the primary. Lots of dead yeast, the bentonite, and the oak chips. This will stain cloth like you wouldn't believe!

The packets have stuff that will kill the yeast, help the solids clump together and settle out, degas the wine, and help it remain stable in the bottle.

Here's the part that guys love, the use of a power tool.

The idea is to stir the wine thoroughly to help degas it, and assist all the solids in settling out. Sure beats stirring by hand.

Afterward, you get to clean stuff up. The photo doesn't really do justice to how shockingly bright purple the sediment is.

Here's the two batches of wine on the go. I stabalized the white yesterday, and you can see that it's settling out nicely. After I stirred it, it looked like it was snowing in the carboy as the yeast settled out. You can sometimes see this in red wines, but it's harder to see.

The red will sit for another month or so, settling out. The next step is to very, very carefully rack it to another carboy. The trick is to get all the wine and none of the sediment. Do it right and you can bottle. Do it wrong, and you wait a while longer. I'll be back then.

Swimming with the big dog of the pool

I woke up this morning feeling great. I was all packed for the pool and knew I was going to have a good day. My confidence was shaken a little as I'm going into the shower. There's a guy, never seen him before, in a parachute suit that's just about off his butt. He's been lolling under the shower for who knows how long. He hustles his ass out in front of me and is walking along looking at lanes. It's a fairly busy day in the pool. He picks the fast lane one in from the far side. I know the other two people in that lane and prefer not to swim with them anyways.

Then I notice the big dog in the other fast lane. Zooming back and forth. I know I don't swim that fast. Not even close. There's another lady in that lane that I think is swimming about my speed. It's hard to tell. I watch him for a few minutes to get into the rhythm while I get my googles on and set my watch. Meanwhile buddy in the other lane pushes off. Slowly. Sloppily. Enough of him, I'm glad I'm not in that lane. Back to business at hand in my lane

The big dog doesn't tumble turn all that fast. I watch and push off right on his toes and get started. I'm trying to find the pace that will keep me from getting lapped too often, and yet not burn out in 100 m. I know right from the first strokes that I'm going to have a good swim. If I don't puke. The other girl in the lane stays out of our way. At the end of the first 25 m, I'm well off his toes, and falling behind, even though my first laps are usually my fastest. When I expected to be lapped the first time, he took a break. Surely it wasn't to get caught up on his breathing or to rest. No doubt it was just the workout plan.

We pushed on. After a while I looked at my watch and realized I was on a blistering pace for me. I tried not to think about it. I got lapped a couple times. I didn't mind stopping for a few seconds to let him by; it gave me a few extra breathes. He passed me once at just the perfect time. I pushed off hard and seriously tried to draft. I wasn't going quite all out but it was as hard as I could push and have any hope of continuing on next lap. He still pulled away.

At the end of 1 K, I was thinking about stopping, but then I remembered my run on the weekend. I slowed down at the end, and I now think I didn't really need to. So today I kept going, trying to stay fast. The next 500 m went by pretty quickly, though my stroke was getting a bit sloppy. Just toward the end, the big dog hopped out of the pool, shook himself off, and wandered off to the shower. I kind of figured he was going to finish up because he'd stopped lapping me. His cool down was my pushing hard.

My arms felt really strong, and I was getting a good grip on the water. My legs were still a bit tired, and I wasn't pushing off as hard as I normally do. My kick was nothing special, but then, it never is. My 1 K time was 18:55, and my 1500 m time was 28:40. This is easily the fastest I've done 1500 m since I started this tri stuff. If I've done the math right that's a 1:54/ 100 m pace. Yeehaw!

Did a bit of drill for 15 min in the now empty lane. Did lots of core work in the dive tank, more reps, and going slow. 20 min. So an hour altogether.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Police Half recovery

Thanks for all your kind thoughts and congratulations. I actually felt pretty good for the remainder of Sunday. Monday was a different story. I didn't feel too bad getting to the pool, knowing an easy swim was coming up, but Holy Hannah was I slow! I didn't feel weak or anything, but it was like I'd never been in the pool before. Good thing I didn't have any emotional investment in a fast, or even normal, or even a sub normal time. I tried the pull buoy but it made me feel like my toes were dragging on the pool bottom. Without it, even when I was hardly kicking, I had a better position in the water. I floundered along, figuring that it would come back to me. There were a few laps where it almost did. At least my inner shark didn't show up to laugh at me. That was a half hour, and another bit in the dive tank doing some stretches. Mainly I was going through the motions of what I usually do, not trying to push the range or anything. That was another 15 min. So .75 hr altogether.

Then, I turned into a turnip. Or maybe it was a mound of mashed potatoes. I don't know. My brain was off in lala land somewhere. I did get a half hour walk done, and some cookies made, and dishes done. Can you tell I'm scraping the bottom of the barrel for some accomplishment here? Mostly I surfed the internet, looking for other reports on the race, and to see what other bloggers had been up to on the weekend.

Today is a bit better. Did a nice spin session on my bike for a half hour. Warmed up, then nice and steady between 90 and 95 rpm for 15 min in an easy gear, then cool down. Then a half hour of yoga, including 6 pushups and some plank! That was a surprise. Now I'm feeling much more with it, and have been crossing things off my to do list. More to come as soon as this is posted.

Some final thoughts.
Looking back on the race, I'm still pleased. I realize now that if I'd applied a bit more grit I wouldn't have slowed down so much in the last couple of K. I could have set my goals higher. But this is all still a learning experience for me. I'm the sort of person that has to do something to know I can. Then I can work on improvement. At first I was so out of shape that the physical improvement was the big thing. If my body was saying it was tired and wanted to stop, it was probably a good idea, or risk injury. Now, I'm realizing that I need to train my brain that I'm stronger than I used to be, and I can push my body way harder. This post by E.L.F really rang my chimes, and if you haven't read it, go do so. Time to get on with it.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Police Half 2009 - Done!

To review. My goals:
- try to run it all except the aid stations, (more than check, since I ran one of them.)
- not puke on the hill coming out of the Weaselhead, (check)
- and finish without collapsing in a heap because that would alarm my wife. (check)

After all, it turned out to be a perfect morning for a run. Cool, just above 0 C, slight bit of cloud, sunny later. Very little wind. Managed to dress properly and was never too hot or too cold.

I seeded myself towards the back. The herd started at just about my max pace. My calves were feeling a little bit tight, so I was content to carry along with them. Throughout the first 10 K I felt very strong, running easily, breathing very easily, though my heart rate was up at the top of zone 3. My calves relaxed, and I ran along. I could have run faster, but I knew there was a long way to go. I chatted briefly with Brian from Try-it near the 5 K mark, and waved to my dentist Brian Walsh that did such a good job on my teeth about the 8.5 K mark. Um, on rereading, I'd like to clarify that the wave happened about the 8.5 K mark, not him working on my teeth. There were lots of people cheering us on.

Passed 9 K in 59:13 still feeling strong. From here we moved onto the South Glenmore path. I was starting to see the same faces and outfits moving back and forth. Some doing a run walk, some running faster then slower. Ran up the weasel head hill, and waved at the pipe band. I didn't see my buddy Graham playing. My run started getting a bit sloppy at the 15 K mark, and about 18 K I was getting tired and slowing down. I kept telling my legs that they didn't have to go any faster, and that we were almost done, but that we weren't going to walk. I passed a bunch of people going up and over Glenmore, and most of them passed me again on the way to the finish.

I felt so bad for one runner, lying on his back about 100 m short of the finish line, half in and out of a small lake of puke. The EMS people were looking at him with interest, and bringing over a stretcher for him. So close. I finished strong, hoping to pass a guy I'd been behind for most of the race, but he sped up too.

Throughout, my breathing was easy, and under control. Even going up the hill I wasn't gasping or panting.
Here's some of my splits.
5K 32:20
10K 1:06:00
15K 1:40:29
And the finish time that all of you have been patiently waiting for is 2:23:12 according to my watch. I'm not sure when they will post the "official" times. You can see that my last 5 K is way slower than the first 5 K. My calves were still ok, but my thighs and hip flexors or ITB was getting tired. But I didn't walk! It might be a faster race strategy to do a run walk, but I wanted to prove to myself I could run the whole thing.

Am I pleased? YOU BET YOUR SWEET ASS I AM! It wasn't so long ago that I couldn't have done this at all, and only a month ago, I was wondering if I could beat the course shutdown of 2.5 hrs. My overall pace is 6:47 Min/K, and 8.8 Kph average speed. My 15 K time is a tiny hair under 9 Kph, which I figured was the best I could hope for. But I'm sure glad this wasn't just the first lap. I don't think I could have done another lap now. I mostly forged along at my own pace, letting people pass as they pleased, and passed when I needed to. I never set a goal to pass someone, then pick a new person and pass them. I wanted to finish. Next year I can push harder. A Gu and water worked fine at the 5, 10, and 15 K marks.

Here's a couple before shots. Adrian from spin class found us before the race, but I never saw Julie, Darryl, or anyone else. I had never realized this hat has a reflective brim.

And here's a couple after shots. This was after I chatted briefly with Alex from spin class.

Weekly totals:
Swim 3 hrs
Bike 2.33 hrs
Run 5.33 hrs
Total 10.66 hrs

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Tomorrow is the day!

Today is cloudy and cool, about zero. Ran in shorts anyway. Nice and easy, mostly in the very bottom of zone 3 for 35 min or so, with some strides to limber up my legs. I didn't time myself, or wear the heart rate monitor. Stretched lots after, and put my legs up. I'm as ready as I'll ever be. Still not thinking about time, though I think the odds are good of finishing before they open the course to regular traffic. The weather is still a crap shoot, which is not a surprise for this time of year. Here's the forecast, and now you know as much as I do.

This race isn't using a regular timing chip, it's using using the D-Tag system. This looks pretty neat, since it starts your time when you actually cross the start and finish line, as well as recording when you cross the mats at any other stage. It uses RFID technology. The 'chip' itself is a plasticized strip you fasten to your shoelaces. I don't think it would work well in a triathlon since you are barefoot, wearing bike shoes and wearing running shoes.

This para is only for Julie. Yesterday we BBQ'd rack of lamb, and chicken marinated in blackberry chipolte sauce. Tomorrow after the race the plan is for roast lamb, veggies, and spuds. I'm sure I'll have a appetite. We were thinking about having the lamb tonight, but I wasn't totally sure about how much I should eat before the race, and what sorts of food I should or shouldn't eat.

Here's the countdown timer from when I posted this.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Short and sweet workouts

When I got to the pool today, I was in no mood to drill. It had been a hard day yesterday. My legs were tired, but not sore. Oddly enough, the sorest part of me was my back. During the run my upper back up into my neck was very stiff. Yet i don't think I was scrunching my shoulders. Later, my low back was stiff.

Same with this morning. So I just swam. I was feeling a bit slow and tired and weak, so I only went 2 K. The first 1K was a bit slower than normal for me, and I missed my target pace of 20 min by a few seconds. The wheels fell off the wagon during the last half, and I was way slower. Did a few lengths of backstroke as cool down to get me to .75 hr. Did another 20 min or so stretching and core work in the dive tank.

There's lots of snow on the ground, so I knew I wasn't going out. As I write this, of course, the sun is bright, and the roads are dry now. Go figure. Set up on the spin trainer. Warm up, 20 min spin at a good pace to get me going. 5 x 1 min hard with 2 min rest. Cool down. One hour.

Did some stretching, and more legs up against the wall. My cat snore-onerated me into a nap earlier this afternoon. I think I needed it. Rest day tomorrow, easy short run on Sat, then the Half! The weather has been all over the place, so I have no idea what to expect.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

So many titles to choose from

Here are some:
Police Half pathway ice report.
Lying weather forecasters!
Beeeeeeeeep Snow!
First time running up the Weaselhead hill.

The day started well with a good swim. Warmed up, and could feel my grip on the water. My roll was better and stroke better coordinated, and it seemed I was moving faster with less effort. Did some drill, then 2 sets of 5 x 100. Most of these were 105 to 110 seconds. I think one was right on 100, but I was having trouble focussing on my watch. It felt really fast. The last one was a hair over 110, like, 111.5. I blame tired arms being slow to get both hands together to click the button on the watch. Did some golf drill throughout, and oddly enough, this was total shite. Yet my 100's felt strong, and I wasn't out of breath at the end. Was it Julie who said "if you don't think for a second you need a bucket at the end of the interval, you aren't going hard enough!" Did some more drill and cool down.

During cool down I stopped to let the other guy go by, since he was catching up. We both stopped a little while later, and laughed when he told me was just catching up to practice drafting! Serves me right for being polite!

This was a good strong swim, the first time I've maxed out my speed and effort since before I was sick. It felt really good. 1 hour in the pool, and another .25 hr doing core work in the dive tank.

The plan was to come home, take a quick look at email, and zoom out of for my run. The weather looked like it was closing in. The best laid plans.... Work had a few things for me, and one of the files I rely on has been eaten by my computer. It was fine yesterday. And of course, what I needed it for had been done since the last backup. Sigh. I had to recreate it, which is more of a pain than particularly difficult.

Here's the weather forecast I read just before going out.

Almost by accident, I put on my jacket, thinking it might rain, and in any case it was really windy. Well, I got lucky there. Ten minutes into my run it started snowing. At first it was just a few flakes. Then it got much worse. By the time I got back there was about a cm of snow on the ground, and you couldn't read signs that faced north. Not cold, particularly, maybe just 0 C. But I was sure wet when I got home.

The run went really well. IG is pushing the run a bit, and I have to say I'm running faster and further than I ever believed possible so soon this year. Last year this time running 7.5 Kph was doing good. I think I've made a bit of a step change in the last few weeks. Now I'm up to about 9 Kph. Today I walked and jogged to Anderson and 37 st path, then ran 15/1 all the way to the top of the Weaselhead hill in North Glenmore park. I ran UP the hill! The first interval I probably pushed a little too hard, going right to the top of my aerobic zone, but I was pushing into a strong headwind. The rest of them I settled down to a slightly slower pace. I began to get a bit tired on the way back, and the last interval was a bit of a struggle. I ended up being about 600 m short of my starting point when I reached 96 minutes. Jogged that very easy, then walked home.

I promptly devoured a banana slathered in peanut butter and Nutella, with a glass of milk on the side. Put my feet up against the wall for 15 min. They were a bit sore and tired. Showered, and feet up some more. Later I'm going to do this still more and I promised my feet some time in the foot fixer and more stretching. I am thinking that I really should take along some nutrition on anything over about 1:20, maybe a Gu or something.

There's one spot on the pathway we'll be on for the Police Half Marathon, just past the little bridge at the bottom of the hill coming down out of South Glenmore park, that still has some ice on the path for a few yards. The centre is bare, and there's no problem with runners in single file. The ice on either side of that looks pretty slippery.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

I got chicked!

The weather was a tease today. It was supposed to be 23 C. What with an 11am dental appointment as the last bit of fallout from the fall off last summer, and guessing it would be late afternoon for the promised temperature, I was fairly productive in the morning and early afternoon. I kept looking outside, waiting for the chinook arch to arrive. But no, it stayed cloudy and about 15 C. Eventually I gave up waiting and rode anyway.

Today was short ride down to 22X, out to the turnoff to 22 South, and back. Here's the numbers:
38:18 K
1:23 time
27.5 Kph average speed
59.6 Kph max speed
84 rpm average cadance
129 bpm average heart rate

I wanted to keep the cadence up and get used to the wind. At one point on the way back I was doing 30 Kph or so, and was in a dead calm. I'm guessing the wind was 20 to 30 Kph from the west, and gusty. It's about 11.6 K between 37 st and the 22 turnoff. Going out was 28 minutes or so, and coming back was just under 20 minutes. At one point into the wind I'm just about in granny gear, churning along at 80 rpm, going 15 Kph. Glad that didn't last long. The bit of 37 st that's narrow isn't much fun in crosswinds.

Yes, yes, I know you all want to know the being chicked details. It happened on the way back. I was doing about 35 Kph on the way back, rpm in a good spot, feeling strong. Next thing I know she says 'hi' and kept on going. I don't think it was anyone I know. I picked it up a bit, but couldn't keep up. She just slowly pulled away from me. Nice road bike, not a tri-bike.

I'd promised my buddy Alex some photos but it was cloudy and the mountains weren't very clear. Another time, mi amigo.

Monday, April 20, 2009

The shame. I forgot to blog about it.

None of my brilliant but astute readers caught that I didn't blog about last Friday. No doubt you were all assuming I was being a total slug, and didn't want to embarrass me, but it's not true! I did sleep in, so I didn't get my swim done. However, I did run in the afternoon for an hour. It wasn't a really good run, though, I was feeling heavy and slow. But I was out there, doing my thing. So I'll go revise my weekly totals, and put a note there.

Today's swim was good. I swam for 45 minutes, with only the shortest breaks between swimming and drills. Basically warmed up, did some drill, did some swim, more drill, more swim, drill, cool down. There were some sprint intervals in the swim bits. Polite lane sharing today. Did some core work in the dive tank. Total 1 hour.

Today was a beautiful day out, warm and sunny. Warm means about 15 or 16 C. Gusty winds just about knocked over a geezer on his bike that almost didn't pass me. Seriously, I picked up the pace a little on level ground and kept up with him for a bit. Did a bit of warm up run, fiddling with my heart rate monitor. My breathing and the heart numbers, and how I felt was all out of whack. Finally started my watch, ran easy for 14 min, gradually building my pace, then picked it up to the top of zone 3 and kept it there for about 8 minutes. That got me to South Glenmore park, where I turned around, and jogged back mid zone 2, mostly, with a few strides. My legs felt a bit heavy today, but I'm not sure why. A tough ride yesterday couldn't have anything to do with it, could it?

I've been trying to stick close to my schedule these days, especially with the running, as we get closer to the Police Half marathon on Sunday. This will be the first time I've ever done a running race in my life. Ever. No really. So I have no idea what to expect at the start line with several thousand new friends. My goals: try to run it all except the aid stations, not puke on the hill coming out of the Weaselhead, and finish without collapsing in a heap because that would alarm my wife. She will have the camera, but isn't what you'd call a technically oriented person. We never did figure out how she once got a photo of her armpit. So, I'll post photos if I can, but no promises.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Nepal and 70.3

Rode the Road to Nepal again today. Warmer and not as windy as it was Thursday. That's not to say that it was warm and calm. It started off about 9 or 10 C and warmed up a bit. An armwarmer sort of day. The mountains were beautiful. There were lots of other cyclists out on the road.

The goal for today was to keep the cadence up and try to be stronger on the hills. Mostly this went well, though I felt slow on the way out.
2:21:21 travel time
21.9 Kph average speed
73 rpm average cadance
76.8 Kph max speed
127 bpm average heart rate

5:22 transition (park bike, pee, nibble a cookie, stretch back and calves)

34 min run for pretty close to 5K. I found my running legs in 8 to 10 min, and settled into a nice pace. Heart rate was nice a and low (upper zone 2) while finding legs, and I was hardly breathing at all. The rest of the run was nice and steady, mid zone 3 sort of pace.

I'm really pleased with this workout.

Weekly totals
Swim 3.0 hrs
Bike 5.8 hrs
Run 4.0 hrs (revised after, since I forgot to blog about Friday's run.)
Total 12.8 hrs

Now, let's set a goal here, in front of blog buddies and everybody. This year I want to ride to the bottom of the Road to Nepal and back, in under 2 hours, for an average speed of at least 25 Kph. Now the details.

The Road to Nepal is about 51 K from my house to the intersection of 773 and 549, depending on just how much you cut the corners and exactly how your bike computer is calibrated. The pavement for the hilly part of the route is new and wonderful; as good as it gets. (What am I saying, it's ALL hilly.) Each way there is a stoplight where I have to turn left, and two stop signs (at 22X) that you have to pay serious attention to; the others can be blown off. Traffic is sometimes a factor, but I don't get to use it as an excuse. The wind is a big factor, but if it hurts one way, it helps on the other. I don't get to use it for a excuse either. And I can't do a sprint for the driveway that leaves me falling off the bike with exhaustion. The idea is to get off the bike and be able to do a run like normal.

If anybody wants to try out this route, or some of the many routes that this can be part of, drop me a line, and we'll work out a time. keith at nucleus dot com

Now the 70.3.
Some of us have signed up for the Calgary 70.3. Here's a map of the bike route. I've done parts of it north of Cochrane, and it's great, but I haven't done from Cochrane to T2. And, it just so happens that T2 is about 8 K by bike path from our house. I've mentioned it to some people, but I'm looking at putting together a group of people that want to ride the course, then do a BBQ at our place after. I figure the 8 K ride from T2 can either be a cool down ride, or if you want to arrange to have someone pick up your bike, you could do it as a brick. Or you could do a brick from here, then BBQ. Changing, showers, and some crash space for overnight is not a problem.

So far, I haven't done any thinking about the logistics of getting us and bikes to T1, and getting the cars to our place for after. Susi lives in Cochrane and has indicated being willing to help out. There may be sufficient spouses, or carpooling that makes it all work out. Naturally, people can ride at whatever pace they want, but I was thinking of doing it as a group. Safety in numbers on Lower Springbank road and all.

I'm thinking that May 2 or 9 might work well, but some of the people that would like to do it are from out of town, and I'd kind of like to give them a chance to have first input about dates if something else might work better. So, my email was earlier in this post; drop me a line if you're interested.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Even the stud-liest of you gardeners never thought to

use a carpentry hand saw and a pair of vice grips as gardening tools.

Today was an adventure I've been dreading for some time. It's getting to be yard clean up time here in Calgary. My neighbour is retired, and his lawn and gardens are immaculate. We feel very inadequate, since lately we don't pay much attention to the lawn. I mow it once in a while. I never water it, or put fertilizer on it, because then I'd have to mow it more. Mowing comes out of training time. Periodically I'll try to repress the dandylions.

Every spring I trim back a mint plant. It isn't much of a problem as long as you aren't in a rush. Normally I get it when it's already started to sprout, and I'm too much of a weenie to trim back living growth. So the ball of dead stalks has grown and grown. Linda advised cutting it back to ground level while the cutting was good. This is what it looks like after the easy trim, and the ball that remains. You can see the mound of branches I've already trimmed off.

This is after I took the handsaw to it. I only used it because I didn't have a chainsaw.

Next up was the rose bush. The wild Alberta Rose that self seeded. We never put it there. An Alberta Rose isn't some namby pamby pampered nancy-boy of a tea rose that needs tender loving care to make it through the winter. These things can take anything an Alberta winter can throw at them for climate, and the thorns can deal with anything else. See what I mean?

Here's a close up of the thorns and tangled mess.

What complicated matters is that there is some other stuff growing there that Linda didn't want removed. Normally, I'm pretty much from the thermo-nuclear school of gardening. Rip it all out and start over. Here's the vise grips at work, trying to get a grip on a thorny bit.

And yes, I conquered! Who could doubt it, with the studly use of vise grips, and other tools? And better yet, no blood was spilt. No triathletes were killed or damaged in the making of this afternoon.

Here's the mound of what was left, after uprooting and before chipper shredding. I admit the chipper isn't quite as macho as it could be, since it isn't gas powered, an only takes stuff up to an inch or two in diameter.

Technically, today is a rest day. I wonder if wrestling with such a tough plant counts as a workout?

Thursday, April 16, 2009

The birth of a Spanish Tempranillo, or

The Road to Nepal Kicked my Ass.

Another swim this morning, but not quite the zoo it was yesterday. Today the 3 guys that swim faster than me all showed up and took over one of the fast lanes. There were two slower swimmers in the other fast lane. I actually stood there and timed the fast guys to see if I would fit in. Not.

Got started in the other lane, and was happy to find the other people were very considerate. I did a bit of warmup, some drill, then settled into an easy 1 K in 19:35. Worked on kicking more, or kicking harder, whatever. Did some more drill, including some golf. I'm down to 81 again, which is about where I normally was before I was sick. Did some core work. 1 hr in total.

Home, and started on the next wine kit. I thought I'd follow this process from opening the box, to bottling it. Those who think I've defiled the purity of a blog that's mostly about triathlete stuff can send their complaints to

Here's some photos.

This is what the box looks like when you open it. You can see what is going to be a white wine in the carboy in the background. Looks pretty murky now, but it will clear.

This what you get when you spread out all the little packets of stuff.

Letting the bag of juice warm up a little, since the basement is cool. It wants to be 20 C or so before adding the yeast.

Mixing up the Bentonite.

The special tool you need to get the cap off the wine bag. It's on there good. There are other ways, but this is easiest.

Once you pour out the juice, there's still some left. You paid good $ for it, so you want it all.

The solution is to add a bit more water and swish it around a little and add that to the primary.

Some kits come with extras. This is some oak chips to make up for this wine not sitting in an oak barrel to age.

Top it up with water. Filtered water, not tap water. Tap water has chlorine in it, which inhibits the yeast growth and leaves a funny taste. Trade secret here, fill to the top of the 5, not where the line is. Stir.

Last, you add the yeast. This is what it looks like. The foam settles and the yeast starts eating the sugar in the juice to produce alcohol. I'll keep the temperature between 20 and 24 C for the next 5 or six days.

One of my favourite rides is called the Road to Nepal. Follow this link to see a map and elevation from a blog post a little more than a year ago. One day I'll have to get some photos.

There were two lessons today.
I learned I didn't work out hard enough on the spin trainer this winter.
I re-learned what a tough ride this is.

The Environment Canada website said it was 4 C when I left, and 8 C when I got back. (39 F and 46 F, respectively, for the metrically challenged.) I think it was a bit warmer than that, but it was hard to tell because of the gusty winds. I figure 15 to 20 Kph. It's clear and sunny, and warm if you're out of the wind. I thought it would warm up more on the ride than it did, so I was a bit cold throughout. Should have worn another pair of socks, and maybe a vest with arm warmers. The long sleeve tech shirt and wind jacket weren't quite warm enough. I also wore gloves and tights over bike shorts.

The jacket flaps a lot more in the wind this year than it did last year. Other times I'd take that as a compliment, but it was annoying today. I wanted to try to spin up the hills as much as possible. As I said earlier, they are bigger and longer than I remember. I was kind of tired coming back.

The ride was nice, but long. I was happy to be back home again. Here's some numbers.
2:27 ride time
51.2 Km trip distance (There's probably a slight difference between bike computer calibration.)
20.8 kph average
73.2 k max speed (Too chicken to go faster with the wind and flappy jacket.)

After my bike, I spent a lot of time looking at this. My massage therapist tells me this is an excellent thing to do after a workout, particularly running or biking. It help drains out your legs. I spent probably 20 min or so looking at the ceiling and relaxing. Did some other stretching as well.

And now the day is mine, mine, MINE! (muhahahahahaha)

I'm ready for a nap.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Great run!

The spin yesterday afternoon was very ho-hum. No point blogging about it. My heart wasn't in it at all. Got on the bike, did a nice spin fairly easy, for an hour. That's all there is.

The swim today is a different story. My inner shark came out to play, big time! I got there, and there's hardly anyone in the pool. I had one of the fast lanes all to myself. How sweet it is! Did a short warm up, and a bunch of drill. Greg had some 200 m intervals for me, slow, medium, and fast. I got started on these, and two swimmers joined my lane. One is the thrashy slow one that takes 37 strokes to go 25 m. The other was with her, but I'd never seen her before. Beautiful arm stroke, and I think she can swim much faster, but she drafted off the other girl. If drafted is the right word for going that slow. And for a while, we had yet another person in the lane.

It turned into a bit of a zoo. At just the right time I got stuck behind and couldn't pass, just when I was due for a slow anyway, so that was ok. But then, rather than rest, I was ready to keep going. I didn't want to lose my spot in rotation with all the swimmers, and my inner shark was loving swimming right up to their feet, and bursting past when I had the opportunity. It turned into about 35 minutes of hard swim, with some easier bits thrown in.

The exciting bit is that the slow thrashy one has no sense of pool timing. The two girls are periodically stopping at the other end, and deciding what the next thing is. I'm doing a fairly quick pace, coming into the wall. I'm just about to grab the wall and turn, and she pushes off. If I had pushed off like I normally do it would have been pornographic. It turns out that she's putting everything into it, totally all out. I wanted to pass, but didn't want to go into overdrive to do it. I pushed down at my fast pace, and was slightly ahead of her at the other wall. She turned like she normally does, veering into me as I was tucking up for my turn. I pushed off anyway. At the other end I walked into her path to make her stop, and suggested to her that it was bad form to push off right in front of someone that you know swims faster, and that you have to be aware of where people are before you change lanes like that. Her buddy pulled up, and said she'd explain to her. I carried on.

Finished off the main set, feeling strong and smooth. Did some more drill. Tried some golf sets, and it's still not what I'd like, but I'm getting back into the groove. I've still got a bit of a cough happening, but my lungs are pretty well back to normal. Did some core work in the dive tank. Swim was 1 hour.

Puttered about at home for a bit, then dressed for a run. I was a bit nervous about this. Firstly, I wanted to wear shorts, and a t shirt, and the weather was just a bit iffy. The first third of the run was a bit cool because of the wind, but the rest was fine. Greg scheduled a 15/1 run with the 15 min at my goal race pace for the Police Half. I don't really have a goal race pace. This is to find out what my race pace actually is. And even if I knew the pace, I don't have a Garmin to find out if I'm doing that pace. I ran from here, up the 37st path, turning left to go toward the Weaselhead, and turning around just past the little bridge at the bottom of the hill that eats roller bladers.

So, I decided to go by how my legs felt, and how hard I was breathing. I ended up running at what I thought was a pretty good pace for me, legs stretched out a bit, but still maintaining a good turnover pace. My breathing was strong and regular, but not gasping or panting. I wouldn't have been able to talk. I checked my heart rate manually at the end of several of the run sections, and it turned out to be mid 140's.

The first set was an easy run to get warmed up, starting easy, and ending up at my normal pace. The next 4 sets were the hard runs. My legs and feet felt really good. I had a nice even pace, and I felt strong and comfortable. The last one was a bit of a push to keep going, and I was sure I slowed down a bit. The last set was a very easy trot to cool down again. Surprisingly enough, the second half was just a minute faster than the first half. I did lots of stretching afterward.

As near as I can tell from mapmyrun, the total distance was 13.3 Km in 1:32. That's about a 7 min/ Km pace or 8.5 Kph overall. One of the harder run segments started and ended at good landmarks, and that turned out to be 6:30 min/Km or 9.25 Kph. I'm feeling really good about that. I don't know that I could maintain that pace for a whole half marathon, and I'm not sure if I should try.

The day ended with a massage. Heavenly!

Monday, April 13, 2009

swim, blood, run

Aside from the mass confusion in the fast lanes at the pool, I had a great swim. One lane had two really slow, really wide breast strokers. The other had one reasonable swimmer, one very slow swimmer that takes up a whole lane with is wide recovery and arm going into the water producing a huge splash, and one guy doing something weird with a flutter board. I wanted no part of any of it.

I shared a medium lane with a guy that I thought swam slower. I passed him once in the first couple laps, then he picked up the pace, and essentially disappeared. Never passed him again, and ended up having a nice peaceful swim. Not fast, mind you. A little over 30 m for 1500 m. Some drill - fist, one arm, catchup. Core work in the dive tank. 1 hour overall.

Canadian Blood Services called last week, and begged me to come give blood. I used to give, many years ago, till the president of the Canadian Red Cross flipped Parliament and the Courts the bird over the Hep C lawsuits. Screw them. But things have changed. I have a fairly rare blood type (A neg, only 6% of people have it) so they're pretty happy to see me back. All went well.

Per their instruction, I had a lazy day. Still, I went out for a run this evening. Ran 15 min easy, 30 min doing 30 seconds hard strides every 5 min or so, and another 15 easy run. My heart rate monitor was a lying waste of time; it was reading way too high. I should not be breathing lightly, able to chat, and think about running faster, when my heart rate is 140. So I ignored it and went by how I was feeling. It was a nice evening for a run, cool and windy.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Estela's first ride of 2009!

We've had nice weather up here lately. The snow is melting. There's still more snow coming, though. Everybody knows this, they way they know the sun will rise tomorrow. The snow is just a little less predictable. The nice weather seems to be getting more and more uncertain. The people out looking at annuals to put into their garden are deluding themselves, or else are really good following the weather channel and are prepared to protect their plants at a moment's notice.

I'd made my energy drink yesterday and left it in the fridge. Puttered about getting ready for the ride; pumping up tires, checking spares and tire change stuff, filling water bottles, cutting up Clif's bars, finding sunscreen and arm warmers, and all that sort of stuff. I wasn't sure how the ride was going to work out or if all that time on the spin trainer was going to pay off.

The forecast for today was high of 13 C, with light winds. Maybe it got that warm, but just barely. The winds were a bitch, all over the place, somewhat gusty. They've swept the road in places, and mostly the gravel situation is really good. I rode from our house, down 37th St to 22X, and out to just past the information booth for Kananaskis Country, and back for a total of exactly 90 K in 3:35:30. I wore shorts, short sleeved jersey, and arm warmers. I was a little on the cool side the entire ride. Without the wind it would have been perfect.

Things started well. Getting to 22X (7.5 K) normally took me 20 to 21 min or so last year, today was 18:30 riding easy. Heading west, into the wind (remember that phrase, and apply it to just about every segment of the ride), doing a little better than last year. One tri guy passed me, didn't even say hi, or tell me he was passing. Fortunately, there's almost a full car lane for bikes there so there is lots of room. The first hour was a hair under 25 K.

Just past Priddis, Jeff caught up to me, and we rode together almost to Bragg Creek. It was nice chatting with someone, but it was slower than I would have ridden. However, I wasn't out to break any records. I wanted to do the ride nice and aerobic, and see how I felt. Picked up the pace a bit after he turned off, but the wind picked up too. In a way I was happy about that since it would blow me home. Made it to the 45 K turnaround at the 1:58 mark or so. This is a hair quicker than last year.

What I thought would be a wind blowing me home turned out to be a crosswind most of the time, and a head wind some of the time. Coming home is more downhill than not, but there's a couple good uphills. I started getting a sore butt about 3 hour mark, which was the longest I was on the trainer all winter. It goes quick, but I was getting a bit tired. Only saw a few other cyclists, which was a bit of a surprise. Maybe they all rode yesterday, figuring to get it done while the getting was good. Lots and lots and lots of motorbikes.

Home in 3:35:30. Took about 5 min to put Estela downstairs, stretch my back a bit, eat a couple cookies, and finish off the energy drink. Then I went out for a short run. My legs were heavy at first, but after about 10 minutes I settled into a comfortable pace, just a little slower than my normal run pace. Kept the heart rate aerobic. Feet felt fine. Ran 20 minutes.

The first thing I did when I got home was put my feet up, and hold them there with the yoga strap. That felt so good. Stretched. Showered. QA some cookies Linda made. (Life is so hard!) There's some chicken marinating in a 'Bear Claw Chipolte sauce' and the tag line on it is "This will burn the fur off your pooper!!" The plan is to BBQ sooon. I'll let you know how it goes, unless that's TMI.

Here's some numbers:
25 Kph, average speed overall on a hilly, windy course. Last year, same route, similar wind, average speed was 23 Kph.
78 average cadence
127 bpm, average heart rate overall (I don't believe the number for peak heart rate, so I won't report it)
71 Kph, max speed. This hills on this route aren't that big, and wasn't trying for max speed.

I'm really pleased how this turned out! This is a bit faster than last year for the same route and similar conditions. It was a super day for a ride, nice and sunny. As I said, a bit cool, but I slathered on the sunscreen anyway. You can tell I've been in the sun, but nothing burned. For me, that's as good as it gets. I ate two Clif's bars, except for the one piece I dropped. Hope the ants enjoy it. Drank one bottle of energy drink, and 1.5 bottles of water. This is a bit less than normal, but I didn't sweat at all.

There was one funny thing. I've got a wireless bike computer. If I pedaled, or leaned slightly to the left, the wheel magnet cleared the sensor. If I coasted, it just clicked the sensor. A minor annoyance. I wasn't about to reach down to tweak the position while riding. Otherwise Estela was her normal champ self.

Weekly totals
Swim 1.75 hrs
Bike 6.75 hrs
Run 1.8 hrs
Total 10.3 hrs

Optional Fashion Rant.
(Hoping this doesn't prove I'm a geezer.)
With the nice weather, we're seeing people, particularly women people, out and about wearing less. Being a guy, this is normally good. But what pisses me off is all the clothing adjustments. Look, you knew there was an inch of tummy showing between your T shirt and your jeans. Yanking the T shirt halfway down your ass is not going to correct the situation. The action and result are an eyesore. Look in a mirror first. If you like the look, and have the tummy for it, leave the shirt alone. Better yet, wear a shorter one. If you don't like the look, and especially if you don't have the tummy for it, wear a longer shirt. Please.

And maybe this is normal now, I don't know. But where I come from, teen age girls do not unzip their pants on the sidewalk, reach down the back to make (mercifully hidden) adjustments, then zip up again. I'm not kidding.

Low waisted pants. You don't see these quite as much as you used to, which is good and bad. Every woman has some padding where the waistband of those pants go. Now, attend me carefully. There is a big difference between the slight dent in toned flesh that such pants make, and a muffin top. The slight dent is fine. Slightly, very slightly more, depending on a bunch of variables, is ok too. But we don't want to see the muffin top. Period. If it isn't toned, hide it. End of story.

And not all guys believe that bigger is better in the boobs department. If you pass the pencil test, a bra is optional. Very optional. Please, and thank you. If not, wear the frigging bra.

You guys don't escape. Unless it's the beach, or unless you passed the audition for the Hot Stuff Firefighters calendar, wear a shirt. We don't want to see your muffin top either. Or styled chest hair.

I understand the theory that boxers sometimes slide around a little, and depending on the style of jeans, a little of it might show at the waist. Regrettable, but we can cope. Tuck your shirt in outside the boxers. But adjusting the belt and or suspenders so that waist is below the butt is out. Right Effing OUT! Are we clear on this?

It's only April. We've had only a few nice days so far. I can't help but wonder, and dread, what's in store when it gets hot out.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Good Friday bike and run

Today was a solid bike and run workout. As soon as I woke up I was a bit itchy to get on my bike. We're supposed to get some rain today and tomorrow, and I'm hoping that will wash some of the guck off the roads, and perhaps on Sunday I can take Estela for the first outdoor ride of 2009. She's not so fond of the mounds of gravel on Calgary streets.

15 min warmup
15 min one leg drill, accelerations
3 x 20 min work / 5 min easy. Work was 90 rpm in a gear that gives 24.5 Kph. This took my heart rate to the top of zone 2 or the bottom of zone 3, nice and steady. Legs felt good and strong, but my butt got a bit tired of doing nothing but pedal for 20 min. Nibbled a cliffs bar and a banana during the bike. I was thinking of doing a 4th, but decided not to. Sunday is normally the longer workout day.

1.75 hr bike
5 min transition, no rush, stretched briefly.

45 min run. Nice and easy, again, at the top of zone 2 mostly, except when I ran to beat a light. Let's call that a stride, shall we? It took a little while to get the heart rate back down. I found a stride within 5 minutes of leaving the house, and chugged along at my regular pace. Could have gone on longer but there are things to do today to get ready for friends coming over for dinner. GH gets BBQ rack of lamb for his birthday. With an avocado oil lime marinade. Try not to drool too much.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Good swim, stuff, then slugitude struck

You can see what I'll be up to here over the next little while. After my swim I drove up to Red Deer to pick up these three Limited Edition wine kits. Yummy!

The swim was pretty good. I'm still getting back into it, exploring how much my system will put up with as I continue to recover. Swam 1500m in 30 min, nice and easy. Did some one arm and fist drills. Tried a couple 100 m intervals, and could feel myself running out of gas in the last 25 m. Did a few lengths catchup drill; thanks for the name Susi, I've never known what to call it. A few more lengths nice and easy to cool down. Then some core work in the dive tank. 1.25 hr.

I was planning to do a bike this afternoon, but have just realized I'm tired. I hear a bottle of wine calling me. Tomorrow is a stat holiday, so the pools are closed. That leads to a change in schedule, so I'll do a bike and run tomorrow instead of a swim and run.

Oh, and I got the Echinacea.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

First outdoor ride of 2009

You may have noticed the blog didn't update yesterday. Busy doing stuff around the house, and passed on the indoor ride because I knew I'd be outside today.

Slept horrible last night. I will be taking Julies advice and getting some Echinacea tomorrow. Maybe some Nyquil too. Maybe both together? We'll see. Yet I think the cold is slowing easing up. Well, except for the periodic coughing fits.

I hit the pool for the first time in what seemed like forever, and was a bit nervous about it. However, my inner shark twitched a little when he saw the fast lane had only the slow thrashy swimmer in it. I joined her, thinking that if I couldn't pass her often, I needed to rethink this whole thing. The break has done me good. My lungs still aren't clear, but I did a 20 min K relaxed and easy, never working too hard, not having to breath too hard. I think technique was good. My inner shark grooved, and every time we passed her he showed his teeth. She even stopped a few times at just the right times, which is new. And once, when she was on the pool boy, I just passed her. No smoking by. Her stroke is totally different when she's using the pool boy, and she goes considerably faster. Did some drill after, again, nice and easy. We'll call this .5 hr but it wasn't a hard workout by any means.

Dropped the car off for service, took the shuttle downtown, LRT, and bus home. Calgary transit sucks worse and worse. Last night I'd spent a bit of time getting my hybrid ready to ride. I haven't ridden it since the crash last year. All winter I've been taking Estela up and down the stairs and tucking her into the trunk of the car for spin class. Carrying the hybrid upstairs just about gave me a hernia. Heavy.

Got the seat height adjusted and set off back to the NE, not far from the old office location. Roads were wet in lots of places so I got covered with muddy water. Lots of gravel to be careful about. Was wary of the speed traps on the bike paths. Yes, in addition to plowing some bike paths, they put bylaw officers with radar guns on the bike paths. The speed limit is 20 Kph, which is a joke for any serious cyclist. In fairness, there are places where even that speed is much too fast, with blind corners, or narrow bits under bridges. Watched a nasty drug deal go down. Yeah, the bike path goes through some rough bits, but mostly they are smart enough not to bother the citizens.

The weather was ok, sunny and about 7 C so I dressed for it, and was just fine. The ride was about 1.5 hr, mostly just riding along at a good pace, mostly trying to behave like a slow car. I did a couple sprints to beat lights, did a hard hill climb at one point when I found out I can't get onto my smallest chainring. I didn't bother with a heart rate monitor, or setting the bike computer so I'd know Km and average and all that. I know from rides last year it's probably just under 30Km.

A hint. Tomorrow's activities will involve wine. I will take photos. Unless something happens to change things.

Monday, April 6, 2009

bailed on swim, easy run

I had really poor sleep last night. After dropping Linda off at work, I went back home to bed. I had been thinking of the pool, but was coughing more than yesterday.

Did a short zone 2 run about lunchtime, with two strides in there after warming up. I never really got my heart rate back down into zone two again, at least not solidly enough to do another stride. So I didn't. Did some yoga and stretching and calf massage after the run.

Hoping for better sleep tonight. I'm seriously tempted to buy some Nyquil.

Oh, and just as I was writing this up, four deer came up from Fish Creek and were nibbling at the remains of our garden in the front yard. Managed to get a photo of one, but the others slipped around the side of the house and headed back into the cul de sac behind us.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

The weather was nice enough that I thought briefly of riding outside today; nice and sunny, high near 10C. This is about where I start thinking about riding, though I'd prefer about 15 or so. But there's still way too much guck on the roads, and they're wet from snow melt. So I rode indoors again, and probably will be for a while. I console myself with the thought that it's much easier to control the workout on the spin trainer. On the bike you have to deal with those pesky cars, traffic lights, and hills.

Did a bit of stretching and yoga, then warmed up for half an hour. This included one leg drill for the first time in a while.
Then into the main set of 6 x 15/5. I did most of this one gear easier than the other day's ride, mainly because it was longer, and I'd been coughing a bit more today. I think this is a good cough.

I put on Pirates of the Caribbean, but the computer quit about half way through. The time up till then went really fast, and dragged a little afterward. About the 2 hour mark my butt started hurting, and I stood for a bit of the last two intervals. The last one was back into time trial gear trying to keep rpm about 90 rpm. Up till now heart rate had topped out in the low 130's or mid zone three. The last interval drove it up to the top of zone 3.

Nibbled on a Cliff's bar, and sucked my energy drink throughout. Mostly I felt strong and could have gone on for a while. I was thinking of blog buddies who did the 70.3 today, and hope they all had a good day. I read about the fecal coliform counts and was so glad i wasn't there. Then again, given the number of kids in the lakes I swam in last year, it's probably best I didn't know the counts then.

After the ride, ran 30 min. It took only about 5 min to find my stride, and I had a good run. Stretched after, and massaged my calves. Overall, I'm pretty pleased with how it went.

Weekly totals probably suck pretty bad, given that I'm coming off a very nasty cold, and it's still not quite gone.
Swim .5 hrs (this is the hardest one to get back into)
Bike 4.5 hrs
Run 2 hrs
Total 7 hours

Friday, April 3, 2009

Easy run, and guess what?

It snowed. Not much, and it's stopped now, but it snowed during the last half of my run through the neighbourhood. This was an easy run to see how my legs would feel. The other day a half hour nearly killed me. Today, I got in the groove, and chugged along for an hour, fully aerobic, never breathing hard. The last 10 min or so things got a little harder as my legs got tired. I checked with mapmyrun and it was almost exactly 8.5 K. I'd done a bit of yoga first, and more yoga and stretching after. Legs felt good during the run, no nigglies at all. At the moment I can feel my right calf again, but I'll do more stretching later.

In a comment elsewhere I'd noted the blender rule. It was in the context of men being simple creatures. You see, most men are totally unaware of all the rules that are involved in gift giving. Which is why they get into trouble with their women. For instance, men see no problem with shopping at the last minute. In fact, this is an extremely practical thing to do. After all, if you're buying for a shopper, the odds are that if they will like the present, they will buy it for them selves, after you buy it for them, and before it gets given to them. So waiting for the day before to shop is good.

Early on in our relationship, Linda told me that if I ever gave her a blender, certain vital portions of anatomy would be the first things blended in it. It turns out that while a blender might be a perfectly practical thing in the grand scheme of life, particularly if there is a triathlete in the house, there are all sorts of connotations that go along with it. Of which I had been unaware. These connotations imply that if I were to give a blender, it means that using the blender becomes her job. At first she explained it would be like getting me a power tool, but she stopped that line of reasoning quickly when she saw the glint in my eye.

So, what we worked out was a system that allows us to discuss potential gifts, and it's rating as the moral equivalent of a blender, WITHOUT any fallout. It turns out that a coffee maker is the equivalent of a blender, but a cappuccino or expresso maker is not. Who knew?

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Getting back into it

I'm continuing to feel better. Not good enough to go to the pool this morning but better. Better enough to get on the bike for a reasonable workout. Did a bit of yoga before.

Warmed up 15 min
4 x 11/4 at just a hair under time trial pace. Same gear, but 85 to 90 rpm rather than 90+. Heart rate went to mid zone 3 just like I wanted it to.
cool down 15 min. The first few minutes of this was some accelerations to get my legs going, and break them free of rpm monotony.
Did some more stretching after. Overall it feels really good. Just in the last minute of the last two intervals I was beginning to get a bit of lactic burn, just a little. Even though my heart rate was still where I wanted it, and was breathing easy, I took it as a sign that my system wasn't delivering enough oxygen.

In other news, we still have snow here, but it hasn't snowed since the weekend. The forecast says isolated flurries on Friday. My wife says we got 54 cm of snow in March, according to City records. That's 21 inches for the metrically challenged of you. My back yard is on the north side of the house, and there's still well over 2 feet of snow in most of it. The problems happen when the snow on the roof melts in the sun, and runs down into the shade, where it freezes.

I've seen a few people riding on the roads in town, but these are the same nut cases that ride year round. There is still massive quantities of gravel and other guck outside of the car tracks, and there's still ice built up next to many curbs. So yes, one could ride on the roads, as long as you realize you're at the mercy of every driver that comes along, and there is no place to go.

Lots of people racing in New Orleans this weekend. Have fun, and be safe! Looking forward to reading the stories, and seeing the photos.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Snow. Swim. Run. Desicknessizing

It snowed last night. Again. Only a cm or so. Today is warm so I didn't have to shovel the sidewalk. I continue to feel better.

Went to the pool today for the first time in a long time. The floaties there would say I swam. I'm not so sure. My arms fell off pretty quick. It's hard to breath when you're repressing a cough because there's a tickle in your throat. Mainly I tried to work on form. My lungs aren't quite up to this yet. Did some core work in the dive tank.

Once home I did some stretching, and got ready for a run. My feet have been wanting to run for several days now. You know how the cat wants your lap till you sit down? Sort of like that. My feet were happy enough, but the top of my thighs were sore. Not sure if it's hip flexors or quads or what. It took about 15 minutes to find a pace, settled into it for about 10 minutes, then the wheels fell off the wagon. I ran another 5 min for a total of 30, and walked a couple hundred meters home. This was all easy and slow. Lungs had no problem with this, but my legs were wondering what was going on. Did more stretching when I got home. The stretching included 3 pushups.

I'm reassured that the first bike session sucked too, and the second was better. These sessions have been recalling my body parts from the vacation they've been on. Tomorrow is a bike session, and I'll push a bit there. Then for sure a run on Friday, and we'll see what my lungs think of a swim.