Wednesday, September 30, 2009

A moose and a Lama

This photo will have at least one of my blog fans all excited. If she wants an actual copy of the photos, and some info about them, send me an email. The address is in my profile. This is just a screen shot.

Linda and I spent part of this afternoon at the Saddledome (which isn't shaped like a saddle, or a dome, and I thought was looking decidedly dusty and dingy on the outside) listening to the Dalai Lama. He's in town for something or other. The lineups were really long, supposedly because of security checks, but they were laughable.

Without having any idea what to expect, we had a really good time. Some Olympic swimmer and Sandra Oh were the MC's. O Canada was sung by Asani in English, French, and Cree. It was beautiful, unlike anything I've ever heard before. Here's a version on youtube, it's worth checking out.

There was a really entertaining dance and shadow show put on by some kids. There was a choir. A native elder offered a prayer and an invocation for peace. A traditional Tibetan group played and sang. All that was good, at the very least. Then The Man showed up. The U of C gave him an honourary doctorate of Law. Once that nonsense was over we sat and listened.

I was struck by the sense of presence about him. He's 74 or 75 now, and was offered help on and off the stage. They might think he's frail, but I think he's strong. He has a masterful face, very kind and gentle, but there is no weakness. He had a man sitting beside him, essentially acting like a translator aid. I had thought he was much more fluent in English than he appeared to be here. He has a nice voice, and speaks well.

The crowd got a chuckle when he spoke of the things that he's not. He's not a healer, for instance, and he spoke of a gall bladder operation proving that. He mentioned he healed quickly after than, and attributed it to his peaceful mind. He spoke of compassion, and how there isn't really any "they" anymore. We're all "we". Hurting them hurts ourselves. We need to find new ways to resolve our differences. I'm not really sure how long he spoke for. There were several questions, a couple silly, but most sensible. This gave him an opportunity to speak more about opening ourselves and working actively on our compassion, and holding peace within ourselves. That being peaceful does not mean being weak.

All in all we very much enjoyed being there and listening to him. I'm not religious in the slightest. Even though he is the religious leader of Tibet, he doesn't come across as religious. He made a specific point about secular humanism. I think he'd be a great guy to have over for tea and cookies and conversation.

Yoga this evening was good. 1.25 hours. Lots of nice stretches, some core work, and a bit longer for my fave pose at the end of class.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

The windiest ride to date

It was so windy out there today that I debated if it was safe or not. Eventually I decided to go since it wasn't actually cold out, and if I had to I could always turn around. It was one of the scariest experiences to date on my bike.

How windy was it? I've never been pushed around like that on the bike before. I've never felt the wind turn the front wheel to go down wind. I've never ridden in a cross wind that had me leaning over like I was going around a corner. From how it felt on the way back, I'm guessing it was at least 30 to 40 Kph, with some much stronger gusts.

Normally it takes me 20 to 23 minutes to get to highway 22X at the start of my ride. I take it easy and treat it like a warm up. Today it took 28 minutes. It has never ever taken that long, and I was working fairly hard. I continued on down the Road to Nepal, and scared the crap out of myself. Down the first hill is usually 65 Kph, and often faster. I could barely get past 40 Kph. Even so, I got blown into the middle of the road once. Good thing there was no traffic.

I turned around at the hour mark, about half way up the long hill. I explored a bit of an acreage with some swanky semi-country homes, then headed back. Back was quicker. It only took 40 minutes to get back, but it wasn't much less scary, since the wind was still shifting around. Overall my heart rate was quite low throughout the ride, even though I was breathing fairly hard, and working much harder than normal.

The treat on the way home was seeing 3 real live buffalo in a field just beside the road. With a fence I wouldn't use for sheep. The male was HUGE! You just don't get the full sense of their size and implacable nature from pictures. It looked like it could walk through the fence and not even notice.

Took a 4 minute transition, then briskly walked 6 minutes, then ran easy for 15 minutes, then walked another 5. Then spent between 30 and 45 minutes on core. Call it 30. The last set of planks was getting pretty sloppy.

Outdoor riding weather is coming to it's close pretty quick. There is snow in the forecast for Sunday, and the rest of the week is getting down to more seasonal temperatures.

Monday, September 28, 2009

A contrast in swimmers

Today was a weird swim day. Just plain weird. It started with a whole herd of skinny kids in the pool and standing by the side, complaining about how cold the water is. Three girls, each with a towel wrapped around themselves. I was just about to get started when they told the kids to swim a length in the lane next to me, then hit the dive tank. It was clear that if those kids weren't there for swim lessons, they should be. It was horrible. At least they went away.

I got started on a warm up, then into 100 m intervals. Soon Mr 8footwidebreaststroker joined me, and I passed him several times. In the next lanes there are people flailing away making big waves. They might say they were swimming, but I wouldn't. Then a guy jumped in over top of me a few seconds before I was about to leave for my next interval. Grrr! I chased him down the pool, intending to pass him so close he wouldn't need to shave after my toenails were done with his face. What do you know, not only did I not catch him, he steadily pulled away. Both of us passed the breast stroker like he was standing still. Somehow, he had the wit to realize he was now totally in the wrong lane and moved over. Thank you.

My arm was feeling pretty good, but my intention had been to swim medium strong and really really smooth. With Mr Fast in my lane I picked up the pace, from about 105 seconds per 100 m down to 100 seconds, and I still wasn't keeping up. Fortunately I didn't have too many to go, and it all worked out well. I think my last one was a little under 100 seconds. Just as I was finished, another girl joined the lane. She was slow, but I didn't stick around to see if she was going to get run over. 30 m, warmup, 2x (5x100) 100 relaxed in the middle, and cool down.

While I was looking around after my swim, I noticed the regular morning herd had showed up. They all hit the warm tub, and stood around chatting. In the way. In the mean time I joined the kids for my core and deep water running. They were all wearing the sissy float belts, and thrashing around like half electrocuted rats. I did my thing. They left as their elders showed up. It was a marked contrast to the young and skinny kids. Let's just say old and fat, and that's being kind to almost all of them. At least they were there going through the motions of doing something about it, I'll have to say that much. And to be fair, there were a couple of exceptions. One of the not-exceptions (I'm talking 300 pounds + here) was up on the springboard. I was waiting for it to turn into that scene from Dead Like Me, but it didn't. They were complaining about the water temp being so cold. Wimps. The water is just barely cool enough, in fact, I think it's just a bit on the warm side. And the hot tub is lukewarm at best. Did my 30 minutes and bailed. I've never felt so average in my life.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Sunday drive

After some bad news this morning, we took a nice drive down toward High River to pick up another bread plate in the pattern we have. That's the thing about pottery, it breaks. We stopped along the way to leave a cryptic note in the mail box of some friends. We were wondering why there was so much traffic in High River, which is a nice little town, then found out there was a huge show and shine. More than 1000 cars or bikes in it. The place we wanted to go to for lunch was right in the middle of it, and there was no parking to be had for many blocks.

So we headed over toward Longview. That's a really pretty drive with a totally beautiful view of the mountains. Very relaxing. We had a nice lunch in the Black Cat Cafe, then headed home. Throughout the drive I scoped out some great bike routes. With any luck at all we still have a few weeks of outdoor riding. There were a few riders out today, but they are beginning to layer up. Even though it was sunny, you can feel the chill in the wind.

We got the last of the Taber corn during the drive, and I BBQ'd it for supper. Total yummyness. During the afternoon was a short core workout. I was pleased I got the first push up pyramid done, but my arms stopped exactly half way through the second set. Flop.

Weekly Summary
Swim .5 hr
Bike 8.5 hrs
Run 0 hrs
Walk 2.0 hrs
Core 3.25 hrs
Total 14.25 hrs

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Metric century in the wind

For a little while in the middle of the ride, that's what it felt like, that I was going to be on the bike for a century to get to the turnaround point. Not that it was an unpleasant ride, not at all. Today was beautiful, low 20's. For a short while at the start of the ride I even had the wind at my back, which was a nice change for riding west.

I was beginning to think I had bike cooties or something. Like usual, I waved at other people on bikes. The entire way out, nobody waved back. There was a small herd of people, mostly in Speed Theory jerseys that passed me without a word. Not a hello, not a hi, not a how's it going, not even a passing on the left. Fuck you very much.

The fun part of riding out 22X that far is that there are some Texas cattle gates. I'm not sure exactly how wide the flat metal bands are, maybe 4 inches, but you have big incentive to hit the band, and not the rows of pipe (BUMP BUMP BUMP!) Now do it at 50 Kph. With people right behind you watching.

Somewhere between 22 N and the info booth for K country the wind picked up big time. A head wind of course. I didn't mind because very soon it would be blowing me home, but it made the last 5 or 8 K really slow. I saw some riders there, and THEY waved. I turned around right at 50 K, and shortly caught up to them as they regrouped. A little while later 4 of them gradually caught up and passed me. We all chatted a bit, then they turned left to go into Bragg Creek the back way.

Then the wind changed on me. By the time I got to the long flat bit the wind had changed to a steady headwind again. It was strong enough going down the hill into Priddis Valley that I barely got up to 60 Kph, and normally I do about 70 to 75 down that hill.

I pushed a bit harder on the way home, trying to keep the rpm up, with the last hour typically being 130 to 135 bpm rather than the 125 to 130 or so I'd been maintaining. Still, overall my watch says the average heart rate is 128 bpm over the entire 100 K. Did the ride in 4:01, for an average speed a hair under 25 Kph, and cadence average of 79 rpm. Lots of hills and lots of wind. I was never even close to breathing hard, not even going up the hills. Used to be I'd be puffing like a steam engine on some of them.

Overall, a really nice ride. The wind cooperated to make a great training aid. A few times going up hill with the wind it got really still and hot, but that was the exception. There's lots of hay freshly baled, especially the big round bales. They always amuse me, and there was a nice scent.

Oh, and Friday's workout was a brisk walk with Linda in Fish Creek. I'm calling it 45 minutes. My arm is much better but still not up to swimming.

We discovered Sookie! Two episodes last night, and another disc tonight.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Delayed core

What with one thing and another I wanted to get started a bit early today; as soon as I could. But then, what with some email, and a phone call it ended up being a little bit later, and you know, everything turned out perfect. It was just a little cool for a ride when I was going to start, 11. An hour later it was 15, which is nearly perfect. Even so, riding down some of the hills I could feel an abrupt temperature change at the bottom of some of the hills.

Today's mission was much the same as others recently, ride about 2.5 hours with cadence up, and heart rate about 125. I decided to go down Road to Nepal again. This time was 2:25 for the 51 hilly K. That's 83 rpm, 21.1 Kph average, with the heart rate showing 126 bpm. However I think that last is a smidge high. The monitor was showing 240 bpm for about the first 7 minutes of a ride. It's a little tricky trying to adjust the band while riding. Throughout the ride my heart rate was always a bit higher than expected. I put this down to a crappy night's sleep.

I'm pretty pleased about the ride, though the way back was a bit slower than expected. My legs were feeling a little heavy and gave me a few twinges. I'd been aiming for 2:20. Last ride I caught the light at 37th street and rounded the corner at better than 50 Kph. Today I just missed the lights, and had to get on the brakes about as hard as I ever have to not get into the intersection. Lots of people here take the amber light as a sign to step on it, but not me. Especially not on a bike on that road.

After a good meal and puttering about the house for an hour or so I started my core workout, and started feeling really strange. I was feeling light headed, like I'd been hyper ventilating, and I was getting these weird pinprick sensations all over my legs. So I put it off for a while and laid down for some quiet time. Then I was out and about running errands, picked Linda up at work, ran more errands, ate supper, waited a bit, and tried the core again, and all was fine. 45 minutes there.

All is good. Well, except for the photo on Jenna's blog. That was bad. Shocking. Then Julie's blog talked about something that totally creeped me out. I just can't imagine it happening to me. At least it had better not. I think it's a sign of how big the Julie "nice aura" is that this happened to her.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Icy inside, hot outside

Even thinking about swimming was painful so I didn't. Iced my elbow some more. Lots. Linda had just picked up one of those freezer heat pack thingies. It worked perfect. By the end of the day my arm was feeling much better.

Brisk walk 1 hour at lunch through Fish Creek, mostly up and down the hilly south side. Very nice. Very hot, low 30's in the sun, ended up very sweaty. One hour yoga in the evening, some very nice stretches there. The hardest thing was the hands together Nameste pose.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

dialing in the bike effort

Another perfect day for being on the bike. By 9am, it was 14, and I was ready to go. I even put on sunscreen! I rode 50.2 K in 1:59, with an average hr of 120 bpm, average cadence 83 rpm. Coming back was quicker than going out, though I didn't think there was that much of a wind. This was better than the flat ride last week, and today was out 22X and down 22, which is a much hillier route. I felt much stronger on the bike, able to maintain a higher rpm, and push a little as hr dropped below 120.

After a quick snack, I was snoreonerated by Amelia the Cat. I'd been reading while eating an apple, then fell asleep. I ended up napping a couple of hours.

Core in the evening for about 35 minutes, a shorter and easier workout, plus, I tried for a bit less time lying in a heap on the mat breathing hard. The flex arm hang didn't work out very long. After the first one it hurt to much to try again. Do you guys have any idea how difficult it is to type while trying to ice the inside of your elbow? I'll stop now.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Short blog

Swim 30 min, 4x400m, free, pull, paddles, free. All good. Core and stretch 30 min.

Sunday, September 20, 2009


Playing catch up here. Friday swam for about 20 minutes in a quiet pool. Slowly. Tired arms. No watch so I don't know how far I went. Then into the dive tank for maybe 15 minutes of stretching, no real core stuff here. That inconvenient number is 229. It's been slowly drifting upwards the last several months, now to get it trending downward again. mmmm, these cookies are so good.

Pity my course wasn't on Sunday. Saturday was beautiful, another perfect day for a ride. Today is rain and cold, though the forecasters say it will clear by lunch time. But the important thing is, we are off to breakfast at the High Country Cafe, just to check out the butter tart situation. The things I do for my blog followers.

They don't do the huge butter tarts anymore, just regular size. They were told it was too much. Other food was ok, but service was slow because there was a huge group just ahead of us. I don't think they are used to that. The coffee isn't as good as I remember.

On the way there we saw two triathletes out riding in the rain not far from the restaurant. Good for them! I weenied out when we got home, and set up the trainer. booo! I was supposed to ride 4 hours, but weenied out and only rode 2.5. I only got off to change the DVD playing on the computer. I figured I'd need something to distract me, and selected Fellowship of the Ring.

I had trouble getting my heart rate up to target, and once there, trouble keeping it there. My legs would poop out. Plus, I was getting an annoying intermittent clunk from my bike.

Then, core for 1 hour. Again, that includes time lying in a heap on the mat, breathing hard. More plank, elbow dips, wall sit, knee pushups, crunch stuff, rowing, squats, and probably more that I've forgotten.

Weekly Summary
Swim 2.0 hrs
Bike 7.0 hrs
Run 0 hrs
Walk .75 hrs
Core 5.75 hrs (10.75 if you count gardening that one day.)
Total 15.5 hrs

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Only a few days on program and my abs are talking to me about it

Firmly. This is a good thing, I guess. If they weren't, I'd only be given more to do. Here and a 30 second plank is quite enough, thank you very much.

But first was the bike ride. The plan called for a flat ride today, and that means 22X east of Calgary. It's not quite as flat as Saskatoon, or worse, Regina, because there's an overpass over a railroad track, but still, this is the flattest ride I've ever done. I parked in the access to Mahogany. That's the name of a new neighbourhood in Calgary. From there I rode east, nice and easy, with my heart rate just a bit below the 125 bpm sweet spot.

First goal was heart rate, and the second was to keep the cadence up. Oddly enough, my heart rate tended to be a bit on the low side, yet my legs didn't want to go faster or harder, and I was breathing harder than I thought I would be. Strange. It started as a nice ride, with not much wind till near the turn around point, when a gusty crosswind started up, and a few raindrops hit me. I'm a wimp, I turned around about 10 minutes early, suspecting the ride back was going to be tougher than the ride out.

So it was. The ride back took 1:10, for a 2 hour ride even, and 51 K, for 25.5 Kph average speed. Average heart rate was 119, average cadence was 83 rpm. The ride back was a bit of a suffer fest. The wind was totally across, very gusty, and it was getting cold. At least it wasn't raining. My legs were getting surprisingly tired toward the end. All that core work, I guess.

It turns out I didn't park far enough east. The shoulder is ok, except for lots of rocks, real actual rocks I didn't want to run over. There are a lot of trucks on the road. And the smells were horrible! Diesel fumes, swampy gassy smell, animal manure were the bad ones, with fresh cut hay being the good one. A bit further east and the trucks and rocks go away. Next time.

Then, a bit later in the afternoon, another core session. One hour. More plank, arm dips, crunch stuff, leg stuff. This had better be good for me.

On the way back from the ride I picked up some of the last Taber corn of the season. BBQ'd that along with some steak for supper.

Class all day Fri and Sat, probably won't blog till Sunday. ttfn

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Swimming organization before I got there

Imagine my surprise to walk into FOMC to see 4 people swimming in each of the fast lanes. For a moment I considered going into one of the medium speed lanes that only had 2 people in it, then looked at those two and what they were doing, and forgot that idea real quick. Then I saw one of the fast lanes had a breast stroker, so I ruled out that one, and looked at the other fast lane. In fact, they were all going pretty good, and one girl was gradually catching up to people, and they were good about letting her pass. So, I figured, if they let one person pass, they'll let two people pass. And so it was.

I got started and settled into a groove pretty quick. They were indeed good about letting us pass. Fast girl passed me, and I hung onto her draft for 3 lengths before I gradually slipped out. However, she never caught up again. My first K ended up being 19:30, and feeling pretty good. Shortly after that, most of the prey I mean, other swimmers called it a morning, and I was left with just one person to share the lane with. I sort of lost the incentive to swim as fast, and gradually slowed down. At 1500 m I was 29:40, but then I got tired, and finished up 2K at 40:10.

Then a half hour of core and deep water running in the dive tank. The pool staff were telling me that just lately Wednesday and Fridays have been really busy, but they don't know why. I don't mind it busy if everybody behaves themselves like today.

Tonight was the first yoga class for this session. Supposedly it's beginner Hatha. What they don't understand is that I need a pre-beginner. As it happens, Fiona was good to us tonight. Lots of beginner stuff that didn't tax me too much. During one of the poses I was thinking I should remember this and do it at home, and of course, do I remember? Nope. Sigh. Such are the ravages of senility.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Road to Nepal vs my heart rate monitor

Today is another perfect day for being outside. I got a bit of a later start than initially planned, but there are some phone calls it's a good idea to take.

My plan said hilly route, keeping HR in the sweet spot. The hilliest route I know around here is my old fave, Road to Nepal. I was a bit worried about how slow I'd be going up, hoping the ants wouldn't see me as prey moving slowly enough to make it worth trying to drag me off to the anthill so they eat like kings all winter.

Every time I looked at my watch my heart rate was 5-10 bpm lower than I thought it would be, based on perceived effort, breathing, ect. Even going up hill. Normally I'm pretty tuned in and am usually +- 3 or 4 bpm. Nice, but I was being calm, trying to spin easy. As the saying goes, grind till the grinding gets good. At one spot I'm half way up the hill and realized my heart rate was below target. BELOW TARGET!!! Now it didn't take much additional effort to get it back up again. I got down to the end in 1:19. On the way back I had a bit of a tail wind, but still ended up having to pick up the pace to keep the heart rate up. This was a novel experience. I was back to the house in 2:28.

20.6 Kph average speed, and 120 bpm average heart rate. I'm not quite sure I believe that last number since I was getting some wonky numbers at the start of the ride. But my HR was always lower than expected. My cadence was low too, 67 rpm average. Later this week is a flat ride, and I'll try to bring that number up a bit then. Anybody want to play hooky and join me for a couple hours on Thursday?

To put that in perspective, I've done that ride in a hair under two hours, while turning my legs into noodles good for nothing for a couple of days. Today I missed both lights, and had to wait for traffic both times crossing 22X, AND took it so much easier that I could have loaded up on water and nutrition and done the ride again. It was only a year ago that I couldn't have done that ride in 2:28 at all. Even now, pushing hard, I'd still be pleased with being just sub 2 hrs. That's a fairly small difference in speed for a major major difference in effort. So I'm happy.

I finally ate the last Gu that I've been carrying around on rides for a while now. Expresso Love flavour, but it wasn't in my mouth long enough to taste. Didn't take anything else, just 2 waters.

Once home again I had a snack then started my first core workout per my schedule. I didn't throw up, but my face was as red as my fit ball, and I was breathing harder than I ever did during the ride. I was beginning to regret the snack, but I had to eat something. There was stuff. Planks. Pushups. Wall sits. Rowing. Chinup hip flexors. Crunches. Times 3. My mantra through it all was, it's good for me. 1:10 core work, some of which includes me lying in a heap breathing hard.

While butter tarts can be frozen, they are best fresh, preferably still warm from the oven, or just barely cool. I'm sorry guys, I don't think you'd get the same experience even if I packed them carefully. I'm sure somebody in the postal or security services would figure out what they were, and eat them. Tell you what. Come visit. For a race, or vacation. Lots of stuff to do here. I'll make sure you get to a place with good butter tarts, and you get crash space here. Can't say fairer than that.

Monday, September 14, 2009

A new training season starts

Today was swim intervals. It's been a while, and my arms feel it. Not so long ago I could do as many 50's in a row starting on the minute as you wanted. I started with that and lasted 4, before going to starting on the 1:10. Most of the 50's were 54 or 55 seconds, though two of them were 50 s, and a few were 57 or 58 s. I did it as two sets of ten, with a minute in between. I needed the rest. I wasn't breathing particularly hard, but my arms are feeling it. At first it was like swimming through warm treacle. As I went on I could feel my swim coming back. What with 250 m warmup, 200 m cool down, and 2x10 x 50m, I was an hour swimming. What's weird is that I think I could swim that distance faster just by swimming it, rather than doing the intervals. But this is teaching me to swim faster.

Then 30 min core work in the dive tank, including water running without the sissy floatation belt. Much as the swim was a bit of an ordeal, it was good to get back into the pool for a serious workout. However, I'm thinking I might have done in my watch. It had a fog on the inside of the lens that gradually went away. Perhaps this is the beginning of the end.

Then the real workout for the day started - nuking the one big flower box, while saving some lilies out of it. That was 5 hours worth, digging, pulling, dirt bashing, raking, scrabbling around after roots, and I'd like to count it as core as well. I managed to rescue more lilies than I thought I would, and they are happily sitting in some potting soil while we decide where to put them for winter. There's also some rescued bulbs and we'll see what happens. The flower box is now mulched with newspaper covered with red cedar chips.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Butter Tarts and other goodness

The question during sushi last night was, how do the boats go around? There is a channel of water, in which a bunch of little boats float, chained nose to tail. They float past and you take what you want off them. Later a waiter counts your plates and tells you how much to pay. It's very reasonable, me and Linda paid $40 plus a bit of a tip for lots and lots of very good sushi. But there is no mechanism pulling the boats, since the little chains are slack. So the water must be moving, yet we didn't see a mechanism to do that. We decided there must be a pump somewhere powering a jet of water into the channel. No doubt lots of research went into deciding exactly what the optimum boat speed is to allow people to see what they want and decide to pick it up or not, and not waiting too long for the next boat.

After reading comments from the other day, I have to say it never occurred to me that people might not know what a butter tart is. Imagine that! How empty their lives must be. Done right they are totally worth a long ride. So to help them fill that void, here is some info on butter tarts. Now, in all honesty, I have to say the info in the link is wrong in one regard. Butter tarts *are* often small, 2 or three delicious bites. But they don't have to be...

I met my new coach for coffee this morning. We talked of many things appropriate to the beginning of a new relationship, and both of us are excited to start off a new training season. Let's just say, there is much for me to work on and I'll need every day between now and IMC. The bike will continue as is for as long as we have nice weather, and just now it couldn't be better. I'm going to start being more regular about core workouts starting, well, today. (See later.) Some of what I know, plank, pushups and stuff, plus some things new to me. Then I'll start building back into regular swims again. Lastly will be the running, giving my legs as much rest from the run as possible. She made some suggestions for races next year to fit into the build for IMC, so I've got a bit of investigating to do.

It's been beautiful here today; it's almost a pity I couldn't get out onto the bike. But that's Calgary in the fall for you. I think it's the best season. Nice warm sunny days, but cool in the mornings and evenings. The rest of the week is looking really nice. Linda and I walked down into Fish Creek for an hour or a little more, her steaming along with a wild look in her eye, me trying to keep up. Talk about a happening place! I've never seen so many people having a picnic. Lots of people on the path. It's good to see the park well used. When I got back I went downstairs for a half hour of core work. Oof. Nine pushups, for what it's worth.

In a few minutes I'll go fire up the BBQ for bison burgers a la Linda. You can just imagine how good they will be.

Weekly Summary
Swim .75 hrs
Bike 9.0 hrs
Run 0.6 hrs
Walk 2.0 hrs
Core 1.5 hrs
Total 13.75 hrs

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Estela goes to Longview

It's odd. It's 67.93 K to Longview, but only 67.67 K on the way back. I'll bet the intersection of 22 and 22X is the reason.

I got started just at the end of cold, about 9am. There were a few shady bits that were still cool at bike speed. Essentially no wind. It was a really nice ride heading west then south. Other than nibbling steady on nutrition, and avoiding a geezer doing a U turn in the middle of nowhere nearly right on top of me, it was steady going, trying to keep my heart rate down and pedaling nice and easy. I took 6 clifs bars, and have about 1.5 left, 2 bananas, a powerbar, and a gu that I didn't eat. Plus 1 bottle of my home made energy drink. I was sure getting sick of cars. There is a well known farmers market in Millarville, and there was a steady stream headed there.

At Black Diamond it was getting warm, and turning south produced a strong head wind. All you can see is a long stretch of pavement, with a hill. I knew there was a couple hills in the 18 K from Black Diamond to Longview. As Bogart famously says "I was misinformed." The hills keep happening, and so did the wind. I'm not in the mood to play with mapmyride to get the profile, but there's a lot of up. Including a surprise one just 1 K from town. About this point I abandoned my heart rate goals, and settled for riding up the hills at a safe speed. That 18 K took nearly an hour!

I got into Longview in 3:07 or so, quite pleased with the ride so far, and happy to be off the bike for a few minutes. There was a small group of people just finishing a ride and we chatted a bit while I swapped water bottles and ate the powerbar. That was quite the experience; I'm glad I didn't try that while riding. It had been in my back pocket. I was suspecting I was going to have to lick it to death but it peeled off the foil ok. After about 10 minutes I was back on the bike heading north, with the wind.

Getting back to Black Diamond took about 45 minutes, with my heart rate mostly under control. From there the wind got fickle, and I chugged along. There was a bit of a head wind going towards Millarville, which shifted around to a cross wind with a bit of tail wind. Things were going well, but I took my feet out of my shoes just to give them some air for a minute. My arms were starting to stiffen up.

The 13 K or so on 22X from 22 to 37 st was out and out brutal. There was a really stiff crosswind with some headwind. The bike lane is narrow there, and I was really twitchy about taking a hand off the handlebars. By now my arms were getting very tired, particularly the right tricep. I can lock my left arm straight and let the bones take the weight, but I can't do that with my right since I broke it. So there's something else to work on.

My heart rate was way up during the ride into the wind, but my breathing was still easy. In fact, except for the top of a couple hills into the wind where I was breathing a bit harder, I could have been chatchatchat the entire time. Breathed through my nose for a while, mainly to cut down on inhaling bugs.

I got home at 6:02:32 watch time, and 5:49:24 bike time, for an average speed of 23.3 Kph. 75 rpm was average cadence. There was lots of grinding up hills in the lowest gear. I seem to be settling into a slightly slower cadence since the bike fit; about 80 seems comfortable, and I've been starting to shift at 85 or so. Average heart rate ended up being 130, but that includes that 10 minute stop, so it's not really a good number. My watch says I burned just under 6000 calories. Lookout Sushi Boat!

Overall I'm really pleased. The 135.6 K is a new distance record for me as I close in on 180 K. My legs feel good, and probably could have carried on for a while yet, but my arms are killing me, especially the right. Towards the end they were beginning to tremble, so I'm glad the ride ended when it did. It looks like 6 hours is as far as I can go on a self supported ride, carrying everything I need. I think I'll settle back and do some more shorter distances for a bit, before attempting to bump up to 150 K or so. Any suggestions on where to ride for that? I'm tempted to use the house as a special needs stop, and do a long loop, then a shorter one.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

A nice relaxing ride

Today was nearly a perfect afternoon for a ride. A bit windy, of course, but that's par for the course here. It turns out to be 32 K exactly to the High Country Cafe, and I got there in 1:20. (A year ago, near race pace got me there in 1:10.) This is high on my list of good breakfast places, especially if you like butter tarts. They have two kinds, both of which come with or without pecans. The first kind is huge. The second kind is dinner plate size. I kid you not, and they are excellent! The pastry is to die for. Though I've heard they've changed owners, so maybe it isn't good anymore, though I still see lots of cars there in the morning. Maybe during my long ride planned for Saturday I'll drop in there.

The ride back was almost exactly the same time, so I was being consistent and all the wind changes cancelled each other out. Or something. 64K 2:39 to be precise, average speed was 24 Kph, and tada! the average heart rate was 123 bpm! Even better, for about 10 minutes or not quite just after turnaround, I was totally in the zen bike zone. I was on the drops, 84-86 rpm, flat ground into the wind, going about 29Kph. I was relaxed, comfortable, spinning smooth, feeling great! Now to learn how to do that for 6 to 8 hours. Going up Richter's and Yellow Lake. After a long swim.

I think this bike fit is pretty close to exactly right. My legs feel great afterward. I could have gone on for much longer, and since Saturday is looking nice, I'll try that out. Oddly enough, the sorest muscles right now are the downward dog arm muscles, probably because I was on the drops for quite a while, and that's new to me. Even so I ran some cold shower water on my calves. They've been just a bit tender since after the run on Monday.

During the ride I thought of a great name for the ultra-marathon team that Jenna is getting together, but now I see that Shannon has come up with the winner. Print those T shirts!

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Swimming madness

I don't know what came over me this morning. I KNEW that Canyon Meadows lane swim goes to hell about 7:30. Yet going for a swim worked out for my schedule this morning.

And so it was. Only 3 lanes were open. Just as I got there Mr. 8footwide slow breast stroker took up one entire lane. He's annoyed the hell out of me before, so I didn't go there. The next lane had two people at least trying to swim, flailing away with flippers and sometimes paddles. The third lane was a dog's breakfast, a walker, a couple floaties with flippers, and one long suffering girl that could swim, but seemed to be spending her time dodging the others. The rest of the pool was a wave generating exercise class.

The first thing I did was get my lane swimming in a circle. Then I pretended it was open water with the waves. Then, even taking it easy and relaxed, I regularly passed the other two in my lane. Often. She was very graceful about it. He was less so, but it wasn't a problem. Several other people quickly got into the lane with Mr. 8footwide and that lane turned into a total shambles. One guy was trying to keep up with me, flailing and thrashing and splashing, with more bubbles in the water than in a hot tub, and failing badly. He'd rest till I finished another lap, then he'd try again. Another lady was on speed. She must have been. I've never seen breast stroke done that fast. No, she wasn't swimming fast, just moving her arms and legs very fast. She wasn't going anywhere. Another guy had a beautiful looking breast stroke, except for it being nearly vertical, and very slow. My inner shark covered his eyes and went away. Said it wasn't sporting to go after such prey.

Toward the end of my swim, a guy that had been watching, and sometimes chatting to Mr. Flippers, joined us, and by golly, he could swim. After a few laps he passed me! I picked it up and drafted off him for a few laps. I was reasonably sure that I could keep up with him, if I was out for a hard workout. But I dialed it back to my easy pace, and finished out my 45 minutes before he caught up to me again. We had a nice chat afterward in the locker room. He'd been timing me to see if he could keep up, and used me as a reference to push himself for a fast swim. How nice for him. Buddy, come back and play when my inner shark is feeling frisky.

The dive tank was full, very full, of a deep water running class, but I still wanted to do some core work. With a bit of modification I could do it in the lane pool. Not as much fun, but did 15 minutes. Chatted with a nice lady just getting started her lane swim. She's learned the hard way about swimming between 8 and 9, and goes for a run instead, then swims. Hmmmmm.

Then it was off to donate blood. You have to make an appointment for this. I managed to get in just before a big group from Diversified Staffing. It's corporate challenge week. I'm sure the girl in the mini-skirt hadn't thought about the couch beds they put you on for the donation. The nurse loved the vein in my left arm. I was just getting ready to sit down and decide which arm, when my nurse said "I'm sure you're going to say left; I can see a nice vein from here!" So I did, and it all worked out just fine.

Yes GQH, Canada has cities, real ones, not just groupings of igloos. If Calgary were counted along with other American cities, it would be 10th biggest by population, between Dallas and San Jose. That said, the borders are pretty well defined, and it gets rural very quickly. From my house, a few hours bike ride gets you out of the city, through some ritzy wealthy gentleman ranchers, some real ranches, into a Provincial Park, then into the mountains. It's a nice ride. I've been meaning to take photos of it one day.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Two rides in one

I left for my ride a little early today. *NOW* it's beautiful out. Then it was cloudy and cool. I thought it would be perfect, but I didn't realize how windy it was outside the city.

The first 19.1 K (out to 22) took an hour, trying to keep the heart rate low. I was getting an ear ache listening to the wind. Even though I'd worn a long sleeved shirt I was wishing I'd worn another layer. Then I turned around, and made it home again in 38 minutes, hardly pedaling at all, it seemed. At one point I was doing 40 Kph, pedaling easy, heart rate below target, and it was dead calm for me. I'm guessing the wind was between 30 and 40 Kph.

Coming back was sure a nice ride, even if a guy tried to kill me at the lights as I was turning left at 37 st. Here's a screen shot of the intersection.

Sitting there, with his left turn signal on, the light turns green, and I'm coming down 146th. I get tucked in and all ready to follow him around and to the left. Then he turns right. He didn't look, he just did it. Fortunately I was just far enough away that I could move to the left to get around him and there was no traffic behind us. If I'd been 10 feet more forward I'd have been in his blind spot and I'd have been creamed. Just a reminder, pay attention to the traffic!

5 min for an easy relaxed transition.

Then I got set up, and started an easy run. I was thinking about the various elements of Chi Running, and it worked out fairly well. It seemed slow because I was trying really hard to keep my heart rate below 125, and didn't quite make it. Mostly it was between 125 and 130. It took a while to settle into an easy run, but I could feel the rust flaking off. The 5 K took 38:21. It felt good, but I wanted to run just a bit faster, and I think it would have been easier to settle into a stride.

Walked after and did some stretching and core for 30 minutes.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

The delicious pleasure of sleeping in

The last few mornings have found me lying in bed, thinking about my options. My swim bag is packed and sitting near the front door. My swim suit is hanging in the bedroom where I can find it. However, swimming has not been a scheduled workout for a while now. I've been to the pool a few times, but nothing regular. I haven't even thought about going running, though just now I am.

So as I drift slowly awake, the thought process (if it can be called that) is something like this. Hello, here's another day, how nice. Nothing hurts, even nicer. How sleepy am I? Will I go back to sleep? Should I go for a swim? Or will I do a bike ride today? Hmmmm. I'd have to make a special trip to the pool, then decide what to do. And it's not the pool I like. Still, I know I'd get up and do it if it was scheduled. But it's not. Sleep is important. Being horizontal is nice. Maybe I'll try to sleep some more. After all, I'll be back on the workout schedule pretty soon. IMC will come soon. Life isn't just work work work. You need time to enjoy it as well. Like now. What should I have for breakfast? Pity I don't live near the beach. Lazing along, half asleep, listening to Amelia the cat meowing plaintively outside the bedroom. And so on.

So far, I haven't made it to the pool. I've rolled over and gone back to sleep for a while. And the sleep has been nice. Which isn't something I take for granted. Once upon a time I worked shift work, a rotating 12 hour shift, 3 days on, 3.5 days off, 3 nights on, 2.5 days off, repeat till sickness or death takes you. As it nearly did several times, falling asleep at the wheel. It's been almost 20 years since I worked that job, and I still have trouble sleeping more than 6 hours at a time. Doing a good workout schedule has helped me sleep because I'm tired. Most of the time. Then there are the times I start thinking about a race, or a big training day, or what I want to write in my blog, or what I should be doing tomorrow, and that's it, my brain is off and whirling. Susi has a gerbil; I'm not sure what I have.

I haven't been doing serious workouts since before the Calgary 70.3, until this week. Up till last week I just swam, biked, ran, walked, or did core workouts when I wanted, for as long as I wanted, as hard as I wanted, for the fun of it. Or I didn't. I've caught up on some of my reading. I have BBQ'd and drunk beer and wine. I have napped. And you know, I feel great!

Today I just finished some core work, maybe a half an hour or so. I'm still musing about a bike ride. Originally I wouldn't have done it, because we had dinner planned with some friends. But they've had some company drop in, and we have to reschedule. Now I feel like going for a ride with someone. Except I can't ask because they're all asleep and the most likely candidates all live way NW (and you know who you are). So maybe instead I'll give the lawn the last mow/trim of the year. Or I'll nuke more of the overrun flower beds. Or I'll work on organizing the basement - the never ending project. There are wine bottles to clean and de-label. Oddly enough, I'm caught up on laundry. Maybe I'll go for a run. Hmmmm. Or not.

I think the next thing to do is have an early lunch. Some chicken breast BBQ in a special Linda sauce, with Jalapeno Havarti cheese and a special mustard might be good.

Weekly Summary
Swim 0 hrs (yes! Zero!!! Unless thinking about swimming in Chain Lakes counts.)
Bike 10 hrs (sticklers can subtract 7 minutes if they like)
Run 0 hrs (though there's been a few brisk walks)
Core 1 hr
Total 11 hours

Friday, September 4, 2009

Stock at Large means only one thing

It means there's going to be fresh cow shit on the road. And there was. Though there was an amusing bit where a cow with two calves was stopped in the middle of the westbound lane. The nearest driver had tried honking with no result. Then he got out and started waving his arms and yelling. I told him to calm down. That thing weighed at least 5 times what he did and was in the grip of maternal hormones. He would regret it if he annoyed the cow. It would move out of his way in a few minutes. Sooner if he asked nice. Meanwhile I'm riding slowly through this herd of cows, talking to them in a quiet calm voice. Cows like this. That same driver flipped me the bird when he passed me a few minutes later. Asshole.

All this took place on highway 66 near the end of my outbound ride. I went a ways past the seasonal gates, then turned around when my odometer clicked over 60 K. It took 3 hours to get to that point! I tried keeping my heart rate down, I really did. But something about a 20 Kph headwind made that very difficult. To say nothing of how steep it gets out there.

At turnaround I carefully ate a banana, riding WITH the wind. Don't anybody say I don't learn. That hill was steeper than I thought, and I ended going about 60 Kph while still eating. Plus the gravel on the shoulders made that just a bit tense making.

The ride back took 2:13. I abandoned the idea of keeping the heart rate down, and just rode at a comfortable pace, though I wasn't really putting any more effort into it. The faster ride is a function of mostly downhill and a tail wind. The last half hour I was getting pretty tired.

However, I don't really have any one thing that is hurting more than anything else. Everything hurts a bit. Everything in the wind was covered with bugs. Estela needs a bath. It was a perfect day for a ride, mostly cool, though the last hour the sun came out and it got hotter. I sprayed my tailbone with sunscreen, but I think I missed a slice. There's a red stripe.

120 K exactly, 5:13 stopwatch time. Bike time a little less because I stopped to pee three times. Maybe I shouldn't have had coffee before starting. My average heart rate ended up being 129 bpm, which is better than I thought it would be. This is my longest ride to date, both distance and time! And no, I didn't even think about going through the special needs cookie jar and heading out for another 60 K.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

A disciplined bike ride

Some of you have the wrong idea and I might as well get this out of the way right now. There was no hawt blonde in black leather with a whip riding with me. It was 30+ C out and leather would chafe horribly. There was just me.

My first thought was to get a nice long ride done before the heat of the day, then it occurred to me that I need to start learning to ride and run in the heat, and there's no time like the present. So I waited till nearly noon. Putting my stuff out into the south facing patio had me wondering if I'd made a mistake, but it was ok once I started riding.

Today's goal was a longer ride to continue to assess the bike fit, try to keep my heart rate between 120 and 125, and try to spin as easy as possible. I had no idea how far I'd be able to go, but I figured I'd turn around at 2.5 hours or when I finished the first of my drink bottles. I usually have a water bottle and an energy drink bottle going at the same time. It all worked out pretty well.

It took about a half hour to feel warmed up and smooth. About then my heart rate dropped fairly abruptly, and I was able to pick up the pace considerably. After that I got settled in for a nice consistent ride in my desired heart rate. I was on the drops quite a bit and felt quite comfy. There was a bit of chafe in the shorts; a feeling like there was an extra layer all guddled up between my thighs.

I rode south past Black Diamond and turned around at the 54 K mark. I can't remember what the time was. The wind had picked up and I was beginning to feel my legs tiring a bit. So far I'd been really good about staying in my desired range, but it got harder and harder on the way back. By the 3 hour mark there was no way it was going below 125 unless I was coasting, and I was spending more and more time above 130. However, my breathing was still under control. I did all but about 100 m breathing through my nose. The exception was a brief spurt to clear a light.

My speed was the least of my priorities, but I was surprised that my average speed wasn't that much slower than a recent ride on the same road. That was at a hair over 25 Kph, and I had to work at that. This ride was 23.5 Kph average at a much lower level of effort. Here's how much lower - I wasn't sweating much. In fact, what with breathing through my nose, and not sweating much I was so far ahead on hydration I had to stop to pee three times.

My ride was 108 K in 4:40. Toward the end it was harder and harder to stay seated, spinning easy. I wanted to pick up the pace to get the ride over with earlier. I was feeling like it would be easier to ride faster. I talked to myself a lot about sticking to the plan. At the 90 K mark I was thinking what it would be like if I had to turn around and ride back the way I had come. Of course I didn't have the nutrition or support to do that, but it was a daunting thought. 180 K is a long way. Still, I'd like to work my way up to that this fall if the weather cooperates.

In the bike fit department, my legs felt good throughout, and feel great afterward! They would have been happy to continue on for a while yet. My toes weren't so happy. I ended up taking my feet out of my shoes for a while during a long downhill. They were feeling cramped and pressured, even though the shoe strap was loose. My hands never felt numb throughout, but it's clear I need to do more downward dog in yoga. My arms and shoulders are taking a bit more of my weight, I think, or the weight distribution is different and I'm feeling it now. My crotch felt like it was on fire, so I think this is the last time I'll wear these shorts. Any feedback here on the lifespan of tri-shorts?