Monday, May 31, 2010

A short blog post

Swam 1 hr. Lots of intervals. Lots. Arms tired.

Ran 1 hr, around Woodbine, walked 10 before and after. Muddy on the berms, feet were getting heavy at the end. Felt good.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

No sunscreen needed today

At least it wasn't snowing today, though I think I saw a snowflake or two during my ride. Yes, I rode and ran. Actually, I rode and ran and rode and ran. My coach has interesting ideas. I think she thinks I'm easily bored or something, always mixing up the workouts and trying new stuff. Actually, this is probably good for me, so I don't settle into a rut.

3 C is 37.4 F, and it had only just stopped raining. I am sick of this weather. A year ago this time I was getting my face slapped by a banana peel in Black Diamond in the middle of a long hot ride. Nice weather in other words. Not today. I dressed warm again, and got the hybrid ready. The first ride was to be 90 minutes so I thought I'd head up around the reservoir and back. This used to take 90 minutes, working hard. Holy crap have things improved. I got back to the house in 65 minutes, taking it easy. Of course it's not exactly the same path, but I just did a bit of plotting on Google Earth, and the path I used to take is 1.2 K longer than today's path. The easiest place to see the change is the hill out of the Weaselhead into North Glenmore. This used to be granny gear territory and a heart rate getting up near failure levels. Today I was mid cassette maintaining 80+ rpms and the heart rate only got above 140 at the very end as I was trying to maintain rpm. That hill isn't as long or as steep as it used to be.

To make up the time I went around the block, out onto Anderson, and back around again. My toes were frozen!! My knees were squeaking a little, since the geometry of the hybrid is a bit different. Maybe it was the cold. Linda says I was pretty red afterward.

Then out for a 30 minute run. My feet and legs felt a bit thick and slow at first, but I warmed up quick and moved much better. My feet and legs sure liked starting to run, and I could have gone on much longer.

I wasn't sure where to ride. I didn't want to go around Glenmore again. The Running Room had an event of some kind going on and there was hundreds of people hogging the path. Both paths. And they wouldn't move over no matter how much noise I made with my killer whale squeaky toy. I ended up riding on the road.

The second ride took me out onto 37 st, watching a cop pull a speeder over. I was a bit dubious about riding again, but my legs got into it again fairly quickly. Across Anderson, down Elbow, across James McKevitt (and holy cow I'd forgotten how much that went up!) down into Fish Creek to avoid a construction zone, and back up 37 st. Then around the block to make up the 75 minutes.

Then another run, only 15 minutes this time. This was more of a shuffle, though I warmed up eventually and picked up the pace a bit. I was tired at the end, in spite of the cookie at each transition. I suppose I could have run longer had I needed to, but I didn't take any nutrition on the bike and I suppose I should have. Stretched and cored for 45 minutes. Most of it was pretty good, especially the plank for some reason. But the pushups were a failure. Quickly.

I can't wait to get Estela back, and get out for some longer rides in nice weather. I'll mow the lawn when the snow all melts. I'll probably need the weed whacker to get it down to size, then use a mower to get it even. The lamb stew and barolo wine went down really, really good for supper. Really good. I can barely type. The word for the last couple days is "pre-obedient".

Weekly Summary
Swim 2.0 hrs
Bike 7.41 hrs
Run 3.42 hrs
Walk .75 hrs
Total cardio 13.5 hrs
Core 3.75 hrs
Total workout 16.8
Which is less impressive than it sounds since it includes two long ride days.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Not working or training. Imagine that.

So what do I do on such days? I wasn't mowing the lawn, that's for sure. It needs it but nobody expects it to be done when it's covered with snow. Yep. Still snowing. Thought you'd want to know.

This morning was nice and easy. I even napped with Amelia for a little while. The task for today was to clean wine bottles. We're good about rinsing the bottles as soon as we've drunk them. I know which ones are prone to filming if you leave them half full, so we put those in a decanter and rinse right away. Still, after a while the water spots build up. Label goo slowly accumulates. And every now and then a bottle has some sediment stuck to the insides.

These get set aside and eventually they get thoroughly cleaned. Today was that day. It sounds dull, but it's actually very meditative. I have a couple 5 gallon pails (we still call them that even though they are labeled in some number of litres) filled with tepid water and some bleach. Each pail holds 8 bottles, and they sit there a while. A brush scrubs at the inside and neck. Dump a bottle back into the pail and hold up to the light. Scrub the outside with Comet if needed to get off label goo. Make sure inside is clean. Mostly this works. Rinse thoroughly in hot water, let dry on the stand. That was good for several hours.

If there is guck on the inside it's time for the big guns. I pour a capful of bleach in, and about twice that much water for a strong solution. Lee Valley Tools sells a bottle cleaner that is the cat's meow. Works like a charm. That gets poured into each bottle in turn that needs it. Today only two did. I suppose I should warn woodworkers and gardeners about this place. It's dangerous. They sell some of the best and neatest tools in the world. Just reading their catalogue makes you want to go buy stuff, even if you hadn't previously perceived the need for that item.

I'm very fussy about my glass. Even though red wine normally comes in green glass bottles to keep sunlight from affecting the wine, I use clear glass Bordeaux bottles. Our basement never sees sunlight so it's safe, and once it's upstairs it isn't around long enough to be affected by sunlight. The big advantage is that with clear glass it's easy to tell at a glance how clean it is. Hold it up to the light and it's tale is told.

There are different boxes for the different levels of cleaning:

  • Bottles left over from the last bottling have the neck covered in plastic wrap; they are good to go for next time. 
  • Clean bottles that just need to be rinsed with a sterilizing solution then used for bottling the next batch. (Yes, I know the bottles aren't sterile. Very clean with nothing visible growing is about the best we can do.)
  • Bottles that need labels and shrink cap remainders removed, and perhaps some cork residue in the neck brushed out. (The general rule about label removal is the easier it went on, the harder it is to get off.)
  • Bottles that have enough guck built up to need bleaching.
I didn't want to think about training, so I distracted myself with thinking about the United Nations and international relations. The problem with the United Nations, as I see it, is that any tin-pot entity that calls itself a nation is admitted. There are 192 members, with only 3 nation states that are not members. Normally I'd make you guess, but they are Kosovo, Taiwan, and Vatican City. Kosovo is new and is going through whatever procedures are required to join. The current China replaced the Republic of China (incorrectly in my view.) The main reason Taiwan isn't a member is that China throws a hissy fit anytime a country makes noises about recognizing a de-facto situation. And Vatican city isn't really a nation state.

Quite frankly, I don't think some of the current members really ought to be allowed a say in what is essentially a rudimentary form of world government. A nation ought to demonstrate some basic competence at governing itself before being allowed a voice in world affairs. On those grounds failed states (in no particular order) like Afghanistan, Somalia, Jamaica, Congo, and Zimbabwe should be expelled. Isolationist states like North Korea and Myanmar/Burma ought not to be allowed to participate till they can pass the kindergarten test. (Sharing and playing nice with others.) 

Then I got to thinking about the recent economic issues, and wondered how it would turn out if a member country was put on suspension till they get their affairs in order? Sort of like a company seeking bankruptcy protection. So Greece, to use an example currently in the news, would have it's membership suspended until it pays back the IMF or EU loans. Maybe the humiliation of having that happen would inspire countries to govern themselves better. 

The security council has to go. It's a relic of WWII and doesn't reflect current realities. Each of them having a veto is stupid. There's got to be a better way of doing things. Rather than military power, perhaps the top economic powers should be chosen, and it should be a larger group. It's becoming much more effective to wage economic warfare rather than military. Slower, less dramatic, but people have shown enormous resiliency in standing up to military power. Right now in Afghanistan a small diffuse group of third world tribes are kicking the developed world in the shins and getting away with it. But deprive people of cell phones and the new iPod and by golly changes will be made.

Members that don't pay their dues should get dropped, then have to go through whatever procedures exist to re-join, starting at the back of the line. It's difficult to enforce this on the bully states though. And really, the UN ought to meet on neutral ground. At least once the USA has denied a visa to someone wanting to speak at the UN.

The big problem is that a majority is not always right. If it came to a vote a majority of countries might line up to say that Israel doesn't have a right to exist. Some believe it to the core of their being, and some of the smaller countries could be bullied into voting that way. It's clear the UN should have acted in Rwanda, but the majority of members in 1994 didn't think it was a problem that Africans were slaughtering one another. Each country acts in its own self interest, and that interest is usually very short term. The open seas fisheries are a good example. Really, all commercial fishing should stop for at least several decades to let the fish stocks build up again, but nobody will agree to that. Canada can't even agree to stop in our own waters, since a loud group of fishermen are saying the stocks are building again, and there's thousands of seals on Sable Island that are eating the cod so they want the seals culled. Bah!

I dream of a race of civilized and advanced aliens following our radio and TV signals back. Along the way they've picked up 80 years of news and have a pretty good grip on current affairs. They can speak most of the major languages. Once here they recognize that some of the primates, whales, dolphins, elephants, and maybe octopus, big cats, and polar bears are actually sentient creatures and learn to speak with them as well. Are they going to want to deal with the UN? What actions are they going to take?

Friday, May 28, 2010

The basement is empty without Estela

It was tough dragging myself to the pool this morning. I wanted to sleep more. Swam an hour. It went pretty well. 4x500 as a main set. First three were good, last was 10 seconds slower. There were lots of people in the pool swimming just a bit slower than my. My inner shark came out to play, urging me to catch them, and pass them. And I did.

Estela is in the shop for a spring tuneup. They called today, and there is some additional work needed. Well, lots of additional work. New chain, chain rings, and cassette. They were all worn and the chain was stretched. No wonder I was having trouble shifting onto the big ring. While I was at it I had them put on new shifter cables since the old ones were munged up. New tires. Plus the regular tune up stuff. I'll practically have a new bike at the end of it, which is a good thing. Peace of mind when you're heading downhill at +80 Kph while out in the boonies is a good thing.

So I didn't have a bike for a spin session tonight. The hybrid won't fit on the trainer. It's much too wet and cold to ride outside. The pool is closed at 7pm today, which is a surprise, so no going to the gym. That left a run, which didn't thrill me to be honest. When I say wet and cold when I was thinking about running, I'm talking pouring rain, and cold enough to see your breath on the air. I decided to go anyways. Dressed like it was winter, practically. At least it stopped raining, but it was no warmer.

The run plan was run easy, faster, faster yet, all out, then back to faster yet, then easy. I really wasn't sure about the whole darned thing, but what do I know. Once I sucked it up and went outside my legs did just fine. I'm still breathing a bit harder than what I think I should be doing for a given heart rate. Or if you like, my heart rate is a bit low for a given breathing effort. Not as bad as on the bike the other day.

Ran an hour, and was mildly astonished to be able to run zone 3 (all right, the very bottom of zone 3) after 10 minutes of running just about as fast as I can run. One hour. Stretched after.

Time to go. Linda is watching the British version of Coupling, just about the funniest show ever on television. This episode is "Inferno". With the bi-vegetarian line. Susi is laughing already. Gotta go.

Thursday, May 27, 2010


Look what Julie is missing! It started snowing harder just as I started my run. There is a snowfall warning in effect.

But I began with long, slow, core stuff this evening. 35 minutes. Plank. Pushups. Reverse lunges. One leg squats. Lots of other stuff, doing them slow, trying for good form. The first pushup I thought my shoulders were going to explode what with all the weird noises, but they settled in just fine.

Then dressing up for outside. It's not cold, maybe just above 0 or so, just snowing really hard. We've got maybe an inch in our front yard now. I'm laughing at all the people that planted expensive annuals last weekend.

Run was pretty good, though I was soaking wet the entire time, and felt heavy. I had to dodge around and duck under bent over tree branches on the path. I didn't take the camera or it could have been a good shot. Ran 75 minutes trying to avoid going clump clump clump, but it's a bit tough when there is a build up of slush on the path in places. Hams were on the verge of cramping for most of the run. Walked a few minutes to cool down and stretched after.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Doing the Wild Thing

Linda is on vacation so I hit the pool at soon as it opened. This is the first time I've ever been to Renfrew for the opening, and what a mob! There was nearly two dozen people standing there waiting. Lively conversation, since almost all of them are regulars.

Shared a lane with 3 other people at first, including one of the lifeguards that work there. After a while I was swimming alone. And no, there are no bruises on my elbows, why would you think so? Just over an hour. Swam 100 m pretending I had a band on. 10x100 with 10 seconds rest, done in 19:50 though I didn't get that 10 seconds each time, since I had to stay ahead of the guy that won't let me pass if I should get behind him and I'd rather be short of breath. Chatted with Tex. He's a guy from Texas that did Kona last year, and swims at Renfrew pretty regular. Stretched shoulders after.

My legs are beat from the biking the last couple days. I have to take Estela in for a spring tune up tomorrow, so I figured I'd get a good night at yoga instead of having another sufferfest like last week, run tomorrow instead of riding, since it's going to be rainy and cold and I don't mind running in the wet and cold. With any luck the weekend will be nice enough to catch up on the ride.

Yoga was good, working on lots of things that need stretching. I know you're wondering about someone my age doing the Wild Thing. Start in Downward Dog. Lift one leg and stretch it out straight behind you. Then bend at the knee and try to touch your toes to your butt. Now stabalize, if you haven't already, lift that bent knee out to the side and slide the toes across the mid-line of the body. Stretch. Look at your toes over your shoulder, if you can. I can't. My shoulders are the painful part of this.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Almost into the retaste zone

Today's bike was one of those hard, harder, hardest things. It's ok out, but not summer, maybe 14C (57F) so I wore a long sleeve tech shirt. Warmed up 25 minutes. Then it was 3x15 H, H-er, H-est, with 5 minutes rest in between.

Holy crap. When running, I can settle in at 130, 131 bpm, breathing nice, good stride, feeling strong, going for a long time. Somewhere there is the bottom of zone 3 for me. Once I get up to 145 bpm I'm breathing really hard, but still in control. Getting over 150 is panting and the end will come soon.

So there I am, out on 22X trying to get my heart rate over 120 and having to push surprisingly hard. That 15 minutes averaged 121 and I was breathing pretty hard. That got me out to 22, and I turned south. Pushed harder, trying to keep the rpm up around 90, and managed to get my heart rate average up to 124. Breathing really hard, like a 140 bpm run. Legs are getting tired and I eased off a couple minutes early to stretch out my knees. It's hard to have your "easy" going up hill into the wind, but such are the joys of outdoor riding. For the last one I was determined to get my average heart rate over 130. I stand up to power over the top of the hill, and get up to speed. I'm pedaling like a madman at over 90 rpm. Trying to spin smooth. Mostly into the wind, so I'm pushing hard. Core is engaged, as in like a 5 carat engagement ring. Trying to keep my upper body still with my arms responsive to wind gusts and not reefing on the handlebars. Lungs are going like a 145 bpm run. I'm wondering how long I can keep this up.

What's my heart doing? Having fruity drinks delivered to the deck chair. Oh sure, it's doing some work, yeah, but not getting far from that deck chair. I remember looking at my watch through bulging eyes to see the max heart rate of 136 bpm. My legs are turning into noodles trying to keep 95 rpm. A minute later my heart rate is 130, and a minute later 127. I'm putting more power into the pedals at a higher rpm than ever before, I'm pretty sure, and my heart rate is dropping. WTF? The average over the last 15 minutes was 125. I'm not kidding. Several times I even counted my pulse (which is just a bit tricky, let me tell you) and got numbers pretty close to what the heart rate monitor was telling me. Getting towards the end of that set, near the Red Deer Lake School, I'm at 90 rpm pushing hard, breathing hard and my heart rate is down to 120. I'm trying to push harder, and I can't. The tummy is beginning to send some warning signals upstairs. I'm starting to regret the water I had earlier.

The end came just in time. I dropped 10 Kph off my pace, and my heart rate almost fell into double digits. Did some spin ups on the way home to help flush out the legs. The best one was the left turn at the lights onto 37th street. It's fun taking a corner at nearly 40 Kph and keeping up with the cars as they accelerate. At the very end of the ride as I passed the driveway my heart rate was 94. Cruised into the cul-de-sac behind our house, pedaling easy, and my heart rate drops to 74. I'm having a tough time believing this, but a manual check agrees.

Total ride was 1:40. Legs are tired. Tried the reverse lunges and leg drops and there is no way. My heart is on vacation, I think. Just sitting here typing the blog my heart rate is 48.

Tomorrow is supposed to be nice, then we're in for several days of crappy weather. I may be back on the (ack, choke) bike trainer. There is no way I'm going to ride in rain at 7 C (44.6 F) which is the high for Thursday. That's a sure bet for hypothermia. It might snow on Friday.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Anatomy of shopping for pants

Today was the nicest day of the long weekend so I'm glad I saved it for my long ride and T run. Still, it wasn't exactly warm. The weather page said it was 9 C (48 F) and was supposed to warm up to 14 or 15 C ( 59F). I was a bit torn about how much to wear. Last time, even though I was a bit cold at times I thought I had on too much. Today, maybe I had on too little. Shorts and a short sleeve tech shirt. As a concession to the possibility of being cold I took along arm warmers. I was the only person dressed that way. Everybody else I saw had on long sleeved shirts, and some had tights on. So if you see a blog talking about some lunatic on Monday riding in the freezing windy cold in shorts and a tech shirt on 22X, that was probably me. Still, for almost the entire ride I was just warm enough. I never even thought seriously about putting on the arm warmers. It sure made a difference about being in the sun or shade though.

The ride itself was great! Straight out 22X and back for about 74 K, plus a loop around the block to bring the ride up to 3 hrs exactly. 1:30 out, 1:20 back. Oddly enough the wind was from the SE to the NW, sort of an unusual direction so my time out was a bit faster than expected, but coming back was not as slow as I'd expected. All is good. My legs felt strong for the whole ride. The idea for today was to work on pedaling efficiency mostly in zone 2, with a bit in zone 3 on the way back. The timing of that worked out pretty good since it included the big curving hill up out of the Priddis Valley. I could have ridden much further.

This was the first ride of the year that I made up my energy drink for and thought about nutrition. Took two Clif's bars, including my fave flavour mint chocolate. I always save them for the last part of the ride. The little hit of mint is a great mental boost. Drank all but a mouthful of the drink, and had half a bar left. I didn't start on nutrition till the first hour was done, and by the end of the ride I was beginning to feel a bit full. My thinking is that since it wasn't hot I wasn't sweating, and since I wasn't pushing hard I wasn't burning so many calories. I even put on the rack to carry two extra water bottles. I figured if I didn't drink them it will do me good to push the extra 1.5 Kg around, and if I needed it for some reason I'd have it.

26 Kph Avg speed per bike computer, 25.7 per calculation
80 rpm Avg cadence
72 Kph max speed
77.5 K total ride distance
3:00:45 total ride time

2:45 transition then out for the 25 minute run. It took about 2 K to find my legs. My lungs were really working here, but my heart rate was good. During the last K I settled into what felt like a nice half IM pace and I could have run more. 3.1 K in 22 minutes, plus a bit more to bring up the time to 25 minutes. The last K was about 6:30 pace which felt good. The first two were slow. Walked and stretched after.

The brutal part of the day was shopping for pants. I've slimmed down enough that my jeans are all really baggy, and all need a belt. I know most of you think this is a good problem to have, but I hate shopping for clothes. Especially for pants! Still, this time worked out pretty well.

4:20 Penetrate the Eddie Bauer perimeter.
4:21 Find the jeans rack, proceed on to look for black business casual pants.
4:22 Find what I hope to be my size in black pants. Which bears no relationship to the size the tape measure on my body gives me.
4:24 Round up a clerk with a key to the change room. They tend to raise a fuss if you change in the store, but I don't give a rat's ass. All I want is to be out of there so if they won't let me into a locked change room (why lock an empty cubicle?) I'm just going to change pants in the middle of the store. I wear less in the pool, so why should anyone get worked up? Just another one of those mysteries of life that baffle me.
4:25 On the way into the change rooms there's a woman coming out to let her buddy look at her pants. More specifically given the way she was showing it off, to look at her ass. Heroically I managed to not say out loud that those pants in fact DID make her ass look fat but it wasn't their fault. Women are so unappreciative of the truth in some circumstances.
4:28 They fit, return to shelves to get another pair the same size. I figure if they are somehow a different size and don't fit when I get home I'll return them. Give them to the nice clerk and ask her to put them by the checkout for me.
4:29 At the jeans rack, pull out a pair I think are my size.
4:30 Back into the change room, in the very same room I'd cleverly left unlocked. The woman and her buddy are still checking out her ass. It's still fat.
4:33 They fit. Out. Pick up another pair the same size. Same logic. The woman and her buddy come out to look at the pants in store lighting. Still fat.
4:35 Pay and escape. Pants shopping done for another couple of years.

Actually, I pretty much hate shopping period. My preferred method is to make a list of the things I needed, and plan the most efficient route to get them. I don't want to look at anything else. I don't want to think about alternatives unless I have to. I'd prefer not to trample children and small adults (the impact would slow me down slightly) but my body language projects the path I'm taking and my willingness to walk through anyone in my way. I love what triathlon training has done for my walking speed. I don't want to hear about special offers. I don't want a sample. I don't have your special customer loyalty card and I don't want one. I'll smile and be polite to the store staff, but I'm clear this is a business conversation with a very limited time span. Store staff that are talking to each other will be interrupted mercilessly; they are there to make the customer happy and that's me. My credit card has "ask 4 photo ID" instead of a signature, and I expect to be asked to produce it. My fingers are on my drivers license ready to hand it over. Restaurant staff that ask get a bigger tip. I expect store staff to be competent at operating the modern equivalent of a cash register, to know what the store has and where it is. Exactly where it is and no lollygagging. I often amuse myself by telling them how much change to give back to me before the machine tells them how much it is. It's not that I'm fast at arithmetic, I'm not, I just know how to count change and give money to the customer. Almost every clerk gets it wrong, but it would slow me down to correct them.  Often I don't want a bag, and I don't want advertising flyers. If I want more details, or need assistance, I will ask. If you have more than 12 items in the fast checkout line in front of me, I will speak up.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

How steep is that hill?

Slept like crap last night so it was easy to be at the pool at 7. Lots of drill today. I wanted to be done because I was pretty sure the pool was going to turn into a zoo at 8, and I was right. Just as I finished up a guy hopped into the lane and starting doing what he calls swimming. It's very slow, and very wide. During the non-drill bits, and there wasn't much of that, I was pushing pretty hard. 60 minutes.

Home breakfast relax a bit, then out for a 65 minute run down into Fish Creek. Short walk before and after. Just across bridge 1 is a steep hill. How steep? Enough that my ankles don't lean forward that much while running. I had to turn sideways a bit or else run on my toes. Ran all the way to a little wood bridge then back. Mostly easy at the top of zone 2, with a bit in zone 3 on the hills.

There was just enough time for a bit of stretching (not enough, really) a shower, then off to a book club meeting. Puttering around the house. Trying to work up the ambition to bleach a bunch of wine bottles.

Normally I'd be doing a brick today, but the pool is closed tomorrow, and it's cloudy and cold. Tomorrow looks much nicer for a bike ride. So I swapped days.

I don't get news from the thin sliced bits of dead trees. That is time to relax, drink coffee, gradually wake, and continue to hone my advertising avoidance skills. Every now and then there is a bit of fluff that is interesting reading. Then I wash the ink off my hands.

Weekly Summary
Swim 4.5 hrs
Bike 3.75 hrs
Run 4.35 hrs
Walk .5 hrs
Total Cardio 13.0 hrs
Core 2.0 hrs
Total 15.0 hrs

Saturday, May 22, 2010

I threw up more than a little in my mouth

No, not from my workouts. Reading about what Missy is up to this weekend in the Triple-T. I'd known she was doing the 4 triathlons in 3 days but hadn't read the actual details. I had my hand over my mouth by the end. Go Missy Go!

Contrary to what some people might think, I'm not feeling down about my ride on Thursday. That's a tough ride at the best of times and the wind and extra clothing made it more of a challenge than usual. But I was in pretty good spirits throughout the ride. However I was beat at the end of it, so I decided that Friday was going to be my rest day. I could feel the fatigue in the morning, but by the afternoon I was feeling pretty good. The weather was nice, and if I'd planned a little better I could have gone for a run.

Saturday I bounced out of bed and was at the pool by 6:45 waiting for it to open. Shared the lane the entire time with another slow swimmer. When the guy with the supper baggy shorts got out, a stout woman got in. Both were good fodder for chasing down during the hard parts of the swim. There was a slender guy swimming a couple lanes over. I suspect he's part of a Master's group out slumming. Geez could he swim! He rocketed past me on my hards. Even during the fin set, when I was swimming about 80 second 100's, he still passed me. Not as quickly, but still. Swam 1.25 hrs.

Once home I read the paper for a while and had some breakfast, then a bit later went out for my Friday run.  I wish they were all like this. My feet were light and happy. Ran 3x7 hard, pushing my heart rate up to the very top of zone 3, and verging into zone 4 on the little uphills. My core was working, and one I convinced my left shoulder to stop nuzzling up to my left ear, all was good. A few times I could even feel my heels coming up off the ground and my knee bending much more than usual, and my leg driving through. Unfortunately I don't have the stamina to keep that going long. Ran 64 minutes, down into Fish Creek and back.

Temperature was nicer than expected, but still chilly. Nice for a run, but cold for riding. We'll see what Julie says in her about her epic ride this am. I hope she got to see the buffalo calves.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

RtN The slowest ever.

I don't know where to start. Today was the first day this year going down the Road to Nepal and back. It was windy and cold. I wore tights over my shorts, long sleeve tech shirt with arm warmers under it, and a vest over it. Full finger gloves. I was hot for a while in the sun and out of the wind, but most of the ride was cold. I think it was 12 C (54 F) when I started, and about 8 C (46 F) when I finished. And windy, lets not forget the wind. On the way back I saw a guy heading out wearing shorts and a short sleeved top. He's either an idiot or part polar bear.

Tried to keep the cadence up during the ride down to 22X and get warm. I knew I was in for a tough ride when the wind was pushing me around on the first hill south of 22X. Normally I hit 65 or 70 Kph there, and barely made 40 today. Going up the first hill told me the ride was going to be even tougher. For a while I was wondering if I'd bitten off more than I could chew. My left calf was cramping on the way up the hill, but I made it to the top and managed to stretch it out and it was ok after.

I had lots of time to think during the ride. I thought of bailing a bunch of times. There was no speed or strength in my legs at all. Most of the ride was in the small chainring. Lots of the downhills I didn't even bother shifting into the big ring, since I'd be out of it again so soon. It's very disheartening to have to pedal downhill to maintain speed. I coasted a bunch. It felt like I was pulling a parachute the entire ride. I'm not even sure which way the wind was actually blowing, all I know is that it was in my face the entire ride.

How slow was it? 2:45. For 51 K (31.7 miles). Geez. I can barely bring myself to write that down. That's slower than the very first time I ever did it, wondering if I was going to live through the experience. It's a good thing I didn't have any firm time goals for this ride. I sort of thought maybe 2:15 to 2:20 but knew RtN has a way of brutalizing time goals.

I'm pleased it's done. It can only get better, right? Physically it wasn't so tough, but mentally it was probably the second toughest ride I've ever done. I didn't even consider pushing harder to avoid having it be the slowest ride. I just wanted to get it over with. The only thing that kept me going was the thought of asking Linda to come and get me, and have her driving down wondering what I'd done to myself. Oh, and having to explain here that I bailed on yet another bike ride.

Julie, did you see the buffalo calves during any of your rides? They were in the paddock right by the road, and they're soooo cute! Mama isn't cute though, and gave me the eye. I was maybe 50 feet from them, and I'm not kidding when I say I felt the menace.

I'm pretty sure I'm going to try to sleep in a bit tomorrow, and move the swim to Sat. I didn't even consider even trying the core tonight. Usually, even if I suspect it might not be good I have a fair go anyway and see how it turns out. Tonight my body said no way. I admit the possibility I could get a great night's sleep and be ready and raring for the pool in the morning, but I wouldn't bet on it.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

The goodness of stroke improvement

I was all rested and happy to swim. 3x400, descending. And I did, much to my surprise. I started off feeling heavy and slow in the water during warm up, but being in the same lane as 2 other people swimming faster, and another swimming only slightly slower, had a way of waking me up. By the end of the warm up I was mostly in the groove, or so I thought.

First 400 was pretty good, right about my 1K pace. Then I decided to work on my stroke. Without putting more effort into it, and in fact I wasn't breathing anywhere near as hard at the end, I was 8 seconds faster. For the third I tried to swim well, and put some more muscle into it, and really powered through the flip turns, and took another 8 seconds off. I was pretty pleased by that.

Then more stuff. Meanwhile the guy doing fast intervals, and the fast girl left, so I was chasing the slightly slower swimmer, trying to lap her as often as possible. It worked out pretty good. 70 minute swim.

75 minute run in the evening, up to the reservoir and back, as an even split. Morally it was a negative split because I got caught at the lights on the way back and not on the way up. Ran easy at the bottom of zone 3 for the first half, but the heart rate went up about 4 bpm on the way back to maintain the pace. More uphill, and getting tired.

Tummy and guts were a bit sloshy for the first 2/3rd or so of the run, and there was a time about the 50 minute mark where I had really tired feet and calves, but that passed. However it all settled down and turned into a very nice run. Walked 5 minutes warm up and cool down, and started the run easy, and ended it easy as well.

Into the house, snabbled a peanut butter and nutella sandwich and some milk. Ate it while changing, and was still munching the last mouthful as I got into the shower. I kind of figured the yoga studio didn't want my icky run sweat all over their nice mats and floor. Zoomed over to the studio, where Fiona tried to kill me. My shoulders are really tight; almost anything but swimming is painful or nearly so. Nearly went to sleep in Savasana. Time for real sleep in a real bed.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

The rulz for today's bike

Local thunderstorms were forecast for the Calgary area.  Local can mean horror show weather in one place, with nice sunshine just a mile away. Or less. The plan called for a warm up, 4x10 hard with cadence above 90 rpm. I really wanted to do it outdoors. I got through the entire winter without running on a treadmill once, and I'd really like to not get back on the trainer till after IMC.

At work, in the baking heat because the air conditioning isn't working, I made up the rulz for tonight's ride, so I'd know when to quit, if I had to. It's so hot in the office they brought in those industrial fans they use after floods.

  • Go if it's raining. (I need to learn to ride in the rain.)
  • Obey the traffic lights regardless of hard easy cycle. (It's rush hour and I'm not suicidal.) (There are three lights to go straight through, and two uncontrolled left turns.)
  • Sprint the bit of Anderson Road between 24th St and Woodpark Blvd, regardless of the hard easy cycle. (Not much shoulder and lots of traffic.)
  • Stop if there is hail or nearby lightning. (With any luck the first strike won't be *really* nearby.)
  • Stay fairly close to home so I can bail if I need to, so ride the 37 St, Anderson, through the neighbourhood loop of 9.25 K. (Thunderstorms here can be very violent with 100 Kph wind gusts and grape sized hail being common.)

What I forgot to wear was my glasses with the lanyard. This keeps them nice and snug. My regular glasses slide down just a bit. Not enough to notice most of the time, but when you're peering out beneath your eyebrows, every mm you have to lift your head counts. Plus I was scrunching my nose to keep the glasses up. Not a good look, and not good for the neck and shoulder muscles.

The ride ended up being a 20 min warm up, 2x10 hard, with 5 minutes easy between. Just as I was about to start the 3rd hard, the wind started getting crazy gusty blowing dust everywhere. It's hard to ride when you have your eyes squinched shut. I headed into the neighbourhood roads to get some shelter from the wind and see if it would pass. Turning one corner I was nearly blown over. I bailed out at just under the hour mark.

Lots of stretching and core after, nearly 45 minutes worth. Plank was till too painful. Front and side each.

Oh, and in the good news department I got my paper back from Mount Royal University,  and I passed! So now I'm a certified Business Analyst. I guess the next thing is join the IIBA and work on further credentials. My paper was to investigate the potential of creating an iPhone app for triathletes to replace bike computer, heart rate monitor, GPS device, and run pedometer. Plus do all the spiffy calcs with such data, or upload it to an internet service.

Monday, May 17, 2010

How quickly things change

Swam an hour and 5 minutes or so. Lots of 50 m intervals. 30 of them. First on 70, then 65, then 60. Meanwhile Mz. Backstroke is staying out of my way as usual, but a new, slow swimmer hasn't figured out fast, medium, and slow lanes yet. I was ending up craning my neck looking for her so I don't run her over, and actually gave myself a bit of a headache doing it. Sigh. She'll learn, sooner or later. The swim went pretty good, though the last several intervals were essentially being done without a rest.

It was hot for the run, 24 C (75F) is a warm day in Calgary, and where I start thinking it's hot. Plus some humidity, which is every unusual, and very unpleasant. 24% is gack. It seems like only a week ago the problem was staying warm during the run.

Ran an hour in the evening. I was going to try to keep my heart rate low zone 3, but between the heat and the pace my legs wanted to run it was pretty steady at 135 to 138, and my watch says 135 as an average for the hour. Walked 5 and did some light stretching to warm up. I was about a 5 minute walk from where I started at the end of my out and back run. Not sure how far I went. 10 minute walk cool down and stretched.

My watch says I burned 1034 calories in a one hour run mid zone 3. My weight is set right. Is such a thing possible?

Sunday, May 16, 2010

A great ride on a perfect day

After a long and sucky spring, we are at last getting the sunny warm weather we love so much. Which means, of course, yard work. Mowed the lawn, repressed the dandylions, picked up garbage, and did a bit of raking. Not my fave, but it has to be done.

Spent some time with my coach on Saturday. She wanted to see me run, and check out the core stuff for herself. We talked lots about the upcoming training and race season. All is going well. I was happy to hear the core is being dialed back a little in favour of more time on the bike. Both of us were impressed and surprised at me doing 15 pushups. A new record for me! Yay!

Sunday morning shortly after 9 I was out on the road. It was already warm and sunny. Just coming to 22X I saw a huge pack of bikes, about 20 or so heading south on Road to Nepal. A few minutes later another pack of 17 followed them. I debated jumping on the train, but stuck with my plan. 22X in 19:30 or so, turned left on 22 at just under 45 minutes. Working on keeping cadence up and heart rate a little higher. Towards the end of this south leg the wind started picking up and I started slowing down. For a bit. Then picked it up and pushed harder.

At Millarville turned right onto 549 and headed west. I felt like a total champ here! Riding west, with a beautiful view of the mountains just right there in my face. Riding at 30+ Kph without really trying. Turned around at the 90 minute mark, then realized how much of a tail wind I had had. Riding back to 22 at 25 Kph was work. Just before getting there I saw another big pack go by, not sure if it was one of the same ones or not. This is the first time I've ever seen such big bike packs. In fact, I saw more bikes today than any other ride I could remember, lots of pairs and threes. Most of them waved, a few said hello.

Somewhere about here was 40 K in 1:34 or so. A small pack started riding north at 549 east just as I got there so I rode with them for a while. This is the first time I've really ever ridden with a pack and it made the ride go quick. Turns out they were lost, and stopped to debate the way home at Plummer's road. They caught up again as I struggled up a hill and once again I picked it up rather than get dropped. Rode with them till the hill down to 22X. I was starting to have to feather the brakes to avoid closing in too much, so I said screw it and dropped them. I essentially did race pace from there to 37th St. I knew they would stop at the Red Deer School, and I didn't want them to catch me. Grrrr. And they didn't. Easy ride up 37 St home.

Days like this are why I love owning a nice road bike. The scenery here is first rate. There is a wide shoulder for most of the ride I did. Where they aren't so wide the drivers are pretty considerate. The hills and wind were just right today; enough to be a challenge but not so much to turn it into a slog. I felt strong throughout the ride. This is the first time I've ever, EVER dropped "real" bike riders. My legs were right into the spinning thing, and my butt didn't mind the saddle. The only part going numb was my left hand.

2 minute transition. Run. Ugg. This was not pretty and not strong. I never did find my running legs, and plodded along. My left leg was feeling a bit pokey and it felt like I was limping on it. I ended up walking a couple times in that 20 minutes to give my legs a bit of a rest and get my heart rate back down. I was just beginning to feel the heat. I didn't mind though. This is the first real brick of the year for me. For some reason a run off the trainer isn't quite the same. Plus I'd pushed the bike a bit so I knew I'd have tired legs going into the run. They have to learn to deal with it.

Back home in 2:49:30 for 76.5 K.
27.2 Avg pace
81 rpm avg cadence
127 bpm avg heart rate on the bike.

Weekly Summary
Swim 3.0 hrs
Bike 5.9 hrs
Run 3.3 hrs
Walk .33
Total cardio 12.5 hrs
Core 2.25
Total 14.75

Friday, May 14, 2010

It took 43 minutes, almost exactly

I was on my way into the shower room at Canyon Meadows when just like that, the poop fairy visited. Good thing that didn't happen a few minutes later. Joined a lane with two other people. One guy that swam a little slower, and a rude girl swimming a lot slower. She liked standing in the centre of the lane while resting, and several times pushed off ahead of me and the other guy. Knowing we were there. While she was doing kick. Sigh. I splashed her once really good during the flip turn on the fin set but didn't get a chance to actually talk to her. No doubt she thinks I'm a jerk. Swim was an hour and a few minutes. Some of it very fast. Like the time I passed her and the other guy in one length.

It's a beautiful evening for a run. Just right temp, with a light breeze. My legs were a bit tired to start so I wasn't sure what to expect. Walked 10 to warm up. Ran easy 10 mid zone 2 or so. Then ran fairly hard 12 minutes, aiming to get my heart rate up near the top of zone 3 but not over. Ran 3 easy. All good. The next 12 were a bit tougher and I slowed down a bit. The last 12 started at 40 minutes and was a bit of a struggle. Then suddenly I thought to myself "I can run better than this." And the groove happened at 43 minutes. I picked up the pace, going up hill, and my heart rate dropped a bit. It flattened out and I sped up a bit, with my heart rate constant. It stayed like that till 52 minutes probably running as fast as I've ever run, and feeling pretty good about it. There was no need to slow down at the 52, but I'm a slave to my schedule. Ran easy at the zone 2/3 border relaxing. I had to run an extra 2:30 to get back to my starting point. I think that first 12 minute set was very fast. My legs felt great after. I could have run lots more than the 1:02:30 for 9.4 K. Walked another 10 minutes to get home, and stretched. I am super pleased how this turned out. Here it is Friday after another busy week. I'll be going to bed soon, but I'm not beat like I've been so often lately.

And yes, the glass of wine with dinner was excellent.

Here's a video that is a sobering reminder of what can happen to us in a heartbeat. Something to think about on your next ride, and the next time you drive past cyclists. My heart goes out to the family and friends of the dead and injured.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

24 K, into the wind

Sounds like the start to a Stan Roger's song doesn't it? Tried to find a link to him doing Rolling down to old Maui, which is my fave of his, but couldn't. Oh well. The alternative title I was considering was "Burping Greek Salad the entire ride" but I'll just leave that to your imaginations.

Tonight's bike was the first ride of the season out 22X. No special plan, just ride and see how it feels, and how the time turns out. And other stuff. I know Julie has been pining away (but not pining for the fjords) because I haven't put many numbers in my blog lately. This batch should make her happy. (hahahahaha!)

Rode 1 hour out 22X down 22, 24K, turned around and got home in 48 minutes. Rode a few more minutes to cool down mainly doing easy spin.
48.13 K total ride
26.4 Kph average speed, including an easy start and finish.
76 rpm average cadence
64 Kph max speed
131 rpm max cadence
119 Avg heart rate
138 peak heart rate
81 min heart rate
1486 calories burned (I take this with a grain of salt or two)

It turned out to be a bit windier and a bit cooler than I thought it would be, and ended up coming home a bit chilled. There is still some snow in the ditches on 22. Out in the full sun and everything, not hiding.

Mostly the ride felt pretty good, though it turned into a bit of a slog going south on 22. Since coming back I was in a dead calm at 30 Kph, you know what the wind was like. Yeah Julie, I know any day it's under 30 Kph for you is practically a red letter day. I'm not complaining, just saying what it was. My legs didn't feel too bad, they did a pretty good spin, and felt fairly strong going up hills. I pooped out a little on the last bit coming home, and they were a bit trembly getting off the bike. Nibbled a Clif's bar during the last half of the ride. Oddly enough, my right triceps is what hurts most.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

A long day, very tired now

Swim was good. Very good. Lots of fast stuff. 1 hr. At the very end was a 200 m all out, and a 100 m all out, with a rest and some easy stuff in between. They were 3:35 and 1:39 respectively. My arms were ready to fall off but during the last part of each I could dig in a little harder. For most of the swim I had to pay a lot of attention to form. I could feel my arms wanting to swim straight, and I could feel my legs wanting to drag.

Went straight from swimming to donate blood. I've got type A rh Neg blood, so it's almost perfect. If I don't donate, they'll phone and ask. And keep on asking till I do. I think they have a tough time getting enough.

Today was nice and warm. In fact it was almost hot during the run. 70 minutes. Did twice around my 5K route nice and steady, 33:05 and 32:50, then some easy run to cool down. For most of the run my heart rate was higher than I would have expected by my breathing. For the first while I believed that because I had a really crappy stride going. It took the first 5K to get into the groove. Average HR turns out to be low zone 3, but most of the run was closer to mid zone 3.

I had to sit out part of the yoga class. I got the major head spins while doing this Eagle Warrior bending thingie. For a bit of it my breathing and heart rate were right up there as if I were running. Which felt very weird.

Time for bed.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

We're much happier now

Me and Estela were outside for the first real ride of the season. I'm not counting the short ride to a flat tire a couple weeks ago. It's still not exactly warm here, maybe 10 C (50F) while I was riding, but I didn't care. I had to get out. I know lots of you from around here have been out already, but I'm a weenie when it comes to bike weather. I'll happily run outside in minus WTF weather, but this is about as cold as I like to do for rides. The rest of the week is supposed to be nice.

Today was just around the neighbourhood polishing up the rusty bike handling skills. The plan called for some hills repeats And what do you know, almost exactly a year ago the plan called for some hills so I went back to the same one. Now this isn't much of a hill, really. Not anymore. It's the road from the bottom of 24th st down into Bebo Grove in Fish Creek.

Last year going hard it took 2 minutes to go up, and easy took 3. The hill is about .5 K long. I'm not sure I was starting in exactly the same spot but it was within a few metres anyways. Now the easy ones were about 2:30 to 2:35, and the hards were 1:33 to 1:40. Last year I was nearly ready to spew after some of the hards and my heart rate was sky high. This year I didn't go full out to be mindful of my calves; they're still a bit tender. I'll call that progress. Soon I'll find out how Road to Nepal feels.

As a side note, I run up this hill a lot. It used to be a lot longer and steeper, I'm sure.

Rode around the neighbourhood some more to cool down and spin the legs. Total ride 1.25 hrs. I find it's much harder to spin fast outside. I am super pleased with this ride since I felt fairly strong and comfortable on the bike. None of the knee or calf twinges I've been having.

Then a half hour of core and stretching. Actual core was cut a bit short because I got some mild hamstring cramps doing the lunges.

Monday, May 10, 2010


Nope, not Estela. Me. During the swim. I used to have loose shoulders and could click them at will. Then I started swimming a lot more and they tightened up so that they rarely click. Lately there's been more clicks, and not just the mouse kind. But today in the pool was almost scary.

Easy freestyle to warm up, then some pull, some breast stroke (yeah I know, but I'm a slave to my schedule) then backstroke. I kind of like backstroke. But today my right shoulder went thunk just after getting my hand into the water and starting to apply some power. Thunk, not click. It didn't hurt, but it echoed. Fortunately there was only 50 m of it. Then lots of fast stuff in 150, 100, and 50 m sets. No thunks. It wasn't the fastest I've done those, and each was slightly slower than the one before it, but I pushed pretty hard. Cooled down, including more breast stroke. I'm a bit surprised. I didn't use to be able to swim breast stroke. I'd thrash around and several minutes later I'd get to the other end and the lifeguards would give me shit for warming up their pool. I did ok for warmup, but during cool down I gave myself a good hamstring cramp. Filled out the hour with some pull, concentrating on the catch, and some easy freestyle, concentrating on the flip.

Tonight I ran this route, for 8.2 K. Last time I remember doing it I had to struggle to get it done in an hour. Today was supposed to be a nice enjoyable run. I wore the new heart rate monitor just to see where the numbers were. For the first half, my heart rate was always a little lower than what I thought based on breathing. During the last half it was the opposite. I pretty well nailed the border between zone 2 and 3 and stayed there except for up the hill out of Fish Creek, and ended up the run in 53:15. I was a little bit surprised, since it was a heavy footed run throughout. I never really got into the groove. Ran a little more to bring it to the 55 minutes on the schedule. Walked 5 min to warm up, 10 to cool down, with stretching before and after as well. Nice night for a run.

One of my regular readers has a contest for athletic hairbands. I'm not sure if it's for athletes with hair, or people with athletic hair. Check it out.

And Kristen, I don't think those two were lovers. Might have been gay, but certainly not with each other, or at least not anymore.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Who needs Springer on TV?

It is a sad commentary on my life that I know who Jerry Springer is, and that I've see chunks of his "program". Or whatever it should be called. However, there is a mitigating circumstance, and it's called a month in Fox Creek. Twice, for my sins. Of my readers I think only Susi, and maybe Leana have been to Fox Vegas, as it's called. (All losers, all the time.) Susi stayed with a buddy, so she managed to eat real food, and not have to worry about what else you were sharing the bed and shower with.

This is a town where the best place to eat was the Husky House restaurant. By far. For those unfamiliar with Canadian gas stations, well,  it's a gas station with a restaurant. Not a classy place, when many of the regulars wear their work coveralls and steel toed gum boots to the table. I've been to much worse and several of them are a short walk up the road. Several times during that month our crew seriously contemplated driving 45 minutes or so one way to Whitecourt to get some real food. One night when talking to Linda I cried "I want a salad!" It was a real heart felt cry that wrung Linda's withers.

This morning as we were getting coffee and thinking about what to do today, a little white car zoomed up to the bottom of our next door neighbour's driveway. Joe is from Hong Kong and gets a Chinese newspaper delivered so this is no surprise. Before they even get out of the car we can hear two guys yelling at each other. They scuffle a little while swearing at each other in at least two languages. Oddly enough, neither was Cantonese or Mandarin. After a few minutes of this, the driver hops back in and zooms off. The other guy slowly walks across the road to the big green space. A minute later the little white car zooms up again, and the driver tosses some stuff out at the other guy, stops, and they yell at each other some more, then he zooms off. The walker collapses and looks like he's about to throw up. We're guessing he's just been fired. But they aren't done. A few minutes later the white car zooms up again and stops at our drive way. The driver holds up a small black thing, maybe a notebook, shows it to the guy, and puts it down on our driveway. They swear at each other again, and he zooms off for the last time. The other guy wanders around fora  bit like he's been gut shot, then I lost sight of him. I think he caught a bus. I know no more about the story.

You can appreciate with this going on I was a bit slow to get on the bike. I haven't been this amused by the goings on outside our front window since the kid on a skateboard was terrified by being pulled along by a good size dog at a full out run. He was flailing all over trying to keep his balance while not letting go of the dog. That performance didn't look like it could go on much longer, but it went on long enough to get out of my sight.

While out checking the weather and chatting to the neighbour one more house down, there were snow flakes. Not many, but some. I decided with those clouds, and a temp of 3 C (37 F) I wasn't going to ride outside. I picked a harder workout and got started inside. At the 1:45 minute mark my legs starting going to pot so I finished up that set, then cooled down for a good strong 2 hour ride. My legs felt good till the very end, though one hill set had my right knee and left calf complaining a bit. Standing was no problem. I am cautiously optimistic that the biking mojo is within reach.

After about 4 minutes to dry off and change I headed out for a 30 minute run around the block. It took about a K to find a stride, and settled in for a nice run. My legs felt good and I let them pick the pace. We ended up mid zone 3, I'm guess based on effort and breathing. It turned out to be 31 minutes for 5K, which I'm very happy with. (10 minute mile pace) That used to be an all out pace. Today I could have kept going, maybe another 5 K at that pace.

Weekly summary
Swim 3.0 hrs
Bike 3.5 hrs
Run 2.75 hrs
Walk .5 hrs
Total cardio 9.75
Core 1.5 hrs
Total 11.25

There's one process at work where I click a button, and there is a time between 1 second and 1 minute where the system does stuff. Doing anything else during that time is a bad idea. I have decided during that space, and there are lots of them, I'm going to be doing some shoulder stretches to help loosen things up and keep them loose. So far it seems to be helping.

I'm pretty pleased with the swim these days, even though I was a bit off for one of them.

The run is back to where it was before the Hypo Half, I think. It's feeling good, I'm finding a stride fairly quickly, and I'm relaxing the rest of my body while still keeping my arms going. I'm paying a lot of attention to my shoulders to make sure they are not paying unauthorized visits to my ears.

The bike has been a real struggle, but there's been several rides lately that have been pretty good. I'm hoping that's going to continue, especially as we get outside pretty quick.

The core. Sigh. The core has been brutal since I started work. Plank and pushups are right out when your shoulders are in pain even before you start. The core has been paired with bike, and when the bike isn't going well it's harder to get into the core session. Still, I've been working with what I can.

I simply have to keep on top of my sleep. Once I get behind things go to pot pretty quickly.

Friday, May 7, 2010

My flukes waved genially but ineffectually

Once again at Canyon Meadows pool, but at least the shower room didn't make me gag. I took that for a good omen. Even though I've been working on my shoulders, trying to relax and stretch them during the day at work, they were very sore this morning. For a while it seemed like I was doing one arm drill even while nominally using both. I never really got into the groove. For whatever reason the pool was really choppy this morning and inhaled froth instead of air several times. 

The main set was 2K all in one go, which is a bit unusual. Normally it's broken into shorter stuff. I churned along, working my stroke and trying to be steady. My lungs weren't working very hard, but my arms were giving me hell. They thought I was was working them to death, and yet my pace off. Slow. I couldn't get a grip on the water. My coach gave me a time to aim for and I beat that by almost a minute, but that's still a minute off the pace I expected. Still, the swim is coming along pretty good; one off day is nothing to get excited about. I'll need to work on my shoulders more. Where is my massage therapist's phone number?

The run this evening was super! Short walk to warm up, good 45 minute run with some accelerations at the end. Those felt really good. I could feel my arms and abs working with my legs to bound along pretty good. I'd love to be able to run at that pace for longer than 30 seconds. Walked 10 minutes to cool down and stretched after. Linda found some bands with handles and I played with those for a little while.

This weekend is a distinct maybe for riding outside. I need to get more tubes and CO2 cartridges. I hate going for a long ride with only one of each. There are a bunch of tubes hanging in my basement that all have slow leaks. Maybe from the patch on them, maybe from something else. They'll be fine for on the trainer, but I don't want to ride outside with them.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

The tiger balm is applied

Slopped on with a liberal hand by Linda. I need it. There's a lot of mousing in this job. Plus I'm learning, at last, to swim with my back muscles and putting some power into it.

At first the swim was tough going as I warmed up. My left shoulder didn't want to move, though it did eventually. I've no idea if my descending 300's were actually descended. I just swam, pushing hard, harder and hardest. As we all know that's no guarantee of actually going faster. There was an interesting bit at the end. I tried swimming no feet again. This time I got 50 m, and did a flip turn in the middle of it, without my feet touching pool bottom. Given how my shoulders are feeling, that might have been a mistake.

I decided to pretend it was still winter. After all, it's only -3 C, light wind, and some snow. I'd be happy to run in that in Jan, so why not now? Once I got onto the path, that light wind became quite a bit stronger. I struggled along trying to find a pace. If Monday's run was on ceramic bearings, todays was on old cast iron bearings from the junk yard. Lots of nigglies. Struggled to keep my arms moving. There was maybe 5 or 10 minutes of goodness in there. The rest was a struggle. 1 hr, plus 10 minutes walking on each end. Plus stretching after.

Then yoga. Oh my goodness. My back was a bundle of glass by now. Even bending over hurt in a sharp crackly way. Still it was good. You know it's bad when Savasana is painful.

I'm getting my evening pills into me, and will be off to bed in a few minutes.

Yes Alice, nutella is right up there with crack, but has a higher nutritional value. I am reliably assured it's just about the best thing to have after a workout. Even though Julie says she doesn't have any in the house, when I was there I found a small jar hidden down in the sofa cushions. It's either her emergency stash, or her man isn't telling her everything.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Not pretty, but done

Estela is still as pretty as ever but my ride sure wasn't. You know those mechanical bulls you find in all the best Western bars? I looked like I was riding one of them. Forward and back. Side to side. But no around and around, mores the pity. My legs were all over the place, twitching and spasming and on the verge of cramping for most of the ride.

I got through the workout, minus the one leg drill. I knew it was bad when I started going clunk at 30 seconds. The odd thing is that I felt strong during the ride, just not coordinated. Not at all. Not even close. It was a shambling train wreck of a ride and I'm glad it's over. 1.5 hrs.

The only way I got through was promising myself some time with my feet up right after, and a peanut butter and nutella sandwich when I was done the workout. Feet up, 10 minutes, very nice, check.

Started the core. All of the stuff was done to failure and trust me, it didn't take very long.

Peanut butter and nutella sandwich. Check. mmmmmmm.
Julie's video. mmmmmmmmm!

Monday, May 3, 2010

Still more snow, but

Linda had a great idea today as I was stirring around getting ready for work. "Why not run at lunch time?"

Why not indeed? We had another winter storm warning for this evening and it seemed reasonable by the time I was home it would be cold and raining at least. So I scurried around a little faster to bring run stuff.

The swim was pretty good, just over an hour. Mostly by myself which was great, since I had a real mix of stuff to do. Mz. Backstroke joined me part way through, but I like sharing a lane with her. Somehow we never get in each others way. Her front crawl is very pretty, but not especially fast, but I think she swims just as fast backstroke. Worked pretty hard, though doing a golf with fins is a bit of a misnomer since the number of arm strokes becomes totally arbitrary.

Just at the end I tried to swim without kicking, and without a pull buoy. I didn't have a band, but I figured I could be disciplined enough not to kick. Geez, you'd think I had a rock tied to my feet. I didn't even make it to the other end of the pool before my feet touched bottom. I'll have to try that again.

The run at lunch was excellent! Perfect shorts and t shirt running weather. Sunny, a bit of a breeze. Ran easy along the path south, and turned left when I hit the Bow River. They've got part of the path closed as they take out the killer weir, so I ran over the pedestrian bridge and headed for Max Bell Arena. I almost got there, and turned around at the 4.9 K mark at 32 minutes, which is a 6:31 K pace (10:30 mile). This felt relaxed and easy. I had to work to keep from going faster.

Then I picked up the pace on the way back, aiming to where I started in an hour total. I made it back in 60:45. The run back was a 5:52 K pace! (9:26 mile) woohoo! That's fast for me. The last few minutes was a bit of a struggle to try to keep my pace up the hill to the bridge. Still, I'm really pleased. My feet felt light and happy. Even on that last hill I still had a good stride.

It started raining late in the afternoon. By 6:45 we were getting snow. By 7 it was snowing, and at 8 there was a full blown blizzard with reduced visibility and all. I'm sure happy I got my run done at lunch. The good part of running this path is that there aren't very many people on it, a dozen to two dozen tops, mostly walkers, some runners, a few bikes, and one roller blader. If you run downtown at lunch you are in a herd of people. They practically need stoplights or someone directing traffic near the Y. There is a grave danger of whiplash and other soft tissue injuries.

Shannon. There's an Italian Brunello (one of my faves!) for me, and I picked up an En Primeur Sicilian Syrah for a buddy of Lindas. She'll buy the kit, and generously give me half the bottles for making it for her. If I'd know you wanted some, I could have picked them up. From your place, Red Deer is barely an hour away. It would probably take longer to drive here.

Carpe. They do, but it would be pointless on these guys. Much too much fur. These are seriously furry cats. Besides, they're very talkative, and have a great many interesting things to say.

Kristen. That core/run time is a bit of a fluke. Keep in mind the core includes a 1.25 hr yoga class. The abs are improving, but there is still serious flub there I'm working on.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

It's George and Arthur's fault

I'm still tired, and it's George and Arthur's fault. They are a pair of neutered brothers living in Edmonton that we visited this weekend. They have very musical voices and sing a lot.

Friday I was so tired after the work week and the run I went to bed early. Then I was up again in the early morning and couldn't sleep. So I cleaned up some email and surfed blogs. Then back to bed. Not the best choices for good quality sleep. We did some house chores on Saturday then left for Edmonton. Picked up another couple wine kits along the way.

Saturday night was a wonderful meal of BBQ ribs, corn on the cob, spuds, salad, then two desserts, angel food cake with fresh strawberries and whipped cream. Also some cupcakes which were very good, and very sweet. And getting caught up with our friends who we haven't seen in a while.

The bed there is a bit soft and the house creaks a bit. This is to be expected since it's over 100 years old. I didn't sleep well. Remember what I said about those musical voices? We were out for breakfast at a really yummy place. If I have any Edmonton readers The Blue Plate might ring some bells. We left a little later than planned and so of course, got home later than planned. Plus shopping. Linda was geezered. I picked out a nice chair in the lawn furniture section and relaxed till she was done. (Hey, don't feel bad for her, I had 7 hours of dealing with geezers on the highway.)

About 6 I looked at my brick workout. I thought about how I felt. I'd hoped to get my ride done outside, but it's really gusty windy and kind of cool still. I started getting ready for my ride indoors, then realized when I'd be doing, and what working out this late would do for my sleep tonight. You see, exercise wakes me up. All that air going through my lungs, the blood moving through my body, I perk right up. Usually. Then it takes a while to come down again. It's just after 6:30 now, and after I finish packing my swim bag for the morning, I'm seriously considering going to bed. I'm making the call it's better to skip the workout, get some sleep and start the new week feeling fresher. I hope. But if I do the workout tonight, I'll be to bed late, and I'll be dragging my tail all next week too. Decisions, decisions. I hate to miss this session since it looks like fun, so I have a plan. Hmmmmm. Details later.

Oh, and Missy, I was looking at the flood video on CNN. That's just gross! Hope that you're high and dry and all ok.

(Ok, ok, you deserve to be told the rest of the story. George and Arthur are two huge orange cats belonging to our friends Kate and Rob. An unbiased observer would say they belong to the cats. You cat "owners" out there know how it is. They are very nice cats. But then I'm very partial to huge orange cats.)

Weekly summary
Swim 3.0 hrs
Bike 3.0 hrs
Run 1.5 hrs
Walk .5 hrs
DWR 1.0 hrs
Total Cardio 8.0 hrs
Core 2.0 hrs
Total workout 10.0 hrs
Totally beat at the end of the week, dragging my butt through the workouts. I know why, since I was up a bit late on Monday and never got caught up. I'm usually pretty good about staying on top of my sleep.