Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Nearly 3000 comments and still counting

Monday swim was good. Solid hour, lots of different stuff to keep from being bored. Then another 15 minutes of core in the dive tank. Leg exercises later.

Tues was 45 minutes of core, including 90 seconds plank. Yay! Plus 4 slow good form pushups. There is improvement. My knee hasn't been bothering me at all, even during today's 36 minute run. Nice and easy 5K, some of which was on that sandy textured snow that slides back about as fast as you're trying to run forward. Most of the run felt quite strong, breathing easy. The last half K or so had a bit of a niggle in my left calf, up high under the knee. I'd been thinking about extending the run but decided not to.

I'm up to nearly 3000 comments. Thank you to one and all for doing so, all writers love to hear back from their readers. I'm mulling what to do about this momentous milestone. Shall I reward the commenter that ticks the odometer over, so to speak? Shall I just name them and do my humble bit to shamelessly promote their blog? Which in some cases would be like me giving triathlon advice to Chrissie Wellington. If I had stuff to give away, like SOME bloggers, I might do that. But I'm cheap, and not big on giveaways. So I don't know. Maybe I'll surprise you.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

200+ rpm. (not me!)

Volunteering at the spinathon was lots of fun! Here's a video from early on in the day. They raised a ton of money for Janelle.

It was great to see lots of people I know, but my knee actually got a bit cranky with me towards the end. I've often noted that just standing around or walking slowly is hard on me. I stretched it out a bit when I got home.

Sunday was our regular spin session, though I didn't run. The snow was melting yesterday and then it snowed last night and today; perfect for creating slippery conditions. My knee was still feeling cranky and I didn't want to stress it. It kind of sucked as far as a workout session goes. I was getting weird shooting pains in my calf, knee, and thigh. Not really painful, but sharp. No real strength in my leg today. It took FOREVER to warm up! The store was cold, and I was colder. For a long time I was wearing a hoody, then took that off. That left an extra T shirt on. I was almost an hour into the workout before I felt warm enough to take that off. 1.75 hr spin.

One of the cadence sets had an all out portion. Normally I like these and can get going pretty fast, but not now. Here's Todd going all out during spin class, because he wondered what he looked like. You can see all sorts of stuff happening.

Home to spaghetti with bison sauce for lunch, and Linda made more cookies! Shoveled the driveway again, maybe another cm of snow.

Weekly Summary
Swim 3.0 hrs
Bike 3.25 hrs
Run .5 hrs
Total Cardio 6.75 hrs
Core 4.0 hrs

Friday, November 26, 2010

The latest tax grab, courtesy of IMC

Thursday evening spin class I met Jen! Both of us are nursing knee issues so we managed to chat a bit in between Katie exhorting us to greater and greater efforts. We got a bit more exhortation than usual since Katie wasn't on her bike. Instead, we got a bit of a dance number to the various songs. Lots of fun.

I took it a bit easy, wondering what my knee would think of the whole thing. Mostly that meant keeping the rpm below 110, but I burped up to 120 by accident a few times, for a really short time period. Really backed off the power. The knee felt fine throughout. 1.5 hrs total.

The swim this morning was a bit of a zoo at Canyon Meadows. My buddy M was swimming backstroke, which is new. Turns out she has an owie in her shoulder that doesn't like front crawl. She can swim backstroke faster than front crawl. Odd. Swam an hour, with the regular mix of stuff. The high point was 93 seconds for 100 m, and not working hard. I had great water feel for that one, and the one following at 97 seconds (blew a flip turn). During the third that water feel abruptly went away and I was suddenly a feeble reed in the water. That one was much slower. Did one more and it was about the same, 104 seconds. These were all on 2 minutes. I loved that first one though; I could feel propulsion right from the first instant of the catch, and my arms felt strong and stable in the water. I took an extra minute to regroup and did one more, pushing hard, trying for good form. I didn't quite have the feel again, but it was still 93 seconds, so I'm pretty pleased with that.

Leg exercises, but wasn't in the mood for core. Instead I shoveled the hard packed snow from the bottom of the driveway. The top is sloppy, but the bottom is icy snow, especially where there are tire tracks.

One of my buddies just got a letter from Ironman Canada Triathlon with a nasty surprise. Here it is:

Dear Subaru Ironman Canada Entrant,

As many of you may be aware, effective July 1, 2010 British Columbia moved to a harmonized provincial and federal sales tax at a combined rate of 12%. This has been a controversial and confusing tax change but it is the law and therefore must be collected on all sale of goods and services. Unfortunately when your entry to the 2011 Subaru Ironman Canada was processed through Active, HST was not collected on the entry fee. This has recently been brought to our attention and we are obligated to collect that tax.

To that end, the credit card that you used to enter the race will be charged $69, the amount of the HST on the entry fee. We will begin processing the charges on Monday, November 29th and these will be complete by December 10th. Should you wish to have this charge applied to a different credit card or if the one you used to enter has expired, please contact our athlete services center at admin@nasports.com or 877-377-2373. We apologize for this error and any inconvenience it may cause.

Ironman Canada Triathlon

I have a huge problem with this, even though my copy hasn't come yet. I see the following issues. Am I out to lunch? Any input from anyone with accounting or tax expertise?

1- We paid in full in advance. Just because the service was delivered after July 2010 shouldn't matter.

2- We already paid GST. If they are charging us HST, they should have subtracted off the GST that we've already paid. Other wise we're paying the federal portion twice.

3- The exchange rate has changed. In Aug 2009 one Canadian dollar bought about .9028 US dollars, July 2010 it would buy about .98 US dollars. Should they not take the difference in exchange rate into account?

Followup a couple hours later. I just realized they are talking about people registered for 2011 IMC, not those who signed up for 2010. But still, arguments 1 and 2 still apply.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Prolotherapy and Polygamy

No, those two don't have anything to do with each other, besides both being at the top of my brain right now.
No, I'm not interested in getting a second wife. I can barely cope with one. If there was two they would gang up on me, I'm sure, and who knows where that would end up.

As many of you know I've been diagnosed with a slight tear in the medial meniscus of my right knee. There may be some issues with the patellafemoral area. Prolotherapy was recommended. Today was the day. I knew there were needles involved, though I don't particularly have an issue with them. I've often donated blood, and have had any number of injections over the years. But something about several (turned out to be 6) needles into my knee area was making me a bit nervous. I was worried about the pain.

Dr. Ahlan has a very deft touch, and carefully explained everything first. The first needle was a bit of a pinch, and we chatted during the others. To be honest I didn't even notice some of them. The last one was a bit of a poke. Turns out one of them was 1.5 inches into my knee to find the right spot. Afterward we chatted about followup. I'm to keep it mobile, going to spin class is ok, but no big power or fast rpm. I'm to continue with core exercises. I'll be back in two weeks for the next set of shots.

Bountiful, BC has been in the news periodically because there is a group of people in the FLDS church practicing polygamy, which happens to be against the Canadian Criminal code. BC has been under increasing pressure to prosecute, and there's been a bit of back and forth on the issue. Currently there is a hearing in BC's supreme court about the constitutionality of such laws.

This post is to help me understand where I am on this.

Firstly, I abhor the practice of Muslim and some Christian sects taking multiple wives. I figure it's just an excuse for randy old buggers to boink teenage nooky. Is that a clear enough statement for you? It's a tool of oppression and coercion aimed at subjugating women and children. The women have little or no choice in the matter, and that really makes my blood boil. As far as I'm concerned, a religious reason for doing something is almost certainly a bad reason.

Secondly, if there is a conflict, religious rights should be secondary to any and all other rights or societal concerns, if they should be allowed to exist at all. Believe what you like in your head, but beat your child with a stick and you should go to jail. If you don't like Sunday shopping stay home or go to church. If you think abortion is murder, you'd best be in favour of birth control and funding adoption services; in fact, you should have several adopted children yourself. There are lots of other examples.

Thirdly, there are any number of cases where adult people have chosen to live together communally. The hippie communes of the 60's are one example, and there didn't seem to be much enthusiasm to prosecute. There is a woman living with two men in BC that just discovered she could be prosecuted under the current polygamy laws. I listened to her on CBC and it seems that this is a consenting relationship that works for all involved. What's important to me is that they are all consenting adults, and the children are being taken care of properly. Neither I nor anybody else needs to know any further details of their relationship.

How do we resolve those examples? One speaker had mentioned that if 3 people are sharing a house as room mates, technically, they could be prosecuted. They'd have to argue their case in court, and how do we draw the line between room-mates, room mates with privileges (so to speak), and a long term polygamous relationship? I think that adults of sound mind ought to be able to set up whatever family units work for them and their children. But how can we be assured that the people involved ARE consenting, without prying into the intimate details of their relationship? How do we keep religious whacko's from abusing women and forcing them into marriage against their will? Or prevent the religious brainwashing that makes them feel they have to consent? What laws or practices govern what happens if the relationship breaks up?

I guess the essence of my dilemma is this: how can we write a law that allows adults to manage their own relationships, but bars those formed because of a coercive religious regime? And yes, I'm quite clear that I'm willing to discriminate against the religious. See above. Religion has been used as a cloak for centuries to cover up all sorts of abuses and provide the priesthood with an easy living. That needs to end.

One speaker very cogently noted that abuse to children is not limited to polygamous relationships, and that that in itself is not grounds to bar polygamy. She noted there were other legislative processes to deal with abused children and they should be applied no matter the relationship of the adults. Fair enough, providing the processes are in fact applied. Allowing religious reasons makes it easier to hide child abuse, since any investigations run into "freedom of religion."

What about spousal abuse? We've been coming to grips with that, but there is still a long way to go. People don't like to admit they've been physically beaten or mentally abused, and sometimes even make excuses for their abuser. If it's that hard to deal with in an accepted relationship like monogamy, imagine how much more difficult it would be in a relationship that is technically unlawful, or based on a dominant/subservient relationship?

Hmmm. What about a registry? Married people are registered as such. Would it work to register a polygamous group? Let's think about that. It would be a legal document, so all the people involved have to be of legal age. That ought to deal with the under age issue, especially if parents can no longer consent to an under age marriage. All current spouses would have to agree on any additional spouses. Given the divorce and separation rates I think it's entirely reasonable to ask if the people getting married have made provision for a separation, and that would work for both monogamous and polygamous weddings. In civilized countries gender is not an issue, but maybe a polygamous relationship needs to be required to be as gender balanced as possible. That makes it harder for the the old pervert to accumulate child brides. I can see where many traditional religions would not perform a polygamous service, but if the relationship was decriminalized, there no doubt would be Justices of the Peace or equivalent to perform the ceremony. Some religions perform pre-marriage counseling, and I don't think that's a bad idea. I don't think it would be unreasonable to have both traditional couples, and a polygamous unit going through a pre-marriage session of some kind. The polygamous unit might have more complex issues to cope with, but this all meets my criteria for informed consent. What's more, it's DEMONSTRATED informed consent. DNA testing can determine who the biological parents are, and that can be accounted for in their agreements. A monogamous marriage is no guarantee of who the child's parents are.

This registry, of course, would be a government one, not a church registry, and if the two get into an argument the government registry wins. In fact, the government registry should happen first. In Alberta I believe it would be done at the same place you renew your driver's license, deal with a variety of business permits and stuff, renew auto registration, and the like. It ought to be a straightforward procedure, with similar procedures for all. Hmmm, how public should these records be? Not sure.

There are many issues that need to have details nailed down. Just as an example, the Canadian tax laws allow a variety of financial transfers to happen between spouses. In theory, the same should be permitted of a polygamous group, but I can see there would have to be guidelines set up. I haven't a clue in the world what that should look like. Medical benefits are another issue, what does it do for premiums if a married person can claim for several spouses and potentially many more children than the norm? There are no end of forms that would have to be modified to allow people to list multiple spouses. It would take a while for people to get used to it. I hope it's clear that my idea of a polygamous marriage is one where all are married to all the others, not where one is married to each of the others are each only "sister-wives" to each other.

The more I think about it, the more I believe there is no real way to enforce the law as written, and un-enforced laws lower the respect for other laws. There are any number of circumstances where it makes sense for small groups of adults to band together in a close relationship. Right now they have to essentially lie about their relationships, just like many gay and lesbian couples did. This makes it easier to hide abuse. I think it makes sense to declare the relationship in public and register it in the appropriate places.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

ART/Chiro/Yoga nearly did me in today

The day started well enough. Hardly anyone in the pool today. Swam one hour in a lane all to myself. Warmup, solid pace swim. Kick. Drill. Some 100's pretty consistently in 105 seconds starting on 2 minutes, more drill, kick, cool down.

Going into ART I could feel my back was a bit tight, and dreaded the one move that clicks the very low back. Sure enough, I tightened up and it didn't work. So he flipped me over and really reefed on me. There was a click, but I walked out of there feeling a little out of sorts. He had also really used his scraper tool hard on my knee. Lots of discomfort.

Iced the knee and leg, then ended up napping a bit while listening to a podcast. Considering I've been sleeping well, this was a bit of a surprise.

Yoga was full of stuff I don't like. Child pose and a zillion stretches and variants from it. Side plank that I didn't even try. An Earth salutation that I find tough going at the best of times. At least there was a good shoulder stretch I liked; up to the ears on the inhale, then down and out and back on the exhale. And there was shoulder stand using a bolster. I had my feet up almost before the words were out of her mouth. That's my happy place.

Prolotherapy tomorrow. I am anxious.

Volunteering at the spinathon on the weekend. If you're looking for a good spin session and raising money in a good cause (what a horrible thing to have happened to Janelle) let me know and I'll send you the details.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

A moderately cold run

When I woke up the weather page said this.

Then about 10:15 when I went out for my run, it said this. That isn't so bad. The humidity is a killer though. Gotta watch that.

Here's what I looked like after.

It's not cold enough or dry enough for the moisture to condense properly on the Mo to get proper tusks. Oh well, maybe next week.

Again, 5 K, nice and easy, in about 37 minutes. It's harder running in two pairs of tights, but my legs were pretty good about it. I could have run further, but why push it? I'd done 40 minutes of core work before the run to get warmed up.

Nailed the clothing.
Running shoes, with regular socks.
Two pair tights.
Short, and long sleeved tech shirt.
Heavy hoody
Wind shell.
Scarf to keep chin warm.
Visored cap, felt toque, hood up.
Gloves inside mittens.
Road ID. (forgot to mention that last time, but it's buried under about 5 layers.)

Monday, November 22, 2010

No watch swim

Not running during Sunday's spin class means my watch was still fastened to my bike when I was getting into the pool on Monday. Between my being very shortsighted and the really stupid placement of the pace clock, I went with a plan that didn't need me to look at times at all. I looked at the start, and at the end, and knew I'd swum for an hour. That included regular pace stuff, some kick, some drill, some pull. The massage yesterday and a really good night's sleep helped the swim feel smooth and strong.

Then out into -WTF weather. Shoveled in the afternoon. Brrr. Leg workout in the evening. Struggles with internet again. I think my wireless transmitter is going flakey.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

A happy bike

Yesterday was a quiet day on the workout front. An easy driveway shovel and some leg exercises was about it. Most of the effort went into the rant on zero tolerance. You can find it either by scrolling down, or going into labels section on the left, down there below the blog roll, and clicking on Rant.

I wasn't sure how the bike would go today. My left leg is cranky from the shoveling, and both hams are tired. Plus the knee. It doesn't hurt most of the time, but I'm not going to forget about it on the bike.

So today I grooved to the tunes, stayed below 110 rpm and picked gearing and effort to keep my heart rate in the mid 120's. It all went very well, and I ended up feeling surprisingly strong. This has happened on some outdoor rides as well, starting with tired legs and ending up with a good ride.

No run. I don't mind running in these temperatures, but I'd really rather not go from being totally wet in a warm humid room into -25 C windchill, and likely colder since we run beside the river and it's always windy. I just didn't want the challenge today. Tomorrow and Tues are supposed to be just as cold, or colder, but I'll probably run then.

Except for the pushups and the side plank I did all the core stuff, even lots of front plank! I'm really pleased.

My massage therapist will be here soon. Life is good. Pleased at how the increased focus on core is going. My abs are talking to me.

Weekly Summary
Swim 2.75 hrs
Bike 2.25 hrs
Run .75 hrs
Total cardio 5.75 hrs
Core 4.75 hrs

Oh and I put up some ratings for you guys to click on down at the bottom of each post. Feel free!

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Zero tolerance for zero tolerance rules

It will be no surprise to some of my readers that I'm disturbed by much of what passes for society these days. It used to be that people figured things out as they went along. They looked at a situation and tried to come up with the best solution. Maybe they consulted with those nearby, or acted on their own. Sometimes they might not have all the facts, or they might not understand that some facts are more important than others, but they muddled along.

Have you heard this phrase or a variant of it, "make sure this doesn't happen to anyone else"? My earliest context for that phrase is reading about plane crashes when I was a child. (My dad was an airline pilot and I was crazy about airplanes.) An investigator was talking about the process of understanding what had happened to cause the crash, and how to apply what they had learned to the airline industry. I was impressed by the enormous efforts the investigators would go to, including picking up every scrap of airplane and reconstructing it. This is one of the reasons why air travel is one of the safest ways to get to where you want to go, after you get past the absurd security theatre. Which takes zero tolerance to a whole new level.

There is an entire science to failure analysis and at least one of my readers can speak to it better than I can. Investigating airplane crashes helped create this science. They took the facts, then dug deeper and deeper to learn the why behind the why. And the why behind that. It wasn't enough to know that a bolt failed, causing the sequence of events leading to an airplane and people strewn over the landscape. They'd look at the bolt metallurgy, who supplied the bolt, who installed it, and a zillion other things. Then they'd chase the facts back to manufacturers, service corporations, airlines, or regulatory bodies. It's an enormously expensive process, but we all agree that keeping airplanes flying is a good thing.

I forget the most recent time I heard that phrase, but it seems to be happening a lot, and in response to quite minor situations in the grand scheme of things.  It annoys me. The people saying it are essentially saying they want life to stop happening. Perhaps the number one rule about being alive is that shit happens, deal with it. These people want to write a set of rules that are trying to prevent an outcome but they don't realize that following those rules creates more issues for more people than the potential outcome would for a small number of people. They seem to think that the way to stamp out a particular outcome is to write a rule that forbids anything that might lead to that outcome. Then they remove all judgement by saying there is zero tolerance for any of those actions. Only then will they be safe from that outcome.

What happens then? Absurdity. Stupid, trivial situations blown up to being a federal case. People in jobs like court judges, cops, school teachers or principals, social workers, politicians, and many others; those professions get their hands tied, and often they seem to be pandering to a vocal minority. We pay many of those people quite well, have invested in their training, and chosen them from many applicants for the job, yet now we tell them we don't trust their judgement. It turns them into a robot, only able do decide if some situation meets the rules, (which it will, because that's the way they're written and some busybody will force them to deal with it) and then having to issue the declared judgement, no matter how ridiculous it is. In many cases the punishment is overly punitive for the "crime". In some cases you end up with small children being the focus of airline security, or someone urinating in public being declared a lifetime sex offender. (I don't want to know anything more about a mind that can conflate peeing and a sex offense.)

Rather than dealing with an outcome, when and where it happens, now every one of those situations has to be dealt with. This takes up the time of people who ought to have better things to do. Even worse is when the inevitable followup happens, with someone protesting the rule, or the result the rule generated. Follow the rules for an ridiculous result and you get pilloried in the court of sensible opinion. Unfortunately this seems to be getting smaller every day. In some cases the ridiculous result turns out to be an inappropriate result on the light side, and then you get all sorts of people piling on and more rules. The worst of all is trying to apply common sense; that only gets everybody pissed off. It's like we've lost all sense of proportion, or any sense of tolerance for things that make us uncomfortable. Or any sense of what's risky or not. Even before 9/11 worrying about terrorists hijacking your plane was not a sensible risk, since it was less likely than getting struck by lightning.

When you force people to make petty little decisions with no regard for the situation, you will get only petty little people in those positions. People that revel in the little bit of power they have, and they will work to extend it. These people like to make things miserable for other people as a way of validating their own lives, or compensating for a small dick, I don't know.

Then we wonder why poor teachers stick around while good teachers move on or give up. We wonder why social workers can't deal with child abuse or solve homelessness. We wonder why mandatory sentencing and three strikes rules don't solve or prevent crime. We wonder why a glorified security guard takes the time to find and confiscate a tiny nail file from the person flying the airplane. The people involved are choked with rules that stamp out common sense and professional judgement.

What I like about some sports is that to determine a winner all one needs is a sufficiently accurate timing mechanism. I was startled to discover that judges for ballroom dancing competitions are themselves judged. Their results are posted on the wall to be reviewed by contestants and dance authorities. If your results are too far out of line with the other judges, your credentials to be a judge are reviewed. I like that concept. I also like the concept of Ebay feedback, and user reviews for various businesses on the internet. There is an issue with poison pen reviews, of course, but nothing is perfect. Generally feedback is good, as is good pre-decision advice.

I am a huge believer in better results when judgement activities take place out in public view. A secretive process is a breeding ground for abuse. Reviewing a judgement ought to be an open process as well. I'm not sure how to balance privacy concerns, but lean toward the direction that individual privacy is not as important as ensuring that people in positions of power over others act fairly and responsibly. Those who abuse the process, whether by corrupt decision making, or by misleading those in positions of authority, or by making false accusations need to be identified and punished. People making consistently good decisions need to be supported and rewarded. We need to build in safeguards that allow for the possibility of human error, for we can all make mistakes, and yet be able to review those mistakes in the light of other decisions to help people make better decisions, and accept it when decisions don't go their way.

That last is a big one. Most two year olds learn the world does not revolve around them, though they nearly drive everyone around them crazy while doing so. If they do so. Some nominal adults appear not to have learned that. They think nothing bad should happen to them. If it does, it's someone else's fault. When they piously say that don't want that same thing to happen to other people, what they're really saying is that it shouldn't have happened to them. Even if they got what they had coming.

The ancient Greeks believed that it was important for each citizen to take part in the various governance activities for their city. Admittedly the citizens were a small fraction of the total number of people in the city. I think it's important that people take part in the politics of their city, province, and country, and it should be much easier to do so. Politics has a bad rep these days, but I mean it in the sense of groups of people making collective decisions. The more people that are involved in a decision the harder it becomes for bullies and the stupid to dominate the decision.

The internet has huge potential for sharing information. We've barely begun to use it. Maybe every court case transcript ought to be published on the internet, and the public be allowed to comment on it. Comment on the decision, comment when counsel says ludicrous things, or when something said is false to fact. Maybe even comment on the day to day proceedings. One person holding an opinion is probably a crank, albeit one entitled to hold that cranky opinion. But if many commenters have that opinion there ought to be a way for that feedback to be acted upon. Same thing for Human Right's commission findings. School boards. Police or judicial misconduct. Any meeting of people paid to be politicians. The list goes on.

Sure it takes time, but the TV industry is proof that there is a great deal of time wasted. Give people access to court documents and I can just about guarantee that "reality" TV will go away. No writer could make up what happens in court. Oh, wait, this all presumes literacy, which is a problem.

What if we could figure out a way of rewarding people for providing reviews of public decisions, or participating in the discussions? Maybe such people should pay less tax. Maybe people that provide consistent wise commentary and good advice ought to be given a salary so they can do it full time. Would more open access to discussion lead to better decisions? Could we reduce the number of rules if there is a wider pool of advice about dealing with a situation? Are all opinions equal?

I want to see society grow up a little bit. Prostitution hasn't been stamped out by any laws in any society in recorded history. Let's deal with it as a fact of life and get on with regulating it. Zero tolerance drug laws have filled the jails with people caught with trivial amounts of pot, yet do nothing about the people trafficking billions of dollars of crack or meth or cocaine. Zero tolerance removes the chance for people to learn from their mistakes. Zero tolerance gives no leeway for ambiguous situations, no respect for people's judgement ability, and no room to confer with others to find a sensible response. Rules and laws become ever more complex, trying to deal with more complex situations and the shortcomings of previous rules to the point where nobody knows what the rules are anymore. Time for a change.

Friday, November 19, 2010

No such thing as bad weather, only poor clothing choices

And today is NICE weather. Really. See?

Although photo was taken yesterday, it looks the same now. Clear, sunny. Nothing wrong with it at all. Well, the humidity is a bit high. Ok, ok, I admit you aren't likely to find many people out working on their tans, but that hardly happens in August so you shouldn't hold it against November.

I didn't even have to dress particularly warmly. Here's the list.
Normal running shoes.
Normal socks. (same socks I wear all the rest of the time to bike and run)
Light shell ski pants. (I think they're made for X-country skiing with another layer under.)
Old bathing suit under ski pants. (I was wearing it for core, and saw no reason to change.)
Short sleeve tech shirt.
Long sleeve tech shirt.
Light fleece jacket with a hood. Hood was up.
Wool scarf wrapped around throat and neck.
Cap with visor. (same one I wore at IMC.)
Polyester toque.

Ran a hair over 40 minutes to cover a hair over 5 K. The tricky part about running this time of year is dealing with the slippery roads. The sidewalks are mostly shoveled. The roads are snice, mostly, except where they are full blown ice that you could skate on. Snice is just very slippery hard packed and polished snow, but you can't skate on it. When running on it you have to be very careful to land right underneath your centre of gravity, and you can't push off with a great leaping spring. Your core has to be engaged. Some people wear Yak Trax and if the entire run was snice it would be a good idea.

Before the run I warmed up with 45 minutes of core and stretching and leg exercises. Yes plank. My left leg has been a bit stiff lately. Worked on it a bit during yoga on Wed, then took a break on Thursday.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

23 cm, this time

Or 9 inches of snow since late Monday night, or about 40 hours. See for yourself. The first one was taken last night.

This one was taken late afternoon today from what I think was the same spot.
 This one was taken at the same time. I just picked a random spot on the lawn, one where I hadn't shoveled anything, and where there was no particular drifting.

Not sure how I got that light. I did nothing, just straight from the iphone, into iphoto, and into the blog.

Swam this morning, 1 hr in total. Swam 30 minutes as warmup then steady. After that I did some drill, some kick, and what started as form review but turned into a bit of a race with the girl in the next lane. I'd not seen her before and had to work to keep up with her. A couple of floaties jumped into her lane so she moved over into mine as I finished up, and we ended up chatting a bit. Turns out we both did IMC and know a bunch of the same people. Nice to meet you!

More shoveling, before swimming, after swimming, and then again later in the afternoon. Maybe again after yoga. After all, it's still snowing. Not again after yoga. Only another inch.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

You can't see my halo of glowing virtue

It snowed a bit last night, about 4 inches or so at our house. The roads weren't bad at all, except for one stretch of Glenmore trail that was pretty slushy. Even less snow fell by my pool, maybe an inch or so. Shoveled the driveway, and in a burst of optimism did the walk to the front door for the mailman.

Swam 45 minutes. Good warmup especially working on my shoulders. Drill. Really must find a band I can use to tie my feet together. Fist. One arm. FTD. A little bit of kick. Did some easy stroke focusing on reach and catch, and it felt really good. Decided to try to swim some 100's really strong while maintaining form, just to see where the time was. I specifically wasn't trying to swim fast, just putting some muscle into good form. And whaddya know! 93, 93, and 95 seconds. Of course I'm getting back to the wall with my face pretty red, and I sure wouldn't have wanted to do another 50, or even 25m. I did these on a 3 minute interval. I also mentally reviewed my flip turn and decided I'd been getting sloppy. Today I was clenching those abs, tucking in,  and powering my legs around to the wall. Good cool down and stretch.

For the first time ever, I was the first one in the door at the blood donor clinic. Even for an early appointment the geezers are normally lined up ready go. From the time the process started, till the time I walked out the door was 30 minutes. I think that's a record. It only takes 6 minutes for the actual blood donation. (yeah, us triathletes time everything, I was thinking about ELF and her perfect blood, and her competitive spirit driving her to try to squirt it out quicker and beat me to the coffee.) That overall time includes the one volunteer worker who bullied me into eating more cookies than planned. I'm such a wimp when it comes to cookies.

Shoveled the driveway and sidewalk when I got home. 45 minutes. I'm TOTALLY counting this as core. The snow started as rain, then snow, and then the temperature dropped below freezing. So there's a layer of icy slush at the bottom. As soon as you shovel it the water freezes, so you have a nice slick layer to anchor yourself on. My driveway has a slope. Meanwhile the snow sticks to your shovel. Tell me that isn't core. Go ahead, make my day. I was out again in the evening and shoveled another inch but at least it's all dry now. Did my neighbour's sidewalk too. It's still snowing.

Downstairs for leg exercises and some stretching. Plus, two rounds of plank. Two. That's when I came up with my blog title.

Monday, November 15, 2010

The core begins, really begins

Chatted with my buddy JN at the pool today as we shared a lane. I shamelessly drafted off him. It's always interesting to watch people you know swim. He does very well. Also chatted with Mr. Elegant as he came back for his first swim in a while.

My swim was an hour, being sure to go a bit over the hour mark to make up for the chatting. Good warmup, some kick drill, 8 x 100 on 2 min times ranging from 100 to 110 seconds, more kick drill, pull, some easy stroke, kick, I don't know it's all kind of is muddled now. Worked on form.

I did stuff I can't talk about here because Susi sometimes reads my blog. Facebook is right out.

Finally had my appointment with the sugar doctor, as I was calling him. He evaluated what we know about my knee, and suggests that prolotherapy or Platelet Rich Plasma is the way to go. I need to find out what my health care coverage for this is. It all sounds very promising.

He likes the leg exercises that Dr. MacDonald gave me, and strongly suggested I step up the core exercises. Strengthening my core is key to stabilizing the muscles and stuff around my knee. It will help the healing process from the injections, and will help prevent injuries in the future. Sounds good to me. I've "known" all my life that I should work on core strength, and work on my posture. Yeah, all those things your mother told you. But until very recently I've done little to nothing about it. During the year before IMC, Katie had me doing more core than I've ever done before in my life, and it made a big difference.

I've been a slacker for the last couple months, but no more. Back onto the core train. I need to dial back on the bike, making sure to keep the rpm and power output down, since that's what has been bothering my knee. Running is ok, as long as I pay attention to what my body is saying, but best not to push it too hard.

So tonight I was coring for an hour. One of the benchmarks will be plank to failure. Today was 1:30.

It's just on 10pm, and it's snowing. It's supposed to snow about 10 cm tonight, about 4 inches. Plus wind to push it around. It should be very interesting driving tomorrow.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

11 cm or

4 and 3/8th inches. From my book workout yesterday, here's a photo showing just how big these books are.

This should keep me out of mischief for a while. I've started Why the West Rules - For Now, and I'm really impressed so far. If you liked Guns, Germs, and Steel, you'll love this.

It's a good thing, I think, that I paid for my spin sessions in advance, because if I hadn't paid for it already I think I would have stayed home. Both legs are feeling creaky and cranky. But the call of the muffins was too strong. Double chocolate expresso and zucchini today. I am helpless in the grip of chocolate muffin lust.

Started the bike easy, trying to warm the legs up, but they weren't having any of it today. No speed and no power. I chugged along, barely breaking a sweat for the entire 2 hours. I felt like I was cheating. I'm not even going to count the run. Barely got started and a big muscle on the side of my left butt cheek started really hurting, so I tried to stretch it and limped back.

It's a good thing I'm not stressed about this compensation thing because it seems to be one thing after another. Still, my experience tells me the only way to get through it is to let these things flare up and have their moment, dialing back if necessary. The massage therapist told me my left leg was way worse than my right after IMC, so I shouldn't be surprised I'm still getting stuff happening, even though my right knee doesn't seem to be bothering me lately. Visiting the prolotherapy doctor tomorrow.

The measure of how poor I did the spin and the run is that the core workout was the star of the show today. Imagine that, me saying my core workout was the good part! Well, except maybe the many pushups. At the moment I am unable to do even one. Maybe holding up the big books will build up my strength.

Weekly Summary
Swim 1.5 hrs
Bike 3.5 hrs
Run .5 hrs
Total Cardio 5.5 hrs
Core 2.0 hrs.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

The real workout was carrying books

Thursday I turned off the sound and watched the beginning of the Real Roads IMC course. It seems more interesting now that I've done that ride. During my ride I was on and off the bike a bunch of times, mainly trying to find the creak. An elusive creak that was driving me crazy. Even the loud music at spin class won't drown it out. Eventually I tracked it down to how the trainer clamps onto the spindle. I played with it a bit and dropped the squeak by about 90%. Rode 1.5 hrs, though it wasn't in one go, and my butt was killing me at the end. Knee exercises.

Thursday the big workout was keeping up with the conversation after Cl &JL dropped in. We had a wonderful chat, but since I'm the strong silent type I have trouble keeping up my end of the conversation. I think I did ok, but the wine helped. There was more on Fri am, but the coffee helped, and then they were off for a shopping rampage. So lovely to see them again!

Friday I should have gone for a run, but my left leg was feeling weak and feeble. Did the knee exercises. The left calf is still feeling grumpy and did not feel like going for a run. Rollered it good.

Saturday was a quiet day till we hit Chapters to do some book shopping. Linda has been looking for one in particular for a while. I've been in a mood to try SERIOUS LITERATURE again, and in Canada there is nothing more serious that the Giller prize. Unfortunately, only 800 copies of this years winner have been printed. They're like gold right now. Only a few hundred people have read the book, and tens of thousands want to. The publisher is going crazy trying to get another print run going at short notice. So I picked up last year's Giller winner.

While I was at it, there were several books that caught my eye. One of them is an autobiography of Mark Twain, only this time it includes material that was expurgated from earlier work. Can't wait to read all 736 pages of it, although almost a third of that is explanatory notes and appendixes and other stuff. But then, since Twain was writing it HIS way, I anticipate this to be marked different than any other biography I've read.

They didn't have Griftopia. Bubble Machines, Vampire Squids, and the Long Con That Is Breaking America, by Matt Taibbi. The phrase about Goldman Sachs - "a great vampire squid wrapped around the face of humanity, relentlessly jamming its blood funnel into anything that smells like money." was enough to make me want to buy the book.

I also picked up Why the West Rules - For now, by Ian Morris. This is along the lines of Jared Diamond's Guns Germs, and Steel, and I love this sort of stuff. It shows how things are interconnected, and how explanations are never quite as simple as bastard lying politicians and army generals make them out to be. We also got a few more books since there was a sale going on. I ended up carrying an arm stretching load of books in a checkout line for a long time.

Even though IMC was on TSN this morning, I don't get cable TV. So I hope one of my buddies DVR'd it, and is willing to invite me over, hint hint. I'll bring the wine.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

I was a fig tree

Later on Tues I did the Julie trick, just in case there was stank. I had to wash workout gear anyway so as the washing machine was filling up I poured in several cups of vinegar, then added the oldest most used gear till it was full. Once it had swooshed and gurgled around a little I paused it and let it sit for an hour, then completed the cycle, and hung it to dry. So far so good, the real test is sniffing once it's sweaty again.

The Wed am swim was super! I wasn't in the mood to do sets of anything. I just wanted to swim. I was watching the two lanes to see which I should hop into. The right one had a guy swimming just about exactly my speed. The left one had a girl swimming what I thought was a bit faster. As I pondered a girl jumped into the right lane. She has a strong stroke but is slow slow slow. That decided me.

I started when the girl turned around at the far end, and very quickly found a good feel for the water. I'm still trying to work on my stroke, aiming more for clean and efficient, rather than trying to go fast. I figure a better stroke will automatically be fast(er). I didn't pay much attention to her, but noticed my lane buddy was gradually gaining on me. That was fine. 500 m in I was on track for about a 19 minute K, and shortly after she passed me. Of course I drafted. I think she picked up her pace a bit trying to drop me, but I hung on for  about 300 m, oh so gradually slipping out of the draft. Part of it was my flip turns getting sloppy, and part of it was this girl could really swim. She was going just a hair faster than I could comfortably maintain and I was gradually getting more and more out of breath. I swam about the last 75 m out of the draft, and was very happy to see an 18:30 K! I dialed it back and swam easy. Then some drill, some kick, and some 100 m intervals on 2 m trying for good form. Cool down. About 45 minutes total, with about 10 minutes core in the dive tank.

The Chiro/ART went really well, no alarming pops or cracks this time, just some quiet clicks. I'm to continue with the exercises, and come back in 2 weeks. My left calf is still a bit sore; the Dr thinks I might be unconsciously compensating by trying to take it easy on the right knee.

During yoga we did a new balance pose called Fig Tree. Stand on right leg with left leg behind with toes just touching the mat. Stretch left hand out palm forward. Right hand up, palm back. Push left leg back and slightly off the mat, while leaning forward slightly. All the other poses were the usual suspects. Very nice, even if someone (not me) was snoring during Savasana.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Icing the owie

Monday swim was the first good long hard swim in a while. 45 minutes in the water, and another 15 core in the dive tank. Lots of different stuff, good warmup, some drill while sharing the lane, some 100m on 2 min, and cool down. All good.

Tues was a bit of a disappointment. Did some knee exercises, then on my bike for warmup, 15 minutes each. Then out for a run. It was a beautiful day, sunny and a nice temp of about zero C. The first half hour was great, then my left calf kind of cramped up in a big dull knot. Tried stretching it out and walked. I'd hoped to run for more than an hour. Oh well. Iced it when I got home. It's still sore now, just before going to bed.

Monday, November 8, 2010

A health care rant

Much of this is taken from a Facebook conversation, but has been added to and tweaked. So if you are one of the 3 people that read it there, and you know who you are, you still need to read it again.

Language has become a problem in the health care debate, with one side taking the Canada Health Act as a sacred trust, and the other as a sacred cow. As in, ready to have holes poked in it to join the ones already there. The whole sound bite thing has made it very difficult to even discuss the issue because as soon as you say "privatize" people assume you mean going to the American system when that might not be the case at all.

We already have lots of people making a profit out of health care. Every General Practice doctor, and every dentist just for a start. So anybody that objects to privatizing of health care because somebody is going to make a profit needs to get with the program.

The problem with health care as a commodity is that demand is essentially unlimited. Who wouldn't go for that second test just to be sure, or another round of imaging to get the best possible picture of where to cut? Yet there are limited resources to meet that demand. Limited equipment, limited numbers of people to run that equipment, and most critical of all, limited numbers of people to interpret the results and decide what should be done, then do it. Plus we have idiots who have no idea what the proper use of an emergency ward is, or how to effectively access the system, then wonder why they are sitting in the emergency ward for 24 hours with a minor injury.

What we have now is a sick care system. I want a health system that keeps people from getting sick in the first place. I want to see people much like Registered Nurses set up in strip malls like 7-11's are. People register with their nearest one, and go in regularly, I'm thinking monthly, or every couple moths. Check weight, blood pressure, look in various orifices, prod sensitive bits of anatomy, and keep data so that when a problem comes up everybody knows what the baseline is, and have an understanding of what normal is. This would catch problems like diabetes much earlier.

Once it's determined that further treatment is necessary, the nurse feeds them into the system. They see the appropriate specialists, get tests ect. Then they get treatment. If some doctor figures he can fill the demand for xyz procedure better and faster because that's all she's going to do, then the system works out a price, and sends the people. Whatever gets the job done most efficiently is what floats my boat.

Now, should people with more money jump the queue? Let's make sure we understand the question. Lets look at some procedure, call it x. Doesn't matter what it is, really. In a year the Canadian medical system can do only so many of them. Some are routine, some are emergencies, some are done by a specialist that can't do anything else, and some are done by a generalist who, to some extent, can choose to one of many procedures. Trying to optimize the time of the medical professionals, and the associated equipment while meeting the needs of patients is an extremely difficult problem.

If there are more people who want or need procedure x than the system can process, then we have a problem. Most of the time, it's the worst case that gets treated. By making that person wait, their case is probably much worse than it would have been if they had been treated right away, and they've likely developed further complications. The medical system has been working on a triage basis. Mostly. If that's what it is, then people understand. But when the rich and powerful go to the front of the line, it causes social unrest, it does. Yet it's clear that the medical system needs some way of rationing the available services.

I don't particularly object to some doctor working outside the system and charging a fee for his patients. After all, the doctor has valuable skills, and one can't blame them for trading those skills for as much money as possible. But is money the only rationing system? I'm not sure. It's just the one we use most. The fear is that the rich will get good, immediate care, and the poor will get inadequate, long delayed care. After all, the medical professionals are going to want to work in the system that compensates them the best. Providing skills at a discount to serve a social need is all well and good, but doesn't put food on the table.

I also object to the insurance companies telling us what procedures we can have, because that's what they're willing to pay for, even if the doctor and the patient want something else. That is a repellant system that I want no part of.

To sum up, privatization is not a dirty word. It just needs to be carefully handled.

Now lets look at the people in the system. I want each person to get a statement at the end of the year that details how much they and their families cost the system. Not in the sense that it's a bill, it's just a statement. To balance it off, it also lists what they paid into the system in terms of taxes, special fees, and anything else. It would be interesting to include figures like the max cost for one individual, the mean, mode, average, and minimum cost for a person.

There are lots of times where a person might have a very expensive year due to an accident or the onset of some expensive medical condition. The hope is that when the entire Canadian public is considered the risk pool, all these things average out.

Yet there are some people who cost more than others, consistently, year in and year out. Way more. We should be looking for the consistently most expensive people in the system. Most people think that costs for each person are about the same, on average. For most people that's true. But for a small segment the costs are much higher. Some of the homeless are into the emergency wards weekly. Drug users. Drunks. The sick elderly. The handicapped.

I'd like to identify those high risk people, and start addressing their specific issues to drive down their costs. In the book "What the Dog Saw" by Malcolm Gladwell, there is a chapter talking about homelessness. The costs of these homeless people on the medical system is staggering. When you look at what gets spent, and the people resources they tie up in the process, it become much easier to justify a custom solution. Like giving them an apartment and their own social worker. Sounds bad, but it saves big dollars.

I'm a pragmatic person. I don't have ideological labels on me. I want solutions that make the best use of our taxpayer dollar, and that are as fair as possible. That might mean that people have to start taking better care of themselves, and if they don't, they should get billed. If that means that a few people get "special treatment" because that special treatment costs half of what treating them like everybody else costs, then I'm all for it. And no, I don't think the appropriate treatment for the sick elderly involves an ice floe and polar bears. Still, they have specific issues that can drive down the costs of treating them. For example, doctors and nurses making regular house calls on them sounds expensive, until you consider the alternative of having them in a bed in a hospital.

Smokers are one of my hobby horses. Smokers are making themselves sick, and are helping make those around them sick. Cigarette smoke is horrible stuff, and there is no redeeming social value from it. At least auto exhaust (which has got much cleaner over the years) is balanced off by the transportation provided. Smokers should pay higher health care premiums. Much higher. Like twice or three times or more. They should routinely be denied expensive medical services like heart or lung transplants because they aren't interested in their health. If they were, they'd quit smoking. Naturally, I think the services that help people quit should be widely available, and should be tax deductable. We should be doing anything possible to prevent people from becoming smokers in the first place. Cigarettes should not be available in a corner store. Only at licensed tobacconist shops that don't sell anything but tobacco products. And yes, they should be allowed to sell pot too. I confess I'm not sure how these people should be identified so we know to charge them higher taxes.

All that said, I'm not sure I want to go down the road of charging everybody a different health care tax based on their bad habits such as smoking, drinking, eating fatty foods, not getting exercise, and who knows what else. I don't like the idea of turning Canada into some namby-pamby nanny state where people wear helmets on a day to day basis because, gosh, they might fall down and injure themselves. Even though I've done just that and know of others who have too.

As for high risk activities my thinking is that many of these are common things that are part of the risk pool. Hockey is a part of Canadian culture, and most people play hockey at some time in their lives, and yet there are a lot of injuries from it, some quite serious. Any activity has the risk of injuries, and hence, putting a demand on the health care system. Hell, just being old is a risk all by itself. Where do you draw the line between high and medium risk?

I look at how people prepare for the activity. Do they wear the appropriate personal protective gear? Have they made themselves aware of the hazards of the activity and taken the appropriate steps to mitigate them? Are they in reasonable physical shape for that activity? Do they practice it at the appropriate level (pickup, recreational, league, professional, ect)? Do they have the appropriate first aid equipment on hand? Is there booze involved? The exact response to each of these varies by the activity. A game of pickup baseball at a family picnic will generate entirely different answers than someone going back country cross country skiing. And different again from woodworking, parachuting, scuba diving, climbing mountains, and well, everything that humans do for fun.

Some people make the argument that too much exercise is bad for you as well, driving up the need for knee and hip replacements, or injuries. Look at the medical resources needed at, for example, Ironman, to give IV fluids to people who pushed too hard on the day. Some might say those medical resources might be more effectively used elsewhere, and we shouldn't allow people to do medically risky things such as Ironman. Or we might realize the superb conditioning levels of Ironmen drives down the cost of the system overall because of the lower incidence of heart and lung disease, and on that basis, offer people that complete an Ironman a 10% break on their taxes.

But when we talk about dangerous activities, we need to talk about the elephant in the room. The 800 pound gorilla. Right now the single most dangerous thing that a North American does is be in a car. Yup. Driving. There are things like heart and lung disease that kill more people, but as an activity in itself, being in a car is extremely dangerous. If we want to cut health care costs, I say, I YELL,

 There Is No Such Thing As A Car ACCIDENT! 

Every one of them has a cause, and in almost every time the cause is driver error. The cost of these "car accidents" is horrendous. It took about 10 seconds to find these figures from 2007 for Alberta alone.

458 people killed, and 24,530 injured in 153,901 reported traffic collisions. 

Go back and read that again. I'm not kidding, and I'm not making it up. Alberta's population is only 3 million or so. WTF!!!!!! Why do we put up with this? I'd love to see how much that costs our health care, and how many hospital beds would be freed up if those victims were dropped out of the system. There are entire industries  built around repairing the people, cars, and infrastructure damaged by these collisions. Imagine what more productive use they could be put to.

We should start investigating these "accidents" the same way we investigate plane crashes. There is no reason in the world why driving shouldn't be as safe as flying as a mode of transportation. It's our idiot drivers that make the roads so dangerous. Cars themselves are pretty safe these days, and in fact they're so safe they are starting to promote riskier driving behaviours. Let's start weeding out the idiots, and upgrading driving skills. Here's some ideas, in no particular order:

  • Name and shame people that caused a collision. Put their name and photo in the paper, and on a government web site for the purpose. Give their car some equivalent of a dunce hat.
  • Double, or triple the insurance rates of those demonstrating incompetence at driving. 
  • The first driving impaired offense should be an educational whap upside the head with a wet cod because it is only just barely possible the person might genuinely believe themselves to be ok. I'm talking hundreds of hours of community service dealing with the aftermath of drunk drivers. I'm talking passing a driving skills course that makes the current road tests look like kindergarten. I'm talking a fine of say, 10% of your gross income from all sources. This should be enough to get the person's attention that driving impaired is a major no-no. For a second offense I think a suitable punishment is to have all their organs harvested and distributed to the people on waiting lists for organ transplants. You only think I'm kidding.
  • People who no longer have the required driving skills need to be removed from the road. Everybody should have mandatory road tests every 5 years, which includes a refresher on driving skills. At 60 it should go to every 2 years, and at 70 every year. These road tests should be much tougher than they are now. They should include dusk and night driving, a skid test, and dealing with vehicles such as cyclists, oversized loads, and construction or farm equipment.
  • There should be a much greater use of simulator technology used for driver training. Right now it's common to see driving and flying games. But we should be creating driving simulators similar to airplane simulators. These are so accurate that pilots are rated to fly the airplane with passengers for the first time after such training. I'd like to see the driving simulator so accurate, and so tough that the cocky teenagers come out with wet pants and ringing ears. 
  • Rather than ban the use of cell phones while driving; if a collision investigation shows the driver was using a cell phone or similar device, then the insurance company need not cover the costs of that collision. That forces people to take responsibility for their actions. 
  • The so-called 'single vehicle accidents', where a driver winds up in the ditch are evidence of driver incompetence. Regardless of when their license renews, it should expire immediately to force them through a renewal exam and refresher. Maybe their insurance rates should go up. It should be noted there are times when ending up in the ditch *is* the correct course of action.
  • I'd like to get rid of about 90% of the signs on the road, including traffic control signs and devices. Did you read about the experiments in Europe to do away with traffic signs? Very interesting. By making the roads more unsafe, it forces the drivers to pay more attention and interact with the other people on the road.
  • Public transit needs to be made drastically more effective. Calgary's system only qualifies if you live near an LRT station and only want to go downtown.
Really, that's two rants in one, health care and driving. Stay tuned for a rant on zero tolerance rules.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Double chocolate expresso muffins

Yummy. The promise of them kept me going through the spin, run, and core. Well, most of the core.

2 hrs on the bike, lots of stuff. Knee was good until near the very end working on a big hill climb set, when it twinged a bit at the top of the knee cap. Backed off a bit, but finished things.

Run 20 minutes. My left knee was a bit weird, but it came around and I had a nice run. 10 minutes from the cross walk to the pretty pedestrian overpass near the girl scout building. Then back. Nice and sunny, perfect temp for a run. Maybe 5 C or so, not sure.

Then the killer kore. It's good for me, I know it is, but holy crap. Pushups. Ug. I'm passing on side plank till I'm more confident of how my knees will take it. Then the muffins! Yay!

Once home I had time to clean up so I wasn't all sweaty icky for my super massage therapist JL. She worked me over pretty good and says my legs have way fewer grumpy muscles than 2 weeks ago. Anybody here in Calgary looking for a good therapist to come to their homes let me know and I'll give you her contact info.

Did a good health care rant on facebook. For those of you who can't see Julie's Mike's wall, and want the rant, let me know and I'll repost it on this blog.

Weekly Summary
Swim 1.5 hrs
Bike 3.75 hrs
Run 1.75 hrs
Walk 1.0 hrs
Total cardio 8.0 hrs
Core 1.75 hrs.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Strong but not fast, how's that for weird?

Well, some core stuff too, along with knee exercises. Although it wasn't as nice as yesterday (clear, sunny, 22C) it was still really nice today. Nice enough to run in shorts and short sleeved tech shirt. On Nov 5. Gotta like that.

Ran 8.2 K on my around the neighbourhood route, in 54:22. Right knee behaved itself, but my left leg was full of complaints. Once I got into the groove I churned along feeling pretty good. I was breathing a bit harder than I expected, but my legs were feeling pretty good. They really came through on the last half of the run, which is all uphill and trail running. I managed to maintain speed and keep a good stride going, but my legs didn't want to go any faster at all. That's ok. I was out for a nice run, longer than a half hour, no longer than an hour. Right at the very end my hip flexors were getting tired. Walked to warm up and cool down. Stretched after.

Not sure what I'll do tomorrow.

Thursday, November 4, 2010


Wed swim was good, 45 minutes. Some strong and smooth, some just cruising along in a lane to myself. Not many people in the pool at all, not sure why.

Then to ART. There was a huge click or crack as he was doing some manipulation, but he assured me it was all good. Then he tried to pull my leg out by the roots, and got it about half way. Iced it firmly when I got home, and did some light stretching. It felt odd all day.

Yoga had one of my fave poses, pigeon, but I wasn't totally in the mood. I didn't want to push my knee, so I didn't get the full benefit of the stretch.

More knee icing on Thursday. Amelia the Cat helped, see my facebook page for the photo. Gentle stretching and some of the easier exercises. It's still feeling a bit odd. I think it's because the muscles are working together in slightly different ways.

Spin class was a bit weird. At times my knee would be normal and I'd spin fine. Then a few minutes later it would be all weak and feeble and cranky. One leg drill is brutal, that hurts just above the top of the knee cap where the quad joins in. Was on the bike 1.75 hrs, though the last few minutes was easy spin. My heart rate wasn't that high, but my breathing seemed higher than normal. I'm icing it even as I type.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Happy running from Halloween candy

Firstly, Halloween candy. It's true, I was good. I didn't eat any Halloween candy this year. At least, not until Halloween was over. And I'm not sure this is Halloween candy. This arrived in my mail late afternoon Nov 1, sent by someone who shall remain nameless. The package also included wonderful choco chip cookies.

Yes, they're very good. Yes, that jar was full when I got it. No, I don't want to know how many calories there are per handful. Typically candy doesn't particularly tempt me so it's no big deal to hand out candy to the kids. Cookies, yes, a thousand times yes, cookies tempt me, especially ones with chocolate in them. I can hear them calling me, singing to me in multipart cookie harmony. Fudge. Brownies. Some cake. Some fruit crumbles/cobblers. All these things tempt me.

Workouts help balance these things, and over the last several years they have more than balanced out. The last couple months are a bit of a different story. It's a good thing there are no scales in our house, at least not any that are suitable for weighing me. That muffin top is starting to come back again.

So now that it's November I'm taking myself more firmly in hand. Not THAT, GQH, that needs two hands. It's time to start being a bit more careful about portions again, and a bit more regular with the workouts. Since IMC if I haven't wanted to, I haven't. Now I'm going to be going, but for this month it's to get back into the habit again. Core every day, mainly for my knee, but all of them really are core workouts too. "Maintain abdominal hollow" is prominent in the wording describing how to do them, which I interpret as meaning "Suck in that gut fat boy!"

Today was a bit of a different routine. The car is in the shop all day, so I dropped it off, and had their shuttle drop me downtown so I could take the LRT south. I got a bit lucky and managed to meet up with a buddy for coffee, and we had a nice chat. I just missed the bus from the LRT (and there's another rant) and decided that rather than waiting I'd walk home. If I take the very shortest way, and really push it, it takes about 40 minutes. Today I took a bit of a scenic route and paced it as a brisk stroll, so it took just under an hour. It's a beautiful morning out there.

After a snack and some computer stuff I was looking outside, and decided I needed to run. Warmed up with some leg exercises. The run felt good right from the start. I didn't want to go too long or too far, so headed around my 5 K loop. 32:14 and I was back home for a bit of a walk to cool down. Most of this was at an easy pace, not working too hard. Feet felt light, legs felt strong. No nigglies. Mid zone three max breathing. It's almost a shame to stop but I don't want to over do it.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Face down, and not from the sugar hangover

I had no Halloween candy this year. None at all. Handed it out per expectations to the mabye 30 to 40 kids. Many of them need to be coached to say Trick or Treat. What IS this world coming to?

Swam 45 minutes this morning mostly in a lane by myself. Lots of warmup, trying a new breathing tip, but I'm not sure how well it works. Guys are so gross! I had an experience in the locker room that gives me the shudders just to think about. One of the regulars must have had beans in a major way last night. The expected biological imperatives happened. Loudly. Often. Prominently. Proudly even. Gawd.

After a busy morning, and lunch, and some errands I came home and essentially fell off the world. I blame Amelia the Cat. I thought I'd give her a bit of a combing while I considered the next thing to do, and next thing I knew I was struggling awake as the herd of busses were dropping off the school kids. I'm still not feeling totally with it.

I'd been thinking about running this afternoon, so much for that idea. If I was very ambitious I'd go this evening. I think we all know how that is going to turn out. What was that ELF was saying about excuses?

pumpkin muffins

Spin class 2 hrs. Hard. All was good till the last set standing up where my knee started complaining. I instantly backed down and started cool down spin. The pain was on the top of the knee.

Run was very heavy, the heaviest I've felt in a while. When it didn't come around I headed back early.

Core was a shambles. I'm afraid to even try side plank now. Pumkin muffins were awesome!

Weekly Summary
Swim .5 hr
Bike 3.75 hrs
Run 1.0 hrs (and I'm being a bit generous here.
Total Cardio 5.25
Core 1.75.