Sunday, May 29, 2011

The Last Massage

Today was a sad day in one sense. Janice, my massage therapist, moving back East in a week or so. Janice started with me just after IMC when Kate, my previous therapist moved to Canmore. I've still got her contact info if anyone is looking for a fabulous massage therapist in the Canmore area.

Janice and I got on well from the start, and I really like her style. She is really, really good at finding the places that need to be worked on, and did so. She has a couple therapists interested in taking over her clientele, so I hope one of those works out well. If anyone in South Calgary has a mobile therapist that's looking for more clients, please send me their name.

The only workout since Friday has been trying to stay on top of the lawn. We've had a lot of rain lately, which makes it tough. Plus it's just the start of the year so there is all kinds of crap to clean up, which means lots of bending over. The grassy parts of the lawn are about as civilized as they're going to get. Now it's time to work on the raised beds. The lilies I moved last year are coming up, so that much is good. I don't have much of a green thumb.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Workout habit

It's monsoon season up here. Lots of rain. Rivers are flooding. Some places have warm rain, which sort of boggles my mind. Here, if it's raining, it's cold. But I ran anyway on Friday.

About 20 minutes of core, and choked because a podcast of a CBC show I wanted to listen to wasn't working. The run was so-so, which is to be expected when you haven't run for a while. It took about 20 minutes to feel half way decent. My heart rate and breathing were way up, for a slow pace. Later they settled down again. Only 5 K, 35 minutes.

I simply have to get more regular about the running. And back into the pool at least once a week. Onto the bike once in a while would be good. Sad how easy it is to get out of the habit, and how hard the life balance thing really is. I find it more and more amazing that people with small children manage to get their workouts done, along with everything else.

My latest distraction is the TED talks app on the iPad. I thought I was sort of keeping up with what was going on in the world, and I'm not. Not even close. There is amazing stuff happening. All of the speakers are good, and some are incredible. Google Hans Rosling. He does some of the best presentations I've ever seen.

Sad to say, I'm back in the market for a massage therapist. JL is moving back to New Brunswick to be closer to her family. Sigh. I'm happy for her, but it means trying to find another mobile therapist. Or going to a clinic, which means there you are on the table all relaxed (hopefully), and the next thing you have to do is drive home, which builds the stress again.

For a while this morning I thought it was going to be nice. The sun was starting to come out. The roads are almost dry. But when I walked over to get the morning papers I realized that it's still raining, very lightly. Yes, here in Calgary it's possible for the sun to be shining, and rain to be coming down. Often. Who knows  when the jungle will be mowed?

Wednesday, May 25, 2011


My left calf has calmed down from cramping it trying to get my wetsuit off during the weekend. For a while it was painful just to touch it, but now even firm massage doesn't hurt. There's still a bit of tenderness there, but I'm thinking of it as essentially back to normal. However, during yoga this evening I found out that my left hip flexors weren't as happy with me as I had thought. There were some nice stretches that were good for what ailed me.

Best of all, goober boy was not there. Savasana was silence, or silence was savasana, however you want to think about it.

If it wasn't yoga class I'd have run tonight. Maybe tomorrow night, if it isn't raining too hard. We're in the middle of monsoon season here. Considering the alternatives that have happened to places like Slave Lake or  Joplin, I'll take a bit of rain.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Cold open water

My buddy Cath talked me into joining them for a little pre-season tuneup "race" this long weekend. Not that it took much convincing, since I'd heard about the proposed lake, and they're such fun people anyway.

The best thing about it was the civilized start time. She told everyone 10:30, and planned for an 11 am start, and we actually got off about 11:10 am. Nice. There were about a dozen of us, and the idea was to do what you wanted to do. I think in the end each of us did something different. I'd sort of thought about doing an Oly. Here's where we started the swim.

There was a ~ 500 m swim loop planned out in the shallow waters of the lake. The water was crystal clear, and I saw some fish before we started. No turtles though. At one point I was side tracked looking at the sunken trees. When we were talking about it afterward, given our times, we thought the course a bit long. On checking Google Earth it turned out to be a 600 m loop. For what it's worth I did three of them in 35 minutes. By the end of it my hands were starting to feel warm in the water, meaning they were going numb.

Getting my wetsuit off wasn't fun at all. I managed to give myself a major cramp in my left calf doing it, one of the worst I've ever had. I still hurts now, a day and a half later, so now I'm suspecting it's worse than just a cramp. Maybe I actually pulled or strained something. If Jason hadn't come along to pull the suit off I'd probably still be there tugging ineffectually.

Even so the transition was less than 6 minutes, which is fast for me. It helps that from the beach to my bike was about 10 steps, and from the bike to the road was maybe 20 steps. The bike was a fairly flat out and back course with some loops marked with balloons on a stake. It took a while to get into the groove. What was nice is that my average speed went up and up throughout the race. My calf was bugging me, but what makes me really happy is that my knee didn't twinge at all. It felt solid, even standing up and sprinting fairly hard from the turnarounds.

The bike course turned out to be almost exactly 40 Km, and I did it in about 1:28, or just over 27 Kph. I'm pleased by this, as I wasn't expecting to do so well. There was a huge burp brewing throughout the ride that never came out until much later. I think I swallowed some lake water.

After getting out of the bathroom and chugging up the hill out of our transition spot, I knew I wasn't going to run the whole 10 K for an Oly. My run felt slow, and my breathing and heart rate were way too fast for the effort involved. My hydration and nutrition were not in place to do an unsupported 10K run, since my tummy had been a little off during the bike. I decided to turn it into a good brick workout and run easy for 20 to 30 minutes. My run gradually felt better, and oddly enough, the cramped calf didn't seem to mind the running.

In the end I'm very pleased with the workout. I'm not going to say my knee if fully healed, and I'm going to sign up for the half I'd been thinking about for mid June. There's just no way. But it was still a good workout, and a fun weekend. You can see some pics here. Mostly they are of Cath, mainly because her hubby is taking them, and he's besotted, not that anyone will hold that against him. Oh, except for the photo of me and Jason and the axe. Linda took that one.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

The elbow and goober boy

There I am innocently standing in line for coffee this morning. The guy in front of me is on his cell phone, oblivious to the world, left elbow straight out to get the phone to his ear. Suddenly he realizes it's his turn, and twists sharply to his left to point with his right hand at the muffin he wanted. I'm glad I was paying attention because he'd have got me in the face.

Yoga tonight had goober breath show up again. At least he was on time. But today I moved over one space to get further away from him, and what does he? Moves over one space himself. Bastard. Even worse was the full on snoring starting about 3 breaths into savasana. The snoring kept on even after the bell was tingled. I think his wife poked him.

No run yesterday. I think the dolphin kick was a bit more stressful on my knees than I thought, since both were cranky. I'd have run tonight if we hadn't had yoga.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Surprised a dust bunny in my swim bag

This morning I was scurrying around shoving stuff into my swim bag. Normally I pack it the night before, but I wasn't that organized. My eyes weren't totally open, but that's ok. I'm used to it.

Imagine my surprise when a dust bunny made a break for freedom while I'm taking stuff out to change at the pool. It's been a little while since my last swim, but I hadn't thought it was THAT long. Either that or the dust bunnies in our house breed quicker than expected. It drowned in a puddle on the change room floor.

Chatted briefly with my lifeguard buddy L, and more with my buddy Deb at the pool. One of these days after a swim we're going to have to play hooky from work for a while so she can give me a ride on her awesome motorbike and I can buy her breakfast after.

I only swam a half hour, very easy today. My left shoulder was feeling a bit floppy during the recovery, and not especially strong during the stroke. My dolphin kick, such as it is, was pathetic. No core left, it would appear. Still, it was nice to be in the pool again, and stretch out. Much better than the painful last swim.

Monday was a rest day, with just some light stretching. I'd been thinking about a run, but both knees are feeling a bit cranky so I'll work on the lawn and rack some wine. If I get ambitious maybe some core.

Oh, and SUAR has a great giveaway on her blog. If you go there, and if you enter, be sure to tell her that you heard about her blog, and the great giveaway, (to say nothing of her fantastic biological exploits), from me. That OUGHT to be good for another entry.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Not going to bike in this wind

Friday and Saturday I was locked up in a small room for most of the day. The chairs weren't particularly comfortable, so I sat in the back row and stretched a bit a few times to keep from locking up altogether.

Stretched 30 minutes today, after a leisurely coffee and paper read. I find that listening to the CBC podcasts of The Current is a good way to ensure I keep at it, without having to worry about the time. Some interesting stuff there.

My back has been continuing to improve, which makes me very happy. Today's run was 1 hour, nice and easy, concentrating on good posture and running easily. I think I'm finally getting used to these shoes. My legs wanted to run faster than my lungs and heart were willing to work. I was trying to stay at the top of zone 2, but my heart rate was consistently into zone 3 by about 5 bpm. My breathing was relaxed and no back pain involved at all! You have no idea how good that feels! When I tried to slow down to get my heart rate down, my run stride went all to crap. My heart and lungs need to start getting back on the cardio build program.

It was a cool and windy day for a run, and it would have miserable on the bike.

Weekly Summary
Run 2 hrs.
Core/stretching 2.5 hrs

Friday, May 13, 2011

Vampires lust after my nearly perfect blood

Firstly, Blogger, I'm talking to you! What's up with the outage, then making it look like my deathless prose had been eaten? My Wed post disappeared, then came back again, and in the meantime Xenia was nice enough to send me the text of it. (No doubt that's why her dissertation is taking so long, compulsively reading and re-reading all my blog posts, archiving them, and no doubt mining them for tips on how to make her D more readable.)

Back to my nearly perfect blood. It is, you know. A-. That's just about as good as blood can get. Only about 6% of the population have this kind of blood, so Canadian Blood Services is on me like the white on rice to come donate when I'm due. What with starting the new job, and not feeling well for a little while, I missed an appointment. I won't say the calls were getting frantic, but they were happy to see me again.

My back has been gradually feeling better and better. After a 20 minute session of stretching and leg exercises on Thursday I headed out for a run. My legs were happy to run, but my very low back, just above the tailbone still felt very creaky. I'd like to say I ran 5 K, but that's not quite accurate. I ran 2x2.5 K. Just about exactly at the half way mark of my typical 5 K run, there lives a guy I used to work with. He was doing front yard stuff, and I haven't seen him for a while. Of course I stopped and chatted for a few minutes. I know some of you hard core running/training kind of people would have waved, looked at your watch, and kept on going.

Screw that! I'm not in serious training here. I'm running because I've come to enjoy it, and it helps me feel better. I've got my eye on a half marathon in October, and I'd like to build for that, but I'm not SERIOUSLY TRAINING. So I stopped and chatted. To me right now, chatting with a buddy is more important than a run time.

In the end, I did the run a bit quicker than I thought I would, but the rest in the middle probably helped. My heart rate was a bit higher than I'd like given my breathing and pace, but that's not something to worry about. It could be a bit high for any number of reasons. I ended up running a bit over 30 minutes, and felt much better at the end of it, than I did the other day. Then, I barely made the 30 minutes. Today I could have kept going. But I realize I'm still getting my back tuned up. Sitting all day in poor chairs for a course at Mount Royal University isn't doing anything to help. At one point I was seriously tempted to do some twisting stretches at the back of class.

One blog post eaten

Blogger ate my wed night blog and it's now gone from my brain. Something about uncharitable thoughts in reference to the late-coming snoring goober in yoga class. more in a little while about the vampires after my nearly perfect blood.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

An un-yoga thought. Thoughts.

Dorothy Parker once said, "If you can't say something nice, come sit next to me." In that spirit, for the first little while of yoga class tonight I was thinking of the snoring goober that usually sets up next to me. He hadn't shown up as we started. He hadn't shown up as we went into the second pose. Then, there I was, head down in chest to leg, when I heard the door open. There were a number of uncharitable thoughts going through my mind. I was just relaxing and thinking I wasn't going to have to put up with goober-breath. When we finally stood up again I realized it was just someone coming back from a trip to the washroom. Yay! So much more relaxing without him panting and gasping. There are people pushing big weights in the gym that make less noise breathing than he does.

I had a wonderful class. Lots of good stuff that was what my back, and everything else needed. F has a knack, I think, for knowing what will do me good, and this class was full of it. I can't remember it all now, but it was all good. Oddly enough, what was hard was getting out of the poses, particularly the one where we were all laced up in a strap, propped up on a bolster, supported by the bright orange foam blocks. Usually by the time I'm out of the pose the class is well into the next one. No doubt they think I came on the short bus.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Out of the pain cave

It's been a tough couple weeks. I really don't know what began the story, but a while ago my left shoulder started hurting, and after a while it hurt enough that deep breathing was painful. Then it sort of got better, then abruptly worse after I slept on it wrong. Either that or I was kidnapped and tortured by aliens during the night.

Then the pain migrated down my back. It got to the point that rolling over in bed was an exercise in pain management. One night I went downstairs to sleep on my yoga mat so the quiet shrieks wouldn't wake up Linda.

At some point along the way I started taking Robaxisal, which is an act of desperation. That got the shoulder relaxed, a bit, to the point I could mostly breath again. My back was so tight last week the Chiro /ART guy couldn't hardly make anything move, and was afraid to try harder. I told my massage therapist that she had to go easy on me, or I'd cry. At one point, just touching the muscles in my back was painful.

Between the drugs, gentle massage, two chiro/art sessions, careful and gentle stretching, I'm finally back to where lying down and rolling over in bed isn't painful. One could touch my back and not have me whimper. I'm still awfully tight and creaky, but at least I can (mostly) breath now.

It's such a nice day out that it would be a shame not to at least attempt to run. The rest of the week is supposed to be nice but you never know. This could be the last day of summer. You never know when the snow is going to fly again.

I carefully stretched 15 minutes, then started running very easy. I could feel how tight I was in the hips and low back. It made running feel very stiff and awkward. I only ran 30 minutes nice and easy. That was enough to start getting my legs tired, and while I wasn't gasping, I was having to work to breathe. It was like my lungs were really high in my chest and I couldn't get enough air. Still, my heart rate was about where I expected it to be, so I did two gentle surges. I wouldn't call them strides, just putting a bit more effort into running a bit faster for a short space. Walked another 10 minutes to cool down.

It was nice to be out and running, even if it was slow and stiff. Next time will be better.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

A Titanic workout

Tuesday was some light core and stretching. My back and shoulder are killing me.

Wed was yoga, most of which was ok, though some was really hard on my knees. Plus the snoring goober showed up. Late, interrupting the class after it started. Jerk. I ended up taking a Robaxisal because of back pain. I had doing this, but it wasn't getting any better no matter what I did.

Thursday was my ART/Chiro appointment. The knee is doing good, a bit sore where the IT muscle turns into the tendon, and goes into the knee. No surprise there, biking and some of the leg exercises I'm doing are hard on that area. He had a go at my back, says it's pretty locked up. There were a few clicks, but it's still not right.

Then the Titanic workout. Avoiding a tour group and audio junkies. I hate people wandering around paying more attention to the audio guide than to where they are going. I hate big blocks of people at museum exhibits. I really hate the super chipper guides that ask questions. If I knew the answer I'd be giving the tour, or I wouldn't be there. Tell the story and get the fat asses in the tour group moving! Grrr.

That said the exhibit is wonderful! I was astonished at some of the displays. Paper money, for example, which you'd think would have lasted a few weeks at most. There was a display of some bowls lying in a neat row in the sand because the cupboard they were in had been eaten. Some clothing survived, even. Lots of photos, some video footage, and other odds and ends. Aside from the tour group I quite enjoyed it. Lots of stuff to look at as you snake back and forth around the old science centre. This is the last big exhibit here, till June 27, then it closes to move to the new building.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Election night ride

It was nice today, very nice. Right after getting home I hopped on my bike for an easy spin around the neighbourhood. Riding past several polling stations I was gratified to see lots of cars and people. I am hopeful that the slide in voter turnout will be reversed.

The ride was an hour of easy spin, just getting my legs going around. There were a few minutes of knee ache, but it passed. I was a little bit underdressed. The temperature was dropping during the ride and the wind was picking up. But it all worked out well.

We've got a Conservative majority government, which disappoints me. The NDP have made a HUGE gain in seats. They are now the official opposition. At least we won't have an election for at least 4 years. Lets see if we recognize Canada in 4 years.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Linda's tennis "ball"

It looks like a tennis ball, doesn't it?

Well, when you look closely the seams are poorly done so I just assumed it was a made in China cheap knock off. It even feels like a tennis ball, unless you try to squeeze it. It's as hard as a rock. Nobody could squeeze it at all, not even a little bit. Worst of all, it doesn't bounce like a tennis ball.

Still, it works perfectly for the intended purpose, which is to roll against sore muscles. There are lots of sore muscles around. I won't get into it, but they do seem to be getting better.

Only a few of my readers will recognize our guests, but they are famous, in some ways. We had a great time with them visiting. Lots and lots of wine! To say nothing of amazing meals. We got in a very nice run Sunday morning, up to the reservoir and back, just over 1 hour running nice and easy, chatting all the way. Beautiful weather. If I'd been ambitious, I should have gone for a bike ride after they left. Running felt good, and helped relax the tight muscles in my back.

I've got a new wine kit started, an Italian Primitivo.

Weekly Summary
Swim .5 (painful) hrs
Bike 0 hrs. Nope, none at all.
Run 2.0 hrs
Core 2 hours.