Fitness Update: Biking in the rain

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Well, a couple of things on the fitness front this week:

  1. I went to the MD doctor about the bone cramps/muscle aches in my lower and upper left leg. (At its worst, this made it painful to drive at all, as any application of the clutch in our stick shift stressed the offending area.) I had been seeing the chiropractor, who did adjustments that gave improvement, but his latest was that there was a tight muscle (he pressure pointed it and I could see what he meant) that needed to be stretched, rolled, etc. So I’ve been doing that a whole month, and while it is improved, it doesn’t seem to get all the way there. So I went to the MD, thinking a muscle relaxant. But his thought was a pinched nerve, and even though the back xray came back clean, he has me on anti-inflammatories. I haven’t experienced any significant issues since I started them on Wednesday, but I still feel tightness in the muscle area pointed out by the chiropractor. I am hoping the anti-inflammatory might do something about that as well, or I don’t think I’ll have the full cure I need.
  2. The only one of my three triathlete sports that got anything this week was cycling. I managed to put 50 miles on, which keeps me on pace for the month. A good portion of that was done Saturday during a break in the semi-constant rainstorms we received. I enjoy biking in the rain, though the big torrential downpours, and the streams of water across the road, are things I take seriously and avoid dangerous hydroplaning areas. This trip I got a 60-second torrent the minute I went out the door (totally soaked), and then it almost stopped, and most of the trip was the just barely rain, with about 3 more torrents, so I came home with squishy/squeaky shoes and only lightly damp shirt and shorts.

So, now to see when I get the rest of my workout house in order.

Fitness Update: Making the Miles

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Well, this is the week where one month ends and another begins. I have been working on three fitness activity targets all year. Only one of them has been definitively on target — bicycle miles.

And now, with the lull in cycling due to the vacation earlier in July, I am just making the miles today, and just barely. But I made the 1750 miles for 7 months to make the 3000 miles.

I’ve done some swimming at Oceans of Fun, but I need to get back to running, at least this fall, when the weather gets cooler. My schedule might be clearing up allowing more personal life around responsibilities. We will see.

Fitness Update: Midway Point

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What do I mean by midway point?

I mean I have gotten through the first couple of races in the Kansas City Corporate Challenge — the 5K and the (modified) half marathon — and have one event at the track meet (don’t know which one yet), the triathlon and swim meet yet.

Before the Corporate Challenge I had my Progress Series of races. So, in a sense, the halfway point should be between the end of the series and the beginning of the Challenge. In a sense I am talking about two halfway points, which means I’m three-quarters of the way through the combination of the two. Put together, or even each half considered independently, is a sort of long-distance event.

Planning for a long-term event or project requires a certain amount of psychological perspective and perseverance. My practice sessions, my runs for the Progress Series were pretty consistent.

But in heading to my second half-marathon, for the Challenge, and the rest of the Challenge events, my workouts have gotten more aberrant. They said to train for consecutive half-marathons you didn’t need to practice the full distance between races, just do “long runs” and keep the cardio training up. I did enough swimming and biking to do that.

So, for this past week, I had quite a bit of cycling, one day of 1,000 yards of swimming at the NKC YMCA. But no practice runs. I did run 2 miles on a treadmill at the Wellness Center as part of an “inside triathlon” program they are sponsoring. I did a lot of walking at Worlds of Fun. I also swam six laps (three laps each of Friday and Sunday) in the Caribbean Cooler at Oceans of Fun.

My total bicycle miles to date are 1,408 miles. My May interim goal to reach my annual total is 1,250 miles. I am 158 miles ahead of schedule. I have vacation time in June, and a lot in July where I won’t have opportunity to cycle. So I will need to have some ahead to stay on schedule.

My total running for the year is 250 miles. I am halfway through my annual goal of 500 miles. A midway point of sorts. Whether I make my annual goal or not depends on how I continue running through the rest of the year.

For swimming, I have swum 12,000 yards at the lap pool, and 1,600 yards at Oceans of Fun. That is much less than halfway through the 50,000 yard goal for the year. So no midpoint there.

There is less focus, and more holistic gestalt to today’s post. Which sort of emphasizes the point I previously mentioned about the psychological component of the fitness training regime.

Fitness Update: Swimming and tracking thereof

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Okay, this week I finally got back to the pool. I swam Monday-Wednesday-Friday and ran Tuesday-Thursday-Saturday.

My FitBit Flex 2 did not track the swimming. I was certain I had set it for swimming when I got it, but when I looked up a manual online, it only mentioned the word swim once, and that in the context of being swim-tolerant. It took until Sunday for me to go directly to the website and find a video on how to turn swimming on.

Which was curious, since I had apparently set the pool length and units back when I first got it, so it must have somehow turned itself off.

Which means it will take this week for me to see exactly how well the swim tracking works. Swim tracking was the whole reason I decided to try the Flex 2 over continued use of my MisFit.  The Flex 2 has worked better on the other features than the MisFit, so as long as it works well on the swimming, I will have decided that I made the correct choice.

My total swimming was 3,000 yards — 1,000 yards each day.

As for my running, this was a 21-mile week. I ran 4.5 miles each on Tuesday and Thursday, and then did a 12-mile run on Saturday morning. I ran it on the Levee along the course of my half marathon, or at least as close to the course as I could figure. I set my 9-minute mile pace again, if I measure my distances and course right. But it should be close enough to make that pace when the race actually occurs.

This coming Saturday my plan is to try and run the actual 13.2 miles of the half-marathon course, and see how well I time. I’ll be doing some guessing on some of the points. I know most people train for a half only to 11 miles and then expand on the race day, but that isn’t the pace I’m on.

Running on the levee has been good, feeling the difference between pavements and the dirt and gravel sections of the course. I am thinking that I’ll want to get to the chiropractor next week (week before the race), just to make sure everything is aligned before the run.

For the biking, I am up to 975 miles, with this month’s interim goal to be at 1,000 for the year, so don’t expect to have any issues with that. The running means I haven’t been getting in as many long biking excursions as I did in previous years, but so far I am still managing to get in the miles by shorter outings.

Fitness Update: Cold

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Weather was an intervening factor this week to my fitness attempts.

I got a half-mile “sprint” in as one of my workouts, and then some 100M sprints the next day. But cold and ice prevented me from my running on Friday.

It also precluded doing any cycling over the weekend. I did get out earlier in the week for a couple of 12-mile stretches, one a tour up around Claycomo, the other just doing laps through the Chouteau Trafficway park trail.

Snow on Saturday on top of Friday’s ice kept most people inside most of the day, and things are just starting to get moving again today. Not sure I’ll be running today, however.

Fitness Update: Minutes tracking

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Another week where the fitness activities are there, but not in an organized progression of the various activities. Cycling got in there, there were a couple of days with very little activity, and then others with many units of activity. Much of the activity was short walking segments.

It is interesting, when translating those into minutes, how much they translate. I synced my MisFit on Sunday morning, and then on Sunday evening I synced again, and checked how it updated my monthly minutes total on the Corporate Wellness Center minute tracker we can participate in this month. My 1500 daily points came out to about 119 minutes. Of course, based on intensity, you could have fewer minutes for the same amount of points, I suppose.

It comes down to metrics: what are you tracking. You can burn a lot of calories going almost nowhere if you know the right activity, or you can go a long distance with very few. Deciding what you want to track, how you want to be fit, is the important point. This tracker is encouraging minutes of activity. So if I run or swim, I should get a lot more points for fewer minutes — which helps my points quest, but doesn’t help the minutes quest.

I’m currently #3 on the corporate minutes board. I was #2 momentarily, but don’t expect to get back up there — especially when #2 is catching up to #1, and they are over 500 minutes ahead of me. So I’ll focus on my own goals instead.

This week we hope to try the early rise method to start the running and swimming again. We will see how often I can rise early. It needs to start with getting to bed early — the part I haven’t been doing so well.

A fall day… a fall excursion

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Yesterday was a wonderful day for a bicycle excursion after work. So I took my bicycle out on the trail, to find a lot of other people out and about.

Riding a bicycle can be a solo experience, or it can be a very social experience.The difference depends on how social I am, and how focused or social the other people I pass are.

The least social portion of the trip was the first five miles up area streets to get to the trail. Since this was during the start of rush hour, there was a lot of traffic. It could have been more social — in an unpleasant way — but yesterday no one honked horns or screamed obscenities from their window telling me to get to the sidewalk. I was able to ride all the way to the Maple Woods/Happy Rock Trail with my rights of the road as a cyclist respected by the motorists.

It was when coming down the long hill from Wal-Mart to the bridge that joined the main trail that I got my first social experience (or lack thereof). Usually this long slope gets me up to 30 mph and I have to make sure to break near the end before the jag to the bridge to be able to make the turn. But halfway down the hill there was gravel covering both sides of the sidewalk, leaving only a small clear stretch down the middle. In that middle section was a walker listening to her headphones. She must have had the volume way up, because when I started applying my breaks they squealed quite loudly for a long time, yet she never varied her walk or seemed to notice anything besides herself. She barely noticed anything when I rode past and gave her my usual “good afternoon”.

I rode the Happy Rock trail over to Happy Rock Park, where I passed several people, who did respond to my greetings, and then finished my first leg with a visit to the chiropractor’s office at Infinity Chiropractic.

When I finished there I rode back toward the park, but skirted the park, and connected to the trail north of the park and south of Maple Woods College. While cycling around the college I passed several college-aged ladies jogging. They were spread out in singles and groups of 2-3. I assumed they were a running group or cross country team from the college. All of them had good trail etiquette, and we passed nice greetings as they moved to allow me to pass.

I also passed another gentlemen who I recognized from my ride toward the park. He had been headed up the trail before I saw the chiropractor, and was now headed  back down, while I continued my course up the trail to the trail head at Barry Road.

From there I worked my way across Barry Road to reach the Line Creek Trail. That included using the nice bicycle lane east of North Oak, and riding without one to cross 169. I did a little north-south riding above Barry to find the new trails there are putting in along 152.

There is a Costco going in on the southwest corner of North Platte Purchase and 152, and on the southwest side of the intersection they have a trail all nicely paved, but unlandscaped, that I found to ride between there and Line Creek Parkway — where it joins up with Line Creek Trail and the rest of the 152 Trail. Well, actually, there were a couple of short stretches where the concrete forms were still on the trail, and I walked my bicycle across the loose gravel and dirt.But I wasn’t the only person using this probably-not-officially-open section of trail. I did pass and greet a couple of walkers coming  toward me.

Once I got on the Line Creek Trail, and started heading south, the trail traffic started picking up. Most of the people were regular trail people by the way they greeted and acknowledged me as I passed them. . There were the usual groups of families. Two groups were parents taking their kids out on their cycles with training wheels learning how to ride.

I saw several cyclists. One cyclist in particular, headed south like me, was just ahead of me on the trail. I gained on him fairly easily, but with the traffic heading toward us it took me awhile to pass him. The amazing thing was how after I passed him he seemed to go faster. I never quite got far enough ahead of him to actually get ahead of him, until he turned off at his exit point on the trail. Apparently my passing him was some sort of minor challenge.

Near the 68th St. transition I came upon a cluster of cyclists, including a couple riding a tandem bicycle. I spent about a tenth of a mile lazing along at their tempo talking to them about how easy/fun it was to ride the tandem.

I could go on about the rest of the trip, but it was pretty much the same exchanges, pleasantries, until I exited the Line Creek Trail at Riverside, and started another 5 miles of streets to get home. Once again the traffic was courteous, without insults or blaring horns.

As was stated, a nice fall day for a cycling excursion.