Posts Tagged ‘swimming’

You will be lucky today as I’ll get two posts out on the same day.  Actually, since I’ve already posted a short update on my tech blog, I think I might be setting some kind of record on productivity.  In any case, I wanted to jot down some of the important things from the past week and I also wanted to do a review on Premier Protein’s shakes and snack bars.  I didn’t think the two would go together, so I’ll just write up two for the day.

I’ve been getting busy this week on the job search front.  I have a good friend that is helping me with that process.  He and I talked this past Saturday and now I have a good bit of resources on what to do next.  I’ve spent the week going through a process guide he gave me and it has helped.  I’m trying to get my resume done up correctly.  You wouldn’t think it would be that hard, but I happen to be trying to switch careers.  I’ve done a lot of IT work over the last four years, and a lot of similar type of work in the years before that.  I’d really like to keep it going.  I have some disadvantages in that I don’t have all the little alphabet soup certifications after my name.  I just happen to know how to do the work.  I’m kind of weird in that respect that actual experience and merit count for more than just tests, exams, and paper.  Not that I haven’t done those either.

However, today, I thought I’d spend a little time just doing things I like.  I have a web site of my own that I run and it needs some work.  It’s kind of the “cobblers children never have any shoes” syndrome.  If you sit on a PC all day doing coding and IT work, you don’t often wish to do it when you get home.  Therefore, my little site is kind of drab and needs some sprucing up.  It doesn’t do much and unless you’re a serious geek it may not mean much.  However, if you just want to see what happens, look at it every now and then and you’ll see it start changing as I work on it.  You can find it here, it’s called the T.A.R.D.I.S. Server Project II; mostly just an information type page.

Running has gone well this week.  My foot’s tendonitis is still acting up a little, but I’m trying to take good care of it.  It hasn’t cost me any days yet.  I have almost finished my second week of marathon training and I guess this week is the week of forgetfulness and loss.  Twice this week, I’ve forgotten to plug in the garmin and had to use my smartphone’s abilities instead.  One of those was my tempo day, so no HR controls.  And, my SmartCoach plan on Runnersworld.com got messed up again.  I got it back, but it’s off a little so I am adjusting as I go.  I’ll run my 12-miler on Saturday and that will finish out a good week of running.

Next week will be triathlon week.  Yeah!  I only go round to setting up and planning for just one triathlon this year, so it’s kind of a big deal for me.  It’s the same sprint tri I did last  year in September.  This will make my second tri and I’m hoping to see improvement over last year (which wasn’t bad at all BTW).  I will once again take the Fuji out for the bike portion (do not fix what ain’t broke).  I’m also making some last minute decisions on how to handle some other issues with transition.

The transition area at the Rose City Tri is very sandy, so I’m concerned about my bike shoes.  I wear Speedplay pedals and I know I won’t have time to put on or take off the covers in the bike out area.  I also haven’t learned how to lean over and do my shoes up on the bike (I don’t balance well).  The reason it’s of a concern is that the cleats on the Speedplays are big open holes that can easily clog up.  We’ll have to wait and see on that point.

I am also taking a hat with a bill this year for the run.  Last year, I just turned my cycling hat around and wore it on the run.  But, the run portion has a lot of east-west running and it’s right in the face of the sun.  I’m not a fan of that on or off the bike, so a hat will be a help.  It doesn’t take long to put on in transition.  Finally, swimming should be better since I can do the whole distance with freestyle strokes now.

I started with “where to go from here”, but I think I have a good idea where that will be, or at least I have an inkling.  I will say, as I did earlier on Twitter, that it feels very odd not going to work every day.  Yes, it’s only the first week.  However, in thirty years or so of work, I’ve not had very long between jobs.  It feels as if I’m breaking some kind of rule.  As if there is some rule encoded in the Universe that says we are supposed to be at work every weekday.  There is one like that isn’t there?


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I’ve just finished putting a new pair of brake hoods on the old steel steed (1986 Fuji Palisade).  Through a gift, I upgraded several components, including getting a set of mid-1990’s Dura-Ace brake handles put on.  However, I needed hoods, and it’s not easy finding replacements for the older non-brifter handles.  It’s all part of knowing the right terminology since no one puts the hood part numbers on the brake handle anywhere.  Luckily, I found a pair on Amazon and now the bike and I are ready to ride the Dublin Tour dePepper ride this Saturday.

I’ve also experimented this week with a new running schedule.  I tried last Summer alternating my Saturdays with long runs and long rides, but it leaves both lacking.  So, this week, I ran 4, 2, 8, and 2 miles on Monday to Thursday.  That leaves a rest day on Friday and I can do a long ride of some sort every Saturday, then rest on Sunday before doing it all over again.  Since I’m into my Summer survival running mode, there are no hard days or speedwork going on.  They are all easy-ish runs to match with the weather.  We’ll see how it goes.

I have noticed during this late Spring and early part of Summer that my easy running is doing fairly well this year.  I am only three months away from being a runner for four years and as I look back on the time spent, I can see that the improvements come little by little.  Usually slipping up on me without much notice.

When I was a kid, there was a literacy program around called Reading is Fundamental (maybe it still is, I don’t know).  It made me think of how my training as a runner has also been incremental.  Rarely, do I get great gains in either time or distance.  Most improvement comes sneaking up on me when I’m not looking.  Even the times that I seem to lose ground usually result in learning something that leads to further improvement.  It’s the little by little nature of running that makes the results very worthwhile.

I’ve noticed as I finally started putting some longer runs back into my workouts that even with the increased heat and humidity, I can still run the whole distance.  And, because I was aware last Summer of how much slow down in pace is necessary in order to hang on through the heat, I’m not concerned about my paces this year.  Instead, I can focus more on breathing and maintaining a comfortable pace during the run.  It’s awfully good to end a run in 80 degree weather to feel that there are some more miles left if you needed them.

That same process is also evident in my other pursuits.  Swimming is incremental and cycling is incremental as well.  It’s taken a while of consistent effort to get to points where I feel good about where I’m at in my fitness levels.  I hope that I can see the increments of each show up during the events I have planned for the rest of the Summer and up through the Fall.

Because I can see the incremental growth and improvement in the sports I pursue, I can also see that same nature works the same way in other things I undertake.  If you know that the best gains come little by little and that those hard-earned small victories are the ones that stay with you, then you have less worry about approaching other things in your life.  Just remember that running is incremental and happy running, swimming, or cycling!

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Back this January, I injured myself while swimming.  Yes, while swimming.  The injury put a real cramp on my training; no running, no swimming, no cycling for a few weeks.  I didn’t want to stop training altogether and looked for something that wouldn’t aggravate my injury while it healed.  I found I use our city’s senior fitness center’s machines and work on strength training.

In my distant past, I had tried weightlifting on a couple of occasions.  It seemed boring and I didn’t have a way of measuring the effectiveness.  I tried and then quit.  I figured I could use strength training as a filler for not getting to swim, bike, or run and then dump it when I could go back to my previous workouts.

I don’t use a complicated workout.  Our fitness center has four machines that work on different upper body areas and another four that target legs.  I start with one of the machines for upper body and then switch off to one that works legs; back and forth until all are done.  I only do 10 reps (repetitions) of three weight levels.  The top weight level is just about at exhaustion for that machine.  It’s hard to lift all 10 reps of the highest level.  I only move up in weight when I can lift 10 reps on the highest weight with facility (not when it’s easy).

I kept that up for a month or so while I healed up.  Because my injury was a little complicated, it took a little longer and I’ve had to slowly work back into full workouts.  So, I kept doing the strength training twice weekly.  Then, I started to notice something.

I noticed that my running paces were starting to get quicker.  I noticed that I could run my longer distances a bit easier.  I also noticed that my swim speeds were getting better and my strokes were more true to form.  My swimming was getting easier.  Apart from the fact that I liked the improvement, I wanted to know what was going on.

It was actually my sweetie that noticed the connection.  It was the strength training.  Because I had kept my strength training up, I had increased my weight levels three times over a few months.  As I increased the lifting, my upper body and legs were better able to help me swim, bike, and run.

I have read a good many articles touting the good results of strength training.  Guess what? They’re right.  It does actually work.  With only a half hour of strength training twice weekly, I have improved my running pace by two full minutes per mile on a good day (11 min/mile down from 13’s).  My swims are still getting easier to do and more close to form.  I am currently working on getting a total of 600 meters with only freestyle.  I usually only was able to do that distance with half freestyle and half breaststroke.  I am almost there.

Therefore, my injury and the subsequent downtime did me a lot of good in my training.  Not that I would wish any injury on anyone.  It just took the injury for me to look for something different in my training and to focus on quality instead of just quantity.  While I’ve still got a ways to go to get back to my original distances, I know now that when I get there, I’ll be doing them faster and better than before.  Don’t leave out the strength training if you can help it.  Happy tri-ing.

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Things are just a little too hectic right now.  It’s very difficult to set aside time to write.  Hence, this quickie update.

I am slowly getting back into my routine with running, cycling, and swimming.  However, I am also keeping up with my weights workout on Tuesday and Thursday as well.  I do believe there is evidence that the strength training is improving my runs at least, if not other things.  Two weeks ago I put a four-miler on my Wednesday run (the longest since — ‘the injury’) and ran it with a 10:21 pace.  That’s really fast for me, folks.  My other 5K runs have seen similar improvements as well.

I have my swims back to mostly normal and up to thirty lengths (20 yds. each).  I am doing them slowly and leisurely, but still doing well.  I’ll stick at this distance for at least a couple weeks before moving forward.

It’s April and cycling is going.  I’ve signed up for the Ride for Heroes in Aledo, Tx again.  It’ll be my first ride this year.  I’ve also signed up for the Head for the Hills Rally in Cedar Hill again.  I like both of these rides for various reasons.  I’m going to take the Trek to Aledo, but I’m getting the new and improved Fuji prepared for Cedar Hill.

Work’s been very busy of late.  But, things are headed in a good direction.  I actually have a building to care for again, even if it’s not completely mine to care for.

Tomorrow, I’ll add a 5-miler on Wednesday.  I’m meticulously watching the increase by only 10% rule.  I’ve had a few more incidents with the knot swelling up on the foot and causing pain, but they are lessening in intensity.  So, I think things are slowly on the mend.  I apologize for the quick post, but it’ll have to do for now.  Hopefully, I’ll find better time to write soon.  Happy cycling!

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It’s been busy round here.  And, dealing with an injury that comes and goes makes things more fun.  My work has been busy.  It’s actually moving.  No. Really.  My job is moving its location.  I work for a church and we are moving soon.  Lots of things to do.

Yes, it’s true.  I do something besides just run, ride, and swim.  I have a life.  I have a family.  I even have grandkids.  Folks like us aren’t odd or different.  We are people just like everyone else.  Except, for some odd reason, we like to do things that “normal” people don’t even think of doing.  Or at least, it seems that way some times.

With all the things I do regularly, it often takes extra effort to stay motivated, stay patient and work out when I’m supposed to. Now, I have an injury that I’m not 100% where it came from and it doesn’t seem to match up exactly with anything known.  So, I’m working on figuring out how to manage both.  Or all three.

It seems that the one thing that doesn’t affect my foot is running.  I haven’t done any speedwork lately, but some of my runs have been at 11 minute/mile pace.  Even those don’t seem to be a problem.  I am slowly building miles and will add a 4-miler this week.  If I have had struggles in running, it has been things other than my foot.

Last week, I had one morning on the trainer that set my foot pain off.  But, now I recognize the onset and get my foot in some ice and wait for a while and the pain goes down.  I thought maybe that was the trigger, but I’ve been out on a bike and not have any pain.  Go figure.

I’m still only swimming a little, just 16 minutes at at time.  I’m doing roughly 300 meters at at time and most of that is breast stroke.  I’ll add some more freestyle this week and see if I get any changes.

My most recent bout of pain with the foot happened just like the one that sent me to the ER.  Sitting in my chair and move my foot just so (whatever that is) and there it goes.  The knot swells up on the top, near the ankle.  The pain is horrible.  I can’t put weight on the foot at all, but just get it in some ice, give it some time, and I’m fine again.

Yes, of course–I should see a doc.  And, I probably will eventually.  However, even that seems like a hit-n-miss situation.  I’ve had two docs look at is so far and several x-rays.  Nobody seems to know anything.  Since it appears and disappears, I need to be able to see the doc when it appears.  Not that I want to make that happen.  For now, if I manage the pressure on the foot, it seems to keep it at bay.

I’m going to build things slowly and continue to manage the pain when it appears.  Maybe, if I keep watch on it, I’ll find the actual trigger.  Then, I’ll have something for a doc to check.

So, for now, I’ll be patient and I’ll be thankful to God that I still get to work out.  I’ll stay busy with my family and my work and just watch out for the foot until I can put things together so that a doc can do something worthwhile.  You have to help them out, you know.  Happy swim, bike, and run!

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Yes, I think the jury might finally be in on the cause of my injury.  On my Thursday visit to the fitness center, I ran into a triathlete friend that is also swimming at Heritage.  He asked me where exactly I had pain from the injury.  He asked if it was right across the top of the ankle on the foot and I agreed.  He said his ankles are also having some pain issues in the same place.  Ah-Ha!

My friend is working on increasing his swim distance just like I am (only he’s a good bit ahead).  I had been in disbelief that swimming could CAUSE an injury.  I did some more research and found just what my friend and I are experiencing, though in different amounts.  Competitive and long distance swimmers can injure their foot/ankle in just the way I did.

It seems that the constant flexing of the foot during freestyle and breast stroke (my two) can lead to overuse injuries just as too much pounding can injure a runner.  I found information on LiveStrong and Lane’s Health Clinic.  So, I can reasonably rule out the stress fracture from this information and my experiences.  But, I still have to live with having a swimming injury.

In addition, it seems that I managed a new slight injury.  My ‘enthusiasm’ at strength training may have given me a muscle pull in my neck.  For a week and a half, I’ve had headaches during the afternoons when I get tired.  The most intense days have been…hold it…the day after a workout.  This past Thursday evening, I avoided any upper body strength training and just worked on legs and walking.

It does seem that walking is just fine right now.  I can walk all I want and not have any pain.  So, me and the treadmill at the fitness center have become friends.  It has also meant I got to go walk some with my sweetie as well.

I also got on the trainer today just for 15 minutes.  Everything was fine.  I kept the gears down so I didn’t push hard.  I could feel the stress just slightly in my foot and ankle during the ride, so I will have to keep the trainer to a minimum during my “rehab”.  But, at least I can get on the bike.

Next week, I ought to be able to get back to my regular schedule of workouts, even though the level of working out will still have to be quite low.  I am in what is probably the critical time.  My pain level is down and I will have to be patient.  I still get reminders from time to time.  My ankle will not allow much twisting to occur without a zinger of pain.  I am happy with improvement and will just have to make my workout job to keep from any further injury.  And, then to figure out how in the world I created a swimming injury.  Happy running!

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Yep, the big man is injured.  Really injured.  I am in my second week of not running.  I am not sure which it is, but I either have some torn ligaments in my foot, or possibly a stress fracture.  In either case, it is 6 to 8 weeks of not running.

I went the first week without doing anything.  I tried spinning on Friday, but that hurt after a while as well. I can walk fine.  I just can’t extend my foot or bend it backward much.  Any real side to side stress also hurts.  And, no I didn’t go to the doc.  I wasn’t bleeding profusely (well, not on the surface anyway), so I looked up the possibilities and their usual treatments.  It doesn’t matter which injury, both torn ligaments and stress fractures are treated most often with R.I.C.E.  That’s rest, ice, compression, and elevation.  I’m hitting well on three out of the four.

Of course, most of the literature says that any non-stress activities should be just fine; like swimming or cycling.  That’s not happening here. The injury occurred while swimming, so the movement of swimming creates the same motions as the injury and so does spinning.  Strike three!

Finally, this week, I figured at least I could do strength training on just the upper body and core.  Sweetie and I dropped in on the Senior Center to sign me up for a month of the fitness room.  I also thought maybe I could just do arms-only drills in the pool.  Those are where you hold a floatie or kick board between your legs and use just your arms to pull.  I might still get in some workouts anyway while I heal.

First night, this past Tuesday, Sweetie and I go to the fitness center.  She does her workouts on the dreadmill and the recumbent cycle while I move about the room and use my old weights routine from loooong ago.  Everything is going just fine.  I spy the elliptical and check it out.  It works!  The movements aren’t causing pain and the pedals keep my feet flat.  I make five minutes and stop just to not overdo it.  Then it’s off to the pool.

I forgot a bandana to tie my legs together, so I had to wrap my good foot around the injured ankle to hold the floating barbell.  It was working.  I could do a lap at a time then stop like when I first started.  At least it was swimming.  I made it 15 minutes and could start to feel the pain again. Uh-oh.

Yep, the pain was back.  OK, either I overdid it or the movements are still causing the pain.  That’s not good.  It hurt that night when I slept, but by morning things were getting back to normal.  I could still walk and the bruise on my foot was dissipating.  Today is Thursday and I’m fine again.

Ok, so just walking and upper body.  That’s all I can do for now.  Tonight is Thursday and Sweetie and I will go back to the fitness center again.  At least, I have a workout I can do.  I’ll just have to learn patience again.  But, you know I’m not good at that.

Cowtown half-marathon is out for me now.  Even if I could run by then, I wouldn’t be ready.  I’m just going to have to work on being cool until the time is up and then build back up again.  But, those are the breaks (maybe I don’t like that word so much now).  At least, I’m getting to sleep later since I can’t get up so early to run.  That’s pretty nice.  Happy running!

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