Monday, April 30, 2012

11.8 miles, feeling stronger

This morning, I rode only two-tenths of a mile further than I did last Tuesday, but I rode lots stronger, and didn't need a nap this aftenoon. For the first 6 or 7 miles, my legs were noticeably more responsive. Those tiny muscles on both sides of the kneecaps were not hurting... yet I could feel them kicking in. They were comfortable the whole ride.

After seven miles or so, my hamstrings and calves were feelign a little fatigue, but only a little.

The best thing about the ride was my breathing. Breathing deep and hard, but not labored. It felt wonderful, and as though it was really good for me. It's the first time this year I've been strong enough to ride hard enough and long enough to get that feeling. I remember, now, that this is what I always looked forward to, last summer.

I did light housekeeping and lots of stretching for 20 or 30 minutes afterwards, and had s scoop of whey dissolved in skim milk. Now, at 5:30, I don't feel (unusually) stiff or tired. (I'm chronicly stiff; I'm just no more stiff than usual. Actually, a little less!)

This was a six-day recovery period. I'm hoping now that I'll recover more quickly in the future, so that I can ride more often. I'm thinking in terms of three 20-mile rides per week, as a routine.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Benchmarks and Targets

My target last year was simple and straightforward: ride 80 miles in 8 hours on September 29. This year's target is more diffuse and difficult to define. Basically, I want my legs to be less stiff. That's my target.

Benchmark? My legs are usually stiff. Sometimes very stiff. Often. At awkward and inconvenient times.

They are very stiff when I wake up in the morning

They are so stiff after sitting for an hour or so that if I have to walk down stairs that don't have a railing I am quite literally afraid that I am going to fall. After I've been on my feet a while, I'm a bit more confident, but only a bit.

I play in two orchestras, and to get to my seat I have to pick my way between music stands and chairs, and step across instrument cases, while carrying my music stand in one hand and my violin in the other. My legs are so unsteady that I'm always afraid I'm going to lose my balance and fall on top of somebody or something. When I get up after sitting and playing for a while, it can be even worse.

Last spring I was feeling the same way. I remember especially that my legs were so stiff after sitting for two hours in a movie that I couldn't stand up without stretching for a few minutes, and even then it was difficult to walk.

But last fall, after training all summer, I could go up and down stairs without concern, even if I'd been sitting a while. And getting up after a movie was effortless. My legs were steady. I could trust them.

My target is to be as limber as I was last fall. I feel optimistic, because I've had good energy for the past couple of days, and I can sense some improvement from the training I've done in the past two weeks.

More details as I go along... and I'll be honest about my progress or lack of it.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Recovering nicely

Today I took it easy, and I'm getting energy back. Almost nine hours of sleep last night, not sleepy at all during the day, not even tempted to take a nap.

I often hear that the elderly don't need as much sleep as younger people. I also often hear that the elderly should be careful not to exert themselves too much. Well, for me it seems best to exert myself in gradually increasing doses, interspersed with plenty of rest.

Good news on the bursar front: the one-legged bridges are definitely paying off. Discomfort after long periods of sitting is much reduced. And I can feel the muscles in my glute, hamstring, and lower back getting stronger. I can now do a count of 30 easier than I could do 15, a couple of weeks back.

A little success like that is a real shot in the arm.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

This may take longer than expected

I admit I'm confused.

Tuesday, I rode 11.6 miles. Took a nap, felt pretty rested when I got up.

Wednesday I started off tired but got going during the day and never even felt the need for a nap. We walked to Winco's, but not much exertion beyond that (unless you count bending and stooping to lift boxes of files so that I could go through them -- a couple of dozen times).

Then today, although I felt quite rested when I first got up, a couple of hours later I was dragging. By noon I was really sleepy. So I took a nap, slept soundly for an hour.

Hard to accept, but it may take longer to get in shape than I thought it would, a couple of weeks ago.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

After a nap, yesterday, I felt pretty good. Not as peppy as I hope to feel, once I've gotten back in shape. But good enough that I was able to put in two hours of practice for orchestra, and spend another couple of hours reviewing research notes for my book. I'm wondering how much of the remaining mild grogginess that I feel is due to lack of conditioning, and how much to the antihistamine .. which I've been off of for a couple of days, but I believe I was told the remnants stay in your system for 72 hours. Hopefully, I won't have to take it any more. My skin felt pretty darn good all day yesterday. We walked out to Winco and back this morning. Starting out, my legs were stiff, my energy low. On the way back, though. I had limbered up, and had more pep.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

11.6 miles

I had planned a 16-mile loop but realized soon after I started that I wasn't fully recovered from Saturday's ride, so I cut off a corner of the loop and came in at 11.6 miles. I stopped for liquor and Gator-Ade, so my timing doesn't really count -- but I was home about two hours after I started. There's more to say, but I'm over-extended, as usual, so I'll have to put it off, for now. Except to say that I think I'd be smart to wait until I feel rested ... and then rest another day, before I ride again. Might be a good rule of thumb.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

15.7 miles in 1 hr 36 min.

15.7 miles, this morning, in 1:36, followed by an egg-and-yogurt snack and some whey protein in skim milk, and a hike to Winco for groceries (2.0 mi. round trip) and a quick lunch on the terrace. Then a nap. Before I got up from the nap, lying there, my legs were feeling so achingly tired that I was afraid I'd overdone it. But once I'd been up for a while I realized I felt pretty good, legs and all. Now, at 8 pm, I'm feeling good, minimally stiff. But tomorrow will be the real test.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Better, Already?

Wow, I hadn't expected to feel this good this soon.

On Tuesday night and Wednesday night I slept well and awoke after 9 hours feeling (almost) like getting up. And I was actually less stiff than usual. Certainly no ill effects from Tuesday's ride.

I felt like taking a nap yesterday, but there was too much to do, so I toughed it out, and got through the day without malfuncton. Today I didn't even feel like a nap. At this rate, I should gettng an energy payback real soon -- maybe in a couple of weeks.

Already I'm feeling a little more alert, and a little more willing to move around without having to push myself. I'm still on the antihistimine, and I'm blaming at least some of my grogginess on that. But I feel like the exercise is counteracting that grogginess, and hopefully would eventually eliminate it. Meanwhile, my skin is feeling better.

I figure I could eventually -- in a month or so -- settle into a routine of two or three rides a week, 15-25 miles each. That should keep my aerobics up, and if I'm in shape for it, won't require any down time (i.e. naps) for recuperation. I'll also have more energy for some of the focused exercises I need to get back into.

Meanwhile I'm working on my ischio-gluteal bursitis by doing one-leg bridges, and after two or three weeks, I'm noticing a definite improvement. I can sit for longer and longer periods without discomfort.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

10.3 miles and gaining strength

I felt better after ten miles today than I had after seven last week, so I'll count that as progress. I spent a quarter-hour or so cooling down after the ride, and did some stretching, so we'll see whether I'm stiffer than usual, tomorrow. I also had a post-ride protein drink. But it's not so much stiff muscles that I'm worried about. I'm looking for vitality.

MY HOPE IS that after a few weeks of gradually increasing riding distances, my overall vitality will have improved to the point at which I need less sleep at night, and fewer naps during the day. I've been sleeping 9 hours a night and catching a couple or three naps per week ... and feeling sleepy and tired a lot of the time, nevertheless.

AS I REMEMBER IT, as my training progressed last summer, my vitality increased. So much so that I got back a lot of the time that the training was costing me. I hope to duplicate that, if not improve on it.

Right now I'm on a fairly heavy course of antihistamines for a skin condition, and I think (hope) that this is the cause of some of my loginess. I also hope that I can counteract this to some degree by the aerobics I'm getting.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

7.3 miles and feeling stronger

I started out today without much confidence, but it picked up during the ride. I ended feeling better than when I started. Whatever was dogging me on Wednesday -- maybe a virus -- must have dissipated. I think I'm on my way, finally.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Lethargy reigns

I ALMOST DIDN'T RIDE TODAY. I'd had a fairly good sleep of nine hours, but I had no energy. Still, I thought I needed some aerobics, so I finally decided to go for a short and easy one, hoping that it might refresh me. About 7 miles into it -- when I was approaching home -- I was feeling more tired than ever, and I was glad I didn't have much further to go. I got back to the garage at 8.3 miles; stretched, snacked on eggs and yogurt, showered, went to bed, and slept for an hour. As I write this (7:30 pm) I'm looking forward to getting back to sleep.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Day of rest

Didn't ride today. Low energy. Did a lot of stretching, but decided I'd be better off waiting one more day before exerting myself, hoping to avoid feeling washed out tomorrow.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Starting from scratch?

I RODE 8.9 MILES on Saturday, and although I didn't consume any "recovery nutrients" afterwards, I was careful to cool down and do a lot of stretching. And yesterday? I was not too stiff, but I was dog tired. Took a nap and felt a little better, but not that much. Today, we hiked over to Winco and back for groceries (2 miles) without too much trouble, but I was glad we weren't walking any further. Am I that out of shape, or is it a combination of factors (I had some really heavy duty dental work done two weeks ago)? I rather think I'm that out of shape. And after reviewing some of my posts from last summer, I think the best thing to do is not push it. Tomorrow I'll ride again ... but only if I feel recovered. I hope I haven't lost all I gained last year, but I almost feel like I'm starting from scratch.