Thursday, May 31, 2012

9.5 miles and all's well

I'm pleased with my progress. I felt good the whole way, this morning, taking it easy, staying in low gears, stopping at REI and Safeway. No cramps, no muscles protesting, and I was much less sleepy this morning than I had been on Tuesday. And this on only one day's rest!

I'm guessing three things deserve credit. ONE, I'm continuing to sleep better. Even though I was short on sleep Tuesday night, what sleep I got was restorative. That "eternal vigilance" tension I've been feeling for months is fading. TWO, I've upped my protein intake. Not drastically, but significantly, and I feel as though it has helped. (I am going to stop trying to avoid flesh-based proteins for the time being. If and when I get in shape, I'll try leaning into the vegan diet again, bit by bit.) THREE, I've been ramping up my between-ride muscle care, with stretching, arnica, and massage. I'm going to try to keep this up.

The stretching, I've been doing all along. The arnica I had forgotten about until a few days ago. I remember now I used it quite a bit last summer, although I didn't consider it an integral part of my training regimen. Ditto the massage. I'm referring here to the percussive massager from Brookstone. The masseuse I went to last summer was a wonderful luxury, but I'm not sure she did that much more good than the Brookstone massager. Anyway, I can't spare the time. By the time I go down there, get the massage, and come back, I've lost two hours.

Anyway, I'm hoping that once I've improved my muscle tone enough, I won't need to spend as much time on either stretching or massaging.

Or napping. I napped for an hour this afternoon, and felt immensely restored by it. I actually felt like moving around and doing things. But again, I hope the need for naps is reduced, once I've gotten in shape. That was the case last summer, as I remember it.

Routine emerging?
I can sense a routine emerging. Ride three times a week, eventually increasing the distance to 20 miles per ride, but not attempting to squeeze in more than that, except in the case of the special events I might enter, like the REI "petal pedal" and the "tour de parks" I rode in last year. (I'd also like to ride the Banks-Vernonia trail, again.)

What I'm counting on is that being in shape will give me more energy, and it's at that point that I will be able to consider resuming my core exercises. Which I really need to do.

Anyway, I feel like I'm on my way. Tomorrow should be a rest day. I'll catch up on chores and see how I feel, but right now I think I'll be ready to ride again on Saturday.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Too many variables!

I'm trying to keep track of it all, but...

This morning I woke up at a quarter to 5 and couldn't get back to sleep. It was too late to take an ambien so I finally got up and started my day, foiled again in my attempt to get rested. I had a doctor's appointment at 12:30, and my best time to get a nap is mid-day, so it looked like I was in for another day of dragging around.

How could I gauge, under the circumstances, the effectiveness of my training "regimen"?

Anyway, I stretched a lot, and even used the thumper on my legs, and arnica on my knees, and was pleased to find that I wasn't too awfully stiff, and not even very reluctant to move around. Just sleepy.

I took a lie-down at 10:30, and almost fell asleep before getting up to shower and get ready for the doctor. It really helped. After my shower, I felt almost normal.

Got back from the doctor's at 3:30, sleepy again, but decided against another nap, pushed myself through light chores and paperwork, and again noted that although I was tired and sleepy, my muscles actually felt pretty good!

My tentative conclusion: I was sleepy not because of my ride yesterday, but simply because I didn't get enough sleep.

In fact, I believe I'm so recovered from yesterday that I can ride tomorrow. As of now, I plan to.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

7 miles while sleepy

Lousy sleep last night. Now, at 10 am, I'm still planning to ride, this morning, but not as far as I would have if I'd gotten a good night's sleep. Just out to REI to get Sturmey-Archer looked at, then back here for a careful cool-down, protein fix, and nap.

7:30 pm: The REI guy wasn't there. I clocked 7 miles by the time I was home, sleepy the whole time I was pedalling, but otherwise feeling okay. Carefully went through stretches, protein drink, short walk to cool off, and a yogurt crepe roll. Then a shower, lunch, and nap. Slept about an hour.

It's very hard to be precise with so many variables going on, but I feel like I'm stronger. The nap was as much because I didn't sleep well last night as it was because of the ride. Meanwhile, my legs are a little less stiff, I think, and they feel a little stronger. My knees gave me a couple of twinges going upstairs, but I'm not taking that seriously, for now. Especially since they've been great going downstairs. Concerning general stamina, I've been a little less reluctant, today, to get up or stay on my feet for any length of time. And I've gone upstairs without having to catch my breath.

I'll make a note about my stiffness and stamina tomorrow, since it's part of understanding my progress.

Monday, May 28, 2012

2 miles on foot, more energy

To Winco and back, with backpacks. Most energy I've had in days. Planning to ride tomorrow.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Desultory day

Spent most of the day in limbo; energy slightly better but with no ambition, and, thankfully, no need for it,

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Two naps and stiff legs, but good knees.

I slept until 9, took a nap at 11:30, and another at 4:00. My legs, meanwhile, and to a certain extent, my torso and arms, felt stiff. But mostly my legs and feet.

They were not only stiff, but they seemed to require an inordinate amount of my vitality, when I was standing up or moving around. I would suddenly feel the need to sit down.

But through it all, for the past couple of days, I've been very pleased with the strength and flexibility of my knees. Whatever the bicycle has cost me in other ways, I credit it with improving my knee health.

Friday, May 25, 2012

No rest for the hung over

I felt better, today, but still somewhat hung over. Kind of incredible, but trye. That, and my legs and feet were quite stiff. I stretched, took it easy, (physically) and even took a nap, after which I had somewhat more energy... but not a lot.

Then, around 5 pm, Anne had an A-Fib episode, with pain severe enough that we both felt she should go to the ER, so I drove her there, and we weren't back home until after midnight. I was wired and didn't get to sleep until 1:30.

Needless to say, no exercise, today.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Lost ground to vodka

I could tell when I woke up this morning that I'd had too much to drink last night. It was only two shots of vodka, but that's apparently all it takes, now.

I dragged through the day -- driving to Washington Square and then back to another Fred Meyer's to check out an exercize bike for Anne.

Nothing else to report

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

"Recovering" well

Hey, this is more like it. I'm surviving yesterday's ride very well, thank you. Hiked to Winco this morning and came back with a full backpack of groceries with energy to spare.

I find that today I've been much quicker to undertake tasks that require getting out of my chair, bending and stooping, etc.

I felt a little sleepy at 3:00, so I took a nap, following my principle that says, "If I feel like taking a nap, the healthiest choice is to take a nap." In other words, I could have easily "toughed it out" without a nap, but decided that catching a nap was the wise course of action.

SAFETY BULLETIN: Yesterday, in the rain, I crossed the tracks of the MAX (light rail) and slid, for a frightening instant, on the slick steel track. I was only slightly off of right-angles from it when I crossed it -- I'd guess maybe 70 degrees, as opposed to 90 -- but that was enough to let the front wheel lurch sickeningly to one side. I had no idea that such a slight variation in my approach angle would make such a difference. I will be much more careful to cross tracks at right-angles, from now on, rain or no rain.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

11.6 miles (1:21) and feeling great

BEST NIGHT'S SLEEP IN WEEKS. Got up feeling an itch to ride, so checked the weather. But it was rain, rain, rain. Finally, around 10, I decided to hell with it, and went out in the rain.

The rain stopped after a while. About 6 miles out I stopped at a Fred Meyer to do some shopping and get an espresso. The plan was to take it easy, and I did.

Got home about 12:30, had some soup, a protein drink, did a minimal amount of stretching, and took a nap. Went to sleep. Got up, showered, and felt better than I have in weeks.

Now around 9:45, I still feel exceptionally good. Only a little stiff, even though I spent no time cooling off.

I don't know what to make of it, but I think the stress of the two orchestras has been costing me good sleep. And I think without good sleep, I can't make much progress in my training.

Time will tell. Tomorrow we'll hike to Winco, but beyond that I don't plan any exertion.

I need to get back to doing some core exercises, but I want to wait until I have more energy. If I force myself to do them when I don't have the energy, I think it will backfire. And after today, I feel very optimistic about getting my energy back.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Consciously unwinding


TODAY, WITH THE LAST CONCERT BEHIND ME I decided to make a conscious effort to unwind, not touching the violin, not exerting myself.

And I went to the doctor about my chest pains. He's setting me up with a cardiologist.

Later in the day, I could tell I was starting to relax. I sketched out a ride for tomorrow.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Still tired

I slept for about 9 hours -- with an Ambien boost around 3:00 -- and woke up with little energy. Now, at 10:20, I'm consciously exerting myself as little as possible, because I feel playing in this afternoon's concert is going to be a strain.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Tired! Up too late?

I was tired during the concert last night -- muscles protesting, etc. -- and when I got home I was too keyed up to sleep, so I stayed up past midnight.

Then, I didn't sleep well, and woke up at 7. Tried to get back to sleep, gave up, so Anne and I went to Hillsboro mkt at 9:30. I walked around about an hour and a half, more tired than ever. Not only did I feel exhausted; my leg muscles felt stiff and sore. We got back here around noon, had some soup and I tried to get an early nap. I think I might have slept for 10 minutes. Got up only slightly refreshed.

Sean and Susan came over and we visited until 6. Snacked, got ready for bed, watched Netflix 'til 9:30.

SUMMARY: I don't know what I'm dealing with, as far as my fatigue is concerned, but at least my knees are holding up well. Coming downstairs -- usually the acid test --they feel secure and pain-free.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Rest day

No exertion, today. Quads still feel stiff from Wednesday, but energy was good. When I woke up I felt like I wasn't completely rested, so I tried to nap just before lunch, but couldn't go under. Now, getting ready for tonight's concert, I feel okay.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Two miles on foot, then sedentary

Early this morning, out for groceries and back, and my legs were tired!

Sat around until mid-afternoon -- then drive downtown with Anne to her eye doctor... three hours round trip. Very tired at the end!

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

12 mi in 1:15 today, after resting yesterday

I'm not making much of a showing, I'm afraid. Yesterday I took it easy, and STILL needed a nap in late afternoon, because I knew I had to go to a rehearsal last night and didn't feel I could get through it otherwise.

This morning I rode 12 miles, more or less out of determination. I didn't really feel energetic, but I wanted to get some miles in. I felt okay during the ride, got home around 11 and after stretching, cool-down, and a protein fix I felt okay .. until about 1:30, when I felt a nap coming on. So I went down for something less than an hour. Now, at 3:00, I'm still under par. Not sleepy, but by no means robust.

I think I may have to change my game plan.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Rest day

YESTERDAY was successful in terms of GOOD ENERGY AFTER RIDE. Didn't want a nap.

Today I didn't have time to ride. Probably just as well. Now, at 3:45, even though my energy is good, I'm a little sleepy, but can't squeeze in a nap. Meanwhile, very LITTLE STIFFNESS IN KNEES OR LEGS.

LATE BULLETIN: I had to crash for a nap, around 4:30!

Monday, May 14, 2012

Following a rest day, 6.6 mi in 42 min

I was far more tired than I had expected to be, yesterday. I didn't ride, and after a leisurely lunch and visit with the kids, sitting in the shade in their back yard, came home exhausted, and somewhat stiff.

I'm beginning to think the idea of a daily bike ride is impractical. At this point. I believe if I'd tried to ride yesterday, it would have really wiped me out.

Besides, the daily ride simply takes too much time. The ride itself isn't the problem. It's the need to cool down, stretch, take recovery drink, etc. -- not to mentioning writing down the details of everything.

I skipped the stretching on Saturday, and I think that may have contributed to my fatigue. Maybe not.

Anyway, last night I slept a very restful 9.5 hours, and this morning rode 6.6 miles, taking it easy, and cooled down by walking to New Seasons and back, and stretching rather carefully, and doing some light housekeeping. I also had a protein drink. Which reminds me ...

I'm RETHINKING PROTEIN. For the past few weeks, I had been limiting my intake of eggs, dairy, meats, and fish, and attempting to increase plant-based protein. But I've also been disappointed in my energy level, even when I've gotten plenty of sleep. So today I decided to go back to the way I was eating last summer. Accordingly, I started the day with an egg(substitute) sandwich ... and then another. And I feel as though it perked me right up.

So for the next week or so, I plan to push the protein, and see if it accellerates my getting in shape, which, for the past week or two, has not been going well.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

7 hrs sleep, 6.4 mi, 39 min, scoop of whey, nap

Not enough sleep, again, but knees continue to feel better. I had thought about riding further this morning, but decided not to push it. Going for a nap without cool-down or stretching.

Friday, May 11, 2012

3.7 mi. in 28 minutes

Up too late last night, so only got 7 hours of sleep, but decided to take a short ride anyway. Now, mid-afternoon, my legs feel good, knees limber -- better than yesterday, I think. So the daily light workout seems just right for those body parts.

Sleep-wise, it's hard to assess, because I've been sleepy, and circumstances have conspired to keep me from catching a nap, although I tried more than once. And with a concert tonight, this leaves me none to pleased. Still, that's the way it is.

Anyway, to repeat, both the knee stabilizers and the big leg muscles seem happy with the routine. So that's something to build on.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

2.2 mi in 17 min

No nap yesterday, and good energy all the way through.

Rode just enough to limber up my knees, then stretched a bit and got on with my day.

Even this little bit of riding left me with stiff leg muscles. Not sure where this is leading, but since I'm super busy for the next ten days, I'm planning to just keep up the short limber-up rides for now, and try to do it every day. In ten days, I should know something about its effectiveness. Hopefully, it will bring me to where I can ride a couple of miles without even feeling it.

At that point, I'd like to start increasing the distance ... at least a couple of times a week.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

3.3 mi. in 22 min and 2 more mi. on foot

After coming home with groceries I wanted to get an interlibrary loan book from the library so I rode over.

Now at 4 pm, my legs are stiff, but I'm not overly tired and not (yet) sleepy.

I feel like my knees have definitely benefited from this frequent cycling, and I hope I can keep it up. I seem much more confident coming down stairs, for instance. That feeling of the knee buckling seems to have gone away. The little stabilizing muscles above and below the knee are more responsive and feel as though they're stronger, and in no need of a rest.

The larger muscles -- calves, hamstrings, quads -- feel as though they could use a rest. They also feel as though they'l survive if I keep up this pace. So for now, that's what I plan to do.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

6.9 in 47 min

I took it real easy, hoping to avoid a nap. It limbered up my knees real good, and I felt very little demand on my muscles. Now, just home, I do think I need to stretch a little.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Boy, was I wrong! (Today is a day of rest.)

About my nap, yesterday.

At 3:15, I felt fine. Felt no need for a nap. I'd even weathered an hour-long violin lesson at noon, on my feet. My legs were very tired at the end of the lesson, but by 3:00 I felt like I'd recovered. I felt comfortable and energetic.

Then I went to the library, where a search for a historical atlas of Italy (1780-1800) ended keeping me on my feet for another hour. At the end of which I was suddenly very, very tired. Desperately so.

I got home at about 5:00 and although it seemed far too late for a nap, I collapsed on the bed and tried to sleep. But I couldn't relax, couldn't doze off.

So I got up around 6, and although I'd originally planned to get some more violin practice in, I was too beat to even attempt it. I spent the rest of the evening vegging out on the couch, watching netflix.

So today I've taken it easy, And it's been a good day. Better than I expected in terms of energy, comfort, and stiffness.

Tomorrow I'll ride again, for sure. But I may have to re-think this idea of riding every day. At least for now.

UPDATE: Around 3:30, I realized I could probably doze off if I tried, so I tried. Slept soundly for an hour. I could have fought it off, but I'm going on the theory that sleep is good. And tonight I have Hillsboro orchestra rehearsal, and I want to be as rested as possible for it.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

On track with 4.4 miles in 27 min

THE NEW PLAN seems to be working, so far.

Starting off, my knees -- or at least those little stabilizing muscles on either side of them -- were stiff and sore, but I was careful to not stress them, and after about a mile they stopped protesting.

My hamstrings, quads, and calves were a little stiff through most of the ride, making me wonder if I would be able to stick to this routine of riding every day. But they loosened up some by the end of the ride. Once off my bike, I'd say they were stiffer than they were after my ride yesterday, but 2 or 3 minutes stretching seemed to take care of it, and after my shower I pretty much forgot about them.

No nap yesterday, and as of now (3:15) I don't feel the need for one today.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

4.4 mi. in 29 min -- but who's counting?

Last summer, I became fixated on how far I could ride, and how fast, because my goal was to be able to ride 80 miles in 8 hours on 8/28/11.

This year, I need to shift my focus and re-frame my goals. That will be an on-going process, but for now, I'd sum it up like this:

The training goal is to condition myself for daily living: maximum functionality, vitality, and endurance. Build up my muscle tone and stamina as much as possible -- but with no deadline in mind, and with as little impact on my daily routine, interests, and responsibilities as possible.

That means as little muscle soreness, fatigue, need for daytime naps, as possible. And spend as little time on my training routine as possible.

So instead of planning to ride two or three times a week, with lengthy recovery periods, and ever-increasing distances, I plan to ride every morning, 4 or 5 miles, and budget no time to stretching, recovery, or naps.

If/when my strength and stamina improves, I'll increase the distance, but not if it costs me sore muscles or down time for recuperation.

We'll see how it works out, but right now it appeals to me because it means starting out every day with envigorating aerobics, while getting the blood flow going to my legs, and bathing my joints in synovial fluid. Every day.

Friday, May 4, 2012

4.5 miles in 32 minutes

I intended to go further but ran out of time. Still, it was enough to get my knees limbered up a little and I'm thinking of taking more short rides, more often. At least it didn't require any nap time or other recovery. I took it easy, too, staying in as low a gear as possible.

Tomorrow I may ride again, maybe further.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Second-Day Droops

Surprise! Second-day droops!

After all that chortling yesterday about my recovery from Monday's ride, I woke up this morning wiih my muscles unexpectedly sore, and my energy unexpectedly low.

Quite a come-uppance.

Actually, after writing yesterday's post, I really felt like taking a nap, but it was too late in the day.

This morning, we hiked over for groceries early, so I could get back in time for a nap. I dragged myself over and back, colllapsed and slept a solid hour, and climbed out of bed with legs stiffer than ever. Now, though, after a shower and and onion sandwich, they're feeling better. So...

BENCHMARK: RECOVERY: 12-mile ride takes more than one day. Amd also...

BENCHMARK: KNEES My knees, although considerably better, are still treacherous. That first little bend downwards is the one to look out for. As in stepping off a curb. Or curtseying. The little muscles to either side of the kneecap may suddenly hurt and give way. TARGET: The ability to curtsey fearlessly.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Solid gains

Judging from how I felt yesterday and today, I'm gaining. No nap yesterday or today, and I'm feeling only a little tired. My legs feel like I had a workout, but they're not really sore. And they feel stronger, going up and down stairs, and generally getting around.

I'm going up stairs two at a time with my left leg -- the weak one -- to get it stronger, and noticed recently that I can get to the second floor without being winded. That's progress.

I'm thinking of re-naming this blog, "How to Get in Shape Without Really Trying." But maybe that's a bit premature...

Pride goeth before a fall.