Sunday, August 31, 2008

Boogie Golf - Fuhgeddaboudit!

I headed out Saturday morning with the intention of playing 18 holes, but it didn't work out that way. I lost two balls on the first hole. The grass was high and wet--and that was on the fairway! I lost two more balls over the next three holes, and also battled hordes of mosquitoes trying to enter my ears, nose, and eyes. I decided that enough was enough and I headed to the clubhouse.

Since my real reason for playing these days is to get the exercise, I decided to just go for a walk around the base. I ended up out by the sea wall along the bay, and trekked out to the end of the long fishing pier. I stopped at the end for awhile and just enjoyed the view, including a formation of five pelicans flying by. Much more enjoyable that trying to whack a golf ball out of deep, wet grass and swatting mosquitoes.

Here's some pics I took with the camera phone:

Thursday, August 28, 2008

In Praise Of Bicycle Commuting

Well the school year has started and I've managed to keep the bicycle commute going. In the past, I've always brought my granddaughter to school; however, this year she doesn't start until 8:25 and I wanted to keep riding. She now gets a ride with her dad, and I stay on two wheels!

Yesterday I had to work through my lunch break so no time at the gym. But the great thing about the bicycle commute is that I know that at the very least I will get 50-55 minutes of exercise. It's also great that I'm saving gas money and wear and tear on the car, as well as riding right past the traffic that backs up at the gate of the Navy base in the mornings. I do miss the comfort of my recumbent bike that was stolen from my garage, but the fat-tired beater bike is suited well for the urban commute. I have to stay on sidewalks and cross some grass surfaces on the way home, and the upright bike is better suited for that then the recumbent.

Whooops! It's time for me to change clothes and hop on my machine! It's quittin time! :-)

100 Pushups

My pushups went pretty well yesterday. I did the four levels as prescribed (15, 12, 12, 10) and this time I took about two minutes between each. My form stayed good except the plank bent a little on the last couple reps of the last set. All-in-all, I'm happy at the progress. I didn't do anything else other than the bike commute (which I will comment on in a different entry).

I'm supposed to do them tomorrow but I'm going to play that by ear. I played racquetball today and about midway through the second game my right shoulder started hurting. I probably should have quit after that game but I went on to play a third (lost 'em all to Ron). I iced it when I got back to the office and downed a big-ass Motrin--not feeling any pain at the moment. So I'll attempt the pushups tomorrow but I won't hesitate to shut it down if need be. I don't want to have a nagging muscle strain to deal with that will keep me off the racquetball court for an extended time.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Lazy Weekend, 100 Pushups, Winning Racquetball

I spent most of the weekend vegged out in front of the tube watching the Olympics. I was planning on playing some golf Saturday morning but decided to take the sleep-in after staying up late. It felt funny coming home yesterday and not tuning in the "Tiki and Jenna" show on MSNBC. There were some pretty amazing performances, especially Phelps in the pool and Bolt on the track.

Monday morning I did my push-up routine--still following the Week 2, Day 1 prescription. I was able to do the first four levels as prescribed (15, 12,12, 10) although there were some extended breaks between some of them. My phone rang right as I completed the first one so it was probably five minutes before I did the second set. But that's o.k.--it's still progress. I did a fifth set and make it to six. I'll finish out the week doing the same level, and then jump to the next (where it will be 20,15,15,13). Slowly but surely!!

Ron was back so I was able to get in some racquetball at lunch. Something rather incredible happened. Normally I measure the elapsed time between wins against Ron in either months or weeks. Yesterday it was around two minutes. We played three and I won the last two. The normal disclaimers about playing Ron apply, but it was fun nonetheless!!

I got back on the bike yesterday after a week layoff because of the weather. It was a really pleasant ride in--nice and cool. But the head wind was tough on the way home. I just kept it in a small gear and spun my way to the house. I'd sure like to get some tri-bars installed on this thing. Maybe next month.

Nothing today except for the bike commute.

Friday, August 22, 2008

100 Pushups and Abandonment

A little progress today on the pushups:

Level RXd 8-20 8-22
1 15 15 15
2 12 9 12
3 12 11 9
4 10 5 6
5 14 0 0

The limiting factor seems to be my triceps. They just reach a point where they say no more. But I'm happy as long as I'm making some progress. I guess I should be trying the fifth set--I may add it next week.

I've been abandoned by my racquetball partners!! Both of them are out of town for a week so no court time for me. Perhaps it's a good thing--I can get a little more weight work in or maybe a good interval session on the rower. We'll see. Wednesday evening I walked for an hour while listenng to a little Stephen Stills. The skies were overcast and the mosquitos have disappeared, which made for a pleasant walk. No bike riding this week--I plan on getting back on it next week.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Press 'n Squat (while on a fast)

I headed to the weight room for the first time in ages. I took it pretty easy:

15 @ 55lbs
6 @ 65lbs
3 @ 65lbs

15 @ 135lbs
8 @ 175

Notes: It has been several weeks since I did any weight lifting. The last two time I had attempted it, I suffered from dizziness after doing one set of squats. I believe the problem at that time was that my blood pressure medication was working TOO well, and that my BP was very low. I've since changed medication so I was curious to see if it would make a difference today. But I also didn't want to hurt myself after such a long layoff, so I took it easy.

Press: That first set did a good job of getting my muscles was pretty tough after that. It didn't help that I had done those pushups this morning as well.

Squat: I felt pretty good and did all of these with decent form. I was going to add another 20lbs and do four more reps, but I could already feel the effort in my legs--the hamstrings in particular. I decided to pass on the last set.

Warm-up: We have two brand new Concept2 Model E rowing machins with the PM-4 computer. Pretty slick. I did a 15 minutes warm up on one. One of these would make a fine addition to a home gym.

One more note: I did this 14 hours into an intermittant fast (IF) that won't end until I get home today around 3:30. I hadn't done one in awhile, which really stretches the term "intermittant." Scott Kustes of Modern Forager fame has been writing a series of posts on the benefits of IF, and it's something I was doing at least once a week. I got to make it part of my program once again.

Life is a big "to do" list and sometimes I just forget the check marks!

100 Pushups

I wrote earlier that it might take me a couple weeks to get through Week 3 of the program. I may have to adjust that. This was a big leap from Week 2 and I didn't get close to doing the Day 1 program. Here's what I did compared to what was prescribed:

Level RXd Actual
1 15 15
2 12 9
3 12 11
4 10d 5
5 >14 0

The prescription also call for 60 second rest between levels or "longer if required." I took at least two minutes between each one. Wow! The more I gaze at these tables, the more unrealistic it looks. The progression is way too fast--at least for a 56 year old with no upper body strength to start with. But I have improved. I think I would have had a hard time doing 15 pushups on day one, but those first 15 went well this morning. So I'll stay it, and keep progressing at my own pace. I may be on "Week 3" for a few weeks; however, as long as I'm sticking to it and making progress, I'll be a happy camper.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Racquetball Yes - Cycling No

I've had two good days of racquetball this week--some really good work. I didn't, however, get any cycling in. We have had two days of heavy rain showers so I passed on the bike in favor of the VW. It brakes better in wet weather! :-) The forecast is for more of the same tomorrow.

No racquetball tomorrow. I'll do my push up program in the morning, and perhaps to do some lifting at lunch.

The Wall

I spent a total of six years of my life in Berlin. For four of those years, the Wall was an impenetrable barrier but in 1989 I was able to ride my bicycle through a gap in the Wall. It was an unbelievable experience.

Now I'm facing another wall. I've shed a great deal of body fat, but it seems every time I get close to getting under 200 pounds, I end up moving back up the scale. It's an ice cream binge here, a little lasagna there--just enough to thwart my progress, and get me out of fat-burning mode. But I'll just keep positive, keep working, and try not to give into the carb urges. So just like I rode my Peugeot through the Berlin Wall, I will eventually bust this 200lb barrier....and then 190!

Monday, August 18, 2008

100 Pushups

I woke up Saturday morning and realized I had failed to do my pushups on Friday. No big deal--I figured I just do them Saturday. I woke up Sunday morning and realized that I failed to do the make up on Saturday! So...a new plan. I'm going to do those suckers on government time! I work in a library so a few minutes spent in the stacks knocking out some pushups will work out quite nicely. This morning I did the Week 2 Day 3 set and it went well. The reps were 10, 10, 8, 8 , 10(10). Good form all the way through except for the very last one. So my routine at work on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays will be to fire up the computer, do my pushups, and then have my last cup of coffee (I usually have a cup or two before leaving the house). This should ensure no more missed workouts.

The pushup program now calls for doing another test before picking the correct column to use for workout targets. I can just eyeball the chart and figure out where I belong next. The first column is for being able to do I set of 15-20. I might make it to 15 but there's no way I'd surpass 20. So Wednesday I'll do W3D1. It looks pretty challenging--I suspect it will take my a couple of weeks to work up to finishing the Week 3 workout.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Too Much Racquetball (or Not Enough Food)

When I started playing again after straining a hip flexor, I started slow. I played once or twice a week, and always had at least one day off between matches--preferably two. Slowly but surely, I've been playing more--sometimes as much as four days a week but usually with a break in the middle. Well today I played my third match in as many days, and they were all hard fought games. I felt very tired in the last game today, and felt light-headed while I was in the locker room. The feeling continued when I got back to the office. I ended up calling my wife and asking her to pick me up because I really didn't feel like riding the bike home. I think the reason I felt bad can be traced to the fact that I recently cut back on my carb intake trying to jump start my fat burning. But I'm guessing that three days of back-to-back intense workouts on the court are just too much while eating so few carbs. I'm going to bump the carbs a little but I also need to back off a little on the racquetball. My whole program of nutrition and exercise is based on Mark Sisson's Primal Blueprint which calls for some short interval sessions, some weight lifting, and lots of low-level activity. Well, my racquetball matches are on a continuum that runs from "intervals" to "extended high-level cardio." Three days in a row is just too much. Ideally I'd like to play three days, preferably with a day off between each match.

I think I'll go for a walk at lunch time tomorrow.

100 Pushups

I'm back on track with the pushup program. I started with Week 2 and did both days (on Monday and Wedesday) as prescribed.

Monday set: 9, 8, 6, 4, (7) 7
Wednesday set: 11, 9, 7, 7, (10)10

Notes: The number in parens is the minimum amount of the last round. The program also calls for a 60 second rest between rounds on Day 1 and 90 seconds on Day 2; however, it also says "longer if required." I took longer--especially for the last round. Friday calls for 10, 10, 8, 8, (10).

Monday, August 11, 2008

Catching Up - Pushups, Stretching, Golf, Racquetball

Time, once again, for another catch-up post.

Thursday - This was a recovery day to make sure I got over the back problems I was experiencing. I went to the gym at lunch and did nothing but stretch and do the McKenzie back exercises. I felt much better and had no more episodes of the spasms.

Friday - I got back on schedule (sort of) for the 100 Pushups program. I repeated the W1D2 workout but I was able to do 10 for the final set. I'm going to go ahead and start on the Week 2 schedule Monday.

Saturday - Boogie Golf!! I got out early hoping to beat the heat but no such luck. Real summer has finally arrived here. The recent rains bumped up the humidity AND the mosquito population. I played some pretty decent golf in spots including several pars, but I also lost three balls mainly because I lost sight of them when I hit the shot. We had some low, white clouds that made it difficult to see; however, those same clouds at least blocked some of the direct sunlight. I was soaking wet after walking four holes anyway.

Sunday - Sat on my butt and watched the olympics all day. That men's 4x100 freestyle swimming relay was one of the most exciting sporting events I have ever watched. I was out of my chair screaming at Lezak just as much as Phelps was. What a race!!!

Today - I played racquetball with Neal today and repeated what I did the last time. I won the first and last game and he took the second. We had some really good rallies--good work. I'm really glad that I have a good serve as a weapon because without it, I'd be in trouble. Neal covers the court very well, which contributes to the quality of the workout I get when we play.

I stayed up late watching the tube last night so I drove into work this morning so no cycle miles for day one. This evening I'll do my pushup workout (and probably mow the lawn). :-)

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

The Return Of An Old Nemesis

Earlier today I was thinking about making an entry tonight with the title of "100 Pushups, Racquetball, and Swimming." But I've decided against the pushups because I'm in some pain at the moment.

Yesterday I played racquetball with Ron and got wiped out. Today, however, I played Neal and won the final game after splitting the first two. I walked off the court feeling tired but fine.

Earlier this evening, my granddaughter asked me to drive her to the base swimming pool. I decided to put on my suit and grab my goggles. I'm a pretty lousy swimmer so I did my laps "across" the pool (about 10 - 12 meters). I didn't do much--around 10 lengths--but it was better than nothing. I climbed out of the pool feeling tired but fine.

As I sat by the side of the pool, I felt some discomfort in my lower back over the right hip. I figured I probably irritated things by kicking in the water, which is something I hadn't done in awhile. After coming home, I walked back outside to go get something out of the car when it hit me--an "oh shit", stop you dead in your tracks back spasm. It passed in a couple seconds but there was some residual pain. It happened again an hour later. I went through something like this five years ago and it took some physical therapy to get over it. I'm going to try to handle this on my own for now. I've already dropped some horse-pill size Motrin and a couple of muscle relaxers, and I'm going to do some of the exercises I learned the last time I went through this. Meanwhile I don't feel much like doing the pushups, or riding the biked to work tomorrow. I'm going to rest up and hope this passes quickly.

Monday, August 4, 2008

One Hundred Pushups

Since I didn't successfully complete Week 1 Day 3 (W1D3) of the program, I decided to start this week with W1D2. The sets prescribed are 9, 8, 6, 5, Max (min 7). I did the first four as RXd, and then did 8 for the final set. My form broke down a bit towards the end of the session, but not terribly. I plan on doing the same routine on Wednesday but with at least on more rep on the final set.

No other exercise today other than the cycle commute to work. I will probably play racquetball tomorrow and Wednesday.

Win-Win Thursday, Pushups, & Eating Poolside

When your humble blogger last left you, I was scrambling out of the office to avoid a food orgy about to take place on the premises. I headed over the racquetball courts to submit to my standard beat-down from Ron--a much better health option than foraging from the desert table at the food orgy. I was rewarded by scoring 15 points in the third game! Now that's my way of saying I won a game without actually saying it. As I've posted before, Ron plays at a reduced level when we are on the court--much like one golfer giving another one strokes for a match. But it is still an achievement because he doesn't give up those last points willingly. When I have won in the past, it usually took a few side-outs during the last two to three points to get to 15; however, Thursday I served out from 12 to end the game. Yee-hah!! When I got back to the office, I checked out the conference room and found that there was some food I could eat. There was a tray full of finger sandwiches so I took out the contents of several of them, and then wrapped them in some cheese slices. I combined that with a salad, and avoided the desert table. So this was my "win-win" Thursday!

Friday I played a racquetball math with Neal. We split the first two games but nothing was going right for me in the third game and I found myself down 14-1. But I made a charge from there and got it to 14-10 before finally losing. I chalk that one up as a moral victory! I also attempted Day 3 of the 100 Pushup program. I made it through the first four sets but I struggled to finish. There was no way I could do the fifth set which was to do a max number but at least ten. So I'm going to repeat Week 1 again and try to increase the 5th set numbers along the way.

I spent the bulk of the weekend officiating a swim meet at the Corpus Christi Natatorium. I had mixed results staying on my eating plan. Saturday I did just fine. I ate the contents of a couple bacon and egg tacos (without the tortilla) for breakfast. For lunch the main entree was lasagna but they also had a real nice salad with mixed greens, tomatos, olives, and onion. I took a big bowl of the salad, and added some broccoli and carrots from a salad tray. I did have four one-inch squares of my favorite cream cheese and sugar concoction called Chess Cake, but that's a big improvement from past meets where I've had more like 18 pieces! Sunday I didn't do as well because they had lasagna again without the salad. They did have some sandwiches but they didn't have much meat in them. I ended up eating a couple sandwiches to include the bread. It was a long day on deck and I was hungry!! I also managed to keep my Chess Cake consumption down to four pieces again. I thought I was only going to eat two pieces because they ran out. But while I was standing on deck during the meet, the woman who bakes the cake came up to me with a napkin covered plate. She had found two more pieces that had been set aside and she wanted me to have them! Now I don't have to worry about eating those until the end of October when that club sponsors another meet.

It was a good week all-in-all. Four days of racquetball and five days of commuting to work on the bike. I also did my push-up workout for three days. This week I hope to get in some kettlebell work in addition to the pushups.