Ride Tracker

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

The 1st Century

For many people, riding 100 miles is a 1 day workout.  Even more do this as part of a weekend ride.  For me, it took 3 weeks. I gained so much strength in 3 weeks of riding. I'm at the point where a 10 mile ride goes by fast, and I can push hard for a mile at a time.  These are accomplishments that I had taken for granted before. Through January, I should end up at 140 miles. That would be just shy of 4% of my goal, and just under 1/2 of what I need to average per month.  I've dug myself a bit of a hole, but over the summer, I should be able to crank out some of the long rides that I'm used to, and make up some ground.  on to some updates on my injury. 

I have continued PT, and some body weight strength exercises.  These seem to help me.  I'm doing much more light stretching and starting to add in ab work.  overall, the goal is to gain core strength and stability.  In addition, last week I went for an EMG test.  I've you've never had one, they are a treat!  First, a doctor puts electrodes in various places on your legs, then uses a Taser to send lightning through your nerves. your legs and feet "jump" as the muscles are activated.  It really didn't hurt, but it wasn't comfortable either.  When this is done, they insert a needle into your hamstrings, quads, calves, and finally FEET. Then they make you flex that muscle.  You really don't feel the needle, till you flex, then there's a good deal of pressure and pain.  However, I never, ever want a needle in my feet again.  That genuinely hurts. 

At the end of the EMG, the doctor said he will share my results with the specialist. i'll see him again next week to review them.  He confirmed nerve damage to both legs, with the left side being worse.  He did say that it looks like the nerves are starting to regenerate, and that the strength returning to my calf is a good sign. He timetabled my recovery at another 8-12 weeks. 

That's all the updates I've had.  For now, I can't run, but I'm walking normally again.  Pain levels are at a 2 consistently, but they are manageable.  I'll keep on the bike, start eating better to, hopefully, take off some weight, and keep trying to get stronger.  All progress is positive progress!  

Friday, January 18, 2013

Rolling in my underwear

I've had to get a few workouts in on the go this week.  On Wednesday, I had a short time between work and a meeting at Caleb's school. I stopped at the YMCA in Quincy.  Talk about a Nightmare.  I haven't been to that location in more than a year, and since they started construction on a new facility.  The place is awful.  Have I become a Hanover Y Snob? I think so.  The workout went fine.  I rode the regular stationary bike. I am, and have always been, fastest on these bikes.  11.7 miles in 39 minutes. 

I'm also going away this weekend.  I'm thinking I could buy a day pass at a local gym, but it's highly unlikely, so instead I rolled out of bed this morning, and got in a 10 mile ride.  It was as low maintenance a ride as I've had in a while. I, quite literally, strolled downstairs in my underwear, switched to my bike shorts and shoes, and settled in for a light ride.  

I'm still feeling stronger every ride.  The only reason I didn't push for further distances is because I was short on time. I'm pretty happy with just shy of 50 miles for the week, but I could push it to 60 if I go to the gym tomorrow.  Who am I kidding?  I'm going to be very, very hung over tomorrow. 

Big milestone coming up next week, when I should top 100 miles. 

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Walking and Chewing Gum

Last night, I met my goal of 60 min on the bike.  It wasn't pretty. By the end, I think there were points where I would pedal for 30 seconds, and take 60 off.  I was also very, very slow.  13.4 miles in 60 minutes slow. 60 min was a goal though, and I completed it. I know I can go further and faster next time. The best part of last night's ride though... I was able to sit upright on the bike, and hold a PS3 controller!  That's right, Multi-Tasking.  Most of the long rides I've done on the trainer in the past have involved playing video games.  I was pretty bummed that I couldn't do that during the past few rides. So that's the update for today.  13.4 miles. 60 minutes, 2 games of FIFA 13.  Doesn't get much better than that.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

50 Miles Down

Yesterday was an off day for me.  I had three days in a row where I really went after my goals. i'm adjusting to the recumbent bike, and learning to appreciate the extra back support that it provides. It doesn't hurt that no one wants to use the recumbent at the gym.  I've solved the age old problem of gym goers vs. New Years Resolution gym goers.  6 weeks of recumbent biking for regular gym goers!

Happy to announce a major milestone, which you can see at the top of the page. As of the time of this post, I've surpassed 50 miles. Many more to go, 3600 to be exact, but for just starting out, 50 feels good, and so did the 12 mile ride that got me there!

I resumed Physical Therapy today.  I showed off the renewed strength in my calves, chatted about triathlons, upcoming doctors appointments, and potential future treatments. The therapist actually asked me if I thought PT was helping.  Of course I do! Plus, a free 20 min lower back massage 2x a week is not something I'm about to give up.  (Shh, don't tell Sue).

Back at it tonight. Aiming for 60 min tonight, my longest session since I began this journey.

Till next time, Happy Spinning
(I feel like I need a sign off.  I'll keep working on them)

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Pushing it all the way to 10

It's been nearly a week since my last post. Work travel, and life in general have kept me from writing much. I'm thrilled with the progress I've made though. At this point in the project, I should have 120 miles under my belt.  I'm not there yet, but I've continued to build on each ride, and work out harder each session.


Beginning last Sunday, I pushed out over 5 miles at 4min/mile. 15MPH is pretty spot on for me when I'm healthy.  Some day, I'll get a proper bike fitting and gear ratios that would allow me to spin up at 20MPH, but for now, I'm happy where I'm at. This ride was the night before leaving for a work trip.  I wasn't sure if/when I'd be able to spin on the road, so I made sure to get something in. It was excruciating. I nearly stopped several times on the bike, and climbing off was no small task.


Monday was a travel day. From Boston to Cincinnati via Charlotte. I walked what felt like miles, and the result was what I suspected would be a great deal of pain the next day.  After nearly succumbing to tears, I was finally given the relief of a cab ride, and a hotel bed. I lived to ride another day.


As it turns out, that other day was Tuesday.  After a day off, and before heading out for happy hour, I got in a quick ride at my hotel. This was my first time on a recumbent bike. From a pain stand point, the experience was night and day.  When you have a combination of pain and numbness exactly where you make contact with a bike seat, switching to what amounts to a recliner is... well, relief isn't a strong enough word, but it's getting there. in 30 min, I pushed out 6+ miles. There are two tradeoffs to the comfort of a recumbent. First, there's a lot more power generated from your calf. This is a problem for me, given that I have very little at the moment.  Second I've never been a high RPM guy. In various spin classes, I turn about 65-85, while the rest of the class seems to be in the 85-100 range.  I can ramp it up for short bursts, but generally my strength is in maintaining 65-85 at a higher resistance.  I need more time on the recumbent to find that resistance vs. cadence sweet spot.

Wednesday - Thursday:

I took two days off.  Though I didn't want to.  I had a work commitment Wednesday night, and a travel day Thursday. I did walk from the office to my hotel Wednesday. The walk was about 1.6 miles. If felt ok, but I paid for it.  I also forgot to take my meds Wednesday night.  By the time I woke up Thursday, the combination of soreness and exhaustion meant there would be no morning ride. 


After work Friday, I was determined to push myself.  I'd had 2 days off, the airports and plane rides weren't bad Thursday, and the kids and Sue were all in bed.  I went down, got Netflix set up, and settled into the saddle. 45 minutes later, I'd hit my quota for the first time. 10 miles flat!  at 4:30/mile, and a struggle for the last 3 miles, I know I've got a long way to go, but I will get there.  10 miles was once a warm up. Now it's everything I can give.  Friday was also the outlet of a great deal of stress and frustration I've been carrying over my job. Putting out a little bit of sweat, and taking a few deep breaths really made a difference for me.  Finally, Friday night, after my ride, I did a calf raise. This is a significant milestone for me; The first tangible proof that strength is returning to my lower leg.


My final workout of the week was back on the recumbent.  I haven't been to the South Shore YMCA since before my back injury.  What a day to go.  Resolutionists and prime time classes meant the gym was packed. Sue had to sign up for three treadmills to get her 8 mile run completed.  Good thing no one uses the recumbent.  Once again, I struggled with power and cadence. I was over 4 min/mile, but I put in a solid 10.8 in under 50 minutes.  That's right 10.8!  Back to Back days at or over my quota.  I knew from the start that there would be days that I had to go over 10 miles.  For a while, I wasn't sure I was going to get there, but I'm making strides. I feel a little better every day.

So that's the week for me.  32 miles out of a projected 70.  I'm not even 1/2 way to meeting my weekly goal, but if I can ride more than 10, I can make up lost ground.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Off Day

On Saturday, Sue and I took Caleb and Ella to see Dinosaurs.  "Real LIVE" Dinosaurs. We headed over to Discover The Dinosaurs at the Boston Seaport World Trade Center. It was a surprise for Caleb, who was being very grouchy the entire way.  He was not pleased to see the line -- stretching nearly a city block -- to get into the mystery adventure. Luckily, they sent an employee out to declare that cash customers had no waiting.  Cash was King, and we had some!

When we arrived at Discover the Dinos, there was a line as far as the eye could see.  like good little lemmings, we queued up.  After a few minutes, we learned that this was the line for people who needed tickets (us)  but that there was no line if you were willing to pay cash.  Great news!

After a few more minutes, we were inside the exhibit.  I wish I had video of Caleb as he figured out what we were doing.  As soon as he saw the Pterodactyl,  he was hooked.  We worked our way through all of the dinosaurs on display.  It was not without difficulty for me.  I'm still not steady on my feet.  I was pushing Ella in her carriage, while Sue and Caleb looked at the dinos up close.

Finally, we were into the main part of the display, and there were nothing but lines Everywhere!  We knew we needed a ticket, so that's the first line we went into, but just like outside, we had cash, and cot to cut 100+ people.  Equipped with tickets, we took on the next line. Seventy five minutes later, Caleb was in the bounce house area for 10 whole minutes!

While Caleb and Sue waited in line, Ella and I explored a bit. Everywhere we went, more lines. Ride a Dino, snacks, gift shop. It didn't matter, everything was a 30-60 minute wait. I'm not sure they how they fix that, or, given that they were making money hand over fist, that they cared to fix it.  We were lucky with two parents, we divided time in line between the two of us. and if the gift shop, I waited while Sue entertained and shopped with Caleb. 

The biggest takeaway from the Discover the Dinosaurs was that we were hungry, and exhausted. We couldn't get near enough to the snack bar to get anything without waiting an hour, and Dino Chicken Nuggets are NEVER worth an hour wait. Also, we were on our feet for most of 5 hours, and carrying Caleb for a good portion of that.  As a result, my back and feet were in a lot of pain, and cramping badly.

No Miles logged last night.  I just couldn't do it. so here I am, 6 days into the challenge, and 54 miles off my pace.  There Will be Miles tonight!

Ride #2

After the riding disaster that was Ride #1, I decided to climb back on and start making some progress. On Friday, I did just that.  Now that I know I can't play a video game while I ride, I've resigned myself to watching TV.  Netflix and me are going to become best friends.

For shorter rides, I've decided on 30 Rock. At 22 Minutes per episode, the hope is that I'll be able to ride a full ep. to start, and gradually increase. On Friday, determined that I would ride for the full 22 mintues.  I nearly made it. I pushed out 4.25 miles (3.1 more than either of Thursday's efforts!) in just under 20 minutes.

I'm not riding at Lance Armstrong levels yet, but all progress is good. Onward and Upward, 3644 Miles to go.