Sunday, November 24, 2013
I swam on Friday. I had another breakthrough. I realized I am dipping my head too low into the water when I'm swimming. Because it's so low in the water, it has to travel farther to break the surface of the water. That means I'm expending more energy than necessary to rotate my torso to place my mouth above the water.
Yay! I figgered it out! But Boo! this isn't an easy fix. As a long-term cyclist, I am very aware of how weak my upper back is. Years of trying to hold a helmet-clad noggin up have demonstrated how weak I am.
I did my first strength training workout the night before (Thursday). I'm using Holistic Strength Training for Triathlon. I cannot recommend this book enough. Reading it finally got me to be more consistent about stretching after a ride. As with Total Immersion Swimming, the workouts are not long; they are very focused. I think the author assumes his readers will be more fit than I am: there are some exercises I cannot do. One of them, it was all I could to to hold my position on the physio ball, let alone roll it out in front of me. And I can't do a regular pushup, let alone one on a med ball. But they give me a place to start. And it pleases my geeky side to be wandering through the fitness center carrying a book and a chart. It's like science!
I went to the Group Cycle class Saturday. Different instructor. I liked his workout better. He had us do one-legged drills. That's something I remind myself to do while riding, but I usually only manage about a minute per leg before I quit because, well, it sucks. And this time, I let my heart rate stay higher, although it appears my average and maximum heart rates were the same as they were last time. My legs aren't sore today, but that may also be because I did my own post-ride stretching routine.
Back to the swim: in an effort to regulate my breathing, I didn't breathe in and out at will while backstroking. I may continue to do this during my swim workouts while I work on strengthening my trapezius muscles. I'm hoping it will convince my brain that I will not die if I can't breathe every single second.
I'm kind of anxious to get back to open swims, though. I'm doing a good job of not taking off my goggles throughout the workout, but I'm stopping at each end of the pool. I can't do a kick turn, so I have to stop and turn around. And trying to take off without pushing off results in my heart rate going up because I'm treading water. I suppose that'll take care of itself in time, though.
I did manage one length of the pool only drawing in one breath each time my head was above the water. That was progress. And given my current cold, I think may have been pushing my luck by swimming, anyway.
The cold has probably derailed me for the week. I woke this morning with a bad sore throat. As in it felt like a swollen tonsil. (I'm one of the minority of my generation that survived childhood with my tonsils intact. That's even more surprising, because in my late teens, I was getting tonsillitis every six months. I never got strep throat at the same time, so the tonsils got to stay. But it left me with a keen impression of what tonsillitis feels like.) So I'm spending today on the futon, watching football, drinking tea. I feel better than I did a few hours ago, but I'm not giving in to the fleeting temptation to go for a run or go to the gym.
And here's my contribution to everyone else's self-esteem: yesterday, I was stretching out my back using a foam roller. I ran over my ponytail. *sigh*
Monday, November 18, 2013
I just looked at the weather forecast for the week. Tomorrow night, the winds are forecast to be 20-30 with gusts around 40. It won't be cold, but it will me dark. I have a hard enough time with the darkness; I don't want to compound my misery with the wind, too. It will start getting cold on Wednesday. The overnight lows for Tuesday night/Wednesday morning will be in the low 20's. www.wsdot.com/traffic/forecast/Defau
I quit. It's time to embrace my wimpiness and take the bike home. I can always work in a ride on the weekends or in the early morning.
And I just found an awesome cycling jacket at Goodwill this past weekend. Pity - it will likely stay in the closet until January or February, when I'll start up cycle commuting again.
On the plus side, this may mean I can go to the gym every night of the week. :roll eyes:
Monday, November 18, 2013
My swim Friday evening kind of sucked. I spent about 40 minutes in the pool. On the plus side, I was able to narrow down why it sucked. And if I can fix this, I will be well on my way to being comfortable swimming.
I can go forever backstroking. During my post-workout debrief in the sauna (me and the internal coach), I said, "You can't do the entire swim of a tri in a backstroke." Sure I can. If I have to, I will. Obviously, that's not a goal to shoot for, but if I have to, I will.
My issue is breathing. I need to do it, and I get a little panicky when I can't. What I think I discovered on Friday is that I'm not getting enough air into my lungs on a single inhale. I'm kind of gasping for air like a - irony noted - fish out of water. So when I put my face back in
the water, my brain is already screaming "When do I get to breathe again?!?!?!"
I think part of my not-getting-in-a-full-breath-of-air is associated with my tendency to not full exhale. I can't explain it, but apparently I've done this since I was an infant. My mom says she would watch me breath, because it looked like I would inhale five times before I'd exhale. Even now, I occasionally let out a long, sighing exhale. I'm not sighing; it's my body releasing all that extra air. When I was in the hospital after my operation, it became an issue because I could not exhale enough to keep the CO2 sensor happy. The nurse finally took me off the patient-controlled pain meds drip because the CO2 sensor went off every 3-5 minutes. (They don't want you medicating yourself into a coma, but they do want you to be able to sleep.)
I have a spirometer left over from post-op. I'm going to try using it to help develop my lung function. I think I need to re-train myself to exhale forcefully. If I can make incremental improvements in how much air I get in, I can augment that by concentrating on swimming slowly enough that I don't get into an oxygen debt. (That's another difference between the pool and an open-water swim: the river doesn't have a far edge to swim to and grab hold of.) So again, my workout sucked, but I'm maintaining my optimism.
I took Saturday "off." I was weary from the previous week. I think it paid off, too. I ran three miles on Sunday and it felt pretty good. The Hubs and went for a post-prandial perambulation (as the Hubs like to call our after-dinner walks) about 90 minutes after I go back from the run. I walked about 1 1/4 miles this morning. No soreness or balkiness in my legs.
This morning, as I was about to get into my car to head to work, I realized I did not have my gym bag or any workout clothes with me. I smiled. Screw it. I earned the right to sit on my butt at lunch and update my blog.
Friday, November 15, 2013
Work has been crazy busy. A few months ago, I didn't have enough work to keep me busy. Right now, it's nuts. I'm currently working on an appeal. The State usually does not appeal decisions that go against it, but I did in this one. I do not believe the judge's reasoning made sense under the law. The legal term for that is that the judge abused his discretion by making a decision based on untenable grounds. It kind of scares me that I'm in a position to have to tell an appellate court that a superior court judge was wrong, but, heck, he was.
This is also a case of first impression, meaning there are no appellate court decisions addressing this specific issue. Not only are there none in my state, but I haven't found a case specifically on point anywhere in the U.S. That, too, scares me, because it means that no matter what the appellate court decides, it's likely to be appealed to our state's supreme court. Which means I'd mostly likely be arguing in front of the Supremes. If that happens, I will set up a pool: people can try to guess how many times I'm going to vomit prior to oral argument. (I've handled several appeals. Only one has been set for oral argument, and that was nerve-racking enough!)
My in-custody referrals are way up, too. That means someone is sitting in detention. If I don't file charges within 72 hours of their arrest, they get released. If they're in detention, they have a right to trial within 30 days of arraignment. That makes for a lot of scrambling. (We rarely actually succeed in trying someone in that short of a time-frame, but it's usually because the defense attorney needs more time to prepared his or her case.)
In the past few weeks, I've had four boys brought in on one residential burglary. We only have two defense attorneys on our public defender panel, and each attorney can only represent one person. They will usually reject a case if they've represented a co-respondent previously because it creates a potential conflict between the clients. Any clients that cannot be represented by one of the two panel attorneys get referred to the defense panel on the other side of the river (they have five). But given the nature of the Tri-Cities, a lot of them have been convicted of crimes on the other side of the river, too. We've had to refer criminal cases to the civil panel, whose attorneys usually handle dependency cases. It can be a mess.
I'm also handling a rape case with four respondents. Two of them have entered guilty pleas. The third charged boy is set for a discretionary decline hearing. It's a hearing in which the judge will decide whether the juvenile division of the superior court will decline jurisdiction over him - in other words, the judge will decide if he's going to be tried as an adult. The hearing is next Friday - the same day my appeal brief is due.
I'm going to ask the court of appeals to grant me an extension of time for the brief. I've never asked for one ever, let alone on this case, so there's no reason to not grant it. I'm only half way through my nation-wide list of cases that includes my key words. (In case you're interested, the key words are Miranda, silence, head, shake, and nod.) My law school taught us both online research and book-based research, and I must say I am incredibly grateful for online research. Thanks be to God for KeyCite and boolean searches! It's so much easier to scan a case and only read paragraphs where my key words appear. Trust me, I have read far too many horrible fact patterns in the last few days (a lot of child abuse murders involve the words "head" and "shake"). I'm quite grateful for the ability to scroll and scan.
Oh, and there's been a ton of out-of-custody screenings, too. Those can go pretty quickly, especially if they're mandatory diversion cases. (State law requires that I send a juvenile's first criminal matter to diversion unless it's a felony.) I can read through those a lot quicker. However, I cannot ignore the pile: there is a stupid-ass local court rule that requires I file a case within 30 days of receiving the completed police investigation. If I don't, the defense can move for dismissal. The defense has to show some prejudice (like difficulty in contacting potential witnesses while the event is still fresh in their minds) as a threshold issue, but even if the motion to dismiss is pure B.S., I still have to respond, draft a brief, and argue the issue in front of a judge. And because I'm a lawyer, I'm not allowed to submit a reply brief that reads, "C'mon, your honor, this is stupid. Please deny the defense motion because it's a bunch of crap." So it's really in my best interest to keep the files from piling up.
But on to the stuff that really matters: my workout schedule! I'm writing this at lunch time rather than going for a walk. I like having my old blog posts to go back and read, so there's a value in writing this. My pledge to walk at lunch three days a week has pretty much flown out the window. But I feel like I'm doing enough to justify goofing off at lunch instead of working out. I rode home from work Tuesday and Thursday evenings. I ran Tuesday morning and I capped off last night's commute with a brick. My transition time was about 6:30, so my legs were not as balky as they might have been, but I had a good run. I rode to work Wednesday morning, and did a Group Kick class at the gym Wednesday evening. I rode in this morning, and I plan to go for a swim after work. (The pool is available at 5:30.) I'm feeling pretty good about this.
I think I will continue with the this schedule until the weather convinces me to stop commuting by bike. (That should happen in the next several weeks.) Once I settle into a routine, it's time to move into the next chapters of Holistic Weight Training for Triathletes. The books has succeeded in inspiring me to stretch after riding/running more consistently. (I cannot claim to stretch after every ride or run, but I'm probably doing it 50-70% of the time. That's an improvement.) Time to start adding some strength training. There are a couple pilates classes at the club; I want to check them out, too. I really need to improve my core strength. Trying to do the side planks at the end of the Group Kick class has been painful and almost humiliating. (It's not truly humiliating because no one else cares that I'm so out of shape I cannot do a side plank. No one but me, and I'm the only one who's in a position to change that.)
Despite how busy work is, I've never considered skipping my bike commute or other workouts. The bike commute is calming and energizing all at once. I can't imagine life without it.
And my lunch hour is almost over. Time to pack up my files and head over to court, where I get to make people cry and put people in jail.
Monday, November 11, 2013
First, to keep GHK off my back, I DID go to the gym yesterday.
The spin class I took on Saturday left my legs sore. This pleases me. I rarely get my legs to burn while I'm cycling because my cardiovascular system limits what I can do far more than my legs do. In fact, I opted out of a lot of the instructor's suggestions because my heart rate was already in the 140's or 150's. The soreness is good, because I'd like to increase the explosive strength in my legs.
I swam for a short bit yesterday. I didn't do any drill work. I just backstroked up and down the length of the pool. I don't feel like my legs are getting a workout when I'm in the pool, but I'm always a little wobbly when I get out; I have to believe my legs are getting more of a workout than my brain realizes. So far, I haven't over-done it in the pool. I've quit well before I'm exhausted.
I'd planned to go to another spin class today, but since my legs are still sore from Saturday, I opted for a hike. We have a treasure in the Tri-Cities called Badger Mountain. It's not a mountain as in snow-capped peaks and fascinating volcanic history. Badger Mountain and its neighbors were formed by the crust being pushed along - kind of like what happens to a rug is you push one edge of it. So the mountains here are rolling ripple-like bumps. (Unlike the nearby Blue Mountains, which are "real" mountains, and were once the coastline of North America.)
The reason I describe Badger as a treasure is that it's now mostly in public hands. Volunteers built the trails: one trail is multi-use, the other is hiker-only. This trail system gets tons of use. I don't think I've ever hiked it without encountering other people. (Any readers in the Puget Sound area? Badger is to the Tri-Cities as Mt. Si is to Seattle.) There were not a lot of people on it today, but I think the longest I went without encountering another person was five minutes.
Today I started from the west-side trailhead, hiked to the top, hiked down the east side, and then back over the mountain. Endomondo says I covered 6.6 miles. (Here's the route, if you're interested: www.endomondo.com/workouts/267987226
So I have the day off, and all the time in the world, and I did NOT go to the gym. But I did take on a Badger.
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