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I am weak (parts of me, anyway)

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. emoticon (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*

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

CLEARNIGHTSKY 11/27/2013 4:08PM

    I agree with CALGIRL80--I support you continuing to let yourself rest! (Not that you asked. )


I totally understand the temptation to keep working out. I hear often about people who work out all the time and who give themselves time off, that they often come back stronger than before since they gave themselves all that recovery time.

Hang in there. You'll get better soon. (And the ponytail thing was hilarious.)

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DDOORN 11/26/2013 1:57PM

    Have to remind our spin instructor about the one leggers...we've had "temp" instructors do these, but she doesn't...wonder why? Course that doesn't mean I can't do 'em on my own! Great reminder!

I'm still fighting my sneezy/allergy sorta thing...still don't think it's a cold, but I sure know it's a PITA!


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GHK1962 11/24/2013 7:07PM

    And one more thing ... I hope you feel better soon.

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GHK1962 11/24/2013 7:07PM

    I say 'weak' is when you give up and you know you can still do more.

When you stop when you can't go anymore ... or when you keep going even when you don't want to .. .that is sooooo not weak!

Swimming - Wifey is now taking personal training lessons. They have her doing all kinds of weird things to build her legs, to better her stroke form, and to breath better. I love swimming ... I am good at it ... but not like how she is getting. And I think you are going to get there too ... so HIGH-5 for that.

Biking ... or Spin - 1 legged exercises? I have never done that or heard of that. Do you unclip one foot? Is the purpose to isolate and strengthen one side of your leg at a time? Or just the weak leg?

As for the ponytail / foam roller incident ... heh ... not meaning to laugh ... but it sort of reminds me of the first time I sat on the foam roller at the gym ...and I lost my balance and went swooshing backwards. And oh yeah ... it was a Wednesday evening at prime time. Heh.

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  Pretty soon your jock side will catch up to your geeky side! Great job on your workouts. emoticon emoticon

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CALGIRL80 11/24/2013 5:56PM

  Take it easy. Let your body rest. Best of luck in your triathlon and blessings on your journey

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Throwing in The Towel on the Bike Commute

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:

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

GHK1962 11/19/2013 7:50PM

    Ok ... I don't quite know where to begin here .... so I will start with blathering on about other's comments.

1st up - GIRANIMAL!!!! Hey you. How are you? In my head you are a total biker animal. And shhhhh, I won't give away your car whamming ways. heh.

2nd - errr ... bad form Greg ... using someone else's blog post to say hi to someone else. Bad me. Bad. Bad.

3rdly - Don ... haha ... you and I BOTH got out of the rain and cold about the same time. HillSlug totally smoked us with her outside riding staying power!

As to HillSlug - I hope your cold does not manifest itself ... or at least not too bad. It's been rough for you this past couple of months yes? So I say, call your outdoorsyness to date a total win ... and ... yes on the gym. (rolls your eyes back to you so you can see better in the dark gym spin class....hehe.)

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GIRANIMAL 11/19/2013 1:32PM

    Ugh, I had a ride home here in Chicago one day last week that was SO windy, I finally hopped off about 3.5 miles in to check if my brake pads were dragging! So I feel ya. I usually give in to my winter wuss when we hit a good long stretch of 20s and below. I'm hoping to push a little further this year, but I dunno -- there just aren't gloves warm enough.
emoticon + emoticon = emoticon

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HILLSLUG98239 11/19/2013 12:23PM

    I'm so accustomed to the wind that I feel kind of guilty riding when there's no wind. It's as if I feel I don't deserve such joy. As much as I gripe about the wind, it's a gift in some ways: it makes me a stronger rider, and on those days when it's not windy I feel like I'm flying.

But sometimes, the gift is just too much and I wish it would go away. emoticon

I fear I'm coming down with another cold, too. All the more reason to not be riding in freezing weather or small-craft warning winds. (My sinuses produce snot rockets when it's 70; below 40, it's continual; below freezing, probably lose more weight in snot than I do in sweat. And yes, you may curse me for that visual. Just be glad there isn't a snot-rocket emoticon.)

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DDOORN 11/19/2013 12:05PM

    Yeah, been there, done that...WAY long time further back than you...lol!

The cold, bundling up...just detracts WAY too much for me to enjoy my ride. Hoping for either some warm spells or LOTSA SNOW so I can shift gears to my cross country skis! :-)


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APONI_KB 11/19/2013 8:50AM

    I do so hate wind. There is just no call for it.

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EBRAINK 11/18/2013 9:53PM

    Whoa. We had 40 mph gusts this weekend. I can't even imagine flirting with considering to contemplate the slim possibility of thinking about cycling in that sort of wind. Yeeeks.

So if you're wimpy, I'm a fragile flower down to the deepest core of my being scaredy cat wuss.

Not to disparage flowers or cats by saying so.

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What I Learn along The Way Makes This An Adventure

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.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

EBRAINK 11/19/2013 10:36PM

    Can I vote for the bubble-head charm? :D

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TOWHEE 11/18/2013 9:20PM

    Have your tried doing the breast stroke with your head out of the water? Just a thought. emoticon

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Busy Busy Busy

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.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

CLEARNIGHTSKY 11/16/2013 5:13PM

    Wow. I am completely humbled by how much you handle.

You are pretty amazing.

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EBRAINK 11/16/2013 11:53AM

    YIKES! You are crazy busy, woman.

It's great that you're keeping up with the riding - I put the fancy bike on the trainer last weekend, polished up the Winter beater, and set a weather alert on the smarty phone (in theory, it will tell me when the weather will be nice for riding - I am a wussy fair-weather rider). Maybe I'll ride in a few more times.

My crazy busy office tip (in the spirit of 'every little bit of activity helps') is that I have a sort of portable stand-up desk - it's just a piece of shelving on legs that I can put on top of my desk at work. When I've got a ton of stuff to read (on paper or on the laptop) and I'm going to be punching away at that work for hours, I do it standing up rather than sitting down. If I'm really feeling energetic, I do calf raises or arm exercises with a small pair of weights I keep in the office.

Hang in there!

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DDOORN 11/16/2013 8:37AM

    Things are kicking up big notches on my job too...but am trying to get out as often as I can with co-workers to nab some walks at lunch as it's about my only outside time during the daylight which I crave so!


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BILL60 11/16/2013 8:16AM

    You hang in there and never put the bike commute second. Hang tough!!

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  Good luck on your appeal. And great job on maintaining your bike commutes!

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HILLSLUG98239 11/15/2013 5:48PM

    GHK - we don't have kids, dogs, or friends. That gives us LOTS of free time. emoticon

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GHK1962 11/15/2013 4:41PM

    You ARE crazy busy. That seems like an absurd amount of work.

How on earth do you also get those workouts/rides in? That is a good amount of work there too ... nice going!

And ...

It made me chuckle a little to read about you making people cry ...ack!

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Beautiful Day to Climb Badger

Monday, November 11, 2013

First, to keep GHK off my back, I DID go to the gym yesterday. emoticon

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.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

GHK1962 11/15/2013 4:39PM

    Ohh ... we are going to Cousin's on Turkey Day ... so if you're there look for me :)

(Not the best place to go for T-Day meals ... but its kinda more about family for us ... so we'll take it.)

By the way ,,, the standing thing in Spin class is still weird for me...as I stand maybe about 5% of the time on a real ride. 5% at best ... usually way less. But in Spin, the only way to change up the routine is 1) tempo, 2) resistance, or 3) position. And also, since I am a sheep, I like to follow what others are doing ... so I don't stand out haha.

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HILLSLUG98239 11/12/2013 2:31PM

    GHK - whaddaya know, I'll be in Pasco on Thanksgiving, too. emoticon I've morphed into enough of a "grown-up" that I get to host Thanksgiving now. Fortunately, it's just the Hubs & I and my parents. I can manage that.

And no, I didn't really like it. I'll go back, but I wouldn't call it fun. I'm only in it for the workout.

Bill - heart zones are different for women. My max heart rate is 178, but my anaerobic zone is 142-160. I don't mind going there, but if I know worse is coming, I tend to back off. (Most of the time I'm climbing real hills on a real bike, I'm in that zone.) I think it's a mindset from years of riding on the road: I have to leave enough in the tank to get home. Or maybe I'm just lazy.

Nah, I think it really is the bike thing: I can go over the top doing a fitness class. During the spin class, I decided against doing all the bouncing and weaving while standing up because I work really hard to keep my upper body still while I'm standing. (Even though my grimace is pure Francesco Mancebo.) I tended to keep my hands and arms in their usual and accustomed positions, too.

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BILL60 11/12/2013 7:36AM

    Has your physician told you that 145 is a bit high for you?? I often climb into the 160's and am way older than you. Just wondering.

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JEANINNEWCASTLE 11/12/2013 12:31AM

  I've climbed Mt. Si, so I know what you mean! Great job on the hike!

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GHK1962 11/11/2013 7:02PM

    Hahaha ...I was going to stop by your page later tonight and ask on the gym thing...but saw you post this and will "badger" you here about it instead heh.

First ... NICE on the Spin class. Besides the good soreness in the legs, did you like it? From what I understand of Spin class now ... since we're inside and stationary, the only way to change up the routine is via tempo, resistance, or position. The position thing is kinda something for me to get used to. I rarely ever stand and pedal ... sometimes if its a very steep grade and I am wanting to pummel it up the hill ... but mostly I sit and go to a lower gear. The standing in spin is different ... but I kind of like it too.

Next - Your Badger mountain hike sounds like that was awesome today. I TOTALLY would have opted for that myself. (I will take doing something outdoors anytime. And 6.6 miles wooo wooo. It is a gorgeous day today!

And ... ohhh....wifey and I are going to be in the Tri Cities area for the Thanksgiving weekend. Her family meets at a restaurant (in Pasco) ... we actually stay overnight in Richland.

Man ... I love it in the Pac NW :)

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