Thursday, July 10, 2014
It's Thursday, a work at home day. The plan was to ride my bike at lunch. I got interested in some spreadsheet work, and it was 12:15 by the time I got to a good stopping place. I almost bagged the lunch ride, figuring that I was on short time anyway.
But I got to thinking about my last blog. It was 72° F out. I won't be working up a heavy sweat cycling at that temperature. What's convenient, and saves time? Not changing clothes. I did take the time to put some more air in the bike tires. Then it was put on the helmet and go riding, still wearing jeans and a cotton tee shirt.
Got about 33 minutes of riding in, 7.8 miles around the neighborhood including 5 laps of a mile loop that goes pretty fast. Started out just moving, figuring any movement was better than sitting still; but ended up working about as hard as a brisk walk. That's, a brisk walk as in faster than I can walk right now. It wasn't intense cardio, but it was about as good as it gets right now.
I can't claim to have solved the puzzle of how to make cycling convenient enough that I'll do it regularly; but I may have filled in a piece. At any rate, I was successful at overcoming the inconvenience factor for today. I'm not yet ready to worry about tomorrow.
Tuesday, July 08, 2014
There's a Spark People quiz on what kind of exerciser you are. It had no surprises for me, as I already knew that convenience drives my exercise habits. The gym is a problem not because of intimidation, not because of poor water flow in the showers, not because of unfamiliar equipment, but because it takes time and organization to get there and back. Walking is perfect; all I have to do is open a door and step out. Running takes a little more organization, which kept me from running for many years; but once I learned to love running that was worth it. And experience lets me make the organization more efficient.
Still, the fallback when life gets busy is run from home. Gearing up to drive somewhere for pretty scenery to run in doesn't make the cut much of the time.
Right now, I can't run. I can kinda sorta walk, but not fast enough to be real exercise. This morning I was able to walk the 0.83 mile around my block. Just for my own information, I turned on the Garmin. I walked at an average pace of about 18 minutes per mile. Yes, 18 minutes per mile as in 3.3 miles per hour. Except I can't keep walking for an hour right now.
That 18 minutes per mile is an improvement. Yesterday evening I was slower than 19 minutes per mile. To be fair, most of the difference will be between the beginning of the day when I'm fresh and the end of the day when my recovering foot is a bit fatigued; but if I were healthy, the beginning/end of day difference wouldn't matter.
So, what to do when convenience drives cardio and I can't really do the convenient activities? Today is a work at home day, and I got on my bike at noon. I'm not doing that as regularly as I ought; convenience, or lack thereof, strikes too frequently. But I managed to get out today. Took a ride around a local college, on nice smooth asphalt. Under ideal cycling conditions, I can sustain a speed between 15 and 17 mph. For the entire ride, I averaged 14.2 mph. There was a stiff headwind as I headed home, including into the wind up the little hill on the way back. That drove my peak heart rate up into running territory, though the average was still down at brisk walk level.
It wasn't terribly hot, but it was warm enough that I worked up a bit of a sweat and needed a shower. One of the odd mental things is that this made me feel like I'd really done some exercise, even though it wasn't all that much of a cardio effort. My mood improved for the afternoon of sitting and working at the computer.
What made this happen? Hmm. I traveled light, not taking the backpack full of spare water and tools to change a flat tire. Just put on my running clothes and cycling helmet, put a water bottle on the bike, and went. There may be a lesson here. Perhaps my strategy should be, take the cell phone and wallet. Live with calling a cab if I have a flat, because that's better than not getting out at all.
I'll have to think this over. Possibly by the time I figure out how to get myself out on the bike regularly, I won't need to because I'll be able to run again. But just in case it takes forever to be able to run, instead of just seeming like forever, I need to work on this.
I've missed bike rides in a lot of good cycling weather already. Can't blame that on the boot any more, just need to figure out what I can do to make getting out to ride convenient enough that I'll do it.
Sunday, July 06, 2014
Today is my eighth day out of the air cast. The foot is making progress. It's not as fast as I'd like. On top of that, I have problems with motivation.
Objectively, things are going well. My weight is trending sideways within the desired range. I can walk further and faster (okay, less slowly) than I could a week ago. A negative indicator: I haven't aggravated the healing foot. I'm listening to my body, and I think I'm interpreting what it says correctly. I'm doing what I know to do about what my body says.
But I can't get enthused about the recovery and exercise thing. Mostly, it's like watching paint dry. Yeah, I can get in a frame of mind where it's fascinating to watch the pattern of changing shades of color as the less dry areas become more dry; but I can't sit and watch till all the paint is really dry. Yawn.
The holiday weekend has not been what I hoped in terms of exercise. I had hoped to get 2 or 3 long bike rides in. I got one, on Friday. The good news is, the foot felt OK after that. I agreed to go watch fireworks with my daughter. That's "public display fireworks" in New York; the light your own kind aren't legal here. The foot was an issue because the least inconvenient place to park is about three quarters of a mile from where we sit to watch. I walked that three quarters of a mile, twice. After biking 24 miles earlier in the day. Aside from staying up past my normal bedtime, Friday was a great day.
Saturday . . . I woke up a mere half hour later than normal, short on sleep because I was easily two hours later to bed than the late end of my normal range. The Fitbit told me I got all of 5 hours, 20 minutes sleeping time. Took a 40 minute nap later, and felt closer to normal; but didn't have the oomph for a bike ride after mowing the lawn. Good news: The foot handled mowing the lawn better than a week earlier. Bad news: That was about all the foot could handle on Saturday. Best news: We have summer weather, so the lawn can really go a full week between mowings. Last year's eternal spring weather with mowing every 4 days would be really inconvenient this year.
Sunday . . . the alarm went off at 6 and I turned it off. Slept till 7. Fitbit tells me I soaked up 8 hours, 29 minutes of sleep time. Anything over 8 is my body telling me something. This is probably a combination of lack of sleep from staying up late Friday catching up, and needing to rest a foot that worked pretty hard on Friday and Saturday. Well, the foot worked pretty hard relative to its current capabilities. It didn't work very hard compared to my self-image of what exercise is. Went to church, had a typical mostly sedentary Sunday morning. Thought about a long bike ride Sunday afternoon. Took a slow walk around the "block," about 0.83 mile. The foot held up. Thought about things. Decided to skip the bike ride because I needed to vacuum and touch up mop the kitchen floor. If I'm honest with myself, that wouldn't get done if I take the bike ride. And there's the long sleep warning; today isn't a good day to push hard.
Probably the biggest emotional adjustment of the weekend is that I walk slowly now. Oh, not deadly, 2 mph slowly; but slowly enough that my daughter had to slow down for me between the car and fireworks. That's a major role reversal, and it makes me feel old. Intellectually, I know this should be temporary; but emotionally, I need to deal with it.
Anyway, that's where things are right now. Objectively, everything is under control and progressing normally. Emotionally, I'm slogging through a period of low motivation to work on things. This isn't all bad, as low motivation to exercise means I'm not as frustrated by inability to do things as I would be if I were enthused; but I sure hope I get over the low motivation when my ability improves.
Now it's probably back to blog silence for a while. It's not that nothing is going on; it's that things are crawling along very slowly, and I have to look back about a week to be sure that there's progress at all. It's kind of like watching paint dry, but slower.
Saturday, June 28, 2014
This morning I got up and thought about whether today would be my first full day without the air cast. On the one hand, I've been through two weaks of gradually moving off it. On the other hand, I didn't start the first week with 12 hours off, and I didn't start the second week with only 6 hours on. I got there more gradually, and contemplated that I might spend a couple days with the boot on for less than six hours.
The major consideration today was that the lawn needed mowing. I could wear the boot to protect my foot for just an hour and a half or two hours, for mowing. I thought about that during the morning while I waited for the dew to evaporate. I ended up deciding to try mowing without the boot, and put the boot on afterwards if the foot was bothered.
It was about 85° and humid when I started mowing, wearing the steel toed lineman's boots I typically wear to mow the lawn. I paid attention to how I stepped, which slowed me down a little; but I was able to mow the entire lawn in one session. Put stuff away, took off the heavy boots, and my foot felt about the same as it did first thing in the morning.
That settles it. I'm out of the boot. No, the foot isn't 100%. I'm not ready to run, or even to walk long distances yet. But I'm making progress. Now comes the tough part of the transition, figuring out how soon I can add movement back into my life without setting the recovery back.
There is good news and bad news in my progress. The good news is, the foot seems to be on schedule and my weight is trending sideways. I've found a nutrition range that seems to be maintaining well for my lackluster movement.
The bad news is, my motivation seems to be at a low point. I'm not particularly interested in exercising, and have only kept doing what I can out of habit. I can ride a bike; but it's a struggle to get myself out onto the road. In theory, I could go to the gym; but I haven't done so. I just don't feel like it.
I feel like being sedentary, playing on the computer and reading books. I've done that, and no doubt it's helped the foot recover; but that can't last forever. Today I had time for a bike ride, but didn't go. I told myself that mowing the lawn was enough for the first day out of the boot, but I don't know whether that's wisdom or a lame excuse.
Perhaps tomorrow I'll try a longer bike ride, and see how that goes. Without having to spend 6 hours in the boot, fitting a bike ride in should be easier.
Sunday, June 15, 2014
It's been a while since I posted a blog. On the fitness front, I've been living through the slow, day to day wait for my stress fracture to heal. On the work front, it's been busy. I have a major deadline tomorrow, and the flow of information was not as smooth and routine as I might have hoped. Long story short, there was a pile of rework to do after 3 PM Friday. That's done, and I have time to write a blog again.
I took Friday to be the completion of a week without pain while wearing the boot:
The sound track from the podiatrist was to wear the boot 23 hours a day until there was no pain, then for another week, then wean off it. In anticipation of the end of the 23 hour slog, I called the podiatrist's office to ask what the protocol was for weaning off the boot. The answer was, a week of wearing it 12 hours a day, then a week of wearing it 6 hours a day, then I'm done with it. During the transition, wear it the part of the day when I'm most active.
I was delighted to not wear it to bed Friday night, but the foot ached a bit in the morning. I paid attention to the sensations, without fully understanding what they meant, and counted the night as 8 hours without the boot. I took the other 4 hours in pieces on Saturday, as convenient. Then I wore the boot to mow the lawn late Saturday afternoon.
Observation: Part of how the boot promotes healing is to hold the foot immobile, in the sense that I can't move much in ways that would aggravate the stress fracture. Another part of how the boot promotes healing is to simply make me less active. I have a noticeable streak of days with less than 10K steps as measured by the Fitbit, which counts more steps than the Omron pedometer. Mowing the lawn is a lot of steps, and they aren't particularly easy steps.
The foot ached in the night Saturday. I ended up putting the boot back on at 1:30 Sunday morning. It came off when I got up, and went back on for church. It came off for about three hours this afternoon, including a glorious 35 minute bike ride. Okay, it was more of an easy, don't push the pedals very hard bike ride on a route chosen for having no major hills and staying fairly close to home. But even that felt pretty good after two weeks of not doing anything remotely resembling exercise other than mowing the lawn.
Right now I'm playing it by ear. The boot won't be off the full 12 hours from bedtime Saturday to bedtime today. I'll go to be without it tonight for the third day in a row. I don't know whether I'll break down and put it back on in the night. The plan tomorrow is to wear the boot to work, on a day in the office; then have it off for much of the evening at home. That could change, depending on how the foot feels.
I'm thinking the weaning process will take me longer than two weeks, seeing as how I can't tolerate the full 12 hours immediately. But that's okay. I just hope I interpret "pain" appropriately and don't take it off too soon. The report on how well I interpreted instructions and judged what those body sensations meant will come when I follow up with the podiatrist on July 23.
Meanwhile, I'm muddling through as best I can. Yeah, there are frustration to not being able to move; but at least I've adapted to maintaining my weight under these conditions:
That's the biggest blip of weight gain I've had since being in maintenance, and now I'm confident it was just a blip. I took one adjustment to nudge my range back up 100 calories after I lost back the 4 pounds I gained quickly. And I've adapted to eating at this level, 600 calories per day less than when I was training for a half marathon. The next adjustment to nutrition will probably be upward, when I'm able to move more.
That blip looks dramatic on the current year graph, and it certainly felt dramatic when it happened. It's not so much of a big deal on a graph with a longer time frame:
That brings up another thought about maintenance. I've been weighing myself daily for I don't remember how long, and recording the weights since December 31, 2001. For many years, I'd update those graphs daily and look at them. In weight loss mode with SparkPeople, I'd update them weekly and look at them. As the months of maintenance pile up, I forget to update them. It had been a couple months since I'd looked until I updated them yesterday and saw that blip in perspective.
It seems maintenance has changed my outlook on weight trends. I've become confident enough that the weight is trending sideways that I don't have to look at the graph. And I didn't even look at the graph while the blip was happening. I knew what was happening from the numbers on the scale, and I did something about it. That's something I can feel good about controlling, while I'm fretting about whether I'm doing things well enough for the foot to heal completely.
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