Saturday, February 27, 2010

My week in review

This week was a busy one. Maybe a bit busier than normal and next week promises to be even be busier. I didn't even realize that it had been almost a week since my last post. I don't think I have any photos of my family, dogs, or cooking exploits, so I'll just stick provide a quick activity overview here.

Monday's exercise consisted on a 45 minute walk with the dogs after dropping the kids off at school, and another short one at night. Tuesday was much the same with a morning and night time walk. Wednesday I has a great Ashtanga yoga practice at the University and the usual short amble about to get the dogs to deliver their messages. Thursday I walked with the dogs in the morning and at night. Friday I had a solid 1,100 yd/1,000 m swim.

Here's the deal:
  • 250 yds free in about 4:40
  • 250 yds pull in about 4:38
  • 250 yds free in about 4:40
  • 375 yds pull in about 7:30
I felt pretty darn good, I think in part because I rested (other than some walking) on Monday, Tuesday and Thursday. Today I helped out one of my students by stacking some boxes in their moving van and may go for a short walk tonight, but I believe that allowing my body to really rest on days that I do not lift, swim, sprint or practice yoga is working out for me. I do kind of miss not sprinting this week, however, so I'll have to try to squeeze one in next week. If my body agrees with my decision, that is.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Pass me the butter and cream, please!

If you are one of the three people who read this blog, you may have noticed that I have adopted a dietary lifestyle that does not shy away from saturated fat: my posts include photos of eggs fried in butter, coffee with 18% cream, and fried bacon. Here's another of Italian sausage, first grilled and then fried with onion in butter along with a side of boiled carrots, parsnips and a small potato, also covered in butter.

For some time now I have been reading in a number of places (Mark's Daily Apple is one of them; there are others listed on my profile) about the benefits of reducing carbohydrates (and the inflammation that comes with them, especially from grains) and increasing my intake of "good" fat. This includes saturated fat from dairy, meat, nut and olive oils. Here is a recent link to a story in the Edmonton Journal talking about a recent study debunking, or at least casting doubt, on the notion that saturated fats are all bad news and that they may in fact not be linked to cardiovascular disease. I don't profess to be an expert on this topic by any means. I am on the very early and steep portion of the learning curve with respect to nutrition, but I do believe that by severely reducing and/or eliminating my intake "Frankenoils" and turning back instead to real foods, and real fats (both of which were more common in years gone by) is providing me with health benefits.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Second half of the week and weekend round up

Thursday the SO and I walked the kids and dogs to school. Later on I channelled some of daughter #1's sprinting fever and took Finaly and Libby along with the SO to the park at the kids' school for some outdoor sprinting in the snow, the first sprinting outside since last fall. .It was a great day, bright, sunny and right about +4 C.

Here's the deal:
  • walk to the park ~ 10 minutes for warm up; stretch
  • 6-7 X ~15s/~ 60 m @ 50% with about 20-30s rest between each
  • 6 X ~12s/~60 m @ 85% with about 60 s rest between the first 3 and then less between the last 3
  • walk home from the park ~ 10 minutes for cool down
Later on we walked to and from the school again to retrieve the kids.

On Friday, we (the SO and I) walked the kids to school and went for a bit more of a walk afterward (~ 25 minutes) and then I made it to the University and had a very good 1,000 m swim.

Here the swimming deal:
  • 250 yds freestyle
  • 250 kick (mostly all flutter kick, but some whip kick)
  • 350 yds pull
  • 250 yds free (a length or two of breast mixed in here)
It was pretty fair considering I am only swimming about once a week, down from the 2-3 times I used to swim.

Saturday I took it easy and just went for a walk with the SO of about 25 minutes before the pub night fundraiser - I had more confirmation that I am not young any more, and after that little excursion, I think it is just as well!

On Sunday the dogs and I took our kids and our friends kids (who slept over) sledding at the park. Here's a shot of our very own future skeleton racer, daughter #2, literally "heading down" the hill.

Later on that afternoon I cut my rest between lifting workouts from 7 to 6 days and did my LHT/SS (Lift Heavy Things/Super Slow) workout, with a couple of twists. Instead of only doing the "Big 5" a la Body By Science, I added 2 more exercises to make it a "Big 7".

Here's the LHT/SS deal:
  • bent over row - TUL 1:06, 13 reps, 70 lb barbell
  • standing overhead press - TUL 56 s, 7.5 reps, 70 lb barbell
  • dead lift - TUL 2:00, 12 reps, 70 lb barbell
  • bench press - TUL 1:26, 12 reps, 70 lb barbell
  • squats - TUL 1:35, 14 reps, 70 lb barbell
  • curls - (a) TUL 27 s, 2.5 reps, 70 lb barbell (b) TUL 1:43, 12.5 reps, 2 X 20 lb dumbbells
  • pull ups - TUL ~ 20 s, 2.5 reps
I need to keep my form, but did a better job at it this time. I also need to start my watch before the barbell is on my shoulders for squats! For this workout I defined "failure" as when my form seriously broke down. This may not be "true" failure, but I think I will still get benefits while keeping myself safe and injury free by maintaining good form. Tomorrow, maybe I'll do some yoga in the morning.

Here's a couple of shots of my tasty brunch; a red onion, blue cheese and Hungarian salami omelette. This with a French press of my Greg Danks Burundi coffee and 18% cream was just about as close as you could get to a perfect brunch meal.

Oh, and here's a shot of Finlay watching the Canada-USA Olympic hockey game. His interest reflects the way the game went for Team Canada.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Family Day LHT/TUL workout through to Hump Day

For the Family Day Holiday I did a LHT/TUL Body By Science Big 5 for Free Weights workout. I am still tweaking things here and there, but this is coming along, and I think that lifting heacy only once a week (with some yoga, sprinting, swimming and walking) seems to be working for me.

Here's the deal:

Bent over row - 16 reps; TUL = 2:03; 60 lb barbell
Standing overhead press - 9.5 reps; TUL = 1:21; 60 lb barbell
Deadlift - 14 reps; TUL = 2:02; 90 lb barbell
Bench press - 6 reps; TUL = 48 s; 100 lb barbell
Squats - 17 reps; TUL = 1:50; 70 lb barbell

I still need to watch my form (back) on the deadlifts and maybe up the weight a bit on squats and the overhead press. The one issue with the squats is that I could really use a rack to get the bar heavy enough and into position more easily that just man handling it up the way I am doing now.

Later on Family Day the SO and I went for a nice, brisk 35 minute walk together with the dogs; I did the usual putzing with the dogs to get the "job" done before we all went to sleep. Tuesday I went for another walk with the dogs after taking the kids to school (about 35 minutes again) followed by the evening stroll.

This morning I got up early after a solid 7 hour(ish) sleep, and did a 53 minute Eoin Finn Yoga practice ("Strong, Free and Happy") before walking the kids to school with the dogs and SO and getting to work.

I got to sneak a peak at daughter #1's track meet at the University, but missed seeing her team win their heat (but I did see one of the boys' teams from her school win their heat). I'll try to channel their enthusiasm when I do my own sprint workout tomorrow, possibly on the same track!

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Family Day and Valentine's Day Long Weekend

After I walked the kids (and dogs) to school in the morning, I managed to get some work done on a manuscript and then make it to the pool at the University on Friday for a steady 1,000 yard (20 minute) swim before an afternoon meeting. A good start to the day all around.

I started yesterday off great, receiving the new Blue Rodeo Double CD, The Things We Left Behind, and a large, dark chocolate heart from the local Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory from the SO - thanks honey! I reciprocated with the strawberries from the same local shop pictured here.

For lunch I fried up some French fries (done in bacon grease - no photo, I ate them too quickly!) and with half of an avocado and some fresh cut pineapple for dessert. After lunch the dogs and I went for a nice 40 minute (plus?) walk on a breeze, brisk day, before the SO and I went out for a fancy Valentine's Day dinner at a local restaurant. (I may blog about this experience later.)

We had a great time and lots of laughs. I think she is a closet food critic. My meal was 98% Primal, with only a small stick of phyllo pastry invading my yam and potato soup. My main course was bison rib eye (rare) served over tasty mashed potatoes, asparagus, yellow beet, bok choy, with a fruit compote and mustard sauce. More about the meal in a later post. The day ended with the normal "all business" dog stroll before bed.

The dogs and I went for a brisk 25 minute walk in the bright sunshine this afternoon. When I returned, I made this lunch that I dreamed up (and drooled about) on the walk; Smoked oysters on radishes or cucumber with old cheddar cheese, and avocado, polished off with a couple of squares of dark, 85% Lindt chocolate. Yummy!

Thursday, February 11, 2010

More sleep, more better, more often

I have been trying, for the past few nights, to make a real effort to get more, quality sleep. Sunday and Monday night were pretty good with great sleeps in the 8 hour range; Tuesday and Wednesday weren't quite so good, but better than average. I think this is making a real difference in how I feel, so I am motivated to keep at it, in spite of the fact that I easily find things to keep me up at night (reading stuff online, for instance), but I need to balance this off against the real benefits to good solid rest and how it is critical to maintaining good health.

The exercise this week was great so far: Tuesday consisted of a couple of short walks (am and pm walks to the school and at night so the dogs could do their business respectively); Wednesday was a short walk in the morning (kids and dogs to school), Ashtanga yoga at the University at noon (a tough, satisfying 50 minute practice), and then another bedtime stroll with the dogs; Thursday (today) started with a nice about 25 minute walk with the SO and then at noon, sprinting at the University's indoor track.

Here's the (sprinting) deal:
  • walk to the track (used as warm up in lieu of walking/jogging at the track)
  • stretching
  • 6 X ~ 60 m in about 15 s (~ 60%), walk back to the start, go again, about 40 seconds rest between each
  • 6 X ~ 60 m in about 11 s (~85%+), walk back to the start, go again, about 60seconds rest between each
  • 5 minutes walk/job warm down (4:1, walk:jog)
  • stretch
This was a great workout. Things I learned: left Achilles is still a bit tender so best to sprint flat footed and not so much on toes; didn't wear orthotics this time and no ill effects as of typing this up, 8+ hours later, so we'll see, maybe wear them next time? All in all a good workout that went better and was easier on the knees by doing straight line sprints not sprints on the corner using the inside lane as I did last time that led to a tweaky knee.

Tomorrow I will try to make it to the pool for an easy swim, a great, relaxing way to end the week.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Where did the weekend go?

I never did make it to the pool on Friday, and instead just did a few pull ups (5 to be exact, slowly in 42 s) and then went for a short walk with the dogs at night. Saturday I did a 50 minute Eoin Finn yoga practice ("Strong, Free and Happy" practice from the Power Yoga for Happiness DVD) and then took a lovely brisk 30 minute walk with the SO.

On Sunday the dogs and I went for a very long walk, about 55 minutes, that was nice and relaxing.

Back to the reality of the work week, there was no relaxation, as it was my LHT day and the third time I did the Body By Science Big 5 for Free Weights workout. (Although, as a side note, I did get a good 8+ hours sleep last night as part of my continuing resolution to get more, good rest.)

Here's the deal:
  • Bent over row - X 11, TUL = 1:40 (70 lb barbell)
  • Standing overhead press - X 5 (+0.5), TUL = 1:12 (70 lb barbell)
  • Deadlift - X 4, TUL = 57 s (90 lb barbell)
  • Bench press - X 7, TUL = 1:09 (90 lb barbell)
  • Squats - X 7, TUL = ~ 60 s (90 lb barbell)
I really should have read my notes from last week, because I would have seen that then I used 70 lbs for deadlifts; it was plenty then and would have been plenty today, too. I will drop the weight down to 70 lbs for deadlifts next week so that I can move slowly through the reps but with good form. I also think I should drop the bent over rows back to 60 lbs (and maybe the standing overhead press too) so get a few more reps and a little more TUL with good form. I know that I worked though, because by the time I reached squats, I didn't put the bar behind my head because it was a struggle enough just to get it to chest height, so I did the squats with this modification and didn't risk muscling the bar behind my head just to get it stuck there after completing my set.

Once this was done (early this morning before 7:00, easy to do since it takes less than 15 minutes), the SO and I readied the troops, took the kids to school and then went for a nice 25 minute-ish walk. Nice!

Work was an array of editing/meeting, meeting, seminar, meeting. Busy, but productive and enjoyable. I'll take the dogs for a stroll later in hopes of them, and us, settling in for an early and restful sleep. Here's a sweet omelette I made this weekend...mmm...eggs, cheese and ham!

Friday, February 5, 2010

End of the week, start of the weekend!

Wednesday was a great, relaxing day (on the exercise front anyway) with a nearly 60 minute walk in the morning with the dogs (the duration extended in part due to 2 dropped dog boots and associated back-tracking) followed by a great Ashtanga yoga practice at noon. My feeling of "Zen" didn't last as long as I might have liked, but it's a process, right?

Yesterday I just tooled around the nearby "home" blocks in the morning and at night with the dogs for some fresh air and for them to make a few "deposits" and send their, as someone on the MEC site once commented, to send their "p-mail". I'll have to take them for a longer walk today, but limited my activity to those short walks made it restful in spite of working and then delivering a lecture.

Today I have an early morning talk (9:00 am) to attend, will flounder around the pool for a few lengths (update to follow), meet up with some colleagues at the University and then take Libby for her shots at the vet with the kids and the SO. And then there's also the ongoing reading, reviewing and editing that I need to continue to make headway on.

Here are a couple of "creations". One is a nice mix of quinoa, halibut and hot sauce with a large salad with Red Swiss Chard; the other is a "tropical" snack that I made the kids the other night (that I helped to eat, of course!).

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

No sprints, no cry!

To badly paraphrase Bob Marley, the sprinting went well with no major problems. The SOP for the day was typical; SO seen off to work, kids to school, dogs for a stroll (stopping to chat to some friends- here they are barricading the door so we don't forget them!) then some work (and coffee) at home before heading into work and a lunch time sprinting workout at the indoor track.

Here's the deal:
  • 1 minute walk, 4 minutes light jog warm up
  • stretch
  • 6 X 20 s ~ 65% sprints on 60 s gos (40 s rest)
  • 3 X 20 s ~ 85 % sprints with 60 rest between
  • 3 X 12-15 s ~ 85 % sprints with 60 rest between
  • 6 minutes walking cool down
I changed it up part way through to stop sprinting on the corners (hard on the knees) and to simultaneously do shorter, more intense sprints. It all went well, no tweaks and a good workout. And I wore my orthotics and they felt just fine. That said, the glutes are getting a little stiff sitting on the couch typing this post! Yoga will be much appreciated tomorrow.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Heavy lifting

The weekend was relaxing on the exercise front. I did a few chin ups (5 reps then 2, 2, 3, 2 - fail; 3 more later for fun!) on the new chin up bar on Saturday while I was doing some minor renos so that it would install properly. The dogs and I went for almost an hour-long walk yesterday and another 35 minute plus walk this morning.

This morning I did my second TUL- Body By Science free weight workout. I think I am getting the hang of this now. I read further in the book and came upon the "Big 5 for Free Weights" work out.

Here's the deal:
  • 60 s jumping jacks to warm up
  • stretching
  • bent over row - X 11 or 12, TUL = 1:50, 70 lb barbell
  • standing overhead barbell press - X 6, TUL = 1:18, 70 lb barbell
  • deadlift - X 13, TUL = 2:22, 70 lb barbell
  • bench press - X 5, TUL = ??? (forgot to write it in my book - crap!), 90 lb barbell
  • squats - X 10, TUL = 1:42, 90 lb barbell
I am plus or minus a rep for all exercises as I find it hard to count, breathe, and keep my form under the heavy load. I didn't realize until just now that I forgot to record my TUL for bench press! I started lifting at 6:16 am and ended at 6:29 am. Given this and the number of reps that I did for bench (only 5) I estimate that my TUL for this was about 1:00 give or take (about 10 seconds per rep, 5 s up and 5 s down, nice and slow). Apparently keeping track of reps and TUL is just as challenging as the workout! I would put my total TUL at about 8-9 minutes, taking just enough time to get the bar and weights adjusted for the next exercise. This workout was much better than last Monday. It was slower, more controlled, with more appropriately challenging weight and definitely lead to shaking of muscles and fatigue. I'll need more weight on the deadlifts next week to get the TUL under 2 minutes. And to keep track of reps and TUL for everything!

I think I'll do my sprinting tomorrow at the University's indoor track. I am unclear whether I'll use my orthotics in my running shoes or not. I used them the once this year but not the last two times. I like the feel not using them during the workout as I feel more connected with the track, but I wonder if my slight left heel pain is from sprinting without them. I think it is a trade off between some (now small) amount of pain and strengthening my arches, because while using the orthotics "protects" my arches and plantar fascia, they also don't likely help to strengthen them. Perhaps I'll use them tomorrow and see if the intermittent heel pain goes or stays.