Saturday, September 29, 2012

Remembering spin class.

I've been getting upset with my lack of physical activity lately. My wife commented to me that if my blog has turned into complaining about football and hockey then something needs to be fixed. She offered to do whatever she could to help me out.

The problem with exercising with your spouse is if you are at very different skill levels. My wife plays tennis. I do not. When I try, I break myself. I did triathlon stuff. She did some. There was a time when she was cycling to prepare for a bike tour that we took in Napa Valley but that was a while ago. When we rode we rode at very different paces. It made training together difficult. Forget about having to have one to chase on some kid activity.

My kids said that their practices started at 10AM on Saturday. I decided to see if we could do a spin class at 8 to be home in time to start the carpools going in time. There was space available and I booked two bikes. The girl answering the phone asked if I had ever been there before since I wasn't in the computer. I explained the last spin class I took at the spin studio had to be about a gazillion years ago. Maybe it was 2 gazillion years ago.

When we told the kids what we were planning, my oldest said she remembered she was wrong about the start of her XC practice. It started at 9 instead of 10. We told her to get her own ride. She put on a pout face but was able to get a ride. We did have to drive someone home from practice but that would work.

I was wondering how cycling shorts would feel expecting the worst. It is great that these shorts stretch a bit. The bigger challenge wound up being finding my mountain biking shoes for SPD spin class. It took a while but I eventually found the right shoes.

On the way to the studio my wife commented that she viewed this as a date and it was frightening how our dates had changed over the years. When we got there the leader recognized me and commented it had been a long time. My coach does not believe in spin classes as he feels you can get more out of a target power workout. I generally agree with him as the power file analysis that I've done with these classes show the level of effort typically lower than a stand alone but my fitness level is so low I figured that anything is better than nothing.

The class was fine even though I started looking at my watch 20 minutes in to see when it would end. My breathing held up. I didn't wear a HRM as I didn't want to focus on that too much and just wanted to finish the class. I started remembering what it must feel like to ride a bike. When the said to make the effort harder, I reflexively started shifting like I had a STI shifter. That didn't work (hey moron you are on a spin bike) but I'm still glad we went. I finished strong and thought maybe my fitness wasn't as bad as I thought.

I think I need more social exercising to get me back on track. This spin class worked so we need to do it again. Having the company to do it was great.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Team loyalty

This weekend, while watching football, I came to realize that I am becoming less of a New York Jets fan. This realization bothered me.

How do you become a fan of a team? I grew up mostly a hockey fan and a baseball fan. My father wasn't really a sports fan so I don't know how that really happened. Why those sports over others? I don't know. We did have a then minor league hockey team near by, the Long Island Ducks. It was more of a "Slap Shot" type of team that folded once the Islanders were created. I could never watch the Islanders since you had to pay extra for that channel on cable and that wasn't happening in my house. The Rangers, in contrast, had more games on free TV. In college, I went to Hofstra University which was across the street from the Islander's Nassau Coliseum. We watched the games in the local bar and often I was the only Rangers fan. That was fine by me then. They were my team.

Baseball is more obvious. My grandfather was a die hard Brooklyn Dodgers fan. I don't think that he ever got over them leaving for Los Angeles. All this happened before I was born but he remained a baseball fan so he had to find a different way to root without team loyalty. He hated the Yankees. He couldn't have any sort of allegiance to the Mets as they were a "sand lot" team. His solution was to watch the Game of the week and every Yankee game on TV. Yankee game? Yes, but he rooted against them. Every game. He wouldn't even call them the Yankees. They were the "Prima donnas".

I was a Mets fan but it became hard to root for them in the Vince Coleman/Bobby Bonilla era so in the 1990s, if you asked me, I would have probably said that NHL hockey was my favorite sport. In 1991 I bought a share of season tickets for the NY Rangers with 5 others so it worked out that I went to a game every few weeks. I somewhat religiously watched the games on TV and sometimes even listened in on the radio if I was in transit. I was in MSG when they won the cup. I had a wardrobe that was further enhanced by many of the 94 Stanley Cup champions. After they went on strike the last time, I told them to keep their tickets. I haven't watched a game since. Now they are on strike/lock out now. I don't miss it.

I am still a Mets fan. Yes, they do not have a good record but that doesn't matter so much to me. I realized that while results count, how they go about their business is important to me. Why? I don't know but I want to be able to see they are trying their best, that they are honorable to the fans and themselves, and they care.

I do like watching pro football on Sunday afternoons. I watch the games while I putter around the house or sometimes on the bike trainer. MNF is too late for me and I never got into college football (my college doesn't field a team any more). I'm finding the professionalism of the NY Giants is making the Jets look bad. This has nothing to do with them winning the Super Bowl last year but compare that the all the flash backs to the Jets melt down last year hurt. The Tebow situation doesn't help either. They say "ground and pound" but that isn't how they are playing. It appears that they really don't have a well thought out plan or approach.

I am going to stop watching them? Not yet but I find myself wearing my Jets jersey less and less. I'm afraid of a trend happening here and hope they do something to right the ship. The biggest problem I have is that I don't think the Jets think this is even a problem. That will kill my (and others) loyalty to the team and it could take years to recover.

Doubt this? Ask the NHL.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Current events homework

C: Daddy, I have a question.
RS: Ok.
C: I need a topic for my social studies project.
RS: What's the assignment?
C: We have to write a paragraph on a current affairs topic dealing with different societies.
RS: Any ideas?
C: What about that guy who gave a speech?
RS: Which guy?
C: You know the baseball player who died?
RS: Which player was that?
C: I dont know his name but he had a disease named after him and he died when he was 23. He gave a speech about him being a lucky guy.
RS: 23? Do you mean Lou Gehrig? ALS?
C: Yea, that's the guy!
RS: He wasn't 23. He was much older..... like 37.
C: Whatever.
RS: And it wasn't that he was a lucky guy but he was "the luckiest man alive." He was a Yankee.
C: I don't like the Yankees.
RS: Where did the 23 come from?
C: That must of been how old Michael Jordan was when he got AIDS.
A: Michael Jordan didn't get AIDS. You mean Magic Johnson. And he has HIV, not AIDS.
C: That's right.
A: Michael Jordan's number was 23.
C: That's must be where I got that from.
MrsRS: Where did this ALS come from?
A: She is reading "Tuesdays with Morrie" I bet. Morrie had ALS.
C: Yup, but I'm only 20 pages into it. Don't ruin it for me.
RS: None of this is "current events." Do you know about any current events?
C: Of course I do.
RS: What about the ambassador who got killed?
C: I saw that.
RS: Do you know why he was killed?
C: No, the news blip on the iPad only said he was killed, not why.
RS: What about the redistribution of wealth and the election?
C: Nobody cares about that.
RS: Some do.
C: I still think the lucky guy story will work.
Mrs.RS: All the facts are in there but the connections are a little off.
C: No they aren't.
C: He died.
C: He gave a speech.
C: He had a disease named after him.
C: I know my stuff.
RS: Good thing it is still early in the school year.
C: I know my stuff.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

What a lack of diagnosis can do.

Today I had a follow up appointment with a pulmonologist regarding my coughing and breathing issue that I've been experiencing since June. This appointment was supposed to be a while ago but for some reason the office of the doctor who I was seeing kept canceling appointments. I had to take a Pulmonary Function Test (PFT) to see if there was an issue directly in my lungs or something else. After I took the test, the office cancelled my appointment for the 4th time. I decided to see another doctor. I asked for them to send me the results of the tests and they refused due to office policy. I was almost to the point of siccing a lawyer on them when they faxed me the results. I wonder if the doctor even knows this is going on.

So the new doctor looked at the test results and said it all looked good. There is no issue with my lungs. No asthma. No bronchitis. Everything seems to be working fine. Yet I am still coughing. He believes that the coughing issue is related to some sort of inflammation either from allergies, acid reflux or something else dripping. When I introduce training load, it makes it worse. He pointed me at take some antacids and make an appointment with an ENT to take a look down my throat to see what is going on.

I haven't been training and feel very out of shape. There is no way I'll be able to do a marathon in 7 weeks. I doubt I'll be able to do another event at all this year. I told the folks at Team Aquaphor that I won't be able to meet my racing obligations with them and while disappointing, they understood. Good group of folks on that team.

All the major items of concern have been eliminated so on that hand I'm happy. I'd like to have a real diagnosis to be able to solve this and move on but that doesn't seem to be happening. Even so, I have the Disney Half Mary on the calendar in January. I'm doing that race even if I have to walk it.

All you can do is all you can do. I can do this.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Garmin Ant Sticks (or not).

I've been a long time Garmin user. I currently have 5 Garmin running/biking thingies in my household: Forerunner 305, Forerunner 310xt, Forerunner 910xt, Edge 500, Edge 705. Some have broken over time. I've replaced them. Some under warranty. Some not. I recently snapped my second Ant Stick off my laptop. Argh.

I wanted to see if there was an option to getting (and breaking) a third as I felt that the Ant Stick was a flawed device. It probably is OK for a desktop but for a laptop, it sticks out too much on a laptop. I do not have a desktop computer (that I can use) at home. After some searching I found DC Rainmaker's review of the Suunto Movestick Mini. You can find the review here.

The price for the Suunto and the Garmin were about the same so I ordered a Suunto via Amazon. I plugged it in and so far so good. I've only had it a short time and only used it with the 910xt but hope springs eternal.

Consider this a public service announcement. If you are plagued like me with this issue you may want to consider this option. I have received no compensation nor product nor anything for this write up (I don't consider it a review as I couldn't rival Ray's).

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Update in Bullets

I went to San Francisco for a technology conference for work last week and was unable to update the blogosphere. Rather than craft an eloquent post I thought I'd just put out some bullets:
  • I didn't race last Sunday at the Tobay Triathlon as I woke up not feeling great in the breathing department.
  • My 16yo daughter did race in her first grown up tri. She did a relay a couple of years ago with some of her friends but this was her first solo effort.
  • Since I was registered I was able to go into transition with her to make sure she was set up ok.
  • My younger daughter decided to help out by volunteering in one of the water stops.
  • My daughter had a great race. She finished 4th in the under19 AG. Her run time was faster this year (by a second) than her standalone run time in the relay two years ago.
  • She was originally disappointed in 4th until she found out that the podium was 5 deep.
  • I guess she is fairly photogenic as her pictures while racing are in the various local newspapers.
With respect to the conference in Frisco:
  • The cool SF weather was very refreshing. Walking the hills while the temps were high 50s was much more civilized than 90s (which is what I came back to in NYC).
  • The homeless people in SF were much more visible and aggressive than those in NYC. Thank you Rudy.
  • I haven't been to a tech conference in a while. There were very few young people in attendance. Most of the people at the conference were in their 40s and 50s. I'm concerned about the future of technology in our country. It seems like we've either outsourced the next generation or just pushed them away from technology. Either way, we lose. Maybe not immediately, but eventually.
  • With the national party conventions happening, I'm wondering if the politicians are concerned about the right things. Next up, Democrats. Confidence is low.
  • While away, my eating was horrible. I'm getting very frustrated with myself. I know I need to address this but for some reason I'm not. My mantra for for my Ironman was "It comes down to you vs. you." I'm losing that battle now but can't give up.