Current Happenings

Plains & Pastures Bike Tour (2013)

I'm so proud to live here! Fredericton folks are just AMAZING!!!  Thank you one and all!!  My team raised over $2000.  The support was humbling.  What a great place to be!!!

Mind you, the journey isn't about me - it's about people who fight this horrible disease on a daily basis.  If you're reading this now, I hope you'll come back and sponsor me in the ride next time. 

 

Bike for Breath

Many thanks to everyone and their generosity.  The amazing people in my life supported me to the tune of $377.  Some days it is just great to be here!   (Fall 2012)

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Entries in Strength (2)

Friday
Oct192012

400 kms in the pool

Today marked milestone 400km in the pool.  I tried my level best for PB time trial on 1km but my shoulders voted differently.  Since I need my shoulders later, I decided to listen to them.

As noted in the complaints section, I have been without my swim fins for approx 5 weeks.  Overall this has meant being able to do only half my usual number of laps during my lunch hours.  So, my concentration has been on technique rather than all-out speed but every once in a while I would test myself.

Five weeks ago I could do 5 barefoot laps of the pool in 9 minutes (3.6/100).  Today I managed to do 11 barefoot laps of the pool in 20 minutes (at the same speed).  So in five weeks I have managed to double the length of time that I could maintain my top speed. This new pace would be equivalent to a 36 minute kilometre -IF- I was able to sustain it.  A big improvement over my pace one year ago for a kilometre taking 60 minutes.

Unfortunately, this much barefoot swimming has taken a toll on my shoulders.  My new bff (massage therapist) has not forbidden any further swimming, but she has suggested that perhaps the "time trials" could get lost for a while. 

Why the shoulder problems?  Simple physics: the strength to weight ratio isn't anywhere near suitable range yet.  Swimming is largely an upper body sport.  I am thrilled to report that every measurement I have is going down, EXCEPT the upper arms.  I'm actually gaining muscle on my arms: just not enough to handle all the swimming.  Next week the fins go back on and I will shift a large portion of the work back to my legs. 

And now for the mandatory photo.  This was many moons ago, in Abbotsford BC.  The dog was aptly named "Dobey" and the neck brace was after getting rear-ended at a stop sign.  That thing was freakin' hot in the humid Abby summmer too!  My weight was close to ideal at this point in my life, but funny enough, those arms look like spaghetti to me!

Tuesday
Aug072012

Old wounds come a'haunting.....

One really good thing I've done for myself lately is to visit an orthotics specialist.  My knees are SO much happier.   In the measuring process he notes that one leg is shorter than the other by about a quarter inch.  He assures me this is quite common (and I'm remembering all the hassles I've had with the other leg turning out - now I know it was the body's way of compensating for the difference).  Sigh.

My supportive child says "Well yeah - the smaller one."  (Note that "dumbass" is implicit by her tone.)  My only possible response was "Huh?"  So she huffs, puffs, mutters and measures both my legs.  Yes, it is indeed 3/4" smaller in diameter.  Then she makes me test it on the machines at the Y.  It turns out that the strength capacity of the left & smaller leg is 20-25 pounds less than the right leg. 

Wow!  I remember a bike reference saying that differences in leg strength is common too: usually one leg does pretty much all of the work.  You should try cycling with only one leg on the pedal and see which one is the dominant leg.  I test that theory: lo and behold the left leg is definitely NOT pulling it's weight!! (LOL!) 

How can this be?  Then I remember my motorcycle misadventures in Vanuatu. 

I had a colleague visiting from Samoa and I wanted to show her the view of Port Vila from the top of Mele mountain.  I wasn't speeding, wasn't doing anything foolish, just puttering actually since in Vanuatu you never know when there's going to be a kid chasing a soccerball across the road.  I never even saw it coming.  This freakin' huge German Shepherd comes roaring out of the bush and tries to bite the front tire (better the tire than my leg I was thinking!).  Next thing I know we've run the front tire over the dog, popped the front of the bike in the air, Peggy falls off the back of the bike and the bike lands on me.  The dog, Peggy, and the bike are fine.  Me well, not so much.

I spent the night in hospital which was an experience.  Think huge airy ward/room with ineffective ceiling fans at the top and I'm closeted in a corner (think office cubicle but walls only slightly taller).  Some "kindly" soul has donated a vcr to the hospital for the patients to watch.  It is on the wall next to my "room".  It turns out the accident ward was mostly full of men, and ni-Vanuatu men like to watch car chases, gun fights, fist fights and general mayhem.  I didn't get much sleep and the painkillers weren't doing much either.  In the wee hours of the morning I wobble-hobble on hospital crutches (6 inches too short) down to the nursing station for directions to the bathroom.  (I figure it's faster & easier than trying to find them on my own.)  The nurse looked at me like I had three heads.  As it turns out, white people were ALWAYS given a private room, and private rooms had toilets!  HOW was I supposed to know???  Private?  It was in what I had thought was a cupboard, backing onto the the vcr machine on the other side of the cubicle wall.  Private???  I waited for a seriously loud part of the video.....

That cast put a serious cramp in the scuba diving for several weeks.  It was however a "walking cast" which mean that ultimately I hacked the block of wood off the bottom so I could cram a shoe on, then I just tied the single crutch I used onto the front handlebars of the bike, and away I went.  Believe me when I say that a cast in the tropics gets itchy as hell!!

The next incident was a rookie mistake, but still my fault.  It was dark and I was on my way to a house I'd not visited before.  I didn't see the loose gravel in the intersection and the back of the bike skidded out on me as I went around the corner.  Again, luckily I was going slow.  This time there was no way I was going to get trapped under the bike again so I whipped my leg up and out of danger.  Sort of.  My bike was sensibly an "Agriculture" model - meaning it had this extra rollbar-type pipe cage around the front handlebars to protect your hands from getting smacked with branches and things as you went through bush.  Unfortunately, I sliced my knee open on a bolt on the safety bar.  Oh crap.  Another major gap appeared in the dive log!!!!!!

There was no such thing as physiotherapy in Vanautu.  I was back in the water diving as soon as I could go.  I do remember my dive buddies laughing at me because I had trouble swimming straight lines for the first little while, but eventually it all worked out and I forgot about it.  Until now!!!!