Thursday, September 30, 2010

Bike Ride on Tuesday, 9/28/10

A day after the blistering heat in the L.A. area, I went out for a bike ride. In the recent cool summer months, I’ve been wearing a jacket over a long sleeved shirt while riding. Because of the heat, I only my short sleeved Long Beach Marathon 2008 shirt this time. I have not bought a cycling jersey yet. The first interesting sight I observed was an egret flying over me then while in mid-flight, urinating or defecating a few meters towards my right. Fortunately there was no breeze to blow them towards me. Then I saw the peacock again from last week and I’m beginning to think that it’s actually a pet, although it wasn’t fenced in (see: The Sights and Sounds of Monday's Bike Ride). There were a bunch of elementary school kids again boarding a boat near the Pike area, so this must be a regular outing by some schools.
 One thing different about cycling is the need to concentrate more. There is hardly any opportunity to dissociate or let the mind wander like you can when running, and that’s because you have to be constantly aware of other vehicles, avoiding road debris, and controlling the bike. Because you create your own wind while riding, it feels cooler and it takes double the amount of time to achieve the same sweat rate as running. For example, I lose approximately the same amount of sweat after a 2 hour ride compared to 1 hour of running. I deliberately tried to put in more effort on Tuesday and that resulted to an increase in the average pace by a half mile per hour. During a very short stretch, a speed of 21 MPH was even reached. I went past my usual 25 miles again and the total for the day was 31. Not bad for a hot day and another step to burning the excess calories from the last weekend’s potluck at work (see: Burn Those Potluck Calories).

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Tuesday, September 28, 2010

A Quarter of 20 for Me

Note: I wrote this before the treadmill run post on 111 degree Fahrenheit Monday (in Long Beach). I just didn’t get the opportunity to upload it.
Shall I do my usual 25 mile bike ride, or should I try running? Those questions went through my mind upon waking up Saturday morning. I opted for the second choice. Then I couldn’t decide whether to put heel lifts plus my orthotics in my shoes as prescribed for runners with PTTD or just run in the shoes without extra support. Wearing shoes with the heel lift and orthotics felt awkward so I took them out. On my last post, I was considering whether to keep running on the treadmill until my right calf fully healed. But it was already too warm indoors so I decided to pound the pavement outside instead. While the AREC marathon trainers were out on their last 20 mile run (some did 22) before the Long Beach marathon, I was out clomp, clomp, clomping my way around my neighborhood for an hour of 4 minute jogging with 1 minute walking. It was supposed to be a hot day and indeed it was but I hardly felt it because of my slowness. I didn’t even sweat that much because I didn’t feel perspiration dripping from my brow. Maybe because it was dry heat. Even though I moved like a slug, I felt no need to try picking up the pace. I’m not sure I could have anyway since I’m still trying to recover from the calf injury. It felt like I was running about 11:30 per mile so I was surprised when I checked at the end that my pace was 10:55 (the combination of running and walking).  Along the route, I saw volunteers picking up trash in the neighborhood, God bless them. Then I saw a guy who was running so slowly. He must have thought the same way about me when he saw me slogging along. We gave each other the acknowledgement nod that runners do during these types of encounters. In the end, I completed 12 repetitions of the 4 minute run and 1 minute walk intervals for a total of an hour, covering 5.5 miles. Although I didn’t feel fully endorphinated because I could not push the pace, it felt really good to experience a semblance of running again. All that was left for me to do was pack both ankles and the right calf in ice when I got home. The distance was only over a quarter of what I usually do this time of the year, but it was good enough on this day and I couldn’t ask for more.

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Monday, September 27, 2010

Burn Those Potluck Calories!

Did someone say sauna? As the heat peaked at about 1:30 on Monday afternoon with 100 degree plus, heat stroke inducing, temperatures outside and no cooling breeze, but a cooler 96 degrees indoors, I stayed in for a treadmill run. An artificial wind was created by pointing an electric fan against the front of the treadmill. Away I go as slowly as I can, trudging along while reading the newspaper, taking care not to splash my perspiration on it as much as possible. Helping along was an out-of-fashion tennis headband to keep the stinging sweat off my eyes. Upon completion of an hour, an additional 25 minutes of recovery walking was tacked on to burn off the excess calories consumed during a surprise potluck birthday party at work for 2 colleagues. The fare consisted of the usual greasy and fattening pizza, hot wings, meatballs, chips with extra hot homemade salsa, two different kinds of cakes, cheese cake, and bread pudding. The one hour and twenty five minute workout was a first step in taking care of those calories. A newly acquired book/magazine holder for the treadmill/stationary bike/elliptical machine was put into good use. A good, sweaty, calorie burning workout on a sweltering day. Summer at fall is here. It’s good to run again!

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Thursday, September 23, 2010

Cautious Running

Never in the history of my running life have I been laid off so long and so often. Last Saturday I began what I hoped was a return to some semblance of running by doing the 1 minute jog with 1 minute walk intervals. I haven’t tried again since then until Thursday morning and just by sheer coincidence. I was just planning on taking a walk when I heard my downstairs neighbor leave to take her kids to school, so I fired up the treadmill instead, and started a very slow jog on it while reading the newspaper at the same time. A matter of feeding the mind and the body all at once. Since the newspaper covered the console, that gave me an excuse of not peeking too often at the elapsed time. I was hoping that my recently injured right calf could handle at least 15 minutes non-stop. When that time passed, I hoped for 5 more minutes, then another, then another. In the meantime I was monitoring how the calf felt but with the distraction of reading, I managed to keep going until I reached 45 minutes. Erring on the side of caution, I finally stopped even when I felt that I could do more. For a cool down, I took a 45 minute walk to and from the bank to withdraw some money. It’s always good to find a an excuse or reason to propel yourself at your own power when you have a reachable goal. That way you finish an errand and also engage in exercise. If my calf holds up and recovers, on my next run I will have to learn a lot of self control by not going too far or pushing the pace when I am feeling good. For people who hate exercising, self control means finding the motivation to do it. For me, it is the opposite. It is finding the courage to not overdo it. I’m considering keeping my runs on the treadmill for now to lessen the impact on my legs and to be able to keep the pace constant. Please, please, keep me from pressing the UP button!

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Monday, September 20, 2010

The Sights and Sounds of Monday’s Bike Ride

The sky was overcast again when I left home for the ride but I think I found the right combination of clothes to blunt the cool air. I’ve been wearing a long sleeved technical shirt with a parachute nylon jacket and those seem to work well in about 60 degree weather. My thighs felt a little sore which I attributed to the walk/jog I did last Saturday but it didn’t matter. I really wanted to get outdoors and ride. About 4 miles into it, I was surprised to see a peacock (or peahen) about 25 meters away on my left side. I wonder where it came from.  It didn’t seem like a pet. Maybe one of those birds that roam in Palos Verdes got lost. Further down the bike path as I approached the 7th Street bridge, I heard a loud explosion which appeared to have come from a smokestack in one of the factories or refineries near the Port of Long Beach. After a few minutes, I heard a fire truck siren so I guessed they were on their way to check out the problem.
While I was riding at the area connecting the river path to the shoreline path, I was suddenly blocked by a whole bunch of elementary school students who were waiting to board a boat for an outing. I was able to weave my way between them without dismounting, but on the way back, there were even more of them. So I had to dismount and walk my bike through the gauntlet of kids to get to the other side of the bike path. One of the parents/teachers/chaperones wished me good luck. Thanks, lady.
But let’s get back to my outbound journey. When I reached the shoreline bike path, I finally saw someone I knew. I’ve been riding that path about once a week for the past couple of months and this was the first time I bumped into someone from our running club (AREC). It was Leila, whom I ran with at the Wrigley River Run 10K last June. We exchanged a few updates about her marathon training and my injury then continued on our way. She on a 4 mile easy run, and I was on what I thought would be my usual 25 mile ride.
When I reached my usual turnaround point, I decided to continue riding to the end of the peninsula which I knew was just over a mile. On weekends, that street is usually busy with runners, cyclists, walkers, and cars. But not on Monday morning. After reaching the cul-de-sac turnaround, I headed back home knowing that I would have ridden a couple of extra miles. When I got back to where I heard the explosion earlier, I didn’t see any signs of a fire or any other unusual activity, so it must have just been one of those flares that refinery smokestacks sometimes do.
But wait, there’s more! When I reached the part of the river bike path where I was supposed to get back on the street to reach home, I didn’t exit but kept going, and going, and going. I’ve been having some apprehension about riding that part of the trail because it’s not in a good part of town. However, I didn’t encounter any problems. When my watch said I had been riding for 2 hours, I turned around and headed back home. My turnaround point was the Atlantic Avenue bridge at the border of Long Beach and Compton.
This bike path appears so very well maintained. I saw a couple of trucks from the City of Long Beach and Los Angeles county checking things out. I am, and I’m sure all of the other cyclists, runners, and walkers are, appreciative for something the government has done well.
The total for the day was 32.5 miles in 2 hours, 7 minutes, and change. Even though the ride felt harder towards the end, the pace was the same as last Thursday’s 25 mile ride. This has been my longest ride so far. Then something happened which doesn’t usually when I’m working out. I got hungry during the ride. The weight training session that I had planned after the ride would have to wait another day. I had lunch instead.

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Sunday, September 19, 2010

Gorilla in the Mist

Blender stylized gorilla test animation walk cycle from Dave Ward on Vimeo.

On a misty and cool Saturday morning, I laced up my running shoes and went outdoors for a walk. The plan was for a 1½ to 2 hour jaunt around the neighborhood and I hoped to test the right calf and see if it can withstand 1 minute pickups in the process. I started with a 10 minute warm up but when I got to the end of that, instead of walking at a brisker pace for 1 minute, I began jogging for 1 minute. So far so good with no pain felt so I just kept doing the 1 minute jog and 1 minute walk intervals and maybe make it to an hour. There were times when I was tempted to do a 2 minute jog but I stayed conservative and kept it at 1 minute. Everything went along swimmingly until the 55 minute mark when I started to feel a slight shooting pain at the injury area. Not wanting to be set back another few weeks, I ended the jogging part of the workout and kept walking the rest of the time until I reached 1½ hours. The way I walk briskly sometimes, does not look like the swiveling hips of racewalkers but rather like a furless, thin and ravenous gorilla about to grab a low hanging fruit from a tree, hence the title (besides, I couldn’t think of anything better, so apologies to Dian Fossey). At least I can walk for that amount of time so that has added to my repertoire of workouts in addition to stationary and outdoor cycling and the elliptical machine. I don’t know when the next trial walk/run will be because I’ll have to give the calf time to recover since I feel some tightness on it. I was very reluctant to restart running because the injury I suffered on my right calf is alien to me, meaning it has never happened to that part of my body. To strengthen it, I’ve started doing calf raises, and hopefully that helps. Otherwise, it’s day to day.
Going back a few days, I did my usual 25 mile bike ride at the usual area. The GPS watch consistently measures it at 25 miles which is a surprise to me. Not 24.9 or 25.1, but exactly 25. There were no sights and sounds to be observed last Thursday morning because there were few runners and cyclists, no volleyball players on the beach, and even just a few people waiting at the dock of the Catalina Express. The only thing I saw a lot of was horse poop on the riverbed bike trail, more than I usually see. Otherwise, it was a good workout because I was able to push the pace most of the ride which endorphinized me for the rest of the day.

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Friday, September 17, 2010

Weirdness @ Work +Unlucky DVD’s

Did I tell you about what happened to me at work a couple of weeks ago? I was monitoring the hallway and at about 3 a.m. a female patient came out of her room, exposed her breasts and started to approach me. So what did I do in this situation? I pulled out my camera phone and started taking pictures! Well, no not really. All I can say to her was “please do not do that in the hallway”. The camera phone would have made a better story though. That’s the reason why we don’t allow cell phones on the unit, because there is a potential for violating the privacy of patients. You didn’t think I was going to put up a picture at the start of this post, did you?
I’ve been unlucky buying blank DVD discs lately. Two weeks in a row already, I bought and returned two different brands of discs from the same office supplies store. They were on sale for 17.99 per pack of 100 which is a pretty good deal. But, when I try to burn data on them, the process stops midway and the software alerts me that there are errors on the disc. I’m beginning to question whether the discs are old stock which have been in the warehouse too long and may have been exposed to heat. They are probably being sold at that price so the store can move the old inventory.
For the third week in a row, there is another sale at the store with a different brand name which I have successfully used before. I’m going to buy a pack and hope it works this time. If it doesn’t, then I don’t know what brand to buy any more that would work with my computer. Aren’t all those discs supposed to work in any computer?
 Update: The latest blank DVD discs that I bought worked well. I used two different programs in one computer and burned another disc in a different computer. It’s surprising that some recommendations on the internet tell you to buy one kind of brand over another and the brand that has worked well so far for me is not on the recommended list. You mean not everything you read on the internet is true?

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Thursday, September 16, 2010

Jogging In Place

               Another short blog but with a question to people who run. What type of runner are you? When you encounter a stop light at an intersection, do you make a complete stop, or do you jog in place until the light turns green and continue forward? Do you think it looks silly to do that? I used to jog in place a very long time ago when I didn’t have a digital watch. Maybe even when I got one of those things, I might still have jogged in place after clicking the stopwatch off. At a certain point in time and for whatever reason, I stopped the jog-in-place jig. The only reason I’m writing about this is because on Sunday afternoon, I saw a male and female runner jogging in place while waiting for cars to pass by. During my training runs with the AREC club, I have never seen any one of my fellow runners jog in place at street intersections. I guess we’d all rather save our energy by stopping to catch our breath rather than engage in an activity that doesn’t propel us towards our destination. Of course jogging in place burns a few more calories and probably helps keep one’s momentum going because some people lose rhythm when they come to a complete stop. So anyone who reads this, please tell me which type of runner you are. Thanks.

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Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Calf Testing

This one is a shorty. Since my right calf tolerated 30 minutes on the elliptical machine quite well on Monday afternoon, I did another test on Tuesday morning. As mentioned in previous posts, last week, I walked with trekking poles for an hour and on the treadmill for an hour and 15 minutes (holding on to the handlebars because I was reading the newspaper). On Tuesday, the plan was to walk without poles outdoors for at least an hour. That goal was reached plus 30 extra minutes although not as briskly as I’m capable of because I’m still trying to protect the gastrocnemius from the strain that occurred exactly two weeks prior. I could still occasionally feel that calf muscle pull especially when going up or downhill so that enabled me to resist the temptation of trying to run. You should have seen how my calf and ankle were wrapped in ice packs afterwards. How many ice packs do I have? Four: 2 large and 2 small ones. I’m now able to walk downstairs semi sideways with minimal or no pain. Maybe on my next walk I can try alternating one minute each of brisk walking with a minute recovery using a slower pace. If nothing untoward happens then perhaps I can try jogging for short periods of time and see how it feels.

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Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Exercise Equipment Tidbits

The tires on my bike has been losing some air lately and I couldn’t seem to pump it back to its full capacity with the mini pump I have, so I bought a full sized floor pump last week. It took me a few minutes to figure out the Presta valve on the tire. You have to loosen a thingamajig before you can pump air in. Could that be the reason why I couldn’t pump air with the mini pump?
My more than a decade old exercise mat had started falling apart so I bought a new one and I hope it lasts just as long. I use the mat to do sit ups, crunches, twists, leg raises, and pushups. The old mat had foam in it which helped my body bounce back up, let’s say, when I’m doing sit ups. The new mat appears to be some kind of rubber material that doesn’t enable my body to bounce. That brings the end to my cheating when doing those floor exercises.
With my dizzy spells, I have been avoiding the inclined bench press with a barbell because after so many repetitions, I’m straining so hard that I’m afraid I might pass out before I could return the barbell on the rack. Living alone, I don’t have anybody to spot me and I would end up crushing my chest, or my head, or getting pinned by the barbell on the bench. I switched to dumbbell flies and presses instead. A few days ago, I lowered the weight and rack to the lowest level and found out that I can still do a flat bench press with lesser danger than the inclined press, although I can’t maximize the repetitions to the point of failure any more.
You know those special push up handles they are selling nowadays? I don’t have one but I use a couple of dumbbells to do the same exercise which stretches the chest muscles more than regular floor pushups.
I was thinking of buying a cheap spinning bike last week but I had to wait for the next billing period of my credit card. I’m glad I had to wait because the urge to buy has passed. Besides, the store cancelled free shipping after Labor Day. My upright stationary bike will suffice.

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Sunday, September 12, 2010

Barefoot Memories, etc.

The recent interest in barefoot running reminded me of when I was growing up. Only the poor people and the TG’s (tau gimba or rural folks who live in the distant mountains) went barefoot because they couldn’t afford to buy proper footwear, not even the ubiquitous thongs or flip flops that everyone seem to own in the Philippines. If I only knew that going barefoot would strengthen my feet and surrounding tendons better, I would have joined my more unfortunate neighbors when we played together. Of course my parents wouldn’t have allowed it, God forbid! So here I am now, a flat footed individual with foot tendon problems who could barely run or jog anymore. Even if I grew up walking and running barefoot, I’m sure I would have outgrown it soon. That brings us to today. I’ve been trying to walk barefoot indoors and around my condo complex the past few weeks and not surprisingly, I have been getting questioning stares from people that see me. Obviously they haven’t read or heard about the book - Born To Run. I don’t expect myself to be running barefoot since the tendon damage in my ankles is unhealable. My purpose is just to improve the proprioception of my feet and the hopefully strengthen the muscles therein too. This brings us to the Vibram Five Fingers footwear which simulates barefoot running. They’re like toe socks with padding on the bottom. As a result of the barefoot running movement, the footwear has also become a fashion statement among celebrities and Silicon Valley techies. Maybe they’re the Birkenstocks of the 2010’s. Apparently there are a lot of fake ones in the market now that are being sold for about 20% less than the real thing.
I’m getting a little antsy about not being able to run due to my recent calf injury, but I know I have to be patient. There is some improvement though, as I was able to walk with my trekking poles for an hour on Thursday morning and an hour and 15 minutes on the treadmill on Friday. There is however a lingering discomfort on the right calf still so I could not walk as briskly as I want to and I still have to go down stairs sideways so as not to overstretch the muscle. After the treadmill walk last Friday, I also used the rowing machine for 20 minutes. I haven’t used this machine in a long time and I don’t remember the last time I did. That information is in one of my exercise logs but I didn’t feel like looking for it.
I wanted to go for a bike ride on Saturday morning, however when I opened the door to pick up the newspaper, it was cloudy, cold, and breezy. So I wimped out and rode the stationary bike instead. Riding outdoors is going to be a problem during the winter unless I find really warm clothes to wear. If you see someone in a blue bike wearing earmuffs and a puffy jacket, it might be me come November.
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Friday, September 10, 2010

Checking Blood Pressures At Work

The behavioral health unit in our hospital was inspected by the Department of Mental Health a couple of weeks ago and one of the things they wanted corrected was covering the electrical outlets in the patient rooms. Although there have not been any incidents regarding those outlets in the hospital, there must have been some in other mental institutions. I know for sure that patients sometimes insert graphite from pencils in the outlets to create a spark so they can light smuggled cigarettes. So since the DMH ordered all outlets covered, the staff could no longer check patient’s vital signs in the rooms. The blood pressure machines do come with rechargeable batteries but the machines we have run out of power pretty quickly if they even recharge at all. Now we have to rouse the patients as early as 5:30 in the morning to come out of their rooms and into the hallway where we can plug in the blood pressure machines. It really hampers the staff by making them unable to finish their tasks if the patients don’t want to get up so early. The best we can do is just mark it as a refusal by the patient to have their vital signs checked since we cannot force them to do it. One solution would be that the hospital provide the workers with better equipment. Given the tough economy, that is not forthcoming. I for one do not like waking patients up very early since that makes them cranky especially when they have nothing to do that early to occupy them. Smoke break doesn’t come until 6:45 and breakfast is at 8 o’clock. Of course there is the option of checking blood pressures with the old fashioned sphygmomanometer and stethoscope.

Taking initiative, I bought my own battery operated wrist blood pressure machine from Harbor Freight Tools, costing $20.00, and the few times I’ve used it, the device was working quiet well. I am now able to check blood pressures of the patients assigned to me at their bedside without having to ask them to get up. I’m still using the hospital’s thermometer and pulse oximeter which don’t need to be plugged in. Sometimes you just have to find your own solutions to obstacles that come your way.

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Wednesday, September 8, 2010

A Klutz’s Clutch Job

Last weekend, as I was pulling the car out of the garage, I noticed that I was having a problem with the clutch. It felt too loose and I had to depress it all the way down and even then it was a struggle shifting gears. Once it warmed up a bit, the gear change went better, however it left me with an uneasy feeling that I might need an unexpected and expensive clutch repair or replacement.
When I went to work on Monday, the clutch felt just as bad and since I had a few minutes before I had to clock in, I pulled out the rarely read owner’s manual and checked the section about the clutch. The only important thing it mentioned was the check the fluid level. I was surprised to read that brake fluid is also used as clutch fluid. That pretty much tells you how much I don’t know about cars. I’m probably one of the few Asians who do not tinker with cars. So I worked on Monday and Tuesday nights and at the end of the shift on Wednesday morning I stopped by the Honda dealer to buy a can of brake fluid. I could have bought brake fluid for lesser cost in any auto supply store but the owner’s manual said to use only Honda brand fluid. I’m sure it was just to put more money in their coffers but I relented to the manual’s instructions. I topped off the brake and clutch fluid reservoirs while still in the Honda dealer’s parking lot and once I started driving, the result of refilling the fluid reservoir was instantaneous. The clutch was working perfectly again thus saving me time and money by not having to consult with a mechanic, who if unscrupulous, would probably have steered me into more expensive repairs or replacement.
 The lesson here? Open the owner’s manual once in awhile because even a mechanical klutz like me can find solutions from the book sometimes. I do the same thing when I’m stumped with computers, appliances, and other electronic items. Too bad I can’t just top off the fluid levels on my ankles and calves to fix my running injuries.
clutch fluid reservoir

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Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Labor Day Ride

On Labor Day, I labored mightily on the pedals during my bike ride. I didn’t notice the headwind at first and probably due to the cool morning air. I thought I was struggling because my legs were tired from Sunday’s stationary bike intervals workout. It was just on the usual L.A. bike path to Long Beach shoreline route but it just felt harder on that day. I could hardly make circles with the pedals nor maintain a steady cadence because of the wind which wasn’t gusty but just plain steady. With the cool morning and the wind it didn’t feel like I could work up a sweat even though I was wearing a long sleeved shirt and a light jacket. One thing good about riding out and back is that whatever headwind you have to fight going out is compensated by the tailwind coming back. I really thought I was riding much slower than what ended up as my average pace. On my way back home I saw yellow signs indicating a bike tour going on but I didn’t see such activity. Maybe they were left from something that went on Sunday? The ride lasted 1 hour and 40 minutes and covered 25 miles for an average of 15 MPH. Well, I never claimed to be a strong rider… Having not ridden outdoors for a couple of weeks until last Saturday, the layoff appeared to have de-conditioned my derriere because it felt slightly sore during the Labor Day ride. A day later, I read in the newspaper that there was an end of summer beach party at Shoreline Village. I guess I must have been in the area too early to see it.
On a different topic altogether, I thought I had toughened up my foot pads a little bit after walking outdoors a few minutes at a time these past few weeks. Well I was mistaken. I got a blister on the heel of my left foot after walking very slowly with bare feet on the treadmill for 45 minutes on Sunday. My injured right calf tolerated the slow walk well though.

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Saturday, September 4, 2010

Witnessing A Cross Country Run and An Obesity Walk

After having to workout indoors on the upright and recumbent stationary bikes from Wednesday to Friday, I finally went out on the road bike Saturday morning. It was something I’ve been putting off for a few days for reasons I’ll explain below. I was planning on an hour ride circling the Virginia Country Club area several times but when I got there, there was some kind of cross country race going on. It looked like there was an open race where all comers were welcome to participate in, and a separate high school and maybe even middle school race. Well, I didn’t want to get in their way and also didn’t want to feel envious seeing all these people running, so I left the area and went on the L.A. River bike path instead. It’s still a surprise to me how few people use that path. There were not even too many cyclists, runners, or walkers on Saturday. When I reached the Long Beach lighthouse, there was another event going on but they were already finishing. It was a walk for obesity which was organized by a bariatric medical group who do stomach stapling and lap band procedures. My ride lasted just an hour and nineteen minutes but that was good enough since I haven’t ridden outdoors in a couple of weeks. It still exceeded my one hour goal. Don’t you think it’s interesting that I encountered skinny high school runners with obviously no obesity problems and bariatric patients on the same ride separated only by about 6 miles?
The reason why I’ve worked out indoors since last Tuesday is of course because of my recent right calf injury. I couldn’t even use the elliptical machine and have to limit myself to cycling. Well that injury made the calf hurt a lot going down stairs so either I have to step down with only my left foot with the right foot going down the same rung, or step sideways alternating right and left. I had been afraid that if I was lifting something heavy like a bike, I might fall down the stairs. Somehow doing it sideways doesn’t stretch the injured muscle too much and I found that out on Friday. Finally, I found a way to go downstairs with little pain so I could lift my bike! Not terribly exciting, but if finding something that worked made me mildly ecstatic.
On Friday, I went for a slow 15 minute walk to test the calf and as long as I do it slowly and with short steps, it felt ok. I was able to double the time on Saturday but there was some discomfort after 15 minutes. Oh, I forgot, I was finally able to wear the Louis Garneau cycling shoes during the bike ride and they felt okay.

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Friday, September 3, 2010

Random Thoughts For Early September 2010

My Proctor-Silex toaster, circa 1981, obtained when I moved in my first apartment months after arriving in the United States, finally died on Thursday. Despite heroic attempts at reviving it by shaking out the crumbs and readjusting the electrical plug, the long serving and loyal device finally met its demise due to old age. Viewing of the departed will be at my nearest trash bin for the next two days and its eternal rest will be somewhere in a California landfill. Farewell dear friend, you will be sorely missed.
I received a 2 dollar bill as change from the grocery store last week. You don’t see 2 dollar bills very often anymore. There have been instances where some people think its fake money ( One of the reasons why there are not many in circulations is because people keep them instead of spending them, thus an already rarely seen denomination becomes rarer. Should I spend mine, or should I save it? I also happen to have a few half dollar, dollar,  and Susan B. Antony dollar coins stored around here somewhere.
Shenanigans at work regarding stray cats – The head of the Security Department in my workplace is trying to get one of the nurses in trouble for feeding stray cats in the parking lot so much so that he reported it to the police even though there is no law against it. Believe me, the neighborhood where my job is has more problems with gangs, shooting, vagrancy and other serious crimes than a woman feeding a couple of cats. By the way, it’s the same head of security that reported me for blogging after notifying him of problems during a fire drill (
I wrote this about a week and a half ago when I restarted running but I never finished the thought - Now that I’m back running a little bit and appreciating it especially when I was 100% sure that I wasn’t going to run again two months ago. How 100% sure was I? Well, that was the reason I bought a bike which I wouldn’t have done if I felt there was a wee bit of a chance that I would run again. Oops, spoke too soon. I can’t run again due to a new calf injury (
Death, change, food, cats, and not running. How much more random can you get?

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Wednesday, September 1, 2010

A Little Bit Up, A Lot More Down

Ok, ok, nothing worth anything to write about since last weekend and when something finally comes up, it falls under too much drama with my running life. The high from last Saturday’s run has suddenly dropped to a resounding thud. Remember I mentioned in that post I felt a developing cramp on my right calf? After a couple of days rest, I tried to run again on Tuesday and there was still a lingering pain on the calf. As I approached 20 minutes, the calf began to hurt badly. Hoping to work out the kink as I was able to do last Saturday, I kept going but I couldn’t proceed after 25 minutes because of the sharp, stabbing pain. I had to walk the rest of the way back to my car. The pain wasn’t so bad when I was walking but as soon as I stopped and when whatever endorphins my body managed to manufacture in the short 25 minutes of running stopped working, it hurt like hell! I’ve been hobbling around my place and I’ve iced the calf a couple of times without any relief. The pain was on and off while at work depending on how the calf muscle flexed. I don’t think it was a developing cramp anymore but more like a muscle pull, strain, or worse, a tear. It’s going to be a few more weeks being laid off from running while the muscle heals. I’ve been riding the bike lesser since I restarted running a couple of weeks ago and I will have to ride more again. At least I have other options and the equipment is already available. As far as training for the Long Beach Marathon or Half Marathon, well, I may have to put that off this year and maybe request the organizers to transfer my entry to next year.
 What is surprising is that I have never had a calf injury before. I’ve hurt my hip, butt, knee, iliotibial band, ankle, and Achilles tendons numerous times in the past, but never the calves. I’ll chalk this up as a freak injury because I don’t know how it could have happened when I’m not exactly running hard enough to strain something. It will heal eventually and I will run again. It’s just a matter of time. I couldn’t help but laugh at the ridiculousness of my situation even though it can be a sad one. It’s almost like a roller coaster ride but mostly going down lately.
After a day of consideration, I visited the Long Beach Marathon website ( to find out the procedure to rollover my entry from this year to next year. To my consternation, the deadline was on August 31st so that means my entry fee is gone since they don’t give refunds either. I emailed the contact person anyway appealing and hoping for dispensation.
Well, another injury timeout with R &R (rehab and recovery) for the next few weeks.

             Update: I just received a response from Bart Davis of Run Racing, the organizer of the Long Beach Marathon and in his email he said: “Because you are a member of AREC and I think that you guys are the best, I’ll be happy to do this for you.  Make sure and let the AREC crew know how much we appreciate you all!
 Your registration into the 2010 Long Beach International City Bank Marathon has now been rolled over to 2011.
Thank you so very much Bart!!! I’ll pass on the message to the AREC crew and how you and Run Racing has been very considerate despite my tardy request.
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