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Monthly Archives: March 2013

The Fun Triathlon Ends With a Flourish…

So last evening came the capper to my fun triathlon (one friend called it a hillbilly triathlon, another a red-neck triathlon): Bowling.

The first two legs, a 49 minute mountain bike ride and an afternoon at the pool were hardly ‘workouts’ per se, heck I didn’t do one lap in the pool. I did dive off of the diving board several times and the rest of my time was spent climbing the stairs of the water slide with my daughter.

Bowling is no different. Yeah, you work some muscles, but you’re never going to hear anyone say, “I lost 52 pounds by going bowling”!!!  In any event, warm up did not go well. I left a split and took several spares.  With about a minute to go in the warm-up and with everyone else sitting down for the start, I found the groove that I would stay in all night long.

I am a slightly above average bowler. My normal average is between 168 and 175.

My first game I struggled in the opening frames getting a couple of spares and two ugly strikes. Then I clicked throwing four strikes in a row, before an open, then finishing strike, strike, nine for a 204 – 33 pins over my average.  Though it was close for much of the game, we took it in the tenth frame.

The second game was a lot closer early on as we had difficulties as a team.  I managed to string a few spares together with a strike before going on a five strike run and a strike, strike, nine finishing frame for a 224 – we took that game as well and started contemplating a sweep (we were in fourth place playing the second place team).   I also started thinking about a 600 series – a rarity for me.  All I had to do was hit a 172 in my third game – not an easy task after the first two legs of my fun triathlon earlier, I could feel my energy start to drain.  Not to worry!  I hit the concession stand for the largest Mountain Dew they had…

I started out with an open frame in the first and followed that up with a strike and a split spare.  Going into the fifth frame I was sitting on an 88 – just enough to make my 600 if I kept it up – instead I went on an absolute tear.  Six strikes in a row and a nine in the last of the tenth to finish with a 228 and we took the third game sweeping the number two team.  We leapt from fourth to second place in one night.

In the end, I threw my first 650 series with a 656 actual and if you take my handicap into account I’d be in the 700 club.

Now that’s a finish a fella can love.

BDJ’s Fun Triathlon

I’ve come up with a new idea for triathlons. I got to thinking, all of this cycling – well who can get enough of that anyway – swimming and running… Why not shake things up?

Well it’s cold and cloudy today (33 F) so I went out for a nice 13 mile ride on the goat (49 min). This will leave me just enough time to jump in the shower so Mrs. Bgddy and I can take the girls swimming at the high school and I’ll be following that up with our last night of league bowling for the season.

Not bad for a full fun day… And after last week, I could use a little fun.

Man Panties…

My buddy English Pete is cut from a different cloth. He’s an ultra marathoner and he leads a pretty darned decent life, at least as far as we can see from the outside. What impresses most of us who hang out with him is his ability to keep going. They guy has run a 100k for crying out loud – more than one. In other words, he doesn’t leave much room for us to mess with him… That is, until we took our daughters swimming at a local hotel pool.

The details aren’t that important, until we get to the point where he walks in and lets me in on the fact that he mistakenly ran out the door without grabbing his swimsuit. He walks up to me and says something like, “Hey man, I forgot my suit, do you think it would be a problem if I swam in my knickers”? I obviously asked if they were boxers, briefs or tightie-whities. He said black briefs, so I figured they’d pass for a Speedo… So he goes into the dressing room, comes out in his drawers and hops – quickly – into the pool. Uh, they were almost as big as a Speedo. The look on his face was priceless… It is then that he turns around to see a family pointing at him and holding a rather animated conversation – from the second floor observation window. Oh my.

So a week or two later we’re all at Pete’s house for a cookout. My wife, and kids, Pete’s family, Big Steve and his and a few others. Big Steve is, without a doubt, the funniest guy I know, so I start telling him the story. Every once in a while, when I missed a detail, Pete jumped in to give the full context. When we get to the part about the family at the second floor observation window, that’s when Steve drops the bomb… “Hey, they’d just seen Pete in his man-panties”!

So this story, and “man-panties”, has stuck to Pete to a point where I almost feel bad for the poor guy – almost, but not quite… Here’s to swimming in man-panties.

I Am Not Insane…

My second favorite English fella inspired this post.  Sorry brother, but English Pete had me at “man-panties” (it’s a long but hilarious story).

You look at me with incredulity as I wolf down that donut.  It’s not fair that I’m so thin and can eat that crap.  Never mind that this is the only one I’ll eat this year.  You order your tofu and tree bark salad and try to convince me that “it’s actually pretty good”- as I order my half pound bacon cheeseburger with onion rings and barbecue sauce.  You roll your eyes, as if it were somehow deemed by God that some people can eat food and some, well, can’t.  It must be in my genes.  Maybe.

Later, you laugh at me while I’m pulled over on the side of the road, puking out the morning’s breakfast because I accidentally pushed just a little too hard on my Saturday morning fun ride.  As you drive by and crane your neck in wonderment, I wink and take a quick swig of Gatorade to wash the taste of bile down.  You think, “he must be f@ckin’ nuts”.  Maybe.

You assume that I’m silly because I’ll spend more on my bike than I do on my car in a year (and I’m dumb because I’m happy with that).  You have a pick-up and a more fuel-efficient car so the monthly fuel bill doesn’t sting so much.  They both cost more than my house payment for you to keep on the road.  I spend a tenth that on my bikes and they run on fat.  You see that 100 mile sticker on my SSUV (Small SUV) and that 13.1 sticker and wonder what that means.  The 100 mile sticker was earned because I was on the side of the road puking the last time you saw me, I winked at you while I was washing the puke down with some Gatorade.  The 13.1?  Yeah I just ran that to see if I still had it in me.  I must be crazy.  Maybe.

I don’t think I’m any better than you.  Truth is, I’ll probably forget your face by morning.  That’s the excuse you use as a justification so you won’t feel lazy for wasting the weekend away on the couch.   How’s that working for you?

I have heard all of these things said about my friends and I.

I am not different.  I am definitely not stupid.   I am most certainly not insane…

I’m hungry.

We are awesome because this is the life we choose, the life we love – our 20 mile run or 100 mile bike ride is your weekend watching baseball on the recliner.  We are thin, not because we have good genes, but because these bodies are bought and paid for – with sweat, puke and even a little blood now and again.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, Big Daddy’s gotta eat.  No thank you, I’ll pass on the tofu and tree bark.  You go ahead.

A Matter of Perspective

Working from my home office today, I received a visit from the J-Dubs (Jehovah’s Witnesses).  They only stopped at my house and they dropped off an invite to the Kingdom Hall for an open house.

Now, there’s a 90 percent chance that they were sent to my house.  If so, I know exactly who sent them.  In my younger years I’d have been upset at the encroachment.  This happened once, about twenty years ago and I was mad.  I’ve changed my attitude a bit – being upset is both naïve and stupid, it’s all a matter of perspective:

I would be angry with a person who cared enough about me that they actually care about my soul.  That I believe becoming a Jehovah’s Witness will result in the saving of my soul is irrelevant…  The person who sent them does believe it will – or in other words, they care enough about me to send help to get my sinner butt into heaven.

I would have to be an idiot to be mad about that.  Just a thought.

😉

The Magic Of Fitness – It’s Not Really Magic, Move It Or Lose It…

Up until about fifteen years ago I’d always held physical jobs.  I would walk up to five miles a day, lift heavy parts etc.  Then I took a job in the office and most of that came to a screeching halt.  My weight started creeping up shortly after I quit cigarettes, and boom, I’m almost 200 pounds.

Well since those days I’ve had a few chances to get out into the field every now and again.  Since I’ve been in the office, it used to be that a day in the field hurt – mainly my lower back from walking on the concrete all day.  By hurt, I mean that it caused some serious “Aleve doesn’t work” pain.  I’d end up on the couch wrecked for the evening and uncomfortable for a day or two after – and this is after just eight hours, walking in your standard no-padding dress shoes.

Since I’ve been cycling there has been a complete change.  I spent the last two full days out in the field and it didn’t dawn on me until last night – I’m in no pain, at all.  No Aleve, not even a Tylenol, necessary.  I knew there would be benefits from cycling on a daily basis as far as fitness goes but I never would have guessed it would be this good.  Thinking on it a bit, I suppose it makes sense, with all of the cycling my legs and core are “strong like ox”.  In fact, I have to believe that this falls under the move it or lose it category because all evidence points exactly to that:  While I was much younger when I was working in the field, I was used to walking around or standing most of the day.  Once that stopped I quickly grew used to my seated position and began experiencing pain when I’d have to stand for a good portion of the day.  In other words, I lost it.

The one thing that doesn’t make sense in this little story is that I was running three to four times a week during much of that fifteen years.  One thing that could make this make sense is the impact from running.  I was regularly in a state of recovery from a previous run so it could make sense that I was in a weakened state.  There is no impact recovery from cycling – only muscle recovery.  I won’t be spending much more time contemplating it, rather I’ll just bask in the splendor of a relatively pain-free life.

I’m so used to being in pain after a day in the field, I was shocked yesterday when I felt like I’d spent the day in the office – it could just be this simple:

Move it or lose it.

Ooowwww!!!!

The wax vac commercial, if you haven’t seen it, is the ultimate over-acted ‘as seen on TV’ advertisement. Imagine, you’re cleaning out your ear with a Q-tip… Certainly not recommended, but let’s be honest, many people still use them. My mom, the nurse, always bought the military sized box. So our over-actor is cleaning his ear with a Q-tip and goes a little too deep, jumps about a foot in the air (an action that would surely have him jabbing said Q-tip into his brain) and shrieks in a most over-acted tone, OW!

Ow? The dude just scraped his brain and ‘ow’ is the best he’s got?

I hate this commercial. It makes me want to send a 9mm hollow-point round through my TV. While this wouldn’t solve anything and could actually end in my getting arrested for illegally discharging a firearm in my home, wouldn’t it be satisfying to send a video of this to the makers of the ear vacuum? Just a little “this is what you jerks drove me to with your stinking pile of poo of a commercial”.

The reality is this: I’m not an idiot, so I will therefore not be shooting my TV over a stupid commercial. However, to the makers of the ear vac: IMAO your commercial sucks so bad, I refuse to even contemplate purchasing your product. Jerks. Ow indeed.

If you must, but remember what this did to me (and I’m a pretty reasonable fellow). View this at your own risk:

Now, I haven’t even gotten to the usefulness of the product – whether it works or not, or even if sticking a vacuum cleaner in your ear is safe in the first place… Let’s just say I’m skeptical. Sure it vacuums up water and dry dirt well, but chunks of ear wax? Let’s just say it seems telling that they didn’t show the thing sucking a chunk of ear wax off of the table. Just as an outside observation, it seems to me that anything powerful enough to pull in the wax could damage the ear drum… I won’t bother going any deeper than that.

Too True…

A commenter left a note on my post yesterday that dealt with which form of cycling is “better”, mountain or road…

Kevinkidder, who writes for NY Judoka pointed out this computer animated hilarious take on cyclists and cycling:

Bella, this video isn’t for you.  It’s not kid friendly.

While there is some truth to it, it’s a bit over-the-top, hilarious nonetheless.  Please swing by NY Judoka and show your support.

 

Road Bike Or Mountain Bike – Which Is More Comfortable For A Noob?

Before we get into answering the question properly we’re going to assume one very important thing: Your bike(s) is(are) properly fitted to you.  Websites will help you with fit and purchase and you’ll have a chance of being lucky and getting it right, but a pro will likely know a lot more than you and get you set up right on a good bike the first time (or as close to the first time as possible).

The actual answer is very subjective, it depends on the rider. It also depends on how you want to ride; how fast you want to ride, where you want to ride and how far you want to ride and the rider’s flexibility.  In other words, it’s not exactly an easy answer.

If you’re new to cycling your choices will be a road bike, a mountain bike or a hybrid (a mixture of the two previous choices). I ride and own a mountain bike and a road bike and I am vastly more comfortable on my road bike but I like riding in a manner that favors the road bike: Long distances (35 to 125+ miles), on paved roads, often in a group setting and fast. Shorter distances (5-30 miles), commuting, dirt roads or single tracks favor the mountain bike or the hybrid.

Flexibility will have a huge impact on which bike a rider will want to choose. I’m not very flexible, I can touch my toes, but I have to bend my knees ever so slightly to do it. This is enough to be comfortable with my bar about 3-1/2″ below my saddle – and thus comfortable in a fairly aerodynamic position. I cannot flatten out like the pros do but I’m much better off than the position I’m in on my mountain bike where my custom bars are only an inch or so below my saddle. I found that I wasn’t comfortable at all sitting more upright with my original equipment 45 degree stem so I swapped that one out for a 10 degree and inverted it so it’s level (no rise or drop). I also cut 1-1/2″ from each end of my handlebars so I’d fit between trees a little better (my hands are now shoulder width so my bike will fit as long as my shoulders do). If you happen to be less flexible it will be necessary for your road bike to be set up so you ride in a more upright position or you might be more comfortable on a mountain bike or hybrid.

Now, many noobs (myself included at the time) assume that if you’re bent over while you ride hands on the hoods that you’ll be uncomfortable. I have not found this to be the case in reality. In fact, the opposite is true. Because I am bent over I distribute my weight more evenly between my bum, my feet and my arms. In short, I put less pressure on my butt while I’m riding so greater distances are possible with less padding and less pain. Less padding equals better blood flow about the bum area equals less pain. Also, if you’re riding head low, your back won’t be absorbing bumps the same as if you were riding more upright. Your back and spine act more as a cantilever than a shock absorber. As such, I have found, being a long time sufferer of back pain, that my road bike actually helps relieve the pain. My mountain bike doesn’t add to the pain but it doesn’t help either. Now, after having spoken with my local bike shop owner extensively about this subject, I do not mean to suggest that a road bike will work the same way for everyone but it is certainly worth investigation.

Now, if you aren’t particularly interested in going as fast as you possibly can or if you’re simply out for a tool about town (5-15 miles one way), a hybrid or mountain bike is absolutely the way to go – especially for navigating in traffic. The upright position gives you a better view of the road and you’re taller and more visible to traffic. You’ll also be traveling at a slower rate of speed and will have more time to react to all too common, exceptionally stupid and impatient drivers.

The Saddle Situation

Saddles are tricky things. If you have the right saddle height, the proper saddle width and cycling shorts on a road bike you can almost ride on a steel saddle and be happy – no padding. It’s all about whether or not you’re sitting on your sit bones rather than your butt. My road saddle only has a millimeter or two of padding on it. The trick here is that your spine is not absorbing bumps because you’re bent over. A hard-tail mountain bike is a different story. With single track conditions and the upright position, you’re going to need a bit more padding (my saddle has about a centimeter of gel padding – or 5-10 times that of my road saddle). Padding on the saddle is good for short distances and rough terrain but horrible for long distances. The padding forms to your butt putting pressure where pressure shouldn’t be put. This limits blood flow to an area that requires blood flow. This is what causes your butt to get sore over distances. In other words, padding is not your friend over the long haul.

To wrap this up into a nice and tidy bow, there are many factors that have to be taken into account. If you’re going for speed and distance, a road bike (imao) is vastly more comfortable. If you’re cruising, or riding on varying terrain, a mountain bike or hybrid might be better. Check in with your local bike shop for more information.

Hold On There, Sparky… Mountain Biking Is ‘Better’ Than Road Cycling?

The search term of the week:  “why mountain biking is better than road biking”?

If mountain biking is better than cycling, that’s news by me.  The truth is, as far as I’m concerned, you cannot compare the two – they’re too different.  It’s like comparing Coke to Gatorade, they’re both technically “good” but for different reasons.  Being good at both, and enjoying each, mountain biking and cycling have their redemptive qualities.  Mountain biking on a single track is a better all around workout, of that I have no doubt.  On the other hand, if you like speed (as I do) you’ll be sorely disappointed when it comes to a single track – or worse, riding a mountain bike out on the road.  In fact, assuming that you’re relatively accomplished at mountain biking, go to your local bike shop and find out when the advanced ride is – then show up with your mountain bike and try to keep up for more than a half mile.  Good luck with that.  Cycling in a full pace-line (our Tuesday evening ride normally tops 25 cyclists) is an incredibly exhilarating way to get some fantastically fun miles in – it’s nothing short of awesome (if a little scary for noobs).

On the other hand, mountain biking – what the guys I hang with call ‘playing in the dirt’, is great fun as well.  Tailgating afterwards is pretty much the norm even if the actual ride is more of a solo venture.  Climbing up hills that you could hardly walk up, dodging wildlife, avoiding roots, rocks and trees…these are not to be missed.  I have one friend in particular that I ride with on the single tracks of southeastern Michigan and I’m here to, at 42, hitting jumps on a bike as I did three decades ago brings a smile to my face like few things, at least where clothing is a requirement.  Just thinking about it coming around the corner, as I watch the snow pelt the road outside, has me a little giddy.

So that’s pretty much the short of it.  Mountain biking isn’t better than cycling, it isn’t “worse” either.  The two are completely different disciplines and there is more than enough in each cyclist to thoroughly enjoy both – the only trick is affording all of the equipment – and don’t even get me started on that.