A Damn Good Day for Fitness

As I continue to nurse my injuries from last year’s over-training and over-racing, I’ve come to terms with several things: 1) Time is essential yet painfully dreadful (I want, but I shouldn’t. I can’t, but I do. Don’t take this advice); 2) Life does exist outside endurance sports (True, but I still don’t act on it); 3) Pain is manageable (True, but some pain is not physical); 4) I’m not going to stop (I can go easy, but I can’t); 5) Beer helps (Not really, but it really helps the non-physical. Again, don’t take this advice).

This past Sunday, I ignored all of this, and the above played out in perfect unison. With a headache from too many beers on Saturday, I headed out early for my morning ride (with my Irish Setter Lily) to warm up my haggard body. Nothing felt too out of sorts, and I continued into my normal stretching/yoga routine. I followed this with about 20 minutes of running on the trail I built on our property and added a couple short bursts of speed to test the waters. I checked the time and had just enough of a window to ride my funky little Revive bike to the yoga studio . Kula rips!

The yoga session is their Sunday Detox, which is a bit longer than normal at 1:15, and it is not for the weary. Suffice it to say that I didn’t make it through every pose, and had to opt out a couple times and take a resting pose. After the class, I was stalling a bit to get in some much needed hydration and to give my legs some recovery before the ride home that I forced upon myself, which is both good and evil – like the old cartoons with the angel and devil on each shoulder. One is saying, “This will be lovely and good for you.” The other saying, “Hahaha. You just wait until after yoga.”

With my over-dramatizing aside, it ended up being a great day out. The weather was perfect – mid 70s – and the sun was shining. But the joke was on me. Since I had to be to the studio by a certain time, I had to ride hard on the way there, and, of course, this always means a stiff headwind. Right? And, as Murphy states, the little red guy on my shoulder is destined to win, as I was rewarded with a wind switch and a stiff headwind on the way home as well. Lucky me.

My total time for the day ended up being slightly over three hours (bike ride was about 40 minutes each way); it’s been a long time since I hit numbers like that, and I’m already looking forward to next Sunday. Heck, maybe it will gradually get easier or I’ll be gifted with a tailwind on the way home.

And to bookend this post, here is what was waiting for me when I got home (after some food, of course):

New Belgium Brewery’s Ranger IPA. A lovely brew. Photo: I took it from the web. Laziness, I know.

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Posted in Beer, injury, Road Biking, trail running, Training report, Uncategorized, Yoga | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

I Done Run / The Mini Brick

As I’m tipping my hat to the South for a rhyming title, I have to admit that it fits. Done. I run. Well… I thought I ran, but then 2013 happened, and I haven’t run since the middle of July. Count them – six damn months. Yes. I meant that.

Ok. Now that I have that off my chest, I’ll explain what I mean. On Sunday, for some reason, I’d had enough. I’ve been dealing with hip issues since May and PT (which has ended due to insurance change) since around August. About midday, I decided it was time to put on my shoes and go. Luckily, we have a 3/4 mile trail on our properly, so I just walked out the door and hit the trail — slowly. And I was actually smart. I ran two slow laps and stopped while I was ahead. Amazing that can happen. On Monday, I didn’t feel much effect at all and hit up a Yoga class. No problems, so I ran again this morning.

To be honest, I didn’t just run. I did the the shortest brick I’ve ever done. It is funny to even call it a brick, but in hindsight, it is, so why not? Each day, I take a bike ride with my Irish Setter, Lily. Today, I had a bit of flexible time and felt I could run again. Lily and I headed out for about 15 to 20 minutes of easy cruising, I stretched when we got home, and hit up the trail for a little over one lap – about one ten-minute mile.

Hopefully, this means my days are lookin’ brighter…

Posted in injury, kula yoga, Rehab, Run Report, trail running | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

A Real Wellness / Fitness Plan – Yoga Included

In our current era of what US culture has quantumly mislabeled “health care,” I’ve been paying for insurance for so long I can’t remember. Sometimes the price was reasonable; sometimes it was not. Since I started at Daytona State (formerly Daytona Beach Community College) in 2005, my health insurance has been taken care of through my benefit package. At first, I had to only add my wife, Jennifer, so the annual fee was somewhat “reasonable.” Now, it is the four of us and the costs are astronomical to cover the whole family. Yeah. Like I’m saying something new and insightful. Duh. We all know this and have been locked into the dysfunction for so long most of us have given up the fight and just grumble under our breath and move on with our lives.

This year the college changed plans, again. I had to make a decision. I went to the presentations. I thought deeply about the different plans. On one side was the PPO, which was what I had with the previous company. On the other side was the HMO, which so many people have given me grave warnings about – sometimes to the point of telling me it was a form of Socialism, though I have to admit I don’t think these people really know what the word means. I looked at the plans and decided on the HMO. I did not decide on price necessarily, though the HMO is slightly less expensive. I did not decide because of the doctors on the plan – seems to me these days most physicians practice on prescription pads rather than healthcare or concern. Chemical bandaids for all. Hooray!

No. I did not decide because of these typical factors in the process. I decided on the HMO because it is the first plan that I’ve ever been offered that has a true and functional wellness / fitness plan. In Volusia County, I can go to gyms and other fitness oriented establishments whenever and wherever I want. This sounds great, right? Well, yesterday I tested the system to see if it was all they claimed. To my amazement, it was not smoke and mirrors. There was no hidden cost. No co-pay. Nothing. And guess what? I did not have to go to some rundown dump. I went to Kula Yoga, which is a new yoga studio in Port Orange. When I arrived, all I had to do was give them my member ID, sign in, and sign a waiver. That’s it. I was hopeful, yet skeptical. And so far, the plan delivered.

As for the yoga, it was the first time I’ve ever been to a yoga class. I’ve been using yoga, mainly Surya Namaskara, in my stretching routine for many years, but the cost of going to classes has always been prohibitive. I’ve read some books, watched some videos, and read plenty of articles in magazines, so I know enough to keep up. I wouldn’t say I can “flow,” but I did not embarrass myself either. The class I attended was called YogaLates, and it was labeled “all levels.” The class was, as the name implies, a combination of yoga and Pilates, and I was happily surprised at the intensity and focus on strength. It was also labeled “warm,” which I found to be a bit misleading, as it was down right blazing, so I’m not sure how hot “hot” is a Kula. I was sweating while laying on my mat waiting to start.

Today, as I sit here and write, I am sore. I think the change in muscle groups is a good thing. The instructor started us off with some standard yoga, mainly variations on Surya Namaskara, and transitioned into the Pilates on large balance balls. We mainly worked the core, which I know is a washy term – knees to nipples, as I’ve heard. We did a ton of push-up-style work with thighs, knees, and shins up on the ball and then reversed and worked the lumbar parts of the core. By this point, I had created my own tepid swimming pool on my mat, and I think I sweated out a couple pounds. Overall, a great workout to start my Friday morning. Before the class began, I looked around getting my bearings and wondered why so many of the others had full-size bath towels laid on top of their mats. Well, it only took me about three minutes to figure out that puzzle. Next time, I’ll have one to alleviate water yoga and actually have some grip. For much of the time, it was like trying to do yoga on a greased baking pan.

What does this all say? It says that maybe our culture is beginning to see the benefits of providing wellness care rather than just sickness care (Yes. I know their decision is mainly financial rather than from a sense of personal concern). I plan to use my new benefit and test out other gyms and studios all over the area. I finally feel as if I am getting back some of the tens of thousands of dollars I’ve paid into a long broken system.

Posted in Health and Wellness, resistance training, Yoga, yogalates | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

More Winter Surfing with a Surprise

 

Lovely color, isn't it?

Lovely color, isn’t it?

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On Sunday 5 Jan and 6 Jan, the waves were cranking again, but I had a bit of an accident on Monday morning. Head on over to Ponceunderground to read the narrative.

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Alafia River State Park / 3 Dec. 2014

For my first ride of the year, I headed southwest to Alafia River State Park to finally check out what many consider some of the best riding in Central Florida and/or the state, and it was definitely a fun day out. One of my riding compatriots, Christian, was headin’ to the Tampa area with his family, dog included I might add, to visit his sister’s family. On the way he was meeting up with his brother-in-law, Steven, for a ride at Alafia. I was planning a ride somewhere outside my normal routine and jumped on the idea and followed them out.

Click the image for a larger view. We rode just about the whole system. Rollercoaster to Moonscape was the funnest and most challenging section. It would be a good combo to do repeats. Easy to access the car for supplies.

Click the image for a larger view. We rode just about the whole system. Rollercoaster to Moonscape was the funnest and most challenging section. It would be a good combo to do repeats. Easy to access the car for supplies.

We pretty much rode the whole park, aside from the connector trails over to the campground. Though it was quite cold, especially for an afternoon ride, the conditions were really good. The trails were packed and dry, but I did hit a few sticky places. After a short break, we rode several trails a second time. I’m not in my best shape right now, and the constant sharp but short elevation changes were definitely burning up my legs. And, of course, since it was a group ride, the pace was being pushed just about the whole time. By our second run through Rollercoaster and Moonscape, I was tapped and finished in the spin zone.

Left to Right: Eric, Christian, and Steven.

Left to Right: Eric, Christian, and Steven.

Left to Right: Christian, Steven and Mr. "F"-the-injury. Post ride "Cheers!.

Left to Right: Christian, Steven and Mr. “F”-the-injury. Post ride “Cheers!. Photo: Thanks Eric.

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My impressions of the trail are all positive, except one particular thing: the drive sucks. It really isn’t that long in mileage, but I have to pass through Orlando both ways, which just plain sucks ass. On the way over, it wasn’t too bad. There was some clustering, but we didn’t have to stop on the Interstate (did I mention this is on I-4). On the way back, I got punished and will definitely plan my timing better next time I head to Alafia. It took more than three hours to get home (it should have taken a bit over two). Even with the traffic issues, the park is definitely worth the time, and next time, I’ll have to make my way to Boyette State Park, which is right nearby and supposed to have some great riding as well. I think the combination and more time on trail will justify the drive. 

Posted in Mountain biking, Trail Report, Travel | Tagged , | Leave a comment

It Ain’t in the Woods

I have something to admit: Surfing is not in the “woods of Florida” and it is not “swim, bike, run,” but it is certainly open water and immersed in the elements. But…

Does it count?

Hell yeah! It counts and counts big time.

On Sunday, 29 December, the waves really came together. See my Surf Report / Reflection at Ponceunderground. It was just one of those days when all the factors come together, when I feel an elevated state holistically, and true focus arrives as if invited.

Here is why it counts:

I surfed for over 2.5 hours; took a break and hauled ass to the store for calories (two bananas, a cliff bar and a bag of mixed nuts); and then surfed for over 3 hours. The math is simple.

Cheers!

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Happy Hollowdaze

In many ways, I want to be writing up a “week of” report or a race report or a post about some long epic outing I went on, but I’m still not truly able to train. This injury is still nagging and niggling. But that does not mean I’m sitting on the couch, and it certainly doesn’t mean that I can’t have some fun. Even with the injury, I’ve still been swimming (no legs) I’ve still been riding (not real hard, not real long), and now I can say, I been surfing (no caveat here). Surfing is, has always been, and will always be my main athletic interest. Yes. I love all that is off-road triathlon. Just being in the woods, especially this time of year, is often enough for me. My family and I have had some wonderful walks lately. But surfing is surfing, and once the hook is set, the barb is almost impossible to get out. It snags the core of the human spirit, and no matter how long away, the ocean beckons, the waves moan, and the gravitational pull finds its way into my soul; one and only one thing can satisfy such energy. Anyway, I’ll get on with it. Starting the Friday before Christmas, we had a nice four-day run of waves, and I spent over ten hours soaking up some salt and sunshine.

For a more-detailed narrative, check out my post on my surf blog, Ponceunderground:

Damn – Did It Feel Great to Get Some Waves

I’ve had the blog for quite some time now, and many of the posts are short vids I’ve made over the years. Enjoy and Cheers!

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