Category Archives: WGOM Fitness

Dedicated to posts about member’s on-going efforts to get and stay in shape.

WGOM Fitness: Chicken Or The Egg

I had a thought as out I was out huffing through the forest: do you burn more calories when you out of shape because you're heavier so your body has to work harder OR do you burn more when you're in better shape because your body can go faster, do more, etc? I mean, like, in the same amount of time, say 30 minutes of jogging.

Also, weather's getting warmer, the forest paths are drying out, and the side trails are more navigable. Happy not to lug around a pound of mud on my shoes when I go running now. What outdoor activities are everyone looking forward to now that things are starting to thaw out?

WGOM Fitness: The Right Side

I made it a New Year's Resolution to lose 10% of my body weight, since I'd hit an all-time high. I haven't done nearly enough physical activity (so this is less of a "fitness" post and more "weight" post), but I've managed to hit a benchmark already: for the first time in far too long, I'm on the right side of 220. It first happened on Monday, and today is day 3 of the same, so I feel comfortable putting it down on paper (or whatever we call this).

That's about 10 pounds lower than I started the year. It's all been very little changes, but they are really adding up, much quicker than I anticipated.

First, I bought a scale, and I just write my weight down every day (or nearly. I keep it at work, so if I don't go in to work, I don't weigh myself). Just having an idea of where I'm at has been helpful. It keeps it in my mind a little bit throughout the day.

Second, I have cut dramatically back on the pop that I'm drinking. I haven't given it up entirely, but instead of almost 2 cans a day, I'm now somewhere in the the 4 cans a week range. Along with this, I've tried to cut back on the cream and sugar I'm adding to my coffee. That's been made easier since I've been buying better coffee. Pricier, but I think it's a good balance.

Third, I've been trying to have smaller lunches. This is one area where I can still make a lot of progress. There are far too many days where I don't plan ahead, or I let myself have an extra sandwich or something along those lines. I started off very well in this area, just limiting myself to a can of soup and a few crackers, but that has gotten a bit tiring. I plan to work on this more.

Fourth, my after-supper snacks have been pared back. Instead of 4 or 5 nights a week having something to eat around 9 or 10, I'm going with maybe 3, and the things are often smaller than they were before.

Fifth, I bought some small exercise bands for my office - just a little thing to do to mindlessly move around and work some muscles a small amount when I'm doing other tasks.

Anyway, these are all really small things, and I am amazed at how much they've added up in less than 3 months. I know at some point these changes won't be enough, and I'll have to add more efforts. I hope that I will, even before I get to that point. But I'm glad for where I've gotten, and I'm excited for where I'm hopefully going. The small changes are really important.

WGOM Fitness: Run For Your Life

I’ve had a nagging case of Achilles tendonitis for some time. High impact activities like running were strongly discouraged at the initial diagnosis. However, I’ve been staying off of it for a long time now, and though I admittedly could do a better job of daily stretching, I feel like I could conceivably try some light jogging again.

I tried biking for a little while. It was all right, especially out on the trails, but I think I’d need a much higher priced piece of hardware to enjoy it properly. Seems cheaper to invest in some decent running shoes with better support*. Also, some good insoles. And compression socks. And ankle braces. Going to have to start suiting up for battle to get a little exercise.

*On that topic, I want to invest in some shoes with better arch support and the like. I had always just used whatever cheap running shoe they had at Costco, but that likely helped lead to the injury. Any recommendations? A couple different places recommended these, but I’m open to suggestion (more likely to be used for light trail running, but not exclusively). I’d even entertain the notion of a custom job if it isn’t ridiculously expensive.

2017 Fitness+Health Redux

Had a weird year in 2017 for health and fitness.  Started the year with a month of planks (starting with 50 second plank and ending with a monster 6 minute plank, but it was an ugly plank).  Feb was a month of squats (starting with 30 and ending with 130).

Got the colonoscopy done this year (no polyps), but bowel prep OMG.

Had some great skate-skiing at Winding Trails in WeHa, but a spectacular wipeout on ice left me beaten/bruised, and soon I was at PT with a torn MCL.

Oncet the knee was healed, I picked up roller skate-skiing, and it is hard-going balance-wise:  any crack in the road or stick can send you caterwauling.

Noticed some blood in the urine after longish runs in May, and had visits to Dr. Fear, ultrasound (nada), and a cystoscopy (all clear).  Still had coloration until kidney stone passed in Sept.  Yikes, that was an awakening.

Lots of quality hiking in Scotland, Santa Barbara, and H'istan through the summer.

The race wall had been empty until a 5K in August (lousy timing, had to walk).  Started filling up the fall with short races, including Twin Cities 5K at the Capitol - first race I didn't have to walk some this year.  Last race was Moustache Run 5K in Minneapolis.

NBBW and I got mountain bikes for each other for our anniversary, so started getting into that - there are good trails not far from where we live.

Lots of swimming throughout the year - the only constant through all of this other stuff.

Discovered that Forest Lake School has their pool open for public lap swimming on weekdays from 5:30-7:30AM ($3) so started taking advantage of that over Thanksgiving and Xmas breaks.

Closed out the year with some cold-weather grouse-hunting with the little Hnos earlier this week, and an indoor triathlon this morning in Stillwater at a club (short swim, long spin, short run).

So Nation, what are you doing to keep yourself healthy and sane?

γνῶθι σεαυτόν – Know thyself

Looking back on 2016, I had some high points (Simsbury TryAthlon, TrapRock 17K Trail Race, Ragnar Trails in MA, Longest Swim Evah in Carnac-Brittany, Narragansett Wheelmen Century Ride), but I also had numerous nadirs.

A glance at my training spreadsheet over the summer yields several gems: "more limping", "muscle spasms", Select Therapy sessions, "sore ankle", "sore knees", "epsom salt/vinegar bath."

Thanks to Baby Jeebus that it's not age-related.  And, this boyo ran my first mile in a month two days ago,  and the knee is behaving.  I'm trying to run responsibly while on the heal, but I want to go out there and run 10 miles.

What are you Citizens doing?

Trails and such

I decided I'm going to hike/bike/run across Connecticut - and started this last weekend.

The New England Scenic Trail goes from the MA border down to the Long Island Sound in Guilford.

On Saturday did the Beseck Mountain segment (hiking boots/trekking sticks, etc.) and on Sunday did Bluff Head by Guilford.  All have similar characteristics from north to south (volcanic eruption with westward facing basalt cliffs).

This evening did a trail run from Albany Ave (Reservoir 6 in West Hartford) to Heublein Tower on the Metacomet Trail.  Tough when it starts to get dark around 6ish.  Several trips but no problems.

Tough running on rocks/boulders/roots/etc. but I like the variety compared to running on asphalt.

Bum wheel

I ran a trail run on Thursday night at Penwood State Forest with some friends - good temps, great run.  At one point, I tripped on a root and started to fall, but recovered.  Didn't notice anything weird that night.

All day Friday I felt sore, and it hurt to stand up.  This morning, we were to do a triathlon at Lake Waramaug (Hopkins) and I could barely stand from a sitting position without wincing pain.

NBBW did well but I sat it out, and read Pynchon in a camp chair along the route.  Not sure what the injury is but I'm thinking something in the hamstring cluster.

What is the Nation doing for fitness besides watching the Tour de France trying to run over cows?


Fish class

I signed up for Master's swim classes at my club, and have been going for the last 4 Tuesday's at 6:30PM.  There are about 12 of us in the class, and a third of us are focused on endurance (long-distance) swimming for Triathlon.  Actually one of the guys wants to do really long distance swimming - a later post on that (he recently did 10 miles).

My challenge is to add kicking to my swim, which I started with this class - beforehand I've done all my swimming with my arms.  So I am kicking now, but not correctly.  My coach has suggested several improvements, but I can't see what I am doing now with the advice.

Today at lunch, NBBW and I were discussing a way to drag some kind of device behind you while you swim with an embedded iPhone so you could film your kicking pattern.  One idea was a strap around your waist, with a cord hanging behind you dragging a floatable device that would be holding your iPhone in a vertical position underwater (in a clear plastic bag) pointed towards your legs and able to capture your kicking movement.  More to come on this...