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Rest Day! 11/100

The existential dilemma of blogging. My colleague, Jon, talks about the difficulty of writing about your life’s personal details and publishing them for the world to read:

I have this mental block when it comes to sharing the mundane details of my life in public on the internet. The mental block has nothing to do with privacy. Rather, I don’t think anyone should care that I worked out, what I had for lunch, or that I’m having a good hair day. And I feel a little narcissistic even going through the motions of posting about the mundane.

Day 11: Musings on Self-Disclosure and a Workout Log

I commented on his blog that I have this issue every. time. I. blog. In fact part of the purpose of doing this 100 day challenge is to help me get past this hangup. Jon puts it best in why he is still going to post:

1. It may connect me with someone else.

2. It will force me to stop and form coherent thoughts.

3. It will sharpen my writing skills.

See above citation

I dig all of these reasons and would say he has met all 3. Great post Jon and thanks for helping remind me why I am doing this as well.

Naturally I found an article about writing in Hacker News just as I was writing this part of my post:

More and more people are being exposed to working remotely. One of the key factors for success in a remote workplace is a culture of written communication. It’s not always obvious how to create such a culture, and it takes at least some level of discipline from the people involved to make it a habit.

Encouraging a Culture of Written Communication

While this article talks more about posting in Slack-like public channels the overall theme is that writing takes practice. Why not practice writing by writing about stuff you do all the time? There is plenty of material and the challenge to make it interesting to others is considerable. If you can make your workouts/ interesting then writing about business decisions that affect your company should be a breeze.

Watching:

Fun video. The production value is hilarious.

That was a fun but exhausting weekend. I slept for 9.5 hours last night and it was glorious. My body definitely needs a little rest.

Workout Details:

Today is supposed to be strength training. I was not in the mood this morning at all. Got a nice sleep in for a few hours and felt refreshed. Was considering not doing the workout today but the sunset was too good to not do something. At first I was gonna do yoga or stretching but the music got me amped up and I did the recommended routine.

Pull ups are holding steady at 3 reps a set. I added 2 sets for a total of 5 today. The last set was more like 1.5 but I went for 3. I am trying to get all reps clean from the lowest point to collar bone to bar. Feeling good about the progress overall. Sometimes my elbow starts hurting when I train pull ups but that doesn’t seem to be an issue so far. Something to be aware of however.

Overall its been another great day. I hope yours was good too.

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Off the Bike

Avoiding Fatigue : 8/100

Well this post ended up feeling a little like a lecture. Maybe I am grumpy today. πŸ˜‚ Happy Friday yall!

Fatigue and Training:

Fatigue can be described as a lack of energy or motivation, both physically or mentally. It can be caused by a lack of activity, and also by an excess of activity. Stress from work, personal life, and things like pandemics can also add to the cause of fatigue.

Unchecked fatigue can lead to serious issues such as injury or illness. Two of the best things you can do for treating fatigue are getting adequate sleep and nutrition.

If you have not been exercising regularly it may mean that you need to start moving and doing more in your day. If you have been exercising regularly it may mean that you need to pull back a bit and let your body rest and recover. Are you getting at least 6 to 7 hours of sleep a night? Are you eating a balanced diet with fresh/whole fruits and veggies?

However, we should not look at fatigue as a bad thing. It is more like the temperature gauge in your car. When everything is working as it should the temperature is in the middle of the gauge. When there is a problem the needle moves left or right. When we are groggy in the morning or moody this is our body telling us that it needs something.

There are a few working theories on what fatigue means for the body. In all of them fatigue is seen as a built in gauge for the body to prevent injury or illness from occurring. Keeping this in mind can help you understand how to handle fatigue and stay productive.

One purpose of having a training plan is to help avoid excessive fatigue. Holding back a little and staying rested can be better than having the best workout ever. Adding things like prioritization to the plan allows you to do this over the course of weeks and months. This can lead to bigger gains in strength and performance. </end lecture>

Workout details:

Back to strength training today with the recommended bodyweight routine. I will admit that my mind was not really focused on the workout today. I got a good nights sleep in but right now I really just want to be riding my bike. However the training program is setup with these strength days for a reason: to help me have good overall strength for staying comfortable on the bike for longer. Thinking about this helps me push through the workout, a little bit anyway. Music is the bigger help. Lots of drum and bass today, as usual.

On the pull up front I am feeling progress. I did 4 sets of 3 pull ups again. The goal is getting my chin above the bar on each attempt. The other goal is minimal movement from the rest of my body. I want these to be strict with no kipping/cheating.

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Off the Bike

Keeping fit : 6/100

When we hit the road 6 years ago Kate and I had just completed our second of two half Ironman triathlons. We had trained with a coach for about 8 months. As a result we were in possibly the best shape of our lives.

Once we hit the road our workout volume dropped significantly. I tried doing some bodyweight exercises. However we mostly just focused on living in the RV and adopting Dazey and Enzo. As a result we lost our fitness.

Personally I noticed it most when getting up from working on something low to the ground. Or when grabbing pots out of the under sink cabinet. Kate would even mention that I sounded old with my groans and sighs. My back and knees were not feeling great.

Getting older means that the ‘use it or lose it’ mantra applies more everyday. In 2015 I hurt my knee pretty badly doing a relatively minor task. This required surgery and I ended up on crutches for a few months while my meniscus healed. Physical Therapy(PT) was brutal but I knew it was critical for my recovery.

The last time I had done PT was in University 16 years earlier for almost the identical injury, just on the other leg. Back then I took for granted my body’s ability to heal and recover. I did some PT but it didn’t take long to get back on my feet with full range of motion.

This time it took considerably longer to regain the strength but the flexibility part was the most frustrating. One goal was to be able to bend my leg till my heel touched my butt. When we started I was about 8 inches away. The therapist was really helpful here by giving me some encouragement. As the weeks went by I improved, but it took work everyday. Not just when I was at the therapist’s office.

After that surgery and recovery I started to realize how important staying in shape is. Beyond being able to bend down and pick things up without groaning and pain, staying in shape prevents injury.

6 years ago I did the St George Half Ironman triathlon. It was a pretty cool achievement that required months of training. Today I am not running anymore as my knees like to break too much. So I am focused on riding my bike to stay in shape and have fun.

My next goal is to race in an endurance mountain bike event, once this pandemic stuff settles down. I was hoping to either do a 12 hour event or a 100 mile event this year. Now I am focused on training and getting ready to race in 2021. My goal is not to win but to finish with a smile on my face.

In the meantime I am focused on the process of training. Compared to when I was young, I am learning to enjoy the training process. When I was in high school I hated workouts and just wanted to ride my bike or play soccer or ice hockey. Workouts weren’t fun, at least that was my mentality. Now I know how important training is for being prepared for an event or activity. Training also gives me daily routine and makes me feel more confident and comfortable during the rest of the day.

This post just touches the surface of what goes into my training. Currently I am using my Apple Watch to collect heart rate, distance, and speed data. I then upload this to the Training Peaks software to compare and analyze it with my training program. Currently I am following a training plan focused on athletes over 40. This has an adjusted focus towards recovery. So far I am enjoying the program and have been following it almost exactly for 4 weeks.

Workout details:

Today we are back on strength training. I did the recommended routine and felt good. This is the 3rd day in a row that I have not had coffee before my workout. I am mainly doing this to keep from waking Kate up in the morning. However I am also interested in seeing how it affects my ability to complete the routine. So far I have not noticed any decrease in performance or lack of enthusiasm.

My pull ups seem to be progressing. Today I did 4 sets of 3 reps. I used a neutral grip for the last 3 sets as it felt stronger. The entire workout looks like this:

  1. Warmup – Various movements to get the body going. About 10 minutes. This is part of the workout I have learned to spend more time on.
  2. Pull ups 4×3 / Squats 3×8 – 1 min rest between each set then do the other exercise. This gives over 2 min of rest between the same exercise.
  3. Dips 3×7 / L-Sits 3x30sec – Same as above. My L-Sit is progressing and I currently try to pick up one leg at a time.
  4. Rows 3×7 / Diamond Push Ups 3×7 – Same as above.
  5. Core – Various things from knee ups, side lifts, supermans, etc. Mostly I still hate doing core exercises. Need to make this part more fun.

That’s what I have for today. I will get into the riding side of the training more tomorrow.

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Off the Bike

Manic Monday | 4/100

So far the writing in the morning habit is falling off the face of a cliff pretty well here. I am thinking about writing all day though so that counts for something, right? 😎

Watching:

In the past I have had bad calf cramps when running. After my last knee surgery I am not allowed to run anymore which solved that issue. However it was interesting to find out that electrolytes do not directly prevent muscle cramping. That was the second to last time I say cramping on this blog ever again.

Listening to:

Gonna find you.

Reading:

What the Happiest Countries in the World Have in Common – Among“While rankings are based on several factors, including political rights and economic equality, these countries have a few key metrics in common: low corruption rates, universal public services, and great access to the outdoors.”

Workout details:

After yesterday’s very long bike ride I will admit I wasn’t the most excited about today’s workout. Fortunately it was a strength workout so I didn’t have to ride my bike. Sometimes my butt gets tired too. 😬

I did the recommended routine and did 3 sets of 3 pull ups. All were done with a wide pull up grip, no kipping and feeling more natural or something. It turns out that pull ups are just hard and you have to work hard to do them. 😎

The rest of the workout went well and I watered our yard for a few hours. The sound of the sprinkler ends up being a nice distraction while you are doing a workout.

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Off the Bike

So it begins! 1/100

Big day, today! Its day 1 of the 100 days of blogging challenge. I have reached out to my coworkers to join me in writing a blog post everyday for 100 days. We start today, May 1st 2020, and continue till August 9th, 2020.

So far these are the other sites involved in the challenge:
Jon’s Fitness Blog

grant.codes

fauxzen.com

Shelby DeNike

brianli.com

KΕͺLT

balaki.me

As the challenge progresses I will be highlighting various posts from these sites and anyone else who takes up the challenge with us. You don’t have to do the full 100 but it’d be a lot cooler if you did!

We also have a step challenge happening for the month of May at work which I am participating in. To start that off I went for a leisurely 1 mile stroll before my morning workout.

Personally:

This is a good challenge as writing is a good habit to practice. While I keep a journal, what I write there is just for me. Publishing something for anyone in the world to see puts a little more pressure to make it something worth reading, maybe. My personal goal here is to make writing about parts of my life for others to read about into a routine. There is a chance I will also improve my grammar.

Professionally:

I work at a remote company and thought this would be a great way to get to know my coworkers better. Yes we have Slack for instant communication, but in the end Slack is a tool for work. Sure we post personal photos, share links, and talk about personal things, but that only happens when I am working. I have found that restricting Slack usage to working hours is an essential activity.

A blog post on my own website is a personal place that I feel comfortable sitting with anytime. In the morning I write about my workout and maybe a podcast or music I have listened to. During the work day I might throw a link into a draft to remind me to come back to it later. After work I sit for a few minutes here and there to have something ready to review and publish in the morning before work.

The snapshot of my life that is shared here is a more complete picture than the one I share on Slack for 8 hours during the work week. Having other coworkers do the same should help gain additional insight into who they are and what is going on in their world.

Format:

I have a rough idea of the format that these posts will take:

  1. I start with some discussion about what is happening in my world in general.
  2. There is a section of what I am listening to, from music to podcasts to audiobooks.
  3. There is a section of what I am watching, mostly youtube videos related to cycling.
  4. The final section will cover the workout I did that morning. (As an added bonus this helps keep me motivated to get those workouts done.)

This will evolve as the challenge progresses.

Whats happening:

Today is Friday so I am thinking about the weekend, duh. I will get in a couple of longer bike rides this weekend. I am also going to help out a friend by doing some work on her vegetable farm for a couple hours each day. I did an internship with her a few years back for one summer and that is what brought us to the area. Kelli is a great friend and it will be a nice distraction.

On our land we are getting plans figured out for adding drywall to our cabin. Once that is done we will install an off grid solar system so that we will have power for lights and appliances. There is an idea of maybe spending next winter here.

Grassland looking to the east.

I have also been watering the yard just outside our parking spot. We made a 60′ radius circular driveway and the center of that makes up the ‘yard’. Of course the rest of the land is just a huge yard but we aren’t trying to water all of that. There is also discussion of setting up Kate with an herb garden.

Listening:

This came up in my Apple Music feed during my workout this morning and I looped it at least 30 times.

Watching:

Learning blender for making a mockup of the cabin so we can play around with design ideas. This program is awesome and challenging, but awesome.

Workout Details:

Today is a strength day so I did the recommended routine again. Had a nice break through on the pull ups today and did 3 sets of 3 with varying hand grips. Did neutral, wide, and finished with reverse (aka chin ups). Felt ok about the Neutral ones, the wide ones started strong, and the chin ups were 100%. The rest of the workout was good but I lost motivation on the core exercises at the end. I did half of them.

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Off the Bike

Body-weight Wednesday

Listening to:

Fitbit story of how it came to be on How I built that. Fun listen about the start of a big brand that got clobbered by the Apple Watch.

Product Strategy from the Rework podcast. Always interesting to hear how people design and build things. One take away for me here is setting hard time frames for a product and if it isn’t working by the deadline evaluating if it should be continued or not. Hard to do but critical for success in creating profitable products and services.

Watching:

Workout Details:

Bodyweight routine as on Monday. Feeling pretty good about things with this workout. My main focus is getting my pull-up to 3 sets of 8 reps by the end of July. I have a ways to go but its been a goal for a few years now and I just need to commit to it and make it happen.

Its another beautiful day here in Colorado. Hoping its nice in your area too!

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Off the Bike

Recommended Routine

Ok Monday lets go!

Its a day off today. Well not from working-out but from working. Since we moved back to Colorado over the weekend it seemed like taking an extra day to settle in is a nice touch. Plus there is a lot of work to do on the land, and family and friends to visit (from a distance).

Workout Details:

We are back to Monday strength day, and for this workout I have decided to go back to an old favorite: The 2017 Reddit Recommended Routine. It is important to note the year as the routine has been updated, but the new format requires additional equipment which I don’t want to deal with. I have done this routine off and on for a number of years. It is a great way to hit the entire body quickly and intelligently for strength gains.

Since I live in an RV full-time, workout equipment is at a premium for space and weight. This means that body-weight exercises are going to be the focus. The only equipment needed is a pull-up bar, rings, a mat (optional if you like being in the dirt or rocks), and box (optional). With that equipment I can cover pull and push exercises. Then I have squats, L-sits, and core exercises to cover the rest.

Today’s workout was good. I have not done it in a few weeks so I kept the reps on the lower end. My pull up still is more of a let down which sounds negative, but only because those are the exercise I am doing in the progression. πŸ€ͺ

Ok enough for today. Have a great one and see you manana!

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Off the Bike

Core then TGIF

Featured Image from Dustin CC BY-NC 2.0

Happy Friday! Tomorrow we drive the trailer north to our land in Southwest Colorado. Getting pretty excited about that. Tomorrow we will drive about 6.5 hours to Cameron AZ just north of Flagstaff. Its a trading post/gas station town near the east entrance to the Grand Canyon.

We have stopped there a few times over the years as its about halfway between where our land is and Phoenix. While there is an RV park to stay at it is horribly unlevel and a little small for our 30 foot travel trailer.

The owners actually recommended that we just park in an overflow lot a few years ago. So that is what we do everytime. Its not totally level but we park so that our heads are higher than our feet when sleeping and its good for one night.

Workout Details:

Today is a 30 min Core workout and a 30 min easy ride. For the Core I have a 20 minute Ab routine on Audible that makes me wimper and cry only a few times. That’s how you know its good. πŸ˜‚

I survived and then did a 10 minute Yoga routine that was nice and relaxing.

The ride will happen after work and will be nice and easy.

See y’all manana!

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Off the Bike

Strength Day Wednesday

Heyo! Happy hump day and lets get right into the strength training day.

Before I started this current 12 week cycling training program I was pretty consistently doing a 3 day a week bodyweight training program. I have a love then not so love relationship with strength training in general. I love that it makes me stronger and gets me to work on muscle groups that riding a bike doesn’t necessarily work. The not so love part comes in cause when I am doing strength training it means I am not riding my bike.

Lately I have been using some Yoga and Core workouts included with my Audible subscription to help me do parts of the strength workouts. Part of this is because the cycling training program I am on doesn’t exactly give me a detailed workout plan. Its more of guidelines of what exercises to do. The other part is that having a recording explicitly tell me to do crunches and pushups and mountain climbers and other movements that I don’t like to do, helps get me to do them.

Today I started off with a 20 minute Yoga warm up to get things going and then did two 10 minute Ab/Core workouts that were really hard. On one hand it is really good to be pushed to the limit as it helps you understand where you can improve. On the other hand it can be a little demotivating to totally get your butt kicked and not be able to complete every movement as instructed.

In the end I know that each minute I put into the strength work will come back as more comfort and endurance on the bike. 😘