Friday, March 30, 2012

Hey Exercise, How Are Ya?

I have not made it to the gym at all this week.  In fact I have not even done anything remotely close to exercise since Sunday.  I am not a fan of this.  Monday I had some Professional Development, Tuesday a staff meeting, Wednesday I made the mistake of sitting on the couch when I got home from work and fell asleep, yesterday I was looking at a house with Amber.  Finally tonight I will be playing goalie, so that is something at least.

I really dislike when I don’t get something in during the week.  My plan was to run on Tuesday, but it was really windy and cold at work and so I said ‘forget this noise’ and just did some extra things at work instead.  Mainly because I had only brought shorts and not any type of winter running gear.

I’m not here to ‘renew my vow of fitness’ like I see so many pledge to do, I do not need to do that.  After two years of all this I know that this week is the exception to the rule and that if it had been five degrees warmer I would not even be typing this particular post.  I just think it sucks when the fates conspire against me.

Oh I have discovered the most painful thing ever at the gym, I’ll tell you about that on the weekend!

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Last Game Of The Season

We played our final game of the season last night at hockey.  The CFL flyers ended the year at 17-6-2, I was 4-1-1 as goalie, and as a skater I scored 8 goals and 48 assists for 56 points.  That is my highest total yet in a season by 10 points.

I had far more assists this year and about half the number of goals when compared to last season (my previous best year).  Part of this may have been that I moved from right wing to left wing this season.  The change in position opened up the ice for me to be able to pass on the forehand which set up a lot of goals for Jeff and Mark, but it also took my stick to the outside of the rink and I don’t have the puck skills to manoeuvre into a better shooting position - yet.  Something to work on for next year definitely.

Last season I only played one game in net for our team, and lost.  This year I played in net six times and ended up with pretty decent numbers, four wins, a loss and a tie.  All four of those wins came against the Living Hope team, and over all I had a .905 save percentage and a goals against average of 3.50.  Not too shabby!

It was our best year as a team, since the first year the league was around.  We tied our high for wins, but I think I might be the only player left from that first version of the team, and really I am a completely different player the last two years since I am in shape now.

It was a great year, I’m a bit sad that hockey is over on Saturday nights now though.  I’m looking forward to next season already!

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Assessment Day (Again)

I wanted to do another fitness assessment before I did this race on April 15th and today was that day.  After work I got a chance to rest at home a bit and then head over to the gym for 6 o’clock and meet with Jodi.  I’ve talked about assessments here before, right, over… Here.

I was a bit surprised at a couple of the things on these results from today, but when I actually brought the numbers home and compared them to the last assessment I was not as surprised as I was at the gym.  Many of the things were the same, or you know, as ‘same’ as any measure of the human body can be since it fluctuates even within each day.

My heart rate at rest is still awesomely low, 40bpm, my blood pressure is fine as usual, I’ve stayed the same height (no surprises there) and even over the last year I weigh about the same (within about 2 pounds).  One thing we did change was how the scale measured my body fat percentage.  Apparently on the scale they have at the gym there are two settings to use for measuring ones body fat percentage, Normal and Athletic.  The athletic setting takes into account the fact that athletic folks do weight training and generally have more muscle mass than non-athletic types.  So while we did measure in both, I’m thinking (and so is Jodi) that we should be taking the Athletic reading as the more accurate one.  If that is the case my percentage of body fat is 8.8%!


My muscle measurements were all about the same except for the thighs, which I think is a bit strange.  My thighs went down by about 5cm in circumference each.  The last time I did an assessment was at the end of running season in September when I was running 10k races and such, I have played a lot of hockey since then and worked legs and started running again so I don’t know what is up there, maybe it is just leaner, seems odd to me.

One of the real successes of the evening though was the beep test.  I think I have mentioned this before as well.  Last time I ran the beep test I completed level 9.5, which is not too shabby, tonight I completed level 10.5.  That is great, if I was in the police foundations course in college or the firefighter program I would just need to make level 11 to be perfect.  Just 30 more seconds of running.  I think if we had done this assessment in the morning instead of six in the evening I would have made it too.  So that will be my next plan in a few months when we do this all over again, do the assessment in the morning, and complete level 11 or die trying.

So as with any grading or assessment I have areas to be really happy about and areas that need a little more focus.  I’m excited again to have another marker on this journey of fitness and hopefully I can get everything to where I would like it in time for the Warrior Dash in July.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

When is 23C not 23C

When it is freaking March!

Today it was a 'hot' 23 degrees Celsius here in Central Ontario. 23 is not really that hot, when it is July or August, but in the middle of March, 23 is boiling. My body was totally not conditioned for this weather yet. I would have liked spring to last more than five or six days really.

I ran today after work, after being out in the sun most of the day and I could feel the searing heat of the sun battering me down with each step. I was not ready for this type of temperature yet. Midway through this run I wondered to myself 'How did I ever run last summer when it was 29 plus humidity‽ (I used it Marion!)

I finished the run however, it was a bit windy and such and seemed very hot, so my time was not as good as I would like it to be. In the end of it all though that is exactly the reason I ran the course, so the my first time running it (without snow on the road) would not be race day with just wonderings about how I finished at least one minute slower than I expected.

I intend to run this course again, probably Tuesday between work and our staff meeting. I am, as usual, endeavoring for a better time. I want to get the time for this particular run down at least under 22 minutes.

Also don't forget, especially those of you that know me personally, that you can donate to the Community Care for Peterborough Area using the link at the top of my blog.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Get On Yer Bike

I went for my first bike ride of the year today.  It was not nearly as good as I had hoped.  After all the rain we had gotten on Thursday  night I thought better of riding on the trail through Jackson park, but also I didn’t really want to ride around on car filled streets.  So I decided to ride on the trail anyways and as I had though the usual place was washed out and there were some wet patches still.  But even more so than that was that the second bridge was closed and so I only got a short way down the path before i had to turn around.

I still got my exercise in for the day what with doing one of my gym programs first thing in the morning, but it was kind of disappointing to get turned around so early on my first bike ride of the year.  It also did not help that I was planning on going to the grocery store on my bike to pick up just one thing for dinner and so I did not want to ride fast through the muddy parts of the path to avoid having the big wet muddy stripe up my back.

I also ran into Nicole from work at the store and felt a little ridiculous seeing someone I knew whilst in shorts and an under armour shirt.  I don’t really need to I suppose, but still.

I am excited that bike riding weather has arrived (though I am sure people like my dad have been riding for a while now).  I like riding to Lakefield to get ice cream.  I intend to do a few longer rides, out to Omemee or something since there is a trail that goes all the way out there.  I hope they have some sort of ice cream shop there too.  We will see, it is a much further ride than going to Lakefield.

Of course it is not all that bad to have a short ride to begin with since it will take some time for my butt to get used tot he bike seat again.  I’m definitely not ready to go buying bike shorts like my dad has with padding in the butt, for now I prefer my shorts (that used to be swim trunks).

Saturday, March 17, 2012

One Step Forward… One Step… Oh Forward As Well, Nice!

I have returned.  You didn’t know it but I was away for a couple of days.  Amber and I went to London to visit her mom.  I like Amber’s mom, and Lyle her partner (the politically correct term I suppose, boyfriend would be more common but sounds weird to me when applied to my wife’s mother’s male non-husband counterpart) and her Grandpa.  Anyways we were visiting and to get to London from here is about a four hour drive.  I don’t know about you but a long car ride murders my back.  By about the half way point I am squirming uncomfortably and with still about and hour to go I am searching for relief of any kind.

So, there we are at Am’s mom’s house and before we left Amber went on google maps and mapped out a route that was 1Km around the circle street that the house is on.  Great I thought because doing a bit of running is a good way to keep my fitness routine in place without any real extraneous work.  I packed shorts and shoes and a shirt, done, ready to go.

Thursday morning, my back still hurting a bit, I ran and it just so turns out that while the route may appear mainly flat by car, it is actually about 75% uphill! It also turns out that this route is five laps of a 1.07Km loop.  So here I am running, and then sprinting for the finish because I want to have an acceptable time for 5K and it turns out that (I just figured this out as I am typing this) that I am not running 5K on this route but 5.35K, further than the 5.2K route I have been previously doing at home, and mostly uphill at that!


So there I am thinking that I am getting slower, pinning the cause on my sore-ish back and the mostly uphill thing and just sort of brushing off the result .  It was not a bad time 23:14.  Indeed last summer that would have been one of my top times for 5.2K!

Today I am home, and after another long car ride yesterday and a 4 hour 7K walk around the zoo and playing goal last night, I did not feel too much like exercise today.  But by 2 o’clock I just couldn’t sit inside anymore and went and ran around the block by my house five times.  I did this as I had previously measured the block in my car and I knew it was ‘just’ over 1K.  I set a time of 23:18.  Again not bad, but slower than I thought because I knew this route was about as flat as I am ever going to get.  Well just over 1K was even further than the route in London.  1.09K to be more precise and so I ran 5.45K today instead of the intended 5K.

ptbo route

So what does it all mean?  It means this.  My last two runs were actually my fastest outdoor runs yet. While my clever attempts to find an exact 5K route  (without backtracking) around my house continue to elude me I am getting the exact type of results I want from all that running at the gym on the treadmill.


These are only outdoor runs, the treadmill ones are recorded separately as they are achieved in a completely different environment.  Also these are only the times for running outdoors this year.

*Of note I think is that if I take that pace of 4:14/Km and apply it to 5K, I would have done 5K in 21:11, the same as my best time on the treadmill! Yay!

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Killin’ It

So I’ve begun a new set of programs a few weeks ago at the gym as I mentioned here, I love it.  It’s hard and goes by quickly.  I was at the gym yesterday doing this new program and setting new highs all the way around, fantastic.  I was in pain, my legs did not want to jump anymore, my shoulders where trying to tear themselves out to make the agony stop.  About half way through my work out Jodi and another trainee came over beside me to do their session.  They were doing Tabada stuff (20 seconds on, 10 seconds off) which I could only just register as I went through what I was doing.

I was sweating and grunting and when I was done, I was *done*.  It turned out that she had finished her session at the same time and I made some comment about what a slave driver Jodi is, and how she likes to make things up just to punish people (all in jokes of course).  The girl just gave me that look that was ‘I am dying, right now!  But I feel great!’  I know that look so well.  I give it most of the time when I am done at the gym or a run or anything where I can do better at what I am doing.  I know that is why all my new gym programs are ‘Challenges’, because Jodi know that if she phrases it that way I will kill myself trying to do better each time.

Sometimes I feel ridiculous at the gym because it seems like I’m the only one doing completely off the wall things.  Most folks are on machines, some working hard, some going through the motions, a few guys are lifting weights the equivalent of small cars and a few others are lifting nearly nothing at all.  All these are conventional gym type views.  Here I am along the side wall bending over a BOSU backwards, crunching up and springing into the air, or doing burpees while holding the BOSU or whatever else insane thing Jodi has dreamed up.  I know people on the cybex thing watch (because I have seen them), probably wondering who I upset to have to do something so crazy.

Frankly I like it this way.  Not the stares so much, but the off the wall workouts for sure.  I like doing something hard, and I love doing workouts where the time goes by quickly.  Nothing is more tedious than running a 10K on a treadmill, but I can spend forty minutes cycling through my challenge workout thing and those forty minutes seem like nothing. 

Sunday, March 11, 2012

A Close Game

Today we played our annual game at the Peterborough Memorial Centre in an effort to get some support for a local family care place.  Admission was some non-perishable food and it looked like we gathered quite a bit, eight or nine bags of groceries was what I saw, maybe some had already been loaded up though I’m not sure.

We, we being the CFL Flyers, were playing the Calvery Canucks.  They are, when they have all their players, arguably the best team in the league.  I’m not sure what their record is, but we only had six losses and one tie this year going into this game and four of the losses and the tie are against them.

The game started out well for us with Mark who played separately from Jeff and I this afternoon netting the first goal of the game.  Calvery then scored two straight to put them ahead and it was starting to look like they might roll us over a little bit. 

About mid way through the game one of the better Calvery players was just entering our zone when I stripped him of the puck and knocked it directly to Jeff.  He picked it up and broke in out-waiting the goalie until he was sprawled on the ice and then put the puck in to tie up the game.  Shortly thereafter Calvery went ahead again on a bit of a soft goal.  Dean Del Mastro (the areas MP was our goalie) and he played much better than the last time he played for us.

With about ten minutes to go Jeff, CJ and I were able to control the puck for most of the time we were on the ice, I had a shot that fooled the goalie a bit and he dropped it, but no one could get to the rebound.  Finally on a faceoff Jeff won the battle for the puck, I put it toward the net, CJ got that rebound and shot,and Jeff picked up the puck and scored to tie the game!

We were able to keep the pressure up, but were unable to break the tie even though Regan got robbed on a beautiful chance that was headed for the top right corner of the net.

It was a great exciting game and a lot of fun.

Memorial Center Game

Today our Saturday night league plays a couple of games at the Peterborough Memorial Centre.  This is a tradition we picked up about four years ago now I think.  We ‘charge’ a donation of a non-perishable food item that makes it’s way to the Good Neighbour Care Center to help out families in need in the area.

Last year we played against Living Hope and won 3-2 in the dying moments of the game as Jeff, Mark and I were reunited on our line and scored two goals with about five minutes to go in the game.

This year we play against Calvery.  They are, when they have a certain few guys the best team in our league.  We would be second best, we only have six losses, four of them have been to Calvery.  Hopefully we can put on a good show at least.  We also have Dean Del Mastro in our net, the Member of Parliament for our area.  When we had him playing for us a few years ago he was terrible, but he was playing for Living Hope last year and did pretty well for himself so hopefully he can play at least that well today.

If you are in the area and want to watch our game starts at 3:00pm at the Memorial Centre, just come in the side doors and bring a food item.


Saturday, March 10, 2012

Two Years Of Sweat

Well tomorrow marks two years of fitness for me, I find it funny that I recall the day even without any sort of reminder.  I just know that March 11 2010 was the first time I weighed in on Wii Fit in the course of this journey.  It would be easy to write yet another blog post about how or even why I decided to lose at the highest point eighty pounds.  But since I just linked you to a couple of them that would be redundant.

Instead I think it might be a little more important on this second anniversary of sweat to focus on what I learned along the way.  Anyone that is putting themselves through the rigors of fitness training knows that you learn a lot about yourself.  Not just when you are doing fitness things but in general as well.

In the beginning of it all I learned that I was a bit self conscious going into the gym as a big guy, I’m sure that I looked a little silly in swim trunks and a t-shirt on the elliptical.  I felt like all the fit people would be looking at me and scoffing.  Being in the reverse situation I know now that most likely the reverse is true.  I see people on equipment at the gym and think ‘good for you!’  I then learned that having a peppy excited trainer dishing out gruelling workouts is amazing.  Part of this is due to the fact that I like a challenge and the other part is that it is always nice to have direction from someone who knows what they are doing.  Seriously if you are reading this and working out without any help from anyone, get a trainer to give you a set of things to do, or a buddy to come up with something and hopefully you find it as interesting as I do.

Every day I learn that I am capable of more and more things.  Faster speeds, lifting more weight, enduring for a longer time.  Two years ago I never would have guessed that I would be entering into races, or competing with someone who’s whole job is fitness on challenges.  It is quite interesting to discover that if my mind is focused on the task I can push my body to do something that was not possible even a week earlier.  Call it going ‘through the wall’ or whatever you like, if I have to do x+1 things to do better this time around on a fitness thing than I did the last time I will make it happen.

I’ve learned that I really like being active.  Some days I find it hard to even sit still for a while at home relaxing because I feel like I want to be moving.  Last summer I ran and rode my bike more kilometres that I had in the last ten years combined.  I am excited for spring to come so I can get my bike out and ride this year and run without having to get all bundled up.  Contrary to what one might think ding fitness things is invigorating, not tiring.  Most days I am nearly falling asleep on the way home from work and if I come home and sit on the couch I pass out for at least an hour.  If I head over to the gym instead or to karate and do something I get wound right back up, I’m awake and ready to do more!  My muscles might be tired, but I am awake.

Not everything is all awesome though, I have discovered I hate some things, like deadlifts, they hurt my back.  I don’t have the best form doing them and as the chiropractor has helped me discover I have some stabilizing muscles that are a bit weaker than they should be because my large muscles are doing their job for them.  I don’t like exercises that seem to take forever.  Like walking lunges, or box step-ups, they just kill the momentum of a workout and I feel like they take forever.  I want to be moving on instead of doing them.  I also know now that even in the shape I am now I can be a bit self conscious about things.  I was so big before and I lost weight pretty quick and I have some lose skin on my tummy and it can be a bit of a bother when I am jumping around or doing crunchies at the gym.  It is a bit funny how that type of time stays with me.

I think the best thing I learned is that there is always room for improvement.  No matter how good I get at something I can always be better.  This whole running thing has proven that to me time and time again.  It also means that there will always be someone better than me, and as fit and able as I get it is important to keep things in check realizing that fact. 

It is one thing to want to be number one on the day of a competition,and strive for excellence on the days in-between.  But my focus should be wide enough that I am helping those around me be as good as they can be as well.  If not for that scope of perspective by others I’d still be 230 pounds.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Call Me Barry Allen

Or Wally West if you prefer.

I’ve just come home from the gym where I ran today.  I was hoping to run the race course by work again but after a beautiful day yesterday, the weather today was a disaster!

Sleet coming down nearly horizontal due to the wind drove me inside onto the treadmill.  And while the treadmill is monotonous I figure it is good for training my body to run at a given pace.  And that pace is like greased lightning going down hill with the wind at my back.  Ha!

Seriously though I am getting faster each passing day and I am anxious to have a morning where I can run the 5k by my house without having to play hockey later that day or less than twelve hours after having just played hockey.

Today’s 5k time was 21:10, twenty seconds faster than the last time I ran on the treadmill and inching ever closer to a twenty minute 5k run.  If I can keep up this pace of shaving 20-30 seconds off my time each week it might even be before the month is over that I can make this happen!

The Flash would be proud.

Spring Is Coming

At least it seems to be in our area as the last two days have seen the mercury climb to over 10C each of the last two days.  It has really going my thinking about what my weekend fitness is going to become.  Hockey only last for another few weeks for me and so my attention will turn fully to the races I have for the summer and getting ready for them.

If you have been following along you know that I am trying to be faster, and progress is being made to that effect but I think what is really going to help me gauge the progress on this front is consistent running times and conditions.  Last summer and fall I did most of my running on Saturday mornings before I did anything and I think that’s the way to go again this year.

I am really enjoying my new programs at the gym too.  It seems odd that I would be since I am nearly dying when I do them, but I think that is what I like.  By the time I have done my 105th squat I’m finished, or doing the 8 minute set of four exercise challenges it takes a huge will to keep on pushing, to increase the amount of things I can get done in the time span.  One of the other trainers at the gym saw me Tuesday and gave that knowing kind of look and smile as I rolled my eyes and grunted doing whichever exercise I was doing.  “Gotta love those plyos’ she said.  “Yeah”, I said between breaths.  With the kind of tone that meant ‘Yeah I’d love these if my muscles were not screaming at me to stop!’.

This bit of interaction got me thinking about gym buddies that both Amber and Marion have talked about in each of their blogs.  I do not think I really have any, especially once I actually get doing my thing.  The old really fast walking guy that Amber talks about does say hi to me any time that I see him, and the one lady at the desk who’s name I can never remember is nice to me, and Jodi and I get along well and prod at one another now and then.  Usually it is me trying to sneak up and tap her on the shoulder and get away before she knows it was me.  But that’s about it.  I don’t go out of my way to talk to people, and pretty much just stick to myself.  I’d be happy to go with people I know to the gym, but if I am at the gym on my own I pretty much just want to get there and do my thing and get out.

Sunday, March 4, 2012


The other day I posted on my Facebook that I was picking up this game and it was making me feel about ten years younger.  This is because back when I shared an apartment with a few of my college friends. Ian who actually did not live with us at the time bought a Gamecube and it stayed in residence at the apartment.  We had two games, Super Smash Bros Melee and SSX Tricky.

These two game took up pretty much every free second of our time and it was glorious!  Today due to the focus here we will stick to SSX (though volumes could be written about the Smash Bros events in that apartment).  We typically played Tricky (we used to just cut off the SSX part, so much so that I just call the game Tricky even now when I got the new one) when there was only two or three of us around and we would just take turns doing the runs and trying to out score each other on the trick runs.

It was awesome.  The new SSX game does not lend itself as easily to that method of play since you don’t simply put in your name at the end of each high scoring run, but in a wider scope it is pretty great in that all of the friends you have on the Xbox are perpetually competing with you for those high scores and fast runs.  Not only is there the satisfaction of beating and competing with your Xbox friends, but the entire online community can enter events where you all compete to win in-game credits that you then spend to enter other events.  It is great because I like winning things even if they are intangible in-game things. (Usually I place in the Gold bracket, which is ‘Above Average’  Diamond and Platinum elude me most of the time still.

Another thing I have liked about SSX since the SSX3 version is that EA puts some great music into the game and it is nice to have my music library expanded while I play.  For instance this current game has introduced me to Foster the People.

And The Naked and Famous

It is also nice that Amber has tried to play the game a few times.  Most of the time I get games and she just has no interest and I can understand why, like Batman for instance, it is just not her type of game.  This game however is one that it would be great if she could get good enough to be competitive at it with me.  That might be a bit of an unlikely wish since I have been playing some version of SSX for ten years and she has just started, but it would be cool.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Almost There

I just have to stay on target.

I have my new program at the gym and despite not feeling the greatest I have gone anyways, because sometimes it is a bit of a compulsion for me to go regardless of how I feel.  If I’m going to be sick anyways, I might as well keep on doing the things I like so that I can enjoy myself a little bit and when I am better I can crush whatever number I put up during my sick time – win/win really.

I’m not feeling that sick at the moment, just a little bit of a blech in my chest, but nothing too bad and yesterday I went to the gym to run.  I was going to run the race course again outside of work between my work time and our staff meeting but we had a bit of snow here and a few people were sick so the staff meeting got cancelled until next week.

As you might recall I am trying to get my 5K running time down to 20 minutes or less. and while originally my stated fitness gaol was to have my time under 23 minutes I have already totally destroyed that.  Last night at the gym I was on the treadmill again and just set the pace a little bit higher again. 8.7mph for most of the run, then upped it during the last couple of laps.

This resulted in a 5K time of 21:30!  On the same machine that my previous record of 22:10 was set.  Forty seconds faster is a lot and I am really thinking that the twenty minute goal is within my grasp long before the July date of the Warrior Dash.  Hopefully I can get this time to be under 21 minutes in time for the 5K KMs for Care charity run that I am doing (donate above!) I think that would be really quite amazing. Especially when I consider that in mid December when I picked running back up I was doing the 5K in over 25 minutes!

Progress, I love it!