1/27/08

In Oregon...

I'm sitting here in the Portland, Oregon airport using their free - yes free! - WiFi. Thanks Portland! I wish more city airports would follow suit and hand out the free wireless...

Well, I was in the Denver airport last Sunday on the way home from a ski trip, and there I was in the Denver airport again this morning. Déja vu? Hmmmm....

It's snowing in Eugene, Oregon - so my plane is on hold here in Portland as I wait to get to the University of Oregon for my "gig".

Update: After a delay we flew to Eugene on one of those United Express prop planes. I love roller coasters, bumps and technical terrain on mountain bikes, moguls and jumps while skiing - but today topped them all. I think I've only been in such fierce turbulence about one or two times in my life. People in the plane were eeking out a few veiled "screams" and I even let out a four letter word on one particular bump that just about stopped my heart. At least on a roller coaster, you know it will be over in a minute or two. Not so on this flight. We had a good 12 - 18 minutes of what felt like H, E, double toothpick - (LL). We landed and had to wait for the ground crew to shovel a path from the plane to the terminal so we could walk in. The locals were telling me they hadn't seen this much snow since the 60's. Looks to be about 6 - 8 inches of heavy, wet snow. Dang, I didn't bring my shoe covers for this stuff which means my dress shoes are going to be a wet mess tomorrow during my meetings.

Exercise wise...

I got in about 2 1/2 hours on the exercise bike this week between the two weight lifting sessions. Last night was an additional strength phase workout based on the Morris strength phase week #1 plan. I will move into week #2 at some point late this week (Thursday or Friday) after I get home. That will have me doing pyramid weights from 6 reps of 85% max, 5 reps of 90%, 4 reps of 95% and wrap up with 2-3 reps of 100% of my max. Wow! I hope the legs can take it....

Sorry I brought the snow and winter with me to Oregon. It doesn't snow in Eugene very often. I guess it only happens when I come out for a visit. :-)

Now, to unpack, iron my clothes and hunt down some evening chow before hitting the sack.

1/23/08

Recovery spin following yesterday's lifting...

Today...I did a recovery spin on the C7i in the basement watching Larry Kudlow talk about the economy. ;-)

Yesterday, I found myself back in the gym doing the old heave ho with the weights.

Strength Training Session #2 (Week 1)

Set #1 6 reps

Squats: 180
Dead Lift: 165
Inclined Press: 35 (dumbbells)
Leg Press: 270
Lat Pulls: 130
Ham Curls: 120


Set #2 6 reps

Squats: 195
Dead Lift: 175
Inclined Press: 40 (dumbbells)
Leg Press: 290
Lat Pulls: 140
Ham Curls: 130


Set #3 6 reps

Squats: 205
Dead Lift: 185
Inclined Press: 45 (dumbells)
Leg Press: 310
Lat Pulls: 150
Ham Curls: 140


Set #4 6 reps

Squats: 220
Dead Lift: 200
Inclined Press: 50 (dumbells)
Leg Press: 330
Lat Pulls: 160
Ham Curls: 150

Core and Transitional Strength Work:

Inclined sit-ups - I did 20
Back Extensions - I did 20

1/21/08

Skiing at Winter Park, Colorado...

We're back from a weekend of bliss and skiing here...

WinterParkAerial

We flew to Denver from Des Moines on Thursday night, picked up the rental car and got a free upgrade to a brand new Chevy Trailblazer with 2 miles on the odometer. After loading up on groceries for the condo outside of Golden, we drove over Berthoud Pass at 11:30 pm while it was snowing. The wife and I were a little tense on the mountain road that late at night and not being able to see, but the 4 wheel drive was a champ.

Friday started off with sunshine and absolutely no lift lines (which lasted all day). We skied more than any other day in our lives since we didn't have to wait for a lift all day. The snow was incredible (they had already had 13 feet of snow this season to date) and the views in the sunshine were breath taking. We went right up to the top of the Parsenn Bowl at 12,000+ feet. Who needs to get acclimated to high altitude? Just buckle the ski boots and hit the slopes! We stopped for our usual hot chocolate, beer (Mary Jane was the local brew we drank), food and really enjoyed the day knowing that the weekend would have full crowds and long lift lines.

Sure enough, Saturday had 13,000 skiers on the mountain. The first lift line in the morning took 45 minutes in line just to get on the lift. The very top of the mountain was closed (the Parsenn Bowl) due to winds, snow and limited visibility. So we hit the Vasquez Ridge in the back of the resort with very short lines, great snow and stayed there most of the day. Later in the afternoon, we ventured over to Mary Jane for some serious mogul skiing. I tricked my wife and took her down about 5 black diamond runs. She loves the blue/black combo runs, so I figured now that she was 50 she could handle some blacks. We had a blast. She hit the aprés ski scene about 3:15 and told me to go have an hour of fun on the slopes by myself. So I hit some moguls and caught the last lift of the day at 4 pm.

I skied down on an empty run doing my best World Cup GS impersonation (stupid to do without a helmet, but I didn't fall....) and met her at the base of the Winter Park side where she was at a booth in Docs having beer and nachos. I joined here at this location for the same:

winter-park-resort-base

We skipped dinner that night since the nachos and beer filled us up.

Sunday, we awoke to sunshine and 30 degree temps. Talk about great skiing. But with the great weather comes GREAT BIG CROWDS. The lines were unfortunate, so we packed it up and headed back to Denver in time to check the rental car in and grab a seat in an airport bar to watch the football games before our 7 pm flight. We saw the first half of the Packers/Giants game and listened to the rest on the plane. Rats - I was rooting for the Packers!

All the weight lifting prepped my legs for the intense skiing. They were in such good shape, the altitude never bothered me. They were a little stiff on Sunday, but I was psyched they were so strong and carved such good turns all weekend.

The wife had a blast and enjoyed her 50th birthday trip. We'll back to Colorado in the future. It was nice to ski without the kids (the first time we've skied without them in 11 years).

Well, back to work and in a suit other than my skiing suit.

1/15/08

1st Strength Phase Lift

I hit the gym after work today and began the 1st week of the Strength Phase. Day one called for 4 sets of 6 lifts done one exercise at a time (all 4 sets with 2 minutes rest between sets). Week one is 70%, 75%, 80% and 85% of 1RM for the individual sets. Week two will have me all the way up to 100% of 1RM.

Today...

Set #1 6 reps

Squats: 180
Dead Lift: 165
Inclined Press: 35 (dumbbells)
Leg Press: 270
Lat Pulls: 130
Ham Curls: 120


Set #2 6 reps

Squats: 195
Dead Lift: 175
Inclined Press: 40 (dumbbells)
Leg Press: 290
Lat Pulls: 140
Ham Curls: 130


Set #3 6 reps

Squats: 205
Dead Lift: 185
Inclined Press: 45 (dumbells)
Leg Press: 310
Lat Pulls: 150
Ham Curls: 140


Set #4 6 reps

Squats: 220
Dead Lift: 200
Inclined Press: 50 (dumbells)
Leg Press: 330
Lat Pulls: 160
Ham Curls: 150

Core and Transitional Strength Work:

Inclined sit-ups - I did 20
Back Extensions - I did 20

1 X 6 lunges holding 35 lb. dumbbells
1 X 6 step-ups holding 35 lb. dumbbells
1 X 6 arm curls with 35 lb. dumbbells
1 X 6 forearm curls with 35 lb. dumbells

My time was up and I had to head for home. I only felt fatigue on the inclined press with the 50 lb. dumbbells. I was not able to make the 6th rep on the 160 lb. lat pull. Either I figured my 1RM wrong, or I was just getting pooped by then.

Recovery spin tomorrow on the bike and then off to Colorado...

1/13/08

Strength Phase Weeks begin...

Busy, busy 2 weeks for me coming up.

I took yesterday off following my final hypertrophy phase lifting session.

We had a dinner party for my wife's 50th last night with great food, close friends and plenty of adult beverage was had by all. We made a beautiful Prime Rib (13 1/2 pounds with the bone) that was to serve 8 and provide some leftover. During dinner where the 4 couples were seated in the dining room, our female lab climbed up on the kitchen table and made off with the remaining Prime Rib that was supposed to be for our leftovers. Sneaky dog - that one.... In spite of that, we had a great dinner party. Champagne with Rasberry Liquer, goat cheese, crackers, salmon spread, bread, red wine, prime rib, scalloped potatoes, stir fry green beans, olive bread, cranberry sherbet to cleanse the palate, key lime birthday cake, Riesling from Germany, Chardonnay and conversation into the wee hours.

I practiced singing this morning for an upcoming audition/interview. Today I did 55 minutes on the trainer while watching the Cowbowys/Giants game.

I will take tomorrow off and begin the Strength Phase on Tuesday. Thursday night, I fly to Denver with my wife to celebrate her 50th. I booked a romantic condo at Winter Park and we will hit the bumps at Mary Jane and ski Winter Park on Friday (her birthday)/Saturday/Sunday. Mary Jane has the absolute best mogul skiing in the world. I haven't been there in a long time, so I am looking forward to it. At least my legs are in shape, so we shall see how they perform on the slopes. Winter Park/Mary Jane is ripe with tons of snow (gets the most snow in Colorado). They have received 160" of snow this season and 147 trails are open. A few double black diamonds and a few black diamonds are closed up on the upper ridges, but lots of snow is falling and we should have prime conditions next weekend. Flight home is late Sunday night. I haven't told my wife about the surprise yet, but I will have to inform her at some point to make sure she is packed correctly.

The following weekend, I fly out to Oregon. Luckily the strength training is 2 times per week, so I should be able to squeeze everything in between. I've outlined my 2 weeks and set the weights for the 6 exercises at 70%, 75%, 80%, 85%, 90%, 95%, and 100%. I've got a print out to take with me to the gym to make sure I hit my targets and do the correct amount of repetitions.

I'll take the camera along to Colorado and Oregon to get some shots for the blog.

1/10/08

Weighted World...

I'm pooped. Spent. Worked. Last night's scheduled session in the gym after a full day of work felt like.....well....it felt like "work". I don't know what it was, but I had two days off of lifting before yesterday (the first being a recovery spin and the second being a rest day) and the body just felt like I had no pizazz, no energy, no drive. Hmmm....

It was the most crowded Anytime Fitness has been since I joined last November. To be blunt, I hadn't been in a room with so many fat bottomed women since a Queen concert made the rockin' world go round. As far as the gym goes, it must be the New Year Resolution gals that signed up to burn away the blubber. I give 'em a couple more weeks and the gym should be back to normal. I guess the good news is that the resolution women are not using the weight machines and free weights that I seem to be using. So I'm not having to wait for anything. Most of them are on the treadmills, elliptical machines, recumbents and exercise bikes working up a sweat.

I've extended the hypertrophy phase beyond my initial plan of 2 - 4 weeks, but now I'm about finished with it. It's time to move on to the strength phase and I will start that this weekend on Sunday.

For the record, here was last night's hypertrophy session:

10 minutes warm-up on the upright exercise bike
5 minutes of light stretching
5 minutes of warm-up with light weights on all exercises

Squats: 2 x 10 at 165; 2 x 10 at 185; 2 x 10 at 205
Lat Pulls: 1 x 10 at 100; 1 x 10 at 120; 1 x 10 at 140
Leg Curls: 2 x 10 at 100; 2 x 10 at 110; 2 x 10 at 130
Inclined Sit-Ups: 1 x 25
Back Extensions: 3 sets of 8 with rest between
Leg Presses: 2 x 10 at 270; 2 x 10 at 290; 2 x 10 at 310
Inclined Bench with Dumbells: 1 x 10 at 35lb bells; 1 x 10 at 40lb bells; 1 x 8 at 45lb bells (I pooped out)
Stiff Legged Dead Lift: 1 x 10 at 125; 1 x 10 at 175; 1 x 10 at 195
Seated Press: 3 x 10 at 70lbs (I've never done this one, just threw it in for variety's sake)

5 minutes of low cadence, heavy resistance on the exercise bike to transfer the strength to the pedal stroke.

Not much cool-down or stretching as I wanted to get out of the overcrowded gym. Buzzed home and shared a bottle of Rosé we bought in California last month with the wife and downed some whole wheat pasta with chicken, lemon and spinach.

Today was a 30 minute recovery spin and tomorrow is my final hypertrophy session. I'm hoping I don't feel as pooped after work tomorrow night and the gym session will be less like "work". Maybe I ought to down a Diet Coke towards the end of the day for some pep....

1/3/08

Caucus This!

Barack Obama was the Democratic Candidate that both my wife and I settled on supporting after hearing all of them speak on numerous occasions here in Iowa the past year. We still remember his speech at the Democratic National Convention last time around where he delivered such a great speech we both thought he would be President some day.

Well, that day is one step closer. Our precinct ended up with 174 for Obama, 116 for Edwards, 98 for Clinton and 69 for Richardson. Biden had 26 and Dodd 4 which were not enough to make them viable and after 30 minutes of public microphone comments on swaying those to move to their candidate - the final numbers were counted and Obama won in our precinct. Actually, Richardson did not originally have enough to be viable (needed 68 in our room based on the number who signed in), but after the speeches of begging for a few strays to make Richardson viable - they were able to add enough folks to get the 68 needed.

It was a pretty neat process and then we rushed home to watch the coverage on television. We saw the speeches of Shuckabee, Edwards, Clinton and Obama. Even though Shuck had Chuck Norris standing behind him grinning with his fake white teeth from ear to ear and his Hair Club for Men piece attached to his head upstaging the Mikester - Shuckles did give a pretty nice speech. Then Edwards followed and did a fairly decent job. Clinton was her usual emotionless blah, but Obama blew 'em all out of the water with his speech.

It's been eye opening to be in Iowa during the political campaigns for President. Living around Des Moines you get to see them all several times during the course of the campaign. They all pack their bags and move on tomorrow. And we can all relax by not having to see umpteen thousand television ads. Or better yet, we don't have to answer the phone day and night with calls from volunteers for various candidates. Oy! That got old, but I know it had to be done.

Go get 'em Barack!

1/1/08

Happy 2008!

Yes, this is the year. I guess I should start with a blog dump....

It's the year we vote out the Republicans. (Hoo-hah!)
It's the year we paint our house inside and out.
It's the year we stay organized and focused.
It's the year we make a career advancement.
It's the year we get greener.
It's the year we conserve more energy.
It's the year we get more involved.
It's the year we win the lottery.

Reality check!

We arrived back safe and sound in Des Moines last night from San Francisco. Outside of a slight ticket snafu at check-in and a lady standing next to us with major travel rage screaming oodles of expletives at the ticket agent because she couldn't figure out the self-check in e-ticket screen - the trip was uneventful. All planes on time, no lost luggage and economy long term parking was cheaper than we expected.

I'm trying to figure out if I was on a seafood or a "see food" diet while in San Francisco. Plenty of clam chowder, clams, sea bass, mahi-mahi, salmon, halibut, etc... mixed in with Ghiradelli chocolates, Boudin Sour Dough bread, Gourmet 360 Burritos, Wine Tasting trips, holiday cheer and what not to make it feel like a "if I saw it, I ate it" or better yet - a "see food" diet. LOL!

Trip in a nutshell: family visits, gym every other day, shopping, movies, wine tasting, visits with friends, shopping, eating, sleeping, football, shopping, eating, visits, movies, sleeping, physical therapy treatments for my son and repeat it all for two weeks. Oh, I almost forgot, we actually went bowling on our final day with family. Heck, I haven't been bowling this decade....! Fun was had by all and let me tell you, leaving that sunshine and 55 - 57 degree California winter weather to come home to temps near 10 degrees last night was hard to do.

My wife, son, father-in-law and I went to the gym pretty much every other day. The gym is in a retirement community where you have to be 55 or older to live there. So the gym was full of clientele that were simply happy to be be vertical at this point in their lives.

I've worked up to 6 sets of 10 -12 repetitions for each exercise during this month of hypertrophy phase which is now about to end. The next phases are supposed to help me transition this gain in muscle to power on the bike. We shall see how that goes. The most interesting read on resistance training for cyclists has come from Spokepost.com. Dave Morris doesn't go into as much detail about it in his book as I would like, so the 8 part article here is more what I am following: http://spokepost.com/news/?articleID=12

Time for New Year's dinner with some Amana beef and all the trimmings....