Archive for April, 2011

P90X Phase 2

Wednesday, April 27th, 2011

I can’t believe P90X Phase II has come to a close.  Looking back, it has flown by, although I didn’t necessarily feel that way at the time.  In Phase II, Chest and Back is replaced with Chest, Shoulders and Triceps and Shoulders and Arms is replaced with Back and Biceps.  Here’s how things went:

Week Five:

  • My notes for Chest, Shulders and Triceps indicate that I had muscle confusion and brain confusion.  Then I had ab pain!  I was a bit slow with the new routine.  I’m starting to experiment with doubles by rollerblading with the dog.  I did a 3 mile loop in the afternoon.
  • Plyometrics continues to be an awesome workout.
  • Back and Biceps made me realize I need to focus on form a bit.  Ab progress continues.
  • I waited to do yoga until after work and was noticeably more flexible than the last time I did it.  I’m not sure if I’m seeing drastic improvement or an influence of the time of day.
  • Legs and back continues to kill me, partly because I don’t really like the workout.  the 80-20 speed squats at the end leave me feeling dizzy every time.  This time I even took an extended break before continuing on to abs and didn’t feel like eating breakfast after.
  • Made some modifications in Kenpo because some of the back-kicks are bothering my left knee.  I just do extra side kicks or back-steps instead of kicks

Week Six:

  • Since we headed out of town for the weekend, I swapped my rest day for the start of the next week.  It worked out well, except  I woke up with a kink in my neck on Sunday and couldn’t turn my head.  By the afternoon, it had loosened up a bit and we went for a quick (easy) ride on the horses.  My back didn’t hurt as much as it usually does afterward so I think my core is getting stronger!  We got home late from NH and I found myself lacking energy for the next couple of workouts and I didn’t increase the weights like I had planned.  An extra-long night of sleep cured that though.  The rest of the workouts were successful and I saw some increases.  On Saturday, I felt I needed to loosen up so I started the day with X Stretch.  Then I moved a ton of dirt and spent the rest of the day raking the yard.

Week Seven:

  • This week started with a distinct lack of energy.  I’m guessing it is from all of the yard work that was done.  Again, I felt a tweak in my neck during pours and my neck was sore for the rest of the day.  I didn’t sleep well because of my neck and didn’t dare try Plyometrics in the condition I was in, so I waited until after work.  With my neck feeling a bit better, I had the best plyo workout yet!  Legs and Back killed me again and I was completely out of energy.  Thinking I hadn’t been eating enough, I had a second dinner with more protein and veggies.  The next day, my energy was back in a serious way.  Kenpo was great and I even biked home from work (the long way too).  I guess I need to pay a bit more attention to what I’m eating.

Week Eight:

  • I made it to another recovery week!  It was a recovery week in name only though because there was a lot of work done on the house.  Sunday started with bathroom demolition and continued through the week, ending with new underlayment and cement board being installed, then preparation for tiling with many late nights.  Needless to say, I was exhausted!  I even overslept on Friday and had to put yoga off until Saturday morning after only 4 hours of sleep!  Still, I made it through the week.

So that’s my experience with Phase 2 in a nutshell.  Looking back, I see that I’ve been seriously lacking energy.  I need to be a lot more careful that I’m eating enough.  I did notice that when I added some additional carb-based snacks, I lost a few pounds and had more energy.  Perhaps it is time for the next diet phase too.  Although on some individual days I have felt that I wasn’t performing my best, overall, I feel incredible.  I’ve definitely noticed changes in my fitness level and I’m seeing some serious results already.  On to Phase 3.  Bring it!

2010 Biking Summary

Friday, April 22nd, 2011

I got back on my road bike this year after it gathered dust in a black-widow infested closet for the two years that we were in Las Vegas. I think I rode once while we lived there.  I was never excited about riding with all of that traffic and the road surface wasn’t ideal for biking either.  I put new tubes in it when we moved back to New England and used it a couple of times to cruise to the beach, but it spent most if it’s time in the back of my truck as we couch-surfed our way through the summer of 2009.  Last year, I decided to get back in the swing of bike commuting.  During the tourist-filled days of summer, it’s faster to bike home than drive.  Additionally it’s good exercise and I find the ride home gives me time to clear my head from all of the day’s chaos.  Finally, on days that Tina and I aren’t able to carpool, I can avoid using the second vehicle.

The first ride of the year was April 22nd, Earth Day.  By then, the weather was fantastic for riding.  The season would have started earlier if I didn’t have to dig through mountains of boxes to find all my necessary biking gear.  I quickly settled in to a routine of riding a couple of times per week when I could.  Sometimes work got busy or the weather was uncooperative and it was easier to catch a ride in the car and other times I was just too tired to ride from all of the work around the house.  Then, on July 12th, my trusty steed let me down.  I was riding in to work on the shore route despite a bit of a headwind.  Everything seemed to be going well at first, though my legs felt a little tired pushing against the wind.  As I made my turn to the north to head up around the harbor, I heard a distinct metallic ping.  Nothing seemed odd, so I kept on going.  As I rounded the harbor, turning back into the wind, I suddenly felt as though I was riding through mud.  I decided that it was the combination of the headwind, my tired legs, and the heat and that I should just push on.  I struggled along the shore and up the big hills toward work.  As I turned into the driveway, I felt as if I couldn’t handle the last hill so I dismounted and started to walk up the hill.  The bike would hardly move!  I gave the back wheel a spin and it quickly came to a stop, rubbing against the brakes.  I could clearly see where it was bent.  No wonder why I felt like I was riding in mud!  Not having my spoke wrench, I tossed the bike in the car and caught a ride home.  Further inspection showed that I actually had broken a spoke.  So that’s what that ping was.  Now, I can’t really complain and I do expect some trouble from time to time with the bike since it’s an ’84 Schwinn that I got for $10 at a yard sale.  I upgraded tires and brake pads a few years ago, but everything else is still original.  Unfortunately, life kept me too busy to get a repair until mid August and I didn’t really get back in the swing of things until September.  The last ride of the season was November 15th.  It was starting to get pretty dark by the time I was getting home and a bit chilly so I put the bike away for the season.  Overall, I spent nearly 23 hours in the saddle covering 360.4 miles of commuting.  Not too bad.  Hopefully this year is even more!

While I was riding, I played around with GPS tracking on my blackberry using GPSed.  It’s not a bad app and what made it even better was that I could download the gpx files.  I wrote a parser in python to stick all of the information into a database so I could play with some data visualization.  Here’s a quick look at speed by segment along various roads that I travel:

Bike Routes

I haven’t gotten too far with that because of other priorities, but the data are there and I’m already adding to it this year.  I had the first commute ride of 2011 on April 15th.  Hopefully more to come soon!