Wednesday, August 30, 2006

More sets with Allen

We had a good workout - I didn't go crazy (on the advice of the chiro) but Allen did encourage me to add weight to the Leg Press, which made it more fun.

Yesterday I got the MRI results back - alas, a herniated disc at L5-S1 (the lower back)! Supposedly if I do the back exercises, it may get 95% better in a couple of weeks. Seems brief for a herniated anything, but what do I know.

BTW, for those of you who haven't had an MRI, they're (shockingly) -- fun! They make all sorts of noises while you're in them -- a disco/breakbeat rhythm with funky tones. Despite what they say, it's not particularly claustrophobic; it's wide, and the area past your head is open to the outside. Plus it was just 15 minutes, with the musical scans taking just 2 or 3 minutes apiece.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

A bunch of sets with Allen

How many? Can't remember, but you know it's a good workout when you start getting nauseous ;-). Only briefly though, thankfully.

I've been going everywhere by bike these days, even to client meetings. Much faster than being stuck in NYC traffic! Alas, my back has been burning intermittently - probably from carrying the bike up and down staircases so much - and the chiropractor's trying to get me to ease up briefly. Traumatic especially because the weekend's so close. Not sure whether to follow the advice. I'm leaning toward a compromise: not biking to the office because of the staircase, but continuing with my glorious Saturday rides.

He did suggest a fun stretch that doubles as an ab exercise. Lying down, with legs out straight, you lift them to a 20 degree angle. Then bring your knees to a 90 degree angle, and use your arms to pull your knees toward you, which stretches the spine. Then you release and bring your legs back to a 90 degree angle, and straighten your legs as you lower them until the 20 degree point. Repeat 15 times, without letting your legs touch the ground, and you'll feel it in your abs!

The chiropractor thinks I am "competitive". He has a device that applies electrical stimulation to your back, with power that ranges from 1 to 30. Apparently I kept asking him to raise it, trying to beat the previous recordholder. Last time I got up to level 19, this time level 22 ... the record is 24.

Friday, August 18, 2006

20.5 morning miles past Van Cortland Park

Woke up right before the airplane I was in was about to crash, in my dream. It was a night flight, and the plane had been going suspiciously slowly and low, not even reaching the tops of the buildings it was dodging. It lacked the oomph to gain altitude. Anxiety surged through me as I realized it was the end. Then I woke up and realized I was at home.

Just around a week ago I had a similar dream, where I got some scrape on my pinky toe while visiting Donald Trump. Conveniently a doctor was nearby. He diagnosed it as four or five types of cancer combined, at least one of them being a rapidly fatal one. Another bout of anxiety and attempt to come to grips with upcoming death, before I woke up.

What is it with these dreams!

When I woke up this morning, it was early - just over 5 hours of sleep - but it's no fun to go back to sleep after an anxiety dream so I got up, did a bit of work, and headed out for the bike ride. Pretty fast ride, without much traffic. Picked up speed on the way back as a fellow on a Serotta would occasionally try to pass me and I'd pick up speed to stay ahead. Then after a while I'd get complacent and slow down and this would repeat. Two miles from home, he actually did pass me, for about 10 seconds. Kicking myself for my laziness, I pumped the pedals and surged ahead of him, keeping that pace til I got home.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

19 sets with Allen

May have been more, I wasn't paying attention. We had a nice little workout.

Earlier, P took Bearette, me and his sister to the Yale club for lunch. He didn't go to Yale. A fun time was had, even with their oppressively formal dress code. Thanks P!

Bearette is trying to read this over my shoulder, but she knows the rules - no reading til it's posted!

Monday, August 14, 2006

11.9 midnight miles to Fairway

Actually, post-midnight. Worked through the day and the evening (with a break for an awesome foosball tournament with MF, who has improved tremendously in just the last week), and after sending off a document, headed outside on the bike to unwind.

(It didn't hurt that I drank some 7UP Plus Mixed Berry beforehand, which claims it's caffeine free and calorie free, but is invariably a pick-me-up.)

Sped to 125th street in the dark with impressive speed. Turned around and realized the wind had lent a helping hand. Nevertheless, managed a decent return.

Fun songs from tonight's iPod mix: Janis Joplin's Piece of My Heart, and KT Tunstall's Suddenly I See. I'm sure KT is pleased to be in such vaunted company.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

18.2 nighttime miles to the GW Bridge

All weekend long I had been aching to bike to Long Beach, but a work emergency kept me busy until Sunday after dinner.

I worked throughout Friday until 7am Saturday; then Saturday til 1am, and Sunday til after dinner.

(Although Bearette and I did briefly detour into the Central Park zoo after lunch on Saturday, to commune with the penguins, polar bear, sheep, alpaca and pigs.)

Anyway, on Sunday around 9pm it was too late to head to the beach, but I did head out for a fun ride to the George Washington Bridge. For some reason the southern walkway is still closed, so I turned around rather than trek up and down several cases of stairs on the northern side.

Headed back along Riverside Drive for a nice brisk return!

Not quite as long as I would have hoped, but better than nothing. I had fantasies about skipping work on Monday to take that ride to Long Beach, but of course that's not in the cards :-)

Saw TBJ and A's wedding photos online - they are beautiful! A nice photo of Bearette and me, too - might get a copy.

Sunday, August 06, 2006

14.4 miles to Williamsburg and NYU

by way of Angelica Kitchen, where we had potato-quinoa croquettes and a succulent peach crumble cake. Angelica Kitchen has daily specials, some of which are well worth the trip. You can phone them after 11:15 each morning to to hear them and make an informed decision.

The Williamsburg Bridge, accessible via Delancey, is wide and fun - fun throughout, wide on the Manhattan half. Going back is a treat because it's a long, wide downhill; by the end, I had passed 30mph.

Williamsburg is hipster central, where the men are more into their appearance than the women. The women have a rugged, vaguely masculine look, but somehow it works. I headed to the Brooklyn General Barber Emporium on Bedford Avenue, which has a red plane where kids can sit for their haircuts. I didn't sit in the red plane but was pleased with the haircut nonetheless.

While waiting for my turn, I reverse stole an old book from a used bookstore five blocks away: an interesting book caught my eye but I only wanted a section. I bought it for $5 but was sad to do so, not wanting to deprive others of this intriguing translated book from the 70's.

After the haircut, I xeroxed the section I wanted, and sneaked the book back onto its shelf into the bookstore. They're a cash-and-carry store, with no inventory system, so I don't think they'll realize it if they sell the same book twice!

Saturday, August 05, 2006

64 miles to Long Beach

on this warm sunny day. When I got there, got the usual bagel to eat at the beach, but this time with Monterey Jack cheese. Tasty but a bit too rich; Muenster ultimately wins.

Bobbed around in the ocean for a while (I rode in my bathing suit) and then when I came out, I sat on the sand close to the water so the tide would rush over me. Later, rested a bit further back.

Headed home after three relaxing hours at the beach. On the narrow pedestrian path for the Gil Hobbs Memorial Bridge, which connects Far Rockaway to Brooklyn, an impatient cyclist abrasively called out "Yo - on your left." It's not the safest place to speed, but I moved to the side to let what turned out to be a bicycling couple pass me. I stepped up the pace to stay on their tails. Shortly afterward they encountered another bicyclist blocking their way, and the woman made an annoyed gesture toward him from behind his back.

Anger was brewing inside me at these rude cyclists, so at the end of the bridge, I sped ahead of them. They were close behind and tried to catch up, but I pumped the pedals hard and kept my lead. Turned onto Shore Road, and made it to the end several miles away, still ahead of the duo. The woman was close behind but the man hadn't kept up. At the end of Shore Road, in a congested section where we were forced to slow down, she caught up and bantered with me a bit. "I would have worked your wind," she said cheerfully, "but you kept sprinting ahead!"

An hour later I reached home, and Bearette and I had a tasty dinner at Salute - a midtown Italian restaurant. Then we saw Talledega Nights with Will Ferrell (and Sacha Baron-Cohen as Will's nemesis); it was very funny. Much better than the previews had suggested, but fun, stupid Will Ferrell humor as always. I keep a mental list of people who are "national treasures", and Will Ferrell's on it.