31 March 2013

Howe Street stairs

I learned a couple of things today.

  1. I am not the only person out exercising at FOUR O'CLOCK SUNDAY MORNING.
  2. Perhaps there is some validity to what Shelley says when she tells me that I'm crazy to go exercising at FOUR O'CLOCK SUNDAY MORNING.

Man, I woke up around 2:00 AM and after tossing and turning for 30 minutes I gave up and went downstairs to get a few things done on the computer. As I usually go any time I get in front of a computer I checked some cycling websites and lo and behold, live coverage of the Tour of Flanders was already starting!

Shelley and I were hoping to get some projects done later in the day so I was doing some mental math and trying to figure out when I could squeeze in a workout. It slowly started to dawn on my that as crazy as it sounded, right now might be the best time. Then I could dedicate the rest of the day to projects and maybe (if I got lucky) even a nap in the sun! So after about 15 minutes of mulling this over and getting psyched up to head out I finally got in the car.

30 March 2013

Grand Ridge, Duthie Hill MTB ride

Another milestone! Today I went for my first mountain bike ride since hurting my ankle and it went well.

I had let a friend borrow my van so was not able to drive to the start of the ride but luckily it was an incredible day and Bill Huggins had room in his car so I rode to Mercer Island and met him there. Turns out it's just three miles and takes just 20 minutes to get from my house to the Mercer Island Park & Ride even on my heavy MTB with knobby tires! Nice.

In the car I met Chip, Bill's friend. Nice guy.

Having Grand Ridge and Duthie Hill so close to home is fantastic. Grand Ridge has been a staple for years and Duthie Hill just keeps getting more developed and buffed out. And on a day like today when it's been dry for a few days? The trail conditions were perfect.

What was not perfect were my bike handling skills... Oh man was I sucking.

First of all I am on a 'new' bike (old frame but new bars and stem), secondly I have not ridden any mountain bike in at least seven months and third I am riding kinda cautious because of my ankle. Within perhaps half a mile of the climb I fell down because my rear tire spun from lack of traction and I tipped over. Oh well, I didn't get hurt. Oh yeah, my brakes are brand new and the pads are not broken in yet so they were not stopping me super well at first.

But I kept getting better throughout the ride so that was great. I didn't bring a camera so had to scrounge for photos online... this place is just so much fun.



29 March 2013

weights | core | bike commute | elliptical trainer

Today was a good day.

I managed to make it to the gym in the AM, rode my bike to and from work and got on the elliptical at lunch. I swear, trying to do rehab and maintain some semblance of fitness is a freaking job!

I was a bit bushed by the time I got on the elliptical trainer today so no heroics (as much as you can be a hero on cardio equipment anyway) but I got the job done. I did manage a tiny 'spurt' of activity there at the end of my workout, I upped the cadence to 170 for the last two minutes which jacked my heart rate up to 160.

My ride home felt awesome. I really think the sun is energizing me.

28 March 2013

How Street stairs


This is twice this week I'm on the Howe Street stairs. And to think I used to hate this work out! Now I'm grateful just to be out here. It's obviously all about perspective. Which, I suppose, is something good to keep in mind when you are healthy...? But enough waxing philosophical.

It was misting ever so lightly this morning but the temps were still in the upper 40s so I was very comfy and didn't need gloves or anything. So far, I also don't need music for distraction to get this workout done. There is plenty to see on Howe Street to keep me occupied. I saw a raccoon, one other person working out, a couple of cats; I wasn't bored in other words.

I figured I would try to duplicate what I did Tuesday and ended up getting in a bonus flight. I have stopped counting flights and instead just go by time and since I know roughly how long one flight takes me I can do the math.

I'm still just walking all the flights but the up side of going slower is I don't need to rest at the top or bottom so am literally spinning around and doing another. I suspect that is accounting for my times as I am actually going just slightly faster on average per flight than when I was running every other one.

27 March 2013

weights | core | bike commute | Expresso exercise bike

Got in a reasonable gym session and for the first time ever I am doing some pressing exercises with both legs since my ankle injury. Look out. As in look out 'cuz I'm seriously weak and I might drop the weights on you...

Then I rode to work and since I felt the faintest of vague discomfort in my left ankle I opted not to hit the elliptical and rode the Expresso exercise bike instead. I tackled a longer course that I had done before and since I was feeling rather well I went for it and got a PR by about one minute. Nice.


26 March 2013

Howe Street stairs | bike commute


It was with more than a little bit of trepidation and excitement that I drove to the Howe Street stairs this morning for what is only my second workout with any impact since hurting my ankle. How did it go? GREAT. I can't run the stairs yet because that would be too much impact (and because my fitness is in the toilet) but I was able to walk them just fine. As an added bonus my walking pace was the same as it used to be. Oh happy day.

One more milestone - check.

And you know what? My commute felt better than yesterday. Go figure. My legs were much fresher.

25 March 2013

weights | bike commute | elliptical trainer

Oh man, I am tired! I guess yesterday took a bit out of me because my usual little leg routine which does NOT involve any heavy weights was significantly more challenging than it has been lately.

Then I rode to work (for the first time since I hurt my ankle!) and my legs felt like lead.

So what does Martin do? He works out at lunch. Of course.

You guessed it, my legs felt super heavy on the elliptical trainer. It took me about 10 minutes just to not feel the lactic acid slosh around and I never could get going properly.

Oh yeah, my ride home was no better.

Oh well, I was still totally psyched (yes, I did just say that) to be RIDING MY BIKE TO WORK. And it was such a nice day out. I'll take it.

24 March 2013

exploring Frink Park | Tiger Mt Cougar Mt ride

This morning I decided I just had to get out and do something on my feet... Not being able to run yet I opted for a relatively brisk walk. At first I thought I would hit up the Day Street stairs but after climbing them once I was thinking 'boring' and headed north.

Within a few blocks I knew what I was going to do, I was going to explore Frink Park!

Who knew there were so many trails in this bit of woods? It was a blast! I bet you could construct a pretty cool little training loop here if you wanted. I went up trails/stairs and then right back down just to see where they went.

After a snack and some procrastination about where to ride I went out on my bike for my first officially sanctioned 'hard' ride since my ankle injury.

23 March 2013

weights | core

Today was day three of doing exercises with both legs and I am finally getting over the initial soreness. It has been quite some time since I have experienced that.

I think it's the order and intensity of exercises, but doing my leg extensions and back extensions has been brutal. A week ago I was banging out 100 leg extensions no problem and feeling like I could maybe do 120 or so. The last time I did this workout I collapsed at 93 and today my core gave out at 95. It's funny really, I get to about 80 and I'm thinking, "I can do this!" and then a few reps later my mid section just gives out and I fall back onto the mat. One week ago I was able to do three sets of 30 back and thinking it was time I upped the quantity and now I'm back to doing sets of 20. Ouch.

Other than that it's kind of refreshing to finally work my left leg. For sure there is a strength difference between it and my right leg but I'll get there.

21 March 2013

weights | core | cardio

Okay... the day after you do lots of exercise you have not done in a long time you are sore as all get out. I have not felt like this in I don't know how long.

It sure is hard to get moving but in a way it also feels like I am making progress(?).

My left glute and hamstring were wicked sore this morning and once again, just like yesterday, when I got to the end of my core routine my back was SO weak I collapsed while doing my leg extensions and was hardly able to do any back extensions. And my hamstrings were almost cramping! Ouch.

Then when I got on the elliptical trainer it was an effort to get moving.

There is work to be done! I hope I have the tenacity to get on with it.

20 March 2013

weights | core | cardio

Okay, since my doctor has given me the go-ahead to add light impact to my workout it means I can finally do more quality core exercises and I can use the elliptical trainer. Done and done.

Working my left leg is not easy. It is noticeably weaker. Time to get busy.

One thing I noticed was that by the time I got to my last two core/back exercises my body was blown! Especially my back, totally torched. Here's hoping I get stronger now.

I took a picture of the trainer after I was done in hopes of capturing some summary information but not so much.


19 March 2013


Oh man, I slept like crap two nights ago and not a ton better last night so am feeling the effects today. No AM gym session in other words.

At lunch I got on the elliptical trainer for a change!

And it felt okay. Whew.

I started out pretty easy but after five minutes realized I was doing okay so adjusted the settings to what I used to do for an easy workout.

18 March 2013

weights | Expresso exercise bike

The big news is I saw my sports medicine specialist today and was finally given the green light to start some light impact activities! Oh happy day. No running for 3-4 weeks yet but now I can walk on the flats, on hills, use the elliptical trainer, do some balance exercises on my weak leg; all the stuff I have been avoiding in other words. Yes. To celebrate I walked from her office on Capitol Hill to my pharmacy down by I-5 and then over to my bus by Pioneer Square.

It's funny, just a few days ago I was still feeling reluctant when walking around but now my whole attitude has changed and after this diagnosis I am striding around with confidence. I love it.

Oh yeah, I got to the gym in the AM and got on the Expresso exercise bicycle at lunch. Instead of doing one longer course, today I rode two shorter courses. That was kind of fun.

The first ride I did had some very original visuals! We were riding around this model train landscape in some guy's basement and occasionally you would see the guy, this enormous giant, just outside of the tracks. I also saw the electrical transformer and various other model train equipment. As a former model train owner it was super cool.

And did I mention that I 'won' these two courses? Yep, fastest time. :) And I suspect that these rides were my last ones on the Expresso bike. As 'fun' as they are, if I can start with stuff that promotes healing and transitioning to running then away I go.


17 March 2013

Magnolia loop, Discovery Park

Just another great day in Seattle! Although a couple of degrees colder than yesterday.

I was hoping to meet someone today but they didn't show up? Not sure how our wires got crossed. I didn't have a route in mind so had to think for a minute and make something up. Having already headed north from our house I opted to continue in that direction and do my favorite summer commute route around the Magnolia bluff and threw in the paved loop in Discovery Park.

The sun was shining, the views were great and someone was trying to launch himself in a paraglider up on Discovery Park!

For the first time in what feels like ages I felt like going fast through the Arboretum so stayed on the main road instead of taking the bicycle bypass. I think I held 27 mph for most of the way and still maintained 25 at the end. On my rain bike. With my ankle injury! My ankle felt fine, my legs not so much. :)

16 March 2013

weights | core | Mercer Island, south Lake WA loop

Nice. I hit the weather window perfect today.

I got to the gym as soon as it opened up, blasted through my workout (which means it took me 55 minutes instead of 60), zipped home, grabbed some food and got out on the bike.

By this time it was a little warmer so I didn't have to dress like an Eskimo and it stayed dry until I got home! As I stepped out of the shower it was pouring. I love that. :)

Since I felt like I had been wearing a grove around the outside of this same loop that I ride all the time lately, I totally switched it up. I have been going counter-clockwise but today I went clockwise... Did I just blow your mind or what? I know, I know, Martin is nothing if not unpredictable.

And for a change I pushed the pace in a couple of sections. I was feeling great when I hit the island and a few miles in I caught this guy in a Stanley kit and slowly passed him. I'm not sure what my speed was at the time but I do recall ramping it up just one notch as I went by and then holding it. Of course he sped up and latched onto my wheel.

In the past this might have encouraged me to speed up even more but 1) I'm still not supposed to go really hard and 2) I don't think I could have gone much harder if I wanted to truth be known. But I was determined not to slow down at least and I managed to do that all the way to the east channel bridge. Whew.

Then as I was approaching the south end of the lake and riding along the Renton Airport access road I caught three more guys. We had a tailwind by this time so I just kept the effort constant and sped up as much as the wind allowed me to. As we pulled onto Rainier Ave. one of the three yells, "Nice pull...!" Thanks guy. As we hit Rainier and got going the wind was fully behind me and I was still feeling great so I upped the pace again and held it all the way to Seward Park Ave. Ouch. But it was that good kind of pain where you feel like you metered your effort pretty perfect. And I had dropped those three long ago. Bonus. My fragile ego needs these tiny victories.

From there I just cruised home with a big smile on my face.

Oh yeah, I saw John Ospina and Pat Burke twice! Once as I was heading south on the east side and then again as I was heading north on the west side. That was fun.

15 March 2013

Expresso exercise bike

Yesterday I skipped the trainer at lunch and today I skipped the gym in the morning. Boom. Gotta mix it up. Or whatever.

After Wednesday's more-intense-than-usual effort on the Expresso exercise bike I tried to make today a notch more mellow. Guess what, it worked! :) It was another 'extreme' route but so far the extreme routes I have been choosing are the easiest ones and next week I'll need to either step up my game meaning they get longer in distance or perhaps I can try to ride two shorter routes back-to-back? That might be fun. In theory trying a longer route would be fun but I probably can't take such a massive lunch break to complete a really long ride.


14 March 2013

weights | core

Just the gym today. I had meetings pretty much all day so no time for a lunch ride on the trainer.

What's hilarious is I specifically recall justifying not doing anything at lunch (or rather consoling myself because I couldn't do anything) by reminding myself that I should have a 'rest' day at least once per week. Not that any of my workouts these days are that depleting but mentally it's sometimes good to know you don't have to do anything. My mind works too much. Or it just doesn't work that well? At least I was laughing at myself so I guess that's good.

13 March 2013

weights | core | Expresso exercise bike

Weights are starting to feel a touch easier these days... but I'm holding back from increasing the weight or the reps because I 1) see no reason to go heaver and 2) one hour is all I have motivation for and increasing the reps would drag this out. Plus I can only get up so early and I need to catch my 7:24 bus. I think it's okay to stay where I am, it's doing the job of keeping me active and preventing too much withering.

At lunch I did another 'extreme' route on the Expresso exercise bike. The first three extreme options are not too scary looking and I can do them in under 40 minutes. Again, I'm not sure how long I can last on a stationary exercise bike so selecting a ride that might take one whole hour seems daunting. That and taking a two hour lunch is probably not so cool.

I did go noticeably harder today than I think I ever have on this bike. Combine that with the fact that this ride was longer and I got in a substantial workout today. I kept the power on while descending, pushed over the summit of every hill and tried to not 'cruise' on the flats. I know my breathing was labored! And my heart rate numbers - if they can be trusted (I'm thinking not?) - show I was going harder.


12 March 2013

weights | core | Expresso exercise bike

I made it to the gym in the morning (where I finally increased the number of back extensions I'm doing) and to the IMA at lunch.

On the Expresso exercise bike it was my first time trying one of the 'extreme' routes. They grade them sort of like ski runs, easy, moderate, difficult and extreme. I know, go Martin!

It felt good to ride a little longer and the lame saddles they have on these bikes are not bothering my quite as much as they did initially. In spite of the ride taking longer I still managed to average 90 rpm. Nice.


11 March 2013

Martin and Shelley take a juice cleanse for a test drive

I have friends that have tried a juice cleanse and Shelley's sister recently completed one as well. Plus, tons of celebrities do them too so how hard could it be, right? Right.

I'll just get this out of the way right now. I do NOT think you need to 'cleanse' your body or 'get rid of the toxins'; I firmly believe that if you live even a moderately relatively healthy lifestyle (which we both do) that your body does everything it's supposed to and does it way more efficiently than you can with juice or powder or capsules or whatever you want to spend lavish amounts of money on.

So why was I even entertaining doing this? For the challenge of course! Everyone talked about how hard it was and then I read an article in The Stranger about one of the staff doing a 5-day cleanse and it sounded kinda burley which only fueled the competitive fire that much more. So a couple of weeks ago Shelley (who had been wanting to give this a try too) and I decided it's only money and dropped bank on BluePrintCleanse.

Hey, I drink a smoothie just about every morning anyway and I love fruit and vegetable juices so how hard could this be? For starters, let me introduce you to 'breakfast'.


weights | core | Expresso exercise bike

At the gym I managed to check the box but I felt like garbage. The result of abusing my body with food and drink all weekend I suspect. Funny, Shelley goes away for a few days and I can't seem to prepare quality food for myself. Or I just don't. And then I'm surprised when I weigh more or feel like crap.

On a more humorous note, the ride I did on the Expresso exercise bike at the IMA today was called 'Camel Country'. All I can think of when I hear that is the cigarettes.


09 March 2013

Jones Rd, Cedar Grove, May Valley

What a great day!

I elected to head out with friends so had to start in the cold and fog but it burned off pretty quick and then I was able to shed my glove liners and wind vest. And we could see our shadow! So crisp and just so awesome.

My friend Tim Wood was in the process of lining up two back-to-back longer rides and he said he was going to take it easy so I jumped at the chance to disobey my doctor's orders (don't ride more than two hours at a time!). I know, I know... DUMB.

I did take it easy and spun up every hill and Tim even remarked that it looked like I was pedaling at a higher than usual cadence so mission accomplished. If the mission was to dilute my guilt that is.

08 March 2013

weights | core | Expresso exercise bike

Well, my weight is definitely back up to where it was before Shelley and did our juice cleanse last weekend.
I felt a little better on the bike today so opted for a longer course and went a little harder. The ride profile today was intimidating... the first half was a huge descent into this massive valley and then the second half was a big climb back up and out of the valley. It turned out not to be that hard and I resolved to keep the cadence up and spun as much as I could.


07 March 2013

weights | core | Expresso exercise bike

Gym, Expresso exercise bicycle, repeat. That's my life these days.

On the up side I am getting slightly stronger in the gym but think I should not push it as my goal is not to get 'stronger', just to prevent strength from going away and stay fit.

At the IMA I just did an active recovery ride today. It just felt right I guess. It's too bad these summary screen shots don't show the course profile as some of the look really cool.


06 March 2013

weights | core | south Lake WA loop + Mercer Island

Made it to the gym this morning after a bit too much wine last night. :( Frequent trips to the drinking fountain were called for today.

I felt all right except it felt like I could not do any push-ups for the life of me. Rats.

When I got home I snuck in a ride before work. For once the wind was coming out of the north so I got blown down to Renton for a change. I thought I was going faster than usual but my time was a couple of minutes slower so what do I know.

Out on the road I saw Mike Hone (didn't recognize me) and then Ryan Dean (did recognize and yelled hello). That was nice.

05 March 2013

Expresso exercise bike

No gym/weights today, I just didn't feel like it.
But at lunch I rode the same course on the Expresso exercise bike that I did yesterday and beat my time by about 1.5 minutes. It was NOT easy and I had spin like a mother. Check out my average cadence though, I am proud of that.
Beating this time will be hard without feeling like I am inappropriately stressing my ankle (and my heart!).

04 March 2013

weights | core | Expresso exercise bike

I seriously debated about going to the gym today and almost just stayed home and ate but in the end I decided to see how the workout would go after a three-day juice cleanse. Surprisingly it went okay?!

Then at lunch I headed down to the IMA for my usual stint on the Expresso exercise bike. Today I tried a new course and took it just slightly easier than usual as this one was longer, I felt kinda weak from the cleanse these last three days (in spite of having breakfast and a snack today) and I just was not feeling that driven. This course was like riding a roller coaster in space! The visuals were pretty cool.


03 March 2013

Washington Trails Association work party

Funny how fast your mind can change.

Many months ago when I read the requirements for the Cascade Crest 100 I was bummed to find out that trail maintenance is required to enter. Who has time for trail maintenance? I need to train!

Well then I got injured. And then I got injured again. And then my doctor told me to shut 'er down. After four weeks of nothing I am finally walking around a little so with the help of an ankle brace and a dry day I hit Tiger Mountain with the Washington Trails Association (WTA).


ASIDE - I signed up for this day way in advance... as in before I hurt myself. Was it smart to go out on slippery, muddy trails with a bum ankle? Maybe not but nothing happened so I dodged that bullet.

02 March 2013

weights | core | south Lake WA loop + Mercer Island

Nice! After going to the gym I managed to hit the perfect weather window and enjoyed a relatively warm spin around the south end of Lake WA and Mercer Island.

Today is day two of the juice cleanse and I didn't fade in the gym but I did on the bike. As I started to head around Mercer Island this guy passed me and so I tried to hang with him. He proceeded to drop me slowly as I was determined to not push a big gear and I was practically bonking from having ingested about 1,500 calories total in the last 30 hours.

Then we turned the corner at the south end of the island and the head wind turned into a tail wind. And incredibly I started to pull him back. I think he was just riding in the same gear pretty much all the time (he would stand on the small inclines and I would shift down) whereas I was trying to keep the effort constant. With the wind at my back I sped up and he didn't.

01 March 2013

weights | core | Expresso exercise bike

Obviously this is my go-to routine now. :) Hit the gym in the AM and then hit the Expresso exercise bike at lunch. So far I am not bored out of my skull, we'll see how long this lasts.

ASIDE - Shelley and I started a 3-day juice cleanse today (more about that when we're done). That means I did not get very many calories today... Today at least the workouts did not suffer.

I achieved a new milestone on the exercise bike today. I beat my previous best on this course and only averaged six more watts. The secret? I finally averaged 90+ rpm. That was not easy for me. My doctor told me to not exert too much pressure on my left ankle so I am trying to spin baby spin. I was shifting WAY down on the climbs but there were several times when I saw 100+ rpm too. I'm thinking this is a good thing.