30 April 2013

bike commute | rehab | cardio | treadmill run

Oh man, I had nothing alcoholic to drink last night, a super (read: healthy and not heavy) dinner and yet slept like dirt yet again. I blame stress.

The result was me not going to the gym in the morning but somehow I rallied in the afternoon and went at lunch.

So on the downside I was dragging all day but on the upside I ran for 20 minutes again and it felt fine! Unfortunately I wore some lousy socks for running and got a big blister on my left big toe but fortunately I didn't feel it until after I completed my run. I also ran slightly faster today than previously. Bonus.

Up, down, half full, half empty; it really is just perspective.

I went to FootWorks PT for another rehab session this morning and the diagnosis is that I am getting stronger and I got the official endorsement for slightly longer treadmill runs.

29 April 2013

core | Expresso exercise bike

I made it to the gym this morning but my left ankle has been a little sore lately so I opted to skip the rehab (read: jumping around on one foot) today. For some reason that decision also made it hard for me to do my core routine! :( I managed to check the core box but bailed after only one set of push-ups. Oh well.

At lunch I skipped the elliptical trainer and the treadmill in favor of the Expresso exercise bicycle to also encourage my ankle to feel better. I picked a course I have done at least three times and in spite of not feeling tip top and having slightly heavy legs at the start I still got a PR. Small reconciliation for the morning I suppose. Or an indication that I didn't really go that hard during my previous efforts, you make the call.

I did average over 90 rpm, that is not easy for me.


28 April 2013

Howe Street stairs


I was dragging a bit this morning but slowly got it in my head that I wanted to exercise on the Howe Street stairs so I went upstairs to tell Shelley and turns out she needed the car in two hours. Time's a wastin'!

I was hoping to get in a solid hour today and I managed it. At first my legs were pretty lethargic and heavy from yesterday but after four flights I was in the grove and kept it super steady all the way to the end. In fact, looking at my GPS data below it seems I went faster today than I ever have in recent memory? By just a couple of seconds per flight anyway.

As a bonus I saw my friend Thom Wagner on the stairs! Turns out he had gone to our gym which is supposed to open at 8:00 AM but the host was late. Undaunted he turned to Plan B and came out to play on Howe Street. Way to go Thom.

Today I was hitting it 'pane e acqua' as they say in professional bike racing. What that meant for me today is I was venturing out without music. I know! But it was actually a pretty good call. I did look at my watch a bit too much but it was nice not to have the same old mix blaring in my ears for a change.

27 April 2013

Renton, Jones Rd, Maple Valley, Kent, Green River road ride


I have recently re-connected with an old friend (John Phillips) and he goes for a ride every weekend with his friends so by association I have been invited to attend these outings and it's great to have company again even if it's just once per week.

ASIDE - I am realizing that John and I have more and more in common... We both used to race bikes (except John was always a little better than I was). We both run (except John has run the Boston Marathon so he's also a little faster than I am). Whereas I injured my ankle badly, John recently BROKE his ankle (a few months before I hurt myself) which required surgery. We are both at the point in our comeback where we are running on the treadmill for a mile or two except John recently went for his first short trail run whereas I am still mired indoors. I guess this means his healing process is a bit further along than mine. Who would have known.

Two weeks ago was my first time riding with John recently and I recall remarking that the ride was the fastest I have gone on a bike so far this year. Well today we went even faster. Yes!

There was a fairly stout wind out of the south so of course we went that direction first. The route John had picked was pretty flat but that was okay with me. I like hills fine but I also like moving quickly and I like drafting. Once we hit Jones Rd the wind pretty much abated as the trees were sheltering us and we didn't really feel it again until we got to Maple Valley.

Riding west on SE Lake Holm Rd we were FLYING. Like 25-30 mph sustained. It's just the slightest bit downhill and the wind was favorable. That was a blast. As was the descent at the end of the road. Wow! 12%, about one mile long and lots of 10 and 15 mph corners. Loved that.

All this fast riding did make me tired and I was very grateful for the tailwind coming home.

On the way home we took one wrong turn and got stopped by a road closure but it was okay, I was in great spirits still.

26 April 2013

bike commute

Oh man... another wave of apathy just washed over me this morning.

I was actually in the car, all dressed for the gym and pulling out of our garage when I stopped, shifted from reverse to 1st gear and drove back in. Holy hate. So much for this morning's rehab and core workout I guess.

I mentioned this Wednesday but I'll say it again, I seem to be motivated by company and going it alone these past weeks has been not so easy for me. One of the reasons I like to exercise is that it's fun and one of the reasons it's fun is I get to push myself with other people along and we can encourage each other. I am not by nature some super, duper, goal-oriented, training zealot.

So today I just rode to work and back home. Slowly. I'm looking forward to tomorrow when I get to ride with a friend again.

This morning I noticed that for the first time since it started feeling better my left ankle is feeling worse. As in it's tender and sore when I walk down stairs. Perhaps I did too much 'dynamic' rehab Wednesday? Maybe my run was too long yesterday? Not sure. I rested it today and will only ride tomorrow so we'll see. AT least there is no additional swelling that is visible.

25 April 2013

cardio | treadmill run | bike commute

"Longest ever!"
"Massive progress!"
"Pain free!"
"Comeback 2.0!"

All ways to describe my treadmill run today. Sometimes you have to bring the hype to keep things interesting. Or something like that.

In all seriousness my run today was my longest and fastest so far since I started this healing/rehab/recovery process so bonus points for that.

I got a really nice compliment on my ride home. I was cruising down the Burke-Gilman Trail toward Gas Works Park when this guy on a fancy 29er with street tires pulls up behind me and says, "I bet that bike doesn't do your legs justice; those like fit legs!" Thanks random guy, you made my afternoon.

I am getting sick of the play list I have on my iPod so listened to radio on my phone instead. That worked great on the elliptical trainer but on the treadmill my phone bounced out of the tiny pocket I have on my shorts. Oops. Luckily it survived the fall unscathed.

After my time on the elliptical trainer I stopped to take a picture but I guess since I had not told the machine how long I wanted to go for it assumed I should still be working out.


I've got your 'pedal faster' right here...

24 April 2013

strengthening | bike commute | cardio | treadmill run

Headline: Martin runs for 15 minutes with no pain!

Byline: Martin has a revelation about why working out and doing rehab has been so difficult lately... I have been alone! Looking back on these last eleven weeks since my injury I have ridden my bike with anyone else exactly three times and for sure I have never done any of my stair workouts or indoor rehab stuff with anyone. I guess I like the company of my friends.

ASIDE- it's funny (read: interesting) how much of a lift these silly treadmill runs are giving me. So far they not the least bit boring and the time seems to fly. I think I am actually looking forward to doing a few more minutes and am bummed when I need to shut it down. What a huge contrast to when I was running on the treadmill for recovery or extra volume. That was BORING. It's a prime example of the Tom Sawyer Syndrome I think.

It was even nicer out today (by a couple of degrees anyway) than yesterday so I again took the long way home. Beautiful. This time it was a legitimate sleeveless shirt day so of course I obliged.

Today was also my first day doing dynamic hops and jumps for rehab to strengthen my ankle! That's progress for sure.

23 April 2013

Howe Street stairs | bike commute

I doth dally too much!

Once again I dorked around way too long after getting up and then had to rush out to the stairs. Since I was short on time I figured why not try running back-to-back flights? I walked one to warm up and then ran eight flights one step at a time. Then I walked one to cool down.

This brought back some of the all too familiar wheezing and shortness of breath from my stair workouts last winter! Good times. Still, running one step at a time is significantly easier than two at a time; I still have a ways to go in other words.

In the afternoon the weather was absolutely fabulous so I took the long way home and wore a sleeveless shirt. That shirt might have been pushing it just a little but what the hell. I also wore some dark sunglasses while riding my bike for the first time this year. All these signs point to things I like.

On my way to work I stopped by FootWorks PT for another check in with Neal Goldberg. I have progressed from doing static balance and rehab to doing dynamic balance and rehab. This means I am now hopping and jumping around and it's tiring! Especially after stairs. 30 minutes of PT and I was pouring sweat. I took it easy on the way to work just to cool down!

22 April 2013

strengthening | core | bike commute | cardio | treadmill run

I finally slept well last night; it felt really good. I was still dragging a bit at they gym in the morning but that might be because I did nothing physical all weekend and sometimes starting back up is hard for me.

The big news for today is I ran on the treadmill again, this time for 10 minutes and I was totally pain-free. In fact, once again it felt great! Nice.

It's progress but oh so slow...

In spite of dragging a tad at the gym I felt super on my commute.

21 April 2013

volunteering at the Yakima Skyline Rim 25k/50k

Giving back. Everyone should do it.

Okay, now that all my philosophical pontificating is out of the way let's talk trail racing. Today I showed up at Yakima Skyline Rim 25k/50k (promoted by Rainshadow Running) to assist with check-ins. Way back when (read: before I torched my ankle for the second time in rapid succession) I had intended on running this race. My sister ran it last year and said it was tough! Apparently the word 'tough' is like a magnet to Martin and I was all over it.

Anyway, Shelley has family in Yakima and I was motivated by the not-very-unselfish benefit of getting a free entry to some future Rainshadow event that volunteering gets you so we figured why not kill the two proverbial birds with one stone. Boom.


19 April 2013

strengthening | core | cardio | treadmill run

I'll just jump right to the headline here:
That's right, the real recovery (hopefully) starts now.

Otherwise I went to the gym but didn't have the motivation to do lunges today. Something about striding up and down the group exercise room for nine minutes just didn't sound appealing to me this morning.

At lunch I warmed up thoroughly on the elliptical trainer and then hit the treadmill. Boom. Can't wait to do it again.

5 minutes .6 miles. Look out world, here comes Martin.

I went for my first run! YES.

My first run since I laid waste to my ankle that is. That was February 2 so if your math skills have not evaporate like mine you will know this to be ELEVEN WEEKS since I have run at all. Okay, 10.5 really but rounding up sounds more dramatic. Heck, I should have just said three months but I kinda ruined that by listing the date and explaining everything too much.

Note to self - always embellish when you can and ixnay on the explainingway.

Anyway, after a thorough warm-up on the elliptical trainer I hit the treadmill. While on the elliptical I kept thinking I had the slightest pain in my ankle but once I started running I realized it was in my head and just a phantom pain.

Running felt fine. Shit, it felt great!

I turned the treadmill on, slowly ramped it up to 8:00/mile pace and just kept it there. And I stopped promptly after five minutes were up. Yes, that was hard to do... In those five minutes I ran .6 miles; woohoo.

I want to give thanks to those that made this possible.

  • My sports medecine specialist Dr. Maxine Weyant. She was recommended to me by my PT and she knows her shit. She seems to have massive specific experience with runners and cyclists and athletes in general. Not only did she give me a recovery timeline but she told me why it had to be that way. I always want to know why I'm supposed to be doing anything. Understanding the risks of deviating from her timeline helped it all sink in.
  • Neal Goldberg of FootWorksPT. Neal is my Physical Therapist and has helped me with my back (an ongoing issue with a ruptured/herniated disk), an IT band injury and now this ankle business. Not only is the foot and ankle Neal's specialty, he is also an athlete himself. And he has worked with tons of runners and cyclists. Really, really good runners and cyclists.
  • My unofficial running mentor Justin Angle. It's unofficial only because he never actually consented to being my mentor but I have asked him countless questions and sent him numerous emotional emails when I was down in the dumps about this ankle thing and he has always taken the time to reply thoughtfully. He has also been a good reality check when I tend to get a little too enthusiastic and want to accelerate my recovery. Lastly, he has suffered through a much worse injury himself so knows first-hand what recovery and rehab is all about.
If this treadmill run is stage #2 (milestone #2?) in my recovery with rest and rehab being stage #1 then running on the road will be stage #3 and running on trails will be stage #4. Then it's just about regaining fitness. Daunting that.

But it's what I have been waiting for! Bring it I say. Never has 11 weeks felt this long.

18 April 2013

Howe Street stairs | bike commute

Stairs baby! Except today for some reason I could nut muster the will to run so walked every flight. I did walk them two-at-a-time and pretty fast (I lapped a 'runner' twice) but I am starting to feel 1) somewhat unmotivated to do stuff and 2) like I am not recovering very well.

Regarding recovery, it's pretty freaking obvious to me that I need to stretch and get massage. My legs are tight like guitar strings these days and so when I do have an off day or easy day they are not able to recover like they should.

So many things to do, so little time; same old, same old.

One nice thing about today was the sun rising while I was at the Howe Street stairs. It's a blast not doing the entire workout in the dark.

On the other hand today was pretty gray and I rode home in the rain for the first time in quite a while. At least it was not cold. And did I mention my weight is off the charts? Man, I had a handle on it after the holidays and these last two weeks it has been creeping up. Gotta get a grip.

17 April 2013

bike commute | Expresso exercise bike

This morning I had a sudden lapse in motivation. I woke up, got out of bed pretty promptly, went downstairs... and watched La Fleche Wallonne.

Oh well. Perhaps because I didn't go to the gym my ride in felt super.

At lunch I did get down to the IMA and after a short internal debate opted for the Expresso exercise bike instead of the elliptical trainer. And I had a pretty good ride! Not stellar but a solid and steady effort.


16 April 2013

Howe Street stairs | bike commute

After a not-so-severe weekend and a relatively easy day yesterday I was hoping I would have the motivation to go a little longer on the Howe Street stairs today and I did. Just barely though.

Lately I have been pulling the ripcord at 45 minutes and today my goal was a solid hour. I tried hard to avoid looking at my watch for as long as possible and when I finally did it said I had done 40 minutes. Whew. Still, funny how long 20 minutes (5-6 flights depending on how fast you are going) can take. In the end I got it done and was breathing good and hard at the top of the last flight.

Today is another day of alternating walking and running stairs! I think this is my third day of running them? Progress baby. And my pace is ROCK solid, no slowing down at the end at all.

My rides felt okay but boy do I need a massage... my legs are tight like guitar strings. I took a new route home - I believe it is the most direct route there is. And it's always fun to explore.

I am bummed about my weight. Stress at work and in life is affecting me and I am a HUGE stress eater. Combine that with having less time to exercise and what had been a pretty regular lunch workout has gone by the wayside recently. Oh yeah, and then there is the extra wine and beer I'm consuming. I blame that on stress too. As long as I can displace blame I can wallow comfortably in my self pity. Still, damn...

15 April 2013

weights | rehab | core | bike commute

Made it to the gym this morning and in spite of feeling a little sleepy I managed to increase my plank time and my back extensions. A little anyway.

For sure I can tell that my ankle is getting stronger... I am this close to actually running again.

My day at work was BUSY so no time to sneak away for some yummy, yummy elliptical trainer. I know, wicked fun. At least I took a longish way home on the bike.

14 April 2013

road ride up Tiger Mt

Road ride time!

In case I have not said it enough let me say it again. My ankle might be messed up and I might not be able to run but I am SO fortunate to not only be able to ride a bike but also to have tons of bikes to do it with. And the experience to do it safely, enjoy it and get in a great workout.

Today I got out with my good friend John Phillips. Turns out we have a mutual acquaintance in Frank Hodge. Frank rides bicycles with John and used to run with another friend of mine Justin Angle. Now I wonder if John knows Justin. I doubt it. All this made me smile for some reason.

Riding with John was GREAT. He's a super cyclist (we used to race together) and as we were holding a pretty spirited tempo on the flats I was realizing that today is the first time this year that I have been out with anyone else on a bike! Oh the joys of drafting!

While heading up Tiger Mt. I saw Dave Hecht riding over the mountain going the other direction. I bet that guys is more familiar with this hill than anyone else I know.

13 April 2013

cardio | BaDi dance class

I experienced something new today.


There I am, in the middle of what was turning out to be a great little active recovery workout on the elliptical trainer when the lights start to flash and this alarm claxon starts blasting away. Everyone had to clear out of the gym (on the 2nd floor) and the QFC (on the ground floor) as the alarm was for the entire building. As I drove home the fire truck responding to the alarm passed me going the other direction.

When I got home it was snack time and then off to my second ever BaDi dance class with Shelley. These classes are fun and the instructor is excellent but I suck! I have problems following at least half of the moves. Got rhythm? Nope.

12 April 2013

weights | core

What's that you say? Martin is still not getting enough sleep? Sadly this is the case. I can not WAIT for tomorrow when the alarm will be shut off.

Made it to the gym and then work was too busy to let me take any time at lunch for cardio. Oh well, I was flagging badly anyway.

Even at the gym I came this close to pulling the rip cord on my workout 15 minutes in... somehow I managed to keep going for five minutes, then another five, and then I was more than half done so stuck it out. I guess I'm glad I hung in there this time.

ASIDE - I am noticing some small improvements in this come-back from my ankle injury so in an effort to keep my glass half full I will list them.

  • I can now walk on the flats, up hills, down hills (even steep hills) and I feel no pain at all. For sure I am thinking about my ankle 100% of the time but it does not hurt. I even stubbed my toes walking home the other day - hard - and it did not hurt my ankle.
  • The strength of my left leg has caught up to my right leg as far as I can tell.
  • My left ankle is getting stronger, I can tell by all the one-legged rehab exercises I am doing.
  • Tonight was was watching television and I looked at my left ankle and the swelling has gone down a little! That got me really excited as the lump that is my joint has not changed appreciably in the last month.
  • Twice now I have spent significant time jogging up the Howe Street stairs and my ankle has not complained.

Can trail running develop into an unhealthy addiction?

TrailRunner Blog Symposium Button photo blogsymposiumbutton.jpg

Assuming that by 'unhealthy' you mean:

  • Getting outside most days every week.
  • Working out in the cold and wet which makes you appreciate those bluebird days that much more.
  • Forming incredible bonds with friends and exploring new routes that most people don't even hike.

And assuming that by 'addiction' you mean:

  • Adopting a lifestyle of fitness that is incredibly simple and economical when compared to some other 'healthy' activities (skiing, rowing, triathlon...).
  • Surrounding yourself with like minded people who support you in this habit.

Then the answer to that question would be an unqualified 'yes'.

11 April 2013

Howe Street stairs | bike commute

My sleep schedule is not improving much but I still got out to the stairs today! And after a slow start it turned into a reasonable workout meaning that I 1) didn't feel like I was going to die and 2) my pace stayed steady.

Today is the second day that I have been able to alternate running flights with walking flights and it felt fine (on my ankle anyway). Even jogging up these stairs one step at a time spikes my heart rate significantly higher than fast walking two steps at a time. See below.

On my ride home I stopped off at Fleet Feet Sports on Capitol Hill for the Seattle Running Club board meeting and guess what, I'm now on the board. I guess I tend to gravitate to that sort of thing... Plus, I do like to be involved in whatever clubs I join so there you go.

Riding home from the meeting in the dark was FUN. It was dry, calm and my legs felt better than when I rode to the meeting.

10 April 2013

weights | core | cardio

Got in my usual AM routine which these days is some leg weights, rehab for my ankle, push-ups, and core.

On the up side I am back to doing the plank now and my times are increasing again.

On the down side I slept like crap. Again.

At lunch I still managed to hit up the IMA and added 10 minutes to my cardio session. Thank god for music. And for the tiny monitor on the elliptical trainer. And for whatever channel was playing Red Tails so I could distract myself.

09 April 2013

Howe Street stairs | bike commute | Expresso exercise bike

Nice. Then I got to thinking, as impressive as all this activity sounds I got in exactly 2:15 of exercise. That said at least half of it was at a good tempo.

Still, I have some accomplishments to report.

  1. Today is the first day since my ankle injury that I have been able to alternate walking with running on the Howe Street stairs. To tell the truth I was just jogging and only one step at a time but hey, progress!
  2. I set a new PR on this Expresso course by about 1:30! And it was not easy, by the end my heart rate was sitting steady at 160. I also averaged 90 rpm while doing so. Bonus.


08 April 2013

elliptical trainer

Oh man... I was/am tired today.

The alarm went off this morning and after stalling for 15 minutes while debating with myself whether or not I should go to the gym I rolled over and slept (poorly) until Shelley's alarm went off.

I had a boat load of work to do so didn't get out of the office until way past noon. This meant I was pretty hungry and combined with being tired it was a pretty big effort on my part to get my ass in gear and get it down to the IMA.

Once there starting out was tough, my legs felt pretty heavy. Luckily, once I got moving I was able to keep the cadence up pretty well.

Not a great day; I couldn't tell if I should rest more or sack up and work harder. :(

07 April 2013

weights | core | exploring Frink Park

Another session in the gym and another step closer to my regular core routine!

It seems my back is getting a bit stronger as the squats are not bothering me as much as they did the first time I tried them. That's a HUGE relief because the first couple of times I was honestly worried I would not be able to continue.

The workout took me longer than ever, partly because I have increased the reps for one exercise and added a couple of exercises but also because I had too much wine and chocolate last night (which resulted in not enough sleep). Again. Some people learn lessons slower than others obviously.

After almost calling it quits for the day (I was on the couch watching television having eaten a big lunch with dessert and having had two beers) I rallied and went for a spirited walk in Frink Park. It was a blast. I gently jogged up all the hills and walked the flats and the descents. My ankle felt fine thank goodness.

06 April 2013

Howe Street stairs | BaDi dance class

I tried something new today! But first let's talk stairs.

I did a solid hour today - hooray for me! I walked all the flights two steps at a time except the last one which I gently ran one step at a time. It's probably too early yet to be doing this and I have no excuses. On the up side it did not hurt my ankle and although running every step feels slower than walking every other step it was indeed 20-30 seconds faster and it got my heart rate up about 10 beats higher too. Bonus.

It was a BUSY day at the Howe Street stairs today. Not only were there about eight people doing their solo thing but about five flights into my workout this boot camp class shows up and suddenly there are about eight more people on the steps. Doing drills no less. That's a lot of bodies to dodge.

And again I was amazed by what you see on these stairs. There was a woman with her two tiny lapdogs. She would walk up the steps with them on leash and then pick them both up and CARRY THEM BACK DOWN. First of all, dogs on a leash are a super bad idea on stairs where people don't want to get tripped up and secondly, if you have to carry your dogs down should they really be here at all? That's obviously rhetorical. NO is the answer.

Whatever. Today I outlasted all of them and for the last two flights had the stairs all to myself.

After I got home and had a snack Shelley and I went to a BaDi dance class.

That's right, dance.

And yes, I felt like THE stereotypical, no rhythm having, token guy there but you know what? It was pretty fun. The instructor was great as were the songs and I just need to learn the moves. Good to branch out I always say.

05 April 2013


I had what felt like a grueling workout this morning at the gym! Almost every exercise (except for the last one ironically) felt really tough and I was sweating like crazy. I'm thinking it might have something to do with my dessert last night...

How does Martin spell 'a good time'? Wonder no more.

But I'm not jumping to rash conclusions.

03 April 2013

weights | core | bike commute

Oh man, here is how I felt today.
I guess I still need that break I was talking about yesterday.

I almost didn't make it to the gym this morning... but once I got going I had a pretty good workout. Small saving grace that. Then I went to FootWorks PT and Neal Goldberg had me do tons more of the same kinds of thing I had just done at the gym - plus more! It was hard!


On the way home my lights died so I was reduced to riding on the sidewalk for at least half the way. Oh well, kind of a challenge to do that at speed and not hit posts, pedestrians, their dogs, etc. :)

At least I got a bit more sleep last night.

02 April 2013

Howe Street stairs | bike commute

Hahaha... didn't I just say yesterday that all this was going to catch up to me? It just did.

First of all I am TIRED; I guess I did a lot of exercising yesterday. Secondly I have not been getting much sleep. Thirdly I just had a sudden attack of lack of motivation to do all this rehab and still work out to maintain fitness. I got to the Howe Street stairs, did a few flights and poof, just like that the motivation to keep going was gone. I struggled to finish as many flights as I did today. Poop.

My rides to and from work were S L O W. I guess I need a break/rest or a new bottle of motivation.

01 April 2013

weights | core | bike commute | elliptical trainer

What a great Monday! I got in the exercise trifecta which consisted of a super gym session (leg weights, ankle rehab and core) in the morning, I got on the elliptical at lunch and I rode to and from work. Nice.
Did I mention that for the first time since my ankle injury I also took the long way home? Oh yes, you heard me.

I also added the plank back to my core routine - no more excuses!

All this is spite of not getting much sleep lately... don't worry, I'm sure it will catch up to me. :) Actually, I was a bit tired at lunch on the elliptical trainer but the sun during the ride home perked me back up.