Thursday, July 31, 2008

Well I thought I had Weak Legs

So I'm still pondering why my leg strength seemed to abandon me on Mt. Shasta.

I'm wondering if it has to do with a combination of altitude not delivering enough oxygen to my muscles, and perhaps the smaller stabilizer muscles needing more strength work.

If it's the previous that's a bummer as I have no intention of moving to a higher elevation.

I've noticed that I still have balance trouble with lunges - they do a lot of them in the Body Pump class and I hate them but realize that I absolutely need to do them. (This site says that they are the king of leg strength builders.)

I found another site here that says that doing a "wall squat" (sitting in a chair position against a wall sans chair) is a good leg strength evaluator. So I decided to try it. It says that 45 seconds for men is excellent (39 for women - don't know why it's less for women as women's legs are strong). I did 1:00 and this is with my feet sliding on the floor some, so I repeated it with a non-slip surface under my feel. Then I did 1:15. This is so not fair - why does all this strength go away above 8000'? Maybe I should just climb with oxygen (absurd at such low elevations).

I'm going on a mountain bike ride Saturday with Wombats (a pretty easy ride, but there is a climb), so I'll see how I do climbing on dirt at low elevations. Got to also figure out how to do assisted lunges in case I lose my balance. Right now I can do them, but don't sink very low.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

More Healhnet Follies

It's been 4 months since I submitted my Max Out of Pocket Expenses form to Healthnet. This means that they had 45 business days (9 weeks!) to process it. They did but right at the end I realized that they hadn't told the pharmacy which should have been a simple day or two but that gave them the excuse to start the clock over and the claim suddenly had a June date (argh).

I received a letter date July 10th (though I received the letter much later), that the claim was going through "further review." (I need to check if this is legal.) I've seen this once before but usually it means that the check will be coming soon, but I haven't seen it yet.

Sat July 26th
The check finally came.
The End - till next year.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Sure let's get Married in the Backyard (eek)

So Terri innocently suggests that rather than going to find a place to get married, that we can just get married in the backyard. To a non-gardening person I can't begin to explain the excitment and horrible stress that causes. I think the first thing she noticed was the color draining from my face and the pained expression. You see we have two very active Corgis who tear around the yard and it is now a pile of sand with ceremonial bits of unmowed grass in it. Terri's explaining where we could stand and where people could sit and all I'm thinking about is how long I've been sort of trying to unsuccessfully patch our lack of lawn with two wee barking curs racing around it, and with water restrictions imposed. I make mention that we'll have to lay sod and she blighthy says: oh we can just lay down a green square of something and I refrain from outright appoxia and just started making funny gurgling noises. To her credit she notices (but does not completely understand) my distress (I am marrying this person and fortunately her understanding of this issue is not a deal breaker). This is supposed to be a very special day and I'm not having our guests standing or sitting around on green plastic.

I suppose I could come up with an alternative to grass. After all, she's suggesting that we stand under one of the trees and that won't have grass, so some nice mulch would work well there, but a small lawn of grass would be nice for guests even if there's only 4-5 of them.

This is very exciting though my low blood pressure may change some. Guess I'll go by the new Borders in town (or Books Inc) and look for some ideas in either Garden Design Magazine or a Landscaping book.

But first I/we have to clean the backyard first. Then I can start thinking about things like fuschias and other goodies.

Monday, July 07, 2008

The fitness null set

I'm feeling a little at sea
I'm in great shape when I'm at my gym, but I don't do well on Mt. Shasta.
I was in spin class and doing really well and I was actually kinda depressed about it.

For my own sanity I think this means I need to change gym routines. Maybe switch over to kickboxing and mixed martial art exercises and Body Jam.

I've had a day to ponder more.
I think I see what's different in doing actual climbing vs. gym stairclimbers and bike training.

On the gym machines or on a bike, if you get tired and pause, your weight passively applied to the stair or pedal will help carry you through. This is not so when you are climbing. Your muscle is what has to lift the weight of you up. I think I've gotten to used to relying on the mechanical assistance without fully realizing it. This is why I can bike up all sorts of things but actually climbing them is another story.

What sad about that is that the gym stairclimbers can only help me just so far. At this point I have to go back to just working on my leg muscle strength and endurance. things like doing step ups, or climbing actual stairs, and doing a lot of traditional squats and leg presses.

Or maybe I'll just take a break and do kickboxing.

Yeesh, why does it take me so long to figure these things out?

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Mt Diablo more attainable goals

So to make myself feel better I did ride up Mt Diablo on my bike. I stopped short of the summit just because Mark and Jan wanted to take me out for my birthday, but I easily could have made it and I think this next Saturday, I'll do it again and give myself more time.

I think the thing with biking is that you can easily compensate for muscle weakness. Others on bikes certainly did pass me and it was partially because I was on a mountain bike, partially because I have lower gears available to me, and partially because I was just going slower.

Once again I was way exhausted to the point the Jan was worried about me at dinner, but I recovered after a fair bit of sleep.

And the ride down. Pure speedy bliss. Make me wonder why I ever descend on foot at all. Took 30 minutes tops, and it was fun to chase the cars down. I think for Shasta I really should work on skiing. What I love about biking up (and I would guess skiing too) is that the climbing adage of the summit is only half way, really doesn't apply. You can pretty much kill yourself going up and just have to save enough energy to descend safely. I like that.