Saturday, November 28, 2009

Anaerobic -vs- Aerobic Exercise

Just a week or so ago, I posted a picture showing a temperature of -31°F. Today, the temperature was +34°F. Yes, that is a PLUS sign. A 65°F swing in only a couple of days. If it wasn't for all the frost on the road, I would have pulled the bike out and called it riding weather. The air temperature may have changed pretty quickly but the road temperatures changes much more slowly so it was pretty slick.

I'm just about near the end of my free month at the Alaska Club and I have to admit, I really enjoyed the strength training. I also learned from the trainers on staff, that pushing myself hard when doing aerobic exercise was counter productive. Not necessarily dangerous just not getting the result I've been looking for. For the last couple of years, I would push my heart rate to 90-100% of maximum (for my age so it's not really that high) for long periods of time thinking that it would help get me into shape quicker. Doing this, I'm told, turned my aerobic exercice to anaerobic which apparantly consumes muscle mass instead of fat and much fewer calories. I've stopped pushing myself that hard for the last week but it is probably too soon to see any difference. A questionable side benefit is the workouts are easier but longer. Not what I was looking for. Once I get back from Barrow, I plan to sign up for a year at the Alaska Club to add regular strength training to my routine. Plus all of their treadmills have heart monitors that actualy work. Also, the environment is more conducive to exercise. I just need to try and figure out a way for it to fit into my schedule. I've actually had to drive to work three days per week for the last month instead of walking and riding the bus. To me, that seems a little counter productive.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Level "Black"

Friday morning - Another cold day today. I don't expect that I will be doing much walking outside today though I am tempted to by the Nike+ site. It says that I am less than a mile from the next level (whatever that means). My total on the site is now 3105.96 miles and my total for the year is a fairly respectable 2118.7 miles. I don't think I will be able to get through the morning without going for a walk and re-synching. Just to get to the next level (why am I so easily manipulated by these sites) ....

Friday afternoon - Just like I thought, I couldn't leave it alone and went to lower campus and back. I ended up attending a meeting on lower campus but never made it to the credit union like I had originally planned. Oh well, another day. I am now at the "Black" level on the Nike+ site and which is for all participants who have logged more than 5000 km. It is currently the highest level with under 1% of all participants. There are 1,119 others at the 3000 mile level. Now I need another goal. I had a lunch meeting today then went to the Alaska Club to do what has become my "normal" workout. Walk/run for about an hour followed by the full series of Nautilus machines they have there. I have been feeling really good after these exercise sessions even if I don't feel up to it going in. Running is still a challenge and I feel like I am always arguing with the treadmill since it is always telling me to slow down. When running, my heart rate is always around 90% of maximum and if I slow down to a walk, it's like 70%. For me, 90% feels just fine. I'm not breathing hard or feeling stressed except for the machine flashing "slow down" all the time. I hope I'm not hurting myself....

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Tuesday 11/17/09 - Walked down to Beaver Sports, a local sporting goods store, and picked up a pair of mittens during lunch via a very circuitous route. I did avoid the ski trails since walking on the trails tends to ruin the well groomed trails. In addition, I walked to/from the bus stop. All of this added up to a bit over 8 miles, all outside. Not too bad considering the temperature...

Wednesday 11/18/09 - There was a WIN lunchtime talk about portion sizes today at noon. Not much new information though I was able to talk to a WIN consultant about a sore hip. I think it is from running over the last couple of weeks at the Alaska Club. She told me to take a look at my feet while running on the treadmill to make sure that my feet are aimed straight ahead and that I am hitting the treadmill surface with my heel. Hitting with the ball of my foot first could cause more stress from impact. Since I will be going to the gym today, I'll take a look at that. I want to transition to running since I would be able to burn more calories in the same amount of time as walking. Tonight, they are forecasting lows around -30°F.

Monday, November 16, 2009

-18F This Morniing

By the looks of things, winter is really here. This morning, the temperature dropped to -24°F at a low point in the drive in and was up to -18°F near the building I work in. It is cold enough for an inversion i.e. when the temperature goes up the higher up you are. Fortunately, the University is located up on a hill so it is a bit warmer. This is the view from the Butrovich building today at about 11:30 am and as you can see, the sun doesn't get up very high in the sky and I don't think it adds any heat. At least you really don't feel anything when the sun shines on you. Yesterday, I did a bit of walking (my normal walk to church and back) and the walk back didn't feel any warmer than the walk down. This afternoon, I have a meeting on lower campus at 3:30 so I should get a little bit of walking in before heading for the Alaska Club.

After going to the Alaska Club for a couple of weeks, I think I am actually ready to join. I dreaded strength training for years and just couldn't get myself to do any in spite of the fact that it was recommended by just about everyone I talked to. Now, I find that I actually enjoy using the machines at the facility though I don't feel at all motivated to try out the free weights. I have also found that I am a little more motivated to try running on the treadmill. I do try running on the treadmill at home but for some reason, I feel that it isn't as easy to slow down. Maybe it is just vanity since there are other people around. I don't know. Anyway, I think I will continue to go after my free month is up. Actually, on December 7th, I will be getting another card from the WIN program. Maybe I can have another free month before having to actually sign up. Of course, the benefit to signing up is that I can use the facility even when it isn't staffed which would be a lot more convenient. Right now, about the only time I can get there is in the late afternoon after work and try and get home by 6. This is, unfortunately, about their busiest time.

Monday, 6:00 PM - It never really warmed up. It is still only -18°F. I walked/jogged for 3 miles on the treadmill this afternoon and used all 12 of the weight machines increasing the weight a little on about half of them. Keeping track on the card really helps me. I should also keep track of the seat position since that really seems to make a difference on the difficulty. I was reading (on the Internet) yesterday that the machines are really made for someone like me, a rank beginner. They force you to maintain the correct position.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Sesame Street Turns 40

I think that the series of images on the Google home page for the last couple of days is interesting. It sort of shows the generation that many Googlers are part of i.e. younger than me (sigh...) I was "too old" for Sesame Street when it first came on (not to mention that we barely received PBS, KCET uhf channel 28). In case you didn't know, Sesame Street turns 40 today, November 10th, and, I'm afraid to say, I remember when it first came out. I don't ever remember watching it at all back then but as my own kids were growing up, it was a very popular show in our home. Unfortunately, I can remember many of the characters that I disliked mostly because of their whiny voices or the character really seemed "dense" but few favorites. The most notable favorite is Kermit. I also liked the adults on the show and enjoyed many of the guests over the years. I salute them for 40 years on the air.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Mac PGP beta and Windows 7 Install Experience

I've been playing around with a beta version of PGP for the Mac ( and felt that I just had to try out the whole disk encryption feature. The last time I tried it, it rendered my SSD unusable and I didn't have time to mess around with it so I just stuck the OEM drive back in. Last month, I got the SSD running again by partitioning the drive and restoring from a Time Machine backup. Trying it out on the beta completely corrupted the 10.6.1 install on the drive and I ended up doing a restore again. This time the restore didn't work. After messing around and doing a secure wipe of the drive, recreating the two partitions, restoring from Time Machine again and I'm happy to report that it now works again. The SSD is definitely worth the hassle since my Mac boots literally in a matter of seconds. Once past the POST, it is ready to log in in under 10 seconds. After logging in, it is ready to work in maybe 5 more seconds.

Anyway, after messing around with my laptop for the day, it is once again useable. Time Machine is wonderful software and if you have a Mac, you should be using it for backup. I also finished installing Windows 7 on my rugged laptop yesterday and though the reviewers stated that it was faster than XP, my experience is different. Use interface is very Vista like (not necessarily good) and it is difficult to find things. Everything seems to move in slow motion. I still like OS X better as it comes with all of the unix tools I tend to use all the time. I always need to search out third party programs to get the same functionality in Windows and that part hasn't changed with 7. The installation was challenging as the install download came as an executable instead of an ISO. I had to look for other software to turn the directory structure created by the EXE into an ISO that I could burn to a DVD. After that, I did a custom install (i.e. clean install after deleting the XP install) and it went along just fine. No problem with the install or the activation though sound and wireless didn't work until after I ran Windows Update. Kind of odd that it recognized the hardware and downloaded the drivers from Microsoft but they weren't included on the DVD. Installed all the updates, installed the new Microsoft anti-virus Security Essentials. Office 2007, Google Chrome for a better Wave experience, Putty,VLC, and iTunes. Additional software that I still need is a TFTP server, a good VNC client and server and maybe the free version of PGP. I usually only need it on the Mac but it never hurts to have some sort of encryption functionality.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Strength Training

I finally got around to using my Alaska Club free month that I received from the WIN for Alaska program last year. Today, I went to their new facility on Chena Pump Road to start my free month. I was told that I really needed to start some sort of strength training to go along with my walking and jogging if I wanted to continue loosing weight. This is not only from the WIN consultant but also from my regular physician. I need to build muscle mass to speed up my metabolism. I don't want more exercise gear around the house so the Alaska Club seems like a good option. Today, I ran on the treadmill for half an hour to warm up then went through the ten Nautilus machines doing ten reps of each exercise. I was told that the goal was to do barely ten or raise the weight the next time you go through the sequence. Since this was my first time, I was guessing at a starting weight and I hit it right on the correct weight on a couple of machines. I can really feel it now especially in my arms. Kind of like the overall feeling as when I first started on the treadmill and it is a good feeling. I'm Trying to figure out whether it's worth it to sign up long term.

I finally moved the bike into the back of the garage this evening. Kind of sad but I am looking forward to working on the bike. After parking the bike and getting it up on the center stand, I noticed that the side stand was just about getting ready to fall off. One more thing to add to the list. Now I really do need to pull off the header pipes (to get to the mounting bolt for the side stand).

- Posted from my iPhone

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Back in Fairbanks

Finally back after five days in Barrow. This was a new touristy sign across the street from Spenard Builders Supply near the ocean. The Arctic Ocean is just visible in the background. No ice yet. I'm told that the sea ice edge is still over a hundred miles out.

It is a depiction of pulling in a whale onto the ice along with some holes to poke your face through.Here is another picture I took of the same activity a couple of years ago. At that time, we didn't have the wonderful sky color in the background. Come to think of it, most of the time it seems to be a bit overcast and the sun is usually setting to the south as opposed to the north west as the tourist picture shows. What's that called, artistic freedom?

Back in Fairbanks, there is now plenty of ice on the roads. Especially around the side roads like in our subdivision. No more motorcycle riding until spring I guess unless we have a really freak warm spell. I still haven't pushed the bike into it's winter storage spot. Maybe tomorrow evening. I'm trying out a new iPhone app called BlogPress that I heard about from Steve Williams blog, Scooter in the Sticks, and it seems to work pretty well.

- Posted from my iPhone