Saturday, January 31, 2009

Finished January with a Strong Start

I ended up getting a ride to the campus from the hotel on the shuttle since I didn't get up in time to walk. I did walk back to the hotel and it was wonderful. It was sunny, about 70° or so with a gentle breeze. Unfortunately, there was quite a bit of traffic and many of the streets were unfriendly to walking. I.e. no sidewalks. No hills either. All this flat would get boring to me. Anyway, I finished the day with a 3 mile run on the hotel treadmill. Today, I ran about 10% faster than yesterday since I wasn't constrained by a treadmill program. Is it a bad idea to run at 90% Just for comparison, I also wore the pedometer. 5.98 miles on the Nike+ and 10.73 miles on the pedometer. The Nike+ gadget was only used for the walk back and the run on the treadmill. So I did walk almost 5 miles just wandering around, going to dinner, etc. Kind of what I had figured from before. I finished the month with 143.26 miles on the Nike+ and that is well over the 80 miles per month goal that I had set for myself. I guess I should have set a higher goal. Since I am here for the rest of the week as well as February being a short month, it may still be a reasonable goal.

While running today, I watched my heart rate and it stayed between 147 and 160 bpm. This corresponds to 80% and 90% of maximum for me based on the zone formula from this site which is apparantly anaerobic. Most of the web sites I read suggest that I need to exercise at a much lower level to get aerobic benefit and maximize fat burning. When I do that, I don't feel that I get much exercise. I wonder if I'm hurting myself by running faster...

Friday, January 30, 2009

College Station, TX

I arrived in College Station, TX, after a long, not too unpleasant flight. It was still long having left home at 10:00 last night but I got upgraded. Surprisingly, I was able to get some sleep on the flights. There wasn't enough time to walk much in Seattle but I had a couple of hours in Dallas-Fort Worth. It was much larger than Seattle and just looping through the "B" and "D" concourses was a bit over 2½ miles. Only got one lap in before stopping for lunch. I was expecting more green here and was surprised at the snow coming into Dallas. It isn't real warm here but it's warmer than Fairbanks. I heading down to the fitness center to get in a bit of walking before having dinner.

Later - I still haven't made it to dinner but the fitness room here is pretty nice. I got in a bit over 7 miles today. I'm happy with that. After exercising, I don't really feel very hungry so maybe I'll skip dinner (as a meal) and just look for a small snack. I noticed that, for me, the transition between walking and jogging must use a lot of energy. While walking on the treadmill, the angle got up to about 12% to maintain a heart rate of 150. When I bumped up the speed by only ½ mph, the angle dropped down to ½% to maintain the same heart rate. Anyway, I jogged for 40 minutes this evening and walked for 25 minutes. A good workout for me. Time to get a snack and get rested for tomorrow. The workshop begins at 9:00 and it's about a 2½ mile walk from the hotel.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Over the Top

My long walk yesterday evening put me over the top. Actually, the walk was on 1.35 miles from te bus stop to the house then back own to church but it did put my total for the month at 130.18 miles which is just over last years mileage. I need any and all incentives I can get for continuing to exercise. I lost 8 lbs since my last visit in September but nowhere near what I would like to see.

Thursday evening - I'm sitting in the Fairbanks airport waiting for the 1:30 am flight south. It seemed strange when I packed, almost like I had forgotten how. I had a hard time figuring out what I needed to bring. I'm on a larger dose of some medication since my sugar levels were a bit higher than they were before we reduced the dose. Maybe that was contributing to my inability to concentrate. Plus I felt pretty tired this evening when I was supposed to be packing. No treadmill this evening but I did remember to pack my pedometer since the new WIN for Alaska fitness program begins on the 1st. When I get back, I'm supposed to arrange for some PT for my shoulder. I was given a shot which should help if it is bursitis but it is still hurting. The physical therapy should help if it a torn rotator cuff. I'm guessing that that is the problem since the shot didn't help. I should do some research about that since I have some time here in the airport.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Temps Starting to Drop Again!

Well, I'm sure glad that I got some outdoor walking in on Sunday since the temperature is dropping fast. Yesterday, it was only about -5°F and this morning, it was -31°F. I walked down to the bus stop and that wasn't too bad but the walk from lower to upper campus felt really cold. I guess I should've worn the snow bibs.

I walked 5½ miles on the treadmill last night putting me a bit closer to matching last January's mileage. Only 1.02 more miles. I should get that tonight walking from the bus stop. Tomorrow, I have to drive in since I need to stop at the clinic on the way in and tomorrow evening, I head to the College Station, TX, for the ESCC/Internet2 joint Techs meeting at Texas A&M University. The hotel is 2½ miles from the meeting rooms so I should get some walking in. I am taking two workshops in addition to the meeting. The first on the Dynamic Circuit Network and the second on IP Telephony. It should be a pretty busy week...

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Running Outdoors

Even though it was about 0°F today, I really wanted to get some outdoor exercise. I walked one of my familiar Summer routes which went up and along a lot of back roads since the bike paths are pretty difficult to walk on. There was hardly any traffic so I was able to avoid the soft snow at the edge of the road. I walked the uphill sections and ran on the moderate downhills and flat sections. Ended up going about 6 1/4 miles in about 1:10. Not a stellar 10k time but for me, it was pretty good. I really need to run more outside since it is so different than running on the treadmill. I think I dressed too warmly as I was pretty drenched by the time I reached my destination. But I did manage to keep my heart rate up for most of the way (85%). If I started getting chilled, I would just speed up. What surprised me is how warm I was and had to run without my hat much of the time to avoid getting overheated. And had to periodically remove my gloves as well on the uphill sections. I was surprised that it wasn't very slippery even in those areas without any gravel. Now, I want to go running outside again. It felt great! Easier than skiing. No equipment required. Unfortunately, I didn't have my Garmin with it's heart monitor. Next time I guess.

So far this month, 113 miles on Nike+.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

"It's Never Windy in Fairbanks"

I must of felt energetic this evening as I walked 8 1/2 miles. There were two shows on the Science Network that were pretty interesting. The first was about Stephen Hawking and his brief history of time and the second was on string theory. I started walking on the treadmill when the first one started and figured I might as well keep walking during the second. I still find physics interesting though it seems to be a lot different now than it was when I'm in school. I think I could've kept walking but figured that two hours was probably enough. It sure will be nice when I can comfortably walk outside.

Only 3 1/2 miles more this month to hit 100 miles. The temperatures around here are predicted to go down to about -20°F by the middle of next week and hopefully the wind will go away as well. It is closer to a breeze but you can definitely feel it when heading into it.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

January Nike+ Goal Achieved

Last January (2008), I went 129.84 miles so I still have a ways to go just to get to where I was. I'm up to 85 miles this month so I can still probably match last year. I noticed from the Nike+ graphs that after April, the monthly totals dropped dramatically. I think I got discouraged by the Beat Beethoven run somewhere in the middle of April and never really got into walking again, until the beginning of this month. Last year, just about all of my winter activity was on the treadmill. This year, I'm getting outside more if for no other reason than I'm taking the bus most days. Hopefully, it will help as I plan on entering the 5K again. After all, I need to see if there is any change from last year.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Post #225

This morning, I had to stop at the clinic to get blood drawn so since I was up anyway, I went for a longish walk. Today is supposed to be a University holiday but like just about any other Monday, I'm sitting in my office. As you can see in the image, I am most of the way to my January walking goal that I set for myself on the Nike+ site. Now I just need to try and keep up the same pace for the rest of the year. I still have a gift card from the WIN program for a month at the Alaska Club. The WIN consultant mentioned that I really need to do more upper body strength training so that may be a good way to get started. My left shoulder is still hurting and my visit to the clinic wasn't worth much. The PA just gave me a bunch of Ibuprofen and told me to learn to live with it. Not very helpful. Anyway, that has been limiting any exercise involving my shoulder. All in all, not much interesting going on. Barely worthy of a post...

I have been trying to not go to Barrow this month since I ended up going multiple times in December. The VoIP system seems to be running fine though we still need to install a UPS system in the new facility. I have been trying to keep my hands out of the system and not add additional features until I get a better understanding of the software. I am scheduled to attend the ESCC/Internet2 Joint Tech meeting at Texas A&M, and there is a IP Telephony/SIP workshop that I am attending. The software used in the workshop is the same as I have deployed in Barrow. The Texas group has a lot of experience with the software and I am hoping to pick some useful information and tips. Unfortunately, that probably means not much walking. Maybe. I have been looking at a map of the area and the meetings and workshops are located near the middle of campus and according to Google Maps, it is about 2.2 miles from the hotel.

Monday Evening - Yeah! 5 more miles on the treadmill this evening. I don't know why this is so important to me. I was already tired from my walk this morning though not at all achy or sore. Maybe I need to feel exhausted before I feel that I did anything. I did manage to run for 4 of the 5 miles this evening. This is the furthest I've run on the treadmill since last March. I wasn't winded so now maybe I need to pick up speed. I think...

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Spring is Over

The unseasonably warm January appears to be over as the temperature has been steadily dropping all day long. I think that it is supposed to be below zero (°F) by next Tuesday. I should get an opportunity to go skiing before it gets too cold. We got some fresh snow today so the skiing should be pretty good. I did quit a bit of walking today, somewhere around 10 miles recorded on the Nike+ throughout the day. I have been trying to get up to 10 miles since I did the Equinox. I didn't record any significant walks for the last three months and I really wanted to get started again. I also picked up about 10 lbs in the last year. I really want to get rid of that. It was so difficult to loose the weight in the first place, I don't see how I let myself pick the weight back up. I also started back on the challenges on the Nike+ site as I had sort of slacked off with that. As I mentioned earlier, I had only logged 1000 miles in last 15 months on the Nike+. I know that I have walked much further than that on the pedometer so the challenge was to go on more "walks" rather than simply walk around. It has been a challenge to use the treadmill since it is pretty boring. It's a good thing that between the Science Channel and the Food Network, I have been able to keep myself occupied. I have been getting some outside walking in going to church and to the bus stop. I also have been walking between upper and lower campus whenever possible. I'm not sure how long I can keep it up but I had set an arbitrary goal of 80 miles per month for myself. February 1st brings the new WIN program that should provide some challenge. I haven't had much opportunity to use the GPS from the last program. I need to start running more so I can cover the same distance in a less time. I noticed that running on the treadmill is much easier than running outside. And even on the treadmill, 20 minutes is about my limit. I'll just need to keep at it I guess.

Friday, January 16, 2009

I just looked at the temperature and it is now +52°F at the airport. Very slippery outside. Yesterday evening, I fell flat on my back two feet from the garage door. Water was running off the roof and forming a wet block of ice and, naturally, I wasn't watching where I was going. This morning, I noticed that there was a pool of water on the street in front of the museum. The UAF Facilities person mentioned that the snow was melting off of the roof and just running into the street. He made a comment that for what they paid for the building, maybe they could of put in a little more thought into drainage...

I uploaded my walks to the Nike+ site and discovered that I have done a bit over 50 miles since returning from our trip (about 10 days.) I shouldn't have any problem meeting my goal of 80 miles per month even with traveling. I usually don't log many miles on the Nike+ device and have only just went past the 1000 mile mark. Plus the sensors haven't been lasting very long. I have been trying to jog some every time I use the treadmill but get pretty tired after about 15 or 20 minutes. I really want to build up some endurance. I guess I just need to try running more.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

44 Above!

What do you think of this? Almost 100°F swing within a week.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Felt motivated this evening. I took the bus today so I had walked 1 1/2 miles this morning and 2 miles this evening (I took a slight detour walking to the bus stop on lower campus since it was so warm). Later on, I jogged/walked for two hours on the treadmill. Ran for about 45 minutes but walked most of the time. I still felt like going further but thought that two hours was probably long enough. While I was walking down to the bus stop on lower campus, I seriously considered just walking home but thought that I might get cold. After all, it just felt warm compared to earlier in the week. It was still only 0°F. Anyway, eight miles on the treadmill and over ten miles for the day. I'm happy with that.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Non-resident Resident

The last post mentioned 40 below. This evening, it is almost up to zero (°F). It feels downright tropical! I couldn't take the bus today so I tried to compensate by walking longer on the treadmill. Unfortunately, it gets pretty boring after about an hour and a half. Oh well, five miles is better than nothing. Last week when I met with the WIN consultant, she mentioned something about me having slow twitch muscles. I have always tended towards activities such as bicycle touring, backpacking, long walks, etc. And I have never done well in activities such as running, climbing, bicycle racing, tennis, etc. Those activities which require bursts of speed. Makes sense to me.

Tuesday afternoon - It is up to zero again and it feels almost too warm to do much walking outside. I walked down the hill this afternoon and I felt really warm and I got overheated. Weird. Now I'm waiting for the shuttle back up the hill. I tried to register for a class and was told that I needed to apply for residency. I've been employed by the university for almost 26 years. I would have assumed that they knew whether or not I was actually here. Maybe time to start tele-commuting from somewhere without the -45°F temperatures...

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Still 40 below

I think that it has been almost two weeks of pretty cold weather. I realize that there are many places in the world where it is colder, but for this part of the state it's pretty cold. No walking outside today though I did walk on the treadmill again this evening. I made up a challenge for myself on the Nike+ site. Walk/jog at least 80 miles per month. I know that I've gone much further than that in a month but most of it was just walking around. The challenge now is to actually do the distance on "walks" rather than just going down the hall. The WIN program starts up again at the beginning of next month so that should be an incentive. I don't really need any of their prize incentives but it will get me going nontheless. I think I'm up to around 25 miles so far this month.

Sometime next week, it's supposed to get up to 15°F. Should be a good opportunity to go skiing.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Is Spring Just Around the Corner?

In spite of the very cold weather, I have been able to get in a reasonable amount of exercise. On Wednesday, I dragged out the treadmill and walked 5 miles. One of the reasons was to get my Nike+ sensor paired with my new-old iPod. I traded my 3rd generation Nano with my for a 2nd generation model. I always liked the size and shape of the older Nano better so it seemed like a fair trade. Anyway, I took the bus on Thursday and jogged on the treadmill on Thursday which added up to 8 miles. Today, I took the bus in again which means that shortly after I start walking on the treadmill this evening, I should earn my 1000 mile virtual award on the Nike+ site. I set up a goal this morning on the site of 80 miles per month. This seems reasonable and should be enough to keep me going for a while. I also entered a couple more challenges one of which is called the Great White North Treadmill Challenge. Most of the other participants are from Canada though there are a few from warmer states. It is interesting hearing of weather reports such as -48°C in Alberta. Someone in the building mentioned hearing on a radio show that it was -78°F in Northway, AK. I guess folks around here shouldn't be complaining about our weather.

Yesterday evening, while walking up the hill from the bus stop, I noticed that it was still light on the western horizon. We are now picking up a couple of minutes of daylight per day. It was nice to see it getting lighter. Is that a sign that Spring is just around the corner? According to the weather guessers, it is supposed to be getting warmer sometime this weekend. But then again, today felt colder than it did yesterday. There was even a slight breeze to mess with the temperature inversion that we had going. Inversions are a good thing if you live in the hills. While it has been 40 something below in town, we were "enjoying" -20°F at the house. The breeze will mix up the air eliminating the inversion.

Later - I walked 5 miles on the treadmill this evening and feel run down. I felt fine while walking but now, an hour later, I feel miserable. Almost like, "why bother"...

Monday, January 5, 2009

Gettysburg, PA

In the National Park Service visitors center, there is a 360° painting of the view from Cemetery Hill, which is just south of the town of Gettysburg. The paintng is called a Cyclorama and it is 359 ft long,27 ft high and is painted on a single piece of canvas. Incredibly realistic scenery and is the work of French artist Paul Dominique Philippoteaux according to Wikipedia. It has just been restored and it looks great. The foreground in the picture is a diorama and the painting is the upper part. Very realistic.

View to the north towards the town of Gettysburg from Little Round Top.

I found the place to be very depressing. I think part of it was hearing about the feeling folks had toward the slaves. The United States had more slaves than anywhere else in the world and even some in the north, especially those who had financial interests in the south, were opposed to the elimination of slavery. Pretty sad....

The union army was outnumbered but had much of the high ground. I guess it's much harder to work your way uphill. Plus, your artillery has more range shooting downhill. I'm glad we stopped but it was still depressing.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Quiet Sunday

Today is overcast and cool compared to yesterday. I hope it doesn't snow since we need to drive back to VA tomorrow morning. At least we will be going back in the daylight and it isn't as cold as it is in Fairbanks. Tomorrow, we are thinking of stopping at Gettysburg on the way back to my brother in-laws place in VA. We need to pack then head for a hotel near the airport for our flight on Tuesday morning. I think we have more luggage going back. Isn't that the way it always is. Today was a slow, lay-around day. No shopping malls, Amish shops at restaurants. Church this morning, bowling this afternoon, cards in the evening and simple meals at the retirement home cafeteria. I don't play games anymore since I have this competitive streak in me that always has to win.

Saturday, January 3, 2009


We wandered around Amish country in PA. Plenty of horse drawn buggies including a lot of them doing rides for the tourists. We went to a smorgasborg in Intercourse, PA, for lunch but I just had a salad. An expensive salad. As you can probably guess, there were many items in the gift shops making fun of the name of the town. The food around here seems distinctly American but nothing really outstanding. Maybe that is what is distinctive about it. There are a lot of homemade breads and pasteries as well as home canned jams, jellies and pickled foods. We stopped at a farmers market in a town called Bird-in-Hand. Pretty good selection of stuff. The last time I was there, I picked up some sugar free chocolate so I picked up some more since they have a huge selection.

We then headed back to drop of my father-in-law at the home in time for him to get dinner. Since I need 6 hours between meals due to my medication, it is way too early for me. I think that my wife wants to play cards with him later tonight.

I had expected to see more motorcycles around since the weather seemed sunny and warm enough but I only saw one the whole day. It was a BMW R1150RT with a non-ATGATT rider. Jeans, running shoes, nylon jacket (no -riding) but he did have helmet & gloves. This would seem to be a great area to ride in with all the narrow winding roads lined with farms and woods. At times like this, I question living in Alaska.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

New Years Day

Today was a pretty quiet day. I made some maki this morning. One with the unagi, mushrooms and eggs and the other a modified California roll. They turned out okay. Not my best effort. I used a differant brand of soy sauce and there was no way to toast the nori. I didn't watch any bowl games, parades, or any TV at all during the entire visit. The visit with my inlaws was wonderful. The company was great, very entertaining, good food. Yesterday, we had something called Cincinatti Chili which was server over spaghetti with cheese, onions & beans on the side. Very good with a hint of cinnamon.