Friday, July 17, 2015

Balancing the pain -- PF Update

I have had the walking cast off for about a month.
I have been going to physical therapy weekly, and doing the at-home exercises 5 days per week.
I went to Comic-Con and walked a LOT.
I have been riding again; just not yet as consistently as pre-walking-cast.

Treadmill after 30 mile ride,
HR over time,
This week, I started on the treadmill, mixing walking and running over a twenty minute session.  I did this three times.  The only real stat I have is a HR chart from each that looks something like this.

Cardio is fine.  The max heart rate depicted here is pretty low for me.  Once I start longer running sessions I'll see a higher value.

Running felt fine.

On Thursday morning's bike ride, after two days of treadmill, my legs felt a little tired.  This is expected and accepted, as I had not run in months.

Hours after running, especially the first half hour of the morning following a run, there was some discomfort in my heel.  There should be no pain.  I want to be pain free.  Not "Some discomfort."

I'm going to avoid the treadmill Friday-Sunday.  On Monday I'll see the P/T and discuss what the plan should be going forward.

Plantar Fasciitis combined with getting older (so not bouncing back as quickly) - Yuck.

Monday, June 8, 2015

The heart is the first thing to go...

After four weeks on the couch I've been given the OK to get back on the bike, so I went out for a short ride.  Today's ride was about half the distance of my last one, the last being a "new shoe test ride."

This was also a new shoe test ride, but that wasn't the focus.  The focus this time was general fitness, test the foot, test the bike, test the shoes, get back to the fun.  Shoes worked well.

When comparing then versus now, with four weeks of couch surfing in between, there's one big difference that jumps out.

Then Now
Avg Max Avg Max
Speed 16.1mi/h 40.7mi/h 16.2mi/h 38.9mi/h
Heart Rate 135bpm 179bpm 151bpm 170bpm
Cadence 83 114 86 159

Woah!  Look at that heart rate difference.  While the Max recorded value is similar, the average is 11% higher today.  

Four weeks of getting out of shape, it'll be four to get back to cycling cardio shape.  

Two matching shoes, two matching socks

Plantar Fasciitis is gone and I'm wearing two shoes again.
Four weeks in an air cast, four weeks since getting a steroid injection to knock down remaining inflammation and make way for healing while immobilized in the boot. 

For now, PF is gone.   This is a good thing.  Now I can begin to return to the activities I want to pursue.

Next up is Physical Therapy.  I am expecting focused stretches and exercises to strengthen and stretch the feet, perhaps with a bit of consideration for the whole chain, up on leg and down the other.  Perhaps they can address what needs to happen for intermittent pain elsewhere...  In any event, I don't expect to stay with P/T long.  The objective is to better prepare so that I can keep active in the future, whether that's through exercises, tools, whatever.  Retrain so that I'm better off.

Its been five months since I ran, and it will probably be another month before I am running regularly again.  A few more months after that to get any form of speed or endurance back.

First step, get a plan.

Friday, May 29, 2015

Not bike to work day

Friday, May 29th was scheduled as a make up day for Bike To Work day in San Diego.

Instead of biking to work, I had yet another day in the boot, trying to immobilize to support better recovery for plantar fasciitis.  Eighteen days down, ten to go.

I've switched to shorts every day.  If our "May Gray" would go away, I might actually get some color on my legs.  Its unlikely, but possible.  I'm curious to see if I return to slacks once the boot is gone, or if I use this month of boot with shorts to become a "shorts all the time" person again.  We'll see.

Instead of riding my bike, I got to drive today. Just like every other day with the boot.  I like my car, so that's a good thing, but I'd still prefer to be healthy and free to ride.  Soon.

Friday, May 22, 2015

Cool Jazz Spy (review)

Not a blog post, but content I generated; a review I posted on Goodreads.  Are you on Goodreads?


My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I'll attempt to remain spoiler free.

Cool Jazz Spy is a spy novel with a technology focus. Like many others in the genre, he takes inspiration from current events and weaves a tale around reality. Being grounded in reality, we may still be surprised where things end up. It is my hope that we don't live through the attack that Mr Bartusiak describes, and hope that our defenses are better able to withstand any such attacks.

On to the book itself.

It almost feels as if there are two books here, one focused on the technologies used in the attack and one a cloak and dagger action story. The segues are handled by focusing on those featured in the action side and their brief forays in to the technical side.

As is common to the genre, the author starts off with a hook, pulling the reader in to the story and trying to lock the reader in for the duration. This introduction is good, and sets the tone that there is to be a cyber aspect to this thriller. It takes a while for the reader to resolve "why" some of the things that happened in this introduction happened; perhaps a bit more of the answer would set a stronger hook?

The technical chapters can be quite dense, almost tedious to read, while the action chapters flow much more rapidly. I fear that Mr. Bartusiak may lose some readers with the early technical chapters -- later in the book, by the time the reader is involved in the story, it is easier to accept them and move forward. Bear in mind I am a software engineering professional, I've worked in this general arena for twenty years; my read is definitely influenced by that - looking for the details, trying to mesh them up as realistic or not, etc. Someone outside the industry might more rapidly move through these areas.

The action chapters flow quite quickly, as one expects for action.

The book ends with the current story arc completed, but the stage is set for a follow on. Whether that is with the protagonist, the next cyber activity, or a look at life after the attack, the door has been left open.

Finally, I received this book from the author. Thanks Paul!

View all my reviews

Thursday, May 14, 2015

A boot and a shot!

After four months of not running, my plantar fasciitis is better.  The amount of pain had gone from THIS MUCH to about this much but it just wasn't no pain.  Since there's still pain, and I want to get back to the point of no pain, I went to see the podiatrist again on Monday.  

I was given a steroid shot and an 'air cast' with instructions to follow up in 4 weeks.  The foot has been immobilized with a walking cast held together with velcro.  I can take it off to sleep, shower, and drive.  The doctor did not include 'drive' in the list, but I cannot work the clutch with it on, so it comes off to drive...

Immobilized.  No running or cycling, awkward walking.  For at least four weeks - it wil be a follow up appointment, not necessarily the release to be active again.

I feel like Robocop walking the halls.  ka-chunk.  step.  ka-chunk.  step.

My activity tracker comes up with lower goals daily.

Thursday, April 30, 2015


Sunday, the 26th of April, I rode up Palomar with some of the VeloNutz.  

They were riding it as a training ride for a Mt Baldy climb associated with this year's Tour of California.  I was riding it because I had a family-free day.

Looking back down
I'd been given a Strava link to a friend's track, told that we were riding the same thing.  The track was 75 miles, and when I converted it to a route Strava predicted just under 5 hours.  Either of those metrics would make it my longest ride for the year.

There were seven of us at the start.  We picked up one more after we crossed over Lake Hodges, so then we had a small group of eight, able to ride two abreast.   Knowing we were going to get out of my comfort zone, I did what I could to stay in the pack.  Further, not knowing the route, I needed to stay with the group - by ten miles in, we were on roads I don't visit often, and by twenty I'm not sure I'd ever been there before.  So I stayed in.

Two split off at one turn, then we two more split off before climbing South Grade up to Palomar.  That left four of us for the climb.

Above the clouds
Within five minutes, I was alone on the climb.  I'd lost Tony's wheel and he was off the front out of sight.  Irwin and Hermie was somewhere behind me.  Time to settle in and grind up the climb. First under a cloudy sky, then in the clouds, then above the clouds.  11.5 miles and 4100 feet later, I reached the general store, with four stops to read and respond to text messages (one of which told me the second pair of two had turned back) and snap a couple of photos.

Then it was down the hill and back home.  85 miles.  

General Store stop
Wait, what happened to the 75 mile route?  We climbed a different way.  

Hermie's instagram collage captures the various weather patterns, and Tony's picture shows the four of us at the top.

Strava gives the route and metrics.

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Walk, don't run

I went for a twenty minute walk at noon today.

It was short, mellow, and solo, but with a purpose.  This was a test of my plantar before embarking on a run.  I'll do a few more such tests before embarking on a run.

Fingers crossed there's no pain.

Saturday, March 28, 2015


 What do you do to stop it?  What do you do to reverse it?

In the beginning of Spring Quarter, 1993, I tore my left ACL.  A few weeks later, in April, I had surgery to replace the torn ligament.  I spent two months on crutches, as well as months with various braces, wraps, and supports.  Months of physical therapy ensued to rebuild, both the replacement parts and the surrounding and supporting bits that had shrunk while not being used.  By the end of the summer, I was cycling with a brace.  By the Fall, I was able to play a bit of volleyball.  For years, my mom would say that my left leg was thinner than my right.  Still atrophied, but improved.

In the late 90s, I started running.  Kept cycling.  Since then, I've continued to run and ride.  I've had a few injuries that have sidelined me, forced me to take time off.  Sometimes, those injuries have involved physical therapy to recover, often exposing various muscles that were weaker than those around them.  Exercises to build up the weak muscles and recover from injury, allowing the running and riding to continue.  

Lots of things atrophy.



Technical skills.

Years ago, I did system administration work.  MacOS, Solaris, Windows.  Troubleshooting methodology remains, but certainly not the details.

Later, I did a number of storage related tasks -- SAN, NAS, WAFS.  Installation, configuration, benchmarking, troubleshooting, tuning.  Could I tell you how to set up a port-to-port zone configuration with the storage, switches, and HBAs that we used?  No, I'd have to review the documentation and spend some time coming back up to speed.  Some of the methodologies remain with me today -- that zoning restricts where the traffic goes, less noise is good, dedicated signal is good, don’t bend the fibre cables too much.  Benchmarking ideas and methodologies.  

How do you pick which skills are important to maintain?  How do we maintain those that aren't part of the day to day?

In school, I learned a bit of lisp, ml, and a handful of others for a comparative languages course.  I spent at least a quarter in Fortran, Pascal, 3b2 assembly.  
We learned assembly.  I knew assembly – registers, stacks.  I don't know assembly now.  I don't know those other languages either.

I've spent years in each of Java, Perl, C++.  Programming.  Algorithms are still algorithms, speed still comes from understanding O(n) is better than O(n ln n) is better than O(n**2).  The language specifics fade out.  

How do you hold on?  What do you hold on to?

For running and cycling, for these physical activities, it’s easy.  Full body workout, emphasis on the supporting muscles for the primary pursuits of running and cycling.  Don’t neglect the weak areas.

For technical areas, it's a little harder.  Algorithms, TDD, Scrum, these can follow to the new pursuit.  

How do you maintain, how do you know which are important to hold on to?

Atrophy happens to everyone, in lots of ways.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

News for an eight year old...

This morning I was chatting with our eight year old before school.  The Washington Post had a Leprechaun on their app image on his Kindle, and he made a comment about the image.  I was more than a bit surprised that he was looking at The Washington Post.

Really?  You look at the Washington Post?

Yes.  I like to read the comics.

The Washington Post has comics?


I look at the sports section too, but they don't have baseball.

Its only March.  Baseball hasn't started yet.

They should cover spring training.

Uhm...  OK.  Maybe they should.

It would appear we need to add an application that lets him get baseball news on his Kindle.  Also more comics.

I don't recall following baseball at eight years old, but I certainly read the comics.  We gave up on receiving a physical paper years ago.  I'm glad he's got the opportunity with an app to read some daily comics.

Monday, March 16, 2015

Fifty-eight days

Usually, the time between my run workouts is measured in days.  One day.  Two days.  This time, "months" would be a better unit of measure.  It had been almost two months since I last ran.  Eight weeks.  Fifty-eight days.

Today, I ran.

Short and mellow.

Heart rate limited by alerts set on my Garmin.  I've used a Garmin for lots of training in the past - intervals, HR, pace, cadence alerts, but this month I'll be using it to stay mellow and to turn around when I reach the mileage goal.

Hot and dry, more typical of August than March, it was 90F at run time.  I'd say it was unusually warm, except the record of 93F was set last year on this date.

Will I be sore?  Will there be follow on pain? When will I run again?