Squatters Challenge: Day 1

Just thought I’d record my impressions of my first prescribed workout of what I have come to call the Squatters Challenge.

Overhead Squats: Holy crap on a stick! These babies have most of my back, shoulder blades and everything working. I can still feel muscles back there I didn’t know I had, like (brace for Anatomy 101 Google style) upper- and mid-trapezius, that neck tendon in there (levator scapulae), and deltoids, too. And my upper thighs (quadriceps) are on fire like they are after about 9 laps at Barber! Good grief. Dude Who Runs Downhill wasn’t lying about the effectiveness of this exercise.

Snatch Lifts: These really didn’t do anything for me, other than make me sweat and bring my heart rate up, but maybe that’s the point. What made me feel silly was the “snatching” of just a bar without added weights. This thing weighs only (*goes to bathroom to step on the scale with it*) sixteen pounds. Sorry, they were all out of Olympic bars (those 7-foot 45-pound jobs) unless I wanted a stack of weights to go with them. 😦 Makes me think if I wasn’t supposed to make up the difference with plates on the ends… Hmmmm, Dude Who Runs Downhill never specified. I’m sure a nice, slightly bent out of true, one-incher is just what was ordered, not to mention in my price range. πŸ˜‰

High Pulls: Same as the snatch lifts, I felt a little “underpowered” if you will. Gets the heart pumping, but I did feel the la petite burn in the shoulders (anterior deltoids) and the back of the upper arms (triceps), extending slightly into the forearms.

Good Morning Exercise: Just like Michelle said in the video. Lower back, glutes and ham strings. Bum and thighs all the way around. I actually liked this exercise the best; but it seems that out of these four, the overhead squats are probably the most beneficial to me.

And what in the world is happening with my ankle?!? I haven’t run in two days and at some point today, while parked on the couch no less, I notice that my right ankle is hurting. I haven’t done anything to it. Oh well, it’s not my shift foot, so I’ll wrap that puppy up in an ace bandage tomorrow and put about three miles on it. I’m not starting my scheduled marathon training skipping out or doing less. End of story.

How does my friend Margie put it? “Racers play hurt.” Or maybe it’s just us, being old and frail and slow, with no choice but to play hurt or otherwise we don’t get to play at all. A midlife crisis is such a terrible thing to waste. =D We make up for our lack of youthful springiness with a sick sense of humor, massive horsepower, and in my friend’s case, brutal amounts of low-end torque.


One Deadline Coming Right Up

As promised, I tweaked the training schedule, mashed it up with my road racing schedule and registered for a half-marathon that fit. It took me less than it takes me to brew a cup of java to find a convenient 13.1 foot race not too far from here.

Registration confirmation for the Palmetto Half-Marathon in Columbia, SC

Yes, I will be riding the S1000RR there. I might as well slide in on the fastest Β race horse just to come strolling in last. Why should my running be any different from my racing? On second thought, I herewith solemnly promise to make “tech” on time for this one. πŸ˜‰

Since talk is cheap and pics are worth at least 30 minutes of small-town gossip, I post the collaborating evidence up for review. 30 minutes of gossip? WTH? That is not how the saying goes! Pictures haven’t been worth 1,000 words since Adobe Photoshop 4.0. πŸ˜‰

I’m putting the husbandry on notice. Mr. Slow doesn’t have a choice. He will be there. The Busa wills it. He can take photos of me and post pics of my half-dead corpse somewhere around the finish line on Google+ or Facebook or Twitter, and wherever else he hangs out.

Palmetto Half-Marathon

Columbia, SC

April 14, 2012

What time is it? It's time to shut up and put one foot in front of the other. That's what time it is! :)

What time is it? It's time to shut up and put one foot in front of the other. That's what time it is! πŸ™‚


Deadline Driven

I am not a self-motivator by any stretch of the imagination. If I don’t have a deadline, I’ll just find better things to do until I’m up against the wall with no place to go but forward at a really stressful pace. I’ve been sitting around moping for the past two days, beating myself with the Shoulda-Woulda-Coulda Stick. I am my own worst critic. I’m never good enough, smart enough, strong enough. Enough with the not-enoughs!

Sometimes I have to get hit with a sledgehammer so I can let my brain synch back up and tell my emotional soft spot to quit jabbering and take a flying leap off of a very tall building. I am better than this. I’ve had it with depression and self-pity. I should be happy damn it! Enjoying life and feeling good about myself. Winter is almost over and with spring just around the next turn, the usual seasonal episodes of chemical imbalance in the receptors and the lack of full-spectrum light are almost over. I can do this.

There is a reason I loved military life. No matter how much you moaned, no matter how bad you felt, no matter how tired you were or how depressed you felt, you had to commit to the task regardless. There was simply no other option. Do or die. Just do. Adapt and overcome and get the shit done.

My mental sledgehammer? I need a deadline and a schedule to follow. And, most important of all, I need accountability. Take any one of these away and you’ll find me sitting on my ass playing video games and wasting away in Social Network Land before the month is out.

The marathon.

It’s on my Bucket List.Β At the very bottom, right above “race the Isle of Man TT”, which is last item on my list for a very good reason. Because it’s probably the thing I’ll be doing when I kick it. πŸ˜‰ In my mind, the marathon is rated only slightly above the IOMTT in survivability.

In the same spirit as the “squatting challenge” I’ve accepted but half a day ago, I put my running effort on the schedule it should have been on from the very start:Β Hal Higdon’s Novice 1 Marathon Training. I have to change it slightly, since race weekends are not good choices for long runs. The training weeks that coincide with motorcycle racing, will be repeated in their uninterrupted entirety the following week.

As with my strength training routine, I will start running according to the Novice 1 schedule Β on Monday.

My (racing) goals for today:

  • Run my usual three miles.
  • Pick up the ordered parts from the rocket shop and finish reassembling the front forks on the race horse.
  • Find a half-marathon and a marathon to race, then register for the 13.1 and post my commitment here.

Ready or not, 15 days to race.

~-~-~

After submitting the post, I was presented with a quote I thought very befitting of my life at the moment, so I’ll share these words with you here:

Dreams are illustrations from the book your soul is writing about you.

~Marsha Norman


If You Gonna Be A Squatter…

The story starts something like this: Miss Busa is caught complaining on Facebook that her ass is pretty big. Her sister in speed, Margie “Crashy” Lee, wastes no time pointing out that this is a serious overstatement and just a matter of simple German Girl’s Butt. She further suggests doing a few squats and shutting up, because her “big old black butt” could take both of the German girls’ butts any time and concurrently. Miss Busa’s understanding of Badonkadonk needs revision, obviously. The beautiful JLo is also being dragged into this classy conversation with posterior motives.

Miss Busa (thinks she) has a big butt. Well, how big is it? Her ass is so big, that if she ran up a flight of stairs using the hand rail to slingshot herself around each landing onto the next flight, the ass could be seen taking the outside line to go for the pass.

A KTM-riding rubber-burning maniac from Cali chimes in by posting squatter’s advice on Miss Busa’s wall, for the world (of 70+ friends) to see. A few YouTube links are posted in the form of people being tortured on camera in various undisclosed locations. This is definitely borderline snuff. Aversion quickly turns into sincere interest as the wall tagger, let’s call him Dude Who Runs Downhill, explains this will make the Busa wicked fast. You don’t say?!? Really.

Dude Who Runs Downhill, who is a California State Champion weightlifter and canyon-carving throttle jockey, quickly lays out…

The Challenge

1. Overhead Squats

2. Snatch Lifts

3. High Pulls

4. Good Morning Exercise

I am to do 5 sets of 5 reps each, with a maximum break of 30 seconds in between sets; and a maximum break of 3 minutes in between exercises. I am to do these bare with the bar only. No wait, I am to do these with the bare bar only, no weights. I am to torture myself accordingly on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday. I get to take Thursday off and lay around under my bike, or ride around on the one that works. I am to report back for more on Friday and Saturday. Sunday is a rest day. I am to do this for two weeks and then add 5 pounds of weight to the bar (I really wonder if Dude Who Runs Downhill meant on EACH side. I think he meant 5 pounds total. Yeah!).

I have now added strength training to my running. This better pay off in a nice lap time reduction… or I’m going to go to Cali and chase the Dude Who Runs Downhill all the way up the hill to Alice’s Restaurant and make him buy me a vegetarian dinner and a cold brew.

Let the games begin! I have until Monday to procure a bar off of Craigslist, the classifieds or steal one from a gym, or I’m going to have to use a forkleg or a broom stick with bricks tied to either end.

16 days to race day.


One-track Mind of Hell

Today the God of Speed spoke to me through a fortune cookie. Yes, this can’t be anything but racing related. My bike number is even in there, albeit in reverse. Yes. I would say I am horribly preoccupied. I wonder if this is a good or a bad thing. It was just like this last year. The brain stuck in gear weeks before the actual race; much ado about nothing. *sigh*

20120131-195504.jpg

Did I mention I also ran my fastest mile today? 9:56. And my fastest 1K at 5:56. Not too bad, considering I had a gut ache, was severely dehydrated, and felt the torturous beginnings of a migraine. I would think that getting to lap Mr. Slow three times in three miles would be a motivating factor, but my overall average pace dropped back by 25 seconds. I need to find a different backmarker, the man is distracting. πŸ˜‰

Observation of the Strange Kind: It’s a little after 1 o’clock in the morning, I’ve had but four hours of sleep and my headache is threatening to make a reappearance; oddly enough, I feel like going for a little run.

I need to get my head checked.


Send it down below…

Nothing like feeling like a complete failure to motivate oneself to prove otherwise. I needed to get rid of all this negative energy I’ve had stored up for whatever reason. I hadn’t worked out in two days and that didn’t help my general state of mind. Everywhere I turn, I see obstacles in my way. It’s almost as if I’m swimming upstream, in the wrong direction, against all odds, expending my energy and resources on a lost cause. meh. I hate feeling like this.

I have developed some sort of mental block that keeps me from getting faster on the track. I have an idea about the causality but no real fix on how to go about overcoming the problem. I over-think to the point of distraction. I don’t even know how to explain this… I just know it’s making me slower, and my skill progression has tanked. I hate that, too!

Every time I look at the bike, I find “something else”. Some other mechanical issue that needs to be worked out. I have not a clue. I never wanted to become a mechanic, I just wanted to race the damned thing, but yet here I am. I suffer through it, and make my brain hurt, so I can have a relatively short time by comparison doing the thing I really love to do.

Then there is the financial aspect that bugs me. Racing is financially, uh… irresponsible, a budgetary money pit, a high-risk-no-return proposition especially considering the ongoing game of economic crapshoot. But yet here I am, cutting corners in every other aspect of my life, just so I can “go racin’.” But what a ride! You know you’re in for a good time when they make you sign a waiver before they let you through the gate. Uh-huh. Yup. Nothing like it. I would sell my mother-in-law for a stack of DOT slicks. Yes, it’s that bad. But I can’t help but feel a little guilty.

Winter gets me down, the skies are gray, it’s cold, the world around us dead. People are grumpier than usual. It’s depressing. I find it hard to keep my spirits up when the weather seems so gloomy and foreboding all the time.

The Underpants TreeLots of other personal and family junk that occasionally just wants to show up and take a dump on my happiness. Ick! Screw you. You make me angry because I am helpless and not in control of the situation. Keep your chin up. Ignore it. They’re just jealous. Love the Haters, because it means you’re doing something right. All the kind and supportive comments in the world sometimes aren’t enough… you still end up almost drowning in the cesspool of other people’s bullshit. Blech.

With the attitude of hating my life and feeling like a complete failure, I stomp up the hill to the walking trail behind my house. A 1/3-mile sandy kidney-bean shaped track around a playground and a picnic area. I’m not in the mood, but I have some anger management to do. Exercising should exorcise my (perceived) demons… at least for a little while. If you’re exhausted you have not the energy to be anything but calm. I hit play on the Nike+ GPS app and with the push of that button, decide that today I am going to run until I can run no more. How far can I possibly get? A mile? Maybe… The workout is done with the first walking stride I take. Deal. Off I go.

Last time I was here, maybe a week ago, I couldn’t run a complete lap. It’s torture. After about half a lap, I want to stop. I can’t breathe, my side is starting to hurt. Concentrate. Concentrate. Pay attention to your stride, control your movements. Control your breathing. In through the nose… out through the mouth. Steady. Paced. You can do this.

GPS calculated paceI keep fighting lazy thoughts of quitting with angry thoughts of not wanting to be a failure in today’s run. Failure is not an option. I start crying at one point… or I think I am starting to. I don’t know. One foot in front of the other. I hate running. I want to quit. I don’t see the point. Why bother? I keep pushing on. I am on my last lap to finish the first mile. I tell myself that I at least have to complete one mile. I notice a pair of men’s boxers hanging in a nearby tree. WTF?!? Somebody went home commando.

After that I tell myself one more lap. I have to make it back around to the underpants. I have to take a picture of them. I do. I don’t take a picture of them though. Ok, well I’m almost to two miles. That’s what we ran in the military physical fitness test. I can do this. I see a woman walking about a half a lap ahead of me. Ok. I can lap her… if I lap her before my two miles are up, I’ll allow myself to stop. I end up lapping her twice before she gets in her car and leaves.

Eventually my brain focuses on something racing related and I’m not even really aware anymore that I am running. Well, I am aware of it, but it’s not in the foreground and with that the negative self-talk subsides. I keep pushing. Another idea surfaces: I will set all new PBs today. EVERY SINGLE STAT that Nike+ keeps track of will be improved. Then I’ll let myself be a quitter.

I accomplish my goal at 4.10 miles (farthest run) in 44:16 minutes (longest run) with an overall average pace of 10:47 per mile, which is an improvement by 1:02 minutes. I set my fastest 1K at 6:09; my fastest 1M at 10:08 and my fastest 5K at 33:19.

Do I feel better? A little. Do I still feel like a failure? A little. But at least I have part of my sunshine back. The rest will follow.


Assume The Position!

Dyna-Flex Pro gyroscopic exercise ball for your manual dexterity

This puppy's got some torque: 30 foot-pounds of dexterity enhancing, muscle building torque at 14,000 RPM

The Dyna-Flex Pro Gyro Hand Exerciser

Being reminded that the bone contusion on the base of my left thumb is still not healed and is not getting any better after three months, I remembered this little guy: the Dyna-Flex Pro Gyro Hand Exerciser. I bought it when I had developed acute pain in both wrists due to improperly adjusted levers on my Hayabusa a little over two years ago.

I did some research into how to prevent wrist and hand pain caused by motorcycling riding and how to alleviate it once it has started and what the causes are. I had first thought that my pain was caused by having to write a lot by hand at work. The pain started in my right hand, after all. When the left hand started complaining, I had to admit to misdiagnosing myself. I bought several carpal tunnel braces. None of which seemed to offer any relief.

One source stated that exercise would relieve repetitive motion injury, as long as it isn’t the same repetitive motion that caused the injury in the first place. My injuries started in my right hand, because it is constantly adjusting throttle input and working the front brakes. The clutch hand followed later, because it doesn’t have to rotate the grip and the clutch lever is used less frequently than the brake, even more so since I do not use the clutch lever to upshift once I’m rolling.

Superbike grips are low, pretty close together and at an angle, to enable the rider to tuck in tightly behind the wind screen, for those high-speed low-drag pursuits on the Inter… oh wait! On the straight parts of the racetrack. That makes them somewhat a pain in the wrist when mounted on a street bike and riding at highway speeds. You could assume the position and look like a total douche puttering down the boulevard at 55 MPH in a full race tuck, which will eventually lead to a pain in the neck. Sportbikes are also a pain in the ass, just read this post on The Dandooligan for the reason why.

Not to say that the race tuck doesn’t have its application in street riding. When it’s cold as crap and the wind chill dumps the temps to -16 Fahrenheit, the race tuck doesn’t seem so silly anymore at Interstate speeds. It also helps when it’s windy enough to get blown all over the road. Tuck in tight, become one with the machine and take back control of your lane position. If nothing’s sticking out, it’s a heck of a lot less likely for you to get blown off the road.

A Quickie Lesson in Riding Position

Proper riding position, a neutral wrist-arm alignment (wrist inline with forearm, not kinked at an angle), and well-adjusted levers and foot pegs are pretty much mandatory. And so is having the proper strength and dexterity in various parts of the body to assume the correct pose to avoid such things as “arm pump” (which is caused by putting your weight on your kinked wrists) and unintentional steering inputs.

You should be anchored to your bike with your lower body only. All your weight should be off your wrists. If you can’t let go of your grips at any point without falling off your rocket, you need to re-examine your body position.

Seven points of contact: Left hand, right hand, left inner thigh, right inner thigh, your azz, left foot, right foot.

Four anchor points: Left foot, right foot, left inner thigh, right inner thigh. Your core (and to a degree wind-resistance) hold your upper body up, and the hands are free to do whatever they need to do. No pulling yourself up by your arms! That’s a big no-no. If you can’t hang off and switch positions from left to right without having your hands on the grips you’re not doing it right. This is a tough one and not quite as important in street riding as it is in track riding, however it’s a good habit to get into to avoid all those complaints about discomfort and pain a lot of riders have with riding sportbikes.

Two control points: Left hand, right hand. And that’s all they should be doing. Controlling stuff. Steering, clutch, throttle, brakes, and pushing the buttons on your MP3 player…

Back to our regular scheduled programming…

The gyro ball works. I used it off and on at work when I was bored, sitting at my desk or standing around outside. I couldn’t use it for more than a few minutes at the time, and I could feel my muscles working all the way to my shoulders. I fatigued fairly quickly, but I did notice an improvement in my mangled wrists. My arms were also sore after using the thing. The pain in my wrists eventually disappeared and my finger dexterity seemed to have improved some.

The only “grype” I have: It’s a pull-start and the little shoelace-like string that comes with the ball eventually loses it’s plastic ends, which makes it impossible to insert the string into the little hole inside of the “string channel”. You can manually start the ball, but it takes some practice, but eventually you’ll get the hang of it.

I am on my second ball. The first one succumbed to gyroscopic failure a few days after I bought it. I took it back to the store to exchange it for a new one. The second ball is still going strong.

It’s a fun little cubicle toy, too. It gives you something to play with when you’re bored, it doesn’t seem like exercise until your muscles scream bloody murder and it’s fun to have “races” at the office. Mine got passed around quite a lot. People couldn’t walk past the thing without picking it up and giving it a spin.

If you decide to give this thing a try, don’t bother with all those unnecessary accessories you can buy for it; even though the lighted version is pretty nifty. πŸ™‚

Miss Busa Stamp of Approval (Rated 4/5 Hearts)

Rated 4 out of 5 Hearts

That takes care of the finger/hand dexterity. Now, off to do some squats and lunges to bring my thighs up to speed, so I can actually move from side to side on my bike, without having to cheat eventually and pull myself up by the clip-ons. :/ My core and lower back could use a little de-fluffing, too.

Disclaimer: I’m not a doctor! Nor can I recommend self-diagnosis as a proper medical tool to circumvent paying inflated co-pays to excessively greedy HMOs/PPOs who can’t get enough of your money. So, see a freakin’ doctor. This article is not intended to be used as a PDR, it just tells of my own experiences with an exercise product. And if this ain’t working out for you, don’t come crying to me via your ambulance-chasing attorney. In other words, don’t try this at home, kids.