Workout notes I didn’t feel that good when I woke up; in fact I slept for 30 extra minutes. Nevertheless I kicked myself out of bed and went to the pool.
Idea: swim long and gentle until I got sick of it, and then do enough to get 5500 total.
Result: 5500 yards in 1:35:47; 1:18 slower than my PB but my second fastest ever. Just because I am a numbers geek, I’ll list the splits of this swim and of my previous 3 attempts (note: the 1:36:23 WAS a PB when I did it)
|17 Dec. 2009||1 Jan. 2010||17Jan. 2010||28 Feb. 2010|
|17:42 (+10)||17:52 (-2)||17:40 (+29)||17:33 (+8)|
|17:08 (-24)||17:36 (-18)||16:56 (-15)||17:11 (-14)|
|17:14 (-18)||17:45 (-9)||16:53 (-18)||17:14 (-11)|
|17:36 (+4)||17:48 (-6)||17:00 (-11)||17:26 (+1)|
|17:43 (+11)||18:02 (+8)||17:18 (+7)||17:32 (+7)|
|8:57 (+11)||9:22 (+25)||8:40 (+4)||8:49( +6)|
Note: the + – numbers are how far off I was from my “average time per 1000” for that particular swim; of course the last number is how far off I was from my “average 500” on that swim. Note that I usually “fold” during my last 1500; I gained 22, 23, 11 and 13 seconds on that segment; my last 500 is especially bad, though that has improved on my last couple of trials.
Time per mile: today, 30:40 per mile; PB pace was 30:14 per mile. 30 minutes per mile, while slow for a good swimmer, is tough for me.
For more on my history:
Past 5K time trials and efforts:
Why didn’t I feel good when I woke up?
1. Too much soy milk yesterday.
2. I had some mild body aches; I then remembered yesterday’s weight lifting session which was more intense than usual.
3. I didn’t sleep that well; I stayed up too late watching the boxing matches.
(for the record, I had Jones being Bruceles 97-93 and Roman beaing Rosado 96-94, though this match was hard to score. Usually, the rounds went like this: first minute even, next 90 seconds, Roman would win and Rosado would close furiously and dominate the last 30 seconds; how does one score such a round? That is why it was a split decision (Rosado won).
Injury For the second night in a row, my calf/lower hamstring bothered me in the last 2-3 hours of my sleep. I am going to have to stretch it out before I sleep and to put a pillow under the back of my knee.
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Workout notes today, just weights as follows:
Bench press (barbell): 135 x 10, 155 x 8, 175 x 3, 185 x 2 (not that easy)
Military press and curls: (barbell and curling bar) 95 x 5, ? x 10, 95 x 4, ? (70?) x 8
Pull ups (10)
Lat pull downs (10 x 120)
yoga leg lifts (20)
Dumbbell routine( curls 7 x 30, military 45 x 8, bench 75 x 6)
Pull ups (wide) 10
yoga leg lifts (20)
Dumbbell routine (curls 10 x 25, military 45 x 8, bench 75 x 9)
yoga leg lifts (20)
yoga head stand: 4 minutes
Tomorrow: I hope to get in a longish swim (in excess of 4000 yards, depending on how I feel)
Given that my injury recovery (calf/lower hamstring) might take some time, this event is looking more appealing.
If I decide to do this (it would be a “family weekend trip”), I’d need to build up with long swims done every other week: 2, 2.25, 2.5, 2.75, 3, 3.25, 3.5 hours which would be a 12 week program.
As far as my injury goes: I am facing something like this.
As far as my bout with sickness: I am all but completely over it but I need to build back strength and endurance.
Mental attitude, depression and all that
I’ve been thinking about mental attitudes, emotions, depression and all that. It would be inappropriate for me to say all that is bothering me at the moment but there are some personal issues going on. But I almost always get in a bad mood over the winter (I don’t like the cold, dark season). I’ve also been injured (in terms of the ability to do long distance runs and walks) and I also have had a class load switch from some sophomore-technical stuff to, well, a different kind of schedule with different kinds of students (one interesting class though).
So I’ve been down. Yes, others have had far worse (loss of job, loss of very close loved ones, horrible weather, disasters, serious illnesses, etc.).
But does my being down actually serve a purpose? This article lays out the hypothesis that this might be the case! I’ll lay out parts of it:
Here is the gist of what the article explores:
The mystery of depression is not that it exists — the mind, like the flesh, is prone to malfunction. Instead, the paradox of depression has long been its prevalence. While most mental illnesses are extremely rare — schizophrenia, for example, is seen in less than 1 percent of the population — depression is everywhere, as inescapable as the common cold. Every year, approximately 7 percent of us will be afflicted to some degree by the awful mental state that William Styron described as a “gray drizzle of horror . . . a storm of murk.” Obsessed with our pain, we will retreat from everything. We will stop eating, unless we start eating too much. Sex will lose its appeal; sleep will become a frustrating pursuit. We will always be tired, even though we will do less and less. We will think a lot about death.
The alternative, of course, is that depression has a secret purpose and our medical interventions are making a bad situation even worse. Like a fever that helps the immune system fight off infection — increased body temperature sends white blood cells into overdrive — depression might be an unpleasant yet adaptive response to affliction. Maybe Darwin was right. We suffer — we suffer terribly — but we don’t suffer in vain.
The article reviews some of the “obvious downsides”.
Now we get to some of the hypothesis:
Imagine, for instance, a depression triggered by a bitter divorce. The ruminations might take the form of regret (“I should have been a better spouse”), recurring counterfactuals (“What if I hadn’t had my affair?”) and anxiety about the future (“How will the kids deal with it? Can I afford my alimony payments?”). While such thoughts reinforce the depression — that’s why therapists try to stop the ruminative cycle — Andrews and Thomson wondered if they might also help people prepare for bachelorhood or allow people to learn from their mistakes. “I started thinking about how, even if you are depressed for a few months, the depression might be worth it if it helps you better understand social relationships,” Andrews says. “Maybe you realize you need to be less rigid or more loving. Those are insights that can come out of depression, and they can be very valuable.” […]
The capacity for intense focus, they note, relies in large part on a brain area called the left ventrolateral prefrontal cortex (VLPFC), which is located a few inches behind the forehead. While this area has been associated with a wide variety of mental talents, like conceptual knowledge and verb conjugation, it seems to be especially important for maintaining attention. Experiments show that neurons in the VLPFC must fire continuously to keep us on task so that we don’t become sidetracked by irrelevant information. Furthermore, deficits in the VLPFC have been associated with attention-deficit disorder.
Several studies found an increase in brain activity (as measured indirectly by blood flow) in the VLPFC of depressed patients. Most recently, a paper to be published next month by neuroscientists in China found a spike in “functional connectivity” between the lateral prefrontal cortex and other parts of the brain in depressed patients, with more severe depressions leading to more prefrontal activity. One explanation for this finding is that the hyperactive VLPFC underlies rumination, allowing people to stay focused on their problem. (Andrews and Thomson argue that this relentless fixation also explains the cognitive deficits of depressed subjects, as they are too busy thinking about their real-life problems to bother with an artificial lab exercise; their VLPFC can’t be bothered to care.) Human attention is a scarce resource — the neural effects of depression make sure the resource is efficiently allocated.
But the reliance on the VLPFC doesn’t just lead us to fixate on our depressing situation; it also leads to an extremely analytical style of thinking. That’s because rumination is largely rooted in working memory, a kind of mental scratchpad that allows us to “work” with all the information stuck in consciousness. When people rely on working memory — and it doesn’t matter if they’re doing long division or contemplating a relationship gone wrong — they tend to think in a more deliberate fashion, breaking down their complex problems into their simpler parts.
The bad news is that this deliberate thought process is slow, tiresome and prone to distraction; the prefrontal cortex soon grows exhausted and gives out. Andrews and Thomson see depression as a way of bolstering our feeble analytical skills, making it easier to pay continuous attention to a difficult dilemma. The downcast mood and activation of the VLPFC are part of a “coordinated system” that, Andrews and Thomson say, exists “for the specific purpose of effectively analyzing the complex life problem that triggered the depression.” If depression didn’t exist — if we didn’t react to stress and trauma with endless ruminations — then we would be less likely to solve our predicaments. Wisdom isn’t cheap, and we pay for it with pain.
So, the ability to bear down is there, but at a price. The article goes on to note that this is just a hypothesis that attempts to explain one type of depression; it doesn’t explain all of it and the result is far from being settled.
But it is something worth thinking about.
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epic fail pictures – McDonald’s Fail, video, friend, food, chicken, head, mcdonalds, news, tv
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Workout notes Gentle 4000 yard swim over lunch: I started with 3000 yards straight: 17:51 first 1000 (stopped to move equipment but kept the watch running so the first 250 was 4:48), then 34:30 for the second 2000. Then I did 10 x (25 drill/25 free) with fins, then a grab bag 500 of 100 paddle, 100 side, 200 of 25 fly, 25 back, 50 paddle, 50 back.
The pool got crowded again; I ended up sharing some of my laps with a skinny woman in a tiny tri-kini. Personally, I like the one-piece suits better as they give more “creep”. 🙂
I was also amused that a collection of old farts and out-of-shape college students attempted to race me for a length or two; come on, I was doing 51-52 second laps!! 🙂
(for the uninitiated: that is WAY slow for a serious swimmer but a bit faster than your average non-competitive lap swimmer)
Toward the end, a better swimmer got in; I wish that she had been there for the meat of my 3000.
Note: I am still weak from last week’s virus/cold combination. Also note that my calf/behind the knee injury was barking at me though I don’t appear to have strength loss. It’s been 2 weeks of “no running, no elliptical” and I’ve been told that this type of injury usually takes 6 weeks of “no running, no cycling, no walking” to clear up completely.
Comment: I had commented on the Time “Is a college degree overrated” article. (the Time article) I was gentle.
If you want to see some “gloves off” comments, go here. Scroll to the third comment. 🙂
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