Tuesday, 30 November 2010

On yer bike!

Tomorrow is the 1st of December, and my first day of biking to work. Heather flies to Auckland at 5pm, to catch up with Alice who is at a conference, then the two of them will be tourists and shoppers for 3 or 4 days, returning home on Sunday afternoon.

The plan is that I will bike to work in the morning, and Heather will drive to University with a bike carrier in the boot, and collect me and my bike; I'll drop her at the airport and drive home.

Sunday, 28 November 2010

The rest of the weekend

I wasn't sore or tired as a result of yesterday's biking, but today was a quieter day around home for various reasons. Apart from going to Briscoes and buying a single cup coffee plunger (we had two, both cracked their glass within a fortnight), I was mooching about the house all day. I'm sure this on-off routine is good, and besides, I'm not fit enough for more exercise yet.

Saturday, 27 November 2010

Bike news

Continuing the bike theme; I went off at 9am for a ride across QE2 Drive to the Northcote railway cycle track. It took 25 minutes to ride 8.5km, and it dawned on me that this was the same time and distance I rode from River Rd to University. So already I am riding the distance I used to do, pre-earthquake and pre-surgery.

That cheered me up so much that I turned around and rode back home again, doing 17km in 50 minutes, an average of just over 20km/hr. It's been great for my morale, and now I realise that there's a good chance that I can bike to work later this coming week. I'll do three or four more build-up rides of 6-8km and I should be OK to try a work trip by Wednesday. The ride home into the easterly will be bad, but I'll tackle it the usual way, by dropping my speed and taking my time.

Later: I had most of dinner prepared (fillet steak with onions & mushrooms, boiled potatoes, asparagus, salad of onion/cucumber/capsicum with parmesan and herbs) when I received a summons to appear at my local. Right, I thought, time for another bike ride, and I did a 6km ride to the pub, 20 mins each way. Back at 6.30pm to cook dinner, now relaxing after a nice meal and a couple of glasses of merlot.

Thursday, 25 November 2010

Thinking about cycling

I've been having a wee dream about biking to work in the coming weeks. This oblique Google Earth map shows two alternative routes from Bottle Lake to the University. They both start at upper right by going along Prestons Rd then left on Marshland Rd to the QE2 Drive roundabout. Here I use two bike/pedestrian crossings to go west on QE2 drive, then the two routes diverge.

Route 1, labelled 11.5 for the distance it takes, turns left off QE2 and follows Innes Rd, as it becomes Heaton St and Glandovey Rd, meeting Fendalton Rd a few blocks from University. Route 2 is 14km, following QE2 across to Northcote, where it meets the cycle path along the railway, meeting Fendalton Rd then going on to work.

Why would I take the longer route? Because Innes Rd, although it is direct, doesn't have marked cycle lanes, so cyclists bike between the traffic and the parked cars, with lots of side roads joining the slow moving traffic stream. The risk of open car doors, sudden left turners, and pushy side-road Porsche Cayenne drivers is very high. (We are talking about Fendalton, after all.) It also has two very dodgy roundabouts, with no side paths for cyclists, so I'd have to mix it with me-first rush hour traffic, with drivers trying to turn a two lane road into three lanes at some corners. They even drive up over the footpaths!

The 14km route, on the other hand, has dedicated cycle paths beside QE2 Drive all the way to the railway, then another cycle path dead straight all the way to Fendalton Rd, where it follows well marked cycle lanes till the turn off at Fendalton Park, and to the University around the corner.

Is safety worth another 2km on my ride each way? Probably. It will also allow me to go at a higher average speed so the time will probably be about the same, and I'm mostly going to wear bike clothes and change at work, so it will be more like a fitness ride than my old commute through town and Hagley Park.

Anyway, first I need to build up some proper strength and endurance, so more practice biking is required.

Like I never left

Funny how 4 weeks away from work condenses to a nanosecond when you get back. I'm back full time now, minus a crutch or stick (most of the time)and flat out doing course resets. If you don't know, it's the e-learning equivalent of working in a biscuit factory - mindless repetitive tasks, requiring care and attention, and guaranteed to turn your brain to mush. Still, it's nice to be back.

In a week we are moving offices, to Level 7 of the Central Library, so we are all flat out getting things tidy and ready for the movers. It's a busy time, which always confuses my friends and relations who say "I suppose you're on holiday", as if we do 24 weeks a year like the students. (Of course the students do far more than sit in lectures, so the 24 weeks doesn't even apply to them.)

Sunday, 21 November 2010

Catch-up day again

One day active, next day resting. It seems to be the pattern at present. My stamina is increasing, but not as fast as my optimism. I managed a trip to the library, and to cook corned beef for dinner, so I'm not entirely useless.

Saturday, 20 November 2010

Out and about

I did a supermarket session this morning, then after lunch and a rest I went out for a bike ride around Marshlands. I went as far as the QE2 Drive monster roundabout and the turnoff to Innes Rd - the first 1/3 of my 12km ride to work. (I rode a square around the right angled bits at top right of this map.)

Once I hit Innes Rd, it's a straight line across Mairehau, St Albans. Merivale, and Fendalton to the University. The traffic does about 10 kph in rush times, I'll do 20. On the way home, it will be into the usual northeasterly sea breeze at about 17kph, but that's life.

Still, I won't try biking that distance until January. I need to get the basics sorted out first, and to sort out clothing and hygiene. We shift buildings at work before Xmas, which means that I'll have a staff-only shower available in the basement of the Central Library; our new offices will be on the 7th floor. I'll need a system for shirts, towels, soap; will I shave at work? Should I grow a beard again? It's all a bit complicated, as they say on Facebook.

Thursday, 18 November 2010

Home boy

I stayed home today, and deliberately did not much, letting my body have a catch-up day. I think it's helped. Even though I didn't do a lot at work, it took concentration and energy, and I'm feeling a bit old and tired at present. So a blob day has been a good thing.

Wednesday, 17 November 2010

Work (kind of)

I've been at work for three days, lasting till around 2pm each day before heading home for a lie on the sofa. I'm not accomplishing a lot, to be honest, but I'll improve as my stamina picks up. We have a lot going on, so things will get busy as these projects pick up speed. Mobile devices, turning print resources to electronic, new assessment methods, e-portfolios - can I stop now?

Monday, 15 November 2010

Grinding on

Not really, but I did go back to work today; however, by 12.30 I was starting to fade, and decided to head home. I did a few errands on the way, and at 2pm it's cuppa and couch time.

Sunday, 14 November 2010

Rocking on

We awoke from a deep sleep at 1.35am to a magnitude 4.7 aftershock; it definitely gave the house a wobble. The shocks don't bother me, but I see a few Twitter posts that indicate some people are still operating with pretty tightly wound springs. Others seem more relaxed, or at least show bravado: "Nice to get another shake - was starting to get withdrawal symptoms" said one.

It made me reflect on how the micro level can feel so different from the macro; the graphs may be trending down, but a shock is a shock, and it's hard to tell yourself that it's part of a long term decline. The human brain didn't evolve to do long term analysis, it's a short-term reactive decision maker.

Saturday, 13 November 2010

Rolling on

Another bike ride yesterday, 30 minutes for 7 or 8 km. I felt quite rough this morning, as I'd had a somewhat sleepless night; from about 2am to 5am I just couldn't get comfortable. Next time I should go and sleep on the leather sofa, it's more accommodating than our rather firm bed.

I decided not to go for a ride today, and blobbed on the sofa. By the afternoon I was good, walking well without a crutch or stick. Smooth coordinated walking doesn't always happen, but the good patches are increasing, so in a few more days I'll be pretty much self propelled.

Thursday, 11 November 2010

Ups and downs

After feeling a bit sore around the surgery site for two days, I'm considerably improved today. I went to the mall and walked for 30 minutes, with minimal use of my single crutch. (And bought sushi for my lunch.) If I concentrate, I can walk smoothly, but I need more practice.

I'm going to go for a bike ride, but it won't be a long one. Then another rest, before I cook dinner; porterhouse steak with mushrooms (in my new Tefal Jamie Oliver copper bottom pan, 795 Flybuy points, arrived yesterday), baked potatoes, roasted tomatoes with herbs and garlic, roasted asparagus. (Or steamed? Depends on room in the oven and available pans, I suspect.) A suitable red wine will be required.

Update: I rode for 15 minutes, covering 4.5km. That was enough for a first go, and I don't feel any unpleasant effects.

Wednesday, 10 November 2010

Reality bites

My enthusiasm on Monday has produced a few aches and pains on following days. I'll take it easy for another week, and just do my physio exercises. I had a follow-up visit to the surgeon yesterday, and all is looking good, but I do need to make progress slowly, meaning more sofa time to keep reducing the bruising in my right foot.

Monday, 8 November 2010

Big moves

This morning I took all the invalid gear back to the rental place; raised frame with toilet seat, raised chair, handy trolley. I don't need any of these any more, though lowering to the toilet does still require some thought, for a few more days.

This afternoon, after a couple of hours on the sofa, I rode my mountain bike to Bottle Lake. It was OK, but the forest has been milled a lot and generally it's not as nice as it was. After 30 mins of quiet riding, with occasional side trips into the twistier tracks, I rode home feeling that it hadn't been that enjoyable, riding in the dark forest or across milled areas with new seedlings planted.

Just out of curiosity I wheeled out my Avanti Blade hybrid commuter, and found that I could straddle the seat quite easily. A quick pump of the tyres (unused since June and down to 30psi) and I was off down the road - what bliss! In a few turns of the pedals I was doing over 20kph and having a great time. So that's my rehab plan from now on; steadily longer bike rides around the local roads.

Saturday, 6 November 2010

What a nerve!

Getting away from endless posts about my recovery; I'm gobsmacked by the TV commercial being shown in the US by Sarah Palin's campaign. Palin herself wasn't running for office, of course, she was supporting various Tea Party nutters, some who won and some who lost.

But the astonishing thing is the imagery in this clip - she's portrayed as the saviour of the US, the leader of the movement, and so on, backed with pictures of Mount Rushmore, grizzly bears, and other patriotic images. There's an implied hint of military force near the end; "...may take some renegades goin' rogue...shakin' it up" over a shot of fighter pilot, then the grizzly bear standing tall to finish. It's a fantastic piece of visual propaganda that would make Leni Riefenstahl proud - and very scary to anyone who looks carefully at the associated images.

There's a nice clip of comedian and Palin impersonator Tina Fey talking on Letterman, where she says "
On Fox News they address her as Governor Palin. Which is like calling me Dairy Queen employee. I was once, but I quit." Nice try, Tina, but I suspect Fox will be calling her Princess Palin before long.

I also wonder how long the "Palin" part of her name will be used; her campaign is all about "Sarah", and hubby Todd is nowhere to be seen these days. He's probably back in Wasilla raising the kids and shooting grizzlies.

Moving on

The post-operative bruising in my leg is mostly gone, leaving just a bruised blue-grey foot and ankle; still pretty tender, but healing up day by day. I am using a single crutch most of the time, but I can take some steps unaided as the muscles around the hip and groin gain strength. I'm not sure whether I should be trying more unsupported walking, but I think I'll just let it develop naturally.

I'm going to return to work in another week, but I will probably do half days to begin with; I'm going to get pretty tired until I get more strength in the leg. It is going well, though, and in another 3 or 4 weeks I should be pretty much back to normal. I'm really looking forward to getting on a bike and starting some exercise - maybe today or tomorrow for a first try, with someone to help.

Wednesday, 3 November 2010

Big day out

I discovered that driving does not put any stress on my hip, so after a slow practice drive around the block yesterday, I was able to get myself to the University today, to see my workmates, then attend a farewell function for yet another "disestablished" colleague from the IT department. Good weasel word, "disestablished", it's totally impersonal and remote, like a cosmic event of some sort; no humans were involved. There are still more of these grisly farewells to come, too.

I'm a lot more mobile now, but the last of the large haematoma (bruising) on the outside of my right leg still causes some trouble. The whole leg was blue-grey a week ago, now it's just my foot that's swollen and tight. I keep it under control by spending lots of time on the sofa, but 4 hours on my feet this afternoon have made it swollen again. I'll have another blob day tomorrow, and get it under control. Two or three more quiet days should have the last of the bruising absorbed away.

After driving, next comes biking. I'll see in the weekend if I can manage my mountain bike; if I can, then a great exercise and recovery activity is available a few hundred metres away at Bottle Lake Forest Park. I won't try the MTB tracks to begin with, just ride the long straight roads through the forest to the beach and back.