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April 09, 2016

The Great War reenactment 2016

French WWI Soldier

French WWI Soldier

   Attended the Great War reenactment this morning with Steve and again immerse ourselves in history.  This year it was pretty chilly at 21°F (-6°C).  Madison had been forecast to get snow, but it didn't seem we ended up with any.  But just to the south of us there was snow, which was gone again by the time I reached Rockford.  The weather can fluctuate this time of year, but it seems a little out of the ordinary lately.
   I learned a few new things a the reenactment this year, which is always my goal.  Some I was really pleased to get to see was a traveling nickelodeon.  A gentlemen was setup with two period projectors, original film from 1910, graphophone and original wax phonograph cylinders.  The projects were hand-run, fairly dim with a small projection screen.  The movies were naturally silent, but there was a soundtrack recorded on the phonograph cylinders.  This was about as close to what someone in early 1910s would have actually been able to see, and it was really something.  I could have asked this guy a lot of questions, but he had to leave in order to do a hand cranked film recording of the battlefield reenactment.
   Steve and I also hit up two of the talks that were given.  The first was on the RMS Lusitania the sinking of which is often considered the reason the United States became involved in the first world war.  The second talk was on the history of tanks as they made their first appearance on the battlefields of WWI.
   My GPS tracker said I walked two and a quarter miles over 6 hours, which gives me an average speed of 0.39 MPH.  I didn't want to over do it ;)
Steve with naan

Steve with naan

   Steve, Xiphos and I went across the street for Indian buffet.  It is dangerous having the best Indian restaurant in the city across the street from your house, and this is the third time this week I've eaten there.  To help make up for this I went on a bike ride.  I saw the winds were high and from the north so I decided to do the Airport-Ashton loop in reverse.  The shields trail portion of the ride shields me from the wind as I travel north and I thought it would help make the ride a little easier.  This turned out the be the hardest Airport-Ashton loop I've ever done.
   The airport METAR showed sustained winds of 28 MPH from the north-west with gusts up to 36 MPH, all at 39°F (4°C).  After I got out of the trails and onto open road I had to keep my bike in high gear.  There were several segments of the ride I had to use my third smallest sprocket just to move forward at a slight incline.  I struggled to maintain 5 MPH when there was no windbreak.  The segment along Pheasant Branch Road and County K where awful.  When I got to Church Road and started south I still couldn't do much with my speed because the side wind was so strong.  And by the time I had a tailwind I was so tired I couldn't take full advantage of it.  Turns out that despite the guests being higher on my ride March 16, the sustained winds where higher today.  I learned something on this ride though: running the trip in reverse offered no advantage and probably was a disadvantage.  I would not have guess that.
Andrew Que, April 2016

Andrew Que, April 2016

   On my ride into work today it was snowing the whole time.  The temperature was just above freezing, so the snow was barely accumulating.  I held a pretty good pace for the ride into work, but the ride home was much more leisurely.

Wasn't a great day for a ride, but I wasn't able to ride yesterday so I did my Airport-Ashton run and a slow but steady pace.

Here is a graph of my heart rate from the time I started out to just after I returned.  What's interesting is the shortly into the ride as I was just getting warmed up, I had to stop for a traffic light.  My heart rate plummeted for the duration of the wait.  Once I started moving again, my heart rate shot right back to where it would have been.  An other interesting aspect is the total warm up period.  It took about 15 minutes from my heart rate to reach my traveling rate.  There it hovered around 150±10 BPM for the remainder of the ride.  Some of the land artifacts are visible.  The spike just before 17:30 is hill on Capitol View Road, and the drop is the downhill portion of that hill and the segment of Schneider Road.  The spike upward at 17:40 is Hell Hill, which I didn't push too hard on.  My highest heart rate comes at the last small hill close to home.  This hill is more of a nuance than a climb, but I often push hard because it is the last hill, and it produces a good spike in heart rate because of this.

Lastly, a histrogram of where my heart rate spent most of its time.  Clearly it was most often between 150-160 BPM (82-87% maximum).

   My laser printer is pretty much out of toner, and the cheap toner cartage I bought made truly awful prints anyway, smearing every page that came out.  The house voted to look into printer options, and I decided to see what it would cost to re-ink my old inkjet printer.  Turns out for cheap ink it wouldn't cost much.  Today the ink arrived and I quickly had the printer re-inked.  After a head clean it looks to be in full operational order.  The ink is so cheap that I don't feel bad just using this printer for all prints.
   First ride of the season to visit the Epic System's Galactic Wind farm.  Temperatures were quite warm, starting at 64°F (18°C) when I left and climbing to 75°F (24°C) by the time I returned.  Winds were heavy from the south west at 20 MPH sustained and gusting up to 31 MPH, and the ride west was slow.  The ride home was better because I could duck under the canopy of the Pheasant Branch Conservancy.  I had to do a couple laps around the block to make this my first 20 mile trip of the season, but that was my goal for the day.  Unlike many of my rides lately, this was not a sprint but purely a distance ride.  As the weather begins to warm up I want to continue to extend my range and a 20 mile ride is a good first step.
   Last year I cycled 5.5 miles in March, and 11.3 in April.  This year I cycled 202 miles in March, and already 20.4 miles by the 3rd of April.  Hopefully this will quickly put me on track to exceed my records set last year.

April 02, 2016

Skating Data

Manic Weather

Manic Weather

A really strange morning for weather.  These two pictures were taken minutes from one an other, the first at 12:45:58pm, and the second 12:47:44pm.  All morning it alternated from whiteout blizzard-like conditions to bright and sunny separated by minutes of one an other.

Tonight was a skating night, and my first with my Bluetooth heart rate monitor.  I've wanted a detailed set of data from a full skating session for a long time, and tonight I would get my first one.  Overall the session was slower than I would have liked.  There were two parties in the evening session and a lot of novice skaters meaning I had could not keep speeds high.  There were two time, however, I was able to open up.  Because of the crowd the rink did a song of only advanced skaters where we all formed a line and moved pretty good.  Then at the end of the night when the session ended I continued to skate with a small group of people on the floor.  At this point I was at 2,400 Calories burned--100 short of my 2.5k goal.  With a mostly empty floor and opened up and at an average heart rate of 186 BPM (101.6%) for 4 minutes 15 seconds, burning 100 Calories.  For my weight and height, 100 Calories is about what I normally burn in one hour, and I did it in less than 5 minutes after already skating for 3 hours.

Now, the part I've been looking forward to: data analysis.  The pure graph of my heart rate over time isn't terribly interesting.  I was able to see times I skated pretty fast, and times were I clearly wasn't on the floor.  What is more interest is the histogram of the times I spent at various heart rates.

Here is a histogram of how much time was spent at various heart rates.  Most of that the time I was between 150 BPM (82%) and 180 BPM (98%).  The lower times would be when there was a slow song or a game where I couldn't be on the floor. 

This cumulative histrogram shows what percentage of the time was spent at or above some heart rate.  For example, I was at or above 97% (177 BPM) of my maximum heart rate for about 15% of the total session or around 27 minutes.  Half my time (an hour and a half) was spent at or above 87% (160 BPM).  According to Haskell and Fox formula, 80%-90% of one's maximum heart rate is anaerobic exercise, and anything above 90% is "maximum effort" (whatever that means).  This data tells me I spent 67% of my time (2 hours) in this zone.  That isn't possible because anaerobic means "without oxygen" and anaerobic exercise means the heart cannot keep up with the oxygen demands of the body.  Clearly I cannot be doing that for 2 of 3 hours and live.  Everything I've learned about fitness seems to differ depending on who is writing it, so this doesn't surprise me.  And without good data to compare my own against, it is hard to get a sense of how good my body is actually preforming.

The last bit of data: heart rate recovery.  At the end of the night I did a hard push, holding my heart rate beyond it's estimated maximum.  I've read that this is safe as long as your heart slows down quickly afterward.

Here we have my heart rate starting at the high point of 188 BPM when I stopped my head push, falling over 2 minutes (x-axis in seconds).  In that time my heart rate dropped 64 BPM, well in excess of the 22-52 BPM for normal recovery.  Based on this information I can conclude my heart is able to deal with the heavy demands placed on it by skating.

I really like having the raw data like I do, although my spread sheet software isn't fond of working with 10,000+ rows of data.  I may have to write some custom software to better break down the numbers.  There is more data in the numbers and I've just started to play with it.  Looking at the numbers from when I started skating in the evening, it took about 4 minutes 20 seconds to warm up and get my heart rate to 170 BPM (93%).  I can tell because after I warm up, I take off my dress shirt, and I can see a drop in heart rate as I place my shirt in a locker.  So lots of data--just need to analyses it more.

  The weather has been cold and rainy, which is typical for this time of year.  Yet with all the warm weather lately it seems almost unusual.  The Middleton fire department had one of their ladder trucks fully extended.  Not sure why, but it looked pretty cool.