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Skating tonight had a single goal: 2,500 Calories. I had to make a stop at my bank before starting the drive, and ended up getting to the rink about 5-10 minutes early. While it didn't seem the evening was as slow as last week, by the end of the night I could see I was coming up short on my calorie goal. However, the last song of the evening I kept a pretty high pace and finished the evening with 2,519 Calories. Total times was 2 hours and 57 minutes—7 more minutes than I usually get. So I just barely made my 2,500 Calorie goal.

Why 2,500 Calories? I made a deal with myself: if I biked into work this week, and burned 2,500 Calories skating, I could buy myself a RGB laser module. Now I get one. This should allow me to do some cool things with my laser tunnel effect because I have two more laser channels to control.

Picked up some bolts, hooks, washers, and wing nuts for the ceiling truss. The bolts were really cheep, but many had gummed up threads and were pretty much impossible to use. A little oil was requires just to use the wing nuts. However this allowed me to bolt the truss in place where each of the pieces crossed one an other. The results are a very ridged setup that does not move. I will not need to anchor the truss at the walls because it's inability to turn and fall off the picture rail.

In addition to the bolts to hold the frame together, I also picked up some hooks that bolt into place. This allowed me to hang some Christmas lights which we will use at the next gathering.

First week back at work, and I need to get a ride in. Today was slated to be the warmest day of the week with temperatures reaching 38 degrees. The ride in was pretty good. The temperature was just above 30 degrees and the winds fairly calm. The roads were pretty clear and so to were most of the trails. I only needed to slow down in a few places for patches of ice. These typically form by hills were melt water runs across the path and freezes over night. For not having biked this route in 6 months and being slowed down by snow I made good time at 1 hours, 7 minutes. During the summer I could do this ride in 1 hour, 1 minute—but I didn't have to deal with snow.

At work the temperature dropped and the winds increased. The ride home was would be directly into 15 MPH winds that guest up to 25 MPH. I decided to make first leg of my trip to State Street to get a slice of pizza. Right before arrival, my head lights turned off. The bicycle battery was empty and I would not have light for the rest of my trip. It was a fairly uncomfortable ride because the wind which pulls the heat out of toes and fingers. If it hadn't been for that, I would have been fine.

Xiphos and I share a cupboard. A few days ago my door fell off the hings. After inspection I found that the hing became bent from being pushed by the door on Xiphos' side, and further inspection showed his door was sagging because a piece of wood that holds his door in place was loose. The glue had broken and it was pivoting on a screw. So I took off the door, re-glued the hing support, left it clamped over night, and rehung the door. The results are the door no longer pushes against the other door. Hopefully that should prevent the hing on my side from bending and my door falling off.

   Skating last night there were just too many people to get my speeds as high as I would have liked.  Nonetheless, I managed to burn 2,425 Calories in 3 hours with a peak heart rate of 188 BPM (102.7%).
   Pictured is the second floor stair case and hall.  The stairs are lite by a strip of LEDs.  I expanded my original setup to include the hall railing which illuminates the floor leading to the bathroom.  So it is possible to navigate in the evening without having to turn on any additional light.  The LED brightness is turned almost as low as it can go, and I tried to adjust camera exposure to how it appears visually.

January 24, 2016

Ceiling Truss System

   This is a shot of the new truss system on the living room ceiling.  Still needs some paint and lights.  Last year we put up some metal truss to create a post-apoptotic setting, and left it up.  However, the truss didn't give us much ceiling coverage and wasn't easy to configure.  So I picked up some 12' 2x4" studs, drilled holes every 12" and put them up.  This configuration allows us to hang a large number of lighting interments with almost total ceiling coverage.  It is easily re-configurable and should hopefully provide the kind of interface we want for future lighting setups.

1 comment has been made.

From Noah

January 31, 2016 at 11:37 AM

I like how the truss can hang lights pointing both up or down - looks like it would also be an easy way to manage cables with just a few tie straps!

January 23, 2016

Looking at Skating Improvements

Rollerskating, for me, is a very intense workout. I've found the secret to enjoying myself is to push as hard as I can. I don't like pop music, but when skating I can tolerate it when the songs are fast. I keep my speeds fairly high most of the session, and I rarely sit down—usually just for games. I can hold heart rates of over 183 BPM (100% of my estimate maximum) for 3-5 minutes at a time without a problem, and I can do this a few times a night. When on the skating floor my heart rate rarely drops below 165 BPM (90%) and often stays above 175 BPM (95.6%) for periods of 10 minutes or more—especially early in the evening.

I've been rollerskating for 21 years and this activity has long served as my primary form of exercise. That probably explains why I am able to hit and hold my highest heart rates with this activity. But I have noticed something else as well. When I started skating again this summer it had been after a long break—like more than 5 years. I was bicycling regularly and my body fairly acclimated to sessions of high intensity workout. When I started skating again I found I was able to burn around 2,000 Calories in 3 hours (actually around 2 hours, 50 minutes). So that became my goal each session. I have been finding, however, this goal is fairly easy to meet. In fact, the last couple of weeks I have been burning 2,500 Calories for the 3 hour session. Since I track my heart rate for skating sessions, I decided to plot the data I have from my high intensity skating sessions.

This graph looks a bit messy because I put in both my average heart rate, maximum heart rate and Calories burned each hour. However, there is a clear upward trend in all 3 fields. My average heart rate has increased from around 145 BPM (79%) to 160 BPM (87%) which has pushed my calorie burn from 725 Calories/hour up to over 850 Calories/hour.

What I find interesting is that I skate once a week most weekends for 3 hours. That's it. And just these 17 skating sessions over 5 months shows clear signs of improvement. My body is clearly able to improve, and it happens with less effort than I thought was required. The jump from 2,000 to 2,500 Calories in 3 hours is a 25% increase. I can't say what has been the key to this. I know eating correctly before skating improves how I feel toward the end of the night. My morning protein shake should provide the nutrients for building muscle, and my vitamin regiment should be helping muscle repair (exercise damages muscle). Whether these two factors play any significant role I don't know. This does make me excited to see what I can do when bicycling season returns.