Sunday, April 19

My transition back to free weights after a machine interlude has worked well for the most part.  I’ve been putting up decent numbers in squats, SLDL’s, one-arm dumbbell rows, and more recently deadlifts.  Bench press?  That’s another story, and not a happy one.  Calling today’s attempts at benching “mediocre” would be a major exaggeration.  “Pathetic” is more like it: 6 x 135, 4 x 185, 2 x 205, 3 x 225, 2 x 225, (later) 6 x 185, 2 x 205.  That’s right, a grand total of five reps at 225.  At this point it’s going to take quite a while to get back to anything approaching normal.  I had better luck on pec deck flies: 8 x 145, 8 x 150, 8 x 155, 8 x 160, 5 x 165 (I had wanted to get eight reps at 165 but couldn’t get past five).  Hammer Strength MTS shoulder presses went better: 8 x 95/95, 8 x 100/100, 8 x 105/105, 8 x 95/95.  I also ran two miles on the treadmill at 5.6 mph, and did 20 minutes on the stationary cycle at 18.6 mph.

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Published in: on April 20, 2009 at 2:39 am  Leave a Comment  

Saturday, April 18

Some very good leg work today.  Squats: 8 x 135, 8 x 225, 6 x 265, 6 x 285, 6 x 295, (wraps on) 6 x 315, (wraps off) 6 x 275. This is nice progress over last time.  One-arm dumbbell rows: 4 x 8 x 120/120.  Still doing fine with the 120’s.  SLDL’s: 8 x 235, 2 x 8 x 245.  Once again, this is progress over last time.

Published in: on April 19, 2009 at 1:28 am  Leave a Comment  

Friday, April 17

Is it nitpicking to be annoyed by lint picking?

Another rather uneventful day in the commuting sphere.  I got the shuttle from Medford, one of about 10 to 12 people waiting for it, and then got the 7:19 express from Ronkonkoma to Penn.  I had considered the 7:04, but decided to get something from the station deli instead. To call the 7:19 at cattle train was a major understatement.  It was packed like I’ve seldom seen it before.  I found an aisle seat next to a near-retirement-age man who wasn’t large or otherwise annoying, so that was good.  What was not quite so good was the SCA sitting across the aisle from me, who spent at least 20 minutes meticulously picking off tiny pieces of lint from his jacket.  Don’t ask me how he was able to see some of the pieces.  For reasons that are difficult to explain, I found his actions extremely annoying, not to mention extremely distracting … I must’ve read the same page of my book ten times.  He was either a neat freak, or obsessive-compulsive, but whatever the case he was driving me crazy.  It was a great relief when he finally stopped.  There were no delays, and once at Penn I waited under 30 seconds for a 3 train to Fulton.

My trip home was free of annoyances.  I got a 2 from Park Place to Penn after a somewhat longer wait that is optimal for rush hour on that line, perhaps seven or eight minutes.  Even so, I got to Penn in time to get the 5:22 to Ronkonkoma, which was crowded but not as bad as the morning’s train.  I found an aisle seat next to a 40ish woman, who unlike the man across the aisle in the morning did not appear to suffer from obsessive-compulsive disorder.  The ride to Ronkonkoma was quick, and largely unremarkable, and I didn’t mind the wait for the shuttle.

Gym: I’d been planning to do quite a bit tonight, but other things intervened.  Missing two days in a row is not ideal, but hardly a disaster.

Published in: on April 19, 2009 at 1:23 am  Leave a Comment  

Thursday, April 16

I’m glad I didn’t go from Patchogue today

I was able to go in a bit later than usual today and drove to Ronkonkoma for the 7:32 to Penn.  While it would be an exaggeration to say that the parking area was crowded, it was significantly less empty than I’ve seen it at that approximate time in recent months.  The train itself was crowded, with no ridership slump apparent.  I rode in the third car from the east end and over half of the seats were taken before we left the station.  An older woman took the seat next to me at Central Islip, but was no bother.  All of the middle seats appeared to be taken after Deer Park, and the (relatively few) people who boarded at Wyandanch and Farmingdale had to stand. I spent most of the ride reading, and once at Penn waited just a couple of minutes for a 3 train to Park Place.  It also was packed, I had to squeeze onboard and spent most of the ride squished up against other people.

While I was able to go in a bit late, I also ended up staying late too.  While I probably could have gotten the 5:51 to Ronkonkoma had I hustled a little, I ended up going for the 6:21 instead, one of the very few times I’ve taken that train.  Speaking of something different, I took the dreaded Eighth Avenue line, an A to be specific, to Penn.  No, it wasn’t too bad, but I’m not getting into the habit  of taking it regularly.  When I got to Penn, the station PA and the electronic message boards were announcing that trains on the Babylon and Montauk lines were running with “30-minute delays” (translation: at least an hour) due to a pedestrian accident (translation: someone got run over) at Bellmore.  Penn-bound service had been canceled entirely.  Fortunately, the Ronkonkoma line was running with normal service, though the 6:21 was the cattle train to end all cattle trains.  Every seat was taken several minutes before departure.  It was an M-3 consist, but there was no chance whatsoever of a single seat.  I got an aisle seat next to a tall woman in her late 20’s who, I was startled to notice, had all these scabs over the back of her left hand.  My initial thoughts were of course that she had some gruesome contagious disease, but then I realized that the scabs appeared to be the sort that would result from a severe abrasion.  A bicycle mishap, perhaps.  There also were a couple of men across the aisle who were on their way back from the Yankees game, who were rather louder than appropriate for the circumstances.  Even with my iPod at a fairly high volume I could hear their take on the game.  As if I really cared.  Shortly after we got underway the conductor announced that the train was two cars short, 10 cars instead of 12, which is why it was so crowded.  Even had there been all 12 cars it still would’ve been quite full.  We were eight minutes late into Ronkonkoma, due to slow running through Mineola behind the Oyster Bay train, but compared to what the Babylon and Montauk riders had to face, it scarcely mattered.

Gym: a much-needed day off.

Published in: on April 17, 2009 at 3:53 am  Leave a Comment  

Wednesday, April 15

An untaxing Tax Day

There really isn’t much of anything bad I can say about today’s commuting experience.  Both the LIRR and the subway were on their very best behavior.  No elephantine SCA’s, no annoying rider habits, no delays, no nothing.  The shuttle was right on time at Medford as usual.  While waiting, mindful of a Subchat thread about east-of-Ronkonkoma ridership, I counted the number of people boarding at Medford: 21, including me.  There seemed to be about that many people, maybe a few more, already on the shuttle from earlier stops.  The 50 or so total ridership is about half of what you’ll find on one car of a Ronkonkoma train, and most of those trains have 12 cars.  Unavoidable conclusion: east-of-Ronkonkoma ridership is utterly insignificant, compared to the boardings at Ronkonkoma itself.  Of course, the poor scheduling (last connecting train leaves Penn at 5:41) is to blame for that.  Anyway, I got the 7:19 express from Ronkonkoma, with a small woman sitting next to me, and had a very easy ride into Penn.  I spent most of the time reading, and the ride was over before I knew it.  Like yesterday, I walked right into a waiting subway (a 2, today) for a fast ride to Fulton Street.

Getting home was just as easy as the morning’s trip.  I waited less than a minute at Fulton for a 3 to Penn, and then got the 5:22 to Ronkonkoma. It was quite crowded, but a man of no more than average size sat next to me and I had an un-troubled ride to Ronkonkoma and the shuttle, mostly spent reading and Tetris-ing.

Gym: deadlift night tonight, and a successful outing.  I could only find one lifting strap, so I had to use an alternating grip on the bar (overhand grip with my right hand, underhand with my left).  I haven’t used that sort of grip in ages, but it wasn’t at all awkward. As for the deadlifting numbers, they were quite satisfactory: 6 x 225, 6 x 275, 4 x 295, 4 x 315, 2 x 325, 4 x 285, 6 x 245.  I then did some machine leg work, keeping the weights a bit on the light side because of all the deadlifting.  Precor leg extensions: 4 x 8 x 205.  Life Fitness seated leg curls: 3 x 8 x 185.

Published in: on April 16, 2009 at 2:47 am  Leave a Comment  

Tuesday, April 14

Did you really have to do that, here?

Add another example to the collection of Inappropriate Train Passenger Grooming techniques.  Today it was on the 7:19 from Ronkonkoma to Penn, which I had boarded after arriving on the shuttle from Medford.  Yesterday’s light ridership didn’t carry over until today, indeed the 7:19 was verging closely onto cattle train territory.  I was in the regular-person car closest to the ticket office, and found an aisle seat next to an older man who wasn’t large or annoying or anything.  The same, at least the “annoying” part, definitely cannot be said for the mid-20’s woman who sat directly across the aisle from me.  Shortly after we got underway I noticed  an odd raspy sound coming from her direction, loud enough to be heard over my iPod.  Turning to look, I saw that she was vigorously sawing away at a nail with a metal file.  Okay, I figured, she must have had a rough spot and was just trying to smooth it out and would stop in a minute or two.  Wrong.  She spent at least 20 minutes to a half-hour filing all ten of her nails.  A very thorough job.  I can’t really explain exactly why I found it so offensive.  In part it was the abrasive sound, in part it was the thought of all the ground-up nail fragments going everywhere, and in part it was – well, it just seemed totally inappropriate given the surroundings.  It was with great relief that she finally stopped.  The ride into Penn was delay-free, and I walked right onto the subway platform and into a waiting 3 train to Park Place.

Because it was raining quite heavily when I got out of work, I entered the subway at the entrance closest to my workplace.  Getting to the 2/3 platform from that entrance involves walking along the A/C (Eighth Avenue ) platform, and because a C arrived while I was walking along the platform I boarded it notwithstanding my misgivings about that line.  It wasn’t a bad decision, for despite the extra stops I found a seat right away, and it’s always nice to ride an R-32 for a change.  Once at Penn I got the 5:22 to Ronkonkoma, yet another cattle train, getting an aisle seat next to a smallish woman of about 35.  All of the people around me were blessedly free of annoying grooming habits.  One interesting thing is that we came to a stop for a couple of minutes just east of Jamaica, and after a (naturally) inaudible PA announcement, went in reverse for a short distance.  There must have been a disabled train ahead of us, and we have to do a reverse move to switch to another track.  While we weren’t delayed into Ronkonkoma, both of the trains behind us (the Jamaica connection to the 5:23 and the 5:41) were about ten minutes late.  Because both are guaranteed connection to the shuttle, the shuttle was delayed too.  Figures.

Gym: I decided to get back to running, and accordingly did one mile on the treadmill at 5.6 mph, and followed it up with 30 minutes on the stationary cycle at 19 mph.

Published in: on April 15, 2009 at 3:36 am  Leave a Comment  

Monday, April 13

Isn’t Easter Monday strictly a European holiday?

You’d swear today was a holiday in America too, based on the LIRR’s non-crowding.  It all started with the shuttle at Medford.  Usually there are about 15 to 20 people boarding the morning shuttle, today there were seven or eight.  Ronkonkoma didn’t seem all that crowded either, at least not compared to what it’s usually like.  I almost risked taking the 6:56 to Flatbush Avenue even though it was an M-7 consist.  Maybe someday.  I ended up taking the 7:19 to Penn, and it was nowhere near capacity.  I rode in the car closest to the ticket office, and maybe half the seats were taken when we left the station, way less than usual.  Even after the Brentwood and Central Islip stops almost all of the middle seats were empty.  A 40ish woman took the seat next to me at Central Islip and was no trouble.  We got to Penn on time, after I’d spent most of the ride reading, and I waited only a couple minutes for a 3 train to Fulton.  Suffice to say it was a much faster ride than Friday’s fiasco.

I had a somewhat long wait for a 2 train at Fulton after work, and got to Penn just in time to get the 5:23 to Long Beach.  By the time I got to the platform, the 5:22 to Ronkonkoma across the platform had already closed its doors.  We were almost ten minutes late getting to Jamaica.  There were no announcements, but I noticed an empty train sitting on one of the middle tracks near Kew Gardens.  There’s no reason why an out-of-service train would be kept in that area during rush hour unless it was having mechanical trouble.  I transferred to the Ronkonkoma train at Jamaica, and keeping with the uncrowded theme no one sat next to me the whole way.  As is often the case we made up a few minutes on the delay on the way to Ronkonkoma, though the shuttle had to wait a few minutes because the 5:41 from Penn was running several minutes late too.

Gym: no weights, but a pretty decent 40 minutes on the stationary cycle at 19.3 mph.

Published in: on April 14, 2009 at 2:03 am  Comments (2)  

Sunday, April 12

The gym was only open until noon for Easter, so I had to make an unaccustomed morning visit.  Even so, it went well.  Being on a bit of a stationary cycle thing, I did 30 minutes on it at 18.6 mph.  Then came one-arm dumbbell rows, with a weight increase from last time: 4 x 8 x 120/120.  Cool.

Published in: on April 12, 2009 at 5:44 pm  Leave a Comment  

Saturday, April 11

Some very decent leg work today. It was back to squats, and quite well: 8 x 135, 8 x 225, 6 x 255, 6 x 275, 6 x 295, (wraps on) 4 x 315, (wraps off) 6 x 245.  I was really happy to get the four at 315.  They were tough but not excessively so.  SLDL’s: 8 x 235, 8 x 245, 8 x 235.  The set at 245 is a new maximum.  I then did 30 minutes on the stationary cycle at 18.2 mph, and finished the session with some machine work.  Life Fitness leg extension: 3 x 8 x 185.  This is less than what I had recently done on the Precor leg extension machine, which was in use, but felt about equivalent.  Life Fitness seated leg curls: 2 x 8 x 185.

Published in: on April 12, 2009 at 5:42 pm  Leave a Comment  

Friday, April 10

Sort-of Good Friday

I’ll have to say that Good Friday was a good day on the LIRR.  On the subway, well, that’s another matter. I knew that ridership would be light, and the sparse number boarding the shuttle at Medford and then the general lack of crowding at Ronkonkoma made it clear.  I almost risked taking the 6:56 to Flatbush Avenue even though it was an M-7 consist, but chickened out at the last minute.  It’s been only a month since my disastrous encounter with an elephantine SCA and my fragile psyche hasn’t yet recovered.  Actually tomorrow will be one month, but obviously I’m not going to be taking the train then.  It was fortunate that I passed on the 6:56 because the 7:04 to Penn was an M-3 consist.  I made a quick dash for the nearest single seat and got it.  As things turned out, ridership was so light on this semi-holiday it hardly mattered.  In most rows only one or at most two of the five seats were occupied.  For a while I figured it was a waste for me to have taken the single seat, but on further thought I concluded that it wasn’t.  Thanks to having the single seat I had no worries that anyone of more-than-ample girth would sit next to me.  Moreover, it’s not as if getting a single seat today is going to make it less likely that I’ll get one other days.  They’re all discrete events, in other words – like flipping a coin, if you get tails your next flip is equally likely to be heads or tails. We got to Penn on time, and after just a couple of minutes I got a 3 train to Fulton … a journey which took nearly a half-hour.  For more than 10 minutes we sat at a dead stop just short of 14th Street as the conductor announced “a train with brakes in emergency” at Fulton.  When we finally got to 14th, I heard the station PA announce that expresses (the 2 and 3) would not be running further. Oh, great.  I got off the 3, crossed the platform to a waiting 1 – the conductor of which closed the doors just before I was able to board. Not quite right in my face, but too close for comfort. I figured I’d wait for the next 1, and take it to Chambers, a longish but tolerable walk from my workplace.  All of  a sudden the 3 I had just gotten off closed its doors and got underway.  The station PA’s announcement notwithstanding, it looked as if expresses were running after all.  So I figured I’d just wait for the next express.  What I wasn’t counting on was the fact that almost ten minutes passed before the next one came along. I could have taken any of the 1’s that arrived while I was waiting, but because I had no idea how long it would be until the next express arrived I didn’t take any of them.  All in all, a subway journey that should take scarcely five minutes took almost 30.

At least the subway was on its best behavior after work.  I made it to Penn without delay, although there were a number of track changes and delayed departures in progress … no announcements, of course.  I got the 5:23 Long Beach train to Jamaica, which was on Track 21 rather than the usual 16 and left about five minutes behind schedule.  Still, the change at Jamaica went fine, and neither train was at all crowded, so the trip home was pretty decent after all.

Gym: day off today.

Published in: on April 12, 2009 at 2:05 am  Leave a Comment