Monday, April 2 – Wednesday, April 4

Let’s just say I’m glad the training is over

Over these three days I had a taste of Expressway rush hour traffic both mornings and evenings as I attended a training session in western Suffolk.  More specifically, along the very busy Route 110 corridor at Exit 49.  Without going into boring detail, I was able to make some observations on Expressway traffic patterns.  Yes, I know, three days may not be quite enough to reach definitive conclusions, but then again I see no reason why these days were not representative.

On my morning journey, which started around 7 each day, I got on the Expressway at Exit 64, which happens to be the beginning of the HOV lanes (not that they’d do me much good) and the eastern extent of the more or less continuous development that characterizes much of Long Island.  Traffic wasn’t bad at first, but locked up tighter than a drum at Exit 62 with vehicles entering from Nichols Road, a major north-south route.  From then on it was stop-and-go for several miles until it eased up considerably at Exit 55.  There’s an enormous industrial park just north of that exit, and some county office buildings not far away, hence considerable exiting volume.  But wait!  This reprieve lasted just a mile or two until Exit 53 (there is no Exit 54) , where cars came flooding on from the Sagtikos and Sunken Meadow parkways … “flooding,” Sunken Meadow, ha ha.  For the next five miles or so to my destination at Exit 49 traffic was slow but moved at a barely tolerable pace.  It wasn’t nearly as bad as the nightmare from exits 62 to 55.  One amusing thing is that a very gentle upgrade approaching Exit 50 caused a noticeable slowdown.  Aren’t cars able to, you know, climb hills?

Things were a bit different in the evenings.  From where I got on at Exit 49 until Exit 51 things pretty much crawled.  They seemed quite a bit worse eastbound in the evening than they were westbound in the morning.  The parkways at Exit 53 didn’t have much effect, nor did the workplaces near Exit 55.  The worst part came at Exit 57, Veterans Memorial Highway, exacerbated by an upgrade from exits 58 to 59, and traffic didn’t ease out again until all the people exiting for Nichols Road at Exit 62.

In terms of time, my morning Expressway trip took about 50 minutes on Monday and just about an hour on the other two days.  Keep in mind this is for a distance of no more than 20 miles.  Each evening was about the same, around 45 minutes.  Oh, the training?  It was okay, if not what I’d call scintillating, and it moved faster than expected and ended after three days.  I’ll have Thursday and Friday off.

What with all this driving, I wasn’t much up for the gym.

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Published in: on April 5, 2012 at 9:58 pm  Leave a Comment  

Saturday, March 31 – Sunday, April 1

Did it.  And it’s no April Fool’s joke.  On an otherwise do-nothing weekend, I went to the gym on Sunday afternoon and finally reached my long-sought goal of ten bench press reps at 225.  What might have helped is keeping the warmup rep count fairly low: 6 x 135, 6 x 165, 4 x 185, 2 x 205, 10(!) x 225, 3 x 6 x 225.  I’m surprised at how easy it went.  Next goal: 315.

Published in: on April 2, 2012 at 1:53 am  Leave a Comment  

Thursday, March 29 – Friday, March 30

More driving

I found out on Thursday that starting on Monday I’ll be attending a 3-week training program located in the western part of Suffolk County.  It’s about 20 miles away, which wouldn’t be bad except for the fact that most of the time I’ll be right in the heart of Expressway rush hour traffic.  The program runs 8 to 6 on Monday through Thursday, 8 to noon on Friday.  I’ll be nice only having to work a half day on Friday, and of course I’ll avoid rush hour on Friday afternoons, but nine rush hours a week is nine too many.  I’m expecting that the 20-mile drive will take an hour.

Another thing that will go up is my gasoline spending.  Granted, I’m being sufficiently well-paid for the program that the cost of gas won’t break the bank, but now that the price is over four dollars a gallon it’s still going to hurt.  Another thing that doesn’t help is the fact that my car, a Subaru Forester, has distinctly unimpressive mileage, generally not much over 20 mpg.  Not that any cars get anything remotely close to their advertised mileage, of course.  It’s interesting to note that gas prices may end up being a significant factor in the upcoming election, even though presidents can’t do much about them.

I wasn’t able to make it to the gym on Thursday, but did some leg work on Friday.  For the first time in a couple of weeks I did squats: 2 x 6 x 225, 3 x 6 x 245.  Not huge weights, but I was very careful to get proper depth on all of the reps.  It’s so common to see people (ostensibly) squatting heavy weights but not going remotely close to the proper depth.  Somewhat paradoxically, these half-depth squats are actually harder on the knees than ones done to full depth.  After the squats I did seated calf raises, 3 x 12 x 155.  I was going to do some leg presses, but my left ankle was quite painful, apparently from an awkward calf raise rep, so I decided to call it an evening.

Published in: on April 2, 2012 at 1:21 am  Leave a Comment