Vergence Ranges

The Ins and Outs of an Ordinary Life

Tuesday, August 15, 2023

O.M.G. P.E.P.

PEP stands for "Performance Enhancement Program." Last night was my first PEP class. We went down to the gym with towels and water bottles and 2 crazy trainers spend about an hour trying to make us cry or puke. No weights, bars, bands, or any other equipment. All cardio and body weight. It was based on intervals. After a good 15 minutes of cardio to get warmed up and some stretching, we did 2 minutes of cardio followed by 2 minutes of strength. Lunges, squats, planks, pushups with all sorts of variations to make them more difficult. About 3 minutes into the warm-up my heart rate was already at the upper limit of my "zone of YES I CAN." The 2 minute intervals sent my heart rate into the "zone of OMG." The strength intervals had me in the pain cave. But I did not cry or puke (might have been close on the puking option). I survived and if it doesn't kill you it makes you stronger, so I guess I am stronger today! I am certainly sore today and my knees are a little unhappy, but I am ready to do it again. The only problem is they need 12 people to run the program and only 4 signed up. So last night was probably my one and only PEP class. But as crazy trainer Sal pointed out, this is all stuff you can do on your own. You don't need a gym or a trainer to do this kind of work-out. Just some determination, and maybe a vomit bag.

Hiking Bear Mountain

If there was snow, we would be out there on snowshoes.... but why let the lack of snow keep us off the trails? Today a bunch of us hiked up Bear Mountain. We went up on the Major Welch Trail, which is very steep, and came down on the Appalachian Trail (AT). The part of the AT that crosses over Bear Mountain was rebuilt and reopened in June 2010. Over 5 years, 800 hand-hewn granite steps were installed and stone retaining walls were built. It's very beautiful and I can appreciate what a huge feat this was! Now as many as 100,000 hikers travel over those steps every year.

It wasn't one of those absolutely beautiful winter days. It was cloudy and cold and windy, especially on the top of the mountain! But it wasn't raining and it wasn't too cold to be outdoors, so why not get out there, enjoy the company of some friends and spend some time in the woods. As always, I tucked my little Canon into one of my pockets.

Perkins Tower atop Bear Mountain

Overlooking the Hudson River

Resting on the way Up

Saturday, March 23, 2013

I'm Walking

I can't run, but I've been trying to do some good old fashioned walking. Given the choice: outdoors or the gym, I will take the outdoors option every single time. I am willing to put on extra layers and navigate sections of snow covered trails to avoid the gym. I have been exploring the the options close to home, and Teatown is becoming one of my favorite walking/hiking destinations. The loop around the lake is 1.5 miles, and totally flat, perfect for a "quickie." But there are many miles of trails with hills aplenty. I always bring tunes and I often bring a camera.

Today was one of those early spring days that felt more like winter than spring. It was more cloudy than sunny and windy too. Temps into the low 40s. I walked along the lake and then took one of the trails that climbs fairly steeply then descends back down to the lake. I set my music to "shuffle" and spent about 90 minutes breathing in the cool fresh air and contemplating the colors of winter. I moved slowly through the snow covered sections to decrease the chances of slipping or falling. I watched the swans sticking their heads in the water to find food. I saw a few other people, but most of the time I had only myself to keep me company.

I came home, made myself a cup of tea, and then started to do the things I needed to get done. A very peaceful day.

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

326,800 yards

My Masters Swim Team coach sent out a New Year’s greetings email. He attached a document that listed all the parameters of every swim workout we have done over the past year. Most of the workouts are unique. I don’t think there are 156 workouts, but its very close. There is pulling and swimming and kicking, there are drills, there is stroke counting and hypoxia and diving off the blocks, swimming with a giant rubber band around your legs, learning flip turns. There is free, fly, back and breast strokes. Its all there (There are also a couple of parties and breakfasts at the diner). And he calculated all the yardage. The yardage varies from 2300-3700 yards for a 90 minute session. If you made it to every workout three times a week and swam every yard, you would have swam 326,800 yards in 2009. That’s just over 183 miles, or 3.5 miles per week. I didn’t swim nearly that far. I try to swim twice a week, and I usually don’t cover as much yardage as the faster swimmers. Plus I was out of the pool with an inflamed shoulder for 3 months. But here’s the thing-- it’s never been about how many yards you swim. I am by far the slowest swimmer on the “team.” Sometimes I am a nuisance to the other members of the team because they either have to pass me or wait for me. But I have never for even one moment felt unwelcome or ridiculed or unworthy. There have been a few people who have tried swimming with the Team but haven’t lasted very long. They swam about as slow as me (well, nobody swims as slow as me), and I think they were expecting a more nurturing instructional coach, not a grueling 90 minutes of oxygen deprivation. Although I did get more instruction when I first joined the team, the emphasis has always been on becoming more efficient and fit. I have never regretted getting into the pool and doing what I can do. As a result, I have become a better (if not faster) swimmer and my overall fitness has improved. It didn’t take 183 miles. It took realistic expectations, a good coach, some great (and inspiring) teammates, and a willingness to just do my best because I can’t do any better and my best is awesome.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Scooter Lady

I had a conversation this morning with the Scooter Lady. She arrives at the train station via scooter, folds it up and slings it across her shoulder, and when she arrives at Grand Central Terminal, she unfolds it and scoots off to her office. Her office is at Columbus Circle, which is not that far from Grand Central, but requires 2 trains if you wanted to get there by subway. It takes at least 20 minutes to walk it. Scooter time: 8 minutes. Out of the north end of the terminal, across 47th St. to Eighth Avenue, and up to Columbus Circle via the bike lane. She said once she saddles up, she can be on a train in 9 minutes. She has a heavy duty scooter, with big wheels and a hand brake; kinda like your kid’s razor scooter on steroids. She used to live in the city and the scooter was her primary means of transportation. She would travel with her daughter on the scooter, too, getting her to and from birthday parties, ice skating and dance lessons. When she moved to the suburbs, she quickly realized that the scooter was still an essential piece of her new life as a commuter. Even on a day like today, when the temperature is probably 20ish and there is a wicked wind blowing, she scoots. Eight minutes on the scooter; its over before you have time to think about how cold it is, and I’m sure she warms up in about 2 minutes! I don’t know the source of her motivation to scoot, probably convenience more than anything. But what a great way to start your day. Get your blood moving and arrive at your office in a snap. If you can overcome even one hurdle that nyc throws at you on a daily basis, think of what you can accomplish in that office in the next 7 hours! Carpe Diem! Seize the day!

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

The Wall is NOT a Parking Lot

I was tired and I had a headache, but I went to Masters swim practice anyway. Usually, when I feel crappy, working out does wonders (if I can convince myself to go workout). So yesterday I got into the pool, hoping it would be a positive experience. Well, it wasn't. I had nothing. Zero. Nada. The coach reminded me that the wall is NOT a parking lot. I couldn't swim slow enough to get through 100 yards without hanging on the wall. Uggh. I finally got out and went home. Still had the headache. Oh well, I guess we are all entitled to "off" days. I will try again tomorrow.

Monday, August 04, 2008

The Great Kayak Adventure -- Caught Between the Tide and a Monsoon

Just sit right back and read this tale, the tale of a fateful trip. Back in December at the Bike Club's holiday party, I was one of eight ride leaders that won a special “mystery prize.” The prize was a gift certificate for a “kayak adventure” from Hudson Valley Outfitters in Cold Spring. On Saturday morning August 2, 7 castaways, oh I mean ride leaders set out for a 3 hour tour of Constitution Marsh.

After getting “fit” for our kayaks and a few minutes of instruction, we were ready to put our ship, oh I mean kayaks in the water. I very casually mentioned the possibility of a thunderstorm, and was told by the fearless crew, oh I mean kayak guides, not to worry. They would know what to do in the event of bad weather and I should just have a good time.. I was assured that the thundering noise I was hearing was not thunder, but artillery at West Point.

Entering Constitution Marsh via kayak requires passing underneath the railroad bridge. There is not very much clearance, and this is highly dependent upon the tides. But obviously the Professor, oh I mean Matt the kayak guide, had knowledge of the tide schedule and we entered the Marsh. Even on a cloudy day, my first impression was of the overwhelming beauty of the marsh—the tall grasses, the beautiful flowers and the calls of the birds. As we paddled along, it started to drizzle, but it was actually quite pleasant and we moved along through the channels in the marsh. A few minutes later, we heard thunder. Very clearly thunder and not artillery at West Point. The 3 guides had a brief conference and decided we should make our way to the Audobon Center just in case we needed to get off the water. At this point the tide was coming in and getting back under the bridge to get back to Cold Spring was not really an option.

Guess what happened next, my friend. The weather started getting rough, VERY rough. It was becoming obvious to the crew that we were not going to get to the Audobon Center quickly enough and that we needed to get off the water. The kayakers set ground on the shore of this unchartered piece of Constitution Marsh. We disembarked; over the rocks, between the large tree limbs and through the poison ivy patch. One or two people fell out of their kayaks, but it was warmer in the water than standing in the now torrential downpour. If not for the courage and fast acting guides, the kayakers would have been lost! We spent the next 20 minutes huddled together in a very small clearing along the shore, waiting for this monsoon to pass. But it did pass, and we were able to get back in our kayaks. Most of them were now little floating bathtubs. We continued on our journey and made our way to the Audobon Center, where we were able to wring out our clothes, bail out the kayaks, eat our lunches and make a few more analogies to Gilligan’s Island. At this point it was abundantly clear that the monsoon was not going to repeat, and we were given the choice of a ride back to Cold Spring or returning via kayak. All 7 of us proudly got back in our kayaks and we set off. The Marsh was peaceful and cool and quite beautiful and the tide did most of the work, pulling us along. When we got near the railroad bridge, the guides had us practice crouching in our kayaks to make sure we didn’t get bonked in the head. We all made it under the bridge and back to Cold Spring. You can be sure that all 7 of us will be at the Holiday party in December, hoping that our names are pulled out of the bag for another Great Kayak Adventure!!

Saturday, May 31, 2008

Swim Bike Run DONE!

It was a challenge, mentally and physically, but I did it! After 21 years, I am a triathlete once again.