fitness

Sport or Bows? Also, sparkles are the Australia of gender

You might have seen this making the rounds, Gender, according to the Cis, based on their cakes.

I’m sharing it partly because it’s a hot day and the news about the pandemic spread in the United States keeps making me cry.

Why is the richest country in the world throwing up its hands in the face of the pandemic, running out of hospital beds, and PPE?

However, this made me laugh.

What’s striking from the point of this blog is that sport is a gender! And girls are BOWS not baseball, BOWS not basketball, etc.

To all the young women out there playing basketball and baseball, I’m wishing you strength and joy in your pursuits.

And there are so many reasons not to ever have a gender reveal party and I love that the woman credited with founding the trend, Jenna Karvunidis, even says, please don’t.

“Plot twist! The baby from the original gender reveal party is a girl who wears suits,” Karvunidis says. “She says ‘she’ and ‘her’ and all of that, but you know she really goes outside gender norms.”

brown framed chalkboard easel with baby coming in July he or she text
He or She Party, photo by Unsplash
cycling · dogs · fitness · racing

Sam’s biggest fans

Sam’s biggest fans

I’ve shared lots of Cheddar participating in yoga photos. But the thing is, he’s my constant companion, especially when I’m the only one home. All of my work colleagues now know him from videoconference meetings.

When I’m riding my bike on the trainer, he’s my number one fan. He sits on the sofa behind me watching the screen, only occasionally nodding off.

I’ve been riding indoors, in a heat wave, in a house with imperfectly operational air conditioning.

Enter the new fan, fan number two.

So last night I was doing the La Bicicletta Toronto Supper Time Trial, a very hard 17.6 km solo effort. Both fans accounted for and I got my second best time on the route. Thanks Cheddar and thanks Heavyweight Honeywell.

cycling · fashion

Sam dresses up her avatar for casual rides

Most cyclists have different kinds of things they wear, depending. When I was riding with Coach Chris, I wore Coach Chris kit on group rides. But I didn’t ever wear it on casual rides with friends. I felt it was my speedy outfit! Club kit is for riding or racing with the club.

I also have other serious cycling clothes for long rides, like my very best (expensive) bib shorts. And then I have the old beat up, worn out bike shorts I wear under dresses when commuting to work or out and about running errands.

Then there is the fun casual cycling variety of clothes. Star Trek jerseys and Simon the cat jerseys (thanks Susan) fall into this category. Their message is that I’m out riding to have fun.

Zwift is sort of the same. You get awarded kit by doing events and by riding certain distances and leveling up. I now have a wide range of virtual jerseys, socks, helmets, gloves, and sunglasses. I’ve even been known to do some events (Hi Betty Designs!) just to get the kit.

I wear club kit when racing in Zwift so teammates can recognize me but if I’m noodling slowly around Watopia on a recovery day, I want to wear something fun and casual, that matches the speed I’m riding.

Last night I was doing the Monday night race series with my team and just off the start I caught sight of my socks. Eek! I was wearing purple Pride socks with my yellow team kit. They clashed horribly. Still, they made me smile. Stealth Pride rider in the race.

Pride On!
swimming

Back in the water again! A guest post in four joyful voices

Monday morning. Back to work after a holiday in Prince Edward County. One of the things I loved about my time on Sarah’s family farm was the swimming pool and playing in the pool with her 6 year old nephew who just loved the water so much. I think he could spend all day in the pool and when I wasn’t riding my bike or reading books and patting Cheddar, I could too.

I got home to so much doom and gloom in the news. But also there in my Facebook newsfeed were the happy faces of four London guest bloggers, including my daughter Mallory, all swimmers, all so thrilled to be back in the pool or the lake. I just couldn’t resist sharing their happy stories with you. I know one of the regular bloggers Bettina has written about this too. See her post Fish Back in Water to add to the chorus of happy voices.

Enjoy!

Mary

There is something about moving in the water and something even more about swimming outdoors, that cannot be replaced. It was with great delight that I was able to book a lane at Thames pool in London Ontario. Social distance, two per lane, advanced booking, for one hour.

The sun was shining, creating magical reflections in the water. It was quiet and I was in my happy place. For one hour, all was well in this crazy world, in my world.

You can read Mary’s past guest posts here and here.

Savita

There’s a saying: you’re one swim away from a good mood. In these pandemic times, it’s more like you’re one swim away from…overwhelming happydancing joy! At first I was both excited and nervous. Excited because Swimming! Nervous because COVID19! But once I got to Thames Pool, the nervousness dissipated. Screening, distancing, 2 people per 50 m lane. Everyone was on good behaviour. So I could focus on finding my movement through the water. I struggled through 900m and it WILL hurt tomorrow. And that will feel awesome!

Thames Pool! Oh, darling, I’ve missed you so!!

You can read Savita’s past guest posts here.

Mallory

Pride flags on a sandy beach

Morning Dip Traditions

This summer, for the first time in a very long time, I am staying in Southwestern Ontario. Normally I would be spending my summer in Northern Ontario working at Rainbow Camp, a summer camp for 2SLGBTQ+ teens.

One of my favourite camp traditions is morning dip. It’s a wake-up call, a way to start your day feeling fresh, renewed and sometimes cold! Even when no campers join me or in between sessions when we have no campers, I still love starting my day in the lake.

This year, we are running a virtual camp called Rainbow Online Connection. Monday morning was our first full day and it also happened to be the first day of lane swimming at a nearby outdoor pool so guess how I started my day? Morning dip! A little more athletic than I’m using to starting my mornings but still a great start to my day. (And for those of you interested, our first day of online camp went amazing!) See Rainbow Camp for more information.

You can read Mallory’s past guest posts here.

Amanda Lynn

Smiling in the sun, with water and beach in the background

Summer just isn’t summer for me without getting into the water. Outdoors. At the height Ontario’s COVID isolation, my biggest fear was that summer would come and go, and I wouldn’t get to float in Lake Huron. When they opened the beaches at Pinery Provincial Park, we went up the first day. The water was a brisk 59F, but I still dove in with relief.

We’ve been back to the lake three times since then. On calm days, the sun shines through the blue water and I look up to the sky from below the surface. I bob back up and drift gently, and I feel whole.

You can read Amanda’s past guest posts here and here.

fitness

Big Week for Women’s Cycling!

File:NYCS-bull-trans-1.svg

Thing 1 is the virtual Tour de France on Zwift. See Women’s Tour de France on Zwift.

Watch here.

We watched Stage 2 this morning. If you’ve ever been curious about Zwift this is pretty realistic. Well, except for their watts per kilo. Wow!

STEEP CLIMBS AND FLAT SPRINTS

Stage 2, July 5

Racers start at sea level, breathing that salty oxygenated air before going under the sea via the Ocean Tunnel. After the competitors exit the ocean, keep an eye on the climbers. During the next 5.8 miles (9.4 km), they’ll ascend a 3.9% grade. And the final push, AKA the Radio Tower Climb, is brutal.

Here’s the stage winner, Lauren Stephens. And here’s commentary on the race.

And here she is, in world, crossing the line.

File:NYCS-bull-trans-2.svg

Thing 2 is Ontario Women’s Cycling Week.

I’m away next weekend but if I was at home with Zoom and Zwift nearby, here’s what I would do:

SATURDAY JULY 11TH AT 9:00AM ON ZWIFT

Zwift No-Drop Social Ride – Hosted by the Toronto Hustle Women

Join us for a social Zwift ride led by the Toronto Hustle Women from 9:00 – 9:45am.

To register CLICK HERE

SUNDAY JULY 12TH AT 3:00PM ON ZOOM

Social – Hosted by the Toronto Hustle Women

A chance to connect with your fellow female cyclists from the comfort of your patio.

To register CLICK HERE

gadgets · gear · trackers

Fitness trackers as health trackers and COVID-19

Last September I decided I was done with fitness watches that track steps (and other stuff). See Why Sam isn’t getting a fitness watch. I bought an analog watch for work so I could keep track of the time without looking at my phone.

From that post, “The problem is that they mostly track steps and my steps are very limited these days. When I wear one I’m conscious of how little I’m walking and sometimes I walk when I shouldn’t. My knees are happiest on days with fewer than 5000 steps. I get that just walking around campus and taking the dog around the block. I try to put step counts away but it’s so hard. See You are so much more than your step count.”

And then COVID-19 hit and I started tracking my daily temperature. I struggled a bit with sleep and I was curious to know what was going on with my resting hours. I’m feeling much more at ease with walking less and I’ve got a pretty good idea of the amount of walking that feels good for my knee.

I’ve had pneumonia a few times as an adult and I’ve had nurses track my blood oxygen levels and I was intrigued that new fitness trackers also contain pulse oximeters. No, they’re not medical devices and they’re not as accurate as having a medical professional measure it but they are supposed to be good at measuring change over time.

One of the problems COVID-19 patients have is that feel like they are breathing comfortably but their blood oxygen levels can be scarily low. Does that mean you need a home pulse oximeter? I’m going with no but if a fitness watch came with one or would be a definite bonus, right?

Interestingly the pulse oximeter trend started before COVID-19. See here. It’s useful information for athletic recovery, mountain climbers and others who train at altitude, as well as for detecting sleep apnea.

The other COVID-19 tracking capability that fitness watches might be useful for is resting heart rate. More than fever, a rise in resting heart rate can be a sign your body is fighting off a virus. This is true even in otherwise asymptotic people. “Every single time someone got sick with a viral infection, we could pick up their heart rate increasing well before they were symptomatic.”

I’m worried about getting COVID-19 and getting sick but I’m also extra worried about getting it and not knowing I have it. That’s why I’ve been regularly taking my temperature.

YMMV, but for me, tracking this stuff makes me feel less anxious and more in control.

You can either just track your own individual information to gather intel about your health or agree to be part of one of many studies pooling the data to track COVID-19.

Here’s more to read if you’re interested:

Can Fitness Trackers Detect Coronavirus Symptoms?

Apple Watch, Fitbit May Help Spot Emerging Coronavirus Outbreaks

Scientists Want to Know if Fitness Trackers Can Detect Covid ..

I bought a Garmin vivoactive 4, image featured above. I’ll blog more about the watch and its other fancy features in a bit. This is my first time owning a watch that can do so many things and I’m not sure I need to read my email on my watch.

 I’m curious though, are you tracking any of your health data differently since COVID-19?

cycling · fitness

Big Island Bike Ride

We celebrated Canada Day at Sarah’s family farm in Prince Edward County. There’s so much to love about Canada and also so much work to be done in terms of justice for indigenous persons. As a result, I’ve got mixed emotions about Canada Day. Yet this year I’m also feeling teary and proud of how much we’ve done in Canada to cope with the corona virus pandemic.

This is a good place to be reminded that we are settlers on this land. We’re across the Bay of Quinte from the Tyendinaga Mohawk Territory. There are signs here in Kanien’kéha, the language of the Mohawk people. My favorite are the turtle crossing signs.

We’re staying here with Sarah’s sister and her family and of course, Cheddar the dog. Once we got Cheddar settled in we went out for a quick bike ride around Big Island. It’s a cute island about 8 km long and 3 km wide in the Bay of Quinte. It is accessed by a fixed causeway which connects Big Island to the remainder of Prince Edward County.

Strava map of our ride

There were almost no cars and just a few other bikes on the island. We had all the weather: sunshine, wind, and rain on our 25 km ride, over to and around the island. A joy of riding in quiet places is sprinting along the nice pavement bits without worrying about traffic and nearly getting some QOMs. I love the “worldwide” bit when I think that only a few dozen people with Strava have ridden on Big Island.

Big Island is a sleepy place and I’ve been pining a bit for international travel. Facebook memories keeps reminding me of summers past in Spain, France, Scotland, Sweden, and Germany. I’ve got environmental worries about travel but I also miss it a lot and so I’m both missing it and feeling about torn about it all.

It’s all mixed emotions around here. First, Canada Day and indigenous justice and second, international travel and carbon emissions.

That said, this little island ride reminded me a bit of one the most luxurious bike rides I’ve done, around Bora Bora with Susan. I’ve got a soft spot for small bike friendly islands.

We didn’t get to go to the beach after riding, unlike in Bora Bora, but we did get to splash in the pool with the 6 year old nephew. Earlier in the morning he and I had been racing laps in the pool. Later there were veggie burgers, cauliflower wings, and pineapple upside upside down cake. Yum. Thanks Victoria, for both the yummy food and watching Cheddar while we rode our bikes

We’re here for a few more days. The university was closed for the Canada Day holiday and is also providing an extended holiday on July 2 and 3 for some faculty and staff, including me.

We’ll be back again during the summer including for the Pedal for Parkinson’s charity bike ride.

blog · blogging

Top ten posts in June, #icymi

Pretty pink blossoms on a tree.

The most read post this month was the same as the most read post last month: COVID-19 and the Gym: Building Engineers Weigh In (Guest Post) Thanks Sarah and Cara for laying it out so clearly.

In second spot is Cate’s much loved still menstruating post.

Catherine asks, When is it okay to say “good job” to a woman while she’s in the middle of physical activity. That’s the third most read post of the month.

Fourth is Marjorie’s post Systemic racism looks like the death of George Floyd, denying the science of masks, and our perspectives on dietary privilege.

Fifth is another post by Marjorie, Women are ‘Someone,’ Too.

Catherine’s post Exercising while black: a few women’s stories was the sixth most read post in June.

The seventh most read post was Christine’s post on tricking yourself into getting started.

Everyone is looking for at home workouts. This barely pre-pandemic post on the NYT 6 minute workout is often in our top 10 during these pandemic months. It’s appreciated, Catherine! I think you knew something was coming. This month it was number 8.

Martha’s post on weight stigma and COVID-19 was the ninth most read post in June. It’s a concern here at the blog. Tracy also wrote about weight stigma and fat shaming jokes in the context of 2019.

And the tenth most read post in June was Mary’s guest post on her calm and humorous take on the big race that wasn’t. Love your attitude Mary!

June was a strange month. Bad enough that it’s been memed. Here’s hoping for a better July.

fitness · monthly check in

Sam’s monthly check-in: June’s ups and downs

My last monthly check-in was February. And then they stopped. I wonder why? Hmmm.

Now it’s the end of June. What happened to those months? Geesh.

The great pandemic pause. I think today is day 106 of the state of emergency in Ontario.

Some things in my life are chugging along and other things seem on hold. I haven’t been keeping up with my academic research and writing. Zoom academic administration, chairing video conference meetings in a period of crisis, takes a lot of time and energy.

For the first time, I’m having attention span issues. I pick up books and I put them down. I start writing things and then I stop. I feel like I’m waiting for something to happen, for something to be decided, but it’s not clear what.

Interestingly general fitness is going fine. I’m working out lots. It helps with stress and I get to work out with my son for company. I’m racing my bike on Zwift and getting in some yoga though not as much as I’d like.

I’d been writing the monthly updates for awhile now. I liked writing them. But what’s to update in the great pause? Except it’s now clearer than ever that we’re in this strange state for a long time. It’s not a pause. I have friends starting big new jobs. Friends moving across the country. Friends having babies. In the middle of the pandemic life goes on.

We’re emerging a bit here in Ontario. I’m still working from home but I’ve been out riding my bike and having friends visit in the backyard. I’m nervous about what fall and winter will bring so I’m making sure I get out some now while we can.

I’m starting to think about my impending knee surgery and wondering if the dates will be changed by Covid-19 and hospital priorities. I’m reminding myself that I should focus some of the exercise I do on getting ready for knee replacement.

FOCUS.

That’s my word for the year.

“Focus” seems an ironic word choice during the pandemic. It’s so hard to do.

I’m back on it though. Trying. The good thing is my knee is doing mostly okay. I carried laundry up steps this morning without pain. If I go early enough I can even take Cheddar for longer walks. Riding lots seems to help.

fitness

How adventurous are you feeling?

This?

As the province of Ontario is gradually, slowly emerging from COVID-19 restrictions, some adventure tourism is now open. Perfect for physical distancing, for example, the Niagara Falls Zipline is open.

Paddling down a river is more my speed.

It’s skill-free (pretty much) and easy for physical distancing, I’m thinking of tubing again. We did it last year for my birthday.

Me last year in my tube. And if anyone gets too close I can whack them with my paddles. Fun times!

Any adventures you’re thinking of trying that are compatible with the rules around physical distancing?