Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Spoor, or sneaking up on 1000

If you're reading this, you're probably a triathlete, or are recovering from being one. You almost certainly leave spoor, whether you know it or not. A fellow triathlete walking into your home can probably track your recent activities by the trail of workout gear and clothing, some clean, many not. After all, why put stuff away if you're just going to need it later that day, or at latest, tomorrow?

This is what drives non-athletic female spouses to despair. Though, oddly enough, it isn't clothes that get Linda. I'm pretty good at getting the sweaty stuff into the basket, and the basket down to the machine, and stuff transfered from one machine to the other, then out. Mainly because I'm squicked out at the thought of putting on ex-sweaty gear.

It's the containers I take to work with lunch in them. They often hide in my bag till after the dishes are done. Or books. Or paperwork sometimes gets left in odd places. Like the business paperwork that needs to be organized for filing. Soon. Workout equipment, mainly bike stuff, but sometimes things like water bottles, sunscreen, watch, heart rate monitor, and Road ID. (You do have a Road ID, and wear it for all outdoor workouts, right?)

I'm happy with a bit of clutter. I like a house that looks like people live there. Painfully neat and tidy houses make me a bit nervous. I used to work with a guy, I swear I'm not making this up, who after vacuuming his carpets (daily) used a special rake to make sure all the nap was aligned. (If BJ or Lisa are reading this, they know who I'm talking about.) I can guarantee he is not a triathlete. I feel reassured having a pile of books to read beside my chair, and am not frightened or disturbed by dust bunnies.

So unless the male spouse is like that guy above, he probably doesn't particularly notice the spousal spoor. Or the smell of the spoor. Or anything else except the things he's interested in, which might be the supply of beer in the fridge, his own workout gear, or other toys.

We've had rainy weather the last couple of days, which is a huge change. I probably would have gone for a run tonight if it had been nice. I've been pretty creaky since my long run a week and a few days ago. What with planning a long walk to and from GlobalFest on Saturday, I didn't feel much like doing a run, and of course Sunday I was cheering people on. Tomorrow is supposed to be nicer, so maybe I'll run then, and see how it feels.

So tonight I did some stretching. I was thinking of a full on core workout, but a heavy duty session of providing a cat lap drained me. Stretching was all I could do, and it felt pretty good.

Oh, and I see that I'm getting a bunch of readers from SUAR's blog. Or one reader that shows up a bunch of times, no doubt in horrid fascination or something. Thanks for reading, and don't be afraid to leave a comment.

Anybody wanting a Google+ invitation?

Last call for suggestions for the 1000th blog post coming up soon! I've already started to write it. Stay tuned.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

My Inner Shark thought I'd forgotten him

Inner Sharks are very sensitive about such things, for all that they are wild and free spirits, coming and going as they please. They don't choose to hang around with humans much, so it was perceived as a bit of an affront when I wasn't there. In some ways, Inner Sharks are much like cats. And if you look at it from his point of view, I've hardly been in the pool since January, so what was he to think? It's very difficult, though not impossible, for him to hang out with me when I'm not in the pool.

Today started with a bit of thrash and flail in the pool. Trying to be smooth doesn't help much when shoulders and other muscles used for swimming are feeling very creaky. Plus my hams were feeling a little bit crampish, just enough that I didn't really want to try to power through flip turns, and took it easy during kick.

But during pull I got the feel of the water back, almost between one stroke and the next, and the next thing I knew my shark buddy was happy to see me. Disappointed in the thrash and general slowness, of course, but happy I hadn't forgotten or outgrown him or something. Humans are so unreliable.

Even though my arms were tired, I tried a timed 100 m, just to see, and it turned out to be 100 seconds. Even then I slowed down in the last 25 m as I tired and started running out of air and got a bit sloppy. I don't want to talk about how much faster is is than the first time I did that a few weeks ago. That was bad.

I felt light and streamlined in the water, and my arms were catching the water again. This is nice! My shark buddy didn't say much about what he'd been up to for the last several months, but then, they don't talk about themselves much. They are more interested in prey. The big guy in my lane moved out when I moved in because he's smart enough to know he doesn't belong in the fast lanes. At the moment I don't either, but then the fast people haven't been showing up lately. There is a new guy at the pool that could keep ahead of me last week, but not anymore. Last Friday at Canyon Meadows I saw M and her husband. He has really improved, which is nice to see. Flip turns and all.

Downstairs for some stretching in the evening. It's raining out, so a run wouldn't be much fun. I'm patiently waiting for my IMC blog buddies to tell the story of their day. Sara, Amber, Tawnee (part 2), Julie, Uli, Jacqui, and Dan. (checks calendar. tap tap tap). Or Facebook,  Sara, Jennifer, Lorraine, Richelle, Amber, Julie, Tessa, Jill, Leanne, Chuck. Any time guys. (checks calendar.)


Monday, August 29, 2011

Bugs, the downside of a bike ride

Estela was in the shop today getting shifter cables adjusted. I haven't ridden much lately because it's nearly impossible to get onto the big ring, and I'm not strong enough to stay on that ring once there.This winter for sure I want to take a course on how to maintain all the shifter stuff properly. Adding in how to take everything apart to ship a bike someplace might be handy to know. Not that I'll ever need to ship a bike to Kona, but a buddy mentioned Boulder 70.3 next year, and I'm thinking about it.

The shop is downtown only a few blocks from work. From there I rode home, taking the scenic route through Sandy Beach, and the west side of the reservoir. Somehow, the Sandy Beach hill doesn't seem so steep anymore, though it was tough getting past some of the distractions there.

Once I started down the hill from North Glenmore park I ran into bugs. Clouds and clouds of bugs. I put my head down and breathed through my nose. It was like that all the way to the right turn for the 37 St path, and there were some clouds even after that. My arms and legs were black with dead bugs. Icky. At least I didn't swallow any.

It used to take an hour and a few minutes to ride home by the most direct route. This route is about 5 or 6 K longer than the direct route, and I did it in just over 52 minutes, without trying particularly hard. I was thinking it would be an hour. I didn't think about cadence or anything, just rode. And looked at the scenery when I could.

The trick with this route is that on Elbow if you work a bit you can keep up with traffic, and the shoulder is crappy enough that there is incentive to keep your place in the lane. Then once you're on the bike path, technically, there is a 20 Kph speed limit. I work with a guy that got a speeding ticket once, and boy was he choked about it. Even for me in my current weak and feeble state it's trivial to break the speed limit on the paths, even going up many of the hills. But I can see the point of it, most of the paths have to be shared with walkers. (yes, my rant soapbox is just sitting there ready for action, but I will abstain.)

I know a few people that commute to work on bikes. Talisman has a locker room with showers that I have access to. There is indoor locked bike parking, though it's expensive. ($150 per year). The path that I'd take most of the way to work is cleared in the winter, and it's no surprise to find the paths in better shape than the roads. It isn't all that far, say 15 K by a reasonably direct route. I don't even mind the temperature, particularly, since one can dress properly. It's the cars. More properly, the drivers. I barely trust the drivers in the summer, and during the winter, when it's dark, and the windows are frosted up, and the roads have ice and all sorts of crap on them, my imagination can supply the all too likely consequences.

This is my first ride in a little while. There were a few twinges in my left calf going up one of the hills. Not sure what that's about. Maybe the complete lack of a warm up, and going almost immediately to chasing cars. By the end the ride it felt pretty good. Yes, I wore my Road ID.

Watching IMC yesterday brought it all back. How I felt during the training, before and during the race. And crossing the finish line. I'll never forget that.  Julie told me that I had to be prepared to lose almost all my conditioning to recover properly, and now I believe that. In some ways this summer has been like starting over. Of course, I had the knee issue that didn't help, but there are lots of other minor issues. Old bodies get creaky pretty quick. I miss all my massage therapists.

People keep asking me if I'll do it again. I don't think so. It isn't the race; I think I'd like to do the race again, or at least another Iron distance, if not another Ironman™ race. It's the training. The training nearly did me in. I like swimming, biking, and running, even doing lots of those things. What I don't like is doing them because I have to train. Doing them because I have to get the distance in. Doing them when you're worried about the weather rolling in. Doing when it isn't fun. I'm all about doing things now because they're fun. I think I can still be having fun, and training for the half iron distance. We'll see. I have my eye on Chinook. Stalking it.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

IMC 2011

Video feed starts in a few minutes. I'm texting Susi, she says Julie is ready to go! It's cool there now, but going to be scorching hot later. The coffee is on, I'll get breakfast in a minute. The plan is to update this post periodically throughout the day. Race stuff. Random dribble out of my brain. Who knows? In any case, I know the racers are milling around, doing last minute things, like stand in a porta potty line, hoping for things to move at the right time. Nuff said.

Where is the video feed???????
Well that sucks.
Pros are off, and my buddies will be going any second.
No video on the Ironman.com site.
No video on http://www.livestream.com/ironmancanada?rsvptoeventid=412291
I wonder if there is another denial of service attack happening?

Still no video. Susi is watching, most pros out of the water, and top age groupers.

Julie is out of the water! Race clock says 1:23, minus 15 is 1:08. Yay! Ironman site is beyond slow. Very disappointed.

Race Clock 2:04
Most of buddies are out of the water. No times for Pro's Ullie Bromme, or Jacqui Gordon. I wonder what the story is there.

Race Clock 2:22
All buddies are out of the water. I had to check twice, Lana and Leanne were out within seconds of each other. And Madonna Buder is out of the water! She had a problem with her wetsuit last year, so it's great to see her on the bike. Here's the latest times. Not accurate to the second, and not counting T times.



NumberNameSwim
33Uli Bno
36Sara G58
42Jacqui Gno
208Josh K1:09
775Todd H1:09
780Dan B1:39
1635Chuck K1:31
1868Dave T1:49
2338Tawnee P1:21
2518Richelle L1:12
2553Amber H1:15
2594Julie A1:09
2600Jennifer M1:15
2710Leanne S1:43
2747Lorraine C1:04
2917Tessa P1:23
2979Patty I1:16
3115Valeska T1:30
3182Jill K1:16
3195Lana S1:43
3235Madonna B1:48

Race Clock 2:56
Looking at transition times. Sara was in and out in 1:24. That's 84 seconds. If it's the same layout as last year, I'm not convinced I could run from the swim, collect my bike, and get to the exit in that time, to say nothing of getting my wetsuit off and putting bike stuff on. Other people have times in the 3 minute area, which is amazing to me. No word on if Uli and Jacqui DNS or pulled out of the swim for some reason. Hope they're ok. The site blog feed, slow as it is, says the wind is picking up. That was nasty last year, and it happened just near the start of the run for me.

Still no video feed. The actual site doesn't even say there will be video feed, but the tab says audio/video, and it just says the live feed has expired. I don't know if there is an unexpected technical problem or what. At least the IM Louisville shows a video box, IMC doesn't even have that. I see two possibilities: 1 - They planned to do it and are having problems, like the Denial of Service attack last year. This implies good intentions and poor execution.
2 - They didn't plan to do it at all, which just damages their brand even further. Maybe they couldn't figure out how to cope, and didn't even want to try. Or they figure they can make more money by selling the DVD if there is no live feed. In either case they have disappointed a lot of people.
I suppose there is a third alternative, that it is there, and I don't have the right site, or my own system or ISP has some issue, but I know Kelsey in South Africa, and Leana can't see the video either.

Race clock 3:18
Sara is in third at the bottom of Richter's Pass! Looks like 17 minutes back. They're saying "very strong" winds on the out and back. This might be turning into a very tough ride for the age groupers.

I'm off for a book club meeting. There will be wine. And other nibblies... Back in a while.

Back. Race Clock 7:35
Susi texted me, Julie on her way back into town. I've checked where people are, see the list below. Now,  at least, the video is trying to show. Lets see how that works out.


Number Name Swim Bike 1 Bike 2 Bike 3
33 Uli B no


36 Sara G 58

5:28
42 Jacqui G no


208 Josh K 1:09

5:00
775 Todd H 1:09 2:11

780 Dan B 1:39 2:15

1635 Chuck K 1:31 2:11

1868 Dave T 1:49 2:22

2338 Tawnee P 1:21 2:16

2518 Richelle L 1:12 2:11

2553 Amber H 1:15 2:13

2594 Julie A 1:09 2:02
6:10
2600 Jennifer M 1:15
3:30 5:24
2710 Leanne S 1:43 2:12

2747 Lorraine C 1:04

5:47
2917 Tessa P 1:23 2:08

2979 Patty I 1:16 2:23

3115 Valeska T 1:30 2:23

3182 Jill K 1:16 2:08

3195 Lana S 1:43 2:25

3235 Madonna B 1:48 2:57


Clock Time 8:38
Jordan Rapp won about 10 minutes ago. More of my buddies are off their bikes, and probably pretty happy about it. Video is working!! Yay. Guess what I'm doing for the next bunch of hours?

No info on where the lead woman is. Looks like Torsten Able is second. And third coming in, Bert Jammaer in 8:42 I think. Julie is heading past the Skaha Lake marina, looking strong.


Number Name Swim Bike 1 Bike finish
33 Uli B no

36 Sara G 58
5:28
42 Jacqui G no

208 Josh K 1:09
5:00
775 Todd H 1:09 2:11 6:13
780 Dan B 1:39 2:15
1635 Chuck K 1:31 2:11 6:25
1868 Dave T 1:49 2:22
2338 Tawnee P 1:21 2:16 6:39
2518 Richelle L 1:12 2:11 6:13
2553 Amber H 1:15 2:13 6:23
2594 Julie A 1:09 2:02 6:10
2600 Jennifer M 1:15
5:24
2710 Leanne S 1:43 2:12
2747 Lorraine C 1:04
5:47
2917 Tessa P 1:23 2:08 6:11
2979 Patty I 1:16 2:23
3115 Valeska T 1:30 2:23
3182 Jill K 1:16 2:08 6:07
3195 Lana S 1:43 2:25
3235 Madonna B 1:48 2:57

Race Clock 9:26
First age grouper, 9:27 or so.
Second and third women nearly there. No word of Sara, last I saw she was 4th.
Jennifer M is having a great day out there, hope it continues.

Number Name Swim Bike 1 Bike finish Run 1
33 Uli B no


36 Sara G 58 1:57 5:28 1:34
42 Jacqui G no


208 Josh K 1:09
5:00 1:52
775 Todd H 1:09 2:11 6:13
780 Dan B 1:39 2:15 6:47
1635 Chuck K 1:31 2:11 6:25
1868 Dave T 1:49 2:22 7:06
2338 Tawnee P 1:21 2:16 6:39
2518 Richelle L 1:12 2:11 6:13
2553 Amber H 1:15 2:13 6:23
2594 Julie A 1:09 2:02 6:10
2600 Jennifer M 1:15
5:24 1:54
2710 Leanne S 1:43 2:12 6:36
2747 Lorraine C 1:04
5:47 1:54
2917 Tessa P 1:23 2:08 6:11
2979 Patty I 1:16 2:23 6:46
3115 Valeska T 1:30 2:23 6:52
3182 Jill K 1:16 2:08 6:07
3195 Lana S 1:43 2:25 7:05
3235 Madonna B 1:48 2:57


Race Clock 10:22
At the 10:16 mark a guy stops about 10 steps from the finish line. He hauls out a ring box, kneels down, and proposes. She accepted. I admit that isn't something I would have thought of. So far just a few of my buddies have made it to OK Falls, but I'm starting to look for some of them at the finish line. So far Madonna Buder has not come into T2, according to the notoriously late athlete tracker. Just as few more minutes to the bike cut off. I hope she makes it. It seems like she just missed the cutoff by a couple of minutes. Crap. Here's the times for my buddies:


Number Name Swim Bike 1 Bike finish Run 1 Finish
33 Uli B no



36 Sara G 58 1:57 5:28 1:34 9:46
42 Jacqui G no



208 Josh K 1:09
5:00 1:52
775 Todd H 1:09 2:11 6:13 2:26
780 Dan B 1:39 2:15 6:47

1635 Chuck K 1:31 2:11 6:25

1868 Dave T 1:49 2:22 7:06

2338 Tawnee P 1:21 2:16 6:39

2518 Richelle L 1:12 2:11 6:13 2:17
2553 Amber H 1:15 2:13 6:23 2:12
2594 Julie A 1:09 2:02 6:10 2:28
2600 Jennifer M 1:15
5:24 1:54  10:36!!
2710 Leanne S 1:43 2:12 6:36

2747 Lorraine C 1:04
5:47 1:54
2917 Tessa P 1:23 2:08 6:11 2:33
2979 Patty I 1:16 2:23 6:46 2:07
3115 Valeska T 1:30 2:23 6:52

3182 Jill K 1:16 2:08 6:07 2:35
3195 Lana S 1:43 2:25 7:05

3235 Madonna B 1:48 2:57 no


Race Clock 12 hours
It's starting to get dark, though it's hard to tell because the camera operator keeps playing with is settings. So far the only person that hasn't reached OK Falls according to the tracker is Lana, and she well could have done it.

Jennifer and Lorraine both finished under 11 hours, and I haven't seen anyone else I know crossing. Though it is hard when little packs arrive at the finish line together. They changed announcers at 12 hours, and I don't care for the new guy. More jokes about ironman virginity than I need to hear.


Number Name Swim Bike 1 Bike finish Run 1 Finish
33 Uli B no



36 Sara G 58 1:57 5:28 1:34 9:46
42 Jacqui G no



208 Josh K 1:09
5:00 1:52 10:58
775 Todd H 1:09 2:11 6:13 2:26
780 Dan B 1:39 2:15 6:47 2:58
1635 Chuck K 1:31 2:11 6:25 2:52
1868 Dave T 1:49 2:22 7:06 2:48
2338 Tawnee P 1:21 2:16 6:39 2:11
2518 Richelle L 1:12 2:11 6:13 2:17
2553 Amber H 1:15 2:13 6:23 2:12
2594 Julie A 1:09 2:02 6:10 2:28
2600 Jennifer M 1:15 1:53 5:24 1:54 10:36
2710 Leanne S 1:43 2:12 6:36 2:25
2747 Lorraine C 1:04 2:01 5:47 1:54 10:57
2917 Tessa P 1:23 2:08 6:11 2:33
2979 Patty I 1:16 2:23 6:46 2:07
3115 Valeska T 1:30 2:23 6:52 2:30
3182 Jill K 1:16 2:08 6:07 2:35
3195 Lana S 1:43 2:25 7:05

3235 Madonna B 1:48 2:57 missed it by a couple minutes


Race Clock 13:14
Richelle, Amber, Patty, Todd, Tawnee, Julie, Tessa, Jill, Leanne. Yay! I was beginning to get a bit worried. Especially since that one announcer's pronunciation made it nearly impossible to figure out was crossing the line. Here's the list, sorted by finish time. Hope everybody is ok, it was a hot one today!


Number Name Swim Bike 1 Bike finish Run 1 Finish
36 Sara G 58 1:57 5:28 1:34 09:46
2600 Jennifer M 1:15 1:53 5:24 1:54 10:36
2747 Lorraine C 1:04 2:01 5:47 1:54 10:57
208 Josh K 1:09 1:47 5:00 1:52 10:58
2518 Richelle L 1:12 2:11 6:13 2:17 12:15
2553 Amber H 1:15 2:13 6:23 2:12 12:20
2979 Patty I 1:16 2:23 6:46 2:07 12:25
775 Todd H 1:09 2:11 6:13 2:26 12:41
2338 Tawnee P 1:21 2:16 6:39 2:11 12:45
2594 Julie A 1:09 2:02 6:10 2:28 12:57
2917 Tessa P 1:23 2:08 6:11 2:33 13:03
3182 Jill K 1:16 2:08 6:07 2:35 13:04
2710 Leanne S 1:43 2:12 6:36 2:25 13:22
33 Uli B no



42 Jacqui G no



780 Dan B 1:39 2:15 6:47 2:58
1635 Chuck K 1:31 2:11 6:25 2:52
1868 Dave T 1:49 2:22 7:06 2:48
3115 Valeska T 1:30 2:23 6:52 2:30
3195 Lana S 1:43 2:25 7:05 2:57
3235 Madonna B 1:48 2:57 missed it by a couple minutes


Race Clock is 13:41
Wrap up, since I have to be at work tomorrow. I was really grumpy they didn't have the video working for the swim exit. At least they figured it out. I know it's kids doing the tape, but it's been a bit of a mess. There have been a bunch of people trying to grab the tape and hold it over their head, but the kid on the other end doesn't let go. They've been dropping it as the person is reaching for it. And there was a collision between one athlete and one of the tape kids. That's a crappy way to end a race.

Valeska! 13:45.

I was disappointed that Sister Madonna Buder missed the bike cutoff by a couple of minutes. That's gotta hurt. Can she try again next year? Age has to catch up to her sooner or later, but I am still seriously impressed.

Watching this year was really interesting. This hasn't filled me with any desire to do it again, mainly because of the heat. That can't have been any fun at all this year. Congrats to all the finishers!

Friday, August 26, 2011

Following

One of the people in IMC lists his profession as a flamingo herder. In Edmonton of all places. Who knew such a thing existed?

I've been looking over the list of participants, and have found 21 people I'm going to follow. I know most of them. A few I follow their blogs. And one of them, 3235 Sister Madonna Buder has the stones to tackle Ironman at more than 80 years of age. I wish her, and all my buddies, and everyone else in the race, the best day of their lives. If I'm organized I'll have fb chat, regular chat, and email on the go from early afternoon on. Feel free to drop me a line.

Here's the list of people I'm following, in number order. I sure hope I haven't missed anyone!

Number Name
33 Ulli B
36 Sara G
42 Jacqui G
208 Josh K
775 Todd H
780 Dan B
1635 Chuck K
1868 Dave T
2338 Tawnee P
2518 Richelle L
2553 Amber H
2594 Julie A
2600 Jennifer M
2710 Leanne S
2747 Lorraine C
2917 Tessa P
2979 Patty I
3115 Valeska T
3182 Jill K
3195 Lana S
3235 Madonna B


I was in the pool twice this week! This was another half hour, some regular swim, some kick, and some pull. It's coming together. That's about all there is to be said about it. How quickly one falls from routinely swimming an hour to an hour and a half, 4 times a week, to this. But it will come back quickly. My muscles are already remembering what needs to be done.

More plans being made for blog 1000. Still open for suggestions.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

My legs are being weird

I haven't run since Sunday. Monday my left leg was feeling a bit cranky, and sitting too much didn't help. It's been sort of cranky off and on. Even walking has had a bit of a limp going. Stretching has helped, and today was the first day I thought I could actually run.

So I did some limbering up and gentle stretches, especially working on my lower back and left hip. Walked briskly, and started running easy. Very easy. I settled into a nice pace fairly quickly, and my feet felt light. I naturally found myself running a bit faster and that was all good. Then I found that my legs wanted to run faster than my lungs or heart were willing to put up with.

The achey crankiness I had walking, got better as I started running, and felt better yet as I ran faster. That wasn't going to last long since I had no intention of putting in a hard run, so I slowed down. Things got cranky again, then better when I sped up. I was out for about a half hour, and did a good walk back home. Then more stretching. I'm at the point where I think a good click will happen during a stretch or a twist, and I'll feel a lot better even for walking. Here's hoping it happens soon.

I've had several suggestions for the 1000'th post, thanks very much! The suggestion box is still open.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

I deserved that glass of wine

The first thing I did after getting home from work and changing, was to pour a glass of wine. What a day! It started off well, with a very nice and relaxing swim. Nothing to speak of compared to a year ago, but that was then. Today was a relaxing half an hour, working on stroke, and getting the feel of the water again. Then into the amazing hot tub. I love the hot tub at Renfrew. My cranky leg was feeling much better after that.

Then work, which normally goes pretty well, and did so until two meetings at the end of the day. Even though everybody left the meeting room, and has probably gone home for the day, I don't think either meeting is over. If you know what I mean. The wine tasted very good, and I suspect I'll be having another glass of it tomorrow night. If you know what I mean.

I got in about a half hour of stretching later in the evening. It's so nice down there, and so stuffy upstairs. Maybe I'll sleep down there. My leg had got progressively more cranky throughout the day and it was very nice to stretch it out. Feeling better now. Still not totally right, but better.

Many of my buddies are now in Penticton, or are on their way there. I'm excited for them, and can't wait to watch on Sunday. I hope the internet feed doesn't crash. It's supposed to be hot, as in 32 C. (90 F). I am so glad I'm not doing it this year. Race day I'll probably post frequent updates to my blog as the day goes on.

Lastly, I'm sneaking up on 1000 posts. I've had a few suggestions for the big post, thank you very much. Though 1000 things about me is probably a little over the top. I'm just not that interesting. I'm still open for more suggestions.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Shocked

I'm shocked, SHOCKED! that nobody has any suggestions for what they'd like to see for my 1000th blog post. I'm just in the process of getting the fire permit.

Legs still feeling cranky from the weekend so no run. Work and business tax paperwork wiped me out tonight, so no yoga either. I'm such a slacker.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Oooooooohhhh. Crickle. Creak.

I sat too long today, both at work and working at home. My run yesterday was good, but later it seemed to have taken more out of me than the faster run over a similar distane the week before. So tonight I headed down for some stretching. There were some fairly alarming creaks and cracks, but things are feeling a bit better.

There is a meeting very first thing tomorrow so I can't swim. Actually the meeting is even before first thing, before 8 am. But I will make time to stretch in the morning. Right now I'm tired and cranky. Which means it is time for bed.

As an aside, those who know were we get our coffee beans fresh roasted are amused by the title, since I'd like the taste of a coffee now, if not the caffeine.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Nearly 1000 and to the Chinook run course

Another hot one today, so I headed out for my long run fairly early today. There was a nice breeze blowing, and it didn't seem too hot at the start. I decided that shade would be nice so I headed past the Safeway and down into Fish Creek Park. From there I headed east along the main path, and made it to MacLeod Trail in 51 minutes.

Almost right after that I was on the Chinook half IM run course, the scene of some terribly slow running and great emotional stress by and for me. But I wasn't thinking of that part. I was thinking that was exactly where I met Kelly R the first time, during my very first triathlon. I was on the second loop of the run and beginning to struggle. I'd been forced to start walking well before an aid station that I wanted to run to. I knew I'd be walking the rest of the race, about 8 K at that point. It was effing hot, I thought my head was going to explode, my feet hurt, and I was ready to be done. At that point I wasn't sure if I was going to make the cut off, and was beginning to not care.

Kelly caught up with me just as I reached the aid station. We said hi, took our time with water, ice, snacks and just plain not moving, and headed out. I expected her to start running, but she was walking. She said she needed someone to talk to, and I was it. We walked the rest of the way, at probably a brisker pace that I would have alone. Chatting the whole way. At some point fairly soon we realized we were going to make the cut off, and things got much better. We were near the back of the pack and I can't remember if anyone passed us or not, but I didn't care, we were in our own happy world. We "ran" across the finish line together. Here's the photo.

Today I was running easy and relaxed, trying to maintain a good turnover, and not breathing too hard. In fact, if I started breathing too hard other than going up a hill, I slowed down a little. I only ran on the Chinook run course a few minutes before turning around at 55 minutes. I was figuring to max out at 2 hours today, and thought it reasonable I'd be 5 to 10 minutes slower going back given the uphill nature of that direction, and the slowly increasing heat.

Turnaround was a little over 7.5 K. I started getting a bit tired, and it became more difficult to maintain my turnover. Going up out of Fish Creek wasn't bad, but I certainly wasn't bounding up the hill. From about Safeway to home, I started getting these mild pains up and down my calves that I've never really felt before. It was sort of like a mild version of the TENS machine they hook up to you in physio to give you those electric shocks to help relax muscles. At that point I figured I'd stop when I got home and walk to cool down. Home again 1:53:30, for a 15 to 15.5 K run. This is a little slower than last week, but I was working considerably harder last week. Almost all of this run was at a chat pace, overall between 7:15 and 7:30 per K.

I can feel it most in my hip flexors and calves. At one point during my post-run walk I dropped the water bottle I was carrying. I had to stop and think about out to pick it up; my legs were really quite stiff at that point.

Some of you, (I can hear you, you know) are saying, "enough of that run shit, what's with that evocative reference to 1000? Is that total training run K, since you're such a geek you'd probably know that?"

As some of you know I've been doing this blogging thing for a while. Fairly soon I will publish post number 1000. Soon. Hold your horses. Don't get your knickers in a twist. As a special treat for my readers, I will take suggestions for what that post should contain. Feel free to comment, or send me an email.

When I started, I never thought of getting this far. Some of the people that were active bloggers now don't anymore or haven't for months. Susi, Missy, Loose Moose, Tisha, The Blonde, Jenna, Copia, Leana (blogging on different topics and might get back to tri stuff now that the big distraction is out of the way), Spanky, Amber, Dano, Amy and others are all much missed in the blogging world, at least by me. Some are on other social media, but for me it's not quite the same.

So I think making to post 1000 is a big deal, and I'm thinking of little ways to celebrate. Any ideas are much welcome.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Fresh Taber corn

Oh my goodness! Taber is a small farming community about 250 K south and east of Calgary. It's main claim to fame is corn. Other things grow there too, such sugar beets. Lots and lots of sugar beets, but it's corn that people know. Wait for.

People around here get twitchy in early August, waiting for Taber corn. There is a bit of a rush on for it when it final comes. You see signs "Taber corn ahead". Farmer's markets advertise it. People flock for it. Some people try to fake it.

Why? This is the best corn on the cob in the world. Something about the soil and the climate makes for sweet tasty corn. I've just nibbled two cobs, along with some steak, and some wine. I'm a happy camper. It reminds me of trips to visit my grandparents, both sets, when I was a kid. For years I thought the corn was brought out for me, that the bright cheerful yellow colour was to honour my bright and cheerful personality.

Such a contrast to the blackberries that are in season at the same time. How can there be anything wrong with the world when there is fresh corn and blackberries?


Friday, August 19, 2011

A mechanical run

No, not mechanical like lego, tinkertoys, meccano, or the like. Though it's true that some of my runs have felt that way.

Today I mean that I was thinking about the mechanics of running. All the time. I started with some stretching and limbering up. Walked a few minutes and ran easy to Anderson and 37. From there I started running a bit quicker. It felt fairly good from the start, but I wanted to concentrate on running form. So for the entire run, my attention went from my turnover, to my elbows, to my shoulders, to my knees, to my core, to, to, to, well, everywhere. Back and forth. I'd think about one thing and get it tuned in, and then something else would need attention.

It's not that everything else was shite while I was thinking about something in particular, far from it. This was actually a pretty good run. But I was aiming at trying to run really well, as if Katie had hired a video crew to follow me. So I'd be thinking about running with light quick feet, and gradually I didn't have to think about it quite so much. Towards the end of the run when I'd normally be getting tired, my feet were actually feeling better than when I started.

It turns out to be 3.75 K from Anderson and 37 St up to the reservoir path. I made it up there in 23 minutes flat, while still getting my stride together. The way back is more uphill, and that took me 23:40. The numbers summary:
3.75 K in 23 minutes 6:08/K pace
3.75 K in 23:40 is 6:18/K pace
7.5 K in 46:40 is 6:13/K pace
And I could have easily kept this up to the 10K mark at least. No idea where the wheels would have fallen off the wagon.

What's good about this is that I wasn't trying to run fast, I was trying to run well, and was willing to let my breathing ramp up a bit if necessary. What's interesting about it is there is a stride that I have often run at where there is a certain intensity of breathing, and yet running faster than that, if I'm careful, doesn't really make me breath any harder. I was experimenting with that place today by varying stride length and body lean a bit.

This run felt fairly strong, but not particularly pushing it. I was up near the top of zone 3 but my breathing never really got beyond deep and even. My feet and legs felt light and fast. As I was walking back I was thinking I could run some more. After all, it was a beautiful evening for a run. I refused to let the walkers who hadn't heard of "keep right" ruin my night.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

It's hard to recover when running uphill

Wow, do I ever have some sharp eyed readers! The only person who didn't get it was poor X, who is relegated to Google Reader. Not only does she have to deal with not living in Canada, and a looming dissertation, she has to (or chooses to) read blogs on Google reader. Life is tough.

So it's true. I've been nibbling at the idea of doing another half marathon this year. Cath pointed the Fernie one out to me, and it's been growing on me. So I finally signed up. I would eventually like to run a full marathon as it's own thing, and not as the tail end of an already long day. But baby steps first - so get another half done. That explains the run focus this year.

Some people that shall remain nameless are trying to persuade me to sign up for the Vegas RnR marathon in December, but there is a 4:5 hr cutoff time. By December I might, maybe able to do a marathon, possibly, but I can't see doing it in that time. Maybe next year I'll do a Terry Fox marathon.

During tonight's run I experimented with running faster, aiming for the top end of comfortable breathing, for three 5 minute intervals. I started with some stretching and limbering up, then walked 5 minutes. It took about 15 minutes of gradually increasing run speed to start feeling comfortable. The first 5 minute bit had the good fortune to start and end at good landmarks, as did the third. So the numbers are: .89 K which is a 5:37/K pace, and .81 K which is a 6:10 pace. I'd known the third wasn't as hard as the first, and in fact I was thinking I was slacking a bit, but it started shortly after the climb out of Fish Creek.

My second interval ended just after starting that climb, and I tell you, it's hard to bring your breathing and heart rate back down when running up a hill. Total actual running distance was 7.75 K in 52 minutes (6:42 pace) and I ran easy another 8 minutes to make it an hour, and walked a bit more. Then stretched.

Overall the run felt pretty good. The first interval was probably a bit fast, it felt like about a 5 K pace, at best. I don't think I could do that for 10 K. But the last one felt pretty good. I could have kept going. Can I keep going for a half marathon at that pace? I don't know. But I'll find out in a few weeks.

Monday, August 15, 2011

The smallest of changes

I made a tiny wee addition to my blog site today, and wonder who will be the first to spot what it is? Some people have had some hints.

My workout today was struggling with tax paperwork for my business. I thought I was all ready to go, but I'd made a couple mistakes, and my accountant slapped me around in the amiable way that accountants have. But how they expect normal people to understand the nightmare world that accountants live in, let alone the tax world, is beyond me.

Let's take a simple example. Calgary has a really, really slick parking system, except for the odd occasion it doesn't work. I park. I click a button on my phone. I tell the Park Plus system which lot I'm in. It tells me how long my parking is good for. I hang up and walk away. It takes about 20 seconds. In fact, I'm usually walking away when I make the call.

At the end of the day, as I'm walking to the car I phone the system, and tell it my session is over. That takes about 15 seconds. And, AND, it refunds me any money that is left from session minutes I didn't use. How cool is that?

So for my day to day parking, I pay $15, and $2 is returned at the end of the day. That is fairly inexpensive parking in downtown Calgary. Parking across the road in Gulf Canada is net $22 a day, and if I was to be so foolish as to park in the building I work in, I think it's net $27 for the day. Ouch.

You are warned when your account is running low and you can top it up from your credit card. The system gives you a report of your activity, and this is where I get grumpy. The report was created by an accountant. Nowhere on there does it tell me what I actually paid for parking for the month. It shows an opening balance. It shows a debit and credit for each day. It shows a credit when I top up the account. It shows the account balance at the end of the month.

The arithmetic to calculate how much was actually paid for parking is simple by accounting standards, but is arcane by human standards. You have to take the total credit, subtract what you paid into the account, and then subtract that from the total debit, and then toss in an eye of newt, and toe of frog, Wool of bat, and tongue of dog, Adder's fork, and blind-worm's sting, Lizard's leg, and howlet's wing, and if you haven't made any mistakes at all, you find out how much you paid for parking. If you're lucky. Repeat for each month.

I wasn't, a bunch of times in a row. Which is why I dropped out of the accounting class. I can see that it all sort of makes sense, in a theoretical way, and that it's all supposed to balance. Yet credits and debits are a mystery to me. I have never in my life understood what they are, or how to decide if a particular item is one or the other, let alone if it can be fully or partially expensed, deducted, or claimed for a capital loss under the provision of some bit of the tax codes that no human fully understands.

Which is complete nonsense. The report ought to have a line at the bottom that does the math, and states how much was actually paid for parking. Which is what humans want to know. Computers are good at math. There are people who figure out such things to teach computers how to do it, and like doing it. Let them. Please. In fact, the report should include any given time period, report on each month, and give a grand total for the tax year.

So, it was a bit of a struggle, and no fun at all. This is why I pay someone to do my taxes. It's money well spent, as long as we continue on with allowing the government to force us to track and file the paperwork that makes it easy for them to punish us for breaking rules that nobody understands. We should not be obligated to live our lives in ways to make it easy for governments, or the justice system to decide if we are obeying the law or not.

Do not get me started on meal and entertainment expenses. I hate keeping track of receipts. Hate it!

Well, that turned into a bit of a rant, totally by accident. How nice. I feel better now.

Did anyone notice what the change was?

Sunday, August 14, 2011

A new addition to the fridge

After my Ironman Nostalgia blog yesterday, Deb asked if I was going to Penticton, or how to watch on line. Not planning to drive out there this year, but will be watching on line, if the servers and internet don't betray me. The ironman.com site offers an athlete tracker, and I'm pretty sure that's where there is a link to video coverage. I think it would be fun to do an IM watching party. The one year I watched Kona, and phoned Julie as she was being driven someplace was a hoot.

I find that it's compelling video. You'd think it would be boring. There's a stationery camera at the swim mats, and people stream by. That is quite good. They have cameras on motor bikes, typically following the male pros, which is ok, but gets boring pretty quick. There is usually another stationery camera at T2 watching people come in or head out on the bike, which is fascinating. You can see who is doing well, and who is struggling. Then there's the finish line camera, if there isn't some big-hatted dick head blocking it. This is like salted peanuts with beer. You can't stop watching. You're waiting for the people you're cheering on, but you can't help feeling happy and amazed for the people that are finishing. I'm more impressed with them now that I've been there and know how hard it is.

Some people cross the line and look like they could have a quick shower and go out to a dance. Other people collapse like someone cut the strings as soon as they are across the line. There is everything in between. There are people that don't make it that far, and typically we don't hear their stories. My heart breaks for the people that push themselves so far they are taken away in an ambulance. This is proof that the human mind and spirit can push the body beyond it's limits. These people have to have a great story, even if it doesn't end the way they'd like it to. I can't help but think they learned something about themselves that the rest of us can only know theoretically.

Nicole asked if I was going to sign up again. Not for next year. When I started this whole thing I told Linda that it was a one time thing. Something to cross off the bucket list. On the way home from Penticton, though, she said that she had enjoyed the experience. She got to do some shopping and hanging out in a place that she liked. She wants to go back to that area again. Plus, she was hanging out for part of the day with Susi and her Parental Unit, who are pretty cool people. She said that she wouldn't mind if I wanted to sign up to do it again. Not right away of course, but in a few years. It's a bit of a tempting thought, to spend some years building up and having another go at it. And that's about all I'll say about it for now. Other things to do first.

Another run today, my long one. I've been wanting to go around the reservoir again for a while now, and decided that today was the day. It turns out the path is almost exactly 15 K, which is perfect for my long run right now. You can see a map of the run here, along with how it felt 2 years ago. Only this time I didn't stop where the little stop sign is, I ran right back to where I'd parked. The whole run took 1:46, and felt pretty good. This time I put some Nuun in the water bottle I carried with me.

I was trying to run at a comfortable pace for breathing, and keeping my feet turning over quickly. I settled into regular deep breathing, but no gasping or panting. It took about 15 minutes to find the groove. Things went well till about the 10 K mark, when my feet started feeling heavy and slow. I struggled a bit there, and managed to push through. I think this is where my heart rate finally topped 140. Most of the run I was high 130's. This seems to be a comfortable aerobic pace for me, and works out to a 7 minute K today. Sometimes it's a bit faster.

Stretched and walked around after the run, snarfing cookies and the extra bottle of cold water I'd put in the car. I had started about 8:30, hoping to avoid the heat, but I should have gone an hour earlier. Running east along the north shore was hot!

There was a new fridge magnet added this morning. Here's a photo.

What, you can't tell? Ok, here's a closer shot.

As you can imagine, Linda put this one up. It explains much, doesn't it?



Saturday, August 13, 2011

Nostalgia

Today, to distract me from gathering business tax paperwork for a while, I was looking through the participants list for Ironman Canada. How time flies! A year ago I was looking through the list for my name and number. Looking for my friends that were in it.

I was calmly anxious, wondering how I'd do. Wondering what the weather would be like. Wondering if I'd overlooked something. Wondering if I'd do something stupid to myself that would ruin my race day. Plus, the biggest wonder of them all, am I going to get it done?

It had been a long road from fat to mostly fit. I'd been lucky in that my employers during the preceding months were very flexible about my time, but it was still tough to fit in all the workouts. I was right up against my physical limits and battling fatigue. In the end I didn't get some of the longest training runs done, so I was going into the race never having run any further than a half marathon. You could say I was spooked by that.

There are at least 18 people listed that I know to some degree or another. I hope I didn't miss anyone. One of them is my first blog buddy. Some are people I've met through spin class. Several are people I've met through the swim camps I took with Sara Gross and her crew. I've worked with one, though I don't know he would remember me. Others I've met because they are buddies with people I know. I met one at the pool I swim at; she's won gold for Canada competing internationally.

One of them I've never met, though I was standing next to her briefly at the athlete's dinner. I am more impressed by her than I am by any other Ironman athlete. I watched her finish about 10 minutes before the cut off time in 2009, with the crowd going absolutely bananas for her. They made lots of noise for everybody, but this was much louder. Why am I so impressed? She was 79 in 2009. She is 81 and starting another Ironman, after doing about 40 of them. Just Google Sister Madonna Buder and be prepared to be impressed.

It doesn't matter if it's your first Ironman, or one of many. It's still one heck of a big day, one you've been working towards for at least a year and maybe longer. All that training to come down to one day. Hoping to avoid a personal or mechanical failure. Hoping for good weather. Hoping to bring it all together to achieve your goals.

My friends can be assured that I'll be sending all my best thoughts for them throughout the day. I hope their day meets or exceeds all their expectations. I've got things planned for the middle part of the day, but I'll be watching the swim start, and will hope to catch everybody finishing. Because you're all going to, right? I said, RIGHT?

Yesterday and Thursday I didn't go to the pool like I'd sort of planned to. For someone that loves to swim, I sure haven't been spending much time there. Part of it is that with my schedule right now it's a bit of a rush, and if there's anything I hate, it's rushing during a swim.

But I did get out and run on Friday. I was thinking about what I learned on Wed with Katie. I wanted to get out and do a fun run, but one that pushed me a bit harder than what I typically allow myself to do. I ran easy for 20 minutes, and it took 15 of them to find the groove. Then I started running a bit faster for a few minutes, then recovered. Again, just a bit faster again. I want to be really clear about this, though. I wasn't trying to RUN FASTER. I was trying to maintain my form, my cadence, then lean forward a little and stretch out my stride, and relax.

I was trying to find the faster groove, not force myself to run faster. I completely believe that there are run paces that our bodies are happy at, where our anatomical limitations, our cardio system, and our musculature all come together. Just a bit faster or slower might take significantly more effort. I know there are some paces I don't like to run at, but if I push through them, I can run faster with less effort. I'm trying to find these sweet spots, and develop the ability to maintain them.

In the end I ran an hour. One of the faster bits drove my heart rate up to 155 bpm, and I was gasping. This leads me to believe my run the other day with Katie where I saw 169 has to be a false number. Maybe the monitor is getting wonky in it's old age.

However, my legs are happy with me. I walked and stretched afterward, to say nothing of ambitiously re-hydrating. The roller felt really good.

If I get the front shifter cables re-tensioned properly, I'll go for a ride tomorrow. Otherwise I'll go for a long easy run. I saw a bunch of people out early to beat the heat today, that will be me tomorrow. Anyone want to join me for a run around the reservoir?

Now, back to tax paperwork. Sigh.

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