Friday, February 26, 2010

138, 140, 149!

Thursday core was all good, even the plank, though it was getting killer near the end. For whatever reason the tricep dips were the tough thing. This and stretching after the bike was 30 minutes.

Bike was short and intense. 3x10 gradually increasing intensity ending up on the edge of anerobic. First one was in time trial gear ending up about 100 rpm. The next was in one harder gear, but slightly slower rpm, and the last was same gear, but pushing hard. There were some cadence sets in between, but my legs were done so I skipped the last one and went to directly to cool down. 1.25 hrs.

Friday, zoomed off to the pool first thing. Yes Missy, I was awake at 4 (no alarm clock) ready to go. If the pool had been open I would have been in it. Felt strong in the water today, but not especially smooth. Only got the water feel when I was about half done. Most of the flip turns just sucked. There are days I think I need a refresher. Or I just need to do another million of them and I'll get the hang of it. 60 minutes. Chatted very briefly to the guy sharing my lane. He's training for the Oliver Half and makes my swim look slow. In the next lane there was a tiny woman doing mostly kick drill that was faster than most people swim, and her freestyle made me look pokey. I was in the right place at the right time to watch her flip turn, but I think I blinked or something and it was done almost before it started. I had some fast sets and was hustling to try to keep up. I can feel it in my lungs now. Good workout.

Normally I'd run, but likely won't get the time. I've been nursing the IT band, but no idea how it's doing.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Two, two, two rants in one

The swim was good. Only 2K, 45 minutes or so. Half of it, in sets, at an 18 minute per K pace. Water ran for 30 minutes after to replace the scheduled run.

Once I got home I started fixing the bike computer. Eventually I figured out the battery in the sensor unit had died. Once that was replaced I got it going again fairly quickly, only it was in miles per hour, which is a meaningless number. My efforts to change this spawned two rants.

Miles. They aren't much used here anymore, nor much anywhere else since the sensibility of SI took over from medieval and pre-medieval confusion. To start with, which mile? Roman, British, American, Scots, Irish, Arab, Danish, German, Swedish/Norwegian, Russian, two different Croatian ones, and of course the nautical mile. All are slightly different, or were, or might still be. They don't relate well to any other unit of length, even the obsolete imperial ones. As an aside only Burma, Liberia, and one other country still do not officially use the metric system. Anyone care to take a guess which country goes with those oh so illustrious companions? I'm just assuming the bike computer was in American miles, but who knows for sure? Yes, that was a hint. Somehow, America went from being one of the initial supports of the move to the metric system in 1875, and via the Mendenhall Order in 1893 adopted the fundamental metric units. Somehow it all went pear shaped in the 20th century. Eventually they'll catch up, and then maybe Canada can finish the job and banish the few remaining reminders of an obsolete, archaic, complex, and essentially unworkable system of measurement. Until then we are shackled to an underdeveloped trading partner that thinks metrification is a commie plot. Or a gay one. Or an atheist one. Whichever plays best to the home crowd.

Engineers. At least 4 of my readers are engineers of one stripe or another, and I have my suspicions about a couple more of them. Don't get me wrong, engineers are admirable in many ways. They have been instrumental in us getting all the nice things that surround us. And in getting us mental about using them. Today is about buttons, and modes, and trying to cram as many functions as possible into a small device, even if nobody wants them or can use them in the unlikely event of being wanted. Even the method of accessing those functions is beyond arcane. I refer you to setting up my bike computer. Once I got it going again it was showing me distance in miles. (See other rant.) It took the better part of a half an hour fiddling with buttons to make it display Kph instead of Mph. There I am sitting on my bike, pedaling slowly, holding the computer and the manual, and trying to follow the instructions. Which are SHITE by the way, just in case you wanted to know. I'm still not sure how I got it the way I wanted it. I am still not sure everything else is just as I wanted it, and I've no idea what happened to any of the data it had stored. Not that I really care, as long as the tire diameter didn't change. This is a small device. The buttons take a bit of force to press. One of the buttons needed is on the back, and is a recessed spherical ball. The display element range in size from barely readable to severely microscopic. We have one of those magnifying lamps, and I was seriously considering setting it up. I nearly dropped it several times. All I can say is that lately there has been a trend for "good enough" devices. They don't do as much, but they are much, much simpler to operate. Amen to that. Where do engineers develop the mindset that lets them design devices where you have to press multiple buttons to change modes, and you can never tell which mode you are in, then use some of the same buttons to adjust the various settings, and maybe the same button to say I'm done. Or maybe a different button altogether. Who tests these little insanity generators? I believe it has to be another engineer, incubated from the same environment that produced the designers. For this sort of stuff, they should be dragging random people off the street. Give them the device, and the manual, along with any other supplies needed, like a bike in a trainer, for example. Tell them to install and set up the computer. Video tape them. Don't bleep out the swear words. The designing engineers should be required to watch, and respond to that video before they get paid. These responses are not permitted: "it works fine for us", "they aren't following the instructions properly", "they must be stupid", "they aren't the target market", and others of that ilk. (You do know what an ilk is, don't you?) Almost every other electronic device out there has the same problem. I've had my adventures with watches, cameras, video and DVD players, iPod, cable and the old fashioned modems, cell phones, and the clocks in cars and on various other devices such as ovens, microwaves, stoves, ect, and alarm clocks. Don't get me started on remotes. The problem is the human interface. Our fingers are big, and our eyes can only resolve text that is at least a certain size. We are trying to work with devices that get smaller and smaller, and every effing user interface is different!!!!! Grr. I totally understand why people get the urge to smash that device with a hammer, or throw it away as hard as they can. Why has nobody thought of giving every device a small standard cable attachment that plugs into any computer, and then you can access the operating system of the device, through the computer, using a screen that is big enough to see, and a keyboard/mouse that most of us know how to use. Don't get me started on people that can't touch type.

Once I got that out of the way I ended up having a nice ride. Short warm up, and 2 long aerobic sets, and a short cool down for a 1 hr ride. Stretched another 15 minutes after, working on Soleus, and ITB. Later tonight is yoga class, and I hope Fiona has some good stuff lined up for us. And there was! Yay! Pigeon pose, my fave! But you'll never guess which pose I had to back out of. Child pose of all things. I have trouble breathing in it at the best of times, and tonight it was making my sinuses explode.

As an aside, I think these periodic rants are good for me. I've added a label to make them easier to find, since the title doesn't always reflect the presence of a rant.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Workoutus interuptus

Started with core, and got through that pretty well. Planking and pushups are coming along, but the wall sit is from hell, especially with the fit ball. Did some extra stretches for Soleus and ITB. 30 minutes.

The bike warmup, one leg, and cadence drills went ok, once I got myself into the right gear. I was paying a lot of attention to how my legs felt, making sure to spin smoothly. At the hour mark I was was just getting settled into the main workout when the door bell rang.

We routinely ignore the house phone unless we're expecting a call or someone we want to talk to is talking to the answering machine. We've simply had too many phone calls from people we don't want to talk to. Or machines, I hate it when machines call, just to see if someone is home, or play a recorded message about your credit rating. Who don't I want to talk to? Well, it's easier to say who I will talk to. People I know personally is about it. If someone is calling from a company, they can state their business, and if it's an acceptable reason for me to talk to them, I might pick up. The only other time I'll pick up is if I'm in the mood for mischief. I'll lie to the marketers and pollsters. Or pick choices they don't offer. Or find fault with their methodology. Or I'll ask if my opinions are valuable, and when I'm assured they are, I tell them my rate is $10 per question, invoicing information provided in advance. Or, if I've got time to kill, I'll try to keep them on the phone as long as possible; the goal is to make THEM hang up. Or I'll pretend I'm calling them, and try to sell them duct cleaning services, or something.

But I haven't been broken of the habit of answering the doorbell. Even if I am hot and sweaty in bike workout gear. Too bad it was an ugly guy with a package, and what's more, he wanted COD. Sigh.

When I got back to my bike, I found the computer was acting funny. It wasn't showing cadence, time, or speed. I played with it a bit then got off and adjusted the sensors. Still nothing. Played with it more. Looks like the computer part isn't paying any attention to the sensors. Went to look for the manual. Once I found it I realized I was cold, and there were things that needed to be done around the house. So I bailed on the rest of the workout.

All is not lost. Wed is supposed to be a 60 minute run, and that doesn't seem to be the smartest thing in the world to do with a newly sensitive IT Band or some other issue causing pain. So I think I'll get my swim in like planned, then get the bike computer working again, and get the main part of the ride done. That will be an hour of aerobic activity, and much less hard on me than running. Even if it is supposed to be really nice out tomorrow.

Monday, February 22, 2010


The swim program was complicated this morning. It took a while to figure out, but I think I did what I was supposed to do. The swim from the hips thing was weird, and very choppy. Other than that, it was 45 minutes of goodness. This is a rest week after all. Did another 15 minutes of stretches at the end of the pool because I couldn't bear to get out of the water.

Walked 10 minutes, then ran easy 40, and walked another 10. My legs felt great for the first 29 minutes then I started to get the knee pain again. Well, not really pain, particularly, more like a sharp ache just on the outside of my left knee. It came and went several times. I played with my stride a bit but that didn't seem to have much of an effect. It might be IT band stuff, Susi sent me a bunch of links to look at. So far I'm stretching that a bit more, rollering, and icing. I'll keep an eye on it.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Ahhhhh, and first outdoor run of the year in shorts

At last. After a couple of brutal weeks of bike workouts, or rather, the lack of them, I'm back in the groove. Within a few minutes of getting on the bike I knew things would be pretty good. I finally got through the workout listed for last Thursday, for 1.5 hrs. Spin is good, legs are feeling much better, much stronger. My heart rate is back in the expected range, and my breathing is more normal. Much better. I still didn't over do it, as I had a run right after. I've still no real idea of what was wrong, other than lingering fallout from that horrible cold I had. Or my muscles were doing things like building new cells and getting stronger, and didn't want me doing much with them in the mean time, sort of like how you can't do much in a room that you are renovating.

The run was pretty good too. I've got the lacing almost right. I got into a nice pace right off, and all was good for 25 minutes, when I started getting that knee twinge again. I experimented with a walk run for the last bit of the run. 30 minutes running altogether. Mostly it felt good. Shoes are fine, though I've got a bit of additional support on the outside of my feet, and I can feel the difference.

I looked in my Yoga Anatomy book (by Leslie Kaminoff, and highly recommended) and I think the muscles that are hurting are the top ends of the Soleus, or the Tibialus Anterior. Rollered them and other parts of my legs while stretching after the run. I have to look for stretches for them, if there are any.

It's about freezing here, a few of the ice patches are melting, but just barely. No wind and very sunny. So I wore shorts and a long sleeved tech shirt for my run. My hands were the coldest part of my body. However, I did not wear the shorts I biked in. I dried off and changed. Part of the problem is that those particular shorts are blue and orange. The least little bit of sweat and it looks like I peed myself. That's not an attractive look, even if it might be a necessary look. I'll stick to basic black shorts, thank you. No, I didn't buy them, I won them at the Canmore Oly last year.

Weekly Summary
Swim 3.25 hrs
Bike 3.5 hrs
Run .75 hrs
Walk .5 hrs
Core 4.0 hrs
Total 12.0 hrs

Lastly, some expected sad news has just this minute arrived. Linda's younger brother has passed away. He was only 38, and leaves a wife and two kids in their early teens. He found out just over a year ago that he had cancer. I'm not going to try to spell which kind, and it hardly matters. Once the funeral arrangements have been made we'll fly out to attend. So if I'm not commenting or responding to email later this week, that's why. 
This is one of the reasons why I have not been upset with being either unemployed or underemployed for the last year or so. He no doubt would have changed places with me in a heart beat. In comparison Linda and I have lifestyle choices.
We're getting to the age where funerals are going to be an increasing part of our social obligations. It just reminds me that we have to make the most of each day, enjoy the people you are with, and appreciate what you have.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Trying to catch up

Saturday is normally my rest day. We like to start the day by drinking coffee and reading the papers. We can't always, of course, but it's a nice way to start the day. Normally I have no guilt about my rest day; I put in lots of workout hours the rest of the week. Today, however, I was thinking I should have a go at the missed Thursday workouts.

Lately my bike workouts have sucked slough water. My legs were not wanting to spin very well or for very long. I figured it was a reflection of working on the run during the build up to the Hypo Half, and didn't mind so much. A few days after for recovery doesn't bother me, but I'm beginning to think the bike skills should be coming back.

The core went well, so that was a good start. 30 minutes there. Then onto the bike. Warm up was fine, but I could tell there was no real gas there. Spin was better, much smoother, so that at least is an improvement. But even a minute at 120 in an easy gear had my heart rate much higher than expected, and I could start to feel my quads and calves complain, especially the left. I did a bit more easy spin, and could feel myself starting to feel the burn. Which is rediculous. Called it a day at 30 minutes.

Did I say I bought The Stick when I bought new shoes? Rollered myself with that really good, and found a few really tender spots. I also played with the speed laces. I'm sure they must be making them shorter now. My last shoes had a good 6 inches left at the top. These now have the lace tips jammed into the zipper mechanism, and they still might be a little bit tight. I'll find out on my run tomorrow. I tried taking the zipper mechanism apart again, but it doesn't seem to want to go. Has anyone had any success with this? I might need to take the laces out of a couple pairs of eyelets.

Oh, and I ran outside, in shorts and a short sleeved T shirt, at -5 C (23 F), with a bit of wind chill. Admittedly, it wasn't a long run, just to see how the shoes felt with the laces as loose as possible.

Friday, February 19, 2010

New shoes

Here, look at this photo. Can you tell which pair of shoes was bought July 26, 2008. Yes, 2008.

Perhaps looking at the bottoms will help.

Did you guess? The guy at Gord's running store flexed my old shoes, prodded the bottoms, and said they weren't quite done yet, but I really should start breaking in a new pair. Here's a closer look at the wear on the old shoes, in case you're curious, or a specialist in how shoe wear affects your life and you feel like giving a free consultation. Did I mention they were bought in mid 2008, and I've been running pretty regularly on them? Two half marathons, 3 half IM's, and 2 Oly's, plus the every other day or so training runs. No, I'm not about to go back through my blog to add up how many hours my feet have been in them. I do have a life, you know. Sometimes I think this buy new shoes every 3 months or 300 K is just a line put out by the shoe manufacturers. Of course they want you to buy more shoes. I want to try less shoe.

The day started with a swim. 6 x 500m. 1 being warmup with a bunch of drills. 2 free at 75%. 3 Paddles and buoy. 4 free at 80%. 5 fins at 90%. 6 cool down mix of stuff. Lots of backstroke for my shoulders. That was about 70 minutes. I wasn't wearing a watch. It's feeling pretty good. 91 seconds.

Then to yoga to catch up for a class I missed. Helen worked us hard. I used to be able to do Crane when I was a kid, and could even go from that to a handstand. Not anymore, not even close.

Ran 20 minutes to find out the following:

  • There doesn't seem to be as much of the speed laces as there used to be. There is almost nothing left at the top, and I've still got the shoes too tight across my instep. I'll have to fiddle with that a bit. Last time it took about a week. 
  • Even though I ate a medium sized lunch 2 hours before the easy run, it was still too soon and not easy enough.  No emesis though. 
  • My left calf is still unhappy with me, and I was getting some of the same twinges I had at the end of the half marathon. While getting shoes, I got The Stick, and will be applying it as required.
Did you notice I hadn't mentioned Thursday? That's too bad.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

The creepy old guy in the locker room wasn't me

Even after a 500m warmup I still wasn't quite with it in the pool today. My shoulders were stiff and creaky. The 300 m intervals (descending) were ok, brutal, and hard. That middle one was a killer. I was really feeling the pool heat. This was Glenmore, which is a degree or two warmer than my other regular pools. I might have lost count on the middle one as well. Things got fuzzy for a while.

The 200 m intervals weren't so bad. The 3x 100 on 120 s I pushed hard, and did them in 100, 107, and 105 seconds. Nice. 1 hr total. Chatted with the boss lifeguard for a bit while the dive tank cleared out. She used to work at Canyon Meadows, but we never talked there. Then into the dive tank for 30 minutes deep water running. Some of it long stretchy strides, some of it short fast strides. My legs loved it. They were still a bit creaky in the morning, but after they were just fine. Looking forward to Friday's run. Especially since I'll almost certainly have new shoes for then.

I was alone in the locker room after the swim. It's a long narrow room, with mostly key locks that eat quarters, but a few where you can put your own lock on. I'm in one of those, about the middle of the room.  And old guy pokes his nose into the room, makes a noise like he's spitting on the floor, and disappears. A few minutes later he comes in, wandering closer. And closer. He stinks. He picks the locker right next to mine. The very next one! WTF! I'm drying my feet, wondering if I need to run, when he says. "I like this locker and always use it." Then gives me this funny look that's hard to describe.

"Ummmm. I'll be out of here in a second." And I was. This is about the only time I've been creeped out in a locker room. Next time, it might be worth it to put a quarter in that locker just for the space.

Yoga was good, lots of shoulder stuff that hurt at the time but was probably good for me.

It's snowing here again, the thick heavy wet stuff. Maybe 4 cm so far, and another 5-10 cm was supposed to come but hasn't yet. Maybe tonight.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

The bike is coming back

The swim was good and felt fast. 1 hr. Main set was 30 x 50 on varying times, mostly 65 seconds. The last few were on 55 seconds, and that gets brutal quick. This was a catchup for not swimming on Monday.

I wasn't sure what my legs would think of getting on the bike, but it went way better than expected. I got most of the way through the workout, and what killed me was the cadence set. 100 rpm was badly choppy,  and 110 was smoother but that was pretty well all out. I settled for doing some slow accelerations to try to smooth out the spin, then did cool down. That was 1.5 hr, and mostly felt pretty good.

Of course there was core, but I didn't even think about doing the lunge while pushing weights over my head. Did some hand plank, obliques, rows, but they were very sloppy.

It's very foggy here, and it's supposed to snow tonight, so the roads and sidewalks are likely to be crap tomorrow. Maybe I'll do the core then, instead of a run outside, and do some deep water running instead.

Monday, February 15, 2010

hypo half followup, photo for San

The program called for a swim today, but it's a holiday in Alberta. That means the City pools are on limited hours, if they are open at all, and they're full of kids. I passed. Instead, I went for a fairly gentle 45 minute walk to stretch out my legs. I had iced my left knee last night. Today it was fine till the very end of the walk, and it started getting sore again.

Overall I feel pretty good. My feet are good, though I think it's time to retire these shoes. I think I've had them about a year and a half. How do you know when it's time to retire shoes? My quads are a little bit sore, and I had a spot of chafing under each arm, but that's about it. I have to admit that I'm a bit daunted by running a full marathon. There is no way I could have turned around and run that course again. But then, if I knew I had to run it twice, I would have a different plan. Right coach?

After I described my desk mess, San posted a motivational photo of her extremely neat desk. As you can see from the following photo, I need a lot of motivating. How about the rest of you? Any photos of where you blog?

In fact, there is yet more clutter on there than when I described it. LuMu, the glass sculptures are just behind the lamp. Yes everybody, that's a glass of wine. Montepulciano Cabernet Merlot. Yummy.

(Susi, think of puppies. Fresh, warm, ginger chocolate recovery cookies. Purple fuzzy blankets. Meditation. The smell of a forest in the spring. Then close this window, and go on with the next blog, or whatever you were doing. Back to work, even. Do NOT read any further.)

Some of you have already been to Steve in a Speedo's blog to vote for the Gnarliest Injury Photo. Thank you if you have. I'm in it, under the title of "Have You Hugged Your Dentist Today?" If you haven't been yet, and don't mind looking at some pretty brutal photos of injury aftermath, please go to his blog and vote for me. I'm behind in the voting right now, believe it or not, but I do have to admit there is some pretty tough competition. In fact, the  one that tugged at my heart strings most was the poor bike, broken into 3 pieces. If I don't win, I think I'm going to promptly figure out a way of carrying ID and medical info with me on my rides and runs. It doesn't take long for me to get a long way out of the city, on some isolated roads. Those photos make it perfectly clear that shit happens quickly.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Hypothermic Half

Number 1831 on the program, number 1 in your hearts. Right? I said, RIGHT??? Sheesh.

Race start was foggy and cold, -8C (18F) with a light wind producing a wind chill of -15 or so. It's hard to dress for that knowing it was supposed to warm up. Most people stayed inside till shortly before the race, but even so, my calves got a bit chilled waiting for the race start. I started easy, letting my legs warm up and find a nice pace. There was some really slippery bits underneath some of the bridges. After I settled in I picked up the pace a bit, and brought my heart rate up to mid 140's and kept it there till the turnaround. Along the way the sun came up and it warmed up a bit, but not much.

I hit turn around in good time, 1:07 if you must know, got a mostly ice drink, and picked up the pace a bit. I ran great till about the 15 K mark, where my left knee started acting up. It didn't want to straighten up as my leg went forward, and was very dubious about taking my weight. I started limping pretty badly, and slowed down again but I DIDN'T WALK! Not at all, not even the aid station. My legs sure wanted to walk, but I was determined to run the whole thing. The last 6 K was brutal.

In the end, my watch says I finished 2:16:30. This is about 7 minutes faster than last years Police Half. Official results may vary. Even with my knee, I'm very pleased. I'm looking forward to a swim and water run tomorrow.

Oh, and here's the official times:

107  1831 Keith CARTMELL            Calgary AB        15/18    61/71   M5059  2:16:27.9  6:29

What part of "keep right" don't people understand? Grrr. At the start of the race there was the usual jockying for position, but after about 20 minutes I was past all the run walkers, and was mostly by myself. I passed a few people during the middle half of the race, and a couple of them passed me back while I was limping. I had to admire the gall of one old perv. He's just standing there watching everybody going by, and he's turning right around looking at the girls as they run past him. I was afraid to look over my shoulder to see if he was looking at my butt. I saw the race leader heading for home when I was running past the graceful pedestrian bridge near the Girl Scout's building. Just a young kid; I'm afraid to look up the winner's time.

Saturday had an easy 20 minute run.

Weekly Summary
Swim 3.25 hrs
Bike 2.25 hrs
Run 4.0 hrs (including the half)
Walk 1.0 hrs
Core 2.25 hrs
Total 12.75

Friday, February 12, 2010

Super swim, but no spinning love

The original plan was to get up at the regular time, hop on the bike, then go to yoga, then swim, then pick up my race package. Then I thought that was an awfully ambitious agenda on a Friday before a long weekend. Monday is Family day in Alberta.

So while Linda was off to her massage, then yoga, while I got my act together. Well, sort of got it together on the bike. Right now my body is loving the swim and run, but seems to have forgotten about this spin thing. But that's ok, since we are months from riding outside. As long as I thought about it very carefully, I could spin, and once just barely made it to 120. But as soon as I stopped thinking about it actively, my legs starting doing squares, or octagons, or something with odd bits of jerkiness. At one point it felt like the cranks were different lengths. I did a really long warm up, about 35 minutes, with gradual spin ups, and working on being smooth, but it never really came together. I did one thing of the main set, starting in an easy gear, maintain 90, and go a gear harder every 90 seconds, for 9 minutes total. That nearly finished me just by itself. I did a bit more spin, and cool down for 60 minutes total.

After lunch I went over to the pool and found it nearly empty. This Friday afternoon empty pool thing is great! I had a lane to myself for my entire 1.25 hr swim. Warmup, drills, longer intervals with the easy hard thing happening. For a while I was in sync with the guy in the next lane. He was doing breast stroke easy, and going pretty good, then he'd power through 50 m of fast freestyle with paddles. When I was doing 50 easy 50 moderate, he oh so gradually pulled away from me. I'd pass on our easy, then he'd pull away on the fast. When I was doing 25 easy 75 hard I was gradually pulling away from him.

My inner shark showed up part way through the swim. He seems fascinated by the flip turns. They are coming along pretty good and work most of the time. We cruised along together, him laughing at my recovery freestyle, which feels slow and clunky, and grooving on the fast stuff. For the final 200 m fast, I managed it in 3:30, which is probably the fastest I've ever done that distance. After getting my breath back, I cruised along for a while just pulling and relaxing. Today I had a great feel for the water. Even the fist drill felt fast; I could feel my forearm working with the water.

From there I went downtown to pick up the race package for the Hypo Half. It took a while to figure out the bag, since they'd sort of turned it inside out and stuffed it into one of the smaller pockets. It's a fairly handy tote bag with lots of pockets, handles, mesh, even a removable pocket. I picked up some Gu for the race. My thinking is a Gu before, at 5, 10, and 15 K. I'll bring along one of those fist sized containers with water to wash down the Gu.

It's a bit frustrating that the bike isn't going well, but it has gone well in the past, and I'm sure it will go well in the future. I'm not worried about it just now. I'm happy the run is going well. At this point I think I'm in good shape for the Hypo Half on Sunday. The weather looks nice, just above 0 C.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Fast run, slow run

Today's run was a bit different, warmup, 1 min hard, 1 min easy, cool down, for 45 minutes. Which I haven't done before. It feels good to run at essentially max speed for a minute at a time, but by the last one I was beginning to slow down a bit. I have no idea what my pace was. In between it was frigging slow, I can say that much. Walking would be quicker. But it went well, and was kind of fun going back and forth on the 37 st path in our neighbourhood. I got some odd looks from people walking their dogs as I passed them several times.

Then onto the core, 3 sets of stuff, each with more reps or longer of the stuff. That all went well, including front and side plank, except for the wall sit. My quads weren't having much of that, thank you very much. That was a half hour.

The other major activity was shoveling off my desk. It's funny, at work I typically have a very neat desk. There might be several piles of stuff, but they are neat piles, and they go away after a while. But at home? What a mess! Paperwork, filing, 2 calculators, a desk calendar, a camera, batteries for the camera, recharger for the batteries, some bills to pay, some paperwork needed to update computer files, a glass that used to have orange juice in it, a bunch of pens, a ruler, a lamp, a glass moose sculpture, a glass Chinese dragon sculpture, the computer, a backup hard drive, two big speakers, some reference books, an old MRC course calendar, random receipts for stuff, a remote control for the computer, two DVD's with movies from the swim and run camp, assorted cords, the phone we don't answer unless the person calling talks to us, a nice photo of us, and a letter opener. Lets not even talk about the rat's nest under the desk, with various data and power cables for the computer and hard drive, power and data for the phone, power for the lamp, the stereo, the cable modem, and a couple power bricks that I forget what they are for. I really should do something about it, but somehow, I don't have the energy.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Run, Swim, Yoga, look for missing socks

An hour run this morning, shortly after dawn. Still chilly out, but not bad. The mid half hour was supposed to be at the pace I want to run the half mary this weekend. Not sure if I did that or not, I think it was more like a 10 K pace. It went pretty well, up 37th St then around the reservoir to where the bike and walk paths split near South Glenmore park.

An hour swim just after lunchtime. It took a while to feel my shoulders loosen up, but I settled in well. I shared the lane with L, one of Carrie's athletes. It turns out that she was the next finisher after me at last year's Chinook, but I didn't meet her then, and probably just as well. We had a nice chat after our swim.

At least one pair, and maybe two pair of my workout socks are on vacation. Or they're hiding somewhere. Hopefully doing something useful like mating and producing more socks. Last year I lost one sock for months, and never did figure where it had been.

Just before yoga I got a case of the raging pool sniffles. I was snuffling all through yoga class, and basically dogged it. I couldn't even do child pose for crying out loud. That made my sinuses want to explode.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

He shoes, he Cores! But the bike bribes the goal judge

I started this morning feeling pretty perky. Then, as I was backing out of the driveway to take Linda to work I discovered one of the tires had gone flat. Handling metal stuff at well below zero isn't my chosen way to start the day. My neighbour a couple of doors down was out for a cigarette and came over to help. He suggested a nearby auto shop he uses, and the experience turned out just fine.

A little later I laced on the shoes, and ended up have a great 30 minute core workout. Even the side plank. Last week I weenied out in about 5 seconds, but today went 45 seconds each side, 3 times. And it wasn't 45 seconds by the skin of my teeth either, each time it was a couple seconds over because I was sick of looking at the stopwatch. I like using my ipod as the watch during core, because it lies flat, and has big numbers. The fact that the thousands of a second sometimes seem to take forever is beside the point. The rest of the core went pretty good too, well, except the pushups. Started in plank, on my toes for the first one, and my arms collapsed part way down, so I did them from my knees. My shoulders are hurting a bit.

Very shortly after I hopped on my bike. Warmed up, did some cadence and one leg drills, then started on the main set feeling waaaayyyyyy better than last time. First part was ok. I was most of the way through the second set when my brain went AWOL. I sort of woke up, wondering how long I'd been doing this particular bit, wondering what was next, no clue what gear I was in, or what rpm I was supposed to be working at. My legs were getting tired. Looking at the plan didn't help. I skipped to the next set, starting in time trial minus a gear, then tt, then tt + a gear. I was supposed to hold 90 rpm. I was part way through the tt gear when I noticed I was pedaling like crap, doing the plunge thing at a much lower rpm than the plan. After spending a while trying to fix that, and noticing all sorts of funny twitches in my legs, I decided it was maybe better to call it a day than to try to force something that wasn't working. Did some cool down, and found I was getting cold and chilled from all the sweat. It's better than my last bike workouts, but still not back to normal. 1.25 hrs.

In other news, the sun is out! I took some shots before it melted the beautiful hoarfrost. This is from my back door.

For dinner we've cracked the last bottle of Viognier. It's been 7 years in the bottle, and it's like drinking liquid gold. It is so good. This photo doesn't really do the colour justice. I'd like to get a shot of it in the sunlight, but I'm not about to go put it on the driveway.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Good run in the ice fog

We've had a lot of ice fog in Calgary, which is very unusual. It's built up enough that it nearly blocks all of the chain link fence for the ball diamond across the road. Here's some photos for your amusement.

Last my faithful readers knew, my run and bike sucked. Sat I did not get on the bike. I ranted instead. Plus we had a perfectly wonderful visit from Cath, Jase, and their buddy Colin who is in the process of emigrating to Canada.

Sunday is normally get up early and go to spin class day. I hope Chris doesn't think I have something against him, because the days I'm missing happen to be his days. Sunday I slept in. I have a whole new appreciation for sleep now that I'm working out so much.

However, I did hop on the bike a bit for Sunday, but only half an hour. By the end of the warm up, my legs felt like they had been on the bike for a tough 2.5 hour workout. I went out for a run after, but that was only a half hour, struggling to maintain a half decent pace, and failing. It felt like my legs were sacks of dough at the end. Let's not even talk about core, shall we?

I'm not sure why the bike and run were so bad after last Monday. I don't feel particularly tired. I'm getting good sleep. My swims have been ok at the very worst, and the other two were pretty good. In fact, when I looked at my 500 m free time it was 9:10, and was having no difficulty with that pace. I should have kept going another 500 m and called that my time trial. Yet I wasn't trying to swim particularly hard. But the warm up effort for the bike and the run feels like I've been pushing hard. There is no strength or stamina, but nothing hurts, there's no sore muscles. Just really really tired. That's why my weekly totals are down.

Weekly Summary
Swim 3.0 hrs
Bike 1.5 horrible hrs thrashing away
Run 2.5 really really horrible hrs
Walk 1.0 hrs mostly to get home after the horrible runs
Core 1.75 hrs
Total 9.75 hrs

Now today, Monday, started with an excellent swim. Lots of different intervals starting on a minute per 50 pace. My left shoulder was a bit stiff starting, but a nice warmup took care of that. No worries about lane till I was done the intervals, then a bunch of floaties moved in during the cool down. I felt very shark like cruising along, pulling nice and easy with the buoy, passing all of them. 1 hour.

It's still foggy here, and fairly cold and humid for Calgary. Dressed carefully and headed out for a 45 minute run. Warmed up nice and easy for 5 minutes and pushed a bit harder for the rest. My legs felt fine, for the first time in almost a week! Yay! I ran a steady low to mid zone 3 pace, feeling strong, knowing I could run faster at any moment, but kept it easy. Played with stride and posture a bit, and enjoyed being outside. Just about everything is covered with frost, and it really is quite pretty. Pity the sun isn't shining, as that would really light up all the diamond highlights from the frost.

Some of you that follow Steve in a Speedo might have noticed he is running a contest for the Gnarliest Injury photo. Don't bother entering. I sent in "those" photos. No Susi, I'm not posting them here again. Those that want to see what I'm talking about here, to see what they're going to have to top to win, can go back through my archive, to September 2008, and look for the blog with "graphic followup" in the title. Don't if you're the least squeamish.

Here's what Susi had to say about them.
"i didn't throw up...just held in an internal scream that would shatter the windows of every building downtown and impress the great alfred hitchcock. this was done while hastily trying to hit the wee 'X' in the top right corner of my computer. why do they have to make the 'X' so damn small in situations of emergency?! 

i should add it's really hard to hit the wee 'X' in the top right corner when your eyes are closed. "

Here's what Steve said, "Holy Hannah!! "

Don't say I didn't warn you.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

I'm sick of the Olympics already; a rant

In 1976 the Olympics were held in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. I know some of my readers weren't even born then, but that's ok. A little ancient history is sometimes a good thing. Take a look at this pic.

That's the Big Owe. The roof of the stadium where the games were held. It was supposed to cost $134 million, and wasn't complete in time for the games. After some special taxes were put in place, it was finally paid off in 2006 (30 years) for a total cost of $1.61 Billion. Even in Canadian dollars that's a lot of money. The supposedly retractable roof has never worked properly. More recently, large, I mean, very very large concrete chunks have fallen off the roof. One of them was 56 metric tonnes. Trust me, that's a lot. They play baseball in it now. It can stay open for business in the winter, providing weather conditions are favourable. Which you'd think would be a basic requirement for almost any building in Canada.

Let's go for a more recent example, the Calgary Olympics in 1988. Recognize these?

The 90 m tower is obsolete for ski jumping. It works quite well as a cell phone tower. How the mighty have fallen. They say the rest of the facility is still used for training purposes. As an aside, I think anyone that does that sort of jumping is certifiably nuts, to say nothing of doing it cross-ways to the gusty winds of Calgary.

The people bidding for the games always talk about the buildings being a legacy, supporting future development, and promoting sport in general. Let's just say they aren't very good at estimating costs, and don't always get the future right. I object to their cost over runs being subsidized by the taxpayer. This doesn't even get into looking at what was there before the buildings, and how it got to a state where building could begin. There have been some interesting stories filtering out of Vancouver about that.

One of my objections to the Olympics is the spectacle. Bigger and better, meaning more money. Read about the efforts the organizers of the Roman Spectacles went through to bring exotic animals and new forms of "entertainment" for the amusement of the mob. That mob needed to be distracted from the price of bread, and taxes, and other problems, or they'd rise in rebellion. The world now is just beginning to come out of serious economic problems, and the so-called leaders of the world are all going to be cavorting around Vancouver, trying to get their faces on TV next to an athlete or some other celebrity. (Don't get me started on celebrities.) I'd rather they were at work. Some of them should be in the Canadian Parliament, where we pay them to be. Slackers! Hmmm, on second thought, given their contribution to getting us into that mess, maybe it's better they are doing nothing "productive" by spending time at the games.

Then we get to the "sports" themselves. I say sports advisedly. Curling is fun, or can be. For many people it's one of their major winter social activities. I admit that the finesse required is considerable, and that's just to stand up on very slippery ice. But much of the game consists of the players standing around, pointing brooms at rocks. I have seen games being played where the major activity on ice is drinking beer. This is not an olympic sport, in my view. There is one redeeming feature, however, in that a winner is easily determined.

That isn't the case with all such events. Ice skating or dancing or whatever you call it. It's very pretty, or can be. There is an undeniable serious athletic requirement. (Where ever did male ballet dancers get the wimpy gay image from when one of their jobs is to hoist women over their heads, and hold them up there?) The same goes for male ice dancers. It takes bigger stones than I have to skate full speed down the ice, backwards, then leap into the air to rotate around several times, and land on one edge of one skate. Or do so while trusting your partner to catch you. My hat is off to you there. But how to determine a winner? The judging has become a byword for corruption, with the very words "the Russian judge" having entered the language.

For some of the sports, all you need is a sufficiently accurate timing mechanism. That gets an up check from me. Others, it's the number of goals, or how close a rock is to some arbitrary point on the ice, or some other verifiable criteria. That's all ok in my books. But artistic impression? Give me a break. Pity there isn't a a sport called Wrestle the hungry Polar Bear that bankers, lawyers, and politicians would be "volunteered" for. I'd watch that one.

In some sports they make considerable efforts to ensure that any equipment used is standardized. Sailing for example, has very strict criteria to ensure that the competition is fair. Why then, can speed skaters from some countries use the "clap skate", which offers a technical advantage, and others can't? There are other sports where the equipment involved gives a technical edge, yet there is no effort to ensure that all competitors are on an equal footing. How about the highly technical skin suits in swimming or speed skating or other sports where air resistance is a factor? The high jumper's pole? The bobsled? Skis? I'm sure there are other examples.

The Olympics used to make a big deal about being amateur sport. They don't do that so much anymore, what with basketball and hockey players being recruited from the pro leagues. Even for the "amateurs" there is a considerable cost, and we get into how they are supported. Are they a pro if they get a grant from their country? How about their local community association? Does it matter how much of a grant?

Does anyone have any faith that athletes at the Olympic level are all clean, competing on an even biochemical playing field? Here, I have a bridge to sell you. The dopers have always been a step or two ahead of the regulators. When you don't trust that the competition is clean, the results don't mean much.

Then there's the every 4 years aspect. Hitting the performance sweet spot is tremendously difficult at the best of times. Some sports are so age specific that people not born in the right year are competing at a disadvantage. Where's the fairness? And to call the second place finisher the first loser? That is disgusting. Anybody just competing has already been through a grueling selection procedure (some more grueling that others, and some not being allowed to even get into the selection process because of their gender, or the internal barbarities of their country's way of doing things) and to do well on a particular day against the very best in the world is something to be proud of.

Right now the sponsors pay big bucks to get their name in front of the eyeballs, then mercilessly exploit that advantage. During the 88 Olympics in Calgary they sued a local Greek restaurant to make it change it's name from "The Olympic Flame" to something else because it was infringing on their turf. No matter that it had been called that since long before the Calgary Olympics were even dreamed of. (The restaurant owner won, by the way, and rightly so.) The sponsors have been telling the Vancouver libraries to cover up offending logos on library materials and equipment. I say that goes too far. Corporations already have far too many rights now. Next thing you know, there will be a [insert sponsor's name here] team. It's almost that now, with sponsor's names plastered all over the equipment. Which leads me to the other names on the athlete.

The countries. The Olympics have become a venue for chest beating, national propaganda, and my dick is bigger than your dick that just sickens me. Somehow, a nation that wins more medals is seen as better than one that wins fewer. I wonder why we don't see medal count rankings being reported on a per capita basis, or per million dollars of sports budget? What that means is the nation that pours more money into athletic development is going to win more medals. We've heard the stories about children being chosen at a young age, then pushed ruthlessly to excel at a given sport. Gymnastics come to mind. Is there any thought about the welfare of the child? And what about those athletes that do the country shopping? Some athlete doesn't make the cut in their own country, so they pick one that doesn't do so well. Of course they get to short cut the immigration procedures, and soon get the Olympic moment they so richly deserve (in their heads).

I was reading they are telling people to arrive 3 hours before show time to go through security. Airline security is ridiculous security theatre, and if event security is going to be as thorough, I'm not terribly reassured. As you might have gathered, I'm thoroughly grumpy about the Olympics. I won't be watching them on TV, which is easier than you might think, since we don't get cable or sat service. I do feel sorry for the poor Vancouverites that have been inflicted with the Olympics. It's going to mess up their routines, and put them to a lot of inconvenience.

I am having to wade through Olympic pap and crap in the paper and internet news, but my eyes are pretty good at filtering out what I don't want to read. Normally that means advertising, but lately I've been training my filters to exclude Olympic and Vancouver stuff. The system should be working just fine by the time the flame is lit. Or maybe I'll rent all the DVD's for Lost, and watch them one after the other. That's a much more productive use of my time than coping with the Olympics.

It doesn't warm the cockles of my heart because a Canadian athlete wins a medal. It doesn't bother me if we don't win any medals at all. But then again, I'm not a sports fan. I don't identify with any team, so I'm not up or down depending on how they do. It annoys me that national productivity is going into the toilet because all people will be doing at work is either talking about the games, or stealing time from their employer to watch it on the internet. I can see where the sports bars like it, though, because people feel the need to watch on the big screen, with their buddies, and cute girls bringing them endless supplies of beer. As long as they don't drive afterward, I suppose it gets them out of the faces of us trying to cope with the real world.

If we're going to have an athletic championship, lets standardize. Level the playing field. Require standard equipment for every sport. Only include sports with a verifiable way of determining a winner. None of this throw out the high and low scores, average the scores, then take the cube root and multiply by a random number system like for some sports. Set up one place in the world with all the requisite equipment, and if you want to participate, your country pays for part of the upkeep. Reuse it yearly, upgrading as necessary. If someone wants to compete with a Coke logo tattooed on their butt instead of a country's flag, that's just fine, make Coke pay the same as a country. Make the competitions happen annually, same time every year. Schedule the various events around that. Test the crap out of the athletes all year round. Fail and you're out of the sport. If that means to pee in the bottle and give a blood sample daily, so be it.

And I still think to enhance the viewing audience, a way should be found to include polar bears in all the winter sports, and tigers in all the summer ones.

Friday, February 5, 2010


The book. Several of you noticed, and asked. See our blogger book club blog for details.

If you were going to swim, run, and do yoga, what order would you do them in? Given my druthers I'd probably do swim run yoga, or maybe run swim yoga. What did I actually do? Yoga, run, then swim. It has to do with when the yoga class is, when the pool is open, and how I'm feeling.

The story carries on from yesterday. My initial thinking was to run first thing in the morning. Pre-dawn, -14 C (7F) and slippery sidewalks. I had another good sleep, and after waking up to feed the demanding cat, I realized I could sleep more. Normally I can't. So I did, and slept past the time I'd have had to leave the house in order to return in time to leave for yoga. I figure my legs needed the rest.

That meant I had a relaxed morning to be at yoga for 9am. As always, Helen tried to kill us. She has this delusion that downward dog is a relaxing pose, and she's doing us a favour by letting us stay in it for a long time during the Sun Salute. There was a thread the needle pose that was really good for my shoulders.

After we got back I dressed for the run. It's much warmer and daylight now. The idea was to run 60 minutes, speeding up every 10 minutes. Which is another way of saying gradual build, which I still suck at, even at the best of times. My legs still suck at running today. Not as bad as Wed, but still. My easy warm up pace had my heart rate up to my normal easy run rate. The easy run pace, normally 130 to 133 bpm, was nearly 140. At least I could run at the easy run pace, but nothing much faster. Attempting that put my heart rate way up, and I could start to feel my legs getting tired. I called it at 30 minutes. Walked 10 minutes home. If they had felt like this during the normal course of things I might have pushed through. But with the last couple days feeling fatigued, I thought it better to back off.

From there I headed to the pool, and found the lobby full of little people. Children. Yuck! My first thought was that the pool couldn't possibly have enough bricks to provide sequential swim lessons for all these kids. That meant the life guards would have to reuse bricks, which would slow the whole production down. Well, since you asked, my way of teaching kids to swim is to tie a brick to each leg, and throw them in the dive tank. If they make it to the other side they get the medal for knowing how to swim. More advanced courses or older kids use more or bigger bricks. I digress.

When I found out they were going in, I went back home, and hung out for a while, then went back just as they were leaving. The pool was almost empty. I shared a lane with a nice lady for most of the swim. We raced at one point, my freestyle against her using fins and a kickboard. I could pass her on the turns, but she pulled ahead on the straightaway. 4x500m for me today. Freestyle, pull, paddles, and fins. Fun, way fun, ok fun, and tres fun, respectively. Fins were the quickest of course at 8:30, pull next at just under 9 minutes, freestyle just over 9 minutes, and paddles were nearly 10 minutes. I'm still figuring out paddles. All of this was done at a fairly consistent effort, not all out, not dogging it either. I was in the water just over an hour, and felt strong throughout. Then into the dive tank for 15 minutes of mobility, working on leg muscles. Hopefully my legs are just tired because they are building and strengthening and all that good stuff after the big runs last week. (Hush Amber, big runs by my standards. You're in a way different league.)

Even though tomorrow is a rest day, I'll probably hop on the bike and do some more easy spin. Blog buddies Cath and Jase are planning to drop in while they are in Calgary. The cookies are baked. Here is a before and after shot for you. Not quite what I had hoped for, so the experimentation will have to continue.

Thursday, February 4, 2010


I'm feeling way better this morning. That Canadian Nyquil sure kicks ass! A great night's sleep does wonders. Here's an image that sure helped cheer me up. However, I'm still not up to snuff. That was clear quick enough when I got on the bike. By the end of the warm up, I wasn't feeling terribly warmed up, and was already beginning to feel a bit tired. The cadence and one leg drill left me knowing there was no way I was getting through the planned workout. Rather than drive myself back into the pit of fatigue, I settled in for some easy spin stuff, more to get my legs going around than anything else. One hour total.

It was only a little over a week that I was down with that cold and good for nothing. Last week I put together a pretty solid training week and was feeling good, even though I knew I hadn't totally flushed the cold away. I guess it's still trying to catch up with me, or Linda is trying to get rid of her cold by giving it to me. Either that or I'm right up against my limits for training time just now, and trying to push more just puts me back on my ass.

Several of my blog buddies have had adventures with sheet cake. Way to take one for the team, guys! Better you than me, even though I'm not being stalked by a singlet. After watching Food Inc last week, I've been looking at labels a bit more. Connected with that is a book I'm reading that talks about the psychological profile of companies, among other things. Most of them score some of the same symptoms as psychopaths. It makes me wonder what's *really* in the food that *isn't* making it onto the label. Me, paranoid?

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Well, that was pathetic

My core was supposed to be 3 sets of stuff. I struggled through the first set, totally wimping out on the side plank, lasting less than 10 seconds. Then I noticed the one leg squats I was doing was dropping my hips about 3 inches, tops.

This was after a two hour nap with Amelia after dropping Linda off. Then another several hours of procrastination doing stuff that's so important I can't remember it. Started my bike, and hopped off after about 10 minutes. Blah. Napped more. Went to bed early, slept fairly well, as these things go.

Morning swim at Glenmore was barely ok. Struggled with form. 1 hr. I have discovered I can't do a gradual build in the pool either. In fact, just about the entire swim was the same pace, except for when I tried to swim faster, and was slower.

The run this afternoon was horrible. The idea was to do the same run as last Wed, only a bit faster. I knew starting out that was going to be tough, and decided to concentrate on form, and trying to run well, rather than trying to run fast. During the swim I tried to swim fast, and that didn't work out very well. Started the run the same way, with a 10 minute walk, then a very easy warming up run. At this point I knew I wasn't going to go the same distance in the same time, let alone less time, regardless of form. About 2 minutes after starting the clock, and trying to run my normal easy pace, I knew I was in trouble. My legs weren't working. They didn't want to run. They didn't want to walk. I ended up doing a thudthudthud semi-run that reminded me of last year's Chinook run. I got passed twice, once by a granny. An old one, who was on the phone to her grandson telling him not to be late to the parking lot, she didn't want to be standing around waiting for him.

I shuffled along, taking it really easy, running about the warmup pace, hoping my legs would come around, and I'd at least get a negative split. Going up even little hills was bad. At turnaround I wasn't running any faster, and I was pretty sure I was running slower. I measured my time from a landmark 17 minutes from the turnaround, and it took 18 minutes to get back to it. By now I was really struggling to even maintain that pace. I am convinced I could walk quicker, but I was determined to keep "running" back to my start point, if only to see how far positive the split was, and to teach myself that we can carry on even with tired and grumpy legs. The starting point arrived at 80 minutes, so I was +5 minutes on the split. The last bit I'm pretty sure I could crawl faster. I mean front crawl in the pool. That's bad when you can swim faster than you are running.

I am dreading yoga class tonight, and dreading the core and bike tomorrow.

For now, I'm going to huddle in my man-cave and feel sorry for myself.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Running in the pre-slop

Swam first. Tons and tons and TONS of 50's on 60s, but doing different things with most of them. I was sharing a lane with a guy, I swear, doing the dog paddle. A slow dog paddle. At least he kept to his side, and was nice enough to say I swam like a dolphin. I am just thankful a third person didn't join us. That would have been bad. I'm guessing he's new, and just doesn't understand that swimming with other people your speed is more important than taking an open lane.

In fact the pool was kind of quiet this morning. I'm guessing the resolutionistas have packed it in for the year, and good riddance. Played with the pull buoy, kickboard and fins, and did I say I did a lot of 50's? In the water for an hour and a few minutes. Stretched after.

The temperature today was inconvenient for running. By that I do not mean it was cold. It was warm, just about 0 C, after some fresh snow. Which means it's this weird stuff that sticks to your feet, and slides around. My feet were gradually getting heavier and heavier, and it wasn't because I was getting tired. There really was a bunch of snow packed onto the bottom of my shoes. Running through Fish Creek was a cautious experience. Most of the path was a very slippery polished packed snow surface that is ice in all but name. The very end of the run was in front of the local Safeway mall, and they had shoveled their sidewalks! Yay!

I warmed up shoveling my driveway, my corner lot sidewalks, my neighbour's walk, and my other neighbour's corner sidewalk and double driveway. This was good, since I realized I'd dressed too warmly, and ended up running with my shell over a tech shirt. The run wasn't particularly fast, but the effort was getting up there from having to deal with the slippery footing. 45 minutes running 15 minutes walking, 10 minutes stretching.

The funeral was for Yvonne Snowdy, whom none of you have met or even knew. We knew her through the U of C Ballroom Dance club. There were a bunch of people there I had known, and struggled to remember names. It was cancer, and it took only 7 months from diagnosis to death. She would have been in her late 60's, perhaps early 70's, but she was always young at heart. The lesson is to enjoy yourself while you're here, and stay connected to family and friends.