Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Running on the beach

This morning we walked down the railway trail to BIOS. There was a free tour, and it was worth exactly what we paid. It started with a 45 minute PowerPoint presentation. I am sorry to say I'm not kidding. I can barely be convinced to sit through ppt presentations when I'm being paid, and was seriously considering leaving.

I haven't ranted for a bit, and I can't stand PowerPoint, so here goes. Almost all ppt presentations are dreadful at best. Especially work ones. People put in too many words, too many levels of indent, stupid graphics, and overdo the slide dress up options. Then they read them verbatim. I'm ready to slit my wrists at that point. That is probably the single fastest way to lose my respect. If there is one piece of software I'd like to see banished from the world it's ppt and all its ilk. This ppt was way too much history, maps that were mostly dots, and photos of people long dead.

The rest of the "tour" wasn't much better. There was only one scientist willing to talk to us, on what sea urchins can teach us about human mortality. This could be dynamite exciting, but it just died and lay there on the floor. I will be writing a long feedback note to them. The tour guide was nice, and enthusiastic, but I think he was following a script. Gah.

Shortly after I headed out for a run in perfect running weather. Warm and sunny. Love it. I ran past the beach and down to the tip of the island, then looped back to the beach. I took my shoes off and ran back and forth a few times. So nice. I let my feet dry, brushed off most of the sand, and ran some more, this time through the golf course and some ocean front properties.

I was reminded of my buddy Alan, of "I want to schedule my work the way most people schedule their vacations" fame. This when he was running, and I was not. Now I do, and he can't unless bears are chasing him. He was talking about how it was nice to run for a bit, walk to look at something, then run to the next thing to look at. That's exactly what I was doing, checking stuff out.

I was gone about an hour and a half, then fell into the pool when I got back. The rest of the day was sitting in the sun, reading, blogging, slowly drying off. That's sort of weird, here. In Calgary one dries off in a few minutes from being totally wet. An hour later I was still pretty damp and the sun was behind a big cloud.

Lamb burgers last night. Kebabs tonight, they were so yummy we had to do them again. With couscous, salad, and of course, wine. I could seriously get used to this.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

A perfect day for a classy party

Monday we were off for a bit of caving. The teaser pic on Facebook yesterday is just a small taste of how cool the two caves were. They weren't quite as rugged as the photo indicated, in that there are steps, and a smooth path. Still, it's not what you'd call handicapped friendly.

What these caves are is spectacular! We were in a small tour group so we could take a bit of extra time for drooling. I took lots of photos, and will post when I get back.

Lunch was at the Swizzle Inn. It is a pity the road is right beside the patio, but its still really nice. The food is excellent, and we could have sat on the patio drinking our faces off for a while. Listening to a 70's greatest hits soundtrack. These fruity rum drinks can really sneak up on you. A bit of shopping downtown finished off the day.

Tuesday was an early start for a tour of the botanical gardens. Very nice, even though the blooms are still a little thin. By comparison, of course, outdoor plants in Calgary aren't even dreaming of blooming, they're still dubious about surviving winter.

We also toured the official residence of the Prime Minister, or somebody important. The view is astonishing, including the gardens and ocean. Then was a tour of an art gallery. After that was a garden soirée, with champagne, more fruity rum drinks, various beers, and some soft drinks for those who's sun wasn't over the yardarm. Plus fish chowder, traditional rice dish, and fish cakes. In the rose garden. Listening to one of the best jazz sax players in the country. The temperature was so perfect that I didn't even notice that it was warm or cool. We sat and listened, and drank, and chatted to another Canadian couple we met on the tour. They had lived in Calgary a while ago. It was a really relaxing and civilized afternoon.

There was a bit of a gong show in the cafe, which was totally different from the soirée. Efficiency was not the word that came to mind. Me and another guy caught eyes, and rolled them. Both of us had simple purchases, and had cash ready. Not the case with others. Watching them put the meals together was a bit of a keystone kops routine

I suppose I should have gone for a run after we got home, but it was nice to sit by the pool, drink non-booze, and chat with the owner as he is installing some auxiliary solar heating stuff for the pool. Sadly, the end of our time in paradise is now in sight. Not quite instantly, but soon. The only consolation is that we know we will come back.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Patiently stalked by the feral chickens

Another leisurely morning in paradise. We settled in by the pool for a quiet morning of sunny warmth. Then out for brunch at one of the nicer restaurants in town. It was tres yummy. All the desserts were amazing! We waddled back home, and slowly packed up to go to the beach.

It's about a 20 minute walk through an unused golf course. The wind was almost nothing, especially compared to the last few days. There was even a pair of loungers. The beach isn't what you'd call pristine, but it is the middle of winter after all, and technically the beach isn't even open.

The whole little bay is very shallow (low tide), and today the water was very turbid so I couldn't see squat. Linda watched as I swam. A couple of times i nearly rolled over to breathe. Rita from our arrival a pair of chickens were scoping us out, looking for a handout I think. They had no fear of us at all, coming within arms reach. It was nice lying in the sun, warm but not hot.

From there we walked over the headland and found the other beach. It's a bit longer and nicer, but it was a bit more exposed. The water was nice, and I'd call it refreshing. Most of my triathlons have been in colder water.

From there we walked back home, and settled in for a quiet late afternoon and evening. Planning tomorrow. Where will we go?

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Ipad blogging by the pool

I had to turn up the brightness to I could see the screen. And put on lots of sunscreen, let's not forget that.

Yesterday was hang out and relax by the pool. Today was a bit of that. We had thought of going snorkeling but it was really windy again. Warm, but windy, so we walked down this trail that used to be a railway line. Pity about the tank farm in the middle of it so you have to detour around, but there is no gas industry here, and there is a bazillion motor scooters. We were gone about three hours, scoping out two forts along the way. A very nice walk, much of it right on the ocean. We swam in the pool a bit, then dried off in the sun. This is the life.

Then shopping for some odds and ends, like sunscreen. SPF 85!!!! Spray on wet or dry. Love it. Need it, as the weird almost sunburn patterns attest.

If one has to work, then this is the way to do it. By the pool. Using iPad. The wifi signal is better here than in our rooms. I got an email asking permission to present me to a potential client and for some details about my experience, so that was actually fun to write up. I really hope they want to interview me, and not just because its the next step to a contract. But to show them the view. Then i was writing up this post, though it's beginning to cool down a bit. Linda has a photo, which I'll put on Facebook, since I haven't troubled how to get photos from the phone to the iPad. iCloud is still a mystery to me.

Maybe snorkeling tomorrow. There are lamb kebabs to go on the BBQ, and wine to be opened.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Friday, February 24, 2012

Warm to hot sunny pool bbq

So here we are. The last several days have been a bit of a whirlwind, zooming all over, here and there, getting value out of our bus and ferry pass. Today was a rest day. Well deserved, let me say. Anyone who saw my wind swept hairdo on Facebook the other day knows why I needed the rest.

We slept in a bit and woke to a beautiful morning. Still a bit of a breeze, but nothing compared to the last few days. I sprayed on some sunscreen, only to find out later I missed a couple spots around my knees. Then I parked my self and apricated. So nice.

After a while we strolled into town to get some more bus and ferry tix, and pick up some groceries. The walk back up the hill tired me out all over again. While our host was vacuuming leaves out of the pool, I was bbqing some bison burgers. They taste even better eaten outdoors, beside a pool, with an ocean view, in the warmth of the sun.

After cleaning up I resprayed and snoozed some more. Our host took the nice pic of us that's on Facebook. Tomorrow is supposed to be nice again. The plan is to go snorkeling. Too tired to run today; I'm fighting off a bit of a cold.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

The most amiable beeps imaginable

The run turned out to be short hills. Steep short hills. Ran about 45 minutes and found the railway trail. Not so much wind today.

Touring around the last couple days we've seen lots of the islands, on narrow twisty roads. Everybody beeps their horns, but they aren't angry beeps. They could mean any or all of these - hello, thank you, go ahead, I see you, sorry, and probably more besides. Driving is a more cooperative activity here, though it's still a bit weird driving on the left. The people are so friendly. We're having a wonderful time.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Monday, February 20, 2012

Running in near gale winds is hard

We walked around town for about 3 hours, shaking out plane seat ass. Beautiful, even if at one point we could hardly stand up in the wind. We were sandblasted crossing behind Tobacco Bay, to the point we dashed for cover behind the building.

All that was a good warmup for my run. In the map below you can see my run route, starting just to the left of the red pin, going clockwise, route marked in red. Using my finger as a pointer so it's not exact. I ran up the hill to the weather tower to get a nice view of the world. There's a bit of video showing the view, and the eerie sound of the wind in the tower framework. I'll see if I can figure out how to post it.

From there I ran through the golf course back to the same beach, then over to the next beach. It was still really windy. Windy enough to be careful about the footing. From there it was an easy run along the coast to the point, passing of all things a small dairy farm. Back through town and up the hill to the house. Then I walked back to the coast to take a pic and back to the house to cool down. I have not the slightest idea how long I was gone, or how far I went. My hair was full of sand and salt spray. Love it!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Vacation blogging test 2

Here we are, having a more complicated start to a vacation than we would care for. But it will all turn out good. Some decisions are more difficult than others.

No formal workout, other than lots of walking.

This is enough of a test of using blogpress for now.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Friday, February 17, 2012

Vacation blogging

Being on vacation is nice. So far it's been a bit of a scramble taking care of odds and ends but today we slept in. Me till 6:30 and Linda till about 7. Yay us! Today I hope to get to some house chores I've been putting off.
Workouts. Hmmm. Let me see. I might or might not have a trip downtown today, and if so I'll hit the pool. Or I might do a spin session instead. Decisions decisions. Yesterday was such a flurry I didn't get there.
The other thing this is, is a test of blogging from the iPad.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Distracted day

I lost a day in there somehow. Vacation, you know.

Wednesday after dropping Linda at work I was astonished to discover the Talisman pools almost empty. I thought I was going to have one 25 m all to myself, then two other people got in just as I was getting ready to go. My shoulders were not happy with me. Perhaps the swim on Friday took more out of me than I thought, but it was a really good swim.

I cruised back and forth, mainly trying to stretch out and relax in the water. Lots of fin kick drill and pull. The intervals sucked so I didn't do many of them.

Once I got home I puttered for a little while then went out for a short run. My choice appeared to be cooler and dryer for my feet, or wait till later for warmer and wetter. I went for cooler, and ran about 40 minutes, with some stretching after.

And then I'm not quite sure what happened. There was some house tidying, and playing with a toilet that has an intermittent leak, and some research, and cat cuddling, but the day disappeared on me. Funny how that happens on vacation.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Plank Sunday. Pushups today. What tomorrow?

It was so good to take a rest day on Monday. I was feeling a bit tired after 3 really good strong workouts in as many days. This is the first time in a very long time I've had a good swim, run, and bike all in a row like that.

The workday was bittersweet, but having a rest made me eager to get on the bike tonight. Before that I did an easy stretch and good core session, including (ta-da!) pushups. I forget the last time I did pushups it's been so long. Imagine my surprise at cranking out 10 of them, with only the last couple getting sloppy.

The bike was a spin variety session, concentrating on being smooth at a wide variety of rpm, never in one place for long. Nothing super fast, and not too long. The intent was to wake up my legs and flush out any remaining fatigue. Mission accomplished. BSG episode was the one where Baltar becomes Vice-President. As if he didn't have enough to do with the blood samples, and Helo figures out the Cylons look like humans.

No, nothing special for Valentines Day. My sweetie knows I love her and I try to do something every day, and not save it up for one day. When I see a guy carrying a huge expensive bouquet of flowers, all I can think of is that he feels very guilty. The bigger the bouquet, the more guilt. There was a huge display at Banker's Hall, yesterday and today. Today's wasn't as nice, but I managed to get a couple photos. If you can't make out the price of the bouquets in the second photo, it's $110. They're beautiful, but eek!

This was taken from the +15 just for fun, trying to capture the beautiful half moon and colour of the dawn sky. The reflections add kind of an interesting touch. 

Sunday, February 12, 2012

My left wrist, and 11 again

Finally, a good night's sleep! After a slow start I headed downstairs. I wasn't too sure what would happen. I'm liking this about not having a plan. Because I was feeling a little creaky I started with some stretches and some core. Including the dreaded plank. 1:15, I was astonished!

Then onto my bike. I had lots of water and some snacks this time. After an easy warmup and some spin ups, I started in with 15 minutes at endurance pace to see what my legs would think. So far so good, so I upped it to about 75% of FTP, and settled in. Nothing on the computer, no tunes. Just me and my feet. Every 15 minutes I stood, gradually making the standing sessions longer, and then as soon as I sat down and got back into my gear, I spun it up, making each session faster. The second last one I topped out at 140 rpm and 300 watts. Then I'd get back in the groove again. Snacking. Drinking. Thinking about form. Daydreaming about riding out 22X on a beautiful day.

It turned out to be a super ride. I was on the bike 2.5 hours, and of that, 1.5 hrs was at 75%, nice and steady. Breathing easy, for most of it I could breath through my nostrils and get just enough air. Heart rate was pretty stable, very slowly rising from mid 120's to low 130's. Sweaty. Cooled down and stretched after. Happy! The only thing that hurt was my left wrist. I had to keep shaking it out. But this is typical for my long rides. I think since I broke my right elbow, I've been putting more weight on my left side.

My buddy with the broken wrist is now interested in speed laces, for obvious reasons. I've no idea the brand. I buy them whenever I get a new pair of shoes. They look like this:

It looks like you hold the lace ends and tug the circular holder to snug up the laces, but that's not it at all. What you do is thread the laces through the eye holes however you like and slide the end of the laces into the holder and out the other side. Then you slide in the locking wedge. The trick is to have the laces so the shoe is loose on your foot, but just snug enough so you don't run yourself out of them. It usually takes me several tries to get them adjusted right, but it's worth the trouble. As long as you own the shoes you never have to think about laces. Slide your feet in and you're done. The application to triathlon is obvious, but even if you only run, it's still good. It's easy to tie laces too tight and that's not good for your feet.

I got tagged by aka Alice of Hefferblog fame with the 11 things thing. You can see my previous blog on this topic here, if you should be so minded. But since this is my second time I'm going to do things a little differently. I'm assuming you've seen this elsewhere and know the deal. The only tagging I'm going to do this time is to say that if you think I should have tagged you last time and didn't because of my unfair and arbitrary method of choosing taggee's, you can consider yourself tagged, but you have to answer the question "why Keith should have tagged me" with 11 different reasons. I am confident I don't have to go looking for responses.

11 Random things. Different things than last time. (I checked.)

  1. I just finished the Coyote series by Alan Steele. The first two books were on my iPad, and I was flipping the pages pretty fast. Easy read. I think I'm getting used to this ebook thing. Certainly the buying is painless, if you can find it at all.
  2. I am still getting used to wearing a watch again. Linda got me a nice one for Christmas. For years I've only worn a watch for workouts. Most of the time, without looking around, I'll know the time to within a few minutes either way. I wear it on my right wrist, so it doesn't bug my mouse hand. No, I'm not left handed, I write (if you call it that) with my right hand. My office roomie is left handed, but mouses with her right hand. Pervert.
  3. My sense of humour is very unusual and gets me into trouble sometimes. I hate to explain why I think something is funny. 
  4. I find it very difficult to get new things sometimes. My 83 Honda Accord went over 340,000 K before the strut holding the front started to rust away so badly I was told the car was unsafe to drive, and was essentially uninsurable.  Even going to pick your part involved more money than what the car was worth, technically. I mourned the day I dropped it at the scrapyard. That car never failed me, not once. It started after a skiing weekend, after being out in colder than -40 C all weekend. It was one of two cars to start. It took an hour to warm up enough to get the doors open. I'd had to crawl in through the hatch. Only one other car started, and it took us hours to jumper all the other cars. As long as something is still working for me, I go with it. 
  5. Related to #4, the oldest possession I have that is in daily use is an interlocking key chain. The car key is on one side. The other side has the house key, the key to my bike U lock, and a key that we think would open the garage door that was replaced by a new one about a year ago. It was one of the last things I bought before I moved from Ontario to Calgary.
  6. I like washing dishes by hand; it is a very soothing activity.
  7. Contrary to popular belief, the most boring part of driving across Canada is not the prairies. I've done this several times and I know. The prairies are easy driving. The huge sky, the wide open spaces are exhilarating. Just don't try to get gas on the West side of Regina, heading west. Northern Ontario is effing brutal. It's twisty turny highway at only 80 Kph, and there is nothing to see but rocks, trees, and water. Yes, those things can be beautiful but it gets very old after 1850 K (1150 miles). I sincerely believe that Northern Ontario is why airplanes were invented.
  8. We don't have any of the stemless wine glasses, but I'd like to try them to see if they really do make a difference to the taste of the wine. Try them at someone else's expense, mind you, I'm not going to buy them. If someone here has such glasses, I can supply the wine.
  9. One of the women at the office was astonished to discover that a guy could find a woman attractive when she was really sweaty, hair in a pony tail or bun, in workout gear. Trooper got the inspiration for the song "You're just a three dressed up as a nine" from somewhere. I went to coffee, at work, with one fitness buddy, and I almost didn't recognize her.
  10. Since early 1983 I have not lost a gross out contest. When people find out I used to work in a Waste Water Treatment Plant, they back off. Little did they know that most days I could have worn a suit to work. Most days you could have eaten off the floor. The tunnels and buildings are actually fairly cheerful because all the pipes are painted different colours to indicate what's in them. Only two buildings smelled even remotely bad, and I loved taking high school girls through them on tour. One lost her lunch in Headworks, and I'm not talking about a lunch kit. She was just lucky the Barminuters had long since been taken out. Even now, I can taste the smell...
  11. The books on the shelf above the computer include:
    1. The QPB Encyclopedia of Word and Phrase Origins
    2. Oxford Canadian dictionary
    3. Strunk and White The Elements of Style (probably the single most useful book extant for writers)
    4. The Elements of Grammar
    5. The Elements of Technical Writing
    6. The Difficulty of Living on Other Planets by Dennis Lee. This is my favourite book of poetry. (The Academic Odyssey of Wendell Grebe makes me laugh every time.)
    7. The articles of incorporation for Cartmell Consulting Ltd.

aka Alice's questions.

  1. Who was the last person you randomly ran into at a race or during a long run? At my very first half Ironman I met Kelly R, and she practically dragged me through the last half of the run. Ever since then we've played a little game about who notices the other first at various events. So far she's winning.
  2. What was the last embarrassing thing you did? Most recently? I've been pretty good lately. Though if my office roomie wasn't really nice, I could be in trouble for reading an article about the fitness of older athletes that had a pic of Dana Torres in a bikini. (Those abs, and all the rest, OMG!) A moderately rigourous reading of the harassment policy could find that as intimidating or sexist or something. 
  3. Do you wear underwear when you run? why or why not?. No, just the shorts or tights I'm running in. Cotton underwear during sweaty workouts is a really really bad idea.
  4. Where is the strangest place you've ended up having to pee during a long run, ride, or race.  The strangest place it was discussed was during IMC while waiting for our turn at two porta potties. A couple of us had to really go, and we seriously discussed using the huge trash bag, but eventually decided that would be tough on the volunteers. One of the girls didn't care and was looking for a helping hand to get on top of the framework when her turn came. Other than that, nothing more strange than random road sides, with or without a bush. 
  5. Which color porta potty do you prefer? If I need a porta potty, it's colour is the last thing on my mind.
  6. What was the last random object you saw on your last run? A geezer. As I was going past Safeway while Running for Sherry, a geezer didn't see me and just drove out of the parking lot. I saw him coming and was able to avoid being run down. I laughed though, because part of his coat was outside the door. There was lady coming in that waited, she had given me a smile, jerked her thumb at the geezer and shrugged her shoulders. I gave her a nice wave.
  7. What was the most random object you've ever seen on a long run? There was one ride going south from 22X at Bragg Creek down towards Millarville, where I saw a ton of those bungee cord ends. But just the hook end, the cord itself was frayed through. I probably saw a half dozen of them at least, different sizes and styles. I couldn't help but think that I might start running into whatever had been tied down with those bungee cords.
  8. What is your favorite breakfast? At home it's granola with several different kinds of nuts and fruits (which reminds me of a complicated joke involving Greenwich Village in an old Spider Robinson short story). In a restaurant it's just about anything that the Galaxy Diner makes. Yum!
  9. The Voice or American Idol? Huh?
  10. What was the last TV show you watched? The last TV show I watched, on TV with commercials and all, was Northern Exposure. Since then, we've rented numerous TV shows on DVD. I'm working through BSG while spinning, and either Boardwalk Empire, or The Borgias when I can sit and pay attention.
  11. What are you doing tomorrow? Tomorrow being Monday, I'll start with a swim, then head in for my second last day on this contract. I don't anticipate a fast paced day, if you know what I mean.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Running for Sherry

It turned out I ran alone today. I'd call it a brisk day at -14 C (-7 F) and a bit of a wind.

Here I am almost ready to head out. I ran about 45 minutes down through Fish Creek park. It was a beautiful sunny day with ice crystals in the air. Only a few dog walkers around, I could tell one of them was looking at the bib, but they didn't say anything. Mostly this was an easy run, working on keeping my feet light and fast. Stretched for a long time after. My hip flexors can really feel it.

I don't know Sherry, I only know of her through Beth at SUAR. I came late to being a runner as an adult, and now that I sort of am one I like to share my enthusiasm. It really pisses me off when I have to tell a woman that there is extra stuff that they need to think about on top of the fitness stuff, as if that wasn't enough. Their personal security.

As near as they can tell, Sherry was attacked about a mile from her home. This is a horrible thing to have happen, and while it could happen to anyone, it's most likely to happen to women. It's much less likely to happen if you run with a buddy. It's a shame this has to be done.

I wish I knew how to invent a "Chester the molester" detector, and we could start weeding these people-like creatures out of our gene pool. Maybe someone has already invented a panic button device that calls some preset numbers and transmits GPS coordinates. Tricky to get something small enough to carry around, easy to trigger but not too easy, and not too easy to find and toss out the window of the vehicle. Maybe something built into a heart rate monitor band, or an additional function on the current sports watches. Which, of course, would only work where you can get a cell phone or GPS signal.

In the end, I thought of all my female buddies that run, ski, bike, and do other sports out in the wide world. I hope they stay safe, and always come home again, unlike Sherry. I feel for her family. I promise to do what I can to help make the world a safer place.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Cruising with the inner shark!

One day nearly four years ago I had a great swim with my inner shark, documented here. Short reading, and you really should before you carry on.

Today I walked from Talisman (the company) to Talisman (the pool) for an afternoon swim. The place was full of water polo players, competition swimmers, and some adult synchro swimmers. Two lanes in the training pool were open, next to the synchro swimmers.

Only 3 or 4 strokes into the swim and I knew it was going to be a gooder. There was another guy sharing the lane, swimming just about the same speed. The first few laps were really fast, then I settled into a nice pace, about 56 seconds per 50. Relaxed. Easy.

I almost didn't notice coming up on 1000 m, 18:30. Woohoo! (Cruising with my inner shark, enjoying the water and terrible music for the synchro girls.) I haven't swum this fast in a long time!
1500 m 27:55 (The inner shark notices the synchro swimmers and wants to go play. I mostly convinced him they could swim circles around me but he still wants to try. Inner sharks are optimistic like that.)
2000 m 37:30 (The inner shark is pleased I'm so steady, and wants me to pick it up a little to swim with the synchro girls that are now doing laps along the lane rope. There is another swimmer beside me that keeps up for a little while, then stops to rest. Not enough of a challenge for the shark.) The last few laps I can feel it starting to come apart, but the time doesn't change.

A bit of kick, and some pull. (The inner shark notices these girls can really swim! One girl pushes off after me, goes down to the bottom of the pool, doing dolphin kick, swimming on her back the whole 25 m, with some hand strokes, and she passes me. I flip turn faster than she does, and can't quite keep up as she does front crawl back.) I actually gave myself a bit of a hamstring cramp trying to dolphin kick.

10 x 50 m on 70 seconds. All but the last one at 47 or 48 seconds. (The inner shark is seriously impressed with the synchro girls. Some of them are still swimming faster than that. The inner shark is also happy with me, since this is the best swimming I've done in quite a while. It's so nice to commune with my buddy again.)

In the water an hour, and was ready to swim more, but Linda was coming to meet me. I don't know if it was because it was an afternoon swim so I'm more awake and ready to go. The last afternoon swim was really good too. Or maybe I just got my swim groove on and my technique clicked. I wasn't even slightly out of breath at any time during the swim, even the 50's. It felt clean, no bubbles, getting good water with each stroke, elbows up, feeling the catch, and getting vertical quickly. My flip turns were solid, and I was very smooth during the transition from the turn back into the stroke again. I wasn't thinking about any of this, I was just relaxed and enjoying the swim. This is the way it should be.

For a little while I thought I'd missed my timing and I was really at a 19:30 K pace, but my lap times were solid at 56 seconds. I did the math a couple of different ways and they all agreed. My inner shark didn't help me with that, since they don't do math. He was too busy scoping out the prey, which is what they do.

It's taken a couple or three months to get back into the swim groove. A couple of those swims were hard sledding, making me wonder if it was ever going to come back. I was ravenous at the end of the swim. I should have packed a snack in my bag. Next time.

Tomorrow morning is the Run for Sherry. I'll be alone, probably running through Fish Creek. SUAR has done an amazing job getting this out there. I hope there are millions of people running. I hope this raises awareness that it's a FUCKING SHAMEFUL THING in our society that a woman can't run without worrying about being verbally or physically assaulted. This needs to stop. Somehow we have to root out this attitude that women are property, are subservient to men. I just don't know how to do it, other than one guy at a time, challenging misogynist attitudes when they come up.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Yoga slacker

For work reasons I didn't swim Wed morning. I'd slept poorly, and it was a long, very busy, very interesting day. I'm quite please with it, at least until shortly after yoga class started.

Recently I've been getting my yoga groove on. Breathing in time with the movements has not only been making more sense, it's feeling more natural. My balance and flexibility have improved dramatically since I started.

But somehow I lost that groove, and very quickly after that I realized I was just going through the motions. I'm sure you've had workouts like that, and yes, I consider yoga properly done to be a workout. This is what it was like when I started. Without any focus, without any real sense of real body awareness, it was just no fun at all. I finished the class because really, you can't walk out part way through. But I didn't really get anything out of it.

It's just one of those things. Some days you're on, and some days you're not. I think one is the price of the other. My usual strategy for this sort of thing is to dial it back, see if I can get the flow going at a lower intensity, or change the workout plan to something better suited for how I'm feeling. I think pushing hard when you're not feeling the love is running a much higher risk of injury. In other sports that might mean a slower pace, or less intensity, or working on technique, or just plain packing it in.  Those things are hard when your yoga groove is AWOL. In fact, I'm not sure what to do there.

Thursday I woke up and knew I wasn't going swimming in the morning. I was feeling all beat up. Even tonight I'm still feeling a bit beat up, and will be going to bed soon. Rest is important. Let's see what tomorrow brings.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Stalking the wild cookie

Monday was a swim. Since I'm writing this Tuesday evening, I'm sure the details will come back to me sooner or later. I remember the flip turn controller wasn't working so well, and I blew a few of them. Don't do that very often.

Oh yes, did 50 m kick, without the fins. Holy crap is that ever slow. I have a straight leg, kick from the hip, clench the butt, point the toes, do all that stuff, and it still takes the better part of forever to get to the other end of the pool. I've no idea what other people do that make their kick so fast.

In the evening I took some photos of the spalling concrete. The more I think of it, the more lewd it sounds, and that's even before we talk about pouring it out and stroking it smooth, or using a vibrator on it. Since the horrible bit is just on either side of the garage door I wonder if it was the first or last bit that was poured and it wasn't properly mixed or something. Here's a photo.

Tuesday I wasn't sure what I was going to do, run or spin. After getting home I chatted with a neighbour  and it was a cruel wind that had my ears getting cold in a few minutes. I decided to bike instead, though I hadn't been sure I wanted to go hard. So I didn't. After a 15 minute warmup with some faster spin, I settled in at 75% of FTP. Easy breathing, moderate effort, 85 rpm. For 1.25 hours. KF would have screamed with boredom, however it wasn't too bad at all. I had a couple episodes of BSG going, (Tigh gets his slut wife back, and Apollo destroys the Cylon mining base) and was focussing on spin, periodically, when I noticed it was getting harder. The only break was to stand every now and then, or to spin faster for a short time.

Even so, my mind wandered a bit. I hadn't brought down any snacks for the ride, and toward the end I was beginning to get hungry. I mean, the lunch of organic duck, corn, spuds, and carrots had been a long time ago. I was thinking of the cookies upstairs. Wondering if I could justify hopping off my bike, and zooming up to take them by surprise for a fast nibble.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Swim interrupted

Saturday morning swim in a crowded pool. I guess there was going to be a swim meet or something, and they had to shuffle us regular people around. I wasn't willing to wait, so I settled for being interrupted in the middle.

Started with 1 K warmup nice and easy, 19:10.
Then, channeling Julie, 10 (I think it was 10) x 50 on 70 seconds. I was a bit further away from the clock than I like so I had to squint, plus it's really hard to touch the wall then look hard to the right to find the clock. Times were 48 to 50 seconds, going strong but not all out. The guy I was splitting the lane with thought I was racing him!

Then they kicked us out of that half of the pool. In the other half I did some pull and drill for another half hour or so. More people were coming in so I didn't mind hopping out. From there it was a long day of stuff that had to be done. The treat was at the end of the day, when my wonderful massage therapist showed up and worked me over. It was one of those things where I thought everything was just fine, minor niggles here and there but nothing serious. I don't know why I even tell her this. Her fingers knew better inside a minute. I didn't whimper. Later was watching the first few episodes of Boardwalk Empire. We're liking it a lot so far. I want some of those suits the men wear! Linda stayed up watching when I went to bed so she is now several episodes ahead of me.

Sunday I was all set to get on the bike and go for a run after when Linda reminded me we had a book club meeting. This time was BJ's new home, even though she isn't fully moved in yet. None the less, our book club meetings are very civilized affairs. Coffee to start. Then later, wine. Lasagne with garlic bread and low salt scones that were all delicious. Trying to nibble that down while the greyhounds are expressing interest in helping with that task is interesting. We talked about Game of Thrones, which is a reading in progress for all of us. I find I can't read it in short chunks, and I don't seem to have many long chunks of time anymore.

Once home I got on the bike.
Longish warmup with some spin exercises.
15 minutes at "endurance" pace, the book calls it, then rest a few easy pedal. At this pace I can still just breath through my nose, occasionally sucking in drops of sweat.
30 minutes at "tempo" pace, the book calls it. 90% of FTP, then a few minutes easy pedal.
Then, because I was feeling strong, I decided to try just beyond FTP, and see how long I could go without getting into the retaste zone.
10 minutes at just over 200 watts. Yay! I might be able to do 20 minutes of this, but I might need a bucket at the end.
Cool down. Stretch.

Any of my readers know anything about concrete spalling?

Friday, February 3, 2012

running in shorts and SUAR shirt

It's been a nice week of weather here. Warm and sunny. Why, today, it was so warm and sunny that I just had to go for a run after work.

Dressed like this. Squinting into the bright sun. There is a little bit of snow, here and there, but nothing to speak of. Sidewalks are essentially bare and dry.

Shorts. Short sleeved tech shirt. On Feb 3. The weather page said 5 at the airport, but the water was freezing over even in the sun, so I guess it was a few degrees above 0 C (maybe 35 F) and no wind. Very nice.

Ran easy about 40 minutes or so, just seeing if I could remember how to do this. The only part of me that was even slightly cold were my hands. My legs and feet felt really good after, but no reason they shouldn't.

Then when I got back, I had enough tim to stretch and change, then sit down to this. Duck leg. Life is good. There's wine there too, of course, Bush Vine Grenache.

Thursday, February 2, 2012


My knees and feet are in good shape. So says my ART guy. My shoulders suck, though. He worked on the top of the shoulder and the side of my neck in a firm but no-nonsense sort of way that was JUST SHORT of making me whimper. It felt good afterward though. I'm sure it's too much mouse use.

I'm in a strange place emotionally at the moment. Work is in transition. Vacation is soon. Swim and bike are doing well, but haven't been running seriously in a little while. I hope I get this balanced before race season arrives. Core is meh squared.

The great experiment on cutting down on coffee to see if I sleep better has hit a bit of a snag that I'm trying to work through. Part of the problem is that I love the smell and taste of most coffee. 'Bux and Timmies doesn't do much for me, but most other coffee does. That makes it harder.

Oh, and more temptation arrived.

Not sure when I'm going to get the time.

I was asked to talk a little bit about this " It's only money, and it's easily replaceable. Time with family and friends, irreplaceable. Time spent doing what you think is fun, irreplaceable." Especially the money part. This was from my 11 things blog tag a little while ago.

Most people get hung up about money in one way or another. Mostly they think they don't have enough. I have a buddy who went and did an expensive thing that did not work out at all the way it was hoped to. That person couldn't bear the thought of losing a chunk of that money by backing out of the trip, and subjected themselves to a horrible time. They didn't get that it was cheaper to let that money go and avoid the horrible time. It wouldn't have taken very long at all to "replace" the money that was "lost".

Let's begin at the beginning. Money is just a medium of exchange. By itself it is worthless. Can't eat or drink it. If there's nothing to buy it doesn't matter how much money you have. There is a certain minimum you need for the essentials of life. I am NOT talking about cable TV, Starbucks coffee, an iPhone, or other such toys. I'm talking about food and shelter. That number is not especially high. Beyond that are the important expenses to fit into society, clothing, hygiene, education, transportation, and other stuff. With care that number still isn't that high in the great scheme of things, or it need not be.

One of the articles I like to read in the Mope and Wail is a finance column about people wondering if they can retire. It is astonishing. Some people make the most amazingly stupid decisions and then wonder why they are in debt or can't retire. They have a high enough income, but an even higher stupid purchases habit.

It's the purchase side of things where people often get into trouble. I blame TV shows like "Lifestyles of the rich and famous". The problem is that everybody thinks they "deserve" a lifestyle like that. Their esteem is tied up in the kind of car they drive, or the school they are sending their kids to. Some people don't understand that credit cards are like fire, a dangerous tool, and that compound interest can get out of hand very quickly. They don't do the math to see if they can afford something. They don't say no to spending questions.

Somewhere during my life shopping changed from being something one did because it had to be done, and required planning to find the best value, (Note, NOT the cheapest prices, the best value. There's a difference.) and turned into a recreational activity. People went shopping for fun. Buying what are essentially toys or frivolous shit on credit. Which I think is demented, but that's just me. The malls started putting in "food courts" so there was no excuse to leave. Unless of course, you want real food.

Then there was Walmart. People stopped understanding value, and went only for the cheapest price. My parents and grandparents would fix up something before going and buying new. That can't be done much anymore. The Walmart world ruined fixing things. It was cheaper to go get more junk. They understood that it sometimes made sense to spend money and get a better product that would last longer, or serve several purposes. That sort of thinking is almost dead.

On the supply side, I firmly believe that making money is not terribly difficult to do. There are any number of routes to legally acquiring lots of money. Many of them involve a commission sales job. It doesn't matter what. You make the phone call or visit. You ask for the sale. Repeat as often as required to get to a yes. Most people can't do it. Or won't do it. You don't need to be terribly smart, just persistent.

Starting your own company is another route. The hours might be long, but the payoff can be huge and it can be fun if you enjoy what you're doing. Even a regular salary job can make you a lot of money if you don't spend it for a while. Forget that save 10% shit. If you want to make money you save 50% or more, and invest it carefully. You spend spend some of your waking hours figuring out where to put it so it will grow and make more money. Live modestly, build your nest egg, learn from your mistakes, and then spend, carefully.

Or another route, buy assets and rent them out. Houses are a great example. I worked with a guy that rented out several fourplexes. Some days he came to work (shift work) looking like crap because there was a tenant emergency. Some months he lost money. But by and large his tenants paid for those buildings. I haven't talked to him for a while, but if he sold at the right time he's set for life. It wasn't quick.

All of these things require work, but they aren't hard to do, particularly. Hard is figuring out the rules to make a rocket go up without exploding. Hard is figuring out how to make the iPhone the amazing thing that it is. Hard is trying to figure out how to prevent cancer from killing people. In contrast, making money is about applying a few well known rules, having the discipline to stick with it, being patient, saying no a lot, and being willing to go against the grain of what your family, friends, colleagues, and just about everybody else want you to do, which is go to the mall and spend money on junk because that's what validates their existence.

There was a book I read a while ago that talked about American millionaires. Everybody has this image of a millionaire living in a swanky house, driving an Italian sports car, dating the eye-candy half their age, traveling the world. The reality was quite different. On average they drove American made cars several years old. They'd been living in the same modest house for many years, married to the same spouse. They didn't wear fancy clothes, or dine out in swanky places, or at least not often. What seemed to be the most common trait among them was that they had no desire to show off how wealthy they were.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

The long hard yoga sprint

Into the pool this morning knowing it was going to be a good swim, even though I had to share a lane with another person. (Oh the humanity!) We swam at almost exactly the same speed so all was good.

I know I did a 500 m warm up. Then some 50 m sprints. Then some pull. Then some dolphin kick and more pull. Then a couple 100 m sprints. More pull. 100 m backstroke. Felt pretty good. Even if the kids in the next lane made me feel like a geriatric geezer. There I am about 90% for 50 m, and the kid passes me like I'm water running. Whoosh.

Today was the long expected good news at work. Yay me! But most people wouldn't understand.

Yoga was weird tonight. It felt rushed, but I don't think it was really any more so than usually. It just took me a long time to get from pose to pose. A really long time, so I always felt a bit behind. We did a neat set of stretches that I wish I'd written down. I felt very stiff and clunky doing them. Fell asleep in Savasana.

You heard it here first. Mitt Romney will win the nomination and lose the election. “I’m not concerned about the very poor” is not going to impress anyone. There are a great many very poor people in the USA right now, or who are on the verge of being so, and they will not be impressed. The middle class is feeling very poor these days, and when you think that compared to Romney nearly everyone is very poor, it makes you wonder about his priorities. And oddly enough,  it's not going to impress the very wealthy. They happen to be very concerned about the poor, in a perverted sort of way. Concerned that the fraying safety nets is a hammock, or that they are spending money on things the rich don't approve of.