Thursday, October 31, 2013


This is another exciting day! My new MacBook Air arrived this afternoon, exactly when they said it would arrive. I'm a bit dubious about a supply chain from Shanghai, Anchorage, Toronto, Seattle, Richmond, BC, to Calgary, to get to my home. But I guess they know how long it will take. I've hooked it up, and migrated all the iMac data, hooked up Dropbox, and got the new novel open in Scrivener. The wireless access works. So far this has been a perfect experience. I'm still getting used to a firm touch on the touchpad to make it go click. I'll need to read up on all the gestures.

The main use for it will be writing. At first NaNoWriMo will consume much of my time, then I'll have two novels to play with. The Plant Novel is easily a novel length, and much more. Just lately it seems to be morphing into a bit of an odd romance. I hope the crew doesn't mind me giving them a break for a while as I pound out this new thing. I intend on keeping the blog up to date, but things might be a bit short.

Plus I was offered a renewal at work for another year. That is a HUGE Yay in my books! I don't talk much about work here, mainly because I know most of my readers would be bored to tears at the intricacy of the data issues. None the less, I like the work, I like my boss, and the people who see my work are liking it.

There's a puzzling thing happening tonight, in that kids in costume are banging on the door demanding treats. Some cultural tradition, I guess. The cats are fascinated by the whole thing, and many of the little kids are fascinated by them.

Oh, and Wednesday I had a nice swim in the morning, along with some water running. My back still wasn't letting me really power through flip turns, but at least it wasn't like the bad old days when I was figuring it out. I'd done some stretching on Tuesday evening that really seemed to help.

Then in the evening the yoga class was wonderful! Just what I needed. The seated cat cow thing was a total failure, but then, there isn't much to it for me even when my back is normal.

Wish me luck in the NaNoWriMo!

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

So excited

The most important reason is that Curtis seems to be coming around. He's much perkier, and we've taken him out of the cone of shame. The mass seems to be getting smaller and softer. Still going to take him in for a followup appointment on Friday.

During a stretching session after work I got up and my back almost stopped hurting. This is good. I can almost take a deep breath without rib and back pain, so this is good too. Planning to swim in the morning. Haven't done anything for an actual workout for a few days now.

NaNoWriMo is almost here! Right now I'm thinking this will be so much fun. Later it may turn out that churning out almost 1700 words a day will become a kind of living hell, but I'll deal with that when I get there. If I get there. I still intend to keep up my blog. Do any of you care that I'm going to try to write a novel in a month? I know a few of you do, but what about the rest? Will you be bored at my NaNo stats? Or will you be burning with eagerness to see my daily progress? Let me know, comments, FB, or Twitter.

I've been musing about buying a laptop for a while, and finally bit the bullet. As of this moment it has left Anchorage. If I've got the time figured out, it could have landed in many places by now. With any luck it came to Calgary. It still says on time for delivery.

Of course, once I open the lid I'll still have a bunch of time to migrate all the iMac data to it, and that could take several hours. I suppose I could weenie out and just do Scrivener, and maybe the music, but sooner or later I'll want to look for something else, and another copy of stuff can't hurt, can it?

Even The Plant Novel, as I think of it, has been getting some progress lately.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

The cone of shame

Poor Curtis. He has a growth of some kind on his forearm, just behind the dew claw. At first we though he had got a minor cut or a splinter or something. When we took a close look it wasn't quite like a scab, so we took him in.

They aren't quite sure what it is yet either. He's on some antibiotics and has to wear the cone to keep from licking or biting at the area. Needless to say he is not happy.

Earlier this morning there was a quietly nice sunrise, so I scuttled out to capture it, then noticed the reflection in the water barrel so I did that instead.

It's another beautiful day out, and my back is continuing to feel better. Runmeter gave me totally off the course results, so all I'll say is that I ran 20 minutes and it all felt pretty good. Toward the end I could feel some low back tightness creeping up on me and I didn't want to get into that again.

Did you catch my new rant yesterday?

I was up early this morning and struggled through cats to work on sorting out the cast for my NaNoWriMo novel. There are 5 main characters now, Ed, Ronnie, Penny, Thomas and Hardisty. I'll want one more I think, and several promising characters are getting themselves ready for audition. There will be a loose collections of minor characters, spouses, parents, children, friends, you know, that sort of riff raff. If you're also doing NaNoWriMo, don't be afraid to look me up.

Friday, October 25, 2013

The LRT conga line

My company is very generous in terms of a parking allowance. That means most days we drive to and from work, and are mostly spared the horrors of public transit. Given that we are too cheap to buy a second car for the rare occasions we might use it, we take a small part of the 8 to 10K a second car would cost, and apply that to transit, Car2Go, or a cab. All of which have their shortcomings, but their big advantage is they are much, MUCH cheaper than a second car.

The only flaw with Car2Go is that we don't live in the Home Zone. Not even close. That limits our usage. It's otherwise a very cool thing.

Cabs. Well, this rant is about LRT, not cabs. I'll just mention I had one cab driver drive into a guardrail, and another that had me in more fear of losing my life or being maimed than just about anything I'd ever got into on my own.

Every now and then we have to make adjustments to life with one car. Sometimes it means going places sooner or later, or doing some careful planning to make it work. It isn't a big deal. Today it involved me being dropped off at an LRT station to go to work.

Maybe I picked the wrong car, but there are probably quieter tuberculosis wards. Several people were  hacking and coughing, and breathing in a rattling way that had me wondering just how much longer they might last. Then there was the cigar smoker across the aisle. Oh, not smoking, just stinking. Some kind of construction laborer that hadn't washed either himself or his clothes in a while was nearby. The guy with rancid Old Spice aftershave. At least there were no belligerent drunks.

I was wondering if I could get away with tucking my face inside my coat. When I got to the office I wanted to bathe in hand sanitizer, but there wasn't enough, and I didn't have any Q-Tips to swab the inside of my nose and mouth anyways. As you might imagine I was not looking forward to the return trip.

It wasn't so bad, although I was heartily sick of the automated announcements about letting the doors close. I say install a knife edge and more powerful motors on the closing mechanism. SNICK! When the train is crowded there is sometimes this neat conga line that forms. People nearest the doors get off the train, and often hold the doors to make sure they don't shut. Then a line of people that want out squirm past everyone else. Then another line forms for those who had temporarily got off the train to get back on it again, followed by new passengers.

It all works quite well, as long as the people involved understand the rules. It's hardly complicated. Even oblivious to the world schoolchildren and their bigger packs have mastered it. All it takes is one little old woman to bung up the whole works. She stood so that anyone trying to get the door buttons was at risk of being accused of groping her. Then she wouldn't move. As people further from the doors realize nothing is moving, they try to push past the other people, assuming they don't want out. Except many of them do. She is hanging onto the centre pole, and a big fat guy is standing right beside her blocking things even further. I made a point of stepping on his toes, and never have I wished more that I was wearing stiletto heels.

For a wonder the bus that is always late was there waiting. I'm hustling through the station as fast as my back will let me go because the bus drivers have a nasty habit of leaving just as the people from the train leave the station doors. The next bus is a long time, but at least it's a nice day today. That isn't always the case.

The bus was no worse than usual, other than a small group of people yelling at each other in not-English. For all I know they were discussing poetry, but it sounded like a fight was about to happen. It's usually pretty close to an hour to get from my office to the house. Driving is much quicker, except that I have to pay attention to traffic, and hope some idiot driver doesn't mess it up for the rest of us any worse than usual.

I feel for the people that have to do everything by public transit. Calgary is a city for cars. Transit only really works if you're commuting to downtown during rush hour from somewhere near an LRT line. Your life will be hell if you have to take a bus to a train, change trains to the other line, and take a bus again. When I worked at Skystone I once looked up how I'd make the trip by transit. Their office was in that little triangular commercial area north of Deerfoot mall. As near as I could tell it couldn't happen in less than 2 hours, and was more likely to take 2.5 hours, one way.

And that's under "normal" circumstances. All too often there delays. Even with the lights, the barriers, the lowering arms, the bells, and the noise and sight of the train itself, people manage to collide with the train. I put it that way because the train doesn't go skulking down the sidewalks looking to run over the unwary. It runs on tracks, and any number of people have worked very hard trying to keep the stupid out of it's way. To be honest, if you're stupid enough to end up underneath the train, I have no sympathy for you. I feel for the driver who probably saw it happening and couldn't do anything about it. I feel for the people that have to clean up after you. I feel for the thousands and thousands of commuters that have their schedules messed up.

I once saw a video of a big public square with a tram line running through it. There were no warning anythings. Cars, motor and pedal bikes, people, and the train all seemed to happily, or at least cooperatively, share the space. Why can't that work here?

Lastly, why does the train have to sit at a red light downtown during rush hour? There are about 600 people on a full train. There is no way 600 people are going through the intersection in cars. The driver should have a mechanism that over rides the lights so that when the train is ready to go, the light is green. The limit to how many cars can be on the track at once is the downtown bottle-neck, since both LRT lines share the same tracks downtown. Getting green lights for the LRT would keep the trains moving faster.

I was sure glad to get home to smell duck roasting in the oven, and a bottle of wine calling my name from the basement.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Nice. So. But.

Another really, really nice day here. And people wonder why I think fall is Calgary's best season. It got up to the high teens, or even low 20's C (not quite 70 F).

So I had to go for a run. My back is feeling much better, in that putting on my socks isn't an ordeal anymore.

But things aren't still quite right. The run was short and slow. I had hoped things would loosen up, but no. It's different, but there's still some pain. Sigh. Good stretch session after, with some interesting clicks.

Several more characters have shown up, auditioning for NaNoWriMo. I've written the opening scene in my head. I've got a rough plan. A plot twist. Sad bits. Happy bits. I am hopeful, but I'm also pretty sure that won't last. I haven't done any research on the topic at hand, because, LOOK! A polar bear!

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

It wasn't my butt after all

I had thought that my low back stiffness recently was brought on my legs and butt being tight. Not so. My massage today confirms everything is actually in pretty good shape. No big huge ugly tight spots. Just my low back. Still not even sure what did it.

Swam yesterday, carefully. Flip turns went around, and I didn't drown, but that's about as good as it got. The competition pool in Talisman is open, but I was baffled. All the swim club kids were looking off to the left, and starting as if they were looking at a clock. It was off. Nothing. I don't have a clue what they were looking at. So I swam without a clock, and have no idea how far I went. Not that far.

In extended family news I had lunch with my cousin Ryan and his wife Tambra. I haven't seen him for many years, and I've never met Tambra before. Their flight home was redirected here. We had a wonderful chat. I now understand some of the personality traits that I exhibit, since I saw them in another person. Not bad, just that I think we are much alike in some ways.

And that's all. Software upgrades now. Sigh. The world never holds still.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Careful balance

Running on Saturday was odd. As long as I was just running, life was good. The run was good. But get a bit off balance, or have to step up or down for a curb, or turn a bit too much to check traffic, and my legs would want to stop. And my lungs, briefly. Then it would be good again.

Mainly ran just to see if I could, after a nice long limbering and stretching session. Where the run earlier in the week felt like I was running on cracked glass bones, this mostly felt pretty good. My lungs did almost no work, and it was fairly easy on my legs. It's odd that the locked up low back is mostly gone, with the stiffness and soreness spreading the "love" to other places in my hips.

Rolled on the ball after and brought tears to my eyes. Lots of cat cow and other stretches throughout the weekend.

And in the what have I done, department, I signed up for NaNoWriMo. My member name is Keith Cartmell. Original, yes? Glad you liked it. Some of you will know how to look for me. I had a story idea, though no characters have shown up for the casting call yet. Early days...

In other novel news, I figured out a way out of the box I found myself in. Yay!

If you live in Alberta, are you going to vote in the municipal elections? Yes, we know Mayor Nenshi is still going to be mayor. Vote anyway. Pick your councilor, slate or not as you choose. But choose wisely.

Friday, October 18, 2013

Glad that's (mostly) better

Spasming back muscles are no fun at all. Wed night was bad enough I skipped yoga out of consideration for my fellow classmates. I thought the various involuntary noises might be alarming for them, and disturb their zenny yoga-ness, to say nothing of alarming our lovely teacher.

A computer digression. If you don't like computer stuff, skip this para. After one of my blog commenters suggested I try NaNoWriMo I checked it out, and have all but decided to do it. There have been several long, slightly odd Twitter conversations. I'd decided I wanted to get a laptop anyway, and have mostly decided on a Mac Air. Well. Turns out the Apple store doesn't sell the model I want with the features I want. That's why online shopping was invented, I guess. BUT!  The new Air comes with a later version of the OS than my iMac, so I can't just migrate the backup data from my iMac, and be good to go. HOWEVER, upgrading my iMac essentially means adding more RAM, which isn't hard, particularly. It just needs to be done. There is a choice of buying the Air, and not migrating the data, which involves a bunch of setting up, and making sure iCloud is off. Which it is anyway. 

So, in the meantime I've been trying to get my brain out of the novel I'm working on. I'm stuck in a place, so doing something else would be good. If only I could convince my brain of this. It's still trying to figure out something in the current book, and is blocking ideas about a new novel. Some of the characters have indicated they are willing to take on new situations, but I'm not sure how well that will work. Decisions decisions.

So if you have any novel ideas you like to give to a good home, feel free to leave them in comments.

Flip turns are hard when your back muscles aren't working right. But I was in the pool swooshing back and forth. Semi-swooshing, I guess is more accurate. I wasn't trying for speed, I was trying to relax in the water. For a little while the girl I was sharing the lane with drafted me, then tapped my toes once. I paused at the wall, then drafted her for a few laps. Very nice. It was actually hard to feel the draft because she was very smooth.

It's still a little tight, enough so that I didn't run this afternoon, but maybe tomorrow.

And, YAY! The competition pool at Talisman should be open on Monday. That should ease the space crunch. In other fitness news, I finished Fitzgerald's book on marathon nutrition. Very interesting. Lots of data, and it seems to be sound. While there are a few examples given, it's not full of name-dropping. Even though it has to go back to the library, I'm seriously considering buying it for ongoing reference. Fully buying into it means lots of stuff to keep track of, and for once it's not counting calories. He bases lots of things on your body weight, such as ingesting a certain number of grams of carbs per Kg of body weight. Assuming you know what that is. I don't at the moment, I need to put batteries in the scale. The doctor's appointment last week produced a number that was a bit higher than what I'm comfortable with. It includes different training plans for half and full marathons, depending on what sort of a runner you are.

Lastly, an office selfie, complete with reflections.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

The low back lockup

I'm not going to whine. Well, maybe just a little. Occasionally my low back gets all tight. I'm not sure if it's related to tight hams and glutes, or is cause, or is effect. Whatever. It's just really tight over the last couple days, and today especially.

Ran only 3 K, slowly, with an eye to getting warmed up enough to do some stretching and core afterward. That was so so. If I try to sit cross legged I will slowly keel over backwards. This does not bode well for yoga tomorrow.

In other news, I am being tempted to start/join/enter/compete/participate(whatever the verb is) in NaNoWriMo. If I'm reading this right, there are 2752 people in Calgary alone that are signed up to have a go at pounding out 50,000 words in a month. I could never be part of anything that requires total commitment, long and solitary hours doing something other people think is crazy. Could I?

We visited our friends G&G and played the train game on Monday. We've been playing it with them, and other people for a long, long time now. This is the North American version, which I'm most familiar with. That means I win about 1 in 4 games. Linda wins most of the rest. We also have the EuroRails version, and Linda wins that one almost all the time. She is a ferocious competitor, though having met her family as they "play" various games, I can understand it. Don't even THINK the word Yahtzee with Linda around. Or Scrabble. I have never, ever won at Scrabble playing Linda.

Here's the board game at the end of the game. I'm the blue line, if you were wondering.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Perfect timing

If you read yesterday's blog, you'd know there was no significant activity, other than the finger twiddling needed to create Snapseed images. There have been several nice comments through channels other than my blog comments, so you could still be first to tell me I have no talent and should never take another photograph. And that buying a real camera would be a waste of my money.

After seeing the beautiful images produced by the photographers with a real cameras, I did a bit of looking to see how much moola we are talking here. I hadn't realized there was an entirely different language required. I didn't understand a word of it. I haven't the least idea why one camera is $x, and the next one is several times that. Yes, I realize that quality of construction, number and quality of sensors, and lens quality all makes a difference. But the language in which they were saying that doesn't make any sense to me. I think I need a camera-world primer.

Speaking of images I often run past this tree, and never really noticed it before. But today the bright gold against the sky caught my eye. Notice the cloudless sky.

When I started my run the clouds were a smudge on the horizon. When I finished 76 minutes later the clouds were nearly here. By the time I was finished stretching, the sun was gone, and the clouds were way east of us. Quite the wind for what seems to be a fairly still day here. If anything the winds were blowing toward the west during my run.

I started really, really easy. My hams were still a bit tight, and I was in no hurry to push them.

Even though the pace line is all over the place, it's pretty clear it took a full 2 K to settle in. My pace felt pretty steady throughout, running easy and relaxed. The only explanations I have for those huge variations in pace is that the GPS was a bit off, well ok, a lot off for elevation. There were some corners cut when I blow up the map enough.

It was a beautiful fall day for a run on crunchy leaves, with people raking them, kids playing in them. I ran down lots of streets that I haven't been on for a while, just to see what's there these days. This might well be the last run of the year in shorts and a tech tee. If so, it's a perfect way to wrap it up. I'll still be going out, just with lots more layers on. I know a few of you are excited about seeing some more icy tusk mustache photos.

I'm getting back into my novel after all the adventures with hard drives recently. I'm stuck on what a particular place is for. My original thought only works if I set the novel in the mid 90's, instead of the mid 80's. So far I haven't worked out a good alternative, and I don't like the idea of moving it to the 90's. I'm not sure why, but it seems wrong.

I thought I'd get some writing done this morning, but I was swarmed by cats who were very eager to give me a list of all the things wrong with living here. No matter that we regularly poll other cats, and they all, without exception, tell us they would rather live with us than their current servants, and that our cats are ungrateful. In this picture Curtis has his tail all over my keyboard.

And what's a Thanksgiving weekend without a bit of food porn? We didn't do a special meal, but I think it's worthy of a photo anyways. Because now that the drool drains are installed on the blog I should put them to use so they don't get all clogged up by mating dust bunnies.

Here's my current read. A buddy of mine (hi Lori!) who has done a zillion marathons highly recommended it. According to it she has been sadly shorting herself on nutrition during training and races, so she's been making some changes, though it's too soon to say if it's made a difference. Anybody else read it? Your thoughts?

Saturday, October 12, 2013

A photowalk

It's been a busy week.

Swam Wed morning, a bit clunky, but good practice for open water sighting. I was sharing the lane with two floaties. What confused me is they'd get out of the water for a minute so I'd think I had only one of them. Then they'd come back.

Yoga in the evening, a really good night, even if there was stereo snoring. My low back and hips are a bit stiff, perhaps from the hard run the other night. Tired, bed straight after.

Thursday we were out to friends for dinner and home late.

Friday I slept in a bit, and after a busy day at work met up with the famous Neil Zee for a photo walk to celebrate his 40th. It was fun to see a beautiful evening unfold, and a whole crew of people with cameras to record it. There are times I've thought about getting a nicer camera, but then I'd have to carry it around, and learn how to use it properly, and do something nice with the photos after, otherwise what's the point? For what I do, the iPhone takes perfectly nice photos most of the time. Here's a sample of my photos from the evening. Most have been tweaked slightly in Snapseed.

From the bridge between Prince's Island and Memorial Drive. The Bow looks considerably different after the floods.

The top of McHugh's Bluff is a great place for city scapes.

There's a tough set of stairs to get up to the top of the bluff, or a gently sloping cycle path. At almost any time you'll see people running up or down the stairs. One time I saw a girl's rugby team hopping up the stairs, one section on one leg, then the other leg. It's a long way up.

During the evening it looked like someone was doing a rocket test.

The light conditions were challenging for the phone, but I quite liked this shot, and it didn't take much tweaking. For some reason this looks like what would be on the cover if someone were to write a novel in the style of Charles Dickens, and published by a Can-Lit house.

This is much the same shot, but it was out of focus and zoomed in a bit on the Peace bridge. For most of the photos here I've just tried to make them better photos, on this I deliberately tried to make it look like a painting.

This wasn't the most dramatic sunset Calgary has ever had, but there were lots of subtle clouds and the interplay of jet contrails.

While all the cameras were pointing to the sunset I was looking the other way and noticed some guys playing on a tight wire. They were pretty good. They were nice enough to offer to let me have a go, but it's 6 feet off the ground. I've already had all the experience I need falling down, and am acutely aware of the shortcomings how my legs were feeling. Still tired and twitchy from the run. Not a good way to try to walk on a wire.

A bit later we ended up at the Peace bridge. I admit it is a pretty bridge, even if the story behind it is kind of sordid. Too expensive, no consultation, no competition. If you've seen nice photos of this bridge on social media, it's probably from Neil Zeller. He loves the bridge, and is the one organizing the walk. So of course it was included. The iPhone is really bad in low light, but this one came out ok.

It was a fun evening. There was a video shoot in the middle of the bridge that was wrapping up as we got there. The model was wearing a blanket, so there was some speculation what sort of photo shoot it was.  Many of the group crawled down the rocks to shoot underneath, and I'm happy there were no splashes. Afterward we ended up at Craft Beer. Really crowded, but at least it wasn't too noisy.

Today? All you need to know about today is that an early afternoon nap was a prominent feature of the day.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

So I promised to tell you

The secrets of the kitty universe! At least that's what they think are behind the bedroom door, the garage door, the front door, the back door. Whichever door is closed is the one they want most to go through. Celina is a darter. She puts her head down and gallops for the opening. Curtis is considerably more polite, and will only gradually stroll in.

I knew walking into the pool area that the swim was going to be good, and it was better than that. After two months or so off, it was a bit brutal getting back into the water. It took a month and a half of two swims a week on average to get back to about where I was when I stopped.

The pool is always busy now, but my lane mate was reasonably speedy. I scarcely noticed the first 500 m, and happily kept going. There was a brief moment of suckage about 700 m, but I got it back together and cruised along for a 19 minute 1000 m. Yay! It all felt smooth and strong, and I was on top of my breathing the whole time. Lovely! Now if I can nail my flip turn consistency, and maintain my starting pace, I'll be making good progress.

Before dance class I felt like going for a run. I wanted to try out my new shoes. Instead we went to dance class. Samba. Some Foxtrot. Part way through Samba the ache started in my knees and calves. By the end of it I was in actual pain. Foxtrot wasn't quite as bad, but it wasn't helping. Only an hour and I hobbled out to the car. I took drugs when I got home, and not just wine. Liniment. Lots of sleep.

It was better this morning, and gradually got better through the day. Eagerness to try my new shoes was mine. Even if it was raining lightly. Even if it was comparatively cold. They are light. My feet felt fast. The first little while I was restraining myself, trying to get properly warmed up. Then I let my feet run whatever they wanted to run.

It felt really good! My legs felt light and happy. Then in the middle of the last K, I really picked it up for a short bit, probably the fastest I've ever ran. Runmeter says that was 4:53 per K pace, or a 7:52 mile, or a 3:26 marathon. It felt like I was flying. In about 50 yards I was starting to breath really hard and backed off. It's humbling to think there are lots of people that can run the whole marathon much faster than that. Humbling to think that BQ for my age group is 3:40, so it's a good thing my dreams don't include going to Boston.

While I'm thinking about it, IS there anything I've promised to tell you, and haven't? Anything you want to know? Ask, and you shall receive. I love giving advice and answering questions.

Sunday, October 6, 2013

So much weekend

The "cheering" for the Harvest Half went really well. I got a big hug with a shared selfie with Cori, seeing my buddy Nicole, and having Tina and Michelle recognize me enough to say hi.

Here's the shared selfie. And the group shot at coffee after. For those that saw some confusing Twitter traffic, this is the one I was referring to with me looking a bit demented. The word Linda used was crazed. You'd never know from Cori's nice smile that she's standing next to a suspected crazy person, and in the middle of a long race, where she did really well.

And one of Nicole with her buddy at the 7K mark.  

The meet up after, Tina, Tara, Michelle, Cori, Keith, Kev, and Susan. Lots of fun.

Yes, I admit, it is at a Starbucks. But lest I be drummed out of the Coffee Purists Club, I will point out I drank hot chocolate.

The rest of the day was spent puttering about the house, and watching Disc 3 of Elementary. I'm quite enjoying it.

Sunday I was up early for a planned (just) post dawn run. The sunrise was absolutely spectacular, leading me to dash out of the house in my slippers to get these shots. No post processing or anything. The colors were amazing! Times like this make me wish I had a better camera.

Sophia got here in good time, in spite of the paving happening on the main access road for us. After a coffee and a bit of stretching we were off. Here's the park map of where we ran, starting at the rivet, going over to bridge 1, and up the Hill of Death. I was disappointed to see they had removed the signs where that had been scribed in. Here is a photo of it. I was going to do a shared selfie. From there we ran along the south side of the park past the wetlands, then down into the park proper to just past bridge 7 at the right side of the map.

Along the way I had to stop for this shot. Alberta does not get the flaming reds of Ontario maple trees, but still, I find the yellows, golds, and russet colors to be extremely beautiful. The reflection in the wetland pond was brilliant.

Here's the more conventional RunMeter map.

And our pace and elevation. Funny how the Hill of Death barely shows up on this one, when it really is a major hill, and some of the tiny gentle inclines show up as huge hills. We took a bit of a walk break just before turnaround around 6 K.

I'm pretty pleased. We were out for a nice relaxing run, and chatted most of the way. There was a bit of a different between our electronics. Maybe we didn't start exactly the same time.

The time has come for new shoes! New Balance something or others. The staff at Strides were very helpful. I was the only customer, so had both of them making suggestions and telling me all about them various choices. They were only mildly appalled to find my old ones were more than a year old. I'd missed several new models and they didn't think the current ones were appropriate.

Lastly, a nice cat shot. How could I not share it with you all?

Friday, October 4, 2013

450 + K

I'm not sure how big the plus is, since it's all the running I did in Bermuda earlier this year. As some of you know I buy shoes and then forget about them. Runmeter keeps track of shoe milage, which I had known at some point because I set it up.

It turns out that I just ticked over 450 K on these shoes, plus somewhere between 50 and 100 K that I ran in Bermuda. Just over 300 miles, and I bought them just over a year ago. Probably 75 runs on them. They seem to be in good shape, per the photos. Not too squoogy, though some of the inside lining is wearing away on the inside of the heels.

How do you know when it's time to replace them?

The run tonight was very nice, 6K, 40 minutes. Started easy, and tried to work on form. Overall it felt really good. Stretched after.

It was a beautiful evening for a run, 14 C, sunny, no wind. Oddly enough, though I was running after work, I didn't see any other runners. Hardly any dog walkers. I was beginning to wonder what was keeping people inside on such a nice night.

There was a odd set of experiences walking to the LRT after work. Pairs. A pair of women dressed in identical loose gray shirt and skirt combo. Two guys in nice suits carrying identical bright orange bags. A pair of identical twins; for a second there I thought my eyes had gone bad. Two very similar looking girls wearing the same shirts handing out flyers or something on the mall. Two Asian girls wearing actual toques, both with a nice snowflake design. What made it odd was was the rest of the clothing was on the skimpy side even for a summer day, let alone October.

Should be a fun weekend. I'll be cheering on blog and twitter buddies at the 7 K mark of the Harvest Half, then meeting up for coffee. Then meeting up with another buddy for a run in Fish Creek on Sunday. I think we'll go up the Hill of Death, and along the south side of the park at the top of the escarpment, then down and back. Maybe 10 K nice and easy? We'll see. Maybe some others will show, and we'll have a nice group run.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Something went thunk

The half full pool of water was there, taunting us. They said a pipe burst while filling it, so it will be delayed a bit longer. Meanwhile, the training pool was a zoo. I haven't swum with this many people in a lane for a while. Mostly it was good, the lane buddies.

Maybe it was the one slow (but well behaved) lane buddy that brought out my inner shark for the first time in a while. Maybe now that I'm swimming faster again. 500 m in 9:20, though I have to admit a bit of that was drafting. One of the lane buddies was pretty fast. That was 30 minutes of good swim overall. It's coming back.

My shark buddy cruised along, looking at the swim club kids in the next lane and the thrasher in the other lane. He's missed me a bit, wondering if I was ever going to be swimming again. I explained to him about floods, and he didn't get it. Lots of water is a good thing, for him. Equipment that doesn't run submerged is poorly designed. He thought Sharknado was pure exploitation, in case you were wondering.

Once again my super yoga teacher came through with something that was really good for me. I thought it was my left knee that was feeling tired and sore, until my right hip started complaining. During one of the twists there was a soft and meaty thunk deep in my back. It didn't hurt at all, and I think it was a good thing. Later rolling my butt on top of the little ball, I found one spot that had me seeing stars for a few seconds. It was very tight. Oh, and I was threatened with a terrible fate if I videoed her demoing Lion pose. We all had fun with it.

Tonight ought to have been a run but I decided not. Instead I did some core and some stretching. Yes with plank. 120 seconds! And other stuff too.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Norse proverbs for the run

For a while there I was a big fan of Norse literature. There's still a bunch on my bookshelves downstairs. I'm amazed that Hollywood hasn't appropriated them into a blood and guts bastardization of the literary tradition. Unfortunately for them, trying to do anything else after failing at filming comic books is a huge step up. Besides, Egil could eat today's comic "superhero's" for breakfast and not even belch after.

The Norse had lots of proverbs, all reflecting a very practical, if somewhat grim outlook on life. My favourites are:
Praise day at evening,
a wife when dead,
a weapon when tried,
a maid when married,
ice when crossed,
and ale when drunk.

The foolish man lies awake at night thinking of his many problems. When the morning comes he is worn out, and his trouble is just as it was.

The man that walks his own road, walks alone.

Where you recognize evil, speak out against it, and give no truce to those enemies.

With his ears let him listen, and look with his eyes; thus each wise man spies out the way.

And last, one of the best - Deceit often sleeps with greed.

What has this to do with running, you ask? (The Norse have one about that too.) I was planning to run after work, even though my legs weren't sure about the whole darn thing. Not cranky, maybe a bit tired. It was just cool enough to wear tights and a long sleeved tech shirt. Limbered up inside, to the sounds of lots of leg complaints. They were positive they had read something about reading and drinking wine being on the agenda for tonight.

When I started it was a bit of a slog. It felt like my feet had ground magnets on them, and there was no stretch to any of my leg muscles. I didn't mind. I figured give it a couple K to come around and see then. I was taking a slightly different route than usual so I didn't really know how far I'd run. Imagine my surprise, expecting a 7:many pace, or even 8:xx for the first K, and hearing 6:45. My first thought was that the GPS was buggered, that I wasn't running that well. At 2K the time was just over 13 minutes, and my legs were feeling much better. My feet were light. I was still dubious, but just carried on.

After 5 K I could feel my hams starting to tire a bit and my stride was getting a bit uneven, and after 6 it was getting so sloppy I called it a run. I was completely expecting to see a zig zag line all over the map, but even looking in detail it's quite close to what I actually ran, so I'm believing that pace. The 5 K in the middle works out to 32 minutes almost exactly at 6:24 pace, easy and relaxed.

It was odd that I was thinking of the Norse proverbs before the run, and used them to get out and actually do it, as opposed to thinking it would be a terrible run and avoid it. Then during the run I was getting these great numbers from my phone. Occasionally the numbers have been so good (like a 4:30 per K pace) that they are totally unbelievable. But for me a 6:30 K pace is believable some of the time, if much better than what I was expecting tonight. So I was taking it with a grain of salt, trying to enjoy a nice evening run, but intending to look carefully at the map to validate my internal feelings.

And what do you know? The map is good. My feelings were misleading. Which is nice to have them wrong this way for once. Usually it's been that I feel I had a good run, then the watch tells me I was slower than I thought. This time it tells me I was faster than I thought.

The other learning is that I've now had several rides and runs, and swims too, where I wasn't sure about how it was going to go. Or if it was going to go at all. But I got into it, and it turned out to be not just better than expected, but much better.

Laziness and excuses don't just sleep together, they go everywhere together.

A workout started then ended early, is better than no workout.

Judge no workout before you've showered, and checked your electronics. It might feel good, and that's fine, but verify before gloating.

Here's the Runmeter stuff. Because I know you all love it.