Thursday, January 30, 2014

Lovely swim, clunky spin, cranky rant

After shoveling the driveway this morning I wasn't completely sure I wanted to go to the pool today. I'm glad I did. As soon as I took the first strokes I knew it would be a good swim. 750 m  just a bit faster than a 19 minute K pace. Some kick and pull. All the time dodging a slower woman that wasn't terribly considerate. The girl in the next lane was a rocket.

Then everybody got out and I had a lane to myself, just in time for intervals. I've been struggling with those. Today was 8x50 on 60 seconds, all faster than 51 seconds. Today the water feel was there, and I wasn't breathing as hard as I have been for these. My flip turns were a bit sloppy though. Then some water running, really pushing it, imagining myself sprinting down the path nearly full out. All so good.

Then onto the bike after work. There was no way I was going to risk the sidewalks. Clunkly. 20  minutes to get up to 85 rpm. Nearly 30 to get to 100, all in an easy gear. The top of my left calf was grumpy and complaining the entire time. I didn't push too hard, and bailed at 45 minutes, then stretched and rolled it with the ball for a while.

Planning a 10 K easy run on the weekend. Neither day looks especially good, but I'd still like to do it outdoors. I'm not sure I could face doing 10 K on the 200m track at Talisman. That is 50 laps. Yuck. Let me know if you want a weekend run buddy. There seems to be reasonable odds for tusks.

Work is transitioning me to a new pair of projects. One is equipment I'm really familiar with; but I need to figure out the database they've been using. Calling it a database is being polite. The other is to help manage some pipeline data. This ought to keep me out of mischief at work for a while.

My readers are still chewing through the novel. I've had some hints that they are liking it so far. I've been working on one scene that I wasn't happy with, trying to figure out exactly how long it takes. The tricky bit is that one of the women is pregnant. If the bit is short, she's still pregnant for the following scene. But if it takes longer than I've got it written so far, I need to change the following scene. Decisions decisions.

I wish I could put a news filter to block certain news stories. For instance, there is a particular "celebrity" that is in the news lately, something about a drunk driving charge and assaulting a limo driver. (And you thought I was going to talk about the Olympics. Surprise!) Here we are, Harper ruining the country every chance he gets, and selling off whatever is left, Trudeau making a startling change to the Senate, to say nothing of the various Senate scandals, plus the always odious Rob Ford, and what do the media focus on? An idiot 19 year old. It's a measure of how twisted our society is.

I don't care what a celebrity has to say on any topic. I don't care who they sleep with, or what their next project is. I don't care how much money they make, or where they live, or what toys they buy. I don't want to know any of it, though it's nice they buy things, as it's one way of recycling their obscene wealth. But it's all part of the bread and circuses that distract people from what's important. Like an economy going into the toilet. Massive income inequality. Environmental changes that might kill millions, perhaps billions of people. Many of them are a waste of skin and breathing air and we won't miss them. Like celebrities. Them first, please.

But if humans can't cope, there will be a lot of innocent critters that will go first, and their blood is on our hands.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

I'd better write something

Monday. Pool. Katie. Water run. Clunky swim. Evening stretch and core.

Tuesday. Scary run. Thin slick icy. 6K, 40:30, very carefully. Left ham and calf not happy, but not actually cramping. Slow start, not really feeling like going for a run, but I'm happy I did. Even happier I didn't slip.

Wednesday. Stupid traffic. Nice yoga. More stupid traffic. About a dozen cop cars had Anderson and 14th closed off, so we had to go north to Glenmore Landing, over to 24th, and home. Southland was stupid.

Tired lately, trying to get to bed early. I'd have written more, but blame the stupid traffic.

So all you get is a pic of a typical fruit selection on my desk. Dates in the little bag. Yummy.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Those hips!

Today the woman that runs the yoga studio we go to put on a hips workshop. There was a bit of nomenclature, with some diagrams, and lots of long muscle and bone names. I didn't remember any of it. To be honest, it wasn't what you'd call the most dynamic presentation ever. I was sitting behind her, and could see her pointing to the laptop screen as she talked about various things. The problem is that we couldn't see what she was pointing to. She needs a laser pointer or something.

What I remember from the workshop was the moans and groans of the participants. It wasn't quite the level of of a porn soundtrack, but parts of it weren't far off. That's what you get balancing your body on a hard ball grinding into tender tissue. It was all very good, and well worth it.

Before that was a hard spin session for an hour. After a bit of warmup I pushed it harder and harder, for shorter and shorter intervals. That all felt really good and sweaty, with some stretching after.

So far, this marathon training thing is going well. My legs don't feel tired. In fact after yesterday's run I was thinking I could have run much further. But that's what the plan says, that at the beginning it seems like you can do more. Don't. It piles up quick enough.

I'm musing aout where this weekend disappeared to so quickly. A run, a spin session, a yoga workshop, some puttering to start a new wine kit, some novel stuff, a bit of shopping, and boom, the weekend is done.

Oh, and a nice sunrise photo this morning! It was interesting to watch the clouds scudding overhead, and I think something odd was happening because the ripply red light disappeared as the clouds moved, along a nice line. No idea what was happening there.

Saturday, January 25, 2014

First marathon training day, so nice!

Friday I tried keeping up with Katie in the pool. I lasted 50 m front crawl, and lost her on the turn. A bit later in the swim I was doing pull, and kept up for about 150 m, working hard. Both times I was trying to draft close, and not succeeding very well.

Overall it was an excellent swim, in the water for about 50 minutes. After a chunky start I busted out a 20 minute K in the long course pool, dodging a floatie, and trying to keep up with 4 or 5 other people. Lots of kick and pull. 100 m aiming for 100 seconds, almost flat out, fading badly about 75 m in.

Saturday was my first marathon training day, only 10 K LSD. It turns out that it's 5 K from Anderson road up to just the bottom of the little gully before the South Glenmore park boat launch parking lot. It was a perfect day, nice and warm. No really, warm, above 10 C. I was in shorts and tech shirt again.

I ran really nice and easy, trying to keep the pace even and did pretty well. The slow time at 6K is for this selfie. Sorry, no tusks. Maybe next time, it's supposed to get cold again.

Here's the splits.

I'll be doing long runs on the weekends, either Saturday or Sunday depending on weather, other scheduling constraints, or when buddies can run. As you can see, a 7:30 K pace is nice and easy. Next week is 10 K again, then 2 weeks at 13 K, then 2 at 16 K, then progressively longer distances, topping out at 32 K. Get in touch if you'd like to meet up for a run!

Just lately I've been noticing big black pick up trucks, and their ignorant bullying drivers. I've had a couple close calls with them cutting in and out of traffic. One of them I'm quite sure never saw me, but then again, he didn't look either.

Friday afternoon my neighbor and I were out chipping some ice trying to get the water draining. Yes, we are out on the road, in the space that would normally be parking, but right now it's an icy no-mans-land. We looked up to see this guy swerve into the flowing water, deliberately trying to splash us. We didn't get wet only because we moved pretty briskly. I was thinking of throwing my shovel at the truck, but the moment passed.

On the bike, it's either pickup truck drivers, or BMW's. Both have given me several close calls and made my heart go pitter patter. I suppose I should be grateful that BMW doesn't make a pickup truck. I don't know what it is.

In the one parking lot I use occasionally, I see big trucks parked badly all the time. One guy took up two spots deliberately. Someone had already written in the dust on the drivers window, "Learn to park, dickhead!" I added "What, couldn't find a handicapped stall?" I only hope other people added to the commentary, or someone with a small beater car wedged it right in there.

And those swinging balls hanging from underneath the trailer hitches. Like this.

So classy. One morning, same parking lot, where someone with those on their truck usually parks where their trailer hitch juts out into traffic turning from a ramp, I happened to see a young woman draping a small sock over the top metal trailer ball. The effect was uncanny. So little in comparison, but still visible. I gave her a smile and a thumbs up. I wonder how long it was driven like that. Lots, I hope.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

The pigeonaires, and what I put up with

Yoga was wonderful last night. I mean, it's often good, sometimes really good, and every now and then it's just wonderfully lovely. Which is a big contrast to last week, where something in my low back was unhappy with me. This week's flow might have been designed for a runner. Gotta love our yoga teacher! She worked pigeon pose into the flow, which was very nice. A few people winced, but most liked it. Linda asked if we were in any danger of getting pigeonaire disease from doing it.

Tonight was just brutal for a run. I mean. Look what I have to put up with for scenery! These are not retouched in any way.

I just had to stop to take the pics. Even so, 6K just over 42 minutes. Mostly nice and easy on a somewhat icy path, but one of the K was quite quick. Good cool down walk and stretching after.

Heading to bed pretty quick. The plan is to meet up with Katie in the morning at the pool. She wants me to try to swim 5 K, which I haven't done for years. I figure 2 K is more than enough, especially since my employer will expect me to work a keyboard during the hours they pay me.

The wine kit I started is perking along. There is a faint yeasty wine smell throughout the whole house. How we suffer.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Running. Ice. Dark.

Look Maw, no slips or falls!

Out for a fairly easy 5K, looking to go a bit faster than the easy weekend runs, but not so fast as to worry about footing in the dark. I can't wait till the days get long enough to run in daylight after work.

It all turned out really well, back and forth on the 37 St path. It's in pretty good shape, mostly just hard pack. The sidewalks are brutal right now. I'm pretty sure I could skate to the path without any difficulty, and no risk of ruining the skates. You can bet I walked carefully. It took a bit of doing to get warmed up, then settled in around a 7 minute K pace that felt pretty good. The last bit was faster, and by then my legs felt like running.

Here's the pace graph. 5K 35 minutes almost exactly. Legs feel good after.

The next 4.5 months the blog will be a bit more fitness oriented as I train up for the Calgary marathon. I'll try not to go too overboard on it. For those that come here for the rants and the photos, there will still be some of those. If you come here for something else, don't be afraid to put in your request now.

Monday, January 20, 2014

Almost beginning

Sunday was a nice easy day, restworthy even. The important part of the day was this. One of them is started already.

Monday I water ran with Katie, moved on to swim when she got out, with some kick and pull. Working on intervals. 4x50 on 60 s, all under 50 seconds.

After work there was a 40 minute mostly easy spin, but 5 minutes fairly hard. Then a nice stretch and core session.

After looking over the marathon plans, I'm mostly going with the one on the Calgary Marathon website. With some changes. I'm not going to run 5 x a week. At least not to start. One of the runs will be done as a water run and some high intensity swimming, the other will be a spin session. On both of these I can push the cardio effort quite hard, without running the risks of doing so running on outdoor paths. The actual runs will be the LSD,  a run with strides or Fartlek or hills, and one other at a steady pace faster than LSD, but slower than full on. I haven't yet built a spreadsheet to track all this yet. I know that astonishes some of you.

The main reason for doing that one is that it's already in Km, and the weeks are already numbered. Yes, I'm lazy about some things. I've discovered over the years that miles mean nothing to me for distance anymore, and a plan built on miles is just blah blah blah. Besides, miles are obsolete, archaic, and backwards.

Once the daylight is around longer, the paths are better, and I see how the training goes, I may run more. Not going to push it though. My goal is to finish the marathon without needing a trip to the med tent. Half the battle for finishing in good shape is to get to the starting line in good shape.

I was listening to a CBC interview that was talking about a study showing that happy people are healthy, and it makes total sense to me. One of the metrics they used was walking speed. People that walk faster are both happier and healthier. Which means that woman that passed me this morning on the way to the office must have been nearly orgasmic. I was going at a brisk but not all out pace, and she passed by with a zoom. That doesn't happen very often.

They are onto something though. I know from experience that having a positive outlook makes getting the workouts done that much easier, and I think you get more out of them if you enjoy them. That's why I'd like to get up, and get on with the workout first thing, before I have time to talk myself out of it. I feel for the people that have to drag themselves into it, and struggle through. I've certainly had tough workouts, and times I wasn't in the mood, but mostly I've loved getting it done.

The guys at work were watching the hockey fights. The "line brawl" between Calgary and Vancouver. Disgusting. It started seconds after the game started, so they were told to do it. There's no place for that sort of goonery in the game. Shit like that is what drove me away from being a hockey fan.

I've said it before, and I'll say it again. If you don't want that in the game, you fine it out of existence. Pick the things you want to ban. Stupid fights like that one, bloody stick work, head shots, whatever. First offense, 10K fine, 10 games off. Second office, 100K fine, 100 games off, and third offense a million dollar fine and you are out of the game forever. For every incident, the team gets a flat million dollar fine. That shit would stop, right now. Even regular penalties should be upped. Instead of 2 minutes, it should be 10 minutes, and no back on the ice if the other team scores. Each player should be assessed fines of 1K per penalty minute.

For the really bad stick swinging intentional assaults, I'd go straight to the 3rd offense fine. For extraordinary shit like that game earlier this week, I'd fine each of the players on the ice, (except the goalies) 100K and out of the game if they ever do it again. The Calgary centre started it, so the Flames should be fined $1,000,000. Coach, each of them, 100K.


Saturday, January 18, 2014

Shorts. Tech Shirt. January! CALGARY!!

I really should have hit the pool on Friday but I didn't. Later I went downstairs for a really good stretch and core session. My legs felt much better after.

Today was supposed to get up to 13 C (55 F) today so I was bound and determined to break out the shorts and tech shirt. The plan was to get out while the ice was still thawing, but the air was warm. I timed it perfectly! Lots of people out walking their dogs, and if you went by what they were wearing you'd think it was Siberia.

This was to be an easy, easy run. I was thinking 10 K or so, and ended up doing 11. I've never, ever run such even splits, and I credit the run buddy I ran into while crossing Anderson Road. Michelle, take a bow! She was most of the way through her 42 K training run, and still going strong.

Look at these splits, and the pace line. The big spike was turning around, and holding still for a very nice man to take the photo of us. So, technically, I guess, they aren't a selfie, but I got one of those earlier, so I'm good.

My legs feel great after the run! This is as close to runner's high as I've ever been. Beautiful weather for a run. Some chatchatchat to keep the pace right. Stretched after. My lungs feel clean and refreshed. My legs could have gone further. This sort of thing is why I've come to love running.

Just before running I rescued my swim suit from the mighty predator.

Here I am, showing off my favourite run shirt.

My accidental run buddy today.

Here's the view I have to put up with while running today. Your heart bleeds for me, I know.

The side streets are a mess. Here's a shot of how I get to the 37 St path. I could easily see a small car getting stuck or high centered.

The light is fading on the end of the day. The remaining task is to take the Christmas tree down and get our media room back again.

Oops, back again. More photos. The sunset got spectacular as my neighbour came by to get his keys. It's still T shirt weather outside. These are completely unretouched or manipulated in any way. Straight from the iPhone into the blog.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Bring me your tired cranky hamstrings

They can join mine.

I made it home after my massage on Tuesday, just barely. Whatever I thought was the problem was only the start of it. My therapist found all kinds of other tight knots. Hamstrings in particular.

The yoga class on Wednesday was an exercise in pain control. I'm glad I didn't scream and startle the class, but I had to bail out of some of the bendy poses.

There was a grumpy guy being a bitch about sharing a lane at the pool, but fortunately the lane beside him opened up when I was ready to start. I was laughing at him trying to swim. It was pretty bad. My 750 easy, 500 m alternating pull and kick, with 3 x 50 on 60 seconds, trying for 45 seconds each. Then 5 minutes hard water running after, and some cool down.

It's warm here today and the sidewalks are a sheet of ice. Even though I was looking forward to a run I decided it wasn't worth the risk. I slipped on one spot that I thought was concrete while checking my neighbor's mail. That wasn't so good.

Instead I went down for a spin session. Celina, the little sweat pervert, was trying to get me to go faster and get sweatier so she could lick it off me. It's hard to get a photo of a cat doing that, while keeping the pedals going.

30 minutes on the bike easy spin, then some stretching and core. Lots of muscles still tight. Looking forward to running in shorts and a tech shirt on the weekend.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Not much of a view, but some musing instead

At least it hasn't snowed any more. In fact it's been warm all day. The streets were bare and wet, mostly. The entrance to side streets is going to be a mess tomorrow.

This morning it was still cold with no melting taking place yet. This is what I see backing out of my driveway. That won't last much longer.

I was still out doing some scraping on the sidewalk and driveway so it melts and dries. It's a bit of a futile gesture, but it's the Canadian thing to do.

Supper is sitting a bit heavy tonight, after a pummeling massage. I went in thinking my left side was tight. Nope. Right ham and around my hip was very tight. Then some odd muscles in my right mid back were tight. I should go stretch, but if I do it will be very gently.

I've been thinking about last weekends run, and Runmeter lied to me even more than I thought it had. Total run was 16.5 K in 2:10, not 17.7 K. That makes much more sense.

So that's another piece of technology that's pissing me off lately. It used to be that the Runmeter GPS produced a bad map only rarely. Now I'm surprised when I get a good one, and I'm trusting it less and less all the time. I looked for alternatives. Irunsmooth was suggested to me, but it needs iOS 7, and no way I'm putting that on my phone. I'm still thinking about getting the Garmin 910XT.

In many ways the iPhone 4 is still an amazing device. At least I'm still amazed. It's beginning to seem slow, but that's not the fault of the device. It's the app builders loading more and more stuff into the apps, which means they run slower on my phone. The same applies to any older device that runs software.

It's all the competition, of course. They want to sell and upgrade more apps, so they make them do more and more. The device makers want to sell new ones, so they keep releasing newer shinier versions. The problem I have is that I have trouble thinking of a device that cost several hundred dollars as being disposable. Which mine would be if I bought a new one, which I don't want to do.

Lately of all things I've been struggling with email. As in my system hoarding it and being pissy about showing it to me. I used to like email, but now I'm not so sure. So much junk. So many emails that I see from other sources. We are being forced to get our bills electronically, so it seems more like work than conversing with a friend.

When everything was in email it was almost easy to find that note. Now, for example, people have been kind enough to share their thoughts about marathon training plans. I was not organized about capturing them. The suggestions live in email, blog comments, twitter DM, text messages, and I think one on Facebook.

Which is another thing pissing me off these days. Facebook isn't anywhere near so much fun anymore. So much of it is just plain stupid now. I wish there was better control over what people share as opposed to their own posts. There are lots of people who's personal posts I like, but deplore their taste in sharing. I don't want to know about any game, ever, and I've pretty well got that glued down. But the shares of the "post this if you love xyz" or the link farming that we can't really control are driving me to visit Facebook less and less. Tomorrow might be the day I don't visit at all. Out of the several dozen Facebook friends, there is one, just one, who reliably reposts content I'm interested in. Thank you J.

Back to email. I'm sure Google would love it if I got all this through them, and they could aggregate it for me. That's just the least of it they would do. We can't even imagine what all they'll do with it, but I'm sure it involves selling advertising. A while ago I came to the realization that Google was actually evil now, and I've been getting it out of my life, as much as possible. Which is a bit of an ironic thing to say, given this platform.

Today I found out that Google bought Nest, the company that makes those high tech home thermostats. I'd been thinking about buying one, but won't now. Who knows what Google will wire into it, and what data they will capture about your home?

I'm trying to get in the habit of turning off the WiFi on my phone when we leave the house. It turns out that information can be harvested from it with you all unknowing. I find that more than just a bit scary.

Every now and then I think about the Matrix movies, and other's of their ilk. Even now we see people so absorbed in their phones they walk into water fountains. I can already get a soundtrack injected into my ears and nobody else would ever know. Once they figure out how to inject a visual signal directly into our eyes, or better yet, the optic nerve, how will we ever know what people are looking at? Why would you ever need to walk around if you're near an internet connection.

Some days I fear for our society.

Monday, January 13, 2014

Yet more snow! Sheesh

I think the lifeguards at Talisman are getting to know me. There I was, squinting at the whiteboard that tells us where the public lanes are, when one of them came up and told me where Katie was, and which lanes were open. I call THAT customer service!

The dive tank is warm. Water ran with Katie till she had to go, then I had the whole 25 m pool to myself. It was cold. A weird thing happened during my swim though. It was feeling really good, then just before the 500 m point it was like a bomb went off in my nose. Suddenly breathing was very difficult. Even though I wear a nose clip, it felt even more constricted than usual. 2x50 m on 1 minute, 42 seconds, 46 seconds and totally out of breath.

The wind had really picked up while I was in the pool, making getting into the car a bit difficult. The parking lot is ice, and the wind caught the door. Good thing I was paying attention and have good balance. Much like spring time in Calgary, it snowed off and on, mostly on. I was dreading the roads, and sure enough they got worse as we got closer to home. Our driveway and sidewalk had anywhere from 4 to 8 inches. Most of it light and fluffy, but I've got a lot of shoveling just now.

I'd originally been planning a spin session, but an hour of steady shoveling beat up that idea, and tossed it out to lie slowly freezing to death in the snow. They are saying it was the most snow for a December in a century, and it hasn't slowed down much in January.

There's the sidewalk towards the back alley. There is at least a foot of snow on our lawn.

I'm not even sure how deep this is. If it was packed down a bit, I'm pretty sure I could build a little snow cave there. Perhaps I could persuade a polar bear to take up residence.

We forgot to take in the two lawn chairs, and they're just about buried now.

There's the other sidewalk I shoveled.

Look at these temperatures for the rest of the week! Our roads and sidewalks are going to be beyond a sloppy enchilada.

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Wait 5 min, oops, too late

Bed early last night. Slept like a rock. Up at 5 to feed the mammal horde. Curtis starts with polite reminders that we've perhaps forgotten something really, really important. Then it gets louder.

I cogitated on the book, and think I've worked out an alternate ending.

About dawn Michelle picked me up for her long run. She finally got to check out the FA50 race course. We parked at 8th Ave and ran south to the Canoe Club. Going we went right along the start of the WID canal, then on the way back we went up the hill and ran beside Max Bell. Going over the Deerfoot pedestrian bridge I got this post-dawn shot looking at the remains of the Harvie Passage.

Along the way there was the obligatory selfie. I made her put the snack back in her mouth!

This is Michelle scoping out the parking at Canoe Club. Let's just say there isn't much for a 200 person race plus volunteers.

From the Canoe Club we ran back to 8th Ave and along the path all the way up to the parking lot at Beddington Trail. Linda was waiting for me and it was all timed very well. The last couple K got a bit tough with my legs getting tired. In hindsight I should have brought a snack along the run.

Those of you that have been reading my blog for many years might remember some of my first runs along there, back when I was doing 4 and 1 run walks. It was a long time to work my way up to get as far as the golf dome. Today it was nice to revisit the old running grounds, and then explore some bits I haven't seen on foot. There were a couple bike rides home from Skystone along this path when their office was north of Deerfoot mall.

My run meter didn't register the leg from 8th ave to Canoe Club and back at all. It kept the time so I know I ran 2:10 minutes. It's 7.7 K for that bit, and Runmeter says it's 10 K almost exactly to the FA50 turnaround. So 17.7 K at a 7:21 K pace, including a couple photo and snack breaks, but overall nice and easy. That's just over a 5 hr marathon pace. Hmmm. I've had lots of suggestions for books and info, thank you very much everyone. Now I get to read through and figure out a training plan to survive this crazy idea!

It was beautiful out! It gradually got nicer and nicer. Clear blue sky, and well above zero when we got home so I fired up the BBQ and did some Bison tenderloin. So very tender and yummy!

By the time I finished my glass of wine it had started getting blustery. There's some sleet in that, but I don't know if you can see it.

Curtis was fascinated at the noises of the snow sliding off the roof.

Not sure how well you can see, but it turned into a nice little blizzard there for a few minutes. Then it was gone, and now it's overcast. No idea what's going to happen next.

I'm sitting here nicely tired from the run, but not whacked out exhausted. My calves are a little tight, so I'll go roller them some more. The plan for this afternoon is to take the tree down and put away the ornaments and decorations. Let's see how that goes.

And almost a PS, now it's bright and sunny, and things are melting.

Friday, January 10, 2014

Still gathering

What with moving a dentist appointment I had to swim on Thursday, upsetting my careful plans for billable hours this and next week. Such is life, constant adjustment. Otherwise it would be boring, right? I even got invited out for a lunch and a coffee this week; Mr. Popularity, that's me.

At first I thought it would be a gong show in the pool because the parking lot was pretty full for that time of day. But someone hopped out and I had a lane to myself. Put in a 14:15 750 m nice and easy, some kick and pull, then some intervals, working on maintaining 45 second 50 m on 1 minute. 3. Yeah, that's pretty sad, but getting better. Then a bit of water running, focussing on bringing my knees up high using core.

I'm so happy to be back in Wed yoga class. As always, lots of good stuff. Our teacher takes good care of me.

I'll head downstairs in a few minutes and do some stretching and core, looking forward to a well planned run tomorrow. Should be fun, I haven't run that route for several years now. It won't be cold, so there should be photos, and probably, just probably, a selfie, with the potential of a shared selfie. Such a lot my readers have to look forward to. Not likely to be any tusks though. Sorry.

I've had some very nice comments from my first readers, the intrepid souls reading the first draft of my book. There will be more comments soon, I'm sure. Looking forward to them too. I've had some ideas about reworking the ending.

Another thing I'm gathering is suggestions on marathon planning books. That's going well too. We decided not to do the Vancouver half marathon in early March. The travel arrangements were a bit sketchy. Maybe the Police Half, if it's still open. Or maybe not. I'm undecided.

Which reminds me of an episode of Coupling. "I'm undecided about spots."

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Overdressed to underdressed in 30 minutes

Mostly when I start a run, I start by feeling a bit cool, then warm up as the run goes on. Today was one of those days in Calgary. It was quite warm, maybe -3 when I left work. It was maybe -5 to -8 when I got home, and about the same when I headed out for a run. It then got colder and windier. As the run went on, the fog thickened under the traffic lights. It was probably -15 with a wind when I got back, feeling distinctly chilled.

The run started feeling kind of clunky. I think I'm going to have to do something about my chair at work. My knees stiffen up, even though I'm getting up fairly often. The first K was slow, but my legs gradually warmed up. I think this is what Katie meant when she talked about gradually increasing speed. First time I've ever done it.

I was having a bit of a wireless adventure today. I was working last night when I went to bed, and wasn't this morning. Trying various restarts this morning didn't work. Putzing around with it for a while after work did the trick, but I don't know what I did that 'fixed' it.

Does anyone have good suggestions for marathon training books? I'm looking for something between "So you just started running and want to do a marathon, you fool", and "So you want to BQ". Not just a training plan, but all the other stuff that goes into a marathon. Thank you!

Time for bed. This marathon training is hard sledding.

Monday, January 6, 2014

The hard workout?

Was the hard workout today:

  • A- 30 minute swim including 3 x 50 m on 1:15 in 45 seconds or less, with lots of kick and pull.
  • B- 30 minute core, including 60 seconds plank and lots of other good stuff.
  • C- Getting the cat off my lap so I could go to bed.
Anybody that didn't guess C has never had hard snoozing cats. This is Celina mere seconds, SECONDS after I struggled out from under the blanket. Somehow without waking up, she managed to make it very difficult to get up.

But I did do the other workouts today as well, and those are the ones I know you think count.

Sunday, January 5, 2014

The last day of vacation

Two weeks! It's been so nice. It's gone so fast! I'm sure getting back into the groove of not working scary quick. I somehow thing adjusting to retirement will not be difficult.

The big thing was to get my novel in a state where I'm willing to let other people read it. Four intrepid readers have signed up, thank you so much! I've just discovered there is a chunk of repeated text so it's not 88K, it's 2500 words less.

It's kind of cold out today.

Here's the photos Michelle took. My phone froze because I had it in an outside pocket. First time for everything. For the first two her phone was shooting automatically.

Michelle and I planned to go for a run anyways. Here's the layers. Three pairs of pants, 4 shirts, jacket, gaiters. Nailed the layers, was warm without being too sweaty.

We even saw a few other people on the path. Hope they weren't scared of the frost and tusks. This time I was running with the face mask, and had to run without my glasses. They kept frosting up.

Overall we ran just over 7 K in an hour, which includes a slow selfie, and a cool down walk. The 37 St path was in excellent condition, getting there was a bit more fraught.

Oh, last news, if you know my buddy Susi, her email has been hacked. She is not in Ukraine, robbed.

Saturday, January 4, 2014

So much for that idea

I was good. I got up early. I shoveled my drive way. My neighbor's sidewalk. My other neighbor's sidewalk and double driveway. I was doing core and warmup. I was ready to go. Well, mostly. It snowed about 5 cm last night. My running buddy had to turn back and change shoes after ice buildup in them.  Didn't sound like fun. I was not heartbroken, and settled into for a nice day inside.

Eventually I went out and got gaiters, which I need for snowshoeing, but made sure they could fit over running shoes too. We'll have another go at running tomorrow. Some other errands. Somewhere along the way, a simple thing like lightbulbs have become very complicated. I was in Rona to get a few more of the ones I need for the pot lights throughout most of the house. The bulbs are about $10 apiece, and I was all set to pick up a bigger pack of them for half the price apiece. Except, they aren't the same size, not quite. I'm glass I noticed.

Down in the basement we still have a few incandescents. The ones they don't make anymore. There was a geezer in the store, cleaning out the shelves. He had a shopping cart full. The other choices are baffling. Eventually I'll have to go there. My only problem is the ones that have mercury in them. Somewhere between me being in high school, where the teacher played with a blob of mercury in chemistry class, and now, they discovered that mercury is a horribly toxic substance. Fine as long as the bulb doesn't break. I hate the yucky pale white light from the newer bulbs I've seen. I hope to find something that works for us.

Here's some photos from the last little while. Curtis had been curled up, then Celina hopped up to but in. Now look where his right paw is. Love it.

The side of the house, snow falling. And falling.

Look! I'm a winner! I'd ordered this shortly after validating, and got a book at the same time. They arrived yesterday. Granted, I selected the cheapest post option, since otherwise the mail would have cost more than the items. But still, a month is a bit over the top for delivery time. Good thing I wasn't planning something from there as a gift. And while I'm on the topic, can you believe I've had only one volunteer beta reader for 88K words?

Here's the pitch. A small group of friends in present day Calgary react to changes in medical technologies over next few years. It starts with nearly instant cures for road rash, sunburn, and blisters, proceeds to an odd treatment for a heart attack, thence to never having to brush or floss your teeth, and to the consequences of advanced stem cell technologies. If you want a taste of what you'd be getting into, you can see some snippets here.  If you're a writer or a discerning reader that can answer a few simple questions, let me know. Please and thank you.

Back to the snow shots. This is just outside our back door. Still nothing to compare to that one photo I saw from the east coast, where the snow was nearly up to the door handle.

Still, there is a lot of snow here. Those 3 covered lumps are more than 3 feet high.

I am now having to be a bit careful looking out the car window as I'm backing out onto the street.

Friday, January 3, 2014

AMA Whoopsie!

So long, so hard, so wrapped up, I was too tired to blog yesterday.

Water ran with Katie first thing. I ran a bit over an hour, but she had been in the pool for a while already. Her idea of "taking a break" is water running at least 1.5 hours. Almost 2.

Home. Novel stuff.

Ran 45 minutes at lunch time, such a beautiful day out! Ran 6.25 K, in 45 minutes, nice and easy. 7:10 per K or so. I was choked to see that Runmeter provided no map data at all. It used to be the getting a bad map was a rare thing, now it's rare to get a good one. I upgraded it to the recent version and will see if that makes a difference. A run buddy has suggested Irunsmooth, or something like that. It looks really good; the problem is that it needs iOS 7, and I've been resisting installing that on my iPhone 4. Everybody that does that regrets it.

Maybe its time. Ive been looking at the 910XT off and on for a while. Calgary people, how well does it work here?

My neighbor, supposedly, is going to Dominican Republic this morning. The plan was to have a limo come get them a little while ago. I didn't see one leaving, but I was busy with important things like making coffee and placating a cat. They may have a problem.

I spent much of the day buried in my book, going through a text doc version of it, looking for things to fix. Let's just say lots. Up to 88K words, and one section that needs a bit of smoothing.  Linda will start reading it later today, and if it passes muster with her, I'll be looking for Beta readers. Wait! why are you all running away? Not looking for line editing, I'm more interested in finding out if people think the story is interesting, and if they care about at least some of the characters.

Last thing last night I went crazy! CRAY CRAZY! Look.

My goof, one more AMA question from Janice.
Janice L
AMA: What's the most adventurous thing you've ever done besides an ironman?

This sort of implies that Ironman is the most adventurous thing I've done. That was fairly straightforward, actually. I think there were other things more adventurous. Here's a selection, see what you think:

  • Once upon a time I packed almost everything I owned into a 78 LeMans and drove from Streetsville to Calgary. 2.5 days. Alone. That went fairly well, with only a minor adventure in Pence, and fixing a radiator hose somewhere along the line. I had a job lined up, and a place to live. It's all moved forward from there.
  • Getting married/buying a house. Sort of a package deal, when you think about it. I didn't know what was going to happen, and certainly never predicted where I am now. After a life where I had lived in 9 homes I can remember, I've been in this home for longer than all the others put together. Maybe you should have asked Linda about HER most adventurous thing.
  • In more specific things, one day I packed up my bike, drove down to Longview, then into towards the mountains. I drove up to the top of Highwood pass so I'd know what I was getting into. This is the highest paved road in Canada. On the way back down to my starting point I saw a big grizzly bear was sitting on the side of the road. There is no cell phone service on this road. I was riding alone, except for the other traffic on the road. Details.
  • Exploring my head space while doing a crazy shift work schedule for years. Some crazy things happened there, some of which made it into the first book I wrote, which is currently on the shelf awaiting the completion of the NaNoWriMo novel this year. (See Beta reader note above.)
  • Visiting a job site way north of Fort McMurray. Watching this in action. You can't tell from this shot, but the business end of that would be glowing red hot in spite of it being -40  or so, and the ground frozen solid. Getting back out again was an adventure, what with a cement truck dropping the tailer across the only bridge out, and rush hour traffic in Fort McMurray. The camp with the inedible food, and snowdrifts in the hallway between the rooms.
  • Now that I  think about it, I've actually lived a fairly sedate life. When I think of the adventures my office roomie has had, just in the not quite two year's I've known him, I'm a positive recluse.
And now, back to the novel, that one last bit of smoothing. For now. No doubt other things will come up.

Comment please, 910XT users in Calgary? What is your experience with it?