Thursday, May 29, 2014

That almost click feeling

No secret there are parts of my body unhappy with me. I've been struggling with tightness, stiffness, and minor pain for a while, in spite of stretching, rolling, and other alleviations. It's mainly quads and ITB, but I think the real source is my low back.

Tonight I was downstairs doing some twists, trying to relax into them, breathing to that part of the body as my lovely yoga instructor would say. It was almost a little frustrating because I could feel that it was almost going to go. So close, and yet so far.

In the past I've sometimes tried to push that, and regretted it later. I had a chiropractor that liked to work on my low back, and that terrified me. It turned into a strength contest because I couldn't relax. I know my low back and hips are a bit locked up, or something. It's making me very nervous about my Sunday half marathon. But the stretch was good, overall. I'm feeling better. Perhaps a good night's sleep will relax things a bit more, and I'll get the elusive CLICK!

One of my co-workers asked if I was a bit worried about heading into a long run while not feeling 100%. I certainly have not had the training I'd like to have, and I could wish my hips and knees were happier with me. But there's lots of times I've headed out for a run feeling worse, and had a perfectly nice run out of it. I'm quite confident that I'll be able to chug through the race without further injury because I'll be paying a lot of attention to how things are feeling. I'm quite willing to dial it back to a walk, though sometimes walking hurts more than running.

Sunday will be fun. There's going to be a ton of people there, and I'll even know some of them. I'm going to try to get there between 6 and 6:30 and meet up with people, though pre-twitter I didn't have much luck with that. It's supposed to be nice weather.

All I need to do is make sure I don't beat myself up doing some of the necessary yard work on Saturday.

Might I see you at the Calgary Marathon? How did you get from the almost click, to the nice good click?

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

The speculation has been feverish!

Feverish, I tell you! 

Here's what the glass sculpture looks like assembled, at long last. This is a story decades in the making. The guys are still out there at well past 7pm, trying to finish up. I think there will still be 3 sections of fence to go, but that's a different part of the crew.

Here's what it looks like, amid the construction. They guys are spooked about working near it. More photos later in the full sun.

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Last run before race

Even though I like to say I'm tapering, one has to have been training to taper. What I've done over the last bunch of months can't really be called training. Not properly. Still, my legs were feeling pretty good today, and it was beautiful out. This will be my last run, I'm pretty sure, before the half marathon next Sunday.

This is what running should feel like. I was feeling a bit slow to start, but that was actually at my long run pace, and it just got quicker without really trying. I had decided to run whatever pace my legs wanted. It ended up looking like this.

At the end I was beginning to feel a bit of a twinge in my knee and hip so I didn't push it. I have no idea how a half marathon will work out a week from now. None at all. I certainly hope to not to set any personal records, especially the personal worst for this distance. If I was forced to pick a time,  I'd say I'll finish about 2.5 hours at best.

I suppose I should go look at the route, and figure out how I'm going to get to the start line. Package pickup is going to be early Friday afternoon, if anyone wants to do a meet up at the Expo. I know some of my buddies are SO EXCITED to be doing the race, and I certainly wish them well. I'm a bit more meh about it, though maybe it will bring back the racing mojo. I haven't raced for quite a while now. In fact my last race was Chinook half iron in 2012 in a craptastic 7:17.

Here's a better picture of our tree.

There has been an excavator living near the tennis courts across the green space. I had no idea what they had been working on till yesterday. I could see a small herd of kids in what looked like a mini skate park. And so it was. My run started today after checking it out. If this is what it takes to keep the kids off the streets and out of mischief, all the better.

The cats treat the laptop quite differently. Curtis resents it when he wants a lap and I'm using it. Celina just curls up on top if I let her, and tries to push it aside. Today she was snoozing in my lap, and didn't mind the laptop being put on top of her. Not even when I was finishing up this blog.

Saturday, May 24, 2014

We have a plant!

The back yard reno's are going full steam ahead. We got some plants yesterday, and let's just say there was a mixup in the order, and leave it at that. The various people involved hope to get it resolved on Monday.

No running today, other than zooming around doing errands. Maybe I'll run tomorrow, which is today for many of the people reading this. My legs are feeling much less cranky, though I should go downstairs and work on them a bit. Somehow the race is here a week from now. How can that be? I am bib number 4612.

The back steps are almost complete. It's much nicer walking up and down these, than the big steps I had built.

You can see our tree. It and the dirt came today, and needs a bit more work settling everything together. They have a couple blocks in the wall to go, then the topper stones. Much of what you see below will be patio, done out of black slate.

If you are planning to go to the quilt show, keep an eye out for Linda. She will be attending with her sister, and it's probably best to stay out of their way. They tend to get excited at seeing all the quilts.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

I'm such a tease

Nothing like a couple crews working in your back yard to make the day go by fast!

Fitness this week is short. Swam Tuesday, pretty good. No running. A quad/ham pummeling on Wed followed by a wonderful yoga class. The om's were the best ever. Did I mention no running? Even though it's totally gorgeous weather.

I was a bit of a tease yesterday tweeting a close up photo of the fence. Here's a better shot of the fence as seen at dawn this morning.

One of the flower boxes at the back of the house. They measured perfectly to have it fit just under the overhang.

This is where the back steps are going to go, done out of the same block.

The guys hard at it a few minutes ago. More fence being built, and working on the big flower bed. The fence between us and our neighbor is essentially done. He has been watching the crews like a hawk.

In other news my buddy Jeff helped me move the old sofa bed out of the media room. Amazing how much bigger it looks now! Now we can settle in nice and comfortable to watch a movie.

I was pretty sure there was something else I was going to mention, but it's gone. Oh yes, a rant about Facebook. Later. Don't be looking for a lot of Facebook activity from me. Not going to log in via mobile at all.

Monday, May 19, 2014

The dandelion dominator

And there she is, hard at it, digging them out, imposing her will on the lawn, repressing guilty living creatures only trying to grow,  ruthlessly rooting them out and leaving them to wither in what little sun we have today. The heat of her merciless glare killed many others, and if the grass hadn't been so wet from the recent rain, the fire department might have show up purely has a precautionary measure. There was a whole green garbage bag of dandelions and other weeds before I went for a run, and she was still at when I got back.

In the meantime I was busy trying to get the garage at least somewhat organized. What with big cardboard boxes, the back yard renos, and some other stuff, the garage is full, and not with our car. Canadian garages usually need a big day of cleaning sometime in the spring anyways, just to dig all the crap out of them that have fallen off the car over the winter. This was just a pre-cleaning. A before and after pair of photos for you.

If it wasn't for the glass the car would have lots of room, and the glass will be gone soon. There's still a lot of junk lurking along the sides, but at least I can see the floor again.

Part of the task was to finish tearing apart the cedar lattice that used to be our back fence. It turns out that an IKEA box makes a surprisingly sturdy work bench. Who knew?

The firewood supply is much larger now, and much more neatly organized. The bonus out of it all is that I only got a couple slivers.

The tear apart was spread over 2 days. This was my view Sunday afternoon, just as I started wrapping up. I timed it pretty good, getting only a little damp putting the last bit of stuff back in the garage before the real rain hit.

A cat photo or two for your amusement. Celina is showing off her tawny spotted tummy.

Curtis savaging his string.

With all the activity outside, Celina has been working on her supervisory skills. The message is clear, I should get back to work, and stop fooling around with the camera.

Speaking of the cats going cold chicken on the food supply. The jury is out on how they feel about our home made food. Still looking for the actual recipe.

The run was pretty good today. About 4 K, about 28 minutes. I don't really believe the distance. The map is well off where I ran, so I won't publish it here. The pace graph is all over the place. Overall, my legs felt pretty good once I got going. They were very heavy at first. If anything my left calf and hamstrings were the unhappy bits, and my right knee and hip were fine.

Even knowing the half marathon in a couple of weeks is going to be an easy training run, my training has been shite this year. I can't remember the last time I ran that distance. So I'm a little spooked by it, and hope it all goes well.

Another 4 day weekend comes to a close. I got the garage back into almost civilized shape. I got some work done on the novel. I got a couple runs in. I had a very peaceful Saturday, doing little more than being a mostly horizontal space for cats. Two wine kits bottled, and another one started. All is good.

Sunday, May 18, 2014

They are going cold chicken!

Cats. Some days the whole thing is a big sigh. We rescue them from the street, work our fingers to the bone to buy them the best cat food, and what do they do? Scratch at the container for crunchies. Then when I put crunchies in the bowl after they've eaten most of their wet food, and take the empty bag out to the bin? They follow the bag.

We've tried a bunch of different kinds of wet food, and lets just say they aren't thrilled with any of it. The vet says a mixture of wet and dry is good. Wet for most of the nutrition, dry for a change of pace and to work on their teeth.

So what to do? Once upon a time we had a big orange cat that got his system all blocked up because we didn't know about some trace ingredients in wet food. He flat out wouldn't eat the food they recommended, and I don't blame him. It smelled bad to human noses too. But the current food smells pretty good. I think they are just being fussy.

So the solution is the same solution. They gave us a recipe to make our own cat food. It worked really well for years, and it was just part of our routine. Other than the grocery clerks raising their eyebrows at the amount of chicken liver we were buying, it was all good. Add some rice, a couple hard boiled eggs, a bit of veg usually carrots, and some vitamin, then blend it all up and let it freeze overnight. The freezing is important. It changes the texture so that it's almost fluffy, rather than wet and sticky.

Sebastian and Nefertiti loved it and chowed down on it. They seemed to (mostly) like the slight variety from slightly different quantities of ingredients from batch to batch. We never measured anything, just did it by eye, and it usually worked out pretty good.

So we made up a batch yesterday. Tomorrow is the big day to find out what they think. This could be good.

A little while ago I got Leibstered again, this time by Terry. This comes around every now and then, always with different questions. I like me a good question. So here we go!

1. Where would your dream vacation be?
All of mine are dream vacations at the time. Then different dreams the next time. Later this year we are going to a little cabin on an island off Nova Scotia. You have to drive on a beach to get there, and it's isolated at high tide. No WiFi at the moment, though they've had it in the past, and might have it again when we get there. I've got two buddies in Nova Scotia I'm looking forward to seeing. The La Havre bakery isn't all that far away, and I'm looking forward to their treats!
I'd love to go to Iceland. Once Linda retires we are thinking about taking a long trip to Australia and New Zealand.

2. What does running or fitness mean to you?
It means I'm not a blob sitting around waiting for disease or old age to catch up to me. They are always stalking us, waiting for us to show a weakness. Then when we're vulnerable, they strike, and slowly eat us. Being fit, however you do it, to whatever level "fit" means for you, is staying ahead. More cynically, it's like the advice for not getting eaten by a bear: go hiking with slower companions.

3. What is the funniest comment you’ve ever had in regards to your running?
That Quasimodo would be proud of me.

4. Name a gift that you’ll never forget.
The gift of acceptance my wife shows every day, putting up with me, in all my whatever you want to call it.

5. What personality trait or quality are you most proud of?
Hmmm. I'm not sure. Generally I just accept them for what they are. I suppose the problem solving is the most useful.

6. Who is the most inspiring person in your life, why?
Various people at various times. For a while Sister Madonna Buder kept me going. I'd think if she could keep going at her age, I could too. My buddy Leaha, coming back from a devastating injury. Running slow, but running. My buddy Katie that coached me to Ironman, she is just such a non-stop dynamo, always positive and SO EXCITED!

7. Are you an animal person, dog or cat?
I've been staff to many cats over my life.

8. What would your dream race be?
Did that already, Ironman Canada, 2010.

9. What is your favorite down time activity if you have absolutely nothing pressing to do?
Depends on my mood. It could be writing or reading. Or just sitting quietly, meditating. I think that most people don't get enough time to sit quietly, listening to their thoughts. Without that you get all jingled and jangled and you don't know if you're coming or going. I think this explains much about our world.

10. Who is your favorite fitness or running celebrity?
I don't really do the celebrity thing.

Those were fun. Last time I did this I nominated some people, and as far as I know, none of them have responded. So if you want to respond, consider yourself tagged. The question is "Who are the 10 most important people in your life, and why?"

The run yesterday. Some gardening last week tightened things up pretty good. Or bad, I guess. No running for more than a week, but I went out yesterday for 3 K, fairly easy. No actual pain, but towards the end I was getting some unhappiness from my knee and hip so I ended it.

I've got a half marathon coming up soon. I'm really not sure about this. Mostly I consider myself tapering, but in order to be tapering you have to have trained. Most people would not call what I've been doing since the beginning of the year "training". There's been zero consistency, for one thing. From what I can tell, I get up to about 10 K ok, then once I get much beyond that I break down and have to take a rest. I'm beginning to think I'm going to have to build even slower through that barrier, keeping track of what I do. Maybe I need to graph or chart it to make sure I build slowly. And we all know I suck at building slowly.

The novel has been coming along in fits and starts. I hosted a character conference and got some insight as to what was going on. I can't help but think my characters have been off doing their thing, and forgetting to tell me about it.

Let's see. One cup of good coffee done during a twitter #coffeechat. A bit of Facebook. This blog done. Linda is getting up. Maybe she will want waffles for breakfast. Time for more coffee. I think I'll be puttering around the house today, tidying up the garage. Maybe I'll find the BBQ.

Here is one of the difficulties in writing in the morning.

Friday, May 16, 2014

So I didn't drown, and can walk again

Thursday I was into the pool for a nice swim, till I blew a flip turn and it all fell apart. I haven't floundered like that for a long time. Did a bit more trying to get it together, but to no avail. Water ran after. Watched the above surface part of the practicing synchro swim team. They are amazing athletes!

My legs have gradually been feeling better, to the point of walking normally, though my quad still twinges. Going up stairs, or getting up from a chair takes a bit of caution. It was nice enough today that I wanted to run, and if I'd been trying to escape a bear, my legs would have been willing to give it a try. But I didn't want to run just to see how much it hurt.

The back yard work is in full swing. Here we are Thursday afternoon, after pulling apart the back steps I'd spent so long on. But they were right. The risers were too high, and it wouldn't look very good next to the flower beds that are going in. They suggested recycling the stone for the patio, and building back steps out of the retaining wall stone, which would tie it all together much more nicely. It was with only the slightest whimper I agreed. I really liked working with the stone, and now there is no evidence of what I had done, other than photos and memories. The big slab will go right in front of the door to the enclosed gazebo. Progress on that is going really well, but no photos till it's done.

Here's the back all cleaned up this afternoon, ready to lay the blocks for the retaining wall.

While they were outside working today, (isn't paid help wonderful?) I was down bottling two wine kits. Here is Curtis supervising.

 Here's the two bottles. The white is a Pacific Quartet, a very pale straw colour. Right now it tastes a bit raw, so it will probably take 6 months in the bottle before we can drink it. The red is pretty tasty, but I think it will want some time in the bottle as well.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Too late to trade me in for a younger model

Ooooohhhhhh. That gardening on the weekend sure caught up to me. Monday I got into the pool, but the water felt very thick. I felt slow and clunky. I got progressively more creaky throughout the day.

Then Tuesday was worse getting up. Walking took careful thought, then gradually got better. Right knee, left hip/glute. Running is out of the question. I've told Linda that it's much too late to trade me in, she's stuck with me now.

Today I warned my lovely yoga teacher that I was going to free-form it, and not do anything that might make me gasp in pain. That some grimacing was very likely. That I'd try not to keel over and bash my head on the hard floor. It went fairly well, skipping only some lunge stuff. Coming out of legs up the wall I got this slippery clunks from my very low back, three of them. They didn't hurt in either a painful way, or a hurts so good way. I am cautiously optimistic.

The back yard destruction is well underway.

Monday, May 12, 2014

A character conference

As some of you know I "won" the NaNoWriMo contest last year. All you need to do is pound out 50,000 words that sort of looks and smells like a novel. I went way over that. During December and January I went back and filled in some holes, and got it to the point I'd let other people read it.

They were very kind, and pointed out all sorts of things I hadn't seen for myself. One of them put her finger squarely on the real problem, in that I hadn't fully sorted out the time frame of the book. The trigger was a father daughter conversation that took place when she was 24 or so, and it was much more plausible to take place about 10 years earlier. Except I hadn't figured that out and that led to other problems.

So I started rewriting. I have a dynamite opening scene where we see Hardisty's bike crash, instead of being told that it was something that happened. I tweaked the father daughter scene, and set the stage for some other stuff. I know that I had to break up what used to be the opening scene.

And there I sat, stirring, and poking a bit. Knowing I need to make another pass going through, but I was kind of stuck. I didn't have as much time to dive in, but I was missing some ideas of what happened during the longer time span of the book. Getting the timeline software really helped sort out ages and event sequences, at least the main ones.

But there's a lot of time to cover now, which gives time for the medical world to get it's shit together and produce the results that got discussed in the first draft. The problem is that this is an interesting bunch of people. Nobody is going to believe that a whole year or more would go by without something interesting happening.

The other day I dreamed about going back to the plant I used to work in. It was to work, I'd been called in. Even though I hadn't been there for years, I was still in a senior role, going and doing the routine. The twist was that there was a social event of some kind happening so there were all kinds of people there. Some that I know in real life. Two of my major characters, Ceridwen and Ronnie showed up socially. Even though they work there, they weren't on shift. I didn't get a chance to talk to them, but no doubt it was them.

That got me to thinking. Maybe I should invite my characters to a conference and ask them about the two books they are in. So tonight I sat outside on a nice evening with some wine and talked to them. There was a bit of a break for some stretching, but in less than 3 hours I pounded out more than 3000 words of conversation between all the characters and me. I learned a few things I hadn't realized. They've given me some great ideas for reorganizing the material. They've promised to chat some more, and pass along any other ideas they figure out.

I expect interesting dreams tonight. I'll be sure to put a notepad and pen beside the bed.

Sunday, May 11, 2014

The Brutal Backyard Crossfit ordeal

But first, a bunch of you missed yesterday, with one of the best shots ever of Curtis. Just so you know, I'm already working on a glass of wine after a really good shower that I needed really badly.

Let's start with this. Any ideas what it is? It used to be stacked under the back overhang, and in the next photo, it's neatly piled in the garage. There are 83 pieces. It's day will come soon.

All that glass weighs a lot. Probably about 500 pounds worth. Pulling it out from the overhang meant being down on my hands and knees to pull it out carefully, then pick it up and carry it to the garage. The small pieces are no problem, being only a few inches long. But the biggest piece is about 4 feet long, and needs careful carrying. I didn't cut myself. I know that makes some of you happy.

Some of you may remember those big bumps of snow in the back yard. Those were a pair of big round composters that didn't work very well, at least for us. I moved them out to the front yard beside the street, and made up my own little sign.

I was just taping the sign to the metal supports when a woman driving a mini-van hung a U-ie. "Are those composters, and are they really free?" Upon being assured they were, she loaded one into the van, and asked me to hold the other for a few minutes. She lives behind the 7-11 and was back in less than 5 minutes. A few minutes later a guy in a big truck stopped to ask what was free. I hadn't even had a chance to take the sign down. As the next batch of stuff comes up, you can bet my lucky sign will make another appearance. People love free stuff almost as much as I like it out of my face.

Here's the pile of garbage the landscaping crew will take away. We aren't going to miss any of it, or the back yard such as it is. I think our neighbors are going to be happy too.

Meanwhile, the day started early, before the dew was off the grass even. Pulling apart the composters. Emptying the one that does work that we want to keep. Wheeling dirt up to the front to top up the flower boxes that Linda was working on. She planted 80 lilies! Transplanted 2 Climatus plants that had taken over the back fence. Generally did some flower box spring clean up. Check out the great posture!

Some of the sidewalk slabs between us and our neighbor have sunk quite a bit over the years, so I was using up some of the gravel left from something else to build them up. We will have to see what happens when the crew gets in there working on the fence. Perhaps we will spring for a few extra $ to have them pick them all up, add more gravel, put them back, and top up with some more of the crushed brick that is already there.

Once upon quite a while ago now I built up the back steps with some black slate. I should have robbed a bank or committed some nefarious crime, since I'd worn off my fingerprints entirely. The pile of stone is held down by the top rock. It weighs a little over 500 pounds. Every spring I walk on it a bit and see what the winter has done. Usually I have to wedge a few stone slivers here and there, or kick a few rocks in. It doesn't move much. Except when the guy installed the stone tile they had to move things a little bit to get the room they needed. I really need to spend part of a day on that to put things back in and rebuild it, but didn't get the time. Stupid snow.

Some of my buddies went for a run today, and good for them. I'd sort of been thinking about doing that to warm up, then yard work. A bit of a systems check soon fixed that delusional line of thinking. I was still creaky from the work yesterday. The snow last weekend used up all our extra time, and the yard work HAD to happen to be ready for the crew.

A run is optional. At this point I've decided that the half marathon is strictly a training run, and that a full marathon in October is my A race. That gives me all summer to train. Which I'll need. In between glasses of wine in the new backyard, which will be so awesome that we expect many guests wanting to check it out and slurp some of my wine. As long as they bring food...

Let's finish off with another Curtis shot.

I scarcely know where to begin

So much stuff! I mean that in several ways. Even though I haven't blogged in several days, there is a ton of stuff to write about. Plus there is less stuff in the house, though still lots more. Rest assured, it won't all be here, today.

But first, let's open with a photo of Curtis. He's being exceptionally cute the last little while. This is just after kicking the laptop out of my lap and taking over, but still a bit grumpy because I'm paying attention it it.

There was a community centre recycling thing happening so we decided to start weeding out some stuff. In addition to an old futon mattress, all this is out of the house now.

I'm trying to be ruthless, I really am. Some of the old clothing should have been pruned long since. But some things pull at me a bit. One of my favourite T shirts was badly frayed around the collar and had holes in it. Even for wearing around the house to do messy jobs I have better T shirts to wear. Plus lots of things for rags already.

Most of the stuff has a story. But good golly, there's just so MUCH of it. I have pack rat tendencies, I know this, but I really have been trying to clean out. In my copious free time.

During a few minutes of that free time the other day, I managed to get a photo of a building that is probably nearly 100 years old. Plus one that is 30 years old. Is it live, or is it Memorex? I'm guessing you can probably tell which is which, but can you see why we are pleased with our choice of siding?

I've been Leibstered again (thanks Terry!) but I'll get there later, not today.
There is much back yard news and photos, but I'll get there later, not today.
Running news, but I'll get there later, not today.
Now there is #coffeechat.

Thursday, May 8, 2014

The first home run ever in my life

The deluded among you think I'm talking about baseball. The optimistic think I'm talking about sex. How nice for you both.

This was better. I met up with my buddy Michelle and we ran home from her work, which is a few blocks from mine. Aside from waiting for a few lights, and a horrific photo op, it was a pretty steady 7:30 per K pace while running. Very conversational. It's a great way to relax after work.

It turns out to be 13 K to get within a few hundred m of home, then I walked to cool down. It was a perfect day to run, warm and sunny with a bit of a breeze, but not too hot or too windy. We felt really smug as we crossed over Glenmore to look at all the traffic stacked up.

I've had 3 tries now running home from work and finally made it. Yay me! The first try was last year going down the Elbow pathway. I made it to South Glenmore park and Linda had to come get me. Last week I made it to Michelle's house and she had to give me a ride home. (Thank you again!) Tonight I made it all the way home under my own steam. Third time lucky and all.

Last week my hips were killing me near the end of the run. Today it was more solid tiredness down at the bottom of my thighs and knees, but everything kept on working. Starting after waiting for the lights was a bit tough.

Long stretch session, and I'm writing this with the laptop sitting on a wine bag full of cold water. It feels very nice. The hardest part was to go from standing there looking at my mat, to lying down on it. Then standing again. Both took some thought. Which is probably a good thing in the long run. In a few years I'll probably need to do that as a routine thing.

So what do you want first? The photos or the map? Here is me lurching along like Quasimodo or something. I'm not actually running at pace, but you could be forgiven for thinking I was just standing there. And the other, drink in hand, leaning to one side, turning around to see if the photos were over. The others are worse. Trust me. It's the subject, not the photographer. I really must do something about that gut when people are there with a camera.

Here's the pace graph and map, with the beginning cut off deliberately. The big peaks of the graph are called 17 Ave, 90 Ave, Southland Drive, Braeside Drive, and Anderson Road. This year is really the first time I've ever been able to run at a steady pace. My long time fans, if they remember, know I'm all over the place.

Race day is getting ever closer. I was hoping to sneak in an 18 K run before the race, but it would have to happen this weekend, and it's looking like another weekend of crap weather. Maybe I'll suck it up and go anyway. Or I'll get done what needs to be done in the back yard. A man has to do what he has to do.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

My groins are inferior

Lovely yoga class tonight from our wonderful teacher FF. I've been paying a lot of attention to my legs lately. Stretching. Strengthening. Rolling. Running. So it was the oddest experience to be in Mountain Pose, and suddenly be really aware of my legs. I think I could have stood there quite happily for much longer, feeling the interplay of the muscles as they settled down.

Later on in the class we were in a hamstring stretch and I could tell the left ham is way, WAY tighter than the right, but the right quads and ITB are the tight ones. Let's not even talk about my low back, which I think is the real root of the problem. I'm seriously thinking of going back for more of the IMS.

The rest of the class was a nice flow of poses that I really enjoyed, and seemed to do me good. Part way through I was trying to have quiet hysterics as she talked about the groin stretch that was happening. She was talking about feeling what our bodies were capable of and honoring that. We shouldn't be saying to ourselves "our groins are inferior" because someone else can do the stretch better or deeper or whatever. There is no someone else in yoga practice. There is just us. I knew instantly what the blog title would be tonight. For the record, my groins are better than they once were, and not as good as they've been.

It used to be I hated tree pose. But now it's relaxing and enjoyable. I could have done that much longer tonight as well. Somehow, when I'm downstairs doing stuff, I forget some of these great poses. I should make a list and post it near my mat downstairs.

Scurrying around getting ready to run after work tomorrow. It should be nice. Can't waste it. The weekend is supposed to be crappy rainy weather again. At least it's not calling for snow. Our backyard work may be delayed more.

Do you balance your running with yoga? What are your best and least liked poses?

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

The flurry and the sun

I am looking out at some blue sky right now! Excitement is ours! After nearly constant rain or snow since Friday morning, most Calgarians are going a little stir crazy.  This is why I could never live in Vancouver. It doesn't have to be warm for me, but it does have to be sunny. I'm a little crazy that if I'd waited a couple hours I could have run in shorts.

But I didn't. I went out right after work into a flurry. Not a huge one; I could still see where I was going. But a flurry none the less. My legs were not especially eager. My right quad has been complaining a bit, so I promised we'd start, and if they seriously complained, I'd stop.

There was an interesting thing I discovered while limbering up. If I stand on my right leg with my weight on the ball of my foot, it hurts my knee fairly soon as I bend it. However, if I shift my weight towards my heel, it bends a lot further. Any ideas why?

Back to the run. It felt really clunky for quite a while, then settled down to a very nice run. Even though I've lived here for a long time, there are still streets quite close to here that I've never been on. We have all kinds of little pathways connecting little parks and letting people escape cup-de-sacs. Well, sometimes. Its still easy to find a dead end. Like behind our house.

It ended up being 6K, just under 42 minutes. Once I got going my legs were happy to run, and they pushed my lungs a little bit. I guess you could say this was almost a tempo run.

Last night I watched a bit of 'Yes, Prime Minister'. In the first place it looks great on the new TV, much better than I had expected, given the primitive equipment back in the day, nearly 30 years ago. In the second, it's just as funny as ever. The political situations are dated, of course, but the wit and the eloquence live on. Watching the actors play off one another is a total joy. So much better than the current diet of car chases and fart jokes that pass for entertainment now.

Whoops, another episode of spring is over with. The blue sky is gone, and it's snowing again. The lawn is much less green than it was a few minutes ago. Tomorrow is supposed to be nice, at last. They say. Not that I believe weather forecasts. Do you?

Monday, May 5, 2014

Do you . . . roller?

The snow is mostly gone. Oh, there's still lots of white around, but at least it's not several inches deep anymore. Wednesday they say will be nice. Our backyard landscaper is already worried about being a couple days behind, and the season has hardly started. They're still working on remediation projects from last year's flooding.

Trying to write instead of working in the back yard was interesting. Earlier you saw how Celina tried to 'help'. Well, yesterday I had supervision. Mega-supervision. Curtis loves this posed. He reminds me of a 50's era punk, with the pack of cigarettes rolled into a T shirt sleeve, driving with his arm out the window hanging onto the roof.

And I was distracted by cat antics. I suppose someone that knows the camera quality specs for an iPhone 4 could figure out how fast the paws have to be moving to blur the photo like these.

Then later they ganged up on me. No room for a laptop in that lap.

Still, it wasn't a total loss. Some actual writing got done, 850 words. Most drivel as I write myself into the scene, but that's ok. If I didn't write some drivel there'd be nothing to edit later, and we can't have that, can we?

The Saturday run felt really good. Then Sunday I was sitting most of the day, and I could feel it in my low back a bit. Then swimming on Monday, and I could feel the tug in my low back during flip turns. Water ran with Katie for 20 minutes, then 20 minute swim. She is such a champ. Most people would be prostrate if they were feeling that bad, but there she was, churning away hard at the training. Then sitting in my chair at work. So first thing when I got home I marched downstairs and did some stretching, and feel much better.

I started rolling The Stick lightly on the inside of my thigh starting at the knee and rolling up and down. My whole quad started to tingle, all over, all at once. Generally I start with light rolling up and down fairly quickly, then gradually slow down and start putting some effort into the sore spots. The ball and the drier ball thingie for my feet. I find I don't use the big foam roller much anymore, other than to support my knee when using The Stick on my legs. Oh, I use it to support my hips for feet in the air. I don't have a wall, so this is the best I can do. I should do some core stuff too, but supper was calling.

I've seen pictures of a big orange roller with whacking great huge spikes on it. Does that work? What rolling do you do, and using which tools? How long for each muscle? Stretch before or after the rolling? Tell me all about it!