Richard Nelson

Is sadness the new normal?

In Uncategorized on 2020 March 22 Sunday at 11:53:31

cloudoncomputerI tend toward the dark, but I do find I’m grieving—tho’ for what I’m not sure.

Tho’ I’m actually working, and have both the obligation and opportunity to charge 37½ hours a week I find it’s easy to lose much of the day. I hang on to the accomplishments of the day.

Today? I finally, ahem, cleaned my home office of lots of grit (from the nearby expressway and I’m sure our clomping around, tho’ we don’t wear our outdoor shoes past the hallway) and vast clouds of easily airborne cat hair, that gather in great clumps around every obstacle.

After five years I’ve decided that all my cords will lie on my desk, behind my monitor, so they don’t accumulate the cat hair.

One thing that’s odd is that even in the gloomy light from the hallway light my room looks cleaner. It’s not like it has shiny surfaces. Odd.

(The layout is the same as in the pic above, but so far today free of a cat.)

Short run outside yesterday, ~4 km. It was sunny but cool. A few folks on the trails, only one running. I’ll sort of be ok if we get a Spanish- or Italian-type shutdown. I have a trainer in the basement and we have a couple of thousand square feet to spread out in. But I do want to hang on to these runs.

run 200321

Thursday, February 27, 2020

In Uncategorized on 2020 February 27 Thursday at 13:51:36

A cold, snowy, blowy day. As I ramp up my training, 19½ weeks from Ironman 70.3 Muskoka, I feel tired. I got up, as usual, at 5 a.m., had my coffee—and looked outside. 4 to 6 inches of snow on the ground, the sidewalks not yet plowed.

In the old days I’d’ve headed out. But today, well, no. It would’ve been a bad run and proved nothing. Tomorrow I’ll have time. Hold me to it!

The big thing on my mind is that my back hurts, for the first time since I started strength training in September. It’s a bit self-stoking: because my back is bad I don’t want to move to do e.g. sloppy push-ups; but because I don’t do e.g. sloppy push-ups my back stays bad.

Does training for an Ironman relieve the tedium of office life?

In Uncategorized on 2017 March 26 Sunday at 19:09:11

In compliance with Betteridge’s Law, my answer is No—but I rather think that Olga Khazan’s may be Yes. The brief blog post I linked to is based on this study in the Journal of Consumer Research; I particularly like its abstract’s last sentence:

In a context of decreased physicality, market operators play a major role in selling pain to the saturated selves of knowledge workers, who use pain as a way to simultaneously escape reflexivity and craft their life narrative.


As a cognitarian (a word I learned through this article), am I seeking some kind of opium-of-the-masses escape through training, first for half-marathons, then marathons, and now Ironman? I.e., am I seeking pain to validate myself, give myself a “life narrative” better than just being an itinerant project manager for a Toronto consulting firm no one’s heard of?

I’ll admit to just a creeping feeling that maybe I am. But no.

I always say it’s about the training; the event is just the lens through which you focus your training. I, personally, love the solitude of long-distance training. I don’t like my events to hurt. The one Ironman I finished was the hardest physical thing I ever did; but I wouldn’t say I was ever in “pain”—and that’s fine with me!

I love my work. I love working with a computer as my tool. I love meetings (well, most meetings).

I just also love training. It’s a different part of me.

I love reading, too, but that’s not a “relief” from my workaday world; it’s just different.

So not this cognitarian.