Richard Nelson

Archive for April, 2006|Monthly archive page

The official Road of Iron calendar!

In Uncategorized on 2006 April 29 Saturday at 21:18:00

After Walt Mossberg’s glowing review of Google Calendar in Thursday’s Wall Street Journal, I checked it out. It is pretty cool.

I’ve created two calendars. One of these I intend to share with my SO & my daughter. The other, though, details my training and prospective races—ending with Ironman Wisconsin 2007!

You have to have, or create, a Google Calendar account—not hard. Just go to If you already have a Google account (e.g., for Gmail), you’re pretty much done.

Once you’ve opened Google Calendar, there’s a little box labelled Search public calendars. Just type “road +of iron” and press enter (remember the quote-marks and the plus-sign). My calendar should be the only one to show up. (Oddly, multisport returns only three calendars, of which Road of Iron is one.

As always, I’d appreciate comments!


Sick, or faking it?

In Uncategorized on 2006 April 29 Saturday at 20:53:00

Today was episode 8 of the Multisport Boot Camp. I felt awful all morning. Thursday I’d triggered my first full migraine in about 17 years (with, I suspect, some blue cheese at a cocktail reception). I’d nonetheless done my full swim work-out (a thousand yards, a nice round number, swallowing a lot of chlorinated, peed-in water in the process). Mona, driving home, picked me & my bike up; she said I looked pretty sick.

Friday I thought I was just feeling the after effects of the migraine (though I don’t remember ever having much in the way of after effects. It was an off-day, because Boot Camp was project to be the toughest yet, but I felt I could’ve worked out if it’d been scheduled.

This morning (Saturday) I woke up absurdly early (3:55 a.m.). Had a coffee. Didn’t feel very good: scratchy throat, mildly headachey, and a bit dizzy. But I don’t trust myself; I tend to be feel vaguely unwell when I don’t want to do something—like work out in a social setting!

So I drove to Boot Camp—first time in a long time. (It’s only six miles, and even last Saturday, when it was cold & raining, I biked.) And waited. I was early, half an hour later; Jeremy came right after; and we waited. Coach Lindsay was 15 minutes or so late—an accident on the 401.

We went into the dynamic warm-up, and on the fourth turn I knew it was a bad day. There was no snap in anything I did; I thought I was working; but there was nothing there. So I bailed, and drove home.

I was glad I went. I knew I wasn’t faking it. At the dry cleaners, Bill asked me why I wasn’t at boot camp, and then didn’t wait for me to finish my answer: “You look sick.”

I was wondering why it always seemed I was sick on weekends. Mona pointed out that if I was sick on a weekday I’d still go into work. After all, I can have a useful day even if I don’t have a lot of energy—I can answer the ’phone, write e-mails, file. But weekends are when I’m physical, whether it’s working out or just chores, so I notice the lack of energy I get when I’m fighting off a virus.

I think the world of multisport will do without me for this weekend.

Andie’s “equipment”

In Uncategorized on 2006 April 26 Wednesday at 12:01:00

This is my stepgranddaughter, Andie, age 9¾, wearing the cap and goggles that Coach Kelvin bought her at my behest. Andie is very proud of what she calls her “equipment”.

Andie lives with her other grandparents, in Hamilton, Ontario. During her March break this year, Andie was with us.

Andie likes being active, and often cajoles us to go swimming. During the break I had three swimming lessons scheduled, and she came to all three. At first, Kelvin was worried she’d be a distraction, but she wasn’t. She did lengths! She dropped rings to the bottom of the pool and fetched them. She would swim over and under the lane ropes. She liked showing off to me—she is a natural, athletic swimmer—and I’m sure she enjoyed sharing a full-sized community pool with just one other swimmer, me.

This picture was taken by her grandmother, Mona, at either the East York Community Centre (where the three of us went for a final swim at the end of March break) or the John Innes Community Recreation Centre, where I work with Coach Kelvin.

In Uncategorized on 2006 April 26 Wednesday at 00:49:00

This is me at the World Track Cycling Championships at the ADT Event Center in Carson, California, on March 27, 2005. Not a great picture, but tolerable given that I got some guy sitting beside me to take it!

No run tonight!

In Uncategorized on 2006 April 20 Thursday at 02:28:00

The image is of “Lancaster Limping Home” by Ray Chapman, rather appropriate to a day where my possible return to running was ruined by aviation.

As I waited for my bags at the Toronto airport I stretched out a bit after almost six hours sitting on the plane from Los Angeles—and tweaked my knee! I got home and decided the wisest course was marking this as an off day.

After that sixty-year-old aircraft above, I’ll end this post with an image of the aircraft I flew in today, one of American Airlines’ Boeing 737-800s.

Darkness falls on Carson

In Uncategorized on 2006 April 20 Thursday at 02:06:00

The Civic Plaza in Carson, California, comprises four large buildings: the Carson City Hall, which is off to the lower left, mostly out of the picture; the Carson Civic Center, the very large building in the middle; 1 Civic Plaza Drive, the office building at upper right, where my client is lodged; and the Doubletree Carson Hotel, at lower right); and a sea of parking. At night, everything is bathed in light, an arc-yellow light as bright as day. In the hotel you have to draw the heavy curtains as tightly as you can; otherwise your room is brightly lit.

Tuesday morning, just after midnight I awoke to darkness. The clock-radio wasn’t as bright as I remembered it; I turned it, and found it was off. I tried the light: nothing. There was no power. There was no bright yellow stripe by the curtains. I opened them: in the distance the Civic Center’s lamps were light. But the sea (of parking) was dark.

I used my Mag-lite to do what I needed to do. And then I slept. The unusual, and welcome, dark was gone when I awoke before dawn. When I went out for coffee, the night clerk didn’t know what had happened.

V for …

In Uncategorized on 2006 April 20 Thursday at 02:02:00

The Doubletree Carson Hotel (shown here) is shaped like a V. the base of the V is where you’ll find the main entrance, and the elevators. The stairways are at the ends of the V’s arms. As in many hotels these days, the stairways are one-way: once you’re in them, your only exit is outside at ground level. That means that if you want to go up stairs you have no choice but to take the elevator.

I was on the 4th floor, and therefore only thirty feet above grade. With my newly loosened knees, I’d’ve loved to have taken the stairs—but there were none to be taken.

Many of our public buildings, our hotels, our office buildings are built so that you can’t be active, even if you want to be. At the Doubletree Carson a grand staircase between the elevators would have been attractive—and useful.


In Uncategorized on 2006 April 19 Wednesday at 15:34:00

I did it! I conquered my queasiness about swimming by myself, and trotted to the hotel pool (illustrated here). After a long day of client meetings, I was beat. Body time was 7:30 p.m., and I could have blown off anything, but I went anyway.

Was only in the pool for a little less than half an hour. It was as warm as a bath, and had lots of leaves and other plant bits. (You can see in the pic that it’s surrounded by trees!

Anyway, did lengths on my back, working on my kick, and in skate position, working on my body position. Tried some front crawl, but I do twist my whole body to get a breath, so I need to work on that.

My only companion was an old guy—whoops, he was about my age!—in an orange watch cap and old fleece shorts. He swam in the shorts. Eww.

I got back to the room, and changed to run—and realized I’d forgotten my running things. Maybe just as well. Is my knee ready? We’ll see tonight. Yes, I’ve resolved that when I get home from the airport, I’m going to run the half-mile to Broadview Avenue, and then the half-mile back. I can’t wait.

(Written in the LAX Admirals Club. I’m coming home!)


In Uncategorized on 2006 April 18 Tuesday at 16:04:00

Once or twice a month I fly from Toronto to Los Angeles and (in due course) back again. And the day after my YYZ/LAX flight, I’m consistently, well, zonked. I know I should work out: swim, do some weight work in the hotel’s microscopic gym, or even run a mile or so. I have all my kit.

But I’m zonked.

Yesterday at 4 p.m. Pacific Time—only 7 p.m. in the Eastern Time Zone—I was already drooping. The partner-in-charge, also from Toronto, remained proverbially bushy-tailed and bright-eyed. All I wanted to do was sleep.

I gave into it, sort of, but made a mistake. I ordered a room-service tuna melt and fries (which, of course, I didn’t finish, but fatty comfort food, even in small quantities, is nice), and a beer (which I did finish), while I watched an On Command movie. I should’ve watched a comedy—The Wedding Crashers and The Forty-Year-Old Virgin were both on offer—but I ended up watching Flightplan, based pretty much on Roger Ebert’s review. (I actually preferred to see Transporter 2, but although it was being promoted it wasn’t on the menu.) I think a comedy would’ve been better. Flightplan is an intense, taut thriller whose only jarring notes come in the denouement (in my opinion; how does Gander, Newfoundland, become Goose Valley [presumably a confusion of Goose Bay–Happy Valley, Labrador, another waystation for long-distance flights] in mid-landing? And why is Gander/Goose Valley so well populated with FBI agents, with a single extra in an ill-fitting R.C.M.P. cap the only Canadian police official ever seen?), but it’s poor preparation for an early bedtime! I ended up staying awake until 9 p.m., and at 4 a.m. this morning I was still tired.

Nonetheless, the simple plan is: paddle about in the hotel’s outdoor pool this afternoon after my meetings (should be 24°C, plenty warm enough to be outdoors); may work out if the micro-gym has what I need; and go for a mile or so “probe run” (as my coach calls it), to see if my knee is ready to return to running.

Half way through boot camp!

In Uncategorized on 2006 April 15 Saturday at 16:07:00

And Coach Lindsay tried to kill us!

After 6 weeks, I finally decided I could do the sidesteppy thing in the dynamic warm-up, though I ended up getting lapped(!) as I tried not tangle up my feet.

After the dynamic warm-up, I paired up with Rahul and we tried to establish the most we weight we could handle. Rahul was pretty good at estimating: 70 lb on the dumbbell deadlift and just barely 110 lb on the bench press.

Me, it was funny. 50 lb on the deadlift. Ok. Let’s try 70 lb on the bench press; couldn’t even get the bar out of the hooks. 50 lb? Almost got it out of the hooks. Thirty? Could get it out of the hooks, but now I couldn’t press it! Finally, 20 lb. What’s with me; do I have chicken arms? (Ok, chickens don’t have arms, but you get the idea.) What’s up with that, I wonder.

Then the circuit: a minute of pull-ups, a minute of a variation of chin-ups where you’re more or less horizontal, a minute of one-leg deadlifts with 2×30-lb dumbbells, and a minute of CRAC squats with a 45-lb dumbbell. Hah!

Chin-ups: no way. I haven’t been able to do one chin-up since the first year of high school, forty years ago.

Pull-ups: a little better, but my arms gave out after just a few reps.

Deadlift: ok.

CRAC squat: hm, something hard but feasible. But the rough metal hurt my deskworkher hands. Note to self: bring weight gloves next Saturday!

And again, and again, and again, eventually shortening to 15-second intervals. Ok, that left me barely able to feel my left arm.

Then “some speed work”, what he calls AST, for Ærobic Speed Training: thirty seconds on the treadmill, where he made you work; thirty seconds “standing cycling up hill” on a stationary bike; thirty seconds of jump squats; thirty seconds each of two-foot, left-foot, and right-foot jumps.

I had to bail halfway through the jump squats as it triggers my benign positional vertigo, making the short jumps impossible too. Even the second round on the treadmill was dizzying now, once the BPV starts.

At the end of all this, I was quivering. My ride home on my road bike was kind of like an old man’s. And this nice day brought out a lot of bad drivers; nothing dangerous, just more annoying than usual.

(I will admit, though, that seeing some folks running, and the lack of pain in my left knee, is making me think wistfully of running.)

Next week, he claims, will be harder. Eek!

Now that I’m home, Andrea wants to do something, and I know I should volunteer to take her biking. But all I wanted after my peanut butter & banana sandwich and big cup of coffee: a lie-down!

Tomorrow—when we don’t have Andrea, unfortunately—I “have” to do 120 min of ærobic activity. I expect I’ll bike in the Port Area for most of that; but maybe I’ll jog a mile or so, just to see what happens—before I pack madly for L.A. And write my presentation!