Richard Nelson

Archive for November, 2007|Monthly archive page

Oxymoron of the day

In Uncategorized on 2007 November 18 Sunday at 11:06:00

The National Geographic Society has Explorers-in-Residence.

Along the same lines, I was driving to LAX Friday through Gardena, and saw a sign on an industrial building:

M.B.A. – Chinese Medicine – Theology

That got a smile for the odd combination. It will perhaps not surprise you that Life University is not accredited. (It’s worth clicking the link to see the weird and ungrammatical mission statement.)


Canadian capitals

In travel on 2007 November 15 Thursday at 21:52:00

It’s rather sad, but posting the entry below made me realize how little travelled I am in the country of which I’m a proud citizen. Of Canada’s fourteen capitals, I’ve had contact with only half!

Run in:

Canada: Ottawa
Alberta: Edmonton
Ontario: Toronto
Prince Edward Island: Charlottetown

Slept, but not run, in:

New Brunswick: Fredericton


Manitoba: Winnipeg (very fleetingly)
Nova Scotia: Halifax

No contact:

British Columbia: Victoria
Newfoundland & Labrador: St John’s
Northwest Territories: Yellowknife
Nunavut: Iqaluit
Québec: Québec
Saskatchewan: Regina
Yukon: Whitehorse

Running in Sacramento: almonds, deer, cyclists, and thugs; state capitals

In travel on 2007 November 15 Thursday at 21:21:00

I was in Sacramento, California (pictured), for about 15 hours, but managed to get in a 1¾-hour run. Because of a conference call whose time made sense to people in the Eastern Time Zone, I got out just at civil twilight Tuesday morning—about 6:15 a.m. local time.

I had asked members of the Dead Runners Society about running in Sacramento. Although the listmembers had suggested I run to the Capitol and then to the American River, a map one of them pointed me to showed a direct route from my hotel at G and 16th streets to a bridge across the American to the American River Parkway (below).

This route took me past Blue Diamond® Growers’ plant (warehouse? packing plant?). The point is that monado loves Blue Diamond almonds, so I got to see whence they come. Rather disappointingly, there was no scent of nuts in the air.

Just across the bridge I saw ahead of me what I thought was a Very Big Dog. Watch out, I told myself—then I realized it was a deer! An urban runner like me doesn’t see a lot of deer, so that was kind of cool.

Otherwise the only wild life I saw on the trail was some noisy birds I couldn’t recognize (magpies?), some mallards, and lots and lots of cyclists. I only saw four other runners (three in one pack) in nearly two hours, but lots of two-wheelers, including lots twice. Most responded to my good-mornings.

On the way back along 16th Street, now in daylight, I passed under some railroad tracks through a narrow foot tunnel that stank of urine. When I’d run out I’d thought it might be a bit scary, and I got the proof when I came back. Three tough-looking guys were hanging around at the entrance. Following the Manly (but Perhaps Stupid) Code, I didn’t show fear but kept jogging. At first they were friendly—“Hey, make way for the runner!”—but then they started demanding what was in my FuelBelt bottles, and wanting some water. They actually ran after me. I kept jogging as if I didn’t care, and nothing happened—I suspect even my slow pace is more than they can maintain for a hundred yards. But I saw my heart rate had jumped up 30 beats!

My meeting later that morning was across the street from the Capitol, and I realized I’d added another U.S. capital to my list. Well, I hadn’t been keeping a list, so I’ve now compiled one, and here it is:

Run in:

Washington, D.C.
Sacramento, California
Boston, Massachusetts
Saint Paul, Minnesota
Madison, Wisconsin

Slept, but not run, in:

Denver, Colorado
Atlanta, Georgia
Topeka, Kansas

Driven through, or stopped at:

Boise, Idaho
Annapolis, Maryland
Lincoln, Nebraska
Albany, New York
Raleigh, North Carolina*
Montpelier, Vermont

* We did run, and sleep, in Chapel Hill, which could be counted as a suburb of Raleigh.

The new era dawns

In running, training on 2007 November 4 Sunday at 23:35:00

On Friday I “[r]ather grandly … set Saturday, November 3, as the beginning of a new … era.”

So how have I done?

Saturday, Coach Steve set me a simple work-out: “Run 90″ base pace with 3 x 15″ tempo HR 155 (5″ easy base pace jog RI)”. My plan was to have breakfast and coffee, and get out around 7 a.m., running up the Don River and Massey Creek, probably to the Woodbine Bridge, and back. That would have me back at the house about 8:30, well before M. and our visiting granddaughter would rise.

Well, big surprise, it didn’t happen. Once again, I was tempted to cuddle, and that’s what I did–for two hours! It’s fair to say that this restful, quiet cuddling is among the great pleasures of my life—but it’s unlikely to get me under the finishing banner at Monona Terrace before midnight on Sunday, September 7, 2008.

By the time I roused myself I wasn’t going to be able to get out and back by 10:30 a.m., our projected departure time for the Royal Agricultural Winter Fair, so I decided to run after we got home—or perhaps even from the fair.

Of course, things didn’t work out. Rather than showing up at the fair at 11 a.m., we were there after 1 p.m. Then we walked around for almost four hours. In due course, I got back to our van, changed, and, indeed ran home via the Goodman and Don trails; it was a nice run. Actually the only thing I did wrong was running after I’d spent more than four hours on my feet. Why hadn’t I run to the fair?

This morning went better: I got a little mixed up about the switch from Daylight to Standard time. I knew about it, but didn’t do the time arithmetic properly. I slept in, but I did get out a bit after 8 a.m. for a three-hour ride.

I also picked the wrong route. About 1 h 20 min in I ran myself up against the Rouge River. I could’ve humped my bike up the slippery stairs on the left bank, but decided against it. Instead, I biked home against the westerly breeze.

I only suffered for about 15 seconds, maybe 30, as I ascended Bethune Boulevard. (This is the same route as I blogged last year; and I always wonder about the name of the street!) The hill doesn’t seem that steep, but I briefly considered clicking out! But I persevered.

At home I had just enough time to inhale a p.b.&j. and a mug of coffee before we drove to swimming, where Coach Kelvin worked on my technique. And I think we had a breakthrough! More on that perhaps later.

All in all, the new era dawned messily, but so far so good. The key point: I did the work-outs, and they were good work-outs.

Tomorrow: some routine blood tests, but I can’t eat for 12 hours beforehand. I’ll swim at lunchtime, and then run home.

The dawn of a new era (well, let’s hope)

In training on 2007 November 2 Friday at 15:41:00

Rather grandly, let’s set Saturday, November 3, as the beginning of a new Ironman era.

I have not worked out since the previous Saturday. Tiredness permeates me like mist. I had almost eight hours dreamless sleep last night—and still fell back asleep when I (big mistake!) snuggled up with M. after I’d brought her breakfast.

Is it a matter of working harder or of working smarter? And if the latter, what am I, Mr IQ Supposedly 169, doing wrong?

It makes me think (despite my disappointment with sport psychology books) that maybe I should dust off my Toughness Training books. Or look hard at what slows me down in the morning—I rather suspect that’s the key.

This all reminds me of an article I read years ago about a fellow who kept losing jobs because he was always late. He’d spent years in various therapies trying to establish the whys of this behaviour; in the end, he found a therapist who instead focused on the hows. They worked on how he could get up and get to work on time; and the problem, in due course, disappeared.

What are my hows?

I made an executive decision not to execute

In training on 2007 November 1 Thursday at 20:49:00

The last ten days or so have been tough. I’ve felt, well, crappy. I clearly had a cold that was floating around; but the cold seemed to dissipate, I worked out happily, and then I was just, well, crappy again. Since Sunday it seems that all I do is sleep. I, er, “worked from home” yesterday. I did, against the odds, get an important deliverable out the metaphorical door, but I also slept more than three hours, in three separate pieces, during the day. Just coming up stairs seemed to tire me out.

So before dawn Wednesday (yesterday) I made an executive decision: I would not work out the rest of the week. I’d recover, and then work out. Today I was even thinking of skipping the weekend.

But I had two conversations that have changed my mind. The first was with a doctor. He suggested that maybe I hadn’t had enough sleep, and he was right: I don’t sleep well when Mona’s out of town, and perhaps having a beer every night was not a good idea.

The second was with my coach. He said that, ahem, “older” athletes need a lot of sleep. And I generally find talking to Steve is kind of enlivening.

So I’ll still take today off; get a good night’s sleep tonight; and be out there at 7 a.m. for my swim class.

I find I’m looking forward to it. Let’s see how I feel at 5 a.m.!