Richard Nelson

Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

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.


Do you think this’ll work?

In Uncategorized on 2016 October 19 Wednesday at 11:54:11


Carrie Cheadle writes:

Sometimes the thing that keeps you from being in the present moment is your running list of other things you could be doing while you’re training or at practice. Before your next practice, try writing down all of the things on your mind in that moment that are keeping you from being 100% mentally present. Write down anything and everything on your mind on a 3×5 card, a little notebook, etc. As you’re writing, imagine as if the weight of those concerns and tasks is actually being transferred to that piece of paper; as if that notebook or 3×5 card is literally holding onto it for you so you don’t have to carry it with you into practice. Know that it’s being held safe and then give yourself permission to just go be absorbed in practice.

I have huge problems getting out there. So many things I could be doing instead. So: I shall try this, and report back.

Advice on meditation from, um, Upworthy

In Uncategorized on 2016 September 8 Thursday at 13:21:33


What’s the opposite of clickbait? Someone shared this article with me on Facebook, and I actually agree with it. The Upworthyish writing style doesn’t seem appropriate, but the points are good.

I sort of discovered these “mindful pauses” for myself: standing on the train; sitting at my desk wondering what to do next; lying in bed at 2 a.m.

But, as Krop says, “[t]he hardest part isn’t actually completing the mindful pause itself; it’s remembering to do it in the first place.” He’s the expert, but I wonder if linking these pauses to specific moments in the day is actually a good idea.

Meditation, labelling, paying attention, not being bored …

In Uncategorized on 2016 September 4 Sunday at 18:36:24

Just read another at-least-half-decent article on meditating: “Neuroscience of Meditation: How to Make Your Mind Awesome”, by Eric Barker. Over the last few years I’ve tried to meditate, but I always forget to do it today, now, soon. It gets put off, and then not done.

The most important thing, to me, tho’, has been paying attention: instead of being bored, or having my mind (“Lefty”, in Barker’s word) bring me down with “monkey thoughts”, it’s just been to observe, to note, to absorb. If I do that—waiting for a bus, on the bus, wondering what to do next—then I feel lighter, readier, more decisive.

So, slowly, ever so slowly, well into my sixties now, maybe I’m figuring it out. Or part of it.

Is Angry Meniscus reforming?

In Uncategorized on 2016 May 16 Monday at 14:26:24

On Thursday, May 5, I “irritated” my right medial meniscus, the crescent-shaped pillow of cartilage that separates the femur and tibia when I do most anything with, but especially twist, my right knee. My joke since then is that I don’t have an irritated meniscus—I have an Angry Meniscus. With eight weeks to my next race, I really can’t afford not to work out for eleven days.

But I remain optimistic. Yesterday I travelled from Toronto to Denver. One of the funny things about air travel is how much walking is involved: almost five thousand steps yesterday. I skipped the slidewalks at the Denver airport, and walked the ¾ of a mile from Union Station to my hotel.

My knee felt fine.

This morning, not so much. I had to hobble to my first client meeting; but now, midday, it does seem better. So I remain cautiously optimistic!

Was the scary Biggest Loser story wrong?

In diet, Uncategorized on 2016 May 11 Wednesday at 14:27:05

Vox has an interesting rebuttal of the Biggest Loser story that no doubt you’ve seen on your timeline, to wit, that it’s no use! You’ll gain all that weight back!

As someone who’s ’way fitter than the typical 62-year-old, training for two long-distance triathlons this year (albeit “just to finish”!) but who struggles with being ’way too fat, the Biggest Loser study was daunting. But: Dr Freedhoff has both an interesting approach—basically, do what works—and an interesting metaphor: we don’t stop running because we can’t qualify for Boston; so why stop managing the nutritional side of our life just because we can’t be skinny?

Let me know what you think.

Strengths without qualifiers: I’ll try. Don’t mock me!

In psychology, Uncategorized on 2016 May 11 Wednesday at 14:18:33

Carrie Cheadle asks us to state five of our strengths without qualifying them. My list of, um, six:

  1. intelligent
  2. observant
  3. personable
  4. healthy
  5. considerate
  6. eager

I think I may be “personable” because I’m “considerate”, but I’ll let it stand.

Spiders are your friends.

In Uncategorized on 2016 May 11 Wednesday at 12:29:22

“The Spider Technique” at

11 weeks to half-Ironman …

In Uncategorized on 2016 April 15 Friday at 09:06:13

… and I’m feeling down.

And when I’m feeling down it’s hard to get up for a work-out. After Monday’s long ride (playing hookey from work): nothing. Today we drive to visit our daughter and granddaughter in Ottawa. I’m hauling twice as much sport stuff as non-sport stuff, just to be prepared for whatever Ottawa throws at us—tho’ the promised weather is excellent. A “long” run while Mona gets some one-on-one time with Zoya; and a “long” ride after we take our leave.

We did find accommodation for the half-Ironman. The reason I’ve never considered Muskoka before is that accommodation is expensive and hard to get. The race hotel was going to cost us 704 CAD—plus every single meal. We decided to burn some of my Marriott Rewards points and stay 64 km away in a Residence Inn where we can cook our own meals.

Sail on over to Q Ships!

In Uncategorized on 2016 February 29 Monday at 14:57:13

q ship schema

Henceforth this blog, such as it is, will focus on my thoughts and experiences training toward Ironman 70.3 Muskoka and Ironman Wisconsin. Everything else you can find at my other blog, Q Ships! There’s nothing there other than the welcome post, but I have some things queued up.