Monday, October 15, 2012

Of Cats and Chaos

Four weeks into the quarter now and things are going pretty well. Two interesting classes: an American Government research class and an International Relations class using a Zombie theme. 

A little racing and took a little trip too . . . 

To Tempe for a Undergraduate Research Dialogue Day . . . here is my presentation.

Grey and cold when I left Seattle warm in the 90's when I arrived. Very pretty trip, including the crop circle we went over.


video

Cold and grey when I got back to Seattle too.

When did they start making beer cans look like soda cans?



Clearly I need to get out more.

So, where are the cats in all this?

Let me offer the following drink recipe:
The Cupertini
Fresh Lime Juice (one lime)
Jigger of Creme de Violette
Jigger of Gin
Selzer water
Ice
one iPhone 4
Hmm.

OK, how my phone end up stirring a cocktail, a Cupertini as M has dubbed it. Let's just say that it involved cats and chaos theory. 

M, our house sitter, told me that the cats had behaved themselves all weekend. Ke in particular was very mellow. No fights, nothing. Cool. Maybe he is shifting out of his ornery pattern? Two hours after M left Ke started bothering Mo, even after I fed them all. As a consequence Ke spent some time in the cooler (his carrying cage we have in the corner of the living room as a time out) but that did not diminish what he was doing. I had mixed myself a drink, Lime juice, gin, creme de violette, and sparkling water on the rocks, and had set it down on the little table next to the couch. Snappy Dragon had called to verify my address and I was just putting the phone down when Mo came running through with Ke hot on her tail. He had already hit her. He surprised me and I managed to drop my phone right in my drink. Pulled it right out but had to rescue Mo first before I could dry it off all the time hoping that it was going to be OK. it worked but pretty soon the liquid worked its way down the whole case and that was that. Occasionally the home button would fire the home screen and the silence button worked but that was it. Not quite bricked but just on the way to being drowned.

And, of course, it was out of warranty. Found that out the morning after. 

So I made a genius bar appointment for 10 am the next day and walked down there. Kind of an amazing line up at the Apple Store. People wanting to pick up their iPhone 5's I guess. The woman who checked me in said it would cost 149 to replace the phone and that was the best they could do if it was drowned. OK. Yep it was drowned. While waiting for the person who was going to help me I watched other people being helped. A four year old kid had head-butted an iPad. 259 to replace the unit. The dad said to the kid, you understand what that number means? Kid didn't. I kinda wish I could have that conversation with Ke too. Then there was woman who worked for a large urban school district which shall not be named who was working with her laptop. Not sure what she did but she seemed clueless. Not new to apple laptops either as she pointed out continually. The genius helping her was quite patient, good thing to see, and helped her with some of the accessories she brought. She did not, for instance, know the difference between audio in and audio out. Finally, my genius came and took the phone into the back. Had to open it up to get at the serial number as the connector was hosed and corroded. Suggested that I go up to the ATT store to get a new sim card too as the other one might have had a problem due to corrosion. I had to wait another 45 minutes for that store to open as well. Got a coffee at SBUX and sat outside for a bit. Similar line up at the ATT store too but I got helped right off and then walked home to get the phone set up from a back up.

Sigh.

But I am laughing. :-)

Monday, September 17, 2012

2:57:44

Black Diamond Olympic Tri.

WOW!!!

I mean WOW!!!!

A much better day that I thought. WOW!!

I am exhausted and tomorrow I go back to work but what a way to finish the summer AND I got to spend some time in Enumclaw, a place that I have driven through on the way to Rainier but never stopped in. 


 I had booked a room at the Park Center Hotel for the night before the race reasoning that it would make for an easier morning. The place is clean and relatively quiet and very reasonably priced. 

We got in about 4:30 or so and checked. PA, who was going to do the Olympic DU, wanted to go sit and read at SBUX so we found one a few blocks from the hotel AFTER walking around the downtown. Glad I got to see that before it is completely dead. There is some sort of bypass and all the action as it were is over by that road. That was where the SBUX was. Were I alone I would have chosen one of the smaller coffee houses there. 

Pretty soon we were hungry and ended up sitting at the bar at the Rainier Bar & Grill happily munching hamburgers, having a pint, and chatting with this guy who had completed his first half iron distance that day. He had already had 3 pints, a salmon salad, and ordered and started eating a veggie burger and fries. He was pretty funny. From PDX. A good runner but, as he put it, he sucked at everything else (was the last man out of the water apparently). He said that he was unlikely to do one of these again. 

Stopped at the Pie Goddess for a piece of pie, everyone was raving about this place and I needed more carbs so what the heck. The door was open but no one was there. Soon there was a line of a sorts before we found someone. I got a piece of apple walnut pie, the filling of which was most interesting. Not sure what she did but it was so smooth and creamy and tasty. Ate that back at the room. PA watched the USC-Stanford game and I read. 

By 9 I could barely keep my eyes open and called it quits around 9:30. Slept hard until 2 and then started waking up. The people in the room next to us popped the cork on a bottle of champagne at about 2:23 but were dead quiet by 3. I willed myself back to sleep and managed until 6:30. 

47 degrees when I woke up. Started debating what to wear after the swim. Stay with my wet sleeveless shirt or change into a short sleeved shirt that was dry? Opted to lay out the second shirt. 

Quick breakfast at the hotel and off we went to the park. PA dropped me off so I could go get my bike set up and went to find a place to park further down the road. I checked in and after getting body marked found a good position on the rack assigned to my number and just got ready. Don't know why but I kind of like this whole body marking thing. Race number on my left calf and my age on the right. 

"Please be at the beach by 8:30 for pre-race orientation talk" so I got my wetsuit on and went down to the beach. Small lake. I just emailed you a picture. The Olympic swimmers would be doing two laps around the read buoys before heading into the shore. Kind of ingenious actually as they were going to have three different types of races going on top of relays. 

I was feeling pretty stiff from the bed and wanted to get into the water to limber up a bit. So I did after hearing the first round of announcements and course descriptions. Turns out I went in too soon and spent fair amount of time cooling down in the water, getting out and standing on the shore was even cooler despite the sun. They had a chorus sing the national anthem and then the races started. I think my wave went off somewhere around 9:18 or 9:30 I don't know. We had to keep the red buoys on our right and I lined up on the right flank. This would take me closer to the buoy line without getting swum over in the general scrum. No men standing behind me, we went out in male and female waves. 

Off we went after the try-a-tri folks cleared their first turn at the green buoy on the left and the scrum wasn't bad. I made the right decision about where to be for once and was able to get into my rhythm very early on. There was some contact but nothing like at Chelan or in either of the OWS races I have done this summer. Water was green like Green Lake and I couldn't see much so I just swam and thought about the rest of the race. T1, bike, T2, and run. It was kind of nice to occupy my mind in this way as the time on the course went so fast. 28:55 as it turns out. 

Hit the the beach at the head of a bunch of other swimmers and was the first off the matt and up into the transition area. I've managed to conquer the wobblies that I had last year and can run solidly out of the water. Very nice feeling. 

T1 went pretty well. THIS time I had remembered to untie my riding shoes before hand and also pre-powdered them. Mucking around with socks was a pain in Chelan so I decided to just go barefoot. My feet and hands were pretty cold and that made getting my wetsuit off and tying shoes a bit of a challenge. 5:34

Run out to the bike felt fine and once things felt pretty good once I was out of the park and on the course proper. I started spinning up in my middle ring rather than jumping onto the big ring right away. My quads felt really cold and I just didn't feel like I was getting any spin or power. Couldn't really tell my cadence as my sensor had packed it in overnight, it was working yesterday. Just rode by feel and I was feeling awful. This was made all the more frustrating because it felt like I was only going about 12-14 mph and was getting passed by people on straight bar crossover bikes at this point. There was a fair amount of climbing in the first 30 minutes or so and I was thinking foul thoughts, eating and drinking, and all of a sudden whatever was holding my legs back seemed to let go and off I went. It helped that there was a series of downhills. 

There were two very strange out and backs on this course. The first had us going right off the main route and then climbing to a dead end. As I came through the turn, slowly as it was sharp and coned, one of the volunteers asked if I had a pump another rider could borrow. I stopped and started getting a cartridge out for the guy. He said he didn't know how to use it, thanked me, and said his wife would be along soon. I left. This attempt at kindness cost me 3-4 minutes I suppose. 

Going up this section I noticed a couple of people with flats and on the way down quite a few more. There were at least 5-6 people fixing flats. I wonder what it was they ran into. Later on people were talking about this. I suppose someone in the neighborhood was pissed off and put something down. One person I overheard said he pulled a thumb tack out of his tire. Lucky me. 

The rest of the bike was uneventful and kind of fast. I was out of the saddle a few times on some of the climbs which were mostly short and only sorta steep. Finished the ride between 18 and 25 mph before slowing down to get back into the park. Could not disengage my cleats at the bike dismount line. Managed to without toppling over but did wobble a bit. 


T2 went fine.  Double tying shoes and eating and drinking something. 3:24

Run was basically a strange looking lollipop course. There were some marginally steep hills but, again, they were not too long. I just ran. Not all out but fairly hard. Still it felt pretty strange. Did some passing and got passed but just kept going. Mile 6 was the best actually, also the slowest, because it was on the trail around the lake. This was hilly. The course markers had put white flour or something on all the biggest roots, a nice touch, but I was in my element really. Tired though, very tired. 

Passed a kid who said that I was less than 10 minutes away from the finish, ran for a couple of minutes, turned a corner, ran downhill and there was the finish. 

DONE! 



Got very hungry once I stopped so I had a bit of a snack, found PA, and packed up my stuff. We rode to the car and then headed home stopping in Maple Valley for lunch. Taco Time. The cleanest and friendliest Taco Time I've ever seen and also with healthy food. This is my second time eating at a TT since I moved here in 1997. The first time I was not at all impressed. This time, much better. 

A very nice way to finish out the summer but now I have to think of what is next. 

Monday, September 10, 2012

Flipping that Zombie Switch


Fifteen days remain in the summer and last week that switch in my head flipped from vacation/summer-mode back to "work mode." I am not really sure how I feel about that given how rejuvenating the past three months have been.

This morning I've been thinking an awful lot about Zombies.

My Fall section of International Relations will revolve around a Zombie Apocalypse theme.

Thanks for this (or blame really) goes to Doug Van Belle and Daniel Drezner who have done some fun writing about Zombies and International Relations theory—Van Belle wrote a very interesting piece on bringing Zombies into the classroom which I was supposed to review (on deadline) but which I never quite got around to and Drezner who has been blogging and writing about such matters since 2009. Very cool stuff and I am glad they did the heavy lifting as I am just not that creative, at least as far as The Undead are concerned.

Maybe it is because I really don't know much about Zombies having not paid attention to the canonical literature. The films are repetitively gory and, as a friend observed the other day, if you cannot outrun them then you are really pathetic. He was, of course referring to the traditional Romero-esque Zombie and not the super-Zombies of "Dawn of the Dead." Either way you are dead, or maybe not . . .

Then there are all the students who have been playing Zombies versus Humans. They seem more engaged in running around and engaging in shifting alliances than reading Morganthau and/or Waltz.

It has been fun to go through this literature and to see how deeply Zombies have penetrated the Zeitgeist (why that is another matter of discussion) including running (as in Run For Your Lives).

Very much looking forward to trying all this out.

Meanwhile my work email is cluttering up with all kinds of messages from textbook publishers offering tips on "engaging different learning styles." I wonder what "learning style" (blech) suits the Undead?

Thoughts?

Monday, August 20, 2012

A pleasant swim . . .

After a weekend of racing it is nice to ride a little and plonk around the lake. :-)


Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Mc**** Canyon



I am not quite sure how to start this particular post.

How about "I can think of lots of names for McNeil Canyon that are fairly obscene . . ."?

Or

"If you wanted to track me then you could follow the puddles of sweat I was leaving . . ."

I think I'll go with the second one.

This was one of those rides that I was "convinced" into doing by one of my more persuasive friends. I think she can persuade anyone to do anything, certainly she can me (she is already working on me for a 50K). It was she who told me she was following my sweat up the canyon. Ha!

This was one of those rides where I have to remember not to listen to other people. Suffering and challenge is all relative but there is also a certain amount of good natured exaggeration amongst my training partners, exaggeration that, I am afraid, I am prone to take on board. It doesn't help that one of the faster and stronger guys says "Ohh!" when we start talking about riding this on the day after the triathlon.

I don't need to do it. I am scheduled for 20 easy miles and was thinking of just riding from Chelan to Manson and back along the main road. But McNeil seemed more interesting and certainly less trafficked so I signed on.

We left at a civilized time, 7:30-ish, and headed east out of Chelan. This was, of course, a nice uphill followed by a fast and curvy descent down to Beebe Bridge and across the bridge. The drop was so much fun. The sun was warm with the promise of heat later on and it was just so nice to riding out in the scrub. A bit more desolate than the Santa Barbara back country but I'll take it, seeing the contours of the land is something I enjoy as is smelling the dry creosote scent of the bush.

For me this was a recreational climb if there can be such a thing. For Sj and Pa this was critical prep for the Richter Pass climbs in the upcoming IM Canada. Then we stopped and took a group photo at the "12% grade for the next five miles sign" and this all became rather real. Let's see, what was the steepest I had climbed of late besides the last hill from the BG Trail to my house? Snoqualmie Repeats where I did 3 mile climbs of about 1000 feet I think. This would be much longer.

Side note: turns out they calculate road grade using that good old rise over run thing. Who says that math doesn't come in handy? I was thinking about this on the ride and then M researched it as were driving off to a winery.


The climb started off fairly easy and I quickly settled into a nice cadence. Pa passed me pretty quickly—she is a really good climber and pretty soon she was a half-mile, then three-quarters of a mile, and then a mile ahead of me. I could see the red of her jersey, a speck in the distance and marveled at how fast she was going.

I wish I could say that I put my head down and climbed but I didn't. It was too pretty not to take notice of what I was seeing. Still I worked hard for the hour and seven minutes it took me to make the climb. Passed by a dead rattlesnake slowly enough that I could see various parts of its anatomy not crushed by whatever vehicle that had killed it. At one point some flying bug went into my ear and started tickling me as it tried to escape. This startled me so much that I almost went over the guard rail. Someone had painted mile numbers on the road and I was counting down the distance. Pa simply disappeared around some bend and I could see no one behind me. I was alone in the quiet of the morning, the silence broken only by breathing, the occasional whoosh of a car going past (with a welcome gust of air), and the barking of various dogs. It was so quiet that I could hear small pebbles coming off the "cliffs" above the road set loose, no doubt, by some small animal.

Sweat was pouring off me. Streaming off me really. Running down my face and into my mouth and then spraying out with my breath. My jersey was opened all the way and soaked with sweat—Sj could indeed easily track me from all the drips.

I made sure to drink as much water and electrolytes as possible while still making forward movement. Not easy given the steepness of the road but I just shifted into my "MTB fire road climbing" mode of long ago and spun on. Stopped a couple of times just to see where I had been and put my shaking legs down on the ground.

I discovered the reason why Pa disappeared. There is a series of curves going towards the summit. It is always steeper towards the summit too and the climb started getting steeper in that last mile.

Made the summit in a little over an hour and waited with Pa and our support truck (yes it is nice to have a SAG). Pretty soon Le, Sj, and Je came peddling up. A bit of a res and pictures—Le took this picture at the summit sign— and then it was a time for the descent.

Whoop!

No time to take pictures on the way down. :-P

Fourteen minutes to undo an hour's work.

Averaged 28 mph on the way down with a max speed of about 45 miles—not the fastest I've ever gone on a bike but darn exhilarating.

Just a blast. Started singing on the way down, a little elephant power ("Ganesh is Fresh" by MC Yogi), until another flying bug hit my face and I figured I had best close my mouth or else.

Je passed me on the way down cranking as fast as she could but was a little slower on the turns and I passed her again, spinning my hardest gear as fast as I could go. It was then I realized that my bike is just not geared for the kind of speed that the others were capable of. Sure I have a triple and they don't but there is an upper-limit after which pedaling just becomes a waste of time. I hit that limit on this descent. Still fun but I could have gone 50 mph with the addition of just one more small rear cog. Let me also blame the engine too. I am not actually used to pushing the hard gears because I focus on spinning. Makes me wonder what I could actually do once used to a harder gearing?

Anyway, we regrouped at the Beebe Bridge and climbed back up SR 150 and Chelan Falls Road on the way back into town. Work, but not as much as I had thought.

Seems my sense of steep has now been recalibrated, a very good thing. :-)

The rest of the day was devoted to eating, blueberry picking at Blueberry Hills (brilliant hash browns), winery tastings, eating, and having a beer (and Sj's traditional Stella Artois in the appropriate glass).

Speaking of which, since I enjoyed this ride so much I apparently owe Sj a Stella. Somehow this became the bet but I am not sure that was the original set of terms.

Hmm, see, she can convince me of anything. ;-)

Oh, and I think I'll just call this McNeil Canyon and nothing else.






Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Chelanman 2012 Olympic Tri Report


What a weekend! 

Here is the short of it:

Swim: 00:30:56.6
T1: 00:4:21.5
Bike: 01:22:43.1 (18 mph avg)
T2: 00:03:09.9
Run: 01:54.3 
Overall Time: 03:05:05.4
Age Group Place: 24/29
Overall Place: 293/470
Rank: 114 (but I don't know what that really means)

And now the long. 

I am tired and exhilarated at the same time. 


The drive out from Seattle to Chelan via 2 and 97 was windy and wet. I loaded my bike onto the car and was soaked by they time I finished. Quick stop for coffee and off we went. It was a pretty drive nonetheless, especially once we got to the other side of the pass ALTHOUGH the weather was coming in, and we made very good time. Car got 30 MPG too, even with a bike whistling on the roof. Pretty good for a Subaru actually.

Pulled straight into the park at about 1:30 for packet pick-up and to rack my bike. That went really easy and I ran into one of my TLF colleagues who was doing the Sprint and met her husband who would be doing  the Oly. I haven't heard from her yet how it went but it was nice to see her out there. The wind was quite high and the lake was roiling. Big waves crashing up against the sea wall, etc. Pretty cool but I overheard a number of people worrying about conditions for the next day and being reassured that this would all blow through during the evening. I could only think of some nasty Lake Washington waves from last season which were so bad that I almost puked. 

Off to the Lake House where we were the first to check in and, therefore, got the parking pass for the garage. M and I went out to a Mexican restaurant for a late-ish lunch which was, as it turned out, a bit of a tasty mistake. Major thunderstorm came through while we were eating and we could see ground strikes up on the high hills around the lake. Pretty impressive. It did stop by the time we finished eating so we didn't get drenched walking back to the condo. M needed a sun hat. 

Everyone else sharing the condo had arrived and a round of introductions ensued and then the general busyness of settling in. We did also sit out on the balcony and read before it was time for the group dinner. Chicken burritos, etc. It was good but I could tell that everyone's mind was on their respective races and the potential for heat. Back to the condo to prep stuff for the next day and then to bed. 

Of course I couldn't sleep or, rather, I did sleep for a couple of hours before I started getting really restless and checking the time. I had a really stupid Monkee's song in my head too, Your Auntie Grizelda. Argh!

Par for the course really as I had been unable to sleep the entire night through for at least a week before. Anxiety dreams about fixing flats and running. Oddly enough, nothing about swimming. 

We had all decided to carpool out from the condo to the race start and I went with Br who was doing the 70.3. That meant leaving the condo at 5:45. I got up at five and got myself ready. Breakfast was a peanut butter and jelly sandwich washed down with some coffee. On the way out another athlete asked for a ride out as well. This was a training day for him as he was getting ready for IM Canada next month, as were a number of the other people I was palling around with. 

Got hungry as soon as we got into the transition area and anxious because I discovered that in my haste I left my water bottles in the fridge. Everything else I had, just not that. Ran over to my coach's tent to see if I could borrow one, filled it, put in some electrolyte tabs, and put it on my bike. My transition area was complete . . . 


Took the time to visit the port-a-potties (twice) and visited with the other athletes on my rack. There was a congenial nervousness in the air but also a real happiness. Most of these folks were doing something they loved. 

Coach called me over to the fence and asked about my tires. How much air did I have in them? They were pumped to 100 lbs yesterday. "Bring your bike over!" she said and so I did. After going over the pass and also sitting out in the night air they had dropped to 70 lbs. Oops! We added air. 

Time for the transition area to close and the Long Course racers to get in the water for their warm up. Late announcements, too. We could pass on the bike as soon as we went out on the course rather than after the 1.5 miles as initially stated (in the pre-race briefing that I didn't attend). 

Spent a little time warming up in the water and acting like a sea lion (I'll post a picture of that when I get it). Very calm and warm, about 72 degrees, and then went out to watch the long course start. Then it was my turn. 

The Swim:

Lined up on the back right of the pack and at 7:40 off my wave went. 

I got kind a beaten up on this swim. Someone kicked my goggles and I had to pause to clear the right lens. It wouldn't quite reseat so there was a little water coming in the rest of the time. Someone else kicked me in the ribs, I have a bruise, and someone else slammed me in the upper part of my right arm. People were slowing down and speeding up, doing the breast stroke, etc.. Made for quite a jumble until the first buoy turn. I was swimming probably 6-10 feet to the left of the underwater line. There was a swimmer to my left who kept of smashing into me. He/she would run into me, swim a bit in contact, move off, run into me again. This went on until we hit the current over by the dock and then he/she disappeared. I may have moved further to the outside on a parabolic course towards the final red buoy. Swam until I couldn't anymore, got to my feet, and trotted out to my bike. I think Les got a picture of me coming out. 30 minutes, a little slower than last year, but I was also not completely messed up either. 

T1:

A bit slow. It took a bit to strip off my wetsuit, dry my feet, get my socks on (they would not cooperate despite being rolled and filled with baby powder), and then tie my shoes. But I was off nicely, running up the hill to the mounting area and off I went. Others were not so lucky. If I remember correctly, at this point one guy was running around yelling "Where's my bike!!!" 

As mentioned before, the first 1.5 miles of the bike course were initially supposed to be a no-passing zone because of construction and coning but they made a race-day announcement that we could pass as we liked as soon as we liked. I made my first pass and heard from behind me some guy bellowing "Hey! this is a no passing zone!" I said nothing. 20 seconds later, he passed me. My quads hurt a bit as they got warmed up for the bike but pretty soon I was cruising along very happily, and well over my normal race pace. I think I could go much faster IF my bike was geared as a regular road bike is (it is geared for off-road use so I spin a lot)—this would take a bit of getting used to. Saw a couple of flats. Passed Sj early on and she shouted that she was surprised that she had swum faster than I. 

Ride went well and was fun. The outbound felt hillier than coming back although I think the climbs coming back were a bit longer. There was a woman riding a really old Schwinn ten-speed, and fast too. It was fun. Best part was that I did not get a flat and was flying along. There was some wind, especially on the way out but otherwise conditions were just marvelous. 

The only problem was that I really had to go to the toilet about mid-way through the ride which made things quite a bit uncomfortable. 

Did I mention that I did not have any flats?

T2:

Kind of novel to actually ride my bike up to the start of the transition area and not to have to wipe blood from everything. 

This transition went a bit faster but I had a sharp pain in my left foot as I started running. Somehow I had picked up a thorn and had to stop, strip everything off, get the thorn out, reassemble and go. 

Run:

If there was going to be an area of pain then it was going to be the run. I still had to go to the toilet and was feeling pretty miserable as I went up the first little hill to the road. GI distress and all the things that can come with that sort of thing are never much fun. But I resolved to press on. Stopped a kid's soccer ball from going into the water during the run out. Someone said that I should get some sort of time award for that. 

M was at the CL tent by then and was yelling out encouragement. It was nice to see her.  I smiled and waved. She took pictures. 

Did a lot of smiling. (Or was it grimacing up the first rise?) Stopped at the first aid station to use the portable toilets and get some water. Felt better immediately and just started running steadily and feeling more comfortable running with each stride. The uphill sections didn't feel all that hard and I just went on. It was hot though so I stopped for water every chance I got but did not wish to be sprayed by spectators. Pretty soon I was at the turn around and started downhill again and feeling even better. Started passing a lot of people. Up the final hill and then down to the finish. Done! 

Three hours, five minutes, and five point four seconds of really intense activity done with a smile on my face.

Had enough in me to ride my bike back to the condo with all of my gear, including my cool new shirt, while M took the shuttle back. 

Lunch? Best tasting sandwich I've had in a long time. Turkey, cheese, and avocado. :-)

Off to a winery, Benson, to sample the view and some wine before heading back to the condo for a sit down. Sat down on the couch to read for a bit. Fell asleep. 

Group BBQ at which I got convinced to ride McNeil Canyon the next morning. 

More on that particular adventure next . . . 



Good Lord!

It has been 30 years since I graduated from high school.

I was informed indirectly that the reunion is this August.

Let's just say, I am much changed and (I hope) for the better.

THIRTY YEARS!!

Friday, June 29, 2012

A Pleasant Run and . . .

The other day GVB and I went out for a bit of romp on Tiger Mtn. A brilliantly sunny day with forecast highs in the mid-70's and a bit humid.



GVB wasn't feeling all that well but turned up anyway and off we went to I-90 Exit 20 to the High Point. I wanted 5 miles, GVB wanted 8 and I figured we'd split the difference. The plan was to run some of the easier trails around the plateau and then, depending upon how we both felt, get some climbing in.

These are some of my favorite trails.

This is what we came up with. Some nice "flatish" though technical running (rocks and roots if you know what I mean) followed by a nice climb up Nook Trail with a traverse to Talus Rocks.

As it has been a few years since my last run up there I had to rely on my sense memory. The trail up at the top has been washed out in places and there were a lot of trees down and was, in places, not recognizable. Pretty slippery too as it has been raining quite a bit.

Of course I had forgotten just how steep it was too. As in . . .



Let's just say that there was a lot of sweat expended.

The trails were surprisingly busy. Trail crews were repairing sections of the trail and adding drainage, quite a few hikers, and a Wounded Warrior was being escorted around the Plateau Loop. I was so happy to be out there and I was greeting everyone as we passed. The vet was particularly inspiring, moving slowly using a cane with a look of intense conversation. I was (and am) glad to see him out there instead of being hidden away like so many earlier generations of wounded. Americans really need to SEE the results of their foreign policy which, as I point out to my students, is always written on the real bodies of real people. Personally, I wonder at the impact such sights (such reminders) will have on how people think about foreign policy and, via Beinart, how soon we will "forget"?

So a beautiful run with a tinge of the bittersweet.

GVB commented that the Nettles were really out, especially since, unlike Cougar, the trails are not cleared. No worries except for one thing, the pollen.

Whew!

I was already sneezing quite a bit and as we bashed through the undergrowth in section this got much worse.

By the evening my head was completely clogged and drippy (if such a thing is possible) necessitating what has turned out to be a two-day lay-off from training. At least I know that I am not alone. My doctor told me that he has been seeing the most extreme allergy symptoms even from people who aren't normally sensitive. What a pain . . .

So, a wonderfully pleasant run, a perspective reminding encounter, and a lot of sneezing.

Sounds about right.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Green Lake Open Water Swim 2012


I had been quite worried about my open water fitness going into this race and was more than a bit nervous (OWS Issues) but had actually had a strong workout week (a steady and strong track workout on Thursday and a longish brick (bike to run) on Saturday).

Woke up at 5 (of course) but forced myself to stay in bed. It just looked cold out there. The pets had other ideas, breakfast. Got out of bed about 7 and went into the kitchen. Ke had puked all over the place in the night and I hadn't heard anything. GOOD MORNING!!! (More on him later as I was ready to kill that bloody cat.)

Walked Te, ate some breakfast, got my gear together and the headed out to GL about 8:20. Checked in, #514, and then walked over to one end of the gym to get some coffee. D was already there and it was nice to catch up with him. Another woman started talking with us too, she had gotten there too early as well and had just been hanging around. Saw E, TT, and M too. TT asked if I had ever swum competitively. I told her only in junior high. She saw my time from last year and was impressed. Hunh! That's pretty cool.

Pretty soon it was time to get out there as the half milers were going to start. I was the first swimmer into the water to warm-up. It was cloudy and only about 52 and the water was kind of chilly. Nobody wanted to be the first so I went. Then all kinds of people were warming up. I watched as a mother duck swam through all of this with 8 ducklings behind her. There was a collective "awww" and someone said "she makes it look so easy!" As so she did. 

Pretty soon the lead half-miler came in, IN ABOUT NINE MINUTES!!! The next swimmers were about half a block behind, just about 2 minutes behind. Wow! Stunning performance. Then it was a steady stream of swimmers until about 9:30 when we were lined up. Still one half-miler to finish though and we had to wait for them to finish. 

I lined up on the outside right and thought I was surrounded by fast fish. The start horn went off and I immediately crashed into someone. It took a bit for me to work myself free from the tangle of arms and legs and get into open swimming room. I ended up to the outside angling in towards the buoy line. The sun was starting to come up but the water remained fairly dark (I remember from last year how bright and bubbly it was). The outbound swim felt like it took forever but it was just over 12 minutes and then back. 

I was swimming strongly by this time and felt like I had something left to give at the end. My stomach, however, was getting really uncomfortable. Turns out that it was full of air. About .75 miles in I belched rather impressively while under water and then I felt much better. 

This finish was both harder and easier than last time. I had trouble sighting the finish. Even though the lake was flat calm all of the chop from the other swimmers was making seeing things harder. But I swam all the way until my hands touch the stairs at the edge of the lake, stood up, climbed up, someone yelled my name (M maybe?), and then I ran into the finish chute without being dizzy. My watch said something like 26:xx, 2 minutes slower than last year. 

I was taking off my suit and drying off when D came up. He had had a rough start too and said he didn't get his rhythm until the half-mile turn around. Personally I felt pretty "maytaged" with my core muscles kind of sore (they were after this week's track session as well). Mostly I was out of fuel and went to Sunflower for breakfast once I finished showering. Coffee with some sugar started restoring me. So it was interesting to feel how depleted I was after my track and brick workouts over the past few days. 

I thought I was about two minutes slower than last year I guess and I was feeling a bit bummed about that. Overheard two guys talking about their swim. One guy was agonizing that he was 15 seconds slower than last year. Still, I had a great time and a good reminder about mass swim starts—let the whacking begin! 

And what about the cat?

Stopped at WF to pick up some things for dinner. Also some chocolate almond milk. Put everything away except for the almond milk. Went to answer the door. Came back and there was almond milk all over the counter and dripping on the floor. Did I split the carton? Was it damaged in transit? No. I picked it up. There were four, perfectly placed, fang holes. Damn cat! 

------------------

Update (6/29/12): 

Official times are out and I swam an 25:59. I looked up my time from last year, 25:15. 44 seconds off and I know that I was not working as hard as I did last year. Very cool!!!

The first place half-miler finished in 9:39, second place came in at 11:16. Very impressive. 




Friday, June 22, 2012

Legs and Ladders


29 more days until Chelan.

Last night I had my first "ladder" workout at the track—1 mile WU, 2X400's, 1X800, 1X1200, 1X800, 2X400, 1 mile CD.

Met PuddleThumper, who has sort of been grumbling about the rain of late (but not really), in the parking lot and we took off for our warm-up. She didn't tell me that it was pretty much up-hill almost immediately and I was huffing and puffing pretty soon after starting (better earlier than later I suppose)—I am on summer break now and, somehow, my body thinks it should be too.

Got to the track and just started in on my workout on an amazingly uncrowded track (there are a number of big races going on this weekend which I am sure contributed to the relative emptiness of the scene. Fine by me, no dodging lacrosse players as they wander aimlessly and cluelessly around.

Great workout, very consistent and also hard.

PuddleThumper had a short workout, she is one of those running one of those big races this weekend, and started taking pictures. This is one (above) that she got of me and I am both impressed and not.

My legs are pretty big but I guess I didn't really know how big as this is a view I generally don't see.

My form? It would be nice to be leaning more forward and landing more on my forefoot. Something to work on.

And what am I doing this weekend?

Saturday I'll be barreling up the BG Trail and then bricking to a run. On Sunday, I'll be G. L. O. W. S.-ing.

Of course, rain is forecast for both days . . .

Monday, June 18, 2012

OWS Issues



Kind of a rainy June morning here in Seattle. 53 degrees at 6 am. No wind.


I woke up early to join Sj, Les, and K2 for a 40-minute swim in Green Lake. According to the West Green Lake monitoring station the water is currently 64 degrees. 


Two other guys were down there as we were getting ready, one training for August's Swim for Life and the other for a Iron Man (not Canada). 


Putting my face into the water was kind of hard but Linsey Corbin put it well: 


Anyone can race on the easy day. Champions rise in adverse conditions. Be a warrior and let's go all-in. 
(Originally from: http://ironman.com/training/no-matter-what-the-conditions-linsey-corbin-goes-for-it#ixzz1yBFtjI1V)



So I went all in, put my head down and swam. And swam. And swam. 


It went OK. 


No, actually, this swim was a bit frustrating (as was the swim before) and I am not sure what is going on. 


Just not feeling speedy through the water compared to last year. Running out of energy as well.  I have noticed that I tend to swim faster than the people I am with during the first half of the swim and then slow down on the way back. I am not sure it is a matter of going out too fast as much as it is the ability to sustain and increase energy output. Looking back to last year's records it looks like during training I was swimming the mile in about 30 minutes. This year I've been doing it in between 35-38 minutes. 


Today I noticed the head thing that Les pointed out during my last swim with her. When I get tired my head comes out of the water and I start flailing around a bit. Good to know what happens when I get tired in the water.  OK, gotta get me head down and also kick. I'll try that. 


The other issue is energy coupled with seasonal stress (the end of the school year is always a challenge). 


Yet another thing to suss out. 


GLOWS is this Sunday and I registered this morning. :-) 


Something of a fitness test I think. 







Sunday, June 17, 2012

Rainbows

It's June around here which generally means the "June Gloom" is upon us after some rather spectacular weather in May. A friend of mine from Santa Barbara called the other day and asked if I remembered June Gloom in SB as well. Oh yes.

But the weather has been rather interesting too. Very humid and warmish (not hot) with occasional flashes of blue sky. Yesterday's run out at Tiger Mountain was on the cool side with a little drippiness and a whole lot of humidity.

Last night a front went through and put on a spectacular show. We we treated to one of the most vivid rainbows I have ever seen.

Double Rainbow

Clouds and Sun
See how far that big Cedar tree is bending? Very windy.


Saturday, June 9, 2012

Hooligan Machines

So, last week a friend of mine, who shall remain nameless until such time as he identifies himself, finally picked up his motorized bicycle. I didn't mind hanging on to it as every time I opened my garage someone walking by would say something like "cool bike, man." Yep, I am not above basking in such admiration—sort of like "Bad Boy Georgie." Anyway, said friend took said bike to the shop for a tune-up and got to ride an even more powerful version which he described as a "hooligan machine." Black on black 800cc machine that looked a bit like something a berserker might ride. Very cool!

Today we got to see some even cooler hooligan machines. To wit . . .



And . .



Now, how is that for snarly?

Oh, and I ran a race this week too. It was very rainy, quite chilly, and very much a blast.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

The Guy Who Cuts My Hair

Every once in a while the state of the American political landscape and discourse gets me down. What is a caring citizen, one who thinks every day "I am lucky to live here!" followed closely with "I am lucky to have employment and health insurance," to make of all of the cringe-worthy things that go on? This is all the more problematic because I have to keep up with who said what to who, and who is trying to stop who from kissing or talking about kissing in any official capacity, and who is being called a "slut" on any given day. It's my job, I guess. But it is hard.

Every once in a while I have something of a redeeming experience. Today was one of those days.

I decided to go get a haircut.

Normally I am not very chatty in the barber chair and, frankly, neither are the barbers. This is unusual I know but there it is.

My barbershop used to be run by a guy named Bill who finally retired after I don't know how many years as a neighborhood fixture. A taciturn man, Bill would disappear for weeks and then come back to work. Mostly he would be off fishing.

A couple of years ago he sold out and the shop was redone (painted, TV's, child-friendly magazines, etc.) and reopened by a guy from Mexico, a former steel worker. He was joined by a guy from Uruguay. Good haircutters, the pair of them.

The Uruguayan cut my hair today and we started talking, first about Junior Seau and then the New Orleans Saints "Bountygate" (why, oh, why do we need to put "-gate" after everything these days?). I ventured an opinion about football players and TBI.

Now, as those of you who know me, conversations like this are far and few between. Today was the first I heard of Junior Seau, ever.

Eventually the inevitable question comes up "What do you do?" "Ah," I say, "I teach political science." "Oh," he says, "I love politics" and off we go.

"Why is it," he asks, "that we don't celebrate May Day in the United States?" An interesting question and I hazard an answer along the lines of we have labor day and May Day is tainted by radical politics—"International Workers' Day." He tells me that his mother told him there were some one million people marching and listening to speeches in Montevideo yesterday. An exaggeration? Perhaps, but that would be impressive to see.

Pretty soon we are talking about Buenos Aires, a place the Uruguayan loves, Argentina and Uruguay in general, economic inequality. Fascinating.

And then he tells me, ever so naturally and without fanfare, that he became a US citizen yesterday. Wow!

He came here seeking political asylum in the late 1990's, earned permanent residency, and finally took the oath this week. Why asylum? I am not sure, we didn't get into that. He landed in NYC and found a job on his second day, eventually moved to Seattle where he was struck by how laid back the city is compared to the Big Apple. And, then he said the felt so lucky at all the opportunities he has had.

And that made it all better.

Here was someone who obviously loved both his homeland and his new home and who was excited by  what was special about this place.

It got me thinking about a student I had some years ago, an elderly man from Vietnam who was going through the citizenship process. He insisted on taking my American Government course to prepare (not really the right thing but who was I to argue) and struggled with the language barrier. We spent hours in my office going over lectures and readings and he shared his story. After 30 years in a re-education camp for being on the losing side of that war he had moved to the Seattle area to be with what family he had left. He had already outlived one son.

One day he told me that he would be taking the citizenship test the next day and asked if it would be OK to miss class. Absolutely!

Two days later, there he is, sitting in the front row. I asked him how it went. He beamed, it was great. I asked if I could announce this to the rest of the class. Yes. I could. I did. They gave him a standing ovation and he had happy tears streaming down his cheeks. Perhaps not the happiest day of his life but it surely would be up there.

A truly special moment that I'll always remember and now I have another one. Two stories out of millions.

And somehow, those stories put it all into perspective.

America takes work but it remains a special place (especially if you have a job and health care).



Friday, March 23, 2012

My feet hurt

My Obligatory Cannon Beach Haystack Rock @ Sunset Photograph
. . . and my face is tanned.

A quick long weekend getaway down to Cannon Beach.

This is the first time that we have visited the Oregon Coast and we are finding it spectacular. Cannon Beach itself is a rather nice place, all the more pleasant by the fact that the summer crowds (or the Spring Break ones) have yet to materialize.

We left Seattle on a brilliantly sunny morning and headed down to Portland where we spent some time in the Portland Art Museum as a bit of a break but also to see the Rothko exhibit they are hosting. We had just seen the play "Red" at Seattle Rep and were rather keen on seeing the real paintings. It was neat to see the progression of his earliest of works to his more mature pieces, many of which were discussed in the play. They also have an exhibit by John Frame whose work is kind of eerie and disturbing and, at the same time, fascinatingly compelling. I am still thinking about some of the pieces and scenes.

The weather on the way from Portland to Cannon Beach turned nasty and I thought "Uh Oh! Here goes the weekend" especially as partly sunny skies became drizzly, the drizzle turned to steady rain, which became quite heavy, which and finally morphed into snow coming out of deep, ominously grey clouds. The temperature dropped from the mid'50's to the mid'30's in the space of ten miles. This made driving a bit dicey and I was more than glad of the Subaru's ability to stick to the road.

We dodged a bullet.

Still grey when we pulled into the Cannon Beach Hotel parking lot but to the West it looked as if the sun was going to push through. This is a nice place. Our room is small, cozy, and comfortable but lacks a view so it is not a place we'd likely spend much time in unless confined there during a storm. There is an inviting lobby and common dining area, a good place to sit an read a book. But, though we have a great many books with us, we are not here to read books per se but to see the beach and explore the coast. So that is what we did, taking the first of our beach walks to see the sunset (the first in a week apparently) and to chat with a volunteer from the Haystack Rock Awareness Program, whom I stumped momentarily by asking if the rock was a sea stack or a volcanic plug (it is the former and now I know the difference).

Something on the light side for dinner so our front desk person suggested Sweet Basil's Cafe (about a .7 mile walk from the hotel) and, boy, are we glad she did.  Kind of a funky beach shack conversion interior whose food reflects that feel too, and in a very good way. I had a chicken pot pie deconstruction that hit the spot after all this driving and walking around. Chicken and veggies in a  medium gravy flavored just right with a rather large puff pastry placed on the top. M had a Crab Salad which she enjoyed hugely. I know this because she ate the whole thing and was making yummy sounds throughout. Everything is cooked to order by one guy. Our server was great. Suggested wine pairings for each entree. But here is the best part. As we were dining so late he let us finish the bottles of wine and also gave us a wonderful dessert wine to go with the homemade chocolate cake (OMG!) we had after. Neither of us are used to treatment like this and it was really, really nice.

Needless to say, our walk back to the hotel was a bit wobbly.

Woke up this morning to blue skies and frost on the cars. It was 35 degrees with a windchill down to 29 and all I had to run in was shorts and shirts. Hmm. But it was sunny and the wind wasn't bad so I headed out for what I thought would be a very short jaunt but which turned out to be 5.3 miles of sheer bliss. It was cold to be sure but the sun felt oh-so-good on my face, legs, hands, and (eventually) my arms. Spent some time playing with form and actually managed to stop my shoulders down a bit and found myself running more comfortably. connect.garmin.com/activity/160821937

Breakfast?

Walked back into town after negotiating a rather interesting shower (this is one of those small circular curtain showers that I have trouble fitting into but which lend a certain old fashioned charm). Should we eat at Pig and Pancake from which many bacony smells emanated? Nah! We found Crepe Neptune where I ate this and M ate that as we chatted with the owner who was surrounded by containers of Nutella (very popular with the kiddies). The owners had been making crepes at the Farmer's Market since 2008 as a hobby and decided they liked it well enough to open a restaurant. I am glad that he did.

It was he who suggested that we head south and, perhaps, climb Neahkahnie Mountain as it was such a nice day. Yep! Let's make the most of it as it is such a nice day. Quick stop at the visitor's center for a map and some advice and we were off, down the 101 to the appropriate parking area. Or would have been had the signs been at all relevant. Drove way past, turned around, and guessed. We opted for the route on the Oregon Coast Trail that leads along to the mountain trail. This would add 1.3 mile or so to the trek but was really quite pretty.

There was a suspension bridge to play on, a tree to walk through, lots of climbing, and spectacular views of the coastline. Devil's Cauldron was amazing to see:



We went out and back in about 2.5 hours and I kept on thinking about how challenging and spectacular a trail run this would be. Any of my readers game to take this on?

So, let's summarize thus far: 5.3 miles + 1.4 miles + 3 miles = 9.7 miles (and all before lunch)

We decided to see something more of the coast and headed south and ended up having tacos while sitting in the sun at Left Coast Siesta in Manzanita. Pretty substantial and very, very tasty. So far I have not been disappointed in anything I have experienced or eaten this trip.

Going further down coast, enjoying the sunshine and the views, and all the small towns (Garibaldi?) we aimed for the Tillamook Air Museum which is contained in a former WWII blimp hanger. An impressive collection, many of which I had never seen AND which are airworthy. We even got to sit in a trainer for an F8-Crusader fighter. Quite comfortable but also very, very complicated. However do pilots keep track of all these gauges and switches? I had enough trouble in a Mazda 3. The blimp hanger could hold 9 airships and is just an amazing feat of construction. Very, very chilly in there though.



On the way back up-coast M wanted to stop at the Tillamook Cheese Factory visitor's center. A nice break for some ice cream samples and we were away back up to Cannon Beach.

Out of the car. Quick stop in the room and then off for another beach walk which turned into going out to dinner. So add another 5-6 miles to the day for 14-15 miles of walking, climbing, hiking, and running.

Subtle sunset (see above).

Dinner at Bill's Tavern Brew House (Hippies go to the side door) where we both had a pint of their Cherry Porter (smooth and kind of light for a Porter but very, very tasty), listened to the top-10 countdown from 1981 on the radio (!!!!), and otherwise tried to take stock of the day over a nice repast. It is Friday now and the town is filling up for the weekend. Even so, getting a table was not a problem. Then back to Sweet Basil's Cafe for a nice dessert (mixed berry pie home made by a 78 year old grand ma) before wandering the .7 miles back to the hotel.

Exhausted.

Tomorrow is supposed to be even warmer than today but overcast and with a 20% chance of rain. We'll see what we manage to do.

Feet don't fail me now!



Sunday, March 11, 2012

My week from . . .

The quarter is winding down and students are all thinking about Spring Break (as am I), the weather has shifted towards a more spring pattern (which means it is often unsettled, and frequently violent), and our neighbor's cherry trees have already blossomed. Transitions. 


I am now at about 8 hours of working out per week and this includes some combination of swimming, biking, running, and core workouts. I'll be ramping up as we head into the spring and the beginning of race season. I seem to be handing this increase alright. Never-the-less, this has been a rather strange week.

Monday was a short run of 3.5 miles followed by a 200 Med Ball workout, an especially short but impactful core strengthening workout. The run, an early spring run, had just about every sort of weather you can think of—snow, sleet, wind, sun, rain, etc., all in three short miles. I was freezing by the time I got home and it took a bit for my hands to be able to hold the free weights. 


Tuesday was my last "official" day of classes—official advising appointments later in the week for which I have to cancel classes—and it was a long day of talking about IR theory and popular culture and the politics of obedience and disobedience via Plato, Thoreau, King, Gandhi, and Rawls. Truly a fun way to end the quarter. Scrambled to get some admin stuff done before leaving TLF. 


Scheduled for an evening track workout. Five miles (2-mile warm-up, 2 miles speed work, 1 mile cool down). It was a pretty cold evening, low forties to upper thirties actually, with a slight but chilling breeze. Left the club house with everyone and then stopped to use on the bathrooms along the way and then started off again. Pretty soon my chest started tightening. OK. I coughed a bit. Normally that helps. Not this time. Hmm. Just kept on tightening and tightening. Time for the inhaler. Oops! It is in my run bag which is locked in the Club House. Crap. OK, I'll slow down. Slow down. Chest gets tighter. Walk a bit. Better. Walk a bit more. Better. Run. Tighter and tighter. I did that all the way to the track. Ran up to Coach, grabbed her by the shoulder for support, and said I couldn't breath. Not good. Used another runner's inhaler. That helped. Walked around a bit on Coach's recommendation as my HR was still over 100 while just standing around. Felt OK. Trotted around the track a bit. Whole chest started hurting. Coughed. Decided to call it a night. Ran very slowly back with another runner.  


That was no fun and I was worried about next day's swim. 


Wednesday I found that I was much better than last night, and thankfully so. That was no fun and I don't care to repeat it. A friend said there was wood smoke in the air, perhaps that was the trigger although I don't recall smelling it until I got to the track. Could have been the cold air too, that was a real problem for me growing up. 

I slept very hard and through the whole night, woke up right after 6 and the radio. Chest was hurting but not badly and it stopped once I started moving around and walking the dog. No worries. Off to swim. 

Pool was pretty crowded when I got there but I managed a lane with two other guys who were speedy, sort of (just the kind of "sort of" that I needed today). 2300 rather vigorous yards including some 800 yards of 50's on the X—4X50 fast, 4X50 super fast, 4X50 fast, repeat. Almost ran over one of the guys I was swimming with during my first super-fast 4X50. Hard going BUT I can feel that all the work is paying off as I felt faster in the water overall, even when kicking in the crawl. Quite a spirit lifter. :-)

Legs and adductors are still a bit sore but not bad. Spent some time stretching this evening. I am not getting sick. Whew! 

OK. I can handle that. 

Thursday was just weird. Of course the buzz is all about Kony2012 this week and that really does put my travails into perspective. Interesting conversations with students about all this and lots to think about regarding the power of Social Media as well. This will be a case study if I teach my Tech and Politics class this coming summer. 

Scheduled for four easy and I am looking forward to it. I find myself continually puzzled at the fact that TLF thinks I am capable adequately advise students into Physics but I do manage to engage a young man who cannot look at me but does so as soon as I ask him about his favorite music to illustrate an example. He likes "Tool" but had been listening to Zeppelin of late. Then is it lunch time and off I go in search of some healthy food. 

Walking to the cafeteria I am struck rather hard in the right leg (knee and lower leg) by a student buzzing along in a powered wheel chair. Ha! What are the odds? And, what I am I going to do? Kind of a Seinfeldian moment. I should yell at him but in doing so would be slightly tone deaf as it were. My leg is in pain and I silently limp away from the kid's mumbled apologies. My inner monologue is alive with most uncomplimentary thoughts (walking at TLF is a "Frogger" like exercises only instead of cars its rollaboards). Mostly I am worried about what might have happened to my leg. 

It is funny too, though, and I make everyone laugh back at the monastery of advising when recounting the episode. What are the odds? I ask this again. 

Decide to cancel my run in favor of icing and GVB calls me a wimp. 

Friday is a day off too so I was able to rest the leg more. No bruising or anything. Some puffiness and soreness but it seems solid and stable. Ate, badly but tastily, at McMenamins before seeing Red at the Seattle Rep (very good by the way, highly recommend it especially to you Rothko fans out there). 

Saturday dawned early and grey. I had a great run in the neighborhood. I was worried a bit about my leg after the wheel chair incident but things were fine. Just some adductor twingeing but that is all. Woke up early and naturally and so had plenty of time to run, come home, shower, breakfast, and then get out to Mercer Island. 

The swim was really fun. I can tell that I am getting stronger now as these workouts and especially the speed work is still hard but not overwhelmingly so. Did my warm up rather slowly and then concentrated on doing the quality stuff, the drills and also the speed work. We did lots of kicking stuff today or would have had it worked out well. Les changed things up for us, getting us all together in 8X50's on the 1:05. That was rough. Sj and I had just finished ours when we were told that we were going to be swimming two 100's in a relay. Divvied up into teams and both Sj and I were swimming anchor. N was lead swimmer on my team and he went out and came back after his first 50 with cramps. He had to rest and that threw all the order off, etc.. Basically, I had no idea where we were in the race because of this but just put my head down and swam. 

My first 100, right off the wall both my calves were cramping badly making swimming rather hard. Pushing off the wall eased that and I was able to gain speed. Finished that one strong. 

Second 100. Sj had about a half a length on me. I caught up to her, basically just behind, and we really raced. I wasn't really conscious of where she was in the water though as I was just going all out. Touched the wall just behind her. I remember a lot of yelling.


A great Saturday!


And Sunday?


Two hours on the bike . . . in the garage because the weather just looked sullen and cold when I started. Of course the sun came out as I was going. 


Many dogs being walked today and they all had to stop to look at what I was doing. One, a pug, just stared at me for about a minute before getting picked up. What, I ask you, is so strange about riding a bike in your garage on a trainer? 


Not my favorite thing to do by any stretch of the imagination, but made easier by watching Mad Max. It has been decades since I last saw it and it is still a thrilling film. Taut and disturbing but not gory. All the fast driving scenes made the peddling go more quickly too. I'd love to get on those roads. But, did you notice, this takes place in Australia of the "near future" and there are no Aborigines about. Its a totally white world in that film. It just seemed strange. 


So, an oddly successful week I suppose. 


This week the weather is supposed to be awful. Possible snow, damaging winds, and rain, lots of rain. Forecast for odd? Haven't seen that yet but there are some things I'll endeavor to avoid.