Monday, May 25, 2009
I'll do some stretching and balance work here pretty soon. Time 0:30.
Friday: Nothing much, just the daily stretching, balance, and quad exercises. Time 0:30.
Saturday: Went to the Wash Park rec center for a 75-minute beginning yoga class. A couple of friends had recommended these classes as being good quality for a good price: just $3 per class! There were maybe three dozen people in the class -- mostly middle-aged women -- and the energy in the room was very positive. The class was quite easy and I left thinking that I would try the intermediate class the next week, maybe even the power class. Then Sunday happened.
After yoga I went to the gym for lower body weights and core exercises. Time 3:00.
Sunday: Went to the gym for a 30-minute Pilates class, then a 60-minute yoga class. This was a mistake because in both classes we did a lot of work in plank, down dog, and other positions that required me to support my body weight with my arms, which strains my shoulders. By evening both shoulders were aching badly. The pain doesn't seem to be in the shoulder muscles, but in the joints themselves -- I think I may have strained both rotator cuffs.
In between classes I tried to use the elliptical but had to give up after 5 minutes because my knee was hurting. Grrr.
I think I can continue to do Pilates as long as I skip the positions that work the arms, but I'll have to scratch that yoga class entirely, which is a shame because I really liked it -- it was much more active and demanding than the Iyengar classes. The Iyengar classes present much less impact to my body, though, so I'll stick with those for now.
Hours this week: 9.75
Hours this year: 222.75
Miles skated this week: 0
Miles this year: Skates 596, Bike 815
Thursday, May 21, 2009
Wednesday, May 20, 2009
Tuesday, May 19, 2009
Then an hour of Pilates. I felt very stinky -- I was wearing the same shirt I wore to run on Sunday, plus my feet stunk, and I had to fart (although, due to a massive application of willpower, I was able to hold it).
Monday, May 18, 2009
Now I'm worried about my shoulders. Both of them hurt, especially the left one, which is not surprising given that heretofore my shoulders haven't seen any heavier action than the occasional act of self-abuse, and now they're getting two swimming workouts and two weightlifting workouts a week. I think I'll back off till they recover, then build up more slowly. Getting old and fragile sucks!
Sunday: Ran the anchor leg for a relay team at the Colorado Colfax Marathon: 7.6 miles in 70 minutes (9:15 pace) at 80% heart rate. I really didn't want to run because of my janky knee, but I didn't want to let the team down either, so I decided to take it easy and walk if I needed to. My knee felt stiff and painful after the first mile, but in the second half it loosened and I was even able to push the pace a little bit. Last year I ran this same race in 58 minutes, but this year I was just happy to finish without hurting myself.
My legs felt pretty hashed after the race -- I haven't run that far since... uh... well, since last year's Colorado Colfax Marathon relay -- so I took the rest of the day off.
Hours this week: 11.25
Hours this year: 213
Miles skated this week: 0
Miles this year: Skates 596, Bike 812
Friday, May 15, 2009
Thursday, May 14, 2009
Wednesday, May 13, 2009
Speaking of Häagen-Dazs, today The Awesome is also their new Five ice cream, which is made with just five ingredients and is quite tasty -- not as rich as their regular stuff, and it's not crammed full of cookie dough or chocolate fish, but it sings with a delicious simplicity.
Tuesday, May 12, 2009
Saturday: Walked to Wash Park for an easy running loop, then walked home.
Sunday: To the gym for a 30-minute Pilates class. Then in the pool and swam 1100 meters (about 35 minutes). This was kind of a pain because the pool is tiny -- just three lanes -- and I had to share a lane with a very attractive lady. This might not seem like a bad thing, but at one point I was backstroking and accidentally put my hand on her thigh while she was swimming the opposite direction, which made me feel like a prevert. After the swim I lifted weights. Time 2:30.
Hours this week: 8.5
Hours this year: 201.75
Miles skated this week: 0
Miles this year: Skates 596, Bike 797
Thursday, May 7, 2009
I suppose I'll ride my bike to work in the morning -- I hope my knee doesn't hurt. Bike commuting is such an efficient way to get a workout that I hate to let it go.
Weighed in at 151 this morning, down 1 pound from last week.
Wednesday, May 6, 2009
Tuesday, May 5, 2009
Monday, May 4, 2009
Sunday, May 3, 2009
Happy retirement, Justice Souter!
Today: Potpourri day! 30-minute Pilates class. Then a 30-minute walk/run with April. Then a 30-minute swim (1000 meters), which went better than expected -- my freestyle is not nearly as bad as I thought (although it's still pretty bad). Then 15 minutes slow running on the treadmill, which I quit because my knee was feeling janky. Then I rode my bike a bit. Time 2:15.
On Wednesday I weighed in at 152, no change from last week.
Hours this week: 14.5
Hours this year: 193.25
Miles skated this week: 0
Miles this year: Skates 596, Bike 775
Friday, May 1, 2009
Thursday, April 30, 2009
Wednesday, April 29, 2009
Tuesday, April 28, 2009
On a related note: do birds enjoy flying? Are they amazed that they can do it? Do they ever, while soaring above the treetops, think, "Holy shit! I'm flying!!!"
Today: Bike commute, then to the gym for an hour of Pilates. The thing about Pilates is that it's really easy... if you're doing it wrong. If you're doing it right, it's quite difficult, even excruciating at times. Tonight I concentrated on keeping my abs scooped and tight.
Sunday, April 26, 2009
You might not agree that this would be comedy gold. But you have to admit that it would represent a quantum leap forward for fairness and equality in America. How often are buff guys in Speedos depicted positively in American films? They're always idiots and narcissists and douchebags who steal the hot girl from the nerdy protagonist. It's shameful that in the United States of America -- a nation that takes such pride in electing a black president, and has elected people of every race and religion, as well as atheists, gay people, and asshats -- a buff guy in a Speedo has never won election to any public office.
Hours this week: 13.75
Hours this year: 178.75
Miles skated this week: 0
Miles this year: Skates 596, Bike 701
Saturday, April 25, 2009
Today: Went to the gym and did the full FrameWorks strength and stretching workout. Time 2:00. That time should come down as I learn the routine better. I've also been doing some isometric exercises to strengthen my quads, which I'm hoping will stabilize my bum knee.
Friday, April 24, 2009
(By the way, using face scrub -- instead of Lava soap, or 40-grit sandpaper -- to wash my face, and using the word "exfoliate" unironically, does not make me The Gay. The face scrub comes in a gunmetal-gray tube with a pine tree drawing on the front, so anybody can see that it's for manly men.)
Thursday, April 23, 2009
Wednesday, April 22, 2009
The FrameWorks guy recommends doing a single set of 12-15 reps with the lifts done v-e-r-y s-l-o-w-l-y -- a four-count on the lift, a brief pause, then a four-count on the descent. The idea is develop strength across the entire range of motion, and to add emphasis to the negative lift, as compared to the way most people lift weights, which overemphasizes the bottom half of the lift up to the sticking point. This makes sense, but lifting so slowly (combined with my weak upper body) means that I have to use embarrassingly light weights. I could only do 10 reps on the bench press with a naked 45-pound bar, and for the lateral raises I had to use 5-pound dumbbells. I'm used to being the runt of the weight room, but tonight I found myself muttering, "There's not one of you steakheads who can run 50 miles or skate 24 hours" even more than usual.
(419) xxx -8756 and (419) xxx-7963
Can you figure out why? I'll put the answer in the comments.
EXPLANATORY NOTE FOR CANADIAN READERS: In the American English dialect, "The Awesome" is its own plural, like "moose" and "shitmoose."
Tuesday, April 21, 2009
Then I came home and polished off a dark chocolate Easter bunny -- for the antioxidants, of course; chocolate makes me want to vomit -- while watching a swimming instructional DVD. For the sake of balance and all-around fitness, I want to add swimming to my workout matrix/rubric/schema/conspiracy, but sadly, I'm a terrible swimmer: my freestyle stroke is an awful display of thrashing and gasping and craning my neck to make sure I don't run into the wall. I've looked into swimming lessons, but for adults the only option seems to be private lessons, which are too expensive.
Weighed in at 152 this morning, down 1 pound from last week.
Today The Awesome is that the word “anal” has become perfectly acceptable to use in polite conversation -- as long as you hide it in the phrase “anal retentive,” much like concealing your dog’s worm pill in a bit of ground beef. People who would never refer to their penis or vulva in front of casual acquaintances, or even say “I have a carbuncle on my anus,” nevertheless feel perfectly comfortable saying, “I have to have my picture frames perfectly level. I’m so anal!” Sweet.
Monday, April 20, 2009
Yoga is going pretty well. Even though the poses we're doing don't look terribly difficult, for me they are quite challenging. Typically we assume some position and then go through steps of aligning and lengthening our bodies, with each pose held longer than in other yoga classes I've taken. It's hard to believe that standing straight with my hands in the air can be so taxing!
Sunday, April 19, 2009
Hours this week: 8?
Hours this year: 165
Miles skated this week: 0
Miles this year: Skates 596, Bike 624
Saturday, April 18, 2009
Primarily I made this decision because I don't believe that my body (and especially my left knee) can tolerate the strain of training for the world record this summer. A lifetime of imbalanced training has left me with an imbalanced body -- strong in many areas, but too weak and inflexible in others. I'm afraid that pushing forward with this year's training schedule as planned will break one of these weak links, either forcing me into a lengthy recovery or compromising my performance on race day, as happened last year.
With this in mind, I plan to spend the rest of this year researching injury prevention and using this knowledge to build a strong, flexible, balanced, and resilient body that can handle the hundreds of hours -- and thousands of miles of skating -- that I'll need to log to break the world record. I'm also looking forward to attending another Eddy Matzger seminar and working on my form and technique, which is the weakest part of my skating.
Additionally, I've been considering some new ideas regarding the character of the world record attempt. Originally I had intended to make an unofficial, cheap-skate, plain-jane attempt that would consist of me skating laps at Denver's Washington Park one summer weekend (you can read about my reasons for wanting to do an informal attempt here). However, with time I have realized that this is a bad idea, for a number of reasons: the city denied my request for permission to skate overnight; the typical weekend Wash Park traffic of pedestrians, cyclists, dogs, and kids on tricycles hinders me considerably; and Wash Park has hills, as well as sprinklers that soak the course at night with reeking pond water.
So I'm now looking for a closed, flat course where I can set an official Guinness World Record. I'm also considering organizing an event with multiple skaters vying for the world record over the same 24 hours, and combining all of this with a charity fundraiser. All of this will require a lot of energy and time to plan, which is why I'm starting now. I will be posting details as the picture becomes clearer.
I'm a little disappointed to be postponing an event that I've been looking forward to for more than two years, but mostly I'm happy that with the extra time I will be able to organize an exciting event, and most of all that I'll be able to give the world record my best possible effort. I wish good fortune to Philippe Coussy with his own world record attempt this fall, and I look forward to hearing about his result. Godspeed, mon ami!
Tuesday, April 14, 2009
More importantly, I'm quitting WIHT because the negativity of dwelling on what I dislike in life -- every day -- has started to weigh on my soul. I've even been carrying around a little notebook so that when I think of something I hate, I can write it down and post it as a WIHT item later. Which reminds me of something I read a while back: apparently multiple studies in the field of positive psychology have demonstrated that people who spend time every day writing down, and thinking about, the things they are thankful for in life, tend to grow happier over time. If that's true, what would happen to the happiness of a man who spent time every day writing down, and thinking about, the things he hates?
So I'm going to spend the rest of week posting new information about the world record attempt, and then I hope to get around to some other kind of daily non-WR-related posting, maybe What I Love Today or some such. It will be interesting to see if it's harder to make funnies while writing about The Awesome.
Saturday, April 11, 2009
Friday, April 10, 2009
Philippe’s story is told in Man on Wire, a documentary that recounts, in film noir style, the details of his outrageous caper. The movie reveals Petit to be an utterly charming man, a red-haired imp bursting with joie de vivre and total confidence in his talent. As I watched him walk across the sky, I found myself identifying with his quest for the impossible, and with his desire to create something beautiful and fantastic. I will be thinking about M. Petit often as I pursue my own quest (a pursuit, coincidentally enough, in which my rival is a red-haired Frenchman named Philippe).
Thursday, April 9, 2009
Wednesday, April 8, 2009
Right now you are saying, "Hey, why don't you lock your phone's keypad?" Ha ha, I am way ahead of you! I do lock the keypad, of course, but the phonegasm function works even when the keypad is locked. Which would seem to defeat the purpose of locking the keypad. But what does a Harvard dropout like me know?
*Or occasionally when I'm enjoying some frottage on the C train.
Tuesday, April 7, 2009
*EXPLANATORY NOTE FOR CANADIAN READERS: Harvard is America's McGill.
Monday, April 6, 2009
Weighed in at 154 this morning, up 3 pounds from two weeks ago. No great surprise given the combination of gluttony and sloth I've been enjoying.
Sunday, April 5, 2009
Saturday, April 4, 2009
Friday, April 3, 2009
From a design standpoint (that is, nothing to do with politics or national pride) I like the Canadian flag better than the US flag. The Stars and Stripes is not a bad design, but for my taste it is a bit busy and overly freighted with symbolism -- 50 stars for the 50 states! Thirteen stripes for the 13 colonies! The red represents the blood spilled in the Revolution! Et cetera! Remember when you were a kid trying to draw the American flag, and you couldn’t get all the stripes the right width, or get all fifty stars in the blue field, let alone in the right pattern? But I bet Canadian kids can draw their flag, albeit with lopsided maple leaves.
In defense of Old Glory, I will say that it beats out the Mexican flag, which has nice colors, but I can’t stand the cluttery coat of arms in the middle.
Thursday, April 2, 2009
Wednesday, April 1, 2009
Also, at the urging of my yoga-ninja sister, I registered for a series of basics classes at a nearby Iyengar yoga center, to start on Monday.
I am enjoying my down time but I do need some physical activity -- the lack of stress relief has brought the usual headaches and tinnitus, plus I keep catching myself clenching my teeth. I hope I'm not grinding them in my sleep. I also have to force myself not to hunch over the steering wheel when I drive. Stress is weird.
McDonald’s, of course, wanted me to read this claim and imagine an eagle-eyed inspector in a sterile lab coat --I envision him wearing a monocle and speaking in a German accent -- exhaustively examining each egg and rejecting specimens that fail to meet McDonalds’s stringent standards. But how is anything like that possible? Even if an egg inspector can average 1 inspection per second (for 40 hours a week, 50 weeks a year, without going insane), McDonald’s would need more than 400 inspectors to meet the demand. My guess is that McDonald’s egg inspection process consists of bored employees trying not to fall asleep while crates of eggs on conveyor belts whoosh past.
And how do you inspect an egg, anyway? The part we eat is inside the shell, right? Maybe the inspectors look for broken eggs, and then inspect the contents. “Hey, this egg is perfect! Too bad we can’t use it, because the shell is broken.”
Tuesday, March 31, 2009
My greatest disappointment came a while back when I bought a chocolate old-fashioned doughnut and rammed it into my face with gluttonous intent, only to find it dry and bland. How do you fuck up an old-fashioned doughnut? Hy-Vee and King Soopers make delicious OFDs, full of greasy chewy crunchy sugary goodness, but the world's biggest coffee retailer can't manage the feat? Or figure out how to buy pastries from someone who can?
Monday, March 30, 2009
Hours this week: 3
Hours this year: 151.5
Miles skated this week: 0
Miles this year: Skates 594, Bike 583
Sunday, March 29, 2009
Saturday, March 28, 2009
I don't know why I dislike this phrase. Maybe because nobody ever says, "Second off," or "third off."
Friday, March 27, 2009
Also, I love Albi the Racist Dragon. Har!
Thursday, March 26, 2009
Now, as it happens, my world record attempt probably will raise money for charity, just like most races. The Boston Marathon, for example, raises money for several charities, including Habitat for Humanity and the National Multiple Sclerosis Society. But if I said I was training for the Boston Marathon, nobody would ask if I was doing it as a fundraiser, would they?
Wednesday, March 25, 2009
My knee is not badly injured. I barely notice it during my daily routine, and during most skating workouts it's more annoying than genuinely painful or debilitating. Sometimes I feel like a wuss for breaking training for something that seems so minor. But I've been an endurance athlete for most of my life, and I have to trust my instinct when it tells me that, in its current condition, my knee can't handle four more months of vigorous training, including long skates of up to 10 hours.
I hate being injured. I hate not knowing how much time my knee will need to heal, and how it will affect my world record attempt. I hate missing out on the sense of accomplishment and progress that regular workouts bring. My body has become accustomed to massive quantities of exercise, and without my fix of physical exertion, I get headaches and tinnitus from unrelieved stress. And when I'm feeling depressed and adrift, I eat junk food to make myself feel better, a tactic that works wonderfully for as long as 8 seconds.
I'm trying not to get too down about this, because in the universe of possible problems this is a small one to have. I'm thinking positively about solutions. I'm trying to learn a lesson about letting go of attachment to silly achievements. I'm trying.
*I don’t mind that there are ads on Facebook, as long as Facebook remains free. But I hate the particular ads on Facebook -- it’s one of the most popular sites on the internet, and the best advertisers they can get are cheesy dating sites and “get your stimulus check” scams? It’s like watching the ads on daytime cable TV. Pretty soon FB will be running ads for shady personal-injury law firms.
Tuesday, March 24, 2009
Weighed in at 151 this morning, down 1 pound from two weeks ago, and no change from last week.
Monday, March 23, 2009
How would we like it if America’s national teams played in jerseys that said “EEUU” or something unintelligible (to us) in Arabic or Korean lettering? The only national team I know of that ignores the Roman alphabet is Russia’s hockey team, which follows the tradition of the Soviet Union’s terrifying “CCCP” jerseys by rendering its nation’s name in Cyrillic calligraphy. Is it any coincidence that the resulting jersey is super-sweet?
*Oddly enough, it seems that Japanese baseball teams, playing each other in Japanese baseball leagues, use English names and Roman lettering on their uniforms.
Sunday, March 22, 2009
Today: Rode my bike to the gym for leg strength, core strength, balance, and stretching. Time 1:30.
I get occasional twinges in my left knee, but if I stay in low gears on the bike it feels fine. I picked up a patellar ligament strap -- according to the reading I've done, this eliminates pain for some people. I wore it while riding my bike today but it's hard to tell if it's doing any good.
Unfortunately, it now feels like I've slightly strained a muscle in my right quad. I'm going to take this next week even easier then this week -- no leg strength, just easy bike commuting and stretching and balance exercises along with core exercises and maybe some yoga. I've been thinking a lot about what this all means for my record attempt and I'm hoping to post something about that in the next few days.
Hours this week: 5
Hours this year: 148.5
Miles skated this week: 6
Miles this year: Skates 594, Bike 536
WHAT I HATE TODAY: Your daily dose of negative energy (At Least It's Right Twice A Day Edition, Part the Fourth)
This photo taken at 3:37. As far as you know.
Saturday, March 21, 2009
Friday, March 20, 2009
Or maybe basketball itself should copy the pools and start counting 20 points for field goals, 10 points for free throws, and 30 points for long-range field goals. How thrilling it will be when Connecticut beats Gonzaga 770-680 in the title game, with Stanley Robinson scoring 350 points for the Huskies!
I think I’ll start a March Madness pool that scores 17.718 points in the first round, 35.436 points in the second round, 53.154 points in the third round… stop me when this becomes hilarious…
WIHT BONUS! I’m learning to play Bridge, which suffers from the same problem: 30 points for tricks in Spades and Hearts, 20 points for tricks in Clubs and Diamonds, 40 points or 30 points for No Trump tricks, bonuses of 700 or 500 points… divide out the 10, dammit!
Thursday, March 19, 2009
This is too obvious to bother typing out, but anybody trying to lose weight by saving 0.3 calories per breath mint has a long row to hoe. A long and very stupid row.
Wednesday, March 18, 2009
Tuesday, March 17, 2009
Monday, March 16, 2009
I’m going to take it easy and recover this week. I’m ahead of last year in terms of both distance and speed, and there’s no reason to risk an injury that could set me back weeks.
Calories: 1250 (250 cal/hr)
Fluid: 2600 ml (520 ml/hr), took 1 potty break
Weight: lost 1 pound, which is fine
Hours this week: 16.25
Hours this year: 143.5
Miles skated this week: 121
Miles this year: Skates 586, Bike 502
Today: What workout? Monday is my day off, except when it’s not.
Sunday, March 15, 2009
Friend: "Yeah... that sounds funny."
Me: "I guess you had to be there."
Why do I bother trying to explain other people's funnies? It's utterly futile.
Saturday, March 14, 2009
Friday, March 13, 2009
WHAT I HATE TODAY: Your daily dose of negative energy (At Least It’s Right Twice A Day Edition, Part the Third)
This photo taken at 6:38, as far as you know.
The north face of the clock can’t even be right twice a day!
Thursday, March 12, 2009
Wednesday, March 11, 2009
Tuesday, March 10, 2009
Monday, March 9, 2009
Sunday, March 8, 2009
Mon ami Philippe Coussy, chasseur de records mondiaux d'endurance à roller, today posted a long skate of 54.5 miles in 3:40:47 (14.8 mph), HR 72%. Bravo, Philippe!
Hours this week: 15.5
Hours this year: 127.25
Miles skated this week: 112
Miles this year: Skates 465, Bike 463
Saturday, March 7, 2009
Today: It was a bit chilly, so I put on the Rad 100s and skated 18 miles in 1:17:25 (14.0 mph), HR 73%, temp 39. Then I rode my bike to the gym for leg strength and core strength. Time 3:15.
The sticker actually came off more easily than it looks in the photo, but only with a few maddening minutes of careful peeling and fingernail-picking. What kind of dumbfuckery is this? Are saucepan manufacturers unaware that proper use of a saucepan involves heating from the bottom, and that an flammable object glued to said bottom might hinder the saucepan’s usefulness? Was there no other way to convey the vital information printed on the sticker?
Friday, March 6, 2009
Thursday, March 5, 2009
Wednesday, March 4, 2009
Tuesday, March 3, 2009
Today I hate horror movies that, instead of going to all the hard work of creating an atmosphere of genuine suspense and creepiness, rely on the lazy technique of showing something semi-scary and then jolting the viewer with a piercing shriek on the soundtrack. This happens in too many bad horror movies to name (and a few good ones, like The Ring) but it came to mind last night as I was watching a trailer for The Haunting in Connecticut, which looks like a garden-variety haunted house movie. Watch the trailer and ask yourself: is what you’re seeing actually scary, or just startling? Admittedly, Haunting does look like it has some creepy scenes -- they’re the ones that are still scary with the sound off. This is part of my general gripe that music and sound design get wielded like a sledgehammer in too many movies. The Blair Witch Project was one of the best horror movies I’ve ever seen, and it only used natural sound.
On a related note, why don’t the people in haunted house movies just move? If you moved into a house and found that the walls were leaking deadly gases, you would move, wouldn’t you? But when movie characters move into a house built on an ancient Indian burial ground and filled with malevolent spirits bent on dragging them into Hell… meh, let's stick it out, we don't want to lose our down payment, after all...
I got an comment on my blog today from mon ami Philippe Coussy, winner of last year's 24-hour solo events at Le Mans and Montreal, and holder of the (unofficial) world record for 24 hours with drafting (~356 miles). He wished me luck with my world record attempt and said that, this September in France, he also will be making an attempt on the 24-hour time trial WR.
This is exciting news. Philippe is a very strong ultradistance skater and a worthy adversary in my quest to become the world's best 24-hour skater. I will be making my WR attempt in July or August, and now my goal has to be not only to break Mauro Guenci's record, but to put the record out of the reach of M. Coussy. I e-mailed Philippe to wish him luck, and I'm looking forward to following his training progress on his blog. What fantastic motivation for me!
Monday, March 2, 2009
I'm a little worried about my left knee, specifically the tissue that connects the bottom of the kneecap to the lower leg bone (the patellar ligament). I strained that ligament during last year's 24-hour race in Montreal. It hurt during yesterday's long skate -- not very much, but enough to make me wonder if it will become a problem. It ached a little today so I've been applying ice and taking ibuprofen.
While I’m at it, why the shortage of sports teams named after mythical creatures of any species? I can think of these offhand: NY Giants, SF Giants, Tennessee Titans, LA Angels, NJ Devils, Washington Wizards… and that’s it. Did we really need for the NBA’s newest team to take the bo-ring name Bobcats, or for the transplanted Sonics to take the idiotic singular name Thunder, when there are names available like the Cyclops, the Centaurs, the Griffins, the Ghosts, the Phantoms, and the Monsters? Women’s teams could be the Medusas (really the Gorgons, I guess), the Furies, or the Sirens. C’mon, marketing departments of major league sports franchises -- how about some creativity?
Sunday, March 1, 2009
For some reason this reminds me of something very sad I saw once at Wash Park: a tiny dog, maybe a Chihuahua, that had somehow lost both of its hind legs and had been fitted with a sort of harness on wheels. The poor little guy was churning his front legs like crazy, but the wheels didn't turn very well, and his tongue was hanging out as he exerted himself to make very slow progress. Meanwhile, his owner -- a chubby lady who probably spends a week in bed if she gets a hangnail -- was walking about 100 feet ahead of her dog, and kept hectoring him in an impatient tone: "Come on, Zippy! Catch up! C'mon, now!" Hey, let's lop off one of your legs and see how fast you get around.
For some reason this reminds me of a conversation I had the other day at a housewarming party, in which both Chihuahuas and dogfighting were mentioned separately. It occurred to me that Chihuahua dogfighting would be The Awesome. By which I mean that it would be a cruel and inhumane practice that any sensible and decent person should condemn. I'm just saying that if someone invited me to a Chihuahua dogfight, I would have to pause a moment before saying, "Obviously not."
BONUS WIHT! Today I also hate the word "Chihuahua," which I could not type correctly in this post.
Hours this week: 14.5
Hours this year: 111.75
Miles skated this week: 100
Miles this year: Skates 353, Bike 407
Saturday, February 28, 2009
Today: Rode my bike to the gym for leg strength and core strength. Then I skated 20.25 miles in 1:20:22 (15.1 mph), HR 70%, temp 46. My legs were kind of toasted from the strength workout but still a good skate. Time 3:15.
Friday, February 27, 2009
*Explanatory note for Canadian readers: This is an example of the American humor technique known as "making shit up." Herpes is not actually a fungus -- it is a tiny catfish native to the Amazon River that can lodge itself in the urethra of unsuspecting swimmers, locking itself in place with its spines. It can only be removed with surgery.
Thursday, February 26, 2009
Wednesday, February 25, 2009
*Explanatory note for Canadian readers: Too Beautiful to Live is a massively popular Seattle radio show/podcast that attracts a larger audience than the combined viewership of American Idol, Sesame Street, and Seinfeld reruns. Every night, over 500 million Americans tune in to hear host Luke Burbank read lists of prison nicknames, or to learn about producer Jen Andrews’ obsession with Michael Cera, or to find out if sound mixer Sean De Tore gained weight (Answer: Yes). All accompanied by silly audio clips from the Internet!
Tuesday, February 24, 2009
I weighed in at 154 this morning, up 1 pound from last week. Grrr!
*Explanatory note for Canadian readers: A “9-volt battery” is an object that Americans use to decorate the insides of their smoke detectors. It is generally considered to have no practical use, although it was famously employed by American horror author H.P. Lovecraft, who used to think up the names of monsters (“Cthulhu!”) by touching 9-volt batteries to his tongue. (Discussion questions: Can we all agree that H.P. Lovecraft was a very strange-looking man? What’s going on with that wandering right eye? And how did he get cellulite on his chin?)
Monday, February 23, 2009
Stairclimbing race! This was the third time I’ve run the American Lung Association’s Run the Republic, a race to the top of the tallest building in Denver. I knew I couldn’t run double-steps all the way to the top, so I started off running single-steps and was quickly passed by a guy who was doing a weird Spider-Man thing: walking double-steps and hauling himself upward by grabbing the handrails on both sides of the stairway. At the 21st floor I switched to running double-steps, my HR shot to 97%, and I caught Spider-Man a few floors later.
At the 38th floor we were supposed to turn right and run down a short hallway to where the stairway continued. Confused by oxygen debt, I turned left instead… and ran into a wall, embarrassing myself in front of a pair of pompon-waving cheerleaders (I am reasonably sure this was not a hallucination). By this time my breaths were coming in great heaving gasps, my legs were turning into wood, and at the 50th floor I stumbled and reverted to single steps until the finish at the 53rd floor.
The result: 56 floors and 1,098 steps in 7:25 with avg. HR 93%, an improvement of 55 seconds over the same race last year! Official results have not been posted but it looked like I took 8th place out of ~1,800 climbers -- my best placement yet at this race. The only disappointment was that I faltered at the top: if I could have shaved 6 seconds I would have moved into 5th place. I sipped water during the entire climb and my throat only got a little scorched with some coughing, nothing a little Yogi Tea Throat Comfort can’t fix.
It was a beautiful day in Denver, so after a leisurely breakfast I went skating: 26.4 miles in 1:44:39 (15.1 mph), HR 70%, temp 61. Then to the gym for a short strength workout. Time 2:45. Sunday marked the end of my Preseason training phase -- now I enter a 10-week Base training phase.
Hours this week: 11.25
Hours this year: 97.25
Miles skated this week: 28
Miles this year: Skates 253, Bike 353
Today: What workout? Monday is my day off, except when it's not.
Sunday, February 22, 2009
WHAT I HATE TODAY: Your daily dose of negative energy (At Least It's Right Twice A Day Edition, Part the Second)
This photo taken at 12:37 pm. As far as you know.
Saturday, February 21, 2009
Friday, February 20, 2009
Thursday, February 19, 2009
Today I reviewed my 2008 Montreal training log with an eye toward filling in the details of my 2009 world record training plan tomorrow. It was a little nostalgic, reliving all those long skates... and a little exciting thinking about the long skates to come this summer.
*Explanatory note for Canadian readers: “Jet packs” are an American invention, originally developed in the 1960s for secret agents such as the American spy James Bond. However, with the end of the cold war in the 1990s, Americans realized a “peace dividend” as the U.S. government declassified jet pack technology and made it available to citizens. Today, nearly two in five Americans use jet packs for their daily transportation needs. (These consumer-grade jet packs have been “defanged,” of course, and unlike the military models are incapable of firing missiles, laying down oil slicks or smoke screens, or deploying grappling hooks.)
Wednesday, February 18, 2009
But this label says, “Keep up.” Yes. Keep up. As in, “Keep up, slowpoke,” or, “What’s the matter with you? Keep up!” Kind of aggressive for Yogi Tea, don’t you think? Maybe the label writer was having a bad day.
Tuesday, February 17, 2009
Weighed in at 153 this morning, no change from last week.
The Onion Movie is a series of parody TV news items. This would have worked if the items had been funny, and if the filmmakers had stuck with it -- they could have had a morning show, a sports show, a financial segment, a disaster report, and so forth, plus commercials. But the jokes seemed like rejects from The Onion’s main publication, and the writers tacked on a dopey framing device about the anchorman that culminated in a painfully unfunny cameo by Steven Seagal. The whole thing seemed to have been outsourced to the lowest bidder in Sri Lanka.
Fair warning: The Onion Movie is not so bad it’s good. It’s just bad. Don’t watch it.
Monday, February 16, 2009
Today I hate when my left front tooth is suddenly chipped for no reason I can recall.
My right front tooth is also chipped. But I remember how that happened: I was at a bar on New Year’s Eve, drinking beer* out of a heavy glass mug, and I misjudged the distance between the mug and my face -- this was not my first beer of the evening -- and I smacked the mug into my tooth. I spat the tiny chip into my hand and considered putting it on ice, so maybe I could get it glued or welded back on or something. But that sounded like an awful lot of trouble, so I flicked the chip onto the floor and kept drinking.
The chipped place was sharp at first. Being a highly evolved lifeform endowed with intelligence and the ability to reason, I instinctively rubbed the spot with my tongue until I developed a sore (and then I kept rubbing it anyway, while saying “ow”). After a few years the spot has worn smooth. None of this has anything to do with my left front tooth, of course, but chipped-tooth stories never fail to fascinate.
*Explanatory note for Canadian readers: “Beer” is an alcoholic beverage, invented in America, and made out of fermented barley, hops, and unicorn semen. Going to places where people drink beer theoretically makes it easier to obtain casual sex, although I cannot confirm this from personal experience. Famous American beers include Foster’s, Heineken, and Molson Canadian.
Sunday, February 15, 2009
After the race I went to the gym for some easy cardio. Time 2:00.
Today: Skated 20.25 miles in 1:22:50 (14.7 mph), HR 70%, temp 47 and windy. Then to the gym for leg strength and core exercises. Time 3:30.
Hours this week: 13.75
Hours this year: 86
Miles skated this week: 22
Miles skated this year: 225
Today I hate Lawrence’s kitchen faucet. In most cases, hot water flows from the left and cold from the right, which is true of Lawrence’s faucet.* However, for some inexplicable reason, the knobs to turn the faucet on are backwards. Hot water flows from the knob marked “c” and cold water flows from the knob marked “h”. When I first turned the faucet on, I thought maybe Lawrence had backwards plumbing (I have experienced that situation before), so I followed the lettered indicators, but couldn’t get the temperature right (I was fumbling to get warm water). Lawrence observed my frustration and mentioned that the knobs were erroneously lettered. WTF? Seriously, how difficult is it to get this correct? It's standardized! Okay, maybe the person installing the faucet in the 1960s didn’t speak English, but, over the years, you would think a supervisor or landlord or tenant would have pointed this out and corrected the problem. Not correcting this is pure pigritude**!
*For the Canadians, U.S. Americans have this system called “indoor plumbing”. So, instead of drawing up water from a well, water flows through “pipes” which come directly into our homes. In addition to cold water, we also get hot water. It’s pretty amazing.
**Pigritude is a word I adopted. Please consider adopting a word of your own and saving it from extinction: http://www.savethewords.org.
Saturday, February 14, 2009
Today I hate the carrots in carrot cake. What are they doing in there? It appears to me that carrot cake is a delicious spice cake topped with nummy cream cheese frosting… and riddled with shredded carrots, which serve no purpose I can discern. Do they add flavor? Or sweetness? Or merely texture?
I’d wager the inventor of carrot cake had a pile of carrots going bad, and started dumping shredded carrots into everything -- pancakes, oatmeal, margaritas, whatever -- and somehow the carrot cake recipe stuck. Either that or the powerful, shadowy carrot-industrial complex is behind this somehow.
Friday, February 13, 2009
On Monday I was in meetings all day at work, so my company bought lunch -- not a big deal, really. But then the delivery guy gave me an extra -- and extra-large -- piece of carrot cake in addition to the dessert in my boxed lunch.
On Wednesday someone brought around homemade cookies. Then someone else brought me her half-eaten cookie because she thought I might want to finish it. She was wrong.
Yesterday I came to work to find a package of Hostess Donettes on my desk, left there after a co-worker suffered a fit of buyer’s remorse. You can see that I have gained a reputation as the office garbage disposal.
Today I came to work to find a cream cheese cupcake on my desk, left by an unknown benefactor -- or perhaps these treats are now generating spontaneously from the ether? And someone just stopped by my cube to mention that our boss had bought us all breakfast burritos.
The free food situation this week has been nothing out of the ordinary. This sort of thing happens all the time, and on top of all this there are the candy dishes around the office, the cookies left in common areas, and the birthday cakes. When I’m buying food for myself I eat a mostly healthful diet -- both for its own sake and to get lean for the world record attempt -- but it’s hard to stay on the wagon when people constantly thrust junk food in your face. I have started ignoring most of these free food offers, or throwing the food away when the donating party turns their back. Americans don’t like to throw food away, but why? We apparently have so many calories available to us that we can afford to give them away in mass quantities.
It’s no mystery to me why Americans are fat and getting fatter: our food culture has flipped the fuck out. I think that food culture has a lot more to do with our national weight problem than we like to think, and as evidence I offer this anecdote: I have a friend who struggled with his weight his entire life, until he served with the Peace Corps in a developing country. While he was there he became rail-thin, just like the people who surrounded him. Now, this developing nation is not a starving nation -- its citizens have plenty of food available to them and could eat themselves into obesity if they wanted to, but their food culture prevents this. My friend had lost 25 pounds, without trying, merely by immersing himself in a more sensible food culture. Since his return to the United States he has regained the weight and is struggling, much to his confusion, to lose it. “What am I doing wrong?” he keeps asking. It’s hard to buck your culture.
WIHT Update! I went to a meeting and there was a peanut butter cookie in the conference room, free for the taking. When I got back to my desk, a sandwich bag of Cheetos had spontaneously sprouted in my inbox.
WIHT Update 2! Free bagels and fruit in the lunchroom... why do I bother buying groceries? I could go freegan without having to root through dumpsters.
WIHT Update 3! The same co-worker who gave me the Hostess Donettes just gave me a leftover taco from his lunch.
WIHT Update 4! Today (Saturday) I went to a snowshoeing race in Frisco and won an apple pie as a door prize.
Thursday, February 12, 2009
Then to the Marriott for stairclimbing: 8 climbs of 20 flights each (2 walking, 3 running, 3 running/bounding). Time today 2:00.
I weighed my bike today. With all the usual accessories (fenders, rack, panniers, lock, bell, Iowa native sticker, etc.), but without any cargo, it came in at 42 pounds. Is that a lot? That seems like a lot.
I also hate when my dining companion asks a simple question -- “What kinds of fruit and cheese come with the fruit and cheese plate?” -- and the waitress replies, “I don’t know, I’m kind of new here… do you want me to ask?” which implies that my dining companion’s question is unimportant and puts her in the bad-cop position of having to say, “Yes, go ask.” The correct answer is, “Let me check on that and I’ll be right back.”*
Furthermore, I hate when I order an elk steak sandwich and the waitress looks confused and says, “A what???” and then, after I repeat my order, says, “Ohhhh… I thought you said an oak steak sandwich.” If you work at a restaurant that serves elk, shouldn’t you be able to extrapolate from “oak steak sandwich” to “elk steak sandwich” from context alone?
Likewise, I hate when the waitress returns and asks, “Do you want cheese on your elk burger?” and has to be reminded that I ordered an elk steak sandwich, not a burger.
Additionally, I hate when the elk steak sandwich is lousy, just a square of meat plopped on a crumbly bun without enough roasted potatoes on the side. This, at least, was not the waitress’s fault.
Also, I hate when we go upstairs for swing dancing, and order two glasses of wine at the bar, and the bartender says, “We don’t keep the wine up here -- I have to go downstairs and get it.” And then we have to hang around the bar for several long minutes while the bartender chases our drinks down. Am I missing something here? Doesn’t the wine belong at the bar where it will be served?
Finally, I hate when this happens at a place that should be The Awesome. The Mercury Cafe has a unique and beautifully decorated space, with an attractive hipster staff festooned with tattoos and dreadlocks. It strives to serve organic, locally sourced food. It acts as a community center, hosting club gatherings -- a Go club was meeting there during our dinner -- and poetry readings, and dances with live music. But I’ve been there three times now, and twice the food has disappointed (and it proved merely decent the other time). A restaurant has nothing without good food and good service, regardless of any frills it offers.
*I should add that the restaurant was not busy and that the waitress had time to go to the kitchen to get information for a customer. I have worked as a waiter and I have sympathy for their plight, especially when the place is slammed. But not infinitely so.