Saturday, January 31, 2009

Today's workout

To the gym for leg strength, core strength, and cardio, time 3:00. For the first time I did 3 sets of 20 one-leg squats, which is a bit of a milestone for me.

WHAT I HATE TODAY: Your daily dose of negative energy (Super Bowl Edition!)

Today I hate that the Super Bowl is never a home game or a cold-weather game. How fantastic would it be if the the USA's most popular sporting event could be played in driving snow in Green Bay or Buffalo, in front of hordes of rabid fans? But this will never happen. The Super Bowl will always be played at a neutral site in a warm-weather city or under a dome, in front of mildly excited connected corporate types calling their friends to say, "I'm at the Super Bowl," and the connected corporate types' wives waiting impatiently for all the silly football to stop so they can watch the Wayne Newton halftime extravaganza.

Friday, January 30, 2009

Today's workout

Skated 15.75 miles in 1:08:01 (13.9 mph), HR 71%, temp 42-40.* Tonight's skate was significant because the temperature was similar to the average low temperature on the date I've been considering for the WR attempt (47 degrees and September 5-6). I was interested in whether I could skate comfortably at this temperature in clothes that I could change without removing my jersey or skates, and that weren't too cumbersome.

The answer: a quite definite NO. I wore light stretchy gloves, arm warmers, a bandanna under my helmet, and a pair of sweat pants I cut off just below the knee -- and I was uncomfortably cold the entire skate. By the time I finished, my toes were numb and my arms and fingers were stiff and cold. I had planned to skate for 2 hours but I saw no point in continuing the misery. I have skated in much colder temps than this, but only with a warm undershirt, heavier gloves, and skate covers, none of which I want to contend with during the WR attempt.

It appears that temperature will be a problem. There is no 24-hour time period at any point of the year in Colorado with acceptable temperatures at both the high and low ends. Our dry, thin air doesn't hold heat well, so even hot summer days can be followed by cool nights. For example, if I go for the record on August 8-9, the average high and low are 88 (warm enough to affect performance) and 54 (cool enough to need arm warmers at nighttime). There is no way to get around this without a radical change in location, so it appears I have a choice to make: do I want to face the heat or the cold?

* Explanatory note for Canadian readers: temperatures on this blog are given in "degrees Fahrenheit," -- much like the "degrees Kelvin" you use, except better. The conversion is quite simple: 1 degree Fahrenheit equals 2.54 degrees Kelvin, so 42 degrees Fahrenheit equals... uh... divide? multiply? Anyway, if you can find one of those banks with the signs that show the temperature in both scales, just wait around till it says "42F" and the answer will appear shortly thereafter.

WHAT I HATE TODAY: Your daily dose of negative energy (Super Bowl Edition!)

Today I hate it when people spell it "Superbowl." It's the "Super Bowl*," dammit -- you don't write "Rosebowl," or "Chickfilabowl," or "Worldseries," do you?

* Explanatory note for Canadian readers: The "Super Bowl" is the championship game of the National Football League, an organization that promotes exhibitions of professional American football -- a sport not unlike your "Australian Rules Football." What's that? Australia and Canada are different places? Forgive me, my mistake. I thought they were different names for the same country, like "Holland" and "The Netherlands." You have to admit it's pretty confusing when you all put Queen Victoria on your money.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Today's workout

To the gym for leg strength, core strength, and balance exercises. Ho-hum. I saw three employees from my neighborhood Safeway working out. Maybe they will bag my groceries extra-fast next time with their enhanced muscles. Time 2:00.

WHAT I HATE TODAY: Your daily dose of negative energy

Today I hate this sign, posted on a street in my neighborhood:

I know I'm being an asshole two days in a row. But I sincerely don't understand what I'm supposed to do differently when driving on this block. Should I flash my lights? Paint my car blaze orange? Learn American Sign Language? And how long has this sign been up? Probably the "DEAF CHILD" is 19 now and a physics major at Gallaudet.

For some reason this reminds me of a passage I read once in an Iowa Department of Transportation publication, noting that in Iowa, drivers must yield to blind pedestrians using white canes tipped with red. Wait -- shouldn't drivers yield to all pedestrians, blind or not, and regardless of the colors of their canes? If a blind person walks in front of my car using a plaid cane tipped with chartreuse, is it okay with the State* of Iowa if I plow them under my front bumper?

* Explanatory note for Canadian readers: For administrative purposes, America is divided into 50 regions called "states," much like your "parishes." Americans like to make a big deal over how different each state is from all the rest, and this might have been true at one time. But, thanks to the efforts of corporations like McDonald's, Conoco, and The Gap, all the states are pretty much the same these days.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Today's workout

To the gym for low-intensity cardio, time 2:00. I kept my HR pegged around 70% and took a break every 20 minutes to check my throat. It tickled on occasion and I coughed a few times, but mostly everything was fine. I think I will stay away from stairclimbing till next week, though.

I weighed in at 154 this morning -- no change from last week, which is a relief given my decreased workout volume last week.

After taking time off work on Monday to see my doctor and get X-rays -- blowing $70 on co-pays in the process -- my hurting right foot immediately started feeling better. Criminy!

WHAT I HATE TODAY: Your daily dose of negative energy

Today I hate the girls' basketball team of Dallas Academy, who recently lost to The Covenant School 100-0.* Granted, only 20 girls attend Dallas Academy -- 8 of whom play on the varsity team -- and the team has not won a game in four years. But how do you fail to score in a basketball game? Even if you jack it up from halfcourt every time, it has to go in eventually, right? I am genuinely curious how this happened. Unfortunately, nobody seems to have posted a video of the game to YouTube.

* Yes, I also hate the coach at Covenant -- a Christian school! -- for running up the score on an obviously overmatched team. But I'm trying to be edgy here.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Today's workout

To the gym for leg strength, core strength, and balance exercises, time 2:15. I'm pleased that I continue to get a little stronger with each workout, slowly increasing the weight lifted or adding reps for bodyweight exercises. I occasionally got the tickle in my throat tonight with a little coughing. I'm going to try a low-intensity cardio workout tomorrow to see what happens.

WHAT I HATE TODAY: Your daily dose of negative energy

Today I hate tinnitus that sounds like an old dial-up modem. This started about five minutes ago. This must be what hell is like -- an eternity of feeling like it's 1994 and you're trying to log on to AOL.

Monday, January 26, 2009

WHAT I HATE TODAY: Your daily dose of negative energy

Today I hate the pathetic and degrading scrounging for quarters* that, as an apartment dweller, I must endure if I want to wear clothing free of armpit stink and gravy stains. I can buy rolls of quarters at the grocery store, but this requires that a delicate balance of factors falls into place, namely: (a) I remember to get quarters when I go grocery shopping, and (b) the grocery store has quarters available. This combination does not occur as often as it really ought to in a country that claims to be the Greatest of All Possible Nations.

WIHT HAPPY ENDING! I was discussing this problem with a friend when I said, in jest, "I should just go to the bank and get, like, a hundred dollars in quarters!" Immediately upon saying this, I realized that not only was this not absurd -- it's not like the coins spoil, after all -- it was actually the obvious solution to my problem. So I went to the bank today, withdrew $100 from the ATM, bought ten rolls of quarters, and now I can do laundry worry-free for the next three months. I can't believe I didn't think of this till now.

* Explanatory note for Canadian readers: a "quarter" is worth 25 "cents," where 100 "cents" make up a "dollar," which is the basic unit of American currency (analogous to your "loonie"). We call it a "quarter" because it's worth one quarter (that is, ¼) of a "dollar," get it? What's that? You have quarters too? Oh... never mind then.

Hard to believe that's a hundred bucks right there.

Today's workout

What workout? Monday is my day off, except when it's not. So I worked late and then ran around doing the errands I couldn't get to the previous six days.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

WHAT I HATE TODAY: Your daily dose of negative energy

Today I hate the people at the gym who take weights off the rack, then stand right in front of the rack while doing their bicep curls or whatever, thereby obstructing people named Lawrence Pelo from getting weights off the rack. These people* usually have pimples on their backs.

* That is, the people obstructing the weight rack, not the people named Lawrence Pelo.

Today's workout

To the gym for leg strength, core strength, and balance exercises, time 2:00. I felt a little depleted and loafed a bit between exercises. No cardio so as spare my throat. My right foot still hurts -- I'll be calling the M.D. tomorrow.

Hours this week: 8.75
Hours this year: 44.75
Miles skated this week: 13
Miles skated this year: 114

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Today's workout

Skated 11.25 miles in 50:55 (13.3 mph), HR 73%, temp 32. I only coughed a couple of times while skating, but immediately upon finishing my throat started tickling and I've had some coughing fits. I guess I'll have to take a few days off from cardio workouts to let my throat heal.

On the positive side, I was able to keep my feet warm by wearing the K2 Rad 100's. Two pairs of socks and my toes stayed toasty.

WHAT I HATE TODAY: Your daily dose of negative energy

Today I hate the depressingly common phrase “is dependent.” I heard this in a “Pardon the Interruption” podcast this morning in this context: “Larry Fitzgerald is dependent on Kurt Warner.”

Why not say “Larry Fitzgerald depends on Kurt Warner”? This usage expresses the same thought while cutting one word and two syllables, and more importantly it uses an active verb instead of the weak “to be” verb.

Your raise is dependent on your performance.
Your raise depends on your performance.

Whether I go is dependent on whether I finish my work.
Whether I go depends on whether I finish my work.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Today's workout

To the gym for leg strength, core strength, and balance exercises. Time 1:30 -- I skipped the cardio tonight because my throat has been tickling and I've been coughing -- a sign that the stairclimbing workouts are scorching my throat. It's not bad, but more cardio would make it worse. It looks like I'll have to lessen the intensity of one of my stairclimbing workouts each week.

My right foot still hurts and seems to be getting worse. It is now slightly -- but noticeably -- swollen. If I don't see improvement by Monday I'll make an appointment with my doctor.

WHAT I HATE TODAY: Your daily dose of negative energy

Today I hate that buildings don't mark their 13th floors as such. I have found this to be remarkably silly since I was 10 years old and riding in a hotel elevator with my parents. "Why isn't there a button for the 13th floor?" I asked.

"Well, some people are superstitious," my dad said, "and they don't like to stay on the 13th floor because 13 is unlucky."

I stared in disbelief. "But there's still a 13th floor," I said. "It's just marked as the 14th floor! Does the bad luck stay away just because the doors say 14 instead of 13?"

I still feel this way. If we're going to be consistent about this, then we really ought to build an empty 13th floor into each building. Although I bet you could rent that space to companies that have been forced to cut corners for one reason or another, like the 7½ floor in Being John Malkovich.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Today's workout

To the Marriott for stairclimbing. 8 climbs of 20 flights each (2 walking, 1 bounding, 2 running, 3 running+bounding), which replicates Tuesday's workout plus an extra running climb. My fastest climb was 1:34 -- not a PR, but that's okay since I'm not as fresh as I was Tuesday. HR data: avg. 76%/max 96%.

On a related note, I am getting pretty awesome at lip-synching to my iPod in the elevator mirror while riding from the 20th floor to the 2nd.

WHAT I HATE TODAY: Your daily dose of negative energy

Today I hate our office scanner, which constantly reminds us that its scanning surface is dirty, even though the glass is perfectly clean, and our scans and copies turn out just fine. Is it possible for a scanner to have obsessive-compulsive disorder? Or body dysmorphic disorder? I half expect to see the machine in the bathroom, washing itself over and over, or purging its lunch into the toilet. I'm going to start telling it that it's pretty.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Today's workout

To the gym for leg strength, core strength, balance, and cardio exercises. Time 3:00. I'm looking forward to getting my bike fixed this weekend -- commuting to work by bike is a very time-efficient way to pump up the workout hours.

I weighed in this morning at 154, down 2 pounds from last week. This is good. If I can get down to 150 for the stairclimbing race it will really help.

WHAT I HATE TODAY: Your daily dose of negative energy

Today I hate taking down the Barack Obama poster from my front door. It was fun while it lasted, but now it's time to get to work. Best of luck to you, Mr. President.

I'll miss the Hopemonger greeting me each evening. Click on the photo below and notice how I ingeniously cut a hole in his left nostril so I could still see through the peephole.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Today's workout

To the Marriott for stairclimbing.: 7 climbs of 20 flights each (one climb less than usual as I was short of quarters to plug the parking meter). This workout was more intense than the last one: 2 walking climbs, 1 bounding, 1 running, 3 running+bounding. I couldn't believe it when I finished the bounding climb and saw that I had nailed it in 1:30 -- a 10-second improvement! I'm pleased that the running+bounding climbs are starting to seem normal, while the running-only climbs are starting to seem easy. HR data was avg. 77%/max 97%.

I was sure I was going to get busted tonight by Marriott security. Some guy in a security uniform watched me enter the stairwell and followed me in, but didn't say anything or follow me up the stairs. Axel Foley's Rule #1 of Getting Away With It: Always act like you're supposed to be doing whatever it is you're not supposed to be doing.

My right foot hurts. I really tweaked it showshoeing and now it is quite painful to walk. Running on flat surfaces is out of the question -- I'm amazed I was able to run 4 miles last Friday. I suppose it will improve with RICE. Fortunately I can skate and climb stairs without aggravating it.

Permission slip

I sent this email today to the manager of Denver Parks & Recreation:

My name is Lawrence Pelo, and I compete in ultradistance inline skating (what many people call rollerblading). This summer I will attempt to break the world record for the longest distance covered on inline skates in 24 hours. I would like to make this attempt at Washington Park -- I skate regularly there, I know every inch and wrinkle of its surface, and it is the best venue I know of for what I am trying to accomplish.

The only obstacle to skating 24 hours at Wash Park is that the park is officially closed between 11:00 PM and 5:00 AM. I am writing to you to ask for permission to skate at Wash Park during those hours. I would appreciate very much if I could receive that permission in writing, signed by the appropriate official or officials, to show to any police officers I might encounter while skating overnight.

This world record attempt will not be a race or an event in the normal sense, with many people participating. It will only involve me, skating alone, plus two crew members stationed in a parked vehicle. I have safely skated many miles at Wash Park at night; in any case, I will assume all risks and waive any liability to the city. My crew and I will not require additional restroom facilities and we will properly dispose of any trash. I will be skating at a safe speed (about 15 miles per hour), and -- as I have always done while skating thousands of laps at Wash Park -- I will interact safely with other park users. Other people will be fully able to enjoy the park during my world record attempt. In fact, I doubt that many of them will notice me at all; I will just be another guy skating laps. I do not need any accommodation from the city beyond permission to skate overnight.

I am very excited about achieving this goal and I look forward to working with the city to make it a reality. The written permission I’ve requested can be mailed to me at: Lawrence Pelo, 130 S. Ogden St. #307, Denver CO 80209. Please let me know if you need any more information.

Thank you for your time and for your help,

Lawrence Pelo

WHAT I HATE TODAY: Your daily dose of negative energy

Today I hate former President George W. Bush, just for old time's sake. Welcome to history, sir, and may it judge you harshly.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Signs, signs, everywhere is signs...

It's Monday, so no workout today, huzzah! Instead I wandered over to South Broadway near the Mayan Theater, where there's a fascinating stretch of nifty independent clothing stores, bars, sex shops, used bookstores, pizza joints, and other temples of urban hipsterism. I had spotted of couple of signs there on Saturday that I thought would be worth sharing with you:

I saw this tiny sign outside a clothing and furniture store called Decade. My French is lousy -- by which I mean nonexistent -- but I'm pretty sure "chat lunatique" means "crazy cat." Unfortunately the store was closed so I didn't have a chance to verify the existence of an insane feline on the premises. But I love this little sign: I had walked past it at least 100 times without noticing it. Truly hidden in plain sight. Now that I know it's there I feel like I'm in on a private joke.

Mutiny Now!, a used bookstore, has two of these friendly signs flanking its front door. I'm submitting this one to Passive Aggressive Notes.

WHAT I HATE TODAY: Your daily dose of negative energy

Today I hate this guy I saw playing poker on TV, chewing on an unlit cigar and wearing his glasses in the middle of his forehead. If you really feel you need an annoying zany trademark, pick one and roll with it.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Today's workout

Skated 27 miles in 1:46:50 (15.2 mph), HR 72%, temp 59(!). My first marathon skate of 2009, and a pretty good one -- a full 1 mph faster than yesterday at the same HR (assisted by the optimal temperature). I have a vague goal of averaging 15.0 mph during the WR attempt, so I'm pleased when I can knock out laps at that speed at a low HR.

Afterward, to the gym for leg and core strength exercises. Time today 3:00.

Hours this week: 13.25
Hours this year: 36
Miles skated this week: 50
Miles skated this year: 101

Hooray for cake!

April surprised me yesterday with this astonishing birthday cake:

Isn't this cake gorgeous? I love the funky lettering, and of course the skates trailing flames! Almost too pretty to eat... almost.

A cake this pretty deserves a spokesmodel that doesn't look like a huge dork. But no such luck.

I was amazed to find that the skates were actually thin pieces of solid white chocolate.

Chocolate cake layers with chocolate mousse in between, with a thick layer of rich buttercream frosting. As delicious as it was, one piece was plenty.

WHAT I HATE TODAY: Your daily dose of negative energy

Today I hate the excessive toejam that accompanies the wearing of new black socks. Maybe I’ll buy more new socks right now and start sending them through the wash, so that when my current lineup of socks wears out I’ll have toejam-proof socks ready to roll.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Today's workout

Skated 21.4 miles in 1:30:29 (14.2 mph), HR 72%, temp 52. Then to the Marriott for stairclimbing! Same workout as Wednesday: 8 climbs of 20 floors each (2 walking, 1 bounding, 2 bounding+running, 3 running). My legs didn't exactly feel springy but I still nailed a fast climb in 1:40, 1 tick better than my previous best.

WHAT I HATE TODAY: Your daily dose of negative energy

Today I hate that I have one slender year remaining of Young Adult eligibility remaining, according to the Unitarian Universalists.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Today's workout

No bike commute due to mechanical failure, so I went for a 4-mile run. I had intended to go for 6 miles, but my right foot still hurts from Sunday's snowshoeing race so I cut it short. Cripes, snowshoe racing is fun but it really tweaks the hell out of your feet...

WHAT I HATE TODAY: Your daily dose of negative energy

Today I hate the movie Juno, for these reasons:

1. It’s hard to like a movie when you dislike the protagonist. I spent much of the movie hoping someone, anyone would punch the snippy, cleverer-than-thou Juno directly in her smart mouth. Why Jennifer Garner’s character wanted anything to do with something sharing genetic material with that wisecracking harpy escapes me.

2. Gosh, Juno took a rather casual angle on teenage pregnancy, didn’t it? It made pregnancy look like a mildly annoying experience during which you have to ruin your skinny jeans and people look at you funny in school, but it’s all over soon enough and then you can get back to playing guitars with your boyfriend. (As Stuff White People Like pointed out, try making the same movie with a black or Latina character. How many critics would slam a minority Juno as irresponsible?)

3. Juno really pushes the insufferable hipster ethos that the content of your character is determined by the music you listen to (or, perhaps, the horror movies you ironically watch). One of my least favorite scenes was when Juno says her favorite band is “a three-way tie between The Stooges, Patti Smith and The Runaways,” and the movie flashes stills of each of those bands. We’re supposed to like Juno because she’s detached and hip and listens to ‘70s punk instead of Top 40 pop, which would mark her as a lightweight unfit for our attention.

4. When Michael Cera’s character won that race near the end of the movie, why wasn’t he breathing hard? The mile is a tough race!

5. Everyone else liked this movie. Ninety-three percent of critics counted by Rotten Tomatoes liked it, and the screenplay won an Oscar. When I hate a movie, I want everyone to agree with me!

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Today's workout

Bike commute, 22-mile round trip. Stopped at the gym on the way home for leg strength, core strength, and balance exercises. I was almost home when a spring on one of my panniers somehow tangled in the cogs, so I had to lock my bike to a street sign and walk home. Tomorrow I'll pick up the back wheel and try to untangle the mess. Time today 3:00.

WHAT I HATE TODAY: Your daily dose of negative energy

Today I hate trucks that are funnier than I am:

Photo donated by my sister. Thanks Dawn!

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Today's workout

Biked to work, 22-mile round trip. Then to the Marriott for stairclimbing: 8 climbs of 20 flights each, HR avg. 74%/max 97%. I bounded the entire third climb in 1:41, clipping 7 seconds from my previous best. Just one tick over 5 seconds per flight! I bounded half of two other climbs, making this workout a little more intense than the last one. With each workout I add a little more bounding which will be crucial to a fast time on race day.

I coughed all the way home, which I hate. Even though I carry water with me, it's difficult to drink when I'm breathing so hard, and my throat gets scorched. The first year I did this race, I didn't drink at all and developed a hacking cough afterward that sidelined me for two weeks. I'll have to make sure I drink enough this year to avoid that dire fate.

Time today 2:15. I weighed in this morning at 156, up 1 pound from last week. Grrr...

WHAT I HATE TODAY: Your daily dose of negative energy

Today I hate the word “whom.” I know when and how to use it correctly,* but to use it in speech or in writing now sounds stilted and excessively formal. Be honest -- when you are confident that there are no grammarians lurking about, do you actually say things like, “Whom should I give the money to?” or “Whom are you going out with?” Neither does anyone else, unless they’re trying to show off their mastery of pronoun selection.

* That is, according to oppressive phallocentric racist homophobic misogynist sizeist ageist “rules” concocted by prescriptivist grammarians. Did you know that all prescriptivist grammarians are virgins? It’s true! That’s why there are so few of them -- they can’t reproduce.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Today's workout

To the gym for leg strength, core strength, and cardio. Time 2:00.

WHAT I HATE TODAY: Your daily dose of negative energy

Today I hate outgoing voicemail messages that include this annoying bit: “I am currently on the phone or away from my desk” -- very common in the world of office-drone telecommunications.

It is not really necessary to provide an explanation for why you’re not answering the phone. But if you want to provide an exhaustive list of such reasons, it should go more like this: “I am either on the phone, or away from my desk, or screening your call, or gossiping about my boss’s ugly pants, or filling my mouth with Sno Caps, or googlestalking the hot new receptionist, or playing Minesweeper, or picking my teeth/nose/ear, or correcting spelling errors in an otherwise fascinating article about platypuses on Wikipedia, or typing 5318008 into a calculator and holding it upside down, or touching my tongue to both poles of a 9-volt battery, or staring into space contemplating the existential horror of soul-sucking 9-to-5 office work.”

Also, the word “currently” is usually redundant when speaking in the present tense. So knock it off.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Today's workout

What workout? Monday is my day off... sorta.

Yesterday's workout

Snowshoeing race! 10K in 1:26:29, HR 87%, temp 25.

So I went with a friend to the mountain town of Silverthorne for my first snowshoeing race -- something I've been wanting to try for a long time. A snowshoe company (MSR) was lending shoes for the race, and I was pleasantly surprised by how light they were, and how easy they were to fasten and run in. The weather was perfect: sunny and 25 degrees with no wind. I actually shed a layer just before the start, which turned out to be a good choice because I overheated during the race and had to roll up my sleeves and remove my gloves.

Snowshoeing is tough. Snowshoeing at 9,000 feet is really tough. The uphills were brutal, the downhills treacherous. Where the trail was hard-packed I could hammer, but on the uneven sections I fell many times and lost ground to more sure-footed racers. I finished right about in the middle of the field.

The scenery was beautiful -- check out these photos!

The course wound through a lovely alpine forest.

Nasty, nasty climb... at 9,000 feet... on snowshoes!

Near the end, we had to crawl through a 50-foot culvert. This goes in the category of "completely uncalled-for."

Happy to be finished!

I should get a pair of snowshoes and try to get out to the mountains every couple of weeks. It's a crime that I live in one of the country's premium wintersports regions and hardly ever get out of the city.

Hours this week: 12
Hours this year: 22.75
Miles skated this week: 12
Miles skated this year: 51

WHAT I HATE TODAY: Your daily dose of negative energy

Today I hate fucking your girlfriend. Ordinarily I find it quite enjoyable to have my way with each of your girlfriend’s orifices, but today just isn’t going to work out -- I didn’t get much sleep last night and I’m absolutely slammed here at work. I would have fallen asleep at my desk already if not for your girlfriend’s nonstop pleas for me to bang her brains out in your bed.

Cripes, she’s texting me again… “cum over im horny!!1!!1!” I haven’t even had lunch yet! Hey, could you put the Xbox controller down for 10 minutes and go stick it to your girlfriend so I can eat my sandwich in peace? That would be a lifesaver. Tell your girlfriend I might be able to “cum over” later, while you’re at the gym. Thanks, buddy. I owe you one.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Today I hate mint-flavored floss. Why do I need the flesh between my teeth to feel minty fresh, like an arctic breeze?

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Skated 12.4 miles in 53:12 (14.0 mph), HR 73%, temp 38-42. My toes were pretty cold by the end of this skate, which is worrisome -- I might be facing overnight temperatures like this during the world record attempt. I could wear my Ezeefit rain covers, which do keep some warmth inside the boots, but I would have to remove my skates to put them on and take them off, and I am hoping to skate nonstop. I looked at the Ezeefit site, where I swear I had seen neoprene boot covers that could be put on without removing skates, but they have vanished. Guess I have to ask around...

WHAT I HATE TODAY: Your daily dose of negative energy

Today I hate... well, perhaps this is best explained in flowchart format:

Friday, January 9, 2009

Today's workout

I overslept a little this morning, looked out the window at the wind wildly whipping the flag from the north -- when I ride to work I have to ride north and east in the morning -- and thought, "You know, I think I'll drive today."

So: to the gym after work for leg strength, core strength, and cardio. Time 3:00.

WHAT I HATE TODAY: Your daily dose of negative energy

Today I hate the Panormous Pan Pizza from Pizza Hut. (Actual taglines: “So BIG it should have its own ZIP code!” “Over 40% bigger than our Large Pan Pizza!”) Was this necessary? Was it even remotely called for? Were Pizza Hut outlets getting picketed by legions of obese people with greasy fingers and pizza sauce-stained shirts, demanding pies the size of monster truck tires?

The real question is how the other fast-food chains will respond. Stay tuned for the Mega Big Mac from McDonald’s, the Double Stuf Chalupa from Taco Bell, and the We Just Went Ahead And Wrapped A Pepperoni Pizza Around A Barbacoa Burrito from Chipotle.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Weighing in

I weighed in at 155 this morning, down 2 pounds from last week.

When I raced the Montreal 24-hour in early September, I weighed 148 pounds, which seems to be a good racing weight for me. After that race I embarked on a bender of ice cream, cheeseburgers, and bacon on everything, and gained 16 pounds in two months. Predictably, taking the weight off is a lot slower -- and a lot less fun -- than putting it on. I have now dropped 9 pounds in 9 weeks and would like to get down to 145 or lower by mid-March. That allows me to gain a few pounds during the skating season and go for the record lean and strong.

I wish I could measure my body fat percentage instead of my weight, because BF% gets directly to the point -- how much useful weight am I carrying, and how much useless pudding? But BF% is hard to measure unless you have an immersion tank laying around the house. I don't trust those scales with the electro-whatever plates to stand on. But body weight should be a decent proxy for BF%; even though I'm getting stronger, I'm not putting on much muscle weight, so any extra weight I put on is probably fat.

I don't count calories or carbs or fat grams or anything else. I burn a lot of energy working out, and then I eat just enough to keep from feeling weak or hungry. I eat mostly healthy stuff -- fruits and vegetables, whole grains, lean protein -- with occasional treats to keep from going crazy. I eat small meals and frequent healthy snacks. Common sense, mostly.

Today's workout

22-mike bike commute... and that's it. I had planned to run stairs tonight, but I'm feeling run down and I need some extra sleep. Nine months to go before the WR attempt -- no reason to push the red line now. Besides, with a 10K snowshoeing race coming up this Sunday at high altitude, this week won't be lacking in intensity.

WHAT I HATE TODAY: Your daily dose of negative energy

Today I hate the guy in the next cubicle who laughs, loudly and often, when talking on the phone with customers. We're not talking polite fake-o laughs here, folks -- these are genuine belly laughs: "HAHAHAHA HA ha hee hee heeeeee..." with those last few laughs of the wheezing variety because he's laughed himself out of breath. This guy laughs a dozen times a day like I haven't laughed since I saw George Carlin in concert eight years ago.

I don't actually hate the guy as much as I wonder what he's laughing at. I talk on the phone all day -- probably to some of the same people he talks to -- and I don't hear three funny quips a day. Does he just randomly burst into laughter while some technician from Akron reads off his parts order?

Technician from Akron: "... and then I need three of the 6-inch liner kits, that's part number K314-15926-P..."

Guy in the next cubicle: "HAHAHAHA HA ha hee hee heeeeee..."

Or maybe I just hate that I don't laugh as often as he does, or that most of my laughs are of the polite fake-o variety. It would be nice to experience that sort of joie de vivre several times a day.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Today's workout

22-mile bike commute. After work, rode to the gym for leg strength, core strength, and balance. Time 3:00. Need sleepy!

WHAT I HATE TODAY: Your daily dose of negative energy.

Today I hate lotion boogers.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Today's workout

Rode my bike to work, 22-mile round trip. Then to the Marriott for stairclimbing: 8 climbs of 20 flights each. I forgot the heart rate monitor, so no times or HR data. Tonight I started taking the elevator down after each climb instead of walking downstairs, which cuts the time between climbs from four minutes to two minutes, making the workout a little tougher. I also did three climbs where I single-stepped halfway, then bounded to the top -- real lung-roasters! Time 2:00.

WHAT I HATE TODAY: Your daily dose of negative energy

Today I hate when a zipper suddenly stops working. How does this happen? It's not a complex piece of machinery with dozens of finely tuned moving parts -- it's a zipper. Was there a maintenance schedule I failed to observe? Are you supposed to take your zippers in to be lubed and recalibrated every 3 years or 3,000 pulls?

Monday, January 5, 2009

Today's workout

What workout? Monday is my day off, except when it's not. So instead of doing lunges in a gym swarming with New Year's resolvers and reeking of hooker perfume, I had coffee with a cute girl from OKCupid. It went quite well -- thanks for asking! -- and that's all I'm going to say because she might be reading this if she has The Google.* I will note that I experimented with not touching my palms to the tabletop when I'm nervous (so as to avoid leaving unattractive sweat marks), which worked well and will be added to the Standard Repertoire Of Dating Techniques That Likely Do Not Make Any Difference At All.

*Blogging under my real name could be a real trip. It's not always The Awesome to have a unique first name/last name combo.

WHAT I HATE TODAY: Your daily dose of negative energy

Today I hate... well, I don't exactly hate it when strippers practice dancing in the classroom at the gym. But I do hate it when they turn their awful music up to 11 and fill the space with the reek of their hooker perfume.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Today's workout

To the gym for leg strength, core strength, balance, and cardio. Time 2:45. Looking forward to a day off tomorrow.

Hours this week: 10.75
Hours this year: 10.75
Miles skated this week: 39
Miles skated this year: 39
I submitted this to Apostrophe Abuse. Because neglect is a form of abuse, yo.

WHAT I HATE TODAY: Your daily dose of negative energy

Today I hate when I ask for a glass of Zinfandel and I receive a glass of White Zinfandel.* This happened last night at a Mile High Sci Fi screening/ridiculing of Timecop. I politely told the waiter that I had ordered a glass of Zinfandel, and he looked confused. "But this is the only Zinfandel we have," he said, gesturing at the glass of pink wine-like substance in front of me. "Except for the other one, and that one is dark red."

*It's easy to tell the difference between Zin and White Zin. Zinfandel is a deep red wine, bold and jammy, with hearty notes of berry and spice. White Zinfandel is pink swill favored by teenagers looking to graduate from Boone's Farm.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

WHAT I HATE TODAY: Your daily dose of negative energy

Today I hate when I sleep till 1:00 and I only get four hours of sunlight in my day.

Today's workout

Rode my bike downtown for stairclimbing at the Marriott. My legs felt trashy and my calves were still sore from stairclimbing on Thursday, so I walked 9 repeats of 20 flights each, about 3:30 for each repeat, HR 71%. Time 1:30.

Going rogue

After much consideration, I've decided that my 24-hour world record attempt will be "unofficial." I'm putting "unofficial" in quotation marks because, when it comes to this sort of record, what constitutes an "official" record gets a bit fuzzy. The major speedskating organizations such as USA Roller Sports (USARS) and the Fédération Internationale de Roller Sports (FIRS) don't recognize a 24-hour record of any kind. So, if you're going to organize an official attempt, you are probably trying to make the Guinness Book of World Records or you want to impress the small number of people on the planet who care about the 24-hour inline skating time trial world record (24hISTTWR).

Breaking the 24hISTTWR is not like breaking the world record for running 400 meters or for swimming the 100-meter butterfly, where all you have to do is show up at a sanctioned event and kick ass while event officials handle the details. In order to set an official 24hISTTWR, it would not be enough to train for the event and kick ass -- exhausting and time-consuming all by itself. I would also have to organize the entire event.

Among other details, this means I would have to secure a venue, which would mean renting an arena (such as the Pepsi Center or the Metrodome) or reserving a public park or a circuit of city streets (this is difficult; because no drafting is allowed, nobody except me could be on the course during the attempt). I would have to hire a licensed surveyor to measure the course. I would have to assemble a team of neutral observers. I would have to rent an electronic chip timing system. And I would have to submit a USADA-level drug test.

All of this costs a great deal of time and money -- one guy who has organized previous attempts advised me that I could expect to spend thousands of dollars on an official attempt. I read an account by another guy who said that the logistics of organizing his
24hISTTWR were "overwhelming" and cost "several thousand dollars." This seems like too high a price to pay for a two-line entry in the cinderblock-sized Guinness Book of World Records (and they might not publish my record anyway) or to get a quasi-official stamp of approval from people I've never met who frequent skating message boards.

Twenty-four hour skating is a niche event within an obscure sport. Breaking the
24hISTTWR will not catapult me to fame or fortune, even if I do it officially -- I could skate 400 miles in an event adjudicated by Jesus Christ and the Dalai Lama and not get anything beyond a mention in the sports section of the local rag. That's okay, because I'm not doing this to get my picture on the Wheaties box. I'm doing it for the satisfaction of knowing that I'm the strongest 24-hour skater in the world. I'm doing it because I expect it will be a profound spiritual experience and the greatest creative achievement of my life.

So: some weekend this summer -- September 5-6 is the current target date -- I will attempt to break the
24hISTTWR at Denver's Washington Park. I will measure the course myself. My friends will keep track of my time and distance. There will be other people on the course, but I will not draft off them. I will not cut the course. I will not submit a drug test, because I don't use banned performance enhancers. I know myself, and I know that I will run an accurate and honest world record attempt. My friends, who know me and trust me, also know this. These are the people whose opinions I care about. I realize that if I break the record, some people will deny my accomplishment. That's fine. I'm not doing it for them.

Friday, January 2, 2009

WHAT I HATE TODAY: Your daily dose of negative energy

Today I hate the New Year's Resolution crowds that infest my gym for the first six weeks of each year like a plague of locusts. Clueless, plush-bottomed locusts.

Today's workout

Another beautiful day in Denver, so I went for a skate before cold weather settles in tomorrow. 13.5 miles in 53:51 (15.0 mph), HR 73%, temp 61(!). Then I rode my bike to the gym for 90 minutes of leg strength, core strength, and balance. My calves were sore from yesterday's stairclimbing workout. Total time 3:00.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

WHAT I HATE TODAY: Your daily dose of negative energy

Today I hate people who walk their dogs at the park on those long retractable leashes and then pay attention to everything except the actual locations of their dogs. These people seem to have misplaced the knowledge that the primary function of a leash is to limit the possible movement of their dogs, and find themselves in a state of constant surprise that, while they were concentrating on their cell phone conversations or staring directly at the sun, their precious pooches elected to use their 20 feet of slack to explore the crotches of nearby pedestrians, urinate on toddlers, or entangle themselves in the legs of passing skaters.

Today's workout

I took advantage of a beautiful day in Denver -- Sunny and 53 degrees! On New Year's Day! Thank you, global warming! -- to ride my bike downtown and... sneak into the Marriott and run up and down their staircase. I'm preparing for the Lung Association of Colorado's annual stairclimbing race on February 22 to the top of the Republic Building in Denver: 56 flights and 1,098 steps.

I've run this race twice before and have performed well despite being sick both years: 11th place in 2007 and 33rd place in 2008. This year I'm hoping that with a little good luck avoiding illness and with some hard training on actual stairs -- sorry, that prissy StairMaster at the gym won't cut it -- I can challenge for the win.

I did 8 repeats today of 20 flights each, with the fastest in 1:48 -- down from 2:11 last week! This was the first time I had tried "bounding" (taking the steps two at a time) all 20 flights, and while I climbed much faster I was gasping for breath at the top, with my heart racing at 97% of maximum, and I had wobbly legs for the remaining five repeats. I've been hoping that I could bound all 56 flights on race day but that might not be possible. I will probably have to mix bounding and single-stepping in some combination that would make a nice differential equations problem.

Afterward I rode on the Cherry Creek trail and around Wash Park a bit. Total time today 2:00.

First post

Welcome! This blog will serve as a personal journal and training log during my preparations to break the world record for the 24-hour inline skating time trial, as well as a dumping ground for the kind of thoughts that wander through one's head while skating thousands of miles by oneself.

The current world record -- that is, the highest world record claim that I know of, and the one listed in the Guinness Book of World Records -- stands at 337.773 miles, set in 2004 by Mauro Guenci of Italy. By comparison, I have skated in two 24-hour races in which I covered 267 miles (July 2007) and 315 miles (September 2008). However, I had some drafting help in those races; when I skate for the world record I will not be drafting at all.

I am calling my world record attempt the "Noon2nooN Race of Truth" because it will start at noon on one day and will end at noon the next day (duh), and because it is a time trial -- that is, no drafting allowed -- it will reveal if I really am the world's strongest 24-hour solo skater. I formatted "Noon2nooN" that way because I'm a dork who thinks it's neato that "noon" is a palindrome.

I think that's quite enough for now. I'll post more details about the event in the coming week.