Saturday, February 28, 2009

WHAT I HATE TODAY: Your daily dose of negative energy

Today I hate when I introduce myself to someone and ask for their name, then don't listen to the answer. I have more to say on this but April and I have to catch the 9:15 showing of Waltz with Bashir.

Today's and yesterday's workout

Yesterday: No workout! Friday will be a day off in this training phase.

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

WHAT I HATE TODAY: Your daily dose of negative energy

Today I hate when people stop by my cubicle to make disparaging remarks about my teacup. I drink a lot of tea, so my teacup gets pretty narsty-looking pretty fast. But I'm too lazy to clean it, and anyway who cares? That stuff is just tea residue -- it's not like it's herpes fungus* or something.

*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

Today's workout

22-mile bike commute. Then to the gym for leg strength and core strength. A slow bike ride home as my legs were toasted. Time 3:00.

WHAT I HATE TODAY: Your daily dose of negative energy

Today I hate when I’m writing a post about how I hate my crappy Fujifilm FinePix J10 digital camera for suddenly refusing to autofocus on anything, and then it suddenly starts autofocusing just fine. Which is actually a good thing, but now I have to start a new post about how I hate something else. Unless I decide to go all meta with this post. Which I might.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Today's workout

Skated 28.1 miles in 1:49:13 (15.4 mph), HR 70%, temp 57-54. Holy efficiency, Batman! I've never skated that fast at a heart rate that low. The last lap I averaged 16.1 mph at 74%!

WHAT I HATE TODAY: Your daily dose of negative energy (TBTL Metablog Edition!)

Today I hate Too Beautiful To Live,* which has insinuated itself into my consciousness to such an extent that I can't help but think "Thumbs down!" when I ride past this doggie daycare on Montview Avenue.

*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

Today's workout

22-mile bike commute, then to the gym for leg strength and core exercises. Time 3:00. I've shifted my strength workouts to emphasize leg strength -- I used to do two core exercises for each leg exercise; now I've flipped that ratio.

I weighed in at 154 this morning, up 1 pound from last week. Grrr!

WHAT I HATE TODAY: Your daily dose of negative energy

Today I hate when I touch my tongue to both poles of a 9-volt battery,* like I’m about to do... eeearugghhh! God, that feels awful… uurrrmmmngg! If I never feel that sensation again it will be too soon... pfeh! Yekk! Vfvfvfff!

*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

WHAT I HATE TODAY: Your daily dose of negative energy

Today I hate sportswriters who use singular verb forms to go with singular sports team nicknames, as in “Colorado Mammoth wins 15-9.” (I also hate singular sports team nicknames -- Miami Heat, Oklahoma City Thunder, Edmonton Rush -- but I’ll save that for another day.) One could argue that this usage is grammatically correct, but it sounds stilted and unnatural because we’re accustomed to plural verb forms when we talk about teams doing something (“Broncos fail to make playoffs”). I say we stick with the plural form for its consistency and natural sound.

Today's workout

Yesterday: I went to bed early Saturday night but could not get to sleep, finally drifting around around 3:30 Sunday morning and notching 3 hours of sleep before the alarm sounded.

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)

Today I hate another broken public clock -- this one on the 9News building off of Speer Boulevard stands frozen at 9:35 (click photo below for a larger version). How accurate can 9News' news coverage be when they can't get their clock to tell the correct time?

This photo taken at 12:37 pm. As far as you know.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

WHAT I HATE TODAY: Your daily dose of negative energy

Today I hate when I take a cookbook to the grocery store to buy ingredients for a recipe, and then I leave the cookbook at the store in the bottom of the basket. Which happened to me today. Which is why I'm bringing it up.

Today's workout

Nothing today... tapering for tomorrow morning's stairclimbing race.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Today's workout

Just my 22-mile bike commute. Took it easy as part of a mini-taper for Sunday's race. On the ride home I had a ridiculous tailwind, which was awesome but a little weird. It feels odd to ride fast with so little effort and without feeling any air resistance. It's like riding in a vacuum!

WHAT I HATE TODAY: Your daily dose of negative energy

Today I hate that I’ve become one of those people who is always cold. I haven’t always been this way -- just a few years ago I could wear short-sleeved shirts to work all winter, and until the temperature dropped below freezing I could run outside in nothing more than T-shirt and shorts. Today I wore a long-sleeved shirt to work with a T-shirt underneath, and I’ve had to add a sweater since I got here. And I can’t exercise in chilly temperatures without bundling up in an embarrassing costume of arm warmers, tights, gloves, and hat. Is this what happens when you get older? At this rate I’ll be living in Death Valley by the time I’m 50, and wearing a parka to sweep the sand off my porch.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Today's workout

22-mile bike commute. Then to the Marriott for the last stairclimbing workout before Sunday's race. 8 climbs of 20 flights each (2 walking, 2 running/bounding, 4 running). Felt good. I just wanted to get some stairclimbing in without scorching my throat. Time 2:15.

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.

WHAT I HATE TODAY: Your daily dose of negative energy

Today I hate drivers who use excessive caution around bicycles. Of course, I prefer these drivers over the rude, inattentive drivers who endanger the lives of cyclists everywhere. But I don’t like drivers who wait at an intersection when I’m half a block away and could not block their path if I sprouted a jet pack.* Or drivers who pass ridiculously wide even when there’s plenty of room -- or, even worse, refuse to risk passing and creep behind me for an entire block. Some drivers wait at stop signs even when we’re traveling in parallel directions, and an accident would require that I hurl myself into their path. It might seem courteous to drive this way around bicycles. But really it’s annoying and it makes me feel guilty for holding up traffic.

*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

Today's workout

To the crowded gym for leg strength, core strength, and cardio exercises. I've shifted my strength workouts to include more leg exercises, and toward higher weight/fewer reps. Time 2:30.

WHAT I HATE TODAY: Your daily dose of negative energy

Today I hate a label I found attached to a bag of Yogi Tea. Normally, these labels carry gentle, quasi-Zen messages suitable for pondering over a soothing cup of tea. Messages like, “Live with reverence for yourself and others,” and “Let things come to you” and “Love is where compassion prevails and kindness rules.”

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

Today's workout

22-mile bike commute. Then to the Marriott for stairclimbing. 8 climbs of 20 flights each (2 walking, 1 bounding, 3 running, 2 running/bounding), with a fast climb of 1:41, which is a little behind my best. The race is Sunday so I have one more stairclimbing workout to go. It will have to be easier because I'm coughing a little. Time 2:15.

Weighed in at 153 this morning, no change from last week.

WHAT I HATE TODAY: Your daily dose of negative energy

Today I hate The Onion Movie. The CNN/C-SPAN/Good Morning America parody videos on The Onion’s website are first-rate -- I love the one featuring a U.S. Representative reading into the congressional record an account of beating a homeless man to death for purposes of recreation -- so how did America’s Finest (Fake) News Source issue this bit of dreck?

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's workout

What workout? Monday is my day off, except when it's not. So I'm making a chocolate-peanut butter cheesecake for a co-worker's birthday, and to exacerbate the free food problem we were discussing so recently.

WHAT I HATE TODAY: Your daily dose of negative energy

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

Yesterday's and today's workouts

Yesterday: Snowshoe race! Drove to Frisco for a "5K" (I'm pretty sure the course was short at least half a mile -- I finished in 34:41 at HR 87%, temp 16) to benefit their local high school track team. The course was not as challenging or as picturesque as the previous snowshoe race, but it was fun and cold and I won my age group against a small field, for which I received a charming painted dinner plate as a trophy. I love small community races!

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

WHAT I HATE TODAY: Your daily dose of negative energy (Guest Blogger edition!)

This WIHT submitted by InspectorLuv, a certain someone whose ideas about Canadian plumbing technology are not necessarily shared by Lawrence Pelo, Race of Truth Global Enterprises, Inc., or any of its subsidiaries or employees.

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:

Saturday, February 14, 2009

WHAT I HATE TODAY: Your daily dose of negative energy

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

Today's workout

To the gym for leg strength, core strength, and cardio. Time 1:45.

WHAT I HATE TODAY: Your daily dose of negative energy

Today I hate the staggering quantities of free food available in my life. Just this week:

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

Today's workout

22-mile bike commute, and my coldest yet -- when I left the house it was 24 degrees.

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.

WHAT I HATE TODAY: Your daily dose of negative energy

Today I hate when I go to the Mercury Cafe, an allegedly good restaurant, and the waitress reads the specials in a monotone and can’t pronounce all the words.

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.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Today's workout

I didn't feel like challenging the icy roads this morning, so no bike ride to work. To the gym for leg strength, core strength, and cardio. Time 1:45.

WHAT I HATE TODAY: Your daily dose of negative energy

Today I hate the Facebook game Word Challenge, a monstrously addictive time-waster that I now call Word Crack. Each game only takes two minutes to play, so you always have time for one more game, and one more game, and one more game, until your lunch break has been over for 30 minutes and your boss is standing in the door of your cube asking if you plan to do any work today.

Word Crack seems fun and easy -- finding words in a batch of six Scrabble-like tiles -- but turns out to be evil and difficult. At the end of each game I find myself shouting, “How did I miss AIR? And CODE? It must have been a fluke! One more game, and this time I’m really going to pay attention and kick this game’s ass!” Repeat as necessary.

Finally, Word Crack ranks you against your friends who play it. Which means that a competitive word-lover like me has no choice but to keep playing and playing in a Sisyphean quest for the meaningless #1 slot. Right now I’m ranked #2 with a high score of 5576, stuck behind a certain someone at 7081. Intolerable!

WIHT Update! A few hours after posting this, I played Word Crack on my lunch break and popped an 8306 -- huzzah! Unfortunately I forgot to save the score and so you -- by which a mean a certain someone -- will have to take my word for it.

WIHT Update II! A certain someone just emailed me to boast of scoring 10,054 on Word Crack, busting me back to #2 even with my if-a-tree-falls-in-a-forest 8306. Curses -- foiled again!

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Today's workout

22-mile bike commute, with the return ride through fat, drifting snowflakes that luckily were melting on contact with the road but unluckily were getting in my eyes and sticking to my glasses, which should not be simultaneously possible.

Then to the Marriott for stairclimbing, which I haven't done in a few weeks due to an itchy throat and coughing. So I took it a little easy, finishing 9 climbs of 20 flights each (3 walking, 6 running).

Then I left the Marriott and realized that I had locked my keys in my car. Sigh. So I ran 25 minutes to my girlfriend's house, who kindly drove me to my house to get my spare car key, and then back to the Marriott. April, you are The Awesome. Total time 2:45.

Weighed in at 153 this morning, down 1 pound from last week.

WHAT I HATE TODAY: Your daily dose of negative energy

Today I hate when I have to buy a new headlamp -- because I kept dropping the old headlamp -- and the first thing that happens when I open the package is the new headlamp pops out and falls on the hardwood floor.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Today's workout

What workout? Monday is my day off, except when it's not.

WHAT I HATE TODAY: Your daily dose of negative energy (At Least It's Right Twice A Day Edition)

Today I hate the clock outside of Sports Authority on Broadway. Now, I'm a big fan of ornate public clocks (especially clocktowers like our neato Daniels & Fisher Tower on 16th Street Mall), but it's sort of a rule of mine that they have to tell the correct time and not be perpetually stuck at, say, 6:21. Broken clocks, no matter how pretty, plunge me into anger and despair.

I took this photo at 12:46. As far as you know.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Today's workout

Rode the bike to REI, then to the gym for leg strength and core strength. Time 2:30.

I made up a new -- new to me, anyway -- exercise with a machine called the Freemotion Cable Cross. I lowered the arms, hooked the handle onto one foot, then balanced on the other foot in the skating position while doing skating pushes against resistance with the other leg. This must have looked pretty silly to the other gym users, but to me it seems like a pretty great exercise as it specifically targets the skating muscles through the skating range of motion. I especially noticed a burn in my butt when I finished. Has anyone else tried this?

Hours this week: 15
Hours this year: 72.25
Miles skated this week: 44
Miles skated this year: 203

WHAT I HATE TODAY: Your daily dose of negative energy

Today I hate my calendar, which I only just noticed includes a spurious February 29. (The calendar features art by surrealist Michael Sowa -- perhaps in his surrealist world, 2009 is a Leap Year? Fortunately, it correctly places March 1 on a Sunday, so I won't have to make adjustments the entire year.)

Also, when I write an appointment on the calendar, it reappears in ghostly fashion on the next page. I sure hope I don't go to Steph's birthday party again on the 28th!

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Today's workout

Skated 28.15 miles in 1:50:59 (15.2 mph), HR 71%, temp 57. Nice day today, didn't even need the arm warmers.

WHAT I HATE TODAY: Your daily dose of negative energy

Today I hate people who go for walks in the park while reading a book. This seems like a perfect example of ruining two pleasurable activities by combining them. How is it possible to concentrate on anything with greater literary merit than Us Weekly magazine while looking up every few seconds to make sure you're not about to walk into a tree? And what is the point of walking in the park if you can't enjoy the scenery? Haven't these people heard of iPods and audiobooks?

Friday, February 6, 2009

22-mile bike commute. Then to the gym for leg strength and core strength exercises. Time 2:45.

WHAT I HATE TODAY: Your daily dose of negative energy

Today I hate cutting up a head of lettuce to make salad.* I don't know why. Chopping lettuce is not technically difficult or exhausting, and it only takes a few minutes. But I detest the chore, and I always put it off as long as possible. It reminds me of when I wore contacts, and I hated cleaning them. Again: this was an easy task that consisted of pouring cleaning solution over the lenses for about two minutes. But it was the longest two minutes of the day.

*I'm aware, by the way, that bagged, pre-chopped lettuce is available for purchase. I'm always tempted to buy this stuff and save myself the agony, but it's a lot more expensive, and I always think, "What kind of wuss am I that I can't chop my own lettuce?" Then I get home and think, "I am the kind of wuss who wishes he has bought the bagged lettuce."

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Today's workout

Today: 22-mile bike commute. Then skated 12.9 miles in 51:33 (15.0 mph), HR 74%, temp 53. I wore a skullcap and arm warmers with tights, which was just about right. No boot covers and my right toes got a little chilly. Time 2:30.

WHAT I HATE TODAY: Your daily dose of negative energy

Today I hate Sarah Palin, so I signed up for email updates from her PAC. Because hating Sarah Palin feels really good, like picking at a scab, so every time I get an email from Sarah Palin over the next two years until she announces her candidacy for 2012 I'll be able to get that scab-pickin' good feeling all over again and again.

SarahPAC's logo depicts the Lower 48 with Alaska silhouetted inside of it. It's actually pretty sweet, and it's nice to see Alaska shown at its terrifying true size instead of getting shrink-wrapped in a little box off the coast of California. But... where's Hawaii? Now I know that Sarah Palin is the governor of Alaska, not Hawaii, and I know that Hawaii is a narsty blue state that spawned B-A-R-A-C-K-O-B-A-M-A. But simple fairness would seem to dictate that if Alaska gets a seat at the grown-up's table, Hawaii ought to get one as well.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Today's workout

22-mile bike commute. Then to the gym for leg strength, core strength, and balance exercises. Time 3:00. Lousy gym workout today -- I was hungry, and when I'm hungry I feel weak and I can't concentrate and I'm useless for anything beyond complaining about how hungry I am.

WHAT I HATE TODAY: Your daily dose of negative energy

Today I hate when I’ve been leaving increasingly bitchy messages on a customer’s voicemail, and then he calls back and says, “Sorry I didn’t call you back right away. I’ve been out of town with a family emergency -- my son was killed in a car accident.” Because there’s really no comeback for that.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Today's workout

22-mile bike commute. Then went running for 45 minutes. Time 2:15.

My throat has been tickling more the last few days and I've been coughing a bit. I'm thinking about skipping the stairclimbing race, which would suck because I think I could do well, but it's not worth the weeks-long hacking cough that seems to accompany this activity.

I weighed in at 154 this morning, no change from last week.

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

Today I hate the Super Bowl trophy presentation. Like the NBA and MLB trophy presentations, it starts with the league commissioner handing the Big Shiny Trophy to the team owner or the general manager or whoever. Who cares about these guys? We just watched a few dozen of the world’s finest athletes spilling their blood and guts to reach the pinnacle of their sport, and then they have to stand around while some pasty rich guy in a suit -- who spent the game sipping mimosas in a luxury suite -- gives a boring speech and wipes his fingerprints all over the Lombardi Trophy. Imagine if, after winning each of his races, Michael Phelps had had to fidget while an executive of USA Swimming accepted his gold medal.

The NHL gets this right. The first person to receive the Stanley Cup is -- strange but true! -- a hockey* player, usually the captain of the winning team. Not until each player takes a individual lap around the ice with the Cup hoisted above his head do the suits get to touch it. Not coincidentally, the Stanley Cup trophy presentation is one of the most powerful in sports.

*Explanatory note for Canadian readers: “Hockey” is an American sport played by angry men who “skate” on frozen water atop metal blades attached to their feet while chasing after a hunk of rubber and sometimes punching each other. Some great American hockey players include Wayne Gretzky, Mario Lemieux, Patrick Roy, and Gordie Howe.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Today's workout

What workout? Monday is my day off, except when it's not.

WHAT I HATE TODAY: Your daily dose of negative energy

Today I hate the sweat pants I bought last Friday. I bought them with the intention of cutting them off for skating in cold weather, but when I got home I decided to take the scissors to my battered old sweats instead. Imagine my surprise when I pulled on my new sweats and found that they had been designed with giants in mind:

This is what I have to do to make the sweats fit comfortably:

I am six feet tall, and this cuff is six inches,* so these sweat pants were made for someone the size of an NBA forward! I wouldn’t mind wearing them with the cuffs, but they slip easily and I have to roll them up every few minutes. I guess I’ll have to safety-pin the cuffs in place or cut six inches off the bottom, which will make them look terrible, but then sweat pants look terrible anyway.

*Conversion to Canadian units: “Six feet” is 0.0000000000000001934 light years, and “six inches” is 0.00000000000000001612 light years.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Today's workout

Skated 26.4 miles in 1:50:39 (14.3 mph), HR 71%, temp 51 and windy. Just a nice Sunday cruise on a beautiful sunny Denver afternoon.

Hours this week: 12.5
Hours this year: 57.25
Miles skated this week: 45
Miles skated this year: 159

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

Today I hate that safeties are only worth two points. What event in football is cooler than a safety?* The defense has achieved perfect success, vanquishing the opposing offense so completely that it has nowhere to retreat, like a conquered army being pushed into the sea. This feat is so difficult that it rarely happens, yet a team that achieves it receives only two points, less than if it had chipped in a garden-variety 20-yard field goal.

I love everything about the safety. I love the pope's-hat signal the refs make, I love that the humiliated team has to kick off to its tormentors, and that it has to do so using the emasculating free kick. When I become President of Football, my first act will be to make safeties worth 11 points.

* Answer: a kick returned 99 yards for a touchdown. Long kick returns should get bonus points awarded on some sort of logarithmic sliding scale.