Go Death Racer, Go Death Racer, Go Death Racer Go

Tomorrow I leave for Grande Cache and then I run the Death Race on Saturday through to Sunday.
I’m sick of eating. I need to load up on carbs, but I’ve never been a big eater. Yesterday I had to muscle through the gag-reflex while eating lunch. Too much food.
A fortune cookie I had today announced “You will soon be crossing warm waters for a fun vacation.” Ominous?
In theory, somewhere on the Death Race site you will be able to track my progress. I can’t find it, but then it might only show up while I’m on the trails.
Right now I’m in a dull state of nervous. I don’t know if I’ll be able to do this. Looking at the statistics, I probably won’t.

Personality changes

To prepare for the Death Race I have to start paying attention to what I eat. In essence, I need to carb load.
What this means is that for the next few days I can’t eat carbs. Only meat. I’m on the Atkins diet. So, lunch was an omelette, and I did not feel full and satiated afterwards.
In fact, I’m cranky.
I’m off to Dungeon Master a D&D game now.

Someone’s gonna die.

One week

The Death Race is in about a week now. I’m still worried that I won’t make it, which is understandable.
Did I train enough?
That is the big question. I’m in a dangerous area right now. I’ve heard that any training you do less than two weeks before a race isn’t going to help. Is that really true?
I had been planning to do some hill training yesterday. But a litany of excuses came to me: It’s too hot out. I’m still recovering from the mountain climb. I might injure myself close to the big race.
I don’t want to.

The race details has the following information:

Results are then given directly to the central timing database and will be uploaded to our website and available for near instant viewing either on-line or posted regularly at our downtown race results station as relay stations close and results come in.

This means that people will be able to check on my progress as I’m running. I’m trying to find the actual place you can do it. I think this is it, but I’m not sure.

176 hours to go.

Mount Temple

I climbed a mountain yesterday. And not a small, rinky, dinky mountain either. A big one. According to the website, it was 1.5 kilometers up.
I am making this sound better than it is. This climb did not involve climbing equipment. No ropes, or crampons were used. Just climbing poles, boots, gloves, and suntan lotion.
Which brings me to the realization that I can either remember to put suntan lotion on my ears, or on my neck. But never both. Yesterday I chose the ears, so my neck is a mass of red.
Heading to the park from Edmonton, the weather did not look pleasant. Cloudy skies, spitting rain, and storm watches for all of Alberta. However, as soon as we crossed into Banff park, the weather cleared up. It was actually quite nice when we got to the campsite. The biggest problem was the near freezing temperatures overnight, but then that made the campsite bug free.
The climb itself started easy, with just a simple continuing switchback a dog could traverse. This part was below the tree-line, so it was hard to see how high we were. Actually, it felt like a game of the first level of Donkey Kong but without the ladder shortcuts. The trees then started to get more and more stunted until they disappeared entirely and the trail opened into a large field/valley with lakes and magnificent echoing cliff walls.
This led up to Sentinel pass, a narrower switchback. By now there were no more plants, so I could see the trail from across the meadow. At the top of the pass I could see into another valley, and we were met by a pair of fat squirrels. There was no plant life anywhere around here, so they must have been getting all their food from passing hikers. And they expected to be fed! They would raid backpacks and get upset if there wasn’t any food.
From here it was no longer easy. It was a scramble up rock faces using hands. Nominally there was a trail, but we kept losing it. Invariably we took the harder way. And getting lost on the side of a mountain is not fun. It was slow going, but we took breaks every so often to catch our breath. And take pictures of us in precarious positions. At one point we even saw a plane flying below us.
We met a Kiwi coming down. She described herself as a wuss on this peak. I think she was fishing for compliments because this had been her third peak today. She was trying to climb the equivalent of Mount Everest in 48 hours.
After awhile though, things did become easier. This was because we could see the top and it looked flat. As long as flat was considered a severe angle. Nothing blocking the way except gravity. And snow. And lack of oxygen. We were making a rapid rise in altitude.
We did take a wrong turn again though and were climbing up a small glacier. This was rather dangerous because the glacier ended below us at a cliff. Eventually I saw other people coming down a different trail to the right, and figured out that that was the way to go. It was a lot easier on the trail than slogging through deep snow.
After seven and a half hours, the top was almost anticlimactic. It was a gorgeous view. We were on top of a mountain bigger than all the others around it. There were mountains as far as the eye could see. I was seeing into other provinces. But the only real advantage to being at the top top, as opposed to a hundred meters lower was the 360 degree view.
I did make sure to mark my territory at the top, so it’s my mountain now. You can’t have it.
Coming down was a lot easier. And scarier. The snow at the top was slippery and one uncontrolled slide, even if it is just a meter, puts life in perspective. But the trail was a lot easier to follow. However, we did leave it completely behind at one point. Half the mountain is covered in scree, punctuated by the occasional cliff. Scree is easy to go down, as long as you are wearing proper boots and using the climbing poles. It starts to become like downhill skiing. (I really need to try that one of these days.) Or a controlled fall.
When we got to the meadow beneath Sentinel pass we met one person running down the trial. He was apparently late for work. Five minutes later, another person came running by. He was the driver of the car. Five minutes later a girl came next. She had the keys to the car.
In comparison, from the top to the bottom took only four hours.

In conclusion, I think mountains deserve their place in being bigger than us and we shouldn’t try to change that.


Joss Whedon has made several good television shows. Most recently, he made Firefly. That show died before it got a chance, which is a shame. It was great and I wish it could have gone on for a long time.
That is why I’m going to have to be very supportive of his latest effort, Doctor Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog. There have been two episodes online so far, and they are fantastic. One of the few times I’ve enjoyed a musical. The third episode comes out on Saturday, a day when I’ll be completely in the wilderness.
And a part of me is tempted to bring my laptop down in case there is a rogue wi-fi connection available in the middle of nowhere.
Now, to support this, I’m going to have to buy the episodes on iTunes and the eventual DVD.

This could get expensive.


The other day I checked my mailbox and found the usual stack of flyers. Only this time, there was a useful one in it. Free coupons for the video rental place I go to. The one that is three and a half minutes away, door-to-door. (I timed it.) And these are good coupons too! Outright free movie rentals. These are the first-hit’s-free offers to get you to rent movies.
In other words, I can use these.
But wait, there’s more! My neighbors are not as discriminating as me. The recycling bin below the mailboxes had lots of extras available. Score!
They expire in August, and I’ll be done my Death Race training in the start of that month. I can see me being a total couch potato for an entire month.

And I’m going to get new rentals too!


Earlier this week, on the way home from CostCo, I annoyed a motorcyclist. I didn’t see him as I changed lanes on Groat road. He had to swerve out of the way. When we were next to each other I yelled out an apology and things seemed fine from there.
This incident has improved my driving skills. I’m now taking better care when changing lanes. However, I’m not taking total blame on this. Maybe I was changing lanes with insufficient signaling, but he may have been speeding along, faster than the speed limit. Groat road is known for motorcyclists going too fast. I know, I’ve done it.
The right thing to do would be to take total responsibility, but I have to live with myself, and wallowing in guilt is no way to live. I’m tired of doing that.
This might explain why I haven’t taken my scooter out this year. It’s not safe if there are people like me on the road.
The complete opposite is also true.
Today, on the way home from CostCo, I was on Groat road and I saw a motorcyclist ahead of me, heading in the opposite direction. He took the curve a little too quickly and hit the divider. There was a spray of rocks and gravel, but he kept going. It didn’t look comfortable. However, two seconds later, a rock from his collision hit my windshield, leaving a nice divot.
That does not look cheap to repair.
When I last went to get an oil change at the Honda dealership, they phoned my up after about an expensive repair my car also needed. They mentioned parts I’ve never heard of, and did not tell me the consequences of not fixing it. I’m not sure if it was them looking for trouble, or another repair that will cost me money to fix.
I’m going camping tomorrow. I’m not driving.

Chick Drain

There was an article in the paper last Friday about the “Chick Drain”. Basically, the women in Alberta (or even Canada) are leaving the country in hopes of finding men. Apparently it is easier to date men in the States. Canadians are poor salesmen of themselves.
Interesting and frightening. I always thought the dating scene in Alberta was bad because it is mostly men here, working in the oil patch. Now I find that the women are actively moving away. And now that I think about it, my sister did the exact same thing.
My biggest beef with the article is that it just describes the problem and offers no advice on a solution. I have found very little education available on picking up women in a friendly manner. Mostly I’ve been able to find duplicitous advice that doesn’t seem gentlemanly. (Which is practically the point of the article.) I would like to know how to go from talking to someone you barely know to asking them out for dinner without looking/feeling creepy.
I can’t recall ever seeing a scene in a movie where a man successfully picks up a woman whom he knows nothing about. Either the scene cuts out early, or it is meant to show how bad the man is at picking up women.
I have no good role-models.

Another running entry

I ran. Then I ran some more. Then I went dancing. And then I ran some more. Eight and a half hours total over this weekend. 90.2km total.
In theory I would continue this insane schedule next weekend (only slightly insanier). It feels like I’m back in university, but instead of studying, physical activity! However, back then, it wasn’t bad if I studied too much. Now, if I exercise too much, I could injure myself.
Next weekend I will be climbing a mountain instead. It looks like a good way to get hill training and altitude acclimation in at the same time.
I hope the weather is good.
In an interesting development, apparently my next door neighbor is also going to go to the Death Race. But he is only doing one leg.
As you can see, he is much smarter than I am.

There is a reason the artists are starving

I walked along Whyte Avenue to go get my hair cut. The way was blocked, however, by the annual Art Walk.
Since I had to pass a lot of art, I’ve come to a few conclusions. Foremost is that most of the artists can’t draw. Sometimes you can see a bit of evidence that they could if they wanted, but they usually mess it up by being “artistic”.
Sad, really.
If I’m going to buy art, I want concrete evidence that the artist had a vision in mind when they made it. (This is also my opinion of movies.) Splotches of color don’t cut it.
And then, if they can actually draw, what they drew is boring. Naked women lounging around; You would think that would be something, but if they aren’t doing anything, or don’t look like they had an interesting past, then it is a waste of my time. And easily mistaken as porn; Which you don’t want to hang on your wall if there is a chance your mother will visit.
Finally, I found someone who did have good art. They had an idea in their head, and they expertly put it on canvas. Plus, something is happening in each of their pictures. Since I’ve found their website and can see their titles, they just got cooler.
Unfortunately, the artist is the son of a good friend, so I can’t claim to be completely unbiased. In my defense, I didn’t realize I knew him until after my eye was caught by the art.

Apples, iPods and rotten fruit

There was an Apple store opening up in West Edmonton Mall. The first 1000 people would get a free t-shirt. Do I need this t-shirt? No. Do I want this t-shirt more than life itself? Possible exaggerating there, but the thought does count.
However, I had a run I needed to do this morning. So I get up earlier than ever to hit the pavement for two hours. I feel like I’m in school again where I should always be studying for something. Only now it is physical instead of mental.
Anyway, I finish the run and get down to the store before it opens. There is a line up, but I find two old co-workers that I haven’t seen in years. I spent the rest of the morning with them, talking and reminiscing.
The store was cool. Crowded too. And I really want to buy something there, but I’m in the middle of a quandary.
The iPhone comes out in a week. But everything I’ve read is that it is way over-priced. Maybe Rogers is only doing that to gouge the Apple-philes who stood too close to the RFD and aren’t thinking properly. It might go down in a few months…
Or it might not. Which means I will not be getting a cell phone, and will stick with my landline. Which also means I should get an iPod Touch. (FYI, they are cheaper at Costco.)
So, do I buy an iPod Touch and assume the price will not go down? Or keep waiting until an iPhone can be mine for a reasonable price?
I really would like to try programming these things. I wish I had an idea for a cool application…

Happy Canada Day!

It concerns me that most of what I blog about lately has to do just with running. It’s not that interesting, and yet it is the most interesting thing about me. What else do I have but daily life?
Speaking of…
I woke up this morning in the greater Calgary area. It pretty much rained all day. When I got to Edmonton in the evening, it was nice and clear. My condo was an inferno. (Not literally. Just temperaturly.)
Still, despite having to work tomorrow, I wandered down to the river valley and saw the fireworks. Very nice. Warm out, and I don’t recall feeling and mosquitos.