Back home

I got kicked out of my parent’s home today.
When I say it like that it sounds worse than it actually was. I was going to go home today; Work tomorrow and all. However, this morning, in the greater Calgary area, there was a huge dump of snow. My mother figured that it would be better if I left earlier in case there was any traffic problems. So I didn’t get the homemade lunch I had been hoping for.
I had trouble getting out of the driveway, as I have had frequently in the past. It is rather steep and traction is not as present as one would hope for. Calgary was pretty easy; It was Sunday morning and heavy snowfall so there weren’t many people on the roads. However one person did cut me off and covered my entire car with brown snow. It ruined any visibility in my side-view mirrors. Still, I got to Edmonton without too much trouble after that. Fifteen minutes north of Airdrie there was no snow.

Evening presents

My family does the Christmas thing on the eve. So I got my loot tonight.
I seem to have a cooking theme this year. I got a lot of presents that are for the kitchen: Rice cooker, cookbook, fondue set, vacuum marinator. I am completely ready to hold parties now.

Lost iPhone or iPhone for the lost?

Driving down to Calgary was a little different this time. I’ve usually been able to leave work early enough that I can still do the trip in daylight. Or at least mostly daylight. This time I was at work later on nearly the shortest day of the year. It was easily dark by the time I was passing through Red Deer.
Red Deer looks different in the dark.
At one point I was wondering if I had made a wrong turn and was actually heading towards Rocky Mountain House. I guess “wrong turn” would be an incorrect term. Considering it is ONE road from Edmonton to Calgary, with no intersections, it would be very hard to take a wrong turn. More likely I would have accidentally taken an exit. And things that sound utterly silly in the cold light of the computer screen make a searing sense when you are trying to keep your car steady on a dark road. Where are the signs that would tell me what road this is, the road I’ve been on for the last hour?
I certainly didn’t want to risk trying to unfold a map.
Thankfully, I had had my iPhone working at providing audio entertainment. A nice glowing screen awaited my thumb, easy to see in the dark of the car. A few screen presses presents the maps and GPS and I can see I’m clearly on QE2 and I must have been delusional to think otherwise.
i.e. I’m at my parent’s now.

Does anyone else remember the show Thirtysomething? I don’t.

I have now been 35 for an entire month.
I’ve noticed that when I fill out surveys now, I am in a new age category. I guess I’m officially old.
Contiki only allow people up to age 35 to go on their tours. I really enjoyed going on my European trip with them, and I was thinking of trying to do another one this year. It’s my last chance to go on a (any) tour that is guaranteed not to have seniors on it (besides me.) But I’ve signed up for ultra-marathons that are going to evaporate my vacation time.
I remember ten years ago, when there was a tech bubble going on, that I had decided I would be a millionaire by the time I was 35. Ah, to be young and stupid again. There is certainly no investment bubble going on now.
But I am older, and my instinct right now is to get maudlin and write in my journal about the direction (and lack thereof) of my life. But you don’t want to hear about that. So I think you should go eat some pie instead. You’ll like it better.

Frost effect

I have that marathon-and-a-half in about four weeks. So I have to get some distance runs in. Which means I can’t get out of my Sunday runs. So, despite it being a -40 windchill, I was out on Sunday morning to run 29km. My group only did 27.5km. And we really didn’t see anyone else out running.
It shouldn’t be a surprise that on Monday morning I noticed that my nose appears to be trying to fall off.
Running makes you stupid.

The Fonz called it

I have mentioned before my video rental strategy. The alphabetic method.
I’ve been feeling fairly good about it. I’ve recently finished with the numbers and the “A”s. I am now getting movies that start with a “B”. Since I’ve been busy these days I am trying to get shorter movies so that I have more time for other things. When I got Bicentennial Man I had to watch it over three nights. (Query: Can Hollywood do an Isaac Asimov robot movie without horribly violating the three laws?) So shorter movies are good.
Today at the video store, I wandered around a bit and found the featured directors section. There I saw movies I hadn’t seen by Martin Scorsese and Francis Ford Coppola that both started with “A” and had running times close to three hours. I had enough trouble with American Gangster. How am I going to fit these ones in?

My enabler

The weather for running today was great. The traction was not great.
Among my friends, I can put some of them into two groups. There is the running group and there is the feast group.
The running group friends deny doing any peer pressure, but they are very good at it. It is my own decision to run ultras and they can’t force me into it. But I know that if they do it, and I don’t, I’ll never live it down. And it will gnaw at me. They also just assume I will. They know me well.
The feast group are not runners. They are more consumers of food. But I digress. They are also doing peer pressure on me. They tell me I shouldn’t run ultras. Their main points are usually what I was complaining about while training for the last one. There is one among them who does think I should, but he is an aberration. He is an enabler. Their leader though, who I shall refer to as “S”, is the most insistent that I shouldn’t run an ultra again. However, I’m not so sure about her anymore.
The last entry I wrote was perfect bait for her to tell me that I shouldn’t do an ultra. I even pictured her telling me, and most importantly, wagging her finger at me. I let her know this at the next consuming of food event. She said I shouldn’t, but she never once wagged her finger at me. Is her finger broken? No! I saw her wag it at someone else that evening. But never at me. So I think this is a case of, her-lips-said-no-but-her-finger-said-yes.
So, now that I know what she really thinks, I’ve signed up for the Blackfoot Ultra. I have signed away my free time for the next year.
I’m sure she’ll approve.


Now that it is cold out, I’ve brought out a warmer jacket. It’s one I got when I did the Death Race. It is one of those bomber jackets, cloth with leather arms. The kind you would find on students in sports leagues.
And that’s the thing. When I wear it, I feel like one of those jocks I used to see hanging around school, acting cool. (When they weren’t beating me up after class.) I don’t really like that feeling. I didn’t like them then.
If I think about it, I have retained my nerdity, but I am now probably healthier than any of those jocks I saw in school. I ran a stupid distance and lived to tell the tale.
And now that my injury seems to actually be making progress on the path to health, I’m getting stupid again.
There is the Alberta Triple Crown which is a series of three ultramarathons that one tries to complete in a single calendar year. A few months ago I thought that was stupid. Times have changed.
The first is just 100km, the Blackfoot Ultra in May. I should be healed by then. I mentioned the idea of just that ultra to my physical therapist, and she thought it was too close to the last ultra, which will be the Walt Disney World Goofy in January. According to her, one should only run one ultra a year.
Sounds like good advice.
But, as a runner, I have learned that we are great at giving well thought-out advice, but terrible at following it.