Sunday, February 28, 2016

Canadian Chaos

Traveled to London, Ontario on Jan 30th, for the big bang at work, the culmination of a little over a year of work.  Picked up a nice letterbox hybrid geocache on my drive into town from the airport.

I ended up working about 92.5 hrs my first week there.  Only had real lunch a couple of times.  It was kind of non-stop, too, while I was at it.  After doing a couple of long, long, days, leaving 30 minutes earlier than usual felt like a vacation.  On the bright side, the food in Canada is amazing.  Fresh, visually appealing, and with well-executed flavors.  It gave me a good treat after the long day.

Another fun thing was that Tim Horton's, the Starbucks of Canada, had a promotion going on where you could potentially win prizes on each cup.  Instead of peeling off a sticker, like with McDonalds and Monopoly, you rolled up the rim of the cup.  I had been walking into the hotel at 11pm one night, holding a cup, and the receptionist asked me if I had won anything yet, and I couldn't figure out what she was talking about, and then she asked me about rolling up the rim, and I still didn't know.  Finally, I got what she was talking about.  I'm not a normal coffee drinker, so I only had the one cup, but that didn't stop me from rolling up other rims, hehe.  Didn't find anything, though... just "PLAY AGAIN".

Saturday, after a partial day at work, we went to a local basketball game, which was a nail-biter.

Sunday, Jan 7:
I finally got a chance to run on Sunday.  12 days between runs may be a record for me, since the occasional ankle sprain injuries in college.  4.0 in 34:14, 8:34 average, 2 degrees of incline.  Before breakfast, but not hungry.  

The run was hard.  Felt out of shape.  Did feel a bit better in the second half, with higher speeds.  Also, finally got about 7 hrs of sleep this night, vs. the usual 6-ish.  Did some weights afterwards.  Also grabbed some geocaches.

(This one used to be a shack covered with colorful grafitti... not sure if the owner realizes that it has been razed.  Miraculously, I still found the cache in the rubble.)

Watched the superbowl that night.  In Canada, they show normal Canadian commercials.  A different experience.  Rooting for the Panthers, but they just didn't perform that night.  Oh well, next year.

 Tuesday, Jan 9:
Did a 55 min strength session in my hotel room, at 5am before work.  550 crunches/side, 2:30 plank, 95/175 adductor/abductor leg lifts, 12 divebombers hard and form breaking down, 90s 6 inches, 65+65 clams, 20 tricep dips, 105 lower leg extension, 75+80 single-leg squats, 105 pelvic thrusts, 55 normal two-legged squats, 1:00 star side planks with 20 dips better than expected but still not perfect form, 15 press-ups, 55 Russian twists with steel-toed shoes as "weights", 25 triangle pushups.  First time doing strength in like 23 days.

Work got a bit less crazy this week, still lots, but better than the previous week.

Thursday, Jan 11:
5.0 in 41:38, 8:20 average, 2 degrees of incline.  Today's run was a bit better - still hard, but more normal-feeling.

My trip got extended, with a week in Montreal.

Over the weekend, finally, a break from work.  I went snow shoeing on Saturday.


Had maple syrup "taffy" - warm maple syrup, hardened on snow.

It was soooo cold... negative 18 F in the city of Montreal - must've been even colder on the mountain.

Sunday, Feb 14:
The next day was a bit warmer - went dog-sledding, after I got in a run at the hotel.

5.2 in 44:33, 8:26 average, 2 degreese of incline.  Before breakfast, but I had had rich food (goat cheese crepe, 2 vegan cookies) last night.  Kilometer splits> 5:26, 21, 21, 20, 19, 13, 12, 4:59.



 I did the Mountain Adventure dog sledding option.  It was Valentines' day weekend, and I was fortunate to get one of the two last spots.  The organizers were stellar, explaining how to drive the sled and interact with the dogs well.  They were passionate about their job, and caring of the dogs.  The dogs were very happy to go on a run.

The third week was a bit better, but I worked many nights in the hotel, too.

Friday, Jan 19:
6.0 in 49:24, 8:14 average, 2 degrees of incline.   Finally flew home later that day... long, too - 2 layovers to get home.  Arrived after 11:30pm.

Weekend Warrior (Jan 16-26)

It was busy time at work, so it was good that I could use some rest from the 2 marathons in 1 month, anyway, and felt no pressure to stay on a training schedule. 

Saturday, Jan 16: 
6.3 mi in 53:45, 8:39 average.  Run around the neighborhood, although with narrow or no shoulder to run on, and a barking dog.  It gave me extra incentive to run fast on my way home, though.  Couldn't get into the fitness room, which is why I ran outside, instead.

Sunday, Jan 17:
The Spartan Workout Tour came nearby, to Charlotte.  This was my third.  The first half was in freezing rain, so I wore my jacket.  It warmed up a tiny bit later, so I took it off in the second half of the 2-hr workout.  There were spurts of sunshine coming through, but it was still very cold. 

Warmup: Butt kicks, running in place, high knees, jumping jacks, lateral tire steps in/out.

Learning the 5 Basics: Squats, pull-up simulation (no bar, not leaving the ground, just mimicing the motion, but squeezing hard as if it were real), pushups, lunging backwards, burpees.

Workout: 30s squats, 30s burpees, 30s low pushup hold, 30s burpees, 30s lunge, 30s burpees.

Animal Moves: Bear crawl, crab walk, ape sideways, gorilla front & backwards w/ some donkey kicks, inch worm w/ pushups.

Variations of the 5 Basics: Squats - squat jumps, jumps with heel clicks; Burpees - spider man, dive bomber, 360 or 180 degree jumps, archer pushups super hard; Pullups - chin-ups, let down, Pushups - plyometric; Lunges - clockwork.

Core: Snow angels, sit-ups, flutter kicks, Russian, Plank.

Group Exercises: Sit-ups with arms hooked, barbed wire crawl below 19 high-planked bodies, crab position alternating hand claps.

The next day, could've run, but didn't.  Felt and looked strong all day.

Saturday, Jan 23:
10.5 in 1:43:53, 9:49 average.  Ran on the snow-covered roads, to try it while I could, after a rare snow storm.  My first run in Inov-8 X-Talon 212 trail shoes.  Great cleat grips and possibly waterproof sides made it great for this run.  My right knee complained about a mile 8, but it got over it.  I could've pushed on if I wanted to after 10.5, but I wasn't training for anything.  Had a longn sleeve tech tee, buffs on my head and neck, mitt gloves, and shorts.  Various paces, due to hills and needing to be careful on ice.

Sunday, Jan 24:
The next day, the snow that had melted a bit froze, making the roads not so runnable.  I biked at the fitness room, instead, watching the 1st half of the Panthers winning the NFC championships.  I also did some arms.  My calves were sore from the previous day.  80 minutes of stationary biking.

The next day, could've run, but didn't.  Felt a bit cold and not in the mood.  Immune system felt a bit down in the first half of the day, but it got better in the second half.

Tuesday, Jan 26:
4.5 in 36:59, 7:52 average, 2 degrees of incline. Time went by slowly, and the run felt harder than it should've.  Felt very warm in the room, too - maybe I got used to being in the cold.  My feet felt a bit swollen by the end.  Oh well, just working towards getting back into the swing of running.