Monday, February 23, 2009

Feb.23: If I could turn back time..

Today I was out running and with a big smile on my face. I was remembering some great times with my two main Drukens. So, do not ask me why, but the video below is a special shoutout, or toast if you will to my boyz. And if you do not understand consider yourself normal!

I ended up running 8 miles today as follows:
7:34, 7:15, 7:16, 7:10, 7:06, 6:30, 7:16 (going into recovery mode), 6:35 (because recovery mode suddenly seemed really boring) min/mile

On other news I recently found out that I will be moving to Nigeria by the end of this summer. What does that mean for me and my running and this running blog? Well, 2 things for sure:

1. Please bookmark this blog and check it periodically after I move. I will use it as my outlet to drop clues and subtle hints as to where I am and how my captors are treating me once I am kidnapped. I will use the next few months to start developing clever codes so that my captors will not get wise to me! Here is my first clever code: WHAT WAS I THINKING WHEN I AGREED TO MOVE TO NIGERIA?!!! Will mean, of course, life is great, please come and visit!

2. My 6 mile running routes will now be 12 mile running routes as I will be running in a zig-zag or serpentine pattern to avoid getting caught in the sniper's scope for any extended period of time. Army rolls will be executed every 100m's....just because.


Sunday, February 22, 2009

Feb.22: No More Vacancy

For the past week I have been providing free room and board to Slimer and his offspring in my nasal cavity. I tried to capture him with multiple attempts with my proton pack but he has remained pretty much elusive. So I have pretty much spent all of last week living in a fog while working, then coming home to sleep and do nothing.

On a less pathetic note, as luck would have it I started to feel better on Friday afternoon, just around 4pm (you do not suppose that there was any mental component in my illness, do you?!) So the wife met me for dinner and we went to see The Wrestler. It is a fairly slow moving story, but it is very real and powerful about a washed-up pro-wrestler who is still living in the past amongst his old glory days. (Yeah, whoever thought that I would ever say "real" and "pro-wrestler" in the same sentence!). But I can certainly see why Mickey Rourke is up for Best Actor...very compelling indeed!

On Saturday I actually decided to run! Wow...miracles do happen! I ran 8 miles sans Garmin. I felt like I was running with only 1/2 of my normal lung capacity. It was almost embarrasing because I felt like I was breathing extremely heavy for the effort that I was exerting. Nothing like sounding like a wounded water buffalo giving birth to siamese twins just to jog across the street. But I was just happy to be moving and finally had the energy to run.

We finished the day by seeing Walkerie (or Valkerie I believe it is called in the states) with Tom Cruise. I quite enjoyed the movie - I did not think that there was any WOW factor, but I enjoy movies that show me a different perspective of things that I never really gave any consideration to before.

Today I did another 8 miles and felt much better. I averaged ~ 7:15 min/mile and felt much less labored than yesterday. The exercise is definitely helping clear things up. This week I should be back to normal!


Sunday, February 15, 2009

Feb. 15: New (annoying?) interval technique...

Although I am still not feeling "nickel" (as the french would say, pronounced "knee-cal") I have been able to slug my way through this day all right. Despite feeling light-headed, phlemy, very lethargic, and achy I was feeling "tip-top".

To get the body in motion and, hopefully, flush out the sickness I went for what was (surprisingly) an awesome 8 mile run. Along the way I discovered a new, and totally rewarding way to do intervals (actually more like fartleks) that can totally screw with people - in this case, cyclists. Here is the step-by-step training program (patent pending):

1. While running, look for cyclists that are going roughly the same speed as you (plus or minus).
2. Sneak up on cyclist - get just a few paces behind their rear wheel.
3. Accelerate and take the left lane
4. When running abreast with the cyclist, hold your breath for 5-10 seconds (or at least until you pass) so it looks like you are not even working all that hard. If you can, try to whistle a few lines of a catchy tune too.
5. Keep accelerating - listen for a quickened pace from the cyclist. This is a usual result since no cyclist can really be all that serious if he is getting passed by a runner!
6. If the cyclist takes the bait, keep your legs moving and body accelerating. Do NOT look back - you are the one in control of the situation - that WILL be lost if show weakness now! Another useful technique, when the lighting is right, is to look for shadow movement of things behind you. Once you see a shadow croaching up on you, you can time your acceleration perfectly...this also earns you additional frustration points.
7. Keep your accelerated pace until the cyclist finally passes you (remember step #4, just to remind him that he is the only one really working right now).
8. Slow back to easy pace until you are recovered
9. Look for next cyclist - if you are truely lucky, it will be the same guy!

Using this technique you will be on the lips of every man and woman wearing padded spandex in no time! Happy running!


Saturday, February 14, 2009

Valentines Weekend

After another intense spinning session on Thursday, and a long day at work on Friday I was ready for the weekend! The Mrs. joined me up at La Defense for dinner and a movie. Dinner was average, which is really disappointing because we have gone there before with great experiences. What cracked me up when the waiter came and asked me if it was ok? I responded by saying "no, the fries were cold and the chicken was cold and rubbery." His reply was, "oh, ok" as he walked away...and that was that! Ah yes, the world-renowned French service! If I was back in the states I am sure I could have scored a sweet oversized, deep-fried, sugar-coated, topped with whip cream desert of some sort for free out the deal. But here in lovely, "service-oriented" Paris I just got an awkward look and an uncomfortable smile. I was very careful in timing my complaint as I waited until we had everything that we needed first!

After we went to see Slum Dog Millionaire. This is the BEST movie I have seen in YEARS. Let me repeat to make myself clear - YEARS. Absolutley awesome!

It is funny, while we were waiting in line I heard some American voices talking behind me (they sounded like the voices of angels...but I digress). It was funny because we were able to predict how they were going to sit once inside the theatre. By that I mean, when Jennie and I saw our first movie in Paris we thought it a little funny that when people come into the theatre, no matter how empty, they will walk in and take the seat immediately next to you. In the states everyone is accustomed to leaving a "buffer seat" between them and the next person along the row. So, sure enough, they walk into the theatre and left a buffer seat right beside us! It is the little things that are different between the 2 cultures that make me chuckle!

Then after the movie we came home, drank some wine, and played Agricola. This is, perhaps, one of the best boardgames I have ever played. It is a very dense game that took us a few plays to sort out, but now that we have it sorted we have been playing it over dinner pretty regularily! As you can tell, it is also quite a big game!

So, that was the good part of my weekend - Saturday morning I got up with plans for a longer run. As the day progressed I got sicker, and sicker, and sicker...So, Valentine's was been spent with me shivering on the couch for the best part of the day. But before I started to suck, we did manage to find a cupcake store in Paris and we made it our project to go get some cupcakes. I was inspired by my sister telling me that "it is a cupcake kind of day", so it was fun to have a different mission to work towards today!

Mission accomplished: Cupcakes and Co. could be found on what could have been the most isolated street in all of Paris.

Me digging into a Red Velvet. And yes Koza, I was rockin' the hoodie all day long!

So far today I feel a lot better so I do not plan on sucking nearly as much, mais on verra.


ps - Best wishes are with the Sugga Land boyz today as they go for a BQ!

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Feb.11: Coccyx to the front...

Call me dumb, but every time I do certain exercises during pilates with my man-trainer he is always ordering me, very intensely and in his french accent, "That's good Daav-eed, Cock-zis to da fron', Cock-zis to da fron'....yeeeeaaaaah Daav-eed, that's a goooood wan!"

I have always been a little embarrased to ask my man-trainer what my cock-zis was because I was scared what the answer might be. Moreover, my suspicion of what it might be led me to the conclusion that it was already in my front. I finally asked the wife what it was tonight. She responded by asking me what I thought it was. I responded that I was not sure. So she asked back, "well what do you do when he tells you to put your cock-zis to da fron'?" I responded that I just sort of flop around until finally he says, "yeeeeaaaaah Daav-eed, that's a goooood wan!"

After much giggling at me, I finally learned that he, infact, wants my "coccyx" to the front, which is infact the remnant of my vestigial tail. Now just saying "vestigial tail" makes me giggle...


Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Feb. 10: Excusez moi?

First, for those that are interested here is my physical fitness update (I've been up in the gym just workin' on my fitness, fergilicious...wooooo-eeeeee):
Sunday: Ran 8 miles at a chill pace

Monday: Ran 6+ miles with extended "strides" before work.
This is a part of a whole resolution thing to free up my time in the evenings. Jennie told me that the first day of exercising before work would be easy because I would still be in the Honeymoon phase. Well, I not only skipped the honeymoon phase, but I think I also skipped the next 50 years right up until the part where we are sleeping in separate beds using each other's farts as our alarm clock phase. I really dislike morning workouts. It is interesting because it really reflects on my first couple miles' pace - they are always 30-40 seconds/mile slower than a similar run done AFTER work. I think the explanation is simple - my muscles after work have had all day to warm up and stretch out whereas in the morning they are still fighting to get horizontal again just for one more "snooze".

Tuesday (Today): 45 minute spin class after work.
Although I did wake up early this morning for another morning glory, the wind was absolutely blasting. In fact, all 3 of Paris airports were closed last night and this morning due to wind. Seriously - read more here. I had not heard wind like that since sleeping through Hurricane Rita a few years ago.

It is going to take me a little while to recalibrate my HR with cycling. When it comes to running I am usually quite aware of what my various limits are, effects of caffeine, sleeping, etc. But for cycling my HRs and my percieved exertion are different (lower). I will have to keep doing all different types of workouts to re-calibrate...looking forward to it! Generally, I am pleased with my overall intensity tonight - If I recall from my past cycling days, maximum HR is 175-180...not sure though.
Secondly, I have gotten pretty used to the definition of "personal space" here in France...meaning that you do not have any. But one place where you are usually gauranteed to get some of your own space is in the bathroom, or in the shower. In the places that I like to frequent there, generally, is not a lot of interaction in these environments. But after spinning when I was taking a shower as normal, minding my own business, keeping my eyes on the wall and, of course, at all times above shoulder level (but still avoiding eye contact). Things were going fine until I had to look down to get some more body gel out of the bottle when I saw a mop scrubbing away down by my feet! I turn around to see the janitor, no more than a foot and a half away from me, happily scrubbing my stall. Hmmmm, for those of you who like to carry your towel over your shoulder when you are in the locker room and prefer to air dry, this may not bother you...but for the rest of us, JC! When I got home I contemplated taking another shower because I still felt dirty...

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Jan.31-Feb.3: Extended Long Weekend

Although this post is exactly 1 weekend too late, I have been completely swamped this past week with work and travel (both planned and unplanned due to weather). Anyhow, last weekend The Boss and I headed to London to watch Les Miserables in the Queen's Theatre on London's West End and to watch the Superbowl and the Other Boss perform for halftime. As most trips that end with a final destination in an english speaking country I felt an instant pressure release as soon as the EuroStar pulled out of the station in Paris en route to London...this was going to be a great weekend!

Les Miserable is a theatre show that I have had on my "must see" list for a long time. I was so excited to finally check this puppy off my bucket list in none other than London's West End. In just 3 short hours in went from a "must see" to "my favorite". Amazing! If you have not seen this, at the very least go rent the movie (which is also awesome with Liam Neisson).

After the show we walked through Chinatown a little bit, which was fun with the Chinese New Year's celebrations going on...I am feeling good so far about the year of the Ox!

One thing I have noticed in London is that there seems to be a fairly significant French influence within the streets. There are a lot of patisseries and boulangeries, and of course the "wonderful patisserie"...

The next day was Game Day but kickoff was not until 11pm local time! So we took a little walk, browsed a little open air market where I found the homemade muffins too good to resist.

Hopefully this will not influence my next dental bill too much...

Finally it was game time and Jennie and I were raring to go. I was cheering for the Arizona Cars In Stalls and she was cheering for the Pennsylvania Steal Hers. (Or something like that...I really do not keep up on this type of thing).

Unfortunately, a late kick-off means a late (or early) finish. Goooo (yawn) team....yeeeaaaahhhh!

The next day we woke up, ready to go back to Paris, but saw this instead

which meant that schools and businesses all across London were closed. This also meant that we would be staying in London for one more day! Although I would regret this for the rest of the working week, it was an excellent day! The neighbour kids made some impressive snowmen

while my brother-in-law and I managed to create this (hmmmm, looks like something a little different, but I promise we started with the intention of building a snow MAN).
After some fun in the snow we played several games of Ticket to Ride: Europe. If you have not played this game, and you like boardgames, go buy is really fun!

After all this, we finally returned to Paris the next day where I immediately caught another flight to Pau for work. So, needless to say, my running took a bit of a back seat to work and life this week but I did manage a sweet spinning class and 8 miles today in the snow...yep - snow. They say that spring in Paris is the best time...although I have nothing to complain about (compared to other readers on here or my Canadian childhood), I am really looking forward to that time again!

Monday, February 2, 2009

Feb.2: Snowed In

So today we were supposed to leave London and go back to Paris. As it turns out, London is seeing its biggest snow day in over 20 years. It looks like my long weekend has just been extended into (another week?) a longer vacation!! I am supposed to be back in Paris tomorrow to go to Pau, but Mother Nature has other ideas it seems! Here are some pics around Wimbledon.

Looks like we are not going anywhere...where are the trains?!!

Might as well enjoy it!!