Blogging 201:The Dog Ate My Homework…Again

The Blogging 201 assignment(s) from a few days ago asked to promote your blog on a social media platform of your choosing and then create a regular occurring event.

Well. About that….

So, like, I’ve been busy…I had to walk the dog…a friend came in town,..my car got a flat…I lost my car… my bike got stolen… my WiFi crapped out… I forgot to pay my cable bill… my computer ran out of steam… my phone cord broke… I cut my finger trying to dial on a dial phone….

IT WASN’T MY FAULT!

classroomOf course, you know it is.

We are all responsible for our own actions and therefore if I really wanted to make time to complete the tasks issued daily, I would have found the time.

That’s the reason I joined this Blogging 201 (to force me to write regularly). Truthfully I think I’m close. I am checking this thing a LOT more than I ever did before.

However…or ‘but’, I need to gear down a little and fit it into my schedule.

I would like to announce the creation of the “Monday Niter”. Each Monday night, I will fill readers in on the latest happenings within my little world. It could involve travel, sports, work, family or whatever. The stories will be true but names will change to protect the innocent! And always with a little bit of humour thrown in for good measure.
(Assignment Complete).

I also have an existing Twitter Account that I will be linking to my blog to assist in promoting my little diatribe. (Assignment Complete).

As for Guest Blogging, I don’t get it. Is it about cross promotion? My general theme and topics are personal. Now if I wrote about a sport or business exclusively, then a guest blogger could lend credibility to what ever I wrote and vice versa. In that I case, I get it.
(Assignment Incomplete).

There. Now I’m caught up.

Until next time…wait there’s more tomorrow!?!?

Oh man.

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Edmonton: Big Town, Small City!

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The strangest thing I would point out (for a little while at least) we have no buildings greater than 42 floors and that’s a brand new building (not even pictured above!).  Why?  We used to have a bustling little airport in the north end of the city.  Thanks to the prevailing wind coming from the northwest landings would come in from the south.

Small planes?  No problem.  Boeing 737?  …little bit.  Federal regulations ensured a flight path that kept the height of buildings below a certain level for safety.  Our city has been kept ‘small’ until now.  That 42 floor condo tower is the first to break through the 40 floor barrier and since then a 62 floor and 70+ floor project was just announced.

Maybe we are growing up.   MAYBE.

You can be the judge.

No Pictures Please – I’m Just Running

So the week went well with a couple of decent runs.  I had designed a long run of 16 kilometers through the North Saskatchewan River Valley.  It’s not the Rockies or even the foothills, but it’s a challenge none the less.  I’m still not sure I’m ready for a half marathon but this run tells me I have the wind but the legs may be lacking the hills.  Need more hills. I hate hills.  Anyway.  I look at this as a ‘good’ run, not great.  Time was OK with the amount of times I walked due to discomfort in my calf.

TD-10

TD-10

Starting in a north direction, for just over 2km, then west for 500m or so.  Now it gets interesting.  A hard right takes you above the Riverside Golf Course as you descend on a paved bike and walking path finally past the 14th hole.  Rolling up and down with a final steep descent to run next to the river until the Capilano Bridge.  Did I mention it there was a Heavy Snowfall Warning which has since turned to “a few centimeters”?  Winds of 25km/h with gusts to 40?  Well there were both, of course.  By the time I crossed the bridge on the sidewalk but against the direction of traffic, the weather became a factor. Once across the bridge open to the elements, down a quick set of stairs and back on the trail.  Now I’m across the river and skirting the back few holes of the Highlands Golf Club.  Up a 100+ step set of stairs gets you to a switch back that either takes you up to the residential area or down to the river valley.  We go down.  I nice down hill after the stairs and a flat for 3km or so to the Dawson Bridge.  Back across the river to return home now. Up a hill that encourages automatic transmissions to shift down at least once for 5 or 600m, up and across the road on a walking bridge through Forest Heights Park.  McNally High School at the North end, I run to the end of the path along the top of the riverbank to the newly constructed Newman Theological College (…and at this point, I can use all the help I can get!).  Now it’s flat as I run around the neighbourhood to finish out the mileage.  One problem, my calf is giving me problems, enough to walk and try and stretch, and the weather is getting worse.  While running past the high school, I realized I couldn’t see across the river the snow was so thick and the wind was howling.  I got to 90th ave and bailed when I returned to 79th street.  Went all the way back to 98th ave then turned around to complete the planned finish.  Instead of 10 miles it ended up being 9.6 according to “WalkJogRun” website that I use.  It’s good for tracking what ever info YOU supply.  I like the mapping too.

It was a good lesson: I was not hydrated enough.  Oh sure there was plenty all around me but not enough in me.  I am keeping it elevated and drinking lots…of water.  Massaging every now and then.  It’s getting better.  Back to the regular run on Tuesday when all should be good.  It’s also a good thing I wore my “traks” for traction as the trail had various topography available.

My wife was looking at me sideways when I got up to run – “are you nuts?”.  Yes, I guess I am.

After all, I’m just running.

Please Note: All photos are linked back to their original website

Back on Track

The snow may not be gone but it is on its way out.  It better be, we’re sitting at April 10 and I’m done with snow and winter.  Spring is here dammit (sorry, I’ll watch the language from here on in…).  We can have rain, like we do today, but no more snow.  Certainly nothing measurable.

More help than you'll ever know until you slip
More help than you’ll ever know until you slip

Last Saturday’s run (10K) required the additional traction of the spikes and it was done in comfort and a decent time.  The weather itself was good and not too cold.  I made sure I dressed for 10 degrees warmer than it was and that worked nicely.  I also ‘rocked it old school’ with a cotton fleece hoodie and sweats with a wool cap.  That’s right, no neoprene, breathable plastic fibre clothing, or any sort of ‘technical’ wear.  OK, my shoes weren’t “Chuckies” they’re a decent running shoe, but the rest was cotton and wool.  I guess there’s a reason they invented that stuff: I carried every drop of sweat home to my laundry room.  My clothes must have weighed 3 pounds before the run and about 7 pounds afterwards.  YIKES!

Yes I will go back to breathable, wicking shirts etc…

Tuesday was a little tougher as I dragged my non-running dog (just wants to explore and sniff, not stick with the trail and runner).  The off leash area is perfect as I just ran up and down a 3 pronged 4k loop.  Dexter just kept up then went off.  Caught up, ran past me, pee’d on something, ran behind me for a few hundred meters then stopped.  Repeat as required.   Funny dog.  The run was challenging as there are many bumps and inclines, hills and dips.  Still got out for 30 to 35 minutes but am unsure of how far I really went.  Good to get out.  Tomorrow, it’ll be up at 5, hit the street at 530 for a 6.5k loop on flat ground.  Saturday I’ve created a 16k loop from home through the river valley and back.  I better get up early for that, too.

I Hate Cancer

Cross Cancer Institute, Edmonton, Canada
Cross Cancer Institute, Edmonton, Canada

There many things or even places in this world that I always say “I hate”.  “I hate Calgary”.  I don’t really hate Calgary or Calgarians.  It’s a fun city.  It’s near the mountains.  It’s a movin’ and groovin’ city.  I have friends and family in Calgary…that I really like.  “I hate losing”.  Nobody likes losing but let’s face it you learn more from losing than you do winning.  You learn where you went wrong and can easily point out what they did right.  I don’t “like” losing.  “I hate liver”….ya, I really hate liver.  Blecch.

And I hate Cancer.

Cancer is such a rotten disease.  It comes in a zillion different forms.  It always does whatever you don’t expect it to do.  If it’s supposed to stay in one place…it moves.  It keeps moving.  If it’s supposed to grow, it will sometimes shrink and go away…without explanation.  Modern medicine has provided some treatments that make patients feel better and sometimes even cure them.  Just not everyone.   So why do I hate Cancer?  I don’t have it.  I have never had it.  What’s the deal?

Too many people who I know have had it.  Testicular.  Lung.  Ovarian.  Breast.  Bladder.  Prostate.  And it just spreads if you don’t discover it soon enough.  I know one person it started as a growth on her kidney, so they took the kidney out.  Then they discovered it had released spores(?) on to her lungs.  20 spores.  Then it spread to her other kidney and finally her liver.

She is expected to leave this world in the next 24 to 48 hours.

An aggressive clinical trial was suggested but the cancer did not retreat.  In fact she was given 6 months to live, three weeks ago.  The doctor said he has never seen such a fast-moving, aggressive cancer.

I hate Cancer.

So what’s the ripple effect?  You must be thinking of, as I was,  her two sons.  A 17-year-old and a 12-year-old.  Great boys thanks to her parenting.  A single mom for the past 11 and a half years (deadbeat dad – totally out of the picture –  jerk) she made them her focus.  Never a complaint.  Never did they want for anything that they really needed, and most importantly, they were a family.  House a little messy?  She’d rather play with the kids.  Now they won’t have a mom after not having a dad.  So who do they go to?  Her sister has agreed to take them in.  Now that family are affected as they were about to enjoy retirement.  Not anymore. (Old joke: Want to make God laugh?  Make plans!)

She is loved.

Thankfully, by the smallest of margins, there is a small, tee-nee tiny silver lining: Many people have stepped up to show their love.  Just today, more than ten people from her work showed up to visit; her extended Knights of Columbus Hockey family has provided food, new house fixtures, rides, support, shoulders to cry on, DQ Blizzards, all the things she could not do for herself and her family, they did.  We did.  It was our privilege.  We are also committed to ensuring those boys know they are loved, and will always be loved.

For Connie.  For Doug.  For Uncle Ed.  For everyone.

I Hate Cancer.

So This is Why I’ve Stopped Running…for Now.

On March 20th and 21st, this city was crushed by a “spring” snow storm.  It’s only a “spring” storm because it was days away from the real Spring.  Whenever that is.

At Snow Valley Edmonton (I am being specific in case you think I could be referring to Snow Valley Barrie, Ontario or Snow Valley California…as if), we stared at the sky and kept on staring.  It was like we just started the season over again.  As the snow began at 5:30 am it did not stop until the next morning and then started again.  The least amount of accumulated snow I heard reported was 20 cm or 7 inches.  The most was 40.  I’ve ranted about this before so I won’t go on too long here.  Yikes we have had a ton o’snow.  It’s so much that not everyone can keep up with the shoveling and running becomes an after thought.  It’s tough to run in snow shoes…really tough.

I’ve been counting shoveling as a work out since I had, with the rest of my family, been moving hundreds of kilograms of snow for 4 nights in a row an hour at a shot.  It’s a work out to the uninitiated.  To those who know, I salute you!

50th Street Walking Bridge at 6:30 pm MDT
50th Street Walking Bridge at 6:30 pm MDT

I could go inside to a running track but it’s a bit of an  investment each visit.  200 meter track and it’s clock wise on even days and counter clock wise on odd days.  Then if you go upstairs to the upper track it’s the other direction.   It’s so dry in there all I need is a couple of olives and it’s a Martini.

I need to get back on the road.  I will.  Not worried.  Still aiming for the half marathon at the end of April.  Will do.

I’ve walked the dog through the deep snow and the packed single person trails.  He loves it…bounding like a puppy and rolling in it.  Oh how he loves it.  One more thing: The light has returned..  As I write this, it’s past 8pm MDT and I’m gushing that it is still light out.  It’s just going to get lighter from now until the end of June.

The snow is maddening but the light is better.

So that’s why I stopped running… for now.  The shoes are ready.  It’s time to start…again.  Go Team.

More Snow?

The other day, we got snow in Edmonton.  Now we have more.  20cm, at least, have fallen in the past 48 h…maybe more.  There is no “official” snow meter, so even the local meteorologists rely on input from listeners who have used a ruler in their back yard.

We’re more used to cold.  Edmonton is on the 54th parallel (60 is the Arctic Circle map fans!)  and the wind blows down from the Northwest bringing cold.  Not so much snow, some but not like the extreme cold.  In 2010 we held the one day title of “Coldest Place on Earth” at -54C with the windchill.  It made leaving the house a major risk and huge under taking.  So ya, we know cold.  We know snow but not this much snow…not this long.

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Happy St.Patrick’s Day – After shovelling on March 17…more on the way.
Snow never stopped.  Shovelled earlier in the day - can't tell.
Snow never stopped. Shovelled earlier in the day – can’t tell.

We are done.  Enough is enough.  We got snow much earlier than normal so the 2012-13 snow year seems especially long.  Not only that, as good neighbours, we shovel up to 5 other houses plus our own.  Condos are looking good right now….real good.  These are seniors or shut ins that cannot get out and we just do it.  No thanks required, we’re trying to do the right thing.  Maybe it’s a test.  The all Omniscient being that runs this whole show is  seeing what the breaking point could be.  Is it more snow?  Is it snow combined with rain then freezing?  So

So the sun comes out...it just means we can see how much snow there really is...grrr
So hte sun comes out…it just means we can see how much snow there really is…grrr

far, I think we’ve passed. There are piles of snow at least 175cm tall on some drive ways that we clear.  The four of us get out with our shovels and ‘get’er dun’.

Why not get a snowblower?  Great question.  Unfortunately it becomes an economical question.  We could get a decent snow blower for $1000 or get four new shovels each year for $80 to $125 total.  The snow blower may not last 10 seasons of this!  So we plod on.  Maybe this spring we’ll jump on the band wagon.

Our neighbours on both sides have one but hardly ever use it.  Is it because we get out there first?  One neighbour offered the use of his but I would feel very uncomfortable in case I broke it. I would find a way, plus would his expectations be that I’m doing 5 houses each time?  Probably not.

Enough of the snow.  Just let spring do it’s thing.  It is supposed to start in 4 days.  I think it will be late…really late.

It Was Warm a Few Days Ago

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Woke up to 5 cm of snow. It’s mid-March for Pete’s sake! Spent the first 45 min of consciousness this morning shoveling neighbours’ walks instead of running. New workout, I guess. Now we go from roads of ice due to a freeze melt cycle, to fluffy white snow covering that same sheet of ice: Can’t wait to drive to work…right here in ‘pothole-city’! Forecast is for 10 more cm today; 5 cm tonight; and just for fun…-16C…yaaaaaaay.

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There is Light in the Dark

I’m talking literally not figuratively here.

Dexter blocking the path in his playground
Dexter blocking the path in his playground

While we do enjoy ridiculously long summer days, the winter nights are just as long.  We do not enjoy 24 hours of sun light like Yellowknife but summer does have its advantages of daylight until 11pm.  In winter it’s dark for as long as 17 hours.  BUT unlike those lands south of the snow belt, the dark is really not that dark.  Thanks to the snow, all light is magnified.  I went walking the other night in the Mill Creek Ravine and there was enough ambient light to see quite well.  Cloud cover made it even better.  When the moon is out and the stars twinkling, the light brings shadows and depth.  Cloud cover interestingly enough brings a flat light with little shadows.

The light in the dark is tremendous treat in the winter…or winter waste land as my wife would say.  She’s not big on the cold…so much so we don’t travel to the north side unless we have to.  Really.

We also have the knowledge that from this point until mid June, the days are just getting longer.  Deliciously longer.

Can’t wait.