Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Da Pain, Boss! Da Pain!

Thank God for pain. Not back pain or nerve pain but good old muscle pain. Yesterday and today it was just quad stiffness, probably delayed onset muscle pain from the Half, because I have done no hard workouts since I hurt my back last Tuesday. The back now feels "okay" as does the nerve pain. But I do feel like I ran a hard marathon in my sleep last night! Go figure! I am not going to quibble. Now I am going to try to be sensible - if such a thing is possible for me - one day at a time......

Monday, February 27, 2006

The Boston Death March...

With all due respect to Bataan, the march to the Boston Marathon can take its toll. The miles and miles of training that are absolutely necessary to do your best. The months of pushing yourself to the very limits of your endurance. Knowing that you have to run on the ragged edge of risking injury in order to be at your peak. These can add up. And 16 weeks is a long haul. Reading Scooter's Blog (he's in my favorite Blog Index on the right, by the way) lately - http://scootersweightloss.blogspot.com/ - has been sobering as he wonders if he will be ready to give Boston his all and be in the best shape he is capable of being in. Of course, he's also run a 1:27 Half Marathon which makes ME wonder why he isn't shooting for a sub-three! I have every faith that Scooter will pull his game together and do himself and all his many supporters proud. In fact, he already has. I am so looking forward to actually meeting him in person and quaffing a beer in his company.(AOL crashed again.... Arrrggghhh!) I did 20 on Friday and 28 on Sunday, granted I dropped back five pace groups yesterday in order to be safe. Still, on Wednesday Dr. Mary told me not to sit or walk for a week. Right, like that was going to happen. Nobody knows my back better than me and I have been treating my injury as aggressively as I can within reason - aknowledging of course that acting reasonably is not exactly my strong suit. I already suffer chronic pain, so that is no big deal. It is what it is. The weakness and nerve pain referral into my right hamstring IS a cause for caution. Once I determined that I wasn't doing any actual additional tissue damage, I backed off my speed and strength runs, and just kept my mileage up. Powered by Extra-Strength Motrin and caffeine, I went out at the very back of the pack on Sunday. And honestly, at 26 I ran out of gas. Nothing left but dead legs and pain. And then I remembered doing the Pacific Coast Runners First Half Half Marathon in 1:34:07 last Sunday... Like I said, not the sharpest knife in the drawer...Now to spread the kudos around to my running buddies who actually have some real athletic talent. So far the Timex Road Race Series is two races old, and after two events Hugh sits fifth in his age group, as does Luisa. Who is Luisa? Just one of the many foxes I have the great pleasure to run with, all of them ageless and ever-gorgeous! But Hugh's and Luisa's tremendous accomplishments pale next to the amazing Carmen who now sits alone atop the standings in her age group. She is truly the Mistress of her Domain! I bow down before such athletic prowess! And just to give you an idea of how extraordinary Carmen truly is, after running her marathons and collecting her awards, she then goes out dancing until she shuts the establishment down!

Friday, February 24, 2006

Vince with Nathalie BEFORE My First Haircut

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Vince AFTER a Haircut by Nathalie

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Thursday, February 23, 2006

Do not adjust your computer screens...

Posted by Picasa C'est vrai! It's true, there are women like this in Vancouver. And she will change your life...

Life is a Cabaret, old Chum!

Posted by PicasaOoh-la-la!

The Very Best of France

Here it is, the Gift Certificate that is your passport to the world of the bold and beautiful. Nathalie is wonderful, amazing and the accent alone is worth the price of admission. Nathalie - you deserve her, darlings...

Don't Hate Me Because I am Beautiful...

Posted by PicasaOn February 10th, I wrote at length on my difficulties on understanding the subtle nuances required in filling out the entry form for the Marathon du Medoc. http://vanishingtattoo.blogspot.com/2006/02/say-what.html

I also spoke at length of my good friend, the lovely Nathalie Boyer, whom I described as the "Quintessential French Woman", and the one who ultimately came to my aide in the translation department.

Nathalie is also responsible for making me so beautiful it positively hurts. Let's face it, I am what I am after all - a strikingly handsome man, albeit a man of a certain vintage - but it was Nathalie who polished the rough edges off to reveal the sparkling diamond that is Boston Vince Hemingson. So don't hate me for being beautiful - that is Nathalie's fault.

I owe it all to Nathalie's haircut. Not only did the haircut make me look like Steve McQueen, it also made me 2.3% faster. If you must, hate me for being faster and smarter than you, and quite possibly the most obnoxious man you'll ever meet...

Mademoiselle Boyer is the talented woman resposible for making me look like Steve McQueen these days... And rest assured she can work the same kind of magic on you. You too can be as beautiful as me.

Not as fast and certainly not as smart, but bear in mind, the woman is only an incredibly talented artist, NOT a miracle worker.

So in tribute to Nathalie's rare gifts, I urge you to let her work her magic on you. The scalp massage alone is probably illegal in most jurisdictions but she is - after all - French.

And when someone asked me what the quintessential French woman looks like - well, a picture is worth a thousand words.

Nathalie works out of the upstairs ZOOTZ Hair Studio on the corner of Fourth Avenue and Arbutus Steet. You can book an appointment with this hair magician at 604.730-8787 and she has a special offer on right now for first time clients - see the Gift Certificate above.

You owe it to yourself.

White Out

I badly fucked up my back loading boxes and stuff into the back of a panel van prior to heading for Edmonton bright and early Tuesday morning. Thank you, you incompetent worthless bastards at U-Haul. In the end, I had to seek out medical attention at the crack of dawn in Edmonton on Wednesday morning. Where the doctor shook her head and told me not to sit and not to run for a week.... Yeahm like that's gone happen with Boston in seven weeks.

The drive to Edmonton took sixteen hours and a half hours in what was at times an absolutely unbelievable blizzard - where I could only go 20-40 kilometres per hour because the visibility was so poor - from this side of Valemont, through the mountains to Jasper, on past Edson to just before Stony Plains. The highway signs said it all - in blinking lights no less - "Black Ice" - "Blowing Snow". That pretty much summed it up. At times, there no more than a hundred feet of visibility, if that. The panel van I was driving got sideways a few times, sphincter-clenching, heart in the mouth moments, and the ABS kicked in with terrifying regularity. During it all my back was in agony, sitting being the worst thing for it. I tried sitting on my pack, til my head was wedged against the ceiling of the van, operating the gas and brake both with my left foot, anything I could think of to ease the pain. Sometimes I hung from the top of the steering wheel like a monkey, with my ass an inch off the seat. All the time looking out at the snow, wondering if this was the night I was going to bite the big one... And the road conditions just worsened and the snow just came down faster and thicker and it all just got worse...

To keep up my speed, I was drafting semi-trailers - and just following their tail-lights until I would chicken out - they were going anywhere from 70K in the worst conditions, to up to 110K. Man, those cab-over cowboys can DRIVE! I was in survival mode, just trying to keep going, just trying to make it through the mountains, just trying to get to my destination and hoping that it wasn't my final destination... I was forced to stop many times to clear frozen snow off the front of the grill, the headlights and the windshield, a task I faced with dread because it meant leaving the warmth of the cab and hobbling out into the storm in no small amount of agony.... I thought of stopping overnight and waiting out the storm, but did not know if I would be able to move or drive or continue in the morning. I just gambled that I could keep driving in pain - I stopped only for for copious amounts of coffee, caffeine-laden Red Bull and a bottle of Extra Strength Motrin - which I chewed like candy - until I had reached a maximum daily dosage of 8,000 milligrams. If I was going to live, I was definitely going to need my liver.

Sometimes the windshield wipers would freeze to the windshield. Don't mind admitting that I was scared to death at times. No other vehicles were on the road for a huge long stretch - except me and the mother-truckers. I was following a big jacked-up 4x4, and then watched in horror as the guy did 360s in front of me, the truck waltzing in slow motion between the huge ditches waiting to swallow him up on either side of the road. I thought he was done for and then he came to a stop, his headlights facing the wrong way. I pulled up beside him and it was a young man in his early twenties, shaken up, just glad to be alive. After that he faded into my rear view mirror, no longer interested in going fast. That was the worst of it. Within an hour the snow let up and I cruised into Edmonton, exhausted.

I've seen enough snow to last me a lifetime. At least the rest of this winter!

Monday, February 20, 2006

Had My Fastball in the Zone...

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Ran 86% of the Half Marathon - 1:34:07 - between 81-85% of my Maximum Heart Rate. Average heart rate for the entire race was 164 - or exactly 82% of my maximum heart rate, give or take a beat or two...

Pacific Road Runners First Half Half Marathon

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The start was very crowded as I was at the absolute back of the starting grid. It takes me about fifteen minutes and two miles to get up to speed. Not a terrible strategy in minus -1 degree weather. I seem to do much better if I give myself ample opportunity to get up to optimum operating temperature. I did the first 10K in just under 44 minutes, and from that point on I am running the rest of the race pretty much at my lactate threshold.

I will admit I was surprised that I was as strong as I was at the end of a week of high mileage (22.5 miles last Sunday) and four speed and strength workouts (easily another 35 miles in total, maybe more), Tuesday to Friday. Hugh eased off towards the end of the week, as he had also put in a hard week of skiing at altitude. I spent the better part of five kilometres in pursuit of Hugh and I was not sure until the last two miles if I could catch him.

In fact, if you look closely at the end of my Polar chart you can see three distinct little peaks in my speed on an otherwise steady speed line. The first is to catch up to Hugh and then draft him, the second is to pass Hugh with a mile to go on a sharp little hill (my homage to Boston and the Heartbreak Hill) and the final dash for the Finish Line because I heard footsteps the last few hundred meters and I was positive it was Hugh come to finish me off.

My half marathon time on Sunday, coupled with my 10:15 for 2.5K on Thursday gives me the confidence that my training is on the right track. At 170 pounds, I hope to do Boston proud.

Under the Gun

Note: Official real-time order of finish (according to IAAF rules), NOT personal chip time, is used to score events in the Series. Exceptions are the Sun Run which does not utilize real-time order of finish, due to the sheer size of the event and the complication of having various wave starts; and Times Colonist 10k, also due to the size of the event (now over 10,000) and resulting large differences between gun time and chip time. Official order of finish line crossing ("gun time") is only used for the top 20 overall men and women in the Sun Run and TC10K. For everyone else, chip time order is used.

Yikes, Gun Time, Chip Time, any Time at all...

My warm-up strategy cost me at least two finishing places in my age category. 1:34:49 versus 1:34:07 - 26 vs. 28 Probably not such an important consideration for this one race (don't worry, I was not even within eye-sight of the podium) but maybe significant over the course of a long Road Race Series and God is in the details. And something to consider and tuck away for the future.

Prior Planning and Preparation Prevents a Piss-Poor Performance.

Don't get me wrong, I am ecstatic over the results of my Half Marathon. Positively over the moon. But it is interesting to note the details. My hat is off to the Pacific Road Runners. The First Half was well-organized, well-run and well-managed. A great course run on an unforgettable day.

Next time I'll take my race prepartions a little more seriously and see what advantages there are to starting as far forward as possible.

Sunday, February 19, 2006

Bang! Crash! Thump! Hoo-Rah!

That was the sound of me falling off the wagon.

I went to a Memorial Service last evening for the twenty-five year old brother of close friends. It was moving, beautifully done, with heart-aching music, testimonials from friends, and oh so terribly awful for someone so young to be killed in a car accident.

I hugged my friend. Bawled like a baby. And needed a drink. In for a penny, in for a pound and I drank to Chris' memory with as good a bottle of red wine as I could find at short notice.

I ran the Pacific Road Runner's First Half, Half Marathon this morning with a hangover.

I ran a personal best of 1:34:40. I clipped Hugh at the Finish Line by eleven seconds.

Revision: My Official Chip Time was 1:34:07

The good news is that based on the race predictor calculator at http://www.marathonguide.com my Half time this morning suggests I could run a Marathon in 3:18 and change. Revised: 3:17:07


http://www.mcmillanrunning.com/index.html McMillan, on the other hand, predicts a 3:19:28. Revised: 3:18:30

Don't you just love it when wonks wage war with competing algorithms?

I am driving the last of the personal remains of another dear, dear friend who died far, far too young, from Vancouver to Edmonton in a few minutes. From a storage locker that will finally be shut to her parent's home. I wish it was more.

U-Haul may have the worst customer service in the history of customer service.

More on all of this when I return in three days.

My God, it was beautiful morning for a race. Just beautiful.

I am glad to be alive, today.

I cherish the knowledge that I can run to the best of my ability, in the company of people whom I have come to love and who so enrich my life by their presence and by being part of my life.

Please, tell somebody you love that you love them today.

It's all that matters.

Friday, February 17, 2006

Cranking Along

Had a great 17 kilometre run this morning. Crisp and cold, ice crackling and snapping underfoot. Frosty temperatures under sunny, cloud-free skies, crystal clear views out to the snow-capped mountains leaning over English Bay, and clean, fresh air to pull all the way down to the bottoms of your lungs. Doesn't get much better than this kids... Did the run in 1:35. Tomorrow easy, then the First Half Half Marathon on Sunday.

Two Month Countdown

Two month countdown to launch... A mere eight weeks and I can hear the clock ticking...

Since setting my sights on Boston some fifteen months ago I am getting to the point where my goal is in sight. My mindsight for Boston is already eerily similar to what is was in the week leading up to my qualifying effort in The Okanagan Marathon in Kelowna. A sense of inevitability, a relative calm that I am doing and will have done all that I can do and that on the day of the race, whatever is supposed to happen, will happen.

After fretting about my weight being at a sticking point, this morning I was 178. Last time I checked, it was 181-182 and had been there forever it seemed.

Tuesday I did a relatively easy tempo run after doing 34.5 kilometres on Sunday. Wednesday I did eight long hills on the UBC Hill, which is just over a mile in length. Was a little stiff on Thursday, but went out to a Personal Best Speed Clinic and after doing strides in some bitterly cold (I can hear them laughing in Edmonton and all places North... but heh!, it was minus fifteen degrees with the wind-chill) we did a little two and a half kilometre time trial to see where everyone was in the clinic.

There was not a soul in the clinic who didn't sprint through the 2.5K if only to get warm and to make it back to the Running Room. My Gawd!, it was cold. It was so cold my nipples could have cut glass. My spit was bouncing off the pavement and the balls were dropping off of brass monkeys. It was cold! Did I mention it was cold.

Long story short, I ran the 2.5K in 10:16, and that was after falling head over heels on the Seawall in the pitch black light conditions we call dusk on the West Coast in Winter. I flashed back to two years ago at nearly the exact same spot on the Seawall and nearly the exact same time of the year when I planted my foot on the edge of the Seawall curb in the dark and fractured my ankle.

I won't say my heart didn't leap into my throat. I was running hard last night, imagining myself on the streets of Boston, and when I stretched out to plant a foot, the pavement receded into a depression, I overextended and promptly went ass over teakettle. No!, was the first thing I thought, protected my lower body as best I could and sacrificed those parts of my body that could take the punishment the best, like my hands, chin, and face. I can call it character...

I somersaulted a few times and rolled to my feet and kept going. The runner just in front of me later said he heard a thud, but it was so dark he couldn't a damn thing, or me fall either (yes, get it, I am the damn thing - man, it kills me to have to explain my material...). Justin was right behind me and he didn't see a thing either! They missed a beauty of a spill. I got to my feet without any trouble and kept at it, I won't say hammer and tongs, because by now even I was a bit cautious. A few hundred metres later the same thing almost happened again, which made me wonder if it was because I was stiff from the hill repeats, overstriding or just going to fast in the dark. In the end I took a little off my speed and finished in 10:16, a time I was well satisfied with. Under ideal conditions, I feel pretty confident that I could do the 2.5K in under ten minutes.

Sukhi, Justin and Patrick had peak heart rates of 195, 192 and 185. Did I mention they were children? Like 32, 28 and 27. I need to start running with old farts my own age. Where is Hugh when I need him? Oh yes, I topped out at 178, and I was quite conscious of holding back after my little tumble...

All in all, a satisfying workout.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Creaking and Groaning

I have definitely tweaked my back. My self-diagnosis is that after running 34.5 K on Sunday, I was sufficiently tired that my core muscles were probably too fatigued to bear sitting for eight hours in front of my computer on Sunday, despite my sandwiching in a two hour nap. I should know better at my age!

Prognosis? As of Tuesday morning, 6:30am, I can't imagine doing a tempo run tonight... Will try and schedule some medical intervention or physical therapy of some kind... And I am supposed to be giving the chat tonight on Hill Training. Hah!

This is not a muscle pull or strain. More like an aggravated nerve root from one of my back surgeries, or just tired scar tissue. Will keep an eagle eye on it...

Monday, February 13, 2006

Hey Gramps!

I got my Medical Certificate today from Dr. Boris for the Marathon du Medoc, the very idea of which set him off, peals of laughter circling the examining room. When I explained the wine tasting part of the marathon he howled some more, clearly tickled with those crazy French bureaucrats and their need for a piece of paper that says I'll probably survive a marathon...

Did 34.5 kilometres yesterday and then have been typing around the clock like mad to make a deadline.

All the sitting in a chair yesterday in front of a computer screen has been killing me. Sore ass, sore back...

Friday, February 10, 2006

Say Wine!

The fruit of the grape! - http://www.wine.org/

Say What!?

More musings on the Marathon du Medoc. As I've been going through the application form I have been somewhat staggered by my inability to read French - what was I doing for all those years in High School and University? - oh, that's right, first lusting after Linda Biggeman and then Stephanie Poschmann. When not pestering my friend Paul for translations - he's the Englishman in Paris trying to pass himself off as a Frenchie - I have been pestering my friend Nathalie, who has the distinction of not having to pass herself off as an ersatz Frenchie, as she is an actual bonafide, real-deal , dyed-in-the-wool Frenchwoman! Nathalie may even be the quintessential Frenchwoman, having been a runway model in Paris, an old school Cabaret dancer around the world and now a hair stylist (she being responsible for shearing my locks off...), a woman who dabbles in painting, reads Sartre and seems somehow naked without a glass of red wine in one hand and a cigarette in the other. A vegetarian who feasts on Fois Gras, because, "Honestly, Darling, it's fois gras..." as in please, you barbarians, let us not get too carried away about something when culinary delicacies are involved.

Anyways, even Nathalie herself was rather taken aback by the Medoc form. I heard a lot of Gallic muttering and lips moving as she read through the form, but that might have been caused by all the garlic in her last meal. "I tell you zees for true, Veeeince, zay should 'ave figured zees out by now. "Allo?" C'est vrai! C'est un scandal!" So I will be filling out the form with no small amount of trepidation and sending it off with a hope and a prayer, and my Doctor's note, a medical certificate saying that there is no medical reason why I cannot run. Physical reason that is, not mental... But in the mean time, this little test should whet a few palates - http://wines-france.com/RaisinAuVin/Quiz.aspx

Back to getting ready for Boston. Wednesday night I went out to do an easier 10K after Tuesday's semi-meltdown, but the lovely Sarah spurred me on to do 10.3K in 46:23. My average heart rate was only 147, so I was pretty happy about the time. Sarah never really cracked a sweat and didn't even have the decency to breath hard... Of course that may be because she's still just a child and a run like this is not that much different for her than scurrying around the jungle-gym in the playground...

And today, after doing some easy Hills yesterday, I did 9.6 miles in 1:20. And that included the 1.2 mile UBC hill...

Looking forward to Sunday's 32K long run...

And, after having been stuck at 182 pounds for-seemingly-ever, this morning I tipped the scales at 181.


Thursday, February 09, 2006

The New Daddy Warbucks

Prompted by my good buddy Paul - an Englishman posing as a Frenchie in Paris - and Blog buddy Scooter I have decided that it is high time that my Boston or Bust Blog moved into the 21st Century. First it was Paul bringing the following to my attention... And why green is the accent colour of the day! It's all about the green, and I'm not talking about Saint Patty's Day! http://blogshares.com/blogs.php?blog=http://vanishingtattoo.blogspot.com%2F I have decided to see what it takes to drive up the price of my Blog shares...

The second was Scooter rightly chastising me - sniffeling and sniveling really - for not following his Blog closely enough to have picked up on the so-called "wave" start at the Boston Marathon this year... With the help of my friend Doug this morning I dragged my Blog kicking and screaming into the present. Hence all the Links and crap and stuff that makes people think you know what the fuck you are doing...

But mostly, the Links will enable yours truly a shorthand way of checking up on the places, bookmarks and things that otherwise elude me. Notice Scooter's pride of place in the Links List... Boy, what a whiner he is!

Notice I have paragraphs again? Turns out that AOL is such a shitty internet service provider that - if you can freaking belive this! - when it comes to doing a Blog that the AOL browser, when used in conjunction with Windows, will not allow you to use the Enter button on your keyboard to indent paragraphs. This must have happened as the inadvertant result of a recent update, because until last week, other than the dozen crashes a day I endured, I had no such trouble. Now just how fucking amateurish is that? I can now slag AOL in paragraphs only because I am now typing my Blog in Firefox! AOL - short for American Online Losers...!

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Cough, Sputter, Arrgghhh...

I think the last two weeks have caught up to these middle-aged bones... The Steveston race last Sunday - 8k in 34:23 - 6 miserable K in the pouring rain on Tuesday, a 46:18 10.3K training run Wednesday, Hills on Thursday, more Hills and 14k on Friday and then 28K on Sunday started to stack up. I will grant you that it was a hard week. I think the asthma attack on January 24th was more psychologically unsettling than physically problematical. I think I may have subconsciously tried to overcompensate for the asthmas attack by hitting my training for Boston extra hard. Still no fucking paragraphs!!! The upshot was that last night I had a scheduled 8K tempo run that I wanted to do in around 34-35 minutes. My legs were having none of it. The course we set out on was complete and utter shite for starters. Too many hills and intersections and pedestrians and dogs to run right at your lactate threshold. I nearly got hit by a car twice. Stop sign? Red light? What the fuck are those? Let me see if I can get twenty points for taking out a runner! Morons! Then I had to hurdle a beagle. Seriously. I had to grab some air over a dog and I had already swerved off the sidewalk onto the grass. Couldn't seem to get my heart rate above the 150's, averaged 149, maxed out at 164 and finished in just over 37 minutes... Blah! Time to recover a little after all the stress. But had a great pasta dinner after with my running buddies. Always a silver lining in there somewhere. Have some fun when you run!

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Vince Going Ironman Aero

Posted by Picasa Vince's close-shaved, bullet-shaped head with it's small pea-brain should have major aerodynamic benefits in the biking portion of the Ironman. Ironman? Whatever happened to Boston? The Boston beans are in the bag, Baby! After Boston and Medoc this year, you have to plan for the future. Now how do I get out of Michael's living room... Can you tell I am stuck at home, supposedly cleaning house in preparation for having my Father as a houseguest this coming week? The last of the great canine seducers. Hey! The washer is washing and the dryer is drying and the dusting has been dusted!!!

Vive La France!

I adore most things French, think Paris really is the city of lights and one of the best places to visit on the face of the earth. I love the food, the wine, and, dare I say it, Les Femmes. Could even be said to be something of a Francophile. And now I can hope to enjoy them all and so much more as I am in receipt of my application form for the Marathon du Medoc. .http://www.marathondumedoc.com/ And you have to admire the French audacity in sending out a Marathon application form that requires a little sleuthing to understand, translation, and some ground work to uncover the true meanings that are merely hinted at in French idioms... For example I give you - Pardonez-moi! - Pour example... Ce qui est ceci... "Non deguises s'abstenir" - My buddy Seymour had a rather strange take on this, something like, "Don't give up", while I myself took it to mean something more like, "Be absent without disguise". Which actually astonished me in the end, because my good friend Paul - who is an Englishman living and working in Paris because he fell hopelessly and irretrieveably in love with the amazing Sophie - after consulting with Sophie said that it pretty much meant, "Don't Bother Coming Without a Costume!" Now how great is that!? You absolutely must go to the web site and check it out. The Marathon du Medoc winds through the heart and soul of the best wine country in France, and in celebration of that fact, the French marathon organizers see to it that for every sip of water you must endure and suffer through, you can alleviate your misery by washing down all that dreadful H2O with some wine. And you can further abate your pain by imbibing some cheese and oysters and prawns and other French culinary delights along the way. My God, this is the way a marathon should be run, as a celebration of all the good things in life! So I hope my fellow Vancouver marathon running buddies can get their shit in gear - the idea being that a group of us would like to run as a team - the vaunted and intrepid Coureur de Bois from Canada, or, for you hopeless Anglophones out there, the Runners of the Woods - and buy their plane tickets!

Monday, February 06, 2006

Juggle, Juggle, Juggle...

Work, run, work, run, squeeze in a little life, run, work, work, work, a tiny bit more life, juggle, juggle, juggle! Where do I start... The preceding should be read in one long breath, with not much pause for puncuation and then you will have a reasonable facsimile of my life in the past ten days! And of course now this f*****g Blog thing isn't working properly and AOL, which wants to CHARGE people for e-mail on top of already being one of the most expensive, and unreliable f*****G internet providers on the face of the planet has been crashing all morning, take a deep breath, another loud expletive... and more profanity... And of course now I can't make f*****g paragraphs. F**k it. Reminds me of John Le Carre and the Moscow Rules, a pivotal one of which is: technology will always fail, usually at the most crucial and inopportune moment... Anyways, after my little episode of asthma, I climbed back on the horse the next day and ran a very easy 50 minute 10K. But immediately after my asthma attack, I went to a charity event, Red Ruby, being held for Dr. Peter's House http://www.drpeter.org/index.htm and got to take in some Burlesque - what a sacrifice on my aprt - and to see an Art Show. A friend of mine, Niina (no, I don't know what the two ii-s are all about) Chebry was exhibiting and I felt a certain social obligation to go. I love Niina's work and I have commissioned a set inspired in part by Picasso's Minotaur series... So after catching my breath, post-asthma attack, that is... Off I went! So, I paid my twenty bucks to get in... Grinding of teeth, it's a freakin' Charity Event, Vince, pay up you cheap bastard. Got in, but of course didn't have my free drink, my not drinking and all, and took in some pretty fabulous paintings. Niina was showing with another talented young painter, Carmen Larsen. Liked her stuff a lot. Did I mention I was not drinking, watching other people drinking, and finding the watching and not doing very boring. Buy some raffle tickets to fight aforementioned boredom and flirt with pretty raffle-ticket selling girl. Pretty girl says tickets are five bucks, but I get a deal for a volume purchase. Tough to flirt as a cheapstake. Get lured by pretty raffle-selling girl into falling for volume ticket deal. Did I mention I wasn't drinking? Buy five tickets for twenty bucks. I am, after all, saving a small fortune by not drinking. Niina draws a ticket, I win a fabulous painting valued at $1,500. http://niinachebry.com/ Thank you, God. The huge number of gay men in attendance at the event are very appreciative of my exuberant response to my win. My substitute for not drinking. And even more appreciative of my cowboy boots, jeans and embroidered cowboy shirt. The MC lets everyone in attendance know I am very, "Brokeback Mountain, and he wouldn't mind riding me home. I choose to be flattered, as a couple of the Burlesque girls, all winsomely willowy and dewy, all lithe and lean and all young enough to be my daughters, have also comented favorably on my attire. I HATE not being able to have paragraphs. The rest of the week my running goes well. SUNDAY - Steveston Ice-breaker 8K - cold and crisp, no rain for a change, I run a 34:23. Hugh runs a 33:48, and the fast old bastard finishes 300 yards in front of me. Hugh is fifth in his age group, I am fifteenth. I hate THAT as well. http://www.kajaks.org/results/icebreaker2006.htm We tack on 10K at the end. Great crowd of people at the race. Great food and prizes afterwards, a nice community of runners. Tuesday, pouring rain, I mean pouring rain, and Hugh and I do an easy 6k, still recovering from the race on Sunday. Wednesday, I go out and do 10.3K in 46:18, my heart rate rock-steady at 151. Finally feel on top of my form and my feet. Get a very nice e-mail about my Blog. Hi Vince, I found your running blog the other day, and have spent the last two days reading it from the start .. not bad going considering I'm supposed to be working! I just wanted to write and let you know how much I have enjoyed sharing your (ongoing) journey. Your rants have been particularly amusing to behold. It is rare that I burst out laughing at work .. so thanks for that! Your writing style is really excellent and keeps the reader interestedand involved (even in the forensic nitty-gritty HRM analyses which would normally turn me right off). I honestly believe a career in writing awaits you ...ever considered trying to get your blog published ?? or syndicated?? Of course that would mean losing the free web version so maybe I shouldn't suggest it! For what it' s worth I am a 50 year-old with a long term aim of getting a BQ (3.35). I started running a bit less than two years ago, and finished my first marathon in about 3.54 (Loch Ness). I have the next one lined up for April, but don' t really expect to crack Boston this year, we-e-ee-el-lll-ll ...). My training is quite different toyours, but I guess it's "horses for courses". Whatever, I just love running and the lifestyle changes it has brought with it for me, and I hope you get everything you want out of the raceon April 17 and beyond. I will continue to follow your blog with great interest.Best of luck! David. Fan mail! Enough to cheer anyone up. Of course, the writer bit I find a bit amusing, but David makes it even better with a follow-up... Vince, Ad addendum to previous message ...Now I have just read your bio and see you are indeed a writer! Well, there you go! David... Yes, indeed! Now if only there were some Editors and Publishers with the obvious good sense and literary taste that David has!!!!! I haven't met David and already I like him. A good Scotsman obviously. The next day I find out my Boston or Bust Blog has come in second-place in voting for Vancouver's Best Local Blog in the local Westender community newspaper... So I now feel like the Blog has been worthwhile, at least on some level. Artists never really feel worthy unless aknowledge by others. http://westender.com/ ... I get a nice stream of e-mails congratulating me on the Blog. All this while I am busy painting and writing and working and running and fretting and making arrangements for my Father to stay with me during his upcoming cataract surgery. Thursday hills, Friday, a lovely 14K with the UBC Hill thrown in, Sunday, do 28K. There you have it, Folks. Ten days in the life of Vince.