Sporting Life

I participated in the inaugural Ottawa Sporting Life 10K race over the weekend. It was a 10K circuit along the Canal (always a great running route), starting and ending by Landsdowne. It’s also been my first tour of the newly redeveloped space – it’s a beautiful and fascinating part of town that I rarely visit. Landsdowne / TD Place manages to feel both big and cozy at the same time.

My biggest fear about the race was not being able to run it because of my leg. In true House-ian fashion, I have been suffering from a leg pain since late February. Unlike the dear doctor, mine just came out of nowhere. Like the doctor, the early solution was to down meds (naproxen, not vicadin). After a month of that with the pain, duller but lingering, I decided that physio would be a better, longer term solution.

Thankfully, it has been an improvement. The pain has shifted and it easier to deal with, but still, up to this point, I haven’t had the ability to run more than about 4K. So, how was it adding on six more kilometres without any training, with the risk if dialing back my leg’s progress?

In the recovery area, sporting a new medal

It was a struggle. I walked a few times throughout the back half of the race. Fortunately, despite it all, my time was only about three minutes longer than my last 10K race time. The course along the Canal by TD Place and Landsdowne was beautiful this time of year, and not too hot, thanks to the rain that fell the night prior. The event itself was fairly small, too, which gave me lots of space to go at my pace.

Plus, the medals are pretty awesome!

Sporting Life MedalMy next race is Ottawa Race Weekend. I’m hoping that I’ll hit a faster time, but now it seems that I’m also contending with a pain in my left knee. If this how growing old starts, I’m already not a fan. Long life youth!

Charlie

Am I Breathing Underwater?

I am not a swimmer.

I don’t enjoy the water. Actually, I rather enjoy water; I do not enjoy being in the water. I mean, who willingly jumps into and flails around a substance that, if it gets into your lungs, can kill you?

There is, I suppose, the benefit of knowing how and being able to survive in said substance, something that really should be emphasized in a country like this one, where water is abundant – from rivers and lakes to pools and the like.

Underwater

Underwater selfie in the Dominican 2015

Yes, I’ve played in pools and could float about if I had to, but I never really reached the point where I wanted to do it, whether it be for fun or fitness or to cool off on a hot summer’s day. And I really should try to get to that point.

So I signed up for swim lessons. 30-year old me.

Ottawa has great resources for its residents, including recreational activities. There was a swim program with one spot available that started immediately, so I took it. And that’s where I find myself once a week: in a shallow pool with two lifeguard-teachers alongside nine other adults trying to figure it all out. It’s the perfect setting to learn, work on, and improve techniques while getting positive feedback , without feeling like you’re the only one in the pool who doesn’t quite know what to do next and will make a mistake trying.

And I’m the whitest one there. It’s an odd, but not unsurprising observation.

It’s working, though. I’m much more comfortable not only in the water, but with the water. If anything, I’m learning how to trust it, which goes a long way to making swimming a more regular physical, and hopefully enjoyable activity. Our community has indoor and outdoor pools, and this summer, I should be taking advantage of that.

Justification

It’s been nearly two and a half years since I’ve posted anything to a blog. That’s a long time, isn’t it? I got an email from my wonderful webspace company, reminding me that I will be billed in a few weeks if I’m planning to keep my webspace and url and all those fun digital products and services. It’s not a ton of money to keep a website, but it’s a lot of money if I’m just wasting it. I would rather have $5 in my pocket than throw $5 down a storm pipe.

Storm pipe? Is that a real thing?

What I love about websites is their permanence. Well, if I decline to pay the good OneAndOne folks, then my site will be, to say the least, un-permanent. But websites and blogs are like stone tablets compared to the disposable records we share through Snapchat and messaging platforms. Even Twitter and Facebook, you get instant shares, instant likes, but I couldn’t tell you what I tweeted a month ago. I could look it up to an extent, but there isn’t always that context, that base. Thoughts and messages aren’t really searchable these days. And there isn’t any real sense of progress. Am I a better Tweeter than I was two years ago? (I know I’m not, actually)

So, blog. If I come here and write and share, maybe I can justify that $6 a month this webspace costs me. Can I stand out from the noise and faux-news that is the baited “A senior citizen walks into a tattoo parlour and how she walks out will blow your mind”-esque articles? Do I even need to?

I think it will be worth it if I can find the time to come and create and share. People half my age probably might use Tumblr to share extended thoughts with people outside of Facebook – if people half my age are even on Facebook… I have a couple of those:

https://www.tumblr.com/blog/gamerwithouttime – A Tumblr dedicated to my not having time to play video games. More recently, my 3DS is broken, and I have played a few levels of Captain Toad. It’s good!

https://www.tumblr.com/blog/bengotfat – A Tumblr dedicated to my health and activity. It has no posts, and I’ve completely forgotten about it until now.

Part of what I love about blogging is sharing photos – usually photos that I’ve taken and posted to Flickr. There’s a service I’ve stopped paying for. But I should get to using again. So, as a hurrah for me having typed for half an hour, and for me remembering how to get into this website, here is a photo:

Took this pic out of the vault... off the ice... for everyone to see!

Where is this? Can you guess?

Here’s hoping for a few more!

I need to find $2000 on the street

I am the world’s worst blogger.

I see many great people who blog daily, weekly, biweekly, or whenever they feel like it. And usually, they feel like it every few days! I always feel like I will, yet somehow I just run out of time. Perhaps I should just be more disciplined and allot a block of time every few days. Work out a schedule. Put to use this iPad of mine, perhaps?

What I like to believe in my head is that it’s unproductivity as a result of poor tools. The Dell laptop I’ve had since 2008 is really on its last breaths (not even, since the fans don’t work properly. To use my laptop in this crazy hot summer, it has it’s own oscillating fan), and I’ve been postponing lots of projects until I get a new computer. Podcasting. Blogging. Video. Photo even.

At this point, I’m ready to embrace the full Apple ecosystem: iPhone, iPad, iMac. I’ve wanted an iMac ever since those futuristic, blue, all-in-one machines started popping up in my middle school. Thankfully, they’ve evolved quite a bit since those CRT days. I can’t help but go and play with them whenever I find myself in an Apple store or one of those blue and yellow monstrosities of an electronics store.

There’s just one small problem: I need a good 200 unmelted Bordens (we don’t use that in Canada, do we?) to get one. They start at just $1199, but add a few hundred for better performance, and may as well add a few hundred for extra inches (insert size joke here), and before you know it, you’re looking at the cost of a crazy awesome adventure – that sits on your desk.

Fall. 2012. So long as nobody announces thinner lighter iMac with Retina display (because I know it’s coming).

Photos

I went on a little adventure looking for an Ottawa installation called Balancing, only to discover it’s been gone since 2008. Oops. So I found a couple of new sculptures (and a couple of classics) to enjoy instead!

201207_18_01 - Tall Cello

201207_18_03 - Twist Up

201207_18_04 - Two of Three Watchmen

201207_18_05 - Under a Spider

The Runner

Ottawa Race Weekend course in downtown Ottawa, as run by me and Nike+GPS

When it comes to running, May was a big month for me. I ran my fastest 1k (5:02), mile (8:17), 5k (29:18), and my furthest distance (5.13k). I also recorded my 250th kilometre with Nike+ and Nike+GPS since I started using it early last year.

To top it off, I ran the 5k in the Ottawa Race Weekend with 9678 other lovely people, and managed to place 2380th (top 25%) quite a step up from finishing 5621 of 7354 at last year’s army run (top 77%). But to put my result in some context, the fastest result of the Ottawa Race Weekend 10k race reached the end faster than I did in the 5k.

Waiting before the Ottawa Race Weekend 5K

The race itself was very good. It’s a very different feeling – and very motivating – running with 9000 people, at once. You see someone in front of you that doesn’t look like they’re going very fast, so you try to pass them. In a quiet moment, a bunch of people will pass you. The people watching along the side, cheering for loved ones (and cheering for everyone in general) is great to see too. The best, though, must have been some of the signs that people held up. One was “halfway there – just kidding” around the 4-4.5km mark. My favourite that made me laugh while running was, “your pace or mine?” Twitter tells me Lululemon had something to do with some of these motivational messages. Good on them!

Starting the Race

Regardless, I’m quite happy with being able to do this. High school me who couldn’t run halfway around the school (650m, give or take) in phys ed would be very impressed. I’m hoping to do at least another Army Run this year. Maybe Terry Fox. Maybe the Ottawa Hospital Rattle Me Bones Run (I am a valuable member of their team, after all).

The big question is, what do I do to become a better runner. Is it possible for me to stay motivated through a longer 6-, 8-, or even 10k? Should I push myself harder and shave valuable seconds off each kilometre I run? I’m not really looking to eventually do a marathon. I mean, I’m sure it’s great to be able to do one, but 40+ km is a whole lot of distance to cover, and I’m sure they don’t allow of napping breaks.

Yellow Corral for 30-35-minute finishers. I did it in 29:44.9.

 Perhaps I should just get used to running 5k at a time. Hit it every time I run. After doing that a while, perhaps adding a km or two wouldn’t seem so challenging. And naturally, I would speed up in the process. I suppose there are many, many hot, muggy summer evenings for me to try to figure it out… And a few more medals (and mosquito bites) to be had in the process.

5K Medal

096 – Day at the Beach and Migrating Blogs

201004_02_19 - Falling

201004_02_12 - Rocky Terrain

201004_02_11 - Against the Water

201004_02_10 - Father and Daughter

201004_02_05 - Glide

My blog has moved! There were lots of fancy terms involved, including migration, canonical, cname, and propagated, but it was all very simple to do (thanks largely to Google’s Blogger team). now instead of being at benjaminwood.net/blog, they will be at blog.benjaminwod.net. HUGE difference, am I right?

School is beginning to wind down, after some huge, but successfully completed assignments. Only one presentation to go, plus exams. Speaking of presentations, I gave one about product placement yesterday, and have made it available at on my site (www.benjaminwood.net/presentation) because it’s so cool. I basically took an iPad picture and made it interactive, included video, and made little apps to go from one slide to the next.

iPad

And I guess while I’m gushing about site-related business, I made a few minor updates, including a new picture that I use for my site’s main navigation. I can’t wait to have more time to add more content to my site. And play videogames.

Photos: I spent part of Good Friday on the beach. It was warmer then than it is now…

072 – Disney’s (second) Oldest to it’s newest! Plus Money!

The Canadian dollar is being my hero! It’s been on an upswing for the past week, more or less. While i doubt it’ll keep that pace, I would absolutely love it it went up a bit more and stayed there until mid-May. Analysis have been saying the dollar’s good fortune wouldn’t last too long, so I paid off half of the balance on the hotel and bought some US money for spending purposes. I also went through all my change and found 95¢ worth of US coins, plus another 50¢ in pennies. About 5% of my pennies were American!

This sudden interest in US currency prompted me to check out my quarter collection. I had been keeping US State quarters that I find at work, but wasn’t sure how many I had. Turns out, I have 22 different states represented overall (and I scrounged up another dollar in duplicates). If anyone has ones that I’m missing, please can I have them? I’ll give you my address and everything (just please don’t come and stalk me).


[Click to view my collection]

The new American bank notes are awkward. The newest Canadian designs embrace the colours of the notes of the past. The American ones, are slowly moving beyond their Original Gameboy green-and-black look, and are stuck in a middle “look i have some colour!” state. A note to American currency designers: purple and green are not so nice-looking together.

I’ve had over 1000 visitors to my blog. I’m no Joseph Mallozzi, but I bet I could be if I ran sci-fi show, ate a lot of exotic food, and had scary, yet adorable puppies to show off. In fact, if that were the case, I would in fact be Joseph Mallozzi. I suspect most of them arrive via google image search finding pics of T’Pol from an entry I made way back. But thank you if you’re one of the ones who follows the blog, whether on Livejournal, through my site, RSS feed, facebook links, or any other source that I just can’t think about at the moment.

Recently, I watched two movies (in hi-def Bluray!)


I hadn’t seen Pinocchio (1940) since I was very young, and I wasn’t a fan then. I’m still not a fan. Even though I don’t get excited over the movie, now that I’m older, I’m able to appreciate the movie a lot more. The animation is spectacular. The underwater scenes and the scenes inside Monstro are beautiful and detailed, to the point where I can’t even believe this movie has been around for 70 years! Also, Figaro has become my favourite Disney cat (sorry, Berlios). He’s just so amazing and expressive and little!

The hi-def transfer was very nice, but it wasn’t as spectacular as I was expecting; Sleeping Beauty raised my expectations too high. It makes me wonder why Disney is re-releasing two huge old classics one after another (Snow White is due this fall) and not something more modern, like Lion King or Beauty and the Beast to really show off the platform.

Bolt, however, was a fantastic hi-def watching experience. It was just like watching it in the theatres, only on a smaller screen, and three people instead of 70. I actually think Bolt’s a great movie, Disney Proper’s best CG movie to date. It’s not quite on par with a Pixar flick, but in terms of visuals, story, characters, and everything, it’s much better than Chicken Little and Meet the Robinsons. I wonder how much of that is John Lasseter’s influence.

The opening sequence, which shows the filming (with real-time editing and special effects I might add) of the Bolt show is spectacular, as is the set disaster bit. The region-specific pigeons deserve a lot of credit. They’re all hilarious! Also, this movie boosts my love for Malcolm McDowell (Mr. Linderman, the guy that killed Kirk, for you sci-fi nuts), the voice of Dr. Calico, the green-eyed Man. Rhino, the little break-out hamster starlet from the movie gets an all-new short, much like how Pixar makes shorts for their feature releases. This one was pretty forgettable, but cool while it lasted.