Wednesday, July 21, 2010

4-mile bookends or not much to report on this day off

My wife likes it when I go with her on the mornings when she runs, but she doesn't want to make me come, so she slinks away quietly. This morning I was drowsy but didn't think I could fall back asleep so I threw on some shorts and a t-shirt and went downstairs. I initially thought she had already left since it was so still on the ground floor, but she was there and happy to have me along.

The main bulk of the day was spent at the CS&T club minding the kids as they did swim team, tennis lessons and then swim lessons. We have a girl who does this the other four days per week but since I have Wednesdays off, she has Wednesdays off too. While there I got another few chapters of Stalin's Ghost read: Our hero has survived being shot in the head and few other scrapes in his suicidal attempt to bring the bad-guys to justice. Also, ran into the mom of one of Dahlia's friends, just back from three weeks in France. Naturally we had a lot to talk about.

Once home, I cleaned-up the breakfast things and lunch things which was enough to run a load in the dishwasher. Next, I put together a batch of spaghetti sauce for dinner tonight and a few other nights. We ate early due to Surenna having to go to a hip-hop workshop. After dinner there were enough pots, pans and dishes for the dishwasher to set-out again on its mission.

After all of this, there was still plenty of light for a run though it was still 80 degrees out. When we haven't had a heat-wave in a while, I sort of relish the idea of blitzing-out a 5-miler in the middle of the afternoon. It is a challenge that I enthusiastically embrace. It has been more-or-less continuously hot here for a solid month and now running in the heat just seems like drudgery. I think that this is the reason for my times being so lame in the last couple of weeks. Still, with heavy heart, I went out for a four miler.

One small reward was that I got to see how fast I was going. The police have put up a radar sign which flashes your speed. I have noticed it in the car and wondered if it would register a runner. There are two criteria that would have to be met: 1. There must be some threshold speed to be met since you wouldn't want it wasting its time flashing zero all day from the speed of the road itself. 2. There must be a reflection threshold. You want it to pick-up a car or motorcycle, but not, presumably, a breeze. this would not seem to be a tough problem since motor vehicles are made of metal, which is pretty reflective to microwaves, versus air which is not very reflective. (There are such things as storm and wind speed radars btw.) The key here is which side of the threshold is a person? I am mostly water and the only metal is a wedding ring and a couple of bits of dental work. The answer is that it did pick me up. It was on a slight down-hill and picked up my speed as 8 MPH from about 200 feet away. Naturally I sped-up and managed to hit 11 MPH (which is a 5:30 pace). I think I could have hit a higher speed but didn't want to pull something and cripple myself. Also, just for comparison; I could run a 1/4 mile in High School at an average speed of 15 MPH. Double also; I was a distance runner and the real quarter milers were much, much faster than me.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Family Fun Day

It was more-or-less just like last year's version at our local co-op pool club. I made the 2nd round in the cannon-ball contest, but didn't win it.

Being forced to sit outside on a hot day (at least we got there early enough to grab a spot under a good shade tree) has some benefit: I had enough time to get back into a book I had started back in January on the flight home from Bombay. I am reading Stalin's Ghost which is the 6th novel in a series by Martin Cruz Smith. The first book is the most famous, Gorky Park probably because there was a big Hollywood movie too. The movie is actually pretty good, it has William Hurt and Lee Marvin in it. It was only through looking into it in the process of writing this post that I realized how many stories there were in this series. I had read the first two and had a vague impression there was more than three.

Anyway, I am really glad I kept reading. The novel was interesting, but fairly involved so to keep track of the characters and plot requires either quick reading or careful attention. The action is picking-up now and so I am eager to find out what comes next. Our hero, the guy played by William Hurt in the movie, has had a girl try to garrotte him in one chapter and in the next a deadbeat dad shoots him in the head. I suspect he will live since the book centers around this character, but we shall see.