Archive for May 2009

Out of balance

Sunday, 31st May 2009. Filed in Cross-training2 Comments »

I started a new job 7 weeks ago. Since then, I have run twice, biked 4 times, and yoga-ed not once, except for stretches after the running and biking activities. I am not happy about this. Not only do I know rationally this is not a good way to live, but I feel it. My hips are even tighter than normal, the office stairs have me huffing more than I would like. My mental state could be worse, but I miss yoga so much, and know it would help me balance everything I need to do, and help me to tackle all my challenges in a much more relaxed state.

I cut myself a little slack because being sick and trying to keep up with the new job was flippin’ hard. I didn’t really realize how sick I was until I started feeling better. But my energy level was completely wiped. I wanted to do something, but I was running on empty and all resources were going into trying to do my best at work. Crunchy husband was an absolute star during this time because he wasn’t 100% either and he still cooked me dinners and cleaned the house when I had people coming over to record the newsletter.

So, yeah I’ve been struggling a bit with the balance. Even though I know I should get up and exercise before work, I think if I am up and awake it would be nice to just get in and try to get some stuff done while it is quiet and the day is young. Which I know is not healthy, and yet I feel it’s so important for me to do well. Partly because I know I can do well, and partly because I really believe in the organization and I don’t want to let it down. It’s been a bit of a challenge trying to keep the daily happenings going and plan for the future and get up to speed with it all – a challenge that I completely expected and welcomed, but yeah it has had me pretty zapped for energy outside of office hours.

However, this weekend I cleaned my room (how old am I?) and we went out for a stellar bike ride to Broadstairs and back. I am feeling good about this. It feels like it has positioned me well to tackle all I would like to get done this week before I step on the plane and head home to California, so that I am not sitting around for two weeks with the sick hole in my stomach thinking about all the things I wished I had gotten done, that should have been done. No good wasting a vacation day with worry and yet, I know myself so I want to get as much as possible done so I won’t. So, um yeah we’ll see if I manage another run or exercise before Saturday. I’m going to try my best.

No, I haven’t been to Mexico recently

Sunday, 10th May 2009. Filed in Travel1 Comment »

I spent the afternoon yesterday going through the 1,071 images we took while we were in the Maldives. It’s a work in progress, but thanks to the helpfulness of Adobe Bridge, I have around 300 already marked for deletion. At one point in the trip down memory lane, I hit a rough spot. I came to the pictures we took on our sunset photo cruise – the dhoni boat trip that had us drifting up and down, up and down, up and down. Did you get that? Up and down, up and down, up and down. I thought I was going to die. Absolutely die. I tried to hold my pressure points. I tried to focus on a little island on the horizon.  The only thing I managed to really do was think about how I was going to die.

I have never been seasick like that before. I’ve hit some rough moments on ferry crossings that prompted me to buy some acupressure wrist bands, but nothing terrible.

Luckily, I didn’t barf. On the boat. I made it halfway along the jetty toward the bathroom at the dive center before vomiting all over myself and the jetty.

It is not a happy memory – I was pretty embarrassed – except for the part where I finally made it over the side of the jetty and the fish swarmed – swarmed! – to the bilious remnants of my big mama cheeseburger and french fries. That part was actually pretty amusing.  And the fact that Crunchy husband kept saying, “where are your sunglasses? Give me your sunglasses! Don’t lose your sunglasses!” No matter that I am spewing my guts in paradise and spoiling the romantic evening stroll of more than one vacationing couple, let’s not lose the Oakleys. Yes, we know what matters in this family.

Unfortunately, I seem to be on a roll. Last Wednesday night, while sitting through a live Rob Brydon show in Margate, I started feeling a bit rough, a bit hot and a little ill. Crunchy husband concurred. We blamed the chicken and hoped for the best. (Read: we were in the second row and really not interested in calling attention to ourselves.) By Thursday evening, it was apparent we were both fighting a bug. I slept 11 hours and made it pretty well through Friday. Yesterday, I spent the day totally chillin’  (me and my photos) and eating lots of chicken soup. I thought things were looking up.

Oh, ho, ho! Was I mistaken? Yes, yes, indeed. I headed to bed at around 9 because it was all going a bit downhill, and I’ve just got too much stuff on to be sick for real.  But before I could get to sleep, I got the chills, the shakes, the ‘my god will the bed stop rocking!’ and promptly emptied the contents of my stomach into the trash can by the bed.

I will say one thing, my aim is getting better. And I slept like a baby and feel much better this morning. So, I am hoping for a good start to the week. But, I am disappointed I can’t ride today. The sun’s out and the bike is so ready to go.

For more Maldivian shots, the Flickr set has been updated.

The Sony Walkman W Series: the Good, the Bad, and the Robot

Sunday, 3rd May 2009. Filed in Crunchy grooves, RunningNo Comments »

Recently, I was supplied with a new Sony Walkman W Series to test out. I loaded up my challenge playlist, and then got a bit distracted by the responsibilities of a fabulous new job. I haven’t been able to exercise much in the past couple weeks, beyond daily office stair climbs, but I have had the chance to test out the mp3 player a few times on the weekends.

The Good: It is lightweight and very easy to wear. There are no wires to poke down my shirt, no head to hip connections, beyond the usual anatomical circuits. I was skeptical when I took it out of the box – I have a small head and there is not a way to adjust the cord length between the right and left ears. But it stays on, even if I have to rotate the ear pieces to point down more than I imagine is usual. It is easy to turn off and on, adjust the volume and flip back and forth through tracks by just reaching up to your ear. In terms of sound, I’d say the speakers pack a reasonable punch. It’s pretty rich. Out of the box, the unit charged pretty quickly and was ready to go in good time.

The Bad: As I suspected, due to its size and portable nature, it has the same limitations as the iPod shuffle. You load up your songs, they get put on in the artist/folder order and off you go. That’s great for times when I want to listen to tracks in a random order. But, if I make a playlist for a run, I want to hear it in the order I’ve set. In this specific list, MGMT sets up the rhythm, Peter Gabriel tells me not to break it, and Andrew Bird carries the momentum through. I certainly don’t want to hear my cool down songs when I need a power song to get pep me up. The player is not very flexible to this need. To put the playlist onto the player in this order, I had to rename all the tracks to get them to fall in that order. So it’s not really realistic if you want to use the player to its 2 GB capacity with any kind of control, order, or an easy way to find what you’re looking for. You can use the ZAPPIN technology to hear clips of each song as you pass through, but eh, that’s not as exciting as it sounds. Usually, I can figure it out from the beginning of the song.

Also, the unit charges when it’s plugged in to a computer. I know this is the digital age, but there are times when I’m traveling and I don’t have my computer with me, so this doesn’t seem ideal.

The Robot: You can’t take yourself too seriously in one of these things.  A few months ago, I acquired a pair of Oakleys with prescription lenses. They are a bit big (small head) and the first time I put them on and looked in the mirror, I thought “oh god, I feel like the Terminator.” Thus, the combination of my sunglasses and this mp3 player prompted Crunchy husband to shout, “Robo boogie – binary solo!” the first time I hit the fields for a run. The robot effect feels a bit silly; however, they are so light, you forget about it and it becomes less of an issue.

My recommendation: If you are less worried about track order and easily locating specific tracks and just want something comfortable to exercise in, this could be what you’re looking for. Otherwise, I am not so sure.

Now I have no more good excuses for being slow

Saturday, 2nd May 2009. Filed in Cross-training1 Comment »

Happy early birthday to me! I brought home my new road bike today. I’m super excited. It’s my first new bike in 10 years. It’s my first new road bike, ever. (I’ve been really lucky to borrow some good ones, though.) It’s a carbon fiber frame, and a very smooth ride.  The nice folks at the bike shop popped a triple on it, so that it’ll be ready for the hills if/when we ever move back to California, and installed a computer so all I had to do was screw on my pedals and hit the track.

And it has a bell. Ding! (I know it’s UK law to sell it to me that way. It’s not very rock n’ roll, but it amuses me. I think I’ll keep it on for a while.)

I’m very pleased.

My new Felt Z45

Yeah baby!

Reunited with his bike

Crunchy husband reunited with his bike – and soon to be upgraded