November 30, 2008

Seattle Half Marathon

It has become a Thanksgiving week tradition to be involved in the Seattle Marathon. I ran my first half marathon at Seattle in 2005. In 2006 I handed out medals to the finishers and in 2007 Tami and I directed a little traffic out on the course. This year Tami and I decided to run.

Tami picked my up at the house around 6:15am which we thought would be plenty of time to make the 7:30 start. Traffic was great until the Mercer Street exit. It took us nearly an hour to get off the freeway and get to the parking garage, a distance of just over a mile. When we reached the start line, the race was to begin in one minute. Unfortunately we still needed a porta-pottie break before heading out. More unfortunately the bathrooms were on the other side of the street, blocked by all the eager (on time) runners.

We salmoned our way across the street and climbed over the barrier and got in the bathroom line. One benefit to being so late was that the lines were short. After our pitstop, we crossed the start line about six minutes late. Since the race is chip timed, our clock didn't start until we crossed the start line. The problem was that we were now behind most of the runners and we would be weaving through them to make any progress.

The weather was fantastic for late November. The temperature at the start was 53 degrees with a fog layer blanketing the city. Many of the runners were overdressed, so the misty air helped cool them down some. I had hopes of possibly beating my time in Bellingham, but with the slow start I was going to be happy to break two hours.

The route starts outside the Experience Music Project at the Seattle Center. From there we ran down 5th avenue lit up with Christmas lights to reach the I-90 bridge. The half marathoners then dropped down to Lake Washington Blvd which as the name implies runs right along the lake. The thick fog layer clouded most of the views, but it is still a beautiful run.

The route then turns uphill at Madison, then heads through the beautiful Arboreteum. We then wound around on an access road through another wooded area, cresting the hill around Roanoke with a view of downtown. At the top there was a stereo blasting Boston's "Don't Look Back" which I thought was appropriate. I got another shot of motivation shortly thereafter when I came upon a runner with one artificial leg with a carbon fiber running foot. It was clear he was a veteran and we all gave him variations of "you rock!" as we caught up to him.

The route then winds its way back to the Seattle Center to finish in Memorial Stadium. Running out on to the field with the finish line in sight gave me that final boost and I sprinted to the finish. I came in at 1:56:05 only 30 seconds shy of a PR, which I am totally happy with. Best of all my ankles didn't go out. We'll see how they feel at work tomorrow.

Seattle was my first major run so it will always have a little extra meaning. It is also my hometown race held during the holiday season. Today was another great event and I'm glad we decided to run this year.

November 27, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving

The first quarter I was at the University of Washington Business School, one of my teachers gave a day-before-Thanksgiving lecture. Attendance was optional, but most all of the class showed up.

The lecture was mostly about heading home for the holidays. He talked about seeing various relatives, each with their own viewpoints and opinions. As young adults, we would be getting lots of advice from friends and family, some who we only see a few times a year. Of course it would be difficult to digest, much less follow, all the varying bits of advice from all the people in our lives.

Our teacher tried to give us some perspective. He suggested that while listening to each point of view, we needed to decide who's opinions mattered most to us. This being a business class, he called it our "board of directors". This board would be fluid (people would be added and subtracted as life went on) but those on your board were the people you would turn to for guidance and support. Of course this year this concept has become that much more important. Rather than a board of directors, it is a circle that we rely on.

I am fortunate to have some very special friends and family in my own circle. I am thankful for the varying backgrounds, interests and viewpoints they bring to my life. Of course I am most thankful for my wife at the center of my circle. Without her this life wouldn't mean nearly as much. I am very lucky man, and I hope I express that year-round. Today, I offer my heartfelt thanks to all the wonderful people in my life - new and old, local and distant, and those I see frequently or just once a year.

Happy Thanksgiving.

DON HENLEY "My Thanksgiving" (live)

November 25, 2008

Running for UPS

Today was my third day working as a driver's helper for UPS. It is going pretty well and I am definitely getting a good workout.

They matched me up with the driver that works my neighborhood. He actually picks me up at my house in the morning and drops me off in the evening. Nice commute. Paul has been working for UPS for about 15 years, and has been on this route for the last three. We get along pretty well and he has been impressed with me so far.

From what I can tell, his route covers about a 25 by 25 block territory. Our serpentine route is a bit confusing so far. It is an odd feeling to be so turned around a mile away from your own house. Part of the reason for the odd route is that UPS "avoids left turns to save fuel, reduce emissions, and improve safety". UPS micromanages in many other ways to achieve small efficiencies that add up to savings of time and money. Just saving 10 seconds on each package really adds up over the course of a day.

It is also a bit surprising how many packages are delivered to a relatively small area. Many of the stops are regular customers. Outside of the holidays, 80% of the deliveries each day go to about 20% of the addresses in the neighborhood. Paul knows my neighborhood like no other. Of course he knows where all the aggressive dogs are, but he knows lots of little details about the people too.

My day is pretty fast-paced. I run most of the packages as Paul organizes and scans the next ones to be delivered. Everything of course is tracked. The board he carries has all the packages to be delivered loaded in its memory and we scan them and check them off one by one. The board is also a cell phone and GPS so it uploads our progress regularly, sends tracking numbers and signatures to the website, and also receives messages if there are last minute changes. It sounds like there are even more high-tech tracking methods on the way.

There are lots of "flag lots" or "easement lots" where there are several houses set back from the street off of a long driveway. This means extra running, but I am also seeing houses I've never seen even on my regular runs around the neighborhood. Unfortunately, my ankles are bothering me right now, so I'm not doing any additional running outside of work. I wish I could wear my running shoes at work. This would probably solve my ankle problem.

A little surprise on today's route - I delivered a package to the people who owned our house before us. I had heard that they had stayed in the area, but I never bothered to track them down. And one last tidbit - invest in QVC. They are doing some brisk business, making up about 10% of our deliveries.


You can't find life's answers in a bottle of booze. Or can you...


November 24, 2008

Running to beat breast cancer

Below is a cartoon video from Brooks Running called "Dream". Brooks is donating five cents for every view of the Brooks Dream video between November 13, 2008, and December 21, 2008. Once the views have been tallied, Brooks will donate up to a maximum of $25,000 to Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, earmarked for the support of breast cancer research.

I particularly like the water bottles growing on trees and the vacant and clean porta-potties.

Also, next March, Brooks is launching Brooks For Her, an exclusive apparel collection in support of breast cancer research, awareness, and support. For each Brooks For Her item sold from March 1, 2009, to December 31, 2009, Brooks will donate 12.5% of the full wholesale price to three breast cancer-related charities: The Young Survival Coalition, Making Memories Breast Cancer Foundation, and Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center.

Mailman failed to deliver

Sick of junk mail?

Pay homage, then, to overstressed, overworked mailman Steven Padgett, who has confessed to a cardinal sin among the letter carriers' tribe: He failed to deliver.

"Mailman Steve" — a kindly, 58-year-old who toiled along a route in a rapidly growing neighborhood in Apex — was given probation in federal court last week for squirreling away at least seven years' worth of undelivered junk mail, which he had stacked in his garage and buried in his yard.

It should come as no surprise that the U.S. Postal Service did not receive a single complaint from Padgett's customers about missing mail during the years he withheld pizza circulars, oil-change discounts and Chinese restaurant specials.

"Mailman Steve" was not making a statement about junk mail, he simply could no longer carry the volume of mail as he was contending with heart problems and diabetes. He could have faced a $250,000 fine and five years in jail, but instead the judge gave him three years probation, a $3,000 fine and 500 hours of community service.

Full Story

November 23, 2008

A friends Thanksgiving

Our friends Amy and Dave hosted a Thanksgiving gathering for our circle of friends. A wonderful prime rib dinner was prepared by Ingrid and Andy, along with a fine spread of appetizers and deserts. Most of us will gather with family on Thursday, but it was a treat to share this holiday with friends as well.

We had all agreed to bring a nice bottle of wine to sample and share with the crowd. With tightening budgets, we had all been drinking $5 bottles of wine for a while. When Scott brought a nice bottle to our last gathering, we remembered the pleasure of a really good wine. And a good bottle of wine is even better when shared among friends.


November 19, 2008

What can brown do for you?

My job is in the real estate and lending field, and it is no secret that things are really slow right now. Actually you can hear the sound of crickets if you listen closely.

The subprime market failure and collapse of the secondary mortgage market has made it tougher for borrowers to get a loan. Rising unemployment and foreclosure rates (and a little media-fueled panic) have made buyers wary and kept them out of the market. So though prices and mortgage rates are low, there isn't much happening right now.

So in the meantime I am picking up some holiday season work. I will be working for UPS starting tomorrow and likely through Christmas Eve. I will be riding along with a driver and running packages. The recruiter explained that their volume typically doubles or triples during the month between Thanksgiving and Christmas. They obviously can't double or triple their fleet of trucks, so they hire some extra hands to make them more efficient.

With the way the economy and consumer confidence is going, this Christmas shopping season may be a little tepid. With this in mind, there is no guarantee how many hours I will be getting. It sounds like they will be calling me each morning to let me know how much (or if) they need me for the day. Once the season gets rolling, hopefully I will be able to count on a full day's work.

It looks like I'll have some concrete insight into consumer confidence this season. I'll just count the packages.

November 18, 2008

Network time wasters - Muppet version

Whatever you do, don't hit the "do not touch" button.


Sundown on a season

Training in the winter is a bit tougher.

I live in the Pacific Northwest, so it is not like I am battling snow and sub-zero temperatures, but it is getting colder and the hours of daylight are shrinking. I'm about seven weeks into a training cycle that will take me through January so there's no avoiding it.

I headed out on a seven mile run at 4:30 today which is when the sun sets this time of year. So in the interest of safety, I picked up a Xinglet a week or so ago. I also took along a headlamp and a flashing tail light with me.

The Xinglet really lights up when headlights hit it. The headlamp seemed meager by comparison. Once twilight ended and I needed the light to find my footing, it was a little sketchy. The headlamp did do a great job of lighting up my foggy breath though.

Unlike biking, when you run on the roads, you run against traffic. It is much safer, ensuring cars don't sneak up on you. I discovered tonight how difficult it is to see with headlights coming at you. I couldn't see much of anything so it was much simpler just to step off to the side. Guaranteed breaks.

On my long run Saturday, there were a bunch of runners out in my neighborhood. The weather was beautiful, one of those perfect Fall days. I saw a few of the runners more than once, so they were out there for a long run as well. The Seattle Marathon is less than two weeks away, so that may have something to do with it. Unfortunately I think those beautiful weather days are numbered.

"Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds."

November 16, 2008

Running with fruit

The latest fun run - The Winter Pineapple Classic.

It is a 5k run with obstacles run in teams of two or four. The additional detail so the name of the event make sense, each team needs to carry along a pineapple while running the course. We crawled through tubes, climbed walls, vaulted hay bales, limboed under pipes, ran through tires and swung on the monkey bars. If you couldn't carry the pineapple through the obstacle, you let one of your teammates go first and then passed it over like a football. To extend the tropical theme, they truck in tons of sand to create a beach for the after party.

This is the third year for the event that raises money in the fight against Leukemia & Lymphoma. The event was started by Eric Cox after his son battled Leukemia at the same time his wife battled breast cancer. The event has grown dramatically in the three years, and raised $285,000 this year. Here is a video from channel 4 news about last years event and the Cox family.

I was a last minute replacement promoted from the camera crew to participant. I joined the guys team and got to run with Brian in his first running event since his leg surgery two years ago. His next 5k should be much easier.

Welcome back!


Our book club met last night and had some great discussions on The Grapes of Wrath and The Art of Racing in the Rain. And the wine flowed as freely as the conversation, so I thought the shirt above was appropriate. The picks for our next round include our first real chick-lit book, The Lucky One by Nicolas Sparks, and the controversial Lolita.

Shirt link.

November 14, 2008

Historical audio

As an interesting coincidence to my reading The Grapes of Wrath came about a few days ago. I was listening to last week's This American Life podcast on my run on Tuesday. The first portion of the show was in honor of Studs Terkel who had passed away on October 31st. They played about 20 minutes of his 1970's interviews with survivors of the Great Depression. After reading Steinbeck's portrayal, it was interesting to hear from folks who had lived through this period.

Mr. Terkel's Conversation with America is a collection of interviews he conducted for his books and radio program. They covered a number of topics, and his interviews on the depression were used for his book Hard Times: An Oral History of the Great Depression. The interviews selected for the podcast were an interesting snapshot of the time. More audio of his interviews on various topics can be found on his website.

November 12, 2008

Grapes of Wrath

I finished The Grapes of Wrath last night. It was a book club choice suggested by me. I had read the book 10 or 15 years ago, and often said it was my favorite book when someone asked. Of course tastes change and memories get fuzzy over the years, so I was excited to read it again. I also thought it would be topical to read a book about the Great Depression as we fall further into recession.

The story is about the Joad family. After several years of bad crops in the dustbowl of Oklahoma, they along with most every family lost their farm to the bank and were forced out of their homes. With fliers heralding great farming jobs in California, they head west to the promise of a new start. Their journey is difficult, but they come to find out that their suffering was only beginning.

The fliers sent out offering 800 jobs were sent to tens and hundreds of thousands of people. The Joads get hints of this on their drive to California, but it doesn't make any sense to them. Why get a hundred thousand folks to move across the country for only 800 jobs? They, and the reader, come to find that the land owners were creating a labor market so hungry and desperate that they would work for less than sustenance.

The story deals with topics of economy, history, class conflict, human nature, and the coming together and tearing apart of society. We learn about life in Hoovervilles around the state, and also about how people come together in times of crisis. Even when they had little or nothing to offer, and when their own survival was in doubt, folks reached out to each other to lend a hand.

The writing is wonderful, poetic at times. Steinbeck alternates chapters covering the Joads journey with short chapters describing the events from a pulled back perspective. You come to understand the events and motivations of the time by following this family as they try to survive the Great Depression. There are glimmers of hope and shots of redemption, but no neat and happy ending. These were difficult times and you find the strength of the human spirit in their struggle.

The novel won both the Pulitzer Prize and the Nobel Prize for literature. It becomes once again one of my favorite novels. Two thumbs up and five stars.

November 11, 2008

The new dictionary is here!

Every year the New Oxford American Dictionary prepares for the holidays by making its biggest announcement of the year. The 2008 Word of the Year is (drum-roll please) hypermiling.
"Hypermiling” was coined in 2004 by Wayne Gerdes, who runs this web site. “Hypermiling” or “to hypermile” is to attempt to maximize gas mileage by making fuel-conserving adjustments to one’s car and one’s driving techniques. Rather than aiming for good mileage or even great mileage, hypermilers seek to push their gas tanks to the limit and achieve hypermileage, exceeding EPA ratings for miles per gallon.

Other finalists included:
  • toxic debt – mainly sub-prime debts that are now proving so disastrous to banks. They were parceled up and sent around the global financial system like toxic waste, hence the allusion.
  • topless meeting – a meeting in which the participants are barred from using their laptops, Blackberries, cellphones, etc.
  • moofer – a mobile out of office worker – ie. someone who works away from a fixed workplace, via Blackberry/laptop/wi-fi etc. (also verbal noun, moofing)
  • frugalista – person who leads a frugal lifestyle, but stays fashionable and healthy by swapping clothes, buying second-hand, growing own produce, etc.
I was reading last months copy of Runners World and found a small story about a Weather Channel meteorologist who is running in 15 cities across the U.S. as he trains for the Atlanta Half Marathon. He will be taping a number of segments to tap into runner's interest in the latest weather reports. No one likes to get caught in a surprise hailstorm on their long run.

He talks about Seattle's weather and mentions what some locals call "mizzle" - a combination of mist and drizzle. Now I know the phenomena that he is referring to (I walked through it just this morning), but I have never heard it referred to as mizzle, and I would have a hard time using the word with a straight face. "Looks like it is going to mizzle my fizzle."

But a quick check of shows that the word mizzle was coined in the late 1400's. Shows you what I know.

Happy Birthday Debbie!

Happy Veterans Day

Reposted from the 4th of July.

Thank you.

November 10, 2008

Good weekend

We headed out of town for the weekend with a group of friends. Ten adults and four children sharing two condos. Once the kids were in bed, the adults could play.

On the first night, the men of the group stood around the kitchen and talked about the recent election. Turns out I was the only Obama supporter in the room. It was actually a pretty good discussion. Fueled by several bottles of wine, the four of us stayed up past four in the morning discussing politics. We joked that we would move on to religion the next night, but we decided to stick to one volatile topic per trip.

Speaking of sensible political discussion, I have been enjoying the podcast Left, Right and Center. The shows motto is "Your civilized yet provocative antidote to the screaming talking heads that dominate political debate." They occasionally fall back on inflammatory talking points, but it is generally good stuff. I don't listen to either progressive or conservative talk radio. As far left as I go is the Daily Show and it has the benefit of being funny. I don't see the point in listening to only one side. And from what I've seen and gleaned from others during the election, the stuff of talk radio is mostly ad hominem attacks that offer heat but no light, to borrow a turn of phrase.

Before heading out of town, we had to drop off the pooch at my parents. Silly non-pet-friendly condos. I was talking to my folks about the weekend away, and about a traditional sleepover party we have at Christmas time. My Mom asked if one of our friends had a house large enough for a big sleepover, and no many of us sleep on the floor. "Aren't you getting too old to sleep on the floor?" At 41, I am still in a bit of denial. When I can no longer sleep in a tent, that will be the first sign of getting "old".

It got me to thinking - what were my parents like in their 20's, 30's and 40's? What were their friends like, what did they do together, were they sleeping on floors? They had four children, and they had kids both in their 20's, then my younger brother and I in their 30's. They were bringing kids along on their adventures, much like my friends are now. And they were also camping, sleeping on the ground well into their 40's. It is kinda tough to picture your folks doing the same things that you do, but they did. They have had similar joys and similar trials.

At the gathering, though not everyone toasted our new president, we all toasted our nations future. And in looking forward, we of course need to look back to how we got here, both as individuals and as a nation. Thank your parents, talk to your friends on both sides of the aisle, and of course thank our veterans tomorrow and every day.

November 7, 2008

The season comes earlier every year

I headed to Sears yesterday to pick up a shop vac. I did a little chimney sweeping a couple days ago and needed to clean out the ash and debris from the shelf behind the flue. Walking through the tool section always feels a little like a kid in a toy store. To complete the metaphor, Christmas carols were playing over loudspeakers.

The first week of November is just too early for Christmas carols. Don't steal Thanksgiving's thunder. It is too good of a holiday.

November 6, 2008

Welcome to the world (little) Ashton Smith!

Please welcome our little bruiser, Ashton James Smith! He weighs in at 9lbs 14.9oz and
21 1/2'' long!! Born 11-5-2008 @ 9:55 pm.

Needless to say Mommy had to have a c-section to get him out.
Everyone is doing great and we can't wait for you all to meet him.


The Smith's

Tim, Kelly and Ashton

An easy way to lend a hand

This website was forwarded to me by my friend Diane.

The Animal Rescue Site focuses the power of the Internet on a specific need — providing food for some of the 27 million unwanted animals given to shelters in the U.S. every year. Each click on the purple "Click Here to Give - it's FREE" button at The Animal Rescue Site provides food and care for a rescued animal living in a shelter or sanctuary. Funding for food and care is paid by site sponsors and distributed to animals in need. You can also shop for products on their site, with a portion of the proceeds going to support the cause.

There are other tabs on the site for donations to hunger, breast cancer, child health, literacy and the rainforest. You can click each button once a day to help support these causes. The site checks out on

Another site I used to visit regularly is It is a word definition quiz site with a bigger purpose than just improving your vocabulary. For each correct answer, 20 grains of rice are donated to The United Nations Food Program. It also checks out on

Site sponsors and advertisers get their desired exposure, and great causes are benefited in the meantime. Win-win. You can make it your home page and click to give each day.

Network time wasters - Star Wars version

Take this quiz to find out which "Which Star Wars Jedi/Sith are you?"


And for a little entertainment, we have an "A Capella Tribute to John Williams". The lip-syncer and producer of the video, Cory Vidal, is a YouTube partner and actually gets paid for making videos (lucky!). The singing was done by a comedic barbershop quartet named Moosebutter. They claim "we sound like baldness feels". Enjoy!

November 4, 2008

President-Elect Barack Obama


John McCain gave a very gracious concession speech. "It is natural tonight to feel some disappointment, but tomorrow we must move beyond it and work together to get our country moving again." I am certainly glad that Obama won, and though I did not support Senator McCain, I have a lot of respect for him. I wish he had won the Republican nomination in 2000. I think our country would be in better shape if he had served as President the last four or eight years. I don't think this year's campaign showed his best side.

Our first African-American president is historical. As one historian put it this evening, during the civil rights movement President Johnson thought that we would have a black President at some point, but that it would come at a time of growing representation of blacks in government. The historian pointed out that we currently have only one black state governor and one black U.S. senator (Obama). His candidacy and victory is that much more impressive from that perspective.

Barack Obama was not elected because of his race, however. He has shown himself to be an intelligent, thoughtful, composed and inspiring candidate. He had a hard fought battle to gain the Democratic nomination. After narrowly defeating Senator Clinton, he certainly did not have a mandate. There was a concern that many Democrats would move their support to McCain. However, Obama ran a strong, organized presidential campaign and was able to capture the support of Clinton backers, independents and even some Republicans.

It will be some time before we have all the results, but it looks like his electoral victory margin is significant. Hopefully the popular vote will be a similar mandate as well. People stood in lines for hours around the country to participate and record their voice. There were still long lines as the polls closed here in Washington, and those in line by 8:00 were assured that they would be able to vote. I hope that the national turnout turns out to be a record breaker as well.

Barack Obama's acceptance speech was inspiring. He acknowledged the difficult road that lies ahead, and called on everyone to do their part. He talked about the spirit of patriotism and service that is strong in this country, and it will be important in the months and years ahead. He did not promise to fix everything in the next four or eight years, and confirmed that it is not the government's role to solve every problem. We all must play our part in the future of our country.

He promised to be forthcoming and honest with the American people, and to listen to those who disagree with him as well. After reading Team of Rivals just a week ago, I hope he surrounds himself with intelligent, talented people with varied backgrounds and points of view. And like Abraham Lincoln, Barack Obama takes the Presidency at a time of turmoil, and I hope we find that he rises to the challenge and reveals a similar strength of character.

Election coverage

The wife and I filled out our ballots last night and I stopped by the library this morning to drop them off. A mother was carrying her young son, and the little boy had two ballots in his hand. He got to drop them in the ballot box. I thought about taking a picture, but I'm sure that isn't allowed in the polling place.

Our county, like 37 of the 39 counties in Washington, are mail-in ballots only. There were a few polling machines at the library, I assume for the folks that didn't register or change their address in time to get a mailed ballot. My parents have volunteered at polling stations the past few years, and I think they are sorry to see in person voting go away. I think the mail-in ballots are helpful in avoiding crowds and increasing turnout, but I still drop off the ballots in person each year.

I have the T.V. tuned to channel 5. They have called a number of states, and have Obama ahead 103 to 58. Since I have been watching, they have called Alabama and Georgia for McCain, both with 0% counties reporting. This is always odd to call it without any data. Several networks made the mistake four years ago by relying on exit polls which gave John Kerry a false lead in the election.

Washington's election results probably won't be known for some time. The race for governor was decided by 133 votes last time, and the same two candidates are squaring off this year. They might actually need to count the votes (at least once). There are also some important initiatives this year. We will probably be up late if we want to have any indication how things are leaning.

Channel 5 just called about eight more states for Obama and McCain a moment ago at 6:00pm, all with either 0% or 1% reporting. They are calling Arizona and Colorado to close to call, of course with no votes reported. They might as well have pre-recorded the first few hours of the broadcast.

Free coffee for everyone!

An update on the free cup of drip coffee for voters.

To avoid breaking election laws, Starbucks will give a free brewed coffee today to any customer who asks for it, not just those who said they voted. Initially the promotion was meant to encourage people to vote. Then Washington state election officials told Starbucks federal law prohibits payment of money, goods or services in return for voting. "To ensure we are in compliance with election law, we are extending our offer to all customers who request a tall brewed coffee," Starbucks said.

Happy Birthday Wendy!

November 2, 2008

Senator McCain joins SNL

He was pretty damn funny. Well done.


I got distracted and forgot to catch the Husky game this Saturday. I clearly didn't miss anything. They lost 56 - 0. The Cougars also lost 58 - 0. I watched the Seahawks game today while I was working on the computer. They lost 26 - 7.

Combined, the teams are 3 -22. What a season.

Don't like the weather - wait 5 minutes

This is the end of the fourth week of regular running for me. I had taken most of August and September off, except for the half marathon in Bellingham. It is always a little difficult to get back in the rhythm of training, but it is getting back to being a habit.

I have settled on running three days a week, and it seems to work for me. I generally try to sneak in some swimming and biking in there as well. I haven't been to the pool in months, but I tried my first "spinning" class at the gym last week. This is basically an hour on a stationary bike with a leader calling out intensities, when to pedal standing up, when to recover - all with music blasting. It was a butt-kicking hour. I will try to do more of this over the winter so I am not playing catch up when the Chilly Hilly rolls around in February.

So anyway, I was out on a run this afternoon. When I took off, it was sunny, in the low 50s with a little breeze - beautiful Fall day. About halfway into my 7 mile run, the sky opened up and it started pouring. The wind kicked up as well, sending leaves flying and pushing the rain sideways. I was soaked within minutes. I'm sure the people in the cars passing by were thinking "what a moron".

Then 2 miles later, the clouds parted and it was sunny once again. Seattle - weather for those with a short attention span.

November 1, 2008

For Bill

Our resident rocket scientist

From The Big Bang Theory.

Fall back

Remember to set back your clocks tonight. It could save your life.
Turning your clock back one hour Sunday for the end of daylight-saving time could do your own ticker some good.

Researchers have found a 5 percent drop in heart-attack deaths and hospitalizations the day after clocks are reset each year to standard time, according to a study in the new issue of The New England Journal of Medicine...

The culprit is probably sleep. Scientists have known that sleep deprivation is bad for the heart — the body responds by boosting blood pressure, heart rate and the tendency to form dangerous clots — but they didn't realize one hour could have a measurable effect...

The researchers found the typical number of heart attacks on an autumn Monday was 2,140, but that fell to an average of 2,038 on the Monday after daylight-saving time ended, a 5 percent decline. The rate also dipped on five of the other six days of the week, although none of those drops was large enough to be considered statistically significant.

In the spring, the number of heart attacks spiked on the Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday after daylight-saving time began. The increases ranged from 6 percent to 10 percent.

Full article.