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January 2005 Archives
January 26, 2005
Back at school again

New semester in what seems like my endless quest for a BA in IT Management from BC Open University. Two courses this term: "Open Communication" and "e-Business in a Competitive Environment" (which, so far, isn't as silly as its title).

Doing some research for one of the discussion questions in the e-Biz course led me to a 1999 transcription of a conversation between Paul Solman and Jeff Bezos (of Amazon.com fame) that had a creepy intro:

PAUL SOLMAN: What is this?
JEFFREY BEZOS, CEO, Amazon.com: This is my World Trade Center escape kit. It's a --
PAUL SOLMAN: World Trade Center escape kit?
JEFFREY BEZOS: -- a flashlight and, you know, a honking Swiss Army knife. It even has pliers.
PAUL SOLMAN: He keeps it on hand because when New York's World Trade Center was bombed a few years ago, folks were stuck in the elevators.
JEFFREY BEZOS: And it turned out if you'd had this simple tool you could have carved your way out of those elevators.
PAUL SOLMAN: Carved your way out of the elevators?
JEFFREY BEZOS: Yes. No Problem. So I got my whole family these World Trade Center escape kits.

[From the 'Lincoln' Section]
Posted by Lincoln at 09:10 PM
January 17, 2005
Almost Froze My Gizzard

I successfully finished the 5K Freeze Your Gizzard Blizzard Run on Saturday. Time? 32:06, which is almost bang-on my indoor pace of 6km/h, and faster than my outdoor pace has been, usually (about 5-ish). I was 19th out of 58 participants.

gizzard.jpg

It was a *really* cold morning when I got up at 7:00, at -35C, but, thankfully, the wind that had been howling through the district the day before had virtually disappeared. By the time I got across the border to International Falls at 8:45, it had warmed up to about -30C. Balmy, I tell you, balmy!
It was a fascinating experience for me in my first timed run, other than when I ran cross-country eons ago in high school. Driving into Fort Frances, I had to remind myself several times, "It's only a 5K run. You've done this before, and you've done longer in colder weather. Relax." I felt pretty wound up, nonetheless.
When I got the Rainy River Community College, where the race started and finished, and went in to register, I was staggered by the number of participants. There were about 58 people registered for the 5K, but over 120 running the 10K. I hooked up with Bob Tkachuk, who's a marathon runner from Fort Frances, and we chatted while I got my tag (runner #60) and my bag o' crap from the sponsors. The sense of cameraderie was palpable in the room. We all were there to run versus the elements, and the friendly competitiveness was pretty low-key. As the cold constricts your blood vessels, so it also seemed with the participants. It was ironic to see how the caste system existed, however -- you'd meet someone, shake hands, and look at their pinned-on tag, to see if they were running the 5K or 10K.
After stretching and warming up, they called out the 5K participants to the starting area. It involved going outside, across a courtyard, and in another set of doors -- and then down a long hallway, that seemed more like part of an airport than a college, with doors and windows on both sides. I kept waiting to find a Mesaba Air Dash-8 parked outside.
At the starting line, they had starting guns. That's right, guns. Rifles, actually, in true Lake of the Woods-area fashion -- three guys with .308 rifles and hunting caps, waiting to start the race. It felt like a bizarre, backwoods salute -- or maybe they were there as motivation for the runners. Either way, it humoured the hell out of me.
The run was fun, mostly. In point form, my observations:
  • Thank jeebus for packing two balaclavas -- especially when it turns out I only packed one, leaving the other on the floor at home.
  • Plug the headphones in on the iPod *before* the guns go off. That way, you're not the last one to leave.
  • Wear the iPod closer to the body thank under the windjacket, so the battery doesn't die fifteen minutes in from exposure.
  • It would be useful to have sunglasses made out of copper or some other highly-conductive metal, so that the lenses could be defrosted by your own body heat. I ran the last 700 metres with my head tilted back, because my lenses were so frosted up.
  • Aggressive-tread shoes rule on packed-snow roads.
I have to thank Tyler for being my virtual coach via MSN. He kept at me to keep my training schedule up, and to not do anything stupid like keep running on an injured leg. Now I'm making plans to run the 10K in Bemidji in April.

[From the 'Lincoln' Section]
Posted by Lincoln at 11:30 AM
January 14, 2005
The horror and the mundane

Thanks -- of a sort -- to Darren for directing me to the graphic blog entries from a volunteer in Thailand who is helping tag and process tsunami victims.

The layers of skin on my upper lip and nostrils were being gradually stripped raw from the huge burning globs of tiger balm I had been applying, but the strong menthol was no better at withstanding the stench than many beachfront bungalows did against the 30 waves.

I feel such a wave of combined unreality and helplessness every time I see or hear accounts from the ground in Southeast Asia.

[From the 'Soapbox' Section]
Posted by Lincoln at 04:41 PM
January 07, 2005
Slaughter the calf

Crap. Last week, I did 1.5 miles on the road, and had my calf start aching and seizing up -- on the advice of a fellow runner, I got off it, iced it, ibuprofen'd it, and have been waiting for healing.
No dice.
I went to the physiotherapist yesterday, and he told me that I've strained the Soleus muscle in my calf, and that, point-blank, he doesn't recommend I run the 10K next week. Colour me seriously discouraged.
My plan at this point is to continue to evaluate my recovery until next Friday, and, if I'm pain-free at that point, run the 5K race -- I've been too long off my pace to try and make up the difference in current distance (4.5 miles) and target distance (6.2 miles), while still trying to recover from the strain.
Any advice to heal *really* quickly is greatly appreciated.

[From the 'Lincoln' Section]
Posted by Lincoln at 09:10 AM