Sunday, August 28, 2016

An odd reflection during a photowalk

The first thing you need to know is that the Calgary tower is on the south side of Ninth Ave, right where Centre street ends.
The second thing is that Bankers Hall is on the other side of Ninth Ave, just west of 3rd Street, so several blocks west of the Tower.
Last thing is that the sun sets in the west, just to remind you.

Look at this photo. It was taken from St Patrick's Island, which is due east of downtown, at 7:12:15 PM. No photoshop trickery, just some cleanup in Lightroom.

Do you see it? The shadow of the Calgary Tower on Banker's Hall? Think about how interesting  the light to be to get that much light from the east, during sunset. It wasn't just a blink and you'll miss it. I've got a bunch of photos of it.  You can almost see the red in the reflection in some shots, though that might be a mind game.

You've got to love Neil Zeller photo walks. Last night started a bit blustery, but calmed down. As he said, sometimes the best light is in the crappiest weather. And I say, no such thing as bad weather, just poor clothing choices.

I had a good time, and all the people I chatted with did as well. Some highlights for me. I missed the osprey landing on it's nest in the street light sculpture by THAT much. Sigh. There's some photos of the nest, and I think some chicks peering out, but from the photo you can't tell. Might be just another stick. I got some nice building shots, and worked hard at trying to correct my tendency to aim too high. Coffee after (decaf) and chatting, watching downtown culture.

Here's a few other photos, just because. Let's see what order Blogger puts them in. My buddy shooting downtown, I think. Maybe the osprey nest. This isn't quite as dramatic as the one from the triathlon a few weeks ago.

The light on this was a lovely silvery sheen that doesn't quite come across in the photo, nor do the brilliant red boxes. Again, this is lit from the east during sunset.

I've become a bit of a fan of the Calgary Tower, and was a little surprised to see it peeking between some new condo buildings.

One of the last shots of the evening, getting some coloured reflections off the water. It started to rain very soon after.  Another half hour and it would have been dark enough for some long exposure shots so the reflections really show up. Another time.

There is a sledding hill on the island. I had remembered a better view of downtown from there, but I think it was winter and so no leaves on the trees. Still, the sky was pretty dramatic, and I chatted with an interesting guy about a company we had both worked for.

The light was worth going out into a blustery evening! I was out to the first photowalk and enjoyed it, but couldn't really take full advantage with only the iPhone. Now that I've got a real camera I'm going to make these a must on my calendar. It's a great way to start to get to know other photographers.

Oh, and if you really want to know which lens and the exposure details, feel free to leave a comment, then come back in a little while. I'm comment friendly.

Saturday, August 27, 2016

Several firsts!

Once upon a time I got on my bike, this was long before Estela, and from home rode all around the reservoir and back. It was an epic journey for me. The hills were like cliffs and were higher than the Cliffs of Insanity. It took a really long time. The route looks like this now, and was slightly different back in the day.

Gradually I got faster, but it was always a big ride for me. Then I got Estela and discovered the hills weren't really that big and trying to ride her along that route at speed was not a good idea. Somewhere along the way I actually ran around the reservoir for the first time.

Today was a run from home, around the reservoir, and back to home. There was a walk before and after. 22 K, 2:42:49 run time, 7:24/K pace. I only remembered after I was supposed to negative split the distance, but I was pretty tired the last few K and couldn't have pushed much harder. The first 11 K was 1:20:14, so I was just over 2 minutes slower. Oh well.

I was working really hard to get last Wed run out of my head and succeeded. I didn't run or swim Thursday or Friday, and went to bed early both nights. Today I felt a bit tired going in, took a K or so to find a pace, and settled in fairly even, hills slowing us down a bit.  Although we passed a couple of people on the way up to North Glenmore. (Yay us!) We stopped for a bio break in North Glenmore, and I checked out a possible photo vantage point (nope), but otherwise it was a steady run. Well, aside from the third first. (keep reading.)

So I'm pretty pleased, in case you hadn't noticed! First time I've done this route as a run. (first first.)

Yesterday I got some good news I can't talk about yet. Soon. Afterward I was shopping through MEC and picked out a hydration pack. Usually for long runs I put a little aid station on the front porch and do loops, but this time we were talking about doing a long point to point run down in Fish Creek. What with one thing and another we decided not to, and went around the reservoir instead. I didn't want to try to carry everything in pockets, so pack it was.

It has lots of pockets, including a pocket in a pocket which is always neat. 2 L capacity, which seems about right. One of the pockets is waterproof and my phone fits in it, so that's good. It fit comfortably right from the start, and once Michelle showed me the trick of getting all the air out of the bladder, I was good to go. (I had a whole bunch of bladder jokes going through my mind during the run for inclusion in the blog, but I'm over that now.) I'm really pleased with how it worked out. No shifting around, no chafing. (second first.)

I know that some of my readers have their special run buddy, but sorry guys, I have the best one in the world. Really! We've run together in cold and hot, rain and dry, chatting about everything under the sun. But today was a first, showing that special bond of trust between long time run buddies. She trusted me to gently dig around in some soft moist folds of skin, removing an irritant she couldn't quite deal with.

What's that you say? What??!! You perverts. We were on a public path, and her pants were on. I dug a bug out of her eye. You guys! Sheesh. Anyways, that was the third first. All in one run! We even saw some friends heading into Heritage park, and chatted very briefly.

It was a nice run, legs feeling pretty good, even toward the end. They were tired of course, especially hip flexors, but we chugged along. Long walk afterward checking out the new pedestrian bridge. Showered, nibbled some cold pizza, and the cats graciously gave me a recovery purr on the quads. Such a sleepy little face.

Hope the weather holds for a photo walk with the famous Neil Zeller tonight.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Negative thoughts are heavy

Not much on the run front till today. Bailed on Monday run. Swam, water ran, and some water core on Tuesday.

Tonight was supposed to be 4K warm up, 6 K tempo, 4 K cool down. I was not feeling good about it. Normally I look forward to my runs. Not tonight. It started creaky, and the negative self talk went into high gear. Wondering if I'd even get to the tempo run part. Wondering why I was so foolish as to state in public I wanted to run a marathon at my age. Wondering if the things that were hurting at the end of the last run would start hurting again.  Then it wasn't if, it was expecting them.

There was lots of work related stuff swirling around too, which didn't help. I forced myself to continue, saying that there's been lots of runs where the first 2 K were crap and it got better. Sure enough, the first 2 K were crap. So was most of the 3rd, then it started settling down. So far I've been running 7 minute K pace. Very clunky, very uneven pace, wobbling from side to side. Slow cadence. My legs felt very heavy. There was no spring in my step.

By 4 K I was chugging along, wondering if I could run any faster. After some debate I decided to at least try. If my body parts had taken a vote, it would have been nearly unanimous to turn around and walk home. I was wondering if I'd bitten off more than I can chew for training, or if I'd built up too fast.

So, the Tempo part. It should have been about 6 min per K pace or so. I barely got it up to 6:30. My lungs still weren't really working, but my legs were complaining. My brain was amplifying every bit of leg complaint, wondering how soon I could stop. Thinking about how much further it was to run. Thinking there was no way I was going to get through it. That first tempo K was 6:30.

Pushing hard, the next one was 6:22 and it was no fun at all. The plod was getting worse, and my stride was falling apart. The third was 6:41 and I was ready to call it quits. There was no way I could have turned around and run the course in reverse. I knew there was no way I was going to get the 14 K done, so why even continue?

I struggled on and it got worse. Of course it did. I was expecting it to. 7:27 and I was shambling like a drunk man. You'll note that pace is slower than what I warmed up at. This is what I was running the last several K at during my 24 K weekend run. Slow, clunky, plodding, and while it wasn't painful, it sure didn't feel good.

When I saw the pace for the last K I bailed out. 8K, 55 minutes, 6:52 pace overall. Bleah.  There was a time when that would be a fast run, but not anymore.

There are always tough workouts. I knew there would be tough runs for this training. I was hoping I'd get through this work contract and be able to rest more. To some extent I've been burning the candle at both ends, and it's caught up to me the last little while.

I'm trying to keep firmly in mind that one bad workout does not a make or break the marathon, but parts of my brain were telling me it's all over. No point continuing. No marathon this year. Dial back, build base over the winter, maybe next year.

My mind was not a happy place at all. Normally by the end of a run I'm feeling better, what with all the fresh air and all that. Not today. I felt a little better after eating, but not much. I don't think it was a bonk thing. I'd had a good lunch and a midafternoon snack. It was just tired legs, weighed down with negative thoughts. I let the thought of 14 K get to me even before I started. I still sort of think of a 15 K run as a long run.

Right now the weekend 22 K run is looking like the better part of forever, but I'm going to rest up and bring a better attitude.

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Calgary from W, N, S

Some of you know I've lived most of my life in Calgary, having moved here as a feckless youth in 1980. The city was very different then. I've just spent a happy hour looking at city photos from various eras.

My first thought was to try to find photos similar to the ones below for comparison, but that didn't work out so well. Once you start looking at photos from much before mid-70's or so, it gets difficult to figure out what you're looking at, or where exactly it was shot from.  The Calgary tower looms over everything for a while after it was built in 1968.

It's been exciting, watching the crane-birds arrive, hatch their buildings, then depart. The Calgary Tower gradually started looking shorter and shorter. Lots of times I'll look at a new building and wonder what was there before? Sometimes I know, but not often.

Calgary is blessed with a hilly topography that can offer surprising views. Some are very popular, such as where I shot the north view. Others are less popular for whatever reason. My Friday night was to scope out a couple new locations and see how they work out. I'm pretty pleased with the locations. These photos are tweaked slightly in Lightroom. I've still lots to learn.

I'm under no illusions about these photos. The vantage points are public property, and probably almost every landscape photographer in town has been to them. Almost all of them have probably produced better photos, but that's ok. Just like writers have to get the first million words of shite out of their system, photographers have to produce some number of poor photos as they learn. It will be interesting to see my photos from these same vantage points a year or a decade from now.

From the west, earlier in the evening. You saw one similar to this the other day. No trouble finding the Calgary Tower here. It really is shorter than some of those buildings, but the perspective is tricky. It's also the furthest away.

This is from north of downtown, up on the bluff. These are currently the 3 tallest buildings in Calgary. Can you see the Calgary Tower? The top is just visible to the left of the Suncor building, which some of you might remember as Petro-Canada.

Here it is from the south, a bit later at night. Lots of LED lights were installed on the Calgary Tower for a variety of effects. What it does is mess up long night exposures!

 I've actually looked down at the Calgary Tower from a building. A buddy of mine had an office on the top floor of the then Petro-Canada building (or Red Square for those of a certain vintage) for a while, and we went in on a Saturday to work on some paperwork. Of course I took the time to stroll around the whole floor checking out the view. Now, if only I can get my buddy that works in the Bow to invite me for coffee...

It isn't just the office buildings that are getting taller. The condo buildings are getting pretty tall too. Here's a few of them.

Next on my list are a bunch of new buildings going up in the Beltline. Stay tuned.

Sunday, August 21, 2016


Me, that is.

Wednesday after run, tired, bed.

Thursday, bailed on water run, and stayed in bed till the last second. Went to bed early once home again.

Friday, puttering around the house, then downtown for an evening photo shoot.

This is unedited. I started working with a couple of the shots, and didn't like any of the results. I think the manipulation was making things worse, so I've put it aside till I'm more awake.

I was astonished at the traffic downtown! The people who say it's empty after the office workers go home don't know what they're talking about. It took a long time to drive from the above shot to the bluff just north of downtown, and got some nice shots there. Watching two guys get into a fist fight over a parking spot (there was another a few yards along) was the highlight of the evening.

Then over to another spot for more shots. My eyes were getting tired, and the focussing wasn't going so well. Between shots I could just see the Globalfest fireworks. Home to bed. Once I edit the shots and clean them up I'll post the best of them.

Saturday up early for a 24 K run, 2:58, 7:26 pace, which is much slower than last week. Not sure why, but maybe having no gas in the tank was part of the reason. Good thing Michelle was there to keep me going. Waffles, shower, then a nap for a while, and I was good for not much the rest of the day. The loop the loop course probably doesn't make much sense now, but it did at the time.

Sunday, good for not much for the day. Relaxed, read, and was a cat bed for much of the day. A bit of MCK and stretching out tired hamstrings, and a sore lower calf.

Back to work tomorrow. Only a few more days. I can do this.

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

She who spanks bison

Tuesday was a short swim, about a K all up, mostly nice and easy, feeling pretty good.

Tonight was the first interval run in the marathon training program. It leads to an interesting graph. 3K warm up, 10 x(1 min FAST, 1 min recovery) 3 K cool down. The fast ones didn't all get faster, but they were quicker than I thought they'd be with my feet feeling heavy and tired.
What was interesting was programing iSmoothrun to talk me through it so I wouldn't have to remember which interval I was on. That made life so much easier, I just did what it said.

Once upon a time I was called the cow whisperer. Read about it here.

Just south of here on the Road to Nepal there have occasionally been bison grazing on the other side of a very flimsy fence. Grazing implies bucolic. Nothing could be further from the bucolic truth than a grazing bison, especially a suspicious mama bison. Did I mention the flimsy fence, and the massive stink eye that had my liver shifting in my chest as I rode past? I would never dream of spanking a bison.

Linda is made of sterner stuff. While I was getting ready to run, she was hard at it, dominating the bison. Molding it to her will. Spanking the recalcitrance.

After the run was over I had no trouble barbecuing the repressed bison. It was tasty.

Monday, August 15, 2016

Run stuff, before I forget

Or I get too lazy to look it up on the phone.

The tough part of the weekend run was fitting it into the When Words Collide schedule. Fortunately there wasn't a MUST ATTEND on Saturday morning. I had time to get up, do coffee and a light breakfast, and get ready to run.

22K, 2:34:16, 7 min/k pace, with almost exactly 2 minutes of pit stop time. I'd thought of going up and around the reservoir and back. Once upon a time that was a long  hard bike ride. The problem with running that far is I would have to carry everything I'd need, and I don't have a hydration pack yet. Then I remembered some of the long runs back in Ironman training, where I used the front patio as an aid station.

I made up my energy drink mix the night before, and left it on the front step in the shade. The first loop was just under 9 K and went by pretty fast. The second loop ended right on 19 K and was a bit of a struggle right at the end. It was hard getting going again after that, and 20K was one of the slowest ones, both pace and cadence. Then I got in the groove again, but I was happy to stop at 22 and walk back to the house for a good cool down.

All in all it went really well. My legs were a bit tired at the end, but nothing was hurting. My pacing was pretty good, slower going up hill of course. Cadence was pretty steady, 83 overall, varying between 85 and 80. The morning started off cool, nearly the perfect temperature to run, and was warm on the way to hot by the end.

There was second breakfast when I got home, then off to the conference.

Monday we planned a date night out. The Guild in the Bay building downtown is super food! But I knew I wasn't going to be able to run when we got home, so I planned ahead and ran from Talisman.

8 K, 54:30, 6:38 pace, though there is a bit of uncertainty there. The map shows the first K with a big dogleg that didn't happen. The first K felt a bit clunky, then into the groove running towards the Bow. I goofed and went under a bridge I should have crossed, then I ran into traffic on 9th that I didn't want to cross. Back, then past Talisman, and back again till I ticked over 8 K. It all felt really good, with my feet feeling mostly light and fairly strong.

Running first thing in the morning is nice, though it was a bit tough to go back into the humid air of Talisman. Something about running during and after the conference has triggered lots of writing thoughts in my head. Let's hope I can capitalize on them in September and after.

I'm really pleased with how the running is going, but I can feel the need for a bit of extra sleep. Mostly I'm getting it. My weight is still going down slowly, and I'm tracking my heart rate numbers. So far the lowest resting rate is 45 bpm. Even Sunday morning after the long run it was only 50 or so, and that was after a late night. I was expecting it to be higher.

The MCK has suffered a bit, I have to admit. I need to get back on that again. The good photos have slowed down a bit, but never fear, there are lots in the camera waiting to be processed. Here's an iPhone shot to hold you over.  I've thought of an experiment to try, and that will be worth a blog post.


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