Paddling the kids

paddling On the August 10 weekend we were fortunate enough to spend some time at a cottage near Sandbanks, Ontario. We’ve been to this area a few times but the kids are old enough to really experience cottaging. I took this picture while taking Liam and Emily out in a canoe on the Oshawa River between East Lake and Lake Ontario. Emily enjoyed the ride and held on really tightly the entire time. Liam is quite a good paddler and this was only the first of four canoe trips on the weekend.

Definitely considering getting our own canoe…

Ramblings of a technologist

smcc2009I’m enjoying a glass of Chianti, specficially Santa Margherita Chianti Classico 2009. I’ve not been buying much of this variety lately as I’ve been enjoying my Californian cabernet sauvignon rut too much but I picked this up and now recall why I always enjoyed a good Chianti.

In a recent blog post on the site they state that approximately 18% of the web is powered by WordPress. When you factor out the pr0n sites, the link farms and the static HTML pages circa 1996, that’s a considerable amount of web content. It’s no wonder really when the WordPress environment makes it so easy to setup fully functional sites with only a small amount of work. It’s also come a long way from the early versions where it was easier and safer to hack the core code than to get a plugin to work. I just used the Google Analytics for WordPress plugin and set up Google Analytics tracking for this site in under five minutes.

I’ve also used WordPress extensively professionally for its ease of use for non-developers to create and manage web content. One of the drawbacks, however, is that if you do not keep up with the new releases, it’s quite easy to have an installation fall behind and become unmanageable. I wonder what portion of the 18% of the web is still running older versions of WordPress and are essentially not maintained any more (it would not surprise me if this ratio was over 1/2). An example for which I am responsible is the Team Running Free web site. I set this up quite a few years ago and now have to get it up-to-date so that the site can take advantage of the functionality provided by current plugins and themes.

I’ve come up with some scripts for automating the update process, which I will share here if I get around to it.

Interval training

daniels-running-formulaI started some interval training now that I have my mileage up to a good weekly amount. Tonight I did 3 x 1,100 meter intervals with a quickly paced warm-up and a slow cool-down. These are hard workouts where the goal is to gain time running at or close to your body’s maximum VO2max level, or maximum oxygen consumption. Invariably, I feel pretty terrible during these workouts but amazing afterwards.

I got my copy of the Daniel’s Running Formula book back and it’s a good inspiration to get serious about training. My interval pace was 5:00 for each interval, or approximately 4:30 per 1,000 meters. Using the tables in the Daniel’s book, that puts me at a VDOT (a pseudo VO2max) of 42, which suggests I can run a 1:46 half marathon or a 3:40 marathon. That seems a little slower than I think I can do, since I recently completed a 21 km training run in 1:55. Regardless, I definitely have a lot of work to do to get my VDOT even close to where it was a few years ago.

Online training tool looks promising activity page activity page

I’ve been using the online training tool for about a week now. It has a great interface for creating running routes and saving workout details. The site seems a little to “gamified” for my liking (I received a congratulations for registering for a half marathon) and I’ve not yet used the social networking tools that are available, but for now it seems like a good personal training log.

There is an iPhone (and android) app that will track your workouts, but I dont run with my phone and adding the time and route information into the site it pretty easy. Input enough information and the site will calculate your overall workout pace and calories burned.

Now it feels like I’ve started training again

I’ve signed up for the Waterfront half-marathon, which is scheduled for October 20. Signing up for this race has been a pretty good motivation to get out and do some somewhat serious training and I’ve now had some long-ish runs and even some interval workouts.

Yesterday was quite a hot one, but I was out before 9:00 and it wasn’t too bad at that time. I ran across the Waterfront trail and past the CNE grounds. The Indy cars were warming up so it was a little busier and much louder than normal.

Screen Shot 2013-07-15 at 10.03.45 PM

Queens Quay is a real mess with the construction happening down there but I still made it over to Harbourfront Centre where I turned around and headed home.

The temperature was really getting up there and I could definitely feel it in the last two KM. I was probably even a little light-headed when I finished and quickly tried to cool down by using the mist setting on the garden hose.

After my run I tried something that I’ve read about a lot but not had the nerve to try it: I soaked my legs in a tub of cold water. I’ve done similar post-run treatments in the past when long runs would end near Ashbridges Bay and the Lake Ontario water was still unaffected by the warmer weather, but this is the first time I’ve gone out of my way to do this at home. Needless to say, it was cold but it definitely helped with the run recovery.

Blogging and wine

Writing a personal blog is like keeping a journal, but with everything you write being written for someone else.

Although I like the idea of it, I’ve never kept a journal. I’ve also never put much effort into a blog. If I think of or come across anything that I feel is worth sharing, I will post it here.

2009 Stone Dwellers Shiraz By the way, I’m currently enjoying a glass of 2009 Stone Dwellers Shiraz. Lately I’ve been drinking Cabernet Sauvignon from California, but I thought I would try an Australian Shiraz as that used to be my go-to varietal. It’s a nice wine and is much, much better after some breathing. Try it with some parmesan cheese, it’s quite nice.