Archive for Health and wellness

Gabriel’s first run!

Gabriel and I made use of a beautiful Saturday morning this past week to go for a stroller-run in the Bob Revolution. We set our sights more for a fun, easy, (flat/not-hilly) run than anything and then headed out the door.

We made it about 2.25 miles, over a few blocks and then up to Union Ave and back. Very pleasant on the side streets, and no traffic at 8am on Saturday so that was good.

Of course, little G fell right to sleep from the bumps on the path, so most of his exercise from this run was from REM sleep I guess. 🙂

20070825-Gabriel's_first_run!

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Sicko

Wow, if I’ve learned anything in these past few weeks (and, believe me, I have) — it’s that having a new baby really takes up a lot of your time! My “regular” posting to this blog (and even worse, to my work blog) have suffered quite a bit in the run-up to Gabriel’s arrival and the weeks since. But… with apologies to my faithful readers… it’s worth it. Spending time with the little guy is super cool. 🙂

Anyway, back to the alleged topic of this post. Michael Moore’s movie “Sicko”. Jodi and I saw this one probably 2-3 weeks B.G. (yes, Before Gabriel) and I never got around to writing it up. In the interest of time, I’ll keep it short…

Like all Michael Moore movies, folks on the right (and even some in the center and left) immediately pounced on every possible thing in the movie that was inaccurate or could be misconstrued to be inaccurate. By this point anyone who has kept up with his history should not be surprised by this. Michael Moore always pushes the envelope: both in terms of the topics he chooses and also in the way he presents the topic.

Once again, the “haters” came out in full force — decrying the folly in this point, the impossibility of that point, etc.

Which leads to MY point. Sure, it’s easy to find fault with one or many of the examples he provides. It’s easy to point out that the Audi driving doctor probably has supplemental income to be able to afford his fancy lifestyle and $1mil apartment. Sure, it’s easy to recognize that Canada and France and England (and every other civilized country in the world) have system which are imperfect. But what’s not so easy is effectively dismissing the REAL point of this movie: that our system is falling apart – bursting at the seams, that we spend more than other countries per-person and don’t even cover everyone, that we have recently (bankruptcy bill changes) made it even more likely that huge medical bills will unravel the finances (and financial future) of more and more families.

A couple of things (myths?) in particular about single-payer medicine as it exists today — basically, everywhere in the world except here:

  • Waiting for service. Sure, people have to wait for non-emergency service in Canada, England, etc. But, realistically, you have to wait for non-emergency service HERE too. I have great insurance and I still have to schedule out my non-emergency medical visits from a few days to a few months, depending on who I’m seeing and what is the issue. It’s disingenuous to pretend that we’d suddenly have to start waiting for non-emergency service if we changed our system. And, to be clear, you don’t have to schedule your emergency service in Canada/England/France. Come on now.
  • Doctors make no money. Actually, it’s a little unclear to me why the average person would care about this (the average person not being a Doctor). Most of the Doctor folks I know either have no reasoned opinion about Single payer or they are at least tentatively supportive, so it’s not really something I’ve heard from a bunch of Doctors either. And yet, this is one of the common concerns you hear about single payer. I think it’s quite likely that Doctors, generally, would make less money under single-payer system. Less money. But, as highly trained, highly in-demand professionals, it seems quite likely they would still make an excellent, high-end salary. Many regulated industries have employees who receive high salaries: airlines, government. Now, would a superstar specialist surgeon make $750k/year? Maybe. It seems quite likely that our system would not tolerate anything other than a merit-and-workload-based compensation strategy, so maybe this *IS* possible. It’s fundamentally a function of how reimbursements are structured. What WOULD likely change is that if we have more broad patient coverage, we would (hopefully) see less need for highly invasive (and expensive) work to be done — due to better preventative care earlier in life, etc. In that way, indirectly we might see doctor salaries decrease as there’s more need for internal medicine and family practice physicians and less need for heart bypass surgeons. Or maybe that’s just wishful thinking. 🙂

Oh well, that’s enough on the point. I’m glad to see this topic being discussed – at least by the Democrats (the Republicans, in a recent debate, wouldn’t even consent to discussing the topic; just all are against it).

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A beautiful weekend bike ride

I’d actually gone for the “first bike ride of the season” 2 weeks ago, but my Garmin Edge didn’t work quite right due to a partially-completed GPS-firmware update so I ended up without a map to post. Drat.

In any case, yesterday’s bike ride was the same course and the weather could not have been better.

I did the same “up and around through the Ballard Locks” route that I’ve grown quite fond of. It’s about 18-19 miles depending on whether I round it out with Jackson St or via Dearborn St.

April 22nd Bike Ride

According to MotionBased, I finished this 18.51 mile course in 1:36:15.

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St. Patrick Day Dash

Well, the results are in for the 2007 Henry Weinhard Saint Patrick Day Dash. The 3.4mile (er, so not really a 5k) race I ran last Sunday was the first one this year for me… the first one where I’ve been “training”. It was very windy (SSE >13mph steady) and drizzling rainy just like you might expect for a March race in Seattle.

Results are posted at: http://www.onlineraceresults.com/race/view_race.php?race_id=4964.

Some interesting summary stats for the timed runners:

Summary number of finishers: 7474
 number of females:  3775
 number of males:  3689
 average time:  00:33:24

My details:

bib number: 1899    age: 30    gender: M    location: Seattle, WA
overall place: 3953 out of 7474
division place: 437 out of 658
gender place: 2461 out of 3689
time: 32:57

I was a little disappointed with myself because I did a fairly poor job of staying on pace. I had targeted to do between 9:30->10min/miles. I ended up running slow at the front (due to the pack) and then trying to make it up by overrunning during the 2nd mile. So, by the 3rd mile I was totally beat and barely making my pace. I got my 5k in under 30 mins, but I was disappointed that I ended up doing about a minute of walking during the race to get my heart-rate back down where it needed to be.

Here’s my race map, thanks to Jodi’s Garmin Forerunner 305:

And finally, my thoughts on the race:

Overall I was a bit disappointed with the race execution. Evidently, I was not alone — this morning they’ve posted some “please forgive us” commentary on the race website:

The email address to send to is: info@stpatsdash.com. I’ll be sending in my thoughts.

In any case, the problems I had were:

  • Crowding
  • Gear Check

Crowding is just a “big race” problem. Hard to get around pack crowding at the start of a race where there are 15,000 total participants and probably >5000 in the first wave. But why did I end up stuck behind a bunch of slower people at the beginning, throwing off my pace? Well, part of it may have been that people who run fast at the beginning and then fall off tend to clump too far toward the front of the pack.

But the main problem was that there were no pace runners… at least not any I could find. A few minutes before the Green wave started, the announcer said something about “slower runners to the back and elite runners to the front”. But where in teh pack did I belong to run my 9:30 pace? I had no idea. Evidently I misjudged where to start, as I walk/jogged the first 5 minutes of the race until I could finally break out from the pack a teeny bit near the battery street tunnel.

Dash 2008 suggestion #1: Have highly visible pace runners holding pace time signs or something. Make it very clear in the timed waves to know your pace and cluster in the right place at the start.

Gear check… wow, where do I start. This was the worst part of the whole thing, and it caused me to miss out on a planned brunch with some friends. Sure, I could have not gear-checked my cell-phone, but who in their right mind would think it would take 1HOUR after I finished the race to get my gear back!?! Yes, that’s right. I gear checked my sweats + cellphone around 8:30am, anticipating a 9am start time. The Green wave actually started about 9:10am. I ran about 33 mins and was walking through the chutes by 9:45am. I walked around the booths, got some smoothies and breakfast cookies, etc.

And then nothing. I couldn’t find the gear check. Nobody could.

Finally (i’m guessing around 10:10 or so) the announcer came on the microphone to apologize for the late gear arrival and noted that it “would be at Mass. St.”. Wait a second… would be? It wasn’t there yet?!

Nope, it didn’t arrive until, again a guess, probably 10:30. Fully an hour after even when I presume the final wave started running. All of teh gear arrived at once (not staggered as two trucks: the first with the fastest/green runners who left first and would presumably arrive first, and then yellow/red who are presumably slower and left later). Nope. All gear arrived at once. Well more than an hour after the green runners left.

Then, they started handing out the gear. Since we were gear-checked by our bib number, there was perhaps no good way to handle it. But pulling out bag at a time per crate and yelling out the bag/bib# to the hundreds of people standing around waiting was probably not the best way. It took another 15 mins for me to get my gear, and this mostly because I (and the mob of hundreds) finally got fed up and stormed the crates. Hopefully nobody lost their stuff in the mayhem.

Dash 2007 suggestions set #2:

  • Post a gear-check “close” time for each wave. Have an “overflow” gearcheck in case you miss your close time (ie – if you’re in the green wave, you can check your stuff into overflow after 8:45am, but then your stuff will arrive with red wave).
  • ACTUALLY CLOSE THE GEAR CHECK AND SHIP IT OUT BEFORE RUNNERS HAVE LEFT THE STARTING LINE
  • At the pickup end, have well-labeled site and tables set up to indicate where you have to go to get your specific pickup (if you’re doing it by bib#, that’s fine… but have at least a dozen tables set up in advance to separate the pickup lines clearly). BEFORE EVEN THE FIRST RUNNERS ARRIVE.

These are all obvious, of course. I’m sure they probably thought it was going to work just like that this year even.

In any case, I’m not sure if I’ll run this one again next year. Overall it was a pretty lousy experience.

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Running to The Smiths

Lately Jodi and I have been trying to exercise fairly regularly in our condominium fitness room. We’ve been getting up a bit earlier a couple days a week and heading down for 30 mins or so of aerobic workout — me on the treadmill (ugh, she won’t let me do the stationary bike) and Jodi on the elliptical trainer.

But what’s actually helped to make running a couple of miles quite tolerable has been “The Smiths“. I’d never been much of a “listening to music when I exercise” type. In fact, historically I’ve always listened to my audio books while exercising.

Unfortunately, my Zune isn’t supported yet by Audible, so I’m constrained to only my sync’d music or the radio. I can assure you there’s not a lot on the radio at 6am, so I decided to hit the music.

The first day we we tried this exercise routine, I was strangely in the mood to listen to “The Smiths” and I ran 30 minutes to the first half of “Louder Than Bombs”. By our second day, I decided I wanted more of the same. And so it’s been each time we’ve exercised.

Maybe it seems perfectly reasonable to you that someone should exercise to The Smiths, but is seems pretty strange to me. Much like exercising to The Cure, there’s just a sense about their music style that makes me think of “depression”. I actually quite expected that I’d be unable to properly run to The Smiths and might even be running so slow as to not even work up a sweat. I had clearly forgotten how energetic the “depressed” music of Morrissey actually is!!

In fact, as I clenched my mouth shut to keep from belting out lyrics at the top of my lungs, I found myself cranking up the speed on the treadmill to “keep up” with the beat. Some of those songs are as fast as any 160bpm dance track!

And, most importantly, the half-hour of otherwise arduous running went by before I knew it. I felt refreshed, energized, and a bit like whistling my favorite songs.

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Skiing on Xmas Eve

Jodi and I went Skiing at the Summit on Xmas Eve Sunday this year. We had planned to go up on Saturday the 23rd, but weather had been uncooperative (chains required, long backups along I-90 due to avalance control, etc).

No problem; change of plans and we just go on Sunday instead.

It was AWESOME!

We got there right at open, and – since we have season passes and our own equipment now – we were able to just waltz right up to the lift. There were effectively no lines. Visibility was 10/10. Fresh powder plus perfect grooming.

We skied for about 2.5 hours (a lot more runs than you’d think, given the lack of lines!), had some lunch (again, no lines… and easy to find a table), and then had a great drive back home just as the bad weather started to roll in again.

Best. Day. To. Ski. Ever.  Note to self.

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Pumpkin Push 2006

Once again, Jodi and I ran the Pumpkin Push 5k at Seward Park (we also ran it last year). I had forgotten how huge the hill is in the middle of the course, so it caught me a bit by surprise! I ended up doing a bit worse in my time than I had done a few weeks ago at the Salmon Days run.

It was cool, too, that my mom was here for the weekend so she got to experience an Evan and Jodi 5k run. 🙂

PerfectTime results are in now too:

249 90/104 168 Evan Dodds 30 Seattle WA 0:34:46.5 11:12
369 117/177 169 Todi Dodds 28 Seattle WA 0:34:46.7 11:12

Whoa, wait a second. Todi? Yes, that’s right. Jodi has decided to take on a second identity for anonymity in her running results. Or at least that’s one way to interpret it. The other way is that someone has trouble telling a carefully-lettered “J” from a “T” in one of those “one-box-for-each-letter” forms. Undoubtedly the same someone who must know someone actually named “Todi” in real life (have you ever met anyone named Todi?). Perhaps an Italian, missing his home… we’ll never know!

In any case, let’s pretend it says Jodi.

This was my first race as a 30-year-old. A whole new age class for Evan. Which kinda stinks. Had I finished this race on Friday, I would have been around the middle of the pack for my age range. In the 30-39 range, I am, sadly, 90/104. Ugh. I miss my 20s already (not really).

Here’s the map:

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Salmon Days Run 2006

Following on Jodi’s success in the 10k last year, this year we figured it’d be more efficient if we just both ran the 5k. 🙂

Like the last 5k I ran (wow, has it really been since April?!), I was able to go straight through the whole race without walking. This one was actually even “easier” than the Hawk Run, and I attribute my increased running stamina very directly to the long bike rides I’ve been doing over the last month or two. I guess biking for 2-3 straight hours helps make it a bit easier to run for 30 minutes! Go figure.

In any event, Jodi and I ran the whole thing together and did the whole mapping thing. Here is the 5k route (a bit of overlapping on the way back so it’s probably not totally clear which direction we ran where the route is not overlapped… short version is you start at GI Joes on Gilman, go fairly straight up to the downtown, then zig-zag back to the GI Joes for the finish):

Sadly, the 5k didn’t have chip start timing, only finish from chip based on gun time. Darnit. So my official Gun Time was:

264 11/12 1087 Evan Dodds 29 Seattle WA 33:37 10:49

And Jodi’s:

202 16/20 1088 Jodi Dodds 27 Seattle WA 33:37 10:49

But according to my watch time, not only did we actually run 3.14 miles, but we were back a few seconds from the starting line and so my “chip” time for the 3.14 miles would have been 33:18.

Scott and Arika were also there. Scott running the 10k (and very fast at under 50 minutes, according to the official chip-time numbers!) and Arika running the 5k a good bit ahead of Jodi and I.

I didn’t see Michael Palermizzle there, but I can only assume he ran the 1k kids fun run after the main races were done. No results on that posted online, so let’s just assume he came in somewhere in the middle of the pack. Congratulations Michael!!

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Another Day, Another Bike Ride

This bike ride was even better than the last one for a couple of reasons:

  1. Jodi came along
  2. Nothing too terrible happened (no almost getting hit by cars, no cleats falling off, etc)
  3. We went to the Ballard Locks and saw a bunch of HUMONGOUS salmon making they way into and through the fish ladder

Once again, the Garmin Forerunner 305 provided us with a great map. It also provided us with heart rate stuff, but we’ll just post the map (thumbnailed. Click it to expand.):

 2006-09-10

Now, the first thing you should notice when clicking is that the map is HUGE. Yes. It sure is. We biked 19.2 miles over about 2.5 hours. The second thing you should notice is that there are five, yes FIVE green numbers on the map. So much to learn! Here are the five things I’ve highlighted:

  1. When 26th Ave “dead-ends” into a T-intersection and there’s a huge hill to your left (up to 25th) and an angled street off to your left but heading in generally the direction you want to be going… take the angled street. I think I read the city bike map wrong, because no way should anyone on a bike have to go up that horrible hill! The angled street could turn into a boat ramp for all I know, but it would be better than that horrible hill!
  2. On Sunday morning, a section of the Burke-Gilman trail is closed for the Fremont Sunday farmer’s market. No problems, they have great “detour” signs for the bikers.
  3. When coming to a stop, declip early. This was my only fall of the day (I think) and it was due to bad habit on my part… I’ve always been a proponent of doing the bike-stand thing where you balance while at a stop. This is great. I’ve always been pretty good at it. It’s not too hard with strap pedals, since you can rip your shoes out in an instant to plant feet on the ground if you go too far out of balance. Much harder with clipless pedals locked in. Lesson learned, I hope.
  4. Counter intuitive, but if you go across the Dravus bridge (seemingly the “wrong direction” to get home) you can take this really pleasant bike path near Pier 91.
  5. … A really pleasant bike path that ends suddenly with very poor markings on how to get back into civilization. If you follow the signs for bikes at the end of the path, I suspect you’d end up at Discovery Park eventually (hint: this was the wrong way for us to go). Instead, take a deep breath and go up and across the Magnolia Bridge and back over to the busy street for a few blocks, then follow the signs to get to Elliot Bay park (and Myrtle Edwards park).

Next time, perhaps an even longer ride?

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Making use of the bike

In the spirit of “making use of my new bike”, I decided to take it out for a spin on Tuesday night after work. It was a bit eventful and definitely a learning experience! I brought along Jodi’s Garmin Forerunner 305 so I could get some stats on my ride, along with a map. The experience proved that I desperately need an “Edge 305” bike computer to do the same thing, but allowing me to see the details as I bike (hard to twist your wrist and read the forerunner while you’re biking)!

Here’s the map that resulted from my approximately 8 mile ride:

2006-09-05

Important events or things learned, marked with the green numbers:

  1. Cars will turn right in front of you without seeing you, such that you will have to skid to a stop to avoid being hit. This was about 10–15 minutes into my first ride on my new bike. I can only imagine how many times I will nearly be hit while riding over the next few years if I start doing it regularly. Scary. Especially in a supposedly bike-friendly city like Seattle!
  2. Here my left foot cleat didn’t disengage when I tried to declip at a stop. I fell over and looked like an idiot to all present. Lesson learned here is that if your cleats aren’t bolted in tight enough, they will rapidly loosen to the point where you can’t get enough torsion to get them to disengage if you need to do so suddenly. I also learned that even for a fun-ride the first day with your new bike, you should bring along a basic set of tools so you can re-tighten your cleats (or whatever else) if you need to. Your finger will do a lousy job of re-tightening the bolt for the rest of the ride home.
  3. I figured I’d avoid the terrible “Massachusetts St Hill” and come up something less steep further up the lakeshore. So after my loose-cleat incident, I was already on fragile ground with one loosely-cleated shoe to be wary about. And it turns out, going up this other hill (that leads to Yesler) is 4 times as long and probably nearly as steep as Mass St. Whoops. I ended up walking my bike up the hill since I was nervous about losing my left cleat under the strain of biking up a steep hill — plus, I was still a little jittery about falling off again. Lesson learned here was two parts: first, this hill is terrible too… next time I go up all the way to Madison or something and try that. Second, even walking with a loose cleat is likely to make it fall out and get lost… fortunately only a bolt was lost, not the cleat itself.

Whew, so good, clean fun for sure. I ratcheted down the cleats super tight for my next ride (thankfully there were several extra bolts included with my cleats). And I need to get a saddle-bag with some tools and tire repair stuff to make sure I’m more prepared for problems like this next time.

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