Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Base Camp

I reached the base camp in the virtual climb of Mt. Everest. Not to bad considering I'm not going out of my way to walk everywhere like I've been known to do. I've mentioned in another post that climbing Everest was never on my list of "things to do". That sort of implies that such a list exists. It doesn't so maybe I should start one during one of my walks. I tend to think and reflect on life while walking. This "time to think" is one of the joys of walking. N.B. I didn't say running. While running, all I can think of is how much longer before stopping. What's on your list?

First Ride

It wasn't raining today so I decided to try riding my motorcycle. I wanted to take my first ride during the day since there is significantly less traffic. It was only about 36°F but I wasn't cold at all even when going at highway speeds. The new gear seems to work well. I practiced some of the drills and went up and down our road many times doing slow, sharp turns at the end of the roads before heading out on the road. This bike is much heavier than the one I used in the MSF class so it was much more difficult doing some of the exercises. I ended up riding about 80 miles between the exercises and riding around town and now I feel really sore. Arms, legs, back, hands, everything. I'm not sure how many calories I've burned but I feel like got a real workout. Not sure why since I was sitting the whole time. I also haven't been this hungry in years. Hmmm. Maybe this could be the strength building exercise that I've been needing.

I did drop the bike once after stopping at the Butrovich Building. I did exactly what the instructor said not to do. I watched the curb while pulling out and I headed right for what I was looking at, just like he said I would. I didn't hit the curb but the bike did tip over. Embarrassing. It is supposed to be raining for the next couple of days so no riding. All in all it was a great day and one that I've been looking forward to for many months. Of all the roads I travelled on today, I really enjoyed riding through Goldstream Valley towards Fox and on Chena Ridge Road. I must have been on these roads hundreds of times over the years but this time it felt fresh and new.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Back Home Again

Well, I'm trying to get back into a walking mode again but it is proving to be challenging. I did manage 12k steps today which is far short of the 10 mile per day goal I had set for myself. What is good is that just the running around during the day in addition to a couple of short walks, bring me up to the 10k step WIN goal. I took the bus to the university again even though my truck is back from the shop. I figured that it costs more than $2 to drive the truck the 10 miles (RT) especially now that fuel is over $4 per gallon. In addition, cold starts and short trips are hard on engines. Plus, I really don't mind taking the bus. In fact, I was pretty bummed out when the Grey Line was cancelled back in the late 80's (I think) since I used to ride it all the time. I think that ridership should jump now that gas is so expensive. If it doesn't, then there is something wrong.

Once things clear up, I will start taking the motorcycle in to work since its cost per mile should be pretty low even cheaper than the bus. If its sunny tomorrow afternoon, I am planning on taking time off from work to practice riding. Going through the drills I did in the MSF course last August seems to be a good idea. In fact, I almost signed up for the class again. After all, in the class I learned to ride their bike not my new-to-me bike.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Are Vacations Healthy?

I'm not getting much exercise in and way too much eating in. This afternoon, we went on a tour of the Harley Davidson Softtail assembly plant in York, PA, and it was pretty good. We went to a bunch of Amish shops and went to an Amish dinner house which served way too much food family style. Including something like five desserts. We are staying at a wonderful B&B called the Amanda Gish House and I would recommend it to anyone visiting Elizabethtown, PA. The rooms are wonderfully furnished and breakfast this morning was delicious and healthy. I've never had baked oatmeal before and it was wonderful.

There are plenty of walking trails around but we end up driving the car everytime we go out. We saw a couple of covered bridges and lots of horse drawn buggys on the roads. I don't know how people ever got around before GPS's came out. All of the small lanes winding around all over the place. I did manage to fit in a short walk to the B&B which pushed me over 10k for the day. At least this was better than yesterday when I didn't make it.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

The I2 member meeting finished this afternoon and we're off for Pennsylvania to visit family. The gps had plotted a route that was completely different than I had expected. I guess I never even looked at a map but for some reason, I thought we were headed to the western side of the state so I was a little surprised to see the route heading northeast.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008


I'm attending the Internet2 Member Meeting in Arlington, VA, and it has been raining just about the whole time I've been here. One of the discouraging things about these meetings is hearing about all of the things we aren't doing. There is a lot of discussion about using dynamic circuits either on an optical network (DWDM) or over a sonet network for bandwidths less than 10gbps. There are a number of other topics that aren't getting much traction at the university. The only walking I'm getting in is walking around the conference area of the hotel. I did go walking outside at lunch time since it wasn't raining so I did manage to get in my 10k steps today but probably not much more. Right now, I'm listening to a security talk with an emphasis on performance and openness. Pretty interesting.

Tuesday evening - I ended up jogging several miles on the treadmill at the hotel this evening and ended up with a very reasonable 21k steps today. I really felt the lack of running over the past week and a half and I think it'll be an uphill battle to get running again. Walking still appeals to me more since I get to look at the scenery. When I run, I tend to look at the ground in front of me. Maybe that behavior will change once the snow goes away.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Even though I went sight seeing this afternoon, I only got in about 12k steps in today. This is mostly due to the rain (accompanied by lightning) hanging over the Capitol. Couldn't go up the Washington Monument since they were sold out by the time we got there. Went to the Lincoln Monument and the Viet Nam and Korean War Memorials though and they were all worth the visit. Got pretty soaked by the time we got back to the Metro station. I think it was nicer in Fairbanks today.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Well, getting ready to leave Barrow this evening. The flight is about an hour late so I have a little time for an update. I didn't get a bit of "walking or running" running in but still managed a pile of steps each day just running around the buildings. Today, for example, I have 12k steps in. Didn't get everything done due to some problems and stayed over one additional day as it was and can't afford the time to stay longer. As you will noice from the photo, it is still winter in Barrow with low temperatures below 0°F and plenty of snow on the ground. This picture was taken from the corner office of the Barrow Arctic Research Center (BARC) located east of Barrow, AK about half way to the point.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Lots of steps without going anywhere

Today, we completely reconfigured the server and network equipment installed in racks here in Barrow. Unfortunately, the only way to accomplish this was to remove everything for the racks then start putting it all together again. I wish I had taken a before picture. All this to get ready for the installation of new server and network cyberinfrastructure in the new NSF facility tomorrow through Wednesday. I think I'm more exhausted now than I was after the run yesterday. My pedometer accumulated over 22k steps just running around the building. I think I was on my feet most of the day but I've wanted to straighten out this room for months and very happy that we got it all done in less time than I initially estimated.

This evening, we went to the same Japanese restaurant (Osaka's) as yesterday. The food, again, was absolutely phenomenal and it met my requirement for less fattening fare than is offered by the cafeteria. No time for any running but I may be able to get some walks in tomorrow as most of our work is in the new facility and it is a short walk from the NARL hotel where I'm staying.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Beat Beethovan

I participated in a 5k run this morning. My first "running event" in over 25 years. I don't remember my finishing time, but it was way past the end of Beethovans Fifth. The hill near the beginning got me walking early in the run and I've noticed that if I stop running early on, it is much harder to get going again. It was an enjoyable experience and I'm definitely going to enter more runs this summer. Since I haven't done much running outside, I wasn't too sure how to dress for the weather/temperature. As it was, I was too warm for most of the run. It was 5°F at the beginning and had warmed up to about 20°F by the end. The organizers had people along the course pointing out some of the slippery areas. I forgot my iPod so I don't have this run in my history so I was a bit disappointed at that. But did rack up over 10k steps by noon today probably with all of my pacing before the event. What's that called, nerves or something like that.

Friday, April 11, 2008


Well, I made it to the third waypoint today. I took it pretty easy today as I want to be ready for the Beat Beethovan run tomorrow. The write-up the UA group did for the waypoints have been interesting. Like I mentioned on a previous post, I never had any desire to climb Everest but I have always wanted to visit Tibet. I remember reading Paradise Lost way back (according to my son, it would've been printed on papyrus or stone tablets) and the area sounded like a great place to visit. I have also been trying to get ready to head back up to Barrow tomorrow evening. All in all, it has been a hectic day.

I was really tempted to go on a long walk this evening but from everything I've heard, a good nights sleep is what I really need. So I took the bus home and settled for the short walk up to the house. I have to admit that I really don't mind riding the bus. The walks to and from the bus stop is only 1/2 a mile, but it is enough to get me going in the morning plus I have to walk from the bus stop up to my office. A couplr of days ago, I was noticing that kids are still driving around as if gas was still cheap i.e. full throttle starts, spinning tires, etc. Way back when I was in high school, gas was around 32 cents per gallon and minimum wage was $1.65 per hour. So each gallon was about 12 minutes of work. Now, gas is about 30 minutes of work at minimum wage. Why are they willing to waste so much gas (hours of labor)? They must either be heavily subsidized by their parents or making a lot more than minimum wage. The bus is a viable option as the fare is about the same as the fuel cost for me to drive in. I hope they don't cancel the route as ridership was really low.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Just Walking

I've been taking the borough bus the last couple of days since my truck is in the shop. This is providing me additional opportunities to walk and in some cases a bit of running. This morning, for example, I got up late and ended up running to the bus stop. In addition, I've been walking to lunch and have been able to get in over 10 miles a day just running around. I'm sort of looking forward to the 5k run this Saturday though I don't expect to be able to finish in the 30 minute time allowance to get a concert ticket. My fastest ever 5k is 31 minutes and that was on the treadmill not outside with real challenges such as hills, snow and ice. I've walked the route and it only takes less than 50 minutes. I hope it isn't snowing, that would be a real pain.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Training (Not!)

According to the online training sites, I should have run about two miles today. Unfortunately, there are kid activities and I didn't get home until 9:00 and still haven't had dinner yet. I did manage to get more than a couple of miles in today since I needed to run to lower campus and I dropped my truck off at the body shop this morning so I took the bus home. It's only half a mile from the bus stop to home but it all seems to add up. Today, I clocked another 23k steps which is about 10 miles for today so I don't feel too bad about not running this evening. I think my downfall this Saturday is going to be running up the hills.

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Winter Returns

I walked 5 miles this morning in the snow and this evening, I tried running. It wasn't as slippery as I thought it would be. I figured that this was about the last day to get in some distance. Everything I've read has suggested moderate runs for the last week before "a run". I know that it's only three miles and a bit but I haven't entered anything resembling exercise in over 25 years so it's a big deal for me. I'm still recuperating from my last trip to Barrow. Didn't get enough exercise in and ate too much (as usual). Since I'm heading up there again, I really need to come up with a strategy to cope. Just because it's "all you can eat" I shouldn't consider it a challenge or a command. I'm hoping that things will be so busy and hectic that there just won't be time.

I noticed that my lower legs are sore this evening and all I can attribute it to is uncertain footing due to the snow. It wasn't to slippery but my footing was rarely as secure as usual. Normally, I can relax once I get going but wasn't able to do that this evening. I hope things clear up by next Saturday. 26k steps today to make up for the lax day yesterday.

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Not Enough Walking

I woke up this morning to flakes falling from the sky even though we have been having Spring like conditions for the last several days. I didn't go for any long walks or even use the treadmill today and have a pounding headache as a result of it. Only 6k steps.

Friday, April 4, 2008

Evening Walks

Went for a couple of walks this evening. One right after getting home and another one later in the evening. In between, I was vacuuming up water which is leaking into our laundry room from the Spring runoff. A sure sign of Spring around here. I was hoping that the driveway was clear by now so I would be able to get the motorcycle out but I guess not quite yet. I did manage 26k steps today with 15k just on my evening walks. I was intending on running either today or tomorrow but maybe Sunday would be a better day. I don't want to wear myself out before the Beat Beethovan run next week. I wonder what impact the motorcycle will have on my walking. I suspect that I'll want to ride everywhere.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

A Beautiful Day

It turned out to be a pretty nice day today in Barrow. I went out to take a look at this webcam which hasn't worked since it was installed. We broke the problem up and just connected the camera directly to a laptop and it worked great. We captured a few pictures from the camera then went on to check out the wireless network connection. As you can imagine, network infrastructure in this area is almost non-existent. Wireless is used extensively and all of the snow and water create a lot of connectivity problems.

Here is a picture taken by the webcam looking roughly northeast showing the stark landscape. Not much north of here except ocean (mostly frozen right now.)

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Global Warming

It is pretty warm here in Barrow today. I went running yesterday evening before dinner and expected it to be much cooler. I had to really watch my footing on the snow, Nowhere near as treacherous as the snow covered ice in some locations in Fairbanks but some real soft spots. When I flew in a couple of days ago, I noticed open water not that far offshore. I was told later that it is only about 8 miles out. This morning, I walked to the hardware store and it was almost above freezing. The photo is burning off something at the termination of a natural gas pipeline. I'm not sure why but it was a pretty bright beacon in the evening. I've been able to still get in adequate steps now that the StartWalking program has started up again though I don't think I will be as obsessed as I was in the past. I am still trying to run as much as possible and don't carry the pedometer at those times and just compute equivalent steps from the distance on the Nike+ gadget. Lately, I've been averaging over 150 miles per month on the Nike+ and that is just on "exercise sessions".

Wednesday evening - I'm still in Barrow, at least for a couple more hours, and it really warmed up around here. On Monday, when I arrived, it was still below 0°F and today it actually got above freezing. I walked outside quite a bit today though I haven't run any. I had to go out to the new building a couple of times to check some things out in preparation for the installation of a bunch of equipment here in a couple of weeks. Several friends were heading out with literally a ton of gear to set up a Starband system in a remote location over 90 miles away as well as collect some data collection. No power except for generators, solar panels, wind generators and batteries. They have been packing for days and finally headed out this afternoon. I think they were planning on heading out on Monday morning. This is a picture of the NARL hotel for those who haven't been here before.

Later that evening - Well, now I know why it was so warm today. A snow storm has moved into Barrow and my flight out was canceled after a couple of attempts to land. It is a pretty wet snow so I don't think I'm going to try running again this evening and hopefully, it'll be a nice day tomorrow. The weather forecast is for sunny and cold, or at least colder.