Escape From Alcatraz

Today I had a crazy idea.  Well, maybe it's not so crazy...

Many of you know that I'll be in San Francisco in February.  Me along with a few fellow students will be representing UBC at an engineering seismic design competition.  I'm pretty excited about it, a free trip to San Fran, who wouldn't be?  The few days I'll be there will be loaded with seminars and stuff that I will need to attend but there should be time to do some sightseeing.

I started to think of what I wanted to go see: the Golden Gate Bridge, Berkeley, Alcatraz... and then I thought, wouldn't it be sweet to swim from Alcatraz to shore?

    The Rock in all its Gloriousness
I grew up believing that it was an almost impossible task but it doesn't look that bad.  It's 2.4km off shore and it turns out a lot of people have done it.

There are still some details to work out.  Safety first right, so I need to make sure there is a boat with me in case things go wrong and to prevent becoming fish food by some speed boat's propeller or something.  I have a friend attending Berkeley right now and I'm really hoping he'll be able to help make this possible for me.

Anyway, more details to come later.  I was just so excited with the idea I had to share it.

5km Failure

I don't think it would be fair, or realistic, to only share my successes in sport.  Although today did not turn out the way I had hoped, the experience that I gained will be beneficial to my long term success.

If you have been reading my previous posts, you will have seen my goal (and slight obsession) with running a sub 19 min 5 km.  I attempted this last week, details and story can be found here, and was unable to clock a determined sub 5 min time due to measurements that were off... I'm not going to repeat last week's blog.  Anyway, since I theoretically achieved this goal I figured I would run 5km at the track and get an official time under 19 minutes.  I thought I had this in the bag.

It was a beautiful day today and I couldn't resist making the attempt.  I enlisted one of my fellow class mates to go with me and off we went.  I could tell during my warm up that it wasn't going to be as easy as I had anticipated.  My legs felt like they were lacking the power I needed them to have.  Regardless of this I decided to go for it anyway figuring that after a couple of laps they would be feeling right and things would go well.  I was wrong.

My plan was to run 90 second laps.  This would lead to an overall time of 18:45, allowing some breathing room in case I had a bad lap or two.  I ran my first lap in 80 but then I got back on track running roughly: 88, 89, 91, 92, 92.  At this point I was having a hard time holding 92 and I forgot all about that extra 11 seconds I put in the bank from my first lap.  As I neared the end of my seventh lap I decided to call it quits finishing that lap in a slow 95 seconds.  I just didn't have the juice.

After I went home feeling slightly discouraged I began analyzing the event and realized that I had forgotten about that fast first lap and realized that had I actually held on, even though my laps were getting slower, I could have quite possibly accomplished my goal.  I decided that I was going to skip swim practice that afternoon and head back to the track and try again.

I had a good lunch - trying to put the energy back into my legs, relaxed for a while, drew up a new race plan and off I went back to the track.

I felt sore and weak, probably a result from the earlier attempt, but decided to proceed.  The race went almost exactly as the first attempt except I ran 8 laps instead of 7 before I decided to quit.  Actually I ran 8 laps, took a minute rest to catch my breath, then ran the last 4.5 laps to at least finish the race.

Do I feel bad that I quit?  Actually no, I don't.  My goal wasn't to do a 5k; my goal was to do a sub 19 min 5k.  I knew that I wasn't going to be able to hold that pace and so there was no need for me to run a 19:05 5km, I've already done that.

I'm surprisingly not that disappointed - I mean, I was initially, but after contemplating the events I've come at peace with it.

My Reasons:

  1. Occasional failure makes success more enjoyable.  When I do reach this goal, I will know that it didn't just come easy and that I worked for it and earned it.  I will be proud of it.
  2. This failure has caused my to look at my current training program and see my definite short falls and point out what needs to change.  This will not only help me with this 5k goal of mine, but will provide me with greater gains that will help me in the long run (excuse the pun).  Had I not failed today, I may not have realized the changes that must be made to my training program and would have missed out on possibly months of additional gains.
My Promise:

I have not quit.  I will reach this goal.  I will give a report on my success before the end of this year.  Count on it.

What a Bad Day Looks Like

I came across this video and thought it was funny enough to share on my blog.


It's sweet holidays like Halloween that make being a dad so much fun. My girl Kaylen did me proud today. I thought we would knock on a few doors and she would get tired and want to go home, I mean seriously, the girl's got the attention span of a puppy - but no. After about an hour, her Halloween basket already over flowing, I ask her, "do you want to go home or do you want to get more candy?" Stupid question apparently because the response was, "more candy. I want more candy!" She went from 5:30 to 7:00, not bad for a two year old.

Earlier in the day we did the traditional pumpkin carving. Kaylen was quite proud of her pumpkin. I of course carved it but she picked out the design. She wasn't too fond of the guts though.

At 5:30 a couple of Kaylen's friends came over and we headed out trick-or-treating. It was not planned at all, but the three of them went out as bugs: a butterfly, bee, and lady bug.

The night was going well until we saw some kids with freaky looking masks and Kaylen panicked. She was pretty scared but when one of them waved and said hello she realized that they were happy monsters and she was alright.

UBC housing is a great place for trick-or-treating. Tons of families, and no cars. When trick-or-treating time was about to be begin we saw cars rolling up and parking in visitor's spots. The place is a gold mine and the locals know it. It's very chaotic and fun. During the one hour that Janelle was home handing out candy, she counted 397 kids; that's a kid every nine seconds! There is really no point in closing your door and waiting for kids to knock because they don't stop.

Question for parents: how many of you steal your kid's candy when he/she's asleep?

Our pumpkins:

Janelle's on the left, Kaylen's in the middle, and mine on the right.

Happy Halloween everyone!

Here's a couple short videos of Kaylen gutting her pumpkin, she starts out pretty dainty but then gets into it, sort of.