Friday, June 20, 2008

So I got this YMCA membership in January, because hey, January is long and dark. And I swam a couple times and it was nice. Also, the wellness centre at work started a triathlon program and an application drifted across my desk, so I signed it because I didn't have to pay (well, it came out of my paycheck). Something to do at "the Y."

Anyway, before you could say "omega 3 ratio", I was tumbling headlong into the epic: tracking nutrition, trying to keep up to my workout log, purchasing all things spandex. There were swimming groups, running groups, spinning groups, schedules, blisters, and seminar after seminar on how to eat, sleep, train, and time bowel movements. I kid you not. It was incredible! For almost five months people had to avoid me in elevators or I would wax rhapsodic about Cliff bars and brick workouts, bike frames and power gels, tall tales and true facts about how at Ironman they have volunteers to take off your wetsuit (you peel halfway and lie down before T1) and slap you with sunscreen (four volunteers, eight buckets, and one speedy Coppertone gauntlet).

It was surreal, but at the same time, going through this with 35-odd other co-workers ranging from "can't-swim-a-lap" to "I-eat-miles-for-breakfast... -and-dessert" gave it a strange sort of logic. We trained together, learned together, and tried to set reasonable personal goals without letting anyone beat you out of the changeroom. Before long, project deadlines and work problems would do their swirling dance and yet hold no power over me--"Which bike should I get?" and "How can I improve my power transfer?" floating through my head.

I don't know what all aligned to bring me to the finish line after a 2km swim, 55km bike, and 15km run through the hills of Huntsville, Ontario, but it was worth it. Wolfgang and Nicole Guembel, two professional triathletes hired by the University Health Network to aid in the triathlon program (who do this for a living!?), certainly played a large part. With a honed training schedule, and everything sneakily written in time increments (run 30 minutes! swim 45 minutes! bike three hours then run for one!), it was exhilirating to find yourself finishing a run, checking the map, and realizing you'd just run 10 miles. Not that it wasn't tough at times, but with a bit of consistency and incremental gain, the human machine adapts pretty fast. Very cool.

Anyway, catch me in an elevator sometime, otherwise I could go on much longer. But out of left field I'm technically a triathlete, with two races down and maybe more in my future. I highly recommend it.

June 1: Milton Sprint (750m swim/30km bike/7.5km run)

My ride!

Transition area

The final km

June 15: Muskoka Long (2km swim/55km bike/15km run)

Warm up

Hard right

Hard evidence

Full set over on Flickr.

Sunday, May 06, 2007

Right. So where have I been the last little while? Mostly making things go alongside these fine folks:

My Job: The Core Four

That be Raymond, our very own Justin Liu, and Tran--the ones who've seen the lion's share of my last four months. The days and evenings have been full: the system I wrote to track patient visits and log issues for the Toronto Western Hospital pharmacy went live at the beginning of March. This meant my going on-call for four weeks and fielding an email or two (thousand) to make sure everything worked and everyone knew what was going on. I hope we still do.

But that's only half the story. Now that two more hospitals are interested in making our system work for them (meaning another round of design, modification, and, well, homework), it seems I have a few more emails yet to answer. And so it is that my manager pulled me aside earlier this week and offered me a full-time position. Even better, after mulling things over, I believe I'm going to accept. Fact is, it's a great job, and the people I'm working with are both passionate and fun to be around. Little nutty though.

Working at UHN

Now, that's not to say life has been all work. Closer than I'd like maybe at times, but since I posted here last I've seen three provinces, a couple states, and lots of good people. I mean, with hooligans like these on the loose

les amigos trois

you're bound to end up driving through Pennsylvania in the middle of the night dressed up like a cowboy and looking for a barn dance. And finding one. And a break-dancing inflatable cow. Not that evidence exists.

Plus, we're looking at 24 degrees Celsius this week, which might even be warm in Fahrenheit. With one eye on the used-bike market and the other on my vacation days, I might just be able to start crossing off some of my Toronto to-dos: do my laundry, bike the Don Valley, visit Waterloo...