Stepping Out in Dunedin

Over the last few years, I have been lucky enough to tag along with Kristie as she goes off to different library conferences as part of her professional development.  We’ve been to MontrĂ©al, Toronto, last year we went to Christchurch and this year we’re in Dunedin.
What is really great about tagging along is the fact that other than air fare, virtually everything is paid for.  The hotel is generally paid for by the organization sending her to the conference, in this case the Ministry of Health as are her meals.  The good part about the meals being paid for is that ever since meeting up with our friends in Hawaii, Kristie and I have always found that meal portion sizes are easily large enough for two people; any time a meal doesn’t fill us up, we will generally purchase some snack items on our own dime.  For instance, a couple nights ago, we were a bit hungry in the evening, so we shared a small tub of yoghurt between the two of us.
Another great part about tagging along for conferences is that most conferences are held within the heart of a city.  The one we are at now, for instance, is at Otago University, which is just north of the down town core.  In order to save on cab fare, the organization paying for the trip will generally try to house the attendees close to the conference; within walking distance.  That gives us the advantage to exploring the city on foot, which is much better than driving as you get to fully investigate all the nooks and crannies of an area to your heart’s content, which is exactly what we always do.  We walk, and walk, and walk, and walk, and walk... Which brings me to the point of this blog entry: Holy frig do my feet hurt!
Kristie and I walk a lot normally; in the summer, that can amount to anywhere from about 15 – 21 km a day.  That is walking to and from work, and then taking the dogs for a 2 - 5 km walk after work, depending on weather conditions or how tired we feel.  That is a fair amount of walking.  Whenever we’re on these kinds of vacations however those numbers go out the window.
Toronto, MontrĂ©al, Christchurch, and Dunedin have all taken their tolls on our feet leaving them bruised, blistered and swollen.  I knew we walked a lot on vacation, but until Christchurch and Dunedin, I never knew how much it actually added up to.  As I’ve talked about before, I now wear a pedometer ever day to track how many steps I do on a given day.  The data from the pedometer will be uploaded to my computer and then I upload the data to an online spreadsheet/reporting program.  My goal is to complete 5 million steps in a year’s time.  Using this pedometer as a guide to tracking my progress has vastly improved my fitness level over the last few years.  It has also given me insight into how much walking we actually do on vacation.
As I mentioned earlier, a good normal walking day at home will be about 21 km, which will equate to about 32,000 – 34,000 steps.  Last year, while on vacation in Hawaii, I racked up about 46,000 steps on my best day, which can be roughly estimated to equal 28 km.  Two days ago, I recorded my largest number of steps ever recorded since I started doing this about three years ago.  I walked 53,173 steps.  This total can be roughly estimated to equal about 33 km of walking in a day!  It is no wonder my feet hurt when on vacation!
The next day, I wanted to give my feet a bit of a break, so while Kristie was at the conference, I pretty much just puttered around the downtown core.  Sitting here and there, reading a book, enjoying the sunshine, walking to some of the cafes, etc.  I still managed to rack up almost 37,000 steps.  Even on a day I try to take it easy, I end up walking about 22 – 25 km!
Today, after the conference, we’re heading to St. Claire beach, and I bet you I’ll still walk over 20,000 steps today.  Oh well.  My feet hurt, but I’m seeing some really amazing sites.  Next post should have some of the pictures I’ve been taking while on holiday.

My Life Needs a Sound Track

I've mentioned in a previous blog post that Kristie and I are now walking to and from work virtually every day.  I have also mentioned that on the last leg of the route home, we come to a very large hill that is about three times as long as the Hotel MacDonald Steps in Edmonton.  I actually counted the steps one day, and there were well over 600 steps; the number of steps at the Hotel MacDonald are 200.

Sometimes I try to take the steps quite quickly, doing a run/walk thing, and sometimes I am just too tired from a long day and end up taking much longer coming up the steps.  In any event, no matter how tired I am or how quickly I take the steps, I NEVER hear the theme song to Rocky when I reach the top!  And therein lies the problem.  What sort of incentive do I have to take the steps quickly if my life doesn't include a sound track?

I'm currently in talks with John Williams to do my life as a symphony.  It should be funny to see the Tubas coming up those steps.

Chapped Ass

Why is it that some of the most stupid things we've ever done seem to get etched into our minds? For the last little while, and for no apparent reason that I can think of, I have been reliving a painful day from my past. In many ways, it is a story of sadness. It is a story of caution for the next generation, and a story that will live on in the annals (giggle...annals) of history. This is the story of how I got wicked road rash on my ass.

It happened when I was about 10 or 12 years old, and the whole family was on a camping trip. While the rest of the family was sitting around the fire toasting inner tubes, chopping owls into kindling, and singing kumbaya, or whatever else one does while camping, I was taking my skateboard up to the top of a very large steep hill....you can see where this is going already can't you?

For those who are old enough to remember, back in the late seventies/early eighties, skateboards looked and behaved nothing like the current boards that kids ride today...at least not the ones that we could afford. The skateboards that I remember from that time were hard plastic decks set upon the old roller skates from the fifties, and were about 30 cm long and 2.5 cm wide. Oh, and every single one of them was yellow. It was like alternate colours didn't exist in the 80's or something. Every single person who owned a skateboard from that period, owned a yellow skateboard. Don't believe me kids? Check out your parent's old photos. Go ahead, I'll wait.... See!

Ok, back to the story. When we last left Leo, he was standing at the top of a very large, steep hill without the common sense that god would bestow on a dung beetle. I set the board on the road and got on. But being the chicken that I am, I decided to just go a few feet first; to see how fast I'd go. Turns out, within a few feet, you can go pretty frigging fast. So I jumped off the board and stutter stepped to a stop. Whew! No injuries, and I learned a powerful lesson. Unfortunately, the powerful lesson that I learned was that it would be much safer to ride the skateboard down the hill while sitting on it.

Now, you may remember that these old cheap skateboards were not much wider than the span of your palm, and even though I was still a child, I can assure you that my tiny ass was spilling over the sides of the board and found it hard to keep upright even before heading down the hill. Why I thought this would be safer, is something that will never be explained. But knowing that it would be safer, I pushed off and headed down the hill.

Now, as I was pretty young, I wasn't familiar with the physics behind calculating the speed of a skateboard going down a large, steep hill. But allow me to illuminate you with the formula: (Skateboard + Mass of idiot on top) * vertical drop of the sheer cliff being ridden on = Batshit fast! Einstein said it first.

At some point, while accelerating down the hill, I had a premonition that this was not going to end well. Call me crazy, but when a tween riding a skateboard manages to break the sound barrier, you can pretty much assume he's going to come to a sticky end. Speaking of end...now seems to be as good a time as any to discuss how I managed to loose control of the board and ass surf the asphalt (That's why it's called that!) for another 20 metres or so. Again, being a child at the time, but the physics equation would look something like this: Speed of the Concord * mass of child sliding down loose gravel = #*&)(*#@ *#* red butt cheeks.

After walking back, stiff legged, back to the campsite, I spent the next hour or so screaming in agony as my mom sprayed antiseptic spray onto the hamburger that use to be my ass.

Ahhhh....good times.

A Nice Reminder

I forgot to post this a couple of days ago, but as I was walking down the street on my lunch time walk recently, I saw a dude in a vintage Edmonton Oiler's Jersey...the away game Jersey.

I didn't look back to see what number he was wearing, but if I had to guess, I bet he would be wearing number 11.

10,000 Step Update

I updated my step count today for the first time in a while.  The graph below shows an accurate depiction of where I'm at for the moment.

If I'm able to sustain the current pace, I should reach 5.7 million by my one year deadline of: August 1, 2011.

Supply Your Own Joke

09:06 Posted by Leo Saumure 0 comments
I was doodling a few days ago and came up with this cartoon.

I had a few captions in mind for it, but I thought I might try to crowd source the joke out to you guys.

Come up with a caption for this cartoon and put them into the comment section.

More Exercise Means More Laundry

Since coming to New Zealand, Kristie and I have endeavored to get into a healthier lifestyle.  We take the dogs for a long walk every day, in the winters we try to do a morning run 3-4 times a week, and now that spring has sprung we've switched to walking into work 3-4 times a week.  I posted about our walks to work in an earlier blog posting.  All in all we are loving the healthy lifestyle.  I am absolutely enthralled with walking into work now too, as the views are spectacular, and I just love being out in the sun.

We're getting tonnes of exercise, gobs of sunshine, plenty of time together as a couple, so you might say that I would have nothing to complain about.  Well, you might say that, if you didn't know me that is.  What on earth could I complain about with all this goodness that I am enjoying?  Bottom line: I sweat like Richard Nixon on camera!

I have always been a profuse sweater; even a leisurely walk in cool weather can cause me to perspire a large amount.  So morning runs, long walks wearing a backpack, etc. make me absolutely drenched.  And its not like you can just leave them out for a few minutes to dry and they'll be fresh as a daisy; no-no-no..these things are sopping wet!  The only thing that would allow these garments to be worn again is a run through a washing machine and a line dry.

This means that I'm going through a lot more laundry now than when I'm inactive.  I go through three pair of underwear a day for god's sake!  Three!  Today for instance, I'm on my third pair of underwear, third pair of shorts/pants, third shirt. and second pair of socks.

Added to this is the fact that I now have one less day a week to tend to laundry and such.  I use to only work three days a week, and now I'm up to four, so that is one less day per week to get caught up on the chores.  Oh well, leave it to me to take a silver lining and stuff a dark cloud into it!

Bunny Rescue 911

House Bunny
As today is my day off, I walked into work with Kristie for some exercise.  On the way back home, I was nearing the entrance to Trelissick Park, when I saw a little white bunny hopping around.  She looked very much like Maple, our house rabbit back in Canada.  She was pure white, except for a little bit of dust on her paws and butt, she had a fair sized dulap, and seemed quite tame.

Upon first seeing her, I thought she might be a wild rabbit, but she looked too big compared to the wild rabbits that I've seen here.  Not to mention that the rabbits here are incredibly timid.  You'd be lucky to get within 300 metres of one.  So, I squatted down, made some kissie noises to attract her, and offered her a handful of grass.

She started to come over and I was able to reach out and pet her, so I knew she must be someone's pet.  I was afraid that she might hop out into the road, and I was going to start door knocking when a neighbour of the bunny's owner came and showed me which house she lived in, as well as knocked on the door to tell the owner that the rabbit was out of the yard.

Apparently she is a free ranging rabbit, who has a pen in her yard, and I guess with all of the trick-or-treaters yesterday, she got out.

Needless to say, the owner was quite happy, and I made a new fuzzy friend.