Saturday, December 31, 2011


I've come to the conclusion that it's time to rename the blog.  The URL will stay the same, but, honestly, The Trouble with Living in Sin never quite fit.

When I started the blog back in  2007, I was moving to Australia, and I wanted to write a travel blog.  A few weeks before my departure, I was perusing a handy book of Australianisms, reading them aloud and laughing at their ridiculousness.

"''Chuffed!'  It means happy.  'Knackered' means tired.  'Seppo' means American.  'She'll be apples' means 'Everything is going to be all right.'"
"Shelby apples?" my friend asked.
"No, 'She'll be apples.'  Although, I sorta like the sound of that 'Shelby Apples.'  A misunderstanding of Australian culture, but meaning everything will be ok.  I think I'll name my blog Shelby Apples."
And thus, Shelby Apples was born.

One side note:  I don't think I ever heard any actual Australians use the phrase over the two years I lived there.

Then, I moved back.  Shelby Apples didn't feel like it fit anymore.  Paul and I had just moved in together, and discovered that neither of us owned the essentials like cutlery.  I was griping that the trouble with living in sin was that there's no registry, and a coworker commented that The Trouble with Living in Sin would make a great blog.  I thought that I'd be blogging more about my adventures with Paul, so the name would fit.

Obviously, that's not what's happened.  The blog is clearly triathlon focused.  So, baring any fantastic suggestions from my loyal readers (Paul is pushing for Team Riegle, but I'm not sure that fits), I'm going back to Shelby Apples.  It's a good story.

But, there's another reason why it can't be called The Trouble with Living in Sin.  Cause my days of living in sin are numbered.  On December 31, 2011, Paul proposed to me, and after some prompting (my head kept saying yes, but my mouth was stunned), I accepted. 2012 is going to be an amazing year.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Fun with numbers

I saw this comic at xkcd this other day (If you don't know xkcd, you should check it out.  It's always super geeky, sometimes culturally-relevant and once in a while incredibly informative), and it reminded me of the mnemonic I use for counting laps at the pool. 

Over the summer, I was reading Moonwalking with Einstein, a book that chronicles how the author became the US Memory Champion (yes, it's a thing).  That may seem a bit dull, but he starts roughly a year before the championship as just an every day guy, and then he infiltrates this subculture of competitive memorizers.  It's fascinating.

Anyway, he gives examples of how he memorizes names, numbers, to do lists, etc.  And it occurred to me, maybe I could use a technique like this when I'm counting laps.  You see, and this may come as a shock to some people, but I'm terrible with numbers.  Or at least, I'm terrible with numbers if I can't write them down.  Even simple math, if I don't have the calculation memorized, the numbers swim around, mix themselves up, and I end up being the MIT grad at the table desperately trying to divide the bill into 4 equal parts long after the cash has come and gone.

It's no different with remembering the lap that I'm on, particularly in the pool.  Even short sets like 3 x 300 start to become difficult.  Was that lap 4 or lap 5?  So here's what I do.  I associate images for each of the numbers 1-10.  Each of them has some relevance to the number, so it's easy to remember.  Then I place that image (usually person) at the end of the lane, mentally.  I picture them as I'm swimming.  If I'm not sure which lap I'm on, I just check the end of the lane.  Who's there is the lap.

For instance, the number one is Paul (cause he's my number one guy - AWWWWW)

Number two is my parents.  There is actually a specific photo that involved theatre t-shirts and suspenders, but I don't have a physical copy of it, so for your own enjoyment, here's a picture of my super cute mama (and a butterfly):

At three things start to get creative.  Three is the three kings:  the burger king, King Friday (the puppet) and a very sad looking Prince Charles (cause he's not actually a king).  In the book he explains that the more ridiculous the image, the stickier it is.  And for that reason the number six is the Easter Bunny, holding a basket of a dozen eggs and making a peace sign.

But isn't thinking of all these images just as hard to remember as remembering the number itself?  Well, no.  I don't really understand the science behind it, but somehow the images are easier.  Maybe it's using the other side of my brain or something.

Give it a try.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

I don't want to go home yet

It's been a while.  I started running again two weeks ago, and my shin is not better.  It's been frustrating.

Last week Paul's dad suggested that someday (someday soon) I wouldn't be able to keep running.  My shin wouldn't recover.  What the hell?  Sure, I don't expect to be running when I'm 95, but at 32?  Come on, I'm bound to have a few good years left.

Then today, one of my running buddies went to the orthopedist for some nagging quad and knee trouble and came back with a recommendation to give up running or face knee replacement.  I guess we're not invincible after all.

It's got me sorta bummed out. Maybe three weeks wasn't enough time to heal.  I've tried ART, massage, acupuncture, changed my running gait, more aleve than any one should take and so much ice.  This shin is just stubborn.

Last weekend, I ran in (but didn't race) the Jingle Bell 5K.

This race was the largest in Somerville's history and featured runners dressed as 8 inflatable reindeer, Santa with a shopping cart sleigh, and a woman dressed as the lamp from A Christmas Story.  How could you miss that?

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