928 - What's happening updates

July 7, 2020

If you are a returning visitor to my site you probably noticed I've updated my site. I also updated my Chip's English Help site. I hope you like the new design. Please feel free to leave comments on any of my blogs and other writings.

I also added a search box to make it easier to find anything I've written on any word you enter in the box.

Life during the pandemic - not very exciting, for sure. Like most people around the world I spend most of my time at home in my little studio apartment. It's not fun, for sure. I go out for a walk every day, sometimes just around the block, other days along the beach. I do take a bus into Barranquilla most days to do an English lesson with my one student. Yep, only one student. All the others quit because of the quarantine. Here in Colombia we're still living under the national quarantine, since March 24, if I remember correctly. We're supposed to go out only 1 day a week, and that depends on the last digit of a person's ID number. I go out most days and so far it hasn't been a problem and I can only hope that it continues that way.

I would love to do online lessons but my internet access is too slow. That's because the modem belongs to the owner of my apartment and it's across the yard at the back of his house. So the signal has to go through several walls and across the yard to get to me, and it's weak by the time my laptop recieves the signal. I've had to tell at least 6 people and an office of 22 people that I can't do online classes. That's sucks.

So, I've been writing a lot of lessons for my Chip's English Help website, and I also rebuilt the sites, as already mentioned. I made my own template-based system and an admin control panel where just about anything and everything can be modified without going into the actual webpage code. I could have simply downloaded some platform that already has all of that but what fun is that? I made my own because I could and because I had more than enough time to do so.

I've been running 3 or 4 days a week. It's nice to get back to the condition I was in when I was living in Arizona, and I'm getting there. I've got my 5k running time down to 31 minutes 7 seconds and am shooting for a sub-30 minute time. So for that kind of improvement I'm changing my running routine - one day of hills, another day of intervals, another day of LSD (Long Steady Distance), and possibly a 4th day that would be a short fun, easy run. I've been looking at many websites that have running time charts for average running times by age groups, and for a man of my age, 60, the average 5k running time is between 40 and 41 minutes. Really? My time is 31:07. According to those charts that puts me in the mid-twenties group. I have to wonder just how accurate those charts are. But I've seen several from different websites in different countries, and they're all similar. Hmm, ok, I guess my running speed is better than I think it is. When I'm out there I feel like I'm too slow and need to train more to get more speed. About 6 months before I left Tucson I ran a half-marathon in 2 hours 5 minutes, apparently that's quite good for a guy my age, which at that time, was 53. I'm not even close to condition to run a half-marathon, but doing a 5k in 30 minutes would be the cats meow. When I hit that target I'll up my distance to 10k.

When I was running in Arizona I had a HRM (heart rate monitor) from Polar. It was great! It had a GPS accessory that was worn around my upper arm and a heart monitor worn around my chest. I used the info from the HRM, a watch-like device, to adjust my training. I even wore the heart rate belt while sleeping so I could track my resting heart rate, and all day to monitor my ambient heart rate, and used those numbers in conjunction with the running heart rate to determine my daily workout levels. I don't have that with me here in Colombia. I wish I did. Buying another will be expensive. Oh well, someday I'll be able to buy another one. And a good pair of real, proper, running shoes. Until then I'll make do with what I have, and keep on keeping on.

I have a running partner now. I didn't have one back in AZ. My friend José runs with me at least 2 times a week. Sometimes he skips running with me and he goes with his wife or his son. His running level is almost equal to mine, thankfully the difference isn't too big and doesn't effect my running too much. And he speaks English, which is a bonus, for me, anyway. So the days he doesn't run with me are the days I do my timed runs.

Here's something to try with some friends or family members if you get bored at home during this pandemic -

There was an Old Man of the West,
Who never could get any rest;
So they set him to spin on his nose and his chin,
Which cured that Old Man of the West.

If you don't like that idea, maybe this -

There was an Old Man of Peru
Who never knew what he should do;
So he tore off his hair, and behaved like a bear,
That intrinsic Old Man of Peru.
Both from
-- Edward Lear A Book of Nonsense 1846