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This entry was originally posted at https://purplecat.dreamwidth.org/478332.html.
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16 January 2018 @ 08:28 pm

Lego Margaret Hamliton almost, but not quite, recreating the famous photo of her with the Apollo Guidance Computer source code she and her team wrote.

From my birthday present, Lego women of NASA set. I have a Lego robot named Margaret after her.

This entry was originally posted at https://purplecat.dreamwidth.org/478022.html.
A couple of years ago [personal profile] isis helped me develop a training plan for my running. I switched to a dedicated half marathon plan in about February last year, but switched back to this one as soon as it was over. The training plan consists of two weekly 10km runs, a 15km run and then the Park Run (if I can make it) and/or an additional 10km run if I'm feeling keen. The two 10km runs are split between one where I run 4km at an easy pace, then 4km at a fast pace and then 2km at an easy pace, and one where I attempt all 10km at a fast steady pace. Over time I've gradually pushed at what counted as "fast" and "fast steady" and just before Christmas I was working at getting fast to 4:35min/km and fast steady to 5:05min/km. During the half marathon training I added a half hour session at the gym to the training plan doing some exercises one of their trainers recommended for running and I've kept that up as well.

I have a dedicated marathon training program to hand but in its early weeks it is covering less distance than my existing plan so I haven't really seen the point of switching to it.

Anyway, I missed Park Run and my long run this week thanks to chaos at JFK.

On Tuesday I went to the gym. This was actually my first gym visit in at least three weeks thanks to Christmas and then being the US. I dialled back the weights I was using the exercises a bit as a result.

Even so I woke up stiff on Wednesday. I struggled out for the first 10km run of the week. This wasn't quite the first run in three weeks, but I'd definitely run less over the Christmas period and then not at all while in the US. I didn't even manage a full km at 4:35min/km. Over the whole run I managed just under 2km at that pace in intervals of between 250m and 750m. I was horribly, horribly stiff by the time I finished. I was a little discouraged by this which was much worse than I had been managing, even though when I thought to weigh myself I realised I was carrying a good 2-2.5kg extra weight thanks to Christmas and the US (which, I realised, neatly offset the weight I'd dialled back in my gym session so for some of those exercises I was carrying exactly the same amount of weight I had been before the break - I will have to dial back more next week). I told myself that the combination of stiff legs, a week off and extra weight accounted for the drop in performance.

However the second run, this morning went much better. I didn't manage the full 10km at 5:05min/km but it was still my fastest 10km since mid-November and the average pace was 5:12min/km including two stops to re-tie shoe laces. I've been running in Ravenna Brooks shoes for the past 9 months which have superb laces that never come untied, but recently had to switch and these new shoes clearly have inferior laces. I will have to dig out my triathlon laces. Once the run was over I waddled back home. I'm still a bit stiff and while I can apparently run just fine, I start waddling again as soon as I slow to a walk. This stiffness isn't entirely out of the blue, something similar happened when I first started gym sessions last year, so hopefully it will be better after my gym session next week and stop being a problem thereafter.

Next week I hope to be back on the plan proper...

KM run this week: 20km
KM run in 2018: 20km

While raising money for charity is not my motivation for participation, it is a big part of the London Marathon. Shelter have bribed me with a T-shirt and the promise of a post-race massage. Lovely people donating last week have, I'm sure, already covered the costs of these, but should anyone else feel so inclined you can donate here.

This entry was originally posted at https://purplecat.dreamwidth.org/477072.html.
10 January 2018 @ 07:05 pm

Having enjoyed the Moogle crochet-along so much in 2016, I did it again in 2017 (only this time actually starting in January along with everyone else). The final blanket produced just in time for the 2018 one to begin!

This entry was originally posted at https://purplecat.dreamwidth.org/476859.html.
09 January 2018 @ 09:22 pm

Paper Doll cut outs of the First Doctor and Marylin Monroe

The First Doctor does not yet have any of his outfits - possibly fortunately the Doctor Who paper doll book has opted not to give us the basic doll figures in only their underwear. I've teamed him up with Marylin Monroe because, honestly, they would have been far more awesome together than Eleven and Marylin.

This entry was originally posted at https://purplecat.dreamwidth.org/476440.html.
In 15 weeks and a couple of days' time (assuming I am counting correctly), I will run the London Marathon.

This was not part of the plan.

Broadly speaking this is all Charlie Brooker's fault. At some point, probably around 2011, I came across an article of his in which he discussed the Couch 2 5k app that could get you running and thought it sound interesting and potentially useful if I wanted to get a bit fitter. When I finally acquired a Smartphone, I installed the app and off I went.

By the time I finished the 9 week course in the app, I could run just under 5k in half an hour and I continued to potter about doing this a couple of times a week while listening to the Zombies! Run! app/game/story/whatever it is. Then I discovered ParkRun which had, if not prizes, at least points and I began to actively try to improve my running speed. Then someone at ParkRun suggested the Great Manchester 10k, so I amused myself working towards that and ran it for the next three years.

In the meantime I had made some friends among the Park Runners and when the 10k spun off a half marathon last year, I was persuaded by A. that I should run this, if only as moral support for her attempt.

Did you know, once you run a half marathon, everyone starts asking you when you are going to run a marathon?

Now B., who has occasionally in his career hung out with Sports Scientists had convinced me many years ago that marathons were a terrible, terrible thing (anatomically speaking at least). However, he mysteriously morphed into the kind of person who muttered about bucket lists and "you have to run at least one." My solution to this situation was the London Marathon ballot - with a success rate of, depending who you ask, between 1 in 6 and 1 in 10, I felt I was pretty safe entering the ballot for a few years while I considered whether I really wanted to do this.

You can guess what happened next.

So, lack of injury permitting, I will be running the London Marathon on the 22nd April.

I wish I could say training had started well with the new year. However my scheduled run on Monday was abandoned when I totted up the list of things I needed to do before going to Florida on Tuesday, factored in not getting back from Stoke, where we had spent new year and concluded the run would have to be skipped. My scheduled run on Friday was abandoned because I couldn't actually get out of Florida because of the Bomb Cyclone in New York. Since I am writing this in Fort Lauderdale airport, I doubt my scheduled run on Saturday will happen either.

KM run this week: 20km (all last weekend)
KM run in 2018: 0

While raising money for charity is not my motivation for participation, it is a big part of the London Marathon. Shelter have bribed me with a T-shirt and the promise of a post-race massage. It would be nice to at least cover the cost of the T-shirt and you can donate here should you feel so inclined.

This entry was originally posted at https://purplecat.dreamwidth.org/476032.html.
29 December 2017 @ 04:41 pm
The Rubric: Reply to this post with "PORGS!" and I will pick three of your icons for you to talk about in your own journal, and then keep the meme going by making this offer on your post.

Why PORGS I don't know, though as comical animals in the Star Wars universe go, there are worse offenders. Mind you, I like the ewoks so what do I know?

[personal profile] kayim gave me these three icons.

Stephen Hart from Primeval.  Behind him can vaguely be seen a shield and some indecipherable text with the heading Bodyguard

This is an icon of Stephen Hart from Primeval made by [profile] crazypandabear who used to make these wonderful icons in a style which, I confess, I spent several years unsuccessfully trying to emulate. She made just one batch of Primeval icons and I use and re-use several of them. As for Stephen himself, he's hugely popular in the fandom though not actually one of my personal favourite characters.

Naomi from The Expanse.  She is holding onto an upright beam or similar and there is writing superimposed suggesting equations of the motion of planets and orbits

This is Naomi from The Expanse by [profile] swanee. I like the show The Expanse a lot for its thoughtful approach to near future space opera, in fact I've started eyeing up the books it is based on and considering adding them to the endless "to read" pile. Oddly The Expanse feels sufficiently self-contained that I've not really been inspired to go seek out fanfic (and that doesn't seem to just be me - it didn't get any fics that I can find in this year's Yuletide despite being the sort of show you'd expect to be popular with Yuletiders).

The Tardis on green grass against a blue sky with the words Any Time Anywhere

I made this one myself. It is based on an icon I made in my early LJ days and then somehow lost, so I had to recreate it and, with more advanced iconing skills tweaked the colours a little. I don't "think" the caption is actually a quote though I was thinking at the time of, I think Paul Magrs' comment, that the Tardis is really a magic door into different genres of storytelling and while "Any Time Anywhere" can just as easily refer to its in-show function as a time and space machine, it sort of suggests to me the wider idea of the Tardis being the framing device that can lead you into any kind of story.

This entry was originally posted at https://purplecat.dreamwidth.org/475343.html.
26 December 2017 @ 06:06 pm
The Teenager joined us for Ark in Space. I think this was the first Classic Who story she'd actually sat through with us out of more than politeness (her enthusiasm for episode 4 of Arc of Infinity notwithstanding). Given Ark in Space is not one of the showier classic Who stories, I was interested how much better it captivated her attention than some one might have thought would be more crowd-pleasing (e.g., Genesis of the Daleks).

I think it's construction may have helped. Episode 1 features only the Doctor, Sarah and Harry exploring the eponyous Ark and I'm sure part of its function, in the mind of the production team, was to cement this new Doctor and his relationships with his (in one case new as well) companions in the minds of the viewers. While NuWho would not allow itself the luxury of 25 minutes in which to do this, its greater focus on the lives of companions and their interrelationships possibly makes this seem more modern than it might otherwise. Instead of exposing the Teenager to an adventure story with some set of companions she had no real interest in, the Ark in Space let her get interested in the Doctor and companions first, before moving on to the adventure story.

And this is one of the best "Tardis teams".

I've always thought the story's resolution was a little unsatisfactory. It is one of a handful of stories where the Doctor isn't really central to the elimination of the threat but instead it is Noah's residual humanity that saves the day. I'd have to go back and rethink the extent to which the Doctor and companion's actions create the space in which Noah is able to act, but I know when I first read the novelisation of the story I was put out. Again, this is more reminiscient, at least of the first season of NuWho, than it is of much of the 26 years of the classic series.

This entry was originally posted at https://purplecat.dreamwidth.org/475003.html.