Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Sauced and Swoll

To further my heretofore narrowly manifested data accumulation penchant, I did the unthinkable, most likely totally useless, and even more likely hardcore douchey. That's right, I started tracking and quantifying my workouts. It was mostly an attempt to shame me into working out more thereby contributing to my record setting hockey season, but it was also largely a way to spend more time looking at and writing things in my JRT calendar. Amusing but not joking. In any case, the process wasn't all that quantitative. I essentially made one of four basic notations to correspond to a workout: an up arrow (meaning I lifted upper body, usually combined with some cardiovascular work, usually either short distance running or interval training bike work), a down arrow (meaning lower body lifting combined with the same CV caveats), a BS (meaning Bluestreak, which is a brutally difficult but awesome hockey-specific workout involving the dreaded skating treadmill), or an H (meaning that I played hockey). Sometimes I'd also threw on an R (meaning I just ran) or an S (which means I did my pseudo-ashtanga stretches usually with some core work thrown in). This all sounds more intense than it really was; those who know me will take comfort in knowing that I half-assed my way through most of all this. Except for the Bluestreak sessions, those are usually insane.

About halfway into the year, I started actually trying to quantify the level of intensity of each workout, assigning a value of anywhere from .5 top 1.25 with a lifting session usually getting a 1.0, a BS session getting a 1.25, and H getting a .75 or 1.0 depending on how much and how hard I played and if I did a stretching/core session before or after. Yawn yawn, and to anyone who's still reading at this point: marry me. To make things more interesting and/or depressing (depending on if you're a future AA counselor or a current parent), I started counting my alcoholic drinks sometime towards the end of June. Pretty simple, each drink counted as, wait for it, one drink. Whereas I used to pour myself whiskey at home without regard to volume, I tried to pour myself glasses that corresponded to one "drink," and I did my best to count 'em all up (though after around 10 in a night it could get a bit hazy). Here are the results in graph form:

(Click to enlarge)

The results are fairly straightforward. The inverse relationship between my alcohol intake and exercise output seems pretty clear and strong, which is in no way surprising. I averaged around four and a quarter "workouts" per week, which is actually not all that disappointing. 30 drinks a week, however, is a bit of a horrifying embarrassment. In my defense, there were a disproportionate number of big one-time only drinking events this past year that probably unfairly pushed that average a bit on the high side, e.g. the bachelor party, wedding, honeymoon, and that winter solstice eclipse thing that just happened. My goal for next year is to cut down to 21 drinks per week, a 30% reduction, which is certainly significant, but one that I am going to go ahead and publicly commit to making. I'd also like to get up to around 4.75 workouts per week as well. Don't worry ye faithful few, you won't have to wait a whole year in suspense, I'll give you guys a mid-year update on all of this sometime after June. Spoiler alert: I am already perhaps irrevocably off pace on both counts just two and a half weeks in. Damn you, cold and miserable winter.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

The Greatest Thing That Has Ever Happened

Clip begins at the good part.

Canadians are generally nice people. They're usually better educated, friendlier, more humble, and more compassionate than Americans. But when it comes to hockey, they turn into the ugliest of Americans and display that unique combination of arrogance, ethnocentricity, bullying, and ill-begotten success that is basically the law of the land down here. So it's glorious whenever they get their comeuppance, and it's particularly phantasmagoric when it's the artful Russians doing it and doing it in a comeback/collapse of historic and epic proportions. Long story short, last night was one of the best hockey watching experiences of my life.

I'll note that not all Canadians take such a silly view of the sport, and this is a pretty decent article on the whole thing, although that it needs to be written at all speaks volumes.

Monday, January 3, 2011

2011 WJC QF RUS 4 FIN 3 OT

56 and a half minutes into this game (and just a couple hours after my own team's 6-3 loss against our bitter division rivals (1 gorgeous goal, 5 shots, -2)), I was planning on writing a very different post. It was going to be about how the Russians made a mistake in not taking some very talented underage players who play in canadian junior leagues, e.g., Nail Yakupov, Vladislav Namestnikov, Alexander Khokhlachev, and Stanislav Galiev. (Russia's coach, Valeri Bragin, opted for older, more experienced players from the KHL intead, and he also omitted Alexander Avtsin, who plays in Hamilton in the AHL and who played well for Dinamo Moscow last season, presumably because Avtsin missed the pre-tournament exhibition series and so Bragin was not familiar with him. The Russian players selected, with the exception of in Vladimir Tarasenko and Evgeni Kuznetsov, are light on game breaking offensive skill, and Nemenstnikov or Kokhlachev could have made the difference in a tight checking, low scoring game against Finland.) It was also going to be about the shaky Russian goaltending that led to Finland's first goal, where Dimitri Shikin mishandled a weak shot and then appeared to fall down as the Finish player attempted a wrap around which was ultimately poked in. But mostly it was going to be about Kuznetsov, the Washington Capital first rounder who is highly skilled and comes with some personality as well. In the middle of a nice KHL campaign in Chelyabinsk, Kuznetsov brought some high expectations into the tournament, but absent a terrible roughing penalty that put his team down 2 men, he had done nothing virtually nothing against the Fins, who were about to skate away with a well-deserved 3-1 win. That all changed when Kuznetsov took the puck to the net at the end of a uneventful power play and poked in the rebound against Finland's goalie Joni Ortio, who was fantastic all game, to give the Russians some life. And then 2 minutes or so later he did this:

The defenseman he undressed is Sami Vatanen who is their best player and a future NHL star. A gorgeous move at any time of any game, but down by one with a minute and a half to go in an elimination game, it's really a legendary play. Oh yea, he won the game in overtime with a sick shot:

Unfortunately, the Russians have almost no chance today playing on only 15 hours turnaround time against a Swedish team that is stacked and was resting and relaxing while they watched Finland and Russia slug it out. But it was an inspired performance by both teams and some real genius by Kuznetsov.