Part of an ongoing series of observations during my frequent forays on transit.
I tweeted the above on the 24th, but it deserves far more than 140 characters, only because it just sounds so bizarre.
I boarded a bus to go to my cousin’s place to watch the Canucks game (truly a game that triggered both agony and ecstasy). At one of the courtesy seats was a pregnant young lady, and she was on the phone, possibly to her mother. She was not in a good mood, and it turns out she was on the bus because no one could give her a ride from the hospital. According to her, there had been many offers to give her rides, including from her dad, but not at the time she wanted to leave the hospital.
It turned out that she was actually in labor, while on the bus. She made no secret of the fact (thanks to that phone conversation that was audible in the front half of the bus) that she’d gone to the hospital thinking her water had broken, and that her contractions were coming 10 minutes apart. But she didn’t want to stay at the hospital, so she’d decided to wait it out at home.
The fact that she was allowed to leave the hospital baffles me, but if the doctors there thought she was fine to leave and come back later, far be it from me to question that. And hopefully she made it home OK, and that she did find a ride back to the hospital when it’s finally time for her to deliver. But it’s incidents like this that make riding transit very interesting.
WordPress.com has a companion site for those attempting to blog once a day or once a week during 2011. There are many posting inspirations or prompts for participants to draw on, and this will be the first I will use for postaweek2011.
I’ve thought of getting a tattoo, particularly before my 30th birthday. That didn’t come to pass, but I haven’t discounted the possibility. There are many different things I could have inked onto various parts of my body. It scares me to think that once it’s there, it’s there (more or less), because the undo button on a screwed-up design or theme could be just as painful at some point in the future. (Think Homer Simpson and the Starland Vocal Band.)
So what tattoo could I have? Here are a few possibilities; where they’ll be placed can be debated later.
- I could join in solidarity with my some of my cousins in celebration of a deceased cousin; it involves the Buddhist “om” symbol.
- Another one could be a memorial to my grandmother; not sure if I should do initials or something more elaborate.
- A running-related tattoo – probably something more general than to celebrate a specific race or milestone.
- Canucks! 40 years of history (and maybe a little more in a few weeks…) equates to a lot of logos. I’m thinking of at least four: the original stick-on-ice; the skate logo; the orca; and one of the Johnny Canuck images.
Now that I’ve told you what I want tattooed, how about suggestions from you as to where I should get inked, when I get the funds (and the gumption) to do it? Are the locations selected last year by Georgia Straight readers a good start? Or do you have any personal recommendations for specific places and/or artists?
This is an interesting article about the reality that many bus commuters deal with on a daily basis. Route #49 is certainly a serial offender, and likely deserves its #1 ranking, but the data provided by Coast Mountain, the TransLink subsidiary that operates the buses, reveals that it’s not necessarily the busiest routes that pass up on passengers. The Sun piece noted that the 49 (between Victoria and Cambie), 25 (between Oak and Fraser – see graphic below), and 22 (on Burrard and Cornwall) are among the top 5 pass-up routes.
I think there are some caveats when interpreting this data; as alluded to in the article, one of them is the possibility of understated data, due to drivers not recording passed-up stops when they’re encountered. Another is found in the cartographic interpretation of all the stops of a particular route. The termini of certain routes appear to have inflated numbers for pass-ups. For less busy termini, the data as presented doesn’t make sense. Several examples include the 63rd Avenue loop for the 16, Harrison Loop for the 20, Dunbar Loop and Knight/Marine for the 22, and Brentwood Station for the 25 (eastern terminus in the map below).
I’ll just focus on my favourite whipping-route, the 25 Brentwood Station/UBC (or as I’d like to call it, the 25 King Edward-East 22nd). 4th in the most-passed-up list, the 25 is horrifyingly inconsistent in terms of scheduling, likely contributing to its ranking in the list. Unlike the other routes in the top 5, the 25 is unique in that the volume of pass-ups is consistent for most of the route west of Nanaimo Station, and is heaviest between Oak and Fraser.
I know that in the morning peak, heading west from Nanaimo Station to Granville, the data displayed in the map are consistent with my personal experience. Westbound at Windsor and Fraser are particularly busy stops and pass-ups are common, It only gets worse the further west the bus travels, simply because the bus has already filled by then and passengers are unlikely to disembark.
What makes the 25 interesting compared to the 49 is that even west of Granville, pass-ups are still happening. The Dunbar and 16th Avenue segments are still quite notorious for pass-ups, continuing the trend from my days as a student at UBC. Even the introduction of route 33 doesn’t seem to alleviate the condition.
Despite what the article notes are some short-term solutions, including TransLink’s service optimization, the bottom line is that the bus system is woefully under-serviced to keep up with passenger demand, especially in the “peak of the peak”. Hopefully this article can serve as a wake-up call to senior governments to provide additional funding to public transit in Canada generally, and in Greater Vancouver in particular.
Picture source: Vancouver Sun
A few things that don’t really need their own posts:
- When I look back, my 2010 focus on improving my half-marathon time proved to be too much when I took that into 2011 when I should have focused on training for the Vancouver Marathon. In all, I ran five halfs in nine months, from the BMO in May 2010 to the First Half this past February. Add the lack of appropriate recovery after the First Half (marathon training plan had a 24k long run the week after), and a tempo time trial in which I knew I should have held back, and injury was inevitable.
- After reading about the new Boston qualification (BQ) times, and a BBC piece about the possibility of a 2-hour marathon, I began to wonder about my own physiological limits. Could I, with a single marathon finish under 4:40, ever make BQ, now set at 3:05?
- A followup on my piece on Sarah Slean, the runner: Canadian Running featured her in an issue earlier this year. I should go pick up a copy!
After three straight years running the half marathon, this was the year I changed races at the BMO Vancouver. For almost a year, I focused on running the hometown marathon for the first time. Unfortunately, an injury dashed those chances at a critical point in the training buildup. Not wanting to be deterred by such a setback, I re-focused and set my sights on the 8k distance, if only as a marker of my recovery progress.
Even in the week or so leading up to the 8k race, I was still having issues with my injured ankle/Achilles. My last hard run (an attempt at goal pace) also left me with sore quads. All of that meant I wasn’t sure how I should approach this race: go conservatively, or run like hell. I was thinking of a finish time of around 50 minutes (6:15/km), which should indicate whether or not I’m progressing well in my recovery.
As I arrived at the race start/finish area, saw off the half and full marathoners (including those I’ve trained with until my injury), and started warming up, there was a silent confidence building. As I waited in the start corral area, someone asked me my goal time, and I told her somewhere in the 48-50 minute range, which means I can average 6:00/km. That pace had been unattainable in more than six weeks, but I felt ready to take it on.
The BMO 8k had an announced field of 1100 (although over 900 are recorded as having completed it), which is quite small compared to the two longer distances. The course is a simple out-and-back that follows the first portion of the full marathon route. Unsurprisingly, the first kilometre was crowded and that kept me at a reasonable opening pace (6:35/km). I gradually picked up the speed such that I reached the turnaround point in under 25 minutes.
So far so good, I thought. I could maintain a similar pace and still finish under 50 minutes. But I was feeling great: nothing major with my ankle, and no other discomforts. That’s when the race instincts kicked in. Thanks to a downhill that helped my momentum, I clocked sub-6:00/km the rest of the way. The last kilometre was an outlier; after the final turn, I just went flat out and finished that kilometre in about 5:00, and the full 8k in 47:18.
I was very happy with my overall time, especially the final surge to the finish. It likely means my recovery is complete. But I’m in no hurry to test it further. In fact, for the first time in a long time, I am not registered for any races. I’ll probably re-build my base for a few weeks, then figure out a suitable distance in which to train. Can you suggest a local race (ie. in Greater Vancouver) I should try this summer?