Thursday, May 31, 2007

My first 5k in years

I haven't run in an orchestrated race in over 2 years now. There have been several that I've wanted to run, but for one reason or other I haven't had the chance.

This week I found that there is one I practically couldn't pass up. A race right in my home town, less than a mile from my house. Alas, I have no excuses left. I went yesterday and signed up.

Also interesting was that starting June 1st there will be signups for a Running program at the Y. I'm not really interested in paying for a customized running program. I already did that when I bought the book on marathon training that I'm following. But I am interested in finding out if there are more people in town for me to run with.

As a quick side note. My run this morning put me at 150.1 miles for the year. That amazes me.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

A wall of pain and doubt

It's been a great month of running. I posted the other day about my speed improvement, but this month has not been all great.

The first 10 weeks of my running I was consistently increasing my long runs by about 2 miles a week. I managed to get up to 12 miles for a long run much sooner than I had anticipated. However, the past 2 weeks I have not been able to break that barrier. I worry that it's just a mental block. When I was running a few years ago and did a few half marathons I hit a wall just after 10 miles and couldn't finish my run. Now I'm at the same distance and hitting the same wall.

Initially I was worried that I would never make it, but I have already squashed that thought. I will make it. I will overcome this obstacle. I know this because the last time I was running and doing so poorly at those distances, I was also not doing as well during the week as I'm doing now. Plus I'm also being more consistent with my long runs. I had 3 runs this month of 11-12 miles. I will be able to break through this wall of pain and doubt. Next weekend I'm taking a "rest" weekend and only running 6 miles or so, but I'll be back at it the following weekend with a goal of 14 miles, and I can make it.

Monday, May 28, 2007

Slow and steady gets faster

I was entering my run on RunningAHEAD.com tonight and looking at my distance and time. I was kind of shocked to see that this month, I've run 61 miles. That seems like a ton. At one point in my life I thought it would be impossible to run, now I have a goal of running a marathon, and of having a 100 mile training month. Next year I may add a goal of 1,000 miles in the year.

I also noticed my pace, and thought, "that looks faster", so being a nerd I found a pace calculator and figured it out. I am averaging 11:28 a mile this month,, while it was only 11:34 last month. That may not look like a lot, but those 6 seconds a mile are huge when it comes to running a marathon. This month, my pace would put me finishing a marathon in 5:00:38. Last month would have averaged me 5:03:15. I would love for my first marathon to be under 5 hours. I'm excited that even though I'm adding more distance, and pushing myself beyond my limits, I'm also finding the strength to push harder. I'm off to bed so I can get a good night sleep before starting tomorrow off with another run.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Training last Friday

After a night of not being able to fall asleep, I slept in this morning. 7 AM was a great time to wake up. By 7:30 I was walking to my training, this time prepared and knowing exactly where I was going. It was another mile walk.

On the way I passed a Starbucks and took advantage of it. Registration wasn't supposed to start until 8:15, but at 8 there were already 5 people in line and registered.

The first thing I thought walking in the door of the hotel was "I'm under dressed."

The lighting and giant glass bottles were beautiful. the training room, set up for about 200 people had wine goblets and a 12 oz glass water bottle at each chair. The water was by VOSS, which I've never seen anything like. It was pretty neat.

The continental breakfast was the standard bagel, muffin, and pastry, however the dim lighting took away a little room it because nobody could tell what was in any of the bagels or muffins. one lady even got a glass of grape juice only gag and say "I think it's cranberry".

It was really neat walking under the L and past places that I've recognized from movies. It brought images of Blues Brothers, the Fugitive and other movies that I can't even remember the names of rushing to my mind.


The training itself was good. It was a training for Getting Things Done, which is a really cool program. Last December I finished reading the book and wrote about GTD here. I still love the idea of GTD and it has made some great improvements in my own organization for things. I have done better with it in my professional life than in my personal life. At work everything is managed by my manager and priorities for what makes them the most money. At home things are a lot more vague. It's harder to organize and prioritize with so many different things pulling at me from different directions. I have made some progress in getting things under control, and I feel a lot better about filing papers and getting the bills paid. I still don't have time to do everything that I want to do, or everything that's on my list, but I feel a lot better about not doing it because I know that some of my other priorities are higher (such as exercising, keeping dishes clean, keeping the house clean). However, I do feel like I'm getting more control of my life and that's very stress relieving.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Acrobat Ady

Tonight we took the kids to the park. Nothing special, just playing at the park for a while before eating dinner. While we were there Ady was swinging and I started pushing her. She was doing great and having a blast as I would run along next to her and make funny noises from time to time.

After a few minutes, for some reason, she let go with her right hand. Immediately, OMG, OMG, OMG. She did an acrobatic flip, backwards over the seat and landed on her belly, and face area. I didn't see if she got her hands up in front of her to break her fall. I went running up to her immediately thinking "Oh no, a broken bone!" When I got there I immediately picked her up and held her close, but I didn't want to worry her too much, so I said, "You have stuff in your hair". Her response was great. "Yeah, and some here." Then she looked at her left knee and pointed out a scrape to me. I sat her down and off we went to play on other toys. She didn't complain about anything and she was great!! I was amazed at how she responded to the amazing flip and landing she just had.

Monday, May 21, 2007

A great trip to Chicago

Last Thursday night I left for Chicago. I had a one day training and was taking the train. I've been on a train before but this was my first trip on a train from Bloomington. the train ride itself was uneventful, other than being 25 minutes late to pick up the passengers. The first 20 minutes of the ride I felt nauseous. I don't know if my recent dinner didn't sit well of if I had motion sickness. The rest of the ride I just sat uncomfortably in the chair and read my book "The Bourne Ultimatum".

I forgot to print directions, but I thought I knew where I was going, and there was a map at the train station. I felt like Jason Bourne walking through the train station and grabbing the map, then walking out without knowing which way was which.

That was short-lived however, within two blocks when I didn't know which way I was supposed to go, I called home to find out. Erin didn't answer (she was busy) and I had to wait for her to call me back. It was just over a mile walk to the hotel. The walk itself was easy. My shoulder got sore from carrying my duffle bag with clothes and a laptop in it.

After a very long 30 minute walk, being grossed out by seeing some homeless people pick up food from the ground (or maybe they were just gross people who like food from the ground), and fearing for my life while people walked quickly up behind me, then passed, I made it to my hotel. The room was small. I had to stand in the bathtub and close the door to get to the toilet. There was only about a foot from the bottom of the bed to the wall and both walls were within arms reach of the side of the bed.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

An unexpected friend

I went for a run this morning with a goal of making it 13 miles. I ended up a bit short. On my way I met a new friend.

I rounded a corner and a black lab came charging at me full force. This was a normal size lab, but still big, and a tad scary running full force at me. She ran right up to me and sniffed me once, then immediately turned around and started running up the road. I thought she would head home, instead off into the weeds on the side of the road she darted. A few steps later she came bolting back out, looked at me and charged up the road ahead of me, then back into the brush. I was amused by this dog that kept darting into the weeds and ditches, then I saw a rabbit and she chased it off, and immediately turned back around and chased off a cat on the opposite side of the road. I thought she was gone for good at that point, but as I got to where she had run the cat off, back she raced onto the road and up ahead again.

Over and over she would dart into the knee high weeds and then come back to lead my way. Again I thought I would lose her when I got to my next corner, because she had already gone past it. I took my left turn and glanced over my shoulder, she had noticed I was missing and came bounding down the road after me with her tongue wagging and drool dripping to the pavement. She had such a happy bound to her run that I didn't want to stop for my walk break for fear of losing my running companion. I pushed further than I was supposed to, but still had an hour to run and didn't want to ruin the rest of it for a random dog. When I walked she kept bounding down the road, but she would dart into the weeds more and mark her territory. For over 20 minutes she led my way, then we came upon a house with a lot of dogs barking. Suddenly she fell in line as if I had asked her to heel, right on my left leg looking up at me for protection. I wasn't sure what I could do other than shout and act intimidating to the 5 Blue Heelers that raced out from the house towards us. I didn't slow my pace (which is my standard defense) instead I just kept running and telling her it would be ok. I guess if you lie to a dog enough you start to believe it yourself. The Blue Heelers were just protecting their small territory and weren't looking for anything more than a bark fest.

A few houses further down the road two other dogs came running up to meet us. This time, my new friend was much more interested. One of the dogs chasing us down was a Black Lab. After the standard butt sniffing ritual a guy cam out shouting for his dogs to come back. He called for "Rusty" finally his own dogs went back to their house...my friend joined them. I told Mr Farmer that I didn't know this dog, and he said he did and would get her back home. It's great that even 3 miles away the neighbors can look at a dog and know who it belongs to. I wouldn't recognize the dog from two doors down. I was glad he was going to take care of her, my next road had the potential to be a lot busier and I didn't want her to get hurt in any way.

Right after my friend left me, a herd of cattle saw my maroon shirt, and got up from laying down and ran along the fence looking at me. I kept looking over my should thinking, "don't come through the fence," My mooing was not helping, they chased me until they got to the creek running through the pasture. All in all it was a good run.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

A close call

Today at work I was sitting in a conference room with the others that are working on my project, just before lunch. Someone knocks on the door and sticks his head in, he says, we need to evacuate the building, we have a suspicious package. Immediately the rumors started flying about what it was. The evacuation ended up lasting 4 hours. Long story short it was harmless and the investigation into the originator of the package continues. I wasn't worried about anything. A few years ago just after the Anthrax scare we received an envelope with powder in it and were concerned it may have been Anthrax.

It does go to show that people who owe lots of money can get really upset about the fact that they let their own bills get out of hand and didn't pay them. I wish they would handle it in another way rather than sending threatening mail. Declare Bankruptcy and get out of debt. It gets collectors off of your back and sets you up to start over. It's much better than potentially spending time in jail.

Monday, May 14, 2007

Great day bowling.

To start with, I'm still a little sore. I went bowling with as a team building activity for work on Friday. It was great. I bowled 4 games: 121, 139, 124, 170. The 170 is the highest score that I have ever gotten, my previous high was 159. Saturday though, my left leg was so sore that I was limping everywhere I went, and I couldn't open a bottle with my right hand. Sunday I hurt almost as bad. Today I feel a lot better. I still have soreness in both places but I'm back to about 90% of normal.

Friday was my birthday. I'm 31. I had a really good day with some neat hand made gifts from my kids. My wife told me happy birthday first thing in the morning, and my parents called me before I got to work. My ex-wife even sent me a happy birthday reminder on instant messenger. Thank you all for remembering my day and making me feel special. The rest of my day was blessed with a shortened work day, filled with half a day of bowling. Then I came home and took my kids to dinner where I got a free Strawberry Shortcake dessert that we all split. The kids and Erin made Peanut Butter cookies (my favorite) and I had a good soft warm cookie. It was a great birthday.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

An unexpected visit

A door to door salesman stopped by offering to give us a quote on windows the other day. Erin tried to politely tell them that we wanted windows but weren't interested. However, they took that as, we'll come by and give you a demo.

Tonight the demo took place. Midstate Windows and Sidings I was a bit shocked that the salesman didn't have a business card, didn't have any pamphlets to leave behind for us to look at, and wrote out the estimate for us on a torn quarter sheet of legal pad. It seemed very unprofessional for everything. The price quoted in order to put in the windows that we are looking for seems to be a pretty fair price, but the salesman himself seemed unprofessional.

I doubt we do it. He said they help with financing, but what they do is submit a loan application for a home equity loan for us, in our name. We've only lived in this house for 2 years, I'm not ready to take out another loan against the house in order to get windows.

For now, I think we will have to pass on the offer, but who knows, maybe next year our finances will be better and we'll be able to work something out.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Exercise logging.

I find that logging my exercise to a journal everyday so I can see my progress has made me want to exercise more. I don't like having empty days in there. I don't want to always do the same exercise, but I want to do something. I used to put this onto a blog, but it was just there, I think it's the reporting functionality of some of these websites that help motivate me so much. With my running I can see how many miles a month I'm running and quickly see it was more than last month and that's motivating. I love it. I have been using runningahead.com, but there is mapmyrun.com and coolrunning.com and runnersworld.com that all have exercise tracking and reporting.

Running log

I have been training for a marathon scheduled for October 21st in Columbus Ohio. My training has been going very well and I wanted to share more information with you. I have added a running summary to my Sidebar, so you can follow along with my buildup of mileage. It's amazing how fast those numbers seem to be going up already.

I hope you enjoy keeping up with my running as much as I'm enjoying doing it.

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Eavesdropping

Overheard on the phone with my wife
"You're lucky you didn't just fall to your death. I can be a mean mommy to a ghost"

Fuel savings

A bill is headed to the senate to demand a reduction in gasoline usage by 20% in 10 years.

Something that is not discussed is a reduction in miles traveled. I'm completely against mandating a maximum number of miles for people, but I'm very much for encouraging less traffic in general.

For example, all naturally generated energy removes vehicles from the road. A coal power plant needs coal shipped to it. A wind power plant only needs wind, which does not use vehicles to transport. The same with a solar plant.

At the same time, using more public transportation reduces cars on the road.

But most importantly, encouraging businesses to allow workers to work from home who can, is huge. There are a lot of jobs that could be done from home just as effectively as going to work. Not all jobs are that way, but encouraging businesses through tax breaks to allow employees to work from home could be a great way to reduce the amount of cars on the road, gas used, and pollution created. I drive 300 miles a week to and from work, and work with 30 people who all together probably average that same 300 miles a week. If we each could work from home that's saving 9,000 miles just from my small office. Most of my co-workers don't drive fuel efficient vehicles, so an average of 20 mpg may be high, but even with that, it's a savings of 450 gallons a week, and the company would still get the same amount of work done. Over the course of a year that's a savings of 23,400 gallons directly, and even more indirectly. By indirectly, I mean, that us not driving to work, will result in less tanker trucks having to make trips to the gas station to refill it, causing a reduction in gas used by them as well. That's just with 30 people and one company.