Sunday, November 20, 2011

I Live in Iowa: Week 31

Overall a good week. I mean, I find it very hard to complain about my overall situation when things are going so well for me.

I worked just over 43 hours for the week. Since I get paid by the hour and can build up hours working a few extra hours each week is something I like to do. Then I can take more vacation, and get a quarterly bonus (if I work enough hours). I spent the whole week working on a new Disk Saw Felling Head. I won't say which one, because it is one we do not sell yet. I have to say I enjoy working on the DSFHs because the load cases are more diverse than most things that we have. For example, an airplane wing only gets loaded in a few different manners but the DSFHs get abused every which way. So it is interesting. Plus, they are a very visible part of the machine. I can take 180 lbs. out of a boom and three people notice, but I make a DSFH last a few thousand hours longer and half a dozen managers notice. Thus there is a little bit more pressure to get it right.

My running was in the tube most of the week. The special block I had scheduled for Sunday turned into a failure with only two miles at about 92% of marathon pace instead of 2x8 miles at marathon pace. I totaled only 59 mile for the week. My lowest mileage since the second week in July. Thus far in November, the month leading into my marathon I have had one good workout (the seven mile tempo a few weeks ago). I have been having left lower leg troubles, tight/knotted calves, plantar fasciitis, shin pain, etc... However, I ran a seven mile cross country race Saturday. The Living History Farms race is a true cross country race. A dozen stream crossings with some over two feet deep, hills so steep they had knotted ropes to pull yourself up, gravel roads with tennis ball size gravel, and brutal single track trails.

Proof I was there.
My name will not show up in the results because my friend broke his ankle two weeks ago and they would not let him transfer the number to me, so I just ran under his name. The picture above has me in it, not the guy in red of course but the guy in the black singlet coming out of the stream below him. I think this was the stream crossing that was two or three feet deep. Coming out of it I tried to stretch out my legs, but after taking a five second ice bath they did not want to stretch...

It was a great race, plus I enjoyed spending seven hours with my supervisor and his wife, the conversation was great. I don't have very many engineering/entrepreneur/economy/current events discussions in my daily life. The LHF race was the most technically difficult race I have ever done. Now I just have to figure out how to do something like that in Dubuque. Over 7500 people ran the Living History Farms race because it is different than your typical road race. Dubuque has a whole bunch of land that could have a race like this, in fact we have bigger hills and streams than central Iowa so it would be even harder. Although, I think that shorter than 7 miles would be better. Perhaps a 7k or a 4.7 mile run or 1.8 leagues. Some very non-standard distance that would take most people less than an hour but almost everyone more than half an hour.

Coaching this week I spent some time with the sprinters and throwers and trying to talk our resident can't-take-time-off runner into taking time off and doing yoga. One of the perks of coaching is getting all the new team clothing. I mean we have some really good clothing and since I typically don't buy much new clothing I tend to appreciate new stuff. We have a hoodie that is especially nice.

In economic news, do not expect any big improvement (media coverage) for the next month, but expect things to increase dramatically in the first couple months of 2012. At least at my company we are anticipating a new round of hiring in the next calendar and fiscal year. The actual economy in the US has been getting better all year but the stock market and big banks continue to yo-yo so there is a lot of hesitation in companies and consumers about increasing expenses. However, both companies and people have begun saving very seriously and we are likely approaching a tipping point where all of that money will burn a hole in some people's pockets and expenditures will go up. For example, John Deere is having trouble finding people to do finite element structural analysis. If we (with all of our big company benefits) are having trouble everyone else probably is too. So if these companies want to continue to get work done and fight for qualified employees, salaries will go up. This happens when people at the top who know about the extra cash will decide that getting the work done in a timely manner is important and they will increase the salaries they offer to new employees. I am not sure if that applies to retaining current employees, but I hear Siemens is hiring finite element structural analysis engineers in Boulder to do analysis on composite wind turbine blades...

2 comments:

  1. The actual economy in the US has been getting better all year but the stock market and big banks continue to yo-yo so there is a lot of hesitation in companies and consumers about increasing expenses. However, both companies and people have begun saving very seriously and we are likely approaching a tipping point where all of that money will burn a hole in some people's pockets and expenditures will go up.

    One word: INNUMERATE

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