Sunday, January 8, 2012

I Live in Iowa: Week 38

This was a great week! I started back at work on Tuesday, having forgot hardly anything. Coaching was good. Running was mediocre. I was super busy all week. Here goes the rundown.

I want to emphasize how interesting this week was at work. On Tuesday all before 9 AM I made the rounds talking to the various people I am working on projects with to see what the status was of all my projects. It's a simple process, walking around talking to people, but not too many people seem to do it. I think it is crucial to socialize with the people I work with enough so that we keep the lines of communication open. The reason is that there comes a point when sitting beside someone and talking through the problem is far more efficient than making a presentation, emailing it, and then replying to questions later. This brings us to Wednesday...

One of the supervisors scheduled a nine hour meeting to go over various aspects of a project. I think 11 people were there from different functional groups to provide input. It was great! We were able to talk through issues and when one person suggested a fix, a different person would shoot it down, a third would suggest a second fix, and a fourth would modify the second suggestion so that it would actually work. Without a meeting with those four people, it would take each of them ten minutes to understand what was going on, five minutes to type up an email, four hours for the group to all be notified through email, another ten minutes for the person to modify the suggestion, and another five minutes to email the change, and another four hours to notify everyone through email. Then, there is a chance that one or two people would object to the idea because they were not clear on what the change was and that would take more time to fully explain the idea. So while a meeting that I estimate was costing John Deere $7 per minute and lasting for nine hours might not be a good solution to most things, I feel we got a lot done. We could have probably done it all in five hours or less, but planning a nine hour meeting sends a message that this is serious. We ended up getting done 45 minutes early, so it was really more like an eight hour meeting.

Thursday and Friday were rather typical and it was really nice to get through the first week of the year. I say that because now on my resume I can put April 2011 to January 2012. Spanning the two years I think is important for the ten second glance over from prospective employers. (I'm not applying for other jobs at the moment, but it is nice to have that experience in case I was fired or laid-off tomorrow.)

Coaching was another highlight to the week. I took a USATF Level 1 course and assuming I pass the test will be officially certified shortly. It has been on my list to do for a long time, and now I've done it. It was funny though, one of the presenters was talking about coaching a 400 meter runner to second place at state the year before, when the University of Dubuque head coach who coached the 1st place runner is sitting in the audience. However, that class was not the highlight of my coaching week. One athlete finished class early this week and inquired if it was possible to do the workout early. Through a series of text messages I gave the runner three options, with A being double. The runner chose A! I will not force kids to double because I had a bad experience in high school. However, doubling is one great way to get better and when an athlete comes to that solution willfully, good things happen. Plus, this runner was a freshman which means we have lots of time to improve even more.

My own running was not spectacular at all. A total of 43 miles, one day of stations (probably 20 minutes of core and neuromuscular work over the course of 50 minutes) and a couple strides. I had lower leg and shin pain most of the week, which turned out to be shin splints. I have been neglecting toe ups and experience showed me years ago, neglect them (and it seems even more important after a marathon) and get injured.

Socially I woke up at the beginning of the week in Dillion, Colorado and drove back to Dubuque. I did not get the sleep over the last week that I desire. However, caffeine helps to accommodate a lack of sleep in the mornings.

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