Monday, April 9, 2012

I Live in Iowa: Week 51

Progression through life is non-linear. Despite the desire to improve incrementally and for small incremental changes, life does not happen that way. To use the old saying, 'when it rains, it pours.' This week as no exception.

I work on a variety of projects at work. They all involve finite element analysis of structural components, but the details change with every project. Most of the projects that I work with involve linear material properties and simple part interactions. However, parts of the last two months I have been working on a project involving non-linear material properties with two different steels, and mildly complex contact interactions between parts. I have been struggling and pounding my head against the wall and getting advice from half the department. Yet I was not getting the kind of results that I believed. Finally, Tuesday, after four days of running on a 32GB and 8 CPU processor it solved with believe able results! This was as much of a victory over the problem as I can imagine. Since I learned quite a bit I will probably try to write an article about it and post it here so that others might not have to struggle as much as myself.

It was also a short week because we had Good Friday off. I really like my job. However, three days weekends are nice too.

My running involved an experiment to test my fitness and recovery ability. After the race last Saturday, and 13 miles on Sunday, I tried to workout on Monday and Wednesday and then race again Friday. Well, my legs were tired every day this week and the race Friday went poorly. The solution is to take a day off, which I am. When training is going really well it is possible to workout every other day, and even throw in a race every week or two. Unfortunately, I expect too much of myself and I ran the wrong side of the too much line this week. That being said, I am in really good shape. When a 16:15 race where I utterly fall apart the last six laps is considered a failure, life is good. I am planning on running a 10k in two weeks and I am completely confident that I will set a nice PR. Wether that PR is as fast as I want it to be or simply much faster than I have ever done before remains to be seen.

On the coaching side, we made progress. Our team is so small and we experienced no shortage of setbacks this winter. The most consistent runner on the team is enjoying a great season, but thus far everyone else is suffering from the inconsistency that comes from a lack of aerobic strength. As a result our workouts are primarily slower and longer aerobic strength based. This is unfortunate from an optimal performance next week point of view, but it is essential for long term development and consistency.

I had a good educational and fulfilling week. Hopefully your week was fulfilling as well.

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