Sunday, April 22, 2012

I Live in Iowa: Week 53

Dare I say it... this was one of the best week's in my life!? Be forewarned, I'm not telling you the whole story to protect from scorn those that have not agreed to have their lives thrust into the public spotlight. On that note, let's go through the list, shall we?

At work at a wonderful job I finished a number of projects this week that I have been working on for awhile. One of them I have been working on since June of last year and another since November. Those were two long and detailed projects, and now they are wrapped up! The one from November especially gave me a number of difficult problems that I struggled and struggled to fix. Alas, with voluminous help from my coworkers the issues were solved. In this tiny aspect of the world, this little part of engineering, we may have come up with the right combinations of solutions to have created the most effective solution to the problem in the world (short of designing a very expensive casting or forging). In short, it was a good week at work.

In the running side of life I had a wonderful week. Friday night at the Augustana Meet of Champions I ran the 10,000 meters in a personal record of 32:12. That is a 46 second PR in a race that is easily my favorite race on the track. I won't give you a lap by lap run down, but I felt great the whole way and came through one mile in 5:01 and two miles in 10:00 and the 5k only 5 seconds off my PR at 15:49. I struggled some in the second half but I closed my last 400 meters in 71 seconds, which is not bad. It was a good race. I talked to a number of the college kids before and after the race and some of the other people that were there. It was a very good night for quite a few people!

Now, I have had a number of really good weeks in my life, so for this to rank up near the top we can't stop there. Let me tell you about Saturday.

I have been meaning to get the exhaust on my van fixed for about eight months or so. Well, I finally took it into the shop Saturday morning and they fixed it! After all of that hassle and stress about finding a place to fix it, and getting that noise ticket last week, the cost of the repair is less than I was expecting! It's a small victory, but the small victories add up. Plus at that point it was still only about 8:30 AM.

Later that morning I went running with a runner that I had been hoping to run with for quite awhile. Only a handful of people over the age of 22 run like I run, and I value the opportunity to train with those that do.

Getting around to 10 AM we had a home track meet at the University of Dubuque. It was very small. That allowed a number of athletes to compete at the front of races that they normally do not get the opportunity. The results of our team were mixed some good some bad. However, if you scan the results you will come across the 400 hurdles. Yep, I ran the 400 hurdles. It was hilarious! I used blocks, got out fine, but the first hurdle looked to be up at the fourth notch instead of the third so in my fear I jumped high. Unaccustomed to that kind of height, which one of the other UD coaches said looked like, "a 45 inch vertical," I came crashing down on my left leg, which has been a little weak lately and especially 15 hours post-10k.  I fell down on the track on all fours and scrapped my hand. However I got right back up and shook my head and kept going. Then I even had a few good hurdles. Of course, jumping up every six seconds is tiring so the last few hurdles were even more stutter stepped than normal. I finished in 73 seconds, which is better than the 75 seconds for the over-under on me. With a little hurdle instruction I think I could get under 70...

I spent some time thinking about this Saturday afternoon, and I realized that falling down in that race was one of the best things that could happen to me as a coach. All the time we see athlete's throw in the towel and not give the extra 1% or 1 degree to make it a competitive race to the finish line. For most of the team to see me get out there, very uncomfortably, take a fall, get up and finish, I am thankful. I think it sent a message about persistence, not applicable just to track, but about all of life. When you fall down, get back up and keep going. That being said, I'm planning on doing the steeplechase this week at the Loras Open. If I am going to coach the steeplechase, I had better have some experience with it. I really don't want to fall down in that race. Once is enough.

All of those things make for a great week, but I'm not done yet. My motorcycle has been having problems, so I called over my mechanic and after an hour and a half of work and popping the clutch, we replaced the battery and it runs just great! Aren't friends wonderful!

On the negative side, my stocks have been in the tubes lately. Especially our favorite DHT. But thanks to a margin of safety, it can't get much worse. In the example of DHT for example, they have roughly $0.65 per share in cash. In other words, if the stock drops to that level or lower you can buy one dollar of cash in the company for less than one dollar of cash. Of course management could make some bad decisions and you could lose the entire investment, but typically when stocks drop, it's time to buy.

One last thing...

Not all relationships are equal. There are professional relationships, social relationships, employer-employee relationships, teacher-student relationships, people-who-assemble-iPhones and I have a relationship, and the list goes on. Some come easier, some take more work. Sometimes a person says something that just makes your jaw drop. Sometimes a person says multiple things that make your jaw drop. I had that happen this week.

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