Monday, December 24, 2012

I Live in Iowa: Week 87

I had quite a nice week. It was rather busy thus the lack of blogging. Let me tell you about it.

Work was fun. I wrapped up most of my projects. I only have one project with a report I have started and not finished, that's a pretty low number. There was a wealth of food brought in during the week, which I did contribute to a little. The point being I'm sugared out. So many very tasty sweets is both a good thing and a bad thing. It is fitting that we only do this once a year. On Friday we also spent a little time blowing off steam and working on "science projects" or rather things that don't contribute directly to the bottom line. I have a video and posts related to that I plan to put up this week. In short, nice to have a nice week. 

We did have a moderately large snow storm Thursday. I spent half an hour in the morning shoveling to get out of the driveway, and an hour in the evening shoveling to get back in. Only 25-35% of people showed up at work. Given that many people have laptops, working from home on days with blizzard warnings is generally acceptable. Anyway, my little group of engineers all came to work. I think that says something about us.

Additionally, pun intended, I attended our company's first ever additive manufacturing conference. Additive manufacturing is the "technical" or business way to refer to 3D printing. This industry is booming amongst hobby people like me who like to tinker at home. It is also expanding in industry. The difference is that hobbyists usually use plastic while in industry it's all about metals, often steel. The actual methods vary a little between the different materials with metal involving hotter processes and more expensive machinery. Regardless, this is a growing industry and one that will play a significant factor in the "lights out" factories of the future. I have more to talk about this later. For a preview, my favorite book of 2012 is Makers: The New Industrial Revolution by Chris Anderson.

Coaching was almost a nonexistent week. That's not totally true. I ran two workouts with one of the other coaches and we spent a fair amount of time talking about the runners. For example, to us, running is fun. We feel better after going for a run. Running is a short escape from the drama and pressures of other things in our life. Running is generally not training, but more of a lifestyle activity. However, it takes time for most people to get to that level of desire, maybe 2000-3000 miles over a couple of years. Some get there sooner, others later, and some never get there, which is unfortunate. The point being, today, a good portion of the team we coach probably sat on the couch all day and did not run because they don't experience the joy in running that we do. On the other hand, some of their teammates went for a run, or even a workout because they feel good afterward, and that is powerful motivation.

My own running went quite well. I totaled 84 miles, a good long run, and two solid moderate workouts. The long run was an 18 mile run that I wanted to run progression style (second half faster than the first half) and average under 7:00 minutes per mile. Well, I was out in 1:02 for the first nine which is about 6:53 pace, then, and I always do this, I turned around and dropped the pace. For whatever reason when I turn around out at Heritage Trail I often drop the pace 30 seconds per mile, which is huge. Anyway I dropped a 6:21 and more or less continued that kind of pace to the finish averaging 6:16 for the last nine miles. Wednesday I did a 6400 meter tempo in 22:54 on the outdoor track before the snow started. Nothing terribly special, but exactly 100% the kind of workout I need to do consistently. Then Friday I worked out with G and M for the first time.

I run in the mornings and weekends with M. I run most days at practice with G. However, despite working out with both of them for about 16 months the three of us had never run together before. Friday, I suggested a 5x1000 meter workout on the indoor track due to the eight inches of snow outside. Given that school was not in session, the gym was empty. I suggested 3:20 pace for the 1000s with a 400 meter jog rest in 1:45-2:00. Well, in my excitement I got out in 36 seconds for the first 200, 4 seconds too fast. I proceeded to slow down, but those two yahoos decided to push the pace and we finished in 3:08. From there it was mostly 3:09ish for the rest of the workout. On the 4th G tried to slow it down, but I decided to finish what those two started. As I'm leading around the track at the end of the workout I'm thinking, 'so this is what a respectable half marathon pace feels like.' All things considered I felt pretty relaxed. I also led the last interval every step of the way. I should also mention that I pushed the recovery from lane five as the other two tried to slow down the recovery in lane one and two. In short it was a solid workout. Not as great as I would like to run, but strong considering what I planned to do.

After the workout I drove home on somewhat icy roads to Sheboygan. Saturday my sister and I drove up to Door County to experience what it has to offer. We met up with T and proceeded to go a few wineries, coffee places, restaurants, and cheese shops. Overall, it was nice weekend, I was happy we went, but frankly, disappointed with the classiness of the place. The prices were low and there was some stuff to do, but I was expecting some ritzy shops, fancy dining, and more people. To be totally honest, it's about the same as Sheboygan, although it does have more wineries. In fact, compared to the Dubuque, Galena, Potosi area, it is lacking. I suppose it is hard to realize what one has until experiencing what else there is out there.
Door County Coffee (Home of Sumatra coffee that tastes exactly like and just as bad as coffee in Sumatra.)
My life, yeah, it's amazing.

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