Sunday, April 7, 2013

I Live in Iowa: Week 102

The week started with Easter! I was home in Sheboygan Falls, WI visiting my family! Very exciting stuff. We also had Easter dinner Sunday afternoon with more family in a small town north of Madison. Time seems to become more valuable every year. For example, when I was 17 and my sister was 13 we took a three day, three night back packing trek around and over Mt. Elbert in Colorado with a 16 year old friend of ours. At the time the experience pushed me, and we had our share of scares. Tears were shed, laughs laughed, snow melted, and water eventually ran out. In short, a typical backpacking experience for someone not terribly experienced. At the time I kind of envisioned it as the beginning of many more similar trips. While there have been many more similar trips for me since that one in 2003, around 250-300 nights in tents in the wilderness for me, my sister and I only had one more backpacking adventure in 2004. I will guess that it will happen again, but it has been nearly a decade. Time with family and friends is short, don't take it for granted and waste it!

Past 295,000 Miles!
Another milestone was passed in the world of my van. It now has a recorded 295,000 miles (not counting the 2,000 with the broken odometer in September 2010 from Idaho to Wisconsin). It has trouble starting, possible issues are with the engine temperature sensor and the fuel filter. It runs on the highway fine, it just takes 10-20 minutes to warm up and run smoothly.

Work, as often is, was a good blessing! I helped save the company from the expense of an unexpected issue. I was given some geometry to do finite element analysis on after I left for the night and invited to a meeting to discuss the unexpected issue at 10 AM the next day. I worked on the project in the morning before the meeting and had positive results to share with the 15 person meeting even though most did not know I was working the problem and no one was expecting me to have results by then. Under promise and then over deliver! I like to throw around my business goal at work in meetings, informally of course only with people I know face to face, "ahead of schedule and under budget!" It does not happen that way all the time, but it's a nice goal to have.

A second work project, which took significantly more time, involved taking a shell model and converting it to a solid model with solid welds and contact surfaces. In layman's terms, stepping up the complexity an order of magnitude. Analysis is a little frustrating searching for such a small level of detail given that the accuracy of the model is diminished at smaller scales. Yet incredibly satisfying that I know what to do and how to do it. We are, and I am, making things better! We are creating value.

Coaching went quite well. A couple hard workouts, a large number of miles for our young team, and a slew of personal records. Although, only one had run the 1500 meters before so that was six automatic PRs. Our university does not have the best distance running reputation, and there was a moment during one of the races when I was watching a couple of our athletes compete very well with the other teams when I thought: 'We're doing it. We are really doing it. The kids are improving!'

My own running was okay. Only 61 miles run for the week. One and a half workouts and only two miles run in the goal pace range of 4:50 to 5:20. That being said, I looked at what I did last year leading up to my 5000 and 10,000 PRs and I am in far better shape! I have run a number of workouts with 5-6 miles of quality at paces, on average around 5:15-20 instead of only 2-3 miles at those paces. I have had five 20-22 mile long runs this year at paces from 6:21-6:56 instead of only two in that range last year. I ran a 2:08 800 and a massive 5.5 second PR to 4:31 mile this indoor season. (I'm actually about to go run my last hard workout of the season so I'm trying to work myself up a little.) The point is, I am planning a 5000, 10,000 and half marathon the next three weekends and I feel that I am ready to set personal records, significant ones, at all three distances.

I have found, in regards to my running but also life in general, that as my performance increases my expectations increase. I will run a workout that last year would not have happened, and I have the attitude I wanted to run it faster than I did, regardless of the fact it was the best 3x2 miles or whatever workout I have done. In other words, my fitness increases 3% and my expectations increase 4%. It is the same for engineering. I struggle with a problem and inevitably finish it, but not as fast as I would like regardless of the fact that it is far faster than I finished a similar project a year or two ago.

I am so blessed! I have so much! My family, my friends, my employment, my health, a 4:31 mile, my master's thesis and degree, 23 pairs of running shoes, and a van with over 295,000 miles. I don't deserve so much wealth and prosperity and success.

My friends, I hope that you are well. I hope that you are enjoying more prosperity than I am. I hope that your blessings outnumber mine.


  1. "I am so blessed! I have so much! My family, my friends, my employment, my health, a 4:31 mile, my master's thesis and degree, 23 pairs of running shoes, and a van with over 295,000 miles. I don't deserve so much wealth and prosperity and success."

    OMG. In all my life I've never heard a more pompous, self centered asshole. Who the fuck are you or who do you think you are? Have you no shame or self respect, keep your mouth shut about all your so called blessings. You are an unabashed narcissistic egotist, the likes of which I hope never to meet in my life time. And to prove the point, don't you find it a bit odd, you've never met someone as self centered and blessed as yourself?

    1. I like reading about a person who seems genuinely happy about how his life is going and I enjoy hearing that somebody is enjoying the rewards of hard work.

      I don't think the author of the post above read much of the blog. We know from the blog who Isaiah is and more or less what he thinks of himself. He could "keep his mouth shut" but this is a blog; if you don't want to consume this media, it is not a requirement.

      I personally view anonymous comments that insult a blogger as uninteresting. If a person doesn't believe strongly enough in his writing to put his name to it, it's probably not worth reading.

    2. First of all, Lane, you are awesome! You have been the entire time I have known you. Thank you for defending me against a person too cowardly to sign his or her name.

      To Anonymous, who am I? I am Isaiah Janzen. If you want to know more about me I have over 900 posts here that describe who I am. To the second question about a person as self centered and blessed as myself, well I work with 400 of them every day. I met a couple hundred in college. We may not all recognize either one at the same time, but generally the people I know are focused to some extent on self-improvement and recognize they have been blessed.

  2. Nice responses Lane & Isaiah. It is obvious that the person making the negative comment does not know you. You are the most humble person I know. You do not write about how great you are. You write about what you do and give suggestions to others to help them improve. I never hear you use the bad language used three times in their comment. I am thankful for that. I am very proud of my son. He knows that God has gifted him and is very thankful for that. I feel pity for the person making the comment. It is obvious that they do not know our God who has blessed you. Mom


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