Sunday, August 30, 2015

I Live in Iowa: Week 219

Well, I didn't live much of the week in Iowa, I spent a night in Japan and two in South Korea. It's funny, when I tell people I went to Korea every asks, "South Korea?" That's when you know your reputation is larger than life, when people wonder, enough to ask, if you just visited North Korea. 

I won't get into the details of the trip in this post. Just wait a few days, or maybe longer, it looks like I will be having a busy week. The IMA light in my Honda Insight just came on. That probably means time and money...

Work was interesting. All of that travel for what amounts to maybe 12 hours of meetings and inspections. That being said, one of the things we inspected was a foundry and they had sand chemistry charts on the wall, that's how a foundry gets an A, or at least a B. The unexpected excitement of the trip was a three hour delay taking off in Chicago in our 787... I'll leave that for the trip report. 

Somehow I ran 34 miles, which is more than double last week. My ankle is healing, slowly, but faster than I fully understand. I ran nine miles Saturday afternoon. Plus, I ran in three countries, off road in all of them too, not a bad week at all. Below is a picture of the hill and one trail behind my hotel in Changwon, South Korea.

I slept 15 hours Friday night, then about 3 hours Saturday night. Jet lag is not fun. The good news is, despite not really taking any precautions for my health I did not get sick from this trip. I've gotten sick so many time in Asia or after traveling to Asia that I don't take not getting sick for granted. 

Friday, August 28, 2015

Back in the USA!

Travel is awesome. International travel is incredible. Traveling in Asia is some of my favorite too. However, it's nice to be home too. As Dorthy said, "there's no place like home."

Thursday, August 27, 2015

A Different Language

So I walked around Tokyo for a good hour trying to find the Tsukiji Nippon Fish Port Market, which I did eventually.
Tsukiji Nippon Fish Port Market Entrance
However, it was empty, and that was awfully confusing for 9:30 AM on a Wednesday, until I found this sign. On a window just behind it there was a sign in 24 point font (less than an inch tall) that said the market was closed for the holiday. I suppose there would have been an easier way to figure this out, but I don't speak or read Japanese.
It's a "Regular Holiday"
After that I walked over to the Imperial Palace and then over to Tokyo Central Station, and into the basement to find some sushi. Since I read pictures of food rather well I found this little place, without a line out front. So I went in and had simply amazing sushi!
Fantastic Sushi Restaurant!
Hopefully you get the idea from the picture, I have no idea what the name of the restaurant is. I was the only English speaker in the place until about ten minutes before I left an English woman with two Japanese businessmen came in and they were speaking English. I have already decided the rough translation is "Great Sushi, and you would really struggle to find this place downstairs in Tokyo Central Station near the main entrance."

Finally, we made it to Korea, and I had to go to the bathroom...
Yeah... I have No Idea What to Do with This.
I mean, I feel ignorant. I've got a general idea of what all those little buttons do, but I'm not feeling brave enough to try them all. At least not before I take a shower.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Different Tastes

Anchovies and almonds, not what I would think of as a snack, but it works. This was from the minibar in my South Korean hotel.
Anchovy & Almond

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Crewing Kelsey during a Bicycling Ultramarathon Cross State Record

For the first time I crewed someone on an ultramarathon adventure. That someone is Kelsey Regan. First you might want to check out her blog post from the event. She way overstates my role in the event, and I am flattered, thank you Kelsey!

First, some background, I sit 15 feet away from a recent NCAA division one 400 meter hurdler. She happened to forward me Kelsey's blog one day because I am known, in part, around the office as the guy that ran all day and all night, more than once. One thing led to another and it's last Friday night and somehow I managed to sign up for a sleep deprived weekend of driving 17 miles an hour, navigating, posting to someone else's Instagram, and enrolling in AirBNB at 9 PM Saturday when we couldn't find a hotel within an hour of the finish point. Quite the adventure...

I'm going to go behind the Instagram posts, each one, and describe in better detail what I was thinking and what was actually happening.
Friday 8:36 PM
When we sorted out how I was going to post to Instagram, I decided I needed to do a test post to make sure it worked. I'm not on Instagram, and would need significant convincing to try. This blog, Twitter, and Facebook is enough for me. I wanted to get a picture of her face up on social media because I knew over the next two days there might not be a good opportunity. Having a picture of a person's face makes that person more relatable.
I need a haircut.
What am I doing?! And I need a haircut. And Jessop is so fast! That's about what I was thinking. 
Saturday 4:15 AM
I'm so tired, and really excited! BTW, here is the GPS of the first 115 miles she rode, she borrowed my Garmin Fenix 2. The first about two and a half hours I was driving, and since Jessop was the official he could not help with just about anything, so for water bottle stops we had to stop and I had to get out to hand her bottles. Plus, I had to drive and navigate, that's why it took two hours to get this one little post up.
7:03 AM
Dear Trek, do you sponsor women ultra cyclists? Maybe you would like to start because one just set a cross state record riding through Waterloo, Wisconsin... riding a Specialized. She just averaged 17.2 miles an hour riding an entry level aluminum road bicycle with bolt on aero bars across the state of Wisconsin, I think that's impressive. Plus, it's the second state record she now holds. If you want to get a hold of her, she is riding the Ride Across Wisconsin, which you are sponsoring this weekend.
7:17 AM
That is what 20 mph looks like. We met up with her mom so I didn't have to drive anymore and could focus on keeping Kelsey hydrated, fed, and on the bike cranking out the miles. At this point she was at crazy fast pace. My honest opinion at the time was that it was going to get rough in the afternoon. I've never done 80 miles in four hours, and I'm a decent endurance athlete. I was afraid she would crash and burn, but I hoped that maybe she was going to have one of those days where everything just clicks. Ultimately, we athletes are chasing a feeling, the feeling of success, of being the best.
9:29 AM
And now she's done 100 miles faster than me and smiling like she just started! It was a little surreal. I was thinking, 'I'm not going to focus on the fact she probably went out too hard, because we have a long long way to go.'
10:29 AM
She just kept moving along. The first very early sign of trouble was the first time she went to the bathroom, it was after five hours. She made a comment with a smile on her face, "That's the longest I've ever gone on a ride without going to the bathroom!" At which point I am thinking, 'it's going to get really rough out there if she is dehydrated at 10 AM on a 93 degree day.' Of course I didn't say anything, except to encourage her to drink more.
11:26 AM
Ok, we hit a snag. The stop at Adams and Friendship turns out she had tunnel vision, trouble seeing, and of course didn't tell us at all. I felt her arm and it was dry, she wasn't sweating! All I said to her was to keep drinking. After we got back in the truck I told her mom and Jessop she was dehydrated, and we began to give her ice bags and spray water on her. I figured, I'm not going to make her stop unless she crashes, so just keep her hydrated, fed and cool. I take my ultra medical philosophy from Dr. Lovy in a speech before the world championships in Italy in April, "Our goal is not your immediate health, it's to keep you out there running." I'm misquoting there, but the point is, you can recover after the 24 hour world championships, but you're going to keep going until the clock stops.
1:16 PM
Fortunately she started to drink more and start to recover a little. However, she definitely slowed down, maybe 14 or 15 miles an hour or so for some time. It was a pretty noticeable change from the early morning hours. She later said she was in survival mode during most of the late morning and afternoon. At the stop in the picture she was sweating again, so I felt much better about how she was doing.
2:27 PM
Ok,  she was recovering, starting to use the bathroom more. She wasn't riding too fast, but she was on the bike nearly all the time and between the ice packs, drinking water and Heed, and spraying water on her, she seemed to be doing well. Well enough I would ask her some questions and she gave respectable answers. Her favorite vegetable is brussels sprouts.
3:23 PM
Half way?! I've been sitting in this truck for 11 hours! Kind of funny, I spent hours talking to her parents and Jessop, and probably not as many hours talking to her over the course of the weekend. It's to be expected I suppose, I just didn't realize it when I volunteered.
3:30 PM
It was funny to open the windows of the truck to hand her something or spray her with water and have the heat roll in. So we start to worry a little that the conditions are too hot, and then she starts smiling again and it's like, okay, I guess she's doing well. She said she couldn't hear so well much of the time, and we did have to repeat things several times. In other words, I would be asking her if she needed anything when we pulled along side, like in this picture, and she wouldn't say anything, but had this smile on her face
5:05 PM
We traded off drivers and her dad took over driving.  She was definitely struggling on the uphills some. Her pedaling cadence slowed down from her normal 110 rpm and she was standing up on hills that at least once had to just be a 1% grade. Leading up to this I wasn't really sure what my role would be, that was part of the curiosity to take part in this. Ultimately, I basically navigated, a not insignificant task, took care of drinks and food for her, sprayed her with water, tried to talk to her some, tried to keep the communication equipment working, and post to Instagram. Add it all together and I spent a lot of time staring at my phone, easily 20% of the trip.
6:29 PM
Finally it cooled down, she started eating more, and her speed picked up a little. Most of her calories were from Perpetuem and Heed. Which actually made me a little nervous how little she was eating, but then again, she's not a big person, and I too prefer to drink most of my calories in an ultra.
8:44 PM (Worcester, Wisconsin!)
She stopped at 8:30 for the bathroom then at 9 again and this time says she's tired... What!? At 9 pm!? Oh boy... I was nervous that she was going to stop and want to sleep in the truck for some time, at which point this becomes a whole different event. Once you stop in something like this, it's hard to get started. So she tried out these caffeine patches.
11:03 PM
It took maybe 30 minutes for the caffeine to kick in and we realized she would be fine, the caffeine worked. I was starting to get tired at this point. Waking up at 2:50 AM and only getting about 5.5 hours of sleep makes for a long day. She was just cranking along at this point, faster than she had been in the afternoon.
Sunday 12:36 AM
A derailer cable?! It's the kind of part failure that would make continuing on that bike difficult. It reduces the bicycle to a two speed using the front chainrings. And then seeing my pedals don't match hers! Rookie mistake Isaiah. Of course all gear is supposed to be tested out before the big event! I have Look pedals, and here appear very similar, but they are about 2 mm longer, and did not fit her shoe cleats. At this point we were so close to the finish we knew we were going to finish, and well under 24 hours.
2:29 AM
A few miles out from the finish I offered to keep going if she wanted to do 400 miles. Fortunately when she reached the finish she did stop, the three of us in the truck were exhausted. We walked down the boat dock behind the casino hotel and helped her up on a ledge to take this picture. Then we had to help her down off of the railing and two people put arms around her to help her back to the car.  We took all of the flashing lights and banners off of the truck and drove over to Ironwood, Michigan to a very nice stay at an AirBNB, arriving at 4:24 AM, Rich's house in Ironwood, I highly recommend it.

We spent all of waking Sunday from about noon until 9 PM driving back across the state. Kind of funny, I don't think we ever took a group picture.

What are some of the lessons I learned doing this? I mean, learning something that might help in my future races was the initial reason I was interested in helping with this.
  • One must stay hydrated! It's a fine line between encouraging yourself to drink more, and forcing yourself to drink more, but dehydration and heat stroke are not great ways to make a good pace.
  • I know a lot more about ultras than I knew I knew. I knew what to look for, like checking her skin for sweat, asking her questions to make sure she was mentally present, and keeping her a little more motivated, hydrated, and cool.
  • Eating and drinking is a very personal thing. Different things work for different people. When I threw up, at the 24 hour world championship in Italy in April it was because I wasn't listening to my body, but what other people were telling me. Similarly, Kelsey, a gluten free, vegan who doesn't drink coffee has a different diet than I do. I focused on encouraging her to eat and drink, and offering her things, like salt pills, but I never "forced" her to consume anything, because doing that can have very negative consequences, as I experienced. It worked, she averaged 17.2 miles an hour for 380 miles.
  • People are generally very supportive of stuff like this, I get asked several times a week about returning to Everest or my next adventure, but when you get to the nitty gritty details of driving 17 mph behind someone for 22 hours, people aren't as interested in stuff like this. It's hard to support an ultra! Thank you Mom and Berea for flying to Italy in April and supporting what I will admit is my most painful race ever! 
  • I like the story. Ultras are a microcosm for an athletic career, and life, there are high points and low points, doubt, tears, smiles and laughter. They take a long time to develop and so give a better perspective on life than a 5k. In other words, you can watch the highlights of the Tour de France or the baseball playoffs, but watching the whole race or every game of the season provides a much richer context to those highlights. Similarly, you just see these Instagram posts, and read some of my thoughts, but you don't have the whole picture because you weren't there to live through some of the painful communication moments, or the nervous anticipation of wondering if Kelsey is drinking enough. I like that there is something simple and tangible, if a 380 mile bicycle ride or 24 hour run can be called either of those, that is so detailed and complex. I already knew I liked the story, having lived through my own adventures, but seeing it from the other side reinforced that I do like the story.

Monday, August 24, 2015

I Live in Iowa: Week 218

This was a good week, tiring, and at time scary, but to grow sometimes we need to be worn down and scared.

Work is work. I never thought that one of my greatest professional strengths would be motivating others. As we continue the launch of our new ground up product this year, the problems we never encountered during testing continue to grow larger. The most interesting single little event of the professional week was a 25 minute phone call I had with one of our technical support engineers. His job is to directly support the dealerships and customers with warranty claims and performance problems. This week one particular issue blew up to the level of my boss's boss's boss's boss, who I've only heard talk maybe three times in four years because he's that far removed from the daily detailed work that I am involved in. Anyway, our technical support engineer was distraught and discouraged about the overwhelming volume of negativity he was dealing with. After we talked for 25 minutes I think he felt much better, both about our new product, and also about how well he was doing his job, because he is doing a great job, and I'm not sure anyone was telling him that.

Motivation is such a complex topic. I love it! Motivation is a mystery. People don't have the same motivations. Intrinsic motivation, that is motivation that comes from within, is so much stronger than external motivation, although that has a place too. I can't give you motivation. I can help nurture and develop your motivation, but like a plant that insists on growing between the cracks on the interstate highway I can't control it.

Sunday I finished Kelsey's cross state ride in Wisconsin and then rode in the truck back across the state to Dubuque, getting home just after 9 PM. The blog post for that adventure will be published tomorrow.

I only ran 15 miles thanks to my Achilles tendon and sprained ankle, which are both on the same leg of course. I did bicycle 112 miles, and I think I averaged like 16.5 miles an hour or something, with some hills in there, which is pretty quick for me.

Monday, today, I am leaving for South Korea and I will get back Friday to Chicago at 5:30 PM. Pretty awesome to have a business trip that doesn't take anything away from my weekends, that's a little rare. Certainly I will take pictures and post some video of curiosities that I encounter.

Friday, August 21, 2015

Greg LeMond and Jens Voigt

This weekend, tonight actually, Greg LeMond will be in Dubuque for the Gran Fondo. He was in town last year and I had the chance to meet him which was pretty cool. I won't be doing the Fondo this year due to injuries, and 20 miles of gravel, but say hi to Greg if you do it!

Next weekend Jens Voigt and perhaps some others from the Trek Factory Racing team will be in town for the Ride Across Wisconsin (RAW). This is the first year for this particular event. It will be 175 miles from Dubuque to Lake Michigan. 

We're just little old Dubuque, but Jason Derulo played a concert here a few weeks ago and now a few famous cyclists will be in town, not to mention most of the 2016 presidential candidates making campaign stops. Maybe we aren't so little.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

I'm going to Korea!

Monday Morning I leave Dubuque going to Korea. We will be there Tuesday night through Friday morning and will arrive back in Dubuque Friday evening. It is a very short trip. It's a work trip, visiting one of our suppliers. So as usual with work, I will be vague, leave out most of the interesting details, but take pictures of the random stuff, like kimchi!

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Incremental Improvement

It may take six years of hard work to be an overnight success. It may take longer. When I won the 24 Hour USATF championship last year, nobody in the ultrarunning community knew who I was. Yet I went into that race hoping to run 160 miles, and I came pretty close. This kind of thing doesn't happen overnight.

People want the get rich quick scheme, but simple compounding interest and saving a large portion of your pay will ultimately build wealth far more reliably than most far fetched schemes. The incremental improvement that comes from persistence and consistency will trump the shortcut 99% of the time. Lance Armstrong took the shortcut, and it worked for well over a decade, but ultimately it forever tarnished his reputation.

I want to simply encourage you in whatever it is you do, such as trying to run consistently, get rid of a bad habit, or save more money, to do the little things today and this week that will help in the long term. If you focus on the little incremental improvements long enough, you will end up with a very optimized system.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

No. I will not do that event.

In the last two days I have said no to two different events, races in this case. I like pleasing people, but the older I get, and suffering through injuries at the moment, I realize time is not infinite for me and I can't do every event and perform as well as I would like. Sure, I could do "everything" but then none of it would be at the level I know I am capable of because I would never be recovering like I need.

It is like this for everything, volunteering, getting "involved", even going to meetings at work. More than once have I witnessed a manager of some sort rushing from one meeting to another and hastily pushing for something that confuses everyone else in the room. No one says anything because it would be disrespectful. The point being, whether running ultra races or going to meetings or whatever, it all takes energy and focus and if you want to do them well, you can't do them all. That being said, it's all a priority thing, if you want the involvement more than the performance, and that's okay it's just not my thing, you can do that that. 

NPR recently had a story about how our timelines shift as we age. Young people think about forever. Old people think about today. Most likely your priorities ten years ago, and ten years from now, will not be what they are today. I know mine have changed and I am confident they will change in the future. Now, I want to run a strong race, in the future it might conceivably be a world record attempt that focuses my competitive energies. Point being, I can't do it all, but I can do some of it really well.

Monday, August 17, 2015

I Live in Iowa: Week 217

This will just be a short update. I worked overtime last week (minimum 48 hours with mandatory 30 minute lunch each day) spending three days in the factory. I will probably say more about this experience in the future, but for now suffice to say I worked more than average this week.

Running was not so good. After twisting my ankle last Satuday in the half marathon it has been stiff and sore all week. Here we are nine days later and it still hurts! My mileage was low, 20s I think, and no workouts.

The highlight of the week was assisting Kelsey Regan (@RidingUltras on Instagram) as she set the record bicycling from the bottom of Wisconsin at the Illinois border up to Lake Superior. Of course having never been on an adventure like this I will write up a trip report this week.

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Recovery is Not Always Easy

Recovery can be hard.
Bruised and Swollen, FIVE DAYS LATER!!!!
For example, I skipped both of my running workouts this week and just struggled through a 2.3 mile run mostly level at 8:30 pace tonight. Of course I will put some blame on working overtime and the emotional struggle of caring about work leaving me less able or motivated to care about things after work. That's really a cop out though, I'm not working that hard.

AAARRRGGGHHHH!!!! Why can't I be healthy?

It's actually kind of funny. I've actually been smiling as I limp along on my slow runs. Where did second place on Saturday come from? Well, I prayed a lot during that race, mostly thanksgiving for being able to run a race, and some for getting through the whole thing healthy, and have a good experience. Well, I had a great experience. Next year I will probably win the thing, maybe in a course record. Plus this give me quite a lot of confidence going into serious training. However, I have experienced this before, when I try to race without a recent aerobic base, I can't recover well at all. I burned out in track 2009, 2005, and 2004 because I had no base. This time will probably be different, I have a coach writing workouts specifically for me and I am racing maybe once a month instead of once a week. Point being, having a race that good off of training that bad, I would expect it to tear me apart, let alone my still swollen ankle.

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Time, as We Know It

Time, as we know it goes at a constant rate. Unlike a sporting event there are no timeouts or halftimes, or in the case of most deaths, overtime. 

This week I have been busy at work with overtime, working on improvements, and getting some very stiff running in on my very sore legs. I can't pause or rewind time and redo the past better than the present. This is life. 

Point is: do the best. Not even the best you can, although that is often enough, aim for the best, of whatever obscure thing you are doing. 

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Mines of Spain Half Marathon 2015

Training has been mediocre. My mileage is not great, just around 50 miles per week. While mileage is certainly not the ultimate predictor of race performance, it seems to correlate better than any other simple metric. So I went into only my second race of the last nine months nervous. My workouts have not been stellar at all. They have been okay, but nothing great. I decided to wear my team USA outfit because I do most of my running at the Mines of Spain and I am thankful to the community for all of the support I have to follow this odd habit of running long distances. It was my way of saying thank you. Hopefully it might encourage a few other people to try the 24 hour race distance. When I was younger it seemed the best, the people at the top, were unapproachable, not human, now I know and want to pay it forward that we are all just humans. I'm just a person, you can talk to me, you might be able to do what I do too.
The Starting Line
I took it out moderately hard to get in front for the service road descent, and had a 10s lead by mile one, which I maintained until five miles when I took a wrong turn and ran an extra 50 feet and by the time I was back on route I was running on the heels of the eventual winner. We traded leads until mile 7, me taking the downhills a little quicker, him taking the up hills a little quicker, and the flats a fair bit quicker. I knew at mile 7 we had about a one minute lead on third, and from then on as the leader ran away I ran scared trying to get to the finish.

The last few miles were torture. I even walked, twice! Once around mile 11.5 for about a minute going up the Calcite trail, and a second time for about 20 seconds around mile 12. I also twisted my ankle on the Calcite trail descent, and it hurt, but adrenaline kept it from being a big issue. Also around mile 10.5 I took a hard right turn coming out of the marsh and slipped and fell! I haven't fallen in a race in a long time, maybe since college.
My Strava Splits and "Adjusted" Splits
Above are my splits and the "adjusted" splits based on the terrain and elevation changes. You can see effort was fairly consistent until the last three miles when I slow down significantly. Finally here is a picture of my ankle Sunday afternoon.
Twisted My Ankle, and it Left a Bruise!

Monday, August 10, 2015

I Live in Iowa: Week 216

This week was all over the place! I was in town to start off last weekend, so not too much activity. I did work out at the winery Sunday afternoon, which is always a pleasant little experience. It was a moderate day, always someone to help, but never a line of people waiting, a nice volume of people. Working at the winery, bartending, cleaning tables, doing dishes, making pizzas, is such a change from the pressure of thousands of dollar decisions I regularly make at work on a daily basis. It's nice.

I spent four of five days this week in Davenport at our factory. Now six months out from the start of production, we have a better idea of what things are causing problems and what is going really well. So in the effort to bring attention to the problems we are having we are in the process of basically doing an internal audit that means the production line is shut down for just over a week while we go station to station and watch each person do their job and get feedback on how we can help them to do it better. Also, it is an opportunity for us to stress the quality needs and failures we have seen so far.

Quality is such a difficult thing. I did not understand it until 2015. If there are 1200 bolts or hose connections on a machine, how do you ensure that each one is tightened properly, on every machine? I don't have the answer. People write books about the answer. Thousands of people, maybe even millions around the world, are employed to make sure that the quality is high. There is no quick answer. However, quality is about people. Quality is everyone's job. Quality happens when everyone sets out to do the best he or she can. (From here I would like to talk about profit sharing and equity investment in the business for all employees, to get everyone to buy into the system, but it quickly gets political and complicated, so I won't talk about it.)

Friday night my parents were in town for dinner and a walk, and Saturday they watched my race. Thanks Mom and Dad!

Somehow I managed to run 52 miles, despite not having a long run, taking a day off and having a 2 mile day. I did a small 2 x mile workout pacing my friend SB to a 25 second mile PR, from 6:10 to 5:45. I'm hoping maybe in my next mile race I can have a 25s PR too, and run 4:06. (HAHAHAHA!!!) Saturday I raced the Mines of Spain Trail races half marathon. I'm going to write a blog post about that race report.
The Cows Are Out!
On Monday I went for a bicycle ride up in Wisconsin, and had the country experience of the cows getting out again, and the rancher or owner nowhere in sight.

It was a good week.

Thursday, August 6, 2015

100% Inspection

Mercedes test drives their cars, every one. Perhaps you would expect that from every car company, however it is actually unusual. When people buy new cars it is common for them to have less than 10 miles on the odometer. You see, testing takes time, it costs money, and it reduces the profit margin. It takes people, which can be a big expense. However, from a quality point of view doing 100% inspection, that means inspecting every part or every finished product, is the best way to find every problem. 100% inspection is part of the reason aerospace products cost so much money, because the testing is more rigorous than for automotive or consumer products.

The point of this is to say, if you want to stand out from a quality point of view, 100% inspection is the way to go, but it comes with a financial cost which is why it is rather unusual.

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Not Winning

This will sound arrogant but I don't like going into races that either I won't win, or the field is less than national or international class. Perhaps racing should be wholy a celebration of my health and fitness. I would like that and maybe someday it will be, but it is not now. Now, racing is about records, winning, achievement. Saturday I will run my first race since the 24 hour world championships and my second race in just over nine months. The last two years I have gotten second in this race and this year has a deeper field and I am in worse shape. I am nervous. I don't want to do worse. I want to train harder, run more miles before I race. But I also want to run this race at the Mines of Spain, it's my home course. 

Well, I'm going to fight tooth and nail, whatever happens I can say it will be all I have on the day. 

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

This is MY Team!

We had an emergency at work again. A pretty huge quality issue. We don't know how big it will be. We only just learned of it Monday. Obviously I'm not going into the details, that's not my intellectual property. 

However, having been through a score of emergencies and a handful this big in 2015 our team has learned how to handle the situation. I can proudly say we are going to nip this in the bud. 

The first several emergencies were not pretty. We kind of didn't know what to do. The process was detailed and ambiguous to cover all scenarios, but not specific to any one scenario. Well, we figured it out. I sat through a 25 minute meeting today which almost brought tears to my eyes, or made me want to clap at the end. It was a meeting the way meetings should be run, direct and to the point, wasting no one's time. 

The point is perseverance, or grit as we like to call it sometimes. We stuck it out through the painful and depressing and frustrating early issues until we have reached this point where we click along like a Swiss watch. We aren't perfect by any means. There is still a lot of ambiguouity. Yet we are rolling through details in hours that previously took us far longer. This is MY team!

Monday, August 3, 2015

I Live in Iowa: Week 215

The week that was started off in South Dakota. I tried climbing Spire 4 of the Cathedral Spires, but after getting 30 feet up the first actual pitch (second real pitch) I was scared of falling, so I retreated, and went for a 38 mile bicycle ride and five mile run. Then I went to my friends wedding, and there are pictures on Facebook for evidence.

Monday saw me squeeze in another bicycle ride before the 11 hour drive back to Dubuque, via supper with my grandparents in Minnesota. For the record, Greyhound Gulch road is not a road bicycling short cut! It's not even an easy four wheel drive road. There was a van stuck in the middle of the road.

The work week was thankfully uneventful. No emergency trips to Arkansas or Louisiana. However, we are beginning a new phase of manufacturing, so I will be spending more time in the Davenport factory in the coming month. It starts next week. Of course I won't say much, but it will certainly be interesting.

Saturday I went for a 16 mile run, my longest in a long time, perhaps in 2015. Then a 14 mile bicycle ride and out to dinner with friends. We decided at 8:45 PM to go to the local Jason Derulo concert that started at 8 PM, at the county fair. He is a pretty big name in Top 40/Popular music having had hits for 5-6 years now. I had never been to a concert like this before, there were backup dancers, only a drummer and a DJ, no one else played music, and there were a lot of high school kids. It's so different listening to music in my car, versus seeing what kind of people a musician brings out to a concert. I took some pictures for proof:

First Picture of the Stage
Second Picture of the Stage