Monday, February 29, 2016

Oh Travel...

I'm in the Holiday Inn in Timmins, Ontario. It's a decent size town, and only city for a couple hours in every direction. Getting here went well, except that my baggage didn't make it when I did. Turns out when they have to cancel a flight, and then have a full flight, not all the baggage makes it on the plane because of weight limits. It's no big deal, this is so funny, but it was my cross country skis that didn't make it. Yes, this is a business trip and I expect that I will have a couple hours a few evenings, and there is an XC ski park just three miles down from the hotel. I mean, why not? There is so much snow up here, I won't be running on the roads for a few days, I expected that. There is a treadmill here. However, I packed my running shoes, both pairs, in the bag with the skis.

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

47 Hours Off

Monday I finished my run nearly in a limp from shin pain. 'Woe is me!' I thought. Tuesday morning I felt bad still, walking still hurt. But, by Tuesday afternoon I felt fine. I still took the day off, but I felt much better. Well, I was tired enough that I actually crawled in bed at 6:45 PM! Talk about boring, I don't run and I try to go to bed before 7 PM.

So when Wednesday afternoon rolled around I went for my first run in 47 hours, and it went much better than expected! No shin pain. It's a beautiful day!

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Unwilling to Rest

I didn't run today. It's always a hard thing to admit, to live through. However, last night on my run I twinged my left shin. It hurt. I was walking slowly around the house so that I would not aggregate it. This morning it hurt too. Walking around the office even hurt! Then somehow this afternoon it quit hurting and I feel fine this evening. It is strange how "injuries" come and go. I could say I have neglected shin ups for six weeks, but then why am I healed so fast?

I think sometimes we just hit our limit and that's it for the day. A sort of short term exhaustion on a local level, just affecting one muscle or tendon. Kind of overuse, but more of a temporary nature. So every difficult exercise tears muscles on a microscopic level, and they repair as we sleep and rest and eat. Some days I think we just tear a few too many muscle fibers. 

Monday, February 22, 2016

I Live in Iowa: Week 243

It was a nice week this past week. I just ran my second 70 mile week in the last 16 months. WOOHOO!! 70 miles per week is when things really start to click, that's when I feel my fitness really coming around. Injuries are not fun. Let us hope I can keep this positive momentum. I did a long run, almost 20 miles, the longest long run I have done in quite some time. Also a little fartlek in there. Not to mention I went cross country skiing and ice climbing too this past week. No pictures, sorry, I was solo for that stuff Monday night at Governor Dodge State Park in Wisconsin.

Speaking of Monday... As I mentioned before, my uncle Denis died a week and a half ago. His viewing was Sunday and the funeral was Monday. Wow, talk about emotional. This is the first person in my parents generation to die. I have my parents and then three aunts and three uncles, well now two uncles. He was 65 and 11 months old. It is just so close to home.
My first time being a pall bearer, but probably not the last.
I worry for my aunt and my cousins, their life has changed, and will change. It will not be easy. Please pray for my family.

Work was good. I wasn't in the office Monday, and my generous coworkers signed a card expressing their sympathies. I know it was not a big deal for them to sign their names, but it means a lot to me. Men are often bad at expressing sympathy, and a card is a nice little way to say without words, 'I get it.'

Tuesday I was scheduled to fly down to Tulsa and drive to Kansas, but my original flight had a mechanical so they rebooked me on a different flight. Then that flight was delayed getting out of Chicago, so we waited again. Then that flight had a mechanical, actually a low hydraulic accumulator, so we deplaned, and I decided to drive to Kansas. I only had about four hours of sleep Tuesday night, before waking up before dawn to finish the drive. My meetings went well, very well. Then I flew back to Moline Wednesday night uneventfully.

Finally a little more excitement for the week, I went to an indoor track meet at UD Friday night and watched a couple people I know set personal records, and even a school record. On Saturday I went to Deadpool and then grilled at a friend's house before playing a board game for two hours. When I list all of the stuff off, it amounts to a pretty packed week.

My hope for the near future is no more deaths in the family for a bit.

Thursday, February 18, 2016

10,000 Steps a Day is a Great Goal

Now that I have had my activity tracker for about three weeks I have an idea of how many steps I take. Let me tell you, 10,000 steps, while very achievable, is quite a few. Without counting my running I only do 4000-6000 steps per day. When people mention five miles, they aren't joking. Of course, walk five miles in a day and you too will be more fit than the millions who don't walk that far. 
For the record, my Bluetooth didn't sync too well yesterday and I had about 11,500 steps not the 7500 it shows. First time it has not synced correctly by ignoring everything after 5 pm.

I am starting to think that if your goal is fitness, tracking steps might be the best way to go. I mean walking is great, but running I do 180 steps a minute versus maybe 90 steps a minute for a strong walk. Also, wearing an activity tracker you get credit for the walk down the hall, taking the stairs, or parking at the far end of the parking lot. So get out there and take 10,000 steps a day!

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Flight Delays

When air travel goes as scheduled you can be on the other side of the world in 12 hours. When it doesn't go well you end up driving 8+ hours on what would be a 90 minute flight. Flight delays are annoying. Flight delays are frustrating.  Yet, compared to the alternative of the plane going down... There is no comparison.

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

The World Continues

People die, and at least not yet, the sun continues to rise and life goes on. What do you say? What do you do? I mean there is a vacancy where that person used to be. He will never crack a joke with us mortals again. He will not lift our spirits when the mood goes down.

But! Life goes on! We must live, we must love and be intentional about being the best we can be, because of all the people that contributed to getting us here. We must not stop or give up!

Sunday, February 14, 2016

I Live in Iowa: Week 242

The big news of the week is my uncle died on Thursday. He was a few weeks shy of his 66th birthday. He had Esophageal cancer that was discovered in September. Cancer... it's a killer.

It's been over four years since my grandma died, and this is the first person in my parents generation to pass. It's close to home.

Work was really nice this past week. Most of the time the past year I have been bouncing from one fire to the next, fortunate to get maybe six hours a week to work on designing anything. This week I spent 20+ hours designing in Creo, our CAD software. I didn't get a whole lot done thanks to learning how to use SAP, but progress is progress. I also came up with an idea for the next generation of the project I am working on.

Running went well, a nice medium long run and light workout, 56 miles total. A total that I have racked up in three days before is a good week at this point. 

Saturday I went ice climbing at Wyalusing State Park in Wisconsin and had a great time! All the pictures are on my friend's camera, but it was a good day out for sure. Plus, with the sun out it felt far warmer than 11 degrees Fahrenheit. 

One step at a time.

Thursday, February 11, 2016

My Uncle Died Today

I just found out an hour ago. My parents called. They rarely call. I call them all the time, and so they don't call as much.

He, Dennis, had esophageal cancer and had been in and out of the hospital many times the past five months. 

Life is short. Love your family and friends while you can.

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Sometimes I get lonely.

I don't need much people time, but I do need people time. Particularly, the friendly low expectation sort of socializing. Sometimes we are in groups where there is always an expectation to perform, to be the best we can be, all the time. It is nice to have those moments where I can just be me and other people will simply be happy I'm there.

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Stressing At Work

I think about chucking my career sometimes and becoming an entrepreneur, but then I think about the enormous stress of the whole situation, and I enjoy my 7-4 job.

It would be a lie if I said my job was stress free. In fact, someone actually emailed me this Infographic, "Why We Should Stop Stressing at Work". 

The infographic is long. My big take away, nothing new to me, but don't take things personally. I tend to take my work and responsibilities personally, because ultimately it is the people who do the work, not machines. 

Monday, February 8, 2016

I Live in Iowa: Week 241

This was another good week. What are some of the highlights?

Work went quite well. It was unfortunately a busy week, not a great week for warranty claims. It's funny, statistically, three failures in one week, out of a population of 800, from three different causes doesn't mean much, but it sure raises emotions. That wasn't the good part of work.

I had a direct conversation with my supervisor about my career. I tend to let things (problems) build, until they become legitimate problems. Wanting to avoid conflict, I think many of us do that. Then it all comes to a head and what we get upset about, is only a small part of the reason we are upset. It is good to have those conversations. The icing on the cake was Friday, most people were out of the office, so it was quiet, and I had a full day to get work done. Usually I am just bouncing from one fire to another, and having a chuck of time to sit there and work through actual design is really nice.

Running was okay, 46 miles, running all seven days. I did my first workout in weeks, maybe months. It was 2x2 miles with a 10 minute jog between, and I averaged just under 6 minute pace, which I will take at this level of fitness, in fact, it was slightly better than I feared it might be.

A few weeks ago I bought a Garmin FR235, and I like it, you can be sure I will post a review of it in the next few weeks after I have some time to learn more about it.

Saturday, I went ice climbing! Governor Dodge State park is just an hour away, I knew they had bouldering, but I didn't know they had ice climbing. One of my climbing partner friends just shelled out for ice tools ($200 a piece!) and he suggested we go. I do have eight ice axes and ice tools, but no real set of ice tools. It was a good afternoon!
Stephen's Falls at Governor Dodge State Park Wisconsin

Friday, February 5, 2016

No! I don't want to go to sleep!

It's funny, growing up. There is no magical day when you are suddenly more grown up. Birthdays help reinforce how old we are and perhaps encourage us to act our age. Funny story, sometimes in the evenings it's early, before 8 PM and I feel like I am fighting myself to go to sleep. I am exhausted, but going to sleep before 8 PM seems ridiculous! So like a whining child I find something else to do, at least until 8, then I can go to sleep.

For the record, maybe once a month or so I do actually go to sleep before 8 PM. It first happened about three years ago, and it is more common now.

Thursday, February 4, 2016

You Don't Know the Future.

Of course, I don't know the future either. I have been thinking about my future a lot lately, as you would know if you read my blog. One thing that has stuck out to me is how we don't know the future as well as we think we do. In other words, I can imagine my life one year, even six months from now, but chances are I will be wrong about something. 

I get so much stuff wrong. It frustrates me. And the future... I'm not sure you can get it right. No, I don't think you can. There is always something to have missed.

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Am I Scared?

Am I scared of staying in one place? Am I scared to take relationships to a deeper level when I could just leave? Is moving a way to avoid conflict? 

Yes, yes, yes. I just don't get it, living in one place. It's so hard to describe. Here is an interesting article:

I'm not military, but my family moved seven times between my birth and high school graduation. That's five school districts, six schools, five states, all before I had a chance to direct my own travel plans. Then I did some more traveling and living in various places. The concept of committing to a place for my whole life, it's bizarre to me. Moving so much I learned that it's about the people. I can be be happy anywhere because there are positives and negatives to every place, but it's always the people that make it memorable, that we cry over. I may talk of mountains and trails, but that's because it's easier than describing how I miss my friends. 

I don't know what else to say. I feel like staying in one place is a skill I should try to learn. Yet the rate of learning about the new place slows and an opportunity elsewhere beckons, and it's hard to say no! 

I texted a legit military brat I used to hang out with and climb with about my feelings and he said, "If things slow down and you start to get depressed the urge to pick up and leave kicks in" and it hit me like a brick. I've been injured in my running for a long time, I've been traveling a lot for work the last few months, often last minute, and since I am not coaching any more I have more free time, alone. I can't believe I share this stuff on the Internet. But I say it that others might learn from my experience, and perhaps short cut some of the lessons that take me a long time to learn. 

You haven't heard the end of my thoughts on this.

Monday, February 1, 2016

I Live in Iowa: Week 240

This very long week started off in Germany, sore from skiing in Austria. After a short run my friend and I went on an English speaking tour of Dachau concentration camp just outside of Munich. I need to write a post about that separately because it's important. If we don't remember history we are doomed to repeat it. In fact, the upcoming generation, they are too young to personally know WW2 veterans, because most veterans are dead, so there is, in my opinion, greater danger of the world being susceptible to something similar again. The problem with history is that the relevance fades with every generation. I'm getting ahead of myself, another post.

Work went quite well. On Monday I was in Passau visiting our supplier, and learned a few key pieces of information, which explain why we have been having some of the failures we have been having. It was a nice visit. Overall the company is extremely good, that's why we use them.

Tuesday was a flight back to the US, and then the rest of the week I worked in the office. Part of the time with SAP, which I already mentioned I am not a fan of because it confuses me.

Running is on the upswing, which these days I worry is as good as it gets. I ran 55 miles, running all seven days. No workouts but a nice 14 mile long run at a decent pace. Oh it feels so good to run lots of miles. Unfortunately time spent running, or running miles, is a way I feel more comforted and validated by my training.

I spent a few hours on Saturday at my friend's house bouldering, and helping him make the bouldering cave bigger! It's pretty awesome, the kind of thing I wonder if I should have bought a house five years ago and done the same thing.
Building a Bouldering Gym