Windy, Cold Run

Woke up this morning to the house being hammered by winds up to 50mph. By mid-afternoon, winds had calmed to 20+mph causing a windchill of -1 F so I decided I would go a for a run before the playoffs start. Went 3 miles today and it felt good but it was damn cold. Just can’t seem to get my pace under 9:00 min/mile although running half my run into that frigid wind took alot out of me. Unfortunately, the weather forecast is calling for more cold for at least the next week. I have a new bright green shirt on order to make it easier for the cars to see me a little better which should give me a little more piece of mind. 

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Quick Training Run

Went out today in the cold for a quick run after work. Did a 2 mile run before it got dark. I split the run into half mile increments with a plan to shave 10s off each and planned to shave 10 seconds off each half mile increment. Went well overall and accomplished my goal but I’m still short of my goal for my 5k on Super Sunday. I signed up for a race on Feb-3 and would like run sub 26min. I’ve done it before but I’m not quite at that pace now. Although things are usually faster on race day with the crowd and adrenaline. Still have 2 weeks of training so there is still a chance of making the goal. We’ll see how it goes.

Mile 17/725

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Got my run in between the ran and the snow today. Just a quick 2 miler to get some speed work in. Would like to get my 5k time under 26 min by Feb 3 for the super 5k race. Not sure I’ll make it am since I came a little short on the 2 miles today, but it still felt good. Hope to get back out on Tuesday unless it snows and the shoulder isn’t clear enough. I should really try to run around the office since there are sidewalks and streetlights.

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Run goal for 2013

I set a running goal of 725 miles for 2013. The most I’ve done in a year is 609 so this is pretty aggressive. I set the same goal for 2012 but came up short due to knee surgery in March an no running until April. This is only ~14 miles per week which should be doable especially with a half marathon on the schedule for before the half way point through the year. I’ve only got 13 miles on the year so far but I’ve committed to myself to leave work early at least 1 day per week until it is light enough where it won’t matter anymore, even booked an appointment in my work calendar. If I can stick to my training plan, I should be more than halfway there by June, fingers crossed.

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Out of Date

I haven’t been paying any attention to my blog(s) at all for the past 6 months or so. Most likely because I don’t put remember to write, don’t think I have enough to say, constantly rethink to the point of nothing getting out, not convinced I have enough to write a lengthy blog post and not willing to just write a short entry. I’ve tried to use both Tumblr and WordPress so far and I think I’m going to stick with Tumblr. I think the WordPress format is more flexible and can accommodate more complex content but Tumblr has the more social aspect and seems less formal. This less formal aspect is what keeps drawing me back. I’m not going to pretend to be a writer, I’ve never been much of one but I continue to get this nagging feeling to document at least some part of my life. Still not sure why but I’m going to make a concerted effort again.

Since my last update I completed my first Marathon in Detroit, Runkeeper Data. The data did not import correctly from my Garmin watch, not sure why. I was on my target pace of 10:00 min/mile for the first half of the race. Analyzing the data now, I see that I started to fade at about mile 12. The cramps in the calves started around mile 14 or 15. I have had cramping problems around the 15 mile mark in 2011 which made me decide not to run the marathon and then I tore the meniscus in my left knee just before the marathon would have run so I guess it was lucky I didn’t sign up. During the 2012 training, I was able to make runs of 17, 19, and 22 without cramps in warmer and more humid weather than the Detroit Free Press marathon. I went into the run with what I felt was a conservative pace given my training but the wheels still feel off.

Even with my disappointment in my race, I finished. I am in the small percentage of people that have finished a marathon. In addition to just finishing, I surprised myself with my mental toughness just to complete with the cramps. There were several point especially on Belle Isle where I just wanted to say the hell with it and go home. I didn’t and I survived. I’m not sure I’ll put myself through that level of training and the grueling race again. I’m planning to run several 5k, trying to get my pace back, and a half marathon,, which I have run before and it is a great and challenging run. I have to convince my self that every new race doesn’t have to be a PR. Not only does this race give me a goal to reach for but it is a great race. I love running through the small town of Dexter, MI and then through the rural are, the big hill in the middle of the run and then finish line hill that takes it out you while entering the City of Ann Arbor, MI. The food at the right after the finish line is another huge plus to the run.

Well that is enough blabbering for this post. 

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Crash Test Diver

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Making a lasting impression on young engineers…

I’ve been working in the automotive electronics industry for 19+ years (I guess this means I’m officially middle aged or old depending on who you ask). Most of that time I’ve been working in software, either developing or managing a team of software engineers. Over those years, I’ve worked with countless engineers and many good co-ops/interns. More than 5 years ago I made what seemed like an innocuous comment to an engineering intern. I told her that software is usually blamed for all problems that occur in the module even if it is a hardware issue. I then told her not to let it bother her and just investigate the problem. As often happens with these types of investigations, the problem is in hardware but we end up doing a software work around because it is cheaper. Software is guilty until till proven innocent. I didn’t think much about it at the time, it was just one of those things I tell young engineers to keep them from being discouraged when they get blamed for things that are out of their control.

Since that comment, we both left that company and then ended up working for the same company again. Last Friday just as we were starting our bi-weekly knowledge sharing (a meeting where we have people who are “experts” on a topic that others may not know much about), she mentioned that she took that statement to heart and still lives by it to this day. I was surprised and thrilled and humbled that I had made such an impression on a young engineer. I have worked with many new engineers in my career and if I would have realized how much some of my off-hand remarks were absorbed I might be more careful with what I say. On the other hand, it might be good that I don’t think about or I might try too hard and say something really dumb, or at least more dumb than usual.

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Day 22 – 5k Race

This was my first race post surgery. I hoped to finish in under 28 minutes and as usually, even though I know better, I got swept up in the crowd and went out very strong and faded back to where I had planned to be. All in all I feel good and it was a good race. The scenery was terrible but I coworkers and friends from my local running group so it was a good day. I finished 9th out of 14 runners in  my age group which is lower than I normally do but the top 5 in my age group all ran 6:20 min/mile or less. I’ve haven’t been able to run that fast since I was 10 or 11.

I read this,, earlier today and it reminded me not to focus on running time all the time. Since this was race day, running times rule but I going to try to focus on the quality of the run not just the times. This is going to be difficult given my competitive nature. I have a business trip to Poland in a little over a week. Assuming we don’t work too many hours and/or have too many drinks with dinner, I hope to get at least 1 run with some pictures to show off. I will be in Częstochowa, Poland in southwestern part of the country. This will be my first trip to Poland, certainly not my first business trip, but still looking forward to the new place and meeting all the people in our office that I talked on the phone with for the last 4+ years.

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Day 19

Long Run Sunday again. Pushed the run distance up to 5 miles, first time at that distance since the surgery. Skipped the morning caffeine as well, all in all it went well. Did have to stop about 1 mile in to help some golfers retrieve their ball from the other side of the road, bit of a weird request. I mean how much is a single golf ball? It really wasn’t that big a deal but just struck me as strange. The 5 mile run was a bit slow but no slower than my 5k or 4 mile runs have been. A little tight the day after but otherwise feels like good progress. I have a 5k race on day 22, keeping my fingers crossed for sub 28 minute and to beat my coworkers 🙂

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Social Running vs. Solo Running

As with many runners, I run alone most of the time. I think of running as a solo endeavor except on race day and the occasional group run. I always thing of the old Iron Maiden song, “The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner”. Maybe not the full lyrics but at least the title. I like going to races especially where there is a group of friends but for training I prefer to run alone. Just me, my GPS watch and my iPod. I’ve run with a running club but it started to feel like a chore to make it on-time and run with the group. I’m thinking to run with them occasionally but not on a weekly basis and just focus on my solo training. This might be just my personality. I really enjoyed doing day/multi-day relays with groups due to the social part but doing this on a regular basis is just too much for me.

I have a 5k race in a week where many of my running club (well part time running club) and several co-workers will be there. It should be a good time as the rare occurrence but then it will be back to solo training.

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Day 12 – Long Run Sunday

Today was long run Sunday, so I went out for my long run after mowing the lawn. The wind was blowing 25mph (40kph) from the North making for an unusually cold day at 49F (10C) with a windchill of 44F. I ran 4 miles which sounds like a ridiculously small distance but things are progressing well and we’ll see if the knee stays pain free tomorrow. The knee has been pain free for better than a week and surrounding muscles have been getting better each day. Need to keep everything stretched and stay on the training plan no matter how good it feels. No sense in pushing it and re-injuring it. Should be over 50 miles for April, not too bad considering. Overall I’m feeling good and think my progress is on track.

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Day 10 – New Shoes

I ordered some new running shoes, couldn’t find the alternate color in the store. I already had 1 pair of the Brooks Adrenaline GTS 12
so I wanted the alternate color so I can tell them apart and track the mileage on each. These are my first pairs of Brooks after several years of running with ASICS. They were recommended to me while I trying on the ASICS I planned to buy. The Brooks just felt more comfortable and I’ve done several runs on the first pair and I really like them. 

I hadn’t planned on a another new pair of shoes this year, at least this soon, but the pair I tried to salvage after Dances with Dirt last year didn’t fair well and between washing and the mileage, they didn’t feel quite right. Given the knee recovery, I didn’t want to risk additional injury just because of worn out shoes.

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Day 7

Worked 11+ hours on my birthday and took nearly 1hour to drive home (twice as long as usual) but went for another 5k run anyway. Cleared the mind and made me forget about the long day.

Not fast again but felt better during the run and for the first time, everything feels pretty good a couple of hours after the run . Hopefully the there will be no pain tomorrow and I can head out for another run. Only 26 weeks to go till the marathon and just 2 weeks until my first 5k race with my coworkers. This is a small charity run with a group of people who are mostly non-runners so it should be very casual. Would like to run in sub 28 minute just for my own satisfaction but that might be too ambitious. My original goal was under 30min and I’ve running that for the last week or so. Would like to start building mileage soon, maybe this Sunday I can move up to 4 or 5 miles just to start building some stamina. I’d like to be faster but I really shouldn’t complain only 5 weeks after surgery and a 5 month layoff.

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New Toy

My daughter bought me a new toy for my birthday. Well not really a toy, but it seems to help the knee muscles after a run. I’m not big into massages but if it helps the recovery then I’m game. I plan to keep using this for the duration of the training as long as it seems to be working.

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Day 5

Got a 5k run in between rainstorms. The knee is pain free but still weak. Waited for the Red Wings game room end and the temperature to warm to the mid 60s. My strengthening exercises seems to be working, just have to keep up with it. Expecting thunderstorms and high winds for the early part of the week, so it looks like indoor work until mid-week.

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Training with Technology

I’m an engineer who loves data. This means that I track every mile I run. I’ve been using RunKeeper recently. I have an Android phone that I love but the 4.3” screen is difficult to carry when I run. I have a Garmin Forerunner 205 that I love and now that I can import my data directly from the watch to RunKeeper, I plan to put all my training data there.

I will still maintain my spreadsheet log just because RunKeeper owns my data and if/when they get bought out, I don’t want to lose my training history. I found this excel spreadsheet, a few years ago and it has proven to be an effective log that I keep in my dropbox so I can view on any device. I’ve tried to convert it to a google doc but it doesn’t work well with the complex formulas and macros. It has more information than I really like some of the info including the tracking of mileage on shoes.

I keep eyeing the latest training devices but so far have been able to resist. I’m looking at the Motoactv but I only wear a watch when I run so some of the activity info would be lost for me. I like the form factor for the FitBit but lacks the GPS function that I depend on so I don’t have to have fixed running paths.

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Knee Surgery to Marathon in 27 weeks?

Last fall I tore the Meniscus in my left knee. I spent several months trying to avoid surgery before the doctor ordered an MRI to diagnose the meniscus was torn. I was able to only run a little from November to March when I finally had the surgery.

It has now been a month since the surgery and I just completed my first 5k run. The run was a bit slow, just under 29 minutes, considering my best was 23:22. I’d like to get below 27 min for a 5k race I plan to run with co-workers in early May. The weakness of the muscles around the knee (picture of the loss of muscle tone in one leg, fair warning not for the feint of heart) have been the biggest surprise considering the other leg isn’t as bad and I haven’t been running on 1 leg for the last few months 🙂 

My secondary goal for this year is to run a full marathon. I tried this goal last year but didn’t quite make it for various reasons including the knee injury but also work was crazy due to the Japan earthquake/tsunami. In addition, I’ve had a bit of a training wall at the 3 hour mark that I have to work my way through as I increase my distance of the next few months.

I have a little over 27 weeks to train for the Free Press Marathon. Assuming I continue to make progress as I have so far and I can get by the wall in my training, this should be enough time.

This is my public, maybe not well known or popular, but very public goal to run a marathon this year. This should be sufficient motivation to ensure that I keep up on the training and barring injury, achieve my goal of running my first marathon.

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What I Talk About When I Talk About Running

I bought this book on audible as a spontaneous purchase because it was on sale and I wanted something to listen to while on vacation. I have been running for about 2 year but don’t yet consider myself a runner. I probably should consider a runner since I have completed 3 half-marathons, 2 of those were under 2 hours, and I even run in the dead of winter when the temperature is down around -20 Fahrenheit (I’d convert to Celsius for everyone else in the world but its so close to the same temperature and ridiculously cold anyway).

As an aspiring runner (not sure this makes any sense to say), this book was extremely motivational and inspiring. After reading, or listening if you prefer, to this book, it made me want to run more and push to train for that full marathon.

The author’s regular training schedule is at least 6 miles/day, 6 days a week. I would love to have this kind of time and dedication. The author has run the original marathon route in reverse, from Athens to Marathon. When I discuss running a full marathon with a colleague of mine, he always reminds me that the original marathon runner died after delivering his message or so goes the myth. He stated that the route today is a busy roadway that is not a very good route and it is a bit short of the official marathon distance of 26.2 miles (42.195km).

The author’s description of his training and racing issues also helps keep things in perspective. Being competitive, I always want to set a PR (Personal Record) in each race. This has been fairly easy to do since its early in my running and its easy to improve when you start out as a slow runner.

In summary, I found this book very inspirational. Now its time to get out there and start the training for my first full marathon.

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But Seriously…: How to Update Facebook From Google+ (Without Using an Extension)


Facebook provides each user with a unique email that they can use to update their Facebook with. This way you can email a status update, picture, etc. without needing to access the site or the app, plus it works with any email address.

We can use that email address to cross post from Google+,…

But Seriously…: How to Update Facebook From Google+ (Without Using an Extension)

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NASA – Real-Time Space Shuttle in Google Earth (Beta Version)

Cool Live Google Earth tracking of Space Shuttle.

NASA – Real-Time Space Shuttle in Google Earth (Beta Version)

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Speaking of draaainns..The Walking Dead season 2 promo 🙂



Early Teaser: The Walking Dead Season 2 | THR

Oh hell yeah.

I’m a huge fan. Can’t wait.

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Link: I Spent A Coin (And I Liked It) — How I Bought Lunch in Manhattan with Bitcoins

Link: I Spent A Coin (And I Liked It) — How I Bought Lunch in Manhattan with Bitcoins

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via LEGO Mordor cannot be reached with plastic eagles

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(via RV-sized asteroid will buzz the Earth on Monday | Bad Astronomy | Discover Magazine)

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Speaker for the Dead (Ender's Saga, #2)Speaker for the Dead by Orson Scott Card

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Good book but didn’t enjoy it as much as Ender’s Game

View all my reviews

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(via Into the Dungeons | Guild Wars 2)

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(via Jonathan Sharp Talks Underwater Combat – ArenaNet Blog)

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Phineas and Ferb TV Movie to Debut in August, Promo Tour Announced! | GeekDad |

Phineas and Ferb TV Movie to Debut in August, Promo Tour Announced! | GeekDad |

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Don’t try this at home.

(via Mad Man Builds Mad Slingshot That Fires Mad Circular Sawblades – Gizmodo)

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Looking forward to the movie. Haven’t read the comics since I was a kid, but movie still looks good.

(via New Green Lantern trailer explains the history of the Corps, and the secrets of Parallax – io9)

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