Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Training Tracking - LJHM '09

Alright. So, I finally, "formally" registered to run the 2009 La Jolla Half Marathon (LJHM).
As I did for my first half marathon (the carlsbad half), I plan to track all my training run data for this one as well. The only difference, instead of creating new posts, every time I update the data (which is typically at the end of every week). I will just keep one blog post and keep updating it and bumping up the date, to keep bringing it back up.

As for the Training Plan, I am going to try to change things up a little. I will still be running 3 times a week(+weekend) (I might run a "warm-up" mile on other days, but significant miles will be only 3 times a week), but each run will be "special".
What do I mean by that? Well...

1. The weekend run will be long and I will not drop below 8milers (preferably stay 10mi and above) and definitely not restart from 4-5mi runs like I did the first time around.

2. Since all the weekend runs will be extra long, the Tue run will have to be a sort-of recovery run (I say "sort-of", because, I am hoping my body should be conditioned to not be as hammered after a 10mi run as I used to be in the past). For that reason, the Tue run will be a trail run (easier on the legs) and will range from 2-6miles, depending on how badly hammered the legs are.

3. Thurdays run will alternate(one Thu this, one Thu that) between hill training (to conquer that big torrey pines hill) and Interval Training or Fartleks.

For #1: The routes will vary, since I run with a running group on the weekends.
For #2: http://www.mapmyrun.com/run/united-states/ca/san-diego/900805585783
For #3: For hill training: http://www.mapmyrun.com/run/united-states/ca/san-diego/197949449764; for fartleks: Either UCSD tracks or treadmill.

Alright, so, here we go, again!


Tue (2/3) ~6.0mi ~51mins ~8:30 (Accurate)
Sat (2/7) ~10mi ~1:32 ~ 9:12 (Accurate, Did first 5mi in 44min and next 5 in 48)
Wed (2/11) ~1mi
Thu (2/12) ~3.0mi ~24mins ~8:00 (Fartleks on the Treadmill)
Sat (2/14) ~10mi ~1:30 ~ 9:00 (Accurate, Did first 5mi in 44min and next 5 in 46)
Skimped out on the running this week, but I did do a couple miles here and there and did a nice hike on the weekend
Tue (2/24) ~6mi ~47min ~7:48 (Accurate)
Sat (2/28) ~9mi ~1:25 ~9:30 (First 7.5mi, before TP hill, at 8:30 pace)
Tue (3/3) ~5.8mi ~47min ~8:10 (Accurate)
Thu (3/5) ~4mi ~33 ~8:15 (Treadmill)
No weekend run... slacked off coz I was out of town
Tue (3/10) ~5.8mi ~47min ~8:10 (Accurate)
Thu (3/12 ~5.5mi ~40min ~7:30 (Speed Training at Lake Miramar, not accurate)
Sat (3/14) ~8mi ~1:08 ~8:30 (first 5mi in 45mi, next 3 in 22min)
Tue (3/17) ~6mi ~51min ~8:30 (T)
Thu (3/19) slacked off (legs weren't feeling the best :( )
Sat (3/21) ~11.3mi ~95min ~8:30 (one of the hardest, but most scenic route runs, to date http://www.mapmyrun.com/run/united-states/ca/-san-diego/516123783491630305)
Tue (3/24) ~4mi ~33min ~8:15 (T)
Thu (3/26) slacked off
Sat (3/28) ~10mi ~84min ~8:30 (two rounds of Lake Miramar!) (T)
Tue (3/31) ~5.5mi ~52min ~9:30 (T)
Thu (4/2) ~3mi ~24min ~8:00 (T)
Sat (4/4) ~11mi ~1:42 ~9:15 ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Tue (4/7) ~5mi ~41min ~8:10 (T)
Thu (4/9) ~5mi ~43min ~8:36 (T)
Sat (4/11) ~12mi ~1:48 ~9:00 (T)


Tue (4/15) ~5mi (Did not track time) (T)
Sat (4/18) ~9mi (Did not track time) (T)


Minimal running this week (Achilles Tendon Issues)
Sun (4/26) - La Jolla Half Marathon!! - Good luck to me!


Total Miles for LJHM (including Half Marathon): 174 (75mi on T)
Total Miles for Carlsbad Half (including half) : 153
Total for year : 402

Friday, February 20, 2009

Does Success Retard Itself?

First off, let's get the IMPORTANT ANNOUNCEMENT, aside. I just made good (or at least started to make good) on my last new year's resolution for this year. Yep, the new blog is up and Running - here , so, watch for some exciting stuff there in the coming weeks and months (and don't forget to help me keep myself honest, by posting comments :)

OK, now let's get back to the topic at hand. Why the touch of philosophy on what is seeming like a perfectly logical and analytical blog by an Engineer on things like running and how to improve performance as an athlete? Well, it has to do with one (or both) of the following:

1. An unfortunate side effect of being stuck to the OUTLIERS for about 2 weeks (and before you say "whoa, what a slow reader!", keep in mind, my time gets multiplexed between a lot of things like running, blogging, hiking, ubuntuing, sleeping... and oh, let's not forget, "bit-flipping", that pays for the others!).

2. This video that showed up on CNN a few weeks ago, from a Obama Townhall in Florida, to sell his stimulus package (which, by now, is a law)

The first time I saw that video, I was without doubt amused and amazed. Amused because, I think that had to be one of the gutsiest moves I have seen in a while and amazed because it is not everyday that you get to see a lowly McDonalds worker getting a chance to speak to the most powerful man on the planet (or one of them, at least), 1-on-1. Now, I may not be much of an economist, but, something about that video tells me this country might be heading back in the right direction.

Anyways, getting back to the topic, as much as the video amused and amazed me, it wasn't what got me thinking about "success in life". What did was probably some combination of the aftereffects of that video on Julio's life and all the "reading" I've been doing.

To understand what I am saying, you might want to take a look at some of the latest news coverage on Julio and another similar case of a distressed common American by the name of "Henrietta Hughes". As this article descibes, "... Hughes broke down in front of thousands when she told the president that she and her son have been homeless for more than a year and living in a pickup truck. Obama hugged her after she asked her question and said his staff would help...".

Well, I'll save you the effort and summarize it for you - As it turns out, Mr. Julio now got approached my multiple radio stations, right after his little stunt, for broadcast gigs and a local minor league baseball team has offered Osegueda a job as an announcer for the Class A Fort Myers Miracle, the Twins' affiliate in the Florida State League. Not bad for going from working at Macky D's to landing a broadcaster job, within a matter of days, huh? As for Ms. Hughes, apparently, she was was later offered a home by Chene Thompson, wife of Florida State Representative Nick Thompson, who heard the homeless woman’s pleas. Isn't that amazing? Both super inspiring stories and not to mention, it almost seems like Obama is delivering on his message of change without even trying too hard! Great!

But wait, that's not what this post is about!

Time to regroup... alright... so, the reason for all that build up was to try and put you in the frame of mind I had when I decided to write this post. What all this reading and watching and thinking has got me wondering is... does getting more successful in life make you progressively less likely to attain success?!

Before you say "WHAAA.... ??!!!", let me elaborate...

Let's say you are in a position, similar to one of the folks above (and I for one came kinda close to that, when I landed in a country with a currency rate 40 times that of my home country, to go to Gradschool :-), would you do anything you possibly can to get yourself out of it? For most people, I think the answer is going to be a "HELL YEAH". And, it sounds about right, doesn't it? The amount of fear you experience in life is usually inversely proportional to the amount you have to "loose" (meaning, if you have nothing to loose, you aren't afraid of anything, not even death itself!). Let's say you walked into work tomorrow, and found out that you no longer have your job, would that affect the tone you use when you speak to your boss? Would it relax it at least a tad?

I guess the point I am trying to make (or question I am trying to ask) is... do we start being more and more "fearful" as we start to achieve the initial goals we set for ourselves, thereby limiting the number of new goals we set for ourselves (read, take fewer and fewer risks) and achieve even fewer of those and so on,goes the vicious cycle... catch my drift, here?

And now, to finish up, I will attempt to tie in the "BIG ANNOUNCEMENT" I made at the start of this blog post, into all this discussion!
Am I trying to beat or fight the tendency I just described above, by starting that blog and setting myself up for failure? :)

There, got it out of the system... just in time to hit the sack!

Friday, February 06, 2009

Resolutions Complete with "JUST DO IT!"

Alright. A few days of thinking and pondering and I think I'm ready to complete that resolution list I started earlier . The thing left to complete was a mentally challenging goal (III.C of my previous post) - and after much pondering, I think I may have found the perfect challenge.

My last goal involves things that keep popping into my head from time - Ideas!. Yes, for some reason I seem to have ideas for things to do, pop into my head, at random times during the week. Whether it is during a presentation at work , or while working out at the gym or while driving past a gas station , or just surfing the web or, well... Blogging itself

So what I am proposing? I am proposing, that I resolve to take action on some of those ideas! Well, isn't that what the intention was in the past? Maybe, but then there was no accountability. So, to fix that, I am going to start a new blog (yep, yet another!) that I will use to keep track of anything new I learn or any Idea I think I can work on. Now, I agree not all the ideas I come up with are ideas I can actually put to work. And that is not just because some of them are impractical, but simply because some constraints of time, money etc prevent me from going "all out" and pushing forth on an idea. But there are always going to be things, that come up in my mind, that I really want to do, but, I just sleep on them long enough until they eventually fade away. Well, enough of that. From now on I resolve to actually figure out how to do the thing, no matter how hard it is or how long it takes. And it doesn't necessarily have to be a business idea, it can be something as simple as finding the fastest way to change my bicycle tube or repair or something more complicated like installing a new Linux Distro or even more challenging as creating a facebook application.

So there we go, my mentally challenging goal is to blog about any "do-it-yourself" activity I engage in, as and when I do!

To begin with, one of the things I've been wanting to do for a while, is to "organize" my blog posts according to "tags" and create a list of those tags on the side bar. For example, everything I wrote, that has to do with Running must show up under the heading "Running" and so on...
If I manage to get through that goal this weekend, I will attempt to install the latest version of Ubuntu on my Vista laptop, in dual boot fashion and load and up important applications. And if there's anything interesting worth sharing, that'll be on m new blog!

As for the name... I figured out that part too.... JUST DO IT!

PS: Oh, I also think SeƱor Reddy's idea (learn a new language, see comments to last post) is pretty cool and I think I'll keep that on my list and try and get through as much spanish learning I can do, this year!

Monday, February 02, 2009

Too Late for Resolutions?

It's been a super busy year so far. And I just realized a couple days ago, that it's the end of the first month and I haven't come up with any new years resolutions yet. I think it is important to make resolutions in life, even though the new year thing might be a little overrated. If you do your best to stick to them or achieve them, they give you a reason to push a little extra and get more done than you would have, otherwise.

So, is 2nd Feb, too late to be making resolutions for the year ahead?
I think it depends. If you're like me, you might be fine! You see, I don't just "make" resolutions on a yearly basis. I try to add to my existing resolution list, because I believe that good resolutions shouldn't end in just one year. Or at least all of your resolutions shouldn't be so short term. Since I am adding to my list, I am not really without resolutions to begin with and hence the exception!

OK, so now that I have established that it is fine for me to set my "additions" for this year, what are they going to be? Well, I'm obviously not going to share the whole list (the usual... work hard, make more money, help more people, have more fun, manage time better...) out here. What I will share are those specific ones that, I think, anyone can add to their own lists. And I will try to keep them to a realistic number, and define them clearly, so that they are actually maintainable as habits:

I. Be "Greener": Now there are obviously going to be those global warming "non-believers". To them I say, sure, you may have your reservations about some of the things I am about to say, but then again, no one can deny the fact that wasteful use of resources (whether they impact our environment or not) is generally considered bad practice. OK, with that said, what can I do on a regular basis to make myself "greener"?
A. Reduce the amount of plastic I use and throw: I will do my best to carry a reusable bag to the grocery store. I will do my best to re-use water bottles on runs etc.
B. Reduce fuel consumption: I have already made the switch to riding my motorcycle a few days a week, so that reduces my commute fuel consumption by about 1/2 right there. I am hoping that once the daylight time gets longer, I can alternate that with riding my road-bike, to completely eliminate driving my car, during the week.In addition, I will do my best to carpool as much as possible, on the weekends.
C. Conserve water (courtesy: Nitya's comment): This is particularly important for San Diegans, given we live in one of the driest places around. Some research suggests, maximizing use of the dishwasher, does help and so does, washing you car less and small things like that. I'll try my best to do some of those.
C. Increase awareness of things like A, B and C: I guess, in some sense, I am already working on this resolution :). But, more specifically, I will try be blog more actively about such stuff on the blog I had dedicated to this effort.

II. Read/ Write more:
To this end, I will do my best to blog more regularly (while trying to distribute content evenly among my three blogs). On the reading side, try my best to read one new book a month... or wait, let's make that a more realistic 5 new books for the whole year (and if I beat that, all the better). Oh, actually, here's an even better plan - let's link them both! "I will try to read at least 5 books and post reviews of them on my blog", as and when I finish reading them. There. Now we have a solid resolution!

III. Overcome
More challenges
By challenges, I don't mean, those hard to solve problems in "life" or the hours spent debugging code in the lab. I mean serious "fun" challenges, that you knowingly set yourself up for.
A. Half Marathon Triple Crown : If you read the last few posts I wrote, you probably already know about my resolution to run 3 half marathons this year - I am going to one up that now by saying "I will try my best to better the time on my first half, that I ran about a week ago". That is going to be pretty challenging given that, the Carlsbad half was a "relatively" easy course and the weather was as good as it gets - but, we'll see... :)
B. Climb Tallest Peak in lower 48: I am hoping to climb Mt. Whitney this year and if possible do some other serious hikes in preparation for that, or otherwise.
C. Some comparable goal that involves a non-physical activity (more mentally challenging): TBD. Will try to finalize something interesting soon. If you have any ideas, let me know!

So, there we go, that's what I like to call "additions" for this year - specific, achievable, not too wussy, fun, and something most can add to their own lists!
Any suggestions, comments, criticisms?