Monday, January 23

Why can't I get this right?

It's update season at work and while much of the tedious digitizing and data entry are done by my colleague, other demands have kept me off balance for far too long.  When I first began doing this work for Seven Islands, I would spend 3 or 4 weeks in the summer getting the winter cuts completed.  Near Christmas I would start to get the rest of the year's cut updates which demanded most if not all my time.  By early January I typically would be working 60+ hours a week and that would continue right up to January 31 - the day before the reports were to be at the State offices. 

Back then, it was much more time consuming and mind numbing than now.  Over the years I used my programming and scripting skills to build tools to automate a great deal of typing on a command line.  For those who are unfamiliar with the command line, it is a plain black screen that you type program commands to interact with software and data.  You may know what a DOS prompt is.... it's like that, kind of. 

The process would start with map of a township (about 36 square miles) attached to a 36" x 48" digitizing tablet.  To that I'd tape a smaller hand drawn map created by one of the foresters that depicts the harvest blocks.  Using a puck (mouse like device with 16 buttons) to trace the blocks. I would capture the size, configuration, spatial location and scale of the areas to be updated.  If there was a fun and easy part it would be that.  The data entry is the mind numbing part.  Entering information like harvest prescription, equipment used, residual stand type and anticipated next treatment gets old quick.  Especially since typing errors would cause fatal errors at some point in the process.

Now instead of typing commands to select, each polygon then another command to enter each attribute, of which there are 16 for every polygon, the program asks question and puts the responses in the proper attribute fields.  At the same time each entry is validated against a list of acceptable entries and refuses anything not on the lists.  This guarantees only the integrity of the data.

As of tonight, all updates have been completed and processed.  The reports needed by the Chief Forester for the purpose of reporting to the State of Maine have been submitted. 

Now I can finally take a breath and relax...... tonight it took me 6 miles on the deadmill before I felt like all the cob-webs in my head were swept clear..... There are a number of other projects that need attention, but the big one is gone for now.... looking forward to getting some quality time on the bike trainer and deadmill. 

My first prep race before Boston will be a new local half marathon called the MidCoast 13.1 on March 11.  Check it out.  Looks fun.

Run Strong

Monday, January 16

Wash, Rinse, Repeat...

Time rolled along and, like last year, I jumped into the NovOS along with nearly 100 other EN athletes.  I was feeling good and really focused.  My initial FTP test on the bike went well but the results were less than I was expecting.  I had expected to see a 205w or maybe even a 210w but WKO said otherwise - the test result was 197 watts NP.  Close enough I could have fudged it up to 200 but I didn't.

Being under 200 watts got me registered in the "Under 200 Club" - not a place to brag about but a great bunch of peeps to commiserate with.  All in all, a decent place to start.  I was hitting all my bike and run sessions at or just above my threshold paces.  No problems with fatigue lingering into the next session at first.  But as the holiday season came into view, I started to notice a lack of motivation.  Sure, I was doing the work and getting my shopping and planning done but I could tell something wasn't quite right.  By mid December I took a break from doing bike sessions and had begun to skip some of the runs.  I justified it as OK due to the holidays.  Mom was soon to be here and it was much more important to get things ready than spending 'me' time in the pain-cave.

Once mom did arrive, I tried to get most of my runs in but didn't care about the bike.  Christmas week I ran every day as part of the EN Holiday Run Challenge.  Nick and Sierra made it home too, in part for their cousin Tyler's wedding.  Kyle and Maria wanted to come but work-travel-money logistics made that hard to justify.

Now that all have gone home and the holidays are long past, I've been able to get more focused on training.  I reset my NovOS back a few weeks and started the marathon hack as well.  My next big race is Boston (4/16) and since I am not training for an Ironman (doing a half iron in June) I am free to be more run focused.  My goal is to beat my qualifying time and set a new PR.  Right now I am thinking 3:25 is possible.  We'll see how training - especially hill work goes over the next 10+ weeks before I really know were my fitness will be on race day.

Run Strong

Wednesday, January 11

Waiting for something...

It has been a very long time since my last post.  Much has happened yet nothing has changed.  

After Ironman Lake Placid I took a few weeks off from everything except eating and sleeping.  No runs and no bike for a couple of weeks.  Felt good actually.  It had been over a year since my last break in training.  But with the Mt Desert Island Marathon looming in October, I knew I needed to get started again. 

It didn’t take long for me to start wanting to skip workouts.  That was disappointing to say the least.  One of my teammates at EN started a 30 runs in 30 days challenge so I joined in the fun.  The first week of daily runs included mostly easy miles and some walking as I tried to rehab a tight calf.  By the second week things were going well.  The MDI marathon came near the end of week 3 and up to that point my longest run was 16 miles.  I had never run a marathon on so few miles and I was very unsure how it would go.  The run challenge ended at 30 days with me only missing 2 days – the first was in the first week and the second was the day after the marathon.  In all I ran 28 times in 30 days and accumulated 214 miles. 

The MDI marathon went much better than I ever would have imagined.  I did a good job of holding back the first 5 miles or so but then decided to go hard and see if I could maintain thru the end and I did.  Overall time was 3:34 – my 3rd fastest finish out of 17 marathons run so far.  Not bad for only doing random runs and no real plan.

Run Strong