Monday, December 31, 2007

Belle Isle Fun Run

Well, today I ran the 38th annual Belle Isle 4 Mile Fun Run and the kids (along with a couple of the neighbor kids) ran the 1 Mile kid run as well.

It was a nice day for a run (considering the date) - about 32 degrees at race time (3PM for the kids, 4PM for the 4 mile run), overcast and no real wind to speak of.

My son ran a very excellent 7:35 in the mile, which was much better than his goal and he came in 10th overall, so that was awesome!

My daughter ran with her two friends, one of whom wasn't feeling very good, so they didn't have a good time but they enjoyed the run (and I *love* the fact that my daughter is willing and able to do this - I can't even imagine having done a 1 mile run when I was her age!)

I ran a very satisfying 29:27 for myself - about a 7:21 pace, so I was very happy with that. Based on my ForeRunner, I ran a 7:14 first mile, then a 7:26, 7:27 and finished with a 7:22. Very nice and even. I am very, very happy with my performance today.

Now the next road race will likely be the Super Bowl Sunday run I ran a few years ago. Not sure when that will be, though.

Sunday, December 30, 2007

My new professional blog

I've started a new blog in my own domain ( with the intent of it being a more professionally-focused blog where I will write about my experiences in and thoughts about the area in which I work.

Check it out!

Happy Birthday and Merry Christmas (to me!)

I recently celebrated a birthday and, as a personal celebration of sorts, managed to get in a 9 mile run on my birthday. Happy birthday to me! :-) That was the longest run I've had since, I think, about 1990.

I entered Christmas week thinking my recent run (pun intended) of good weeks might be at risk due to the holiday, family, etc. I did "miss" a run for the week (running only 4 times instead of what's become my recent norm of 5 runs) but, with my 9 mile run, two 6+ mile runs and a 5.5 mile run yesterday (at my wife's fitness club), I put in just under 27 miles on the week, which was another "longest week" for me - my 10th week in a row of getting longer. Obviously, that's always an indication of "quality" but I have been so happy about my runs of late.

As for Christmas - among other cool running-related items, my wife bought me a Garmin ForeRunner 305 - a running watch with a built-in GPS locator! I was stunned as I didn't even know such things existed. Now I'll have the most anal-retentively analyzed runs of anyone who really isn't all that good at running. Running with both the NikePlus and the ForeRunner, I can at least have a couple of ways to know how long I'm running.

I was so excited about the ForeRunner, I had to go out on Christmas Day for a run and put in just over six miles. I also realized (duh...) that the ForeRunner doesn't work so well on a treadmill :-)

Tomorrow, I'm hoping to do a local road race - the 38th Annual Belle Isle New Year's Eve Family Run Run / Walk. It's a 4 mile run that also features a 1 mile run for the kids to take part in (and all kids get trophies, which is what's motivating them to want to take part). We'll see how that works out.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

The last week in Running

Last week saw an increase in use of the treadmill and a decrease in motivation. Man, it seems much harder this year to do the runs on the treadmill than it has in past years.

Last Sunday, though, I did get out for my new longest run (well, longest since my long-ago college days when I ran much more than I do now)! I ran a bit over 8.5 miles last Sunday on a nice route around the "big square" as I named the route in my Nike+ web site. I happen to live in an area broken into nicely sized squares, each 1 mile on a side. For a number of years, my "long run" each time I did it was to do the single such square I live next to - a bit over a 4 mile run. Last Sunday, I did the outer perimeter of four of those plus a bit more. It was a great run and I was so happy to be outside!

This Sunday I did my long run on the treadmill and it was a real challenge getting to 7 miles :-(.

I continue to mentally struggle with the odd behavior of my Nike+ on the treadmill - since I calibrated it, it seems that it still tracks about 10-15 seconds / mile slow on the treadmill, though on the other hand it seems like it tracks about 10 seconds fast outside. That means when I'm on the treadmill trying to maintain a pace that I am happy with, I'm probably running about 15-20 seconds faster per mile than I would be to achieve the same feeling outside.

Anyway - last week was another "longest week" for me - 25.96 miles - and my 8th such week in a row (the last time I didn't set a recent personal best for long week was the week just before the Detroit Marathon where I rested toward the end of the week).

Sunday, December 09, 2007

My Kids - the smart ones in the family!

My son came home Friday with his trimester report card and did a great job this term - He had 3 A's and 3 A+'s for the trimester! Great job for him!

He also got all "O's" for behavior, which means that he's earned himself a field trip to see a movie with the other "all O's".

My daughter hasn't yet gotten her report card, but I know she also is as capable. Of course, her (elementary) school is soon going to transition to a grading system where anyone with a 70%+ average will receive a "P" (performing). There is apparently no higher rating. How motivating for the more capable kids, huh? As I like to say - they propagate the cult of mediocrity - No one can stand out and no one's accomplishments are to be individually celebrated.

A Dark Week in Running

So, this last week I had to continue doing most of my running on my treadmill. Dark and dreary in the basement (well, not all that dark, but boring to look at!).

I also continued to be annoyed by the discrepancy between the treadmill and my iPod. As I mentioned last week, I took a mile last Sunday to calibrate it, but it doesn't seem to have affected it much - it's still off. But, on the positive side of things, despite having to run most of the days on the treadmill, I did manage to get outside Friday and run a bit over 6 miles. It was good. I also ended up with yet another weekly high for me on the Nike+ - just about 25.85 miles, up from about 25.1 a week earlier.

Today, I managed to get out just about noon for my weekly long run - though I'd heard that we were due for some sleet and freezing rain. Luckily, I think I got out early enough to avoid that, though there was a bit of snow about. I got in a very good 8.55 mile run, which is my longest on the Nike+. Yeah! I also felt very good, though the last mile was a bit tiring!

Sunday, December 02, 2007

5K, Templars and Treadmills

Well, I ran the Reindeer Run 5K yesterday and it was a good time (and I had a good time). It was a pretty chilly 18 degrees at race time. I managed to get pretty close to the front - I think there were probably about 500-600 people in it as it seemed pretty large, so I didn't want to get "stuck "as I did at the start of the Turkey Trot.

I managed a pretty decent race and, most importantly, accelerated into the last mile, so I feel like the numerous longer runs have really helped in that regard.

In other news, yesterday I finished The Last Templar by Raymond Khoury. A decent read but it sure did feel like a first novel (I think it was Khoury's first). I thought the end was a bit of a cop out after the way the "mystery" of what the characters were looking for was revealed.

And, today I hit the treadmill again after a few days back outside. Was planning to do a longer run (probably 7-8 miles) but got to 5 and was aggravated by the inaccuracy of my Nike+ on my treadmill, so at 5 I decided to try to calibrate my Nike+ with a mile run. I did that but didn't realize that mile didn't "count" for my runs. Stupid thing :-/ I was going to go another mile but was too irritated. Now I'll need to do a longer run during the week at some point.

Friday, November 30, 2007

Back outside (at least temporarily) and good runs!

So, after hitting my treadmill Monday due to a combination of dark, cold and (mostly) bad weather, my last few runs have been back outside. It's always a bit off-putting to run in the dark, I'll say, but I still prefer that to the treadmill for some reason.

Tomorrow I am running in a 5K when the temperature is supposed to be somewhere in the neighborhood of 16-20 degrees. Brrr... In preparation, I did a shorter run last night and tried to push a bit and had a great run. Feeling good for tomorrow!

The kids are thinking of doing a 1K that is associated with the race, but we'll see how the cold effects that decision. :-)

Monday, November 26, 2007

Hit my treadmill for the first time in about 7 months

Well, today was the first day since early last spring that I was forced to run on my treadmill this winter (well, late fall anyway). I've always much-preferred running outdoors, but when we flip to standard time from daylight-savings time (so it gets a lot darker earlier) and the sidewalks start to get slick, I end up needing to do my workouts in a safer, though much more boring, environment.

So down to the treadmill I go.

The interesting thing is that I had the treadmill set at a relatively-normal pace for myself, and it felt "right" compared to how I would feel outdoors, but my Nike+ was measuring it "short" - that is, it was measuring probably about 0.02-0.03 miles short each mile I ran and the pace reported by my Nike+ during the run was consistently about 10-15 seconds slower than the treadmill and my body were telling me I was going. Bummer.

I'll have to figure out if I need to calibrate the thing for my treadmill, I guess.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Longest Run Yet!

Today I ran my longest run, yet (well, I should say the longest run since I was in college many years ago) - 8.32 miles. Not all that fast, I have to say, but I'm happy to have pushed myself to another personal best this week.

I'm planning to run a 5K next Saturday, so gotta get ready for that, now! :-)

Friday, November 23, 2007

Running a lot more these days

So, I haven't posted much lately, but not for lack of things to write about in general.

One specific thing of note lately is that I've been running a lot more than I have in many years. What's changed? Well, for starters, I got a group of my friends together this year to do the Detroit Marathon in October as a relay team. I told them originally that, because I figured I was the most regular runner of the bunch, I'd volunteer to do the long leg - which was going to be about 7 miles. I've been a regular runner for years but always kind of stuck around the 3-4 miles/run about 3-4 times a week - so I'd normally do about 12-14 miles in any week.

I knew I had to start running more to get ready.

The second major thing that happened this year was that my wonderful wife and kids got me a Nike+! I'd seen ads for it for months and kept mentioning it to my wife and on Father's Day I got not only a Nike+ but also a new Apple iPod Nano to go with it to replace the 2nd generation iPod I'd killed earlier this year!

The Nike+ has had the most significant effect I can imagine on me and my running! It measures and times all of my runs and allows me to see a history of things, look at runs by week, month, etc. It's really a great product that I can't recommend enough to anyone who runs (I wish I knew more people who used one).

In October, I ran the Detroit Marathon Relay - a 7.4 mile leg that my Nike+ measured at about 7.53 miles - and every week since then, I've been doing one "long" run a week of at least 7.5 miles. My longest so far has been an 8.25 mile run a couple weeks back.

I've also been pushing myself to run longer weeks - the week of the Marathon, I ran a total of 20.42 miles and have been increasing each week a bit since, culminating this week in running a total of 24.28 miles (including the 10K I ran yesterday).

I've also added the Nike+ widget to my blog (did that months ago) so it's possible to always see my last five runs if you want.

All is not good, though. In June of this year, just days before I got my Nike+, I injured my knee playing in an outdoor soccer game. I finally got an MRI in September and it turns out I apparently tore a tendon. I still need to have that attended to, but the weird thing is that it doesn't really bother me while I run. Go figure...

Guidelines for a taxonomy

Patrick Lambe recently posted some guidelines I had posted to the TaxoCoP to his own Organising Knowledge blog. I had been looking for others' insights on what might be good/bad or missing from these (or possibly unnecessary).

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Ran the Detroit Turkey Trot 10K today!

I had a great run today and I'm very happy for it!

Ran a 48:35 10K as Nike+ measured, and the course was 6.35 (where my time was 49:37). I'm very happy with the time as it's the first 10K I've run in many years.

Monday, March 19, 2007

Soccer updates

Well, seeing how it's been so long since I've posted, I've played a few seasons with my soccer team.

Since I last posted, I played a full summer season with a house team at the Soccer Zone. Turns out that the summer seasons are quite a bit more competitive, probably because only the "hard core" teams play. We ended up playing against teams that were much better and lost all of our games.

Last fall, back with the regular team, we actually managed to win 2 games, which was a big improvement for us. Of course the team we beat was, um, not so very good and we beat the same team in both games that we won.

In my most recent season, which ended a week ago yesterday, we actually won 4 of our 8 games! It was quite an achievement for us and was a combination of getting a few new (better) players on the team and also a significant improvement for those of us (myself included) who are still learning to play.

We started the third session last night with a loss to the team that is pretty much the same team I played on the house team with last summer. We played better against them then we have, but still need to improve.

If you look at our performance over the last several seasons, here's the goal differential from our first season to our most recent full season:

W05-06 S2 Average - Team Score 1.25

Average - Opponent Score 9.5
W05-06 S3 Average - Team Score 3.13

Average - Opponent Score 6.5
W06-07 S1 Average - Team Score 3.13

Average - Opponent Score 4.25
W06-07 S2 Average - Team Score 2.5

Average - Opponent Score 3.38

As you can see, we've steadily improved our goal differential each season - from more than 8 in our first season (ouch!) to less than 1 in our most recent season!

Saturday, March 17, 2007

What has Lee been reading for the last, oh... 7 months?

So it's only been, what, 7 or 8 months since my last post, right? I'm sure you're wondering what on earth I've been reading, right?

Well, here you go!

I can't remember the order of everything, exactly, but I know when I last posted I was about to read Time's Eye. I ended up enjoying that book quite a bit.

The others:
  • One of my favorites (yes, I'm a kid at heart): Peter and the Shadow Thieves by Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson. This is the second in a series of books that are essentially an alternate telling of the Peter Pan story. Very good and a pretty quick read. Another suggestion from my son.
  • Another recommendation from my son, which I felt was far too much like just a set up for a continuing series, though it was still fun, was Monster Blood Tattoo by D.M. Cornish.
  • Mammoth by John Varley. I've really enjoyed a lot of Varley's work in the past (I especially liked the Gaean Trilogy and Red Thunder). I also liked this one a lot. An interesting twist on time travel.
  • I've been traveling a lot more than normal in the last year, so I've read a few of what I think of as "airport crap" - books I normally wouldn't read but they are common in the airport bookstores and are usually a light read. Lately, that would include Tyrannosaur Canyon by Douglas Preston and Map of Bones by James Rollins. A few years ago, I read The Codex by Preston and didn't realize Tyrannosaur Canyon had the same characters until I was a hundred or so pages in. Whoops. I still enjoyed it in a this-is-kind-of-a-dumb-story kind of way. As for Map of Bones - it was so similar in structure to The DaVinci Code that I couldn't believe it. Still, a fun read and I enjoyed it enough to put a few other books by Rollins on my Amazon Wish List.
  • Next, a few "serious" sci-fi books: Darwin's Children by Greg Bear and Transcendent by Stephen Baxter. Darwin's Children was the second (I think) in a series about a set of mutations sweeping through the human population very quickly. An interesting read and I enjoyed it. Transcendent was the third in Baxter's "Destiny's Children" series, which have all been typical Baxter story lines - long term evolution and growth of humanity coupled with a more straight up "space" sci-fi component.
  • I've also returned to an author I haven't read in a very long time - David Eddings. I read a lot by him about 20 years or so ago and always enjoyed the books. I just read The Elder Gods which is book one in his series The Dreamers. A very light read (after some of the heavier stuff I've been reading), almost to the point of not being interested. The characters were all just a bit too stereotypical for me. Which doesn't mean I won't read the rest of the books now, of course :-)
  • For Christmas, I asked for Odd Thomas by Dean Koontz upon a recommendation from a co-worker. I really enjoyed the book, though it was another odd story - a man who could see dead people, but as the character says, "I do something about it!" A good build up over the course of the book to what you expect to be a really cataclysmic ending, which it almost is. An interesting twist, too, which seems obvious after the fact.
  • Last but certainly not least, is Lamb by Christopher Moore. This was suggested by the same co-worker who suggested Odd Thomas to me. I have to say that I have never laughed so hard reading a book in my life. I also thought Moore did a great job combining parts of biblical lore with some more historically-based parts of the story. I can not recommend this book enough for anyone who likes a good laugh and isn't easily offended by someone painting the life of Jesus in such a down-to-earth kind of way.
Hopefully, my next posting won't be quite so long in the future!