Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Running in 2008

It's been a while since I posted on this blog (I've been busy on my so-called "professional" blog), but I wanted to share my year of running for 2008. Of course, it's now early February and this would have been more appropriate in early January, but, I guess, I missed my window of opportunity.

I've been using a Nike+ for almost 2 and a half years now, so 2008 was my first full calendar year using it, and it provided me with excellent motivation to "get out and run", I'll say! Because I've been using that, I also have a much more comprehensive view of what my running was like for the year.

According to the "2008 rundown" that the Nike+ website provides, my year looked something like:

  • I ran on a total of 235 days, covering 2,685,599 steps and just a bit over 1390 miles.
  • Monday was my favorite day to run during the week
  • My longest run was on October 19th (when I ran two legs of the Detroit Marathon)
  • I burned 178,370 calories (yet I did not seem to lose any weight that I can tell - I must have eaten quite a lot more, too!)
  • I "saved" 89.5 gallons of gas (not sure what that's supposed to mean, though)
In addition to those stats, I also ran probably about 10 road races. I was shooting for one a month but didn't make that goal. Of those races, 6 were 5K races, 2 were 10K races, 1 was a 2 mile race and then I ran in a relay team in the Detroit Marathon (my leg was the first leg - about 7.25 miles - and I ran along with a team mate in the second leg - another 5.5).

In those road races, I had personal bests in all distances. That's always gratifying, especially as I'm quite a bit older than my last stint of "significant" running (when I was in college).

Speaking of the Detroit Marathon - I also managed to pull together 2 relay teams (9 other runners) to take part, which is almost a more satisfying achievement than all of the running on my own. My run there also gave me the confidence to run a half marathon - I'm shooting for the Martian Marathon in early April to do that.

Looking forward to 2009 - One goal I have is to run even farther this year. Maybe I can hit 1500 miles?? I've also joined a number of new challenges on the Nike+ web site:
  • One challenge is to run 2009 KM in 2009 (I did more than that in 2008, so hopefully it's not too much of a stretch)
  • Another is to race "across America". Basically, run 3,260 miles. Currently, I'm 16th out of 343 participants. I figure that should take me at least into early next year.
  • Another even more ambitious challenge is the "Run around the Earth" - run 24,902 miles. I'm currently 32nd of 672 participants there. This one is definitely a multi-year challenge - if (and that's a big if) I can keep running any where near what I have this past year, it's still going to be, what, 15-20 years to run that far.
I also am hoping to continue PR-ing in my road races this year. I just ran the Super Bowl 5K this past Sunday and managed a new PR in the 5K, which was very cool.

I'm definitely looking forward hopefully to another good year in running, but time will tell.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

I'm mentioned in a book I didn't even know about

I recently was "Googling" myself to see if / how my professional blog might be visible and came across a book titled, "Integrated Management Systems" about total quality management initiatives in companies. It turns out there is a chapter on a previous employer of mine (Synetics) and in that chapter, it mentions my name and an initiative I led within Synetics.

Who knew?

Thursday, May 01, 2008

Run Fit 5K

So I ran in the Run Fit 5K last night in Novi. A good race (I've run the course a few times - I remember the first time, I was shocked at the large hill you go up toward the end of the race) and beautiful weather combined to make for a pleasant evening.

My daughter competed in the "Kids Dash" and managed to take first place. Of course, it was for kids up to 9 and she's nine and also tall, so she was about a head taller than anyone else, which helped her, I think. But, regardless, Hurrah for her!

My son competed in the Mile Run and managed a third place - his goal was 9 minutes, which I thought was conservative and he ran an 8:10 (or thereabouts). Hurrah for him!

Both kids brought home a medal, which is always fun.

In the 5K, I was thinking leading up to it that A) my summer goal this year would be to run under 22 minutes. Not all that fast in the grand scheme of things, but certainly a challenge for me. For last night, I was thinking maybe a more conservative 23 minute goal.

The race started out well - I felt good and loose. I crossed the first mile at about 6:40! I was quite surprised, needless to say. The course seemed very accurate - pretty much at each mile marker, my Garmin "beeped" the mile lap, so I knew it was pretty legitimate!. I crossed the two mile mark at about 13:40 - just under 7 minutes again! I'm still feeling good at this point but I know I'm facing that tough hill that comes right after that point.

I make it up that hill feeling OK and trying to do the math in my head, "How fast do I have to do this last 1.1 miles to finish under 22 minutes?? Hmm... I think that's 1.1 miles in a bit over 8 minutes, which I think means about a 7:15 mile, right?"

With about a half mile to go, I had a runner pass me and I thought, "No way, buddy!" so I picked up my pace and kept on trucking. Still feeling good!

I cross the line and see.... I ran a 21:34! Wow - Not only did I better my evening's goal but I've already beat my goal for the summer road race season! That's (well) over a minute faster than the other fastest 5K I've run any time in the last 15+ years. Woo hoo!

The only downer is that I now have to set myself another goal for the summer! Can I get under 21 minutes?? We'll see!

So my family likes to count the # of runners I finish behind (gives the kids something to do). They tell me I was 33rd overall. I knew the age group awards go 5 deep in each 5-year bracket for each gender. I figure statistically I'm likely to get an award (which turned out to be coffee mugs).

I wait through all of the female age groups and most of the male (yeah, yeah, waiting for the 40-44 bracket...) and they get to my group. Turns out that my group had something like 3 people run under 17 minutes! Holy cow! I did not get an age group award, but I did realize that my age group was probably the most competitive of any of them! Yikes. Good on them! (And, I did not need or want a coffee mug anyway - don't drink coffee....)

But I am left with the great feeling of having run a great (for me) race and setting myself up with a good summer to look forward to.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Athletics since January

My last post prior to today was about the start of my soccer team's first indoor session of the year. Well, that season did *not* go so well. We finished with 1 victory, 1 tie and 6 losses. After the success of our last season (we finished 7-1), we were pushed up a division, which hurt. At the same time, we lost some of our players, which hurt.

So we're now two games from the end of our second session for the year and are now 4-2, having been pushed back down to the third division since the second season. Our game this past Sunday was a victory, but only in name - the other team forfeited due to lack of players; we scrimmaged (giving them two of our players) and the rest of the team just could not get it together. I think it ended something like 7-1 or some crap like that. :-(

In other athletic news - I've only run one road race so far this year (since the Belle Isle Fun Run on New Years Eve), which was the Super Bowl 5K - it was a slightly long course by both my Nike+ and my Garmin, but I felt very good and thought I had a good race.

Tomorrow I run a second race for the year - another one associated with Running Fit in Novi - The Run Fit 5K. I'm looking at another 4 in the next 6 weeks or so, so things are picking up.

I also think I've managed to pull together two teams for the Detroit Marathon relays this next October, which I'm happy about!

Lastly - as for general running - January was a slow start - not so much because of the weather but because of the house flood, hotel, etc., situation. I finally settled into things (running at the office several days a week to juggle schedules) and have managed to rack about 375 miles this year so far! I'm in a challenge on the Nike+ site to run 1,000 miles in the 2008 calendar year - I think I'm well ahead of pace right now, but it's a good goal for me!

Updates for April 2008

So, it's been, what, 3 months since I posted? What have I been up to?

Well, as I mentioned in one of my last posts, we had some issues with the house on New Years Eve and we ended up spending 3 months (yes, 3 months!) in a hotel. A hotel about 10 miles from the house. A hotel with one "high speed" internet connection (which, during the evening, was about as high speed as a 2400 baud modem). A hotel with only about 15 channels and NO TiVo! Oh, the humanity.

Well, we're back in the house now, the re-construction is almost all done (just a few bits and pieces remaining), we've been compensated for part of the living expenses for which the insurance company owes us (luckily, the contractor is billing the chunk of work the insurance company pays for directly to them and the hotel was direct charged to the insurance company) and we're almost back to normal.

It was a drag of an experience and not one that I want to repeat any time soon, I'll say.

What I had to keep telling myself was, "You're getting a new kitchen for about 70% off, You're getting a new kitchen for about 70% off, You're getting a new kitchen for about 70% off..."

The new kitchen is great (though I'm still getting used to the re-arrangement) and the changes in the dining room (we paid extra for those plus a good chunk of the changes in the kitchen) are great.

Plus, we have TiVo again - and not just any TiVo - we finally have been able to hook up and use my wife's new HD TiVo, which can record two things at once! Sweet, sweet Tivo. In just the living room now we can record 3 separate things (including the older TiVo there). Woo hoo!

I'll post separately on other news.

Monday, January 07, 2008

A new season of indoor soccer starts

Well, I never did close out on my last season of indoor soccer here, did I? My last post on soccer was providing some updates on our improvement as a team. The season after I posted about there (that would be "S3" - i.e., session 3 for winter 2007), my team actually won the division! We finished with a 7-1 record, with the only loss being our first game, and with a victory over a team that hadn't lost in over two full seasons! It was great. We didn't have a huge offensive output but the team played a very tight defense. To put in terms of the table from my last post, the Average Joes averaged 5.13 goals/game and our opponents averaged 2.13. Sweet :-)

Tonight, we started our first indoor season as the Average Joes for this year. We skipped the first session (November-December) because a number of us were injured. Some of the guys played together on other teams, but the Average Joes held off.

Our game tonight ended up with close loss - 7-9 - to a team that had a couple of phenomenally good offensive players. Now, the shocking thing is, I actually scored 4 (maybe 5) goals (I say it that way because the fifth goal seemed to be an own goal by the other team, but my own team insisted I take credit for it as I was standing right next to the guy)! I couldn't believe it, to be honest (and still don't). Just had some great passing and I managed to get myself into the right place a few critical times, I guess.

My knee (which if you know me, has been bothering me since my outdoor season) didn't bug me during the game, which was a great thing. I'm hoping it doesn't start bothering me any time soon.

This will obviously impact my running, but I'm still hoping to get in 4 or so runs on average a week. Of course, our recent plumbing disaster has also put a (temporary) crimp in running.

Sunday, January 06, 2008

More plumbing woes

An update on my house's plumbing situation: First, the insurance company finally called us back - on Friday, though! It took them over three days to get back to us on a problem that was going to get more and more expensive the longer it took to get started on a "real" cleanup. Idiots...

So the first contractors finally showed up Friday about mid-day. It was the "remediation company". Apparently their responsibility is to assess the water damage and then perform the water cleanup. The contractor started his investigation, thinking it wasn't too bad (we *had* cleaned up quite a lot in three days, you know?), but later on said, "Well, this is much worse than I thought." Duh....

The net was: The floor in the bathroom upstairs (tile) will likely need to be removed, the cabinet pulled out; the floor just outside of that bathroom will need to be dried out with their special drier; the carpet there will probably need to be replaced; unbeknown to us, the water had also made its way into the floor in my daughter's room so that will need to be dried out. On the first floor of the house: the linoleum will need to be removed; the soffets will need to be removed; the cabinets (at least some of the) will need to be removed and probably replaced; the sub-floor will probably need to be replaced; the floor in the toy room and family room will need to be dried and the carpets replaced; we will have to have the ductwork all cleaned to ensure moisture is removed.

Looks like we will be staying in a hotel at least for about a week while this goes on because there will be no access to the kitchen. My hope is that the hotel stay will only be necessary during the clean up and not the construction.

As for the construction - that will be separate contractor. It's still not clear how this all works in terms of identifying the cost and approving.

We also need to put together a list of the items destroyed by the flood for reimbursement. That's going to be a big part of today.

In the midst of all of this, I haven't managed to get in a run since my road race on Monday :-(. My soccer team has their first game of the session tonight, which I'm planning to try to play even with my bum knee (which hasn't been bugging me as much for the last few weeks!).

Thursday, January 03, 2008

Plumbing pain

So as I posted the other day, the family and I ran the Belle Isle Fun Run on New Years' Eve. A good start to the day of partying, right???...

That night, we all went to our friends' house for a New Years Eve party - mostly eating, drinking and playing video games (lots of Guitar Hero among the kids and the parents).

We left and drove home through a minor snow storm at about 1AM...

My son and I were the first two to walk from the garage into the house - he opened the door in front of me and I was right behind. As soon as he opened the door, I could hear a sound I did not like at all - the sound of a LOT of running water with splashing.

We walk in and there's a veritable waterfall coming out of the light fixture over the kitchen table right onto the table and, from there, it splashed all over the kitchen. Realizing it was obviously coming from the second floor, I ran upstairs and found that one of the supply lines under the sink at the top of the stairs had apparently broken.

The water had flooded that bathroom floor, seeped into the carpet right outside of that bathroom and made its way down to the first floor (the kitchen is right under that bathroom). It was coming out of the light fixture over the kitchen table and also the one over the sink. From the sink, it made its way onto the floor in that area and seeped into the carpet in the dining room (which we really use as a toy room). From the kitchen table, it made its way into the carpet of the family room... At this point, that's 5 rooms affected so far...

So the family starts cleaning up the water as best as we can - the kids' initial reaction of, "Oh my god, what's going on??!!" quickly transitioned into a heroic effort to help my wife and I clean up (yay, kids!)

I realize that the basement needs to be checked so I go down and find... Water everywhere. Oh goodness...

So we finally get the kids to bed at about 2AM after they've immensely helped with the cleanup and we really start to dig into the basement. We finally feel like we have the bulk of the water cleaned up by about 5AM and decide that we need to get some sleep so we head to bed, where neither of us can sleep but we each got about 45 minutes in. The prime problem we had at this point was that the furnace (which had gotten damp but which didn't seem to be otherwise that affected) would not stay on; we could hear it light but it would then not start the blower. By the time we got up again, it was 54 degrees in the house. I turned off the thermostat for a while and turned it back on and the furnace finally did come on. Yeah! At least something good!

So we get to spend New Years Day trying the best we can to clean up the mess. Luckily, we have incredible neighbors and they sprang into action with us to help figure out what to do about the carpets and what we needed to rent in terms of equipment to help with the drying.

My wife called AAA about noon on New Years Day and now, almost 48 hours later they still have not called back or had any contact whatsoever! I am extremely angry about this at this point - we need some help figuring out what we need to do next to deal with this problem.

Of course, on top of this all, I've been battling with a cold of some sort since Monday evening as well. What joy...