Training week two recap

Week two of my training ended today. I spent 5 hours and 45 minutes running 31.1 miles and gaining 2812 feet of elevation on 4 different days. I was sick in bed Wednesday evening and all day Thursday, missing my favorite small group training and an easy run. I did lift weights on Monday, however, and made my favorite yoga classes. By going relatively long on Saturday I was able to hit my mileage target for the week.

I ran at Reservoir Ridge twice and at Maxwell and the singletrack east of Horsetooth Reservoir once. We had snow on Thursday, but only an inch or so, and dry, so the trails are still mostly dry with some packed powder in the shade. Good conditions for running.

Saturday I saw a Canyon Wren at our Maxwell natural area for the first time. I've seen them many times in the Southwest, but they're rare here. Maxwell has a little bit of red sandstone, so they should probably feel at home.

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Canyon wren (Catherpes mexicanus) by Noel Reynolds https://www.flickr.com/photos/29237715@N05/6385658831/

First training week recap

I just wrapped up my first week of training for the Quad Rock. I spent 5 hours running 29.4 miles on 5 different days and did another hour of cycling (not counting all commuting) and 40 minutes of non-running cardio exercise (rowing and elliptical). I pushed myself hard in a small group class at Become Fit (my favorite gym), adding a little more weight to my split squats. I did the deep stretch "yin" yoga at my local fitness center on Tuesday after my cardio workout and did the heated vinyasa "flow" class on Friday, my no-running day. The weather has been cool this week, but mostly dry and sunny, so I've enjoyed being out on the paved bike path and on the singletrack in the city's Pineridge and Maxwell natural areas.

Thursday night I waited until after dark to run; I'm going to have to do more running in the evening to get in my miles, and the sooner I get accustomed to this, the better. I also expect to be running the first ninety minutes, and first big climb and descent, of the Quad Rock in the darkness before dawn. I got a new headlamp and it works just fine. It's fun to look up as I run down the Spring Creek Trail and see the glowing beady eyes of raccoons.

My winter running gear for dry to light snow, 25-35 °F conditions consists of Patagonia Crosstrek pants (two thumbs up) that I bought at the REI store in Fort Collins and the Quechua softshell trekking jacket I got at the Decathlon store in Montpellier (1 thumb up, could be more breathable). On paved trails, I'm wearing Aisics Gel Kayanos, and on dirt and snow I'm wearing Nike's Terra Kiger 4. I took my New Balance Hierros out last weekend and found them to be terrible on ice. The Nikes have a grippy "clown puke" sole and I've got one pair in orange and one pair in a blue forest print.

Quad Rock Training Starts Tomorrow

In 2018 the 25 mile Quad Rock (May 12) was my big running event. I built my winter and spring training plan around it. I showed up and finished in 6 hours and 15 minutes. Tomorrow I'm going to begin a 24 week training program with the goal of finishing the full 50 mile Quad Rock on May 11 2019. If I can get in good enough shape to finish the second lap in less than 7 hours and 45 minutes (there is a 14 hour cut-off), I'll be a 50 mile finisher in the year I turn 50.

2018's Quad Rock was my third attempt to run more than 25 miles. I'd previously finished both of the two marathons I'd entered. I'd run 20 miles or more eight times in training. I'd survived crazy steep trail runs in the South of France. I knew the course well. Despite a half-assed winter of training interrupted by work travel and illness, I knew I was going to be able to make the cut-off. I'm not so sure about the 50 miler.

I was cramping and suffering and going backwards in the last 3-4 miles of last year's race. I wasn't going to be able to run another 25 miles in 7:45. I'm going to have to train more and better this season. I'll need to fix bugs in my gear. I'll need to build more muscle, find a good massage therapist, and learn to digest solid food while running (I suspect I'll be a natural at this). I'll need to lose some flab, which might mean cutting back on IPAs. Ouch. I'll need to learn to run well in the dark, for training as well as on race day. Making time for stretching and sleep will be super important. A little luck would help, too, and I feel like I'm due for a race where it's not snowing or raining and I'm 100% healthy.

Managing time is going to be my biggest challenge. In the peak of my training, I'm going to be spending 14-15 hours each week on the trail. That's like a part-time job. I'll need to get 60+ hours of sleep and put in a full week of work as a software engineer (relatively light duty, but still). I don't want to miss out on family stuff like skiing, concerts, school conferences, and soccer games. I've identified the personal activities that have to take a back seat: social media (which I've already curtailed), spectator sports (Pro soccer, etc), soccer coaching, arguing with people on the internet (everybody wins), and open source projects.

I've just completed my 3 best weeks of running since July and am feeling ready to go.

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Fort Collins from Arthur's Rock 2018-11-25

The Kind of Hits That Whitaker Took

The newly appointed Acting Attorney General of the United States is completely unqualified for the job and people are chortling over a tweet this morning that reiterates the point.

It reminds me of an interview on NPR last Friday in which a friend of Whitaker says:

HAUS: I think that if you know Matt, as I and a lot of other people know Matt, you will know that this is a man who has a very strong core. Again, harkening back to the '80s, you don't play tight end for the University of Iowa and take the kind of shots and hits that he took and get up and get back in the game if you're not a person that's got a very strong core. You know your purpose, and you know your job.

The kind of shots and hits Haus is talking about are the ones that briefly knock you out, make you see stars, make you temporarily lose the feeling in your extremities, erase your memory, and we now know that these hits are implicated in chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), a degenerative brain disease.

People clearly learn and grow from playing football, as they do from playing other team sports. I don't think that playing through concussions and hiding brain injury is a good lesson. This is not the definition of character. We're still in an era where people argue that exposure to brain trauma qualifies a person for stressful intellectual jobs. I hope we're reaching the end of this era.

Made it

Ruth is back. My favorite person is home again! Also good: I don't have to wake up at 6 a.m. tomorrow, can extend my runs, and can start to address my open source backlog.

Champagne Vent White Smokers

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Friday I was bragging about what an awesomely agile and zen dad I am, but today I am deeply toasted from a non-stop day of shuttling, cooking, cleaning, and swatting the worst software bugs. We're deep in the season of extra orchestra and dance rehearsals, school fundraising events, and fiddle and guitar recitals. Tomorrow, my youngest's elementary school is having its annual "Spaghetti Dinner" and Book Fair. It could be fun, but they forgot to check my schedule: we've already got French lesson and swimming lessons happening at the same time and I haven't yet installed the app that Bea's guitar teacher wants me to get for her and there are all these quality reports for work that I can't seem to get to during the day. Thanks for allowing me to vent.

Solo Parenting, Expect Delays

I'm flying solo through next Wednesday while Ruth is visiting her folks in Seattle and attending the Entomological Societies meeting in Vancouver. Open source stuff will slip a bit, sorry about that.

I don't mind being a solo parent for a week or so. This is the 5th week this year. To be honest, I think I'm actually pretty good at it. Today was pretty busy, with two different early runs to school, seeing Bea and some other cool kids pick up certificates at an 9 a.m. award assembly, work, then driving a carload of kids to Loveland Laser Tag for a birthday party that ran until 10 p.m. Non-stop from 6 a.m. to 10:30 p.m.

During a break in the action, I explained test-driven development to my oldest daughter's best friend, a smart 7th grader. I'd brought my computer along to LLT and had been working in a corner. Test-driven development, I explained, was the process of working backwards from a program B, which verifies that a program A works as it should, and this seemed to be from her reaction a bit of a puzzler. "Why don't you just write the program first, since you have to have an idea of it before you can write the test?"

Now I'm enjoying a beer, decompressing, and working on my writing.

Linux at Work

Last Thursday I traded my MacBook Pro for a Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon so I can dig more deeply into the performance of Python, Rasterio, and GDAL on Linux. Because I've never used many Apple-only programs and keep all my work in "the cloud" switching was easy.

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No, my workspace isn't usually so tidy

My Apple keyboard and mouse mostly work, which is a nice surprise. The ThinkPad's weird 3-button trackpad and red pointer will take some getting used to.

Prague-Colmar-Montpellier-London 2008

It's retrospective time! Ten years ago, my family, all four of us, went to Europe for the first time. Ruth had meetings in Prague and I had a meeting in London. In between, we did a little touristing in Alsace, scouted Montpellier for future sabbatical housing, and visited friends in England.

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Arabelle and I at Staroměstské náměstí

I was back here 7 years later presenting on GeoJSON at IETF 93 and wished I had Arabelle along.

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Representing FOSS4G 2007

I think I might actually from Alsace, because Colmar really felt like home.

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This photo is one of the first that Arabelle ever took. Good ole PowerShot A520.

Our first home in the neighborhood of Montpellier was a little vacation trailer during the off season in Clapiers. On two sabbaticals we stayed in the city proper, but if we came back, maybe we'd would stay out in the country next time.

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Arabelle going wild on the beach

Everybody has mixed feelings about Carnon plage, I think. There's no nature, and the development is kinda gross, but the sand and water is nice, and it's super close to the city. Ruth grew up at the beach in Southern California and felt "meh", but Arabelle and I were more like "waouh!"

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Arabelle at Gare de Lyon

Good ole Gare de Lyon. We were just there two months ago. This was Arabelle's first TGV ride. We took an RER from here to Gare du Nord and then went under the channel to St. Pancras in London and then on to Swindon. Trains are the best way to travel.

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Naptime in Bath, England

Bath is very touristy but also quite comfy. My people are not really from Alsace, but from Southwestern Britain, and so I felt right at home in Bath.

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In Swindon

Arabelle loved England because we have friends and our friends have cats.

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Swindon Stone, Avebury

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Gabby is linking the ancient world data

I went to London a few times when I was working at ISAW, but this was my first trip and my favorite. We stayed in a hotel on Drury Lane, and despite not seeing the Muffin Man, had a fun time exploring Covent Garden and Neal's Yard.