Runs are feeling better

I've been running pretty consistently since December 21st. My 3 mile run times have been about 30 to 35 minutes. In a month's time, I had dropped 20 pounds, and as of mid-March, my 3 mile time has been under 24 minutes. That was all treadmill work during the winter months, so you'd have to take that number with a grain of salt, but I was feeling pretty good about it. On March 18th, I strained something in my calf. I couldn't run and hobbled back to my car from the trail I was running. I took a week or so off and returned to running about 3.28. I ran only a mile that day, but the following day I ran 3 miles, albeit at a 10:00 pace. on Wednesday (3.30), I tried to pick up the pace and blew out my calf again.

I thought I had torn a muscle, but the doc did an ultrasound on 4.7 and said everything looked good. She approved a gradual return to normal runs. I took it slow at first. Half a mile the first day and a mile the second day. With some serious conditioning and stretching, I've gotten back up to 3 miles. My times have slipped, but now that I have the distance back, I can work on my pace gradually until I recover completely.

Part of the backslide is due to the fact that I'm now running outside, whereas all of my winter runs/training have been indoors on a treadmill. I continue to be shocked at how much more difficult outdoor runs are. I ran in the park over the weekend and took about 26 minutes for 3 miles of relatively flat ground. Today, I ran 3 miles in about the same time (26:30 vs. 26:33), but the path I took (city streets) was far more challenging. My legs feel good. A little sore, but no more so than the rest of me. I think my leg is going to be ok this time. I'm still a little cautious with it, but I'm back on the path. However, my entire body is sore from this new challenge. As I continue to push this, I see another phase of weight loss due to the extra effort I'm putting forth.

I've been running nearly every day and, particularly as my performance improves, I've become addicted to it and I can't wait to run my first street race. I'm running in the Warrior Dash ( in June, but that's not a street race. It's more an obstacle course or confidence course than a road race. I'm excited to do it, but it won't really challenge my running performance.

So, with any luck, I'm officially on the mend and can start pouring myself into this activity to regain what I've lost over the past month or so. I'm extremely pleased about what this has done for me, both mentally and physically. That's a post for another day, but I look forward to transformations to come.


Photoshop Pics

A Woman, A Mattress & A Car

I just linked my Posterous to Google Buzz. Lets see how it works.

A Woman ran over a mattress on the highway,
And decided not to worry — and kept on driving. 
The ensuing jumble finally whipped around enough
To tear a hole in the fuel tank. 
The Subsequent Lack Of Fuel Is What Finally
Brought Her Vehicle To Its Knees. 
She Had Still Managed To Drive 30 More Miles
With A 60-Pound Tangle of Stuff Wrapped Around Her Drive shaft. 
She Had it Towed To Her Dealership And Complained
That The Vehicle Had A "Sort Of Shimmy" When She Was Driving At High Speeds. 
The Photos Of What They Found At Her Dealership……………….. 
The Last Photo Is By Far The Best.  
"Sort Of A Shimmy" — I'll Bet It Did!

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Buzz from Jesse Newhart

 Link to this post:

Feb 19 Jesse Newhart: Will Asteroid Mining Destroy The Chinese Economy? [Exoplanetary Ethics]io9
Feb 19 Jack Barajas: a space odyssey 2000. long overdue, i guess
9:58 am Dennis Lemckert: Why so suddenly wanting to be ethical? Capitalism, throughout history, always was about more and cheaper. Look at England 18th century: that wasn't cheap labor, but slavery!
So what, a robot doing the work? Then we humans have more time on our hands to do nicer things. Just imagine the amount of brainpower released to the world, to develop new things, just by keeping one's hands clean. Knowing the resources will be cheap and abundant as well, makes it a perfect start for a brave new world.

The only ones who need to be afraid are the extremely-rich industrials of this age. They are with just a few hundred. Never mind them. They'll be a footnote in history now.
10:47 am Kevin Arth: I agree with @Dennis Lemckert that this kind of thought is long-overdue. We've done enough damage to our environment and our people. It's time to start cleaning up our mess and educating people so they can make more meaningful contributions to the things that robots aren't as good at. If a robot can mine an asteroid, why not teach the miners in China how to put those resources to more creative use.

Also, as the article suggests, what's the downside to strip-mining an asteroid? Grind that baby to dust. one less (potential) Earth impactor. 🙂

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The Point of the Holiday Season to an Atheist

In a conversation with a friend, who is also atheist, the topic of holidays came up. Someone questioned why she would have a Christmas Tree. She said “Umm, why not?” I also thought it was a strange question. I said “I’m atheist, but I love the holiday season.” However, when my cousin (who is not atheist) questioned this “…and what exactly do you love about it?,” I started wondering if maybe this wasn’t so obvious to those who don’t understand atheism. Perhaps this question deserves to be fleshed out a bit.

Every atheist has a slightly different definition of atheism. Going into the nuances is outside the scope of this post. Suffice it to say we don’t believe in God and tend to shun the institution of religion in general.

So my desire to celebrate the holidays with family and friends is considered strange behavior for an atheist. First of all, what is Christmas? It’s the celebration of the birth of Christ, although with a little research, I could come up with the names of at least two other non-christian deities who also celebrate their birth around this time (an inexplicable coincidence), but that’s another topic for another day. If you’re Christian, this idea of “birth of Christ” is not lost on you. You may go to Church, but even if you don’t, you recognize that this holiday has the aforementioned religious element to it. I don’t believe in Christmas as the celebration of the birth of Christ, and I don’t celebrate it any more than I celebrate Hanukkah or Ramadan. Christmas, specifically, holds no significance for me. However, the holiday season in general is a different matter.

If you set aside religion for a moment, do the days in and around November/December feel like normal work days? Of course not. Decorations are up, Christmas trees and Hanukkah bushes are up, people are shopping for gifts and visiting with friends and family, and the atmosphere is just generally more festive and cheerful.

We decorate the house and put up a tree if we’ve got the time. It’s pretty to look at and it helps to create the festive atmosphere that we enjoy as much as anyone else does. We don’t stress out if it doesn’t get done. It’s not about responsibility. It’s about doing what we enjoy doing without losing perspective. After all, what’s the Christmas tree got to do with the religious aspect of Christmas anyway? It’s just another decoration for the house. We exchange gifts just because that’s what’s traditionally done, although we rarely do so on Christmas day. It just happens, frankly, whenever the hell we feel like it.

So, what do I love about the holiday season? Essentially everything that my Christian friends and family do. The only difference is that I don’t recognize it as a celebration of the birth of a man that Christians consider their god. I use it as an opportunity to celebrate the things that are important to me — my family and friends.

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Finally got off my butt and ran. it’s been 8 days

Friday evening, I decided to tape up my ankle and jump on the treadmill. It had been 8 days since I sprained it. This is what it looked like the night of the injury:

And now, eight days later:

I didn’t want to risk another injury by running outside again, and frankly, I wasn’t even sure if I’d be able to do it.

It’s been over a week and, although I’ve been off the crutches for several days, I’m still taking Vicodin and Motrin for pain pretty regularly. Plus, my foot’s sportin’ every color of the rainbow.

I started off at a slow walk/limp pace for a couple of minutes and then tried to step it up to a slow jog. Well, let me tell you, that sucked. Treadmill said 3MPH and my ankle felt like someone had shoved a bunch of broken glass inside my ankle joint. I really thought that was it. I was going to have to quit.

I really wanted to spend at least 10 minutes on the treadmill before giving up, so I tried to push through the pain for at least a few minutes with the thought that I’d walk for 5 minutes if I had to, but I wanted to at least run some of it. Well, after a minute or two, the ankle settled down and didn’t hurt quite as much, so I kept going.

Every step was painful, but ultimately I was able to suck it up and get 3.5 miles in. The pace was pitifully slow (about 45 minutes), but it’s more than I expected, so I’m pleased with it.

I took today off to rest it, and I haven’t decided if I’ll go again tomorrow or wait until Monday. It’ll depend how it feels and how much pain I’m in the mood to tolerate. I really hate running treadmills, but I think I need the predictability to minimize the risk of re-injury until my ankle is a little stronger and a little less sore.

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Stargate Universe

I’m a week late, but I just caught the series premier of Stargate Universe.

I like the new show, but, of course, I have to offer a little perspective. I loved the original movie, Stargate. I’ve seen every episode ever created in the 10, or so, years that Stargate SG-1 ran and I’ve seen every episode ever created in the 5 years that Stargate Atlantis ran, so my liking this new series is kind of a no-brainer.

I am a little concerned though. Although Stargate SG-1 was wildly successful, as evidenced by its run time, they cancelled Stargate Atlantis after only 5 seasons, presumably due to ratings. The new series, Stargate Universe, is a new cast in a new story arc, but I’m not sure it’s different enough from Stargate Atlantis. If Atlantis died early due to ratings, I’m not sure this won’t suffer the same fate.

Stargate Universe lives in the same world as the other Stargate shows, and there’s some overlap of characters, with guest appearances by Col. Carter and Gen. O’Neil, and even Walter, but otherwise, it’s a whole new cast. The main premise is that they discover a gate address with a 9th symbol and when they dial it, they end up stranded on a broken “Ancient” ship hurling through intergalactic space at superluminal speed. They have no idea where they are or how to get home, and the ship is breaking all around them. So, presumably, this show is about their efforts to find a way home, with the exception of one character, whose motives have not been made clear. In a way, this sort of reminds me of Star Trek Voyager.

Again, I liked it, and I’ll watch it faithfully, as I did with the other series,’ but as I said above, I’m an easy win.  We’ll have to see.

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Lesson for the day: iPhone update and VMWare Fusion don’t play nice

This is not a particularly scary thing to see on your phone…unless you’ve been using it for months and already have 32GB of data on it.

I use VMWare Fusion to run Windows Vista on my Mac for work. I was in there when I was notified by Apple of an update to the iPhone software. I switched over to iTunes (in OS X) and initiated the update. i then switched back to Windows to proceed with my work while the update ran.

Unfortunately, one of the steps in the update was for the phone to restart. Well, naturally, when the phone attempted to restart, Windows recognized the new device and started to install device drivers for it. I cancelled the driver install and switched back to iTunes, but it was too late. The update failed because iTunes lost its connection with the phone (due to Windows trying to snatch it up).

It forced a phone restore, which I attempted. The first attempt failed. I had to disconnect the phone and reset it manually, then run the restore again. It succeeded on the second attempt, but it completely wiped everything from the device.

I’m currently in the process of reloading all my apps, music, pictures, etc. This will take a while, and I’ve lost trivial things like the locations of apps on screens and other settings, but it appears that no data was lost.

I just hope when it’s done that I haven’t lost all my email and calendar (CalDAV) settings. This will be a pain to reconfigure.


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