Monday, June 27, 2011

Y5K #11

I always hope that I'll manage to get up at least one non-Y5K post in between my Monday updates, but this week I've failed to do that. Oh, well.... Anyway, on with the jogging:

  • Monday: I was pretty tired after work today and considered taking a nap first before going on my run. Finally just changed my clothes and made myself go. Did my second 1/4 walk/jog split. 3.02 miles in 36 minutes. For some reason it was a lot rougher than my 1/4 split on Saturday. Maybe because I was tried? I don't know. Lots of sweating. As usual.  But I did it. :) Oh, and I had to put my hand on the hood of a car that was considering running me over. So that was interesting. Someone waiting to turn right, but only looking left for an opening in traffic, found their opening right as I was running across the crosswalk (with the light). I could tell they weren't looking so I was aware that it might happen, but not sure what I would have done if they'd really gunned it. Glad it's a short story. Maybe I should have just waited on the curb? I don't know.

  • Wednesday: Stepped up (again!) to 1/4.5.  Did 3.3 miles in 39.5 minutes. Sweat like a mule. Ran the last 4.5 minutes just on pure rhythm. Was worried I'd wander into traffic during my cool-down. Thankfully I didn't. But I felt pleased with my accomplishment. :)
  • Saturday morning: Went with pretty much the same route as last Saturday, but this time with the 1/4.5 split (last weekend it was just 1/4), and a result I was able to go a little further, which I always enjoy because I get to explore more (one of my favorite things about going on my runs is getting to know the surrounding neighborhoods better).  I was even in such good spirits by the end that I told myself I could probably run for 5 minutes on my last leg. (granted it was mostly all downhill, but still). So I just didn't look at my watch and told myself I'd just run til I got to a landmark and see where I was. And I ran for just over 5 minutes that leg. So I felt good about that.  All in all, I did 3.47 (almost 3 and a half!) miles in just under 40 minutes (A total of 23 minutes jogging and 17 minutes walking -- don't forget in addition to the 1 minute rests between jogs I walk for 5 minutes of warm-up, and then however long it takes me to get home when I finish the last leg of jogging).
So there you have it.  Running the Ray Barrus 5K in Grantsville a week from today.  Not sure how best to prepare for a race week, but I plan on running today after work and stepping up to the last level on my training schedule -- a 5/1 jogging/walking split.  I'm not sure what I'll do after that, as I assume I'm probably not going to successfully run the entire 3.2 miles at the 4th. Maybe I'll just keep stepping up in 30 second increments until I can do it? I don't know. Definitely not a professional at this point.  I can say that I've been very pleased with the training schedule I've used and that I've so far managed to avoid any serious injuries and have been able to stick to the schedule, which has kept me from getting discouraged.  Anyway, guess I'll let you know how things go with the race whenever I get around to posting after the holiday weekend.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Y5K #10

Another week of running come and gone and for the most part it went really well:

  • Monday was definitely a "score one for mental toughness" day.  I was really tempted to just take another day off for "recovery" from Saturday's 5K, but somehow I talked myself into going, because I knew that whatever day was the first day would probably be just as tough.  Anyway, for variety I picked a new route, or at least not one I've done since I started training.  Unfortunately this new route goes west from my house which means it starts out downhill and finishes with the uphill portion.  I decided it was okay if I at least didn't take another step up on the training schedule and just stuck with the 1.5/3.5 split that nearly killed me last time. :)  And despite the last two jogging legs really being rough, I managed to gut it out.  Wondering how I'm ever going to do a 1/4 split. Guess we'll deal with that when we get there. Oh, and I went 3.08 miles in right around 35 minutes.

  • Wednesday, my feet were kind of bugging me, but I sucked it up and headed out for another 1.5/3.5 split and I just ran straight down 13th until it was time to turn around.  A little bit boring maybe, but I wasn't feeling too creative.  Did have to jog in place a few times while I waited for lights to change. That's part of why my usual routes are my usual routes, no waiting for lights.  But I'm starting to go far enough that it's trickier to avoid any traffic lights.  In any case, the run wasn't fantastic, and I felt tired earlier than usual, but interestingly enough the last leg wasn't as bad as it was on Monday. So I guess I might still be making some progress.  The real question is: Can I step up to running for 4 minutes straight with just 1 minute of rest in between? Oh, and I did 3.04 miles in 38.5 minutes.

  • Saturday was a day that I feel really good about. Why? Because I finally stepped up to 1 minute walking/4 minutes jogging! I've been putting it off for a long time because it just seemed like I was already getting worn out at 1.5/3/5 and just 1 minute of resting time between jogging sets seems so short.  Anyway, I decided I'd give it a shot today and it went well. I'm sure it helps that I picked a route where I'd be mostly going downhill on the 2nd half and I did purposely try to pace myself a little on the jogging and just take it easy. I'm not very good at running at a slow pace so I tend to get worn out from the running if I just run in a way that feels most natural to me.  So, it went pretty well. I ended up doing basically 3.2 miles (3.1971 according to my map) and I forgot to check the time when I finished but it was probably somewhere between 36 and 38 minutes.  Anyway, I'm stoked to have been able to step up to this next increment.  After this my training schedule always has 1 minute walking breaks, just the jogging sets get long (4.5 minutes, 5 minutes, etc).

I really only have another week and a half of training and then a couple rest days before the next 5K. I'm curious if I'll be able to jog the whole thing. I've heard it's pretty much all downhill so that will be a nice help.  Guess we'll see. If not, I may have to find a 5K to run in August or something.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

All Grown Up! (Part II)

As I mentioned previously, my youngest brother, Ben, just entered the MTC last week for a few weeks of training before heading off to Hawaii to be a full-time missionary for the church.  And my only sister, Natalie, has now officially accepted a job as a reporter for a news station in El Paso and will be moving there in the next few weeks. Kind of crazy.  In any case, prior to both of them taking off, we managed to get together for a sibling dinner (Sorry we didn't invite you, Geo) and a movie. 

We hit up the Cheesecake Factory, and even got cheesecake! :)  And then we went to an opening night screening of X-Men: First Class that I thought was definitely a worthwhile choice.

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Family Stuff June 2011 002

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The next week, Natalie had to head off to San Francisco to win more national awards for her broadcasting prowess, so it was just me, Ben, mom, and dad for the Ben's setting apart and for the actual drop-off in Provo.  They've sped up the dropping off process since I was there, and there's no more "watch a movie and cry together" portion anymore. You just drive in the gates, they direct you to a number on the curb and you unload. And off they go. For 2 years. Kind of surreal.

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Before getting set apart

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Packing (and watching the NBA Finals)

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Taking some last minute photos before heading to the MTC

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Hang Loose!

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Heading out

I know from experience that when it comes to missing people, I'm really not very good at missing them in the moment that they're leaving. Generally I miss them at some unknown point in the future when I wish they were around.  So, so far I've managed to avoid getting to teary about Ben and Natalie ditching Utah for warmer pastures (I was going to say greener, but I think El Paso is probably not so much green as it is dry), but I'm sure soon enough I'll find myself wishing they weren't so far away.  Good luck, guys!

Monday, June 13, 2011

Y5K #9

Well, another week of running has come and gone, and this one, I guess is slightly more significant because at the end of it, I ran an official 5K. Well I didn't RUN the whole 5 kilometers, but I ran a lot of it and... well, I'll just let you read about it.
  • Despite some overcast and windy weather, I managed to get out and run Monday after work.  Since I'd taken nearly a week off (ok, 5 days), I chose to just go with another 2 minutes walking/3 minutes jogging split and I managed to crank out 3.1 miles in 37.5 minutes. Just out of curiosity, I just looked at some of my old times/distances and had to chuckle because back in week #4 I did 2.9 miles in 28 minutes, doing 3 minutes of walking for every 2 of jogging. So while I'm glad that I've managed to stick with this running thing so long, I guess I shouldn't get too cocky about the progress I'm making. :)

  • Wednesday's run was noteworthy for a few reasons. For starters, I went 3.3 miles in about 40 minutes.  So it was my first time actually crossing the 5K limit.  I was doing a 1.5 minutes walking/3.5 minutes jogging split, and man, the last 2 jogging legs were killer. The last one especially was a mental toughness moment. As I was walking that 1.5 minutes between legs 4 and 5, I was wondering if this would be my first time not sticking to the training schedule. But somehow I managed to put the thought of time out of my mind and just focus on a spot out in the distance and keep my legs moving. Even when it meant running a red light at Vine street when the light was against me and I thought there was no way I'd be able to keep going if I had to jog in place while I waited for the light.  Anyway, hopefully my body can make progress and next time won't be quite so tough.  I guess at this point, next time is probably the 5K I'm doing Saturday morning, so I guess we'll see how that goes. It'll be my first time running a specific distance rather than just a fixed number of minutes. I wonder if that will make it easier or harder. Hmm...

  • Saturday was kind of a big day, at least within the scope of these Y5K posts. :)  I drove over to Wheeler Farm (it's about a 3 minute drive. Mostly I drove so I could put stuff in my car, but also in case I was exhausted afterward and was unable to walk home) for the Utah for Congo Women 5K. Julie, who is running the Wasatch Back Ragnar next weekend came with me and kept me company on the run.  Meili was the one who had invited me to the race, and while she was too busy selling raffle tickets to run, her daughter, Syd, wanted to give the big kids race a shot, so she ran with us for almost all of the first loop around the farm.  When she was tired we walked, which was good rest for us as well. I didn't really look at my watch or try to stick to any kind of training pace. Just jogged when I could and when I got tired told myself I could go a bit further. And then usually Julie would suggest we walk about the time I was ready to walk as well.  My final time was surprisingly good (at least surprisingly good to me): 30 minutes and 03 seconds. Of that 30 minutes I would guess that we probably walked about 7. Give or take.  Anyway, I spent most of the rest of the day lounging around and took a little bit of time to put some ice on my knees and ankles, and hopefully I don't end up suffering too much. At the time of this writing (early Saturday evening), I'm feeling pretty good.

Run for Congo Women - Number
That's me. #171. It's Who I Am.

Run for Congo Women - Time
I had my number pinned on the back of my shirt (in the front was going to annoy me), so they didn't get my time. I took them Julie's time card and asked if they could fill one out for me. Her time was 30:02 and she finished a hair ahead of me, so she adjusted it to 30:03.
  • Sunday, in the hopes of keeping my muscles loose after Saturday's run, I convinced Julie to join me for a stroll. We went for a walk along the Jordan River Parkway, and may have overdone it just a tad, as we ended walking just about 3.2 miles, if my calculations are correct. 
Overall, a pretty full week of walking and running. The next race on my training radar is the Ray Barrus Memorial 5K that takes place in Grantsville before the 4th of July parade. Natalie and George are planning on running it, and maybe even my mom, so that should be fun. Hopefully if I stick to my training schedule for the next few weeks I can run even more of this one (maybe even the whole thing?). Guess we'll see. Hopefully I can at least get out and run tonight after work so I can keep in the habit even with one race under my belt.

Tuesday, June 07, 2011

Old Book, New Book #35: Brain Rules -> Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows


I finished Brain Rules over the weekend.  It was a fairly quick read. Partly because the material wasn't too dense -- very pop science-y, partly because some of it was stuff I was familiar with already, some of it (ok, maybe in large part) because I took this book with me to Orlando and got plenty of good reading time in on the planes.  But it was well-written and easy to follow.  A quick summary: the author looks at researcher in 12 different areas of brain science to come up with some suggestions for how we can improve education, business, and learning in general.  As I said some of it was stuff I'd read before, particularly the part about a lot of our learning happening when we sleep, and how not getting enough sleep can seriously start to impair your brain function.  But there were also some good and interesting points about holding people's attention and interest when presenting information that I thought were particularly interesting and useful.  And a bunch of other stuff too.  Anyway, it's interesting to see both how much know, and how much we still DON'T know about how the brain works.

Given that my life has been kind of crazy lately, I haven't really gotten a good start on my next book yet, but I've decided that now would be a good time to re-read the last Harry Potter book: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. It came out when I was in Europe a few summers ago, and I purchased a copy there (hence the British cover art below) and read pretty much the whole thing on the long flight home (minus 100 pages or so that I read the night before we flew home).  I think reading so much so fast, while in the process of being up for nearly 24 hours straight, resulted in my not remembering much of anything that happens in it. When I saw the Part 1 movie that came out last year, I was genuinely surprised by much of the plot. 

Anyway, seems like it might make for some nice summer reading, if I ever end up with some downtime between all the family stuff, weddings, missions, and other summer partying that's currently going on. And I've got until July 15th if I want to finish it before the 2nd movie comes out. So that seems doable, right? :)


Monday, June 06, 2011

Y5K #8

Slightly shorter post this week, since last week's post came on Tuesday and included Monday.
  • Wednesday was a nice night for a jog, overcast but not too cool.  Tried out a new route from my house, that was mostly uphill on the way out and then downhill on the 2nd half.  Felt like I was struggling a bit, but I managed to stick to the 2 minutes walking/3 minutes jogging that I was supposed to do and ended up doing 2.98 (almost 3!) miles in 37 minutes, so I felt pretty good about myself afterward. Next up: a 1.5/3.5 walk/jog split. Man... seems like the key is just to not expect to ever stop running and get into a rhythm. Now if only I could explain that to my feet and legs. :)

  • And kind of happened and I didn't get a run in on Friday or Saturday. Between dinner at the Cheesecake Factory & X-Men First Class (it was great by the way) on Friday night, and then the temple, Les Mis, a BBQ, and swimming on Saturday, I really hardly had a moment to spare except around 11:30 on Friday night when I briefly considered going for a run, but then realized I needed to be up at 7 the next morning and it just didn't happen.  So, hopefully with a little more free time today I'll get out and run again tonight after work.
Oh, and the first 5K I signed up for is this Saturday, but I don't really plan on running the whole thing. Hoping to be able to keep it to just another training run with a mix of restful walking thrown in. Guess we'll see if I get swept up in the experience of actually running with other people. Hmm... stayed tuned for next week, I guess.

Thursday, June 02, 2011

Everything's bigger when you're a kid

As I've been mapping all my runs lately (quick plug for Gmaps Pedometer), and seeing how far I go in about 40 minutes, I was reminded of being a missionary and how we walked everywhere and how I always told myself that when I got home from Argentina, I'd try to walk more instead of driving everywhere, because really it doesn't take THAT long to walk somewhere. 

Now, I can't say I've stuck to that in the least (things are much further away in American than they are in Argentina, because everyone here has a car), but yesterday I started wondering how far away things are in my hometown of Grantsville, and how everything there still seems like a long distance because when I was a kid everything seemed really far away.  So I went to my handy distance mapping site and looked at how far I'd be running if I was doing my jogs in Grantsville rather than in my neighborhood in Salt Lake.  And frankly I was really surprised. The Handy Corner that we used to ride our bikes to for cheap candy and video games, is only a mile and a half from my house. It really seems farther away. Maybe because of all the open spaces between our house and there. I don't know.  Anyway, since I'll be running a 5K there for the 4th of July, I think it'll be really eye-opening to see how far 3.2 miles will get me in Grantsville.

Wednesday, June 01, 2011

The Big Digital Hits the Oregon Trail and Avoids Coming Down with Dysentery

So, essentially 12 hours after arriving home from my work trip to Orlando, I hit the road again. This time for pleasure, rather than for business.  My good friend Jon, who you might remember from other Adventures of the Big Digital, was getting married in the Columbia River temple, in the Tri-Cities area of Washington state.  My friends Alicia, Matt & Marti (Matt & Marti are married) had also decided to head up to attend the wedding in person, so we loaded up in Alicia's Maxima Murano and hit the road around 3:30 in the afternoon.  Our destination for Friday night: La Grande, Oregon, where Alicia's aunt had a home where we were able to sleep for the night.

As we drove through Idaho and Oregon, I realized that I'd never been to the western side of Idaho. I mean, I've only been to the eastern side a handful of times (Lava Hot Springs, Bear Lake, EFY at Ricks, on the way to Yellowstone), but this was my first time seeing places like Twin Falls and Boise.  Along the way we saw several signs indicating that a certain town featured an "Oregon Trail Interpretive Center". While we didn't actually stop to see any, the running joke was that it was probably just a room with a bunch of old Apple computers where you could play the video game. :)

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Anyway, despite a bit of rain, we made it safely to La Grande, and headed to bed.  I was awakened bright and early (emphasis on bright) by the sun shining in through the window whose blinds I had failed to properly close the night before.  Given that my window was on the east side of the house, the rising sun found me and got me up for the day in plenty of time to take a quick jog through town.

After a shower and some repacking, we hit the road again, crossing through the beautiful Blue Mountains and dropping down into some nice farmland. Eventually we reached the Columbia River that marks the border of Oregon and Washington, and not too long after reached our destination: a Courtyard Marriott in Richland, Washington. (FYI: the other 2 cities that make up Tri-Cities are Pasco and Kennewick).

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Driving through the Blue Mountains

After checking in to one of our two rooms, we found where Jon's family was staying and happened to catch a glimpse of him and Elisha, his bride-to-be getting some pictures taken.  After that we took a short walk along the river (the Columbia River again, apparently it loops back) that looked to be pretty swollen with spring run-off and carrying a fair amount of debris.

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The Columbia River

Soon enough, we headed over to the temple for a very nice sealing, and then some quick photos afterward.  At this point it was nearly 3 and we hadn't had lunch yet, so we found an Olive Garden nearby and stuffed ourselves.  Then back to the hotel for a nap, and then off to the reception only a few hours later for more festivities, including a full dinner, which was maybe a bit much for one day.

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The Columbia River temple

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Getting artsy while we waited for the couple after the sealing

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The new couple!

The reception was held at the Moore Mansion in Pasco, outside on the lawn and it was a perfect evening to be out. Not too hot, not too cool.  In addition to the dinner, there were some speeches, a guitar solo from Jon, an uncomfortable (for Alicia) boquet toss, and some dancing.  Finally the new couple hit the road, and we headed back to the Marriott for a some time at the pool/hot tub.  Eventually we called it a night, knowing we had a long day of driving ahead.

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My road trip crew

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Picture with Jon

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First dance

We drove the full distance back from Tri-Cities on Sunday, and really not too much to say about it. We were all so full from the day before that, after a brief stop for breakfast goods at WinCo, we made it all the way home without even stopping for food. I finally got around to eating again at 9:30 that night.

I was very grateful that the next day was Memorial Day and that I didn't have to be at work.  It was nice to sleep in and just relax, and start catching up a bit on things that I'd neglected while I was gone.