Sunday, March 25, 2007

Do run run

Greetings everyone. I did something today I haven't done in quite some time, which was to run in a 5K run for charity. I use the term "run" loosely here. It was more like "jog/walk/jog/walk/jog" but I did finish (slowly) without incident. I ran in part because my company was sponsoring the race and I got to do it without paying an entry fee...but it was also part of my "get in shape/diet" plan which has been kind of stalled in the last couple of weeks.

I used to run quite a bit. I even ran in a marathon once. Those days, as evidenced by my performance today, are long ago. However, I think this will motivate me to start exercising more. And running, while it can be hard on your knees, is excellent for weight loss. So, we'll see how it goes. It will probably be harder to get in shape in my 30's than it was in my 20's...but it's still doable. As a point of reference, my time today was twice as slow as I used to manage on 5K's I did in my mid-twenties when I was running a lot. But while I might not get down to that time again, I know I can improve a lot on what I did today.

The run (aside from my pathetically slow time) was fairly well designed, but it was an "out-and-back" course, which I've never been a fan of. That way, you see all the fast runners returning as you're still running out to the halfway point, and it makes you realize how much farther you have to go. The last bit of the run involved a "lap" around the sports structure where the post-race party was being held, and that was pure torture, since you think you're almost done, and you get back near the start, only to discover you have another mile or so to go. Oh well. Overall, though, the run was well-planned and there were adequate volunteers, water, first aid, etc. to make sure everyone had a fun and safe time.

The post-race party was kind of fun but I didn't stay for the awards. However, while much of the free post-race food was healthy...much of it wasn't. I assume this was for the benefit of all the families running, but post-run pizza is something I've never seen before. (And yes, I did have a slice of it...I do love pizza.) They also were handing out danishes, ice cream, beer though. There was also the typical healthy post-race food of bananas, apples, bagels, etc. available along with water, juice, and Propel fitness water by Gatorade.

As this was a run to benefit cancer research, there were many family and corporate teams in the event, many of whom wore custom t-shirts identifying themselves. The group of volunteers handing out pizza were attired in T-shirts which read "MLF Volunteer Team." I almost smiled, thinking if they had one more letter on their shirts it would have been really funny. Was Stiffler's Mom around somewhere? Obviously whoever designed the shirts didn't share my twisted sense of humor.

One thing I usually like about runs is the sense of accomplishment afterwards. Of course, if you're not an elite runner, you have no chance of winning one of the prizes, but you know you finished and ran the same distance as everyone else...which makes you feel good. It's definitely a feeling you don't get just by watching a football or basketball game, even a live one.

UPDATE: Unbeknownst to me, this race hired photographers that took pictures of every single runner. I was able to download the pics from their web site and I'm attaching the least embarrassing one of yours truly. This was taken near the end of the run, which explains why I look like I'm about to keel over.

Saturday, March 17, 2007

100 Facts in 100 Days #12

This factoid is related in part to my Hospital Chronicles series, but not directly. I haven't had any serious injuries for a few years, but growing up, and in my twenties, I had my fair share of mishaps. I was trying to count, and near as I can come up with, I've broken or fractured seven different bones over the years. Some were from stupid accidents (punching a wall), others from bad luck accidents (crashing while skiing or slipping while hiking.) There's a chance I might have fractured one of my ribs once, also, but I never had it x-rayed so I'm not counting that in the breakage total.

I suppose I've been lucky (if you can count it as luck) in that I've never needed surgery to repair/set any of the injuries. Since three of the bones I've broken were in my left hand, I suppose that's rather fortunate. One chiropractor I went to took some x-rays of my neck and back and said I had at some point in my past fractured a vertebrae in my neck. If this happened, I don't know when, and it must have been not too severe of an accident or I would have remembered it. I'm not sure I trusted his evaluation (he was a chiropractor and not a radiologist, after all) but if he was correct, then I was very lucky. Any spinal cord damage from such an injury could potentially have paralyzed me from the neck down.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

100 Facts in 100 Days #11

I've always been kind of a computer geek since my early teen years. I mean, I've never been one to write code for hours on end, but I really like working with computers, and in recent years, I've done some of my own hardware upgrades, OS installations, etc.

Back in high school, this was viewed as the ultimate in geekery, but in recent years, it seems like being proficient on computers is like being good at working on cars...everyone respects your skills and wants your help! Of course, I'm definitely not an expert, but I do help out my friends when I can.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Weather here or there

This is the weather this afternoon around 3 PM today from near where I used to live "up north":

Temperature: -9.0°C (16°F)
Dewpoint: -12.0°C (10°F) [RH = 79%]
Pressure (altimeter): 30.37 inches Hg (1028.5 mb)
Winds: from the NE (40 degrees) at 3 MPH (3 knots; 1.6 m/s)
Visibility: 0.50 miles (0.80 km)
Ceiling: indefinite ceiling with vertical visibility of 300 feet AGL
Clouds: obscured sky
Weather: SN (snow)

This is what the weather was doing where I live now at around the same time:

Temperature: 16.7°C (62°F)
Dewpoint: 5.6°C (42°F) [RH = 48%]
Pressure (altimeter): 30.28 inches Hg (1025.5 mb)
[Sea-level pressure: 1025.7 mb]
Winds: from the SSE (160 degrees) at 10 MPH (9 knots; 4.7 m/s)
Visibility: 10 or more miles (16+ km)
Ceiling: 25000 feet AGL
Clouds: broken clouds at 25000 feet AGL
Weather: no significant weather observed at this time

Still a little cool here, but I'll take it any day over Wisconsin. I do miss a few things about my former state, don't get me wrong...but the winter weather is not one of them.

Friday, March 02, 2007

100 Facts in 100 Days #10

Since I started working in the aviation business, I have worked for five different airlines, and I've moved a total of six times. Only two of the moves were paid for by the company. One of the moves was due to a headquarters change of location, so the company had to pay for the move...the other paid move was to work for my previous employer in Wisconsin. The policy there has now changed and they no longer pay for new hire relocation costs. My current employer did help some with some move expenses (hotel, per diem, etc.) but did not pay for the movers. I am hopeful that the last long-distance move was my last one until I retire...although in the airline industry, you can't ever take anything for granted.