Friday, May 30, 2008

My Favorites

What a great week. The weather was great, Lizzie graduated Kindergarten, and I'm rocking and rolling on my training plan.

Let me start of by discussing my "yesterday". Yesterday really had everything that I loved the most. I got to run my favorite trail, I got to take my girls out to eat dinner at a nice restaurant, we took a family hike, and then we all ate ice cream outside on a nice summery night. It was also kind of fun because Jennifer straitened her hair, and I got to admit, I really liked it. :) I'll post some pictures to the photo album this weekend to share with those that that know about Jennifer's curly hair problem.

Lizzie Finishes Kindergarten
Ok, so, in a nutshell my yesterday was my favorite day of the week. Yesterday was Lizzie's last day of school so we all went out to celebrate her graduation (of Kindergarten of course). Jennifer told the girls that I had a big surprise for them after my run. Luckily she called me on my run and told me that I was supposed to play it up that I had a "surprise" for them. My run went great (more below), then I got home around 6pm or so. As soon as I pulled up, the girls came running to my car saying "DADDY, WHAT'S OUR SURPRISE?" Jennifer said that they had guessed nearly everything... "are we getting a new puppy?", "are we going to the pet store?", "is Mommy pregnant?", etc... It was kind of funny when I told them that we were all going out to eat and they got to pick where. Their reaction was like "that's it?". Priceless! Of course, I have extremely polite children, so they acted excited and said they wanted to go the place "where we can draw on the table"; which in grown up terms means Garfields. After dinner, we all went to the EarthWorks Indian Mounds for a late night hike before it got too dark. Once the sun had completely set, we all went to Dairy Queen for dessert and ate outside in our t-shirts on a nice summer night. I'll be sure to post pictures of our adventures this weekend.

Training Overview
For those that are interested, here is my week of training for my upcoming marathon it is from here on, so look away if you don't care. :) Let me start by saying that my favorite running is that which allows me to just get out and spend quality time with my thoughts; that is exactly what this weeks running was all about:

I took Monday off of running and spent it with my family for Memorial Day. My mom had burgers and brats on the grill and Jen and I took the girls over to hang with family. No core work, no nothing, just protein.

On Tuesday, I took an evening run in town on the YMCA bike path. It was a bit chilly, but once I got the blood flowing, I wanted to peel some layers, but kept them on and really worked up a nice sweat. The sunset was beautiful, and I could have kept running into the night.

Wednesday, I took off out the front door and ran down to Blackhand Gorge. Once I got to the bike path, I ran ~1.2 miles in, then turned around and came back. I had no goals for that run, so I literally just ran at a nice slow pace. I must say, however that I hate running on my roads out here though because people go about 70 miles an hour and don't pay attention. There is a nasty turn down the road from my house, and I had to literally jump off of the median at one point.

Yesterday was my favorite running day of the year I think. I woke up, worked most all morning in the recliner, then went out for my run around 4:00 pm. I decided to drive down to Marie Hickey trail with my Garmin and my water bottle. The trail was in it's prime. The poison ivy was fresh, the animals were all out and the sun was shining. I even stopped and took some pics on my cell phone because it was so beautiful to be out. I remember a statement that Kim said while she was running at Mohican; she said that the woods "cocooned around her". That is exactly how I felt at a few points.

Today was a great run too. I got home and headed up to run around my hill. I found out tonight that I have to run 6.5 laps around the back hill to equal a mile. Since I was out to run 4 miles, I winded up running 26 laps. Jennifer had the girls in town, so I was in no hurry. The sun was shining and I was feeling great.

I tried a couple of times to invited my girls on runs with me this week, but they declined each time. I just put them to bed tonight, and I asked them about running with me in the morning. :) They said they would, so I'm excited. Of course, I'll just treat it as a hike since I'm scheduled for a cross training day.

Sunday is my 11 miler and I plan to just run around the block while all the people are at church. I love morning runs around here; fresh field smells, dewy hay fields, etc... Looking forward to it!

To wrap it all up, next week will be all hot and sweaty running since I'll be in Orlando for TechEd!! I'm looking forward to these runs. It's always nice to get out and run in different cities. Luckily next week is a "down" week in my training schedule. Florida humidity is a bit much this time of year. :)

So there's my week of running and family goodness.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Great Week of Training

I had a great week of training this week. I'm really loving this 5 days of running and two days off. Yesterday was my most productive day of training yet in every way. Each day I did some core work and I can feel the weight coming off pound by pound. I feel stronger everyday and I'm hoping I can keep this up 'til late July.

Monday was my victory run. We released Data Dynamics Analysis at work and I just ran on the treadmill and thought about what was next in line. More samples, more features, more exposure, more, more, more.

Tuesday of course was my trail run with Jazzy and I loved it so much that I've decided I'll be inviting my girls on a run with me (at least) once a week. Lizzie still has yet to come with me, so that will be fun too. :)

Wednesday I took a 6.5 mile run through the west end of Newark in the evening and really loved the whole "sunset theme" of that run. It was one of those runs where it felt good to be outside on a beautiful night. I could have kept going, but my training plan said 6 and I accidently put in a little over 1/2 mile of "junk mileage".

Thursday was my day off, and I just kicked it around the yard with my girls.

Friday was a good (but very late) run for me. I didn't get a minute to do my run until about 11:30 pm, so I hopped on the treadmill before going to bed. I had just worked up my sweat and was really getting into my run when the 3 mile marker hit and I had to stop. Good strong run!

Saturday was my day off, but we took the kids to the Ice Cream Festival and had a blast. All the calories I burned throughout the week were totally replenished in this one day. After the festival I did lots of yard work, so I guess that has to count for something. ;)

Sunday was my long run. I spent all day working outside weed-eating and doing yard work. My parents and my sister came over and we all hung outside playing kickball. It was my Dad and Jennifer against me, Lizzie, and Jazzy. We won (of course). When they all left, I did a lot of yard work and stacked firewood on the back hill. By the time 9pm came around I was already worn out. I considered putting off my run until Monday, but I have a quote embedded in my brain now that my buddy Rob gave me: "A lost day of training is never made up". So around 9pm, Jen was getting the girls in the tub and ready for bed so I put my running shoes on and grabbed my reflective gear, my head lamp and my water bottles and headed out the door. When I run at night outdoors, I always go to the west end of newark and park at either Tyler's house, or at the YMCA parking lot. I couldn't get a hold of Tyler, so I parked at the YMCA. The run took me 2 hours, but I felt great afterwards and was happy I forced myself to go do it. 

Again, great week of training.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

My New Trail Running Partner

I worked from my kitchen most of the morning and into the early afternoon, then around 2:30 or so I was ready to go get my 5 miler in. As I was getting ready to run out the door, Jennifer asked if Jazzy could go with me. My first reaction was "No, not today, but maybe on my next run."

Once I realized how horrible and selfish that sounded, I got excited and said "Jazzy, you wanna put your shoes on and go run with me?". Her eyes lit up like silver dollars and she said "YEAH!". She's always talking about how she wants to go running with me and how she can't wait to run in her new Sketchers because she thinks their so fast. :)

We hopped in the car and went down to Marie Hickey Trail (2 mile loop). Since this is her first "trail run", I'll start her off on an easy 2 miles at her pace and then I'll come back out later in the day to get my other 3 miles in. She's hiked this trail with me a few times, so she knew how long it was.

She ran beside me for a long way (maybe 1/2 mile) very slowly, but in jogging motion. She is a very cute runner; arms, legs, head, everything moves when she runs. :) I gave her one of my Nathan water bottle gloves and she felt like big stuff. Of course she filled the zipper pouch with flowers, leaves, and rocks to give to Mommy, and I carried it most of the way. She tripped over 2 roots and the second one was doozy, but she jumped up as quick as she fell down and brushed herself off. The entire 2 mile loop took us 53+ minutes, and she was pretty wore out from the hills. I gave her some crazy credit and told her she's now a "trail runner". She jogged behind me for quite a ways. At one point, we walked for a good distance to just "take a bwake", and she finally spoke up and said "Can we run again?", to which I said "SURE! Let's go!". Of course, we would have to stop every so many yards to look at flowers, bugs, and other cool things to add to her zipper pouch. :) I showed her what rock moss was and she was fascinated by it. "Feels wiewd!"

I realized tonight that I have to do this more often! Man, I'm so happy Jennifer asked about taking Jazzy with me; we had a blast! She has told everybody about "running with daddy" today and she was so proud to spend that time with me. I'm a lucky dude! Nothing like trail running with my little girl.

When got back, she got in the tub and I went out for a quick 4 miler on the Blackhand Gorge bike path @ 9:30 per mile pace. :)

Data Dynamics Analysis

Data Dynamics is proud to announce the immediate release of... What am I saying? I've spent way too much time doing marketing lingo. You'd think I knew how to talk...

What I meant to say was:
Hot off the press! Data Dynamics Analysis is released! Go download the most complete .NET component for analyzing data you'll ever see, ever... ever!
I know I have a few sporadic .NET readers out there (Jason, Josh, Jim, Steve, Phil, and my DD peeps (James, Pilgrim, Scott, Issam, & Rajnish)). Please help me tell the world about this thing. If you don't, then step aside so I can. :)

I want to share a quick movie to explain what this product is in a nutshell. There is no sound, but I'm going to show it to you anyway. Just hum to yourself while it plays. It's only about 2 minutes long and I feel that it really shows what Data Dynamics Analysis can do. Keep in mind that I don't even show the AJAX control during my video, but it's there for all you ASP.NET people and SharePoint people. You can find out all about that on the product page. For a cop-out on disaster recovery here, I made this for an online ad and only realized afterwards that my voice sucks; so the audio was removed. Sorry! Luckily I had a credible voice dub over video, reading my content who was able to add much more enthusiasm. Thanks Carl!

Ok, so you've heard about this product on .NET Rocks, you've seen ads for it on DNRTV, you've probably seen my demo's at various events over the last 2 years, and I'm sure you've dreamed about this product in your sleep; I know I have. I'm here to tell you that you can now buy the product directly from Data Dynamics website and begin building Business Intelligence apps for ASP.NET and Windows Forms applications.

Here is a quick story of the product from it's concept, to it's release: We have been working on this product for almost 3 solid years now. It started out as a PM research project, then it turned into a cool concept application that our developers whipped together in no time (these guys are smart). After that, we realized that we really had something here, and nobody could really compete with this component. We put our hearts and souls into making it the best thing on the market, and I truly believe that it is the best thing on the market today. Today being it's official birth date. No other competitor in the component market can touch this thing. If you feel there is a product out there right now that comes close to this product, I beg you to please comment and send me a link.

If you don't believe me, or you have your doubts, then I challenge you to download it, and try it out. Not only am I challenging you to try it out, but I challenge you to place the component on your form and connect it to your own data. You will be able to see your data in a whole new light! I plan to create some pretty stellar samples and post them on my blog over the next few months. Of course, my samples will revolve around running data and other random data that I deal with on a day to day basis. So stay tuned to that, and feel free to comment with any ideas on some analysis scenarios you would be interested in.

With a tear in my eye and a chin held high, I'm here to tell you that Data Dynamics Analysis Version 1.0 is officially for sale. If you want to know what it does, check out the features page. I've written down the features so many times, that I refuse to repeat them on my blog. This is where you grin, nod in understanding, and click my links. :)

Also, please respond and tell me what you think!

Trees and Quads and Training Ramblings...

Had a great first week of training last week. I got in all the runs I wanted, even if it meant doing it into the wee hours of the morning. My job and family keeps me pretty busy throughout the day time hours each day, so getting a run in at 12:30 am isn't out of the ordinary for me.

Yesterday (Sunday that is), I had a full day of family and friends. I'm working on a project with a friend of mine who just so happens to be the admin for, which is an online site for tracking workouts and a LOT more. We are diligently working on creating a plug in for SportTracks that will allow users to sync their workouts and other information with his site. Believe it or not, we've gotten pretty far already, and it's looking like it's going to be a pretty successful plug in. For anybody that uses SportTracks, you may consider signing up for if you don't already have an online training log. I like all of the blog sidebar options that the site has to offers and it's a very "team" oriented site that promotes running communities and so forth. It's just a very cool site, and I'm happy to now be a small part of it.

As I've mentioned before, I've been an avid user of online training logs. I use multiple computers through out each day, so having all of my training stuff on one machine just isn't an option for me; my logs have to be online. Not only that, but I want them to have lots of options. BuckeyeOutdoors is my final resting stop; I'll be here until Ben sells the site, or my legs fall off and I quit running. I have my full training log on there now (from CoolRunning and RunnersWorld). The feature list of BuckeyeOutdoors site exceeds that of the others. Not only that, but Ben (the admin) is a really smart guy and he doesn't let to many feature requests get past him without giving each of them some effort. It was great to brainstorm with him on my whiteboard about how this thing is going to work. The plan is to make it as transparent to the user as possible, and with my .NET knowledge and his knowledge of PERL, we're moving right and it's going a lot easier than I had originally thought. Look for the plug in to be finished sometime this summer...

So anyway, after Ben and his family left, I helped my two brother in laws cut down a tree on the older brother's property. This involved me climbing 30 feet up into a tree with my chainsaw and dangling like a monkey with my arms stretched out cutting limbs off. I found myself twisting and flexing my body out horizontally at times to cut limbs off that were almost out of reach. Not only was it fun, but it was a hell of a work out. Of course, once the tree was down, we had to cut it up into firewood and carry the remains to the burn pile. I knew it was going to wear me out, but I love doing this type of work. Plus, it was sunny, we were working by his pond, and it gave me a chance to climb around in a tree like a monkey.

After the tree climbing excursion, I went and put in a 6 mile run on the bike path. It was a great run and I really got to enjoy the weather. I've been couped up in my basement working on some work related stuff (my next post), so I hadn't really had a chance to get out and run outdoors much last week. This run was awesome and I vowed to myself, that I won't rely on my treadmill so much anymore (especially since summer is almost here). By the time I got back to my car, it was pushing 8:30pm, so I headed home and relaxed the rest of the night.

Today (or Monday), my quads were killing me all day and I couldn't figure out why. I didn't let them slow me down, but man they hurt. It reminded me of my post marathon pains (only not so severe). I tried to blame it on my 6 mile run, but... no! The only thing I could think that caused the muscle to strain this much was maybe from climbing around in that tree and flexing every-which way for almost an hour, then hauling firewood and brush for another hour or so. While I was doing the work, I didn't think it was so bad, but today made me rethink the whole job and I guess I'm not as invincible to tree service work as I used to be. My 3 miler today helped a bit, but I still feel the strain in my right quad as I type this.

So there you have it, 3+ hours of brain work, 2+ hours of intense core workout, and 6 miles of cardio. The moral of this post is... there is no moral to this post.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Workouts and Running Posts

Up until now, I've never really posted on my workouts and various runs I put in. I've been running for over a year now and only have a handful of posts about running. Most of them are of my different race reports, but nothing on the actual training that went into them.

The last time I went to Mohican, I asked my running buddy, Rob to help me with a training plan for my upcoming marathon and he said he would try to help me out. For all of my races last year, and even my race 2 weeks ago, I've been using training plans. The biggest problem that I found with their plans is that I was only running 3 days a week and doing 4 days a week of cross training. In all honesty, I would rather be running more than just 3 out of 7 days; especially when training for a race that is all about... running.

The new plan is to do 5 runs a week and continue to do cross training on my days off. This already sounds better to me. Of course, the 5 runs are much shorter (so far) and I think it's something I will definitely be able to stick with. I've always hated my "off days", and now I'll only have 2 of them per week. :)

So prepare to see more posts from me on how my training is going. The knee is healed, the spirits are high, the bad habits are gone, the wife is behind me, and I'm so serious about crossing the finish line of the Grand Island Trail Marathon in a respectable time. I now have a plan, and I'm confident it will work for me. Thanks Rob! I look forward to the weeks ahead. Ok, gotta get ready for my 6 miler tomorrow. :)

Thursday, May 08, 2008

More Mind Mapping

I posted a link to a mind mapping tool for Mac, and while looking through Pietrik's latest set of links, I found this: Free Mind Mapping Application

This one's written in .NET 3.0 though. :) Pretty cool!

Shift Happens

Doing my blog role this morning, I stumbled upon a post from Josh Holmes that got me thinking...
Get off the couch and go learn something!!... NOW!

Monday, May 05, 2008

West Michigan Day of .NET

WM Day of .Net May 10, 2008 - I'll be there!This weekend, James and I are headed up to Grand Rapids, Michigan for a full Day of .Net. Data Dynamics is sponsoring the event and we signed up to give a presentation on how to present data in a meaningful and elegant way. The topic of our presentation is titled: Simplicity in Visualizing Numbers.

James and I have given this presentation a couple of times at events in the past. This past weekend we took some time and refined it a bit to apply some presentation zen to our talk; I'm anxious to see the outcome. We've done a lot of research over the years on this particular topic and I feel confident that we will teach a lot of smart people something new this weekend.

Jim Weirich Interview

Looking through InfoQ today and stumbled upon an interview with a certain Jim Weirich. Hey, wait a minute... I jammed with that guy at CodeMash 2008. Not only is he a Ruby guru, but he's also a damn good guitar player. :)