April 26, 2012

So why do I?

Superman: How was your run?
Me: It sucked, as usual.

If you knew how often I have this conversation, you would wonder why I run at all. There are, of course, several reasons.

First, I want to be something like this woman:
You can read about Harriet Anderson here. I want to be like her in the same way I want to be like the little old lady who used to ride her bicycle around my neighborhood. Inspirational. Inspired. Moving and pushing at an age when most are content to do little more than walk from door to car and back.

Second, I do not want to be like this:
While I am not obese, I am currently overweight. I consistently eat an excess of calories, regardless of how I try to be "healthy" or "reasonable." I have emotional components to my eating that I have yet to overcome. That said, I do manage to maintain a somewhat reasonable weight. I've been at or around the same number on the scale for years. I maintain my weight through running and moving and exercising. If I did not run, I would be much larger than I am. I would also like myself a hell of a lot less. True story.

The third reason I continue to run is the same reason people continue to gamble. There is  psychology behind gambling that says you will continue to come back if you win, even if that win is just a small amount, and even if it doesn't happen very often. If you continue to lose over and over and over, you are bound to walk away in disgust and never come back. But if you win just once, you are more prone to returning because it's been proven that you can win so you might win again.

So the third reason I run, even though I rarely enjoy it, is because sometimes I do enjoy running. Sometimes a run doesn't hurt, the planets align, the angels sing, and it feels like I'm floating on air or zooming down the sidewalk. Sometimes, even if I suck wind and the run was really hard, the numbers on my GPS make me smile. Sometimes it's enough to just be able to say I got out there and ran, regardless of how it felt.

April 24, 2012

I am insane

Doing the Insanity program, along with running and biking, is insane.

Who besides me didn't see this coming? As usual, I dove in all gung ho with a totally unrealistic plan that my schedule and body simply cannot handle. I can't do a half hour to 45 minute run, 45 minute video, and hour to 2 hour ride in the same day. I don't have the time, and it leaves me with no energy for anything else (like studying). Besides that, my body complains with more than just aches and fatigue. I took Sunday and Monday off from everything, in part because my knee hurt again.

Doing the Insanity program helped my runs.

While the program I've been attempting the last week is crazy, I also believe cross training with core and upper body work helped my runs. Either that, or it was the slower pace because my body was so tired. Maybe it was the stretching, which every Insanity video does twice. One way or another, I felt I could run for more days in a row than I have been lately.

So here's the newest plan:

     On the days I bike, I will also run.

     On the days I do not bike, I will do a core workout.

     On the days I do not bike, but do run, I will run farther than 3 miles.

     On the days I do any workout, I will also stretch.

     I will take one day a week off from all workouts.

Dr. J said she might send me a yoga DVD that only has one downward dog. I love yoga, but for some reason since my thyroid started acting up, downward dog gives me a migraine. I can feel it starting pretty much as soon as I get into the position, and it's put me in the emergency room. Not good, and I won't go there. One way or another though, I need to set up a regular stretching routine.

I also need to get back on track with my running goals. I dropped down to 3 miles a day when I was trying to run every single day, but my body doesn't like no days off. To run 1K miles in a year though, I need to run 3 miles every single day. Ergo, if I'm taking days off from running, I need to run more than 3 miles on the days I do run. It's time to start bumping my mileage.

I will probably still use the Insanity program for my core workout, and the occassional cardio when I'm not running. I do like the workouts, and I do like the idea of 2-a-days. I also like the idea of being able to do pushups again. I used to be able to knock out a decent number of good, deep pushups. 

We'll see how this plan works. If need be, I'll tweak it again. What I do know is there will be a plan. There will always be a plan.

April 20, 2012

An unexpected rest day

I use the word rest rather loosely. Yesterday's exercise regime did not go as planned. First there was the trip to the dealership. If anyone is like Aunt Gertie and wondering why I went to the dealership for a tire losing air and new windshield wipers, it's because I pay extra every month on my lease for things like that to be covered. At least I thought I did. Turns out the wipers were only covered during the first year of the lease, though the tire will supposedly be reimbursed.

I went straight from the dealer to my Mom's. This is what happened next:


The insides of the upper cupboards (including doors, which you don't see) and the outsides of all the cupboards are done. When I started with the outsides of the cupboards I realized the paint we'd purchased was too close to the color of the walls. You couldn't tell the difference, even with a semi-gloss. I called Home Depot and they let us bring the gallon back for additional tint, free of charge. I chose a much darker color, and you can see it really didn't turn out much darker at all with the orignal yellow as base instead of white. It looks good in real life though. The darker cabinets make the wall look lighter than it did before - not so crayola yellow.

The only real problem with adding additional tint is it thinned the paint out. I had to put 2 coats on everything, and not everything has that 2 coats yet. The side trip and additional coats are part of why I didn't get home until 7pm. The other part is I under-estimated how long the cabinets would take to paint, with all the precision required up against the walls.

Tuesday I'll paint the 2nd coat where needed, then put all the doors up. I'll put everything back where it goes and steam clean the floor. This will complete the kitchen, except for the island doors. Those are not my department, though I expect I'll have to prime, paint, and hang them when they are finally ready.

Today I have a 3 mile run and 13 mile bike ride on tap. I originally planned to do the Insanity workout scheduled for yesterday, today. That is not going to happen. Instead I took that time and rearranged my "exercise room" so I can do these workouts inside, away from laughing neighborhood children. This will also allow me to do them later in the evening if need be. I'm trying to plan ahead to facilitate these exercises when I start working.
Moving the treadmill was a workout in itself. I never did like it in the doorway, and putting it in front of the window sounded like a good idea in theory. In practice, the lines on the window bounced up and down in my vision, making me a little seasick. Where it is now I have the air from the window right next to me, I can watch videos on my ipad, and I can look out the window to the side of the building when I want without being forced to watch the bouncing lines.

The best part though, is there's room to do the Insanity videos. That, and there's not much in the room to bounce, rattle and shake when I jump. I did a few test jumps, and it turns out the rattling and shaking was much more bothersome than the noise the floor makes.

I left the little trampoline out because I might decide to use it on the running-in-place portions of the videos. I'm having a hard time with the muscles/tendons across the bottom of my feet getting tired. All the bouncing and jumping means I'm on the balls of my feet a lot, and I apparently do not have the right shoes to support that type of action. I'm not getting new shoes any time soon, so I have to find some way to work around it. The trampoline is one option. I might try my Merrell trail gloves too. No cushion for the jumping, but arch support. It's funny to me, with all the running using a forefoot strike, that these are the muscles most fatigued.

Speaking of running, I gotta get out there.

April 19, 2012

Funny how things change so quickly

I planned to write this last night, but was simply exhausted. Funny that, with all the physical stuff going on right now.

I wavered back and forth until the last possible minute, then chose not to ride the bike to my appointment. 37 miles on day two of riding really would not have been smart, especially since I'm still a bit tender today. Besides, I have flowerpots to return to my mother.
These were NOT going back on the bike
On the way to my appointment, I realized the tire pressure light was on in my car. I'd just put air in the tires Sunday, because the light had come on. It didn't bode well that it was on again. This resulted in my not riding to Superman's. Instead, I drove so I could write this post from here:

It's always a party at the dealership
The appointment went as well as could be expected. I will have a little help starting in May, providing I don't find a job before then. I'd hoped to get my run in early morning, but hope doesn't get me out the door. Only solid planning and stubborn tenacity does that. I'm NOT one of those people who can run on an empty stomach, so lunch was in order when I got home. That pushed my run out another hour, but ultimately I got it done. I run better in the afternoon. This run was at a 10:44 pace. Still not the 10-minute-miles I ran once and then expected to run forever after, but respectable.

I puttered around after running, avoiding the Insanity workout. I'm having a hard time finding a good place to do these workouts. I really do not like jumping in the house. Everything shakes and rattles, and while I do not expect to go through the floor I certainly hear it complaining. I set up on the concrete walkway out back, but laptops do not work well in the sun. I could not see anything. I know I do better when I don't watch, but I do at least have to see what the exercise is supposed to look like. I finally set up under the tree again, but that is not ideal either. I worry about tripping on the roots and the uneven ground makes some exercises even more difficult than they already are. It didn't help the neighborhood kids kept peeking around the corner and laughing at me. I asked if they wanted to come play, which is when they finally disappeared. I guess they didn't realize I could hear them?

I finally got things going, working up a sweat with the warmup. Now I know what the warmup is, I'm doing better and getting more from it. This particular segment was called Pure Cardio. I have to say I'm a bit disappointed in it, and may not do this segment again. What bothered me was when Sean T (the instructor) starting complaining before we even got out of the warmup. He asked the class if they were nervous about the coming workout, which would have been fine if he didn't then say he was nervous about it. I expect my instructor to work me up and give me confidence to do this, not make me nervous about what's coming.
I would have let that pass if he hadn't later twice mentioned how he needed a break. There is no shame in taking a break, and I'm sure it was a tough week for Mr. Sean T to record all these segments. Again, the instructor is supposed to work me up, not act like the workout is too much even for him. I might have let pass too, if one of his students, when asked how she was doing, hadn't said "I want to leave!" I wish they would have cut and started over at this point, though I understand there was a certain flow they would have lost. How do you say something like that when you know you are being videotaped for someone's DVD they are trying to sell?
This is what appears to be the token black girl. There are one or two black guys in one or two of the classes, and Sean T is black. The majority of the class is white and female. I wouldn't call her the token black girl except she is all drama, making huge gestures that indicate she is whooped, done, and just can't go on throughout all of the videos. It really does look like she is not as fit as the other class members, but they needed at least one black girl to show diversity. I do have to hand it to her though. She does always come back for more, regardless.

Watching this once would have been fine, though it left me with a bad taste. I get annoyed thinking about watching it week after week throughout the program. It is demotivating. It doesn't help I can't do some of the exercises. There is one in particular that consists of jumping from pushup to full jump and back down to pushups. They are basically modified burpees, and I simply can not do them with any speed. They go down and do 8 pushups, I get 4 done before they are back up. By the time I'm up, they are back down and doing pushups again already.

Here's my plan: I'll do the warmup, and as many pushups as I can. Then I'll go out for another 3 miles, making it a 2-a-day for running, come back and do the stretching. I got better cardio running than I did trying to do this video, and I won't have to get annoyed at either Sean T or his student. Of course, I say this. Watching the video again to pull out the clips above, I'm thinking "I can do this. Why am I thinking about not doing this?"

April 17, 2012

I can do this

This picture a day thing isn't working out so well. I meant to take a picture of the upper cabinets, now freshly primed, but that didn't happen. I meant to take a picture of the newly primed cabinet doors, currently spread out in the garage. That didn't happen either.
Imagine these are the upper cupboards
What did happen was the toughtest day yet of my new exercise regime. It started with my knee feeling a little wonky when I got up. Not so much painful as... soft on the outside. Just like yesterday, my run seemed to shake everything out, including the knee. I got back from my run, took about 10 minutes to change and get my stuff together, and felt good hopping on the bike.

It's something of a joke between Superman and I that I only have 2 speeds on the bike. I pretty much only have 2 speeds while running too, but even more so on the bike. Full tilt and dead stop. So this morning I was full tilt up the park hill, which according to Google Earth is almost exactly a 300 ft. elevation gain. It seemed like more when I was walking the bike up the hill.

I didn't time the ride, but I'm guessing it took somewhere close to an hour. I then proceeded to lift, carry, and repeatedly climb up and down a ladder for the next 4 hours. Basically I put everything back into the lower cabinets (what my Mom hadn't already put back), emptied the upper cabinets, mudded the bathroom window, and primed the upper cabinets boxes and doors. Then I cleaned everything up and rode back home.

The ride home was much easier. I really REALLY like speed, and riding down that 300 ft. elevation change is much more fun than riding up. It probably took about as long though, because my legs were TIRED. I got really hungry on the way home, too.
This is what I felt like on the way home
Until I got the grum-bellys
When I got home, I ate a little too much. That's what happens when I get over hungry. So I wasn't exactly prepared to do the Insanity DVD right away. I was kind of scared to do it, as tired as I was. Eventually though I sucked it up, got changed back into my running clothes and put the DVD on. Boy was I glad I did! Today was "Cardio Recovery," which  turned out to be a lot of stretching with a bit of deep muscle work. I didn't exactly hold the deep squats and lunges, but I did the slow repetitions and pulses. The stretching helped the dead feeling in my legs. I won't say I'm back to normal right now, but I'm certainly not feeling as bone tired physically exhausted.

Tommorow I have my appointment with the county, to discuss my food stamps application. I planned to ride there (12 miles) and back (another 12 miles), but I'm thinking better of that idea. I still need to run, and tomorrow's back to the really insane Insanity workouts. Also, I'm riding to Superman's at some point, which is an additional 13 miles. 37 miles in one day seems a bit excessive, when I only had my first ride of the season today. Besides, Aunt Gertie reminded me I really have to take the car out every week or so anyway, just to blow the dust out of the exhaust and charge up the electrical system.

Tomorrow and Thursday will be the most difficult, physically. They both have the same intensity of workouts, although Thursday's bike will be split and I'll work at my Mom's in between. Friday I have off from the Insanity, which will be nice. I'm doing the runs by feel and the bike by need, so will not know until Friday if I will have a complete down day.

What I do know is, so far, I can do this.

An AHA moment

Not surprisingly, I woke up stiff this morning. I wasn't as stiff as expected though, and while my 3 mile run was exceedingly slow, it also loosened up a lot of that stiffness. I felt halfway decent going into the 3rd day of the Insanity program.

I've decided I really don't like jumping around in my house. The floor is solid enough to walk on, but I can feel it give a little and creak when I jump. Or maybe that's my imagination. It was actually cooler and breezier outside, so I took my laptop and yoga mat out back to jump around.

This is, of course, where I had my aha moment. I had the laptop set up under a tree, to take advantage of the shade. It was difficult to see the screen for many of the exercises, which was less than helpful in the stretching portions. I found, however, that I could actually complete the exercise section this way. The key was in not actually trying to keep up with the class and instructor, who are obviously in far better shape than I. Because I couldn't see how fast they were going, I did the exercises at my own, considerably slower pace.

This is not to say I didn't stop, because I did... several times. My feet are tender, an indication that I should not have done the warmup yesterday in bare feet. Mark that, because it may be the only time you'll ever hear me suggest shoes are better than bare feet. With all the jumping jacks and running in place, the balls of my feet took a pounding. It would have been worse today, as there were several exercises that had me comletely off the ground.


The first 2 minutes of this video shows what today's workout involved. Multiply it by several sets. Again, just warming up is killer. I was happy to see my pushups today were better than yesterday's, although still nowhere near as deep as they should be. I actually got some bend in my elbows, and felt them in my abs. Maybe next time through the program I'll actually travel with them, like they did in the final set.

Energizer Bunny swears by Mike's Mix Recovery Drink. She gave me some to test when she gave me these DVDs, and I've been using it every day after the workouts.
I have to say it does seem to help, at least for a while. I'm not as sore during the day as I expect to be, though by bedtime I certainly feel the stiffness setting in. It seems the transitions are the worst. I'm fine as long as I'm sitting or standing or moving or doing. It's going from sitting to standing, or standing to sitting, that is difficult. I don't know if I would be more sore without the recovery drink. I honestly don't want to find out. I'm convinced enough of that, I emptied my Paypal account to purchase my own personal stash. When every penny I spend freaks me out, that's saying something.

Tomorrow is going to be interesting. I'll get up early enough to run 3 miles before biking 9 miles to my Mom's. I have to put the lower kitchen cabinets back together, mud and prime the bathroom window, take apart and empty the upper cabinets, and prime those. Then it's back on the bike for another 9 miles home, followed by what Sean T. calls "Cardio Recovery" in the Insanity program. This is where I see if I can continue to follow the program religiously. I will not compromise on the run or the bike, so if something's got to go it's going to be the insanity.

Huh. Go figure.

April 16, 2012

Ow

I am laughing at myself right now. I started the Insanity workout yesterday with the 26 minute Fit Test. I was whimpering just getting out of bed this morning. My form sucked on that test, by the way. Compared to the people in the video, I did not kick as high, squat as low, or have nearly the energy they did. Understandable, since they've been doing this a while. I was surprised however. I certainly thought I could hang better than I did.

Today was 42 minutes of Plyometric Cardio Circuit. Ow ow ow ow ow ow ow! He wrecked the entire class by the time he was done. I don't think any of them made it all the way through. I only made it through the warm-up. Let me say that again. I ONLY MADE IT THROUGH THE WARM-UP. This is in part because I was sore from yesterday, but also in part because the warm-up would kick a lot of people's ass. Sweat was dripping off me by the time he started doing a stretch session, which I thought was the end of the whole thing. I was sorely mistaken.

The following is a sped up version of a more fit person attempting the day's exercise. The first 3 and a half minutes are just the warm-up. Like I said, that's as far as I got.


It may very well take me the entire 8 weeks of this program just to get fit enough to do this program. I'm already planning to do the whole thing over again at least once. Forget the more advanced DVD's my sister is talking about, until I can get this set down. I'm also trying to figure out how I can continue running, how I can bike where I need to be, and how I can accomplish the work at my Mom's while doing this.

The thing is, I need to do something like this. I need to work my upper body and my core. I used to be able to do several and several good push-ups, and now cannot even get down an inch on one. Doing this will help my running, though it's obviously going to hurt it for a while first. I've already decided to scrap my original running plan, which included a gradual increase in mileage. Three miles a day is plenty while doing this. I did not try to run today, either before or after the Cardio Circuit. My plan has been to run 3 or 4 days, then take a rest day. Yesterday was day 4 of running. I'm going to have to find a way to balance the two, along with biking everywhere. I haven't figured out how to do that yet, but I'll find a way.

Tomorrow I'll try running early, then do the 40 minutes of Cardio Power Resistance later in the day. We'll see how that works. Honestly, I'm a little frightened. Determined, but scared. Luckily I don't have anywhere to go, that I might also need to add the bike into the mix.

As I told Superman, expect a lot of whining in the near future.

April 15, 2012

My new ride

This is my car, and this is how it's going to stay for the time being.
This is how I will be getting around for now. Gas is expensive, and until I have money coming in I really need to cut corners. This is one place I can do that. The farthest I go on a regular basis is to Superman's, and I proved last year I can ride to and from his place no problem. It's time to start doing that again.

In addition to biking upwards of 20 miles, 5 days a week, I've added another challenge to my goal list:


Just doing the Insanity fitness test today slowed my out-of-control running down to 11:20 minute-miles. The goal is to strengthen my core, which appears to be the weakest link to my current running form. I can run 10 minute miles, but I cannot sustain them, and my core is what tires first.

Specifically for Goddess (from a conversation at lunch yesterday)...

goal  /gōl/ noun 1. the result or achievement toward which effort is directed; aim; end

It is a goal to complete this Insanity program, while also running as many days as possible, while also riding everywhere I need to be in lieu of driving. I don't know if I will achieve these goals. In fact, I already know I cannot currently run every day without injury. The best I can do is try, and keep on trying, until I either achieve my goals or decide it's in my better interest to find new goals. I do know this will likely put me in the best shape of my life, or at least of the last 15 years. The most important part, as far as I'm concerned, is that I have goals I am working toward. THAT is what keeps me motivated to continue pushing forward, motivated to continue trying to improve.

April 13, 2012

It's a never-ending story


If all goes well, I should be done with my current project at my Mom's by mid-May. This is the project I started with my Dad, though there have a been a few changes since he's gone. He was adamantly opposed to redoing the floors, but my Mom was thrilled to at least have the carpets pulled. He had no plan to do the living room, but after seeing the holes left from rewiring he was finally convinced it had to be done. He planned to finish the bathroom himself, but that never happened. Luckily it's only a window and a bit of trim, which is easily added in on a slower day.

Dad decided we would not replace the molding on the 2nd floor, after pulling molding and baseboards for the electrical work. Mom would like that molding replaced, as well as baseboards and molding put in the kitchen. I've agreed to the project, but it's going to have to be done on weekends after I'm working again. I am uncomfortable giving up the time I am right now, when I could be studying to gain marketable skills. I can't leave her with the house in the state it's in, though. I have to finish what I started.

There are other projects in the wings as well. The fireplace in the living room needs work. The basement stairs never got a second coat of paint, and the stairwell never was repaired after the new stairs went in. The paint for the back porch has been in the garage since last summer. There's paint for the main staircase as well. The walls behind the radiators need repairing, which requires the radiators be pulled. The radiator boxes also need attention. Then there's the garden I agreed to help my Mom set up on the 2nd floor porch. There's no way the bunnies and deer will eat her produce up there!

I know when I get these things done, there will always be other things to do. The kitchen and hallway floors should be redone. The thresholds left over from the carpet still need replacing. Neither the door to the back hall, nor the door to the dressing room close all the way. These are all things my Dad planned to get to, at some point. I am not my Dad, though I am willing to take on the handyman role, at least to the extent of my knowledge. He taught me a lot, but he knew more, and I'm not capable of handling everything he managed over the years. I will not paint the outside of the house. I will not waterproof.  I will probably not attempt the utility room floor repair he planned.

Right now I'm focusing on finishing the first floor. And getting a job. And learning at least one programming language. Once those are done, we'll see about the rest.

April 11, 2012

Snippets and Snapshots

Today began with this article in my email:
I'd seen the study results saying recruiters only spend 6 seconds on each resume. This basically elaborates on where those 6 seconds are spent. I promptly reworked my resume, adding bolded subheadings that hopefully will draw attention to the actual work I did as opposed to simply the title I held.

Afterwards, I went about my day. I added my newly updated resume to job sites, searched those sites for potential positions, and applied if I found one even remotely close to my qualifications. That was the plan, anyway. I did get my resume updated on one site, and I did find several potential positions. What I did not find, upon closer inspection, were any even remotely close to my skillset. This prompted me to Google "junior DBA," which is the position I'd really like to have (a DBA is a Database Administrator). That's when I saw this article:


Note specifically the section in the red box. That's right, I'm screwed.

I'm smart, but I've made some really poor choices relating to my career and job hunt. I chose to put off the job hunt in favor of finishing school and helping my Dad (which I do NOT regret). The problem is, recruiters do not want to entertain the thought of hiring someone who's been out of work for over a year. They actually want someone who's currently working, because people who survived downsizing are the people who are really GOOD at what they do. They also haven't forgotten how to do it due to lack of use.

I chose to hold off on teaching myself the actual skills I would need to change careers. I thought I would have more time. I was tired from physical labor. I had trouble mentally wrapping my head around both school and self-directed learning. (FYI, I'm having to learn how be good at self-directed learning. Give me a class any day.) Now I find out I apparently chose the wrong skill set to learn anyway.

I understand these are excuses, and results are what matter. I understand I can't change the choices I've made. I can't make recruiters look past the time I've been unemployed. There's nothing I can do about that. What I can do is teach myself a skill that actually will help me get a job. If I need a job as a junior developer in order to get a job as a junior DBA, then that's what I'll do. A lot of the junior developer jobs I see posted are looking for .NET, so I'm switching my focus a little. I'm still going to play with the website I mentioned. I'm still going to learn PHP and SQL. I'll need those for the DBA position. I'm also going to learn .NET and C#, for the junior developer position. For those to which this is all gobble-de-gook, those achronyms are all programming languages.

I did have some good news today. In addition to the job hunt, I spent quite a bit of time gathering and scanning documents for the Ohio Housing Finance Agency. I've actually been emailing back and forth with a live person, who told me We may still be able to help you for 15 months (MPA/mortgage payment assistance) total mortgage payment made by the program. Only barrier would be if your property is actually 5 or more units. That barrier is moot, since while my building does in fact have 8 units, I only own one of them. If this happens, and if my food stamp application goes through (the web site says the Department of Jobs and Family Services acknowledged receipt on the 9th, but I haven't heard anything from anyone yet), I may actually have the time I thought I did to study. The JFS will help me find a job, which may not be exactly the one I'm looking for but at this point any job will do.

I also ran close to 3 miles in very close to 30 minutes. Funny, since I almost talked myself out of going. I don't know the exact time and distance because my GPS went wonky again. It announced one mile at somewhere close to 2.5 miles, then announced 2 miles somewhere within 500 to 1K feet of 3 miles. This is a route I run often, so I know these things. The time spent running said 30.++ minutes, which I'm assuming really means I was close to 10-minute miles the whole way. I didn't feel quite so much like I was dying, either.

You guessed it




I accomplished everything I set out to accomplish at my Mom's today. Everything below the counters is now primed, including drawer fronts and doors. I also put bumpers in the cabinet by the sink and finished priming the dining room. Thursday I'll paint the interiors of all the lower cabinets, the cabinet doors, and the window and door frames.

I did not get my run in as planned. I'm still having sore calf issues, though I really can't complain when I hit a 10 minute mile the other day. I've apparently changed my form, resulting in a funny sort of problem. I can't figure out how to slow down. Every run is at the burning edge of my lung capacity. I've tried changing my stride to slow down, in a way to that used to work. Now it apparently makes me run even faster.

I'm only doing 3 milers right now, because I'm still trying to run every single day. That hasn't been working so well for me lately. By the end of 3 miles at my current speed my legs are tired, my calves are sore, and my lungs/diaphram hurt. 3 or 4 days of this, and my runs are downright painful. That's when I take a day off, which seems to help. I've goals of upping my daily mileage so I'm running an hour a day, but the way I've been feeling lately that's a long way off. I just have to keep reminding myself to take things slow. Every time I run too fast or too far, too often, I get hurt. I'm trying to reign myself in so that doesn't happen yet again.

April 10, 2012

I R Geek

I slept until 11 this morning, after staying up until 3am filling out on-line forms for various types of assistance. I keep checking my email, but have yet to see a response to anything I did last night. I'm not surprised. I expect there's a massive influx of applications. I'm not the only one being cut off.

Besides a half hour run and maybe an hour of video game, I then spent the better part of 12 hours doing this:
It doesn't look like much, does it? "It" is actually more than the three screens you see. What those screens show is the home page to the web server I installed on my little netbook computer. I connected the server to my home network and the internet. I can now access it from anywhere on the web. I can't do any configuration from other machines, but I can access and update my own personal wikipedia this way. I set that up today too. I actually had one on a free website, but that free website embedded code that screwed with the wiki's functionality. I had to format everything with code, which was fun to learn but time consuming and unneccesary.

I'm glossing over the details, like figuring out how to lock down the web server so no one can hack it and make unauthorized changes. Someone could probably figure out how to log on to the page you see, but there's nothing they can do other than look at the different extensions I have installed. I did several other computer related things too, like configuring backups and creating my first html webpage. That last consists of a image and the words "Jan's first webpage!" and apparently is not yet visible to anyone but me.

Is any of what I did today going to get me a job? Probably not. Was it fun and engrossing? Yes. Will it help my learning curve? Yes. Eventually it won't take me 12 hours to accomplish what I did today. Eventually I'll figure out how to put all these bits and pieces of information I'm gathering together in a meaningful way, without needing notes or to look everything up again and again.

It's now 1:30am, and I'm still up. It doesn't take much to skew my sleep schedule these days. I do have to log off though. I want to run in the morning, before heading to my Mom's. I hope to get all the lower kitchen cabinets primed, along with the other half of the dining room. That includes disassembling cabinet doors and contents, and I have a bumper to add to one very deep cabinet as well.

Think you can guess what tomorrow's picture will be?

April 9, 2012

A picture a day: Easter

When I told Superman I was back in blogging mode, he told me about a friend of his who is posting a picture a day on Facebook. I like that idea a lot.


This was today's Easter dinner. We used to have Easter dinner at my parent's, but my Mom's house is not currently fit for a party. The living room furniture is all piled up on itself, the walls are mudded and waiting for prime. The dining room is half primed, filled with bits and pieces of kitchen, and everything is coverd with a thick layer of construction dust. The kitchen is closest to being back together, but even that still needs all cabinetry primed and painted.

For a while, we had Easter dinner at Aunt Gertie's. This was when we divyed up the holidays amongst the local households. Easter at Aunt Gertie's, which was a couple hour drive but made it so she didn't have to drive in and back out again every holiday. Memorial Day, Fourth of July, and Labor Day were at my house, because with my tiny condo I could only host that many people in a picnic setting out back. Then my Dad appropriated Fourth of July, which was fine. He made a big thing out of grilling steaks every year. Energizer Bunny did Thanksgiving for almost 30 people once you added up both sides of the family. Christmas was at my parent's until all the renovations started. The last few years, while my parent's house has been in various stages of construction, we've done Fourth of July and Christmas at Big Bro's.

Since Aunt Gertie moved to Florida, we've been at a loss for Easter. My parent's has been under construction. Energizer Bunny already does a HUGE spread for Thanksgiving, and Big Bro does most holidays with his wife's family. Last year we tried to go to an all-you-can-eat buffet, but the lines were literally out the door. We ended up at Quaker Steak and Lube, because it was the only place we could think of at the time. We decided to try that again this year, but I don't think anyone was truly satisfied. Burgers and wings just don't say Easter, in my book. They had a $20 buffet with prime rib and ham, but it was well picked over by the time we got there, and I wouldn't call it worth the price even fresh.

Next year my Mom's house will be in company condition. I think we're moving back to the old homestead for Easter. I like that idea a lot, too.

April 8, 2012

I'm not dead

I know at least one person missed me, and I'm sorry I never responded to her e-mail. I stopped blogging because it's time consuming, and more than a little narcissistic with only a few followers. I was trying to post on a regular basis, and struggling to find interesting content to talk about. It got to be too much. I still read my list of blogs and comment when I actually have something to say. That in itself is a time sink I probably don't need right now. I've thought about posting... when something happened I actually believed worth sharing. Like when my Mom's kitchen turned yellow. Or when I ran 5K at a 10:26 pace.

I'm still working on my Mom's house - painting the first floor, which is the final step of the original project. There are of course new projects on the horizen, but I'm down to 2 days a week and hope to be done by the end of the month.

The rest of the week I'm studying PHP, SQL, and Python. The idea is learning these programming languages will give me a marketable skill, since I'm still unemployed. I may eventually link a website I'm working on. It's a running database similar to Daily Mile, but without all the social aspects. You'll be able to log in, post your runs, and run reports. It's designed for introverts like me who just want the numbers please, and don't want the high fives for every 3 mile training run. I might add a forum for people to be social, but it won't link to each run like Daily Mile. That's going to be a while though, as I'm only at the beginning of learning the code that will eventually let me set up the interface.

Mostly, I haven't posted because I'm fighting depression again. I thought I had several more months to learn what I need to learn, to get a job in the field I've chosen. That is not the case. The State of Ohio is doing well enough they have cut their unemployment extended benefits. I'm applying for anything and everything over here, with not even a nibble. This is only a little bit frustrating, ovewhelming, and terrifying. I'm also still having difficulties over my Dad passing. You would think I'd be better by now, but I still miss him hard every single day. The combination has alternatly kick-started and stalled my motivation.

Ultimately, I decided once again that it doesn't matter if no one reads my blog. If I have something to say, I'm going to say it. I still like the idea of coming back to it years from now and reading it like a diary. I've done that with past blogs. Interesting, going back to read that. I didn't like myself then, but I like the way I portrayed myself, now. Funny, the final post on that blog was right around Easter, which for me is a celebration of Spring rather than of Zombie Jesus. Spring, which is a time of change, of both endings and beginnings.

Let's begin again, shall we?
Photo Credit: Jeff Sumner