Trust the Process

Day Eight

One of those ennui kind of days. Felt like I was spinning my wheels going nowhere. We’ve been in this perpetual cycle of gray day/sunny day. Today was the gray day. Grinding out the recovery run and grinding out the code learning.

My coach is big proponent of the process. Training is a process. Learning a new skill is a process. The process is what will make the achievement of a goal possible. If you don’t mind the process, the goal vanishes. Anyone can say that they want to run a race with xx:xx time goal. Well, there are no miracles in running. You have to put in the work. Same thing with career change. You have to put in the work.

My goals are to run a half marathon this Fall under 90 minutes and a marathon next Fall in under 3:20. Right now, those are times that are just out of reach. Yeah, they are so close, but pushing 58 years of age, time is not my friend.

I have had a solid training block re-building my base fitness this winter. I am ecstatic to be where I am. Last summer, I was worried that I would never again run competitively in my age group. Not that there are any races right now where I could prove my fitness, but I am pretty confident that I could go 20:30 in a 5K and 95ish in a half at this time.

My career goal is to make a switch in get in to web develpment. I’ve always been interested in learning how to write HTML code and did some of that back in the early days of the Web. However, it was a hobby that took too much time that I did not have. With this pause in life, it seems like the perfect time to dive in an learn for real. I’m hooked. I feel about the coding the same way I felt when I first got into running. I loved it and I was pretty good at it.

Day Seven

Beautiful April morning. The trees are filling in nicely. I think by next week, they’ll be in full leaf.

The coach had a challenging workout on the schedule. The challenge wasn’t so much the distance or the reps, but for me, staying on the pace plan. The workout was 6 x 1Ks, progressing down from half marathon pace to 10K pace. The first rep was very sluggish. I just wasn’t focuse. In my head, I was working though the conversion of my pace times from minutes per mile to kilometers per mile. Lesson for this is to have done the time conversion before heading out the door. The solution was to change the watch face to estimated lap pace (which defaults to 1 mile). Not that complicated after all. After the unfocused first rep due to an attempt figure out a problem that really wasn’t an issue if I had given it more thought before I started the workout, the rest of the workout fell into place. I hit my my progression plan and spiced up the last rep by getting down to 5K pace.

6 x 1K

Spent a chunk of time today working through some JavaScript learning activities. I cycle daily between “ah ha!”, I get it now to “I am so confused”. Today was the confused day, so I expect tomorrow will be a breeze. I have to remind myself that I am still working through the basics. I have been working on JavaScript for less than two weeks, so I should be more patient with my progress. Rome wasn’t built in a day and all that.

Day Six

My run this morning was the same run as yesterday. Only the weather sucked. A lot of rain. A lot less people were out and about compared to yesterday. I don’t mind running in the rain. Once you get going, it doesn’t really matter. The only things that bother me about rain running is soaked shoes and coldness. I wasn’t out long enough for the shoes to get uncomfortably soaked. No squishy landings on each step. The temps were a notch below mild, but not cold.

I spent the rest the of day doing remedial work on JavaScript. Some of the stuff that had me confused is making more sense. There are a couple of things that I need to ponder over some more. I just need to give myself a bit more grace. I will get there.

Day Five

Easy five miler this morning. Legs felt good, though the brain was a bit fried from yesterday’s long run. Beautiful weather this morning. Mild and sunny. The nice weather brought a lot of folks out of there homes. The sidewalks on the main road were more congested than the road itself. After the run, I did some body weight strength work.

The good vibes from the run did not carry over into my endeavor with JavaScript. Lots of wheel spinning. I should have known that the confidence I felt yesterday would be shattered today! Don’t want to get ahead of myself. Just keep on putting in the work.

Day Four

Long run day. 17 miles. This week is a down week for mileage, so the long run today was a bit shorter than it is for up weeks. Typical April morning. Drizzly will somewhat mild temps. Experiemented with new route. The out portion had a net drop in elevation, therefore, the return portion had a net increase in elevation. The hills were not too bad. I had run some of them before. The challenging part was a 3 mile incline of ~ 2% grade. Those long inclines are more challenging than big hill. The hills can be 1/2 mile to 1 mile long, but there is usually a long run down hill at the end. Today’s incline ended with a stretch through some rollers. No payoff at the end of the slog.

No coding today. Read through the materials on arrays. Reading and working through the examples are getting less confusing. It almost makes sense! Learning a computer language is a lot different than learning a foreign language. For the most part, learning a foreign language is just making substitutions with your native language. The basics of the language is the same — nouns, verbs, adverbs, adjectives, prepositions, conjunctions — although the ordering might be different. Computer language is like learning soup. Everything is all mixed together and you have to tease out the ingredients, their blending and make a structure from the glop.

The goal for tomorrow and Sunday is to work more on my Rock, Paper, Scissors project. I would like to wrap that up this weekend and get it submitted. I have a web page project that has been sitting around that I need to finish as well. It’s almost done, but I have some ideas for it that I want try out. We’ll see.

Day Three

Thurdays are off days from running. Some Thursdays, I look foward to not running. The body and mind are beat up from the previous six days of work. Other Thursdays, I have the brief thought that I could go for an easy run. Today was the latter. In place of the time I usually devote to running, I do laundry and other errands. However, with the Stay at Home order, there is not much errand running.

I spent more time working on my Rock, Paper, Scissors JavaScript program. I am confident that I made good progress today. I kind of gotten the code to work. There are some issues to iron out and some polishing. My goal is to have it finished this weekend.

It’s really a basic thing to code and I am a bit frustrated with how much time and energy is going into it. However, I can see how the project is building a foundation of learning. One, I’m learning the basic blocks of JavaScript. Two, I am learning how to think more logically about the component elements of the project. Rock, Paper, Scissors is a very simple game, but breaking down to put it back together in code is much more complicated. Three, I am learning how to do research code.

Another skill to develop in the process of learning code is asking questions of others. Yesterday, when I got stuck, I posted my question on the organization’s forum. I was happy to get some good feedback from a very kind person. So I am setting a goal of being more interactive the learning forums. It’s not something I am comfortable with or a natural at, but it’s part of the process.

On the schedule tomorrow is a down week long run. Easy 17 miles. After grinding out 22 milers the previous two week, 17 miles will seem like stroll through a park.

Day Two

Rather cold start this morning for late April. Otherwise, the conditions were almost perfect for a run. Sunny and dry. On the schedule was my weekly medium long run with 8 x 200 meters on/off at 5K pace thrown in toward the end of the run. These workouts are to improve running economy. I focus on pushing off on the big toes, getting the knees up and land with soft knees. In normal times, the 200s are run on a track, but the local high school track is closed, so I measured out 200 meters on a stretch of road. My 200 meter course was on a slight incline, so I got in a little bonus hill work.

MLR w/ 8 x 200 On/off

I’m not sure what happen to my pace on the 6th and 7th reps. Loss of focus and/or the headwinds were picking up. The legs were still feeling a bit sluggish. I hit 64 miles for both of the previous two weeks, which is my highest volume since last summer, and my body has not fully adjusted to that volume. For the previous two cycles (each cycle is two weeks up and one week down) I cruised through 60 miles per week and 62 miles per week. This week is my down week and down weeks are always appreciated. The plan is to run around 53-54 miles this week. The reduction in volume does wonders for recovery and consolidating fitness. By the weekend, I should be recovered from the push. I may have to settle on 62 miles per week for the time being.

I started working on a JavaScript application to create a Rock, Paper, Scissor game. I found that it helped to rough out the program with pen and paper before writing it up in a code editor. It helped to organize my thoughts and work out the flow of the process. I typed up about 2/3rds of the program before I hit a mental wall. Ideally, the script was far enough to prompt the user to enter a choice, the computer to make random selection and a winner declared. Crickets. I edited the script to make sure all the parens, brackets, braces and semi-colons were accounted for. Still nothing. It was time to walk the dog and eat dinner. I might take another look at it before going to bed, but hopefully tomorrow, I can figure out what is went wrong.

Day One

This morning’s run was an easy recovery effort. 5 miles averaging an 11:00 pace. I wanted to keep my heart rate in my supposed Maffetone zone. My legs felt fine after yesterday’s 30/30 Fartlek rolling though four miles of alternating 30″ at 5K pace and 30″ at a marathon pace float. Deep down, I could feel the remnants of last Friday’s 22 miler.

Even after five weeks of “stay at home”, the lack of automobile traffic continues to be discombobulating. It’s nice that there is less traffic noise and exhaust, but that emptiness is a reminder that life is very different. It’s going to be this way for an unknowable period of time.

I have decided to learn a new skill while staying at home. I am learning to code. It feels a little odd to be learning a new life skill at 57, but old dogs, new tricks. I’ve been crashing through an online course in web development. Right now, the focus is on the basics of HTML, CSS, and JavaScript. At the three week point in this process, I can say that I get HTML and CSS. There is still a lot to learn, but I’m comfortable with those languages. JavaScript is kicking my behind. I have to keep grinding. It’s a process.