Here’s an update on some of this year’s objectives.
I resumed running in March. My intent was to run six days a week, but the weather and other circumstances dictated a few extra days off, so it was more like five days a week. Still, I logged about 110 miles over the course of the month. That works out to about 27 miles a week. To put things in perspective, a marathon is 26.2 miles. Later this year I intend to run in a few hours what I currently run in a few days.
Today I did an interval workout on the track with my friend and running mentor Pre. It was difficult, but fun to run fast. (Most of my daily runs have been at a pretty relaxed pace.) In post-run conversation, it was decided I will bump up my weekly mileage quite a bit in April.
The plan is to run this November marathon, not just survive it.
All the technical pieces are in place for this endeavor. Now just I need to get my rear in gear if I want to make it happen!
In semi-related news, I placed my first Bricklink order today. It’s like eBay for LEGO. With prices for most elements in the couple-of-cents range, I see the temptation that leads some hobbyists from creativity to collection. Anyway, my order was actually inspired by a request I received to model a new part, similar to what I described in this section of my last update. Three bucks for a bunch of novelty parts.
I pulled the trigger on parts for a new touring bike last week. I did consider some nice name-brand bikes (I looked at a 2009 Jamis Aurora Elite, a KHS TR-101, and a Cannondale T-2 locally, as well as many other models such as the Surly Long Haul Trucker online), but ultimately I decided to assemble something myself, mainly so that I can make the claim of “and I built it meself!” once I ride it somewhere. With a frugal mix of parts, I’m coming in under the cost of most commercial alternatives, too (but I will be paying higher in total once you factor in time and effort).
Of course, this was a bit of a gamble, especially since not every dimension is documented online as well as I might like (generally, though, the attention to detail among part vendors is high). Now that most of the parts have arrived, it turns out that I seem to have done my homework – everything fits good! Well, one thing doesn’t fit – the rear brake hangar - but that’s a $3 doodad. Also, the nice brake levers I got from Velo-Orange fit well, but I realize I would prefer to route the cables under the handlebar tape, for reasons to be documented in future updates, which requires a different lever housing design. I also forgot to order a headset (ironic, after learning all about them). So, back to the drawing board on a few fronts.
Some basic specs for any bike nerds in the audience: 56cm aluminum frame, green; hardy 36-spoke wheels; 2 x 9 speed drivetrain (ensuring those parts cooperate will have to wait until assembled); cantilever brakes; bar-end shifters; platform pedals. Progress photos will surely show up on Flickr once I start assembling things.
Bit by bit, I’m studying and brushing up on some remote sensing topics with the intent to create a competitive portfolio of image analysis skills. Topics include DEM extraction, mosaicking, and land cover/vegetation classification. I have not yet collapsed the portfolio wave function to a single objective; conceptually, it still exists in a superposition of ecological interests (content focus) and commercial image acquisition/processing (technique focus).
I have a meeting this week to discuss Long Term Plans with the boss-man. My present position is potentially as good a launch pad as any for the first option, especially given the fledgling “urban ecology” focus in the biology department where I work. On the other hand, my interest in launch pads is not wholly metaphorical: I’m resigned to the fact that I probably won’t ever pilot my own starship – but imaging satellites are real!