Thursday, August 7, 2008

My First Aerobics Class!

On Wednesday, instead of the 5:40 alarm I had set my co-workers decided it would be more appropriate to phone with at 5:00 Pacific time with server issues. Yes, technically I am not on vacation, but it did need to be addressed! This morning Jay drove me all the way down to the convention center. The route was behind the Marriott on flat sidewalk/parks on the Embarcadero Boardwalk. There were 250 participants and this was not your ordinary 5K! A lady got up fifteen minutes before, tuned up the music, and started having us do aerobics. Most of the hardcore runners (almost myself) scoffed at the ridiculous nature of the request, but I thought it over and realized I didn't know anyone and if anything it would help me out. It had been since Sunday that I "exercised" and Saturday that I ran. I really felt out of it and this was a golden opportunity, specifically a pan-flat course and early cool sunshine.

For about four years now I have been fixated on breaking a 20 minute 5K (6:26 minute mile pace). Up to this point, my PR is in the low 20s. But recently the desire has in reality put aside for training aimed at endurance only. It is patently ridiculous that I expect such a record to fall and not do any tempo/organized 5K training. I was clearly (personally) humiliated trying to break this record a few months ago at the Gaston 5K. I might be in better general shape now with the Ironman looming around a month away, but this was stupid.

Nevertheless here I was, participating in the suffer-fest that is always the 5K. The route was essentially loops at either end of the park. It took about three seconds to cross the start line and then I slowly began to pick people off, not because I was competitive but because that's just how it happened. My first mile was a 6:30, and then we all looped back down the stretch to the northern loop. Assuredly my abilities began to taper, coming in with a 6:37 on the second mile. It was after her during my out-and-back I saw the layout - two guys far in front and a total of two women in front of me. All I could think about was finishing before I died. I finished out the last mile at 6:47 and then clocked myself at 20:27 across the line, a new PR!! There turned out to be a guy about my age behind me who congratulated me for a solid pace that he held on to. It made me happy that I could have been of some service! I also noticed Wilhelums (whom I talked with at lunch yesterday - his time, whatever it was, was way solid for an upper 50s. I did spot the female winner and started talking with her in detail - Alexandra (19:03) lived in Houston and like myself at this time of year had to run either very early or late in the day. I also talked with a guy who currently lives in Spokane but spent 8 years in Raleigh. At the time they only gave out trophies to the overall winners, so I left knowing not much more. Some more photos from ESRI.

From there it was back to the Convention Center where I changed out to my "conference attire," going shorts for the first day, mostly because I noticed it was a growing trend. I just happen to love wearing shorts! I really didn't have as much time as I thought I would before the first session, which was on some querying and analysis techniques.

Later on that morning I sauntered back to the Activities Desk and inquired about the results. They asked my age group and sure enough I had placed third in my age group (out of 29 participants!). For my efforts I received a bronze medal, which I graciously accepted and wore throughout the day. There were 270 finishers, so my 25th place barely put me under the ten percentile. Only two women finished in front of me (Alexandra and another not too far behind her). I noticed my lunch companion from yesterday, Wilhelums, was 58 and finished in 22:02, taking first (out of 11 in his age group) - well done! The overall winner was 26 years old and looked much like the same Mike G I passed in the airport - his performance of 16:23 was certainly high local talent (5:17 minute mile pace).

The last session before lunch was somewhat humorous - after a bunch of fundamental sessions that I felt myself mostly overqualified for, I went in for some heavy duty regressional analysis, specifically the geographically weight regressional analysis they were touting in ArcGIS 9.3. The lead woman who taught the course provided a window right out of Legally Blonde. Of course this woman had a PhD in statistics and knew way more than I did, but that didn't mean she was a great public speaker. She was a bit nervous, and once again in all fairness, gave a good presentation. She had one horrible gaffe when she made a subjective comment about how poor people shouldn't spend all their money on alcohol. In no way was there any malice associated with the comment, she just slipped up and the audience erupted with laughter. Still though, this tool would open a lot of potential windows for me, but it seems like with the reality of my employment the need for more tedious map and simple production would maintain its priority. She closed with her quirky attitude on life - one perhaps that I'm smart enough to laugh at and enjoy.

"I'm not an outlier. I just haven't found my distribution yet."

I was on my own for lunch, and chose Royal India for a delicious lunch buffet. I was out on the patio enjoying all the nice sunshine San Diego had to offer. I went in for two full plates and some decent dessert. The afternoon featured two sessions on two topics I need to force myself into using, geodatabases and annotation. Naturally though, I was looking forward to returning to Thornwood to relieve myself of all the stinky clothes in my backpack. That night I went to my first ever taco shop, visiting Lolita's Taco Shop (no young women were seen working on the premises). There I had my first taste of horcate (sp?), a kind of milky cinnamon drink.

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