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Saturday, February 27, 2010


I ran twice today for the first time in a long time. Unlike Friday where I lazed around all day, I actually had stuff to do today like join my club for breakfast and get a haircut. So I sandwiched my schedule with a morning 30 minute jog and added in another 35 minutes easy run in the mid afternoon. Both runs were unremarkable except that I could actually do them after all of these years and miles.

Friday, February 26, 2010


Monday is my last day of work. Actually Wednesday was my last day because I am finishing off with unused PTO and will only come in Monday to turn in my laptop, badge and keys. I know I keep saying this, but maybe I need to rewrite it because it seems that it is finally true.

I have applied for social security and medicare so this may well be "it". Not sure. Someone used the retirement word but I am not comfortable with it (yet).

I have decided to create my own Hawaii this spring and summer and see how it feels. You know. Shorts, t-shirts, sandals (or old running socks). Maybe a gym even though I tend not to use those things. Certainly running. A coffee shop, a book store and if I can find a decent, uncrowded place...a beach now and then. If they get crowded I can always outlast school and come back in the fall when school is back in.

Sounds decadent.

Consulting. Maybe if the work is interesting and does not require a badge or office or being someplace on a regular basis. Next year would be better because I can collect social security and make consulting fees and keep both.

What a bonanza.

I am looking at blogging. Silicon Valley Warrior (SVW) style. One thing I have discovered is that being a SVW makes you strong and resilient.

In the early days it looked a great deal like this.

But later on it became this.

And at the end it became this.


All men dream: but not equally. Those who dream by night in the dusty recesses of their minds wake in the day to find that it was vanity: but the dreamers of the day are dangerous men, for they may act their dreams with open eyes, to make it possible.

Seven Pillars of Wisdom

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Pale and Vacant

I drove over to Forbes Mill this morning arriving early (but Jake was already there). I had decided not to push it. I was the recipient of a terrible night's sleep. 3 hours. Well, I guess it could have been worse. My mind wouldn't stop playing old tapes. Having woken up around 3 AM, I had tried to fall back off but finally gave in and rolled out of the sack. I glanced at the clock.

It was a pale and vacant 4:30 AM. Night is like time travel. When I awake like this I can remember, after a fashion, many of the times I would thrash around sleepless in some bed. Mine or someone else's. It is timeless. It feels the same. It is 1955 or 1983 or 1992.

But I have learned to cope. Not to fight it.

In the next several hours I read, drank coffee and then did a five minute shake out run at around 7 am.

Anyway, back to Forbes. I decided to run easy. Jake and did a loop in just over 26 minutes but he was already struggling. OK, then it was too fast no matter what the pace was. We turned right around and ran a second loop but Jake stopped to walk about 7 minutes in and I decided to just keep going arriving at the turnaround in 13:15. Regardless of being sleep deprived, my legs actually felt good so I pushed a bit on the way back. I sailed back down in 11:05 crossing into the parking lot in 24:20. I decided to add another 5 minutes to make the whole thing 60 minutes.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

My so called retirement

Email to a friend on my so called retirement

I was thinking that my so called retirement should have certain critical elements.

1. My coffee shop. Yours was Starbucks. I haven't picked mine yet. Any recommendations on ambiance. Near a bookstore or not?

2. My alternative work. In your case it was painting. I have written inciteful books and poetry. I really didn't mean insightful. Mostly my works have incited controversy or disgust (or no interest what so ever).

3. Not making money. I know you went without. I believe I can do that too as long as those government checks keep coming in ( I have to stand on a line to at social security to pick them up???).

I am thinking of adding in a beach for spring and summer use. Maybe even a small coastal hamlet to hang out in. You know, some coastal running trails. Maybe a beard and mustache.

Anything else I am missing?
Authoritative Executive

I won't miss work. Today was typical. I was sitting in my last HR staff meeting thinking about how I should take action items for the following week. Of course except for a short exit meeting late Monday morning, there is no next week for me.

At least not there. The big boss (my bosses boss) breaks in and beckons to two of the staff. I need you right away, he says. And of course he does. He is wearing a suit. There is an important board meeting. I am just damn glad it is not me that he needs for that meeting. It has been me over many years and many companies. But not this time. Not lately. I am not jealous of them nor would I trade places with them. Not even if I could be 10 years younger and two minutes faster in a 5K race. I don't feel superior because I am not. I am simply able to leave and not be at anyone's beckon call.

Monday, February 22, 2010

The Immediate Pull Of Gravity

I drank a tankard of coffee and then set out at around half past 8 am. I was dressed to the 9's and maybe overdressed but a quartering wind kept me on the cool side and the tights protected my legs. The run felt good. All 70 minutes of it. The usual course. Over to the track, around the par course and the soccer field. Plenty of soft "giving" surfaces and plenty of Asian Girls either running on the track or walking in between classes. I admit though that morning runs, even when decent, are still like wading through the shallows of varying degrees of molasses. There is little or no torque. Of course 100K miles and years of wear and tear don't help. In the old days when I ran slow, I always felt like I was holding back.

But not any more.

If I pick it up, I can feel the immediate pull of gravity.

Pulling me down and slowing me down.

But I give myself no choice. It is a run day and so I run.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

I can just see it

I can just see it now. The big "I have to work" finish line up ahead.

I still have to slum through next week but March 1, 2010 is it. I'll have to remember to shave and shower once I am out.

75 slow minutes today. I took off at around 1 pm. The wind picked up during the latter half of the run. Big storm coming in.

An idea whose time has come

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Tinman Tempo

In pre-retirement mode, I drove over to Old Forbes Mill mid morning. Jake, who is a high school track and field coach, was going to try to join me if his "ski week" workouts got over early enough.
As it was I never hooked up with him. I know how he gets when he s in coach mode.

I warmed up at home with an easy 10 minutes and then drove to the trail. I ran the first loop in 24:37 capping put at 70% of max. This was a good sign so I threw in a Tinman Tempo loop staying mostly in the 75-80% range with the last several minutes at 83%. I just missed breaking 22 minutes (22:03) but I knew that I run well. I then jogged down 13 minutes for a total of 70 minutes.

Tinman, Tempo Run "look"

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

75 big ones!

Got out by 8 am this morning. The fog was thick blotting out any sunlight. I was still feeling Sunday's AT run so I did a Galloway-type recovery run, walking 1 minute and jogging 4 until I hit an hour. I then ran another 15 minutes at a slow but steady pace for a total of 75 big ones.

The goal of this run was to burn some calories, get in some distance without beating myself up.

Monday, February 15, 2010

CV's and such

I am going to have to claw my way back to respectability in this running game. But I know that intervals won't do it. Never has and never will. As much as possible I am going to run very other day.

Oops, I know this is a change in plans but it will work out to 3 days one week and 4 the next. I should be able to handle it.

My focus will be on increasing the time run on the days I run (duh).

If I do hard workouts they will be limited to one of several types.

Striders on the track. Real strides, not all out sprints.

I will more than likely adapt Tinman's CV's and tempo runs. They are way off anything hard like VO2 max work but should help me develop the ability to handle faster work. Even yesterday, running down the promenade south of AT & T Park, I was uncomfortable with the fast pace. Not with the oxygen intake part. I was no where near lactic acid per se. It was more of the physical nature of running harder than a slow jog. The mechanics are just not there.

Since I am close to 23 flat for 5K at 85-90% my plan is to focus on the next level which is 22:30. I can't believe I am this slow but I had better get used to this sort of thing. I may get faster for a time but eventually I will be slower.

CV pace is 7:24 (these are like threshold reps)
Tempo Pace is 8:09 (this is more like lactate runs)

I wonder what the latter converts to on the Forbes Mills loop?

Sunday, February 14, 2010


I ran another of those pesky 5K's at 85-90% of max. Typically I chose a Dolphin Club race up in San Francisco. It started about a mile south of the Giants Ball park, circled the outside of the stadium twice and then came back that same mile to the finish.

Nice course. Flat and relatively fast. It was cool, sopped in with fog and with a light head wind going out. Even with a 22 minute warm up my blood was like sludge but I just got out a quickly as I could to drive my HR up into my target range and then just stayed there for the rest of the way. I didn't look at my splits. My last run at this effort had been 23:38. The one before that was at 24 minutes and change so I just hoped to "do better".

I was further up in the pecking order, running with folks that I knew generally ran in the high 22's and low 23's. Of course I wasn't racing them. They were just company while I ran to my HR. I picked it up if I dropped below range (85%) and slowed down slightly if I went over 90%. So it was simply a game against myself.

Anyway, I came across in 23:09 which was better than my last effort but still 2 minutes slower than I was running these in 2007 & early 2008 (prior to pulling my calf). It is hard for me to believe I will ever get that 2 minutes back.

Realistically, getting down into the 22's would be nice.

The total workout including my 5 minute "dump" run in my neighborhood was 60 minutes.

27 minutes warm up
23:09, 5K at 85-90%
10 minute warm down

Thursday, February 11, 2010

81 minute progression run

Okay. I have decided to commit to a 3 day week running program for the next 3 months (at least).
Three days running and two days walking. Not quite what the Furman boys had in mind but close.

One day will be a longer progression run of 8-10 miles

One day will be a 85-90% threshold run. Generally this will be either a 3 mile/5K run or a loop at Forbes Mill.

One day will be either sprints or threshold intervals at 85-90%. It also could be a now and then a test time trial over the mile to 2 mile distance.

I figure it will take a month for me just to adjust.

I ran over 8 miles today for the first time in forever. It was a progression run of sorts but totaled out at 81 minutes including my dash to the bath (room) and back after the first loop.

The loops (sans the dash) were roughly 27:50-26:30-23:38.

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Cheetah leaving by the exit

I seem to be going down fighting. @Work that is. I told my boss how I feel about Pit Bull while I counter her hammer like chess moves with my own indirect, counter moves. I stopped her cold on one of her unwanted and pointless campaigns. She doesn't even realize that I was coaching the other side. It was easy to outwit her.

But I am going to be gone in less than 3 weeks and time will run out. So in the end I get to be Cassandra and warn those dwindling few who will listen that HR is headed for a fall.

Really, what am I accomplishing?

One friend told me that I was going out like a tiger.

"Nope, I am a Cheetah," I said. "We can't climb trees."

I think I just need to go out quietly. My agitation tells me that I am running on empty. I will embrace the void. The outside of work life.

This will be me in March.....

Cheetah Londolosi Cheetah - Robert Bateman Big Cats - Londolosi Cheetah Art by Robert Bateman.

Monday, February 08, 2010

Post Super Bowl Run

In the world of winding down from work there is time for a cup of java and then a nice whippy-legged 60 minute run. I got out reasonably early (8:30 AM) and ran my usual route over to the college. I did a mix of soccer field and big loops around the track until it was time to head back. No HRM on this run. I kept things slow.

Given that yesterday was a typical Super Bowl feed which included B-B-Q chicken and ribs, chips, dip and wine, it was amazing that I actually felt decent.

I did go into work afterward but only after hanging around the house all morning, showering and surfing the web.

Sunday, February 07, 2010


So now I know that my weakness is exposure to hell bent for leather and lead, anger management, micromanaging, territorial types. To some extent this has been one of the footnotes of my so called career.


The words change but the concept is the same.

As I wrote some years ago, I must have a target painted on my back. Or perhaps I am the man painted on the target. Maybe I painted myself there.

Even in my soon-to-be last job, I ran into two of them. The first individual, I didn't bring in and the other I did bring in. The first person eventually self destructed but only after she played all of us against each other. The team pretty much hated her. While she was still here I moved offices to distance myself. I was ecstatic.

The second one was a good girl consultant until she was offered my job and then she turned into a pit bull. With only a month left I decided not to fight this one out but I realize fully that this is just another of those folks who think they can run me down while smiling to my face. At this moment I have 3 weeks to go and will continue to avoid her as much as possible.

Not ignore her. Just avoid any unnecessary contact. It isn't pleasant this tackling dummy thing.

I was hoping for a peaceful exit but that doesn't seem to be the case. Once you let one in the door, you shouldn't be surprised if it bites your hand and mauls you as you go down for the count.

Happily I will be heading out the door and she can maul someone else.

Saturday, February 06, 2010


I ran 70 minutes today right on the heels of a departing rainstorm. I kept the pace slow throughout.

In the middle of the workout I did drills on the track walking them instead of bounding them. I would jog in between. We'll see how sore I am later on but so far so good.

Big girl's soccer game over at the field so that was off limits. I stuck to big loops around the track.

Thursday, February 04, 2010

75% Solution

I headed over to Forbes and met up with a very punkish Jake. He was tired from two hard running days earlier in the week and a day of working on his house.

And I??

Fresh as a daisy from two full days off from any sort of running. We ended up running one loop together which was very easy and just under 28 minutes. My HR was in the high 130's. One the second loop I ratcheted my HR up to around 75% of max and cruised the course in 23:52. If I add in the warmup jog before and after the loops I was right around 71 minutes.

The ice cold, won't make eye contact, slim blond was there. A great deal younger than us. I get that but after so long, not even a smile. :-(

By the way, talking of blonds (and I am not so sure she is a real blond) here is where you will find most of them in Europe.

Wednesday, February 03, 2010


Well, she seemed nice. It was supposed to be redemption of sort. You know. because of that first time when she was cross examining me (actually it was a job interview) and, unemployed and in need a job I had the courage to suddenly stand up and say this interview is over and I walked out of the office and the building into a 100 degree day. Nothing to look forward to except to get away from her big, arrogant ego and a long drive home, sans air conditioning.

Oh she came running out and apologized and I forgave her for being such a dick but I still went home. I knew, back then, that us working together would be HELL.

Redemption came around and I hired her and it was fine for 7-8 months as long as she was a contractor but then when I decided to leave and she backfilled my job. Except it was more like backhoeing my job. Suddenly it was all those years ago. Too bad. She looked so good on the outside.


A friend told me, she is an inquisitor, not inquisitive. That put things in perspective.

Now the disengagement comes more quickly. You can't engage with the psychotic not go a bit mad yourself.

Too bad. I stayed too long. So one more of those to hurdle and the road is clear.


Monday, February 01, 2010

60 minutes of easy running

I got out around 8:15 AM and ran 60 minutes. My legs felt surprisingly good especially since I walked an hour on Sunday and inserted some drills to put some zing in my legs. I felt none of it this morning.

The goal was to work a half day and I ended up staying down into the early evening. Met the new CEO. We chatted. May be a chance for me later on if I am outside HR. I won't count on it but if he still feels the same in a month or two, we can talk. It won't be about title or money. I will come back because the odds are long and it's the work I do best.