Sunday, February 26, 2012

Six Cents Quarante Deux Jours a Sceaux (642 Days in Sceaux)


This week was both productive and full of events. It was productive at work, as there was time to focus on a variety of tasks needing my attention, and there was almost no interruption from seemingly random places. It was full of events, I actually entertained guests twice this week, which is more than I normally do in a quarter or even half a year.

As I alluded to last week, my oldest daughter turned 30 on Tuesday. I really feel too young to have a daughter of that age. At the same time, I find it hard to believe that so many years have passed with her. The day she came into the world is as fresh to me as yesterday. That little girl who would cry each day as I went to work now has her own little boy and little girl for whom to care. I am proud of the woman she has become, and glad that she is both happy and content in her life. Happy birthday, Michelle.

When I got to work Wednesday morning, I saw a most unusual e-mail message from one of our vice presidents: "would it be okay if we had a jam session at your house tonight?" Normally, one might consider it short notice to have someone invite themselves to one's house on the day of. But the truth be known, I have no real social schedules, except to come home, fix something to eat, watch a little TV or play guitar, and then go to bed. There are three of us in this guitar band, a term that is used very loosely. We would like a bass player and a drummer, but not having them give us time to focus on the guitar work. The boys came over, I plenty of French cheese and bread which they like, I heated up a frozen paella, and we play guitar for three or four hours. Our set list includes Like a Rolling Stone, Mustang Sally, Bang a Gong, Sweet Virginia, and a couple other songs that we throw in for fun.

The director of our research center in Russia visited the office on Thursday and Friday. We had some business to discuss, and we get along pretty well. He came to Chez Mark on Friday night. We had a very traditional, yet simple French meal: a baguette, five kinds of cheeses, and dried sausage. We talked for a few hours as we ate, and then he left to catch up with his parents live in France, just outside of Paris. I have several projects with which I am involved concerning his group, and I will be making multiple trips to Moscow this year.

My running moved to a new level this week, although it was not a faster level. I've mentioned earlier about the Maffetone method, the idea of running at a very low heart rate, on the low side of the aerobic zone as normally calculated. It is difficult to do, because you must run slowly, and maintain good running form. The idea is to build up the aerobic capacity of your muscles. He calls this building an aerobic base. It drives me crazy to run as slow as I must run in order to stay in the heart rate zone. I took this craziness to a new level this weekend. I ran to the Eiffel Tower and beyond. Depending on which GPS and mapping system I use, I ran either 13.22 miles or 13.86 miles. Especially for the last couple of miles, it was very hard to keep the heart rate in the zone. I did this in preparation for the Paris half marathon next Sunday. Though I have been working to build my aerobic base for only two weeks, I hope to see some benefit from this effort during the run next weekend. And yes, the distance I ran yesterday is the furthest I've ever run in my life (although it would be hard for me to call what I was doing the last three or 4 miles actually "running"). Nonetheless, all of this is good for me, and it would be hard to have a more picturesque urban environment in which to run.

My beloved Kentucky Wildcats played Vanderbilt at noon on Saturday, which would be 6 PM my time. I was excited, as usually the games are not available here until 3 AM. Murphy's Law being what it is, I began have Internet problems and was unable to watch the game. I had to follow the game over my cell phone via Johns Clay's twitter account. Thank you John, it was nice to go to bed knowing the Cats had prevailed. When I got up this morning, I still had Internet issues, although the box indicated that the Internet was fine. None of my devices could access the Internet, however. I turned off the box for several minutes, or until I cooked an omelette and ate it, however long that was. I turned the box back on, and the Internet was working, and what should be on ESPN America? The Kentucky Wildcats playing the Vanderbilt Commodores. It was the last 10 minutes of the game, and although I already knew the outcome, I enjoyed watching every second of that remained.

I still haven't decided to where I should go to take a long weekend, but I am trying to couple it with the running clinic. I think my form needs more work, and I need an experienced instructor and coach to observe and help me correct my flaws. I need to check out visiting a running clinic in Ireland again, at least there were not be much of a language barrier, unless they begin to speak Gaelic…

Thanks for coming along, a bientot.

Mark