Sunday, October 21, 2012

Huit Cent Quatre-Vingt et Un Jours a Sceaux (881 Days in Sceaux)

First, my health update.  The leg is perfectly fine now.  No injury to the tendon -- it was under duress due to the swelling in the area.  Running is back to normal, though now interrupted by jet lag recovery.

Re-reading books on technical topics often brings new information and clarity. Running is a technical topic. I have been using my low heart rate target as a workout average target. Re-reading the book, I realized that my heart rate target is to be the MAXIMUM, and I am to work from that heart rate and 10 bpm below that number. I was progressing, but not as well as I had hoped, and the book explains that a sustained breaching of the target will retard my results. With all the hills I have to run, it means incorporating a lot of walking -- for now. Theory states (and the guy who wrote the book has trained many Ironman champions and scores of triathletes) that in time, I will run the hills without exceeding the target HR.

I went to Houston on business a couple of days after my last posting.  I was "back home" for almost two weeks.  It was great being back with family -- Pam and I watched Brady and Anna Belle (our grandchildren) for five days while mommy and daddy were out of town on a business trip (OK, I worked during the days, so Pam did the bulk of the "watching").  We had fun with the kids, they are so endearing, but also recognize the reasons why it is best have children when one is young.

The business trip was quite productive, but very busy as it involved multiple meetings with different groups.  I find myself surprised now as to how much time is lost driving in Houston from one meeting to another.  I worked there for 18 years, of course, and such travel was just a part of its fabric.  Now, coming back into it, I see it in a different perspective.

Another perspective has struck me as I travel back to the USA -- the freshness and rawness of "The New World".  There is a certain charm about the ages-old places in Europe; I am not suggesting otherwise.  Pragmatically, however, centuries-old cities and towns (way older than our nation!) have led to infrastructures so very, very dated, and too expensive to completely re-vamp and re-tool.  Those tiny streets are there because tearing down old, even utilitarian, buildings involves too much expense, for example.  There are hard limits as to what can be done.  Outside the core of such cities and towns, newer ideas on planning and infrastructure are employed.  This works well in the greater metro areas of the larger cities, but most of the small towns seem stuck in the 18th century.  On the contrary, coming back to the USA, and especially the western USA, SPACE is the first thing one notices, then the newness of everything, then the planning of communities.  Believe it or not, it just seems more well-ordered.  It evokes a sense of possibilities and new adventures.  Do not get me wrong, I love visiting various places here in France and Europe, and meeting what few I have the opportunity to engage -- it is fresh to me, in that moment.  But I also know, the Lord willing, that should I return in 20 years, things will not have changed much at all; there is a loss in the sense of dynamism.

I do not know how many of you ever watched the movie "The Neverending Story".  "The Nothingness" threatens to overtake the world of Fantasia, and the little boy reading the book is Fantasia's only real hope.  October in the Ile-de-France is like The Nothingness overtaking Fantasia.  The sunshine is gone, gray and rain dominate the days.  By the end of this month, we will already be down to less than 10 hours of "sun" each day.  We are at 10:28 hours of sun now (sunrise 8:21 to sunset 18:49), and lose about 3.5 minutes a day.  I know the sunshine has gone to Morocco, and it will be back sometime around April.

Fortunately, I return to the USA for more business next weekend, and will be there almost three weeks.  While this wrecks my sleep patterns, drinking in the sun will be nice, as well as the additional time with Pam, the girls, the family, and friends.

A bientot,