Home / 2009 / June

10k Training in Stadtwald Giessen: 2x 28 Jun 2009

So you might have noticed that I did not post a running log yesterday. We had an engagement in the evening 4 miles away, and seeing as how we do not have a car and want to get exercise, we rode our bikes there. In the end, we got 8 miles of exercise yesterday. It just wasn’t running. :)

First Run

Distance: 4 miles
Time: 44:22
Pace: 11:06
Notes: Ugh. I just wasn’t feeling it this time. We walked for 90 seconds right before mile 4 started because my skin was tingly and I started see dots–dehydration?

Second Run

Distance: 3 miles
Time: 28:22
Pace: 9:27
Notes: Ah, much better! I pretty much napped all afternoon. I was listening to an audiobook while we watched Spain play South Africa in the Confed Cup, and since it’s Sunday afternoon, I just allowed myself to drift in and out of consciousness and it was great. So by the time we went for our second run, I was ready! We pushed it, and my legs complained, but when we finished in less than 30 minutes, I was happy!

10k Training in Stadtwald Giessen: 2x on 26 Jun 2009

Well, we’ve done it again. We’ve gone off the deep end. Lying awake Thursday night, (remember the time difference) debating whether Michael Jackson was really dead, like TMZ was reporting, or just in a coma, like CNN and the BBC were reporting, Rob suggested something crazy: run twice a day for the next three days to make up for our lack of running this week.

You see, we have a 10k coming up in about 9 weeks, and we both want to run, we both like running, we both want to be fit and healthy. But we have had zero desire to get out there. Not even the race has been enough motivation this (or last) week. We’ve managed at least one run a week, and they were always good–fast without being so on purpose, speed training–but to really maintain, not to mention improve like we both want to do for this race, you have to be committed.

Since the “race on the calendar” gimmick wasn’t working, Rob’s idea to run twice a day surely would. We had been trying to get at least 20 miles in each week, so we figured a 4 miler in the morning followed by an easy 3 in the afternoon would give us 21 miles for the week, but all within 72 hours. Just the kick start we need.

So far, so good.

Morning Run

Distance: 4 miles
Time: 48:40
Pace: 12:10
Notes: I think I pace was actually better than this because I took a detour to my office (our running path goes right by my campus) to pick up the headphones I meant to bring home Thursday and I decided not to stop my watch since Rob was still running (he did 5 miles in this time–way to go, Rob!). Running the rest of the run (about 3 miles!) wasn’t too bad, actually.

Afternoon Run

Distance: 3 miles
Time: 30:47
Pace: 10:16
Notes: I was really only feeling it in my right hip (what is going on there?!) and my thighs… I had some chafing from the morning run, but luckily, Body Glide minimized my discomfort this time. I propose that all skin-tight athletic shorts (or the shorts inside of tennis skirts, in my case) have NO seams in between the legs. Please?

10k Training in Stadtwald Giessen: 12 & 21 Jun 2009

12 Jun 2009

Distance: 3mi
Time: 29:19
Pace: 9:46
Notes: Ah, perfect running weather: 65 with a cool breeze.

21 Jun 2009

Distance: 3mi
Time: 30:53
Pace: 10:18
Notes: What a run. We got all suited up and as we were preparing to leave our apartment, it started to drizzle. We decided to go ahead. After all, you cannot control the weather on race day, so we wanted to be prepared. But as our run progressed, the rain got heavier and heavier. Here I am, avoiding puddles like the plague. Who wants sloshy shoes? But Rob was happily dancing through them. “I think I’m faster in the rain!” I heard him exclaim through the drippy-drops. He thus earned the nickname Rob “The Croc” Mueller, because crocodiles are faster in the water than on land, just like my wet-running hubby!

10k Training in Stadtwald Giessen: 4 Jun 2009

Distance: 2x 1mile
Time: 8:10 and 10:19
Pace: 8:10 and 10:19
Notes: Today was our first day of speed work and it wasn’t too bad. The wind was blowing pretty hard on the far side of the track. When we left the house for a short warm-up jog the half-mile (in 6:21) to the track, I wasn’t really sure what my goal was for this mile. I was thinking 10 minutes at the worst, since I ran 3 miles in 28:57 (9:39 pace). By the time I started (after Rob), I had decided that I wanted to slightly increase my time, go for negative splits.

Wasn’t quite successful, though, but that’s okay because I totally killed the overall pace! Here are my splits.
1:57.55
2:02.69
2:09.60
2:00.70

And because I’m so proud of Rob’s time, I’m going to post his too. He did his mile in 6:06.97!
1:24.27
1:32.20
1:36.75
1:33.75

After walking and stretching, we did a second mile in 10:19. Look at the first and second splits!
2:33.71
2:33.44
2:35.89
2:38.62

Last bit about today’s run: I bought the app MultiTrack StopWatch Timer for $1.99, used to track our splits, and I am really pleased. If you are looking for a good timer, this is it. My biggest complaint is that you cannot email or delete the history.

In other news, we had been weighing ourselves in our hallway where we have also been weighing the boxes we are sending back to America. The hallway floor is not level or something, because when we took the scale back into the bathroom where the floor is firm, we both weighed about 4 pounds less than we had just yesterday. I guess that’s why the packaging on every scale tells you to use it on level ground. Hmm. Guess I didn’t gain as much weight over Christmas, in Rome, and during our sedentary winter as I thought!

What’s New at Linden’s Pensieve: Blocked IPs and Easy-to-Remember Linden URLs

I’ve been making some changes under the hood here that affect my entire domain and subdomains. Let me tell you about the two changes I’ve made recently.

Blocking Spam IP Adresses

The biggest change is one that shouldn’t affect anyone without malicious intent: I’ve been blocking spam IP addresses without giving second chances. I recently found out that my host (PowWeb) makes it very easy to do so (I don’t even have to edit my .htaccess file myself–they have an interface that does it for me), so I have been blocking every offending IP address. I’m looking forward to seeing whether the number of spam comments decreases or not.

So what does this mean for the serious user? Nothing. Well, it shouldn’t have any effect on you. But if, one day out of the blue, you are unable to see my website, then you should email me.

Just a reminder: In order to protect the integrity of my blog, I have WordPress set to require my approval the first time someone leaves a comment, if it contains a certain number of links, or if it contains certain undesirable words. That means that even if you do have a previously approved comment, your comments might occasionally get held back for moderation and might not show up on the post right away. Don’t let that stop you from sharing links! That requirement is there to stop link spammers, not real users!

Easy-to-Remember URLs

Thanks to Mat Packer and a  couple commenters, I have now created “vanity URLs” for many of the Social Media Networking sites (SoMeNet) I use that you, dear reader, might want to have access to easily. Sites like my Facebook profile, online photo album, video uploads, and bookmarks. 

I’m not doing this out of vanity, actually, but more because it was so simple to do and because I advocate more domain owners doing the same thing. I want to be an example. So let me tell you the two ways you can do this yourself if you own your own domain.

Vanity Subdomains

Each webmaster has to choose whether to use vanity subdomains or subfolders. You might choose to use vanity subdomains if you already use subdomains for other purposes, like http://blog.yourdomain.com. Here are the steps for setting up a 301 redirect for a subdomain.

  1. Set up the subdomain you want. For example, http://facebook.yourdomain.com. This can be a complicated process, so be sure to check with your host’s documentation for help if you haven’t done it before.
  2. Edit or create the .htaccess file for that subdomain. Add the lines below labeled “Redirect Subdomain Code.”
  3. Save the .htaccess file and you’re set!

Redirect Subdomain Code

# This allows you to redirect your entire website to any other domain
Redirect 301 / http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?YOUR-ID-HERE

Be sure to use your own Facebook profile URL! Just log in, click on “Profile”, and copy. To add other subdomains/redirects, simply copy the second line of code for each additional SoMeNet site.

Vanity Subfolders

This is the option I chose to use because I don’t use the “www” before my URL (that is, I always give out this URL: http://LindenAMueller.com/blog/, instead of this one: http://www.LindenAMueller.com/blog/), so using subfolders for my easy-to-remember SoMeNet links seemed the natural choice. Here’s how to do this, thanks to the original commenter, chrispugh, on Mat Packer’s post.

  1. Create the subfolder you want, for example, http://YourDomain.com/facebook.
  2. Edit your .htaccess file. Note: Unlike when you create a subdomain above, you should not have to create a new .htaccess file for this process. There should already be one if you have used your site at all. Add the lines below labeled “Redirect Subfolder Code.”
  3. Save your .htaccess file.

Redirect Subfolder Code

# This allows you to redirect a subfolder to any other domain
Redirect /facebook http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?YOUR-ID-HERE

Be sure to use your own Facebook profile URL! Just log in, click on “Profile”, and copy. To add other subfolders/redirects, simply copy the second line of code for each additional SoMeNet site.

Note: The only problem with this method is that the subfolders are case-sensitive. That means if you try this URL —  http://LindenAMueller.com/Facebook — you will get an error. (Go ahead, click on it and see!) Your domain is not case-sensitive, but the subfolders are. (Thanks to another commenter on Mat Packer’s post!)

Rinse, Wash, Repeat

Once you’ve set this up for Facebook, you can then set up as many subdomains/subfolders as you want for whichever SoMeNet sites you want. Here are the ones I’ve set up.

http://LindenAMueller.com/facebook — Facebook profile (obviously, eh?)
http://LindenAMueller.com/twitter — Twitter profile (another obvious one)
http://LindenAMueller.com/flickr — Flickr photostream (for more artistic photos. And iPod Touch screen caps :) )
http://LindenAMueller.com/photos — for personal photos uploaded to Picasa
http://LindenAMueller.com/videos — for personal videos uploaded to Vimeo
http://LindenAMueller.com/diigo — Diigo, my online bookmarks

Now, those of you familiar with Twitter might wonder why I set up a subfolder redirect which is significantly longer than my actual Twitter URL, which is http://twitter.com/xgravity23. Here is my reasoning: I know my username, but other people who might want to check up on my tweets might not remember it. With these redirects, all they have to remember or bookmark is my URL (dead simple to remember, since it’s my name) and the service of mine they want to check on.

Tuesdays with Linden’s Favorite Links: This I Believe 1 | 2 Jun 2009

This was supposed to auto-publish on Tuesday morning, but I had the date set to May 2 instead of June 2. Doh.

It has been a long time since I last posted a Tuesday Link post, and I apologize! But there will be at least a few more in the weeks ahead as I explore some of the This I Believe essays that touch me.

This I Believe is a project that Edward R. Murrow begin in the early 1950s on NPR (you can listen to his original This I Believe introduction here). It asks people to name a belief that guides their life in a short, 500-word statement with the goal of reminding all listeners what we have in common. Murrow’s project ran during a time when the world was divided, when we were more focused on the differences between people than the commonalities.

In my General Language Course this semester, I am giving my students reading, writing, listening, and speaking exercises by using NPR’s This I Believe series. They have to listen to and analyze essays on their own and discuss them in class. Then, they have three major writing assignments: a credo, an essay, and a statement. The This I Believe credo is 250 words, the essay 1,000 to 1,400, and the statement 500.

Writing your own This I Believe statement is very hard, especially when you go through this process of initial definition (credo), expansion and exploration (essay), and then distillation (statement). I have tried to write my own for submission to NPR, but I have never been successful, and I have tried three or four times. I decided this time that I would do it. Along with (well, slight ahead of) my students, I would write my own short statement of belief.

For the next few Tuesdays with Linden’s Favorite Links, I’ll be bringing you some This I Believe-related links along with parts of my This I Believe project.

My Favorite This I Believe Essays

The God Who Embraced Me When Daddy Disappeared: John Fountain’s essay does such a great job making the abstract, intangible exactly the opposite.

Leaving Identity Issues to Other Folks: I love the way that Phyllis Allen travels through her life—and the milestones in civil rights—in order to show us how she has arrived at her own, truly personal beliefs.

The Artistry in Hidden Talents: This essay by Mel Rusnov made me resolve to pick up my instruments again. I can’t do that right now, but when we get back to America, I look forward to practicing the piano, clarinet, and flute again. I’d love to get a sax, oboe, and/or bassoon to work on too.

There Is More to Life Than My Life: The beauty in this essay, and the way it is personally related to my This I Believe project, is that Jamaica Ritcher has two points of revelation, and I had the same experience when I recognized my belief, which I will begin to share with you next week.

Tomorrow Will Be a Better Day: I absolutely love the frame that Josh Rittenberg uses to set up and structure his essay. It is all set around his sitting on the couch, hearing his parents talk in the other room, and seeing pictures on the walls.

The People Who Love You When No One Else Will: I’ll end with an essay that is sad. But despite the sad circumstances that helped Cecile Gilmer form her belief, she found hope, love, and indeed life in the actions of the Beaches, and that is a nice note to end on.

Something to Ponder Over During the Next Week

Here is my belief, stated concisely, in one brief sentence. Brownie points to any reader who can guess which goal I might be talking about. Leave your guess in the comments!

I believe in the inspiring power of setting and achieving big, pie-in-the-sky goals.