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Lake Lanier Islands Triathlon 2014

Sunday, September 28th was the 10th annual Lake Lanier Islands Triathlon. It’s been eight years since I last ran this race. I dug out my Emerald Point Triathlon Race Recap after the fact to see how I did and how much I have evolved (or devolved!). In short, I’m eight years older and roughly 10 minutes faster.

Not much has changed at this venue since my last visit:

  1. Participants are now required to check their bike in the day before. Kind of a pain, but with 1000 folks at a small venue, it’s really a necessity.
  2. Body marking is gone. I guess this has been phased out over the past couple of years, but this was my first in a couple of years, so I was a bit surprised to see those temporary tattoos.  They are a real pain to remove too – baby oil is definitely required.
  3. The resort has created a marina in the area that was once the swim exit.  The huge climb up to transition is still there, but now you have to run across a long pier begin that climb.

Swim

I felt really good on the swim. It’s been awhile since I raced in open water. I felt like I sighted really well the whole way and kept an even stroke. Once I turned right at the first buoy, the field opened up a bit and I was able to swim my swim. My split was a bit disappointing because the chip time stopped at the mat in the transition area. It included the run across the pier and up the hill. Of course I took it easy here to avoid getting my heart rate up. I would’ve gone harder had I realized that was still part of my swim time. There was a mat at the swim exit, but I think that was just checking us in to the race.

Course and elevation profile of the Lake Lanier Islands triathlon.

Lake Lanier Islands Triathlon bike course

Bike

Regardless of what the literature says about flatness with only 1 real climb, the course is hilly.  You’re in North Georgia. It’s going to be hilly.  I executed the bike course really well, with an IF of 1.05.  Any more than that would’ve screwed my run, and even that may have negatively impacted my run a tiny bit.  My Garmin 705 had issues with the distance, registering a total of only 9.6 miles instead of the 12.5 – 13 that the course really is. Not sure what went wrong there. At least I have my power numbers – that is the most important part.

 

Lake Lanier Islands run course

Lake Lanier Islands run course

Run

I had a pretty easy time finding my pace and getting out on the run course. Like the bike, there were a bunch of hills to deal with on this course, but only 1 of them was really of any significance that began in the second mile and was about 1/2 mile long.  I walked the hills which I think may be a result of cooking the legs a little too much on the bike. Or may just have been mental. Who really knows?  Once I hit mile 2 I was moving the whole way and passed a couple of folks in my a/g.  The finisher chute had started to deflate, but some kind folks were holding it up as I crossed the mat.  1 hour, 27 minutes.  Not too shabby for being older and not training nearly as much as I used to!

Transitions

My transitions went really well. I had staged things well, and have Yankz on my running shoes. I could probably shave a minute off of each. It has been awhile since my last sprint tri, so I will just be content with it as is.

In summary, it was a great day. I had a lot of fun not only racing, but also in training the 8-10 weeks leading up to this event.

Outlook 2010 and 2013 Meeting Ribbon Missing

I recently experienced, for the second time, the case of the missing appointment actions ribbon in Microsoft Outlook.  I was running 2010 when it disappeared, and was greatly disturbed by it.  I found the article The Outlook ribbon disappears from Microsoft Outlook when you use the Microsoft Dynamics CRM Client for Microsoft Office Outlook on Microsoft Support. Sadly, I painstakingly fiddled with my registry as prescribed and found no relief.

It turns out that my problem was being caused by the iCloud plug-in.  How did I determine this? Process of elimination. I went to File – Options – Add Ins, clicked on the GO button next to “COM Add-ins”, and then unchecked the iCloud add-in.  Voila! All the meeting actions returned to view.

 

Shows that the meeting actions are once again visible.

My meeting actions have returned!

Mailbox iOS App – I Like It

Last year I looked at a new app called Mailbox that was promising to tame the beast that is your gmail inbox. At the time, I was turned off for a couple of reasons:

  1. There was a wait list within the application before I could use it. There were something like 500,000 people ahead of me.  This seemed bogus to me at first.
  2. They store my email on their servers.  I have my own system of rules setup within gmail, so this did not seem like an appealing approach to me.
  3. It was only available for gmail. I have an Exchange account for work and an iCloud account for personal communications. I was really looking for a more complete solution.

I finally gave in and began using the app a few weeks ago, and I really like it. I thought through my original list of complaints, and have come to grips with them in the following ways:

  1. Because they were storing messages, they needed disk and i/o capacity. The wait list approach allowed them to grow predictably rather than get flooded and be rated as a crappy app out of the gate. I think ratings probably did suffer a little bit by the wait list (e.g. it too me a long time to go back and give them a try), but in the end I haven’t heard anything negative about their service overall.
  2. Google stores my email on their servers. If I allowed them to, with all of their data mining and ad targeting capabilities, why wouldn’t I let someone else? How much worse could it really be?
  3. Mailbox added support for iCloud and Yahoo.  This made it so that all my personal mail (gmail and iCloud) could be processed by their app, and my work email could be entirely processed by the native iPhone email app.

What does mailbox provide that my own rules based approach not?  Reminders.  With Mailbox, I have the ability to tell it to remind me of a particular message later today, tonight, tomorrow, or at some future date and time. It then removes that message from my inbox so it does not clutter my thinking.  At the appropriate time, I get a notification on my phone and the message re-appears for me to act on.  The service also works with gmail rules – I just have to go back in and change my rules that route to my old “_Read” label to the one within Mailbox.  This will make it so that newsletters and other general information sources automatically go in a “to read” list that I can process when I have free time to catch up on stuff.

So far, so good. I am happy with the application as is, but also looking forward to seeing what these guys do next.

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Leaving Your Company – The Emotional Break

This past week was what I fondly referred to as “The Farewell Tour” for me at HP. I was only there 14 months before being lured back to my former employer, but during that time I had become well entrenched. It’s humbling to realize the number of people that I had a positive impact on – and in return that had a positive impact on me.

What I came to realize was that this farewell tour was an important part of the process, and I actually found it fairly well documented on the HP Alumni site. They provide a handy “ASAP checklist” for you to follow once you realize that you are leaving the company. Tip # 5 says to:

Do your own simple lunch the week after even if there is an official lunch. You can even invite people who are already gone. A bona fide celebration is an important part of the emotional transition process. Leaving a job – even if eagerly and happily – has an impact of almost the same magnitude as a death in the family. Don’t skip this part of working through the emotional steps.

That really is great advice. In a healthy workplace, losing a team member has a big impact. Folks are happy that they are getting the opportunity, but also feel the void that person is leaving. Saying thanks and goodbye is very important.

 

I Wish I Had Written Better Test Cases

I’m wrapping up my short career at Hewlett-Packard, looking forward to the opportunity that I am headed to next. At this point I don’t have any work assigned to me and I have the opportunity to review some of my past work and do some refactoring. The only problem is, that in the course of work, either tests cases for certain things were not written, or a change took place that broke a test case, and fixing the test case took the back seat. So here I am with a few changes I’d like to make, no nice way to prove that they’ll be ok, and not enough time left to safely make changes to either place.

Ok. I get it. Lesson learned.