For new readers

To get an idea of what I'm trying to do and why I think it's possible, check out the following entries, they'll help get you up to speed.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Detailed Balance

Just a very quick post/update as i struggle unsuccessfully (at least this is how it feels) to write write write my way into a master's degree.  I'm normally fond of procrastinating until the last minute - i work better under pressure and find i'm more efficient this way - but i've never quite been in a situation like this where two weeks out from the deadline for a completed first draft is the last minute.  I often don't know how i'll manage it - but truth be told it will end up managing itself in one way or another.  It only makes me a little bit grumpy because it's on my mind all the time and i end up by default withdrawing unconsciously into my own little world filled with the language of statistical mechanics (and granted - there is some cool language in this world - words like Lagrangian, ergodicity (one of my favorites!), phase space, Markov, etc) - and i end up somewhat isolated from the family and kids which is a bummer.  I'm trying to separate work from home but it's getting harder and harder to do and soon the nightly ritual of two episodes of Arrested Development on netflix that's been keeping me sane will have to be abandoned too.  I only hope that i can just get this done - 10 weeks is better than having it loom for another entire semester.....

It's making it hard to train a bit too - although i sucked it up and had a decent week last week.  Here's the update:

  • Workout #1:  Tuesday.  I found out that i'd actually got less fit (my Vdot went from a 52.2 about 10 weeks ago to a 51.6) based on my 4 mile 'time trial' (which was positively brutal) 
  • Workout #2: Thursday.  I was able to get some support from Erik Sanders, a fellow triathlete and collegiate bike racer, who agreed to join me for a workout.  I knew he'd be faster than me but thought it would motivate me to go hard.  It did - and i managed to keep up with him but only by staying in his slip-stream after about the first 6 miles or so.  I'd actually get to recover a bit while drafting - so much so that i'd imagine i could take a turn pulling - but as soon as i'd try to do so i'd realize my mistake (it's amazing the difference the draft can make!)  I finally got a chance to share the load as we neared the end of the ride and headed into a stiff headwind - Erik politely looked back and said "you can take a turn up here if you'd like" - as if he was concerned that i wasn't getting the workout that i wanted because he was doing all the leading.  I'd decided to do a brick and so threw on shoes after the 22 mile ride and tried to push the opening pace and cadence (the key to a fast run in an olympic or shorter tri, in my opinion, is to get right into it and, as my wife is fond of saying, 'begin as you intend to go on').  Erik paced me on his bike and after a few blocks where i struggled with cramping calves i started picking up the pace and was right around 9 mph (6:40 pace) within the first half mile.  1.7 miles later i was headed back to the house with Erik convincing me to finish as though it was a race.  Bastard.
  • Workout #3:  I paddled for an hour on the Red Lake River - using my normal kayak blade (as opposed to wing paddle) to ascertain the speed difference.  Even though i did intervals (20, 40, 60, 80,100, 80, 60, 40, 20 paddle strokes on each side at tempo with 20 easy strokes in between) and otherwise tried to set a good pace, i was still, at least based on my calculations,  a third of a mile per hour slower than with the wing blade.  Might not seem like much but its more than 5% - which when you're trying to win a race is more than significant.  Now i'm not sure which paddle to take - if i take the wing paddle the last mile or so of the chippewa paddle section (the race i'm training for) might be messy as it winds through a narrow creek termed the 'snake pit' and i've far from mastered the difficult art of sculling, drawing, etc with the wing that seem necessary to successfully navigate such a waterway in a 16+ foot surf-ski.  I'm considering trying out hand paddles, but will leave that for this weekend.
Alright - that's it. Back to work.  It's time to write about 'detailed balance' with credibility, even though it's rather clear that i don't have any.  

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