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Archive for March, 2009

Runnin’ In The Snow

Mother nature seems to be testing me lately.  Tuesday, I ran in the rain.  Wednesday, I ran in 32 degree weather in the snow.

This was my first solo run since Saturday, when I ran about two miles in much warmer conditions.  The runs I have done since then have been with people, and for some reason, easier.  There is something comforting to have someone running with you.

As for today, Lake Calhoun called my name, and I answered.  I had some difficulty getting myself warm running.  It took me about halfway around the lake to finally feel comfortable, loose, and warm.  I find it amazing how it is possible to actually feel a healthy warm in ‘freezing’ weather.  I actually got a good sweat on during my snowy run.

One thing that I found interesting; I counted between 20-30 other runners at Lake Calhoun, with a handful running with their dogs.  I thought I was a little nuts, but there was a very tight knit club out there Wednesday.  Usually, when you run, you’re focusing on yourself, your run, breathing, etc.   This day, there was lots of ‘the nod’ going on, a non-verbal acknowledgement that ‘you’re one of the strong… welcome to the club’.  Finally, I am starting to HTFU (Google search it if you’re curious to what it means).

Today, I will be running once again.  It is suppose to be a day off for me.  However, things changed due to prior commitments on Friday (that should be a blast; I’ll write about that later 🙂 )  Friday is my day off now, with Saturday and Sunday as running days.

Question: I’ve been blogging a lot about running lately.  Are there other topics you want me to blog about?   I am open to all suggestions.

Til next time,

~Jason Douglas

twitter: @jasondouglas

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Runnin’ In The Rain

March 24, 2009 1 comment

Monday brought a nice day off after a great run on Sunday.  The training pattern I am executing: run two days, rest one.  Since yesterday was a well-deserved rest day, today, no matter the weather, was a running day.

I had The Weather Channel online all day to see if the rain would hold off, if the rain would go away.  That turned into ‘how hard will it be raining when I am running?’.  Having not run in rain in months, I was a little leary.  Did I bring enough, or the right running gear?  Was my running ‘outfit’ going to hold up in the torrential, cold rain? (that’s for you Taj 🙂 )

After staying late to finish up launching a new sponsored search campaign for a client, I was on my way to Lake Calhoun to run in the rain.  I called my friend Brian, (you may remember him as the one who thought of this brilliant idea to do a half-marathon), and asked him if he wanted to go running with me.  It was intended to be sarcastic due to the weather conditions.  However, he said yes.  Surprised, I headed to his place to run around a local pond/preserve.

I tried to stretch a little more than normal just in case I never warmed up in the cold.  That proved to be key to why the run in the rain went well.  Brian and I made it around this pond three times, which I estimate was three miles.  I felt good throughout the run, especially considering the conditions.  I had no idea what to expect, and was pleasantly surprised to how well I felt, how far I am going and feeling good, and how much I am enjoying running.

My marathon running friend, Kenny, was right.  He said to dress light, and that I would enjoy it more than I thought.  I should trust what he says; he has run in numerous marathons including Grandma’s and the Boston Marathon.  He’s kind of a big deal.

Tuesday was an awesome experience; today will be more of the same.  I hope to go a little further and push myself maybe a half mile further.

I guess we can compare me to the USPS; rain, nor sleet, nor snow, nor hail will stop me from running.  🙂

Til next time…

~Jason Douglas

twitter: @jasondouglas

Outdoor Running: Week One Recap

March 23, 2009 1 comment

Last Sunday, I began running outside in my training for the half-marathon.  I would have liked to begin running outside sooner, but wussed out because I did not want to run in negative degree cold weather.  I did not think that I would have to train my body to run in those conditions for a race on May 31.

In one week, eight days actually, I went from barely making it a mile to running around Lake Calhoun.  Progress is always nice; it keeps people motivated.

Highlights of the eight day period:

  • Ran six of eight days
  • last three runs were at least two miles, with yesterday’s run around Lake Calhoun was arounr 3.5 to 3.7 miles of running (new record)
  • minimal side aches; the ones I get I an easily run through

What I learned:

  • running with someone does help; thanks to those who suggested that
  • a large majority of runners on Lake Calhoun are visually pleasing; I hope I add to that 🙂
  • only serious runners apply: the runners at Lake Calhoun are there to run, not socialize.
  • I might be breathing wrong; was doing in the nose, out the mouth.  Running buddy Caitlin suggested I breathe in and out the mouth: more oxygen, fewer cramps and sideaches
  • slow down my pace = running further.  Speed will come with time.

My plan from today until race day is to run two days, rest one.  Today is a rest day, which is a blessing with how the weather is today.  If by the end of the month, I can get to running around 4-5 miles with ease, my confidence will be very high going into the next month of training.

I hope to get a group of people to run with at least once a week, most likely on a weekend.  It sounds like that there are quite a few people in my core group of friends that are all about running.

Thanks to everyone supporting me!

~Jason Douglas

twitter: @jasondouglas

Outdoor Running Day Two

March 16, 2009 3 comments

Yesterday brought me a wake-up call with my half-marathon training.  Things just did not go well in my first outdoor run this year.

Today brought an opportunity for me to redeem myself, to show myself that I am not as far off as I was yesterday.  Then again, after yesterday’s performance, it would be near impossible to do worse today.

I got home from meeting friends at happy hour just in time to get my run in before sundown.   I stretched, I stretched again, then went on my way.

Highlights:

  • I ran at least a half-mile further without stopping
  • My lungs were not as heavy, very little hacking up
  • No sideaches, again!
  • I could have gone further; I need to HTFU (if you know what that means, two bonus points for you)
  • I did run about a half-mile after walking for a few minutes
  • I did a push-up and sit-up workout after the run

Lowlights:

  • I stopped earlier than I should have, I need to HTFU
  • I need to not be afraid to go further; keep running!  1.5-2 miles may be ‘ok’ right now, that’s not going to cut it in a week

Overall, today was 100 times better than yesterday.  I am enjoying running outside the last two days more than any of the time I have spent on a treadmill so far this year.  I can only hope that the weather continues to hold up.

Tomorrow, I have to decide on going to my bosses house for St. Patrick’s Day dinner, or running after work.

What should I do?

~Jason Douglas

twitter: @jasondouglas

Spring Is Here: Take Two Steps Back

March 15, 2009 2 comments

It’s an interesting title to use for a blog.  Most people associate the arrival of spring as a step or two forward.  There is a saying regarding daylight savings time: ‘fall back, spring ahead’.  With the recent heatwave to hit the Minneapolis area (Hopkins specifically), I was hoping to start running outside.

Today brought 54 degree weather, sunny, and a small breeze.  Today was the day that training outdoors for the half-marathon would begin.

I didn’t have a goal set for how long I would run, distance and time.  My goal was to just get out and see how it felt to run against the wind, with the wind, not on a treadmill, and most importantly: how would my lungs feel.

I have run outdoors in the past, and have encountered the same issues when I start running outside: heavy lungs, dry mouth, a clearing of the nasal pasages.

Today was no different.

It has been since October since I had run outside; that was in different conditions and a different situation.  Then, I was happy to finally be active after my wrist ordeal.  Today; there is  a goal motivating me.

I made it a mile before I had to stop.  Not good for someone who has 13.1 to run on May 31.

Positives:

  • No side aches!  I did not think this was possible.   Maybe it has to do something with getting fresh air in the body.
  • My legs felt good as they have throughout this process
  • I was running outside and not on a treadmill; need more of that since the race is not indoors
  • I did continue running after a 3 minute walk, about a half mile, until everything went south again

Negatives

  • My lungs were heavy; it felt like I had a two-pack-a-day habit
  • The dry mouth was pretty poor; I kept hacking up a lung after a half-mile
  • Running outside made me feel like everything I have done to this point was for nothing, hence the title of the blog

Today allowed me to realize that I am nowhere near where I need to be to achieve my goal on May 31.  Sobriety a half-hearted adjustment on my diet, and a workout that I have not committed to 100% will only allow my doubters to be right, and that can not happen.  That can not happen.

This is the wake up call I needed.  The disappointing things here are that I allowed this to happen, allowed the doubters to feel that they finally got me and were right, that all the work I have done and steps I have taken forward have not been enough.  I will not allow failure to happen.

Until next time.

~Jason Douglas

twitter: @jasondouglas

A New Beginning: A Step Forward

March 9, 2009 3 comments

Today was the beginning of a new phase in my career and in my life.  I began my employment at Spyder Trap Online Marketing today as an Online Marketing Specialist.  My role at Spyder Trap will include: search engine optimization (SEO), sponsored search marketing (PPC), social media marketing and social media monitoring, online marketing strategy, business development, and more as my experience progresses.

This is an opportunity that I did not think would be available to me so early in my career.  Already feeling lucky to have a role in online marketing at Risdall Marketing Group working exclusively in search marketing, I had no reason to look elsewhere.  This was an opportunity that presented itself to me four months ago by my good friend from college Mike Rynchek, President of Spyder Trap.   I mention that only to emphasize a point that I make to college students and all of my friends: networking just might be the best tool to help you along in your career.  I am two-for-two in the jobs I have held have been presented to me due to who I knew, and not necessarily what I knew.

It was a tough decision to leave Risdall; my nine months was very enjoyable, very educational, and was a great fit.  In the end, there was no opportunity for me to expand my role like it has been presented to me at Spyder Trap.

I am very thankful for my time at Risdall; they will be always remembered in a good light as the company that was willing to give me an opportunity.  I just hope that I exceeded their expectations they had for me.

Another role for me at Spyder Trap will to be a contributing writer on the Spyder Trap Blog.  You may have noticed it located on my blogroll.  Now, I will be blogging on a blog on my blogroll.  I will still keep a mix of personal and professional here in this blog, but may lean more towards personal for now.

Thank you to all who have congratulated me and wished me well; I do appreciate it.  Unfortunately, there are doubters out there.  People have doubted me since high school:

  • You will never go to college (I did)
  • You will never graduate college (I did)
  • You will never succeed as President of AMA-SCSU (I excelled)
  • You will never find that ideal first job (I did)
  • You will never be able to handle all the responsibilities of your new job (I will)

The path I have taken through life has not been as conventional, or as safe as others.  However, anytime that people doubt me, it seems as if I have proven people wrong.  I look forward to proving the doubters wrong again.

I am very excited for the opportunity ahead at Spyder Trap, and ready to become a major player within the company.

That’s the update on the professional side of life; I have plenty more to share that has happened in my life.

As always, stay tuned 🙂

~Jason Douglas

twitter: @jasondouglas

Facebook’s Homepage Facelift

Remember just a few months ago when millions petitioned against the ‘new facebook’? You’re finally getting used to the ‘new facebook’, seeing that it does have some nice qualities.

Obviously, the people at facebook do not like their members to get comfortable.  Soon, users will see a new facebook homepage which according to some, is making Facebook more closely resemble Twitter

Some of the notable changes:

  • Facebook’s popular ‘News Feed’ will be updated in real-time.
  • Filters are located in the sidebar, allowing you to control who you see updates from (friends, family, network based)
  • Statuses are more than just text and links; they can include pictures and videos now

Those are the big changes that I noticed.  Wired.com has more facebook changes in their blog with screenshots comparing the old and new.

I am going to like having the news feed updated in real-time; refreshing for new statuses was a small annoyance.  The filter system, if I understand it properly, reminds me of tweetdeck; to have high school friends, college friends, co-workers and more in their own respective group should clean out a lot of the ‘rif-raf’ that can clutter ones facebook news feed.

Personally, I like change.  I was one of four fans of the ‘new facebook’ when that was released, and this will only help enhance the facebook user experience.  Changes like these should be embraced, not petitioned against.

Will this be the last change we see for a while?  Facebook needs to develop a consistency so users can become familiar with everything that facebook has to offer.  With changes every few months, we will always be playing catch up.

Hopefully, these changes will bring a more reliable chat system and not ban certain users 🙂

~Jason Douglas

twitter: @jasondouglas