I picked up a new reader (I think that makes 5), my co-worker Daniel. He's been asking me to update my blog. I told him that a successful blog update requires many factors, but that I could only remember two: 1) material, especially material of interest...or at least inspiration, and 2) time. I really don't have any interesting material, and as usually I don't have any time. I do however have a thread of emails relating to quest for a handheld GPS that I need because Daniel makes us walk too fast. I sent out an email to the UCI Sailing Club member list, because I figured there must be a sailor with a handheld GPS. Here's an exchange I had with a member that I don't think I know. I removed last names and headers...and I guess the location of my building so no psychos will come and kill me. Otherwise no editing, really:
Me: Anybody have a handheld GPS I can borrow for a day or two? My company just moved, and I'm trying to plot a new one mile walking course (on land, not sea). Thanks!
Chris: GPS?? Why not just use your car or bike to plot a course. Or a Thomas guide; each square is 1/2 mile on a side ( I think, you'll want to check that.)
Me: You make it sound so simple, but you have no idea how strange some of my coworkers are. One of them insists we walk a 15 minute mile (twice a day). I can run a marathon, but do you have any idea how fast you have to walk to go an entire mile in 15 minutes? The company has moved to ------ (across the street from the ---- ---- building); I would prefer not to walk on the street, and all the business have these neat courtyards with fountains, etc. So I pull some satellite photos from Google maps (they even have a scale listed), and the 15 minute mile guy measures a course with a ruler, or something. I think his course ends up closer to a mile and a half, and at the end of the day, my toes are bruised and my knees are killing me. I thought about bringing in the bike speedometer, but it's currently attached to the tandem...that seems like a lot of work.
After going back and reading this email, I'm now looking like the crazy person, and perhaps my coworkers are all perfectly normal. Fortunately, I've been offered one of those Nike GPS watches. (I think they give speed/distance, without all the mapping features of a regular GPS unit; that should be sufficient). Anyway, thanks for the advice. If I worked with normal people, it would be more than adequate. (My first thought was: "Let's walk this way for 7 or 8 minutes, then turn around and walk back". I was stared at blankly).
Chris: Thank you for the humor; I suspect it was unintended, but your email got me laughing out loud. Bruised toes and killing knees -- why is this funny? Dunno, but it is.
Just because GPS says where you are, and how far you've gone doesn't make it accurate.
If you ride the tandem while your friend, I mean crazy coworker, walks, you should be able to keep up without your toes getting bruised. Won't that be a cartoon, you riding a tandem while your friend walks vigorously. People will assume you've done something to offend him, so he got off the bike, and now you're trying to apologize.
You could hire a local survey company like Psomas, to come out and layout a course for you. They could set nails in the concrete every 0.1 mile, so you can see if you're on track for your 4 mph. Actually 4 mph is a pretty fast clip; reasonably easy on a treadmill, but hard to average in the real world. I've always been surprised how slowly I go on a hike; 2.5 mph is not unusual for an overall average when hiking with others. So what profession are your coworkers anyway, that your "let's go this way, then go back" was ignored?
Me: The humor is always intended, but nobody ever gets it. At the end of my Capri 1 classes I always get a couple of comments that I'm not funny enough or that I don't tell enough jokes. I just started a new class over the weekend; this time, when they don't laugh, I've been pausing for a few seconds and then telling them that was a joke...go ahead and laugh. So far they've at least been humoring me. Maybe I need to bring a laugh track, or something. I work for Prescription Solutions (part of PacifiCare), with a bunch of pharmacists. From your email, I'm guessing you're an engineer. We're actually a lot like engineers, which explains why nobody wanted to walk for 7 and a half minutes and then turn around. At least I think that explains it. Thanks for the tandem imagery, and the Psomas suggestion (that might be a little beyond our budget. Remember, I'm too cheap to spring $70 for a handheld GPS). Back to work.
Chris: Guilty as charged. I could charge you a bunch of money laying out a multi-phased program to lay out a variety of courses of lengths appropriate to your workout needs; longer when preparing for a marathon, shorter for recovery days. Then I could sell you instrumentation to automatically track your progress at utilizing these courses, but I get to keep the instrumentation.
I've been in the public sector for 11 years, but before that I was a consultant, and plan to return to the consulting world after I'm through with my gig here. So I'm working on my consulting rap.