Perpetual motion

Can't stop learning…

Archive for the 'dbobrien' Category

Burn out

So today I wasn’t feeling so hot when I started the run, so I decided that I was just going to run hard for a bit and see how it went.  So anyway, I only did 3 but I did it in 23 minutes, in driving rain up the monster hill from the marina to the highway back home.  I tried sprinting up the hill, didn’t go so hot, I think my legs were about to give out half way up.  There’s a flat spot after you climb about 150-180 feet or so (estimated because you’re looking down on the 15 story building that is in front of the marina), and then another incline.  Anyway, I’m hoping for a bit of a better day tomorrow, we’ll see.

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“We’re not gonna protest…”

So I obviously missed yesterday, and I do have a valid excuse.  There was a pretty major demonstration in the middle of the city, right around where all the friendly opposition coalition members are camped out in front of the capital buildings.  Get this, the demonstration was on March 11, which falls directly between March 8 and March 14.  March 8 is the day that there was a rather large pro Syrian demonstration in 2005, following the assassination of Hariri.  Then March 14th was the now famous Cedar Revolution, or at least the most visible demonstration during that time.  It was a month exactly after the assassination, and that’s when all the anti-Syrian folks took to the streets.  This year, a bunch of people decided to get together on March 11 to advocate as a group against anymore demonstrations that might lead to violence.  Yes, that’s right, they protested against further protests.  For those of you who have not yet seen PCU please do.

Anyway, here’s the route for today, just 4, tried to loop it again. Still a bad idea.

Going South tomorrow. Hopefully be back soon to tell you all about it. Peace.

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Riding shotgun in someone else’s drunken pipe dream

So you know that feeling that you’re not quite living up to everything that everyone needs you to be?  I feel like that a lot lately. Like I’m letting people down.  I’m busting my ass at work, putting in way too many hours, but this project…it’s like nothing goes right and I feel like it’s almost beyond my power to get it going the way it should be.  And that doesn’t just apply to this NGO stuff.  While I’ve been spending all my time at work, it’s like I’ve become a spectator to my personal life.  Waiting for something to happen that will push me in a direction.  I always wait for people to ask me out for a drink or dinner, I’m waiting for people to find something for me to do, I’m not even that motivated to look for an apartment away from the office. 

I spend all my time trying to fix things beyond my control because I assume that the things that I can control will come easy and as a result, I end up almost exclusively being acted upon.  that’s probably not good.

So run tonight, decided to see if I could push my boundaries a bit, you know give it that little extra push over the top.  Here it is:  “11” Took me 51:28, 25:30 out 25:58 back. That almost matches the farthest that I’ve gone down the coast so far, from that first day. I’m probably going to take it down a few notches tomorrow, my body will most likely force me to take it down quite a bit.

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Ahhahahhhahhhhyeeaaahh Here we go…

So today and for about 6 hours yesterday, I got my first taste of what it means to actually administer a USAID grant from the finance perspective.  wow.

Following nearly 14 straight hours of questions about our current program, I have come to the conclusion that it is not quite as easy as I thought to do these grants.  These past two days have been quite a humbling experience.  More dissappointing for me though was that I lack the energy to appear supportive and we’re in the middle of bringing on a finance person that can probably turn the documentation and policy stuff around.  I hate when something as simple as looking like you’re enthusiastic about an idea is where you screw up.  It’s such an easy thing to do, but I think I’m teetering on the edge of burnt out. 

Luckily, it frustrated me enough that I went out and ran tonight.  Here’s the route.  So now I’m completely wrecked. 

I am going to get my first taste of Beirut night life tonight.  My project manager is taking me out with her friends should be a pretty good time. If anything else, just a nice change of pace.

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Ellipticals are for girls.

So yeah, I missed yesterday.  Although I could be making excuses in this entry, I’ll just leave it at that.  That’s my one day for the week then.  This morning I tried the whole loop thing , so I included down hills.  Bad idea.  I don’t know if it’s the pavement here or what, but it just kills your knees, it’s like there’s absolutely no give in the road whatsoever.  I’m used to going down hills but this just sucks.  I’m going to have to figure out some other way to get down to sea level that avoids the downhill ski course I went down today. 

In other news, my British Finance Manager showed up this morning at 4:00 AM.  So I will be peppering my entries from now on with the various slang that I am going to pick up over the next several months.  And yes, I’m probably more likely to pick up British phrases than I am much Arabic.  I need to take a course in Arabic…

Right’O. Brilliant. Cheeri’O and good day to you sir.


Damn it! Who let the dog out?

So night run tonight.  Interesting experience.  I learned what Lebanese college students who are trying to look cool do…they go to the boardwalk and smoke hookas.  The run was filled with second hand smoke in various flavors on the way out.  On the way back I enjoyed a nice head wind and a slight uphill the whole way.  Here’s the route. I went 19:55 out 21:08 back in. I’ve been using this log to track my runs, I added all of yours as well:  training-log.xls

So didn’t see too many angry people with guns, lots of bored soldiers with them though.  I think one person threw a pebble at me, but other than that, not too many problems.  Except for this friggin dog that scared the shit out me and almost got me hit by a car.  Golden lab stray, jumpsout of an alley and comes running right at me, I side step his lunge, and almost jump into oncoming traffic, at which point (and this is like 4.9 miles into the run) I attempt to sprint away.  The thing starts to chase but must have lost me in the oncoming headlights and gave up.  Friggin dog.

In other news, I had planned on saving this run for a while.  But today I almost lost my project manager, because she’s so fed up with this project.  I feel terrible for her.  She’s working her ass off, and this guy we’re being forced to work with by the national director, is screwing everything up.  I don’t know how to support her cause I can’t speak the friggin language, I don’t know if she’s part of the problem or not, but I can tell that the project is having a really bad impact on her.  She’s not getting enough sleep, she’s visibly stressed out, she’s starting to get sick…I don’t know what to do anymore.  I’ve done everything that I can think of from Beirut, I don’t know what else I can do to fix the damn thing aside from forcefully severe the relationship with the partner organization.  Of course that would also basically burn any bridge between me and the national director and would probably get me kicked out of here. 

This place can be infuriating and exhausting at the same time, it’s remarkable, they actually inspire so much enmity that they exhaust your supply of adrenline so more problems end up making you tired.  This training thing couldn’t have come along at a better time.

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I’m pretty sure they saw me

So today I decided to try and do a loop back to where I’m staying.

I couldn’t find my watch so I’m not sure on the time, but I’d like to point out something on the map. so towards the end of the run, you’ll notice that I was running on a fairly large highway.  That is actually a bridge. To the left, as I was running you’ll see a whole lot of empty parking lots, behind them you’ll see some buildings which make up the administrative center for the Government of Lebanon.  What is missing in this picture are all of the tents that have been errected for the standing protests.  There are probably between 200-400 tents, there’s a lot under the bridge.  Anyway, the folks protesting include the following political parties: Amal, The Free Patriotic Movement, The Syrian Party and Hez.  They are in favor of a national unity government and the elimination of western influence over Lebanese policy.  So, as the title of this post suggests…I think they might have seen me.

Now that’s what I call dedication.  And how sweet would it be to have a story that went something like, “So I was training for this Ironman in Beirut, when I got kidnapped…” Chicks have got to dig that.

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Day Two: ouch

Yeah so I got out and was able to get a run in right before it got dark:

Felt much better today during the run, the whole exercising afterwards sucked. Listening to a little Tenacious D helps though. (To the Wendy’s pick-up window, “Put two of them up your ass, I want just a 4 nugget thing, I’m trying to watch my figure, trying to loose the weight.”) I was able to hold my pace the entire run, 13:04 out 13:07 back which is a good sign. Probably going to try and increase the mileage a bit more tomorrow, though it will be much different doing this exercise thing pre-work. As far as the other stuff, I did a circuit of 15 to warm up, then a bunch of random exercises as I thought of them. I’m going to try and map out an actual workout plan so that I can hold myself accountable on this stuff. We’ll see how that goes. I really need a pull-up bar.

All right man, talk to you later, time for a shower.
Added: So had this idea. The name of this log is Lebanon to DC, do you think it makes sense to sum the total number of miles we run, see when we meet the mileage between DC and Beirut? Or how many times we can cover that distance.

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This Google Pedometer thing must not like me

So just completed my first run for this training log.  And I was able to map it on the satelite image.  I ran 20 minutes straight out. I was hoping that I was going somewhere around 7:30 pace.  But this was my second time out, first day in two weeks, where I’ve actually done anything other than sit in a chair at the office…So yeah, google says I didn’t get very close to a 7:30 pace. And as amused as I am that I can actually use the pedometer function, it’s completely disheartening to read the low number in the milage box.  I think I’m going to switch to the metric system during these first few weeks.  Anyway, the route is here: I’ve also done 4 circuits of 20 today.  (A circuit is a throw back to my high school track days, it consists of 20 push-ups, 20 seated rows, 20 squat thrusts, 15 leaps, with 15 jumping jacks at the beginning and in between each exercise.)

By the way, starting to train is awful. 

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