Wednesday, September 17, 2014

I can run!

Last week was the first week that I could start running after my surgery. Coach Tom Clifford had three runs for me to do. Each were easy 20:00 runs.

The first (Tuesday) was so exciting. I was finally running again. My legs felt heavy and awkward, but there was no pain in the meniscus and my aerobic capacity was great. Throughout the day I did not experience any swelling or soreness.

I ran again on Friday morning and felt a bit more stiff and still quite heavy. When I finished running, my legs felt like they might give way when I finished, but my lungs/breathing were fine. My knee started to bother me throughout the day, but not where I had my procedure. There was a pinpoint pain where Dr. Moore had seen mild arthritis under the knee cap.

The knee was still bothering me on Sunday, so I bagged my third run. After talking to Coach Tom and thinking about what Dr. Moore told me to expect, I should have run. My knee is supposed to be a bit achy. There is scar tissue and my legs are not used to impact. Additionally, my muscle in the repaired leg has atrophied some, so my stabilizer muscles need building. It is something that I have to get through and stop being scared about.

I continued swimming and had my highest weekly total ever: over 21,000 yards!

This week I have three runs planed, getting up to 30:00. I will finally get to run with one of my favorite running buddies, Sarah Glenn. How I have missed our runs! I also have over 25,000 yards planned in the pool as I continue to improve my swim times.

Kirk YMCA, Roanoke, VA (becoming one of my second homes)

Have you had a surgical procedure on your knee? If so, what aches and pains did you experience as you started running again?

Until next week,

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Race report: Steve Barden Memorial Swim Meet

You didn't misread...this is a race report about a swim meet. I swam my first swim meet in over 20 years and had a ball. This meet was perfect for getting my feet wet (pun totally intended). It was small and low-key with the added bonus of being in a fun town (Asheville, NC) for hanging out afterwards.

I entered this meet over a month ago to give myself added fuel for cross training during my injury. As the meet got closer I sought help for my start and turns and found it in the Gator Aquatic Club and Brett Fonder. Over the last few weeks he has changed my turn, got me over my fear of the blocks, and made me sprint my butt off.

I swam the 50 and 100 yd. races this weekend. Given times that I had swum off the blocks (high 32s for the 50 and 1:14-high for the 100), my goals were to swim 31/32 in the 50 and 1:10/1:12 in the 100.

The 100 was first and it did not go well. My start was fine, but 15 yards in I realize that I am not sprinting. I was doing exactly what Brett said not to do...pacing myself. I tried to change gears but it resulted in rushed turns and messy form. I swam 1:14.56. I won my age group...but there were only two of us:)

Next was the 50. I wanted to redeem myself. I executed the race just as Brett suggested and was doing well until I started hitting the lane line the last 15 yards. I could not get off that thing! I finished second in my heat in 32.67. Within my goal, but that lane line cost me a few tenths. I am in lane 4 with the red cap on in the video below (second in from the bottom):


The times are a place to start and I had a blast. I have already signed up for another meet in November:) The meet is in Virginia Beach in a 25 meter pool. I entered the 50, 100, 200, and 400.

I get to start running on Tuesday, but I am going to continue to swim at least five times a week and work with Brett with a goal of improving and moving up to distance events (since I do not have a lot of fast twitch muscles!)

Hammer on and don't be afraid to try something different,

Friday, September 5, 2014

August Real Estate Index: The market is strong

Each quarter, in addition to the Consumer Sentiment and Price Expectations Report, I also produce the Real Estate Index using the methodology developed by the Sienna College Research Institute.

The figure below illustrates views on the real estate market in Virginia.
A measure of zero indicates an equal share of respondents feeling optimistic as those who feel pessimistic about the housing market. Perceptions of the market remain strong since the second quarter of 2014 with the only loss occurring in beliefs about buying in the next year. The Fed is likely going to raise rates in 2015 which is a potential determinant of the loss in optimism. 

You can read the entire report here.

The next set of reports will be released in November,

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Two weeks of aqua training, lots of writing, and the start of the new school year

Deadlines, deadlines, deadlines...I need them. Luckily I had deadlines for two projects. One was the second draft of the gender inequality in Papua New Guinea for the ADB. We turned in a 131-page document on Friday. Whew! The project and results are interesting, and considerable inequalities exist in the country across a variety of issues. One that I analyzed was the gender differences in mode of transportation to health facilities. Below is one of the graphics I generated:
Of particular interest was share of urban male patients with TB taking public transportation. At advanced stages TB is quite contagious via coughing/sneezing, thus taking the bus puts others at risk. What else do you notice in this chart?

The second deadline was the August Consumer Sentiment Report which was released last week. An earlier post discusses the findings. Interestingly this report generated interest from some new media outlets including Clear Channel in Richmond, the Roanoke Times, and the Roanoke Star. The Times actually did their own write-up about the report rather than just reproducing our report. 

The 2014-15 AY began this week with faculty contracts beginning the prior week. I was elected the Faculty Moderator for the year so I had two obligations over the last two weeks: our first FAC meeting (which I Chair) and the first Faculty Meeting of the year. There is something terrifying about standing in front of a room full of Faculty and speaking, but once the first few minutes were over I was more relaxed. Thankfully there were no major goofs.

Training in the pool continued to be fun and challenging. I am going to swim in a small meet next Saturday in Asheville, NC, so I sought out help for my start and turn. It has been over 20 years since I last started off of the blocks. I found a great resource in the Roanoke area: the Gator Aquatic Center. I had two sessions with Brett Fonder and it is amazing what a more efficient turn can do for your time! He totally changed my turn, so that I push off from the wall on my back and do not roll over (freestyle) until I am away from the wall. We also worked on my start off the blocks. I am no longer terrified:) During a series of 50 free's off the blocks we got my time under :34 so I am hopeful that I can swim 32-ish in the meet next weekend. For real swimmers that is slow, but hey, I have been out of it for a long time! I am also entered in the 100 which will be a PR because I have never raced the event. 

Training over the last few weeks included several weight sessions (I can now do single leg squats on my leg that I had surgically repaired which is promising), AJ workouts, and swimming. Since I have missed a week, I will not bore you with two weeks of a daily training log, but I did have several sprint oriented swim workouts from Brett in preparation for the meet. I got in over 16,000 yds swimming this week, but a bit less the week before due to a crazy work schedule.

Here is to my goggles not filling with water in my races next weekend,

Friday, August 29, 2014

Consumer Sentiment in VA hits a record high

I have worked with the Roanoke College IPOR to produce the quarterly Consumer Sentiment and Inflation Expectations Reports since November 2011. Although the report has a short history, it is exciting to see new records (in the positive direction). The history of the Virginia Index of Consumer Sentiment (VAICS, shown by orange bars) against the US measure (produced by the University of Michigan, shown by blue line) is shown below. The 2-period moving average of the US measure is shown in black. The national number is generated each month (that's what happens when you have a HUGE budget!).
You can read the full report here.
Things are better in VA. If you live in VA, do feel that way? If you live elsewhere, how are things where you are?
Confidently yours,

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Cross training week #6: Swim test and paces

My knee continues to improve overall, although after my workout on Tuesday/Wednesday I had a bit of a set back. I discuss the workout below, but afterwards my knee swelled noticeably and was uncomfortable walking/going up and down stairs, etc. I took Thursday completely off other than some stretching-focused yoga. Friday my leg was much improved and by the weekend it felt better than at the beginning of the week: a week-over-week improvement. Dr. Moore told me to expect some periods of swelling and soreness as I get back into things, but it was nonetheless worrisome.

The day off did give me plenty of time to work on my Papua New Guinea project. I spent several days working with a file covering detailed questions on perceptions of security. The focus of our report is gender differentials, and there were substantial disparities regarding fears of particular crimes. For example, women are considerably more concerned about walking at night and walking to the market, which could perpetuate labor market and income differentials between the genders. Disputes are more common in rural areas, particularly land and water disputes. Women are considerably more likely to seek help for theft in urban areas, suggesting they feel more comfortable with authorities in cities. Could this mean that there are more possibilities for equality in urban settings? What do you think? 

My training week was as follows (the paces will make sense after reading about the 200/800 test at the end):
MONDAY - AJ 54:00 w/ 3 sets of 5 x 1:30 hard, :30 easy; swimming 3,400 yds. w/
300 pull
400 kick
400 paddles/fins
4x100 (25 hard, 25 easy, repeat)
200 pull
4x50 (25 hard, 25 easy)
200 pull
8x25 hard
200 pull
400 kick (fins)
400 back (fins)
100 cool down

TUESDAY - swimming 4,000 yds w/ 200/800 test

WEDNESDAY - AJ 62:00 w/ 3 sets of 4 x 2:30, :30 rests


FRIDAY - AJ 66:00 w/ 3 x 1/2/3/2/1 sets, 1:00 rest; swimming 2,600 yds. w/
Warm Up
200 choice @V2, 20RAS
2 x 100 @V3, 15RPS, 30RAS
4 x 50 as 25 kick/25 swim @VM Effort
Main Set
6 x 100 @V4, 20RPS, 60RAS
600 Start @V2 & build to V4 effort, 60RAS
Cool Down
200 kick @VM effort, 20RAS
4 (2 x 25) kick-swim @VM, 20RPS, 30RAS
400 swim with paddles and fins @VE

SATURDAY - swimming 3,500 yds. w/
400 choice @V2, 30RAS @6:52, did 6:39 (still figuring pace out)
200 drills @VE, 30RAS
8 x 50
- odds (15 m kick/35 m build swim)
- even (35 m easy15 m build swim)
Main Set
1 x 600 @V3, 60RAS @10:21, did 9:54
3 x 200 @V4, 20RAS @3:14.3, did 3:18, 3:15, 3:17
6 x 100 @V4, 10RPS /50 free @V5, 15RPS @1:35.8/42.8, did 1:36, :46, 1:35, :44, 1:33, :44, 1:35, :44, 1:34, :44, 1:35, :44
Cool Down
400 swim/drill mix @VE effort (used fins/paddles, 6:31)

Upper and lower body lifting (TRX, med ball, etc)

SUNDAY - AJ 71:00 w/ 6 x 5:00, 1:00 rests, 10x:45, :45 rest; 60:00 deep tissue massage

WEEK TOTALS: 253 minutes AJ, 13,500 yds (3,375 per swim)

The 200/800 test was an exciting challenge: swim 200 yds. hard, 1:00 rest, swim 800 yds. hard. The purposes of the test were 1) determine my paces for various workouts, 2) find my strengths/weaknesses. As far as training paces, it is similar in function to finding your VDOT when using a Daniels training plan. I recently purchased a Garmin swim watch, so I did not need to worry about recording the distance/time. I did the 200 in 3:00 and the 800 in 13:21. The time differential per 100 yds. is about 11% suggesting that my endurance needs work. Looks like I will be doing a lot more longer reps:) Without showing how paces for my workouts are calculated (coach's secret), here are some of my paces for workouts:

Another week down,

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Cross training week #5

This was my first week after the meniscectomy that I could really get after it in training. My knee continues to improve each day. I note each tiny advance...I can bend my knee a bit more, I can push off of the wall harder, etc. I spent the week working back into aqua jogging, swimming, and research.

My training week look like this:
40:00 AJ w/ 2 sets of 5x1:30 hard, :30 easy and 2:00 between sets;
400 pull
150 kick
400 pull/paddles
50 kick
50 swim
400 pull
50 kick
Total: 1500 yds

40:00 AJ w/ 2 sets of 4 x 2:30 hard, :30 easy and 2:00 between sets
200 swim
100 kick

3x200 build
1x200 75% effort
2x200 neg split
1x200 85%
1x200 DPS
1x200 100%

100 back

45:00 swim (2600 yds)

4x50 drill, swim
4x25 build

100 moderate pace
200 fins/paddles
300 (50easy/50hard, repeat)
400 form
300 (50easy/50hard, repeat)
200 fins/paddles
100 @1:45

100 easy
Total: 3000 yds.

66:00 AJ w/ 3 sets 1:00 hard, 1:00 easy, 2:00 hard, 1:00 easy, 3:00 hard, 1:00 easy, back down
500 fins
400 kick medley w/ fins
300 pull with paddles
200 descending
5x100 on 2:00 (1:35-1:40)
4x25 sprint
8x50 drill
100 easy
Total: 2500 yds

52:00 AJ w/ 4 x 5:00 hard, 1:00 easy between; 6 x :45 sprint with :45 easy

100 easy
200 75 easy/25 hard x 2
300 paddles
400 50 easy/50 hard x 4
500 fins/paddles
400 100 hard/100 easy x 2
300 bilateral breathing
200 25 easy/75 hard x 2
100 for time
100 easy
Total 3062 yds (done in metered pool)

AJ: 198 minutes
Swimming: 15,462 yds

On Friday I had my last post-surgical appointment. Dr. Moore said that he had seen few cases with less swelling one week after procedure. I told him that I though aqua jogging was really helping. Anyone getting a similar procedure should consider the aqua jogging program that I have detailed. It is from my coach Tom Clifford who adopted it from Layne Schwier, UNCW coach.

I am feeling the heat of a research deadline as well. Yana Rodgers and I are nearing the conclusion of our report for the ADB.

I did venture out in public this week as well, after watching two full seasons of "House of Cards."

Keep training,