Will Thames

swim, bike, run, tech

2012 Is Dead. Long Live 2013

2012 in retrospect

2012 was a year of change having got to Australia just before Christmas 2011. I’ve tried my hand at a number of things, including brewing, and various tech things that I’ll discuss shortly. I’ve barely cycled or swum since around April, and again, the reasons are worth mentioning.

I think my philosophy has changed somewhat, in that it’s very difficult to do many things well - one should instead focus on the most important aspects. Although I enjoyed the results of brewing, and it is difficult to get the kind of beers I like in Australia, it’s not impossible and I can pay people to send me beers I like from the other side of the country. At the moment it’s pointless brewing due to the heat anyway, but once things quieten down again I hope I’ll devote some more time to it.

For swimming and cycling, I decided in April that I was going to focus big style on my running. With four days a week running, that doesn’t leave a lot of time for other exercise - but if I really wanted to, I could find time, I’ve clearly chosen not to. The swimming pool closing over winter, and the swimming lessons stopping over winter don’t help. I imagine if it gets much hotter I may be replacing runs with swims soon though! I’d like to cycle a bit more but it needs time to do well.

As for tech, I’ve really tried to pare down my interests this year. I’ve decided to limit myself to one language (python) rather than looking at everything. So for web apps it’s been django and flask rather than rails or node, for configuration management it’s been ansible (I’ve made a number of contributions which has really helped my python and my ability to contribute to open source through git and github). I’ve looked at data analysis using pandas, although I really really rate D3 for client side rendering using javascript - and indeed the training log entries on this site make extensive use.

The move of this site to Octopress was half pragmatic (keeping drupal up to date was a chore) and half research - how to publish a site using just git and heroku using markdown for rendering. There are a few minor tweaks I’ve made using ruby under the hood (in particular the training pages) which might seem to break my python-only rule, but it really was minor.

For running, this year I’ve made personal bests at 5km (by over a minute), 10km (by three minutes, but I’m not happy with either of my 10kms) and the marathon (first by 7 minutes, then by 17 minutes). I also finished my first ultra run with a 50km run at Glasshouse. Time wasn’t great, and I had some routing problems, but I did it nonetheless. I’ve done a lot more trail running this year, racing at Pinnacles and regularly attending Bunyaville Trail Runners. I’ve also attended more parkruns this year than other years, and the birth of Sandgate Parkrun has found me volunteering more too. I also volunteered at Wild Horse Criterium, and while I fancy doing that race this year I do want to ensure I contribute to the trail running community too.

2013 Goals

I have a vague goal of doing something like Ultra Trail du Mont Blanc by the time I’m 40 (or given it’s in September, just after my 40th). So many of my goals will be not only to qualify, but also to prepare. Right now I wouldn’t stand a chance!

Runs I plan to do in 2013:

  • Brisbane Marathon (a new PB would be nice - so sub 3:30)
  • Oxfam Trailwalker 100km (sub 20 hours seems possible but depends on team and me)
  • Wild Horse Criterium (considering the 60km or even the 80km as it approaches Trailwalker)
  • Any timed 10km that fits with the rest of my schedule to get the kind of PB I’m theoretically capable of (below 45min seems reasonable)
  • On that note it would be good to get a new half marathon PB too, although it’s not letting the side down as much as the 10km.

I also want to significantly reduce my 5km time - but suspect it’ll need a cool windless day before that happens - my usual time right now is 90 seconds longer than PB!

With our recently bought house I really want to dedicate time to improving it as much as is sensible and affordable (not exactly a smart goal but without the advice of experts I don’t know what is sensible or even possible).

I also want to carry on learning - I have a few home monitoring projects that will require some Arduino investigation.

Hopefully I’ll brew the awesome Sorachi Ace Imperial IPA that I planned last year and never got around to.