Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Back on Track (Couch to 5K: Week 8 Day 2)

For the first time since I started this program, I've been really DREADING a run. I was somewhat discouraged after Monday's failed effort, and I think, more than anything, I was afraid that maybe I wouldn't be able to finish the program I had been working so hard at for the past 8+ weeks.

Since Monday, I've been paying really close attention to my diet and my water intake. I thought that perhaps I wasn't giving my muscles the proper fuel to carry me through my runs, possibly explaining my recent aches and pains. (I know that, as a rule, I don't drink enough water) I also bought myself a bottle of G20 Gatorade (which tastes like crap, but is only 20 calories as compared to 180 for the other kinds) and drank half of it in the morning, and the other half about an hour before my planned run - hoping for a little energy boost.

I plotted out my route in advance, throwing caution to the wind and deciding on a new 4K route I hadn't run before. One of the biggest dilemmas lately has been deciding on what to wear - just enough so I don't freeze to death, but not so much that I'm suffocating halfway through. Today I somehow managed to get it exactly right and I felt pretty comfortable throughout. The wind was wicked though, and I seemed to be running directly into it most of the time, almost as if it was following me. I think this slowed me down a little, but slowing down was probably not a bad idea at this point.

I have to say, I felt pretty good out there today. There was some residual stiffness in my back, for sure, but no pain! YAY! When I was coming into the home stretch, I ran into the kids walking home from school. I was sort of a "bad mom" here, and didn't stop to talk to them. I waved and kept on going. (Hey, I was finally in the ZONE! I didn't want to mess it up! There goes my "Mother of the Year" award. Again.) Erin insisted on following me on the rest of my route and she did pretty good trying to keep up while carrying her backpack.

I ran exactly 4KM in 32:26 (8:06 mins/km). Slow, yes, but at this point I'm thinking slow and steady will win the race. Or at least get me to the finish line!! I need to get my butt into a yoga class and stretch out some sore muscles, but hopefully Friday will go just as smoothly as today did. I'm not sure if it was the diet, the gatorade or just a better overall attitude, but I'm hoping to replicate it for W8D3!!!

J :)

Monday, April 2, 2012

Book Review: Steve Jobs, by Walter Isaacson

Let me start off this book review by saying that, prior to reading this book, I really didn't know much about Steve Jobs (other than he was the "Big Cheese" at Apple) and I am not a drinker of the "Apple Kool-Aid", so to speak. Nevertheless, I have been on the waiting list for this book at the library for more than 4 months and I was really looking forward to reading it.

Walter Isaacson is a well known biographer that is responsible for the best selling biographies of several iconic figures such as Benjamin Franklin, Albert Einstein and Henry Kissinger. When Steve Jobs became painfully aware that his time on earth was drawing to a close, he contacted Mr. Isaacson himself and requested to be the subject of his next book. Steve gave Mr. Isaacson "exclusive and unprecedented" access to all aspects of his life, and requested no control over what was written, nor the right to read it prior to publishing. In true "Steve Jobs" fashion (the packaging is just as important as the content) his only request was to be able to select the image to be used on the cover.

The book is based on more than 40 interviews with Jobs himself as well as countless interviews with more than 100 family members, friends, colleagues and adversaries. The result of more than 2 years of hard work is an engaging, well-crafted story of a man so complex that, despite being a prominent public figure for over 30 years, very few people truly knew him. It could be argued that after completing this book, Mr. Isaacson himself might know him better than most others that were main characters in the story of his life.

Beautifully and sensitively written, Mr. Isaacson pulls no punches and paints a picture of Jobs' life that includes the good, the bad and the ugly. Jobs could go from Tyrant to Teddy Bear and from Tree-Hugger to Tech-Wizard in the blink of an eye, and Isaacson captured it all with just the right tone.

You come to realize that Jobs, while brilliant, was a complex and flawed individual with many layers. The book was written in such a way that I grew intensely attached to a man I barely know, and I cried my way through many of the final chapters (since we already know Jobs' story doesn't exactly have the happiest of endings). Surprisingly, one of the most poignant and complex relationships portrayed is the one between Jobs and Bill Gates. Often depicted as bitter enemies, I was shocked to discover the mutual admiration, respect and near-friendship these 2 men shared. For me, their final "meeting" was one of the most emotional stories in the book.

Jobs is not painted as a hero by any means, but by the end you are left with very little doubt that he completely revolutionized the world as we know it. Personal computing is just the tip of the iceberg here. From animated movies to music, digital publishing, phones and tablet computing, these industries will forever bear the thumbprint of Jobs and the iconic brand he created.

I highly recommend this book. Not only does it offer a glimpse into the rarely seen "human" side of a man everyone recognizes but few truly know, but it takes the reader on a "Technology Journey", allowing us to witness the birth of some of the amazing products (and a few not-so-amazing ones) that we now often take for granted.

Happy iReading!

J :)