Evidence of insanity — I’m running a Spartan Super

As a friend of mine at work has told me, I had a moment of temporary insanity when I registered to run a Spartan Super in July.

For those of you unaware of what a Spartan Super is, it’s an 8-10 mile obstacle course with up to 30 obstacles peppering the course. These obstacles range in difficulty from throwing a javelin into a bale of hay to walking

Push-up burpee in action.

with a bucket full of gravel for half a mile. What happens if you can’t complete an obstacle? I’m glad you asked: you’re required to “pay a fine” of 30 push-up burpees (one of these beauties). ————————->

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Philosophy according to Chidi Anagonye

The Good Place is phenomenal! Kristen Bell is Eleanor, a dead woman who finds herself in the “good place” after being killed in an accident. She’s given a house that best represents her loves in life (clowns, cottages, colors, etc.). And she is paired up with her true soul mate to spend the rest of eternity together. Sound idyllic, but something is terribly off. Eleanor is far from a saint. She has been mistaken for another Eleanor who rightfully deserves to be therewhile our Eleanor does not actually belong in the “good place.” Still, she has somehow found herself there. Now her soul mate Chidi (a Nigerian philosophy professor) has to teach her how to be good (in secret) in order for her to remain there.

In watching the show, I’ve realized that my philosophy has gotten rusty over the years. This comedy has rekindled my appreciation of philosophy! I’ve refamiliarized myself with existentialism, utilitarianism, Plato’s The Republic, and Aristotilian thinking. I have found myslef taking notes on all of the books the Chidi is reading, talks about, or assigns to Eleanor for study. I’ve even made this Amazon list of all of these books from season 1 and I plan to begin working through them this summer (after I read my massive stack of books on my desk).

I love this show! The characters are well-developed, funny, and you very easily become invested in them and their (after)lives. I even spent last Sunday’s Sunday School lesson on the LDS kingdoms of glory talking about this show with my wife (don’t worry, it was relevant). Go watch it and take a look at my book list.

Review: Crowdsourcing by Daren C. Brabham

Crowdsourcing by Daren C. Brabham
 Crowdsourcing is a review of the academic research focused on the (seemingly) new phenomenon by the same name. This book is part of the Essential Knowledge series from MIT Press, which consists of other high-level reviews of prominent topics like Machine Learning, Artificial Intelligence, and others. It is an excellent primer for those looking to gain conversational knowledge of the practice and leads to further reading on the subject.
Brabham regularly discusses open source as a distinct model from crowdsourcing. In fact, he dispels the idea of three types of participation culture as crowdsourcing: open source, marketing voting contests, and (even) Wikipedia-like movements (which I don’t know that I wholly agree with). Despite his repeatedly made distinction, I’ve seen many of the elements of “true crowdsourcing within the open source participation culture. At Mozilla, in particular, what was once a more bottom-up organization (the defining distinction, according to Brabham) has become increasingly top-down. Some areas of Mozilla have retained the bottom-up practices (e.g., Rust, MoCo Advocacy), but many have been gradually shifting upward.
What I liked most about this book was that it validated many of the questions that I regularly ask about community and notes that there have been no definitive answers to such questions. In fact, he notes that while many have been researched, many lack significant research. Motivations of the community, for example, has been researched extensively, however, recruitment and retention of community members has virtually no research. Brabham also dispels some of the myths that I’ve worked to dispel throughout most of my career, such as:
  • [MYTH] Communities consist only of amateurs,
  • [MYTH] Extrinsic motivators are stronger than intrinsic motivators,
  • [MYTH] Quality of the amateur community is lacking, especially when the community is untrained in the field they’re participating in,
  • [MYTH] Crowdsourcing is a cheap and efficient way for organizations to accomplish most tasks.

I recommend this book to anyone who has heard the term, “crowdsourcing.” It provides an essential framework for discussing the practice in professional and social settings.

Racing in Utah

Utahns running along the Bonneville Shoreline Trail.

Edit: After a round of feedback on social media, I’ve adjusted the list of races I’ll be running this year to a more reasonable amount and purchased a Runners World marathon training guide.

Last year I discovered that I love to race. Not because I’m competitive, but because I enjoy pushing myself. During the three races I ran last year, I was able to reduce my time fairly well. My average pace in the Freedom Run 10K in July was 9:52 minutes per mile. For the Haunted Half in October, my pace was 9:42. And my Run for Your Turkey in November pace was 9:11 (that’s a <30 min 5K race time!). I had plans to run a lot more, but an injury early in the year hurt my odds (no running for 2 months).

This year, I have a massive list of races I want to run and I’m very excited to get back into training mode tomorrow! I’m working out a training plan to run in each of them, as well as considering hiring a coach to help me get there. This is the first time I’m preparing to run a marathon (and even possibly two ultra marathons) so I’m sure that my plan is flawed, but it’s a rough draft. If you’ve trained for a marathon and notice how this plan might need to be adjusted, I’m absolutely open to suggestions.

The training plan

I plan to run or do some sort of cardio training on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, with a long run scheduled every Saturday. On Tuesdays & Thursdays I’ll do bodyweight strength training (I really hate the gym) and yoga for flexibility. I’m purposely leaving the weekday trainings vague and unplanned so that I can be flexible to my body’s needs (e.g., I may need to spend a lot more time doing strength or flexibility training, but I won’t know that until I start). Edit: I’ve removed the original plan I made. Since I’m not at liberty to publicly share the training plan I purchased from Runners World, I’ll simply note the races I plan to run this year here:
29 Apr – TULIP HALF MARATHON (13 miles)
10 Jun – UTAH VALLEY MARATHON (26 miles)
12 Aug – MOONLIGHT HALF MARATHON (13 miles)
21 Oct – GOBLIN VALLEY ULTRA (either the 26 or 31 miler, haven’t decided)

The diet plan

I’ve been off and on the ketogenic diet for the last few months. It was rough. Not because I wasn’t used to eating whole foods, but because all of the meat and dairy made me feel gross most of the time. It reduced my chronic inflammation, but that wasn’t worth my chronic nausea. For a year and a half prior to that I had been following a mostly plant-based, anti-angiogenic diet focused on whole foods. I plan to return to that diet. It eliminated my inflammation, reduced the risk of my cancer returning, led to significant long-term weight loss, and gave me loads of energy. Essentially, this means I’ll be going off sugar, red meat, and starchy foods. I’ll get my protein & fat from poultry, fish, eggs, nuts, oils, and vegan protein powder.

Like I mentioned, I’m still fairly new to this. If you’ve done this before and have some advice, I’m absolutely soliciting ;-) Otherwise, wish me luck!

Themes

Goals. Deliverables. Metrics. That’s what I’ve been obsessing over for the last couple of months. Because of that, I’ve been forced to consider 2017 and some goals/milestones for my personal life. Now, there are many goals that I could have set. SO MANY. So I’ve instead opted to identify themes that I would like to characterize 2017 for myself

  1. Read more books & rely more heavily on first-hand sources.
  2. Strengthen my languages (Spanish, Portuguese, and possibly another).
  3. Be a more engaged & service-oriented citizen in my community, state, and country.
  4. Foster my son’s gratitude & appreciation for the life he enjoys.
  5. Keep myself cancer free.
  6. Become a more experienced spiritual leader for my family.
  7. Prepare myself for the future.
  8. Apathy has no place in me.
  9. Live more outside.

What do these themes mean, in practical terms? It means that you’ll likely see me writing about my field more often here. It means I’ll be running half marathons and marathons throughout the year. It means I’ll be more vocal in church and that I will have a place at rallies, city council meetings, and public service organizations. I’ll place an even higher priority on valuable family time than before. And it means that my health will continue to remain a high priority. Some of this is already happening. I’ve registered for the Tulip Festival Half Marathon in Lehi, UT. I’m speaking in church on Sunday for the first time in four years. And I’m even exploring possible dissertation topics for a PhD in the future. Needless to say, I don’t plan to sit the year out. This year will be a year of action.

Who would you most like to have a meal with?

Throughout my life, the message that I needed to have a role model never really sunk in. Mostly, I felt like placing an individual on the role model pedestal (warts and all) was a larger commitment than I was willing to make. This was especially true when I’d never even met the person. My friends would all claim athletes, musicians, etc. as their personal role models. I just didn’t understand it.

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LDS General Conference — Spring 2016

Forgiven

This is one of my absolute favorite pieces of art of Jesus Christ. It is based on Isaiah 1:18, where Isaiah describes the Atonement’s power to cleanse us as turning scarlet sins into pure white snow. I relate so much to this picture, as I often see myself in this woman’s postion: at the feet of the Savior of the world, utterly exposed as the frail and imperfect person I am.

If you have not yet surmised from this post and some of my earlier posts, I’m a practicing Mormon (member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints). I even have a mormon.org profile (which I realized is in need of updating)!

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A (small) bilingual parenting success!

alfajores_argentinos

To say that raising a child to be bilingual in the Mountain West region of the US is hard, is an understatement. The homogeneity of the population and culture doesn’t lend to diverse languages. In our home, you’ll hear English or Spanish almost daily, among others on a less regular basis. We love languages! And we’ve done our best to instill that love in our son (nearly 4 yrs old), el Güerito. Yesterday, we witnessed his biggest bilingual success so far!

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