Month: May 2014

  • Couch to 5k progress

    Back in January, on New Year's Eve, my wife and I started the "Couch to 5K" running program, her idea being that we would sign up for a 5K in March and we'd go into it fresh off of having finished up this 9 week program. For those unfamiliar, it involves 9 weeks of 3 approximately 30-minute sessions a week at the end of which, you should be able to run an entire 5k race without stopping (side note, there are also options for distance, but time is easier to track for more people, so it's usually the option emphasized). Long story short, we fell short. There were times when we were short on time. There were times when one or the other of us had not been feeling well. In the end, we jogged for about a third of the 5k and walked the rest, having only completed four weeks of the program and barely dipping into the fifth.

    More recently, I decided to get back into it. I'm in rehearsals for Merry Wives of Windsor with Poor Yorick's Players in Monroeville. The theater is in the middle of a park, and I work about 15-20 minutes down the road, so I've been packing running clothes, showing up an hour early, and getting my run in. Last week, week 5, I fell off the wagon a little. I missed the first two workouts and went right to Week 5 Day 3 on my handy C25k app. After the five minute warmup, it told me 20 minutes of running, which was more than a little daunting. But I did it. I was slowing near the end and I was dead tired with my legs shaking, but I did it. As anyone who click through on that first link in the post knows, I erred. For the first 4 weeks, the three workouts are the same. For the fifth week, they change with it being relatively easy on the first day, harder on the second, and a solid run with no breaks for the third. I went right to that third.

    I'm debating whether I should go to week 6 for next week or to properly run week 5 for those three days. I think I will probably go for the latter. I was a bit sore in the calves last night, and my knee was aching for a bit this morning, so it's a good idea to ease back a little. Still, I'm proud of myself. I never really thought of myself as the kind of person who could run for 20 minutes at a time. Yeah, I know... I should be in better shape than that, but it really is an accomplishment for me.

  • Jury Duty

    Almost everyone goes through it at least once, and this was my lucky day. It's been driving me a little bit crazy having no one to talk to about it, but the trial is over, so I can do so. First off, I do want to state that, while I was not thrilled to love two days of work (and thus, wages for those days), I recognize that we need good people to stand on juries and I'm close enough for government work. Literally. I do think that the compensation aspect of it needs to be reworked because there were several of us who were losing money being there and, while I'd like to think that it didn't drive us to a hasty decision, I'm not naïve enough to think that it had no effect at all on our decision-making. And I'm still kicking myself over our final decision.

    The case was one of a house fire in a rental property. The plaintiff was the tenant and was pursuing a civil case against her landlord, claiming that there were inadequate smoke detectors in the house, that the landlord was aware of that fact, and the fact that they did not act on it showed negligence on their part. It should have been a clear-cut case except neither side brought much evidence to the table, the only witnesses involved were the plaintiff and the defendant, their statements were contradictory with the defendant's statements largely boiling down to that she had no idea if there were inadequate smoke alarms, didn't remember being contacted about the lack of them, and felt that the whole thing was the fault of the plaintiff for not being vigilant enough for signs of a fire (there was smoke smelled earlier in the day, but no sign of a fire and the neighbors were visibly burning wood outside). I got elected foreman and quickly learned that there was no way we were getting a quorum to agree on anything past the basic fact that both sides exhibited negligence. Past that... there was no evidence either way. The testimony was contradictory, no other witnesses were called, we had multiple statements by the lawyers, witnesses, and the judge which were stricken from the record, we were forbidden from referencing the fire code... and we're told not to speculate but to base our decision on the evidence. Of which there basically was none.

    So, deadlocked as we were, into the second day, I made a decision, the one which is haunting me even now. I raised the fact that we were all in agreement that neither side had proven their case, and suggested that we could wash our hands of the situation by following the strict measure of the law and making our decision as simply that the plaintiff had not proven negligence. Legally speaking, we were in the right. Morally... we would be playing Pilate and washing our hands of the situation. We put it to a vote. Two people voted that the defendant had shown negligence. One of the people who eventually voted no on that matter was clearly struggling with her decision and I tried to assure her that we would not think badly of her either way. I was the final vote. In my heart, I really wanted to vote for negligence, which would have put us back in the state of being a hung jury, but I caved. I wanted this to end. I worried that they'd think I was jerking them around by suggesting this measure and then voting against it. I was a coward and I'm still kicking myself over that.

    So, I'm... conflicted. Did I sell that plaintiff out because I didn't want another day of jury duty? Did I lead the other jurors astray by giving them an out? Should I have voted that third dissenting vote, whether or not there were two people? I don't know. I feel sick to my stomach still over it all. I did explain myself to the plaintiff and her counsel (we were told that we were allowed to choose to speak with the lawyers. We were allowed to choose not to speak with the lawyers. Ultimately, the defense boogied out without a word); I and two others on the jury made our explanation of why we chose like we did, hopefully indicating to the lawyer that he'd lost by not introducing sufficient evidence and witnesses, since the defense really didn't do anything more to defend themselves. I still feel guilty.