Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Flex Time

Today is a day where flex-time pays off. Eric's running partner Steve, and his wife Lorri are off on a fabulous vacation in Italy. Lorri teaches the mid-morning Pilates class at the Y - we used to take the class together, we trained with the same person, and after I asked to move to 6:00 am, Lorri took over the class I had been teaching. When Steve first started running with the Run Club, I didn't know he was Lorri's husband. We had an epiphany one morning in Starbucks - conversation wandered around and something he said triggered it - "Wait, are you Lorri from Pilates husband?", "You mean Pilates-Michelle and Running-Michelle are the same person?" We laughed and belatedly realized we had met briefly twice before. Anyway, I am taking the morning away from work to sub for Lorri. This was the one day they couldn't find a sub for, and coincidentally, the one day that I didn't have anything pressing on my schedule. It will all work out in the next few weeks as I have three different nights coming up where I have to work. I'm following Pilates up with a work-related lunch and short shopping trip, then finally, back to the office. It's a nice change-up from the normal routine.

I didn't run yesterday - I apparently picked up a stomach bug. I didn't feel too good at work on Monday and it got progressively worse. Monday evening was the pits. I went to bed early and slept straight through till 7:30. Yesterday was better, but I had a lingering headache. Today I feel great. Rick was waiting out front this morning. We went 5.78 miles, 11:31 pace. I'm giving Rick credit for getting my pace down - all these morning runs with him at just a little faster than normal have paid off. I'm actually starting to feel comfortable here, where a couple of months ago, I felt a little challenged. Thanks Rick!

And to answer two questions in the comments of the last post: sometimes Eric will start out with me, then run ahead, but usually (and on the Lake Padden run) we just go separately. At training pace Eric is a good 3-4 minutes/mile faster than I am. At racing pace...well, let's not even go there. We typically decide how long we're going to run, he checks where I'll be going, and we meet at the end. It works well for us.

Question two wasn't really a question, but a comment about my programming days. Here's the scoop: I graduated in 1982 with a BS in Computer Science, one of two woman graduates in that major, in that year. Just to date myself, when I started in the major, we used key-punch machines and turned in decks of cards to run our programs. The University got their first Mac when I was a senior - students were allowed to look at it, but not touch. Programming was done in machine code, Fortran, Cobol, and a language I can't quite remember, but I think was called PLU. My first job out of college used key-punch, my second was on an IBM Series-1 and used a special language (can't remember that name either) that was Series-1 specific. I wrote code for interfacing between the Series-1, a peripheral and mainframes. I had some big power companies as my accounts, including Southern Cal-Ed and Puget Power. The next job after that (we moved back home to Bellingham) was with a small company and involved and IBM System 36, Cobol and RPG. I was full-time till Web was born, then went part-time. When I was pregnant with Riley, Eric got a new job and we were moving - I tried to give notice, but they talked me into taking a new-fangled Tabletop System-36 home and continuing part-time. I did that for two more years before calling it quits to stay home full time. I stumbled into teaching Parent Ed three years later, and the rest is history. Just for grins - the first portable computer I took home weighed about 30 pounds, was as big as a suitcase, and had a 6-inch orange and black screen. My kids have seen pictures of it and find it hilarious.

Now that I've given all you masters-age runners a run down memory lane, and made all you younger runners giggle at the clunky machines and codes of the past, I'll call this a post.

MM#402, signing off from the beautiful foothills of Mt. Rainier, where old programmers have changed careers and children have replaced computers.


Thomas said...

If children have replaced computers, I'd be very interested to know how you program them.

Mine never works as anticipated.

Wes said...

Mmmmmmm. An 11:53 pace run in the morning sounds delightful. As a current IT person, I can appreciate flex time very much so. I can get to work anytime between 6 and 11 AM, just as long as I get my forty hours in a week, its all cool. Fortunately for me, when I started my career, the PC was already coming alive, so no punch cards for me!!

Journey to a Centum said...

Funny how Michelle didn't mention the two times she took the entire system for the college down because of some code she had on one of her punch cards. One of her professors worked on the first computer that took up a whole building. They would look into the end of vacuum tubes to read the output. Maybe a time machine isn't that far off in the future.

JustRun said...

Wow, I cannot imagine. The oldest computers I've used were big IBM's in elementary school. They had black screens and green lettering and "graphics." :) We played Oregon Trail on them like nobody's business, though! :)

Jessica Deline said...

Wow - keypunch machine then Fortran and Cobol? I hope you dug back out your skills and made some money for Y2K :)

*jeanne* said...

Ha-ha-ha! Children have replaced computers!

What would Rod Sterling write about for THE TWILIGHT ZONE today?

We had to learn a computer language for doing CSR (Customer Service Representative) training, in other words, airline counter and gates personnel) when I was working for Amrica West. I think they called it DOS? Then someone told me it was actually NOT DOS, but Sabra? I am clueless.

And I left America West after 9 months - couldn't TAKE the stress. And now...America West really isn't anymore. Too bad. I LIKED them. (Go ahead and laugh. I thought it was a good company to work for.)

Back to the subject: my instructor told us the hard thing about our training was going to be learning an ARCHAIC computer language. (Ouch. Do you feel dated now? I was working in retail when the FIRST computer cash register was introduced - NCR Terminal 280.)

It ain't easy being archaic...

*jeanne* said...

Ooops, Sorry Rod. That's Rod Serling!

olga said...

Don't know anything about computers, old or new, but I hope your stomach bug is clearing fast.

Anne said...

I was just a couple of years behind you in those heady mainframe days, where I remember waking at 2 a.m. to go over to the college basement lab and pick up my program printout from the punch cards, only to find it riddled with SYNTAX ERROR. As you can tell from all my poorly worded comments...nothing's changed!

Meghan said...

Howdy Michelle!

Eew, a stomach bug, bummer. Glad to hear that you are up and at 'em after that!


Theresa said...

Thanks for taking a look at my blog! I am having fun getting to know people this way.

I think it's great that you teach pilates. I would really enjoy teaching a class like that, but not sure how to get the training. I teach spinning classes, but my gym is not very organized when it comes to training... I use to be certified by Body Training Systems to teach BodyFlow classes- I really enjoyed that.

Hope you are feeling better soon :)
and kids win over computers any day!


Dori said...

Wow, a systems programmer. You really were a girl geek! I was an applications programmer for a mini-computer company that is no more. I wrote in Basic, and learned on the job, but when I took classes in the early 80s to get my Associate's degree, I learned how to write code on keypunch cards. The computers at work were more advanced than the computers at school.

I liked what I did, but wanted to interact more with people and less with files, so became a trainer. My sister is now a database administrator and making a sinful amount of money. I guess I should have stuck with databases. :-)

Juls said...

My husband and I used to run together (only not). As you and Eric, we'd start out together. Then I would go ahead, perhaps pushing Ryan in the jog stroller, and Tom would catch us at each playground. I connected us even though we weren't together because we did the same distance.

susie said...

Fascinating, Michelle! I wasn't a CS major, but I did take my first programming course in BASIC in 1985, I think--and worked in DOS until it died. Fun to remember!!

Jenny, Maniac #401 said...

oohhh Makes you sound so smart, little miss smarty pants! Okay, Okay, I know yuo are smart. Very. I am glad to hear your tummy is feeling better!
See ya soon

runliarun said...

Oh, the first computer I saw was an awkward construction in a carton box, hooked up to an old TV screen, holding parts of a dismantled casette player, with wires sticking out all over the place. A boy I knew built it from scratch following instructions in an electronics manual, back in Eastern Europe, years before we all set eyes on the real thing.

It worked. It was a miracle of ingenuity.

Mama Scarlet said...

Ah...computers. I was scared to death of them in high school, and flatly REFUSED to take any class that had any remote connection to computers at all. My rationale? It was okay, because I was going to get a job where I didn't have to use a computer!! HAHAHAHAHA Guess I was a little deluded, huh? Oh well. Life changes and thankfully so did I. :o)

GotLegs! said...

Wow Michelle, I thought we were the same age. 1982 is when I "would" have graduated from college. I graduated from HS in 1978. I don't recall there being something called computer science back then ... more like data processing or some such thing. Anyway, instead of going to school, I joined the Air Force and ended up doing data entry as one of my first jobs. And, you guessed it, punch cards.

I was in the Air Force for 7 years and then was a contractor working for the AF for another 4 years - getting about 3 years of computer science school at night (University of Texas, San Antonio). Mostly calculus, physics and the like as well as general ed. That's also where I took Spanish - ha! I'm such a white Mexican, as my wife says.

I made my career change from (no oxymoran jokes) military intelligence to computer programming and have been doing that for almost 20 years now.

Funny hearing people talking about computers in high school. The rich people had these huge things called calcuators that cost hundreds of dollars. The rest of us used the log tables in the back of the trig book. Doh!

GotLegs! said...

Oh, I forgot to say, I can't believe Eric outted you re: crashing the college computer.

Joe said...

IF (MichelleKidQuant=0)
THEN (MichelleJobStat="Full_Time")
IF (MichelleKidQuant=1)
IF (MichelleKidQuant=2)

Ah, it feels good to code!!

Sarah said...

If you still had those old clunky computers you'd be rich! I remember doing word processing at my first job out of college in 1986. You had to put in those crazy symbols (before and after!) to format text. I can hardly imagine it now. : )

robtherunner said...

I didn't want you to think that I had forgot about you. I actually read this post at some point, but didn't have the time or words to comment. Life is busy and my scale is still going in the wrong direction. Luckily those new suits have a little extra room in the waist.

Sarah Elaine said...

And remember when you had to save all your data on cassette tapes? Those were the days, eh?

Hope the tummy behaves itself. :-)

Anonymous said...

Hope you are feeling better.
And what a great career you have had. It seems like you have seen a lot of great changes as well.

Chad said...

Sounds like great fun being able to flex like that. My flexing is usually more of a stretch than a flex.

I sometimes wonder how out of date we will seem to grandkids, now I've got a blackberry that has more computing power (and I think more memory) than my first computer - it also has a color screen and can do graphics, something my first PC could not do.

aggie jogger '77 said...

Michelle, I too remember those clunky computer and cards to program Fortran, oh what a heachache. I graduated Texas A&M in 1978 and I had a Computer Science major for a roommate for a couple of years back then.

Hope the bug has worked its course, I hate getting those as they tend to really drag me down.

Well two weeks from today is my first Half Marathon and I'm getting nervous about it already.