Easy doesn’t it

6 05 2012

Easy by mcneilmahon at Garmin Connect – Details.

The second run of my latest comeback and having chastised myself all week for doing too much last Tuesday, I ended up doing the same distance but quicker today – when am I ever going to learn? 

The problem was today there was perfect weather for running when I went out, 20 degrees and sunshine but with a cooling light breeze.  In T-shirt and shorts I was neither too hot nor too cold and so I could run easy without getting too hot and enjoy the crowds out enjoying the Palermo lakes and the weather like me. 

Thoughts were split between two things today – finding form and keeping the body as balanced as possible (i.e. not very) as always, and also the organisation of IH TOC50, since I’ve spent the rest of the day trying to out the schedule together and am about to email all of the lovely speakers with the latest details.  Schedule seems to have come together quite smoothly – a wide variety of sessions spread throughout the day from early morning to late night GMT – will we survive the 15mins breaks between sessions?  We had 30mins last time out, but I reckon with separate rooms and hopefully different moderators each time we should be fine.  

I’ve also had a fun idea about my own session at the conference on helping NQTs settle in to the job and survive their first year of teaching.  But I think I’ll keep that under wraps for now so I have a little surprise in store on the big day.  





An overlong return

2 05 2012

Long by mcneilmahon at Garmin Connect – Details.

It’s been much too long since I last ran – 18th January in fact, which is well over three months, and to mark my return to the roads obviously I overdid it, running six kilometres after having had a handful of pilates classes and a couple of quick gym visits since that last run last January.  

Fitness-wise, things have been bad recently.  I’ve put on at least three kilos since new year, I’ve had problems with the knees, the feet and most recently the back, and I’ve done next to no physical activity.  So spending the Mayday holiday running six kilometres was a big step forward, even if I did celebrate it with a big barbecue right afterwards. 

And there were no thoughts at all, I’m afraid.  Simply focusing 100% on what my body was doing.  I’m now so concious that I’m such a bad runner, that I’m always overcompensating for some injury or other and so therefore am always running unbalanced and favouring something, that I simply focused the whole time on trying to run as upright as possible, trying to bend the knees to provide some bounce and save them from some swelling, and to keep my stomach in and my back straight.  Although stiff today, I’m pleased that I managed not to hurt myself with all this overdoing it and can already think about my next, more staid session.  It should be tomorrow but won;t be, because we’re off to the book fair, but hopefully the weekend will bring more kilometres, more balanced form and maybe even a thought or two.  





Plodding and Pondering

16 01 2012

http://connect.garmin.com:80/activity/embed/142107065

A successful and satisfying 10km yesterday, after a full day’s work, which had begun with lots of blog work, continued with coordinating and finished up with the run and Lorenzo’s OIl.  The run was the first time in a while that I’ve left the security and proximity of the small lake of Palermo and extended my run out to the big lake.  This is my classic 10k route from home out to and round the big lake and then down to and round the small one.   There was actually a lot more pondering than plodding during the hour and pico that I was out as I was going at a pace of 6:30/km for mostof it and managed to keep it going throughout the 10km.  Unbelievably, I managed to distract myself so much with thoughts of blogging and commenting on all things Dogme so much that I missed my turn off and got a little lost around the small lake – ridiculous behaviour.  

The thoughts that distracted me so much were:

Why is it every time I get close to accepting Dogme someone annoys me with their ‘overeagerness’ for the cause?  Is it something about them, the disciples of dogme, the Dogme-gicians as I’ve decided to call them, or is it something about me?  Am I too unforgiving, too eager to criticise, too cynical? 

What is Dogme?  Noone, even among the Dogme-gicians, seem to be able to agree on whether it’s an approach, a method, a technique, a tool, an attitude, a lesson type or an irrelevance.  And does it matter?  I think it matters if people are passing it off as something it’s not (e.g. an approach), at least to me.  I don’t like people exagerrating the cause.   Am I close in my idea of it as a reflection tool? How do I go about deciding?  Discussing each possibility in a blog post?

Which took me onto the last main thought – how do I reply to everyone’s comments while continuing to blog and while doing the rest of my work etc.  Yesterday morning I ‘wasted’ two hours blogging and commenting on various posts, which I should have spent doing my coordinating work.  But it was fun and stimulating and I got my work done eventually.  Perhaps I should settle for using my comments on other blogs as printing press posts on my own blog, and perhaps a post summarising the main criticisms of my recent posts and my reactions to them, although it will have to wait until next weekend…





Fartlek-inspired Thinking Fever

13 01 2012

http://connect.garmin.com:80/activity/embed/141373794

I certainly overdid it today, no doubt about it.  Having done hills on Wednesday and planning a long one for Sunday, today was obviously easy day.  Nope, not for Neil.  I decided to do some fartleks, which as far as I’m concerned means running fast for a short period of time and then running very easy in between.  I ended up doing a km easy, 4 x 400m at about 90% speed (probably my target 5km race pace?) with 100m ridiculously easy (but not walking) in between, 1km very easy, 4x400m again, but not so quick since I’d already outdone myself (proabably at about 70% speed?) and then after 100m walking a very easy almost 2km back home again.  

I survived and even enjoyed it, but could feel many a twinge as I hobbled back up Santa Fe to the flat.  Lots of ice now and let’s hope it feels good tomorrow with lots of swimming.  There wasn’t much time for thinking with all that change of pace going on, but I had a few random thoughts as the blood pulsed through my brain:

I could try writing a workshop called ‘Being a Dogme DoS’ about how to encourage student-centred, materials-light and emergent language-aware classes from your staff, without smothering them in course books and assessment etc. 

and

Polls! I’d forgotten about polls.  I should have stuck some polls in the Who needs Dogme blog post to see who thinks they do.  Is it worth adding one now?  Or should I do a whole new post based on different polls? 

and

I’m going to do a Dogme-stylie Delta session next week on classroom management – they’ve all managed classrooms for a couple of years at least so they should be well aware of the issues.  Let’s just have a clinic to fine tune our weaknesses once we’ve celebrated our strengths.  My experimental practice as a trainer…

and 

My Delta IT session is going to take place completely online, with the instructions and tasks going out through twitter…Could be lots of fun or it could be a shambles, but learn through doing and all that.  Time for my PLN (do I actually have one?) to stand up and be counted…

So quite a lot of thinking in the end really.  





Hitting the Heights

11 01 2012

http://connect.garmin.com:80/activity/embed/140804295

Having tried my best to ease myself back into the running routine without overdoing it after injury, I decided it was time to start mixing up the training a little more, time to hit the hills.  or in my case ‘The Bridge’.  Starting down the hill from Dorrego to Campos, easing past the polo grounds and then the racecourse, the idea is to cross the bridge over Dorrego at Alcorta three times with a minutes’ rest in between crossings, rest five minutes, repeat the three laps of the bridge and ease back home again.  

It was hard but enjoyable work and the body and the various suspect joints responded well.  Running in the morning definitely helped, once I had got the joints flowing I was full of energy and eager to push myself.  And this evening the body is finally starting to feel like I’m a runner again.  starting to feel a little lighter, a little more compact, which is pleasing but there’s a long way to go yet. 

Trying to sprint up and down the bridge leaves little time for thinking of anything other than body mechanics, but the rests in between allowed a few thoughts on Delta and Dogme and my running goals for the year.  Reasons being yesterday the IH Delta crowd all said they started their lesson planning from the materials, which would have been music to the Dogme disciples ears and makes me think maybe they do have a point (but thankfully I’m one of the lucky ones).  it will be a challenge to develop their planning to put the students at the centre of it – I’m determined to get them to do it within the Cambridge criteria (shouldn’t be too hard actually). 

And then I remembered I’d told one of the Deltees I was planning to do the marathon this year.  Getting ahead of myself as usual.  But what would be a realistic aim for him this year?  Perhaps rerunning the half marathon is a more realistic goal?  10km in under an hour?  I prefer the first of these because I think distance is more important to me than speed.  Since I run to try and find some shape (wish I could say stay in…), the more I run the better shape there’ll be.  So perhaps a half marathon is the aim for the year, be it in Rio in July or here in September, with one eye on the marathon in October if all goes well and I miraculously manage to stay injury-free this year.  Inspiring thoughts indeed…





A good long run and starting to think again

8 01 2012

http://connect.garmin.com:80/activity/embed/140178720

Having had a lump of fat chopped off the top of my head on Friday I was torn between running the long I like to run on Sundays and taking it easy again with the excuse of not wanting to risk an adverse reaction.  Once I got going, the adrenalin of this morning’s blog post and the litre of Mate I drank this afternoon while correcting IH DoS Skills and IH CAM homework assignments kicked in and long it was.  

A pleasing long it was too, since I managed to keep the pace up, enjoyed weaving in and out of the throng you get at the Palermo lakes on a Sunday evening and I was even able to do a little thinking too while I was at it, which makes a change on my previous post injury runs.  

Thoughts centred on the Delta Intensive course starting tomorrow and how I would reply to the comments on the blog post:

Should the Delta course be more Dogme oriented in teaching style?  Well, it will have plenty of Q&A opportunities and I’m happy to let the candidates lead what they want to discuss during the sessions I lead.  Time will tell how free and easy things become since it depends a lot on the candidates and their learning styles as much as anything.  

When replying to the blog comments I should be as thankful and conciliatory as possible – I don’t want to get myself a reputation for being a gruff critic now, do I?  But at the same time I’m still amazed at how so many Dogme supporters feel the need to comment and use overexaggerated examples to protect their darling (Who would ever take five course books into one class?).  This is the thing that really grates about the whole phenomenon.  There I was trying to convince myself that Dogme might be quite a useful reflective tool after all and then they go and get my goat up for no reason.  Are all revolutionaries like this?  Is it because it won’t be televised?  

Perhaps my next step will be a follow up blog post on my second year of teaching – The Prague School.  I was lucky, very lucky indeed with the teachers I had around me, the people who came to watch me and the students’ responses to me as well.  Time to pay tribute to all these people?  Might be readable.  

No running tomorrow, but the three Ds lie ahead – Delta, diet and (hopefully) more Dogme debate. 





Easy Kneesy

4 01 2012

http://connect.garmin.com:80/activity/embed/138985578

A quick and easy 5k today since the back of the right knee felt tight and after humming and hahing for a while about whether to go at all I decided to just run an easy and see how I went.  I went fine enough, once I got going the tightness loosened up, although the knee is very tight now as I cool down.  I’m really enjoying the atmosphere of these balmy summer nights down at the lake though, so I really didn’t want to miss out, although I really don’t want to get injured so I miss out even further. 

Thinking wise I was running through my talk at the IH DoS Conference tomorrow morning, which I’m really looking forward to as it’s the first time we’ve done an online link up and we’ve got lots of interesting ideas to share.  Let’s hope the tech holds up, especially my computer which with its dodgy battery is able to turn itself off without warning at any moment – and I’ve left the netbook at work so no back up to rely on!  Let’s hope it goes well so that the focus is on the ideas and plans rather than tech hitches.  Time will tell. 








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