Comeback #87 Conference #3

10 09 2012

Easy by mcneilmahon at Garmin Connect – Details.

Seems like I spend more time injured than I do as a runner.  After two months nursing a torn calf – it still feels torn and lumpy but I felt it might hold up to some light running – and inspired by the wife and friends running the half marathon of Buenos Aires on Sunday (while I was giving my online workshop), I finally managed to trot out for 3km last Friday and 4km this evening (unaccompanied by the wife whose quads are still suffering :). 

As always with my numerous comebacks, early thoughts are always on trying to keep form and not overstress any muscles and I’m consciously trying to lift my quads a little higher and so have a longer bouncier stride this time round.  The softer style new shoes I got from Run&Become back in June help with this and seem to give me better protection that the previous harder ones I used to use. 

But I was also thinking about IHTOC3 and the call for papers that I have to get out by the end of the week.  It’s an exciting time of year as we start organising a new conference, especially since this one is going to be open to all and not just limited to IH teachers.  Let’s hope we can do some solid marketing over the next two months and pull the EFL crowds in on the 2nd and 3rd of November.  

So many things to think about – the rooms, the speakers, the sessions, the moderators, my own contribution, exciting times ahead.  Let’s hope I can keep injury free for these two months so some fresh air and lively muscles can help me to organise the conference even better than the previous two.  Let’s get it on!

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Running away with it…

3 06 2012

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Funny that this 5km easy was only a minute slower than my 5km fast on the previous run.  I guess that’s where I’m at at the moment, just trying to get the body used to the kilometres again and trying to find a good running form that will minimise injury risks.

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First time I’ve run for an hour in the comeback.  Was very pleased to get to 9km and am confident I have ten kilometres in me, although not got any races on the horizon.  Although this did make me wonder for a minute or two if I shouldn’t be running Fiestas Mayas instead of organising #IHTOC50, but only for a minute mind.

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Just a muscle loosener and a keeping in the rhythm after the long run the other day.

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No run this weekend.  A week between runs, not the best!  But I still managed an easy five km, although one of the calves was tightening up towards the end – need to be careful and remember the number one goal is not get injured!

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My first ten kilometre run of this comeback period.  I’m managing not to overdo things, at least running wise.

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Many more hills ahead

9 05 2012

Hills by mcneilmahon at Garmin Connect – Details.

My first ‘hills’ run since January and a third lot of overdoing it in three runs since the return began.  Another six kilometres with the usual cross the bridge five times, rest for five minutes and cross it five times more before heading homewards.  Except I was enjoying myself so much I decided to up the pace over the last kilometre as well as I headed back around the small lake to the car and I managed to keep the pace up to around 6m/km.  Which meant no time for thinking anything except what I was doing running wise.  

The one thought I did have was that I felt much better after my last run and that my legs seemed to have recovered much quicker – was this a result of having a pilates class on Monday?  Did the pilates help the legs to recover better?  I have a class tomorrow too, so if I don;t feel leggy come Friday it must have something to do with it, because normally after a run like today I would be feeling it til the weekend.  Looking forward to the next run already, but going to keep it to twice a week for at least my first month back – that’s the only way I can stop myself from not completely overdoing it! After all, I have many more hills ahead of me to climb…





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.  





Plodding and Pondering

16 01 2012

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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

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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.  





A good long run and starting to think again

8 01 2012

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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. 





Easy start to New Year of running

2 01 2012

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First run of the new year and the easies just got a little bit harder.  Which probably means I’m increasing the workload too quickly and will no doubt pick up another injury soon.  But after the walk home from work, even though it was getting on (and was already dark) I was really in the mood for a run.  Couldn’t decide wether to do hills, fartlek, fast or easy, so went for Easy, which is a concession to slowly, slowly at least. 

I ran a bit further than I’d intended though, since I ended up going out the other wat down Dorrego and then back up the hill again to finish, only because it was very windy and dusty so I was trying to keep the debris out my eyes by hiding behind the car park between the hippodrome and the small lake. 

A good solid easy run, not as quick as last time out at all, but sets me up for some hills or fartlek on Wednesday hopefully. 

Thinking focused on all the work I should have been doing as IHWO coordinator over Xmas, some of which I was scrabbling to put together to deadline this morning and more of which remains undone with ASAP as a deadline (so why am I writing this you might sensibly ask).  I also spent rather too long relishing Arsenal’s last gasp loss today, which makes up for their win on Saturday (thereby gaining two points on the Mighty Spurs) and gives us a great opportunity tomorrow once again to show we are more title credential nurturers than competitors for fourth place.

Happy New Year everyone! 





3 Xmas runs, 2 lingering injuries and a target for the New Year

30 12 2011

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Three runs over Xmas including a pretty decent 7.5km today (relatively speaking).  The new insoles are treating my feet well, although they strain the knee muscles a little as they get used to them.  Heel blisters are the new enemy, since my feet are in different places in the shoe with the new insoles, need to re-break them in – actually buying new shoes would be a good move.  But then what to buy – now they say that the cushioned shoes of today aren’t as good for running as flat feet – Zola Budd had it right apparently…

The back is the second lingering injury – think that’s down to too much time on the sofa in the fortnight leading up to xmas (working of course) but it doesn’t affect the running at least, just got to be careful when stretching not to do it any further harm.

Thinking has unfortunately taken a big back seat recently.  My mind on these runs has been on nothing, concentrating on moving the body well and enjoying the view of the lake and the Portenos accompanying me on their evening exercise.  Well and a little savouring of the current situation Tottenham find themselves in, playing sublime football and keeping themselves in contention for the league while cementing themselves solidly into the top four and Champions League qualification.  It’s good to empty the mind every now and then, and I’ll need it fully rested for the challenge of the Delta Modules Intensive starting in ten days time.  Eek!