Friday, December 29, 2006

Tri and run

Well I've finally done it, entered a Triathlon. It is not the first time I've done this but hopefully this will be the first time I actually make it to the start line. I've entered the Blenheim Triathlon and the organisers have, much to my great relief added something called a "Super Sprint Triathlon" and we have to do a very reasonable 400m swim, 10k Bike ride and a 3k run. This doesn't really sound too demanding does it? Its not exactly the Iron Man and having spent a day last summer walking the grounds of the palace it surely must be the most green & pleasant environment in the UK in which to pretend to be an athlete.

The reason for mentioning this at this stage is that I've started my training in the gym and as MediBlog will be aimed at healthy fit people as well as people with some medical issue to monitor I'm calling it research (shame there's no budget to use for it...) . The very first thing to hit me at the gym was units of measurement. They are running "This months competition" which is a 1000m rowing event - well its not exactly an event as anyone who turns up can row the 1000m and put their time down. As an aside, one guy who claims to be 61 claims to have done it in 2:59 and there is lots of adjacent graffiti such as "no way" and "prove it" and so on because that is apparently a world record for that age. The issue of units of measurement arose because there are weight categories for the rowing which are in Kg, but the scales measure only in Stones/Pounds so there is a table of values to look up the conversion. In MediBlog I'll have to decide on a basic set of units to hold data and find some way of allowing users to enter them in any format they like - which throws up issues of where to store preferences so that the system will know whether, and how, the data should be updated or presented to reflect those preferences.

On a seperate matter but again curiously related to rowing, the issue of forward planning has come up. I've just read The Crossing by Ben Fogle and James Cracknell; one of (super-competitive, twice Olympic gold medallist) James's little schemes to motivate Ben ("made a career out of taking part") to row harder was to manually create a spreadsheet illustrating different scenarios for the time it would take them to row the remaining 1000 miles (or whatever). By setting out the difference even a slight increase in effort would make to the number of remaining days at sea Ben understood and did indeed become more motivated to go faster. You only have to look at the photos of the two of them at the end to see who was the most energetic though (warning: beware of James's ass! - eeeouwwww).

MediBlog was essentially conceived as a reporting system but maybe it should also be a planning/forecasting system so that the "fitness" users can set goals, plan and do "what-if" scenarios. The same concept would apply to people in physiotherapy or who want to change certain regimes of treatment or diet based on goals.

Oh yeah, my time for the 1000 metres was 4:13 and after consulting the conversion chart the wide variety of Christmas turkey dinners, Mince pies, etc has take my weight to just over 177 Lb (~80Kg , apparently) so I can't even claim to be in the <=72.5kg lightweight category either. Its harder than it looks! I don't think I'd have made it 3,000 miles across the Atlantic somehow...

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