Saturday, January 19, 2013

Living simply - Week -3 Days 53 to 57

As far as training is concerned, this week has been the week from hell.

Workwise it's been amazing.  There are times when you have to look after your job and this week has paid off big time.

After the national champs I managed a swim and a bike ride before leaving for Welsh Wales, hastily completing a last-minute order as I headed out the door of the office.

I steadily got colder and once I arrived there was little incentive for me to go for a run.  I had a recover evening and got up at 6am to do a lap of the heathland before breakfast.

I've been reading a book called, "Born to Run" which is very inspirational.  It's about some of the world's greatest ultramarathon runners and where they get their enjoyment of running from.  It's about living well, enjoying yourself regardless and living a stress-free lifestyle.  I read a passage that night which read,

"You have to listen closely to the sound of your own breathing; be aware of how much sweat is beading on your back..." (Anne Trason).

I didn't feel very inspired when I got up at 6am but nevertheless I got dressed and pranced about in reception trying to warm up as the garmin sat on the wall outside and loaded satellites.

In the dark morning light, my headtorch gave me a little bit of protection from the quarry trucks rolling up and down the hill then finally I found the rambling lane which takes me across the heathland and set off to play on the sparkly frost.  I ran all the way down into a valley then back up, retracing my steps until I found, in the rising sun, a grassy knoll to summit.  Everything was done very slowly because of the excruciating cold.

For a moment I tripped over a bramble which woke me up substantially. I continued to run, watching the sun rise and enjoying the industrial sounds emanating from the brightly lit quarry.

I turned to retreat through Windmill making sure to retrace my steps as much as possible to get 5 miles in before breakfast.

I was amazed at how far I went on an empty stomach with little feeling of over-exertion.  I had managed to achieve Ann Trason's state of running comfort.  Whilst small steps seemed to come slowly, I enjoyed every one of them.  I somewhat enjoyed the porridge that followed.

On site I dealt with method statements, risk assessments, contractors turning up, a truck with stuff on it and a driver who refused to offload (swift call to his boss).  I caught errors before it was too late & anyone died.  I liaised, I chatted, I walked and walked and walked around the site.  I had a lunch of hot chocolate as I had no money on me.

I wandered into the canteen at 3pm.  A daytime talk show was on the TV talking about women's body image.  Some feminists had been protesting in their pants.  A beautifully made-up, manicured and coiffeured lady was talking about how women can improve their body image and how they should put less emphasis on looks and glamour and more on the person within.  I looked at myself in the glass of the coffee machine, in my purple fleece hat, my oversized purple pertex fleece that I've owned since I was 21 and three layers of trousers (top layer waterproof) and as I juggled contractors and dealt with the fact that my liquid nitrogen delivery was late I felt like I ruled the world.  I felt like I had made it.

I set off through the car park to put my phone on charge and stumbled over something wrapped around my feet.  The knickers I'd been wearing yesterday were still, somehow, wrapped up inside the fleecy leggings I was wearing and somehow I hadn't noticed them or noticed the fact that they had made a sudden bid for freedom.

Image of control, poise, effectiveness and dominance disappeared in a flash until I realised no-one had noticed and I laughed out loud at myself.  Still making it.

Thursday went badly in a way.  My nitrogen was delayed for another 5 hours so progress was slow but everything worked out OK.  The client finished some other work in our area then my crane driver set up and we moved the vaporisers into place for lifting.  The piping guys started making up pieces in anticipation of starting work and I busied myself with organising next week's work on another site.

Finally my Nitrogen arrived along with the commissioning engineer and we filled the baby tank.
The commissioning engineer showed me how to vent the baby tank when we'd done and we set about installing the new vaporisers.  The lifts went well.

The new vaps were bolted down and I left them to the piping work whilst I had some coffee.  They'd pretty much done when I got back and I started the pressure test as the client stood by.  The drivers had to leave at 6pm to avoid exceeding their legal driving time.  With the test passed at 5:30 pm we started the new vaporisers and shut down the old ones.  Ice slowly formed on the feed pipes to the new vaps as they worked silently.  To my relief the ice stopped there, proving that they were operating much more efficiently than the old ones.  The pressure gauge held.  The day was mine.

Now, to empty the baby tank.  Well, let's just say that dumping 1700l of liquid nitrogen is fun.  Boiling liquid seething around our feet and generating our own vapour clouds in the cold Welsh air.

After 30 minutes it got a bit boring.  The client and I huddled in the boiler-house, warming our gloves on the spindles of the valves on the steam pipes.  The piping engineers cleared up their stuff.  By 6pm it was time to let the driver go and the tank continued to drool liquid nitrogen at a slow rate.  We left it to its own devices, briefing the night fitter not to taste, touch or play with the liquid nitrogen.  The client and I parted company for our respective families and a well-earned hot bath.

I will send the truck back for the baby tank another day.

I did manage to swim with my mum on the way home to Sheffield.  I stayed the night in Manchester and did 80 lengths at the pool.  Such luxury to be in a lane twice the size of those at ponds forge and share it with only two other people.  Less of a luxury was the chlorine congestion that I suffered from afterwards exacerbated by the poor body temperature regulation that was left over from the previous day.

I held my teleconference for the next project from my parents house before embarking on the trip over the Snake Pass and spending an afternoon in the office enjoying the thanks and congratulations for a job well done in Wales.

It turns out that, in spite of all my worries about it being a rubbish week for training that I have achieved quite a lot and feel good about everything as a result.

There's a very lot to be said for this living well lark.  A very lot indeed.

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