Friday, August 7, 2009

Rise and Shine

5:45 am and I am sitting on the train on the way to the office.

I got into this habit of going to work at the @ss crack of dawn when I was still under the employ of Siemens. If one wanted to get any significant work done, one would have to come into the office well before the masses. The routine was fairly simple. Arrive at the office at 5:00 am (or earlier). Work on emails, estimates, paperwork, etc until 8:00 am or so, spend of the rest of the day on sales calls, customer visits, etc, then return to the office or go home. A lot of us would come back to the office  in the late afternoon because, similar to the early morning hours, one could get a significant amount of work done after everyone has left for the day. Granted, these hours made for some long days, but in Sales, you chart your own course to success. I would see some of the guys in the office at 4:00 am and stay until well past 6:00 pm.

What I had come to appreciate from that experience was the amount of work that can be completed in the absence of distraction. It’s a lesson that was lost when I worked for Toll, when, near the end of my tenure, there was not enough work to keep me busy in the course of a normal eight-hour work day, let alone enough work to support an early morning arrival. Just for the record, lest anyone think I was mailing it in while at Toll, my last year of employment coincided with the onset of the downfall of the housing market. I was on the cusp of what would come to be a massive layoff that would happen in waves over the next six months. I proceeded to make my exit prior to that. When I started at Toll, my group, Engineering, had 15 engineers and architects (who supported the engineers). There are now 2 engineers. I figure that I would have gone within the first three months after I had left. My boss went in/ around that time frame and I presume that I would have followed him not soon after.

So, as of late, I have been arriving at the office around 7 and in some cases, like today, earlier. About a month ago I did a stint of about four days where I was in as early as 4:45 am. My company gives each employee the opportunity to do something called “Summer Hours” which is a format that many other companies have adopted. The employee works four nine-hour days, and then takes a half day on Friday. I do not participate in the program. The point of me coming in early is to get more work done. Taking a half day on Friday seems like a waste of those hours. I will admit, however, that I have left early for the day on occasion because I have come into the office early, but that’s the exception, not the rule.

One of the things that I have been omitting from my various blog entries is my knee issues. As mentioned in previous entries, I have had knee pain for the last 10 months. I had gone through physical therapy with an ART specialist, to no avail. I took time off, to no avail. Since nothing seemed to have worked, and the pain is annoying at best, I decided to “run through it.”

I am happy to report that the pain has not gotten worse, but it hasnt gotten better, which would be expected, since I am not doing anything proactively to remedy the situation. I am running in a new pair of shoes, and I have noticed that the pain does not seem to be as intense when running. A good pair of shoes goes along way. Additionally, as I run, the knee gets “warmed up” and the pain usually disappears (for the most part) once I get into the heart of the run.

Originally, I was diagnosed with patella tendonitis and/ or patella sublexation. Patella sublexation is the dislocation of the tracking of the knee cap within its “groove” in the knee joint. Originally, the pain was directly on top of my knee cap. For whatever reason, the pain has now migrated to the outside of my knee cap. My research indicates that the location of the pain is indicative of iliotibial band syndrome. You can google it, or accept my brief and more than likely flawed explanation. The iliotibial band is a tendon that passes just on the outside of the thigh and connects just below the knee. When the band becomes tight, it tends to pull the knee out of alignment and rubs against the outside of the knee, hence the pain. With any type of inflammation injury, warming up the muscle loosens up the tightness, which subseqnr

Its a fairly common runners injury. Most people recommend RICE: Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation. Rest means no running. Oi. There are numerous stretching and exercise protocols that can also help with the syndrome, and I am going to explore those. I will not stop running. I’ll see what the next step is after the PRD.

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