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JudoGeek Blog - Digital Natives, Social Media, Social Hardware. Lance Wicks
Lance Wicks

JudoGeek Blog

Digital Natives, Social Media, Social Hardware. 

On the 27th of October I was lucky enough to have the opportunity to deliver a talk at Anglia Ruskin University on coaching digital natives, social media and social hardware.

The talk is the v2.0 of the original DIgital Natives talk I gave at the University of Bath in 2008.

In the talk I tried to cover in a fairly short time what a digital native is, what social media is and why either of them matter. I also added a section on Social Hardware or the "Internet of Things" and how it relates to coaching.

Anyway... I was able to take a video of the talk and here it is:

If you can't see the video, try it on Archive.org:
http://www.archive.org/details/DigitalN ... lMediaTalk
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Reflections on becoming a Marathoner. 

On Sunday September 25th 2011, I became a marathoner. I completed the New Forest Marathon in the abysmal time of five hours and forty minutes. It was one of the most painful experiences in my life and I have informed my wife that she has permission to slap me if I ever suggest I run another!

The idea for running a Marathon has been bubbling under the surface for quite a few years. Mainly thanks to the Pheidipidations podcast from Steve Runner. I've previously run a ten mile race and a half marathon (January this year).

As with my half marathon, I used a training program from Runkeeper.com.
Sadly, unlike the half marathon, this time I slacked off the last two months before the marathon! And that is what did me in!

I had been training like a trooper, keeping to the program, fitting in the scheduled runs. But unfortunately for me, all that great base work was wasted. The way my run went proved the old adage that "Piss poor preparation, leads to piss poor performance".

When I look at the mile times I did, I also suspect I went too fast too soon. I didn't feel like I was running hard, but all of my first 5 miles were run under 9:30 pace. In fact only two of my first 10 miles were over ten minutes per mile.

After about 15 miles it all went horribly wrong. From about 16 miles my leagues were cramping and the going was bad, really bad. I tried to walk some of it off, but I was walking REALLY slow. The alternative was trying to run through the cramps, but that hurt and tended to generate more cramps.

I was hurting and came very VERY close to quitting a bunch of times. It was on reflection, interesting how my mind played tricks on me. At about 19 miles for example; I decided a marathon was only 23 miles long. So I only had 4 miles to go. A couple of miles later, my mind realized that a marathon is 26.2 miles. Weird. Two miles of confusion.

I don't know where it happened, but around the 23 miles mark, the sweeper vehicle caught me up. The sweeper, is a van that comes around and picks up stragglers or hands out disclaimers saying you are outside the end of the race and you are on your own.

Being caught by the sweeper van, spurred me on and I managed to catch up with the van and overtake it and get "back in the race". Shortly afterwards I was overtaken again; then overtook it again with maybe two miles to go. And I stayed ahead till the race finished!

Coming down the final length, I was greeted by my wife and my twin 8 year olds. And they ran with me the last 200 yards or so and the ordeal was over!

I am very happy to have finished the race, it hurt like hell. But I am pleased I finished. One of the little conversations I had with myself, was saying that I had to finish, else I would feel like I had to run another one so I had actually completed one… and there was no way I wanted to go through that again.

The interesting think about running the 26.2 miles that makes a marathon is that you body is not designed to do it. You can't run that distance without training, nutrition, hydration and lots of perspiration.

It is obvious to me that the last two months of training is key to a marathon. I had hoped that the base training I had done would carry me through; but it was no where needed. I needed a lot more miles under my belt and more long runs.

I had good hydration and nutrition, plenty of sweets and carb gel packs. And I drank at every drink station (approx every 4 miles). Which was something i worked on and planned for.

The legs were what gave out. And today I know they gave out bad. I have a sore lower back and also pain around my lower ribs. I am presuming the lower back is form the strain and the ribs from the grunting, groaning, wheezing and swearing and of course gasping for breath as I tried to run.

I should have seen it coming, the last few runs I did managed to fit in that were of reasonable length (8-10 miles) I felt some discomfort/pain in my upper thighs/hips. This was what I felt at about 10-11 miles into the marathon, before it expanded and blew up into full blown cramps shortly after.

It was rather an emotional experience, I was a broken man by the end. I gave it my all, more than I knew I had in me. I managed to finish in a poor time, but I finished just inside the official race period (out running that evil sweeper van).

I don't desire to run another marathon, I am happy to have completed a huge challenge. Even if I didn't get the performance/time I had hoped for.

An ordeal, but the marathon is supposed to be an ordeal, a trial. I made it the full distance and that is enough for me, I feel like I discovered and exceeded a physical/emotional/mental limit within myself. And for that experience the 5 hours and 40 minutes of pain was worth it perhaps.

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A quick update while I hope the rain stops. 

I am writing this as I wait to go for a 5 mile run, sadly being summer in England; it's pouring with rain. So, a quick blog update till it drys out a little (hopefully).

So, running, yeah doing a lot of that. I am running the New Forest Marathon in Spetember and am on week 9 of my training programme for it. Running 4 times a week, last month I ran 123 miles! My training runs include upwards of 15 miles. I have found running in summer has it's own set of problems (compared to last years winter training programme).

I have also been very busy Judo-wise. Coaching two clubs as well as my recent involvement with the European Judo Union and International Judo Federation computer teams. This has been a great new thing in my life, I LOVE IT! I get to go to some of the top Judo competitions and do my IT thing with other people who love Judo and IT. This month for example, I get to go to the Cadet and Senior world championships. How cool is that!
Earlier I went to the Moscow Grand Slam, which was amazing both on the side of Judo and of course going to Russia. I had forgotten till I got there that I really was fascinated with Russia in my mid-late teens. I was lucky enough to get a quick tour of Moscow before departiung and got to walk Red Square... WOW!

IT-wise, blogs and podcast are neglected as a result of the two items above I guess and also because of my latest project "CarMindr", which is my response to that "has my MOT expired??" panic. I've built and just launched a simple email and text message reminder service. It is different from other services out there as it is simpler and does not make a "land grab" for peoples personal information. My feeling was/is that the service should give value for any personal information it collects; not just get that info as a matter of course and then try and spam people.

I launched on Monday and so far the traffic is growing steadily and reminders in the system are growing steadily. Please do check out the site and let me know what you think.

Another project that I have been involved in is the 2012 Commonwealth Judo Championships. I am the IT director for the project, working with my JudoSpace colleague Dr. Mike Callan to put on the most innovative and exciting Judo championships you could imagine! It's going to be amazing! It is being held at the Wales Millenium Centre, which most people recognise as that place on Torchwood. It's an amazing venue and the format includes shows for teh finals blocks that include not just Judo but singers, dancers, bands and other performers! (All to be confirmed of course).

Well, the rain has dropped down to slightly wet, so I had better run.
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ex.fm is ex.cellent 

Sometimes you find something that is just earth-shatteringly cool. This week I found one of those things, ex.fm.

ex.fm is a extension to the Google Chrome browser that turns your browser into your music player. It has totally transformed the way I listen to music and only in a few days.

Ex.fm once installed puts a little icon to the right of the address bar in Chrome, when you visit a site with MP3s or a site like Soundcloud, a little blue box appears with the number of tracks on that page in it.

You click on the icon and a small media player appears and below it all the tracks on that page. You can hit play or add them to your queue. Every site you come across with compatible music gets automatically added to your collection.

You can then browse music by site or artist, add it to your queue and listen away!
Typically when you find a good music site it'll flag up 20-30 files, so after a couple of sites it gives you a couple of hours music easy. I've found I am listening to loads of music just from the queue.

ex.fm also has the usual social options. You can follow others and be followed. You can tweet a song or post it to facebook. It also scrobbles all your listening to last.fm too.

It's great stuff and if you start using it please let me know and follow me at http://ex.fm/lancew


p.s. you can follow their blog over at http://blog.extension.fm/ which has all the latest news, like today the picture of an iPhone which hints at an upcoming iPhone app. :-)
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DojoList 0.8.0 Release. 

Hi all,
so after a very slow dev iteration, I have pushed the latest version of the Dojolist codebase up so people can download it from http://github.com/lancew/DojoList

For those of you unaware of the project, DojoList is the open source project I started to maintain a list of Judo clubs online (specifically for the Hampshire Judo Association website originally).

The software is evolving and the project website http://dojolist.org now lists in excess of 4,000 Judo clubs from all over the world! There is just about 40,000 lines of code and it is starting to be something that I think should be looked at by anyone looking to maintain a list of clubs.

The 0.8.0 release is pretty well tested and has some nice new features (not least a tidier dojo display page. I am moving onto the 0.9.0 release that is a pretty big piece of work as it is the one that has all the syncronisation functionality in it. It'll be able to keep club details in sync between installations in other words.

In this release I have made a variety of tweaks and bug fixes as well as the following specific additions:

* Improved data validation
* Update date field on each dojo record
* Ability to upload photo of the coach
* more tests
* automated build script
* PHP CodeSniffer improvements
* A number of import options

I have more time to work on the code currently, so shall hopefully get the 0.9.0 release out sooner rather than later. No more than a couple of months I hope. Then the big 1.0.0 release about mid 2011 once I am happy with the stability of the code.

Obviously, the more use the code gets and the more eyes on the code the better it will be, so any geeks wanting to critique and or assist me improve the code please do let me know.


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