Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Don't Be a Hero Judge

The past two weekends at GPs Sacramento and Vancouver, I've had the opportunity to watch Magic Judges in action from the perspective of Staff Manager and Side Events Lead respectively. From these positions, I've noticed that there are far too many Hero Judges around, and frankly, I'm here in Dragon Mode to slay a few of them. Let's start with a simple definition:

Hero Judge - A judge who begins working before their scheduled shift starts or stays after their scheduled shift ends.

This type of behavior is very common with judges. There are a lot of pyschobabbly reasons for it, but fundamentally judges enjoy judging and want to do more of it. The problem is that there are reasons we have shifts, and while you might think that you are helping by extending your shift, you're actually being a problem for the following reasons:

1) Managing judges on staff is a skill that people need to learn. I compare it to playing a worker placement board game like Stone Age or Lords of Waterdeep. As a Shift Lead, you have to figure out how best to allocate your judges to serve all of the events, or if you are the Head Judge or Team Lead, you have to find a way to give all of your judges a break in a timely fashion. If a bunch of judges show up early for the Mid or PM shift, the people responsible for the AM shift don't get to learn how to allocate their resources efficiently because they have a bunch of extra workers to place.

2) Your Lead needs to know how long you've been working. Leads are responsible for the well being and health of the judges working under them. If a Mid-Shift Lead comes on at 11am, he or she is expecting all of the judges on the shift to have come on at 11am, not 10am or 9am, and will make break decisions based on that assumption. Similarly, if you stay on the floor after your Lead has dismissed you for the day, there is often no one there to relieve you.

3) The effects of you overworking might not be seen until the next day or the day after. How many times have you said, "I fee fine. I can stay on for another hour..." on Friday night of a Grand Prix. There are two more days on this event. Get off the floor, get out of the event hall, go eat some food. At a GP you need to pace yourself for multiple days of work. If you frequently find yourself completely tuckered out on Sunday night, you may need to re-evaluate what you did on Friday or Saturday night, not how hard you worked on Sunday.

Over the years, I've heard a lot of people say "take care of yourself. Drink water. Take breaks." Working your scheduled shift and only your scheduled shift needs to be included in this.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

1000 Miles - Week 3

Thursday - 13.3 miles (half marathon in 1:48:25 + cool down; personal best)
Wednesday - 5.2 miles
Week total - 18.5 miles
Year total - 70.2 miles

A definite off week due to the rigors of GP Sacramento. I was in a new role for me and decided not to push myself too hard. This week's GP Vancouver shouldn't be as bad, and I anticipate getting some solid runs at the hotel.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

1000 Miles - Week 2

Here's the weekly tally sheet:

Thursday: 3 miles
Friday: 4 miles incline
Sunday: 3.4 miles outdoors
Monday: 7.3 miles
Tuesday: 3.5 miles (5K at 22:33 plus cooldown)
Week Total: 21.2 miles
Year Total: 51.7 miles

I had a short week at home since we went to Oakland to celebrate Jeff Morrow's (40th) birthday. But I did manage to get some outdoor running done while in relatively sunny California. I've also started to mix in incline and speed work based on the advice of my personal trainer. Yes, this is a thing now. I decided to take the plunge because I wanted to get expert advice on my fitness and health. It's already paid off as she identified that I was favoring one leg over the other in some of my exercises and that could have led to my Marathon injury (left calf). She has a background in cross country distance running as well, so that should help in crafting the right routines to help me get the most out of my workouts. This week, we fly to GP Sacramento, but I'm hoping that between hotel fitness room and decent outdoor running weather, I will get in 2-3 runs while we are there.

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Running 1000 Miles: Week 1

I'm generally not one for making New Year's Resolutions. I prefer to make goals at any time of the year rather than just at the beginning, especially since NYRs have such a deadly reputation for petering out by February. The one thing that I like about a year is that it is a convenient amount of time to track any kind of numerical accomplishment. This year, I've decided to run 500 miles plus 500 miles in honor of the Proclaimers song. Yes, that's technically 1000 miles. That comes out to just under 20 miles per week, which is a perfectly reasonable rate given my normal run rate.

For the purposes of this exercise, I won't be counting any walking that I do, running only. That means treadmill, outdoor runs, and races. After the first week, I am at 30.5/1000 miles. That's a good number, as I will need to rack up extra mileage in slow weeks to make up for those times when I am heavily on the road.

Overall, I feel good. After the Marathon last year, it took me a long time to recover, and the heavy end-of-year travel/holiday schedule didn't help. Now I am finally "back on my feet." I've registered for a Portland Half Marathon in May, and am considering either a Half or Full in Missoula, Montana in July.