Iberian Championships

Great organization in this competition that took place in the center of the country.

Middle distance, 6,3k (200m), 30c - I started carefully because I wasn't sure about my navigation after the summer rest. Lost time to the 7th, 10th, 11th and an huge amount of time from 25th to the finish line. Caught some athletes, oversimplified and ended loosing time. I was vice-champion, 15'' after Tiago Aires.

Sprint distance, 3,1k (90m), 25c - I definitely underestimated the map. I tought that it would be too easy and it was the worst sprint race I can remember. I fell at all the traps. To the 7th a too bad option and to the 8th, the end of the race where I passed the passage of the tunnel.

Long distance, 12,5k (400m), 30c - In this kind of terrains I've to start making straighter routes. Big deviation to the 1st. Lots and lots of smaller mistakes. Huge one to the 21st (4'!). In the final part of the race, there were no miracles and my lack of shape didn't allow me to push harder.
As I was talking with Ionut in the end, for me it's easier to technically loose 3min in a race than winning 3min by running harder. I've to take it easier and rely more on the map. After re-fueling my energies I still had the strength to spend a great afternoon surfing at Supertubos with 25ºC.

Now I'm packing all the stuff to the next week's WC in Annecy and to the next 3 months in Vienna. We'll see...

The possible cause for concentration problems

Yesterday afternoon I had difficulties concentrating. Instead of being mad at myself and disappointed, I've decided to try to look for the possible causes of yesterday's reading failure (while my back-up is running and Scopus seems to be down).

So I've been sitting here and staring at the screen and contemplating all possible reasons why yesterday turned out the way it did, and, more importantly, what I could do about that.

1. I wasn't really reading exciting new material.
In fact, I was reading a PhD thesis. The material of this thesis was published in journal papers in the subsequent years, and I've had already read all these papers. All I had to do is to go and search for some more details in the thesis, which was heavy on concentration-intensity.

2. Reading an entire day is hard on me
I know this, but somehow I fail to plan accordingly. Reading an entire day gives me the vast amount of time of "an entire day" and somehow puts me off. I work much better when I divide the morning into reading and the afternoon into lab preparation.

3. Lack of breaks
Yesterday, after lunch, I didn't see any person nor talked to anyone nor had a break with the others. Bad idea, as simple as that.

4. My body
I was feeling painful and unfit yesterday. I did go to the gym in the evening, but my muscles (if any) were not collaborating at all.

The lesson I've learned from this is that I mainly should plan better and divide my time into smaller chunks so I can get a little more variation in my day.

Comemoração do Dia do Gaúcho

   Mais uma vez a EMEF Presidente Costa e Silva comemorou o Dia do Gaúcho a rigor: na sexta-feira, 17/09, os alunos dos turnos da manhã e da tarde, fizeram churrasco na Escola! Cada turma, com a ajuda dos professores e de alguns pais, montaram suas churrasqueiras, tomaram chimarrão e apreciaram músicas tradicionais do Rio Grande do Sul.
    Para completar a comemoração, a Invernada Artística da EEEB Poncho Verde, com os grupos mirim e juvenil, realizou apresentações que encantaram a todos. Os alunos do Costa e Silva, professores e outros convidados também abrilhantaram esta festividade com músicas, declamações e trovas. 

Drinking with a kick

via http://lovecoolest.com/football-ice-maker.html

Drinking JD, Vodka and Johnny would be funner with this, right?

I once had a girl or should I say, she once had me?

This just gives me the chills.

Norwegian Wood (2010)
Direcred by Anh Hung Tran

To Shake Things Up A Bit

This is just so funny!

A few good Friday habits

Friday means the end of the workweek and the beginning of the weekend. Or at least, it means that for the next two days I can sleep in a bit and work/read from home. Naturally, my energy level is lower on a Friday, and that is the reason why I developed a few good Friday habits.

1. Back-up time
Thursday evening I put my external HD in my backpack and my first action on Friday morning is to make a back-up of this week's work.

2. Plan less intense work
I reserve certain tasks that require less brain power for Friday's lower energy level. For example, I run my code to obtain the graphs for my test report, and write about the most recent experiments in my test report, based on the notes from my lab book.

3. Make an overview of the past and next week
Every Friday evening I make a to do list for the next week, and I look at the past week's to do list. I write on the bottom of the past week's and current month's to do list what I've accomplished. For about half a year I've been doing this now, and it gives me a much better estimate of how much work I can actually do in a week's time.

4. Time for chores
My last Friday habit is to try and get as much chores done as possible: getting groceries, cleaning, doing laundry and more of that fun stuff. Getting this done on a Friday gives me more time during the weekend to divide between reading papers, studying, relaxing and working out.

Do you have any special Friday habits?

Visita ao Corpo de Bombeiros

Visita ao Corpo de Bombeiros.

Visita dos Escritores

Tivemos a presença de Orlando Fonseca, Eny Allgayer e Maria Helena Zancan Frantz.
Esse encontro foi muito especial para os alunos.

First steps in speed reading

I'm naturally a slow reader, a very slow reader even. When I read a book, I create an entire universe in which I can visualize the characters. I can imagine how they look like, how they act amongst eachother (outside of the story of the book), how they are dressed, what their voices sound like...
However, having this habit of slow reading isn't helping when there are piles and piles of papers waiting to be read. I've been reading around the internet about speed reading, selective reading, skimming and more of those fashionable terms, and I decided to give it a try. As for now, I'm very positive about my results.

At the moment, I have a folder of papers on my desk which basically gives background to my research. It is not exactly about my topic, but I need to know more about the general background and the application of my research. So I've decided to read all of these papers, and try to read them fast.

My first attempts have been based on this method:
1. Read the abstract.
2. Read the introduction.
3. Skim through the text, paying special attention to graphs and (sub)titles.
4. Write down a few keywords.
5. Go to the conclusions.

These actions I perform in one wave of concentration, and afterwards I "relax" by putting the reference into my system to manage references (Endnote, in my case) and by adding the relevant information to the "scope" chapter of my literature review.

I've only been using this method for a few days now, and I will write about my progress.

Socialização Copa 2010

Socialização dos Trabalhos realizados durante a Copa 2010. Cada turma ficou responsável em estudar e pesquisar sobre um país.

Apresentação do Coral no Mercado Cotripal - Semana Farroupilha

No dia 14 de setembro o Coral "Vozes do Arco-Íris" participou da programação alusiva a Semana Farroupilha no Mercado da Cotripal.

The orienteering flow

As an orienteerer you've probably have experienced a race where everything seems to fit in. Where everything seems easy and you just float between the controls. I have had that feeling, but only too seldom.

Mihaly Csíkszentmihályi, a Hungarian psychology professor that spent a great part of his life studying this phenomenon in many areas, identifies the following 10 factors as accompanying an experience of flow:
1. Clear goals (expectations and rules are discernible and goals are attainable and align appropriately with one's skill set and abilities). Moreover, the challenge level and skill level should both be high.
2. Concentrating, a high degree of concentration on a limited field of attention (a person engaged in the activity will have the opportunity to focus and to delve deeply into it).
3. A loss of the feeling of self-consciousness, the merging of action and awareness.
4. Distorted sense of time, one's subjective experience of time is altered.
5. Direct and immediate feedback (successes and failures in the course of the activity are apparent, so that behavior can be adjusted as needed).
6. Balance between ability level and challenge (the activity is neither too easy nor too difficult).
7. A sense of personal control over the situation or activity.
8. The activity is intrinsically rewarding, so there is an effortlessness of action.
9. A lack of awareness of bodily needs (to the extent that one can reach a point of great hunger or fatigue without realizing it)
10. People become absorbed in their activity, and focus of awareness is narrowed down to the activity itself, action awareness merging.

And there are 3 conditions that are necessary to achieve the flow state:
1. One must be involved in an activity with a clear set of goals. This adds direction and structure to the task.
2. One must have a good balance between the perceived challenges of the task at hand and his or her own perceived skills. One must have confidence that he or she is capable to do the task at hand.
3. The task at hand must have clear and immediate feedback. This helps the person negotiate any changing demands and allows him or her to adjust his or her performance to maintain the flow state.

And I take a shot suggesting that this so called Flow may be a remaining capability of our "persistence hunter" ancestors that made our vulnerable specie to survive in a hostile world for so many years, transforming us in the Runner's specie. It's a theme that is physiologically and anthropologically so fashion nowadays and that may amaze you in the following video... isn't that guy in "the flow"??

Difficult to breathe while training? Could it be EIB?

Yes, I'm an asthmatic guy since I was born. In my childhood I've had some pretty bad moments but with a 3h train everyday in the competitive class at the swimming pool, my asthma almost disappeared during my teenage years.

2 years ago (the 1st moment I can recall is the National Long Distance Championships in 2009) I started to have a strange feeling while running at high intensity. I had the distressing and anxious feeling that the air couldn't reach my lungs, something completely different from the asthma that I could recall.

Since January 2010 it got pretty intensive. I've talked with my Immunoalergologist and she told me that "it wasn't anything special" (after all, I could run anyway and she had tougher cases to solve than me). Moreover, my lungs started to burn after track sessions... and in the second half of the season, even if I did 13 training sessions a week, I worsened (a lot) all my track and race times. I was desperate!

Last friday it was supposed to be my 1st track session of the season: 4x1000. I started well but, suddenly, after the 1st serie I had to quit and rest in a bench and it got really difficult to breathe. I thought that this couldn't be normal and immersed myself in abstracts and books...

... and found this:

Exercise-induced bronchospasm (EIB) is an often-undiagnosed but common problem affecting both recreational and elite athletes. Although Exercise can trigger exacerbation of chronic asthma, EIB should not be confused with the chronic inflammatory disease. While in the past, athletes were forced out of competition because of exercise-induced bronchospasm, today they can frequently get back in the stride with their peers.

EIB is defined as the transient constriction of the airways as a consequence of vigorous exertion. It occurs in about 12% to 15% of the US general population. Of patients with chronic asthma, 70% to 90% have an exercise component to their disease. As many as 40% of patients with allergic rhinitis also have EIB. However, between 5% and 10% of patients with EIB have no concomitant respiratory or allergic disease.

Olympians have been studied to quantify the incidence of EIB among elite athletes. About 11% of US Olympians who participated in the 1984 Olympic Summer Games met the criteria for EIB.These athletes won 41 medals, a testament to EIB's prevalent but controllable nature. Of the US Olympians who participated in the 1998 Olympic Winter Games, 17% admitted the need for medication for their exercise-induced symptoms.The incidence of EIB in a recent study involving US Army recruits6 was about 7%, but it had no effect on physical performance during basic training.

Clinical Symptoms
EIB presents in various ways, and patients report both obvious and vague complaints.
Symptoms during or following exercise include the following :
Chest tightness or pain
Shortness of breath
Underperformance or poor performance on the field of play
Prolonged recovery time

Symptom onset usually occurs 5 to 10 minutes after the start of exercise but may take longer in a conditioned athlete. Chest pain rarely indicates cardiac disease in children. In a study by Wiens and colleagues,16 up to 72% of children with chest pain met the criteria for EIB. Adults present with wheezing and dyspnea more often than do children. A patient's inability to keep up with his or her peers is an important detail in history taking in pediatric and adolescent athletes. (...)

Yesterday I've started a new anti-inflammatory medication (not doping) and I can't remember ever breathing so well. I'm really enthusiastic with this and can't wait for testing myself again (and check if it was a placebo).

...and can't understand why Salbutamol (the classic asthmatic inhaler) is still prohibited by WADA:

There appears to be no justification to prohibit inhaled beta(2)-agonists from the point of view of the ergogenic effects.
Do inhaled beta(2)-agonists have an ergogenic potential in non-asthmatic competitive athletes?
Kindermann W. Institute of Sports and Preventive Medicine, University of Saarland, Saarbrücken, Germany

We concluded that no ergogenic effects were attributable to salbutamol, which should therefore remain a legitimate drug for the management of athletes with asthma participating in international sporting events.
Is Salbutamol Ergogenic?: the Effects of Salbutamol on Physical Performance in High-Performance Nonasthmatic Athletes

Inhaled salbutamol, even in a high dose, did not have a significant effect on endurance performance in non-asthmatic athletes
Effects of inhaled salbutamol in exercising non-asthmatic athletes.
Goubault C, Perault MC, Leleu E, Bouquet S, Legros P, Vandel B, Denjean A.

In conclusion, inhaled formoterol did not improve endurance performance compared to placebo.
Can asthma treatment in sports be doping? The effect of the rapid onset, long-acting inhaled beta2-agonist formoterol upon endurance performance in healthy well-trained athletes.
Carlsen KH, Hem E, Stensrud T, Held T, Herland K, Mowinckel P.

Momento Cívico - Semana da Pátria

Semana da Pátria na Escola

No dia 06/09/2010 o Coral Vozes do Arco-Íris fez sua apresentação na Praça.