Long time, no see…

I know I haven’t posted for a long time, hopefully to the dismay of some of you . I’ve been involved with remaking myself physically, which has taken a tremendous amount of my time and energy, but has also paid off very well. During my time off from blogging, however, I’ve still been generating ideas on what I should write about. Here are some of the entries that I have coming in the next days, weeks, and months, in no particular order:

  • A continuing series on TDDing things that are hard to test. This series will examine how to use TDD to develop things that are generally considered difficult to write tests for as you go. Things that come to mind are applications that make extensive use of the file system  structure, things that rely on databases, UIs, web forms, etc, multi-threaded systems, and more. Soon I’ll be posting a request for some of you to send me some ideas about things that are hard to write TDD, and I’ll take the best suggestions (or maybe the most difficult suggestions ) and approach them from a strict TDD point of view.
  • My take on using the newly released VSTS as a TDD engine. I’ve been doing that now since pre-beta2, and I have some pretty strong opinions on things that work well, and things that really get in the way when trying to do TDD with the new version of VS.Net. I want to confirm that issues I’ve had with previous versions are stil present with the RTM version before I post. I promise that this review will be very interesting, challenging, and potentially controversial.
  • In depth discussions of new features and concepts in Enterprise Library for .Net 2.0 (actually not sure what the final name of this release is supposed to be). I personally rewrote the instrumentation subsystem for EntLib, and hopefully made it much easier and less intrusive to use. Along the way I learned a lot about performance issues with respect to reflection, how to design APIs for usability, and how to test things that were hard to test.

As for why I haven’t been blogging lately, the fact is that I just haven’t had the energy. You see, I’m 40 years old, and my body had started to look it and feel it. I’ve always been pretty athletic, but I’m beginning to understand why professional athletic careers are winding down and mostly finished by my age. I’m 5’ 11” tall, and I had just topped out at around 215 lbs, which put me on the border of being clinically obese. I was very unhappy with how I looked and felt, but also felt powerless to change it. But through a strange set of events, I began to make progress back towards a more healthy weight and attitude.

What I did was to travel with my family to Europe on vacation (Paris for 2 days, and different parts of England for 14 days). Without knowing it, my journey back towards health began there. Starting on the very first day, our eating habits changed, as we ate typical Paris fare, and walked everywhere. We ate less food, ate healthier food, and burned more calories. No more American super-sized portions! My 5 year-old son couldn’t keep up with all the walking every day, so I had him on my shoulders most of the time, burning more calories. And we did this for 2 weeks…

So, to sum up, for two weeks, we ate less and exercised more. All without knowing it!

Once we got home, my wife noticed that I didn’t seem as huge as I once did (she put it in a nicer way than that ). I finally got the courage to weigh myself, and found that I had lost almost 10 pounds without trying. After a little reflection, I realized that we had changed our lifestyle during our trip (duh!), and I resolved to keep living like this from then on. And I have. I eat less food, eat better food, and exercise. I started walking everywhere I could, including to and from work at Microsoft in Redmond. Just that walking was about 4–12 miles a day. At my peak, I was walking twice a day for a total of about 40 miles a week. And the weight kept coming off! I lost 10 lbs, 15 lbs, 20 lbs, and I was really starting to feel good. So I started to mix in some running.

At first, I would run a mile or so every other day, then every day, then I would bump up my every-other-day long runs by a mile each week. After a bit, I found myself where I am now, 30 lbs lighter, running between 5 miles and 10k per day, 6 days a week, at about 5AM. And in the afternoon, I ride an exercise bike and lift weights. (Thus the reason for lack of blogging). I just completed a 10k race in St. Louis this past weekend in 52 minutes, for a pace of 8 min, 25 sec per mile. My next goal is a half marathon in St. Louis April 8, which means its time to start serious training. I’m considering doing a marathon as well, but that seems like too much pounding for my tastes.

I hope some of you made it this far in this entry, and I apologize for the entirely personal tone of it, but I wanted to brag a bit — I think I’ve earned it! Now that I’ve almost reached my goal weight (10 lbs to go to 175), I have a bit more time and energy available for technical topics, and I promise to be back blogging again.

— bab

Now playing: Rush – Rush (from vinyl) – In The Mood