Archive for training

big bang/data/computers

Posted in Running, Statistics, University life with tags , , , , , , , , , on September 21, 2012 by xi'an

I missed this astrostatistics conference announcement (and the conference itself, obviously!), occurring next door… Actually, I would have had (wee) trouble getting there as I was (and am) mostly stuck at home with a bruised knee and a doctor ban on any exercise in the coming day, thanks to a bike fall last Monday! (One of my 1991 bike pedals broke as I was climbing a steep slope and I did not react fast enough… Just at the right time to ruin my training preparation of the Argentan half-marathon. Again.) Too bad because there was a lot of talks that were of interest to me!

NYT persp’ on Melbourne

Posted in pictures, Travel with tags , , , , , , , on July 29, 2012 by xi'an

I came upon this New York Times argument for placing Melbourne in #15 among the 41 places to go in 2011:

With a bunch of new hotels and restaurants led by notable chefs cropping up, Melbourne has been stealing the spotlight from its sister city, Sydney. The most notable addition comes from the luxury brand Crown, which is investing 1 billion Australian dollars (about the same in U.S. dollars) to expand its sprawling Crown Entertainment Complex on the southern bank of the Yarra River. In April it opened Australia’s largest hotel, the 300-million-dollar 658-room Crown Metropol, which has an infinity pool on the 27th floor with 180-degree views of the city, and is home to the Maze and Maze Grill, the celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay’s first endeavors Down Under. The complex also includes the Crown Towers hotel, which has four private penthouse gaming salons with 360-degree views of Melbourne’s skyline.

The city’s thriving arts scene now has stylish boutique hotels to match, too. Three Art Series Hotels, inspired by (and featuring the works of) famous artists, opened in the last year. The Olsen, named for the landscape painter John Olsen, is the flagship of the group, with 229 rooms (from 215 dollars a night) and a heated, glass-bottomed swimming pool.

Visiting foodies will be able to choose from a number of new restaurants. In October, the Australian chef Neil Perry, of Rockpool in Sydney, opened Spice Temple, a 200-seat contemporary Szechuan restaurant next door to his Rockpool Bar & Grill in the Crown complex, as well as a new bar, the Waiting Room, in the lobby of the Crown Towers hotel. Also within the Crown complex, a new seafood restaurant, the Atlantic, will debut in February with Donovan Cooke as executive chef.

This is fairly puzzling, Not the fact that Melbourne is on the list, of course, this is indeed an attractive and thriving city I enjoyed living in the past two weeks. But the reasons provided here are just so unappealing. A new expensive hotel? Duh.  A new restaurant? Doh. (Plus, there already is a highly rated Spice Temple in Sydney! Why bother with a replica?) Reading through the series with a new eye makes me seriously wonder if this is anything else but covert advertising… (In the 2012 version of this NYT list, Montpellier appears as the French entry…not for its beautiful medieval centre but for its modern architecture and for its tramway, which has been completed but which construction created such a traffic nightmare over the years I have visited Jean-Michel Marin there.)

Good training [2]

Posted in Running with tags , , , on September 23, 2011 by xi'an

I had another training round today [Wednesday] with six 1000m that went reasonably well: 3’42″ – 3’41″ – 3’38″ – 3’42″ – 3’39″ – 3’39″…. Of course, a few years ago I was finishing in 3’30… Too bad my friends from the INSEE Paris Club were running 500m’s today (in  1’41″!) Still, with just one more training to go on Sunday in Central Park, I hope I am prepared enough for the race in 10 days…. (It is fairly childish to get focused so much on a back-country race attracting a few hundred runners; however, I have been somehow preparing for this race since 1996, given that I had no hope for a top position prior to turning V2 (French grading) / V50 (UK grading)!)

Lacking skills

Posted in Books, Statistics, University life with tags , , , on December 23, 2010 by xi'an

I received this question from Luke Bornn to answer for a new Q&A entry in the ISBA Bulletin:

“From your experience, what skill do you think is most often lacking in today’s statistics Ph.D. graduates?  What steps can a current graduate student undertake to remedy this deficiency?”

First, let me stress that I restrict my answer to French Ph.D. graduates and warn the reader that the environment for Ph.D. students in French institutions strongly differs from the ones in UK or US universities. Even though our students have a proper five-year training in maths, probability and statistics (plus possibly additional fields like economics, computer science, engineering, sociology, or, more rarely, biology, astronomy, ecology), there is not the same progressive integration of graduate students within the research faculty body as the one we see in the UK or the US. Ph.D. students remain students till the end of their thesis and often beyond. This is of course a terrible situation that we are trying to alleviate at our individual level, when the conditions allow as in CREST.

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10k / 35:04?!

Posted in Running with tags , , on June 4, 2010 by xi'an

Under a scorching midday sun, I took part in the annual 10k of the Finance Ministry in the Parc de Vincennes this yesterday afternoon. I was quite surprised when I ended the first 5k loop in less than 17:34 and even more when I reached the finish line in 35:04! This was the third V2 [veteran 2] time but I am six month short from reaching the V2 category and I knew I had not ran that fast! Going over my lap times [graphed below with no correction], the first (3:05), fifth (3:09) and sixth (2:13) kilometers are definitely suspicious, so I think the course was at least 720m shorter than expected. At this pace, I would have needed at least 2:48 more to complete a genuine 10k, leading to a more reasonable total time of 37:52, especially given my lack of hard training… Anyway, I am quite happy with the outcome since I did not feel any special pain, apart from a slight headache due to the sun,  and some burns on my neck and shoulders!, and I now thus re-consider training more intensely for the Fall marathons.


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