Quick update

by smthng 11. August 2009 04:54

Hey all,

I know I haven’t been posting here recently, but there’s a good reason for that.  If you’re one of the few who follow me and don’t know already…

We’re changing things around a bit on our end here.  Basically, we’re going to be travelling around in an RV for a bit.  I won’t go into all the gory details here… I have another blog specifically for that. ;)  If you’re interested, go hit us up on http://wegofar.com.  Thanks!

Currently rated 1.5 by 757 people

  • Currently 1.508586/5 Stars.
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5

Tags: , , ,

blog

Landing page

by smthng 1. July 2009 09:05

Just a quick note to let you know I created a landing page. 

What's a landing page?

Well, it's a quick overview of who you are or what you do.  It's a good "first look" for anyone coming to visit a site from other places.  I created mine specifically for Twitter, but it applies to other services as well. In Twitter, if someone views my page, it has a url in the "About" section.  That URL points to the landing page.  That way, anyone who runs across me in Twitter can view that URL to find out what I'm all about.

In a blog (or even static sites), the front page may only show particular posts relevant to the last few days and may not show someone why they might be interested in what you have to say.  A landing page fixes that.  

Mine is here.

L8r!

Currently rated 2.0 by 49 people

  • Currently 2.040816/5 Stars.
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5

Tags: ,

blog

My morning commute

by smthng 6. May 2009 07:09

Want to know what it's like to ride a motorcycle into Washington DC in the morning?  I uploaded a new video that pretty much covers it.

Currently rated 1.5 by 142 people

  • Currently 1.52817/5 Stars.
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5

Tags: , , , , ,

blog | Trips

More off-road videos

by smthng 29. April 2009 11:43

Hey all,

I've only posted two videos "embedded" on my blog here.  There are a handful of others though if you're interested.  Just go to http://smthng.blip.tv for all of them.  I didn't want to clutter up the blog with a week's worth of videos, but it seems that the ones posted here have gotten the most hits.  I'm guessing that people don't know they're all on Blip.tv.  Just thought I'd let ya know.

BTW... I just *might* have some motorcycle videos up next week if all goes according to plan. ;)

Currently rated 1.5 by 131 people

  • Currently 1.496186/5 Stars.
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5

Tags: , , , ,

blog | Jeep | Trips

OCC Friday Run

by smthng 7. April 2009 12:51
A trip up a harder trail with Steve and Ed from Off-Camber Crawlers. Sorry about the rain drops, they shake off in a few minutes. About half way through the video, we turn around and you'll see the other rigs.

Currently rated 3.0 by 5 people

  • Currently 3/5 Stars.
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5

Tags: , , , ,

blog | Jeep | Trips

How I roll...

by smthng 6. April 2009 19:45

I know it's been a while.  Nothing real deep or exciting, just a relaxing recap of my last weekend in the woods.  This may be the first of many.  Enjoy!

Currently rated 3.0 by 5 people

  • Currently 3/5 Stars.
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5

Tags: , , ,

blog | Jeep | Trips

Returned from the Shmoo!

by smthng 10. February 2009 12:55

Last weekend had me at Shmooconwith a few friends.  Shmoocon is one of my favorite cons, as it’s a strange mix of hackers, geeks, security goons and just interesting people and topics.

Friday had us doing the check in thing and catching a few opening talks, none of which were “wow” talks or anything, but all were pretty good.  We then ended the day with a somewhat unofficial party.  The odd part was that the party was in a church.  It’s a bit weird to have thumping rave music and laser pointers amongst pews.  Still, a good time was had by all, new friends were met and we barely avoided freezing on the way back to the hotel.

Saturday was a basic “don’t get mugged” class called “Cuong Shmoo”.  Rob promptly used a demo as an excuse to smash me in the arm, which is currently a nice shade of sickly yellow with nice purple highlights.  It was also our first exposure to the lockpick village and our attempt at escaping the mock Tijuana Jail.  Rob and I both got cocky and started with cuffs behind our backs.  Rob had to get “rescued” from the cuffs and lost 2.5 minutes in the process.  But, he managed to get through everything else (basically taking out an inflatable guard and picking 4 more locks).  His time was smthng like 4:58 – just barely under the 5 minute cut off.  I got out of the cuffs myself at around 2:40 minutes, but got destroyed by the next lock.  But, I was not to be completely stymied (more on that later).

An excellent talk by the creator of a tool called “Fast Track” convinced me that I’m really glad I’m not responsible for SQL servers in our environment.  This thing will pretty much pwn any SQL server you point it at.  :S

Saturday night started with us at the official party at Chloe’s club.  Good times with new friends were had, but a freak texting accident had someone do a full plant on the back steps.  Initial assessment was that no harm was done, so a small batch of us headed over to Brickskeller’swhen the open bar ran out.  Good drinking and more lock picking shenanigans ensued.  A couple could easily manage a Master padlock someone brought along (with a nice set of Southern Ordinance picks), while myself and another had a really hard time with it until we figured out “the knack”.  Returning to the hotel after last call had more social hilarity ensuing until we had to crash.

Sunday was pretty much wrapping up, saying goodbye, helping take care of the previous night’s texting accident (probably severely strained ligaments), and another attempt at the Tijuana Jail.  It was “unofficial” as timing and scoring were already shut down, but Rob and I wanted a whack at it for our own satisfaction.  This time we kept the cuffs in front.  I was out of the cuffs in 17 seconds and through all the other locks in under 2 minutes total. :)  Rob did much better on the cuffs than previously, but got stymied by the first lock (same one that got me the day before).  The locks were all pretty shot at this point, so I’m not surprised.  I’m amazed I managed it at all.

All in all, it was a great con and I met some really cool people.  Picked up a new minor interest in Locksports and have already determined that I need slightly better picks and that poorly made locks are bad to learn on (I can pop a Master No. 3 in about 15 seconds, but an unnumbered Master is a complete crap shoot). 

Currently rated 1.5 by 59 people

  • Currently 1.542373/5 Stars.
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

blog | Tech | locksport

PS3 distractions

by smthng 8. January 2009 08:51

The best laid plans...

I finally took the plunge and got a console.  I've always been an "anti-console" bigot, mainly because I have a couple of hefty PC gaming setups.  My PC rocks for games, so why would I want to use smthng that only has joysticks?

Well, I needed a Blu-Ray player and all reports pretty much point to the PS3 being the best Blu-Ray player on the market.  The gaming console parts of it were just "gravy".  So, I snagged an 80GB PS3 and got Motorstorm: Pacific Rift thrown in for free. 

I'm hooked.

Motorstorm rocks.  The gameplay, the sound, the online racing, the tracks, the graphics, everything.  It's all butter.  A few folks I met online in Motorstorm recommended that I get Need For Speed Undercover.  It also rocks (but not quite as much as MSPR).  Tom Clancy Endwar was added to the collection because it came with the headset.  I haven't played it yet, but use the headset all the time in MSPR.  Need for Speed Carbon was dirt cheap... bought.  Burnout Paradise, also dirt cheap... bought.

APhoto_3cr I got the impression that she who must be obeyed was getting a little miffed about my PS3 time, so I got Little Big Planet thinking she might actually try it with me a couple of times.  It completely rocks!  The online connectivity suffers a bit some times, but they're working on it.  Other than that, it's amazing.  The wife even likes it.  She says she doesn't want to play, but as soon as I start, she jumps in and joins me. ;)

Oh, it really is an excellent Blu-Ray player as well. :P

Anyway, that's where a lot of my online time has been going recently.  If you care to waste some with me and have any of the above titles, feel free to hunt me down on PSN... I'm smthng (of course).

APhoto_2cr

The search for shoes...

by smthng 30. November 2008 18:22

Editors note: This is about MY search for shoes, not shoes in general.  I'll post up some info about finding the right shoes for you a bit later...  Promise!

It used to be that shoes were an easy thing to decide on.  I walk into a store, find smthng that's not too ugly, try on a few sizes till I get one that fits, then pay and get out.  Not any more. :(

My current running shoe is a Saucony C2 Grid Roadster.  A black and silver, light, highly arched, neutral running shoe.  My current set have 65 running miles on them.  You can probably figure an extra 5 to 10 "unclocked" miles due to walking around before a race, warm ups, etc.  Still got plenty of life in them.  But, it's now pretty much "winter" here.  That changes things.

My C2s are great for pavement running, but I doubt they'll handle wet trails, mud and rock for any distance without disintegrating.  So, I need a set of trail runners.  Plus, there are going to plenty of times when I'm not going to want to go outside at all.  That means some quality time on my wife's treadmill (make no mistake here... it's in our basement, but it's her treadmill). The treadmill will only be touched by "virgin" shoes that have never seen the sun, rain, snow, mud, dirt, water, or anything else not already found on our basement tile.  So, I need another set of running shoes.

I'd be lying if I said I chose the C2's as my first real running shoe.  I didn't.  I got very lucky.  It was after I got home from the local shoe warehouse company that I did some research to find out that it's probably a pretty good shoe for me.  A visit to a real running store a few weeks later confirmed that the only shoe that worked as well (not better) was another Saucony that was "this years new model" and is essentially a flashy version of the C2 Roadster.  That trip also confirmed that I'm definitely a Saucony foot person.  Brooks and Asics feel absolutely horrible to me. New Balance are tolerable, but I wouldn't want to run any distance in them.  Nikes just feel all sorts of wrong.

Side note: The same phenomena occurs with motorcycle helmets... some people are Shoei heads, other are Arai heads, and the twain shall never meet in one helmet.

So, I wander down to my local DSW again looking to luck out in another shoe.  Directly in front of the main entrance is a "super cheap running shoe" rack.  Excellent!  I dive in and find a set of Saucony Grid Omni 5 TRs that should hold up to some nasty weather.  Price?  $40.  Score!  I try them on...  Not bad, but not great.  Maybe they'll break in.  I snag them after checking out a few other dead ends on the non-sale stuff.

I get them home and find that they are "stability", not "neutral" or "neutral plus".  Bummer. :(  They'll have to go back. 

Saucony tells you on the web site what kind of shoe they are, why not put it on the box?  (I'm not just ragging Saucony about this, most manufacturers are guilty of it.)

Looks like I might just hold out and bite the bullet for the Xodus for the trails.  Not sure about the treadmill.  I probably should get the Triumph 6, but that's a chunk of change for an indoor shoe.  But, they both have Saucony's arch-lock, which I probably need.  I probably need to scoot down to Road Runner soon and try them on.

Currently rated 1.6 by 60 people

  • Currently 1.566667/5 Stars.
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5

Tags: , , , , ,

blog | Running

Thankful I finished

by smthng 27. November 2008 11:21

This morning I ran a 5k race...  the Virginia Run Turkey Trot 5k.  It was ROUGH!

First, there were over 3000 runners.  That's a LOT of people to get through.  The start was horrible... I kept getting stuck behind families running side-by-side.  I applaud the family spirit and all that, but people have to be able to get around you, especially at the starts.  I ended up getting off the road and running on the sidewalk until some space had opened up. 

It was cold...  A hair below freezing when we got there, frost on everything.  Cold, dry air putting a hurting on my throat.

My wife is inconsistent.  She's clearly in better shape than me, but she changes her pace too much and makes it difficult to stay with her.  It threw me off a bit.  My secret goal was to be able to keep up with her.  Success - we finished side by side! :)

Hills!  There were two hills that I was not expecting.  They weren't incredibly steep, but they were LONG!  They both were after the halfway point and really beat me down.  They made the finish seem a LOT further away.

We'll probably find another race to do next Thanksgiving.  It was just TOO crowded.  Neither of us liked it.

But, I did what I think was an excellent job.  I managed an unofficial time of 28:49, which works out to an average pace of 9:07 min/mile.  That's a full minute/mile faster than my last race, which was an 8k on flat ground.  Of course, the wife and I were both absolutely done by the end of it. 

The timing above was from my Forerunner.  I'll post the official times when I get them.

Still, it was a good race for us and we're glad we not only completed it, but completed it in a much better time than expected.  We were both shooting for a 10 min/mile pace. ;)

Twitter pals

On a somewhat related note, I've been following a lot of runners on Twitter recently.  I was amazed at how many ran today and how well they all did.  Congrats to all! :)

 

Update: Official times are in...  28:41 with a pace of 9:14 min/mile.  142nd out of 238 in my age/division.  I'm happy with that. ;)

Currently rated 1.6 by 59 people

  • Currently 1.610169/5 Stars.
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5

Tags:

blog | Race | Running

Holiday run

by smthng 24. November 2008 08:00

I'm already signed up for my next run...  The Virginia Run Turkey Trot 5k.  This is a Thanksgiving morning 5K run in Centreville, VA.  The wife and I signed up for this one for a number of reasons.

  • 5k - The 8K I did last time was rough.  We think a 5k will be a better stepping stone before working up to more serious distances.
  • Location - Centreville isn't that far from us (Springfield).
  • ChronoTrack - The electronic timing is pretty cool.  We like not having to deal with doing our own timing and not having to worry about it.
  • Thanksgiving - Neither of us are working. ;)

My first race was an 8k.  I did a respectable job, but 8k is currently my limit.  I'm even having a hard time hitting three miles on training runs right now.  The 5k will give me another PR to shoot for and will give me a decent starting point for training for longer distances.

We tried to recruit a bunch of friends who run for the last race, but they ALL bailed.  So, we're not 'advertising' this one.  It'll just be me and the wife.  I'm reasonably sure I can keep up with her for a 5k. She has a slower pace than I do, but can run much farther.  5k won't quite demolish me, so I think I can just push hard enough to keep with her at the end.  We'll see. 

I can get one more training run in on Tuesday if the weather holds out.  We're expecting rain tonight and Tuesday morning.  If it dries out before I get home from work on Tuesday, I can squeak one three mile run in before the race.

I'll definitely let you all know how it goes after the race, but I might post up how my Tuesday run goes if I can find the time before the race.

Currently rated 1.7 by 7 people

  • Currently 1.714285/5 Stars.
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5

Tags: , ,

blog | Running

Breaking the Jeep

by smthng 21. November 2008 07:41

I only broke it a little bit, but that'll be at the end of this mess...

Last weekend (11/15/08) I went out to one of our local wheeling spots with a bunch of the other Off-Camber Crawlers for one of our last runs of the year.  Fortunately, the weather wasn't quite as bad as previous years and we generally had a good time.

OCC1 Friday was me setting up the Go (more on that in another post) and getting a couple hours out in the Jeep.  We ran several trails we were all familiar with, but then go misdirected to a trail that gets pretty nasty.  Chris got his YJ hung up pretty bad, so I started winching him.  Either he got impatient or didn't hear me telling him to stop, so he punched a pretty decent hole in his oil pan.  That was pretty much the end of his day, other than getting him back to camp.

OCC2 Saturday was a "short" day, since it was also the first day of hunting season.  We had about 4 hours where we were promised we wouldn't be shot, so we made the most of it.  We started on one tough but manageable trail, got seriously rained on, then started another "unknown" trail.  It turns out the unknown trail was about as much as we could manage.  There were several spots that I'd have bet money on that we wouldn't make it.  But, we persevered and managed to get our vehicles a seriously long way up a stream. ;)  We then came back to camp and cooked a LOT of food, consumed frosty beverages, etc.

OCC3 Sunday was supposed to be an easy day, but I ended up leading a group with two Grand Cherokees, which don't have a lot of clearance.  One was bone stock and wouldn't go into 4-Low, so I ended up guiding them on some easy trails.  It turned out to be a long day, but was still a good one.

All in all, a good weekend out.  But, I think I managed to break a control arm mount or smthng.  I haven't exactly found out what's going on, but the back end of the Jeep wants to step out sideways every so often.  It's, uh, disconcerting. ;)  I'll work on that this Saturday when I head over to a friend's to help install his new skid plate.

OCC4

Currently rated 1.5 by 39 people

  • Currently 1.48718/5 Stars.
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5

Tags: , , , ,

blog | Jeep

Life on the Go

by smthng 11. November 2008 09:02

Ok, more like life IN the Go.  The "Go" is my new Sylvansport Go trailer/tent/camper thing.  I picked it up with the Jeep last Thursday in Sidney, OH.  I then towed it to somewhere outside Lancaster, PA and set it up for the night.  A couple of folks have been asking my opinion of it, so here are some initial thoughts...

Towing...  It's pretty much a dream to tow.  I have a 2006 Jeep Unlimited (not the new four-door version, the older two door).  It's basically a Wrangler that's been stretched about 15 inches.  The towing capacity on Wranglers is ridiculously low compared to other SUVs, so the weight of the Go was a big part of my decision (I think the max towing weight of a Wrangler is smthng like 1500 lbs).  In the Unlimited, I would notice that the Go was back there when I hit a bump or when trying to take off quickly (like turning onto a highway), but otherwise it was pretty much a non-issue.  It just sat back there and didn't make a difference.  I think it actually improved my gas mileage, but that might have just been because I wasn't taking off as quickly from stop lights.  Regardless, there really aren't any negative issues to deal with when towing it.

Set up...

Not terrible, but I did have some minor issues.  None of the issues were with the Go itself, but were more related to my not being familiar with it and trying to decipher a relatively "light" manual.  It doesn't explain one or two important points.  I made do, but it wasn't until I got home the next day and went through the setup video (on Sylvansport's web site) that I realized that I didn't have one or two parts of the tent attached to the frame correctly.  Everyone who gets one of these things should plan on having a "practice run" before actually needing to set it up.  Other than the one or two minor issues, set up is a breeze.  It goes together about as quickly and easily as my 4-person 3-season tent.  Take down is almost as easy, but it takes some patience and determination getting the tent back in it's "box".  Just be patient and be prepared to lower the roof a bit in order to reach stuff easily. 

Another thing to note is the stabilizing system.  Four "legs" are used to level and stabilize the Go.  They aren't intuitive.  Again, you pretty much have to watch the video to get it right.  It's not complicated, but it's one of those things that if you don't know the tricks, it doesn't make sense. 

SylvansportGoInPA

Use...

Compared to a tent, this thing rocks!  A flat, clean floor, with no rocks or roots sticking up...  Waterproof... flat sleeping area...  plenty of room to set stuff up and move stuff around...  Excellent ventilation if you need it (I didn't... it was cold).  It's a big unit with a high ceiling though... expect to use a lot of lighting if you really want to see stuff at night.  I have a tent light I normally use that hangs from the ceiling of my tent.  I used that, plus an extra emergency one I had in the Jeep.  I could have used two more to get it really lit enough to read or smthng.  I'll probably go snag a few more before I go camping this weekend.  It's just a big space... one or two wimpy tent lights aren't going to cut it.

Another thing to keep in mind is heat.  I use a portable tent heater in the winter.  I brought it along and tossed in 4 extra bottles of fuel for it.  I can normally make do with one bottle of fuel all night in a decent sized tent.  In order to keep the Go warm, I ate up all four bottles!  I'm sure a lot of this has to do with how big the Go is.  It also doesn't help that the thing is off the ground.  You don't have the ground as an insulator.  If you do any winter camping and expect to run heat, expect to use a lot of fuel.  I'm converting from the little disposable propane canisters to a 10lb refillable bottle (swiped temporarily from my barbeque grill).  That should be plenty.

Finally, keep an eye on condensation... it's a tent.  If you have heat running or people breathing in it, there will be condensation.  Most of it was in the roof pod for me.  It's just smthng you need to keep in mind.  Expect to give it time to air out in the morning or plan on drying it out back home.  There's no way I'd leave it packed up damp, it's too much of an investment to risk mold and/or mildew.

Overall...

I'd be lying if I didn't say that this thing rocked. ;)  It really is the bees knees for vehicle camping.  I've got a three day Jeep trip this weekend.  I'm just as stoked about using the Go as I am about getting the Jeep out on the trails.  Being able to bring a lot more camping gear is going to make a huge difference to my comfort (I can tow it all on the Go instead of cramming it in the Jeep). 

I'll post up some more detailed pictures and descriptions from that trip after it happens.

One more thing...

I'm sure each state it different, so check what your requirements are for titling and tagging it.  I had a really hard time dealing with Virginia's DMV.  At the DMV office, they wouldn't give me a temporary tag to go get the Go because I didn't have a title for it.  Duh... I don't get the title until I pick up the trailer.  It turns out that you can just print a temporary permit from the DMV web site right here.  No VIN or title needed, just make sure you get a bill of sale or delivery receipt. 

Same goes for the real tag and title... The DMV folks normally won't do it without a bill of sale stating the paid purchase price and date.  Luckily, I got a rep that was exceptionally cooperative and just said "It's okay, I'll let it go this time" whenever I didn't have smthng that was needed.  Trust me when I say that this is the first time I've EVER gotten a cooperative DMV rep.  Don't bank on it happening to you.  You need the Certificate of Origin signed by the seller and assigned to you.  You also need a completed bill of sale showing price and date of purchase.  That should be sufficient for your purposes. ;)

Currently rated 5.0 by 1 people

  • Currently 5/5 Stars.
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

blog | camping | Jeep

Why not work?

by smthng 11. November 2008 08:09

Ok, I don't mean why shouldn't I work, I mean why don't I post about work.  I've gotten a couple of emails about this and author J.C. Hutchins just pointed out an article indicating that your blog is your resume.  So, here's the flipside of that...

In short, it would be somewhat unethical for me to post details about my specific job and the company I'm working for.  In cases like this, posting any real pertinent info about my job would probably be the quickest way to make sure that I no longer have one.  When I run into odd situations that are out of the norm and I think it would be beneficial for others to be able to refer to them, I'll post them up with as little detail as possible (but still enough to point peeps to the right resources).  Most of my Exchange and Powershell posts fall in that category.  Anything more specific than that would be hazardous to my career.  Especially when I know people at the office occasionally read my blog (I'm not the only high-tech-redneck here).

I can give you a bit of background on my job though...  I'm basically a "messaging architect".  I design, implement, support and troubleshoot all things dealing with electronic messaging at the company I'm at.  This includes Exchange, Blackberry, Windows Mobile, electronic faxing, web-mail and application integration.  Of course, you can't do that kind of stuff without also being somewhat responsible for server setup, infrastructure design and policies, clustering, Active Directory management, DNS, etc.  In short, I pretty much have a ton of access to a ton of stuff.

Anything I post about my work would be useless without technical details.  Unfortunately, posting technical details about how we're set up and how we do things would open the door to nefarious individuals.

So, with that in mind, don't expect any real solid information about my work life here.  I may occasionally post up some technical tidbit, but otherwise it's all going to be non-work-related spew.

Currently rated 1.4 by 26 people

  • Currently 1.384615/5 Stars.
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5

Tags: ,

blog

My first race - Run! Geek! Run!

by smthng 3. November 2008 09:21

I completed my first race yesterday... an 8 kilometer run called Run! Geek! Run!

The Good

I finished!  :) 

It gets better though... I actually ran the entire race.  8k is about 5 miles.  I started at my usual workout pace but strangely got faster throughout the entire race.  I expected to be able to run half of it, then alternate running and walking for the remainder.  Once I was out there, I just kept "not stopping".  The first mile was pretty hard, as it was cold and there wasn't much opportunity to warm up and get ready.  The second mile was when things kind of started to fall into place.  Everything after that just got harder.  I was really surprised that every time I looked at my Forerunner, it reported that I was increasing my pace.  I made a couple of conscious efforts to back off, but after the halfway point I just quick looking and ran.

Here are the "official" stats for my run...

  • Out of 438 runners I placed 338th.
  • My net time was 50:23.
  • My pace was 10:09 minutes/mile average.
  • Out of 47 first-time runners, I was 30th.
  • Out of 30 male runners in my age group (35-39), I was 27th...  I saw a lot of the men in my bracket and they were mostly fitness and running freaks...  the time disparity in that group was ridiculous, so I don't feel at all bad about that. ;)

My lovely wife started with me, but left me in the dust in no time flat.  She placed 13th out of 31st in her age bracket...  I categorize her as one of those fitness freaks, so I'm not at all surprised by her ranking. ;)  Out of 438 runners total, she placed 286th with a pace of 9:36. 

My wife was nice enough to come back a few hundred yards for me and run the last bit again as an extra motivation. :)

Other interesting observations... 

There was ample water, coffee, bagels, bananas, etc at the starting area.  I don't know if this is common practice, but I hope so for future races.

The Bad

It was cold. Good weather for running, but not so good for standing around before and after the race.

My knees hurt after and during the run.  Not a joint pain, more of a muscle or tendon pain. Both knees, on the outside, just under the kneecap.  There's obviously a muscle that attaches to smthng there and it's not real happy about everything.  It's not terrible, it just aches a lot.  Unfortunately, my knee pain collaborated with most of the other bits of my body while I was sleeping and staged a coup.  Pretty much everything aches now.  Again, not major and luckily no joint or bone pain.  Just sore muscles, tendons and ligaments and such.

I had a "marker" that I used for the first four miles.  There was a girl running ahead of me with a white long sleeved shirt and black pants that I used to pace myself.  She was running a good steady pace that I wanted to maintain, so I followed her as best as I could.  I slacked off a bit at the 2 mile mark, but was back with her at about 3.5 miles.  She slowed down a bit, so I passed her and was quite proud of myself that I'd managed to outlast her.  Unfortunately, she was sandbagging.  At 4 miles, she kicked in the afterburners and there was no way I could keep up.  I was a little "crushed" by that, but struggled on regardless.  It didn't really make a difference to my running, it was just one more thing to fight through.  I was rapidly running out of steam and if it had happened earlier, I probably would have emotionally given up a bit and wouldn't have been able to maintain my pace.  I need to keep it in mind for the next race and make sure I'm using the Forerunner as a marker, not another unknown runner.

All of my wife's friends who had considered running backed out.  That means no one to take pictures. My very first race and I have no picture of me falling across the finish line. :(

Stats

These are from the Forerunner and may be a few seconds off of the "official" timing...

 

Mile Time Pace (min/mile) Speed (MPH)
1 10:36 10:36 5.66
2 21:11 10:34 5.68
3 31:17 10:06 5.94
4 41:10 9:53 6.07
5 50:25 9:14 6.50
Overall 50:25 10:08 5.97

Next...

Take a few days off for recovery.  I'll probably start running again next weekend.  I have to go out of town Thursday and Friday, so I'll probably hit the trail on Saturday.

That brings me to my workout... I've been doing 20 minutes running on my workouts.  I obviously need to up that a bit since I just proved to myself that I can run more than twice as long.  I'll probably go to 30 next week, then take it from there and see how it goes.

 

Overall, I'm pretty stoked up and impressed with myself about the race. I'll probably start planning the next one soon... like tomorrow. :)

Currently rated 1.4 by 50 people

  • Currently 1.38/5 Stars.
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5

Tags: , , , , , ,

blog | Running | Race

The run before the run

by smthng 31. October 2008 09:13

Yesterday I went out for my last run before the Run! Geek! Run! race.  I didn't do terribly, but I'm glad I didn't skip it.  I skipped the run prior to that because I tweaked my ankle a bit and didn't want to risk doing anything more to it.  Had I skipped yesterday as well, I would probably be in really bad shape for the race this Sunday.

I picked a different area that I've been meaning to check out for running.  I started at Eakin Park and did 2.5 miles of the Cross County Trail.  Not a bad trail, but it's a really strange mix of conditions.  Some parts are aged and cracked asphault, others are new concrete, others are dirt, others are gravel.  There are a couple of parts that are badly sized "rocks" acting like gravel.  They're big enough that I can't see anyone wanting to walk, run or ride a bike on them.  I don't know what the park authority was thinking there.

I think I'm going to start up a site for Northern Virginia and post up running trails.  I haven't found anything like that yet and the trail network here is very disorganized... stuff goes all over the place, but you never know what conditions you'll be dealing with until you're already committed.  We'll see.

Be the first to rate this post

  • Currently 0/5 Stars.
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5

Tags: , , , ,

blog | Running

Return from Yellowstone

by smthng 27. October 2008 10:13

Sorry for the long delay in posting about the remainder of our trip, but I'm going to do my best to finish it off soon...

IMG_0486After we left Hunter Peak Ranch in Wyoming, Jim and I pretty much just picked an eastward direction and went.  We started towards Cody, WY on Hwy 296, which was fairly uneventful.  Lots of open road, little traffic, occasional twisty mountainous bits to get over passes.  The best bit in the morning was Dead Indian Hill Pass.  We stopped to take some scenic shots (after tackling the seriously twisty road to the top at some excellent speeds). ;)  There were the usual historic markers and placards, but there was also an interesting metal sculpture thing as well.  I had to stop and get some pictures of my steed with the others. ;)  Luckily another pleasant tourist did the picture taking, so I'm actually in the shot this time.

Coming down from Dead Indian Hill we stopped again in the Shoshone National Forest for more scenics. We then continued on and passed an actual cowboy herding cattle!  It was smthng completely unexpected, but cool.  I didn't get a picture because he (and his herd) were on a curve and IMG_0506 there was no where to pull off. :(  Still, it's cool to see that the cowboy life still exists somewhere.

We then made it into Cody for gas, coffee and a bit of time to catch up on voicemails and such (we hadn't had reliable service for about three days by this point).  From there, it was US 14 to Greybull, then into Elkhorn National Forest. 

IMG_0509US 14 through Elkhorn NF is basically a giant canyon straight out of a spaghetti western movie.  Red rock walls on either side, stream at the bottom.  It was getting pretty warm again, so I climbed down to the stream and tossed my shirt and "doo rag" into the stream for a nice cool down.  That's good for about 45 minutes of extremely comfortable cooling on the bike. :)  

We continued on a bit, had to stop for construction, then continued on for a bit and then stopped at "Fallen City". Fallen City is a rock formation in the Bighorn National Forest.  The rocks look vaguely like IMG_0534 square buildings, which is where it gets it's name.

After leaving fallen city, Jim was in the lead, but was starting to irritate me a bit.  We actually got overtaken by a Ford Escort, who then proceeded to outrun Jim in a major way.  Of course, when asked about it later, Jim had all sorts of excuses. ;)

I eventually got tired of watching Jim's brake lights and I could see on the GPS that the "fun" parts of this road were about to end.  Due to Jim's incredibly slow progress, we were in the back of a long line of traffic.  I decide I was going to have a little fun before we ended up having to switch to an interstate, so I slowed WAY down to build up some space between me and everyone in front of us.  About 3 minutes later, I had enough open room to enjoy the next set of curves, so I hit the gas.  The first corner was excellent, but Jim had slowed down in order to make sure I was okay.  I blitzed past him (maybe a little quicker than was prudent) and had to nail the brakes to prepare for the next hairpin turn.  I got a little too eager and lifted the back tire off a bit, which promptly caused the bike to step out sideways.  Keep in mind that it's a 650 pound bike, with a 200 lb rider and a ton of gear... we were probably topping the scales at about 1000 pounds.  It takes some serious brake action to stop that much weight when it's going, uh... fast!

Anyway... I scared the jeebers out of Jim, but was able to correct my horrible trajectory and made short work of the next few corners.  It wasn't exactly how I'd planned it, but it was still quite entertaining. ;)

IMG_0550 We then hopped on I-90 and kept going... for a long time.  Interstates are horribly boring after fun mountain passes. :( We stopped in Buffalo at a Subway, then I took the lead back on I-90 for another "long time". We finally jumped off of the interstate at Moorecroft, heading towards Devil's Tower (the big "thing" in Close Encounters of the Third Kind).  This was at about 7:30 pm or so.  We were running out of daylight and still had to get to Devil's Tower, so we hit the gas and made it to the tower around 8 pm.  There was still enough light left to check out the tower, so Jim decided to take a walk around the base of the tower.  I was pretty tired, so I decided just to chill out in the parking lot and take a couple of pictures.

IMG_0559 45 minutes later, Jim wanders back over.  He'd gotten lost... figures.  We get suited back up and head down from the tower.  I had to stop and get some pictures of the prairie dogs in the field at the bottom.  Prairie dogs are kinda cool. :) So I'm taking pictures of prairie dogs and some guy in a minivan pulls up next to me and asks if I left a camera at the tower.  I didn't, but apparently Jim did.  It was way cool of the guy to track me down, as Jim brought "the big camera"... probably about $1200 worth of camera.

I thank him profusely, take a few shots that will surprise Jim when he downloads them and head on down to the entrance where Jim wanted to stop and see if he could get a cell phone signal at the trading post.  IMG_0562

Unfortunately, Jim not only found cell service, but he also found WiFi.  I don't know all the details, but apparently some work thing he'd been whining about all week had finally blown up and he needed to take care of it. So, he whips out the laptop and spends 20 minutes or so trying to get the wireless connection working.  I finally get tired of him messing with it and swearing, so I step in and get him a connection.  Then, he finally gets to work.  We ended up rolling out at smthng like 9 pm.  It's dark, we're on little twisty back roads, we're tired and I'm pretty much driving in "angry mode".  It ain't pretty.IMG_0566

We again go "a long way" on some road and end up stopping for food at some little mom & pop place in Upton.  That was, uh, interesting.  It's pretty much the only place open in the entire town and all the local kids apparently hang out there.  The obviously don't get many people passing through, because the waitress wanted to talk to us... a LOT!   Of course, it could have just been Jim's effect on her. ;)

We roll out about about an hour later to dire warnings of deer everywhere and a list of bikers who'd recently got killed by hitting them.  I saw exactly two.

There was a little bit of road that looked like it would have been fun if it weren't dark and foggy.  As it was, it was just "work".  But, we did arrive safely in Hill City, which was to be our starting point for visiting Mount Rushmore the next day.  This is now well after midnight. 

Jim's reservation was with some little no-name inn.  It was closed.  Jim woke them up.  They weren't happy.  I kept my mouth shut.  We eventually got a room.  We slept.

Currently rated 1.4 by 79 people

  • Currently 1.417721/5 Stars.
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

blog | Trips

Six days and counting down

by smthng 27. October 2008 06:56

My 8k run for Run! Geek! Run! is in six days...  I'm pretty sure I'm not going to be up to running the entire race, but I should be able to run at least half, then alternate running and fast walks for the remainder.

I went out for a run yesterday.  It wasn't easy, but it wasn't quite as bad as the torture I endured on Friday.  My pace was pretty poor, but I still managed my 20 minutes running and a few intervals on the way back.  My ankle was starting to complain, so I only did three intervals instead of my usual five.  I managed a couple of pretty serious pulls to my right ankle over the past year and I don't think it's quite "right" yet, so I'm being extra careful until I strengthen it up some more.

I did manage to get 4.2 miles for a total, so it's was still a pretty decent workout.

Since the race is Sunday, I should be able to get a run in on Tuesday and then on Thursday.  They're probably be pretty easy ones, as I need to make sure I'm okay for Sunday.  I'll only have Friday and Saturday for recovery before the race though, so I may scrap the Thursday run.  I'll make a judgement call on Thursday and decide then.

Be the first to rate this post

  • Currently 0/5 Stars.
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5

Tags: , , , , , ,

blog | Running

Despair, agony, anguish... got plenty to spare

by smthng 24. October 2008 08:59

Yesterday was the worst run I've done since I started... it was absolutely horrible.  I didn't want to go in the first place, but I didn't have an excuse not to, so I did it.  I felt horrible when I started and it just got worse from there.

I felt like I was pushing a freight train uphill and every few minutes, I'd run into another box car and have to push it as well.  My legs felt like lead.  My breathing was shallow and I couldn't get a good rhythm.  My shins ached, my allergies had me all stuffed up, my throat was all clogged up, I was cold and clammy and it all pretty much sucked.

But, I did it.  5 minute warm up, 20 minutes running, 25 minutes of intervals, 5 minute cool down...  every second of it was pure torture.

The irony of it all...  It was the best pace I've run so far.

:(

Currently rated 1.4 by 16 people

  • Currently 1.437499/5 Stars.
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5

Tags: ,

blog | Running

Running with Gadgets

by smthng 21. October 2008 11:15

I'd hinted in a previous comment that I would talk a bit about the electronic wizardry I'm using to help me keep running.  Purists won't care about this, as they pretty much "just run".  If you fall in that category and like it that way, don't waste your time on the rest of this post. ;)

I am a big fan of "instant gratification".  I completely understand that if I run for three months, I should feel better, lose weight, run better, etc.  But, I don't want to wait for three months to see those kind of results.  I need to know that I'm doing smthng other than wasting my time... NOW! Hence, I resort to electronic gadgetry. :)

The primary (and currently only) source of electronic wizardry I employ for running is a Garmin Forerunner 305.  This is basically a GPS crammed into something that looks vaguely like a big watch.  It also has a wireless heart rate monitor (optional - not required for running).  In the simplest sense, it keeps track of where I am and how fast my heart is beating.  It can also keep track of my times and follow a simple workout schedule to prompt me to change pace.

However, what makes it really useful is the software to analyze that data.  This can pretty much tell me everything about my run and map out my performance and improvement over time.  That's kind of a big deal to me.  The instant gratification factor comes from being able to look at where I ran and see that I ran longer, further, faster, whatever.  It's also a real bonus to me to know that I ran 6 miles the first week, 8 miles the second week, 11 miles last week, etc.  If you want to get really technical, I also know that my shoes have 28 miles on them already (I expect to get at least 300 out of them).

The Forerunner 305 comes with some software called Garmin Training Center. This is one of the products I use to keep track of everything.  It's also about the only practical way to set up a workout and send it to the 305.  Here's the main portion of what it looks like after plugging in the 305 when I get home from a run (click for biggie):

image

The four panes are pretty easy to deal with... the top left is a calendar showing either when you ran or when you are scheduled to do so (depending on which screen you're looking at).  The pane below that is a list of activities you've uploaded.  The top right is a map of any given activity and the bottom right is the graph of the activity itself.  There's plenty of other stuff buried on tabs too...  like stats and such.

For example, for the walk/run above, I went 5.17 miles in 1 hour 13 and a half minutes, at an average pace of 14:14 minutes per mile, average speed of 4.2 mph, max speed was 7.8 mph, burning about 642 calories, with an average heart rate of 138 bpm (max was 182), etc.  I also have specific readouts of how long (and for what distance) I was in each "zone" for heart rate and speed.

By looking at the graph, I can tell that my first leg of jogging was where I did the most work, as it was about 12 minutes and I maintained a heart rate of about 170 during that time (it was also where my max HR of 182 was, because I started running too fast).

The Forerunner and the software give me a LOT of information.  For some people, this won't be a big deal at all.  For me, it's a "must have"!  Without it, I wouldn't be running as often and I wouldn't be running as well as I am.

This is just sort of an introduction to using a GPS for running... I've already got a lot more info on this, as I'm already branching out into other software (like SportTracks, which kinda rocks).  I'll post up more details about Training Center and SportTracks in future writings.

BTW...  it should be noted that there are lots of ways you can get our training data online.  The Garmins even come with a basic service to do so.  Just be careful what you upload...  Notice that the above map is in a park in Washington, DC.  It's not a map showing my wife's regular running route, nor is it showing where the front door of my house is.  You'd be surprised at how many "tracks" I've found online with this kind of stuff in it.  There are weirdos out there... don't make their jobs too easy.  Don't be paranoid... just be aware.

Currently rated 1.5 by 65 people

  • Currently 1.46154/5 Stars.
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

blog | Running | Tech

Powered by BlogEngine.NET 1.4.5.0
Theme by Mads Kristensen

About smthng

Just a guy who digs Jeeps, photography, podcasts, sci-fi, running, motorcycles, and stuff.

Tags