Some adventures in road and trail running.
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Friday, September 28, 2007

Committers and Contributors at EclipseCon 2008

EclipseCon 2008 is fast approaching and is open for submissions (and I try to follow monkey see, monkey do).

I have the privilege of leading the Committer and Contributor category (old school term: track).

The goal of this category is to enable new and experienced Eclipse committers and contributors to work effectively with and for the Eclipse community.

Tell us about your peer and community interactions or your successes and failures with ecosystem building.
Do you have insights and experiences on how to work in the open, or how to foster or be a successful contributor or committer? Please don't limit yourself just Eclipse experiences. Other communities experiences can be very relevant.

If you are an expert on the Eclipse foundation and its governance model, licensing or the Eclipse IP process, share with the rest of us.

The Eclipse development process...a whole world unto itself ready for you to help us explore.

How did you start your Eclipse project, foster its growth and sustain its maintenance?

Ensure to check out the other categories as well and contribute, contribute, contribute :-)

Don't forget the other conferences that are coming up:
Eclipse Summit Europe 2007 If you are in the neighborhood and have 380 Euros ensure to check it out.

Eclipse committers get 25% discount. Talk to Ian Skerritt about the details.

Unfortunately my talk was not accepted :-(

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Out with the Old, In with the New

I was in Chicago last week for an Eclipse board meeting. I had hoped that we would be downtown near the water so I could get out for some runs on trails near the lake. Alas we were stationed out in suburbia: Schaumburg, Illinois.

So I snuck in some runs during lunch or between meetings on the hotel treadmills. Nothing too inspiring.

But really it was OK. My body is tired and my runs have been lackluster. My next race is not until November 3rd so I decided to not run much this weekend. I skipped out running with my friends at the last minute. In fact, I did a total of less than 1 hour just in and around the neighborhood. I have heard that even the best runners take rest periods from running...up to six weeks!

Along with the inter-terminal tunnel pictured above, I saw this "cool" toilet in the Chicago airport. It has a plastic wrap on the toilet seat. When you are done, you push a button and a new, clean plastic loop is pulled around the seat. You have to be patient while the plastic is slowly pulled around by the little motor. But then you are guaranteed a new, clean, fresh surface to "work" with.
I think that is what my body is needing right now: a little time to clean and refresh to be ready for the new stresses I plan to throw at it :-)

Monday, September 17, 2007

Pacing at Angeles Crest 100 mile race

This past weekend I had the privilege of crewing and pacing Stacey at the Angeles Crest 100 mile race. The short of it is that Stacey finished in 24:57 and was the 20th finisher and the 3rd women bringing home the Cougar award.
Full results here.

There were four of us on Stacey's crew: Ronda, Trisha, Jeff and myself. It was great fun having Trisha (my wife) on the crew to experience first hand the running of a 100 miler. We both agree that I am not yet ready to tackle one of these beasts :-) We were able to check out the first couple of miles of the course on Friday as a group. The race starts on the streets of Wrightwood, CA and heads up into the hills towards Pasadena.

The course is single track trail with one little section of about 2 miles of road going around a protected area for a mountain frog. I would be thanking the frogs if I was running this course!
The high desert course for Angeles Crest is tough: running up to 9000 ft and with 2 large climbs in the last 25 miles of the race.
The climb out of Chantry Flats seems to go on forever: 3100 ft in 6.24 miles. As well, you have 9.2 miles until the next aid station: you reach the peak of Mt Wilson and you have only 4.2 miles to go. The last climb is a little more forgiving with 2000 ft in 3.77 miles. The downhills after these climbs are nice if your legs are fresh but rather technical and hard on the quads after 80 miles of running :-).

Crewing is relatively easy on this course as the trail criss-crosses the Angeles Crest highway so you basically jump out of the car, set up and wait for your runner. Nothing like the hiking into Greengate that we all know and love at Western States 100.

I paced Stacey on two sections of the course: from Chilao to Shortcut (6.5 miles) and then from Chantry Flats to the finish line at Johnson's Field (26 miles). Ronda did the 15 miles between Shortcut and Chantry....this after just finishing the Grand Slam last week at Wasatch 100. These runners are TOUGH!

The course is also extremely beautiful at night with many glimpses of the entire Los Angeles basin from Mt Wilson and Sam Merrill. At least the pacers get to enjoy it. I think the runners are pretty focused on just keeping the legs moving by that point in time! I should have carried my camera but likely my pictures would not do it justice. There is a cool section where you run along the old Mount Lowe railway line traversing the hillside. We saw several deer hunkered down sleeping on the hillside in these sections and the ruins of the old bridges of the railway look intriguing in the dark.

Pacing is a great job and way to experience and learn race courses without the complete pain of running the 100 miles. I highly recommend it but also make sure you are ready and willing to take the time and energy to really help your runner reach the finish line.
Here are some great starting hints from the Wasatch Speed Goats: how to pace.
We really worked as a crew to keep Stacey's aid station time as close to zero as possible.
You should also treat pacing pretty much like your own race. Have your own fueling plan and ensure that you are ready to run the miles. A bad pacer makes for a harder race for the runner...and running 100 miles is hard enough.

Now I go back to least after my legs heal from pacing :-)

Sunday, September 9, 2007

Mckenzie 50km: Good but not Great

I had a good 50km but not great.
15th overall. 4:37:26 (8:56 per mile). Winning time: 4:10
Splits: Wagon Road - 53:16
Carmen - 46:17
Trail Bridge - 49:11
Deer Creek - 47:45
Buck Bridge - 28:57
Finish- 52:01

There were lots of good parts to the race.
I was happy with my fueling sticking close to the 100 calories every 20 minutes.
I drank more than ever again. I actually peed quite soon after the race which is not normal for me :-)
I had no stomach trouble.
Seems I may have this part of racing down...finally!

I really enjoy the lava dancing that you get to do as you pound through the more technical sections of the McKenzie course and I was lucky enough to avert any dirt dives.
My wife Trisha and 2 kids, Cole and Leah, were at all the aid stations attempting to keep my butt moving. We also had a great time before the race camping at Dave and Lynn's Flowerdale Farm. Man do I LOVE fresh fruit.
20 minutes of soaking in the beautiful but COLD McKenzie River after the race. Definitely counts as an ice bath in my books.
Getting the chance to see and talk to all the friends in the running community and making some new ones. Also watching the race and series awards is always inspiring. Congratulations to all the winners but especially to my co-workers Caroline and Dave!!

I did make some mistakes on race day:
  • I stayed with groups too long. If I would have been pacing I would have had my runner catch up to the group, "rest" at the group pace for about 5 minutes and then pass with confidence with no looking back. I was lazy. I caught a group and settled into the slower pace and stayed there for more than 30 minutes...twice! This hurt me for my first and fourth split.
  • I took too long at aid stations. Not sure why but just could not seem to get my act together in the stations. Instead of 1-2 minutes I was consistently 2-4 minutes. This time adds up over 5 aid stations.
I have pushed my body harder this year than any other in my running "career".
Sure I could whine about a twisted ankle and missing training in July this year.
I could bring up the miles and fatigue still in my legs from Waldo.
Please just smile when I am sure to bring these up :-)

But that is what makes the Oregon trail race series so tough and so rewarding.
You have 7 races over 6 months (Feb to Sept). You need to pick 4 of these races and race them to have a chance a placing in your age group or overall.
You have hard races pretty much back to back (3 weeks apart which, believe me, is close for ultras) starting with PCT 31 miler or 50 miler at the end of July, Waldo 62 miler in mid August and then McKenzie 31 miler to wrap things up.
Everyone in the series has had injuries to deal with and deep muscle fatigue to overcome. That is what sets the winners apart as really strong, smart runners.
I plan to keep learning and training to be like them. They inspire me with their strength and stamina.

McKenzie 2007 was a great way to end the trail series: beautiful course, great weather, well organized and great volunteers as well as lots of great prizes and swag!!
The race was satisfying but I am not satisfied...bring on the 2008 series :-)

Thursday, September 6, 2007

Time to Race

McKenzie River 50 km is on Saturday. I did this race for the first time last year and loved it!
Nice forested trail for 31 miles of mostly a gradual downhill. Ended up finishing 5th at 4:20 (8:24 pace per mile).

My taper has been kinda weird as I have been off on vacation this week but at home. I have been doing a ton of yard work to catch up with being away all summer. Major upper body workouts but limited leg stress. Possibly good.

But I have not run since Saturday when I did a hard 12 miler on Lief which went well. Had a great massage on Tuesday with Stacey working out the leftovers of Waldo still hiding in my calf muscles :-)
Today, Trisha and I did a 18 mile bike ride on the Springwater corridor. Casual, easy but good to get the blood flowing in the legs.
I think I will do an easy 3-4 miler tomorrow to stretch the legs out.
We shall see how this worked.

This year the "big boys and girls" are running on Sunday in the 20th anniversary invitational. That race is going to be FAST!
Might open things up for me on Saturday.
My goal is to stick to my pace chart, stay on my fueling plan (1 gel every 20 minutes...just like what worked so well at Waldo) and hit 4:15 (8:12 pace per mile).

Monday, September 3, 2007

Columbia River

Our neighbors Geoff and Kari kindly invited us to a day of boating out on the Columbia river. Man, what a way to start to shut down summer: perfect temperature, great food, conversation and fun!

Most or the time we spent hanging out on the north beach of the Columbia river across from the Chinook public boat launch.

We also had the pleasure of doing some water skiing and tubing.

Leah and Trisha tackled the tubing and Trisha got up for some double skiing and I dredged up some muscle memory of how to slalom.
I think I did pretty well after more than 10 years, accomplishing 3 deep water starts and even some pretty decent hard cuts with no wipeouts.

But I am old school. Almost no one on the river was out water skiing. Everyone is wakeboarding. I was too chicken to try something new with a race this weekend.
Maybe next time. Has to be easier with all that surface area on those boards :-)