Some adventures in road and trail running.
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Sunday, July 27, 2008

PCT 50 Miler

On Saturday July 26, 2008, I ran the Pacific Crest Trail 50 mile run. The picture (credits to my son Cole) shows one of reasons why.

Short version:
50 miles in 9 hours and 43 minutes
Averaged 11:40 per mile
45 out of 114 runners.

Long version:
This run starts at the Clackamas Lake historic ranger station at 6:30 am (5:30 am for early starters who require a little more time). You head out on the Pacific Crest Trail and climb up to Timberline Lodge on the shoulder of Mt Hood. Then you run back down to the start as shown at left. Simple and very rewarding with some amazing trail for running and some breathtaking views of Mt Hood as you climb up to the lodge.

This was my first 50 mile race. Last year I ran a 100 km (62 mile Where's Waldo) run but I trained and ran that event strictly to finish. I had planned to race this one to get the best time and finish position possible. Unfortunately my body did not cooperate. I still do not know what really caused the injury but a week before the race, 10 miles into a 15 mile training run with my buddy Rick I started experiencing pretty good pain in my left shin. Erg. I ran for one more mile and then walked the remaining four. Not good. Started R.I.C.E immediately with the hope to heal for race day. No running for 6 days with lots of stretching, icing and massaging. One day before the race I tried a 3 miler with Trisha. I could run but with nagging discomfort. Bummer. Enough whinging...time to do the best I could.

So I was nervous going into race day. The morning came with perfect weather. I had had a pretty good night's sleep. I settled in to just take the day as it rolled out and give it what I had for that day.

Start to Little Crater Lake : 6.1 miles in 54:17 minutes
The first six miles are rolling and a great way to get out the early race anxiety but one must be careful not to go to fast and dip into the reserves that will be needed on the return trip. I really focused on trying to run with a correct stride and prayed for a reduction in the pain but pretty quickly knew it was going to be a longer than planned day on the trail. Met Trisha (awesome crewing Babe!) at the first station, grabbed my other water bottle and headed back out on the trail.

Little Crater Lake to FS58 3.2 miles in 33:39 minutes
Once out of first aid station at Little Crater lake, you have some more rolling and then the start of the first real climb. I loved it. Ronda had helped me plan and train to handle the hills with many hard hill repeats out in the Gorge. My leg felt better on the ups and I was more able to keep up with the other runners. Unfortunately as you can see from the profile above, the whole race is not up. I was frustrated on any downhill as I could not stride it out and "float" to enjoy the benefits of gravity. Oh well, focus on the positive and adjust to the weird reality of looking forward to the uphills :-)

FS 58 to Frog Lake (Hwy 26) 5.2 miles in 46:55 minutes
This is where you start to do more climbing and experience the first real views of Mt Hood. It is both awesome and scary at the same time. You see this amazing mountain off in the distance and realize you are going to run up and over to it :-). A group of us crested the hill and started heading down into the Frog Lake aid station and everyone and their dog started to pass me like the speed bump I was :-) Everyone was very encouraging and it was great to see so many people having a good day. I think all who passed offered me pain killers :-)

Frog Lake to Hwy 35 (Barlow Pass) 4.6 miles in 58:29 minutes
This section was tough for me. The drop bags for the aid station did not make it in time and I had been looking forward to my tunes to help me out...find a beat and try to stretch it out. Trisha was great providing me with backup stuff...except no tunes. The climbing parts were good but then you had to pass the turnaround for the old 50 km race. Boy, would I have liked to turn around. After a minor pity party, it was time to dig in and commit to finishing this thing. Running with Dave S helped us both regroup and head up to the mountain.

Hwy 35 to TimberLine 5.9 miles in 1 hour 20 minutes
The best part of the race for me was the push from the Barlow Pass (Hwy 35) aid station up to Timberline Lodge. Settled in with Todd and we pushed and talked and enjoyed the amazing views afforded on this section of trail. Running through snow in July was fun and blinding. The kids loved playing in it as well. When you clear the forest and get the first clear view of Mt Hood...simply amazing!! Worth 50 miles any day :-) It was also great fun to see the front runners heading back down to the bottom. Rod Bien looked like he was in total control (he would go on to win in 6:56!) with Ian Mcilvenna (from Quesnel B.C. Canada, near where I grew up) in second. The constant stream of runners heading back was inspiring. Onwards and upwards!

Timberline to Hwy 35 5.9 miles in 1 hour 4 minutes
Then we had to turn around and head back. Trisha and Kyly kicked me out of the aid station in good form. I had made the top in 4 hours 30 minutes. Really with the 4000 feet of climbing on the way up and only 1300 feet of climbing on the way back, you should be able to do a negative split or close to it (run as fast or faster back). Not to be on Saturday. Soon it seemed like everyone was passing me as they flew by letting the brakes off as they careened down the forest trails. I continued hobbling along at my governed pace trying to shout encouragement to each and every passing runner. Ultra-running rolls that way.

Hwy 35 to Frog Lake 4.6 miles in 1 hour 2 minutes
I tried to hitch my wagon to Caroline Klug as she motored in to take 4th women overall. I just could not quite keep up on the downhill but it did help me none the less.

Frog Lake to FS 58 5.2 miles in 1 hour 6 minutes
Uphills good, downhills bad. Scenary amazing.

FS 35 to Little Crater Lake 3.2 miles in 41:40 minutes
Running with Allan B (his stomach had shut down to say the least) I figured out how to do the downhills slightly better. Short choppy steps, almost like doing stairs. I think it made it easier, not sure if it was faster. We ran together chugging along until the last aid station.

Little Crater Lake to the Finish 6.1 miles in 1 hour 17 minutes
In the years that I have done the 50 km version of this race I have always died a horrible death in these last 6 miles. Dehydrated and underfueled I slog in like a zombie. Not this year. Likely the second best part of the race for me. I fueled and drank properly for the entire race Warning gory detail: for the first time ever I actually peed in a race!!. Gels about every 35 mins on the trail, turkey slices at the top, 2 Red Bulls along the way, PB & J and coke in the aid stations, and used Margarita Clif Bloks for added salt. Having Trisha at all the aid stations reminding my addled brain to drink and eat was great help! Once I remembered that I had my music, I settled in to some Kutless and was even pleasantly surprised when I saw the paved road up ahead that meant the turn to the finish. I had the added honor of Cole running in the last little section with me. Someday I hope we will run the whole thing together.

Hanging around the finish, eating (burgers!!) and talking to everyone about the race was only topped by the refreshing and required swim in Timothy Lake to finish out the race day.

Today, waking up in the campsite, my body felt far too strong and nimble after 50 miles. My left shin/ankle is no better, no worse. Need to figure out what is the deal. More RICE and back to training. I feel primed and ready to try again next time.

As part of this first 50 miler for me, I used my training and running to help raise awareness and funding for the Micah Project. The challenges these kids face go way beyond those of running 50 miles. For more details please see my previous post. Please consider adding your support to this cause and help me reach one of my other goals for this race.

The PCT 50 is a great race all around with amazing trails, great scenery and so many cool people to hang out with. I learned that you can fuel and hydrate for a long race and not end up needing an IV at the end. Trisha liked that part the best I think :-)
I also learned that all my training has payed off and (most) of my body was really ready to tackle the 50 miles.
Another benefit of not being able to all out race on Saturday was running with many more people than normal. It was quite enjoyable.
Thank you to all the volunteers and Olga and Monika for organizing the race. Jeff...the burgers...mmmmmhhhh!!!!

Make sure to add the PCT 50 to your list of TODOs and know that I will be back next year with a nice little mental edge knowing that I should have no problem setting a personal best :-)

See you at the next race: McKenzie River 50km. a 31 miler almost seems short :-)

Thursday, July 24, 2008

So much mountain little time

The last 3 Mondays we have done short track mountain bike racing. I do believe we are addicted!

Both this week and last week, unlike the first week we planned better and arrived about 1 hour early. This works out really well as we beat the traffic and had lots of time to preview the courses.

For Week 2, Trisha picked up her ClifBar door prizes she won from the previous week, the she went with Ronda and did a beginner skills tutorial. I went out with Alex, Cole and Leah on the main course. Both Cole and Leah had spectacular wipe-outs on some of the more technical downhills but I was bursting with pride as they picked themselves up and kept on ridin'. It was great how many of the riders called out encouragement to the kids. Cole did almost 2 complete loops.

The course for week2 was less technical but with longer loops. With our endurance from running we could really pick people off on the longer straight stretches....that is until we started having mechanicals :-(
Trisha's grip shift lost its grip :-) and my pannier frame "popped" a support beam the second time I slammed into a pot hole on the back side of the course. The loose support beam got in the way of my pedaling and eventually blew off. This left the metal cage sitting back on my rear tire and rubbed off my tail light. Slowed me down a bit for the last 1/4 loop :-)

I had hoped to place in the top 15 but I only made 19th. Still up from 22nd last week. Trisha was 16th, Ronda was 6th! Full results are here.

Then more riding out last Friday at the west Wilson River trail.
Ronda had planned for us to cover both the West and East sections of the trail but when we discovered our prowess (or lack thereof) of handling hills and switchbacks, we ended up only covering the west section. Over 2 hours of fun (faster to run it!) with enough crashes to prove we were learning :-)

We finished out the riding with week 3 of short track last Monday. I did the preview of the course with the kids and am happy to report no crashes this week. Trisha, Ronda and Kris raced (15th, 4th and 6th respectively) while I elected to sit out fearing injury with my race only 5 days away. I did duty as photographer while the chicks torn up the course!

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Twitter Search

I have started to really like Twitter. But not in the "classic" sense but rather using Twitter Search. Twitter Search is something I have only recently really started to use but it allows me to attempt to keep up with real time events.

Twitter Search (the old that got acquired and rolled into Twitter as Twitter Search) allows you to easily follow all the tweets that are occurring around a given topic. Without having to know which individuals to follow. Interesting content without much work. This is why I like it :-)

Today I am following the OSCON tweets...and can barely keep up with about 20 updates a minute. But it is worthwhile as it has pointed me to interesting content.
Twitter Search lets you know when there are new results (on the page and in the browser tab).
It also has the feature to expand entries so you can actually see the URL before going to it. I hope they add this feature to the classic Twitter tweet entry. I like to at least have an idea of where I am going before I get there :-)

I hope this helps someone else work smarter...

Monday, July 21, 2008

Check out OSCON 2008

I have attended at least part of OSCON every year since moving to Portland, Oregon in 2003. Last year, I reviewed the day I attended. I was happy when the opportunity appeared to go again this year as the conference always challenges with new ideas.
OSCON 2008
OSCON claims to be the largest gathering of open source developers in the world and at 2500+ attendees who can argue.

My main role this year will be demoing and fielding questions about Jazz for the IBM Rational table at the Expo.

So whether you are on a free expo hall pass or a full OSCON ride please be sure to drop by the Expo Hall on Wednesday or Thursday.
Then track down the IBM booth to chat about Jazz, Eclipse, open source or trail running :-)

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Micah Project Press: ‘It comes down to why not?’ Bull Mountain runner says of racing for a cause

My fund raising endeavor for the Micah Project was covered in the local Tigard Times and Beaverton Valley newspapers.

Thank you to Kristen Forbes for taking the interest and time to write and get the article into the paper.

The article can be found here.
Please read it, then think and pray about the Micah Project.
Donating money is good too :-)

My previous post on this blog about the Micah Project can be found here.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Moving to Ant 1.7.1 for Eclipse 3.4

I am seeing hits to this blog for Eclipse and Apache Ant 1.7.1 and I realized that I did not detail in my note on moving Eclipse 3.5 to Ant 1.7.1 on how to use the new Ant version with Eclipse 3.4 (part of Ganymede).

I work/test with different Ant versions by:
Changing the Ant runtime classpath:
When Ant runs a buildfile, it looks for the necessary classes on the Ant classpath. The Ant classpath consists of the plug-ins contributing new tasks, types or libraries, plus the classpath defined in the Ant runtime classpath preferences. To access the preferences, click Window > Preferences > Ant > Runtime. The JARs related to an Ant version are grouped under the Ant Home Entries item. To change the Ant Home entries, click on the Ant Home... button and choose the Ant installation you wish to use.

After you change the Ant classpath, all future Ant builds will use the updated version instead of the default. To restore the Ant classpath to its original state, Restore Defaults button on the preference page.

This is from a great Eclipse help document which can be found here.

For the work of moving 3.5 to Ant 1.7.1 we did get very quick (thanks!) approval under parallel IP for a mature project in CQ 2476.
Therefore once the new Ant plug-in version goes into Eclipse Orbit, the Eclipse Platform will be providing the new Ant version as well.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Good day at the Office: A Gorge Run

As a "bonus" for the IBM Jazz and Eclipse teams shipping our latest software releases (Rational Team Concert 1.0 and Eclipse 3.4, part of Ganymede) on time, we get to enjoy other pursuits on the Fridays in July...wahoo!

So this morning I kicked out of bed early and headed out to the Columbia River Gorge to do my last major hill repeat workout before my PCT 50 mile race (and the Micah project fundraiser).

What a great morning to be out sweating in one of the great places God created!
Visibility was awesome, the air was cool in the forest shade, some wildflowers were out and I only had to share the trail with a deer :-)

I needed a long hill (45-55 minutes) that was not too steep but steep enough. The best my friends and I know of in this area is the Pacific Crest Trail from the Herman Creek trail junction. 3.5 miles of running from the intersection to the Tea Kettle Springs: steep but runnable with about 2400 feet of climbing (960 ft up to 3360 ft) as calculated from here. This picture shows the climb from Bridge of the Gods to Wahtum Lake which includes the section I did today.

I parked the car at the trail head at 7 am and did the warm-up run to the intersection..what Ronda calls the Pain Junction :-)
Then up and down, up and down with a short break to eat and take some pictures and a movie.
The full details:
1. 26:09 (123 avg, 166 max) (warm-up)
2. 48:57 (146 avg, 156 max) (up)
3. 27:25 (124 avg, 140 max) (down)
4. 49:58 (154 avg, 170 max) (up)
5. 27:33 (133 avg, 153 max) (down)
8. 16:30 (141 avg, 167max) (down to car)
The hill repeats I went to the same spot in sight of Tea Kettle Springs. Slightly slower on the second. Really happy how I was able to relax and pump out the downhills. As well, same times for my climb checkpoints as in the past but with a lower heart rate...progress! Then 3 miles of heat running on pavement with the kids on their bikes in the late afternoon. Total for the day ~22.5 in 3:47:31 with around 4800 ft of climbing.

Here is a little movie coming to one of the great views on the trail:

Shout out to all those doing SOB 50km tomorrow...most importantly my best friend Trisha!
Also don't forget to checkout the Hardrock 100 that is going on right now...go Team Oregon!

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Moving to Ant 1.7.1

Apache Ant 1.7.1 was released yesterday.
This release is mostly bug fixes and corrections of regressions introduced in Ant 1.7.0 with some tantalizing hints of performance improvements. The full release notes can be found here.

I have started on the work to move Eclipse 3.5 to the latest and greatest and you can follow along via bug 209504.

The relevant CQ for the upgrade is 2476 (which committers can view).
I am hopeful that we will be green lighted to make use of the new parallel IP for mature projects which I mentioned here. This would allow for the new Ant version to be pushed to CVS sooner and have the Eclipse community help find any issues.

There are several bugs logged against Eclipse that likely will just disappear with the upgrade to the new Ant release : Bug 187993, Bug 197909.

Off to do the work and more testing to make sure everything still works on 1.7.1.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Short Track Mountain Bike Racing

Our ever adventurous friends Ronda and Kris invited our family to hit a race that is part of the Portland Mountain Bike Short Track series. As promised it was fun and a great workout! The details about the series are here.

We showed up close to late due to traffic. Cole and Leah took part in the kids race. This race is really catered to children slightly younger than Cole and Leah as the track is really just a loop on some grass. Apparently this changes and may be more challenging depending on the week.
Next week we plan to arrive about 1 hour earlier (around 4:45) to get out and try the real course for both the kids and Trisha and I. Knowing the layout of the course before the race is a huge advantage: when to pass, when to start pushing for the next hill, what bumps you can really hit hard etc.

Both Trisha and I "raced" in the Beginners class. 10 bucks to enter. We got to the line after the real start so we headed out with the Juniors. Made for more people to pass and to pass us!
For the next 20 plus minutes we pedaled, grunted, sweated and tried not to crash cruising around the track. My legs felt great but my lower back and arms started to feel the strain. I really did not know the rules out on the course. I was tentative to pass, did not know if / how much I could run and when the pain would end :-) Next time I will be better least mentally. I don't even really know how many laps I did...I think 3. The results should be up later in the week.
This video from the series site gives a good idea of what it is like, fun and scary:

We are planning to go back again next week so come out and join us.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Fast, hills and endurance: PCT 50 Build Week

The training for a 50 miler is tough. You need to be fast, have strength on the hills and still have the endurance to push through about 8-10 hours of running!
I worked to cover all three this long weekend.

Fast: To celebrate the 4th of July I have raced the Foot Traffic Flat Half Marathon every year since we moved here...except last year when I had a sprained ankle. This race starts early, has a large crowd and is fairly well organized and is fast and flat. It also falls at a good time to check how my training is going for the summer ultras. I raced for the first time with my heart rate monitor. Tried to race smart. Start out slower (based on heart rate and therefore pace) than any other time with the plan to pick it up for the last 4 miles. Things were going well till my body let me down. I have had a few issues with my right leg. So which leg starts talking during the race: the left of course! :-) My left hamstring progressively got tighter so when I tried to start picking it up I was worried about "blowing a hami" and that would make a 50 miler pretty tough. So I settled in and just ensured to cruise it in. I placed 40 out of 1260 with 1:25:52. Full results are here. Not what I wanted to do but ended feeling strong and my quads just asking for more.

Did about 5 more miles of running to end the day with about 18 miles and 2 hours 10 mins. My friend Scott was a stud and did the full marathon in 3:36!

Hills: Saturday morning was early out to the top of Saltzman for 2 by 35 minute hill repeats. The same "St Helens to Skyline via Saltzman" I talk about here. I was really glad my friend Rick was joining more reason not to wimp out! I knew the start would be tough after racing on Friday but OUCHY on the starting downhill. After a good long warm-up we were ready to hit the hill. Both repeats went well hitting the top at 32 mins for both times. Good pratice with the fueling and hydration. The sad part is that I could only run down as fast as I ran up and my heart rate was too low. But only a minute slower on the ups from last time and better heart rate. Just time to do more stretching!

The details:
1. 55:14 (116 avg, 136 max) (warm-up)
2. 31:21 (166 avg, 154 max) (up)
3. 32:00 (120 avg, 164 max) (down)
4. 32:45 (152 avg, 169 max) (up)
5. 34:39 (131 avg, 183 max) (cool down)

Total 3 hours 5 mins and about 22 miles and around 2400 ft of climbing.

Endurance: Sunday morning before church was the long run. My left leg was still tight and there was many times in the first 5 or so miles that I was on the verge of calling it and just walking back and heading home. Then a funny thing happened: a second wind. I kept fueling and moving and finally hit the turnaround. I was running down to the start of Wildwood so heading back was more up than down. But with the hill training, the hills of Wildwood just melted underneath me. I almost yelled out: "Is that ALL you got" as I crested each hill. Pittock Mansion is bump! I was actually able to start posting some decent splits as I was climbing. Again better than when I was running downhill. The PCT will not be so kind (see the picture which is near the turnaround of the upcoming race) but it was good for me to feel the payoff of the workouts and mentally know that things can pick up when you least expect them.

After church and after Trisha got back from her mountain bike ride with Ronda, I did another 3.5 miles with the kids in the neighborhood. Total 3 hrs and 30 minutes and around 23 miles.

Highest mileage week so far topping out at 80 miles.
Now on to the really tough peak week...ouch :-)

Thursday, July 3, 2008

The Micah Project

We live where people can have a passion to train for running 30, 50, or 100 miles on the trails in the wilds of the country.

I am one of these fortunate people who has taken advantage of the great opportunities available to us in Canada and the United States.

There are other places in the world where the opportunities to excel in life are much more limited.
In the recent months I have become aware of a project done in Honduras that is working to enable boys, teenagers and young men to rise above their previous choices and environment to become active, productive members and leaders of their community: the Micah Project.

This is achieved by teaching the boys that they have self worth as creatures of God and they are on this earth for a reason. Continuing from this foundation, the boys and teens need education and skills to break out of poverty and drug addition to provide for themselves and their family. These kids have come from under the bridge and living on the streets and are now graduating from college and becoming leaders.
Through this program we can help to ensure that the next generation has even greater opportunity. There is a plan to start vocational training within the Micah project that will give the teens and young men the training to become business people in their local area. Create an automotive school to equip the project participants with more skills for the future.

All this sounds great. But the bottom line is that these programs need people and money.
Our friends Natasha and Brian Wiggs have felt called to be the "people". I would like to do my small part to help provide the program with some money.
Please consider reading up on the Micah project. Then think and pray about donating money to this cause. Donations are accepted online and via normal (snail) mail. Click here for more details.

To try to encourage donations, I would like to add challenges tied to my running of a 50 mile race on July 28 th, 2008: the PCT 50.

Get creative and challenge yourself through pledges tied to the race.
You can wager for or against me, or do both...the Micah project just cannot lose :-)
Some examples:
- For every minute I am under a certain time, say 9 hours, you donate 10 dollars.
- For every minute that I am over a certain time, say 8.5 hours, you donate 10 dollars.
- If I place in the top 10 you add an extra 50 dollars.
- If I place in the last 10 you add an extra 50 dollars :-)

If you do want to pledge or donate and you would like to let me know about it please add a comment to this post. Or send me an email. Or tell no one and just feel good about it.

My first pledge is from our family with plans to donate $10 for every mile I run.
It would be great if we could raise a total of $2000.

I get to run and help of both worlds!

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Father's Day Surprise: Great Wolf Lodge

As a surprise Father's day gift Trisha and the kids took me to the Great Wolf Lodge in Grand Mound (Centralia), WA.

We had a full 2 days of fun.
The water park is not open to the general public but only to guests of the hotel. The hotel is huge and set up to be very much like a theme park a la Disneyland which it comes close to emulating.
The rooms are nice but not rooms have a view of anything more than a parking lot :-)
The lodge has this magic wand/exploration thing that I would propose should just be part of the room fee with kids. Currently it is an extra charge that would not really be noticed if it was just rolled into the room rate.

We got in for $190 which meant a room and full access to the water park for our family. We had plenty of space staying in the Family suite.
You can use the water park from 1pm on the day of your check-in to close on the day of your check out. So for us we got 2 days of use. This was about the right amount for our family.

Leah loved the water slides and Trisha and I liked the Howlin' Tornado. Cole not so much. Unfortunately Leah was not tall enough for the tornado as you need to be at least 45 inches.
Both Cole and Leah loved the wave pool in standard and chaotic mode. The video shows chaotic :-)

The one thing the water park is really missing is some outdoor access.
We are a beach family. We spend weeks each year parked at the ocean enjoying the surf, sand and sun. No sand or sun at Great Wolf.
And we really missed the sun: being able to easily warm up and dry off makes a beach day.
Being wet for more than 5 hours gets old and for us the water bordered on being cold. The hot tub was nice but could have used a few more degrees of heat for me :-)

If we go again, I think breaking up the water time into shorter segments might be better. This is harder once you have checked out of your room on the day of departure as you really have no where to go.

We hit the breakfast buffet on Monday morning and I would recommend this as a great way to carb up for the day.
Lots of different food choices that will match anyone's needs and tastes.

Fun activity to do as a treat maybe once a year.