Some adventures in road and trail running.
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Monday, April 28, 2008

Salem Track Club Developmental Track & Field Meet

On Sunday we had the great fun of competing in our first track meet.

Cole and Leah have been practicing 2-3 days a week for the last month with the Tigard Youth Track club. They have been working hard and making really good progress in the various track and field events they have been practicing. I have been helping coach the middle and long distance runners which for our age groups means runners who do the 400, 800 and 1500.

Sunday the meet was in Salem, Oregon hosted by the Salem track club. I am still figuring out the whole program but I believe all these developmental meets prime the kids to run in the USATF Junior Olympics program. The JO web page is here.

We got to the meet around 8 am for the team warm-up and sign in. The meets are a great deal at 3 dollars a person.

I ran the first event of the day: the 3000 meters. I am happy to put a soft line in the sand for improvement throughout the season. I now have the goal of not being lapped by the speedy youngsters!!

Cole and Leah competed in the long jump, javelin (using modified spears for their age groups), and then some sprinting events. Cole did the 100 while Leah did the 100 and the 400. The meet was running about 2 hours behind schedule so we had planned to do the 200 but headed out near 2pm after a great long day at the track. I also missed the call for the 1500 meters. Next time we know better how things work and likely the next meet will go more smoothly and timely.

It was great to see the our kids, as well as the Tigard club kids that I have been helping to coach dig deep, and have fun at the same time. The really cool part was hearing them talk about the next track meet and attempting to beat their personal record(s).

Our results for the day can be found here.

Track & Field Results for 2008

Salem Track & Field, Apr. 27thLong JumpJavelin100 meter400 meter
6-4 feet16 ft20:941:44:29
Canby Relay Meet, May 3rdLong JumpJavelin100 meter200 meter

Sherwood Meet, May 10thLong JumpJavelin100 meter400 meter


Salem Track & Field, Apr. 27thLong JumpJavelin100 meter400 meter
4-11.5 feet28 ft21:46
Canby Relay Meet, May 3rd100 meter200 meter400 meter
Sherwood Meet, May 10thLong Jump200 meter400 meter
6-3 feet





Salem Track & Field, Apr 27th---11:26:23


Canby Relay Meet, May 3rd28:05-5:43:00-


Sherwood Meet, May 10th-5:27:35-11:03:05


Sandy Meet, May 29th-5:17:00-11:08:00


NW Youth Classic, June 7th-

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Father - Daughter Dance 2008

Last night I had the privilege of taking Leah and her friend Hallie to the Father - Daughter Dance at her elementary school.

My little girl just keeps getting bigger but at least for a little while longer she wants me to tag along and even sometimes holds my hands.

They played old music from the Village People and Wang Chung for the dad's and then a bunch of music that made me feel old :-)

Another positive of me having a slow legs were ready to shake it with Leah and Hallie for the Chicken Dance!

We have been bloggin' for over a year we can look back at last year and Leah's first dance.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Boston Marathon 2008

3219 Swanson, Darin R. 37 M Tigard OR USA CAN
Checkpoints 5k 10k 15k 20k Half 25k 30k 35k 40k
0:22:31 0:45:15 1:08:32 1:32:56 1:38:12 2:00:28 2:32:54 3:07:05 3:38:18
Finish Pace Projected Time Official Time Overall Gender Division
3:50:43 12181 8474 3422

The numbers tell (most) of the story. I started out attempting to run a 3:15 marathon and finished with running my second worst marathon time of 3:50:43. My overall pace from Monday I have often beaten while running 50km races :-(

Going into this race I was less than confident in my preparation but I am not really sure if that was the real reason I did not make my goal. I had scaled back from attempting to run a 3 hour marathon to 3:15 based on my training. What really failed me on race day was my gut. It is possible that with my lack of long runs my stomach had forgotten how to work properly while running?

I started out in corral 4 and had little trouble establishing the correct pace in the first few miles. I consciously backed off on the downhills while attempting to not brake with the quads. It was great: not working too hard and hitting about 7:25 minute pace (need to average 7:30 for 3:15).
Running as it was meant to be: exuberant exertion :-)
I have a great memory of running with literally hundreds of people at close to the same pace as me. If you focused you could feel the beat of the in sync pounding of all of those shoes with the pavement. (The early part of the Boston course is really the only part that is not lined with a cheering crowd) Totally cool. Almost made me want to stop and listen but that would have broken the trace (and the pace).

I believe I took my first gel at 6 miles. And then I took a gel every 3 miles after that. I was drinking from my handheld water bottle with the gels and later taking water from the aid stations. Some Gatorade as well.

After the mid way point, I was hit with bad gut cramps that forced me to walk on several occasions. 2 days after the race I still feel bloated with gas and cramps (sorry for the gory details). My web research has not turned up anything definitive and I plan to ask all my ultra-running experts what could be up. Did I not drink enough with the gels? I did not seem dehydrated at the end of the race.

Once I knew it was not going to be my day, I really tried to focus on Trisha's recommendation to enjoy the day. I was doing Boston and I was going to make it fun! I agree with Sean that Wellesley seemed less this year... I think some of the town crowds were almost as loud.
I tried to cheer on the thousands of people who passed me. I tried to smile to the crowd and use their encouragement. I tried to pick up the pace in the last miles as my legs felt strong and good. But whenever the pace got too fast the evil gut reared up. At least my last 5 km was faster than the second to last :-) I know as well that I did not push my body to what it could do: my legs simply are not as sore as they should be after running a marathon. Silly stomach.

Boston is a great town and Trisha and I really enjoyed hanging out together sans children and we liked the hotel we stayed at: Hotel Marlowe. They had bikes we used to head to the marathon expo and a ride around the Charles River.

Boston is a great marathon. I love the course and I believe the course does play to my strengths. I do plan to go back. I feel the need for a speedy fall marathon :-)

Sunday, April 20, 2008

2008 Women's Olympic Trials in Boston

I had the privilege this morning of watching the 2008 US Women's Olympic Marathon trials.
From this race, the top 3 women are picked to go to the Beijing Olympics.

The race as supposed to be dominated by Deena Kastor so when I headed out about to watch about 1.5 hours into the race I was surprised to not recognize the front runner. But I was not the only one. No one in the crowd knew who this lady was. And she was running strong and fast and was about 1:40 ahead of Deena. And many people were cheering "GOOOO Deena!!" :-) Probably just made her, Magdalena Lewy-Boulet, run faster. This was at mile 17. I then watched and cheered for the rest of the amazing runners as they streamed past. I saw the 3 Oregonians that I knew: Penny McDermott, Wendy Terris and Meghan that order.

With the looping course, the women were back at mile 23. Magdalena was still in the lead but not by much...about 20 seconds. It was a real race for first and second. Then there was another gap and a strong group of women fighting it out for the third and final place for the Olympics.

I am hoping to use their inspiration to drive me on tomorrow. The weather was sunny and not cold (about 50F) but there was a fairly strong wind. With the loop course the women went from headwind to tailwind several times.

Penny finished in 2:49:32, Wendy in 2:55:28, and Meghan in 2:59:51.

The top three results:
Deena Kastor 35

Magdalena Lewy Boulet 34

Blake Russell 32


Full results are here.

Off to the Expo and late late lunch.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Boston Bound

3219 Swanson, Darin R. 37 M Tigard OR USA CAN

Trisha and I are on the early morning flight tomorrow (6am...youch!!) heading to Boston for the marathon. We lucked out on our trip going east with first class seats to Atlanta and then on to Boston. Should be fun...8+ hours of pampering.

I have done my mini-taper, though I really have not been training hard and am looking forward to a nice hard run on Monday.
The weather is looking the best of any of the times I have done Boston. 2004 and 2005 were both hot! Cool and cloudy works for me.
So does anytime that qualifies me for Boston: 3:14:59 and lower.

We will hit the marathon expo, watch the Women's Olympic trials and spend time eating and relaxing...and then the run :-)

My bib number is #3219 and you can follow the results at the Boston website.

For TV coverage of the 2008 Boston marathon check out Versus.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Dumb Debugger Trick Followup

From the comments on Dumb Debugger Trick, I was prompted to try the Plug-in Spy in Eclipse 3.3.1 which is where I work on Jazz. I was skeptical: new features are generally not coded with backwards compatibility in mind and are coded to take advantage of the latest and greatest from other plug-ins.

Unfortunately it is a no go to just drop in the org.eclipse.pde.runtime plug-in into 3.3.1. Too much has changed:
  • the LogView implementation has moved, so you lose the Error Log.
  • RegistryBrowserLabelProvider uses new 3.4 methods on org.eclipse.osgi.service.resolver.State...though I was surprised the method was not tagged with a @since ??
The Plug-in Spy itself works but there are too many other negatives to make this a workable tweak in my opinion.

So my simple debugging gem will remain in my bag of tricks to help quickly diagnose a bug or evaluate to emulate a part of Eclipse where a solution is presented for a problem/flow similar to mine.

But if you are using and working on top of 3.4, get to know Alt-Shift-F1.

P.S. I have filed an enhancement (bug 226590) for the plug-in spy (patch attached for those busy PDE dudes)...I look forward to spying on those content outline pages in M7 ;-)

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

An ultra runner in the emergency room

I have been battling with a chest infection for the last month. I finally seemed to be winning after a week of antibiotics and even having the chance to run a 20 miler on Saturday. The run was slower than normal but it was fun to be out in God's creation running with friends. Sunday was a casual family day with church and hanging out with friends.

Then on Monday, when biking into work, I had sharp pains on the left top part of my chest. Hmmmm. Lasted for about a minute and then faded away. Deep breathing made the pain worse.

This repeated around 11 am. Thought nothing more about it. Did a casual lunch run with my running buddy Rick with no issues. Finished up my work day and prepped to head to the kid's track practice, when I was hit with the pain again. Then I made the first of my mistakes: I looked up the symptoms on-line :-)
With the symptoms and with just finishing the antibiotics for the possible chest infection, the web MDs were telling me that I might have an infection of the pericardium (the sack around the heart) called pericarditis. Not good from what I read. So trying to be responsible, I phoned Trisha and then phoned the doctor's office. Relayed my symptoms and was informed to head to emergency room...bummer.

My running buddy Dave gave me a ride to the ER, and I once again tell my little story and very quickly I am sitting down getting my vitals taken. Everything seemed to go well: normal blood pressure and heart rate...for me. And therein lies my next mistake: my normal resting heart rate set off all kinds of alarms for the triage nurse. My resting heart rate is 38-41 bpm. 10 years of distance running will help do that for you :-) This worried the triage nurse (bradycaridia) but we never talked about me being an ultra runner. The result: back into the bowels of the hospital with a nasty hospital gown on. EKG was next, then a chest x-ray and blood work. From the x-ray, the doctor could see that I have an enlarged heart. The doctor knew at this point that I have done a fair bit of running but he could not tell whether my heart was enlarged from the exercise or from an infection. So we finished off with an echocariogram: an ultrasound of my heart. This was really cool to see my heart valves in action and, using Doppler, the blood moving around the four chambers.

Test results: no pneumonia, no infection or swelling of the heart, no leaky valves, no anemia, and minimal heart enzymes in the blood (no heart attack). Nothing. Just got to take my health insurance out for a spin.

So what caused the chest pain: likely a irritation of the lining of my lungs possibly from the infection...nothing conclusive. What to do about it: nothing really. Rest for a couple of days and take some Motrin/Advil. Running is fine and running the Boston marathon poses no risk.

The short of it is that I have a very healthy, enlarged heart with a low resting heart rate. And I have learned my lesson to always state right up front that I am an ultra runner if I ever go to the emergency room again.

Friday, April 4, 2008

Eclipse Ant Integration and Google Summer of Code

I have added an idea for a Google Summer of Code (GSOC) project to work on improving the Eclipse Ant integration by facilitating Ant buildfile refactorings.

To see some ideas of the refactorings that could be supported have a look at bug 89938.

For information on Ant, check out the Apache Ant site.

Learning about the inner workings of Eclipse and Ant are skills that would help out any student. Adding the refactoring support would make you the friend of Build Meisters and Releng wizards everywhere. These are very good people to be friends with :-)

The deadline for GSOC applications is April 7, 5:00 PM PDT /00:00 UTC April 8, 2008.
The FAQ for GSOC can be found here.

So please consider submitting to work on the Ant integration enhancement or any of the other Eclipse based ideas.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Dumb Debugger Trick in Eclipse

I am often attempting to isolate the class or classes that pertain to a bug report. This week while we are pushing towards Jazz M6, I have been knee deep in UI code: wizards, dialogs, and editors, oh my!

Since my code is always golden (ya right!) and/or my memory is getting weak for remembering the names of all the classes involved, I often do not know how to find the source that is causing / exhibiting the problem.
Or I know of some UI within Eclipse or Jazz that has similar or desired behavior that I would like to emulate. Good old monkey see, monkey do.

A dumb or simple Eclipse debugger trick in case it ever might help you out:
  1. Launch a target Eclipse.
  2. Invoke the UI action to realize the wizard, dialog or editor.
  3. Pause the main thread of the target launch. If the code is not run on the main or UI thread, pause the VM while things are chugging away and find the interesting thread.
  4. Find the relevant stack frame and locate the interesting variables.
  5. Jump to the correct code to find the bug or the example you wish to emulate.
This trick requires no addition plug-ins or latest code so please try this at home :-)
Hope this helps someone work faster and smarter.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Guide to Running Boston

I have run the Boston marathon twice. Once in 2004 and then again in 2005.
In 2004 I ran 3:53:53 for my slowest marathon time.
In 2005 I ran 3:02:33 for my fastest marathon time.

I am going to race it again this year. Or at least that was the plan. Racing is getting to be a relative term as I have been fighting a chest infection which has made my training less than optimal. So that means I have to rely even more on making smart choices on the actual day of the race to make my goal of running around 3:15.

This is my list of things to consider when running the Boston marathon (not in any particular order, and I am sure these are not all my original ideas)
  • Race expo and the City - the Boston race expo is large, full of cool stuff and fun. As is Boston. Be careful not to walk, stand, eat, party or whatever too much on Friday and Saturday before the race if you wish to perform at your peak on Monday.
  • Race morning - get on the bus. I have only heard horror stories of people trying to drive to the start. The buses are packed and slow and even get lost. Both years my bus driver had no idea where they were going and we took about 20 minutes longer to get there than it should of. But we did get there and it was still way more relaxing than driving. Also bring something to lay down on or sit on while you are waiting to be herded out to the starting corals. "Disposable" inflatable mattresses were popular the years I was out there. Know where the outhouses are and have a time line on when you are going to use them. They get very busy. You goal is to stay relaxed and save at least some of the adrenaline for those final miles. Also know which race coral you are supposed to be in and be ready to head out at the correct time to wait for the start of the race.
  • Fuel - plan what, when and how you are going to eat out on the course. If you are going to use aid stations, know where they are and what they will have. I propose that you carry all you need on your person. One less thing to worry about. And how much do you need? I have frequently read that we can only digest about 300 calories per hour during strenuous activity. This works out to be 1 gel every 20-25 minutes. I usually start "gelling" once I am about 60 minutes in to the race. Therefore I need 6- 8 gels to fuel for the entire course. Make sure to see if you are comfortable carrying this many gels and fueling this way long before race day. Remember: nothing new on race day! Having a plan for fueling down to the minute of when to take the gel takes all the guess work out of race day and ensures that you don't do something silly while out on the course. I set my watch to beep every 20 minutes to remind me to gel. I have always needed the reminder.
  • Hydration - the 2 years I have done Boston it was warm to hot. 2004 was 85 F at the start. 2005 was 70 degrees. Hydration is important and must match you needs and fueling. Plan it and know how to adapt based on the weather. Do not overlook planning your electrolyte needs as well. Plan it all out on paper to line up for the best chance of success.
  • Aid stations - Boston is a big race with about 25,000 people running. If you are going to rely on the aid stations, and no matter how fast or slow you think you are as a runner, the aid stations are going to be busy. Many times there are aid stations on both sides of the street. Go to the end of the station on the left-hand side to reduce the chance of crowding or collision.
  • First 6 miles - the first 6 miles are downhill. You will go faster than you should. Fight it the best you can to save those quadriceps for later in the race on the hills and the flats. Train for it as well. Find a route near you that starts with a downhill and finishes flat or up hill. Train to run fast and smart on the downhills. Don't fight gravity...learn to float :-) If you feel you are going slow in the first 6 miles you are likely running the correct pace. There is no bank of time when running a marathon. If you go too fast, you will pay much more than any deposit you make in the first miles. I think ultra runners have an advantage here as this is so very important in the longer distances...a lesson I have been slow to learn.
  • Hill running on tired legs - Boston has hills. Know where they are and plan for them. Nothing large compared to a trail ultra but we all feel it with the distance. Train for it, attack it and blow by all those other people who are walking :-) Train on a course that has at least as big a hill as Heartbreak and ensure to run the hill with at least 12 miles already on your legs. But don't be scared....the hills are smaller than you think and once you are done with them the end is within your grasp!
  • Adjust to the conditions- weather in Boston in April is unpredictable. It can be snowing or it can be 90F. Adjust your goals based on the weather on the day of the race. I posted my slowest marathon time in 2004 as I did not adjust my goals and attempted to run a PR on a very hot day when I had done no heat training. That was dumb and made for a long day once I stopped sweating at mile 14...ouch!
  • Feed off the crowds - Breath it in. You are doing the Boston Marathon. This is as close to being a rock star as most of us get. It seems like almost all of Boston is out cheering and when you go by Wellesley Woman's College, feed off the noise and cheering. That wave of sound and excitement is good to boost anyone for at least 3-4 miles.
  • Watch the women's 2008 Olympic Trails on Sunday: cheer for those Olympic hopefuls and get inspired by their running ability. Special opportunity that we just cannot miss. I will be yelling with the most volume for the women from Oregon. Just don't use all your race day energy :-)
My goal is to have fun. Please post any other recommendations that work for you.