Some adventures in road and trail running.
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Monday, August 25, 2008

Hood To Coast 2008

Friday and Saturday, August 22 and 23 Trisha and I were part of the Glory Daze team that ran the Hood to Coast Relay. Our team averaged 8:31 per mile to place 105/241 in the male open division. Strong running by everyone on the team!

This is a relay race where 2 vans with 6 people each run various legs of the distance from Mt Hood's Timberline lodge to the beach in Seaside Oregon, total of 197 miles. Each leg of the race is between 4 and 8 miles. It was my first time doing this event while it was Trisha's fourth time.

Like every other person on our team Trisha and I were responsible for running 3 legs of the journey. Unlike anyone else on the team, it was also our 16th wedding anniversary: I had a great time running with my best friend!

The way Hood to Coast (HTC) works is that each team has 2 vans of 6 people. Each person passes off to the next person within the van rotation while the sixth person passes off to the next van. Then you have a 4 to 5 hour break before you start your van's next rotation. Our van had Tarik, Trisha, Darin, Mike, James and Ryan (in order of our legs). Mary was our van 2 honorary member biking what seemed like most of the course to meet up with the team. Van 1 was Marie, Casey, Melissa, Jen, Jason and Emily.

We ran Trisha's first leg in the dark together. It was great running, talking and watching the other racer's and the stars together. Great way to spend your anniversary evening :-)
After warming up with Trisha, I ran my first leg along the Springwater corridor. Besides some stomach issues, I was able to run well in the dark and do some real sweating :-)

Once our van finished all of our first 6 legs, we retired for some hours of sleep at Ryan's. Man, did that time fly! We loaded back into the van around 4:30 am.

Trisha's second leg was early Saturday morning starting around 6:15 am. She ran what, I thought, was the hardest leg with about 800 feet of climbing in 5 miles. She really pounded up the hill with all the guys cheering from the van. We even were caught as she flew by the van with her support team sleepin on the job! Then to compound our "poor" support, I was stationed in the porta potty as she came into the exchange station! So we had about an 11 second delay on that exchange...she was too fast for me! :-)
My second leg I was revved up to really pound. Red Bull was my friend! I ran a gravel road for 5 miles with no real up or down. I cranked the tunes, pushed hard and had a ton of fun. Running people down and trying to keep up with vans while listening to Unbreakable were some of the mental tricks I used to finish with 6:17 mile splits. I was really happy how my body was responding to challenge.

Between the our second and third leg we planned to grab some sleep in a field near the van exchange. We did get some rest but the time was greatly diminished with the bad traffic en route (took about 2 hours to cover ~30 miles) and then to be rudely awaken with some crazy team van pumping out Shakira, Hips Don't Lie . Nasty way to wake up :-(
The wake up call did allow for some time to check out the HTC vans. The Beerlenium Falcon was the best I saw but I really wonder if this machine is street legal??!!

We all ran well for our third legs with Trisha going sub 9 and I was able to hold sub 7 out in the heat and on my longest section.

As an ultra runner, I had done the math and so far I was at around 24 miles...just had to make it up to a marathon :-) So I got our van to drop me to meet up with James so we could pound in the last 2 miles together. James did awesome pushing hard to the finish.
Ryan raced our team in to the finish in Seaside in just under 28 hours...nice!
Some hanging out, pictures and eating and then time to pack up and head back to Portland.

Trisha's results
Leg 8: 4.55 miles in 40:50 (8:58 minutes per mile)
Leg 20: 5.75 miles in 58:07 (10:07 minutes per mile)
Leg 32: 4.09 miles in 36:24 (8:58 minutes per mile)
My results:
Leg 9: 6.89 miles in 47:17 (6:52 minutes per mile)
Leg 21: 5 miles in 31:26 (6:17 minutes per mile)
Leg 33: 7.79 miles in 53:16 (6:50 minutes per mile)

Good times, hard running...great way to spend 28 hours!

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Nehalem Bay 2008

This past weekend was our church's annual family camping event out at Nehalem Bay near Manzanita, Oregon.

Unfortunately, unlike last year, the weather this year was cold and foggy with even some rain. On Saturday I do not think the temperature peaked above 60 F. This did little to dampen the fun as we just got to spend more time eating and hanging out near the campfire to staying warm. It did preclude building any of the traditional sandcastles as it was just too cold and misty out near the surf.

We arrived Friday night after work and settled in with the Rouses in F41. This was a nice sized site backing onto shore pines leading to the ocean.
Trisha and Chris did a beach run Saturday morning while I got out for about 1 hour along the beach near noon. The best weather was while I was out running with the kids hanging out diggin' holes in the sand and running in the dunes.
Then it just got colder and we headed back to the campfire.
Saturday night we had a campsite church service to ensure we did not get rained out. This was a good choice as Sunday morning dawned a little warmer but with thunder and rain. So we packed up and headed home in the early afternoon.

Bummer with no sun but great time hanging out and catching up with friends.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Exhibit Booths at a Conference: My Dos and Don'ts

For OSCON 2008, I spent 2 days helping out in the exhibit hall. It was a great first time experience in formulating some dos and don'ts for what I think would help achieve success and buzz on the "floor".

DO target the conference

Know the audience and why the attendees are there. Ask: What do they hope to learn? Are they there to become your customer or rather to be someone who could champion the product to someone else that is the potential customer? I believe in not underestimating the power of the maven.
Along this line, if it is a developers conference, have developers in the booth. Developers want to know how things work and the details on the underlying technology.
Finally, don't advertise for other conferences or products unless they are a really tight fit with the current conference.

DO/DON'T have swag and give aways
I am undecided here.
Don't give out junk. It all ends up in the trash (related to "don't attempt to be cheap" below).
O'Reilly was twittering about their give-aways which was cool and a DO but did it really end up bringing anyone to the booth who did not just want a freebie?
T-shirts were always popular but I am not really sure of the general value here either. That said, if people are willing to wear a shirt advertising your product, it can't be all that bad even if they know nothing about the product. Dark colors, cool design, size medium...sign me up, I am your billboard :-)
Does anyone have hard numbers in this space on whether free stuff drives real traffic?

DO have a white board and demos
Advertise and set a demo schedule for what people will want to see. It appears to me that people are much more likely to come watch a demo at a set time then to walk up and ask you to demo your stuff. An organized demo builds a crowd naturally.
The Sun micro-conference idea was intriguing and seemed to drive a lot of traffic into their zone.

DON'T have too many exhibitors working the booth
An overstaffed booth is intimidating to the attendees, someone always looks bored and it is far too tempting to be talking within your group instead of to the attendees. This is also a factor of the space allocated to a booth. More space allows for more people working in the booth.

DO have strong and interesting signage
Let people easily see who you are (company and product) and why you are there. Don't waste anyone's time. Once again target the conference and focus on what will be the most interesting to the attendees...not what is most interesting to your company :-)
For example there was a Ticketmaster booth at OSCON. Their signage let everyone know they were there to get you interested in a career with them. Great, no wasted time.

DON'T attempt to do things on the cheap
No one will believe that you have a tight budget or that companies do not have more money than they know what to do with :-)
Match the look and feel of similar sized companies and interests. Look like you belong. If everyone else has paid for something and this something will be noticed by the attendees, pony up or stay home...but be very careful on choosing to stay home.

This is how I would ensure to make any exhibit hall interesting and, for the record, I think the OSCON hall was quite interesting.
I hope this helps anyone designing an EclipseCon 2009 exhibit booth to have a list to double check that the booth ideas are solid.

Note: I had pictures from OSCON but my silly cell phone pics are all blurry so the Yahoo shot is from PubCon in Las Vegas (from here) but the booth looked similar and I think was a good example of a functioning booth.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

2008 Bridge Pedal

To celebrate being home from our 2 weeks of vacation in Canada (blog posts still to be written), we did the Providence Bridge Pedal this morning.

Trisha had signed us up for the 6 bridge Family ride for the nice price of $50. The kids were a little nervous about the distance but we knew that with their endurance from the track season, the ride would be no problem.

We moved at a consistent pace through the 14 miler weaving around downtown Portland to cover 6 bridges over the Willamette river. Starting at 9 am we hit the Hawthorne, Ross Island, Marquam (I5), Burnside, Broadway and the Fremont (I405) bridges.
It was really cool riding over the 2 interstate bridges. You really get the perspective of just how big and high these bridges are! And the ups and downs on the bridges are steeper than you might think.

The whole route was closed to car traffic making it very safe and generally we could move along at our own pace. At 3 locations we bottle necked with the number of riders...which was quite a number!! We always got moving again quickly and the rest breaks were good for the kids.

Great ride and next year we may have to try the 8 bridge route!