Some adventures in road and trail running.
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Tuesday, September 30, 2008

RFID Tagged for the 2008 Portland Marathon

I was reviewing the Portland Marathon web page and found an interesting piece of news. (I am only running the 5 miler but lots of friends are running the marathon.)
The marathon is using a RFID tag on each runner's shoe.
From the Chronotrack web page:
ChronoTrack has developed the disposable “D” Tag, an all-weather design for attaching an EPCglobal-certified, commercially available RFID tag to the foot. ChronoTrack, in concert with its strategic partner, Impinj, Inc., has designed custom UHF RFID controllers and antennas that specifically read “D” Tags in a racing environment.
The benefits seem reasonable to me:
Disposable Tag
Accurate Time
No Fees for lost or not returned tags
Less hassle post race
Lighter, Less intrusive tag
Easier to attach to shoe
No pre-race check-in
No post-race tag turn-in
It does seems like a strong challenger to the ChampionChip system. With large, big name marathons like the Marine Corps Marathon signing up it will be interesting to watch who wins :-)

I will report back after the race with how it works for me.

One thing I do know is that competition is generally good for new the runners win either way.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Hanging with the Family

This past weekend we finally synchronized our schedules to enable a visit with my brother and sister-in-law David and Nicole. Making the most of our time together we did special events as well as just kicking our normal schedule.

On Friday we all played hookie for the afternoon and headed to OMSI. We got there around 1 pm and spent a great 4 hours playing, reading, asking questions and experimenting throughout the science museum.

All that fun learning and science really builds an appetite so we headed off to a pasta feast at the Old Spaghetti Factory.

Saturday morning was started with Leah's soccer game at 8:30. She played really well and even showed off to her aunt and uncle by scoring 2 goals!
Dave and I got out for a neighborhood run. He has really been kicking in the training and it was great to see how much stronger he was on the hills and overall speed.
Cole had an afternoon soccer match. For the second week in a row his team was out played in the first half. Then in the second half with superior fitness and better teamwork, Cole's team worked hard to tie it all up in the last couple of minutes.

After a great dinner whipped up by Trisha and Nicole, the boys took the kids swimming at Tigard Aquatic Center while the girls hit the movies.

Sunday, Dave and Nicole enabled Trisha and I to hit the trail together in Forest Park. It was a great morning run getting some great exercise and couple time in. A nasty hill climb up Firelane One...try it, you will like it!
Dave got his run in as well by heading out for a neighborhood loop with the kids on the bike.

We then all showered up and headed to church for another great sermon in the study of I Corinthians. Another week of "mature content" this time dealing with divorce. This follows the previous week and potentially most downloaded podcast in our church history: Finding Sexual Fulfillment in Marriage :-)

Trisha then headed to Coffee Creek Correctional Facility for the Race for the Cure event she coordinated. I am buggin' her to write up a blog post on this amazing opportunity that she has used to help mentor inmates.

We headed to Elmer's for lunch. The food was good, the service was terribly slow :-(
The weather took a turn for the worse in the afternoon so we settled on a pickup game of soccer out in the cultesac. Some time was spent watching the downpours pound the field.

Full weekend and a great visit that we need to do more often!

Friday, September 19, 2008

IBM Sportsfest 5km

Today was the annual 5 km race that is part of the week long Sportsfest for the IBM location in Beaverton Oregon where I work.

The Sportsfest week is in its 4th year. I believe it is a tradition that was carried over from a Rational tradition before the company was acquired by IBM.

We had around 20 people show up on what happened to be National Run@Work

We lined up in the north parking lot near 11am, handed in our signed waivers and were given course directions. We had a count down and we were off! I think all of us went out too fast but the early part of the course is the only part on the road and you have to time it to make a pedestrian crossing...did not want to have to wait through another light cycle!

We then turn off the road and head onto the Nike campus for about a 2 mile loop on bark mulch trail. The loop has some nice ups and downs so you are never bored and also cannot ever pretend you are doing a road 5km. The hills kept everyone honest :-) The course if mapped out here.

This is my 3rd year doing the race and I think I posted my best time of 19:17. Last year I had to volunteer as I was out with my sprained ankle from pacing at Western States.

This year the Sportsfest was about 2 months later in the year so we had the most fun with perfect weather and it was so great to see lots of people from my team taking part or coming out to cheer (and laugh :-) ). I believe the Jazz team took 1st, 2nd, 4th and 6th!

One idea for next year was to do a handicapped start based on the finish times from this year (or projected time). The slower runers start first with the fastest runners starting last all racing to be the first to break the tape at the finish...sounds fun to me!

All in all a great break in the day from the headaches of delving into the new world (for me) of Web UI development, JavaScript, Firebug and the weird differences between the different browsers and fun fun :-)

Thursday, September 11, 2008

McKenzie River 50 km: Trisha's Third Ultra

Guest blog from my amazing wife, Trisha who completed her third ultra-marathon McKenzie River Trail Run on Saturday:

I’m sitting here after a hot and slow run with my friend Chris and I’m wondering how I could have completed an ultra-marathon just five days ago and now I’m finding it tough to churn out a measly 5 miles. Then it dawns on me … I just ran 31 miles five days ago!! I guess I can cut myself some slack.

Out of the three ultras I’ve done this year, I must say I’ve fallen in love with the McKenzie River 50K. The beautiful run around the lake, the magnificent waterfalls, and yes, I did stop briefly to enjoy the scenery a few times, the fun ‘log’ bridges, and of course the running along side the river all combined to make this a relatively fast, fun ultra. Strangely enough I was feeling very calm going into this race. My running training was minimal, with the kids home for the summer and our trips to Canada and camping, I found it hard to get in long runs. In fact I used Hood to Coast as my long training run. Definitely not optimal. However, I have been doing a fitness boot camp with Mark Nichols of Sledge Athletic Solutions for the past four weeks and I’ve been working out and eating super healthy. In fact, with Mark I’ve lost over 4% body fat! Maybe my fitness workouts were giving me a false sense of preparedness, but hey I’ll take it.

Some of our wonderful friends took care of our kids overnight and shuttled them to soccer (thanks Lisa, Diane and Chris) so Darin and I could both run the race. As Darin mentioned, we camped at Dave and Lynn’s again this year and we were up early, early on Saturday morning. Mark recommended I eat two hours before the race and since I was doing the early start, 6:30am, I managed to eat by 5am. Race day was beautiful and the first 10 miles were amazing. I was in a near state of euphoria and my self-talk included such things as, “My body is a machine and look how it performs when I fuel it right – wow, I get to live in this machine and experience all these cool things.” Even having to run back and forth due to the lack of trail markers and running out too far due to a missing turn-around cone (we did manage to yell at a runner who was up ahead to come back), I was just in awe at being able to just run and experience God’s majestic world!

The lead runner passed me about two hours after I started and it was amazing to watch him bound over the lava rocks and disappear on the trail. Darin caught up to me after three hours and after I asked him where he’d been all this time, he said I was just going way too fast. Caroline was also hiking on the trail and I stopped for a quick hug and some encouragement. All in all, it would have been a great 20 mile race, but my lack of training and an unhappy knee, caught up with me on the last 10 miles.

I actually think it was the boot camp and the Mark’s nutrition plan (he had me eat turkey, olives, sweet potatoes and yams at mile 20) which keep me going. By mile 24 my self-talk was something like, “My machine is broken and in need of repair!” Needless to say cyclists and hikers on the trail were of no help when I asked how much further it was to the ranger station. The answers ranged from 5 miles (pretty accurate) to 2 miles to “uh…it’s a ways down the trail.” Seeing Darin at the finish line was such a relief.

I finished in 6:48 which is a PR for me and I did enjoy myself, even though it was hard work. Darin and I were able to grab a shower and hang out for a bit at the lunch, but we had to get back to Tigard and the kids. It was so great to have a little ‘vacation’ with Darin and a real treat to have hours of adult talk time in the car – we must do this more often. To top off an already wonderful day we went out for dinner out with the kids and headed to bed early.

Pictures kindly provided by Tom Riley and are all available here.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Mckenzie River 2008

This past Saturday Trisha and I had the amazing adventure of being part of the 21st running of the McKenzie River Trail Run.

Summary: 4:33:06 (8:50 per mile). Full results are here.

Wagon Road 5.7 5.7 0:53:57 0:53:57 09:28
Carmen 5.5 11.2 1:37:45 0:43:48 07:58
Trail Bridge 5.5 16.7 2:26:38 0:48:53 08:53
Deer Creek 5.1 21.8 3:13:10 0:46:32 09:07
Buck Bridge 3.3 25.1 3:42:33 0:29:23 08:54
Finish 6.0 31.1 4:33:06 0:50:33 08:26

I really enjoyed the race. I was surprised in some legs at how much time showed on the watch when I reached the aid station.
I fueled at about 100 calories every 25 minutes. Mostly GUs (Tri-Berry and Strawberry-Banana) with some Double Expresso Clif Shot to make the engine fire a little hotter. It was great having the gels at the aid stations. Thanks to GU for sponsoring!

I did repeat a mistake from last year: stickin' in a "train" too long. For the first 4 miles or so of the race I was "stuck" in a group of about 20 runners. It was hard to pass but I should have done it sooner or will need to go out harder at the start. When I reached the first aid station I was already about 5 minutes off my pace chart...OUCH!

Leg 2 of the course is my favorite: generally down with lots of micro ups and downs through the lava rock. You can really get into a groove of pounding on the down and pushing through the ups. Just keep picking up the feet in the more rocky technical sections and watch for a good spot to plant on the way down. I love it!

Legs 3, 4 and 5 I felt I was moving well but the results were not quite what I would have liked. Each section took me about 2 to 3 minutes longer than I had planned. I think it just boiled down that I did not stay mentally focused to push the pace and get that awesome result. Time for some more tempo runs and speed work me thinks :-)
A pleasant surprise was that my hill strength was still around from the awesome training plan Ronda made for my PCT 50. I kept waiting for the big hill that I remembered from previous years and it just plain no longer exists...nice!

I was able to pick it up for the last section showing I still have some endurance. Probably helped that more people started to pass me as they sprinted to the finish. to work on the middle sections next year as I don't like getting passed!

A new thing from this race was my first attempt at hitch hiking. A trail angel (super race volunteer Anne...thanks!!) took pity on me and drove me back to the start to pick up our car. I made it back just in time to see Trisha stride in to the finish to complete her first year of ultras and another PR for the distance: 6:48!! And she is even smiling for the picture :-)

This was a short trip without the kids. Drove down Friday night and crashed at Dave and Lynn's Flowerdale Farm for camping. After the race, a quick shower and lunch, then we packed up the trailer and headed back to Portland to relieve the babysitter. It was a bummer to not hang out longer and talk about the race and the season, as well as to miss the Oregon Trail Ultra Series awards. Congratulations to Caroline and William for taking the wins!!

Now to plan those tempo runs for my next race: Autumn Leaves 50km!

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Sunset Bay

On the labor day long weekend we ended the summer camping with the Mavros at Sunset Bay state park. In every dimension it was a great trip!

Friday Aug 29
The trip started by leaving Tigard around 3 pm. We had great traffic, Fresco style dinner at Taco Bell, with arrival at the campground around 8 pm. We set up in the fading light and settled in for good conversation and stories around the campfire.
We had sites A34 and A35 These are both nice with lots of space and close enough to the bathrooms and showers without having neighbors looking right into your windows.

Saturday Aug 30
Trisha started the day out right with a run on the Oregon Coast trail heading south from the campground to the Shore Acres garden...with a few unplanned detours due to lack of great signage on the trail ;-)

Then it was time to head to the beach. Initially it was just plain cold and windy like most Oregon beach days. Then we did some scouting. Down at the north end of Sunset Bay we found a little piece of beach heaven. Sheltered from the wind and the waves, this stretch of sand was calm, quiet and HOT. We staked our claim and kept coming back each subsequent day.

The evening was filled with the roar of engines and failing u-joints: the Coos Bay Speedway mud drag races.
It got cold but the cool trucks kept the adrenaline pumpin' No one can claim we don't try to be well rounded after attending this event. "Back woods culture" that we all enjoyed :-)
Check out the movies at this link for a taste of the action.

Sunday Aug 31
Our family made breakfast for the group with pancakes, bacon, and eggs. During breakfast we got caught with a sudden rain squall. It quickly passed and the sun began to peak out.

The Mavros headed to check out Bandon Dunes golf course. Apparently this is were golfers go when they die :-)

We headed out for a 2 mile hike to the Shore Acres Gardens. These gardens are part of the amazing history of this area all centered on the Simpson family. They are now a park with free access and definitely worth a visit with nice a pond, rose and dahlia gardens. We only got off the main trail once...but noticed when the greenery started closing in :-)

The weather just kept improving into the afternoon so we headed back to the beach.
Sand sculpture time! We worked on a whale and volcano and just plain digging in the sand. Nice!

I went out for a 7 mile leg stretcher starting at 6:30 pm from the campground to Simpson Reef. This section of the Oregon Coast trail was great for running, mostly flat with little hills for the down and ups of the inlets. This is my first run where I have seen marine mammals on en route: 8 harbor seals pulled upon the rocks for the low tide. Beautiful run that I did not want to end but I had promised to be back for supper...and I was hungry!
Then an evening of great food and campfire stories with the families.
At the end of the evening on our way back from showers Trisha and I heard a splash in the stream. With the flashlight we were able to pick out a large and small beaver making their way down the creek. Very cool.

Monday Sept 1
We set the alarms and headed out early to make the morning low tide. We met at Cape Arago state park to have a park ranger guide us through the tidal zones down near the cape headland. We spent about 2 hours exploring the different zones finding starfish, anemones, gumboot chitons and sea urchins. On the way back we took a close look at a sea lion that had washed up on the shore. Let's just say that the only movement was zealous twitching of the maggots doing their cleanup duty. The kids were enthralled :-)

A short half mile drive and we jumped out of the car at Simpson Reef to find a local sea awareness society setup with field scopes to view the sea lions and harbor seals. We took about 45 minutes watching the animals that are mostly transients headed between California and Alaska.

Back at the campsite to head out for more beach time. The kids worked on volcanoes and rounding up all the sand shrimp on the beach. Leah, Hallie and I spent some time working on the sand sculpture for the day: an octopus.

After dinner and seeing the Mavros on their way, we hung out and told stories. Then the kids started to terrorize the termites that were taking flight from the rotten log at the back of the camp.
Later after s'mores and banana boats, we headed to brush our teeth and once again had the good fortune of seeing the resident beavers. This time they let us watch with the flashlight as they snacked away on the blackberry leaves.

Tuesday, Sept 2
After both Trisha and I completed our morning runs on the trail, we finished packing up the campsite by a less than early 2 pm :-) Nothing left to do but head for a final trip to the beach!
Sadness ensued when we loaded into the car at 4 pm to head back to Portland.

An awesome trip that we are sure to repeat!