Saturday, April 14, 2007

Frigid 5k's

Mother Nature isn't being kind to the runners this spring. The morning of the Association of Former Students Run for the Ring the temperature was in to 40's. This morning at Run Thru The Vines it was a little warmer, in the 50's, but still with a blustery north wind. The weather at Run Thru The Vines is cyclical though. It seems like every other year is a beautiful Parent's Weekend day, while the off years suck. I remember big thunderstorms rolling in after the race two of the three years I covered the event as a photographer for Rec Sports.

The race today was a much better showing by yours truly. To recap the "highlights" from last year:

* 100th overall finisher
* 11th in my age group with a time of 29:31
* Beaten by a gaggle of junior high girls, a dog, and a mom pushing a stroller

This year I was much improved.

* 45th overall finisher -- my goal was to be in the top 50.
* 4th in my age group
* New personal best time for 1 mile -- 8:19
* I was not beaten by any dogs, 12 year old girls, or bad-ass mamas with strollers, though three 13 year old boys did finish in the top 10 (two in the top 5). They were amazing.

I missed 3rd in my age group by 4 seconds. Looking at the official results the 3rd place finisher actually came in just behind me. The joys of running with 600+ other people.

While I didn't get the trophy bottle of sparkling grape juice I managed to pick up a door prize with lots of triathlon related goodies. All in all a great race for me, even if I did freeze my tail a bit.

Hopefully the weather will be nicer in two weeks for the triathlon. A cold north wind after a swim in the lake will really suck.

Friday, April 13, 2007

Stupidity in the News

Scanning through the web this morning a couple of things made me shake my head.

Gov. Corzine on New Jersey was seriously injured in a car accident. First, given his list of injuries it looks like he wasn't wearing his seatbelt. Even dumber, he was on his way to moderate a meeting between Don Imus and the Rutgers women's basketball team. This mess with Imus is beyond stupid. See the recent post by Bubba's Sis, which pretty much sums up my thoughts on the situation.

Next up, Sen. Patrick Leahy has suddenly become a computer expert. The White House admits the mistake that was made when emails possibly related to the U.S. attorney firings. According to the senator, "You can't erase e-mails, not today. They've gone through too many servers. They can't say they've been lost. That's like saying, 'The dog ate my homework.'" If that's the case senator, I know my research files have passed through several servers on campus and I'll just hop downstairs and unplug the dedicated backup server that my research group runs for our systems.

I worked at an ISP and got to deal with many a disgruntled customer after they would hastily close their account and then call back the next day to ask for all of their email. Sorry, given the volume of customer email and the sheer uselessness of 90% of it there were no backups. Web space was backed up, but not email. If you think it's impossible to loose email then go ask the folks at Google why they put up with a lot of bad press recently when a small group of users lost a lot of their email.

Given that we're talking about the government here I wouldn't be surprised if there isn't a backup device running somewhere that has the missing emails sitting on tape. But to assume that they are there because, "they passed through too many servers" is absurd.

Finally, close to home, we have a story in The Battalion about international students being kicked out of bars on Northgate and harrassed by bouncers because they're Indian. My problem with this is the story being reported is an account of an anonymous student who may have been intoxicated. If she feels that she and the other group of Indian students were discriminated against then they should be talking to the Better Business Bureau and a lawyer if they want to file a complaint. Whining to the Battalion accomplishes nothing. Also, if a uniformed police officer did in fact tell her that the bar could throw her out "because she was brown or Indian" then she also needs to be filing a complaint with CSPD. In the story it appears that there have been instances of racism and CSPD has responded appropriately with arrests when they've been informed. My issue with all of this is that this poor girl does feel victimized, but instead of doing something about it to make campus and Nothgate a better place for everyone she's enjoying her 30 seconds in the sun and whining to the campus rag about it. This is the last thing that she should have done.

Enough stupidity for one day. It's time to get to work.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Wanted: Mile-Eating Songs

My run this morning was great. Over 4 miles in record time, including a new personal best for the mile. It was a run where everything just came together. Great weather, scenery, music, and energy.

Instead of running my usual loop around my neighborhood I went up to campus. Running past the George Bush Presidential Library, Kyle Field, and Sully (basically past all the nice campus spots they show on tv when the Ags play football) was beautiful. Watching the students walk to class and realizing I didn't have to be in the office at 8 made the run even better.

I think the biggest factor this morning though was the music. I finally took the three minutes necessary to make a custom play list for my iPod. I've been running by just listening to an entire album at a time, or to a running podcast. While I like AC/DC probably more than I should, they don't maintain the right energy level across an album. My running podcasts are great, but they use free music and therefore don't have any of the great songs I've gotten pumped up to throughout high school and college. I threw together a play list on Monday night and realized that, 1) I don't have a lot of good workout music, and 2) the stuff I do have is from a small handful of groups. I'll be tired of this play list by next week. Also, the list is dominated by "power songs" that get me pumped up and running faster. I need a kick in the butt several times during a run, but I also need a couple of steady upbeat songs that will let me cover some ground before the next kick comes along.

This is where I need your help. What are some of the great songs I'm missing? The complete set of what I'm missing is enormous, so just your top five would be great. My list from the run this morning is below. Songs with an asterisk are my butt kicking songs.

Any suggestions are appreciated. Comments on my lame musical tastes will be less well received.

AC/DC - Hells Bells*
Guns 'n' Roses - Welcome to the Jungle*
Zombie Nation - KernKraft 400
AC/DC - You Shook Me All Night Long
Guns 'n' Roses - Sweet Child o' Mine
John Cougar Mellancamp - Hurt So Good
AC/DC - Back in Black*
John Cougar Mellancamp - Authority Song
Ozzy Osbourne - Crazy Train*
Rush - Tom Sawyer
Beastie Boys - Sabotage

Labels: ,

Sunday, April 01, 2007

Born to Shop

Ana was born to shop. When we enter a store now she'll say hi to whomever greets us and wave, ensuring we'll get any help we need finding something. At the cash register she knows I'll pay with a credit card most of the time and likes to "help" me sign. As soon as the cashier starts ringing up the purchases she'll ask, "Sign? Sign?" After she's signed for the goods she'll look at the cashier, hold out her hand, and ask, "Receipt?"

All of this is a very cute show in the store and I thought it was harmless enough. However, I had underestimated Ana's desire to shop. I loaded her up for some grocery shopping yesterday and as we were driving to the store she asked to go to the playground. I said that no, we were going to the store to shop and we would go play later.

"Store? Shopping?" she asked.

"Yes, we're going to the store."


She was happy enough with the grocery store and I didn't have to make a second stop for her yesterday. I am in trouble though.

I'm not dead yet -- 4 more weeks of training to go

No, I haven't found myself under the wheels of a bus on campus. My iPod continues to get regular use, but I have this crazy habit of looking around that lets me avoid cars, cyclists, and oblivious walkers around campus.

I am in love with my nano. I've purchased the Nike+iPod Sport kit. After velcroing the sensor to my shoe -- because I'm not about to pay what Nike thinks I should for a pair of shoes with a conveniently shaped hole in them -- this gadget allows me to track my progress on runs. It tracks my distance, time, pace, and calories burned. Nothing revolutionary with that, but the ease of using it and the pretty pictures it generates make it great. It is in short a neat little piece of technology that make the nerd in me want to go out and run, and motivation to run is something I am always looking for.

I'm training for my second Tri-O de Mayo Triathlon. Last year I participated in a program in the A&M Rec Sports department. This year I'm back for more of that as well, and am getting my money's worth. The coaches this year are both experienced triathletes and have each put together workouts over the past month that have earned the the title of "Evil Coach of the Day". For example, last year the longest bike ride I did was to ride the race course two weeks before the race. This year the cycling/running coach, a.k.a. Most Evil Coach, has put together a 17 mile bike ride on Sunday afternoons since week 1. They haven't killed me yet, though there have been a couple of workouts that made me wish I was dead. With less than a month to go I'm in a good position to achieve my goal of completing the race in 1:25:00... a 20% improvement over last year's time if I pull it off.

Time to refill the water jug and enjoy the cool before today's ride starts.

Labels: ,