Friday, December 31, 2010

2010 In Review

2010 has come and gone. What a great year it has been. So much has changed in just a years time. We got a new bathroom and roof here on the farm. We tried to sell our house in a very poor housing market while attempting to purchase our dream house. We traveled to Maine and back. I took off my shoes and learned how to run barefoot. I dropped 25 pounds in the process while I trained for (and completed) a 100k ultra marathon. We got a new van, sold our pop-up, spent a lot of time outdoors, and just enjoyed life to the max. A lot of great things happened this year.

The Log Home Dream

We did all we could to try and reach our dream of living in a log home. We fought and kicked and went through all the steps to try and sell our house and live the dream. We put multiple offers on the house that we thought was "the one". While we would have been able to do it, we struggled to sell our house. Everything was "contingent" on the sale of this home, and it just didn't happen. We feel that everything happens for a reason. If it was meant to be, it would have happened. No sweat, we're living large right here.

Hardbarger Dream Vacation
The biggest highlight of 2010 was by far, our family vacation up to Maine and back. Jennifer and I have wanted to go to Maine since the day we met. It has always been the place that has defined "rustic" for us. We planned for it and saved up our money for it. We took 2 full weeks in the middle of the summer to take our 3 girls on an epic camping trip through Woodstock, Cape Cod, and Maine. It was the most perfect journey up the Atlantic Coast with a popup camper and nothing else better to do. The girls still talk about it to this day, and it was by far the best spent 2 weeks of the entire year. We all made memories to last a lifetime, and I hope that our girls will remember all the fun times we had on this trip.

Personal Health and 62 Miles
This year was also kind of a rebirth for me as a runner. I totally changed my running style to be a minimalist runner. I gave all of my shoes away and resorted to a homemade pair of sandals, and a pair of VFF "toe shoes". I did all of my training with no shoes, and was able to complete my goal of finishing the Oil Creek 100K this past October. In the process of training for this race, I went in halves with a my best bud and we ordering the P90X fitness program. He tried it for a few weeks and then gave it to me to get my money's worth. I dedicated a lot of time to the program and was able to drop 25 lbs in 3 months. By watching what I ate every day and working out, I got stronger than I'd ever been in my life. This along with my barefoot running totally reshaped my legs and midsection in a good way. I can only hope that what I learned about myself this year will help me to achieve my fitness and running goals for 2011.

Unix and Basic Hacking
Another big goal of mine this year was to learn how to use my mac. I've always been baffled watching my good buddy, Ben work terminal app like a puppet. He's able to just "manage" his computer with a terminal screen. I've watched him query databases, install software, update his system, configure users, groups, and server permissions with nothing more than a blinking cursor on a terminal screen. "If I could only learn how to do that, I'd get so much work done...", well this was my year to learn Unix. I've gotten very familiar with "man" and "info" commands in terminal. I've got a huge stack of books that cover all aspects of Unix from Bash, to Vi, to Gnu/Linux, to you name it... I've been reading like crazy the last few months. As a windows developer, I've always relied on the graphical interfaces of my high-powered IDE's. While I started in Assembler Language on a Sun (i.e. Unix) machine, I quickly got away from it once I discovered Visual Basic and it was my time to get back to Unix as a complete noob.

Whats Next?
As a family, we've decided to just settle down and enjoy our farm for another year or two. We have no intentions on moving from our perfect little house after all that excitement. We've also decided to not plan any huge vacations this year and focus on a very simple series of small camping trips around the state. We've considered a small ski trip to Snow Trails or something. We're going to save up for an EPIC vacation in 2012. No hints just yet, but it'll be huge! As a runner, I am going to train for and attempt the Mohican 100 Mile trail race this June. I have a long way to go, but I'm up for the challenge. I've already warned Jennifer about my goal, and she's on board with my up coming training commitments. I'm going to keep my girls and this family my number 1 priority, but this 100 mile race comes in at a very close 2nd. As for my hacking goals, I do plan to do some cool stuff this year involving some new Linux skills and terminal wizardry. I've already got a Linux server setup and ready for me to "ssh" files to (thanks Ben). I do plan to make use of this server space very soon. I won't stray too far from Windows; after all, it's paying the bills. However, I do plan to broaden my options to non-Windows development quite a bit this year.

Happy New Year!
I'm sure that 2011 is going to be a great year!

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

You Might Be a 4 Year Old If...

.. you blow your nose with a tissue and pull it away from your face without capturing the contents, then wipe the mess of snot off of your face with your shirt sleeve.

Yeah, that just happened.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Upgrading to Visual Studio 2010 and SQL Server 2008 Express R2

I made the jump yesterday to finally install and configure my dev machine to run the latest bits. I upgraded from Visual Studio 2008 to Visual Studio 2010. I also upgraded from Sql Server Express 2005 to Sql Server 2008 R2 Express. I must say that I'm very excited to start using all the new stuff. Rather than installing everything side by side, I decided to scrap the old apps and fully commit to the new pieces.

During this process I had no real problems. The only real problem I had was getting SQL Server 2008 R2 Express configured correctly. I've tried various things to get the new database management tools working inside the SQL Server Management Studio 2008 R2 and couldn't quite figure it out (still can't). No matter what I do, I can't create a new 2008 R2 database without using VS2008 Server Explorer. Whenever I right click and 'Create Database', it always creates a SQL CE 3.5 database instance. This version is missing a lot of functionality. For instance, I'm not able to create views and the designer for this is very kludgy IMO. I'm sure it's something simple, but I just can't figure it out yet.

While trying to get it fixed, I completely uninstalled SQL Server Development Edition 2005. This still didn't solve my problem, so now I'm without Analysis Services 2005 and no full blown SQL Engine. It's all good, I've read that they sit side by side nicely even when installing SQL 2005 after SQL 2008.

The good news is that I can create a 2008 R2 database instance from inside my new VS2010 IDE. That's a win in my book and I'm content with this. The process was pretty simple

  • Uninstall SQL Server 2005 Express

  • Uninstall Visual Studio 2008

  • Install SQL Server 2008 Express R2

  • Install Visual Studio 2010 Professional

  • Reinstall Resharper 5.1

  • Test that everything worked...

  • Convert Projects to VS2010

  • Blog about the new goodness

I did have one pretty nasty problem when converting my ASP.NET MVC project to the 4.0 framework. Visual Studio provided a nice little wizard to do this, but when it did this there were some things that didn't work as expected.

The first problem was that it didn't add System.Core to the references. Without this library referenced, all of my Linq queries were brokent (+100 source files)! While this looks like a pretty simple thing to fix, it turned out to be a little tricky. I couldn't just add it as a reference from inside the IDE like I thought. When I tried to do this, I got an error stating:

"A reference to 'System.Core' could not be added. This component is automatically referenced by the build system."

Hmm... The way I was able to fix it was to:

  1. Right click on my Web Project

  2. Unload Project

  3. Edit the .csproj file

  4. Add <Reference Include="System.Core" /> in the appropriate ItemGroup

  5. Save the change

  6. Right click on my Web Project again

  7. Reload project


I also had (and still have) a problem debugging my web project. When I try to run my project, it does not actually start debugging like it should. The project compiles and starts the ASP.NET Development Server, but it doesn't actually load the URL in my default web browser. When I open the system tray icon and click 'Show in browser...' it crashes. I tried all kinds of things to get it to work, but nothing is working. I've installed a few patches and restarted IIS a few times after each one, but nothing. I've tried running aspnet_regiis -i against the new framework. Again, to no avail. As a test, I ran the project and then went to my web browser and typed in the appropriate URL. It works. I set some breakpoints in my code, and they work too. This works well enough for me.

Next steps I think are to convert my entire project to .NET 4.0 Framework so I can take advantage of all the new goodness with C# 4.0. I also plan to upgrade our web solution from ASP.NET MVC 1.0 to ASP.NET MVC 2.0. I'm also anxious to start using GrapeCity ActiveAnalysis 2.0 Silverlight control.

Upgrading to new development environments is so much fun... I'm actually excited to work a full day tomorrow! :)

Friday, November 05, 2010

Mike McCune Tribute Post - The Dillon Runner

I got a phone call yesterday from my buddy Rob telling me that my Dillon buddy, Mike McCune had died. It took me by total surprise. I don't know the details of what happened, but I do know that he will be missed.

Michael D. ''Mike'' McCune
View Service Information

Michael D. 'Mike' McCune, 56 of Nashport, died Tuesday, November 02, 2010 following a sudden illness. He was born Friday, October 08, 1954 in Port Washington the son of Donald McCune and Shirley Peters Seevers. He married Cassandra L. (Ousley) McCune on Saturday, August 24, 1996. Mike was employed by Sound Energy. He liked to fish and enjoyed the outdoors. Mike liked to cruise and enjoyed running and ran in several marathons including the Mohican 100 Mile Marathon. Mike was a great guy who enjoyed people and never met a stranger. Mike was a loving and caring husband, father and grandfather. In addition to his father, Mike is survived by his wife of the home; one son: Michael “Clay†McCune of Athens; one daughter: Page (Andy) Reichman Of Bolivar; three grandchildren: Kaden and Kaya Russell and Brennen Reichman; three brothers: Donnie (Sharna) McCune of Newcomerstown, Shawn (Vickie) McCune of Massillon and James Seevers of Dover; several nieces, nephews and friends. Mike was preceded in death by his mother: Shirley Seevers and one brother: Patrick McCune Friends may call from 4:00 to 7:00 PM Friday, November 5, 2010 at The Hillis & Hardwick Funeral Home, 935 Forest Avenue where funeral services will be held at 7:00 PM with Pastor Larry Kudart officiating. To sign the online register book or to send a personal condolence note please

That picture is the exactly how I remember Mike; smiling and happy. I met Mike @ Dillon State Park when I was on one of my long runs back in 2008. We passed each other once on the single track trail and traded greetings. A few hours later I passed him again and we both stopped and introduced ourselves to each other. We quickly realized that we both knew a lot of the same people. He was training for the Mohican 100 mile race and I was training for the Mohican 50 miler that year.

We crossed paths a few other times at various races after that. He would would always go out of his way and say "Hi" to me. I saw him at the Mohican 50 miler that year, I then saw him again at Bobcat Trail Marathon, and then again at the Forget the PR 50K (in his knee wrap). Mike was always so nice to me and treated me with great respect.

One day Jennifer and I took our dogs to the Vet in Zanesville, and I saw him and his wife (Cassandra) coming out with their dogs. Just like Mike, he stopped and talked to me for about 5 minutes and I introduced him to my family.

There were numerous times when I ran at Dillon and saw him in his yard. Each time I saw him he was all smiles and happy. I'd stop and talk to him in his front yard and he was fascinated with my VFF's. :) He kept inviting me to meet at his house for organized / group runs with other trail runners, but I never did... I wish I had now. :( It will be sad when I run by his house the next time I run at Dillon knowing that I won't see him again.

Tonight, I went to his calling hours to pay my respects. He had so many family members there and it was obvious that he was loved by many. I enjoyed seeing all the pictures of him through the years. He knew how to enjoy life, and he lived it to the fullest. What an inspirational guy! We'll miss you buddy!!

This post is just my way of saying that I'll miss running into Mike here and there. I'm sure he's already organizing group long runs in Heaven.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

The New Twitter

I'm not a big Twitter user. I tried it for a while but then got overwhelmed with social media chaos. When I found something that I liked and wanted to share, I didn't know where I should share it. It became a juggling act for me to decide who I really wanted to see it. Did I want my Twitter followers to see it? Would any of my Facebook 'friends' want to see this? What about my friends that follow my blog on Google Reader? It's almost too much!! I found myself spinning out of control inside of this colossal web of social networking bookmarks. There's Facebook, Orkut, LinkedIn, Blogger, WordPress, FriendFeed, PicasaWeb, Flickr, Stumbled Upon, Delicious, Reddit, Digg, now Google Buzz... Oh and let's not forget to check your emails throughout the day too in between your IM's back and forth to your friends and coworkers.

Facebook has really become my main social media networking site. My wife and almost all of the people that I know around here are on Facebook. It's a great way to stay connected with everybody local and overseas. However, I'm noticing that it is kind of getting to be a little to much like high-school all over again. Every now and then I'll get a friend request from someone that I passed in the hall my freshman year. Should I accept? We weren't really "Friends" per se... Should I really be getting an invite to this event from someone that knew a guy that dated a girl I used to sit by in math class? Should I ignore or decline? The concept is great and it seems to be working. I do like the concept of 'Events', and my wife uses the crap out of the 'Photo Albums'. Our entire family is able to keep up to date with how fast our girls are growing and so forth. I do like it and it has added value in regards to keeping up to date with what's going on with those I know (near and far).

Twitter had always seemed like just another way for me to kill my precious time. It appears to be nothing more than a public area for anybody to do a quick brain dump about anything they wanted. To me, I can see this from Facebook (ie. Status Updates). Right?...

A lot of my geek friends use Twitter with great success. There are many Tweeters(?) out there that only tweet valuable links and content and to those I thank you. There are also those that use it as a public conversation log. It took me a long time to realize why anybody would want to post a tweet to somebody on twitter (for all to see). Why tweet a buddy when you could just email them or IM them? It's so that other can get involved if they want to.

There are also lots of Tweeters (again (?)) out there that tweet nothing but crap, rants, and random thoughts about nothing (ie. "I'm eating a burrito"). Occasionally, those "nothing tweeters" have some value in what they say though (ie. "I now have explosive gas"). So I do want to follow them, just not as close as I do those that consistently tweet valuable content all the time. After a while I found that Twitter was only useful (to me) when I followed a select group of people. The rest were just noise makers that wanted to get in on the action.

I know it's not just a noise collector. I know there is some great value out the. I know that 50 million geeks can't be wrong. I just need to figure out the best way to use it. Facebook is brainless to use. Twitter has a bit of a learning curve it seems (for me). There appears to be a science in filtering and searching for the most valuable content. I just haven't figured it out yet.

Today I learned that Twitter has changed it's design drastically. While I might not be a Twitter geek, I can appreciate the severity of re-architecting and redesigning a popular and extremely active website. It's epic really.Perhaps this new redesign will help me make sense of it all. We'll have to see...

Check out this cool video that they did for the new release:

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Our Bad Dogs Made Front Page News

Our dogs made the front page of our local newspaper, the Newark Advocate today (direct link). Needless-to-say, it's been quite the story. Each person we've explained it to has been pretty amused. It was quite the hit at the local Sheriff station. I guess our insurance company (Cincinnati Insurance Co.) has sent the story around internally to share it amongst their staff. Of course everybody we have to tell the story to can't believe it. My wife posted the pictures on Facebook and it's gotten shared by numerous people (including myself). :P Enough people thought it was worthy enough to make the local paper, so we called and they were right. It made the front page! :)

Once I stop and think about it... yeah, I guess it is pretty bizarre.

Here is my side of the story:

Dan and I were 2 hrs into our drive home from Pennsylvania and we're rocking out to some old school Motley Crue. I get a call from Jennifer and pick up the phone:

"Wassup girl?!..." I say loudly with the window down and my cool shades on.

"Babe...", she says. "I got some really bad news..."

"Oh my gosh, what happened!?"

"It's bad."

Immediately I start thinking one of our girls got hurt or something.

"Ok, tell me what happened please."

She says: "The dogs destroyed our new minivan...", and then she explained it all to me in detail. I couldn't believe it.

Apparently, the girls went out to play and came back in screaming that 'the dog's had scratched the car really bad, Mommy!'.

Jennifer just thought it was a regular scratch and went out to see what they were talking about. She saw plastic pieces in the driveway, but didn't think anything of it. That is until she got on the other side of the van and saw this:

She could only cover her mouth and cry. The van was 3 weeks old and was now un-drivable. The dog's "went to town" on it. Of course, the dogs were sunbathing at this time and thought nothing of it. Just another used up chew-toy. Right?

We had no idea why they would do this, but there was nothing I could do for her. She was extremely upset and the girls were all crying. I told her to just calm down and try to calm the girls down. I'd be home shortly.

As Dan and I drove down Toboso Rd. we saw the Sheriff in my driveway and everybody was outside gathered around the carnage. I couldn't believe what my eyes were seeing...

The front drivers' side has been fubar'd:

The front tire has been chewed through in multiple places and entire front end of the van is covered in claw marks.

"Why," you might be asking yourself "would two loving family-dogs do this to a beautiful 2006 Honda Odyssey?"

As it turns out, there was a pile of raccoon feces under the van where the dogs had trapped a raccoon. Rather than patiently waiting for it to come out from under the new van and play, they decided to completely destroy the minivan instead.

Here is a picture of our youngest dog (taken 4 months ago), Ivy:

Here is a picture of the older (wiser?) dog, Valley:

They have been tied to their doghouses for the last 5 days in "time out". People have been coming and going and can't believe that these nice friendly dogs did such a destructive thing. We just released them today and they have been running around releasing their energy. We think that they finally "get it": Don't use Mama's new minivan as a chew-toy.

They're already back to their normal selves tearing up our yard in their never-ending-hunt of the local mole.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Oil Creek 100 Race Report

Yesterday was a great (but very long) day. I ran Oil Creek 100 km race, and earned my belt buckle.

I'm doing surprisingly well today. My feet have a few nasty blisters on them and my quads are really sore, but I am doing so much better than I thought I would be doing on "the day after".

The journey started on Friday. Dan picked me up around 5 or 5:30 pm and we hit the road toward Titusville, Pennsylvania. It was an amazing 4 1/2 hr drive through the most beautiful autumn countryside that Ohio and Pennsylvania had to offer. The treetops were a mixture of all the great fall colors: red, orange, yellow, brown, green, tan, etc...

About 45 minutes into the drive, we were approaching a little storm cloud in the road. Along with this storm cloud came a beautiful rainbow. The rainbow stretched all the way across the sky in front of us. Eventually, we found ourselves directly underneath a "full on double rainbow".

How cool is that!? We could see both ends of the rainbow from the highway. I've never witnessed a rainbow where I could see both ends. The second rainbow was a little less vibrant, but it was visible nonetheless.

We witnessed this for about 10 minutes, and then shortly thereafter the sky slowly turned from yellow to orange to red to maroon all the way into darkness. This was a great way to start the weekend. The rest of the drive was pretty uneventful in comparison.

We arrived at the hotel around 10 pm and immediately got settled in and tried to get some sleep before the 4:30 alarm clock...

Race Morning:
We woke up around 4:30 and got suited up in all of our trail gear. It was pretty chilly, but I knew not to bundle up too much, for I'd be warmed up in no time at all once I got moving. We stopped at McDonalds and ordered 2 McGriddles each and a small coffee each to get us moving.

We got to the Titusville Middle School around 5:30 to checked in and get our bib numbers and race packets. There were some last minute announcements to be made before we all headed out to the starting line.

The runners counted down from 5, 4, 3, 2, 1!! And we were off @ 6 am sharp...

The first hour of the race was pretty dark. The sun wasn't up yet, so all of us runners were running through the streets of Titusville with our headlamps and reflective gear. From the street, we made our way onto the bike path for a mile or so before ticking into the woods for the rest of the day. I was feeling great through here, so I separated myself from Dan and ended up running some pretty fast paced miles. I made it to the first aid station about 3 minutes before Dan and hung out to wait for him.

The next section was a series of switchbacks up the side of a mountain. Not only was it steep, but it was also pretty narrow path, so each step had to be given some attention. We made it to the top of the hill and then came into some really cool big rocks deep in the forest:

Shortly after this, we separated again. Dan was starting to experience some knee pains and stayed back a little. However, I was still feeling pretty strong so I pushed ahead. As I approached the 2nd aid station, I went looking for my drop bag. As it turned out, I had put my drop bag in the wrong group at the middle school, and it was waiting for me at the last aid station. Oops. :) Luckily I didn't have anything in there that I really needed. I ended up putting my toboggan, gloves, and headlamp with Dan's drop bag. I pounded a steaming cup of ramen noodles and a chilled cup of Pepsi. A minute or two passed by, and once Dan arrived we headed back into the woods.

Around this time I separated from Dan, because his knee was really acting up on him by this point. I pushed ahead for about 2 miles, and then my conscious got the best of me. Dan had stuck it out with me at the Forget the PR 50K earlier this year when I was hurting real bad. It was only fair that I show him the same respect and help him along. I hung out at the top of a huge mountain for a couple of minutes. Once he arrived, we jogged together for a while. About 1/2 mile later, we hit some downhills and Dan came to a crawl. I tried to wait for him, but he insisted that I move on and run my own race. I wished him good luck on his race and pushed on. I wouldn't see him again until after the finish. He ended up toughing it out for a solid 50K! He limped 15+ miles on a bad knee to make it back to the middle school... Tough as nails!! Congrats Dan!

After leaving Dan and all guilt behind me, I was free sailing to run my own race. I only walked on the steep uphills. The rest of the time I was running, jogging, or shuffling. My plan was to do the first loop like I would any 50K, and then wing it on the 2nd loop since I had no idea what to expect after that... I'd never ran more than 38 miles, so shortly after the halfway point I would be moving into unchartered territory. Ultimately, I had one simple goal today: Finish.

I ran through some extremely beautiful areas. Pennsylvania is so beautiful this time of year. Here is one picture that I took at the top of a big mountain side. If you look close enough you'll see the derricks on the other side of the hill. I would eventually be running under these 12 miles later.

It worked out great. I hooked up with various runners and passed the time with great conversation. I came back into the Middle School around 1 pm and felt very strong still. I ran my first 50K in 7 hrs 11 mins (a new PR for me by +1 hr!). Instead of grabbing a bunch of snacks and heading right back out, I decided to sit down and sip on some hot soup and drink some Pepsi. I wasn't fighting any cut-off times and I didn't have anything else on my "to do list" today besides run this race. :) I just took my time and didn't rush it.

Second Loop:
I spent about 5 minutes at the aid station and then headed back out for the second loop with high spirits and sore quads. I jogged for about 2 or 3 miles and then hit the forest again. Once I got to the forest, I walked on the uphills and shuffled the flat sections. Depending on the grade of the downhill, I would either jog down it or gracefully walk down it if it was too steep. The steep downhills were starting to really hurt my quads.

This whole first 5 miles looked totally different in the daylight. It was like running a totally new part of the course. For example, I didn't even notice that this huge power line section showcased this much beauty when it was dark:

I made it to the first aid station and had some pizza and more Pepsi. I got to see a bunch of runners I knew from other races. It seems like every race I go to, I run into Roy Heger. I just saw him at RunWoodstock a few weekends ago. I also met up with Brian Hart who I just saw at the Indian Run a few weekends ago also. It's amazing how small (but spread out) this runner community is. We can almost predict who we'll see at the various events.

From the aid station, Brian and I stuck together for a few miles. We made our way up some crazy-steep switchbacks to the top of the mountain again. About this time, I was fighting with my stomach and was forced to keep a slow trot / walk until I could get it back together. It was like I was on the verge of throwing up for a few miles... Not a good feeling. It went away once Brian and I got to talking about something. Simple conversation is really all it took to take my mind off of it. Once I shook the nausea, he and I were able to jog for about 5 or 6 miles together. We had a great time and learned quite a bit about each other.

Brian got ahead of me around mile 45 as I stayed back because I had another wave of nausea coming back again. Grrr... As we came into the next aid station around mile 47 or so, Brian was trying to wait for me. Instead I shook his hand and thanked him for sticking with me while he did. He hung around for a few more minutes and sipped some soup with me and then off he went into the dusk. I'm sure we'll be crossing paths again soon.

I shuffled out of the aid station with my headlamp, toboggan and gloves. The sun was starting to settle over the hills and the sky was beautiful. I snapped a bunch of photo's while I still had the chance:

These were the derricks that I saw in the other photo, only up close.

These things are pretty tall, and fit into this country side very elegantly.

These are some of the rocks that we have to climb between on our way up the hill side, from the derricks.

You can see how the rocks just nestle into the hills all throughout this area. It was so cool to dodge these as we shuffled into the night.

This was another bench on the other side of the hill. I'm basically taking a picture of the area that I took a picture from earlier (make sense?).

This was the last picture that I was able to snap before the sun officially fell behind the mountains. The woods got dark again. However, this time I found myself alone for extended periods of time. There was no longer a line of head lamps in front of me or behind me like there were this morning.

Off and on, other runners would come up on me or I would come up on another runner and we would stick together for short periods of time just to keep conversation as we jogged through the trails in the dark. I spent quite a bit of miles with a fellow named "Bob" who was running the 100 miler. I really enjoyed his company. He has ran a handful of 100 mile races and was telling me lots of crazy stories about his adventures on these runs. My favorites were the hallucination stories, because I'm simply amazed at how the mind works after running for so many hours non-stop. We eventually got separated somewhere in the dark and he became just another headlamp in the woods.

My nausea was gone for the moment and I was running again. I picked up a lot of time through here for about 2 or 3 miles with this new spurt of energy. My feet felt light again and my breath was nice and steady as I churned my legs up and down the hills. If only I could run the whole race like this...

Shortly before the last aid station, my stomach got sour again. I'd been moving for about 54 miles and this nausea has been the only thing that has really "beaten" me down today. The thought of food or water was enough to make me want to chuck. I walked about a mile to the last aid station and let a lot of people passed me through here.

Final Aid Station:
Once I arrived at the final aid station, I sat down by an open fire and began force feeding myself mashed potatoes and some pretzels. The volunteers got me hooked up with some sea salt in my mashed potatoes as they assured me that it would help my nausea. I had some more Pepsi too. Believe it or not, I don't drink much Pepsi, but this run I drank a lot because it was really helping me get out of these slumps. Perhaps it had nothing to do with helping me feel better, but it tasted great. :)

I spent way to much time here. A lot of people came and went while I was sitting by the fire talking to a few other runners who were fighting similar problems. There were a few 100 milers taking a short mid-race break, and there were a few of us 100K runners there trying to gather a final spurt of strength for the last 8.4 miles.

I hobbled out of the last aid station at a snails pace and a very deep chill that I couldn't seem to shake. The fire pit was great, but turned out to be a bad idea. It warmed up my outer "skin layer", but my inner "core layer" was still pretty cold. My t-shirt and shorts were damp from sweating off and on all day and it was about 50 degrees with a clear sky showcasing all the stars. I had 8+ miles to go in the dark with nothing more than two gloves, a wet t-shirt and a wet toboggan to keep my mohawk tame.

I was literally shaking like crazy. My teeth were chattering and every muscle in my body was tense while my body tried to warm itself back up. My muscles were so tense that it was hard to breath at times. I was out of energy and here I was in the middle of the woods with two soggy handheld water bottles, a headlamp, and a pocket full of Combo's trying to calm my body down enough to take some deep breaths. This was an extreme case of the cold chills. I can't remember the last time my body was this pissed at me... ?

Luckily I had a huge hill to climb and it eventually warmed me back up so that I wasn't shivering anymore. The darkness became very peaceful again and I wasn't so nervous about the next 8 miles. I just focused on the reflectors through the trails and saw head lamps from other runners every now and then.

Eventually I came upon a runner that I'd been playing leap frog with all day. His name was Mike and he and I ran together for the remainder of my race. He was running the 100 miler and was trying to convince me to pace him on his last loop through the night. He said that he was on pace to finish around 12 o'clock noon... I could only chuckle and wish him good luck. He claimed I helped him back to the aid station, but I'm convinced he helped me because I didn't think about my stomach anymore after meeting up with him.

I crossed the finish line at 11:19 pm.

Official Time:

17 hours 19 minutes -

I crossed the finish line and Dan was there waiting for me. I got my belt buckle and sat down for a while. I ate a few pieces of pizza and talked to some other runners before we headed back to the hotel.

I was pretty excited to talk to Jennifer and tell her the news. I called her and we talked for a few minutes, then I took a shower, stretched a little, and shut down.

Dan and I hobbled back into the CR-V that next morning and drove home...

Oil Creek 100K... Check!

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Testing Blogo

I'm sick of the html editor that offers me. It's too invasive and modifies my html with all kinds of tags. I'm anxious to see how Blogo works since I can't use Windows Live Writer anymore.

Monday, October 04, 2010

Internet Explorer vs. All Other Browsers

All other browsers would win! Internet Explorer loses bad.

I have spent a significant amount of time fighting a CSS bug that only happens in Internet Explorer. It's not a bug that is hard to notice either, rather it has completely broken my page from top to bottom and renders a nasty display when using IE. It works flawlessly in every other browser that I've tried:
Unfortunately our users are predominantly IE users, which means I have to fix the problem. I don't mind fixing the problem. However, I'm noticing that most all of my problems are directly related to our IE 6/7/8 users. I never use IE anymore, and it's because of crap like this. Perhaps I'm so bias because I am a web developer. What makes IE so special anyway!? I understand "backward compatibility", but damn...

I wish I could just put a banner at the top of my page when the user is using IE. Something like:
You're using an antique, dinosaur of a browser. Please open this page with any other browser on the market for best results.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

2010 Run Woodstock Race Report

This weekend, I drove up to Pinckney, Michigan to spend a fun-filled weekend with my old college buddy, Farley and his equally awesome wife, Jessica. This was going to be Farley's first 1/2 Marathon, and I was so excited for him. Jess was there to support Farley and she was also volunteering to work the registration booth on Saturday morning. They've ran a handful of 5k's this summer, and Farley was ready to try the longer distances; his longest run before this weekend was 7.5 miles! He was almost doubling it this weekend and I was going to help him. :) I told him that if he signed up for a 1/2 marathon, I'd come run it with him. He did, so I kept my word and drove up to join him. I'm so happy that I did too because it was a blast and we had some really good times this weekend!

Jessica, Me, & Jamie (ie. Farley)

Farley is an old-school cross country runner in high school. He just recently picked running back up, and was about ready to give up on it because he got nasty shin splits. He found that running barefoot fixes his problem. He's a true minimalist and he has really had some great success with barefoot running. It goes without saying that we both wore our VFF's for this run.

What is RunWoodstock?
He couldn't have picked a better 1/2 Marathon for his first! This was one of the hippest... OK, it IS the hippest running event I've ever been to. The entire theme was "Peace, Love, & Running". The race coordinators did awesome to try and mimic the groovy vibes felt at the actual 1969 Woodstock Festival in Woodstock, NY. When live music wasn't being played on the main stage, there were old recordings from the original Woodstock event blasting through the amplifiers (Hendrix, Joplin, etc..). "Can you dig it, man?"

Tie-dye could be seen everywhere, fresh hotdogs could be purchased for $1.50 (we had a few), and people were just sitting around chilling all night long. The entire campground was filled with campers, tents, and runners everywhere. At times it was hard to believe that we were here for a running event. Music (literally) filled the campground at all times. I can dig it, man!

What made this event even more special is that there are distances for every type of runner:
  • Far Out 5k
  • Trip'n 10k
  • Flower Power 5 mile
  • Hippie 1/2 Marathon,
  • Mellow Marathon
  • Freak 50K
  • Peace, Love, and 50 miles
  • Long Slow Distance (LSD) 100K
  • Hallucination 100 miles
If you enjoy running (no matter what distance), I highly recommend this event. Before and after the race, it feels more like a music festival; there was live music at all times. The music was split between various artists and they were all very entertaining. The Hell Creek Campground was great as well. The bath house was nicely kept, and the there was a huge stage right in the middle of campground for live entertainment. The campground is privately owned by a very nice family. Since it was privately owned, we were able to bring out own drinks and walk around the campground with open containers like a real music event. :) It was great to walk around the campgrounds with our bottles of beer, meeting other runners while enjoying the live music after the sun went down.

Live music at the campground

Here we are enjoying the music Friday night

As for the actual race, it was also top notch. The volunteers were great, the aid stations were stocked with munchies, and the course markings were spot on. Apparently, some of the runners complained about the course markings, but I thought they were stellar! At no time did I feel lost or question where I was supposed to go. The course was flat at parts, and hilly at other spots. It was a nice mix and quite challenging at times.

Friday Night
I worked a 1/2 a day on Friday and was in my car, Michigan-bound, by 3pm. The drive up was very uneventful. I arrived at Hell Creek Ranch and met up with Farley and Jess. They helped me set up my tent, and then we walked around the campgrounds drinking beer and listening to music. It was kind of eerie seeing the 100 milers come through the campground.

Tents all setup

They started their race at 4:30pm and would be running all night. I can't imagine how hard it would have been to come through a full-blown party spot like this and then have to go back into the woods at night for another 3 hour loop. Each time a 100 miler came through, everybody would cheer them on, and then it was back to the music and good times. Me, Jess, and Farley sat around and drank beers and ate some munchies til about 11pm before calling it a night.

Finish line at night

Saturday Morning
The alarm went off around 6:30am and we woke up and got ready for the race. Jess wasn't running the race, but she was volunteering at the registration. Therefore, she was up and at 'em by 5am this morning! Phew!? Farley and I got to sleep in for an extra hour and a half. We were ready to go and we hit the starting line without 5 minutes to spare for our 7:30am start.

Starting Line of the 1/2 Marathon

As we started the race, the runners all came to a screeching halt as we entered the woods. Apparently there were more registrants for the 1/2 marathon than any other race, and it was obvious once we got to the single track and we were all standing around for about a full minute until we the runners were able to spread out on the single track.

There were lots of up and down sections through the horse trail, then it opened up onto a nice flat service road for about 2-3 miles. At the end of this section there was a turn around and then we jolted off the path back into the woods. From there, it was mostly single track wooded trail sections til the end. There were a few sections of sandy terrain, and a few muddy areas.

Here is a little video interview that I did with Farley. I was playing with my camera and decided to post it here on the blog. Check out Farley's stride, he is built for this stuff:

Towards the end of our run we came into this huge pine area that had everybody talking. It consisted of a nice pine-needle bedded trail nestled in these enormous pines that stretch way up into the sky. It was very peaceful in here and made running very easy.

Peaceful trail section...

Action shot in the pines

Farley running through the pines

After the pine section, we did a quick "bow-tie" loop through more beautiful pines that went down a nice steep decline. The ascent wasn't as bad, as it was less of a grade than the descent. Once we came of the little loop, we only had about another mile or two until the finish.

The finish was great, the trail opened back up into the campground, and the campers were all cheering as we came down the lighted tunnel to the finish line. Of course, Jess was still working her volunteer shift, and she snapped a few pictures of us coming across the finish line.

Farley kicked butt today for his first 1/2 Marathon! He looked like he could have easily run more miles if he had too. Our times were:
  • Luc - 2:38:50
  • Farley - 2:38:52
After the race, Farley and Jess and I all headed into Hell, Michigan and ate at Hell in a Handbasket. We got pizza and pop. There was a "Hike to Hell" that left the campground a while before and they were arriving right after we ordered. Runners were taking over Hell!!

Hell in a Handbasket

After we ate, we headed back to the campground, where Jess and Farley decided to lay down and take a nap in their tent. I decided to hop in my car and drive around the Pinckney area. I went looking for some public parks to maybe sit on a bench by a lake and chill out for a while. I came across two parks, but both were asking me to pay money before entering. If I had more time to kill, I would have paid, but I was only looking to kill about 30 minutes to an hour. I didn't feel that $8 was a good price to pay to spend 30 minutes in a public park... I decided to just drive around some more with my windows down and look at all the beautiful houses by the lakes. The Pinckney area is a beautiful area!

When I got back, we hung out for a while, and then Jess decided she was going to head back home and leave us boys to hang out for the rest of the day. We did just that. We drank beer, ate some lasagna, drank more beer, listened to music, and talked with lots of other runners. Farley actually recognized a guy that he knew on the Huaraches Google Group, named "last place Jason". He's a big minimalist activist and Farley went up to introduce himself. We stood around and talked to him for about 10-15 minutes and he seemed like a really cool guy. He hosts all kinds of barefoot clinics in the Grand Rapids area and it was real nice talking with him. The rest of the day was pretty lazy. I recognized a few people from previous races, and we met quite a few others as we stood around killing time.

Night Run
Around 7:30pm, the Trip'n 10k started. This was a night run through the woods, with a twist... Some runners would be able to turn off the course into a heated tent, where they would then be able to "get free" with other runners and run through the woods "au naturelle". Surprisingly, a lot of people did this!?

Trippin 10K Starting Line

Farley and I decided to walk the 10K course. However, once we got about 2 miles into it, Farley's knee was acting up, so we called it quits after 3 1/2 miles and came back to the campground. When we got back, we stood around the fire pit and talked with various other runners. We drank a few more beers and munched on some hot dogs. It got pretty rowdy after a while, but it was all in good fun. :)

Sunday Morning
After an "interesting" night on the campgrounds, we woke up around 8am and got packed up. We said our "later bro"'s then headed our separate ways. I had a 4+ hour drive ahead of me, and Farley had about an hour drive ahead of him.

Brother Farley & Brother Luc

Congrats on an awesome (and technical) first 1/2 marathon, Farley! Heal up fast and "keep on keepin' on". :) I already can't wait for next years event...