Sunday, April 29, 2007

Fancy Cars After Bike Ride

It isn't often that I park my car and return to find it right next to a Lambourghini Diablo. Or Lotus Elise. Or in fact, surrounded by very high end or classic cars. But that's what happenend this morning, after the Seminole Cylist's Lake Monroe ride!

I haven't been biking as much lately, since I've had several running events stack up and I've been making an effort to swim two or three times a week. So I was concerned I would be dropped like a rock during the ride, but I was pleasantly surprised to find I can still hang with the B group. It was a great morning, sunny and a bit cool (relatively speaking of course) and I felt good throughout.

Back at the Colonial Town Park, I noticed a crowd near my car. It seems that local auto enthusiasts hold an informal car show every month. It was pretty cool to see the cars, ranging from modern sports cars to classics, about 15 in total.


Lambourghini Diablo
Originally uploaded by klbarrus.




Lotus Elise
Originally uploaded by klbarrus.




Lotus Esprit
Originally uploaded by klbarrus.



I could kick myself for not taking pics of all the rest of the cars. There was also a 60's Ferrari, an Aston Martin, a Dodge Viper, a few Porsche's, high end BMW's, etc.

Friday, April 27, 2007

Dragon Roll

My boss took us out to lunch today, and we went to Amura, a nearby Japanese restaurant. I had the "fiery chicken" bento box, which was good but not really that spicy, in my opinion. Two other coworkers split a "dragon roll":


Dragon Roll
Originally uploaded by klbarrus.



The presentation was pretty cool. So I took a pic with my Blackberry. Yes... I originally resisted the idea of a camera on my cell phone, but it is turning out to be handy at capturing miscellaneous shots like this!

Monday, April 23, 2007

Vacation Flights

I finally nailed down flights for my upcoming trip in June:

  • Orlando - Lisbon, June 7
  • Lisbon - Prague, June 11
  • Budapest - Lisbon, June 22
  • Lisbon - Orlando, June 23

I've been eyeing a bike tour for a few years now, and decided that if I didn't just book it and go, it would never happen. The two most interesting ones to me were Prague to Budapest and Treasures of China, and since I recently visited China I leaned towards the European one.

The planning became slightly more complicated since a friend from the Seattle area is getting married in Portugal on June 9th. I looked at the calendar and figured, why not try to do both!

So I'll fly in to Portugal and then make my way to √Čvora where I'll stay at the Convento do Espinheiro, which looks to be a super fancy hotel, and attend the wedding. Then I'll fly out to Prague in time for the bike trip, from June 12 to June 20. I'll have an extra day in Budapest before returning to Lisbon and then back to Orlando.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

IOA Corporate 5K

My company participates in the IOA Corporate 5K, which is a huge event with hundreds of companies and nearly 7000 participants. Last year due to a screw up, I didn't wind up running on my company's team, and neither did a few others. This time we got on the right mailing list and didn't have that problem.

Companies can enter men's team, women's team, mixed teams, and also have walkers, so the idea is to show up, hang out at a tent, and enjoy the beer afterwards. ;) Each company gets to have 5 "seeded" runners, people who are expected to finish in the top 10% or 20% overall, with a different colored bib number which lets them line up at the front. I didn't have a seeded number, since the team coordinator was going to finalize that at the event depending on who showed up, but a friend who often works at running events - I think she works part time at Track Shack, a local shoe store also involved in producing many events - saw me beforehand and gave me a seeded number, which was orange instead of blue, and let me line up ahead of about 6800 other people. Cool!

Anyway, I haven't been doing much speed work but I have been biking and running regularly so I felt like I could do between 22 and 23 minutes. I finished at 22:11 which I was extremely pleased with. I even took mile splits and they were reasonably consistent - I ran the first mile ~10 seconds faster just to help separate from the crowd.

Our men's team came in 3rd in our division, and 7th since we had enough people to enter two teams. The women's team came in 1st in their division, and the mixed team came in 3rd. Overall we did really well as a company!

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Sunrise to Sunset Relay finish

As we were nearing the switch to the other half of the 12 person team, the 6 person team called up and said they were withdrawing. They caught up to one of our runners, Michele, and shadowed her until they came to us. We rolled down our windows and Amy S on the 6 person team said everybody was pretty much wiped out.

We all understood of course, we were a bit ragged from only running 3 legs each; the 6 person team had twice as much and along with that, less rest since they were out on the road approximately every 4 hours. Each of their runners did 4 legs, while Amy S and Cathy did 5. It may not sound like there was much left (4 runners with 2 legs to go, and 2 runners with 1), but after almost 24 hours into the event, ~4 or ~8 more miles is a really long way!

We wished them the best and they drove off to Fort Meyers to find the finish line, hotel, and get some rest. After transfering the race baton to the other van, we followed suit.

The finish line was at the Edison-Ford estate in Fort Meyers. We ate and drank and waited for the other part of our team... which just showed up as they were closing down the festivities.

Results are up, and we came in 1st in our division! Of course, we were also the only team in our division, so we knew going in all we had to do is finish. :) Florida Landsharks 1 - 29:08.40. Whew.

Sunrise to Sunset Relay Leg 3

In the morning, we drove to meet up with the other van. They found a nice park to spend the night at, with covered picnic tables, so they stretched out and took long naps. Those lucky bums! I can't complain much because I fell into a deep sleep after my night leg(s) and got up in time to cheer Dave as he came in and transfered to Art.

My half of the team ate breakfast and then drove to a park near where we would take over again. I waited around and saw Amy T coming over a small bridge and took over and started Leg 26. It was already approaching 90 degrees and I tried holding a 9 minute mile, but had to slow a bit due to the heat and due to a bit of sleepiness. ;)

As I approached the next exchange point, I picked it up as much as I could and transfered to Christine. I felt elated that I was now done with my running legs and could sit back and just cheer!

Sunrise to Sunset Relay Leg 2

My second leg of the race started around 2:15 in the morning. After only getting about 45 minutes of napping in, I was tired, but after moving around I became more alert. But, not alert enough to start my Garmin in time for it to get a satellite fix... so no mapping data, only time.

Legs 10-18 of the event were along the Lake Okeechobee Scenic Trail (i.e. LOST, what a great acronym). It was a clear, dark, cool night and I quickly found a great pace for what I thought would be a 6 mile run - an 8 minute mile. I ran along just listening to the night, and the assortment of chirping and clicking that a zillion nocturnal animals and bugs made. It was a little spooky at times, but I had my headlamp which was really good illumination.

So I was shocked to arrive at the next transfer point in only 16 minutes!

I got my phone out (after the hit-run we decided everybody would run with a cellphone) and called the next runner, Christine. She was shocked to hear from me so soon, as was everyone else in the van. Below the trail in a parking lot, I could a few people coming out and walking up to meet me.

Christine mentioned a few times she didn't really want to run alone in the middle of the night, so I offered to run with her. Her leg was supposed to be about 5 miles so I figured if that were still accurate ;) I could do a total of 7, no big deal.

So we set off and she played some music on her cell phone, which had a speaker loud enough for both of us to hear. I'm a little faster than Christine so it wasn't hard to let her set the pace and keep up. She mentioned that my headlamp was a real lifesaver because the flashlight she brought to run with wasn't very bright at all.

Our run was uneventful except for us getting passed by another team midway through - a runner and a trailing cyclist. I think for next year having a cyclist along would really help - other than my start leg when the teams we started with hadn't spread out, this were the only people I saw on the road with me during the whole event. I saw other teams running, other vans, and my own team, but never another runner while I was running!

We arrived at the next spot in 55 minutes, and I estimate it was really 5.5 miles instead of 5. So my leg 2 was relay segments 14 and 15, a total of about 7.5 miles in 71 minutes for a ~9:30 pace, not bad at all.

Since it was now about 3:30 am, I had no problems getting a good nap in!

Friday, April 13, 2007

Relay Drama

Most of the time in the relay we spent driving to the next spot. With a 12 person team and 2 vans, we had 6 people in the "active" van and 6 people in the "resting" van. After everybody in the active van ran their leg and we switched to the other van, the vans would switch roles.

That is the ideal, of course you don't really get that much sleep no matter where you are!

For the rest of the legs, we drove along and waited at the next transfer spot. We had a few games in the van to pass the time, but between grabbing ice, navigating, and chatting with other teams, it wasn't like we had tons of time to kill.

Everybody agreed the conditions were tough, both from the heat and also from the roads. Most road we ran on didn't really have a shoulder, which meant when there was oncoming traffic, a runner would zip off into the grass.

After we transfer to leg 7, our van became the resting van so we drove off to get something to eat. After that, on the way to the leg 13 start, where we would start running again, we witnessed an accident: truck versus bike. (!!)

The race allowed for other people to shadow the active runner, especially during the nighttime segments. One team had somebody on a bike riding behind a runner, and they were on the left side of the road facing oncoming traffic, which is correct. Our van was approaching them, but some total jerk in a pickup truck decided we weren't going fast enough so he passed us to the left but swung out too far along the shoulder, and hit the cyclist, knocking him into the grass. The truck slammed on his brakes, then sped off.

We were stunned and decided to follow the truck for a bit, about half a mile before he got off the road. We turned around to go back to check on the cyclist, and the truck moved away and we never did get the license plate.

Back at the cyclist, he was OK but in some pain. It looked like the truck's driver's side mirror hit him square in the shoulder. But he was otherwise OK, wandering around holding his arm. We called the police and they responded quickly, and the officer went off to speak to the injured cyclist and his team, the "12 Monkeys".

Wow.

Right then, the other team (6 person team) called and said their van broke down and wouldn't start... so we drove back to find them to either help pickup or transport runners. Unfortunately the vans didn't have jumper cables so we wound up calling AAA and hoped they wouldn't take forever to come out to the middle of nowhere. ;) Fortunately, the wait wasn't long at all.

Once all of this stuff settled down, and Team 2's van was running again, we drove up to the start of leg 13 where we would take over from Team 1B. Our plan was to grab a 2 or 3 hour nap, but after all this it wound up only being 30 minutes or so.

The excellent news was that on the way back past the site of the hit-and-run, we saw a police car that pulled over a pickup truck that looked familiar. Plus some others from 12 Monkeys. We stopped and yes indeed... the cops caught the hit-and-run driver, found the pickup truck with a smashed driver's side mirror, and said the driver confessed. Great news!

Sunrise to Sunset Relay Start

I met the other running club members for the drive to the start of the Sunrise to Sunset relay, a relay race from the east coast (Jensen Beach) to the west coast (Ft Meyers) of Florida.


Relay Team
Originally uploaded by klbarrus.



We had enough people to form two teams: a 12 person team (one that I was on), and a 6 person team, and had a few meetings to organize supplies, van rentals, and other logistics. I was a little interested in the 6 person team, but I decided since this was my first running relay I should start out "easy" and be on the 12 person team, and therefore only run half as much as somebody on the 6 person team would.

We kicked it all off at 2:30 pm, along with 4 or 5 other teams. Starts were staggered and based on estimated pace, so that all the team would finish up around the same time - Saturday by 5 pm. The 6 person team was slated to begin at 4:30 pm.

I had the 2nd leg (and the 14th and the 26th) so I was up next. After cheering at the start, we drove over to the next transfer point and waited there.

Once we handed off, I began. It was hot, 85 degrees or more, with no shade. About 30 seconds into my run I developed a headache and knew this was going to be a tough event. Leg 2 was mostly on sidewalks, so I just slowed to a pace that didn't feel miserable.

This leg included a tall bridge over the water. The slope wasn't so bad but the bridge and sidewalk was white so the sun reflection was hot and blinding. Even better, the curve in the road before the bridge was lined with really tall bushes, which cut the breeze so that entire section felt like a dead air humid swamp.

As I ran down the other side of the bridge I could see my team and once I handed off, I walked around and stretched for a bit and drank some gatorade. 4.7 miles in 43 mins, pretty good in the heat and with the bridge!


Exchange
Originally uploaded by klbarrus.

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Google Maps

Google Maps rolled out a new feature where someone can mark and publish a map. So I fiddled around with it and produced a map of my favorite restaurants.

It is nifty; I'll probably add a few more when I get their street addresses.

Monday, April 02, 2007

Taxes

Last year I did my taxes early, but wound up submitting a 1040-X correction because my company sent me a corrected W-2. Something to do with bookeeping as companies merged resulted in accounting errors for many employees. Anyway, the corrected W-2 turned a small refund into a small debt.

This year I decided to file late, just in case the same thing happened. I wouldn't have waited otherwise, but we received some email about how due to the merger we would get two W-2's this time. How long will the ripple effect of Company A buying Company B go on?! It might be a mess especially if both companies kept different fiscal years, but this should be all. Since I received two W-2's I thought there might be a small chance of another correction.

Anyhow, with about two weeks left I figured there wouldn't be any corrections arriving so I went to the store, bought some tax software, and cranked through it. Not too bad - I get a refund of about $600! Maybe I'll put that towards a mountain bike. ;)