Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Be a Snow Runner

For most of us, it's coming... soon.

Don't dread it, embrace it.

That muffled crunch under your feet as you blaze a fresh trail on newly fallen snow, and the quiet that only comes when there are billions of flakes in the air to dampen the sounds of the world around you, are two unforgettable experiences enjoyed only by snow runners.

Don't let the grown-up world keep you inside. Reconnect with the excitement and wonder you had for snow as a kid. Put it in your mind now: You will run, outside, the first day it snows.

Oh, and mind your step. It can get kinda slickery.

Good running,

PS - Those of you in Arizona, Florida, Southern California, Hawaii, my friends in Grenada, and other snow-deprived folks, I encourage you to seek out a snow run, at least once. In fact, I'm open to a house swap for a week or so, just so you can get a real feel for it. I'd be willing to do that for you. That's just how I am.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Turkeys Ruin Trot for Hundreds

Not everyone enjoyed their Turkey Trot last Thursday.

The Drumstick Dash is a huge turkey trot in the cozy Broadripple neighborhood of Indianapolis. When I say "huge", I mean 17,000 runners and $600,000 dollars raised so Wheeler Mission can continue to feed people. When I say "cozy", I mean it doesn't have nearly enough room for 17,000 runners, let alone parking for their cars.

So, many runners leave their cars in satellite parking lots and take shuttles to the race. After a fun run with friends and/or family and people in pilgrim costumes, some pictures for Facebook, and a banana, they board the shuttle back to the parking area.

You can imagine them all rosy cheeked from the chilly run and full of Thanksgiving cheer, disembarking from the shuttle bus, eager to get home, grab a shower, and belly-up to a feast.

Unfortunately, for hundreds of these runners, their cheer was sapped when they saw that their car had been broken into. Phones, wallets, purses, GPSs... gone.

The problem here is that some people are just turkeys*. These turkeys knew that the cars belonged to Drumstick Dash runners, and that they wouldn't be back for over an hour. So, they proceeded to go all "smash and grab" up and down the rows of cars.

Imagine the fall, from the high of a great run to the shock of broken glass, the violation of your privacy, and the hassle of having to repair the windows, call in your cards, and replace your phone.

Now imagine it happening on Thanksgiving.


I've heard that over 100 cars were broken into. Let that sink in for a moment. 100 cars burglarized in an hour. The race organizers have vowed to improve security at the parking sites, which is great. But really, we need to be smarter. And not just at big races... all the time.

If you take your car to a race, or even a normal run, leave everything you can at home. Everything else goes with you or gets lock in the trunk. If you have a hatch instead of a trunk, cover your stuff up with a towel or blanket. The turkeys want to move fast. They won't waste time on cars unless they are pretty sure they'll get something for the effort. Don't give them any reason to think that there is anything of value in your car.

We want to think there aren't such turkey-ish people out there. There aren't very many, but they do exist, and they want us to forget that they're out there.

Take just a few seconds to secure your stuff, and remind your parking neighbor to do the same. The turkeys will still be turkeys, but if we spread the word and make sure they can't profit off of us, they'll leave us runners alone.

Good running,

*My first draft used a stronger word for these people.  It started with a "D". And ended with "icks". I replaced it with a G-rated word. Though I do feel it's an appropriate description, using it so much kinda crossed the line for the more sensitive readers of DR365.  Feel free to replace it in your head as you read.

For more on the break-ins, go here.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Thanksrunning Day

When I was a kid, I hated Thanksgiving.

Mostly, I hated the food. My baseball mitt was more tender, and less dry, and more flavorful than my grandmother's turkey. The stuffing looked like dog food and smelled like feet.

My grandmother thought Thanksgiving was the perfect time to serve Brussels sprouts. The only dessert was pumpkin pie which I was pretty sure it was some sort of joke parents played on kids... "Let's see if we can get them to eat pumpkin. But how? I know, we'll put it in a pie... Oh, put some marshmallows on it to make it look more like a dessert and less like baby poop! This is going to be hilarious!"

Over time I learned to love Thanksgiving. It helped when I realized that Turkey doesn't have to be cooked into leather, and that green beans go great with mashed potatoes, especially if they've got a three-way going with butter.

It also helped that I discovered the Turkey Trot.

"Turkey Trot" is a generic term for Thanksgiving day runs. They come in all sizes and flavors. You can join a huge, several thousand strong mega-run, like the one I'll be running this year. There are also smaller community trots that offer less-traffic, smaller crowds, and a better chance to get an age group award. Regardless, your local running store, or the internet can find a trot near you.

Why run on Thanksgiving? Good question!

Start of the 2011 Drumstick Dash in Indianapolis

Most people say they run Turkey Trots to put some calories in the bank, a preemptive strike against the mountain of food they imagine they'll be putting down their throat later in the day. And probably again, even later, when the leftovers come back out.

There's also the feeling of superiority you get when news spreads that you ran a race, earlier in the day, and here you are, still breathing and everything. You'll get a mix of reactions, like "That's great! How was it? I should do that next year." (most of your family), or "Oh Honey, Aren't you tired?" (your grandmother or other grandmotherly relatives), or "Couldn't your lungs freeze? I heard about a guy a couple years ago who's lungs froze solid and he fell over dead 17 yards from the finish line." (the Uncle in the trucker hat who brought pork rinds). So, that's entertaining.

For me, running on Thanksgiving is more about celebrating what I am most thankful for.

I'm very happy to have healthy, brilliant, funny, awesome kids, a girlfriend who likes me despite that fact that I'm so... me, family who are always there with unconditional support and hilarious stories, and a dog that is an absolute delight.

However, I'm most thankful that I have a body that supports my brain.

My body has kept my brain fed, warm, moist, and safe for decades. It keeps the thoughts, dreams, feelings, and memories in that brain viable and alive. It safely transports my brain so I can see and hear and smell and feel and experience the world around me. Thanks to my body, I know what my kids look and sound like when they can't stop laughing. I know the taste of great food and the smell of clean laundry. I know the sound of rain, and of crashing surf, and of footsteps muffled from newly fallen snow.

Without our bodies, we don't just stop experiencing amazing things, we stop being.

This Thanksgiving, give thanks for your very own amazing system of muscles and bones, pipes and tubes, inputs and outputs, factories and sensors that keep your brain alive to live and laugh and love.

I'm going to show my thanks to my body by treating it to a run on Thursday morning. If you don't have a local Turkey Trot, or they just don't trip your trigger, you can hold your own Turkey Trot. Just gather some friends, or family, or some of both, on Thursday morning, put your shoes on, and get outside. You don't have to run, walking counts, too. And if it's too cold in the morning, go out after you eat, or at halftime of the football game.You might just find that you like it, and you might just start a new family tradition.

You can also show thanks to your body by showing it respect. It's okay to enjoy your meals, but don't eat like an idiot. Don't drink yourself stupid, either. Be kind to your body, and it will reward you with, you know, life. Treat it like shit, and it will take you down with it.

Remember... you are your own caretaker. You have been put in charge of the body that let's you be you.

Give thanks for your body, and treat it well.

Good running,

Monday, November 12, 2012

Winter Running Season

Well, (sigh)... it happened. This morning.

I was in the car, on the way to the dentist when... it snowed.

Sure, I dropped an F-bomb... but, as a tribute, yeah... in memory of the passing of fall.

But, every new season, even winter, is a new beginning.

In particular, it's the beginning of a new race season.

Given my current state of fitness, I should be putting quotes around "race". And probably around "fitness", too.

That won't keep me from shelling out a few bucks for a good cause and toeing the starting line at some local races, though. Actually, I'll be nowhere near the staring line at the beginning of these races. I'll be "toeing" the middle of the pack. [Last use of "quotes"... promise.]

Winter races are the most fun races of the year in the Midwest. Seriously... stop rolling your eyes... they are a lot of fun.

The people who show up for winter races are there for the run. They aren't training for anything. They aren't trying (in vain) to sweat off a few pounds before a beach vacation. They aren't in full makeup sporting the latest running fashions. All of those folks are on treadmills in a gym somewhere in front of TV screens wearing earbuds.

Winter racers don't care how they look. They don't care how fast they go. They're not geared up for speed, they're layered up for warmth.

If someone shows up for a race when it's really cold and really dark, they're there to run, and to be with, and to some degree commiserate with, their fellow runners. These are our peers. This is our tribe.

The start isn't crowded, and there's no dallying. As runners blow into their cupped hands and pull their hats down over their ears, the starter quickly lists the sponsors and the runners offer thanks with applause that's muffled from gloved hands. The gun is fired, and as the runners roll off, the starter hurries back inside.

Once the runners clear the few, hardy, insanely supportive spectators, it gets quiet.

These runners have been here before. They don't need the nervous release of chatter. They just run.

All you hear is the constant rumble of hundreds of footfalls. Your feet are part of that rumble, though you can't really hear them. As the pack thins and the rumble dies down. Now you can hear your steps.

Sometimes the streets are still snowy. Sometimes you need to watch for ice. Those ahead warn those behind of slick spots, just as they were warned by runners ahead of them.

Soon you forget it's cold, and you just run. And too soon, the finish line appears, flanked by volunteer timers, hunched over, trying to hide inside their coats. The finish area is, thankfully, inside, where runners wear red-cheeked smiles, and the more than occasional smidge of snot peaking out of the corner of a nostril.

The conversation returns as lips regain color and movement, and as friends find each other and compare runs. A few minutes later, you're walking back to your car.

It feels colder now. You were so warm after the run, and during the awards. Your inner layers got damp and that's chilling your skin. Hopefully, the sun has warmed the inside of your car.

Driving home, you pass house after house, knowing that the people in those houses haven't even stepped outside yet.

You've already spent time with good people, your people, out on the roads, and soon you'll warmed by a  shower, with a well-started day ahead of you.

Find a race or two this winter and see what you've been missing.

Good running,

PS - My winter race calendar is posted to the right somewhere under "Upcoming races".
PSS - Sorry about the quotes in the PS.

Image from here, which looks like a fun 5K if you find yourself in the Twin Cities in February, and here, which is a list of winter races in Albuquerque, NM.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Stranded NYCM runners stage impromptu run

What do a bunch of runners do when their marathon is yanked out from under them?

They come together and bitch and moan.

Just kidding. They throw their own run in Central Park.

Please read this. It will make you proud to be a runner, if you are one. If you aren't, you'll probably want to be, or at least admire the indomitable spirit of these runners.

Good running,

Note: I found this via a post at RunBlogger.com

Saturday, November 3, 2012

NYCM gives up the fight

Looks like there was a question in the organizers minds as the NYCM has been cancelled for 2012. (link to a great article about the decision)

From NYRR:
While holding the race would not require diverting resources from the recovery effort, it is clear that it has become the source of controversy and division. We cannot allow a controversy over an athletic event -- even one as meaningful as this -- to distract attention away from all the critically important work that is being done to help New York City recover from the storm. 
Small-minded, short-sided people who fail to see the marathon as an opportunity, but instead use it as a symbol of what they don't have and aren't getting, gave the NYRR no choice, and have taken away a great chance to raise a tremendous amount of money, not to mention goodwill and support, for those who need help.

I do sympathize with those in need. I have given to the American Red Cross. But it bums me out to think that "public outrage" from a vocal few has cancelled the great NYCM.

Not that it helps much, but here is a link to my essay on why the NYCM should have been run, written just after it was decided it was on for sure, and just before it was cancelled. (Please forgive the redundant "Update" at the head of the article.)

Good running,

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Sandy can't stop NYCM

[Update: Looks like there was a question in the organizers minds as the NYCM has been cancelled for 2012. (link to a great article about the decision)

From NYRR:
While holding the race would not require diverting resources from the recovery effort, it is clear that it has become the source of controversy and division. We cannot allow a controversy over an athletic event -- even one as meaningful as this -- to distract attention away from all the critically important work that is being done to help New York City recover from the storm. 
Small-minded, short-sided people who fail to see the marathon as an opportunity, but instead use it as a symbol of what they don't have and aren't getting, gave the NYRR no choice, and have taken away a great chance to raise a tremendous amount of money, not to mention goodwill and support, for those who need help.

I do sympathize with those in need. I have given to the American Red Cross. But it bums me out to think that "public outrage" from a vocal few has cancelled the great NYCM.

Not that it helps much, but below is my essay on why the NYCM should have been run, written just after it was decided it was on for sure, and just before it was cancelled. - Doug]

There really wasn't any question in my mind. The New York City Marathon had to take place, hurricane or no hurricane.

The NYCM is more than a marathon. It's a celebration of life. It's a celebration of running. But mostly, it's a celebration of New York City.

There was talk that running NYCM less than a week after hurricane Sandy slammed Lower Manhattan and New Jersey with a right hook was crass, insensitive, in bad taste. I'm pretty sure that the people saying that have never run NYCM, or stood along the sidewalk to experience it firsthand.

The people of New York City embrace the marathon like no other people in the world. The marathon course goes through all 5 boroughs of New York City, and each borough, each neighborhood, wants to show their support, and their pride. And boy do they come out, millions of them, seriously... millions, standing 10 deep in some places, to cheer on people they don't know, to represent New York for the 47,000 people who will run by. And after the race, they treat you like royalty. In restaurants, on the subway, in line for a show, strangers greet you with smiles, ask if you had a good race, ask if you're enjoying your time in the city, like the proud host of any great party.

New Yorkers love their marathon. Taking it away from them when, I imagine, they could really use a break from the non-stop reporting of sand, flooded tunnels, and dangling cranes, would be wrong, and a little cruel.

I even saw a suggestion that the food for the runners should be donated to those in need from the storm. Not to be indelicate here, but that's being reactionary and just plain stupid. Bagels, and bananas, and Gatorade for 47,000 runners is not what those who lost their homes need. Those folks need cash. Same for the Red Cross.

Thankfully, the amazing folks at New York Road Runners aren't stupid. They understand that New York City is not only the greatest city in the world, but also the toughest, the most resilient.

They also know that runners are the best people in the world.

Having 47,000 runners in one place, a place that is special to them because they have been planning and training for months to run through it, is an opportunity to help those runners find a way to give back to the city and the people who make the New York City Marathon the best marathon experience in the world. The focus of the organizers, after the safety of the runners and volunteers, is to "establish ways for everyone to support the relief efforts through charitable donations."

The marathon isn't going to clean up the mess from Sandy. When the race is over, things won't magically be all better. But it is going to give those actually living the disaster a break, and a reminder of how great their city is, and what it means to be a New Yorker. It's going to show the world that even a perfect storm can't stop New York City. And it's also going to raise a lot of money and get it to the people who can do the most good with it.

That's a hell of a lot better than 250,000 bagels.

Please consider donating to the American Red Cross.

Good running,

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Surrendering to reality

A big part of growing up is accepting things, surrendering to reality.

Some people never give in, and instead figuratively beat their against the virtual wall, perpetually amazed that the world doesn't run by their rules.

Others recognize when there isn't a fight to fight, accept, adapt, and move on.

For example, some bits of reality I've recently surrendered to:

  • I love her endlessly, but my daughter will not thank me, for anything, unless I make her.
  • My dog doesn't hear a word I say, or yell, if there are squirrels involved.
  • No matter how big they are, hard drives fill up.
  • You can't change someone's opinion if they have no desire to change their mind.
  • If my back/hips are tight, or causing me pain, it's my own damn fault.

I want to expand on that last one a bit.

Faithful readers of DR365 are likely sick of hearing me moan about how I can't run like I want to anymore. I've spent years blaming my aches and pains and slow times on getting old.

The cold reality is that I am older, but I can live and run pain free if I just do what I know I should do.

I have a series of stretches and exercises that I've collected over the last few years of treatment/therapy from a variety of sources. As I'd learn each of these, I'd do them for awhile, and they'd help to some extent. Once I was feeling a little better, I'd declare myself "fixed" and stop doing them.

Lately I decided to take the best of the lot and make them into a series. If I do the series, which takes about 45 minutes, every day, I feel like a 28-year old rock star. If I don't, that rock star ages quickly.

Eventually, after a couple weeks, it dawned on me. If I'm going to continue to run, I need to do this series, every day, for the rest of my life.

It took me a while, but now I get it. And now it's part of my reality, and I'm cool with that. Even better, I've stopped worrying about it... stopped fighting it.

Look at your life, really observe it, and face up to the reality that you've been ignoring.

Good running,

Comment topic: What one thing that you know you should be doing are you not doing?

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Usain Bolt vs. Kirani James

Usain Bolt is amazing. And I don't use that word lightly.

The Jamaican super star Bolt is unimaginably fast. At 25 years old, he's the first to win both the Olympic 100M and 200M in consecutive olympics. And he's already the favorite for 2016. On the biggest stage, he wins not by inches, but yards, demoralizing the world's other fastest humans. He is in a class by himself. He is aguably the most famous athlete alive.

Kirani James is also famous... in Grenada. James runs for the tiny island nation most of us only know for Ronald Reagan's cute little "Look at me, I'm a tough guy" war. But to James, it's home.

And this week, James did his nation proud with its first ever Olympic medal when he won the 400M Olympic gold medal.

When Bolt wins a big race, as he did twice this week, he strikes his made-for-TV-and-print-media "Bolt" pose. Along with being perhaps the greatest sprinter ever, he is a showman.

When James won his 400M semi-final, he didn't pose. He didn't seek the cameras. He didn't think of himself. He sought out and swapped numbers with another runner in the semi-final, one who didn't advance to the final, Oscar Pistorious. It was a simple, human, symbolic gesture, a showing of  unparalleled sportsmanship, and a very public sign of respect, one athlete to another, for the first double-amputee to compete in the "regular" olympics. (My post about the also amazing Oscar).

Before every race, Bolt mugs for the cameras and crowd, does an admittedly cool shimmy dance move, and ceremoniously wipes the sweat from his scalp, and flicks it from his brow.

Before his races, James kisses the symbol of Grenada on his singlet, drawing attention to his nation, not himself.

Bolt says he wants to be known as a "legend". He wants people to watch him race, turn off their TV, and say "Wow." He's probably accomplished those goals.

James says he wants to bring attention and prosperity to his nation. Born in  Grenada , training in America, he could have changed citizenship and run for the USA, the usually dominate force in the 400, and likely turned his Gold Medal into a big pile of dollars. Instead, he chose to run for Grenada because, he says, a medal for that tiny nation would mean more to them, and could do more good there.

When asked for an autograph by an NBC TV crew member for her daughter James wrote, "Dear Susan, your mother is very proud of you. Kirani James". He's 19.

Something tells me, given the same circumstances, Usain Bolt would not have written that.

The 2012 London Olympic games will forever be linked to the performance of Usain Bolt, who is a tremendous, once-in-a-lifetime athlete.

But I will always remember, and will remind my children of, Kirani James, a tremendous, once-in-a-lifetime person who also happens to run wicked fast 400.

Good running,

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Joe Kendrick

We lost one of our own this week, Joe Kendrick.

Joe was a runner.

He was also a member of Back on My Feet, which faithful readers know I am a supporter of and volunteer for. (If you didn't know that, read my BoMF story here.) Back on My Feet uses running as the foundation of a program to help people who have become homeless, and who are often also fighting addiction, to reestablish their lives.

I met Joe a few months ago, just after hearing his "story". Hearing what he'd been through, where he'd come from, and seeing the man he'd become made his warmth and genuine care for everyone he met startling, and wonderful. And knowing the amazing man that had emerged from that layer of homelessness and addiction, I shutter to think of how he might have died had he not been given a chance to shed that unnatural layer.

As sad as it is to lose a good person, it warms my heart to know that Joe died in his sleep, naturally, clean, sober, in a bed, his head on a pillow, in his own apartment.

He also died knowing that he had friends who cared deeply for him, loved him, and who were inspired by him.

I encourage you to read more about Joe here.

I also encourage you to consider a donation to Back on My Feet so that they can continue to help good men like Joe... well... I guess to help them get back on their feet.

Good running,

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Treadmill inventor dies

His name was William Staub. He was 96.

And he was on one of his abominations, I mean machines, just 2 months before he died.

Familiar readers know how I personally feel about treadmills. (Read it here).  But on my run today, I spent some time reflecting on Mr. Staub's creation, and I decided that it has it's place.

Treadmills are most useful when you are injured, or just starting your running life. At those times, fear of being unable to continue and far from home can keep you from running at all. A treadmill let's you test the waters without leaving the safety of the beach. And for that, we should thank William... though it's actually too late to literally thank him, since he's dead, but you know what I mean.

Where treadmills turn less good is when they become a habitual safe haven. To fully experience being a runner, to get the full benefit, you have to venture outside. You have to experience the world in all its glory and goo. You have to face your fears. And by overcoming your fears, you see what you're really made of.

In fact, I faced a fear, on the very same run... my biggest fear... a snake.

I have an unnatural, innate, unreasonable, uncontrollable fear of snakes. Snakes completely and utterly freak me out. Seriously, I totally lose control. I scream. I run away, all high stepping and kicking my feet. It's hilarious to everyone but me. To me, it is akin to sitting on a live wire in a wet bathing suit.

I saw the little rope of evil half curled at the edge of the trial just as I was passing it, too late to turn around. After 20 seconds of freak-out and hyperventilating, I concluded that the snake was dead, likely vanquished by a valiant eagle, or hawk, or some other bad-ass bird who'd swooped it up, bit off its head, and let the rest fall to the ground as a warning to the other slithering vermin.

Knowing that I'd have to retrace this bit of trail on my return to the office, and that seeing the snake again, even knowing it was dead, would send me into another fit, I moved a stick across the trail 10 yards or so up trail from the corpse so I'd have some warning and I'd know to look for it.

Surviving my greatest fear, I went about my run, feeling more than a little proud of myself. When I'd made the turn back and returned to what looked like that stretch near the snake, I kept an eye out for the stick, sure it was just around the next corner, or the next, or the next.

When the stick didn't appear, a new fear crept in... someone must have come in behind me and moved the stick! Now I was looking franticly for the stick AND the dead snake. The anxiety soared. I wanted to run fast to out run the fear and to just get out of the woods, but I didn't dare run fast toward the snake.

After a couple hundred yards that seemed like 2 miles, I saw the stick, right where I'd left it, straddling the trail, sounding its silent alarm of dead but still startling ickiness ahead. I took a deep breath, moved to the far side of the trail, kept one eye on the trail (the last thing I wanted to do was trip and fall and land face-to-face with a dead snake) and one eye one the sna- "Holy F'in Mother of Reptilian Resurrection! It's gone!!"

It had moved. The dead snake wasn't dead. In an instant I was rocketing out of the woods, scanning left right left right for the slithering evil, and trying to keep at bay the realization that just a few minutes before I'd run by a live snake. It was a blur of adrenaline and emotion and sweat pouring down my face.

Obviously, I survived. Of course I survived. The snake didn't rattle. It didn't strike out at me. It didn't even move when I saw it. Hell, I thought it was dead! It had no interest in me. I ran right by it on the way out. I've probably run right by it a dozen times this summer, and a dozen others deeper into the woods. And I've lived to tell the tale. As I cooled off, I shook my head, laughing at myself the way you'd laugh at how scared you'd been just moments ago as you exit a horror movie.

Still, for the next few runs in the woods, I'm sure I'll be looking for that snake. I'll be a little anxious as I'm winding along that brown ribbon in the relative cool of the deep shade. And every time I venture out into those woods, face that fear and survive, I'll know myself, and what I'm capable of, just a bit better.

Treadmills have their place, but outside of that limited usefulness, they are enablers. They support our fears of heat, rain, cold, snow, dirt, distance, hills, stares, laughter, remarks, and snakes. Treadmills are safe. But safe doesn't get your heart pounding. Safe doesn't give you practice controling out-of-control emotions. Safe doesn't test your limits, real or imagined. Safe wants to keep you right where you are.

Challenge yourself. Be suspicious of safe. Step off of the treadmill, literal, figurative, or both, and experience the uncertain excitement of the real world.

Good running,

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Oscar Pistorius: Blade Runner, Olympian

Oscar Pistorius has no legs. Well, no lower legs. Yet, he will be running the 400m in the 2012 Olympics in London.

I am NOT making this up.
Photo from CBCSports

Since he was 11 months old, Oscar's been a double-amputee... right below the knee.

But he's one of us, a runner, thanks to some technology (Flex-Foot Cheetahs by Ossur), and a hell of a lot of courage, hard work, and more courage. He used to prefer rugby to running, only trying track and field to rehab from an injury, but we won't hold that against him.

And now, just last week, he was named to the South African Olympic team. I'm talking about the REAL Olympics, not the Paralympics for people with no legs or nor arms or whatever, though he'll run those too, and I'm guessing collect some nice hardware.

As Oscar's times have fallen, the controversy over his carbon-fiber feet has risen. The IAAF (the grand-poobah of track and field) even ruled him ineligible at first, saying the technology gave him an advantage over flesh and blood and bone.

That is ridiculously retarded.

I'd like to see any member of the IAAF spend 15 minutes enduring the pain and discomfort that amputees face every day with prosthetics. Advantage? Don't be stupid. Oscar doesn't just live with that, but he runs and trains and races like a, well like an Olympian!

You wanna know how to tell if that technology makes people faster? It'll be when able bodied runners lop off their human legs for some carbon-fiber.

I am not kidding.

Athletes at all levels, but especially at the top of their sport, have proven time and again that they will sacrifice their bodies, their future, for a few tenths of a second. They've blood-doped, juiced up on hormones and steroids, even endured sex changes, just to be closer to the top of their sport. If there's evidence that carbon-fiber ankles and feet will get them an Olympic Medal, one of these fools will trade-up and spend their winter rehabbing, relearning to walk, and run, and inventing a story about getting both legs caught in a bear trap.

Photo from BBC

Until that happens, we will cheer, and admire, and marvel at Oscar, the Blade Runner, because... well look at him, he's running the 400m, IN THE OLYMPICS, with artificial legs! Those legs are no advantage. They're just a tool that let him demonstrate his strength, speed, determination, and courage, Amazing!

Oh, and next time you think you can't suffer through a run, think about Oscar Pistorius. That oughta shame you into lacing up.

Good running,

Monday, June 11, 2012

TechEd 2012

Dear DR365 readers, I've been asked by my benevolent employer to blog about my time at TechEd conference, an annual gathering of geeks, proudly celebrating their geekness and everything Microsoft. Assuming that my post will be screened and edited by several nervous marketing types, I thought I'd post it here in it's unadulterated form. The otherwise adulterated form can be seen here.

And... action!

Greetings from TechEd 2012. I'm your faithful blogger Doug White, Product Manager for Double-Take Availability for Windows and designated conference representative, reporting direct from Day One of the TechExpo, the trade show floor of Microsoft's annual geek-a-palooza.

My goal is to give you an inside look at what it's like to work at a high-class booth at the biggest Microsoft show of the year. For Vision Solutions, this is the biggest event in the history of the Double-Take brand. Not only are we launching Double-Take 6.0, the biggest, baddest, and bestest release in the storied history of Double-Take, but we're also bringing back the awesomeness that is the Double-Take TechEd party, with the new company band, Double-Vision. After a couple years in hibernation, the band is reborn, the product is evolved, and the swagger of Double-Take is back.

But enough hype, let's take a look at TechEd 2012...

It's a beautiful day at the OCCC,
which I think stands for Orlando Conference Center... C-something.

How does one celebrate 20 years of TechEd?

Apparently by standing in line.

Ok, TechEd is just about the best run conference on the planet, but I gotta point out the ludicrousness, or maybe it's "ludacrity", of one reeeealy long line for one station (expo only registrants), while all of the other stations were empty.

After standing in line, I went straight to standing in a semi-circle...

Obligatory pre-show meeting

"White shirts? Check! Black pants? Double-Check!! One, two, three QUALITY LEADS!!!"

The following is not our booth...
IT folks will stand in really long line for the slightest chance to win anything.
This is a fact that some vendors exploit, to the extreme.

Seriously, you're giving a way a Ducati?
(Thanks, again AvePoint.)

Wow, lunch time already? Sweet! Let's see what they've... oh, my...

Rubber chicken and beef-ish leather. I'll eat the noodles and veggies.

At TechEd, there are so many vendors, it takes a lot to stand out.

Some turn their employees into walking demo stations.

Some go to extremes to draw attention to themselves,
like bringing in jugglers

or if that doesn't work, a guy in a straight jacket on a unicycle.

Meanwhile, more self-assured companies use the opportunity of such a gathering to offer a service to their customers, current and future...

The seats on this bus have been sanitized for your protection by...

Vision Solutions, and Double-Take 6.0...
Keeping TechEd Cootie Free!

Hey look, someone finally found a good use for a Segway


The first day of booth duty at TechEd includes, thankfully, an afternoon break. I spent my break poolside...

No poolside beers were harmed in the taking of this photo.

But breaks are for the weak. In no time, it was back to the show floor for the mob that comes with the Microsoft reception, featuring free food and adult beverages.... hence the mob.

See, told ya... mob, and free food, in a big ol' wok.

Look! Hors d'oeuvres!
I did a Mini-Tart shooter, thank you very much.

Did I mention it is the 20th TechEd? Well, it's quite the deal. For the booze-fest, I mean "reception", they wheeled out huge cake, at least 8 feet long. Seriously... look...

Uh, no... my finger's not in the icing...

... much!  

The reception brings out all the geeks, and the longest lines are for... guess...

Food? Nope.

Beer? Nuh-uh.

A 15 second conversation with a booth babe? Wrong again.

No, the longest lines are for autographs... from the authors of a book on Microsoft SQL Server.

I am not making this up.
The line snakes around the corner and down the aisle.

So, it's not surprising that the show floor looks like this...

All guys, far as the eye can see, most with backpacks and untucked shirts

And sometimes you see something you wish you hadn't...

Drawers at half-mast.

The busiest booth, that wasn't dangling shiny objects in the geeks faces, was our booth.

Some of the lucky ones who scored passes to the Double-Take Evolution Experience party.

The rebirth of the band and the party brought many hundreds to see us, and to talk about real-time replication, and to register for the gig. In fact, there were so many, that the party has reached capacity. As popular as past Double-Take parties have been, we've never filled it up on the first night. I suspect Wednesday night will be epic. Sorry for those who will be missing out. Next year, come see us first thing.

After many great conversations with customers, and others just interested in learning more about keeping their data safe, the lights went down, and they kicked us out of the hall.

Before we left, we built a small memorial to the night's effort...

I call it "Tower of crappy beer".

Shuttle bus back to the hotel and down I sat to write my blog post... is what didn't happen.

What did happened was I changed out of my booth duds and crossed the street, with a plan to decompress from a day full of replication chit-chat.

My girlfriend and I, always looking out for an unusually good time, decided on a whim to take the mostly hidden elevator to BB King's blues bar. I loves me a good blues bar.

Turned out that the mostly hidden elevator is so well hidden that the staff of BB King's forgot to exclude it from entry with one of those velvet ropes. Before we knew it, we'd crashed a private party. So, of course, we excused ourselves and made for the exit.

No we didn't. We helped ourselves to some delicious BBQ ribs, fried chicken, and tequila.


And thank you, Schneider Electric!

And on the way back to the hotel, just for good measure...

I defiled the fountain in Orlando Pointe*

For those at TechEd 2012, stop by booth 2223 and say "Yo!" For those playing along at home, sorry you're not here. Start building your rationalizations, I mean business case, for attending TechEd 2013.

Geek on!

*For those unfamiliar, I have a thing for getting into fountains. It's harmless fun.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Review: Tap 'N' Run

I'm not sure I can explain the corrolation between runners and beer, but the evidence is there.

From the great tradition of Hash House Harriers ("a drinking club with a running problem"), to the Brew Mile races here in Indy and Louisville, to club runs that start and end the local pub, to coolers at the end of the trail for post-run carb replenishment, runners appear to have an above average taste for beer... after the run.

But what about during the run?

Certainly not, right? Who would want to drink beer in the middle of a run?

Oh, I don't know... me! And my running buddy Scott. And 2500 other people with questionable decision making skills.

That was what drew all of us to the city's first Tap 'N' Run, a 4K race that includes 4 beer stops. I am not making this up.

This is NOT a water stop.

You chug a beer before you cross the starting line. Then, roughly every kilometer (0.6-ish miles) there's another beer stop. Enter the Beer Chug zone, drink your beer, get back to running. The chugs are 4 oz, which is manageable, and it's good beer from Goose Island, which is critical since the chugs get kinda warm sitting in the sun. If you don't cheat, you'll have consumed a pint of craft beer during the run. And bonus, you'll also have burned off the calories from said beer, all in 4K.

1K Beer Chug station

So that's the run. Crazy, right? You don't know the half of it.

There's also a mustache contest that spawned dozens of 70's porn-star shaves. There's a short-shorts contest that produced way too many guys wearing way too revealing Daisy Duke cut-offs. And well over half of the runners were in costume. And we're talking about plain old Halloween recycling, there were beer-centric costumes...

We're all here for the beer, sister.

Like a carrot dangled in front of a mule,
a Bud kept this girl moving forward

Lederhosen? This is a beer run, not a beer garden!

and some rather adult-themed puns...

I wouldn't recommend rubbing Aladdin's lamp.

and some that were just wrong....
American Gladiators Lives!
But why?

and these two handsome bastards who went meta-costume, masquerading as guys too cool to dress up.

The costumes, the short distance, the absurdity or beer stops, and the 5:00pm start in Broadripple which provides ample opportunity for pre-race liquid carbo-loading, made for a festival type atmosphere.

Mass toast before the starting chug.

The course? Pretty boring. The jaw-dropping day-of cost of $46 was bordering on extortion. T-shirt isn't horrible. And the medal doubles as a bottle opener. Yes, you get a medal... for a 4K... I assume it's meant to be ironic.

Best fill-in-the-blank I saw was
"Beer makes me smrt."

Scott and I savored the event, meaning we wee slow. More jogged than ran. We did, though, pass dozens of our fellow "competitors" in the beer zones. Apparently the faster runners were less skilled chuggers. We proclaimed ourselves the unofficial winners.

Victory goes to those who are audacious enough to claim it.

The good folks at Jam Active have put on these hilarious, and fairly ridiculous, and totally fun events in several cities. If they come to your town, and you don't mind the pricey entry fee for a 4K, and you're pretty sure you can stomach a pint during a run without booting it, I highly recommend jumping into a Tap 'N' Run.

Good running,