This is my life. Sometimes shown through the eye of my camera phone, and sometimes not. I'll talk running, gadgets, music, and whatever else I stumble on to

Sunday, March 30, 2008

I ran. I conquered.

Shamrock Shuffle 8K 3-30-08

The Chicago Shamrock Shuffle 8K is in the books.

I think this is a great start to my racing season.

I beat my old 8K time by nearly 10 minutes! Holy crap was I booking! My Garmin says 41 mins. and my stopwatch says 44. The difference in the Garmin probably has to do with me running through tunnels and losing signals.

Update: Official time is 00:44:23. A new personal best in the 8K.

I was fighting a stitch in my left side for the first 2 miles that got rather intense. It might of had something to do with the half bagel I swallowed just 10 minutes before the start. It cleared up after mile 2 with a healthy shot of Gatorade and water.

Despite the stitch, I felt amazing all the way through. It got cold out rather quickly at the finish, so I had my beer and headed out. The crowds were great. It was quite the experience starting with 20,000 other runners in my field. I even learned a few lessons that will help my other races this year.

Bring on the next one.

You can see a few of the photos on my Flickr page here.

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A little luck of the Irish

Running Log
Race: Shamrock Shuffle 8K
Date: 3-30-08
Distance: 8K (5 miles)
Start: 9:45 a.m.

It's just after 6:30 a.m. as I write this. I hopped the first train out to Chicago at 5:45 even though my start time isn't until 9:45 a.m. The train after this one would arrive in the city around 8:30, and I felt that was pushing it a little- I just rather not rush.

My goals:

-Arrive at gear check at 8 a.m. and meet my group to diddle daddle a bit and eat something.

-8:45: Stretch for 30 minutes and find my start corral (as in cows). Looks like it's near the back of the field.

-9:30: Find the 9 minute-per-mile pace group and line up.

-9:45: Off I go!

Time to beat is 00:54 (8K personal best). Start off at a steady 9 minue pace for the first 3 miles and then up to an 8:20-8:35 pace the last two... Or something like that.

I've prepared for rain, but I've yet to see any. I feel good after a couple of days rest. Anything can happen, but I'm sure going to enjoy myself.

There's a free drink ticket attached to my running bib for the after party.

You better believe I'll need it.

Sent with a Sprint Palm Centro Smartphone

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Saturday, March 29, 2008

Shamrock Shuffle: The Night Before

Ready for the Shamrock Shuffle

Getting my gear ready for the Shamrock Shuffle tomorrow.

The gadget you see laced to my right shoe is a timing chip used by most major races to officially record your start and finish times.

Looks like the weather has cleared up for the morning, and we don't expect rain until Sunday evening, which is great news.

I'll be taking the 5:45 train in, probably take a cab to Grant Park, check in with my running group, and then get in line around 9:15 to start the race near 9:30 a.m. I'm a little nervous, but am excited to hit the pavement to hopefully run my best 8K time.

I hope to post a few photos as the action takes place on my flickr page, and maybe write up a post or two.

Wish me luck!

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Friday, March 28, 2008

Shamrock Shuffle 3 days and counting

My Shamrock Shuffle 2008 running bib

Picked up my race packet today!

I'm really looking forward to my first race of the year this coming Sunday. I'll be joining a sold out field of 30,000 runners for the annual Shamrock Shuffle in Chicago on March 30th!

The distance is 8K, or 5 miles, through the streets of downtown Chicago which include swings through Grand Ave, State st., Jackson Blvd., Michigan Ave., and finishing (also starting) in Grant Park.

See a map of the course here.

I'm looking to best my 8K time at last year's Turkey Trot of 00:53:54. The time of my last training run of 5 miles took 45 minutes, so I feel great about beating my personal record.

The forecast calls for a chance of rain, but I'm going all out because I'm so looking forward to it- and the beers at the after party!

I'm sure I'll do a full report post-race.

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All Zero's Baby!

I absolutely love seeing that zero balance on my only credit card.

Sorry the posts have been a bit scant this week, but I've got a few cooking, including my review of my Palm Centro smartphone.

Thanks for stopping by!


Sunday, March 23, 2008

Happy Easter!

Sent with a Sprint Palm Centro Smartphone


Thursday, March 20, 2008

Coming up for air

Things are starting to quiet down at the office, after spending quite a few days putting the final pieces of the computer network together at my company's new warehouse in Wisconsin. It's my responsibility to make sure everyone's computers and phones are up and running when it's time for business. The stress is a little high, but I'll be happy once the product is moving.

Because of my crazy hours, my training has suffered. The last time I ran was an incredible eight miles last Saturday. That's the furthest I've ever run, and even towards the end, I felt I could keep going. Not only has my training stalled, but my eating patterns have been all over the place.

I hope to get back into the swing of things next week, but I know I'll still be incredibly busy.

I was a little discouraged today after hearing another winter advisory was issued where I live, and expecting 8 to 10 inches tonight and into Friday. I'm so done with this weather. This better be the last time I have to deal with this winter crap!

It's nice to get on here again! I've also started a live video feed using my laptop and webcam- just thought I'd have a little fun with it. I put the feed over there along the right, so check in once in a while to see if I'm live!

'Til next time.

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Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Where I've Been

I've been stuck in this little room for the past few days working in Pleasant Prairie, Wi. (see post below) - hard hat and all.

Not blogging... or running... :-(


Sent with a Sprint Palm Centro Smartphone


Monday, March 10, 2008

Hard Hat Man

It's not too often I get to wear hard hats...they rock.

Checking out the progress of our IT network at our Pleasant Plairie, WI warehouse.

Sent with a Sprint Palm Centro Smartphone

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Friday, March 07, 2008

His and Hers Centro's


Lidia has finally arrived in Geekdom, as she jumps from a plain jane cell phone to her first snazzy smartphone which is none other than the Palm Centro.

Red for her; Black for me.

Palm introduced the Centro to the smartphone market specifically targeted to first-time smartphone buyers like her. For long time Treo users like myself, coming from a Treo 755P, it's not a major upgrade, but the phone didn't fail to get quite a few ooh's and ahh's out of her as she discovered everything it can do.

So the Palm OS is almost 10 years old, blah, blah, blah... but there's no denying that it's easy to use, and with one of the biggest mobile software markets behind it, the phone really shines when it's loaded with useful third party apps. Her favorite so far? The music streaming abilities of Pocket Tunes and products by Splash Data including SplashID and SplashMoney.

As many of you know by reading my blog, I'm training to run the Chicago Marathon this year. And with that comes a lot of travel to Chicago to train with my running group, and to take advantage of the wonderful lakefront path. I'll be taking trains to the city almost every weekend, and I'll need a small, compact phone to take along with me on my runs for safety purposes.

My 755P is just too bulky to take along on a run when I need to tuck it in my jacket or strap it to my hydration belt (runners talk for a strap on belt with water bottles on it). The Centro seems like the perfect size and weight to accomplish this, and I have it filled up with all of the same software I've used on my 755P including Google Maps Mobile, my training schedule, PDF's of my running routes using Documents to Go, links to Metra schedules, important (and secured) personal info, and on and on.

Even with a great free software application like Where Am I, coupled with a portable bluetooth GPS receiver, and Google Maps on the Centro, I can find where I am if I get turned around at the push of a button.

I'll be training with it for the first time on my 8 mile run in the city tomorrow, and I'll post a little feedback soon!

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Thursday, March 06, 2008

Podcast: The Felix Culpa

Interview: The Felix Culpa of Rockford, IL.
Broadcast date: 3/8/07.

One of a few hidden gems found in the "lost" JstreetRadio in-studio recordings, featuring one of the Chicago area's most talented local bands. In this podcast, we're treated by a unique live acoustic set by singer/guitarist Mark.

Visit the official JstreetRadio website to download the MP3 podcast.

Brought to you by Shoot From the Belly - the best in high-impact performance and concert photography for your band!

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Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Sprint Palm Centro: First Impressions

It's my birthday today...

Sprint Palm Centro

... and since I've had another pretty good year on earth, I decided to splurge a bit and treat myself to a new Palm Centro smartphone on Sprint!

I struggled between getting a red one, or a black one, and decided on black because, well, it pretty much matches the rest of my gadgets- and it sure is purdy.

So far so good...

My first impressions:

1. Black is nice and it sparkles!
2. It's fast, and Palm OS just works.
3. All of my software works on it including corporate Exchange sync via Chatteremail. (even though the store said it wouldn't)
4. I can still tether with my laptop for fast internet.
5. Indicator light on front doesn't flash when new voicemail/TXT arrives.
6. Navigation buttons are flush and have no tactile feel.
7. All of my Treo 755P accessories work on it.
8. Volume blows away any other Treo before it.
9. Included Pocket Tunes Deluxe is awesome.
10. Screen is smaller, but still 320x320 high resolution and looks better than my 755P.
11. Size is lighter and smaller. Very pocket friendly.
12. Camera is better.
13. You have to open battery door to access the mini-SD card (blah!)

I'm very impressed so far, and although it's not a major upgrade to my Treo 755P, it does have it's advantages.

More on why I decided to purchase the Centro and some final thoughts in a following post.


Monday, March 03, 2008

Shamrock Shuffle Here I Come

Sunday was a good day.

I put off my 7 mile training run for Sunday along Chicago's lake front path because of the expected warm weather, and boy am I glad I did! It was gorgeous!

To top it off, all of my personal running bests fell to new records.

It didn't start off that way. The first three miles were going better than expected, until I glanced down at my Garmin and saw I was going faster than usual for a 7 miler. I figured I'd have a little fun and see if I can beat my 8K (5 miles) personal best I set at last year's Turkey Trot. After 3.5 miles, I put it in high gear and left my old records in the dust- fastest mile, best 7 miles at 1:06 (old 1:07), and my 8K was done in 00:47! That's six minutes better than my old time. I was a happy guy.

I think my times would have been much faster if I wasn't dodging all of those puddles from the melting snow.

I'll be running my first race of the year at Chicago's Shamrock Shuffle 8K in Grant Park on Sunday, March 30th, and I'm shooting for officially setting that personal best time. The course is designed as a mini Chicago marathon, and the field is capped at 30,000 runners (it's sold out!). I'll be with lots of company for sure.

Here's my training schedule for the week:

Mon: Stretch/Walking
Tue: Weights
Wed: 7 miles hard
Thur: 2 miles
Fri: Rest/Weights
Sat: 8 miles

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Saturday, March 01, 2008

Dinner for two

Wrapping up a nice Saturday night with dinner for two at Big Bowl in Lincolnshire.... which of course includes cheesecake!

Sent with a Sprint Treo 755P Smartphone