Hughes Blog
Thoughts on Software Development, Project Management, Parenting, and Running.
Sunday, June 26, 2005
Sunday Stuff
In spite of taking three days off work last week, I only had today to get stuff done. So here is what I got accomplished today!

First, the Ford Excursion needed an oil change and a new fuel filter. The beast has a 7.3 Turbo Diesel Engine built for school busses by International. It holds 4 gallons of oil, the oil filter is humungous, and the fuel filter costs $25. Total cost of today's maintenance: $70.

On my way back from the auto parts joint, I picked up some fertilizer for the lawn. I have a half acre of Bermuda Grass. It loves 3-1-2 ratio lawn food. When I got home, I fired up the lawn tractor and spread the fertilizer. Then I fired up the sprinkler system to soak the food into the ground.

Fran has been complaining about that the brakes on the lawn tractor were not working. Plus she had ripped the steel ring around the blade housing a while ago. So, it looked like a good time to go to work on the lawn tractor. I drained the oil, the gas, and removed the battery. That allowed me to set the tractor on its rear end. I replaced the blade housing ring and then sharpened the blade. In the process of sharpening the blade, my dremel tool bit the big one. I finished the sharpening procedure by hand with a file (the old fashioned way)! Then I got the air hose and blew out all of the grass on the top of the deck and elsewhere. Then I did the same with the hose. Finally I fixed the brakes. Then I put it all back together.

Well that's all so far. Marissa wants me to jump on the tramp with her, but I don't think that I have the energy.


Saturday, June 25, 2005
Congress Avenue Bats

Wednesday we loaded up the truck and headed to San Antonio for a couple of days of R&R. We hit Austin around dinner time, so I pulled into town for some chow. We dragged the kids to the Spagetti Warehouse which was a good choice for the family. From there we walked across the Congress Avenue Bridge and waited for The Bats. Sure enough right before sunset the bats started swarming out of the bridge. This is one of the most amazing things to see. The bats form a thick cloud as they emerge from the bridge. They kept coming for what seemed like hours! You could see the swarm make a line that was visible far off in the distance, probably a mile or so.

They say that there are 1.5 million bats that live under that bridge. I wonder what the loading effect is on the bridge?

At any rate, if you are ever in Austin during the summer go see the bats.


Saturday, June 18, 2005
Home Improvement
Today I chopped down a very large Bradford Pear Tree. Last fall I pruned this tree back to make more room for the Bur Oak which was adjacent to the Pear tree. The tree did not come back strong this spring. Then it lost most of its leaves. It was doomed.

Fran was kinda pissed off about the whole thing. She sez its her tree since bought it for $10 bucks. I think I planted it. Anyway there are three huge oaks and two big pears and one smaller Pear in the back, so its not that big a loss. In fact I'm pleased, because the Bur Oak will take over the spot previously taken by the pear.

Cutting down the tree was a lot of work. I don't have a chain saw, so I started removing limbs with my hand saw. Fran suggested that I use my circular saw instead - and that worked pretty well. I hacked away at it for an hour or so which filled the back of the pickup, then it was off to the transfer station. I hacked away for another hour or so, when my neighbor asked if I wanted to use his chain saw. So I borrowed that one, hacked off another couple of limbs and took that load to the dump.

Once back from the second dump run and now armed with the chain saw, I felled the rest of the tree. This dude had about a 12 inch diameter. I cut up the remains and cleaned up.

Now the back yard looks bizarre without that tree there. But I think I'll get used to it. The Martins will enjoy the flight line I'm sure.


Sunday, June 12, 2005
3x200
When I got to the track this morning it was pretty clear that I was not fully recovered from Thursday’s practice. My hamstrings were particularly tight!

Anyhow, the goal for the 320 is to run the first turn fast but relaxed, pick up the pace on the backstretch and hold on for dear life around the last turn. I ran 15.69 for the first 100, 15.23 for the backstretch and 15.46 for last turn with 3.77 for the final 20. That’s 50.15 for 320 and 46.38 for the 300. Coach Vaughan was very pleased with the effort and the tactics. I figure that’s about 62 maybe a bit better for the 400.

I took twenty minutes rest before the second 320. Coach Vaughan reinforced the strategy noted above. I hit the first turn running fast and relaxed; I picked it up on the backstretch; and really concentrated on form for the finish. I thought I did well. When I got back to the start coach was yaking with one of the runners. I changed shoes and looked at the splits on my watch. I saw two 16s and realized that I blew it. I walked up to the stands and coach sez, well you went out too slow, the last 100 was the fastest. :-(
My splits were: 16.47, 16.10, 15.56, 3.70 – 300 in 48.13, 320 in 51.83.

In spite fo that, with a couple of days of recovery I should be ready for the 400 meters Tuesday!


Thursday, June 09, 2005
Hot day at the track
Today's workout was 8x150. I don't know exactly how hot it was out there, but McGehee said that the heat index was over 100. It was scorching. Now the good news is that Brooks sent me a buncha stuff that I got on Monday. Two Singlets, shorts, pants, two new pairs of training shoes (Burn) and a new pair of spikes - The Nerve LD. So I was all set - looking good in my new duds and feeling fast with the new spikes.

Coach Vaughan warned me not to go out too fast. Each one needs to be faster than the next. He did not say it, but I also know his rule - two intervals each slower than the previous is grounds for the workout to end.

So...(these are splits for the last 100):

15.55
15.38
14.98
14.70
14.63

So far so good. Now at the point Coach tells me that I am going to have to be running super fast if I keep dropping my times. Joe Vaughan, one my team mates, and no relation to Coach Vaughan added his two cents, something like I was really sandbagging.

13.99

OK now what I heard coach say was 14.99 so I said "oh no" and I am thinking I gotta beat that on this next one, or I wont get to do the last one. The Vaughans both say Oh no is right, cause they figure thats it there cant be anymore gas in the tank. So this next one I just gave it everything.

14.33

I ask Coach was that last one 14.99? He then says no it was 13.99. Ahhh. Ok so one more - nothing to lose. As coach sez, anyone can do one.

14.34

OK that was two slower in a row, so good thing workout was over. Coach Vaughan told me that was a good effort with the last three being the fastest. Excellent.

I did the same workout on May 11 and came up with:

15.1, 15.0, 14.9, 14.6, __, 14.3, 14.4, 14.8

So I think I am clearly stronger today compared to a month ago.

I have 2x320 on Saturday, then the 400 on Tuesday.


Bailed on the 1500
Tuesday I was supposed to run the 1500 at the local All Comers meet. Unfortunately I was buried in work and missed the start of the 1500. But to be honest, Sunday night I was not feeling well, and I was dragging on Monday as well. So I pretty much decided not to over stress my body by running the 1500. That was a good plan as I feel much better today!

Erin was at the meet which is shocking considering that she won the Prefontaine Meet a few days before.


Sunday, June 05, 2005
Erin Wins at the Prefontaine Classic
Erin wins at the Prefontaine Classic!



Saturday, June 04, 2005
2x1000
Tuesday is the 1500. So in preparation for that, today I had 2x1000. Target pace for these is slightly faster than 1500 race pace which comes out to 75 per lap. It was hot and humid this morning and the wind was coming from the east, which was right in my face for the first turn. That kind of set me off balance and try as I might I just did not find a groove. I came through 400 in 79. 79! Acckk. Now I tried to pick up the pace, but that effort only resulted in an 80. Knowing that there was only 200 to go, I kicked it in with a 38. 3:18.99.

Coach Vaughan told me that sometimes with the humidity it is kind of hard to get warmed up. Well my legs felt dead - I don't know about the humidity! Anyway I jogged four laps and did some strides then got ready for the second 1000.

This time I focused on fast turnover and figured even if it killed me, I was going to run at least 75 on the first lap - which I did! But then I followed that up with a 79 and then a 39 for 3:13.77.

Well - it’s in the bag. And hopefully I will be well rested for the 1500 Tuesday!

I followed up practice with a stop at the good Starbucks which lived up to its reputation!


Wednesday, June 01, 2005
The 800 Part 2
As previously noted the plan was to run 2:22. Last night my legs felt pretty dead during warm-ups and strides. I got in a heat where all the liars claimed to run faster than 2:20. So I was a bit concerned that I might finish Dead Ass Last. I choose lane five and when the gun went off, I just tried to maintain a quick turnover. At the 200 I was in second position and coming off the break I was sitting on number ones shoulder. I was moving just a tad faster than he, but not fast enough to gain clear advantage. I had to decide to run the turn on the outside of the lane, slow a bit and drop behind him or pass. I decided to pass and when I did it felt so good I decided, what the hell, and I dropped the hammer. I was all alone when I came through 400 in 68.05. That was a much faster than plan, so I tried to relax a bit. Coming off the third turn I could that the others were catching up. I could feel my shoulders tense up at 500 - not a good sign. I focused on turnover and was still in the lead at 600. With 80 to go the first guy moved by, I tried to pick it up but I had nothing. The next guy came. I think I was third, but it was pretty close. I finished in 2:22.04 with the last lap 73.99. Coach Vaughan said that I should be able to run 69, 71. Anyway you slice it, it was still an improvement from week one!

Update June 10: I finally checked the posted results and I was fifth master, which has been true for each race that I have run this spring!


Dual Monitors
I run a Dual Monitor setup at both work and at home. I have been working on some massive spreadsheets the last couple of days. I am comparing nine projects offered to us by different vendors. I decided that it would really be handy to have an icon on the title bar of each app that I run which allows me to direct that window to one or the other of my monitors. I found an app called UltraMon on MulitpleMonitors.Org. Four Stars. Joe Bob sez check it out.


Marissa Turns Ten
Ten years ago Marissa stubbornly refused to be delivered into this world. Today she stubbornly refuses to do anything that I ask of her!

Happy Birthday to Marissa!



All views expressed in this post and on this blog are my own. None of my comments should be construed to represent the views of others including and not limited to: BMC Software Inc., Corel Corporation, Dun and Bradstreet and AC Nielsen. Copyright Chris Hughes 2004-2012