Hughes Blog
Thoughts on Software Development, Project Management, Parenting, and Running.
Monday, February 28, 2005
Hill Training Week Four
I ran the hill in a personal best time of 44.1 today!


Sunday, February 27, 2005
Hill Training Week Three
I have mentioned several times that I have been running hills to build strength. My Coach, Dr. Robert Vaughan follows the principles advanced by the late, great Arthur Lydiard. Both advocate a strength building phase utilizing hill training. For this part of our training we use Flagpole Hill, which is alleged to be the highest point in Dallas.

Hill Training is built on running the hill in form, which is to say that we bound up the hill, leap up the hill, bicycle up the hill and run up the hill. Between hill sets we jog and do intervals. Each week we do two hill sessions.

Week 1 - 3 hills plus 2x:30 and 1x:60 and 12x:08
Week 2 - 3 hills plus 4x:30 and 2x:60 and 16x:08
Week 3 - 4 hills plus 4x:30 and 2x:60 and 16x:08
Week 4 - 4 hills plus 6x:30 and 3x:60 and 20x:08

In "Running with Lydiard" Lydiard writes:
Try to find a hill 300 meters long and rising at a gradient of about one in three...The best layout is a circuit with a smallish, steep hill for uphill work, a less steep hill for downhill running and flattish areas both top and bottom for speed training and jogging.
Shocking, because that is perfect description of Flagpole Hill!

Last week I completed week 3. The last hill in weeks three and weeks four is a fun on run up the hill. Last year during week three my last hills were run in :56 and :50.5. This past week I nailed them on Monday in 48.2 and then on Thursday in 47.5.

These workouts are really exhausting but hugely beneficial. It is nice to see that my condition appears to be significantly better than last year.

Update Feb 11, 07 - Fixed broken link to RV's Bio

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Reagan Kelley Stern
In preparation for the big ski trip, today we went to Doug And Lynda's ski shop to pick up some gear. I had not anticipated getting much of anything. In spite of that, I found some GREAT CB Pants for $50. Marissa also needed some pants. Logan picked up some gloves. But the big hit of the trip was sunglasses. All four girls nabbed a pair.

Here is Reagan in the pair that she selected (for Four Dollars I might add!):
Reagan Kelley Stern

The resemblance is remarkable, don't you think?
howard stern


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Longhorns 1 - Jesters 1
Marissa plays for The Longhorns. Marissa's team is still a bit of a project, but we really like Coach Ade, who is somewhat notorious in the Dallas Area. Marissa has been playing under Ade since last May, so almost a year. Of course she lost three months with the broken arm.

Today her team played well, but they scored only once and they gave up a dumb goal. So the result was a tie. Marissa was particularly proud of delivering an elbow to the arm of an opposing player that had been pushing her around. Marissa is on the left in the photo below.

McGehee Update
McGehee is surviving his accident from last week. Barely. I gotta give him credit though; he was at practice Monday and Thursday. He showed up at my house at 6:45 yesterday morning as well.

McGehee has some nice abrasions on his hands and knees. And he had a big nasty shiner on his eye. His glasses were totaled. One week after the accident, it was clear that he was in a lot of pain, particularly the abrasions on his hand.

Yesterday we ran the Firewheel loop from my house. The plan was for an 80 minute run. McGehee was claiming to be sore from Thursday's workout at Flagpole Hill (I hope to post a bit about that soon.) Leaving at 6:45 meant that we would encounter the first wave of golfers and risk being kicked off the golf course.

We headed straight to the golf course. We started on hole 6 of the Bridges Championship 9. Then we cut over to hole 17 and 18 of the Lakes course. From here my loop crosses hole 1 for the Lakes course and then hole 1 of the Old Course. There was a group on the tee of the Lakes course so we went around the pavilion to avoid them. No one was teeing off on the Old Course, so that was lucky for us. We crossed number 1 fairway then cruised straight on to the 13th fairway and were home free.

After 13 we jumped into the neighborhoods for a couple of miles before getting back on the golf course at 4 hole of the Traditions course. Here we run backwards down the fourth and third fairways. They never play this 9 whole course, so it is rare that I see any golfers here. But today as we finished the third fairway, there was a group on the second green. So we dumped to the neighborhood and used the brand road bridge over Rowlett Creek rather than the golf course bridge. Two weeks ago we took the low road and the Marshall came by and kicked us off the course right at the number 1 tee. Today as we were on the bridge, we saw the same marshal at the same spot! Good thing that we took the high road!

McGehee started dragging on the rest of the run. But overall, I'd mark it as a successful training mission. I'm logging it as 10.6 miles. Here is my HR profile. My average HR was down this week. I think that is due mostly to cooler weather. Still I was in my training zone for most of the run.


Saturday, February 26, 2005
Andromeda 6 - Fire Angels 2
Today Logan's soccer team scored another convincing victory. The Fire Angels are a tough team. Before the game Coach Don was a bit worried. This team beat us during the winter indoor season. But, this outdoor squad is a better squad. Logan is playing phenomenally well. Like last week she had a nice assist today.

Logan gave up one goal as goalie. She was playing too far up in the box and got beat. I advised her to move back as the play came closer to her goal. For the rest of the quarter in her goal she followed my advice and had several great saves.

One of the Fire Angels played on Logan’s team the last several sessions. Halfway through the game her dad came over with his camera. He told me that he was trying to take some pictures of his daughter, Rebecca, but instead came up with a great one of Logan. Sure enough it was a close shot of Logan driving the ball around Rebecca. He promised to email me the photo...(hang on let me check the mail for a sec...nope not here yet.) I'll post the photo when it comes in.


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When the going gets weird Part 2
So anyone who has been following this blog knows that I am a bit fanatical about Maryland and Vermont Basketball. Maryland is a major program with a big time coach and of course they won the national championship two years ago. Vermont is small time program in a small time conference.

I grew up in Maryland in the DC suburbs watching the Terps. I loved watching Lefty, Len Bias, and the whole slew of great Terrapin players. The ACC is the best conference in basketball. Back then we had Dean Smith and the great Carolina teams and players. It does not get bigger than Jordan. Right? Right. So that's why I love the Terps.

I went to school at UVM so enough said about that!

So today my worlds collided.

UVM announced that they have hired Mike Lonergan to take over for Tom Brennan who is retiring after this season. Lonergan is an assistant coach at Maryland.

How weird is that??

I'm all smiles!

[UPDATE: I just have to include these comments from Lonergan posted on the Terps Web Site. You KNOW this means a UVM-MD game as soon as they can schedule it. Wow!!]

Monday, February 21, 2005
When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro
I just saw the news that Hunter S Thompson died yesterday.

Very sad news.

Sunday, February 20, 2005
Logan's Good Fortune Continues
Logan Good CitizenLogan has been on a role this week. The picture to the left is her Good Citizen of the Month award. The same one that she thought she'd never get!

Yesterday was Logan's first spring soccer game. Last weekend her opening game was canceled. We had a cool day for Soccer yesterday, but still a good day. Logan played a great game. She played very hard and made some great plays on the ball. She was involved in several attacks, and picked up one assist on a play where she drove the ball from mid field to the goal line and then made the pass to her forward who scored.

Logan played keeper for the last quarter. Her team kept the ball pinned in the offensive end of the field. Which caused Logan to sarcastically comment to me, "Hey Dad, the ball is NEVER going to make it down here." A few seconds later, her teammate scored and the kick off nearly went in the goal because Logan was not paying attention! That will teach her!

One of the opposition Dads asked me how old the girls were. I told him that they were all first graders (I think that we have one in Kindergarten too). He said, "wow they are a lot better than our girls." I did not have the heart to tell him that three of them were playing an age group up and that the lot of them played in the second grade division last fall!

The final score was 5 goals to 1 in favor of Logan's Andromeda team. Afterwards Coach Don told Logan that she had the best performance he had ever seen from her. Needless to say Logan was beaming!


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Runner Down
Yesterday morning my RP, McGehee, and I set out for an easy 80 minute loop. We were running the standard route from McGehee’s house. It was a nice morning. It had been threatening to rain, but luckily none materialized. It was overcast and in the 50’s.

McGehee began complaining about the pace when we hit mile two in 7:15 pace. But it wasn’t like I was setting the pace! The next two were 7:10, then a 7:01 and a 7:04. By this time McGehee was cutting the corners supposedly to keep up, but since he was cutting, he was ahead most of the way!! Finally McGehee stopped.

I was ahead at this point, which was a long slow up hill grade. McGehee was staggering around trying to take his pulse. He started towards me, and then announced that his HR was 180! So we jogged up the hill. When we got to SH190, I heard a ‘thwomp’, the unmistakable sound of a body hitting the ground hard. I turned and sure enough, there was McGehee lying on the ground.

I went back and picked up his glasses and helped him up. At his feet was the big chunk of concrete that he apparently tripped over. McGehee was a mess. He was bleeding from his knee, his hand, and his face. But other than that, he was in pretty good shape – no broken bones or anything! We started to walk, and I noticed that more blood was running down his face. On closer inspection it was clear that he was going to have a nice shiner! It was also clear that the wound next to his eye was gapping enough to require professional care.

McGehee was not too happy with my analysis. Several F-Bombs were dropped mixed in with, “I don’t have time for any of that Sh#t.” Well ya know whatever dude!

So with that I took off at tempo pace to get back to his house, get a rag and some ice, the car and then take him to the ER. It’s about a mile and half from SH190 to the McGehee bungalow. I ran the first mile at 6:08. The tempo felt good! I got all the stuff and circled back and got McGehee. Except that the stubborn old cuss would not go to the ER. He insisted that I take him home to get ‘cleaned up’. At first I told him no way, after all he was the one that got knocked on the noggin. But then I relented. I figured Jane, his wife, could talk some sense into him.

So, I only got 70 minutes in, but I had a nice 10 minute tempo!


Later McGehee reported that indeed they fixed the gash at the hospital using the new superglue technique! He also told me that he was trying to punch in the split on his new fancy watch which is what distracted him enough so that he failed to see that big rock in his path! I’ll bet McGehee is sore on Monday when we are supposed to run hills!

Update Aug 09: Moved HR Profile from Geocities to Flickr

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Thursday, February 17, 2005
Murphy's Law
Murphy has been screwing with my project. This is not a surprise as today we had a major project milestone scheduled.

The fun started yesterday, when we made our first attempt to build the software. The first build failed with 42 errors! We build the project every night, and it generally works. Occasionally a few errors. NEVER BEFORE do I recall seeing 42 freaking errors.

Just after the build was started, the guy who is in charge of our build automation tells me that he has to leave the office for a while. I am sure it was when he was on the way out, that Murphy snuck into the building.

So once I tracked down Build-Automation-Guy, he tells me that it looks like Gremlins, and we should just restart it. That's it??? Sheesh. OK. So we restated the build process again.

This time it failed with two real errors. Earlier that day, I had told Build-Automation-Guy about a new dependancy in our project and I had asked him to ensure that it was accounted for in the build. So guess what? Basically, it the errors were a result of this dependency not being taken care of in the correct manner.

So we fix that, and pray. This time it works!! Third times a charm right?? Eight hours later we have the build candidate. We still had to validate that this was the build we wanted to fork over for testing.

The results of our testing were not great. Less than half of the tests worked. Most were impeded due to failures related to support of a popular RDBMS. In spite of those shortcomings we passed along this build to QA to validate.

The end of this story will not be completed until tomorrow. I think that the quality team will choose to work with the build, as we made some surgical fixes to improve support on this certain RDBMS.

Regardless of thier decision, my team now is now backlogged for the next week at least. I hope it is only until next week, as next friday is the NEXT MAJOR MILESTONE!!! Sheesh!

Kids say the funniest things...
As I turned off the highway (The Bush 41) tonight on our way home Reagan Kelley exclaimed, "I know what direction we are going!" Then she pointed and said "straight"! So I said, "east". And she said, "I know that, I have a Calendar at home."

Wednesday, February 16, 2005
Banner week for Logan
Logan is having a banner week. She was selected by her teach as Star Student last week. Today she was picked as Citizen of the Month for her class, something that she told me last week that she would NEVER ACHIEVE. And today she passed her level three math test. This particular test had been dogging Logan for weeks. The last two weeks she missed by one problem. Today she got them all and advanced to four. I quizzed her on the level four problems this evening and she got them all correct!

CATAMOUNT NOTE: The Ski Catamounts won the Dartmouth Winter Carnival this past weekend. Its a good thing because we don't like those Dartmouth people since they stole our Boulder. Also today, the Hoop Catamounts came back from a 13 point half time deficit against Albany on the shoulders of a 26 point effort from TJ Sorrentine. Nice.

So much for July!
Lance is going to go for number 7!

Hurray for Lance!

Hurray for OLN!

And most of all, Hurray for TIVO!!!!

(now I need to clear off my calendar in July so that I can watch 21 days of the tour)...

Nice Day in Dallas
Beautiful - got up to 78 degrees.

The boss moved our staff meeting an hour back from the usual 0800 hours.

That allowed me to sleep in an extra 45 minutes before my eight mile loop at 0630 hours.

It was a crisp ride to work on the motorcycle. I had not been on the bike since before XMAS! Too long.

I hope to get another ride in tomorrow although its only supposed to get up to the upper 50s.

Monday, February 14, 2005
Spring Soccer Season
This weekend represented the start to spring soccer season! Last year it snowed here in Dallas on Valentines Day, which really screwed things up for Soccer. This year was a bit better.

Logan's game was Saturday at 3:00. It started sprinkling about 2pm. I told Logan that I thought that they might cancel her game. She told me that she hoped that was not the case because she wanted to score a goal for me!

We got to Enfield Park in Plano at 2:30 and while it was wet it was not bad. Logan jumped out of the car with her ball and demanded that I attempt to get it from her. Which I could not. I tried hard too. She is pretty good with the ball.

At about 2:45 it started coming down harder. Coach Don told the parents that it was their call about whether to call the game. Don was standing under an umbrella with a whole mess of Logan's teammates huddled under him. He looked at me and instructed me to go over and discuss the issue with the Ref and the other coach - since I was already soaked!

When I walked up the ref asked me what I thought about the rain. I said that I thought we should call the game. The other coach agreed and pointed out that there have been lots of sick kids at school. So the ref called the game - which means that it will be rescheduled at a later date.

Logan and I then went down to Christies to watch the Catamounts!

Marissa's game was Sunday. By Sunday monring the rain had cleared. What was not clear was whether or not the fields were too wet to play on. I called the Frisco hot line and it said, "Today is November 1, all games will be played." Not too long after I made that call, Fran called the hotline. She is the team mom, and had not realized that I called. In that short amount of time they had changed the message to say that the fields were closed. So Fran called all the players to say "game canceled." A couple of minutes after that, one of the mom's called back to say that SHE called the hotline and it said that the Game was back on! And indeed, investigation determined that a third message had made its way to the Frisco Soccer Association Hot line. Sheesh. So we called all the parents back to say that the game was indeed being played.

It was a spectacular day in North Texas, sunny with highs in the 70s. Marissa had a couple of nice attacks and a few shots on goal. However, her team came up short 3 goals to 2.

Any way you slice it, though, opening weekend was much better than last year!

Sunday, February 13, 2005
Beat the Dookies Part 2
The Terps have taken down Duke three times in the last three meetings. How sweet is that?? In fact, of the Dookies last five loses, three have come against The Terps.


What state is Vermont in anyway?
How many UVM alumni do you suppose its possible to get into a room in Dallas Texas? Until yesterday, I figured a couple maybe as many as five. After all your average Texan doesn't even know what state Vermont is in! That's why I was pretty surprised yesterday when I walked into Christies Sports Bar on McKinney and found like 25 alumni gathered to watch the Catamounts take on BU.

Logan and I had a blast watching the game, even thought the Cats came up short. Coppenwrath scored 37 Points!! So that ends a 15 game winning streak for the Cats, which was the second longest in the country after Illinois. As usual The Terriers have thrown down the gauntlet to let Vermont know that the road to THE BIG DANCE will go through BEANTOWN in the America East Tournement this year!

Saturday, February 05, 2005
Do you think I might be a bit TOO competitive??
This past weekend I snapped on my skis for the first time in two years. The company was sponsoring a race at Heavenly. The top 8 spots would represent the company at the celebrity winterfest race in support of the special Olympics of Northern California. In spite of being a bit rusty, I thought there was a reasonable chance that I could make the team. So I signed up!

I arrived at the ski hill in time to get the first tram ride up the mountain. Heavenly is absolutely gorgeous. I hooked up with a guy named John who had a season pass. We did a couple of groomers, but I was bored. I headed to the double blacks.

My first run in Motts was down a gully called “Bill’s”. It was really quite nice. I did a couple of more runs in Motts. I got some freshies in the woods to boot. I discovered that the best snow was all the way at the end of the ridge on the west side of Motts. My last run over there, I fell twice, for the first time. That was the sign I needed to get some lunch.

It was a long flat run back to the California base. I found my teammates and grabbed some lunch. After lunch we headed to the race hill.

It has been at least 20 years since I ran a gate. I took a couple of practice runs, and it felt pretty good. The course was a GS setup. It was a bit icy and there were a couple of big ruts in the middle of the course from whatever racing they were doing in the morning. I ran 27.27 for my first run which was 3 seconds off the pace of the leaders. That time put me right in the middle of the pack as the slowest skiers were running high 30’s. On my second run I tried to keep the skis running more than on the first run. It took a long time for them to announce my time. The called out, “racer 13 31:XX”. Thirty-one? Wow. I was depressed. But then I watched the other racers. The slowest racers and THE GIRLS came through in high 30’s. There was no way I did a 31. I could not stand the thought that those GIRLS beat my time. (This made me realize that no matter how I try to mask it, I really am a bit too competitive!) Anyway, there was only one thing left to do.

I snapped off my skis and stomped up the steps to the scoring table. “Can we help you?” I was trying to find a nice way to say that there was NO WAY IN HELL those girls beat me down the hill. I was having trouble with the words. “Spit it out – what’s up?” So I asked them to check my time for the second run. After a couple of minutes, they acknowledged their mistake. They said that the starter did not realize that number 13 (that’s me) had run a second run. Of course, that begs they question as to why they announced a TIME! They told me that I should go up there are do another run.

I stomped back down steps; snapped on my boards and jumped on the chair for run #2 revisited. I was really jacked up and again tried to keep my skis off edge for most of the run. I posted a 27:07 or so! That was good enough for seven. In fact I was seventh on both runs and seventh combined. I MADE THE A TEAM!

We will take the whole family up to Heavenly for spring break this year and I’ll get to do the race – but next time I’ll have a couple of days to practice! Look out!

Thursday, February 03, 2005
Some Catching up to do
Today I finished the first part of the large software project that I have been working on. As such, I can begin to catch up on some blog entries. So here goes....

It has been raining in North Texas and the back door is showing no signs of leaks.

That dumb Possum has been cleaned up off the side of the road.

I produced 80, that's right 80, PowerPoint slides for two presentations that I delivered over three days. The first one was at HQ in California Friday, and the second one was Monday and Tuesday of this week. Thank heavens those activities are completed.

Terps continue to be Psychotic beating number 2 Duke, then knocking off a ranked Wake Forest Team. Then they loose to Clemson. Clemson? Yup, they lost to Clemson for the first time in eight years. Unreal.

The Catamounts continue to be on a role. They are undefeated in the America East and some are talking like they will earn a spot in the NCAA even if they blow the America East Tourney! ESPN has added Vermont at Nevada as a Bracket Buster game Later this month.

I went skiing this past weekend at Heavenly. I have an interesting story about that which I will publish this weekend.

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