Hughes Blog
Thoughts on Software Development, Project Management, Parenting, and Running.
Thursday, May 31, 2007
Off to France
As part of my new gig, I have been asked to spend next week in Aix-en-provence which is near Marseilles. This is certainly WAY better than heading to Pune India. But its a whipping all the same. I am not looking forward to 9 hours in the 777 and then a 6 hour layover at Gatwick. And I know that this trip has the potential to destroy my training.

Family Day at the Track
Tuesday was an interesting day. I had planned to go to the track to run the mile in the All Comers Track Meet. Because it had been raining, none of the girls had soccer practice. So I had Fran drag them to the track, where I figured at a minimum they could run the 4x100 relay.

Indeed the girls turned up and I got them organized to the the 4x100. Don Lucas found a kid to run the anchor leg, since Fran has refused to conceive the fourth member of my relay team.

After the relay while I was warming up for the mile, Reagan spotted the high jump pit. Reagan and Logan both decided to try their luck at the high jump.

Then I ran the mile. BTW - this is a real mile on the track - not a cheesy 1600. Now this is the first pure running race (ie excluding Triathalon) that I had run in two years. TWO YEARS! Coach Vaughan had predicted a sub 5:05 mile. I Heated up in the group that was going to run between 5:00 and 5:15. Also in my group was my man James. James is at least 10 years younger than me. And he has more natural talent. So I figured one option was to have him pull me through. In the first lap we were pretty boxed in, I ran 77.27, slower than I had hoped, but not bad, because I was really relaxed and with crowd there was not much I could do. Lap two came in 2:34.06 (76:89) - still boxed in but faster. James had pushed to the front in Lap two and as we came through 800 most of the girls dropped. I think there was one guy that moved in front of James at 900 meters and there was one girl that I moved in front of at 1000 meters. I pressed a lot harder on the third lap and came through in 3:50.89 (76:83). James and the other guy opened up on me in the last lap. With 70 meters to go one of the young girls passed me. I brought it home in 5:08.50 (77.61). Not a bad effort really and I wound up second masters.

Next up was the 100 meter dash, and all the kids wanted a piece of that action. Reagan ran the first heat in 20.3. Logan ran the second heat in 19.6. I did not get Marissa's time on the third race.

The next event was the 400 meter dash and all of the kids wanted to run the 400. Logan and Reagan ran in the first heat. Logan ran 1:41.7. Reagan ran 2:02 flat. Marissa ran in the second heat. She recorded 81.1.

The next event was the 800 meter dash. Now in the most gutsy move of the night, Reagan, my 7 year old and the youngest and most feisty of the crew, decided that she would run the 800. Marissa and Logan both went out hard in the quarter and were hurting at the end. Both sensibly decided to call it a night at that point. Not Reagan. But, after 250 meters she looked at me started to choke back the tears. "Daddy, can I stop?" I picked her up and gave her a big hug. What a nut.

Everyone had fun and it was a great night to run. Hopefully we can do it again!

Monday, May 28, 2007
Saturday I did a nest check on the Martins. The the ASY (Adult - means "after second year") pairs were all doing great. But the SY (Sub-adult) pair had two eggs down from four. That meant that a sparrow had likely invaded the nest.

I got out the gun, and nailed a female. I think it was a female. I was aiming at a male, but he fell in my neighbors yard. I think my neighbor picked it up. He may not be too happy with me. But anyway, I could not identify the bird. That said, the male, the one that killed the eggs, sat on the house for two days trying to attract a new female - which is why I think it must have been the original female that I killed. Drats. Sunday, I bagged a male, but not the male.

Today I notice more Martin eggs on the rocks under the house. So I did another nest check and that Sparrow got the rest of the subbies eggs. This is war.

The good news is that one of the adult pair hatched two babies! :-)

Workout Notes Week Ending May 27
The week got off to a slow start. I had a nice interval session on Monday. Tuesday I had to fly to Austin which shot the whole day. Wednesday, I did a 8x:150 track session with 100s in the 15 and 16. That is kinda disappointing considering I used to be able to run the 400 in sub :60. Thursday no one turned up at the pool for our swim group. So I did one of my old favorites. Friday it was raining but not too hard so I had a nice 8 miler on the usual route. It felt very good. Saturday I got up to meet coach Vaughan at SMU. It had been three years to the day since I done the 1000-300, 700-200 workout. On May 29, 04 I recorded: 1000 - 3:09.28, 300 - 53.16, 700 - 2:07.23, 200 - 32.98. Saturday I was faster in 1000, and I did not fade badly. Coach Vaughan indicated that I should be able to run the mile on Tuesday in under 5:05. Not a bad day at the track. Sunday I waited all day for the stupid rain to stop so I could get on the bike. When it looked like that was not gonna happen, I went to the gym and did an hour on the lifecycle. It had been a long time since I had done the lifecycle, and I was able to get it to level 14 and keep my cadence above 100. Previously I would only be able to get it to 12 and keep my turnover up. So it would seem that I am getting stronger!

Monday May 21 - 8x:90 (:90) - 9.0 miles

Tuesday May 22 - Nothing...Day trip to Austin.

Wednesday May 23 - Track Williams HS 8x150. 6.75 miles(100 splits, 250 jog)16.5, 16.0, 16.7, 15.5, 15.3, NT, 15.9, 15.4.

Thursday May 24 - 500WU, 500, 400, 300, 200, 100, 4x50 on 60, 4x50 stroke on 75. 100 - 2500

Friday May 25 - 8 Mile run in the rain. 63:00

Saturday May 26 - Track 1000-300, 700-200. 7.2 miles SMU. 1000 - 35.8, 72.3(36.5), 1:50.4(38.1), 2:29.2 (38.8), 3:08.4 (39.2). (:63 rest). 300 - 17.8, 36.6(18.8), 55.2(18.4); (20 minutes recovery with mile jog) 700 - 36.7, 73.7 (37.0), 1:51.1(37.4), 2:09.2 (18.1). (:61 rest). 200 - 16.6, 33.6(17.0).

Sunday May 27 - 20.4 miles Lifecycle. Level 14, keep CAD above 100; :60 ride time.

Total for the week:
Run - 31 Miles
Bike - 20.4 Miles
Swim - 2500 Meters

Total for the month:
Run - 112.5 Miles
Bike - 136.8 Miles
Swim - 17950 Meters

Sunday, May 27, 2007
The Lake is Full
Today for the first time in years, the Lake Lavon water level reach 492 feet meaning that sucker is full! The water level has risen steadily since January when it was 16 feet below the current lake levels. And its still raining.

Sunday, May 20, 2007
2007 Martins
Last year we had two pairs of Martins and they raised 10 fledge. This year, both pairs came back and we also attracted a new sub-adult pair. Between the three pairs, we are sitting on 14 eggs - 6, 4 and 4 to each pair.

The males are also doing a great job at keeping the Sparrows away! I see them regularly assaulting the male sparrows that are trying to nest in the house.

As always, the Martins are singing up a storm in the mornings. What a joy to have them around.



Logan Soccer Update
It was back to the soccer field today for more 3v3 action. In bracket play Logan's team had a 2 wins a loss and a draw. The team that they tied had lost to the same team we lost to, and beat one of the other two teams we had beat. But their fourth game was this morning. Assuming that they won that game we would be tied in the bracket for second place. This is important since the top two teams advance in the winners bracket, where there are four spots available to go to the regionals. In the losers bracket there is only one more spot available for regionals. Also, the winners bracket is double elimination, while the losers bracket is single elimination.

It turns out that the we did finished tied, but the other team had a better goal differential so they advanced to the winners bracket and we had to contend in the losers bracket.

On our way to the field this morning Logan was real mopey and had been complaining of a headache. Well that should have been a clue, because about half way there, she threw up all over herself.

I believe that she had a migraine and after throwing up, she seemed to be feeling better. I changed her shirt and we proceeded to the game to see what would happen next.

At the field we washed her shorts and she continued to report feeling better. I got her to the game just as it started. Logan sat for the first five minutes or so, then Coach Steven sent her on. There was no score at that point and sure enough, Logan immediately put one in the goal and then a minute later she added an insurance goal. This was within 75 minutes of her throwing up in the car. Those were the only two goals of that game - basically, Logan 2 - Blast 0.

The next game was against her old Superblue team. The girls battled hard, but lost 4-5.

In the end they played six games this weekend winning four, losing two and tying one. Logan had six goals of 24 scored by her team and one assist. Two of her goals were game winning goals and one was the goal that tied the tie game. Not a bad piece of work!


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Workout Notes Week Ending May 20
The week got off to a slow start on two fronts. First the original plan was to run the track meet on Tuesday. Instead Marissa had a choir concert. So I did my usual swim with the swim maniacs instead. However, Coach Victoria had an emergency C Section the previous week and young Charlie (25 weeks) was struggling in the NICU. So Mary cooked up the workout. And my new team in France had me on the phone so I missed the warmup. Sheesh! Wednesday I called Coach Vaughan and he assigned me the ubiquitous 16x:30 intervals for Wednesday. That was probably a good thing, as I had been feeling stressed and you simply cant hurt oneself with the old 16x30. Thursday it was only me and Bob at the pool. We collaborated for a nice workout. Friday I nailed my eight miler in my quickest time in a couple of weeks. And that brings me to the weekend.

Saturday morning Logan had four soccer games. After bringing her home I still needed to head to the track for my 2x600 workout. I decided that I would ride my bike to the track. So put my spikes in a shoe bag and slung that on my back and headed to the Naaman Forest track. After a short but perilous ride there, I found a construction crew putting down a new surface! Drats - just as with last week, the track gods were conspiring against me. Not to be confounded I rode another 10 miles to Williams High School and indeed found a track on which I could run! My 600s were both faster than the pair I did two years ago in May.

And since Logan had more soccer on Sunday morning. My plan was sneak in a longer ride at O-Dark-Thirty Sunday morning. In an excellent twist of fate Tim and Mike both agreed to meet me at my house at 6:00am, in exchange for a new 40 mile route. We both held up our end of the agreement, with me taking them on a variation of this ride.

Monday May 14 - 12x:70 (:90) - 8.5 miles

Tuesday May 15 - 2x(250, 5x50 on :60, 250, 5x50 kick25, swim25, alternating on :75) - 2000

Wednesday May 16 - 16x:30(:45) - 7.75 miles

Thursday May 17 -
500WU, 4x200 (200 hard, 150hard, 100 Hard, 50 Hard) on 3:45, 4x200 (150 easy, 100 easy, 50 easy, 200 hard) on 3:45, 4x 50 on :60, 4x50 Stroke on :75, 100 easy - 2600

Friday May 18 - 8 Mile run. 61:38

Saturday May 19 - 20 miles bike, 4.5 miles run. 2x600 -
34.7, 70.0 (35.3), 1:45.4 (35.4); 36.2, 71.8 (35.6), 1:46.3 (34.5)

Sunday May 20 - 40.1 mies bike, 18.4 ave speed, 31.1 max; 90 ave CAD, 109 max; 2:10 ride time.

Total for the week:
Run - 28.75 Miles
Bike - 60.1 Miles
Swim - 4600 Meters

Total for the month:
Run - 81.5 Miles
Bike - 116.4 Miles
Swim - 15450 Meters

Saturday, May 19, 2007
Workout Notes Week Ending May 13
Whereas last week I was feeling sluggish on a number of fronts, this week felt much better. I had a really nice set of 400's at SMU on Wednesday night. The track work is starting to feel like old times! Also like last week, one of the kids had a soccer tournament on Saturday. This time is was Marissa and her team was playing south of Ft. Worth in Benbrook. Thank god for google maps, I was able to identify several HS tracks nearby and then using the Satellite view I was able to rule out two dirt tracks, and opted for the Crowley HS track. Sadly the resolution on Google is not high enough to show that their wonderful track was padlocked closed. So instead of track work, I did a really nice run through the country back there. The first track meet was the following Tuesday, but Marissa had a choir concert so missing the track workout was no biggy.

We had left the house for Marissa's Tournament at 0700, and we got back at 2230. That left me pretty tuckered out for Sunday. I did my 30 mile bike loop easy as a result. In April I was really getting some good bike work in. But so far in May it has not been the case. OTOH my running is going well, but my left knee is not happy as a result of that!

Monday May 7 - 8x2:00 (2:00) - 9.0 miles

Tuesday May 8 - 500WU, 4x250 as 100 free, 50 kick, 100 free on 4:00-4:15, 4x150 on 2:30, 4x100 free on 1:45 (fast!), easy 50, then 4x50 stroke on 1:15 - 2750

Wednesday May 9 - Track SMU 6x400 - 76.1; 37.9, 75.1 (37.2); 37.1, 74.1 (37.0); 36.8, 73.3 (36.5); 36.7, 72.4 (35.7), 36.8, 72.7(35.9) - 7.75

Thursday May 10 -
450WU, 3x300 (:30), 3x200 (:30), 3x100 (:10), 3x50 in :60, 3x50 Breast in :75, 50 - 2600

Friday May 11 - 8 Mile run. 63:16

Saturday May 12 - 7.5 Mile run, Crowely HS, 60 min.

Sunday May 13 - 30.8 miles bike - Fairview Loop - Speed 16.6 ave, 29.3 max; CAD 88 ave, 109 Max; Ride time 1:51.24

Total for the week:
Run - 32.25 Miles
Bike - 30.8 Miles
Swim - 5250 Meters

Total for the month:
Run - 52.75 Miles
Bike - 56.3 Miles
Swim - 10850 Meters


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Some Killer Soccer
Logan is playing in a 3v3 Tournament this weekend. She scored two goals and racked up an assist in their first game. Then she scored the winning goal in her second game. And in her last game, which was against her old team and her old coach, she scored a goal to tie the game in the last minute of play. Not bad - 4 goals, one winning goal, one to tie and an assist!


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Wednesday, May 16, 2007
Workout Notes Week Ending May 6
Not a bad week. Good work on the track Wednesday and Saturday, although I was tired both days. Saturday Track Session at high noon in the rain after watching two of Logan's soccer games that morning. I was also tired on Sunday before my ride, which needed to be cut short in time to get to Logan's third game that weekend!

Monday Apr 30 - 10x:60 (:60) - 8.1 miles

Tuesday May 1 - 600 WU, 750, 550, 400, 200, 50 4x50 on 60, 50 back, 50 breast - 2850

Wednesday May 2 - Track 700-500 (2:14.2, 1:35.7), 4x300 (54.6, 54.2, 53.6, 53.7) - 7 miles

Thursday May 3 - 250 WU, 400 build on 7, 3x200 Descend on 3:30, 300 Build on 5, 3x150 descend on 3:00, 200 Build on 3:30; 3x100 Descend on 2:00; 250 pull. - 2750

Friday May 4 - 8 Mile run. 62:40.

Saturday May 5 - 1200 Trial. 4:35.1 - 5.5 miles.

Sunday May 6 - 25.5 Miles bike Sachse. Speed: 16.7 Ave, 30.4 Max; Cad 87 ave; 06 Max; Ride Time: 1:31:22

Total for the week:
Run - 28.6 Miles
Bike - 25.5 Miles
Swim - 5600 Meters

Total for the month:
Run - 20.5 Miles
Bike - 25.5 Miles
Swim - 5600 Meters


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April Workouts
April was a month with mixed results. I started out well finishing in the top 10 in the Run-Bi-Tri. But I started to come down with a cold or some other respiratory crap. That added to work stress and Travel resulted in a set back in training. However by the end of the month I rebounded with my first track workout in two years in pretty good effort! Running and Biking mileage and effort was up compared to March.

First Week of April
Run - 25.3 Miles
Bike - 61.0 Miles
Swim - 5200 Meters

Second Week of April
Run - 24.5 Miles
Bike - 85.9 Miles
Swim - 5500 Meters

Third Week of April
Run - 0 Miles
Bike - 36.0 Miles
Swim - 3250 Meters

Last week of April
Run - 31.75 Miles
Bike - 54.5 Miles
Swim - 5100 Meters

Total for the month:
Run - 97.65 Miles
Bike - 250.4 Miles
Swim - 19450 Meters

YTD Totals:
Run 409.25 Miles
Bike 647.5 Miles
Swim 81330 Meters


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Tuesday, May 01, 2007
More on Surveys
Last week I wrote about some difficulties I was having with Zoomerang in my efforts to get a team ranking. If you check the comments on that post, you'll see that Kenneth from Zoomerang support offered some help to sort out what the heck was going wrong. I explained to Kenneth several of the specifics that he requested. And I have to say that his level of service was excellent. In the end he pointed me to two KB articles that suggest that I: 1) have no patience; and 2) I am a poor designer of Surveys. I can't argue with this assessment.

The first article suggests some best practices for Ranking Questions:
Limit the number of items in ranking or rating scale questions to fewer than ten. These questions can become difficult to read after ten options. Longer rating or ranking questions can also cause display issues in some environments.
My Ranking Question had 27 items - clearly over the top!

The second article notes issues with page save times for Ranking Questions:

The amount of survey questions on a page and the speed of the Internet connection can affect the loading time for that page. In particular, these types of questions take longer to load:

  • Ranking type questions - each button has each own special programming script for the functionality. We recommend to use less than 10 choices for ranking type questions.
  • Rating scale matrix with large number of answer options can also affect the page loading with the large number of buttons.
Well guilty on this one - the survey was not very responsive and I wasn't waiting.

I can't figure out how I would have done the ranking another way. But this is good info nonetheless.

Kudos to Kenneth for a great job on support.



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