Saturday, April 24, 2010

London Marathon 2010, Virgin, and Open Source

I went searching for where I could watch tomorrow's London Marathon live on the internet. Universal Sports seem to be one option. It is not clear from the website but I think it's about $5-7 to watch. BBC seems to be the other option. However, the internet option seems to be available only for those in the UK.

At the time of searching, I also came across this article about how Virgin (the main sponsor) has started a charity site based on open source technology (MySQL, Apache, etc.). If they can use free technology, why can't they have a free live feed on the marathon website? As it is, they already have ads on that website. Putting in a live feed would not only bring in several thousand hits but would make thousands of runners outside the UK very happy. Thus, not only would they earn several thousands of pennies but also the love and admiration of many running fans worldwide.

I would have sent them an email regarding this but all they have on their "Contact Us" page is a UK phone number. If you know of a way to reach them via email, please let me know.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

What is more popular - jogging or running?

Running vs jogging is a surefire way of sparking a debate, especially online. As for the difference, there are many theses out there, some of them particularly humorous. I decided to see what the search engines had to say by putting in some search words. These are the number of results I came up with:

  • running - 379 million
  • jogging - 12.6 million
  • runner - 53.8 million
  • jogger - 3.4 million
  • running - 265 million
  • jogging - 10.6 million
  • runner - 35.8 million
  • jogger - 3.4 million
"running" is a common word with more meanings than simply running as in the physical activity. That's probably why it got so many more hits than "runner". The difference between "jogging" and "jogger" is not as big. In any case, the result is unanimous as per the search engines - "running" is more popular than "jogging".

Sunday, April 11, 2010

2010 Carlsbad 5000 - The 25th anniversary

Click on any picture for a larger version.

Earlier today I went to see the Carlsbad 5000. This year was the 25th anniversary of the race which bills itself as the "World's Fastest 5K" and the home of 16 world records including the current 5K road race record. The main events started early in the day at 7 a.m. with the Masters races (40 and above age group) followed by the 30-39 age group races a couple of hours later and then the 29 and below races another hour or so later. All this is the build up towards the main event - the elite invitational run.

The men's race started at 12:20 p.m. It was supposed to have started at 12:15 p.m. but got delayed, apparently due to some high winds. I guess they were hoping for it to get better. Here are a few pics of them warming up. That's Marcos Geneti of Ethiopia (on the left) talking to Eliud Kipchoge on the right. Kipchoge was the pre-race favorite.

That's Alistair Cragg with his boar (?) tattoo. Kipchoge is next to him in the background.

That's eventual women's winner Meseret Defar on her way to the warmups. I got lucky that all of them passed by on the side of the road that I'd picked for my spot.

The national anthem was sung. A few seconds later, the men burst out, faster than jack rabbits. Apparently, there was a (real) pace rabbit but the winds were not too kind.

The women followed less than two minutes later. The three tiny women on the right in the picture were the eventual winners.

The finish line was only a couple of blocks away so that we could walk faster than the elites could run. Needless to say, they took a slightly longer route than we did. On the way we passed by the beer garden which is for all runners who participated. They get two free beers. If you thought beer doesn't smell, you haven't passed by a beer garden. This is when you truly understand the meaning of the old adage - "the sum of the parts is greater than the whole." It Stank and that's an understatement. The runners, however, seemed to be having fun and it was a warm and cloudy day.

Unlike the start which seemed bereft of spectators, the finish was packed tighter than the seals you can find near the Carlsbad coast. I was not able to get a good finish line picture of the winners.

That's the men's winners in the pic above. Dejen Gebremeskel of Ethiopia (2nd), Eliud Kipchoge of Kenya (1st), and Bekana Daba of Ethiopia (3rd) from left to right. The winning times were 13:11, 13:18, and 13:24.

Kipchoge seemed like a very nice guy. Here he's with someone important (I think). The announcer said something but it was hard to hear the words with all the crowds. He must have given a couple of hundred autographs easily. Below is one of him giving yet another autograph in the background while they were doing the women's presentations.

Above is the secret to running a 13:11 5K - a pair of Nike Zoom Air's with Chinese symbols for speed on it. This particular one belongs to Kipchoge.

The women's race was slower than expected. In the pic below, that's Aheza Kiros (2nd), Meseret Defar (1st), and Meskerem Assefa (3rd) - all from Ethiopia. The times were 15:04, 15:26, and 15:55. I tried to match the faces to the names using the website but it is difficult since the website has bib numbers number 101, 102, etc. whereas the runners were actually wearing bib numbers F1, F2, etc.

Defar became the first three-time champion at the Carlsbad 5000.

That's Simon Ndirangu of Kenya in the Superman T-shirt. This was after he finished. I don't think you'd want to run in a Superman T-shirt unless you are running a Halloween race. Ndirangu seemed like a very nice guy with a very big smile. I got this shot during the 7% of the time that he wasn't smiling.

Carlsbad was a fun outing. The traffic coordination and other logistics seemed to be well taken care of. Parking was not much of a problem, though we didn't go for the 7 a.m. races. Weather is usually nice at this time of the year. Making our way out from Carlsbad, we stopped the Carlsbad Flower Fields about 3 miles further south on the I-5. Here's one shot of the fields with the Pacific ocean in the distance.

Sunday, April 04, 2010

Busted for peeing on a run

The next time you feel the urge to go pee while out on a run, keep this story in mind. It's from a poster on the bulletin board:

I don't know what to do, this is awful.

I am a 35 year old man with a good job, wife and kids. I volunteer with about 8 local charities and consider myself a pretty decent person.

Last night at like 6:30 pm, I was about half way through a 10 miler and I had to go to the bathroom (#1). I was nowhere near a bathroom, but on a local paved trail that meanders through forest, neighborhoods, etc.

I was at a very secluded part of the trail, no one anywhere in sight. It was dark. I would say the closest house or street was at least 800 meters away. So I stop, step off the trail and begin to pee into the bushes.

Suddenly, a cop on a bike rounds the corner and literally treats me like I am trying to run from him after robbing a bank. He make me put my hands behind my back, get down on my knees and everything. I thought he was going to cuff me.

I tried to explain that I was just on a run, but he wouldn't listen.

Anyway, I got a fat PI ticket and I have to go to court. Is this something that is going to haunt me? My wife laughed at me, but I think it could end up being serious.

Yes, I finished my run with the ticket in my key pocket.

Bike cop with too much time on his hands? Ridiculous, to say the least. Anyway, just this week, the poster reported back with somewhat good news:
Well, I am happy to report that while I do have a misdemeanor offense and will have to do some community service, I was not charged with a sex crime.

The judge seemed to understand the situation. I ended up hiring a lawyer due to the severity of the charges, and I do not know if it was needed in retrospect. Better safe than sorry though, so it was well worth it in my opinion.

The cop showed up and was visibly upset with the decision to not charge me with something more substantial.