April 2006 - Posts

57 miles of pain...

I know most of you probably don't care about my race reports, but as my distances get longer the more I feel the need to share it. Yes, its just feeding my ego but isn't that what 99% of blogs are about?

This weekend myself and 5 friends competed in the Mt Si Relay. Its 57 miles made up up 10 legs of varying lengths and elevation gains. Lots of firsts for me and my team. First time I have ever got up at 4:15 for anything, first time I started running at 6:00am, first time I ran twice in a single day, first time I ran 15 miles in a race. Thankfully we are still waiting for the first person to throw up due to running too hard though with a couple of slightly ill team members and a hot day (for WA) we almost got that first a couple of times.

I got the 2 longest legs, the second of which was also the largest elevation gain, on account of the fact that I am marathon training whereas the rest are only half marathon training. The first leg I was pretty much still asleep. Just one fairly steep hill to go up and then 5 miles of slight downhill which was great. The 1st changeover was at the bottom of another 1 mile hill meaning our 2nd runner had to start by running right up it. The weather was in the 30s at this point, very misty. I'm pretty hot blooded but even I ran this leg in long pants and 3 layers. However the layers were removed by 30 minutes into the run.

The second leg was 7.1 miles with 450 feet of elevation gain and it was up all the way. 450 feet in 7 miles really isn't that steep a gradient but its enough that you have to work extra hard to keep going. Even worse it doesn't look like a hill so psychologically its worse that a short steep hill that you can see and conquer. By 11:30 the temp was in the 70s which is pretty hot for this time of year here and I've not run in this temperature for 9 months or so and this leg had little shade for the 1st 5 miles. Add in the headwind for the 1st 3 miles and the fact that my legs could not understand why I was running AGAIN on the same day and this run is one I will remember for a long time. There were no mile markers so you had no idea what pace you were running and you were on trails so it was very tough to judge where you were. The last 20 minutes or so involved a lot of will power and only the fact that there was a team waiting for me stopped me from walking in. I was very happy when one of the marshals said 1/4 mile to go. I was even happier when I heard the cheers at the check point and could hand over to the next person.

Final time 9h 37m of running. We were probably last or close to it, but this was no fun run where unfit people show up just to get the T-Shirt. Even the lowest level divisions were pretty serious runners. The winning team (UW Husky cross country team) finished in 5h 16m which means they averaged around 5:30 pace which stuns me. The fastest mile I ever ran was 7:18 and I was close to winning the first puke medal.

Once the haze of the early start and the pain from hill running had cleared though it was a great way to spend the day. I commented how cool it would have been to run the ultra race they have the same day - its 50 miles on much the same course - which my team took to mean that I would be entering that next time. While its no secret that I think finishing an ultra would be cool I'm not sure I could commit to the level of training it would take. Doing 3 hour training runs for the marathon already takes a pretty big chunk of my weekend. Plus I think I should finish 26.2 miles before I commit to anything else eh? The winner of the 50 mile ultra ran did 6h 20m which is around 7:30 pace. So he ran my mile pace for 50 miles.... WOW. There were still ultra runners coming in after we finished though which means they were 11:30-12:00 pace. Some of them looked great, a couple of them looked like they were going to need a week in hospital. So maybe next year you will read about me hospitalizing myself - that's something worth looking forward to eh?

Next race May 7th - ZMans first Marathon in Vancouver.

Posted 21 April 2006 12:34 AM by zman
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ZBuffer Games, LLC - now with free banking

Now that I have the LLC all set up I have to get the finances in order. According to what I read in my NOLO books (thanks for the tip on those Steve - far cheaper than a lawyer and though the information is out there on the internet its nice to have it all in one spot) I need to make sure I keep my LLC finances very separate from my person ones to maintain the LL part of the C. I currently bank with a credit union so much as I would have liked to open an account with them its just not an option since they don't offer any business banking. Coming from Europe where the concept of non free checking is unheard of I can't bear to think of paying for my banking so after a bit of research it became pretty obvious that Washington Mutual is the way to go. There are probably better places if you are looking for lines of credit and cosy relationships with a personal banker but all I need right now is a place to pay in the checks.

Next I needed a credit card. Being the sort of thrifty guy I am I also don't expect to pay a fee for my credit card and I expect them to give me things back too. For my person use I use the Citi Dividend Select Mastercard - 5% cashback on gas, supermarkets and drugstores (do the math people and go get one of these! I still get a chill down my spine at Safeway when I know my shopping bill is effectively 5% less than everyone else). Fortunately CitiCards also do a nice range of business cards with rewards too and I picked the CitiBusiness card with thank you network - no fee, points I can use on pretty much anything and $100 worth of points for free up front. That's free cash man!

Once you start a business your details become public knowledge and so I am getting junk mail from every business credit card and every credit card processing reseller under the sun. I even got some idiot calling me up about credit card processing. On the positive side I did get $10 discount if I spend $20 at Office Max - 50% discount - that's the kind of junk mail I like.

I've also been invited to join the local Chamber of Commerce. However it cost $250 a year and so far I really don't see what benefit I get for my money. All the lunches etc are open to everyone for a few extra $$. I'm not really into schmoozing with local retailers anyway and they will just want me to chip in for the fireworks on 4th July.

So now everything is set up I can finally send out the invoices I have been holding onto and once my credit card gets here I will be finally able to make the break from my personal accounts. However, I made my first estimated tax payment for 2006 this month too so its not all about the income.

The current job I am doing for Microsoft is a few hours away from being complete. I think I may spend next week playing Oblivion - I've not turned the 360 on for the past 4 weeks and before that I was just playing Hexic for the previous job. I will also do some work on the ZBuffer that I've been meaning to do for a while and catchup on the content and tutorials.  I also have some tough decisions to make about my next job - but more on that in another blog entry.

Forged email addresses and returned email

About a week ago I started getting emails returned to me, though not emails that I had sent. Yes some spam clown has decided that one of my domains is worthy of using as a fake return address. Its not that I can even block them with a filter because they are using random strings of characters before the @. Its getting worse too - I got over 50 returns yesterday. I'm virus and spyware checked up the wazoo so I'm pretty sure I'm not actually sending these emails. I don't think there is any way round this other than hope they get bored and use another domain soon. I'm not even sure how to read the headers from the original email. pollingcompany.com is the destination and the one who sent the failure. Failures of course go to the forged From: or Return-Path:. I assume is the original perpetrator which is in Germany.

Received: from psmtp.com ([]) by pollingcompany.com with Microsoft SMTPSVC(6.0.3790.211);
  Tue, 18 Apr 2006 15:54:21 -0400
Received: from source ([]) by exprod6mx141.postini.com ([]) with SMTP;
 Tue, 18 Apr 2006 15:37:21 EDT
Received: from uce ([])
 by dslb-084-056-015-051.pools.arcor-ip.net (8.13.3/8.13.3) with SMTP id k3IJeJxF053992;
 Tue, 18 Apr 2006 21:40:19 +0200
From: "Matthias Barrett" vasbx@........
To: <.......@pollingcompany.com>
Subject: vivacious classy
Date: Tue, 18 Apr 2006 21:28:10 +0200
MIME-Version: 1.0
Content-Type: multipart/related;
X-Priority: 3
X-MSMail-Priority: Normal
X-Mailer: Microsoft Outlook Express 6.00.2600.0000
X-MimeOLE: Produced By Microsoft MimeOLE V6.00.2600.0000
Return-Path: vasbx@.......
X-OriginalArrivalTime: 18 Apr 2006 19:54:21.0500 (UTC) FILETIME=[E2B19FC0:01C66321] 


Running slowly on purpose

Craig had an interesting comment on my last post.

I'm under strict instructions that my 1st marathon is *NOT* to be thought of as a race. My training has all been done at 9:30-9:45 pace and I'm aiming to to the actual race around 10:00-10:30 pace so that I am 100% sure of finishing without something bad happening.

Which of course is the hard thing. Even though I've been running for a year its still very hard to judge my speed. You can't rely on how hard it feels because as you get fitter this changes and anyway maybe you are on a slight hill. Even worse its very easy to get swept along with the crowds of people, especially at a major race. In almost all my races I've looked at my watch at the 1st mile and realised I went too fast. Fortunately on the really big races the crowds are so big at the start its hard to run at all which should help. But for this race my watch is there to slow me down not to see if I am close to a world record.

Of course running slowly on your 1st race at a particular distance is not only sensible it enables you to really get a good PR next time you run that distance.

Dear Adobe, No I don't want the stupid Yahoo Toolbar

I follow a link to a page with a Flash program in it. Flash pops up and says 'hey there's a new version - do you want to get it?'. Sure I say. Hey wasn't that nice and polite and user friendly?



Not so polite now are we Adobe - never mind that I already told you I didn't want the tool bar last time I installed. Never mind that making the dialog opt out it is so very 1997.....


Long Runs and XNA framework

There's nothing like mixing up topics to confuse the search engines......

Firstly, I ran my longest training run ever. Around 3 hours and around 19 miles. I find it quite amazing that this is the furthest I will run before I do the actual marathon (26 and a bit miles and probably 4 hours 30 minutes). I also find it amazing how quickly my body adjusts to doing this kind of distance. After my 1st half marathon I was pretty stiff the rest of the day and really felt it for the next few days. 4 months later and my last 5 weekend runs have been 2:20 (15.5 miles), 2:00 (13.1miles - a race), 2:00 (12.5 miles), 2:30 (16 miles), 3:00 (19 miles) and other than the odd ache today you wouldn't have a clue. Next weekend I am doing 2 legs of the Mt Si Relay for a total of around 15 miles. Yes I'm tapering down for the big race and my taper down distance is still more than a half marathon. Of course no matter how far you go there are always others who can go farther and do more stupid things like in this race where only 6 people have only ever finished the race since 1977.

On to the technical things - I hate to have more secrets but NDAs are NDAs. All I can say is that its looking like the XNA framework announcement is going to really help drive the future of Managed DirectX. I certainly won't be changing my focus anytime soon and everyone who thought I was stupid for risking it all on this technology is going to be proven wrong. Now I'm not saying that its going to take over the world, cure poverty, replace C++ or any such thing. But its certainly looking like there's going to be plenty of work for me in the future and that's what my gamble was based on. Suffice to say that if insider trading was legal and you could buy stock in Managed DirectX I would have bought a bunch by now.

Posted 06 April 2006 12:31 AM by zman
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