Monthly Archives: September 2006

Wow, that’s a little excessive…

Was flipping through the latest PC Magazine, and spotted a full page ad for the new Black Diamond high end cell phone.  Its got a pretty sexy form factor, Windows Mobile, Quad Band, Mini SD slot, 4 Megapixel camera, WiFi, Bluetooth, and two diamonds….

Hey wait, two diamonds?  Yep.  This is one of the those super bling phones.  The ultimate in exclusivity, you’ll be able to pick up one of the limited edition series of 5, for a cool $300,000.00.  Yar, that’s a chunk of change.

20 Running Rules

Larry was kinda enough to share this great list from the Runners World forums.

  1. Don’t be a whiner. Nobody likes a whiner, not even other whiners.
  2. Don’t make running your life, make it part of your life.
  3. When doing group runs, start on time no matter who is missing.
  4. Don’t compare yourself to other runners.
  5. When standing in starting lines, remind yourself how fortunate you are to be there.
  6. The faster you are the less you should talk about your times.
  7. Don’t always run alone.
  8. Don’t always run with people.
  9. The best runs sometimes come on the days you didn’t feel like running.
  10. Be modest after a race, especially if you have reason to brag.
  11. All runners are equal; some are just faster than others.
  12. There are no short cuts to run excellence.
  13. There is nothing boring about running, there are, however, boring people who run.
  14. Look at hills as opportunities to pass people.
  15. Don’t try to out run dogs.
  16. With out goals, training has no purpose.
  17. Go for broke, but prepare to be broken.
  18. Unless you make your living as a runner, don’t take running too seriously.
  19. Runners who never fail are runners who never tried anything great.
  20. Running is simple. Don’t make it complicated.

Good stuff! #11 is my current favorite.

A thankless job?

Spent a few hours over the weekend tuning up my blog content.  I’ve gone through a recategorized all the posts (so not everything appears in the default category.)  Hopefully, that should reading stuff like my running updates a little easier.

I also fixed a problem in some of the older posts that had newline characters in random places.  I’m not quite sure if that was caused by a bug in the my former blog softwares RSS feed generator or in WordPress’ RSS import gadget.  Oh well, I don’t care, it was easy enough to fix.

Pink Floyd Bits

Fark had a pointer to this article, where they have some the same of old story about the popularity of Dark Side of the Moon. The newsworthy bits are a new upcoming book, The Dark Side of the Moon: The Making of the Pink Floyd Masterpiece and some random facts like the album’s was almost released with the title Eclipse, due to the fact that another band had already released an album with the Dark Side… name. Equally interesting is that the album is popular enough to warrant its own CD-pressing facility!

Update: further down on the fark page, there was also a review of Roger Waters latest concert.   Yet another floyd opportunity lost for me.

ARC of Onondaga County Half Marathon 2006

Earlier in the week, I was hedging on doing this race. My left foot was bothering me a bit. Not so much when I’m running, but afterward. I think it was me gunning a little too hard on my Monday fun run. Sticking to my normal 6 milers at the Y during the work week wasn’t helping either. So, I skipped running on Friday.

This morning, I felt pretty good. Digestive stuff seems to be pretty under control. Felt kinda stiff all over, but nothing was really sore. So, about 7, I headed off to the registration tent. I tried leave a little later than I normally do. No other nutbags make the scene that early, so after flying through registration, I just end up sitting around waiting for the starting gun.

After picking up my number and goodie bag I headed back to the car. It was a bit light this year, but I’m not complaining because it still included the high quality long sleeve shirt that I really like. As I pulled my book to pass the time, I noticed a nagging sinus migraine starting up.

Yar, this gonna suck. Geez, I wish I popped a Sudafed before I left the house. Wait a sec, do I have some in my bag. Whoo-hoo, I do. I washed it down quickly with my race water. Hmm, was that good idea? Sudafed usually makes me a little loopy. Oh well, better to be a little loopy than feeling like my head was in a vise.

About 45 minutes before race time, I figure its time to make a potty break; especially since its a good distance from the starting line. No lines, no waiting; just the way I like it. On the way back, I bumped into Steve. I was happy to see someone from the old running crew. We chatted a bit, then made our way to the starting line.

As usual, I’m not quite sure where the actual starting line is. But, this year, I had a little hint. I just kept my eyes on the guy with the starter’s pistol. Pretty sure that he’d know where things were starting. I wished Steve a good and safe race as they announced 1 minute to go.

Bang, and we’re off. Hmm, perhaps I started a little too far up in the pack. We were about 5 feet from the starting line. I’m moving a lot faster than I want to be and folks are sailing past me. None seem to be annoyed at my pace, so I just chug along. Wow, the first mile done already? I click my split and see 7:40. Ouch, that’s gonna hurt later.

As soon as I made the turn out of the park out Route 370, I felt a little cramp start. By the time I made it to the bridge over the Seneca River, it wasn’t a little cramp any more. Ow! it was a for serious cramp. I slowed up a bit and tried to get my breathing under control. That seemed to help, and things got a little easier for a while.

Then as the climbing up 370 continued, another wave of cramps. These might have been the worst I’ve ever had during a race. The kind that twinges oh so nicely with every step. I seriously thought about hanging it up in mile 3. I slowed to a barely running pace and tried to work in some deep breathing to clear things up.

As I limped around the turn on to Hayes Road, I was still in agony. But, the downhill section helped me through it. I was still kinda hurting at the bottom of the hill, but it was at least tolerable. I was no longer thinking about flat out quitting, but maybe bagging when I got back in the park.

Back on the 370, and heading back over the Seneca River again, some big rain drops start. Then, for a minute it or two it rained lightly. It was kinda refreshing, but I shivered a bit when the breeze caught me. Finally, I seem to be falling into a good pace. The cramp is still there a little bit, but I’m able to mostly ignore it.

In the park, it feels good to be in familiar territory. As I head up the skate trail, its nice to see some of the folks not too far ahead of heading back after the turn around.

Geez, did I mention I hate turn arounds. I swung wide to try to lose momentum. I think it worked, I was able to catch up to a small bunch of folks just ahead of me.

Ok, there was mile 9. Time to put the less than optimal start behind me and bring it on home. About three quarters into most races, I start looking for challengers. I pick people not too far ahead of me and challenge myself to catch up to them. After a few challengers that were a little too easy, I found one who wasn’t really pulling away from me, but that I wasn’t closing in on. Come on, Crowther, you can do it I said as I turned into the last out and back.

I’m always amazed at just how long this section of the course is. I’ve biked it a zillion times and it seems like just a blur. Unfortunately, on foot, it’s actually pretty long. When I eventually happened along the 10 mile marker, it felt like it was hours since the last one. Phew, I’m starting to get a little tired now. Hmm, my challenger is really starting to pull away.

Man, I don’t think I’ve ever been happier to see that last turn around. I’ve actually realed in my challenger quite a bit. But as I start mile 12, I’m beginning to get a little worried about running out of gas. I try not to think about it and just concentrate on evening out my pace. Just when I get comfortable again, I realize my challenger is out of site.

Ok, there’s a few folks chugging along a little faster than me, so I’ll use them to help speed me up a bit. Seems to be working, I can feel things getting faster as I near the end of the trail. I’m not sure if my challenger stopped for a water or stopped or something, but suddenly I’m right on her heels.

I gun it up the file uphill section. We’re running just about side by side now, she said something like “have a strong finish…” and then took off. Oh crap! I’m not losing this race in the last quarter again. I hate the final stretch of this race because its chocked full of pot holes and gravel pits of various sizes. Its pretty much the last place I wanna go full throttle.

I picked it up a lot to pull up next to her again. Houston, we have a problem! A bunch of ARC folks are meandering there way across the course. I’m not sure if they’re care taker knows that this probably not the best place for them to cross. Rather than stutter step or try to head them off, I went off the course behind them. Phew!

I figure after than maneuver, my challenger will be too far ahead to catch in the last 1000 feet. I guess she got held up a bit too. We made the final 90 degree left onto the home stretch. I was about to crap myself after making that turn on loose gravel at full speed.

My challenger is pulling away. Ok, now, I’m not gonna lose this in the last 500 feet. So I pump my legs like they’ve never been pumped before. I can honestly say that I don’t think I’ve ever run that fast before. There’s an enormous gravel pit in front of me.  Deep, slippery, pea sized gravel; Lovely! Some how, I sail across it like its not even there. I pull head for the last 100 feet and tear across the finish mats.

After getting my timer chip clipped off, and clearing a few cobwebs, I saw my challenger and thanked her pulling me in for the last few miles. I don’t know if she heard me.

Man, that finish felt great! But it was pretty stupid. I’m very glad there were some picnic tables in the finish chute, I really had to sit down for a good 5 minutes to recover from that last blast. Felt like my whole body was on fire. After sitting for a minute or two, I realize I never clicked stop on my watch.  I’m guessing I hit about 1:51:30.  Oh well, have to wait for the official online results.  I’m pretty pleased with the effort, but left wondering how much better I would have done without all that cramping.
Soon enough Steve rambled through the finish, looking pretty good. He said that seeing me on the turn arounds helped him get his mojo working. We then headed off to find his wife and kid. We hung out for a little while after than, then weather looked a storm was gonna roll in, so we said our good byes and headed back to our wheels; tired, but satisfied.

After rehydrading (dropped about 5 pounds during the race), getting some food, and some sleep, I’m thinking that the mad dash at the end perhaps wasn’t the smartest idea. My knees, shins, and ankles are still yelling at me. Maybe I’ll take tomorrow off?

Bit Torrent and Road Runner

Recently, I noticed that my Time Warner Road Runner connection hangs whenever I use Bit Torrent. Its perfectly fine for a hours, then everything hangs. Lights on the modem and router blink away but no progress on downloads and everything else (web, mail, etc) stops working. I can usually get things back in order by shutting down Bit Torrent, power cycling my modem, Vonage box, and router.

I was feeling fiesty to today, so I headed over to the Road Runner help site. Hmm, nothing in the FAQs. Lets try a search for ‘Bit Torrent’. Hmm, search page returns a report a problem form? Oh, wait, way down in the bottom of the page, it says “Please refine your search and try again – no matches found.” Yar, I almost wanna give up now.

Hmm, Live Chat Support. Why not? I enter my details and click the launch chat button. Sorry, the chat gadget doesn’t work in Firefox. Grrr. I should stop now, this isn’t going to be pretty. I fire up an IE window and copy and paste the URL over. Frag nabbit, gotta put in my location details again. I enter my details again and click the launch chat button.

It works this time and says there 6 people ahead of me in the queue. At first, it doesn’t seem to be moving, but after 2 minutes I’m connected with a tech. That’s pretty good response for a Saturday morning. Transcript follows (tech name changed to protect the innocent/ignorant)

user JasonCrowther has entered room

analyst JoeBlow has entered room

JoeBlow> Thank you for choosing Time Warner Cable – Road Runner Internet Technical Chat. My name is JoeBlow, could I have the first and last name, and the phone number with the area code of the account holder please?

JasonCrowther> jason crowther XXX XXX XXXX

JoeBlow> Thank you,and with whom am I speaking with?

JasonCrowther> this is jason

JoeBlow> Thank you, what technical issue may we assist you with?

JasonCrowther> ok. lately, whenever I use bit torrent, after a hour or two my whole road runner connection hangs.

JasonCrowther> I can get things running again by power cycling my modem and router, but it seems a bit drastic.

JoeBlow> Unfortunately, we can not support whether your connection hang when you use bit torrent or other file sharing programs .

Funny, its worked fine until recently. I don’t remember getting anything that says that Bit Torrent isn’t allowed.

JoeBlow> Are there any other technical issues that I can help you with today?

Whatever… Maybe he thinks I’m ranting because Bit Torrent is hosed…

JasonCrowther> eh? not my bit torrent connection, my entire road runner connection.

JoeBlow> File sharing programs take up bandwidth, which in turn will slow down your connection.

Wow, I never would have thought of that.

JasonCrowther> its not slowing down. it hangs my entire connection. nothing works no dns, no web, no mail.

JoeBlow> Unfortunately, you just said when you use you bit torrent connection, your connection slows down. There is nothing I can do in this case, unfortunately .

Grr.

JasonCrowther> I never said it ‘slows down’ I said it hangs.

JoeBlow> Unfortunately, either way, you are using bit torrent. There is nothing I can do.

JasonCrowther> I understand that it uses bandwidth and when things are working fine, it will take up bandwidth that other applications can use.

JasonCrowther> (includings browsers, vonage, etc.)

JoeBlow> Do you have any other questions.

Whatever.

JasonCrowther> can I talk with another tech?

I know techs love to hear that question.

JoeBlow> Unfortunately, the other tech guy is going to say the same thing as I have and I am unable to transfer you to one. Bit torrent is causing this issue, unfortunately we can not support this .

First, the other tech guy? Some how, it wouldn’t surprise me if they had only 2 techs for all of Central New York (or all of New York for that matter.)

JasonCrowther> ok. whatever. can you tell me if you have any monitoring that automatically cuts my service if you think I’m abusing my connection?

JasonCrowther> I ask this because bit torrent works fine for a few hours and then hangs up.

JoeBlow> No, we do not .

Sure… none that you know about, anyway.

JasonCrowther> I’m not trying circumvent anything, I’m just trying to know what you guys allow. that’s not spelled out clearly any more.

Not that I really care if thinks I’m a scumbag hacker, but really, I’m not.

JoeBlow> Bit torrent when it is running will take all your bandwitdth .

Right…

JasonCrowther> no it will not. I have it limited to 10k upstream, 50k downstream. far less than what my connection is capable of.

JoeBlow> Unfortunately, I giving you the information necessary to correct this situation, Bit torrent is file sharing program that is known for the issue you are describing. When you open Bit torrent, you can literally have 1000 sharin connections. If you internet only hangs with Bit torrent is enabled, then there is nothing I can do.

Geez, I wish people would get a clue. I specifically dial down my Bit Torrent settings so I don’t abuse bandwidth. With a few computers and a vonage phone on my Road Runner connection, I’d be shooting myself in the foot.

JoeBlow> Are there any other technical issues that I can help you with today?

JasonCrowther> nope. thanks. bye.

JoeBlow> You’re Welcome.

Thanks again, for nothing. The real kicker for me is that I’m not using Bit Torrent for illegal transfers. I’m only downloading legit music from bands that are trader friendly.

If anyone has any Bit Torrent configuration settings for the official Bit Torrent client (WinXP or Linux) or suggestions for other clients that work on Road Runner without hanging, please post something in the comments!