Seattle Half Marathon

High on the tails of my successful sprint triathlon, I thought it might be a good idea to run a half marathon. I know what you’re thinking, “Andrew, you are crazy!”

You would be correct.

But I did it anyway. I didn’t actually want to run a half-marathon, but there weren’t any 10K runs that were near anytime in 2010. My friend Shannon somehow convinced me that running a half-marathon wasn’t a bad idea, so I started preparing. Shannon told me about a book called Run Less, Run Faster1:

From www.amazon.com:

Finally, runners at all levels can improve their race times while training less, with the revolutionary Furman Institute of Running and Scientific Training (FIRST) program.

Hailed by the Wall Street Journal and featured twice in six months in cover stories in Runner’s World magazine, FIRST’s unique training philosophy makes running easier and more accessible, limits overtraining and burnout, and substantially cuts the risk of injury, while producing faster race times.

The key feature is the “3 plus 2” program, which each week consists of:

-3 quality runs, including track repeats, the tempo run, and the long run, which are designed to work together to improve endurance, lactate-threshold running pace, and leg speed

-2 aerobic cross-training workouts, such as swimming, rowing, or pedaling a stationary bike, which are designed to improve endurance while helping to avoid burnout

With detailed training plans for 5K, 10K, half marathon, and marathon, plus tips for goal-setting, rest, recovery, injury rehab and prevention, strength training, and nutrition, this program will change the way runners think about and train for competitive races.

My biggest problem is that by time I got the book and decided to run, I only had about 8 weeks to get ready instead of the 16 the plan called for. So I just launched into the middle of the training program which more or less worked. However, the last few weeks my perfectly laid plans started falling apart as I couldn’t find time (and sometimes couldn’t even find motivation) to run — especially the long distances.

One of the more miserable running experiences involved a 5:50am wake-up for a 6am run around Green Lake in the pouring rain.

I did have fun running down Roosevelt, across the University bridge, down East Lake Avenue East (past KIRO), around the south end of Lake Union, up West Lake Avenue North, back across the Freemont bridge, and up Stone Way.

The last week before the race was particular difficult because it had snowed in Seattle and I was only able to run once around Green Lake (about 3 miles) on Thanksgiving day; and the ground was still compact snow and ice.

The night before the race I was at an awesome wedding (which I’ll blog about later). The problem here was the wedding was about two hours away, by car, and copious amounts of alcohol were present. I managed to hold my liquor and get enough sleep and woke up Sunday morning raring to go!

Shannon’s roommate, Laurie2, gave us a ride to the start line. A quick pit stop to drop off my stuff, a bathroom check, and off we went:

Off to a good start, running beneath the monorail. I started running about 10 minutes after the gun went off, mostly due to the bathroom line. Fortunately, my official time is chip based.
Running through downtown Seattle. I was grooving out to Explosions in the Sky on my iPod, which I felt was a very good mood setting music to start with.
I think this is the turn off from I-90. Rockin' it!
Coming down the finish line in Memorial Stadium. The astroturf felt SO nice on my feet and give me the extra energy to sprint through the finish line.

They even had video of the finish line.

Greenlake running champs. Photo © 2010 Shannon Erickson.
'I'm a winner, bitch.' I'm pretty sure that's what he said here. Photo © 2010 Shannon Erickson.

My finish time was 2:29, which was about 9 minutes over my target of 2:20. I blame the nipple chafing, and the fact that running any distance past 10 KM is just gratuitous and unneeded. By the way, nipple chafing is the top 20 reasons guys should not run a marathon3. I stopped by a med tent at about mile 9 and asked for some tape (thinking I would just cover my nipples). Apparently, Vaseline is the more appropriate solution and they had plenty of that just waiting for people like me.

My other issue was something I believe to tarsal tunnel syndrome and some pain behind my left knee which could be hamstring tendonitis — but I’m an engineer, not a doctor.

Gray's Anatomy FIG. 442. The mucous sheaths of the tendons around the ankle. Medial aspect.

My plan for now is to not run, probably for the rest of the year. Then start looking for a nice 10K to run next year and I think I’ll also run Beat the Bridge.

And now for the stats:

Course Elevation

Run Profile

Overall Place4: 5911th (out of 7618)
Men Place5: 2794th (out of 3237)
Men 20-24 Place6: 220th (out of 246)

Average Pace7: 7:06 minutes/KM
Average Speed8: 8.5 KM/hour
Time9: 2:29:39
1st split10: 1:11:10
2nd split11: 1:18:29

Finishers Certificate


  1. Bill Pierce, Scott Murr, Ray Moss, et al 

  2. Kickedsarahinthefacetwice 

  3. hat tip to Katelyn Hackett 

  4. based on chip 

  5. based on chip 

  6. based on chip 

  7. based on chip 

  8. based on chip 

  9. based on chip 

  10. based on chip 

  11. based on chip 

Do you want to scan and fix YUKON (I:)? No, go away.

I had this really annoying box pop up whenever I plugged by iPod into my computer that said, “Do you want to scan and fix YUKON (I:)?” It happened when I was running Windows Vista and it happened when I was running Windows 7. It took a half second to click, which means is wasn’t annoying enough for me to do anything about for the longest time, despite the fact that it drove me nuts.

Fortunately, Mark Flavin has the answer to why it was doing this annoying behavior and how to fix it:

From www.futureofrealestatetechnology.com:

The reason for the error is that his IPOD was formatted FAT32 on Windows XP; this can affect thumbdrives, cameras, smart cards. What happens is the device was not properly dismounted by Windows XP and there is an archival bit set that Vista needs to reset before it will stop reporting there is an error.

Read the solution over at Resolve Vista Scan and Fix Error When Plugging in IPOD or other Devices

Technology for The Trip

One of the bigest things I had to figure out for this trip was all the technology I was (or wasn’t going to bring) and how I would be using it. Basically, I didn’t want to bring anything super expensive or heavy with me, and what I ever I brought needed to do its job and do it well. Here’s the list of hardware:

Additionally, I’ve loaded up my Netbook with some software specific for this trip:

  • AVG Anti-virus
  • GeoSetter
  • Google Earth
  • Google Chrome
  • iTunes
  • Skype
  • Windows Live Writter
  • TweetDeck
  • Lightroom
  • Meebone
  • Flickr Uploader
  • GPSBabel
  • Launchy
  • NotePad++

Many of the software tools on this list are standare fare, others are new to me. GeoSetter is an application that merges GPS data (from the AMOD AGL3080 GPS Data Logger) with photos (from the D70).

Meebone is desktop version of Meebo, which is a web-based instant messaging program.

GPSBabel is a program which can take GPS data (again, from the AMOD AGL3080 GPS Data Logger, which is in NMEA 0183 format) and convert it into any other format, such as Google’s Keyhole Markup Language (KML).

Launchy is a program used for quick access to programs. I just press ALT + Space and type in the name of the program I want to run.

Windows Live Writter is a desktop program for composing and publish blog posts. I’m using this because there will often be times when I cannot connect to the internet, but still want to write up posts. This will let me compose posts and then publish them when I hit a WiFi spot.

One of the other things I’m working on is a revised workflow for photos. I need a workflow that will quickly let me merge GPS data, import photos to Lightroom for processing, export, and upload. I’m still working out the kinks, but the basic process goes like this (based in part on Bryan Villarin’s My new geotagging workflow with the Amod AGL3080 and Lightroom (Windows):

  1. Move photos from D70 to Netbook
  2. Move GPS data from Data Logger to Netbook
  3. Use GeoSetter to merge GPS data with photos (data added to NEF file, not sidecar XMP)
  4. Import/Move photos into Lightroom
  5. Pick good photos and apply Auto Tone and/or Punch filters
  6. Export filters to JPG with High Sharpening for Screen
  7. Important photos to Flickr Uploadr
  8. Add photos to group(s), add tag(s) to photos
  9. Upload photos
  10. Delete JPG version of photos

We’ll see how that works. My other option is to just backup the RAW photos to my server and not process them until I get home, which I don’t want to do.


  1. No, I’m not making that color up 

Copy files from your iPod to your computer

My friend Jason asks:

how can i transfer music off an ipod that isn’t registered to my computer into my itunes?

I know nobody would ever use this to steal music, so don’t. But to get your own music back, I made a video to show you how:

Today’s Definition of Irony

Today’s Definition of Irony is brought to you by Amazon.com‘s new Amazonmp3 service1:
1234onamazon.jpg
…for having the top MP3 song as Feist’s 1234, also known as ‘that cool song that Apple uses in their new iPod commercials’.

This may or may not be made funnier (more funny?) by the fact that 1234 is only #4 in the iTunes Store:
1234onitunes.jpg

1From en.wikipedia.org:

On September 25, 2007, Amazon launched a new music store (currently in beta) which sells downloadable tracks, all in the MP3 format and most recorded at 256 kilobits per second Variable bitrate (VBR).[16] The Amazon MP3 Music Service: Terms of Use legally restrict use of the music, but Amazon does not use DRM to enforce those terms. Most songs cost US$0.89 or US$0.99, and most albums cost between US$4.95 and US$9.99. Participating record labels include EMI and Universal, as well as many independent labels.

Iain Torrance

Iain Torrance, chaplain to Her Majesty the Queen and president of Princeton Theological Seminary, gave the sermon at UPC today and it was simply marvelous. What a great speaker. He’s also hip too! He recounted how on his way to Rome last week, he listened to Julius Caesar on his iPod, which he purchased from iTunes.