Crystal Springs Marathon - Finisher!

On Saturday January 11, 2014 we ran the Crystal Springs Marathon, my 20th marathon but first trail marathon. Yes, I was a bit nervous about getting lost or wiping out on a tree root.

The race started at 8:30am in Huddart Park. Temps were in the low 40s with a forecast for possible rain after 11am. Distances were 50k, marathon and 22 miles - the majority of runners were doing the 22 miler but there were a decent number of marathon and ultra runners as well.

From the start, we took a flat/downhill 1.5 mile single track to warm up our quads for what was next - 5 miles of some serious uphill! The trail, full of switchbacks, climbed approximately 1600 feet with some steep sections. We crossed the road (Skyline) and had some nice downhill then hard uphill to the aid station. 

What a welcome sight - not only was there an opportunity to refill fluids (it was still cool, but pretty humid so everyone was loading up on fluids) but since this was an ultra we had all the "good stuff" - M&Ms, peanut butter sandwiches, Coke and Reese's. Yum! We then headed to the next aid station, 6 miles away, on a single track trail, high above a canyon that made me a bit dizzy looking down. The trail was technical and required a solid level of concentration to avoid taking a fall. We reached the second aid station and loaded up on fluid and goodies.

Next came a 4 mile add-on for the marathon and ultra - 2 miles of downhill switchbacks and then 2 miles back up to the aid station. 1200 feet of elevation change in total. My quads were starting to scream so I just kept thinking about reaching the top and loading up on electrolytes and a Reese's. At the top, it started to rain intermittently, but we stayed dry under the cover of the trees.

We made it back to the first/last aid station, caught the score of the Seahawks/Saints game (3-0, first quarter) and then headed out for our last 5.7 miles. There was one incline of significance, but the rest was downhill on switchback single track through the woods - beautiful. At the finish, everyone grabbed some hot soup, assorted protein and carbs then hit the road.

Overall, here's how the run rates in my book:

Organization – Well organized, marked course (was worried I'd get lost but had no problems). Grade: A

Course - 26.2 miles of trees, a few views of the Bay . Grade: B

Aid-stations - Four aid-stations with water that wasn't from a garden hose. No Gatorade. Fun volunteers. Grade: B

Swag – Nice medal and dri-fit short sleeve shirt.  Grade: B+

Bonus - I won the raffle and got a new pair of trail shoes. Grade A - Amir and James Head to Square

Amir and James started off 3 years ago as WebMynd making web plugins and pivoting to take on mobile as

They've made some amazing progress during this time, launching their initial product, Trigger Forge and just recently open sourcing their native modules. Along the way they've had great support from a cast of investors.

Today they've announced they are moving to Square and putting the company in the able hands of Antoine

Congrats guys!

NoSQL/Big Data in the Cloud

Great post about NoSQL and Big Data in the cloud - an overview that also discusses a portion of the Bing Social Data Platform (I managed this team and the larger platform effort during my time in Bing).

The numbers are quite interesting for scale geeks like me:

It’s also used by the Bing search engine to provide almost-immediate publicly searchable content from Facebook or Twitter posts or status updates. With around 350TB of data, the scope of Facebook and Twitter data is remarkable. When this data is being ingested, transaction throughput reaches peaks of around 40,000 transactions per second and totals between 2 to 3 billion transactions per day.

To summarize:

  • 40k trans/sec at peak
  • 2 to 3b trans/day
  • 350TB of data. The numbers and scale

Joint Venture Silicon Valley

Last month I officially joined the Board of Joint Venture Silicon Valley and am fortunate to be featured in their recent newsletter.

Working at the intersection of the public and private sectors is new to me and I've already learned how little I know about how local government functions. Hopefully I will be able to contribute and help make progress on some near-and-dear quality of life issues like traffic/commuting and the Bay Area environment.

The first Board meeting was quite humbling.

Probably won't be the last time I feel that way.

Migrating from Posterous to Posthaven

This is a bummer

On April 30th, we will turn off and our mobile apps in order to focus 100% of our efforts on Twitter.


After a bunch of procrastination and failed attempts to migrate to Wordpress and tumblr, I checked out Posthaven. Signup was quick, had to agree to $5/month (geez, I better blog more...) and the import was painless.

Good job Gary and company, now when do I get an iPhone app?

Santa Barbara Marathon - Finisher!

On Saturday November 23, 2012, we ran the Santa Barbara Marathon (yep, Saturday, not Sunday)
The day started off early with a 4am wake-up call for some of the runners. We left for the shuttle spot at UCSB at 5:30am, with temps in the low 40s and 10 mph winds. The shuttles were taking both full and half marathoners to their respective starting points. The half was supposed to start at 7:15, the full at 7:30.
Busses for the full were flawless; almost no waiting, direct to Dos Pueblos High School where we were able to hang out in the warm gym until the starting gun went off. The half had some challenges with logistics which caused both events to start 20+ minutes later than planned. Overall, there were about 1000 full and 5000 half runners. When we started just before 8am, the temps were low 50s and sunny.
The initial 9 mile loop was fairly flat, passing the Santa Barbara Airport, UCSB, Isla Vista (where we got a brief peak at the ocean) and then back past the high school. We then headed south towards the Wharf.
A significant part of the course was on the eastern side of Hwy 101, which meant we didn't see the coast - at all. However, the sun was out, the wind (which would be a factor at the finish) was still calm and the course had beautiful orange groves and other scenery that is hard to beat in November.
Miles 9-14 or so were on a bike path that kept me on my toes; bridges, turns, dips, etc. Miles 21 - 23 were mostly downhill with the only significant hill at Mile 23. We had heard about the 170 feet of incline, but didn't think much of it based on the map. Chris was able to (as usual) cruise right up the hill. I was left crawling on my knees, begging for it to end. Ok, not really, but it kind of felt that way :-)

Once we hit the top of the hill the ocean re-appeared, which was fantastic. We ran past La Mesa and Shoreline parks, which had great ocean views and made it all worth it. The adrenaline kicked in hard and the last 2.5 miles (downhill) made for a fast, but windy finish just past Leadbetter Beach.
Overall, here's how the run rates in my book:

Organization – Well organized, marked course. Full marathon transportation was fine but race started late. Grade: B

Course - A few scenic views, spectacular ocean views for last 2.5 miles . Grade: B

Aid-stations - Frequent aid-stations with water that wasn't from a garden hose. No Gatorade. Plenty of volunteers. Grade: B

Swag – Nice medal and dri-fit short sleeve shirt.  Grade: B+