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#CaptnKarls 2014: Pedernales Falls State Park

Last Saturday evening, I had fun running the Captain Karls Pedernales Falls trail race, the first in the series for 2014. It was fairly hot and hillier than I expected:

However, it was absolutely beautiful chasing the sunset into the late evening:

I decided to do the 30k and finished the race in 2:56:

It was a crazy finish because I managed to chase down someone about a kilometer from the finish line and then he tried to catch me at the end so it was a full sprint the last 400 meters or so to the finish line. Not the way I wanted to end the race but I recall being 7th overall in the group so that’s not too bad!

Trail Race: XTERRA 16k Muleshoe Bend 2014

Yesterday I had the opportunity to take part in the XTERRA 16k in beautiful Muleshoe Bend. Besides waking up at 6am during the weekend, it was a great race and I didn’t have any issues running the course or slipping on a cactus.

I could have definitely ran the course a bit faster given that I placed 4th in my age group, but I wanted to enjoy the scenery:

I ended up running the 16k in 1:23:16 which is about an 8:22 mile.

Next up? Capt’n Karl’s night time trail series 🙂

Texas Independence Relay (#TIR2014)

Last weekend, I had an amazing time running the Texas Independence Relay 2014 edition with a bunch of old and new friends.

This was an amazing race to do before I start tapering for the Boston Marathon which is going to happen in a few weeks. On top of that, the weather was nearly perfect, during the day bluebonnets were in full bloom like I haven’t seen in many years.

During the evening, we witnessed a beautiful Texas sunset:

So how did I end up doing? I ended up running 4.5 legs (we had an injury so I ran half of an extra leg):

Overall, I had a blast and was impressed I was able to keep my average pace under 7:00/mi for the whole race, this puts me in great shape for the Boston Marathon. We actually ended up finishing 2 hours ahead of schedule roughly which put us finishing 8th at the San Jacinto Monument.

As a reminder, I’m still fundraising for the The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society so if you have the means, please consider a donation for this great cause. I promise to live tweet everyone thanks during the marathon as a token of appreciation.

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For those who know me, know that I absolutely love running. It helps me clear my mind, keeps me in shape and something we as humans have a genetic predisposition to be decent at if we try.

This year, I’m thrilled to have the opportunity to run in the 118th Boston Marathon. Last year and especially for those in the running community, we all watched in horror when two foolish people decided to execute an attack of terror.

One of the first things on my mind was, damn, I could have easily been there. Second, the Boston Marathon needs to move to the top of my bucket list as no one should fear participating in an event like that. This year, I’m lucky to be joining a group of 14 people who are raising at least $250,000 for Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. Please consider taking the time to support our cause if you can.

For those who donate, I can promise that I will give you a front seat to the event by live tweeting each of my miles with lovely commentary and photos.

Rogue Trail Series 2013: The MAZE

I’ve decided to start writing about my running again.

Why? I like to do it and it helps me to perform better. Since starting a new job at the tweet house a couple years ago, I’ve neglected my writing about running and the desire to run a sub 3 hour marathon. That’s going to change today though! Last week, I participated in the first race of the Rogue Trail Series titled The MAZE. It was a beautiful morning to run:

The Maze

I started in the back because I arrived a bit late and had to pass a lot of people which was fun. While the course had some single track terrain, there were ample opportunities to pass people. I even tried to vine me passing someone to see how that would turn out while running at a decent clip:

I ended up finishing decently at ~51 minutes and could have easily picked up the pace towards the eng. More importantly, I felt great at the end:


I look forward to the race in the series!

Steep Ravine Trail Run

Yesterday, I had the pleasure of running the Steep Ravine Trail Run put on by Coastal Trail Runs. It was a fun race, the only downside was getting to the start line… I showed up a few minutes late due to the fog and had to make up for some lost time. My plan was to take it fairly easy the first few miles since all we were doing is climbing…

Once I made it to the top… I was floating on clouds ready to tackle the descent, the fog was mesmerizing.

I made up a lot of lost time on the way down… the conditions were a bit slick but the terrain wasn’t too technical. At the start of my second climb which met up with the Dipsea trail… the course became more technical. On the way down on the Dipsea, it was muddy and plenty full of slick steps…

I managed to finish the race in 2:21 (2:26 if you include my late start) which is definitely not the fastest time for me, but considering there was a lot of climbing and the trail was fairly technical I’m happy with the time. As an added bonus, I finished third in my age group and still have a few months of training before tackling the North Face Endurance Challenge trail marathon.

Canyon Meadow Trail Half Marathon

Due to taking a new and fun job, I’ve neglected my blogging as of late, especially when it comes to running. My new goal is to fix that as it’s important for me to hold myself accountable when it comes to improving my running performance. My pace has slowed down a bit since San Francisco just can’t compete with Austin when it comes to the fitness and running scene.

However, there are some nice trail runs put on by the Coastal Trail Run folks here and there. Last week, I ran the Canyon Meadow trail half marathon. The run started out beautifully, the weather was great. The downside was that I was a little late to the start line so I had to wade through a lot of people…

There was a lot of climbing involved the first several miles which hurt, that’s what I get for not looking at the elevation profile until after the race…

However, once the hills were done, the trail was beautiful and just involved coasting downhill for the most part…

I ended up finishing in 1:56 and 6th in my age group which isn’t that bad, but no where near my old sub 7 trail running days a year or so ago. But hey, practice makes perfect, the next race I have planned is the Zombie Runner on June 16th, let’s do it.

I’m going to @JoinTheFlock

I will be leaving Red Hat shortly for a new opportunity. In my opinion, Red Hat is at the forefront of open source and I think they are one of the best open source companies to work for. I enjoyed my time there working with the Eclipse and Fedora communities (I truly respect their open source mission). However, it’s time for me to seek new challenges and stretch myself in greater ways. I’m going to @JoinTheFlock by taking a position to kick-start and manage Twitter’s open source efforts.

Twitter uses a lot of open source code, from Ruby to Scala to many other projects from places like Apache. On top of that, Twitter contributes a bit to open source, checkout there GitHub page for some of Twitter’s work. I’m looking forward to representing Twitter, spreading the open source love and shaping open source policies with Twitter’s engineers and legal team. I have a lot of ideas of what Twitter could do in the open source arena and look forward to sharing those with you in the future.

How will this impact my involvement with the community? Not that much, I plan to remain involved with the community and even other open source communities. I find to be one of the most professional open source communities, I like the friction caused between commercial and open source interests, we are better because of it. Anyways, I look forward to shipping the Eclipse Indigo release with everyone next week and definitely the Juno release next year.

I’ll have more to say soon, if you’re interested you can follow me on Twitter as @caniszczyk.

Travel Tip: Last Minute Hotels

In the past, I have blogged about travel tips (e.g., airline meals) so I figure I would continue the tradition but focusing on last minute hotels (although you can do this on a non-last minute basis). It’s not that I’m very frugal, I’m just not a fan of the price gouging that happens in the hotel industry. You may find this useful if you’re under tight travel budgets or there are times when a conference is in town and hotels raise their prices significantly.

This tip exploits mainly Hotwire and Priceline and focuses on North America (although I’ve had success with Hotwire in Europe). I’ll show you an example of how it works. For example, I need a hotel in Houston next weekend for a graudation party. I do a quick search on Hotwire (this would also work on Expedia’s Unpublished Last Minute Deals) and it shows me a bunch of options…

The downside is you don’t see the actual hotel you’ll stay at, but you do get access to some reviews and the star level. Here’s where the magic happens. I cross reference these examples with the forums from BetterBidding

If I match up the star level and amenities, I can see that the second hotel listed in the Houston Galleria is going to be the Omni. From my experience, I’m almost always able to figure out the hotel from the star level amenities. From the twenty or so times that I have done this, only once it hasn’t come up with the hotel that I expected (it was another four star hotel so it was fine). If you prefer to use a bidding service like Priceline, you can check the BetterBidding forums on recent successful bids to get a good idea on what you should bid for…

In summary, Hotwire and Priceline in combination with BetterBidding work great if you need a reasonably price last minute hotel. The only downside you face is that you won’t earn loyalty points for your stay with the hotel. Other than that, I hope people find this useful.

Silicon Labs Marathon Relay 2010

This morning I had the pleasure to run the Silicon Labs Marathon relay in Austin, TX.

I had the second leg which was a 10K and finished it in about 41 minutes which isn’t that bad for me. It was also delightful to run as a ringer on the Austin Runners Club women’s team. Overall, I felt good and think I’ll be good for the Chicago marathon in a couple weeks… my right ankle showed no sign of pain!