Monday, November 12, 2012
Saturday, November 10, 2012
Must say a) it's more fun doing relays when they are close and b) our competition is absolutely lovely. Great group of guys despite their questionable clothing choice: speedos. Not flattering. Brent is running now and started with a 2:35 lead. He's got 9 tough miles then hands off to Larry. Eddie is doing a 4th leg to close the race. Andrew's stress fracture got the best of him leg 2. It's an exciting race. Van 1 just had delicious breakfast and are heading to the finish line / Ragnar park.
Go Google 1!
The differential has been no greater than 3 minutes all night. We fell behind once but managed to push back up to the front.
Now we are up 1:20 with 6 legs to go. It's gonna be a dog fight all the way to the finish. The long legs remaining should bode well for our team.
Friday, November 9, 2012
The remaining set of legs were short and fast. Brent ran his 2.9 miles hard, the distance being practically a sprint for him. Larry took an extended leg of 4 miles managing a solid time despite running a marathon less than a week earlier. Andrew tested his injured foot out on an abbreviated 3-mile leg and it proved sound. Jeff closed out leg 12's 3.3-mile distance, not letting the challenger's anchor gain any ground. Van 1 takes over with a 3-minute lead. Still anyone's race though.
We made it to Vegas! But our stay was short-lived. While most passengers on our flight booked it straight to the casinos upon touching down, Google1 had no time to party (despite "party mode" being enabled on the Google+ event we created). After picking up our two rental vans, we began the hour drive to the relay start in Lake Mead ~200 miles away from the finish near Vegas. We were warned by the van rental folks that we'll be running through a wind storm. Now as we pass struggling runners, who started earlier today, it's clear that the wind will be a force to be reckoned with.
Saturday, August 25, 2012
Friday, August 24, 2012
Why is Craig jubilantly gesticulating Usain-bolt style? Is it because van 2 completed all of its legs and is on its way to get some much needed sleep waiting at exchange 18? Or is he celebrating because we're (likely) in front of team Tarahumara, only behind Toyo University, Bowerman, Knoxville, Portland University, and New Zealand? Or is he just pointing out the chocolate coconut twinkie on the menu of the Japanese stir fry restaurant we stopped at in Portland?
Being the Google team we are always interested on how technology marches forward and changes lives. In this case, technology marched forward rather slowly - and caused much stress in my life. The technology in question here was the Motorolla Aktiv sports watch with GPS. I have little / no experience using such black magic and was eager to have it keep me on track to meet the Big Cat predicted pace. (Actually - I more worried about missing the Big Cat required pace....;) ) Well, it started giving slow splits.....45seconds slower than planned. 'Well, just relax and pick it up'....still slow.....'ok...stretch your stride, lift the hips, stride out'......still slow....."go faster"....still slow..."go even faster"....well...you get it by now. The one gets to thinking.....was it the kale in my all organic locally sourced salad I had the day before at the raw food bar?! Am I missing a massage? Perhaps I am missing a shot of caffeine from the sneak attack barrista? oh - the decisions and uncertainty of working at Google!
In the end the GPS was the source of uncertainty and was short on the distance. The time looked ok.....apparently cut a few seconds off.....so its onward and upward to the next leg!!!
My response: "Here until the end of the week and up to Portland to see my family."
Two blinks and eyes widening he smiled, "Yeah?! We're running Hood-to-Coast on Friday...... Hey, I think we might have a spot open.. You interested?"
I paused, thinking back to work plans... I may be able to squeeze in all my meetings by Thursday... Wait, I thought. The last time I ran that race in 2005... I couldn't run for 3 days, or was it 2? However, remembering the camaraderie, feeling of accomplishment and IPAs waiting at the end of the run in beautiful Seaside I was like, "Let's do this!"
Always wanting to run with the Google team, but being in San Bruno at the time, I couldn't logistically make it down to MTV. This was my chance though.
Changing my ticket, I left early Friday to meet the team in Portland. We picked up the vans and headed straight for Timberline. We got off to a good start and watched our first three legs run solid down the steep decline.
My leg, the first of our second van's started at the Sandy(for track fans, home of Art Skipper) Safeway. Meeting my folks for coffee, I'm thinking that this is my day. After a shaky warm-up, I went to the exchange zone to meet Crosby for the hand-off. He came blazing in quicker than our projections and pumped up, I started striding out down the hill and feeling rough(mind you the day before I kayaked an hour on the team offsite), I pushed through the first mile in about 5:20.
From there, I was just not going to maintain, so I slowed and just focused on running it as if it were a tempo run. Around mile 3 my shoe lace came undone and I had to stop. A mile later, the other one came undone and disgusted with myself, I stopped again to re-lace. Then came the undulating hills.
I repeatedly hammered up and tried to relax down the hills. Focusing on maintaining the rhythm and taking scalps took my mind away from the creeping lactate. The folk that lived in the area we're kind enough to turn their sprinklers on to cool us off in the blazing, setting sun.
When we got to 1-mile out, the course began to flatten out a bit and the finish came to sight. Dropping down another gear I focused on passing the three people that stood between me and our next runner, Craig. Coming down to the final 100-meter stretch the lady in front of me turned her head and she too, hammered down beginning her sprint. Surprisingly fast, I thought about letting her have her glory, but that would not be sport. So I passed her, but it was not as easy a task as I had thought.
My final time was slower than anticipated and I rolled in at 34:14 for my 6.32 mile leg. Not stellar, not bad. I hope to redeem myself the next two legs and help our team win the corporate division.
Van 1 is off to a great start. The weather is fabulous, albeit a bit hot, and we're 6 minutes ahead of pace.
There is *a lot* of competition this year including my favorite new team from Japan. They're about 15 minutes ahead of us and looking great.
Leg 1: Chris. led it out down a brutal descent and beat down his projection by almost 4 minutes... nice! And only a few blisters, not too shabby!
Leg 2: Big Cat took the baton and finished the descent down Mt. Hood. That downhill bought us another couple minutes!
Leg 3: Ben C followed up with a nice fast 4 miles.
Leg 4: I wasn't feeling all that great, but I managed my 7.18 miles without losing any time... that's a win!
Leg 5: Loren had the hardest of our first set of miles: a hilly 6 miles, which he seemed to gobble up.
Leg 6: Crosby is out there now doing what he does best.
Looking forward to dinner!
We're now about 4500 vertical feet below where we started. While the downhill takes a toll on one's legs, we have been treated to some amazing views of Oregon forests. Added bonus: 4:50 miles are a cinch. The pack we started with is beginning to spread out but this is gonna be a race this year.
From the pictures, I'd say ben looks like he's got his second and third legs in the tank (he's finishing) and Larry looks ready to go for #4.
Nice work Chris! Time to stretch.
Of 2. Stay tuned for a shot from Mist, OR or thereabouts.
Thursday, August 23, 2012
|Before the start of Hood to Coast 2011|
Galen Rupp's fearless kick during the last lap of the 10K. Poetry in motion.
Meb Keflezghi, 37, proving that he still can compete with the best of them. Downright inspiring.
For track and field fanatics, this summer's Olympic games lived up to the hype. Yet they still served as only a warm-up for what we all recognize as the biggest running event of the year.
"Hood to what??"
Well, maybe not everyone keeps Hood to Coast irremovably blocked off on their "running" Google Calendar in all caps. But for many of us, tomorrow marks the start of the "Mother of All Relays" (as the relay modestly refers to itself).
We'll do our best to keep the blog updated throughout the night to satiate the thirst of our loyal track and field-a-holic followers riveted to computer screens during the wee hours of the morn. Of course you can just read our final post on Saturday morning.
Either way, for now I leave you with a profound quote from Johann Blake, sprinter and teammate of Usain Bolt on the Jamaican Olympic team:
Basically, we are not human, we dropped from space like Mr Bean. Mr Bean is not a normal guy, he makes jokes. We are not normal guys. We are from space, I am from Mars.
While we may not be as fast as Blake and Bolt, we're certainly far from normal. After all, we're running an all night race from Mount Hood to a coastline 200 miles away -- for fun.
See you out there!
|Blake and Matt hoisting L-Train after his final leg during Hood to Coast 2011. |
1st place? No. From space? Perhaps
Monday, June 4, 2012
|Corp. Challenge & Chicago|
When a few of us ran the JP Morgan Chase Corporate Challenge Championships in Johannesburg back in 2010, the global nature of the event felt a bit like the World Cup, which was happening in South Africa at the time. This year, the upcoming Olympics came to mind as seven Google runners and I toed the line in Chicago alongside athletes from seven countries on five continents.
At the reception the night before the race, we chatted with runners representing companies from Sydney, Tokyo, Frankfurt and ten other cities in the Chase tower overlooking the Chicago skyline. We even rubbed elbows with Chicago celebrities like Mike Ditka, Oprah Winfrey, Michael Jordan and Harry Carey. After realizing that Mr. Ditka as well as the other four were impersonators, ESPN-junkie Eddie gradually regained balance and picked up his dropped jaw. Good thing since there was plenty to munch on, albeit not your standard pre-race fare: delicious tootsie rolls, hot dogs served by vendors clad in Cubs gear, and other Chicago classics. We even cleansed our palates with Wrigley's gum manufactured nearby.
Race day was unseasonably warm and windy, even for Chicago standards. Of course, the strongest headwind had to be in the final mile as we entered the homestretch back to gorgeous Grant Park by Lake Michigan. After the race, we kept the adrenaline levels high dancing to a rocking soul band. We learned that the mens team had finished in 3rd place overall, just seconds in front of Swimming Australia Limited from Sydney, and the mixed team had finished in 5th place in the mixed division! Here are the full results.
After accepting the awards, we resumed grooving to Blues Brothers covers along with runners from around the world. Then we hung out with Googlers from the Chicago office who had run the open race, which started shortly after the championship, along with about 23,000 other participants.
I have to hand it to the JP Morgan race organizers not only for their fine taste in blues music, but also for their incredible hospitality throughout the event and for putting on a fantastic race series that benefits a number of awesome charities.
However, JP Morgan's caption-writing could be improved :) The site includes a photo of the Google mens team, featuring Eddie with hands outstretched in post-race jubilation and Loren doubled over after clearly leaving everything on the course. The caption reads: Members of Google have some fun as they warm-up for the race.
Video highlights from JP Morgan Corporate Challenge site.
Thursday, May 24, 2012
Tonight, eight Google runners will join dozens of other corporate running teams from around the world in a race through the streets of Chicago. I'm praying for no headwind. Chicago's not known for being a windy city, right?
During the annual JPMorgan Chase Corporate Challenge Series, hundreds of companies compete in 3.5 mile road races held in 13 cities, including Singapore, New York City and Johannesburg. To qualify for the 2012 championship and earn a round-trip flight to Chicago, each corporate team of four, either men’s, women’s or mixed, won its local qualifying race in 2009. This year Google won both the mens and mixed divisions of the SF race.
In the elevator on the way to the pre-race reception last night, I met Bradley Croker, a runner from Swimming Australia in Sydney. When the subject of Bay to Breakers came up, he mentioned he had run it too. As we chatted further, I discovered that the race directors had put him up in a hotel in SF as an elite runner and he had finished around top 10. Needless to say, he wasn't running with a stinger and centipede twinkie feelers.
|Photo of Google mixed team (From left: Cedric, Gretchen, Jeff and Elizabeth)|
Below is a photo from the Project Glass Google+ page. As you can see, Blake got the Glass while I wore the "twinkie feelers" (see previous post). He clearly got the short end of the stick.
Saturday, May 19, 2012
Conversely, Team Google1 eventually realized that this year was in fact time for a Bay to Breakers beta, the first Google1 centipede (that I know of anyway). 15 Googlers connected by bungee cords, office depot binder clips and flag football belts will be running the 12 kilometers (that's 7.4 miles) from San Francisco's Embarcadero to Ocean Beach during tomorrow's 101st running of Bay to Breakers. Most importantly, we secured two of the essentials. According to the official centipede guidelines, "adopted by the International Centipede Congress long, long ago," rules 5 and 6 are as follows:
5. Twinkie feelers on the head of each segment are required.
6. The final segment of each centipede must wear a stinger of appropriate design and toxicity.
Considering that the race starts in less than 8 hours, I probably should head to bed. Then again, Google1 runners are used to running on low sleep.
Sunday, May 6, 2012
Huge thanks to pilots Kerry and Christine for navigating through ambiguity, putting up with the van stench, and keeping us alive! Big thanks also to Jeff and Loren, along with Kerry and Big Cat, for stepping up and leading the charge on organizing this thing -- it makes my head hurt to think of all the logistical details that go into putting something like this together.
Gotta run (figuratively) and join the rest of the crew inside at the breakfast spot. Congrats Google1, the other Google running teams, DSE (the winners), and everyone else who participated in the relay!
We're happy to see that we won't have to wear bulky headlamps and reflective vests, based on the sunrise time.
I forgot to mention that earlier we had a mobile phone hangout with a few members of Van Morrison as we were waiting for them to meet us on the Golden Gate Bridge.
Saturday, May 5, 2012
After a few zzz's Blake will likely uncork the first five hour energy of the night after depriving himself of caffeine for this past week to ensure maximum impact. Bracingly crisp.
We're all finished with our first set of legs, after stomaching a day's worth of pre-race jitters. Earlier, the Benz ran mighty fine miles, Ben "the" Carr completing his first relay leg ever. Blake cranked through his miles at an impressively brisk pace, especially considering that he was wearing worn-out running flats wrapped in tape to prevent them from disintegrating. He handed off to Jeff, who tackled the challenging hills that loomed early in leg 12 and then flew on the downhills. We're in second place, about 10 minutes behind DSE. The night is young and we're crossing the Golden Gate Bridge under the supermoon.
Nothin' but a G thang just started on the ipod. Time to chill til the next episode.
We're about 4 minutes behind Stanford Running Club. Dolphin South End (DSE) is about 10 minutes ahead.
The Benz have commenced their back-to-back legs. Rookie Ben just cruised by at a blistering pace, soon to be followed by Big Ben.
Eddie, aka Big Cat, who typically captains these events, is in Australia, where I trust he'll be devouring each post immediately as they go live, and +1'ing each compulsively. We'll miss you Big Cat!
Good luck to all the other Google teams and everyone else in the Relay. For those about to run ... we salute you!
Friday, May 4, 2012
Yes, it's that time of year again. The Relay is once again upon us, kicking off the Google1 team's racing season. Time to pile into two vans and race through vineyards, cross the Golden Gate bridge under a full moon and, if all goes well, finish with legs intact in Santa Cruz on Sunday -- all in the process of raising money for a great charity that promotes organ donation through athletics (Organs 'R Us).
One crazy Google1 runner mapped the hilly course two years ago using Google Earth and My Maps. Awesome, and it looks like I got stuck with one of the "Very Hard" rated legs.
On a Saturday night, what could possibly be more exciting than following a bunch of crazy, nerdy runners as they run a ridiculously long race? Well, perhaps running The Relay, but then again, the sweat smell in the vans get pretty bad starting around mile 12 ...
See you out there!
-MK10K (aka Matt Kane)