Thursday, May 24, 2012

Corporate Challenge Championship in 5 hours

Time to break out the 5 hour energies? Too soon.

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)

Bay to Breakers results!

Google1 successfully "launched" Beta Breakers on Sunday, covering the 12 kilometer course in 49 minutes (6:34 pace per mile). The 15-Googler 'pede nailed its pace goals while, more importantly, still being able to stomach smiles during the photo checkpoints in the final miles. We're definitely saving the $1 package of Office Depot binder clips and flag football belts for next year.

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

Announcing the B2B Google1 centipede. In beta.

At Google we sometimes give nicknames to new features and products in development. A fellow Googler told me that when he first started working in Mountain View, he kept hearing about a mysterious product called Beta Breakers. He eventually discovered that Bay to Breakers was actually one of the largest road races/parties in the world -- not a feature on the horizon.

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.


Photos from The Relay are in!

Calistoga The Relay '12

Sunday, May 6, 2012

We made it! Strawberry fields forever

Jeff brought us home crossing the finish line at 10:49 am at a strawberry farm in Davenport CA (not Santa Cruz as I mistakenly mentioned earlier). We finished in second place and are heading to refuel at a local breakfast spot to refuel.

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!


Chrome fast.

Rude awakening

Loren looking rested and ready to run. Moments later he kicked off van halens last set of 6 legs

5 star accommodations

Van Halen rocked our second set of six legs. We're on the long drive to the next big van exchange where we'll wait for Morrison and catch a little sleep. However, it's highly unlikely that the van seats, ground, or in Loren's case, car roof, will provide as comfortable accommodations as Blake's apartment.  We slept in his basement earlier tonight where we managed to get a full night's sleep of 45 minutes while being serenaded by his roommate singing "Waiting for a funeral" by Band of Horses.

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.

Angie has conquered the Golden Gate bridge and Van Morrison is off for a well-deserved nap. Driver Christine is leading us to the place, while most of the rest of the runners are already starting to doze off. Good luck Van Halen! See you in a few hours.


We are rested and back for more

Another glorious and hilarious nap at Blake's. While all intruders stayed fully clothed this year, we did get to enjoy a lovely serenade from the new roommate. Blake, further proof we should hang out with your friends more often.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Golden Gate Bridge under the supermoon

Van Halen is currently passing through Marin. We've broken out the pop tarts on the long drive to exchange 24 where we'll catch a few hours of sleep at Blake's pad (praying that there's not a late-night, noisy party) and wait for Van Morrison.

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.


Back ahead of Stanford

Matty Kane is crushing it.  We are back in front of Stanford. Another item reclaimed, our van name. Van Dam formerly Van Halen is now back to Van Halen.

Van Gogh-ing

Buganizer Loren killed it on his first leg, ripping off his singlet, and finishing with his chest covered in flies. Yeah buddy!

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.

Andrew taking off

From the start. Also important update: van halen = van dam
van morrison = van gough

Say cheese in wine country

Sorry for the lame title. The posts will get cheesier as the night goes on.

The lead is reclaimed! Cedric is out for a blistering 7.4 miles with DSE close behind.

Off to a great start

Google 1 off to a great start in The Relay. Andrew ran a great leg one and Larry a fantastic leg 2 moving the team into 1st. Also off to a great start...107.7 The Bone playing all my favorite classic rock hits.

Andrew and Larry wrapped up legs one and two maintaining a brisk pace, and Chris is currently wielding the baton on this whirlwind wine tour. We're currently in second place, behind Stanford Running Club.

For those about to run ... we salute you!

I'm posting from Van Halen, along with the two Ben's, Loren, Blake, Jeff and our veteran van pilot Kerry. Andrew starts rocking at 3 pm PST in Calistoga. He's riding in the other van with Angie, Gretchen, Larry, Cedric and Chris in Van Halen, driven by pilot Christine. We're decked out in our new team jackets (thanks Jeff!).

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!

On the way! View from Van Halen

Friday, May 4, 2012

Super pumped for The Relay ... and supermoon

It's that time of year. The stars have again aligned to bring together 12 fast, fun-loving Googlers from across the company for one 200 mile journey. As an added bonus, Saturday night's supermoon, the biggest, brightest moon of the year, has kindly agreed to shed its celestial rays on these insomniac harriers and their two fearless van pilots, as they race from Calistoga to Santa Cruz. And it looks like the weather gods will cooperate.

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)