Run for the Red 5K Race Report

It is so nice to be able to write a race report again. It has been a year and a half since I ran a race. While I wasn’t training for a race today, I ran it anyway. We were driving through a town in Tennessee (looking for a house to live in) and we saw a small sign advertising a 5K. Though one day before the race is usually too late to register, I still looked it up online. This was the first year for the race and therefore they allowed race-day registration.

I showed up at 8:00 for registration with a race start scheduled for 9:00. Other than the workers, there was only one other runner hanging around the registration table. Though we were not supposed to get a shirt after a certain registration date, the registration lady still had about 100 shirts in boxes to give out. There was no problem with offering shirts to late registrants. This was a good indication that I might be able to win my age group. They said they would give out prizes for first place in each group.

Cherokee LakeBecause I had an hour before the race started I went to the top of the mountain of Panther Creek State Park, where we were running the race, and enjoyed the scenic overview of the lake for a few minutes.

I warmed up as usual and headed to the starting line. There were only about 25 runners. From what I gathered, most of them signed up the morning of the race. There was even one man who came to the park for a normal run and saw that there was a race being held. Just a few minutes before the race started he jogged up to the starting line and joined us after registering.

The course was pretty hilly. I expected that since I had run at this park before. I was not familiar with the particular trails that we ran on. I had to do my share of walking on some of the uphill sections. This was my first time to run a trail race. I have always loved running trails, but all my previous races have been on roads.

Within about 5 minutes of the start we spread out to our own little groupings. I never passed anyone else and no one passed me after that first few minutes. In fact, after about 8 minutes I didn’t even see any other runners for the rest of the run.

Uphill trailI finished in 30:16. That is a slow time for a 5K for me. I don’t know if the distance was accurate. But I took solace in the fact that the first place runner had a time in the 25 minute range. It was a tough run for everyone.

A meal was provided after the race. It was hot dogs with chili and hamburgers. There were no condiments. I thought it was a terrible meal to have after a 9:00 race. We were supposed to be interested in lunch at 9:45 in the morning? I would have rather had fruit or something with a potato salad. The lady mentioned that they thought about salads as a meal, but since it was going to be hot today they thought the salads would not go over well. I would take a salad any day over a chili dog immediately after a race.

I liked the laid-back atmosphere of the small race, but was very disappointed with one change. The race registration form said they would give a prize to the first place winner in each age group. Since there were so few people, they decided to only give a prize to the first and second place men’s winners and the first place ladies’ winner. That meant everyone over the age of 25 had no chance of winning any prize. This was not announced until after the race was over. It should not have mattered that there were few people at the event. If they were prepared to give away 10 prizes it doesn’t make a difference if there are 20 people or 200 people at the race. It would still be 10 prizes given away that did not cost the organizers anything. The 3 prizes they did give away were all donated items. I assume the other prizes were donated as well.

There was talk that the race was really under promoted. I wouldn’t know anything about that since I have only been in town a couple of days. However, if they want to make this race a success next year they need to make sure they promote it more heavily and not bungle the prize decision next time. I don’t know if I would have won my age group, but I never even got a chance to find out.

I am glad for the chance to have run a race, but I would really have liked a chance to see if I could have won my age group.

Linux Turns 20 Years Old and I Celebrate 10 Years With Linux

I heard on a podcast today that Linux is celebrating 20 years this year. The 0.01 version of the Linux kernel was launched in September of 1991. That makes Linux 20 years old this year.

I first heard about Linux in 1995. I was immediately drawn to it. I think it is something about my personality that wants to do things differently than everyone else. I am usually the first of my friends to try new things. Sometimes those new things become very popular and I have to move away from them to find something different (my recent move from the iPhone to Android). Sometimes that new and different thing never catches on and dies a quick and painless death (Sharp Zaurus which ran Linux).

Linux is one of those things that I have been able to find a group of sympathetic friends who share my passion and frustration. Linux will probably never be mainstream by itself, but there are some pretty neat technologies that are built on top of Linux. While not strictly Linux, the guts of Mac OS X shares the same roots as Linux. Google’s Android platform is built on Linux.

I remember spending hours with the dial-up modem trying to download different distributions of Linux to try out. I would tie up the phone line as soon as I got home from work and leave the connection running all night. If there was ever a need for bittorrent technology it was back in the dial-up days.

From 1997 to 2001 I played with Linux heavily. I was never willing to commit to it as my main OS, but I spent a lot of time with it. I did not trust my work to Linux back in those days, but I probably dedicated more of my computer time to Linux.

In 2001 I took the plunge and loaded Linux as my main OS. Since then I have used it exclusively for work. I continued to dual boot for several years because of having certain games or specific programs that I wanted to use. Until recently I was booting Windows in a virtual machine because there were only one or two programs I wanted to use. Since I loaded on the latest version of Kubuntu Linux (11.04) I didn’t even bother to rebuild my virtual machine.

I am celebrating 10 years of Linux being my main OS and Linux is celebrating 20 years. It has been a fun journey.

Review: DIY Bookbinding by Brian Sawyer

Cover for DIY BookbindingAs someone who loves to know how things are made, I was excited about the opportunity to read DIY Bookbinding by Brian Sawyer from O’Reilly Media. I wasn’t sure it would be information I would actually use, but the knowledge of how books are built is intriguing. However, after reading this short little tutorial, I am eager to try my hand at building a book!

This 32 page ebook is full of pictures and written explanations on how to rebind a magazine. The information can be adapted to many projects, but the example of magazine rebinding is probably something many people would like to do. It is a non-technical process. I guess I was a little surprised by that, but I shouldn’t have been. People have been binding books for years. The bigger surprise is that this book claims you can get all the supplies at a local hobby store. While there are products made specifically for book binding, I can easily imagine many substitutes for the actual products if your store doesn’t stock them.

After reading the book, the only thing I wished I knew more about is the types of paper or cloth that can be used to cover the binder’s boards. While the author gave some generalities of what to look for, I think more examples would have been helpful.

A couple of pictures in the book were not quite in focus. It is hard to take good close-up pictures with a cheap camera. But the author works directly for O’Reilly. It seems that they would have had photographers and good cameras to capture sharper images.

Those two critiques aside, this is a book I would highly recommend to anyone who is thinking of rebinding a book or magazine. While there certainly could be more said about the process than 32 pages can provide, this book gives you all the essentials. Armed with the information in this book I can confidently jump into a book binding project and expect good results.

DIY Bookbinding by Brian Sawyer. Ebook. O’Reilly Media, July 2011.

[Disclosure: I received a free review copy of this book.]