Saturday, March 25, 2017


I went to India on a quick work trip. In addition to lots of Georges all over the place, there is also bad air pollution, honking cars, brightly dressed people, trains, and excellent food.

Agra Fort

Fatehpur Sikri

The Goats of Fatehpur Sikri

Favorite Things

India Gate

View from the Workshop

Straight-razor Shave

The Georges of India

I went to India. There are Georges all over the place.
[Link to photo album]

A very George-y young George at Fatehpur Sikri

At the Taj Mahal

On the street

On the (unused) train tracks

George, a bit bedraggled

On top of stuff

March: Decent Start

Waitlists haven't gone the way I've wanted them to so far, in that I haven't moved up a single slot for Hardrock, and I'm still 7 or 8 for Barkley, meaning that's not happening. But actual races have gone fairly well after the uninspired Rocky Raccoon.

I ran Way Too Cool 50K again, and had a good race. The course is flattish compared to many other nearby 50Ks I've run, so I was worried it would be boring to repeat it, but with all the rain and resulting green, this year's course had significantly different views than when I ran it two years ago. I finished in 5:02, 25 minutes slower than 2015, but given that I thought it might take me 5:30 or more, I was pretty happy with the results.

I also ran Marin Ultra Challenge 50-miler the next weekend. I've taken a few years off of running regular (sanctioned, on-trail) ultras in Marin County since I've done so many of them and got tired of the repetition, but I was impressed when I saw Inside Trail's MUC course--a 50 mile loop with almost no repetition, including a few trails I'd never been on before (Willow Camp climb out of Stinson, and TCC lovely rolling descent out of Pantoll). Aside from realizing at the Carquinas Straight toll plaza on the drive to the start that I was on mistaken-auto-pilot and totally going the wrong way, it was a great day.

I managed to start on time, saw the sun rise several times thanks to early climbs in and out of Karl the Fog's marine layer, listened to a whole bunch of foghorns, and  finished 10:20. Under ten hours would have been awesome, but I was thinking it might take me anywhere from 10-12 hours, so I'm pretty happy with the outcome.

Apparently, I've got all my endurance back after my usual October-January off season. Now I just need leg speed. So I've decided I'm going to do at least one weekly track workout. Except I've got a cold right now, so we'll see.

New friends at the dog park
Ben Gould for District 4
Really the only bad thing in March was that my friend Ben lost his race for City Council in the special election. The new majority on the council has lived up to all my anti-housing fears. Oakland is doing a little better though, so it's not all bad

Good morning

Monday, February 06, 2017

Houston, mostly

I'm stuck in Bush Intercontinental Airport at the very end of a long work trip. I went to DC to teach version control for research reproducibility at the World Bank on Wednesday. Thursday, after stopping by Dianne and Kamala's offices to advocate for unified NO votes on the cabinet, I flew to Boston, where I got to see MHD briefly. I presented at the National Bureau of Economic Research at a conference for research on SNAP (food stamps) on Friday, and then flew to Houston to run my first race of the year: Rocky Raccoon 100.

Rocky Raccoon is a flat course run on five 20-mile loops in Huntsville State Park. Ian Sharman ran the fastest trail 100-miler on US soil here a few years ago, meaning if I were in shape it would be an opportunity for me to set a PR or at least go under 24 hours. However, I'm not in shape, so it just turned into a not-at-all scenic suckfest from mile 40 to mile 98 or so. Whatever. At least I stuck with it and got to catch up on a bunch of podcasts. I also met a couple nice liberals from red states and had decent gripe sessions. I wasn't really too concerned about the race anyway, it was more just an excuse to visit W&V, since they live nearby, and was a good training run. I'm in desperate need of training since I haven't done a run longer than 20 miles since October. The visiting W&V part was great, and I presented on research transparency in the department this morning.

The guy at the airport is loudly claiming that the Mayans "had help" building their pyramids. He would know because his dad's an engineer. I am going to put headphones in. My flights delayed because, suprise! it's raining in San Francisco.

Enjoy some Houston street art.
Not cool to put George and Charlie next to Andrew Jackson

Two out of Three

Houston, please explain yourself

I'm a zoning nerd

Houston, with its lack of zoning, has a lot of single family homes right next to townhomes. This is fine, and not in the dog sitting in the room on fire fine, it's actually fine. For this zoning nerd, aside from the obvious fact that the city isn't walkeable/bikeable on a large scale, it's also not walkable on small scale either--sidewalks are completely non-function since everyone, myself included, parks across them.

Lone scenery photo from Rocky Raccoon