Life Goals and other Random Nonsense: 2007

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

What to name the baby?

So far we have just been calling her Knut - as in Cute Knut the Polar Bear but we definitely won't be naming her Knut. We will be waiting until she is born to bestow the name upon her, but we have a running list of possible names and and are looking for good suggestions.

We are strongly leaning towards a name in honor of Kasthuri (Jyothi's mother) - so names that start with "K" get extra points.

I came across this site which has an amusing category called Names Easily Pronounced by Foreigners with the description:

You are living outside India or may plan to move abroad, and you want to ensure that your child's name is not mispronounced by foreigner friends.
But their website is busted so I can't actually see any of the names! Maybe they will fix it soon. Anyway, while I like the idea of an "easily pronounceable" name, it seems to me that every name is going to be hard to pronounce by someone.

On a related note, in the process of researching names, I learned something new about my name too. Apparently not only does Seth mean "appointed one" - as in the son of Adam and Eve in the Bible, but Seth (or Set) was also an evil and powerful god to the ancient Egyptians and a ruler of destruction and chaos!!

For those of you who missed the Knut reference, here's a video showing just how cute Knut is:

Monday, November 26, 2007

Countdown to Fatherhood

The next major life goal I am about to embark on is fatherhood. That's right folks, on January 23, 2008, Jyothi and I are expecting a little baby girl!

Here's a count down timer so you can follow along with us as we eagerly await the arrival.

This also gives me an excuse to try out Google's create a calendar button, so here it is:

If you are A Google Calendar user, clicking on that link should add our due date to your calendar with the title "Jyothi and Seth are having a baby!"

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Google-Pimping my blog

As part of my blog re-organization I have been "Google-Pimping" my blog by trying to add in a variety of Google enhancements.

So far I have:

  1. Integrated a Custom Search Engine which lets you search this blog and all the sites I link to
  2. Set my feeds "en fuego" with FeedBurner - which allows you, dear readers, to subscribe via RSS and/or email, and allows me to see some cool stats about subscribers
  3. Provided another window into my head with a Google Reader gadget that allows you to see snippets of stories I have read lately (and decided to share publicly)
  4. Analyzed my traffic (or lack there of) with Google Analytics
  5. Jazzed-up a post with an embedded slide show via Picasa
  6. And I have even installed AdSense to monetize these musings (actually this is just an experiment to see how AdSense works - I don't expect to make any money off of this. ;)
What else should I try... any suggestions?

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Moving forward

I ran a Marathon. I enjoyed it. But I didn't enjoy it enough to keep running that many miles on a regular basis. Don't get me wrong, I am glad I did it once, but now I am excited to be moving on to other things.

Since this blog had been called, "Another First-Time Marathon Blogger" I contemplated setting up a new blog to write about other life goals (raising kids, building a house, bicycling cross country, etc.) but instead I decided to just keep the same blog and do some re-organization.

First, I went back and labeled all the posts that have anything to do with running the marathon as "first time marathon." Second, I changed the name of the blog to "Life Goals and Other Random Nonsense..."

So if you interested in other stuff I am up to, check back here soon for more details.

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Less Running and More Goofing around on the Internet

Since the marathon, people keep asking me, "so, are you still running?" and "when is the next marathon?" and the truth is, I have only been for 1 run since. It was a 5 mile jog around Stow Lake last weekend. It felt good, of course it always feels good during and at the end of a run, but I can't say I really miss it when I am not running.

So what have I been up to? Mostly I have been spending time catching up on other areas of my life and am back to goofing around on the internet. One thing I have been goofing around with is the new Google Analytics. I thought it was funny to see the traffic for this site looks kind of like the elevation map for the marathon!

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

A few photos from

I will have to purchase these from once they are done uploading and identifying all the race images, but for now here is a sneak preview. Sorry the images are so small, but they don't have the larger sizes available yet.

A Marathon Slideshow

UPDATE: I had tried to embed a slideshow from Picasa by using i-frames before that was a supported feature, and it worked ok, but now it is as easy as cutting and pasting code from Picasa Web Albums. So cool!

Saturday, April 28, 2007

Last Minute Marathon Preparations

I haven't been sleeping very well the last few nights which I think is mostly due to some nervous excitement (and the fact that my wife has been working nights at the hospital this week). I was relieved to read this bit about sleeping from Last-Minute Marathon Tips:

You may sleep well, or you may not. Don’t worry about it if you don’t sleep at all. Many runners I work with every year don’t sleep at all the night before and have the best race of their lives. Of course, don’t try to go sleepless, but if it happens, it is not a problem.
I spent too much time last night trying to pick out the perfect marathon music mix. I was trying to pick ~5 hours of music from what I have stored on my computer and my sister gave me an iTunes gift card so I had all that to choose from also. This was a case of too much choice being a bit overwhelming.... but I think I got a good mix. Some rap/hip hop songs like The Seed 2.0, and Ninety Nine (Flash the Message), and The Whole World have been good solid training tunes, and then I added in a few others from random genres like Road to Nowhere, Bittersweet Symphony, Dani California, When I come Around, What a Wonderful World and of course the Rocky Theme. Very few people have ever told me I had good taste in music, so feel free point out how cheesy my selection is.

I meant to blog about this a while ago, but I started training with the Nike + iPod early on, and found it to be a great way keep my pace and music really does add to the enjoyment of the run. At $30, it really is one of the best investments I made, and you don't have to buy Nike shoes to make use of it. Podophile's shoe mod was an inspiration for me to try Caselogic holder and it has worked well with my Mizunos.

My "power song" (the one that comes on when I hit the center button - to power me up the hills) is Lose Yourself by Eminem for both the beat and the message:
You better lose yourself in the music, the moment
You own it, you better never let it go
You only get one shot, do not miss your chance to blow
This opportunity comes once in a lifetime, yo!

This morning I had granola and yogurt with a banana and a PowerBar energy gel (which I have been eating 1 of every morning for the last few days to make sure I can tolerate it first thing). I am skipping the official "Pasta Party" tonight, but will be looking for a good Italian restaurant in Monterey. I am a sucker for the fettuccine alfredo, but I think I will avoid the cheesy sauce tonight and stick with marinara. Shortly I am headed to Jamba Juice for a smoothie, and getting on the road to Monterey... see you at the Finish Line!

Water Bottle Woes

The first few weeks of training, the runs were short enough so that I did not need to carry any water or Gatorade with me, I could just drink before and after the run. Then as the runs have grown longer, I have tried a few solutions to carry liquids along the way.

I tried drinking from the water fountains on the street - but I guess I have become a water snob, because that water was literally hard to swallow. In addition, the challenge of mapping a route with enough working water fountains at the desired intervals along the way meant I was more limited in where I could run than I really wanted to be.

My sister gave me an Ultimate Direction FastDraw Plus (pictured above) which is a water bottle designed specifically to be held while running. I did not actually run with it, because carrying it around the house, I realized that having to hold something in my hands for 2-3 hours was likely to aggravate the Repetitive Stress Injury (RSI) I have developed in both my wrists from too much keyboarding and mousing. I ended up bringing the Ultimate Direction back to REI and exchanged it for an Amphipod RunLite 2+ (pictured below).

The Amphipod is a belt meant to be worn around the waist with two small bottles and a pouch. Since this was the first water belt system I tried, I thought it was a big improvement over having to carry a bottle in my hands, but after a few weeks of trying, I gave up on the Amphipod. Although they describe it as a "no-bounce" design, I had to keep adjusting it while running to keep it from bouncing around on my hips and waist. I could have lived with the bouncing, but the other problem was that it was hard to keep the bottles clipped in to the holders. The bottles fell off a few times, so I had to check every few minutes to make sure they were still there. But then on a 9 mile run, I did not notice when one fell off, and I lost a bottle. I sent an email to the company explaining what happened, and they told me to call in and they could get me a new bottle, but before I had a chance to call them, the same thing happened and I lost the second bottle on another run.

I was explaining the problem to a good friend who previously trained for a marathon and she mentioned she had a FuelBelt I should try. The bottles had things growing in them from sitting unused for a few years in a drawer, so I ordered a fresh set of bottles and have been using her belt with great success for the last month!

Like the Amphipod, the FuelBelt frees up my hands from having to carry anything and it has a pocket for my keys and some PowerGel. But unlike the Amphipod, on the Fuelbelt the bottles stay put, and the FuelBelt really does not bounce around as I am running!

My one complaint with the FuelBelt is that the caps for the bottles are not designed very well. The spout tends to leak a little bit which results in me spilling water/Gatorade on my self as I am trying to drink or even worse, they can leak in the car or my gym bag on the way to a run. Water leaking isn't a big deal, but I don't really want Gatorade all over my clothes or car.

I just looked back at the website to get the image above and now I realize that when I got the new bottles, I did not get the newest model, so giving them the benefit of the doubt, maybe their newer models do not leak... one can only hope!

Now I am just trying to decide if I should wear the belt on the day of the marathon, or I should take my chances with the aid stations along the way. I am leaning towards wearing the belt because I want to carry my energy gels anyway, but maybe I think I will just use 2 of the bottles to lighten the load.

Friday, April 27, 2007

The Marathon Route (2) - This time on Google Earth!

For those of you who can't make it in person, here are some snapshots of the Big Sur International Marathon Route which I created in Google Earth.

Note: No these are not "official" images endorsed by either the Big Sur International Marathon or Google Earth... I mapped the route on Google Earth, took some screen shots, and then added on the logos to make them look good.

Driving the route in person was awesome, but driving it on Google Earth was almost as amazing! I will find a way to post the KML file soon, so you can "fly" the course yourself on Google Earth.

Update: Here is the link to the KML file and here are some helpful instructions on how to change your "Camera Tilt" all the way to the right (80 degrees), and the "Camera Range" to the left (150 meters) to feel like you are on the course.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

The Marathon Route

I went down to run the last 8 miles of the course on Sunday and ended up driving over the entire thing to scope it out. My first impression: wow is it hilly! And of course it is also scenic and beautiful (if you are into that whole "cliffs overlooking the artic blue ocean" thing).

By popular request, above is a satelite image of the route, courtesy of Google Maps and here's the link for a map you can zoom in on. What neither of them really show are all the hills... did I mention it was hilly!

Below is the image provided by to give you a sense, but that doesn't really do the hills justice either. If you are really interested, in seeing the hills, I recommend Google Earth or of course, you could always come on down on Sunday and run it with me! :)

Monday, April 16, 2007

300 miles and 30 years

Two weeks ago I turned 30, and this past weekend I completed my 300th training mile. Both feel like pretty significant milestones. According to the training plan, 20 miles is longest run I am scheduled to complete before the actual day of the marathon (April 29th, 2007) and I completed that run 2 weeks ago. I am now only two weeks from the actual marathon, and I had intended to write so much more often! From what I have read, 20 miles is about as far as a person can run before they "hit the wall." A phrase used to describe the body's way of saying "you probably should not go any farther!" Completing a marathon seems to be in large parts about finding a way to get over, around, or through that wall, but I guess I won't know that until the day of the run!

Thursday, January 25, 2007

A Fox in New Sox

Of all the purchases for marathon training, one of the best so far has been new socks. To date, I have tried out 4 different kinds. I bought two pairs at Sports Basement when I bought my shoes:

And my sister got me two pairs at REI:
  • SmartWool Running Socks
  • REI Running Socks
My favorites so far are the Ultimax Running Low Cuts and the REI Running Socks. All of them have great built in arch support which I have never felt in my socks before, but the Ultimax tend to be the firmest around my arches (which I like).

I also like that the Running Low Cuts and REI ones are a little thicker than the others. It seems that they are a little less breathable but provide a little more cushion. Since it has been chilly on most of my runs, I don't miss the wind rushing through my socks, and the cushion feels good as I increase the miles.

Monday, January 22, 2007

Tai Chi + Running = Chi Running

For Chanukah my parents got me the book Chi Running by Danny Dreyer. I am only a few chapters into it so far, but it is really helping me think more about how I run.

Chi Running is basically the combination of running with Tai Chi (the Chinese Martial Art often described as "moving meditation").

I have been trying to apply some of the techniques to my last few runs, and so far it does feel a lot better. I always used to think that if it was a really good run, I would be totally exhausted at the end. This book talks about ways to run that actually make you feel more refreshed, erergized and relaxed at the end than you were at the beginning!

He highlights so many things to focus on while running that I never really spent much time thinking about before: breath, posture, cadence, stride length, and the ideal arm angles and movements - just to name a few.

And the theory is that by focusing on all of these, rather than just letting your mind wander, you actually end up feeling more relaxed and refreshed.

So far, I think he is on to something.

Friday, January 12, 2007

Waking up is hard to do

I have been in training for almost three weeks now and so far I am doing pretty good at sticking to the training plan. I am finding out that getting up in the morning to run before work is really much harder for me that the actual running. That should not really be a surprise to anyone who has ever seen me in the morning - as you may already know - getting up early has always been hard for me - to say the least! But the bad news is that I have had to cut a few morning runs short so I could still make it to work on time. I am committed to keep it up though, because getting up early is part of the deal for the Big Sur Marathon. According to the website, "bus departures are staggered between 3:45 and 4:45 am" for the starting line... maybe next time I will pick an afternoon marathon!

Saturday, January 06, 2007

Energy Gels

Among other things, my sister got me a great selection of energy gels for Chanukah. With so many out there to choose from, I am excited to sample a few, and will be blogging about them in future posts.

  • Clif Shot - Mocha
  • GU - Espresso Love
  • Hammer Gel - Raspberry
  • Honey Stinger - Honey with Cocoa & B Vitamins
  • PowerBar Gel - Green Apple Flavor

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Just for Kicks

The kicks? Mizuno Waverider 9s, size 10.5.

I picked up two pairs of these at Sports Basement (add link) in San Francisco a few weeks ago after reading some great reviews on Yelp about how helpful their staff was.

After a few minutes of watching me walk back and forth I was told I had good arches and "neutral" support would be my best option. After trying on about 5 pairs from the neutral pile, I settled on these beauties.

Just so I knew they weren't pulling my leg, I brought my brother-in-law with me, and he was diagnosed as "flat-footed" and sent to the other end of the basement. In the words of the salesman "you two couldn't have any more different feet!"

Well we both ended up with shoes that day and tested them out on a three mile loop around Lake Merritt in Oakland.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Homestar Runner
A little shout-out to my one loyal blog reader so far... You know who you are! Keep on running homestar!

This is my first mobile post - via email from my Treo- so it will be interesting to see how it comes out.