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Wednesday, April 29, 2009

50 minutes of fierce, windy running

I drove out to Sunnyvale Baylands and ran at lunch. Because I still too cheap to buy a parking sticker I had to park my car at the ball field lot next door. The wind was blowing something fierce but I got in a good 50 minutes with 6 x 100 strides towards the end. Outside of the last part, the pace was abysmal and slow. I am dieting my way down to racing weight which means that even if I eat enough calories to cover the run and my goal weight (1400), I am deficiting. So I am a bit on the weaker side. The pain dujour is my back and hip. Nothing too bad but annoying. If it continues, I will go see Big Bill.

In regards to the latest Damascus opportunity. I have looked closely and evaluated the chances of being the mainspring of something important but it's not there. At least not in a way that I could be effective. The CTO has the relationships. He is the influencer, not me. Over time I have abdicated too much. I have a very decent relationship with him but he is not my prophet. I am going to have to settle for a very minor role. If a greater opportunity comes along I will look and see if it is doable. Otherwise, my sphere of influence is minor. When I came back inside I knew that this would probably be the case. My role will be more as a doer and less as an initiator. That and being a now and then seer or oracle to those in power.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

45 minute Pitty Pat

I pitty patted around for 45 minutes this morning. It's late April and the weather is winterish. Cool, breezy and overcast. I ran over to the track and ran the outside lane and walked the short par course hill. My legs seem to be "over" the nicks and scrapes of last week. At least for now. I find that if I run slow enough I hardly feel the effort. I may feel sluggish at times but not beat up.

Monday, April 27, 2009

The Life of a Cheetah

For me, survival in Silicon Valley is often like being a cheetah. Not the zoo type that gets fed every day at 4 pm but the ones on the plains of the Serengeti. The ones that have to hunt for their own food.

It is being fast, agile and adaptable.

It is realizing that two out of three times, when you bring down prey, hyenas, jackals or lions will chase you off and eat your kill.

It is realizing that when you make a kill, you did it on your own. For a brief time you don't owe anything to another creature except the one you killed. It is the fiercest type of independence.

Today, the strange thing happened. One of our chiefs, a VP, had a heart attack in an European Airport. He went down at the ticket counter. Luckily several doctors were nearby but they had to defib him twice to get his heart going again. Tomorrow he have a bypass (or is it already tomorrow there?)

At work, a gap in leadership has formed, yawning wide open so I can see it's ugly throat. The sub-chiefs, the next line, are stepping up and the Chief Technology Officer (CTO) will help but he will not lead. He can't stand the pressure. Easier to stand off a bit and criticize. I am not blaming him. He sees the problems well enough but he won't fill that gap.

It is there waiting.

Is is sizable and sustainable? It is the one in three or the other two?

Lawrence in the desert. 1916. Wadi Hafra.

"How do you like our place?" the tall pillar-like man asks.

Well, but it is far from Damascus.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

45 minutes in Golden Gate Park

I drove up to Golden Gate Park with Shel. We met up with Bob Bean. Cool but sunny morning. There was a 5K DSE race in the offing but I chose to run around the Polo Fields and up and down the flatter sections of the road bordering the fields. I jogged 45 minutes at a slow pace. Legs felt a bit stiff but not overly tired from yesterday's time trial. Still think I would be better off if I ran every other day but for now I will stay the course.

Saturday, April 25, 2009


I got my ass over to West Valley Track. Cool but sunny morning. Dimitri showed up and we jogged for 20 minutes. I felt sluggish but we did the 800 meter time trial anyway. I hung on for a 96 first lap and didn't feel that fresh. Mr. "D" picked up the second lap (at my request) and gaped me immediately but I was able to work my way back up and hang on for a 87 second last lap and a "just under" 3:03:95 final time. I was struggling a bit down the stretch but pulled myself back together and crossed the line without staggering. The good news was the time which was a 6 second improvement over last week and that fact that my recovery was relatively quick.

Ran a 10 minute easy jog afterward.

Happy with the time but not with the way I felt.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Forbes Mill Two Step

50 minutes from Old Forbes Mill. All of it was slow. I thought briefly about adding in some strides but decided that the better part of valor was to just two step my way through the workout. It was all over by 9 am and Jake and I went to breakfast afterward.

The weather had cooled down significantly overnight.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

30 minutes

Waiting for a the corporate equivalent of a war is mostly boredom. My father, who was in the South Pacific during WWII told me about the very same thing. Long periods of boredom punctuated by moments of intense action.

It was good to get out in the late afternoon for 30 minutes of slow running at the Saratoga Track. Still warm but not like the last several days. It had been months since I had last joined the Wednesday night group. I showed up like some wraith from another past (certainly not mine!). I was everyman who rose up one last time for one last run, cheating injury and illness for the moment.

I use to worry about sleep. As a runner, I was possessed by the thought that if I didn't get 8 good hours a night that I would be useless the next day. I still value sleep but I no longer obsess about it. It is a luxury born on the wave of being at peace with oneself. I am comfortable with who I am, to be sure, but I am not at peace. I don't think I am wired that way. Besides, philosophically I know that I will sleep the sleep of the dead for an eternity and that living longer or sleeping more will do little to enhance my enjoyment of life. My friends drone on about how long they are going to live (based on their life style and their parentage......boring!!!!).

Sitting on a couch staring at my (future) grand kids. Now that is scary. Nailing down my family with grand child ogling events. That is death before death.

I would rather be ashes than dust!
I would rather that my spark should burn out
in a brilliant blaze than it should be stifled by dry-rot.
I would rather be a superb meteor, every atom
of me in magnificent glow, than a sleepy and permanent planet.
The function of man is to live, not to exist.
I shall not waste my days trying to prolong them.
I shall use my time.

Jack London

Hammering Who?

The generals are all coming to the same conclusion. If we invade and are successful, do we want our present leader to be the winner???? He has shown little or no capability in this area and if expand our territory three X, is he the guy we want to rule us?

Probably not.

I think the enemy are willing to let us walk in and take over as long as they have a say as to who our eventual ruler is if things begin to fall apart.

We all seem to get it except our leader and his most trusted advisor (he who shall be unnamed).

I have drawn off into the desert on the right flank, staying in loose communication with GHQ but contenting myself with a diminished role for now. If I get restless we conduct a raid and blow up some track. Nothing too dangerous. Trying to avoid inactivity and rust. I am fighting a very small war. A side show of a side show. I am out of touch with most of the generals except my own.

For now I have told Allenby that this is not a good time to keep saying "Hammer them, Harry! Hammer them!"

Hammer who?

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

The Road to Sub 6


Early alarm. Had some coffee while Amber eyed me suspiciously. Say what? Why up so early???? her "look" seemed to say. Amber is a dog so no words allowed. Just barks.

I headed out just around 7 am and ran for 45 minutes. Walked Amber afterwards. Avoided the heat.

Another one of those-them birthdays cropped up. So begins my last year of work as I know it.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Think Attila The Hun

If the story of Oracle taking over Sun comes to pass then you can be sure of several things.

There Will Be Blood

No Country for Old Men

In speaking of the Peoplesoft and Siebel acquisitions:

Marc Benioff, chief executive of, which sells hosted CRM systems that compete with products from SAP, Oracle and Siebel, wasted no time in criticizing that plan.

"Oracle's strategy is simple. Instead of innovating, buy as much installed software as possible, call it all Oracle Fusion, and make sure it all uses Oracle's database," Benioff said in a statement Monday. "Now, the same thing that happened to PeopleSoft will happen to Siebel; it will die."

Solaris will be the target of this deal. I believe Oracle will quickly and ruthlessly make the tough decisions that Sun was unable to make. Anything that doesn't make money will be slashed.

Think Attila the Hun.

If I were a Sun employee in a non essential area, I would begin to look for my next zoo now.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Bright Shiny Things

Bright shiny things. It is a repetitive concept. Invasions are like that. No matter how many of these I go through, it is always the same. Oh, variations but on the same theme. As I mentioned in a recent post it is a bit like invading Russia especially when it is 3-4 times larger than the forces you are bringing to bear.

It's best not to invade Russia at all. Historically you will fail. The odds are small.

But if this is the direction you are going to take you need to ask yourself some tough questions and also look at reality. Most of us corporate types put on the gloves and just go at it saying "It's the right thing to do."

When you invade Russia (metaphor, no one is invading Russia so get over it) you need to know who is your general on the ground? Who will be there to make sure that the campaign has a chance. Who will own it?

Are you going to let the Russians handle the invasion? Of course your campaign will never get off the ground but this is exactly what we did the last time around. It didn't work out at all.

Don't let the Italians handle the invasion. They look good, wear nice uniforms and like the idea of a good fight but not if they have to get bloody. Think Italy in World war Two.

Just because you are invading Russian doesn't mean that it will stop being Russia.

Right now I am observing an inner circle, making decisions on important things, who have little or no campaign experience. The inner circle is too inner. How's that for a word? Walked out of work the other evening. Two of them standing there talking, revved up like sports cars. I did my invisibility thing. I passed by, not making eye contact. It's an art.

I am an admitted skeptic. I believe, based on my observations, that an empire will fall if we cross the River Halys. It will be our kingdom, not the other guys.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Am I actually Moving Forward?


Ran 30 slow slow slow minutes in the morning. Wondered several times, Am I actually moving forward? Walked Amber afterward.


I met Dimitri over at Saratoga track. We warmed up for 20 minutes, did some striders and then ran a 800 meter trial. I kept my eyes off the stop watch and stayed right behind the D man and kept focused. Dimitri slowed at the end of the first lap, more of a hesitation really, and said something about the pace being too fast. I told him not to worry about it and keep the tempo up.

We crossed in 3:09 and change. A big improvement over last week. Good progress. I felt the same as last week when I ran 3:21. I know it won't continue in gulps like this but I can begin to see 3:00 flat and that eventually leads to 4:30 for 1200.

After the 800, we jogged down for 10-11 minutes and then went to breakfast.


The weather is heating up. Summer sending it's warning. The drums beating. I ran 60 minutes with a 4-1 run-walk ratio to keep things easy. I walked Amber prior to the run and gave myself an easy 20 minute leg stretching.

The rules are different for old runners.

There is no forcing it. Any movement forward is valuable. Recovery is vital.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Invading Russia: A Metaphor

An army is trying to invade Russia in the hopes that it can take Moscow before the winter settles in. Think Napoleon in 1812. What they are taking on is much larger than they presently are. The Mongols did it but then they were fast, agile, mobile and came from the East.

This army is coming from the West.

Somehow the prognosticators have done the math and figured it all out.

Napoleon did the math too.

I may be there going in but I won't be there coming back out. I already know what the winters in Russia are like.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Ol' Tall Steve

I actually got out at lunch and ran an easy 40 minutes in the baylands. I came upon "tall" Steve, my ol' running partner from 10 years back. He was getting over a hamstring pull. We chatted fro a few minutes and agreed to hook up given that we could both stay uninjured. Steve and I ran some hard runs together but both of us have been going through evil times as of late.

At the finish, I lined and ran 4 striders of 20 second each. I walked back for recovery.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Shell Game

More and more of my sleep is taking place out on the couch in the living room. I sit out there and read until I can't keep my eyes open anymore and then when I am in full nodding mode, I go to bed. Last night I fell asleep again on the couch and woke up in the early morning when Amber shifted onto her pillow creeping in from her hallway spot.

I thought about not running once I staggered out of bed but decided to go anyway. My work schedule seemed too crowded around noon time to have a relaxed run. I ran-walked 40 minutes. The ratio was 4 minutes running to one minute walking. Very Galloway. After a half hour of this I was finally felt awake enough and I decided to run in the last 10 minutes.

Work has been a let down. Meetings cancelled and moved like a shell game. "Where is the real meeting? Which shell is it under?"

Lunch ended up being wide open. I spend most of the day thinking about that big, computer screen sized slab of milk chocolate that Sue gave me for Easter.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Geronimo and the Christians


Easter Sunday in Silicon Valley

I walked Amber for 25 minutes and then went out and ran 50 minutes with all the other non Christian weekend warriors. Actually there weren't many to be seen.

I stayed away from the local church parking lots. Christians have a tendency to drive rather blindly after encountering God. Which reminds me of my salad days as a runner back in the late 1970's when I used to run by the Los Gatos Christian Church on my Sunday log run. Woe be to he (or she) who was in the way of God's faithful flock when services got out. The cars seemed to be spring loaded and if you were in the way, there was a good chance you would simply become part of the pavement.

The bad news in our area is that we have Asian-Christians so there is a double chance of becoming road kill. I tried dressing up as Jesus but that didn't work at all. Then they seemed to aim at me with purpose. The next step was simple avoidance.

Saturday, April 11, 2009


Got up early. I did 22 minutes easy jogging. The last part was with Dimitri at the West Valley track. Then we ran a simple 800 meter trial.

1:41-1:40 which equaled 3:21. Age graded it is a 2:34.

A very even effort. Not at all exhausting.

We did a mile warm down as slow as possible.

Cool, sunny and very little wind.

So far


Long way to go.......

Thursday, April 09, 2009

The Track Was Mine

I rolled out of bed at 6:30, grabbed some coffee and dialed in the the deal conference call. It was the first time both transitions team were talking about next steps. Except the next steps are to have a hand shake deal and a letter of intent and we're simply not there yet. The troops are massed at the border but what if we give a war and no one comes?

This will be Thursday's for the foreseeable future. Early morning meetings while we all revel in how tough we are as the exhaustive process begins to pave over our private lives. I plan to gulch (as I have done with politics) and stay away from the frenzy as much as possible and focus on exactly what we need to do. Truth be told, I really don't want to do all of this. I was simply looking for a quiet year but instead I have stepped into the whirlwind. It's strange. My time may be up but I still want the ball.

This morning after the call, I drove over to Old Forbes Mill and ran an easy 35 minutes with 6 x 100 striders thrown in for good measure. Except for one other runner the track was mine. Windy and some light showers. School empty for some unfathomable holiday.

Easter week?

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

45 minutes

I ran early, covering a slow 45 minutes. Nothing beautiful in my form. Just a slog but glad to out there anyway. It is hard to know if my physical self will be able to do what my mind says it wants my body to do.

I arrived at work later than usual. I could feel things getting tight. Spiraling and clenching because of the deal in the works. I can see the people around me getting into the normal, crazy rhythm. 10 cents a dance.



Go fast

Slow down

There's no deal yet. It will be coming soon enough like the Teutonic Knights in Alexander Nevsky. We just need to stand still and wait for the barbarian to arrive at the gates.

Zoo animals will huddle in their cages or endlessly repeat the commands of the keepers so they get fed. The beasts of prey will roam free waiting for the night and then they will hunt. In the end we're headed west. So far west that we'll end up in the old far east. In a year we'll know.

“The best laid schemes o’ mice an’ men gang aft a-gley.”

Monday, April 06, 2009

The Lion and the Jackal

I went out in the cool of the morning and ran 50 minutes very slowly. Running slow deadens the legs but seems to keep them from getting reinjured.

I met another beast of prey today. John sent her my way. Definitely not a zoo animal. She was not looking for a home but "hunting" opportunities. I sometimes wonder why I am back in a habitat. Good range of freedom but eventually you do hit a fence. Then you can't go any further. I haven't hit that fence yet or at least no so that I can see it.

Talking to a colleague today. She is being punished for being a lion. She is really caged in but then she plays the zoo game including who gets the largest cage and who gets the biggest peace of meat. She fights with other zoo animals. She is a caged female lion who has unwittingly allied herself with a jackal and wonders why her keeper gets annoyed with her.

She is a lion who acts like a jackal. That's why.

So here is the message I have not sent her (yet).

I am reminded of the tale of the lion and the jackal.

There was a lion in the zoo who fought unceasingly with other zoo animals. Now this lion belonged out on the Serengeti hunting for prey but had decided that the zoo was a comfortable place and that she could easily play the game of who had the largest cage and who got the biggest piece of meat. Now most of the other zoo animals didn't like the lion because they knew she had once been a beast of prey and had not been brought up as a zoo animal. To top this off the lion often was seen in the company of a jackal and even the other lions thought less of her because of this. Whenever the jackal felt impugned upon it would rush over to the lions cage and screech and laugh like only jackals can. Except those who know the jackal know that the laughter is not because it is happy. It is just a sound it can make. It sounds like one thing but means another.

Other jackals made of fun of the lion because they hated lions in general and particularly this one because once it had been beast of prey. The lion expected her friend the jackal to defend her but this jackal thought it knew how to play both sides: The jackal side and the lion side. It told the lion what it wanted to hear and the jackals what they wanted to hear.

This set up a great deal of commotion at the zoo (because that was what the place was) and eventually the zoo keeper went to see the lion to tell her that she had better behave. In the end the lion was very confused because she knew that she was losing the thing that made her a lion and she was also losing that which had made her a mighty and fearless hunter out on the Serengeti.

The strangest thing was that this zoo had no doors on the cages and the lion could have escaped and gone out into the wild anytime it wanted to but it chose to stay because the zoo was such a comfortable place.

Sunday, April 05, 2009

If you can't measure it, don't eat it

I am not overweight but I believe I am heavier than I need to be. 135 pounds would be "ideal". That is about 1350-1400 calories a day for my base metabolism and then I can add in calories that I earn either running or walking. On the intake side it is rather firm. If you can't measure it, don't eat it or something like that. There is some slack there but when I stoke up on almonds when I get home from work and don't know what that means, I am headed for trouble.

I earn about 6 calories a minute walking and 12, running. This is rough but is based on my own personal experience measuring the effect of exercise on maintaining or losing weight.

So, if I am on track and drink a coke which is 150 calories I need to do an extra 12.5 minutes of running or 25 minutes of walking that week to offset the calories if this is over and above my planned intake.

I can remember doing this back in 2005 and for the first part of the program I was constantly hungry but over time I adjusted and lost 11 pounds (149 down to 138).

I don't know the starting point because I haven't stepped on the scale in quite a while. I will have to take that step soon and then I will know where I am and where I have to go.

I ran 45 minutes this morning and threw in a sub-tempo 800 meter trial. I ran an even paced 3:30 which was no big thing. A starting point for the 3 flat I hope to run in the future. I was surprised because when you run a whole bunch of workouts at a pace that a snail would disdain, you begin to wonder if you have the ability to run faster (note: not fast..just faster) if you ask your body to ramp it up.

Friday, April 03, 2009

48 minutes

Sunny but windy today at lunch time. Windy as in very windy. I went over to Baylands Park and ran (if it could be called running) for 48 minutes. Three Asian runners whipped by me going the other way talking about manintaining a 9 minute pace. And to think I used to fly along at a 6:30 pace with ease. I have idea what today's pace was like but I doubt it was ever under 10 minutes a mile.

Still, it was nice to be out there.



After I completed the workout, I stood downwind and let the breeze blow dry my hair.

Thursday, April 02, 2009

On The Trail

I ran an easy 45 minutes from Old Forbes Mill. I ran some of the lower dam trail which is relatively flat but then went over to the track to run the rest of the workout.


There was a maintenance man pushing a loud gasoline powered machine that was blowing leaves and dirt off of the track surface. I ran a few laps and realized that I wasn't having much fun, so I headed back up to the trail taking the left fork. It was generally flat except for one short sharp hill which I prudently walked.

It was girls with dogs day on the trail. I guess most of the guys were out working for a living. It wasn't just girls with dogs but girls with long hair with dogs. A double-double.

I did get in the 45 minutes running as slow as I could. The weather was near perfect. Cool, sunny and almost no wind.

Breakfast (on me) with Jake afterward.