Sunday, 22 November 2009

Updates from Cochin

  • Getting your transcripts done from CUSAT is an expensive affair. The transcripts cost Rs 1200 per college (if the college asks for 2, the subsequent transcript costs Rs 600) and to get the mark-sheets + degree certificate attested cost Rs 1000. Total damages came around Rs 20K (heart-wrenching cry). I also get to go to Cochin again some time soon -- the mark-sheet attestation, in spite of the exorbitant charge, takes a week's time to get done.
  • The India Coffee House at the center of the CUSAT campus has closed down. It seems their lease expired and they didn't want to pay the new rent.
  • Cocoa Tree, the coffee shop, has taken down their post-it wall. I don't know why.
  • The city still hasn't really changed. I won't call it stagnant, but more like a lake -- moving, yet not going anywhere.

Sunday, 15 November 2009

Bangalore Ultra 2009: Race Report

The Bangalore Ultra 2009 was good experience. It was well organized and the weather couldn't have been better (cloudy with a bit of drizzle) -- what more do you need?

I finished the 25 KM race in 2:34:07. Which though not bad, I feel could have been better. I did the rookie mistake of going out too fast in the first lap and struggling a bit towards the end. I have been able to hold myself back and not get flustered by people passing me early in the race, but today that was not the case. Maybe I was expecting miracles.

Now, on to the race details -- which I know because I was there.

The first runners to go on track, at 5 AM, were the 100K, 75K and 50K (early starters) runners. They were provided with torches as it was still quite dark. There were two start times for the 50K runners: 5 AM (red bibs) and 6 AM (green bibs). Only the 6 AM 50 K starters were eligible for podium finishes.

Footnote: Talking of colour coded bibs the 100 K and 75 K runners were given purple bibs (royalty). The 25 K runners had yellow and the 12.5 K runners had blue bibs.

The next runners to be flagged off were the 50 K (late starters) and 37.5 K runners at 6 AM. Following this were the 25 K runners at 6:30 AM (which had me). The 12.5 K runners started shortly after that.

The track was a 12.5 KM out-and-back route with couple of gradual inclines. It's mostly trail with a little patch of road towards the middle of the out-and-back route. There were four aid-stations in total, spaced out at each 2 KM. There were enough things to eat -- chips, peanuts, peanut butter & jelly sandwiches, bananas, oranges, Parle-G -- and, of course, electrolytes and water.

Few of the podium finishers whom I know:

1. Men's 50 K (Open) 1st -- Ashok Nath ( ~ 4 hours 30 minutes)
2. Women's 50 K (Open) 1st -- Dr Amrita Mitra
3. Women's 25 K (Open) 1st -- Meher D' Mello ( 2 hours 27 minutes)

Photos from the event.

On a separate note, I have never seen so many men with bleeding nipples.

Saturday, 14 November 2009

Bangalore Ultra: Pre Race

The Bangalore Ultra is tomorrow. I have registered for the 25 KM run, but I'm starting at 5 AM just to keep my options open -- the 25 KM run starts at 6 AM. Tonight I cooked my own "Mutter-Paneer" pasta for dinner and watched "Sprit of the Marathon" (once again).

Hope I have a good run tomorrow.

Thursday, 12 November 2009

Google's Go Language First Impressions

Google recently announced the launch of a new programming language called: Go. Its creators are software heavy-weights like Robert Griesemer, Rob Pike and Ken Thompson. It's a C style language, it has garbage collection and claims to compile fast.

Its idiosyncrasies follow.
  1. Backward declaration: Instead of declaring a variable like "int a", you do "var a int".
  2. Type derivation with ":=". You can initialize variables and Go will derive its type for you. For example doing "a := 1.0" automatically initalizes "a" to a "float".
  3. Semicolons are not required at the end of each statement.
  4. The only looping construct available is the "for" statement. No "while" or "do-while".
  5. The parameters for the "for" and "if" statements don't need to be within parentheses (I'm shocked and crying)
  6. Unicode strings which are immutable.
  7. Pointers but no pointer arithmetic.
  8. Its compiler is currently not available for Windows -- only for Linux and Mac. Doubt if a cygwin port is available.
Maybe more later.

Tuesday, 10 November 2009

Long Runs and Charts

I always wondered how the guys at Science of Sport used to generate all the beautiful graphs in their analyses. The answer seems to be Microsoft Excel 2007. It generates amazing charts, unlike its predecessor

For example, the graph below shows my post-jaundice long runs. It was generated after playing around with the chart settings for 1 hour (not complaining, just wanted to check out all the options).

Ah ... pure bliss!

Sunday, 1 November 2009

Fitness Update

Having recovered from jaundice, I was pretty afraid how much time it would take to get back to doing the distances I did while running and cycling. This weekend dispelled my fears.

Saturday: Cycled to Chikkatirupathi and back ~ 65 KM. Decent pace. All parts of the body were mostly pain-free, except my palms (no gloves) and butt, .

Sunday: Ran till Cubbon park and did one loop inside the park ~ 15 KM. Comfortable pace. Finished in 1:38.

In both cases I was apprehensive about whether I would be able to keep pace with my companions and be able to do the distance. Thankfully I was able to.

It has been a speedy recovery maybe because I was careful of not doing too much too soon (except maybe in the case of the cycling expedition -- it was the first time I took out my bike after the illness and did 65 KM).

To further adventures ... we march.