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2009 Boo Run Race Report

2009 Boo Run
Originally uploaded by Iron Mike Schubert

Happy Halloween! Today marked the 11th running of the Boo Run in Flowery Branch, GA. The race is well organized and provides a good mix between fun and serious running.

The race starts at 9am for some strange reason. Beware of that if you choose to run. I say that mainly because it requires a little bit of mental preparation if you’re used to having a post race snack by then. Today was a rainy, 60 degrees. You can see in the picture that the rain held off for most of the event, but those taking 35 minutes or longer were drenched.

The course itself is best described as rolling and crowded. The race start is on a very narrow road by the police station. It was a VERY congested start as 300-400 people were crammed into this tiny area. I was quickly able to get into my own lane but slower runners probably were in packs for much longer.  There is 1 hill around the 1.8 mile mark that can be a bit challenging if you are really pouring it on.

The finish is a long, flat straight away that runs parallel to the train tracks. It’s great terrain for giving it that final kick. There was plenty of water, oranges and bananas to go around at the finish. Last year there was more of a party at the finish – but festivities were moved indoors today due to the rain.

In all, it’s a great little 5k to do in the foothills of North Georgia. I highly recommend you put it on your schedule.

Here is the elevation profile and map as captured by my watch:

Boo Run Route & Elevation Profile

2006 Nissan Xterra Transmission Coolant Leak

This past Friday I started to notice a rough shifting experience on my Xterra when I was above 50 mph. At first, it sounded/felt like I was running over a rumble strip on the road, but eventually I realized that it wasn’t the road. It seemed to be happening only when going into overdrive.

Monday I took the truck into my Nissan dealer to have it diagnosed. I took it out with a technician so he could experience it first hand. It sounded & felt like it was going to be expensive. I got the call later in the day that not only did I have to replace the transmission, but the radiator as well. It turns out that the transmission cooling system had a hose or gasket that failed and leaked coolant into the transmission. Total bill – around $3000. Yikes. I’ve never taken it off road, never towed anything, and just had the 90,000 mile service this year where the transmission was serviced.

I Googled the phenomenon and found numerous people who have experienced the same thing with various models of Nissans over a number of model years. This is sad. I was so enamored (and really still am) with my truck. But I’m going to have a difficult time buying another when the time comes since it seems Nissan is not interested in fixing what seems to be a pretty big design flaw.

Book Review: Brain Rules – 12 Principles for Surviving and Thriving at Home, Work and School

I recently read Brain Rules: 12 Principles for Surviving and Thriving at Work, Home, and School. I originally picked this up as a result of it showing up as a recommended item in my Amazon Recommendations. I initially looked at the first chapter – one that talks about all the benefits of exercise and the brain. This struck a chord with me and I decided I wanted to read more. Notice that the hyperlink to ‘exercise’ above goes to – the book’s companion site with additional content and videos to help reinforce topics from the book.

The book goes on in detail to discuss the differences between how short term and long term memories work (and tricks to help improve them), differences between male and female brains, and a host of other interesting topics. At times the material is dry – Medina uses the medical terms for the different areas of the brain. If you’re not into that or wanting to go to that depth, it can become difficult to follow. If you hold on through a few pages of this at a time, you will be rewarded with a rather informative read.

There are numerous takeaways I had from this book that helped me understand more about myself. Here are a few:

  1. The brain can only focus on something for about 10 minutes at a time. It then needs a diversion.
  2. Exercise increases brain function / power and significantly decreases the risk of dementia. That brings new meaning to the saying “Running is cheaper than therapy.”
  3. Sleep is vital to committing what has been learned to memory. The brain is very active while you are sleeping.
  4. Multitasking is a fallacy. You are only able to focus on 1 thing at a time. If you are familiar with single core computing, you will recognize what we refer to as multitasking (conference call and email at the same time) is actually pre-emptive multitasking.


  1. Rule #1: Exercise boosts brain power
  2. Rule #2: The human brain evolved, too
  3. Rule #3: Every brain is wired differently
  4. Rule #4: We don’t pay attention to boring things
  5. Rule #5: Repeat to remember
  6. Rule #6: Remember to repeat
  7. Rule #7: Sleep well, think well
  8. Rule #8: Stressed brains don’t learn the same way
  9. Rule #9: Stimulate more of the senses
  10. Rule #10: Vision trumps all other senses
  11. Rule #11: Male and female brains are different
  12. Rule #12: We are powerful and natural explorers


2009 Great Floridian Iron Distance Triathlon Race Report

This was the 19th running of this race, and by far the hottest. Temperatures reached the high 80’s early in the day and set a record of 90. This did not bode well for me.


Race day started off with a 2 loop swim in Lake Minneola. I have no idea what the water temp was, but even with the recent heat in the area they were able to find some place in the lake that was below 78 degrees. Water felt warm to me, especially in a wetsuit. Each loop was 1.2 miles in length, and followed a triangular course. Typically, you’ll see swim courses that have yellow buoys along one side, orange down the other, and red indicating turns. This isn’t law, but in general there is some colorful indicator of turns, and then consistency in buoy colors between the turns so you know you’re on course. In this race, that was not the case. Not the big of a deal but confusing. The biggest event for me on the swim was getting a solid kick directly underneath my right eye socket. A little water came into my googles, but not too much – I dealt with it. However, this triggered a headache that would not go away.

Transition was fairly uneventful. I was stripped of my wetsuit, headed into the changing tent, and prepared to ride. My heart rate was definitely in check. I was ready. I mounted my bike and headed out on the course.


I thought Florida was flat! Nowhere had I found an elevation profile of this year’s course. It amazes me that an event that has been around for 19 years is radically changing its bike course. I found a profile from last year that had 1800 ft of climbing, with most of the hills (including Sugarloaf) being in the first 30 or so. That would’ve been no sweat under these conditions, but turned out not the case this year. Sugarloaf Mountain was not the challenge. My Garmin shows ~4200 ft of climbing this year. What was the race director thinking??

On top of this, the aforementioned heat began to take its toll. I had a migraine at mile 40. A steady breeze felt like I was pedaling head first into a hair dryer. This was not my day. Throw in not being able to eat any longer and my sweat rate dropping, and I withdrew from the race. It was simply not worth the risk to continue on. Early race results indicated a roughly 40% DNF rate, but results that I looked up just now came in at around 25%. Both are much higher than what you would typically see at an iron distance race. I made the smart choice for me.

Here is this year’s bike profile for those of you that are interested. The course rolls a lot and those all add up!

2009 Great Floridian Bike Course

The Ironman Florida elevation profile appears below. It is ~1000 feet of climbing for the sake of comparison. The scale is what makes it look hillier than it is.

Ironman Florida Bike Course Profile


I can’t speak for the run, but my primary concern as an athlete would be lighting. I heard from numerous people that there are places on the run course that were not well lit. My fear would be stepping wrong on something you can’t see. Or being chased by an alligator in the dark. Usual stuff, right? Other than that, it appears the only elevation change on the course is to cross two bridges.

That’s all for now. Time to finish recovering and get my run back on. For some, it’s the offseason. For me, it’s MARATHON season.

There is no offseason.

There is no finish line.

The Pitfall of Entertainment Shopping

There is a new form of auction site catching hold around the world that is somewhat difficult to explain. Sites like Swoopo call themselves “entertainment shopping”. I call them a ripoff. Let me explain.

On the surface these penny auction sites don’t look all that unusual. You place bids in preset increments, usually somewhere between 2 cents and 15 cents. Whoever has placed the highest bid when time runs out buys the item at the price the bid.

That is where the similarities end. To place a bid – YOU HAVE TO PAY. That’s right, every time you place a bid, it costs you money. Right now, Swoopo is charging 60 cents per bid. The second, more perplexing twist is that with every bid, the auction end time is incremented by 5-20 seconds. That’s right. So if the auction ends in 5 seconds and you bid, the end time is pushed back by up to 20 seconds – giving more people an opportunity to bid. Below is a screenshot showing the truly bad deal of these auction sites. This one individual won the auction and paid $144.35 for a $900 camera. In order to win that bid, the individual placed 1852 bids at 60 cents each. In total, the person paid over $1500 for a camera he could’ve bought for $900 retail.

When you do the math, you will see that the site hosting the auction generally makes a hefty profit. Even when you see the camera below sell for $36, the site has covered its costs. For every time that the bid increases 2 cents, the host makes 60 cents. Entertainment shopping? Hogwash. Its a ripoff and you should avoid it.