Sunday Jun 21, 2009

Hamburg Running

Before leaving London I had time to grab a quick breakfast at one of the many restaurants located in the Covent Garden area a few blocks from my hotel. There are many small bakeries, cafes, pubs, and varied international fare tucked into the back alleys, although I never found the garden.

Hamburg promised even better running around the beautiful Binnenalster Lake formed out of the river that runs through town. The jogging path around the lake is a little less than 10K and easily accessed from my hotel, Le Meridian. With the next few days packed with customer meetings and International Supercomputer Conference events, I'll need every bit of the nearly 20 hours of daylight right now to get in my daily run.

If your in town this morning, don't miss out on Andy Bechtolsheim's presentation at the Sun HPC Consortium on Sun's HPC Roadmap.

Saturday Jun 20, 2009

London Jet-Lag Cures

On the way to the Sun HPC Consortium starting today in Hamburg, I stopped off in London to meet first with a few customers. Now twenty-four hours in London is not really enough to get jet-lagged, but here are my tips.

One of my favorite business hotels in Central London is the Sheraton Park Lane. It is conveniently located across from London's Green Park and plenty of lovely running paths. Exiting the Sheraton onto Piccadilly, cross the street to Green Park and head counter-clockwise. Halfway around the park you will get to Buckingham Palace, crossing the street in front of the Palace to get to St. James Park. My typical jet-lag recovery run continues counter-clockwise for a loop around St. James Park, then a reverse clockwise loop, then back across to Green Park continuing counter-clockwise to your starting point. Depending on your pace, its an easy 30-40 minute run which is perfect to get you ready for a sleep-deprived day of customer meetings.

The next key to avoiding jet-lag is to avoid the temptation to skip dinner and go to sleep early. The perfect remedy for that is just a short cab-ride away at Ozer's Turkish Restaurant. While the 11-course "Healthy Meal" special may not sound healthy by the title, it is an absolutely wonderful tasting-size assortment of Turkish specialities with just the right amount of spices to make you forget sleep for a few more hours. For those that prefer, there is a vegetarian option of the healthy meal as well although I quite enjoyed the marinated, grilled chicken and lamb courses of the standard meal.

Tomorrow, I'll share my Hamburg running tips.

Monday Aug 25, 2008

Boston Running

I needed to be on the East coast last Friday and today, so rather than spend 12 hours on planes I spent the weekend in Boston and got in three great runs. The Westin Copley Place is my favorite centrally located hotel in Boston. Four short blocks from the Charles River, you can run for miles in either direction. I've spent many a cold winter day running along the snow-packed Charles River (the blacktop jogging/bike path does tend to clear quickly after all but the worst storms). But this was a perfect weekend for running in Boston, maybe the best I've experienced. Exit the Westin on Dartmouth St. and turn left and head towards the Charles River. There is an overpass at Storrer Drive which is more like a mini freeway than a drive.

My standard run is to turn left after the overpass when you hit the Charles River running path, continue about 3 miles to the Cambridge St. bridge, cross over, then run back on the opposite side, re-crossing the Charles at Massachusetts Ave. The total run is about 7 miles and you can always extend further across the Charles at either end. Want a bit of a shorter run, just don't cross the Charles and turn around anytime you feel like it.

Of course, after running, you will be hungry. On Friday afternoons, there is a wonderful farmers market right on Copley Square outside the Marriot. At least one night, you will have to head out to the North End for carb loading at Giacomes. They open at 4 and get there any later and join the crowd in the line outside. A tiny dining room with seating for only about 35, the wait can easily be an hour or more. No reservations. But they did make it into Rachael Ray's $40/day FoodNetwork show.

Of course what is a weekend in Boston without seafood. A must-visit is Union Oyster House, the oldest continuously operating restaurant in the U.S. Do get reservations here or be prepared for another hour plus wait. They serve some of the best New England lobster in Boston, supposedly from the Canadian coast. If you have never eaten whole lobster, they are nice enough to crack it for you, although I prefer doing the work myself. I'd recommend the medium, it won't break your budget and always more tender and flavorful than their older, larger siblings.

So there you have it, one weekend, three runs, two great dinners (you are on your own for Sunday night, but if you can't find a good place to eat in Boston...)

Monday Aug 04, 2008

Running At Americas Sales Meeting

A packed schedule this week at Sun's Americas Sales Meeting at Gaylord National conference center on the Potomac River just south of D.C. It is really quite an impressive and well designed hotel and conference center that anchors the new National Harbor development. It won't, however, be a week for long runs. It is about a 5K loop around the center, and the only way out beyond that is onto one of several expressways. Given my 6:30 am - 12:30 am schedule the next few days, I won't really miss my long runs, and will probably just hit the well equipped gym tomorrow morning.

But if anyone finds a way out of here for a longer run, let me know, by Friday I may be ready for it.

Sunday Jun 15, 2008

Favorite Runs - Dresden Germany

One of my easiest to navigate runs, starting from the Westin Hotel in Dresden Germany. Go out the back door of the hotel, walk a few feet to the beautiful Elbe River that runs along the historic old town, and turn left or right. You can run for miles along the river in either direction. This morning was near perfect running weather, 15 degrees and light rain. I've been coming to Dresden this time of year for 3 years now, and this morning was the first time I turned right. You run by several marinas and riverfront clubs like CityBeach Dresden. Now time to listen to Andy Bechtolsheim kick off day two of our HPC Consortium meeting.

Thursday Apr 24, 2008

Favorite Runs - Ipanema Beach

Three flights, three business dinners, three cities, two analyst lunches and no running, I finally found my way to what I had been looking forward to all week. I checked into my hotel in Rio De Janeiro last night after 11 pm, left the curtains open, and awoke early this morning facing a beautiful view of my running path. Unlike some of my other favorite runs requiring elaborate directions, this one is easy, walk out of hotel, cross street, turn left or right, and run. The LED sign at the corner read 6:09 and 21 degrees, but the shade soon turned to bright sun and the next sign already read 24. I started slowly, paying for my sins of over-indulging in Brazilian seafood last night, not to mention three days with no exercise. But after about a mile, my usual pace returned.

Ipanema is a beautiful, wide, sandy beach, with both a coblestoned walking path and a smooth paved bike path running between the beach and the road. The small coblestones did not make for great running, but I quickly noticed that with few bikers out, most joggers were taking advantage of the bike path so I soon switched. The road was already filling with morning commuters, but thanks to the widespread use of flexfuel engines and gas stations selling alcohol based fuel for less than half the price of gasoline, I was not bothered by exhaust fumes. I should cross-post on Greenmonk, Rio is such a better place for conventions than Vegas for so many reasons.

I was going to try a technology free blog, but canĀ“t resist. The Eco computing movement is not as prevelant in Brazil, the land of mainframes, as elsewhere. Not one single customer told me they were using mainframes to save energy. I find it striking that a country with one of the largest open source communities in the world is also one of the biggest users of mainframes. Of course the mainframe legacy is easily explained by anyone who has studied the history of the IT industry in Brazil, having been closed to most computer imports through the mid-eighties, Brazilian companies shunned locally produced minicomputers for mainframes. That legacy still lives on in many large companies here, but I have to wonder for how long? How many Brazilian open source programmers are developing for the mainframe? Even a large bank I met with yesterday commented that while they ran DB2 on the mainframe, it was increasingly hard to find DB2 developers and administrators while everyone they had hired in the last few years knew MySQL. I told the customer not to hold their breath for a mainframe port of MySQL.

Wednesday Aug 30, 2006

Sharks, Macs, Telescopes, and Running

I'm on vacation this week, and on vacation in Hawaii no less, so why am I online and not out swimming? Certainly it isn't today's press rumors that Eric Schmidt is joining Apple's board in preparation for a Sun-Apple merger. Not going to lose rays over that. Two days and I've done my favorite run twice. Lots of new building in Puako, at least a half dozen new homes going up on the oceanfront, and someone paved the entrance and put up a gate (open 7 am to 8 pm) in front of one of the local's no longer very secret local surf spot, but other than that not much has changed. Unfortunately, a 6 foot tiger shark has been making its home the last few days in the bay in front of the hotel, and the beach is closed to swimming. Thank goodness for running. But you can't do that all day, so I'm about to head off to the Keck Observatory. They actually want to buy a few Sun computers, even though Mac OS is getting Dtrace and Solaris doesn't yet have iTunes. My advice to Eric. Port iTunes to Solaris and we will talk. Oh yeh, and check with Dell on that Intel only strategy.

Tuesday Aug 30, 2005

Great Hawaii Runs

I first came to Hawaii on vacation nearly twenty years ago and have been coming back almost every year since. There is nothing more relaxing than a day at the beach with nothing to worry about but when to take your favorite ten mile run. If this sounds like your idea of fun, head out to one of the best beaches on the Big Island of Hawaii, Hapuna State Beach to start your day. When you are ready for your ten miler, head out the parking lot and turn right onto Old Puako Road, a one lane road that rises, curves, and dips through classic Kohala Coast lava flows for about two miles. You reach the end of Old Puako Road at Puako Beach Drive. Turn right and follow Puako Beach Drive another three miles through downtown Puako (marked only by a general store) until the road ends at Holoholokai Beach Park. The beach side of the road is a mix of classic Hawaii beach homes and vacation rental cottages, with the latter being quickly replaced by new construction. The other side of the road seems to be more populated by locals, with everything from ramshackle two room sheds to larger more modern houses.

The area does tend to be very hot and humid so I would definitly recommend taking a bottle of water along, even if you normally click off ten miles with no liquids. You'll be glad you did. When you return to Hapuna, jump in the ocean to cool off, check out some of the best snorkling in Hawaii, and if you've worked up an appetite, head up to Merriman's for some of the best locally raised food on the Island. Finally, end your day with a cup of Rooster Farms coffee, which Merriman's prepares in a traditional French Press. Ah, the perfect day.

Thursday Dec 09, 2004

Technology and The Imperial Palace

On my recent trip to Japan, I stayed at the Akasaka Prince Hotel which is just down the street from Sun's Akasaka office in Tokyo. The real reason I stay there, however, is because it is also just down the street from Japan's Imperial Palace . The 4.8 km jogging course (6.3 km if you start at the Akasaka Prince Hotel) is one of the most famous in all Japan. Simply walk down the front driveway of the hotel, turn left, start jogging, and in a few blocks you come upon the palace course.

Surrounded by Tokyo hi-rises, the Imperial Palace grounds, and I say grounds because you never actually see the palace from the jogging course, are absolutely beautiful. Surrounded by a moat several hundred feet wide in places, if you ignore the traffic noise and the hi-rise office buildings you can almost picture yourself in Imperial Japan hundreds of years ago. This is a classic run for anyone who visits Tokyo.

The moat must have been a great defensive technology in its time. Of course rather useless today in the military sense, although it does keep the occasional Tokyo homeless person sleeping on benches along the jogging course from bothering the royal family. As a technology company, we at Sun need to always be careful that we are designing not just great technology, but great technology that meets our customer's current needs.

Thursday Sep 16, 2004

Kona Coast, Big Island, Hawaii

As most of my staff, friends, and family know, I'm an avid runner. I certainly credit my running with cutting stress and keeping me healthy over the years. With few exceptions, I find that no matter where in the world my job takes me, I can find a place and time to go out and run. For many years, I've written about some of my favorite runs on my internal Sun web page, so I figured as I revisisted some of the runs I've written about I'd take the opportunity to update my writeups and share on my blog. Besides, I wanted a topic to create a new category on my blog and this seemed like a good one.

One of my favorite hotels in Hawaii is the Mauna Kea Beach Hotel. Other hotels may be more luxurious, have bigger rooms, or thicker towels, but the 40 year old Mauna Kea is the classic beach resort hotel with a beach that consistently ranks on "top 10" lists of world's best beaches. The bay offers perhaps the best kid-friendly snorkeling in Hawaii and the weekly clam bake is a must for seafood lovers.

The first warning to anyone planning a long run in Hawaii is be sure to hydrate early and often. Don't underestimate the impact of the Hawaii sun which rises early and sets late. Anyhow, on to the run. Exit the hotel towards the beach and turn left onto the cement walkway that crosses the expansive lawn between the hotel and the beach. At the end of the lawn, follow the paved service road marked "Exercise Path". A par course used to start on your left about 100 yards up the service road, but as of summer 2004 has been wiped out by construction of a new "estate home" community. Luckily, the resort has kept a paved path between the new community and the golf course. After half a mile you will reach the Hapuna Beach Hotel, sister property of the Mauna Kea. Continue along the roadway just past the Hapuna parking lot where you will turn right on a access road marked "Beach Access". The road is actually barricaded just before the small (now closed) beach access parking lot, but continue past the first barricade, along about 100 feet of roadway, past another barricaded onto the real one lane beach access road. This road meanders across old rolling lava fields for another mile before T'ing into the Puako Beach road. Turn around here and you have a good 4 mile workout.

Warning, don't go farther than the Puako Beach road during a midday run without water unless you are really sure what you are doing. You'll be surprised how quickly you can become dehydrated in the hot Hawaii midday sun. The beach access road has little if any shade. However, if you want to keep going, turn right onto the Puako Beach road and carry on. The road has a 25 MPH speed limit (radar enforced according to the signs) and small running medians on each side. BTW, I've never seen a real police car on the island of Hawaii, but when driving look out for Camaros, Mustangs, and all sorts of other policeman owned vehicles with "Hawaii 5-O" type blue lights strapped across their roofs. Back to running, at about mile 3 you will reach the Puako general store. Turnaround here and you will have what feels like a 10 mile run in more tepid climates. Continue on and marvel at the 500 square foot beachfront shacks sitting on what has become $1M+ lots next to modern $2M+ beachfront homes. So much for neighborhood compatibility. At about 5 miles, you will spot a sign that reads "road ends in 500 feet". At this point, you will be glad to know the sign is wrong, in about 200 feet you reach a gated culdesac leading to a few more oceanfront homes.

If it is midday and you haven't heeded the various hydration warning notes, be sure to stop at the Puako general store and beg for a bottle of gatorade, promising to return soon and pay double for it, as it will be well worthwhile. It is a long hot run back, with no other chances for water. After a week of running here, you will understand why they call it the Ironman. If you want to act like a local, order a "Fred" at the bar (short for Fredrico). Sad to report, as of my September 2004 visit, "Jim", the hotel's famed bartender for 29 years, has retired. Jim is credited with inventing the Fredrico and I miss his words of advice to many a happy Fred customer like, "no one has ever been known to die from one". This Bacardi, Jack Daniels, and fruit punch drink, served blended, it a hotel specialty. But as my wife reminds me, please jump into the ocean to cool down and wash off after your run before walking up to the beachfront bar to order one. Better yet, order two and share :)

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