Saturday, January 26, 2008


Fully Automatic Timing

Today I learned to operate a FinishLynx system and ran the backup camera for the indoor track meet at the University of Illinois.

The systems are quite impressive and are how I was timed when I ran college track. It was nice to see how incredibly precise the timing is because a time-lapse photo built out of thousands of photos of the finish line every second are pieced together and the timer aligns a bar with the finisher's torso to determine the finishing time. My times were at most 0.02 seconds different from the lead timer's and were usually exactly on or within 0.01 seconds (I didn't check to further precision, but the timing goes down to the 10-thousandth of a second).

Friday, January 25, 2008

Home Theater Stadium Seating Riser

A couple of weeks ago, I put together stadium seating for my basement theater. It measures roughly 7'2 3/4" x 5' x 9" giving enough lift for two rows of seating. The materials involved were:

2 - 8' - 2x8's, which were cut to make the long ends of the frame
4 - 10' - 2x8's, which were cut to make the 8 cross pieces of the frame
2 - 4x8 - 3/4" OSB board - which were used to make the surface

The lumber cost me about $65, which I picked up at Home Depot with my friend Jeff in his truck. My running buddy Harley let me borrow his circular saw and I first cut all of the boards. Note in the picture the cornhole game my grandfather made me that is set up in the basement for winter play.

Next, I assembled the frame as pictured and held it together with 2 3/4" general construction screws. Then I screwed the plywood on the top and put the seating in place. I'd like to carpet it at some point, but it works well (and is nice and sturdy!) and makes a nice addition to the theater.

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Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Siberian Express Trail Run

On Saturday, I raced the Siberian Express Trail Run at Kickapoo State Recreation Area, which is put on by the Kennekuk Runners. It was probably the sloppiest race that I've ever competed in and it was a lot of fun. I finished fourth overall in the race with a 46:09.5 for the 7.45 mile course (6:11/mile). I was battling for position through about mile 5 and then ended up in no-man's land all by myself for the last stretch of the race. I had a lot of fun and I still need to clean up my seriously muddy spikes; even 1/4" of metal didn't keep me from sliding all over the place. Considering the difficulty of the course and the slippery conditions, I'm pretty pleased with the way that I ran. The top 5 male and female finishers won race sweatshirts, which Marla and I showed off later that day (Marla was the 3rd female finisher).

(Photos from during the race taken by Dave Ghent)

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