Friday, January 30, 2015

49ers season analysis

49ers season analysis:
I haven't talked as much this year about the 49ers on here - though I did go to 2 games this year - home opener vs Bears and the Rams.  Both games were brutal - the 49ers lost to the Bears mainly due to committing 16 accepted penalties, and Kapernick having 3 INTs and a fumble.  And the 49ers lost to the Rams due to fumbling twice inside the 10 yard line, and being clueless on red zone offense.

The main story though this season was the never ending saga of the fate of coach Jim Harbaugh.  It seemed like it was Jed York's mission to get Harbaugh to leave, no matter how the season went.  And Jed York tweeting on Thanksgiving night after the 49ers 19-3 loss to the Seahawks confirmed this.

Jed York vs Harbaugh:
I'm mainly baffled by Jed York's determination to get rid of Harbaugh so badly - even though he is the 4th highest winning percentage coach in NFL history, behind only John Madden, Vince Lombardi, and George Allen.  All 3 of those coaches are in the hall of fame.  The main objective in the NFL is to win football games - everything else is secondary (per Bill Walsh).  Though apparently despite Harbaugh's success at winning games, Jed York apparently wasn't satisfied - likely due to a power struggle with York, GM Trent Baalke, and Harbaugh.  Though Harbaugh's credentials are amazing - leading the team to 3 straight NFC title games, including coming within 5 yards of the Super Bowl title vs the Ravens.  And in the other 2 years they came oh so close to likely winning the Super Bowl too (Kyle Williams 2 fumbles in NFC title game vs NY Giants, and if Kaepernick's pass is 4 inches higher, it's a TD to Crabtree and they beat the Seahawks.)

And despite Jed York's intention at firing Harbaugh this season, he never flat out said that he wanted to fire him because he didn't like him.  He used phrases like "philosophical differences" when he was fired.  I would have way more respect for Jed York if he had simply came out and said that we fired him because we couldn't get along.  Instead of basically lying to the fans.

The 49ers recently hired Jim Tomsula as their head coach - who was their defensive line coach.  I have nothing against Jim Tomsula, but no way is he qualified to be a head coach.  The guy has no idea on offensive or defensive strategy.  If you need a motivational speech - fine.  But if you want a suggestion on what play to run on 3rd and 6 - he is not your guy.  Not sure if he could even run the defense at all.  Tomsula was hired because he will eat out of the hand of Jed York, and not talk back at all.

If you want to hear some great audio - trying listening to this interview of Jed York by KNBR.  Or 95.7 The Game interviewing Trent Baalke.  Infuritating.

Meanwhile, we allowed our best coordinator to get away (defensive coordinator Vic Fangio to the Bears).  Our offensive coordinator Greg Roman is now on the Bills, which is not necessarily a bad thing since he didn't do a good job at calling plays this past year. (way too conservative in the red zone)  We hired Eric Mangini as our defensive coordinator - the guy who was our tight ends coach, and crashed out as the Jets and Browns head coach in the past.  Not very excited about this hire.  And we still don't have an offensive coordinator, the good candidates seems to keep getting hired while we are standing still. (Gase, Chudzinski, etc)  Ugh.  Update - apparently we have hired an offensive coordinator - Geep Chryst.  Apparently he was our QB coach.  I have no idea who this guy is, this does not seem like a good hire.

Fire every coach:
It just seems like Jed York blew up a perfectly good team for no good reason.  I'm not anticipating good seasons coming up - seems like have no one capable to guide us right now.  A ship without a paddle.  And it occurred to me that the 49ers have a history of firing their best coaches in history - usually for no apparent reason.  Bill Walsh was forced to retire due to Eddie DeBartolo's ego in 1988 after winning the 1988 Super Bowl (and 3 Super Bowl titles).  George Seifert was forced to retire in 1996 after going 12-4 (and 2 Super Bowl titles).  Steve Mariucci was fired by John York (Jed's dad) after going 10-6 in 2002 (including a 24 point comeback playoff win vs NY Giants).  And now Jed York fires Jim Harbaugh after he led the team to 3 straight NFC title games and a Super Bowl appearance.  Jed York's insistence that the 49ers only goal is to win Super Bowls is simply delusional.  If you simply take the % chance of winning the Super Bowl based on math - the % is only 3% chance (1/32).  The team was in the final 4 for 3 straight years, which is only a 12% chance every year.  And a Super Bowl appearance is only a 6% chance.  If you multiply those % out for 3 years, you get a % of 0.08% (12% x 6% x 12%).  Which is the % probability of making 2 straight NFC title game appearances and a Super bowl appearance in 3 seasons.  That percentage is basically zero.  What else do you want Jed York?

Season analysis:
In terms of analyzing this season, the cards simply were not in our favor this season.  The injury list was staggering - the following key players had significant injuries during the season:
Gore, Borland, Hyde, Wilhoite, Brooks, Celek, Dorsey, Bowman, Willis, Reid, Vernon Davis, Anthony Davis, Perrish Cox, Kilgore, etc.  The list is gigantic.  And almost all of them were key players on offense or defense.  And Aldon Smith was suspended for 9 games, who is likely our best player on defense.  With all those injuries, it made it hard to compete for a good record.  It didn't matter what Harbaugh did, it was going to be tough.

Colin Kaepernick did not have a very good season - he seems to panic when under pressure, and doesn't go through his progressions when under duress.  This is likely partly due to the injuries on the offensive line, which didn't give him much time to throw.  Also, like I mentioned above - penalties killed the 49ers in multiple games - namely the Bears and Rams games.  And the team completely collapsed against the San Diego Chargers to lose that one in overtime, after way too conservative play calling in the 4th quarter.

In the end, I am simply frustrated at the path that Jed York is taking the 49ers.  I've decided that I'm done going to games in person anymore, I simply can't support Jed York monetarily anymore.  Hopefully next year is better than I am expecting it to be.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Unbroken, Meb, Portland or Eugene races, 2014 miles

Unbroken movie:
I'm never been more excited for the release of a movie than for the movie Unbroken, showing the life of Louie Zamperini.  I read the book in 2011, and started reviewing it here, before finishing my full review and also being fortunate enough to hear Louie talk in 2012 at a Church.  So I was pumped when I heard that they were making a movie about Louie to be released on Christmas Day (directed by Angelina Jolie).

I was saddened to hear that he passed away on July 2nd, I was hoping that he was going to make it to the release date of his movie (Christmas Day).  Though I did hear that he saw the completed version of his movie before he passed away, which I was glad to hear.

Overall the movie does a very good job of capturing the book.  Though as with any book that gets presented as a movie, there is simply more details in the book that aren't completely told in the movie.  The main thing I noticed in the movie is that it is not told strictly as a biopic timeline type movie - there are a few flashbacks to Louie's earlier life instead of telling his whole life start to finish.  Maybe this is because they don't want to make the movie longer?  To me this style made the movie a little confusing, since all of a sudden they are flashing back, and you are wondering what that time period is from.  Since I read the book I was fine, but if you hadn't read the book you might have a little trouble following the movie.

The movie did a great job of accurately depicting how Louie's life.  I really liked the running scenes, they were really well done - it felt like we were at the 1936 Berlin Olympics.  Some of the POW camp scenes were predictably awful to watch - in case someone hasn't read the book I won't spoil them here.  The actor who played The Bird ((Miyavi) did a great job in that role - that role must be insanely hard to play, with how evil he was.  I was surprised that they didn't show any of Louie's life after the war was over, though maybe again they didn't want to make the movie longer than it already was.  Louie's life is an example to everyone to never give up, and to practice foregiveness as much as possible.  It is pretty amazing that he completely forgave his Japanese captors for the treatment they gave him.  It was an honor to see Louie's life on film, RIP.

Meb interview:
I recently saw a great interview with Meb about the Boston Marathon, and some other topics too.  In reading athlete interviews - too many of them give cliche answers, it was refreshing for Meb to simply tell it like it is.  I felt like he was being totally down to earth, and laying out why he loves running, and what it means to him.

The best question I thought was this one:
Simple question: Why are you still interested in running?
Simple answer: 5:20. The first time I ever ran a mile, I ran a 5:20. It's my God-given talent, and that's everything to me. If that's maxed out, I'm ready to go.

This is a perfect answer - I guess to me the goal of anything is to max out what you can do in life.  God blessed Meb with athletic talent, and he has done his best to maximize this talent.  That is all you can ask in life.  It is also awesome that Meb won the Boston Marathon, it brought back memories of watching Meb in London at the Olympics, where he got 4th place.  I still wonder if I had held out my USA flag if Meb would have taken mine down the finishing straight (I think he took one from a guy farther from the finish line from me)

Portland or Eugene races:
Me and my girlfriend Andrea are pondering doing a trail race in Portland or Eugene.  Some possibilities that came up were:
Rock N Roll Portland - unfortunately this sounds like it goes over city streets only, so this doesn't go on any trails
Forest Park half marathon - this race actually sounds awesome, how scenic is Forest Park?  And the fact that it is right in Portland is nice
Eugene half marathon - this race sounds awesome as well, and it goes over some of the same trails that I did a 10K on in 2012 while in Eugene for the Stanford-Oregon game
Timberline half marathon - this race sounds great too, only problem is that it takes place an hour outside of Portland, so it would be a bit of a drive.  You run around Timothy Lake, and it has great views of Mount Hood.

Anyone have thoughts on what the best race out of these would be for trail?  I'm leaning towards Forest Park right now, but am curious what people think.

2014 miles run:
January - 46 miles, 10 runs, 5 strength workouts
February - 69 miles, 13 runs, 1 strength workout
March - 60 miles, 9 runs, 2 strength workouts
April - 54 miles, 9 runs, 0 strength workout
May - 70 miles, 12 runs, 5 strength workouts
June - 101 miles, 15 runs, 5 strength workouts
July - 87 miles, 13 runs, 3 strength workouts
August - 36 miles, 6 runs, 1 strength workout (it was super low because of recovering from SF half marathon)
September - 91 miles, 14 runs, 2 strength workouts
October - 56 miles, 8 runs, 1 strength workout
November - 63 miles, 11 runs, 0 strength workouts
December - 38 miles, 9 runs, 0 strength workouts

Total - 771 miles, 129 runs, 25 strength workouts

I totaled up my 2014 miles run, and this is definitely my highest mileage total post college.  It might be my highest mileage total ever, though I really have no idea how many miles I ran in high school with cross country and track.  I'm thinking that this year might be the highest, since we maybe ran 300 miles in cross country and track seasons each?  Generally I have never been a high mileage runner, I like to keep my workouts less frequent but more intense - if I run too frequently it makes running feel like a job. Hopefully I can put up a similar mileage total in 2015 (and up the strength workout total too).  

Any ideas on races in Portland and Eugene?  

Friday, January 9, 2015

2014 in review, 2015 goals

2014 year in review:
Now that 2014 is drawing to a close, it's time to review the year that was.  My 2014 goals post was posted in January 2014.  Here were my goals for 2014:

2014 priorities:
Priority #1 - continue to get healthy
Verdict: Achieved
Generally this was achieved throughout most of the year.  Recently I've felt some minor left knee pain, I think it might be caused somewhat from track workouts - we are always going in the counter clockwise direction.  I may try to at least run my warmup in the opposite direction to offset going counter clockwise so much.  Also, I haven't been doing yoga as much, so I need to try to do that more.

Priority #2 - strength train consistently
Verdict: Not achieved
I would say this was not achieved - it is in my intention to strength train consistently, but it is just hard to do with limited time.  I likely need to at least do some exercises at home if I can't make it to a yoga class.  I want to stay healthy.

Priority #3 - run the race schedule below
Verdict: Achieved

In addition, I did the following races during 2014:

I had an amazing year in terms of racing - I PRd in every race that I did in 2014, including some races that I had multiple PRs (408K, SF half, SJ half).  I couldn't ask for anything better than that.  It was so satisfying to simply be basically healthy and be able to consistently train and be in shape to attempt to try to run that fast.  I'd say that 2014 is the best year of my running life - the only other year that compares is when I was a senior in high school, when I set some of my best times ever (and many of these will likely stand forever).  Though I think now I have more perspective about how special it is to run, and savor not only the journey of training, but the race accomplishments.  In high school some of the training we did was so intense physically and mentally that it was hard to enjoy what we were accomplishing.  Now I simply avoid doing very short races, since the physical and mental pain is simply not something that I want to voluntarily subject myself to that often.  The mile PR that I set on 12/29 will probably stand for a long time.

Priority #4 - set a PR
I haven't set a PR since 2010, my PR's are ancient right now.  I need to update them.
Verdict: Achieved, and then some!
I ran 9 races in 2014, and depending on how you count PRs, I set 11 PRs, with some races I set multiple PRs.

PRs set - 11 (mile, 5K 3 times, 5 mile, 10K, 12K, 14K twice, half marathon twice)

I was mainly proud that I ended up PRing in every race distance of half marathon and below.  This definitely wasn't on my radar at the start of 2014, but as the year progressed I kept setting new PRs, and at the end I only had 2 left - 10K and mile.  I was able to squeeze these in at the end haha.

The race that I was most proud of was the San Jose half marathon.  I had just ran the SF 2nd half marathon in late July and due to not hydrating correctly ended up feeling awful in the medical tent.  So I was a little gun shy about San Jose.  Even though that day ended up being the hottest day of the year in the bay area - I hydrated perfectly, ran a perfect even split race and set a PR.  That is all I can ask for.

It was amazing to be able to finally realize some of the potential that I knew that I had inside of me that was held down mainly due to injury and not being able to train consistently due to injury.  I'm super happy that generally I was healthy during 2014 except for some minor left knee pain.  I couldn't ask for a better year performance wise - I set a PR in every race that I ran all out in - that is incredible.  Likely I will never have a year like this again, though in 2015 and beyond, I will continue to try to train and get faster.

2015 goals:
For the first time since writing this blog, I actually achieved basically every goal that I set out for myself, and then some.  No way that I anticipated running 9 races and setting 11 PRs during 2014.  That is basically a dream scenario for me.

Likely my race schedule will be somewhat similar to this below:
  • 408K - 3/1/15 (registered)
  • Bay to Breakers 12K - 5/17/15 (registered)
  • Wharf to Wharf Race - 7/26/15
  • 49ers 4.9K - 11/7/15
  • SJ half marathon - 9/27/15
  • San Jose Turkey Trot - 11/26/15
  • Los Gatos Resolution Run - 1/1/16

2015 priorities:
Priority #1 - try to stay healthy
During most of 2014 I was healthy - I need to try to keep it that way in 2015.  That likely means making it to yoga more often, and trying to do strength training exercises more often.  I need to make sure that my patella tracks correctly on my knees, this seems to be the main problem that I have (especially on my left knee, which I think is due to track workouts).  Maybe I'll at least start warming up in the opposite direction of the workout direction to help offset always going in the same direction on the track.

Priority #2 - try to set a couple more PRs
Honestly after the year I've had I'm not sure what PRs I have a chance of beating in 2015 - though if I stay consistent with training, I may have a shot at all of them again.  Though since I had such an amazing 2014, I can't expect to repeat that kind of year in 2015.  And I'm okay with that.  As long as I set maybe 1 or 2 PRs, and stay close to the times I put up in 2014, I'll be happy.  I mainly want to enjoy running, and hopefully be basically healthy during it too.

Priority #3 - run the above race schedule
Hopefully I'm able to do the race schedule above. (I'm already registered for 408K and Bay to Breakers).  I may do a trail race in Eugene or Portland - those 2 cities are amazing for running in general, especially trail running.

How did your 2014 go?
What are your 2015 goals?

Monday, January 5, 2015

2014 in pictures and numbers

I had one of the best years in my life in 2014 - both overall and in terms of running.  The year started off with another trip to the Rose Bowl, it was a great trip even though Stanford lost the game.  I also went to Coachella and Outside Lands music festivals again - fun times.  I also went back to NYC for the US Open - to run in Central Park and see a bunch of tennis matches.  

And probably most importantly for this blog, I ran 9 races, and set 11 PRs among those 9 races.  Including some races where I set double PRs, and I broke PRs multiple times during the year.  It definitely is the best running year of my life.  I broke all my post college PRs in 2014 at all distances half marathon and below.  Only reason I didn't break my marathon PR is that I didn't run a marathon (not sure if I will run another marathon again, we shall see).  Most importantly, besides some minor left knee pain that happened about a month ago due to possible overuse, I am basically healthy right now.  I know that I still need to try to strength train more, but overall my body feels pretty much healthy right now, which is awesome.  

For 2015 the main trips that I likely will take are to Coachella and to hopefully Paris in June for the French Open.  I also want to see Normandy, like I detail in this bucket list post.  

If you are curious, here are prior year recaps - 2013201220112010.  

Races run - 9
PRs set - 11 (mile, 5K 3 times, 5 mile, 10K, 12K, 14K twice, half marathon twice)

408K - set 5K (20:55) and 5 mile PRs (33:18)

Bay to Breakers - set 12K PR (52:15)
I was able to sneak into the elite corral prior to the race start - awesome to start there

SF 2nd half marathon - set 14K and half marathon PRs (1:36:57)
and also included a trip to the medical tent lol

one of my favorite airtime pics

starting to look like I'm dying a bit here right by Conservancy of Flowers

SJ half marathon - set 14K and half marathon PRs (1:35:02)

final stretch at mile 12 and dying a bit

49ers 4.9K race - set 5K PR (19:00)

trying to floor it down the home stretch

it was cool finishing inside 49ers stadium

Turkey Trot 10K - 51:48

fun to run a race with my girlfriend Andrea =)

I love airtime pics lol

the best medal I've ever gotten - love the turkey on it

DSE Aquatic Park 10K - 10K PR (41:20)

Mile PR (5:43)
Andrea was my timer and cheerleader =)

A pic from my May Golden Gate Park run

Rancho looking gorgeous

Football games attended - 10 (Rose Bowl, 6 Stanford games, Foster Farms Chicken Bowl, 2 49ers games)
The Rose Bowl game vs Michigan State was great times except for the final score (Stanford lost 24-20)

such a grand setting at the Rose Bowl

I've been to 4 BCS bowl games in 4 years (Orange Bowl, Fiesta Bowl, 2 Rose Bowls).  It has been an awesome experience

Tennis Matches watched - 29 (all at US Open)
 US Open

Tommy Robredo after winning a match

great view of the Unisphere from Arthur Ashe stadium

my favorite umpire Pascal Maria lol

one of my favorite courts - the Grandstand court

Arthur Ashe stadium before Federer was to take the court

one of the new courts - court 6, really nice

Larrsson ecstatic after taking out Sloan Stephens

I like this pic of the unisphere

gorgeous views and a packed house on Court 17 for Robredo match (match after this was American Cici Bellis)

great setting during Bellis match

Bellis is so young (15) - she took out Australian Open finalist Dominika Cibulkova in the first round, and that setup her next match vs Diyas on court 17 to a packed house (she lost unfortunately in 3 sets)

US Open finalist Kei Nishikori (with coach and French Open champ Michael Chang in background)

grandstand court again - this time for my favorite player Gael Monfils

Lucic Baroni on cloud 9 after beating the #2 seed Simona Halep to advance to the 3rd round

US Open finalist Caroline Wozniacki after a failed challenge lol (She also ran a very impressive 3:26 at NYC marathon!)

always a treat to see the great Roger Federer in action

packed Arthur Ashe court for Federer - Arthur Ashe stadium at night with Federer on court is among the best venues in sports

I was able to get a few practice balls by simply walking by the practice courts and paying attention when balls went off the court - black lettering are guys balls, red lettering are girls balls

Bands seen in total - 84
This year I saw a lot less bands than I did in 2013, when I went to 5 festivals and saw 132 bands perform.  This year I saw 84, mainly among Coachella, BFD and Outside Lands.  I also saw individual concerts of Afghan Whigs and Lorde, which were great.  

Coachella (41 bands)
love this display

the spaceman was by far my favorite art piece of the year for me (last year the same group did the snail that I really liked too)

was front row for AFI - one of my favorite bands, and was an awesome performance

decided to stay there to see Ellie Goulding, and wasn't disappointed - she put on a great performance

love sunset at Coachella

checked out the DJ tent (Sahara) for Zedd - I like his songs

the spaceman looking amazing at night

this photo captures Coachella - palm trees, blue skies, and great bands (Saints of Valory)

Pharrell Williams brought out tons of special guests for his performance - great times

Trombone Shorty put on an amazing performance on the main stage

checked out the Do Lab - nice way to cool off (they made the Do Lab area massive this year)

Coachella sunset is hard to beat - this was right before Calvin Harris

Outside Lands (26 bands)

Nicki Bluhm brought the energy and passion

all the performers from the Janis Joplin stamp release party - the MC, Nicki Bluhm, Mary Bridget Davies, Kacey Musgraves, Michael Joplin, Megan Brennan (USPS Chief Operating officer)

I now see why Kacey Musgraves won the grammy for best country album - her songwriting is biting and smart

I like this pic

was up close for Finish Ticket - they were so grateful for the crowd, and put on a great set - they are a local band that are starting to make it big now

Sutro stage is my favorite stage at Outside Lands - love the hill and the natural surroundings

gorgeous setting at Golden Gate Park

What is your favorite memory of 2014 - running or otherwise?