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  • The Green Knight: 2015/05 - 2015/06
    7 Everything in Switzerland runs on a tight schedule Make reservations and stick to them 8 Because Switzerland is so mountainous it is easy to change temperature climate in just a few minutes by increasing or decreasing your altitude 9 Because Switzerland is so mountainous many of the lower parts enjoy hours of false twilight in the summer The sun dips behind the mountains creating a magical twilight that goes on and on until the sun finally sets for real 10 Fondue is awesome and you should eat as much of it as possible while you are there OK now for some specifics 1 I don t really know anything about Interlaken but people seem to love it for outdoorsy adventures 2 On the German side Zurich is a great city but I don t know how much of a travel destination it is Nearby Luzern however offers a lot for tourists see my previous post about my trip there 3 Down in the Italian part Lugano makes for a fantastic little getaway It has more in common with Italian lake towns such as Como and Bellagio than it does with the rest of Switzerland 4 Of course the bulk of my recommendations are focused on Romande the French part of Switzerland where I spent the vast majority of my time My principal advice for this region is already summarized in a previous post My thinking has matured a bit since that post and I now recommend Le Chalet Suisse for the best fondue and view in town Also if you have a car a full on Swiss dairy experience is well worth the drive I hope this is helpful to my traveling friends and please let me know if I ve left anything out Posted by Bryan Hassin at

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  • The Green Knight: 2015/04 - 2015/05
    pretty high 174 for that early in the race Boo My nemesis was way ahead of me but I told myself just to run my own race The 2nd km had even more downhill but I managed to moderate my pace in order to finish in 4 06 My heart rate was down to 172 which was more in line with my goal The 3rd km was more flat so I finished in 4 27 while keeping my heart rate constant at 172 average My pace slowed during the 4th km which had a long gentle uphill 4 43 My average heart rate was down to 171 so maybe I wasn t pushing hard enough However knowing what was coming next motivated me to play conservatively here The end of the 4th km marked the beginning of the Laurel Hill Challenge a full mile of steep incline Time to pay for those early downhills with only a few flat segments There was a timing mat at the bottom and another at the top so runners were scored not just on their overall times but also their splits for Laurel Hill The 5th km was a trudge 5 11 at a 176 average heart rate The 6th km was pretty rough for the first half and then flatter and even a little downhill for the second half 4 38 overall but averaging 180 BPM I wasn t concerned about the high heart rate at this point because there was very little race left My nemesis was back in my sights now but I couldn t quite close the gap The final half km last year went through the stadium tunnel and then finished in the football stadium Not only was that a very cool experience it was a very flat experience as well This year due to stadium maintenance the final half km went back uphill almost back to the starting point oy not fun at all I channeled my inner Rocky and left it all out there finishing this segment in 2 02 hitting a max heart rate of 187 Perhaps best of all this is where I passed my nemesis the streak is intact My final time was 28 58 only a few seconds faster than last year but on a slower course due to the final uphill My Laurel Hill split was 7 28 vs 7 47 last year so it seems that I am continuing to improve at running these very non Houston hills that Chapel Hill has to offer I finished 20 overall and 2 in my age group 1 in my age group was 1 overall 23 minutes so I have a loooooooong way to go Still it was a great race and I m proud of my progress Posted by Bryan Hassin at 15 09 No comments Email This BlogThis Share to Twitter Share to Facebook Share to Pinterest Labels running 2015 04 27 Spring in Chapel Hill There s no other way to

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  • The Green Knight: 2015/03 - 2015/04
    strategy took me 56 seconds 31 Given that I was near the top for push ups last year and so far off this year The top performers in this event were in the low 30s I think there was something I didn t understand about the optimal way to blast through this movement Event 4 40 35 lb kettlebell swings I finished in 48 seconds 6 vs 52 seconds also 6 last year Event 5 40 arms behind your head to fingers past your toes sit ups Last year this was my worst event finishing in 1 18 12 This year I paced myself better and improved my time to 1 11 but placed worse at 18 Event 6 20 burpees I finished in 44 seconds 5 pausing for two breaths at the halfway point vs 45 seconds 4 last year Event 7 two minute plank hold This was my undoing last year as I didn t even make it a full minute tapping out at 52 seconds This year I worked hard on my plank in an already exhausted state and it paid off I completed the full two minutes to tie for 1 It s a good thing too last year 52 seconds was enough for 8 in the event this year it would have only earned me 61 Clearly the field was much more competitive this year I had improved my performance in almost all of the events yet instead of placing 8 overall for the first course as I had last year I was down at 13 Even if my second event time was indeed incorrect the correct time would only have boosted me to 10 Course 2 After a rest and some coconut water I hopped into Course 2 This was completed in pairs and I was fortunate to be paired with someone else who was very competitive We both pushed each other through each of the four events which I believe improved both of our scores Event 1 agility drills Up and back through these speed ladders and hurdles took 29 seconds 3 vs 1 23 4 on a longer version of the course last year Event 2 10 15 lb sandbell tosses over a high barrier followed by suicide sprints 50 seconds 8 vs 60 seconds 9 last year Already I could feel that I was doing better on this course than I had done last year and my partner was helping to motivate me as he kept beating me by just a hair Event 3 20 15 lb sandbell slams followed by a 100 yard out and back bear crawl 43 seconds 2 vs 1 16 12 last year a huge improvement My partner was ahead of me heading out of the slams but I caught him at the turnaround of the bear crawl and never looked back Event 4 100 yard out and back sprint while carrying a 10 ft 40 lb sandrope followed by a 100 yard out and back

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  • The Green Knight: 2015/02 - 2015/03
    other end of the trail the top of the nearby mountain and leisurely bike back down stopping to take in the scenic views However the weather was not nice on Saturday cold and gray with a very biting wind so we opted for a short run instead of 2 3 hours with the wind in our faces The highlight of the run was a herd of horses in a nearby pasture that chose to race Katie and show off for Angie while they ran apparently Matt and I weren t very interesting though A good short run deserves a good long meal so we struck out afterward for 128 Pecan a fun little bistro for lunch We thought 128 Pecan was just great and we feel pretty qualified to judge because between us we ordered more than half of all the items on the menu Pimento cheese crab dip hummus sesame fried oyster tacos black bean cakes blackened salmon I can t even remember everything we ate but it was all delicious What a great find in a tiny little town After walking around historic downtown Abingdon we returned to the Martha Washington and spent the afternoon relaxing Although we didn t avail ourselves of the spa services per se we did take a bottle of champagne out to the multi level outdoor jacuzzi and let our stresses melt away as it started snowing There was something so neat about being in a hot steaming pool of water while the snow was coming down I m going to have to visit my Nordic friends some day and give cold weather sauna culture a try Saturday evening we met some friends of mine from Huntsville Alabama who recently retired to Abingdon for dinner at Figaredo s Although we usually prefer to stay as far away from restaurants as possible on Valentine s Day this restaurant had a nice little prix fixe menu that wasn t cheesy at all Once again we were impressed by the quality of the cuisine in such a small town While the snow accumulated outside the six of us stayed warm with good wine food company and laughter Sunday was much colder than Saturday but also much sunnier We had a reprieve from the snow so after a morning workout in the fitness center we drove over to our friends house for a true country brunch I had been to that house once before but it was really inspiring to see the renovations that they had recently made Well fed as we were we returned to Abingdon for a matinee performance of Anything Goes at the Barter Theatre By now we should have come to expect that everything in Abingdon punches above its weight but once again we had modest expectations We were really blown away though by the quality of the performance the singing dancing costumes everything I suppose that s how this tiny theater has attracted such talents as Gregory Peck Kevin Spacey and Ernest Borgnine over the years As the weather became ever colder we decided to stay in Sunday evening so we dined at the hotel s Sisters restaurant It was a very nice meal including fried chicken and waffles fried quail and fried cheese curds notice a pattern After dinner we repaired to the library cozied up to the fire and took advantage of our favorite Martha Washington Inn tradition complimentary port in the evenings Another couple came in and we wound down the night talking politics careers and music Monday morning came way too early but we needed to be on the road before the next snow storm struck We made it out OK and didn t encounter any problems on the heavily salted highways back to Chapel Hill Now there is a a layer of snow accumulating on our deck but we are safe and warm inside We miss our friends already but we will just have to return to Abingdon sometime soon and perhaps during warmer weather so we can do all the things we wimped out on during this trip Posted by Bryan Hassin at 17 53 No comments Email This BlogThis Share to Twitter Share to Facebook Share to Pinterest Labels Abingdon travel 2015 02 09 First Trip to Oregon This weekend I took a quick but very active trip to Oregon my first time to visit that state I arrived Thursday and was met with exactly what I expected from the Pacific Northwest gray and rainy weather One thing I didn t expect though was that the drivers would not be very good at dealing with the rain Throughout the trip my driving travel times were increased due to accidents but I would have thought that in a place where it rains frequently people would have figured out how to adapt Not so apparently My trip began in Portland and my first stop was the Nike campus technically in nearby Beaverton The Nike campus is really cool it simply oozes sports Every building is named for a prominent athlete sports fields and running trails litter the grounds and everywhere you look are banners statues and busts of even more athletes from every sport imaginable Although I am not a huge fan of the Nike brand I had to tip my hat to them when I noticed a bronze bust of Art Monk one of my favorite football players of all time as I was walking by Well played Nike well played At Nike I had lunch with two friends who work at Nike one was a football teammate of mine at Rice and the other was an MBA classmate of mine and Tug of War teammate at IMD As one might imagine the cafeteria in the Mia Hamm building at a place that is so focused on sports is pretty fantastic I had steelhead trout brussels sprouts greek yogurt and toasted coconut chips not a bad way to break my fast After stopping to see another

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  • The Green Knight: 2015/01 - 2015/02
    my ego by this affront to my once perfect eyes I actually became a little excited about entering the four eyed world Would I look smarter with glasses More sophisticated Cooler I didn t know but I was intrigued To those readers who know me personally it will come as no surprise that I am a tech gadgetophile From cars to sports watches to speakers my chief criterion for just about anything I have or use is how much I can geek out on it Thus my search for technologically advanced glasses led me straight to Google Glass Glass takes normal glasses Originally they were only available with non prescription lenses but they added prescription lenses at almost the exact time that I received my prescription could it be fate and adds a heads up display HUD camera microphone speaker and touch pad It connects wirelessly to the phone in your pocket and acts as a more convenient interface for everything you would normally do on your phone The Good Glass is very handy for conducting the basic triage that you would normally do on your smart phone reading emails or texts sending short messages etc When your phone receives an inbound message Glass makes a sound and you simply touch the frame or tilt your head back to see the message on your HUD This sounds like such a firstworldproblem but Glass really does save me a lot of pulling my phone out of my pocket The end result is that I spend less time with my head down looking at my phone and more time with my head up taking in the entire world I like this aspect a lot I find myself messaging more when I m wearing Glass For example if I m on my way home from work and I have a question for Katie about whether or not I need to pick up something on the way I just tell Glass to send her a message and the voice recognition is pretty fantastic I swear it s better than basic Android voice recognition but I have no idea why this would be the case Without Glass I wouldn t be able to send any messages while driving so would have to pull over somewhere and whip out my phone or more likely just guess the answer In much the same way I also find myself taking many more pictures with Glass than I do without it Glass has a take a picture button but you can actually train it to take a picture any time you make a big exaggerated wink This has really transformed my picture taking instead of having to take my phone out of my pocket unlock it hit the Camera app and then take a picture again firstworldproblems I simply wink I take more pictures the pictures I take are more candid less staged and I also take pictures for more purposes than I did previously e g snapping a

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  • The Green Knight: 2014/11 - 2014/12
    a new course PR by 89 seconds is pretty good on such a short race I attribute the better performance to better pacing more experience running trails and a higher running fitness level than I had a year ago Also additional motivation was provided by some of my friends from the Godiva Track Club They were running the longer distance race but one of them even ran with me for some time This was a fun small race with pretty scenery and a nice route It served as a good warmup for Thursday s Gallop Gorge 8k the final event of the Tour de Carrboro series where I m hoping to set another course PR before hitting the offseason Posted by Bryan Hassin at 22 39 No comments Email This BlogThis Share to Twitter Share to Facebook Share to Pinterest Labels North Carolina running 2014 11 12 Dell XPS 15 Last month I started working on a new laptop the Dell XPS 15 This is Dell s premium notebook combining performance with design and competing with the MacBook Pro I ve always liked the hardware of the MacBook Pro lightweight compact good screen fast hard drive but after multiple attempts I never really warmed up to Mac OS Fortunately new offerings like this Dell hit pretty close to the mark and still give me the Windows tools I seek without having to deal with Apple at all The biggest win by far of this notebook is its screen a stunning 15 6 3200 x 1800 touchscreen GorillaGlass display For movies it is absolutely stunning but even text in basic productivity apps seems much clearer and sharper This notebook model is already more than a year old and still has a better display than the current MacBook Pro 2880 x 1800 so I ll be excited to see what the next generation offers The next win is the 512 GB SSD hard drive It is so screamingly fast that this is the first Windows notebook I have ever owned that actually provides instant on functionality I don t use too many data intensive applications so I can t speak to its speed at I O but for rapid startup it is transformative The battery life is also very good Despite the big display I am easily getting 6 9 hours depending of course on how hard I m pushing it use between charges which is more than adequate to sustain me during travel or meetings I m not sure I ve even used my charger outside of the home or office yet My one reservation for this computer was that it only came with Windows 8 1 I liked Windows 7 just fine and I hadn t heard great things about 8 1 So far though I have been pleased not blown away by 8 1 It isn t radically different than 7 but it offers a more app like launch experience which is prevalent on all of my other devices

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  • The Green Knight: 2014/10 - 2014/11
    well in more ways than one Shortly after my departure my hosts gave birth to their first child Congratulations No need to thank me I just seem to have that effect when I am a houseguest Now I m back in the US and working hard to complete Smart OES s funding round big news to report about on that front soon Posted by Bryan Hassin at 17 42 No comments Email This BlogThis Share to Twitter Share to Facebook Share to Pinterest Labels entrepreneurship fondue imd Lausanne Switzerland 2014 10 08 Paris and Buffett 6 0 Day 2 We woke up very late Saturday morning and seized the day Katie met her friend for some touring about and I decided to go for a run Once again the weather was absolutely perfect and I figured I could see more of Paris running than walking Instead of following a predetermined route I decided just to take my phone with me and run everywhere nearby that Google Maps showed green space This took me up to Les Invalides over through the Jardin des Tuileries along the Champs Élysées and back via a pedestrian area along the Seine I could have kept going for hours Parks parks everywhere is something I really love about old European cities They really appreciate green space not only for its beauty but also for the social purpose it serves I think citizens feel more invested in their community when they spend time out enjoying it with myriad neighbors which is exactly what was happening on this gorgeous day So many people were out walking picnicking napping or just sitting and chatting as I ran by it was inspiring Of course there is a downside as well Although I love parks parks everywhere in European cities I loathe smoke smoke everywhere It s hard to walk anywhere without stumbling unwittingly into a cloud of smoke and that happens even more frequently when running That s OK though it s usually easy enough to hold my breath until the air is clear again With my run behind me I showered up and made my way over to the theater to tailgate for Buffett s second concert The floor section for the Saturday night show would be standing instead of seated so there was actually an advantage to arriving early and staking out a good place in line The tailgate was a lot of fun and I met many other international Parrotheads from Canada Italy Holland and of course the US We chatted played Jimmy Buffett music and of course imbibed My beverage of choice this time around was a very nice Sauternes Considering that I had eaten exclusively chocolate all day I was living a very literal dolce vita until I also opened up some cheese as well Eventually Katie and her friend came to join me in line They hopped right into the tailgating and before we knew it Time usually flies at a Buffett tailgate we

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  • The Green Knight: 2014/08 - 2014/09
    though as he cooed and squealed people ahead took notice and made way Theo was great his happy noises and frequent waving of hands and feet attracted a lot of attention from nearby runners His race chariot was decorated with his name on it so we elicited many Go Theodore s as we passed people I wish I had been doing this a long time ago when I was single because I met many attractive young ladies on the course as they told me how cute my son was The net effect was that running with Theo made running a much more social experience than it usually is for me As a hardcore extrovert I loved it Although people in Raleigh would call the course flat I m sure there were definitely some non trivial hills Pushing Theo up those hills and I should point out that Theo was the smallest captain of the bunch so I have to give serious props to the other two angels was tough which was great since the entire reason I run is for a workout Whenever my body felt like slowing down I thought about the physical challenges the fragile little boy in front of me was facing and it kind of put the hills in perspective I talked to Theo as we approached each hill I don t know if he understood me but I liked to think that the sounds he was making were cheering encouraging me on and together he and I conquered hill after hill after hill it really was more like him pulling me along than me pushing him My usual 8k time is 34 35 minutes Theo and I finished this one in 42 54 Given the help I was able to lend Theo in participating in the race given the glee in his voice and movements as we sped along the downhills given the way he inspired me and those around us given the social experience that running with him was and given the extra workout I got out of it I would say this was my best 8k ever It made running the race so much more meaningful than it would have been otherwise and I absolutely can t wait to do it again Posted by Bryan Hassin at 19 43 No comments Email This BlogThis Share to Twitter Share to Facebook Share to Pinterest Labels meaning running 2014 08 08 Final Summer Track PRs As I detailed in my previous post I have been running track meets this summer and steadily improving in all these new to me events Here are my final PRs in all events for the summer track season 100m 12 7s 200m 27 69s 400m 1 04 800m 2 37 1 000m 3 19 1 500m 5 21 1 Mile 5 52 3 000m 11 57 5 000m 20 14 The track meets were a lot of fun and I can t wait to do them again next summer In

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