Monday, 30 June 2014

Saturday, 21 June 2014

My article has being selected for Scrum Alliance's Newsletter

Good news to start my weekend, my article - my first - has being selected for the monthly Scrum Alliance's Newsletter highlight :-)

Scrum Alliance via 

to me
Murilo Lessa,

Hello, Murilo,

Every month, we at Scrum Alliance highlight some member-submitted articles in the newsletter that goes out to the membership. This month, your article "How Technical Debt Threatens Your Brain Capital" is one of those being highlighted. We thank you again for sending it in to Scrum Alliance, and we hope you enjoy seeing it in the newsletter, which will go out next week.

Mary VanClay
Liz Crider
Advocacy Team

Thursday, 12 June 2014

The TweetDeck worm: how it worked

Very interesting description by Bodgan Calin about how the exploit works. Link is here.

On having goals, chasing and failing them…

I am a goal oriented person. That’s how I tick. I set a goal, write it down and chase it. Manly hun? Without a good list I am lost. I have lists of everything.. job goals, family goals, life goals, sport goals, you name it… I have short term goals and long term ones. Pretty crazy if you ask me… but that’s how I roll.

A marathon has being a goal since last year, when I got injured and realised I was not only not ready but also training wrong. It was very hard to juggle my normal life with work, climbing ambitions and still run a marathon… You can only just put enough food on a place right?

It is very easy to train hard, a lot, kill yourself and still reach nowhere. I know that by experience. I have being climbing for good 5 years now (I assume 2009 is the year when I really decided to focus), and running for almost 2 and I am still a shit climber and won’t even mention how mediocre runner I am…

Having realised I spend a good amount of my life training it made sense to get a couch to check my training. Enters Rob… and as I guessed.. I was not only over training, but doing it wrong.

Why a couch and not a PT? Well, coz I do not lack motivation. I don’t need someone on my side to motivate me to wake up at 6am in the morning and go to the gym. What I need is someone with enough authority and knowledge to see my silly schedule and point me out to the right directions.

This year I decided to do or die and booked myself into Southdowns marathon, 21th of July. After 2 weeks of following Rob’s plan I realised I am in not good shape for that… Yeah, thousands of people run marathons. I don’t care. You only realise HOW MUCH PAIN it is freaking is, when you go for a long run. And honestly, for me is about the pursuit. It’s all about style. I do not want to only finish, I want to run the whole freaking length and feel “good” by the end… well.. as good as possible hehe.

I do not hire guides, I don’t want anything to do with freaking sherpas or oxygen, so why would I freaking walk a marathon? C’mon dude.. get real. Sometimes though you do need a bit of a reality check and see how far your ambitions are in relation to your physical possibilities and for this 21th, I would say it is quite a bit away… Yesterday the letter from the marathon arrived and made me feel depressed. Failed goal. Another failed goal…
Well… it's all about empiricism right? Learn from it, regroup, rethink, start again! August 10th, I will be at the Salisbury marathon, and there is no going back.

Run a marathon
Cycling challenge
Climb 6c+, E1/E2

Breath in. Breath out. Focus. Good pain.

“Nothing in this world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not: nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not: the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent.”
-- Calvin Coolidge

Sunday, 8 June 2014

Lost and washed in Cheddar

I am pretty sure when you tell people you went climbing over the weekend that is not what springs to their mind. Waking up 6am, having only had 2 hours sleep… driving for hours, getting lost in the Cheddar Gorge bushes for hours trying to find a remote ledge/crag and once you do find it, decide to forget about it since the abseil will take even longer… and after that still be glad about that :-)

Right on the 2nd route of the day, as soon as Chris had clipped the first draw, we were washed by a cold down purr… I could not imagine what would have being if we were all 3 perched on that remote ledge a few dozen meters above, how we would have being washed and the “delicate scramble up to leave the crag” would probably have become a BIT dodgy to say the least :-)  After that the whole day was then a mixture of sunny & cloudy with consecutive showers.

Had a lot of laugh with Chris and Andy but probably did not even manage to burn all the food that I had in Costa while waiting for the rock to dry.

Got home midnight having done a single short 7a on top rope… At least manage a few pictures.

C’mon Monday!

Wednesday, 4 June 2014

Running on LSD


Before you get all excited it is important to explain that I am not preaching about running high on acid. Hell no, Sir! Long Slow Distance (LSD) is a form of aerobic endurance training - commonly used in running and cycling - where the goal is to perform at a constant pace of low to moderate intensity over an extended distance or duration.  Although not the creator or even the first guy to use such method, LSD was mainly promoted by Joe Henderson in 1969. He saw it as an alternative to the dominant school of training for distance running which he called “PTA school of running – the pain, torture, and agony” approach. 

If you want to run a lot in your life, and for many years, it is wise to go slowly but surely. Constance is key. It is the sudden activity and quick progress that mostly causes injuries. The idea of LSD is that instead of having a short session where you finish tired and out of breath, you will do long sessions where you will finish barely sweaty. You will be placing emphasis on distance/time, rather than speed. The moderate training intensity is effective in increasing muscle strength, improving aerobic endurance and fitness, and maximum oxygen uptake, specially in individuals who are undertrained or moderately trained.

Easier say than done…

Running slow?! This surely can’t work, right?

The misconception of LSD is that it is easy. Yes, the runs are at an easy pace and yes you can hold a conversation while running. But holding the correct aerobic effort for hours, can become quite painful. After 2 hours, whatever the pace you are at, it all hurts. Plus, the mental strength required to stay at this pace for such a long time already worth the whole effort.

I have also read stuff along the lines of “if you only run slow, all you learn is to run slow”. First things first… On the book "Going Long: Training for Ironman Distance Triathlons", by Joel Friel and Gordon Bryn, the authors explain that you cannot just fire a canon out of a boat. In sportive terms this means that if you want to run a marathon (or more), you should first focus on being able to complete such distance before getting worried about doing it quick. No 5 or 10km sprint will able you to do that. Slowly and gradually acquire endurance is the first step towards a long running life. Every time you step you are subjecting your knees to massive amounts of force, your joints, tendons and bones need to get used to these hours of impact and this takes time. Friel and Bryn go as far as recommending a 6 months period of LSD base training for runners without foundation.

Another point is that only LSD training will not going to get you there. Training is about stressing the body so variety is essential so you won’t stagnate. In order to achieve further improvements in metabolic conditioning you obviously require higher and different training intensities and sessions that are not sustainable at the work durations associated with LSD. 

So what is it good for?

Physiological adaptations to LSD training include improved cardiovascular function, improved thermoregulatory function, improved mitochondrial energy production, increased oxidative capacity of skeletal muscle, and increased utilisation of fat for fuel. You will be building your aerobic base and that includes increase in blood volume while the body becomes more economic at burning fuel - it will teach your body to use fat as an energy supply. It will also help you to lose weight and build up your endurance.

I started on LSD trainings a very long while ago and although I am still a total newbie in terms of training and running, after a while I could clearly see some interesting results. When I first started, any minimum effort would have my heart racing up way beyond what I would expect but as the weeks progresses, I manage to keep my heart rate low during the whole run. Another interesting thing is that it seemed that on normal runs, my heart race would recover much quicker when I decreased the intensity of it. Basically my heart took longer efforts to increase it’s speed (it became more economic), and was quicker to recover. Obviously my random training and lack of consistency did not bring much greater results but now, with more focus, consistency and a proper training plan I will  hopefully be able to address the right complementary sessions and finally get a marathon done in good form.

Finally, I truly believe the concepts of LSD training can and should be applied to other sports as well, including climbing. In climbing this sort of training – long sets of easy non-stop climb without getting pumped – definitely improves the ability of your muscles in maintain a sustained effort without crossing your anaerobic threshold plus it helps a lot in getting your skin, muscles and tendons for future longer climbs. There is plenty of material about this available on the Net and I specifically would recommend the PDF How to Climb 5.12, by Eric J. Horst and Training Manual for Competition Climbers, by Mike Doyle 

Wrapping up…

If you want to run a lot in your life, and for many years, it is wise to go slowly but surely. Constance is key. It is the sudden activity and quick progress that mostly causes injuries. LSD is not only about running slow, it is about observing the right heart rate (Zone 2) throughout the whole training. If you want to maximise it’s benefits, you need to be sure about what this means to you in terms of heart rate zones.

LSD is less intense than the other types of training so, as long as you choose the correct footwear for your long runs, the chance of injury is low as there is less stress on the body. It is s also a good initiation for runners wannabes or for that joint run you want to have with friends who are much quicker or slower than you. The easy pace easily allows for a chat and time flies.

Whatever the training you are doing, remember that ice, stretch and rolls are your friends. Whenever you are feeling sore of tense, do not wait to ice the area as often as possible, stretch regularly, and roll over balls and hard foams to release your muscles and joints.

Tuesday, 3 June 2014

The street poet

This is from February but I guess in World Cup times it is always good to remember the ones that were there before, and will be there after.

Sunday, 1 June 2014

Running can be a pain in the… coccyx?

Whether you are running quick or slow, when it comes to volume and long distances, things will get painful. It takes a long while for the body to get used to such abuses and the parts of your body which are more likely to gave up are the small neglected ones,  which you are not even aware existed in first place.

Last year I was making good progress but after a long run I woke up with a dull pain at my groin that felt like if I had over split my legs… It was something I have never experienced before, to the point that I did not instantly associated with the running. Sometime later in the day I started feeling my lower back and this time it was proper pain which lasted and put me off running for almost a month. I did a bit of research and it was quick to associate these two with too much running and not that much preparation.

The thing is, your legs might be feeling fine, you may be feeling fresh, but there are so many smaller components that support the body machine that unless you take a progressive and cautious approach, you are likely to fuck yourself. My pain memory seems to be very short, and a few months later, after another long run, I woke up with a weird pain on my coccyx. A dull pain that I have never felt before… Bit of research and there you have…

Most of the time such pain is caused by tight hip musculature like hip flexors, psoas muscles and generally poor core strength. Until this day I have never even heard of something called psoas, this hidden long muscle located on the side of the lumbar region of the vertebral column.

What to do?

When in pain, the main advice is ice and rollover the area: get a tennis ball (to start with) and roll out your glutes. When it hurts, sit tight until (your eyes tear up) it releases.  Repeat often. When you find a tennis ball manageable, progress to a harder ball.  Try running on grass for a while to lesson the impact and if its not better in a week or so see a specialist.

Preventing it

Train wise. Start to add regular stretching and exercises to open up the hip area, hamstrings, and the whole psoas muscles. Key one is the Piriformis stretch: lie on your back, and flex the right hip and knee. Now, while grasping the right knee with your left hand, pull the knee towards your left shoulder. This adducts and flexes the hip. In this position, grasp just above the right ankle with the right hand, and rotate the ankle outwards. This applies internal rotation to the hip and completes the stretch. Another way to do this stretch is to stand on your left foot and place the right foot on a chair, such that the right knee and hip are flexed at about 90 degrees. Now, using the right hand, press the right knee across towards the left side of the body while keeping the ball of the right foot on the same spot on the chair.

Bellow are a few more exercises that I have incorporated to my routine to prevent not only this but a whole series of other easily avoidable issues. A few minutes of your time that might help you save weeks away from training. 

Few more Psoas Streches

Hip Stretches