November 2017 – A Quick Look Back

November was a blur…lately it seems as though every month is a blur and probably will be for a while yet.

My favorite photo this month:

I am back in the Apple silo again. My old ASUS flip laptop finally stopped working and couldn’t be resurrected. Which meant that my Christmas gift suddenly had to be pressed into service – the Apple iPad Pro 10.5 with a Zagg Rugged Messenger Bluetooth keyboard. I will not say it is the best computer I have ever used, but it is a pretty fantastic little device that does just about everything that I want from my computer now. You can read more about it here.

I am getting used to the mobile way of doing things, versus legacy computing. There are differences and they are not better or worse for the most part – just different. However, the one thing that I really thought would bother me, has not been an issue – the lack of a mouse or trackpad. I acclimated quickly to the touch screen, stylus and keyboard shortcuts to move the cursor around.

Lancaster trips are now simply drive over, make sure everything is as it should be, stopping by to talk with people we need to talk with and then driving back – all in the same day. Those trips rather suck, especially now that the weather is starting to get into the wintry mix stuff that really ain’t a lot of fun when driving through the Western Mountains (especially, the Rt. 2 pass just outside of Gotham by Mt. Washington – it get pretty nasty). Hopefully, December brings those long travel days to a close and we can begin the work of really moving on with the rest of our lives and not have the anxiety/worry about what is happening three plus hours away

The biggest pain in the butt during the month was losing power for 5 days and our generator dying (see the photo below with Bennie). Luckily a friend loaned us his generator the last couple of days, which saved the freezer contents and made life a bit more bearable. It did make up our minds about going out and buying a generator, which we had to special order from Home Depot. Our generator is now ready for the next power outage that seems to be occurring more often in our aging electrical infrastructure.

Running Choices

A lot of choices were made in my running during November.

However, the biggest one was to not run with Bennie anymore. More to reduce the number of injuries that I seem to accumulate when I do run with him. Coach Bennie is a big believer in all-out sprinting for interval training and my old body just ain’t up to that task anymore. Which results in parts of me, getting twisted, pulled and torn – which results in too much time away from running.

Bennie doesn’t understand and some days attempts to get me into something more than the walking we now do together. At the same time, a couple of times that I have gotten a little too froggy and attempted to run with him for a short ways – he really wasn’t all that interested either. So I would say it is a combination of both of starting to get a bit long in the tooth. He seems happy enough with walking 2-4 miles a day. Although he does get upset when I leave him at the house to go for my run.

Chi Running Chi Running – Thoughts After a Month is still a large part of my running and I am in the fourth week of the beginners half marathon training plan – half-way through the technique training section. I am not going to say that it is an easy or effortless way to run, but I am running well and don’t have many of the usual aches and pains that I dealt with on a daily basis before I started using it. I am making good progress in some areas and in others, let’s just say I am a work in progress. However, I do think I have made some solid steps forward to running more injury-free.

I am on a big kick to simplify things with my running and as I discussed in my Simplifying My Running After Age 60 post, some things gotta change.

When I put together that mind map (updated above), it showed how convoluted my running had gotten and it also quickly identified a bunch of things that I can do right now to simplify things. So I have streamlined how I log my runs and what tools are being used to do it, which you can read about here.

There will be a few more posts on my progress and attempts get things back under control. It is more that I would add something here or there and never take away something that I replaced, which resulted in duplication of effort or stuff. It was time to step back, look at things and make the choices that needed to be made.

Oh yeah, I did run in November. Actually I ran quite well and mostly pain-free which is such a difference from what I have dealt with over the past couple of years. Where going out the door for a run meant that I just sucked it up and ran on whatever was bothering that day. You will never know how much I dealt with that stuff and am so glad that it seems that I no longer have to.

While I didn’t quite make 100 miles for the month, I was able to get into the 90’s, which meant that I almost tripled my October total.

I still have some cleaning up to do on the spreadsheet’s transition over to Number from Google, but it will get done.

When it came to running shoes, it was basically running in the Newton Kismet 2’s (50 Mile Review) and that’s it. I may have run in something else a few times, but primarily I ran in the Kismet’s because they are comfortable, give me feedback when I am not running with my feet pointing fairly straight forward and my feet do not hurt when I get done. To be blunt – they just work well for me.

Overall, November was a good month for running, making decisions that will simplify life for me a bit going forward. All good things as I keep working on living life the best ways possible :-).

AVR – December 2011 in Review

This is the end of my first full month of writing and posting at “A Veteran Runnah”. It has done better than my wildest dreams, thanks to your support and help. I said thank you the other day in my Thank You for Your Support post. Everything I said in that post I mean wholeheartedly.

How Was December?

December that time of the year where for many drinking and eating are the main events wrapped around the many festivities, parties and other revelries. It is a time when families get together to celebrate and then after Christmas ends to celebrate the New Year or to celebrate that Christmas is over. It is also the time of year when I typically add 5-10 pounds from all that eating and drinking.

However, a funny thing happened this year on the way to my usual December binges.  I retired last June.

As part of that retirement, I don’t have the same temptations of year’s past. All of the great foods that co-workers bring in, the impromptu after work you will or just gotta goes and the made it to Holiday break parties you have for the kids in your classes – all those temptations to eat and drink more were gone.

The funny part was that I didn’t really miss them all that much. I missed seeing and talking with some of the people, but the binge eating and drinking I didn’t miss that at all.

This year December wasn’t the same and it was in a good way.

Running In December

I hit 100 miles for the month exactly today during my IRC Freezing Rain storm run. That is the first time I have not hit 100 miles in a month since 2007.  Mother Nature didn’t make it easy for me, but running within her moods is just a part of running, especially up “heah” in Maine.

I finished reading Chi Running for the first time and one of the big focuses during December has been to work on improving – ah hell changing  – my running style from a splay footed penguin to run with everything going in the same direction. It will be something that I am going to have to work on for a long time, all those bad habits that have accumulated over the last few decades aren’t going to go away over night.

You don’t know how good it felt for me to be back to running regularly again.

This month in a word: Psyched!
Weight
I ended November weighing 176 and ended December at 170 this morning. This was in spite of plateauing for a while in the middle of the month. Even though I didn’t have as many temptations as in the past, my wife is a great cook and baker, so there were plenty of temptations around the house for me to indulge in for the Holidays and yes I had my share of great food (but this time only my share).  So I would have been happy to have stayed even, but to lose 6 pounds in December – well that is unheard of for me.
Injuries
The right knee is not complaining nearly as much as it was in November, but that streaking stuff – I have to stay away from it. The knee demands rest every so often and barks loudly at me if I don’t give it enough.  Also, I really am not trying to go fast yet and I notice some pain if I do, so I am going to stay slow, build my base again for the next 3-4 months and then see where I am at. The lower back is still a little sore, but better than it was a couple of weeks ago. We figured out that how I was sitting with Bennie in my lap was part of the cause and the rest had a lot to do with posture and a bit is just getting older ;-).
Shoes
I ran in my Saucony Peregrines all but one day and they are still doing great. What more can I say about them other than they have done everything I could want from a running shoe and they now have 162.8 miles on them. The soles are just beginning to show a little bit of wear, but the uppers, other than some mud stains are in great shape. The Peregrine is an amazing shoe that I recommend others to take a very close look at – I know that I will when it comes time to get another pair this spring.
Top Ten Blog Posts for December
Here are my top ten posts for December based on pageviews:

1. The Hardest Thing About Running
2. You have how Many Pair of Running Shoes?
3. Dressing for Winter Running
4. Book Review – Chi Running

5. Buying New Running Shoes – How to do it?
6. Rest – Such a Four-Letter Word
7. A Runner’s Worst Nightmare
8. Choosing a new Running Shoe
9. Runneritis – A Dread Disease
10. Icebreaker – Passes the Stink Test

The thing that surprised me the most about this top 10 list, was that all of them were written in December since I started writing here most of the time. None of the old posts that I imported from “One Foot In Reality” cracked the list. That is a good thing in my mind.

Reviews
In the interests of transparency and since the Icebreaker post is still in the top 10 post list, I will continue to keep this information available to readers.
I was invited by the Natureshop to review 3 pieces (top, bottoms and glove liners) from the Icebreaker Merino Wool base layer clothing line. I have worn the Icebreaker base layer for most of my runs this week and at other times also.
They worked as advertised and from my unscientific point of view, they seem to transport sweat away from my body better than the synthetic base layer clothing that I currently own. See my other two posts on the Icebreaker line of clothing: Icebreaker Base Layer Clothing Review and RunLog 12/8/11 – First Run in Icebreaker Base Layer.

I’m Back! November 2011 Running Reflections

I AM BAAAAACCCCCKKKKK!!!!!!!

SORRY for yelling.

No I am really not – but I am so excited about the progress I have made over the past month that I wanted to shout it out LOUD. I had been running a little here and a little there since June, but I but I finally decided to put up or shut-up about running and my knee at the end of October and keep a log on what I am doing.

This is the first month that I have been able to really run in what seems like forever, well actually since February 2010. That was when I injured my knee playing racquetball, it has been a long time getting over that injury, culminating in surgery during May 2011 and the recovery period for that.

I had 82.6 miles total for the month of November with two weeks over over 20 miles and another over 18. No not all of the runs have been easy and I haven’t wanted to go run on some days, but I got out there and did it more and better than I have in a long, long time.

Also during November I got a new pair of Saucony Peregrines, that I think have helped make a big difference in my running. They promote running on my mid-foot, instead of the heel strike that I had been trying to avoid, but just seemed to keep reverting back to with my other shoes (except the racing flats).

I am finding out that I seem to run better in more minimal shoes and when I go back through my logs (the ones that I still have), the low rise heels seem to work for me as far injury prevention – which means I run more.

Here are the screen shots of my November running logs:

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This is just a simple spreadsheet in Google Docs that I use to keep track of things, so I don’t have to do all the calculations manually.

I am still running at around a 9:00 minute pace per mile, but I do feel that I am getting stronger and it isn’t as hard to get into the 8:00 minute pace range every once in a while.

Although I may never run another marathon, I do want to run a fast 5K. My goal is to run a sub 20:00 minute one by December 1, 2012. I know that this is a pretty lofty goal for someone who is currently running 9:00 minute miles and will be turning double-nickel next August, but I think the natural speed is there and if I train right, well I believe that I can do it.

Unfortunately, I didn’t keep track of my weight at the start of the month, the only thing I know is that I weighed 196 when school let out on June 17th and today my weight was 176. That is 21 pounds away from my goal weight of 155.  Hopefully, now that I am running again, I will hit that sometime next May. Slow and steady without any fad diets, just healthier eating and shutting the pie hole down once in a while.

Yes it feels so good to be running again and as long as I stay mostly smart about my training, I hopefully can avoid the injury bug that seems to have followed far too close to me ever since January 2008, but that is a different post.

By the did I tell you I AM BAAAAACCCCCKKKKK!!!!!!!

October 2011 – in Review

October was a very busy month!!!!

Dad got out of the hospital and is home being fiesty as ever, the garden and lawn are buttoned up, we survived the Blizzard of October 2011, and became a two-car family.  I started using Google+ as my primary Social Media hub and deleted Facebook, which I never really liked.

Mary started to contribute to One Foot In Reality and I resurrected/recreated an old blog called Aging Reluctantly, where I/we will write about things that don’t fit here and well the title kind of tells you a lot.

I had my fourth blogging anniversary.

Even through all that we managed to get out a few times and go for long walks (hikes) in the woods and I started running at least a couple of miles 4-5 days a week – Mary never stopped.

Below are our top ten posts based on pageviews for the month.

  1. Evernote as a Task Manager
  2. Opus Domini – Electronic Organizer Review
  3. PAPER AIRPLANE LESSON PLAN 2010
  4. Evernote Review
  5. Google’s Dynamic View – I Started Using It
  6. Mobile Me Review
  7. Blogger’s Dynamic Views Themes – My Thoughts
  8. The Greatest Speech Ever Made – Charlie Chaplin
  9. Apple Text-to-Speech – Review
  10. Google+ Review-While Keeping it Real

It seems that the posts with the most pageviews continues to be those related to reviewing tech related apps or software and 6/10 of the top 10 are from before my retirement.  That is not the direction that this blog is intentionally headed, as it continues to move toward more of a living simply focus, but it seems that a lot of people are very interested in other people’s opinions of how they are using technology, not just the bigwigs or people in the tech industry.

Therefore every so often we will continue to write about technology related “stuff” that we use and our opinions about them.  However, that is not the primary direction we are headed, but using technology is a part of living simply in today’s world.

No October was very busy, but it also was a very good month.

Looking Back At September 2011

Today is September 30th, my first real month of being on sabbatical or being semi-retired, whatever you want to call it, I don’t count the summer, because I would have been on summer break until the end of August.

Due to Dad’s heart attack the last couple of weeks have been one hell of a roller-coaster ride, but it looks as though he has stabilized and should be coming home from the hospital sometime next week – at least that is the plan right now.  I know that the 1 1/2 hour rides up to Bangor one-way are tough, but it is part of what we do when a loved one is in the hospital, even if he is a Yankee fan. We will see on that front.

The rest of September has been really great!

Blogging:  I have returned to my “One Foot In Reality” blog on Blogger.  I just feel very comfortable here and once I found out what I had done wrong (damn little check box), and once I figured that out, things got back to normal here.  I really don’t know what it is about WordPress.com that I don’t like, but I just never stay there no matter how hard I try and I always seem to end up back at Blogger, see my Admitting My Mistakes post.  Maybe I should just stay here and see if I can grow “One Foot In Reality” into something more than it has been.  We shall see.

Gardening:  Yeah I know another old fart that is starting to garden, but for someone known as “Harold the Destroyer” around the house, I am enjoying helping out in the garden and I didn’t even ruin too much in there this summer.  There are somethings I am good at and I am actually learning to identify some of the plants beyond a carrot, peas or beans. 🙂  We are even expanding the garden to produce more next year, so we will see how that goes, but all that is left is putting moopoo and compost on it then button it up for the winter – gardening can be a great workout. Also I have noticed a definite shift in my eating patterns – they are far healthier than they ever have been in my life!!!!!

Also I have been regularly participating in #gardenchat on Twitter and involving myself in that community a little more.  It sure is a lot different than talking about education all the time, not nearly as negative and often a lot more productive.

Health:  This is the biggest difference I feel better (I probably will never look better – bad attempt at humor – I am just Joe Average :). The most noticeable thing is that I have lost almost 20 pounds since June 17th. More importantly though I am sleeping at night and the extra couple hours of sleep most nights have meant that I wake up refreshed, instead of groggy (waking up at 7:00 instead of 5:00 does that to you).  I am wearing clothes that I haven’t worn in over 4 years (it seems as though as my stress levels went up, so did my weight at my last 2 jobs).  Speaking of stress those levels are really low, (except about Dad) and is a major change from the last few years of constantly eating adrenaline burgers all day long and then trying to get all the work done for work and around the house.  It is nice just focusing on work around the house. Not too many people calling me an Asshole here – at least I don’t think so ;-).

I have also started running a couple of miles every other day and usually walk at least 2-3 with Bennie.  So the exercising has increased dramatically and I am happy with the results – hell I can even put my hands in my pants pockets again comfortably – before they were just to damn tight to do that.

Those were some of the highlights for September and below are the top 10 posts for the last month.

  1. Evernote as a Task Manager
  2. The Greatest Speech Ever Made – Charlie Chaplin
  3. Opus Domini – Electronic Organizer Review
  4. Evernote Review
  5. PAPER AIRPLANE LESSON PLAN 2010
  6. Blogger’s Dynamic Views Themes – My Thoughts
  7. What Plant Is This?
  8. Mobile Me Review
  9. Apple Text-to-Speech – Review
  10. Expanding the Garden for Next Year

This semi-retirement/sabbatical thing is really agreeing with me and you know something the biggest change is that I am laughing and smiling more – which is a good thing.

Thank you everyone for reading my blog and being patient with my butterfly tendencies.  I plan to stay right where I am here on “One Foot In Reality” for quite a while.  You may see some design changes as I change things around a little with the seasons, but I here I am, unless something unexpected happens or the Terms of Service at Blogger suddenly change to something, that I disagree with.

June 20111 – Running Summary

Well the biggest thing is that I have started running again!!!!
That to me is a major milestone and accomplishment.
 June 15th is an anniversary date for me.  I wonder what kind of progress I will have made on June 15, 2012?  I hope it is pretty incredible!

June Running Summary

June miles run: 12.0 Miles
Year To Date: 12.0 Miles
Days run June:  13
Total Days Run 2011: 13
Shoe:  Nike Dual Fusion St – 11.0
Shoes Retired: None
What hurts:  So far only my right knee but that is to be expected, arthroscopic surgery was on May 17th.  Physical Therapy is over and now it is up to me to keep in shape.
Here is to a injury free month of July and hopefully, I can be smart about my running and eventually be able to run the Middle Road Loop without stopping before snow flies.  :)I don’t plan on any racing this year, just building up my base, but next year, well we will see.

April in Review

April has been a very good month for me. I got a lot of things straightened out in my online and offline worlds, which has resulted in making a lot of decisions that are going to be very positive ones for moving forward.

Online World

I read the book “Do The Work” by Steven Pressfield and as a result of reading that book I was forced to reflect on what I was really doing instead of what I wanted to believe that I was doing – read about it here.  Facing what you are doing honestly and owning your mistakes can be painful, but for me it was a necessary step to move myself forward. Looking back I am glad that I am going in this direction. I also made some very good changes to my blog and really like the new theme and look it has.

Offline World

My knee really began to bother me, enough that I actually went to the doctor’s – which is something I avoid whenever possible. I am seeing a specialist next week and have resigned myself to what he will say. I imagine that it will be pretty much the same thing that he wanted to do last September and I wasn’t ready yet – I am now. Also we have made some decisions on personal choices that are really positive and if there are no significant changes between now and July 15th, I will be talking a lot more about them at that time.

Just accepting or making these choices has really changed my perspective on what is important and what really is not.

Top 10 posts for April:

  1. Mobile Me Review
  2. NOOK COLOR – REVIEW JANUARY 2011
  3. Evernote as a Task Manager
  4. PAPER AIRPLANE LESSON PLAN 2010
  5. Evernote Review – January 2011
  6. BLOGGER – MANUALLY IMPORTING BLOG POST PROJECT
  7. Apple Text-to-Speech – Review January 2011
  8. I AM IN THE PROCESS OF RE-POSTING OLD POSTS TO BLOGGER
  9. SPECIAL EDUCATORS-DO WE DO TOO MUCH?
  10. Infinite Campus Review – February 2011

The reality is that

I am glad that I didn’t go through with my first impulse to start another blog and stayed with “One Foot In Reality”. Something weird happened after I made my decision to stay, my stats more than doubled overnight.  Strange how things work sometimes isn’t it?

My Top 10 Posts for March 2011

Nook Color

Image by themarina via Flickr

March has been a much better month than February, but April is coming in like a Lion, we are supposed to get between 8-14 inches of snow (according to which station you are listening to), quite an April Fool’s Day joke. Some kids are not believing that we are having a snow storm tomorrow and that the teachers are just pulling their leg a day early. Personally, I hope that it goes out to sea, but I have a feeling it is going to be a direct hit.

I have feeling that over the next month or so, there will be a couple of changes coming up here at One Foot in Reality, I just have to figure out how to incorporate them into the structure of my blog…more to come.

My top 10 posts for March were:

1.  NOOK COLOR – REVIEW JANUARY 2011
Jan 9, 2011
2.  Mobile Me Review – March 2011
Mar 11, 2011
3.  Evernote as a Task Manager
Feb 19, 2011
4.  PAPER AIRPLANE LESSON PLAN 2010
Sep 4, 2010
5.  Evernote Review – January 2011
Jan 27, 2011
6.  iWeb Review – March 2011
Mar 13, 2011
7.  Conforming to Negativity
Mar 12, 2011
8.  The Crossroads are in Sight
Mar 26, 2011
9.  Apple Text-to-Speech – Review January 2011
Feb 2, 2011
10.  BLOGGER – MANUALLY IMPORTING BLOG POST PROJECT
Oct 31, 2010

As always thank you for taking time out of your busy life to read my blog

What have you done to make a difference today?

Looking Back at February 2011

February, Leandro BassanoImage via Wikipedia

It is hard to be believe that February is over today, but at the same time I am glad that it is over and done with.

February has been a tough month for me. It seemed as though just about the entire month I have been fighting some kind of a bug that finally, to be blunt kicked my butt.

However, I was able to get a few decent blog posts written this month in spite of how I felt and they made it to my monthly top 10, but my January blog posts still had 5 of the 10 top posts.
Below are the top ten posts for February based upon pageviews:

  1. NOOK COLOR – REVIEW JANUARY 2011 – Jan 9, 2011
  2. Evernote as a Task Manager – Feb 19, 2011
  3. Evernote Review – January 2011 – Jan 27, 2011
  4. Infinite Campus Review – February 2011 – Feb 5, 2011
  5. PAPER AIRPLANE LESSON PLAN 2010 – Sep 4, 2010
  6. Apple Text-to-Speech – Review January 2011 – Feb 2, 2011
  7. GRUML – RSS Feed Reader Review – January 2011 – Jan 29, 2011
  8. BLOGGER – MANUALLY IMPORTING BLOG POST PROJECT – Oct 31, 2010
  9. MarsEdit Blog Editor – Review January 2011 – Jan 21, 2011
  10. Mac App Store Review – January 2011 – Jan 30, 2011

The Evernote as a Task Manager came within 20 pages views of the top spot in less than half the time of my current number 1. It shows the level of interest that is out there about how people are using Evernote.

Even though stats aren’t the reason that I blog, I found some the Blogger Stats were rather interesting:

February Stats
For all the complaints about Internet Explorer that you hear on the internet, it still was the most used browser by people who read my blog. Another surprising nugget about the browsers was that just over 300 pageviews separated Internet Explorer from number four Chrome. It shows the browser wars might be a lot closer than many people think. Most surprising though was that Safari ended up ahead of Chrome, I don’t think it will stay there, but it was an interesting result.
The data also has Windows based systems as easily the most popular Operating System didn’t surprise me, but only having 58% did, I would have predicted around 70%, MacIntosh O/S being at 24% is much higher than percentages that you normally see publicized around the web for their market share. I guess it might be that a higher percentage of Educators use Macs than the general population. I wasn’t surprised the my blog is visited mainly by people from the U.S., but it was interesting to see what other countries visited One Foot In Reality during the last month.
As well as One Foot In Reality did during February, I am glad it is now over and done with. I am finally starting to feel like a human being again that has half a brain, who knows maybe I will even be able to write a few decent blog posts next month.
Here is to the rest of the school year and thank you to everyone who took the time to read my blog during February 2011.