IPad Pro 10.5 – More Thoughts

Over the past few weeks I have had the pleasure to learn a lot more about the Apple iPad Pro 10.5 and wanted to share a few of the things that I have found work for me while using it.

It really is a great little computer and just the right size for a tablet – much larger and it would be unwieldy when not attached to a keyboard and any smaller having two apps open at once on the screen would be very hard to use. The 10.5 to 11.0 inch form factor seems about right for a tablet, especially when it has a detachable keyboard which can be used with it. I also know that I would not have been as happy with the 12.9 iPad Pro – it is just too big for what I or how I will use one.

Some of the things that I have learned during my first month with my iPad Pro 10.5:

1. I have to have an external keyboard to do lots of typing.

The other day I screwed up and haven’t ever fully charged my Zagg Bluetooth keyboard and of course while I was at the car dealership, it stopped working. I had planned on doing a blog post while I was there and figured that this would be a great opportunity to use the iPad’s on screen keyboard for more than a line or two.

It didn’t suck nearly as bad as thought it would, but it using the on screen keyboard is not something that I would want to have to use exclusively. One thing I had to change was my right index fingernail was just a touch too long and I kept missing keystrokes with that finger when I touched the screen key using only my fingernail. That got just a tad bit frustrating.

Which meant going and finding a pair of scissors to make it so I could type correctly. Before I cut the fingernail down to size, it caused a lot of misspelled words that I had to go back and correct.

I will definitely keep my Zagg keyboard or something similar over the onboard keyboard – the onboard keyboard doesn’t work all that well for me.

2. Moving exclusively to the Apple software/app silo only, probably will not happen.

I could probably get by with most of Apple’s offerings, but there are apps that seem to work better for me from other brands, which is not what I really expected. However, I want to work with what works best for how I work, so I have chosen a few surprises to keep moving forward.

Email – I will keep my gmail.com email account as my primary account, even though I will use Apple’s mail as the default email app, since it syncs well with iCloud. I just don’t like the .icloud.com identifier as my email provider at this time, it identifies too much what kind of computer equipment/stuff I probably own, while the gmail.com is more generic. Perhaps I am being a bit too paranoid, especially since here I am writing about my experience with Apple’s products on my blog, but sometimes being a little paranoid online is not a bad thing. Maybe down the road I will change my opinion, but for now I will keep using my gmail.com for emails. Although for certain things I can foresee moving more to iCloud.com

Notes – I like Apple’s Notes for the most part, but after all these years of doing things a certain way, I keep finding myself going back to Microsoft OneNote no matter which operating system I am using – when I can. The idea of different Notebooks for different interests is a level of organization that I prefer. I gotta admit that I liked Evernote back in the day, but some of the changes and pricing strategies moved me away from using it.

OneNote does everything that I want from a notes app, although I can’t use it directly in iCloud and I have to use Microsoft’s SkyDrive to sync things. Not really what I want, but if I want to use OneNote, something I will have to deal with.

What will probably happen is that I will initially use Apple Notes to create a note or capture something, think about how much I really need to keep it. Then if I decide that it is something I want to have permanently move the Note to OneNote in the appropriate Notebook. A bit of a convoluted way to do things, but I like both apps for different reasons and I do wish Apple Notes had a Notebook or whatever Apple would call it versus the one big pile of notes without any way to organize them the way I would like.

Photos – This is my biggest complaint right now. Moving my photo library from Google to iCloud and onto my iPad Pro is a mess and damn near impossible to do without a lot of manual input. Which is not how I am going to do things. So unless I find a different solution, I plan to keep what is in Google Photos as my archive for pre iPad Pro (keep adding stuff until I reach my limit), move individual photos to iCloud as I need them and use Apple Photos for my images going forward. Not ideal by any stretch of the imagination and goes against something that I thought Apple was big on – it should just work.

iCloud – I really would like to eventually be able to move all of my online storage to here at some point. However, if I want to use OneNote, I have to use SkyDrive and the issue with moving my archive photos to my iPad/iCloud is a pain in the arse, means I have to keep Google Drive updated as well. It would be nice to have just iCloud, but where I am moving in from other providers, there doesn’t seem to be easy answers to getting my data from them to my iPad/iCloud account. At some point maybe a dongle and SD cards would help?

Productivity – It really doesn’t matter to me which Word Processor, Spreadsheet or Presentation software I use. They all do about the same things, it is just a matter of learning where the commands are hidden more than anything else. Apple’s offerings are more than adequate for what I do now and actually for personal use, I remember how much I preferred Apple’s Numbers spreadsheet to the others, now that I have been back to using it a bit. Plus I don’t see me making any presentations anytime soon.

Calendar/todo – I am not that crazy about Calendar or Reminders, they do enough, but…getting them to do what I want is not always shall we say simple. Subscribing to a different calendar in IOS can be a bit of a chore and getting reminders to be in order by date, well I haven’t figured it out yet, without having to manually move things around. I have been sort of looking at other options, but in the end will probably end up sticking to Apple’s calendar and reminders more because they are the default app than anything else.

Browser – Safari is here by default and for the most part seems to work well enough. Well except on the Garmin Connect and Strava sites, it doesn’t work correctly???? I don’t really think it is Apple’s fault, but…still they are sites I do like to visit every so often (yes, I have attempted to use the Desktop mode). Which means that I have to use Chrome when I want to visit those or some other sites. Plus I do like that I can Chromecast from the iPad too when I use Chrome on certain sites.

Firefox I have it on my iPad Pro because I wanted to see how the “new” Firefox worked. For me it is okay, but nothing about it makes me jump up and use it as my primary browser yet. I will stick with Safari as my primary browser and use Chrome as my back-up until things change. Although I did like the Brave browser when I was on Linux and just realized that it is available for IOS, I will play with it a little going forward.

Music – Let’s be real, I am not a big music guy, I like my collection (mostly older stuff) and have simple wants. A workout playlist and maybe an easy listening one. I am not crazy about the Apple Music app and while it works, it just doesn’t seem all that intuitive to me and iTunes for IOS is more about parting me from my money than anything else.

Getting my music library to my iPad still required me to install iTunes on my wife’s Windows desktop, import my music library and then sync my iPad Pro. Not what I consider ideal either, but it worked, I tried the photo thing, but that didn’t work. For the past few years I have had my music library in Google Music and that is okay, but it is not where I want it to be, but Apple doesn’t really want me to have an pre-existing library outside their silo. At least it seems that way when I want to put something on my iPad Pro, nothing seems very straight-forward, unless it is coming from the Apple silo.

To be honest, despite all of the advertising and free offers from Apple Music, I still tend to listen mostly to Pandora.com in the background when I am working on the iPad and want music. It is simple and I don’t have to screw around with it.

News Aggregator – I can’t quite wrap my head around how to get the app to work for me the way I want to see news stories. Even when I check the dislike box, I still seem to get “Just for you” stories on things I don’t like i.e. Soccer, NFL, Entertainment and so on. I do prefer to get various views on what is going going from liberal to conservative with big city and rural newspapers that have local news too. Maybe my eclectic view on things screws up what they think I want to see.

Yeah, the Apple News app is a strange beast, who’s machine learning or AI doesn’t seem to be working for me all that well. I am tempted to use Google News again, but at the same time, not really wanting to. So I have a bit of a conundrum about which way I want to go for this one.

Split Screen – One thing that I have noticed is that I very seldom use the split screen capability that iPads now enjoy. I tend to work in one app and then switch to another when I need to do something else or use my iPhone as my other screen. About the only time I really use the split screen is putting events from Facebook to calendar (which in my opinion, should be done with a click versus me having to do data entry), but different silos, so I shouldn’t expect them to work easily together or copying my run information data to my running log spreadsheet.

I actually have found that I prefer to only have one app open at a time, it does make me focus and think about what I am doing. However, I do like having the option when I need the split screen for it to be there. The best of both worlds.

The reality is that

My iPad Pro 10.5 takes the place of how I would use a MacBook or other laptop (Windows, Chromebook or Linux) and in just the short time I have had it, I am getting pretty damned comfortable with how it works too.

Even so, there was still a bit of a learning curve, transitioning my muscle memory and wrapping my brain around how the iPad works with IOS. Some things are much more intuitive, while others leave me scratching my head wondering why Apple chose to make things this way. I sort of think that even Apple is learning what users want, with the newer capabilities that the iPad Pro’s bring to the conversation.

Who knows maybe even some of the things that I am whining about now, will not be an issue.

At some point Apple will have to let iPads and IOS stand on their own, as their own computing system and not require them to plug into a “real” computer to do some things that should be easily accomplished on my iPad. I know, not all iPads are iPad Pros, and I know that IOS is designed for the iPhone first and iPads second. As iPhones and iPads become more and more powerful Apple will have to make changes that allow us to use them as our primary and in many cases only computer – not just an auxiliary device.

It was my experience of moving primarily from Google products to only using Apple’s IOS offerings was a bit of challenge and more of a chore than it should have been. Apple doesn’t always make things easy to move your data to their silo from other places and to be honest some of their software/apps are not as good as the other brand’s. I know that is heresy to many Apple fans out there, but from where I sit, it is how I see things.

Luckily, my iPad Pro has enough flexibility in the apps it can use that I can have my cake and eat it too.

Unfortunately, it also means that my computing experience will continue to be a blended approach between Microsoft, Google and Apple, with a few independent choices along the way. Perhaps that is how computing is meant to be, not wedded to any one silo and using what works best for you.

That might be a pretty novel approach. (Did you detect any sarcasm there?)

Either way, I am happy with my iPad Pro 10.5 and my iPhone 7 and yes, I will keep attempting to put more of my “stuff” into the Apple silo.

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 :-).

Simplifying My Running Logs

A few days ago, I wrote a post about Simplifying My Running.

Yeah, something that I seem to attempt to do every few years, but this time when I wrote my post it felt a little different from all those times before. I have a feeling that a lot of it is being driven by the after-math of my brother-in-law’s death and subsequent efforts to deal with the estate stuff.

I learned that life needs to be enjoyed, lived and every once in a while we need to look at how we are doing things in our lives. As a part of this I am looking where I will be going with my running over the next month.

While I am still formulating and letting things percolate on what I want from my running going forward beyond continuing to run. I have some ideas, thoughts and an inkling of a few things, but I am not quite ready to write about them yet. I am kind of doing the Chi Running – Running Assessment exercise, with other variables added in, so we will see where that ends up.

However, when I wrote that post about simplifying my running, I identified a BUNCH of stuff that I can do right now.

First up is how I can streamline, simplify and make the process of logging my running a LOT easier on myself.

Running Logs

How many running logs do I really need?

  • 2+1

is the answer I came up with.

I only need one online place to act as a repository for my GPS data, then I have this blog and my spreadsheet. I suppose that I could really get rid of the spreadsheet and blog and move completely to Garmin or Strava. However, even though I might own my own data, there is no guarantees of it being where I want to be, when I want it. I gotta admit it would be easier in the long run and my blog would get just about the same number of hits daily :-).

Pen and Paper

In the direction I am going, I don’t really want or need a Pen and Paper running log, it is just one more thing to keep up with. I enjoyed the writing things down at first and I really believe that it helped me think about what I was doing and accomplishing by moving to Chi Running.

However, for me it is not something that I want to do long-term, I prefer an electronic running log over a written log. It came down to personal preference and/or getting rid of my blog – I’ll keep my blogging going for a while longer.

Blog

Speaking of the blog, it is my running log narrative and really has been for a while now. Over the past few months I have purposely reduced the amount of data that I include in my RunLog blog posts.

So, unless I do something spectacular or have a race that I want to capture how I did – don’t expect to be overwhelmed with stats about my runs.

My blog is where I get to tell the story of my running (among other things that interest me or do affect my running). That is what I am going to focus more on going forward, the story of my running – the story of an Aging Runnah.

Not that it is going to ever hit the big time, but it will keep me out of trouble and keep my writing skills somewhat reasonable, since I don’t have another outlet for my limited creative side.

Spreadsheet

The one thing that I have maintained consistently since 2011 is my RunLog spreadsheet. All the different blogs, online running logs, databases, paper based running logs that I have started, used and eventually discarded. My RunLog spreadsheet has been there, through multiple focus changes, different spreadsheet styles/software or apps, loosing/gaining data fields and repeat the cycle numerous times over those years.

It has been about the only thing in my running that has been a constant.

Data Capture is what spreadsheets are great at, but I was keeping my RunLog spreadsheet up in Google, Gnumeric and Excel. Now that I am going back to the Apple silo, I have to get reacquainted  with Numbers again. Which I have done by putting together my 2018 RunLog spreadsheet.

After I wrote that Simplifying things post, I got to thinking about all the spreadsheets I have wandering around in different places and realized that if I am going to move to Numbers – just do it. So I did.

At the same time I got rid of a bunch of columns that didn’t really add much to what I want to capture and I am still thinking seriously about getting rid of the description column, since that is what I do in my blog.

Data that is what the spreadsheet should be all about, to help me identify trends with graphs, charts, totals and averages. Plus believe it or not I do enjoy using and playing around with the data in the spreadsheet – it makes for some interesting observations about my running at times.

I’ll keep it.

Online Running Logs

I have an account and have at some point or other tried just about all of them. Over the past year I have cut it down to Garmin and Strava, which has helped a lot. However, do I really need them both? I am not crazy about the Garmin interface (it sucks), but I need it to upload my GPS data, to populate Strava, which in my opinion is a better online running log.

However, I don’t really use either one for much of anything – other than going on Strava and checking like or making a pithy comment to someone I know about their run. So I have deleted my bookmarks to Strava and while I will continue to populate data there I probably won’t do much else there, other than grab an occasional screenshot. After finishing up this post, I will probably go in and delete a bunch of runners off my list of runners that I am following. That way it will have only local runners and a few others – after all I do want to see how some people are doing that I know.

Garmin Connect – I have on my phone to upload to the website and even after going in and attempting to customize the website, it just doesn’t do anything for me. I will have data there and if I need something in particular I will use it. Otherwise, it will just be a repository for GPS data, which I do like having available – just in case someone does have a question about my running..

The reality is that

I like my blog and writing about my running here, it gives me a long form writing format to get thoughts out of my head – as long as I stay in one place long enough for people to find me. I also like the idea of keeping my own spreadsheet, which allows me to add or delete data columns as my interests or needs change, without having to stay within the limitations of someone else’s running log.

The need for Garmin is simply because I am tied to their silo, by having three Garmin GPS watches and really do not need all the other online logs that don’t really add a lot to my running experience or what I want to track in my running. Although I might peek at what a few other runners are doing every once in a while on Strava.

There is not anything I am doing here that is really earth-shattering or anything, but it does streamline the logging my runs process. Which had too many moving parts, too many data entry requirements and was becoming too time consuming and cumbersome.

Now I also have a better idea of what part I want for my blog to play in the process and what I data I want/need to keep in my spreadsheet – which is my official running log.

Now to see how it all works out over the next month or so.

Simplifying My Running – At Age 60

Over the years I have been a sucker for the next greatest thing in running. Running shoes, accessories, clothes, training plans and all the other assorted stuff that runners have thrust at them to supposed improve our running experience. Whether it was in one of the many running magazines that I was reading, a book who’s author knew a LOT more about running than I did or an Internet website that was part of the running community that seemed to be what I was looking for – all to help me “run better”

After all I have always wanted to run better, but unfortunately, it has not happened consistently and to be honest not all that often.

Yeah, I have been like the proverbial butterfly who flitted from training plan, training philosophy, ideology or whatever running bandwagon was popular at the moment. Even though I have lied to myself mightily and attempted to convince myself that it is only a matter of time before I figured things out and that all the stuff I have done is done to learn more about running.

At what point does everything become too much?

Information overload is a real thing.

I think that I have reached that point and am looking at many parts of my running from a different perspective than I ever have.

Let me be blunt.

Looking back with 20/20 hindsight, I can see that I screwed up my running pretty badly – making it into something that can never be for me, chasing the elusive magical running shoes, unicorn training plans along with being ignorant and stubborn about what I did know and more importantly what I didn’t know over the years.

Which actually meant that I have spent a small fortune primarily to set myself up for failure, injury, and unnecessary stress. Especially, for something that is supposed to be a fun recreational activity.

Yeah, I am finally starting to figure out that I need to change things if I want to continue to run for the long-term.

First and foremost, what does my running life look like now?

As this mind map shows, there is a bit of a convoluted mess going on with my running and this was something that I did in about an hour, just think of the mess I could make if I took time to really think about things. As it, there are far too many options in each area and sometimes the information that is now available to us all via the Great and Glorious Oz, err I mean Internet means that I want to try them all.

The problem with that is that what one idea, philosophy or brand brings to the table, another one can be found that is 180 degrees in the other direction. Which leads to far too many What to Fuck am I really supposed to do next questions – that I have not found good answers for.

What can I do to simplify my running

First off, I need to take a good look at that mind map to see what is necessary and what is fluff, duplication and make choices based on what is best for my running, not hype, marketing hoopla or stuff that is simply laying around the house.

Then I have to make some tough choices to cut down on duplication, because looking at the mind map, there are many areas where I duplicate things way too much. Some of the choices may result in my having to accept good enough versus this is neat as hell. I need to look at what the actual benefit to my running is versus my perception of something is – there is a difference.

Finally, I have to actually go ahead and do it. Not just give my choices lip service and then go back to what I have always done.

That will be the toughest part of the whole thing – the doing.

Now to get going and see where it takes me.

Hopefully, a more consistent and less stressed out runner who has more fun with his running – yeah make my running fun again.

At this point in my life, I don’t want or need unnecessary stuff going on, especially in something that I do enjoy doing as much as I do my running.

These changes will not happen overnight – well some of them might, but others I have already begun and will be making changes for a while to get where I need/want/should be with my running at this point in my life.

I guess it is true as we age, we do begin to see things differently.

Does this look like anyone else’s running, what have you done differently or done to simplify your running life. I am looking for ideas and suggestions and no I will not like some of them, but hell they might work a lot better than the ones that I have going on right now that are already not working.

Hunting Season and Running

steve-with-big-buck
My brother with big buck back in the 90’s

Every year, I post something about the start of gun hunting season in Maine. Just as a reminder for runners and others who are out wandering around in the outdoors that they will be sharing many of their favorite haunts with guys and gals that are carrying guns and have as much right to be in the woods as they do.

I usually start from scratch, but I re-read my post from last year and to be honest, it still says I want I want to share with a few updates/edits.

So here goes.

Well the annual big event in rural Maine — Opening Day of Gun Deer Hunting Season happens this weekend. In many areas it is a huge deal, with Hunters Breakfasts, family gatherings, gettin upta huntin camp and all the other hoopla.

I get it, I used to get all excited about it too and was into archery and gun hunting as much as anyone. It was something that I grew up doing and I loved going out into the woods with Dad, even when it was -10*F and walking on stumps (that my feet had become in my old gum rubbers) back to the old Torino station wagon. The memories of hunting seasons past, keep it alive in my mind.

Pretty much, to the rest of my family, hunting is still a big deal and every so often I get the hankering to get ready again to join in and go hunting again, but then it fades. Continue reading

Better – RunLog 10-27-17

Better is a loaded phrase in my world as a runnah. I am, well most of the time a glass half-full kind of guy and try to be positive as often as possible. Today’s run was yet another 2.0 miles and that’s all folks.

IMG_20171027_101749.jpg

The good thing is that I did get to run 2.0 fairly comfortable miles at a decent pace, in the sunshine and the road was in good shape, despite all the rain. Hell I even ran slower on the way back and kept the cadence decent which is something I have been trying to do, it just took coming up Stevens Hill to slow my arse down. Both really good things.

My right foot is pointing in the direction I am walking or running probably 85-90% of the time, which a couple of weeks ago when I first started to crank it in to correct that splay foot that resulted from falling off a ladder injury, I never thought would be possible.

I am also enjoying the challenges of attempting to change my form to more of a Chi Running one. It definitely is challenging and sometimes the focus on what I am attempting to do is overshadowing the simple pleasures I typically look forward to during my runs.

However, I am still seeing the Chi Running as a part of the solution to at least some of the injuries that I seem to collect all too often. I have to take the long-term view and what will be best for me next summer, not just next week or tomorrow.

One of the things that has helped me this time, is reading the Chi Marathon book, which presents Chi Running in a slightly different way than the Chi Running book. It still is Chi Running, but presented the mechanics differently enough that it and some of the YouTube videos makes a lot more sense to me this time than when I first attempted this bak in 2012.

On another good note, I was walking Bennie on his final walk and while going against the wind I put my hand in my pants pocket and pressed it against my quad. When I did, the quad felt well weird – like a hard knot in my leg that hurt…I rubbed my thumb up/down in the area between the Rectus Femoris and Vastus Lateralis and felt something release. It was painful for a couple of seconds and then a feeling of relief.

screenshot-en.wikipedia.org-2017-10-27-19-50-39-642.png
Colorized by Michael Gasperl – Gray’s Anatomy, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=31906481

I was able to press my thumb between the two muscles and it felt as though part of the restriction I had been feeling while attempting to keep my right foot straight had been released. There was a lot less discomfort walking after that. I am not sure what happened, but will see tomorrow if it was anything or not. I am hoping that it was a scar tissue adherence between the two muscles and that it is now gone.

So those are the glass is half-full activities today, actually when I write it down like that this, it does seem like a pretty good day where I did get a lot done.

However, the other side of the coin is that I am still limited to only a couple miles of running, before I know that it is time to stop. Which is pretty frustrating for me, but at least I can say I am running and able to work on changing things a little, while not attempting to run longer distances.

The right leg/hip is starting to feel better, but it still is not where I want it to be to run without any discomfort. Patience is not one of my strong points, especially after four weeks of this stuff – I just wanna run.

Gotta stay positive, otherwise the gremlins will chase me down :-).

Blogging Anniversary – Missed

I missed a very important anniversary in the annals of my blogging career.

Ten years ago on October 21, 2007 –  I published my first ever blog post.

It was really riveting stuff – about two paragraphs and had me wondering what the hell I was going to use or do with this blogging thing.

I just want to talk a bit about how difficult it is to teach in today’s world. How do you decide how to teach with Blogs, Wikki,  OpenSource,  Proprietary,  Google, FaceBook,  YouTubeTeacherTube and everything else that is out there to “help” you teach. All these things that I am just starting to see, but not yet use in the classroom. I am willing to start, but am feeling very overwhelmed.

Technology is not new to me, I have been using computers since the old Vic 20 with a cassette tape as an OS, but I am a bit intimidated about using all these web based applications to “assist” me in my classroom teaching.

If anyone out there can assuage my uncertainty or give me some helpful hints to help me be successful 😉

Thanks
Harold

Lke I said riveting stuff, but that is where I started. There are not too many people out there that read that post that day – well maybe Craig Suttie, but he is about the only one.

Actually that was a pretty significant milestone for me – who would have thought that I would keep writing posts for the next 10 years.

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One Foot In Reality – My most successful blog.

My career as a blogger had very humble beginnings, to getting heavily involved in the Edublogging world (Education), then after I left teaching searching for a new focus for the blog I tried a few thing, but eventually settled into the space where I am primarily still writing – the RunBlogging world.

Hard to believe, but I have been writing about my running since 2011 – a long time to write about something that I am not really all that good at – so I guess the joke is on me. 🙂 Continue reading

Why Chi Running?

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Chi Running by Danny Dreyer

This post was one of those that was hard to write, because it forced me to really look at why I have decided to use Chi Running practice to help me run more efficiently.

After all making a commitment to use one program over all the others that are out there is a pretty big deal.

This is the second time that I have decided to use Chi Running, the first time I was not ready to actually give it a realistic chance to succeed and moved on after little more than a month of using it.

Fortunately for me and often unfortunately for my body, the biggest issue that I have, is that I have gotten older over the last five years. I am learning the hard way that my now older body is no longer forgiving of a running form that has multiple issues with its running mechanics.

So in my infinite wisdom, I have decided it is time to fix some as many of those issues with my running mechanics that I can. I going to do this despite recent studies that seem to indicate that runners screwing around with their running form may not have as much success as the programs and their proponents would have us think.

Too Many Options

However, attempting to wade through the myriad of coaches, methods, studies, books, magazines, blogs, websites or programs out there that claim they can improve your running is daunting to say the least.

Once you get beyond all the business models (they are all in the business of selling their version of “proper” running form), marketing hype, vocabulary differences, philosophies, etc., and get down to what all these different businesses are basing their running improvement programs on:

  • improved running posture (run tall, how to hold your arms, running with all parts of the body going in the same direction, etc.)
  • use your core
  • a lean
  • a shorter stride where you land under your hips
  • increased stride rate/cadence
  • increase speed or mileage slowly
  • use a variety of training runs to achieve your goals

The biggest differences seem to be in the process each of these businesses use to take you from your present flawed running form to their “new and improved” running form.

There are many runners and “experts” out there who don’t believe that changing your running form programs work and that the biggest solution to running better was simply to…

“run more”

then you will be a better runner.

Personally, I would love to simply “run more” and my body would probably eventually find its most efficient running form – if I was able to run consistently.

Unfortunately, my problem is that I haven’t been able to run consistently. The most common result of my running more – is to run, get injured, rehab/let things heal and then repeat the cycle, especially over the last five years.

That is the reason I need something that will provide me with more structure and focus on finding that most efficient for me running form versus the hodge-podge mess that I have used and has not worked for me.

Why Chi Running?

From what I have seen all the different methods have their pros/cons and it is up to the consumer (runner/me) to decide which method best meets my present needs and goals.

My reasons for choosing Chi Running are:

  1. Familiarity – I started the program before and have a working knowledge of what is going on.
  2. Philosophy – I like the Eastern philosophy behind Chi Running and while some scoff at the woo factor that it brings to the table, it feels right to me.
  3. Competitiveness – I am finally accepting that I ain’t all that good of a runner, even when I am not injured. At this point in my life, my best running is far behind me, but I still harbor fantasies of racing well – at least in my age group. If I can run consistently, the speed I have left will be there.
  4. Long-Term View – When I was researching which program would be better for me, Danny Dreyer was speaking in an interview I watched and this quote stuck in my head. I may not have captured it perfectly, but this is my interpretation of what he said and it really hit home for me.

    A performance based mindset can’t be sustained indefinitely, sometimes have to let it go and allow things be how they are, which is not always how you think  they are or want them to be.

  5. Journey – As I have gotten older, I have finally begun to realize that sometimes the journey is as important and sometimes more important than reaching the goal itself. What happens along the way often changes who we are and how we do things.

Once I got beyond the marketing hype and into the substance of Chi Running, I found the philosophy and methods best matched the direction I want to go. Running is a part of who I am and is more to me than a physical activity that I do.

I have found that you have to put in the time and effort to improve our running beyond where you are now and it will not happen overnight. There will be failures, head scratching, backsliding, in addition to successes. Any improvements I make in running efficiency will need to be earned and become a part of the runner I am and will be.

A question that Danny Dreyer asked in one of his videos and resonated with me:

What can you learn from your running besides putting your shoes on and going fast?

I think that is the right question for me and one that I want to answer.

The reality is that

I have to believe at age 60 there is a program or system that will help me improve my running mechanics to the point where I can carrying my fat arse down the road, trail or track in the most efficient way possible for many more years.

There are many out there who are making a business out of improving a runner’s form, who are willing to help you achieve their version “perfect” running form – for a price. Chi Running is the form improvement business that appears to be the best fit for me.

However, no program/method/practice will make my running effortless, that it is marketing hype, which is shared by most of the other businesses, I looked at. I chose Chi Running for reasons far beyond the hype and all those great testimonials of how great it is. Although if they didn’t have them you would wonder where they were.

Running is a lot of repetitive work, where you have to get your arse moving and actually do the work to see any improvement or even to simply maintain what you have earned before.

Will I follow Chi Running implicitly without question or change – nope.

I am me and that means that I am not the same as anyone else. There will be times along my journey to that more efficient form that I am searching for, where I will find something else works a bit better for me than what is presented in Chi Running. I will add it to my practice, while incorporating whatever it is into my interpretation of the philosophy or principles of Chi Running.

Through my research I know that Chi Running is not for everyone, but it does seem like a good fit for the kind of runner that I want to be moving forward.

Who knows maybe I will even find some answers to Danny’s question.

What can I learn from my running besides putting my shoes on and going fast?

 

Progress – RunLog 10/17/17

Hey, I ran two pretty much pain-free miles today – that is PROGRESS, which makes me happy.

The run itself was not anything special other than I did run and finished.

My run was all about focusing on keeping all the body parts moving in one direction – forward. Which for me is not all that easy.

Unfortunately, when I look at how I run there are a lot of form issues that undermine my running efficiency. I have a lot more in common with the letter “V”, than I do an “elite” runner’s form.

  • I typically have a heel first landing with an inverted “V” look, with my right foot/leg having a twist in it
  • Both feet splay out at almost a 45* angle – quack, quack, when I look back at my footprints they do pretty much resemble that “V” than a straight line.
  • Arms consistently cross over center and shoulders are not steady, but swing around as well.
  • Plus I recently remembered that I have a right leg that is a bit shorter than the left and I am probably badly out of alignment right now.

Probably some many of the reasons I am not an elite runner, well other than a small thing called the lack of talent and being a total head case.

These photos are screen grabs from 2015, but my form is about the same now as it was back then and my “GREAT” form probably has more than a little to do with some of the injuries and niggles that I seem to have as I get older and don’t have as much margin for error as I used to.

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When you add it all together, it is a very distinctive running style that other local runners seem to recognize pretty quickly as that old fart Harold running. 🙂

So I am not an efficient running machine by any stretch of the imagination and this is after purposely attempting to change my form from 2012 through 2014. Not really what you would expect from all that work is it?

Oh well, after looking at how poor my form really is and having what will probably be my worst month of running since June 2013, is the reason why I really think that working on my form aka working on running efficiently, will help me reduce the number of days lost to injuries or the excessive number of niggles that I seem to accumulate as I get older.

At least that is what I hope it does.

Thus the primary reasons for my choosing to move to Chi Running and its focus on form and gradually improving as you incorporate the ideas/lessons from that program’s format and philosophy.

We will see, but I am seeing some subtle changes as I focus on some of the things that I have I have been reading again in Chi Running.

Time will tell.