Unity College 5K Recap – 4-21-18

Hey, I raced 🙂

The short version. I finished in the window that I expected (22:00 to 24:00), the Brooks Green Silence running shoes did fantastic, nothing broke and I got to talk running with a bunch of other runners. I even wore my Central Maine Striders’ colors and might have squeezed in an age group thingy-ma-jingy.

So yeah, I went, had fun and did alright.

Now for the nitty gritty of the recap.

Continue reading

First Run Brooks Green Silence – RunLog 4-20-18

Yes, you are reading the title correctly, I ran in a new to me pair of Brooks Green Silence running shoes this afternoon. It is weird to be writing about a pair of running shoes that the model was discontinued back in 2013 and this evening thinking about how great they felt during that first run.

I had a pair of Green Silence before, but they were a size 9.0 and were too big, so the other night I was wandering around eBay and suddenly came across an auction that was ending in 33 seconds for the style/color Green Silence that I really wanted and in a size 8.0. Yeah, I had about 30 seconds to make up my mind to buy them or not, the price was under $20 with shipping. I processed all this looked at the sole photo, to make sure they were not completely worn out and with 5 seconds left hit the button to bid on them.

Surprisingly, I won!

I really didn’t know whether to be happy or not, I really didn’t need them, I had a good running shoe rotation before I made the bid (Skechers and Newtons), but at that price, okay what was there to loose.

I got them in today and took them to Waterville to check them out.

Brooks Green Silence on a scale

That was a mistake, they are damned comfortable, quiet, light and let me run my way in them. The Green Silence impressed me enough that I decided to wear them to my 5K race tomorrow.

Yeah they were that good.

It was 48*F with a 10 mph out of the NW, with intermittent showers, so it wasn’t exactly great running weather outside, but it was still shorts weather. I started out slowly to get used to the shoes and by the time I got off JFK, I was ratcheting things back.

Then I got to run against the wind for a bit, then I got to run downhill for a while (which is why I chose this course) and found out that the GS have just enough cushion to be comfortable for running down long downhill sections.

I had to purposely keep throttling back on the pace, since I knew that I would be running in a race tomorrow. Going back up the long hill from Cool Street to First Rangeway there was a lot of sand/salt left over on the side of the road and I didn’t have any issues with grip on that mixture or the slightly wet roads.

The Green Silence were comfortable at a quicker pace and also at the slower paces.

Once I got past the little hill on First Rangeway, I did pick up the pace a little, but I didn’t push beyond a comfortably hard effort, plus I had a certain feeling that seems to come on me around 3.0 miles on many of my runs lately. I made it back to Planet Fitness, but didn’t waste a lot of time getting to the locker room.

So I am rather excited about running in the Green Silence tomorrow.

I am not looking at breaking any PR’s or World Records tomorrow and figure that I will run somewhere between 22:00 and 24:00 if everything works out decently. I really do not know where I am with my race conditioning, I haven’t really raced a 5K since 2016. The race tomorrow is more of me finding out my baseline and where I need to improve – I know up front that I need to work on more speedwork and consistently getting in my long runs.

Plus being 20 years younger would probably help a little too, but that ain’t gonna happen hehehehe 🙂

Surpringly, I am looking forward to going down there and seeing a lot of people I haven’t seen since 2016. 2017 just wasn’t a good year for racing – between injuries and New Hampshire I didn’t put a lot of effort into it. This year I would like to improve things a little and race a bit more often, especially now that the weather is improving.

Let’s find out the Green Silence do at a faster for me pace. 🙂

Gotta Love the Weather – NOT!!! – RunLog 4-16-18

Well…I can’t say that the weather the Boston Marathon really motivated me to want to run a marathon this year, but the runners sure did. This wasn’t the year to go for anything other than place or finish and hang onto your hat. Speaking of my hat, I am taking it off out of respect for all of those brave runners who started and then finished the Boston Marathon today – you had it tough and you done good.

Congratulations to Desi Linden, she ran a great race in damn tough conditions and Shalane Flanagan finished 6th despite having some issues.

If you do read through to the end, I have a question for you.

The weather conditions up heah were not all that great, down-back was nasty, but the tar roads were mostly clear, it was just raw as hell, some showers, with a bit of icing going on in places since it was still in the low 30’s.

Since I wasn’t doing Boston, I had the choice of shorts/t-shirt and being pretty comfortable or getting outside to be cold, wet or miserable.

Me…well I wimped out to do a steady 6.0 miles on the treadmill at Planet Fitness. I forced myself to keep the speed right at 6.8 mph and although I really, really wanted to speed up, I kept it right there the entire 6.0 miles. Although, I did have that 3.0 mile pit stop.

After I got done, I asked about their promotion for free use of the hydro-massage, I had wondered about it when I saw it at the Waterville location, but it is one of those “Black” card perks, so I had never used it. Color me pretty impressed, I got to go on it for 10 minutes and you know something, it is one of those things that could convince me to upgrade my membership.

No it is not like a true massage, but it does help and for basically the cost of one massage a year, I could get to use that machine daily. So I have something to think about and need to talk with Mary about it. Also the idea that I could go to Augusta every so often as a black card member is appealing as well, kind of the best of both worlds.

So I got in a nice treadmill run, watched some of the Boston marathon and tried out the hydro massage – so actually it was a pretty good day, even though the weather really sucks and scrapping windows on Clifford this morning was a chore with a quarter inch of ice on the windows.

So am I tempted to train for a marathon this year? Watching all those runners finish Boston is really making me think seriously about getting on the bandwagon and seeing if the old body can hold up to training for one in the fall. Which gives me until June to see how things hold up, before I have to make a decision.

So I am not going to go ahead and spend my money on entry fees and all that quite yet, but barring injury or suddenly getting smarter, I have a feeling that I will finish a marathon this Fall.

We will see. 🙂

Now to decide which one. Something fairly flat, Sept/Oct in New England. I sort of have my eye on the Maine Marathon, but am I am not looking at any of the big ones, I don’t like lots of people, so a smaller more low-key/local marathon would be my choice.

26.2 miles is still 26.2 miles.

Any ideas or suggestions?

Sometimes I Am Stoopid – RunLog 4-15-18

Well the title pretty much says all it needs to say. No, I am not injured, not I am not in trouble, but yes, I am stoopid.

Yaddy yaddy, yah about the weather, everyone is getting crap for weather and tomorrow’s Boston Marathon ain’t gonna be a lot of fun most of the folks out there running. Today was not all that great for April 15th, so I went for another treadmill run, just because I am getting wimpy.

By the time I got on the hampster wheel, I really just wanted it over with. Yesterday was a faster 5.0 miles and I figured that yesterday’s workout would probably affect anything faster that I would do today

That is when I got a case of the stoopids.

Initially I had thought about doing 5x1K at race pace, but with yesterday’s run and not feeling like doing 6-7 more miles today, I decided on doing a full 5K time trial, not all out race pace, but closer than I have done this year. Also that way I would just get the workout over with as quickly as possible.

Like I said I just was not into doing the treadmill today.

I started out at 8.1 mph and held it there through 1.5miles. That first mile was tough, I am not used to running that fast of a pace for a longer distance, then I got to feeling better and kept up with the belt. Continue reading

16 Years – Hard to Believe

This was going to be written yesterday, but the day got busy and on our 16th Wedding Anniversary, I wanted to focus more on being with Mary than my iPad Pro :-).

Yeah can you believe it, we have been married 16 years! It doesn’t seem possible, but the years we have been together have flown by. They have been good years for the most part and I believe that we are friends first and foremost which I think is the true basis for any long lasting relationship.

I do know that I love Mary more today than I did on that day 16 years ago, when I said I do at Moody Chapel – Good Will Hinckley.

Okay enough of gooey hooey stuff ;-).

I did go into Waterville for a run, a quick 4.0 miler around our old course that Mary and I used to run together.

I ran in my Newton Gravity 3’s and they did better than they have in a while, I think that I want to wear them primarily as a change of pace running shoe 1-2 times a week. I run well in them, but at about the 5.0 mile mark they begin to bother the bottoms of my feet, so running longer in them doesn’t work so well for me.

Overall, a nice run and I talked to the Manager of the Waterville Planet Fitness to see if he could put a foam roller in the stretching area, since Augusta had one. He said he would check with his regional manager, but as soon as he said that, I kind of figured he was not interested in getting one. Oh well, I can bring my mini with me and use it there and bring it home.

There was also an ulterior motive for going in, I wanted to get roses for her. We had agreed to not get presents or stuff for one another, but…well I don’t get them for her very often anymore and I wanted to do something more than just go out for supper.

So I got 18 roses, 18 covers the 18 years we have been together and the 16th anniversary we celebrated on the 13th.

We did go out to Slate’s restaurant in Hallowell. What a mess the road construction is going to be!!! It is going to kill more than a few businesses downtown. It takes away from the charm and ease of movement down there. I know I won’t go down there too often with that kind of mess going on.

The dinner itself was nice, although they did mess up our reservation and did not reserve the table that we had requested. Other than that Danielle was our waitress and she has been there since we started going to Slates back in 2001, so it was nice to be recognized, even if we all are a bit older.

It was a great meal and desert was as usual too good that Lemon Cheesecake went down way to easy for me and I didn’t see too many crumbs on Mary’s plate with the Peanut Butter Swirl Pie.

All in All a pretty damn good day and here is to the 16 years of being married to Mary.

While Mary might not really like this photo, I do, it shows her mischievous side too.

First Run Skechers GoRun Forza 3 – RunLog 4-11-18

Hey, a new 2018 course record on my test course by 15 seconds, despite not really going all that hard. I started out fairly slowly and then picked up a bit as I went down Philbrick Hill. When I got to the flats I did pick it up just to see how things felt.

Oh yeah, it was also my first run in the Skechers GoRun Forza 3’s.

Let’s start from the beginning. Continue reading

A Tough, but Good Day – 4-5-18

Yeah, today was a tough, but good day.

We went to a wake this afternoon and while it was for a close relative, unfortunately it was not for someone we knew very well. There were many reasons for this, but we believed that us going to the wake was the right thing to do.

Wakes are never easy, especially when they are a pretty close member of the family. While we had rebuilt some bridges last summer, there was still a sense of complexity and awkwardness about life’s moments more than 60 years ago, that got in the way of knowing the person who died better.

Sometimes it is just the way things are and it is sad, but it is the way life turns out. However, I have learned over the years, that thinking about what might have been does not work or serve any useful purpose.

You need to keep moving forward and continue to do the best you can with the curveballs that life throws your way. Sometimes things work out and other times life just passes us by.

Rest In Peace – Peter.

Although we did have the chance to meet another close relative, who is someone that we would like to know a little better and perhaps learn a little more of the family history from a different perspective.

Time will tell.

I guess after writing that, writing more about something as trivial as running, seems rather gauche.

So I will just say that I had a good run on the treadmill and leave it at that.

Have a great evening everyone and if you have family that you really don’t know that well, don’t wait until their wake to go see them – it is too late then. Do it now, while they are still alive, you might be surprised at who they are and what you do have in common.

Probably more than you think.

Sometimes you just have to take a chance, put yourself out there and see what happens.

Moving to Apple – Six Months Later

I moved back to Apple’s tech silo, err ecosystem or whatever to hell you want to call it last October and wanted to reflect on the process or should I say my progress a little.

When I decided to move to the world of Apple it was using my:

• iPad Pro 10.5 • iPhone 7 • The wife’s PC – albeit grudgingly • Garmin 230 GPS watch – just to screw with things

This setup relies on IOS as my primary operating system and in some instances IOS is not quite there when it comes to being the daily driver OS. Unfortunately there were and still are a couple of compromises that I have to make to use my iPad Pro as my primary computer.

Which is not ideal, but it has not stopped me. 😉

Even so, I am comfortable with the direction that I am heading with my move to the Apple tech silo.

So Why Apple?

I have lived with a fragmented computing lifestyle for many years both personally and professionally.

To be honest the fragmentation and all the different tech silos, products and biases makes using technology/computers/Internet more difficult, while at the same more interesting and yes, diverse. There is some sort of solution out there for just about anything, even the things that we don’t think or know about sometimes.

Over the past few years, like many people I have used a mixture of Google, Apple, Android, Chrome, Microsoft, Linux based devices — along with a vitual mishmash of various (productivity, entertainment, work related, games, etc.) apps, software and all the different social media sites. Oh yeah, I can’t forget about the many cloud based services and solutions that have sprung up.

Needless to say they often do not play well together.

Really what I ended up with is a fragmented shitshow that confuses, frustrates and makes you at times to want to throw things against a wall – usually not good for the device that hits the wall.

After retiring in June 2017, by October I had enough of the shitshow, frustration factors of competing technologies, hardware, apps, software, OS, philosophies and decided to move to one tech silo. The time was right since I was no longer tied to any one silo, hardware or software and had the opportunity to chose one that I wanted to use – not something that someone else choose for me.

Looking back, I had had good experiences with Apple’s products, when I was teaching and while they do collect mountains of data from their customers, they have not as yet monetized that data collection. The idea or at least the perception that I am still the customer, not the product, to me is still a big deal.

When you look at Apple’s hardware, the apps/software and the level of integration that their products are moving towards (they are not there yet), it made a lot of sense for me and how I see things in the technology world, to move to the Apple tech silo.

My Experience

Honestly, moving back to the World of Apple, with the devices I chose to make this journey on, was the path less travelled. It has not been without more than a few bumps, a steeper than anticipated learning curve, some straight-up swearing at my devices and/or Apple, a few creative work-arounds and finally leaving some things to worry about for later.

My biggest issues were IOS’s limitations and overcoming Apple’s history of keeping the iPad as a complementary device and not someone’s primary computer.

The other part I gotta admit that I sort of enjoyed, even if it was frustrating at times. The part where I experimented with different settings, trying too many apps, workflows and weaning myself off Google/Microsoft/Linux ways of doing things.

Over the past six month I have found that often less is more and often “good enough” is good enough, when it comes to keeping things simple and as stress free as possible. Since that is the main purpose of this change — to keep life and technology as simple/efficient as possible.

Keep working on the K.I.S.S. Principle – it works.

The best part is that I am continuing to learn new things all the time about my devices, IOS and the apps I am using. Which means I do foresee a few tweaks here or there as I get more sophisticated, with my knowledge of Apple’s realm.

What are some of the particulars that stick out in my mind about switching over.

Hardware

I love my iPad Pro 10.5, iPhone 7 and how they complement one another.

However, if my iPad Pro did not have a keyboard and I would be looking at some sort of a Mac to take its place.

I ended up with the Zagg Bluetooth keyboard because it provided the best combination of protection and versatility for my iPad, a keyboard that I liked, plus it was on sale at the time.

iPad Pro 10.5

Part of my problem is that I think that until recently Apple tended to look at the iPad as a “nice to have” device. The iPads were not initially designed to be your primary computer – it was more a peripheral device, like a smart phone that was there to complement to your main computer.

Although this perspective seems to be changing with the iPad Pro models, there are still too many instances where the “official” way to do things is to plug your iPad into a “real” computer – which is a pain in the arse when it occurs and should not be the “answer”.

Even with all that I would not trade my iPad Pro 10.5 straight-up for a similarly spec’d MacBook, MacBook Air or some other OS laptop computer.

Yeah, I like it that much.

iPhone 7

Simply the best phone I have used.

IOS

It is nice to not have to think in terms of multiple operating systems and figuring out how to get my primary devices to work well together, where the commands are hidden that I want/need to change and then worrying about the update cycles, who does them, how they will effect compatibility moving forward. All that kind of stuff I worried about when attempting to get different operating systems to play nice together.

I don’t worry about that stuff anymore – two devices, one operating system, things just blend together nicely so far and with each update that Apple does, the iPad is becoming more of an “independent” computer and less a peripheral device.

Productivity

Apple’s apps do most everything that I want to do and/or I can find an app that will in the App Store. However, Apple’s apps/software do things from a slightly different perspective than Microsoft’s or Google’s similar apps/software do, so there was a learning curve.

As I use iWork and Apple’s other apps more, the less I like the other ones. I find Apple’s offering most intuitive for me, but not always as powerful or feature heavy – more minimalist, but more than good enough to get what I want done.

Browser

I like the Safari browser in IOS on the iPad, but don’t do much browsing on the iPhone – unless I have to. I prefer to browse the Internet on a larger screen. Unfortunately there are too many sites that do not render correctly in Safari i.e. Garmin Connect among others for it to be my only browser.

So I do need to have another browser to see those sites correctly – I am using Chrome for now, since I am still in Google Drive for my photos and have used it for several years. Although I am thinking about moving to the new Firefox and seeing if that works out okay.

In IOS I do not live in my browser like I did with Google or even with Windows, at first that was a bit of a jolt, but now I have gotten more used to it and actually like it better.

Email

After many years of bouncing between multiple work emails, personal Gmail, Yahoo and Hotmail/Outlook or back in the day AOL, I have finally taken the leap to move my primary personal mail account to .icloud.com.

Eventually, I plan to retire all but the iCloud accounts – it will take some time, but I think it will be better for me in the long run.

I really did not realize how much email I actually receive at my legacy mail addresses. I am finally figuring out where some of the “junk mail” is coming from, now that it doesn’t automatically go to the junk mail folder since I separated the old email accounts in Apple Mail.

As a part of this change I have also setup an alias .icloud.com account for subscriptions or websites that require a email address that I do not want to use my personal email address. Which acts as a filter that helps me identify people/important stuff versus “stuff”.

Over the past few weeks, I have unsubscribed from literally 100’s of lists, promotional crap and old sites that I signed up for and haven’t been back to for years.

Like I said it will take time.

Music

I recently subscribed to Apple Music and am liking/using it a LOT more than I thought that I would. I was getting tired of Pandora, never really liked Amazon Music or Google Music and disliked iTunes even back when I had to use it when I had a Mac and an iPhone.

It was also a pain in the arse getting my personal music collection into my Apple account (and it still is not all there) and finally I had to use iTunes on my wife’s PC to get most of it on my iPad Pro.

This is the biggest reason why I went with the Apple Music subscription – I just didn’t want to deal with iTunes.

I had not planned on getting Apple Music, but now that I have done it – well I am happy with how it is working for me. The bad part is that the subscription price is higher than what I can really justify based on how I see me actually using it.

We will see on this one.

However, I am finding old songs that I haven’t heard in years – Sugar, Sugar by the Archies brought back more than a few smiles and thoughts of years gone by.

Photos

This is probably the biggest area of frustration that I have had with moving to the Apple ecosystem – the difficulty…well near impossibility without owning a Mac.

I simply am looking for a simple solution to get my scanned family photos from Google Drive/Photos to iCloud and on my iPad. My iPad Pro has plenty of space for all my photos, but getting them on it has not happened yet.

After way too much time attempting to figure this one out, the best advice I got was to download each one individually and put it in my library that way. Nope, not with almost 40 gb of photos that I want to move to the iPad.

It ended up being easier to keep much of that “legacy photos” in Google Drive as my archive and to start mostly fresh with Apple Photos.

The bad part was that it took me almost a month of wasted effort to come to this realization. That was frustrating as hell.

Files

I still have to work on learning the new file management system in IOS and how it relates to iCloud, other cloud services and how I can use it. When I do that some of the issues I have with moving stuff to my iPad should be taken care of.

It might even be as simple as getting the “camera dongle” at some point or an Apple lightning thumb drive.

The reality is that

Moving back to the Apple ecosystem has been a good, but bumpy experience at times that is taking me in the direction that I want to go.

One tech silo for my computing and online needs.

My iPad Pro is my daily driver for 95% of everything that I do on a computer and my iPhone 7 is a great companion device. Once in a while I still find that I have to use my wife’s PC to do something, but that seems to becoming more rare as IOS becomes more mature.

Looking at the way things are right now, if someone offered me a similarly specced Windows, Chrome, Linux based laptop computer or even a Mac, I would be hard-pressed to take them up on their offer.

I like the way my iPad Pro 10.5 and iPhone 7 complement one another and how this combo meets most of my now fairly basic computing needs very nicely.

However, it does mean that I know that I will have to update my devices within 3-4 years, in order to keep current in Apple’s ecosystem, as they will at that time have limited support for my “old” devices.

As long as I continue to be their consumer and not their product, I have a feeling that I will deal with the higher prices in exchange for that little extra slice of privacy that I imagine that I have inside Apple’s tech silo.

However, as I have said for almost 20 years, if you or your computer can connect to the Internet, you really do not have any privacy, it is more how the big corporations that already have, will continue to have our data and how they use it.

Who knows maybe Apple will stay to the high road.

Now if only Neverwinter Nights or Neverwinter Nights 2 were on IOS, I would be very happy :-).