November – Looking Back

This was my first full month with A Veteran Runnah a self-hosted blog, I have tried to keep the changes minimal, but did change the Theme to a lighter more readable one. I am planning to add a tasteful ad or two and links to sites that I am writing at or connected with.

I will make the changes very conservatively and it will only be for products or services that I truly believe in. I am still not really enthusiastic about have the responsibility for the back-end management, but will have to deal with it. It does give me more flexibility, but – let’s just say the jury is still out on how much more I will like it.

I bought a Samsung Series 5 550 Chromebook Computer right before Thanksgiving and since it is my connection to the online running communities and this blog, it is an important piece of running equipment to me and there are many runners who depend on their computers for the same thing, so I have been writing about my experiences with the Chromebook so far.

However, I don’t want to bore runners too much with my geekiness, so I have decided to track how it is going with this transition to a completely different style of computer on my other blog “One Foot In Reality”. You can go there if you are interested in how the Chromebook is going.

I also got a gym membership at the local Planet Fitness in Augusta, the price was right and they have treadmills that I don’t have to worry about a time limit on. Also I will be doing a lot more stretching and weight lifting. They even have a foam roller that I can torture myself on.

This month I have made several decisions on equipment and websites that I plan to use as my primary tools to help me attain my 2013 goals. During 2012 I experimented a LOT to find out what really works well for me.

Oh by the way it is starting to get cold up heah in Maine ;-).

Running In November Summary 2012

  • November Total Miles Run: 133.5
  • Days Run: 26
  • Days Off: 4
  • Longest Run: 10.03 – 11/24/12 Pond Road 10 Miler
  • Fastest Run: 7:21 – 11/29/12  5.0 Mile Treadmill
  • Best Week: 37.15 – week ending 11/25/12

Most notable run: 11/15/12 Treadmill Interval Run – My first indoor interval run in a long time and it was fast.

Shoes Run In

  • Mizuno Elixir 7 – Media Sample through the Mezamashii Project. 171.12 Miles. I have been running a lot in these shoes since I received them. They continue to impress me and I have a feeling that when they do wear-out they will be my next pair of running shoes. Ran PR in Half Marathon in these shoes. Mizuno Wave Elixir 7–50 Mile Review.
  • Mizuno Ronin 5 – Personal Purchase.  37.78 miles. They are fast shoes! I have decided to use them for my treadmill workouts and other speed work or racing. They do feel snug in the forefoot when I am just wearing them, but when I run in them, they feel fine. I have run a this year PR of 21:23 for a 5K in them outside and a 20:26 treadmill 5K. They feel fast and don’t cause any hotspots.
  • Adidas Vigor – I have worn these as my trail running shoes and found that if I run over 5-6 miles in them, the balls of my feet get blisters under the callous pad. So I don’t run all that far in them and will probably be looking at picking up a pair of Mizuno Ascend’s or Krabakan’s to be my trail shoe.
I have decided to go all in with Mizuno running shoes, they allow me to run well and don’t bother my hamstrings. I have really  liked some of the other shoes I have tried this year, but it is time to make a decision on the brands and models that I will be using for the majority of my running over the next year. As much as I love to experiment and try new running shoes and different brands, it is time stay with what is working well for me and that seems to the Mizuno’s.

Racing

  • No races in November

My scheduled races in December: None planned, but I might try to find a 5K and see if I can break the 20:00 minute barrier either outdoors and if not on the treadmill.

Weight

I ended October at 144 and this morning the scale read 146. I got up to 149 after Thanksgiving, but have stayed close to the 145 mark.

At least 50 pounds lost since June 2011

Injuries

I have been running and letting my hamstrings, pereformis and right hip that have bothered me since August. After my Runner’s World half-marathon, my hamstrings crossed over from discomfort to pain, so I took 8 days off at the end of October and beginning of November, which helped a lot. They are doing a lot better, than ever.

Run Blogging

Top Ten Blog Posts for September – based on page views

  1. Tommie Copper Sleeve Review – First Impressions
  2. Do I Run Too Much?
  3. Nike Free 4.0 v2 – After 50 Miles
  4. Runners It is Hunting Season – Be Seen
  5. Newton Gravity–After 50 Miles
  6. Tommie Copper – Is Working
  7. Buying a Chromebook Computer – Part 1
  8. Running Shoes I Ran in – 2012
  9. My Transition Plan to Minimalist Running Shoes
  10. iSmoothRun Running App Review

My personal favorite post this month was: Do I Run Too Much?

Reviews

One of the things that I really like to do is to review new gear. Whether I buy something myself or provided a product to review, I enjoy trying it out and seeing if it works as advertised or not. But more importantly – whether I like it or not and why. Blogging about running related products makes me think differently about what I am using – which is a good thing.

I have done the following product reviews this month:

  • Initial Observations Samsung 550 Chromebook
  • Buying a Chromebook Computer – Part 1 – Personal Purchase
  • Running Shoes I Ran in – 2012 – Combination of Personal Purchase or Media Sample
  • iSmoothRun Running App Review – Personal Purchase
I moved to a Chromebook computer as my primary laptop and thought that runners would be interested in a tool that I use to track my runs and manipulate the data from my runs to help me improve.

FTC Disclaimer – Unless indicated by {Personal Purchase} I was provided products from these companies free of charge, to review them on my blog. I received no monetary or other forms of compensation to do the review. My opinions about each product are my honest observations, based upon my experience while using the product.

Running Goals

Good progress, while I worked hard at my running, I didn’t allow it to become work. I still look forward to my runs and don’t get too wound up about them if they are not what I am looking for that day :-).

This year my big goals are:

  1. Run 1,200 miles – I have 1,705.0 miles for the year – I met this goal pretty easily and am going to try for 2000 before the end of the year. I will probably end the year over 1,800 miles.
  2. Run a sub 20:00 5K  – No changes here – This will be very tough to do, I did run a 21:23, and had a 20:26 on the treadmill, but this one will be a real tough nut to crack before the end of the year.
  3. Get through 2012 without any significant down time or injuries (running related or others). I am listening to my body really well, this year and have taken time off when I felt that I needed it.
  4. My unadvertised goals from the start of the year are to be able to finish a half-marathon. I ran the Runner’s World Half Marathon in 1:41:10 :-). Very Happy with the results.
  5. Run a few trail races when the weather gets better – I did 4 of the Bond Brook Recreation Area 5k Trail Race series.

My long-term goal is to run the 2013 Marine Corps Marathon. I finished the 1983 MCM Marathon and to run/finish Marine Corps again 30 years later would be very cool. This is one of the major goals that I have in mind for my running and it would be even more fantastic if I could qualify for Boston that same day. Therefore, I am doing a 2 year work-up to the Marathon distance, just to see if my knee will hold up.

The reality is that

November was another busy and a great month for me.

Changing A Veteran Runnah to a self-hosted blog will allow me more freedom in my writing or if I decide to do other things with it that I couldn’t on WordPress.com, but I am still not sure how much I like having the responsibility of taking care of the back-end management.

When I purchased the Samsung Chromebook, I had a learning curve to go through, to figure out how to use this computer with the way that I work. It hasn’t always been easy and not without scratching my head a few times or throwing up my arms and walking away. After a week, I have a really good idea of how I will be using the Chromebook and staying within its limitations and using its strengths.

I have made the decision to go with and Mizuno Running shoes as my primary running shoes after buying a pair and participating in Mizuno’s Mezamashii Project and receiving the Elixir 7’s as a free media sample. The shoes have impressed me and allow me to run comfortably and a faster than I have recently.

While at Runner’s World Half Festival, I was given the opportunity to try a pair of Swiftwick socks for free and was given a free media sample pack of their socks to give them a real test. I will be blogging on more about this next week, but Swiftwick socks have impressed me very and fit me the way I want to wear my socks – put them on and forget about them and I have so far with these socks.

What you have on your feet is so important to good running and I am glad that I have found in the words of Pete Larson – “Use what works” and these products have worked for me quite well.

I am going to start using the Garmin Website as my primary online running web portal for my running data, the ability to edit data is a big deal now that I am running on treadmill and my GPS apps are not nearly as accurate reporting the actual mileage I am doing.

No Internet – How Did My Chromebook Do?

Google Docs Offline

I had to drive and pick up my Step-daughter from the airport in Portland this morning.

Once I got there I had about a 45 minute wait, so I got the Chromebook out to see what I could do without the Internet.

I started from power-off, the Chromebook turned-on and logged-in without any issues.

Below is a table of the offline apps I attempted to access and their offline equivalent on a Windows or Mac computer that I would typically use.

So what could I access:

Application Chromebook Today Windows Mac
Browser Chrome Chrome
Internet Explorer
Chrome
Safari
Todo/Task Management Todoist
no offline connection
Todoist
Outlook
Todoist
Reminder
Word Processor Google Docs Word Pages
Spreadsheet None – gDrive soon Excel Numbers
Slide Show None – gDrive soon Powerpoint Keynote
MindMapping Mindmaps Various MindNodeLite
Blogwriter Google Docs
Word Press
Live Writer
Word Press
MarsEdit
WordPress
Calendar Google Calendar Google Calendar in Outlook Google Calendar in Calendar
Email gMail-offline version Zimbra/Live Mail/Outlook connected to gMail Mail
connected to gMail
Sync Google Drive Google Drive
SkyDrive
Google Drive
iCloud
eBook Kindle Kindle/Nook Kindle/iBook
Screenshot system system system
Focused Writing Write Space Didn’t Use Text Wrangler
PDF Google Docs Nitro/Adobe Preview
Twitter Client HootSuite
couldn’t access
Janetter
can’t access
Janetter
can’t access
Photo Management Picasa
couldn’t access
Picasa/Live Photos Picasa/iPhoto
Image Processing Pic Monkey/Sumo Paint – couldn’t access Picasa Desktop
Live Photos
Picasa Desktop
iPhoto
Video Editing None Movie Maker iMovie
Movie Player system VLC Quicktime/VLC
Notetaking Google Drive plus the
Clean Save App
Evernote Evernote

There Are Off-Line Apps

The Chromebook has a comparable off-line application for most of the work that would do typically do offline. I just have to make sure that I enable offline access on those apps. I do very little photo or video editing and seldom watch video on any computer, so those things are not big deals to me.

I wonder if you bought a USB CD drive if you could play videos from that – like a Ultra-book without a drive would do also? Will have to check that out.

Based on my experience today, I disagree with the notion that you can’t do work, if there is no Internet connection for a Chromebook. You can do a lot of the work you normally do offline with other computers, but it might not be in the same software or application you are used to using. Maybe that is part of the reason some people might not “think” they can work offline with a Chromebook.

Web-cam Toy (Photobooth equivalent) worked well off-line also.

Actually, I could get quite a bit of work done with the applications in the above table.

Once Google Drive lets you create and edit a spreadsheet or slide show in the offline mode, the Chromebook will be even more productive off-line. Now if Todoist could work offline, I would be very happy.

Google Centric

Yes what I used today was very Google-centric, but both of the other operating systems attempt to keep you in their own “integrated” eco-system as well. I also agree with many of the reviews that I have read, that right now, that their O/S and many of their applications ARE more mature than some of Google’s options.

It comes down to which Corporate Entity’s products you want to use and work best for your situation and needs. For me, I have been using and moving more and more to Google’s products over the past 5 years and by buying the Chromebook, I guess I have finally made the jump to go all-in with Google.

Google products just do what I want, at the price points I am comfortable with.

The reality is that

My experience today has shown me that I can do enough offline with my Chromebook for it to be my primary laptop, with my venerable MacBookPro, to pick up what the Chromebook doesn’t do as well yet. I think it is a nice combination that will work well for me as long as the MacBook lasts.

However, I will definitely agree that the Chromebook works better with access to the Internet, that is what it was designed to do. That being said – so did/do my MacBookPro and my Windows PC.

In today’s world having access to the web is becoming more important than which operating system or device you use.

It is something to think about.

What do you think, could you use the above Chromebook tools to do most of your work off-line or do you have special software that you have installed on your computer that you have to use in order to get your work done?

Yet Another Cold Run – 11/30/12

It was a busy and cold day today – yes I will keep whining about the cold, even though I know it is just part of the deal of living in Maine – it will and does get cold. Today was a recovery run and thought it would be a lot closer to a 9:00 minute pace than the 8:30 or so that I did run. Why did I run faster – well did I tell you it was cold out and that caused me to want to get back inside and the only way to get there was to run faster ;-).

I felt good and didn’t feel any ill effects from yesterdays great treadmill tempo run.

Actually I worked up a really great sweat and when I got home, I got the “stinky mahn” comment from TheWife so I knew that I had a pretty good workout.

Intro:

Time of Day:

Weather: 25ºF, Winds out of the North 9+ mph, Wind Chill 15º, 30% Humidity

Course: Middle Road Loop

Summary Screenshot

Gear

*Shoes: Mizuno Elixir 7

*Socks: Swiftwick Pursuit

*Top: HiVis Yellow L/S Hind tech shirt, Maroon Fleece Vest

*Bottom: Black Wind Pants

Outerwear: NewBalance Maroon/Black Running Jacket, Columbia Mittens, Blue Fleece hat,

RunLog

My Chromebook after a Week

I got my Samsung Chromebook Series 5 550 from Amazon a 9 days ago So how has it gone?

To be brutally honest and in a word – GREAT!

Don’t get me wrong, it hasn’t been without some scratching my head, muscle memory lapses and “He’s Dead Jim” screens, along with a LOT of experimenting to see what works for me.

However, this is also the kind of stuff that I love doing, trouble-shooting, trying out new apps and discovering how something new like my Chromebook fits into my work-flow and life.

What have I learned?

What I have discovered so far? That my Samsung Series 5 550 Chromebook is an amazing computer, that made me stop and really take a look at how I was actually using a computer in today’s world.

I did this from the perspective that I didn’t have pretty much unlimited storage on the machine itself, no native applications to fall back on, that I would be reliant upon Wi-Fi to use it properly and I would have to do some things differently to properly use this computer.

Have I got everything under control yet? No, but at this point the only thing that I have used another computer for is to have Pandora playing in the backgound and using Janetta in full-screen for my Twitter feed on my large monitor. I just haven’t had a real need or desire to use either the Mac or PC.

Pros

Speed – It is fast! It boots-up fast, opens apps fast, logs out fast, shuts-down fast and wakes up fast. For a computer with such “awful” specs, it is faster than other computers I have used. I haven’t had to wait to be where I want to be and haven’t had any of the apps that I have tried have any lag time (no I haven’t done video editing on it yet, that is this weekend’s project).

This is also the reason that I wanted the 4GB Ram version and would take more if I could, I really think that a 2GB RAM machine wouldn’t be as fast and be able to handle the number of “windows” or apps I typically have open.

Portability – It is small, light (around 3 pounds) and doesn’t heat up too much while on my lap.

Peripherals – I have attached my USB keyboard, USB trackball and external hard drive with no problems. I still have to get the correct video connector so I can connect my Chromebook to my large monitor and take advantage of the recent changes that support dual screen use. That will happen soon.
Apps – There are a lot more web applications in the Chrome Web Store than I imagined and you can probably find one that you can use to do just about anything you want.

If you are a programmer, work a lot with videos or other high-end computer needs, then you are not going to use the Chromebook as your primary computer, a Chromebook will not do what you are looking for, right now it is too basic for that.

However, if you are like me and much of your time is spent blogging, on social media, checking email, etc. I haven’t been disappointed at all or limited on what I want to do. About the only thing that I can’t really do is play NeverWinter Nights 2, but there are other RPG games that I can access and will be looking at for a replacement for NWN2.

The best part of all the Apps that I have tried so far (which quickly and easily install or uninstall) almost all of them have been free, only one have I decided it was necessary to move up to the pro version, but that will be in another post.

Maintenance – I don’t have to do any of the maintenance or back-end work that other O/S make you do to keep your computer up-to-date. Most of the updates appear to be done in the background and will be better taken care by Google than by most computer users.

Keyboard – The keyboard is one of the best ones I have ever typed on, I would like it if it was backlit, but that would be an added expense. Now that I have a pretty good idea of where things are located and am starting to develop muscle memory, things are a lot better. Finding where the keys are placed, is a typical thing when changing brands, most have their own keyboard patterns beyond the normal QWERTY board.

The only thing that I am really having any issues with is the Caps Lock key not being there – I am always hitting the search key to do Caps Lock – that will be my toughest habit to break. However, when I plug in my old USB keyboard, it works like a charm and everything is where it is supposed to be.

The other key combination I am finally getting the hang of is using Alt-Backspace to forward delete (which is an awful lot like the Mac). However, I have been hitting ctrl-backspace which deletes the previous word, because that is where the forward delete key combination is on a Mac.

Offline – There are ways to work off-line with my Chromebook and yes they are limited in capability, but seem to be getting better. To be honest it is very seldom that I don’t have access to either Wi-Fi or a Network Cable.

This complaint that I hear so much about Chromebooks not being useful if they are not connected to the Internet, really isn’t that new of a problem, because having a web connection meant so much to me on both my Mac and PC.

I complained just as much when I couldn’t connect with my PC or Mac, because most of what I do and how I work now is done over an Internet connection. I am used to working in the web and not as much on the laptop, so having an Internet connection in order for my to get work done has been necessary for at least 3-4 years.

This complaint that I hear so much about Chromebooks not being useful if they are not connected to the Internet, really isn’t that new of a problem, because having a web connection meant so much to me on both my Mac and PC.

Cons

iPhone – This is the one that bothers me the most – the Chromebook and my iPhone 4S don’t like each other and will not work together. The Chromebook will slowly charge the iPhone, but that is all it does, I can’t download/transfer any photos or files, without using my old MacBookPro or TheWife’s Windows PC. I am wondering if I eventually, I will need to move to an Android based phone to integrate my computer with my phone and make my life a little easier. Yes I am doing some work-arounds, but this is something that I will have to resolve at some point.

Printing – While I don’t usually print that often, there are still some things that I have to print-out. I don’t have a Cloud enabled printer, I have one of the “older” classic printers and needed to set it up to Cloud Print through Google. However, I found that I have to be signed into my account on the computer the printer is connected to and that printer has to be added to the cloud from my Google account not somebody else’s account. If I want to print, no one else can use that computer or printer.

The printer is hooked to my wife’s laptop and she definitely wouldn’t be very pleased if I was signed into her computer all the time. Best solution right now is to use my MacBookPro to connect with Google Drive and print using that machine. This works but…it is not a permanent solution.

If I am wrong on this I would love to hear what I need to do to set up the Cloud Print correctly, so I can print to it while it is connected to my wife’s laptop, while she is signed in to the computer.
Saving to Google Drive – Sometimes saving to Google Drive, just doesn’t work correctly and you have to save to the download folder instead and manually drag the file over to gDrive. This is probably a just a bug in the code somewhere, but I want this to be more stable. If I attempt to save a file to Google Drive I don’t want to have to do extra steps to get it there.

Dropbox Integration/sync – I have to use Dropbox for my work and there doesn’t seem to be any real easy way of getting files (Word, photos from Picasa or Google+) from the Chromebook to Dropbox, other than manually downloading and then uploading the file. Drop and drag doesn’t work from Google Drive and I can’t download directly to Dropbox since it is in the cloud. I do get my files there, but there are extra, unnecessary steps to get there that I don’t have to do on a Mac or PC.

Battery – I would like to have about another hour of battery life, but it already a LOT better than my MacBookPro or Dell computers. I have been using it so much at different places around the house, that I just have to remember to plug it in once in a while to keep it charged up during the day.

There are a lot more pros and cons, but these were the major ones that I found for me over my first week as a new Chromebook user. As I get further into this journey, I am sure that I will explore many of the less critical ones to me more fully in later posts.

The reality is

that after only one week on my Chromebook, I don’t want to use my other computers. They feel slow and too bulky. I am quickly learning the Chromebook way, which is different from using a Mac or PC. Actually the different ways of doing things, are actually starting to make a lot of sense to me and as I continue to use them, they will become even easier.

Overall, is my Samsung Series 5 550 Chromebook a perfect computer? No it is not for everyone, but it does what I want and sorry Apple but right now for me.

It just works.

What do you think?

However, all I know is that I am enjoying using my Chromebook
What are your experiences with a Chromebook?
What are some things that you would like me to talk about as a new user who is learning the ropes as I go?

Great Treadmill Tempo Run 11/29/12

Another Brilliant Run in my Mizuno Ronin4’s today! They just like to go fast and haul me right along with them :-).

Today was my day to do a good tempo run and you know something, I was able to do more than I planned without it feeling like it was all that hard. My original plan was to do a treadmill run of 1.0 mile warm-up 3-4 mile tempo run at sub 7:00 pace and then a 1.0 mile cool-down.

This is what I actually did and I don’t care what got uploaded to Garmin Connect or Nike+ from my iPhone GPS app :-).

  • 1.0  mile warm-up at 7.2 mph (about 8:20 pace)
  • 3.0 miles at 8.6 mph (about a 6:58 pace)
  • 0.8 mile ladder starting at 8.7 mph on mile four and increasing to 0.1 mph each tenth of a mile to get to 9.4
  • 0.2 mile at 10.0 mph (about a 6:00 pace) to finish off the tempo
  • 1.0 mile cool-down at 7.3 mph

I thought that the ladder during the last mile was especially important for me, because this has been my weak point in my last couple of races. I died the last mile and couldn’t/didn’t dig in and do as much as I probably could have. This way I am teaching myself to increase my pace, even when I am getting tired during that last mile.

I did really focus on maintain my form as I got tired and was running faster. I have a tendency to over-stride when I am trying to run fast, today I was able to stay compact with shorter strides and it really seemed to make a huge difference in how I was feeling at the end. I wasn’t flailing my arms around or landing heel first with my feet way out in front of me.

It did make a big difference.

Overall, I was very happy with the tempo run and the amount of effort that it took to achieve it. The treadmill is easier than running outside, but it is still nice to see those kind of numbers go by in front of you when you are running. It sure does give me confidence that I can and will run faster than I have been running.

Time of Day:

Weather: Indoors

Course: Tempo Run on treadmill

Gear

Shoes: Mizuno Ronin 4 – they are a fast shoe and running on a treadmill with them does not bother at all

Socks: Swiftwick Pursuit calf socks

*Top: Yellow starter tech short sleeve t-shirt

*Bottom: Puma compression short, Gray UnderArmor running shorts

*Outerwear: None

RunLog Screenshot

Samsung 550 Chromebook Initial Impressions

Why did I decide on the Chromebook? You can read about the decision process here, but it seems that I have always been a little non-traditional and enjoy challenging myself to do things a little differently.

Plus I whine a lot whenever I don’t have internet, no matter which computer I have worked on for the past 5 years, so having an Internet connection is important no matter which computer system I am using, since I am almost completely cloud-based. I wanted to get that out of the way right up front.

I thought you might be interested in the thoughts of someone who has been using computers since the 1980’s and is comfortable using either Windows or Apple based computer systems – some might call me a “power” user – personally I just use the damn things and like them as long as they work and let me do the things that I want to do with them.

I got my new Samsung Series 5, 550 Chromebook (WiFI) Computer on Wednesday night and it didn’t take me long to unbox it! TheWife said I looked a lot like a little kid at Christmas. I guess I am still a big kid at heart and I tend to get excited about new my new “toys”.

First Look

I don’t know about you, but for me, I don’t get a real sense of how a computer looks or feels by looking at videos and images online. So I always worry (a lot),when I buy something online, whether if I am going to like it or not.

After opening the box and taking a close look at the 550 and I was impressed – it is a GREAT looking little laptop!

The 550 weighs in at about 3 pounds which makes it the lightest computer I have ever owned and in my opinion one of the best looking ones. I didn’t notice any flaws, blemishes or poorly put together/designed areas. Everything was neat and clean, so far so good.

Turning it On

I plugged in the 550 and turned it on, it took about 10 seconds to get to the sign-in screen. When I signed-in to my Google account, (it didn’t do an update until after the first time I turned it off and back on?),  I immediately was taken to the WiFi login (after all it is all about the Internet).

This was where my biggest problem occurred with setting up the Chromebook!

It had nothing to do with the computer! It was me.

I was so excited (TheWife laughed at me about it and my little hissy that I was throwing) that I couldn’t to type the network password in correctly and couldn’t log in any further. After I finally typed in the password correctly – 10 minutes later…

The Chromebook booted right into my Google Chrome account, so everything was very familiar from that point on. Any of the web applications or extensions that I have been using in Chrome on my other computers were right there. All my bookmarks, history and preferences were all there ready and waiting to just be used.

The screen has a nice matte finish and websites are very clear and loaded new tabs fast!

Using the Chromebook

I was surfing the web and exploring different features of the almost machine immediately – no setup, no having to delete unwanted programs, no going through and changing a bunch of settings to personalize my computer.  Bootup, shut-down and loading tabs was faster than any computer I have ever used.

The keyboard is fine, although it will take a little while to get used to where things are, the short cuts, not having a caps lock  key and the differences that a not having function keys make. These are not big deals, just differences, which we experience with different brands of computers, so it is not anything new to do this.

At this point in my life I don’t feel like having to screw around with setting up or putting a lo of time into maintaining a computer. I want my computers to just work – to just turn them on and go do what I want it to do and then quickly shut-down when I am done. So far the Chromebook has done that.

Can I do all the other maintenance and other stuff – sure, but I don’t want to anymore and this is one of the things that draws me to the Chromebook – its ease of use.

Experimenting

Over the past few days I have been trying to figure out the in’s and out’s of using the Chromebook. This means that I have continued to read reviews and forums  (yes I also read the instructions), play around with different modes, keys, extensions, and web apps.

As many extensions and web applications that I have quickly and easily installed or uninstalled, the Chromebook 550 hasn’t crashed or hiccupped at all, which is very impressive to me. The Chrome Webstore has a lot of extensions and web applications that you can “install” on your Chromebook, there is something there for just about anything you want to do and I have tried more than a couple out!

I have had up to 20 tabs open at once and while the 550 start to bog down around 12-15, it still will open more, just more slowly.

Chrome is Different

Chrome O/S is different than other operating systems, so there is a learning curve and a mindset change that I had to do and will be doing for a while, to switch from using a Mac, Windows PC or even Ubuntu.

The differences are primarily about limited memory and file management. Especially how I get files from Office, Google Drive, Microsoft SkyDrive, iCloud, Dropbox (which I have to use for my work), or other file types, to play or work together within the Chrome O/S file management system.

When using other operating systems with the Chrome Browser, you are using that O/S’s native file management system, with my Chromebook – I am finding the Chrome O/S’s file management system rudimentary compared to the others.

Example

The Chromebook’s file management system as I know it now, has made something that I took for granted like simply downloading a Google Document as a .docx file to a Dropbox folder for my work into a bit of an adventure.

The best way I have found to do this so far – is to create/finish a Word document in M/S Skydrive, download the file to the Chromebook and then upload it to my work’s Dropbox folder. It means having to use another “program” besides Drive, and some extra steps to do what I really want to do, but it is a work-around that I can live with.

This is just an example of how things work differently right now and how I have to be willing to look at simple tasks a little differently and  jump through a couple of extra hoops to get things done than I might have done in the past.

I foresee this kind of thing also happening for some photos, videos or some other things, which means that I will probably have to use my MacBookPro for some things, just to keep things a little simple – I hope that it is up to those tasks ;-).  At least until Google figures out how to make it simple to make those kind of file management things work quickly and easily on the Chromebooks.

The reality is that

I like my Chromebook so far – A LOT!

Yes there are limitations and work-arounds, that I have to employ to get some things done, that were a lot more straightforward on a Mac or PC, but the simplicity of use, speed and ability to “surf” the web quickly, in my mind make up for the limitations. Now to just wrap my head around them and maybe even find or come up with some that will make my work-flow on the Chromebook better.

The 16GB memory really isn’t an issue, I don’t plan to keep my photos or music here and have an external hard drive that I will plug in at my desk, plus the storage I have on Google Drive, Skydrive, Dropbox, along with others give me plenty of online storage and I plan to have a couple of 32GB SD cards with me. So I shouldn’t have a lot of issues because of having only 16GB of memory (besides I remember  the days when a 4GB drive was huge).

Plus as one of the articles I read seemed to say (I can’t remember the exact one) “the Cloud is your computer and the Chromebook is your portal”.

Other than having fun figuring out the file management system and work-arounds, I have been able to do everything that I typically do on a computer over the past few days, without thinking about it. I can manage my blog, post images and do everything that I need/want to do there as you can see by the new theme, that I installed last night.

Actually I haven’t missed the Mac and its spinning wheel of death at all or the Windows machine and its bulkiness and having to wait for things to start and having to mess around to shut it down.

Sure there are things that I can’t use the Chromebook for (playing NeverWinter Nights 2), but I knew that would happen when I decided to buy it. In its present configuration, it will do between 80% & 90% of what I need it to, but for a lot less money than I was going to spend on an iPad or Touchscreen Windows 8 Touchscreen PC that I was looking at initially.

So far I have been very happy with my purchase of the Samsung Series 5, 550 Chromebook.

While a ChromeBook simple to use, it probably isn’t for everyone and won’t meet the needs of power users or those who have to use specific applications/software. So don’t run out and buy a Chromebook, because I like mine. Your needs and experiences might be different than mine have been.

That being said I am happy with my Chromebook experience so far.

Do I Run Too Much?

Over the past 6 months or so, there have been increasing reports that if you are over 50 and do too much running or are running too fast you are risking your health.  Now as a 55-year-old runner, who probably has more years behind me, than in front of me, I have been following this debate with more than a little interest.

A couple of days ago the Wall Street Journal published this article

One Running Shoe in the Grave by Kevin Helliker

Which as you can guess by the sensational title explores the idea that fast endurance running is not good for you.

On the other hand this blog post from Runner’s World’s Sweat Science blog appeared the next day

The Too-Much-Running Myth Rises Again – Risks of an overdose are greatly exaggerated by Alex Hutchinson

I really do not know who is right or who is wrong or if either camp is right or wrong. One thing that I do understand is that statistics and studies have been and can be manipulated to reach whichever or whatever bias you may have. So I take many studies with a grain of salt and want to know who is funding the research and why before I put a great deal of stock into a studies outcomes – I didn’t notice this piece of information in either article.

Also I have fairly recently been a member of the couch potato (due to a knee injury) brigade and can say that my personal research in how I felt when I was significantly obese (over 200 pounds at 5’7″) versus how I feel now that I am running between 30 and 60 miles (depends on the training cycle) is very different.

My Experience

Based on my personal experiences I prefer the running me and am enjoying the benefits that can’t really be measured with a blood test or longitudinal studies – the “how I feel” factor. The running me is more confident, more relaxed and deals much more easily with the stresses of life in our modern world, plus I can get up and do what I want without being held back by becoming fatigued quickly. When I was overweight, I didn’t feel all that great about myself, couldn’t do many of the things that I easily do today and it showed in my appearance and interactions with others.

It is all about Choices

I have consciously made the choice to run more than what the first article claims is “safe” and yes I plan to continue to try to run faster – I enjoy the challenge and satisfaction that I get from finishing a tough workout – not to mention the endorphin high that goes along with it.

The reality is

If I am cutting time off the other end of my life by running too much, so be it. I plan to run for as long as I can put one foot in front of the other and have a GREAT quality of life, that is the other thing that many studies of this sort tend to overlook – am I doing things the way that I want to or not.

To be honest I don’t want average health and be required to be on multiple medications to be considered healthy based on someone else’s ideas or study results of what healthy means to them.

Being healthy to me is one where I am active, can do things that I love and push myself physically to do more than I think I can. I want to live and enjoy my life to the fullest and for me that includes running long distances and even running a little faster every once in a while.

This is what I will do based on my experiences and personality, what you do might be different depending upon your age and experience, then again maybe you think a bit like me. 🙂

Yes I have my bias about this issue, so hhhmmmm where are my running shoes, I have a tough tempo run (7:00 to 7:10 pace for 4-6 miles) planned for today and I might as well go have some fun!

What do you think,

If you knew that fast endurance running after the age of 50 could shorten you life span, would you change what you are doing?

BRRRR! Getting Colder Out 11/28/12

PB240005.JPG

BRRRR is right!!!! It is definitely getting colder out! I don’t care what anyone says, when the temps are in the 20’s and the wind is around 10 mph straight out of the North, it feels pretty damn cold. Who knows, maybe as I am getting old and  I just don’t like the cold as much.

This morning when I walked Bennie he didn’t want to be out there either – I could tell when he went into four-paw drive at the mile mark and turned around to go home. Picture a 22 pound Jack Russell Terrier was valiantly pulling for all he was worth, trying to hurry up his big old human and get back to the house.

I finally got the message and we ran a mile back, (he immediately went over and laid down by the fireplace, even though it wasn’t lit – his way of telling me to get off my butt and get things warm in here.  He definitely has such a personality.

No I didn’t light the fire, instead I went for my run and it was still cold out, but at least I was moving a little quicker. I had planned on running a comfortable 7.0 miler at about a 8:30 to 8:40 pace.

One the way out the wind was in my face and I was glad that I had added the extra fleece vest to my normal running gear. However, on the way back I was sweating like a stuck pig! The tech fabrics did their job during the run and wicked the sweat away from my body, so even though the wind chills were in the teens, I felt comfortable, actually too warm coming back.

That is the problem this time of year, I tend to overdress to what the actual conditions are and end up sweating too much, however, as the winter goes along I will dial in what I need to wear in what conditions – I go through this every year, so it is not a big deal.

Time of Day: 11:32 AM

Weather: 27ºF, Winds 8 mph out of the North, Wind chill 18ºF, 74% humidity. There were little snow flurries going on during the run, but they didn’t amount to anything.

Summary Screenshot:

Gear

*Shoes: Mizuno Elixir 7

Socks: Swiftwick Pursuits

*Top: Blue Starter S/S tech shirt, Blue Hind L/S tech shirt, Black Fleece vest

*Bottom: Nike Pro Combat Compression shorts, Nike Black Wind Pants

*Outerwear: New Balance Maroon/Black Running Jacket, Columbia mittens, Fleece hat

Screenshot

Short Recovery Run – 11/27/12

My legs were dead after yesterday’s tough treadmill interval workout, so I decided to just trade my rest day to today and only do 1.0 or so. Since my hamstrings have been feeling really good and I wanted to see how my legs would feel if I ran in my Altra Instinct 1.5’s.

They are definitely different from my Mizuno’s and I would have to run in them a lot more again to get used to them. I have a feeling on my low mileage days, I will try to work these in to the rotation, as long my hamstrings don’t bother me. I just hate to see a new pair of running shoes languish in my closet.

I ended up doing a short recovery run of  1.4 and  purposely stopped myself from running any faster. This wasn’t about running fast it was about resting, but it was tough just doing this short of a run.

Time of Day: 10:36 AM

Weather: 27ºF, Winds – calm, 63% humidity

Course: 1 Lap Philbrick/Howard Plus Howard Circle

*Shoes: Altra Instinct’s 1.5

*Socks: Swiftwick Pursuits

*Top: Tech short sleeve shirt, Blue Hind Tech Long Sleeve shirt

*Bottom: Nike Pro Combat Compression Shorts, Black Nike Wind Pants

*Outerwear: Blue New Balance Running Jacket, HiVis Converta Gloves, HiVis Brooks Hat & ear muffs

RunLog Screenshot

Tough Treadmill Interval Workout 11/26/12

Have you ever had one of those days where you planned to do a really tough workout and it didn’t quite go like you had planned? Well that is my story today!

I had planned for my killer interval training run today. 1 mile warm-up at 7.2 mph, then 8 x .25 @ 9.6+ mph with a rest .25 @7.2 mph in between fast quarters, then a last mile ladder where I increase the speed by .1 every tenth of a mile to 8.1 mph my final tenth.

Here is what I actually did for my treadmill interval workout:

  • 1.0 @ 7.2 mph
  • .25 @9.6 mph
  • .25 @7.2 mph
  • .25 @9.6 mph
  • .25 @7.2 mph
  • .25 @9.6 mph
  • .25 @7.2 mph this is where I began to fall apart, I needed to slow it down to 6.5 mph for the rest, couldn’t hold the 7.2 mph
  • .25 @9.6 mph
  • .25 @6.5 mph
  • .25 @9.6 This one really hurt and I thought that I was done, I was loosing focus and felt as though I didn’t have it today
  • .25 @3.5 mph I slowed down to a walking speed and checked my heart rate it was 168 after I had taken the time to slow down the treadmill and I let my heart rate get under 130 (about .15), then I went back up to 6.5 mph until the start of next quarter.
  • .25 @9.6 mph – a lot better than #5, I shortened my stride and felt a lot better my heart rate was 167 at the end of the run
  • .25 @3.5 mph – still needed to walk to get heart rate back under 130, again about .15 and then back up to 6.5 mph
  • .25 @9.7 mph – kept the stride shorter and I really focused on maintaining my form and stride, found the sweet spot and kept it through the whole run. Heart rate was 165 at end of quarter.
  • .25 @3.5 mph – walked until got heart rate under 130 about .16, then 6.6 mph
  • .25 @10.0 – Last quarter – go out with a bang! Yes that last .10 HURT, but in a good way, I knew that I was pushing my limits, even though I was tired. My heart rate was 172 at the end
  • .25 @3.2 – walked until got heart rate under 130 – about .20, then 6.6
  • 1.0 mile ladder. 7.2 increasing by .1 every tenth of a mile finishing last tenth at 8.1

YES this was a helluva tough workout for me today. I felt tired when I started and pushed myself to do more than usual when I am tired. Last week, I did the same workout, but felt a lot fresher, this week was a lot tougher and I was a lot more satisfied with this run. I overcame not being 100% focused on doing this workout.

  1. I didn’t stop the workout, which is something that I would have done in the past, instead I adapted to what I could do, gave myself more rest between the fast quarters.
  2. I was able to push through to the 8th quarter and do it faster than any of the others

This is the kind of workout that I need to make myself know that I can push hard and what it feels like to actually push hard, even though I was tired and didn’t want to. This is something that I wasn’t able to do at the Runner’s World 5K or Half, where I did okay, but not at the level I was today.

I went shopping afterwards and needed to get a Snickers bar, I was feeling like crap until I did that :-).

Now I am tired physically, but very happy with the quality of the workout.

  • Time of Day: 1:43 P.M.
  • Weather: Indoor
  • Course: Treadmill Intervals
  • Summary Screenshot:

Gear

*Shoes: Mizuno Ronin 4 – At the end of the run felt a little snug on the right forefoot

*Top: Orange cotton t-shirt

*Bottom: Nike Pro Compression Shorts, Under Armor Running Shorts

*Outerwear: None

RunLog Screenshot