April 2019 – Looking Back
April 2019 wasn’t the month that I expected or necessarily even wanted, but it was the month that was. Thank you for bearing with the meandering thoughts of an old guy who loves to run way too much and plays around with technology just because I can.
We celebrated our wedding anniversary with a nice day out together. That is the important thing in life, focusing on what is important. When it is all said and done, it is our relationships that matter the most.
My running in April was good, but sort of directionless.
Which showed up in the final mileage totals that were more than 20 miles less than March’s total. Although I was happy with many of the runs, there were too many days off and not enough long runs.
While I had some pretty good ideas about things…
- like I was not going to run a marathon anytime soon, even though I got to enjoy watching the Boston Marathon.
- that 5Ks would most likely be the focus of my running this summer.
- racing doesn’t really interest me all that much, although I will do a few they are not the reason that I run.
Unfortunately, I did struggle with a low-grade crud of some sort for a couple of weeks, which didn’t help with my thought processing, running motivation and the resulting malaise caused me to miss more days running than I usually do over the course of the month.
I did have one red no run day after a speed session in my Reebok RunFasts. They bothered my right foot so much that I chose not run the next day because of it. It is the first red no run day of 2019 and I was glad that it was nothing serious, but it did make me stop and think about how quickly an injury can happen. Taking time off to let things calm down is a good thing.
The weather while it is what it is did start to get to me a bit. It has been a long winter and the longer it has dragged into April…well let’s just say it was another factor in having the running blahs.
As a result of all that thinking, I have decided in my infinite wisdom (yeah right), to get back to training using the Hansons Half Marathon Method as the basis for my training. While I probably will not follow it exactly, it does give me a basic set of guide rails to bounce off and force me to look at what I am doing versus what I should be doing.
I still do not have any races on the calendar yet.
On a positive note, I did get to go run with Sam W and have started running with a couple of runners at lunchtime at Planet Fitness, so those are very good things.
I have had a really decent running shoe rotation all winter, but the New Balance Beacons after getting to over 300 miles were starting to bother my ankles too much. I can run in neutral shoes, but I need a touch more support than they provided. So back to the search.
The adidas Tempo 9s were retired more because I wanted to get pair number 2 out than because they were done. So they have been relegated to being my van shoes and are available if I need a pair of running shoes. I could start running in them again if nothing else works.
However, once I got to run in the next pair, there was something about the Tempo 9 #2s that just didn’t thrill me like the originals and seemed to bother my shins more than I was willing to deal with??? They are the same model but felt different than my first pair, but whatever it was, I decided that I didn’t want to deal with the potential issues.
So on our anniversary, I picked up a pair of Nike Epic React v1s and they became my primary running shoes. I have been very impressed with how they have felt underfoot and well they have performed.
I have over 70 miles on them and love them for running outside and while I could use them for any run, they work best at faster tempo type paces, but not quite what I am looking for in a primary race day or easy run shoe. I can run fast in them without any issues, but they don’t feel fast and I tend to run too fast in them on easy days.
When I ran with Sam, we talked a bit about the Karhu Ikoni Ortix, that I had tried on at Fleet Feet in Portland earlier in the month. He had a pair and graciously offered to send them to me.
I have had a couple of runs in them and they seem to be very comfortable, but I did need to change out the laces to Nathan Lock Laces, I just couldn’t get a consistently comfortable fit on the upper and this is usually my go-to fix for these kinds of issues.
Also on the same day, I got in a pair of Nike Zoom Fly v1s that I have wanted to try since they came out. I have tried them on several times and the price points have just been out of reach. So when they showed up at the same time as the Karhu’s it was like manna from heaven. I have had a couple of runs in them and have been impressed so far.
The only thing that I am sort of unimpressed with is that the weight is more than my Epic Reacts by almost an ounce. Which is weird, my go-fast shoes weighing more than my daily trainers. However, I feel faster in the Zoom Flys so they will be my go-fast shoes in any case.
I was probably busier with experimenting with my technology than I was anything else during April. However, I did get to a place where I am comfortable with what I am using for technology, how I will use it and who gets first dibs on it. My primary computer is now a Lenovo Thinkpad x230T and I am using iTunes on it to manage my Apple devices.
One thing I have learned over the years, is that if you use just about any modern operating system or electronic device, someone is able to track or hack into your life. It is just a part of the modern world and if you want to be a part of the modern world, our old ideas on privacy are a thing of the past.
It now becomes a question of more who and what they are using the information for than if they have your information, because “they”, (whoever “they” is) probably already have more of our private data than we realize. So unless I am willing to turn my back on the modern world, privacy is a fluid thing that is controlled by Corporations and Governments, not you or I.
So you pretty much have to live your life as if you have the window blinds up and the windows open all the time, because there is the chance or more likely probability that someone is always listening or watching what you are doing.
I am pretty much back in the Microsoft silo. WTFO I though you were happy with Apple…I was, but after getting the Brydge keyboard for my iPad Pro, I just wasn’t happy with it and I had been setting Mary’s laptop up. Which reminded me how much I loved typing on a dedicated keyboard versus the small Bluetooth one that I had to use with the iPad Pro.
When I started looking around, the one model that kept saying “I am what you are looking for”, was the Lenovo Thinkpad x230 Tablet. It has a great keyboard, touchscreen, can be repaired by me, doesn’t live the dongle life, runs Win10 without any issues and while the screen ain’t great, it does what I want.
So I ordered an I5 model off eBay for a very reasonable price and while setting it up the way that I want it to be has taken a bit of experimentation, trial and error, along with rebooting the system to stock twice, I have learned a LOT, had fun (yeah, I think setting up a computer is fun) and also have a computer that I enjoy using.
During the first part of April, I also had to completely re-boot Mary’s desktop and couldn’t reload the version of Office that she had on there. At that point, I decided to go with a subscription to Office 365 and put it on all our computers. As a result of getting that subscription, I decided to cancel my Apple Music subscription and put my music library on my new to me Thinkpad 230T and use iTunes to primarily manage both my iPad and iPhone.
Once I started this, I didn’t realize how much/many of Microsoft’s products/apps are available for use on Apple devices. As a result I have been primarily using Microsoft software, err apps on my iPad Pro and iPhone for the last part of April without any issues. I know heresy but it is working for me.
I am finding that I use my iPad Pro more as a consumption device (which is how/what it was originally designed for) and do most of my game playing (NWN2), blogging and spreadsheet work on the Lenovo x230T.
I also experimented with going back to my old Kyocera Android phone, since it seemed as though it would pair more easily with my Windows laptop. It did in some respects, but in others, I found that the Android phone to be inferior to my iPhone 7 and IOS. After a week of trying to assimilate the Kyocera into how I use a phone with my lifestyle, I gave up and went back to my iPhone.
I also got a Lumia Windows phone for less than a lunch out and now wish that Microsoft was going to continue supporting the platform. There were many things that I really, really liked about the phone, the OS and how it worked well with my Windows laptop, so much better than IOS or Android. However, with Microsoft discontinuing support in December, it was nothing more than a tease for me and what could have been, but won’t be for me.
Thinking about things electronics
Sometimes I need to go back to my roots, to keep moving forward and this is what I have done with my technology usage this last month. So many years ago, I started out with Windows v1 and used Windows pretty much for everything until about 2009 when I moved to Apple for work as a teacher and then in 2012 when I played with Chrome OS. Since then I have been using some combination of those three since then – as well as IOS and Android, with a short spurt of different Linux variants since.
When it comes down to it, while I like Apple’s offerings a lot, am proficient with Google’s silo and have played around in Linux, but when it comes down to what works best for me. I have learned that I like Microsoft’s products more than the others, even though I am becoming more of the product than the customer by moving back to the Microsoft world.
So while the Lenovo Thinkpad x230T is a 2012 model – i.e. ancient in terms of the exponential progression in technology since then, it does everything I want to do with a computer, without a lot less fuss or muss. Plus I do not have to use Mary’s desktop for a few things with my Garmin or to play NWN2 again.
The reality is that
My running was not bad, but more than a little scattered on what my goals actually were and what kind of training I needed to do. Finally, I have gotten it through my thick skull that while I am primarily going to train for 5Ks, I also know that I ain’t all that fast and I am very injury prone. So I need the guide rails that the Hansons Plan provide to me.
The tech side of life was interesting, challenging and made me think about how I am using tech now that I am retired and am free to do things completely the way that I want.
I am most comfortable using a Windows-based computer and found that the older Lenovo Thinkpad has the keyboard that I want (yeah, it is that important), that if/when something breaks on the hardware side, it is within my ability to fix/replace/upgrade the laptop and have the touchscreen that I have come to use quite nicely. So I have gotten a place where I am pretty comfortable with my current technological devices and the software.
Overall, while April wasn’t a bad month, I am glad it is time to move on to May. The weather should be better, I have a real good handle on how I will be using my technology going forward and believe that my running is going to be better than it was in April.