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 :-).

March 2012 The Running Month Reflection

March is always a weird month weather-wise you just never know what you are going to get. This past month one week we were battling snow, then 80 degree weather and then back to cold, snow and blustery wind – the old saying “just wait a minute the weather will be different”.

While I have increased my running a lot over the last month – blogging and social media have taken a backseat to starting to look at getting either a part-time or full-time job again. Retirement is great, but with the price of everything going up (officially there is no inflation – things just cost us more) our budget is stretched a little lot too thin. So to do the things we want to do, it is time to look at me getting a job again.

Now to figure out what I want to do when I grow up – if I ever decide to grow up 🙂 so wish me luck on this job search.

Running In March

I am making fantastic progress on my 2012 running goals 🙂

Summary

  • Miles Run: 160.5
  • Days Run: 27
  • Days Off:    04
  • Longest Run: 13.1 miles on 3/26/12
  • Fastest Run:  8:11 pace for 3.1 miles on 3/20/12
  • Best Week: 40.69  week ending  3/25/12
  • Miles walked: 106.2 –  to show that I do more than just run

Shoes Run In

  • Saucony Kinvara 2 – I now have 167.6 miles on these shoes. I like them a lot, but the sole is wearing on the outer forefoot and there are small tears in the upper, so I am not sure how the durability will be long-term. However, I have run longer distances with these shoes than any shoes since I was training for the MCM in ’83 in Saucony Dixons (which the Kinvara remind me of a little) and Nike Odysseys.
  • New Balance MT110 – I have used these more for walking shoes this month than running trails with them, I really, really love the way they fit and how they allow me to walk. I tend to take smaller, quicker steps than I do with other shoes and my knees and back don’t hurt nearly as much as they used to, even though I am running and walking a lot more.
  • Newton Gravity – So far they have been great, I have let my body adjust slowly to them and did a 7.0 mile run in them last week, so when the Kinvara 2 start to break down and bother me, I will be able to move over to the Gravitas pretty quickly. I am using them for my recovery and shorter runs.

Using the three shoe rotation above seems to be working really well and I think that the shoes will last me longer by doing it this way. I have a feeling that the MT110s might wear out a little quicker, because of all the walking I am doing in them, but that is okay by me as long as they keep feeling great. It feels good to finally have settled into the shoes I am running in, that looking for new shoes all the time was getting old.

Races Run
None
Next Scheduled race is: 4/7/12 – Fly Like an Eagle 5K @ Erskine Academy, China, Maine
Virtual Runs
None

Summary: I went waaaaayyyy over my 100 mile monthly goal with over 160 miles for the month! However, I think that it is just too many miles for my present level of running fitness, at the end of the month I was getting very tired, so I plan to cut it back to 120-130 miles for April. The long run is definitely staying and maybe even creep up to 15.0, but I don’t need multiple double-digit runs in the same week and I think keeping the others to a max of 6.0 miles or so for April will be in my best interests.

This month in a word: WOW!

Weight

I ended February 163 and March at 157 – 6 pounds in a month – it doesn’t sound like a lot, but the reality is that it is in that last 10 pounds before a goal weight, so it is a huge deal! I really believe that the number of long runs and mileage that I am putting in is getting the weight down. This is the first time I have gone under 160 in a long time, so I am pretty psyched and I am only 2 pounds away from my goal weight of 155.
With better weather on the horizon, I have a feeling that I will be hitting my goal weight and staying between 150-155 which is where TheWife would like me to stay and I think that is a good weight for me to be at.
39 pounds lost since June 17, 2012

Injuries

This month I started with a strained left hamstring from the snow storm we had at the end of February, which bothered me for a while, but for the most part I have been as healthy running as I am going to (being almost 55 & all those accumulated injuries over the years leave their mark). I just have to listen to my body and rest it when it needs it.
Hey I didn’t run on 3/31/12 because I was feeling tired – so I am learning).
The right knee is not complaining very often, but I have to be careful to give it rest and a chance to recuperate after a long or hard run. Just have to keep training smart 🙂

Run Blogging

Top Ten Blog Posts for March – based on pageviews
  1. Newton Gravitas – Initial Impressions
  2. My iPhone Running App
  3. A Different Kind of Workout
  4. Tommie Copper Sleeve Review – First Impressions
  5. Confessions of a Middle of the Pack Runner
  6. First Run in Asics Gel Blur 33 – 2/16/12
  7. Finding an Injured Runner on the Trail 3-21-12
  8. Snowmobile Trail Running – 2/1/12
  9. Marathon Poll Results and Questions
  10. Labeling – Runner or Jogger Does It Really Matter?
  11. Dogs, Trail Running and Leashes

10 and 11 tied with the same number of pageviews for the month

With everything going on I have cut way back on my blogging and time on Twitter/Facebook and Google + over the past couple of weeks. I have a few things to do this week also, so more than likely I will be making limited appearances on social media sites and I plan to write non running log posts for Monday and Thursday only for a while, once I get past the end of week and month reflections.  Too much going on with trying to get the yard cleaned up, garden ready and do some job search on the side, in addition to doing some stuff with the VA.

So it should be an interesting next couple of weeks, whether I want them to be interesting or not.

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:
Ran 7.0 in the Newtons 3-28-12 – Personal Purchase
First Real Run in the Newton Gravitas – Personal Purchase
Newton Gravitas – Initial Impressions – Personal Purchase
First Run in New Balance MT110 – 3-3-12 – Personal Purchase
Saucony Kinvara 2 – After 50 Miles – Personal Purchase
I didn’t have many opportunities to review products this month, but that is okay, I enjoyed just focusing on my running for a change.
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

A slight change to my goals – is to make sure that I am enjoying running and not letting it become too much like work.

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 quite what I am looking for that day 🙂

This year my big goals are:

  1. Run 1,200 miles – I am ahead of schedule having a total of 372.3 miles through three-month.
  2. Run a sub 20:00 5K  – This will be very tough to do, but for now I am working on my mileage base and not worrying too much about speed, in training runs last month, I ran at an 8:11 pace for a 5K, so I hope to break 8:00’s on 4/7, but I am not too worried about it either way. However, to meet this goal I will have to start doing a lot more speed work.
  3. Get through 2012 without any significant down time or injuries (running related or others).  Just some aches and strains so far
  4. My unadvertised goals from the start of the year are to be able to finish a half-marathon. Ran a 2:01:44 for a training run last week, so I am way ahead of schedule for this one.
  5.  Run a few trail races when the weather gets better – Running some trails but not scheduled for any races until Memorial Day weekend.

My long-term goal will be to run the 2013 Marine Corps Marathon. I finished the 1983 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

March was a great month for running in spite of the crazy weather. I ran more miles in a month than I have in a long time, got to help a young woman who broke her leg while trail running, got squared away on my running shoe rotation, broke 160 and just had a great running month.
I find it a little ironic that going over 160 for mileage and going under 160 for weight are both considered great accomplishments this month :-).

AVR – February 2012 in Review

February was my first full month of “A Veteran Runnah” at WordPress.com, I moved from Blogger on January 23rd and haven’t really looked back since. In some ways being limited by what I can do on WordPress.com has been a good thing, it has given me time think about where I really want to take this blog, without the worry of trying to monetize it too. I have passed up on a couple of opportunities that if I had been on Blogger, I might have thought about more seriously, but being here couldn’t do them.

Honestly, being on WordPress.com simplifies things for me a great deal and has allowed me to focus on writing, instead of back-end management issues. Which is what I wanted to do.

I am making great progress on my 2012 running goals and have had a couple of minor injuries that rest has taken care of. I did go through the “Great February Shoe Hunt” and ended up with one of the shoes on my Top 5 Shoe List – The Saucony Kinvara – after almost a 2 week period of searching. Yesterday, I got my credit notification from New Balance for returning my NB MT20s and ordered the MT110s to have as my trail shoes. I should be getting them soon.

I ended February with a real score, I was in town today and picked up a New Balance dry fit running jacket for a great price. I have needed another running jacket for a month now and when I saw it, I knew it was coming home with me. – Very bright blue, so I know I will be seen and not be mistaken for a natural critter on the side of the road or trail  :-).

Running In January

Summary

  • Miles Run: 100.7
  • Days Run: 22
  • Days Off:    07
  • Longest Run: 9.0 miles on 1/21/12
  • Fastest Run:  8:27 pace for 3.11 miles on 2/9/12
  • Best Week: 30:57  week ending 2/5
  • Miles walked: 78.86 – added in to show that I do more than just run

Shoes Run In

  • Saucony Peregrine – Very good shoe until a hole wore in the padding of heal at 290 miles and started to cause blisters, put in the give away pile, so I wouldn’t wear.
  • Brooks Ravenna – I tried to run in them, but they were too small, my foot seems to have spread out in the Peregrines. In the give away pile
  • New Balance MT20 – Returned to New Balance for credit.
  • ASICS Gel Blur 22 – Returned to Dick’s and exchanged for Kinvara
  • Saucony Kinvara 2 – I now have over 50 miles on these shoes and will be doing an updated review on them in the next couple of days – needless to say that I definitely like them so far.
  • Saucony Pro Grid Propel – my spike/screw shoes that I use when it is really nasty out.
  • New Balance MT110 – Ordered and they are en route, should be here by Friday.
Races Run
None
Virtual Runs
None

Summary: I made the 100 mile goal for the month, barely, but I made it! I played around with different Apps to use on my iPhone as a GPS device and tend to go back and forth between MiCoach and iSmoothRun. I tried a couple of others, but they didn’t work for me for various reasons. I decided to only use the Free Workouts in MiCoach, because I was getting too “serious” using the app to help coach me during my runs and wasn’t enjoying running nearly as much as I had been.

I figured out that I don’t like running just for time, I have used mileage to measure my progress for so many years, that I naturally think in those terms, even when using the time training plans. So instead of fighting myself, I just went back to using mileage as my base to plan and measure my progress.  I could always switch to kilometers and make it sound further than miles – nawwww that would really confuse me ;-).

Also, I have had 3 runs of 8.0 miles or longer during February which is totally awesome! I haven’t run that far for my long runs, since I was marathon training in 2006. The best part is I don’t feel too bad the next day.

This month in a word: Further

Weight

I ended January weighing 165 and February at 163 – only 2 pounds in a month. I am a little disappointed, but I haven’t really been watching what I eat, so I will take the 2 pounds. I did hit 161 after my 9.0 miler, so I know it is just a matter of time, until those last 8 pounds go away and I reach my goal weight of 155.
With better weather on the horizon, I have a feeling that the weight will come off easier than it is during the tough blahs part of winter and even better – TheWife also let me know that she actually sees ribs, not just flubber now :-).
33 pounds lost since June 17, 2012

 🙂

Injuries

This month I lost 6 days of running to minor muscle strains. I ran the local snowmobile trail and strained my left calf, then I went ran really hard in the MT20s a few days later, without any adjustment time – stupid I know and it cost me 4 days of running. After that I couldn’t run in the MT20s without re-aggravating the strain, that is why they went back to New Balance.
Last Saturday, we had a snow storm and due to a broken belt on the snow blower I had to clear the driveway by snow scoop and strained my left hamstring. I took a couple of days off and have run pretty slowly on it, but as long as I don’t try to run too fast, the hammie does okay.
The right knee is not complaining very often, but I have to be careful to give it rest and a chance to recuperate after a long or hard run. No streaking or back to back hard days. The lower back is still a little sore at times, but as long as I don’t let Bennie (our dog) sit in my lap, while I am working on my laptop computer it does a lot better.
Top Ten Blog Posts for February
  1. Narrowed the Choices Down to 5 Running Shoes
  2. My iPhone Running App
  3. 10 Things I Love About Running
  4. My Transition Plan to Minimalist Running Shoes
  5. Marathon Poll Results and Questions
  6. What is Good Running Form?
  7. The Winter Runner Stink
  8. The Myth – Running is Cheap
  9. My Very Tentative Race Schedule for 2012
  10. Who is the Running Minimalism Dummy Now?

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:
  • Saucony Kinvara 2 – Personal Purchase
  • Asics Gel Blur 22 – Personal Purchase
  • Tommie Copper Compression Sleeve for knee and calves
  • New Balance Minimus Trail 20 – Personal Purchase
  • Goat Head Gear – Sole Spikes
  • Ruez Performance Underwear
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.

The reality is that

February is a very short month, I had some minor, but nagging injuries and I still made 100 miles this month – even though I didn’t really think that I would!!!!
The move to WordPress.com was beneficial for me, I am focusing on writing more than I did at Blogger.
Now that I seem to have the running shoe and running app search over for a little while, it is time to run and have fun.

New Attitude and Yes I Enjoyed my Run – 2-24-12

Today is the first day of the rest of my running life. Yes I say that almost every day, but today it has a little more meaning. I made some decisions last night and this morning about what I was doing with my running and how I was beginning to feel about it. See my post on Is Running becoming too much like work for more info on what I am talking about.

I went into today’s semi-long run with a different attitude and wasn’t really all that worried about my time, and just went more on effort level and really listened to my body. It felt good. The mud and the hills on the way back kicked my butt bad, but that was okay, I expected that once I saw the road down-back. Overall, it was a good run and I was happy how I felt during and after the run.

Once I got the my first pass of the muddy road and hit the Tiffany Road, I really focused on form and how it felt when I was running comfortably with a slight lean. I still can’t run too far with much of a lean because it causes that my left calf to tighten a little too much.

I still don’t think that the GPS really is all that accurate, but it gives you sort of an idea of how far you run, but the App I am using, isn’t catching the GPS signal very quickly at the run’s start and seems to lose it a lot when I am running, going to have to figure that one out.

* *

If you look at the right side you will see that I ran for 50:09 and did 5.41 miles according to the iSmoothRun App. However when I posted it to RunKeeper, it only gave me credit for 48:50 and 5.29 miles – not a big difference, but still it should post as the same data.  Weird, but the way it turned out.

Looking at the Pace vs Elevation, I think that I held a very steady pace and am happy with it, you can see that I slowed down a lot on the hill, but that hill always gets me and today the mud didn’t help at all.

This was also my normal Notta Road O/B which I have always considered to be my 5.0 mile course (measured by 3 different vehicles) and I finished that in 44:54. Which seems about right for the pace that I was supposed to be running.

So to be honest I don’t know how far I am running anymore and you know something as irksome as I find this, it really isn’t a big  deal now that I am running more for time than mileage for a while.  But still it would be nice to have a fairly accurate idea of how far I am running and have it be consistent from run to run.

I guess even with all this technology available to me, that this is why I just keep my primary running log in an old-fashioned spread sheet ;-). Unfortunately, it doesn’t have all the pace/elevation charts that I like so much :-).

Is Running Becoming too much like Work?

In the sidebar for “A Veteran Runnah” is my quick what is this blog about. I wrote these words for several reasons, but one important one was to remind me of what running and blogging are supposed to be:

Over the past month or so, I started to lose sight of this and during yesterday’s run, I realized that I wasn’t having fun on my run, in fact it was becoming a lot like work.

During this period I had also started using the MiCoach app’s training plan and did the workout assessment, to get my Blue, Green, Yellow and Red running pace zones. Believe it or not I had started running with headphones on while running, not to listen to music, but so that I could hear the “MiCoach” tell me which zone I was running in better.

I was paying so much attention to maintaining a certain pace and listening for that electronic coach to tell me what to do, that I wasn’t listening to how my body was feeling during the run. During the run I felt off a couple of times, but I had to keep up my pace and just ran right through what my body was trying to tell me. Also I wanted to snap a couple of pictures, but I had to maintain that damn pace, so I didn’t bother.

This was not cool! I was now running for a different reasons than enjoyment – and it was feeling an awful lot like work.

This is exactly how I don’t want to feel about my running.

Re-evaluate my running

When I realized this yesterday, I knew that I had to stop and look what I was doing.

1. Am I looking forward to my daily run? This is the most important about running to me – do I look forward to going on my daily run? If I am not – then I am doing something wrong, when it becomes a chore to step out that door – I need to re-evaluate why I am running.

That is what I am doing now.

2. Is it to compete in my age group at local races? No. I know that I am pretty much a middle of the pack runner, who at times has delusions of grandeur. I am training  between a 8:00 to 10:00 minute pace, which is not going to get me to be competitive in my age group any time soon. While I might dream of being faster someday, now that is really where I am. If I look at things realistically, I am what I am – a middle of the pack runner.

To be honest I am ecstatic that I can even run at the mid pack level, since last year at this time, I couldn’t run at all and been told that I would never run again.

I don’t want to screw it up and go back to being a non-runner ever again.

Of course I want to get better and am working in that direction, but now is not the time to rush improvement, I need to build a strong mileage base and that is my primary goal for now.

3. Will that step out the door lead to being able to run a certain distance/pace? Yes I would like to eventually run a marathon and qualify for Boston (dream) or run a sub 20:00 5K (not for a while), but I also know that I need to go more slowly than my competitive and ambitious side would like me to. I know that my body is not ready for these goals – yet.

For the first time in years, I am feeling good while running and my unharnessed optimism is taking over for common sense for an almost 55-year-old runner.

I just need to run smart and I will get to my goals.

4. Am I listening to my body correctly? If I let an electronic coach tell me how fast I need to be running and ignore the signals that my body is telling me, than no – I am not listening to my body. I know that I need to challenge myself to run faster and further, but at the same time I need to do it when my body is ready for it?

This is the delicate balance that I will have a hard time maintaining – but must. If I continue to listen mainly to that electronic voice saying “you can do it”, “resume green zone”, instead of listening to my body saying “I’m not ready yet”, “why am I landing on my heels now?” or even “floor it, let’s see what this old body can do”, I will run into problems.

If I listen closely to my body, I know that I will be better off in the long run.

5. Is there enough flexibility in what I am doing, so that if I am listening to my body or life happens, I can change what I am doing quickly and easily?  Pretty self-explanatory and @MissZippy1 gave a pretty good explanation of this in her post Schedules were meant to be broken.

This is the main reason that I have such a difficult time following a training plan, is that I don’t want to be a slave to a schedule of needing to do a certain pace or distance, when my body is saying I need to do something else.

I am going to take charge of my training plan again. While I might base it on the MiCoach training plan, what I actually do will be based more on how I am actually feeling that day or week and what is going on in my life.

6. Do I want or need to be coached? I have often thought about going ahead and getting a coach, who would help and challenge me to become a better runner. While at the same time moderating or putting a governor on me (which I do need sometime).

While there are a lot of great coaches out there, I haven’t been coached in so many years, I have a feeling that, it would be a difficult transition for me, being the old curmudgeon that I am and how independent I have become. 😉

There is also the cost involved (but if you want something bad enough you find a way to pay for it).

At this point of my running career, I will remain without a coach and continue to muddle along by myself. Although I know the right coach would make me a better runner.

The reality is that

Today I am looking forward to my scheduled 5.0 mile run. However, to reach this “want to do it attitude” again I had to do a couple of things last night and this morning:

1. I have deleted the MiCoach training plan.  I like MiCoach and how it does a lot of its functions and think it is a great App for many runners. Using the MiCoach training plan and Coaching App wasn’t taking me in the direction I wanted to go with my running – I began to depend on it for too much. I even allowed it to take over how I was running and by doing that, was taking the joy out of the run and made it feel more like work.  Which is exactly where I do not want to go.

2. Slow down and temper my ambition. Just because I am feeling really great and am running further than I have in years, does not mean that I am not at risk for injury or burn-out, if I do too much too quickly.

A Reminder

I put those words in my sidebar, to not only let readers, know what “A Veteran Runnah” is about, but also to remind me, when I get off track – why I run.

After all blogging and running are supposed to fun – not just more work!

Stop and think about it

Every so often it helps to stop and take a look at your running, to see if you are still enjoying it and if you are not why and what changes you can make to bring back that sense of joy about running back into your life.

Why do you run?

  1. Is it to compete in my age group at local/regional/national races?
  2. Will that step out the door lead to being able to run a certain distance/pace?
  3. Am I listening to my body correctly?
  4. Is there enough flexibility in what I am doing, so that if I am listening to my body or life happens, I can change what I am doing quickly and easily?
  5. Do I want or need to be coached?
  6. Finally, am I looking forward to my daily run – if I am not – why?

Stop and think for a moment are you  enjoying your running or has it become something that you only have to do.

Think about your answers.

Starting New Training Plan – 2-22-12

Today’s run was just a recovery run and I was supposed to run for 30:00 minutes as part of my new training plan. Unfortunately, I screwed up on the iPhone MiCoach App somehow or another and paused it when I put it in my carry pouch and switched to a different program, which on an old 3G doesn’t work well. 🙂 So I don’t know how far I actually ran, but it was 4 Philbrick laps plus another quarter, so it was at least 3.3 miles. Oh well.

I am trying the Marathon training plan and will probably cut the long runs short if I need to, but it seemed like the plan that was about what I was wanting to do. I may not follow everything exactly, but it gives me a better idea of where I am going, than what I had before. I also had to go clean up my spreadsheet to account for the “leap year” this month, not completely finished, but close enough until I get a little more time.

I felt good on the run, but it was tough to stay in the “green” zone on the training plan, it just felt super fast today. My score was only a 71, I want to get at least in the 80s or higher for each workout. I also re-did the assessment workout and I know that I wasn’t as fast as last time, when I was trying to go as fast as I could most of the assessment instead of following directions – me have a problem with that ha :-).

So I should have a more realistic green zone for my present level conditioning.

I am trying to figure out a way to carry my iPhone once I don’t have to wear a jacket and pants (that have pockets) and I hate the armband. I have modified an old athletic belt and a couple of my backpacking pouches for now. Eventually I will need get a water bottle holder belt with a pocket made in it. But for now this should work as a temporary solution.

My splits were (and the first mile didn’t start until after I came back down the speed hill)

1.0 – 8:22

2.0 – 8:43

2.92 – 14:17

I was probably around an 8:30 pace, but with the mistake I made I won’t know for sure, one thing I have to do is become more consistent with my pacing.

Colder and Windier than it Looked – 2/20/12

It looked a whole lot nicer from inside the window, than it did when I got outside. It was bright sunshine and what looked like a nice breeze to dry the ground a little. However, when I got down to the road it was mid 30’s with a 10-15 mph wind straight out of the north – i.e. cold. But I was supposed to do an easy 3.0 and work on cadence up on top, so the weather wasn’t a big deal, the roads were all clear, I just had to run against the wind 4 times :-).

My GPS App took almost 200 yards to pick up a signal, I wonder if that has a lot to do with the major difference in distance at what was a 3.1 the other day, being 2.88 today, I added the extra on at the end to have 3.0.

The cadence part started out really well, I was following the beat of the metronome, until my App announced the 1.0 mile mark and stopped the metronome and didn’t tell me anymore splits. So I am pretty happy with my cadence that I maintained it fairly close to 90 without a metronome – making progress.

The run was easy and I felt good after yesterday’s 6.0 miles. The Saucony Kinvara are breaking in nicely and feeling more comfortable every time I wear them.  I guess I can put my shoe pocket on them now :-).

On my cool-down 1/2 mile walk, I stopped and talked with a neighbor, who told me that their Chow was attacked by Coyotes in January and had been injured so badly that they had to put her down. Pretty sobering thoughts, especially for my 6:30 P.M. Bennie walks in the dark, really thinking about some anti-critter spray now. Probably will get some at the local hunting store this week.

First Run – in My Saucony Kinvaras 2

I have had way too may “first runs” lately, but this one felt different than the other shoes I have tried out lately. As I discussed in my Running Shoes – Time to Rewind and Start Over post I chose the Saucony Kinvara 2. Even though they were on my top 5 list, I had been hesitant to try them because of what had happened to my previous Saucony shoes (heel wear and blister problems). However, nothing else was working and I really do love the fit and feel of Saucony shoes, so I decided to look very closely at the Kinvaras.

I am glad that I did, the heel is designed differently than other Saucony shoes that I have run in and hopefully this design change, fixes the issues I have had with them in the past.

When I tried them on, there was no doubt that they were going to come home with me.

They did and here they are:

Enough of the pictures already, how did they do on my feet during the run?

How were they

FANTASTIC – this is a PG-13 site, so I can’t write what I really said-but the sailor did come out and play for a while. 🙂

They were comfortable, I easily maintained my form for most of 3.1 miles (except when I was screwing around with my iPhone’s arm band, which I eventually threw in my pocket). I knew the calf strain was there and had to back off my lean when I was going faster, but at more reasonable speeds, it was hardly noticeable – big freaking difference!!!!

The shoes are light and fast – and yes I like them a lot so far.

The only thing I noticed at all was that they were a little tight on my right forefoot, not uncomfortably tight, just more snug than the left, so that is something that I will watch to see if it loosens up a bit, after I wear them for a while.

Splits

Here are my splits for the run today:

The first mile in a new pair of shoes is always slower, as you get used to how they feel, plus I was messing around with how I was carrying my iPhone for the GPS program. That is my next project finding a great way to carry it once the weather turns warmer and I don’t have pockets to carry it in or else find a GPS watch that I have on my wrist – who know maybe I will win one of the contests going on.

I am definitely very happy with my mile 2 & 3 splits for a first run and my cadence was very close to my goal of 90.

The reality is that

Now I wish I had gotten my Saucony Kinvaras earlier and not done the run-a-round routine, if these work as good as I think they will, next time I will know to start with the Saucony, instead of waiting like I did this time.

The Kinvaras have had the best start of all of my shoes in a long time! Now let’s see how they do from here.

Next report at 50 miles.

My Transition Plan to Minimalist Running Shoes

I have documented “how not to transition” to minimalist running shoes in my Who is the Running Minimalism Dummy Now? post. Where I plainly say what I did was stupid and looking back, I believe that even more now, than when I wrote it.

The calf strain that I re-aggravated and am suffering through because of running too much, too fast, too soon in my MT20s was totally preventable. I should have listened to the advice given out by other runners who have transitioned to minimalist running shoes, New Balance and other minimalist shoe companies, about the need to transition slowly to this type of running shoe and form.

If I had – I would have run without interruption and not have my calf be re-injured and feel worse than it did in the original injury. As my dad says should’ve, could’ve, would’ve, doesn’t mean rat’s ass when you already have done it.

So I over-did my initial running in my MT20s and am living with the consequences – the question is now that I have learned my lesson, what am I doing about it – since I have had a few forced days off from running to reflect on what happened?

I have been

Doing a lot of research on how I can make the transition to my Minimus Trail 20s a better experience.

I really believe that the running form associated with minimal shoes/running whether it is called Good Form Running, Bareform Running, Merrell Barefoot Running, Natural Running, ChiRunning, Flow Running, Easy Running or any of the other labels that have become associated with running in minimalist running shoes is the direction that I need to go for my personal running style.

New Balance

Since I am running in New Balance shoes, I figured I would go ahead look at the New Balance Site first:

Unfortunately, the New Balance “making the transition” site did not really give me what I was looking for – an actual daily transition plan to break me into to my new Minimus shoes (you notice that it is not the other way around).  So I went looking elsewhere on the Internet to see what I could find for transition plans to minimal shoes.

Several sites had detailed transition plans, but the best site that I found information for transitioning to minimal running shoes was Merrell.com:

Merrell

Part 1

Part 2

iPhone App

The best part for me, was that Merrell has developed a free iPhone App that has a transition plan that you just use to get you transitioned to using more minimal shoes. This is the route I have decided to take.

No Instant Gratification

Like most of the transition plans to the minimal type running shoes, this plan is not going to be done in a week or two, the plan is around 40 days in length and you can repeat workouts if you need a longer transition period.

For someone who is impatient (talking about myself again) and just wants to run in his new shoes, this plan acts as a governor to slow me down. I am not saying that I will follow the plan exactly all the time (no I know me too well), but at least I have a daily idea of where I am supposed to be and I will remember what happens if I start to do too much, too soon – that is the plan any ways.

I Just Want to Run

Unfortunately, for some of us, transitioning to minimal shoes is not that easy and we have to stop and find a transition plan that will work for us. I really, really dislike that I have to go slowly to transition to my new MT20s, but at the same time I want to be able to run in them without re-aggravating my calf injury or causing other unnecessary aches and pains.

That I can’t do this quickly and easily is very frustrating for me, but I also knew when I bought the minimalist shoes that many people were not able to just run in them and had to go through a longer transition period. I honestly thought that I wouldn’t need the transition period.

I was wrong.

To be honest a few years ago, I would not have been willing to go through the transition process, just to wear a pair of damn shoes and would have taken the shoes back and stayed higher on the minimalist shoe ladder and kept running like I always had.

The reality is that

I see many possible positive results coming from this change in shoes and running form, so I want to do it right. I will work through the transition plan, mostly as Merrell’s iPhone App recommends, try very hard not to do more than my body is adapting to and run in my other shoes until I can get the mileage in my MT20s up to the where I can run 20-30 miles a week in them without re-aggravating old injuries or causing new ones due to training errors. Hopefully, my other shoes and my feet hold up to this change – we will see how this works out.

I really do like my New Balance Minimus Trail Shoes, but I don’t like the long transition that it is going to take to be able to wear them as my primary running shoe, but the quick start didn’t work so well. Now I have to show wisdom and patience. Damn – does that mean I have grown up? Nope, just that there are too many good things about minimalist shoes in my opinion, that I am willing to go through the transition process.

My Advice

My advice to anyone who wants to switch to lower on the ladder minimalist shoes like the New Balance Minimus, Vibram 5 fingers, Merrell Trail/Road Glove or any of the many others out there – that you seriously think about getting them a couple of months before you plan to really start needing to run in them full-time. That way you have plenty of time to find out your personal transition needs, if you are like me and one of those unlucky “soles” (sp on purpose), who need a longer transition time, you will have the time you need.

Thank You Merrell

Thank you Merrell for putting together a very good educational series on transitioning to minimalist shoes and the iPhone App that I will be using to keep me a little more honest in my transition to my minimalist running shoes. I don’t think Merrell will mind me using their transition plan to transition to my New Balance shoes – after all it is a free App. Plus using their educational series and App will make me think about looking at their products a little more, the next time I decide that I need a new pair of running shoes. :-).

Here is to hoping that my shoes break me in without further displays of “told you so”. 🙂

Originally written by Harold Shaw published at “A Veteran Runnah” © 2011 – All Rights Reserved. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Harold Shaw and A Veteran Runnah” with appropriate and specific directions or links to the original content.

AVR Week In Review – 1/29/12

This was a very quiet week, without a lot going on. I finally got the post updated/edited after the move to WordPress.com and can focus more on the writing, than back-end management now.

I do know that I am starting to get tired of winter and having to run bundled up, by the end of February, it will definitely be time to start really moving towards spring. Yes we still have to get through this month, but December and January are now behind us and there is a small light at the end of the tunnel :-).

Running This Week Continue reading “AVR Week In Review – 1/29/12”