Sunday, November 29, 2015

Pearl Izumi N1 Trail V1 - 50 Mile Review

This is the second time I have had the pleasure of doing a 50-mile review on the Pearl Izumi N1 Trails. You can read my first one here.

Yeah, the first time I gushed, ohhed and ahhed all about how great they were, this time while I moderate how much I sing their praises, but I can say without any doubt that I am glad that I listened Sam W and a few others, and went back to a pair of running shoe that work for me.

The N1 Trail V1's are not the sexiest, newest and greatest running shoes available, but they are easy for me to run in, not prissy/fussy and do a lot of things well. In other words they are just working for me.

They are more like my old Ford Ranger pick-up truck:
Reliable, have a bit firmer ride, do what I want when I want, not afraid to get it dirty, go anywhere I want or need to go and it cleans up well to wander around town, take TheWife out for supper or get to work in any kind of weather. 
Yeah, that pretty much sums up how I feel about the N1 Trails V1's too.

If you have a pair of trail shoes, they just don't look right without some mud and crud on them.
I have run 12 times in the N1 Trails and my average run has been over 5.0 miles, which is pretty indicative of how comfortable I find them to run in.

They are the shoes that I reach for first, when I get ready to go for a run.

Another easy day and more on the Chromebook - RunLog 11-28-15

The day after Black Friday.

I stayed home, ran down-back, talked with company and enjoyed not being around the shopping madness yesterday. Oh yeah, I did run too this morning.

Didn't think you would get off that easy did you? However, this it was just a quick and get it done run.

Bennie and I ran, but unfortunately, at 36*F it was not shorts and shirtsleeves again today.

Down-back is starting to get a little beat up and with the frost coming out of the ground, a bit muddy, so I wore the N1 Trails again today. They do make a nice road and trail combo running shoe and are easy to run on either surface. They are just about perfect for dirt roads, slimy spots, transitioning to tar and then back on dirt again shoes.

The run itself, well I am still just getting myself out the door and running. Nothing super fast - oh Bennie will force the pace every so often to make me chase a vehicle that is going in the same direction, but nothing that you would call sustained fast stuff.

That is the plan through the end of the year. Although, I do plan to keep doing a once a week treadmill session just to keep the legs from loosing too much speed over the winter.

In other words.

This was one of those simply boring runs, nothing exciting happened, no strange critters were seen, the weather wasn't really anything to talk about and it was a run where for the most part we just plugged along under gray skies and then finished up.

As we were finishing up, was when that I got the bright idea of running down to meet Mary (she had gone for her run too), so we plugged along until we met up with her. Of course there was a car going the same direction as us after we turned around and Bennie had to go into overdrive mode, while we were in yak-it-up mode.

All that resulted in was him showing off his muscles and his 21 pounds straining pretty hard to pull my 155 pounds faster up Steven's Hill. So he got his weight session in, but didn't have much to show for it as far as making me pick up the pace very much. However, there were plenty of dig marks in the dirt, where he did his damnedest to move me faster.

No, it wasn't all that great of a run, but it added miles onto the monthly total and got me outside to breath some fresh air

Chromebook Stuff

I put this at the end versus up at the top, because most people really don't give a rat's ass about my owning a Chromebook and what I think about it...well they probably think that way about my running too.  ;-)

One of the things that I have figured out is that the battery on my refurbished Samsung Series 5-550 probably ain't gonna last all that long. However, when I did a bunch of research on the different models available, at what prices if I wanted to upgrade fairly soon, I got a nice surprise.

The Chromebooks in the $250 range, didn't necessarily blow it away. My old 5-550 is still a very viable Chromebook both in terms of performance and specs in that price range. The biggest difference being the processor and screen, which in the real world useage from what I could see wasn't all that big of a difference in how well it looked or worked.

While having the 5-550's battery only last a couple of hours before needing to plug it in, is an inconvenience and it would be nice to have something that I didn't have to worry about plugging in as much, it does everything else quite nicely and since it was just over $50 for it - I can't complain too much.

Which means until the battery dies completely this almost 4 year old Chromebook is going to keep on being my primary laptop with a fairly new Win10 ASUS 13" Flip as my backup computer. Just gotta plug it in more often that's all.

Although, while I was shopping at Best Buy tonight, I did look at the ASUS Flip 10.1 Chromebook and it is a sweet laptop, but it just doesn't seem to have enough screen real estate to be a primary work/life laptop - although I have a feeling that I could make it work if I wanted to. However, when I put it in tablet mode, I had the same issue as I have with my 13" Windows Flip, I don't like the feeling of holding onto it by the keys. If there was some sort of cover for the keys in tablet mode - I might really, really consider it, but I couldn't find anything like that online.

The other two Chromebooks they had as display models only reinforced how good the 5-550 still is.

Enough about the Chromebook, it will be here for a while I have a feeling.

This post originally appeared on One Foot In Reality if you see it elsewhere, it has been used without permission, please go to my site to see the original post.

Friday, November 27, 2015

5.0 With A Mud-Pie - RunLog 11-27-15

Say what you will, I like running in shorts and a short-sleeve shirt. This morning Bennie aka Mud-Pie had the privilege of running in 52*F weather, yeah it was a bit breezy, but it was warm.

However, since we had a hard freeze last week with those 15*F mornings, the frost was coming out of the ground and things were pretty muddy down-back. I knew this was the case so I wore the N1 Trails - it was a good choice. I wasn't slipping/sliding around and I didn't care if they got muddy. They are after all trail running shoes, not prissy road shoes. hehehehe

The is probably the best shape down-back has ever been and while it was a bit muddy and slimey in places, which meant that my white dog underneath was a little more brown than anything. However, it was nice to run on and what I needed for a run the next day after a race.

Yeah, Chromebooks are Different

After only a week of being back on a Chromebook, I have decided to move back to a Chromebook as my 90% computer, even though I know that a Chromebook doesn't do everything I want a computer to do, know something that is acceptable to me.

The things it doesn't do, I can either make do with other alternatives or I have decided that those things are not as important to me as I thought they once were.

Nope, instead I have focused on the 90% that my Chromebook does do quite well.

However, knowing this did require me to: recognize, acknowledge, accept, deal with, tolerate, suffer with, relish, respect, admit and all those other words that show I know that using a Chromebook and the Chrome OS are not and will not be the same experience as using a Windows or Apple operating system.

Yeah, so I do know that Chromebooks are different.

In my opinion, it is a good thing.

Even if it does mean that it I will be voluntarily moving even more deeply into the Google tech silo. 

Which is something that I have been hesitant to do...and purposely avoided -- that putting all the eggs in one tech basket thing. Being so dependent upon one company for most of my technology needs, really is not how I like to do things, but at the same time, I have been heading down this road for a while. 

So we will see where this road takes me.

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Champions Turkey Trot 5K - Recap 11-26-15

Even though I am not currently a member of Champion's Gym, I STILL call it my home gym. Working in Augusta and having a gym 11 miles in the opposite direction, which makes it 20 miles out the way, just ain't practical or too smart, otherwise I would still be a member.

This is a race I try to do every year and thankfully today's Thanksgiving Day Turkey Trot was a LOT better conditions than last year's edition when we had a snow storm and I was plowing 11" of snow with my front bumper to get out of the yard. This year temps were in the low 30's and a light breeze, but the best thing was that the roads were clear.

About as good as it gets at the end of November in Maine.

The best part of this race is not the race, usually by this time of year, I have shut things down and am in maintenance mode, so it is not an A or even a B race on the schedule. Nope, it is a race where I get to catch up with all the people that I haven't seen in a while.

Yeah, that is the best part...I even had a few people come up and tell me they were reading this blog, which I thought was pretty cool and I definitely told them thank you!

Going into the race, I didn't really have any plans on racing super hard and was looking for a sub 23:00 or so.

Well enough of the background stuff, how did the race go.

The 5K and 10K races started together, so until the 5K turn-around you don't know who you are competing with. Plus there were a LOT more people running today than either or the race director expected. So I purposely got up in the front row, so I didn't have worry about tripping over or getting boxed in.
Photo by Carrie Davis - At the starting line of the Champion's Turkey Trot 5K - I am the last guy on the right
I may or may not have misjudged and mis-started ever so slightly before the starter said go. I heard Greg G. holler something smart aleckey - at me about it. Anyway, it didn't much matter, there were a few people who quickly went by me by the time we got on Armory Road. As we went down towards the Armory, another guy and I were starting to go back and forth passing one another and did that until we got to the turn-around.

It was actually kind of fun having someone push me to keep up with. I had decided that I was going to battle him and not just let another runner go early in the race like I usually do.

He ran the 10K and probably would have left me on the hill by the Interstate.
Although I did have to chuckle when a couple of college runners went by us, talking and chatting like they were out for a Sunday long run - made me jealous as hell - oh to be young again. ;-)

As the leaders went by the turn-around, all but one runner ahead of me just kept going straight and were doing the 10K. Unfortunately, the guy who turned was already about 30-45 seconds ahead of me and there was no chance of me catching him.

Unfortunately, I also lost the guy that was pushing me to keep up the pace, and when I snuck a peek behind me after a couple minutes, the nearest person behind me was a pretty good distance back there. Damn, I should not have looked, because once I did, you can see where I started to ease up a little and save a little in case someone really started to blow the doors off coming back.

Although it was cool the amount of support that the other runners gave me as I was going back by them.

Coming back up Armory Road is not really a hill, at the same time until you get to the light, it is a steady incline and with no one around me to chase or hold off, I didn't feel the need to super hard. I just ran comfortably hard up Armory and then picked it up at the light to the end.

I did finish 2nd overall, well behind the winner.

Which is the second year in a row that I actually finished 2nd in the 5K, so that was cool. You can only race against the people who show up for the race you are running, so while there were a lot of runners who were/are a LOT faster than I am at any distance, they didn't run the 5K, so lucky me.

My official time was 24:44, which when I finished it seemed to me to be a LOT slower than what I had been running. I have a pretty good idea of my pace and was pretty sure that I had run a sub 23:00 for a 5K. Hey, it is just a small local race that I do more for fun than actually going after a PR. Not a big deal.

Yeah, the course was a bit long, my Garmin measured it as 3.4 and put me through the 5K in 22:41, which was right around the pace that I wanted.

So the run was really just what I wanted finishing second overall in the 5K was pretty cool - that doesn't happen very often and I have a feeling that it will happen less and less as I get keep getting older :-).

After all my whining pissing, moaning and groaning about trying to figure out which running shoes to use today. I ended up using my Pearl Izumi N2 Roads (which are not really race day shoes-they are trainers in my opinion). They did great, I didn't think about my feet or legs at all during the race!!!! I didn't push hard enough to tweak the hammies any and they are comfortable, even if they are getting long in the tooth.

So I met my goals for the race and exceeded where I thought I would finish, so it was a good day of running. But the best part was that I got to see a lot of people who I haven't seen in a while, which is always nice and the biggest reason why I do the races - the other runners.

Thank Carrie and Lisa for all your hard work and I will see you for next year's edition.

This post originally appeared on One Foot In Reality if you see it elsewhere, it has been used without permission, please go to my site to see the original post.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Problem Solved - RunLog 11-24-15

This morning I was whining about trying to decide which shoes to wear at the Turkey Trop up in Waterville on Thursday. I tried my old Skechers GoRun2's and after my 4.0 mile run in them, they took a quick trip to the back of the garage - there was a reason I stopped running in them and I figured it out around mile 2.

So that left me with the Asics Hyperspeed 6's or my original Blue Hoka Clifton v1's. The Asics trash my hammies every time I run in them???? While I haven't run in the Clifton's since July, I did run well in them, although they were a bit narrow. So I when I dropped off the GR2's, I dug out the Clifton's and tried them on. MMMMMM a bit narrow still, but I took them with me to the gym and was going to do a quick treadmill session in them.

In other words, I wasn't instantly impressed and continued to strategize, scheme, think about and all those other things that runners do when they don't have quite the right pair of running shoes laying around the house.

One of the things that I typically do when I have a pair of laces in shoes I am giving away that I like is to swap them for a pair that I will never use. So I did and put them in my coat pocket (keep that in mind).

While I was driving to the gym, I had a brain cramp or a great idea, I don't know, but either way, I was wearing my old Pearl Izumi N2 Road's, that have been bothering my left foot and in previous posts mentioned that I thought it might have something to do with the LockLaces.

Hey, Harold, you have a pair of laces in your coat pocket that will look great in you N1's, you have them on and it might take 5 minutes to do the change out. Why not try it.

So when I got to the gym I swapped out the LockLaces for a different pair of regular laces.

Yep, the different laces made a difference almost immediately. I like the LockLaces a lot, but not all shoes work well with them and I guess my N2 roads fall in that category...which is too bad, but the way it is.

Well after all that back story, I can finally get to the run.