I HAVE MOVED

After a lot of thought and consideration -- I have decided to retire One Foot in Reality and leave it as an Archive. I will still monitor it to keep the trolls at bay, but will not be posting here any longer.

If you are looking for my new posts, please go to www.haroldlshaw.com .

Thank you for all they years of following One Foot In Reality.

Harold

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Social Media Overload and What I am Doing About It


After a lot of thought I have decided to move some of best of my old posts from Aging Runnah and A Runnah’s Story blogs, primarily the old reviews, maybe a few of the better posts and race reports that I have written over the years. I have a feeling that at some point, my WordPress.com blogs are simply going to go away and I want to still be able to go back and read some of the stuff I wrote.

If you are reading this blog post, that is why it is has been re-posted here.

Originally posted on: December 29, 2012


Time - it is all about time and how you use it.

This is not my usual running related post, but it is definitely related to healthy-living in today's world.

Social media is a time suck - in my mind there is no doubt about it. It isn't a bad thing in and of itself, but it does take a LOT of time out of your/my day that could be spent doing other things that might be a LOT more productive.

The amount of time that you and I spend on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ (especially now that they have communities) and other social media networks is probably fairly substantial.

Let’s see I have almost 200 feeds in my Google Reader, am beginning to use YouTube more, a member of 8 Facebook Groups, 6 Google+ Communities, numerous Twitter #Hashtags (which I consider a communities) - whose members provide links to their blog posts, links to interesting information or simply the many interesting comments that I want to either read or join in the conversation also.

Unfortunately, for me the amount of information available on my social media channels is becoming more and more overwhelming. The number of people in these groups, communities and #hashtags has been growing - almost exponentially over the past 6 months and I find myself drowning in trying to keep up with all the information and conversations that have been going on in my multiple social media channels.

However, while this is probably a good problem to have, especially doing what I am doing with my blogs and online interests. I am getting overwhelmed and starting to feel as though I don’t interact in my social media channels as much as I should.

I don’t want to be seen as one of those, who just take and take from others in my social media channels (and yes those people do exist), by only seeming promoting my or other's blog posts/comments/conversations and not participating in the conversations that are taking place. I want to be an active participant in the communities that interest me or that I work with.

I know that this is an artificial pressure that I put on myself and shouldn't worry about it, but I do. Enough that I have pretty much shut-down and taken most of this week off from participating and commenting on most everything related to social media (not completely, but most of it).

This post is a result of that shut-down.

However, as I said - it all comes down to time.

I have to establish my priorities and what is important to me and focus on those things, instead of trying to be everywhere at once and being an outside participant in too many social media networks.

Over the next few days, I am going to start looking at ways, I can participate more in the Groups and Communities that I need/want to be a part of and prune those that seem to suck me in and lead me down those many rabbit holes that are very cool to travel, but at the same time are not very productive.

Some of the things I need to do are:

  • Look closely at my Google Reader subscriptions and unscubscribe to those I no longer want or need to follow.
  • Go through my Twitter Lists and #hashtags to reduce the number that I am attempting to follow and only use some when I am involved in those Twitter Chats that I love so much.
  • Look at the Facebook Groups/People that I “Like” and possibly change how I use this service a little or a lot.
  • Look at the Google+ Communities and figure out which one are necessary and which ones can I leave and how I use Google+, which I like much more than Facebook.
  • Which social media sites and running websites can I delete my profile from.

I guess what I am saying is that I need to do a complete audit of my social media activities and focus on the areas that I enjoy or need to participate in. I am learning that I can not do it all and don’t want any platform, group or community to feel that I am simply using them as a way to market myself or my blog.

The reality is that

this is not a bad problem to have, but it is something that I need to look very carefully at over the next few days to see how I can focus more on what is important and associate more with the people online that I want to associate with, without making it so that I don’t continue to meet new people as well. Which is one of the reasons that I love social media is meeting people who I would never meet otherwise.

Yes it is all about time and how you spend it. I guess that I just want the quality and focus of my conversations to improve, instead of feeling like I am shotgunning everything and hoping that something will stick.

Do any of you feel this way? What do you think and do you have any words or wisdom or suggestions that we all can use to better use and maintain our social media presence.

Friday, December 28, 2012

Reviewing my 2012 Goals

After a lot of thought I have decided to move some of best of my old posts from Aging Runnah and A Runnah’s Story blogs, primarily the old reviews, maybe a few of the better posts and race reports that I have written over the years. I have a feeling that at some point, my WordPress.com blogs are simply going to go away and I want to still be able to go back and read some of the stuff I wrote.

If you are reading this blog post, that is why it is has been re-posted here.

Originally posted on: December 28, 2012

Well it is that time again - time to review how I did on my goals that I set and wrote about for 2012 in my 2011 and Beyond - My Running in the Future.



The above are photos of me in 2012 - The green jacket photo was on January 14, 2012 and the blue jacket was on December 26, 2012. There are just a few differences - the biggest one in my opinion is how confident I feel about my running now, compared to that day in January. 

That photo from January was my first race of the year and I really didn't know where I was going with my running, other than I was going to run. Now I have a year's experience under my belt and have a better idea of what I can do and hopefully the direction that my running will be going.

I don't know about you, but I find it hard to go back, review your 2012 goals post and respond directly to each goal that you expected to meet during the year. Putting it on the screen and doing the copy and paste to this post, really made me stop and think about what I did and didn't accomplish this year.

However, I am a big believer in reflecting on what I actually accomplished versus what I had written that I would. That way I can adjust or create new goals for 2013 based on reality instead of wishful thinking.

My 2012 Holistic Goals:

1. Just be able to run when I want to.

I didn't have many days where I couldn't have run if I had really wanted to and I ran more this year than I have in several years.

2. Change and improve my running form.

I did work pretty hard on this through September and after that I just focused on running relaxed. So has my running form changed? A little, but not the big overhaul that I was expecting after I read Chi Running last December. Maybe I need to work on this more in 2013, but I am not going to make it a goal - instead I am just going to run relaxed this year. Yes I still heel strike too much, but my form is much more compact and efficient than it was at the start of the year.

3. Re-engage in the social aspect of running.

I think that I have done this fairly well, I would still like to find a local group of people to run with, but overall, I think that I have been fairly successful with this one.

4. I want to continue to grow the ”A Veteran Runnah” blog/brand.

This one was very successful, although the numbers are not super-great, writing at A Veteran Runnah has provided me opportunities with FitFluential, Real Health, Swiftwick and others.

5. I want to start racing again and not just virtually.

I participated in 10 races this year. I had a lot of fun at them and the best part was that I got to meet a lot of great people at them.

My measurable 2012 Goals

What were my measurable goals for 2012?
  • Run at least a total of 1,200 miles in 2012. I ran 1,842 miles in 2012 - Met this goal.
  • Run at least 330 days in 2102. 302 Days Run. Didn't meet this goal.
  • Run a 5K sub 20:00 minutes sometime after 8/6/12 (this is my pie-in-the-sky goal) Best race time was 21:26. Didn't meet this goal.
  • Weigh less than 155 pounds on my 55th birthday (I weighed in at 172 today) on 8/8/12 (two days after my birthday) I weighed 150. Met this goal.
  • Run at least 4 races in 2012. I ran in 10 races. Met this goal.
  • Join a local running club in 2012. I joined the Central Maine Striders. Met this goal.

So why didn't I meet those 2 goals?
Running a sub 20:00 minute 5K. I knew that would be the most difficult one to achieve this year (it was my pie-in-the-sky goal), but I feel that I made big strides towards meeting it and will be keeping this as a goal for 2013.

I did run 302 days and ran 334 times this year. I believe that I set this goal too high for the amount of rest that I actually need and plan to lower it to running 300 days in 2013. I want to plan on taking at least 1 day off a week and a few days after each training cycle, to ensure that I have enough rest to achieve my other goals this year.

The reality is that


I believe that I have made huge strides in my running this year and am very satisfied with the direction I am going.

Did you meet your goals for 2012, if not what are you going to do differently in 2013?

Thursday, December 27, 2012

2012 - Was a GREAT Year!

After a lot of thought I have decided to move some of best of my old posts from Aging Runnah blog, primarily the old reviews, maybe a few of the better posts and race reports that I have written over the years. I have a feeling that at some point, my WordPress.com blogs are simply going to go away and I want to still be able to go back and read some of the stuff I wrote.

If you are reading this blog post, that is why it is has been re-posted here.

Originally posted on: December 27, 2012

The year 2012 has brought about many changes to both my real life and running life! Overall, it has been a GREAT year. However, since this is primarily a running blog, I will focus on my year in running and healthy-living. My wife and I decided in May to return to work and luckily I was able to find a job where I can work from home and focus on continuing to improve my health.
Consistency
My biggest accomplishment this past year in running was that I ran consistently. I listened to my body, for the most part trained fairly intelligently and didn’t let small injuries become major problems. Except for the 8 days I took off to recover from a long year of training at the end of October, my longest breaks throughout the year were only a few 4 consecutive days off to recover from some minor things - I ran!
This was huge for me, because for many years, my running was plagued by being consistently inconsistent, either because of injury or just plain slothdom. I will finish 2012 with over 1,800 miles and that is definitely the most since my running glory days back in 1983-1986 and couldn’t have been accomplished without having been consistent and lot of motivation from my online running community.
Loosing More Weight
Over the past year I have gone from 172 to down around the 145 range, which has made a big difference in my running and my wardrobe. That has been one of the biggest things that I had to wrap my head around is that I no longer wear large or extra-large clothing, I am more of a men's small and have a 30 waist these days. Sometimes it is just hard to grasp that because I was a 36 waist or larger for many years (even when I was running). That was the focus of my Christmas this year to update my wardrobe a little to get some less bulky clothes to wear.
Going to Minnesota
I got to go to Minnesota to visit my daughter and her burgeoning family in July. That was truly one of the highlights of the year, seeing all 4 of my grandchildren. Oh by the way, I got to do some running while I was out there and found that running on the roads there is a lot easier. They actually have sidewalks or breakdown lanes, to make it a lot safer than up heah in Maine where I usually run.
It was a good trip, even if I did lose a pair of fairly new Nike Free Run 3 and a bunch of other running gear on the way out there, it just meant that I had to get some new stuff for running out there.
Online Running Community
A LOT of really great things have happened since I joined the online running community, that is across so many social media sites (Twitter, Facebook, Daily Mile, Google+ and all the others). In my mind meeting so many wonderful people who just happen to be runners or healthy living types are some of the best things that have happened this year.
I am not going to get into the name-dropping, because there are just too many great people out there who have inspired, pushed, helped, taught, motivated and made me a better runner than I would have been if I had not been a part of this wonderful community of great people.
My running
Without a doubt 2012 was the best year of I have of running in many, many years! I am running faster and further than I have since 1986, the best part is that I have started racing again. I love to run and for many years I just ran and didn’t race due to my problems with race anxiety.
This year I wanted to confront this issue head-on and made great progress towards overcoming the worst of it. I ran my first race at the January Thaw 4.5 miler in Belgrade and participated in 5 road 5K’s, 4 Bond Brook 5K trail races and a half marathon. For the first time in many years I also started running longer runs. For a while I was running 13 plus miles at least once a week, which I really think helped my running improve more than anything else that I did (besides running consistently).
Running Highlight
Attending the Runner’s World Half Festival Weekend! I went to Bethlehem, PA as a FitFluential blogger and ran in the 5K and Half Marathon, in addition to all the other activities. I was shocked that I finished second in the men’s 55-60 age group that day and then the next morning ran my first Half Marathon in a race and finished with a 1:41:12.
The best part of the entire weekend was meeting all the different people there. The people from Altra were simply fantastic and actually listened to what runners were saying instead of going and just trying to sell their product, which was very refreshing. The Staff at Runner's World were just fantastic in how they treated the FitFluential Bloggers and I enjoyed learning so much more about the people who work there and magazine that I have read for so long.
Then what can I say about all these other FitFluential Ambassadors that I got to meet during the weekend or who Bart Yasso coined Harold's Harem. Not really, but as the only guy there, I kind of stuck out like a sore thumb :-). So many of these FitFluential Ambassadors were people that I "talk" with on social media and read their blogs, so needless to say it was great to put people and their personalities with the name.
It was a GREAT weekend and I learned a lot about myself and what I needed to do to compete and run at a different level than I had been. The Runner's World Half & Festival was really less about the running (which was great) and more about the experience and meeting all the people that I did down there.
Racing
Although I had a few age group 1st or 2nd place finishes this year and am proud of those races, especially since I haven’t raced in so long, it is all relative and compared to many others, I am not all that fast.
Running to win my age group is not my motivation for running - no my motivation is because I love to run and challenge myself to do better than I have before, any of the age group stuff is purely accidental or is that coincidental - but won't lie and say that it isn't nice to do once in a while.
I ran in 6 road races and 4 trail races this year and hopefully have gotten over the worst of my race anxiety, which has plagued me for so many years. Oh a couple of times I let it get the better of me and found reasons not to go to a race, but for the most part, I think I have gotten the better of it - finally.
Blogging
I started blogging about Running and Healthy Living on A Veteran Runner over at Blogger, then moved this blog to WordPress.com in January and no have “graduated” to a Self-hosted WordPress.org blog. At times I feel as though I would have been better off, just dealing with the issues at Blogger and stayed there, especially now that my primary computer is a Chromebook which integrates with Blogger a LOT better than it does WordPress of any flavor.
It is also kind of funny, because my One Foot In Reality blog, usually beats A Veteran Runnah on all the stats, even when I don’t post to it for months at a time - oh well, I like this blog’s niche better. Who knows, maybe someday I will return this blog back to Blogger, it would be easier in many respects to just do that. I admit it that I miss a few things about Blogger, now that I am posting again to my other blog.
It was also very cool to have been nominated as one of the Most Inspirational blogs, by the #RunChat community - it meant a lot to me. However, I still feel that Krysten at Darwinian Fail, has been through more and was more inspirational to many runners than I have been.
Opportunities
FitFluential Ambassador
I became a FitFluential Ambassador in December 2011 and over the course of this past year, I have learned so much from Kelly Olexa, Danielle Liss and the rest of the staff at FitFluential. As a result of being an FFA I used what I have learned and confidence I have gained into opportunities to do things that I would never have believed possible before I joined FitFluential.
Honestly, I have been very conservative about which promotional or marketing opportunities that I apply for. I ensure they to fit my personal beliefs and interests, before I go ahead and just apply to do anything.
The one opportunity that I got through FitFluential that really stands out for me was being given the opportunity to attend the Runner’s World Half Festival as an invited FitFluential Ambassador Blogger and where I got to meet so many other FitFluential Ambassadors, Runner’s World Staff and other runners (right Joe) that I got to meet down there.
FitFluential has been a great match for me and I am proud to be a FitFluential Ambassador.
Real Health Contributor
Back in June, I got this strange email asking me to contact some guy named Jonathan about a possible opportunity. After a lot of talking on the phone and email exchanges, I provided some video (not all that great at and still am working on to get better) and was brought on as a Real Health Blog Contributor in August. The time between being contacted to being selected was a wild ride.
Initially I was unsure if I was “good” enough to be a paid contributor and do what they were looking for, especially when it came to the video part of the deliverables. That self-confidence thing that seems to bite me square in the butt at times. However, this time my wife and a few others who I trust, gave me confidence that I could do it.
It seems strange sometimes to look back and see how far I have come in both my writing and video styles in the 3 months since I started to contribute to the Real Health blog. I just want to thank Jonathan and the rest of the Real Health team for giving me the opportunity and believing in me. It has been a GREAT experience and one I am thankful for.
Swiftwick Blog Ambassador
I met Jillian Marketing & Media Director Swiftwick International, LLC by accident while at the Runner’s World Half Festival in October.
I had never heard of Swiftwick before the Festival and got a pair of Swiftwick Aspire socks in my blogger’s swag bag, which I loved the first time I put them. I just happened to be wearing them that night and told her how much I liked them in such a short time. I did something that goes against everything I know and recommend about wearing new gear for the first time at a race. I wore the Swiftwick socks for both the 5K and Half Marathon, without any problems! I was very impressed with how they worked for me and told Jillian how much I liked the socks after the race, when I saw her at Aardvark Sport's booth at the expo.
I stayed in contact with Jillian via email and Twitter, got to try a few more of their products and then during December I was asked to become an unpaid Swiftwick Blog Ambassador and because I believe in their products, I accepted.
Product Reviews
There have been many opportunities to review products, some provided by the manufacturers and many that I have purchased myself. It is something that I enjoy doing, but at the same time it comes with a few hazards and you need to be very aware of how you discuss a product or book review. I have turned down opportunities to review products that I don't use, wouldn't use or simply conflict with products that I do use and am happy with.
In reviewing products there is a fine line between trashing a product or providing constructive criticism and I prefer to be positive whenever possible.
Also the elephant in the room is how many products you can receive for free from manufacturers, until you have to start reporting it as income. Since A Veteran Runnah has become a small business enterprise for me as well as my personal blog, I discovered from my accountant that once you go over $600.00 it is reportable to the IRS as income in-kind and that I would have to use the retail price as a guide, unless provided different amounts from the manufacturer.
I never would have imagined that blogging would lead to me creating my own little business, but it has happened. No I will never become rich or famous doing this blogging thing, but every little bit helps, to keep it so I can continue doing this kind of work.
Getting Older
The part that is hardest for me to accept, the getting older part. In my mind I believe that am still 25 and bullet proof, but I "know that I am 55. I can feel myself slowing down, but it is the way it is. I find it is much more difficult to maintain a fast race pace or recover from a difficult workout, than it used to be. However, I refuse to go sit on the couch and just watch. I want to get out there and compete and see what I can still do.
Okay I admit it, I like to surprise people, who see all the gray on top of my head and the lines in my face, who start talking a little trash and go he’s no problem. Especially when I can wait for them at the finish line and make them scratch their head a little and possibly motivate them to train a little hard, so they can go out next time and kick my butt - if they can catch me.
A little bit of my ego showing through there, but it irks the hell out of me to hear someone say, "oh you are too old to do this or that!" Let me decide what I am too old to do and don't tell me that I can't - I just take that as a challenge and work harder to get over the hump.
The reality is
that I could go on and on about all the great things that have happened during 2012 and bore everyone to tears with me talking about how great a year it has been. However, 2012 was a GREAT year and I will always remember it fondly.
Now it is time to figure out my goals for 2013 and start to look forward instead of back.
How was your 2012? Did you have anything that really stands out in your mind?

2012 - Was a GREAT Year!

After a lot of thought I have decided to move some of best of my old posts from Aging Runnah and A Runnah’s Story blogs, primarily the old reviews, maybe a few of the better posts and race reports that I have written over the years. I have a feeling that at some point, my WordPress.com blogs are simply going to go away and I want to still be able to go back and read some of the stuff I wrote.

If you are reading this blog post, that is why it is has been re-posted here.

Originally posted on: December 27, 2012



The year 2012 has brought about many changes to both my real life and running life! Overall, it has been a GREAT year. However, since this is primarily a running blog, I will focus on my year in running and healthy-living. My wife and I decided in May to return to work and luckily I was able to find a job where I can work from home and focus on continuing to improve my health.

Consistency

My biggest accomplishment this past year in running was that I ran consistently. I listened to my body, for the most part trained fairly intelligently and didn’t let small injuries become major problems. Except for the 8 days I took off to recover from a long year of training at the end of October, my longest breaks throughout the year were only a few 4 consecutive days off to recover from some minor things - I ran!

This was huge for me, because for many years, my running was plagued by being consistently inconsistent, either because of injury or just plain slothdom. I will finish 2012 with over 1,800 miles and that is definitely the most since my running glory days back in 1983-1986 and couldn’t have been accomplished without having been consistent and lot of motivation from my online running community.

Loosing More Weight

Over the past year I have gone from 172 to down around the 145 range, which has made a big difference in my running and my wardrobe. That has been one of the biggest things that I had to wrap my head around is that I no longer wear large or extra-large clothing, I am more of a men's small and have a 30 waist these days. Sometimes it is just hard to grasp that because I was a 36 waist or larger for many years (even when I was running). That was the focus of my Christmas this year to update my wardrobe a little to get some less bulky clothes to wear.

Going to Minnesota

I got to go to Minnesota to visit my daughter and her burgeoning family in July. That was truly one of the highlights of the year, seeing all 4 of my grandchildren. Oh by the way, I got to do some running while I was out there and found that running on the roads there is a lot easier. They actually have sidewalks or breakdown lanes, to make it a lot safer than up heah in Maine where I usually run.

It was a good trip, even if I did lose a pair of fairly new Nike Free Run 3 and a bunch of other running gear on the way out there, it just meant that I had to get some new stuff for running out there.

Online Running Community

A LOT of really great things have happened since I joined the online running community, that is across so many social media sites (Twitter, Facebook, Daily Mile, Google+ and all the others). In my mind meeting so many wonderful people who just happen to be runners or healthy living types are some of the best things that have happened this year.

I am not going to get into the name-dropping, because there are just too many great people out there who have inspired, pushed, helped, taught, motivated and made me a better runner than I would have been if I had not been a part of this wonderful community of great people.

My running

Without a doubt 2012 was the best year of I have of running in many, many years! I am running faster and further than I have since 1986, the best part is that I have started racing again. I love to run and for many years I just ran and didn’t race due to my problems with race anxiety.

This year I wanted to confront this issue head-on and made great progress towards overcoming the worst of it. I ran my first race at the January Thaw 4.5 miler in Belgrade and participated in 5 road 5K’s, 4 Bond Brook 5K trail races and a half marathon. For the first time in many years I also started running longer runs. For a while I was running 13 plus miles at least once a week, which I really think helped my running improve more than anything else that I did (besides running consistently).

Running Highlight

Attending the Runner’s World Half Festival Weekend! I went to Bethlehem, PA as a FitFluential blogger and ran in the 5K and Half Marathon, in addition to all the other activities. I was shocked that I finished second in the men’s 55-60 age group that day and then the next morning ran my first Half Marathon in a race and finished with a 1:41:12.

The best part of the entire weekend was meeting all the different people there. The people from Altra were simply fantastic and actually listened to what runners were saying instead of going and just trying to sell their product, which was very refreshing. The Staff at Runner's World were just fantastic in how they treated the FitFluential Bloggers and I enjoyed learning so much more about the people who work there and magazine that I have read for so long.

Then what can I say about all these other FitFluential Ambassadors that I got to meet during the weekend or who Bart Yasso coined Harold's Harem. Not really, but as the only guy there, I kind of stuck out like a sore thumb :-). So many of these FitFluential Ambassadors were people that I "talk" with on social media and read their blogs, so needless to say it was great to put people and their personalities with the name.

It was a GREAT weekend and I learned a lot about myself and what I needed to do to compete and run at a different level than I had been. The Runner's World Half & Festival was really less about the running (which was great) and more about the experience and meeting all the people that I did down there.

Racing

Although I had a few age group 1st or 2nd place finishes this year and am proud of those races, especially since I haven’t raced in so long, it is all relative and compared to many others, I am not all that fast.

Running to win my age group is not my motivation for running - no my motivation is because I love to run and challenge myself to do better than I have before, any of the age group stuff is purely accidental or is that coincidental - but won't lie and say that it isn't nice to do once in a while.

I ran in 6 road races and 4 trail races this year and hopefully have gotten over the worst of my race anxiety, which has plagued me for so many years. Oh a couple of times I let it get the better of me and found reasons not to go to a race, but for the most part, I think I have gotten the better of it - finally.

Blogging

I started blogging about Running and Healthy Living on A Veteran Runner over at Blogger, then moved this blog to WordPress.com in January and no have “graduated” to a Self-hosted WordPress.org blog. At times I feel as though I would have been better off, just dealing with the issues at Blogger and stayed there, especially now that my primary computer is a Chromebook which integrates with Blogger a LOT better than it does WordPress of any flavor.

It is also kind of funny, because my One Foot In Reality blog, usually beats A Veteran Runnah on all the stats, even when I don’t post to it for months at a time - oh well, I like this blog’s niche better. Who knows, maybe someday I will return this blog back to Blogger, it would be easier in many respects to just do that. I admit it that I miss a few things about Blogger, now that I am posting again to my other blog.

It was also very cool to have been nominated as one of the Most Inspirational blogs, by the #RunChat community - it meant a lot to me. However, I still feel that Krysten at Darwinian Fail, has been through more and was more inspirational to many runners than I have been.

Opportunities

FitFluential Ambassador

I became a FitFluential Ambassador in December 2011 and over the course of this past year, I have learned so much from Kelly Olexa, Danielle Liss and the rest of the staff at FitFluential. As a result of being an FFA I used what I have learned and confidence I have gained into opportunities to do things that I would never have believed possible before I joined FitFluential.

Honestly, I have been very conservative about which promotional or marketing opportunities that I apply for. I ensure they to fit my personal beliefs and interests, before I go ahead and just apply to do anything.

The one opportunity that I got through FitFluential that really stands out for me was being given the opportunity to attend the Runner’s World Half Festival as an invited FitFluential Ambassador Blogger and where I got to meet so many other FitFluential Ambassadors, Runner’s World Staff and other runners (right Joe) that I got to meet down there.

FitFluential has been a great match for me and I am proud to be a FitFluential Ambassador.

Real Health Contributor

Back in June, I got this strange email asking me to contact some guy named Jonathan about a possible opportunity. After a lot of talking on the phone and email exchanges, I provided some video (not all that great at and still am working on to get better) and was brought on as a Real Health Blog Contributor in August. The time between being contacted to being selected was a wild ride.

Initially I was unsure if I was “good” enough to be a paid contributor and do what they were looking for, especially when it came to the video part of the deliverables. That self-confidence thing that seems to bite me square in the butt at times. However, this time my wife and a few others who I trust, gave me confidence that I could do it.

It seems strange sometimes to look back and see how far I have come in both my writing and video styles in the 3 months since I started to contribute to the Real Health blog. I just want to thank Jonathan and the rest of the Real Health team for giving me the opportunity and believing in me. It has been a GREAT experience and one I am thankful for.

Swiftwick Blog Ambassador

I met Jillian - Marketing & Media Director Swiftwick International, LLC by accident while at the Runner’s World Half Festival in October.

I had never heard of Swiftwick before the Festival and got a pair of Swiftwick Aspire socks in my blogger’s swag bag, which I loved the first time I put them. I just happened to be wearing them that night and told her how much I liked them in such a short time. I did something that goes against everything I know and recommend about wearing new gear for the first time at a race. I wore the Swiftwick socks for both the 5K and Half Marathon, without any problems! I was very impressed with how they worked for me and told Jillian how much I liked the socks after the race, when I saw her at Aardvark Sport's booth at the expo.

I stayed in contact with Jillian via email and Twitter, got to try a few more of their products and then during December I was asked to become an unpaid Swiftwick Blog Ambassador and because I believe in their products, I accepted.

Product Reviews

There have been many opportunities to review products, some provided by the manufacturers and many that I have purchased myself. It is something that I enjoy doing, but at the same time it comes with a few hazards and you need to be very aware of how you discuss a product or book review. I have turned down opportunities to review products that I don't use, wouldn't use or simply conflict with products that I do use and am happy with.

In reviewing products there is a fine line between trashing a product or providing constructive criticism and I prefer to be positive whenever possible.

Also the elephant in the room is how many products you can receive for free from manufacturers, until you have to start reporting it as income. Since A Veteran Runnah has become a small business enterprise for me as well as my personal blog, I discovered from my accountant that once you go over $600.00 it is reportable to the IRS as income in-kind and that I would have to use the retail price as a guide, unless provided different amounts from the manufacturer.

I never would have imagined that blogging would lead to me creating my own little business, but it has happened. No I will never become rich or famous doing this blogging thing, but every little bit helps, to keep it so I can continue doing this kind of work.

Getting Older

The part that is hardest for me to accept, the getting older part. In my mind I believe that am still 25 and bullet proof, but I "know that I am 55. I can feel myself slowing down, but it is the way it is. I find it is much more difficult to maintain a fast race pace or recover from a difficult workout, than it used to be. However, I refuse to go sit on the couch and just watch. I want to get out there and compete and see what I can still do.

Okay I admit it, I like to surprise people, who see all the gray on top of my head and the lines in my face, who start talking a little trash and go he’s no problem. Especially when I can wait for them at the finish line and make them scratch their head a little and possibly motivate them to train a little hard, so they can go out next time and kick my butt - if they can catch me.

A little bit of my ego showing through there, but it irks the hell out of me to hear someone say, "oh you are too old to do this or that!" Let me decide what I am too old to do and don't tell me that I can't - I just take that as a challenge and work harder to get over the hump.

The reality is


that I could go on and on about all the great things that have happened during 2012 and bore everyone to tears with me talking about how great a year it has been. However, 2012 was a GREAT year and I will always remember it fondly.

Now it is time to figure out my goals for 2013 and start to look forward instead of back.

How was your 2012? Did you have anything that really stands out in your mind?

Sunday, December 16, 2012

My Chromebook 5-550 a Month Later - December 2012



After a lot of thought I have decided to move some of best of my old posts from Aging Runnah and A Runnah’s Story blogs, primarily the old reviews, maybe a few of the better posts and race reports that I have written over the years. I have a feeling that at some point, my WordPress.com blogs are simply going to go away and I want to still be able to go back and read some of the stuff I wrote.

If you are reading this blog post, that is why it is has been re-posted here.

Originally posted on: December 16, 2012





I have had my Samsung Series 5-550 Chromebook for almost a month now (boy that is hard to believe) and it has become my primary computer!

How did this happen, I have been a Mac or Windows guy, who usually wanted the most powerful high end laptop that he could afford.

Doesn't that sound familiar, I think a lot of us are that way - enticed by the exponentially increasing specs each generation of computers have inside them.

Well I got tired of the hype, hoopla and work that goes into setting up, re-learning and maintaining those platforms.

I have become someone who wants to just use their computer, not screw around with it or sit and watch the spinning wheel or beach ball of death go round and round, while I wait for the damn thing to disappear.

In real life use

My Chromebook 550 has been stable and works fantastic within the limitations that I knew that it had, before I purchased it.

No I cannot run native apps (those programs you install on a Mac or PC) and had to find cloud-based alternatives, that would work for me. A couple of years ago, oh hell even 6 months ago, this really wasn't a great option and would have been the deal-breaker for me to have bought the Chromebook as my primary laptop or even as experiment. However, things are improving and this is becoming less of an issue every day.

I was still fairly skeptical when I bought it, how much I would actually use my Chromebook and how much I would have to use my MacBook or TheWife's PC to get my "real" work done. It turns out that with exception of one thing, I haven't HAD to use any other computer to meet my computing needs.

My work-flow has changed quite a bit and if you have any suggestions that would help me to improve or make any of my work-flow easier, I would love to hear them.

So what web based applications am I using in place of my typical desk-top based programs?

Web Browser

No choice here - Chrome. That is okay with me, Chrome has been my primary web browser for a long time and I have used it since it was publicly deployed. I try the others when Chrome is going through a bad spell and always end up going back to it. The others just don't have the speed, versatility and most of the time - stability that I expect from a browser.

My experience browsing with the Chromebook for web-based activities has been exceptional! Do I still get crashes, yes but not nearly as often as I did while using Chrome on my Mac or PC laptops. Also when using it everything is fast, I don't get those spinning things, which tell me that the computer is thinking about processing my request - the Chromebook just does it.
Productivity - Mail, Calendar, Contacts

Google products - gMail and contacts, Google Calendar. This is not really a change for me, while I have used Outlook, Live Mail/Calendar, Thunderbird, Zimbra, Apple Mail/Calendar and other similar programs, I always come back to gMail and gCal. They just work for me and since both are available off-line, my needs are met with those Google WebApps.
Task Manager

I am using the paid version of Todoist, it is the task manager that I have been looking for. The only things it doesn't do well on my Chromebook are it is not available off-line and better integration with gMail or gCal could, but those are not deal breakers to how.

I did use Evernote as my task manager for a long time, but it just seemed like a work-around instead an actual task manager and was not a streamlined process. I have tried Google Tasks several times and just don't like it. I attempted to use it and gave up on it when I first switched to the 550.

Todoist is doing what I want from a task manager.
Office Suite:

Word Processor, Spreadsheet, Presentation, Note Taking

For personal use, my own business efforts and most of my blogging drafts, I am using Google Drive, it works well as my primary Office Suite. While the spreadsheet and presentation tools are not available off-line yet, that functionality is coming. No, it is not as powerful as Office, iWork or even Open Office and its clones, but it does just about everything I do on a day-to-day basis.

However, my work requires that I submit drafts in .docx (Microsoft Word) format and Google Documents to be quite honest sucks, when it comes to playing well with Microsoft Word Documents. I have to use a convoluted conversion process in order to simply edit - not just view Word docs and then return the edited document back to my Editor.

So for my work related writing, I have been using the online version of Microsoft Word in SkyDrive to avoid conversion difficulties and having multiple saved copies that seem to be the norm if I use Google Docs for editing my work stuff and no I can't simply just share the document from Google Docs, as I would like to. However, SkyDrive Word does not have off-line capabilities, so it will not be of use to me if I need to work offline.

I would prefer to do everything in Google Drive, but with the changes that have been made to how it doesn't work well with Microsoft Word documents (that silo thing that Google, Apple and Microsoft seem to be doing more and more to keep you tied to their product lines), it leaves me little choice, but to use both WebApps.

Printing or scanning from the Chromebook is next to impossible with the home setup I presently have. There doesn't seem to be an acceptable work-around (other than using my Mac or my wife's PC) when I want to print or scan and no I am not sending a print job out to a local FEDEX office.

This lack of ability to print/scan directly with a Chromebook is a big deal to me and a lot of other people. I hear people say use Google Cloud Print - but it is a cumbersome work-around at best and at worst a pain-in-the-ass that really doesn't work for my situation.

I don't have a Cloud Printer, but I do have a wireless one and still haven't figured out how to print to it from my Chromebook and I am not a novice at setting up this stuff. I will keep working at it, but if I am frustrated about this, more than a few other people must be as well.

If I was still teaching and needed to provide print-outs to my students, this would be much more of an issue than it is now. Perhaps we are all heading towards a paperless office/society, but we are not there yet and the ability to be able to simply and easily print a document is still required by many users.

For printing Chromebooks have a long way to go.

Update: I can now print through Google Cloud Print to my Canon Printer! I had a brilliant idea and went and logged everyone out of the Chrome Browser on my wife's laptop (which we hook the printer to). Then I signed in, added the printer to my profile, tested that I could print to it, which I could. Then I switched users and signed in my wife and then test printed again - it worked!!!

It was just a question of getting the multiple user profiles setup correctly and getting Cloud Print attached to my account.

So when I do infrequently need to print, I now can and my wife doesn't need to even sign out of her computer. Now I am happy - I can print.
Note Taking

I have used OneNote or Evernote (my choice recently) for taking notes, storing information and as a general repository for stuff I want to be able to find quickly and hopefully easily. However, once I switched over to the Chromebook, I learned that am not a big fan of Evernote's web based application or some the updates they made lately, so I looked around for different options.

What I found really surprised me! I found an Extension for Chrome called Clean Print/Save, which allows me to clip and save items I find online to multiple services or destinations, including Google Drive. It is very similar to Evernote's Web Clipper which I used extensively.



Because of Clean Print/Save, I decided to use my Google Drive as my primary note taking WebApp. I like the idea of having most of my stuff in one place and to me gDocs is a great note taking tool, that was lacking web clipper capability. With the addition of the Clean Save app, it does what I used Evernote for.

So far this system has worked great and not having yet another tool that I have to use is nice too!
File Management in Google Drive

I had to setup a file management/tree system within gDrive that meets my needs and have developed something that while not exactly what I want, will work. gDrive has the basic file management systems in place and it works to meet my needs. I can foresee that as they integrate photo and video storage, along with other files there as well - it will become more important for Google to develop a more effective and sophisticated way manage and view files for those of us, who want to keep things within a system, where we can find things quickly and easily.

It will be interesting to see how they improve their file management system in Google Drive and how I use it.

Photo Management

This actually has become a very important aspect of using a computer for me. Not so much editing the photos, but being able to access them from my iPhone and then insert them into my blog, without it being a total pain in the butt.

When I first got the Chromebook, this issue almost became a deal-breaker and caused me to think very seriously about whether to keep it or not. The process I had to go through to get photos from my iPhone to my blog posts was way too complicated. However, since I discovered instant upload in Google+ for both my iPhone and Incredible 2 (which I picked up-used after I got my Chromebook), this has become much less of an issue.

If I do need to do more than just basics of photo editing that I can do in Picasa/Google+, I turn to Pic Monkey , Pixlr or Sumo Paint, all of which more than meet my needs. To be honest, I haven't had the need to use them.

Video Editing

I don't really do a lot of videos, however, in 2013 I am going to start creating them more often. To be honest until the other night, I really had purposely avoided doing any video stuff on the Chromebook, because I thought it would be a pain in the toucas.

It wasn't that bad, I used the Pixiorial Video Editing App and while it wasn't as intuitive or as QUICK as my desktop versions of Movie Maker or iMovie, I can use it to make my 5-10 minute videos for uploading to YouTube or for my work.

This is the other area, where I would rather use my Mac or a PC for now. As the video editing web apps become more mature, I am sure that the issues I have with them are going to go away, the only issue will be the cost of SAAS video editing products online.

Blogging/Social Media

Since this it is what I primarily use a computer for now, this is a huge deal for me. The Chromebook handles it better than my Mac or PC's ever did. It is quick and responsive, and just like a Mac or PC, requires an Internet connection to accomplish it.

My primary blog is on WordPress.org - A Veteran Runnah and OFIR is a Blogger blog. After using both, I have found that the Blogger blog is much easier for me to insert multi-media in, than it is on WordPress.

While that is to be expected since it is a Google product and is more tightly integrated in with other Google lines like Picasa/Google+/Google Drive or YouTube. Still it did surprise me at how much easier it was to do, especially since WordPress still does not recognize Google+/Picasa photo URL's.

I am finding that a combination of Hootsuite and TweetDeck WebApps are working for Twitter. Facebook and Google+ work fine with a lot of different extensions to tweak them the way that you want.

The reality is that

With the exception of printing or scanning directly from the Chromebook, I have found an acceptable work-around to how I work with the Chromebook for all of my needs. Have I sacrificed some useability - not really, because those areas that many people need higher end abilities from their software/WebApp I don't use it that much (i.e. gaming, Photo, programming or video editing) even when I used a Mac or PC.

However, for my purposes and the way I am using the Chromebook, I wouldn't want a machine with less than 4GB of RAM, if I were to use it for my primary computer - which I am.

My Samsung Series 5-550 Chromebook does 90% of what I want, especially now that I can extend the screen on the Developers Channel. I will probably follow that particular functionality up through to Beta and Stable channels, just so that I have a more stability in the platform. Sometimes the Beta and Developer channels can get a little wonky, as Google tries new stuff out.

It was less the WebApps available to use, than it was a change in my mindset that happened as I have used my Chromebook more and more. The Chromebook is not a Mac or PC, it is a Chromebook and if you try to use it the same as the other two, you will not be happy with it.

I had to get over wanting to put things on my computer and learn to trust being in the cloud even more than I was before I got the Chromebook. I don't need to store things on my computer, since it is just a terminal to connect me to the real computer - the Web. Isn't that what Mac's and PC's are becoming more and more like as well? At least that is how I used them.

Yes you do have to plan ahead a little more when using a Chromebook about what you are actually trying to accomplish and checking to see if there are different ways to get to your finished product, that you hadn't used or thought about in the past, especially if you need to do work in an off-line setting, when not all of the web applications are available to you.

While this might be a limiting factor and a difference maker to many people, it doesn't bother me all that much. It is seldom that I don't have access to WiFi and if I do not then I look at it as an opportunity to take a break, get away from the computer, social media or if I have to is there is a way that I can integrate my smart phone into what needs to be accomplished.

To me the Chromebook is not a total solution by itself, it is part of an integrated solution system, where you use the tool most appropriate (smart phone, tablet, or other computer) for what you are doing and the resources available to you.

What does my Mac do now? Not much, my Chromebook sits on top of it at my desk and I print a few things or use it for scanning something and some video editing, but that is about all I ever have to open it up for.

When TheWife asks me to do maintenance on her PC, I just cringe, but go and do it - after all I may need to print, scan or edit a video from it someday.



The bottom line is that I have become very comfortable working on my Chromebook and going back full-time to a Mac or PC environment doesn't even interest me at this time.

Taking a line from another company - "It just works" - for me.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Treadmill Running is Different - 2012


After a lot of thought I have decided to move some of best of my old posts from Aging Runnah and A Runnah’s Story blogs, primarily the old reviews, maybe a few of the better posts and race reports that I have written over the years. I have a feeling that at some point, my WordPress.com blogs are simply going to go away and I want to still be able to go back and read some of the stuff I wrote.

If you are reading this blog post, that is why it is has been re-posted here.

Originally posted on: December 12, 2012


There is no doubt in my mind that running on a treadmill is very different from running outside!

It is not better or worse - it is more like I said - just different.

To be honest, until a few weeks ago, I hadn’t run on a treadmill since 2010 and had forgotten many of the advantages and disadvantages of using one.

Advantages
  • I run faster on a treadmill. This surprised me a lot, when I started running on them again, I am running faster than I do outside. Why?
  • I don’t have to focus on running, I just have to keep up with the speed that the belt is going, which is a lot easier than trying to push or maintain a certain pace by myself.
  • No weather to worry about. The artificial environment inside allows me to wear shorts and a t-shirt, so I am not bundled up to battle the cold weather outside. There is no wind to run into (or have at my back) which I really have never liked running into a headwind.
  • The footing is always the same. I don’t have to be aware of where I am putting my feet or what I am stepping on - I can just run.
  • Softer running surface. Many or most treadmills absorb the shock better and are easier on your body than tar or cement, at least in my opinion.
  • Can Use Electronic Distractions. When I run on a treadmill, I can watch ESPN or listen to music, podcasts and audible books to zone out, without worrying about what is going on around me too much. Outside I don't listen to music/books etc and focus on being aware of my surroundings.
  • It is safer. It isn't dark (unless you turn-off the lights, no vehicles to dodge, no ice to slip on, no dogs or other animal predators to scare you and generally you are not by yourself when running on a treadmill (if you are at a gym), which can be a huge concern outside.
  • You are in control. You can control the speed, elevation/incline and how far you are running. Hell you can even stop it, quickly go find a bathroom (instead of the bushes) and just start right up again. Outside there are a lot of factors you have no control over.

Disadvantages

  • I am not outside. On a treadmill you do not get to see the glory of mother nature and the changes, that happen before our eyes. You don’t get to feel the wind or sun in your face, the magical feeling of running in that first snow or the sights you see when running on trails, beaches, and everywhere else that you run.
  • Montonous. This is the biggest complaint that many people have. After a while the treadmill or as many call it the dreadmill becomes monotonous. Many people tend to get on, set it for one speed and/or elevation and just keep it there. You are running in place and not getting anywhere. Where outside things are constantly changing, runners need to focus on where they are, what they are stepping on, what vehicles or people are around them.
  • Bragging rights. The bragging rights you get with other runners when you have braved the elements (remember that run in the Blizzard of 2011 or gee “I ran yesterday and it was -10. Yes I know that non-runners call you an idiot (Yes I am a member of the Idiots Running Club Member #17), but that is part of running outside.
  • Treadmills are expensive. To get a good treadmill you have to pay a pretty good chunk of change for one, if you don’t buy one for your home you need to go to a gym
  • Having to go to a gym. Gym memberships a generally not cheap, you need to travel, sometimes sign-up and wait to get to use a treadmill, many gyms have a time-limit on how long you can run-before someone can tell you to get off, the auto shut-off that most gyms have programmed into their cardio equipment (30 or 60 minutes) and having to deal with “lunk heads” while there.
  • Falling. I have almost fallen a couple of times when my foot lands funny on the side of the belt, when going slower this isn’t a problem, but when the “mill” is going 10 mph you could be a splat mark on the wall behind the treadmill and probably be injured in some way, beyond just your pride. Plus you generally will have an audience to witness your gracefulness. Yes you can fall outside, but it is well - different.
  • Challenge. This totally depends upon the person, but it is too easy to just simply jump on a treadmill, set it to a certain speed/incline, leave it there do your time and move on. We have all done or seen people do this and then we/they wonder why it is so monotonous.
  • Frustrating. Have you ever tried to use one of the pre-set programs - enough said.
The reality is

that treadmills have a place in my running life, even though I prefer to run outside.

Running on the “mill” is helping my legs to remember “how” to run faster. Faster than I would push myself outside and you know something - knowing that I can run at a faster pace helps my confidence A LOT for when I want to go faster outside. I have already run that fast on the treadmill, so I "know" that I can do it.

The treadmill is easier for me than running outside, it doesn’t take the same amount of focus or effort. That is why I don’t use my treadmill times as my overall PRs and I keep track of them separately. Example - my PR this year for the 5K is 21:23 and my treadmill PR is 20:33. In my opinion, my personal records, need to be done outside against the elements, without any motorized assistance.

Actually, since Mid-November when I started to run on a treadmill again, I have enjoyed adding it to my repertoire of tools, for training myself to run a lot little faster. I don’t use a treadmill all the time, only 2-3 days a week (Monday and Thursday for intervals/tempo runs and those days it is too cold in my opinion to safely run more than a couple of miles (under 15 degrees with a windchill), so I haven’t hit the dreadmill curse yet.

The bottom-line for me is that I (sssshhhhhh) am enjoying my jaunts on the treadmill, but it will never eclipse my love for running outside.

It is just a part of my running that is - well different.

What are some of the differences you find between running on a treadmill and running outside?

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Mizuno Ronin - 50 Mile Review

After a lot of thought I have decided to move some of best of my old posts from Aging Runnah blog, primarily the old reviews, maybe a few of the better posts and race reports that I have written over the years. I have a feeling that at some point, my WordPress.com blogs are simply going to go away and I want to still be able to go back and read some of the stuff I wrote.

If you are reading this blog post, that is why it is has been re-posted here.

Sorry the photos didn't transfer too well.

Originally posted on: December 4, 2012
Have you ever had a pair of running shoes that almost seem magical?
To me the Ronin’s fit that description, because when I run in them, it seems as though I am rolling back the year’s and I am running faster in these shoes than I have for at least 20 years.
Okay - it might have something to do with running more consistently and having a different mindset than I have had in those 20 years. But the Ronin 4’s are playing a part in my speed work being done at a higher quality and allowing me to focus on the run, instead of how my feet are feeling.
After running 50 miles in the Ronin 4’s (with most of it either being racing or speed work), they are becoming a VERY special running shoe to me.
Disclosure - I bought them with my own money, so I can say whatever I want to about these shoes!

Let’s backup

Way back in September, I was talking to @SethMizuno on Twitter about what kind of Mizuno (of course) shoes I should be buying that could double as racing shoes, but could handle more mileage than the standard racing flat. He immediately stated the Mizuno Ronin.
After that the conversation became very interesting, because back in February when published my top 5 running shoes that I wanted to try this year blog post - the Mizuno Ronin 4 was a surprise last-minute addition. I had never seen them in person, they aren’t all that popular and I still don’t know what really prompted me to put them on my list - other than I what I said when I published the post.
5. Mizuno Ronin – This was a lot of a surprise, when I started this research I had never heard of the Ronin, but the more I read about it and the way that some of the reviews talked about the Ronin, the more impressed I became. I have owned one pair of Mizuno shoes and while they were a nice shoe, the Wave Nirvana was a motion control shoe and wasn’t what I wanted from a shoe. I am concerned a little about how the sole will wear, but otherwise the shoe sounds bomb-proof. One of the reviews I read really had good things to say about how it worked on trails, which really got me to thinking about this shoe as a possibility. The Ronin is a shoe I would have to see before I make a decision, but it intrigues me.
After a lot of online research and thinking about it, I got back to Seth and asked him to order me a pair of Ronin 4, through the Maine Running Company in Brunswick, since they didn’t have it in stock.
When I initially tried on the Ronin’s at the store - to be honest they didn’t feel quite right. My right forefoot felt a little scrunched when I was walking around the store in them. However, when I took them on a run outside, they felt very comfortable.
With some reservations, I decided to buy them based on Seth’s strong recommendation, plus he had told me I had 30 days to try them and return them if I didn’t like them.
Here is what I initially said about the Ronin’s back on October 6th:
I decided to run another 3.0 in my new Ronin’s to see how they felt compared to the Elixir’s. At first the tread felt a little weird and slippery, but after about 1/2 mile they settled out and felt really good. I didn’t notice the snugness when I was running and was able to pick it up pretty good to a sub 7:00 minute pace for a short distance without pushing all that hard. Then it started pouring and I decided to cut it short and get back to the house. The Ronin’s felt great and will be a shoe I will look forward to running my next 5K in to see how it goes.
It seems that when I run in them and don’t mean at an 8:00 minute pace, but when I really run in these shoes, something changes, all the discomfort or distractions that the Ronin’s had goes away. I start to just run and I run fast, faster than I have in many, many years.

Something special

That turned out to be a GREAT decision. There is something special about these shoes.
Based on one road run and a track workout, I liked them so much, that I decided to wear them as my race shoes for the Runner’s World Half Event. Which is something that I don’t usually do, wear new shoes for a race.
They just are one of those rare shoes that make me want to run fast in them.
I did really well at the Runner’s World 5K, running a 21:26 and didn’t have any problems at all with the Ronin’s, in fact I didn’t notice that I had them on during the race, which is the highest compliment that I will give any running shoe.
The other thing that helps a lot is that I also found the perfect sock to run in them with - the Swiftwick Aspire. Disclosure I received these socks as a free media sample while covering the Runner’s World Half Event as a FitFluential Ambassador blogger. They just work great together and I have not had any problems with my feet when I am wearing this combination.

Fast forward a month

After some down-time for rest and recovery, I joined a gym to help me work on my speedwork. The Ronin 4’s are the perfect shoe to do my faster paced treadmill workouts in. I started doing the treadmill workouts and during these workouts something almost magical happened, I started to run faster - a lot faster.
Since I have been using the Ronin’s at the gym for running on the treadmill. I have been increasing my mileage/speed work  and yesterday I ran an 8.0 mile 12 x .25 tough interval workout, that I would consider one of my best speed work training sessions in many, many years. The best part was that I did it without any issues with my feet. The combination of Ronin’s and Swiftwick Aspire socks, did the trick and I just ran, instead of worrying about my feet hurting, which has almost always been an issue after 4-5 miles on a treadmill.

The reality is that

The Mizuno Ronin 4’s are a fast shoe for me. Are they magical, I don’t know about that, but I when I am running fast, I don’t notice that I am wearing them, which is what I want from my running shoes.
  • I like that I can put them on start running and forget they are there.
However, for some people the toe box might not be wide enough, this is one of those individual fit things that you will have to decide on for yourself if the fit is right for you.
No I don't think I would use them for too many technical trail runs though, the tread isn't aggressive enough for that in my opinion. These are a definitely a race shoe and for me I don't think I would use them as my daily trainer.
I know that this review is late for the Ronin 4, since the Ronin 5 is out and according to reviews I have read and from Seth has said, it maintained the same last as the Ronin 4, with the biggest changes being made primarily to the uppers. So much of what say here might pertain to the 5's?
Who knows, maybe with these shoes and the improved quality of my speed work, that sub 20:00 minute 5K will happen.
Seth thank you for recommending these shoes, they are working GREAT for me.

My Life in Numbers - 2012


After a lot of thought I have decided to move some of best of my old posts from Aging Runnah and A Runnah’s Story blogs, primarily the old reviews, maybe a few of the better posts and race reports that I have written over the years. I have a feeling that at some point, my WordPress.com blogs are simply going to go away and I want to still be able to go back and read some of the stuff I wrote.

If you are reading this blog post, that is why it is has been re-posted here.

Originally posted on: December 4, 2012


I was going through my Google Reader subscriptions today and Angela at Happy Fit Mama published her “My Life in Numbers” post, which was started originally by Greta at g*Funk*ified. As I read the post it got me to thinking what my “life in numbers” would look like so here it is:

My Life In Numbers:

  • 55 – the number of years I’ve been on this earth
  • 120 – number I hope to see on my birthday cake one day
  • 1975 – the year I graduated from high school
  • 1994 - the year I graduated with a four-year degree
  • 19 – number of years it took me to get a 4 year degree (not bad for someone who's Guidance Counselor said he wasn't college material and wasn’t supposed to go to college, but I never went to college full-time, just chipped away at it part-time)
  • 9 – number of full-time jobs I’ve had since graduating from college
  • 39 – number of years I’ve lived in Maine
  • 18 – number of years I thought I’d live in Maine
  • 6 - number of states I’ve lived in (ME, NJ, MA, MI, VA, CT)
  • 2 – number of times I’ve been married
  • 10 – number of years I’ve been married to Mary
  • 12 – number of years Mary and I have been together
  • 2+2 – number of children I have
  • too many to count - number of times I smile a day
  • 1 - number of dogs I have
  • 3 - number of cats I have
  • 21 - number of cars I’ve owned (Torino, Camaro, Brat, Citation, Arrow, Jeep CJ-7, Ranger, Subaru Wagon, Ranger, Aerostar, Explorer, Sidekick, F-150, Ranger, Corolla SR-5, Jeep CJ-7, Saab 900S, Jeep YJ, Contour, Dakota, Forester) plus a 4-5 old F-100 pickups
  • 5 - number of siblings I have (1 deceased)
  • 1 - number in years since I saw one of my siblings in person
  • 1 – approximate number of hours to drive to my parents house
  • 6-8 - number of hours of sleep I get per night
  • 1971 - Year I started running
  • 1 – number of half marathon races I’ve run
  • 1:41:12 – time of my most recent half
  • 4 – number of full marathons I’ve trained for
  • 1 – number of full marathons I’ve finished
  • 3:48:04 - time of my most recent full marathon (1983)
  • 8 - number of 5K’s run this year
  • 21:26 - time of most recent 5K race
  • 1722.8 number of miles I have run so far in 2012
  • 5:02 - Fastest mile I've run (back in 1986)
  • 14 – number of running shoes I’ve bought/received in the past year
  • 0 – number of other non-shoes I’ve bought/received this year (this is from a former shoe addict).
  • 62 – number of months I’ve been blogging
  • 7 - how many blogs have you started

Your turn! What’s your life in numbers?

Thursday, November 29, 2012

My Chromebook after a Week - November 2012

After a lot of thought I have decided to move some of best of my old posts from Aging Runnah and A Runnah’s Story blogs, primarily the old reviews, maybe a few of the better posts and race reports that I have written over the years. I have a feeling that at some point, my WordPress.com blogs are simply going to go away and I want to still be able to go back and read some of the stuff I wrote.

If you are reading this blog post, that is why it is has been re-posted here.

Originally posted on: November 29, 2012




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.

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?