Saturday, March 28, 2020

Asics GlideRide - 100 Mile Review

I know that a running shoe review is pretty low on the priorities of things to do or read with everything that is going with the Covid-19 pandemic. However, I need to get my head out of that quagmire for a little while and figured that writing this blog post would be the best way for me to think about something else.



I started writing this review back at 50 miles. Unfortunately, I haven't had the brain-power or motivation to sit back down and finish it up. So if you would like to take a quick breather away from the problems of the day, you can read my thoughts on the ASICS GlideRides.

My true to size - size 8.0 came in at sub 10 ounces, which surprised me since they were listed as almost an ounce heavier in most advertisements.



These are not super-lightweight super shoes that everyone is drooling over lately. From my point of view, they are the basic daily trainers that you put on, forget about and do most of your trial of miles in. Which right now is exactly what I wanted and need.


I just went over 100 miles in the GlideRides. Most of the runs have been easy with a few faster miles thrown in here or there. Due to the pandemic and a balky hamstring, I am focusing on primarily easy running and keeping everything between 3-6 miles most days. Since it seems that I am in one of the higher risk age groups I am heeding the advice from people a lot smarter than I am to not over-stress myself and let my immune system drop temporarily after a hard training session.

Yes, believe it or not, I am being prudent about my training for a change.

Cons


Cost - $150 Retail and the best price I saw when I was shopping for theses was $149.99, so they are expensive if you can find them. ASICS has not discounted them and they are getting harder to find in the colorways I want.

Initially, the rocker in the forefoot in the GlideRide was disconcerting when walking or even that first mile or so when I was running in them. If I had based my opinion on a try-on in a store or that first out of the box fitting, I probably would not have gotten them. They feel that different from most other running shoes I have run in. There is a bit of an initial adjustment to running in GlideRides compared to other shoes in my rotation due to the front rocker.

I won't say that they are a quiet shoe either, there is a lot of rubber on the outsole and they are very stiff. Due to those things, I hear my footsteps more than I do in some other shoes in my rotation, i.e. Beacon, Vomero 14, Propel, etc. Thankfully, the GlideRides despite being very stiff, they do not have the slappiness that most ASICS models or some other brands have due to the lack of a beveled heel. The heel-to-toe transitions of the GlideRides are smooth and natural feeling - once you get used to how this shoe works underfoot. 

My biggest gripe with the GlideRides was very minor and probably more my problem than the shoes. The laces. I hate the laces of my shoes being too long (the stock laces on for GlideRides were) and when they are the same or similar color as the upper's primary color.



I prefer to have my laces contrast the shoe color to make them pop a little. I know a cosmetic thing, but my shoes, my choice.



Also, I noticed with the stock laces and lacing pattern the top of my foot was bothering a little after 3-4 miles and the bottoms of my forefoot was very uncomfortable. So I changed out the shoes to a pair of elastic laces and thought it would take care of the issue - it did not. This went on for a few runs with the elastic laces and since I had fewer issues with the stock laces, I figured it was something to do with the lacing pattern.



When I got looking closer at the lace holes the third or fourth pair down from the top (depending on whether you count the heel lock holes or not) is very close to the adjoining holes and goes a bit deeper into the upper than the others. I decided to change out the elastic laces back to a different set of laces (I have a whole box of extra laces just for this purpose) and skip that row on both feet.



What a difference just skipping that set of lace holes made on the comfort of the shoes. While I haven't had a super long run yet (the hamstring is still not quite ready and with all the Covid-19 stuff, I will wait a while on doing longer runs), the issues I was having with the top and bottom of my forefoot went away completely. It is sometimes amazing how a small change to the lacing on a pair of shoes will change how they feel on your feet.

Now that I have that issue figured out, they are doing everything that I want from a pair of daily trainers.

Pros


On the advice of a friend, I got the GlideRides in a true-to-size, size 8.0, it was great advice and was the correct choice to go with for my first pair to be bought by mail-order from Running Warehouse.
They fit nicely and do not bother my right foot's Tailor's Bunionette.



The upper did stretch a little to make them more comfortable by the time they got around the 30-mile mark, but at the same time I would have liked just a skooch more room in the toe box, so if I decide to buy another pair, I will check out the size 8.5 to see if it feels a little more dialed in for me. I prefer what other runners usually call a little sloppy in the forefoot.

My heel fit is perfect. No slipping or sliding around and when I put them on I get that ASICS thunk when putting my heel into the shoe. That is one thing I have never had an issue with ASICS shoes is the fit for me of their heel areas. I feel locked in, comfortable and ready to go.



Even the ankle wells are low enough that they do not bother, which is something that I have a LOT of issues with other brands, looking at you New Balance, Adidas, Skechers, Reebok, and some others.

The GlideRides are a comfortable shoe to run in for me, especially once I got used to the steep rocker in the forefoot. Which for me was an easy transition, for others I have read that it was not a quite as quick or positive experience and a prime reason why some do not like them. Also if I want to pick up the pace, they do not get in my way, but at 9.6 ounces the GlideRides would not be my choice to run a 5K race in. Although I might use them for longer races because of their efficiency and comfort.

Personally, I like the ride of the GlideRide quite a bit, they are not as soft as my Vomero 14s or Propels, which I am learning is probably a positive thing for the way that I run. That is not saying that the GlideRides are super firm because they are not, it is more they are the right softness/firmness for me and provide enough guidance to help me continue to run comfortably when my form starts to deteriorate when I am getting tired towards the end of a run. A Goldilocks kind of firmness.



The wear on the outsole is minimal for 100 miles and while it seems like it would be a decent multi-grip outsole, in wet snow, slush, light mud or dirt road slime, they really are not all that great. The lugs are not deep enough and too close together. However on wet roads, dry dirt roads and pavement the outsole works just fine.

The reality is that


I like a lot of things about the ASICS GlideRides and usually, it is around the 100-mile mark that I really figure out if I want to keep a pair of shoes in the rotation or not. They are still plugging along nicely and I really don't have any major concerns or complaints about the GlideRides.

Unfortunately, the price of $150 retail is pretty steep for the GlideRide and the price tag is at the very top of what I am willing to spend on a pair of running shoes.



While I have a feeling that the GlideRides will prove to be worth the investment, at the same time right now discretionary spending on higher-priced items is not something that I am going to be doing a lot of for quite a while. This means that when this pair of GlideRides are worn out at around 400 miles (more than likely), I will probably be getting or going back to using something else.

Time will tell if another pair of GlideRides get into my rotation, but it will not be because I don't like the shoes, because I do like them a lot after a 100 miles in them. It will be all about the cost factor and it will be this way with many of the other similarly priced super shoes that are coming out in the next few months. I don't believe that I will be alone in thinking this way.

Which is too bad, but it is just the way things are going to be for a while, especially since the GlideRidess what I have been looking for in a pair of daily trainers:

They are comfortable for me to run in.

This post was written for and first appeared on One Foot In Reality.

Thursday, March 26, 2020

RunLog, Pandemic Log, Meandering Thought - 3-25-2020

Yesterday was one of those days where I had trouble focusing on writing and stuff. Just a lot going on and while getting out of the house for our daily walks and then my run were pretty good, writing about things just didn't happen.

As I write this sort of combo RunLog/Pandemic Journal entry, the wife is on her way into Waterville's Hannaford to get supplies. In my mind, it is something that I should be doing not her, but she saw a report and did some more reading that showed that if men get the Covid-19 virus that we are more likely to die or have severe complications from it than women are.



It seems as though she wants to keep me around for a bit longer and put her foot down about who was going to do the shopping today. When she gets in a particular way, I don't bother trying to change things, although I disagree with the reasoning and have told her that. I would have more luck moving the big rock out in the front yard with my bare hands than I would be changing her mind. So I am sitting here, being the one that is worried about her and how much she will be exposed to others while she is out.

Although in the long run if she is exposed to Covid-19, I will be as well, because I have no plans to be anywhere but at her side through all of this. Through sickness and health, those words never rang truer to me than they do this morning.

Strange how love is sometimes, we worry about one another and are willing to put ourselves in harm's way for the other, when we believe it is the right thing to do. Oh, what is so strange about that? Is that not what love really is...being willing to do more for the one that you love and sometimes be willing to let the one you love do what they believe is correct, to protect you. It is not easy being on the other end of that belief, but at the same time...well I think you all understand.

RunLog

My run yesterday was a really good run, I decided to slightly turn up the effort level for a couple of miles as I headed down to Pepin and then backed off once I hit that point. I felt good the left leg was slightly tight but not as bad as it has been. I probably could have climbed up Philbrick a little harder or faster, but I really am not attempting to push the paces very hard right now.

I do not want my immune system to be down for any length of time, so I am just working on maintaining a good fitness base of 4-6 miles a day at a steady pace. Nothing super fast or hard, but every once in awhile I throw in a quick pick-up or surge just to let the body know it still can have fun once in a while.



The GlideRides will never be a go-fast shoe, but they are very comfortable and I am looking forward to doing some longer runs in them to see how they are past my current self-imposed 6.0-mile limit. It will happen, I just have to be patient.

Pandemic Journal

I will be blunt.

He scares me more than he reassures me and his press conferences are becoming more and more like campaign rallies where very smart people are having to kowtow to his brilliance and bullshit to get things done. In all the years I was in the military and that I have followed politics there has never been this level of kiss-assing for a leader in the United States. It has gotten to the point where when he is speaking, I am starting to mute the television and when he stops I turn the sound back on. I have the close captioning on so I can still read what is being said, but damn...I do wish he would listen to the experts and provide the leadership the whole Country could rally behind.

Instead, he is going back to attacking, attacking and continuing to divide the country, which is the last thing we need. If he does a good job with the pandemic he would get re-elected. Unfortunately, from this little view back in the boondocks, all he does when he speaks is make things worse and the lies keep mounting. The Country is beginning to look to others for leadership, which is sad at a time when we DO need strong central leadership.

As the Covid-19 numbers keep growing exponentially, I do not see Easter as a great time to re-open the Country for business. Let's get to reality, work our way through this difficult time and admit that our world has changed and will not go back to being the way it was a month ago anytime soon, if ever.

I think a half a cat photo is needed to close out the post and lighten things up a bit




 This post was written for and first appeared on One Foot In Reality.

Tuesday, March 24, 2020

My Pandemic Journal - March 24, 2020

This is my personal journal regarding my thoughts during this troubled time. It is stuff I need to get out of my head and probably is not the same things that you are thinking, so if you don't want to read them that is cool if you do that is cool too. If you decide to comment please keep your comments civil and appropriate, otherwise, I just delete them without publishing.

The Good?

We are still healthy and able to get outside, use our computers, talk to those we love and pretty much live our lives reasonably like we usually do. Today I got to clean up 6-7" of snow, in what I really hope is the last gasp of the wintery white stuff for this winter.



I really hate moving this heavy wet snow around, especially since I also know that it will probably be gone in a couple of days.

They say that music can touch your soul, this one touched mine.


I was scrolling through my Facebook feed and came across this. I loved the song when it came out and this version is one that I want to remember.

 The Bad?

Hunter, my SD2's beagle passed over the Rainbow Bridge today. So it is a very sad day for all of us.



Yes, I shed my share of tears as well. Our dogs are a part of our family, plus I am actually an old softie and while they are here we treat them that way.

This something I read back in January from another blogger who lost their dog and I knew that Hunter was having his problems even back then. I had read this many other times before when others had lost their dogs and believed that it would be a fitting tribute for when Hunter went on the next part of his journey.

Will Rogers Quote: “If there are no dogs in Heaven, then when I die I want to go where they went.”

Just this side of heaven is a place called Rainbow Bridge.
When an animal dies that has been especially close to someone here, that pet goes to Rainbow Bridge. There are meadows and hills for all of our special friends so they can run and play together. There is plenty of food, water and sunshine, and our friends are warm and comfortable.
All the animals who had been ill and old are restored to health and vigor. Those who were hurt or maimed are made whole and strong again, just as we remember them in our dreams of days and times gone by. The animals are happy and content, except for one small thing; they each miss someone very special to them, who had to be left behind.
They all run and play together, but the day comes when one suddenly stops and looks into the distance. His bright eyes are intent. His eager body quivers. Suddenly he begins to run from the group, flying over the green grass, his legs carrying him faster and faster.
You have been spotted, and when you and your special friend finally meet, you cling together in joyous reunion, never to be parted again. The happy kisses rain upon your face; your hands again caress the beloved head, and you look once more into the trusting eyes of your pet, so long gone from your life but never absent from your heart.
Then you cross Rainbow Bridge together....
Author unknown (Source)
Hunter, you are now reunited with Karma and will be waiting for us on the other side of that bridge to greet us and help lead us on the next part of our journey.

 The WTFO were they thinking?

As much as I would love to believe that by Easter our Country will be able to get back to work and back to a more normal life. I have a feeling that since we have not even peaked yet in the number of new cases as yet, that the President may be too subject to wishful thinking.

I would love to believe that he is attempting to paint an optimistic picture of where he would like us to be in three weeks and it is his attempt to rally the nation. Unfortunately, the tone and words he is using do not bring a great deal of confidence in what is saying. His own experts and other experts tend to disagree with this line of thinking, many believe it is simplistic and wishful thinking. He is backtracking his statements a little after the feedback he is hearing, but...well we will see.

Personally, I believe it is dangerous and raises false hopes of a quick end to the Covid-19 pandemic amongst people in the United States of America.

Especially, for those who feel that we are overreacting to this pandemic as it is and his words will probably result in them ignoring the many States efforts to control the spread of the virus, based on the President's confidence that it will be back to business as usual in a few weeks.

Based on the things I have read/heard and saw, the next three weeks are probably going to be the peak in our Country and it could get pretty bad before we get to the other side. Unfortunately, I have a feeling that more than a few people will be crossing that Rainbow Bridge to be reunited with their pets on the other side.

I hope I am wrong and the President is correct. Time will tell us the answer.

The Reality is that

Today was a tough day in our little family, Hunter was a loved member of it and now he has crossed over to the other side, which saddens us immensely.

Hunter will be missed, of that there is no doubt.




Unfortunately, wishful thinking and bully tactics do not work with a virus, it doesn't really care what we think, who we are or if we die. Its only purpose is to infect others and to pass itself off to as many hosts as possible. That is all we are to it - a host.

While it is in Maine in limited amounts, as the Governor and her administration are warning the Covid -19 virus is here and things are going to get worse before they get better. She is not sugar coating things and is not engaged in wishful thinking. Has/is she doing everything perfectly, hell no, but there is none of the self-aggrandizement, I am doing great things and not accepting responsibility for the misteps that have and will occur. I am hearing more of a...we will get through this together message that we need to hear.


 This post was written for and first appeared on One Foot In Reality.

My Pandemic Journal - 3-23-2020

This is my personal journal regarding my thoughts during this troubled time. It is stuff I need to get out of my head and probably is not the same things that you are thinking, so if you don't want to read them that is cool if you do that is cool too. If you decide to comment please keep your comments civil and appropriate, otherwise, I just delete them without publishing.

The Good? 

We are healthy and where we live the pandemic seems like a million miles away. Which does give us a false sense of security at times, but also allows us to still live more of a normal life than many people are able to do at this time.

 The Bad? 

SD2's dog Hunter is still not eating and is getting closer to crossing the rainbow bridge. We are all hoping for improvement after taking him to the Vet yesterday, but if he does not start eating soon, the decision we all dread will have to be made. Dogs do until they can't and then it is time to think about their needs, not our needs to keep them with us.

 The WTFO were they thinking? 

I purposely don't write too much about politics or other controversial subjects very often. I am one of those damned moderates who has zero party loyalty and actually looks at the issues and listens/reads/watches what the politicians are saying and doing versus what others tell me they are doing or watching sound bites which can misleading. After yesterday I had to process the President's press conference overnight before I could write my daily Pandemic journal entry for 3/24/2020.

Yesterday's daily Presidential Coronavirus news conference was painful to watch. Especially, his comments on what he might do after the 15 days are over, I gotta admit scares the shit out of me. I have to ask if he was just raising a balloon to see what the public's response would be or is he seriously thinking about letting Natural Selection decide who lives and dies while attempting to re-start the economy that is currently in recession and heading quickly towards a depression.

Especially, since there is a small part of the population that whole-heartedly seems to agree with this idea.

Scary indeed.

First, I was wondering how long Dr. Fauci would last since he upstaged and disagreed publicly with the President. Not a good thing to do generally and worse with this particular one. I have a feeling we will not be seeing very much of the good Doctor as long as he remains a government employee. I imagine that the muzzle has been put on and he is persona non grata around the Whitehouse based on some of the comments in that press conference.

I don't know why but some people seem to underestimate President Trump's choice of words, obvious lies and who they are designed for.

The President has chosen to call himself a wartime President for reasons that will become evident. He knows sacrifices will be made by the people more willingly during wartime and that there are going to be casualties. People will get sick and many will die in the war on the Coronavirus (Covid-19) and in his eyes, this has become a major economic war that will decide what his legacy and whether he will remain President in the elections to come. Therefore if some must die or be sick to salvage the economy and his Presidency that is the sacrifice this wartime President will ask of the Nation or least it seems that is the direction we are heading.

Then the question becomes:

who decides who will get medical care,
will there be party loyalty tests applied to who will be treated
of course the rich or powerful will have separate criteria for treatment
how many casualties will be acceptable
how many many will die, 1% = 660,00, will it be a million, 2 million.
and so many other questions

The projections by experts regarding the pandemic are not rosy as it is while attempting to flatten the curve and we have not even got to the top of the first wave of Covid-19 casualties. There will probably be more than one wave of casualties.

What happens to those numbers if suddenly stop what we are currently doing to flatten the curve and go to pursuing herd immunity? It might shorten the pandemic's overall length, however, there is little doubt that it will also overwhelm the American medical systems' ability to manage care for all medical problems, not just the Covid-19 virus.

As a result, more people will die, I do not believe that is in question.

Is this the best way forward during this pandemic?

The medical experts don't seem to believe that this is the best way forward, they are completely against allowing the pandemic to run its course and allow the Country to achieve herd immunity by sacrificing a certain number of our citizens, whether they be young, old or whatever.

Mother Nature is a great believer in Natural Selection and does not have any pity for the weak, the compromised, the old or no longer productive and lives by the adage that only the strong survive. Is that direction that we want to go as a society?

If it is the direction that America chooses to go, history does have several examples of what happens when we live by that philosophy. It is not always pretty and the ones who believe they would be in control were often surprised at the outcomes.

The reality is that

I know that my thoughts do not mean a rat's ass to anyone but me and maybe a few family members, but the more I read and see from the Covid-19 coverage, that is beyond the stuff that the media, social media and government filter, I and it seems many others tend to believe resuming life after the President's 15 days would result in a much higher death toll than if we continue to work on flattening the curve.

We have to decide if the cure is worse than the problem and I am going to defer to the experts who know a lot more about pandemics than I do. Dr. Fauci your voice of reason will be missed I have a feeling and your honesty was your downfall in an era of post-truth politics.

I do not underestimate President Trump's intelligence, showmanship or ability to mobilize his base, or add to it as people want nothing but going back to how things were just a month ago. However, when I hear him and others speak at these press conferences, it is more about him and stroking his ego, than what might be best for the entire Country - not just a certain demographics.

We need now is for the President to put the Country first and foremost and to lead us through this dark time by bringing us together, not tearing us further apart. If he can do that, then he will survive politically, if he continues to create winners and losers in an effort to divide us as a nation and play to his or increase his base, the pandemic will bring down his hopes for re-election.

I guess it comes down to what kind of society we choose to be in the future.

That is the question isn't it?

We do live in "interesting" times - don't we.

 This post was written for and first appeared on One Foot In Reality.

Monday, March 23, 2020

Getting off the Slime and back to Tar - RunLog 3-23-2020

Winter storm tonight with between 4-8 inches of the white shite predicted overnight, yeah when it snows after Spring has sprung, I tend to call it white shite. This means that tomorrow is going to be a mess and we will see how much running is actually done.

Red Sky in the Morning Sailor Take Warning

However, today the temps were in the mid-'20s and the breeze reasonable by the time I got through walking Bennie for his long walk, although it did get down in the low teens overnight, so the first walk was a bit chilly. So I was looking forward to running down-back to the Town Office and back.



Everything started off great, I was feeling good, but when I got to the dirt, I noticed a certain sliminess underfoot. It has been a really strange year, if I have not run or walked down-back by 10:00 AM, it seems that the dirt road is on a timer and when it goes ding, the muddy slime comes out no matter what the actual temperature might be. Even when the sun isn't shining - like today.

I made it down to the lower gate and told myself this is simply being stoopid, the road is getting slimier by the minute and you want to run another 30 minutes on the goop, you really are crazy and asking for another injury.

Yeah, I turned around.

I ran back up Stevens Hill and focused really hard on not landing on my arse or having a mud facial. In a couple of spots, I may have slowed down to a slow walk and then got going again when I got past the frozen tire ruts that had sneaky slime all over them.

I am sure that I made the right decision.

Then I decided to run down to Pepin. I just cruised along, looking carefully at the yards of houses that I know have their dogs out a lot more now that they are home. Phew, no dogs on the way out to worry about. Coming back I was still pretty vigilant and while I slowed considerably coming back up Philbrick, I still kept plugging along.

Today when I went down around the Circle, the garbage man was in front and then behind, then in front, which of course made me speed up a little, especially when he got in front of me. The aroma of the back of the truck even in winter is not the most pleasant, to say the least. However, I have nothing but respect for those guys, they are doing dirty, nasty work and now possibly dangerous work for not so great wages, even though it is a time when most people are home avoiding everyone else. They still pick up the trash and do a job that has to be done. Otherwise, if garbage is not collected other crap starts to happen that we don't need.

When I finished, I realized that this was the first run in a long time that I haven't thought at all about how my left hamstring was doing. Which means I am beginning to make good progress. Now to stay out of the slime and no tempt fate by slipping and sliding and re-pulling the hamstring.

Good run.

Yeah, can you tell I am excited by that 4-8 inches of white shite we are supposed to get tonight? Oh well, we have had blizzards in April so I can't complain about a familiar foe that will go away in a few days at the end of March.





This post was written for and first appeared on One Foot In Reality.

Sunday, March 22, 2020

My Pandemic Journal - 3-22-2020

1. What was the most important thing that you did today? 2. What else did you do today?

Well, today was one of those days where the sun is shining nicely, but it still feels too damn much like winter. Yeah, on Bennie's first walk the thermometer read 13*F and with the wind chills, it was definitely in the single digits. While things warmed up over the course of the day, it never really got what I would call warm and my coat, warm hat, and mittens were welcome all day.

Unfortunately, SD2's beagle, Hunter a 15+-year-old dog is not doing well and we are in wait in see mode to see what happens. So that along with everything else going on is adding to our stress levels pretty significantly. Our dogs are a part of our family and when they are not doing well...well they are family.

Bennie and I went for a long walk down-back, which was nice, but chilly. The dirt road was mostly frozen, but the bright sunshine was bringing the frost out. Which was really noticed during my run after we got back, I thought it would still be frozen enough to run comfortably down-back. Guess what, I was wrong. By the time I got to go running, the road had turned to slime and was no fun to run through.






Other than that it was a pretty quiet day and we are now waiting until a little later in the afternoon for Bennie's last walk, it seems that the biggest surge of our neighbors out walking their dogs now is between 3 and 4, so I waited until it was almost 4 and wandered out. We didn't meet anyone, which was nice.

Unfortunately, there are still quite a few people minimizing, claiming the government is over-reacting or simply ignoring the Governor and other warnings about the seriousness of the Covid-19 pandemic. After all, we live in a fairly rural area and it certainly won't come here or if it does it is not a big deal, we will just get a little sick and then get on with our lives.

I don't bother arguing with them and I just tell them I really hope that they are correct, that we will see what happens over the next month or so and move on to other subjects or keep walking. It serves no purpose to argue with those folk, they evidently have not been listening to the same sources I have been and most likely will not listen to anything I would have to say about things anyway. So I just let it go and go about my business. However, I don't get too close - I plan on doing what the experts are recommending until I hear otherwise, it just seems prudent to me.

Which means that our daily schedule has changed and things like going down to the store to get the Sunday paper is not something that Mary wants me to do, I don't bother going into town to run and keep my travels to where I go on foot most of the time and when I see people out walking I give them a lot more than 6 feet space.

Still, it does scare me that so many people do not believe that the Covid-19 pandemic is a serious matter. We will find out serious it is over the next month or so, but with the reports coming in from around the world and starting to come in from the larger metropolitan areas, I think that many more are starting to figure out that it something to be concerned about.

Like everyone else, I want this shit to be done and over, unfortunately, I have a feeling that the worst is yet to come and the worst is not going to all that pretty if Italy is any indication of what could happen here.

I have been visited repeatedly by what I believe to be a Russian bot/troll and have decided to moderate all of my comments and today chosen to require people to use their Google sign-in to comment on the blog. I apologize ahead of time, but this particular bot/troll is pretty nasty and the spewage that it adds to our blogs is such that I don't want to give it any more publicity or attention than I have to.



So again I apologize for you having to use your Google login for commenting, but anonymous comments seem to provide easy access for a level of rudeness that I will not allow on the blog and that I have no wish to read anymore.


This post was written for and first appeared on One Foot In Reality.

A Chilly Run This Morning - RunLog 3-22-2020

Spring has Sprung, but somebody forgot to tell Mother Nature that it is supposed to be a bit warmer.


That is chilly in my world, but since going to the gym and playing on the treadmill is not an option now, it is what I get to enjoy. Actually, once I got going while it was chilly, it wasn't all that bad.

Although I do have to admit I prefer to run when it is warmer.



Bennie and I had walked over to the old cranberry bog on Blake Road earlier this morning.


So I wrongly figured with the temps being where they were that the road down-back would not be all that bad. Unfortunately, that dream didn't hold up when it came time to get out and run.

However, just as I was getting ready to run at the end of the driveway after adjusting my socks, Mary was finishing her run. So I waited to talk with her to see how she was doing and how Hunter (SD2's beagle) was. We had a lot to talk about so we went back inside instead of standing at the end of the driveway freezing. He is not doing good at all and she was pretty upset by how badly he is doing. We talked for a while and even though I really was not in the mood to go for a run I needed some space too.

By the time I got out even with the cold chill in the air, down-back was starting to get pretty slimy and I met a couple of the neighbors out walking at the bottom of the hill. We chatted at a comfortable distance for a couple of seconds and I kept moving. By this point, I really wasn't all that sure about how far I wanted to go, but I kept plugging along.

When I got down to Tiffany and on the tar thing felt better underfoot and while I didn't really speed up all that much, I just maintained a nice pace based on a very comfortable effort. When I got to Wildwood, I decided to go for the 5.0 miles that I would get if I went down to Notta Road. Things were going pretty good until I got back on the dirt road down-back. Even with temps in the low '20s and wind chills bringing things down even farther. The sunshine was bringing the frost out of the ground and the road was getting pretty slick.



By the time I got up to the tar on Philbrick, I wished that I had on a pair of trail shoes because as much as I am liking running in the Bondi 5s, the amount of slime they had to go through was not fair to them and I was having to navigate between the slime and the still-frozen tire track ridges.

This was when things were still frozen while walking Bennie
Even so, the legs didn't feel too trashed and my feet while bothering a little were feeling good enough to another mile on tar. So I did and that meant I got 30 miles for the week, which is a goal I am attempting to maintain through this pandemic for as long as I can.

It was a good, but chilly run and one I needed with the news about Hunter. He may only be a dog, but he is still a member of our family and I know that we all are worried about him. However, no matter what is happening around us, life goes on and all we can do is the best we can each day that we have.

Stay healthy my friends and enjoy the life we do have, that is what is important now.


This post was written for and first appeared on One Foot In Reality.

My Pandemic Journal - 3-21-2020

1. What was the most important thing that you did today? 2. What else did you do today?

The most important thing I did today was get up and get moving. Running is a good outlet, but when the wind is blowing and the temps are in the feel like its in the '20s being outside just is not pleasurable, to say the least. However, at least I am able to get outside, so I really can't complain all that much and will get outside every day that I can, no matter what the weather is doing.

I also noticed that I get pretty defensive about who goes in our driveway now. A strange car with Virginia plates came out of the driveway while I was finishing up a lap out front. SD2 said he had been up there and put something on the steps. It turned out to be political propaganda from Congressman wannabe Eric Brakey. Needless to say, I will not be voting for him and the Wife said that she had read in the paper where other candidates and people were complaining about him doing this stuff. He is still doing it and needs to stop. Going to people's homes and leaving campaign propaganda on their doorsteps is not a great way to influence potential constituents.

Bennie and I walked down-back before the mud turned to oozy slime and even though it was cold and windy in the afternoon, we watched a lot of the neighborhood out walking their dogs. Then at the usual time in the afternoon, we joined them. There 2 other dogs out being walked when Bennie and I went out the door, so we dwaddled behind them to let them get ahead of us. Bennie acts like a conehead around other dogs.

It turns out that one of the dogs was Hazel and that Diane was walking her. We tried to introduce them, but Bennie being Bennie got about 4 feet away from her and went into ridgeback mode and started growling and barking. He has a really bad case of small dog's disease and I just pulled him around Diane and Hazel, kind joked about it for a second went about our way. Too bad, because we have to walk by Hazel most days to get down back and it would have been nice to have them learn to get along a little better.

Hunter - SD2's 15+-year-old dog is not doing really well lately and slowly walked over to the house yesterday afternoon to get an ear rub from me. So, of course, I went out and gave both ears a good rubbing and stuff. I am hopeful that he can recover a little bit and do better for a while longer. He is a good dog, but one that has his issues.

After a nice supper, we did get to sit down and relax for a while and I even pulled up my old Neverwinter Nights game and played that for a couple of hours. I had to restart the game because I decided to play a different character, but that is part of the fun of computer RPG games you can start over and it feels different based on the character you are playing and the responses you get to make.

Overall, it was a good day and just another one to get through. Although the numbers of confirmed cases of the Covid-19 virus are increasing, the actual number of infected people I am sure is, even more, it is just that no one really knows what is going on because testing is so limited. Sometimes I wonder if the limited testing is being done on purpose by leadership to keep the numbers lower. Although it really doesn't matter in the long because we will all be exposed at some point and most of us will have the virus.

All we can hope for is that our cases are of a mild variety and do not require hospitalization, which they claim will be the case for most of us. I am not being a negative Nellie, I am just being realistic and looking at what I can control more and more to keep myself as positive about things as possible.

Here is to keeping healthy and being kind to one another.


This post was written for and first appeared on One Foot In Reality.

Saturday, March 21, 2020

WTFO Was They Thinking - RunLog 3-21-2020

Today's run was in the bright sunshine, but with the breeze out of the North and temps in the '30s, let's just say it wasn't the warmest run.

I did think about running down-back just as a change of scenery and walked with Bennie down there this morning. For the most part, it wasn't too bad, but coming back up out there, it was starting to melt a little and getting gushy, so I decided to just do laps in front of the house.



I really am not crazy about doing laps, but it is better than sitting inside doing nothing. On the first lap, a strange car was coming out of the driveway and SD2 who was walking Hunter said he had been putzing around in the yard for a few minutes and put something on the steps. When he drove by it was a car from Virginia and we had zero ideas who the driver was.

So I stopped running and went up into the yard to see what was up. It was political propaganda for a Congress critter wannabe in our area. Not really a smart thing to be leaving shit on people's steps during this kind of pandemic when the virus can be spread by doing something like that. Needless to say that I won't be voting for that candidate. Plus using out of state talent to deliver your message to a possible constituent doesn't seem the brightest move in my book.

After fuming about that for a minute or two, I got back on the road, but my motivation to run was pretty screwed up by that crap. The car was still wandering around the neighborhood when I was getting towards the top of the hill and I did manage to flag down the driver and ask him what in tarnation he was doing?

He just said he was delivering stuff as directed using his GPS to go to the houses he was supposed to. I said it was a pretty shitty time to be going to people's homes like that and leaving stuff that people would have to treat like BioHazard material. I told him to take my address off his delivery route for future reference and he drove off in a bit of a huff. I don't think he liked me all that much. Oh well, stoopid is as stoopid does and delivering campaign propaganda like that just seems an unnecessary thing in light of today's reality and how the Covid-19 virus can be transmitted to others.

Needless to say after that little meeting, I was not really all that into running and it showed on my third split time. I decided to force myself to do one more lap and called it quits.

Physically I felt fine, the GlideRides did what they were supposed to do and it was just the mental part of the run that shut me down today. Could I or should I have run another mile or two? Yeah, however that whole thing with the political propaganda just took me off my game a little. Something like this would not have been a big deal even a week ago, but now when somebody, unnecessarily invades our little piece of this little blue marble, it does tend to send my protective antennae up to the full alert. Just the way things are going to work for a while.

At least I got 4.0 miles in and continue to like the GlideRides.


This post was written for and first appeared on One Foot In Reality.

Bondi 5s Out of Retirement - 3/20/2020

Okay, so now that I have figured out how to separate out my thought about the Pandemic and my Running, which are two different things, but often happen simultaneously. I just need to separate out the serious from the mundane and go from there.

So let's talk about my run yesterday and today in this post.

3/20/2020

Yesterday's run was a bit different because I got an old pair of running shoes out of shoe purgatory and wanted to see if I made a couple of little changes if they would work for me or not. They were the Hoka Bondi 5s, which I really liked and would have kept running in them if they hadn't bothered my right foot so much. I like my ASICS GlideRides but want another pair of shoes that I can rotate with them, just to give my legs a bit of a different feel, until the weather gets a little warmer and/or I decide that I running harder isn't going to bother my immune system enough to make any difference.

So I switched out the fairly thick insole in the Bondi 5s for a very thin one and made sure that I wore my little toe spreader before I headed out the door. As a result, the Bondi 5s were not quite as cush feeling, but at the same time, I had more room in the toe box, so that part was good.



Once I got going I remembered how much I do like running in the Bondi's, the ride and transitions are smooth and I don't feel as though I am fighting myself to run comfortably. Then again, I really have always liked the Hoka ride, my only problem has been the fit on my right foot.


The weather was pretty damp and the roads were wet, but it didn't rain, but it was still pretty breezy heading out. Going down Philbrick hill was great and I got through the first mile nicely. Even though I was running against the wind most of the way down to and into Pepin, it didn't feel as though I was working nearly as hard and without trying my cadence was a little faster and I just felt good...well until I got off the tar section and decided that I suddenly needed to visit that little blue box on the side of the road pretty badly.

Once I got that interruption out of the way I got going again and felt decent. Even going back up Philbrick didn't feel as tough as it has been lately. I did purposely pick up the pace a little once I got to the top of the hill and finished the run on a really good note.

It was probably the best run I have had since I injured my hamstring back in January. Was it only the shoes? I don't think it was just the shoes, but I gotta admit that they didn't hurt and my right foot didn't bother at all with the toe spacer in there, which is all I could ask for.

We will see how things go with more runs in the Bondi 5s. However, with that toe spacer in they were comfortable enough that I did order a pair of Hoka Clifton 6 in 8.5 ee from a running store for a decent price to put away for future needs. I just want to make sure that I have good shoes to run in when I do need them because this pandemic stuff is going to get worse before it gets better.



 This post was written for and first appeared on One Foot In Reality.

My Pandemic Journal - 3-20-2020

I have finally figured out how I want to go forward with my blog for a while, I will split apart my daily journal on the Pandemic and my Running Log. I just can't reconcile the importance to me of getting my thoughts out of my head regarding the seriousness of the Pandemic and in the same blog post discuss something as mundane as my running. While they are happening during the same day, they are very different emotions and thoughts that I am capturing. I just need to separate them and it took me a while to figure that out.

Daily life has become very different for us all and this journal is just a small thing I am doing to help me get through this time in our lives. This Pandemic is not going to be over in a few weeks, I have a feeling that the time frame will be measured in months to a year before life resemble anything close to normal again.

If the experts and scientists are correct the Covid 19 virus will be coming at us in waves of various sizes until they create an effective vaccine or we reach herd immunity. So this is not going to be a quick, its done and over kind of outbreak.

The thoughts that I write down here are my own and I am doing this journal only for my own uses if you want to read them cool beans if you don't like what I say or am thinking, please skip these posts. I will probably be turning off the comments on these posts just because I don't want to deal with the bots and trolls that they will attract.

Today was one where I spent a lot of time reflecting on things going on around us, but not so much to bring me down or anything. More to decide what things I can control or the things that I can't, let go of what I can't and do the best I can going forward.

It is tough to focus on writing down my thoughts during the Covid-19 pandemic - just being honest. Due to the way things are coming at us, I have a tough time in the evenings getting my thoughts out of my head and am mentally exhausted with the efforts of simply getting through the day without lashing out at others or going off into a corner to hide for a while, hoping that all of this is nothing but a bad dream.

I know that it is not and that the reality is that this is our life for a while and that I am luckier than most, based mostly on where we live and our chosen lifestyle prior to the Covid-19 virus coming to our shores.

It is not so much that I am scared or worried about what is going on, it is more that I/we just do not know what is really happening, where the virus actually is, who has it, whether we have been exposed or even if we have already had the virus and finally have lost confidence in the Federal Government's creditability to provide the truth about Covid-19 in a coherent or supportive manner. Which sucks, because I like most other people depend on our leaders to lead and bring us together during emergencies like this.

I actually watch the news conferences, speeches, listen to what is coming out of the mouths of our leaders, not just the sound bites or what the pundits or reporters say that they said. So I am seeing what they are telling us and so far it is not what I expected from them.

If I were to say completely how I really feel about our national leadership right now, then how much am I in my own small circle undercutting the little confidence that I want to have or that others might have. So I just let the tip of my frustrations show through.

Although if yesterday's response to a question by a reporter is how the President is going to react to a question that could have been turned into a great sound bite to reassure the American people that his administration is doing everything possible to get ahead of the pandemic. Instead, he turned it into something else, which is a problem and not the answer Americans were looking for.

It will also be interesting to see how Dr. Fauci is featured during future interviews after he disagreed publicly with the President and also did the facepalm while he was talking. I wonder if he will suddenly not be a part of the official party for a while, be required to toe the party line or suddenly be unavailable to answer questions within his expertise. Which would be a mistake, because he is about the only one the stage with a great deal of creditability right now, I see the rest as water carriers and only spouting the party line.

No matter how much leadership just wants this pandemic to go away - now, unfortunately for everyone that is not how a pandemic works and most likely the worst is yet to come. The Covid-19 virus is on our shores and where it came from does not matter.

Now is the time for us to come together, use all the resources at our disposal to get through this time as best we can and do what is necessary to see that as many do survive the pandemic as possible. We can look back and point fingers when this shit is behind us.

What I do expect is leadership from those in power, not whining, divisive finger-pointing and using science to make decisions to lead us out of this dark time, not gut feelings.

Oh well, enough of the dark stuff and heavy words.



I did have one of the better runs I have had in a while


This post was written for and first appeared on One Foot In Reality.

Thursday, March 19, 2020

Shaw's, Running and Missing Dad - 3-19-2020

1. What was the most important thing that you did today?
2. What else did you do today? 

The biggest thing I did today was going to Shaw's up in Waterville. With all the social distancing, emergency declarations and other stuff, it made the decision to go into town a bit stressful. However, there were some items that we needed and I probably have the best schedule and immune system, so I volunteered last night to be the guinea pig.

They did advertise that from 7:00 to 9:00 AM were set aside for at-risk populations and from what I could see that is mostly who were shopping there this morning. I had told the family if there were lots of people waiting around, I would just drive through the parking lot and come home. No lines, no waiting...well except for the checkout and like Sam's Club on Tuesday, people were actually nicer than they usually are. The store was reasonably well stocked and with the exception of a couple of things, I was able to get the things on our list, plus a couple of other things that caught my eye as being needed.

I went in got the things that we needed and came home. Was it worth going in...yes, we got some stuff that will make our life a little better in the short and long run, no hoarding, just a few things to get by with. I noticed that most of the other shoppers were doing the same thing, so that was good.

Even so, I don't plan on going in very often over the next few weeks.

Unfortunately, I also have to start moderating all comments on the blog. The trolls and bots have found the blog again and I don't want to give them any kind of public acknowledgement beyond this brief statement letting everyone know that I am moderating comments again.

Other than that today was a puttering day.



I did get in a nice easy 5.0-mile progression run by doing laps on the road out front. The light rain kept coming and going while I was out there and for the second day in a row, I had one of those wonderful dog encounters. Different neighbor and it stayed out of the road, but still, it startles the hell out of you when a dog comes running at you snarling and growling. I wonder if another one will come out at me tomorrow on my run, sure is getting to be a routine occurrence out here.

The other thing is I am not sure what is going on with my Nike Vomero 14s, when I run in them it feels as though I have to use almost twice as much effort to pick up the pace a little as I do with other shoes in my rotation.



While they are comfortable to run in, it is almost as though the midsole in them doesn't have a lot of snap to them, I wonder if something happened to the Zoom Air? All I know is that I can't blame it on the cold weather since it was right around 40 degrees and that shouldn't have any effect on the midsole performance. I love the Vomero 14s as walking shoes, but as running shoes, I am scratching my head over how they are not working all that great for me.

Enough that I decided to get out an old pair of Hoka Bondi 5s and see if I can get that toe box issue I had with them resolved by using the toe spreader and taping it in place. I did wear them this afternoon and they didn't bother, so we will see. I really want another pair of shoes to rotate in with my ASICS GlideRides, to give a slightly different fit and feel.

Especially since I am not going to bring out my go faster shoes for a while or at least until this Covid 19 stuff slows down enough to where I feel comfortable doing a hard workout. Right now from what I am reading a hard workout does lower your immune system slightly for a while and that is something that I really want to avoid since I am an older runner and statistically in a higher-risk group.

One last thing today would have been Dad's 80th birthday and while I miss him more than anyone will ever know, at the same time I am glad that he passed last October before the Covid-19 came to America. This virus would have been...well he did not have to deal with it and that is a good thing.


This post was written for and first appeared on One Foot In Reality.

Wednesday, March 18, 2020

Sam's Club, Walking In the Rain - 3-17-2020

1. What was the most important thing that you did today?
2. What else did you do today?

We went down to Sam's Club in Augusta yesterday afternoon, fully prepared to just drive through the parking lot if it appeared too busy or lines going out the door.

Yes, we were concerned, worried and more than a little trepidatious about even going into town, but needed a few more things. However, plus me being me, I wanted to see how things were actually going versus what the news folk and social media types were saying. I figured that the big rush would have been over the weekend and on Monday. The parking lot was busy, but people were entering without any kind of wait so we went inside.

Most everyone seemed to be a bit relieved once they got inside and people did try to keep their distance from each other for the most part. No one seemed to be in panic mode and actually, I thought that people were more polite and smiling at one another more often than usual. About the only place, we encountered people getting a little too close was the rotisserie chicken area when a woman got a little closer than necessary, but then again there were only 4-5 chicken left and she looked like she wanted one pretty badly.

The majority of people who were in the store were older, although a few with kids (schools finally closed), but not too many younger adults. One older gentleman had a mask on and we saw one other person with a mask, I thought that there would be more of them than there were. Other than that the biggest thing that I noticed was that most of the people kept their gloves on, come to think of it we did too and then took them off when we got back to the vehicle and washed everything after getting home (well after our walk in the rain that is).

The things we normally get on our weekly Monday Sam's Club run were pretty much in stock or similar items were available.



Yes, some areas of the store were wiped out paper products (no toilet paper), cat litter, some pet supplies, cereals, and easy to prepare/eat foods. Like the Wife said, it seemed that the higher end, fish oriented or ingredients for cooking for more available than the easy to prepare stuff or paper products.

Actually, I thought it was not quite as busy at Sam's Club as it had been for the previous month when we had been in there, so that was nice and a bit of a relief at the same time. I am not a big fan of large crowds in the best of times and this is not the best of times to be around large groupings of people so that reduced our stress level about being in there a little as well. It doesn't mean we were not exposed to the Covid-19, it just means that there was less of a chance of it, because there were not as many people.

When we left, I wanted to see how Walmart was faring. So we drove by and the parking lot was wall-to-wall cars. I would not have even gone in if we had had to, it looked a little crazy and we just hight-tailed it out of the Mall area and headed home.

We are settling down to avoid going into town for a while and hoping that we were not exposed to Covid-19 while out and about today. We will see.

I did take the day off from running, I had a 9-day running streak going and with the nasty snow/rain temps in the low 30s, I just decided to relax a little and not go for a run. Although later in the afternoon, we did walk the dogs and then did a couple miles of walking in the rain with the one that love.

I talked with D2 for a bit and wished Elyjah a happy birthday.

The worst part of the day was at 9:45 PM we suddenly lost power. We were watching Oak Island and they were coming to the climactic portion of the show and wham - sudden darkness. So after fumbling about for a couple minutes we just went to be. Power was restored about 1:00 AM, which means that I am tired this morning because I don't sleep well if the power is out and we are waiting for it to come back on.

Life goes on and all we can do is keep smiling and taking it day-by-day.

 This post was written for and first appeared on One Foot In Reality.

Tuesday, March 17, 2020

Washing Machine Woes - March 16, 2020

1. What was the most important thing that you did today?
2. What else did you do today?

Today was the washing machine from hell. In the morning SD1 overloaded the machine and it decided that it didn't want to do laundry anymore. Three heavyweight fleece blankets were in the machine waiting forlornly for the water to drain and then be spun around. Instead, they were unceremoniously pulled out squeezed and twisted enough so they would not drip on the floors too badly and relegated to deck railings to drip for a while.

Then some oversized or was that undersized bozo went out on the deck and twisted and squeezed a couple of gallons of water out of each blanket and then left them outside in 24*F temps. In the meantime, the washing machine was bailed out twice and finally late in the afternoon on the third try reset itself and did a complete wash cycle.

By that time the three fleece blankets on the deck railings were thoroughly frozen and had icicles hanging off the ends. We ended up redoing each blanket separately and got the final one dried and ready to be put on the bed at about 10:00 PM. That was a long day for that washing machine and the people attempting to put things right.

I will say this though...in this time of worry and whatnot small things like this suddenly do become large things and with patience at an all-time low it is the little things that are sometimes the hard things. If that makes any sense. Yes, a voice or two was raised out of frustration, but when we realized what was happening we lightened things up and just did what was necessary to fix the problem.

Lesson Learned.

1. Don't sweat the small shit, it ain't worth the effort. Stuff is going to happen during this crappy time in our lives, just the way it is going to be.
2. Fix or work on the issues as they arise and keep the voice levels at conversational levels, raising your voices serves no purpose other than to upset the apple cart. Probably the best thing is to not say anything and keep working on the problem or just a gentle reminder, to those who do raise their voices, "we are doing the best we can."
3. People are scared and small things become bigger things way too quickly. Just keep doing the best we can.
4. Do not overload the washing machine. ;-)

Otherwise, it was a nice winter day outside. Yes, it is still winter for a few more days and when the day starts off at 13*F with a little bit of a breeze, it does make it rather chilly outside.



We walked the dogs and I did get to go for a run down-back.

In the evening I got to talk with D2 out in Minnesota and after a while, she seemed to lighten up a little towards the end, like everyone else she is a little scared and concerned about what is happening. I just kept reminding her that we are still better off than many people and that while tough times are ahead of us, that we have to keep working on staying calm, doing the best we can and smile when we can. Life is going to be difficult and it will be different than we are used to for a longer time than people tend to think.

I don't believe that it will get back to how it was just a month ago anytime soon, if ever. We will have different perspectives on life when the Covid-19 pandemic is over. I just hope that most of us live to see the other side of it, because not all of us will. That is just going to be a fact of life, this epidemic is and will kill people and it is going to change how we look at the world.

This is a chance to hit the reset button and see what human beings are doing to their world and what the world can do if given the chance to heal itself. Mother Nature is a very uncompromising sort and maybe this is her way of giving us a warning. That if we do not heed, we do so at our species' own peril.

We shall see, won't we?




 This post was written for and first appeared on One Foot In Reality.

Monday, March 16, 2020

Staying Home and back to the Daily Journal - 3-16-2020

Sometimes we get overwhelmed and stop doing our normal routines and create other routines out of necessity or just...well because they are easier. That is basically what I have done with my daily blog posts, I have stopped doing them for a few weeks as I have attempted to wrap my head around the Covid-19 epidemic/pandemic.



While there are no easy answers and certainly I am not in any position to do anything more than share my thoughts about what is going on in today's world, so that at some point and time I will be able to come back and read about this time in our lives.

So starting today, I am going back to journaling about things that are happening around me and the things I did to get through this tough time.

We have made the conscious decision to not go anywhere unless we have to. Yes, that is the advice of the CDC, Federal and State governments and most everyone else, is to limit your exposure to others. The so-called attempt to flatten the curve. Which to be honest is a pain in the ass and many Americans are ignoring those recommendations.

After all, it won't affect them all that severely - right.

People of all ages do not want to be inconvenienced or have to change how they live. It is their right to pursue the American Dream and live the way they want - is it not. Yep, it sure is. At least it is until it infringes on the rights of others and possibly spread a very contagious virus even more quickly than it is already and creates a situation where the ability of our medical systems becomes overwhelmed.

So we will stay home as much as possible for the foreseeable future.

The idea of remaining at the top of our little hill out in the rural area we live in isn't all that bad compared to those who live in apartments in big cities or even smaller towns. There are not that many families up here and even if mandatory quarantine does happen, we are not in close contact with others and have acres of woods around us. On the flip side it does mean that when we need to get supplies we have to drive into town to get them and go through the worry of what we might catch while there.

Are we concerned about the Covid 19 virus? Absolutely, but we are not panicking. We are taking control of what we can, staying informed about what is going on locally and nationally and taking prudent precautions for what looks to be an extended period of our lives being disrupted. There is no sense in freaking out about things or hiding our heads in the sand, it just doesn't serve any purpose and we will be better off staying calm and aware of what is going on.

We will continue to live our lives as routinely as possible by:


  • Working out to relieve the stress and also increase our ability to fight off the virus.
  • Eating well
  • Decreasing my time on social media and the histrionics and crap that seems to go along with it.
  • Walking the dogs
  • Social distancing from others, which we pretty much did before this anyway, we are not big people people in the first place


Last night I got to draft my Fantasy Baseball team in a league I have participated in for many years now. Even though baseball probably won't start for 2-3 months, it was nice to have some normalcy in my life for couple of hours.

I have been running most days and the left hamstring is getting better slowly, but surely.

I had started a private journal to record these events and give my honest thoughts about what is going on without having to worry about the trolls coming out of the woodwork to tell me how wrong I am about my observations or threatening this or that because I am one of "them" damn old people. The bots did find my blog and some of the comments were not shall we say complimentary or reassuring. By the way, did I ever tell you how much I hate trolls and bots. ;-)

All that being said it seems as though it is going to be a while before life returns to something that resembles normal and even then it will be a new normal. Life will change as a result of this pandemic and it is up to us to decide whether it will be for the better...or not.

Hopefully, people will have more time to reflect on the important things in life and the direction they want their lives to go. Sometimes the world needs a timeout to figure out what is important, so during this time of uncertainty, use the time that we all will have in our homes to figure out what is important, who is important and what we can do to make our lives better.

You can follow my journey where I ask myself these important questions and reflect on what I am seeing, hearing and doing during these "interesting" times that we are living in.


1. What was the most important thing that you did today?
2. What else did you do today? 
3. Did the answers to Q1 and Q2 move you closer to what you want?

 This post was written for and first appeared on One Foot In Reality.

Wednesday, March 11, 2020

Simplifying My Technology Use

Simplify, Simplify, Simplify.

That is my mantra when it comes to using technology lately and really many other parts of my life.

This year simplifying my technology started when I got a used Google 2015 Pixel 2 Chromebook for Christmas, then replaced my broken iPhone 7 with a Google Pixel 3a phone and moved back to Blogger. However, one of the biggest changes is going back to a pen and paper-based running log again. These changes made me stop and really think about what I am attempting to accomplish with the tools I am using.



Since 2020 started I have experimented with new to me processes, different productivity ideas, Apps (which I still call software), read more than a few tech reviews, articles and blog posts to get ideas on what could work for me going forward.

Running Log


Sometimes I am finding the simplest and the best way to use technology is to just go old school. Though I still use my spreadsheet and post to Strava, there is something about actually writing down my thoughts about my running that makes my running more mine than publishing my exploits online does when I have to think about how a reader might interpret something that I wrote. 

Software & Apps


I have installed, tested (attempted to use), actually used, didn't like and deleted more than my share of apps from both my phone and laptop since the beginning of the year. Although I have found a few new to me Apps that I like quite a bit, that fit nicely into my tech life.

Before I started this process I often had 3-5 Apps that pretty much did the same things on each device and often they were not compatible. I have learned the hard way that if I have multiple apps that do the same thing it only results in confusion, lost data or time and more than a little frustration on my part. Using that knowledge, I focused on attempting to use one App (where I could) and tried to make it the one where I could access my data when I need it, no matter which device I happen to be using.

As a result, more than thirty Apps have disappeared from my laptop/phone and I have a feeling that there are a few more that will go away before too long.

Surprisingly on my Chromebook, I found that I usually preferred the Chrome OS versions of Apps I was using versus the Android or third-party versions. Frankly, I did not expect this result since many of the tech reviews that I read were just the opposite. However, they are not me and I do things differently than other people sometimes...well pretty often.

I did figure out that my computer use (yes, my phone is a computer) revolved around the below Apps:


  • Browser: Google Chrome
  • Search Engine: Google
  • Blog Host: Blogger by Google
  • Productivity Suite: Google Drive
  • Email: Google Gmail/Contacts
  • Photos: Google Photos
  • eBooks: Amazon Kindle/Google Books
  • Communication: Phone/Google Messages & Hangouts and Facebook Messenger
  • Calendar: Google Calendar
  • Music: Google Play Music
  • Social Media: Facebook & Twitter (website only)
  • Weather: AccuWeather

How do I use them?


Browser/Search Engine

I prefer to do most things on my Pixel 2 Chromebook through the Chrome browser, including wandering around the web way too much. After thinking about it, I decided to keep using Chrome and Google as my primary browser or search engine, although I can use now use other browsers and search engines on a Chromebook.  

That and since just about everything else I use is Google-based, if they are going to know everything about me, they might as well know everything.

On my phone, I rarely use the browser and rely more on Apps. An interesting phenomenon when I stopped and thought about it. I really don't use my phone for much more than taking photos, texting, as a phone, looking at the weather and news or eBook reader. Otherwise, a lot of the apps could actually just go away if I wanted to. I keep a lot of the apps on my phone more for just-in-case than a need.

Blog

Google's Blogger hosts this blog and currently, I am struggling a bit to figure out the direction it will go in the future. I don't want it to simply be a journal of my life or a daily running log. I believe it can be more than that and will figure things out as go along this year.

One big change is that my blog has also become my de facto RSS Feed Reader/Blog Reader and I am actually loving having it there. I just have to open my blog, go to my sidebar and all the blogs I follow are there in order of the latest update. Then I just click the link and I get transported to their blog. Simple, basic and works great for me.

Recently, I started listing the books that I have been reading during the year and finally have a place to store that information. I have tried several methods of capturing the book titles, but have never been all that happy until I put the list on my blog's sidebar. It works for me.

Productivity Suite 

Over the years, I have attempted so many different combinations of Google’s (and others) Productivity Suites and varied results. However, it always seems that in the end, I come back to primarily using what is now called Google Drive.

Again, it just works for me. No matter what device I am on or who’s tech silo I am supposedly in, I can access my documents, spreadsheets and other Google products that I use. Also, I can share my work easily with others, which is a huge feature for me. One thing that I have added is the Notes extension for Drive and stopped using Keep, OneNote, and other note-keeping Apps.

Email

Gmail is my email client of choice and I have had it since Google first allowed the general public to use Gmail. It does have a few quirks, but after using almost all of the other major email apps/software or websites, I keep coming back to Gmail - it just works for me (notice a theme here). Although I do prefer the web-based version over Android's version on my laptop.

Photos


A great place to keep and be able to find your photos, but for me, it lost some of its functionality when Google stopped allowing direct syncing to Drive. Especially since I primarily use my laptop to post to social media websites, it can be inconvenient to upload the photos.

I now use Microsoft’s OneDrive as another backup for my photos, which is probably a smarter way, just in case I get locked out of my Google account at some point (you never know), I will still have my photos and once they have synced I can easily upload them to either Facebook or Twitter.

eBook 

I read a lot of books and have purposely read a wider variety of genres this year and Kindle works the best for the way I get books. Although I do have a nice selection of all-time greats on Google Play Books. This meant that this one of the few areas where I have two apps that do pretty much the same thing. Yes, I decided to keep both apps on the laptop and phone, so I can read when I want.

Communication

I am finding that I text a lot more than use the phone in today’s world. It is just simpler and easier to text someone than it is to call. Especially, since most people do not answer their phone now (thanks SPAM calls), wait to see if they answer, leave a message if it is important, talk things over, which takes longer than a quick text because you also have to be sociable. Texting gets things done quickly and efficiently most of the time. You do lose a lot of personal interaction, but the advantages seem to be in texting’s corner at this time.

I do use Google Hangouts - not often, but enough so that I want to keep it on my devices. I also kept Facebook Messenger on the phone because I do have friends and contacts that do use it to keep in contact with me. Though on my laptop I only access it through the Facebook website.

Calendar

I keep my schedules and todo list in Google Calendar and the wall calendar by Mary's desk. I don’t bother with a separate todo list anymore - it doesn’t work for me. Putting things I need to get done on my calendar is the only way I keep things straight sometimes and I do not have to search in a separate app for what I am supposed to be doing. If Google Calendar ever disappeared I would probably just move back to a paper and pen calendar.

Music

I like that I can easily upload my purchased CDs (yes, I still do that from time-to-time) and then create my own playlists in Google Play Music, without having to pay $10 per month for a subscription fee to not listen to a lot of music because I am busy doing other things than being on my phone with earbuds in my ears. Just about the only time I use the music app is when I am at the gym or later in the evening when I am writing.

Weather

I use the AccuWeather app, after trying about ten different ones, this one seemed to be the one that best met my needs. With the strange weather that we get in today's world, I like to know what is going on and this App does it better than the rest, I just have to put up with the ads that pop-up a bit too often.

The reality is that


Over the first part of 2020, I have changed almost everything that I use for hardware and software, compared to what I have used for the past few years. Thankfully, there have been surprisingly few hiccups or me going WTFO in the course of attempting to get something done during this time.

I attribute that to how easy to use and well-integrated most of Google's offerings are, along with the familiarity that I do have with their products having used them as an educator and an admin type at a local college.

You notice that I didn’t talk about Social Media much at all. That is a different post and a completely different beast. However, I only use social media sites in a browser and do not download their apps to either device. It slows down their use quite a bit.

It will be interesting to see what tools I am using in six months and how many things I will be doing differently. Knowing me, probably just a few things. :-)

This post was written for and first appeared on One Foot In Reality.