Replacing my Nexus 7

Last week, I discovered that the camera on my Nexus 7 was no longer working.  I was unable to find a troubleshooting page that addressed a camera failure.  I called the support number I found for Google devices.  I was expecting to be run through a series of checks to verify that the camera was indeed inoperative.  Instead, they accepted my description of what the device was displaying as sufficient evidence of the failure.  So far, so good.

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I am disappointed by the failure of the camera and I wish the migration has been easier.  However, I am still quite happy with my Nexus 7.  I'm still learning how to use it.  I am also getting used to my new Android phone.  I hope that, by the time I am ready for a new phone, the migration process is much better.
BB2010 running

Week in Training ending 1 January 2012

I ran four days last week for a total of 8.4 miles.

A good start. All of these were basically 30 minute sessions. I'm building slowly to significantly longer sessions over the next couple months. On Friday through Sunday, I also walked outside with my wife with each walk ranging from 1.4 to 2.5 miles. Thursday saw some strength training for the USAF assessment.

The daily entries are on my running blog.
BB2010 running

2012 Running goals and plans

My goals for 2012 are:
  1. Stay healthy
  2. Train consistently
  3. Finish MCM, secondary goal of marathon PR (<6:45)
  4. HM PR (<2:28)
  5. 10K PR (<55 minutes)
  6. Pass the USAF Fitness Test

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Races currently planned:
Canyonlands Half MarathonMarch 17Moab, UT
Bolder Boulder 10KMay 28Boulder, CO
USAF MarathonSeptember 15Dayton, OH
Marine Corps MarathonOctober 28Arlington, VA
Route 66 MarathonNovember 18Tulsa, OK

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This makes for an ambitious plan, but if you don't aim high, you will never get off the ground.
hacker, glider

I expected better

Just have a nasty experience.

Adobe Flash has been whining about needing to be updated for a while now. I finally let it try to do the update, but that was failing. I figured it was just a bad network connection. Well, Firefox just got updated and had a banner about updating Flash, so I went that route. I downloaded the installer and fired it off. I was a bit surprised to see a progress bar for downloading a Chrome installer and quite unhappy to have Chrome installed on my system without my asking for it. If it was in the notes regarding the Flash update, I did not see it.

I tried Chrome months ago and it wasn't really ready for prime time. For me, the security model wasn't robust enough. The killer was the updater process the constantly checked for new updates. I don't need to spend CPU cycles to have the razor's edge of up-to-date. Checking when I start the application is plenty often enough. So I removed Chrome at that time and haven't seen much reason to try again.

This forced bundling of applications is one reason I do not have QuickTime installed on my system. It came with iTunes which had burned me badly many years ago and you could not install QuickTime without iTunes, so did without.

Google Chrome and Adobe Flash are now on the iTunes list. Neither will be installed on my system unless I find a strong reason to do so. This applies to all OSs I use. I wasn't in the habit of recommending Chrome, but I am now in the negative recommendation position now.

Phone Phrenzy

I really hate this time of the political season.  Everyone and their uncle is calling. 

We have robodialers leaving messages on the machine.  These are the worst when I am actually present to answer the phone.  There isn't someone to talk at.

We have various groups all convinced we have nothing better to do than listen to whatever it is they have to say.  These don't even stop talking when you ask them a question; they just jump into their spiel.

There may have been a time I cared, but the intrusion on my time has passed the point where I am willing to listen.

Finally, those that actually have a living, breathing human ask for my wife.  There hasn't been one that had any interest in talking to me.  I guess they don't want my vote.

While I'm venting on political marketing (marketing=paid lying in my book), I will mention that I really hate negative advertising.  If a candidate cannot articulate intelligently why I should vote for them, telling me that you aren't as bad as the other candidate(s) is not going to help.

Only three more days, then we pause before November.  I'm not looking forward to the crescendo we will get then.

Presque Isle Half Marathon

I completed my third half marathon in 2 hours and 34 minutes.  This wasn't as good as I had hoped, but I did finish and I learned a few things along the way.  "That which doesn't kill us, makes us stronger."

I need to be more consistent in my training.  While my most recent race was more challenging, I was better prepared for that race having more miles in the couple weeks leading to it than I had in the couple weeks leading to this race.  I may need a bit longer than planned to recover from this race, but I will get all my running in before the next half marathon next month.

I need to test everything I will use in the race during my long runs.  This includes running outside in higher temperature and humidity than I get in the basement on the treadmill.  Also, I need to be more proactive in the use of Body Glide and/or wearing compression shorts.  Hopefully, this will address the most sore parts of my anatomy.  In addition, I need to be have a better calibration of the stride sensor to the specific pair of shoes I will wear during the race.

I need to get better on my pacing.  Related to the previous item, it took a few miles to figure out the proper pace as the Polar gear I was using was reporting a faster pace than I was really running.  With that, I did pick a pace and stick with it.  Unfortunately, it was a bit faster than I was prepared for on that day in that weather.  I did learn in some pretty precise terms what it feels like when I the Red Line and where that currently resides with regards to heart rate.  I felt like I was pushing harder earlier than I had in my previous half marathons.

With all that, I still had a great time.  The race was well run and the route was mostly flat (a minor, almost unnoticeable, ridge across the middle of the peninsula, and a bridge near the end of the peninsula being the only exceptions) and pleasant.  There was some scenery visible along the way.  There was some cover from the sun and still some breeze along the way.  They run a full marathon using two laps of the same route in the Fall.


2010 Dexter - Ann Arbor Run (Half Marathon)

In my second half marathon, I have managed to improve on the time I got in my first by just over 4 minutes.  My official time was 2:28:48.

My goals going into this were fairly simple:
A> I wanted to finish ahead of the cut-off
B> I wanted to beat my previous time (2:32:52)
C> I wanted to beat 2:30:00

I was successful in all of these and even managed a faster pace for over twice the distance of the Bolder Boulder.  Of course, Ann Arbor is lower in elevation than Boulder.  I am very happy with this performance and feel this gives me a good start on my training for the USAF Marathon in September.

A more detailed report is available.

Bolder Boulder 10K

Last year, I ran a remote version of this race in Iraq. That is still my PR for 10K. However, the tag line for this race is "Sea Level is for Sissies". Since Balad is only at 164 feet ASL, I felt the need to remedy that by running the real thing. The highest point on the course is at 5391 feet.

I went into this with the plan to finish well. My only specific goal was to beat 12:00/mile pace. I ran the 6.2 miles in 1:12:24.74 for a 11:39/mile pace. I am very happy with this result. It might be my slowest 10K race, but it is well in line with my expectations considering the elevation and where I am with regard to my fitness. The only time I really felt the elevation was during the climb into the stadium.

This race has several wave at the start to spread the crowd (over 50 thousand strong this year) out. I was in wave M. This is for military affiliated runners. We had folks from all services represented. We even had a couple local SWAT team members running with us. There was an older gentleman starting with us who has run every Bolder Boulder. The most notable group to start with us was a formation of Marines running in utilities and with the first pair carrying an American flag and a Marine Corps flag.

Crowd support was great. The performers were all quite good. There were even a few locals providing music at their homes. There were American flags everywhere. The course winds through part of downtown and some residential neighborhoods. There were a couple places where there were spectators armed with supersoakers or buckets. I ran through the one sprinkler. I declined to jump in the pool near halfway. I remember the Blue Brothers near the start. There was at least one Elvis on the sidelines and at least one I saw running. I remember a couple groups of belly dancers. There were many little kids running in the race around me. I wish I had some of that energy.

This race is a Memorial Day race and there are aspects that acknowledge that. One that I used was a second bib, worn on the back, that you can add the names of service members you are honoring/remembering with your run. I had the names of three on mine. The first, Michael Boelter, is an old friend of mine whom I had served with many years. He died in 2008 just after returning from Iraq. He had also served in Saudi Arabia during Desert Shield/Storm and was a Vietnam veteran where he had served in the Navy. The second, Edward "Smitty" Smith, was a retired member of my USAF unit (and the husband of a current member). He died earlier this year after a fight with cancer. The third name, Pamela Bishop, was another retired member who lost her battle with cancer at the beginning of May.

Memorial Bib for BB2010K


My New Car (or How I Spent My Day Off)

My original plan for Friday was to pick up lunch and share it with my wife at her office.  As I was taking the exit, the engine died.  I was able to do a compression start, but it died again as soon as I slowed down.  I was able to pull completely onto the shoulder.  I called my wife to inform her of the change in plans.  I then called AAA who sent a tow truck that was able to drop me and my car at a local dealership.  It turned out that the alternator needed replacement, but that wasn't the worst problem with the car.  It had developed a rattle that was deemed terminal.  Replacement engine would cost what the car is worth.

In the meantime, my wife had come to pick me up.  We talked about our options over lunch and I borrowed her car to work out the details.  From recent investigation, I knew that there was a vehicle very much to my liking at a local dealership.  I drove there to see if the car was still available; it was.  I also asked for a saleswoman who had spent time answering my questions even though she was waiting for a test drive to come back.  (It also turns out that this woman had also worked with us in a very favorable manner two years ago when we were looking for my wife's current car.)  She wasn't there, but the young ladies up front contacted her on her break and she came straight back to effect the sale.  I was even allowed to use an open office they had to contact my insurance company and to get my ID for the Employee Purchase Plan I was using to buy the car.  It took a couple hours to collect all the information, arrange the financing, transfer the registration on the plates, and prepare the car for delivery.  Overall, a very positive experience.

That night, I was able to drive my new 2010 Ford Fusion Hybrid home.  Saturday morning, I emptied all my stuff out of the previous car.  Monday, I will sell it to a fellow looking for a project car.  I wish him good luck.  I'm still going through Owner's Manual.  So far, I have been able to find what I'm looking for in fairly short order.
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My previous car was a 2004 Subaru Forester. This car had over 226K miles when I felt the need to replace it. I hope this new car does as well.
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