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MORE WEBSITE STUFF

NOVEMBER 30, 2020

More Web Stuff

Adding the capability for Recent Posts and Post Archives was fun and taught me a lot about what goes on behind the scenes with the code in familiar blogging sites like WordPress and BlogSpot. Admittedly, it would take me an eternity to match the features and capabilities coded into those sites, but that's honestly not the goal.

My most important goal in building this website is to have fun! Creating a maintenance nightmare is the last thing I want to do. So, any feature that adds overhead, in the form of routine maintenance or overwhelming complexity management, is carefully considered before any work begins.

If adding a new feature will drag me kicking and screaming toward a new technology that adds too much work and/or overhead for too little benefit, then that feature and that technology are not destined to find a place in my website.

On the other hand, if the effort to add a feature or capability can be easily contained to avoid that scope creep with which those of us who spent time in the corporate world are so familiar, then it is likely to find a place on my website development to-do list.

There's a lot that I know I'm sacrificing in order to enjoy the control I maintain over this blog site. For example, on a traditional blog site when you click the Publish button, a lot of things can be user defined to happen behind the scenes, such as notifications. Do I want to build a publish function? If I did, I would be forced to use it and lose any benefit that comes with the changes I can make in a manual publishing operation. A publish function fits well in my too complex to build and maintain category.

Another example of sacrifice is the built-in audience that comes with a more traditional blogging site. I used to live on WordPress and they do a great job of driving users to each other's blogs. In its season, I enjoyed that.

But the level of sophistication that has evolved, in terms of advertising and monetizing, is just not something with which I want to be involved. In fact, and as I have said before, I'm not even looking for an audience. I'm just looking to have fun with the technology and perhaps the opportunity for writing and artistic creativity that come with building and maintaining a website.


WEBSITE STUFF

NOVEMBER 29, 2020

Website Stuff

Decades ago, when I started playing with HTML and my first website, I discovered PHP, and in particular PHP includes. The entire idea of PHP and server-side code opened a new door for me back then, even allowing me to draw from my extensive experience with relational databases and SQL.

With PHP includes, I was able to reduce (and almost eliminate) the redundant HTML and content I had been using in so many places and which had become such a major chore to update when anything changed. These PHP includes were a great addition to my website developer's tool bag!

Still, old habits die hard as they say and while I found myself learning new and improved techniques, I was not always recognizing their potential application and the places where they might benefit me. I had a very good example of that occur just today.

In the past when a new year arrived, I often found myself weighed down with extensive updates changing all of the years in the copyright notices over to the new year. Even today I was realizing that project was looming large and only a month away. Without giving it a thought, I was mentally preparing to take on that annual project. But, then it occurred to me - couldn't I add that copyright notice in a PHP include and update it only once instead of a multitude of times?

How in the world had I missed something so simple? Well, the answer resides in the way I initially set things up. To keep things neat and tidy, I host all content on an HTML page and I host each HTML page with a PHP page that contains all of the structural definitions.

The copyright notices had been added like content on the HTML pages as I had always done before. But, if I were to update the copyright notice in one location and build an include for that location in the PHP page's structural definitions, I could relieve myself of that annual (and tiresome) project and make the update in one location!

I just completed that change and it seems to be working well. No more lengthy projects for copyright notice updates. Now the copyright notice updates for the New Year will be like flipping a switch!


UNPACKING MY FAITH

NOVEMBER 28, 2020

Unpacking My Faith

I have a weekly standing phone call with my 37-year-old son. It's something I really look forward to and it always promises something new and interesting. We both seem to have been cut out of a similar fabric and enjoy going deep together in our discussions.

Sometimes when he wants to explain something that might take a moment, he does a great job of preparing me by saying, let me unpack this. I know what comes next will be a thoughtful presentation of an idea in which he wants to paint a clearer picture for me. I really like and appreciate it when he uses that phrase to prep me. And as a result, I put aside any processing of my thoughts and make a conscious shift into listener mode.

In my post yesterday, I made reference to the importance of a foundation built in faith. And now, borrowing from my son's reference, I want to unpack that idea just a bit.

We often use the term faith to represent our system of beliefs. However, in this case I'm using the term to represent the reference in Hebrews 11:1 where it says, Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. In recent years, I've had quite an epiphany regarding the application of faith (and the importance of it) in my life.

I'm by nature a rules type of guy. I'm the kind of guy who finds peace, comfort, and even joy in the academic side of this system of beliefs called Christianity. I like the opportunities I've had to study the Word of God and the wise writings of so many of Christ's teachers. And, I like the perception that everything I've learned fits together in a neat package.

But, I've come to understand in recent years that what I've learned really doesn't fit into a neat package. There was something that was missing and I didn't know what it was. I went from being a guy who found peace in the academic side of being a follower of Christ to a guy who found something missing in that same academic side. And, the experience shook me to my core and challenged everything I had grown to believe.

I didn't know it yet, but I had stepped away from the necessity of faith. It represented an unknown quantity and there was no place for it in the academic world to which I had become so engrossed. After all, I saw so many individuals putting their faith in systems of belief with far less evidence.

If I was to be a witness to Christianity and following Christ, it needed to be something in which I could place my total and complete trust and confidence. Otherwise, I was a fraud perpetuating a lie. And, I didn't want to follow a system of beliefs where faith so often seems to be a required substitute for the lack of anything reasonable.

Fortunately, for anyone willing to do the due diligence, the faith that Christ requires is not only a reasonable faith, but a far more reasonable and evidence-based faith than any other. And with that said, I remain grateful for the call in my life, and this system of beliefs that Christ has laid out for me, and that brings true meaning and purpose in my life.


SPIRITUAL LIFE

NOVEMBER 27, 2020

Spiritual Life

Patty and I were talking the other day and, in our discussion, I was reminded of how important my spiritual core is to everything I believe and hence everything I do. There was a time in my life where I saw my spiritual core as just one of many components vying for equal time. Well, I don't think I actually visualized it that way, but I fear I behaved as if I did. That was rather unfortunate.

What I want is to see all of life through the filter of my faith. To ask what Jesus would do is not practical to me. But, to ask what He would have me do, as confirmed in His word, is the filter to which I believe I've been called.

There was a season early on where I found myself ensnared in the trap of seeking man's approval. It's a terrible trap in which to find one's self. But, I finally discovered the truth, and the truth has indeed set me free. And with that freedom came a level of understanding and commitment that was not there before. It's an understanding that I no longer belong to myself and a commitment that I belong to Christ.

Probably the most important lesson I have learned in all of this is the importance of a foundation built in faith. A close second to that would be my understanding, based in faith, that I'm called into a personal relationship with Christ. It goes beyond the academic and the emotions to something that resembles a combination of both. I am called into a personal relationship with Christ where He first loved me and where, in a state of mercy and grace, I learn to love Him with my heart, my mind, and my soul.

For all that Christ has done for me, there is a single word that describes the constant state in which I live.

For I am indeed Grateful.


HAPPY THANKSGIVING

NOVEMBER 26, 2020

Happy Thanksgiving


NOT TODAY!

NOVEMBER 25, 2020

Not Today

I love the caption on this picture!

Okay, but first a bit of backstory here...

When I was in that college class in 1973, sitting across the room from the most beautiful young lady I had ever seen, I remember thinking to myself, she's the one! My heart and my head were in complete agreement. It was love at first site! The rest was just details. I married her three years later, we've had 44 wonderful years since, and she is still the most beautiful woman I have ever seen!

Unfortunately, I had no such similar experience with a love for running when I started out. My head bought in early (I knew it was good for me) but my heart was a conscientious objector and a hold out (the passion just wasn't there!)

If you ask me when my heart finally bought in, I couldn't really tell you. The good news is that my head carried me until that point finally arrived. And when my heart took over, and the passion kicked in, I'm not sure I was even aware that it had happened. But, for a long time now it's been clear to me that it did.

On February 28, 2014 we purchased Sea Glass Cottage in Pensacola and on Sunday May 4, 2014 we made our big move to Florida (with much help from, and a big thanks to, our son and daughter-in-law.) I was still several months from the 60 yard line of life, but somehow I conjured up a notion that I might be getting to old to run.

With that thought trying to assume control, what followed for the next couple of years was a mix of running days, walking days, and neither days. I had not yet come to understand that there was great benefit in running and walking in the same activity on the same day and equal benefit in understanding the difference between a too lazy to run down day and a need to recover down day.

I had been in plenty of distance races with men who were many years my senior, and they were still running. So, I honestly have no idea where that aforementioned notion came from. But I did come to realize that the lack of commitment to running was just not working for me.

Now what I have come to understand is that there is a delicate balance between pride-running and health-running. Pride-runners pay a dear price in terms of their health because they're in it for all the wrong reasons. Health-runners keep a focus on health first and adapt and adopt as their aging body demands.

If I have my preference, I would be glad for my last day on earth to be a running day. Otherwise, I'll go with the caption on the picture up above!


WORKS FOR ME!

NOVEMBER 24, 2020

Works For Me

I want to follow up on the theme I chose for yesterday. I talked about the idea of what works for me from a very high level but today I want to dive into specifics.

If I don't have a photo to go with my blog post, I usually type the title in Google and see what comes up in the images category. Well, today my working title started out as What Works For Me but when I put that in Google I was presented with picture after picture of something I used to say much more often way back when.

Works For Me!

I've always thought of that comment as another way of saying that something wouldn't be my first choice, but that I could still go with it. Or, it might be another way of saying that I'll defer to another person's approach for the sake of working together.

Well, that's a long way from my focus for today's post. This really is about the idea of learning what works for me, even when it doesn't work for anyone else. I'm not trying to pursue originality for the sake of originality, but I'm also not interested in being who I'm not in order to attain the affirmations that too many seem to be seeking these days.

So, let's get into some specifics.

I've always been able to hide my extra weight and to sort of get away with being a heavier version of myself than I really wanted to be. I envied those who were trim and either had the genetics or the discipline to stay that way.

My battle has always been a battle with food. I got away with it as a kid when I had a hyper-fast metabolism, but as I grew older and the metabolism slowed the bad habits remained and I found myself with more weight than I wanted to carry. In my battle between extra food and losing weight, the extra food always won! In my battle between more sweets and less sweets, more always won.

Six months ago, in June of 2020, I finally got tired of sugar crashes and living on wishes and excuses. I knew I had a tough battle ahead of me and that it was one I had failed at many times before. I also had no idea what would be different this time in my battle, but I knew something had to be different if I were to succeed.

I was amazed at what I discovered and it has been revolutionary in my ongoing battle toward weight loss and finally weight maintenance. By the way, the operative word in that last statement was ongoing!

It is an ongoing battle, but I've turned it into a hobby or better yet a lifestyle and new way of living. And, more importantly, I've been able to identify and incorporate those things that work for me instead of battling those things that don't. That's been the key to my success in this effort - finding a replacement for the things that haven't worked in the past and focusing upon the good instead of the bad.

One key thing I have learned about myself is that this has to involve an all or nothing approach. I can't do cheat meals. I can't do occasional sweets. Others might be able to, but I can't! I have to be able to commit to a firm plan and stay the course at all costs.

And guess what? For six months I've done it. If you would have told me that I could replace all processed sugar with natural sugar I would have never believed you. If you would have told me I could drop 20 more pounds I would have laughed - especially knowing how difficult it has been for me to drop just ten or even five.

The real good news is that success breeds more success. I knew that going in, but it's a great feeling to enjoy success and the strength and momentum that come with it. I'm even running more consistently than I ever have before and my training runs are better and stronger than they've ever been.

Here's to success, yours and mine!


WHAT WORKS FOR YOU?

NOVEMBER 23, 2020

What Works For You?

It's not even in my top 10 list of favorite Mark Twain quotes, but when it comes to good advice it's hard to beat! So, why don't we pay heed to that advice, stake a claim on it, and run with it? Here's an example right from the pages of my own life.

It's the week of Thanksgiving. We've always gotten together with family to celebrate. And when we gather in a circle for the prayer right before the meal, it's always been a tradition to go around the circle and have each person say one thing for which he or she is thankful. You can tell that some struggle with it and some tolerate it, but most get in the spirit of it and participate. Some even go into the deepest recesses of their hearts for an honest and vulnerable answer.

Still, the thankful list turns out to be generally the same year after year. There's more than a few tired answers and always one or two that border on eloquent, but could be considered insincere. So, what is it for which I am truly thankful? In the absence of a large gathering this year and with the feeling that I have lost my Thanksgiving mojo, I asked myself that same question. And guess what? When I finally landed on my honest answer, I didn't like it!

One might think that I've lost my Thanksgiving mojo because of the pandemic, but that sincerely has nothing to do with it. Truth is, the generation that has always taken the lead in pulling the event together has pretty much passed away. The rest of us have begun to gather with the new patriarchs and matriarchs in our individual, smaller, and much more geographically diverse, family units. There's still a few holdouts, but it seems things (and the times) have changed.

Then where did my Thanksgiving mojo go? Well, to be honest I am incredibly thankful for all that God has done and has provided in my life and the lives of everyone in our family unit. So, in that sense, my Thanksgiving mojo is still there and will always be there.

Then what is the problem, you might ask? I wish I could offer some super spiritual answer relating to the loss of those more senior generations and, in particular, my mom and dad! But, this one is much more simple than that and frankly a bit embarrassing, if truth be told.

Six months ago I took on a major change in my life and now it's going to be time to pay up! I discovered what it is that works for me and I'm going to have to be true to it, despite the sacrifice for which it calls. It sounds a bit trite, but this year will not be a year where I include those delicious and delectable desserts that have played such a prominent role in my life in years past. This year's event will not include a primary focus on eating way too much either!

This year's event will continue to support my newer eat to live focus with a continued refrain from my former live to eat lifestyle. This year will include a continuation of my six month old diet and the weight maintenance program that has worked for me in such an effective manner. I will eat well, and will enjoy what I eat, but all within the new limits I have set out for myself. And, in all of that, I will have discovered a wonderful and healthy contribution to my newly reformed and revitalized Thanksgiving mojo.


WHITE PELICANS

NOVEMBER 22, 2020

White Pelicans

Every year, usually sometime in October, we experience and enjoy the return of the white pelicans to Florida. Whether flying overhead, floating in a bayou, or nestled together and floating just offshore in the gulf, they are always a site to see.

The local social media outlets come to life with pictures and chatter about their arrival and it always seems to be a big deal. I've even been stopped, while out on a run, by an excited neighbor wanting to point out their presence overhead.

From what I read about them, the first frost and the freezing lakes up north and into Canada send them out on a non-stop journey down here to Florida. They'll stay until March or April and then make their return trip back up north.

While the white pelicans migrate each year, the brown pelicans are known to stay in Florida year-round. From what I've read about each, the other big difference is their hunting rituals. While the brown pelicans drop out of the air and dive for their food, the white pelicans work together to push the fish toward shore where they can finally snatch them up in the shallows.


MORE MEMORIES

NOVEMBER 21, 2020

Patty Biking

I started working on a new section for my blog last night. As I've mentioned before, I more enjoy dabbling with the website for the sake of technology and the site's similarity to a scrapbook, than with any real interest in attracting a readership.

I've got a lot of old pictures that I've taken over the years sitting around on my computer, and many of which accompanied posts in my old blog that have long since been deleted. The pictures represent memories that I enjoy and I thought it might be fun, in one fashion or another, to incorporate them here into my new blog.

I've added a new menu item under the pictures menu to the left and labeled it More Memories. It will take any interested readers to the new website feature.


MY GARMIN UPDATES

NOVEMBER 20, 2020

Garmin Vivoactive 3

As I've alluded to earlier, one of the things I like best about my Garmin Vivoactive 3 smartwatch is that it looks like a watch and not a computer strapped to my wrist. I had something like the latter many years ago and back then it was nerdishly cool to have a calculator strapped to your wrist - even if you did need a mechanical pencil to press the tiny buttons and perhaps a magnifying glass to read the digital output.

Now it seems more about the cool digital watch faces and I must admit I really enjoy that feature on my smartwatch. As you can see in the picture above, I chose a watch face that takes advantage of the watch's capability to capture a lot of data.

The bell at the top indicates I have an alarm set. Immediately below that is a display of my steps and calories burned. Below that is the date and time and below that are the miles traveled and heart rate followed by the remaining battery life.

My favorite update is the custom watch band I ordered. Compared to the standard wrist strap pictured on yesterday's post, I ordered a metal mesh band that is secured to my wrist with a magnetic tab. It's very comfortable and goes on so much easier.


GARMIN GPS ISSUES

NOVEMBER 19, 2020

Garmin

I have no idea what causes this, but it's a problem I've had a few times which makes me wonder. Generally, the GPS on my Garmin Vivoactive 3 is quite dependable but every now and then, not so much.

From day to day I usually know where I am going to hit my mile markers and I know where I'm going to hit my walking segments. Even if I don't choose to walk on each and every segment, my GPS has been consistent enough for me to become relatively familiar with those checkpoints.

Unfortunately, every now and then my Garmin's GPS decides to rebel and provides me with far less than dependable readings. It doesn't happen very often, but when it does it becomes clear very quickly and I have to start doing mental calculations if I'm going to salvage any data from the run.

The good news is that I continue to narrow down the list of things that cause this problem to occur and I'm getting close to what I believe may be the problem, and the solution. In addition, the problem always occurs early in the first mile, so everything after mile one is fine and I can usually adjust for the problems in mile one.

I'm thinking that the problem occurs as a result of my doing something between the point where I activate the watch app for a run and the point where the GPS is finally synced up with the satellites and gives me the signal that I can start my run. On those days when the GPS misfires, I've usually moved enough that the GPS may no longer be synced up - even though the watch does not notify me of this.

Today, for example, the GPS got synced up and then I walked out on the boardwalk for a minute while I waited on my wife to come down, and then we started together. After about .20 miles, I looked down at my watch and it was already indicating that I had traveled .35 miles. I knew I had a problem.

The other day I had a similar result when I started the app up on the third level of the house and then descended the stairs to ground level. Quickly thereafter, the watch synced up and I started my run. The numbers looked bad and it didn't take long for me to realize I had a problem.

Having worked with a GPS many times before I got this watch, I was well aware of some of the challenges such as extra cloudy days and physical obstacles (houses) that might prevent a sync between the GPS and the satellites, or that might at least make things take longer than usual.

On good days where the watch and GPS seem to be accurate and in good working order, the start to my routine generally goes something like this:

  • Get to my starting point and away from any obstacles.
  • Start the app to request a sync with the satellites.
  • Wait on the watch to sync without changing location.
  • Click "Start" when I'm notified and start my run.

I guess I'm going to have to be much more focused on following those four steps prior to each run. Hopefully that will solve the problem.

We'll see...


7,001 MILES

NOVEMBER 18, 2020

7,001 Miles
Just one of the many beautiful views I enjoyed while running in Montana.

As I type, the temperature here is 40 degrees in town according to my favorite weather website. My outdoor thermometer indicates a temperature of 48 degrees here on the island. We're always a bit cooler in the warm time of the year and a bit warmer on the colder days.

Considering the temperature and the fact that we moved our grocery pickup to today, I'm only too glad to push today's running out until this afternoon. It will make for a shorter recovery period when I run tomorrow morning, but there's a good chance I may be moving more runs to the afternoon at this time of year in order to make for a more suitable and enjoyable running temp.

7001

The big deal for today is that I cross another major milepost in my running log. I've done it only six times before, but today I make it number seven by crossing another one thousand mile marker - this time the seven thousand mile marker or 7,001 miles to be exact.

It's been barely over 15 years since I started logging which averages out to about 467 miles per year. I had already been running for 15 years when I finally decided to start a running log and I estimate 8,000 miles in those first 15 years based on a much more consistent schedule of training and distance races.

That makes for a total of 15,000 miles over a 30 year period or roughly 500 miles per year. Of course, as one can imagine, some years were far better than others when it comes to training miles and the number of races run.

7001

2008 was my best year with 1,070 training miles logged. Being in peak shape that year would also provide an opportunity to score a Personal Record (PR) or Personal Best (PB) of 1:45:54 at the Marine Corps Run for Relief Half Marathon in Albany, Georgia and, at that same race, to achieve one of the two awards I have received for First Place in my age group. I was 53 at the time.

I also joined Right Now Technologies that year and enjoyed a number of incredible opportunities to run in Montana. What an amazing experience to run with such a beautiful view of the mountains and to hear the melting mountain snow flowing through the ditches on the roadside as I passed by.


HEADWINDS

NOVEMBER 17, 2020

Headwinds

In the spring and summer months, there's frequently a gentle breeze when I go out for a run. Generally, it's either coming out of the north or the south which means I get to enjoy a northernly breeze on mile one or a southernly breeze on parts of miles two and three.

This will be the first year in recent years where I've really pushed myself to run each and every day, no matter the temperature. As a result, yesterday and today I had a new experience on the first mile with strong headwinds coming out of the north. Those winds were strong enough that I almost felt like I was running in place as I leaned into them.

The effect on my running was definitely noticed when comparing my mile one pace with the pace of miles two and three. In fact, on mile three I shaved a full minute off of my mile one pace and with what I can only assume was the benefit of a mile one headwind becoming a tailwind as I made the turn toward home.

With the combination of the winds and a cooler temperature (around 60F) I decided it was time to pull out the long sleeves and running gloves for a bit of extra protection from the chill. Did I say chill? Really? Down here in Florida? At 60F degrees?

Not long after the turn at mile one, and leaving the wind behind me, I was peeling off the gloves and rolling up the sleeves. I've certainly run in conditions that were much, much worse when I used to live up in the Atlanta area, but I think my blood has gotten a bit thinner down here in the south and I've become a wee bit spoiled running in the relatively warm and sunny Florida weather.


KAYAKING

NOVEMBER 16, 2020

Kayaking
Patty and I purchased a pair of the Tamarack 10 foot fishing kayaks. We've really enjoyed them!

I love getting out in the kayak and it's always a special treat when my wife and I go out together. Such was the case today.

There was a light breeze but just enough to make it a pleasant day and not too much to handle. We made our way over to one of the waterways that passes through the marsh and provides waterfront to a number of homes where some of our friends live.

It was a pleasant ride and any breeze that we had to paddle into served as a nice source of power to push us along with no paddling on the way back. It's very late in the season and the jumping mullet were a very nice size!

Speaking of nice size, so were the oranges and grapefruit we spotted along the way. Just another one of the nice things about living here on the Forgotten Coast.

We took our time and relaxed in our kayaks out on the water and in the breeze when we got back close to the house. All in all, it was a wonderful trip and a great way to spend part of the day.


FAUX PAS

NOVEMBER 15, 2020

Oops

I wanted to write something about a particular faux pas, but then I got to wondering if the incident I was thinking about was really a faux pas. I decided it might be time to put my head in a dictionary:

faux pas

A social blunder, error in etiquette, or tactless act or remark.

An embarrassing or tactless blunder (especially used in social situations and contexts); a misstep.

Definitions for faux pas were all over the map online. Taken literally, I wondered if some of them missed the mark. I thought the error in etiquette seemed much closer to the picture I had in my mind than a tactless act or remark. I didn't see a mention of culture, but a cultural indiscretion also seemed a possibility to me.

Years ago, I heard a story about two ladies who enjoyed chatting and decided to get in shape by holding their chats over a couple of games of racquetball at the local gym. As the story goes, a man stuck his head in the room and yelled, you ladies might become good players if you would quit all of that gabbing.

Was he right? Sure. Did he understand their objective for playing? Apparently not. Did his actions constitute a faux pas? I would think so. But, I'm still not sure that the faux pas I wanted to write about is actually a faux pas.

My wife does her walk in the morning at the same time I go out for my run. It's not unusual for us to cross paths on our jaunts back and forth and for us to wave from a distance or even speak if we're close enough.

Well, the other day I was quite a distance from her when she set out on her walk. I waved and even whistled to get her attention. She waved back and that was that. However, when I arrived home she was working in the kitchen and had not yet been out for a walk. Oops! I did a similar thing again today and while completely innocent I don't want to send the wrong message.

Were those faux pas? Depending upon which definition you choose, they might have been. But, for this guy they were definitely socially awkward moments and more than a bit embarrassing.


WALK TIME

NOVEMBER 14, 2020

Walk Time Converter

I expanded my Run Time Converter, mentioned in yesterday's post, to include calculations for my average pace during my walking segments. To guarantee an accurate reading, I really need to time each walking segment and add them together during my activity - assuming I can remember my totals from one segment to the next with all of the numbers coming at me so quickly on my smartwatch.

The challenge presented by the walking pace is that the faster I walk on each segment, the less I rest. And, as a result, less rest equals a potentially slower run on my next running segment, not to mention the slower overall time achieved for the entire activity.

I would like to see my walk times down in the 4 miles per hour range (which equals a 15:00 pace,) but to accomplish that would mean to whittle 10% (5 seconds) from each walking segment. I'm not sure the rest on those walking segments would be sufficient to maintain my running pace and overall activity time.

Perhaps I'll give it a try and see what happens.


RUN TIME CONVERTER

NOVEMBER 13, 2020

Run Time Converter

In my 30 years of running, I've been an early adopter of running technology in some areas and quite late to the show in others. I was a hold out for my cotton shirts thinking that the technical shirts were just too trendy. I've never been one to adopt trends for the sake of trends, but boy was I wrong on that one!

Being late to the game is not always a bad thing, however. It paid off nicely in my wait for the right runner's watch. I didn't lose any money on those earlier (and super clunky, computer strapped to the wrist) investments.

Another area where I was late to the game was in adopting a strategy of running and walking, as opposed to my run at all costs approach. I suppose the running only thing paid off for me to some extent, but the run and walk thing has turned out to be a valuable strategy for this senior runner.

The challenge that comes with running and walking on the same outing is determining my pace on either or both. I like to know how I did, but getting a total time for both didn't tell me what I wanted to know.

Well, that's where being a running geek pays off. It was a fun problem to solve and for the most part I'm quite happy with what I've developed to break apart the data.

I put together a Run Time Converter spreadsheet and still find it interesting to plug in the numbers and watch it perform its magic. It turns out I walk 9 segments (3 in each mile) with each segment being .05 miles and taking approximately 50 seconds +/- to cover.

I did a spot check today and it seems I'm taking between 50 and 54 seconds to cover each of those walking segments. Accuracy counts here because taking the faster number (50 seconds) actually translates to a slower per mile running pace - since that means the difference of 4 seconds winds up being allocated to the running segments. And, more time allocated to running equals a slower running pace.

Using the image above captured from the model, green represents the data that is required to be entered into the model. Blue represents the model's output.

In this case, I entered my total time to cover the 3 miles (28:47) and the total number of walking segments (9) with the average time in seconds (50) to cover one of the segments. The output suggests my average running pace for the running segments was 8:21. As long as my walking segments stay relatively consistent, all the model really needs to extract my running pace is the total time to cover the 3 mile distance.

With this combination, it turns out I'm running just over two and one half miles (2.55) and walking just under half a mile (.45). Another interesting thing I learned from the model is that one second difference in per segment walk time netted an almost 4 second difference in the average running pace. That's pretty significant on days when I'm pushing and other days when I've slowed things down quite a bit.


GOODBYE ETA

NOVEMBER 12, 2020

Good Bye Eta

In yesterday's post I mentioned a couple of things I've learned about storms since we moved down to this area. One of those things was the dirty side of a hurricane or tropical storm.

Most folks know that a hurricane that makes landfall in the U.S. rotates in a counter-clockwise fashion. And, a hurricane in the Gulf of Mexico that is approaching the Florida panhandle has those of us on the panhandle watching for the point where the eye makes landfall.

Why? Because we know that a counter-clockwise rotation means that everyone on the right side of the eye (a.k.a. the dirty side) will encounter winds approaching from the south. Everyone on the left side will encounter winds approaching from the north that will be relatively weaker after having traveled across land before arriving.

In other words, the same winds that might have slammed the coast on the right side of the eye will continue their journey in the wind's rotation and hit the coast once again - this time on the left side of the eye and from the north. In a strong storm, the difference between one side and the other may not bring much benefit. However, in a smaller storm the difference may be significant.

The more critical challenge is often the storm surge that accompanies a hurricane. As one can imagine, it is also more significant on the dirty side. This occurs as approaching winds push the ocean water toward land. Mixing that high water from the storm surge with a high tide will often result in double the trouble.

We were on the clean side of Eta and she was far enough to our east that we actually never even received any rain from her - despite an earlier forecast for a direct hit.


IT IS WHAT IT IS

NOVEMBER 11, 2020

Missed it by that much

I don't think I've ever seen the NWS and NHC struggle so much with a forecast as they have with Eta. Whether it was strength or direction, the forecast seemed to be changing as rapidly as I believe I've ever seen.

The storm has blazed a path back and forth between Depression, Tropical Storm, and Hurricane, not to mention blazing a similar path, while in the hurricane ranks, between Severity 1 and Severity 4.

The constant change is status has only been outdone by the constant change in direction. The local weather man made it clear that the what, when, and the where were clearly anyone's guess.

I've been capturing the changes over on the Active Storms Link, which paints a pretty clear picture of a storm that just can't make up its mind.

Since moving to this area, I've learned a lot about the dirty side of a hurricane, the unexpected severity and effects of storm surge, and the risk that they refer to down this way as the price of paradise. You never quite get used to that last one, especially living right on the gulf, but you come to learn that it is what it is.


SENIOR RUNNING

NOVEMBER 10, 2020

Run for Your Life

So, here I am having very recently crossed the 66 yard line of life and still learning what it means to be a Senior Runner. This new lifestyle of running brought with it a lot of unanticipated changes. Well, I can't say they were unanticipated. It's just that, despite all evidence to the contrary, I've never seen myself as a senior anything, especially not a senior runner.

At this point in my life as a runner, I'm going through a lot of very meaningful changes, both mentally and physically. Gone are the years of high-speed recoveries. And, gone are the years of personal bests.

A focus on running for good health has shifted away from the lip service that so often accompanies a competitive youthful spirit and has becomes a stark reality. A similar shift occurred when I was finally able to understand something I thought had understood all along:

I've got nothing to prove to anyone except myself!

As I grow older, I'm beginning to realize just how rich that statement really is. I've always loved the idea that running is as good as it gets when desiring to compete only with myself. But I love even more the lifetime benefits that come with running including mental, physical and emotional health, strength, endurance, weight management, confidence, and too many others to name here.

Even the purpose of my running log has shifted from serving as evidence of goals and accomplishments achieved to become a tool for learning and specifically how to be a healthy senior runner. If any goals remain, they are simple ones like keep running, and keep it injury free.


WORTH MY TIME

NOVEMBER 9, 2020





SLIPPERY SLOPE

NOVEMBER 8, 2020

Twitter Censorship

Twitter has jumped on a slippery slope! They've entered the censorship business and proven themselves pretenders when it comes to being fair and just in their approach.

It doesn't take a rocket scientist to see Twitter's liberal agenda in their one-sided online actions. Is it possible that Twitter is seeking to become a power center capable of swinging presidential election results and other matters in their preferred direction?

Just askin'...

TWITTER


SPAGHETTI MODELS

NOVEMBER 7, 2020

ETA-SPAGHETTI
Eta spaghetti models for 11/7/20 - 9:00 AM EST.

My wife is a big fan of spaghetti models. And, I must admit that seeing what she is seeing has persuaded me of the importance of balancing that with what I'm seeing on the National Weather Service's (NWS) National Hurricane Center (NHC) website.

Even though the spaghetti models forecast further out into the vast unknown, the agreement between a large number of models can strongly suggest a level of accuracy and dependability when trying to make logistical decisions that reach out further into the future.

That's exactly the case that exists right now. To look at the NHC website, one might be tempted to believe we are going to take a direct hit from Eta at our home location, indicated on the graphic above by a red star.

Of course that still could be the case, but the spaghetti models are suggesting something quite different. I'm covering my bases in the short-term, but hoping that the spaghetti models are accurate for the longer-term forecast.

We'll see!


STORM WATCH

NOVEMBER 6, 2020

To see the evolving changes to the storm track click here, or on the active storm link in the menu.

ETA24A
Advisory #24A - 11/6/20 - 1:00 PM EST.

Nothing is more effective at putting election results on the back burner than an approaching storm (except maybe for the delay in anything much happening on the election front.) Unless the lawsuits provide an unexpected difference, it appears we will have a new president. We're also still on hold for a final answer regarding control in the U.S. senate. Truth be told, I suspect there's much more to be concerned about on that one than the presidential election.

Meanwhile, Tropical Depression Eta continues to be the topic du jour down here on the forgotten coast. We're probably looking at the middle of next week before caution might give way to a higher level of concern. After all, a lot can happen in a few days. Still, any changes to the forecast so far have not been in our favor and it appears we will definitely feel this one to one extent or another.

It's just additional confirmation that the season's not over until the season is over! Earlier today, I made my traditional run to fill up the gas tank on the car. That's usually the first sign that I'm taking a storm seriously and if I'm not days ahead filling it up, I'm already behind and usually wind up waiting in line and hoping for a turn before the gas runs out.


HURRICANE ETA?

NOVEMBER 5, 2020

ETA19
Advisory #19 - 11/5/20 - 4:00 AM EST.

Hurricane Eta is now a tropical depression but the projected path provides a reason to keep an eye on it. Eta peaked Monday evening as a category 4 hurricane with winds at 150 miles per hour.

With Eta, the 2020 hurricane season has tied the 2005 season for the most named storms in a single season. It is also the fifth storm in a row to rapidly intensify which is defined as a storm with winds gaining at least 35 mph in a 24 hour period.

As can be seen in the forecast model, Eta is expected to return to tropical storm status and make its way across Cuba and up to the Florida Keys. However, that's still five days away and a lot can happen in that time, especially with the changing conditions surrounding a late season storm.

Still, I've been very impressed with the NHC's considerable accuracy for the forecast path of so many storms this season. The big questions in my mind at this point are whether or not the storm will reemerge as a Hurricane, whether the storm will turn northward over and around Florida or move across the gulf, and if the storm reemerges as a hurricane to what category will it grow?

I suppose only time will tell.


THE DAY AFTER

NOVEMBER 4, 2020

The Day After

Wow! I'm almost speechless when I think about the way the presidential election results evolved last night, and into the wee hours of the morning. I hope things settle and resolve quickly, although I have my real doubts about that.

There's a fine line between ensuring all legitimate votes are counted and represented, and allowing illegitimate ballots to make their way into the mix. I have no idea what is going on in that respect, but I find it challenging not to be a bit suspicious of the whole thing - especially when I heard one of the state election officials on NPR yesterday saying that his state planned to count all votes received for up to seven days past the deadline. He alluded to the idea that he would leave it up to the courts to force him to do otherwise.

It things continue in their present direction, it looks to me that there is a path to 280 electoral votes for either candidate. I'm not in favor of closing down the counting process until every vote has been counted, but I suspect I would also have my suspicions were I in Trump's shoes and especially if the left is truly determined to do anything and everything to secure a Biden victory.

Most of us who reside in our country's rank and file have no idea what is going on in the centers of political power. I'm sure there's plenty of propaganda on both sides and it's quite difficult these days to separate fact from fiction, truth from lies, and real news from fake news.

God help us all to see things as they really are and to make wise choices.


TODAY'S THE BIG DAY!

NOVEMBER 3, 2020

Vote

Well, today's the big day. It's finally here. And, more than a few haters of Trump have been anxiously awaiting it for four years. Who could have possibly imagined such a divided nation as the one with which we now find ourselves?

Even with eight years of Obama, I don't think we've ever witnessed such divisive action as we have recently. I suspect there was some, but with the press on his side, a very outspoken base, and an insufficient radical element in the conservative camp, the political dominance of the Obama era was evident.

We sure haven't seen that kind of political dominance in the past four years. Besides owning the press, the left has a larger, more outspoken, and more risk taking radical element. And, based on the evidence, perhaps I should include violent somewhere in the mix.

To the level that the violence has been taken recently, it seems there's no guarantee that a Biden victory would even quell the radical left's revolution. In my mind, that's sort of hard to imagine. If Biden wins, I hope I'm wrong.


POLLING DATA

NOVEMBER 2, 2020

Poll Data

In 2016, the polls misled everyone! And, that idea doesn't even begin to scratch the surface of the severity of the misinformation.

The New York Times had Clinton with an 85% chance of winning. FiveThirtyEight had Hillary at 71.4%. And, on the day before the election, CNN bumped their projection up from 78% to 91% - just one percent higher than the Reuters prediction.

And now there are countless articles out on the internet, all seeking to explain the 2016 polling anomaly and all expressing confidence that the problem has been corrected here in 2020. If that is true, then the numbers seem to indicate that Biden will be our next president.

However, even it that is true, what the polls suggest and the reality of the situation may still differ. If the polls provide the right answer but get there with the wrong data, then the pollsters would have some more explaining to do.

As I've said before, it will be interesting to see how it all unfolds!


ALL HANDS ON DECK

NOVEMBER 1, 2020

All Hands on Deck

I would imagine that Tuesday is going to be a busy day at the U.S. Post Offices. The scramble to sort out the ballots and ensure they arrive at the counting locations on time will probably require an all hands on deck scenario.

You can say or think what you will about voter supression, but I suspect both mail-in ballots and early onsite voting have greatly reduced, if not taken away, any legitimate claim to it. Speaking of claims, I recognize that's a pretty large claim to make, but I suspect it's also a claim that would be difficult to disprove in today's highly watched and carefully guarded environment.

On Friday night one of the talking heads on a liberally slanted political TV special was asked about voter supression. The only think she could come up with to respond to the question was completely theorhetical and had no basis in fact or reality. To her credit she did not refer to the distant past, but she also had no modern-day real-life examples to offer as evidence of any documented wrong-doing.

Of course that didn't slow down the show's producers from covering the idea and she was awarded quiet a bit of time to offer her highly speculative comments. With all of the checks and balances in place, not to mention the massive community of liberal watchdogs and the number of eyes fixed on every political process in this highly divided nation of ours, I find it hard to imagine even the most effective voter suppresion techniques getting past today's guards at the gates.


Copyright © 2021 Hutch DeLoach






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