Snowy Running

Last night Minnesota decided to turn back to winter and we got 3-4 inches of light fluffy powder. Since today is Saturday and I needed to run, my only choice was to strap on the screw shoes and hit the trail. The temps were beautiful this morning, around 28-30 degrees (F), which made for amazing running weather. Couple layers on top, some pants and head/face protection and I was good to go with no coat.

IMG_4049I hit the Elm Creek singletrack mountain bike trail before anyone else had been on it. This turned out to be cool and beautiful, but also exhausting. Pushing 3 inches of fresh powder on quick up and down hills REALLY wears the legs down. I wore a heart rate strap this morning and was riding around 165 the whole first 2/3 of my run. Keeping in mind I was never able to get faster than a 13 minute mile when I was pushing the snow.

IMG_4050Eventually a fat biker came through and I was able to ride his tread for a while before he turned off onto a different path. When I completed the 8.7 mile loop and went back out for another 3.2 there had been enough fat biker action that I was able to keep my HR down to the mid 150s, but by that point I was so wiped I still wasn’t able to go very fast.

It was an amazing morning for a run, and I really feel like I’m ready for winter running now. I captured a few pics from the morning, my favorite being the one above in the featured image. It captures a spot in the trail that I love, where you’re suddenly surrounded by pine trees that are thick and close. It only lasts for 100-200 feet, but it’s an amazing section of the trail.

Merry Christmas w/GPS art

Inspired by all the people who create GPS art (running in a pattern to make a picture with your path) with their runs, I decided to make a fun little piece today on my run. It took me a while yesterday to find an appropriate place for this, but it ended up working out really well.

Merry Christmas all! May you have a wonderful and blessed holiday time!

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Technology in 2015

The end of the year is quickly approaching, and it also appears that my trusty 2011 iMac is also approaching a tipping point. Recently it has developed occasional screen artifacts, and my Google-fu is pointing towards a dying video card. Soon I’ll be at a crossroads where I need to determine if I want to get the video card replaced, or stat up with a new primary machine for myself. That will once again open the discussion of laptop vs desktop, but thanks to an interesting 2015 in the tech world, I have whole new choices to consider.

On the traditional desktop front, 2015 didn’t really bring anything new or earth-shattering. Most manufactures have adopted the traditional iMac all-in-one design for a segment of their desktops, but you can also still find the more traditional towers with tons of expansion and power for gamers. Processors and video cards have continued to advance, giving the average gamer even more incredible visuals and speed than ever before.

On the laptop side of the fence, things have gotten a bit more interesting. Apple unveiled their new MacBook, a 12 inch, ultra-portable that tried to bridge the gap between tablet and laptop, yet still remain on the laptop side of the fence. Beyond the new MacBook, the traditional laptop scene remained largely the same. Where things got more interesting was in the 2-in-1 convertible market.

With the advent of the Microsoft Surface a few years ago the design of 2-in-1 laptop/tablets has taken a whole new shape. This year Microsoft continued to up the game with their new Surface 3 and 4 Pro, as well as the new Surface Book. The Surface design was incredibly unique, with it’s kickstand and typepad cover. It’s proven to be a tremendously popular form factor, and has spawned a ton of copy-cats. Even corporate laptop lines from companies like HP have their Surface clones making inroads into the Enterprise market.

What Microsoft started with the Surface also caused a ripple with Google and Apple. Google developed their Pixel C, which frankly was is just a super powerful Android tablet with a halfhearted attempt at a keyboard. The more interesting development came from Apple with their iPad Pro. This beautiful and HUGE tablet landed with a lot of fanfare, and a keyboard cover that has gotten very positive reviews. At the end of the day however, it’s still iOS under the covers, and for many people that works just fine. Apple has chosen to go with a two device strategy for people who need both a powerful tablet, and a laptop. Microsoft Surface tries to make it all happen in one.

Therefore, if I do end up deciding to change devices I have a lot of options to consider. One device that hit the scene big time in 2015 that I will NOT be buying though is a smartwatch. The trend for wearable computers on your wrist is a fad that just has no appeal to me. I wear a GPS watch while running, but for the most part have little patience for a device strapped to my wrist all the time. Maybe I would get used to it, but overall I just don’t see the benefit of having a small screen on my wrist tell me I need to do something with the bigger screen in my pocket.

The year 2015 was a fun year to watch technology grow into new paradigms. I’m excited for what 2016 will bring, and what new devices and gadgets I’ll be able to play with in the coming year.

It’s trying to look like Christmas

As many have noticed, here in Minnesota we’re having a rather warm winter. This means that along with temps in the upper 30’s, we’ve been getting mostly rain for precipitation. While that’s been nice for getting out and running, and not getting stuck in bad weather traffic, it doesn’t make it look much like Christmas around here.

Today it’s trying to look a bit more like Christmas, but with temps as warm as they are, I don’t think much of it is going to stick. Since work has been stressful lately, and I needed to stretch my legs a little bit I went outside our building and took a picture of the snow. Then I modified the crap out of it and made an Instagram photo. I think it will work for my creation for the day…

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Too many holiday treats

Holy crap did the treat wagon explode this year. I can’t believe how much food is flowing around my office. Combine that with the treats at home and wow it’s going to be hard to not gain 20 lbs. this Christmas.

My main goal this holiday season is to just maintain my weight. Last year I packed on a few pounds that never ended up coming back off. I want to avoid that this year, so that I can try and lose some more weight before many of my races next year. Holiday treats are probably one of the hardest things to resist, especially when sitting at work and the smell of cookies wafts over the cube walls…