A little canoe photography

I haven’t done a photo post on the blog in a while, so I thought tonight’s little adventure deserved one. We attended a fun event at a local park that revolved around video games, and especially ones that involved augmented reality, such as Pokémon Go, Wizard’s Unite, and Ingress. I play all three of those games, and my wife plays Wizard’s Unite, so tonight was targeted straight at us. We had a great time wandering around and listening to the band that was playing, but then we discovered that there was no fee for canoe rentals. The lake was crystal calm, and the sun was setting behind the trees, which made capturing this shot a ton of fun. A little editing in Lr, and it came out really nice (especially for an iPhone 7).

Review: ZAGG Rugged Messenger iPad Keyboard case

As I mentioned a few weeks ago, I’ve been reconsidering my ecosystem. At the same time, I noticed a great sale on the basic iPad ($250) at most major retailers. I decided to make the plunge and pick up the basic iPad, along with a rugged keyboard case. Over the past couple of weeks I’ve tried to make this device my primary mobile computing device, and I’ll talk more about that transition, but this review is strictly about the keyboard case that I chose.

The requirements I had going in to selecting a case were that it needed to be Bluetooth so that it could work with the basic iPad I got (no keyboard connector), and it had to have some protection on it, since I was planning to use this device when camping. As luck would have it, I’m currently writing this review in my pop-up trailer, at a State Park in the middle of the woods. Needless to say, the case I selected is getting put through it’s paces, since in the weeks since I bought it I’ve taken it biking and camping, multiple times.

Because of the limited audience for the basic iPad, there’s not a ton of options out there for keyboards. I spent a bit of time reading reviews of various cases before selecting the ZAGG, and when I decided to pull the trigger I was mulling over 2 different cases. One was the ‘book’ style case where the iPad and keyboard form a laptop-style clamshell enclosure. The other one was the Messenger folio that is similar to the Apple Smart Keyboard style, with a folding kickstand back to it. After spending a lot of time reading reviews, I opt’d for the Messenger style case. Many of the reviews of the book style hinted that the hinge didn’t hold after a lot of use, and additionally, the folio style still allows for the iPad to be used independently, without a bulkier case than necessary.

I’ve been using the case for a few weeks now, and I have to say, this is a really nice keyboard. The key travel is smooth, and the spacing is just right for my size hands. Some people might find it cramped, but I don’t know that you can get a 9.7″ device with a keyboard that is any bigger than this. I haven’t had any issues typing on it, and many of my blog entries over the past couple of weeks have been typed on this device.

One of the features that sold me on this device was the backlit keyboard. If I’m out in the middle of the woods, or typing in a darkened room, having backlit keys is a must. As a bonus, you can select different colors of backlighting, which gives the case a sense of personal style. There are also multiple intensity settings that you can use to make the backlight dimmer and brighter, depending on your need.

Overall the device feels rugged and protective. I haven’t tested this yet, and hopefully never will, but the iPad has now been on multiple bike rides, bouncing around in my pannier bags, as well as general use around the house and campsite. There are two parts to the case, the keyboard folio part, and the case that goes around the iPad itself. The case around the iPad feels sturdy and I think it should protect it just fine. The folio is slightly bigger and so in a fall, I assume the folio portion will take a lot of the brunt.

There as a few different function keys that are specific to the iPad, and you can actually pair this keyboard with multiple devices, though I haven’t tried that, and I’m not sure I’d have a need for that. The case around the iPad does come with a spot for the Apple Pencil, with is a nice touch.

I’ve been very please with the ZAGG Rugged Messenger, and if you’re looking for a protective keyboard case for an iPad, I think this is a great way to go. I’m finding myself enjoying using it, and even reaching for my iPad instead of my computer. Of course, the iPad is a story for another time.

Fitness week recap – 7/8/2019

I’ve decided that I want to try something new in the blog for a few weeks. I’m going to try to do a weekly fitness recap each Sunday night of what I’ve done during the prior week. I’m looking for this to be a way to capture, not just the numbers and stats of my activities, but how it felt.

Week Starting 7/8/2019
Running:
 33.7 miles
Biking:
 78.8 miles
Steps: 117,422
 (59.23 miles –  25.53 walking)

Impression: Had a busy weekend, and so this post slipped my mind last night. However, this week was back to the grind. I built back up to a 33 mile running week, and had my second highest week of biking ever. This was due in part to a nice 30 mile ride on the Paul Bunyan Trail up in the Baxter/Brainerd area.

That ride in particular was significant because for the final 10 miles I pushed hard. Despite being a pretty flat trail, the final miles on the southern end are rolling. I made the choice to see how hard I could push, and managed a sub-19 minute 5 mile segment in this area. It helped me understand more of what a hard bike workout should feel like.

My running this week was good, however the heat continues to suck. I know that heat is going to be an issue at Badger 100K, so I just need to get used to it. This coming week is going to be my final ramp up week, focusing on as much race day simulation as possible.

Shoe review: Saucony Peregrine ISO

Much of my trail running happens in one of two different shoe models, the Brooks Cascadia and the Saucony Peregrine. For years these have been my go-to shoes, racking up 1,147 miles in various Cascadia models, and 525 miles in Peregrines. Despite having a slight issue with one of my last pairs of Peregines (the insole slipped a bit after 300 miles), I still loved the shoe and racked up a ton of miles on it. I also gave the Peregrine ICE shoes a try this last winter, and I’ve still got enough life in them to use them again this season.

My daily road runner is the Saucony Guide ISO, and I LOVE the ISO platform in those shoes, so when I saw that Saucony was bringing the ISO platform to the Peregrine I had to give it a shot. I picked up a pair about 50 miles ago and have been putting them through my standard trails that I train on, including Afton State Park. If you’re looking for the TL;DR… I have never worn a more comfortable trail shoe than the Peregrine ISO. Period. Stop.

When I first slipped in to the Peregrines there was familiarity. It felt like a Guide ISO in many ways, but also like the old Peregrine. However, the Peregrine ISO felt more soft and supple, and my foot felt like it was sliding into a comfortable slipper. The gusseted tongue was soft and comfortable, and because of the way that the lacing overlays are separated, it still felt light and free. The overall fit was great for my foot and I’ve had zero issue with it on any of my runs.

The outsole is nice and aggressive, and after a misstep with removing the strike plate from the last (pre-ISO) model, they brought it back giving solid protection underfoot. There’s a lot of padding on the back of the heel, which might not appeal to some people, but for me it works well. I still feel like I get a solid lock, though perhaps in time it could break down more than I want.

The shoe is also very breathable, due in part to the way the overlays are separate, and not one big piece. The overlays on the toe box are sparse, and it reminds me of an Altra in this area. I do wonder if the sides of the toe box will eventually wear prematurely (similar to what I’ve heard about Altra), but so far they seem to be solid. As for laces, they are the standard Peregrine laces from years past, which work just fine.

Where this shoe really shines for me is in the comfort department. All of Saucony’s ISO shoes have “EVERUN” foam as the topsole, which provides an incredible amount of comfort. It’s one of the reasons I fell in love with their Guide ISO road shoes a few years ago. In a trail shoe, with a soft protective outsole, this comfort shines. I noticed this on one of my first runs in the shoe. I was out for a 20 mile run around Elm Creek with a friend, and I never felt any discomfort in my feet until mile 16. I even remarked about it to my running partner, and how wild it was that it took that long to really feel the miles.

I find this even more impressive because all of this cushioning doesn’t come at the cost of extra weight. Here’s a comparison to a couple of other shoes in size 9.5.

  • 11.05oz Peregrine ISO
  • 12.3oz Books Cascadia 12
  • 10.6oz Saucony Guide ISO

The fact that the Peregrine is over a full ounce less than the Cascadia means a lot on really long runs. Two ounces (one for each foot) might not sound like much, but when you’re running 18+ miles, with 40,000+ footfalls, it adds up fast. One might suggest that the Brooks Caldera could be a better comparison to the Peregrine, so I might give that a shot once my Cascadias are done.

It’s this comfort over the long run that really makes me love this shoe. I’ve taken it out on multiple runs of 18-20 mile distance, and despite any other issues I might have with my body, my feet have never been one. Coming from a traditional shoe like the Cascadia, this was a refreshing change. Saucony really hit a home run, for me, with this shoe, and I highly recommend people give it a try.

Fitness week recap – 7/1/2019

I’ve decided that I want to try something new in the blog for a few weeks. I’m going to try to do a weekly fitness recap each Sunday night of what I’ve done during the prior week. I’m looking for this to be a way to capture, not just the numbers and stats of my activities, but how it felt.

Week Starting 7/1/2019
Running:
13.3 miles
Biking:
25.7 miles
Steps: 78,672
 (38.53 miles –  25.23 walking)

Impression: As I hoped, this week ended up being a nice down week for me. I didn’t run or bike until Thursday, and then just minimal miles. I felt like my body needed a solid rest, and that’s what it got. My runs were short, and my Sunday was more of a hike than a run as Lisa and I explored the river road. Likewise, my bike rides were nice and short as well, with just a couple jaunts for breakfast.

I did end up with a full day on Saturday working the Afton Trail Race, but I was mostly standing in one spot, so it was more just time on feet, than any type of training. I’m looking forward to trying to get back to it next week. I’m less than a month away from the 100K, and I’m feeling pretty darn ready.