Long Run Wednesday - Fog and Construction and Lakes. Oh my!

I love Lake Cedar and the Luce Line Trail and I haven't been out there since last fall on my bike.  I was super excited to get to the high mileage weeks on the training schedule for a chance to head back that way.  Yes, I know I should get my bike out.  Sigh.  I lucked out with my work schedule and the rain and was able to get in a nice run this morning.

Plan for the run: I have an actual time goal for the Twin Cities Marathon.  I'm not telling you what the goal is, but I'm willing to acknowledge that one exists.  So I wanted to keep the paces around 11:00 and for sure under 11:30.  I always exclude the first mile or two in my pacing plans.  I consider those warm up miles.  At 5:30am I needed some warm up time.

Weather: Super foggy at the start of the run, and the fog burned off as the day went on.  It was in the high 60s the entire run, started with around 90% humidity and burned off to somewhere in the 60% family.  I was sweaty and gross.

The course: Fifteen miles was a bit of a stretch in the mileage category, but I really wanted to see Lake Cedar so it was worth it.  I'm thrilled to report this is my first long run in a long time where I haven't fallen down.  That's a bigger deal than you'd think.  There seem to be these tiny little frost heaves on the running paths all over this year.  They added an extra obstacle, just to keep things interesting.  There's a fair amount of construction on this course, especially along the Greenway and Kenilworth trails.  I think they are rebuilding or replacing a sewer.

Miles 1 and 2 - warm up miles so I wasn't concerned about time.
Mile 3 - I don't know what my problem was there.
Mile 4 - there we go
Mile 5 - bit slower; stopped to eat a gel
Mile 6 - Good.  And happy to see Lake Cedar.
Mile 7 - a little too happy to see Lake Cedar because I'm dawdling
Mile 8 - stomach has entered attack mode; running faster will take the edge off
Mile 9 and 10 - dear stomach, please forgive me
Mile 11 - truth: I stopped to, um, go.  I didn't get the gadget paused for a bit, so I have no idea how long this mile really took me
Mile 12 - I'd love to blame that time on a stoplight or the hill, but truth is my stomach still needs a moment
Mile 13 - Hill.  And stomach, but the stomach started to calm down.
Mile 14 - That one I can blame on the stoplight at Lyndale Ave.
Mile 15 - Picking up a bit for the last mile. I really considered this a cool down mile so wasn't super concerned with the time there either.

Stretched out in the grass before going inside.  Then: Ice bath - Holy F^!% that hurt.  The moment I got in my ankles went from that numb feeling to the pain feeling that comes after numb.  Ankles?!? 

Learned for next time - I had a really hard time pacing myself.  It wasn't so much that I couldn't hold the right pace as I couldn't remember what the pace felt like.  So I got kind of wild.  And then my stomach went on strike.  Goal for the next few longer runs is to get used to holding an 11:00 pace, just to see how it feels so I can remember on race day.


New for June

Someone please remind me that this is happening in June.  My goal is just to get something down every day.  Between the blogging streak and the running streak, it'll be an interesting challenge.

T-Mobile and the iPhone 5 - a customer service review

I had a fascinating experience with my iPhone and my friends over at T-Mobile this past week.

Backstory -  I got my iPhone before T-Mo technically offered them, so I bought from the Apple Store and walked it upstairs to the T-Mo store to have a very nice person there insert the SIM card and set it up on their network.  Win.

About 10 days ago I noticed that my phone was showing not 4G but an LTE data signal.  Rejoice!  I didn't do too much with it then since we were stuck in traffic.  A few days later, I decided to take these break neck speeds out for a test drive.  I crashed and burned.  All the other data types, 4G, Edge, wifi were working fine.  Just not LTE.  Weep.

Call 1  to T-Mo technical support.  This was a brief call and it was fine.  I'm calling this person Ms Tech.  It was brief because the things Ms Tech needed me to check, I had to stop using the phone to access those setting.  I checked what was needed, turned the phone on and off, software up to date, etc.  They were all correct.

Cal 2 to T-Mo technical support: You know when you call tech support and get the person who hates their job and hates you for being part of it?  Yeah.  I know that feeling too because that was this girl.  I'm calling her Ms Grumpy Pants.  Looking back, I was even asking the right question: "This is an older iPhone 5, could there be a setting that needs to be updated for LTE?" Instead of trying to figure out what was wrong I got "You didn't buy the phone from us so we can't support it, but I'll tell the engineers there's a problem with the LTE in your area".  Whoakay. 

Several Google searches later I discovered that the issue was in fact the carrier settings that had originally been installed on the phone.  (Not actually faulting Magenta for this one; the settings were right when they were installed, they were just failing to update.)  I found the correct Access Point Name (which was the culprit) and updated it in my phone.  Boom.  LTE works no problem.

Which leads me to problem number 2 - the phone is not remembering the new settings; it's just reverting back to the old crap whenever it wants.  Several more Google searches and I'm unclear if this is a T-Mo issue or an iOS issue.  This lead to calls 3 and 4.  And the best tech support ever.

 Call 3 - I finally learned my lesson and called from a land line so my iPhone was free for fixing.  I got the best tech ever.  I'm calling him Mr Helpful.  Since we knew what was wrong, he tried to reset some of the network settings.  That wasn't working so he told me the best thing to do is to factory reset the iPhone.  At this point I really am blaming iOS for this.  I couldn't get into resetting my phone at work, but Mr Helpful told me how to backup the phone, and then how to do a factory reset.  He then scheduled a time in a day or two to call me back (it was actually a couple of days because of his work schedule, but I was willing to wait just so I was guaranteed not to have to deal with Ms Grumpy Pants again)

I tried the reset that night.  Sadly I learned that once reset, hitting "restore from backup" just brought the issue back.  Instead I had to treat the phone like it was brand new and manually add every little app and picture and setting as best I could. Over the next couple days I tested out my super fast data speeds, and made sure picture messaging was working. 

Call 4 - Mr Helpful called back.  I let him know his advise helped me resolve the problem and thanked him for his time.

Lessons learned:
  • If your LTE data isn't working on a T-Mo phone, check the Access Point Name or APN settings
  • iOS apparently does not remember updates for APN settings.
  • Better to use Google to diagnose the problem.  Tech support likely uninterested in detective work.
  • Once the problem is properly diagnosed, tech support is very supportive.


A breakup with Nike+ in favor of Endomondo

Anyone else notice the Nike+ website has been going crazy lately?  Maybe the app too?  Mostly the maps seem to not be displaying correctly, or at all, for runs.  Sad.  I had one run where the data was basically lost.  It was a quick easy one so I'm not too concerned.  I emailed the Nike+ site for support.  Given my luck with tech support lately....  It was just "restart your phone, make sure your GPS is on".  That takes care of the phone.  What about your website?

It's the greyest day ever.  Happy Memorial Day and unofficial start to summer.  I used Endomondo for my run today.  I know, I can't believe I ran either.  I did a quick 4-miler.  I learned that it's easier to break a 10:00 mile with a running buddy than alone.  Alone I just have the sound of myself gasping and it's kind of disconcerting.

Running plans for the week - Given the weather forecast for the week, I have no idea.  I'd like to go do a long run.  I'd also like to head out on runs with the St Paul girls and one with my super fast neighbor.  Which days look best for those things?

Technology plans for the future - I will still use the Nike+iPod situation for indoor and treadmill running.  Let's be honest: nothing else works.  Also the issue with mapping isn't relevant for indoor workouts.  I'm thinking for now to keep using Endomondo for outdoor workouts since it seems to be the most reliable app and website at the moment.


Linkfest Monday - as seen on the interwebs

I keep forgetting it's Monday.  You'd think I'd be used to not working on Mondays by now, having missed more than one this month.  But no.  I still find the matter confusing.  I have had lots of time to peruse the interwebs for all kinds of stuff today.  Here's some of the best:


Chicago - only posting like a week late

Over the Jewish holiday of Shavout, I headed down to Chicago for a quick vacation with Mom.  I wound up having a companion in the car, but I dumped her on the side of the road in a suburb and didn't see her again until it was time to drive home.  (This is almost exactly what happened.)

Tuesday our office closed at 4pm.  I went home to pack.  Packing is so much less stressful when there's no chance of airport security going through my luggage.

Wednesday is travel day.
530am - I went for an abbreviated run with the St Paul girls.  Hilariously, no one wanted to go the full four miles.  I came home and had bacon and eggs for breakfast and finished up my 'to do' list for travelling.
815 or 830 - Car Buddy arrived, hopped up on caffeine, and we headed out.  We talked some, listened to music some, and listened to several episodes of my guilty pleasure, Car Talk.  The trip can be summed up in one word: Construction.

There really was a bit of a fiasco that lead to me leaving Car Buddy at a little Mexican Cantina to wait for her family to pick her up.  Only marginally better than being on the side of the road.  I headed into Bloomingdale to see Mom, her cousin Julie and whomever else is living with Julie at the moment.  We hung out at home the rest of the night and caught up with each other.

Thursday was the big day of the trip.
6ish - I got up for a run.  There's trails by Julie's house that I love to run on because they're that awesome crushed pea gravel.  It's a super soft but super smooth trail.  Absolutely a pleasure.  In past years there was killer bird watching too.  This year it was all red wing black birds.  Not even a Blue Herron to entertain me.

8ish - go time.
Mom and I headed over to a Metra station to take the commuter rail into Chicago.  It was on that trip I learned the difference between commuter rail and light rail.  We got into the city around 10am.  I immediately hit up a Jamba Juice for a fruit smoothie with protein powder.  After the run earlier I knew I wouldn't last much longer without food.
We walked by the Art Musuem and headed over to Millenium Park and the Bean. While this was the most anticlimactic part of the day, it definitely led to the best pictures.

After the Bean we walked through Grant Park and along the lake shore.  It was about 80* and sunny so it was a perfect day to be out walking.  Mom was shocked at all the tourists but I was nonplussed about the whole situation.

We'd originally planned to see the Shed Aquarium but the line was literraly out the door and it was packed with school kids.  I kind of wanted to go to the Natural History Museum, Mom had no inclination. I had a moment of sadness about this when I saw they had an exhibit about Lascaux (yes, I know what Lascaux is without having to consult Wikipedia).  I came to my senses and instead congratulated myself on escaping art museums twice in one day.

Neither one of us was super excited about the Adler Planetarium but we were both mildly curious and we accepted it as the least of all evils for the day.  Man, were we ever surprised.  This was totally the highlight of the trip.  We spent about 3 hours in there, including lunch and a show, and didn't really get to see everything.  It was really well done.  Having worked in museums and aquariums most of my life, I'm really hard to please when it comes to these things.  The best was the exhibit about the big bang, The Universe: A Walk Through Space and Time.  They also had a setup where there was an astronomer explaining his work and the different kinds of telescopes being used, and how and why those get used.  It was really interesting.

The planetarium closes an hour before the aquarium so we wound up heading over there for the last hour and just perused the main tanks.  It was pretty relaxing since all the school kids had left.  We could just take our time and enjoy ourselves.

After the aquarium we made our way back to Union Station and had quite the adventure finding the right track and train.  Everyone is all "Union Station is Amtrak not Metra".  I assure you, Metra trains leave from Union Station too.  I made my mom walk really fast through downtown to make sure we caught the train.  She didn't believe me when I told her we walked 6 miles, so I drew a map to prove it.

We got back into Bloomingdale and had dinner somewhere I can't remember.  Seriously.  My mind is blank.  Then we watched the season finale of Scandal.

 Friday was much less busy.
I took a quick easy run, around the lake on the other side of the condo.  More red wing black birds.

We spent most of the day tooling around Elmhurst, a different suburb of Chicago where Mom and Julie raised hell as teenagers.  Probably Julie more than Mom.  We had lunch at a Mexican restaurant that had 'the best salsa bar in the world'.  It was definitely legit.  We saw Julie's kids and then had dinner with a bigger portion of the family.

Saturday I went for a quick run and then Mom and I took one last walk around the preserve before heading our ways.  Mom was going to hang out with Julie and then take the train into Chicago and pick up the Megabus.  (The Megabus wound up being a whopping 90 minutes late.)

Car buddy made her way to Julie's house.  Since the Powerball was around $600 million, we bought a few tickets.  More out of self defense than anything else. 

It was an easy trip home, not much traffic.  I know this because my car clocked in a 37mpg.  Thank you cruise control.  All in all it was a great trip, and nice to be with Mom on neutral territory.  We didn't fight at all.


Slow week - in so many ways

It's a slow week in many many ways.  Last week I was in Chicago.  I keep meaning to write about that, but like I said: slow.  I got back Saturday night and was pretty pooped.  Sadly, I did not win the lottery.  Although now my favorite thing to imagine is what I'd do with that much money.

Sunday I went to the farmers market and got awesome bacon and awesome eggs.  Then I lay on the couch most of the day.  I did run my mile.

Monday, the only fast day of the week, I ran 3.1 miles after work.  It was an uphill/downhill course and the last mile clocked in at 9:01 and would've been faster were it not for that stop light.  I love running downhill.

Tuesday I got up and headed out with Running Beth, great way to start the day.  The run almost ended with us getting runover by a garbage truck.  No joke. Those things are scary when they're moving backwards.

Wednesday that's today I had dinner at Marla's.  First time ever.  With Nate.  I was apparently his backup date.  Win for me!  I also ran my mile.  I'm so over it.  When can I stop this?

Enjoy pictures from some of my recent runs. Spring is here for real this time.  It's alive!


Tuesday: Another long run, another fall.

It's a long story how this week's long run got scheduled for a Tuesday morning, but that's how things went down.  I had an "at least 10" on the books, which turned out to be an 11.5 miler around Lakes Harriet and Calhoun.  The other option was the super hill at Ft Snelling but after last weekend I kind of wanted a break from the hills.

I had yet another fall, this time in mile 4 while running on the trail/gravel/grass alongside the paved trail.  my foot just caught something.   I got a bloody knee that looked worse than it was most of the way.  It only started getting stiff in the last mile or two of the run.  Figured out later that I re-upset my shoulder too. Awesome.  I'm considering getting my peripheral vision checked because I feel like this is just one too many falls for a season, even counting that a couple were on ice.

I have a long term marathon pace goal for Twin Cities.  I'm not ready to write about it just yet.  The goal for this run was to keep the miles under a certain pace.  Obviously the first couple of miles were warm up miles and above whatever pace I could've dreamed up for myself.  I have to say, I'm pretty happy with the miles around Lake Calhoun.  There used to be a time I couldn't even run that fast for a 5K.

Somewhere in mile 9 I knew I was going to get caught at a long light anyways, so I pulled out my camera and snapped some pictures.  Lake Calhoun looked amazing this morning, both lakes did.  The sunrise glinting off the downtown skyscrapers was also quite impressive but harder to capture with a camera.

I ran in my fancy schmancy Nike shorts that I got in Florida, and the raceback tank Mom got me at the marathon expo.  I had super thin socks inside my Asics (which seems to be the way to go), and wore a fuel belt but only took a couple bottles of water.  I love everything I wore but perhaps the racer back tank the most.  I like to imagine I look like a bad ass in it, although that's probably not how it appears to everyone else.

It's a good thing I got my run in when I did, because I'm sure we set a record with the current temperature.  Wow!


The Time Is Now

One running related note: I ran my mile today, saving big miles for tomorrow and the end of the week.  My mile pace was faster than a 9:30.  What!?!

In more important news, this happened in my state today:

As predicted, Michele Bachman had the most entertaining reaction to all of it.  I keep inviting my parents up to come up here, but I'll have to wait until I see if God sends volcanic eruptions or a flesh eating virus our way.  Just so I know what I'm bringing them into.


Long Cincinnati Trip - the Highlights

Wednesday - showing up in Cincinnati where it was 80* whilst a snow storm was brewing at home.  Suck it Minnesota.  Also Jazzercise with Mom.

Thursday - Hanging out with Dad, Grandma, and my cousins who are moving to California at the end of the month.  The drive down the Appalachian Highway and US-52 is beautiful.

Friday - Green Dog Cafe, Packet Pickup, Ault Park, Skyline and Playhouse in the Park, even if the play didn't sit quite right with me.

Saturday - 10K, 5K, and dinner at Ruth's house.  Also, Mom and Dad as the cheering squad.

Sunday - Half Marathon PR after the previous day of racing. Hanging out with more cousins and Aunts and Uncles.

Monday - My mom bought an iMac.  That was our Mother's Day celebration.  Afterwards I tried to get all the crap off the old computer.  It was dying before my eyes.

Tuesday - I set up the iMac for Mom and got all of her data transferred, got the time machine set up, the internet working, and the rats nest of cords resolved.  Then I came back to Minnesota which was suddenly warmer than Ohio.