OKC Memorial Half training week 3

After having such a good week #2, week #3 was a failure. I picked up something when I was out of the country and was not in a position to walk or run until today. Disappointing, but so it goes. I’m hoping to get in a few walking miles today.

The city I was visiting has bad air pollution, at least by US, non-LA standards. By the second day, my sinuses were clogging and my snot contained lovely flecks of black. I suspect the pollution made me more susceptible to catching something.

I am trying not to start bicycling again. Whenever I get frustrated with walking or running, I start dreaming of cycling. This must be resisted. My back is not at a point where I can comfortably ride. Cycling does not help with running, at least at my current level of fitness. Even when I was able to ride 100km at a time, I still had to do a couch to 5K to start running. I certainly had an easier time than many, but cycling and running are not comparable.

Here’s to a better week.

OKC Memorial Half training week 2

(I’ve decided to do these updates once a week.)

I was out of the country last week, but took my running and walking gear with me. I only did one “run”, but I got in a ton of fast walking. I’m only counting miles where I went walking. Days where I walked only as a part of my normal routine aren’t counted. 

One of the things I love about some European cities is how walkable they are. The distances I walk in them surprise me when I map where I went and what I did. It’s easy to walk five miles in New York or Stockholm without thinking about it. Part of that may be the mixed use nature of most of the neighborhoods: every block has something slightly different going on.

Also, shops. I find it easier to bicycle 100 km down the Pinellas County barrier islands with shops, apartments, hotels, and the Gulf to look at than riding a featureless flat road. Walking seems to be similar: it’s easier to walk in places with interesting architecture and other things to look at than to walk through residential area after residential area.


Training distance: 3.7 miles Time: 51:45 Average HR: 143

Goal half: 2:00:00 Predicted half: 3:20:34

Walking distance: 4.4 miles


Walking distance: 4.9 miles


Walking distance: 8.2 miles


Walking distance: 3.7 miles


Walking distance: 9.8 miles

Total training distance: 3.7 miles

Total walking distance: 31 miles

Starting running again is difficult

Starting over again is difficult. I’m happy to be training again, but it’s hard to get the “how did you let yourself go this far?” voice out of my head sometimes.

When I started bicycling in Florida, it was easier. Partially because cycling is a lot easier on the body than running/walking. Partially because the environment was better — 1.7 miles away was the Honeymoon Island causeway. Partially because a bicycle is a mode of transportation — I could disguise exercise as running errands.

But mostly because early gains on a bicycle are more apparent. Hey, I made it half a mile, a mile, two miles, six miles! Wow, six miles only took an hour, 45 minutes, 30 minutes!

Six miles in 30 minutes is 12 miles per hour. That’s a five minute zero second mile. It’s the speed where cycling becomes more useful as a form of transportation. It’s also where some bicyclists get bit by the cycling bug — 12 mph is easy… what about 15? 17? 25?

For me, running doesn’t have that gentle “see, you’re doing better than last time” tug to move me along. Running sucks and continues sucking until it suddenly doesn’t. I won’t even get a quarter mile glimpse of happiness until I’m able to run 5k without walking. Running finally stopped sucking last time when I could run nine miles without walking.

And then I broke four ribs. Won’t make that mistake again — no cycling.

For some, the problem with running is that they can’t see it ever being fun. I had this problem for a long time. It’s understandable, because it sucks until suddenly it doesn’t.

But being good at running is really amazing and good is a sliding scale. For me, good was 11 minute miles for 100 minutes. Good was realizing that yes, I was still slow, but I could do this forever.

So starting over again is difficult, but it’s easier than starting for the first time. I have the memory of being “good” at running to help lure me forward. And the knowledge that I’m unlikely to break my ribs running without outside assistance.

OKC Memorial Half training #2

My training will be a bit spotty over the next 10 days as I’m traveling and cannot afford to mess my back up. However, I am still trying to get something in every other day. I’m out of shape enough that walking counts as training. Hopefully that will end soon!

I’m counting anything with an average heart rate of over 120. In the past, I have followed (and liked) Matt Fitzgerald’s 80/20 Running. I used 120 bpm as my target slow heart rate. It worked well and I got to a point where I could actually jog (I won’t say run) at 120bpm and under.

Distance: 1.6 miles Time: 35:52 Average HR: 125

2018 OKC Memorial Half Marathon

On January 3, 2014, I decided to run my first half marathon and signed up for the 2014 OKC Memorial half. Untimely health issues forced me to push my registration to the 2015 race. After various setbacks, I was able to train consistently.

I ran four days a week and was pleased with my progress. 5K training runs took 30 minutes. I considered picking up a few 5K races to see if I could break my personal best (26:47).

By November of 2014, I was able to run nine miles without walking. 5K runs felt like warming up. I’d never been able to run so far so easily.

That Thanksgiving, I took my race bike out for the first time since I started training. The speed was intoxicating. I’d forgotten how amazing a well made race bike is.

I’d also forgotten how bad the roads are here. 1.5 mikes from home, my wheels got stuck in a gap between concrete slabs. I managed to hop out, skidded on sand, hit the curb, flipped, and crashed.

The crash totaled my bike and broke four of my ribs. This seems to have started 2+ years of health problems, trouble walking, and more. Two years of MRIs, physical therapy, tests, and anxiety later, I know I have five damaged discs in my back.

I’m finally at a point where I can walk without issues. I want to use this new ability to lose the 40+ pounds I’ve gained since the crash. Hopefully losing the weight will help ensure I can continue to walk without issues.

I suspect I’ve been too sedentary, to be honest. Instead of monitoring pain and continuing doing (or trying to do) the things I want, I’ve been a bump on a log. I’ve had enough of that.

My favorite running shoes were on sale on Friday. I picked up two pairs. I sorted my running clothes into what fits, what hopefully will fit later in the year, and how did that ever fit piles.

Today, I signed up for the 2018 OKC Memorial half. It was the first day to register.

Then I got out of bed and ran. Well, jogged. I mean walked. I walked / jogged 3.1 miles. My back was a little sore, but otherwise fine.

Distance: 3.1 miles
Time: 46:16
Average HR: 148

Goal half: 2:00:00
Predicted half: 3:32:50

Hobby, Tool, or Hindrance: Three Views of Computers

Hobby, Tool, or Hindrance: Three Views of Computers

There are three ways of viewing computers:

  • Hobby: A computer is an end in itself
  • Tool: A computer is an aid to an end
  • Hindrance: A computer is a mandatory impediment to an end

Users, developers, software companies, operating systems, and hardware makers each have at least one of these views. Knowing their views can decrease frustration and help achieve your or your business’ goals.


“Computer” refers to both the computer and the operating system. When used without further detail, it can mean either one.

My use of “hobby” and “hobbyist” is not meant as an insult. The terms represent those who take interest in the computer itself. Someone who uses a computer as a tool may also be a hobbyist, but it isn’t required.


The hobby view considers the computer an end in itself. Overclockers, some gamers, some programmers, and some general computer users may enjoy playing with the computer’s hardware and operating system. Their changes may or may not objectively improve their computer experience, but these users enjoy the time they spend changing things. A tool view user may also have the hobby view.

This is a positive view of computers, but not a utilitarian one. Hobbyists’ computers are often overpowered for what they are used for and less stable than a tool user’s computer.

Hobby users generally:

  • Want:
    • The fastest hardware they can afford
    • Operating systems that:
      • Provide a challenge or
      • Run the software they are most interested in
  • Know:
    • How to use their computer’s operating system at a deep level
    • How to change hardware and software settings
  • Upgrade:
    • Components when newer, measurably better ones are available
    • Computers when their old computer:
      • Is significantly slower than newer machines or
      • Can no longer host more modern components
  • Switch operating systems:
    • Frequently: May run multiple operating systems on a regular basis
    • Rarely: May be devoted to a single operating system
  • Handles problems:
    • Well. Enjoys challenges or views them as part of being a hobbyist.


The tool view considers the computer an aid to an end. Writers, artists, educators, engineers, scientists, and consumers may view computers as tools. Each finds themselves more productive, more creative, and/or able to do more complex things than they would without a computer.

This is a positive view of computers. It’s also a utilitarian one. This user selects a computer based on how well it advances the user’s goals considering the user’s current and expected future situations. Many programmers and gamers have the tool view of computers.

Tool users generally:

  • Want:
    • Reliable computer hardware
    • Reliable, non-cryptic computer operating systems
  • Know:
    • How to use their computer’s operating system as it impacts their goals
    • How to use their preferred applications
  • Upgrade:
    • Components when small needs aren’t being met
    • Computers when large needs aren’t being met
  • Switch operating systems:
    • Rarely. Training costs usually outweigh any other perceived gain
  • Handles problems:
    • Well. Finds the solution, learns it, and uses it.
    • Remembers the problems when making future purchases.


The hindrance view considers computers or operating systems an impediment but is required to use them. An educator who prefers overhead projectors but must use the digital equivalent may consider computers in general an impediment. An accountant may love spreadsheets but find the operating system an impediment.

Hindrance users generally:

  • Want:
    • The computer to stay out of their way
    • Hardware that never fails in any way
    • Operating systems that never change
  • Know:
    • How to use a few specific applications
      • This may be at a superficial or deep level
      • The educator may know nothing about the digital overhead projector
      • The accountant may know everything about Excel
    • Very little about the hardware or operating system
  • Upgrade:
    • When forced
      • The computer no longer functions
      • Their employer replaces the machine
  • Switch operating systems:
    • Never
  • Handles problems:
    • Poorly. Has not learned to use the machine at a base level, so normal operation is a “problem”


Knowing your view and software and hardware makers’ views is critical for both personal and business computing. A hindrance user shouldn’t buy a computer designed for a hobbyist. A tool-focused business should not use software from hobbyist-oriented projects/companies.

Future articles will go into determining where you are and where others are in more detail.

Two additions

A busy summer and an even busier fall left little time for writing. I have a better defined schedule now, one which allows more time for hobbies. My two main passions are computing and cycling and I am putting more time into both. I also plan on writing about each of them.

While all posts will still live in the Blog section, I’ve added two new menu items: Computing and Cycling. If you are only interested in posts about computing, select the Computing menu option. If you are only interested in Cycling, select that menu option. If there is interest, I will look into creating separate RSS feeds.

No existing URLs have changed. Articles I feel are of special note will still be highlighted on the front page of the site.