More mistakes than usual

I have a shameful secret to confess. I have a hard time reading analog clocks and watches. It’s not that I can’t read them, it’s that it takes me significantly longer to visually parse and comprehend the meaning of analog clocks than it does for me to do the same with a digital clock. I’m not talking minutes here, just fractions of a second. But when I just want to know what time it is, the difference is frustrating to me as a clock user.

iOS 6 is like a wonderful digital clock, and now with iOS 7 I feel like I’m looking at an analog clock (even after a few months of prerelease testing). Many people argue that analog clocks are more beautiful than digital clocks, but that’s not the point. The point is that it takes me just a fraction of a second longer to parse and comprehend what I see than it needs to. The difference is frustrating.

It would be easy to dismiss this as a simple case of decrepit old man resists change, but I’m pretty sure that’s not what this is. In the past 20 years I’ve used every operating system Apple has released, usually upgrading every compatible machine as quickly as I possibly could. Each new OS version comes with an updated look and feel, and a slew of technical improvements under the hood.

The technical improvements are always, always for the better. This is the reason I upgrade.

The changes to the look and feel are mostly better, but there are a few exceptions. I can proudly say I hated the brushed metal appearance in Mac OS X long before it was cool to hate. When Apple does make a mistake in this area, their response has always been the same:

  • Tone it down slightly in the following release. Don’t fix it completely because that would be admitting it’s a mistake. And Apple doesn’t make mistakes.

  • Tone it down significantly in the following release. Stick to your guns. This was not a mistake.

  • Fix it properly in the following release. After three major releases people have forgotten when it was even introduced.

Back to iOS 7. As always, iOS 7 has improvements under the hood that are too spectacular to be ignored. This is the reason I will upgrade. But as far as the look and feel changes, Apple has made far more mistakes than usual in this update.

It’s because I like you, I don’t want to be with you. It’s a
complicated emotion.

Marlin (Finding Nemo)

Home trail advantage

I think we were still on vacation in Colorado when Melissa read about an upcoming race she thought might interest me, the Corps of Discovery Trail Run, a half marathon on the Lewis and Clark trails–my favorite STL area trails.

Oh hell yes.

Four weeks after Howl at the Moon I was no longer sore and fatigued, but I wasn’t particularly well-trained either. This race wouldn’t be 8 hours of 9 minute pace running, it would be less than 2 hours as fast as the trail would allow. I’m kind of glad last week’s trail race kicked my ass so badly. If nothing else it better prepared me for running uncomfortably fast.

My fictional road half marathon seed time (I haven’t run a road half marathon in 10 years) placed me in the first wave of 10 starters. Each wave began 2 minutes apart because there was no real room to separate before hitting the trail. At the starting line I immediately noticed a local runner who has destroyed me every time I’ve raced against him. And then there was another guy who just looked really fast. I was pretty sure I wasn’t going to win the race… but it wasn’t going to be for lack of trying. Who knows, maybe I would have some kind of home trail advantage.

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Photos courtesy of Saint Louis Track Club

Moments before the race began the rain started to fall. I love racing in the rain, but this may have been too little too late. 10 meters through the parking lot, two tight turns, then we were on the trail. I stayed on the shoulder of the fast guy, with the other fast guy on my shoulder. I wasn’t going to set the pace (we may have walked up the hills if I had), but I intended to hang on as long as I could.

The first (and thankfully fastest) mile was 6:33. Then came a long fast downhill. On one switchback I looked back and no longer saw the guy I expected to win the race. I don’t know what happened to him, but he didn’t finish. But I didn’t know that yet. I continued to follow the pace of the other fast guy. Then we hit the first big uphill stretch and he floated away from me like I was standing still. I struggled to reach the top and picked up my pace a bit. I started to reel him back on the flat, then I caught back up on the next long downhill. Even with the big hill we still ran the second mile in 6:51. To put that into perspective, on my long easy training runs on this trail I usually run that mile in about 10:30-11:00.

Things weren’t looking good at this point. A bit after 3 miles in we hit the next big uphill and once again he was gone. This time for good. I never saw him again the rest of the race, and in the last 10 miles he put 6 minutes into me.

I struggled the rest of the race to find a good pace. There was nobody within sight, either in front of me or behind me. If I lost focus, even briefly, I would suddenly notice I was running easy, and then I would have to pick the pace back up. As far as I knew the other fast guy was still chasing me down. I did well on the flats and on the downhills, but my uphills were just awful. This is such a weakness for me but despite attempts to address it I just haven’t progressed.

With about 3 miles to go I reached a poorly designed wooden staircase (the only stairs on the trail). The individual steps actually slope downward. And they were wet. And I had to go down them. I held the railing and walked slowly only to fall on my ass anyway and slide the rest of the way down. My butt was scraped, my back was bruised, my fingers were splintered, it knocked the wind out of me, and it made me nauseous. I walked away, my pride hurting as much as my ass, for what felt like an eternity before I could work back up to a jog. The last 3 miles were not pretty.

I hung on to finish second place, well behind the leader. In fairness, if I had had a spectacular day I still don’t think I could have beaten him. By most measures I had a successful race, but it sure didn’t feel like it at the time. The combination of the fall, my poor uphill performance, and getting beaten by such a big margin on my home trail left me feeling disappointed. But I’ll get over it.

August 2013


Good month.

Month Distance # Workouts Avg per Workout
January 131.5 Mile 13 10.1154 Mile
February 87.4286 Mile 10 8.74286 Mile
March 162.84 Mile 17 9.57882 Mile
April 169.12 Mile 16 10.57 Mile
May 133.61 Mile 12 11.1342 Mile
June 127.39 Mile 16 7.96188 Mile
July 200.4 Mile 21 9.54286 Mile
August 151.34 Mile 14 10.81 Mile
Total 1163.63 Mile 119 9.77839 Mile

Running 2013 8



Month Distance # Workouts Avg per Workout
January 3.7 Mile 1 3.7 Mile
February 15.2 Mile 4 3.8 Mile
March 123.14 Mile 16 7.69625 Mile
April 114.22 Mile 12 9.51833 Mile
May 157.33 Mile 14 11.2379 Mile
June 217.6 Mile 10 21.76 Mile
July 223.1 Mile 8 27.8875 Mile
August 105.83 Mile 10 10.583 Mile
Total 960.12 Mile 75 12.8016 Mile

Cycling 2013 8

Walking and Hiking


Month Distance # Workouts Avg per Workout
January 37.64 Mile 12 3.13667 Mile
February 50.6 Mile 21 2.40952 Mile
March 92.9 Mile 37 2.51081 Mile
April 41.5 Mile 21 1.97619 Mile
May 91.75 Mile 33 2.7803 Mile
June 32.03 Mile 21 1.52524 Mile
July 14.8 Mile 8 1.85 Mile
August 45.35 Mile 23 1.97174 Mile
Total 406.57 Mile 176 2.31006 Mile

Walking 2013 8


I knew there was something I forgot to do last month.

Month Distance # Workouts Avg per Workout
January 0 0 0
February 3950. Yard 3 1316.67 Yard
March 18900. Yard 11 1718.18 Yard
April 15600. Yard 10 1560. Yard
May 13200. Yard 8 1650. Yard
June 11580. Yard 8 1447.5 Yard
July 2093.61 Yard 2 1046.81 Yard
August 0 0 0
Total 65323.6 Yard 42 1555.32 Yard

Swimming 2013 8