Palmetto Bluff Half Marathon

My second half marathon outside of Canada was a warm one…as expected. We drove down to Hilton Head over two days on Friday and Saturday with a stop in Charlotte. In hindsight, the half marathon in Charlotte on Saturday morning might have been a better idea.

Race morning featured sunny skies and 18ºC temperatures which for this Canadian runner was not ideal. I was hoping for something more like 12ºC at the start, but beggars can’t be choosers.

The little town was picturesque and the start line was the prettiest I’ve been a part of. The race started about 7 minutes late while they waited for a late shuttle to arrive. It was a mass-start with 10km, half marathon and full marathoners all hitting the line together.

The 10km runners peeled off around the first mile marker and it was just the half and full marathoners from there out along a fairly flat and straight road. I ran well for the first 5km with splits of 4:59/km for all five. Yeah…consistent.

After that I started to slow a bit as the shade disappeared and the heat started to build in. My heart rate was up a bit from what I would expect at that pace which I assumed was from the warm weather.

The back side of the course was free from shade and it was pretty hot. I was struggling to hold any sort of pace without spiking my heart rate up to 170bpm. I started doing run/walk after the one hour mark and used the water stations to cool off with cups over the head and in my hat.

Around 17km things got better with a bit of a sea breeze and some shade. I picked up the running (over walking) and set about to run it in as best I could. In the end, it was a 1:57:10 which was good for 101st overall and 14th in my category. Not my best, but given the weather I was happy.


On Outrage Culture

It’s really, really out of control. Social media and smartphones plus a 24 hour news cycle that needs to manufacture breaking news to hold viewer attention (to keep the ad dollars rolling in) is the cause. Opt out. Seriously.

“This is the current pitch of outrage culture, where voicing an opinion someone says she sees as a threat qualifies you for instant annihilation, no questions asked. Why ask questions, when it’s more expedient, maybe more kickass, to turn anything you might disagree with into an emergency?”

Nancy Rommelmann

Back over 20km

For the first time since the 2018 BMO Vancouver Marathon last May, I ran over 20km yesterday – 23.5km to be exact.

I set out with about 19km in mind, considering that I have a half marathon in three weeks and I really don’t have a lot of reasons to push things too far, too fast. The route was 23km, but I figured I would run through about 19km and then hop a streetcar back to the start.

As you do…

Well, as you do when the run is fun, I pushed through the 19km distance and we changed things up a bit on the fly to run past my parents’ place where I would check in (they are away for a few weeks) before calling it quits and hopping that streetcar for the last few kilometres.

After the stop, which was about 60 seconds total, I started running again and figured I would just keep going along King St. until a streetcar finally came. It never did and by about Spadina I could see the group again so I just decided to finish it up on foot. I ended up catching them around University and then ran it in from there.

It felt good to get up over 20km again. I thought back to marathon training runs in the past and remembered why I like distance running. It’s enjoyable to run out to Jane St. and through some nice neighbourhoods. I like the feeling of accomplishment that comes with pushing myself beyond what most would consider a normal distance.

Three weeks until Palmetto Bluff

I have two long runs before the Palmetto Bluff Half Marathon on March 10. That probably means one more run over 20km before a taper run the Sunday before. I’m feeling good about where I’m at, even with the less intense training I’ve done this winter.

Environment Canada Releases iOS and Android Weather Apps

This is great news for all Canadians looking for a reliable weather app that doesn’t come with pervasive tracking and ads like The Weather Channel and other commercial apps feature.

The new WeatherCAN app (iOS and Android) gives you exactly what you’d expect from an official Government of Canada app with hourly and seven day forecasts for locations across Canada. The radar views aren’t as good as what an app like Storm Radar from the US Weather Channel offers, but that’s more a function of the outdated weather radar infrastructure in Canada.

WeatherCAN also offers all-important push notifications for severe weather and other Environment Canada advisories and weather statements.

On the downside, it’s only Canadian weather, so if you want weather for locations around the world, then you’ll need another app for that. It’s also not as fancy graphically as something like the Weather Network app, but as mentioned above, commercial weather apps are not the best in terms of tracking and ads. They also have a bunch of cruft like “viral” videos, and other junk that clutters up the whole app.

Check it out if you want a no-frills, functional weather app that will keep you in the know.

Spring Half Marathon Plans

I’m super excited to have found a half marathon that takes place very close to our vacation spot in Hilton Head Island this March.

We arrive on Saturday, March 9, 2019 and on the next day, I’ll be running the Palmetto Bluff Half Marathon. Palmetto Bluff is about 45 minutes from our place in Hilton Head Island, and a 9:00 A.M. start time will make for a pretty easy get up and go on Sunday morning.

The course looks lovely – absolutely dead flat through the beautiful South Carolina Lowcountry on a big 13.1 mile loop. The little town where the race starts and finishes looks quaint and southern which will provide Ginny with an enjoyable couple of hours while I’m out running. There’s some photos from the 2018 race here.

After the race, there’s beer, food and some live music.

De-Centralizing DNS

The internet is not supposed to have single points of failure or massive companies that control vast swaths of pages, or websites.

I’ve been actively de-centralizing my online presences of late and the last step was to leave Cloudflare and spread my DNS around a couple of different places. Obviously, a bunch of my sites rely on Hover’s DNS since I work there, and my domains are managed there. But not all of them use Hover. In a couple of cases, it’s easier to use a different provider.

The reason I don’t like Cloudflare is that it’s clear they are attempting to use their size (and the fact they offer a free service) to try and become a dominant DNS provider. Basically, the Facebook or Google of DNS. Not good.

They control way too much and have far too much access to data about sites people visit. Better to rely on DNS providers that are solely interested in offering DNS services vs. trying to profit from data gathering.

Early 2019 Results

Two weeks into 2019 and I’ve already posted my highest monthly run total since last May. I think it’s fair to say that I’m back on track now after six months of taking it easy.

With any luck I should just barely top 200km for the month which is something I haven’t done since last April.

January Training

Things are starting to come together now and I’m finally getting into the swing of things after seven months of not-so-consistent running. The key, as usual, is to have a schedule and then to stick to it. Duh.

I made a nice calendar again with runs on Sunday, Monday, Wednesday, Thursday and Saturday. The distances are a bit less than my marathon plan since I’m not running a marathon this spring. I’ve got two 6km and one 8km runs during the week, 5km on Saturday and then a longer Sunday run. Right now that’s about 15km and a weekly total around 40km which will increase as the Sunday runs get longer.

I’m at 40km for the year now after just one week, and on pace for a solid month that might be close to 150km depending on the Sunday runs. There’s a lululemon challenge on Strava that’s got me chasing 80km by January 25th and I’m right on target for that as well. There’s also a New Balance challenge to run 91 miles (146km) in January which seems doable without to much trouble assuming I can ramp the Sunday distances up to get there.

It’s nice to not have the whole big marathon plan in the calendar, but it’s also good to have a fairly aggressive plan to start the year. I missed having goal races to go after and while it’ll be a 30km and a half this spring, that will still be enough to get me out for those runs during the week.

Tech Updates

I made a call to Bell today to make some changes to our various services they provide to us. Specifically, that’s home phone, Fibe TV and fibre internet.

My intention was to get rid of the home phone completely, but for various reasons related to the ridiculous ways companies like Bell and Rogers price things, it was cheaper to keep the home phone for a while longer.

Overall, I was able to reduce the monthly bill substantially, while maintaining basically the same TV package we had, and also upgrading from 300Mb/s fibre to full gigabit fibre.

We’re still considering getting rid of TV and phone completely and going gigabit only, but that will wait for a bit. I think streaming services aren’t quite there yet in Canada, and OTA is a bit of an investment in terms of an antenna and also a tuner/PVR plus a more powerful server for Plex.

On the phone side, we now have some sort of basic line with no features. I may just disconnect the phone entirely since literally the only people who call us are air duct cleaning companies, Bell Canada, polling companies and charities looking for money.