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Thursday, September 28, 2017

'Bye, Strava

I signed up for Strava this year, but after a few months, I deleted the account. It just didn't suit me. There are a few reasons why:
1. You can't add miles to shoes, so if you have existing miles before you start logging them in Strava, the total is all wrong. Annoying. I realize that this is a problem that would go away over time, as I got new shoes, but it bothered me immensely.
2. You have to put a run duration. I often run without a watch, so I'm left guessing this. I only use my Garmin two or three times a week.
3. Unless you go premium, you can only see garmin mile splits, not lap splits.
4. I never used the segments, challenges, etc. that Strava is known for.

I'm now using Final Surge instead. By linking it to Garmin Connect, I now automatically upload workouts to Final Surge, and much like Strava, can edit them later. But Final Surge has much more detailed data fields available, and since it's Garmin Connect data, it shows lap splits, too. When you manually add a run, a time isn't required, and yes, you can also manually add miles to shoes. Furthermore, since it's a coaching app, I can share my workout data with our running group coach...I mean, if we ever start doing that. So far, I like it, it's easy to use, and it avoids all my little pet peeves.

How about you? Strava? Spreadsheet? Workout journal?

Monday, September 25, 2017

Smithsonian Day Live

David and I love to take advantage of free  museum entries for Smithsonian Day Live each year. The list of partnering museums, though, is not huge, and we've actually been to all the museums on the list at least once (including the really pathetic joke of a Voodoo museum: do not waste your money or time if you're in NOLA). Next year, we'll maybe plan better and travel to a farther museum: one in Mississippi or Baton Rouge, perhaps.
But for this year, we opted for a quick trip to the Ogden Museum of Southern Art.

There were a few new pieces.

It's a small museum, and there wasn't much new there, but I took the time to study a pastel work that is remarkably similar to something I was working on. The subject matter, that is. I was using watercolor, and I don't love it, so now I'm considering throwing it out and starting fresh with pastels. How did he get oil pastels to look so watery???

We also got some rooftop views of the city, even though it was very much like the surface of the sun up there (Friday was 95 degrees and Saturday was close).

The national WWII museum
Lee's Circle - with empty pedestal!
We had planned to eat at Cuzco for dinner, a Peruvian family restaurant on Freret street, so David suggested getting a drink first at the Catahoula Bar. They offer a variety of pisco drinks. We walked over and had a pisco sour, which was fine, but - man. That place was DISGUSTING. It was nearly empty, and there were bored employees lounging all over, but it was filthy inside. Heavy burned grease hung in the air; the floor was littered with dried up limes; dirty cups with dead flies sat on half the tables; plastic wrappings littered the seating area. As soon as you walk in, and also from the bar seating area, you can see right into the kitchen, and it was not only dirty, it featured a full industrial mop bucket that reeked of dirty mop water. The patio had a never-been-dumped ashtray on every table. It was bizarre. It's supposed to be a kind of posh little bar in a boutique hotel, but it looked like a college dive bar.
Cuzco, though? Never disappoints! Incredible food and excellent prices, plus it brings back nostalgic memories of our trip to Peru.

How was your weekend?

Saturday, September 23, 2017

Nike's best

A few months ago, I reviewed a new pair of Nike shorts: the Crew, a kind of cheap option for running shorts. But just a couple of weeks into ownership, one pair developed a hole in the key pocket! I contacted Nike customer service, and they asked me to mail them the pair for inspection. Shortly thereafter, I received a voucher for $35 to the Nike online store. The company policy is to give a voucher for the price of the product new, which is nice, and the whole process was pretty easy. You do have to pay to send your item to them - no shipping label provided - so I can see how it may not be worth it. These shorts were light and flat enough to stick in an envelope with a couple of stamps, but shoot, Fed Ex is like ten bucks a package! And if Nike decides that the damage isn't due to workmanship, you're just out that ten dollars (not sure if you have to pay them to return ship to you or not; I do know that you have an option to ask them to recycle your damaged item, rather than return it to you, if they choose not to refund you).

So now, here I am, with $35 worth of Nike product to buy, but - I don't know what to buy! I used to wear tempo shorts, and the last two pairs I owned lasted for many years. I also ran many, many races in a pair of black Nike shorts I got on Ebay that I think are tempos, but fit a little shorter and slimmer. I like these shorts a lot, because lately tempos seem voluminous and big all over, which fast becomes uncomfortable in sweaty conditions. So if I could find something like this I'd buy it. I still have those shorts, but I "save" them, so I rarely wear them; a second pair would be nice.
Crescent City Classic, my black tempo shorts

Acutely tearing already damaged hip labrum thanks
to many misdiagnoses - and winning overall female -
in black tempo shorts

Marathon PR and one of my funniest race black tempo shorts.

If you know what variation these shorts are, and if something similar is still available, let me know! Otherwise, what's your favorite Nike running product? Suggestions?

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Career twist

I got an MBA, I've been killing it at work, and I've been here for a while - the next step is to move into management obviously, right?
Well, no. It would make sense. But I have now turned down a promotion three times. I did get the MBA with the assumption that I'd eventually be forced to move into management and out of my pharmacy, but with another restructuring (we've done one every year for three years) it looks like I might have a loophole. And I'll take it.

I just kind of want to stay a pharmacist. So the career twist is that I want to stay just where I am. I know it's not a smart longterm move: never turn down a promotion! But a promotion would take me totally out of patient care, and straight into a very different area of work. I'm not ruling out an eventual move up, but for now I want to stay with my patients.

And as for career incentives, well, I'm never really sure what's next with my company. Since management roles keep changing, I could be setting myself up for a job with less interest to me, or one that could be eliminated in the future. But a pharmacist? A pharmacist is always needed.

Friday, September 15, 2017

Showing my age

Ten birthday miles
Happy birthday to me, I can't wait to go grocery shopping and then buy a new mop tonight!
I feel every bit of 35 as I try to take care of my rogue knee. I went to my doctor and he's not concerned. Imaging showed no damage or even signs of arthritis (yay!), so he thinks it's an inflamed fat pad under my knee cap. I'm supposed to take some antiinflamatories, but you know how that usually goes - I am kind of anti-NSAIDs.
Meanwhile, I switched out my regular shoes, since my last pair had close to 450 miles. Better safe than sorry!

This morning I ventured out with the group for 2k cutbacks with 3 min jogs, which I ran (far behind the others) in 6:54, 6:42, and 6:38 pace. Not bad considering it was 92% humidity (but only 80 degrees). Now off to celebrate at the grocery store...because, yeah, I saved my least-favorite chores for tonight.

Friday, September 8, 2017


I'm actually sitting here shivering in 69 degree weather. Somebody call an ambulance! My fingers are turning black and falling off!

But really. I hate that the gulf is full of hurricanes, but who can complain about cool weather? Today we had an aerobic run on schedule: eight to ten miles of "90-95% marathon pace feel". You know what? That's kind of hard to gauge in this weather. I met up with a small group, and the miles flew by at about 7:11 pace. In warmer weather, I'd be at 7:30, maybe 7:40. But this was conversational pace, so we went with it. Here's hoping that the old adage is true: fall PRs are built in the summer!

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Wal-mart running haul

A few weeks ago, my long run brought me home miserable and limping, my feet covered in blisters. I took my shoes off to discover that there was more hole than yarn to my socks. And they weren't alone. Almost all of my socks were threadbare. It was time for a Wal-mart trip. See, I only wear Wal-mart socks. They're cotton, they're cheap, and I'm used to them. As for durability...well, that aspect could be improved. A six pack costs $6.97 and usually lasts me two years.

Now you know I can't possibly drag myself to that outpouring of God's wrath at humanity, Wal-mart. Luckily, you can order online, and luckily, I could add enough Smucker's peanut butter to my cart to qualify for free shipping. And at the last minute, I threw some tank tops in the cart:

These tops were $3.93, and since most of our local races have started offering cute, every-day T-shirts instead of tech T's, I am running out of tops to wear. These claim to be wicking material (up for debate; I'd say they're moderately wicking), are sort of billowy, and have a racerback. They're oddly tight in the chest, not usually a problem for me (although I do have a broad chest/back, I'm not exactly Dolly Parton, so this is a rare problem in a running shirt). I give them 2/5 stars, except nothing at Wal-mart can ever qualify for 5 stars in my mental rating system. I withhold that final star because putting "five star" and "Wal-mart" in the same sentence violates my sensibilities. So it's more like 2/4, or 50%. Good enough for me. I'm not picky.
What are you running in lately? What are your go-to running socks?