Thursday, September 30, 2010

The Droid X Review

Time to get my geek on:  Last week, I dove into the cellular world that is the Android.  After a somewhat lackluster history with the Blackberry Storm and Storm 2, I gave into the allure of the Droid X.  In the past, I have stood firm on my ground that I was a power/business user waving my Blackberry with its enterprise level security and amazing email technology in anyone's (read iPhone-ians) face.  I long considered the iPhone and the Droid to be cute Gameboy-esque toys that would occasionally allow someone to place a call or send an email.  This changed with 2 things:  1.  Updates to the Blackberry OS from the Storm to the Storm 2 did nothing to fix its anemic browser.  It's slow and nearly useless in how little it can handle most web pages now.  Blackberry's OS 6 was developed to address some of these issues, but from my research, it's still behind the curve compared to the iPhone and the Android.  2.  With the Froyo update (Android OS 2.2), Google upped the ante with improved enterprise level security as the Droid is supposed to now play nice with Exchange.  My office uses Exchange 2003, and after a few updates and reboots we were able to get my phone syncing effortlessly with my office server (Thanks Chief!).

Now the Droid X is a damn sexy phone.  It has all the standard smart phone features.  It has a 8 MP camera and a video camera that will record in 720P.  It has 8 gigs on the phone and comes with a 16 gig micro SD card. It also has a port for HDMI.  It's huge with its 4.3 inch screen.  The display is bright and is easier to read in direct sunlight then my Storm 2.  The browser is fast and can play Flash!  (UPDATE:  I downloaded the Skyfire Browser and I've been impressed at how fast it loads and handles Flash content even better than the stock browser.  Throw in that it can simulate a full desktop browser (not just an optimized mobile browser), and bam!  I haven't found a site yet that I can't use.)  The Droid OS is far more versatile than the Blackberry and powers up in seconds.  With a huge library of apps, this has to be one of the best purchases that I've ever made.  I even found an app that allows me connect to my office computer.  The mobile wifi hotspot is a great idea, but with Verizon's 2 gig/month data cap, it may not be worth the cost.  Fear not, tethering fans, as the Droid X will tether via bluetooth at no extra cost.  I got this to work once, but since then my laptop has "lost" one of the drivers to properly run the bluetooth radio.  I've tried to re-install the proper drivers several times, but it still won't install it.  Perplexing to say the least.  Also the OS does seem a bit quirky at times, but it's no worse than any phone that I've used before.  When examined under Verizon's extensive network, this phone is the most powerful/useful work purchase that I've ever made.  So sorry Blackberry, but I can't go back.  And you can't make me either.  Later kids!

Sunday, September 26, 2010

End of the Week Recap 9/26/10

Hail my running brothers and sisters!  Week 9 of marathon training is officially in the books.  This was a decent week in that I got over my mileage and hit my time goals (on average).  I did 38.21 miles at an average pace of 8:33/mi.  I did 26 minutes of kettleball cross-training.  My weight I believe to be firmly at 163.4 lbs.  My best run was my long run this morning.  I did 16.38 mi at an average pace of 8:25/mi around the Vandy, Belmont, Lipscomb area.  It was a great morning for a run, because it was cool and breezy, near perfect.  I just ran around the college campuses without a particular plan, and it was neat to see parts of town that I hadn't mapped out/ran before.

Today also marked the end of the cross-country season for "my" kids.  Let me tell you;  I'm truly blessed to work with such a great group of kids.  I was so proud of everyone's efforts, and though I haven't looked over the official times, I think most everyone turned in PR's today!  Of note, the 7th and 8th grade girls came in 4th as a team (jointly with another school), and one of our girls finished 11th and 24th!  Awesome job ladies!  On a more personal note, my son turned in a PR of 14 seconds better than his best time!  I have to say that I'm more than honored that I was a small part in helping some of these kids take interest in our sport.  Go Bears!!!

That's it for me.  Later kids, and keep the faith! 

Sunday, September 19, 2010

End of the Week Recap 9/19/10

Hail my running brothers and sisters!  Week 8 of marathon training is done.  I've considered calling this week, Hill Week or the Hills are Alive with the Sound of Pain.  Instead of tempo run this week, I traded it for hill sprints.  The run was short, but hard.  Oddly enough, this is the same description that I can apply to my long run this week.  I was on schedule to do 20 miles at 8:48/mi, but I decided to do my run through Percy Warner Park (because I'm a glutton for punishment).  My long run ended up only being 15.5 miles at a 8:57/mi pace.  I would whine about this, but that is a brutal course with hills that go straight up into the air.  I swear!  Not to mention the wildlife!  In the middle of my run, I had to slow down as a gang of wild turkeys filled the road.  Now, I don't know if wild turkeys are prone to attacking innocent, tired runners, just trying to get through their workout, but I really didn't want to find out.  Thankfully they meandered off the sides of the road and seemed to take no notice of me (though I could swear I saw one giving me the evil eye!).  Other than a brush with a family of Bambi's and wild chipmunk, the rest of my run was fairly uneventful (except, of course, for my cursing and gnashing of teeth as I trudged up and  down the hills of PWP).

My mileage for the week was 30.94 miles at an average pace of 8:41/mi.  I did 42 minutes of actual cross-training and conditioning (Thank you dear for buying me that kettleball for Christmas!), and I weighed in at 164.4 lbs this morning.  Not too bad overall.

Random bits:  Big Bang Theory premieres this Thursday on CBS at 8/7 Central.  Set your DVR's.  I already have.  This week's parochial cross-country meet was a scorcher, but my kids (my son and the ones I coach) all had impressive runs despite the heat.  It makes a dad and coach proud to see those kids toughing it out and finishing strong.  Go Bears!  Allegedly, Android 2.2 (Froyo) should be coming out on the Droid X soon.  I'm betting on Tuesday, 9/21/10, as that is the last day of summer.

Well that's all I have for this week.  Run hard and keep the faith!  Later kids.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

End of the Week Recap 9/12/10

Hail my running brothers and sisters!  Week 7 of marathon training is in the books after some switching around to accommodate my race this weekend.  This last week was supposed to be another long run, but I switched it with my rest week that's coming up.  I really didn't want to a 20-21 miler after doing a fast 10k.  Given this, I still didn't manage my rest week by the book.  I was supposed to get in 24 miles, but ended up with 20.58 miles.  Considering that over 8 miles was a tempo run and a race, I don't feel bad about not getting in all my mileage.  This week I did 20.58 miles at an average pace of 7:49/mi.  Golf again counted for my cross-training at 3:30 hrs.  My weight is right at 164.  Overall, I was a little "meh" about my race this week, but I'm hoping to get back in the mental groove this week.  I'm somewhat worried that I won't be ready for my marathon if I don't get my head back in the game.  On a final note, I've been really impressed with the effort that my cross-country kids are putting into it.  If nothing else, their drive has been a real inspiration for me.  Keep the faith, my peeps!

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Run Chikin Run 10k Race Report

Hail my running brothers and sisters!  This has been a mixed-bag kind of day for me.  As I type this report, my beloved Vols fell apart in the second half of the game with Oregon.  The realist in me knew it would be a tough game, but I hoped it would be close.  The orange kool-aid drinking fan in me thought we really had a chance to steal the game after we scored our first touchdown.  But as I've said before this weekend, early projections don't mean crap.  You still have to play, and the final score is all that matters.  Ugh.

That being said, this is a race report for the Run Chikin Run 10k in Murfreesboro, TN (or it will be after I wipe the tears off of my keyboard and pull my remote out of the TV.  I'm very bitter.), and early projections suggested that I would have all the elements in this race for a PR.  The course is relatively flat, the field is not enormous (531 timed finishers), and the weather was not overly hot (but fairly humid).  Of course, I ran this race last year and scored a PR then of 44:59.  This year, I ran it in 44:49 (My splits were 6:41. 7:00, 7:05, 7:32, 7:14, 7:13 and 2:04), another PR, finished 3rd in the 35-39 age group, 23rd in the men's division and 29th overall.  

I'm not going to bore you with all the details (that's what long distance race reports are for), but I will give you the highlights.  I tweaked my right calf from over-training, so I wasn't all that fired up for this race.  I figured my injury would hurt my chances at my goal time of 43:23.  Keeping that in mind, my only strategy was to go out hard and hope that I could find a pacer to drag me in.  During the race, I thought my pace was faster than it was early on, but by the middle I knew that I had lost it.  I did find a pacer, Sue Scholl (who got 2nd in her age group.  Congrats!), but I started my finishing kick too early and fizzled out at the end.  Still, I finished better than I thought (and probably deserved with my bone-headed strategy).  While I'm down that I didn't get my goal for the year, I'm now stoked to get back into training and prove that I have what it takes to finish the year strong.  I may not get my marathon goal, but by God, it won't be because I didn't bleed for it. Keep the faith, homies.

P.S.  Congrats to my buddy, Matty B.  He finished the race 10th in his age group with a time of 54:02.  Nice one.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Garmin Giveaway

Hail my running brothers and sisters!  Before everyone gets all excited, this is not my contest.  Check out Garmin Giveaway at DC Rainmaker's blog for the contest before 9/9/10 to win a Garmin Forerunner 310!  Better hurry!

Sunday, September 5, 2010

End of the Week Recap 9/5/10

Hail my running brothers and sisters!  Week 6 of marathon training is down and out.  For the week, I did 32.86 miles at an average pace of 8:32/mi.  I did 2:30 hrs of cross-training.  Most of that was golf, but 10 minutes were some body weight exercises.  My weight feel in at 165 lbs this morning, because I spent most of the day eating yesterday after my long run.  Speaking of which, I did 20 miles with the Nashville Striders, and I hardly felt fatigued.  Unlike previous solo long runs, I felt the need to muscle through the run with a group.  My runs this week were right on pace this week.  I did skip one easy run this week, because I had some minor calf pain after racing my 5th and 6th grade cross country team in the school gym.  Skipping the run wasn't terrible, because I needed the rest/recovery plus I had already run some extra miles earlier in the week.  Next week, I have a 10k on Saturday in Murfreesboro, so I'm changing up my training schedule.  Next week was supposed to be a regular week, but I'm making it my rest week.  I really didn't want to try another 20 miler after a fast 10k.  

On an unrelated topic, yesterday was Derek Dooley's debut (Yay, alliteration!) with the UT Vols.  They laid an enormous beatdown to an unremarkable UT-Martin Skyhawks, 50-0.  I believe that this is a good sign for Dooley's tenure at UT, but I remain skeptical that this will be a better than 50% season.  If it is...awesome.  If not, it was our lack of depth and experience that hurt us, and next year should be better.  In any case, congratulations to my beloved UT on a good (not great) season opener.  Go Vols!

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