Yes, it was a terrible, tragic day. One that would make it easy to question what’s gone wrong in the world.

But, look for the good.

The people turning around and heading into trouble without even pausing to think what might happen.

Doctors, nurses, and volunteers in hospitals, aiding those hurt.

Blood donors responding so fast that the Red Cross announced within a couple hours of the horrific event that blood needs have been met.

People calling others inquiring about loved ones and friends who may have been affected.

Family members making others proud with actions and words.

Our children, and especially today our childrens’ parents, teachers, and other caregivers who may have had to try to explain today.

Good always triumphs.

We’ve got the numbers.

And we wear the white hats.

Theodore Paul Chwazik
8/24/1916-11/30/2012

That’s right. 96.

  1. Family is everything. We have the best.

Surprise 40th anniversary party. May 1986.

Surprise 40th anniversary party. May 1986.
Click the image for a larger size.

That’s the most important and that’s enough. Who needs more?

And yet, of course there is more. But it can’t be ordered or numbered after #1; Family.

Lead by example. Rare, if any, were the “son, sit down I’ve got something important to tell you” lessons. Well, except for perhaps Family; we certainly heard enough times over blessings and the dinner table at family gatherings.

Do good. Be honorable. Work hard. Keep your word. Help that driver stuck in the snow. Offer your seat to and open doors for women and your elders. Acknowledge passersby. (He wasn’t my Mr. Friendy for just no reason.) But don’t dare do any of this seeking praise. It’s a Greatest Generation thing.

Be generous with your time, skills, and abilities. Growing up through the Great Depression (Dad, not me!), sometimes your didn’t have much in the way of material goods, so you learned to be generous with whatever you had, even if it’s your own blood. I think I heard someone say Dad gave over 8 gallons!

Do your best. Try your best. Don’t be afraid to try new things or to figure things out for yourself. Push that button on the escalator to find out what happens.

Have fun. Don’t sweat the small stuff. For that matter, don’t sweat the big stuff. There’s no use in worrying. Have a shot and a beer.

Say “I love you.” Say “Good morning”. Say “Good night.” Give your spouse a kiss when you come home from work. Be generous with hugs and kisses. Blow kisses from the window and say goodbye. Yeah, it’s a Family thing.

Fly the flag. At least on holidays, if not more. OK?

Never pass up a chance to hold a baby. Play and snuggle with those little ones. Get right down on the floor with them. Let ‘em comb and even cut your hair. Yeah, it’s a Family thing.

John Wayne made good movies.

Laugh.

Cry.

Love.

Gosh this was the hardest thing I’ve ever written.

Yet also the easiest.

Only 256 miles over 9 rides. Missed a bunch of nice days due to a stomach bug in early June and then a chest cold later in the month. But I think I’m finally well and I’m hopeful that I stay that way! I did manage to get in a few good rides in the week.

1010 miles year-to-date over 33 rides.

Here’s a follow-up to my post on my Garmin 500 and GPS-based workout sites.

I’ve settled into using Strava for online logging and sharing of rides and runs. You can see my workouts here.

Full disclosure: I don’t solely use Strava. I’m a data junky; why should I limit myself to just one place to look at my workout data?

I have a spreadsheet in Google Drive (formerly Google Docs) that let’s me slice-and-dice workouts by month, week, workout type. I can see how many hours, workout sessions, and miles I’ve put in for different types of workouts (riding, running, spinning, yoga, etc). This is usually the first place I’ll log data to after a workout.

Next, I’ll upload data to Garmin Connect. I don’t usually look much at the individual workout pages here, but I like the page here that lists all activities in a nice table. I’ll pull workout time, distance, elevation gain, and calories and add them to the workout entry in my Google spreadsheet. I noticed that after a recent firmware update for my Edge 500 that total strokes for a ride now appear in this table. It’s kind of neat to see that on a 63 mile ride I took over 18,500 strokes! I also use Garmin Connect to occasionally download courses and workouts to my Edge 500.

Strava is next on the upload list. I’ll spend a few minutes looking over workout data and charts. I may create a new segment for interesting segments of a ride. Here is my page in Strava.

I am still logging workouts into the Plus 3 Network because it raises money for a cause. So far this year, my workouts on the Plus 3 Network have raised $32.55 for the American Heart Association via my sponsor, Alliance to Make US Healthiest. Rides and runs get uploaded from the Edge 500. I generally make rides here open to all as they almost always start away from home, but lock down runs to friends only as those start at my house. Plus 3 Network (and other GPS logging sites) should all support some level of privacy like Strava’s hidden locations.

And because it’s another cause,although not a money-generating one, I enter riding mileage into the National Bike Challenge. No uploads here; just a simple logging of riding mileage. I’ve earned 929 points so far this year in their prize program.

I still use Map My Ride but usually only for mapping out new rides. I don’t save workout data there anymore.

Lastly, Ride with GPS mentioned in my previous post, doesn’t get any use. I don’t miss their player, which was one of the things I had mentioned that I liked with Ride with GPS. The only time I’ve found myself on the Ride with GPS site in a while was when a bike event linked to their maps in Ride with GPS.

I just started using a GPS for bicycling last week. I have a Garmin Edge 500, which is made primarily for cycling. That’s fine, as most of the workouts I’d like to track by GPS are bike rides. I used to run much more often, but my left knee doesn’t like when I run more than just a few 5Ks a month. When I do run now, it’s usually because I am short on daylight or trying to beat incoming nasty weather. (I readily admit to being a fair weather rider!)

So, when I bought the Edge 500 I really wasn’t concerned that it was bigger than other multi-sport GPS models. But I’ve found that most of my running shorts have a small pocket just below the waistband that seems to be perfect for the Edge 500! Two 5K runs so far and it hasn’t even tried to slip out of that pocket!

Pre-GPS, I was using mapmyride.com for bike rides and what has evolved to be a pretty complex spreadsheet in Google Docs to track all of my workouts; riding, running, spinning on a stationary bike, yoga, and circuit training. With a GPS, I wanted to try out a few other logging sites that are more GPS-centric—Garmin Connect, Ride with GPS, and Strava. After just three rides and two runs, here are some of my observations. All of these notes are based on the free account editions of these sites.

Map My Ride / Map My Run

The MayMy* sites seem to be pretty basic when it comes to viewing and analyzing imported GPS activities. And it annoyingly won’t let me change activity type from bike ride to run; everything from the Edge 500 comes in as a bike ride!

Courses (routes) have multiple levels of privacy: private, public, friends, accessible. Workouts appear to have all those except for accessible.

Routes have neat hill ratings, along the lines of the Category 1-5 ratings you’ll see in events like the Tour de France. (At least they have the hill ratings when viewed under MapMyRide; when I looked at a bike ride workout on MayMyRun, the ratings did not show.)

No workout “player”.

Garmin Connect

Connect has more charts and details. Big step up here compared to MapMy*.

But you can’t view splits on a map!

Activities have only two levels of privacy: private means no one but the owner can see the activity. Public means anyone can.

You can playback workouts; player includes graphs of any two of the data collected by your GPS (distance, speed, cadence, etc). But I’ve found the slowest setting seems to move pretty quickly through a workout. Also, when you hover over a spot in the data graph, there is no indication on the coure map of where that spot is. You have to hover over a spot in the data graph to see that spot’s details (for example, exact elevation). Hover over a spot in the course and the corresponding point in the data graph is not indicated.

Ride with GPS

I like the charts and maps at the free level. Splits (laps) and analysis thereof appear to be available only at the pay level.

The data graph and map play nice together. Hover over a spot in your elevation chart and a dot appears on the map. Hover over a spot on your route and the corresponding point in the data graph is highlighted. The playback speed has more granularity than Garmin Connect’s playback. On Ride with GPS, you can also see a couple neat charts that show you time spent at each speed and the average grade at each speed!

Workouts have two levels of privacy: private and public. Private workouts, however, can be seen by someone not logged in to Ride with GPS if that person has a link to a workout. That’s kind of surprising.

Ride with GPS is mainly a cycling site. For someone like me who only runs occasionally, I’d probably be happy enough with Ride with GPS. Other than the weirdness with what they call “private,” I think I like Ride with GPS more than MapMy* and Connect.

Strava

I’ve used this for just one run. So, keep that in mind as you read these comments.

Seems to work for running and riding.

No player! But the map and data graphs play nicely; better than Connect but not quite as nice as Ride with GPS.

Heart rate analysis appears to be only available to premium (pay) users? I’m not sure about this. I didn’t wear my HRM for my run and I had already erased my ride data from my GPS before I signed up for Strava. I’ll have to write an update when I try Strava with a ride.

You can make a workout private or public. Strava’s private workouts cannot be seen by others even if they have a link to the workout. (I really don’t know where Ride with GPS got their definition of private!)

Strava does have a few neat features at the free level that I didn’t notice in the other three sites. (Again, in my limited use. These features could be in the others, but I just didn’t notice them there.)

Equipment tracking – nice to track how many miles on a pair of running shoes. But can it keep track of when I last had a chain replaced or cleaned? Or a tire replaced? I’ll watch for that when I get around to logging a ride in Strava.

It automatically breaks your run down to mile splits (or I imagine km splits if your profile is set up that way). Automatically! You don’t have to hit the split/lap button on your GPS. Of course, this must be based on GPS distance measurements, which aren’t all too accurate. But probably accurate enough for most people/uses. (From Garmin: “Garmin GPS receivers are accurate to within 15 meters on average.” My plotted run showed me running through people’s yards, through the woods, and over some roofs. In actuality, I kept to sidewalks and roads.) (And oh! I have a bike speed/cadence sensor, so distances recorded by my Edge 500 while I am cycling may be more accurate than by GPS.)

You can define segments of your riding or running routes and compare your times across these segments. Or see how other Strava users perform on these segments!

Really unique: in your Strava profile, you can define locations that will be hidden on your activity maps. If your activity starts or ends within a selected radius (for example, 500 feet) of the address, then the start or end of the ride will be truncated. Great if you are afraid of people finding you by looking at where all of your runs and rides start or end. (Of course, you could always just get in the habit of starting and stopping your GPS a block from home or at a neighbor’s house.)

Which am I going to keep using?

I haven’t decided yet, especially since I haven’t tried Strava with a bike ride. There are features of each that I like though:

  • MapMy*’s hill ratings and multiple levels of privacy for both rides and runs.
  • Garmin Connect’s ummm, hang on I’m thinking … well, I guess I like that I can change a workout type from Bike Ride to Run.
  • Ride with GPS’s player and graphs.
  • Strava’s automatic splits and segments feature

Right now I’m leaning towards Ride with GPS and Strava. For a little while I’ll probably keep importing my workouts to all four. Yeah that’s right. I like data.

Bonus GPS site!

You can upload workout to the Plus 3 Network. But this site isn’t really a workout tracking and analysis site. Instead, activities you upload here earn points called “kudos,” which in turn get converted by some sponsoring company into dollars for a charitable cause. The idea here is, “you work up a sweat and magically some money goes to a charity.” Really! I kid you not!

All you need to do is log your activities. You don’t even need a GPS, although activities imported from a GPS typically earn double the kudos of a manually-entered activity.

So far this year I’ve earned $14.33 for the American Heart Association, with all but $0.80 of that coming from non-GPS activities. That doesn’t sounds like a lot, but multiply that by many people logging activities and that can really make a difference!

I’m just about to 1000 miles on the bike this year. I took the bike into the shop for a checkup and nothing needs to be done at this time. There was a little wear on the chain, but not enough to replace it now. I’m to bring the bike back in for another check at 1500 miles. That should be just in time to get it looked over before my century.

With the 1000-mile milestone near, I took a look through my logs to see when I hit or approached that mark in previous years.

Miles
Date
# rides
Avg ride (miles)
995 6/20/11 30 33.1
998 6/26/10 39 25.6
1022 8/01/09 35 29.2
1007 8/13/08 36 27.9
990 7/20/07 41 24.1
1006 9/22/06 43 23.4

Last year, I remember starting the year with the goal of riding more often than in previous years even if my average ride length was shorter, and I accomplished that. The weather was also very cooperative last year.

With my century ride coming up sometime in late July or early August, it is no surprise to see the increase in my average ride distance this year. But the weather has not been as nice thus far as last year and with a couple of bouts of mono in the house, I’m a little behind last year’s ride frequency.

2006 Indoor 0.0 0
Outdoor 50.7 3
Subtotal 50.7 3
2007 Indoor 72.7 5
Outdoor 117.7 5
Subtotal 190.4 10
2008 Indoor 18.1 1
Outdoor 164.5 6
Subtotal 182.6 7
2009 Indoor 62.9 3
Outdoor 179.1 6
Subtotal 242.0 9
2010 Indoor 0.0 0
Outdoor 166.5 7
Subtotal 166.5 7
2011 Indoor 215.3 8
Outdoor 215.8 8
Subtotal 431.1 16
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