“tell me true, tell me why…”*

Take your latest paycheck. For that week, two weeks, whatever, take the Federal withholding. Add the Social Security withholding. Then add the Medicare withholding. Look at that total. Just look at it. Now remember that the US Federal debt is currently $23.2 trillion, which given a current US population of 329 million is $70,517 in historically epic spendclownery per American.

keep ’em locked

Look me in the eye. Check that, I can’t see squat, my cataracts are still in for another couple weeks. Look your kid in the eye. Don’t tell me, tell your kid that one about how we “don’t pay our fair share.” Then tell your kid how that’s the problem. Good luck with that.

* post title comes from Pink Floyd’s “The Post War Dream”

easily track car maintenance

Newsflash: cars are really expensive these days. Take care of the car you’ve already got by tracking its critical maintenance items in a simple spreadsheet. My wife and I have 4 cars with a total of over 800K miles on them. My oldest car will trip 300K miles very soon, and it’s still going strong.

get a good mechanic

Use a mechanic you trust, and spread the word among your local friends and family to bring that mechanic lots of good business. Keep in mind: your mechanic hones skill in physical and electrical vehicle fixes and maintenance. Don’t expect your mechanic to track your maintenance schedule – you should manage that part of the job. You’re perfectly capable of reading the recommended maintenance schedule in your owner’s manual and bird dogging it.

Feel free to use the spreadsheet I built to track maintenance on our vehicles. I set it up with 3 tabs per vehicle:

  1. History – past fixes to your car
  2. Schedule – planned maintenance schedule
  3. Instruction – sheet to print/hand to your mechanic

Optionally, the schedule tab is set up to allow slick “Advanced Filter” usage. Don’t be intimidated by “Advanced” in the name, it’s not that hard. Here are good Excel and LibreOffice Calc instructions.

Take good care of your girl!

sigh – let’s not do this

Achieving your peak performance can be a balancing act, trying to make the right choices. Occasionally, life reminds that you don’t control all the variables.

life’s like that

Even if you diligently work to avoid injury, sometimes you make the smallest mistake in caring for yourself, and illness pays a visit. Or sickness just hits and even in hindsight, nothing you could’ve done would’ve made a difference. As my beautiful wife reminds me, “life, man!”

The paradox is that being able to run tomorrow sometimes means you must say “not today.” Focus on the long view, don’t beat yourself up over what could’ve been, and make the decision that might get you back on your feet soonest. Get better soon, and be thankful for every run!

stretch cold

I restarted serious running in my life in 2013, but would occasionally encounter nagging injuries. This frustrated my pursuit of running longevity, which didn’t work for me. My buddy Adam came to the rescue in late 2015 when he introduced me to ROMWOD: stretch cold, hold yoga poses longer, control breathing, listen to your body, and don’t aim for yoga purity or aesthetics. I’ve been hooked and injury free for 4+ years.

ROMWOD
romwod.com – I’m just a satisfied customer, this is not a paid endorsement.

Stretching was a chore in high school XC/track – something we did because coach said so. I distinctly remember thinking “this is stupid, I get no benefit from this.” My body’s a bit older than that now, so that teenage “logic” no longer applies in my case. In these past 4+ years, I’ve made stretching my secondary goal to running. I aim to ROMWOD 6 days a week, but I usually achieve 5 days.

How important is stretching to you? What style do you prefer? Stay flexy, my friend.

running foundation

Longevity in the sport of running follows good planning, but good run planning shouldn’t intimidate you. Distance running can provide a lifetime of enjoyment and health benefits. Running can be your golf, except easier. And much cheaper!

Aim for a running plan that works for you long term, but don’t demand the “perfect” plan on day 1. Strive for a routine that’s realistic for you regardless of your current fitness level. Whether you’re an advanced runner or a brand new runner who has no idea what a plan that “works” or that’s “realistic” looks like, it’s okay to develop your plan gradually. Eventually, a solid plan will help remove friction and excuses from your run routine.

Your plan need not be my plan – in fact, it probably won’t be. I’ve been running for decades, but my former plan (“go run as fast as possible today”, aka “no plan at all”) was haphazard and often counterproductive until I changed my ways relatively recently. My current personal plan derives from Hansons Half Marathon Method, by Humphrey, Hanson and Hanson, published 2014. Over a few years, it has served me very well, but there are other excellent running plans and methods out there that might fit you better.

Hansons Half Marathon Method

Align and adjust your plan to fit your running goals. A good plan might…

  • minimize your need to think about what to do each day, just go do what the plan says.
  • stress the importance of easy days mixed in between hard workout days.
  • guide you to recovery from injury or sickness.
  • prepare you for a race or event better than you could’ve by winging it.
  • provide many, many other benefits.

More generally, follow a good plan to stand on the shoulders of giants, to build on their successes, and most importantly to avoid their mistakes.

Welcome to running! Your feedback to this or my other distance running posts is welcome.

run thankfully

What inspires you to run, and keep running? Doctor’s orders, staying fit, your competitive nature, that upcoming race, desire to lose weight, quality time with loved ones, meeting new friends, injury rehab, cross training, clearing your mind, or some other reason?

My simple reason: I hope to be able to run again tomorrow. That’s it. I know there will come a day when I’m unable to run anymore. I don’t know when that day will come, or what the reason will be. So I choose to be incredibly thankful for today’s run. This mindset helps me in the long term – never too high or too low. Having a great run? Don’t overdo it, there are more runs to go this week. Having an especially moody slog? Push through it, this has happened before, and what am I going to do, anyway? Complain about being able to run? Not I.

What keeps you going? I’m interested to hear your motivations and reasons to keep putting in the miles. Whatever your reasons, try to add regular helpings of thankfulness to your runner’s diet.

thankful runner (image credit 123rf.com)

Thanks for reading. I hope you have a great run today!

tools for C++ on Linux

Big thanks to Ashish Grover for his 2012-07-18 post “10 tools C C++ Linux Programmer must know“. I was not aware of the ctags or cscope tools before reading his post, but I’m very happy to add those to my toolbox.

Ashish Grover portrait

thumb and forefinger

For distance runners, training and racing demand a relatively relaxed upper body. “Fighting” or unnecessary tension in the shoulders leads to overly labored breathing, and poor performance. I recommend dropped, relaxed shoulders, and naturally bent elbows with your hands down around your hips.

approximate recommended position of thumb on forefinger for relaxed upper body in distance running (image credit 123rf.com)

For me, it all starts with the thumb and forefinger. When I keep those two completely relaxed, and barely touching each other as in the image above, the shoulder relaxation just “happens” for me. When I’m doing it right, each stride will cause an involuntary, tiny “tap” between my thumb and forefinger.

Run relaxed!

home security camera guidance source

In this beginning of my research into home security video systems, I’ve found Daniel Ross’s VueVille blog to be a useful resource.

Daniel’s family goals from his DIY home security camera system align nicely with the direction I’d like to go for my family.

home surveillance video tips?

CCTV in use sign. (image credit 123rf.com)

I’m listening… Do you like your home video surveillance system? Is it DIY or pro-installed? Do you store your videos on the cloud, or do you self-host? Do you access your video feeds remotely (from work, travel, etc.?) Thanks in advance for any suggestions you might have.

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