Ryan Irelan

is building Mijingo and doing limited consulting.

What we think about while running

“While all the participants had periods during their run where they appeared to be comfortable and thinking about other things,” the researchers wrote, “pain and discomfort were never far from their thoughts.”

This is only the first twist in what turns out to be a wonderfully written review of the book Poverty Creek Journal.

Skipping a couple runs this week to let a sore right leg heal. Being extra cautious leading up to the half marathon in a few weeks.

Infinity Wallet - Minimalist and Slim

For the last year I’ve been using a rubber band for my wallet. Not just any rubber band; it was product FN-09 from Field Notes.

I lost a credit card after my previous front-pocket wallet’s leather stretched out and required a certain number of cards to work. I searched for a wallet and then my friend Jason DiMambro mentioned that he used FN-09. Brilliant idea! So I used it.

But that rubber band started wearing down after a lot of use and I decided to find a new wallet. I stumbled upon the Infinity Wallet and it is perfect for me. It is durable, thin, and compresses whatever is in it so you can scale your cards up and down, as needed.

One day I’ll get to the point of only needing my watch and no wallet at all. But until then I’ll use the Infinity Wallet.

Running & Being by Dr. George Sheehan

A lot of running books seek to motivate through superior examples: “I’ve accomplished a lot, you can, too, by following my advice.” Or “I was once a beginner like you and here’s how I’ve accomplished x, y, and z.”

Running & Being by cardiologist, marathoner, and writer George Sheehan is written in a manner and tone of a doctor with good bedside manners.

Sheehan motivates the reader by turning himself and his thoughts on running inside out. He exposes his weaknesses, thereby making the reader comfortable with hers. It’s the ultimate long run with Sheehan as he digs deep into his head to make sense of running, his body, and his life.

The book is legendary and beloved in running circles. The copy I read was the 20th anniversary edition published posthumously with a wonderful note (titled “Family Words”) at the beginning to give new timers like me some perspective on Sheehan and the book. I borrowed my copy from the local library but I plan to purchase as an ongoing reference book.

Highly recommended for any runner, especially if you’ve had a few long runs where you had to dig deep while questioning it all.

Buy the book from Amazon

A Review of the film My Run

Since I started running 9 months ago I’ve been curious about others’ running experiences, especially people on the edges: those who are elite and pushing the boundaries in distance and speed, and those who are new to running and doing something amazing.

That drew me to the story of Terry Hitchcock: a widower who lost his wife to cancer, and single father raising three kids. You probably heard his story back in the early 90s.

Inspired by Terry Fox, who ran one-legged across Canada while fighting cancer to raise awareness for cancer research, Terry Hitchcock decided to run across several US states to raise awareness of the challenges facing single parents. A worthy cause for sure.

The documentary My Run is about Terry Hitchcock’s journey running 75 marathons in 75 days going from Minnesota to Atlanta (just in time for the Olympic Games).

This amazing story and motivation by Terry has the makings of wonderful documentary. After all, it did win festival awards, including at its debut right here in Austin.

But the film didn’t do Terry’s wonderful story justice. It sold it short through choppy storytelling. There was no real arc to the story, no build up, just a mundane recounting of the timeline of Terry’s epic run.

As Terry progressed through his 75 days journey, the film was a headwind, holding back any sense of progress, drama, and excitement.

It seems like a such an easy story to tell (to a non-filmmaker like me).

Despite the experience of the film itself (in this case the medium is most definitely not the message), I still recommend that you rent, stream, or buy the film and watch it.

Get beyond the film treatment of the Terry’s story and admire, wince, and worry about someone’s determination to finish a near impossible feat.

I picked up a copy at my local library and that might be your best best, too, for finding the movie.

Learn more about My Run (IMDB)

Feudalism of Professonialized Intellect

Well regarded book critic George Scialabba worked for three decades in a clerical position while writing in his off hours. He ultimately rejected the traditional academic life while still working amongst them.

These days he is grateful, he said, for never having endured tenure committees, never having had to bow before the academic job market or the feudalism and hypocrisy of professionalized intellect.


A great developer can come from anywhere

Manton Reece:

We often see someone go from nothing to a top app in the App Store. We often see someone start without an audience and then make friends on Twitter and blogs through the quality of their writing alone. And so we welcome new voices all the time if they’re respectful.

Syncing Runkeeper and Strava

I’ve been using Runkeeper since I started running this past February. I chose it based on its reputation and, generally, I really like it. The app is maintained and improved. They even have an Apple Watch app.

But I also like to see my data in other services. Strava has a nice website and different approach to displaying training data. I wanted to try it out without switching services or losing some data in a service I might only use once.

To my surprise both Runkeeper and Strava have good APIs that make moving data between the two very simple…using a service.

I use a syncing service called Tapiriik, which is free for manual syncing or a small sum per year for automatic syncing. I opted for automatic because life’s too short for manual work. It’s open source so you can set it up on your own, too, if you’d like.

I approach any syncing services with caution and suspicion. It’s not that I don’t trust them with my data; I don’t trust that the data will match up in a way that is useful. But the syncing with Tapiriik between Runkeeper and Strava is just about perfect.

Because I paid for automatic syncing, my Runkeeper run data is on Strava within 20 or 30 minutes of completing my run (Tapiriik syncs every 20 minutes). That is perfect for reviewing my Training Log in Strava (my favorite use of Strava right now is to review my running data in a nicer layout than Runkeeper) when I sit down at my desk in the morning.

My One Use for Apple Watch

Dan Moren has a good post over on Six Colors where he share his main uses for Apple Watch after 5 month of use. I suspect his usage is common among the early adopters who ordered a Watch the day it was available.

But I want to share my one single use case for Apple Watch.

On Monday–just three days ago–I purchased an Apple Watch. I walked out of the Apple Store shortly before WatchOS 2 was released.

It took me five months to purchase it and I only did because I wanted it for one specific thing: running.

I needed a device that let me glance at my running pace, distance, and time via Runkeeper. I used to do this via their audio updates in my headphones. But I stopped running with headphones because a) they start to hurt after 5 miles or so, and b) I need a break from noise in my ears.

I could’ve purchased a specialized running watch, like a Garmin or some other such thing. They’re very functional and they get good reviews. And they don’t require bringing my oversized phone on a run.

But I detest unitaskers.

The Apple Watch, after only three runs using it, is nearly perfect. The Sport model holds up to sweat, it’s quick to activate so I can see the details of my run (there’s a little lag when it calls back to the phone to get the updated data), and, using the Runkeeper app, I can stop and save my workout without pulling out my phone.

With WatchOS 2 and the availability of heart rate data to third party apps, the appeal of using the watch for running was even greater.

I wasn’t sure I needed an Apple Watch back in the Spring. But now I am. I plan to wear it on every training run and race. Goodbye headphones.

How to write about Apple interactions

One struggle I’ve had in writing technical tutorials, books, and courses, is how to describe an action. Click? Tap? Press?

This guide from Brett Terpstra, based on Apple’s own guidelines, is a good starting point for anyone writing technical articles on Apple software.

Early this morning I ran the Burning Pine 10k in the Bastrop State Park. The weather was perfect (a little chilly!) and despite the hills I ran a PR for the 10k distance. Next up: Run for the Water 10 miler in November.

The Asbury Park Comeback

As a kid growing up in the 80s, just a short drive from Asbury Park, it was never a destination. As a teenager I saw my first and only show at the Stone Pony.

I’m rooting for Asbury Park. It has the grit (and, yes, grime) that makes the Jersey shore so great. Reading this makes me homesick.

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