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I have a lot more stories to tell from our beach week, but I leave again tomorrow for my final business trip of the summer and I won't be back until next week. So I'll resume posting then.

The trip to Davidson was pretty good. It just happened to be alumni weekend, so there was a lot going on on campus, and it's always fun to go back (we were last there two years ago for our 20th reunion; before that I think it had been at least a decade since we'd been back).

Julie's professor's retirement party was early in the afternoon, so Will and I spent most of it walking around while she caught up with people at the party, and then we went out just the three of us for dinner, followed by a trip to the ice cream place we used to go to when we were students.

The next morning Will and I slept in at the hotel and then went down and got the free breakfast while Julie went to have breakfast with her professor, and then we got on the road before noon so we could get to the realtor's office to pick up our keys before it closed. We were settled into our condo by 5 and took a quick walk down to the beach and had dinner at a Mellow Mushroom before doing our grocery shopping for the week.

As usual, our real vacation didn't start until Sunday because of the travel and packing and unpacking and shopping, etc., so we crashed after getting the groceries put away and got some rest for our first real day at the beach.

We leave for our vacation tomorrow, so no more posts for a while. We don't actually check into our condo in Hilton Head until Saturday afternoon, but Julie's advisor from college is having his retirement party tomorrow, so we're going to drive up to Davidson for that, spend the night, and then drive to Hilton Head the next day and stay for a week.

It feels weird to be going on vacation so early in the summer (we usually go to the beach in August), but since Will is starting public school this year and the Atlanta schools start in early August, that's not an option now. In some ways it will be good to get away and recharge before getting back to the big project at work that we've been working on since April, but at the same time, leaving in the middle of a big implementation isn't something that I'm really wild about.

Anyway. See you in a week or so.

So my clever plan to order the Apple Watch and then think about it while waiting for it to be shipped and then cancel it if I wasn't ready to buy it yet didn't work out so well for me. Instead of getting a notice that they were preparing my shipment for delivery sometime in July (according to what I'd read online, Apple would send you a preparing for shipment notice several days before they actually shipped it), I instead got an email last week saying that it was being delivered the next day. No preparing for shipment, no chance to cancel, just that it was being delivered the next day.

And of course, because I wasn't expecting it until many weeks after I ordered it (it ended up only taking a couple of weeks to be delivered, which means either their production has ramped up more quickly than expected or that market demand is less than they expected), I didn't order the black band that I wanted (they don't have the black band as one of the default configurations for the Sport model) because I knew that would commit me to buying the Watch instead of potentially canceling my order, I've been walking around for the past few days with the bright blue band, which was the best option of the colors available by default with the Sport model.

And for some reason the black band (I'm just getting the rubber sport version, not leather or anything) is still on backorder, so even though I ordered it as soon as I saw that I was going to be getting my Watch, it might not get here before we get to the beach. But I guess if there's one place that I can get away with wearing the bright blue band for a few days, it's the beach.

I'm going to wait and use it for a few weeks before I write any kind of real review of it, but it is a very nice looking piece of technology, and I'm hoping that I won't regret the decision to get one, especially to get a first generation one. But I doubt I would have been able to hold out an entire year to wait for version two anyway, so I guess it's good that I went ahead and got one instead of agonizing about it for months.


So. The day before Will and Julie came back from visiting her mother, they went to a local park one last time after dinner, and Will fell and broke his elbow. The week before we're going on our annual beach vacation. They put his arm in a sling and made it as immobile as they could so he could fly home, but he got his real cast on today (he picked a bright green one) and he'll have to have it on for three weeks.

Luckily it's not a bad break, but since it was near a growth plate and they didn't want to take any chances. And it could have been a lot worse—when we were first discussing it with the doctors, they told us it would have to be on for six weeks, which would have meant it was not only on during our vacation, but also for Independence Day and for Will's birthday (which would have also meant that he would have missed almost all of the swimming lessons that we've already paid for).

There's not even a good story to go with it—he only fell about a foot and a half and just unfortunately landed on his arm wrong. But he's been in pretty good spirits about it so far, and he's quickly adjusted to doing everything with his non-dominant hand. The beach will be a bit of a pain, especially because we were hoping to do a lot of swimming with him and teach him how to ride his bike on the hardpacked sand on the beach.

And while the bike riding is definitely out, Julie has found a cast cover that supposedly has a vacuum seal (you have a little thing to suck the air out of it) that he will hopefully be able to wear for short swims or at least playing in the waves. But even if that doesn't work, he'll still have a good time doing all the other stuff that we get to do at the beach.

Julie and Will have been gone since last week (they get home later today), and I've taken it pretty easy since they've been gone, reading a lot, sleeping a lot, and catching up on DVR'd movies and tv shows.

I did leave the house over the weekend to go run a 5K on Saturday morning (got my best time so far, but the course is also the flattest one I've raced so far), but I was back home by 9:30 and spent the rest of the morning taking a nap until lunch.

I've run three of these races now, and I'm starting to form some opinions about the kind of people who do these events, particularly the ones who annoy me. There are two camps who fall into this category, who I call the dog-runners and the run-walkers.

The dog-runners name is pretty easy to figure out: these are folks who run with their dogs. I don't have any problem with dogs, and I think it's cool in the abstract that people are able to bring them along, but in practice, many of these folks seem to run at about the same speed as me, and while their dogs run with them, they don't necessarily run CLOSE to them. Many of these runners seem to prefer to have their dogs run on 6-8 foot leashes, and the dogs seem to naturally want to run parallel to their owners as far away as their leash will let them go. So in practice this means that one individual with their dog can end up taking up around 10-12 feet of roadway, making it very difficult to pass them.

The other category, the run-walkers, have a little less obvious description, and they are the ones I've really come to hate. These are folks who do the race by sprinting for as long as they can, and then walking as fast as they can while catching their breaths, and then starting the cycle again by sprinting. Because I'm still pretty slow, many of these people also end up somewhere near me in the pack, which means for the entire race I'm subjecting to catching up to them and passing them only to have them reappear by my side a minute later and race past me, only to stop a few dozen yards ahead of me when they run out of steam. And then I pass them again, and then they pass me again, and on and on.

I understand why these people exist: many of the couch-to-5K guides will tell you to build up to running a 5K by running for one minute and then walking for three, and gradually changing the ratio of running to walking until you are running the whole way. But these people never really learn how to run; they give up on breaking through the five minute or ten minute barrier that, in my experience, quickly leads to you being able to run for half an hour or more once you get past it. They've figured out that this strategy will let them technically finish the race with an okay time, but in my opinion, this doesn't make them runners: you are a runner if you RUN the whole race, even if you could do the run-walking technique just as quickly as someone who is running the whole way.

Running uses a lot more muscle groups and raises your heartrate to a higher level for an extended period in a way that run-walking does not, and that's really the point of running: to push your body to get stronger in terms of stamina and developing more muscles than the ones you use for walking (for those of you who don't run, I'm specifically referencing your chest, back, and arms, which actually get quite a workout during a long run in a way that they never do walking the equivalent distance).

So if your goal is to become a runner, which is what I assume your goal must be if you're consistently signing up for 5K races, then using the run-walking technique as a way of getting a decent time is really a shortcut that doesn't give you the full benefits of learning to run for that entire period; it's a way of making yourself feel like a runner when actually haven't figured out how to become one yet.

I admit this bothers me because it does take a lot of time and a lot of work to break through that barrier and train your body to be able to run for 2, 3, 4, or more miles at a stretch, but I also believe that anyone who is capable of run-walking a 5K can do this if they put their mind to it and don't give up everytime they push themselves on the first three minutes of their workout and run out of breath. And I'll bet anything that the friends of these people who are real runners have told them this, and have also told them the same thing I have learned: it's all about pacing.

If you're running out of breath after the first three minutes, then SLOW DOWN, but keep a running gait. I guarantee that once you find the right pace, you'll quickly be able to break through the 10 minute or 15 minute barrier and be able to run for as long as you want to. And once you do that, you can start to work on strategies to improve your time in ways that the run-walkers, who are pretty much going as fast as they ever will, won't be able to.

So that's my goal for the next year if I continue to run these 5Ks: get fast enough with my running that once I pass the run-walkers after their initial sprint, I stay ahead of them and don't have them dogging me the entire race. A secondary goal is to get my time under 30 minutes, but those will likely end up being the same thing, because meeting one of those goals will likely mean that I also meet the other.

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