Larne Half Marathon finisher's medal 2013

After damn near destroying my knee running in the Ealing Half Marathon last September, my fitness levels were gradually returning to form. I’ve been dabbling with Insanity recently, building up my running distances and then a sign appeared. Literally. As we were driving through Larne a few weeks back.

Lisa turned to me and said “The Larne half-marathon is on the 8th June. You should go in for it.”

“Huh? The Larne half was in March.” Apparently not. The unexpected cold snap and snow that had virtually cut off parts of the North Coast meant that the race had been postponed. Excellent! I’d wanted to do this run since last year and now here was a second chance!

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Snowy winter run

If you run all year round, you’ll know that a run on a wintery morning is a totally different kind of beast. The ideal conditions are cold and crisp, but dry. The obstacles are one thing – icy ground is a challenge, making the ground slightly slippery underfoot, meaning you have to take a little more care with your stride. The tends to be slightly worse if you run in rural areas like I do.

Other obstacles? Piles of decomposing leaves for one thing. If it’s been raining, these seem to coat footpaths in a slippery residue that makes can be dangerous if you land on it the wrong way. And in the countryside, there’s a lot more thick muck on the roads, falling from the wheels of tractors and making it more complicated to run on.

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So, you’ve got a brand spanking new MacBook and you want to configure the default apps to connect to your Gmail account and other Google services like calendar and contacts? Step this way, I’m going to show you how.

iPhone & iPad Users: You might be tempted to try the Microsoft Exchange trick that your iOS device can do which seamlessly connects Mail, Calendar and Contacts with Google automatically. This will not work on a MacBook!
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Finisher's medal for Ealing Half 2012

Gerard and Gordon at Ealing Half Marathon 2012

Sunday morning, 30th September 2012, I found myself standing under the criss-crossed, vapour-trail etched skies of Ealing with my brother-in-law Gordon. Steam on our breaths and goosebumps on our arms, we were there for the first ever Ealing Half Marathon.

It wasn’t just Ealing’s first half-marathon, either. It was mine, too.

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The Arcadia, Portrush, Northern Ireland

A bleak, desaturated shot of The Arcadia in Portrush. The building sits out on an outcrop on the beach and was once an old dancehall where showbands played. It’s been given a lovely facelift in the last decade, but today was a particularly grim day in Portrush, and the Arcadia looked abandoned and dark.

Stonework face, Ormeau Avenue

It’s not often that I share my Instagram shots on the photoblog here, but I’m quite pleased with the effect here. The stone face is above a doorway on Belfast’s Ormeau Avenue. I thought it would be good to take the shot from below looking up. After I took the shot, I used Instagram’s Inkwell filter to make it monochrome and a touch of a tilt-shift effect to set the focus on the face in the center.

St Paul's Cathedral, London at night

It’s not often I include my iPhone footage when updating my photoblog, but I had to include this shot of St. Paul’s Cathedral at night.

The shot was taken during a freezing cold walk along the Thames in early January 2012, and was taken from the far side of the Millennium Bridge, giving two lovely lines of light leading to the magnificent dome of St. Paul’s in the distance. Unfortunately, there was much camera noise (I’m resolutely blaming the iPhone here), and so there was a fair bit of post-processing to remove the graininess in the photo.

However, I’m happy with the result. I’d love to revisit this someday with a proper DSLR and tripod in tow and try for something a little bit better!

2011

This is my first ever “year in review” post. Not that other years haven’t had their notable moments, but 2011 has seen a number of incredible changes for me. After a couple of fraught years where things have been up in the air, I feel like I’ve got a renewed focus and energy. And despite 2011 being marked by massive changes, it feels like those changes are just the beginning.

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Drupal 7 image

Oh, hello! If you’re reading this, it’s the first entry I’ve posted to my blog since upgrading the site to Drupal 7!

A major version upgrade like this isn’t something to be taken lightly. I’ve had to drop certain modules along the way and make a full backup of my site’s database and files. There’s a certain kind of anxiety one experiences when doing a major version Drupal upgrade, so I thought I would share my upgrade process with others. Other Drupal users are invited to share their experience and tips on upgrading at the end of the post!

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