Kyle Seth Gray

My blog on anything I find relevant, but leaning more and more towards health and fitness.

Appreciate

I'm not really keen on posting a lot on any of these terrible and horrific days. I tend to do my best to listen more and keep more to myself, especially with everyone seemingly having solutions and blame to throw around.

That being said, I think Casey Neistat summed up some of what I'm feeling in his latest vlog:

"I think days like this, it's really important TO have fun. Days like this it's important to smile, it's important to laugh, it's important to be around people you love. … Tomorrow’s another day, it's important to keep your head up. Seek out happiness, keep smiling, and really appreciate the good things in life. And most importantly, to take a moment, look around, and appreciate the people around you. Appreciate the people you love."

Look around, find the people you love and care about, and let them know that. Help in ways that you can, but also help by making the world a better place. And don't let the actions of one person define how you act. Instead, let your actions show love, passion, and kindness.

I don't know about you, but I plan to have a blast this week in San Francisco. I plan to have fun with people, meet others, and have fun following along with jokes and humor alongside (hopefully) getting a lot of sweet stuff to look forward to from Apple today.

One Year with the Apple Watch

I thought that with me owning my Apple Watch for 1 year now, I would add up some totals regarding how much I've done.

  • Overall, I've walked 4,471,695 steps.
  • I've walked/ran a distance of 2219 Miles.
  • I cycled 156 miles. (Hoping to up the ante on this during summer)
  • I burned a total of 172,131 Active Calories. (That's 662 glazed Dunkin Donuts)
  • Ruined 5 pairs of headphones, including two EarPods
  • Took out 2 iPhone 6's, I'm on my 3rd right now. First one got dropped on a mountain, second one got ruined by sweat. (My current iPhone is signed by Carly Rae Jepsen)
  • Still rocking the same Apple Watch I got last year.

    Day one with my Apple Watch Day 366 with my Apple Watch

As for running on its own, I've ran 530 miles total, and dropped my pace from 10:24/mile to, at my fastest, 8:20/mile. Again, this is something I really think I'll improve on, especially since I've gotten a lot better at training in other ways besides just running. I'm also making sure to focus on strength training as well, although it's a little hard because it isn't as automatically tracked.

I'm down about ~20 pounds since a year ago, and I'm way more fit in general: I don't get tired at all on hikes, and I've been able to stay awake a lot easier, and overall just feel better.

Running was the easy sport to get into, and I've talked and tweeted and instagrammed ALL about running, but other workout routines and just getting in shape have helped me a lot too.

Previous to my Apple Watch, I just had an old Fitbit flex. While that motivated me to get my "10,000" steps in every day, it didn't do much beyond that. I know now that their app has updated to include more activity goals as well as exercise, but for a while the development of it seemed to be stale and just drill into your head, "10,000 steps. Yay!". No pushing goals, no upping your limits, just the 10,000 step goal. With the Apple Watch, it'll bug you if you don't hit your calorie goal, as well as showing you that, you know, steps aren't super important, nor do they actually add too much to your active calories, which in my mind are what matter now.

I'm looking forward to what kind of fitness devices and more features come out in the future. I'm glad I got the Apple Watch and I believe it kicked me into gear when it comes to making sure I'm more active, as well as helping me become fit and more willing to exercise. Here I am a year after I got it, and I feel healthier and look great, and I'm making and breaking records I've set for myself.


Lastly, I thought I'd share my totally radical running playlist that I use most of the time with any and all my workouts. (It does have some explicit songs, just a warning)

Injury

Way back last year, in anticipation of my Apple Watch and wanting to be more fit, I got back into running. I previously would run, and I had the great opportunity of having a friend who got me into it, but I had never really gotten back into it for almost a year at that point. To get back into I used Runkeeper on my iPhone, and focused on just going farther and farther. Once I got my Apple Watch, it escalated a lot more and I wanted to keep on pushing my calorie goal more and more.

That, relatively speaking, didn't last a long time.

Although I ran more than I had before, and was able to go further and loved the hell out of it, there was a point where because I was so new, I pushed myself a little too hard. I got injured, (in July, my left ankle and right knee), and ended up completely grinding to a halt.

From there I kind of fell into a spot of laziness. Going from running about 5 miles every day (which was me pushing myself too hard), not allowing for a full recovery, and probably getting a little too reliant on a runners high, I ended up getting just really let down and lost some motivation to keep on pushing myself.

Now, this year, I started running (finally) after about 4 complete months of not running at all. And man has it felt a lot better this year. I’ve been making sure to follow a training plan, but, since obviously no training plan can know how you feel, I made sure to not push myself too hard simply because my iPhone or Apple Watch told me too. Sure, missing a day may make me lose a shiny virtual badge, but I needed to make sure that I didn’t fall into that same slump again.

Earlier this month, I ended up doing something, (I’m still not entirely sure what since as much as I would LOVE to get an MRI, they're expensive), to my knee, making it so I can’t really run those 14+ milers I would usually do, or even run about 1/2 of a mile without pain. So instead, I’ve focused on what I can do: I used the elliptical a lot over spring break, and now I'm working on stationary cycling. I visited a doctor and figured out what I should focus on while we wait and see if my meniscus is toast or if maybe (please) it’ll heal on its own, and a stationary cycle and elliptical are what came up as alternatives to running.

This week I’ve started using a stationary cycle at the gym, and I’m making sure to start off slow. I want to push myself, because I have calorie goals and previous bars that I’ve set that I need to reach, like running for long stretches of time, but I’m also making sure that I familiarize myself with how to exercise in new ways so I’m not completely reliant on running.

Hopefully I'll be able to get back into running soon, and once that day comes I’ll probably be running a lot faster than I should at first, but I know to pace myself. I can reach the same goals without suddenly becoming a marathon runner overnight, and I can definitely beat the goals and previous ‘records’ I’ve set for myself.

Is this thing on?

Hey there. A blog. That's what this is.

But for the past six months or so I've completely neglected it, and written some unpublished drafts.

I don't know why this was, and I'm not entirely sure why I felt so... unsure and underestimated my own self, but that's what happened. I stopped writing, I felt like crap, stopped running as much, and rarely even went anywhere.

I'm hoping to change that with 2016. I've already posted 4 Vlogs, which have not only encouraged me to actually do more, but have helped me see what I need to do better in, as well as helping me get my voice back.

Maybe I'll write a little more in 2016. I hope I will and it is my goal. But right now I'm focusing on the vlogs I have. It's a little easier to focus on that daily, as well as more consumable to anyone that comes across them.

If anything, maybe I'll remember to start using my website as a journal of sorts, or just a regular b l o g, posting things about what I'm doing, pictures of where I've been, and interesting things I've seen.

And I think 2016 will be a better year.

Healthcare Lol

Something I realized today:

My ankle has been hurting a lot over the past few days. I’ve taken ibuprofen, tried to not walk as much, and generally just been resting it, right?

Today it’s gotten a little bit worse, nothing major, just really really sore. And I just kinda figured out something:

I’m sitting here with who knows what wrong with me, searching the internet for my symptoms haphazardly, rather than going to a trained professional that would know what is wrong and be able to help me, if there is in fact something wrong.

Why?

I’m worried that if I did in fact go to a doctor/physical specialist, that either I would waste their time and nothing be wrong, or find out what is wrong, and have to pay a crazy fee for medicine, and the actual care, etc, etc.

And because of fees and other high costs, I would rather wait it out than have a doctor take a look at it. Simply because it does have the possibility of getting better, and not having to shell out $40, $80 for a one time checkup, when nothing might not even be wrong. Or being charged an even a crazier amount of money for a one time check up if I happen to stumble into the wrong physicians office, or even the same physician I've gone to before because they’re out of coverage by my health insurance. [This actually happened earlier this year, where a doctor I had gone to for a yearly checkup suddenly wasn’t covered under my insurance four months later.]

I try to stay away from negative posts, and I know this doesn’t seem to accomplish much to complain, but I couldn’t help but notice the issues in the incredibly screwed up American Healthcare system. Where some, and probably a lot of people, would find going to the doctor a waste of time and money. Where you have to best your luck if you don't want to go to the ER but feel really sick and have to find the right urgent care center that's 10 miles away, just so you don't end up with a hospital bill that is ran through a random number generator.

But by all means, thank goodness I'm insured. And thank goodness a lot of people are insured, despite the fact that it may do jack diddly when it comes to actually helping them be able to pay rent and live a healthy life.

Now I’m going to go back to icing my leg for reasons unknown and taking ibuprofen.

Apple Music - iCloud Music Library

In fun iTunes adventures, I’ve been having the joy of using Apple Music recently. One of the things that happens often is how confusingly iTunes seems to handle the whole iCloud Music Library merging, and making sure everything is in sync. And it seems to be the issue most people have with the service

The first issues I had with the service were it mismatching album art to albums, causing Michael Buble to have The Format artwork, and Nintendo to suddenly just have the most random art out there. I only had about 20 GB worth of music that was matched/uploaded, and most of that was in the iTunes Store. But regardless, the way Apple Music handled my iTunes Database seemed to just screw up the ordering of album art, and then sync all those errors to my devices.

The only way to fix this seemed to create a brand new iTunes library from scratch on my Mac. My normal, big iTunes libary is on my external harddrive, so I just made a brand new one on my actual Home Directory, and then the empty library seemed to kickstart iCloud in a way that allowed it to fix the issues it was having. I'm still not entirely sure how this worked, but it allows me to 1: use iTunes/Apple Music streaming without an external harddrive plugged in, which is nice. 2: edit directly what Apple Music has of my library in the cloud, since none of it is on the machine, and it's pulling all the data it has from iCloud.

This basically follows some of the steps Stephen had with Resetting iTunes Match. This is the way to go if you got data screwed up by iTunes. But the sad thing is it mainly works only if you have a backup. Which you really should. (One of the best backup services is Backblaze. I'll just leave my Backblaze Affiliate Link here)


Apple obviously wants to appeal to both main audiences that use iTunes: those that have had immense libraries built up over the years, with music that isn’t necessarily available in their store, and a lot of meta data additions, playlists, and customizations. And they want to appeal to those that just stream all of their music, and don’t worry about things like old CD imports or anything of that like. After all, Apple Music is a streaming service.

The only problem with all of this is there are going to be those that have an outlier that Apple couldn’t test for. With the millions of iTunes users, you can’t help but think there’s one guy out there who has one thing different in his library that screws everything up with iCloud.

I can’t help but think that maybe Apple should’ve pulled the Music App out, made it a separate app you download from the App Store, and kept that as the streaming service. At the very least, they should’ve had a matching service that simply scanned your library and uploaded to that app without touching your actual iTunes library. While I haven’t had any problems with how iCloud Music Library works, that seems to be the number one issue when it comes to people’s iTunes blowing up in their faces and either messing up album art, song order, or completely screwing over however you’ve organized your library over the years. Google Music works like this, Spotify even has a local music feature, and Amazon Cloud Library has that same feature.

It may cost extra bandwidth, or been slightly confusing, but it’s less confusing than canceling your subscription and worrying about whether or not that personal library you’ve made over the years suddenly has DRM hooked up with it.