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Charting tools for WordPress

Posted April 14, 2024

This website has included charts on several pages for quite some time: the run log, the bike log and the golf score database have all had various graphs that were created using the Easy Chart Builder plugin by dyerware. It used the original Google Chart API to create a PNG graphic from the information in a shortcode that I updated manually after each new event.

Google deprecated that API in 2012 and according to the Wikipedia page, turned it off on March 18, 2019. For some reason, however, the plugin still worked after that (most of the time). Last week, though, it didn’t work at all. When I went to the Easy Chart Builder support page, I discovered the plugin hadn’t been updated in 11 years. Time to find a replacement, eh?

Google still has a free charting tool called Google Charts and most current WordPress charting plugins use that. I didn’t want to get stuck again with Google deprecating a service in the future, though, so I started looking for alternatives. I found an awesome looking open source graphing library called Chart.js and skimmed through the documentation for that.

Turns out there is a great free plugin that uses Chart.js from Jamie Poitra called M Chart that does everything I want. Jamie has nice documentation here and I was up and running with replacement graphs on all three pages in about an hour. Still need to read up on themes, but I like the default styles and might just leave it the way it is. The Highcharts stuff is interesting – hadn’t heard of that library (or the Norwegian company) before.

M Chart also uses shortcodes, but creates a chart object for each one that is updated like a post or page. Each chart has a spreadsheet-like interface for updating data, so I’ll have to see how I like that workflow. Ideally, I’d like to have the charts update automatically when I enter events into the database, but that is beyond the scope of this plugin. I currently use phpMyAdmin to enter events, so maybe I can tackle that whenever I get around to creating custom data entry screens…

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🫡 Some big checkmarks on the To Do list

Posted April 11, 2024

  • State and federal taxes ✅
  • Office TV installed before the Masters ✅
  • First outdoor training run of 2024 ✅

Upward and onward!

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🫡 Minnesota tick season PSA

Pic posted April 10, 2024

Went for my first outdoor run tonight and had a baby tick on my hand afterwards – was definitely on the nymph/larva side of the size scale

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Well, that was quick 👎

Pic posted April 9, 2024

runDisney 2025 sold out

Wasn’t sure I could finish a full right now, but damn

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2024 fitness planning

Posted March 28, 2024

Mentally, I’ve very much enjoyed not wearing my Apple Watch daily. Physically, I’ve fallen way behind on my general fitness when I don’t track the circles. This week I decided to do something about that.

On Monday, I met with a personal trainer at Lifetime Fitness and took a tour of the Target Center club. We talked quite a bit about my past history and what I think I want to do this year, which is basically get back in running shape and lose weight.

While I elected not to hire him now as my personal trainer, here’s my current plan:

  • Bought new running and gym shoes (and a new gym bag).
  • Started back on the nightly treadmill hill walk with hand weights while watching shows from the list on the iPad.
  • Preparing to run the Get in Gear 10K on April 27, the Milk Run 5K on May 25 and the TC 10 Mile on October 6. And if I get extra motivated, maybe the Afton 25K on July 6 too.
  • Looking forward to the bike trails drying out – want to increase that cross training this year. Might add the bike attachment to Oliver’s roof rack.
  • Planning to walk every golf round this year (like usual).
  • Thinking about getting another weight bench to go with my dumbbell set.
  • Utilize my access to Lifetime for indoor running, stair machine cardio, a return to racquetball, explore new classes and learn to be a better swimmer.

My schedule makes all of this challenging, but you need to prioritize what’s important, right?

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Track Shack Orlando

Pic posted March 24, 2024

Hey, I know that guy!

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🫡 2024 Barkley Marathons

Posted March 24, 2024

I watched that documentary on this crazy-ass race a while ago, but I’m still surprised when it pops up in my social feeds each year (at random times). This year was awesome because of 40-year-old Brit Jasmin Paris, the first woman to finish the 100 mile race (with 99 seconds to spare before the 60 hour cutoff). BBC has a nice story here.


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New Wave Riders for 2024

Pic posted March 23, 2024

Used my work gift card at Mill City to offset the cost 👍

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Lutsen Fit 💪

Pic posted February 9, 2024

This is probably the best physical shape I’ve ever been – need to use this as motivation for 2024 plans

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Karl Meltzer: Made to Be Broken ✅

Pic posted January 19, 2024

Quick little trail documentary after the game

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Link: Register for 2024 Get in Gear ✅

Linked December 6, 2023

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🫡 2023 New York City Marathon

Posted November 5, 2023

Congrats to all the runners who ran the five boroughs today. And note to race directors and website operators: all anybody wants to find on your website the day of the race is results from the current year – don’t bury the link to the live results…

UPDATE: official results here

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Five Years of Bonus Time

Posted October 8, 2023

Hurray! Today marks bonus birthday number FIVE after the big brain experience on the U.S. Bank Stadium train platform in 2018 (here are links to the previous bonus time posts: year one, year two, year three and year four). The whole episode now seems so distant – very happy to have this history here (and still so, so thankful to everyone involved).

Everything health-wise continues to be good – don’t need to go back for any follow-up for another two years and my eyesight has evolved to the point where I can even play golf again without glasses. I do still tend to wear them while driving at night, but that’s about it. My old TBI eye specialist has moved on, so I started seeing the regular family eye doctor this year. He said my prescription has changed slightly, but gave me the option to hold off on a new order.

Feeling more fit since I started a real training plan for the recently cancelled TC 10 Mile and the activity logs for the past year have all been active. Didn’t bike as much this year, but played more golf and logged more real running miles. Bought some actual hiking shoes this year and spent a lot of time at nearby Afton State Park (and almost signed up for the Afton 25K – hope to do that next year, along with Get in Gear and the Milk Run). Still throw my name in the annual London Marathon drawing, but have never been picked. Disney 2025?

Speaking of Florida, we attended our first ever spring training games in Fort Myers this year and had a great time. My brother and his wife drove over from Orlando for some of the games, which was wonderful. Not a lot of other travel this year, but we continued to cross new restaurants off the list, went to a lot of Twins and Saints games and had a good year of concerts (Smashing Pumpkins, Jerry Harrison, Muse, Red Hot Chili Peppers, The Cure, Duran Duran, Pearl Jam and Peter Gabriel, among others).

And speaking of concerts, I’ve recently returned to the sports and entertainment world in a newly created technology role at Target Center. I’m excited to learn a new league and learn how arenas operate compared to stadiums. While there are a lot more events, the technology infrastructure is smaller and it will be a fun challenge to optimize the operation. Also excited about the Life Time Fitness facilities in the basement of the building – what a great thing to have for Minnesota winter workouts.

Go Wolves! 🏀

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Nice that they still offered the medal

Pic posted October 3, 2023

Wanted it for the collection (and did still run the miles)

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25th TC 10 Mile ❌

Pic posted October 1, 2023

I honestly can’t believe they went black flag on both races 🤷‍♂️

Edit: ran 10 miles on Bailey Road in 1:51:01 (11:06 Minute Miles)

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Back with my people again

Pic posted September 29, 2023

Picked up my stuff for the TC 10 Mile on Sunday

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🫡 TC 10 Mile training update

Posted September 2, 2023

Finished my third eight mile long run this morning and kept the average pace under 11 for the second time in this training cycle (10:44). Slow and steady with no walk breaks is fine with me right now. On my bike ride two days ago, I made it up the giant hill (200+ ft) with no stop breaks, so seem to be making overall fitness progress. Only 29 days to race day!

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8 miles on Summit

Pic posted August 13, 2023

…and checked in on the Bandit Boy (who was not amused)

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🫡 Return to running milestone

Posted August 1, 2023

Still a lot slower than my prime, but today’s run was my fastest pace in three years. And in a related note, my weight this morning was the lowest it’s been in a year…

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🫡 Sunday morning long runs

Posted July 30, 2023

Slowly building the base for the TC 10 with my training plan. Just finished week five with an 8 mile long run that was slow, but steady (no walk breaks). Thirteen four milers, three six milers and now today (78 total running miles). Two months to race day!

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Not this time, David

Pic posted July 6, 2023

Sad trombone – will try again for 2025

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Win the 25th Annual TC 10 Mile lottery ✅

Pic posted June 27, 2023

I’m in! Let the MeGovy training plan commence…

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11 Minute Miles 🏃‍♂️

Posted June 26, 2023

As I wait on the TC 10 Mile drawing results tomorrow, I’ve been pondering my running future. My former marathon training partner Megan visited last week and we joked that if we ran another Disney marathon, it would now be an 11 minute mile (although I seriously doubt she would be that slow). Unfortunately for me, though, my 2023 race results have actually been that slow (11:32 at Get in Gear and 11:03 at the Milk Run).

Now don’t get me wrong, I’m thrilled to be running at all right now. Since the aneurysm, I’ve finished five slow Get in Gear 10Ks, two slow Milk Run 5Ks, one slow 12.5K trail race and one slow half marathon (plus lots of slow hikes and walks). I’m also fully back on the mountain bike and still mostly walk with an ultra light golf bag for my golf rounds. The move streak on the watch is currently at 1,167 days and I’m now slowly increasing the daily calorie goal each week to help with my new “MeGovy” philosophy.

What is MeGovy, you ask? Well, at my last physical checkup, my doctor and I discussed my weight plateau. Despite all the activity and move rings (and no real change in my eating patterns or diet), my weight was at the highest it’s ever been. I’ve talked to a few other active men of a certain age and this is apparently a common thing. The doctor was like, we now have drugs that actually work – do you want to try Wegovy?

This drug was developed for diabetes and is now popular for weight loss, usually giving a 10% reduction with reportedly minimal side effects. But it’s in short supply, costly and not covered by many insurance plans. I’ve also heard most of the weight comes back if you stop taking it. So I’ve decided to try one final “MeGovy” exercise plan of making “me go” more miles this summer to see if I can get similar, non-drug-induced weight control.

I’ve got the new shoes, now I just need Twin Cities in Motion to pick me tomorrow so the training can begin…

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New shoes, who dis?

Pic posted June 16, 2023

Super nice job by the Mill City crew on the new Saint Paul location – grabbed a new hat and sticker too #WaveRider27

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Kickoff to Summer at the Fair ’23

Pic posted May 27, 2023

Liked the new Milk Run course (but ran slow) and hit all the favorites afterwards. Loved almost everything about this new Memorial Day weekend tradition 💜

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