OFIR End of 2011 Wrap-up

Every year I do a quick re-cap of what has happened here at “One Foot In Reality”.

This has been one of those years where a lot has happened:

  • I finally agreed to knee surgery on May 17th and looking back I wish I had done it a lot sooner.
  • I started running again although rather slowly on June 15th.
  • On June 17th – I left teaching to join Mary in retirement
  • Over the course of the summer I was searching for a new focus for One Foot In Reality and tried several out, but none of them seemed to fit until I got back into running again. However, it got to the point where running was completely taking over what I was posting here and at that point we decided to make a new blog for running/health related posts called “A Veteran Runnah”.
  • The other big news is that Mary started writing blog posts and I know that she is a better story teller and writer than I am, so I have a feeling that I will bequeath “One Foot In Reality” fairly soon to her and occasionally guest post back here, while I focus on “A Veteran Runnah”.

There has been a lot going on in our lives and unfortunately, this blog has suffered a bit of inattention as we have directed our focus elsewhere. As the garden season get closer I can see up doing a lot more posts related to gardening and things that we are doing around the house to simplify our lives as much as possible. So while OFIR might be in a bit of a dormant state right now, I can see it coming back to life as the snow goes.

Below are our top 10 posts for the year based on pageviews:

1. Evernote as a Task Manager
2. Mobile Me Review
4. Evernote Review
6. Opus Domini – Electronic Organizer Review

7. The Greatest Speech Ever Made – Charlie Chaplin
8. Apple Text-to-Speech – Review
9. Nationwide Emergency Alert System Test 11/9/11

There was so much that happened this year and you the readers of this blog have helped make it a successful year. We just want to say thank and hope that you had a happy Holiday Season and a great New Year in 2012.

AVR – December 2011 in Review

This is the end of my first full month of writing and posting at “A Veteran Runnah”. It has done better than my wildest dreams, thanks to your support and help. I said thank you the other day in my Thank You for Your Support post. Everything I said in that post I mean wholeheartedly.

How Was December?

December that time of the year where for many drinking and eating are the main events wrapped around the many festivities, parties and other revelries. It is a time when families get together to celebrate and then after Christmas ends to celebrate the New Year or to celebrate that Christmas is over. It is also the time of year when I typically add 5-10 pounds from all that eating and drinking.

However, a funny thing happened this year on the way to my usual December binges.  I retired last June.

As part of that retirement, I don’t have the same temptations of year’s past. All of the great foods that co-workers bring in, the impromptu after work you will or just gotta goes and the made it to Holiday break parties you have for the kids in your classes – all those temptations to eat and drink more were gone.

The funny part was that I didn’t really miss them all that much. I missed seeing and talking with some of the people, but the binge eating and drinking I didn’t miss that at all.

This year December wasn’t the same and it was in a good way.

Running In December

I hit 100 miles for the month exactly today during my IRC Freezing Rain storm run. That is the first time I have not hit 100 miles in a month since 2007.  Mother Nature didn’t make it easy for me, but running within her moods is just a part of running, especially up “heah” in Maine.

I finished reading Chi Running for the first time and one of the big focuses during December has been to work on improving – ah hell changing  – my running style from a splay footed penguin to run with everything going in the same direction. It will be something that I am going to have to work on for a long time, all those bad habits that have accumulated over the last few decades aren’t going to go away over night.

You don’t know how good it felt for me to be back to running regularly again.

This month in a word: Psyched!
I ended November weighing 176 and ended December at 170 this morning. This was in spite of plateauing for a while in the middle of the month. Even though I didn’t have as many temptations as in the past, my wife is a great cook and baker, so there were plenty of temptations around the house for me to indulge in for the Holidays and yes I had my share of great food (but this time only my share).  So I would have been happy to have stayed even, but to lose 6 pounds in December – well that is unheard of for me.
The right knee is not complaining nearly as much as it was in November, but that streaking stuff – I have to stay away from it. The knee demands rest every so often and barks loudly at me if I don’t give it enough.  Also, I really am not trying to go fast yet and I notice some pain if I do, so I am going to stay slow, build my base again for the next 3-4 months and then see where I am at. The lower back is still a little sore, but better than it was a couple of weeks ago. We figured out that how I was sitting with Bennie in my lap was part of the cause and the rest had a lot to do with posture and a bit is just getting older ;-).
I ran in my Saucony Peregrines all but one day and they are still doing great. What more can I say about them other than they have done everything I could want from a running shoe and they now have 162.8 miles on them. The soles are just beginning to show a little bit of wear, but the uppers, other than some mud stains are in great shape. The Peregrine is an amazing shoe that I recommend others to take a very close look at – I know that I will when it comes time to get another pair this spring.
Top Ten Blog Posts for December
Here are my top ten posts for December based on pageviews:

1. The Hardest Thing About Running
2. You have how Many Pair of Running Shoes?
3. Dressing for Winter Running
4. Book Review – Chi Running

5. Buying New Running Shoes – How to do it?
6. Rest – Such a Four-Letter Word
7. A Runner’s Worst Nightmare
8. Choosing a new Running Shoe
9. Runneritis – A Dread Disease
10. Icebreaker – Passes the Stink Test

The thing that surprised me the most about this top 10 list, was that all of them were written in December since I started writing here most of the time. None of the old posts that I imported from “One Foot In Reality” cracked the list. That is a good thing in my mind.

In the interests of transparency and since the Icebreaker post is still in the top 10 post list, I will continue to keep this information available to readers.
I was invited by the Natureshop to review 3 pieces (top, bottoms and glove liners) from the Icebreaker Merino Wool base layer clothing line. I have worn the Icebreaker base layer for most of my runs this week and at other times also.
They worked as advertised and from my unscientific point of view, they seem to transport sweat away from my body better than the synthetic base layer clothing that I currently own. See my other two posts on the Icebreaker line of clothing: Icebreaker Base Layer Clothing Review and RunLog 12/8/11 – First Run in Icebreaker Base Layer.

My IRC Run in Freezing Rain – 12/31/11

My last run of 2011, somehow it was a fitting test of my hardiness and dedication to running a lot.

There is a very thin line between dedication and crazy. I may have crossed it a little bit this morning when I ran. It was freezing rain with a pretty good build-up of ice on the road and I was out there running.

Not the smartest thing I have ever done and I admit that I had some second thoughts about doing it, but I am a member of the Idiots Running Club and I really wanted to get 100 miles in for December, so I went out and ran that final 2.7 miles that I needed.

I had ben out walking with TheWife and Bennie and it was bad then, after we got back we were drenched and were changing, she hollers out “The Sand Truck is going by, if you are going to run, this will probably be your best chance today.” When your wife half-challenges you like that you just have to go do it.

I did.

This is the road down back where I usually run, we didn’t even attempt to walk it with YakTrax on – really bad

It certainly was a slow run and I had to almost come to a stop to make my turns, but it was still running! The first mile wasn’t too bad, the salt/sand that had been put on the road worked pretty well, but on the second and third laps, the road was beginning to freeze up again and the little bit of traction that I had on the first one, was quickly going away.

This is where focusing on the foot plant and “peeling your foot” of ChiRunning was coming in handy, with the new running style I am trying to adopt, I didn’t slip/slide nearly as much as I did in the past. So the new form is better for nasty weather running than I thought it would be.

The run itself was quite easy and sure didn’t push it.

Quality of Run: Good slow run for the conditions
Weight: 170
Time of Run: 11:15 A.M.
Temp: 29F
Weather: Sleet/freezing rain, icy as hell, wind out of the north 10-15 mph
Clothes: Icebreaker base layer top, Nike Long Sleeve, Fleece Vest, NB Running Jacket, Running Pants, compression shorts, merino wools socks, Brooks HiVis hat, EMS Ear Warmer, gloves

Wasn’t cold, just a little wet.

Running in 2011 – The Year of the Knee

The Knee of the Year! 🙂

This is the first time in a long time that I get to recap my running year and it feels good to look back and say that I have run again. However, there was one single thing that dominated my life this year – My Right Knee.

The pain leading up to surgery, recovering from surgery, my eventual return to running and how the knee continues to improve, really has been the one thing that has stolen the show all year-long.

I wish that the year had been more about running and racing than about that damn knee, but that is what 2012 will be about.

January to June 14

When 2011 started it sure as hell didn’t look like I would ever run again and it would be a question of when, not if I needed surgery and how bad the surgery would be – up to and including a possible knee replacement. The first prognosis was that dire. My Ortho had ordered no running when left him in September and I followed that advice – well most of the time.

In spite of the Doctor’s “orders” every so often, when I was out walking Bennie in the mornings, I would try to run a little ways to see if I could or not. I was hoping against hope that some miraculous event had occurred overnight and that my knee would suddenly be healed.

Unfortunately, the answer every time was a resounding NO – it just hurt too much to run and the pain while walking was progressively getting worse. By the end of March I was having such a difficult time just walking that I resorted to walking with a cane. About that time I finally figured out that the surgery would take place sooner and started the process to get it taken care of.

May 17th

This was the day that I dreaded and made the long walk into the Hospital, not knowing what would happen during the scheduled Arthroscopic Exploratory Surgery. At this point we didn’t know what the Surgeon would actually find as I went under I remember squeezing TheWife’s hand.

Fortunately when I came to, TheWife was right there and was smiling. The surgery had been successful and what had gone on was damaged cartilage not degenerative as they had first thought! I would keep my knee for a lot longer! Phew that was a big relief.

Recovery from the surgery, while it wasn’t easy, was not as bad as the pain I had been in for several months before the surgery. I pushed hard and PT told me I was crazy and I agreed, but kept pushing.

I wanted – no needed to run again. The Ortho was rather anti-running and told me not to even try until he saw me later in June.

June 15th to July 14

First Run – I ran a freaking 1/2 mile! I made it without stopping around Howard Circle.

I was a runnah again!

Let me tell you I was scared as hell before that run. I knew that it would hurt. It was stupid, but I had to do it. I had to know if I would be able to run again or not.

Oh yeah I basically retired on June 17th, which has allowed me to focus a lot more on my recovery and return to being a helluva lot more healthy.

The Doc saw me on June 26th and he gave me a ration of crap about starting to run again without his permission. He basically flat-out told me that I shouldn’t ever run again, do so would just re-injure all the work he had done.

I just smiled and told him, I was running and would continue to run. He gave me that look like you dare to disobey my orders that Doctors give you when you basically ignore what they “tell” you to do. That is a whole different rant though.

That is what I did – ignored his “orders” to not run.

My physical therapist was a lot more supportive, being a runner herself, but told me that I would probably at some point that summer have to shut it down to let things heal a bit more and that it would be 9 to 12 months before it would be healed as much as it was going to heal.

For the next month I ran 1-2 miles a day and walked a lot.  Too much it turned out, the knee wasn’t quite ready for what I wanted to do yet. I tried to come back too soon and I didn’t want to damage it in any way.

July 15th to August 15th

Shut it Down time. The more I ran the more the knee started to hurt and swell. I may be stubborn and stoopid, but I do know when to stop and give the body a bit more time to heal up.  During that time I needed to let the knee heal up a little more and did a lot of walking, stretching and band work – only an occasional short run to check things out.

August 15th to October 15th

Started running every other day 1-2 miles. I purposely didn’t wear a watch or keep a log of what I was doing. That way I wouldn’t be competing with myself to do better than the day or week before. It worked. I have no idea of how much or how fast I ran during that period, but I know that the knee started to feel better and I was running. I added a few runs in the log here or there, but not too many.

October 31st

I had run up to 3 miles a day for a couple of weeks and felt good, so I decided to start timing and logging my runs again. The knee wasn’t 100% but it was doing really great, so it was time to go to the next level.

November 5th

I also decided that I was going to keep my running log in a blog, to create a sense of public accountability. So I created “A Veteran Runner” and later changed it to “A Veteran Runnah” in honor of being a native Maineiac, for many of us who do not pronounce “er” at the end of many words and instead have an “ah” sound :-).


I ran a lot more than I have in a long time ending up with 82.6 miles for the month with a runs up to 6.0 miles.  I was settling into a 9:00 to 10:00 per mile pace for most runs and was enjoying what I was doing immensely.

After talking with a lot of people I decided that I was going to put my Running Log on my “One Foot In Reality” Blog instead of having a separate running blog. Fairly quickly running related posts took over as the primary focus of “One Foot In Reality” and by the end of November I needed to decide whether to change the focus of “OFIR” to running or use “A Veteran Runnah” for running related blogging.

At the same time I began to get connected with the online Running and Fitness communities on Twitter, Google+ and Facebook. It is a community that I was missing, after having been a part of the #edchat, #spedchat community for so long and the #runchat #fitblog #runnerds #runners all were passionate about running and fitness.

December 1st

I decided 3 days before December began to start using “A Veteran Runnah” as my running blog and had to get it ready to go live in that short amount of time. I figured that my blog stats would take a huge hit as a result of doing that. I really didn’t think AVR would take off like it has, but in the course of a month “A Veteran Runnah” has taken over as my primary blog.

I have even gone to using @VetRunnah as my primary Twitter handle, it just seems right for me and if I have a “Brand” that would be it. Although I have only been posting to “A Veteran Runnah” since December 1st (I did import old running related posts from “OFIR”), it definitely is my most successful blog in that short amount of time.

December 10th

I was selected to be a FitFluential Ambassador, which will give me opportunities to look into other streams of income that were not available to me before. That in addition to meeting a lot of really great people who are passionate about fitness and more than a couple of runners has made being a part of FitFluential a really great experience – Thank you Kelly and Danielle.

December 12th

I made a video of me running and saw how badly my running form sucked (ask me how I really feel about that video). As a result of that video, I really started to focus on correcting my penguin running style that I had developed over the years. As part of this form correction I have read Chi Running and watched a bunch of videos from them, PRS and others on how to improve my form.

Changing something you have done for several years is hard as hell, but I strongly believe that it will be worth it in the end and help to cut the number running related aches/pains and injuries. So that has been a big focus the last 2 weeks of December.

Bad JuJu

I did get caught up in trying a running streak and pushing too far/fast and had to back off a bit in mid December, sometimes I just get caught up in what I think I can do versus what I should be doing :-).


No I didn’t run any races in 2011, 2010, 2009 or 2008. That will change in 2012.

Final Stats

I knew that I forgot to put something in here.  Here are my final 2011 Stats. The one I am the most proud of is the 26 pounds that I lost – basically since 6/17/11 when I retired.  The other one that jumps out at me was the 100 miles for December, I honestly didn’t think that I would get that many miles until March or April, so I am a lot ahead of schedule.

The reality is that

being able to run again was very important to me. During this forced layoff I discovered that Running is a part of who I am and what I am. When I wasn’t able to run for such a long time because of the knee – I learned how much I really missed it.

I have created a new blog with a focus that I am very passionate about and found a community of wonderfully supportive people who want to help you succeed in your goals and kick you in the ass when you need it.

Yes I made mistakes in my return to running, but at the same time the things I did were more of the testing to see what I could do, versus the stoopid kind where you keep going even after you know you should be stopping.

Looking back

The first part of 2011 was pretty rough, but the last couple of months have been pretty damn good. I am glad that 2011 is ending, because 2012 has so much to look forward to – both in my running and the other parts of my life.

I do want to say thank you and I love you to TheWife, without her support a lot of this year would have been a damn site more difficult.

Five Miler Done-Just a Little Slippery – 12/30/11

I needed a total of just under 8 miles in December to go over 100 for the a month. Which would be my first 100 mile month since 2007, so I decided to run a 5.0 miler today and a 3.0 tomorrow to break it up. I am pretty stoked about making that 100 miles for December, I never thought that I would have one of these again last year at this time.

About a half hour before I started running it started to snow a little bit which made the run a little bit slippery:


If you look close this section is all ice and I had to stop and walk very slowly across this part and even then I slipped a little bit in a couple of places. As I continued the run, it did get a little bit more slippery and I had to watch out for a bunch of cars that I haven’t run into before in this particular run.

Also a Beagle came out at me barking, little dogs can be more vicious than big dogs sometimes, so I stopped and yelled at it, it finally went back to its house. I hate it when dogs do that whether they are big or small.

By the time I got to the end, I had something happen never happened before with my Peregrines, the bottoms had snow begin to clump up, it knocked off easily, but came right back, the snow conditions were just right.

During this run I focused on my landing and hold my arms at 90 degrees – along with standing tall, while relaxing. It worked pretty well, because I did run it faster than I usually do even with all of the disruptions and road conditions.

Quality of run: Pretty Good
Weight: 172
Time of run: 2:30 P.M.
Temp: 28F
Weather: Light Snow/Freezing Rain slippery

I am now Officially a Janathon Participant

After much hemming, hawing and thinking it over I have decided to take part in this year’s Janathon 2012.  Why the so much going back and forth, in the past I didn’t have time to keep with something like this all the way through to the end and it is a little out of my comfort zone.

When I first read about it a little while ago, I wasn’t going to do it, because I interpreted the rules to be consecutive days of running at least a mile. Which I wouldn’t do as I discussed in my Rest – Such a Four-Letter Word post.

However, after talking on Twitter today with @runtozoostation who advised me that it was run/walk or other activity, I re-checked the website and read the following rules/guidelines for the Janathon:

So here they are:

  • Run or do some form of exercise every day.Blog about it within 24 hours.
  • Join the Janathon group at the Running Free website and log your runs/exercise.
  • Visit other blogs and leave comments, giving your support.
  • Link to the Janathon website and display the ‘Janathon Participant’ logo (which you can find here).
  • And that’s about it really.

After I read the rules again, I decided that it is something that I usually do most days anyway and it would give me a chance to discover some new running/fitness blogs. The biggest difference will be instead of using DailyMile, I will be using Running Free to log my runs online, so we will see how that goes, I was mostly happy with DailyMile and was just starting to get more involved with that community.

I went through the process of joining Running Free and Janathon group. I was pleasantly surprised with Running Free everything was pretty intuitive – which probably means a blog post review about it will be the works sometime in January. I put the Janathon Participant logo in my sidebar with a link to it and think that I have completed all the prerequisites to take part in Janathon.

I usually don’t like doing these kind of things, but I promised myself that if I was still running at the end of the year, that I would do some stuff that would take me out of my comfort zone and this will be one of those things.

Now to get ready to be active for the Janathon.

Thank you @runtozoostation for setting me straight and challenging me to do this 🙂

2011 and Beyond – My Running in the Future

I have written about my experiences as a runner in my 40 Years of Running Series and I can think of no better way to end this series than to look to the future.

Today is time to set goals related to running and look forward.

What are the biggest things that I want to begin to accomplish in 2012 or beyond?


That’s easy – just be able to run when I want to. 

No pain, major injuries and no minor ones that interfere with my running. That is the biggest thing I want to accomplish this year.

If I do that I will consider 2012 very successful indeed.


Change and improve my running form.

Since mid December 2011, I have worked on improving my running form from this inefficient style to one that I keep my feet straight, use a mid-foot/forefoot strike, run tall, my arms at 90 degrees, not crossing the center line, with my thumbs on top, with a slight forward lean, while being relaxed. This is how I ran in the mid 80’s and unfortunately, over the years I lost that good form.

I have read Chi Running, watched PRS Videos (easy running), looked at the Pose Method and am very interested in Barefoot/Natural Running as different examples of developing good running form. I know what I am looking for in my form and probably could figure it out myself, but I want to see/read other people’s theories and practices to see if they can help me improve what I do.

For far too long, I forgot to look at what others are doing. I can save a lot time and wasted effort i.e. stop trying to re-invent the wheel and use the knowledge that others have already learned to make it easier for me to improve. That is why I have started reading running books and blogs so much. There is a wealth of knowledge out there, that is available to us, so we don’t have to reinvent the wheel.


Re-engage in the social aspect of running.

What do I mean by that?

Since 1987, I have basically been an individual runner who isolated himself from runners. I just ran without communicating or talking very much with other runners (except to go to a running store once in a while or if someone ran that I worked with we would talk running). When I was doing what I now call isolation running, I didn’t have a support network of runners around me when things were not going well or I was an injured, there were not others who understood what I was going through, which would have definitely helped in a lot of situations.

In November I began to start participating in the online running communities via Twitter and Google+, these efforts have led to an increased involvement in the running communities and making contact with so many other great people, who just happen to be runnahs too. I had forgotten how supportive the running community was/is and want to stay an active part of this community for a long time.

I want to find a local running group or club to go beyond just the online support system that I am developing. Really I think this is the part that I miss the most is being able to run with someone beyond TheWife and enjoy their company and the friendships that develop out of the shared running.


Also I want to continue to grow the  “A Veteran Runnah” blog/brand. To be blunt, see if I can make any extra money from writing “heah”.  An additional stream of funds would be a welcome addition to our fixed income.

This is very intriguing to me – to see what happens. I strongly believe and think that being selected a FitFluential Ambassador will be a big help in this respect and give me opportunities that I would not have had otherwise.

It would be nice if Veteran Runnah could grow to help support some of my running habit. This may never happen, but I need to try to see what will happen.

Time will tell on this one. 🙂

What would be perfect if a small Running Store opened up in the local area and I could get a job there part-time (but then I would really be broke all the time).

However, I am not going to become one of those spammy blogs or bloggers who uses every opportunity to sell or push something onto my readers. I don’t like those blogs and will not put “A Veteran Runnah” into that category.


I want to start racing again and not just virtually.

I want to line up at the starting line and compete with real people, while I may not be very competitive in my age group or overall.  I just feel the need to challenge myself beyond just going out my front door and start running – for the first time in a long time.

It goes back to the social part of running and when you race, you share in the comradiere before, during and after the race is over. Share a beer or two, swap a few lies, but most of all make friends with people who share your passion – running.

Unfortunately, with the cost of race fees, I may have to go back to work in order run some of these races. The entry fees are just slightly intimidating to someone on a fixed budget.

Anyone want to sponsor a slow, old guy, who writes a lot?

Hehehehe yeah right. But if you do use the contact me button. I will be sure to get back to you. 😉

The reality is that

that while these can be measured – they are much more holistic goals and are meant to be for 2012 and beyond. They also give me a lot of flexibility to move forward and change as needed to keep moving forward.

2012 Goals

What are my measurable goals for 2012?

  • Run at least a total of 1,200 miles in 2012
  • Run at least 330 days in 2102
  • Run a 5K sub 20:00 minutes sometime after 8/6/12 (this is my pie-in-the-sky goal)
  • Weigh less than 155 pounds on my 55th birthday (I weighed in at 172 today)
  • Run at least 4 races in 2012
  • Join a local running club in 2012

Those are my measurable annual goals. While I could include smaller interim goals that would help me have little successes or checkpoints along the way, that would make this look way too much like an IEP. Which bring back too many memories of when I was a Special Education Teacher. These goals just don’t have all the excess legalese and verbage.


2012 has the potential to a great year for running and with the running community’s (local and online) help, along with the support of TheWife – it will be.

Now its time for my 5 miler to Notta Road. Where did I put those damn running shoes, oh damn why is there mud everywhere (TheWife is going to have a hissy), ah here they are. Darn I never cleaned the mud off them after the other day’s mud run, what other shoes should I run in? Ah hell I’ll just knock the mud off of them outside and put them on the step, the mud will be gone by the time I get back :-).

Thank you everyone for a great 2011 and even more for the opportunity to get to know you better in 2012.

Book Review – Chi Running

I just finished my first reading (but not last) of Chi Running by Danny and Katherine Dreyer. Which I got as one of those Christmas presents I choose while browsing (err shopping) at the Maine Running Company in Portland, but TheWife paid for and wraps for you to get later.

Why would I want a book on Chi Running when I have run for – well let’s just put it this way a long damn time? Quite simply I watched myself run in a video I took earlier in the month and let’s just say that my form sucks.

After seeing myself in action, I did some research on different ways to improve my form and Chi Running was one of three methods that really interested me.

So how was the Chi Running the book?

The Good

Chi Running had some great ideas that I want to add into my running:

  • I can see the importance of the 4 Chi Skills and know that I need to go back and really work on using them:
  • Focusing
  • Body Sensing
  • Breathing
  • Relaxation
  • the idea that correct posture is very important to better running form
  • getting everything moving in the same direction – forward. i.e. my feet instead of running with my feet at about 45 degree angles have them as straight as possible
  • keeping my arms at 90 degree angle and not cross my body
  • creating a column
  • using gravity to propel you – I haven’t got this down yet, but think I am close
  • having a lean to help gravity propel you and changing the lean to change your speed.
  • I am very intrigued by his method of going uphill and want to try that out
  • back in the early 80’s I was introduced to the metronome method of running and used it for a while, so I understand its usefulness to maintain a certain turnover rate, just do it when no one else is running with you.
  • his ideas on how to avoid or aid in healing certain injuries warrants a closer look

I have just touched on a few things that really jumped out at me, the book has a wealth of knowledge, that I believe I will find very useful when I can wrap my head around all the information that it has about changing to Chi Running.

Scratching my head

  • Some of the terminology had me scratching my head, which left me frustrated and overwhelmed that I wasn’t understanding what they were trying to say especially in Chapters 4 & 5.
  • How to level my pelvis is still escaping me
  • I still don’t have a clue what peeling your foot off the ground really means or how to implement it. I think it means lift your foot straight up or something like that – once I get this piece a lot of the others will fall into place.
  • Some other things I just had trouble wrapping my head around should be clearer when I go back through and do more than just read that section.

It almost seems as though just enough information is given to really make you want to go buy the CD that is a companion to the book or attend one of their running workshops. The book attempts to spell out how to begin Chi Running, but in a couple of sections I did get frustrated and overwhelmed with the information being presented and voiced that on Twitter.

Some Chi Running advocates graciously provide links and watching videos of people using Chi Running on YouTube explained a few of the areas I was really having difficulty with. One time through the book, does not give me a lot of confidence that I could completely implement Chi Running to my running yet and the Dryers warn you in the book that you will probably not be able to after only reading the book once and that it will take time to fully implement Chi Running.


I completely agree with that warning and that there is simply too much information being presented to understand Chi Running after one time through their book. It will take a lot of time and effort to completely get a handle on the changes the you will need to do to become proficient in Chi Running.

Need to attend Chi Running Training

When I was complaining about being overwhelmed on Twitter by what was in Chapters 4 and 5, the biggest suggestion that I got on Twitter was that “I should go to one of their full days sessions” and after that I would really understand the power of Chi Running.

Unfortunately, as great a suggestion as this might be and as much as I might want to go to an all day sessions someplace – that is not an option for two reasons,

  1. there are not any local Chi Running training sessions going on in my area that I could find in the near future and travelling is not an option. One of the disadvantages of living up heah in Maine is that we are kind of off the beaten track for a lot of things.
  2. the costs associated with one are simply not in the budget for the foreseeable future.
Re – Read Important Sections

Hopefully after I have gone through the book’s sections that give you the action instructions a few more times and practiced the drills, I will understand better what they are talking about and will be able to make the changes as I go along.

If I decide that Chi Running is what I am looking for in how to change my running form, I will end up buying the CD and when I have some extra cash someday, I will try to find a training session within a days drive to attend. Until then I will muddle along through the book a few more times and watch YouTube videos to help me understand what it is trying to tell me.

Change isn’t easy

Changing a running form that you have had for several years is not going to be easy and I don’t expect it to be. I expect to work hard learning how to run with a better form/style and that I probably won’t get “it” overnight. At the same time I have to wonder a little, if I am overwhelmed now by some of the terminology or expectations that you need more “stuff” to understand the practice of Chi Running, will Chi Running meet my expectations of K.I.S.S.

Worth It

I think that Chi Running has a lot of potential to help me become a better runner and I am looking forward to learning more about Chi Running – it has certainly piqued my interest.

With the little knowledge that I have gained in reading and underlining the book once through, I am starting to consciously run differently than I did before reading the book. I know that I am attempting to use some of the techniques described in the book while running and while I haven’t gotten the knack of how to do circular feet yet – I am making positive progress.

Chi Running is worth looking into a lot further, if you are looking to change your running form. I won’t say it will be for everyone, but it is definitely worth reading the book to see how it meshes with your expectations.

FTC Disclaimer: I have not been provided any compensation or free samples of products as part of this review, they are simply my thoughts on something that I have purchased .

Wanted to Run, Rest Day Instead – 12-29-11

Joey resting

Today is a scheduled day of rest and I really didn’t want to. I wanted to run more than anything else today, even though it is in the mid-20’s with 30-40 mph winds.

Yes I must be totally off my rocker, nuts and all those other things that people say about us crazy runners. Fortunately or unfortunately, depending upon your point of view, I would have to agree with them – I am a little crazy.

However, I am also trying to be smart about my running – a very new notion for me. Part of that being smart is to take rest days at least every 13 days. I didn’t want January 1st to be my next rest day so last week I chose today. Thursdays just seem to be the best day of the week for resting.

I also did a quick Twitter poll to help me out on this one and the overwhelming majority of my Twitter community told me to take the rest day – Thanks everyone for your support.

So as bad as I wanted to go out there and run this morning – I didn’t and I won’t this afternoon either. My body needs a little rest and a day off will do it a lot more good than a 3.0 mile run.  See you can teach an old dawg new tricks.

There is a DNR in the running log and that is a good thing.  Hmmmm I might even take a long bath and try to soak out a few kinks in the back in legs :-).  This is different for me, I am actually thinking about things I can do to relax!

Quality of Run: DNR
Weight: Didn’t Weigh In (I usually don’t on rest days)
Time of Run: DNR
Temp:  25F
Weather: Bright sunshine with 30-40 mph winds out of the NW. = FREAKING COLD!

Rest doesn’t mean I am not keeping up with or learning more about running, it just means that I am not out there putting in the miles – today.

Looking Back at My 2011 Goals

Every year I go back and see how I did on my previous year goals and the outcomes.

#1  Determine whether or not I want to remain in Special Education as a teacher.

“This is something that I do every summer – take a good long look at the job I am presently in and decide whether or not to stay.  It is very stressful being a Special Educator for a variety of reasons (which I have documented in other blog posts) and I have to determine if that stress is still worth it to me or not. 

I won’t make any rash decisions or anything like that, but I will look at whether I am still enjoying my chosen profession and make my decisions during July of this year.  If I do decide to no longer be a Special Education teacher, I do plan/want to remain in education in some capacity, preferably in Education Technology or some other role.  Time will tell.”

  • This one was pretty easy to measure – I retired. The biggest reasons I left teaching were 1) My health – teaching is a very stressful profession – the stress was negatively affecting my health, 2) teaching is a very jealous mistress with your time and 3) the final straw was that I no longer enjoyed the artificial requirements of standardized testing and Special Education paperwork (CYA more than helpful) – whole books have been written these two things so I won’t get into them.  The bottom line was that teaching stopped being fun and there were not enough “aha” moments to sustain me.

#2  Enjoy writing more at “One Foot In Reality”.  “Writing about what I do for my day job (Special Education) was getting very tedious for me – it was just too much of something. I needed to be able to take off my Special Education hat much more than I was.  Changing my blog’s primary focus to doing reviews on software/web applications is something that I always wanted to do, but in the past always thought “who am I” and there are so many other people out there already doing that, who would want to read what I have to say?  If I don’t do this now, I am not following one of my dreams and giving it a chance to see where it leads me.  I am very passionate about using technology and believe that I have some unique perspectives on how software/web applications are or can be used, so we will see how this change pans out.”

  • “One Foot In Reality” is no longer my primary blog and I found a niche/focus that I really am enjoying – Running. I plan to include some of the technology stuff into “A Veteran Runnah” at times, but my focus and passion as I have discovered is more related to running than technology. I am writing a lot more, just not at “One Foot In Reality”.  I am following my dreams and running/fitness are a part of those dreams.

#3  Prepare for a reduced income over the course of the next couple of years.  “I have a feeling that education is going to go through some tumultuous times over the next few years in the State of Maine and throughout the Country.  I am still at the bottom of all the lists and am probably in a better position weather the storm than some others, but at the same time it doesn’t hurt to learn to live on a reduced income.  This goes well with my last year’s goals of being less materialistic and more self-sufficient.  Hey who knows, maybe I will decide to leave teaching, become a freelance writer and finish writing the book that I have started and stopped so many times.”

  • When I retired in June this one smacked me right upside the head. Going from a pretty decent wage to a small fixed income has meant some major changes in how we do things. We have been relatively modest for many years, and we have no bills other than normal monthly bills, so that was a big help. Now I can’t just go out and buy a new pair of running shoes (as much as I want to try the VFF’s) or the newest running clothes.

I am more willing to try my hand at other revenue streams (now that I need to) and was selected as a FitFluential Ambassador.  In the past I didn’t worry so much about monetizing my blogs, now if I can without annoying readers, I will do that. However, I will not just whore myself out, for the sake of extra dollars. I have to look in the mirror and now I like who is looking back at me.

#4 Get myself back in reasonable shape.  “My knee is balky at best, but it doesn’t bother when I lift weights or use a recumbent bicycle at the gym.  There are some lower body exercises I will have to stay away from, but other than that I don’t have any limitations other than what I can do.  My definition of reasonable will be walking over 1,000 miles (logged), getting my weight back to 170 or lower (lower is better) and not having the doctor bug me too much when I visit him in May.”

  • I am going to break the 170 pound barrier soon and am running over 20 miles a week. I consider myself back in “reasonable” shape. However, I am not satisfied with this and now plan to work on being in excellent shape. I now have the time and desire to do.

The knee finally got so bad that in April I went to my PCP and Ortho Surgeon to get knee surgery done. Initially the diagnosis was a degenerative bone disease and I was looking at a replacement. The doc wanted to do exploratory arthroscopic surgery first to actually see what was wrong. Turns out it was not degenerative, but cartilage damage.

It took a while to mostly recover (my PT said full recovery is between 9-12 months), but I am back to running – something that I was told I would NEVER do again. Stubborn old bastard aren’t I. 🙂 Seriously, I love running and it is a part of who I am and I am so glad that I can do it again.

#5 Let go of things that I can’t control. “I have a difficult time with this, I want to do so much, but I have come to learn that I can’t fix or help in every situation.  Sometimes you just have let it go and move on.  Don Quixote is not my alias but I have the belief that Don will ride again, but just not as often.”

  • I have done a lot better with this try to let things just roll off me, instead of taking up arms over things I can’t change.  Don Quixote attempted to ride a couple of times during from January to June, but I was able to trip him up as he was mounting his steed and voicing his opinions.

#6 Be positive as possible in all my personal and professional relationships. “This is a carry-over from last year and believe that it helped to look at this every so often.  If I am positive good things happen and relationships improve, it is when I get negative…well we all know what happens then.” 

  • I have become much more positive since I have been able to run again. Running for me and many others, gives me time to help think through issues, relax a lot more and have a much more positive outlook on life around me.  I had dwelt on the negatives of having knee surgery and waited until I had no choice, it really turned out so much better than anyone (including the doctor) expected.

It often pays to look for that silver lining in those storm clouds.

I often wonder if I had been able to run the last six months as a teacher, if things would have bothered me as much as they did towards the end – I will never know.

#7  Say “no” and mean it.  “Often I say yes to things that I can’t accomplish or don’t really want to do, but say I will because of who is asking or some other reason.  Saying no is not part of my usual “can do” attitude, but with the demands of home, work and other things I like to do, taking on even more is not something that I want or should do.  This will be something that I do more often this year – just say no.”

  • This is one thing that I did very well in my last six months as a teacher and have been better at since I retired. If taking on something is not what I really want to do, unless there is no way around it, I have said no several times.

It is hard for me to say “no” because I want to be a nice guy and be known as someone “can do” attitude, but I have finally learned that I can not be all things to everyone, do everything that others want and still lead the life that I want.

At the same time being able to say “no” and mean it can be very self-empowering.

#8  Take the Google Certified Trainer series of tests and finish them by the end of April break.  “I started going through the trainings last summer and completed them, but just haven’t taken the tests.  Completing this would be good resume material, if I need it and will help me gain more self-confidence that I do know something about what I am doing with technology other than in my own mind.”

  • Did all of the studying, went through the prep work, but never took the certification exams = NOPE.  Now this certification does not mean as much to me, so I will probably not do it, unless something changes drastically.

#9  Attend one of the #edcamps in the area.  “I really love to meet the people that are in my Personal Learning Network and see them face to face.  I have come to rely on my PLN for ideas, support and comments to help me improve as an educator.  I plan to continue to participate in the #chats that are on Twitter and MLTI webinars whenever it is convenient to do so, but they are on the calendar as probable, not definite.”

  • I attended EdCamp Boston at Microsoft’s NERD Center last May. It was so great to meet and talk face-to-face with many of the people that I had talked with on Twitter #edchat & #spedchat. I was in the final decision-making stages of staying or retiring and attending this event was a positive reason to stay a teacher. The EdCamps are a great way to learn a lot about teaching and education, as well as meeting many of those people you communicate with via social media.

#10 Make sure that I stop and smell the roses.  “I get so wrapped up in getting school work done, trying to figure out how to interest my students, playing with the computer, participating in #chats, webinars and all the other things that happen my day-to-day world that I forget to stop and just enjoy my life.  I need to remember I have a life beyond school/education or my laptop and need to enjoy that part of my life more.  The work-life balance that I sometimes forget about.”

  • Since I have retired, this is something that I take much more seriously. I try to finish my morning coffee, eat a good breakfast, read my email, gReader and answer any comments on the blog. Then I start in on a blog post instead of rushing around with my head cut off. I am lucky that I can do this but at the same time I chose to simplify my life and as a result can stop and smell the roses more.

When school was in session, teachers do not have a work-life balance. As a teacher your life revolves around the needs of the school and your students – in most cases your family and personal life take a second fiddle. I know many don’t believe that, but to be a good teacher, it is the way it is.

I am enjoying my life now more than I ever have in the past!

Those are how I did on my 10 goals from last year.  I would like to believe that I have made progress in all but one and that one, is not as important to me as it once was.

The reality is that retiring has changed my outlook on many things and my priorities are different now than they were in June.

How did you do on your 2011 goals?  Did you meet them or did things change for you during the year?