February 2019 – A Month to Endure

February is always a month that is tough to get through, it typically is not a month to be enjoyed, as much as it is one that you have to endure. February 2019 was no different. However, here it is the 28th and despite some tough times and difficult weather, we have made it to the end of February.

The tough times included loosing SD2’s Karma. She was an older rescue dog who lived until she was 18 and took with her a piece of all our hearts. However, she also gave us a piece of hers to keep with us through the years, which is a fair trade in my eyes.


Weather, yeah it is still doing crazy stuff…there doesn’t seem to be any moderate weather anymore. The snow storms have been having freezing rain, sleet or rain, instead of simply being the snow based storms that you would expect in Maine in February.

Continue reading “February 2019 – A Month to Endure”

Longer Tempo Runs are Not Really All that Much Fun

Thursday is the hardest planned workout of the week for me. I don’t really look forward to long tempo paced runs, because they really are not my strength and I don’t enjoy running hard other than a race for much longer than a half mile. That is just me and how I see my running. πŸ™‚

Which probably also means that I am not all that well suited for racing longer distances when you get right down to it.

I would have much rather done what Bennie is doing right now versus doing the tempo workout before I got going.

It was still in the low teens when I headed in to Augusta, so in my book, that automatically puts me on the treadmill. Yeah, I could run outside, with the roads being clear, but I have used this cut temp all winter and it has worked well for me so I am not going to change now.

Besides when I want to run a certain pace for a long time, the treadmill helps me to stay on a steady pace, so I did my warm-up and even was able to pump out 35 push-ups. My high for this year, I may not do too many weights, but I do get plenty of upper body work moving snow, sanding the driveways and other more functional stuff around the house.

Can you tell that I tend to procrastinate when I can about getting going on tempo runs until I can’t anymore, just by the way I am writing about it. πŸ˜‰

Yeah, I enjoy them so damn much.

Well the plan was for 4.0 miles at tempo pace, which is also my half marathon race pace (at least the pace that I hope will be my pace), i.e. right around a 7:40 pace.

Okay I did a mile warm-up and got after it.

Actually once I got my arse in gear and got going the old body did its part without any problems. Enough that when I got to 4.0 miles, I may have pushed the pace a little more and did another mile at faster than tempo pace.

Yeah, I know it wasn’t part of the plan, but sometimes when you are feeling good and know that the next couple of days will be recovery/easy days, so that if I am feeling good an extra tempo mile is not going to kill me or the plan.

That last mile did kick butt just a little, and then I decided to do my usual strides after a bit of recovery 3 x .1 at a faster than I will ever run for a race ever again (it is hard to believe that once upon a time I was racing faster than that for a full 5K), but running that fast does force my form to get its act together and gives me some confidence about being able to kick if I ever need to again.

Once I got done, I was glad that I did the workout and no it wasn’t easy, but it was necessary.

Yes, I Watched Too Much TV Today

Yes, I ran this morning on the treadmill for 4.0 miles. No biggie in comparison to everything else going on in the world – that is for sure.

However, while at the gym while running on the treadmill I got hooked on watching the Cohen testimony.

Okay I gotta admit it, I watched waaaaayyyyy to much of the Cohen testimony today. Once you got past the political bullshit and posturing from both the Democrats and Republicans, and listened to how Cohen answered the questions, well it was “interesting” to say the least.

I am a white, retired, veteran, who is in my 60s and have been stereotyped several times to be something other than I am. My political beliefs are not dominated by either the Democratic or Republican parties, I have some very conservative views and I also have some very liberal views on different big ticket political agendas. I also have a Green, Libertarian streak and still take the Oath I swore to support and defend the Constitution very seriously.

Disclosure: I did not vote for the President and did not believe that his challenger was the best choice either. Neither one of them gave me confidence in their ability to govern effectively and I voted on the basis of which Vice Presidential candidate would be the best person to replace the one elected, since I did not believe at that time either candidate would complete their full term.

So looking at it from that kind of perspective what did I think:

Cohen is a convicted liar and crook.

He has been found guilty of crimes and only by continuing to cooperate with the Federal Government on what he knows, will the amount of time he serves in prison be lowered. If he lies now, he could be subject to even more time in jail. At this point lying does not seem to be in his best interest, especially with the Republicans and Executive Branch looking for anything they can hang him for.

Who did he work for? The President and the Republican National Committee. The testimony today focused on his actions and knowledge while he was the President’s personal attorney for around 10 years, but I wonder what information he has that he hinted at that are part of ongoing investigations? I do believe he does have information on the President’s business empire, the RNC and personal insights that are pertinent.

What he did testify about was pretty difficult to accept as true about the person that we elected to be the President of the United States. Based on other reports, court filings, investigation leaks and yes, even the press it does seem to give more credence to some of those stories.

If half or even a third of what Cohen has testified about is true, along with the other investigations that were hinted at during the course of the testimony then our President has legal issues that may lead to other consequences.

Cohen was certainly a compelling witness and one who if he did lie will be nailed to the cross by the powers that be. However, there are others who have testified to Congress previously whose testimony disagrees with Cohen’s. I do wonder if Congress is so willing to nail Cohen if he lied, if they will be as willing to nail others who have testified under oath, if it turns out that they lied.

There is a lot of smoke surrounding this Presidency and the testimony by Cohen today did nothing but fan the tinder a lot closer to point where flames will start appearing very soon. If Cohen did testify truthfully, what do the President’s most ardent supporters do? That is the real question isn’t it?

The comment on the possible lack of a peaceful transference of power if Trump is not reelected, after the elections in 2020 was one of the most scary statements that I heard all day.

Cohen’s testimony is one side of the coin and the other side is that everyone innocent until proven guilty – just like Cohen has already been adjudicated and found guilty. Does this Presidency go down that road?

That is the big question.

The reality is that

If Cohen did tell the truth then our Country is in for a rocky road over the next year.

I have a sneaking suspicion that our current President will come out of his corner swinging and hoping for a huge and quick knock-out of his opponents. Unfortunately, or fortunately depending on which side of the aisle you are sitting, there seem to be many investigations involving the President, his family, businesses and the Democrats are challengers who are willing to go toe-to-toe with him for the full 12 rounds of the fight.

History is being made as we speak, it will be interesting to see where things end up 2-3 years down the road. Then 20 years from now when we look back at this period in history, we can see more clearly just what did actually happen.

I just hope that the Country is not divided completely between now and then.

Either way I do believe that shining the light on the truth and holding those responsible for committing crimes are justly punished.

Wishful thinking I know, but…that is what I wish for.

Then again, we are talking about rich, powerful and well connected people.

Helluva Workout – I Like Tuesdays

Outside was crap, it might look nice when viewed from this side of the window, but with temps barely out of single digits, 20-30 plus winds, the wind chills were down-right nasty, plus it is Tuesday, which for me is speed work day. All of which added up to another day on the treadmill.

It is a good thing that I actually like running on the treadmill, especially on days where I know I get to run a bit quicker than usual. You know the Tuesday Something of Substance (SOS) workout that is speed based. Although I am reaching the part of the training plan where it is beginning to stretch out the distance of the speed play, it is still within my wheelhouse as long as I don’t try to act like I am still in my prime (I know that I am not) and attempt to run those kind of paces.

Yes, I was able to do the planned workout and then I did some shorter faster stuff too. I know, but when it comes right down to it, as much as those shorter faster bursts feed my ego, errr confidence they do have a place in my training too. Running at those paces forces me to actually lift my legs and stretch out things that otherwise don’t get a lot of attention.

Okay here is a challenge for you – on a treadmill or figure out the corresponding paces yourself, do the following workout and let me know how you felt at the end:

  • 1.0 mile warm-up @ 6.3 mph
  • 4 x .75 @ 8.6 mph, with .25 recoveries after each repeat
  • 2 x .25 @ 8.7 mph, with .25 recovery after first quarter and .15 recovery after second quarter
  • 1 x .1 @ 9.1 mph, with .1 recovery
  • 2 x .1 @ 9.5 mph, with .1 recoveries
  • 3 x .1 @ 10.1 mph, with .1 recoveries
  • .25 @ 6.3 mph for a cool-down
  • .25 @ 7.8 mph I need to know how it feels to run this pace when I am toast

Did you try it?

How did it go?

These speeds are based on my 5K race of just under 7:00 minutes per mile. If they are too slow or fast for your current running enjoyment, use your 5K race and just add the corresponding increases in speeds to simulate the same workout.

All I know this treadmill workout was a very challenging one for me, but also probably one of the ones that I felt really good about. The best thing about it, the body is doing fine tonight.

Oops Didn’t Do the Correct Workout

OMG I screwed up so badly today!!!

I didn’t do the planned workout…for some reason I got it in my head that I was supposed to do an easy 5.0 miler today and didn’t double-check like I usually do before heading out the door to make sure that I am being a good boy by doing what I am supposed to.

Yeah, can you believe it, me not following the plan exactly.

Well the truth is I don’t mind changing a workout on the fly if I really feel like doing something else, but today I really believed that I was doing what I was supposed to do.

So what was I supposed to do for a workout today?

Easy 6.0 miles.

Yeah, I screwed up by a whole mile…earth shattering I know and now the whole training plan is screwed up. An unforgivable ‘faux paux’ that will end my quest to run a half marathon.

Harold stop it, you are being a horse’s arse and making fun of yourself yet again to show how trivial something like this really is. However, some runners get so upset if they do not follow a training plan perfectly and it throws them into a complete and utter tizzy.

Yeah, I screwed up by a mile on an easy run – so what.

It ain’t a big deal.

Besides it was a typical 5.0 mile easy and I needed something to write about other than how boring running this distance on the treadmill one more time, because the roads were crap and the winds were more than I felt like dealing with again.

Hey, I did remember to put my Garmin on today and even played around with changing the elevation several times over the course of the run.

It was a good and easy 5.0 mile treadmill run, after a snowblowing three driveways. Who knows maybe I subconsciously decided to have a shorter workout to compensate for the extra exercise that I had already done this morning. πŸ˜‰ Yeah, that a great story and I am sticking to it.

I am sure that I will make up that mile at some point during the week and I really am not worried about whether I do or not.

I think that attitude is a LOT healthier than obsessing over whether or not I did the exact workout on the exact day it was scheduled. After all I am still well within the parameters and guide rails that the Hansons Half Marathon plan provides me.

Move along there is nothing to else to see here, this is not the droid you are looking for. πŸ˜‰

Yes, 10.0 Miles Were Done – On The Treadmill

I have been a day late and dollar short the past few days, so please bear with me, while I get my shit back together. πŸ˜‰

Yesterday, with the wonderful weather outside and looking at the weather forecast, there wasn’t any doubt about where I was going to do my planned 10.0 mile long run – on Planet Fitness’ treadmill.

Once I got that figured out, it just became a question of running in place for an hour and a half. Not the easiest thing to do, especially when you know the roads are getting worse the longer you stay on the ‘mill.

Per the plan I started out at 6.6 mph (approx a 9:06 pace) and held that pace through 5.0 miles without any strain, other than that wonderful feeling of holding back bowel progress. At that point I kicked it up to 6.7 mph just to get to 6.0 miles quicker. Coming back to the treadmill with only 4.0 miles left after a bathroom break is easier mentally than coming back and still having 5.0 miles to go.

After stopping for that mad dash to the locker room, I got back on and kept it at 6.7 mph for the next mile. Once I lost weight, I felt really good and got this crazy thought in my head about just doing the 13.1 miles. I figured that if I felt great at 10.0 I could keep going.

However, along the way, I kept increasing the speed every so often and I had been playing with the incline just to avoid the boredom factor. By the time I got to 9.0 miles I was down around an 8:20 pace and feeling good. So I kept playing with the speed, but at about 9.5 miles, I decided that even though I was feeling really good, that because I have been feeling very fatigued coming into the run that I needed to be smahter than usual and just stick to the plan.

Which meant stopping at 10.0 miles.

The last quarter-mile was at race pace and I still felt very strong. So I will give this a really good rating of 3 on my 4 point scale. The good thing is, even as fatigued as I have felt lately there is not any doubt in my mind that I if I had chosen to that I would have finished off a 13.1 mile run. The confidence is coming and that is a good thing. I know that I can run 13.1, now to do it a few times and then it becomes a question of how fast can I run 13.1, not if.

I know that I have to work on this stopping during the run to use the bathroom every time I run, but I have a feeling that is related to my dietary choices over the last month and I am working on improving that. Although it is hard when the people that prepare the meals most of the time are not thinking along the same lines or direction that I want to be heading.

However, I am in charge of what goes down the pie-hole, so I cannot blame anyone but myself about what I eat. Although it does hurt other’s feelings a little when they prepare stuff “just for you” and you don’t eat it. Sometimes it is easier to go along with the flow and keep smiling.

Good run and I was glad that I had the milestone pod on my shoes, since I forgot my Garmin – it was sitting on the table charging when I walked out the door. However, I do keep my old Times Ironman in my gym bag just for that eventuality and simply put that on to track the time. The Milestone pod continued to let me know I was a heel-striker and that I don’t lift my legs up enough, but gave me some info on the pace that I like to review.

Dragging Arse = Feeling My Age

Yeah, I am about four weeks into the Hansons Half Marathon Method training plan and when you add in the three weeks I did of the Marathon training plan, that is 7 weeks of using the Hansons Method.

While I love the plan and the structure it has given to my training, at the same time it is very relentless in the expectations and the amount of accumulated fatigue that is a primary part of doing it.

Which means that I am definitely dragging arse hard this week.

What is bringing this topic…err whine about Harold?

Well yesterday I was going to do my Sunday long run due to the forecast of snow, rain, sleet and high winds (you know not the best weather for a long run), but after walking Bennie I sat down and was completely wiped.

It has been a long week, with a lot of variables (not excuses) that have effected me physically and mentally, that added significantly to the accumulate fatigue that the Hansons Method embraces.

Yep, I admit it – I was frigging tired yesterday and today, while I am not as tired the old body is feeling the effects of all that accumulated fatigue along with looking forward to the probability of 2-3 hours behind a snowblower later today or early tomorrow morning. Sometimes I think looking ahead is what gets to me than the actual doing – once I am doing, I just do it.

Anyway, after an hour of relaxing on the couch with Bennie, I got the motivation up to get my running gear on and go outside and do 4.0 miles. No they were not all that pretty or fun, it was just one of those get it done runs, while doing mile laps in front of the house.

This morning as I look out the dining room window it is snowing lightly and the wind is picking up a bit, so out of respect for the wonderful footing that will accompany the weather outside, at some point this morning I will head to Planet Fitness put on my big boy shorts and shoes and run at least 10 miles on the treadmill.

Remembering that I choose to do this, even though the wife thinks I am overdoing things, just a little. Especially, since I now have to wear a belt with all my pants. In other words Harold being Harold.

I have a feeling that if I didn’t have the snowblower exercise routine, that the Hansons Method would be just fine, but it is what it, so I gotta suck it up, smile and keep putting one foot in front of the other and hope that this Wednesday I actually get a day to simply relax.

Don’t bet on it.

Although I have thought about reducing the mileage on recovery days, when I have snowblower duty – since the time on my feet induces fatigue as well, but just doesn’t show up on the training log. πŸ™‚

Running Down Back Was Kind of Nice

After walking Bennie over 2.0 miles down-back, I decided that it was just too damn nice to head into town to run or plod along on the treadmill for a recovery run. Especially when one of the locals pick-up guys had plowed down-back. I found that conditions were just about perfect for running down there after last night’s colder temps.

The temps were around 32*F, bright sunshine and a pretty good breeze on the way out – good for running outside.

I wasn’t planning on running fast and running through here was going to make sure that I didn’t do anything stupid. While the footing was decent, it was not the same as running on bare tar and you use additional stabilizer muscles that don’t get used all that much running on tar or the treadmill.

Once I got going running down-back was actually fun and even when I got over on Tiffany, I didn’t pick up the pace all that much. It was simply one of those runs that you go out do it, smile when you finish and wish you could have simply kept going.

I did use the Tempo 9s to run and they did nicely on the hard packed snow, but not so well on the looser stuff. However, they did everything well enough that I completed the run without any problems. Well beyond using those stabilizer muscles that haven’t been used for a while, I guess the only reason they didn’t really whine is because I do walk in this stuff almost every day, but I still know that running on it is different and the body tonight is letting me know about it.

Life does tend to catch up with you though.

Yeah, it was one of those hurry-up and wait days otherwise. First we had to wait around for the heating oil company to deliver oil, but there was a catch for the first time since we had been with the company (over 10 years), we were asked to be there when the delivery was done and give the drive the difference between our pre-pay and whatever amount was due. Not a big deal, but not the way the company had done business previously with us.

This was strange and when the delivery hadn’t happened by 11:00a, I gave a call to get an ETA and was told they were not sure when the delivery be made other than it would be by 5:00p. Not really what I wanted to hear since I had other stuff I wanted to get done today. So I asked if there had been a change of billing policy and when they said no. I asked them to check our file to see why the change of billing practices had been done. After futzing around for a few minutes, I suddenly received an apology, was told that they would call the driver to change the payment requirement and we would be billed as usual since we are such great customers.

When I pressed for more information, I was told that someone “new” had given us the wrong information when we called to place our order.

Yeah, we pay our bill on time.

Somebody screwed up, but it worked out and I was able to get my run in.

We have been having issues with our cable and internet for a few months, so we called and frigged farted around with their phone system and automated help line for half an hour before getting a real person. They were very helpful, but unable to fix the problem. However, they had an open time to get a technician out to the house that check things out at the house at 5:00p today.

Same day service – wow.

The repair guy got here and did a few things and figured out that they had to replace the line from the utility pole on the road to the house. It seems that the squirrels over the years had gnawed the wires and caused all of our problems. So it took about two and half hours to get that accomplished and they strongly recommended that I take the cable box down to the Augusta office to trade it in for a newer model. This one is over seven years old and according to the tech is starting to show its age and he didn’t have the correct one in his truck tonight.

So now we have faster internet, all the channels we are supposed to have, without all those error codes and blank screens that were appearing before.

In other words today was just one of those days in the life of Harold. πŸ™‚

Exhaustion Equal Lack of Willpower

It has been a busy couple of days to say the least.

However, last night after one of those nearly 40,000 step days, I had a hankering for carbs…lots of carbs…let’s be real sweets. For the most part I have been avoiding processed foods, candy and desserts, while eating primarily real food for the past couple of months. Not last night, even though we had a nice supper, when we finished my body craved and I caved in to go to the “store” and get sweets: Whoopie Pies, Chocolate No Bake Cookie and Sweet Tarts.

When I got home and demolished them all within the space of 20 minutes. It was like I was not in control and could not stop once I started. Not good. This morning I woke up feeling like I had gone 12 rounds and gotten the crap kicked out of me. You know a lot like having a bad hangover, but without the “fun” of drinking too much alcohol, like we might have in our younger days.

So what did I learn from last night.

1. That I do have a sugar addiction and that when I let it run…it doesn’t do me one bit of good.

2. When I have one of those days where I get well over 30,000 steps in that my willpower exponentially decreases its ability to resist the sugar treats.

Okay, so I learned a lot last night and they say that knowledge gained is only as good as how you use it. Which means that I will be more cognizant of the sweet tooth and hopefully not be as likely to repeat last night’s implosion.

What on earth were the factors that lead up to all this?

Wednesday was a scheduled day off from running and while I did a pretty good job of not overdoing things, I still had to roof rake the garage, which always just puts a hurting on the old body – especially my shoulders. However, it is safer than climbing on the roof and shoveling, so I deal with the discomfort as best I can.

The other thing and this was probably a big factor is that SD2’s oldest dog had not been doing well for the past couple of months and it was time. That afternoon she was put to sleep at 18 years old. So the family was dealing with that loss. It is though to loose one of our family, but it was time for her to take the long sleep, still it is hard.

Thursday brought snow and chauffeur duty to Augusta, which meant a trip to the gym on the way home to do my run. The planned workout was a 5.0 mile tempo with a warm-up and cool-down mile.

What I did:

1.0 mile warm-up @ 6.4 mph

4.0 mile Tempo @ 7.8 mph

1.0 mile harder Tempo @ 8.0 mph

0.5 recovery

5 x 0.1 strides @ 9.1 or plus mph with 5 x 0.1 recovery

0.5 cool-down @ 6.3 mph

0.5 walking

For a total of 8.0 miles of running. It was a hard workout to get done, but surprisingly it was not as hard as I thought it was going to be, as evidenced by the being able to handle the faster last mile of the tempo run and the still being able to do the strides after I rested for a bit.

The strides felt good and I might have gotten a bit faster than I thought I would on the last two.

Although I did feel a bit stooopid when I realized about two miles into the run that I hadn’t started my watch. Oh well, stuff happens like that when you have a lot on your mind. The run did clear my head out pretty well though.

Overall, a really great run an one that I probably would not have attempted if I hadn’t done it first thing. I did get a text while running the last mile of the tempo and needed to look at it as soon as I finished it. Just in case my chauffeur hat needed to be donned again to go get SD2 who was still very upset about Wednesday. Luckily it wasn’t anything important and I was able to finish the workout.

Once I got home it was time to move snow so for about 2 1/2 hours I “played” behind the snowblower or shovel and got rid of the 2-4 inches of pain in the arse snow from three driveways. Luckily the neighbor has sold his house and is either closing today or early next week – one less thing to worry about.

By the time I got done with the snowblowing I had over 37,000 steps and was totally wiped out. Which meant lunch and a nap. By the end of the day I had gone over 38,000 steps and didn’t have nearly enough willpower left to combat the – I wanna eat sweets message that the body was sending out.

Yeah, so I had a learning experience over the past couple of days and now know a bit more about how my sweet tooth can effect me when I am tired.

I will get back to avoiding most sweets again, but I do not ever see me completely giving them up, although next time, I want to be the one in control, not the so-called sugar rush.

It is still difficult for us not have Karma around, but she had a good life and was well loved by us all.

Yes, I am an old softie, I just do not show it all that often, but our critters do take a piece of our hearts when they go, but at the same time they give so much more back to us while they are with us that it is worth the pain when they leave.

Tough Workout Tuesday

Treadmill time and you know something, I rather enjoy doing my speedwork on the treadmill rather than on the track or using a marked trail. For me at least I just get to focus on running at the correct pace and learn how it feels to run at that speed. Even though I know there is a transition to running the same speeds outside, it is helping me this year learn more about my running.

I know treadmills are not for everyone, but they are working for me.

Today’s workout called for a 5 x 1K, but since I didn’t feel like dealing with the conversion and then have a 400m recovery to deal with that distance conversion as well on the treadmill, I decided to do a 4 x .75 with .25 recoveries at 10K pace instead. This kept me at the 3.0 mile goal total for my faster repeats.

This increasing the distance of the fast repeats is getting to the distances that I don’t enjoy – at all. In fact I rather believe that they suck, especially the last three. I am an old sprinter and have the mindset that running multiple laps around a track or in this case for several minutes at a hard pace – multiple times just ain’t that much fun for me.

It isn’t that I can’t do it, it is more that I do not like to do them.

Okay enough whining about having to run fast/hard for longer than a quarter or half mile. What did I actually end up doing.

1.0 mile warm-up @ 6.3 mph

4 x .75 @ 8.3 mph – The first one or two were not really all that bad, the third one seemed to be longer than 3/4 of a mile and the last one was just run hard, keep running, focus on keeping good form and not give up on the repeat. I finished this part of the workout and was happy to be done with it.

4 x .25 @ 6.2 mph – recovery

1 x .25 @ 8.6 mph – I really wanted to do 3 of these, but after the 4 x .75 fast repeats the legs just didn’t have a lot of pop left in them and I decided to not even attempt to try any more. I didn’t want to tempt fate too much by running faster beyond the planned workout.

.50 @ 6.3 mph – a comfortable pace to recover from everything.

.75 @ 6.6 mph – just wanting to get it done.

.25 @ 7.8 mph – race pace for the last quarter. I didn’t have any issues running this pace even though the legs were pretty much toast.

A total of 7.0 miles and when I got done, I know that I was glad to be done.

It was not a workout that I enjoy. Once I get beyond half mile repeats it gets into an area where I am not strong. However, I also know without any doubt that this is one the areas that I need to focus on to get stronger for racing at any distance – my stamina.

This is one of the reasons that I specifically chose the Hansons Method, I knew that it would force me to get out of my comfort zone, do the longer repeat that will help me improve my biggest weakness.

A good workout that did take me out of my comfort zone.