Mid-Year Review – June 2019

Since this is the half-way point of 2019, I get look at how my running has gone so far this year.

During January through the end of May, my running had been going fantastic!

Getting good mileage, running injury-free and feeling tired a lot, but I thought it was a good tired, but looking back it might have been a bit of a harbinger of things to come. Especially, when I came down with a bad cold just before I got injured that just lingered and lingered.

The other good thing was that I was also running regularly with some other runners down at Planet Fitness, which was a nice change of pace. It was getting to the point where I even thinking about getting into a couple of races.

Injured Again

Then I came back to reality.

On June 5th, while running, I heard a loud snap and felt pain in my left lower leg. It didn’t get any better and the following Monday, the Doc agreed that I had probably had a stress fracture. While she didn’t require me to wear a boot, I was told to not run for 6-8 weeks and to stop what I was doing when it started to hurt.

Okay, everyone you all get to yell at me all you want and I still get to smile – because I am running again. Yes, I know it is at least 2-3 weeks ahead of what the docs, experts and Dr. Google explained to me when I screwed up my leg on June 5th. However, my body has given me the green light to do easy running at this point and who am I to argue with it.

This last week has been a week of experimenting and seeing what the leg tolerates and what it complains loudly about.

After a few runs and bike rides, the body agrees with the old brain that about 3.0 miles is a pretty nice distance to stop at and as long as I don’t attempt to break any land speed records things will go along nicely.

Post Injury

As a result of my latest injury, I have really taken a look at things that I can do to keep moving towards returning to training, versus the usual 2 steps forward, 3 steps backwards that seems to be my lot in running.

I have been re-reading my running books, researching and reflecting a LOT on how I got injured, what I want from running going forward and the steps I can do right now to make changes that will make a difference in my running.

Training

I love, love the Hansons Training Methods, but at the same time I have a feeling that those same methods are a bit too intense for the old, injury prone runner that I am. At this point in my life is maybe a bit too aggressive of a training program and probably my time goals that I am basing my training on are not realistic.

Even so, I followed the Hanson Half Marathon Method fairly closely for most of the Winter and Spring, at least until I got injured again. It gave me some pretty good guiderails to bounce off and stay within, but at the same time I was starting to feel tired all the time and the injury gave me a chance to really think about my running.

It is a great way to train…if you can stay healthy on it. If I ever plan to really train for a fast half marathon or to finish a full marathon, I have a feeling that I will be using the Hanson Method to get me there.

However, at this time neither one of those distances are my priorities.

After giving it a LOT of thought though, I am going back to running more by feel with my training based more on a weekly routine than a training plan. I have been re-reading Run – The Mind-Body Method of Running By Feel by Matt Fitzgerald – again, to remind me of what I need/want to do.

I want to enjoy my running more and not worry so much about meeting planned daily mileage or paces. I can see me staying between 25-35 miles most weeks, since that seems to be my sweet spot now as far as remaining relatively injury-free.

The biggest thing is that I need to get back to running because I want to run, not because I have to train for something.

That old saying – “I don’t have to run, I get to run,” attitude that has been missing lately.

Running Shoes

I have run in a few shoes this year, but not as many as usual and have been very lucky with my choices. The Adidas Tempo 9s (both pair) have been rock solid and can still be run in. New Balance Beacons were fantastic treadmill shoes and did fine outside for over 300 miles.

Other shoes did well by me, but those two really were the highlight of my running shoes earlier this year.

The other shoe that worked too well for me were the Nike Zoom Fly v1.

Unfortunately, I loved my Nike Zoom Fly v1 and used them beyond their original purpose in my rotation – fast or race day shoes. My running in them too much played a large part of the injury in my opinion.

Why?

The Nike Zoom Flys changed my running form (for the better), unfortunately the old body was not ready for the changes they brought to my running. Then I got greedy about how fast and well I was running, therefore it was my fault that I used them more as daily trainers, which resulted in my injury.

They are not a shoe I can use as my daily trainers. The Zoom Fly v1 and SPs need to be saved and savored as my go fast shoes.

Going forward my daily trainers will be the Salomon RA Max v1 for a while.

The Vibe technology that is supposed to dampen the Tibial vibration, seems to be working well with my left leg and I can feel the difference between them and other shoes I have in the house.

I also plan to start trail running a bit more and have the Salomon Sense Ride v1 that also have the Vibe technology in them. I plan to use these shoes for walking down back and when we go for our day hikes.

All the other shoes that I have hanging around will be retired to the back of the garage, given away or be turned into walking shoes.

Technology – Over the past couple of days I really thought about going back to my old Timex Ironman watch. As much as I might look back and think about how much simpler things used to be, there are good reasons why I adopted or is that adapted to using the newer tech available to me.

I even wrote a long draft blog post about how I was going to get rid of most of the technology during my running, but after the fourth re-write of that post, I finally figured out that technology is not the real issue.

It is me.

Technology can be distracting, but only if I let it be. During a run, I can turn off most of the distractions or at least tone them down to tolerable levels. I don’t need to track multiple data points while I am running, what I do need to do is focus on the running.

So I have gone back to my Garmin 230 watch, which I have a bit more control of what data is collected and when/how I see it, than I do with the FR 35.

Also, I figured out that I really do not need the heart rate monitor during runs, especially since the wrist models are notoriously inaccurate and in my mind that makes it rather useless. I also found that running by heart-rate is not something I enjoy and many of the other metrics that are part of the heart-rate monitoring are more fluff than what I need to track to improve my running.

Speaking of data, this is part of the problem and I think that Steve Magness’ tweet the other day, really says it better than I ever could.

I have collected all sorts of data over the last 10 years and to be quite blunt, I don’t have the skill, expertise, training or background to actually translate all those data points into something that I can actually use that benefits my running.

Especially, since even with my best efforts to manipulate, chart, graph and attempts to interpret all that data, I continue to be injured at about the same rates and have seen minimal improvements in my running, even when I take into consideration that I am becoming an old fart.

Which means when I am honest with myself that I can cut down on the amount of data that I collect moving forward. One of the big things is that I have retired my Milestone App/Pod, since it doesn’t really give me a lot of data that I actually can use to improve my running.

Even though this is not what most runners consider technology, I plan on using calf sleeves quite a bit going forward. My legs (yes, both of them) feel better when I wear the calf sleeves regularly during my runs. Although I did get kidded about them by Ray C on Facebook, when he asked why I was wearing calf panties, so much. If I believe they work, even if it is the placebo effect – it is something that seems to working just fine for me.

The Reality is that

I am going to be 62 years old in just over 5 weeks and I have to work on becoming a more injury proof runner, if I want to still be running 20 years from now. That means playing with weights a bit more, not worrying as much about running as fast as I did once upon a time and get realistic about my running goals.

My training is going back to focusing more on enjoying my running and listening to the body and how it feels versus – the idea that I have to do this distance or pace in a certain way. After the leg is healed and the body ready, I will get into a weekly routine where I do a faster workout of some sort and a few days later a longer run. The other runs will be according to how I feel that day.

The running shoe rotation is turning more into a Salomon focused one, since their Vibe technology is making a noticeable difference in my ability to run or not with my leg right now. When I get back to running my faster runs or races, I can still see the Nike Zoom Fly on my feet for those.

If all else fails I know that I can run comfortably in the Tempo 9 (I have two more new pair waiting in the closet) or I can find another pair of Beacons without too many issues.

Technology has its place in my running, but not to the point where it becomes a distraction during a run and then after, all the data points that were collected on the run need to be stuff that is actually useful to me. As a result of what I really need I have gone backwards a little and decided to use my Garmin 230 instead of the FR35. I just don’t believe that the wrist-based heart rate monitors are accurate enough to be all that helpful.

Now if I could only solve my biggest problem.

Me.

Another Step Forward – RunLog 6/29/19

After walking Bennie this morning, I decided that I would head into Planet Fitness to do my upper body weight workout and an easy run. I haven’t been able to go to the gym at all this week, but I have been hitting the weights in the back of the garage to keep up with the weights.

The other reason to run at PF was, it is relatively flat and not too many bugs. Both times when I walked Bennie this morning, the skeeters were pretty thirsty and were bad enough that I decided to cut a 2.0 mile walk short and turned around at Blake Road.

I debated whether to run or do weights first. If you know me at all, there is not really a whole lot of thinking about what I prefer to do.

Yeah, I went for a run.

I am still limiting myself to three miles or so and no fast running. The leg is feeling better than I could ever have expected for having only been three weeks since I screwed it up. I really think that the Salomon Vibe system in the RA Max has worked far beyond my expectations.

When I run or walk in them there is a definite difference from the Vibe technology to other shoes that I have in the house. So guess what, I have a feeling that I will keep running in them, they work for me and I have confidence in them.

I started out easy and even though the paces got faster throughout the run, I didn’t really increase the effort levels all that much, until the last quarter mile. Everything felt good during the run.

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Oh yeah, when I got back to PF, I did some foam rolling and stretching. Then I got around to doing the upper body weight workout that Tyler designed for me. I got halfway through it before I ran out of time.

I guess that if I really want to do a weight workout that I HAVE to do it before I run, not after.

Overall, a really good run and a pretty big confidence builder. The big thing now is to keep conservative and not let my head get ahead of how much healing the body has done. I typically heal pretty quickly, at least compared to what the docs say is normal and do listen to my body a lot closer than people think that I tend to do.

Soreness is expected and as long as the left leg is only sore, I don’t worry all that much. Pain is a very different feeling to me and I am not feeling any pain when I run, so I get to keep doing what I am doing.

 

 

Just A Little Thunderstorm – RunLog 6-28-19

Another day where I have to run after lunch, since I had to stick around while they worked on the remodel project. Of course, by the time I was able to get out it was 78*F, bright sunshine, with fairly high humidity – more on that high humidity in a minute.

Before I headed out Mary and I both commented on the dark clouds that were forming up North, but when I checked the weather radar on my phone, I didn’t see any storms in the area, so we figured it would be safe to go for a run.

I decided to head down-back, because the trees provide a bit more shade and the temps are better down there, plus running on dirt is easier on the old legs than tar is. My leg felt good, so when I got to the mile point, I decided to keep going down to the black mailbox down on Tiffany, which ends up as a 3.0 mile run.

That might have been a mistake…

As I got onto the tar, it started sprinkle a little, nothing serious, but the clouds rolling in were starting to get a bit on the dark side. So while I was working on running quietly, I did think about upping the cadence a little.

A little rain doesn’t bother me and would actually feel pretty good on a hot and humid kind of day.

I made it to the turn-around and started back to the dirt road without any issues, but the clouds were looking a bit more ominous, a few sprinkles of rain here or there, but nothing to worry about or so I thought.

However, as I was getting close to Blake Road, all of sudden there was a flash of light and almost immediately a clap of thunder. Oh shit, not good, oh shit. Then the deluge of rain came.

It was the proverbial cow pissing on a flat rock kind of rain.

That and the white flashes every so often and loud booms, did make me pick up the pace a bit more than I had planned. There was one where the hair on my arms raised up even though they were soaked and the crash of thunder was immediately after the flash of light.

I think I might have picked up the pace just a little at that point. When I got to the top of Stevens Hill and saw a set of headlights coming down the road that I recognized.

It was Mary in Clifford coming to my rescue.

I immediately jumped in and thanked her profusely. I don’t mind running in rain, but those bright white flashes of lights do bother me quite a bit, when I am out in the rain running along.

The good news is that the Salomon RA Max v1s did an exceptional job while running on a wet dirt road that was getting a bit mucky. That and my leg felt great the entire run.

Needless to say, it wasn’t the run that I expected when I left the house.

But my wife – done good and kept the old boy safe yet again.

Feeling Good, Being Smaht – Well Mostly

Okay, on Tuesday, I stressed the left leg a little more than I wanted to, when I moved some step rubble with a wheelbarrow through soft lawn. Yeah, the leg rightly complained about that and I stopped before it got too grumpy.

Due to the way the leg felt on Tuesday, I shut everything down on Wednesday. Well, almost, I still had to move all that rubble from the steps. However, instead of using the wheelbarrow, I used the lawn wagon and it worked quite nicely, but best of all, it didn’t bother my leg. I was able to get things cleaned up with about 10 trips to the scrap pile and put the (new to us) steps there.

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The best thing is that the left leg felt pretty good all day. However, I was conservative and didn’t attempt to run or bike and kept my walks shorter than usual.

Today (Thursday) my leg felt good, so after lunch I was able to get out for a run. We are in the middle of a major house renovation and I have to stick around to answer questions or discuss changes to the plan.

The weather was my first really warm weather run with 75* and 70% humidity with a nice breeze out of the South. So I knew that I was going to sweat a lot.

I wasn’t sure of what I was going to do, so I started out slow and ran completely by feel. I focused on quiet landing keeping my arm swing compact. The first mile went by without any issues from the left leg, so I decided to keep going.

At that point I could keep doing laps on Philbrick or head down back. I wanted to see how the RA Max v1 did on the dirt. The grip was very good on the dirt road and I even purposely ran on a few of the rocks to see how they protected my feet. No problems my feet felt fine.

When I got back up on the tar, the leg was still feeling really good and I decided to keep going. I never really purposely pushed the pace and kept up a nice 9:00 minute pace throughout.

Overall, it was a nice 3.0 plus mile run, where my leg did not bother at all during the run. Yes, I was tempted a couple of times to pick-up the pace a little, but as soon as I started, I cut it back quickly. Right now is not at all about speed, it is all about running comfortably, not having any pain or discomfort in the leg and re-establishing my base a bit.

I did use the Milestone Pod and the results are exactly what I expected and the change from the Zoom Flys on the Leg Swing is pretty dramatic. I am back to strictly a medium leg swing.

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Today, I think I accomplished that. The leg was a little sore after I got done, but I expect some soreness as part of the recovery process. Soreness and pain are different beasts and I have had enough experience recovering from previous injuries to have a pretty good idea of the difference. Soreness is a good thing and a sign that things are going in the correct direction.

I am just going to listen to my body and keep the mileage between the 2-3 mile range for a while and take days off when things start to get beyond the soreness point. Gotta be smart. I know Harold being Harold usually tops being smahter, but I am getting better at it – slowly but surely. At least I think I am – others I am sure will disagree.

The bottom line is that I am running again and that makes me a very happy runner.

 

Running, Biking and Harold the Destroyer

Yeah, I forgot to hit the publish button on this post the other day.

Oops!

One of those busy days, a decent run, an easy bike ride and some sledgehammer time. Everything went really well, until I started to pickup the debris and wheelbarrow it away.

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So let’s talk about the run first:

After yesterday’s successful run, I wanted to try another easy run and did almost 1.5 miles without any issues. I didn’t push the pace at all and just ran comfortably. The Salomon RA Max v1 really do seem to be the real deal as far as the Vibe technology goes.

However, 1.45 miles is not quite enough cardio for me at this point and time, so after I finished running I got the bike out and did an easy 8.3 miles on it. I went down to Goodhue Road and never really pushed the speed. I am not saying that I will ever love riding a bike, but at least I can get outside, get a little sun and fresh air to satisfy those needs for me.

My day was interrupted by a quick trip to the new dentist for a cleaning, one of my favorite things – not. However, this one was pretty good, because the hygienist was someone that I ran with over at Quarry Road last year. We talked a bit about running and she qualified for Boston again at Sugarloaf last month – very cool.

When I got back home, it was time for some upper body workout. I needed to get out my best Harold the Destroyer mode and make an old set of cement steps into chunks that were small enough to actually move out of the way. it took about 45 minutes of pretty damn steady and sweaty work, but that one big chunk is now a lot of small chunks and ready to move.

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Well, I started to move the smaller chunks with a wheelbarrow, mmmm the left leg was not too happy about that. It seems that lifting 50-75 pounds of concrete chunks and then attempting to push it through soft ground was not what it thought was a great idea. I did two loads and decided that it was going to be more prudent to do it tomorrow.

The leg was complaining more than I wanted it to, so being somewhat smarter than usual I followed the famous last words the doc said to me “if it starts to hurt – stop”. So I did – I stopped.

I have a feeling that instead of the wheelbarrow, I will be using the garden wagon, the pulling shouldn’t put as much stress on the leg. Then again, if it is raining tomorrow, I might wait until Thursday.

Actually the leg has been doing really good and I might just give it a day off – for good behavior or to make believe that I am getting smarter. 😉

 

Running a Mile and My Longest Bike Ride in a long time

Sometimes you just have to go with how you feel and today that is what I did this morning.

Let’s step back for a moment. Yesterday Bennie, Mary and I were walking down-back and got a call from SD1 about Hunter not doing real well. We were down at the Blake Road turn and needed to get back up to see what was going on with him. So we started running back.

The body really was not all that fired up about this running stuff when I started off and I was really focusing on how the left leg was feeling. When I got to Stevens Hill, I wasn’t feeling bad, but I wasn’t all that confident in the leg, so I walked a short ways up the hill. Then I ran the rest of the way home.

Great news, the leg didn’t bother and didn’t need any ice or anything. I was able to ride the bicycle a little bit later without any problems. Also Hunter was okay, but will go see the Vet on Tuesday for a checkup to see what is going on.

This morning I was wondering how the leg would feel and was pretty relieved when it felt just fine.

Which meant…

Yeah, I wanted to run again.

I know 6-8 weeks is the usual recovery for a stress fracture/reaction or whatever it is I have going on with my lower left leg. However, I am feeling really good, the leg is holding up to long bike rides, hiking, walking and yard work, so as long as I don’t get really stoopid, I think running a mile or two is not a bad thing – for me.

So I picked the flatest course I could find in the area – the Rail Trail and ran a mile. I ran in the Salomon RA Max v1 and I felt good. The first half mile I went slow, just focused on running easy and lightly. When I turned around another runner was going about the same pace and of course I picked it up a little to catch up with him.

Nothing overly hard, just a little quicker cadence.

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It felt so friggin good just to run a mile. Yes, I could have run further, but this run was all about getting my confidence back and not hurting the leg.

Did I succeed?

Yep.

The left leg did not hurt or have any discomfort when I finished. Did I say how good it felt to actually run again.

Now I have to be smart and not attempt to do too much too soon.

After I got done running, I decided that riding the bike was a great idea. I road down to Gardiner and went down past the boat launch on the little trail there, until I came to a downed tree and decided to turn around at that point.

 

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On the way back to the Rail Trail I saw Seth H and stopped and talked for a minute.

Then I headed North back to Augusta. I wasn’t pushing the speed and just riding comfortably, while pushing some of the downhills a little. I ended up with over 14 miles on the bike a couple of miles more than I had thought about, but I felt good.

When I got done the legs were tired, but no discomfort or pain in either leg – score!!!

Needless to say when I finally sat down in the truck to drive home – I was psyched. I had completed a 1.0 mile run and a 14 mile bike ride and no pain!!!

Unfortunately, I also knew that I had to go home an mow the lawn this afternoon and that would be the real test for the leg. After two hours of turns and walking behind the lawn mower, I was freaking tired, but as I sit here a few hours later, the leg is still doing fine.

Week 3 is usually the week when my body tells me how things are healing and this week was no different. I still plan on being smart and keeping the mileage low and listening to the body very closely.

The bike riding is going better than I ever have done. It is helping keeping me in shape and while I am pretty much limiting it to the roads, my old mountain bike is doing what I need it to do. No I am not attempting to hit any speed records or keep up with the lycra crowd, but I am getting to double-digits on the bike. Hopefully, some of the time on the bike helps my running.

We will see.

The big thing is that I ran successfully this morning, which means that I am recovering, now to keep moving forward and not have too many setbacks. I am sure that there will be a few along this journey back to running.

I am smiling a bit more tonight, than I have been over the past few weeks.

A Bittersweet Kind of Day

This post has nothing to do with running. It is more about the reminiscing and meandering thoughts of a Dad, who doesn’t know when the next time he will see his daughter, thinking about what happened on June 22nd forty-four years ago and then driving around the town where I grew up.

First and foremost on my mind was how much I will miss D2 and her husband. Today they headed back to Minnesota to collect the grandkids from his mother and resume their life. However, before they left my Dad and I got to enjoy a great breakfast with them at the Irving Truck Stop in Newport.

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Yep, I will miss them, but it was great being able do things and make some great memories with them this week.

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I don’t have too many possessions in this world that mean anything to me or are legacy things that I want to pass on to my descendants or things that they would want.

However, there was one last thing that does mean a lot to me and that is my U.S. Coast Guard Officer’s sword that Senior Chief Roger Putman gave me on my commissioning as a Warrant Officer.

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Nobody knows what the future holds or how long anyone has on this little blue marble, so I wanted to ensure that my daughter has my Coast Guard Sword, when I do leave it, hopefully in about 30 years.

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After I did it, I had no doubt that it was the correct thing to do.

After I dropped off Dad at his house, I headed back to Newport. I was feeling kind of down and wanted some time to be alone with my thoughts.

Along the way, I remembered that forty-four years ago today, was the only time that I can remember my family had a quasi-family reunion (most of the grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins and I think a few friends), at the house on Elm Street for a BBQ. It was also my going away party, I was going into the Coast Guard the next day.

Someplace there is an old Polaroid photo of all of use in the back yard, but I haven’t found that picture for years.

Even back then it was a bittersweet day, but at the same time, it was also the start of some big changes in my life. I was going from being a recent high school graduate with delusions of grandeur in my mind to do something that turned into a career.

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When I got back to Newport this morning I stopped at the Legion beach, where I spent many days growing up, some things were good memories, first kisses, other firsts, foot races, sneaking out at night on sleepovers, maybe some clothing optional swimming, in other words just being a kid growing into a teenager.

Other memories were not nearly as good. Like the time I almost broke my neck diving off the warf, almost drowning over by the dam, fighting with bigger/older kids and some other misadventures that I survived made me think about how lucky I was growing up to be here today.

A lot of stuff happened on that beachfront.

I sat on my rock (yes, the same one that I have sat on and done serious thinking over many years) and just thought about how far I have come from that pint of piss who always seemed to have a chip on his shoulder and something to prove to everyone else, but really it was to me.

I don’t really know if I have changed all that much sometimes, but the chip on my shoulder ain’t nearly as big as it was. I think that the biggest change is that I am pretty comfortable in my own skin at this stage of my life.

As I drove around Newport, I drove by the Little League field and a game was being played. I sat at the stop sign for a minute and got to thinking about Birdie Tibbets who coached me for a couple of years, the games and how we used to play pickup games there all the time. I got to thinking about all the kids I used to hang around with there and wondered how their lives turned out.

When I drove by my Nana and Grampa’s house, another flood of memories came winging through my head. Mostly good memories there, it was where I actually spent most of my days growing up. The house has been sold out of the family and the house no longer looks anything like the home that my grandparents had, but…well when I was growing up, it was my real home.

I eventually ended up over to the school.

When I got there I walked out on the field where I scored my only soccer goal, played baseball and softball and looked out to where the path used to go down to the Oil tanks and the short-cut to Nana’s house. I looked out over what used to be field and how I shot at a deer off that field, no I didn’t kill it – I missed. Today, if brought a gun on school grounds I would be in jail, back then it was just part of growing up, after all I was just hunting.

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Then I got to looking at the Higgins Memorial Gym. Named for Dr. Higgins, who was the family doctor until he retired and keeper of many secrets in our little town, one of which I am glad never happened.

I played P.A.L. basketball in that gym 4th to 7th grades for Lyle Seavey coach of the Newport Bullets, until I acted like an ass during a game and my dad forced me to turn-in my uniform that night. It was one of the longest and toughest walks I ever did, but I did it by myself. One of my not so brilliant moments, but I did it by myself and learned a lot about having to do something I really didn’t want to do.

School dances, I didn’t miss any of them, the chance to slow dance with some of the girls was too tempting. Hormones were a driving force even back then. Then I remembered one summer working for the school district and painting the school and gym. It all looked much newer then.

Looking at the gym and the school buildings today, they look a lot like me, time has passed us by and we are looking a bit worse for the years that have passed us by.

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On the way back up Elm Street, I stopped across the street from the house where I spent the most years – we moved an awful lot until we moved into this house. It was originally my great-grandmother Bertha’s and in the late 60’s we moved in. There are so many memories in that house – good and bad, too many of both to write about. The new owners are starting to make some good changes.

It was kind of fitting that the waitress at Irving’s this morning is the sister of the person who bought the house and they lived down behind us for many years. However, in many ways, it is sad that it is no longer in the family after having been in the family since the 1930s. Change can be hard and sometimes I think I would have liked to have walked through the house one final time, but then again it probably was just as well that I didn’t.

I guess in many ways I want to remember it more the way it was as my parent’s home, not my brother’s. Too many memories in that house.

After that I stopped at the new library and Newport Museum. The museum wasn’t anything special, but I did buy a book on the History of Newport and spoke to the librarian for a couple of minutes.

When I got home I read it and took a real trip down memory lane. It was pretty strange seeing the family surnames that I grew up with being in Newport from the 1800s, including my own.

People didn’t really move all that much and generations were born, lived and died in that town or close proximity.

The Reality is That

Today was a bittersweet day and one where I got to say to my daughter and her husband, “until we see one another next time”.

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But I did get to spend time with them this week and again with my Dad this morning. We made more great memories that I will have with me the rest of my life.

Sometimes I do wonder how much my life would have been different if I had stayed in Newport and not joined the Coast Guard.

Would it have been any better, would I have more friends, would I have been more involved in the community, who would I have married, what would my children be doing, how close would my grandchildren be and all those other questions we tend to have if only I had made a different choice that summer.

June 22nd seems to be a day in my life where I get to say “see you later” to people who mean a lot to me. Only this time the numbers were a lot fewer. It seems that family is less important than it was back then or it is that we simply have gotten so busy and our families so splintered and have so little in common anymore that we don’t make time to take the time to be a family anymore.

All too often, I think that is the case. In many ways it is pretty sad, but it is what it is and unfortunately, I don’t see us going back to the “way it used to be”.

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Thank you for putting up with the meandering thoughts of an old fart, who has way too much on his mind tonight.

My sword has a new home and it is where it is supposed to be now.

Now back to the life I do have and you know something it really is a damn good one.

 

 

 

 

 

No Running – Week #2 Update

It has been two weeks since I screwed up my left leg and ended up with what is in all likelihood a tibial stress fracture. The doc said 6-8 weeks of no running and that if I did each week that I didn’t wait, I would be at a greater risk to actually break my leg. Based on those words I have been pretty damn conservative and haven’t run since June 5th.

During the first week, there was a pretty good amount of discomfort and when I did a bit too much it did get into the painful realms, so the no running was not an issue.

This week the leg hasn’t gotten to the pain cave side of the coin, so that has been good and even the discomfort levels have been pretty manageable. Even so, I have not been all that tempted to go for a run, probably a really good thing.

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Now that doesn’t mean that I haven’t been active or pushing the leg for all it can do, without going overboard.

Well in my mind at least. I have a feeling that the doc, might have had a different idea of what she had in mind when she told me I couldn’t run. 🙂

 

The big thing is that D2 and her husband are out visiting from Minnesota and being the active types, I spent the weekend with them down in Bar Harbor (Bah Hahbah), but most of our time was spent over in Acadia National Park.

We did some of the easier hikes, Jordan Pond Loop and the Great Head Trail, which the leg did great on. No issues as long as I went slower on the downhill sections or through the rocks (not that there are rocky sections in Acadia’s trails).

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I biked on the Carriage Roads, yes I own a mountain bike, but I haven’t ridden before I left for Bar Harbor this year, when I did a mile on it just to see if it still was in one piece. It had been in the garage all that time, so it wasn’t in horrible shape, but…

still, I was taking a huge leap of faith that it was going to work. They both own pretty decent bikes (they ride a lot) but didn’t laugh at me too much when I showed up with this old rust bucket, that I didn’t even know how to take the front wheel off of until D2 husband showed me.

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So I was concerned with how the body and the leg would hold up to riding. Also, there was the issue that I was riding a bike from the 1990s and hadn’t been ridden much since I got it back in 2004 from a relative.

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Actually, I was surprised at how well the bike did and that my body didn’t give me too many problems on the bike.

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I did catch some grief on my choice of helmets though.

The only time I experienced any discomfort riding was when I was riding up Dow Mountain on the carriage road and then coming back down the vibration caused the leg to talk to me a bit. So while I was in glide mode, I just lifted my left leg off the pedal. That forestalled the leg getting into the pain side and allowed me to keep riding back to the car.

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I had a lot of fun being so active and got to spend quality time out with D2 and her husband. Actually, I surprised myself with how well I was able to keep up with them despite babying the leg in more than a few spots. However, I know that they both held back to let the old man keep up, since they both ride a lot back home.

One thing that I found out was that the Salomon Sonic RA Max Vibe technology does make a difference when I am walking. On the hike around Jordan Pond and additional hiking on the stream trail, the tibial vibrational dampening was noticeable compared to other shoes I have worn recently.

Enough so that as part of Father’s Day, I ended up with a pair of Salomon Sense Ride with the Vibe technology.

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I will rave more about them later I have a feeling. My first wearing of them was wading through the stream before Great Head trail and then wearing them wet, sandy, salt waterlogged on rocks, mud, gravel and whatever else was there. They dried quickly, I just wish that I could have said the same for my socks.

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They were amazing.

 

Then, we decided that wasn’t enough and went for a bike ride up Dow Mountain and I wore them without socks for the entire ride – NO ISSUES.

Yeah, I was very impressed.

Then again, I also ate a bit too well last weekend. Plus when I got back on Monday, SD1 had made a tin of chocolate no-bake cookies for me. You might as well thought that I was an addict the way that I demolished that tin in less than two days. I would not want to do a diabetes test right off, give me a week or so to recover from eating poorly this weekend and then the no-bake cookie gluttony. 🙂

The Reality is that

I survived the weekend activities and didn’t make things any worse than they were before it began.

Phew!!!

The leg is healing pretty quickly (faster than I expected to say the least), but I know that I still need to be very cognizant of what I do and don’t do (run) for a while longer. Although riding the bike and walking seem to be things that doesn’t bother the left leg too much. Well as long as I don’t go up a mountain, do a bunch of rock hopping or go down a bumpy road at a faster than is smart speeds.

Today I did a 10-mile ride on the roads around the house and everything felt good, it is a nice way to cross-train and something that I would not be doing if I hadn’t gone riding with SD2 and her husband last weekend. They reminded me that riding could be fun, even for an old fart.

Now comes the part rehabbing injuries where I am starting to do things without discomfort and will have a hard time with this no-run edict. I have to discipline myself to not give in to my wanting to get back on the roads again.

 

 

Part of the Solution – At Least I Hope

Okay, most of you have heard me whine a little about this minor injury that is plaguing me this time.

You know, a little thing called a stress fracture in the left tibia. Not a big deal in the overall scheme of things, but enough to put way too many DNR “Did Not Run” entries my running log until at least mid-July, but more likely into Early August.

Yeah, that sounds like forever at this point…but it gives me time to figure a few things out.

First up is what part did my running shoes play in this injury.

Let’s be real though, this post is more for me to get stuff out of my head, think about what part my running shoes did play (probably a very small part) and document my thought processes over the last week while I was deciding the direction I would go next with my running shoes.

Background

I have run pretty much major injury-free since October 2018 in Adidas Tempo 9, New Balance Beacon v1, and Nike Epic React v1. Yes, a few minor niggles here or there, but nothing serious. However, when I started wearing a pair of Nike Zoom Fly quite a bit over the last month because I was running great in them, it was then that I got injured.

It might only be a coincidence, but the Zoom Fly is the only running shoe that has changed that my normal gait that I can remember, which in turn allowed me to run faster with less effort. As evidenced by the Milestone App graph of the changes from a fairly consistent middle leg swing to one that was much higher.

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While changing my leg swing was not a bad thing. The resulting change to my gait/leg swing probably changed how I land/take-off just enough to make me feel great about my running prowess, but it came with a price. Feeling that great encouraged me to run too fast, too often, without enough recovery in between runs (that training stoopid thing that I do all too often).

Those factors subjected my left tibia to stresses that it was not used to or ready for.

Resulting in the stress fracture.

It doesn’t mean that I am going to throw out the two pair of Zoom Fly (V1 and SP) that I have, but it does mean that I will be a lot more selective about when and how much I run in them going forward.

After I heal up and get the legs back in shape to run in them.

Even though the other running shoes I have had in my rotation have worked very well for me. Unfortunately, each of them had something I wasn’t completely satisfied with and that kept me searching for something different to replace them. Which meant that this time I needed to search for something that was a bit more supportive, but still not a lead weight or dead feeling for when I am able to get back to running.

I also wanted to get the running shoes now to have them available when my body tells me that I can start running and can get them broke in before then.

When I started my research about which shoes I needed, I went to my usual go-to running blogs, especially Sam Winebaum’s – Road, Trail, Run, who has what I consider some of the best and most in-depth running shoe reviews on the web.

What was I looking for:

Actually, my preferences haven’t changed all that much, other than being more supportive and a touch firmer midsole, since I wrote a blog post last year, so instead of making this any longer than it needs to be, you can read the rest of my running shoe preferences in my I Can Dream – Yeah It’s About Running Shoes post.

What did I find?

  • Salomon Sonic RA Max v1 – size 8.0

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From everything that I read the Salomon Sonic RA Max line seemed to check off most if not all of the things that I am looking for in a pair of running shoes.

Most of the reviews that I read gave the RA Max v1 and V2 positive comments and yes, they pointed out some areas of concern as well. Like the potential heel slippage/blisters from the pods in the heel pocket in V1 and some higher than usual wear on the outsole on both, which concerned me a little, but not enough to stop me from getting the shoes.

Probably the biggest thing that made up my mind to go with the RA Max was the Vibe technology that supposedly dampens the amount of vibration in the tibial area of the leg.

This dampening of the vibration to the lower leg is very important to me since I am and will be rehabbing a stress fracture in my left tibia. You can read more about the Vibe technology in this Road, Trail, Run Review that gives a really good and down-to-earth explanation of what it is supposed to do.

Next was finding the best price for a pair of new RA Max. The newest version (V2) lists for $130, which is about what a decent running shoe goes for, but it was above the budget that I have for an experimental pair of running shoes.

Which meant I needed to find a pair of Version 1 on closeout at a decent price. After searching several sites, I ended up buying a pair of new RA Max v1 for $69 through a seller on eBay in the colorway that I wanted. There were cheaper offerings, but based on prior experiences on eBay, I believed that this was the best deal I could find.

They came in the other day and I have worn the RA Max around the house, done a long walk and did a gym workout in them. I took a chance on the size 8s and am very happy that I stayed true to size, the length and toe box fit is just right.

While walking in the RA Max and riding on the stationary bike they felt very comfortable.

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I also was very surprised at how little they weighed. At 8.6 ounces for my size 8.0 they are quite a bit lighter than I expected, which I think is phenomenal in a shoe with this much cushioning and support.

How they will work as running shoes is still to be determined, but at least the fit feels right and they were comfortable for an extended wearing around the gym. A good test of the Vibe technology will be this weekend when I wear them while wandering around the Acadia National Park carriage roads, and spending time with D2 and her husband.

The reality is that

I don’t really know if my running shoes were part of the problem or not, but I have a sneaking suspicion that they did play a part in a cascade of events that lead to me having a stress fracture in my left tibia.

Although, I am pretty certain that training plunders on my part were the biggest culprit and I have no one to blame but myself for not being able to run. More on those blunders in a different post.

Only time will tell if the Salomon Sonic RA Max v1s are part of the solution, but the initial impression is pretty good.

 

Stress Fracture Update #1 – RunLog 6/12/19

Okay, it has been a week since I hurt myself running and I thought that I would do an update on how things have been going, what I have been doing and most importantly what I have been thinking about.

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Other than not running – which sucks donkey balls…of course.

Things have been pretty positive and I haven’t gone into a deep, dark depression about not being able to run, just because I know that I can’t. No amount of whining, pissing or moaning about it will change that fact, so I have accepted it as the way it is.

The other good news is that the wife has not kicked me out of the house as yet, the dog still wants to be around me and the activities of daily life continue on, despite my inability to run.

I know that I am very lucky the stress fracture was not severe enough that I am not able to walk on it or else I am so used to things hurting that it is just another damn thing to ignore. I can’t tell which sometimes, but at least I didn’t have to get out the big plastic walking boot and skip around in that for a couple of weeks. Phew!!!

The doc knows me too well, when I called on Monday, yeah I did this last Wednesday, the office staff asked if I was still walking on my leg, when I told them I had mowed the lawn and chipped wood despite the leg hurting a bit, they just chuckled – like I said they know me. When I explained what happened and how the leg felt, the doc asked a bunch more questions (which I answered honestly) and she agreed with my self-diagnosis.

At that point, the doc basically told me that if it started to hurt more to call back to come into the office or if they couldn’t get me in in a timely manner to go to their express care in Waterville.

She did tell me:

  • that if I tried to run now I would be risking a total break, so don’t run, jump or twist. When it starts to hurt – stop.
  • Expect it to become a dull ache that just doesn’t go away for a while – she was right
  • that X-Rays would be a waste of time since they wouldn’t show anything at this time
  • it would be at least 6-8 weeks before I should even think about running – in other words, let the damn thing heal

So really I am very lucky – I can still walk on my leg, be somewhat active and the sharp pain that was so evident last Wednesday through Friday has subsided into a dull ache when I am good and increases the more I misbehave. I also have a great and very unsympathetic warning system in place that is working to keep me from being too stoopid.

My ice pack has gotten a lot of use, but I have been able to stay away from aspirin or other pain killers since if it doesn’t hurt a little I would be tempted to overdo it too much.

Since I hurt the leg, I have allowed myself to rest more than usual, not worry about what I put down the pie-hole and just relax a bit. In other words not stress-out about not being able to run and dealing with the dull ache that is a part of recovering from a stress fracture.

However, I have been busy thinking about what happened, how I ended up with a stress fracture in my tibia, how I can prevent it from happening again, yet keep running. I won’t bore you with all that stuff in this post but will write about it later.

I am fairly certain that more than a little of the reasons for the injury had to do with my training, ramping up my speed too much and the style of shoes I was wearing.

So I have been:

  • thinking more about what I want from running going forward
  • reading about what I need to do to recover from a tibial stress fracture
  • been re-reading my training books to figure out the direction I will be going after I can start running
  • looking closely at my training logs
  • got a new pair of running shoes that have a bit more structure and are supposed to dampen the vibration on the tibial region. Getting them now will give me a chance to walk a bit in them to get them broke in for when I am ready to actually start running again.
  • eat better
  • not run.

The reality is that

I am lucky.

Very lucky.

I am still able to walk and do most of the things that I need to do around the house despite having a stress fracture in my lower left leg. It is a more a question of pain tolerance and management.

No walking boot, no questioning the doc’s diagnosis, no non-compliance issues to speak of and knowing that I cannot run make the no running fact that much easier and a lot less stressful for me.

Sometimes things happen for a reason and this injury has forced me to actually stop, be realistic about my running versus the usual lip service that I tend to give it and then go on to do exactly what I have always done before. You know that do the same things and expect different results.

That definition that I tend to exemplify all too much.

My body is changing as I am getting older and as much as I don’t want to change my running all that much, if I want to keep running for the next 20 years or more, I will have to change a few things.

So I have taken steps to figure out why and what I need to do to make sure that I don’t repeat the injury again.

Now to just do it.