August 2019 – Looking Back
My favorite photo from August.
One of my birthday presents.
August well a lot happened last month, not the least of which is that I am now one of them…one of those old retired people. I am now officially retired and happy about it. It doesn’t mean that my body and mind completely disintegrated on the 6th of August, but there was a subtle shift in my perspective towards life.
I passed one of those milestone birthdays that means the amount of time that I have left on this little blue marble (statistically and realistically) is shorter and something that I do think about more often. Just the way it is, as we age our mortality becomes something that is more real, especially when you look in the mirror and see a strange gray-haired old dude looking back at you.
Nope it doesn’t mean that I am going to change a bunch of things, go out and buy a Corvette or anything like that, but at the same time my 62nd birthday did make me pause and think about how I am doing some things in my life. Reflection is a good thing, it does force you to look at many things, think about the good, the bad and the ugly.
Now comes the hard part – the doing.
Garmin vs Timex
Well I have started with improving my running…a pretty good place to start if you ask me, since this is a primarily a running blog and something that seems to take up a lot of my time.
I am by no means a Luddite, but over the past few years, I have I have used multiple GPS watches, phones, websites and other pieces of technology to tell me more about my running than I ever thought possible. The problem is that with all that data to sort, sift and muddle through, when I really sat down and thought about things, all this focus on the metrics that these devices provided, took something away from my running.
The ability to simply go out and enjoy the run.
It was getting to the point where I was running more to collect data than I was to enjoy my running. So this month I got a new Timex Ironman and use that for most of my running. I still use the Garmin for speedwork and long runs, but otherwise I take it off and just wear the Timex.
I am enjoying my running again, which is important to me and I am worrying less and less about creating data points.
That is the first major change since hitting 62, but I am sure that there are others coming down the pike as I continue to move forward.
This month was a very good month, I didn’t have any red lines in the spreadsheet (no time lost to injury) and ran slower more consistently than I have in a while. I am looking forward to getting out the door most days, but I also have to remember to take a day off every week or so.
No streaking for this old fart.
I have been doing my weekly training routine, without set distances or times, but still getting right around 30-40 miles for the week, with a rest week thrown in where I still managed over 27 miles. Which seems to be my sweet spot to avoid the injury bug, but enough to let me run the distances I want to run.
Being able to get over 157 miles for the month was a big deal and means I am making progress.
Can you believe it I even went and raced for the first time this year. It was a small very low-key race in Brunswick where I finished 3rd overall and while I wasn’t super happy with my time, it gave me a pretty good idea of where I am fitness-wise.
The schedule around the house still is making it tough for me to get in weekend races or make long term planning, so if I do get to race it will be a last minute decision, but I would like to do a few more before the end of the year.
I have pretty much gone to a New Balance/Nike running shoe rotation. The other brands I have hanging around the house just are not really working for me for various reasons and very soon there will be the Fall clean-out trip.
New Balance Beacon 2 – Have become my primary easy/recovery/long run shoes. They are comfortable, don’t hurt my feet and just work well for those kind of runs for me.
Although I would like to find another pair of running shoes to alternate with them, otherwise they will need to be replaced in early October.
Nike Zoom Fly SP – After a couple of harder road workouts, I am very confident about how I run fast on the roads in these shoes and will be using them for my next road race. I still am not as comfortable in them on the track where the softness of the track, in addition to the softness of the shoes make them feel a bit unstable.
I plan to try them one more time over at Colby this week to see how they fee now that I have ran in them a bit more.
New Balance 1400 v6 – After one track workout and an easy 5.0 miler, there is not any doubt that if I didn’t have the ZF above, these would be my race shoes of choice.
I run well in them on the track and will be using them as my crappy weather go faster shoes.
New Balance 890 v7 – My fugly shoes, I used them for the 5K race and was a little disappointed in how they felt during the race. They are a bit of a tweener shoe, not quite a racing flat, but not quite an easy day shoe.
Unfortunately, the 890 also seem to bother the tendon behind the ankle going up the side of my leg, because when I wear them (even when I am walking), it tends to talk to me more than it should.
Nike Epic React v1 – I dug them off the go away pile and started to wear them again as walking shoes. However, I just do not like the FlyKnit upper and how it makes my foot feel under the laces and how it crinkles when I snug the laces.
So I don’t see me using them as a running shoe again, I don’t feel comfortable enough in them. I am also beginning to remember why they were on the give-away pile, since the top of my feet are starting to comment about how they are feeling. The no cushioning beneath the laces is a problem for me.
In 2018, I got to run in the Altra 3.5 for a few laps around a parking lot on one of my visits with Sam W and was very impressed by them. I don’t really like zero drop, but I have always loved Altra’s shoes otherwise, so I saw a great deal on a pair on eBay for $30 and went ahead and bought them.
They will be a nice change of pace or walking shoes and if my Achilles can hold up to the zero drop, maybe they can take on some of the easy/recovery runs for the Beacon 2. Otherwise I will turn them into a nice pair of walking shoes.
Injuries / Health
My most recent injury seems to have healed enough that I can do speedwork and double-digit long runs, which is a good thing. Although there are some days that it does seem to bother me more than it should, so there is still some more healing left to go. Otherwise, it is more managing the niggles that go along with being an old fart and having run for more than 40 years.
I have been reading and re-reading several of my running books to figure out how to keep making forward progress towards my running goals. The book that caused me to think the most about changing a few things about my running was “The Happy Runner”.
I liked many of the authors philosophical approaches for running. It in many ways mirrored the direction I had been heading and validated some the ideas that I had been thinking about. It might not be the same direction others want to take their running, but for me it hit home on several levels.
The reality is that
August was a good month where I made a major change in how I track my running and as a result have been running more relaxed than I have in a long time. I found out that I do enjoy racing more now than I did when I was putting so much pressure on myself to perform way above my ability level.
Now that I have more realistic expectations I can see the enjoyment of racing increasing quite a bit.
The other thing that I continue to struggle with is what I eat. I still consume too many sweets, cereals and chips, but have cleaned up a bit on the amounts and am working to decrease the bad stuff – it ain’t easy. However, I have increased the salads and higher quality meats and fish so slowly but surely I am changing things around.
My running shoe rotation is stabilizing and only needs one more pair of shoes to rotate in as easy/recovery shoe to pair with the Beacon 2. My go faster shoes are good to go, although at some point I would love to see a pair of VaporFly 4% thrown into the mix.
Overall my running is going well and life is good.