Officially Retirement Age – Scary Isn’t It!

Today I have officially reached senior citizen status, i.e. retirement age according to the Social Security Administration. So does it mean that my body will fall apart tomorrow and that my mind will deteriorate overnight – good god I hope not!!!

Does it mean that I will think or do things all that differently?

Not really, although I do appreciate the simple things in life more than I ever have and take things as they are or at least how I perceive them, instead of believing that things always have to be, how I want them to be.

My priorities at this point in my life are: the wife, family and friends.

Although a decent meal, great conversations, a nice glass of wine and a good book are nice too.

I plan to keep running ridiculous amounts of mileage (according to some), focusing on being as healthy as this experiment of one will be, looking at things differently from the mainstream and just make sure that I keep enjoying my life.

I have a sneaking suspicion that I will continue to do Harold being Harold stuff, that will make me and others in my life scratch our heads and ask “What in the world were you thinking Harold?”

Yeah, those won’t change all that much. 🙂

The next section is not me bragging, it is simply where I am in my present journey to getting old:

Thinking About Thinking

As I age, I can attest to the fact that my priorities and how I view things have changed considerably. I enjoy a good book and being home enjoying conversations with my wife on a Friday night much more than going out to a bar and doing stupid shit. The time I spend with family making memories is more important to me than it ever has been.

Last night I was sitting out on our new deck and just thinking about my life and the different directions it has gone.

Mistakes, yep I have made quite a few of those over the course of my 62 years, but I have learned from each of those things and they are a part of the person I have become. While take responsibility for the mistakes that I have made, I do not dwell on them. It simply does no one any good to keep thinking about some things that cannot be changed.

I have also made some good choices: going in the Coast Guard and sticking around for 20 years, which in turn allowed me a measure of freedom that others do not have in comparison for the next 20 years after I retired; having two children with my first wife and then helping to raise two others with Mary; working with troubled youth and eventually becoming a Special Education teacher, and sort of retiring back in 2011 to make taking care of my health a much higher priority in my life.

Oh yeah, starting a life long obsession with running back in the summer 1971 – can’t forget that. After all this is supposed to be a running blog. 😉

Health

As part of my rite of passage to being a “senior” citizen, I stepped on the scale this morning and my weight at 155 pounds, was better than it was last year at this time when I was 161 pounds, definitely better than it was 10 years ago when I was regularly in the 170s and compared to where I was 20 years ago…well there is no comparison.

Another good thing is that I can still 30-40 miles a week and hit some paces that might surprise some people if I ever race again. Today as a present to myself, I went to the track and made believe that I was still a young pup, but my times told me that I was definitely 62.

I am not on any medications unless you consider a daily Vitamin D capsule during the winter, meds and I plan to keep it that way.

While I have a bad case of CRS (Can’t Remember Shit), I still have most of my marbles and the few that are missing aren’t all the important anyhow.

The biggest issue I have with my health is that I love chips and sweets, but I am starting to do a little better with limiting those vices. Otherwise, I would like to think that I do pretty good eating real food for the most part and staying away from the processed garbage as much as possible in today’s world. Mary prefers to make most meals at home, so eating out is not a big part of our lives.

So I am healthy, in great spirits and compared to most men my age, I am doing pretty darn good.

Locale

I live in a small town in Maine and while our home is modest in comparison to the McMansion society that seems to abound in today’s world, we are happy here. We have just made improvements to our home that will allow us to be happier in retirement and age in place more gracefully. Even though I might complain more than a little about the weather, neither my wife or I have any intentions of moving any time soon.

We are happy on our little 7 acre plot and becoming a snowbird does not appeal to us, although come the end of February we might be singing a different tune.

What will change?

Not a whole lot.

I will probably add in Aging to the title of the blog and it will become Just An Aging Runnah, not a big change in overall scheme of things, but one that more accurately reflects the focus of this blog.

After all, my blog is about an old fart, who writes a lot about my daily running, what I am thinking about when I run, the things I consider important part of aging a best I can, while making the Grim Reaper chuckle once in a while (along with some of the less fun stuff associated with getting to be an old fart), the running gear I use, some technology stuff and how getting older is affecting my life in general.

Also as much as I love technology and social media, I know that they are simply tools that I use to communicate, learn from or purchase something, if I am using them for more than that, then there are issues that I need to resolve.

I am far from a Luddite, but from what I have seen over the years that I have been involved with both is that we rely too much on technology to complicate our lives and too many pretend that social media is life – it is not.

My blogging will continue, but other parts of my technology and social media I am evaluating carefully to see what I want tools I am going to continue to use, instead of them using me.

In other words I am working on reducing the clutter and noise in my real and online lives, especially with the U.S. election of 2020, which the news coverage is already starting to annoy me.

The reality is that

I am lucky to have survived to my 62nd birthday, it is something that not everyone I grew up with has been able to do.

The biggest things that I have learned are:

  1. You can’t do it alone, having the love and support of family and yes, friends makes life and living better and easier, although they can make things rather interesting at times. Even though I am pretty much an introvert, I have learned that it is okay to come out of my shell and be social every once in a while.
  2. There is only one you. We all are an experiment of one and what works for others may or may not work for us as individuals. It often means not following the crowd, not doing what is recommended, being willing to stand up for what you believe and figuring out what is important in your life, which is often the path less travelled and will make all the difference.
  3. Take charge of your health. There ain’t one of us getting off this little blue marble alive and as much as the fantasy books talk about immortality, you and I will die at some point. It might be later today or in 30-40 years, but it will happen – we are finite. So while you are alive live life to the fullest and take the time to become healthy in mind, body, spirit and never stop learning or listening.
  4. Be honest with yourself and others. Remember we are not always correct and it is okay to change our opinion, perspective or philosophical approaches, based on new information – not one of has all the answers. It is okay, to accept that you are wrong and re-evaluate whatever it is you are wrong about. From where I sit there are more problems caused by refusing to change, even when circumstances change or evidence is presented that supports a different opinion or approach.
  5. Exercise – get off the couch, computer and walk, run, lift weights, play sports, but do something. Start small, but do some physical activity everyday and keep doing it. Yes, it is hard and yes, it is worth doing – we just have to make it a priority in our lives. No excuses other than illness or injury and even then you can do more than you believe you can. It is your only body and you are the only one who can choose how it is treated.
  6. Eating – Take a look at what you eat and how close it is to real food. If your primary food source is from a box or a bag, maybe you need to change what you are eating. No, it will probably not taste as good as the chips, pastries, candy or other stuff we stuff down our throats at first – yeah, that’s right – at first. However, as your taste buds change, the crap you were eating before will start to seem more and more like crap.

Turning 62 is not big deal and won’t change who I am, but it is a milestone birthday and I made it, so that is the important thing. However, it did make me stop and reflect on a few things about being alive versus living.

If I ever have a tombstone, I want it to read: “He lived a good life.”

Yeah, that would be a great tag line.

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.

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.

 

 

 

 

 

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.

 

Reading and Thinking Keeps Me Out of Trouble – Hopefully

So far in 2019, I have taken my training to higher levels than I have in years. Unfortunately, on the flip side of that, the one thing that the number of years that have passed since I was born have done is – is taken away my ability to hold that high level of training for long periods of time.

In other words I am starting to feel that fuzzy around the edges feeling that tells me it is time to pull in on the reins for a week or two to let the old boy recover a little.

Now thankfully I am not injured and still am smiling, but at the same time when I read this blurb from Mario Faioli’s – The Morning Shakeout while eating breakfast, I found myself nodding my head and going this is exactly how I am feeling.

Screen shot of email from Mario Fraioli “The Morning Shakeout” on 3/19/19

…Sometimes these lessons are profound, other times they’re more practical. And every once in a while, they’re a bit of both. Recently I’ve come to realize that as an athlete, I can only keep the proverbial water running at full blast for 8-12 weeks at a time before I need to dial it back for an extended period to refill the tank. And that is exactly where I’m at right now…

Quite honestly, I have had the water running at full blast since the end of October. I have very consistently been putting in at least 30 mile weeks, which is good mileage for me. When I started doing the Hansons Half Marathon plan that mileage has steadily increased to the 48 miles that I ran last week.

During this time there have not been any cut-back or rest for an aging body, weeks thrown in to consolidate the gains I have made. The intensity and distances have only increased and I am starting to notice maybe it is time for a quick break.

I know, a lot of runners can do a complete 16-24 week training cycle and not worry about it. However, when I look back through my logs, I see that I fall fairly naturally into 4-6 week go hard, then the body requires a cut-back week over the last few years. When I ignore the cut-back week, to keep pushing a training plan, I get the blahs and the aches/pains start to multiply or worse the injury bug starts to visit.

The reality is that

As much as I hate to admit it most of the time, the older I get the closer I have to pay attention to the signals that my body is talking to me about. Yesterday, when I had zero desire to do an easy 6.0 miles and my hip and ankle were grumbling a little more than usual, I decided to take the day off.

Once in a while I can be smahtah.

Then when I read Mario Fraioli’s “The Morning Shakeout” today and looked back at my running log, it kind of tied things all together and made me think about how much and how far I have come since last October.

Even though the Hansons Method is based on accumulated fatigue, there is a point where it accumulates too much and I need to back off, recover and then get back to with a fresher body and mind.

Sometimes, you get so focused on the constant improvement model, that you forget that you have to stop for a bit to take a breather, take stock of where you are, then decide the direction to keep moving.

This is especially true for my running right now. I don’t have any races scheduled and have purposely been using the Hansons Half Marathon Method more as a base building cycle, than a race prep cycle. The last few months have been more to see how things work for me using the Hansons Method than anything else.

So far it has worked well.

However, as a concession to my age, doing the Hansons Plan without a cut-back week or two included into the cycle, probably is not going to let me complete the training plan without burning-out or an injury. Just the way things are.

In other words for me to be successful with the plan, about every 4-5 weeks, I need a cut-back week, to solidify the gains I am making. Which means that this week goes from being planned to being more whatever I feel like doing and then on Sunday re-evaluating how the old body feels, to see if I need an extra week or if I am ready to get back to it.

Oh, I still plan to run and workout, but not at the Hansons Method’s intensity or mileage.

Then I will get back to my Hansons Method Half Marathon base building time. The philosophy fits my personality and how I want to train, but I have to modify it a bit for it to actually work well for me.

You know that damned experiment of one thing.

How about you, do you ever take a cut-back week in the middle of a training cycle, just because you know if you don’t, you will start to have problems?

AOM Writing Prompt #2a – Conformity

Art of Manliness Self-Sufficiency Writing Prompt challenge #2.

I am going to adapt the writing prompts by changing the self-sufficiency idea that these prompts were based, to address my own questions or thoughts about running that come about as a result as a result of my thinking about the writing prompt.

After all to be a runner you need to be fairly self-sufficient.

I imagine that with a busy life that completing all the prompts will take more than 31 days, so I will take as long as it takes to complete all 31 and I am good with that. Especially, since I think that these prompts will force me to stop and think about some things with my running from perspectives that I would not have otherwise.

Day 2

 

A. “The virtue in most request is conformity.” ―Emerson

B. “People say that what we’re all seeking is a meaning for life. I don’t think that’s what we’re really seeking. I think that what we’re seeking is an experience of being alive, so that our life experiences on the purely physical plane will have resonances with our own innermost being and reality, so that we actually feel the rapture of being alive.” ―Joseph Campbell

 

This writing prompt in my my mind is actually two different prompts, so that is the way that I am going to respond to them.

Wow, conformity and how it relates to running has so many directions that could be taken, however I do not want to write a post with several chapters or start a book, so I will paint a broad brush to keep the length somewhat reasonable, while attempting to maintain a certain focus.

Conforming to society’s norms and expectations is something that most of us do without really thinking about what we are doing. After all we have laws that are not optional to follow, certain social norms that we agree to (for the most part), had to conform to for at least several years of school’s rules, then for many of us conforming to the “military or company way” to earn a living.

Conforming for most of us is just the way it is.

Then you have us runners. Continue reading “AOM Writing Prompt #2a – Conformity”

AOM – Writing Prompt #1 – What Do I Want?

I have been reading the Art of Manliness off and on for several years. While I might not agree with all of the things presented on the site, it does have a lot of great information and the site’s posts do make me stop and pause for a minute to think about what has been written and at this stage of my life some of the challenges interest me more than they did in the past.

When I read this challenge a while ago, I printed it out in a PDF and filed it away for day when I might use it, there was something about it that resonated with me. Since I have changed my blog a little, seem to have a bit more energy to think about what I think about (that meta cognition thing), it seemed like a good time for me to use those writing prompts.

So I am going to adapt the writing prompts a bit and use the self-sufficiency idea that these prompts are based to address my own questions or thoughts about running that come about as a result as a result of my thinking about the writing prompt.

I imagine that with a busy life that completing all the prompts will take more than 31 days, it will take as long as it takes to complete all 31 and I am good with that. Especially, since I think that these prompts will force me to stop and think about some things with my running from perspectives that I would not have otherwise.

Day 1

“The primary cause of disorder in ourselves is the seeking of reality promised by another.”? Jiddu Krishnamurti

What is something you have or are pursuing, that other people say is worthwhile,
but you havenʼt found valuable?

Do you continue to pursue it based on the promises of others?

As the years go by, we change, we are not the same person that we were at another point and time in our lives. Is basing a goal on a promise made 50 years years ago, really something that I want to do or is it an artificial stressor that limits me?

So the exploration begins.

I am no longer so sure if the promise and goal I made as a youth, is one that still has real meaning in my life or running today. If anything, my wife is worried that if I do pursue this goal, that it might consume me and take years off my life, to accomplish it the way that I want to. Continue reading “AOM – Writing Prompt #1 – What Do I Want?”

Memories and Just A Bit of Work Updating the Blog – Again

Since I decided to move most of my old blogs to this one, there has been a LOT of behind the scenes, backend stuff that has been done to get things to where they are presently.

Annotation 2019-03-08 190029

Which more than likely means that you the reader have been inundated with posts and stuff from eons gone by. If you have I apologize and hope that you bear with me while I get things semi-squared away around here again.

Importing the old blog posts, getting them so they are readable, has been fun, but necessary and at times a time to stop and think about what I had written at that time. Updating old links will be an ongoing process and one that I have a feeling will never be completed, but I have gotten some of the more important pages and posts done.

I have not decided on a few things yet and how I will approach or tackle them, but I do know that I am not going to get back into the business of RunBlogging. It is not where my heart is and while I will still do a few running gear reviews, some tech stuff (in an very inexpert way), my focus is going to remain very simple.

My thoughts about the weather, running, my journey to become a better one even as I get to be an old fart, people letting their dogs run loose, some other random thoughts along the way and a little about my personal life.

However, for the most part I will avoid third-rail subjects – those are conversations I prefer to do in person, there are too many ways to misinterpret what is being written or to take things out of context. Both of which serve no purpose for anyone.

Memories

This is and will be a personal weblog where I get to put my thoughts out there and have something that I can reflect back on at some later date. I do know that having to go back through posts that I wrote 5-10 years ago, bring them back to my mind much more vividly than I could ever have remembered them otherwise.

Rereading blog posts with my thoughts on my mother’s death brought back memories of that day, times when my father was in the hospital and near death, reminded me of how lucky we are to still have him with us and a tear or two may have dribbled down my cheek while reading those very personal posts.

More recently reading about Phil’s death and then some posts that I talked about a dear friend who I found passed away at a later date. Then of course there are the posts where I wrote from my heart about some our critters who are waiting on the other side of the Rainbow Bridge. Yes, those memories hurt, but at the same time they are part of living and bring those that have passed a bit closer to our hearts.

Then there are all the great memories: the Runners World Half Festival, how I felt when I interviewed and was selected for the different positions that I had since I started blogging, people I have met, hikes we have gone on, spending time with my grandkids and many of life’s other great moments.

However, most of the blog posts tell a day in the life of a fairly boring old fart, who runs too much, spends a lot of time thinking…well dreaming of how to be a better runner even though I am now over 60. Then I always seem to find time to talk about running shoes, probably my biggest wasted endeavor, but one that is fairly harmless, even though it does cause Mary to raise an eyebrow sometimes when I have way too many laying around the house.

So I ask that you bear with me while I keep working to get the site back up to snuff.

Thanks for your patience.

New Balance Beacon – 200 Mile Review

Well, getting the New Balance Beacons to 200 miles did not take all that long (my first run was on January 24, 2019) and you know something there was a really good reason for it…they just work for the way I run and do not bother my feet.

Which is what I want and expect from my running shoes.

Let’s get this out of the way. I purchased the Beacons from Running Warehouse when they were on sale. So all the comments and opinions in this review are my own. Of course since we are all experiments of one, your experiences or opinions of these running shoes may be different.

If you want to read my initial thoughts or 50 mile review of the Beacons, please click the links to go there.

Pros Continue reading “New Balance Beacon – 200 Mile Review”

A Month Later – How Did Changing How I Eat Work

Since I had a scheduled day off from running, I got to thinking about some of the changes I have made in my life during the past month or so.

Back on December 10th, after my VA physical and some conversations I had with the Doc there, I really started to think about and look closely at what I was eating.

In general terms it was:

Breakfast – Usually a sweetened boxed cereal, Low-fat Milk or English Muffins, Sugar-added Peanut Butter and a fruit spread. Then every once in a while a Hot Oatmeal with spices and dried fruit on it. I did have a piece of fruit of some kind most mornings. Of course black coffee.

Lunch – Leftovers from previous night’s big meals or sandwiches usually with chips or fruit of some sort and cup of hot tea.

Supper – Something homemade most of the time, but all too often it was a low fat, white flour, basmati rice or rice from a box, homemade breads, sometimes a salad with store brand salad dressings, usually small amounts of very lean meat, some kind of veggie and a glass of red wine.

After supper most nights I would have either a bowl of dry sweetened cereal, ice cream, homemade desert or chips and a cup of black coffee. Although I gotta admit that I did like my Whoopi’s Pies, Cakes, Pies and chips way too much

During the day snacks would include: peanuts, candy, sweets and other stuff that tasted great, but was of questionable nutritional value.

In other words according to mainstream beliefs and current food recommendations from the government my diet was pretty much what was recommended. Low fat, higher fiber, more grains, with probably just about the same or slightly less sugar than most Americans and not as much processed foods as most.

However, some of my labs in December were not where I really wanted them and my weight even though I was running 30 plus miles most weeks, walking 20-25 more and doing bodyweight workouts, but it was not enough.

I was still according to the BMI guidelines overweight and my blood work was showing some not so great trends.

Definitely not what I expected and a bit of a wake up call.

After my research and looking closely at how I was eating, I came to the conclusion that it what I was eating was probably most of the problem. I realized that I was eating pretty much the Standard American Diet that has too many low quality carbs, sugars and other added chemicals that I don’t try to pronounce.

Choices

Which meant I had a choice keep doing what I had been doing or look in a different direction. Continue reading “A Month Later – How Did Changing How I Eat Work”