2011 and Beyond – My Running in the Future

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

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

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

First

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

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

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

Second

Change and improve my running form.

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

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

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

Third

Re-engage in the social aspect of running.

What do I mean by that?

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

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

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

Fourth

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

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

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

Time will tell on this one. 🙂

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

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

Fifth

I want to start racing again and not just virtually.

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

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

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

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

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

The reality is that

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

2012 Goals

What are my measurable goals for 2012?

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

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

2012

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

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

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

AVR Week In Review – 12/11/11

The big news this week was that I got selected to be a FitFluential Ambassador – To be honest I am very excited and honored to have been selected.  I am looking forward to being a part of and contributing to the FitFluential community.

Running This Week

In a word: GREAT!!!

I ran Back Cove in Portland with TheWife for the first time since 2006 and also had a 6.0 mile run also.  I am staying right around the 9:00 to 10:00 minute pace, dipping into the 8:00s every so often.

I decided to take a day off running today and break my 21 day running streak. My body is telling me that it needs a day of rest, so it is going to get one. When I am in the middle of a running streak, I tend to forget to listen to my body and don’t give it enough rest to recover from the stresses of running. Rest is part of being a successful and mostly injury free runner in my experience, who know maybe I am starting to mature – naaaahhhh. My goal each week is 20-25 miles and I reached that very easily, so the bod has earned a day off.

Weight

I have hit a plateau this week spending most of it bouncing between 173 and 174, which is still really great!  The weather has turned colder and we have most of completed most of our outside projects, so I am not as active as I had been. This is the time of year that we/I have to be most careful, not because of all the great food, but because of the reduced levels of activity, that go together with colder weather.

Injuries

The right knee is groaning and moaning a bit more as I increase my mileage a little and had a running streak of 21 days which I stopped today. My lower back has bothered more this week than anything. I hurt it a little when I was moving all that dirt around a while ago and no it doesn’t bother me when I am running. However, if I sit in my easy chair for any length of time it really starts to hurt. Gonna not sit in my chair for a week and see if that is part of the problem, if it is will have to re-think my seating options at night.

Shoes

I ran in my Saucony Peregrines all week – again, they now have over 100 miles on them and I don’t see any noticeable signs of wear or tear on the shoes. They have done everything that I have asked of them (trails, roads, muddy roads, a little speed work, snow, and slush) and then some. I have to put them in the top 10 of all the shoes I have ever run in and that list includes a lot of shoes.

Blog Posts

This week I did go back and re-write (they needed it) some of my old posts from One Foot In Reality, they were not as focused as they could have been and needed some editing. The one that needed to be updated the most was Welcome to “A Veteran Runnah”, the reasons for being here have changed when I created AVR the first part of November.

Below are the post from last week:

  1. 1988 to 2000 – The Lost Running Years
  2. My Running Bucket List
  3. RunLog 12/5/11 – First 6 Miler in a Long Time
  4. Runneritis – A Dread Disease
  5. Seasons of a Running Life
  6. RunLog 12/6/11 – Running Back Bay Portland
  7. Welcome to Veteran Runnah
  8. Six Rules for Running in Winter Weather
  9. Dressing for Winter Running
  10. RunLog 12/7/11 – Cold Rainy Day
  11. Icebreaker Base Layer Clothing Review
  12. RunLog 12/8/11 – First Run in Icebreaker Base Layer
  13. In Search of the Perfect Running Shoe
  14. RunLog 12/9/11 – No Freaking Dogs – Yipeeee
  15. Choosing a new Running Shoe
  16. RunLog 12/10/11 – Sun is Trying to Come Out
  17. Buying New Running Shoes – How to do it?

Top Ten

Here are my top ten posts for the past week based on pageviews:

1. Choosing a new Running Shoe
2. Runneritis – A Dread Disease

3. Dressing for Winter Running
4. My Running Bucket List
5. Buying New Running Shoes – How to do it?
6. In Search of the Perfect Running Shoe
7. Welcome to Veteran Runnah
8. Icebreaker Base Layer Clothing Review
9. Seasons of a Running Life

10. Six Rules for Running in Winter Weather
Reviews
I was invited by the Natureshop to review 3 pieces (top, bottoms and glove liners) from the Icebreaker Merino Wool base layer clothing line. I have worn the Icebreaker base layer for most of my runs this week and at other times also.
So far they have worked as advertised and from my unscientific point of view, they seem to transport sweat away from my body better than the synthetic base layer clothing that I own. See my two posts so far: Icebreaker Base Layer Clothing Review and RunLog 12/8/11 – First Run in Icebreaker Base Layer.

I have worn them everyday since I received them and no I have not washed the Icebreaker clothes. Surprisingly TheWife hasn’t got upset about the stench coming from my corner of the bedroom. She complains if I leave the synthetic running clothes lying around too much and yes even I agree they stink, but the Icebreaker clothes have not left any mysterious aromas in the air for her to track down and tell me about yet.

Thank You

for taking the time to read my posts. Those of you who recently started following me on Twitter or Google+, thank you and I look forward to reading your tweets, posts, links and blogs also.

FTC Disclaimer: I was provided with Icebreaker merino wool base layer top, bottoms and gloves to wear test in exchange for an honest evaluation of the Icebreaker base layer clothing on my blog(s) by the Natureshop. The fact that the product was provided to me at no charge, did not influence my review of these products. My review was based upon my personal experience with and use of these products.

Icebreaker Base Layer Clothing Review

Cross-Posted at: One Foot In Reality

Back on November 28th, I was contacted by a representative of the Natureshop which is based out of New Zealand, asking me if I would be interested in wear-testing some of their Icebreaker base layer clothing after reading my post on what to wear in the winter post on “One Foot In Reality”.

We coordinated the logistics and they sent the package out on November 30th and it got here December 6th. Unfortunately, I wasn’t home to receive the package and had to wait until today to get it picked up. Six days to travel half-way around the world for delivery to Maine from New Zealand is pretty impressive delivery time.

Here is what their site says about the Icebreaker line of clothing:

What I will be looking for in them are:How well are they made, what are the obvious flaws or how is the workmanship

  1. Fit to sizing for me
  2. Comfort
  3. Did they work as advertised
  4. A very important factor to TheWife do they stink after having worn them for a while?

During this first review I will address the first two of those factors and give a short summary of what I like or dislike about the items being reviewed so far.

Quality of Workmanship?

I was very impressed with the quality of workmanship, the seams were straight, all but one of the thread ends were properly cut. In many garments that I have purchase lately, this little attention to detail is often neglected even in high-end clothing. There were no obvious flaws in workmanship or materials that I could see. The designs were appropriate to the function that the clothing will be used for.

Below are pictures that I took of the Icebreaker clothing when I took them out of the box.

I turned all of the items inside out to check the seams and I didn’t find any imperfection in either the top or bottom.

  • Quality of Workmanship? Top notch

How did they fit?

I wear a size large for most of my clothing and the Icebreaker top was snug to fit, like it was supposed to be and the bottoms ran a little long as do most size large clothing for me. The clothes ran true to size and fit the way I expected them to.

Picture of me wearing them – yes I did suck my gut in 😉

  • How did they fit? Just as I expected them to.

Are they Comfortable?

Initially when you think of wearing wool, you think of something itchy, scratchy and not very comfortable when worn directly against the skin.

When I initially put the Icebreaker Merino Wool clothes on it was a different sensation than synthetics, but it was not uncomfortable.  I have worn them a few hours now, without any unpleasant scratchy or itchiness from the wool fabric.

They have been comfortable as a base layer, around the house. Initially I was concerned about the tags on the side of the top, but I since I put the shirt on, I haven’t noticed the tags at all.

I have stretched and done some light moving around in them, without any restrictions in my ability to move.

  • Are they comfortable? They are very comfortable and more than met my expectation in this area, I fully expected the Merino wool to be a little “itchy”, but it wasn’t.

Don’t Like

The only thing that I do not like about the Icebreaker base layer is that it recommends that you not dry  these clothes in the dryer. TheWife doesn’t like the idea of us having to be careful to remember to not put them in the dryer and to hang dry them after washing.

I imagine that sooner or later they will “accidentally” go through a dryer cycle and we will see what happens then. However, they are Merino wool and this is the same warning that most other wool garments have, so I was not really surprised by this warning.

The Gloves

The gloves, I got them in Medium and they fit really well and are comfortable.

Like the other pieces of Icebreaker clothing, they were well constructed and when I wore them outside in a cold rain tonight, the gloves worked really well. My hands remained warm in spite of the gloves getting quite wet.

They will need a shell for wind protection, which is the same as my other gloves that I wear for running.

Up Next

For the next part of this wear test I will see how well they do when I am actually running in all three pieces. The important one to my wife though, is how bad do they smell after I get through running in them.

I have had to throw away otherwise perfectly functional and fine – synthetic base layers, because they smelled so bad, TheWife refused to let me wear them in the house. So that is an important criteria for the Icebreaker line to pass.

On the box Icebreaker advertises “no stink” and TheWife kind of scoffed and told me she would believe it when she didn’t smell anything and few rather unflattering words about how bad I can make things smell after I have sweat.

Expect the next part of this review in a couple of weeks and to see how the Icebreaker base layer is working for me.

Initial Observations

The Icebreaker base layer that tops and bottoms that I received are “high-end” performance wear and went through my initial testing flawlessly. I am to say the least very impressed with the Icebreaker base layer so far.
Full Disclosure:  I was provided with a base layer top, bottoms and gloves to wear test in exchange for an honest evaluation of the Icebreaker base layer clothing on my blog(s). The fact that the product was given to me, does not influence my review of these products. My review will be based upon my personal experience with and use of these products.

Back to A Veteran Runnah and Why

Azure Theme Screenshot 12/2/

During the past month, I have been writing a lot about running over at “One Foot In Reality”, in fact writing about running is pretty much dominating what I have been writing about there.

When I started really running again at the end of October, we decided to include all of my running related posts there, not realizing how much I would be writing about running, when I wrote the post – No I don’t Need a Niche Blog for Running.

Writing about running was not the purpose of that “OFIR”, which is for my wife and I to write about our adventures in early retirement, living simply and a little about health, with a bit about running.

After only a month of including running in my writing at “One Foot In Reality”, I have decided to move writing about running back to its own niche blog here on “A Veteran Runnah”.
Why

When I was doing the November Monthly Review post for OFIR yesterday (which I still haven’t finished), I really saw how much I have written about running.  We had 71 blog posts in November and only 16 were not in some way related to writing about running.

Talk about dominating the blog and running surely did for November.

Changing Focus

It was pretty clear that if I continued to write about running, at that pace it would change the focus of “One Foot In Reality” to a running blog. Which wasn’t and isn’t the plan for OFIR. In order to keep the focus of “OFIR” where we originally wanted it something had to change.

Resurrection

Based on those realizations, I can see that I was wrong about not needing a niche blog for running. After November’s flurry of writing about running, it is fairly obvious that I do.  Last night I went around looking for a relatively simple theme that I liked and resurrected “A Veteran Runnah”.

Then I transferred most of my running related posts to here and am going to use it as my running blog, I still have a few more posts to transfer from earlier running related posts, but that will happen as I can get to it.

It will take a while to get the readership up to the level of One Foot In Reality, but that is part of the fun and challenge of blogging, to see a new blog grow and prosper.

Welcome Back

So welcome back to A Veteran Runnah. This is and will be my running blog that will focus on my trials, tribulations and triumphs as a runner.  Oh I imagine that there will be a cross-post or two about running to One Foot In Reality and some stuff that isn’t really running related cross-posted from OFIR to A Veteran Runner, just to show that I do more than run.

If you were following me at One Foot In Reality for my running related posts, please update your RSS feeds or reader to A Veteran Runnah or Follow me using the Google Follower widget on the sidebar.

Wish me luck on this new blog and I hope that you continue reading about my adventures in running.

I’m Back! November 2011 Running Reflections

I AM BAAAAACCCCCKKKKK!!!!!!!

SORRY for yelling.

No I am really not – but I am so excited about the progress I have made over the past month that I wanted to shout it out LOUD. I had been running a little here and a little there since June, but I but I finally decided to put up or shut-up about running and my knee at the end of October and keep a log on what I am doing.

This is the first month that I have been able to really run in what seems like forever, well actually since February 2010. That was when I injured my knee playing racquetball, it has been a long time getting over that injury, culminating in surgery during May 2011 and the recovery period for that.

I had 82.6 miles total for the month of November with two weeks over over 20 miles and another over 18. No not all of the runs have been easy and I haven’t wanted to go run on some days, but I got out there and did it more and better than I have in a long, long time.

Also during November I got a new pair of Saucony Peregrines, that I think have helped make a big difference in my running. They promote running on my mid-foot, instead of the heel strike that I had been trying to avoid, but just seemed to keep reverting back to with my other shoes (except the racing flats).

I am finding out that I seem to run better in more minimal shoes and when I go back through my logs (the ones that I still have), the low rise heels seem to work for me as far injury prevention – which means I run more.

Here are the screen shots of my November running logs:

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This is just a simple spreadsheet in Google Docs that I use to keep track of things, so I don’t have to do all the calculations manually.

I am still running at around a 9:00 minute pace per mile, but I do feel that I am getting stronger and it isn’t as hard to get into the 8:00 minute pace range every once in a while.

Although I may never run another marathon, I do want to run a fast 5K. My goal is to run a sub 20:00 minute one by December 1, 2012. I know that this is a pretty lofty goal for someone who is currently running 9:00 minute miles and will be turning double-nickel next August, but I think the natural speed is there and if I train right, well I believe that I can do it.

Unfortunately, I didn’t keep track of my weight at the start of the month, the only thing I know is that I weighed 196 when school let out on June 17th and today my weight was 176. That is 21 pounds away from my goal weight of 155.  Hopefully, now that I am running again, I will hit that sometime next May. Slow and steady without any fad diets, just healthier eating and shutting the pie hole down once in a while.

Yes it feels so good to be running again and as long as I stay mostly smart about my training, I hopefully can avoid the injury bug that seems to have followed far too close to me ever since January 2008, but that is a different post.

By the did I tell you I AM BAAAAACCCCCKKKKK!!!!!!!