Sixty – Where Do I Go From Here

I turn 60 today.

I made it. 🙂

It is a great day in the neighborhood!

This is the second part of a two-part blog post about my thoughts on turning 60. You can read the first part here.

Harold Jr 3rd birthday 1960
My third birthday at Nana’s in Newport –

Yeah, 60 that ominous sounding number that means you are old.

Being in your 50’s ain’t so bad, you are simply getting older, but 60…well now that is a different number altogether! After all, everything is supposed to be downhill once you reach…shhhh 60.

Well I guess a lot of the rumors, innuendo, the fake or real news and even a few factoids depends upon who you talk to, what you read and what your mindset is about hitting that milestone.

For me it is a number that I have to pay attention to and now that I am here carries a little more weight, but it does not define who I am anymore than 59, 38 or 21 did — I am still me. Although my perspectives on life and what I consider important in my life has changed as I have aged.

Which is as it should be.

I do wonder at times how I even reached this grand number with some of the dumb shit I have done over the years, but I have and it is a lot better than the alternative – being dead.

Yeah, I have also become pretty damn blunt.

I have given up on dancing around the facts as they are or at least how I see things. What most other people think of me doesn’t matter all that much to me now. It is more important how a select few view me and how I view myself.

It took a long time to learn that lesson.

Also I don’t expect that on the day that I turn 60 that my body will fall apart or suddenly everything changes overnight – at least I hope it doesn’t :-). I have a feeling the way that I run the day before the I turned sixty, will be pretty much the same way that I run the day of my birthday and for a while after.

The big question is for how long?

The changes that will happen as I move into my 60’s are more insipid and incessant, sort of a speedy gradual (if that makes a bit of sense to anyone else but me), a diminishment that will become an out of control snowball at some point in my future.

It is just a question of when, not if. Although I do want to slow that snowball from getting too big too quickly.

Reaching 60 means that I have to work harder to maintain what I still have for as long as possible, because I sure as hell can’t stop the inevitable decline in both my physical and mental abilities that will occur as I continue to get older. All I can do is delay things within my control by continuing to run/exercise, eating a little better and living a good life where I get to smile a lot.

Enough dithering and blathering about turning 60. I have done enough of that over the past few days.

So what are my running ideas going forward?

Dream Big or is it Big Dream

“Everyone says to (whoever to hell “everyone” is) have a big arse scary as hell goal so that you don’t let what you think you can’t do, get in the way of what you actually could do.

Let’s see, become a world class and champion 5K masters runner in the 60 and older crowd.

Then reality bit me square in the arse and I woke up.

Yeah, I am not going to be an elite masters runner.

No, I am not limiting myself as a runnah, I am admitting the truth to myself that I don’t have the ability or mindset to make the sacrifices in my life that it would take to become one.

Okay, now that I have gotten that bit of silliness out of the way, what are my real thoughts about my running (notice I didn’t use that word “goals”), yeah ideas on where I want my running to go.

Run Consistently

I have had my share and maybe more of injuries, due to stoopidity on my part, thinking or believing that I am better than I am (attempting to train beyond my conditioning/abilities) and sometimes just plain bad luck. This year has really been a fairly consistent year for running with just some minor hiccups that have a more to do with equipment choices earlier in the year, than injuries that seems to have cleared itself up.

I want to be healthy enough to able to run between 30 and 50 miles a week (depending on where I am in whatever training cycle I am attempting) for the next 20 years or so.

Speed Kills

Focusing less on the speed side of running since it is going away and will continue to.  At the same time I know that I need focus more on working with the speed that remains – carefully.

Talk about some double-speak there!

Back when I could get some air under the feet and a little bit of a longer stride than the old man shuffle. Back in the mid 80’s and shorty shorts were in style.

The legs might still be able to run sub 6:00 minute pace or faster for limited distances (I still seem to have a few fast twitch muscle fiber left from the glory days), but that doesn’t mean that I should be attempting to run that fast very often or all that far, especially since when I do, things tend to break, tear or hurt like a son of a bitch after I run that way. Plus the stamina for that kind of pace, just is not what it used to be.

Yeah, in other words stop worrying about breaking  20:00 minutes for a 5K or even 6:00 minute miles, those glory days are long gone and are simply memories now.

I need to focus on giving my best effort when I am racing and being satisfied with the time based on the effort I was able to give that day – based on the conditions, my conditioning, health and whatever is going on in my life that day. The times should get better for a while as I working hard on getting in better shape, but at some point there is going to be a slowing down in times for the same amount of effort.

It does kind of suck (a LOT actually and to be honest it has already started – what used to be a nice comfortable amount effort to run at a sub 7:00 minute pace is now about a 8:30 minute pace), but it is the way the aging process affects the old body. Also that attitude is a little more realistic and lot less stressful for an old fart to attempt, errr do, rather than always chasing a specific time goal that would only matter to me anyways.

I do know that I will enjoy the racing more without the artificial numbers to chase.

It doesn’t mean that I will always be satisfied with my effort though ;-).

Take Time to Smell the Roses

I know, a competitive kind of runner doesn’t stop and smell the roses, they just run their arses into the ground training and only smell the roses when they can’t move after a race or workout and are laying on the ground gasping for air, accidentally laying beside some roses.

Since I ain’t gonna be one of those Elite Masters Champions anytime soon and will have a hard time placing at most events in my age group locally, much less the open competition – it is time to let go of the hyper-competitiveness and start learning to enjoy running more.

2014 Thomas College Terrier Trot 5K – one of those races where I got surprised when not too many others showed up

This will be one of the more difficult things for me.

Even though I am not a good or great runner, I am just a “little” competitive and know enough about running and myself that I get caught up in “if only I…and then I attempt to go out and do it, even though it puts me into stoopid land a little too often. Then I put loads of artificial pressure on myself and end up with all of that race anxiety shit that ruined so much of my running life.

Gotta be smahter, let it go and yeah, stop and smell the roses a lot more.


I gotta remember that technology is a tool to help me with my running and creating data points is not the reason that I run.

Running Shoes

Stay with the more traditional EE-width rounded toe shoes, so that I can run longer distances more comfortably. Pointy toe running shoes even in EE-width just don’t work and there are not too many D-width shoes that have worked too well either over the years.


My left Achilles does better with a 10-12mm drop shoe versus the lower drop. Even though I do probably run a little better/smoother in the 4-6mm drop shoes, but they leave the Achilles way too sore afterwards.

The reality is that

As an aging runnah I think a lot about my running and what, where and how my running will be after 60. In that I have a feeling that I am pretty normal for a runner, not that runners are normal or that I want to be “normal” whatever to hell that is in today’s world.

Yes, I know intellectually that I will slow down, get injured more easily when I do stoopid stuff, take longer to heal things back up, but as much as I know that in my brain, sometimes it doesn’t seem to change how I try to do things.

Simply because I have a hard time doing things like the old fart I am becoming is supposed to do them – that not aging gracefully thing that I tend to overdo or is it overlook.

Talk about a dichotomy!

Oh well, let’s see where my adventures in running go as I get older and hopefully I don’t think too much my running – that is sometimes a big problem too. I really think that I need to focus more on just keep doing it and let go of the little things that really don’t matter anymore.

Turning 60 isn’t scary, but it is a complicated concept to wrap my head around, with so many conflicting ideas and feelings that I have about it.

Especially, the part where statistically speaking, I only have another 10-15 good years left, before things really turn to shit, but that is a different post for a little later.

Yeah, a few more wrinkles and a lot more gray hair, but still some of that boy you saw in the first photo remains

Until then I plan to live well, keep on keeping on and smile a lot – after all Life IS good. 2016-12-10 08-27-18
Minions Meme screenshot from Facebook in December 2016

Last Run in My 50’s – RunLog 8-5-17

Yeah the title says a lot about what is spinning around in the old noggin tonight. After tonight I will not simply be getting older, I will be old – according to the numbers. I hear people screaming – you are only as old as you feel and all those other sayings that people use to deny how freaking old they really are – those sayings are just a bunch of horseshit thrown against the wall by people who are afraid to be old.

I am as old as I am and there ain’t no fountain of youth that I can drink from that will change that fact.
This will be my wife Mary and myself at some point and time as we get to grow old together – all I know is that I love her more than she will ever know.

We ALL age, get gray hair, the body is not nearly as purty in the mirror (I know that mine is not and never was), but you know something, while getting old is not easy, for the faint hearted or those who don’t know who they are – from where I sit right now, it really isn’t all that bad.

I will be 60 years old tomorrow and it is a fact that I am rather proud of.

Turning 60 does not mean that I will self destruct or the wheels will fall off immediately, it means that I get to continue to make the Grim Reaper chuckle at my lame attempts to stay half a step ahead of him (or her).

After all, I gotta make someone smile every so often.

Let’s talk about that last run as a 50 something.

This morning Bennie and I ran 4.0 miles, where I purposely kept things pretty slow – the humidity was too high for a hard run and Bennie doesn’t do well in the humid stuff. He did his usual Bennie stuff, but only got to chase one car and when given the option of stopping at 3.3, he kept running.

So I had to keep going too.

It didn’t matter that the humidity levels were in the stooooopid range and it looked like I had gone swimming in my shirt and that the hat was raining sweat. Bennie wanted to keep going.

I was not sure why, his tongue was hanging out of the side of his mouth so much that I thought it would drag on the ground a couple of times :-). We ran up to the top of the hill and came back down. There was a family (some of the new people on the circle) out walking.

When Bennie saw them everything changed, he perked up, his tongue went back in his mouth and he started to run. We didn’t go “that” fast, he had a damn anchor attached to him, but even the anchor got his form back together, got out of survival shuffle mode (old man shuffle) mode and sort of looked like a runner for almost half a mile.

After we finished, a couple of little girls commented on the cute little puppy that had passed them and asked if they could pet him. He seemed to understand and walked me over to them and sat right down in front of them and looked back at me and then at them, with a big doggie grin.

Bennie seemed to say it’s okay Boss, this is why I wanted to run that extra lap, I knew this was going to happen. The girls patted and rubbed his head and he just sat there and drooled on the ground while his tail was wagging away. The older ladies who were with the young girls asked how old the dog was and everyone was surprised when I said around 9 years old.

The girl’s grandmother (she is the newish neighbor) said he is the same age as you are! The girls continued to pat and rub Bennie’s head an he stood up and just ate up the attention. Finally, the grandmother said they had to go and Bennie just walked over to the side of the road and watched them go. He still had that doggie grin on his face and you know something, I smiled at him too.

We walked a little ways up the road to cool off, before turning around to cool off.

It seemed like Bennie knew that he was supposed to do that extra lap, so that those little girls could pat him and tell him what a good boy he was. 🙂

It was a great way to end my last run as someone who is just getting older, you know one of the multitude of 50-somethings out there.

Yeah, looking back at it tonight, it was a good way to end this decade of my life and to get ready for the next one tomorrow.

Good night dear readers and I hope that the morning finds you as well as it will me.

Where Am I Now – as a Runnah

This is the first part of a two-part blog post that I have been working on as I careen toward my 60th birthday. In this one I will focus on where I have been as a runner and about where I am now. The second part will be about where I am going, well at least my ideas on where I would like this old body to take me.

How I look today 8/4/16 after a hot and muggy run

Now that I have retired again and have had some time to settle in, I have been thinking a little…well a lot about my running and where I would like to see it go. Especially since one of those decade birthdays is upon me this weekend.


Let’s get be brutally frank about where and what I really am as a runner.

Age. I turn 60 soon, so my best days as a runner are behind me, just the way it is.

I know that I can and will make many more great memories as a runner, but the days of running fast and pain-free are distant memories.

I am a never-was. At some points in time in my running life, I had opportunities to be a decent runner, but my battles with race anxiety, not willing to get too far into the hurt locker, life getting in the way and being a total head case, I never took really advantage of any potential I may have had.

I am one of those 5:00 minute mile guys that was mentioned in “Once a Runner” – if you don’t understand you need to read the book.

Not really all that sociable. I don’t like running/racing with lots of people, hell I don’t like being around lots of people at any time even when I am not running. So running in a big race with lots of people there just ain’t my thing. Which means I stick to the smaller local races/events, when I even go to them.

I do fine with individual or small groups, but more than that – I probably ain’t too happy or comfortable.

Out of Shape. Right now I am nowhere near the kind of shape I want to be for training or especially racing. First and foremost I need to lose at least 15 pounds. Then I have to work on getting stronger, I can barely do 20 push ups (I couldn’t do 10 a month ago), so I know I have a lot of work to strengthen up the old body. That and having two 2×4’s attached with screws for ankles mean that I am not all that flexible.

Those are a few things I need to take care of before I can call myself back in shape.

Injuries. My left ankle/Achilles still have way too many issues and I have to be very aware of how the Achilles is doing at faster paces. I don’t want to totally screw things up and yes age does play a factor into rehabbing – everything takes longer to heal. I did have some Plantar Faciitis issues earlier in the spring, that seems to have cleared itself up.

Otherwise I am a good place when it comes to injuries right now

Age Grouper. Depending upon who shows up at races, I might take an age group locally and have even had a few surprises come my way in the past when a LOT of people didn’t show up. However, in larger local races (where people do show up), I usually finish ahead of the middle of the pack, but not all that far ahead.

Technology. I love it and I hate technology when it comes to running. I love that I can put my running logs into a spreadsheet, get accurate mileage, share my runs online with Strava or Garmin Connect and even my thoughts here on my blog.

Technology in the running world marches on and while technology has its place, it is not the reason that I run – you know to make data points that can be graphed, studied and dissected.

Sometimes I miss the simplicity of running in the early days and attempt to live without the quirkiness of technology and running, but I get back to wanting the tech back pretty soon, when I stop using it. I has its place in my running.

Running Shoes. I give my running shoes too much credit when things are going good and WAY too much negativity when my running is going bad. Realistically, a lot of different brands/styles of running shoes and for the most part unless they alter my running mechanics, I can run in most shoes, it just doesn’t mean that I enjoy running in all of them. I really think that when I got to reviewing running shoes as a big part of my blogging, it skewed how I viewed running shoes and what I expected from them.

This spring I finally figured out that my feet are Hobbit feet and because they are short/wide, that I need to wear EE-width shoes that have a rounded toe box. That way my Tailor’s Bunionette has room and doesn’t push my little toe against the 4th toe cause all kinds of misery for me during a run.

What I have learned is that there are some running shoes that I want to run in and that is vastly different perspective than running shoes I can run in. I am looking a lot closer what works for me, versus always looking at the newest and greatest marketing drivel or latest and greatest offerings from multiple brands all the time.

The reality is that

I am an old fart, who is comfortable using technology, but doesn’t really like being around lots of other people or travelling too far to get a run/race in. I am a little better than some, but not really good enough to be anything more than a local age group competitor. Over the past few months I might have even figured out the issues I had with my running shoes over the years and it is making a pretty huge difference in my comfort level during longer runs.

If I am honest with myself I always thought too much about what I could have been as a runner, if I had only done x, y or z.

The thing is that I didn’t or couldn’t do x, y or z.

Unfortunately, I have never been able to let what might have been go. It has haunted me for far too long and I need to accept that time has passed me by and move on. Bury the what might have been.

Now – is about what I still can do and more about what I want to do going forward, because despite all of the ups, downs, disappointments, anxiety ridden moments that are part of my past as a runner…

I still love to run and running is a part of who I am.

I am very comfortable with that.

Now to move on to part 2 of this post. Sixty – Where Do I Go From Here