Old Guy Job Search?

Why the name – Old Guy Job Search?

It is the truth – the name of my blog describes exactly what I am doing.

  • Yes – I am turning 55 this summer. Many hear or see that number and believe it is old – it isn’t. Personally I just look at it as I have a lot to offer the right organization or employer.
  • I am looking for employment where I fit the culture and mission (philosophy) of an organization.
  • No – I am not looking for just another job.

My plans are to use this blog to document my job search efforts, give potential employers information they can use to help them decide that I am a great fit for their organization or company and give others who are older or Veterans ideas for their own job search.

What can you expect?

  • Glimpses into who I am.
  • The different things that I am doing as part of my job search.
  • That I am not some stuffy, old coot, who doesn’t have a sense of humor.
  • Discussing my strengths, weaknesses, likes and dislikes in the workplace.
  • Finally, that I am not always going to just do what the experts typically recommend during a job search, I have enough confidence in who I am and what I am looking for, to not always follow the expert’s advice and do what I believe is right for me.

What is important?

It is much more important to me that where I work next aligns with my values and is not just a place where I spend eight hours a day to earn a paycheck. If by publicly providing information on this blog, (like how old I am), allows a company to quickly determine that I am not what they are looking for, then that is okay, it saves us both time and effort.

However, my belief is that you will read things about me that will piqué your interests enough, to want to learn more about me and see how or where I would be a great fit for your team.

If you are interested in my qualifications and experience, please read my About Me page, go to my LinkedIn account, read my other blog “A Veteran Runnah” or better yet ask me by contacting me directly – by clicking here.

Thanks and welcome to my newest blog – “Old Guy Job Search”.

Unexpected Running Shoe Shopping

I have researched what my next pair of running shoes would be for the past couple of weeks and had a good list of shoes that I thought would meet my needs very well. Which I discussed in my Narrowed the Choices Down to 5 Running Shoes post. Sometimes you have to throw your plan out the window and go with Plan B, that is what happened to me.

Oh Crap

During my recovery run down-back yesterday, my left heel started to get a blister from the hole in my of Saucony Peregrines, it was more a question of when, not if I would get a blister.

I was afraid that this might happen, before I could get down to Portland, Maine (not Oregon) and check out all of those shoes on my list.

Where to Buy

Although online stores like the Natural Running Store and some of the shoe companies themselves are great, have fantastic customer service and I have talked with many of them on Twitter (Natural Running Store, Brooks Running and Altra) or other social media sites, there is nothing like actually trying on a pair of shoes for the first time in that style or model, before buying it. Especially new models or manufacturers I haven’t tried before at all.

The advertisements and blog reviews for a particular shoe might be great, but until I try a pair on, I really don’t know if it fits me correctly. When I am buying something that is this expensive and I am going to be spending a lot of hours in, I want them to fit correctly. Typically when I go new running shoe shopping, I try on between 5-15 pair of shoes, to get the one that fits me just right. I am a shoe salesperson’s nightmare, but that is how I buy shoes. After having a pair that work great for me, I am much more likely to order a pair of running shoes online and save a little bit of money that way.

TheWife and I had talked about how we wanted to do this and decided that we wanted to stay in the local area. If we went to Portland or Oxford, it would add at least another $50-$60 dollars onto the cost of the shoes (gas, lunch or any other shopping that we did). Also I didn’t really want to spend a week or two running in my old shoes. They are good enough for a day here or there, but not as a primary shoe for any extended period.

That meant that last night going into Augusta, Maine (not Georgia) and try to find a pair of running shoes. This may sound easy to do, after-all Augusta is Maine’s Capitol, has a couple of fairly large Malls and lots of stores. However, there are no specialty running or outdoors stores in the area (EMS went out a couple of years ago).

The Choices

Unfortunately, most of the shoes that were on my list of shoes were specialty shoes and usually sold at those kind of stores, not at regular retail outlets.

My choices were:

  • Olympia Sports
  • Lamey-Wellehan – I was surprised at their selection, especially that they had Merrells and Vibrams
  • Famous Footwear
  • Dick’s Sporting Goods

I tried on shoes at every store. Saucony, Reebok, Nike Frees, Adidas, Puma, Asics, Merrell, Vibrams and I even looked at a pair of Scotts. The Scotts were very interesting, but definitely were road only shoes, so they didn’t get the third look. I am not quite ready to go the Vibram route yet and everything I tried on seemed to be too stiff or just felt wrong. By the time I got to Dick’s I was tired and hadn’t really found anything that even remotely interested me besides the Kinvara.

Dick’s choices were the best of anywhere I had been in town. After trying on the Kinvara again, Asics – a couple of different models and yes the venerable Pegasus 27 (I ran a long time ago in the first Pegasus), along with the Frees again. None of these shoes made the cut for different reasons.

Decision Time

Finally, it came down to either the Adidas AdiZero (a big surprise) or the New Balance MT20. The AdiZero really was about everything I was looking, but when I jogged in them a ways – on that little track that Dick’s has, they were definitely too stiff for me. I had put on the MT20’s between trying on the other shoes and the more I wore them they just felt right for me.

I had to decide between the 8.0 or the 8.5, so I was wearing one on each foot and then alternating to see which fit the best, when I tried the 8’s on my right foot, I knew it was definitely the 8.5 that fit me the best.

The reality is that

I was and still am a little apprehensive about buying such a minimal shoe. In my top 5 post, I stated that I wasn’t ready to move to the next step for minimal shoes yet, because I felt that I still needed the extra cushioning. However of all the shoes that I tried on last night the New Balance Minimus Trail 20s just felt the best on my feet.

It will be interesting to see how my previous efforts of moving to a more minimal shoes for walking, running and how working on changing my form, will aid me in this next move down the minimal running shoe ladder.

Thank You

I do want to thank everyone who took time to give me advice on which shoes to I should look more closely at and representatives from The Natural Running Store, Altra, Mizuno and Brooks Running were very helpful in my search. There were several people on Twitter, Google +  and Facebook who provided me with information that you just can’t get anywhere else about the different shoes I was looking at and helped me make some tough choices.

Today I am scheduled to run 5.0 and do hill repeats, I don’t know if I will do the entire workout in the MT20s, but I will do the warm-up in them and see how it goes from there :-).

Things happen for a reason, let’s hope that the MT20s were the reason for this sudden change, if they don’t work like I expect and want it is going to be a long next couple of months. I have a feeling they are going to be just fine.

Questions for you

  • If you have the MT 20 what were your experiences with the shoe?
  • How well did they hold up?
  • What was your transition time to run in them full-time?
  • What is the longest distance you have done in them
  • How did you find them to be on the roads for a trail shoe?

Narrowed the Choices Down to 5 Running Shoes

I knew this day was going to come, it is the bane of most runners – my current running shoes are wearing out. We know that when we buy running shoes that they have a limited life expectancy. When our primary shoes have 200-300 miles on them, we usually need to start to thinking about what our next shoe is going to be. My Saucony Peregrines reached that mark a few weeks ago and unfortunately I had to start to think about new shoes then.

Here are my earlier posts in this series:

I have researched many shoes over the past few weeks, thought about what I want/need in a shoe – a lot, looked multiple shoe company and running store sites, blogs and reviews about different running shoes. Based on everything that I have learned while doing this research, I have come up with the following list of 5 Running Shoes that seem to meet my requirements for running this spring, summer and hopefully into the fall.

First my Background and Requirements

My requirements for new shoes are:

  • I just went over 30 miles a week and would like to be running 40 – 50+ miles a week consistently by the summer. My goals this summer are to race a sub 20:00 5K and possibly run in a 1/2 marathon (we will see how that goes), which are very different goals, with different training needs.
  • I am still working to change my running form back to being a forefoot runner. I liked the Peregrine’s 4MM drop (no injuries) and would like to stay with a zero to 4 MM drop in my new shoes. This style seems to be working a lot better than other shoes have for me.
  • I do a lot of running on both tar, dirt roads and during the spring, summer and into late fall, I will be running non-technical trails 1-2 times a week.
  • No treadmill running, strictly outdoor running.
  • Cost – Unfortunately, I have a limited budget for running related items and cost is a limiting factor that I have to consider when purchasing a new pair of shoes.
  • The last thing is that I would like them to last longer than a couple of months.

A tall order for a single pair of shoes, everything from roads to trails, to include eventually running 50 miles a week.

I am not asking very much of my new shoes am I {sarcasm}.

Narrowed the Choices Down to 5

I have narrowed the shoes down to which shoes that I am going to learn more about:

1. Altra – Instinct – From everything that I have read and watched they seem to be a shoe that meets my requirements, but looking at the outsole design, I wonder how they will work for me on the non-technical, but hilly, rocky and roots strewn trails that I tend to run on. Other than that question, they are neck and neck to the Newtons in how interested I am in them.

Altra has been very active on the Internet and answered questions for me when I have asked them, when other companies have ignored my inquiries. Also in a Twitter conversation the other day, some people I really respect, without prompting – talked very highly of these shoes in response to my blog post, which to me is a very important consideration. Altra seems to focus on function over being “pretty”, which is pretty much who I am. However, the price tag, while competitive is at the top of my price range.

1A. Newton – Momentum Trail Guidance Trainer – This shoe appears to meet all my needs very well. I really like the idea of a shoe that promotes forefoot striking, which I think either of these shoes would help me improve my efforts in this direction – significantly and still be able to run on trails with them. The reviews that I read were mostly positive and the negatives were more about the person’s running style than the shoe.

However, for a guy on a fixed income and a small budget, they are simply out of my price range, but you never know, there might be a closeout sale that I can scoop a pair of these or another Newton model for less. Unfortunately, the price of the Newton shoes is a real tough piece for me to get by TheWife, who thankfully reigns in my needs versus wants.

3. Brooks – Pure Flow – I am very impressed with the looks and reviews that I have read/watched about the Pure Flow. Some of the people who I talk with on Twitter, really like these shoes and I take a lot of stock in what they have to say. The soles look similar to Saucony’s Propel Plus, which I have used in a variety of running situations, with acceptable results on the trails that I run on. Which means that I could probably use these as a hybrid shoe with good results. The sole looks as though it would last fairly well and I haven’t had heel wear problem with Brooks shoes.  I am slightly concerned about the reported narrowness of the forefoot, so this is one that I would really want to try on. The price is comparable to the Kinvara and Instincts.

4. Saucony – Kinvara – I really, really liked the Peregrine, until the last week or so, which is the sister trail shoe to the Kinvara. If the wear in the left heel hadn’t occurred, I would have been very tempted to just get the Peregrine again. For trail use I have used Saucony road shoes with the triangular lugs which the Kinvara’s do have on my non-technical trails with very good results, so they could be a very good hybrid shoe.

One thing that stops me from looking at the Kinvara differently is that between 200 and 300 miles, I have worn a hole in the left heel of the last 3 Saucony shoes, which eventually leads to blisters on that foot. It is unfortunate, because I was very impressed with the Peregrines until this happened and would have put Kinvara ahead of the Pure Flow except for this issue. I do have some concerns about how long the shoes would last, due to the  reports that have the soles of the Kinvara 2 wearing relatively quickly compared to other similar shoes.

However, when I was looking around yesterday, I could have bought a pair of Kinvara 2 for $59.00 on closeout. With the close-out pricing, they are much more reasonable than the ones ahead of them, but if I waited for the Kinvara 3, they are in the same range as everything, but the Newtons.

5. Mizuno Ronin – This was a lot of a surprise, when I started this research I had never heard of the Ronin, but the more I read about it and the way that some of the reviews talked about the Ronin, the more impressed I became. I have owned one pair of Mizuno shoes and while they were a nice shoe, the WaveRider was a motion control shoe and wasn’t what I wanted from a shoe. I am concerned a little about how the sole will wear, but otherwise the shoe sounds bomb-proof. One of the reviews I read really had good things to say about how it worked on trails, which really got me to thinking about this shoe as a possibility. The Ronin is a shoe I would have to see before I make a decision, but it intrigues me. The pricing is similar to the others, except of course the Newtons.

Honorable Mention: Adidas – Original Blue Marathon Trainer with Dillinger Web – I would love to find a pair of these shoes again, they are after all the shoes that have come the closest for me to being the “perfect shoe”, see my post on “In Search of the Perfect Shoe”. A guy can dream can’t he. 😉

Why Not More Minimal

I am still only months removed from my knee surgery last May and I want to make sure that the shoes that I use have enough padding to protect me from myself – when I get tired and revert to heel striking, which I still do – all too often. I don’t want to have that knee hurt any more than it has too. Therefore shoes like:

  • Merrell – Trail Glove, Road Glove
  • New Balance – MT101 or 110
  • Saucony – Hattori
  • Vibram  – I really want to try the Vibram Five Finger shoes, but am concerned about the amount of time it might take me to get acclimated to the shoe and if I decide to do longer distances, would it have enough support/cushioning for me to be successful in them. To be honest – I am rather scared to pull the trigger on this one and not have other shoes to run in, if they don’t work for me.

These more minimal shoes were taken out of consideration, due to the lack of cushioning this time (I know heresy for a budding minimalist), but I don’t believe that I am ready to move to running in this level of minimal shoe at this time, especially as my primary running shoe (who knows maybe I will win a pair in one of the many contests that I have entered).  I am being conservative and cautious in my approach to moving down the minimalist shoe ladder, but I would prefer to go slowly, than move too quickly and not be able to run for an extended period again.

The reality is that

I am going to try to milk my Peregrines through the end of this month, which gets me out of the worst of the winter running season and gives me time to research these 5 shoes more. I just hope they hold up for another 90 or so miles that I need to get out of them, without blister issues.

A Road Trip

This means at some point after March 1st that I am going to have to go down to the Maine Running Company in Portland (yes I know there is one in Brunswick), try these shoes on, to see what fits me best and what I will end up with for a new shoe to run around Back Cove in (at least one lap).  However, all bets are off as far as the timing, if my Peregrines begin to cause blisters on my foot, then I might have to make an emergency trip south or stay local and get a shoe on special.

Possible Running Shoes – List Narrowed Down

Last week I talked about starting the process to research which running shoes I should get for my next pair – probably sometime in March, but sooner if my Peregrines start to really bother my heel.

The big reason for the research is to narrow down the shoes from everything that is available to about 20 or so, that I would want to look at more closely to see how they match my running needs.

Background and Requirements

My running information and requirements for my new shoes are:

  • I am currently running 25+ miles a week and would like to be running 40+ miles a week by the end of the summer. I do like to run faster (even though I am still pretty slow now) and my goal this summer is to run a sub 20:00 5K and possibly run in a 1/2 marathon (we will see how this goes).
  • During the past two months I have worked hard to change my running form back to being a forefoot runner, to help reduce the impact and stress to my knees. I have had great success with the Peregrine’s 4MM drop (no injuries) and would like to stay with a zero to 4 MM drop in my new shoes. This seems style to be working a lot better than other shoes have for me. I like the lower heel height.
  • I do have shoes that I can wear for racing or track interval workouts, but not an extra pair of shoes that are in good enough shape to wear as an alternate daily trainer. I have some older shoes that I could wear occasionally if my new ones need to dry out or something, but I wouldn’t put them into a regular shoe rotation.
  • I live in the country, so I do a lot of running on both tar and dirt roads.
  • During the spring, summer and into late fall, I will be running non-technical trails 1-2 times a week. Initially I might be able to still use the Peregrines, until they really start to bother my heel.
  • Luckily winter will be mostly over by the time I get these shoes and I won’t have to worry so much about snow and ice during most of this shoe’s running life.
  • No treadmill running, strictly outdoor running.
  • Whatever shoe I buy, probably will be a hybrid running shoe style, to do everything that I will ask of it. Since it will be the shoe that I will wear running 90% of the time.

Narrowed the Choices Down

I have narrowed the shoes down to certain companies and the shoes that I would like to learn more about over the next few weeks:

  • Adidas – Original Blue Marathon Trainer with Dillinger Web – A guy can dream can’t he. 😉
  • Altra – Instinct or Lone Peak – These are still a new shoe company.  However, their presence and engagement on Twitter has been a very good selling point (I have talked with their rep more than a couple of times and they have been very helpful) and many of the reviews I have read have nothing but positives to say about them
  • Brooks – the shoes in their Pure Project series – I have heard a lot of very good reviews about these shoes, but that they are supposedly a little narrow for some people
  • Merrell – Trail Glove, Road Glove
  • Mizuno – Wave Universe, Ronin
  • New Balance – MT101 or 110
  • Newton – Newton Momentum Trail Guidance Trainer – The price scares me on the Newtons, they may be a nice shoe, but very pricey. However, I really like the idea of a shoe that actively promotes forefoot running.
  • Nike – Free – I have run in a lot of Nike shoes and always look at them before I buy something.
  • Saucony – Peregrine, Kinvara, Hattori  – I have had good luck with Saucony, until they get about 200-250 miles on them and then my left heel wears a hole in the back of the shoe, which eventually causes blisters on that foot. Can’t figure out why it happens, but it only seems to be with Saucony shoes? My Peregrines which I love, made it to almost 260 miles before the hole got noticeable, but haven’t started any blister action yet.
  • Vibram  – I really want to try the VFF, but am concerned about the amount of time it might take me to get acclimated to the shoe and if I decide to do longer distances, would it have enough support/cushioning for me to be successful. To be honest – I am rather scared to pull the trigger on this one and not have any other shoes to run in, if they don’t work for me.

Narrowing down the number of shoes that are out there to the ones above wasn’t easy, but I tried to stay with more minimal shoes that will promote a forefoot strike, have a lower heel height and had good reviews from other bloggers.

The Reality is that

I do think that it is important to do your own research on running shoes, because you are going to be spending a lot of money, time and putting many miles on your new running shoes, you need to be fairly knowledgeable about the choices that are out there for you. It is great to go to a specialty running store and have an “expert” help you choose a shoe that meets your needs, but in the end it is you that is going to be running in the shoe, not them.

Your Choice

Like the salesperson will tell you, which shoes you finally chose will be your choice not the salesperson’s. Personally I would prefer to have it be a fairly knowledgeable choice, instead of a momentary whim on which of three shoe models feels best and that were brought out by someone who has known me for 5-10 minutes.

Questions for Readers

  • Are there any shoes that I “have” to look at besides the ones I have listed above? Please let me know which one and why you recommend that shoe.
  • Do you have any first hand experience with these shoes, what was it? If I have talked with you about shoes before, you don’t have to repeat yourself again :-).

Finally

I know to buy some of these shoes it will either be done online (which I am hesitant to do if it is a shoe I haven’t tried on – I like to know how it feels on my feet before I buy it)  or I will have to go down to Portland to the Maine Running Company, which is okay – I like going to their store and then running Back Cove in my new shoes :-). Win-Win.

No I am not looking for a free handout or anything else, I just want some good, no great information on these shoes, that I am researching, hopefully information beyond the marketing hype on the websites and more to the point why I should be running in them and how they fit my running requirements/needs.

Stay Connected to Running-Even When Injured

Mike W over at Just a Little Run wrote a post Just a Little Run…: Making It Count., about what to do when injured and he offered a lot of great advice on things you can do while you are injured to stay active.

I added one more thing and I think it is an important one.

Stay Connected

(online or face-to-face)

Many runners when they are injured (whether it is running related or not) have the tendency to isolate themselves away from other runners and stop participating in a community that they were so active in before they were injured. Especially if the injury will mean a long period of not running.

Unfortunately, when they are injured many runners are thinking only about how their injury affects them (been there done that), not how they will be missed by the people they have become friends with and not how they can still contribute to the community they have been such a part of, even while they are injured.

Why

  • many are jealous of those who can run, when they can’t run and don’t want to be around people who can
  • no one “understands” how they feel about not being able to run (like nobody else has ever been injured)
  • don’t want to be a “burden” on others (you’re not)
  • don’t want to continually answer the question “When are you going to start running again?”
  • that people will get tired of hearing them whine about our injury (we understand – believe me we understand)
  • they no longer feel that we are part of the “group” if we can’t run (b.s.)

That is unfortunate, because when runners have an injury there is a process that we all seem to work through and a good blog post on those stages of injury is over at Shut up Run – Stages of Injury. Runners do need support (whether they want to admit it or not) in getting through those stages and getting back to the sport they loved so much.

Isolation

When a runner isolates themselves from their online or real life running support network:

  • it deprives the injured runner of one their natural running support networks that help them stay engaged with others who have the same interests
  • they lose contact with those who would stay positive about their return to running, even when the person doesn’t believe it will happen
  • they tend to be more pessimistic about whether/when and how they will get back to the sport
  • develop bad habits, i.e. eating, drinking, not doing anything at all to remain active, instead of what they can. Then find themselves completely out of shape in a relatively short time
  • they let go of the great friendships they have developed in that community
  • it takes them longer to return to the sport they loved so much
  • or worse the injured runner just completely leaves running
  • I am sure there are more, but this is a start to that list

These are all things that I have done and so have many other injured runners.

What can you do

You can sit back and become a couch potato, get fat, lazy and pessimistic about the future or you can make the best of a bad situation, pick yourself up, dust yourself and stay involved your running community.

What can an injured runner do to stay involved in running, even though they might be injured:

  • Volunteer to help out at local races, events, fun run or your local running club (help with registration at races or whatever you can do)
  • There are always online chats/hastags: #fitfluential #runchat #fitblog #runners #running and all the other online running forums to participate in.
  • help organize things for other runners, be part of the clean-up detail
  • if you have computer skills, blogging, know how to put together a webpage, use Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and other social media to  publicize the club and to attract new members, can help write a newsletter, etc. your local running club should be very interested in your help and you will be considered a very valuable asset to the club
  • figure out what other skills that you have, that can be a huge asset – carpentry, photography, writing, etc.
  • be part of a support team, I know of many times at local fun runs (back in the day), that injured runners would drive the “I’m done vehicle” for the other runners who couldn’t/didn’t complete a run. I have used that vehicle as a runner a couple of times during fun runs and it was a welcome sight. Just have some plastic bags to cover your seats – those damn sweaty runners.
  • if your friends are at a race and you haven’t volunteered to help, cheer your friends on in different parts of the race course (if possible) and be there at the end to help them out. You would appreciate it if the roles were reversed.
  • take lots of pictures of your friends running, races, fun runs, events, etc., they will tell you how horrible they look, but will still be thankful that you took the pictures of them in action and add them to their albums, blogs or however, they keep track of their photos.  Runners usually don’t have too many pictures of us running or at running events.
  • most of all stay our friend
  • An injured runner still has all that experience and knowledge that they gained while they were running and can continue to pass that knowledge on to other runners.

There are so many things that an injured runner can do to remain active in the running community and I am sure that you have more ideas to help injured runners stay active in the running community.

The reality is that

JUST BECAUSE YOU ARE INJURED DOES NOT MEAN THAT YOU CANNOT REMAIN INVOLVED IN YOUR RUNNING COMMUNITY.

It totally sucks, to be injured and not be able to run whatever the reason (I was gone for almost 18 months this last time and it wasn’t even running related), but it doesn’t mean that you don’t have anything to give to your fellow runners while you are injured.

You can exchange the word “runner” for any other activity you enjoy and continue to participate – this is not just about about running.

What do you think?

What do you think, should injured runners just fade away from the running community or should they continue to be active and vibrant members of that community, even if they can’t run?

Finally

If you are injured look closely at the things that Mike at Just a Little Run…: Making It Count says in his post – it is all great advice! But remember, it is also important to stay connected to others who share your interests, even when you can’t actively participate. You still have a lot to offer other runners even while you are injured.

AVR – January 2012 in Review

It has been a busy month for me at “A Veteran Runnah” and best of all my running is really starting to take shape with a few longer runs here and there, plus the occasional faster for me runs.

The hardest part has been reining myself back, to not try to do too much too quickly, just because I am feeling great while running and I want to do even more – especially the speed work.  So that has really been a battle for me.

Part of why I was so busy was trying to get “A Veteran Runnah” going in the direction I want it to go. Unfortunately, this meant that I had to move from Blogger to WordPress.com, I hadn’t originally thought that I would do this, but found it necessary.  I always liked Blogger, but I couldn’t get “AVR” to look the way or completely do what I wanted with the themes I wanted to use. Those were the main reasons for the blog host change.

Making the decision to move your blog is tough because you do have a certain amount of “love” for your current blog and the work that you have put into it thus far. You know no matter how much you try to publicize/let everyone know you that you have moved, you will lose readers and your stats will tank for a while. The move itself is almost done, I have just 40 more posts to update/edit and boy will I be happy when I get that last post updated.

The actual move is pretty straight forward and can be done within a couple of hours (or less) if you are willing to start from scratch. There is a lot more involved to moving if you want to bring old posts forward to your new blog – that part is a pain in the butt. Which is what I did and why I am still working on moving more than a week later.

I hope that you like the new look as much as I do, if you notice anything that isn’t working or doesn’t look quite, right please let me know.

Let’s get to talking about January and how my running is going in the new year – enough about moving.

How Was January?

January has been the time for the “doing” part of all those resolutions that we made on New Year’s Day and so far I have done very well on my resolutions. Dad had a bad heart attack and was in the hospital for a while, so that made it for some stressful times during that time and yes running helped me to deal with those stresses. He is home now and feeling pretty good  I also did find out I will be a grandfather for the 4th time, our first girl.  Other than that January has been a very quiet month. 😉

Running In January

Summary

  • Miles Run: 111.1
  • Days Run: 27
  • Days Off:    04
  • Longest Run: 8.19 miles on 1/30/12
  • Fastest Run:  7:42 pace for 3.2 miles on 1/17/12
  • Best Week: 26.6
  • Miles walked: 90.98 – added in to show that I do more than just run

Shoes Run In

  • Saucony Peregrine
  • Brooks Ravenna
  • Nike Air Flow (My go fast shoes)
  • Saucony Pro Grid Propel
Races Run
33rd Annual January Thaw 4.5 Race, Belgrade, Maine
Virtual Runs
Twitter Road Race Virtual 5K, Sidney, Maine
Blogiversary 3.5 Anniversary Virtual Run

Summary: We (yes TheWife too) sent our application in to join the Central Maine Striders running club. Haven’t heard back yet, but hope they let us in. I went over 100 miles for the month so I have accomplished 1/12 of my annual goal of 1200 miles. I even had a run where I broke the broke the 8:00 barrier in a training run, it felt pretty damn good when it finally happened. Now I just have to get in good enough shape that most of my training runs occur sub 8:00 pace, with an occasional sub 7:00 thrown in 🙂

This month in a word: Consistent

Weight
I ended December weighing 171 and ended January at 165. I did hit 163 after my 8 miler yesterday, but that doesn’t count. Six pounds lost again this month, is still great progress. Especially since I am not going out of my way to eat a lot differently than usual. I am just trying to keep eating more naturally and cut way back on the junk food and whoopie pies (which are their own food group in my world). This is the least I have weighed since November of 2000, so I am ecstatic about the weight loss progress I am making – 31 pounds since June 17, 2012

 🙂

Injuries
The right knee is not complaining very often, but I have to be careful to give it rest and a chance to recuperate after a long or hard run. No streaking or back to back hard days. The lower back is still a little sore at times, but as long as I don’t let Bennie (our dog) sit in my lap, while I am working on my laptop computer it does a lot better. Changing my running style is causing my calves to bark a bit and the increased mileage is getting to my hip flexor, which will go away in a few weeks if the past is any indicator of how long it will last.
Shoes
I ran in my Saucony Peregrines most of the month, unfortunately today, I noticed that they are developing a hole in the usual spot for my Saucony shoes and that means that I have to start researching into what my next pair of shoes might be.  Actually, I like doing this kind of stuff and will know a lot more about today’s shoes after this project is done.
Top Ten Blog Posts for December
Since I moved from one blog host to another I am going to give one top 10 list for Blogger and another for WordPress posts, they are all on WordPress now and hopefully they are all updated 🙂
Blogger top 10 for January
  1. Is Barefoot Running Right for Me?
  2. Brain Training For Runners – Book Review
  3. Runners Have You Really Looked At Your Blog Lately?
  4. Running is What We Do
  5. Running Log Spreadsheet Template
  6. Goat Head Sole Spikes Review
  7. The 33rd Annual January Thaw 4.5 Mile Road Race
  8. Old Running Shoes – New Uses
  9. Running to Run Isn’t Enough Anymore
  10. Karma and My Blog’s Theme Review

WordPress.com top 10 for January

  1. Does a Faster Cadence Help?
  2. For Guys Only – Ladies You Won’t Be Interested
  3. Are You Courteous to Fellow Runners
  4. Shut Up + Run: Virtual Run for Sherry Arnold – February 11, 2012
  5. Why Run a Marathon?
  6. How Did the Move to WordPress.com Go?
  7. Answering 20 Questions About Me
  8. Today’s Snow/Freezing Rain Photos 1-27-12
  9. Running the Day after An Ice Storm – 1-28-12
  10. Tommie Copper Sleeve Review – First Impressions

Reviews

One of the things that I really like here on “A Veteran Runnah” is to review new gear. Whether I buy something myself or am given a product to review, I enjoy trying it out and seeing if it works as advertised or not, whether I like it or not and why. Blogging about running related products makes me think about what I am using differently, than if I was just using or wearing it.
I have done the following product reviews this month:
  • Goat Head Sole Spikes
  • Tommie Copper Compression Sleeve for knee and calves
  • Ruez Performance Underwear
FTC Disclaimer – I was provided products from these companies free of charge, to review them on my blog and received no other forms of compensation to do this review. My opinions about each product are my honest observations, based upon my experience while I am using this product.

The reality is that

January was a very busy month, Dad is still with us, my daughter is having a little girl this spring, I ran more, moved “A Veteran Runnah” to a different blog host, hopefully joined a running club and was more consistent in my workouts.  What more could you ask for – no overall January was a very good month.

 

For Guys Only – Ladies You Won’t Be Interested

Sorry ladies this post will be about as interesting to you, as your posts about bras, panties, capris or make-up are to me :-).

However, if your guy has problems with chafing – read on.

Also don’t plan on me modeling this product on my blog, I definitely am not a male model and I don’t believe too many people are interested in seeing this old fart in some underwear – it would not be a pretty site, besides I am rather modest ;-).

Last week I was complaining about my compression shorts chafing me, after my long run in my RunLog blog post, last Monday, which I linked in my DailyMile entry and I got this Tweet.

Skeptical at first

Now I had seen Ruez underwear being talked about on Twitter before and had even gone to the website to see what people were talking about. When I saw the product I just thought the product was a hoot and only a gimmick to make your “junk” look bigger and more appealing to whoever you were trying to impress.  I didn’t really give it a second thought.

However, after reading Chris’ tweet, I looked at the product review closer and saw it wasn’t a joke and that it was supposed to help guys with chafing issues. Which is a pretty serious problem for many of us guys. Chafing while I run and hike has always been a huge problem for me (ranging from painful to a bloody mess) and I don’t like using creams or vaseline type products down there — they are just usually too messy, many of these products also have ingredients that I prefer not use on my body or just plain don’t work.

I was getting fairly desperate to find a solution, because chafing is a pain in the ass and other places, which definitely affects how us guys enjoy running and other activities.

Why not take Chris up on his offer and try a pair. What did I have to lose everything else that I had tried hadn’t worked and so I agreed to try a pair of Ruez Performance Pouch Boxer Underwear out.

First Impression

I got them in the mail on Saturday and when I opened up the wrapper, I showed them to my wife and she laughed at them and said “Those are too short, they will never work and you have to put what into that hole – there were lots of shall we say, off-color, bordering on rather crude comments about that! 🙂

At that point I tended to agree with her. I looked the underwear over and yes the workmanship was well done, seams were straight and the material felt good. But the “pouch” area for your junk, just seemed a little overdone.

Changing my mind

However, when I tried them on, I immediately found out how comfortable  they were. Believe it or not guys like soft too, especially for underwear (at least this one does). I am not into having sandpaper cloth against my stuff thank you.

The cut is such that my legs did not rub together, which surprised me, because they looked too short when I first looked at them. When I put them on they were damn comfortable and rather flattering – hehehee. I figured I might as well try them on my 5.0 miler and see if they would chafe or not – the worst that could happen would be I would cut my run short and change into my old compression shorts.

I didn’t have to!

Once I got them on, situated and I got over laughing with my wife about how I had to put my stuff through the hole in the underwear pouch, they were actually quite comfortable.

When I started running in them, I was pleasantly surprised – no chafing, my stuff stayed in place (usually I am grabbing at my compression gear and re-arranging things because they are uncomfortable or shift) and my thighs didn’t get that rub rash that I get when I don’t protect them correctly. I was definitely able to focus more on running, than getting myself comfortable down there. At no time during the 5.0 mile did I feel uncomfortable or feel like anything was chafing.

This was the first long run in a long time, that I didn’t have problems with chafing – so I was impressed.

Sunday, I did a fast for me 3.2 mile run and again – no problems.

Monday I ran over 8.0 miles and this is usually the distance when my compression shorts start to chafe down there and really bother me during the run and after. I tend to get rub rashes from the material in my nether regions after about 6.0 miles. Today I ran comfortably and didn’t think about my stuff or chafing, I just ran. Which is what I want to do – just run without worrying about chafing or continually rearranging things in the nether regions.

They Work

I am not easily impressed by clothing, especially underwear, it is simply something I wear to keep my stuff in place and some other reasons that we all know about, but don’t admit to (male or female). However, I am very impressed so far with the Performance Pouch Underwear from Ruez!

This is one of those times that, I am going to go out on a limb and after only wearing something for such a short time. From this short wear-test, I have a feeling that the Ruez underwear are part of the solution to my chafing problem.

The reality is that

I was skeptical, when I first saw the ads for Ruez Performance Underwear and how they worked I laughed about them. Hell when I first saw them in my hands looking at them I was still skeptical. However, I am not skeptical anymore and the only question I have now, is not how they work to stop my chafing, but how long will they last. They are a quality product, but even quality will only last so long, when you use it a lot.

They definitely will be my go-to undergarment for my long runs! Gotta save those babies for when I really need them, until there are some more pairs in my dresser drawers.

Now that I have worn them running a few times, I am plotting about how I can con get my family to buy me some more. I think I will hint around for some on Father’s Day :-). These will probably be pretty well-worn out by then.

The Performance Pouch Underwear are not cheap at $30.00 a pair, but that is right in line with the price or cheaper than I have paid for compression shorts that don’t work nearly as well.

These are simply something that you actually have to wear and use. The pictures and descriptions do not, let you appreciate how well they actually do work in the real world.

To answer the other question that someone will ask. Yes, they are comfortable for wearing besides for running and they do “enhance” how your bulge looks if that is something you want. Personally I could care less about that, but it might be important to those of you who want to impress somebody ;-).

FTC Disclaimer – I was provided these products free of charge to review them on my blog and received no other forms of compensation to do this review. My opinions about this product are my honest observations, based upon my experience while I am using this product.

AVR Week In Review – 1/29/12

The big news of the week was that I moved “A Veteran Runnah” from Blogger to WordPress.com, after thinking about it last weekend, I decided to just do it. The reasons are here and how it went are here.  I still have to update and edit just under a hundred posts, but I plan to get that done this week :-).

Below is the un-cropped photo that I used in my header.  YES believe it or not it is a picture of me, in shorts, in January. I don’t ever remember doing that in Maine.

Other than that it has been a very quiet week. Oh I did learn that I am going to be a grandpa for the 4th time only this one is a girl – that is pretty damn exciting! Gotta get out to Minnesota this summer somehow :-).

Running This Week

Three things Running

  • Ran in the Second Annual Freeze Your Thorns Off Virtual 5K Race
  • Ran over 25.0 miles this week!
  • Learned about the Perfect Cadence iPhone App

If you read my blog entry about this race you know that I got frustrated when I got 2.7 miles in and found out that the app hadn’t started. It seems that I have a lot of problems with iPhone apps not working correctly, most likely because I have an old iPhone 3G and don’t have phone service to it. I just use it as a iTouch.

Getting back to the race, I was on pace to break 8:00 minutes for the first time this year and when I looked at that, it just deflated me. Oh well, I am pretty sure I can do it in a real 5K, just have to focus on what I need to do instead of frigging around with technology :-).

I got over 25 miles for the second week in a row! I had a good 8.0 mile run and some other nice runs this week It shows a consistency in my running and that is what I am trying for, probably the second week of February I will purposely go back down to around 20 miles, then bounce up to 30, just as a change of pace week.

Twitter how I love thee, someone on Twitter talked about the Perfect Cadence app for the iPhone and after reading book about how having the proper cadence can help your form and run faster, I wanted to try it. Basically it is a metronome and ticks the pace your feet are supposed to touch the ground. You can read here about the rest of my thoughts on increasing your cadence.

Racing Schedule

I still haven’t gotten around to figuring out a racing schedule yet, the blog change-over got in the way, but I plan to work on this as soon as I get the rest of the posts edited. 🙂

Long Term Goal

I know that my long-term goal is still to run the 2013 Marine Corps Marathon. I finished the 1983 Marathon and to run Marine Corps again 30 years later would be very cool. So this is one of the major goals that I have in mind for my running and it would be even more fantastic if I could qualify for Boston that same day. Therefore, I am doing a 2 year work-up to the Marathon distance, just to see if my knee will hold up.

This week in a word: Change

Weight

 

I have bounced between 165-168 all week – 165 is the lowest I have been since 2001 – now to keep it under there!!!!  I am very comfortable with the progress and know that I am going in the right direction. As the weather starts to get warmer, the weight will come off easier. The best part is that I am not really changing how I am eating, just eating a little less on the portions, drinking more liquid and trying for my “greens” once a day.

Injuries

 

Everything is feeling pretty good. The knee is not bothering too much and my lower back is better. As I have increased my mileage, my usual Right Hip Flexor discomfort still bothers a little.  I have to start doing more self-massage, exercises and preventative maintenance.

I also got knee and calf sleeves from Tommie Copper, see my initial review and am trying those out to see if they help or not, I really hope that they do!.

Shoes

I am almost up to 250 miles on my Saucony Peregrines and they still really impress me. I am trying to set up a rotation schedule with my old Brooks Ravenna, but they seem to bother my lower calves more when I run in them, so we will see how that goes. I know that I am going to have to start looking at what I will get for shoe in a month or so. That is just part of the deal, runners go through shoes.

Blog Posts

Below are my posts from last week:

  1. Switching to WordPress.com
  2. 8 More Miles Run & Day 23 Janathon
  3. Why Run a Marathon?
  4. Running in Shorts on January 24th = WOW!
  5. Wordless Wednesday
  6. Running Past 50 – Book Review
  7. Hill/Speed Workout = Sucking Wind
  8. Answering 20 Questions About Me
  9. TweetCloud – What have you been saying?
  10. Trying Out Cadence App – 1/26/12
  11. Today’s Snow/Freezing Rain Photos 1-27-12
  12. Does a Faster Cadence Help?
  13. Tommie Copper Sleeve Review – First Impressions
  14. Are You Courteous to Fellow Runners
  15. Running the Day after An Ice Storm – 1/28/12
  16. How Did the Move to WordPress.com Go?
  17. Freeze Your Thorns Off – 5K Recap

Top 10

 

Here are my top ten posts for the past week based on pageviews:
  1. Why Run a Marathon?
  2. Does a Faster Cadence Help?
  3. Are You Courteous to Fellow Runners
  4. Switching to WordPress.com
  5. Answering 20 Questions About Me
  6. Today’s Snow/Freezing Rain Photos 1-27-12
  7. Running the Day after An Ice Storm – 1/28/12
  8. How Did the Move to WordPress.com Go?
  9. Tommie Copper Sleeve Review – First Impressions
  10. Hill/Speed Workout = Sucking Wind

My Favorite post from last week

Are You Courteous to Fellow Runners  in which I talk about a post that I read and agreed that runners should be more courteous to one another. I am a bit old-fashioned about this subject. 🙂

The reality is that

It was a busy week and moving “A Veteran Runnah” to WordPress.com really made it an even busier week. I do know that it was the right thing to do and once I get those posts updated and edited, I will feel better. I am very happy with how my running is going and I am even starting to get to review a few products here and there.

Reviewing products is something that I enjoy doing and put a lot of thought and effort into my wear tests. If you do have a product you want reviewed, please contact me using the Contact via Email Widget in the Sidebar or on Twitter @VetRunnah and we can discuss whether I am a fit to review your product or not.

Thank You again for your support and reading posts from “A Veteran Runnah”.

TweetCloud – What have you been saying?

One of the things that I liked to do as a teacher is create Word Clouds, so that I could have a quick visual of what the piece I was read or writing was really talking about.

Today I was going through the applications that I have authorized to access my Twitter account and came across TweetCloud. It was an application that I used to see what words I use the most when I first started on Twitter and every so often would check it out.

Since I have changed my focus of what I talk about on Twitter, I thought it would be interesting to see which words would be the most used. Below is my Tweet Cloud:

As you can quickly see, since November, I have been talking about running an awful lot on Twitter. The word post is used when I post a new post, so that means that I have been writing a lot of new blog posts and I say Thank you a lot 🙂

What  does your Tweet Cloud tell you about what you talk about on Twitter?

Create your own at TweetCloud.com you might be surprised at the words you use most when you are on Twitter 🙂

Answering 20 Questions About Me

Since I recently changed blog hosts and have also met a lot of new people on social media sites over the past couple of months – I thought that some people might want to know a little more about me.

The “20 Questions” survey that Brittany posted at GOtheXtraMile Thursday’s Things post was where I got these questions.

More to let people know that I am a real person, not just a “bot” ;-).

1) What is one of your favorite ways to spend a Saturday?

Other than going for a run and spending time outside. I love to go on walks and hikes with TheWife and my dog Bennie

2) List your top three favorite TV shows.

Actually I don’t really watch that much TV, we ditched all but basic cable last year. Probably watching NFL Football, Person of Interest and Grimm would be my top 3 and I don’t do that very regularly. I tend to like sports, but without the cable stations I haven’t been able to watch much NBA (the Celtics) this year and I know that I will miss being able to sit and watch/listen to the Red Sox this summer.

3) Would you rather be in pictures or take them?

I would rather take the pictures, I don’t like breaking cameras too often. But really I do enjoy being able to look back at myself and see the changes (good and bad) from then to now.  So a little of both.

4) Why do you blog?

To leave behind a bit of myself – a legacy of who I am for my grand children and others who think they know me or would like to know me.

Anther reason is that I enjoy writing and sharing things I have learned over my life.

Finally, when I decided to write a blog that focuses on running, I have to walk-the-walk, I can’t sit on the sidelines and not run and still write about it. By blogging about running I have felt like running more, more willing to try new running ideas/equipment, get back into racing and join a running club.

The support from the online running community since I started being active in it and publicly writing about my running has been phenomenal.

5) Share five websites you visit regularly…

  • Twitter
  • Facebook
  • Google+
  • Pinterest
  • WordPress.com

along with: gReader/gMail/gCal/gDocs/YouTube

6) If you could have lunch with one person from your Twitter list who would it be?

Kelly Olexa – CEO of FitFluential, I have learned much from her over the past 2 months.

There are so many people who I have met through social media that I would love to me face-to-face and hope to have lunch with someday.

7) List a few of your favorite snacks.

TheWife’s homemade muffins, Apples, Grapes, Cherries, Potato Chips (I have to really, really limit myself on these) and coffee ice cream. I eat good most of the time, but there are some comfort foods that just come around and make me go “mmmmmm”

8 ) Do you have a pet? If so, what kind?

We have a Jack Russell Terrier who has been described with words like ADHD on crack, headstrong, stubborn and a mind of his own. He is a 5.0 mile a day dog, if he doesn’t have a least five miles of activity, he will drive you absolutely bonkers.

We also have 4 cats down from a high of 6 that we had for several years.

9) Which three material possessions would you struggle to live without?

  • Vehicle – we live in a rural area without any public transportation
  • MacBook Pro Laptop – My connection to outside world
  • Running Shoes – I love to try different running shoes and until recently had a closet full of them.

10) What’s your favorite drink?

I have 4

  • Coffee
  • Green Tea
  • Merlot Wine
  • Samuel Adams OctoberFest (goes great with pizza)

However, one cup or glass (not a bottle of the wine) is usually my limit.

11) Do you enjoy cooking?

Not really, I can cook and follow directions, but have evolved into the clean-up detail. Although I make a mean Oatmeal for breakfast most days.

12) Do you have children?

Yes 2 daughters, 2 step-daughters, 3 grandsons and soon a granddaughter

13) What are your favorite hobbies?

Running isn’t really a hobby it is part of my lifestyle.  My favorite hobbies are: reading, archery, role-playing games like NeverWinter Nights 2 and when I find time flat water kayaking.

14) Would you consider yourself shy or outgoing?

In crowds I am pretty shy and quiet (I can hear some going “yeah right”), unless I know the group then I open up a little. As I have gotten older, I let others have center stage and I watch/listen a lot more than I used to.

15) If you could change one thing about yourself, what would you change?

Improve my self-confidence. I am good at a lot of stuff, but sometimes I get to thinking too much and comparing myself to how others do something. This is something I have worked on for a long time, but every once in a while it bites me square in the butt.

16) Who is your favorite actor/ actress?

Actor: Johnny Depp
Actress: Goldie Hawn – Liked her even back in the “Laugh-In” days.

17) What’s the coolest thing you’ve done this week?

I am basically a pretty boring person and live a quiet life. On Monday I ran 8.0 miles and felt really good about it.

18) Do you live near your family or far from them?

I live about an hour from where I grew up and most of my family still lives up there. My daughters live in Minnesota and California, so I don’t get to see them much.

19) List three of your talents.

I can teach people who hate learning to learn (10 years as a very good Special Education teacher)

I can shoot a bow pretty well.

I am computer savvy – Mac or PC

20) What is your greatest attribute?

My quirky sense of humor, it has gotten me through a lot of tough situations – when I was in the military, as a behavior tech and special education teacher working with “troubled” teens and now as a blogger.  Looking at a situation through a different perspective, finding something good about it and being able to laugh at yourself, really can put people at ease, as well as diffuse an intense situation or make people smile.

I can be rather blunt and call things pretty much as I see them. However, I have learned how to be blunt tactfully thanks to one of my bosses in the military who didn’t appreciate non-tactful bluntness.

I tend to say what I mean and mean what I say – and yes damn-it the glass is half-full :-).

Finishing up

That gives you quick glimpse into who I am. I did decide to retire early to do things that interest me and explore new opportunities in those areas.  Eventually I would like to find something to supplement my income, but would like it to be something running/fitness/social media related :-).

If you are reading this consider yourself tagged and go ahead and answer the 20 questions then link back so I can see how you answered them. It does make you stop and think about things for a minute.