After a lot of thought and consideration -- I have decided to retire One Foot in Reality and leave it as an Archive. I will still monitor it to keep the trolls at bay, but will not be posting here any longer.

If you are looking for my new posts, please go to www.haroldlshaw.com .

Thank you for all they years of following One Foot In Reality.


Saturday, December 31, 2011

Running in 2011 - The Year of the Knee

After a lot of thought I have decided to move some of best of my old posts from Aging Runnah and A Runnah’s Story blogs, primarily the old reviews, maybe a few of the better posts and race reports that I have written over the years. I have a feeling that at some point, my WordPress.com blogs are simply going to go away and I want to still be able to go back and read some of the stuff I wrote.
If you are reading this blog post, that is why it is has been re-posted here.

Originally posted on: Dec 31, 2011 

The Knee of the Year! :-)

This is the first time in a long time that I get to recap my running year and it feels good to look back and say that I have run again. 

However, there was one single thing that dominated my life this year - My Right Knee.

The pain leading up to surgery, recovering from surgery, my eventual return to running and how the knee continues to improve, really has been the one thing that has stolen the show all year-long.

I wish that the year had been more about running and racing than about that damn knee, but that is what 2012 will be about.

January to May 17

When 2011 started it sure as hell didn't look like I would ever run again and it would be a question of when, not if I needed surgery and how bad the surgery would be - up to and including a possible knee replacement. The first prognosis was that dire. My Ortho had ordered no running when left him in September and I followed that advice - well most of the time.

In spite of the Doctor's "orders" every so often, when I was out walking Bennie in the mornings, I would try to run a little ways to see if I could or not. I was hoping against hope that some miraculous event had occurred overnight and that my knee would suddenly be healed.

Unfortunately, the answer every time was a resounding NO - it just hurt too much to run and the pain while walking was progressively getting worse. By the end of March I was having such a difficult time just walking that I resorted to walking with a cane. About that time I finally figured out that the surgery would take place sooner and started the process to get it taken care of.

May 17th

This was the day that I dreaded and made the long walk into the Hospital, not knowing what would happen during the scheduled Arthroscopic Exploratory Surgery. At this point we didn't know what the Surgeon would actually find as I went under I remember squeezing TheWife's hand.

Fortunately when I came to, TheWife was right there and was smiling. The surgery had been successful and what had gone on was damaged cartilage not degenerative bone as they had first thought! 

I would keep my own knee for a lot longer! 

Phew that was a big relief.

Recovery from the surgery, while it wasn't easy, was not as bad as the pain I had been in for several months before the surgery. I pushed hard and PT told me I was crazy and I agreed, but kept pushing.

I wanted - no needed to run again. The Ortho was rather anti-running and told me not to even try until he saw me later in June.

June 15th to July 14

First Run - I ran a freaking 1/2 mile! I made it without stopping around Howard Circle.

I was a runnah again!

Let me tell you I was scared as hell before that run. I knew that it would hurt. It was stupid, but I had to do it. I had to know if I would be able to run again or not.

Oh yeah I basically retired on June 17th, which has allowed me to focus a lot more on my recovery and return to being a helluva lot more healthy.

The Doc saw me on June 26th and he gave me a ration of crap about starting to run again without his permission. He flat-out told me that I shouldn't ever run again, to do so would just re-injure all the work he had done.

I just smiled and told him, I was running and would continue to run. He gave me that look like "you dare to disobey my orders" that Doctors give you when you basically ignore what they "tell" you to do. That is a whole different rant though.

That is what I did - ignored his "orders" to not run.

My physical therapist was a lot more supportive, being a runner herself, but told me that I would probably at some point that summer have to shut it down to let things heal a bit more and that it would be 9 to 12 months before it would be healed as much as it was going to heal.

For the next month I ran 1-2 miles a day and walked a lot.  Too much it turned out, the knee wasn't quite ready for what I wanted to do yet. I tried to come back too soon and I didn't want to damage it in any way.

July 15th to August 15th

Shut it Down time. The more I ran the more the knee started to hurt and swell. I may be stubborn and stoopid, but I do know when to stop and give the body a bit more time to heal up.  During that time I needed to let the knee heal up a little more and did a lot of walking, stretching and band work - only an occasional short run to check things out.

August 15th to October 15th

Started running every other day 1-2 miles. I purposely didn't wear a watch or keep a log of what I was doing. That way I wouldn't be competing with myself to do better than the day or week before. It worked. I have no idea of how much or how fast I ran during that period, but I know that the knee started to feel better and I was running. I added a few runs in the log here or there, but not too many.

October 31st

I had run up to 3 miles a day for a couple of weeks and felt good, so I decided to start timing and logging my runs again. The knee wasn't 100% but it was doing really great, so it was time to go to the next level.


I also decided that I was going to keep my running log in a blog, to create a sense of public accountability. So I created "A Veteran Runner" and later changed it to "A Veteran Runnah" in honor of being a native Maineiac, for many of us who do not pronounce "er" at the end of many words and instead have an "ah" sound :-).

I ran a lot more than I have in a long time ending up with 82.6 miles for the month with a runs up to 6.0 miles.  I was settling into a 9:00 to 10:00 per mile pace for most runs and was enjoying what I was doing immensely.

After talking with a lot of people I decided that I was going to put my Running Log on my "One Foot In Reality" Blog instead of having a separate running blog. Fairly quickly running related posts took over as the primary focus of "One Foot In Reality" and by the end of November I needed to decide whether to change the focus of "OFIR" to running or use "A Veteran Runnah" for running related blogging.

At the same time I began to get connected with the online Running and Fitness communities on Twitter, Google+ and Facebook. It is a community that I was missing, after having been a part of the #edchat, #spedchat community for so long and the #runchat #fitblog #runnerds #runners all were passionate about running and fitness.


I decided 3 days before December began to start using "A Veteran Runnah" as my running blog and had to get it ready to go live in that short amount of time. I figured that my blog stats would take a huge hit as a result of doing that. I really didn't think AVR would take off like it has, but in the course of a month "A Veteran Runnah" has taken over as my primary blog.

I have even gone to using @VetRunnah as my primary Twitter handle, it just seems right for me and if I have a "Brand" that would be it. Although I have only been posting to "A Veteran Runnah" since December 1st (I did import old running related posts from "OFIR"), it definitely is my most successful blog in that short amount of time.

December 10th

I was selected to be a FitFluential Ambassador, which will give me opportunities to look into other streams of income that were not available to me before. That in addition to meeting a lot of really great people who are passionate about fitness and more than a couple of runners has made being a part of FitFluential a really great experience - Thank you Kelly and Danielle.

December 12th

I made a video of me running and saw how badly my running form sucked (ask me how I really feel about that video). As a result of that video, I really started to focus on correcting my penguin running style that I had developed over the years. As part of this form correction I have read Chi Running and watched a bunch of videos from them, PRS and others on how to improve my form.

Changing something you have done for several years is hard as hell, but I strongly believe that it will be worth it in the end and help to cut the number running related aches/pains and injuries. So that has been a big focus the last 2 weeks of December.

Bad JuJu

I did get caught up in trying a running streak and pushing too far/fast and had to back off a bit in mid December, sometimes I just get caught up in what I think I can do versus what I should be doing :-).


No I didn't run any races in 2011, 2010, 2009 or 2008. 

That will change in 2012.

Final Stats
I knew that I forgot to put something in here.  Here are my final 2011 Stats. The one I am the most proud of is the 26 pounds that I lost - basically since 6/17/11 when I retired.  The other one that jumps out at me was the 100 miles for December, I honestly didn't think that I would get that many miles until March or April, so I am a lot ahead of schedule.

The reality is that

being able to run again was very important to me. During this forced layoff I discovered that Running is a part of who I am and what I am. When I wasn't able to run for such a long time because of the knee - I learned how much I really missed it.

I have created a new blog with a focus that I am very passionate about and found a community of wonderfully supportive people who want to help you succeed in your goals and kick you in the ass when you need it.

Yes I made mistakes in my return to running, but at the same time the things I did were more of the testing to see what I could do, versus the stoopid kind where you keep going even after you know you should be stopping.

Looking back

The first part of 2011 was pretty rough, but the last couple of months have been pretty damn good. I am glad that 2011 is ending, because 2012 has so much to look forward to - both in my running and the other parts of my life.

I do want to say thank you and I love you to TheWife, without her support a lot of this year would have been a damn site more difficult.


Thursday, December 29, 2011

Looking Back at My 2011 Goals

After a lot of thought I have decided to move some of best of my old posts from Aging Runnah blog, primarily the old reviews, maybe a few of the better posts and race reports that I have written over the years. I have a feeling that at some point, my WordPress.com blogs are simply going to go away and I want to still be able to go back and read some of the stuff I wrote.

If you are reading this blog post, that is why it is has been re-posted here.

Originally posted on: December 29, 2011

Every year I go back and see how I did on my previous year goals and the outcomes.
#1  Determine whether or not I want to remain in Special Education as a teacher.
"This is something that I do every summer - take a good long look at the job I am presently in and decide whether or not to stay.  It is very stressful being a Special Educator for a variety of reasons (which I have documented in other blog posts) and I have to determine if that stress is still worth it to me or not. 
I won't make any rash decisions or anything like that, but I will look at whether I am still enjoying my chosen profession and make my decisions during July of this year.  If I do decide to no longer be a Special Education teacher, I do plan/want to remain in education in some capacity, preferably in Education Technology or some other role.  Time will tell."
This one was pretty easy to measure - I retired. The biggest reasons I left teaching were:
  • 1) My health - teaching is a very stressful profession - the stress was negatively affecting my health, 
  • 2) teaching is a very jealous mistress with your time and 
  • 3) the final straw was that I no longer enjoyed the artificial requirements of standardized testing and Special Education paperwork (CYA more than helpful) - whole books have been written these two things so I won't get into them.  
The bottom line was that teaching stopped being fun and there were not enough "aha" moments to sustain me.

#2  Enjoy writing more at "One Foot In Reality".  "Writing about what I do for my day job (Special Education) was getting very tedious for me - it was just too much of something. I needed to be able to take off my Special Education hat much more than I was.  Changing my blog's primary focus to doing reviews on software/web applications is something that I always wanted to do, but in the past always thought "who am I" and there are so many other people out there already doing that, who would want to read what I have to say?  If I don't do this now, I am not following one of my dreams and giving it a chance to see where it leads me.  I am very passionate about using technology and believe that I have some unique perspectives on how software/web applications are or can be used, so we will see how this change pans out."
  • "One Foot In Reality" is no longer my primary blog and I found a niche/focus that I really am enjoying - Running. I plan to include some of the technology stuff into "A Veteran Runnah" at times, but my focus and passion as I have discovered is more related to running than technology. I am writing a lot more, just not at "One Foot In Reality".  I am following my dreams and running/fitness are a part of those dreams.
#3  Prepare for a reduced income over the course of the next couple of years.  "I have a feeling that education is going to go through some tumultuous times over the next few years in the State of Maine and throughout the Country.  I am still at the bottom of all the lists and am probably in a better position weather the storm than some others, but at the same time it doesn't hurt to learn to live on a reduced income.  This goes well with my last year's goals of being less materialistic and more self-sufficient.  Hey who knows, maybe I will decide to leave teaching, become a freelance writer and finish writing the book that I have started and stopped so many times."
  • When I retired in June this one smacked me right upside the head. Going from a pretty decent wage to a small fixed income has meant some major changes in how we do things. We have been relatively modest for many years, and we have no bills other than normal monthly bills, so that was a big help. Now I can't just go out and buy a new pair of running shoes (as much as I want to try the VFF's) or the newest running clothes.
I am more willing to try my hand at other revenue streams (now that I need to) and was selected as a FitFluential Ambassador.  In the past I didn't worry so much about monetizing my blogs, now if I can without annoying readers, I will do that. However, I will not just whore myself out, for the sake of extra dollars. I have to look in the mirror and now I like who is looking back at me.
#4 Get myself back in reasonable shape.  "My knee is balky at best, but it doesn't bother when I lift weights or use a recumbent bicycle at the gym.  There are some lower body exercises I will have to stay away from, but other than that I don't have any limitations other than what I can do.  My definition of reasonable will be walking over 1,000 miles (logged), getting my weight back to 170 or lower (lower is better) and not having the doctor bug me too much when I visit him in May."
  • I am going to break the 170 pound barrier soon and am running over 20 miles a week. I consider myself back in "reasonable" shape. However, I am not satisfied with this and now plan to work on being in excellent shape. I now have the time and desire to do.
The knee finally got so bad that in April I went to my PCP and Ortho Surgeon to get knee surgery done. Initially the diagnosis was a degenerative bone disease and I was looking at a replacement. The doc wanted to do exploratory arthroscopic surgery first to actually see what was wrong. Turns out it was not degenerative, but cartilage damage.
It took a while to mostly recover (my PT said full recovery is between 9-12 months), but I am back to running - something that I was told I would NEVER do again. Stubborn old bastard aren't I. :-) Seriously, I love running and it is a part of who I am and I am so glad that I can do it again.
#5 Let go of things that I can't control. "I have a difficult time with this, I want to do so much, but I have come to learn that I can't fix or help in every situation.  Sometimes you just have let it go and move on.  Don Quixote is not my alias but I have the belief that Don will ride again, but just not as often."
  • I have done a lot better with this try to let things just roll off me, instead of taking up arms over things I can't change.  Don Quixote attempted to ride a couple of times during from January to June, but I was able to trip him up as he was mounting his steed and voicing his opinions.
#6 Be positive as possible in all my personal and professional relationships. "This is a carry-over from last year and believe that it helped to look at this every so often.  If I am positive good things happen and relationships improve, it is when I get negative...well we all know what happens then." 
  • I have become much more positive since I have been able to run again. Running for me and many others, gives me time to help think through issues, relax a lot more and have a much more positive outlook on life around me.  I had dwelt on the negatives of having knee surgery and waited until I had no choice, it really turned out so much better than anyone (including the doctor) expected.
It often pays to look for that silver lining in those storm clouds.
I often wonder if I had been able to run the last six months as a teacher, if things would have bothered me as much as they did towards the end - I will never know.
#7  Say "no" and mean it.  "Often I say yes to things that I can't accomplish or don't really want to do, but say I will because of who is asking or some other reason.  Saying no is not part of my usual "can do" attitude, but with the demands of home, work and other things I like to do, taking on even more is not something that I want or should do.  This will be something that I do more often this year - just say no."
  • This is one thing that I did very well in my last six months as a teacher and have been better at since I retired. If taking on something is not what I really want to do, unless there is no way around it, I have said no several times.
It is hard for me to say "no" because I want to be a nice guy and be known as someone "can do" attitude, but I have finally learned that I can not be all things to everyone, do everything that others want and still lead the life that I want.
At the same time being able to say "no" and mean it can be very self-empowering.
#8  Take the Google Certified Trainer series of tests and finish them by the end of April break.  "I started going through the trainings last summer and completed them, but just haven't taken the tests.  Completing this would be good resume material, if I need it and will help me gain more self-confidence that I do know something about what I am doing with technology other than in my own mind."
  • Did all of the studying, went through the prep work, but never took the certification exams = NOPE.  Now this certification does not mean as much to me, so I will probably not do it, unless something changes drastically.
#9  Attend one of the #edcamps in the area.  "I really love to meet the people that are in my Personal Learning Network and see them face to face.  I have come to rely on my PLN for ideas, support and comments to help me improve as an educator.  I plan to continue to participate in the #chats that are on Twitter and MLTI webinars whenever it is convenient to do so, but they are on the calendar as probable, not definite."
  • I attended EdCamp Boston at Microsoft's NERD Center last May. It was so great to meet and talk face-to-face with many of the people that I had talked with on Twitter #edchat & #spedchat. I was in the final decision-making stages of staying or retiring and attending this event was a positive reason to stay a teacher. The EdCamps are a great way to learn a lot about teaching and education, as well as meeting many of those people you communicate with via social media.
#10 Make sure that I stop and smell the roses.  "I get so wrapped up in getting school work done, trying to figure out how to interest my students, playing with the computer, participating in #chats, webinars and all the other things that happen my day-to-day world that I forget to stop and just enjoy my life.  I need to remember I have a life beyond school/education or my laptop and need to enjoy that part of my life more.  The work-life balance that I sometimes forget about."
  • Since I have retired, this is something that I take much more seriously. I try to finish my morning coffee, eat a good breakfast, read my email, gReader and answer any comments on the blog. Then I start in on a blog post instead of rushing around with my head cut off. I am lucky that I can do this but at the same time I chose to simplify my life and as a result can stop and smell the roses more.
When school was in session, teachers do not have a work-life balance. As a teacher your life revolves around the needs of the school and your students - in most cases your family and personal life take a second fiddle. I know many don't believe that, but to be a good teacher, it is the way it is.
I am enjoying my life now more than I ever have in the past!
Those are how I did on my 10 goals from last year.  I would like to believe that I have made progress in all but one and that one, is not as important to me as it once was.
The reality is that retiring has changed my outlook on many things and my priorities are different now than they were in June.
How did you do on your 2011 goals?  Did you meet them or did things change for you during the year?

Book Review - Chi Running

After a lot of thought I have decided to move some of best of my old posts from Aging Runnah and A Runnah’s Story blogs, primarily the old reviews, maybe a few of the better posts and race reports that I have written over the years. I have a feeling that at some point, my WordPress.com blogs are simply going to go away and I want to still be able to go back and read some of the stuff I wrote.

If you are reading this blog post, that is why it is has been re-posted here.

Originally posted on: December 29, 2011

I just finished my first reading (but not last) of Chi Running by Danny and Katherine Dreyer. Which I got as one of those Christmas presents I choose while browsing (err shopping) at the Maine Running Company in Portland, but TheWife paid for and wraps for you to get later.
Why would I want a book on Chi Running when I have run for - well let's just put it this way a long damn time? Quite simply I watched myself run in a video I took earlier in the month and let's just say that my form sucks.
After seeing myself in action, I did some research on different ways to improve my form and Chi Running was one of three methods that really interested me.
So how was the Chi Running the book?
The Good
Chi Running had some great ideas that I want to add into my running:
  • I can see the importance of the 4 Chi Skills and know that I need to go back and really work on using them:
  • Focusing
  • Body Sensing
  • Breathing
  • Relaxation
  • the idea that correct posture is very important to better running form
  • getting everything moving in the same direction - forward. i.e. my feet instead of running with my feet at about 45 degree angles have them as straight as possible
  • keeping my arms at 90 degree angle and not cross my body
  • creating a column
  • using gravity to propel you - I haven't got this down yet, but think I am close
  • having a lean to help gravity propel you and changing the lean to change your speed.
  • I am very intrigued by his method of going uphill and want to try that out
  • back in the early 80's I was introduced to the metronome method of running and used it for a while, so I understand its usefulness to maintain a certain turnover rate, just do it when no one else is running with you.
  • his ideas on how to avoid or aid in healing certain injuries warrants a closer look
I have just touched on a few things that really jumped out at me, the book has a wealth of knowledge, that I believe I will find very useful when I can wrap my head around all the information that it has about changing to Chi Running.
Scratching my head
  • Some of the terminology had me scratching my head, which left me frustrated and overwhelmed that I wasn't understanding what they were trying to say especially in Chapters 4 & 5.
  • How to level my pelvis is still escaping me
  • I still don't have a clue what peeling your foot off the ground really means or how to implement it. I think it means lift your foot straight up or something like that - once I get this piece a lot of the others will fall into place.
  • Some other things I just had trouble wrapping my head around should be clearer when I go back through and do more than just read that section.
It almost seems as though just enough information is given to really make you want to go buy the CD that is a companion to the book or attend one of their running workshops. The book attempts to spell out how to begin Chi Running, but in a couple of sections I did get frustrated and overwhelmed with the information being presented and voiced that on Twitter.
Some Chi Running advocates graciously provide links and watching videos of people using Chi Running on YouTube explained a few of the areas I was really having difficulty with. One time through the book, does not give me a lot of confidence that I could completely implement Chi Running to my running yet and the Dryers warn you in the book that you will probably not be able to after only reading the book once and that it will take time to fully implement Chi Running.
I completely agree with that warning and that there is simply too much information being presented to understand Chi Running after one time through their book. It will take a lot of time and effort to completely get a handle on the changes the you will need to do to become proficient in Chi Running.
Need to attend Chi Running Training
When I was complaining about being overwhelmed on Twitter by what was in Chapters 4 and 5, the biggest suggestion that I got on Twitter was that "I should go to one of their full days sessions" and after that I would really understand the power of Chi Running.
Unfortunately, as great a suggestion as this might be and as much as I might want to go to an all day sessions someplace - that is not an option for two reasons,
  1. there are not any local Chi Running training sessions going on in my area that I could find in the near future and travelling is not an option. One of the disadvantages of living up heah in Maine is that we are kind of off the beaten track for a lot of things.
  2. the costs associated with one are simply not in the budget for the foreseeable future.
Re - Read Important Sections
Hopefully after I have gone through the book's sections that give you the action instructions a few more times and practiced the drills, I will understand better what they are talking about and will be able to make the changes as I go along.
If I decide that Chi Running is what I am looking for in how to change my running form, I will end up buying the CD and when I have some extra cash someday, I will try to find a training session within a days drive to attend. Until then I will muddle along through the book a few more times and watch YouTube videos to help me understand what it is trying to tell me.
Change isn't easy
Changing a running form that you have had for several years is not going to be easy and I don't expect it to be. I expect to work hard learning how to run with a better form/style and that I probably won't get "it" overnight. At the same time I have to wonder a little, if I am overwhelmed now by some of the terminology or expectations that you need more "stuff" to understand the practice of Chi Running, will Chi Running meet my expectations of K.I.S.S.
Worth It
I think that Chi Running has a lot of potential to help me become a better runner and I am looking forward to learning more about Chi Running - it has certainly piqued my interest.
With the little knowledge that I have gained in reading and underlining the book once through, I am starting to consciously run differently than I did before reading the book. I know that I am attempting to use some of the techniques described in the book while running and while I haven't gotten the knack of how to do circular feet yet - I am making positive progress.
Chi Running is worth looking into a lot further, if you are looking to change your running form. I won't say it will be for everyone, but it is definitely worth reading the book to see how it meshes with your expectations.
FTC Disclaimer: I have not been provided any compensation or free samples of products as part of this review, they are simply my thoughts on something that I have purchased .

Thursday, December 15, 2011

The Complete Book of Running - A Review

After a lot of thought I have decided to move some of best of my old posts from Aging Runnah blog, primarily the old reviews, maybe a few of the better posts and race reports that I have written over the years. I have a feeling that at some point, my WordPress.com blogs are simply going to go away and I want to still be able to go back and read some of the stuff I wrote.

If you are reading this blog post, that is why it is has been re-posted here.

Originally posted on: December 15, 2011

Cover of "The Complete Book of Running"
Something that I have wanted to do for a while now is go back and re-read some of the books that made a difference in my life as a runner, in addition to reading new ones that might make me a better runnah. I know of at least a couple of books that are under the tree, so I have a couple of weeks to re-read some of the old ones that I have kept over the years.
The first book I ever read on running was James E. Fixx's "The Complete Book of Running" which was published in 1977 and I originally read sometime in the fall of 1978. I picked up picked up my present copy of this book at a book sale and put it out in the garage as "one" of those books you want to keep but don't need it in the book case.
When I read "The Complete Book of Running" the first time, I was just going out and running without any idea of what I was doing other than just running. I give this book a lot of credit for helping me to become a better runner and avoid/correct some mistakes I had made up until then. Especially the idea that I had to run "balls to the wall" all the time when I would run, instead of hard/easy training.
Based on all of that, I thought re-reading "The Complete Book of Running" would be a good place to start my running re-reading running adventures (seemed appropriate).
So how did the re-read go.
Actually I read "The Complete Book of Running" in about 3 days. It is a very easy read and is not a very technical "how to run" book. CBR was written for beginning runners and surprisingly a lot of what he wrote back then, is pertinent today, though there were a few things I disagreed with, but that is not the point of this quick review.
There have been a lot of different reviews and thoughts throughout the years on the value of this book to the running community, especially once you are no longer a beginning runner. Personally, I feel it really wasn't all that bad and he had some thoughts about running that I still share.
Surprisingly he recommended (pg 135) shoes with practically no heel, that are flexible, not too soft cushioning - which sounds more than a little like today's more minimal shoe movement. Although he wasn't as concerned about weight, but those old Asics Tigers he was wearing on the cover were not heavy weight shoes).
I chuckled more than a couple of times during his chapter on The Mythology of the Woman Runner - my how times have changed :-). I do remember running cross-country in high school and that Kim Tweedie was the first female cross-country runner at our school (around 1973) and the shit she went through just to be allowed to run with "the guys". No it was a lot different for women runners back then, we have come a long way in that respect.

A good reminder

One of the biggest things I enjoyed about re-reading the book was being reminded that even the great runners back then ran more as a part-time thing, than their livelihood. Most of them had full-time jobs and sandwiched running in when they could around their job. Not something that elite runners of this day and age have to worry about with sponsorships and such. I wonder how much faster people like Bill Rogers, Frank Shorter, Amby Burfoot and others would have been if they had the advantages of today's runners and being able to focus on being better runners, without the distractions of needing a job to support themselves.
I really enjoyed re-reading the chapters where Fixx interviewed people like: Bill Rogers, Joe Henderson, Dr. George Sheehan and the chapter on the Boston Marathon. I really think this book is the one that made me always want to run "Boston" and yes it is on my Running Bucket List

Running instead of Jogging

I guess that this book is part of where my belief that running is running no matter what pace you run at, not jogging came from. On page xvii of the forward Fixx has in footnote form the following"
We may as well dispose of a question of definition right now. Although some would argue the point, there is no particular speed at which jogging turns into running. If you feel that you're running, no matter how slow you're going, no one can say you're not. For purposes of the present discussion, therefore, it's all referred to as running, no matter what the speed.
I guess there was a little Karma involved with me finding this quote this week, in light of my post on Labeling - Runner or Jogger Does It Really Matter? :-)

Worth the Time

Going back and re-reading "The Complete Book of Running" was well worth the time, not so much from any hidden gems on training or running, but more for bringing back to me many of the names, and ideas that are associated with the 70's & 80's running boom and bringing back a lot of memories from those days.
Next book up on the re-read list is "Running the Lydiard" Way by Arthur Lydiard which came out in 1978 and I read it shortly after reading "The Complete Book of Running".

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

My Six Rules for Running in Winter Weather

After a lot of thought I have decided to move some of best of my old posts from Aging Runnah and A Runnah’s Story blogs, primarily the old reviews, maybe a few of the better posts and race reports that I have written over the years. I have a feeling that at some point, my WordPress.com blogs are simply going to go away and I want to still be able to go back and read some of the stuff I wrote.

If you are reading this blog post, that is why it is has been re-posted here.

Originally posted on: December 7, 2011

I know so many others have written about this topic lately, why do we need yet another running in cold weather post in the blogosphere?

You never know when you say something in a slightly different way, that somebody remembers the next time they go outside for their winter run.

Here are my rules for that may make your winter running routine a little safer.

First rule - of winter running (when it gets colder) - NO COTTON! Save cotton clothes for lounging around the house after you get done running in front of the fireplace. That means no cotton socks, briefs, t-shirts, etc., they rob you of your body heat once you start sweating and they get wet. This means you will get colder faster.

Second rule - Slow down, if the weather is crappy, don't try for a PR and land on your heinie or get yourself injured because you were going too fast for the conditions. Tendons and muscles are not nearly as elastic in cold weather and sooner or later you will slip, slide and go boom, which could result in an injury and time away from running.

Third rule - Be seen! Dress in bright colors that contrast with the environment you are running in. Wear reflective gear, if you are running in dawn, dusk or dark conditions and carry a flashlight/headlamp.

Fourth rule - Bring your cell phone if you have one. Getting rescued is a lot easier this way.

Fifth rule - Use shorter courses and do more laps. Hell yes it is a lot more boring to do laps, but if the weather is nasty, suddenly gets worse or it is really cold, it is better to be safe and only have a short distance to get back home, than it is to be a long ways away and take a chance on something bad happening. Also you are more likely to have injuries in the winter - slipping, falling, getting splashed by cars, feet getting wet, etc., so think about shorter courses and more laps, until the weather improves.

Don't over estimate your current running abilities during the winter, if anything be very conservative, Mother Nature is a cruel mistress and doesn't treat those who believe they are more prepared or fitter than they really are nicely.

Sixth rule - Cars/Trucks Win. Even if you have the right of way, being dead or injured is not worth being right. As we know in bad weather, vehicles respond differently than they do on bright sunny days on dry pavement. Metal wins when it impacts flesh and bones. Your heirs will not appreciate the doctor bills or the funeral costs. Even if you do survive the impact, you won't be running for a while. Remember this when you are running in the winter, even if you have the right of way, yield it for your own safety.

Those are my personal rules for running in the Winter - I try to follow them, but usually forget the cell phone and once in a while will wear a cotton t-shirt and really regret it when it gets soaked and I get friggin cold while running - I do that one at least a couple of times during the winter running season.

No - none of these rules apply if you are running on a treadmill in a 70 degree room.

Where did I dream up all this stuff?

I have read a lot of books, magazines and yes blogs that give a lot of helpful insight into winter running and this is a summation of all the stuff that I learned.

I have been running for a long time (40+ years) who is from Maine, lived in New England most of my life and have made most of the mistakes that you can make while running during the winter. While gaining this experience I was extremely lucky on more than a couple of occasions that I wasn't seriously injured or worse - especially learning that yield to vehicles lesson.

Running outside in the Winter is not that bad once you are outside, getting out the door is usually the biggest hurdle, so as they say have fun and do it. However, there are days that it is better to just take a rest day and stay inside where it is warm, so use your common sense and be safe.

Do you have any additional rules for running during the winter that I missed or you believe should have been included?