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.


Friday, March 23, 2012

Thinking about Trail Running Safety

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: March 23, 2012

The other day while running on a local trail, I found a runner who had slipped on a root and hurt her leg really badly. She could not walk on it at all - it turned out that she had fractured her fibula. 
We had to carry her out and she safely got to the hospital and is fine now - she just has a broken bone in her leg and is in a cast.
Made me think

Finding this girl crawling towards the trail head, has really made me stop and think about trail running and how I would have handled the situation if it had been me with the broken leg. Would I have been able to do anything any differently than she did?

A couple of things, but I didn't have much more gear than she did that day - hell I didn't even have a cell phone with me to call for help.

Most of us drive or run to the trail head and then bomb around the trails, until we get tired or have gone the distance we planned to go. We don't think about what we would do if we got injured while out on the trail. Usually, unless we are going to a back-country trail, most of the time we just carry some water, car keys, possibly a GPS device and sometimes a phone, besides what we are wearing.

Usually I Run Alone
When I am trail running, I usually run alone and I hate things bouncing around or having to carry anymore extra weight than I have to when I am running on trails. I want to stay as light on my feet as possible and so I am not distracted by something I am carrying. In fact, I would prefer to just run in sneakers, shorts with shirt being optional (a sad or scary sight to be sure) and go as minimal as possible. This incident is making me re-think that strategy.
Use Common Sense

Some common sense stuff to do before going trail running:
  • Run with someone else when possible - two is better than one on the trails and the buddy system will keep you safer.
  • Run with your dog if you have no one to run with and your dog is appropriate to run with.
  • Tell someone where you are going and when you plan to be back, BEFORE YOU LEAVE. If you change your route let someone know (this is also a good chance to check to see if your phone works where you are).
  • Run in shoes appropriate to the conditions - Yes you can run on trails in road shoes, but the extra traction and protection that trail shoes give, can make the difference between being injured or not. Why take the chance on an injury - think about it, especially if the trails are muddy, icy, wet with lots of roots on them - running in a pair of shoes made for the gym or the road is not the best shoe for trail running.
  • Slow down - if the trail is not in the best shape, slow down a little and focus on running the trail, think about what you are doing next, not what is happening at home or work.
  • Carry a bit of basic survival gear.
  • What do we need to carry?

If an accident happens, that makes it so you can't walk out, what would most of us do?

Crawl or lay there?

I have a feeling that is what would happen to most of us who run trails and don't bring anything with us.

Admittedly, I am not an expert trail runner, but I have spent a lot of time in the woods as a hunter, fisherman or hiker and always had a "just in case" kit with me, so that I could spend a night outside if I had to with me. Carrying something like this as a trail runner is something I have given a lot of thought about, since I found that girl crawling towards the trailhead.

What is the bare minimum that I would need if I broke my leg, twisted my knee or hurt my ankle to the point where I couldn't walk out unaided or needed to stay where I am:
  • Cell Phone (I know in some places they just don't have service, but if you can get service it would save your ass) - the one thing that I know I will always carry with me, fully charged.
  • GPS device - most smart phones are GPS devices, even an old iPhone or Android phone without phone service still works as a GPS device and help people find you quickly.
  • Water - Most of us carry some water, personally I don't like hand-held water bottles, so I wear a hip carrier with bottle holders or a small hydration pack.

Gear to put in a small pouch:
  • a mylar blanket - will help keep you warm
  • a folding knife - you can create a lot of things with a small sharp knife, including a pair of crutches, if you are on a trail that not too many others will be on
  • 20' of parachute cord - lots of uses (splint to immobilize an area - comes quickly to mind)
  • Aspirin - pain control
  • lighter - fire
  • flashlight - I plan to carry a small shaker light so I don't have to depend on batteries
  • tick spoon - get rid of ticks, which are a real problem in my area
  • whistle - a whistle can be heard a lot further, with a lot less effort on your part than yelling.
  • extra pair of glasses - I can't see worth a darn without my glasses and I have a bunch of old pair lying around, keeping one pair in the bottom of my hydration pack makes a lot of sense - now that I think of it.

Everything has its place on the hydration pack or in the small 6x3" pocket that I can put on the waist belt or just keep in the bottom of the pack. I keep the mesh compartment for my wallet and car keys or a power bar or two. The pack doesn't weigh that much more and I don't notice it at all when I am running.

But it does give me some peace of mind, that if something bad does happen while I am trail running or on a long run, I will be able to make the best of a bad situation.

Do you have any special items for your area or did I miss any must have items?

The reality is that
This little kit doesn't sound like much, but it might be enough to make a big difference.
  • With the cell phone if I have service I can get help
  • If I have a GPS device and I have shown someone how to find me with it, I can be found pretty quickly, if I am overdue
  • With the small kit I put together, I can create a pair of crutches and splint whatever is hurt to get myself out. Or if I can't move, put together a little camp, until someone pulls me out and could do a night or two if necessary - not ideal, but I would survive until help arrives.
  • My outdoor experience, gives me a skill set that some others might not have and confidence that I will survive.

If all I have with me are shoes, shorts and a shirt, my choices are to either gimp, crawl back to the trail head or wait for help (hoping that another runner or hiker happens by) or make do with what I can find around me.

That is not a good situation to be in and I would prefer to be proactive as possible, while at the same time not being weighed down with a lot stuff, while I am running. Therefore, a small kit with the basics will be in my hydration pack "just in case".

Be Safe
I love running on trails and like most everyone have no plans to get injured, but a wrong step or landing wrong on a root or rock can quickly ruin your day. I don't plan to stop running on trails, just because of "what if", but if "what if" happens, I want to be somewhat prepared for it.

Also if I come up on someone who is crawling on the trail because they are hurt, I am a lot more ready to help them out than I was last time.

If you are a trail runner - think about it - what would you do if you couldn't just run/walk out of a trail you were running on?

I don't want to just sit/lay there in agony or do the long crawl.

Semper Paratus is the Coast Guard motto, guess I still think that way. :-)

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Runners - Who Do You Listen To?

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: March 17, 2012

Many, if not most runners have a problem with listening.

It isn't that we don't listen enough to what others tell us about running, sometimes I think we listen too much.

I think opinions are a lot like assholes - everyone has one. 

Unfortunately, it seems an awful lot of people and businesses seem to have opinions about how you should be running or what you need to make you a successful runner in today's world.

Many of us listen all too well, to what too many other people are saying about running.

Look Closely

  • When was the last time that you really looked closely at the information you are being given, who is saying it and why they were saying what they are saying (whether it is another runner, on a blog, business, website, video, book or magazine)?
  • What is their background or experience?
  • What is their motivation for saying what they are saying?
  • Are they trying to get you to buy something or go somewhere?
  • What marketing or propaganda techniques are they using to influence you? Scarcity, Low price, Expertise, etc.


Let's face it, if a company provides information or free product samples, they are not doing it out of the goodness of their heart. It is usually in some way connected to their marketing efforts and to influence others to use their products. Marketing and advertising are not bad, but you do need to be an informed consumer, to know the difference between hype and what works for you.

The bottom line is that companies are trying to get you to buy their products and turn a profit. That is not new or exciting news by any stretch of the imagination or a bad thing. However, how often do we get, as Paul Harvey used to say "the rest of the story."

So we need to be careful not to confuse hype and marketing techniques that businesses use to sell their products, with information that you need to make informed decisions about what will work for you, when you are out for your run.

"Caveat Emptor" is a warning we need to heed even in running and you should research the claims being made by businesses before making your purchase, to make sure the hype actually meets your needs.


Bloggers put a lot information out there for runners to read and watch. Some of it is great stuff, while some of it sucks, (being honest here), it all depends on who the blogger is. I get a lot of information and ideas from fellow bloggers about running, that has helped me become a better runner, however, I have had to cut through the chaff to get to the good stuff.

Runners need to be aware of a blogger's prejudices, background and motivation for writing a post. Read the blogger's About, Disclaimer and Disclosure information, those will give you a lot of information about the blogger, their motivation and affiliations - which are important.

If something doesn't seem quite right, figure out where they got their information and double-check the blogger's facts with other sources you trust, before you jump on their bandwagon.

Another Runner

Sure it is great to hear the opinions of what someone who has been a runner for a while or even someone who is new to the sport, has to say about running (training, gear, shoes, etc.). Their experience or lack of it might give you an idea or perspective on how to do or use something better or differently than you do now. Which could save you time, effort or hell their advice might even help you run better - a lot better.

If it is another runner, how well do you know that person, how current are they with "new" whatever, what are their running prejudices, which theories, companies or products are they aligned with and what is their background. Are they an old curmudgeon or a hot-shot racer? Is it a coach, someone who knows you well or is it someone who just started telling you about running 101 according to them?

All these things matter when receiving advice on running from other runners.
Who's Decision?

At some point, after you have looked at all the ads, read all the blogs, listened to other people's advice, it comes down to you looking at your goals for your running, which will really determine how you run and what gear you will use. After all you are the one who will be doing the running and using the equipment, not the companies or all the "experts" out there.

That is part of the challenge of running - finding what works for you.
The reality is that

I am very selective about which businesses and people who I really listen to and try very hard to not follow willy-nilly the latest fad or next great thing. Over time I have developed my own sources that I trust about running and running gear - I believe that eventually we all do this.

However, this doesn't mean that I take their word as gospel and not do my own research, to learn more about something that I want to do or buy, before I do it (well most of the time - every so often I get caught up in the hype and do the dreaded impulse buying too).
What do you do?

With all the conflicting information, opinions there out here about running and running gear, how do you choose who you will listen to?

What are your criteria?

How do you make that final choice about ___________(you fill in the blank).

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Confessions of a Middle of the Pack Runner

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: March 7, 2012
Photo by David Colby Young
I have a confession to make:

I am not an élite runner - that isn't really earth shattering news to anyone.

Actually, I am not even all that good of a runner at the local level either - not much of a surprise here either.

But I still run.

While I am being totally honest, I am what most "competitive" runners would consider a "recreational" runner - I don't race all that often (though I will race more this year than I have in a long time), for many reasons - but that is a different post.

Even though I haven't raced very often I do run a lot and yes I run to get better at running - so no I am not a jogger (runner vs jogger - it's an attitude, not a pace per mile).

I am strictly what could be considered a middle of the pack runner.

Why am I saying these things?

While most of the runners in the communities that I follow are great and supportive (online and real life), there are always a few who - to be blunt, look down their noses at those of us, who run slower or not as far as they do. This is not a rant on better runners or those who can run long, but just a gentle reminder to some of those "better" runners, that we are runners too, even if we tend to delay your awards ceremonies a little.

I also want to make sure that everyone who reads "A Veteran Runnah" understands what I am - a middle to back of the pack runner, who is going to focus on having a lot of fun running this year. :-)

Age, injuries, my attitude and lack of ability have all contributed to this understanding. 

Yes I want to run faster and farther than I do now and of course I want to do better in my age group locally. There are also a few younger runners out there, who I know, that I would love to keep up with for an entire race and surprise them at the end (my competitiveness).

Unless of course I suddenly find some magic elixir that turns me into Hermes, the Flash or reverses the aging process - I know "not likely", but I am ever hopeful.

I also know that I am not going to run as fast as a lot of the runners and now my main competition is myself.

Yes you work hard

Those of you who finish ahead of me - I know that most of you work your asses off to be able to go as fast or as far as you do.

The truth be told - I am jealous of all of you who can run like the wind or seem to be able to run forever. Those of you who can run those 40-50 plus mile weeks and throw in a sub 7:00 or 8:00 minute pace (or faster) on command for miles and miles, when I have to struggle pretty hard to go under 8:00 for more than mile nowadays or a relatively pain-free double-digit run is cause for a big celebration.

We work hard too

Middle of the pack runners are not lazy, mostly it just that we are more limited by genetics, injuries, age (yes aging plays its sadistic part), attitudes and an unwillingness to embrace the pain that comes with running faster and farther (even though many who run in the middle of the pack have our own pains that we endure to just run).

We train and run the best that we can, given our circumstances and abilities. However, instead of competing so much with other runners, we are training to compete mostly with ourselves and our own goals or dreams, which are usually very different from the others that finish so far ahead of us.
The reality is that

For most of middle of the pack runners, competing against ourselves is our main goal, if we are able to "beat" some people we know who are a little better than us - that is cool too.

Even front of the pack runners eventually end up as middle of the pack runners at some point in their running life, due to injuries, burn-out or age - if they continue to run long enough. They slowly sink farther and farther into the middle of the pack - sorry just the way it works, aging, injuries and changing priorities or attitudes all work to slow you down (it might take longer, but it eventually happens).

Those faster runners who look down on middle of the pack runners today - enjoy your time in the sun - just as Icarus did, but don't fly too close ;-), so that when you eventually join us, it won't be as painful a drop for you as it was for Icarus.

Middle of the Pack

To be labelled as a middle of the pack runner is not a bad thing. In fact considering the alternatives, I am damn proud to be included in this very select group of people who run, that are called middle of the pack runners. It means that I am still running :-)

We are out there doing the best we can and at the same time doing something we love - are you?

Think about it.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Falmouth Fun Run - January 1, 1979 (Memories)

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: March 4, 2012

I have done some early spring cleaning today and came across this old newspaper clipping of a race that I ran back on January 1, 1979.

(Yeah a long time ago).

Last Place

I am pretty sure I remember where I finished in this race - last -- at least I never saw anyone behind me. This was the only race in my life I have ever finished last.

All I remember is that as soon as I finished I kept running to my car and drove away as fast as I could - I didn't even take my finishers tongue depressor - I was too embarrassed about who I had become and what had just happened.

I was 21 years old, single, lonely and trying to drown the weight of the world - to get it off my shoulders, in ways that were unhealthy and looking back very self-destructive.

The last-place finish was a testament to my over-zealous training regimen from Thanksgiving through Christmas that year - I had very few runs, for not too many miles during that time frame. Too much beer, booze, food, too many nights at Bobby Byrne's Pub and the Holiday Inn - had gotten me fat and way out of shape (no drugs or tobacco - I never did those). This race was my attempt to go ahead and jump-start my fitness program and to start building-up my self-esteem.

I am number 72 with the black watch cap and "old school" nylon warm-up suit. (Go straight up from the word Starts).

The biggest reason for my poor finish was due to being hung-over and too much partying for the two months before this photo.

Unfortunately, instead of motivating me to do things differently or building up my self-esteem, this race had the opposite effect.

I wallowed in self-pity and continued down my path of self-destructive behaviors for a few months after this race.

There was no story-book pick myself up from the wreck that I was becoming as a result of this race - it only made things worse.

With a little help

Thankfully, a few months down the road good friends (Rick and Kim), along with LT Perry & LTJG Currier took an interest in getting my ass straightened, helped me make some important changes to my life, which ultimately led to the decision to make a career of the Coast Guard.

I know that I was really a mess back then and came very close to going down a very dark path.

After I had cleaned myself up, Doggy Moore gave me this clipping as a reminder of where I had been and how far I had come in a short time.

I have kept this newspaper clipping to remind me of that low point in my life and how lucky I am to have had others support, to help get through this dark period of my life.

What this memory meant to me

It is amazing the feelings that an old newspaper clipping can bring out in you and help you to realize something very important about your life and yourself.

On that day, I failed terribly (in my mind back that day) and now I know how much I let it affect me negatively for so many years. Even those years I was running good, in the back of my mind, when I submitted that entry form or to get to a race races I always thought back to this day when I had finished last - (even if I knew I wouldn't finish last) and it scared me.

While I have raced some and run a lot since this race, something died in me that day and I never really got it back.

I didn't need much of an excuse to bail on a race and did so many times over the years because of it.
The reality is that

Memories - Some of them are painful, some are good, but they all are a part of who we are. This is one of those more painful memories for me and a part of my life that I am not very proud of. However, it is one that I am glad to say, that I have finally gone beyond.

I have learned not all running injuries are physical and sometimes the emotional injuries are the most difficult to recover from.

Different Person today

I am a different person/runner now and many of the demons that pursued me then - have been faced and vanquished. While that person in this picture is me - it is a different me and is just a memory, not who I have become and enjoy being today.

I hope that you don't mind my excising another demon from my past.

I wonder how many people in this picture are still running? I am glad that I am.

If you know of anyone who ran in the late 70's in Falmouth, Mass, who might have been here take a good look at the clipping or send the photo to them.

It would be great to hear from anyone who was at this race and what they remember about it and where they are in the picture.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Saucony Kinvara 2 - After 50 Miles

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: March 1, 2012

I now have 55.7 miles on my Saucony Kinvara 2s and I like to do a follow-up review of new shoes after 50 miles. So it is that time.
The newness has worn off and I have had time to notice the little things about a my Kinvara 2s that I didn't, when I started to wear them
These are not leading edge shoes and have been around for a while (in shoe terms) and have been reviewed too many times for me to go into any great technical detail. My review will focus on how the K2s are working for me.
I have run in the K2s 12 times with long runs of 8 and 9 miles. How have they done?
Honestly, I like running in them so far. The K2s are a fast, light shoe that allows me to run the way I want to run.


They are mostly comfortable - I have a minor issue with the right pinkie feeling slightly too snug against the side of the shoe, but no blisters have formed there and after I start running, the snugness doesn't seem to bother too much. Other than that minor snugness, the shoes fit very well and my feet don't slide around inside of the shoe and there are no other hot spots, even after my long runs. When the Kinvara 3s come out, if I decide to stay with the Kinvara line - I might try on the wider edition, we will see how it goes and what I think of them in a few months.


On the road and in dry dirt the shoes have done very well and I like the amount of protection they offer, while only having a small amount of drop and being so light. Whether I am going faster or slower the Kinvara 2 feel very comfortable for me to run in.
The couple of times that down-back got a little muddy, the tread design wasn't that great for muddy conditions and I slipped and slid around more than I would want, along with my feet getting pretty wet. These are definitely not mudder shoes.
I purposely ran out in today's snow storm to see how they would do in snow - not as bad as some I have run in, but not all that great either, I was slipping a lot more than I did in my Peregrines. In my opinion as a winter shoe, they are not really all that good. I wouldn't want these shoes to be my primary trail or winter shoes. Yes they you could run in them in those conditions and they would work on non-technical easy trails or some snow, like most other road shoes do.
This does mean that I need a second pair running shoes that have better traction and don't allow your feet to get as wet or feel the cold  quite so much. In other words a pair of trail shoes, which are enroute.
The good news is that the snow run helped clean off some of the crud that had accumulated on these shoes :-).


There were a lot of reviews I read before getting the K2s, that discussed how the sole wears too quickly and how the uppers would last. To be honest, they look about like any other of my shoes after 50 miles, a little wear on the soles and the uppers are in still in great shape, just a little dirtier/stained than when I got them. I am not easy on shoes, by any stretch of the imagination and the Kinvara 2s have held up nicely for me.


The biggest thing that I don't like about the Kinvara 2s that I have, is that they are mostly white. I am definitely not a White shoe type of runner, I run in mud, dirt, snow, slush and other stuff that just doesn't do well with white shoes. It is what it is, and white/blue are what was available for colors in the Kinvara 2 when I got them, but white shows the crap that I generally go through way toooooo much.

The reality is that

If that is the biggest complaint I have about a pair of shoes (the color), then they must be doing fine. ;-)
The Kinvara 2s are now being closed-out to make way for the Kinvara 3's that are coming out later this spring, so you can definitely get some great deals on this shoe. Who knows, if I can get a great deal on another pair, I might just buy them and put them in the closet for when these wear out.
Yep - so far I like them - a lot.
FTC DISCLAIMER: I bought these shoes with my own money and no one has compensated me to write this review. The thoughts and words are my own.