I HAVE MOVED

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.

Harold

Thursday, December 27, 2012

2012 - Was a GREAT Year!

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 27, 2012

The year 2012 has brought about many changes to both my real life and running life! Overall, it has been a GREAT year. However, since this is primarily a running blog, I will focus on my year in running and healthy-living. My wife and I decided in May to return to work and luckily I was able to find a job where I can work from home and focus on continuing to improve my health.
Consistency
My biggest accomplishment this past year in running was that I ran consistently. I listened to my body, for the most part trained fairly intelligently and didn’t let small injuries become major problems. Except for the 8 days I took off to recover from a long year of training at the end of October, my longest breaks throughout the year were only a few 4 consecutive days off to recover from some minor things - I ran!
This was huge for me, because for many years, my running was plagued by being consistently inconsistent, either because of injury or just plain slothdom. I will finish 2012 with over 1,800 miles and that is definitely the most since my running glory days back in 1983-1986 and couldn’t have been accomplished without having been consistent and lot of motivation from my online running community.
Loosing More Weight
Over the past year I have gone from 172 to down around the 145 range, which has made a big difference in my running and my wardrobe. That has been one of the biggest things that I had to wrap my head around is that I no longer wear large or extra-large clothing, I am more of a men's small and have a 30 waist these days. Sometimes it is just hard to grasp that because I was a 36 waist or larger for many years (even when I was running). That was the focus of my Christmas this year to update my wardrobe a little to get some less bulky clothes to wear.
Going to Minnesota
I got to go to Minnesota to visit my daughter and her burgeoning family in July. That was truly one of the highlights of the year, seeing all 4 of my grandchildren. Oh by the way, I got to do some running while I was out there and found that running on the roads there is a lot easier. They actually have sidewalks or breakdown lanes, to make it a lot safer than up heah in Maine where I usually run.
It was a good trip, even if I did lose a pair of fairly new Nike Free Run 3 and a bunch of other running gear on the way out there, it just meant that I had to get some new stuff for running out there.
Online Running Community
A LOT of really great things have happened since I joined the online running community, that is across so many social media sites (Twitter, Facebook, Daily Mile, Google+ and all the others). In my mind meeting so many wonderful people who just happen to be runners or healthy living types are some of the best things that have happened this year.
I am not going to get into the name-dropping, because there are just too many great people out there who have inspired, pushed, helped, taught, motivated and made me a better runner than I would have been if I had not been a part of this wonderful community of great people.
My running
Without a doubt 2012 was the best year of I have of running in many, many years! I am running faster and further than I have since 1986, the best part is that I have started racing again. I love to run and for many years I just ran and didn’t race due to my problems with race anxiety.
This year I wanted to confront this issue head-on and made great progress towards overcoming the worst of it. I ran my first race at the January Thaw 4.5 miler in Belgrade and participated in 5 road 5K’s, 4 Bond Brook 5K trail races and a half marathon. For the first time in many years I also started running longer runs. For a while I was running 13 plus miles at least once a week, which I really think helped my running improve more than anything else that I did (besides running consistently).
Running Highlight
Attending the Runner’s World Half Festival Weekend! I went to Bethlehem, PA as a FitFluential blogger and ran in the 5K and Half Marathon, in addition to all the other activities. I was shocked that I finished second in the men’s 55-60 age group that day and then the next morning ran my first Half Marathon in a race and finished with a 1:41:12.
The best part of the entire weekend was meeting all the different people there. The people from Altra were simply fantastic and actually listened to what runners were saying instead of going and just trying to sell their product, which was very refreshing. The Staff at Runner's World were just fantastic in how they treated the FitFluential Bloggers and I enjoyed learning so much more about the people who work there and magazine that I have read for so long.
Then what can I say about all these other FitFluential Ambassadors that I got to meet during the weekend or who Bart Yasso coined Harold's Harem. Not really, but as the only guy there, I kind of stuck out like a sore thumb :-). So many of these FitFluential Ambassadors were people that I "talk" with on social media and read their blogs, so needless to say it was great to put people and their personalities with the name.
It was a GREAT weekend and I learned a lot about myself and what I needed to do to compete and run at a different level than I had been. The Runner's World Half & Festival was really less about the running (which was great) and more about the experience and meeting all the people that I did down there.
Racing
Although I had a few age group 1st or 2nd place finishes this year and am proud of those races, especially since I haven’t raced in so long, it is all relative and compared to many others, I am not all that fast.
Running to win my age group is not my motivation for running - no my motivation is because I love to run and challenge myself to do better than I have before, any of the age group stuff is purely accidental or is that coincidental - but won't lie and say that it isn't nice to do once in a while.
I ran in 6 road races and 4 trail races this year and hopefully have gotten over the worst of my race anxiety, which has plagued me for so many years. Oh a couple of times I let it get the better of me and found reasons not to go to a race, but for the most part, I think I have gotten the better of it - finally.
Blogging
I started blogging about Running and Healthy Living on A Veteran Runner over at Blogger, then moved this blog to WordPress.com in January and no have “graduated” to a Self-hosted WordPress.org blog. At times I feel as though I would have been better off, just dealing with the issues at Blogger and stayed there, especially now that my primary computer is a Chromebook which integrates with Blogger a LOT better than it does WordPress of any flavor.
It is also kind of funny, because my One Foot In Reality blog, usually beats A Veteran Runnah on all the stats, even when I don’t post to it for months at a time - oh well, I like this blog’s niche better. Who knows, maybe someday I will return this blog back to Blogger, it would be easier in many respects to just do that. I admit it that I miss a few things about Blogger, now that I am posting again to my other blog.
It was also very cool to have been nominated as one of the Most Inspirational blogs, by the #RunChat community - it meant a lot to me. However, I still feel that Krysten at Darwinian Fail, has been through more and was more inspirational to many runners than I have been.
Opportunities
FitFluential Ambassador
I became a FitFluential Ambassador in December 2011 and over the course of this past year, I have learned so much from Kelly Olexa, Danielle Liss and the rest of the staff at FitFluential. As a result of being an FFA I used what I have learned and confidence I have gained into opportunities to do things that I would never have believed possible before I joined FitFluential.
Honestly, I have been very conservative about which promotional or marketing opportunities that I apply for. I ensure they to fit my personal beliefs and interests, before I go ahead and just apply to do anything.
The one opportunity that I got through FitFluential that really stands out for me was being given the opportunity to attend the Runner’s World Half Festival as an invited FitFluential Ambassador Blogger and where I got to meet so many other FitFluential Ambassadors, Runner’s World Staff and other runners (right Joe) that I got to meet down there.
FitFluential has been a great match for me and I am proud to be a FitFluential Ambassador.
Real Health Contributor
Back in June, I got this strange email asking me to contact some guy named Jonathan about a possible opportunity. After a lot of talking on the phone and email exchanges, I provided some video (not all that great at and still am working on to get better) and was brought on as a Real Health Blog Contributor in August. The time between being contacted to being selected was a wild ride.
Initially I was unsure if I was “good” enough to be a paid contributor and do what they were looking for, especially when it came to the video part of the deliverables. That self-confidence thing that seems to bite me square in the butt at times. However, this time my wife and a few others who I trust, gave me confidence that I could do it.
It seems strange sometimes to look back and see how far I have come in both my writing and video styles in the 3 months since I started to contribute to the Real Health blog. I just want to thank Jonathan and the rest of the Real Health team for giving me the opportunity and believing in me. It has been a GREAT experience and one I am thankful for.
Swiftwick Blog Ambassador
I met Jillian Marketing & Media Director Swiftwick International, LLC by accident while at the Runner’s World Half Festival in October.
I had never heard of Swiftwick before the Festival and got a pair of Swiftwick Aspire socks in my blogger’s swag bag, which I loved the first time I put them. I just happened to be wearing them that night and told her how much I liked them in such a short time. I did something that goes against everything I know and recommend about wearing new gear for the first time at a race. I wore the Swiftwick socks for both the 5K and Half Marathon, without any problems! I was very impressed with how they worked for me and told Jillian how much I liked the socks after the race, when I saw her at Aardvark Sport's booth at the expo.
I stayed in contact with Jillian via email and Twitter, got to try a few more of their products and then during December I was asked to become an unpaid Swiftwick Blog Ambassador and because I believe in their products, I accepted.
Product Reviews
There have been many opportunities to review products, some provided by the manufacturers and many that I have purchased myself. It is something that I enjoy doing, but at the same time it comes with a few hazards and you need to be very aware of how you discuss a product or book review. I have turned down opportunities to review products that I don't use, wouldn't use or simply conflict with products that I do use and am happy with.
In reviewing products there is a fine line between trashing a product or providing constructive criticism and I prefer to be positive whenever possible.
Also the elephant in the room is how many products you can receive for free from manufacturers, until you have to start reporting it as income. Since A Veteran Runnah has become a small business enterprise for me as well as my personal blog, I discovered from my accountant that once you go over $600.00 it is reportable to the IRS as income in-kind and that I would have to use the retail price as a guide, unless provided different amounts from the manufacturer.
I never would have imagined that blogging would lead to me creating my own little business, but it has happened. No I will never become rich or famous doing this blogging thing, but every little bit helps, to keep it so I can continue doing this kind of work.
Getting Older
The part that is hardest for me to accept, the getting older part. In my mind I believe that am still 25 and bullet proof, but I "know that I am 55. I can feel myself slowing down, but it is the way it is. I find it is much more difficult to maintain a fast race pace or recover from a difficult workout, than it used to be. However, I refuse to go sit on the couch and just watch. I want to get out there and compete and see what I can still do.
Okay I admit it, I like to surprise people, who see all the gray on top of my head and the lines in my face, who start talking a little trash and go he’s no problem. Especially when I can wait for them at the finish line and make them scratch their head a little and possibly motivate them to train a little hard, so they can go out next time and kick my butt - if they can catch me.
A little bit of my ego showing through there, but it irks the hell out of me to hear someone say, "oh you are too old to do this or that!" Let me decide what I am too old to do and don't tell me that I can't - I just take that as a challenge and work harder to get over the hump.
The reality is
that I could go on and on about all the great things that have happened during 2012 and bore everyone to tears with me talking about how great a year it has been. However, 2012 was a GREAT year and I will always remember it fondly.
Now it is time to figure out my goals for 2013 and start to look forward instead of back.
How was your 2012? Did you have anything that really stands out in your mind?

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