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

Monday, June 29, 2015

Cost is What Stopped Me From Racing Today

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: June 29, 2015

I was going to run the Augusta Rail Trail 5K race on Sunday, but I chose not to and this reason has been a factor in my deciding not to do some of the other races in the area this spring.

Why did I make that choice?


Was it because of the weather?

No. I know it was raining and about 56*F, but those conditions have never stopped me from running. Ssssshhhh if the truth be known, I rather like running in the rain, even the pouring rain. Yeah, you get wet, but after the first couple of minutes it is refreshing and relaxing to run in the rain.

Plus Bennie and I went out and ran 5.0 miles in these conditions, so that wasn't reason. Hell, I run outside in most conditions, so the weather doesn't usually stop me from running, as long as it is safe to do so.

Was it my race anxiety?

No. I was looking forward to running the race this morning. I have had a different outlook towards racing over the past few months. The old idea of having to go out and give 110% and give every race everything I have, every time has been let go. I still go and attempt to run hard 80-90% and only really go after it once in a while, but usually I don't go out and get deep into the hurt locker.

Just that subtle shift has made racing a lot more enjoyable.

Was it the time of day?

No. The race started at 7:45 AM, early, but I am up most days by 6:00 AM and was awake this morning at 5:45 AM and could have easily been there to register with plenty of time, since I didn't pre-register.

How about just not feeling like it?


No. Actually, I wanted to go, run the race, see other runners that I generally don't get to see all that often or haven't seen for a while. Plus I have a feeling after looking at the results, I might have done well in my age group today based on my past performances.

I have run pretty decently over the past couple of weeks and felt good this morning during the run I did in the rain.

These are all things that in the past have caused me to skip a race.

So what was the reason?

The Cost.

Registration for this 5K was $30 for early registration and if you registered late it was $35. Could I have afforded this - sure, but at the same time even though it is for a good cause (aren't they all), $35 to take part in a small, local race is pricey.

Too pricey.

This is the real reason for not racing today.

More of a Factor

The cost of race registrations is becoming a factor in more and more of the races that I choose or choose not to run. Especially when I am going to run in a race that takes 22-25 minutes most of the time.

I know that there are significant support costs to putting on a well-run event and the longer the race, the more support services are required to make them a positive experience for the runners. Even a small events have costs, but it seems to me that more and more organizations are looking at races as funding sources.

The proliferation of good causes and for profit races that runners have access to, is a good thing. It means more choice about which races we choose to run or the causes we want to support.

Unfortunately, at times I think it seems like runners are looked at by both the non-profit and for-profit race organizers as the cash cows that keep giving and giving. The runner's experience is secondary to the organization getting the money, that the race registration fees bring in.

I know that for me, the more race registrations continue to increase, the fewer races I run and I become much more selective about which races I will run. Oh I know the day of cheap races are pretty much over and done with - although our local trail race series at Quarry Road and Bond Brook have managed to keep their registrations really low. Which is a great thing.

What do you think, when do races become too expensive for you?

If you pay more for a race registration, do you expect more from the race? Like what?

What do you think about same day registration costing more than pre-registration, even though most of the time "late" or same-day registrations do not always get the so-called free "swag" or other goodies? I know it is a convenience factor for the race organizers to know about how many runners will be there, but is it fair to the runners who are paying more money and getting less?

Finally, does it matter to you what the "good cause" is or if it is for profit race?

Monday, June 22, 2015

Which GPS Watch Did I Get

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: June 22, 2015


Last Thursday, I ordered a new GPS watch from Clever Training, using the discount code from DC Rainmaker's website - it is a Father's Day gift to me from my wife. However, before I tell you what it actually is, I want to go a little more into the thought process I used to choose it.

1. Keep things simple.


GPS Devices are an enhancement to running, not the reason to run and sometimes if you have too much data it complicates your running more than it improves it. Earlier this year I went a couple of months without using a GPS watch and for most of my running life, I never had the option of using GPS, so I don't look at GPS Apps or Watches as something that is a necessity when it comes to running.

  • They are a tool to be used, not drive your running.

I track my running by distance/miles and I see them more as an enhancement to my running that frees me to explore new courses, suddenly take a left turn versus my normal right turn and not have to worry about figuring out how far I did run, by using a map program, driving the course (if I can) or just guessing based on my overall pace.

So while a GPS device is nice, it is an optional part of my running and yes, I can run without one quite nicely.

2. Connectivity to my smart phone or activity tracking


I really don't need/want these capabilities. As I was telling Mike in the comments the other day "When is too much, too much?" I don't want my wrist buzzing and beeping telling me I have emails/Facebook updates/Twitter messages or anything else. I carry my smart phone with me on 90% of my runs and even on that device I have turned off most of the notifications that interrupt us so often and yes, believe it or not, I have uninstalled most of the social media applications - sometimes less is more.

Life has enough distractions without a constant bombardment from my wrist too.

I don't care about how many steps I take during the day, what my heart rate is at a given time (as long as it is still beating it is a good thing), or even whether a device tells me I am sleeping well or not. I don't need/want a device that keeps track of all my activities.

At some point the external motivations need to be superseded by just going ahead and doing it.

So the Apple Watch, Garmin Vivofit/Vivoactive and all the other fitness/activity trackers or smart watches didn't interest me.

I am not a Luddite (look it up) by any stretch of the imagination, but I have to wonder what at what point does technology and fitness, begin to have diminishing positive effect and become something else. That and how the different companies are or will do with all that data we are so freely giving them through those devices and our phones of their's that we choose to use.

At some point we have to decide when is too much, too much?

3. Cost


No, I don't think I am cheap, but at the same time I am not going to break the budget to get a GPS device that will be last generation in 6 months time. Let's just call me frugal when it comes to technology. To be honest, getting the newest and greatest Next Generation product is expensive and usually of questionable value to me. Which means that I usually end up with last-generation technology, that has the bugs pretty much worked out and usually is more reliable i.e. more Harold-proof.

Something under $200.00 is the price-range is what I wanted. Yes I could have gone higher and did look, but for something that will last me about 2-3 years (I hope) that is the price-range that works for me. Which cuts out most of today's newer watches and features and leaves me with either lower capability watch choices or clearance items.

4. Specific GPS Watch features I am looking for

Quick connectivity to GPS signal - A must. 

I HATE standing at the end of the driveway or wherever I am looking like a doofus staring up at the sky and then my watch waiting for it to get satellite signal.

Ease of use. While I expect a learning curve with any new device/computer/equipment when I start to use it. However, once I figure things out and get things setup the way I want it, I don't want to have to keep re-inventing the wheel, by having to constantly "play" with my GPS device. I just want to charge it, use it during the run, then upload the data quickly without a lot of fuss and muss.

Easily read the data on the screen. Yeah, I am nearly blind and have progressive tri-focal lenses in my glasses, so those tiny watch faces with the extra small numbers are pretty hard to read when I am running.

Reliability - The watch has to be pretty much bomb-proof or at least Harold the Destroyer proof. If it has cables they have to be sturdy and the watch itself isn't going to haywire, if I go ass over teakettle on a trail run (which seems to happen all too often for me).

Waterproof - Yeah this is part of that Harold the Destroyer thing. I forget to take off my watch and it will get wet (not a good thing for some watches). I know that I will go swimming with it on , fall down in a water crossing on some trail, do dishes, shower, kayaking (you can get pretty wet), etc. So if it ain't waterproof to 50 feet, it ain't an option.

Repeatability - I don't want a GPS device that has major discrepancies as far as distance goes on the same course. Every time I run that course or segment of the course, it should be fairly close to the same reading every time.

Uploads easily/quickly to a decent website - I generally use Strava, but if the brand does have a website for their device/application, it needs to be useful, not useless. I also don't want a watch that is limited to a closed upload system, where I can't get my data where I want it easily. I want to believe that it is still my data, not the company's as much as they might beg to differ with me and attempt to hold it hostage through their Terms of Service agreements.

Vibration Alerts - I have a hard time hearing high frequencies and I do like to glance at my mile splits on a run, so the vibration alert is a feature that I like.

So what did I end up buying?

The Garmin 310XT and the footpod for under $200.00
My new Garmin Forerunner 310XT and Footpod

Yes, I looked several others: TomTom's newest, Timex, Polar and Suunto, along with the Garmin 220/225, 610 and 920, but when it came down to doing what I wanted at the price I was looking at, the Garmin 310XT came out closest to doing everything I wanted.

Thanks Ron, for giving me the idea to look at it.

I read more than a few reviews and as usual the site that made the biggest difference was DC Rainmaker's in-depth reviews of the GPS watches. He does a great job of going through the features, strengths, weaknesses of the different GPS devices that are out there.

While the 310XT is "old", it came out in 2009 and is a little bulkier than I originally wanted. However, when I read at what the different reviews were saying, not just the brand's marketing spiel, it seems to do what I need/want from a GPS device.

Yes, it is BIG, which means that I will not be as tempted to wear it too often as my daily watch and that it won't be put in Harold the Destroyer harm's way as often.

Well it arrived this morning and over the next week, I will figure out how it works and more importantly how it works for me. Since it is so "old", I don't see me doing a complete review of it, but I have a feeling that I will either sing its praises or be whining and complaining about it in my blog posts.

Either way, I still get to run. A GP device is simply a tool that can enhance my running by providing me some data points and nothing more - an option that I have in today's world.

I just have to remember that my Garmin 310XT and the data that it spits out are not the reasons that I run.

Sometimes we forget that. :-)

Thursday, June 11, 2015

40 Years Ago - Hard To Believe

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: June 11, 2015


Forty years ago today, I graduated from Nokomis Regional High School's Class of 1975.

40 years - wow, it is hard to believe.

A lot has happened - to say the least.

Forty years ago I was the fresh-faced seventeen year-old in the photo.

1975 Graduation Photo - taken in October 1974

Yeah, believe it or not that is me - with long hair.

I am actually one of the lucky ones. Several of the 129 classmates that I graduated with in 1975 are no longer with us, are in poor health or really had a hard go of it in their lives.

I am still here, living a life that has had a LOT more positives than negatives in it, my health is good enough that I can run 45-50 miles a week and while my sort of retired lifestyle might be coming to an end, I am looking forward to the next chapter, instead of being overwhelmed by events.

Yeah, I have lived through technology growing exponentially and coming to dominate our lives in ways we could never imagine back in 1975, changing attitudes - things that we did back then without thinking about it would in many cases probably get me arrested today, marriage, divorce, re-marriage, having children, two or three different careers and of course running over the years.

I was very naïve back then and very idealistic about my future.

Aren't we all.

While I may still be a little idealistic about some things, the naivety is a distant memory.

Professionally

When that photo was taken I had already decided on what I was going to do for the next four years and it had nothing to do with college or staying in Newport, Maine. I was going on a grand adventure - joining the U.S. Coast Guard, get some real-life experience, doing my four years and then getting out to go to college and become gulp - a lawyer.

You know the career path of getting a job with a big corporation in Boston or some other big city, making lots of money, then come back to Newport to show all those people who doubted that I would never amount to much more than a mill worker or store clerk - how wrong they were.

I did go in the Coast Guard shortly after graduation, stayed a lot longer than 4 years - actually I made a career of it and retired in 1996.

U.S. Coast Guard Boot Camp - 1975

Oh yeah that idea of getting my college degree, it wasn't easy, but I did get my Bachelor's Degree - it only took 19 years to do it and yes having that piece of paper does make a huge difference in the doors that will open for you.

When I retired from the Coast Guard in 1996 - I did move back to the Newport, Maine area and I had a choice between two vastly different career fields computer/technology or working with troubled kids. I chose to work with kids and eventually became a special education teacher. Nope never got rich monetarily working with kids, but was rich in other ways as a result of that choice.

Special Education Teacher at Good-Will Hinckley 2008

Although I do often wonder, how my life would have turned out if I had taken the technology job with that major company.

Since 2011, I have been either working from home or sort of retired. Which gave me time to really work on my health and get back to being a pretty low maintenance person.

Running

In 1975 I had just won the 100 and 200 yard dashes at the Penquis League meet, in pretty fast times and was full of myself and my abilities as a runner. Those delusions of grandeur were in my eyes, for far too many years and while there were a couple of years, that I did some pretty fast running - looking back it was done more on limited natural ability than proper training or being anything special. However, when those thoughts of being better than I was, took over, something else also wormed its way into my running.

Race anxiety.

Not just the little pre-race jitters that most everyone gets, but full-blown this is a serious problem kind of stuff. So I didn't compete for almost 25 years and went through various periods of running well and just running. With no real goals or racing, my training was all over the place, along with my weight and health.

In 2010 I injured my knee playing racquetball and couldn't run - which made me determined that once it was fixed I would start running more/better again. May 17, 2011, I had the knee operated on and in January 2012 I ran my first race in a long time.

Photo by David Colby-Young at 2012 CMS January Thaw

While the race anxiety has never totally left, it is a LOT better and I can just enjoy being in a race, without having to go deep into the hurt locker, every single time. Hey I don't puke my guts out before a race now and I do get to the starting line, which is huge.

My biggest vice since 2012 is that I wanted to try out every running shoe, then blog about them...


Just a few of the shoes I have laying around the house and yes Bennie was going "What are you doing now?"

It was a pretty expensive habit, but less than some other vices that I can think of. I think that I have finally gotten past this running shoe fetish and pretty much settled on one style of shoe and maybe even becoming fairly loyal to a certain brand.

We will see how it goes over the summer.

When I look back over the years, I believe that I am a better runner today, than I ever was.

No, better does not mean faster, because I know without any doubts that I am a LOT slower today than I have been in the past.

Better means that I know more about myself as a runner, my strengths, weaknesses and have learned what I, not someone else needs to do to keep improving my running or at least keeping what I got for as long as I can.

Quarry Road 5K Race 6-9-15 - Photo by Alicia Nemiccolo MacLeay

I do wonder what my running would have been like if I hadn't gotten those delusions of grandeur, developed all the problems with race anxiety and had trained like I should have, instead of the half-assed stuff I did for almost 25 years.

All I can do is just focus on the now and keep having fun with my running.

Personal

The personal side is...well going to stay mostly personal.

Even though they are both grown women, this is how I still see them :-)

I had two beautiful girls (with my first wife), that I love very much, more than they will ever know and am proud of the women they have become. I did re-marry and have been with Mary and hopefully been a good step-dad for her two daughters. We have a great life together, at least from my point of view make a great couple and I plan to grow old with her.

Mary on our Whitten Hill Hike 11-9-14

Yes, I am in love with Mary and it continues to grow in ways that I can't describe.
The reality is that

It doesn't mean that I haven't made mistakes along the way - I have...several.

I wish there are some things that when I look back with 20/20 hindsight - while they were not mistakes there are things that I would have done differently knowing what I know now - there are.
Are there things that I wish that I had done that I never did or tried - absolutely.

However, all the things that I have done or not done since June 11, 1975 have contributed to making me the person I am today and I wonder if I could go back and change some of those things, if it would change who I have become.

Perhaps.

However, we will never know, because what is done is done and you have to live with the joys, regrets, sorrows and unfilled dreams that are a part of your past.

Just the way it is.

When I look back at all the things that I have done over the past 40 years - I am happy, with the way my life has turned out and truly believe that I have many more great years ahead of me.

Bennie and I after the Terrier 5K in 2014

Yeah, the last 40 years have been pretty good - for the most part.

I think it is pretty fitting that I saw Dad early on the 11th, since 40 years ago, I drove into the yard as he was leaving to go to work, after a long night of...well one of things we do when you are young and dumb. It was almost a right of passage back in those days and a part of what was considered fairly normal behavior - today doing the same things I would probably would be put in jail and my future completely changed. No nothing really bad, but not legal or socially as acceptable as it was back in 1975.

Things have changed since I graduated high school 40 years ago and while they are different, sometimes I really wonder if things are really all that much better than it was in 1975.

Let's just say they are different and leave it at that.

Would I want to go back and do it over - nope. I am ready to keep going forward and enjoying the life I have.

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Quarry Road 5K Race Recap - 6-9-15

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: June 9, 2015


Okay Harold you are not 20 or even 40 anymore...what in the hell are you doing running 3 times in the same day. Especially, 3 quality runs in that day????

Are you stoopid?

Not really, well maybe...naw just Harold being Harold.

I did a quick 2.0 miler on the treadmill before Yoga this morning and then did a 5K time trial (finished in 21:33), because I wasn't sure if the weather was going to be decent for the Quarry Road 5K.

Well I might have screwed up on that weather forecast a bit, because when 4:30 rolled around it was still nice...a little humid but nice and the storms were still a few hours away.

Quarry Road 5K Race 6-9-15 - Photo by Alicia Nemiccolo MacLeay - Yes Julie kept me honest during the race.

So I went into this race with the expectation of staying around a 9:00 minute pace and just enjoying being around a lot of runners that I know and getting caught up on how they were doing.

Strava Stats Quarry Road 5K

I started out a little quicker than I wanted and then slowed down to a nice comfortable pace going up into the comp loop. I wore my Cliftons, which were fine on the groomed dirt sections, but dropping into the comp loop that first hill was slimey mud and I had quite the adventure going down that hill - I stayed upright, but America's Funniest Video's would have loved it.

Then another runner was about to pass me and I decided to challenge the pass and pushed off a little harder, on some slimey mud and ended up looking at the sky for a few seconds. Yep, that wonderful feeling of going ass over teakettle and other runners asking if I was okay.

At that point I hadn't planned on picking up the pace, but after the fall, I decided if am going to be doing the quick step and falling routine, just running easy, I might as well push a little more and see if I re-catch all those people who passed me while was laying on the ground.

Oh yeah, this course doesn't really have hills, it is more big and little bumps, but the outer loop's bump does intimidate me for some reason. Once I got to top of it (I passed a few people going uphill), I purposely picked up the pace, until about 2.0 miles.

At that point, the morning's workouts and the wipeout were starting to affect my legs. So I backed off and just maintained my place. I knew the guy in front of me was struggling on the hills, but was doing great on the downhills, so I just stayed behind and didn't push the issue.

However, I also didn't want to slow down too much, because I knew that Julie was right behind me and I don't remember ever finishing ahead of her in a trail race, so that was motivation to not slow down too much.

Overall, a good run, where I gave a little blood to the trail gods and came out of the race without any issues or injuries. As much as I love the Clifton's, I don't think that I will be using them for the trail races anymore. They just don't have the grip to run faster or "safely" in the muddier sections, wet grass, especially going downhill in that stuff.

Which means I will probably get out the Skechers Ultra's for the next Quarry Road or other trail races. Since getting new shoes is not an option for a while.

I know that I really enjoy the Quarry Road Trail Race series, because of all the people who are there. It is just fun and relaxed time, even though I did feel a little funny by not volunteering with setup or take-down, but this year, I decided on the no volunteering and do more running.

So how did I do?
Run Information

Course: Quarry Road 5K
Distance: 3.1
Time: 25:36
Pace: 8:31
Shoes: Hoka Clifton V1
Temperature: mid 60's
Weather: humid, overcast
Place: 23/65
Age Group: 2nd (50-59)

Good run, but I don't plan on doing 3 quality run in the same day very often in the future. I am a little tired for some reason or other this morning.