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.


Tuesday, October 27, 2015

The "Why" Behind The New Header

I changed the header on my blog this weekend and I did it for a very specific reason.

To make it useful to me.

I wanted a tool to remind me of where I have come from, things I want to achieve and to remind me that my running has been a journey, not something that just recently became "something I started doing".

Picture #1 - Was a photo of me before a cross-country meet in 1974. It was the start of my senior year at Nokomis High School up in Newport, Maine and it reminds me of the great future that we all believe is ahead of us versus the reality that our lives become. For many the high school years are the "glory days" and we are limited to memories of "who we were then" or "what we should have done".

Looking back, I should have done more with my running, but never did - yeah, the story of untapped potential versus the reality of what happened. However, I have learned that while high school happened that guy is a stranger to who I am now. We can't live in the past and have to keep moving forward.

Picture #2 - I was running in the 1983 Marine Corps Marathon. Which will be the only marathon that I will probably ever finish although I have continued to delude myself on several levels that I will qualify and run Boston someday - I know in my heart it ain't gonna happen.

The 1983 MCM was the toughest race I have ever done and to be honest, it took something out of me to finish that race. I became a different runner after it and it was not for the better. I don't go to the well anymore - runners will understand what I am saying and yes it still does affect how hard I will run during a race..

Picture #3 - I was the assistant cross-country coach at Lawrence Junior High School. At this point, I was over 200 pounds, six months before knee surgery and trying to get through the school year. It was the low point of my life when it comes to being physically fit. I put that photo there to remind me of how far I have come AND that when I put my mind to do something that I can, despite it being tough or a lot of hard work. Sometimes you have to make choices that go against what "everyone" else is doing and stick to it if you want to keep moving forward.

Picture #4 - There are no photos of me running from 1986 to 2011. I ran consistently during those years, when physically able (there were times I couldn't run due to injury), but due to my battles with race anxiety, I didn't race very often (once or twice before this photo between 1986-2012).

The photo is of me at the 2012 Central Maine Striders January Thaw Race and taking the big step of running in a race for the first time since my knee surgery. This photo was and is a symbol of the new start that I was taking with my health and my running. I still have some issues with race anxiety, but it doesn't control me like it did.

Picture #5 - Is from Joseph's 5K in 2013, I was probably in the best shape I have been in since 1986 and was running great. It was the race where I set my post-55 PR that I am now chasing in the 5K -- 21:20. I wanted to have this photo here to remind of this particular goal and where I was both physically and mentally when I set it.

It is also there to remind me of how quickly things can change, shortly after this photo, I got injured and as a result of that injury several dreams that I had had for that year and beyond had to be changed. Resiliency is a good thing and being smart about injuries is important.

Picture #6 - A photo from the 2014 Central Maine Striders January Thaw Race. It is there to remind me that I am not an island and that I need to get back to doing more things in the local running community. I was very active in the Central Maine Striders during this time and for various reasons, I withdrew from being active in the club. It is time to become active again. In other words -- Harold get off your ass, get out of your comfort zone and seek out opportunities to be around other runners more often.

Picture #7 - A photo from the only road race that I have ever won outright. It was not because I was particularly fast that day or had a great race (my time in this year's race was only 2-3 seconds slower and I sure didn't win).

It was that I actually showed up. Showing up is 90% of the battle for me, actually running the race or doing whatever is the easy part. You might not be the fastest, strongest or best runner in the area, but you might be the best one that actually shows up that day. It is my reminder that I gotta show up, to do, not just try or simply train by myself.

This quote sums up what I mean:

It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat. ~ Theodore Roosevelt

This is true in my running and also life in general.

Picture #8 - My latest race photo and it shows me running with a certain form, well actually both #7 and #8 do...yeah I land heel-first and despite conscious efforts to change my form for 2-3 years, I still run with a heel-first style. Know this determines the style of running shoes that will work better for me over the long run and this photo forces me to admit how I really run. This photo is to remind me to use what actually will work for me, not what I want to work for me. There is a difference.

The reality is that

Those are the back stories behind each of the photos I chose for the header. They are all there for specific reasons and since I do tend to spend a lot of time on my blog, they will be there to remind me of things that I want to work on.

I have a feeling that from time-to-time different photos will be added or deleted based on my present needs, goals and wants from my running and where I am in my life. It is not going to remain a static header, it will be dynamic and change according to what is going on.

Sometimes our blogs are not just about passing information about what is going on in our lives, giving advice to others or giving our opinions about whatever...no, sometimes they are web logs that we use to remind of things we want to do or heaven forbid where we have been.

A unique thought about what a blog is for in today's blogosphere.

This post originally appeared on One Foot In Reality if you see it elsewhere, it has been used without permission, please go to my site to see the original post.


  1. I'm still deluding myself that I will qualify and run Boston someday too :) But sometimes a dream is all it takes to kick things off. And I like your header rationale.

    1. Nick - I have attempted to run another marathon several times and the body/mind do not hold up to the training to race another one. Which I would need to do to BQ, could I train for and finish one - probably, at least I would love to believe that, but that is not I would want to do or end up doing. I have tried and I always get myself back to wanting to race it. :-) So it is no longer a dream, of mine - I am not fixated on running one now and have gotten back to enjoying the running that I am doing. If I do run a marathon again someday, it will probably be a last minute decision, where I sub in for someone or transfer a number, that I just do to say I have done one again.

  2. Love it! It really is great to look back at pictures through the years, so I think it was a great idea to have these milestones as your banner. I think that noting the 'gaps' is also important - because there are generally stories to those as well, I know there are for me and obviously for you as well.

    1. Thank Mike, sometimes we just have to keep our goals and reminders in a place where we can see them and not put them away where it is easy to forget where we have been, where we want to go and how we need to get there. Sometimes people forget blogs are to tell a story, not for the other purposes they have moved towards.


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