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.


Thursday, December 31, 2015

2015 - A Year of Change OR A Run Odyssey

This post was written for and first appeared on One Foot In Reality.

2015 was a year of change...much more change than I ever expected:

  • went back to just running by feel
  • went back to running in Pearl Izumi EM Line of running shoes
  • went back to using a Chromebook as my primary computer 
  • went back to my Blogger blog - One Foot In Reality 
  • went back to work in education
  • became a 2016 Pearl Izumi Run Champion Team member 

Yeah, in other words, I went back to things that work for me and as a result things just seemed to fall into place in ways that I didn't expect.

As a result of going backwards, I ran consistently and ended up with 2001 miles for year, the the Run Odyssey for all us Science Fiction fans. ;-)

Since I started running in Pearl Izumi running shoes again in October, I have stopped whining about how my running shoes are negatively affecting my running and something that I am very excited about was recently selected to be a member of Pearl Izumi's Run Champions Team.

I wrote this post on my refurbished 2012 Samsung Series 5-550 Chromebook, that I got back in October for just over $50 and found out that it does 90% of what I generally do on a computer. Enough that after the wife and I talked last night I ordered a new Toshiba Chromebook 2 (2015) and it will get here sometime mid-January. Which will be a pretty big upgrade from the 5-550.

Yes, I am permanently back to One Foot In Reality, it might not be as visually appealing as a WordPress blog or be as search engine friendly, but it works better for what I want it to do. As one Steffan stated:

you seem more comfortable here, and it subtlety shows. :)

I am more Harold being Harold here. I don't know why, but I am.

Finally, but not least, I went back to work and was able to stay in education, but not as a teacher - a very good choice.

However, since this is primarily a running blog, I am going to primarily focus on what happened in my running during 2015.  You have had the synopsis already, the rest just elaborates on what I have already said. In other words I get to be long-winded from here on out.



I started out with just one big goal for 2015.

Run a 5K race in under 20:00 minutes by December 31, 2015.

Then in April I got all over-enthusiastic about running Boston again, after watching this year's Boston Marathon and completely changed everything around to meet that goal. I started to push myself to get ready to run a sub 3:30 marathon. Then I got a good reality check about how my body reacts to over my ability marathon training. The results were frustrating as hell for me and I hated to admit it but there was no way I was going to remain healthy and achieve my marathon goals.

So reluctantly I faced reality and stopped my marathon training before I did something stooopid.

Running consistently is more important to me than running multiple marathons.

Even though I did say that I was going back to chasing that sub 20:00 5K race, it was a half-hearted effort at best. As much as I didn't want to admit, not being able to do the marathon did take some of the wind out of my sails.

I was disappointed, but tried to move on.

Looking back, I have a feeling that I was in better shape physically and mentally in April (when I changed everything) and might have gotten closer to that goal time if had done the One in Five 5K up in Waterville when I planned, but I didn't run the race, due to putting in a laminate floor the day/night before (and couldn't move too good the next day), so that opportunity went away.

It is what it is.

Needless to say I didn't get that sub 20:00 5K goal in 2015, actually I only broke 22:00 minutes once for a 5K this year, so I wasn't even close.

I did have one other goal and it is the same one that I have every year to run more miles than the number of the year. I have only met this annual goal once - back in 1985, the rest of the time I have always fallen short. This year's goal of 2,015 miles was in question until the final week. Nope I didn't quite get it and when I figured out that it was going to take more than I wanted to do, I went for 2001 for a Run Odyssey year total instead.

  1. 5/25 -- Miles for Mills 5K - Augusta - 22:19 -- 12/257 - 1st AG 
  2. 6/9 -- Quarry Road 5K -- Waterville - 25:36 -- 23/64 - 2nd AG 
  3. 7/4 -- Friends on the Fourth 5K - Winthrop - 22:11 - 74/611 - 8th AG 
  4. 7/16 -- Bond Brook 5K Trail Race Series -- Augusta - 29:12 - 20/55 - 3 AG 
  5. 9/25 -- Rise 'N Shine 5K -- Augusta - 21:50 - 18/253 - 1 AG 
  6. 10/18 -- Thomas College Terrier Trot 5K - Waterville - 22:31 - 4 / __ - 1 AG 
  7. 11/26 -- Champions Turkey Trot 5K - Waterville - 22:41 - 2/77 
Everything was local, I didn't really race all that much and only did 5K's, so not a lot of variety in my distances. For some reason, I just didn't race early in 2015, I had plenty of opportunity, but I didn't.

Then when I went back to work (I work the 3-8 PM shift), I couldn't do more of the evening trail races at Quarry Road and Bond Brook or the FunRuns at the Liberal Cup, which I enjoy.


I have feeling that the number of miles is probably the most that I have ever run in any year other than 1985. I don't have my running log from that year and to be honest I don't remember the total mileage for, but I know that I ran a lot and probably finished somewhere around 2,000 miles.

I didn’t break any speed records, grab a bunch of PR'S (none), didn’t have huge mileage weeks (50 miles once) or any super long runs (longest 14.0 miles) at any time during 2016.

However, I also didn’t break, tear, pull the shit out of, bend too far the wrong way, get run over, have any emergency room visits, fall and go boom-boom or any of the multitude of other strange occurrences that always seem to get in the way of my running over the course of the year.

Although, I did have to balance my running faster and longer with how my hamstrings were reacting to the paces/distances. At times, especially during races and for longer/faster training sessions, I had to pull back a bit to avoid pulling or tearing them (this is where I learned my marathon training wasn't going to work).

My hamstrings were my governors that restricted me more than anyone will ever know.

Also, I capped my mileage and after stopping the marathon training purposely stayed at the 40-50 mile levels all year. Instead of going for 60 miles one week and then feeling so much like crap that I would only get 15-20 the next. However, I did get tired at the end.

In December, I was done and went into maintenance mode, running just enough to get my mileage in and not much more than that.

Which is the real reason why I didn't run 2,015 miles for 2015.


The most days in a row that I missed were 3 days in July and 4 days in October, otherwise it was a day or two here or there. I also had a 28 day and 21 day running streaks, ran more 40 mile weeks than I usually do, didn't go below 20 miles in any week and had 140 miles every month (139 in December (close enough-since I purposely stopped at 2,001).

Which meant that I pretty much listened to when my body needed the time off and took it when I needed to.

2015 was definitely the most consistent year of running that I have ever had. It was great to get a year in without injury or missing lots of time to injury. I guess that this was my first real base building year in a long time.

Everything else since 2011 have been just getting used to running all over again. Yeah right!

I just wish that I had learned these lessons I learned this year 30-40 years ago.

Running Shoes

Oh yes, I couldn’t get away from running without talking about running shoes. What year-in-review post of mine would be complete without talking about the shoes I have run in at least a little.

I wanted to keep my running shoes to under 10 and less than 3 brands over the course of 2015 - didn't happen. I did get frustrated as hell about all the shoes that didn't work for me the way that I wanted, right up until October. When I wrote my end of year running shoe reflection early.

I ran in 21 pair of running shoes and 12 different brands - which is way too many.

However, on October 19th I went back to running in Pearl Izumi's EM line of shoes and only had 3 runs after that date in shoes there were not Pearl Izumi.

Since that date there have only been 3 days I have not run in Pearl Izumi running shoes, which says how happy I am about running in the EM line. Enough that I have bought 3 pair of PI shoes since then.

  • Pearl Izumi EM/H3 Road v1
  • Pearl Izumi EM/N1 Trail v1
  • Pearl Izumi EM/N1 Road v2

They just work for me and the way that I run.

I have a feeling that there will be some major changes here in the number brands and number of shoes that will be running in during 2016, since in December I was chosen to be a part of Pearl Izumi's Run Champions Team.

To say I am excited and pleased about being selected is an understatement! I believe that I will have a lot of fun, meet a lot of great people, learn a lot more about Pearl Izumi and how they do things. All things that I want to do.

Overall, my running was pretty good, although I think that I would like to have raced a little more and maybe add in a few races other than 5K's.

Oh yeah, could someone order me up a new pair of hamstrings, I would love to know what I could do if I had a pair that were not built-in governors. Someday, but it is getting awfully late for some days.


I was happily retired, running was my primary non-family activity and believe it or not I was getting pretty good at being the house husband at the start of the year. Then in April we found out that Mary was going to get laid off from her job sometime in the fall. We didn't panic or anything and could survive without either one of us working. However, we have a certain standard of living that we enjoy (I like new running shoes and new computers too much), plus I was missing being around other people - a little.

So I went into job search mode and by the end of July had started working part-time at the University of Maine System's University College as an Administrative Specialist 1 -- my primary duties are processing and proctoring exams, which I have just a bit of experience at doing.

It is a good job and the people I work with are great, so it has worked out pretty good.

Although I do have to admit that working does interfere with my running at times and if I am honest I did enjoy being retired, but for now, I will have fun working and keep smiling.


I stopped using my TomTom GPS watch. I didn't like how it worked and how you had to operate it, it just didn't feel intuitive. So for Father's Day, Mary got me a Garmin FR 310XT and I have been very happy (well with a couple of growls along the way) with how it works, but since it is older tech, I can't sync it through my phone, which is a pain.

Over the past year my Computers have undergone a big changes.

In March, I purchased a new Signature Edition Asus Flip 13" Windows 8 computer with decent specs and no crapware, to replace my old 15.6 Sony Windows laptop and my 2009 MacBook Pro, which was really showing its age.

I liked the ASUS a lot and it did everything I wanted in a computer, but using it in tablet mode didn't work for me and then...I updated it to Windows 10.

At first I really liked it.

However, when I went back to work, we are pretty much immersed in the Google Apps silo and the things that I got the Window machine for, became much less important to me. Also, working evenings meant that I didn't really have a lot of time to play games on the computer so that became a non-factor.

Unfortunately, the more I used Windows 10, it seemed that my laptop was crashing, freezing or restarting at inconvenient times and when I least wanted to deal with it.

Which became frustrating as hell!

In true Harold being Harold mode, I got out my old MacBook Pro for a while and while it was old and ran hot as hell, it was more reliable than my ASUS.

Then I saw online an article about how you could turn your old laptop or computer into a Chromebook by using Neverware's OS and turned my MacBook Pro into one. I really liked how it worked and it reminded me how much I did like Chrome OS, when I was using it back in 2012-2013, until I face-planted my old Samsung Series 5-550 into the fireplace bricks when our cat tripped me.

I was using MBP Chromebook more than the ASUS Win10 machine - it was more reliable for what I wanted to do.

Then about a week after I got things setup, the MacBook died (it got really hot and then snapped to black and wouldn't re-start - DOA). Which meant that I had to go back to the Asus, with Windows 10 full-time again.

It worked, but...

By then, I had been reintroduced to the simplicity of Chrome OS and remembered how much I liked my old Chromebook. I also needed a different back-up computer and started to sort of look at what the new Chromebooks were like. I almost pulled the trigger on a couple of different ones and then I got a helluva deal on the same model that I had face planted into the fireplace back in 2013 - the final price was just over $50.

Yeah, it was an older, refurbished Samsung Series 5-550 Chromebook and the specs are not very good. However, I was not sure if I would really like it or not, or if it would do what I wanted.

Actually, I got the 5-550 to be my back up computer, but from the first day that I got it, I never put it back down. Yeah, I have gone and used my Windows machine a few times since then and there is no comparison. The Chromebook wins hands-down and does 90% of what I want to do on a computer now. It wouldn't have 2-3 years ago or even last spring, but now it is is just what I need.

I know that the screen is not nearly as good as my ASUS, the processor - no comparison old Celeron 810 verus an I5 and then 8gb of RAM vs 4gb. Even with all those differences, when I pick up a computer to use, I choose the Chromebook 90% of the time - unless I want to play a game or do something that the Chromebook can't do (open an .pub document).

Yep, the next time I get a computer it will be a Chromebook. Update: I ordered a Toshiba Chromebook 2 (2015) on 12/30 and will get it sometime in 2016. It should be an interesting comparison.

The only thing I wish is that Garmin would make it so that my 310XT could upload the data via my phone or something, but if that is the only problem I have with using a Chromebook, well I have my wife's desktop to do that function.


After Blogging on WordPress platforms for a couple of years, I finally got tired enough of what I feel are limitations and moved back to Blogger and have been happier, much happier with my blog. It is more flexible and I can even earn a few pennies a week ;-).

The reality is that

There were so many other things that I could write about like discovering juicing, a different car added to the house, the grandkids, but I have been long-winded enough and it is time to let you move on to something else than reading all about me and how great 2015 was.

2015 was definitely a year of changes, even if it seemed as though I was changing back to the ways that I did things in the past. That going backwards to get ahead thing. Sometimes the newest or greatest ways for other people is not always the best way for me and how I want to do things.

I am happy with how well I ran in 2015, although I will be honest and say that I was disappointed that my body couldn't hold up to to BQ marathon training. However, I still did manage to get over 2,000 miles, run a sub 22:00 5K and get through the year without any major injuries - just a set of hamstrings that act as governors on my speed and mileage.

The change back to Chrome OS is something that I am enjoying and is working well for me.

So that is an overly long-winded account of what happened in 2015.

It was definitely a year of change for me - most everything was for the better.

I will end with my favorite photo from 2015:

Disclosure I was selected on December 22, 2015 to be a member of the Pearl Izumi Run Champions Team and am positively predisposed to Pearl Izumi products. The opinions I have expressed are my own and your experiences with Pearl Izumi products might be different from mine. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.” 


  1. Happy New Year, Harold. Glad you've finally found the perfect shoe that works for you.

    1. Thank you Nick, I don't know if there is any such thing as a perfect running shoe, but the PI's work better for me than any others I have worn lately, so as long as PI doesn't change things up too much or try to "improve" them by changing the shoe completely into something else, I have a feeling that I will stick with them for a quite a while. I think I am more focused now on what actually works, than worrying about writing about the next newest and greatest thing :-).


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