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.


Sunday, February 28, 2016

20 Years Ago Today - I Swallowed the Anchor

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

20 Years ago today - February 29, 1996 was my last day of Active Duty in the U.S. Coast Guard.

Yeah, I was a "Coastie" and professionally it was ALL that I knew on that day 20 years ago, since my professional life revolved around being in the Coast Guard.

It was and is one of the proudest things that I have done in my life.

But let's back up a little.

I had enlisted and headed off to Coast Guard Boot Camp 12 days after high school, as a 17 year old kid and then retired over 20 years later at the age of 38. Now I get to look back with a 58 year old's wisdom and experience.

A pretty damn good deal in my opinion.

When I headed off that that day in 1975 to begin this grand adventure, I believed that I had all the answers and was going to make a difference in this great big world or at least get out of Newport, Maine. My family's reputation and economic status sort of put a damper on what my options would be locally: the mills, local store clerk or laborer of some kind. I wanted more than that out of life and I found it.

The Coast Guard became my escape route to a better life.

Little did I know then that it would be much more than my employer for the next 20 years and yes I do believe that it gave me that better life that I was looking for. In spite of a few bumps and thumps along the way. 

The first four years were hit or miss, I needed to do a lot of growing up. Figure out where I belonged and when it came down to it, where I fit. 

Yeah, fit was a big deal, because I had been accepted to Thomas College in Waterville at the end of my first enlistment - way back in 1979, but...going from something I knew, to the college campus scene of the late 70's was  not somewhere that I would be successful...

so much freedom and the crash landing would have been a terrible thing to see. If I was having problems staying within the lines that the Coast Guard forced me to stay pretty close to, college would not have been a good thing. 

I wanted the security and yes, needed the forced "you can't do that" discipline and filter that the Coast Guard gave me.

Just A Run - RunLog 2-28-16

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

Just a run. It is so nice to say that, after feeling like shit most of the week, having just a run, where I didn't feel as though I was freezing my arse off, feeling like I had been off from running for a month or two and just starting up again - being sick does that sometimes, it was nice to just run this morning.

Bennie and I went for an easy run down-back, no photos or anything.

The ice is retreating and there is a nice channel of dirt most of the way through to Tiffany. Although the Blake Road is still iced up pretty good in places and not runnable without spikes or screws.

However, it is that time of year when down-back is rather blah and not all that pretty. The road is rutted up badly in spots (from the boys and their trucks), the snow is nasty looking and things that you don't want to identify are coming out of the snow banks. That is why I didn't bother with photos today.

It was warm enough today that the frost was coming out of the dirt in places and getting slimy, which is not what I really wanted, since I wore my H3 Roads instead of the N1 Trails. Wrong choice this morning.

Luckily, it wasn't full blown mud - yet (we went out when it was still in the low 30's) and the slime didn't get too deep, but even so on the return trip, the slime was getting slimier and there was a lot more of it. So Bennie did come back a bit of a mud pie and my wind pants had their share of brown spots (no - not those kind) hehehehe.

The run itself was pretty unremarkable, other than we just got it done. Which is a good thing, I wanted a nice run where I felt pretty good, but didn't really push the pace too hard. Something I needed to do after still feeling the affects of being sick last week, most of this week.

I don't know what that bug was and even though I fought through it, the damn thing never totally let go for almost all of the week. Oh well, at least I will get in my 100 miles for the month and keep that streak going (since June 2014).

However, it is almost 50*F outside right now and I am seriously thinking about throwing on a pair of shorts, getting out the door and running down to Pepin Way and then kicking ass on the Bitch. Or more likely getting my arse kicked on the bitch. ;-P

Friday, February 26, 2016

What a freaking LONG Day!

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Thursday, February 25, 2016

Bare Leg #pearlizumirun #pichampion

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Rain and fog kind of day, but great day for shorts #pearlizumirun

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Wednesday, February 24, 2016

A Screw Shoe Kind of Day - RunLog 2-24-16

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

I have been told that I have a couple of screws loose, but today they were tightened down and necessary out there :-). Anyways the roads were a mess, snow, freezing rain and ice were the order of the day.

Yeah, I ran with my screw shoes today...no doubt about it. They were definitely necessary and part of the solution today.


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

Last week I was reading Seth Godin's blog he gave A Manifesto for small teams doing important work. This got me to thinking about things that I think are important for me at work. Yes, I have used a few of Seth's ideas, but his post kick-started me to write more on this subject. 

Which is what he tries to do, make us think.

So here are some of the things that I think are important to me at work and how I attempt to approach being in the work environment.

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

First Runs After Being Sick - RunLog 2-23-16

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

I usually don't miss too many days of running, but this past weekend, I had the energy of a wet noodle and spent most of Sunday trying too keep the toothpicks in my eyes to stay away. Not good, the body aches, chills, sweats, but otherwise no really getting sick, think I fought it off. Hell I made it to work yesterday, but just didn't have anything left for running, the tank was empty.

I think I got lucky though, because I just had the really mild symptoms compared to everyone else I have talked who has been sick lately. It must be the tea I drink almost daily (well I don't know if  would call it tea, but I add hot water and stir it up)

  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger (add in fresh shredded ginger root when it is in the house)
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1/2 crushed red pepper
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
  • once in a while add in 1/4 tsp cloves for variety

Put everything together in a 16 oz coffee mug, pour in the hot water, stir, then keep shaking it up before taking a sip. It might take some getting used too, but I have been pretty healthy all winter and didn't get nearly as sick as much as I used to or like I thought I was going too.

It really doesn't taste too bad once you get used to it...I have been told it does have a bit of bite or kick to it by others who have smelled it...for some reason they didn't dare to taste it. ;-)

Run #1

An easy run down back with Bennie. There were icy sections and I was still feeling a bit weak from the weekend, so we just plugged along.

Sunday, February 21, 2016

Bennie Playing Video - No Running But Big Smiles

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

I have been fighting a bad bug of some sort for the past 3 days which equaled no running and feeling like crap.

Initially I thought it was just the blahs, but it was more than that. Today has been more sleeping than awake time. However, I seem to have pushed through it and hopefully am on my way back to feeling well again.

So my streak of 20 mile weeks has ended after more than a year, but that is okay, I will just start another streak this week :-).

However, during one of my waking periods today, I was entertained by Bennie and got it on video

Below for your enjoyment is Bennie playing.

Yes, I know...but he is such a ham.

He made me smile and chuckle :-).

Saturday, February 20, 2016

Freezing Rain Again

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Friday, February 19, 2016

Yep, The Winter Blahs Are Here - RunLog 2-19-16

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

It is the end of February break, vacation or whatever you call it. Whatever it is -- it is the time of year when I have the hardest time keeping my running on an even keel or even have a whole lot of motivation to do a whole of nothing.

Yep, it is the winter blahs.

Even Bennie has them.

Elliot agrees.

No the winter hasn't been that bad...really it hasn't, but still it has been long enough and I am tired of single digit temps or lower, hell let's get real, I am tired of layering up to run outside. I want to be outside in shorts and a t-shirt, well yeah.

I am getting tired of the treadmill. It is a great tool to help get through the winter, but at the same time at a certain point it gets more and more tedious. I just want to get outside and run, and enjoy the running versus just enduring the run.

Unfortunately, it isn't quite that time of year, February is more than half over, so we still have at least a month of winter left, but we are close enough to see the light at the end of the tunnel, but not close enough for it to be helpful.

A Long Way's Up

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Do We Have To Run

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Tuesday, February 16, 2016

A Surprise 5K - Faster Than I Thought I Could - RunLog 2-16-16

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

With the rains outside (or should I say downpour), I wasn't going to run outside for my lunch run. So I headed over to Planet Fitness to do another treadmill run.

I figured that I would do a quick 3-4 and add in some intervals.

When I got going, I started out at 7.6 mph (about 7:52 pace) and did that for a warm-up. Since I had a definite time crunch, after 1/2 mile I put it up to 8.6 mph (about 6:54 pace) and planned on doing a half and then do a bunch of quarters to 4.0 miles.

When I finished the half, I was still feeling pretty strong, so I decided to do a mile.

Umm Houston, we have a Harold getting ready to be stoopid warning.

At the end of the mile I was still feeling good, so I decided to keep going to 2.0 miles. I was running strongly and didn't feel bad at all. So when I got to 2.0 miles, well I only had a mile left to get to 3.0 miles.

By this time, I was wondering if I could hold the pace to a full 5K.

So I figured why not go for it.

I also picked up the pace a notch to 8.7 mph.

Ummm Harold are you sure?

Well I figured that I would find out.

At about 2.5 miles, I started to feel the burn, not bad, but enough that I had to focus on what I was doing. Then when I got to 2.80 or so, I had to really focus on getting to the end.

I made it - no I didn't pick the pace up at the end like I usually do, but I did finish a sub-22:00 minute 5K on the treadmill.

Not too shabby for an old fart on a surprise fast 5K, especially after running this morning on ice and needing to use screw shoes outside.

Needless to say I was pretty happy with the results.

Just a Bit of Freezing Rain - RunLog 2-16-16

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

Now today was one of those days.

It started out with snow, that turned to freezing rain, which made a wholly mess right when Bennie and I wanted to run!!!!

Screw shoes were definitely the story today. Those old N2 Roads with the screws in the bottom made it so that I was upright most of the run - we will get into why I went down later.

Monday, February 15, 2016

It Warmed Up to 19*F - RunLog 2-15-16

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

Yea!!!! It warmed up...enough that the hot water line to the bathtub unthawed without doing any damage and Bennie got to get a run in, where he wasn't shivering like leaf  in less than 100 yards!!!

It got up to 19*F and with the wind chills it was all of 13*F, which equals runnable!!!

Okay Harold don't get stoopid or too excited, because tonight you are going to get 3-6" of snow and then it is going to turn to ice/rain depending upon where the line is -- fun weather. First arctic deep freeze and then snow/ice/rain. Welcome to Maine in the winter - in today's world, it goes from one extreme to the other with hardly any transition or so it seems.

Well enough whining and bellyaching about the weather, it is what it is and we gotta deal with it.

How did I feel after that fairly fast 10 miles on the treadmill yesterday...mmmmm the hammies didn't really like me, the quads were not negotiating well with the foam roller and the calves were just a tad tight. So things were pretty normal for the day after a tough workout. The biggest complaint I had all day was the damn chafe I got on my left underarm, it is just in a bad spot and I hate chaffing.

Yeah, I am such a wimp. ;-)

A Late Run #pearlizumirun

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-9*F At The House -Bennie Is Not Happy

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Sunday, February 14, 2016

Happy Valentines Day Mary we love you!

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10 the Hard Way - RunLog 2-14-15

Yeah the title says a lot...running 10.0 miles on the treadmill just isn't all that much fun and depending on the outdoor course, I really think that running that far on the treadmill is harder than doing it outside. That is pretty much why my long runs have been hit or miss this winter.

I have decided that I am not going to be stoopid and do a long run outside right after a storm or if the temps are under 20*F, especially since I am running by myself. The one thing that I am starting to do more often is think safety first during the winter, when if things get dicey it usually happens suddenly and in a spot where no one is around to help out.

However, I haven't run double-digits since January 2nd, just because I couldn't bring myself to do 10 or more on the treadmill - if it does matter, the body doesn't want to do, kind of thing.

I don't mind the treadmill until around 5-6 miles then it just starts wearing on the old noggin and I get antsy about having had enough and get off a little later. Today I started started out a bit slower and then increased the pace only a little at a time. Versus my usual set it at faster pace and attempt to hold.

When I got to 5.0 I played some mental gymnastics, plus I was feeling pretty good and just a little motivated after watching the marathon trials and hanging around with a bunch of runners yesterday afternoon.

So I made it through the 10.0 miles

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Yep It Is Cold!

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Saturday, February 13, 2016

Watching the Olympic Trials

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Another Cold One - RunLog 2-12-16

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Some days it is just cold outside. At 9:00 AM when Bennie and I got out for our run it had gotten up to 0*F with a pretty good wind chill to bring the feels like temp down into the -12 to -14 range. The good thing was that the roads were clear so I was able to run in my H3's, which I prefer in the colder weather - they give a little more cushion than my N1's which seems to help in the extreme cold.

Usually, in those temps, I don't even bother running outside, do a quick walk with Bean and call it good. However, he was acting like a bonehead, which is his way of telling me that he wanted to go for a run, not a walk.

Okay, I bundled myself up and tried out the red balaclava and my hoodie sweatshirt, under my red fall jacket. Yes, I had a synthetic long sleeve shirt at the bottom. Along with my cold-weather mittens and lined running pants.

You know that extra 5 pounds clothes that you bundle up in to run outside in this crap. The balaclava is going to go away, it no longer stays in place and is only a distraction. I had to keep tugging at it to keep it from covering my eyes and then it came out of the jacket, so my throat was exposed and I had to stuff it back down again.

Friday, February 12, 2016

Still Chilly #pearlizumirun #pichampion

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Yeah it was Nicer Yesterday - RunLog 2-11-16

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

Yesterday I had every intention of running twice, but after my first run down back, the legs felt pretty damn tired. By the time I got to lunch at work, I had decided that the second run wasn't happening. It was a good choice.

Let's get back to the first run.

As I talked about yesterday, I decided to make my PI N2 Road v1's into screw shoes for nasty weather and running down-back. So I was interested to see how they would work.

On Thursday the temps were still chilly at about 10*F, but as you can see the sun was out and there wasn't a lot of wind. So the weather for this time of year wasn't too bad and seasonable.

The screw shoes did fine, unless I got off into the powder and then there just wasn't enough grip to do well there. As long as I stayed in the double-track, I had plenty of grip and it felt pretty good.

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Back to Screw Shoes

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

Most every winter, I take a pair of my old beat up running shoes from the past year and turn them into screw shoes for running on the white ice that seems to have more than its share of territory where I usually run.

However, this year the weather has been warmer than usual with less snow (the Mid Atlantic region has gotten more of it than us), so I really didn't want to "screw" up a pair of old running shoes that I could use to wear to work - unless I had to.

Plus TheWife has a pair of YakTraks in the closet that she doesn't use, so I decided to wear them for a couple of my recent down-back runs. They do make a difference and allow me to run more confidently. So they do work as advertised and don't mess up a pair of running shoes.

Unfortunately, the model that I was using also is rather high maintenance and tends to shift around too much during a run, which forces me to stop (usually in a place I would rather just keep going) to readjust them.

Beautiful Day

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Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Too Short Interval Workout - RunLog 2-10-16

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

I am going to start with my second run first, because it is the run that matters most - well at least to me.

The biggest problem with it was that I just ran out of time. I was running really well and as much as I wanted, I had to stop at 3.0 miles, since I was on my lunch hour and needed to get back to work. Otherwise, I would have kept doing more intervals.

Oh well, at least I was able to get the 3.0 in.

What was I doing that was so good?

  • 0.50 @ 7.2 mph
  • 0.50 @ 8.6 mph @ 1% incline
  • 0.25 @ 7.2 mph
  • 0.25 @ 8.7 mph @ 1% incline
  • 0.25 @ 7.2 mph
  • 0.25 @ 8.7 mph
  • 0.25 @ 7.2 mph
  • 0.25 @ 8.8 mph
  • 0.25 @ 7.2 mph
  • 0.25 @ 9.2 mph

Adding in just that 1% incline did make a difference in how those first two intervals felt, compared to the rest of the run. It was more difficult, but not unbearable. However, I wanted to just run, not push hard, so I didn't continue with using the 1% incline more today.

I do have a feeling that I will be using the incline more often, just to get me more used to the harder work at that pace. Yes, it did feel more like the sub 7:00 pace that I run outside, which means that I didn't need to go as fast on the treadmill to get the same workout in and it doesn't give me a false impression of what kind of pace I can maintain - that running at 0% incline does.

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Down back and 3-5" of Fresh Powder

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Monday, February 8, 2016

Steady State Treadmill 5.0 Miler - RunLog 2-8-16

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

The cold has returned to Maine, the thermometer read 9*F and with the wind (not breeze), it was double-digit negative numbers outside this morning. Which means that Bennie doesn't get to do a run and I wimp out had head directly to the treadmill without even thinking about heading outside for a run.

With the winds howling and being all bundled up to minimize the cold, even if I had run, it would have been a slog and the entire time, I would have been just wanting to get it over with - no enjoyment out there.

While some might think the same of the treadmill, I don't. Running on one doesn't bother me most of the time and I know that instead of a bundled up slog, that I can actually run.

I didn't want to do a speed session, but I did want to do something a little longer than I have been lately at a faster pace than I usually do. So I settled on a steady-state 5.0 miles at 7.6 mph from start to finish.

Saturday, February 6, 2016

They Work Until They Don't - RunLog 2-6-16

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

No run or work yesterday.

Due to the surprise storm I got a text at 5:30 AM telling me we were closed, so I figured that I would get some good miles in later. I putzed around until around 9:00 when the plow went by.

Unfortunately, when we went out to run - mmmmm the road was pretty much a sheet of white ice - I don't have a pair of shoes rigged up with screws and I find that YakTraks don't help a lot on that stuff.

So we turned around and I got on my parka and Bennie and I went for a walk instead. It turned into a very short one, I almost fell on my arse twice and Bennie wasn't impressed by the wind or the snow. We went back inside and promptly took a long winter's nap. I must say it did feel pretty damn good

Yeah, then we did snow removal by hand because the driveway was too soft for the snowblower - not fun, but it got done.

Today we woke up to glorious sunshine and the storm dropped between 6-8" of white stuff. The town had been through a few times and the road was getting pretty nasty, melt water, white ice, slush, puddles and all that other stuff. I had a choice get totally soaked, have Bennie run in salt and crap or we could check out down-back.

I took the YakTraks with me, just in case.

This is what we saw.

Just about perfect double track!!!!

Friday, February 5, 2016

Yep Snow Scooped the Whole Damn Thing

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With the temps being so warm (54*F yesterday) the past week, the driveway was soft and the "rocks" we not locked down.  Which means that if I had used the snow blower that I would have been flinging rocks everywhere and probably would have screwed up the augur or something.

So instead of ruining something that is costly, I removed the "surprise" six inches of snow the old fashioned way - using Harold power.

I definitely do not have to worry about doing another workout today, the upper and lower body are both telling me that they had enough of a workout and it only took 2.5 hours of constant movement to get it done.  Hummmm I wonder how far I can run in 2.5 hours. Well if I use a 9:00 min pace or so, it might be around 16-20 miles. Only I don't think I would feel quite as tired, because I wouldn't have used quite as many muscles as I did operating that damn snow scoop.

Glad it is done though and will be glad the next time when I get to use the snow blower :-)

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Discretion is the Better choice Today

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Some days it just is better to not tempt fate and simply turn around.

Which is what we did this morning.

I really didn't feel like running down to Pepin Way and then climbing back up the Bitch, so we went down-back, when we got to the end of the road it didn't look too bad. There were two strips of clear mud with the ice in the middle and sides, along with a bit of fog hanging around. As you can see below:

We couldn't run super fast on this, but it was runnable, at least until we got just past the upper gate, then as you can see in the first photo, the travel line of mud turned to ice the further down the hill we got. Which just wasn't going to be runnable.

At that point Bennie and I turned around and did an easy 3.0 up on top

Run #2

After work I stopped at Planet Fitness and hopped on the treadmill. I initially wanted to do 4-5 easy, but the 7.5 mph (about a 8:00 minute pace) felt pretty easy, so I kept it there and popped it up to 7.6 and 7.7 at each mile, just to keep things interesting.

Surprisingly, even after yesterday's tough long intervals at race pace, the sub 8:00 minute pace felt pretty easy and I wasn't hurting when I got to 3.0 miles. Even so I knew that I had done a tough workout yesterday, so I didn't want to be stoopid about things and I shut it down at that point.

There is just something about running on the treadmill that I feel more comfortable running a little faster than I do outside and if I am going to run faster, it also means that I am not going to run as far.

I do not want to get into that always feeling tired, because I am doing too much for my current fitness levels. The higher intensity/speed equals lower miles training methods, works better for me than going after some artificial mileage number that might or might not have a lot to do with how I am actually running.

Plus if I am focusing on 5K races this year, big mileage is not what I am needing for my training, being comfortable at faster paces is more important in my mind than simply running extra miles.

It was a good day for running and I didn't get stoopid during the treadmill run - which was a good thing. :-)

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Garbage Truck Encounter and Great Long Interval Run - RunLog 2-3-16

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

After yesterday's garbage truck encounter down on Pepin Way and all the rain we got today, the treadmill was a great option.

Yeah, I guess I should talk about what happened with the GARBAGE truck first.

Garbage Truck Encounter 2/2

As we turned onto Pepin Way, a garbage truck went flying by us, definitely going a "bit" faster than the 25 mph speed limit. Usually when Bennie and I were running down on Pepin Road we pick up the pace a little and we were just about to the little "T" that goes off to the left. I could hear the Garbage truck revving up his engine and hitting gears as we approached the intersection.

Ummmm Houston we have a BIG problem.

Monday, February 1, 2016

Some Days You Do Wonder - RunLog 2-1-16

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Some days you just gotta wonder.

The weather for February 1st is damned unseasonable - by the time we ran at 9:00 AM, it was already 42*F - just a bit warm for this time of year. Which also made down-back a bit "interesting" going from slushy spots to lots of white ice with that sheen of melt on top.

So I slowed down and tip-toed around some of the spots. Running in the middle had the best grip, but also allowed some minor post-holing that wan't all that much fun. There was just no real good spot to run where there was decent grip.

That is why the graph on the Strava Stats this morning was so "consistently" inconsistent.