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

Saturday, April 30, 2016

Easy Recovery Run - RunLog 4-29-16

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

Yes, I ran yesterday.

Yes, it was still chilly and the winds are still out of the north.

Yes, I still had 3 layers on and dressed like it was early March

Yes, my legs were crispy from that speed workout on Thursday afternoon

Yes, Bennie was a butthole during the run.

Yes, we still had fun!

That last yes, is still the most important yes.

:-)

I wore the H3's just as a change of pace and didn't try to hit any kind of speed during the run, I figured that we would just do an easy 3+ and call it a day.

They have pretty much fixed the dirt road down back, so that the deeply rutted areas are decent again, but at the same time, you still have to pay attention, because it ain't level and there are lots of potholes, undulations and rocks that need to be noticed. Nothing bad, but enough that if you are zoning out, it probably won't be pretty and maybe even a little painful.



When you add in a dangerous weapon called a leash, with a dog attempting to twine it through and around your legs at every opportunity (evidently down-back's wildlife was very active the other night) to follow this or that, or to mark this piece of grass.

However, we made it through and got see Mary running on top. She is starting to run again, after breaking her wrist back in March, still not 100%, but she is working it hard and though it might be sore, she will have more back quicker, than if she just sits on the couch whining about how much it hurts (her words). However, I agree with her, but she still gets frustrated easily when the wrist doesn't allow her to do something...she wants to do.

Overall, it was just a nice recovery run and while it was chilly, it wasn't bone numbing cold like the other day, just a little below seasonable. Which is the way it is.

Friday, April 29, 2016

What Happened to My Brand Loyalty?

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

At some point brand loyalty is always tested.

Now I am very happy with how my running has gone since I moved back to running in Pearl Izumi running shoes last October. No real injuries to speak of, just a lot of consistent running. My work schedule has interfered with my running more than any running shoe related maladies.

Also, I love being a part of the Pearl Izumi Run Champions 2016 Team and the people I have met on online as a result of being a member.

Things are going so well, they are almost boring.

I am not used to it...where is the chaos of what running shoe to buy, whining about how it didn't work, my feet hurt, the wife giving me "the look" when a shoe box shaped package arrives unannounced or that little email arrives from the bank alerting her that I have warmed up my credit card again.

So it must be time to spice things up again.

Memories of the 1983 Marine Corps Marathon

Since I have returned to One Foot In Reality, I have decided to clean-up and re-publish this series, there were a few rough spots, things left out and I thought it would be nice to share this old fart's story of running over the years on #Throwback Thursdays.

There will not be as many photographs, yeah it was the way it was back then. Yeah, this story and its other chapters tell the story of the 40 plus years it took to make me into the runner I am now.

No I am not an élite runner and truthfully, I haven't run in all that many races considering how long I have been a runner. I have mostly just run. 

To make things more simple I have broken these posts into where I have lived and run. Some places will have their own posts, others will be combined sometimes I will even break out a particularly important event in my running into its own post.

This post will be about the:

Marine Corps Marathon - 1983

The one race that has and continues to haunt me, unfortunately, I have a feeling that it always will. It was a turning point in my running and really not a good one.

I wear the title of marathoner proudly, because I earned it and if I never run another, I am one.

I had trained well for this marathon and felt ready. I went over to the registration area the day before and picked up my race number, t-shirt and bought a souvenir beer mug, which I still have and it sits on my dresser in a place of honor and as a reminder that I can do more than I believe that I can, despite the obstacles placed in the way.


We had the customary spaghetti supper with the Coast Guard HQ Running Club, watched a slide show of earlier years experiences and got our race singlet.


As a club we hosted several out of town runners and I had Joe W. spending the weekend with us. I had driven the course a few times, with a couple of other runners who had run it before to get to know the logistics and parking stuff I would have to navigate on race day. You know all those things us runners do to make race day less stressful.

I got up and was nervous, but confident of what I was going to do that day. Run a sub 3:00:00 time and BQ.

Joe and I got to the start without any issues and after that it is just a blur and I really don't remember a whole lot about it .

The race start was slow with that many people running, but once I got past the first mile, I got into a sub 7:00 minute pace. I kept clicking through the miles, it felt like a great training run, only there were so many people out cheering us on.

I hit 20.0 miles in just over 2:15:--, so I only had 6.0 miles to go and 45:00 minutes to do it. I was feeling pretty confident about breaking 3:00:00 hours.

Unfortunately, about a half mile up the road, I got distracted by a very well endowed female spectator who was jumping up and down, waving her arms around, cheering rather vigorously, without her supporting gear on, (yeah I know - focus) and I stepped wrong in one of the infamous Washington, D.C. pothole. I had avoided them all up to now, the streets in Washington weren't known for being well repaired.

I immediately felt a lot of pain in my right knee - yep it was always the right one and had to stop for a minute or so for the pain to subside and wipe a few tears of rage away.

Why me? Why now? Can I still run? Does anything else hurt? No, Okay take a step. Not good lots of pain. Damnit I'm not going to BQ, lots of swearing, try to walk again, pain, take another step, still pain, can't give up now, gotta get going starting to cool-off, come on Harold you gotta move. I am going to finish this fucking race!!!

I started to run again (well sort of), all I knew is that it hurt like hell.

Gimp along, but I started to move again.

The Vow


I wasn't going to ride in the meat wagon to the finish line 2 years in a row. I had made a vow the year before that I would finish this year's race come hell or high water!

I went into survival shuffle/walk mode, I would "run" 50 yards or so and then walk a ways, I can't remember having been in so much pain. But I kept going alternating running/walking, I was simply focused on putting one foot in front of the other.

I was limping really bad and was doing the one stiff-legged shuffle. I remember a Marine stepping in front of me and asked if I was alright.

I mumbled something and moved around him and kept moving. The more I kept moving, the more my right hip began to hurt as well.

I finished!

It was not the way I had expected, when I got to the finish line, all the emotions came out tears of relief streamed down my cheeks.

I had finished.

I was numb.

What I remember

I don't remember all that about the last couple of miles other than a Marine barking at me to "take that hill", another Marine in full dress - rendering a salute as I passed him, pain, always moving forward, pain, trying not to stagger and staying away from the mean greenies who kept trying to pull me from the course. When I crossed the finish line - I buckled and I had to be helped to the recovery tent, where I stayed for a couple of hours.

When I sort of came out my survival mode funk, I looked around and it looked more like a scene from M*A*S*H*, with so many other runners in that big medical tent with me. They quickly triaged me, I wasn't going to die - it just felt like it, gave me some orange juice, covered me up and made me lay there for an hour with my feet elevated.

When I was back to being somewhat coherant, the corpsman came over asked for my ID, which I had in my running shorts pocket (we were told to have our AFID on us) and proceeded to look me over, he told me I could go when I could stand up without any issues.

The knee hurt to walk on, but it was bearable. Unfortunately, my right hip hurt like hell and when I attempted to put weight on it, I buckled and would have fallen if the the corpsman hadn't caught me. After talking with one of the docs,the corpsmen gave me a pair of crutches to get home with and told me to get to sick call on Monday.

I caught back up with Joe, he had finished under 3:00:00 and had seen me when I crossed the line. He told me that I looked like "death warmed over" and he knew I was headed for the medical tent, when the Marines had picked me up in the finishing corral when I hit the ground (I didn't remember that part - everything was pretty hazy when I finished).

So he knew where to look for me.

I hobbled along to my little truck and we drove back to Alexandria. We went out to Chesapeake Bay Seafood house for an all-we-could eat meal and talked about the race. I found out that he had been behind me by about 20 yards for most of the race, until I sort of stumbled and then stopped. When he went by, he had hollered to me to "come on", but I never heard or saw him go by.

I had finished.

It wasn't easy and I had endured the pain in my knee and hip to do it.

I told myself that I would never run another Marathon and even though I have trained for a several, I have never started another one for various injury reasons.

No, I didn't qualify for Boston, I finished in 3:45:46 (watch time)/3:47:06 (official) -- a very respectable time for my first marathon.

The Injury

However, I knew I was injured when I finished.

No I didn't go to sick call until things didn't get better.

I took a week off from running and even though my hip still hurt a lot, (the knee felt pretty good) figured I would try a short run, but only got about 100 yards down the road before I had to stop, turn around and limp back.

After that I finally went to medical and after a week of tests and driving to Bethesda and back, I was diagnosed with a stress fracture in my hip and told it would be 12-18 months before I would be able to run again. They put me on crutches for a month and said no weight-bearing exercises or activities for three months. It took a long time to heal from that injury and I got into some very bad habits, during this recovery.

But those are a different story and looking back - not a pretty one.

The Reality is that

Running and finishing the Marathon in 1983 was a huge accomplishment in my running career. Unfortunately, it was also a turning point in the runner that I was, versus the runner I would become.

After that race, I was never able to go to the well and push into the hurt locker like you need to if you want to be a good runner. Even though I have had some good times in races and did a lot of great training, I just wasn't the same runner - I reach a certain level of discomfort and back off, instead of embracing the pain.

I just can't do it.

Sometimes a single event can influence how you do something for the rest of your life and this was one of those events.

I will never forget the 1983 Marine Corps Marathon, but there is no doubt that I still have a few scars from the memory of that race and my brain isn't going to let go of them any time soon.

Enough that re-writing that section on the finish, brought fresh tears running down these old cheeks...yeah I know that finishing the 1983 MCM was an accomplishment, but looking back from my "old fart's" perspective today - was it really worth it?

It is something that I will never be able to truly answer, but I know that finishing changed a lot of things in my life and not all of them for the better.

However, I am a marathoner and no one will ever take that away from me.

1982 to 1984 Running While Living in the Washington DC Area

Since I have returned to One Foot In Reality, I have decided to clean-up and re-publish this series, there were a few rough spots, things left out and I thought it would be nice to share this old fart's story of running over the years on #Throwback Thursdays.

There will not be as many photographs, yeah it was the way it was back then. Yeah, this story and its other chapters tell the story of the 40 plus years it took to make me into the runner I am now.


No I am not an élite runner and truthfully, I haven't run in all that many races considering how long I have been a runner. I have mostly just run. 

To make things more simple I have broken these posts into where I have lived and run. Some places will have their own posts, others will be combined sometimes I will even break out a particularly important event in my running into its own post.

This post will be about the years 1982 to 1984 and I was living in the:

Washington, D.C. Metro Area

We moved to Washington, D.C. area in the Summer of '82 and lived in Alexandria over at the Mt. Vernon Square Apartment Complex. Which had a path leading to the back road and up this big hill and then about a mile away was the Mt. Vernon Bike trail. I ran on the bike trail a lot while we lived in Alexandria. It was a lot safer than running on the roads around Rt. 1.

Although, I did do a lot of running over towards Fort Belvoir and the Old Town section of Alexandria.

Moss Brown, Inc.

One of the first things that I did when we moved to the D.C area was make a pilmagrage to the Moss Brown, Inc. Running Store, which no longer exists under that name. I had shopped from their mail-order catalog several times while living in St. Ignace and wanted to see the store.

I was impressed.

While there I bought my first Gore-Tex Running Suit complete with Running hat and mittens. I don't know what happened to the hat, but I wore the suit until after I retired and had to eventually throw it out in 1998 or so, there just wasn't a lot left to it.

The mittens, finally wore out and couldn't be repaired a couple of years ago - those I still miss, they were perfect for running in nasty weather.

It was the best money I have ever spent on running apparel.

However, I never went back there after the first time, it was too difficult to get to and the prices were out of my range in the store. I found a running store in Old Town Alexandria that was comfortable to be in and I spent a lot time and money there. I want to say that is was called the "Run In" but I am not sure.

Coast Guard Running Team

I got involved with the Coast Guard Running club that first summer and participated in it for 2 of the 3 years I was stationed at Coast Guard Headquarters.

I somehow got talked into running the Marine Corps Marathon in August of that year (2 months prep is enough prep time for a first-time marathon - right), probably right after the Coast Guard Day run.

Looking back I definitely hadn't trained enough to realistically finish well, but I gave into peer pressure and started the race.

Marine Corps Marathon - 1982

1982 Marine Corps Marathon t-shirt - yes I still have it

The biggest things I remember about this race were the number people pulling their shorts down male and female in a field just after the start in a small clearing about a mile after the start. Sure glad that I didn't have to mow that field later.

I was running at about a 7:00 minute pace for the first 8.0 miles then my right knee (I have always had issues with it) didn't like the idea of running anymore and  while I pushed things to 13 miles, where I stopped and got in the meat wagon for a ride back to the start.

During that ride I vowed to train and finish next year's race.

Marathon Training 1983

I actually trained for the 1983 Marine Corps Marathon. Of all the training logs that I have had over the years, this is the one that I have been able to keep intact. When I go back through this log, I see so many training mistakes that I made, but also the things that I did correctly.

The memories are there and when I look at them it takes me back to another time and place.

I ran three races that year besides the Marathon:
  • 2/5/83 - Fort Hunt Park 8.0 miles/57.23  - Place 112
  • 4/2/83 - Hains Point 10K/42:57 - Place 35
  • 8/6/83 - Coast Guard Day 5 Miler - Station Alexandria 5.0 miles/32:17 place 11 (2nd in my Age Group)
Looking back I could have run in a race every weekend, but for some reason or other, I just never got involved in the racing part of running during this period. I was still doing way too much partying - something that almost caught up to me on the day that I had my Chief's Initiation, but that is another story.

Which was strange because I am a fairly competitive person and enjoy the racing and social part after the races?

Especially, since I would go down to the "Run-In" (?) running store and run with a bunch of people on Wednesday nights, it had become my hangout after work (my 1st wife worked 3-11).

We would take off in Old Town Alexandria and run down the Mt. Vernon bike trail. I was usually in the middle pack that did the medium distance of 6-8 miles. Then we would go over to one of the local establishments and do some carb loading.

Most of the time though I ran at lunch, my bosses were very supportive and I was running with a lot of officers and such, so no one complained if I ran 5-8 miles at lunch and then quickly ate at my desk.

We would run around the 14th street bridge, the Reflecting Pool, around the Monuments, down through Hains Point, over in front of the White House. To me Washington, D.C. is tailor-made for running.

The only bad thing was during the summer we had to go past the fish market to get to all the great courses and then go back by it again to get back to work and boy did it stink on those many hot days. I gotta admit my gag reflex worked overtime in that area more than once.

Even back then, I was injured off and on and found that I had to be very careful when it came to my training, otherwise I had a lot of inconvenient aches and pains, that interrupted my running.

The funniest or strangest "injury" was when I went swimming in the Potomac River while partying with a bunch of my first wife's friends from her work and got Poison Ivy on over 80% of my body (it wasn't funny then) and had to go on steroids for 2 weeks. The steroids did work to get rid of the poison ivy and I did see why so many athletes took them, they do make a difference in your performance.  Never took them again, they scared me to be honest.

Yes, I finished a marathon in 1983. The Marine Corps Marathon, even then it was a big deal. Unfortunately, running and forcing myself to finish that race took something out of me and I haven't ever been the same runner since.

I went too deep into the well and don't think that I will ever really totally recover from it.

You can read about it here. It was such a pivotal point in my running that I made it a separate post.

Started Running Again

In the spring of 1984 we moved to Woodbridge, VA and I slowly started running again, after that stress fracture in my hip, mostly on an old powerline just down the road from where we lived - it was rough going, but there was no traffic and easier on my body than running on tar.

I made Chief, October 1, 1984 and got transfer orders to Connecticut and had stopped hanging around with some people...who looking back with 20/20 hindsight, had lead me down a dark avenue and hurt some of my future career opportunities and didn't help my reputation. Let's just leave it at that and move onward and upward.

However, by the time I left, I was back to running 20 miles a week again and beginning to be my old self. That dark period ended.

Running brought me back to being me. 

The reality is that

my experience in running while living in the Washington, D.C. area was really a great experience.

If I had paid attention to running instead of having wandering eyes, I believe that I would have finished the MCM in 1983 just fine (around 3:00:00) and my running experiences might have been a bit different, which would have changed a couple of other things going forward.

What might have been is one of those games we all play, but in this case - I really do wonder.

Looking back to my running days from 82-84 were some of the more memorable in my distance running career - which were capped off by finishing the Marine Corps Marathon.

So I can legitimately claim the title of Marathoner (just not recently) and smile when others are talking about their experiences running one. I really don't know if I will ever run another one, my body breaks down too much when I am putting in the mileage necessary to be able to run one the way that I want.

Only time will tell.

However, if I never do another marathon, that does not make me less of a runner. I have to focus on the fact that I can keep putting one foot in front of the other. As long as I can keep doing that, I am pretty damn happy.

I hope you enjoy reading these recollections, I know that I am enjoying going through the pictures, yearbooks, journals and reflecting back on these parts of my life.

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Not Feeling it and A Good Speed Work Session Later - RunLog 4-28-16

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

Sometime you just don't feel like running...yes I said that and that is how I felt this morning before I went for a run with Bennie this morning - I think Bennie agreed with me.



WTF is going on?

A couple of things

1. It is frigging cold and I am ready to run in shorts and a tshirt. This crap of it being 36*F and 15-20 mph winds right out of the NW - it was not pleasant and I was bundled up like it was early March.

2. I have been updating my 40 years of running series and I was working on updating the 1983 Marine Corps Marathon post to re-post on Friday and it brought back a bunch of memories that I had buried and caused more than a few tears to be shed - again. Tough old bastid aren't I!!!

So mentally just wasn't into the run this morning.

However, we have noticed that when Bennie doesn't run, he misbehaves a lot more and since Mary can't run with the Bean...well it means that I get to :-). So we headed out the door, with one small difference.

NO GPS

1979 to 1982 - Running in St. Ignace

Since I have returned to One Foot In Reality, I have decided to clean-up and re-publish this series, there were a few rough spots, things left out and I thought it would be nice to share this old fart's story of running over the years on #Throwback Thursdays.

There will not be as many photographs, yeah it was the way it was back then. Yeah, this story and its other chapters tell the story of the 40 plus years it took to make me into the runner I am now.

No I am not an élite runner and truthfully, I haven't run in all that many races considering how long I have been a runner. I have mostly just run. 

To make things more simple I have broken these posts into where I have lived and run. Some places will have their own posts, others will be combined sometimes I will even break out a particularly important event in my running into its own post.

This post will be about the years:

1979 to 1982 -- St. Ignace, Michigan

I'm on the right
I arrived in St Ignace July 1979 and had been on 45 days leave. During which I ran maybe 5 times, I was out having too much fun and sun before my next duty station - it was the graduation summer that I never had.

The first year in St. Ignace, I really didn't run that consistently, it was more about meeting people, learning the area, a new job and it is met my first wife that summer.

Yeah, I was going from working at a large Air Station to a 6 person MIO and trying to fit into a new place.  All I know is there was lots of bars, let me repeat lots of bars, eating at the Big Boy restaurant, not a lot of exercising and gaining back all of the weight that I worked so hard to get rid of those previous years.

When I saw a photo of me in uniform that first winter, I decided it was time to get my ass back on the roads and do something about the flubber that had come back in a bad way. Yes, I smartened up again. Stopped the boozing and began to run again and I ran a lot. My boss was a runner and he was very supportive of my running.

Mail Order Running Catalogs

The next spring was when I discovered mail order catalogs and Moss Brown Inc. of Georgetown and ordering online using a credit card. It made it sooooo easy to simply call them up and place an order for that new pair of Shoes that appeared in Runner's World or Running Times. All I know is that Moss Brown and a few other companies did get a lot of money sent their way and my started me on my weakness for new running shoes.

I went through several different shoes while there (some very good, some horrible), but the one pair I remember most was going down to Petoskey, MI and finding a brand new pair of Nike Equinox at a bike shop that carried running shoes, that I had been reading about in my Runners World and just had to have a pair.

The store didn't have any 7.5 or 8.0, so I settled on a very tight pair of size 7.0 and hated the shoe, they blistered the hell out of my right foot (even back then my right foot bothered me), but I ran in them anyway because I didn't have any others (my then wife had gotten rid of all my old ones before we left that day).

I know that I only ran about 50 miles in them before I went out and bought a new pair of Saucony Jazz, which didn't work all that well for me either. So I ended up getting a pair of Brooks shoes (not sure if it was the Villanova, Tempos or what they were), that I just loved and ran in those for a long time.

Not sure who to give credit to for this photo, it is not my photo and it is downloaded from Google Photos and didn't have a credit. If asked I will voluntarily take it down or gladly give credit to the proper person.

Than I got a pair of Etonic Streetfighter's if I remember correctly, between the Brooks and the Etonics, I was pretty happy with my running shoes for a while.
I was in St. Ignace until 1982 and I never ran a road race there, but I had several weeks where I was running 50-60 miles a week and reading all the running magazines I could get my hands on. I always pretended that I was training for Boston.

The biggest memories I have of running in St. Ignace are finally making it to the top of the hill beside the town office without stopping. It was a real tough uphill run for me. However, the course that I ran the most and no doubt was my favorite course was the 3.0 mile loop around the old trail out to the Airport, even back then I liked to run trails, I just didn't know how much.

St. Ignace is where I learned that I do love to run long distances, even if I was and still not all that good at it.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

1977 to May 1979 - Cape Cod and Bat Out of Hell

Since I have returned to One Foot In Reality, I have decided to clean-up and re-publish this series, there were a few rough spots, things left out and I thought it would be nice to share this old fart's story of running over the years on #Throwback Thursdays.

There will not be as many photographs, yeah it was the way it was back then. Yeah, this story and its other chapters tell the story of the 40 plus years it took to make me into the runner I am now.

No I am not an élite runner and truthfully, I haven't run in all that many races considering how long I have been a runner. I have mostly just run. 

To make things more simple I have broken these posts into where I have lived and run. Some places will have their own posts, others will be combined sometimes I will even break out a particularly important event in my running into its own post.

This post will be about the years:


1977 to May 1979 - Cape Cod

My next place to run was Cape Cod Air Station and there I started running again pretty regularly.


I was running in Brooks (I think the model was the Vantage), only this time I started to run longer distances and found that I while I wasn't all that great at it, it did help me get skinny again.

One of the thing about living in the barracks at AirSTA Cape Cod was the only damn hill in the areas was coming back into the Air Station itself, so I always had to run up that damn hill to get back to base. Good training but I hated it.

I lost most of the weight that I had gained onboard the SPAR that first year at the Air Station.

The most memorable run I had was that first year there during November, I was supposed to be a tough runner, so I was running in shorts and a t-shirt. It was probably in the 30's with 30 mile an hour winds whipping off the runways and I went for a 5 mile run. I was frozen when I got back and they took me over to the infirmary because I looked like I was going to die.

A certain part of my anatomy was very frozen and had to be checked out by the on call physician to see if I had done any damage. It took a loooong time to live that one down.

The female HM's were particularly brutal.

My boss there was an ultra-marathoner (which was very uncommon for back then) and he gave me some tips and advice on running in cold weather in his office the next day. I learned to run with a plastic bag inserted in my shorts or better in wind pants.

When I moved off base and lived in Falmouth, I would drive down and run along the ocean drive to Woods Hole, not realizing it was part of the Falmouth Road Race course (unfortunately, I never ran it though), I just enjoyed the views both scenery and girls that would be walking/running there.

I lived on Tanglewood Dr in Falmouth and if you went all the way to the end of the road, it turned to an old woods road that came out on a series of cranberry bogs, that is where I did a lot of my running back then. Not much traffic out there which was a problem during the summers on Cape Cod.

Shorty cut-off shorts and tube socks - I was sooooo cool!
Shorty cut-off shorts and tube socks - I was sooooo cool!

As usual I got hurt while playing basketball and ended up on crutches what seemed like most of the summer of '78, actually only 3 weeks and I took the cast off, not the Doctors. The start of my not being to good with Dr.'s Orders - which in the military they really get pissed about and they let me know they were not happy with me.

After that I did run more, but never got into the local road racing scene down there, which is something that I regret.

So the summer of '78 wasn't a great running summer and that winter while I kept running a little every week, it wasn't all that much.

I kept running most of that fall and into the winter, but I met young lady who was living up in Worcester and I was spending time trying to get to know her a lot better, so running became less important to me. Things didn't work out between us and I used running to help move past what had happened.

1-1-79 RoadRace Clipping

I did run my first 5K road race in Falmouth on January 1, 1979, as a New Year's resolution that I was going to run more and do some road racing, lose a the weight I had gained. Unfortunately, the race was an utter fiasco, I wrote about it here. I was hung over, out of shape, overdressed, almost didn't finish and finished last.

However my first enlistment was up in June and Rick, Bobby and I were gonna get out of Coast Guard. All three of us had out short-timers chains/calendars and we had made plans to go hiking up in the White Mountains with another guy - Kim.

So I was working out and running was a big part of the preparation for this hiking adventure, that whole spring.

It ended up that Bobby and I re-enlisted at the last minute, the job market was not too great at that time for me (no degree), so when the detailer offered me a sweet new duty station in St. Ignace, Michigan and a nice re-enlistment bonus - I took it.

We did the hike, but didn't do as much as we had planned and cut the hike short.

I left Cape Cod that May and took 45 days leave from the military, got tanned, did some haying for a local farmer and became a beach bum,

Gramp, Mikey and me
Gramp, Mikey and me

I also fell in love , she wouldn't come with me and I drove off into the sunset for Michigan. Listening to Meatloaf's - Bat Out of Hell cassette tape in my Brandy Spanky New Subaru Brat.

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Well It Had To Happen - RunLog 4-26-16

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

What happened?

For the first time in 2016, I ran in a pair of running shoes that were not Pearl Izumi!

Shocker of shocks!!!

What happened, well after my last couple of races that I ran - I wanted see how I felt running in a pair of racing flats. Unfortunately, I don't really have what I would call racing flats in my Pearl Izumi rotation and the only pair of flats that I still have are my Asics Hyperspeed 6's that I had out in the back of the garage.


So I took them out for a pretty easy run, with no expectations on what to expect.

We started out pretty slowly and the thing that surprised me more than anything was how easy it was to maintain to just run, although my stride was slightly different than in the Pearl's. I could feel a little more strain on the hammies and achilles, not bad, but still there.


Lots of Bennie stops and stuff, but the pace was easy to maintain. Then when we had a couple of cars go by, it was easy to pick up the pace. Then going up the last rise, I didn't even push and we got the 3rd fastest time going up there??? On the way back, I pushed up to about 90% for that last segment and got the the fastest time I have run the segment.

Yes That is Snow


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1975 - 1977 Running While On the SPAR

Since I have returned to One Foot In Reality, I have decided to clean-up and re-publish this series, there were a few rough spots, things left out and I thought it would be nice to share this old fart's story of running over the years on #Throwback Thursdays.

There will not be as many photographs, yeah it was the way it was back then. Yeah, this story and its other chapters tell the story of the 40 plus years it took to make me into the runner I am now.

No I am not an élite runner and truthfully, I haven't run in all that many races considering how long I have been a runner. I have mostly just run. 

To make things more simple I have broken these posts into where I have lived and run. Some places will have their own posts, others will be combined sometimes I will even break out a particularly important event in my running into its own post.

This post will be about the years:

1975 to 1977 on board the UCGC SPAR & ACACIA & MESQUITE and back to the SPAR, but all them were homeported in South Portland, Maine during my time aboard them. It was part of the 180 FRAM project and we got stuck with all the swaps or should I say cross decking. The SPAR is now an artificial reef and all I have left are the memories of her. 

Some good and some pretty bad.

This is probably the longest time in my life that I didn't run very often and wasn't injured. Living and working aboard a ship, just was not conducive to running back in those days.


I was on a 180' Coast Guard Buoy Tender and they were not big enough to have an exercise room set aside with a treadmill. Besides exercising was not something we had time for.

The motto from the Captain on down was pretty much "work hard/play harder". Back then you were expected to and if you didn't...well you were considered an outsider, who wasn't part of the crew. Some of the stories, oh lala but that was a different place and time than today's professional military :-).

When I ran, it would sometimes be with one of the Ensigns (Enzymes) who had been a runner at the Academy, if we pulled into port in time or sometimes when liberty was granted, but it was very inconsistent at best.

Believe it or not my running shoes for almost the entire time I was on the ship were a pair of Pony running shoes that I bought at the Cape May Exchange the day I graduated from Boot Camp. I had made a promise I was going to keep running, but never do it again in crappy sneakers.

While on the SPAR I got to run in Boston, Baltimore (Curtis Bay), Norfolk, Woods Hole, Governors Island, Rockland, GTMO (Guantanamo Bay, Cuba) and few other cool places.

I might have gotten one or two runs in a week or not run for several weeks in a row. Most of my time on liberty was spent drinking at bars, playing softball or basketball and yes going home on weekends to see girlfriends in my POS (piece of shit) 1971 Camaro.


I also got pretty damn fat during this time (for the first time) and it is a battle that I have had to wage for the rest of my adult life.

After 1 year 10 months 13 days and 11 hours and a few minutes, I got off that ship and never went back to sea again as a permanent member of a ship's company. I never did get over being sea-sick all the time, just sucked it up and did what I had to when we were underway.

Being on board ship was different, you became a member of an extended family and all the fun and issues that go along with 48-52 personalities. I did many things during this time that I wouldn't do today and wouldn't be permissable in today's world, because I would be in jail or discharged very quickly. Nothing really illegal, but the partying hard, would have gotten me in a lot of trouble. Back then it was what we all did as a right of passage and it was a LOT more socially acceptable then, than it is now.

The only thing I would have done differently is accepted that transfer to Hawaii and the 14th District Office job that was offered me at the end of that tour, instead of taking the Cape Cod tour. I have a feeling that a lot of things would have worked out differently for me.

Nope, running wasn't really a priority for me while I was on the buoy tenders, but I did it enough that I never completely turned in my runner's card.

Monday, April 25, 2016

5.0 Miles and 2xHill Sprints - RunLog 4-25-16

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

I had planned to do an easy 3.0 with Bennie, then this afternoon, do 5.0 at lunch and do my hill sprints then. However, once we got out there, it was just so nice, low 40's (well a bit of northerly breeze - which meant that I had my gloves on), that instead of turning, we kept going out to Wildwood. So I figured it would end up with an easy 4.0.

As you can see, we didn't fly and just plugged along, doing Bennie things.


Usually in the M3's I am above 9:00 most of the time, just because they do weigh so much and they do make moving at a slower pace pretty easy. However, once we got back up on the tar for some reason we picked up the pace a little.

Then when the red new Ford Escape went flying by, Bennie went into overdrive and hauled the old fat-ass along faster than he wanted. After that I went down the Bitch to the Horse Chestnut tree and then did 2 x max (minimum) of 8 seconds hill sprints. They suck, but I know they will help me do better on hills and if the stuff I am reading in Run Faster is accurate, might even help with some my injury issues.

The second hill sprint had a little help. The FedEx truck was coming up the hill so we had to pull into the little driveway and give him some room on the road. However, once he went by Bennie went into chase mode!!!! That was a good max effort hill sprint. Running that fast up hill just don't feel good.

Once I was able to breath again on the other side of the hill, guess who went by - Mary. Well Bennie knew this and wanted to run home - FAST. Me I just wanted trot home after that last hill sprint. However, Coach Bennie had other plans, until the old fat arse said enough and slowed down.

However, there was no second run, when I left for lunch, I sat down in the truck and decided that I wasn't going to run, my legs were heavy after yesterday's race and this morning's run and hills sprints and worse - my allergies were bad today.

The allergies are kicking my butt bad, but it is supposed to snow tomorrow, so I am hoping that the air will clear a lot over the next few hours, because I am pretty miserable right now, with all the sneezing, itchy eyes and scratchy throat.

Oh well, I will survive, but it does make running a little less fun.

Week In Review - Ending 4-24-16

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

I haven't done a week in review for a while, but since I have pretty inconsistent about actually writing about running on a daily basis lately, so I figured I might as well resurrect the weekly review.

One of the reasons, well the big reason I have been so inconsistent with writing about my running is that I have been transferring the posts that I want to keep to One Foot In Reality. That and I have decided to republish my 40 plus years of running series, which needed a lot more work than I thought they would.

Now that those two projects are done, I have a feeling that I will be getting back to writing more about the daily runs and maybe even get more consistent about the week in review posts.

Work is interfering more and and more with my training, but it is what it is and I know that I will survive. However, my running is running well behind last, but I did manage to get to the 499.8 mile mark for the year this week, so it is not all bad.

Favorite Photo This Week:


Looking back down that damn hill coming out of the UMA trail by the ball field :-)

Running and Boot Camp - 1975

Since I have returned to One Foot In Reality, I have decided to clean-up and re-publish this series, there were a few rough spots, things left out and I thought it would be nice to share this old fart's story of running over the years on #Throwback Thursdays.

There will not be as many photographs, yeah it was the way it was back then. Yeah, this story and its other chapters tell the story of the 40 plus years it took to make me into the runner I am now.

No I am not an élite runner and truthfully, I haven't run in all that many races considering how long I have been a runner. I have mostly just run. 

To make things more simple I have broken these posts into where I have lived and run. Some places will have their own posts, others will be combined sometimes I will even break out a particularly important event in my running into its own post.


This post will be about the years June 1975 to August 1975:

I graduated from High School on June 11th and on June 23rd I was winging my way to Cape May, NJ for Coast Guard Boot Camp. I was all of 17 years old, never been on a plane before, never away from home for more than a night or two, and I was scared as hell!


Boot Camp 1975

However, I also knew that I had to leave when I did, things were not great for me at home and going in the Coast Guard all those years ago, was probably one of the best and most important decisions that I have made in my life.

I know that there is not a day that goes by, since the day I raised my hand and said:

"I, ..., do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; and that I will obey the orders of the President of the United States and the orders of the officers appointed over me, according to regulations and the Uniform Code of Military Justice. So help me God."

Voluntarily giving that oath changed my life completely and still affects it, especially since I still believe in it and am still bound by my oath.

I really hate to think what my life would have been like if had not decided to go into the Coast Guard that summer - I would have probably ended up...well it doesn't matter does it, because I did. Still it scares me to think of how different my life would have been. Too many of my high school classmates have crossed over the bar to the other side that stayed home.

Once I got to Boot Camp and became a member Uniform 26, I did my best to follow my grandfather's advice: never volunteer, don't stand-out, don't be a dirt bag, don't be first, don't be last (I screwed that up a little), keep your mouth shut and try to become invisible.


Uniform 26 Graduation Photo

I followed that advice enough so that my 6th week into boot camp, my Company Commander - Chief Chambers (who was replaced by BM1 Terry, the ACC after week 7 if I remember correctly) asked me what I was doing in his squad bay, what Company did I belong to and was serious about it.

When I responded "Uniform 26, sir!" He said "bullshit, come with me" and took me into the Company's office and looked me up on the rolls, when he saw that I was in his company, he just sat down and started laughing.

After he stopped laughing, he told me to get to hell out of there, but I was in his spotlight for the next week and did more pushups, dying cockroaches and earned more demerits than I had in all my previous 7 weeks put together. This was until I was able to go back to being invisible again, when others in the Company needed his attention more than I did.

Running All the Time

One thing about boot camp - if you were not in formation, you were "on the bounce", running where ever it was you needed to go.

The morning formation runs were pretty easy, but what we had to run in really sucked. We were issued the old white canvas, rubber bottom sneakers for running (true minimalist running shoes - if they would have only fit decently) and then when it wasn't PE, we had to wear steel toed boondockers (which totally sucked and caused way too many blisters), especially when running with a rifle at high port on the beach or Marlborough country (those frigging sandy beaches), which our company seemed to visit way too often.

So I probably ran more during the 10 weeks in boot camp than I had my whole last year in High School.

The only time I didn't really listen to my grandfather's great advice was twice - during the 300 yard shuttle runs in our PE phase testing.

During the 2nd week PE test, I almost beat this big guy from Philly in the 300 yard shuttle run. He was pissed that a scrawny little kid from Maine had almost beat him. A lot of his "friends" gave him a lot of grief for that and I quickly learned to avoid him, if I didn't want to deal with his attitude. It worked most of the time.

During our 8th week we had our last PE progress test, which included another 300 yard shuttle run. We ran the elimination heats and finally it came down to the 2 of us and 3 other guys. Before the last heat, he told me he was going to kick "my ass - bad" this time and if I beat him it would even be worse!

He was definitely trying to intimidate me (it was working too, he had gotten in trouble a couple of times for fighting in the squad bay and definitely had some problems with his temper) and I know he would have hurt me bad if he wanted to. However, I was the only one who was running that day, that had a prayer of beating him in the 300 yard shuttle and we both knew it.

During the race it was one of those times when everything just comes together perfectly and we were side-by-side coming off the last shuttle. At that point I found another gear and just kicked it in, I beat him by a good 10 yards and kept running for what felt like another 200, before I stopped and looked around.

I was actually scared he might try to kick my ass for beating him right then and there. I wanted to put a little distance between us.

When I jogged back up to the finish line, one of the PE instructors told me I had broken the recruit record for the 300 yard shuttle (no idea what the time was) and that my name was going on a plaque in the base gym - never saw it???

The guy from Philly came over, because he had been "ordered" to be a good sport, he glowered at me and shook my hand (he damn near broke it - on purpose) and said he had never seen anyone run like that before and that we would talk about it "later". That kind of ruined the moment for me a little

If I remember right he got assigned to "red belts" later that afternoon for something he said to the Assistant Company Commander, which was probably a good thing for me.

The next day during our morning formation run, I stepped in a sewer drain wrong and almost broke my left ankle. I was in the hospital for a week and barely got to graduate with my Company. I don't know if it was true or not but a couple of guys told me it was a probably a good thing I was in the hospital ward until right before we graduated, because certain people had looked for me to give me a "blanket party" for winning that race.

The reality is that

Boot Camp set the tone for the remainder of my life and the person that I have become.

It was the first time in my life I had actually the opportunity to sit down and talk to any other race. Back then there was only one black family in the town where I grew up in Central Maine and they didn't have any kids. There were no Asians, no Hispanics, etc., pretty much everyone was of white Anglo-Saxon background or didn't advertise their heritage (things were different back then).


Boot Camp Graduation - 1975

Needless to say, it was just a little culture shock for me!

Coming from a small town in Maine, to the melting pot of boot camp in the mid-70's. Especially, when I met and talked to so many people who didn't fit the stereotypes that I had of them before I got there.

It was a definite learning experience and taught me that it doesn't matter if someone is black, white, yellow, red, green or purple, it is how people treat you and how you treat them that matters the most and that is a lesson that I still use to this day.

I did a LOT of running in Boot Camp and while most of it wasn't competitive, it was still running. When I left, I could run long distances better than I ever could and couldn't wait to get to the ship I had been assigned to - back in South Portland, Maine.

I wouldn't trade the experiences that I had that summer, they helped make me the person that I am today.

Yeah, even going home with one of the guys for the weekend and eating way too many chocolate chip cookies on the way back to Cape May.

Right Dana.

Sunday, April 24, 2016

One in Five 5K Race Recap - 4-24-16

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

Okay here is the story...I didn't hit one of my pre-race goals. Nada, zip, zilch, none, yet I am pretty satisfied with how I ran.

Ummmm Harold what in the hell are talking about?

My goals for this race were:

A: sub 21:00
B: sub 22:00
C: cop an AG

Did not even come close as you can see by the results ticket.


Yet, I was happy with how I did.

The Race

Well the conditions were not ideal, but you run them the same as everyone else, the uphill start makes

The Not-So Glory Days -- High School 1971-1975

Since I have returned to One Foot In Reality, I have decided to clean-up and re-publish this series, there were a few rough spots, things left out and I thought it would be nice to share this old fart's story of running over the years on #Throwback Thursdays.

There will not be as many photographs, yeah it was the way it was back then. Yeah, this story and its other chapters tell the story of the 40 plus years it took to make me into the runner I am now.

No I am not an élite runner and truthfully, I haven't run in all that many races considering how long I have been a runner. I have mostly just run. 

To make things more simple I have broken these posts into where I have lived and run. Some places will have their own posts, others will be combined sometimes I will even break out a particularly important event in my running into its own post.

This post will be about the years:

1971 - 1975

Ah the high school years, a time where we learn a lot about ourselves, make friends, lose friends and make memories that last the rest of our lives -- in other words for many of us - taking a line from Bruce, "The Glory Days".

Before a 1974 Cross-Country meet against Greenville at Nokomis High School

For me high school was not the "Glory Days" that others had, it was a time that I do not have very many fond memories of, didn't make any lasting friendships and while I was there. It was a part of my life that I just wanted to be over.

The best memories that I have now of this period are sports related, not academic or social.

To be honest I was a geeky, immature kid, who never really fit in any of the social groups of the time. It seemed that I was always on the outside looking in and didn't dare to let anyone get too close to me for many reasons.

Cross Country

To put it bluntly, I was your classic under achiever as a high school Cross Country runner.

Even though I ran Cross Country for 4 years, I never placed once in a varsity meet, nope never.


Looking back I can honestly say that I wasn't the most motivated long-distance runner.

I didn't like running long distances or the idea I needed to "embrace" the discomfort or pain, especially during a race didn't appeal at all to me back then.

However, we learned that I was one hell of a rabbit. After Coach Smith figured that out, he told me to go out as fast as I could for as long as I could (something I still do - old habits die hard), to draw out the other team's best runners out sooner than they wanted to go - after all they didn't know if I was any good or not. It even worked a few times and our faster runners were able to pass runners who had gone out too fast with me, in the latter stages of the race, because I had messed up their pacing.

I got my Varsity Letter my Junior year for "contributions" to the team.

The Outsiders

J.V. Cross-Country team photo from 1972 NHS Yearbook. 

I am the last runner on the right - beside the team manager. No geekiness in that photo on my part ;-).

However, I did enjoy the social side of the cross-country.

Cross country gave me a sport where I found there were others like me, some of us were a little different and more than a little socially awkward. Not all the other runners were like that or like me, but there were enough of us on the Cross Country team who didn't fit the popular student mold during my 4 years of running, that I actually fit in someplace - well most of the time.

Just Endured it

Cross Country was not a sport I enjoyed, it was a sport that I endured. Truthfully I couldn't wait for the season to get over and for basketball or the spring for track to start, after all I was going to be a professional basketball player and be drafted by the Celtics or win a gold medal in the 100 and 220 yard dashes at the Olympics - I guess that is why they call them dreams.

First Running Injury

I stepped in a chuck hole during practice my senior year about a 1/4 way through my last Cross Country season and hurt my right Achilles tendon (for the firs time).

Enough so that after a week of limping around, we didn't go to the Doctor unless it was needed or serious. After me whining enough, my mom took me to see Dr. Burke (who hated runners and running), who told me I was done for the season.

In many ways I was relieved when Dr. Burke told me that.

It meant that I had the perfect excuse and didn't have to endure running those damned long distances anymore. I had already decided that I wasn't going to be the 13th man on a 12 man basketball team again that year or even run track in the spring. I was done with high school jocks and their superior attitudes and my "failures" to be as good as they were.

Also I "knew" then it was more important to me to find a job after school, instead of always having a sports practice that I had to go to (stupid me).

Actually a girlfriend (it didn't last long) and a car my senior year meant I needed money more than sports.

Track

I have to write a bit about track, it was where I did pretty well and why I think Mr. Smith put up with me on the Cross Country team.

In the 100 and 220 yard dashes as they were called back then, let's just say what I lacked in distance running, I made up as a sprinter in the spring.

Looking back with what I know now, I think I was natural fit at the 440, however we had a really good runner at that distance (I held my own against him in practice, if I was within 10 yards on that last corner, he was mine). We were weaker in the dashes and Mr. Smith told me I was going to do the 100 and 220 - I had learned not to argue with him.

I placed in a lot of meets in those two events, but I had a big problem with getting disqualified for lane violations. If I didn't focus on staying in my lane, I would drift over the line and end up in the lane next to me on my right (muscle imbalance). It got so bad that Mr. Smith worked with me by putting up lane ribbons in practice, but we both would get frustrated by the number of DQ's I would get during a track season.

My junior year I finished 3rd in the 100 and 4th in the 220 yard dashes at the League meet and was expected to run in the Regionals a week later - I never did. I played sick that day.

Why? 

Due to the expectations that I placed on myself and that others had, I would get too worked up over a stupid race, get sick, feel like shit, not want to be there, etc and missed meets that year because of it. This race anxiety issue would come back to haunt me badly 10 years later, but it actually started my Junior year in high school.

Glory and Disappointment

My senior year I didn't run track and was working at a part-time job in the school's work-study program (money for gas and trying to impress girls - not that I was ever very successful) was a lot more important than running), plus I had decided to go in the Coast Guard mid-way through the year and had an enlistment date of June 23rd.

So I wasn't worried too much about school or sports and was more concerned about how soon I could get to hell out of there.

Mr. Smith stopped me one day in the school hallway and asked if I would run in the Penquis League track meet.

I had been avoiding him, because I had gotten word through the grapevine that he was looking for me, to ask that question. I tried to put him off with the "I have to work routine", but in the end and only because it was him, I said okay, but I told him not to expect too much from me, since I hadn't done any running since I hurt my Achilles back in the fall.

I went to enough practices to be eligible and got my boss to give me time off from work on a Saturday (our busiest day) to run in the league meet.

A big part of my job at the Feed Store was unloading 100 pound grain bags from train cars, even though I only weighed 125 pounds. I didn't have a lot of body fat and could put a grain bag on each shoulder and carry them out to a customer's vehicle without too much trouble (now doing that stuff would just about kill me).

So I was in pretty damn good shape.

Penquis League Meet

Somehow, with minimal training, I brought home blue ribbons in the 100 and 220 yard dashes that day and almost a third in the 4x220 relay - the guy had a 20 yard lead on the anchor leg (I dropped the baton on the pass) and just nipped me at the end. Needless to say I surprised myself and a lot of other people that day and is one of the few real "Glory Days" that I had in high school.

Coach Smith was accused of bringing in a "ringer" just for the league championship meet, but when they checked it out, I was legal, I had signed up and gone to enough practices to qualify.

Based on my performance and times at the league meet, Coach Smith told me that I was going to run in the Regional Track at Orono, the next Saturday and that saying no was not an option. I begged off, saying I couldn't get two Saturday's in a row off from work. He called my boss, who gave me hell on Monday, telling me he had talked with Mr. Smith and that this was the chance of a lifetime.

Evidently Mr. Smith had told him that I actually had a chance to win in both events, I have no idea if it was true or not, but later when I checked the results of the Regionals, my league meet times were very competitive. My boss told me to go run in the race.

Unfortunately, that was the one thing I really didn't want to and the closer to that Saturday got, the worse I got. I got a really bad attitude around the house, school and work. Was just miserable to be around and I skipped school that Friday, something that I rarely did, even though my parents really didn't care if I did or not. 

At that point, I had just over a week left before graduation.

I ended up not going to the Regional meet and Coach Smith was so pissed at me, he didn't talk to me again, until after I got back from boot camp.

I will always wonder how I would have done at that meet - a rare opportunity missed.



The reality is that

High school was not my "glory days".

Running was an important part of my life in high school and it helped me to fit in, when I didn't really fit anywhere else, sometimes I think that it still does. I am not great at the social side of things, although I can get by enough to survive, I just am not as adept in social situations as a lot of people are.

While I started my running way back then, it is strange now that I look back on it:
  • thinking about what could have been, if I had had more self-confidence.
  • that as much as I hated, yes hated running longer distances in high school - it is the one sport from high school that I still do and have grown to love.
  • how much something that starts in high school can continue to affect us for a long time after we leave that period in our lives behind.
Was high school your "glory days" or was it something you endured and couldn't wait for it to end?