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.


Monday, May 30, 2016

It Feels Great to Be Running Again - RunLog 5-30-16

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

First of all have a happy and safe Memorial Day, but take some time to thank those who gave so much to ensure that you can celebrate this day in the way you choose, not some proscribed manner.

 It is called Freedom and no it does not come without costs.

WWII photo from my grandfather's photo album

Thank those who gave you this opportunity.


So how did things go today on the run?

We got rain for the first time in a while, so it was a bit slimey downback, but the weather was about perfect for a run light drizzle and low 50's. The weather conditions that I prefer.

Bennie didn't act like a butthead today and was ready to get out the door when I was ready to go.

Sunday, May 29, 2016

Week In Review for 5/29/16

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

Lots of stuff going on this week!!!

The biggest thing was a mini vacation, the first since I went back to work last summer!!! I worked Monday and Tuesday and have off until after Memorial Day. It was definitely needed, from getting the garden in, to doing trim work at SD2's and a lot in between.

However, the best thing was going for a night over to Gorham, NH and just relaxing, not having Bennie to worry about, not visiting anyone, just the two of us and no responsibilities.

Yeah, it was nice.

When we got back from New Hampshire on Friday, How Much Do You Want It by Matt Fitzgerald was waiting for me and I finished it Saturday afternoon. You can read my thoughts about it here. It made me think, which is a dangerous thing.

Also, I came to the conclusion that I couldn't in good conscience continue as a member of the Pearl Izumi Run Team. I am moving in a different direction it seems and while I believe that PI gear and shoes are great, if they are not going to be a primary part of my rehab and racing, then staying on the PI team is not the right thing to do. So last Thursday I asked to be removed from the team and received the confirmation email back that afternoon. Yes, I am a little sad about it, but it was weighing on my conscience and was the correct choice.

I know that I will continue to use Pearl Izumi gear and running shoes, but just not at the level that I had been.

Oh by the way, I did run this week, but only after switching to walking around in my Lunar Glide 5's that I had retired to the back of the garage, they have a higher drop than I have been using lately and seemed to make a big difference in how the leg felt. Which also made me think long and hard about what I was going to do for running shoes during the rehab of my left leg, it is more than just the Achilles that is bothering, a number of the tendons in the left ankle area on both sides are part of the problem and the bursa sac that is on the heel may be involved as well. Tendinitis and Bursitis a lovely couple for a runner! ;-)

That was the deciding factor in my leaving the PI Run Champions Team, if I wasn't going to wear PI shoes during the rehab...well you get the picture.

We did stop in North Conway and as a result of no longer being a member of the PI Team, I didn't feel guilty at all about going into the Nike Outlet Store and buying a pair of Lunar Glide 7's and got a helluva deal on them for under $70 and the best part was that I got to try them on before I bought them. So I will experiment with adding in the LG7's to my shoe rotation and see how things go.

Favorite Photo This Week:

Bennie and Elliott getting ready to do battle, Elliott got in 2 swats and Bennie a quick nibble and then order was restored

Running With Mary - RunLog 5-29-16

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

Actually the left leg was feeling pretty good this morning, despite all of my attempts yesterday to do a little too much with it. Which means that it is healing...which also means that this is the most dangerous time for me.

It is the time when I am most likely to be or do something stoopid. At least now I am recognizing that and working hard to not be too stoopid.

Bennie was being a butthead this morning and wouldn't come and I will not chase him around the house - he thinks it is great fun. So I went to do a mile warm-up without him, figuring that he would be more willing to go for a run then. He hates being left behind and was barking out the window at me as I headed down the driveway for that lap up on top.

When I got back there was no dog and no Mary, so I put 1 + 1 together and figured out that she had taken Bennie downback and that it might be a good idea to haul ass and go catch them.

I was pretty well warmed up so I picked up the pace a little. Well I didn't know that Mary was running with Bennie, not walking, so it took me until the Blake Road to catch them. During that time, I was running relaxed and for the most part without too much discomfort.

The heel area does not have full extension yet, but as long as I kept the strides shorter and didn't try to push off too hard with my toes, it wasn't too bad. However, when I caught them it was time to get back to reality and slow down again. Although I gotta admit it felt good to run a little quicker than I have been lately.

After that we just plugged along talking and gabbing about this and that. We usually don't run together anymore so it was nice to do it. Plus I think that Bennie liked it, but he did keep trying to go down the road a little faster than Mary was interested in going.

I thought about heading out and doing enough to call it 5.0, but figured that I had enough for the day and shut it down when Mary stopped.

A really good run, where I got to work on keeping my head up, I have been looking back through my running photos for a couple of things and noticed a pattern...when others are taking my picture during a race, my head is always down and I seem to be looking about 3 feet in front of me. Supposed to be running tall Harold, not hunched over.

It Got Sort of Warm Out Yesterday - RunLog 5-28-16

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

Yes, Bennie and I ran yesterday, thankfully we got done before it climbed out of the 70's and got into that nasty 90's weather, that is awfully early for this stuff.

Elliot relaxing in air conditioned comfort
I consider this the first real run in the Lunar Glide 7's, because Friday's 1.0 mile was one of those just get acquainted things. Actually, that I/we ran as far as we did was a pretty big surprise.

Saturday, May 28, 2016

How Bad Do You Want It - My Impressions and Book Review

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

I just got through reading How Bad Do You Want It - that Mastering the Psychology of Mind Over Muscle by Matt Fitzgerald.

I got the book late yesterday from Amazon (personal purchase) and finished it this afternoon.

So it kept my attention and while it was not the dashing Sword and Sorcery Heroic Fantasy adventure novel I prefer, by any stretch of the imagination, I didn't put it down too often either.

In it I was called a head case, choker, self saboteur, overly self-conscious and fantasy based runner. Fitzgerald had described in vivid details, so many of my weaknesses as a runner, it was like Chapter 4 of the book was written about me, not Siri Lindley.

Even though I do not resemble any elite athlete, that chapter and the failures described was/are/is the athlete I am. Yeah, at a vastly different level of competence and competitiveness and unfortunately - none of the successes.

A Matter of Conscience

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

Sometimes running leads us in unexpected directions and that is the story of my running. Last December I was selected to be a member of the Pearl Izumi Run Champions Team for 2016.

Now I have never been really known for my brand loyalty, but I was running great in Pearl Izumi's EM line of running shoes and their running clothes are some of the best I have ever used. So sending in my application was a no-brainer, being accepted was a huge honor and thrill.

My experiences as a member of the Pearl Izumi Run Champions Team were all great and I got to meet a lot of fantastic people through the program. I had finished 3 of the 5 required races in PI gear and had quite a few other races lined up that I would be wearing the PI colors. I was active on social media per their guidelines, so things were going along really well.

Hell I didn't run in anything else but Pearl Izumi shoes right up until May and then it was only because I didn't believe that the N0's were what I was looking for in a racing flat. As I explained in my What Happened to My Brand Loyalty post.

After making the choice to buy the LT3's, yes, it bothered my conscience a bit that my primary racing flat was Nike and yet I was a member of the Pearl Izumi Run Champions Team. I resolved that one by some mental gymnastics and writing about it, but still it bothered me.

I may not have had a lot of brand loyalty in the past, but I do have principles that I believe in and I was getting too close to crossing a line that I was not comfortable with.

Friday, May 27, 2016

Mini Vacation, Choices and First Run in LG 7's - RunLog 5-27-16

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

Well there, a mini vacation, a few decisions made, bought some new running gear and lots of driving.

Hell, I was even able to run twice today.

Okay let's talk about running first.

A Little Different Direction

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Thursday, May 26, 2016

The garden is in

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Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Storm coming in

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Sunday, May 22, 2016

Stoopid Training Choices Led to Lots of Down-time - Week In Review 5-22-16

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

Okay, due to my own stoopidity, there is not a lot of running going on around heah since last Tuesday. Yeah, I was dumb again and got that damn Achilles tendon barking at me pretty good. Probably a least another week before any running is even thought about...well I still think about it and then I walk around and quickly figure out that thinking about running is all I am going to be doing.

So that has given me a lot of time to think about...well yeah running.

Moving on...

One thing I got to think about was during University College's Faculty Institute...was being an educator again and a couple of times I got to thinking about how I could use what I was learning if I ever went back in the classroom again.

When I really thought about it, I am happy not being in the classsrom...there are too many things that I disagree with the direction that political, education and business leadership seemingly wants to take education...well I know that I made the correct choice for me when I left 5 years ago.

Yeah, there was some of that romanticized, revisionist thinking going on inside me about how great teaching was, when the truth was that I was stressed out most of the time and frustrated with far too many things as an educator.

I am a happier and probably a better paper pusher than I was a teacher and plan to stay that way.

Favorite Photo This Week:

The Apple Trees in bloom

Saturday, May 21, 2016

Still Injured and Dipping the Toe Back in Education for a Moment

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

Well hell, I should be out running the UMA 5K Trail Race right now, but due to my training mistake earlier in the week (too fast, too soon), I am sitting at the kitchen table not having run since Tuesday and probably won't run until sometime after next week.

Yeah, it sucks, but I am trying to be smart about it.

I didn't go to the race because I would have been tempted to just run it slowly (we all know how well I do with going to a race and just running...I ain't smart enough to just do that), so I purposely stayed home and considered my entry fee as a contribution to a something I believe in.

The first step back is to be able to walk without any limp, which hasn't happened yet, so until I can, no running.

Pretty simple first step to overcome.

However, I wanted to reflect a little on UMA's Faculty Institute yesterday.  Although, I am not an educator anymore and am just an admin assistant now, I still sort of keep my toe in what's going on in education. After all I was Special Education teacher for over 10 years and can't completely ignore what is happening in education today.

Since I was a room Docent for 5 sessions, I got to listen in on those presentations.

Many of the issues that were issues when I left teaching in 2011 are still issues, standards, proficiency based education, innovation versus accepted, technology and how it fits, classrooms of the future, individualized, personalized learning, community partners, student attitudes of entitlement, community involvement, using "real" life as part of the curriculum to make it well more real for the students, diplomas vs certificates of attendance and so on.

Yes, many of these presentations were for educators who are teaching at the college level, but it seems to me that we were having many these same conversations at the high school and junior high levels five and more years ago. Especially in the Twitter #hashtag groups, EdCamps, Blogs, seminars, trainings and other places I hung around as a educator.

I am not saying anything negative about the way or what was presented, because they were great presentations by educators and others who are committed to improving education. I enjoyed listening in and thinking about how I could have included some of their ideas, into classrooms I had.

A few times it did make me wonder about what it would be like to return to the classroom and use some of what I was learning.

So how much has changed in the five years, since I walked away from being a teacher?

From what I can see not all that much in the presentations yesterday, which were geared to different levels of sophistication and expectations for slightly different audience. Too many of the issues and comments sounded familiar to the ones I was saying and listening to.

So while my brief immersion back into the educator side of the fence was fun, informative and made me think about what I had walked away from. It also confirmed that I made the correct choice for me back in 2011.

Yeah, I am happier being an administrative assistant than I would be as a teacher (at whatever level) in today's world.

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Stupid Is as Stupid Does - RunLog 5-17-16

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

Well, yesterday's speed work session turned into a bit of a shit show. That is about all I can say and the title of this post pretty much sums it up.

Yes, I am stooopid and sometimes my own worst enemy.

Yesterday morning's easy run was a nice 4.0 miler, but I noticed that my left Achilles felt a bit tight, not anything new, ever since I partially tore it a few years ago, there are days it tells me all about the woes of the world and it was doing just that.

Usually, when it starts to talk to me, I ease up for a couple of days and it stops sulking and barking at me.

However, like the typical runner I am, after all I am preparing to do a trail race this weekend and that mile race on the 30th, I "needed" to get a quality speed work session in on my Tuesday speed work day.

So damn the torpedoes!

Yes, I went ahead and did the speed work session in spite of that "little voice" in the back of my head telling me, I really, really needed to skip running fast yesterday.

Harold - guess what -- the "little voice" was right.

It was a pretty nice day in the 60's but the wind was pretty brutal on Outer Civic Center Drive, so I waited until I got on Leighton to start the speed work. The Achilles was a little sulky, but not too bad, so I figured it would be fine.

I planned on going short and faster than usual for 6-10 intervals and finishing up with 4 x max effort hill repeats for 8-10 seconds with about 4.0 miles total for the run.

That was the plan.

The first interval felt good, so did the second one (both got under that magical 6:00 minute pace barrier), but when I slowed down I noticed the left Achilles beginning to bark a little more, the third interval was okay (around 6:50) and then I decided to do a little longer interval for the 4th one (sub 7:00). Towards the end of that one, the Achilles really started to bother, not bark, so I shut down the faster work and figured that was enough speed work for the day.

It wasn't feeling too bad, so instead of just going back to the barn, I decided that I could do an easy lap to get the 4.0 miles in and see if the Achilles would loosen up enough to do the hill sprints.

Big mistake.

Once I got over to Leighton Road (shorter to just keep going), my Achilles really began to talk to me in a particularly nasty way. I finished, but really wished that I hadn't done that last lap!

So much for being a smart runner. Kind of an oxymoron when applied to Harold the Destroyer.

Which means that I probably have at least a week away from running and will miss the trail race this weekend - smart move right!!!!

Oh well, it is probably just a bad flare-up of my Achilles tendon somethingness, there was no bruising or dark spots, so I didn't re-tear or really screw things up, but this is what usually happens when I try to combine speed and not quite up to that speed conditioning.

Maybe someday I will learn.

It is my first real self-induced ouchie in a while, so I will live with it and who know, maybe I will heal quickly enough to run, not race the 5K Trail race this weekend at UMA.

If not I will chalk it up to another learning experience.

But for now I am limping around and whining about how stoopid I am.

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Pearl Izumi N1 Road V2 - 200 Mile Review

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

The Pearl Izumi N1 Road V2's are a running shoe that I really, really like, but at the same time they are a tweener shoe that are not as good as my specialty shoes at specific workouts, but they do a LOT of things well. 

What in the hell are you talking about this time Harold?

First let's get the disclosure stuff out of the way. I got the N1 v2's as a present from Bennie at Christmas (so yes, I bought them from Running Warehouse) and I am a 2016 Pearl Izumi Run Champion, so I already like Pearl Izumi products, but the opinion and comments are my own.

Where are they in my running shoe rotation?

Survived Finals Week - RunLog 5-15-16

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

I survived Finals week. If your primary job is proctoring tests, finals week to be quite blunt is a pain-in-the arse. Oh well now I can get back to working and training regularly and not feeling like a mental dishrag when I get home.

Other than Finals what happened last week.

Actually, that is about all that happened, though I did keep running enough to squeeze in 30 miles and even got one of those funny things called a rest day - well at least I didn't run that day. I don't think I had any rest days last week.

Favorite Photo This Week:

The yard after the first mowing of the season, I have a feeling I might get to do it a few more times this year, before it is all said and done.

Nice Back Cove Run and Who Got My Vanity Plate - RunLog 5-14-16

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

There...I survived Finals Week, although I did have to go in on Saturday...well actually I volunteered, but it needed to be done, there were 512 emails in the Inbox and I added another 40 before I got started on it, by the time I left, I had gotten it down to 280 and got us to Friday morning's incoming exams. Even so we will not be done processing everything until sometime on Tuesday. Just a LOT of incoming tests.

The bad part was that outside was one of those mythical top 10 days, so it was just as well I was in the little room with no windows. ;-)

After working until 4:00 PM, I had to head down to Portland to pick up SD1 & 2 from their vacation trip, so of course I left early enough time to do a couple of laps around Back Cove.

I was looking for it to be a fairly steady, but not a hard run.

I definitely needed to move after being trapped inside all day and then driving an hour, more than I needed to push the pace. However, I wanted to do a little more than a zone 1 or 2 (for me) run.

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Work Getting in the Way and a 10K in the LT3's - RunLog 5-11-16

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

Hi everyone,

No, I haven't gone dark, gone on vacation or any other sordid other things that most bloggers do who usually blog multiple times a week and suddenly disappear. Nope, life...well work is getting in the way of blogging this week. Three times a year, we have a peak time and this year's peak has been a record breaker!!!!

Such are the trials and tribulations of Finals Week for someone who's job is test proctoring.

We are probably going to get very close to 250 tests for the week (our weekly avg without this week included is around 70 per week). So preparing, administering and processing them, plus processing the incoming tests from our Centers and Sites is keeping me hopping.

In other words I am almost in zombie mode.

There is no mental energy left when I get home to write a nice blog post about my run that day or whatever to hell else pops in the old noggin.

However, I have made it a point to keep running (Bennie and I both need it), but the double runs ain't happening and what brain cells I have left, are gone by the time I get out of work between 7-8 PM.

Luckily, the week is almost over, but we have to get through Thursday (72 tests scheduled) and Friday (80+ final number will be figured out tomorrow afternoon) and there are going to be around 500 tests in the inbox to process as well.

So that is what is going on.

No pity party or any of that stuff, I just wanted to get what is going on out of my head, so when I go back and read about this week, I have an idea about how tired I was this morning, but that I kept running through it all.

I did get some great news though, my summer schedule is going to be pretty decent and will not impact my being able to run over at Quarry Road or even do a couple of runs at Bond Brook during the week this summer. Which means more daytime work hours and less nights, at least until fall.

Enough yakking about work

Hey while I am here let's talk about yesterday's run.

Sunday, May 8, 2016

Week In Review - 5-8-16

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

Happy Mother's Day to all the mom's out there, especially to my own Mom, even though she did pass away a few years back, sometimes I get the sneaking suspicion, she still watches over us and snaps me upside the head when I get to doing something stoopid.

Yeah, the weather is getting a bit better, but I am still running in gloves and running pants way to freaking often still. Oh well, at least I am running and doing pretty good for an old fart

I did finish up the 40 years of running series and it gave me a chance too really look back at myself as a runner and a person.  You can read more here and there are links to each of the posts if you are interested.

Work is busy as we gear up for finals week, yeah it means that every testing session will be at or over capacity, but that is what they brought me onboard for, so I can't complain too much, maybe just a little whining from time-to-time.

I did get the Nike Streak LT3's from Running Warehouse and I can pretty much say they are a lot faster running shoe than I am a runner. More on them down below.

Favorite Photo This Week:

My mom, the one I remember.
The way I remember mom - not as Nana, just mom.

Recovery and Mental Toughness Run - RunLog 5-8-16

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

Goodness gracious my legs felt trashed after yesterday's 10 miler in Portland and then mowing a couple of lawns. Let's be honest when I started out they didn't want to go far or fast, they would have been completely happy taking a nice long soak in the tub or simply doing jack shit.

It seemed that Bennie was fine with it too, he was not interested in heading out the door. The weather wasn't terrible, overcast, high 40's a little breeze (nice running weather), so I just think he is starting to prefer the walking over the running a little more.

Saturday, May 7, 2016

Long Run and a Good Day - Run Log 5-7-16

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

Just a busy day that started way too damn early.

I had to drive SD1 and SD 2 to Portland for 8:00 AM, so they could head out on their vacation and it was a great opportunity for me to run Back Cove.

The weather was less than stellar, overcast, drizzle , a bit breezey and in the mid 40's. When I started out I had my hands in the sleeve pockets and didn't take them out for the first 4.0 miles of the run. Initially, I was going to run 2 laps in my N1 Roads and then do the last lap in the LT3's.

However, once I got on Tuckey's Bridge I decided to head over to the Prom and see what and how far the trail goes, compared to the way it was back in 1989 & 1990 when I was working down on Commercial Street and running up Munjoy Hill to get to Back Cove or going thru BIW controlled land and then beside the tracks and climbing up Eastern Prom to get over to Back Cove.

I haven't been through this area  since they did all the improvements.

Friday, May 6, 2016

Running - 40 Years Series - My Overview

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

There 40 years of running series is done, I finally finished updating it.

Yeah, yippee and all that other falderall.

Really, it was a labor of love, where I got to relive, remember and look closely into my life over the the years.

No, not all of the memories in this series (hell throughout my life) are all fantastic - there is always the ying and the yang. That is a part of life too, we all go through our peaks and valleys as we journey throughout our lives. The important thing is even when you are in those valleys is that you keep putting one foot in front of the other and climb back up those big-ass hills in front of you.

Yeah, though some of them - for all of us have been pretty damn steep, but when you climb out of that shit hole and look back on what you did and how far you have come, there is a sense of relief and the knowledge that you will not have to go down that particular path again.

Then you keep moving forward.

I hope that you enjoyed parts and pieces of the story that I have shared. For those of you who know me and know some of the back stories beyond the running side of what I wrote, I know perspectives and other things that color our memories...

I think I will leave it at that.

Enough philosophy

It still doesn't seem possible that I started running over 40 years ago.

No I am not an élite runner - far from it, I am just a pretty average one who running has ranged from jogger to road racer. Over the course of all those years, there have been several interruptions and times when I did not run as much:
  • I got injured a lot (usually from training stupidly) or things not related to running i.e. falling off roofs, playing racquetball, slipping on ice, just being active and clumsy :-),
  • Life has gotten in the way far too often (kids, work, priorities change), yeah, just living life.
but I have always come back to running.

There are many reasons that many people say they run, but I think that mine are pretty simple:

I enjoy running and challenging myself to do better (whatever better is at the time I am doing it)

The other thing and yes, I believe this very strongly is that:

 I don't have to run, I get to run. 

Even though I love to run fast, I never ran in all that many races. They just have never been a big part of my running, other than in high school, a two-year stretch in the mid '80s and some local races over the past few years.

Official competitions or constantly training for them, just never really interested me - I had too many other things going on to give it the time, money and effort that it would have required of me - along with all those issues over race anxiety that I avoided dealing with by not racing. Yeah, that race anxiety thing I think stopped me more than I want to believe.

In this series you will find my recollections and honest reflections about a part of my life that others only glimpse, as that "crazy guy" they see out running in all kinds of weather, after dark, during the day, N'oreastahs or even during hunting season.

I can't imagine how different my life would have been without running being a part of it for all of those years.

Let's just hope that the next 40 years of running are even better :-).

Yes that means that I still plan to be running when I am 95 years old - don't bet against me. :-)

This concludes my 40 Years of Running Series. You know something I am glad that I did it, it brought back a lot of memories, made me think, but most of all provides others with a glimpse into what made me a runner.

Thursday, May 5, 2016

Treadmill Intervals - Tough -- RunLog 5-5-16

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

Sometimes you just get tired of the cold, damp, crap that has been around heah lately and instead of a run, Bennie and I went for a walk with Mary. Yeah, that is what we did this morning, actually it was a nice change of pace and I really think it made a good difference in my afternoon intervals.


I had a little extra time at lunch and had planned on doing some fast work on the treadmill. I swapped the Garmin Footpad from my N1s to the LT3's without doing any calibration. So the treadmill time is not as accurate, but still it gives a pretty good idea of the effort I gave during the workout.

What I actually did.

0.5 @ 7.6 mph -- warm-up
.25 @ 9.1 mph
0.05 @ 3.2 mph - yeah I put it down to a walk to get quality recovery between the fast stuff
.20 @ 7.2 mph

.25 @ 9.1 mph
0.05 @ 3.2 mph
.20 @ 7.2 mph
.25 @ 9.1 mph
0.05 @ 3.2 mph
.20 @ 7.2 mph

.25 @ 9.1 mph
0.05 @ 3.2 mph
.20 @ 7.2 mph
.50 @ 8.79.1 mph

.10 rest
.10  @ 9.6 mph
.10 rest
.10  @ 9.6 mph
.10 rest
.10 @ 10.1 mph
.10 rest
.10 @ 10.1 mph
.10 rest
.10 @ 10.1 mph

1.0 @ 7.2 mph -- recovery

Tough freaking workout, while the paces might be a bit off on the chart, but it gives a pretty good idea of the work I did today.

I could tell that I have pushed the paces at faster than 5K race pace for a full workout for a while and trying to get it up to my mile wannabee pace felt good, but I have a feeling that it would be tough for me to hold it for a whole mile at my current condition.

Even so, I was feeling pretty good at the faster speeds and as long as I kept to the shorter distances, hell even that half mile I threw in at 5K race pace felt really good and not nearly as hard as the 9.1 intervals.

How did the LT3's do?

No problems, it took a little get used to the different feeling at faster speeds, but I didn't feel beat up after and the lightness of the LT3's did make a difference at the other end of the run. Pretty happy so far, for me to feel decent after a 5.0 mile workout is saying a lot for a new pair of racing flats.

A nice confidence builder for a workout.

2011 to 2016 - Life is Good

Since I have returned to One Foot In Reality, I have decided to clean-up, update 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.

Yeah, this story and its other posts 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.

Some places or years 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

2011 to 2016 - Life After Teaching

Yeah, life is good. I have finally accepted who I am.

Damn, it took me long enough, but I am comfortable in my skin.

Oh, I still have a few warts, a lot more gray hairs and too many wrinkles, along with a bunch of baggage that will never go away, but it is all a part of the person I have become.

I am happy with that person and yes, as they say "life is good"...

butt (I know), it was not all peaches and cream or something that I did easily or just happened.

It was hard, damned hard! 

To look honestly at yourself and attempt to make the changes necessary in your life to be the kind of person that you can look in the mirror and know that you are working to be something better than you had been before, takes work and being willing to see things, even those things you don't want to see.

2011- Rehabbing

I was getting back to running pretty regularly, what I forgot to mention is that as part of my recovery from knee surgery back in May 2011, I tendered my resignation as a Special Education teacher at my school and retired to focus on getting my health back that June.

You see, when I had my knee operated on, I was over 200 pounds at 5'7" (lots of flubber), stressed out to the max all the time, frustrated because I didn't seem to be helping the students or not doing enough to teach them to help themselves. Nothing seemed to be working and it was making me grow old before my time.

I felt 80 going on 55.

I needed a break to regain myself.

Something that profound doesn't happen overnight and to be honest I am still on that journey, just a lot further down the road.

Yes, I took the road less traveled and it did make all the difference.

I walked away from something that I was very good at and respected by most of my peers, a profession that I could have stayed in.

Instead I turned my back on it all and walked away into the great unknown.

To be honest I didn't really have a choice...I saw the writing on the wall and didn't want to end up 100 pounds overweight, on a cupful of prescription pills daily, stressed out and suddenly having a heart attack or finally retiring to just waiting on the couch to die.

That was my future if I had remained a teacher and I chose a different future.

With Mary's support - she saw the same thing, I had a gray pallor about me, when I left teaching in June 2011.

Getting my health back

Health is not only physical health, it is also your mental health - sometimes we forget that and focus too much on the external.

I needed to work on both.

The physical part was the easiest part, my knee was getting better - painful but healing, I could exercise again and I did. I ran when I could, split wood, did stuff around the house, walked - holy crap did Bennie and I walk and walk and walk. 

It also meant that I had to watch what I shoved down the pie-hole. Not as much of the junk food, soda and other crap, I started to eat pretty much 80/20 and by the end of the year 30 pounds or so were history.

Mentally, it was hard at first, I had become too associated with being a teacher, that it had become who I was and I had lost Harold. I was attempting to be too many things to too many people and ended up not being able to be true to myself. That first 2-3 months I did a lot of questioning, exploring and trying to figure out what I wanted to do and who I wanted to be.

When it came time for school to re-open, I didn't miss it at all and that is when I knew that I had made the correct choice. It was also then that I started to see things more positively.

I hadn't realized how negative I had become.

Blogging and running brought me out of my funk. When I actually started to run seriously again in October 2011, I was ready to write about it too and boy did I ever.

I recently got a chance to see how much, while I was moving some of my old posts back to One Foot In Reality. I wrote mostly about my daily runs and struggles to keep running, but also about things I had learned about being a runner over the past 40 years.=

It was slow, excruciating progress, but I could see the progress I was making by looking back at my blog and it encouraged me to keep moving forward and to continue writing about it.

2012 - Pro Runblogger

I ran in my first race in 6 years overcoming both inertia and my race anxiety. The Central Maine Striders January Thaw 4.5 Mile Race over in Belgrade. There I met a couple of other runbloggers, David of Maine Running Photos and members of Central Maine Striders running club.

About April - you know after watching the Boston Marathon again, I got excited about doing a marathon. However, I also knew that there is now way that I would be ready to run one in 2012, the knee was coming along nicely, but not that nicely. So I got this hair brained idea to do the 2013 Marine Corps Marathon.

If I ran well running the MCM would also give me a chance to qualify for that Boston Marathon dream of mine - I just needed to run a 3:40 marathon to qualify - yeah just a 3:40 marathon for a guy closer to 60 than 50.

However, it was such a great storyline that out of the blue I got an email and then a job offer to write about Health and my journey to the MCM for Anthem's Real Health Blog. I was also going to be paid to do it - way cool.

So I ventured into the deep end of the world of professional runblogging and kept writing on my little blog about how I was doing chasing that marathon dream.

The summer of 2012 got to go out to Minnesota, see my girls and the grandkids and even got to run with my son-in-law for the first time - if he ever got serious about running with those damn long legs of his - he could be a very, very tough runner with a hockey goalie's mentality. I have feeling that in a few years, my crown as the best runner in the family will be seriously challenged by those grandkids of mine. :-) 

No it is not my place to put their photos online. Katie and Nate did good on them and they are cute as buttons.

I ran in several races that year, continued to loose lot of weight, even got to run in Central Park, but the biggest highlight was being chosen as a featured blogger at the inaugural Runner's World Festival.

I met a lot of people, finished second in the 5K in my Age Group, set a PR in the half marathon, learned a lot and unfortunately, didn't read some of the offers/signs correctly and missed out on several great opportunities to move myself further forward in the RunBlogger niche. I never was too good at grabbing opportunities when they smack me upside of the head.

It also exposed me to the darker sides of writing and running as a blogger, the "who are you attitude?" from some of the professional writers bothered me and made me wonder if they were right. Bloggers do have to jump over that bar to be taken seriously and to be honest I just kind of cruised along the edges and never crossed to being a totally dedicated writer. Which looking back, I kind of wonder why not, but it is what it is. Maybe I was too afraid that I might have been successful, yeah there is more truth to that statement than I want to admit.

2013 - Injuries and Reality

The Boston Marathon bombing in 2013 made me sad, mad and even more determined to run Marine Corps that fall - My wife asked me if running MCM was worth dying for. Without too much hesitation I said something along the lines of  "I have to run it, I can't let the bastards win".

Yep, this video clip said what many of us were feeling and in support of what happened many of us went down to a Boston Strong run on the Rail Trail in Gardiner.

It was a sad time, but also a time where the running community and others came to together in ways we haven't in many, many years.

My training was going great until I did something stupid in training, run over 30 miles in 3 days in new shoes (pretty minimal ones) and injured my right hip.

Then when I was just about healed and getting ready to resume my marathon training, I got caught up in running a fast 5K at the end of May. I was not ready or in shape to run that fast and I partially tore my left Achilles Tendon

This injury while not serious in the overall scheme of things, but it caused me to not be able to train for the MCM and as a result my pro runblogger career hurtled downhill from there. The great story was gone and I was not good enough to survive without the great story.

I walked away from pro runblogging later that summer and turned the corner to get back to my roots.

During my injury I had been helping out as a volunteer at the newly established Quarry Road Trail Series. I got to meet a lot of the local runners and had a lot of fun taking photos, making new friends and beginning to run (slowly) again.

Although I ran a couple of decent races that fall, I didn't have confidence in being able to run faster, because I was still afraid that I reinjure that leg.

Finally, in 2014 I accepted that I was retired and worked more at getting myself back to being the runner that I always thought that I could be, but only as a 5-10K runner. The spring started out pretty good, but then I screwed up my left hamstring at the end of April and it bothered me almost the entire summer (and still does to a certain extent).

It was also when I started to run with my second favorite running partner - Bennie.

He has been very good for me and I have run more consistently than I have in a long because he was always ready to get out there and run. Although this year, I think he is getting older and might be a little older than the vet thinks and all the tick bites he has had over the years are starting to catch up with him. 

Which is making me so sad, but I will run however far he wants to run and for as long as he want to keep doing it. It is just now that I have to keep a closer eye on how he is doing during our runs and whether he is still playing or being tugged along.

That fall I started to run a bit faster and even won my first long distance race ever - at the Thomas College 5K - as they say you can only race against the runners that show up, but a win is a win and I gotta say it is one of my bigger thrills in running, even though it was just a small local race.

I am not a fan of running in races with lots of people or having to travel great distances to get in a run. No I would rather run in a nice local race, have fun, know some/most of the people involved and be relaxed about my running. It keeps my age-old battle with race anxiety at lower levels and allows me to enjoy running more.

2015 - Focusing On Strenghts and Letting Go

Then during the 2015 Boston Marathon, I got the marathon fever again and shouted to the world that I was going to work to qualify for Boston for 2017. Yeah right, reality gobsmacked me hard upside the head and by the end of June 2015, I realized that ain't no way in hell I am going to finish marathon training at a BQ pace and still be in one piece for October.

I finally realized, that I am a 5K or shorter specialist, who might dabble with a 10K or run, not race a half marathon, but that the full marathon at a BQ pace is something my body is not able to hold together to do. I have accepted that my chances of running a Boston qualifying time and then running Boston are pretty much over. 

Oh, I know that the dream is still there, but that is all that it is - a dream.

So I have stayed with 5K races and while I haven't gotten close to that other goal of mine that sub 20:00 minute 5K, I am still able to get around 22:00 pretty regularly and even break though into the 21:00's every once in a while.

I was selected to be a member of the Pearl Izumi Run Champions Team for 2016 and yes I am proud to be a part of it. Even so I do not run exclusively in PI's if a certain style of their's does not work as well as a different brand does - whatever I use in today's world has to work for me or else I refuse to run in them, no matter what the brand is or whether I buy them or are provided them as a sample. If brands ain't onboard with that, well that is the way it is going to be for me.

Yeah, honest and blunt, not always what people want to hear, but I am happy with it and that is all that counts.

The reality is that

I am happy with the direction my running is going today, yes it still frustrates the hell out of me when I push hard and it feels like I am using sub 6:00 minute pace effort and that effort is now over 7:00 minute pace.

Age is catching up to me, but I will continue to make him work to finally catch me and take away all of my speed. Now I run less to compete with the front of the pack and compete more with myself and as my header says - the way that I used to be - ain't that the truth.

Although, I still don't like to be passed and there are more than a few in my age group or older who are faster than I am and if I am in a race with that I try to keep in sight or make them work a little extra harder to pass me.

Yeah my life is pretty damn good and I know that I am becoming happier with my running with each passing year, even if I am slower, a lot slower than I used to be and while running up hills feels like there is an elephant hitching a ride up them on my back at times. I am still pretty happy with my progress at almost 59 years on this planet.

I don't know where I would have been without running since 2011. It is a part of who I am and who I will be, that has shown me how to become a better person inspite or despite the many injuries and setbacks I have had as a runner over that time.

There are you proud of me? I didn't talk about running shoes at all during this post - at least not too much. Maybe I am finally getting over being a running shoe whore and learning to use what actually works for me instead of having to always have the newest and greatest shoes to see if they are worth the hype. :-)

But really, running shoes were an important part of these years and were part of the journey that I have written enough about in other posts, that I didn't feel the need to write about them too much here.

So yeah, Life is good and I hope it only keeps getting better.

Oh yeah, I have a race tomorrow and guess what - I am looking forward to going, even though they are expecting over 600 runners and more walkers - now that is a huge change :-) and I must say for the better.

Finally, a big thank you and I love you Mary.

There has been so much else that I could have written about during this post, but I didn't want to turn it into a small book, so here is where I will end it.

Thank you for reading the series and I hope you understand a little more about the old fart who keeps writing about his boring running or what he thinks is the next great running shoe.

Yeah, I took the path less traveled and it did make all the difference.

Life is good.

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

2008-2011 -- Too Damn Many Injuries

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

January 2008 through May 2011 were the toughest years of my running life, I had so many injuries that significantly reduced the number of days that I ran during these years. A quick run-down of the major ones:

  • 1/4/08 - Fell off the Ladder while shoveling the garage roof
  • 2/4/09 - Massive Migrane initially thought to be a stroke or Bell's Pallsy 
  • 2/10/10 - Injured Right Knee playing racquetball that eventually ended up with...
  • 5/17/11 - Arthroscopic Surgery Right Knee 

Falling off the Ladder

My running that year had gone really well pretty much all of 2007. We had had an unusual amount of snow in Dec/Jan that year and I knew that I had to shovel the snow off the garage roof. It was over 4 feet deep in some places on the roof with an ice layer about a foot from the roof that had to be busted up with a crowbar before I could shovel through it in some places.

Not the day that I did and on the other side, but you get the idea
I had spent all afternoon shoveling (so I was pretty damn tired) and the roof was all done but a small patch by the ladder, which I could get after I got down with the roof rake.

I stepped on the ladder and started to put all of my weight on the rung and the ladder started to move. I tried to hold on until it hit the other snow bank, but as it moved, it became unbalanced and flipped over. When it started to move, somehow my right leg slipped down between the rungs and then I was flung upside down like a rag doll and dislocated my right shoulder (I know because I have done that several times before) while I was trying to hang on while being flipped.

I am hanging there upside down with a dislocated shoulder 10 feet above the snow and ice that I had shoveled off the roof, when the ladder hit the other snow bank - I couldn't hold on any longer. The last thing I remember as I was falling is "Oh Shit - This is gonna hurt".

Yes time does slow down in those kind of situations and while the wild ride only took seconds, it seemed like an eternity.

Gravity worked perfectly and I landed - dropping that 10 feet - hurt...bad. 

So I am laying there - afraid to move to see what is broke or doesn't work, while trying to breath and slow down my heart rate. I finally got up the courage to move - the shoulder hurt, but had gone back in place, my legs and hands wriggled and when moved they were all under my control (relief), my lower back felt like someone had a knife in it, the right knee hurt but not too bad and my right achilles area felt like someone had hit it with a sledge hammer. 

I lifted my head up to look around and there were no big red splotches in the white snow. 

You don't know the relief I felt at that moment.

I slowly and very carefully moved away from the depression in the snow and saw why my back hurt, a chunk of shoveled off roof ice was where I landed - luckily it was laying flat. I gingerly stood up checked everything over and knew that I was going to be a hurting puppy later.

What did I do next? 

I got out the snow blower and cleaned up the mess that was on the ground for the very next painful 1/2 hour, otherwise the vehicles would have been stuck in the garage. Stubborn and stupid I am, but it needed to be done, if I waited I wouldn't have been able to do it.

If TheWife had known that I had fallen off the roof, she would have had a hissy fit about me doing the cleanup. 

I won't say that the clean up was perfect by any stretch of the imagination, but it was passible. I went in the house and told her what had happened and she was all worried, but I told her no big deal and I just needed to rest for a while. 

The rest of the night was painful, but I survived it pretty well - I thought I would be lucky and just be sore in the morning.

The next morning when I got up or more accurate tried to get up, I could barely move and my lower back was in so much pain that I volunteered to go to the Emergency Room. I hate doctors and hospitals so for me to do that - I was in a lot of pain. I called into work to let them know what happened and off we went to the ER.

At the ER they did a couple of X-Rays, gave me some medication for the pain and told me to go see my primary care physician in a week. They also told me to forget about going to work for the rest of the week. I was was barely able to walk until the following Sunday, so I couldn't have gone in even if I wanted too. This is the only time in my life I have ever taken pain pills for more than a couple of days, the pain in my lower back was excruciating

When I saw my PCP, he setup a bunch of X-Rays and other tests, after which he told me that I crushed the soleus behind my right achilles tendon, bruised the hell out of the back of my knee and did something to the sciatic nerve in my lower back, in addition to separating my right shoulder and scaring the hell out of TheWife and me.

I was in physical therapy for quite a while and wasn't able to really start running until the following October without a great deal of pain in my soleus. I probably should have seen an Ortho, but the PCP kept saying it would be fine.

That September I even paid for a chiropractor out of pocket 75 miles away who used the a scraping technique to break up scar tissue and to help speed recovery - it helped, but got too pricey, time consuming and I had to stop.

By November I was running with some pain in the soleus, but other than that nothing hurt and I was starting to increase my mileage again -- slowly and doing it mostly on the treadmill, but doing it.

I was very, very lucky on that one. I know that I am a lot more careful when I shovel that damn garage roof off now.

Massive Migraine or Whatever

Things were just getting back to normal again, I was running pretty consistently around 20-25 miles a week. I was also working in a different job, with a lot of stress and we had had a pretty tough last couple of months. 

About an hour after I got to work, while going over something with my boss, my eye started watering, then it felt as though someone had stuck an ice pick into my right temple and the side of my face felt like it was drooping, my speech was slurring and my right arm felt sort of tingly.

At that point, I told her that I couldn't focus any longer and that I thought I needed to go to the ER immediately. She looked closely at me and agreed. I drove myself over there, which I caught all kinds of hell for later, but I wanted to get there ASAP.

Stubborn old cuss aren't I.

Initially, the ER responded as though it was a stroke (I still believe it was) - it sure had all of the symptoms of a stroke, but all the tests came back negative, no one seemed to know what was going on. They got me into see a neurologist in a couple of days and he diagnosed me with a certain kind of migraine and prescribed some pills to control the pain.

Strangest thing was the pain and slurring of my speech continued for almost 2 weeks and I missed a lot of work during that time. I stopped taking the meds because they were screwing me up worse than the pain in the head was. During this time I didn't run and the neurologist said just in case it was something beyond the migraine to not run for a couple of months.

During this time I walked a lot, talked a lot with TheWife, thought a lot about life and what I wanted to really do with it. This episode and falling off the roof had really, really had scared me and made me realize how quickly life could change and not for the better.

I finally got back to running regularly that May and was starting to feel good about it and that October, I actually went back to teaching, which was something I had always loved. From that May until snow fell I was doing between 15-20 miles a week. Once the snow was on the ground I started to use the gym's treadmill after work 3 or 4 days a week.

Injured Knee

I was running fairly pain-free and going to the gym as much as a Special Education teacher is able to with all the meetings and paperwork that is necessary, in addition to teaching 3 blocks of 8th Grade level English in the Resource Room. I started playing racquetball again. I had been a pretty good player back in the early 80's in Michigan and thought it would be a nice complement to running.

While I was playing a game in February, I stepped wrong while going for the ball and crashed into the wall. I felt the knee immediately flare to new levels of pain I had never experienced before and I didn't try to finish the game or anything. I gimped to the font desk and asked for some ice and sat there for a while to get the pain under control, so I could go home. 

Surprisingly, there was not a lot of swelling.

I figured that I had twisted it bad and gimped around on it for about a month, before finally giving in and going to see the doctor. He bent twisted and tugged on the damn thing and almost lost some teeth when I told him to stop and he didn't. He told me he didn't think it was ligament damage, but that he wanted me to go see an orthopedic surgeon.

The initial consult with the ortho was in May, so I hadn't been able to run since early in February (I had tried almost every week, but it just hurt too much). He told me to do this and that and made another appointment for June to see how it worked out. I hadn't improved at all and he ordered a bunch of tests and made an appointment to see me in September.

In September, the ortho diagnosed me with a degenerative knee (there is a fancy name, but don't want to use it here) and discussed various options up to and including replacement. We talked for a while and discussed what would happen if we did nothing for a while, school had just started, I was still a probationary teacher and didn't want to miss a lot of school with surgery and jeopardize my job.

He told me probably nothing, but that sooner or later (probably sooner) I would be back for the surgery. We elected to wait until it got so bad that I couldn't wait any longer. Hoping to last until after the school year ended.

Knee Surgery

By April the knee had reached the point where I was willing to undergo surgery - the ortho had been correct.

I was having significant issues just walking up the steps to the house, couldn't walk any distance without difficulty (I still walked Bennie a mile almost every morning though - sucked it up and did it). 

When I had to start walking with a cane almost all the time and it seemed every week the knee was getting worse, we decided it was time for surgery.

I went back to the ortho, confirmed the diagnosis and setup a date in May for the surgery.

We went with the idea that it was an exploratory surgery to see what was actually wrong in there and if the knee needed to be replaced to do it and get it over with. I was pretty sure at this point my running career was over.

I was scared as hell.

I hadn't ever had an I.V. before, so surgery was far beyond my experience and one that I had no desire to do. But I when I gimped (in a lot of pain) through the O.R. waiting room doors using a cane, there were no doubts about what I was doing. I knew surgery was the right decision. Knowing that didn't lessen how scared and nervous I was about it though.

I don't remember a lot about that day (real good drugs), but the doc gave us some GREAT news after the operation and I was almost cognizant of what was going on around me, I didn't have a degenerative knee!!!!!!!!!!

I had had a piece of cartilage about the size of a dime floating around inside my knee, which he took care of! He did some cleaning up of some old frayed ends and general 50 year housekeeping while he was in there.

No knee replacement surgery, which would have ended my running career completely according to the Doc.


The recovery from the arthroscopic surgery was easier than I ever expected, no it wasn't painless, but not nearly as bad as some had told me. By June 15th I had run a mile (against doctor's orders) and was plugging along nicely. By the end of June I had been discharged from Physical Therapy and was running a couple miles a day.

However, by mid-July the knee was starting to swell and hurt more, so I decided to take a month off to let it heal some more. I am glad I did and it felt a lot better. When I started back up again late August, I started slowly and every other day until around mid-October. Then I started to run daily.

At the end of October I decided to start running again and have been running mostly pain-free with the knee since. Yeah, it pops and snaps a bit too much, and every once in a while it get a little yappy about things, but for the most part I have been able to do whatever I want with it.

First Question is

The first question that I have always asked all of the doctors after the medical questions have been sort of answered was "When can I run again?" A couple said "it would be better if you didn't or I don't recommend you running ever again". 

I would respond with the refrain "When can I start to run again?" I know that I wasn't the best patient and don't always follow doctor's orders, but it is my body and like my primary care provider stated when I refused the wheelchair "You're gonna wear it out aren't you?" I looked back at him - smiled (grimaced) and said "Yep" and gimped off to get my X-Rays.

The Reality is

that those four years were very difficult for me - all the injuries had forced me to not run nearly as much as I wanted to. There were even questions if coming back to running was even an option at times. Coming back to the point where I am today has not been easy, there has been a lot of pain and suffering just to get back to here, especially when it would have been a helluva lot easier to simply stop and do what the doctor told me to do.

Yes, I am a stubborn old bastid and until the wheels fall off, running will be a part of my life.

Running is an important part of who I am, was and will be. As long as I am able to get out the door and run - I will.

I may no longer be as fast as I was or be able to run a far as I used to, but damnit I am still running.

I wonder how different the past few years would have been, if I had been able to run and release some of the frustrations and worries that were part of my teaching job, which really got to me while I couldn't run.

I just hope that the running muses feel that I have paid my dues and allow me to run injury free for many years, after those four years of shall we say "interesting" running times.