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 2, 2016

1988 - 2000 -- The Lost Running Years

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.

Snow Shoeing with Dad - I don't have any running pics from this time//

This post will be about 1988 to September 2000. Twelve years which I consider the "lost" years of my running life. I didn't race at all and while I ran quite a bit during this time, I didn't run consistently and it was more spits, spurts and far too often more than a little bit of indifference.

It will also be my most generic post in this series. There were some bad decisions on my part during this period that while I do not want to gloss over them, I also am not about to say a whole lot publicly about them.

However, even in the bad years, I still would run around 200 days a year.

Brunswick, ME 1988 to 1990 - I moved to Brunswick, Maine and my boss was a runner, so I ran quite a bit a lunch during the week, but hardly ever on the weekends, which really cut into my ability to run in races. I kept in shape, by running 3-6 miles a day most days. However, usually from December to March, my running was very limited. I just didn't have the motivation to get out and run during the winter time.

I ran a lot in Bath and Portland, but not that much in Brunswick.

Which is too bad, because I had some of the flattest and best courses in the State of Maine to run on in that area. Another of those could've, would've, should've times.

Sandy Hook, NJ

1990 to 1993 - We moved to Sandy Hook, New Jersey at the end of GateWay National Park. This was a great place to run except on the Weekends, living in a popular National Park outside of New York City meant lots and lots of traffic during the summer and especially on the weekends.

We usually holed up on the base during the weekends and didn't try to leave base very often, getting stuck in traffic just wasn't that much fun.

I did get to run the beaches and every so often enjoyed the views over at Gunnison Beach, yes it was a nude beach and provided more than a couple of interesting sights during my runs there.

Sandy Hook was a great place to run, but to often life got in the way and my position there really didn't give me as much time to run as I would have liked.

It was very flat, but windy as hell during the Winter.

Boston, MA

1993 to 1996 - I was stationed in Boston, Mass, but lived on Cape Cod and commuted 73 miles to get to work. This meant catching the P&B at Sagamore Circle most mornings at 4:50 A.M. to ensure getting to work by 7:00 A.M. and then catching the 3:30 and getting home somewhere between 5:00 and 6:00, it depending upon the traffic.

For a while I was running regularly in the morning with GH (a former Ensign on the SPAR, from so many years before) and we explored a lot of Boston together, until I had something happen medically and needed to take down-time from running. After that I never really ran with him again.

Needless to say I was tired all the time and there were periods when my work just didn't give me time enough to run. I was lucky, my bosses were very supportive of running at lunch and I was able to run at lunch when I wanted/needed to, even if the work did not.

Running from Atlantic Ave through the North End to Charlestown or over to the Charles River were my favorite running routes.

If I had lived closer it would have been a great place to run.

I also discovered 3D archery while here and was heavily involved in Archery tournaments most weekends and helping out in a lcoal Archery shop. This activity choice, cut into severely into running, but I learned a lot about hunting and archery.

Palmyra & Hartland, ME

1996 to September 2000 - I retired from the Coast Guard and moved back to Maine.

We lived in Palmyra and Hartland, I still ran but the hours at work were odd hours (working in a Group Home) and it seemed I was always getting called in unexpectedly, so my schedule was not conducive to running or having a good family life. So I tried a couple of other jobs and nothing seemed to work out the way I expected. It was a tough time professionally for me and the stress levels were off the charts.

While we lived in Palmyra, there really wasn't all that great a place to run and the places where I worked, were not convenient to run at lunch or after work, so running while I did it, it wasn't very consistent.

In Hartland we lived up at the top of a road that had Hill in the title, and it was almost a mile from the bottom of the hill to the top and it was a nice little hill. I never really got used to that damn hill and it affected how much that I ran in Hartland.

In March 2000, I separated and eventually divorced my first wife and that impacted my running for quite a while, but eventually, getting back to running helped me get through that traumatic event, even though it was something that was my choice. Although it hurt some people way too much and I will always be sorry for that part of my life and will not ever be forgiven completely for what I did.

Looking back

Those twelve years of my life as far as running was concerned was markedly inconsistent. I never stopped running completely, but at the same time it was not a high priority. Other parts of my life were much more important. Work, promotions, finding a professional life after retirement and then a messy divorce. They all impacted how much I ran.

Yes I still subscribed to "Runner's World", bought new running shoes and clothes, but there was no racing, not too many speed workouts, it was just running for the sake of running.

I did run a lot from 1988 to 2000, but I wonder if I had been more consistent during this time and raced a few times, what life would have been like? Would I have been less stressed out all the time. How would it have been if I hadn't had such a long commute into Boston everyday? Lots of other questions that looking back with 20/20 hindsight, would I have done things differently?

Life is what it is and you can't change what has happened. It is water under the dam, at the same time you wonder.

That is why I call them the Lost Years.


  1. Lots of stuff packed into those years albeit not as much or as consistent running. I have loads of years like that - where running might have happened pretty regularly but it was never 'a thing'. And watching my brother these past several years has shown me the echoes and ripples of a divorce :(

    All of these posts definitely have made me think about my own history again - no clue if/when I will revisit them, but I am sure glad you're going through them all!

    1. Yeah a lot happened during those years, a lot of it great, other things well let's just say I am a different person today and very happy with who I have become. Divorce is tough and the repercussions you live with the remainder of your life when you have kids. When you revitalize your blog it will be a good thing for the rest of us :-)


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