Friday, February 21, 2020

Mini Coast Guard Reunion in Charlie's Honda Waiting Room - 2-19-2020

Sometimes things really work out in the strangest of ways!

On Wednesday, I had to take our new Ridgeline in to get the rest of the accessories installed and I sitting in Charlie's Honda waiting room relaxing a little while the work was being done.

There were four others waiting there with me and everyone was pretty quiet, doing their own thing, reading, watching the TV or just staring off towards the service department door. The guy across from me kept looking at me as if I was familiar, but he didn't look like anyone I knew right off.

I noticed that one of the other customers was wearing a camouflaged hat with the Coast Guard emblem on it. So, of course, I had to ask if he was a Coastie?

It turned out he was a retired helo pilot who had done 10 years in the Navy and like he said gotten smart and joined the Coast Guard. We swapped a few stories, to see if we had any people that we knew in common and while we were talking the guy who had been looking at me spoke up and said he had been in the Coast Guard in the mid-'70s at AIRSTA Cape Cod and had worked at Hangar 128.

I told him that I was stationed there from '77 to '79 as a Yeoman and gave him my name and he told me his. Hell, I was his Yeoman while he was there. He said now I remember you, we were stationed there together. We talked for a bit about people who's names we remembered, (some brought back a bunch of memories). We swapped a few sea stories from back then, talked about how bad the box lunches were and how things went for us in life after Cape Cod.

Then it seemed like everyone was talking and come to find out that the other guy there was at BIW, while I stationed there '88-'90 as part of the Coast Guard's 378 FRAM project and worked on the Hamilton too.

It is strange how things work out sometimes. What are the chances of two retired Coasties, one former Coastie and a worker from BIW who worked on a Coast Guard vessel, all sitting in the same Honda showroom at 2:00 P.M. on a Wednesday afternoon in Augusta, Maine?

It happened and it was very, very cool.

Yeah, it brought back a flood of memories, good and bad from back in the day.

Thursday, February 20, 2020

Joining the Charlie's Honda Family

Yes, we joined the Charlie's Honda family and are now the proud owners of a Honda Ridgeline Sport edition. However, let's back up and talk about how that happened.

Earlier I talked about the reasons for needing a new truck and how I narrowed down my choices to the Honda Ridgeline Sport - you can read about it here.

Now I get to write about the actual purchase experience. This is usually the part of buying a new vehicle that I hate the worst - going to the dealership and figuring out if it is actually the vehicle that I want or need, plus once you decide if you are going to buy, there is the negotiation of the price you pay stage, which to be honest usually sucks.

In other words, I was very jaded and rather defensive going in, when it came to dealing with automotive dealerships. I know they need to make a profit, but sometimes it is more the attitudes they give off while making their profit that bothers me.

To be honest, we were not expecting to come home with a vehicle that day, it was President's Day and the banks were closed. It was more to give Mary more information on the Ridgeline and how it compared to other vehicles. We were in for a surprise.

We had an appointment for 1:00 PM at Charlie's Honda in Augusta and we drove up and there was a black Honda Ridgeline Sport sitting in a parking space running (I told Mary, that would be the vehicle we would be test driving and it was). We went in and Pierre the sales manager, who I had talked with on Saturday, asked if we minded having a new sales associate work with us to give her some experience. We said sure and he went and got Desiree to introduce us.

After that, we went for a test drive in the black Ridgeline that had been warming up outside. It did everything that we wanted. We talked about things for a minute and after the test drive we decided to see what kind of deal we could get and sat down for the next phase.

Desiree filled out the initial paperwork and then took it over to Pierre who is the Sales Manager. When he came back, we made a little bit of small talk before getting into the negotiations (a negotiating tactic itself) for a bit and I mentioned that I had been thinking about things and realized that Pierre was the salesman that originally sold me the Ranger when I bought it from the Ford dealership back in 2013 and Pierre said that he thought I looked familiar. We both laughed and said what a small world it was.

Then came the time negotiating the price and how much for the trade-in, yes the Ranger was going away.  Thankfully, Pierre didn't play the games that I have experienced in the past at other dealerships. We sat down, talked things out, discussed what both sides could and couldn't do.

The negotiations were short, rather painful to the wallet, but not as bad as we had feared and in the end, we were very happy with the final deal that we ended up at. I cannot believe that I just said that, we were very happy with the final deal!!!

Then we chose the few accessories that we wanted to be added on to the final cost and waited for processing.

In about 10 minutes we had the results of our loan application and then had to wait a few minutes to do the paperwork. Once we got into the loan processor, it was someone that Mary knew professionally from where she worked before she retired. They caught up a bit about the people they both knew and the paperwork part of the experience was quick and easy.

The Honda Ridgeline was our's and the bank.

We just had to bring in the down payment, the Ranger's spare key and title the next morning, but we were taking the Ridgeline home that day.

Small Things Make a Difference

It is often the small things that make the buying experience a positive one and Charlie's Honda did the little things that did make the buying experience there a positive one:

  • We made an appointment and when we arrived it was kept. There was no waiting around for a salesperson to finally get around to help us.
  • Pierre is the sales manager and has to supervise quite a few salespeople on a busy day (President's Day), so I understood the rationale for having a sales associate do the test-drive, paperwork, but he gave us the courtesy of asking first, instead of telling us Desiree was going to help us. There is a huge difference.
  • The model vehicle that I requested to see was the one that was there warming up. There was no bait and switch to a higher-priced vehicle and them saying that the lower-priced model was gone.
  • Pierre personally took care of the negotiation and was cognizant of our wants, needs and yes, limits on what we were willing to do financially. He did it with humor, patience, and respect, which was the way that we wanted to be treated during a stressful time - buying an expensive vehicle is stressful and a long-term commitment.
  • The loan process was quick and efficient and it was nice for Mary to talk with someone that she had a professional acquaintance with before she retired, which did help us relax that much more.
  • After we finished doing the paperwork, Desiree offered to help clean out the Ranger, we declined. That really wasn't part of her responsibilities. We really had not been expecting to go through with the deal that day, so I hadn't done anything to clean out the Ranger and all my crap was in it. I did ask for two big garbage bags and got them pretty much full.
  • The Ridgeline was washed, cleaned out, the all-weather mats put in and it was filled with gas. Those things have not always been my experience when I have bought a new vehicle from a dealership.
  • A small but really nice thing was that my old license plates were put on under the temporary paper plates. Usually, they are thrown under the seat and you have to deal with putting them on later. A minor thing, but a touch that I appreciated, especially in winter.
  • Before we left, Desiree offered to go over setting up the electronics. I thought I could handle it, but we took her up on it just in case I ran into any problems. I think I may have surprised her a bit, by just doing things myself while she was sitting there. Her comment was, "you really are tech-savvy aren't you". I chuckled and thought to myself, not all old people are helpless when it comes to technology.

I did have to laugh though after I got through setting up the electronics, Desiree couldn't get out of the back seat. She had forgotten again about the child safety locks still being engaged. It was good that she was able to laugh at herself, we joked around for a few seconds and then we let her out. Yes, we disengaged the child safety locks on both rear doors while we were chuckling.

The reality is that

Actually, that was probably the best car buying experience I have ever had.

The sales staff (Pierre and Desiree) were friendly, knowledgeable, and didn't act like they were doing us a favor by selling us their vehicle. They were respectful of our wants/needs and didn't try for the hard sell, which probably would have resulted in us walking away.

They showed the vehicle, explained the options, negotiated the price by going for a win-win approach, versus the old I win, you got screwed feeling that so many dealerships leave you feeling after buying a vehicle from them.

Well here is to our new truck and hopefully, we get as many years out of it as we did out of the old Ranger. It has been a long time since I drove off the lot with under 20 miles on the odometer of a vehicle.

I tip my new hat to Pierre and Desiree at Charlie's Honda for superior customer experience in purchasing a new vehicle from them.

Now to see what joining Charlie's Honda family means. If my first impressions are anything to go by, it should be a great experience.

Wednesday, February 19, 2020

Buying A New Vehicle is Work - Part 1

It will be great to get back to "normal". The past couple of weeks I have really been focusing on buying a new truck and have not bothered attempting to blog much at all.

The wife and I had sort of decided that it was time to start looking for a new truck. My 2011 Ford Ranger was getting pretty long in the tooth and while we just had it checked out last week and it was in great shape, it is nine years old and it was going to be a matter of time before the repair costs were going to outweigh the costs of ownership.

The old Ranger on its way to get new front hubs, it got me home though every single time.

Between the age of my old Ranger, the salt, sand, calcium chloride and whatever else they use on the roads up here in winter, it does a great job of eating vehicles for lunch eventually. So it was time to do my due diligence on a new vehicle.

However, buying a new vehicle sure as hell is not like it used to be. At least in today's world, you don't have to go to each dealership crawl around the vehicles, talk to the salesperson about the pros of each vehicle and then listen to the cons of the competitor's vehicles from those same salespeople. If you were really ambitious you could buy a Consumer Report magazine, or some of the car/truck magazines and watch their carefully constructed ads on television or in the newspaper.

What this usually meant was that I would get tired of the repair bills or need to get rid of a vehicle that no longer fit my lifestyle at the time, not do any research, go to the dealership nearest to where I was living (usually Ford) and get taken to the cleaners and then drive off with a nice new payment plan for the next few years.

This time I figured it would be the last truck that I will be buying (I think it should last 8-10 years and in my 70s a truck probably ain't what I will need) and it was important to know what we really needed for our next vehicle versus what we thought we needed and also to not be unprepared for the dealership's sales tag team tactics.

First things first - how did I use the Ranger over the last 7 years?

Hauling stuff to the transfer stations

Moving furniture around for us and others
Getting stuff from hardware stores for home projects
Moving firewood around the yard
Commuting to and from wherever we were going
Bad weather chauffeur - primarily snow

Carrying kayaks

Traveling to New Hampshire or Boston a few times

What I never used it for:

Towing - never even bought a hitch
No off-road time (I don't hunt, fish or go four-wheeling anymore)
No mud runs
Plowing snow - we didn't buy a plow for it.

Really, I use my truck more for driving around with an empty bed than I do anything else. I have just enough use of the truck bed that I want, more than need a truck and realistically could probably get by with the van for most of that stuff and rent a truck for anything else.

However, we both figured that a truck is what we would be getting. I am pretty predictable at times and I do like the versatility and not needing to depend on somebody else's vehicle to get stuff when I want to get it.

After thinking about what is more important to me now - I want my truck to be reliable, good in snow and if we decided to take it on a long trip, that it would be a nice ride, not a buckboard.

After a LOT of research - reading, watching videos, going to actually look at the vehicles we were considering, it came down to the Ford Ranger and Honda Ridgeline. We didn't need a full-size truck and the towing, plowing or off-road capabilities didn't really mean that much to us.

The biggest issue that I had with my 2011 Ranger was how cramped the cab felt with us and our gear in it. I always had a bunch of stuff packed in behind the seats. There just was not enough room in the cab for us and everything I wanted to keep in my truck, along with a spastic dog.

With all that in mind, I test drove a 2020 Ranger XLT 4 door pickup. It was a lot better riding than my old one and seemed a lot more modern. However, even with the 4 door model, I still felt as though the person sitting beside me was just too close and even with the extra room behind the seats, I could see that quickly filling up with my junk again. Plus I didn't think that my two step-daughters would enjoy riding in those back seats all that much, especially with a dog in the truck with us.

However, the new Ranger was a nice vehicle and would do everything that I wanted from a 4WD mid-sized truck.

However, was it what I wanted?

Three things really stood out in my mind as negatives, putting four adults in the vehicle, plus a dog, where would I put all the stuff that I carry (I know don't carry as much stuff) and the height of the tailgate to put things on - yeah this last one was a big deal.

Where we live allows 3 five-gallon buckets sand from the sand house after each storm and while I can lift them now without too much problem up to chest level, higher than that with my bad shoulder, it becomes an adventure in discomfort and with the height of the 2020 Ranger's tailgate, even though I am 5'7", well it would be an adventure each time I go to get sand. Plus at 62 years young, I am not a puppy anymore and the idea of lifting those heavy buckets up that high as I get older each year was not something to look forward to.

I know, I know suck it up buttercup, but if I do not have to and can work smarter not harder, that is a better way.

Another huge positive factor for the Ranger was the Ray Haskell Ford dealership, which is where I get the Transit worked on and I believe they are one of the best Service Departments I have ever used - that goes a long way with me and how I see things.

Next up was the Honda Ridgeline.

When I test drove the Ridgeline on Saturday, I was pretty much blown away. It rode like a very comfortable SUV and did not have the truck rear-end bounce after hitting bumps in the road. It was a lot wider than my old Ranger or the new one that I test-drove and it just felt solid and very responsive to drive. However, I am not a fan of leather seats and know that the electronics start at the front bumper and end at the back bumper, so it is not something that I or some backyard mechanic are going to work on too much. However, the storage trunk in the back was amazing and the dual-action tailgate made things more easily accessible

After test driving both vehicles, I went back to do some more research about problem areas for both vehicles, did some research on the dealerships, got familiar with the different models, options and ballpark pricing on them.

They were comparable in a lot of areas, but the interior room and storage areas were a significant difference, plus the ride in the Honda was much more comfortable. So I had pretty much decided which direction I thought we needed to go.

The more I thought about things and what were my priorities, the more I actually preferred the 2019 Sport model, which was not a top tier model, it is closer to a base, but with enough gizmos and gadgets to keep me happy. The 2020s had more standard equipment (toys and distractions) and fully opening rear doors would have been nice but the price was a bit more too. Plus I am not a fan of their new 2020 gear shifter.

The next step was to talk to Mary and get her opinion.

That Sunday we had to go into Augusta so we stopped by Charlie's Honda, while they were closed and we walked around some of the 2020s on the lot and they had two 2019 left - a black Sport and a RTL-E that I had test drove the day before. She hadn't realized just how big the Ridgeline really is and the extra storage compartments for all my junk would mean it would not be in back of the front seats. The actual room for all four of us was another improvement.

She seemed intrigued, so the next morning we made an appointment for 1:00 PM to test drive together a Ridgeline.

End of Part 1.

Sunday, February 9, 2020

A Quiet Day and Another 3.0 Miles - 2-9-2020

This was a nice and quiet day. We do not get those all that often, so it was pretty nice.

I got to nap with Bean for 45 minutes this afternoon. Although I have been using the focus statement "What's Important - Now" and then I state what it is that I believe is important and visualize what I need to do for a bit. It seems to set me up to do things that need doing.

Today after I said that I told myself that I needed to rest, focus on healing the body and relax. It seemed to me within a couple of minutes I was gone (into lala land). Sometimes it seems we allow our thoughts to overtake everything and if we take the time to tell the brain what is important, it seems to go in the direction that I want more often than not. seems to be working lately for me.

I woke up refreshed and ready to go. I am working on sharpening my focus, so we will see if it is real or is it just another psych job.


0.30 - When the temp is -6*F Bennie is not into walking and I can't really blame him. We wandered about a bit, but didn't really go that far from the house.

1.5 - Walked with Bennie and Mary down to Blake. The road down-back was in pretty good shape and it had warmed up considerably since we walked earlier in the morning.

PF Treadmill 3.0/27:41/9:14

After yesterday's faster run (at least a little faster), I purposely kept the speed right at 6.5 mph for the entire run. The hamstring is still a factor, but at least I can run a little and not have it grumble too much. Just slow and easy run that is going to be my mainstays for around another month I have a feeling. Although I would like to have the discomfort level drop a little more before I attempt to go any further on the treadmill, outside I think that I can go a bit farther and still have it be mostly happy. 

We will see.

Nike Vomero 14 - The locker room gremlins stuck it to me this morning. I was sure that I put a pair of socks in my gym bag, but when I went to get them out, I couldn't find the darn things. I emptied out the bag, got up and looked on the bench, under the bench and they were nowhere to be found. 

Drat - I hate going sockless in running shoes - I always end up with a blister and I couldn't wear my wool socks, so sockless it was. Everything went great until about 2.5 miles on the treadmill, then the left inside of the heel of the left foot and under the arch on the right foot heated up. Yep, I was gonna have a couple of those wonderful blisters there, so of course I just kept going to 3.0 miles. 

It is just a blister, uncomfortable but not anything to worry about.

That little pod on the heel unit got me and not in a good way. After I got off the treadmill, I had to quickly visit the locker room and sitting there in the spot where I had changed were my socks. 

Dangnabit and yes, they were my socks. 

Like I said the locker room gremlins were playing tricks on me and hid them while I was changing and left them out in plain sight so I could go WTFO when I came back into the locker room. Yes, I put them on, but the damage had already been done, small blisters on both feet. At least now I know that the Vomero 14s need socks and won't make that mistake again anytime soon.

Before Running
Runner's warm-up
50 squats
4x10 balance work each leg
3 x 10 count balance work each leg
50 fast calf raises
3x10 step-up
2 x 20 step-overs

After Running
2 x 20 - 90 lb calf raises
3 x 10 - 90 lb leg presses
2 x 20 - 50 lb glute machine
3 x 10 - 50 lb quad machine
3 x 10 - 50 lb hamstring machine
Foam roll
2 x 20 Hip stretches

.9 - Bennie walk
1.0 - walk by myself

Daily Stoic Reflection


Many times things just are and there is not a whole lot we can do about it. The weather is a thing and will do what it does, do I have an opinion about the weather or am complaining about it. There is a difference. If something is a tool, I can like or dislike things, but do I have an opinion about it or is it more important that I know how to use it, its quality or if is the right tool for the job I am using it for.

What is an opinion? Is it something you believe in, after thinking about a matter of importance to you or is it something that you have been told is important and that you need to have these feelings about it? Sometimes I truly believe in the old saying from my Grandfather "opinions are like assholes, everyone has one, but are they worth a shit."

I guess that is as good an answer as most - are our opinions worth our time to get upset, wild haired and wound up over so many things that we really have no control over even if we do have an long-held opinion about what is going on?

Personally, I am learning that the answer is probably most of the time it is not. Life will go on, no matter what our or my opinions are and most likely our vociferous defense of our opinions will not change the opinions of those who hold different ones. It simply leads to stress, anger and broken friendships or so it seems in today's divided world.

Most of the time I just keep my opinions to myself and let other's opinion be their opinions, while I smile and just go with the flow to get through another day.


I gave up on Elderhood for now, it was a tough read for me and I own the eBook so I am letting the hardcover copy go back to the library. I am getting so that I prefer the ebook versions especially when it comes to works that are non fiction and I want to take notes on. 

I have been reading Neil Gaiman's Norse Mythology and the tales while interesting, give a different depiction of the Norse Gods than the usual they are great and all powerful. It is a good change though and one that I think the old Norse would approve of. A bit of disparagement of the Gods is not a bad thing at times and even if they are omnipotent, they have good and bad days too. 

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

Saturday, February 8, 2020

I Hate Ice Storm Clean-ups and a Good Run - 2-8-2020

We actually got to sleep in until 7:15, not something we get to do very often, between daily commitments and pet walking duties, we are usually up and about much earlier. 

Yeah, it looks purty shining in the sunshine, but it sure is a bother to clean-up after.

Two hours of snow blowing after an ice storm are a pain in the shoulders and the backside. After a couple of days of nastiness, there was about a 1/4 inch of ice on top of a couple of inches of snow, with another coating of crusty snow on top of everything. Then last night it got down to single digits around here and froze everything solid.

Initially, I attempted to just use the snowblower on it - yeah right! 

Unfortunately, that worked about as good as me using a broom to clean the driveway and when I was able to get the augurs to bite into the snow/ice mix, I might as well have been using my snow scoop with the amount of work I had to put into making forward progress.

Finally, I gave up and got in the truck and drove up and down the driveways a bunch of times to break up the icy mess. While that helped a lot, I still had to repeatedly go back and forth over the broken up snow and ice, which doubles or triples the time it takes to remove the total 2-3 inches of snow that needed to be moved around. 

All I know is that my shoulders are killing me because, in this kind of stuff, you have to hold up on the handles to keep the augurs in the snow versus riding up over the snow. 

Loads of fun today. 

I probably would have been better off just leaving it and driving over the stuff until it packed down. Unfortunately, there is another storm with more mixed precipitation in the forecast for Sunday night/Monday morning. So I figured I better get take care of what I could while I could.


I guess you could call 2.0 hours behind that snowblower a workout too.

.9 - Bennie walk, the road is still a mess, but better than yesterday. At least today the sun was out for our walk, though at 10*F it was chilly.

Runners warm-up
50 squats
2 - push-ups then I decided that the snow blowing this morning had completely toasted the shoulders and stopped
4x10 sets balance work each leg
3x10 step-ups

I actually felt the best I have in a while when running. Unfortunately, it has been a month since I ran "normally" for me and while I am not quite at that point, I am getting closer. The first run was interrupted by one of those you will get to the locker room now routines. So I started the run over and ran 3.0. While I could still feel the hamstring, I had close to a normal stride.

PF Treadmill - 3.5/31:33/9:01

0.30 @ 3.7 mph -- warm-up
0.50 @ 6.5 mph -- had to stop and enjoy the quick locker room trip
1.0 @ 6.5 -- was feeling good so increased the speed a little to start. Although a guy got on the treadmill beside me and while I am not a real quiet runner, I could hear his footsteps over mine without any issues, but he was also running faster at 8.0 mph (yes, I peeked a look or two - I am a little competitive - age doesn't take that away any time soon), so that does require a bit more force and that end treadmill is historically the noisiest one there.
1.0 @ 6.6 -- No real issues, more like I know you are there hamstring - kind of thing, but not getting in the way.
1.0 @ 6.7 -- I really, really wanted to just run that last quarter, but I resisted the temptation and was good. I am too close to being able to just run again, that I don't want to screw things up by being greedy.

Nike Vomero 14 - They did just fine, although I think they do a little bit better when I wear the toe spacer on my right foot, nothing bothered and the V14s just felt comfortable.

.9 - Bennie walk, the road melted quite a bit, but it is starting to re-freeze and there is a lot of black ice to look out for, we decided not to do the other walk

Daily Stoic Reflection


The temper tantrum, whining about this or that at great length or putting on a show to show how badly you feel. Did those shows of emotion, throwing things, swearing at people to make them feel worse as well (probably and did they need to feel your pain too?)...did any of that make you feel better? 

Yes, we have all lost our "cool" at various points in our lives. However, after all the histrionics did we actually feel better? 

No, actually if you really thought about how you acted and the things you said, if you are at all cognizant of anything beyond your own needs, you were probably mortified and totally embarrassed by your display. I know that I am.

However, as I have gotten older and have a better handle on my emotions, these kinds of displays are very rare or are done for a particular purpose that I am in control of. Most of the time when my emotions are overwhelmed by a situation, I tend to become quieter and when possible remove myself from the situation as politely and quickly as possible. It really serves no purpose to have others watch me get pissed off, overreact or whatever other emotions I am going through at the time. I am comfortable enough in my own skin to not need others bear the brunt of my negative emotions.

The reality is that

While the morning was busy with the snow removal, I still had enough energy to go to the gym and get some pre-running work done and a decent run completed. Although I gotta admit that the shoulder massage from Mary felt wonderful. Both shoulders were full of knots and she knows how to clean out some of them. 

At some point, I may have to see Frank and have him abuse that right shoulder of mine. It is starting to act up to the point where I am having some discomfort in there again. It will always be an issue for me, but sometimes you have to suck it up and just do what you gotta do regardless of how something feels, especially when it is one of those things you have put up with for over 30 years.

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

The First Running Shoe Purge of 2020

We all own plenty of stuff, some of it great, some of it necessary and most of it...well let's just say if a lot of that stuff suddenly disappeared, I have a sneaking suspicion that most of us would not actually miss it. We might wonder what used to be sitting there or hey why I can close the drawer on my dresser easier.

How do I know all of this, because I am a huge sucker for a great sale (especially when it comes to running shoes) or free stuff that others don't want anymore?

I also know that the marketing professionals are great at their jobs and make it seem as though their product is something we cannot live without and the biggest thing is "well I might need this" (you can add in when or what), but when is usually "someday" and all too often "someday" never comes.

At some point, you start looking around and see how much "stuff" you have. When I did this back in January, I saw how many pairs of running shoes I had squirreled away around the house.  Despite getting rid of 11 pairs of running shoes back in November.

Below is a photo of some of the running shoes that I quickly found and there were a few more that I hauled out after I took the photo when I remembered where I had "stored" them.

As a result of "finding" all these running shoes, over the past few weeks, I looked a lot more closely at the running shoes I do have and how I use them. The more I thought about things, the more I realized if a pair of running shoes didn't work for me last year or two years ago, they sure as hell ain't going to work for me now.

The truth is that most of the shoes out in the garage, under the dresser, in the closet, in the vehicles and other places that I have them squirreled away don't work for the way that I run and I hadn't got rid of them because I was hoarding running shoes - again.

Then I was procrastinating getting rid of them and justified the delay in getting rid of them each time I would go out to try on another pair in the give-away pile to see how they fit compared to shoes that were sort of working for me now.

Finally, after trying on yet another pair from that pile I got it through my head that this was going to continue forever unless I just got rid of them. So that afternoon, I got all the shoes that I know that I won't wear, don't work for me or just didn't like and put them into the back of the van, along with some other stuff that needs to go away

The next morning when I went into Waterville, I dropped them off.

14 pairs of running shoes left the house that morning.

This purge leaves me with:

  • Nike Zoom Fly SP
  • Nike Vomero 14
  • New Balance 1400 v6
  • New Balance Beacon v1
  • New Balance Fuel Cell Propel 

Although I did keep my Mizuno Elixir v7 and Brook Green Silence as legacy shoes I just didn't want to get rid of at this time.

I still have a few too many with what I have left, but I weeded out quite a few and I have a feeling that my two trail shoes will go away if they keep bothering my feet while wearing them and probably the ones I foresee using as tempo shoes when the weather is nicer will probably leave once I actually start to run in them again, they were in the back of the garage for a reason.

  • New Balance 890 v7
  • Salomon Sense Ride v1
  • Nike Wildhorse 5
  • Nike Zoom Fly v1s

The reality is that 

Even though I have a better idea of what running shoes I have left in the house and why I kept them, this really is not only about running shoes.

If you have ever had to take care of a loved one's possessions after they die, you know how hard that can be and if the loved one had lots of interests, lived in the same place for several years or was a bit of a hoarder - then you know what kind of a job it can be to clean-up and dispose of all those personal effects. We went through this when Mary's brother died suddenly in 2017 and we vowed to never put the people who have to clean-up after our death's through that kind of misery.

Realistically the amount of stuff that I have that is unnecessary is pretty much under control. However, keeping the junk, clutter and too much stuff under control is one of those processes that is never-ending, but necessary.

The questions I ask myself now are do I use it, how often and if I die tomorrow, what would the people left behind do with it?

You might think it is a morbid way to think about our stuff, but it is being honest - our possessions, hobbies, and possessions are mostly just stuff to other people.

When I die how much of my stuff, especially my running shoes would be wanted by the people who survive me?

So the important stuff that I want someone to have, I have already started to give to those people and will be getting rid of even more stuff over the coming months. I think that is our lot in life, we spend a lifetime accumulating stuff and then as we get older we work hard at getting rid of until we die and then most of our stuff is either thrown out or given anyway.

Although I have a feeling, I will always own too many running shoes.

First written for One Foot In Reality by Harold Shaw, Jr.

Friday, February 7, 2020

Quiet, Ice Storm and a Day of Rest - 2-7-2020

Ice storms are probably the biggest nuisance storms that there are. It is like the death of a 1,000 cuts you don't realize how bad things are until you try to move around things are a lot worse than you believed they would be. 

This latest installment of winter is close to skating rink and would have been even worse if it had not snowed a couple of inches yesterday. Yeah, while we have had ice storms over the years up heah, it seems to me and how I tend to remember things that these kinds of storms, in the past were primarily snow. Now those storms coming in more often as rain, freezing rain, sleet and we end up with a LOT of ice on the ground and elsewhere. 

However, since "officially" there is no such thing as climate change, I will simply not believe what my eyes are seeing and feet are walking on. 

Thursday, February 6, 2020

Chauffeur Duty, Massage Therapy and Running - 2-6-2020

Snow in the morning meant that I had SD2 chauffeur duty. The roads were pretty nasty all the way into her work and coming back home wasn't much better.  Fortunately, the roads had improved a lot by the time I went to the gym, so that was nice and when I drove over Frank's for my appointment the main roads were clear, but the side roads were nasty.

I made it to the massage appointment with Frank about a 1/2 hour early and he got me going early. He focused on the left leg and found quite a few places that got my attention. He told me there was an old injury in one of the lower hamstring muscles, next to where my present injury is that was very noticeable to him (I tore it pretty badly about 15 years ago when I was sprinting against some students while working as a teacher at Good Will Hinckley), and I definitely noticed when he worked on that area. I could feel several releases of something going on in the leg when he was digging into it. 

After all his ministrations the leg feels pretty well abused tonight and is sore, but at the same time, it feels better than it has for a while - if that makes any sense?

I have a feeling that this next week will continue the progress I am making, as long as I don't attempt to do too much, too soon.

Tuesday, February 4, 2020

Good Memories and 3.0 More Miles - 2-4-2020

You know what is a pretty rough thing to have happen when you least expect it?

Hearing your father's voice on your phone.

The thing is he died last October.

So it was pretty disconcerting, to say the least.

When it happened I had to get up and leave the area I was in and go outside for a couple of minutes to collect myself. There might have been a leak or two sprouting from the eyes. Yeah, hearing his voice today got me pretty good.

Let's back up a few minutes.

I was sitting at the Ford Dealership in Oakland waiting for the Transit to get an oil change. Since I had a few minutes, I was messing around with a bunch of stuff on my new phone. Earlier today someone had told me my voicemail was full, so I decided to go in and delete a bunch of old messages.

The first message was his voice, the second one was another call from him and so was the third one. They were all about a doctor's appointment that I took him to up in Bangor. Just a run of the mill stuff, scheduling and confirming what needed to be done.

Still, it was my Dad talking to me.

Needless to say, it got me pretty good.

No, I did not keep them, I deleted all my voicemails. When I told Mary about it, she asked me why I deleted them?

I just told her that I couldn't keep them, he is dead and as much as I love and miss him, keeping those voicemails would be too difficult to keep listening to over time.

That was tough, but at the same time it was...well those voicemails brought back a flood of good memories about Dad.

Today's workout

.9 - Bennie walk -- During the walk we watched over 50 crows fly overhead and the sunrise was beautiful, of course, this was the day I left my phone sitting at home.
1.2 - Bennie/Hunter walk down-back

I had planned on a bit easier day at the gym since I had done a pretty hard workout yesterday and thought that I would run on the treadmill versus running outside.

Runner's warm-up
50 squats
30 push-ups
2 x 20 bridges
4 x 10 single-leg balance work
3 x 10 each leg step-ups

0.30 @ 3.6 mph - warm-up

3.0 @ 6.4 mph - I wasn't sure about how far I would go, the hamstring had been a bit grumpy all morning and while it felt pretty good warming-up, I could still feel it more than I wanted to admit. However, running slower seemed to aggravate the hamstring more than running a bit quicker, so I decided to run a little faster than I have been. The speed was right where I needed to be and while the hamstring didn't really stop complaining, at the same time it did not feel any worse while running on it.

0.30 @ 3.6 mph - cool-down

90 - Leg press 2 x 20
90 - Achilles 2 x 20

Otherwise, it was a good workout and I got done what I needed to do without the hamstring grumbling too much. I have a feeling that it will grumble for a few more weeks, but it is getting better, slowwwwwly, but surely. At least I can do stuff on it that I couldn't do a week ago.

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

A Bit of a Blah Day - 2-3-2020

Today was one of those days where you just go with the flow, nothing overly special happened, most people would consider it just another boring day in a boring life. Me...well I disagree, while nothing new, exciting or horrible happened, I got to enjoy the life I have. Wake up, walk the dogs a few times, go to the gym, run, talk with the wife, act like an old married couple, laugh a few times, do the cat box, prep meals, chores, do dishes, watch a little TV, read and just be able to live a quiet, but busy life.

I think that is actually a pretty nice day.

Oh yeah, I did delete all of my news apps, stopped following new sites on Twitter and Facebook and unsubscribed to most of the notifications that I received via email, especially those of the political variety - it doesn't make a lot of sense to follow politics now, there is no single unifying theme that unites the Country, it is all about Party, Party, Party and it is all about power and who has it - what else is new - it has been this way throughout history and it sucks to be in the middle of it now in America. It doesn't seem to matter which party you belong to, the other side is the enemy - not fellow Americans.

Monday, February 3, 2020

A Bit Behind The Eight Ball - January 2020

I can't say that I really loved January 2020 by any stretch of the imagination. It was a month where I used the word patience or change quite a bit, especially since I wasn't able to run as much as I wanted and breaking things that I really didn't want to break.

My favorite photo from January was:


Around the 12th, I broke my new blog by getting too cute with the URL and then messing it up. This meant that I had to go with the new URL which I hated after thinking about using it for the next few years or moving back to One Foot In Reality (OFIR). Since you are reading this, you can tell which path I took - I came back to One Foot In Reality. I figured I was already paying for the domain and all that other stuff, I might as well use it.

It took a little time to get the blog back to normal, whatever that is and I have been cleaning out the junk and garbage on this site for most of the month. I think I am finally getting OFIR back to the way I want it and will only be doing minor tweaking from here on out. least that is the plan unless I get back to being Harold being Harold, which is always a possibility around heah.

Especially since I do see myself growing in different directions and no longer write primarily about or am Just A Runnah, something that I now see as a very good thing. I will always be a runner, but I am also more than that.


Yes, I broke my iPhone 7 while moving snow around mid-month, which meant that I had to go out and get a new Google Pixel 3a. I wasn't ready for that change when it happened but now that I look back on it, the Pixel is a better match for me, especially since I was moving back to Google anyway. Now I just have to get over three years of muscle memory and thinking of how the iPhone does things versus how the Pixel does it.

There are differences between IOS and Android, but it is (for me at least) more where things are hidden than what the phones can do. I do like the camera on the Pixel 3a better, but I wish the phone itself was a little smaller. Oh well, small whine.

Now for my big whine


I buggered up my hamstring after a great run on the 7th, by the 9th I wasn't able to run without the hamstring telling me its life story and how stoopid I am.

Yeah, when young professional athletes can't compete on a bad hamstring, what chance does a no account runner in his 60s, who's delusions of grandeur often overtake the reality of what is going on - have of getting over that kind of injury quickly.

None at all.

When you look at my official running log, there are an awful lot of red days where, I couldn't run before of the hamstring and other days that I probably should not have even tried, but did anyway. It didn't help on the 19th that I slipped a couple of times on ice while doing snow blowing and didn't help the healing process a whole lot.

During my physical, I did ask for and got a referral to the physical therapist. However, the co-pay for each visit was more than I thought the service would be worth, especially since none of the PTs in that office are runners and through past experience, I have found when I have gone to one who is not, I get treated based more on my age stereotype than an aging runner who is not going to stop running. I tend to believe there is a difference and it does affect how a PT attempts to rehabilitate my injuries.

So I opted for out of the pocket payments to my massage therapist for a series of deep tissue massage. My first visit was last Friday and he cleaned out a lot of gunk in legs that needed to be gone. I could definitely feel the difference. However, the hamstring still has a ways to go before it is fully healed. It doesn't hurt to run on it, but it does have some discomfort - that doesn't go above my 3 on 10 scales, but it is still enough to know that it ain't ready for prime time yet.

However, it is getting closer.

I am a bit bummed though, this is the worst start to a year since 2011 and getting under 50 miles for January, well it just ain't a good way to start my running in 2020. Even so, I have made progress and am back to doing 50 miles a week of cardio, so hopefully, that will help when I do start actually running again. If nothing else it does help to keep the weight more reasonable.

I do hope that I have rounded the corner and that the worst of the injury is behind me. We will see.

However, I did manage to keep working out and didn't go in the corner and sulk like I usually do when I can't run. I really believe that changing my outlook a lot had something to do with all that and the tagline that I use on this blog

Yes, you are what you do, so do what you can.

Looking at that every day did make a difference in my outlook on not being able to run. I used the elliptical, walked more, started doing my hamstring exercises, lifted a few weights and kept up a good attitude. Which is a lot better than the previous times my balky hamstrings have shut me down and I get all squirrely about not being able to run.


I did read a little more and the genres were more than just running and heroic fantasy.

Lifespan - Had a lot of ideas and science that really made me stop and think about the future and what it could be like if the author's ideas and view of what it should look like. However, as I reflect back on the book, I have a feeling that it will be like most other things in life. Those who have the money to afford the treatments will get the treatments and live longer lives than those who do not. I do not see a Star Trek future in our world anytime soon, I foresee something closer to Blade Runner. A rather dark and murky time for most and for those with money a better life. A bit pessimistic, but looking at where we have been and where we are, it doesn't bode well for where we are going.

Running With the Kenyans - This is the second time I read the book and I really enjoyed it the first time I read it. Unfortunately, the second time around it was more of a slog instead of a fast-paced read. I am in a different place with my running at this point in my life and couldn't put myself in Finn's shoes this time, so the excitement of being in Iten and running with Kenyan runners to improve myself didn't resonate with me.

As the Crow Flies - Was a pretty typical heroic fantasy with a bunch of twists and turns that made the story quite good. I got it as a free eBook on Amazon and will be getting the second book in the series at some point this year.

Draft No 4 - It was a tough read at times, but a good story about how the author worked as a writer and some of the hints, ideas, and thoughts in the book was quite good. They are hopefully things that I can use to become a little better at my writing than I was before. Well, at least that is the hope.

Essentialism - Actually, I am doing a lot of the stuff in the book, before I read it and it helped me re-confirm the things that I am doing. Although this book is more geared to those who are still in the workforce, I was able to adapt some of it to my retired life.

The Running Injury Recovery Program - I used the methods in this book when I was going through my last big bout of hamstring problems a few years ago. I "found" it again, when I was updating my Kindle library and decided to re-read it to see if it still was pertinent to my recovery. The information in this book helped me decide to not use the local physical therapists and go in a different direction based on my previous experiences and the information I was reading - they were very similar. After re-reading it, I remembered some of the problems that my body and personality had with this program and I decided to use a different method to help with my hamstring recovery process.

The Daily Stoic - I am reading an entry that corresponds to the date each day. One thought for each day and then I reflect on them. In this daily format, I have time to digest and not rush through the book. I don't believe that I am a Stoic by any stretch of the imagination, but at the same time some of the philosophy that it espouses does hit home and is helping me think about how I can improve myself and not be in as much a hurry to worry.

The reality is that

January 2020 was not the month that I planned on - to say the least!

My left hamstring decided that it was time to shut things down for a while. Actually, there was not any choice in the matter and as much as I attempted to run, it quite emphatically told me that it was not going to cooperate.

While I had begun moving primarily to Google's products, I had not intended getting rid of my iPhone 7 for another year or so. However, when I had to get a new phone, I quickly researched the different options and decided on the Google Pixel 3a as my best option and something that would complement my 2015 Google Pixel 2 Chromebook nicely. They are working well together and now that I am a few weeks into the transition, things are getting better.

Where I am noticing the biggest difference in my life is probably what I read and also write about in my blog. These changes are moving me out of my comfort zone in a few places and at the same time allowing me to improve who I am as a person.

Sometimes we have to look at setbacks as opportunities and in the past not being able to run, messing up my blog, breaking my phone along with a few other things that happened in January would have been major distractions in the past, I didn't allow them to be more than minor inconveniences. In spite of the changes that happened, I kept moving forward and that is the important thing.

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

Sunday, February 2, 2020

Unexpected Introduction, 3.3 More Miles, Weights, Google Commercial - 02-02-2020

This morning at the gym, when I returned from my run, one of the new guys in there told me he loved my jacket. Now it is nothing special, it is only a neon safety yellow running jacket from New Balance and I told him thank you and that I just wear it because I want to be seen when running on the roads. We talked for a bit before we went back to our doing our sets. I introduced myself as Harold and he introduced himself. We went about our workouts.

Now that I had been introduced every so often I would see him working out and observed him interacting with other club members. I also noticed that most everyone was avoiding him. Not anything overt or in your face, but there wasn't any eye contact being made and no one was talking to him. Kind of sad, because the guy had a big smile and was very gracious when others were using equipment he was waiting for or if someone was waiting for the piece he was using.

Fast forward to the locker room, he came in we started talking. However, he was having a helluva time pronouncing my name - Harold and he just says to me "my English isn't that good, could you spell it out for me on my phone?" I told him sure and I spelled it out on his phone and he goes "ah Haaar-old." We both laughed. I could see some people in the background glaring at us as they were changing. I just smiled at them and kept talking to him

You see the gentleman I was talking to was named Jose and English was his second language. He understood me but had a harder time putting his thoughts or pronouncing the English words. Jose had a good laugh and a big smile that wasn't that fake shit people give and as far as I could tell that was just who he was. I really think that he was a bit lonely and hooked onto the first person who would smile and talk with him.

Let's be honest...up heah in Maine, there are not really that many Hispanic or other minorities. Plus we tend to keep to ourselves a bit more than other regions (I have been told we are a bit standoffish by more than a few visitors to Maine), so I wasn't really surprised that people were pretty much avoiding him.

We talked for a few more minutes, I didn't pry into where he was from or any of that, we talked about gym stuff. He seemed like a nice young fellow who was busting his butt working out in the gym. I will go out of my way to say "Hi" and talk with him when I see him at the gym again.

I don't like being stereotyped, however, an old short-haired white dude and a young Hispanic guy talked and laughed together a little up heah in Maine, despite some of the looks we might have gotten.

I think it is a good thing.

Working Out

.9 - Bennie walk -- it is getting warm enough (in the '20s*F) that Bean doesn't have a problem walking
1.4 - Bennie walk -- down back past the big pine when we got to the ice, we turned around, Bennie didn't want to see the old guy fall down and go boom ;-).

Off to the gym - this time I brought all of my outside gear, so I was heading out the door - finally. Plus I wanted to have an easier day than usual, so I only did a quick warm-up before heading out the door.

Runner's warm-up
50 squats
4 x 10 balance work

3.31/30:37 -- 9:13 pace. I could tell that it had been a while since I ran outside. Treadmill running and running outside is just enough different that you can tell the difference while doing them. I wanted to avoid the hills, while the hamstring is doing better, it ain't ready for hill work yet! So I headed straight down to Leighton and then ran back up to Outer Civic Center Drive. It took about 3/4 of a mile to shake some of the rust off and all I did was focus on good mechanics.

I was not worried about speed, cadence or any of those kinds of things - they will come. I worked on keeping my feet straight, a bit more knee lift and running heel-to-toe with an easy toe-off. The hamstring cooperated quite nicely, once it got warmed up and I could have done more, but I am going to do this one correctly and do what needs to be done to work things out.

Although the pull of the bus depot proved overwhelming and I visited there for a few minutes to ponder the fate of the world. Getting moving again was a bit of a chore, but I quickly found the rhythm again and did well on that last mile. I was feeling good enough that I even thought about taking a left and going up to the lights, but then got ahold of myself and made that right turn.

However, at least I am thinking about going longer, so that is a good sign.

The Nike Vomero 14s did a good job and didn't bother my feet at all during the run. The biggest thing that I noticed about them was that they are noisier if I am not running correctly in them, which is the same thing I said about the Vomero 11s when I ran in them for a while. This is not a bad thing and will remind me to run better when I start hearing my shoes making too much noise

Once I got back and changed out of my running gear, I went and did the weight machines 3x10 sets at lighter weights. Actually, the hamstring felt better after the weights than it did after running, so I am getting optimistic that I have turned the corner and maybe on the road back to running regularly again.

.9 - Bennie walk
1.0 - Mary walk

Other than that I have been pretty unproductive today and sometimes that is a good thing. I will probably watch bits and pieces of the Super Bowl tonight, but I really am not all that excited about it and haven't been watching much of any sport lately. I love watching the athletes perform, they are just so superior athletically compared to the rest of us but get tired of the announcers, stupid commercials and other stuff that goes on when you watch a game on TV.

Although I did watch Google's commercial early on Facebook where they are promoting their Hey Google assistant and one of their devices. I teared up on that one, I gotta admit.

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

Saturday, February 1, 2020

What is Important and 3.0 More on the Treadmill - 2-1-2020

Sometimes it is not the big things that we do over the course of a day, often it is the little things.

Getting ready to write this post I always ask myself "what was the most important thing that you did today?" When I got to thinking about all the "stuff" I did, I kept coming back to the small things that I had done with Mary over the course of the day.

No, we didn't go out and do the town or anything like that. It was more when we walked the dogs, we talked, laughed and enjoyed each other's company.

While I got a late start on my gym workout (we slept in for a change), I still purposely cut short my workout to ensure that I made it home in time to eat lunch with her - a small thing, but one that I try to do most of the time, especially since Wednesday and Friday - that didn't happen.

For Bennie's last I offered to do the walk alone to give her some time to do stuff around the house that she wanted to get done (she is the energizer bunny) and when I got back and started back out the door for my final mile walk she told me to wait up. We walked together just talking about nothing and everything.

Now she is sitting at her computer playing a game and I am writing this post, it is a companionable silence and we both know that the other is there if we need anything.

Yeah, sometimes it is not a big event or leaving the house, often the most important things that I do are done with my wife. After all, she is my best friend, partner and the woman I love.

Life can be pretty simple at times.

Working out

Yep, another gym day. I was going to run outside, but I forgot the long-running pants at home, so I thought it was not a good idea to be running outside in 30-35*F weather when you are recovering from a hamstring strain.

Inside again.

Runner stretching
50 squats
25 push-up -- I just didn't have the mindset for the extra 5-10 that I wanted, so I stopped.
50 crunches
2 x 20 bridges
2 x 10 single leg bridges
4 x 10 balance work each leg
3 x 10 Frank's side stretch

2.0 miles @ 6.2 mph -- I was so excited about trying out a new pair of running shoes that I forgot to do my .3 warm-up today. Oh well, it did make that first quarter-mile a bit rougher than usual, but once the old body got the idea it was time to run, things settled down pretty quick. I ran comfortably, but I just couldn't find the right rhythm and the run was feeling a bit forced. The hamstring was doing okay, but there is about a one-inch circle on that damn left hamstring that is not letting me do what I want. I am pouting, but smiling too. Especially since that is a LOT better than how it felt earlier in the week.

1.0 mile @ 6.3 mph -- It is amazing how much of a difference increasing the speed by 0.1 mph can make. Within .05 of making the change, I could feel my stride smooth out and I just ran more freely and comfortably. Running at the slower pace, it seemed as though I was braking on each stride. I was tempted to turn it up one more, but I am really trying to stay conservative about coming back, so I kept it right at 6.3 mph.

A nice way to bring in February.

I had wanted to do a lower body workout on the weight machines, but I was up against my self-imposed time limit and only did a quick foam roll at the end.

Okay, what shoes are you playing with now?

Nike Vomero 14 in a size 8.5

They are a neutral cushioned trainer and while they are not the lightest shoes around, they seem more supportive than all the other shoes that I have available to me, plus I have not been injured while running in them so that is an important consideration. I like the way that the Vomero 14's fit my feet, although I have a feeling that I could go down a half size and be very happy too.

Usually, shoes that have a lower stack height in the front of the shoe cause my tailor's bunionette to grumble on my right foot, but none of that happened while running today, although it was a slower and shorter run than I would normally do in them. I consider this a really nice first run and am looking forward to running in them when the hamstring is not grumbling.

Otherwise, it was just a day in the life, where you do your chores around the house and just enjoy the life you have.

Overall, a good day

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

Friday, January 31, 2020

Massage Therapy, Running all Equal a Good Day - 1-31-2020

Today I visited my massage therapist, Frank Brown (his Facebook page link). He did a lot of DEEP freaking tissue massage. Let me put it this way, I hate him while he is poking and prodding into the areas on my body that hurt like a sonofabitch, but when he is done and my body actually tends to work a lot better - I thank and pay him willingly for the pain and suffering that I had to endure.

Frank does good work, tells me why he is poking or prodding those areas and what is probably contributing to the reasons that I am visiting him. It seems that I am pretty consistent, the reason I went to him last time was my left hamstring and he reminded me that a lot of the issues my left leg have are because it is compensating for the leg length difference with the right leg and that after a while it just continues to have more problems when I don't do the things that I am supposed to do to keep the body moving correctly.

It will take a little longer for the hamstring strain, to straighten itself out, but the rest of the legs feel a lot better than they have in a while. I didn't realize how much discomfort other areas of my legs were in until I walked out of there today. I think he cleaned out a bit of the gunk and garbage that had accumulated in there for the past 3-4 years and woke up parts of the body that were snoozing past the alarm.

The only thing is that the deep tissue work is like going 10 rounds with a grizzly bear and I was plum worn-out when he got done with me. It is hard work letting somebody inflict pain and suffering on your body and not offering or doing the same to them or worse.

After eating a quick lunch, Bennie and I snoozed and for me, it was the sleep of nothing short of somebody coming up and shaking the hell out of me, was going to interrupt that slumber.

Before the massage therapy session, I did get in a nice workout.

.5 - Bennie walk. He didn't want to go past the speed limit sign again, which means that there are critters in the woods there that he is not too crazy about tangling with and wants to keep the old fella safe. Nice sunrise though.

1.5 - Bennie/Hunter walk. We went down to Blake, but after the big pine, the road got a bit icy, so we didn't want to go any farther.

Off to the gym

Runner's warm-up
50 squats
30 push-ups
50 crunches
2 x 20 bridges
2 x 10 single leg bridges
4 x 10 balance work on each leg

.30 @ 3.5 - warm-up

2.0 @ 6.2 mph -- The leg was feeling pretty good and I wanted to give it a touch more speed than yesterday. Everything felt pretty good until about 1.40, then at 1.5 miles I needed to make the mad dash to the locker room. However, I got back on and finished up the last .50 and thought about going longer, but I am really trying to get back to running and am not going to rush things too much. There is still some discomfort going on, but nowhere near as bad as it has been.
.30 @ 3.5 - cool-down

.9 Bennie walk
1.0 - Walk alone

Other than that it was a pretty quiet day. Although we had our usual Friday night homemade pizza and I had a hard Apple Cider. I could drink those instead of most beers pretty much all the time. Beer just doesn't do it for me like it used to. :-)

All I know is that I didn't realize how messed up my legs were until Frank finished up with me. All the muscles and ligaments around the hamstring strain were off-kilter too and they seem to be feeling a lot better than they were. The hamstring strain will take its own time to calm down some more, but I did schedule another appointment for next Thursday and while I am looking forward to the appointment, I also know that there is going to be pain involved and I am not all that crazy about that part. However, it is part of the process to break me down and rebuild me, to make me better than I was before.

Not quite a Six Million Dollar Man, but a helluva lot better than I was.

It should be interesting to see how I am feeling tomorrow.

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

Thursday, January 30, 2020

Yellow Peeps, PT Decision and a Great Workout - 1-30-2020

Guess what I found in the store today!

Yellow Peeps

They are the one candy that I LOVE and if they are in the house, they will not be for long, as evidenced by the empty package. I only buy the smallest package I can find because I know that once it is opened, it will be gone. I simply have zero self-control when it comes to yellow Peeps and then I feel like crap after eating 15 of the little bastids, 5 I can live with chowing down on in less than five minutes.

Yeah, I know, we all have our vices. :-)

Physical Therapy

This morning I got a call back from the physical therapy referral and found out that the co-pay was not $40, it was "only" $31 per visit and the plan was for 12 visits. I thanked the nice lady on the phone but advised her that I would be declining the treatment because the co-pay was more than I was willing to pay for those services.

I had talked with the wife and done a lot of thinking after their phone call yesterday and decided if their quote for a co-pay came in over a certain amount that I would decline. I was not willing to pay premium prices for services that are not what I really what I am looking for. I am sure that the physical therapist is a great PT, but I specifically requested one who is a runner for reasons based on my previous negative experiences with PTs who were not runners.

Fortunately, rehabbing a hamstring strain is not rocket science and while a PT does have training and skills beyond my meager ones, I think that I have done this a few times over the years and have a pretty good idea what works for this old body.

So I will do my hamstring rehab routine based on the book by Bruce Wilk, (that has worked well for me in the past), get out the car polisher (which works on the same principle as some of the PTs gizmos, that they run up and down your leg),

Then I called up Frank, my massage therapist (who corrected the last non-running PTs work within three visits) and made my first appointment for tomorrow afternoon. I was hoping to avoid the large out of pocket expenditure, but at the same time, I have confidence in Frank's ability to get me back to running as pain-free as this body is going to run. He has done it before, so I will see if he can do it again.


.9 - Bennie Walk
1.0 - Bennie/Hunter Walk

Runner Warm-up
50 - Squats
30 - Push-ups
50 - Crunches
2 x 20 bridges
2 x 10 one-leg bridges
3 x 10 balance work each leg

0.30 @ 3.5 mph - warm-up
2.0 @ 6.1 mph - I wore my Nike Zoom Fly v1s just to see if the higher drop would help with the hamstring issues. I had gone back over my old log and saw that when I switched back to a higher drop shoe, I had fewer issues with the hamstring. It was worth a try and it seemed to make a difference.

I came pretty close to stopping at half a mile because the discomfort was starting to increase, but it never got beyond the 3 on the pain scale. I expect some discomfort, it is just part of the rehab process, but I had told myself if the hamstring got into actual pain, which is what a 4 is to me, that I would be stopping. It didn't get worse and I was feeling about the best I have since I did whatever to my left hamstring, so I kept going through to 2.0 miles.

I stopped there even though I could have kept going.

I am not attempting to prove anything to anyone but myself at this point and have reason to believe that slow and steady progress is smarter than attempting to rush the process too much. Rehabbing the hamstring is a process and I am going to have to follow the routine to get back to running comfortably again.

0.30 @ 3.5 - cool-down

After getting off the treadmill, I decided to do a lower bodyweight workout. I used the machines for glutes, hamstrings, and quads and then the sled for Achilles and leg press. I used lighter weights because the ligaments and muscles are not used to doing weighted work.

3 x 10 each exercise

.9 - Bennie walk
1.0 - Mary walk

Other than that we went into town and stopped at the library. I was surprised that they had one of the books on my reading list, so I checked it out and will read it after I finish Essentialism this weekend.

Actually, a pretty good day and while I was a little disappointed with the physical therapy co-pay, I have a feeling that in the overall scheme of things it will work out just fine. I am anticipating and dreading at the same time having Frank work on the legs, I know in the long run, it is the best thing, but that deep tissue massage does not feel great while he is doing it. In fact, it downright hurts like an SOB. But I will live through it - again. :-)

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

Wednesday, January 29, 2020

Brewer Trip, Relaxing and PT? - 1-29-2020

I helped my SD's father go to Brewer to pick up a small couch for his apartment and then helped move it inside. It is one of the joys of owning a pick-em-up truck you get to help a wide variety of friends, relatives and others move stuff that don't fit in their vehicles.

Most of the time it isn't a big deal and I don't mind doing it. Actually, I volunteered to do this, so today was a nice day to drive up to Brewer and back. Doing the right thing for the right reasons when it comes to family stuff is important to me.

Other than that it was a quiet day, where my workout was minimal, but that is okay, I did a bit of weight lifting when moving that couch around.

.9 - Bennie walk
.75 - Bennie/Hunter walk
.9 - Bennie walk
1.0 - Mary walk

Other than that drive up to Brewer, delivering his couch and stuff (about 4 hours), this was probably one of the quietest days I have had in a while.

Although I did get a call from the Physical Therapist office to set up an appointment. We just about finished the call, when I started asking questions. I know dangerous stuff.

None of their therapists are runners, but will give me to the one with 15 years experience who the person on the phone believed would be fine for what I needed.

By the way, what is it that I need? Oh yeah, a running-related injury and how avoid having it recur, while getting ready to run longer distances? How does she know what my expectation is for physical therapy? Nobody asked. I guess a lot of that stuff happens at the intake interview. Mmmmm not a lot of confidence in that, but we will see at the first appointment how well we do.

I just didn't get the warm and fuzzies feel from that part of the call.

The other concerning factor is $40 co-pay per visit. That seems very, very steep to my way of thinking and past experiences with PT. I told the nice lady on the phone that if it was in fact that much per visit, that she can cancel the appointment right now. She said she would check and it would take a couple of days to get back to me. This quoted co-pay is significantly higher than it used to be with the same insurance, so I will wait and see what the co-pay is when she calls back. However, I am not paying $500 for 12 sessions that she thought would be needed or is customary.

Physical therapy for that kind of money, I tend to believe I would prefer to go back to my massage therapist for 3-4 sessions and probably be happier if my previous experiences are anything to compare it too.

Oh well, more to think about, but either way, I am not too worried, the leg is slowly getting better and I know that even if I do nothing that the leg will heal eventually, with or without physical therapy. The PT just helps speed up the process slightly and provides me with a better rehab plan than I usually do on my own.

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