Tuesday, February 25, 2020

Cats, Thinking, Running - A Pretty Good Day - 2-25-2020


A pretty good day and I had a few worrisome thoughts about how this hamstring/back of my left leg and how it might affect my running going forward. It is just one of those things that we all worry about as we get older, the potential for an injury becoming more than they initially seemed to be. I know this time it is not going to be anything long-term, but at the same time what happens the next time? 

Bennie made a barrier between him and the cat.
Speaking of that damn cat!!! He came around my head at 4:30 AM and played with my glasses, knocked my phone on the floor and basically did his best to keep me awake until the alarm went off. He succeeded, but even so, I felt pretty good this morning. 

The left leg is still a bit sore from Frank's deep tissue massage yesterday, but it feels different than it did before that release happened, so I am hopeful that he got something good going and after the soreness goes away that I will be able to run a bit more freely. He did a good job of getting the leg to release.

At this point in my life, I know that I will never be all that fast again, but I still want to be able to run as fast as my body will allow me to and I have that fear that most older runners have. That I am one injury away from not being able to run well again and the length of time that is has been taking to heal from this hamstring strain, has bothered me a lot more than I have let on. 

I do wonder and worry if this injury is the one that is going to be that one. Even if it is, I just have to keep moving forward, doing the extra work beyond just simply running and work towards getting back to where I was at the start of the year. Even though I have doubts and worries, at the same time I am pretty certain that I will come back just fine this time, but how many more times can I keep doing that before the body tells me enough is enough. I enjoy running, but the speed part is going a bit more each year and I know that. 

Yeah, the meandering thoughts of an old warhorse who tends to think that he can still answer the bugle's call. The truth is if the bugle called, I would go but how well things would go and how long I would last, well that is the question that all old warhorses tend to downplay.

I did go over to Charlie's and was going to get the Ridgeline washed...errrr no, with about 15 vehicles already in line, I decided to do it some other time and headed for the gym. Although I did stop at the Honda dealership and looked for Pierre and told him to thank him for the great vehicle. I know that they don't get this kind of feedback very often and thought it was the right thing to do.

This afternoon, we decided to get the registration of the Ridgeline done, it was not cheap, but it got done. That is the only problem with buying a new vehicle, the excise tax is usually pretty tough to swallow.

Otherwise, a pretty quiet day and a little slower than it has been lately


Daily Stoic Reflection -- THE SMOKE AND DUST OF MYTH

All people die, that is just a fact of living and all too soon after we are gone the world will start forgetting that we were even here, especially those of us who are not rich, famous or celebrities of some sort. It doesn't really matter if you are good, evil or the myths that live on when you are dead and how close to the actual person you were are those stories that are told about you by family, friends, or even enemies? 

Do you enjoy the life you have, if not change it, being constantly angry or hurt by whatever has happened to you in your life serves little purpose and is a waste of energy that could be put to better use than wallowing away in your anger or self-pity? Our lives are within our control to make the changes we need to, we just have to be willing to do the work to get there.

Running

Planned - 3-4 miles outside, full lower body workout and some stuff from running re-wired.

  • Runner warm-up
  • 50 squats
  • 30 pushups
  • 2 x 20 bridges
  • 2 x 20 single-leg balance work
  • 3 x 10 hip stretches
  • 2 x 10 count hip stretches
  • 3.0 @ 3.8 mph - warm-up

PF Treadmill | 3.0/26:20/8:47

My left leg was tired after yesterday's long massage therapy and I did not want to push too hard today. I put the treadmill to 6.8 mph and just ran. I did think about doing 4.0, but when I got to 3.0, I just didn't have a whole lot left and shut it down. The leg felt different today in a good way, but it was also tired and I did not want to push the issue.

Nike Vomero 14 - Did everything I asked of them today.

  • 0.30 @ 3.5 mph - cool-down
  • I had planned to do more stuff after running but just ran out of time.

The more I did on the leg, the more it felt different than it has for the past few weeks. The level of discomfort was very different, it was not centered on one particular spot, which is the area where Frank got that big release yesterday. It was more like I was just sore, which hopefully means that things will start to heal a little better than they have. 

In the past, it always felt as though there was something digging into the back of my left leg and I couldn't get it to go away. That feeling is not there today, so I am hoping that Frank's massage therapy yesterday got this taken care of.

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

Monday, February 24, 2020

Massage Time, A Nice Run and Doing What Needed to Be Done - 2-24-2020


Getting back to normal daily living posting, feels pretty good, although last night I just had zero focus and was only good for vegging out most of the night. Not sure why, but this morning I am feeling pretty good and raring to go.



Massage

The best thing about yesterday was the massage that I got from Frank Brown. He abused worked on my left leg for an hour and a half and at about the hour and fifteen-minute mark, something in the back of the upper leg released. I could feel the difference almost immediately. Neither one of us was totally sure what it was, but the leg sure did feel better after that happened. 

It is still pretty sore today, but it does feel like a different kind of sore, but the left leg was manhandled, poked, prodded and abused pretty badly during that session. Frank told me that I would be sore for a day or two and to expect me to go to the bathroom more often for the next day. I gotta admit that I have been going pee a lot more often than usual.

Hopefully, whatever it was that released was the cause of the issues that I have been having with the back of my left leg.

Sam's Club fiasco

After getting Bennie's walk done, we headed to Sam's Club to get some things. At the register, we had a bottle of wine so going through self-checkout meant that the roving cashier would have to approve the transaction. I jokingly told her that we would need to be carded and went about scanning the stuff. 

I noticed that she kind of looked at me funny and then she walked off to the other end of the building, down by the exit. ??? Okay. 

We waited and as she walked back and got closer I waved and she started walking towards us. At that point, the lady beside us waved her down and stopped to help her first. ??? Okay. 

After she finished helping that person, she walked right by us, actually, she had to pass right between Mary and me because the shopping cart was fully loaded and I was standing in the aisle waiting to leave. 

That pissed me off. 

I spoke rather loudly "Are you going to help us or not?" 

Her response was "Oh, you need help?" with that tone of I really don't want to help you.

Not impressed to say the least. 

I did notice that the store manager was down a few registers, (we shop there quite regularly) and he saw that I was getting a little frustrated and asked if I needed any help. I didn't want to cause a big scene, so I just said no its nothing. 

It wasn't a big deal, but I wasn't really thrilled by her attitude??? 

After she approved our wine purchase, she gave me this sort of "fuck off" glare, daring me to say something to her and then walked away. 

I clenched my teeth and didn't say anything, I am trying to be better than that. 

However, as we walked by the store manager, I stopped for a minute as he was talking to someone else, and when they paused for a moment I asked to talk with him. I told him what had happened and that I was just a little unhappy with the customer service we had received from this person.

He apologized and I left it for him to figure what to do with the information I gave him. 

It turns out that Mary had pushed the help button on the register console before I had waved her down and was even more pissed than I was about how we had been treated, so it was not just me being overly sensitive to how she treated us. I don't usually talk to managers about poor customer service, but this was such a blatant case of in your face "fuck-off", that something needed to be said.

Ordered New Running Shoes

Since I learned a lot about the Nike Odyssey React 2 in today's and how I do not like the lack of padding in the tongue area, then when I add in what I have a feeling will happen with all the Coronavirus stuff going on. That many are predicting (including myself) a large slow down in the economy and shipments of goods from China will be happening, simply because many of the manufacturing sites are not working during the epidemic there and even once they get back to work, there is going to be a time period when goods are not going to be shipped. 

I simply do not believe that with the epidemic that is actually happening in China and a lot of stuff that we probably are not being told (for our own good?) that it will affect our ability to get certain durable goods in a few months. So after thinking about things, I decided to order my next pair of trainers now, while they are available. 

After doing a bunch of looking around I decided to go with the Asics Glide Rides and when I went to Running Warehouse to order them, they had one pair in my size left in stock. Which kind of tells me that my predictions around stock being available might be truer than I thought. I ordered a pair, gulped hard at the price (no discounts either) and hit the order button. They will be here by the end of the week.

Daily Stoic Reflection - THE REAL SOURCE OF HARM

Often things just "are", you can't change them or how other people react to things or even you. All you can do is stop, think about how or why you are reacting in a certain way for this situation and figure out if it is the appropriate response or not. It is often our own responses to things that are the over-reaction, not what is actually going on. Stop. Evaluate, Think, before reacting or over-reacting. Yes, it is hard and my emotions often interfered with that, but I am getting better at measuring my responses versus simply reacting.

Planned Workout - 5-6 miles outside in Augusta

Warm-up
Running warm-up
20 front and side leg swings

Run

PF-Leighton-Commerce | 6.3/58:14/9:15 - It was a gorgeous day outside, so I headed out the door and just ran relaxed. I was very consistent the first four miles, but when I went down through the Commerce Center, I just really slowed down too much. I attempted to pick it up a little after that, but the body just didn't have a lot left that last mile. Just after KDT Garage, I heard a big commotion behind me and saw a huge cloud of smoke. It seems that some guy in a truck had done a burn-out in front of the garage and brought traffic to a standstill until it dissipated. He came flying past me and did it again at the corner onto Civic Center Drive. I don't know what his problem was, but he had some kind of an ant up his winney.

There is something about running past the bus station that just pulls me in like a magnet. Not really what I want, but by the time I get there there is not a lot of choices either. After that, I decided to go through the Commerce Center and back to Planet Fitness. By then I was at the limits of my present levels of fitness. I have lost a lot of stamina over the past almost two months, but I will get it back.

Nike Odyssey React 2 - I learned a LOT about the OR2 and that I do not love or even like a shoe without padding in the tongue when running outside - My gait is slightly different than on the treadmill and I notice things more outside. I think that for 3-4 miles the OR2s are okay, but anything beyond that and the top of my feet begin to hurt. That sure is not what I am looking for in my daily trainers. I am not sure about what to do with them, but I am not going to worry about it.

Cool-down

0.25 - walk around PF building
Foam Roll
3 x 10 Bridges

Finished up my weekly review blog post. First one I have done in a while, but they are something that I need to get back in the habit of doing

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

Out of the Deep Rabbit Hole - Week In Review 2-23-2020

There now that I have things back in some semblance of "normal" in my life, I can get back to posting normally on this heah blog again.

What happened that got things all discombobulated anyway you ask?

Honda Ridgeline


To be honest, I got sucked unexpectedly off into a really deep rabbit hole and came out the other end owning a new 2019 Honda Ridgeline truck and trading away my old reliable 2011 Ford Ranger. You can read about my adventures in truck buying here and here.



Yes, the Honda Ridgeline really is a truck and I am loving it so far. 

It does help that on the day after we got it, I baptized it in a nice little predicted 3-6 inch snowstorm turned more into the 6 inches plus kind of storm. The Ridgeline did everything I asked of it in the nasty driving conditions that I put it through that day. I didn't get the arse-end slide that I typically got even in 4WD in my old Ranger going around corners and accelerating uphill. The Ridgeline has very good manners in crappy conditions when I have chauffeur duty.

It also helps that I am averaging over 24 mpg in it and that it rides better than any vehicle I have ever owned. Today's experience on I95 just solidified how comfortable the Ridgeline is. I was just keeping up with traffic and looked down at the speedometer and decided that I needed to slow down quite a bit. It was riding so freaking smoothly that the wife hadn't spoken to me about how fast we were going. Cruise control is a necessary feature with the Ridgeline that WILL help me avoid those funny blue flashing lights getting turned on behind me. 

So far I am very impressed with the Honda Ridgeline.

Chance Reunion


Last Wednesday I was at Charlie's Honda getting the rear seat cover and hood low profile wind dam put on the Ridgeline. While in the waiting room, I noticed that one of the guys had a Coast Guard ball cap on and I got to talking to him, he was a retired helo pilot and then one of the other guys spoke up that he had been in the Coast Guard. It turns out it was a guy I had been stationed with at AIRSTA Cape Cod - George Hart. We gabbed about people we used to know and some of the stuff that we remembered. I am pretty sure that I was his Yeoman at the time he was discharged and did the paperwork.

What are the odds of three old Coasties being in the same Honda waiting room in Augusta, Maine at the same time? Especially when two of us were stationed in the same place back in the mid-1970s.

Pretty cool if you ask me.

Then you add in that the fourth person sitting there worked at BIW at the same time I was working out of the trailers on the Coast Guard's 378 FRAM project at RIO Bath and he claimed that he had worked on the USCGC HAMILTON.

A very small freaking world - indeed.

Wife and I Time


On Saturday, the wife and I finally got to celebrate our Valentine's Day, we took off for our favorite used book store in Oxford and along the way stopped in Lewiston for lunch. We ate at the Mother India restaurant for lunch and really enjoyed the meal, it had been a 15 years or so, since the last time we ate Indian food. 

Then we headed for Oxford. It was just the two of us, so we got to relax and enjoy the trip, look around a bit more than usual and I even picked up a few books. Usually, I am too concerned about getting back outside to take care of Bennie that I really don't look closely at the books.

While we were there, Mary spotted a piece of carnival glass that she thought might have been her mother's from when they lived down in Norway (the next town over). As she sat and stewed over it on the way home and did some research after that, she was pretty positive that it was her mother's piece. I just said we will go get it tomorrow and we did. The next day we headed back to Oxford, she picked the piece up for a song and it now sits proudly where we will see it every day. 



So it has been a busy week.


Workout-wise



Two consecutive weeks of getting in over 20 miles - which means that I am getting back on track - finally. The left hamstring is beginning to feel better, I would put it at 75-80% and still not ready for any faster running and yes, it still starts to grumble a bit when I decide to do too much. 



So I am keeping my running slow and working on re-establishing a good base. Although I do have to start putting a little more mileage into the pot too. While the walking side helps a little with the base, it is not the same as running. This means that I am really attempting to not increase my mileage too much too soon - that great balancing act. Do enough, but not too much, which I am not all that good at most of the time. However, it has taken over 7 weeks to get back to where I am now and I do not want to screw it up.

When I look objectively at my progress back to full running, I am doing just okay on the warm-up activities before running, but I am doing more after running stuff, stretching, body weight, and machine weights, along with foam rolling and lacrosse ball massages (that thing hurts you!) than I have in years, so those are encouraging signs. Now to keep it up after I get back to full running, which has always been the problem, I don't keep up with the pre and post running stuff I need to do, I just want to run and the other stuff not so much.

I still need to put together a solid plan and just make it a part of my running routine so I will stick with things going forward to help ensure that the hamstrings and other body parts don't decide to get too angry with me again.

Although I did have a day when I hit 35 consecutive pushups. My chicken wings and shoulder didn't appreciate it, but those things will complain no matter what I do or if I do nothing, so I might as well just keep doing. :-)

I just finished up a 50-mile review of the Nike Vomero 14 and have three runs in the Nike Odyssey React 2s, so I am pretty much back in the Nike world of running shoes for a while. I love my New Balance shoes, but having injured my hamstring in the Beacon v1 and then the Propels feeling like my right knee was caving in too much, make me a little hesitant to run in them until the body gets back to running as pain and discomfort-free as a 62-year-old body will be.

The reality is that 


Overall, it was a pretty good week, although I gotta admit I have to take back control of filling the pie hole with better choices. That part does need a bit of work. At least February is almost over and the toughest month of the year for me is coming up - March.

It always gives signs of what is to come, but all too often reminds us of the fickleness of the weather and we still have a few more winter storms to contend with I am sure. However, with each passing day, the days get longer and warmer and signs of spring are starting to show.

Now to get the body ready for more miles and then in April start adding a bit of speed back into the equation. I do miss the speedwork, I know I am sick, but I love running fast or at least I consider to be fast nowadays. :-)






x

Sunday, February 23, 2020

Nike Vomero 14 - 50 Mile Review

The Nike Vomero 14 is an interesting shoe in my mind. To be perfectly honest, I do not believe that it belongs in the Vomero line of shoes, it is not the plush high-end trainer that I associate with the Vomero name.

That does not mean that Nike Vomero 14s are not good running shoes, they are a very good daily trainer in my opinion.



Yet, in my unsophisticated view of running shoes, Nike got things all messed up in naming conventions so I have taken the liberty of renaming three shoes to fit where Nike should have put them in my opinion.

Nike Shoe Name     Renamed the shoe to
Vomero 14                Pegasus 36 - A lot more like the older Pegasus line
Pegasus 36                Pegasus Turbo - Lighter more stripped-down version
Pegasus Turbo          Vomero 14 - High-end cushioned trainer

I know this is not original and that I have seen other runners write similarly about this as well on Facebook or blogs, I agree with those sentiments that I read and simply added my own thoughts on this line of thinking. I believe that this naming change would have kept the differentiation in the lines and avoided many of the misunderstandings that have occurred about where the Vomero 14s actually fit in my opinion versus how they ended up.

The Vomero 14 belongs somewhere in the Pegasus line-up and if you look at it from that point of view it is an excellent daily trainer that is probably over-priced for what it is. It fits more into the Brooks Ghost, Mizuno Wave Rider, Saucony Ride, etc. category, versus the brand's high-end cushioned trainers that I used to associate with the Vomero line's name.

Unfortunately, Nike doesn't seem to agree with my naming conventions, so I get to write my thoughts about the running shoes that Nike named Vomero 14?



The Nike Vomero 14 has become my primary trainer for running outside in Maine this winter. They have been the shoes that I reach for when going for a run both outside and on the treadmill since I got them off eBay and started using them on February 1st.

The Vomero 14 has a nice multipurpose outsole that grips well in the variety of conditions that I run outside during the winter, dry pavement, snow-covered roads, slush, etc. and yet are warm enough that my feet are not freezing when the temps are in the single-digits. They also do quite well on the treadmill, although they do run a bit warmer than some other shoes I have.



I got them as used shoes off eBay, they probably had 30-50 miles on them and even with another 50+ miles on them, there is no noticeable wear on the outsole, so they should last a good long time. Well at least until 300 miles or I get tired of them.



It took a bit longer than usual to get the 50 miles done, due to rehabbing a bad hamstring strain, that hasn't wanted to cooperate with the idea I am supposed to be running 40 miles a week at this point in my training cycle. However, at least I am running again and the Vomero 14s have been my primary shoe during this part of my rehab.

I got them in a size 8.5 and could probably go down to my True To Size (TTS) size 8.0. The Vomero 14 does not bother my Tailor's Bunionette and is very comfortable for me to run in. They feel more like the older Pegasus shoes from a few years back when they had widened out the forefoot a little more versus the pointy things the Pegasus have had lately.



While the tongue seems very short when putting the V14s on, it does not have any negative effect on my running. It just makes it harder to quickly put the shoes on and pull up on the tongue to get the shoe set to the foot before tying the shoes.

The Elf design in the heel unit makes it so that my Achilles are not bothered at all - it is a feature that is welcome. While the elongated heel flair looks kind of odd to me for a daily trainer, but it does make the shoes easier to pull off without untying them. Yes, I know it destroyed the heel, but that is what I use it for. :-), fortunately, the long heel flare doesn't seem to affect my running one way or the other.



It is a sub-10.0-ounce daily trainer that is comfortable enough to run any distance that I run, yet stable and firm enough to be able to pick up the pace if I choose to do so. It does have a slightly squishy feel to the heel landing, but there is some inherent stability in the V14 for a neutral trainer. Which is something that I really like as the distances get longer.

The heel-to-toe transition is very smooth, although I would prefer to have a bit more cushion in the fore-foot for longer runs. That was an issue I had with the Pegasus 33 & 34, the forefoot didn't have enough cushioning for me for anything over 10K before my forefoot would bother too much and become a distraction.

The reality is that


The Vomero 14 is not your stereotypical Vomero line of running shoe. If you are looking for a highly cushioned, heavier high-end trainer, like the Triumph, Glycerin, Levitate, etc. this is not what Vomero 14 is. It is, in my opinion, it is a daily trainer in the Ghost, Pegasus, Wave Rider class or 1080 class of running shoes.



Personally, I like the 14th version of the Vomero.

For me, the Vomero 14s work great as my daily trainer during winter, although I have a feeling they might be a bit warmer during the summer months based on my experiences wearing them on the treadmill. I will continue to use them and since the prices are so low on them probably get a size 8.0 at some point this spring, although I have my eyes on a couple of other shoes that might be better for me as daily trainers.

However, I can see me putting more than a few miles on the Vomero 14, oops I forgot that I renamed it the Pegasus 36, this spring.

I think that is the biggest problem with the Vomero 14 is that it just does not live up the expectations that runners have for running shoes that carry the Vomero name. This is too bad because the Vomero 14 has the potential to be a very good daily trainer for someone who doesn't have those expectations.



Which means that I will be able to keep getting them at very reasonable prices going forward.

Disclosure of Material Connection: The Nike Vomero 14 that I wrote about in this review was a personal purchase through eBay as used running shoes. The opinions I have expressed are my own and your experience with the product might be different than mine. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”









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

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. Well...it 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.

Workout 


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

YOU DON’T HAVE TO HAVE AN OPINION

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.

Reading


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.

Workout


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


DID THAT MAKE YOU FEEL BETTER? 

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:



Blogging

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.

Well...at 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.

Phone

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

Running

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.

Reading

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.