Ooops – RunLog 10-18-17

Ooops I ran faster than I wanted to.

Today was supposed to be an easier day, where I worked on my Cadence and Posture (that keeping everything going in the same direction kind of thing). Unfortunately, almost all of my previous training and how I have run for so long — is that faster cadence means faster running.

Now that is not how Chi Running does it – the cadence is supposed stay about the same (that magic 180 SPM) and you change your lean and stride length to “Shift gears” i.e. go faster or slower. Well guess what, I ain’t got that part down too good yet.

 

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A 180 SPM in my present body’s mind is about an 8:00 minute pace, so an average of 175 SPM, should work out to about an 8:10 pace, guess what I ran as an average pace for 2.0 miles today with an average of 175 SPM.

Drumroll please…8:10 average pace.

Do I know my body or what?

Change is going to be hard on this cadence thing – me thinks.

Yep, no wonder I was breathing so damn hard after four weeks of very little running.

Oh well.

I had planned on using the metronome feature of the Chi Running App, I had everything setup and started the program when I started running. While the App started just fine, the metronome wasn’t working?

There was no annoying as hell… beep, beep, beep regularly going off in my ears

WTF????

I couldn’t get it to work the entire run and once I got going I really didn’t want to frig around with it, so I did my best guess on what I thought was 180 SPM, I came pretty close too. However, this guessing stuff, didn’t give me the feedback I needed and instead of switching gears, I just ran faster to get close to 180.

Well it is good to know that I still have an 8:00 minute pace left in the old body, but that was not the plan for today. Oh well, I will work on running slower at 180 SPM tomorrow. I really think that learning thing by doing is the only way I actually get it, but it does mean that there will be some SNAFU’s along the way.

Oh yeah, I did figure out why the App’s metronome was not working. The volume was all the way down to “Do Not Disturb”, the setting that I keep my phone on 90% of the time and I had forgotten to turn-up the sound setting.

Dumbshit.

Sometimes I really wonder about you Harold.

For those of you have read this far, owning your own home in the country has a certain unsavory side to it.

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About every 6-8 years we have to replace our septic system pump and well today was that day, always a fun time at the Shaw residence. Actually we knew it was going back in June, (we have been a bit busy), but were able to nurse it along by us plugging the pump into an extension cord to a non-GFI plug, so it wouldn’t keep tripping the GFI since there was some kind of an issue with the pump.

However, we wanted to get it replaced before the snows get here.

It is a lot easier to dig it out now in shorts and t-shirt, than in January at 20*F with snow, wind and freezing your arse off, along with having an emergency repair surcharge for after hours work, because you have bubbling crude in your back yard.

Been there done that the first time the pump went in December of 2001 and I didn’t pay enough attention to the pump earlier in the fall. I know that I had certain words for the stupid jackass that didn’t get it fixed before that (that person being me).

Pricey, but cheaper than the alternative in time, hassle and money.

Hopefully, it is good to go and we won’t have any issues for another 8-10 years, but with our luck 6 years seems to be about all we get out of a pump. I guess we use the damn thing too much or I am too full of shite.  hehehee

Progress – RunLog 10/17/17

Hey, I ran two pretty much pain-free miles today – that is PROGRESS, which makes me happy.

The run itself was not anything special other than I did run and finished.

My run was all about focusing on keeping all the body parts moving in one direction – forward. Which for me is not all that easy.

Unfortunately, when I look at how I run there are a lot of form issues that undermine my running efficiency. I have a lot more in common with the letter “V”, than I do an “elite” runner’s form.

  • I typically have a heel first landing with an inverted “V” look, with my right foot/leg having a twist in it
  • Both feet splay out at almost a 45* angle – quack, quack, when I look back at my footprints they do pretty much resemble that “V” than a straight line.
  • Arms consistently cross over center and shoulders are not steady, but swing around as well.
  • Plus I recently remembered that I have a right leg that is a bit shorter than the left and I am probably badly out of alignment right now.

Probably some many of the reasons I am not an elite runner, well other than a small thing called the lack of talent and being a total head case.

These photos are screen grabs from 2015, but my form is about the same now as it was back then and my “GREAT” form probably has more than a little to do with some of the injuries and niggles that I seem to have as I get older and don’t have as much margin for error as I used to.

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When you add it all together, it is a very distinctive running style that other local runners seem to recognize pretty quickly as that old fart Harold running. 🙂

So I am not an efficient running machine by any stretch of the imagination and this is after purposely attempting to change my form from 2012 through 2014. Not really what you would expect from all that work is it?

Oh well, after looking at how poor my form really is and having what will probably be my worst month of running since June 2013, is the reason why I really think that working on my form aka working on running efficiently, will help me reduce the number of days lost to injuries or the excessive number of niggles that I seem to accumulate as I get older.

At least that is what I hope it does.

Thus the primary reasons for my choosing to move to Chi Running and its focus on form and gradually improving as you incorporate the ideas/lessons from that program’s format and philosophy.

We will see, but I am seeing some subtle changes as I focus on some of the things that I have I have been reading again in Chi Running.

Time will tell.

Going Backwards to Move Forward

Right now MY running really sucks and to be honest it has for a while. It has been inconsistent at best, fraught with minor injuries and setbacks that have not allowed me to do many of the things that I wanted to do this year.

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I know what you are thinking another Harold post on how he is going to change, become a better runner and all that other horse shit that I usually blather on about.

This most recent malady – not really an injury, but enough to make things miserable when I run, has lingered for longer than I want it too. However, the more I have thought about things, it might be just what I needed.

What in the hell are you talking about?

The past few weeks of very little running have made me focus more on what I want from MY running, not your running, not Runner’s World’s running, not the running that all too many books talk about, not anyone else’s running.

What do I want from MY running?

I might have some answers, but the biggest thing is that…I still am not totally sure, I am still figuring it out and that is being quite honest.

 

All I know is that running makes me happy, even when it is not always pleasurable (there is a HUGE difference between something making you happy and something giving you pleasure) and it is something that I plan on doing until I can’t any longer.

Going Backward

Back in 2011 I got Chi Running as a Christmas present and I read the book in about 4 days, then attempted to incorporate some the ideas into my running that I felt were pertinent to me, over the course of the next month or so. Unfortunately, I was more interested in upping my mileage, doing running shoe reviews and getting my blog business off the ground, than doing work that Chi Running required. I fairly quickly let go of attempting to “do” Chi Running and went back to “just do it running”, with periods of attempting something different.

Well, I got to reading some of my old blog entries from that time last week and realized that I had been running consistently. When I read many of the comments on the book review about Chi Running blog post that I wrote back then, it really piqued my interest again.

 

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Enough that I got a digital copy of the book and have re-read almost all of it over the past two days.

I was pleasantly surprised.

Many of the techniques that I had started to learn, were ones that I still use. It wasn’t so much that they were special or novel, it was more the way they were presented, made sense, focused on where, you the runner were actually at and took a long-term view of your running.

Quality over quantity is something that I noticed a lot.

There are no short-cuts and it does take a lot of work to follow the Chi Running path and yes, I still have a feeling that attempting to do the Chi Running practice only from the book is fairly complex and not very realistic to only attempt it that way. However, there are more videos up on YouTube, there is a Chi Running App available that has video included and yes, I will be getting the Chi Running log book.

I think those things will help me get the basics of what I need to learn and then continue work on improving things that I will need to keep working on. At some point I think going to a live workshop would help clear up any other question that I have about Chi Running.

In other words, I have to embrace and be open to the changes that are necessary to use the Chi Running program.

Actually I don’t see that I have too much choice in the matter if I want to keep running for the rest of my life. Unfortunately, back in 2012 I was not ready to reset my running to the point that would have been necessary to embrace Chi Running at that time, now it is not really a choice.

Do I agree with everything in the book – probably not.

After all I know how to run and have been running for over 40 years. My running form is pretty much ingrained (even if it does suck in my opinion), it needs to be more efficient and not beat up my old body as much as it does.

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Since I am basically starting over right now with my lowest mileage in years, it seems like a good time to hit the reset button and embrace Chi Running

We will see how it goes.

Who knows I might even try Tai Chi at some point, after all it is something that I have always wanted to do. 😉

Things Don’t Seem to Slow Down – Week In Review 10/15/17

Getting up in the morning this time of year, means waking up when it is still dark, but it does mean that Bennie and I sometimes get to see some amazing sunrises.

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Fog in the valley

The leaves are changing colors and peak leaf peeping is now over. Unfortunately it was a decent, but not spectacular year for it. I thought many of the colors were muted and dull in our area.

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Mary running down-back

Fitness

I didn’t do a LOT of running this week, I decided to shut it down and take a much-needed week of rest, relaxation and recovery – from running. A chance for the old body to heal, not feel pressured to go for a run and yes, to take a good look at where I actually am as a runner. I really need and want to figure out what is most important to me and where I want my running to take me.

So the 1.0 mile total for the week was right where it needed to be.

Even with the no running it was still a busy week and I was very active.

I am starting to use the elliptical more, walking Bennie is simply part of the routine and I even picked up some weights a couple of times.

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Elliptical workout summary

I like my inversion table and try to use it 3-4 times a week. However, the last two times I used the inversion table – later on those days my right hip really bothered me and I couldn’t figure out why.  I put it off to trying to run or something else, then yesterday I hung upside down for 5 minutes and shortly after that, my right leg/hip started to hurt, even though it had felt great during and after finishing my 1.0 mile run and 2+ mile walk with Bennie.

 

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Later on I was reading some old blog posts from 2011 and early 2012 and I had an “aha” moment. In one of the posts I had written about my right leg being slightly shorter than my left one and remembered that my old PT always complained about it during treatment and warned me that it would be an issue at some point. Duh, no wonder why I get injured every so often.

I am out of alignment again. Just like a car it is wearing on the right side a little too much going down the road. Probably making a chiro appointment to get things back in alignment would be a smart move, but it will have to wait a few more weeks.

So no more hanging like a bat upside down – even though it does good things for other parts of the body, it does something to my outer-upper right leg/hip area and causes me to miss running – not a good thing.

Also I am getting ready to start something new with my running. Maybe even a complete re-boot, but I still have some thinking to do about it to figure out how and what I will be doing. However, change is coming because I can’t keep doing the same things, especially when they are not working.

New Vehicle

We did get a new to us vehicle – a 2013 Ford Transit Connect. Yeah can you believe it a commercial type van in BRIGHT red. We just had to get used to the not so American looking type of van – according to some it is pretty damn fugly ;-). However, the Transit had the features we wanted and if we decide to convert a few things we can use it as a small camper/RV next summer for a long vacation to see things that we never would otherwise.

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So far we are liking the Transit a lot, on our trip to NH last week, it performed well in the mountains and got over 30 mpg. One thing that I really like is that is like looking out a huge picture window going down the road – visibility is fantastic.

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Photo taken while driving down the road, it is like looking out a picture window.

There is a lot of room inside and it drives/rides better than the Ranger. However, don’t plan on jumping out into traffic quickly that 2.4 litre engine just doesn’t have a lot of “pop”, you need to plan when you go or wait until it is clear. I have started a couple of posts on the Transit and will publish them this week.

I will say it has nice road manners.

Camp

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Also in a bittersweet moment, as part of disposing of my brother-in-law’s estate, we sold the camp. So there will not be anymore upta camp moments and all we have are the memories that were made there. However, the family that now owns it, will make their own memories there and from what I saw will keep the place alive – as it should be.

Stuff

We are continuing downsize, get rid of, give away “stuff” we no longer need, want or have no future plans for.

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When Phil died, it helped us realize that we did not need as much stuff and that a lot of the stuff we had wouldn’t be missed if it went away. I wrote a lengthy post on this subject titled “What Happens to Your Stuff?”, where I discuss getting rid of stuff before you die, so that those you leave behind do not have to.

Finishing up October

I have a feeling that the rest of October is going to be like the last quarter-mile of a 5K, where we will be going like hell to get things finished and maybe some it might be a little uncomfortable.

Just a LOT is going to happen between now and then I have a feeling.

  • Hopefully close on the house in Lancaster, although until it happens we still have to go over once a week to check on things.
  • I have a bi-annual physical exam that I am going to fail miserably. Too much stress, not enough exercise, eating sucks (I have eaten at McDonalds more in the last 5 months than I have in the last 10 years), and stopping working just to mention a few life events that have occurred since June 1st – which is how your stress level is judged. However, I don’t plan to change anything medically, unless they find something very wrong with me, which I don’t think they will. I just have to get back to being healthy Harold again.
  • SD2 is supposed to close on her house by the end of the month, so we will be assisting her with her move.
  • TheWife has a series of routine medical appointments to go to
  • Buttoning up and preparing our house for winter, even though it is still unseasonably warm this fall, winter will come and punish those who are not ready.

Plus I am sure that other things will pop up over the course of the next couple weeks that were completely unexpected.

It seems that slowing down is not an option around heah lately.

I do believe that I will be glad when things finally do slow down – being on screech all the time really does suck.

However, I am looking forward to changing a few things about my running going forward and will have more on that later this week.

What Happens to Your “Stuff”?

This is a post I have been meaning to write/finish/get off my chest and this morning I responded to a Facebook post with a long comment that pretty much summed up my feelings on the matter. However, I feel as though I have to finish it up with a blog post.

No, I am not being a contrary old bastard in this post, but I have learned a lot about people, life and how death, especially when it is unexpected affects families over the past five months.

I am not being morbid in this post, but I do want you to think for a minute about what I have written, because it is not some fluff piece or something to simply whine, piss or moan about.

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First and foremost, contrary to myth, legend and too much wishful thinking we all die at some point, the big question is when, how and where – not if.

Yes, that means we are all going to be dead — someday.

So take care of the things you can take care of now, before you die.

My Recent Experience

I say this from the experience that we went through this summer. My brother-in-law died unexpectedly on June 1st. Although I loved him dearly and he was also my friend, he left us quite a mess.

No will – which meant that everything has to go through the courts to do much of anything.

Solution have a damn Will updated and in place in case you die unexpectedly, with instructions in there on who gets what, what you want to have happen to your body and how your estate will be disposed of.

Too damn much stuff – We have made more than 30 trips to the transfer station with more to go, many to Goodwill and having friends help us remove “stuff” from his house and camp. This caused many, many hours of extra work and significant expense on our part.

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Solution – As we get older start getting rid of shit you don’t need, no longer use, is just taking up space or whatever to hell other excuse you have to keep too much stuff that the people who have to dispose of all that “stuff” have to deal with.

Home Repairs – His house was not up to code in several respects, which made selling the property difficult and expensive to repair for us, to get it to where we could sell it.

Solution – Get your home up to code and repair what needs to be repaired. Yes, I know that keeping up a home is difficult especially as you get older and the income levels drop to the point where too many choices have to be made. At some point there comes a time when difficult choices do need to be made and perhaps assistance is needed from family or friends to get things done. Let go of the stiff necked pride, because after you are dead all of those things are going to cost the people who have to take care of your estate.

Common Sense

I am not saying that you need to embrace minimalism, but remember all that great stuff you have collected over the course of your life and have coming out of the closets, stored in the basement or attic, in the garage or heaven forbid in a storage facility, someone is going to have to throw most of that shit out or give it way, because most of it ain’t worth shit in today’s world of disposable everything and no time for anything.

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Don’t say well they can sell everything and get money for it. That is mostly bullshit and not reality.

You know the old idea of: have a yard sale, sell it on eBay, Uncle Henry’s or someplace else. The people responsible for settling your estate might have some luck with selling your stuff, but that is not their full time job in life after you are dead. Who in the hell wants to take the time to sell all of mom, dad, brother, sister, aunt, uncle or worse a child’s possessions, when they are in the midst of grieving about you or their loved one being gone.

No one.

Especially, when most of the stuff ain’t worth nearly as much as you imagined or that anyone near where you live actually wants your old shit. If the people who are responsible for getting rid of your stuff, live away from where you live, do you expect them to drive 2-3 hour (or more) on a weekly basis to keep working on cleaning up your messes, getting rid of your old stuff and fixing all the stuff you should have done when you were alive, in addition to attempting to live their own lives.

The only thing on their mind during that time is get rid of the shit as fast as possible, so they can get back to living their life and not having to grieve over something that brings back another fantastic or horrible memory of you.

If you are close to or have retired, but it is common sense for many others as well – think about it.

It is Only Stuff

All those clothes that you used to wear to work, the suits, uniforms when you die, your heirs are going to get rid of them, what do you really need to keep living the life style you want? Clean out the closets, you no longer need 50 ties, 20 suits, 30 shirts and 25 pair of shoes. Keep what you need or really love to wear, give what you don’t to others in the family who can use them or some charity that will get them to people who need them.

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That great collection of old computers, porn magazines from the 70’s & 80’s, baseball cards, comic books, the boat, camper, vehicles that don’t run, guns, hunting gear, books, shot glasses, spoons, running shoes, all those projects that you were going to start/finish and have the materials for (but you know that you will never actually get), the old games, pieces of furniture you no longer like/use and all the other shit that you are hanging on to for no reason other than to hang on to it.

Go through the cupboards and pantries and throw old food out that is expired, gone bad or simply stuff you will never eat. Those 10 giant cans of tomato paste that expired in 2012 can be thrown out and the 40 cans of veggies that expired in 1998, well I don’t know about you, but I wouldn’t eat them.

 

If you think you are going to use it during the Zombie Apocalypse or the End of the World as We Know It – think carefully about what use it will have then or if there is no power in the form we now know, what will happen to your electronics if they are not kept in a Farraday Cage and if one is none (maybe 10 is too many).

What you Can Do

Look at why you are keeping something and if the why has changed, maybe you no longer need it. Our needs change as life goes on and what was important to us once upon a time, might no longer matter.

Sell it if you want – see how much your stuff is actually worth and get rid of it. Put the money you get from the stuff into your kids or grandkid’s education fund, go on a trip, make memories, have fun with the proceeds. Go out and have a party with everyone before you die, so you can make great memories with them.

Give it away – Find out if anyone in your family or your friends wants some of the “stuff” you want/need/should get rid of and give it to them. You will be surprised at how hard it is to give stuff away sometimes. Most of the stuff you want to give away, other people don’t really want it. If they do want it, it might be treasured as something special and they will remember you when they look at or use what you give them.

Get rid of it – Give it to a non-profit or charity and claim a tax deduction if you have/want to. They take a lot of stuff that is junk.

Throw it away – You will be surprised at how much of your stuff is just trash, get rid of it – nobody wants it.

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What does this accomplish?

Doing all that before you die does a few things.

  1. If you die unexpectedly the amount of pain, suffering, work and yes, expense that is left to the people who have to dispose of your property is significantly reduced.
  2. You have control over your stuff and what happens to it.
  3. Who knows maybe you will have more room in your home for the stuff you really want and maybe a little more coin in your own pocket.

So think about what I have said in this post.

Am I being barbaric to ask to you talk and think about your being dead and to make it easier on the people you leave behind when you do die?

I personally, do not think so, I think it is prudent and thoughtful to make your passing easier on the ones you lovedwho are still alive, especially if your death is unexpected,  by not having the additional weight of having to get rid of so much of your stuff or the added expense of paying to get rid of your stuff. It costs big bucks to get rid of stuff in today’s world.

Think about those who have to throw out your underwear and other collections or posessions that you don’t want the world or even your spouse/children to know about. Get rid of them now, not later when there is no choice in the matter about who is going to see and have to dispose of those items.

Remember, we all die and don’t take anything with us to whatever there is beyond that death. Make it easier on the loved ones you do leave behind, get rid of as much “stuff” as you can and still live a comfortable life, and have an up to date Last Will and Testament that the Courts will recognize.

The bottom line is – it is your shit and your responsibility to take care of it, so someone else does not have to.

So do it.

Upta Camp & Still Resting

Today, there is one less thing to worry about over in NH, the camp is now in good hands and its future will include kids playing, it being well-loved and used. I know that we will miss not having it in the family, but the memories remain.

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Farewell, to the camp – this is the image I always think of when I think of it.

In Loving Memory of Phillip Lyle Dionne

Yes, it is bittersweet, but those are my memories of going up to camp, seeing the northern lights, talking about so many different things, wandering around on the trails and well just being a part of a family at camp.

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Yeah, we will all miss the idea of being able to go “upta camp”, but it is now in Greg and Jesse’s family and they will make it what it should be again – a place for family to make great memories.

What is new with Running

Well there, I am almost done with my self-imposed full-week away from running!

No trying to get out the door to sneak in a 2-4 miles and then wonder why things still hurt. I have needed this for a while and am sure that not resting appropriately, with all the other stuff this summer contributed to an all over malaise that finally slowed me up with the right hip niggle.

I know that I probably could have gone out and run a couple of miles on Wednesday, but I needed the mental break from the pressure of “having to” get a run in more than getting that run in.

It is working.

Now it is getting so I want to run, not that I have to run. I am finding that there is a huge difference.

I might write a bit more about that after thinking about it a little more. Maybe I am just an old cracked runner who reads too much into things – we will see.

Even though I haven’t been running, I am still being active and getting in around 15,000 steps most day. Lots of Bennie walks, general activity and 20-25 minutes on the new Elliptical that Mary got for her birthday.

Speaking of that elliptical, it sure as hell kicks arse more than the ones that I use at the gym. Not sure why, but I work up a hell of sweat and get the old beater going pretty good without too much effort.

Today’s workout came after a two-mile walk with Bennie and then I did the elliptical Level 1 (varies between 1-7) for 20:00 minutes and covered 4.89 miles. Now if I could run that fast it would be pretty cool, but hopefully it will translate to my legs having a little better turnover back on the roads.

So a busy day, but a productive one.

2017 – A Weird Year in Running Shoes

I can’t quite wrap my head around my running or running shoes this year. It has been one of surprises, too many ups and downs, not really running the way that I expected and trying far too many different running shoes over the course of the year.

Just some of the shoes that I have run in this year.

Oh, I know without a doubt that I have no brand loyalty, am a sucker for a great running shoe sale and am fickle as hell when it comes to running shoes, but this year has been the worst one yet. Even back when I was reviewing shoes as a regular part of my blogging I did not go through this many shoes in a year.

Over 20 at last count and no I really do not want to publish the exact number, TheWife is already unhappy enough with “her” husband’s “problem”.

A Little Background

According to my best guess and what the “experts” keep saying when they fit me, the length of my foot is somewhere between a 7.5 and 8.0 U.S, but in reality I have never been able to wear too many running shoes in that size range without a lot of discomfort.

When I complain about how uncomfortable those shoes are for me, the “experts”, just scratch their heads, wondering why I complain so much about how the shoes feel too damn uncomfortable, when they should be fitting just fine based on their measurements.

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Then again back in 2013, an ortho surgeon diagnosed my right foot as having a Tailor’s Bunionette and offered to surgically repair it, but I declined and since it wasn’t really that big a deal. Well really, it is not, but having this damn Tailor’s Bunionette continues to plague me to this day, when it comes to running comfortably in shoes that “should” fit me.

Even when I tell the shoe experts about that diagnosis, it doesn’t seem to make any difference in how they attempt to fit a running shoe to my feet. After measuring my feet, watching me walk or job a little bit, they still bring out the 7.5 to 8.0’s for me wear.

Silly salespeople.

By the time we usually get done finding a shoe that almost fits comfortably around that Tailor’s Bunionette, I usually have to wear at least an 8.5 and more often than not a 9.0 or 9.5 regular width shoe just to get the shoes to feel decent on my right foot. Then I have that extra inch or more at the end of the toebox, which I believe has an effect on other kinetic chain issues in my feet and legs, since the shoes do not really fit correctly, err they are too long.

Finally, after getting tired of running in shoes that were too long and not really comfortable, despite my best efforts to fool myself into hoping/believing that they would get better after I finally got them broke in. I decided to do a lot more research on what people who had issues with a Tailor’s Bunionette did for shoes. I learned a lot, but the biggest thing was when I read one article stating that many/most people with this condition often have to wear “wide” shoes.

That “eureka” moment, where things suddenly made perfect sense and I had a lot better idea of why no running shoes in “my size” fit the way that they should.

Yeah, I am so smart sometimes, it only took me about four years to figure it out.

Really smaht, ey.

Enough whine arsing about how things. Let’s get to the meat and potatoes of the post.

Running Shoes – So Far

So what running shoes did I use in 2017:

The dates by the shoes are the date of the first run in those shoes

It started out with me running primarily in Puma’s, yeah Puma’s. The prices were phenomenally cheap ($33.95 to $49.95 on Amazon) and I went overboard in getting too many pair, before I found out that they were not the answer. That damned shoe hoarder in me wanted to ensure that I had enough to get through the year at those prices.

12/25/16 – Puma Ignite Powercool (2 pair) – loved the feel, but hated the fit.

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12/25/16 – Puma Ignite Speed 300 (2 pair) – fast as hell shoes, but the narrowness of the toe box really, really was bothering my right foot and contributed to some serious soreness before I stopped running in them in February.

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1/4/17 – Puma Ignite Speed 600 – probably my favorite Puma running shoes, without any doubt.

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I ran well in them and I brought them out of the back of the garage a couple of times after moving on from my Puma fling to see if I could get them just a tad wider by stretching them out or my last effort was to cut away the side of the upper to let my bunionette have a little more room. It didn’t work and I sadly let them go. I have a feeling that if Puma ever came out with a EE-width version of this shoe, I would snap it up.

To be honest I really, really liked the Puma Speed series of running shoes but they had a huge problem, the toe box was just a little, well a lot too narrow in most of their models for my right foot and in February – I moved on to other shoes. I got tired of being in “suck it up buttercup” mode just to run in them.

11/10/16 – Next up I brought the Adidas Adios 3’s out of retirement, but they are not really a daily trainer. Even so on some runs I absolutely loved them and others I despised them. The bad runs began to out number the good ones and finally in September, when I realized that they were never going to really work for me – I gave up on them. No matter how much I wanted them to work they just were not. Damn nice shoe, but my right foot just couldn’t wear them more than 2-3 miles before it started complaining.

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2/7/17 – I did order a pair of Saucony Triumph ISO 2’s and got one 5k run in on the treadmill and quickly figuring out that they were just too small, even if I loved the way they felt on my feet.

12/25/17 & 9/27/16 – In mid February it was time to go back to the Mizuno Kazan 2’s, I had run decently in a pair of size 9.0’s during the fall of 2016, but when the snows came and they sucked in the snow, I retired them to the back of the garage, since they were worse than my road shoes in it. Plus I had gotten another pair of size 8.5’s for Christmas

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The tread pattern just clumped snow and they didn’t feel right or comfortable to run in, so they both went away after running in them both a few more times.

By mid February nothing was working and then I got the bright idea that I really needed to some research online and figured out that I had Hobbit feet (short and wide) and that instead of going with the “normal” D-width styles, that I needed to try out EE-width shoes.

However, I also found out that the offerings for wide shoes is considerably more limited than d-width and also that different brands have different ideas on what is considered a wide shoe and that there is no real standard, anymore than there is for shoe lengths.

2/18/17 – My first foray into the world of EE-width shoes was the New Balance 860 2E’s. It was a novel feeling to be able to run without discomfort or pain in my right foot for any distance.

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They were the Disney edition and heavier than I was used to, so I would alternate in the Adidas Adios 3’s for speedwork sessions. It was then that I realized how much of a difference being able to run pain-free felt.

2/27/17 – Then  found another pair of NB 860’s v5’s at the factory outlet for a crazy great price and alternated them into my rotation.

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3/15/17 – I was enjoying running pain-free for the first time in a long time. Enough that I ordered the New Balance Vazee Rush for faster runs – the size 8.0 in EE fit perfectly and felt good running in them.

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I had solidly gotten into running into New Balance brand of running shoes. They were not my first experiences with New Balance shoes, especially living in Maine where there is a factory and outlet stores fairly close by.

Unfortunately, as much as my right foot was enjoying the pain-free experience with the EE-width shoes, my old nemesis with New Balance shoes reared its ugly head.

  • Plantar Faciitis

I am not sure why or how it happens, but after running in New Balance running shoes for a while, that nasty little issue starts to raise its ugly head and goes from being a niggle (because I am too damned stoopid to stop running in the shoes that cause it), to being a show stopper.

However, the Plantar Faciitis problem just wouldn’t go away and as much as I was liking everything else about my NB running shoes, when walking started to be painful, it was time to look elsewhere.

4/7/17 – The elsewhere turned out to be the Saucony Guide 9 in size 8.0 EE.

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Initially, I thought the Guide 9’s were a part of the solution and while they didn’t bother my PF, they were an example of one brand’s idea of an EE-width not being the same as what I expected or needed. I liked the shoe, but they were too damn narrow in the toe box, which bothered my right foot too much and went away in May.

4/17/17 – I even took a chance on a pair of 880 v2’s that I found on the final discount rack at the factory store in Oxford – they sucked and I did one or two runs in them before they just went away.

I went back and tried my New Balance shoes a few more times later on, but with each of them, I could feel that familiar pulling on the PF after a run or two and finally just got rid of all but the Disney 860’s. They are still out in back of the garage and I don’t know why I am hanging on to them, but for some reason I can’t get rid of them quite yet.

4/28/17 – Next up was the Nike Vomero 11 in a size 8.0 EE. I love, loved, loved the shoe, it ran well for a heavier shoe, was comfortable as all get out and unfortunately, it had the same issue as the Guide 9’s – the toe box pressed in too much on my right foot. I ran in the V11’s through most of May and finally just gave up on them. They just bothered my right foot too much.

I was getting tired of running in suck it up mode after finding out with the New Balance shoes that I didn’t have to.

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I did my due diligence and researched what my next pair of running shoes should be. However, TheWife was starting to get a little WTFO about the number of running shoes I was going through, so cost was also another consideration during this figuring out what worked process – the cheaper shoes went over easier at home.

6/5/17 – Yeah, the broken record – another new pair of running shoes. I liked Hoka and had 3 pair of the Clifton 1’s, but stopped running in them, because the toe box just beat me up too much (sounds familiar right). However, all the reviews said that the Infinite was the “wide” Hoka and I was getting desperate to find a pair of running shoes that I could run in comfortable for both feet.

I ordered the Hoka Infinite’s they were under $50 and a great deal. However, when I started running in them, almost immediately I “knew” they were just a tad too narrow, but they were not as obnoxious as the Guide 9’s or Vomero 11’s, so I kept running in the Infinite’s, but I knew they were not the answer that I was looking for.

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I also found a pair of Hoka Challenger ATR’s (6/7/17) for real cheap on eBay ($15.00) and ran in them a couple of times – too narrow and they went away too.

7/1/17 – After a LOT research and stuff, I decided to go with the Mizuno Wave Rider 20’s in a 8.0 EE.

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I have a love/hate relationship with Mizuno shoes. The higher drop that most Mizuno shoes have don’t bother my Achilles (which have always been an issue), but the higher drop does something with my knees and usually between 100 to 200 miles, my right knee starts to bother, which is my sign that the shoes are no longer working for me – not sure why it happens that way – but it just does.

The WR 20’s came in a EE-width and all the reviewers seemed to rave about how great they were. Plus everything I read seemed to indicate that the ee-width was similar to New Balance’s ee-width shoes, so I took a chance. They fit perfectly and I ran in them for a couple of weeks and was starting to increase my mileage again, when I went out for a long run. At about 5.0 miles my left ankle began to kill and I made it to 10K and shut it down.

What to hell.

I ran in them for almost a month and a half and every time I would get around the 5.0 mile mark that left ankle (posterior tibalis – probably) would bother to the point where I had to shut it down. Not what I was looking for to say the least. I still have them and wear them for my walking shoes or emergency running shoes for short runs.

8/12/17 – Bennie tried to be helpful for my 60th birthday and got me a pair of Brooks Ghost 10’s. Brooks and I go back to the 70’s, but to be honest, I can’t say that recently I have had a lot of luck in their running shoes.

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However, the Brooks Ghost has always been one of those shoes that was always the “next” choice, but never the first choice. So I convinced Bennie to make it the choice this time.

Unfortunately, they didn’t work worth a damn for me, they have a rounded heel counter and it caused a blister on my right Achilles so bad that I couldn’t even wear the shoes, much less run in them after the second time I ran in then.

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I did like the feel and fit other than the blister issue on my heel and since I couldn’t return them after running down-back in them, I attempted some shoe surgery. Unfortunately, there was a lip  of material in the heel area that just bothered my foot too much and the Ghost 10’s went away after 3 runs – too bad because I did like them, but when a shoe blisters me like that I don’t have a lot of confidence in them not doing it again and they go away.

Luckily I was able to wear the Hoka Infinite without them bothering my blistered up right Achilles, but they definitely were too narrow in the right foot even when I walked in them and would eventually go away.

8/19/17 – I still hadn’t found any shoes that really worked for me this year and I settled for a pair of Under Armour Bandit 3’s on a whim. They fit well, no blisters, were light at 8.6 oz and I could run long in them without my left ankle bothering. Of all the shoes I ran in during this year these were the most surprising ones.

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Unfortunately, they felt so good that I used them for everything…walking, running long, running fast, running slow (which ended up not being slow enough) and running too fast, too much, too soon with Bennie urging me on.

Then on a run Bennie pulled left and I continued to attempt to run straight while flying along down on the flats (I was attempting to break my segment record) and did something to my right hip. At first it wasn’t anything serious, but when I went out and did a nice 7.0 miler on it in, without letting things calm down – well it was stoopid me.

The Bandit 3’s were too comfortable and I had done too much, too soon in a light-weight trainer, with my old body and it had broken down – again.

I haven’t given up on the Bandit 3’s, but I also know that I need to have a running shoe rotation, not just a single pair of running shoes that I go out and do everything in. They really are not enough shoe for recovery running and I am too tempted run faster than I am supposed to, too often, when I am wearing them.

9/24/17 – I liked the Bandit 3’s enough that I got the Under Armour Speedtire Ascent’s as my trail and crappy winter weather running shoes. They also double as my hiking shoes and have worked quite well.

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However, I don’t think that I would want to do any real long running in them, but up to 10K they would be fine and I don’t see me doing much longer trail runs than that anyway.

10/4/17 – Hoka Arahi 8.0 D – I accidentally somehow ordered the wrong size or at least that is the size I got in the mail. I tried them on once packaged the box back up and shipped them back – too damn small.

10/6/17 – Hoka Bondi 5 8.5 D – Not the Hoka I expected and it was kind of nice not needing the EE-width. Yeah the color choice was a lot better – so sue me I am a little vain.

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They are a heavier shoe than the 10.0 advertised, but they felt better than any of the 6 shoes that I actually tried on. The weight is really not all that bad, especially, since I plan to use them as my recovery runners and my primary running shoes until this hip flare-up goes away.

Looking back

I learned a lot about running shoes this year.

  1. I have Hobbit feet and need wider shoes than most runners.
  2. Going up in size is not always the best answer, flex points designed in your shoes need to match where your feet are supposed to flex.
  3. Not all EE-width shoes are going to fit the same, anymore than standard width shoes are going to fit the same from different brands, hell let’s be real between different styles within a brand. My experience was that Saucony and Nike EE-width shoes are still too narrow for me.
  4. That most brands make their EE-width shoes in boring colorways. Not that that should matter, but I like those bright neon colorways and boring shoes are such a turn-off. Yeah I know, but that is just the way I am.
  5. Running shoes get pretty damned expensive after buying 20 plus pair and TheWife called me on it.
  6. Just because there is a helluva deal on a pair of running shoes, doesn’t mean that I need to order them, plus a couple of extra pair only to find out that they do not work the way that I anticipated and then get stuck with too many pair that don’t work.
  7. Yeah, I have had too damn many running shoes this year and there are still 2 1/2 months left.

Scary isn’t it.

This doesn’t include the Adidas Tempo 8’s, Adidas Sonics and other shoes that I ordered, got home and immediately put back in the shipping box, because they were too small or didn’t fit the way that I wanted.

I have learned that unless I can actually try on a pair of running shoes first that I probably should not order them for the first time online. There were too many times that I ordered running shoes, that if I had tried them on before ordering them that I definitely would not have gotten them.

It just means that I am going to have to spend the extra time and money drive to Bangor, Brunswick or Portland to actually try on running shoes instead of wasting, yes wasting, so much money online for shoes that might seem to be cheaper at first, but never seem to fit correctly.

That is as long as the stores carry EE-width versions of shoes that I want to try.

Sort of like going back to the old way of doing things – you know try the running shoes on before you buy them.

Well I still have a couple of months left in the year, I wonder how many more pair of running shoes I will go through?

It would be nice if I could get a nice 3 shoe rotation of:

  • Hoka Bondi 5
  • Under Armour Bandit 3
  • Newton Kismet 2 – yes, I couldn’t resist one last splurge at an irresistible price point.

hehehehe Horrible aren’t I.

  • with Under Armour Speed Tire Ascent for nasty weather winter and trail running and as my hiking shoes

Yeah, I have a running shoe problem, but at least I admit it, but TheWife wants me to do something about it this time.

Two Steps Forward, One Step Back

This has been the story of 2017, every time I seem to start making progress, I have to take a step back.

Yesterday, I got the running shoes that I originally wanted back at the end of August from Triathlon Sports up in Bangor. Something with a little more cush to them for the old bones – Hoka Bondi 5’s. I got to try on more than a few shoes, including the Bondi 5’s in 8.0 EE, but when it came right down to it Bondi 5 in 8.5 D’s felt the best and were bright enough to compete with the sunshine outside, so I got them.

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Yeah about as cush as you can get. The Bandit 3’s will still be in the rotation, but more as a tempo or race day shoe (for now), because they are comfy and I run comfortably in them at faster for me speeds.

That is once I get this hip niggle taken care of.

Looking at my Strava running log for the past couple of weeks this niggle in my hip has really cramped my running style.

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However, I was feeling pretty good yesterday, so once I got the Bondi’s, I headed over to Bangor City Forest and planned on doing the 4.0 mile loop.

The Bondi’s performed exactly the way that I wanted for 2.2 miles, I even picked up the pace a little, just to see how they would do at little quicker speed.

No problems with the shoes.

Unfortunately, the hip wasn’t as good natured. I had run along at a faster pace for about a quarter mile on the trail and the hip started to tell me running faster wasn’t part of the deal today. So I slowed back down, but by that point the hip was unhappy and telling me what a jerk I was.

I coasted along hoping that it would loosen back up, but at 2.8 it told me in no uncertain terms that at 3.0 miles we were going to be done.

It wasn’t THAT bad and I could have kept running to finish off the 4.0, but at this point I am trying really hard to not piss the hip off too much and agreed that walking that last mile, was a better idea than pushing to run it.

This new me is taking some getting used to, I am not in the habit of stopping a run and listening to my body this closely. The old me would just go into suck it up buttercup mode and finish the run. Which would probably hurt more or create new issues for me.

Fortunately, the hip didn’t mind the walk and by the time I finished walking the mile back to the truck, it was feeling fine. A little sore, but no limping or gimping, which would have been the case if I had kept running.

It also gave me a chance to really check out the Bondi 5’s on the groomed trail and they did just fine. Another way that I have to find out if a pair of running shoes are too narrow is how they feel when I drive in them for a while. Well Bangor to home is almost an hour and half, during which the Bondi’s felt fine. None of that tight, numbness that a too narrow running shoe causes while driving.

So we will see how the hip feels today, it is a little sore, so it might mean another day off, but then again we will see how things feel after a walk with Bennie.

All I know is that while I haven’t had any major injuries this year, the niggles just seem to keep piling up and I gotta let them heal completely, before heading out the door to run again. So I guess 2.0 miles is about the limit for a while with the running, then doing 20-30 minutes on the elliptical before supper. When you add those in with all the walking, I suppose it is enough to keep me out of too much trouble.

But damn, I still want to run and start training again.

Patience grasshopper.

Summer is Over

It is now October, which means that summer is over.

Most years I count summer as June 1st to September 30th. I know convenient, but that is about how I see things living up heah in Maine and no longer worrying about the school year thing.

Things don’t start to actually warm up until June and by the time September is over, the warmth is pretty much out of the air and the leaves are turning color.

Which means summer is over.

As a former school teacher, when school started back up I always had the students recap their summers, just to get a feel for what they did, what their interests were/are and to see how much work I had ahead of me that school year. Even though I am out of education now, I am going to continue the tradition and do a what I did for summer post.

Especially, since it was a summer that was. Continue reading