Seasons of a Running Life

I have been playing around and trying to improve the header on “A Veteran Runnah” for a couple of days now and finally came up with one that I like. I apologize for the qualify of the pictures, but getting good running pictures from those different eras was difficult.

The photos symbolize the seasons of my running life so far and I thought you might be interested in the story behind why I picked those photos.

Spring (0-20)

The first one is me getting ready to run a high school Cross Country meet in the Fall of 1973 versus Greenville.

I was a Junior in the picture at Nokomis Regional High School and had been a chronic under achiever when came to distance running.

Running Cross Country was something I did because I wanted to be on a team in high school. Looking back I think that I ran more out of respect for Mr. Smith than for me, because back then I did not enjoy distance running very much.

I was a much better sprinter than distance runner, see my Running High School Cross Country 1971-1974 post and he was a teacher who made a significant difference in my life.

Once I graduated high school I did learn that I missed distance running and my attitude towards it changed considerably as that season of my life came to a close. I finally, realized how important running was to me and how much I enjoyed distance running.

Summer (21-40)

In this picture I am running in a 10K at CGAS Cape Cod in the Spring of 1985. It was during this period of my life that I learned to love running and how to run faster than I ever have before or since and met some really great people who ran.

If you look close you can see that I was even getting a lot of air, as I was passing this guy. There was about a mile left in the race at this point and I was beginning to increase my pace a lot.

This period was the peak of my personal running career during 1985 & 1986 – they were my personal “Glory Years”.

However after those two years, the summer phase of my running life was mostly marked by a lack of racing, inconsistant running, injuries, careers and a growing family. In other words life got in the way, but looking back I did a lot more running, then people realized, just not a lot of racing or the other social aspects of running. I had become a recreational runner.

To me that sounds like a lot of summers, many of us have had throughout our lives, lots of good memories, but looking back you think about all the stuff you could have done instead.

Fall (41-60)

This is my current profile picture and yes I am hitting double-nickel next summer.

I have finally begun to acknowledge that physically I cannot do the things I was able to do in my 20s, 30s or even my 40s and it sucks.  Which means I have to watch out that my mind doesn’t think it is 20 years younger than it is.

After getting injured in Feb 2010 and very little running until Nov 2011 (surgery and all that), I don’t want to go through another period where I can’t run. So I have to train smarter than I have in the past (and not play racquetball).

Actually I feel pretty comfortable with the direction I am going with my running, I have goals and put together a bucket list of things that I want to accomplish before I die (or can no longer run).

I have been told that with a certain amount of age comes some wisdom and hopefully they were right – I know that I will find out.

Winter (60+)

I haven’t reached this stage of my life yet, but I am getting closer and there is no delaying the aging process, it just happens. However, until I hit 60 that picture will remain blank. I haven’t figured out the goals that I will have for this stage and will wait until I get there.

Overall I’ve been lucky

Looking back I have actually been pretty lucky in my running career. I have ran in places others only dream of, met other runners who are great people and now I am enjoying the running community online more and more. Perhaps it is time to look more into the social aspect of running locally, that means running a few races, (which is really part of the social aspect of running) or finding a bunch of runners who don’t mind a slower old fart running with them.

Most of all in the current season of my running life and the next one – I am looking forward to just running.

Those are the stories behind the pictures on my header.

What season of your running life are you presently in? How is it going? How did the previous seasons treat you?

Sixties Backyard Skiing – It Was Simpler Then

I grew up in Berlin, New Hampshire.

My parents had a home on First Avenue.  It had a huge backyard that climbed up a hill to–you guessed it–Second Avenue.  A brook cut across the top of the property.  We had four or five apple trees, flower gardens, vegetable gardens, hazelnut bushes, and a pear apple tree.

I am the one with the bandaid on my knee. This is our
backyard in front of the hill I skied down.

The yard was a great place for adventures.  It was also a great place to learn how to ski!

I was about eight or nine when I got my first set of skis at Christmas.  This was back in the sixties.  My dad cut a path up the center of the hill behind the house.   I would go out when I got home from school.  I would struggle up the hill.

When I was feeling very stubborn, I  would take my skis off and walk up the hill lugging all my equipment.  My older brother and sister would yell at me because I put holes in the trail.  But they never yelled at me for the holes I made when I fell, even though those holes were usually bigger.

My mom and her brother Fritz

I was never a good skier.  I should have been.  I came from a Norwegian family.  My grandfather made skis for my mother (back when they would select the wood and bend the tip in a tub of hot water).  My mother claimed that she had once jumped off the old Nansen ski jump outside Milan.  Have you seen that jump?  It is pretty impressive.  If she did jump it, she was quite a daredevil!

I almost never made it down the hill behind our house without falling.  Most of the time, I fell to the side of the trail.  I would flounder in the deep snow trying to get back up.  I can remember my mother coming out to lift me up.  She would have time to dress and walk up the hill, and I would still be wallowing in that snow.

If I fell on the trail, I could get up again because it was packed snow, or I could if both skis stayed on.  More often than not, I would watch one of my skis head down the slope.  The bindings were very simple with stretchy springs that pulled out to wrap around your boots.  They came off as easily as they went on.

My older brother and sister got season passes to Wildcat Mountain for Christmas the next year.  Back then, a season pass was less than a hundred dollars.  I stayed home.  I started skiing at the neighbor’s hill when I outgrew our little hill.  Our neighbor two houses down had a huge hill that was steeper than ours.  All of the kids in the neighborhood went there to ski and slide.  The trick was stopping at the bottom of the hill before you reached the driveway.  Sitting down usually worked quite well!

I met Nancy at the hill.  Nancy was from down the street.  She went to the Catholic school.  I went to the public school.  We were the same age.  We met on the hill after school to ski and would return again after supper since the hill had lights.  We would stay out until about eight at night.  I remember my dad telling me to hurry home one Sunday nite.  He said that Ed Sullivan had a new group on that night called the Beatles.

Nancy and I went everywhere around the local area on our skis.  We used our downhill skis as cross country skis.  We went out the old trail up the side of Mt. Forest.  I could do this!  This was a style of skiing that suited me.  It was a lot of walking with the skis.

Our dress was very simple.  We wore our Wildcat jackets that “everyone” was wearing.  These were reversible jackets.  One side was fur (mine was fake) and the other side was fabric.  We had black stretch knit pants that had a strap at the bottom to wrap around the bottom of the foot.  By the end of the season, our pants looked pretty scuzzy because they were pilled and full of snags.  We wore wool mittens.  I had a favorite brown and gold cap that looked like a beret with a hard brim on it and a pompom up top.  Nancy had a homemade white hat with strings ending in pompoms that tied under the chin.  The bindings on our skis did not need a special ski boot.  We simply wore our rubber boots, the kind that you wore a shoe inside.

Nancy was from a French family.  She should have been the Norwegian.  She could ski.  She had  no fear.  She would start as far up the hill as she could, and go as fast as she could.  No sitting for her!   I saw her wrap herself around a tree once when she got going too fast.  I wished that I could ski like Nancy–except for the tree bit.

It was such a simple time!  No cell phones.  No fear of strangers.  It was easy to go just about anywhere without needing an older sibling or parent with you.  The only thing my parents expected from me was that I would let them know where I was going.  Nancy and I were fortunate that we never got lost and we never got hurt.

My house in Berlin in 1989; it looks pretty run down,
compared to when I lived there in the 60’s

My family moved from Berlin in 1966.  I didn’t ski again for almost ten years.  I drove by our old house years later.  The house was run down.  The apple trees were gone.  The yard looked so small.  The neighbor’s hill was no longer field.  Trees had grown up.  No kids used it to ski or sled anymore.  Nancy was married and had moved away.

Unfortunately, all good things come to an end.  But I still have the memories!

Runneritis – A Dread Disease

Looking like this while running in a nor’easter is proof of
this poor soul having the dread disease Runneritis //

I have a disease!

It is deadly, there is no known cure and it affects me more than I want to admit – daily. No it isn’t in the DSM-IV or even acknowledged by medical doctors – in fact they scoff at the idea of this affliction.

However, no matter what the medical community might say – I have it.

It is a dread disease and it is called:

RUNNERITIS

You will find several million people are afflicted with Runneritis around the world and you might even have seen more than a few cases in your town or heaven forbid – your neighborhood. They just don’t know it yet.

What to hell is Runneritis? Glad you asked.

Symptoms of Runneritis are:


If you see someone out running with an ugly grimace or a stupid grin:

  • at 6:00 A.M. or earlier
  • at lunch time and then eating while they are supposed to be working
  • after dark, when everyone else is watching TV
  • in rain and wind – up to and including hurricane force
  • in blizzards – otherwise known as Nor’easters
  • in mud up to their knees
  • while running ungodly distances like 10 miles, things called marathons or the universally dreaded Ultra

or

If you know someone who is or has:

  • Spending more money on new running shoes even though they have at least 5 pair stashed somewhere in the house, gym locker or at work under their desk. Oh yeah – the custodian was directed to throw those running shoes out, while they were on vacation, because they stunk so badly.
  • Spending money on new apps for a smart phone related to running, but none of them are quite right.
  • Getting the newest all-weather gear to run in, so they don’t sweat so bad or a least not stink quite so much
  • Needing a new watch or Garmin to time themselves and get an accurate GPS fix on how far they ran, even though the old one only needs a new battery.
  • Spending over $200 in race fees in a year and brags about the race they already signed up for in 2013.
  • Having subscriptions to more than 2 running magazines
  • Running on vacation
  • Planning a vacation around a race they want to run
  • During the holidays going for a run, instead of staying and talking with family (might be a good thing).
  • Plan to go to a race and coerce those who don’t run to stand in the cold to cheer them on
  • Have a blog that focuses on running
  • Subscribing to more than 20 running focused blogs in a Feed Reader and brag about it
  • Follow hundreds of runners on Twitter
  • Have a Facebook page devoted to running and be “friends” with hundreds of people you don’t know
  • Have a Google+ Circle named Running and a page for their running blog
  • They whine about not being able to run, when it was running while injured that got them injured worse.

If you know someone who has more than 5 of these symptoms from column A or B combined, there is a good likelihood that they will be diagnosed with the dreaded disease – Runneritis.

Do you know of anyone who exhibits these symptoms?

If you do, feel very, very sorry for their family. Runneritis is very contagious, so the rest of their family is at risk of developing this disease as well, unless there is an intervention of some sort.

Also if you have not taken the proper precautions and you have been exposed to Runneritis, you might get a bad case of Runneritis without realizing what has happened. Look at the warning signs of Runneritis that I have listed above, before it is too late or is it already too late for you too?

Do you have Runneritis?

However, thinking about it, now I have to ask, do you see any or many of these symptoms in yourself.

OMG don’t tell me that you have Runneritis too.

Nooooooo!

Once you have it, you can never be completely cured.

You might even stop running for a while, but in the back of your mind, you will always be looking at a reason to buy the newest running shoes, slipping up and attempting to run 10 yards to just see if you can yet, then the next time it becomes 20 yards and before you know it (and before the Doctors or other family members can stop you), you have a full-fledged outbreak of the dreaded Runneritis again.

I have had Runneritis for many years and I just have never found a cure.

Is there a cure?

Even in my worst periods of slothdom, I still would receive those running magazines with all those skinny people and sometimes not so skinny people running around trying to get someplace faster than they did before.  I would go into the local sporting goods store (sometimes even JC Penney) and look at running shoes or running clothes.

Then it would begin again, I would try a simple little run here, then try to go a little farther and before I knew what had happened I was back with a full-blow case of that dread disease commonly called “running”, but its official name is “runneritis”.

No Cure

No – I don’t think there is a cure, once you have the dreaded disease called Runneritis and it just keeps coming back more virulent each time you get it. Age only makes you pine for the early days of the disease, you may not go as far or as fast, but you still have to run.

I am sure that others have written about Runneritis, but these are my thoughts about this dread disease.

Hi my name is Harold and I have a bad case of Runneritis and no I really am not looking to be cured ;-p.

I had a Twitter conversation with @sheswrite and I used the term Runneritis in my response today and then I started thinking about it and came up with this post. I heard the term used back in my Glory Days and thought it would be fun to spoof running a bit and chuckle about what we see as normal everyday activities, others might see as proof of our derangement.

RunLog 12/5/11 – First 6 Miler in a Long Time

WOW – THIS WEATHER IS CRAZY!!!

It was 50 degrees out when I finished my run.  I have never seen a winter like this where I am still running in shorts – in December – in Maine. Something is totally weird, but instead of complaining about it, I am taking advantage of running in great weather and enjoying it, instead of having to slog through snow, cold and other things that sap the motivation to run right out of you.

Hey I got to wear my running shorts, synthetic base layer and running jacket, along with glove (anytime it is in the 40s, I start out with gloves on and stuff them down my shorts when/if I don’t need them anymore) and my Hi-Vis ball cap.  Surprisingly, I was about as perfectly dressed as I could be for this run and after the initial chill came off, felt very comfortable.

I had planned to run the course a few minutes slower at around 52:00 for the 5.5 and add on a 1/2 mile to give me a 6.0 mile total, so I just went out at a steady pace and plugged along – trying to run tall and land on my forefoot most of the time. Going up the hills on the dirt road was tough because I was tired, but feeling good otherwise.

I brought the camera along this time and got some pics of the course.

Going up the hill just past Annie’s Variety

 

Three turkeys in someone’s backyard. I see turkeys almost every time I run
this route.

 

The hill I really hate the most, right about where that vehicle is as a mail box
and it is blind the rest of the way up the hill. I have had to go pretty far into
the ditch to avoid getting hit by dump trucks, semis or other motor vehicles
right there. Probably the most dangerous place on any of my runs.

 

Obligatory shot of the beef critters at Campbell Farm

 

When I got down back most of the dirt road looks like this muddy and squishy.
This is that last hill before getting home, it just comes at a bad time in the run.

 

Okay just had to include it 😉

It was actually a perfect day for running and I felt really good except for the last two hills, but by damn I made it up them.  When I got to my normal 5.5 stopping point I got there in 49:43 which was a lot faster than the 52:00 that I had planned. This is the longest run I have had since I hurt myself on the final long run leading up to the 2006 Maine Marathon.

I am very encouraged, the knee doesn’t bother too much now and as long as I stay sane, should continue to make good progress.

Quality of Run: Very good
Weight: 174
Time of Run: 10:30 A.M.
TEMP:  50F
Weather: Partly to mostly sunny – to nice a day for December