The Halfway Point – 2018

Hard to believe but the first half of 2018 is now in the books.

I gotta admit as years go, 2018 has been pretty damn good. No, not everything has gone exactly as planned or the way that I wanted things to go, but you know something that is just the way life is. You adapt, compromise and keep moving one foot in front of the other.

This morning I went over and ran on one of my favorite local trails – Messalonskee Stream Trail in Oakland. While the weather was hot and humid, enough that I had sweat dripping off both sides of my hat like rain the last mile and the scales at home hit numbers that I would love to see first thing in the morning.

The run along this trail got me to thinking about how lucky I really am.

 

Since this is primarily a running blog, I will not get too mushy or sentimental, stop there and get back to writing about something a lot more interesting, my running. 🙂

What were my goals for 2018?

Run Better

Over the first part 2018 I have raced more, ran more trails and have run just over 800 miles. For the most part things are going a lot better in 2018 than they did the first half of 2017.

I have written ad nauseum about not finishing my marathon training so, I will stop beating that dead horse and move on to other parts of my running. If you really need to know more about them you about my marathon misadventure here and here.

Be Healthier

For the most part I have been relatively injury free. The long lingering left Achilles Tendon/Ankle issue is just part of the deal now and I don’t see that ever getting a whole lot better. My right hig still bothers more than it is supposed to, but seems to be getting better now that I put away the belt I used to walk Bennie and am holding the leash verus attaching it to the belt.

The usual May injury jinx is still alive and kicking. This May I pooched my right hamstring while running and still really don’t know what I did, other than I did it and it bothered me for almost a month. Actually I think what happens is that the weather starts to get nicer and in late April/early May, I begin to add in a little too much speed/distance too quickly, after a long winter of treadmilling and running outside all bundled up.

I did go to my both of my annual Physical Exams and passed without any issues. However, lately the problem I developed back in 2007 when I whacked a crow bar off my chest while removing tree stumps and according to the docs changed the electrical current path in there. From time-to-time it causes some irregular beating and when it does, I have to slow down my life style quit a bit until it passes. Once things re-regulate themselves things get back to normal and I can go about life regularly.

I have been using a car polisher to self-massage the legs and shoulders to break up the scar tissue and get the muscles moving around a bit. It was working great and I was using it a couple of times a day. Unfortunately, one of the unpleasant side effects is that seems to be causing some of those irregular beats to come around and once I stopped using it, things straightened out and haven’t been a problem. I guess it was too vigorous for the old heart.

This irregular heart beat is the biggest reason that Mary was so worried (besides me having a bad case of the stoopids) and glad that I gave up the marathon training. Things are back to normal now and I feel pretty good, just gonna be more conservative about my mileage and when I run long runs, along with putting the car polisher back in the box and only bringing it out to polish the vehicles.

Also no more of the long run, plus speed work, plus a 7.0 miler, plus another 6.0 miler in the same week for a while. 🙂

One thing that I am finding working better than I dreamed and it might all be in my head, but for the last month I have been using Blue Emu cream and it seemed to have helped with some of the smaller accumulation of aches and pains. Thanks Dad for the tip it seems to be working.

Simplify my Running Shoes Choices

I have gone through a lot of them this year, so simplifying doesn’t seem to be what I am really doing. However, I was “helped” a lot by a visit down to Sam W. Over at Road, Trail, Run who reviews them for a living and happens to wear the same size or close enough that they work for me. I visited with him in early May (before I got injured) and came home with 8 more pair, to go with the too many I already had in the house and few more that I have added since.

One thing nice about all the shoes that I have gotten to run in this year, was that I learned a lot about what the different brands are doing and which ones do or do not work for me.

Altra – Zero drop is not for everyone and definitely not for me and my bad Achilles. As long as Altra only offers zero drop, I won’t bother to run in their shoes. An added insert just isn’t the same as a designed drop. 6-8mm in their Torin model line would be a great running shoe for a lot of runners. It is a shoe I would find a way to buy.

Hoka – Unfortunately, their toe box/forefoot and mine are not a match. After 6 pair over the last couple of years, I haven’t found a pair that really works for me yet.

Saucony – Love the midsole/outsole, but the ISO fit bootie in both the Zealot 3 and Liberty aggravate my metatarsaglia to the point where I am thinking about how badly my feet hurt that I don’t run too well after 5-6 miles.

Brooks – Loving my old Green Silence, but the Launch 4 is a bit too firm for my tastes and where the heel achilles tab hits my Achilles is a blister waiting to happen. Much the same as the Ghost 10’s that I wore last summer. If/when Brooks goes back to a Achilles notch in their heel counter, I will try them again, especially the Ghost line, otherwise I will pass.

Asics – The RoadHawks fit nice,  run well and look good, but I don’t run much in them. They should be a perfect training shoe for me, but there is something about them that I always seem to reach for something else? Its gotta be me, because the shoes are fine.

Topo – I finally got to run in the Ultra Fly a shoe that I have wanted to try for a couple of years. They are more of a hybrid than true road shoe, not a bad thing, but it means that they are a jack of all trades and master of none kind of shoe that doesn’t really fit into the rotation and didn’t really work that well on the two long runs in them that I did. Yes, the Ultra Fly’s do a lot of things well, but not as well as my specific use shoes, so they have fallen out of the rotation and become my daily walkers and run when I can shoes.

Nike – I am impressed with the direction they are headed. I got to run in the VF 4% and loved them, not enough to pay $250, but I can see where someone who races a lot would really want a pair – maybe someday. Then I found a pair of Pegasus 33 Shield which fit about as good as any Nike ever has and have enjoyed running in them – although they are a bit warm for summer running. I was impressed enough that I was willing to take a chance on the Wildhorse OG and after my second run in them this morning, I think that I have found my trail shoes. When my current daily trainers wear out, I will be looking at the Pegasus 35’s or 34’s very closely.

It seems like there will be more Nike shoes in my future as long as the toe box keeps wide enough.

Skechers – Loving the GoRun Ride 7’s, unfortunately with all of the Skechers models I have run in this year, they have side walls that are pretty high on the ankles and are bit too wide in the heel. Those haven’t caused any blistering, but they are a source of discomfort. I was fairly disappointed with how my initial pair of GRR7’s didn’t hold up – the primary problem being how I wore a hole through the plastic heel counter, which rubbed too much on the plastic. I can feel the second pair are going to do the same thing, so I might be able to get 150 miles out of the shoes again. Forza 3’s were too firm and the heels would catch the insides of my other legs more than other shoes, so I stopped wearing them. I love Skechers lineup, but there are some fit/durability issues for me and how they work with my body’s running mechanics.

As we pass the halfway mark, my rotation has been whittled down to:

GoRun Ride 7 – daily trainer, long runs, recovery runs

Brooks Green Silence – race day shoes, faster stuff.

Nike Pegasus 33 Shield – crappy weather, alternate daily trainer, some fartlek stuff

Nike Wildhorse OG – trails

Topo Ultra Fly – spur of the moment running shoes and for my walking

I guess after everything is said and done I have whittled down my running shoe rotation. It is a good thing that SD1 wears the same size shoe, she has a burgeoning running shoe colection.

No Running With Bennie

Unfortunately, Bennie is part of the problem when it comes to my injuries, even just walking him can be an issue, because while he is a great dog, he has the attention span of a gnat. One moment we can be going along nice as can be and the next moment he is pulling off into the underbrush. Which usually puts a lot of unexpected pressure on my hips, knees or ankles. Which coincides with my injury patterns over the last 8 years we have had him. Strange how that has worked out.

I have put away the belt I use to walk him and hold onto the leash now. At least when he makes those sudden pulls now, there is a chance at resistance before it totals the lower body. It too bad because he was a great training partner, but one that caused me to run too fast too often and I had to stop.

Get rid of “Stuff”

I keep getting rid of the old stained, super bad smelling and stuff that doesn’t fit anymore. Old running shoes either go to SD1 or are given away to others that need them more than local Charities or Good Will, because they have lots of miles left on them even though I can’t run in them.

Race More Often

I have raced 5 times already this year and will be running another on the 4th. No I am not setting the world on fire with my brilliance, but I am showing up, so that is huge for me. Three of the races have been over at Quarry Road and I find that they help me with getting to the starting line with a good mindset – I don’t get all wound up over trail races and that is carrying over to others as well from what I can see.

Get Back to Running Trails

I am running on the trails a couple times a week. Not super technical trails, but some single track and stuff like that. I think my technical trail days are over and I will stick with the easier stuff, since it kicks my butt anyway.

Weigh Under 150

Ain’t gonna happen this year. I like to eat too much.

Eat Less Processed Foods

Doing pretty good. I have cut way back on my ice cream consumption, but I still like chips, boxed cereals and desserts too much.

Technology Use

I am loving my combination of iPhone 7 and iPad Pro 10.5. Both use IOS and I don’t have to screw around with things too much – they just work and work well together. Even so I am typing this post on a combination of the iPad Pro and my old ASUS laptop with Linux Elementary as the OS. Somehow or another the ASUS came back to life and since I reinstalled the OS, it seems to be working fine. Which is okay with me – I get to play Never Winter Nights 2 and have a larger screen to have two windows open at the same to get stuff done a little easier.

Surprisingly, I am moving further and further away from both Microsoft and Google, I just do not need some of the stuff they bring to the table. Facebook is someting that I still use too often, but then again, it is the platform where more people that I know/have known do hang around and FOMO is real sometimes.

The reality is that

2018 so far has been better than I expected. I might piss, moan, whine and bitch a bit about the weather, my running shoe obsession and other minor inconveniences, but I also think that is pretty normal.

Like my first Chief aboard ship used to say: “A bitchin sailor is a happy sailor”.

However, I am healthy enough to go wandering along a undulating (just wanted to use that word all day) trail at around an 11:00 minute pace and not feel like the world is going to end while doing so.

We often take our health for granted and believe that we are invincible – we aren’t and need to keep that in perspective. Without good health all the other parts of our lives will quickly fall apart. I have seen it happen too many times and know it is true.

I admit it – I got lucky and married a smart, witty and beautiful woman, who keeps my feet firmly planted on the ground. Like they say “happy wife, happy life” and I would like to think I have both. Besides she puts up with a lot from me and my running, so I gotta keep her happy.

The running is actually quite good and life in general is better than I ever thought it would be, so I am a very lucky man.

Let’s hope that I keep bitchin about the rest of 2018 and well beyond. 🙂