Halfway Through 2021

The first half of 2021 is done.

As screwed-up as 20221 has been, my life is quiet, spent on the hill where we live, play on the computer too much, and not one where I worry about all the stuff I am not doing due to the pandemic. I do what I feel comfortable doing (too many would consider my life boring), enjoy the life that I have, stay flexible in the face of uncertainty and attempt to make the best of whatever is happening around us.

Doing anything else doesn’t do a damn bit of good and becomes more of a burden to the life that I have in front of me. Sometimes, I think Bennie has the best life.

Goals

As we reach the halfway point of 2021, how have I done on my goals?

  1. Get the COVID-19 vaccine. Yes.
  2. Run 1,200 miles. Maybe.
  3. Complete a 1.0-mile time trial each month. No
  4. Run a sub-22:00 minute 5K. No
  5. Train for a Fall marathon. No
  6. Get under 155 pounds and stay there. No
  7. Have Harold being Harold as my only personal blog all year. Yes
  8. Write more. No
  9. Read 50 books. 28
  10. Travel to visit family and friends. No

A LOT more no’s than anything. This is okay. As screwed up as 2021 has been, I am giving myself a lot of slack and not going to beat myself up over not meeting most of my goals for this year.

What are my goals for the rest of 2021?

  • Spend time with the grandkids
  • Stay healthy and do my prehab most days
  • Run a sub-22:00 minute 5K
  • Get to and stay under 155 pounds
  • Read 50 books for the year

That’s it. If I manage to do those five things, I will be pretty damn happy. Nothing outlandish, sort of measurable, but mostly doable. I think the doable part is probably the most important thing.

Running

My running was interrupted too many times by minor injuries, and since March, I have dealt with some sort of Achilles crap in my left leg. This is one of those injuries that happen more often the older you get and definitely takes longer to to heal. So if I want to keep running at the levels I want, I have to get serious about prehab and just do it for the rest of the time I am a runner.

I did get into the Stryd ecosystem and have been using their training plan for the past month. While I am not really paying attention to the Power numbers, the training plan seems to be giving enough guardrails to bounce off that I am not my usual stoopid self. Also, I am finding that running by time, not mileage/pace, is helping me rein in my impulse to go faster as often, and I am more likely to make an easy workout easy.

Running like many things are coming back, and races beyond the elite levels are beginning to start again. This is a very good thing. Now I have to get myself off my arse and start thinking about signing up for some races. This will happen…if I can ever get this Achilles to stop being quite so grumpy.

There are new running shoe controversies as the technology improves, but I don’t pay too much attention to them. It might strike fear into those who depend on running to make their living, especially if the brand they represent is not competitive, but as an old, overweight, never was runner, the running shoe controversy really isn’t a big issue to me. 

Also, a pair of running shoes will not give me back my youth or the speed I once might have had even though some might give me an extra 4% to think about. I enjoy reading and listening to all the hoopla and drivel that everyone seems to shovel at us to defend their point of view. However, looking at what shoes the elite runners are using and the amount of time it is taking the pendulum to swing back again, it is becoming pretty evident which camp is winning the war on lower times. 

At this stage of my running career, I will go with a bit more cushioning and focus more on comfort in my running shoes over most other considerations. Even though my running shoe rotation looks more like something from 2020, versus 2021.

The U.S. Olympic trials have been completed, and yes, I watched them a lot. There were a few upsets. The athletes performed amazing feats, and surprisingly, other than the weather, the controversies anticipated by the media or social media never really got traction or were glossed over, although the debate over a potential gold-medal favorite testing positive for THC has provided a lot of opinions on social media.

Social Media

I have considerably pared back my social media presence and came within a few days of completely deactivating my Twitter account. I really don’t use it that much anymore and found that I didn’t miss it when I gave it a month’s break. However, I kept it for the time being because I enjoy following the running crowd on there, and with the Olympics coming up, I get a lot of inside stuff that I would otherwise miss, especially with the crappy coverage that Track and Field gets on network TV. When it comes to Twitter and social media in general, I have learned to not follow any politicians or people who spout stoopid shit all the time from either side of the aisle. Facebook, I hate it, but that is where I spend a little too much time, (I like my running and Coast Guard groups), but I have also gotten rid of groups or anyone who is overly political – either way and mainly stayed with the running crowd or relatives.

I came with a few hours of deleting my blogs during this social media purge, but finally I decided to keep them. There is a lot of my history in them, and I am not ready to chuck it into garbage pail yet. However, I did decide to stop doing running shoe reviews. Most of my reviews were of older shoes on close-out and really didn’t matter that much, so it was time. The blog now is more for me and whatever I decide to write about, but it will mostly be about my running.

Then again, six months from now, I might walk away from this blogging stuff and social media altogether, because I often find myself wondering if the 24/7 FOMO crap is making life better or worse, we shall find out I have a feeling. And this is from someone who has been doing this stuff pretty much from the start.

Lots of Crap

However, you tend to forget how much crap has happened during the last six months, especially the first couple of months of 2021. When I look back, there were crazy times, and the start of 2021 was pretty much a shitshow in the U.S. 

The pandemic appears to be slowing down, the news media continues to show whatever their ownership group decides is the news that is best for their ratings, racism (both overt and covert) continues to be a significant issue, our relationships with the rest of world has been “interesting”, the Presidential election results were confirmed, and a change in leadership in the White House and Senate did happen – but not without some serious attempts by more than a few to not have it happen. 

The effects of climate change are happening around us. It doesn’t matter who you blame or even if you believe it is real or not. Whoever or whatever is causing climate change, the climate is changing, and it will affect all of us. The earth will survive. Whether our species does in the long-term is a question that I can’t honestly answer. It all depends on what people decide is essential for future generations, not just right now. All the whataboutism, straw-man arguments, denials, or skepticism doesn’t change what we are seeing happening before our eyes.

The reality is that

Yeah, 2021 has sucked more than it has been great.

Running has not gone as well as I planned, in many respects the same old controversies continue to plague us and at times I wonder if our politics are closer to “1984”, while 100 year storms seem to slam us every year. I am not a pessimist and see the glass as half-full most of the time, but I do have to admit that the past 18 months have been tough and the past 6 months, while a bit better still have room for a lot of improvement.

I know that I am not the most intelligent person in the world, so I plan to keep muddling along, making the best of the life that I have, without bothering too many other people. While being flexible enough to adjust to life’s numerous surprises, run until the old body isn’t able to anymore and keep smiling as often as I can.

Here is to a better rest of 2021 and beyond.

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