Reading and Not What I Intended to Write When I Started.

One of my passions since high school has been reading. Yeah, I am one of those old nerdy guys that enjoys opening up a book and getting lost in the world that the writer has created with their words. Although I do have a pretty good eBook library too.

Initially it was the old Superman, Batman, Aquaman, Justice League of America, (the DC Comics) each issue cost twelve cents and I would go over to Johnny Foster’s little store on Main Street in Newport several times a week to see if a new issue had come out, to thumb through the ones he had in on his twirling rack. I never did get into the Marvel Comics heroes, although Spider-Man and Dr. Strange were the exceptions.

I really think that I learned to read more and better with those comic books than I ever did in school and the boring crap that we had to deal with there. I still can’t remember a single book I read in school before high school, even though every year we read quite a few. Though I remember buying books through their scholastic book sales.

The other place that I learned to love books for their own sake was in my grandfather’s living room, there were always Zane Gray and other westerns around to pick up and read or re-read if there was a rainy day outside or I had finished my homework and was just sitting around waiting until I had to go home for the night.

In high school I was exposed to 1984, the worlds of Heinlein, Huxley and yes, Tolkien. All those Science Fiction and High Fantasy, along with many of the classics (that I hated to read, but am glad that I had them forced down my throat now). In study hall there was a pretty good chance that this nerdy kid was reading about the adventures of John Carter or flying in some distant galaxy, imagining himself as the hero of the story and getting so immersed in the book that the study hall monitor would have to come up and remind me to get my ass to the next class.

What does this have to do with anything Harold?

Well not too much has changed since high school when it comes to what I read. I still love high fantasy and while Tolkien is the basis for much of it, other writers have captured my imagination better. Writers like: Gaiman, de Lint, Brooks, McKiernan, Gemmel, Gavriel Kay and so many others.

The worlds they have created are so real to me while I am reading that I am transported into them and vicariously participate in their adventures there. Although I cannot say that I would want to actually live in those worlds, since death, pain, suffering, fighting, killing and dying are so much a part of the stories they weave. Though the great adventure and the obstacles overcome against the odds are fantastic to imagine being a part of, I have a feeling that the real Harold would not last throughout the opening scene and I would be one of the fodder for the evil antagonist.

That is why reading the adventures and using my imagination is much safer than living them and I think that is the way for many of us in today’s world. We do not take the road less travelled by…we merrily go down the road that is well paved (with or without good intentions) and take a break at what we believe to be a rest stop whenever things get too hard. Then when the obstacles in front of us get too difficult instead of attempting to find a solution (either within ourselves or with the help of others), we go to great lengths to go around the problem or attempt to ignore it until it cannot be anymore.

Sometimes we need like the characters in the books we read, face the problem or issue, no matter the long odds against us and see if we can find a solution that is better than continuing in the same direction that we always have.

Yeah, reading does require us to think about our own lives in comparison to the worlds and lives that the writers have created for us. No book is as simple as protagonist, antagonist, a problem, a journey, a fight or war, the low point, the solution, the heroic journey against all odds, the resolution and happily ever after. There are too many words in between that make us think of other similarities in our reality and the writers do attempt to make us see things from other perspectives than the single one we typically live.

Maybe that is why so many people in today’s world do not want to read, they want to live inside of the cocoon of the world they have created for themselves with no thought to how others might perceive it.

Therefore, they can always be right in their minds, although whether they are or not is open to debate by others, but very seldom themselves. Then again there is no debate in today’s world there is only my way and everyone else is wrong. All too often I see that when our beliefs or understanding of “whatever” are challenged that too many of us lash out and attack any and all that dare question us.

After all “the truth of what we believe” has many different aspects and it can be influenced by many things not the least of which are: power, greed, relationships or simply where one might live.

Kind of sad in many respects.

But then again knowing that you are “right” all the time is in itself is part of the problem isn’t it. Especially since no one is.

Wow – this post went in a completely different direction than I had initially started out to go. I thought I was going to write about the joys of reading Dennis McKiernan and his books on the world of Mithgar and I went down a few other rabbit holes. Well McKiernan would understand I am sure and the muses decided that I needed to write this instead.

The reality is that

Sometimes my fingers take me in a different direction than the brain had planned. Probably a pretty good thing, when you stop and think about it.

One of Those Mythical Top 10 Weather Days – RunLog 8-20-18

Yeah, today was one of those mythical top 10 days that I dream about and also tell me that Fall is just around the corner. One of those days where the temps were in the 70’s, low humidity and a light breeze that just begged to be run in.

This kind of day makes it so you just want to run…I was supposed to do an easy effort day and had to fight to keep the pace around 9:00 minute miles – that temptation to go faster was there the entire run. My Strava graph was not what you could call very consistent, because I kept speeding up and then had to slow back down again to keep the effort level in the easy range.

I had planned on doing my Tiffany 10K course, but as I got to the turn-around, it was so damn nice that I kept going out to Goodhue. Just a little further, but I wanted to keep going even further. I seriously thought about heading into Waterville and calling Mary to come and get me.

Yeah it was that nice outside.

In the end I turned around at Goodhue, I figured that it was better to stay on the good side of Mary than be an ass and just think about what I wanted to do. Plus I have a faster day planned for tomorrow with either a tough track workout or going to the Quarry Road 5K tomorrow night, so doing a long run today as tempting as it was, wasn’t in the cards.

Although…it would have been a perfect day for it.

This afternoon was moving lumber around, so I got about an hour of functional weight training in – always a good thing, because I hate doing weights and prefer the real deal as a part of doing actual work. Like carrying around logs on my shoulder or dragging brush to the pile to be shredded later.

Overall, it was a great day for being outside and I took advantage of it.

Although when I got done running, where I stopped up the road, this guy was hanging around in the road from a tree.

That was one big ass spider – they seem to be growing bigger up heah than they used to remember them.

An Interesting Week to Say the Least – 8-19-18

Yeah, the week that was.

I made a few changes to the blog – the name is now One Foot In Reality, the tagline has been updated and theme changed. Otherwise the content will stay pretty much the same, with a few added quirks as move forward. I also bailed from a couple of Facebook Groups that were going in different directions than I want to go and leave it at that. We will see how those changes turn out.

My favorite photo from last week:

Running was better than I thought it would be, though my right hip barked a little more than usual, it wasn’t as bad as it has been in the past. The weather is getting better, well not quite as hot or humid and the running shoe rotation is getting smaller. When you add in doggy daycare for SD2 and the contractors are working on her house lot next door, we have been busy.

So yeah, a lot has been happening.

Yard work

We are in the second week of getting SD2’s house lot ready for delivery of her house next Friday, so that has added to the stress and a bit to the workload around our house. It has also meant that I have had the “fun” of getting out the old chainsaw and chipper to do some of the stuff around our property as well. Which means getting 60 year-old muscles that haven’t been used to that kind of stuff, into the groove again.

Yeah, the muscles bitched and complained a bit. However, we have gotten rid of a few hazard trees by the power line to the house, an apple tree that we didn’t like and just general clean-up on the other side of the rock wall, from where SD2’s home will be.

Now I remember why I became a pencil pusher, this physical labor stuff is hard work.

Shoe Rotation

Reebok FloatRide RunFast — I have pretty much moved to Reebok shoes for road running, they just seem to fit my feet quite well.

I have found the Reebok FloatRide RunFast to be a shoe that does just about everything that I want from a pair of running shoes. It is light-weight, just enough cushion, is comfortable and works for me at most any speed I want to use it for – although it excels at going fast. If I had to choose just one shoe to run in going forward – the RunFast would be it.

The outsole is great on everything I have thrown at it so far, dirt, rain and tar. Now to get it on the track to see how it performs there – I have heard that the RunFast is exceptional on the track – now to find out.

The only things I would change is the next time I get a pair it would be a size 8.0 and while I like the classy looks of the white/yellow combination, I would prefer a brassy colorway that doesn’t quite show the dirt as much.

The white shows every spec of mud, dirt, etc., so in order to keep them pristine I have be careful about where and when I run. Yeah right – me…not gonna happen.

The RunFast will be used wherever and whenever I run in them and if they get dirty – that is the life of a pair of running shoes on my feet. They will either wash out or become stained. 😉

Reebok OSR Grasse Road — Now that I have the heel counters surgically fixed, they have become my second favorite shoe. I use them for easy/recovery and long runs without any issues.

Again, I would probably get the next pair in size 8.0, but the 8.5’s are doing a pretty darn great job of keeping my feet comfortable on my runs. The colorway is boring, but I will deal with it.

Reebok FloatRide Run ULTK — Yes, I picked up a pair of these on eBay and have not run in them yet. While the damage to my left ankle has almost healed, unfortunately, I feel the side wall just a little too much when I walk in them to go for a run in them – yet.

The one thing that I am not crazy about, well two things, but they are inter-related are how difficult it is for me to get a good heel-lock in these shoes.

It comes down to the lack of padding where the tongue should be and the plastic caging for lace-up. Although I have looped my laces through the last point in the plastic cage to get better lock it is still not quite secure enough for my skinny heels and if I crank down too hard on the laces, it bothers the top of my feet, so damned if I do and damned if I don’t so far in them.

I will take them out for a run later next week, but as of right now I don’t have a warm and fuzzy feeling about them as running shoes due to the heel lock/lacing pressing down on the top of my feet issues for me. However, as walking shoes and to wear around town – they are fantastic and I can walk all day in them, so at least they will get some use if I can’t use them for running.

Running

I ran five days last week, between the yard work on Wednesday/Thursday and some other stuff going on, I didn’t run those days. I won’t say that I rested all that much, but I did give the legs a break and the right hip seemed to like that. The left ankle that was rubbed raw a couple of weeks ago by the Grasse Roads is just about healed and the right heel blister from my work boots has stopped bothering, so the body is healing up pretty well.

This Fall I am focusing on running faster for me 5k/10K races at some poin and am figuring out how to best train the old body for that and what races I would like to do these attempts at. I am going back through some of books on training and looking at different philosophies about training for an old fart.

I know that I have limitations that younger folk do not have, that I am slower than I used to be and at least for me going up hills jacks the old heart rate up into areas I know it ain’t supposed to go if I push it too hard. So I have to figure out what works best for me and the body I have now.

More to think about on this, but until I figure out the direction I want to go, I will just keep plodding along and doing what I have been to see how that works.

I did two faster workouts in the RunFasts last week and both of them were in the rain. However, I did pretty good on the quarter repeats on tired arse legs and then I had 2 good miles and 1 that I should have done better, during my 5K time trial on Saturday. Even so, I still came within 30 seconds of my fastest 5K time this year, so it was still a confidence builder.

No long runs or trail work this week, but I did get 30 miles in for the 11th straight week, which is very consistent for me. Which is the most important thing…staying consistent and mostly injury-free. A blister or two here or there and the right hip discomfort I can run through pretty easily, as long as it keeps to those levels, I am happy.

The Reality is that

This was a really good week.

SD2’s house lot should be ready this coming week and we have gotten a lot yard work done that needed to be gotten done.

While I made some changes to this blog, I think in the long run those changes will motivate me to write a bit more and look at things from more than just a runner’s perspective and that is something that I want to do. There is more to my life than running, although if you talk much to me, you wouldn’t think so. 😉

I am finding that Reebok’s newest running shoes are working nicely for me and although the Run ULTK might not work as running shoes, as athleisure shoes they are quite nice – I just have to find out this week if they are running shoes for me or not.

Now to figure out how to best train the old fart here to run faster for 5K/10K distances and I will be pretty happy – although I want to do it injury-free of course. So I will be conservative and attempt to not train like a 20 something and be more willing to train according to what the body says is good, not what a particular plan has for that day.

The journey continues and the smiles are still here. 🙂

Time Trial and Some Memories – RunLog 8-18-18

I found my old 1983 Marine Corps Marathon race day shirt this morning and wanted to see how it felt running in it after so many years. Looking at it sure did bring back a few memories.

Unfortunately, when I ran in it this morning, I remembered some of the problems with a cotton shirt and it is not something I would probably wear to most races, plus the shirt is pretty stained and just looks grungy after all the years. Though I might drag it out for next week’s Quarry Road – just because. 🙂

I still wasn’t sure about what I wanted to do for a run this morning, it was drizzling and kind yech, so I really wasn’t into doing something overly long. Then when I walked Bennie down-back there was a crazy amount of traffic for there. Road construction has closed a section of the Middle Road and all the locals and a few GPS types are using it as a short-cut to get around the closure. Continue reading “Time Trial and Some Memories – RunLog 8-18-18”

A Few Changes Going On

Well it is mid-August 2018 and I got past another Birthday, something that I do enjoy celebrating and is a helluva lot better than the alternative. Each year, after that Birthday thing is over, I like to take a long look at where things are and if some things need to change.

Blogging

Actually I am pretty happy with my blog, but wanted to tweak a couple of things. Yes, it is primarily and will remain a place where I write my running narrative, along with some life or technology stuff and I don’t plan to really change the content all that much.

However, the more I looked at the title and tag line, do they really introduce or convey the message that I want for those who are nice enough to stop by my website and read my meandering thoughts.

Obviously if I am thinking that out loud, it probably is not, so I changed the title to my old blog’s name – One Foot In Reality. It just fits who I am and where I want to go in the future with it.

Which means the tag line needed to change a little too.

The Journey and Journal of an Aging Runnah, Who Still Smiles Too Much

It says everything that I need to say. Life is a journey and originally a blog was a web log or journal of things you wanted to share with others. I am aging and I am still a runnah from Maine. Yeah, I do smile too much because life is pretty damn good right now.

Also I went back to an old theme that I liked, but may change that to something else fairly soon. After all, I changed it before for a reason and when I figure that reason out, it may need to go. 🙂 Continue reading “A Few Changes Going On”

Speedwork Tuesday in the Rain – RunLog 8-14-18

Today was one of those days, where you just do the workout that you have planned, despite the high humidity and deal with it.

Let’s back up for a second though.

On Sunday, I had to do some brush clearing, which meant running a chainsaw for a bit. When I run one of those beasties I wear steel toed workboots. Now I haven’t worn anything but my running shoes for almost two years and my right heel wasn’t too thrilled by being encased by those old workboots and developed a pretty sizable blister on it.

Then yesterday I ran 7.18 miles at about just over a 8:40 pace, so my legs were a just a little tired long before starting today’s planned speedwork session.

Which is what I wanted.

Huh????

I wanted to have a workout where my legs were tired to begin the workout, so that I could see how well the old noggin, could push a tired body.

When I started the weather was hitting that 100% humidity level, which sucks, but what can you do other than keep one step in front of the other. However, once I got halfway through my mile warm-up, the rain showers started and stuck around off and on the rest of the run.

Which was okay with me, although it meant running without my glasses on, which makes for interesting running, since my depth perception is pretty screwed up without them..

However, by the second fast repeat, I took off my t-shirt and exposed my unmanned chest to world. I don’t think I scared anyone, but I know it felt a lot better running without the shirt than it did with it on. No I wouldn’t embarrass myself with photos what I look like without a shirt on. 🙂

It gave me a chance to see how the Reebok FloatRide Run Fast would do in wet weather – no issues, they had excellent grip and no new blisters came around. Although that right heel blister from Sunday’s brush work did raise its painful side each time I picked up the pace.

A little bit of that if you don’t mind, it don’t matter kind of thinking had to be drawn upon to offset that wonderful feeling of a blistered heel interrupting things.

With the high humidity and tired legs, I knew that the pace was going to be slower than I wanted, just the way it things work in those conditions. Instead I was focusing more on how well I was able to maintain a hard effort level than how fast I was going. Remember hard effort does not mean all-out, it is controlled, but difficult to maintain.

I was able to do 8 x .25 repeats on my road course, despite the construction going on at SD2’s new home site.

  • 1 – 1:44
  • 2 – 1:47
  • 3 – 1:48
  • 4 – 1:50
  • 5 – 1:51
  • 6 – 1:52
  • 7 – 1:51
  • 8 – 1:49

Like I said not what I call fast, but they were pretty consistent and I was able to make the old body keep moving even though the last four were not a lot of fun. They required me to dig pretty deep to maintain that pace for the full quarter.

However, the four planned 2 telephone pole repeats were out of the question. I was toast at the end of the last quarter-mile repeat and didn’t want to push the issue that much.

While I didn’t complete the full workout that I had planned, I did all eight of the quarters at a hard effort – not all out, but definitely hard.

A very good workout where the Reebok Run Fasts impressed me some more with how well they did in the wet weather.

Reebok OSR Grasse Road 50 Mile Review – 8-12-18

I can say that I have been on a Reebok running shoe kick for a couple of weeks. I have bought three pair and while things haven’t been perfect, things are starting to settle down to a pretty nice running shoe rotation.

The thing that I like best about the “new” style of Reebok running shoes (OSR and FloatRide) is that they feel great on the road, are wider in the toe box and hit a sweet spot for me when I run in them.

Enough so, that I am willing to overlook some the issues I have had with the heel cup or how my heels are held by the uppers on two of their shoes. Which is something I haven’t done for several years (shoes that do not fit right or cause blisters on my feet typically go away quickly).

First up is the Reebok OSR Grasse Roads, which I got on eBay for an pretty incredible price – under $30.00 delivered. No, I wasn’t crazy about the grayness, but at that price point for a new in the box pair of running shoes, well I couldn’t resist. Plus Sam over at Road, Trail, Run had given the Grasse Roads a pretty good write up back in the Spring. His opinion about running shoes is something that I take a lot of stock in. Continue reading “Reebok OSR Grasse Road 50 Mile Review – 8-12-18”

A Bit Out of Sorts, But Still Good – RunLog 8-11-18

I woke up around 4:00 AM this morning and immediately told myself that I wasn’t going to the Doc and Mardie 5K today and once I did that fell back to sleep.

MMMM what’s up, to be honest I have been wavering about going to the race, I am not crazy about the course (going up Mayflower Hill in a race situation doesn’t thrill me, I have run that course too many times), even though I am in pretty decent shape, know most of the people, would have had fun and was fairly certain that I would have done well.

However, something inside me besides not liking the course was telling me not to go.

When I woke back up I felt a bit out of sorts, nothing serious, but I felt “off”.

So I made up my mind not to go – again.

When Mary and I talked about what we planned on doing for the day, I told her that I wasn’t going to the race. I think that it surprised her, because I had been planning on running this race for a while. This was despite getting the Reebok FloatRide Run Fasts, how much I had talked about being super impressed with them on Friday’s run last night and how much I wanted to see what they would do in race conditions.

At 7:45 I still thought about pulling everything together and go, especially since the weather was just about perfect for a fast time on that course.

I didn’t go.

No matter what I was doing, I couldn’t shake that feeling that I wasn’t supposed to be racing this morning.

Even so, I counted down to the 9:00 o’clock start and while walking Bennie, I thought about where I would be on the course until I got to a certain time that I thought I could have done.

After that part of the walk, my brain fog, seemed to clear and I felt fine??? I am not sure what was going on, but it wasn’t my race anxiety or anything like that – this was different. I just knew that I wasn’t supposed to run in the race this morning.

Whatever???

Sometimes I really think know that I am a headcase, but instead of ignoring whatever was going on in my head, I didn’t go this morning.

Then I got ready to run 5.0 miles easy after I got done walking Bennie.

My run out to Notta Road was routine and nothing all that exciting, no flashes of white light, woo music or anything else that was totally weird. It was just a run.

The first 3.0 miles were all in the 8:50’s and the last two were a bit faster, since I had pushed a little harder than usual coming up Stevens Hill. It was your garden variety easy run, where I just put miles on the legs and smiled at the end.

Good run in the Grasse Roads, which seem to be working fine since I performed the heel cup surgery.

I just wish that I knew why I wasn’t supposed to be at the race this morning? Oh well, sometimes I have a feeling that it is just as well we don’t know.

All I know is that I wasn’t supposed to race this morning and didn’t.

First Run – Reebok FloatRide Run Fast 8-10-18

Another first run in a pair of running shoes Harold. WTFO???

These are a little different – a pair of running shoes that were released recently and were a birthday present from Mary. They are also the one pair of running shoes this year that I wanted to try more than any other.

The Reebok FloatRide Run Fast. Yes, I have tried the Vapor Fly 4% :-).

I ran my shoe test course for their first run. It is a very good test of how a shoe is going to work for me.

Now I have run this course several times and run over a 1,000 miles this year and when I run this way, without going into race effort levels, it tells me that something has changed.

The only thing that changed today was that I was wearing the Reebok FloatRide RunFast running shoes.

I know that these times are nothing special and are probably pretty soft. At the same time I haven’t run this fast this year. These times are for 2018 only, but to do this on the first run in a pair of shoes, on a day when I couldn’t decide whether to crank it up or hold back to save myself for the 5K Race in the next morning – says something.

Let’s back up a little.

Reebok running has come a long ways over the past few years from what I can see and have gone from department store level of running shoes to shoes that elite runners are looking at closely. Which in my mind is a very good thing, since I enjoyed running in some of their offerings back in the mid 80’s/early 90’s. Glad to see that they have made an effort to get back to their running roots.

After UPS delivered the RunFast last night, I walked around the house and was immediately impressed. The fit was just slightly long, but I had ordered the 8.5 and I am a true to size 8.0, but otherwise I liked the way they felt on my feet. Unfortunately, they were delivered too close to supper to get a run in.

Which meant that I had to wait for that first run.

This morning was a bit crazy around the house and my run didn’t happen until after noon. Which meant it was the hottest part of the day and I had a few walks and doggie day care stuff that left me a bit more tired than I wanted for that first run.

Also tomorrow is the Doc & Marcie 5K in Waterville and I have planned for a while to run the race, so I didn’t want to get too crazy running in them today. At the same time I wanted to see what they would do, so I planned to run fairly hard down to the end of my test course (Pepin Road) and then go easy on the way back to see how they were at a slower pace and running up a big hill.

With that being said, the RunFast once I started to run, wanted to run fast.

I started out and just ran, I did purposely slow down a little at the speed limit sign and then sped back up once I started down the hill. I didn’t give a race level of effort, but I got a bit above comfortably hard through the end of the first mile.

While running down Philbrick Hill I didn’t feel beat up like I have in some shoes this year and was able to quickly transition from the hill to the flat section. No issues with the RunFasts.

Once I got down to Pepin I cruised to the end and then shut down the effort level.

Coming back I purposely just ran easy to see how the RunFast performed at slower paces. I could tell that I had pushed a little harder than usual coming down and paid for it going back up Philbrick, but the legs/shoes were not the issue. It was more that thing called being able to breath well that was the tough part.

No blisters, hotspots or anything other than let’s go faster from the RunFast’s.

The FloatRide RunFast’s are a scary arse shoe to me and I have a feeling will encourage me to run faster than I probably should at some point. They are an easy shoe to just “go” in.

Now to get some miles on them and see what they really can do, I just wish that I could do them justice, but they are shoes that deserve someone much faster than me to be wearing them.

You know a crazy old fart who refuses to admit he is getting too damn old to have toys like this that encourage him to be foolish. :-). Naw.