Over the years I have been a sucker for the next greatest thing in running. Running shoes, accessories, clothes, training plans and all the other assorted stuff that runners have thrust at them to supposed improve our running experience. Whether it was in one of the many running magazines that I was reading, a book who’s author knew a LOT more about running than I did or an Internet website that was part of the running community that seemed to be what I was looking for – all to help me “run better”
After all I have always wanted to run better, but unfortunately, it has not happened consistently and to be honest not all that often.
Yeah, I have been like the proverbial butterfly who flitted from training plan, training philosophy, ideology or whatever running bandwagon was popular at the moment. Even though I have lied to myself mightily and attempted to convince myself that it is only a matter of time before I figured things out and that all the stuff I have done is done to learn more about running.
At what point does everything become too much?
Information overload is a real thing.
I think that I have reached that point and am looking at many parts of my running from a different perspective than I ever have.
Let me be blunt.
Looking back with 20/20 hindsight, I can see that I screwed up my running pretty badly – making it into something that can never be for me, chasing the elusive magical running shoes, unicorn training plans along with being ignorant and stubborn about what I did know and more importantly what I didn’t know over the years.
Which actually meant that I have spent a small fortune primarily to set myself up for failure, injury, and unnecessary stress. Especially, for something that is supposed to be a fun recreational activity.
Yeah, I am finally starting to figure out that I need to change things if I want to continue to run for the long-term.
First and foremost, what does my running life look like now?
As this mind map shows, there is a bit of a convoluted mess going on with my running and this was something that I did in about an hour, just think of the mess I could make if I took time to really think about things. As it, there are far too many options in each area and sometimes the information that is now available to us all via the Great and Glorious Oz, err I mean Internet means that I want to try them all.
The problem with that is that what one idea, philosophy or brand brings to the table, another one can be found that is 180 degrees in the other direction. Which leads to far too many What to Fuck am I really supposed to do next questions – that I have not found good answers for.
What can I do to simplify my running
First off, I need to take a good look at that mind map to see what is necessary and what is fluff, duplication and make choices based on what is best for my running, not hype, marketing hoopla or stuff that is simply laying around the house.
Then I have to make some tough choices to cut down on duplication, because looking at the mind map, there are many areas where I duplicate things way too much. Some of the choices may result in my having to accept good enough versus this is neat as hell. I need to look at what the actual benefit to my running is versus my perception of something is – there is a difference.
Finally, I have to actually go ahead and do it. Not just give my choices lip service and then go back to what I have always done.
That will be the toughest part of the whole thing – the doing.
Now to get going and see where it takes me.
Hopefully, a more consistent and less stressed out runner who has more fun with his running – yeah make my running fun again.
At this point in my life, I don’t want or need unnecessary stuff going on, especially in something that I do enjoy doing as much as I do my running.
These changes will not happen overnight – well some of them might, but others I have already begun and will be making changes for a while to get where I need/want/should be with my running at this point in my life.
I guess it is true as we age, we do begin to see things differently.
Does this look like anyone else’s running, what have you done differently or done to simplify your running life. I am looking for ideas and suggestions and no I will not like some of them, but hell they might work a lot better than the ones that I have going on right now that are already not working.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
What does this accomplish?
Doing all that before you die does a few things.
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.
You have control over your stuff and what happens to it.
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.
This is the second part of a two-part blog post about my thoughts on turning 60. You can read the first part here.
Yeah, 60 that ominous sounding number that means you are old.
Being in your 50’s ain’t so bad, you are simply getting older, but 60…well now that is a different number altogether! After all, everything is supposed to be downhill once you reach…shhhh 60.
Well I guess a lot of the rumors, innuendo, the fake or real news and even a few factoids depends upon who you talk to, what you read and what your mindset is about hitting that milestone.
For me it is a number that I have to pay attention to and now that I am here carries a little more weight, but it does not define who I am anymore than 59, 38 or 21 did — I am still me. Although my perspectives on life and what I consider important in my life has changed as I have aged.
Which is as it should be.
I do wonder at times how I even reached this grand number with some of the dumb shit I have done over the years, but I have and it is a lot better than the alternative – being dead.
Yeah, I have also become pretty damn blunt.
I have given up on dancing around the facts as they are or at least how I see things. What most other people think of me doesn’t matter all that much to me now. It is more important how a select few view me and how I view myself.
It took a long time to learn that lesson.
Also I don’t expect that on the day that I turn 60 that my body will fall apart or suddenly everything changes overnight – at least I hope it doesn’t :-). I have a feeling the way that I run the day before the I turned sixty, will be pretty much the same way that I run the day of my birthday and for a while after.
The big question is for how long?
The changes that will happen as I move into my 60’s are more insipid and incessant, sort of a speedy gradual (if that makes a bit of sense to anyone else but me), a diminishment that will become an out of control snowball at some point in my future.
It is just a question of when, not if. Although I do want to slow that snowball from getting too big too quickly.
Reaching 60 means that I have to work harder to maintain what I still have for as long as possible, because I sure as hell can’t stop the inevitable decline in both my physical and mental abilities that will occur as I continue to get older. All I can do is delay things within my control by continuing to run/exercise, eating a little better and living a good life where I get to smile a lot.
Enough dithering and blathering about turning 60. I have done enough of that over the past few days.
So what are my running ideas going forward?
Dream Big or is it Big Dream
“Everyone says to (whoever to hell “everyone” is) have a big arse scary as hell goal so that you don’t let what you think you can’t do, get in the way of what you actually could do.
Let’s see, become a world class and champion 5K masters runner in the 60 and older crowd.
Then reality bit me square in the arse and I woke up.
Yeah, I am not going to be an elite masters runner.
No, I am not limiting myself as a runnah, I am admitting the truth to myself that I don’t have the ability or mindset to make the sacrifices in my life that it would take to become one.
Okay, now that I have gotten that bit of silliness out of the way, what are my real thoughts about my running (notice I didn’t use that word “goals”), yeah ideas on where I want my running to go.
I have had my share and maybe more of injuries, due to stoopidity on my part, thinking or believing that I am better than I am (attempting to train beyond my conditioning/abilities) and sometimes just plain bad luck. This year has really been a fairly consistent year for running with just some minor hiccups that have a more to do with equipment choices earlier in the year, than injuries that seems to have cleared itself up.
I want to be healthy enough to able to run between 30 and 50 miles a week (depending on where I am in whatever training cycle I am attempting) for the next 20 years or so.
Focusing less on the speed side of running since it is going away and will continue to. At the same time I know that I need focus more on working with the speed that remains – carefully.
Talk about some double-speak there!
The legs might still be able to run sub 6:00 minute pace or faster for limited distances (I still seem to have a few fast twitch muscle fiber left from the glory days), but that doesn’t mean that I should be attempting to run that fast very often or all that far, especially since when I do, things tend to break, tear or hurt like a son of a bitch after I run that way. Plus the stamina for that kind of pace, just is not what it used to be.
Yeah, in other words stop worrying about breaking 20:00 minutes for a 5K or even 6:00 minute miles, those glory days are long gone and are simply memories now.
I need to focus on giving my best effort when I am racing and being satisfied with the time based on the effort I was able to give that day – based on the conditions, my conditioning, health and whatever is going on in my life that day. The times should get better for a while as I working hard on getting in better shape, but at some point there is going to be a slowing down in times for the same amount of effort.
It does kind of suck (a LOT actually and to be honest it has already started – what used to be a nice comfortable amount effort to run at a sub 7:00 minute pace is now about a 8:30 minute pace), but it is the way the aging process affects the old body. Also that attitude is a little more realistic and lot less stressful for an old fart to attempt, errr do, rather than always chasing a specific time goal that would only matter to me anyways.
I do know that I will enjoy the racing more without the artificial numbers to chase.
It doesn’t mean that I will always be satisfied with my effort though ;-).
Take Time to Smell the Roses
I know, a competitive kind of runner doesn’t stop and smell the roses, they just run their arses into the ground training and only smell the roses when they can’t move after a race or workout and are laying on the ground gasping for air, accidentally laying beside some roses.
Since I ain’t gonna be one of those Elite Masters Champions anytime soon and will have a hard time placing at most events in my age group locally, much less the open competition – it is time to let go of the hyper-competitiveness and start learning to enjoy running more.
This will be one of the more difficult things for me.
Even though I am not a good or great runner, I am just a “little” competitive and know enough about running and myself that I get caught up in “if only I…and then I attempt to go out and do it, even though it puts me into stoopid land a little too often. Then I put loads of artificial pressure on myself and end up with all of that race anxiety shit that ruined so much of my running life.
Gotta be smahter, let it go and yeah, stop and smell the roses a lot more.
I gotta remember that technology is a tool to help me with my running and creating data points is not the reason that I run.
Stay with the more traditional EE-width rounded toe shoes, so that I can run longer distances more comfortably. Pointy toe running shoes even in EE-width just don’t work and there are not too many D-width shoes that have worked too well either over the years.
My left Achilles does better with a 10-12mm drop shoe versus the lower drop. Even though I do probably run a little better/smoother in the 4-6mm drop shoes, but they leave the Achilles way too sore afterwards.
The reality is that
As an aging runnah I think a lot about my running and what, where and how my running will be after 60. In that I have a feeling that I am pretty normal for a runner, not that runners are normal or that I want to be “normal” whatever to hell that is in today’s world.
Yes, I know intellectually that I will slow down, get injured more easily when I do stoopid stuff, take longer to heal things back up, but as much as I know that in my brain, sometimes it doesn’t seem to change how I try to do things.
Simply because I have a hard time doing things like the old fart I am becoming is supposed to do them – that not aging gracefully thing that I tend to overdo or is it overlook.
Talk about a dichotomy!
Oh well, let’s see where my adventures in running go as I get older and hopefully I don’t think too much my running – that is sometimes a big problem too. I really think that I need to focus more on just keep doing it and let go of the little things that really don’t matter anymore.
Turning 60 isn’t scary, but it is a complicated concept to wrap my head around, with so many conflicting ideas and feelings that I have about it.
Especially, the part where statistically speaking, I only have another 10-15 good years left, before things really turn to shit, but that is a different post for a little later.
Until then I plan to live well, keep on keeping on and smile a lot – after all Life IS good.
Yeah the title says a lot about what is spinning around in the old noggin tonight. After tonight I will not simply be getting older, I will be old – according to the numbers. I hear people screaming – you are only as old as you feel and all those other sayings that people use to deny how freaking old they really are – those sayings are just a bunch of horseshit thrown against the wall by people who are afraid to be old.
I am as old as I am and there ain’t no fountain of youth that I can drink from that will change that fact.
We ALL age, get gray hair, the body is not nearly as purty in the mirror (I know that mine is not and never was), but you know something, while getting old is not easy, for the faint hearted or those who don’t know who they are – from where I sit right now, it really isn’t all that bad.
I will be 60 years old tomorrow and it is a fact that I am rather proud of.
Turning 60 does not mean that I will self destruct or the wheels will fall off immediately, it means that I get to continue to make the Grim Reaper chuckle at my lame attempts to stay half a step ahead of him (or her).
After all, I gotta make someone smile every so often.
Let’s talk about that last run as a 50 something.
This morning Bennie and I ran 4.0 miles, where I purposely kept things pretty slow – the humidity was too high for a hard run and Bennie doesn’t do well in the humid stuff. He did his usual Bennie stuff, but only got to chase one car and when given the option of stopping at 3.3, he kept running.
So I had to keep going too.
It didn’t matter that the humidity levels were in the stooooopid range and it looked like I had gone swimming in my shirt and that the hat was raining sweat. Bennie wanted to keep going.
I was not sure why, his tongue was hanging out of the side of his mouth so much that I thought it would drag on the ground a couple of times :-). We ran up to the top of the hill and came back down. There was a family (some of the new people on the circle) out walking.
When Bennie saw them everything changed, he perked up, his tongue went back in his mouth and he started to run. We didn’t go “that” fast, he had a damn anchor attached to him, but even the anchor got his form back together, got out of survival shuffle mode (old man shuffle) mode and sort of looked like a runner for almost half a mile.
After we finished, a couple of little girls commented on the cute little puppy that had passed them and asked if they could pet him. He seemed to understand and walked me over to them and sat right down in front of them and looked back at me and then at them, with a big doggie grin.
Bennie seemed to say it’s okay Boss, this is why I wanted to run that extra lap, I knew this was going to happen. The girls patted and rubbed his head and he just sat there and drooled on the ground while his tail was wagging away. The older ladies who were with the young girls asked how old the dog was and everyone was surprised when I said around 9 years old.
The girl’s grandmother (she is the newish neighbor) said he is the same age as you are! The girls continued to pat and rub Bennie’s head an he stood up and just ate up the attention. Finally, the grandmother said they had to go and Bennie just walked over to the side of the road and watched them go. He still had that doggie grin on his face and you know something, I smiled at him too.
We walked a little ways up the road to cool off, before turning around to cool off.
It seemed like Bennie knew that he was supposed to do that extra lap, so that those little girls could pat him and tell him what a good boy he was. 🙂
It was a great way to end my last run as someone who is just getting older, you know one of the multitude of 50-somethings out there.
Yeah, looking back at it tonight, it was a good way to end this decade of my life and to get ready for the next one tomorrow.
Good night dear readers and I hope that the morning finds you as well as it will me.
This is the first part of a two-part blog post that I have been working on as I careen toward my 60th birthday. In this one I will focus on where I have been as a runner and about where I am now. The second part will be about where I am going, well at least my ideas on where I would like this old body to take me.
Now that I have retired again and have had some time to settle in, I have been thinking a little…well a lot about my running and where I would like to see it go. Especially since one of those decade birthdays is upon me this weekend.
Let’s get be brutally frank about where and what I really am as a runner.
Age. I turn 60 soon, so my best days as a runner are behind me, just the way it is.
I know that I can and will make many more great memories as a runner, but the days of running fast and pain-free are distant memories.
I am a never-was. At some points in time in my running life, I had opportunities to be a decent runner, but my battles with race anxiety, not willing to get too far into the hurt locker, life getting in the way and being a total head case, I never took really advantage of any potential I may have had.
I am one of those 5:00 minute mile guys that was mentioned in “Once a Runner” – if you don’t understand you need to read the book.
Not really all that sociable. I don’t like running/racing with lots of people, hell I don’t like being around lots of people at any time even when I am not running. So running in a big race with lots of people there just ain’t my thing. Which means I stick to the smaller local races/events, when I even go to them.
I do fine with individual or small groups, but more than that – I probably ain’t too happy or comfortable.
Out of Shape. Right now I am nowhere near the kind of shape I want to be for training or especially racing. First and foremost I need to lose at least 15 pounds. Then I have to work on getting stronger, I can barely do 20 push ups (I couldn’t do 10 a month ago), so I know I have a lot of work to strengthen up the old body. That and having two 2×4’s attached with screws for ankles mean that I am not all that flexible.
Those are a few things I need to take care of before I can call myself back in shape.
Injuries. My left ankle/Achilles still have way too many issues and I have to be very aware of how the Achilles is doing at faster paces. I don’t want to totally screw things up and yes age does play a factor into rehabbing – everything takes longer to heal. I did have some Plantar Faciitis issues earlier in the spring, that seems to have cleared itself up.
Otherwise I am a good place when it comes to injuries right now
Age Grouper. Depending upon who shows up at races, I might take an age group locally and have even had a few surprises come my way in the past when a LOT of people didn’t show up. However, in larger local races (where people do show up), I usually finish ahead of the middle of the pack, but not all that far ahead.
Technology. I love it and I hate technology when it comes to running. I love that I can put my running logs into a spreadsheet, get accurate mileage, share my runs online with Strava or Garmin Connect and even my thoughts here on my blog.
Technology in the running world marches on and while technology has its place, it is not the reason that I run – you know to make data points that can be graphed, studied and dissected.
Sometimes I miss the simplicity of running in the early days and attempt to live without the quirkiness of technology and running, but I get back to wanting the tech back pretty soon, when I stop using it. I has its place in my running.
Running Shoes. I give my running shoes too much credit when things are going good and WAY too much negativity when my running is going bad. Realistically, a lot of different brands/styles of running shoes and for the most part unless they alter my running mechanics, I can run in most shoes, it just doesn’t mean that I enjoy running in all of them. I really think that when I got to reviewing running shoes as a big part of my blogging, it skewed how I viewed running shoes and what I expected from them.
This spring I finally figured out that my feet are Hobbit feet and because they are short/wide, that I need to wear EE-width shoes that have a rounded toe box. That way my Tailor’s Bunionette has room and doesn’t push my little toe against the 4th toe cause all kinds of misery for me during a run.
What I have learned is that there are some running shoes that I want to run in and that is vastly different perspective than running shoes I can run in. I am looking a lot closer what works for me, versus always looking at the newest and greatest marketing drivel or latest and greatest offerings from multiple brands all the time.
The reality is that
I am an old fart, who is comfortable using technology, but doesn’t really like being around lots of other people or travelling too far to get a run/race in. I am a little better than some, but not really good enough to be anything more than a local age group competitor. Over the past few months I might have even figured out the issues I had with my running shoes over the years and it is making a pretty huge difference in my comfort level during longer runs.
If I am honest with myself I always thought too much about what I could have been as a runner, if I had only done x, y or z.
The thing is that I didn’t or couldn’t do x, y or z.
Unfortunately, I have never been able to let what might have been go. It has haunted me for far too long and I need to accept that time has passed me by and move on. Bury the what might have been.
Now – is about what I still can do and more about what I want to do going forward, because despite all of the ups, downs, disappointments, anxiety ridden moments that are part of my past as a runner…
I still love to run and running is a part of who I am.
I am very comfortable with that.
Now to move on to part 2 of this post. Sixty – Where Do I Go From Here
Sometimes you just gotta go with the flow and while I have purposely not talked, well wrote a lot about my times or used charts/graphs/screenshots of them here for a while. I have mostly used descriptive terms to indicate how my run was that day. Today is a little different and no I am not bragging, thinking I am all that or anything else. I just want to remember today’s run and the graphs/charts tell the story more succinctly than I can.
This morning’s run was supposed to be an easy 4-5 miles and that changed pretty quickly when Coach Bennie decided that we needed to stretch out the legs a little. It also helped that the temps were in the lower 60’s, just a light breeze, overcast and fairly low humidity.
You know a semi-perfect day for a good run and still work up a good sweat.
Actually my overall time for the run was in what many call my “No Zone” that 8:30 to 8:59 pace zone that is not fast enough and not slow enough according to the “Experts”. However, my overall pace for this run is the not the whole story of the run. It doesn’t give an accurate picture of the telephone pole intervals and Bennie being willing to go for it too.
As you can see Coach Bennie started off reasonably, then he saw his favorite neighbor and sped up to catch/greet her. After that there were 11 Bennie stops for him to do his business and I figured that after the first couple because they happened so soon in the run that I might just as well see if the legs had any juice left in them at all.
Down on the flat (lower gate to Blake) I won’t say that we ran faster, but it was a pretty good tempo run pace at or below an 8:00 pace (which was Saturday’s race pace). So I was happy running a little quicker than usual between Bennie stops and figured we would peter out after a couple of miles – that is usually what happens lately.
Then I got this bright idea to really pick up the pace toward the 1.0 mile mark to see how it felt.
Not too bad.
So I thought, why not do telephone pole intervals and get some short, but faster speed work done. Harold you are a crazy old bastid, you just can’t go winging workouts like that, can you?
Yes, I can and did.
Every so often I would throw in a telephone pole or two interval, when I figured the old body had recovered sufficiently from the previous one – to do another one. I wasn’t sure how many I would be doing or where they would take place, but I wanted to get the legs stretched out a bit and Bennie wasn’t complaining a bit at the time.
Although on a few of his Bennie pit stops there wasn’t a whole lot of product being put on the ground when that leg was lifted and the back leg was a little shaky. I wasn’t too worried about it because he would look up at me with that doggie-grin and seemed to say “I’m ready for another one, get your arse moving you old fart!!!” and off we would go down the dirt road for another interval.
Actually, I was feeling pretty good about everything – the left ankle wasn’t hurting, but it did let me know that I wouldn’t be too smart if I did all-out sprints, so I just stayed in a nice controlled fast running pace and it stayed pretty happy.
Then coming down Blake to the flat, I remembered that I have a segment there that I used to run for time quite often back in 2012-2015 and figured it would give me a good idea of where I was compared to then. So we picked up the pace at the corner and was clicking right along. Up past the lower gate, I saw something cross the road and then it came back out and stopped to look at us – a deer (wondering who or what the hell was coming down the road.
At first Bennie didn’t see it and it jumped into the woods, but came back out and looked at us again. This time Bennie did see the deer and went into overdrive. I heard in my mind “get the deer, get the deer, move faster and we can have venison for supper”. No Bennie we are not catching the deer and at that point we got to the lower gate, my 3.0 mile buzzer went off, the deer jumped into woods (it figured out that whatever we were it wasn’t worth sticking around to see) and I needed to breath.
Bennie’s tongue was hanging out of the side of his mouth, his legs were quivering, while he tried to nonchalantly water some weeds and I was standing there with my hands on my knees, desperately gulping in air like a beached whale.
I haven’t run that fast for that far in a while.
Unfortunately, I had forgotten where the segment ended and didn’t quite finish it. As it was I was only 8 seconds off my best time of 1:16 and 11 seconds off the all time record of 1:13 for the segment. The 1:24 included the 5 seconds to auto-stop time and then the jog to finish it off. So I ain’t complaining.
Mile 3-4 was a cool-down mile and yes, I walked up a part of Stevens Hill to get my heart rate back down to reasonable levels.
Overall, this was a surprise speed workout that I am going wow over. No I ain’t bragging about how fast I am, because I ain’t all that fast, but I wanted to have this post as a reminder for myself that I can do the work and still push the pace every once in a while. It is just for shorter lengths and on the downhills or flats.
Another week in the books and yes, it finally feels like I am doing something more than being on vacation – a helluva lot of work is getting done versus being on vacation.
Went over to NH again and worked around the house and camp again, but the trips to the transfer station, should slow down quite a bit. However, now comes the fun part, lining up the contractors to fix things that need to be fixed (now that we can move around in the house) and working through the other stuff that still needs to be done. No where close to being done, but now it is process related versus everything else.
We are getting things done around our own house too and are starting to get rid of old junk that we have just lying around, we learned a lot about the importance of being minimalistic when it comes to possessions. We will have our own yard sale to get rid of what we can, then take the rest to Good Will. They can deal with the rest of it.
Running-wise, I actually ran in a race (read about it here) and while I did about what I expected to do based on what my conditioning actually is, it gives me a baseline and room for improvement as I get ready to move to that next age group in a few weeks. It is a bit sad to know that it was probably my last race as a 50-something, but as they say “time marches on”.
I have a little experience with this retirement thing or not being a part of the regular workforce to any degree, so when I left University College at the end of June, it was more like getting back to a schedule that I have previously worked hard to perfect.
To be honest it didn’t take me long to get back into the routine…you know the one that I had before I went back to work in 2015.
Here is a snapshot of a day in retired life:
Even though I put a particular time just to have some structure here, the time I/we actually get around to getting going can vary – dependent upon how I/we are feeling that day.
The clock is a guide (sort of), not the final arbiter of when things will be or get done. Continue reading →
I went back to University College today for a former co-worker, well actually my supervisor’s change of jobs luncheon, someone who over the time I worked at UMA became what I consider a friend as well.
It was the right thing to do, after all it has only been two weeks since I resigned and re-entered the world of retirement. That and the fact that I wanted to see everyone again too.
No earth shattering developments have happened in those two weeks back at my old job, I learned they are interviewing three potential candidates for my old position, got caught up on the gossip going on around campus, a couple of people seriously asked when I was getting off vacation (they didn’t know I had left) and mostly I enjoyed seeing people who I hadn’t seen in a while.
Heidi had a great send off to her new position in another department in the University of Maine System – definitely a promotion and one she will excel at, without any doubts.
So that was all good.
Congratulations Heidi on a job well done, you were one of the best bosses I have had and I know that you will do great in your new position.
It was also like several experiences I had in the military after being transferred and you go back to your old duty station or old office. Even though you know everyone there, what they do and they act genuinely glad to see you (because for the most part they are), it is different.
Once you leave, you are no longer one of the team, not a part of the day-to-day banter, you are looked at as someone who used to be there and for whatever reason left.
I know because I have done it myself several times to former co-workers. It is human nature and not done to be mean, rotten or nasty, it is more that people have to keep moving forward at work and you are no longer part of that workplace team (even if it is in the same building).
Leaving might have been the best thing for the person leaving, but it always causes disruption to the lives of former co-workers who have to pick up the slack and work that you used to do, until they get new people in and trained. The old well-oiled team that knew their responsibilities has changed and most people do not really like changes in the workplace, especially when it disrupts what they do.
No one ever tells someone who has left and comes back to visit, that their leaving made their former co-workers lives miserable and a lot harder at work. Instead they all ask “how are you?”, “I hope you are doing well.” and other similar positive comments meant to create small talk and make everyone feel more at ease.
Today was no exception for me.
The easy banter that had been the norm, felt…well different, a little forced and I knew without a doubt that I was on the outside looking in and as more time passes it will only become more evident with each time I go back to visit.
In other words no matter how hard we tried to act “normal”, the truth was that today things were different and I wasn’t part of the UCLS team anymore.
The thing is despite being gone only two weeks, it seemed like a lifetime ago that I left University College. While I might miss some of the people, our daily conversations and the friendships I made, I don’t miss being there.
That was pretty evident today.
It means that I have moved on and made the right choices for me, at the right time.
Hopefully, I will keep in contact with Heidi, Helene, Brenda, Steve, Stacie and some others. Facebook is something that makes keeping in touch with former co-workers much easier, so it should be interesting to see that side of their lives – the one they show on social media.
However, I don’t see me going back to UMA for purely social visits all that often, if any. It is too awkward for me and them, besides they are too busy getting work done, to sit and blather too long with some old retired fart.
Although I do plan to wander around the UMA trails every so often, so they might see me parked out in the parking lot and if they wander over to yak – that will be a good thing. Who knows maybe someone will want to talk over a nice lunch someday – I think I can fit it into my busy schedule.
Some good advice that I got from a very smart man, many years ago, when I came back to visit one day at a previous duty station as I was leaving and he was shaking my hand to say goodbye.
Walk away, move forward, keep smiling and keep making those great memories.
You can’t keep going back to where you were – once upon a time.
The more often I do this, the more I see the truth in his words.