We went to a wake this afternoon and while it was for a close relative, unfortunately it was not for someone we knew very well. There were many reasons for this, but we believed that us going to the wake was the right thing to do.
Wakes are never easy, especially when they are a pretty close member of the family. While we had rebuilt some bridges last summer, there was still a sense of complexity and awkwardness about life’s moments more than 60 years ago, that got in the way of knowing the person who died better.
Sometimes it is just the way things are and it is sad, but it is the way life turns out. However, I have learned over the years, that thinking about what might have been does not work or serve any useful purpose.
You need to keep moving forward and continue to do the best you can with the curveballs that life throws your way. Sometimes things work out and other times life just passes us by.
Rest In Peace – Peter.
Although we did have the chance to meet another close relative, who is someone that we would like to know a little better and perhaps learn a little more of the family history from a different perspective.
Time will tell.
I guess after writing that, writing more about something as trivial as running, seems rather gauche.
So I will just say that I had a good run on the treadmill and leave it at that.
Have a great evening everyone and if you have family that you really don’t know that well, don’t wait until their wake to go see them – it is too late then. Do it now, while they are still alive, you might be surprised at who they are and what you do have in common.
Probably more than you think.
Sometimes you just have to take a chance, put yourself out there and see what happens.
While on Bennie’s long walk this morning Mary and I were talking about the storm that was coming. Which got me to thinking even more about the amount of snow on the garage roof. Originally, I had planned on running to Augusta, since with the storm coming it probably ain’t gonna happen this week otherwise.
However, the more I thought about it, the more I knew that I had to get the snow off the roof before, not after this storm.
No long run today.
Yeah, the next N’Oreastah that is going to whack us with 12-18 more inches of the wonderful white shite, with blizzard conditions tomorrow. After the last storm the garage roof had two feet or more snow in places and I could either wait until the coming storm is over or get it done today and hope there are no more storms to work on the roof again.
Now this was not that light fluffy stuff that is easy to move, it was that heavy stuff with a crust on top. Nasty crap to move. It took me two hours of pretty much constant effort to clear the shite off the roof.
Which to be honest about tuckered me out.
Enough that I didn’t even try to do a run after I got done. I know that I felt this workout in every part of my body. Even though I used the snow scoop, using the upper body for that long, while performing a balancing act on a snow covered, sloped roof to avoid dealing with gravity’s wonderful grip and that sudden stop on top of crust that has been thrown down was fun and exhausting.
I had thought about doing a run this morning after I got done, but after all that physical activity on the roof work, my body told me – ain’t no way. I sweat a bucket and felt as if I had already run a marathon – running just was not going to happen.
When I took my afternoon nap, it was one of those where you just go completely unconscious, I never heard anything and according to Mary never moved for almost an hour. I don’t remember going this deep into sleep cycles during the day for a long time.
I was pretty sure that after waking up from that nap, that I wasn’t going to go running at all today.
However, after taking Bennie for his last walk, I was feeling almost normal and decided to give it a go.
Well, I probably shouldn’t have and I gave up at 2.0 miles. It wasn’t that I couldn’t run or that the body felt like crap, it was more that the mind was still exhausted and I just didn’t have the focus to keep going. So instead of pushing the issue, I just shut it down and went inside.
I had a great workout this morning that won’t show up on my mileage or log, but definitely wore my arse out. There was a time when I could shovel off a roof and still feel good enough to run 4-5 miles without a problem. Unfortunately, that day was a few years ago and I no longer have that kind of stamina.
Yeah, being 60 does have its down-side.
Tomorrow I have a feeling with be a no run day, so I have a feeling that it is probably a good thing that I planned on a cut-back week this week. Getting 30 miles in probably ain’t gonna happen 🙂
The morning started out with the roads rather nasty, but by the time we finished walking Bennie for his long walk, they were mostly just wet. Yes, I could have run outside at home, but I had run down and back up Philbrick Hill yesterday and didn’t feel like doing laps up on top.
So I headed into Augusta to figure out something.
When I opened my gym bag in the PF locker room. Damn it, I had forgotten to put my GRR7’s in the bag like I planned and only had the Gravity 3’s in it. I am still using/saving the G3’s for treadmill and race day shoes, so doing a run outside.
Which made up my mind for me – to the treadmill I went. It was probably just as well, because if I had run outside in the Gravity 3’s, I probably would have run faster than I wanted to. Mondays are normally an easy day for me and at least on the treadmill, I can control the pace a lot better than I tend to outside.
I got on the treadmill and looked on either side of me and saw a couple of old geezers. Now to be honest they were probably younger than I am, but I do not see myself as old and when I thought about that I chuckled to myself. Stop and think Harold what do those 20 and 30 somethings think when they see you getting on the treadmill beside them.
Yeah – who is that old geezer?
Not taken today, but same treadmill.
I laughed out loud and one of the guys beside me just looked over at me like I had lost my head and then went back to watching the TV in front of him.
I chuckled and set the treadmill to 6.8 mph and ran that speed for 2.0 miles. Then I raised it up to 6.9 for a mile and then the guy on my left got done and a older lady (about my age) got on that treadmill. When I looked over at her (everyone looks when somebody new gets on the treadmill beside you), I smiled, didn’t make eye contact on purpose, chuckled to myself and went back to running.
To be honest I just wasn’t into running on the treadmill this morning, I wanted to make sure that I got home to eat lunch with Mary today, since tomorrow I have to take Dad to an appointment up in Bangor that will take most of the day. So I really was more focused on what time it was than getting into the run.
It was a mind thing and I had to play a couple of games with myself to get to 4.0 miles.
At 4.0 miles, I picked it up to 7.0 mph and kept telling myself that I didn’t have much longer to go. Then I kicked the last quarter mile, just to blow the cobwebs out of the brain and remind the old body, it could still things a long pretty good.
Sometimes I forget that I am 60 years old and that I don’t look a lot different than some of the other old guys wandering around the gym, when I look in the mirror. There are real biases against aging and it does affect how we view and think about those who are around us who look old – you know have that gray hair, wrinkles and all the stereotypical old people looks. Whether it is in the gym, store or wherever. Hell I find myself doing it too and that does bother me more than I want to admit.
I am old and if I think that way, I hate to think of how others look at me and others who are at least my age.
It is scary how we look at aging as something to be ridiculed or wished upon someone else, versus the idea of accepting that it is a part of our lives and the fact that we are lucky enough to become old. I know that it is something that I need to think more on and not just because I am getting to be one of the old ones too.
Another one of those *isms that we all have and hate to admit to.
I was visiting my old work today and had a conversation with a former co-worker. It was a great conversation and we got caught up on several things. However, the part of the conversation that really got me thinking was one part where we talked about some of the things that was stopping this person from getting back to exercising.
At some point I asked “What can you do?”
The person looked at me like I had grown another head, but stopped and chuckled. One of those “ah hah” moments.
I asked if they could you do this or that.
We bantered back and forth a few more times and they told me things they could do. The person started to get pretty excited by the idea of things they could do, while waiting for their operation, versus just sitting and waiting until it happened.
I said you have to block out time for it, when would you do it.
We narrowed it down to after their work day
I then asked if they had made an appointment in their calendar.
They said they had never done that for themself before. The person got all excited and made a recurring appointment for after work Monday through Thursday to start.
The person then started talking about getting their spouse to go with them and sounded pretty excited and upbeat about the whole idea of getting back to the gym and doing things that they could do.
When I left they had a pretty big smile and you could still see the wheels spinning round and round.
Now, I am not patting myself on the back or anything – I simply switched the person’s perception from all the stuff they couldn’t do, to simply look at the stuff they could still do.
However, too many of us (myself included), get so damn caught up in all the negativity around what we can’t do right now, that we forget about all the things we still CAN DO.
So many time when we stop and look at things from the can do perspective, we can do a helluva LOT more than we thought we could.
No it may not always be easy or even painless, but what if you can do it, how would that make you feel?
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