It started off with Jeremiah (Phil’s cat), not doing well and us having to make an appointment with the Vet to see what was going on – he has been fragile and we wondered how long he would have. Unfortunately, his condition had deteriorated to the point where he couldn’t go on and we had him put to sleep. It was a hard decision, he was just beginning to become a part of our family, but he had a pre-existing condition that none of us knew about, that could not be corrected and would not have made it through the rest of the day.
It was hard, but the correct decision for the circumstances.
After we buried him, we had to go to New Hampshire, which gave us time to talk through what had happened with Jeremiah that morning. A lot more tears were shed and we grieved for the little guy. However, we gave him a good month plus, where he was definitely loved, gained a friend and pampered.
Once we got to Lancaster, we had to get ready for their hazardous materials free turn-in day.
Life goes on.
Once a year the Lancaster Transfer Station does this and the supervisor told me about it back in June. This was a day that I had been dreading, because I knew that the garage had a lot of stuff that would need to go away and by the time I finished loading, I had a full bed of stuff to go to the transfer station.
By the time I got done loading all the nasty stuff and with loosing Jeremiah earlier in the day, I had to burn off some tension. So while Mary was doing Bennie’s last walk I did a run. I didn’t feel like heading into town and then having to run back up the hill, so I decided to do laps around Hartco.
The first lap was fairly consistent, I went a little faster up the backside of the hill on Hartco than I usually do. When I hit the downhill on Rt. 2, I did pick up the pace quite a bit, the second lap was more of the same, but I did slow down going up the hill and picked it up going downhill.
Yeah, going downhill helps with the going a bit faster.
On the third lap, I slowed down quite a bit going up the hill on Hartco, when I finished the third lap it was only 2.66 miles, so I kept running down the hill until the 3.0 mile mark (Coos Canoe). I really picked up the pace to my “in shape” pace and held it most of the way down the hill.
Then I walked back up the hill to the house. I just didn’t feel like running back up the damn thing.
Overall, a good run, I got in three stretches of faster running and yes, I felt a bit better after it was done.
I was still sad about loosing Jeremiah, but at the same time I know that we made the last month of his life the best it could have been. Rest in peace my little friend.
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
Most of the time I attempt to stay apolitical with my online/social media stuff.
Honestly, it just is not worth the headaches, abuse or horseshit you gotta put up with from trolls or even people who are really pretty decent people for the most part, but who only see their side of an issue and don’t have a lot of regard for anyone who thinks differently than they might.
I have gone through some of my old blog post as I attempt to consolidate my blogs to one place and this one (along with a few others piqued my interest) and I decided to repost the video from days gone by.
Think what you will about Charlie Chaplin and take away whatever you want from the speech in the video, but listen carefully to the words that were spoken.
This is not a Democrat or Republican, Liberal or Conservative, or any of the other things that seemingly divide us in today’s world. I am not saying which is what I believe or what I don’t believe – all I will say is that the words in this speech every time I hear it, makes me stop and think.
Which I believe is a good thing for us all to do.
It is simply something to think about – if you dare to think without your prejudices (we all have them) kicking in and giving the typical knee-jerk reaction that seems all too common nowadays.
Take the 3 minutes to watch the video and then wait 10 minutes or so before saying or writing anything about what you heard. It is that damned old history teacher in me coming out to play one more time.
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.
Yesterday, yeah yesterday I ran up in Newport, Maine.
The place where I grew up and it is something that I attempt to do once or twice a year, since I consider it where I am from and in many ways it is still what I consider to be my home.
It is a nostalgic run that brings back childhood memories (good and bad) that is good for the soul.
Dad and I went out for lunch at Irving’s, he had his usual hot turkey sandwich and I had a bacon and cheese omelet. Of course we had desert, his was a humongous strawberry shortcake and I had a slab of lemon meringue pie.
Even though I retired again last Friday and have ran since then a few times, today was the first day that it felt like I was retired and not just on vacation.
What are you talking about Harold, don’t all the days feel the same to a retiree?
No, not really. Especially when most of the first week of being retired was spent over in New Hampshire. It felt like I was simply on vacation (even though it was a working vacation).
Today was the first day I was home when I normally would have been at work. It was weird in a good way, not having to rush to either get a run in before work or more likely with my summer schedule to get up do the morning routine and then rush off to work.
This morning I was able to enjoy breakfast, talk a bit with Mary, get caught up on the news that I wanted to read more about and then…was able to do some stretching and prehab stuff that I haven’t done regularly in two years before I went for my run.
Then instead of limiting a run to 3-4 miles, I was able to do my old Friday morning course (the Middle Road loop) and not stress out whether I had enough time to do it, shower and still get to work on time.
Instead I was able to relax, enjoy the running, well until I hit Warren Hill (which usually kicks my butt) and then when I got over to the dirt road down back – the Town had “fixed” the road earlier in the week. In other words a grader had gone up and down the dirt sections, filled in the potholes, smoothed out the road and loosened every rock in the county or so it seemed.
In other words until it rains a few times and gets packed down, the dirt roads down-back are now ankle buster or sore heels roads. Which meant that I had to slow down more than I was planning for the last mile and half.
Not a bad thing, but I definitely had to pay more attention to where my feet were landing and the Wave Plate on the Wave Rider 20’s became an ad hoc rock plate that really helped to protect those tender heels of my mine.
It was probably just as well, because I was getting pretty tired by that point. With everything that has been going on in June and this month, I have lost any speed that I started to get back and will have to work on re-establishing my base fitness again. Even though I have been running fairly regularly, I just feel as though I lost a lot of fitness over the past month or so.
Time to re-establish things and look at what I want to do this fall for racing.
Oh yeah, you will be so proud of me!!! I actually went into the back of the garage and did a quick 10 minute session with weights and hung upside down like a bat on my inversion table. It is something that I never made time for once I went back to work, but now…well let’s just say that I time is less of an impediment to doing things and I know that I need to start doing this a lot more often.
Especially when doing 5 pushups, 30 second planks are difficult and I am weighing in at 167 pounds – time to get back into shape and get my arse moving a little faster again.
Let’s see if I can get back up to banging out 30 pushups, 2:00 minute planks and get that weight back under 150. If I do those things, I have a feeling that the running will improve just a bit as well.
Even so, I think I am going to like this retired thing, once I get things caught up a little more.
Although I did get one thing crossed off Mary’s todo list for Harold, the ceiling fan in the living room switch broke while we were in New Hampshire and needed to be replaced – mission accomplished.
I have a feeling that something else will replace it on the list pretty quickly. Oh, the whining of a newly retired hubby who’s wife will find him plenty to do to keep him out of trouble…err from running too much.
We have been over in New Hampshire since last Sunday without any Internet, so I have been doing things old school and not doing a lot of online stuff. Not that I really had a lot of time, inclination or ummpphh left in the evening to do much else except rest up for the next morning.
We did get a lot done on getting things taken care of inside the house. I won’t say that my brother-in-law was a hoarder, but he was a pretty extreme pack-rat that had a place for everything and space was at a premium in a smaller home.
As you can see a truckload of computers, printers, monitors and assorted cables/accessories for recycling.
22 – Computer Towers
6 – laptops
16 – monitors
31 – printers
We cleaned and corralled LUR (loathsome, uchy and repulsive) stuff that was on the carpets, floors and walls. We have a different expectation of clean and there was a lot of cat fur floating around, dust bunnies and other things – we just named it – LUR. After several sweepings, vacuumings, carpet cleaning and wall washing – LUR is much less of an issue
41 bags of trash (over the last month), 7 trips to the transfer station, in addition to the stuff we gave away in previously, made the saying of one man’s trash is another’s treasure very true. There was a lot that we thought was trash, which was gladly taken by others.
All I can say is for such a small house, he certainly packed a lot of stuff into it and now there is a lot less stuff in there now.
The biggest thing that we ran into was a lack of hot water. The hot water is through the heating system, so no hot water, except what we warmed up on the stove – I wasn’t sure how to operate the system and we didn’t get someone in to show us until this morning. It was probably a good thing, the firebox in the furnace is shot, the stovepipe to the chimney needs to be replaced and will all need to get fixed before we can use it.
A pain in the butt, but something you work-around.
Now to get going on repairs that need to get done that we can’t do. So lots of scheduling, estimates to be gotten and then schedule the work…to be continued.
As far as my running goes.
Sunday – Summer Street to 3 to 2 Loop – Tough arse run! 78*F sun. After 3 hour drive and cleaning for 6 hours, I went for a run. Probably a mistake, but I needed it. I did well going down the hill, but by the time I got back to the hill I was pretty well toast. Did a little walking up the hill by the Commons and finished. That was good enough.
Monday – Same loop as Sunday – However, was a little cooler and made it all the way around the course. Although McDonalds did provide a pit stop for the second day in a row.
Tuesday – Upta Camp – running on the dirt roads up there. Some of the hills kicked butt, but overall a good run
Wednesday – DNR
Thursday – DNR
By Wednesday, I was just dead tired (physically & mentally) and running was the last thing I felt like doing, I had expended all my energy and this morning I did two more loads to the transfer station and then a 3 hour drive home. Nothing left.
All I can say is that the worst of the cleaning is done and it will be nice to go over, get things done and do some running around the area, beyond just that simple route that I found, but and it is a big but there are some serious hillage to get used to in the area. The worst part is just about every route means coming back up the hill that the house is on.
However, I will run.
Oh yeah, the Mizuno Wave Rider 20 EE’s – loving them. Best running shoe I have worn in a long, long time for my feet. Very comfortable and seem to be part of the solution.
After talking a LOT with Mary, we decided that it was time for me to go back to being retired. We have worked hard, been frugal and are in a position where I don’t have to work unless I want to.
While I like where I work and believe that what I do there is important and how I do it make me an asset, not an arse.
However, since Phil’s death, we have done a lot of thinking and talking about what is important in our lives. There is a LOT of stuff that we will have to take care of moving forward and my continuing to work will get in the way of what we need to do.
This morning I talked with my supervisor and submitted my resignation effective June 30th. She is a great boss and understood completely why I was getting done, but it didn’t make it any easier for me to actually do it. That guilt that is felt when you are a member of a team and then decide to leave is tough.
In spite of those feelings, I know that it is what needed to be done.
On July 1st, I go back to taking the road less traveled.