Opting Out and Opting In

A little while ago, I deleted all my news apps, got rid of most of the newsfeeds that I could in Facebook, kicked more than a few political/newsy type blogs to the curb and guess what.

I don’t miss the hysteria, wailing, gnashing of teeth, how we are teetering on the brink of the end of the world as we know it.

It may well happen.

I will or will not be there when it happens.

Until it happens or I die, I plan to life a full and good life, that is not burdened by being constantly bombarded with all the ills and evil in the world according to the those who control the airwaves.

Since I did that dirty deed – that stop listening to or constantly reading the 24/7 news/blogging or hitting the next news link, I have noticed a huge change in myself.

I am calmer, more positive, I am not seeing everything as “is the the crisis that kills the camel” to hell with breaking its back. Even when given the opportunity to lash out at others that see things differently than I do, instead I am stopping to look at what purpose or who does it serve.

Usually it serves no purpose.

So I have opted out.

The news cycles are not the reason for my life and they are simply drowning the world in the use of words that emphasize the horrible, terrible parts of the news and make the vast amount of good that is in the world seem to be the tiny part, not the major part which I still believe that it is.

That does not mean that I have  buried my head in the sand about what is going on and the problems or issues that do exist in this Country or the World, but at the same time I have taken back my sanity.

I am returning to who I am.

That is part of the process I believe, that you get to take back who you are, when you stop letting others control the stories that you hear or read.

It was time

I could tell that I was getting pieces of me back when I started to read for pleasure again and become a part of the books that I was reading – a very good thing. Over the last week, I have re-read a couple of books – something that I did not have time or focus for before.

I was always too busy following.

No, I didn’t make a mistake where I ended the sentence, it was very purposefully done.

They were classic Sword and Sorcery Fantasy books – Robert Jordans’ First Book in the Wheel of Time series and Guy Gavriel Kay’s “The Summer Tree” the first book in The Fionavar Tapestry Trilogy (one of my all-time favorites).

Over the past couple of years, I have not been able to sit down and just read for enjoyment, I was too busy paying attention, thinking that I might miss something and attempting to keep up with the latest horrible news cycle that would be forgotten, when the next crisis loomed large.

For me, it is time to stop following, take charge of the life I live and not let it be burdened or consumed by the stories others deem to be the crisis du jour.

I like this path that I am stumbling towards, it will present many challenges, but also more than a few more smiles and who knows where it will lead.

All I know is that I have opted in to something that is more me and maybe us.

2015 to Now – Life is Good

As we get closer to the end of this forty-plus years of running highlights – that have included a few life stories as well, it gets easier, yet at the same time more difficult to tell the stories. I know/remember things better, but some of the memories are still too fresh for me to have…well processed everything through this brain of mine or include other people that may or may not want to be part of this story.

The things that I didn’t include surprised me, but then again it is me you are talking about here :-).

The years 2015 to Now

Way back in 2015 (which does seem life a lifetime ago now), I was running fairly well, weighed about the same as I did back in 1986, but still battling far too many little nicks, niggles and injuries. It seemed that every time I would just get going well, another “minor” inconvenient ache or pain would pop up. I know the reason now, but back then I could not figure out why.

Other than small issue running for the most part was pretty good during these years. Continue reading

Simplifying Online Apps Again

This year is the year where I am going through and purging, getting rid of and simplifying things in my life. It is not just a one-time thing where you go through things, get rid of some stuff and then go back to collecting even more shit as time goes on.

Just changing old stuff for new stuff and not have it be all that much better most of the time.

Nope, simplifying my life is one of those ongoing things that I constantly am aware of and that I keep looking for parts and pieces that can be changed, improved, used differently or gotten rid of.

This week I took another look at my online life and unsubscribed, deleted my account or trashed some apps that I decided no longer interested me. Along with a bunch of email subscriptions that I have accumulated over the years that I look at and wonder why I subscribed when I did.

Some will surprise you.

First up:

Running Apps

My Strava account has been deleted.

While I do believe that Strava is the best of the online running logs, let’s be honest – I really do not need or use it for much of anything other than keeping track of some other runners that I know or know of and the occasional screenshot for the blog. When I thought about it the other day, I don’t really need to see how they are training and going through and simply “Liking” their runs is not really all that important to them or me. It is just another web application that gets free use of our running data.

It was time to get rid of it.

It is enough work to keep my Numbers Spreadsheet and this blog updated. Although I might make more effort to use Garmin Connect, now that I do not have Strava. I have a feeling that I also need to go back to Daily Mile and all those other old online running logs that I haven’t used in a few years and delete those accounts too.

News

Then I deleted all my news apps off my iPhone and iPad this afternoon, including Apple’s News App. This ability to read multiple sources/takes on the same issues 24/7 while great, is also a huge source of stress in many of our lives. I am going to go back to a bit slower and old fashioned way of receiving news. Once a day I will watch the evening news and listen to the radio when I am my truck.

If something important happens, I am sure that there will be enough hugh and cry that I will find out about it soon enough. When there are stories that I want to read about more indepth, Duck Duck Go will be able to find good sources (I almost always look for more than one perspective on important issues) for me to read the rest of the story.

I just don’t need to have a dedicated news app on my iPhone or iPad to get the latest notifications of all the sensationalist 24/7 news of the impending end of the world as we know it, which seems to be happening every hour of the day or so it seems.

No I am not burying my head in the sand, but I am getting rid of some of the clutter and unnecessary chatter that adds nothing but noise to the equation.

Social Media

Finally, I got rid of my Instagram account or at least I think I did – if the password worked. If it didn’t I will try again, but Instagram will go away one way or the other. I haven’t added photos to it in months, very seldom go in and do more than like a bunch of photos and then move on. It wasn’t important to me and did not add value to my online or social media experience.

To be honest, I really thought about getting rid of Facebook and then thought better of it. I have culled my friends list again and kept fewer people. The ones that I actually interact with, know in real life or are relatives who without Facebook, I wouldn’t keep in touch with. Although I have a feeling that at some point in the future that Facebook will outlive its usefulness to me and it will go away.

The reality is that

People need to remember that all these computer applications whether they are online or local are supposed to be tools that help us improve our lives, not rule them. Sometimes the developers, big corporations who data mine our online lives and ourselves forget that.

I do not need the web and I survived quite nicely without it for most of my life and while I prefer the advantages it gives me and understand that I need to give up my privacy in order to be a part of the web, my electronic devices do not rule my life.

I get to choose which ones are a part of my online life and get to delete and not use the ones that do not meet my needs. There may be more surprises as I move towards a simpler online profile.

Something to think about – isn’t it.

Tired, Day Off and Good Run – RunLog 2-8 & 2-9

Yesterday, I felt my age and needed to take a day off from running and the elliptical. Yeah, snowblowing the driveway of 8-10 inches of snow on Wednesday night, getting up way to early for chauffeur duty, snow scooping the end of the driveway so I could drive out, then getting home, snowblowing the driveway and finally roof raking the garage roof.

After all that, I was exhausted.

So I didn’t bother to do a lot of anything else the rest of the day, other than going to my acupuncture appointment – something that was badly needed.

Thursday turned into a “rest” day. Although I think I burned more than enough calories over the course of the morning and had earned that easy afternoon.

This morning was cold again, but the roads were clear and I came pretty close to running into Planet Fitness, but when the temps were still in the teens after Bennie’s long walk, I decided that it was still a bit too chilly for running that far. TheWife agreed with my decision and seemed a little relieved that I had decided to not do my longish run outside today.

So the truck and I trundled into Augusta for Planet Fitness treadmill time. Continue reading

2011 to 2015- Life After Teaching

During this time, I went down the road less travelled and yes, it made all the difference.

Even though some of you may have already read previous versions of this post. Since I have started writing on Aging Runnah exclusively, I have decided to clean-up and re-publish my forty plus years of running series here on Aging Runnah.

There were a few rough spots, things left out and I thought it would be nice to share this old fart’s story of running over the years – yeah the story of how I became the runner I am today.

Yeah, this one is a bit longer than the others, but a LOT happened.

This post will be about:

2011 to 2015 – Life After Teaching

A huge part of my recovery from knee surgery back in May 2011, was that I tendered my resignation as a Special Education teacher that June to focus on getting my health back.

You see, when I had my knee operated on, I was over 200 pounds at 5’7″ (lots of flubber), stressed out to the max all the time, frustrated because I didn’t seem to be helping the students or not doing enough to teach them to help themselves. Nothing seemed to be working and it was making me grow old before my time.

I felt 80 going on 55. Continue reading

2008-2011 — Too Damn Many Injuries

January 2008 through May 2011 were the toughest years of my running life, I had so many major injuries that significantly reduced the number of days that I ran during these years. A quick run-down of the major ones:

• 1/4/08 – Fell off the Ladder while shoveling the garage roof

• 2/4/09 – Massive Migrane initially thought to be a stroke or Bell’s Pallsy

• 2/10/10 – Injured Right Knee playing racquetball that eventually ended up with…

• 5/17/11 – Arthroscopic Surgery Right Knee

Yes, there were many more “minor” things that kept slowing me down, but those were the ones that seemed to hammer on the body the most.

Continue reading

2000-2007 – A New Beginning

This post was written for and first appeared on One Foot In Reality.

Even though some of you may have already read previous versions of this post. Since I have started writing on Aging Runnah exclusively, I have decided to clean-up and re-publish my forty plus years of running series here on Aging Runnah. There were a few rough spots, things left out and I thought it would be nice to share this old fart’s story of running over the years – yeah the story of how I became the runner I am today.

This post will cover the years October 2000 thru 2007, which I consider the renewal of my running and personal life.

2000-2007 – A New Beginning

The new Millennium found my life in a complete upheaval and then renewal.

A lot went on before I met TheWife on October 2, 2000, went through our courtship, moving in and getting married in 2002.

2000 was the year that I re-kindled my love of running.

It did help that the then future TheWife was a runner and being runners played such a major role in our courtship.

I ran fairly consistently during these 7 years and even though I only raced once during that period, day-hiked a great deal, learned a little about kayaking, figured out that I didn’t mind treadmills for running during the winter, loved saunas, trail running and running with my wife.

The conversations and discussions that we have and had while running and being active together have helped us grow much closer than I think that we would have otherwise. Continue reading

1988 – 2000 — The Lost Running Years

This post was written for and first appeared on One Foot In Reality.

Even though some of you may have already read previous versions of this post. Since I have started writing on Aging Runnah exclusively, I have decided to clean-up and re-publish my forty plus years of running series here on Aging Runnah. There were a few rough spots, things left out and I thought it would be nice to share this old fart’s story of running over the years – yeah the story of how I became the runner I am today.

This post will be about the years

1988 – 2000 — The Lost Running Years

Snow Shoeing with Dad – I don’t have any running pics from this time.

This post will be about 1988 to September 2000. These are the toughest years for me to write about. A lot happened in my life professionally and personally that well…looking back were years that I made a lot of mistakes. Twelve years which I consider the “lost” years of my running life. I didn’t race at all and while I ran quite a bit during this time, I didn’t run consistently and it was more spits, spurts and far too often more than a little bit of indifference.

However, even though I didn’t run consistently or race much, I still would run around 200 days a year.

For many reasons and how painful some of the memories are for me me during this period, I have decided to make this post my most generic and will just skim through most everything and then move on.

Continue reading

1984-1988 New London and Meeting Some Greats

This post was written for and first appeared on One Foot In Reality.

Even though some of you may have already read previous versions of this post. Since I have started writing on Aging Runnah exclusively, I have decided to clean-up and re-publish my forty plus years of running series here on Aging Runnah. There were a few rough spots, things left out and I thought it would be nice to share this old fart’s story of running over the years – yeah the story of how I became the runner I am today.

To make things simpler I have broken these posts into somewhat chronological order, based on where I have lived and run. Some places will have their own posts, others will be combined sometimes I will even break out a particularly important event in my running into its own post.

This post will be about the years

Running 1984-1988 – The Glory Years

Well at least the time in my running life, where I ran well and had delusions of grandeur.

CGAS Cape Cod 10K – 1985 //

1985 & 1986 were my personal glory days when it comes to my running career. Starting in April ’85 until September ’86, I think I ran a different road race at least twice a month and traveled to a couple of out of state races, specifically to run them. Something that I had never done before.

During this time my race pace was usually between 6:00 and 6:20 pace, which really wasn’t that fast for the time period, but faster than I had ever run before or since. Hell every once in a while I would break that magical 6:00 minute pace barrier for a race and I thought that I could do even better, with a little different training.

Those thoughts of grandeur that runners get from time-to-time, which were also wonderfully dashed during this time period when I got to run with some really good runners for a while.

We moved to the New London/Groton, CT area in October 1984 and I found a wonderful running community at the Coast Guard’s Research & Development Center that was located over on Avery Point (yeah, the college). There were about 10-15 people who would run almost every day at lunch time, so it was very seldom that I would run by myself, unless I wanted to. It seemed like there was always someone to run with.

At first I had a hard time keeping up with most of them, but I got better with the daily runs. When they saw that I was going to train with them in all kinds of weather, they began to accept me into their running circle (this was before Google, Facebook and all the running apps).

Continue reading