Make Sure Everything is Measured

The old sayings “if you measure it, you can improve it”, “if it is important, it can be quantified” or this quote:

“Perhaps what you measure is what you get. More likely, what you measure is all you’ll get. What you don’t (or can’t) measure is lost” – H. Thomas Johnson …

Yes, they are true, so very true.

As a runner, I ask:

  • How many miles did you run today?
  • How many minutes did it take you?
  • What was your pace?
  • What was your heart rate?
  • What was your suffer score?
  • How many miles are on your running shoes?
  • How many steps did you take today?
  • How many hours did you sleep, how many were quality sleep hours?
  • How much did you weigh today
  • Did give an alpha or numeric grade to your run?

All these metrics and so many others — dependent upon the sport, your level and interests.

Like most runners, I can be a bit obsessive about my running stats, because the numbers don’t lie, they give a verifiable snapshot of how I did during that particular workout, moment or period of time that I am attempting to measure.

They show when I going good, when I am doing okay and when things are going pretty bad. The good, the bad and the ugly as I like to call my running progress most of the time. The numbers and measurements that I get from those numbers tell me where I stand in comparison to other runners and the runner I used to be, and possibly give me an idea of the runner that I could be going forward.

However, are the numbers a true representation of you or I and the runners we are?

Has running…hell has life in general only become a series of measurements that are plugged into a computer program, graphed, averaged and where the one who has the best numbers – is the best?

What happened to all the things you can’t measure:

  • Being challenged and the satisfaction derived from picking your arse up out of the dirt and working hard to overcome the challenge in front of you.
  • Giving a piece of yourself, if you must call it this, sacrificing something of yourself for the benefit of others. That idea of giving back.
  • Being honest with the numbers that have accumulated. Not cherry-picking or cooking them to meet a particular expected or preferred outcome or to show how great you really are.
  • Being honest and not cheating to finish ahead your current abilities. Just because a friend qualified for X does not mean you have to also.
  • Being comfortable with who you are and the journey you are on. We all have different paths and perspectives on what happiness for us is and might be.
  • Being able to think beyond the numbers and think about what IS important.

And all the other things in life that are not quantified and reduced down to zeroes and ones then programmed into a graph or other display to show to the world what the numbers say you are.

What does matter and does it matter if you can measure it or…not?

I wonder if the numbers tell the whole story of our running or our lives.

Do we measure too many things in our efforts to control too many things.

Sometimes I think too much, me thinks.

Newton Gravity 5 – 50 Mile Review

I got my Gravity 5’s as an early Christmas from my Daughter back in early December and they have become my primary outside running shoes, when the winter roads in Maine are decent. That is why it took so to get them to the 50 mile review mark – the roads have been crap or the temps have been a bit chilly for running outside.

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However, I have finally got them up to that magical 50 miles, so it is time to review them.

Yes, I know the Newton Gravity series is up to #7 and I am a couple of years behind the newest release of a very good running shoe, but there are reasons.

  • First and foremost is the price at $175 the price of a brand spanking new pair of Gravity running shoes makes me grit my teeth pretty hard. Although many of the high-end running shoes are hitting this price and some much higher, my old dusty wallet just can’t justify those prices.
  • Second, the older styles are still fabulous running shoes and retain most (if not all) of the characteristics and technology that I love about the Gravity line.

Quick Thoughts

This is my third 50 mile review of a pair in the Newton Gravity line of running shoes. I had a pair of the original Gravity, (which required some shoe surgery to make them runnable – the side wall was too high and blistered my right ankle). I really am liking my Gravity 3’s which I am currently using very successfully as my treadmill/race day shoes (my 50 mile review of them here) and there are another pair of NIB Gravity 3’s in the closet waiting for the day they are needed. Continue reading

Running – 40 Plus Years Series – My Overview

There 40 plus years of running series is done – again.

Two different people one with all of his life ahead of him and the other looking back on the life that was lived – the one constant through it all was – running. It has been a part of who I am all this time.

In this series you will find my recollections and honest reflections about parts of my life as that “crazy guy” they see out running in all kinds of weather, after dark, during the day, N’oreastahs or even during hunting season.

The links below are basically each a chapter in that life.

The Start of My Running Story

1971 — Cross Country-What in the Hell Was That

The Not-So Glory Days — High School 1971-1975

Running and Boot Camp – 1975

1975 – 1977 — Running While On the SPAR

1977 to May 1979 — Cape Cod and Bat Out of Hell

1979 to 1982 — Running in St. Ignace

1982 to 1984 — Running While Living in Washington, DC Area

Memories of the 1983 Marine Corps Marathon

1984-1988 — New London and Meeting Some Greats

1988-2000 — The Lost Running Years

2000-2007 — A New Beginning

2008 to 2011 — Too Damn Many Injuries

2011 to 2015 — Life After Teaching

2015 to Now — Life is Good

Each time that I update this series I learn a little more about myself, remember things that I had forgotten and have a chance to reflect on my life as a runner and beyond. All the good, bad and even the ugly experiences that have made me who I am.

It still doesn’t seem possible that I started running over 40 years ago and while the reasons for my running have changed several times over all those years, I think that the two statements below have held true through all the years:

I enjoy the challenges that running provides me. There is always something new or different about each and every run that while you can run the same route, no run is ever the same.

The other one and maybe more important in many ways.

I don’t have to run, I get to run. If you are a runner you understand the difference and when it comes right down to it, maybe that is the true definition of who is a runner. I am very fortunate after all these years and the abuse my body has taken from all my misadventures that I still get to run.

Looking back, I can’t imagine how different my life would have been without running being a part of it.

Let’s just hope that the next 40 years of running are even better :-).

Yes that means that I still plan to be running when I am 100 years old – don’t bet against me. 🙂

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

A More “Normal” Week – Week In Review 2-11-18

Last week a bit more of a “normal” week, well mostly.

A photo of our mailbox during the storm last Wednesday.

I found out that doing my long run at the start of the week, means that it is much more likely to get done. The weekends are still focused on other things that interfere with my getting away for a couple of hours or having Mary chase me down into Waterville or Augusta.

The weather on Sunday was crappy (rain, sleet, freezing rain), enough that I didn’t want to drive an hour down to Rockport for the 5K they had going on down there. So I did a short fartlek workout going down to Pepin in the freezing rain. I didn’t bother trying to do it against the wind or coming back up the hill, even so I still set a this year CR for this course in pretty crappy weather – it is still 3:00 minutes or so away from my all-time CR, so there is plenty of room for improvement.

The good part about doing a speed workout on the weekends that I don’t need to go to the gym or track to get one in, I can do them right around the house as a part of a quick run that I fit in sometime during the weekend.

So changing up when I schedule certain runs during the week is the correct thing for me to do and I learning that my schedule is not the same as anyone else’s – I have more freedom to be creative with mine. 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

Long Run on the Treadmill – RunLog 2-6-18

Today was the first day of Tuesday’s being my planned long run day. After talking with TheWife last night and watching the weather forecast, we had sort of planned on me running towards Waterville and her driving after me an hour later. Which probably meant I could get in 7-8 miles, before she would catch up to me.

About right for where I am now physically.

However, this morning was rather a weird one. The forecast claimed it was going to be in the 20’s and sunny, but when we did Bennie’s long walk, it was definitely colder than that (our thermometer said 14*F) and on our way back up the hill, it began to snow flurry. Which when I stopped and thought about things, meant that I wasn’t going to run to Waterville this morning.

The temps were not in my safety range for a long run and with the snow flurry activity, it would hide where the ice was that IS on the side of the road.

Off I trundled to Planet Fitness.

Now I wasn’t thrilled about running more than 5-6 miles on the treadmill, but that is not really a long run in my book, but I figured that I would keep running and see how I felt.

I set the treadmill to 6.8 mph, plugged in my music playlist and put it on the History Channel with Closed Captioning (the Hatfields and McCoys feud was on) and began to run. I did do one thing different than usual, I wore my Smart Wool toe socks to see how they would do, since I have so many issues with my little toe on my right foot digging into the neighboring toe and causing some problems later in runs.

No issues until about 4.0 miles when I had that urge to run to the bathroom, I kept fighting it off and made it to 7.0 miles before I had to stop and run for a quick break and then I came back and did an additional 2.0 miles.

The bad thing with running on a treadmill is that when you get to 60:00 minutes, it shuts down to cool-down mode for 5:00 minutes and then shuts off. So it interrupts your flow if you want to do a long workout. So at 6.0 miles, I stopped it and then immediately re-started the treadmill and continued on.

I also brought my water bottle and after 2.0 miles took a quick sip of water every mile. It seemed to help when I got over 6.0 miles, where I usually loose interest and start to bonk a little.

I felt good running to 9.0 miles without too many issues, stopping for a bathroom break happens and by making myself wait as long as possible on the treadmill, I hopefully will get my body used to waiting when I get back on the roads.

Other than that issue and I am pretty sure I could have gone further. However, it is early in the year and I figured that since I haven’t done a long run in a while and my longest run before this was just over 7.0 miles, that it was prudent to not overdue things at this point. I have plenty of time to run longer later in the year and just want to get my body acclimated to running this long.

Plus if I can run long inside, I know from past experience that it does carry over to my being able to run longer distances outside when the weather cooperates. A good thing.

A nice long run in the books and although the GPS watch doesn’t give me credit for the full 9.0 miles that is what the treadmill claims and that is what I go by indoors. I have a feeling that is is a bit more accurate than my Garmin.

Good run.

By the way, did you notice that I didn’t complain about my right foot at all. The toe socks seemed to help keep the toes apart and not rub against one another. I will keep experimenting with them to see if they do help.

I also did an easy 6.0 miles on the elliptical, without any issues.

However, this evening, I noticed that I am an eating machine. Something that is pretty much the way it is when I do long runs, so it is a good sign that I am on the correct path.

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

A Few Changes – Week In Review 2-4-18

Winter is not going any where any time soon, but it is now February, so it is getting closer to better weather — at least there is light at the end of the tunnel.

My favorite photo from the week:

Elliott our cat attempted to remodel the area by the back door.

Another week that the cold weather, icy conditions or just nasty roads meant most of my running was on the treadmill again. Although I did get outside a couple of times, one of which was to try out a new pair of shoes (me get a new pair of running shoes!!!) more on that later.

I have been working on updating, editing and republishing my 40 plus years of running series. It is something that I like to do to remind myself of where I came from and how I got to where I am as a runner. No I am not and will never be an elite runner, hell I am one of those never was kind of runners.

Something that is a good thing to remind myself of when I start to get those thoughts of grandeur or I can do that too (whatever that is).

Re-doing this series brings me back to reality and to be honest at this point in my running life – hell life in general, I do have limitations, but I am all about focusing on what I can do.

Which means that I will focus on that I am willing to look at or try stuff outside of the box when things need to be changed as runner or with my health. The other things are that I doesn’t take myself too seriously and I am persistent. Which means to me that I don’t give up easily and can laugh at myself. All of which contribute to what I can do and tend to minimize the limitations that I do have.

I will get the series done sometime next week.

The start of a new month meant that I got see how the weight loss is going. Not bad — 4 pounds since the start of the year and 6 pounds by the end of the week. That is without changing a whole lot about the diet yet or getting long runs in (which is when I typically get serious about losing weight).

Running

For the first time in quite a while I did an actual Speedwork session on Tuesday one of those a tenth of mile fast and then a tenth recovery repeated 21 times. A bit more than I thought I could do at this stage of the season, but I felt good and just went with it and the next day, I didn’t hurt too badly. It was a nice confidence builder and gave me an idea of where I am physically.

Although with the nasty road conditions/cold weather, I didn’t get to do a long run – again. I don’t like doing more than 6-7 miles on the treadmill, at that point it begins to bother my feet too much. Until I can run safely outside and not freeze my arse off, I guess long runs will have to wait.

I did cut back a bit on the elliptical again this week on purpose. If I do too much on it, I feel a bit too tired the next day and it affects my running which creates a vicious cycle where you get more and more run down from doing too much. Which is something that I want to avoid. Also I want to get to doing Yoga 2-3 times a week and started with one session this week.

Also I am going to move my long runs to Tuesday (when I can start doing them regularly), which seems to work better with my schedule. Since it seems like there is always something going on during the weekends that interferes with getting it in. Doing speedwork or races on the weekend makes more sense to me anyways, since that is when I would run fast, is on the weekends.

We will see how this change does. At this point in my running, I think it is all about being flexible.

Running Shoes

I am still running primarily in the New Gravity3’s and 5’s. They are both doing well by me.

Unfortunately, my U/A trail shoes developed hole and needed to be replaced. After doing a lot of research, I decided to go with the Newton Boco Sol’s, the price was right and Newton’s have been doing very well by me over the past 2-3 months. I was surprised by the outsole, the photos on websites do not do them justice on how aggressive the forefoot actually is, while the heel unit is just okay, as I found out when I ran outside in them the other day on snowy roads out front.

I did find out that they are a bit finicky about what socks you can wear with them and had to do a little repair work on one of my toes when the skin got scrapped off from the seam of a pair of socks that I usually run in that I never noticed before. Other socks work great with them, so once that heals back up everything should be fine again.

Overall, it was another really good week, where I got over 30 miles running and over 50 miles of combined elliptical/running mileage, right about where my sweet spot seems to be right now. As the weather gets better, I would like to get the combined mileage consistently in the 70 mile range this summer. Which I think would get me in pretty decent shape.

All I know is that I will be glad when winter is over this year.