A Pretty Blurry Week – Week In Review 11-19-17

This week was a blur to say the least!

I am not going into the boring details of everything, but at the same time a few highlights are in order.

Technology

The old ASUS computer finally died and I had to get out the new iPad more than a month earlier than I had planned. Not really what I had planned, but at the same time I am not complaining all that much. Setting it up was quick and easy – which really surprised me. The Zagg Rugged Messenger Bluetooth keyboard is working great, types well and will provide great protection for the iPad.

I had a cheap old stylus in a drawer and tried it out – it actually works really well. I will use it as my mouse/trackpad replacement and see how it goes from there. I know it doesn’t hold a candle to the new Apple stylus, but for what I want it might just be enough.

The best part is that I get to try something new and different for me and while some things might be a bit frustrating for me at first, I do see how this can be a very nice replacement for how I do things.

Running

I was able to get over 20 miles again this week, for the third week in a row. While I didn’t have any really great runs (though Thursday’s accidental progression run wasn’t too bad), I did something more important in the long run – I ran consistently and pain-free! The right hip is about 90% healed and now just has some tightness, that is more from me attempting to straighten out my right leg and the adjustments that it has to make after way too many years of a severe splay.

To get the above screenshot I had to download the Google Spreadsheet app and then I could edit the sheet to add in my steps too. Getting the workflows back to a more natural state will take a couple of weeks, but it is just a different way to get where I want to go, not that I can not get there.

I am still using the Chi Running log and finding that writing the running log information down does help me think about the run I am writing about differently than I do when I just type up a quick blog about the run.

It was another week of only running in the Newton Kismet 2’s, they have become my go to shoes for my running and walking…well actually everything but working around the house or walking Bennie in the rain down-back.

Overall, it was just one of those weeks that you don’t realize how much you have done until it is over and then you just shake your head and go wow.

A Bit Blustery This Week – Week In Review 11-12-17

The first “polar vortex” a new description in the Lexicon for freaking cold weather came through last week and provided us with unseasonably cold weather after a couple of months of unseasonably warm stuff.

My favorite photo from the week:

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The Androscoggin River and boy did the river look cold and uninviting that day

So the body, mind and Bennie are confused about what to hell is going on out there. However, Mother Nature will do what she wants and we will live with her choices. Although we might be making the mood swings a little more dramatic.

Enough about the weather – we get to run in it and deal with it just like we have every other year. Even though being a least a little honest about things, I have a lot less zeal for running in single-digit wind chills than I used to.

Running

The running is going better than I thought it would just a couple of weeks ago. I did make 20 miles again this week, with a final 5.0 miler on Sunday on five days running. This was the first week of my sort of following the Chi Running Beginners Half Marathon Training Plan. I did pretty good, even if I didn’t always run on the days that the book called for, I still did the majority of the workouts the way it called for them.

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Well…with one big exception, my countdown timer is not loud enough for me to hear it during a run (part of that hearing loss thing), so I have been doing my form intervals by picking a point and doing the form interval to that point. It seems to be working fairly well. The funny thing is I am starting to notice when my right foot goes back to where it used to be when I am standing, walking or running. So the change is starting to become more “normal” than not.

However, getting that foot to turn-in the last half inch to be straight will be a much longer process – too many years of it pointing sideways to change completely in three weeks. But there is a lot of progress in my form.

Another thing that I really noticed this week as the weather turned chilly was that I slouch and scrunch myself up when walking and running versus having good posture. So that is another thing that I focused on when I was outside walking or running last week. That standing tall and lengthening the neck thing.

The changes in form are something to think about a little more when the cold weather comes and you start wearing more clothing and attempt to stay warm. You do change things unconsciously and need to be aware of how they can effect your running.

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I am running faster with less effort than I have in the past, which I attribute mainly to getting all of the body parts moving in the same direction – forward not sideways. Plus when I run with better posture it seems that things don’t hurt nearly as much that used to bother on every run.

So the best part of the week was that I ran mostly discomfort and pain-free! It was pretty nice to just run, although I do have to do my pre and post run exercises every time, not just most of the time. They do make a difference in how I feel.

Running Shoes

Another week of Kismet 2’s. They just feel right for me and when I go for a walk or run I reach for them. I know that I should rotate things around a little, but to be honest I like the way they fit and provide me with the right amount of feedback to let me know when I start walking or running with splayed feet. They are just comfortable.

Overall, it was a pretty good week. After three weeks of starting Chi Running, I can say it is helping me run better. However, it is not effortless, it takes a lot of focus and persistence to keep doing the “little” things that total up to a big change in how I am running. I have to keep reminding myself that “just running” is not the answer answer and stick to the plan.

Taking it one day at time, but I do notice some differences in how I run or walk, now I just have to make them how Harold runs and walks permanently and without thinking about how to run.

Things Don’t Seem to Slow Down – Week In Review 10/15/17

Getting up in the morning this time of year, means waking up when it is still dark, but it does mean that Bennie and I sometimes get to see some amazing sunrises.

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Fog in the valley

The leaves are changing colors and peak leaf peeping is now over. Unfortunately it was a decent, but not spectacular year for it. I thought many of the colors were muted and dull in our area.

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Mary running down-back

Fitness

I didn’t do a LOT of running this week, I decided to shut it down and take a much-needed week of rest, relaxation and recovery – from running. A chance for the old body to heal, not feel pressured to go for a run and yes, to take a good look at where I actually am as a runner. I really need and want to figure out what is most important to me and where I want my running to take me.

So the 1.0 mile total for the week was right where it needed to be.

Even with the no running it was still a busy week and I was very active.

I am starting to use the elliptical more, walking Bennie is simply part of the routine and I even picked up some weights a couple of times.

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Elliptical workout summary

I like my inversion table and try to use it 3-4 times a week. However, the last two times I used the inversion table – later on those days my right hip really bothered me and I couldn’t figure out why.  I put it off to trying to run or something else, then yesterday I hung upside down for 5 minutes and shortly after that, my right leg/hip started to hurt, even though it had felt great during and after finishing my 1.0 mile run and 2+ mile walk with Bennie.

 

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Later on I was reading some old blog posts from 2011 and early 2012 and I had an “aha” moment. In one of the posts I had written about my right leg being slightly shorter than my left one and remembered that my old PT always complained about it during treatment and warned me that it would be an issue at some point. Duh, no wonder why I get injured every so often.

I am out of alignment again. Just like a car it is wearing on the right side a little too much going down the road. Probably making a chiro appointment to get things back in alignment would be a smart move, but it will have to wait a few more weeks.

So no more hanging like a bat upside down – even though it does good things for other parts of the body, it does something to my outer-upper right leg/hip area and causes me to miss running – not a good thing.

Also I am getting ready to start something new with my running. Maybe even a complete re-boot, but I still have some thinking to do about it to figure out how and what I will be doing. However, change is coming because I can’t keep doing the same things, especially when they are not working.

New Vehicle

We did get a new to us vehicle – a 2013 Ford Transit Connect. Yeah can you believe it a commercial type van in BRIGHT red. We just had to get used to the not so American looking type of van – according to some it is pretty damn fugly ;-). However, the Transit had the features we wanted and if we decide to convert a few things we can use it as a small camper/RV next summer for a long vacation to see things that we never would otherwise.

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So far we are liking the Transit a lot, on our trip to NH last week, it performed well in the mountains and got over 30 mpg. One thing that I really like is that is like looking out a huge picture window going down the road – visibility is fantastic.

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Photo taken while driving down the road, it is like looking out a picture window.

There is a lot of room inside and it drives/rides better than the Ranger. However, don’t plan on jumping out into traffic quickly that 2.4 litre engine just doesn’t have a lot of “pop”, you need to plan when you go or wait until it is clear. I have started a couple of posts on the Transit and will publish them this week.

I will say it has nice road manners.

Camp

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Also in a bittersweet moment, as part of disposing of my brother-in-law’s estate, we sold the camp. So there will not be anymore upta camp moments and all we have are the memories that were made there. However, the family that now owns it, will make their own memories there and from what I saw will keep the place alive – as it should be.

Stuff

We are continuing downsize, get rid of, give away “stuff” we no longer need, want or have no future plans for.

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When Phil died, it helped us realize that we did not need as much stuff and that a lot of the stuff we had wouldn’t be missed if it went away. I wrote a lengthy post on this subject titled “What Happens to Your Stuff?”, where I discuss getting rid of stuff before you die, so that those you leave behind do not have to.

Finishing up October

I have a feeling that the rest of October is going to be like the last quarter-mile of a 5K, where we will be going like hell to get things finished and maybe some it might be a little uncomfortable.

Just a LOT is going to happen between now and then I have a feeling.

  • Hopefully close on the house in Lancaster, although until it happens we still have to go over once a week to check on things.
  • I have a bi-annual physical exam that I am going to fail miserably. Too much stress, not enough exercise, eating sucks (I have eaten at McDonalds more in the last 5 months than I have in the last 10 years), and stopping working just to mention a few life events that have occurred since June 1st – which is how your stress level is judged. However, I don’t plan to change anything medically, unless they find something very wrong with me, which I don’t think they will. I just have to get back to being healthy Harold again.
  • SD2 is supposed to close on her house by the end of the month, so we will be assisting her with her move.
  • TheWife has a series of routine medical appointments to go to
  • Buttoning up and preparing our house for winter, even though it is still unseasonably warm this fall, winter will come and punish those who are not ready.

Plus I am sure that other things will pop up over the course of the next couple weeks that were completely unexpected.

It seems that slowing down is not an option around heah lately.

I do believe that I will be glad when things finally do slow down – being on screech all the time really does suck.

However, I am looking forward to changing a few things about my running going forward and will have more on that later this week.

A Step Forward – RunLog 9-17-17

I have been reading other people’s week in review and figured out that I haven’t been all that good about doing them lately. Not that I haven’t been a little busy with everything else in New Hampshire going on lately but I have to get a little better about them.

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Earlier this week I whined, pissed and moaned about not really having any races on the horizon and that I am not training for anything. You can read about it here, it does give a little look into the jumbled up thinking that is going on inside of this old noggin of mine.

It comes down to that until the New Hampshire stuff is finished up and attempting to get the house prepped for winter (all the stuff we couldn’t get done this summer) that we have other priorities than my running. Which is too bad, but the way it is.

However, I have started to take my prehab a lot more seriously and am starting to look at some races that I should have time to train for before the end of the year. Maybe the Gasping Gobbler over at Cony as a nice way to end the season and a half someplace if I can find one and the old body can hold up to the mileage.

I have signed up for the Millinocket Half in December, but plan on running that more as a training run than a race – December in Northern Maine = cold and maybe just a bit of snow. Now to find someone to ride up to it that morning with (really early).

Otherwise running lately has been a bit hit or miss. Some weeks I get where I want and others, it just doesn’t happen. However, I know the limitations that I have been given and haven’t been too worried about the mileage or the DNR days that have accumulated.

This week was a been one of the better ones, but even then I didn’t reach that goal of 30 miles for a week. Oh well, at least I got above 20, so it wasn’t all bad.

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I did get a trail run in this week and that is something that I would like to do a lot more of going forward. It is definitely tougher than running on the roads and forces me to slow down, while forcing the body to do more than just run in a straight line. A surprise might be coming on Monday that will make me want to do trails a little more.

Bennie has been running me a little faster down-back, now that he is over his little bout with doggie conjunctivitis and visit to the Vet earlier in the week. He has wanted to run faster on the flat and I had a 1:25 and 1:23 times for it on consecutive days. So I do have a little speed left in the legs (although I am not sure on how I would do for more than one repeat).

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I don’t know if I will get that 100 mile month or not, but I do plan on moving to training mode next week and move away from just running. However, it is still dependent on what happens in New Hampshire and how much time needs to be devoted to over there.

Running Shoes

I am down to two pair and only one am I actively running in – the Under Armour Bandit 3’s. Which are doing everything that I have asked of them. I did my 50 mile review of them here and the bottom line is that they are comfortable for me to run in.

Summary

Overall, it was a nice week of running.

I have made the decision to actually get back into training mode and this week will be my first one to get back to it. Now to figure out what I am actually training for, pay the registration fee and focus more on getting ready for it.

One step forward.

Now to figure out the next step.

 

Looking Back – RunLog 8-20-17

A good week of running.

Well mostly…I ran over 30 miles so that part was good, but I had to figure what shoes to do it in when my Brooks Ghost 10’s blistered my right Achilles, so bad that I couldn’t run in anything but my Hoka Infinite’s without making the blister worse.

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More of a pain in the butt, but an uncomfortable pain that I didn’t want to put up with

This gave me a great opportunity to really figure out whether the Infinite’s were really keepers or just another pair of shoes that were close, but not quite what I want. I will be doing a 50 mile review on them, but the toe box is still not quite wide enough in a D-width. Not really keepers, except for temporary use when nothing else is working.

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I also got a chance to play shoe surgeon and operated on the upper heel cup of the Ghost’s, it helped, but not quite enough. Even after removing the offending parts and reshaping the heel to a more notched design, there was still a little too much irritation for my still tender Achilles to play in them again right away.

Which meant that I had to get another pair of running shoes and you can read about my adventures here.

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Yeah I ended up with the Under Armour Bandit 3’s, I liked the Bandit 2’s, that I had last summer, but they had fatal flaw that when I cornered my foot would go over the edge of the sole. Not a good thing, so before I decided on the 3’s I made sure that my foot stayed in the footbed, when I was trying them on. I will see how they do once the upper stretches out a little.

They did a 7.0 mile run, with 5.0 quality miles out of the box, so they started out pretty good.

Thursday and Friday were not good days, I felt like crap both days, but just pushed through to keep on keeping on. I mention it, just to remind me that after going upta camp, I was not 100%.

Running

I was finally able to get back over 30 miles for the week. Which was the idea I had for most of the summer – not that I was able to do it very often with everything going on.

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I ran a couple of times over in Lancaster and while the blister on my right Achilles did affect things a little, it was more of a distraction than anything. However, it was enough that I didn’t want to deal with those issues.

Most of the runs overall were either easy – Level 1 or in the No Zone, so it looks by the summary data that I didn’t have much in the way of quality runs. Mmmm not so fast, even though the average pace of the runs say one thing, I actually had some very fast paces and better efforts than the data shows.

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A good week of running.

Running Shoes

Under Armour Bandit 3

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A surprise choice to replace the Ghosts. 7.0 miles out of the box was a good start for me at this point. Comfortable and for a D-width they feel pretty good in the toe box. It is too early to have any real feeling about them.

Brooks Ghost 10

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I like the way that I run in them, but not the way they chewed up my right Achilles tendon and blistered it. Shoe surgery might work after everything heals completely, but things are still a bit too tender to run in them right now.

Hoka Infinite

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The only shoes that I had in the house that I could wear and not have it bother my blister. They simply are not wide enough in the toe box to run comfortably in. I can run in them, but the discomfort factor does rear its head after a while and I am limited to 5-6 miles before I have to shut down.

Injuries

Not really any injuries, more like little niggles and some discomfort. By the end of the week:

  1. the right achilles and the blister issues
  2. the outside of my right foot didn’t like me a lot when I got over 5 miles (probably something to do with road crown) and the shoes I had on
  3. the left Achilles wasn’t impressed earlier in the week when I attempted to run longer
  4. the left inside ankle was bothering just walking in the WR20’s

I still was able to run through these relatively minor annoyances, although they did limit the distance I was able to run at a time. As you get older you don’t get the option of waiting to run when everything feels great, if you want to run you have to deal with the little things.

The only thing that I hate is when it is a shoe related discomfort and you have control over whether to wear those shoes or not. That is why I have gone through so many running shoes this year, I am looking for a pair that allow me to just run – still.

Summary

Overall, a good week of running and hopefully I found a pair of shoes that I can run in. Time will tell, but I am ever hopeful.

Week in Review – 8-13-17

Last week was another busy week, what else is new – right.

I thought things were supposed to move at a slower pace once you retire. With us it seems like everything is moving at light speed as we attempt to keep moving forward.

We said a sad farewell to Jeremiah (Phil’s cat that we adopted), he had a pre-existing condition that no one knew about until last week. Although his time with us was short, I really believe that he learned to love our home, which also became his.

We drove over to New Hampshire twice to work on the house in Lancaster. We are finally getting to the point where things are more about getting contractors lined up to fix things that we can’t, take the last things to the transfer station and so on. Now it is more about getting through the probate process and moving on.

One thing about the traveling to New Hampshire so much, is spending all that time together in the truck or car has given us the chance to grow even closer than we were back before all this happened.

Plus we discovered the Little Red Hen Bakery in Bethel…a very dangerous place to stop and it has become a regular stop when we go through Bethel. The cinnamon rolls, raspberry/white chocolate chip scones and whoopie pies are too damn good to resist.

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Running

I didn’t quite make my goal of 30 miles for the week, finishing at 29.2, but was “fairly” close, so I can’t complain too much.

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I was still having problems with my left ankle area once I got over 3-4 miles on a run, which limited my ability to get the distances I really wanted. That is, unless I start to consistently do shorter, but more double runs. Something that I am attempting to avoid if I can.

However, I will do what I need to do to keep running.

Bennie has been doing more walking than running this summer. He is 8-9 years old now and is sssshhhhh starting to slow down a little. He does not do as well on the high heat or humidity days, so I have started to let him decide whether we run or walk to start on his longer walk/run. If he takes the leash in his mouth and pulls on it we run, if he just starts down the road we walk. It seems to be working pretty good and he knows what he wants to do that day.

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Bennie Bean

After we get going if we are running I keep a close watch on how he’s doing after the first mile. If he is struggling we take more breaks and if he starts to walk versus taking off to run again – we walk.

Although Coach Bennie is working on faster intervals when he does deign to run with the slow old fart :-).

I am pretty happy with the progress that I am making with running consistently and now that I am in my new age group I suppose that I have start looking around for a 5K or 10K race or two to see where I am with my conditioning. Although I haven’t been able to do a lot of sustained speedwork due to the left ankle/Achilles issues I have been battling for a while.

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Running Shoes

I like my Mizuno Wave Rider 20’s a lot, they fit well and I can use them for any work well for any workout that I do.

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However, since I started running in them I have had more problems with my left ankle area – which I have had in the past and were a result of shoes that were not quite right for me. So I decided to get a different brand to see if the ankle pain persisted or if it was just me getting to be an old fart.

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When I got in the Brooks Ghost 10’s, (from Bennie for my birthday), they felt comfortable, but during the second run, I got a small blister on my right Achilles tendon, which I attribute to the rounded design of the Brook’s heel versus the notched Achilles heel that I prefer. It is a small pain-in-the-arse thing and nothing serious.

When I ran 4.0 today with Bennie, I didn’t notice that left ankle discomfort, so I am hopeful they are part of the solution, but I am going to take it slowly to give that a little more time to get over how it felt before. But I am hopeful.

One thing I did notice is that the Ghost 10’s in size 8.0 are longer than my Mizuno’s or Adidas. Not that it really makes a difference, but it is something that I noticed.

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Overall, it was a decent – not great week of running, but once I get this blister area on my right Achilles healed up, I have a feeling that the Ghost 10’s will be fine and the WR20’s will be for shorter runs and all the walking I do.

I would love to be able to run a few longer runs, but that left ankle discomfort was limiting how far I could comfortably run…now we will see.

Week In Review – 7-23-17

Another week in the books and yes, it finally feels like I am doing something more than being on vacation – a helluva lot of work is getting done versus being on vacation.

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Went over to NH again and worked around the house and camp again, but the trips to the transfer station, should slow down quite a bit. However, now comes the fun part, lining up the contractors to fix things that need to be fixed (now that we can move around in the house) and working through the other stuff that still needs to be done. No where close to being done, but now it is process related versus everything else.

We are getting things done around our own house too and are starting to get rid of old junk that we have just lying around, we learned a lot about the importance of being minimalistic when it comes to possessions. We will have our own yard sale to get rid of what we can, then take the rest to Good Will. They can deal with the rest of it.

Running-wise, I actually ran in a race (read about it here) and while I did about what I expected to do based on what my conditioning actually is, it gives me a baseline and room for improvement as I get ready to move to that next age group in a few weeks. It is a bit sad to know that it was probably my last race as a 50-something, but as they say “time marches on”.

My week looked like this: Continue reading

Retirement Week #1 – Week In Review

There, I survived being retired…well week #1 anyway!

Let’s get one thing straight I am not a carpenter, plumber, mechanic, electrician or any of the other trades.

I am a career paper pusher, teacher or computer geek – who knows enough about all that other stuff to be dangerous, not overly proficient in any trade or able to cut a straight line. However, I am in decent shape, know how to work, talk to people and am not afraid of physical labor or attempting something new/different when it comes to repairing something.

This week was definitely a LOT of doing, not just thinking about it or playing on the computer.

New Family Member

We did add a new critter to the menagerie – Jeremiah. Phil’s cat who was in the shelter since the first of June. We decided that he needed to come home with us, since he wasn’t being adopted over there. I won’t lie – the first couple of days back here were not all that fun and I have several puncture wounds to prove it.

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However, Jeremiah has calmed down a little and is acclimating to his new home. We are sure there will be some more “interesting” moments from him as he continues to adjust – I just hope that my arms don’t have too many more puncture marks from his claws.

Welcome home Jeremiah – this will be your forever home. Continue reading

A Tough Week – Week Ending 6/11/17

Last week I attended the funeral of my brother-in-law Phil on Thursday – it was not something that I expected to do for many more years.

 

Since Mary’s brother Phil died unexpectedly of natural causes on June 1st, there has been a lot of grieving, pain and yes, more than a little hard work. Phil’s sudden loss has also been an eye-opening experience for me.

Since his death I have repeatedly asked myself:

  • What is important?
  • What are my priorities?
  • How do I want to live my life with whatever time I have left?
  • How do I want to leave things for others when I do pass (hopefully many years from now)?

The three plus hour one way drive to Phil’s house, has given me a lot of time think about those questions and a multitude of others that we ask ourselves after someone close to you dies unexpectedly.

Books are written on this subject so a weekly summary blog post is not going to do it justice, but needless to say the wheels have been set in motion for changes for me/us going forward.

Now it will be interesting to see where it leads.

Running

Getting back to more mundane things and even some running. Continue reading