Today's thoughts

Category: RUNNING STREAK (Page 1 of 25)

The trials and tribulations of running every single day

Retirement is not without Hassles: Streak Be With You #1901

I was invited to make a submission for the next USRSA (United States Running Streak Association) newsletter, as my running streak hits 13-years. Here’s what I offered:

I’ve officially started my 14th consecutive year of running every day, with year 13 ending in a disappointing fizzle. Five of the last six days I’ve struggled with a back injury that forced me to drop my route to the minimum mile. Of course, I always add an extra tenth in case my GPS is slightly off or stop at 15 minutes if the distance is unmeasurable – just in case!

I’m now back to the normal 5k path that takes me through the neighborhood. I started this habit a few days before the New Year back then to get a jump on my resolution and with a plan to celebrate my 60th birthday with about 1000 straight days (it was actually more like 972). It could have been a stopping point, but instead has continued on to 4,751 and counting. This recent pain could have also been reason to stop – but I didn’t!

At 70 years old, my pace is embarrassingly slow and my balance awkward, but I keep on going. I can’t even tell you how many miles I’ve traveled during this streak but it has to be close to 12,000, nearly half way around the Earth. I’ll also bet that I covered the other half in the years before I discovered streaking. In that prior life, I did a couple marathons and earned hundreds of t-shirts, ribbons, certificates of completion, and cheap medals. I always seemed to finish in the middle of the pack, even on a good day. The Detroit Marathon, Hood to Coast Relay, and several Indy 500 Half-Marathons were my most memorable accomplishments.

 Just recently, I ran my first race in years, the Braves Tomahawk 5k in my hometown of Venice, Florida. Earlier this year I went out of my way to meet the “Raven” in Miami to honor his now 47-year journey. I did not run with him or earn a nickname because I’ve been injured on sand before and prefer mornings to his evening treks on the beach. Also, my 5k daily standard is about all I can handle any more. My goal these days is just stay healthy, not push it, and be satisfied with the daily effort. After all, I will not live long enough to compete with the leaders of the pack. As always, I’m in the middle and not even yet “Well Versed” at 15-years.

This streak started on the streets of Austin, Texas and moved to the hills of Portland, Oregon. Now, I’m on flat, hot, Florida surfaces, but I’ve also lived in Michigan, Indiana, and Illinois, so I’ve experienced most of the weather extremes. However, back then I had to decide whether to run or not every day, now I’m left with the obvious choice. Running every day was the bridge from my working years into retirement, as I also celebrate 5-years of freedom. My morning routine has continued to be the same throughout this transition and will hopefully continue tomorrow.

Happy New Year,

May the Streak Be With You.

Retirement is not without Hassles: Exposure #1899

We’re on the very fringe of the nineteenth century, as I continue to put the blog numbers in perspective with history. That year  the U.S. received the Philippines, Samoa, Guam, and Puerto Rico as a result of the Treaty of Paris. There was also a Great Blizzard where freezing temperatures extended into Southern Florida. Let’s hope that history doesn’t repeat itself, with another pleasant day of temperatures in the seventies. My leg and back injury as a result of Disney World continues to haunt me. Yesterday, was so miserable that I sought out a new chiropractor with mine on vacation. I was determined not to miss today, my 13th consecutive full year of the “Running Streak” that stands at 4,749 days finishing at the very least a mile and a tenth for good measure. I should be proud of this accomplishment, but I also feel silly about pushing the pain of this injury. I somehow managed to complete the course this morning. Five of the last 6 days have been this minimum distance, while tomorrow is another day. Could this be the end? 

We’re quarantining after possible exposure to Covid. Yesterday evening we got word that the folks we had lunch with were at risk and my son’s wife has lost her sense of taste. He tested negative. They were over for Christmas dinner after we got back from Disney, so my wife’s daughter and husband are also in danger. It’s then a long line of contact we’ve all made with others that we’re trying to notify. All of us in the family are vaccinated and boosted but the concern is for those that aren’t or won’t. Covid also cancelled the IU basketball game tonight and many other contests in the midst of Bowl Week. It’s spreading rapidly and ruining everything. We’ve certainly pushed it with family gatherings and travel, but so far we’ve escaped any symptoms.

On a lighter note, tomorrow I will publish the poem that I wrote to preserve our Disney World Christmas memories. It will also be Post #1900 and time to move into the next century of historical events. I sincerely hope that everyone that I’ve been around these past few days is able to escape from the dreaded virus. It seems to be everywhere, so vaccination is the only course of action when exposure is inevitable. 

 

Retirement is not without Hassles: I’m Back #1898

I took a little Holiday blog-cation in conjunction with our trip to Disney World. After all there was little time to write with hours of driving and two full days of park adventures. Dinner was at the Polite Pig, as we began to deal with the massive Christmas crowds. My wife spent a lot of time at the Pin Trader booths, adding to her collection of Disney characters. I did the minimum mile the next morning to preserve my 13-year Running Streak in anticipation of a day on sore feet.

Parking was a mess on Day 1 when plans to leave our car at Epcot and utilize park transportation did not work out. We were forced to go to the Animal Kingdom as our ticket reservations dictated. Apparently, everyone was funneled into that lot, so it took hours to enter, even with preferred status. We were then too late to use the Disney app to get Genie/Lightening Line passes after they sold out for the day. Avatar was too long of a wait, so we settled on Everest that would ultimately make my trip miserable. I tweaked my back on the ride, proving that I’m just too old for roller coasters, and spent the next two days in pain.

It’s Tough to be a Bug, and the Kite Show were more my speed before we moved to Epcot later in the day for dinner at Il Mulino. Walking was very uncomfortable with my right shoulder drooping, as I struggled to keep up while wishing for my chiropractor. I did not do the loop around the world, choosing to sit on a ledge to rest while waiting for the laser light extravaganza. Running again the next day proved to be painfully awkward, so once again I only did the minimum mile. 

Day 2, Christmas, was all about getting my son-in-law on the Star Wars rides. That challenge entailed using the Singles line to shorten the 90-minute wait. I waited on the sidelines for Smuggler’s Run, saving my strength for the Rise of the Resistance and a 165-minute endless line. As it turned out, it was surprisingly only a little over an hour instead and did not jar my painful spine as I initially feared. However, I was not about to “back” out after committing to the wait. The “kids” soon abandoned us for the Rock N’ Rollercoaster, Thunder Mountain Railroad, Tower of Terror, and Splash Mountain, while rejoining us for the less intense Pirates of the Caribbean and Haunted Mansion. By then we had consulted with Guest Services to finally purchase line passes that never seemed to work on the rides we wanted to do. I spent the day on It’s a Small World, Peter Pan,  the Monorail, Mission to Mars, and watching the fireworks, ready to call it quits.

After thousands of dollars, back pain, and hours of frustration we were finally back at our Marriott resort, The Sabal Palms, for a well deserved night’s rest just before the clock struck midnight. Christmas was over but we still had plans for a full family dinner the next night at our house. Yesterday, we spent driving my wife’s daughter to her father’s house in Estero and joined some friends for lunch at Coconut Jack’s in Bonita Springs. So, here I am -at my desk, trying to sum things up. I’m Back!

Retirement is not without Hassles: Just Do It #1893

I run every day now under the guidance of the Nike Run Club app. I’ve used it on-and-off for several years to measure distance and time. A female voice gives me that information in mile increments through my ear buds, so I never need to look at the screen while running. In the past, I’ve also utilized a Nike watch, but in retirement have found little use for a wrist timepiece since my phone is always with me. Plus, it’s one less electronic piece to break down and replace. However, I still need to rely on the runeveryday.com website to keep track of my current 4,739 day streak, since the app tends to shut-down or reset unexpectedly. As a result, I’ve lost all my data from this year and in a sense have started over collecting awards for my mileage. It currently only shows 52.4 miles with 18 runs and a 3-week streak, having started over in early December when it rudely logged me out of the app. 

I used to get annoyed with these system flaws and called Nike to have them retrieve my lost numbers. Anymore, there is little interest. I run the same distance every day at the same fastest slowest pace, so I can figure it out if need be. I would just assume forget about my lack of speed. I did earn a Gold Badge today for a 50-mile month, something I accomplish every month and a trophy for a “Just Do It Sunday 5k,” as is the case nearly every day. I then scoff at their daily recorded pep-talk messages about “owning the road.” With the exception of their verbal updates at one-mile, the half-way point, three-miles, and Congratulatory finish, music blasts in my ears. It serves the purpose of keeping me company. 

Today was post number 1893. When I look at what happened that year in history, times were quite eventful according to Wikipedia. “The 1893 World’s Fair, also known as the World’s Columbian Exposition, opens to the public in Chicago, Illinois. The first U.S. commemorative postage stamps and Coins are issued for the Exposition. May 5 – Panic of 1893: A crash on the New York Stock Exchange starts a depression.” I did not report on 1892 as part of yesterday’s post because little of significance happened except the Presidential election of Grover Cleveland. It all made me think of the book “The Devil in White City” by Erik Larsen. “Murder, magic, and madness at the fair that changed America,” all part of the “Gay Nineties.” Nike (Blue Ribbon Sports) didn’t start until 1964 and the “Just Do It” slogan in 1991.

“Just Do It” was part of Nike’s first dedicated women’s campaign and linked women playing sports with a new kind of female empowerment. Oddly, in Doug Pray’s 2009 documentary about advertising, Art & Copy, he confesses that the idea for the line was sparked by the last words of convicted serial killer Gary Gilmore, who said “Let’s do it!” to the firing squad before his execution. My personal motto of “Let’s Get This Over With,” is right in line with this philosophy. Just Do It…Dammit!

Retirement is not without Hassles: Streaks #1879

Once again, a Thomas Edison invention, the phonograph, is the highlight of the year 1878, while in 1879 he first demonstrated incandescent lighting to the public. Also of interest, “milk was sold in bottles for the first time and infielder William White plays in one game for the Providence Grays and in conjecture becomes the first African American to play MLB.” 

Race results have been compiled from yesterday’s Tomahawk 5k and I finished 143rd overall out of 400 participants. My time of 42:24 put me 6th in the M 70-74 division out of 8 finishers. One woman out of 14 of the same age group had a slightly better time than mine by 8 seconds to top her division. She was also two years older to give her even more credit. I ran this morning with the #2 finisher in the M 60-64 division to stretch my personal streak to 4,725 consecutive days. “Run…Forrest…Run.”

It’s “Football Sunday” with hopes of breaking my Fantasy team’s losing streak. Da Bears have experienced a similar streak of misfortune that will probably continue this afternoon against the winningest team in the NFL, the Arizona Cardinals. Michigan, Alabama, Georgia, and Cincinnati firmly cemented their spots in the College Football Playoffs last evening. The Portland Timbers are hosting the MLS Cup with a chance to claim their first title since 2015 but Oregon State fell short in their quest to make the College Soccer Cup. It will be Washington, who knocked off IU, Clemson, ND, and Georgetown. Three of the four matches went to penalty kicks to determine a winner, while only Washington scored more than one goal in a 2-0 victory over St. Louis, bidding for their record 11th National title. 

IU Basketball ended their sad streak of 6 consecutive BIG losses dating back to February with a much needed win over Nebraska yesterday afternoon. They play Wisconsin on Wednesday in Madison where the Hoosiers face a streak of eighteen straight losses dating back to 1998 when the Kohl Center first opened. The Badgers are fresh off a Maui (Las Vegas) Invitational Championship and a 13-point victory over Marquette. Wisconsin’s only loss this season was a 2-point setback #12 Houston in the Maui opener for both teams. Since 2002, the Badgers are 28-6 over IU. Prior to that they were 49-90 all-time. It’s not likely that this horrible losing streak will end this season, especially considering Indiana’s performance against Syracuse in its only road game so far. The odds are heavily against us!

Retirement is not without Hassles: Race Day #1878

It’s been a long time since I used the words, “Mike, Start your Engine,” but I felt that way this morning. It’s usually some other race I’m watching – like the Indy 500. I was burning my own rubber on what I thought was a routine 5k race that turned out to be much longer. It was my first race as a seventy year old, hoping that this new age classification would mean high placement. However, it appeared that there were a lot more people that aged more gracefully when it comes to speed. I’m not sure yet if the distance confusion helped my case, since so many runners surpassed the turnaround point by mistake. There were no officials to guide us, but my GPS read-out was  indicating that we had already gone too far. 

My first mile was at 12’15” – the best I’ve had since moving to Florida. It was probably the adrenaline of running with a pack of people and the cool temperatures. The other two additional miles were slightly slower but overall my pace was about 12’30,” when normally it’s closer to 13’45.” My total distance covered was 3.5 miles instead a standard 5k of 3.1. When I crossed the finish line, 43 minutes had passed, including the minutes it took to the starting line where my chip started to officially measure my time.  Normally, there’s an e-mail to immediately follow-up with race results, but I’ve yet to see anything from race organizers and even the website is not updated.  The awards ceremony was probably an angry mob scene after we left. 

I’ve participated in other races where the course was not properly marked, so this was not a first. I didn’t expect to be competitive and simple relied on my Nike Run Club app for splits and mile markers. Unfortunately, I had just uploaded the app yesterday after all my past data mysteriously disappeared in an overnight software update, so I wasn’t confident that it was working properly. It wasn’t until I heard the other runners complaining that I knew for sure that my numbers were correct and the course was wrong. The extra mileage was not a big deal to me, so I claimed my finishing medal and a quick breakfast prior to leaving. Some runners were still on the course as we pulled out of the parking lot. 

The route took me by the seven practice fields outside the stadium, and I caught a glimpse of the batting cages and work out areas associated with the Atlanta Spring Training facility. The finish line was near home plate and we circled the dirt warning track along the outfield fences to get there. I’m glad I made the effort to participate and may even do it again next year. I’ll report my overall and age group finishing positions once that information is available. Unfortunately, it won’t be completely accurate since some runners went as much as a mile out of their way, while others took short cuts. It was much more eventful than a boring 5k run through the neighborhood that will happen again tomorrow morning – consecutive day number 4,725! As they say in the South, “Happy Race Day Y’all!”

Retirement is not without Hassles: It Is What It Is! #1869

Happy Thanksgiving and welcome to Post #1869. Appropriately, as I reported yesterday,  the year 1869 was the beginning of the Thanksgiving football tradition in America. I also happened to receive my latest (Winter 2021) edition of the The Streak Registry this morning put out bi-annually by the United States Running Streak Association (USRSA). The organization just recorded it’s 5,000th streak of at least one year. Mine stands at #229 on the active list, having completed consecutive day 4,715. Anyone who wants more information can go to the website at runeveryday.com. With cloudless skies, both the sun and moon were out to watch my short dip in the pool. 

It’s now much easier to relate each post to a specific year in history, as will become a habit going forward. Certain numbered posts in the past have reminded me of memorable dates, home addresses, etc. as I started writing and the number became part of that day’s story. For example, Post #1001, brought back memories of my childhood home on Carolyn Avenue. Post #1492 made me think of Columbus.  Post #1380 caused me to recall a radio station I used to work for years ago. I’m sure that many of the numbers that I’m now into will be reminders of years gone by. My parents were born in 1921, while 1951 was my birth year and 1969 the year I graduated from high school. With a post every day, I will start getting to these dates in the next three to four months. 2021, the current year is only 152 days away if I can continue at this pace. Many days it’s hard to come up with tid-bits to mention, so this will add something more to the story than simply what I watched, ate, or did.

I often start with the boring every day details of my life, hoping that it leads to something more interesting or in-depth. In too many cases, my posts never get beyond the basics. Sometimes, I can add humorous stories, travel adventure, adoption discoveries, sports memories, creature features, and poetry to make it more interesting, but all too often my life is uneventful. This is why I’m not compensated to do this and most of the time the effort turns out to be personal therapy. I do get some occasional feedback, but there is rarely anything controversial that gets people talking. It is what it is!

Retirement is not without Hassles: Race #1865

I signed up for the Tomahawk 5k race this morning, something I haven’t done in years. The last competition I was involved in was the Hood to Coast Relay four years ago. It will be my first organized run in the over 70 age classification. The race finishes on the field of the Atlanta Braves Spring Training facility in our neighborhood. So far, there are over 300 participants and it’s followed with a breakfast. I’m sure that my wife and Tally will be there to cheer me on. It’s not a great challenge since it’s my standard daily distance. I still prefer running on my own but maybe it will push me a little. Today marked consecutive day number 4,711 as The Streak continues. I’m also contemplating a ski trip to fulfill that other “athletic” endeavor on my things to do after turning 70 list. 

Today is “Trash Day” and the end of another week of retirement. Soon, it will be the fifth anniversary of my last day of work. Time has really flown by quickly. We’ve moved across the country, settled in a new home, and survived the first wave of Covid. Travel has been limited to our two cross-country drives from Oregon to Florida and a few side trips including Glacier National Park and several Florida destinations. We’ve put together a busy slate for next year that will start with a Disney Christmas. Sports are on the agenda today as I’ll monitor my fantasy football team and Da Bears, check-in on an untelevised IU soccer tournament match, watch Purdue basketball against equally touted Villanova, catch the Portland Timbers in action, and finish the day with IU basketball versus Louisiana Lafayette. 

Tonight, my wife and I will discuss our personal finances as scheduled and get on a Zoom call to review a good friend’s landscaping plan that we asked him to do. He was here visiting a week ago and has retired from the plant design business, but graciously agreed to help us out. We’ll then watch a couple more episodes of Goliath, having finished the finale of The Morning Show. It’s mostly a sit on your butt kind of day for me, as cloudy skies will not serve to lure us outside. Naturally, I will try to watch my diet these next few weeks, since I’m now officially now in training for a race. 

 

Retirement is not without Hassles: Fifty is the new Freezing #1859

Running for me is almost always a solo adventure, so I was surprised to take on a companion this morning. I have met another runner in the neighborhood who’s home is about a half mile away. I like to think of it as two songs. I’ve had conversations with him before but this morning as I passed by his house, he decided to join me. He’s a bit more accomplished than I am, having completed 15 Boston Marathons. He’s also five years younger and in better shape. I’m carrying about 10 extra pounds and had a restless night of sleep, so trying to keep up with him was a bit of a push. He would slow down and rejoin me if he got out of conversation range. He also likes to talk, while I was gasping for air. I’ve never been good at running and trying to chat, but he kept me entertained. As a result, my split times were the fastest I’ve had since moving to Florida. 

The last time I ran with anyone was probably my step-daughter in Washington D.C. It’s been years ago, and long after we had run some races together. While in Portland, I would run while my wife would walk the dogs, and loop back to join her when I got too far ahead. On occasion I would take the leash of Tally and try to get her to run or push the stroller with Tinker riding along. I haven’t even run a race in over four years, the last being the Hood to Coast Relay four years ago. My mile split times back then averaged 11 minutes per mile, while today I managed a 12 minute mile that was well under my usual 13-and-a-half to 14 minute pace. It seems that every year of late that goes by my times get a minute slower. 

I talked with an old boss yesterday who was amazed that I could still run at 70. I call it slogging, but still grateful that I can do it. I saw a post from him on my hometown Facebook site yesterday recalling his years at WTRC radio in Elkhart. He became my supervisor after the death of our sales manager and went on to manage the station. I moved to other markets and we lost track of each other. I sent him a friend request and soon we were talking on the phone. He has a second home in Florida about an hour south from us, so we’ll be getting together in the near future. This is one of the great things about social media, once you get by the repetitive hum-drum. 

With limited movie options this week, my wife and I will head to Siesta Key this afternoon for the sand sculpting events in lieu of “Matinee Monday.” Several of our neighbors went over the weekend and reported great things to see. It’s a chilly morning with little else to do, so a walk on the beach will be refreshing. We did watch the original 1984 version of Dune last night, Our last trip to the theater was to see the remake. Tonight, we’ll watch the third episode of Yellowstone and eat some home made minestrone soup to warm our bones because 50 is the new freezing by Florida standards. 

Retirement is not without Hassles: Bottoms Up #1856

I missed a day of blogging yesterday with a full schedule of activities. Besides, the most loyal of my followers is visiting us this week, so there wouldn’t have been anyone to read it anyways. I did not miss my run, finishing the 4700th consecutive day without fail. A year from now I will have passed the 5,000 mark sometime after my 71st birthday. We’re headed for the Kennedy Space Center later this morning so I will have a fresh route from our hotel for tomorrow morning’s endeavor. We plan to visit some of the sights along Cocoa Beach this evening, while I will have a tough time talking my wife out of eating dinner at the neighboring Cracker Barrell restaurant. 

We should probably cut back on dining expenses after last night’s extravagant birthday celebration for our visiting friend. We had a very good bottle of Brunello di Montalcino, jumbo stone crabs, and filets, topped off with a candled dessert. We had already spent the afternoon with Tito’s and lemonade while observing the dolphins romp in nearby Lemon Bay. Afterwards, we squeezed in an hour on the beach in anticipation of the sunset. It did not disappoint from our view over the Venice Pier. Did I mention that I also drank a Seafoam margarita before the wine was poured? I could feel the aftereffects of all the alcohol sugars that caused me to be jarred awake early this morning.

Tally is headed for Schnauzerville this morning for a couple of days with her doggy friends. It’s about a three hour drive over to Cape Canaveral. I have a rental Jeep for the journey that will have us returning late tomorrow night after a tour of the launch facilities. It will be our first overnight getaway since Pittsburgh, a month-and-a-half ago. Our next hotel stop will be Disney World for Christmas. Tonight, however, once the hangover passes, it may very well be bottoms up again!

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