Today's thoughts

Category: RUNNING STREAK (Page 1 of 21)

The trials and tribulations of running every single day

Retirement is not without Hassles: Running Coach #1676

I had an appointment with a Venice chiropractor yesterday – long overdue. He offered me an article titled “Learn to Walk Before You Run.” Apparently, my posture is bad, twisted to compensate for the pain. One shoulder was lower than the other and my left foot needed support. My soft orthotics are packed away along with my running shoes and still sitting in Portland. Apparently, they have now moved from the warehouse into a truck, so relief might be on the way. I was forced to buy a new pair of Brooks shoes before we left Portland a month ago in order to continue my running streak, at 4.513 consecutive days (12.36 years) as of this morning. Although the stiffness in my lower back did not seem to affect my running, it made it difficult to get out of bed or even bend over. 

Several years ago I had the same problem and sought out a Portland chiropractor, my first experience. Several sessions later I was back on my feet  and no longer had pain shooting down my sciatica nerve. I also used acupuncture to ease the stiffness in my lower back. An occasional adjustment here and there was all that was necessary to keep me going. However, the long car rides and cheap beds along the route from Oregon to Florida have taken its toll, coupled with the delay in delivering our comfortable furniture. After yesterday’s visit I feel like I’m back on the road to recovery. My left arch and big toe are taped together for support. I definitely felt better balanced on my run this morning, however my speed did not improve. 

The article suggests an image of blue helium balloons suspended from my hips, pecs, and head. They are to lift these body parts and keep me from normal slouching. Also, the imaginary buoyancy should allow me to lean forward about 10 degrees to maintain forward momentum. Apparently, my tendency is to rock back on my heels applying the brakes in order to absorb the impact. Obviously, it will take time to make the many adjustments necessary to develop  proper, efficient form. I saw no improvement in my time this morning, but I will continue to give it a chance. My next appointment is Monday with my new chiropractor and running coach.  

Retirement is not without Hassles: Heat and Humidity #1675

The Florida temperatures are starting to heat up. This morning’s run at 8 a.m. showed the temperature at 81 degrees but felt like 90. The humidity was 95 percent and in this neighborhood there are few mature trees to provide shade. My t-shirt was thoroughly soaked when I finished the 3.1 mile route to the bridge and back. I was drained until I hit the refreshing pool water and did a few laps. It made me think that the Marco Island conditions probably weren’t that much different, but psychologically I wasn’t familiar with the route. Confidence is  everything when it comes to running.

Today, I visit the chiropractor that should greatly  aid my flexibility. My back is stiff and sore but oddly  does not seem to be a factor when I’m running. It is painful bending over but once my posture is erect there is little discomfort. Some of this is just old age but all those recent hours of sitting in the car or sleeping on unfamiliar beds have thrown my hip out of adjustment. As has been the case the past few years, a couple of sessions should do the trick. I should start to feel better tonight, especially after a couple of margaritas. 

Mother’s Day is this Sunday so a couple of upcoming posts will focus on my wonderful mother who passed seven years ago, as well as my bio-mom that has yet to acknowledge my existence. Also, living down in this area of Florida has brought back many childhood memories of my parents and grandparents. For example, on our way back from Marco Island we drove past the Shell Factory and Thomas Edison’s home in Ft. Myers, sites of several family outings while vacationing in nearby Englewood. Life has gone full-circle for me at least geographically. I just have to get used to the Florida heat and humidity. 


Retirement is not without Hassles: May The Fourth be with You, Again #1673

We watched the Kentucky Derby a few nights ago, signaling the beginning of another May. My spirits are definitely higher than last year’s post (See #1311) where I first discussed Star Wars Day and all the other important dates this month. However, no force was with me on this morning’s run, a repeat of yesterday’s frustrations with the humidity here on Marco Island. It would probably take me several more days to adapt to these conditions, but we’re headed back to Venice this afternoon where it’s a little more inland and certainly less humid. My lungs and legs have been suffering, as “The Streak” continues.

Nothing says May to me more than the Indy 500, as activities kicked off with the Mini-Marathon. All those memories of long days at the track came flooding back with the loss of Bobby Unser yesterday. It was coincidental that our friends, whose condo we’re staying at this week, mentioned an Arizona neighbor of theirs named Lydia Laughrey who was one of the very first women to own an Indy Car racing team. This was back in 1987 when she secured the necessary sponsorship dollars for driver Steve Chassey. I, too, was very involved in the racing game that year and several more after. We called Lydia last night so I could hear her story since there’s very little about it on-line. It will be interesting to get with her on our next trip to visit these friends in Marana. It might be something to write about. 

We’ll get a few more hours of beach time this morning before we hit the road. Although it seems like we’re on a distant tropical island, home now is only two hours away. We’ll be back here many times in the future, as we’ll continue to explore Florida. I will also eventually adapt to the steamy conditions after a few summers in the state. We enjoyed a wonderful dinner last night at The Oyster Society and another comfortable evening surrounded by furnishings. Tonight, it will be back to our empty, hollow home, but Tally will keep us entertained. May the Fourth Be With You, Again!


Retirement is not without Hassles: Marco Island #1672

We’re staying with friends on Marco Island for a few days. They came to visit us with initial plans of staying at our house, but without furniture this was not possible. As a result, we ended up at their temporary place, a Marriott Vacation Club. This morning I fought the humidity in a miserable attempt to run and ended up walking after two miles. It was one of my worst efforts in some time, with the feeling that my body was totally used up. I’ll know tomorrow if it was just a temporary set-back, or if I’m truly getting too old for this streak that now extends to 4,509 consecutive days. 

This getaway to Marco Island was a last minute miracle, considering that only a few days ago we had no options for someone to take care of our schnauzer Tally. My wife met a woman at our neighborhood dog park, looking for advice on a groomer. She directed us to a couple that owns eight schnauzers. As it turned out, they were excited to board Tally for a few days so we could get away. To make matters even better, Tally seemed equally excited to spend time with their dogs, even after the grooming. She ran right into their house when we dropped her off, in sharp contrast to her last few visits to the dog spa in Portland where she shook in fear. My wife was relieved to find a great option for Tally when we travel.

We arrived on the island yesterday afternoon and took a walk on the beach. I spotted a tent with the IU Hoosiers logo and met some folks from the Evansville area who owned condos in the adjoining property. It reminded me to monitor the NCAA soccer tournament match against Brooklyn St. Francis later in the afternoon. The Cream & Crimson advanced to the Sweet Sixteen for the sixth straight year on penalty kicks.  Hopefully, they can continue on to win their ninth National Championship – next up Marquette. 

My wife finally got a good night’s sleep last night, as we both enjoyed the soft beds. It was also refreshing to stay some place with comfortable furniture to sit on. We have one more nights to relax with friends rather than squabble about what needs to be done in our new home. Hopefully, we’ll hear from the moving company this week about a potential delivery date for our stuff. Life is good on Marco Island!

Retirement is not without Hassles: Happy Birthday #1663

It was day #4,500 of my running streak that now involves living in three different states and covering well over 10,000 miles. I’m missing my orthotics that are packed away in a Portland warehouse, along with our other possessions. I’m experiencing some back pain from the combination of miles, sitting in the car, and sleeping on an inflatable bed. This combination of discomfort has thrown my aging back out of whack, so a trip to a chiropractor is definitely in order. It’s been over a year since I stopped regular visits that also included acupuncture. It’s a matter of misalignment, putting pressure on a nerve in my hip. Oddly, it does not bother me when I exercise but gets stiff and painful from sitting afterwards. This seventy year body needs professional help to keep moving. 

The one big discovery in the packing process was the extra pair of Air Pods that add a new convenience to getting ready to go. I no longer have to fiddle with the radio and related wires to hit the pavement. Every once in a while that transistor clipped to my running shorts would come loose and crash to the ground. Also, the battery could fail at any time, plus in the long run I do prefer listening to the radio rather than my play list that tends to get repetitive. Eventually, I’ll add a radio station app to my I-Phone and let someone else do the DJing. 

With regard to music, the Santana/Earth, Wind, & Fire concert has been moved to my actual 70th birthday and renamed the “Miraculous Supernatural Tour 2021.” This means we will spend the night in Tampa to celebrate several miracles of life. I used my Covid credits from last year’s Spring Training ticket cancellation to purchase the seats. We will also try for tickets to see the Dave Mathews Band at the same outdoor venue when they go on sale next week. Could live music actually become part of our lives again? We’re still stuck on memories of Barry Manilow’s Las Vegas show – the last we experienced before the shutdown. With just four months to go, hopefully it will be a Happy Birthday!

Retirement is not without Hassles: New Shoes #1641

Today was consecutive run #4477, with some unplanned major changes in the routine. First, was the new shoes that I was forced to buy because the packers stuffed mine along with my transistor radio in the bottom of one of hundreds of boxes sitting in our apartment. Tomorrow, they will all be picked up to start their route to Florida. On the positive side, the crew apparently found a pair of of my wife’s missing Apple AirPods that showed up mysteriously on my desk. In the meantime, she had purchased an additional pair, so I claimed these as mine. They also mistakenly packed the charging cord for my new watch so it will be powerless for the next few weeks. As a result, it was brand new Brooks Glycerin shoes with the Nike Run Club app providing GPS tracking and music over wireless buds. Welcome to the 21st century, Mike!

I’m simply transitioning away from my favorite radio station in Portland – KINK a few days early. I will need a new source of entertainment for my runs going forward and this new workout source is the ticket. Tomorrow will be the last day of my routine course after we move to a hotel and start the cross-country drive. The app tells me the half-way or turnaround point of my 3.1 mile route. I will certainly need to adjust the music since this morning it was hardcore hip-hop with a female Australian DJ named Dottie. The lyrics were about sperm and germs – hardly my style of poetry set to music. I will change that for future runs. The cherry blossoms along the Willamette waterfront are in full bloom with photographers everywhere. That everyday scene will soon change to palm trees. 

I did not find a dime today or even spot a lost penny. Fortunately the weather was warmer than normal since I didn’t have my windbreaker, also packed away in a box.  Schnauzer Tally was not part of my daily routine for the first morning in a long time, since she spent the night with her doggy niece Falco. This keeps her out of the way of the movers and hopefully reduces her stress. Although reportedly she is bummed out being away from home, suffering from fears of abandonment. Her departed sister Tinker taught her all about the trauma of seeing suitcases being packed and the need to worry. Normally, I do her first outing of the day prior to my run. She obviously missed out seeing my new shoes.

Retirement is not without Hassles: Loaner #1622

I took my car in for service early this morning, meaning that I had to shorten my run to the minimum mile. It’s probably good to have a little break every once in awhile after 4,454 consecutive days. My legs should have some spring in them when I continue The Streak tomorrow on the usual 3.1 mile route, depending on the questionable accuracy of the GPS system on my new watch. At any rate, getting a loaner for the day turned out to be a big hassle. 

The first thing that happened was that the technician who made the arrangements to work on my car threw away what he said was an expired car insurance card. As it turned out, he likely disposed of the one that ends on 3/29, leaving me the one that starts in two weeks on 3/30. They would not accept it as current coverage, so I went to my State Farm app. It too had the information that goes into effect on 3/30, so I had to text my agent. Naturally, I had a second copy of it in the glovebox of my car, but they had already driven it several blocks away, plus I had no keys. After waiting for 15 minutes for a response to come, I called his office. An automated system promptly sent the current card that I then had to forward to the loaner lady. Of course, her email address was more than 25 characters that was hard to type with my shaky hands, fueled by anger. In the meantime, my agent finally sent the same information via text, after I had sent back “Never Mind.”

I also got in trouble with the loaner lady for briefly removing my mask so the app would recognize me under my foggy glasses, adding to the frustration at the counter. She was already behind two panels of plexiglass and there was no one else anywhere near me. I felt it was an unnecessary reprimand, after already finding her not too friendly. All this anger was bottled up inside me as I inscribed my signature in four different places and added my initials at least ten times. We then had to inspect the car for any previous damage and sign more documents. At the same time, I felt bad that she was a front line worker unable to work from home. All these mixed feelings just to use a loaner for a few hours while I spend a $1000 to get the car ready for our 3,000 mile cross-country haul.

Right now, I’m posed by the phone waiting for additional charges to be added once they do their all-point check. A tune-up, oil change, hood strut hydraulic repair, and tire rotation are already being done as I write this. At least, the loaner was no charge, but I was waiting to give up custody of my first child. All these hassles will be met with new ones once I get to Florida. However, with a clean bill of health on my car and a Sunpass on the windshield, hopefully I can avoid problems on the long drive there. I’m still waiting to hear back from Hertz on the coconut damaged hood incurred on my last visit to Florida. Rentals and loaners can be a hassle!

Retirement is not without Hassles: Departure Day #1617

It’s no longer raining dimes, but I did get my two cents worth this morning, plus it’s a beautiful day in the neighborhood. Tomorrow, it may rain on my parade, as I reach consecutive Day #4450. We got a step closer on our Florida home closing yesterday and I ordered a Sunpass to efficiently navigate the Southeast highways without stopping at toll booths. This makes me feel like an official Florida resident with closing just 33 days away. We’ll soon be flooded with more paperwork as the title folks do their diligence. 

Moving is now arranged with one final trip to the Oregon coast necessary to pick up a few items that a friend agreed to store for us. I need to rescue these goods before we leave. Loading is set for April 2nd. The two days before will be spent supervising the packing and loading the car. The aging Solara gets its pricy pre-trip check-up next week, while I do two doctor appointments and a dentist visit (Crown me) before D-Day – Departure Day. 

Departure Day is less than a month away, and time will surely pass much too quickly. Every day we dispose of a few things, consolidate personal items, and clean-out remaining food/condiments in the refrigerator/freezer.  We start our 3,000 mile drive with Tally in tow after a good nights sleep at the downtown Residence Inn once the movers complete their work.  It’s where we began our Portland residency, moving from there to a glass box overlooking downtown to a home on a steep street. A year ago, we sold it and took this small apartment near the Pearl District. We were hoping to frequent the neighboring shops and restaurants, but Covid took all of that away. It also disrupted all of our travel plans, so we’re anxious to move on. The clock is ticking towards Departure Day. 




Retirement is not without Hassles: Time Graveyard #1605

Several weeks ago my I-Watch fell apart and after a repair attempt came unglued again. It was time to get rid of it, but like I’ve other watch I’ve owned in life, it’s now sitting in a drawer – waiting for what? Also in this graveyard of time, there’s a Seiko that belonged to my grandfather, an I.U. timepiece my dad gave me, a Rado that I bought in Italy, a Mickey Mouse design, a unique gold Citizen watch I obtained on trade from Alexander’s Jewelry in Fort Wayne, several antique pocket watches, and a modern engraved version with a chain my son gave me for helping with his wedding. Speaking of time, I think I even have an old Speidel Twist-O-Flex, and a pair of functioning watch-face cuff-links . For some odd reason, working or not, I can’t seem to get rid of any of them. They are truly tombstones of time!

My mom for years had a business where she personalized doll houses with miniature photos set in antique jewelry frames. People would send her their family photos and she would resize (shrink) them for this purpose. Last week on Facebook, I saw where someone was doing the same thing with old watches, removing the works and giving them new life with a photo. Mom would have loved this idea, thinking, for example, that  grandpa’s Seiko could be worn on a wrist with his photo displayed. I probably still wouldn’t wear it, but this is the purpose of the graveyard. 

My new Blulory running watch got its first workout this morning. I bought it on Amazon for about $50, one-fifth the cost of an Apple, that lasted about 3-years with several repairs. My wife said she saw an ad for it, promoting the large numbers of the face for use by Seniors. I haven’t quite figured it out yet and the calibrations are off. It showed that I only slept for 4 hours last night when I was in bed eight, and shortened my standard 3.1 mile route to 2.75. It does at least keep time, so I’ll give it a chance to adjust to my running pace and sleeping habits. Also, timers went off and unintentionally set goals were awarded with buzzers and flashing badges. Plus, the GPS recorded map on the phone app only showed part of the course I took. There are a few operator bugs to work out as I get used to this new toy. Obviously, it may take time to make time right! Otherwise, it might end up in the graveyard. 

Retirement is not without Hassles: Keep on Truckin’ 2 #1603

With most of the snow now melted, the Portland  streets revealed their hidden treasures this morning with seven pennies and a dime. Several of the uncollected pennies were spotted in the days before, but the dime went in my pocket. It was day #4,436 for those of us keeping score and the pace very slow. My legs haven’t yet recovered from the pounding they took in the parking garage and I’m two pounds heavier than normal. Yet, I truck on, thinking of the tune Truckin’ by The Grateful Dead.

“Truckin’, got my chips cashed in
Keep truckin’, like the do-dah man
Together, more or less in line
Just keep truckin’ on”

“Arrows of neon and flashing marquees out on Main Street
Chicago, New York, Detroit and it’s all on the same street
Your typical city involved in a typical daydream
Hang it up and see what tomorrow brings”

“Dallas, got a soft machine
Houston, too close to New Orleans
New York got the ways and means
But just won’t let you be”

“Most of the cats that you meet on the street speak of true love
Most of the time, they’re sittin’ and cryin’ at home
One of these days they know they better be goin’
Out of the door and down to the street all alone”

Truckin’, like the do-dah man
Once told me, “You’ve got to play your hand”
Sometimes the cards ain’t worth a dime
If you don’t lay ’em down”

“Sometimes the light’s all shinin’ on me
Other times, I can barely see
Lately, it occurs to me
What a long, strange trip it’s been”

What a long strange trip this past year has been with the threats of virus, fires, hurricanes, ice storms, and power outages. As a result, we didn’t get to travel to places in the song like Detroit, Houston, New Orleans, New York, or to the Main Streets of our hometowns. Dallas was a mere flight change on our way to and from Florida. We also didn’t get out of the country as planned. On the other hand, my running trip was never interrupted during all of this, but required some underground creativity to Keep me Truckin’.

As a side note, the “doo-dah man,” posed on the cover of the Keep on Truckin album, was the work of underground comic (Zap Comix) artist Robert Crumb. “Fritz the cat” and “Mr. Natural” were other clever creations he brought to life during the late 1960s. His work also adorned the album cover of Cheap Thrills by Big Brother and the Holding Company. He currently lives in France at age 73, probably a senior when I was a freshman, to put our age difference in perspective. 

“We’ll see what tomorrow brings?” as the song lyrics prophesize. The trip continues for all of us, regardless of the challenges. I promise that I will run tomorrow – that’s one thing for sure. I’ll probably also write another strange post, as I continue to struggle with content during these too often boring days of waiting for the vaccine. As always, like the do-dah man – Keep On Truckin’!



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