Today's thoughts

Category: RUNNING STREAK (Page 1 of 29)

The trials and tribulations of running every single day

Retirement is not without Hassles: Off We Go, Again #2217

I doubt that there will be time for a post tomorrow with the overnight in Seattle and early morning flight to Kauai. I’ll also have to cut back to the minimum on my run. I almost reached my monthly goal of 90 miles at 86.7, an improvement over the past few months with all the travel and GPS restrictions. It’s more in line with where I was this past summer with much cooler conditions. I will miss the annual Tomahawk 5k at the Braves Spring Training facility but will have a beautiful golf course route on the island. 

I was counting on free shipping of wine to our resort destination, but Alaska Airlines only does this from their West Coast airport locations, not from Florida. We’ve also apparently lost our MVP status that allowed for extra luggage. I was spoiled with the hub located in Portland, but now have to choose other options at our nearby airports. With the Alaska merger with American Airlines, we’ll have to start rebuilding frequent flyer points. As a result, we’re in need of a Costco for wine and other essentials once we arrive. 

Our Marriott Vacation Club resort is very near the Lihue Airport, so we’ll pick up a rental car for the days when we’re traveling to the other side of the island. Otherwise, we’re pretty isolated from restaurants and hot spots. We’ll make use of our kitchen facilities on several nights or walk the mile to the other Marriott property that has more amenities. We brought some games and I’ll try to keep up with all the sports during the early hours of the day. The USA has just advanced in the World Cup, various conference football championships will be decided, the College Cup soccer features Indiana, both men’s and women’s college basketball is also looking favorable for the Hoosier teams, and the NFL is in the last month of the season. I have a lot to keep up on, while Off We Go, Again!

Retirement is not without Hassles: Streakers Unite #2211

I received my Fall edition of the USRSA Registry newsletter, dedicated to streak runners like myself around the world. My streak now stands at 5,079 consecutive days. There are now 4,125 runners who have completed at least a full year of running every day, as more and more enthusiasts join the organization. I can remember when there were less than a thousand of us. I also used to be ranked #203 on the overall list but now have dropped to #230. Apparently, others have been doing this for years without awareness of the website www.runeveryday.com, otherwise I would only be moving up not down. I shouldn’t be passed unless I stop, but the whole process is self-monitoring. I once had aspirations of getting into the Top 200 but now it means that more than 10% of the top “streakers” would have to quit running. More likely, it would be death or injury that I wouldn’t wish on anyone. 

I’m content to be in the top 5.5% of this growing group. It’s better than my normal race performance that is typically in the top 20%. For me, it’s not a race anymore but a matter of perseverance. At the age of 71, my pace continues to slow, but nearly 50% of those listed in the Top 100 are also over 70. Their streaks extend to over 50-years, having started in their 20’s. I did not begin until a few years before my sixtieth birthday, being unaware of the challenge. My goal was to get to 1,000 by the time I reached sixty, but have obviously continued the quest to this day. 

There are many days that I wish that I was not committed to this challenge. There is no finish line and it can be inconvenient when traveling. It’s often hard to believe that I’ve stuck with it for nearly 14-years, and can only imagine the pressure to perform by those in the Top 10. No one will probably notice when I eventually fall off the list, especially knowing that there are undoubtedly others out there that have yet to reveal themselves or never will.

I sputter along day after day, taking it one day at a time like any other addiction. I try to get in about 90 miles a week but it takes longer and longer to get in my 5k a day goal. Occasionally, I’ll drop back to the minimum mile when time is particularly tight. I’m glad I’m not alone out there, even though it seems lonely and even painful at times. Streakers Unite!

 

Retirement is not without Hassles: Staycation #2209

I was feeling excessive stiffness and soreness on this morning’s run despite my visit to the chiropractor earlier this week. This challenge never gets easier, particularly after 5,078 consecutive days and a recent 71st birthday. I did get out the morning of Hurricane Nicole for a rainy mile or so, but fortunately we were in Alaska when damaging Ian arrived. There are no excuses, including recent eye lid surgery, in order to keep “The Streak” alive. I’m still somewhere in the low 200s on the USRSA active list, far behind those that continue their incredible routines after more than fifty-years. 

We did see the movie, The Menu, on Monday and picked up our Honey Baked Ham for tomorrow’s Thanksgiving meal. We’re now expecting seven, including my son’s estranged wife and their three kids. The grandkids were also treated to pizza last night. I was glad to hear that my son got some initial compensation for his Ian damage from his employer and insurance company. It will help him fix some roof damage that we were able to fortunately avoid. Additional checks should be forthcoming, along with an appeal decision from FEMA. I’m sure the whole family was also disappointed when I announced that our trip to Spring Training in Phoenix has been cancelled. They were hoping to visit the Grand Canyon and Albuquerque on the drive there. 

I’ll, of course, try to make it up to them, as we decided to meet our Arizona friends in Las Vegas instead. Originally, I had secured a three-bedroom condo in Phoenix for a week, preceded by a side trip to Mexico, and followed by some time at their home in Marana. All of those plans were derailed, so we settled for three-days together in Vegas. I reserved a two-bedroom, two-bath condo at the Marriott Vacation Club, a property that we toured on our last visit a few years ago. Sorry, kids, but you got left out this time. 

My son likes to take his kids to a Cubs game in a new stadium every year. Last year, it was PNC Park in Pittsburgh, where we joined them all. Spring Training in Arizona was his goal this year, but it seemed silly to go cross-country for the Arizona Cactus League when the Florida Grapefruit version is just a mile away in our neighborhood. It’s just that the Cubs don’t play here, but they’re expected to have another disappointing season with a bunch of players we’re not familiar with any more. No more Haywood, Schwarber, Rizzo, Bryant, Contreras, or Baez, who have all been traded. This on top of the fact that my son’s marriage is unofficially over, the kids are split between two homes depending on the week, his home needs repair, and he really can’t afford to take a vacation. His stubborn self would claim that he needs a break from all this chaos but I think his money is better spent elsewhere and the kids need to be in school. Their lives are disrupted enough, just like the Cubs! Staycation!

Retirement is not without Hassles: Streak On #2196

Another storm is headed our way over the next few days. Tropical Storm Nicole will make landfall on the Atlantic coast, cross the state, and then move up the Gulf Coast, hopefully skirting north of our area. Regardless, we will get some strong winds and rain that could cause further damage to the many unstable trees in our neighborhood. HOA workers have installed wood braces on the trunks hat survived Ian and there are still a few roofs that have yet to be fixed other than covered with blue tarps. Unlike most area neighborhoods, there are no longer massive piles of debris, a credit to our association’s diligent efforts.

This has been our first full year in Florida, and we’ve had more than our share of destructive weather. Yes, it’s warm and beautiful where we live, but danger continues to lurk – not just alligators. Insurance companies are backed-up on claims and financial relief is slow to materialize. It will take years to recover already, so another set-back would be catastrophic. We still have a refrigerator in need of repair and a homeowner’s assessment to pay. My son is waiting on his insurance claims regarding roof, vehicle, and water damage. He’s fortunate not to have an unsightly pile of limbs, siding, shingles, mangled grills, and twisted outdoor furniture like most of his neighbors.

I joined one of my fellow joggers on the route this morning. He’s training for a half-marathon and I struggle to keep up with his faster pace. All three of my miles ended up in the 14-minute range, still nothing more than a comparative crawl, but “fast” for me these days. He went on for an additional 7-miles this morning. For me, today marked 5,064 consecutive despite the long cruise and eyelid surgery. This incoming Tropical Depression could impose another challenge to “The Streak,” but I will certainly find a way to get my miles in one way or another. Streak On!

 

Retirement is not without Hassles: Cheap Sunglasses #2191

Through swollen eyelids, I watched baseball history last night with a Houston Astros combined no-hitter against the Philadelphia Phillies. It was the second no-hitter in a World Series game, the first by Don Larsen of the Yankees in 1956, who was “perfect” against the Brooklyn Dodgers. That record will never be topped. Cristian Javier, Christian Vazquez, Bryan Abreu, Rafael Montero, and Ryan Pressly only gave up three base-on-balls, one was to Kyle Schwarber of the Phillies, extending his post-season on-base streak to 11 straight games. 

I can remember the buzz around the Don Larsen “Perfecta,” even though I was only 5-years old. I was already into collecting baseball cards at that age and had all the Yankee greats that year. The 1956 Mickey Mantle Topps card alone is now worth thousands of dollars but somehow it got lost or thrown out. Three years later I became a White Sox fan, so those Yankee cards apparently didn’t matter any more. Don Larsen is valued at about $80 and probably went up in value with the exposure from last night’s no-hit feat. 

I spent my second straight night in a chair sitting up with ice-packs pressed against my black-and-blue eyes. It made it even tougher to watch Manager Dusty Baker pull Cristian Javier after 6 innings and nine strike outs, taking away his chance of solo heroics. Instead, he shared the honor with four other bullpen mates for a 5-0 victory, tying the series at 2 games each. 

My eyelids are now thick lips with Frankenstein-like stitches. I joke that I got a special deal on surgery by waiting until the day after Halloween. I’m also not supposed to exercise, but I did get the minimum mile in both days to extend “The Streak” to 5,058 consecutive days. It was especially difficult the day after surgery as I waited until afternoon and the pain-killers to wear off before lacing up my running shoes. This morning was easier and tomorrow I could be back to normal, hiding behind my cheap sunglasses. 

Retirement is not without Hassles: Heroes #2173

We’re safely back home and watching live sports once again, although I’m not happy with what I’m seeing. I.U. football blew their opportunity for a win, Alabama was upset, and the Braves have been eliminated from the playoffs, while the Bad News Bears have the day off after losing by inches on Thursday night. I was much better off without TV. 

My internal time clock is still on Hawaiian time and my legs have yet to adjust to solid ground. I did get a full 3.1 mile run in this morning, the first of that distance in 27-days without the balance challenges of an on-board treadmill or unsteady ship’s deck. It’s been tough to get back into the routine after just three nights back. Memories of Alaska and Hawaii have been replaced with damage concerns for our home and neighborhood. 

We’re hearing some of the horror stories about Hurricane Ian and seeing the damage that surrounds us. Neighbors had to literally nail their front doors shut with the massive winds that tore apart pool cages, damaged siding, and stripped trees. I just had an inspector check our roof and attic and got a report of minimal damage. We were lucky, as I look across the street at a pile of twisted metal to be discarded. Broken roof tiles, strips of sheet metal, rubbage, and tree limbs are scattered everywhere, not to mention the uprooted palms that line our streets. Lanai screens at both our neighbor’s homes are ripped and left  flapping in the breeze. How we escaped damage I’ll never know, but there will certainly be an HOA assessment charged to every resident, so financial loss is inevitable. 

On top of fees for the inspector, gift cards for neighbors who helped ready our home while we were absent, food loss, service costs to repair an inoperative refrigerator, pool chemicals, and landscaping replacements, we’ll all be paying for this storm damage for some time to come. I’m just glad we weren’t around to experience the terror that many endured with window and door damages, leaks, flooding streets, and no power. The only turbulence we felt was the bobbing and weaving of the ship as we tried to fill our plates. There’s a definite sense of guilt in missing this neighborhood bonding experience that will be talked about for years. We have our share of heroes to thank in minimizing our losses while we were thousands of miles away. 

Retirement is not without Hassles: Back to Reality #2170

It’s day #21 of the cruise and 27 days since we left our Florida home.  We’ve left behind our schnauzer pup, Tally, and some storm casualties including our roof tiles, refrigerator, and frozen food. I’ve called an inspector and the Kitchenaid warranty department about potential repairs we’ll have to deal with once we get home this Friday and back to reality – just four days away. This morning was the first outdoors run I’ve enjoyed since downtown Vancouver just before the boat left the dock. I finally able to get out on the main deck that is four laps to the mile. It had been too cold, too windy, or too slippery to step foot out there until today, as we approach Kauai. I’ve been stuck on the treadmill every morning as we bobbed and weaved our way along, but “The Streak” persists after 5, 034 consecutive days. I could feel the strain of the harder surface on my heels, as I counted the number of times through the engine room tunnel. Also, in trying to maintain my balance with the constant movement of the ship, the outside muscles of my legs are sore. It’s a challenge to run at sea, and I’m proud that I never gave up or took a day off despite the temptation.

Yesterday was definitely the most boring of the trip, as I drifted off to sleep early. I have yet to get sea sick but the lack of sunshine and fresh air coupled with too much food & drink has taken its toll on my stamina. I have to remind myself that I am no longer a spring chicken but rather a 71-year old senior citizen that wears himself out every single morning. I’m stuck with the same crew, the same people, and the same restaurant choices every single day with no land in sight. Everything is starting to run together, while laying in bed while the boat rocks is the most comfortable position without a doubt. I’m also never really sure what time it is with all the time zone adjustments that we’ve been through. My phone still shows it to be two hours later than the ship clocks.

I’m ready to get on solid ground tomorrow, although it’s for a catamaran tour of the Kalapaki & Hule’ia River, but still a calmer body of water. Only three more nights at sea and then a miserable overnight flight from Honolulu to Houston to Tampa. It’s been a month-long journey of planes, trains, automobiles, taxis, and boats. We’ll be home soon! No more endless buffets, luxury accommodations, or First-Class seats as we head back to reality!

 

Retirement is not without Hassles: Week at Sea #2169

Last Monday, six days ago, we set sail from Dutch Harbour, Alaska and haven’t been on solid ground since. We have another full day to go before we reach Kauai.  It’s the longest stretch of my life at sea that will probably never be matched. I’ve been bobbing and weaving my way around the ship to the point where the outside muscles in my legs are sore trying to maintain balance. The treadmill has been another story of holding on while battling ocean swells. At the same time, the Pacific Ocean looks peacefully blue with no sign of land on either side. Fuel and food storage have I’m sure been a challenge for crew members, as none of us expected a month ago that we would be at sea this long. Initially, stops were scheduled for Russia and Japan. Those that aren’t debarking in Hawaii will go on to Australia for another long stretch of ocean travel. No one signed up for this level of torture. 

A week from now, we’ll be home with only faint memories of this excursion that got me to my 49th of 50 states. I mentioned my need for a live sports fix in yesterday’s post, but it will also be over a month without my regular TV habits like House of the Dragon and Sons of Anarchy that I left behind on this journey. I’ll have a lot of catching up to do, and some maintenance to perform on our Ian damaged property. We don’t know yet all that we missed, like the fact that our neighbor just reported that the power never returned on our main refrigerator even after reactivating the breaker. 

There isn’t much new to report on activity other than night after night of fine dining, wine & whiskey tastings, movies, lounge shows, and chocolate, but not much in the way of fresh air or sunshine. However, I’m now witnessing a blue-sky day with white puffy skies and smooth sailing, for once, as we near a full week at Sea.

Retirement is not without Hassles: Swell Day #2164

If today is any indication, the next few days of this cruise could be miserable. I tried my best to run on the treadmill, unable to run beyond the minimum mile while weaving and bobbing the next couple of miles in a quick walk. I had to hold on to the side-rails to keep from falling off and even the sit-ups and push-ups were difficult despite being flat on the floor. It was, however, a busy day in the fitness center as passengers tried their best to exercise, knowing that we would be another 7-days at sea. “The Streak” barely continues at 5,028 days. 

We have officially left Alaska, on the Pacific Ocean path to Hawaii. I’m feeling a bit queasy with a slight headache and in need of fresh air.  This is the first day that I’ve really regretted being on a cruise. Tomorrow, however, we meet with the Viking travel consultants about future options. We do have a $10,000 credit voucher as a result of sticking it out for this venture that caused many cancellations once the leg to Japan was changed to Hawaii. Hopefully, we can find some smoother sailing in our future. 

Walking from one end of the ship to the other is a major accomplishment. I did manage to do laundry, knowing that most people just stayed in their cabins. Room Service was very popular and after hearing the crash of dishes in the kitchen probably the safest way to eat breakfast or lunch. Dinner tonight will be at the Chef’s Table once again with a Mexican menu planned. My wife played bridge while I went to the movie documentary, “Wonders of the Sea,” produced by the Cousteau family. It was truly an underwater marvel narrated by Arnold Schwarzenegger. The swaying of the boat and thumping of the waves against the side of the Viking Orion added to the realism. The captain was facing 20-foot swells but indicated that the ship was built to handle at least fifty to make us feel safe. It’s been a swell day so far!

Retirement is not without Hassles: Dues to Pay #2162

With the month of October suddenly upon us, September running mileage only totaled 78.1 miles. At least I got the minimum mile in every day to keep “The Streak” alive on this cruise adventure. Normally, I routinely do about 90 miles each month and 1,000 for the year. Between fewer miles and excessive eating I will naturally expect a weight gain that should be perfectly normal on a three-week cruise. They say if you don’t put on a few pounds then you didn’t enjoy yourself. Tonight, we’ll be back at Manfredi’s for more pasta and wine, The big relief of the day, was from our thoughtful who took the time to drive all the way to Schnauzerville to assure my wife that our precious pup Tally was doing fine. The dog sitters were relying on a generator and had no way to communicate with us, so a simple picture was worth a thousand words. 

We should know more about our roof tile damage in the next few days when my son is able to once again check our property. He has been pre-occupied with rising water, soffit damage, and potential structural concerns after the hurricane. This goes along with his marital concerns and financial problems that have been his primary focus long before Ian rocked his world. His wife and kids have been sharing time with their parents, so I was glad to see them temporarily united as a family to deal with the storm. This once again shows that tragedies like this often bring people together, whether it be neighbors, relatives, or even strangers. 

There are still street, landscaping, sewer and internet problems in our Islandwalk neighborhood. I do have some guilt having to rely on others for help while we’re thousands of miles away at sea. Our timing couldn’t have been better or worse, depending on how you look at it. Here we are stuffing our faces, bathing with clean water, and enjoying all the luxury cruise comforts while those back in our home town of Venice are suffering. We’ll have some serious dues to pay when we finally get back to Florida. 

 

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