Today's thoughts

Category: RUNNING STREAK (Page 1 of 26)

The trials and tribulations of running every single day

Retirement is not without Hassles: All Together #2063

Rumblin’, Stumblin’, Bumblin,’ Fumblin’, and Mumblin’ describes my run this morning. I could actually hear myself shufflin’ along the asphalt surfaces since I couldn’t get my ear pods to work and had to forgo the musical distraction. I was appreciative to those who actually recognized it as “running” since my pace nearly reached 17-minutes a mile near the end of the course. It was hot and muggy after the heavy rains yesterday, adding to the misery. As always, it didn’t really get any worse or better as I trotted along looking for a distraction while sending “Happy Father’s Day” greetings to those I passed along the way. A couple of birds, a sand crane, and a rabbit crossed my path. I clapped to get Tally’s attention as I went by the dog park. 

Today is Tally’s “Gotcha Day,” joining our family 12-years ago in Austin. She then moved to Portland and now Florida with us, losing her sister Tinker and several cats along the way. Juneteenth is also my wife’s birthday along with two good friends, plus my half brother that I’ve never met. It’s also Father’s Day and Garfield’s Birthday, so there are many things to celebrate. Last night at Blue Tequila, the wait staff surprised (and embarrassed) my wife with a silly sombrero, ice cream,  and song. It was probably one of the last occasions when my entire family will be together. My parents have been gone for many years as have my wife’s. Her daughters are on the West Coast. We took my grandkids to dinner after a dance recital and their mother came along. She and my son are currently separated, with divorce seemingly inevitable. Sadly their kids may soon be growing-up in different states. My oldest granddaughter has just turned thirteen and becoming a beautiful young senorita, while my youngest is four, and the only grandson is now fifteen. It was a good Father’s Day to see them all together for once.

 

Retirement is not without Hassles: Inevitable Conclusion #2055

An hour of sweat every morning is the price of living a tropical life. My runs in Portland were usually cool and cloudy, if not in the dark. All the lawns but one are now complete along my route, while it was dozens a year ago when we first moved here. Soon, there will be little construction at all in our neighborhood and new asphalt will be laid. Just like every other day there was action at the dog park, on the pickle ball courts, and at the resort center pool/fitness center. On Saturdays like this, there is little mowing and trimming going on. I saw a few bikers and walkers but no other runners along the path. 

Today’s plan includes a trip to Costco and a Date Night dinner. I’m all caught up on television series, so college baseball will be my sole focus. Tally has already claimed my office chair. I should still be in the healing stage from my eyelid surgery, but that will need to be rescheduled. A visit with the chiropractor, a dreaded colonoscopy, and an echocardiogram are on the medical docket for next week. Hopefully, we’ll get in a movie. 

As you can see, life is pretty sedate once my morning run is out of the way. I now claim the 401st longest running streak ever in the world at 4,913 consecutive days. This includes both active and inactive streaks, while I’m currently ranked #226 of those still actively doing the deed every day. (Another 3,743, who have completed at least one full year of daily running, are trying to catch me). There are only 50 of us that are over 70 years of age in this group, with most of these tireless elders ranking near the very top – two have exceeded an unbelievable 50 straight years. (www.runeveryday.com) Only four are over 80, indicating that my running days are nearing the final decade. I often wonder what will eventually bring this daily habit to its inevitable conclusion?

 

Retirement is not without Hassles: Prance #2047

A woman passerby was mocking my running form this morning, making fun of my slow prance that’s barely faster than a walk. I must look somewhat ridiculous trying to maintain my balance with high steps and awkward arm movements. I’ve always been conscious of my form, especially when I was competitive. At this stage, it takes everything I have to keep moving forward – style be damned! I’m sure everyone thinks that I’m going to fall over like Laugh-In’s Artie Johnson on his trike, yet I somehow kept going on this day #4904. Five thousand consecutive days are within my sights, so sometime in September my streak will reach that milestone. Next week, I should move up another notch, #401, on the all time list of streak longevity. 

Breakfast these days consists of Gatorade Zero and eighteen pills, including vitamins and supplements. I’m usually drained and soaked in sweat before I jump in the pool for a few laps after 3.1 miles in the heat. My chiropractor has prescribed pills to remove uric acid from my body and to stimulate my adrenal gland. These account for half of my daily medication. My doctor also has me on a combination of cholesterol and blood pressure regulators as part of my daily regimen. Advil and Tylenol help with the stiffness and soreness. 

It takes a lot to keep this 70-year old antique together. However, I’m doing great compared to similar specimens. I see lots of canes, wheel chairs, walkers, and knee braces when I’m out and about in the morning. A little teasing about my awkward running form is a small price to pay. I was able to get in 95-plus miles this past month, despite the tendency for my GPS to unexpectedly shut down on occasion, shorting me a few miles. It happened again this morning, giving me credit for half the distance that I covered in my unorthodox prance. 

Retirement is not without Hassles: Start Your Engines #2041

I’ve given blood, had a preliminary check-up for an upcoming colonoscopy, learned how to spell colonoscopy, passed a dermatology exam, sat through a tooth cleaning, and had my eyes checked all in the past week. I seem to be in good enough shape to continue my running streak that will pass 4900 consecutive days later this week. I just got the United States Running Streak Association (USRSA) newsletter yesterday where I rank #226 in the world and have the 402nd longest streak on their currently published list of the top 1,000. Check out their site and the amazing stories of achievement at www.runeveryday.com

Yesterday, I wiped out a colony of bees that made a nest in one of our bushes and spent the afternoon with my granddaughter in the pool. My wife entertained her while I went to the doctor and then made dinner for all of us. My son had taken his son to a movie after school let out, while my other granddaughter is on a three-day school field trip to the Keys. School lets out for the summer this Friday, so we’ll need to find some activities to keep them all busy the next few months.

Tally is home from the dog park and has settled in my office chair until I kick her out. It’s all hers while I finish this writing and then head to the chiropractor. We head into the Memorial Weekend with plans for an Indy 500 party on Sunday. We’ll also have overnight company. A welcome race fans flag has been planted near the front door. Start Your Engines. 

Retirement is not without Hassles: Running the World #2030

By the year 2030, I could be 79 years old, and have a running streak of 22 years, as unlikely as it seems. Right now, I stand at 4,885 days or 13.37 years and sputtering. I keep a diary that goes back twenty-two years, so I can tell you when, where, and how long I’ve run on most of these days. The Streak started in Austin, Texas after a challenge by a new friend. He told me about the United States Running Streak Association and the runeveryday.com website that lists other “streaker kooks” like myself. I’ve since lived in Oregon as well as Florida and haven’t missed a day since it all began on December 29, 2008. I did run before the streak began, but never put together more than a couple months straight of consistent daily practice. Even when I was training for marathons, I usually took at least a day or two off every week to give my body a chance to recover. My first such endeavor at this distance was October 14, 1979 in Detroit, Michigan. 

I can remember a family reunion sometime in the mid-1970s when it was suggested that I had “put on a few pounds.” The very next day, I was out running on the path through the woods behind our lake home to lose those apparently noticeable pounds. I was too embarrassed to have anybody see me doing it, although eventually it led to many races, including the crowning marathon. There were also events in Elkhart, South Bend, Plymouth, Saugatuck, Dowagiac, Bristol, Goshen, Indianapolis, Ft. Wayne, and even Chicago where I would travel to earn a ribbon or t-shirt for going the distance. 

I’ve run in at least 26 of the 48 states I’ve visited so far (41 with my  current wife) and 11 different countries. I plan to add runs this summer in Nashville, Tennessee; Asheville, North Carolina; Hilton Head, South Carolina; Alaska, and Japan. Next year, I’ll make it to Maine, my 50th state, and add that run to my total, along with Egypt. For some reason, I have not run in Kentucky, West Virginia, Delaware, Virginia, Minnesota, New Jersey, Oklahoma, New Hampshire, Maryland, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New Mexico, Mississippi, North or South Dakota, Vermont, Utah, Wisconsin, and Wyoming. Maybe I can work some of these in on next year’s excursion to Maine? I have a lot more spots to cover around the world, but realistically I’m never going to get to them all, as I continue to try to run the world. 

Retirement is not without Hassles: Great New Friends #2023

I’ve reached the point now where I can no longer reference things that happened in the year related to my post number.  Here I am writing Post #2023 and thinking about the future. We do have specific plans for next year including an Arizona Spring Training trip, a Nile River Cruise, a long drive into Maine, and maybe a family get together in Tahoe to make up for the fire last year that caused us to cancel. My health will be the biggest concern, and I will know more after next weeks consultation with a cardiologist. I’ve yet to have any kind of surgery in my life, but coming up soon is a minor eye procedure that will require some skin removal and the potential for repairs to a lower aorta aneurysm that was discovered years ago. I also face my ten-year colonoscopy that will put me under for a short time. In other words, my future involves a lot of poking and prodding.

I would much rather focus on the travel rather than the doctor appointments. However, my seventy year old body does require some attention. I will continue to try to run every day despite these obstacles even if it means a treadmill or ship deck. Even though I fight the urge to quit every single morning, it’s the positive  force that keeps me going. The Florida heat and winds are now a factor but this morning it was overcast with the threat of rain. I finished my familiar 5k route to make it 4,878 consecutive days. It did start to pour in the middle of my swim, so I did cut that a bit short. 

We had another successful “Meet The Neighbors” gathering last night. A year ago was the very first Borrego Street party in a driveway down the street. We then hosted the second one in the sweltering June heat with a band playing in our garage. My wife then volunteered to organize our regular get togethers at the nearby clubhouse in air conditioned comfort or under the poolside pergola with a breeze off the pond. The band played again last night to celebrate our ninth time together as a group. In addition, there have been community functions, Borrego Boyz luncheons, a retirement party, a brunch, dinner parties, impromptu driveway meet-ups, and several birthday parties where we’ve had the opportunity to make great new friends. 

Retirement is not without Hassles: Lovin’ It #2016

I started this blog in 2016 in anticipation of retirement at the end of the year. It was part of my plan to keep busy, hoping that my daily writing efforts would lead somewhere. Now, after 2,016 attempts, it’s still a quest as part of my daily routine, but has yet to amount to anything but a tool to keep me entertained. Today, my effort will be cut short by the resort’s cleaning service for fresh sheets, towels, dusting, vacuuming, and mopping that used to be a daily task pre-Covid. They agreed to come in after our first week here at Singer Island. Plus, we have a house guest for the night.

We’ll grill steaks on the outdoor grills after a day in the sun – not much different than being at home. I’ll continue my reading the book, Once We Were Brothers, while the girls catch-up on their long-term friendship. I did get my full 5k in this morning, but will be at under 85 miles for the month after several 1.1 mile setbacks due to time restraints and dizziness. Normally, I’m well over 90 miles each month, exceeding 1,000 miles a year. I never really thought of this as a milestone until a close friend joined a 1,000 mile walking club. My next goal will come in September, five months from now, when I surpass 5,000 consecutive days as part of “The Streak.”

Another day has gone by in a flash, as boats pass in the distance from our balcony view. My skin is now as brown as it was when we returned from Thailand a few years ago. I did have a head start this time due to living in Florida rather than Portland, where the sun only came in short breaks. Four more days of sun worshipping before we return home for even more sun. We’re Lovin’ It!

 

Retirement is not without Hassles: Points #2014

The dizziness has passed, but I still have a sinus headache. I was able to return to running a full 5k this morning although my pace was awkward and sluggish. Nonetheless, consecutive day #4,868 is now behind me and another sunny afternoon ahead. We’ll be back in our expensive beach chairs in a few hours once I catch up on my writing. Yesterday, I was distracted on the computer with a silly project, listing all my stays at Marriott properties over the last twenty-two year. This includes Vacation Club, Ritz Carlton, Marriott, JW Marriott, Spring Hill Suites, Towne Place, Westin, Fairfield, Courtyard, Sheraton, and Residence Inn overnights. We honestly haven’t paid directly for a room at any of these brands in at least the last fifteen years. Some were corporate reimbursements but most were based on points collected from credit card purchases and membership in the Marriott Vacation Club. Of course, I pay a small related mortgage and maintenance fees, but it’s much more practical than a second home. Plus, it’s not a fixed location. 

I have accounted for over 200 stays all over the world so far with some as much as 14-days long. When all is said and done, I will have spent more than a year of my life in Marriott rooms from Hawaii to Bangkok. It’s rewarding to look back on all of our travel adventures. It really started back in 2005 when I took the TV General Manager’s job in Decatur, Illinois. The first few months of living there was at a Fairfield Inn where I began to accumulate points, and corporate meetings around the country allowed me to stay at pricier Marriott hotels for even greater points. Next, I got a Marriott Credit Card where purchases also earned points. Ultimately, we joined the Marriott Vacation Club about 5 years ago. The main benefit is consistency in our lodging as we travel. No surprises and first class accommodations! Points, Points, Points. 

My wife claims that I love my Marriott points more than I love her, but the truth is she never complains about where we stay. There are no more “Third Room” hassles that used to plague our adventures. (See Post #503). She’s usually content under the care of Mother Marriott and has collected thousands of points on her own through her own business travels. We’re in mutual agreement on something for once! There are of course other expenses involved in travel like the beach chairs that we rent. The fact is that they cost more per day than Fairfield rooms we used to rent twenty years ago. However, we charged it on the credit card, so we’ll also get some points. 

 

Retirement is not without Hassles: Stop the Bus #2007

With company in town, it’s been several days since I’ve contributed to this blog. I’ve been stuck on post number 2006 and events of that related life-year, as I shared memories with a hometown friend that has been around since grade school at Beardsley School 1962. He told me that the “Bombers” nickname was changed to “Bulldogs.” I was formerly a Rice “Krispie” before we moved to a new neighborhood. Rice was torn down years ago and Beardsley is in a new location. Everything has changed, even our High School lost its unique nickname. The “Blue Blazers” are now the “Lions.”

It’s “Matinee Monday” and “Patriot’s Day” but we can’t fit a movie into our busy schedule. I was pushed on my run this morning (more than a minute a mile faster) by a neighbor, as we talked about today’s Boston Marathon, something that he has run 15 times. I never qualified but ran the course one day when I was visiting another high school friend. I’m now sitting in my office watching the latest episode of “Winning Time.” I also won at Wordle this morning, after my first loss yesterday following 29-straight. 

I have to correct my Amtrak reservation that I made last week. I needed a means to get from Portland to Vancouver BC this September where we’ll catch the Viking Cruise to Alaska/Japan. We always enjoyed the route into Seattle for ball games. As it turns out, the train trip included a leg by bus from Seattle to BC and my wife objected. Apparently, with border restrictions and limited schedules, the train no longer runs directly into the Vancouver station. Instead, we’ll use Alaska points to fly, fitting more closely with the rest of this luxurious adventure. After all, we’re flying First Class from Tampa to Portland and have a suite aboard the ship. She’s right, stop the bus?

 

Retirement is not without Hassles: Murph #2001

I’ve started another streak…this time with the game Wordle where I’m now 23-0 but remaining humble.  Obviously, I’ve only been playing for less than a month, but supplementing it with Quordle that is much more challenging, having stumped me a couple of times already. The running streak of course continues, but poor Tally got sick on my office rug. I didn’t notice it until after my first couple of preparation stretches when I felt some moist spots on my back. I had laid right in it, so there was a delay getting started this morning. It was a rough way to begin my Sunday, especially after finding out that my nephew’s youngest son had to be air-lifted out of Cancun to Miami for medical reasons. He’s recovering at Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital after a couple scary nights in a Mexican facility that required cash in advance for treatment. It was apparently a costly vacation.

I went to a retirement party last night about ten houses down from us. After just one year in this neighborhood, we’ve made lots of friends and gone to many parties where I can drink and walk home. The alcohol messes with my sleep, so it was a restless night. All I  have on my agenda today is more baseball, the Long Beach Indycar race, and The Masters. I’ll be fighting Tally for the chair in my office, where she’s laying right now. Maybe I’ll go outside to watch once it warms up a bit? It was a little chilly in the pool this morning.

I got a call from one of my Portland buddies during the party last night. He was joking that he had an extra ticket for the annual Old Timer’s Baseball dinner. I doubt that I’ll make the 3,000 mile trip but will see my friends in Portland this September before our Alaska cruise. Atlanta Brave’s Hall of Famer, Dale Murphy #3, is the guest speaker in his home town, and I’ve asked them to get me an autographed copy of his book titled Murph. The event is in two weeks, so I’ll be in touch that night. Last time we attended, most of us all nodded off after the speakers droned on. We’re hoping that Dale will be more entertaining. A giant mural of him is on our neighborhood stadium where the Braves host Spring Training every year. Keep them awake Murph!

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