Today's thoughts

Category: RUNNING STREAK (Page 1 of 20)

The trials and tribulations of running every single day

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’ #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’!



Retirement is not without Hassles: Starbucks #1602

The streets and sidewalks were mostly clear today, with a few icy remnants of last week’s storm. Thousands of people are without power, but we remain unaffected. It was hard on my back to run in the concrete parking garage while the streets were impassable. According to experts, concrete is a much harder surface than asphalt and should be avoided. To simplify, you will leave a dent in the asphalt but not in concrete as your feet strike the surface with a force of up to six times your body weight. It’s been good the last few days to get the occasional relief of being back on the streets. Although other sources say that the cushioning of my shoes should make the two surfaces indistinguishable. Psychologically or not, I feel the difference. 

Boredom is the other factor that comes into play when you’re running in parking garage circles. On the other hand (or foot), my regular 3.1 mile course takes me through many different neighborhoods and along the scenic river path. Despite the presence of many homeless and the damage of graffiti, I still find this route to be entertaining. I also take off my mask when I run, being careful to keep my distance from others, so the cold, fresh air is invigorating. I continue to struggle with fogging-up when wearing both a mask and glasses at the same time, so when outside the apartment I often abandon my frames. However, I need them to run. There are just too many uneven surfaces that I need my full vision to navigate as I stumble along.  

I had a rare treat yesterday, a visit from a friend. We talk on the phone, text, and see each other on Zoom calls, but haven’t had the opportunity to get together for nearly three months. A year ago, it was usually once a week or so at a restaurant or get-togethers with our wives. He had an appointment at the neighboring hospital, and we talked briefly on a park bench over coffee. It was also my first visit to a Starbucks in months, after frequenting their stores for a “Grande decaf caramel latte” during the pre-retirement years. It will be nice when we all get our vaccines and companionship returns to a better shade of normal. With some regret, I will have to make all new friends in Florida, but there will always be visitors who need a sunshine fix…or coffee at Starbucks.


Retirement is not without Hassles: Takin’ It to the Streets #1601

“Take this message to my brother
You will find him everywhere
Wherever people live together
Tied in poverty’s despair”

“You, telling me the things you’re gonna do for me
I ain’t blind and I don’t like what I think I see”

“Takin’ it to the streets
Takin’ it to the streets
Takin’ it to the streets
Takin’ it to the streets
Takin’ it to the streets
Takin’ it to the streets
Takin’ it to the streets
Takin’ it to the”

I was thinking of the Doobie Brothers this morning as I returned to the streets after five mornings of running underground. It was good to get back in the fresh air and not run in circles. However, it was a bit precarious with slippery spots, giant piles of snow, and slushy ruts. Tomorrow will be better as temperatures warm. 

There wasn’t much activity on the streets of New Orleans yesterday with record low temperatures affecting the Fat Tuesday celebrations. It was apparently hardly the street party that is typically associated with Mardi Gras. I was there in 1972 – 49 years ago! It was a memorable experience, as is every visit to New Orleans. We haven’t been there for nearly 11 years – Thanksgiving of 2010. Once we move to Florida we’ll be much closer to revisiting Bourbon Street.

Our new street will be Borrego when we get settled in a few months. There will be little chance of seeing snow plows or having to run on icy surfaces. My muscles are stiff and sore after this miserable string of cold Portland days. I’m ready for some warm sunshine to ease my aches and pains. New street – new retirement life. I’m soon takin’ it to the streets of Venice. 


Retirement is not without Hassles: Hitchcock #1597

It was another winter day that required going underground. I watched several other runners navigate the plowed streets filled with ruts and tire marks. There was a time when I loved to run in the snow, but with balance issues I’m reluctant to risk a misstep. I did the short distance to the parking garage and was the only activity on the lowest level. The Streak continues at 4,430 consecutive days. I’m now in front of the television set waiting for the I.U. game against Ohio State to start. I have an ominous feeling, concerned about another poor shooting performance. 

We continued our Hitchcock marathon last night over a Sorrento’s pizza, the only restaurant open on our block. The snow is at about five inches with several layers of crust underneath. This was supposed to be a big Valentine’s weekend for area dining establishments, as capacity restrictions were loosened. Instead, Mother Nature reared her ugly head. I continue to empathize with the food business in these tough times. Last night’s Hitchcock thriller was The Wrong Man (1956) and the start of Spellbound (1945). We’ve already seen Lifeboat (1944), Dial M for Murder (1954), Suspicion (1941), North By Northwest (1959), The Lady Vanishes (1938), To Catch a Thief (1955), Marnie (1964), Rope (1948), The 39 Steps (1935), Rear Window (1954), Saboteur (1942), Vertigo (1958), The Man Who Knew Too Much (1956) and The Birds (1963) over the last month.

I received a couple of e-bay shipments today containing sports collectables. One was postage due and did not include an item presented in the offer. I’m in a sour mood on dealing with this after a poor I.U. half of turnovers, shot clock violations, and missed bunnies. I hope the day gets better. At least I have heat unlike some of my friends. There would be nothing worse during this pandemic than no TV or heat to go with it. Although, I wouldn’t have to watch this game or look for Hitchcock cameos.

Retirement is not without Hassles: Garage Run #1596

Ice and snow overnight made the streets and sidewalks slippery this morning. For the sake of caution, I took my running game indoors, down in the bowels of the Good Samaritan Hospital parking garage. It was sheltered and dry with very little activity, about fifteen laps to a mile. Without a functioning I-Watch, I have no idea how far I ran in forty-five minutes, but my legs ache from the concrete. Asphalt is always a better alternative but necessity prevailed and day #4429 now history. More snow will continue to fall throughout the day, making the upcoming move to Florida even more appealing. 

I was forced to do the same thing last year during the annual winter storm here in Portland. It’s usually just a dusting, but this is a little more treacherous. At least we no longer live on an icy hill that required crampons to navigate safely. You took your life in your hands going down our former  driveway. I remember being dragged down it by the dogs a few years ago. It’s flat downtown and we really don’t need a car to get supplies, so we’ll simply wait this one out. This morning, I had memories of Austin, Texas and the torrential downpours that would lead me to a nearby parking garage. It was much smaller, just one level and twenty-five laps to a mile, but kept me dry on those rainy days. It was not as confined as the Root Beer Barrel overhang that I once ran under in a Rochester, Indiana rainstorm that was more like forty laps to a mile.  Having a treadmill, solved this problem on other inclimate days, but I prefer to be outside whenever possible. Overall, running everyday requires some innovation on occasion. 

I’m looking forward to the Zoom Leadership luncheon meeting today. We’ve been texting back and forth during basketball games this week, but it will be good to see some smiling faces. I bought a 16-oz Coors Light for the occasion, when we’ll share progress reports on our home projects. I spoke with our project manager down in Florida yesterday, and the first coats of paint are going on the interior walls. He did not expect any more delays going forward, so we’re still anticipating a March 23rd completion date. With a fitness center in our new community, parking garage runs will be strictly a travel necessity in the future. 

Retirement is not without Hassles: Cold #1593

I was listening to the song “Cold” on the radio this morning, wondering about the artist. I had to finish my run to Google the answer: Chris Singleton. It seemed appropriate considering the chance of snow in the Portland forecast and a winter fog lingering in the air. As I learned yesterday on my Word of the Day calendar, I was experiencing a pogonip. All I could dream of was next year at this time living in Florida. Despite the chill, running has been very rewarding this week with the discovery of a quarter and two dimes on the downtown streets, nearly enough to buy a stamp. Today, #4426, was fruitless, not even a penny.

I have a bunch of paperwork and a credit card form to fill out for North American Van Lines. They were the winner of the moving lottery, over two other competitors for the honor of moving our stuff across the country. It’s a pricy ordeal, more expensive than buying my first tiny house. The only things they won’t move are our dog Tally, the liquor supply, perishables, and household cleaners. We’re doing our best to finish off these items, especially the wine. Tally will ride with us in our remaining car as we stop to stop friends and family on the 3,000-plus mile journey. Hopefully, it will be the last of cold weather that we will see for awhile.

I’ve already booked dog friendly hotels in Ogden, Utah and Burlington, Colorado for early April. We’ll spend the first night after the move here in Portland, at the Residence Inn where we lived the first couple weeks of our first days in the city. We don’t know how long the loading process will take that day, so we’ll start driving East the next morning. Several days will be spent in Indiana at about the half-way point of our journey. Tally will get to visit with her dog cousins while we’re there. From the point, we’ll head South through Atlanta. We’ll have to time our drive to coordinate with the moving truck’s ultimate arrival at our new Venice, Florida home to supervise the unloading process. 

Instead of cooking tonight, I’ll be heating up leftovers. We continue to try to conserve on expenses, knowing there will be plenty of them once we get to Florida. Plantation shutters, custom built-ins, wine replenishment, bar stools, guest bed, pool chairs, and lighting will be the move-in spending priorities. We’ll need to get set-up quickly in anticipation of visitors, also seeking warm weather. In the meantime, it looks like the possibility of snow during the week ahead. Burrrrrr! It’s Cold!

Retirement is not without Hassles: The Tan is Fading #1589

My I-Watch came unglued, so I guess that I really don’t know what time it is. Yes, the back literally fell off when the glue broke down after years of use, another indication of how cheaply it was made. However, I’m satisfied that it lasted as long as it did given that I didn’t invest in the extended warranty. I use it primarily to log my runs but that route is now pretty much the same every day. For those of you keeping score, today was #4,422 of “The Streak,” dating back to 12/29/2008. My course has been consistently 3.1 miles every day, with an occasional shorter run when I have to catch an early flight. This was the case when we left Miami last week for the trip home. Once again, I was fortunate to avoid the standard Northwest drizzle this morning, but I sure miss that Florida heat. 

Home construction has been slightly delayed so we now anticipate our cross-country move from Portland to be in early April. My wife is lining up North American for the trek. We’ll drive our remaining car to meet them in Venice when the time comes. It’s the only way to get our schnauzer Tally to our final destination. She’s apparently slightly too heavy to ride in the main cabin and not Service worthy, while storing her below is not an option. We’ll pass through Indiana on the way back and visit with friends and family. As a result of the delay, we are cancelling our cruise from Barcelona to Oslo. This will give us more time to get settled and perhaps allow for the vaccine, although Oregon seems to be struggling to even get those over 80 their shots. 

I can’t say I’m really missing the I-Watch and don’t want to go to the expense of replacing it. It’s very intrusive, constantly alerting me of spam calls, driving directions, and e-mails. In retirement, nothing is that urgent! I may just switch to a cheap Fit-Bit to help with pacing, although I run so slow anymore that it really doesn’t matter. This morning my legs felt like concrete, so it was best not to know my split times. However, I’m still encouraged after watching The Raven do his daily route last week that I’m a comparative speed demon! (See Post #1581).

I’m just glad it’s Friday, even though that doesn’t seem important any more. Every day of retirement is virtually the same – Run, Blog, Eat, Binge, Sleep, Repeat. I guess Fridays will always remain special after all those years of looking forward to the end of the work week. Now, the work is done when I finish my run every day. There’s not much planned for today – maybe another Alfred Hitchcock movie tonight. Last night, it was “The Lady Vanishes.” that put me to sleep. I still haven’t quite adjusted to the three-hour time difference that I got used to in Florida these past few weeks. I miss the sun and my tan is fading. 

Retirement is not without Hassles: The Raven #1581

I had a brief conversation with Robert Kraft, “The Raven,” yesterday evening as my wife and I walked to dinner at Joe’s Stone Crab. I happened to catch him after the first hour of his daily 8-mile beach run that he completed for the 16,829th consecutive time. He’s into his 46th year of doing this while I’m in my 12th, now averaging a consistent 3 miles every day. “The Raven,” as he prefers to be called, runs nearly 3,000 miles every year compared to my 1,000 but his body shows the wear and tear despite being a year and two months younger. This means he’s been at this since he was 21. I started 1000 days before my 60th birthday to celebrate the occasion and haven’t stopped since. 

To be quite honest there isn’t much “run” left in “The Raven.” His pace is very slow, much slower than even mine and what most would consider a walk, but this doesn’t discount his accomplishments. He’s out there at sunset every evening for a good two-and-a-half hours, over 912 hours every year without fail. I’m anxious to read his story, Raven Run. I was surprised to find out that he’s about 5’10” but hunched over like a question mark and weighs around 190 pounds that was once probably solid muscle. A black headband, silver streak in his beard, black shorts, black glove, and hairy chest complete the picture. He operates on a different time schedule than my morning routine, so I may never run with him. I went up to him yesterday simply to congratulate him on his streak, but he urged me to run with him while we’re still in Miami. 

Although I’m tempted to join him, I’m afraid that 8-miles on sand would be too much of a strain. I like to get my running commitment out of the way first thing, so thinking about it all day would be difficult. Also, his pace is so slow that I would be miserable with the change. The Raven has not left the ten-mile radius around Miami Beach since he was twenty-five, while I traveled 3,000 miles just to say hello. It was not particularly inspiring to watch his running form, but I certainly admire his tenacity and persistence. You know where to find him every day at 5:15 – the 5th Street Lifeguard Stand. Run…Raven…Run! Evermore!

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