Today's thoughts

Category: RUNNING STREAK (Page 3 of 21)

The trials and tribulations of running every single day

Retirement is not without Hassles: Lost Socks or Sox #1580

It’s “Hump Day” in Hawaii, the half-way point of our South Beach retreat. Sunshine has been the common theme since we arrived in Florida last week, with more blue skies in the forecast. Meanwhile, back home in Portland there have been signs of snow in Facebook posts. As a side note, I was reunited this morning with my lost sock, left behind in efforts to do laundry in a few days ago. I think I left more socks at my son’s house last week, like a trail of bread crumbs throughout the state. 

Florida has put in a bid to host the Olympics in six months, citing their success with other sporting events during this pandemic. Tokyo may not be able to handle this commitment that was already delayed from 2020. Another year setback would jeopardize the ability of some athletes to compete. With all the uncertainties, it must be difficult to maintain focus and be motivated to train. Regardless, I will once again not be competing. It was hard enough to complete my 3.1 mile run this morning, but day #4,316 is officially in the books. On our way to dinner at Joe’s Stone Crab tonight, I may even get to see the start of Robert Kraft’s bid on 16,829 consecutive days. 

On a frustrating note, there will be no one elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame this year for the first time since 1960. Curt Schilling fell sixteen votes short. Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens continue to be excluded from this club despite their credentials and will have one more chance next year. Pete Rose and Shoeless Joe Jackson were not on the ballot. They need to add a “bad boys” wing of the Hall to accommodate these controversial personalities. There are also so many others that could have been added like Saturnino Orestes Armas Minoso of the Chicago White Sox and other Negro League players that were crippled by discrimination. A friend just sent me an article claiming that “it is utterly inconceivable that “Minnie” Minoso is not in the Hall of Fame.” The same can be said for Satchel Paige and countless others. 

I once again make a plea to the Hall of Fame to reconsider the “Lost Sox” like Minoso, Sherm Lollar, Shoeless Joe, Billy Pierce, Harold Baines, Dick Allen, and Tim Raines. It still bothers me that a majority of HOF players are pitchers, while their supportive catchers and fielders have been overlooked. Their accomplishments have been forgotten over time and their votes misplaced like my running socks – missing soul mates!




Retirement is not without Hassles: Beach runs #1578

“Dodgertown” in Vero Beach was closed and extensive renovations are being done by MLB, so the closed I could get was the front iron gates. Our friend grew up there, her dad a pitcher for the 1955 World Champion Brooklyn Dodgers. He set a rookie record for 27 strike outs in two successive games before an injury ended his career. The park’s historical significance also reflects the 1947 signing of Jackie Robinson. Corona also affected visits this year to Cubs/White Sox Spring training in Phoenix and a Cardinals/Rangers exhibition game at the new Globe Life Park in Arlington. 

I found myself in front of the TV again last night with the Chiefs and Buccaneers headed to the Super Bowl. I also monitored another IU Basketball loss, this time to Rutgers after the surprising Iowa victory. The game against Michigan State this weekend has already been stomped out by the pandemic, so we’ll have to live with this disappointment for at least a full week before Illinois comes to town. That game will then likely lead to further despair, as tourney chances once again have been sadly derailed. 

We returned our rental car to the airport last night only to find a dent in the hood. I remember parking at a Cracker Barrell restaurant the other day under the shade of a coconut tree. Could one have fallen and caused this costly damage or was it like that when we picked it up? It’s just another hassle we’ll have to deal with on this journey. I’ve run the beach path and street in front of our hotel the past two mornings past all the Art Deco hotels in our area. The once heavily congested Ocean Avenue has been shut down to traffic, so the restaurants have all expanded into the streets. It’s now a much more pleasant atmosphere on the beach front if there’s such a thing as a plus-side to the Coronavirus outbreak. Running near the water and in the sun is always a nice distraction from the dreary streets of downtown Portland. 

Retirement is not without Hassles: Miami Bound #1569

We’re Miami bound tomorrow morning, with a bright and early start. There will be no time for a blog post, just an early one-mile minimum run and a quick bite to eat at McDonald’s. Finally, we’ll be escaping this prison of an apartment and see the sun – or at least the sunset when we arrive. The flight will likely be miserable with a stop in Dallas. The original intent was for my wife to continue on to St. Kitts for a girlfriend week, but Covid screwed up those plans. Instead, we’ll head to Venice, Florida and our new homesite, spend some time with the grandkids & friends, and enjoy a week on South Beach in Miami.

The Hitchcock viewings continued last night with North by Northwest. Miami will offer a temporarily diversion from our incessant TV watching, but one last movie tonight before we go. Packing and cleaning will occupy some of our attention this afternoon, along with a virtual Zoom “Leadership Meeting.”  The excitement is building for tomorrow morning’s flight. Our schnauzer, Tally, however, will not feel the same way when she sees our suitcases. She’ll stay home with the pet sitter after an early outing. I can only hope that the rain holds off until after we leave.

I’ve already lost interest in college basketball, so I will not spend much time in Florida watching sports. We will get to dine out, including a bucket list dinner at Joe’s Stone Crab in Miami. We’ve been to all the other locations, but this is the original. It’s about a mile from our South Beach condo in the Marriott Vacation Club’s Pulse. I may also try to hook-up with “The Raven,” a fellow streaker that does a sunset run on the beach every day . He’s the 7th ranked runner on the USRSA list, while I’m at #203. He’s two years younger than me but has a 34- year longer streak (16,817 days – 46 years compared to my 4,401 – 12 years). I should probably get a signed copy of his book, since I’m Miami Bound!

Old Sport Shorts: Buckets of Baskets #1568

I’ve now completed 4,400 consecutive days of running, another milestone in The Streak that started over twelve years ago. This daily routine has consumed 17% of my life, but it’s hard to remember those times when I wasn’t doing it every day. It’s a meaningful accomplishment, especially when it’s crossed off the daily checklist, and I can sit and write about it. My feet have felt heavy this past week, while my muscles remain stiff from the cold, damp weather. I can’t seem to warm up, so I’m looking forward to two weeks of hot Florida sunshine. I’ll see my son, grandkids, and a few Midwest friends in the process. We’ll also get to see firsthand the progress on our home. 

Today is what I like to call the basketball bucket game, although there is no trophy like football, just bragging rights. It’s the first of two IU-PU annual matchups that always stack-up to be the most important games on the schedule every year. There have been 211 meetings in total with the Boilermakers leading the overall series 122-89. Purdue has also won the last seven, so Hoosier pride is on the line. Both teams are currently 3-3 in the BIG, hoping to escape from mediocrity in the conference. Even though tonight’s game is in Bloomington, there’s not much of a home field advantage with limited crowds due to Covid. The Hoosier teams have not been good from the free throw line or any other spot on the court in recent years, so they need to find a way to score. They can win by scoring 70 points or more, with their only loss at that level to Wisconsin in double overtime. A low scoring game with lots of fouls will spell  disaster for the Cream & Crimson. Purdue, on the other hand, has just proven they can win in a low scoring battle, beating favored Michigan State 55-54 on the road. They will jam IU efforts to score inside and force us to take the 3, especially with our best outside shooter on the sidelines with an injury. It will probably be ugly!

Fortunately, I have a Flaviar whiskey shipment due to be delivered today. I will need it to calm my nerves, as I text with friends that will be rooting both for and against me. This is the beauty of the rivalry that can only be appreciated with a victory. IU is favored by 3.5 with an over/under of 130. This supports my “Magic of 70” theory. We have a much better chance of winning if we can score 70 points or more in regulation. The teams appear to be evenly matched but according to oddsmakers IU has a 65.2% chance of winning. Purdue won last year 57-49 and 74-62. The year before it was PU 48-46 and 70-55. These pathetic scoring efforts by the Hoosiers will have to end tonight to stop the bleeding. We need buckets of baskets!


Retirement is not without Hassles: Drowned Rat #1566

I came in from my run this morning looking like a drowned rat. The rain was coming down and the wind was blowing in my face. I tried to dodge the puddles but the passing cars sprayed me with muddy water. It was day #4398 of The Streak and I’m glad to now be sitting in warmth. Next week I’ll be complaining about the Florida heat. Our schnauzer Tally was not happy about the rain either and stalled before getting out of bed. She ran away from me as soon as I tried to put on her coat and took the shortest route possible to do her business. The only thing tolerable about wet weather for her is to be thoroughly toweled-off afterwards. 

I got two new tires yesterday as further preparation for our upcoming cross-country drive to our new house. There was a slow leak in the front right that was easily patched, but I decided to look out for our overall safety. The back two tires were previously replaced, so only and an oil change/tune-up remains to be done before March. That’s when we expect Florida construction to be completed. We’re all looking forward to getting out of this rain when we go down to check on it next week. It will be two much anticipated weeks of sun and surf.

We caught up on the latest episodes of Your Honor and Shameless yesterday. and I watched The Tide Roll over the Buckeyes for the National Title. My entire focus will now be on basketball starting with the Indiana vs. Purdue match-up Thursday night. Tomorrow evening we agreed to go to a friend’s house for dinner. It’s the first time we’ve dined out for months and the first time in ten months that we’ve broken bread with anyone other than family.  Once we get to Florida, the restaurants will be open and we’ll not be cooking. It’s my turn to prepare tonight’s meal. Hopefully, I will have dried out by then with only faint memories of the splash I made this morning, running like a drowned rat!

Retirement is not without Hassles: Mind Games #1561

I’m pretty sure I set a Guinness Book of World Records mark this morning. It was for spotting the most blinking dashboard security lights during the course of a 3.1 mile run after an ongoing streak of 4,392 consecutive days. This is how absurd some of these records get, especially when undocumented. The blinking light game has become a regular distraction from the boredom of taking step-after-step-day-after-day. Most mornings, I’m lucky to find ten blinkers, but today it was twenty-three – the first time I’ve ever even broken twenty. On one occasion, I didn’t see a single one. Today, I was so focused on this game that I forgot about the stretch of Bs from Beauty to Bantam or the A to Z challenge. This is what happens when you’re forced to run the same route every day and need to fight off the monotony. At least, it wasn’t raining this morning, just puddles to avoid. 

Some days, I actually do constructive things with my mind when I run, like make-up stories or write poems. If I’m lucky, I get distracted with a problem that needs to be solved or hear a familiar song and struggle for some time to recall the artist. Dodging leaves, traffic, puddles, potholes, and cracks also keep my mind engaged. On a good day, I even come home with an idea about what to write about in this blog. With little on the calendar these days, however, it’s too often freestyle ramblings that land on these pages.  Despite the aches and pains, the run always gets my blood flowing and makes me feel better, especially after a restless night. 

Once I get out of bed every morning, the first constructive steps are always stretching, sit-ups, and push-ups. This is followed by a short dog walk and final preparations for facing the elements. It’s always a relief to get all these responsibilities out of the way so I can simply put one step in front of the other for forty minutes plus. It’s a routine that doesn’t change much from day to day, except what I wear and where the street and sidewalk detours sometimes take me. By this time next year in Florida, it will certainly be dryer and warmer conditions with less traffic. I’ll come back drenched in sweat rather than soaked with rain, and maybe go for a dip in the pool? There will not be the homeless camps, street cars, busses, noise, and trash of downtown Portland. I’ll be playing different mind games without the blinking lights, shops, underpasses, and traffic signs that currently mark my way every day. 

Retirement is not without Hassles: Twelve Years #1553

I received this note in recognition of my on-going running streak that started on December 29,2008:

On behalf of the United States Running Streak Association (USRSA), I want to congratulate you on completing 12 years of your current running streak! Great job!” – Mark Washburne.

“The Streak” of now 4,384 consecutive days started in Austin, Texas after many years of on-and-off running and racing. It’s kept me sane through the years, as well as served to bridge the difficult transition between working and retirement. The first thing I do every morning is lace up my running shoes. I no longer have access to a treadmill, so outdoors is now the only option for the one-mile required daily minimum. As any runner knows, the first mile is always the hardest, so typically I try to get in 3.1 miles or a 5k. My philosophy: “A 5k a day keeps the doctor away.” If I’m not feeling well, the run always seems to make it better – even hangovers!

Tomorrow is also the 4th anniversary of my official retirement. I’ve faithfully followed the exact same morning discipline, although an hour later now in retirement – up at seven and out the door rather than 6 a.m. when the job might have interfered. The last twelve years have involved living in three different time zones and sometimes included international travel. It would be too easy to miss a day if running was not the first priority every morning. In addition, I religiously make sure that my shoes and clothes are carefully laid out the night before to avoid any excuses. I’ve also somehow been fortunate to avoid injury and serious illness. Acupuncture experts, Chiropractors, Physical Therapists, stretching, orthotics, and Advil have kept my legs churning these twelve years. 






Retirement is not without Hassles: Happy Holidays #1545

I concluded my run this morning with dry shoes, after lugging along some pretty healthy servings of beef tenderloin. It was consecutive day number 4,376, as I rapidly approach the 12th anniversary of its beginning back in 2012. Many things have happened in that span of time, including four moves, two more grandchildren, retirement, and dozens of running shoes. I’ve also now gone over three full months without dropping below 3.1 daily miles. This usually happens only when I’m in a morning time crunch because of an early morning flight. That has happened since early September. 

Twenty-six days until our next flight and hopefully some sunny Florida weather. However, that’s nearly another month of sitting around watching television, starting with another episode of Shameless this morning.  I currently have no plans to even leave the neighborhood for the rest of the year. There are at least two family Zoom calls planned, so we won’t be totally out of touch with the world. Christmas and New Year’s Eve will be very uneventful this year, but hopefully we can both continue to stay healthy. 

The Last Days of John Lennon book has generated some good childhood memories. I’m trying to incorporate these in the novel I am writing. I also need a new movie plan now that my James Bond-athon has concluded. I’ll start with some Christmas flicks to get into the holiday spirit. The Christmas Story, Die Hard, and Christmas Vacation come to mind. In addition, I’ll do some additional Beatles research and spend some time on the Jerry Banister Family Tree, since we don’t have a Christmas Tree again this year. Happy Holidays. 

Retirement is not without Hassles: Topsy-Turvy #1539

It was another dark, damp, cold morning run #4,370. The radio was promoting the annual Union Gospel Mission homeless campaign, so when I got back home I made a donation. It’s hard to imagine being without shelter in winter weather like this, even though it’s mild compared to other areas I’ve lived. By the same token, the colder regions don’t have the homeless problems that we do. We try to leave food and supplies on neighborhood benches and hand out some cash whenever possible. For the most part, they stay to themselves but we have encountered angry, belligerent drunks. The situation has obviously worsened with the shutdown of area businesses.

There were more strange Covid developments regarding area sports when the PAC12 announced that Oregon will be replacing Washington in the conference football title game. The Huskies could not meet the roster minimum of 53 healthy players. The Ducks will meet undefeated U.S.C., hoping to use this opportunity to salvage their season and move on to a bowl game if they win. You need a scorecard to keep track of all these twists in scheduling. It gives me something else to watch on the TV screen, in addition to the James Bond-athon that has occupied my time these past few weeks. I’ve now crossed Never Say Never (#14  1983), Octopussy (#13 1983) and Living Daylights (#16 1987) off the list. There are 25 titles in total with the 26th, No Time To Die, now further delayed until April 2021, also due to Covid.

It will be good to get back in the movie theaters again. Covid has taken away “Matinee Mondays” and has moved “Meatless Monday” to later in the week. “Leadership Fridays” sadly no longer exist, along with “Date Night.” Nothing is sacred in these troubling times. This just in: Bucket Game canceled for the second time this week. Thankfully, only ten days until Christmas and sixteen to finally put an end to a Topsy-Turvy 2020. 


Retirement is not without Hassles: The Big One #1538

I experienced a little mild dizziness on this morning’s run, #4,369 of The Streak. Hopefully, it’s nothing to be concerned about, most likely dehydration. I’m always worried that I’ll have another episode like two years ago (See Post #808) where I ended up in the Emergency Room after nearly passing out. Nothing serious was found in the tests that they did, but I do have a small aneurysm that I need to continue to monitor. It’s shown little change in many years but makes me feel vulnerable. Like everyone else, I’m just grateful to have survived 2020, with only 17 days remaining. 

Every little ache and pain gets magnified in these viral times, with thoughts of Covid symptoms. I couldn’t possibly count the number of times I’ve had a scratchy throat, cough, or upset stomach this year that was surely the onset of the worst. What professed pessimist like myself isn’t also a hypochondriac?  I can’t help but think of Fred Sanford’s famous line while grabbing his chest, “It’s the BIG one!!!” Around Portland where I now live it also refers to the inevitable earthquake. When I move to Florida in the spring, it will be the next hurricane. Fortunately, having grown up in the Midwest, I’ve survived many tornado threats. There’s always something to fret.  “You hear that, Elizabeth? I’m coming to join ya, honey!”

“Big Ones” can also refer to football games. I was so disappointed when the Old Oaken Bucket game was canceled last weekend. It was a chance for the #8 Indiana Hoosiers to really shine against their biggest rival, the Purdue Boilermakers. Well. thanks to the divine intervention of the BIG10, the two were pitted against each other again this week. The game, The Big One for The Bucket, is traditionally held around Thanksgiving, but was delayed along with the season due to Covid. The virus reared its ugly head again in the cancellation, but we’ve been given a third chance for it to happen. Purdue fans probably thought they had dodged a bullet, but like a cartoon that sees it magically change direction, here it comes again! The Big One is back!

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