Hey all … yeah, another out of the blue post. This could very well be my last post on this blog, or not. I am setting it up that way – but who really knows, right? I mean, I just posted about Sexual Violence a couple of weeks ago, which was totally unplanned. Oh well …
But in reality, I have titled this the Goodbye Post intentionally. Because it is my plan. I have deleted my drafts, removed the bookmark from my ‘Daily Links’ tab group, and at this point the only place I am maintaining the connection to the blog is on my phone in the WordPress app.
Why? More on that at the end.
Anyway, it seems like there are a lot of numbers swirling in my head right now. And not just because I am a statistician, either! No – these are all ‘life numbers’. So let’s go!
26 … years a runner!
I talk about this in my origin story, saying:
For some reason I can’t really remember, in early 1989 I started jogging. At first I started doing it at night, but found that I was full from dinner and tired from the day (I was working a couple of part time retail jobs), so I switched to the morning. It wasn’t much – a mile or two at most and at a very slow pace – and honestly after a month I didn’t notice any difference, and no one knew but my family so I was about to give up.
Yes, sometime in February of 1989 I started running. Exactly when I have no clue – or even why. I was losing weight, and for some reason must have thought that running in the middle of winter was a great idea.
That was 26 years ago … 1989. GPS wasn’t commercially available yet, tech clothes were still pretty rudimentary and expensive, shoes were much simpler in the days before minimal / maximal / neutral / stability / toe-shoes … and so on.
And for the majority of those 26 years running was just something I did – it was about staying in shape, weight maintenance, but it was never a ‘passion’ until a few years ago. But I don’t want to downplay it … I was running ~15 or so miles per week, 5 days/week, and still running outside all the way to -10 wind chills and trudging through up to a foot or more of snow. So while my view of running has changed, as has the volume of miles I do (and pace), the reality is that I have always been pretty hardcore about the whole thing.
Speaking of running becoming a true passion …
3 … years since I started ‘serious running’!
Easter weekend 2012, the weekend after my 46th birthday my brother came to visit and we went for a run … and it was awful for me. We apparently did a few miles (he went out again after I was done) and only managed an 11+ minute pace. WAKE UP CALL! The year before he had challenged me to run a marathon with me and I said ‘sure’ … and promptly went back to gaining weight and not running.
But 2012 was different … I had started and failed to sustain running beginning in January, but then restarted again … and again. But after that run on April 8th … I never stopped!
This is another reason I love TimeHop – a couple of weeks ago I saw a post from 2012 from the morning I really stretched it out and ran 6.31 miles … and was really feeling the after-effects. Amazing how time flies!
Everything changed that April three years ago – I went from running as weight maintenance to running for joy and a healthier lifestyle. I now eat more than I ever have when not obese, because I want to properly fuel myself to stay healthy and keep running. And I can feel the effects on my conditioning, endurance and overall health.
7 … years at Corning / in New York!
Another thing I have written about is getting laid off in October 2007, that I had already started my job-hunt, and that I had a great 3-months short-term job at a now defunct company AEB before starting work at Corning in March 2008.
Corning is a great company, they invest more than 10% into R&D – for comparison, Shipley (then Rohm & Haas and now Dow) invests 2%, which is more of a normal amount. This means that there is always something exciting happening, and I have been able to work on some great products, including some that were cancelled and others that have become commercially successful products.
But the move to Corning also meant uprooting from Massachusetts, the kids starting new schools, making new friends and so on. After all these years I have to be honest that I am STILL a ‘Boston boy’, but this area has been great, and is really home to the boys.
In so many ways getting laid off was the best thing that could have happened to me back then.
24 … year Engage-aversary!
I brought this up last year as well … A long time ago when we were a young couple people told us that once married things like the date of engagement would matter less. Well, while it might be true that we don’t have the same level of celebration any more, April 12th will always be the day Lisa agreed to marry me, and I always make a point to … well, make a point about it.
And that is the thing for me – as a young couple you will have people around you always telling you stuff, what will happen, how you will behave and on and on. It is fine to listen and take in their data – just remember that what they are saying is about THEM and not YOU.
49 … years old!
Yes, back in early April I had another birthday. Darn things show up every year! My family always makes me feel special, and that more than material things is what really matters. Last year I got my beloved Nutribullet, this year I *really* needed a suit (haven’t had one that fits me since I lost weight). And the boys got me a cast iron pan and Lisa also grabbed me a travel mug for coffee/tea at my desk at work, and since it was also Easter I got some chocolate :)
We took the day and headed to Ithaca – it is a wonderful little community that is very much influenced by having Cornell University and Ithaca College there, and just wandering around town, then having dinner before heading home. My choice for an evening movie? Star Wars Empire Strikes Back … always a great time!
But seriously – LOOK at my life:
– Wonderful wife
– Two smart, funny, talented and awesome kids
– Great home in a nice area with two dogs, two cats, easy commute
– Perfect area for my daily runs
Here is the reality – I am in the best shape of my life at 49. Not too shabby!
5 … months since I stopped drinking soda!
With all of the healthy changes I’ve made in my life only one thing really remained (I don’t count my ice cream habit) – soda. If you go back to last November I was going through up to a dozen 24-oz Diet Mountain Dew bottles per week. Ugh – I knew I wanted to cut way back, and decided that it would be a cool New Year’s Goal.
But in mid-December I decided to start making the change, and just stopped. Between then and the end of December I had two sodas, both while out to lunch with Lisa and/or the boys. But nothing else since – not a single soda. I have had iced tea with meals out, and pretty much water (or coffee or tea) otherwise.
I don’t miss it … but the first week in January I noticed it was hard to stay alert (or awake) in post-lunch meetings! I’ve gotten used to it … and no longer crave soda!
It was also important to me to NOT increase my coffee intake, though I definitely drink more Green and Herbal Teas.
If you are contemplating it – give it a try! We know the stuff is bad for us, so why not?
‘New’ Home – The Monday Mile
I have been writing for the tech enthusiast site ‘Gear Diary’ since 2009 (another number – just passed 6 years!). The series I had started back in 2012 that looked at running – gear, clothes, health, safety and running itself – was called ‘The Monday Mile’. I did a post on occasional Mondays (in case you hadn’t gotten that yet) that allowed me to satisfy my ‘runner-blog’ itch in between all the other stuff.
As I pushed ahead with this blog my writing for Gear Diary waned and ‘The Monday Mile’ essentially formed my working template for posts I wrote. But I could write more personal stuff, really stick my neck out without worrying that it was someone else’s space. So as I leave my personal blog behind, I am still at Gear Diary and that is where my running posts will go.
So far I have done five ‘Monday Mile’ posts this year:
Running Visible is More Important Than ‘Looking Cool’
Five Reasons Not to Seek Advice From ‘That Running Guy’
What I Learned from My 65-Day Running Streak
Anatomy of an Extreme Sub-Zero Runner
Why Running Milestones Matter
However, as I slowed down here I started making the same mistake at Gear Diary – I dove in deep and between December and March did more than 300 posts. Ugh – “not sustainable” … so I won’t be THERE at the same pace either. But if I am writing, it will be there!
SO WHY is this GoodBye?
While there are several reasons I could discuss about why rather than ‘scaling back’ I need to just say goodbye, at least for the rest of 2015 – ultimately it comes down to two things:
– Shifting Priorities and Unsustainable Effort:
When I really got into running I discovered that the knowledge that had sustained me for so many years was inadequate, so I started ‘reading’, by which of course I mean browsing web sites. I had a couple of sites suggested to me, which led me through comments to others, then still others, and so on.
But as anyone who loves scrapbooking but then takes on a Creative Memories home business will tell you, suddenly things shift from doing what you love to running a business … and you wonder what you got into.
For me the priorities have always been running and THEN (much lower) talking/writing about running.
When I look at my major pursuits outside of work, they include family, running, music, computer games, and books. Oh, and having a home and cars and pets, cooking & cleaning and laundry and occasionally ‘sleeping’. People have commented asking how I sustain all of it – and the basic answer is ‘with great difficulty’. But even then it requires compromise – less focus on music, fewer of the computer games I love, less reading, and I haven’t (re-)sharpened my programming skills the way I want to do (I love the R programming tool used for statistics, but I am very inefficient).
So this year I want to continue my focus on family and running … but I want to focus more on my music now that I have my music studio re-assembled. I also put aside mobile games and am focusing on the classic computer games I enjoy (for like-minded folks, definitely check out Pillars of Eternity!). And while my goal was one book a month and I have only finished 2.5 so far – that is more than all of last year!
Shifting priorities to expand effort in one area means less time for other pursuit. I am lucky that this has been my best year at work since … well, best ever at Corning and best overall in at least 10-15 years. Which is awesome – but also very demanding and exhausting!
Oh, one final number: 25.
25 … Awesome blogs you should be reading
Why 25? Who knows – it seemed like a good number, and a good representation of many of the blogs I love to read …and then suddenly I realized it could have been 30 – or 40 or 50! So I was more adamant about it being 25! One person not represented here is Laura Parson, as she has disconnected so that her social media identity is clear as she continues her educational path towards doctorate, fellowships, professorships and so on.
1. Harold at Aging Runnah
2. Ann at Ann’s Running Commentary
3. Danielle at T-Rex Runner
4. Megan at The Lyon’s Share
5. Sara at Life Between the Miles
6. Cori at She’s Going the Distance
7. Carina at Carina’s Running Career
8. Rachel at Darlin’ Rae
9. Mary at Four the Health of It
10. Laura at Fit Fresh and Funny
11. Lisa at Running Out of Wine
12. Michele at Paleo Running Momma
13. Olena at Candies and Crunches
14. Carson at Running Southern
15. Fallon at Slacker Runner
16. Colby & Tina at Marathon and a Sprint
17. Hollie at FueledByLOLZ
18. Sarah at Running on Healthy
19. Sarah at Shh… Fit Happens
20. Jennifer at Running on Lentils
21. Judith at So Very Slightly Mad
22. Lauren at RunSaltRun
23. Amy at Miss Adventures in Running
24. Andy at OmniRunner
25. Nicole at The Girl Who Ran Everywhere
… and as I said, there were several more I could have added that I follow!
So what next?
I don’t really know … I have still been reading your blogs, but not always and not completely and my commenting has obviously gone way down. But I still value your voices, and hope to continue to stay in touch.
I have also been playing around on Google+, Quora, Tumblr and so on. Not sure any of those will be a new place for me, but they are interesting, anyway.
Also, I exist in other social media:
So if you are on those places and we don’t already follow each other – hook me up and we can look at each other’s sweaty running selfies, kids, pets, and whatever else!
Thanks again for everything – you all inspire, engage, and amuse me!