The ‘Goodbye Post’ – 26, 3, 7, 24, 49, 5 and a ‘New Home’

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 …

IMG_0290

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.

Engagement1

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!

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41 thoughts on “The ‘Goodbye Post’ – 26, 3, 7, 24, 49, 5 and a ‘New Home’

  1. Sad to see these posts no longer in my feed. I always enjoy your positive energy and your outlook on life. I admire what a great husband and father you are and in a blog world of mostly ladies that is nice to see. Sadly a lot of the men get snarky. And thank you for the lovely shout out. I really appreciate it 🙂 Best of luck friend!

    • Thanks so much Sarah … and it is feedback like this that kept me engaged so much 🙂 And trust me … I take a lot of crap for NOT being snarky! 😉

  2. I agree with Sarah and sad that you will no longer be regularly (if at all) blogging here, but we connected in other ways, so I will still how and what you are doing. Life is about priorities and balance and when we get out of balance, we have to look to our priorities to re-establish that balance – which you have done.

    I look forward to following your next adventures and wish only the best for one of the nicest people I have had the pleasure to “meet” online.

    Just make sure to keep celebrating those April birthdays, the more you have the better it gets. 🙂

    • Thanks Harold! It is like my father and law used to say – I check the obituaries every morning to see if I have to bother getting out of bed! 🙂 Yeah, I appreciate the birthdays – they just are happening too quickly, my babies are men! The great things with blogs are definitely the people!

  3. I 100% understand why you would leave the blog world! It’s very hard to keep everything afloat-relationships, kids, work, running…. It takes up a time of time! I know we will still connect via Instagram! You are a wonderful person, Michael and I wish all good things for you!

    • Thanks Nicole 🙂 I am sure there will plenty of sweaty running selfies to go around, and every now and then I will actually comment on your blog instead of just lurking 😉

  4. This post reminded me why I clicked with you so well in my early blogging days! If there’s anyone who knows about “sleeping” that would be me 😉 I also was of the 15-20 mile crew for years and also got into distance running almost exactly 3 years ago, spring of 2012. And so glad you quit the soda! Paleo stuff aside that was the most positive change I’ve made, I was also drinking probably 3 or 4 diet sodas a day which now just disgusts me.

    Completely understand why you need to step back, it’s incredibly challenging to juggle blogging along with everything else we need to juggle, and priorities are priorities. Thanks for the shout and and best to you and your family!

    • It is funny – I can read that exhaustion and frustration and ‘feeling too stretched’ in many of your posts. OK, maybe it isn’t funny ‘haha’ … but I can so relate, even though it is for different reasons now.

      As for the sole, I cut myself slack because it was basically my only vice … but I didn’t think it mattered that much, and it turns out that it didn’t.

  5. Of course I had to read this one!! Of course, I completely relate to your feelings of shifting priorities and being OK with letting blogs go a bit. You balance SO much and are such a great family man, so good for you for recognizing that this needs to take a backseat (or get kicked out of the car all together) for a while. I’ve learned a lot from you and have always appreciated reading your opinions and thoughts, hearing from you when you agreed or disagreed with what I was saying, and getting to know you. Looking forward to staying in touch on Instagram and Facebook!

    • … and when you blog as well 🙂

      Definitely agree – you are one of the most purely nice people I have met online, and I wish you and Kevin a lifetime of happiness!

  6. I completely get wanting to step away from the blogging and back into real life. I think I post about once a week these days. It sounds like you’ve got a ton of great things going on! I’m excited for you (but sad to not have more posts from you because I think you’re an awesome writer).

    Anyway, I wish you tons of happiness with all that you do. And this Newton, MA born chica understands the allure of Boston 🙂

    • haha – another Boston-area person out in NY 🙂 I enjoy reading your posts because there is always something pure and honest in them. I know you’ve had your own stuff and I hope that is going better … and too bad we won’t be able to meet ‘for real’ when you’re up for Wineglass this fall!

  7. Honestly, reading this leaves me feeling so happy for you! I will miss your posts, but I completely understand where you’re coming from and why this will probably be your last post. Blogging can quickly start to become a chore, and your scrapbooking analogy was perfect. You have so many wonderful things going on in your life write now, and enjoying them and being present in the moment is the most important thing. I do miss your comments but know how much work that is. I so appreciate you continuing to read and recommend my blog and I’m still planning on letting you know next time I make it up to your area! Run strong, we’ll miss you!

    • Thanks Danielle! Yours was one of my first ‘dedicated reads’, and I still love your humor and honesty … though to be honest I wish your life were a little LESS ‘exciting’ so I could just read more random humor 🙂 I think I always feel the need for my comments on your posts to actually be worth reading, rather than just a random ‘you go girl’ – maybe I need to cut myself a break! I was just reading your new post (Step by Step) and am SO hopeful for you!

  8. I will miss your interesting and honest looks at the world, but I also admire greatly your desire to spend more time on what really matters–your family and your passions!
    Your 30 days of being thankful last Thanksgiving was one of the powerful collections of words I’ve ever found on any computer.
    I’m thankful for you and the chance to peak into your life and your journey!
    Life is a marathon, enjoy every step!

    • Thanks Claire! I really appreciate it – sometimes there is so much negativity in the world it is great to say … WOW my life is pretty awesome. Because it is – not perfect, but awesome. You seem to have it pretty awesome yourself based on what you and Susie have said … which is great.

  9. One thing I love about that engagement pic — it looks like you’re wearing a little lipstick. It matches Lisa’s shade exactly. Clearly lots of kisses! Makes me smile.
    I’m of course sad to know your posts are ending and I do hope you’ll be back in a couple years when you’re an empty-nester. Your posts have been my among my absolute favorites for some time, so I may break my “only real life” friends on FB rule and send you a request under my real name (Erica; we’ll have Megan as a mutual) since I like your voice so much and want to keep up with you.
    All the best to you my friend, run on!

    • haha – that is funny, and very likely true. I remember being so nervous – which is silly, yet the thing we do to ourselves in life! I am so fortunate to have gained some great new ‘not in real life’ friends that I can carry forward through a variety of social media! Thanks again!

  10. I completely understand. A few years ago I fell into the habit of reading a whole bunch of running blogs and decided I should join in. I have a hard time keeping up with it between school, work and running. It gets incredibly time consuming and it’s hard to juggle everything. Thanks for letting us know! I followed you on Instagram.

    • Thanks Kayla! I am reminded of when I joined Twitter when it launched and tried to actually keep up! Whew – too much! We all do what we can, right? Thanks for the follow – followed back 🙂

  11. I completely understand the shift in priorities. Unless blogging is your job, it’s a time consuming hobby. I love reading your blog & look forward to the random future posts you have. 🙂 Enjoy life my friend & thanks for the shout out!

    • Thanks Cori – have always loved your blog for all the cool and random stuff and your passion and dedication. I hope 2015 beings you everything you hope for 🙂

  12. Well, this is the end of an era… For you and all of us followers. But that doesn’t mean time stops and there aren’t many great things to come 🙂 Wishing you the best, enjoy every mile, and let us know about it from time to time. I follow you on IG and I find that a more manageable medium – so hopefully we will still see you there more often.

    • Thanks Raluca! I agree – time marches on and sometimes things come in waves, so who knows what happens in a few years … I just hope I am still out there enjoying running – and so are all of my great running friends! See you on Instagram!

  13. Such an awesome post of memories. I will miss posts like this in the future but living the life you want to is so much more important. Social media is a lot of work, I still find myself confused and behind on the times on so many things but have found some great people along the way. Best wishes for the future for you and your family!

    • Thanks Fallon! I do love going back over these things by myself or on other people’s posts … it is great reading stories! And for me the challenge of social media is getting the value out of it so you don’t feel like it is time wasted … and based on the awesome comments and how many friends I have accumulated on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc – every minute here was well spent!

    • Thanks Lisa! We do fall into the pattern of what is happening with people’s lives – like you guys and your new house, many of us were anticipating and very hopeful for you! Funny how it works for non-‘in real life’ friends 🙂

  14. I’ll miss seeing your thoughtful posts, but I wish you all the best as you do what’s best for you. Family and personal health (mental, physical and otherwise) should always come first. I’m glad I’ll still be able to see your running adventures in Instagram!

    • Thanks so much Rachel! All of these things need to fit into our lives – it is like when you were worried about your readers when you weren’t going to be running to focus on the musical and my first thought was ‘F the readers’ 🙂 It is all about priorities! It has been great meeting you and amazing that we share a ‘real life’ connection in Erik! Crazy world!

  15. I read this post yesterday and then again this morning before I could pull together my response. First, I think (or hope) you know how much I have loved your blog and your incredible, thoughtful and engaging writing. Your dedication to your family was what first drew me in and then of course, the running banter. I have missed you over the past few months and had hoped you would return with more posting regularly, but I totally understand the reasons from walking away and making time for more important priorities! I am just thankful we are connected on IG and FB so we can keep in touch. Also, thank you for the shout out, I appreciate it!! I’ll be chatting with you soon, until then…thank for for all the posts, you have touched a ton of people!

    • Thanks Sara – and agree that it is great we are connected, as it is ultimately the *people* that make all of this worthwhile. Plus … how else would I get a chuckle out of your non-matching shoes yesterday 🙂

  16. I don’t think you’ll get a double comment here but you might – I’m trying to stay present more in real life versus online – but of course when I come out of lurkdom, the commenting doesn’t work!. Anyways, I have always enjoyed your posts as they are well written, provide great insight, and the comments afterwards created a great discussion area. It’ll be missed that’s for sure. Thanks for the posts.

  17. I completely understand where you are coming from! I,too, have been thinking about stepping back, as I officially start grad school today. You’re right, priorities shift. I am glad you are keeping your instagram though, because I truly enjoy those pictures of you after your run! I love knowing someone else was out in the crazy weather. (actually most times yours is worse!) Best of luck in all you do. Whatever you do, I am sure you will be successful because you have such a wonderful attitude!

  18. I understand shifting priorities. There is never enough time in a day and blogging can take up a lot of time. Look how far behind I am in my reading!
    I appreciate your reading my blog and your comments.

  19. I wondered where your posts were! I haven’t seen any which prompted me to mill around the blog o sphere…..I can understand entirely. I know that whatever you do, you will THRIVE! You have a wonderful attitude and spirit. Thank you so much for included us in your Top 25. We are honored!!! xo

  20. I’m sorry I didn’t comment more! This may be my first comment. You are such a wonderful happy presence in this blog world. Thank you for all you shared. I totally get a shift in priorities. I’m in a similar boat. Wish you all the best. And your running totally inspires me. I’ll be following on Instagram!

  21. I noticed you stopped following my blog the other day. It was easy to spot, I only have 23 WP followers.
    I know how you feel. I switched from the social wordpress.com to trying to run a business on a self hosted wordpress.org site.
    Writing posts that anyone wants to read is a challenge and a big time commitment. While I will miss your posts and comments, I completely understand.
    I just friended you on FB.
    Andy

    • Thanks Andy! Yeah, about a month ago I realized I was getting dozens of emails *per hour* on personal accounts, and that the overwhelming majority of those were non-critical things like advertisements, newsletters, and so on. So I started unsubscribing like mad, and as I was slowly getting down from hundreds of emails per day to a couple of dozen, I found that for blogs I had some that were on email, RSS (Feedly) and WordPress. So I have been working to remedy that – I still get you on RSS – and added following you on Twitter as well 🙂 Thanks for the friend request on FB also!

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