My life, my running, and stuff you never knew about me

I write a running blog.

Most of the time, all I write about is something to do with running.  Something related to running.  Something/anything I can relate to and want others to relate to.  I write about a tiny slice of my day.  I have written a post for this blog about 90% of the days since I started… Just about running.

Ideas can be difficult to come up with. Sometimes when I run I think of what I will write the next morning.  Hmmm, there is a pain in my left foot… A blog post was born!

One of the consequences of magnifying a single part of my life is that people get the impression that this is all of my life.  If I am hurt and writing about my depression of not running, then people get the impression that all I am all day is depressed and hurt.

There are 23.5 hours of the day that I never write about.  Sometimes I’ll include some personal stuff in my blog, but that is rare and when I do it is usually related to my running.

So I decided to write some random personal things about myself that I don’t think I have written about before, or that people who are new to my blog don’t really know unless they have gone over the 300+ posts from the past year (and I don’t think they have).  Also this is in part accepting the Sunshine award that runningtoherdreams gave me last weekend.  Thank you.  It means so much.  It made me think of putting just a little about myself “out there” and I hope people read her blog.  It was one of the inspirations that got me to my marathon last August.

Here we go:

I was born the youngest of 4 children.

I am now the youngest of 3 living children as my sister passed away in a cave diving accident.

My mom went into labor with me at a Penn State football game.

I was born with hips that turned in so severely that I spent a long time with corrective shoes and a bar between my feet.

I could hear when I was born, but soon lost my hearing. My adenoids grew and blocked my hearing.  Since I could hear for some time, I learned to read lips, so no one caught on that I couldn’t hear.  One day when I was 4 years old my mom put me on her lap, facing away from her and asked me if I wanted ice cream.  I didn’t make a move (I’ve always loved ice cream).  My speaking was so poor that my late sister was the only one who could understand me.  So after lots of tests and a surgery, I woke up from the anesthetics and the first thing I said was, “I can hear”.

I lived in a small town in Pennsylvania.  We left our doors unlocked and open when we left the house.  Us kids would all play at the other kids house and vice versa.  It was a good childhood.

We moved to Northern Va. (Mt. Vernon area) when I was in high school.  George Washington used to fox hunt in the backyard of the home my parents bought (long before I was born ). 🙂

I used to race sailboats with my mom and dad on the Potomac.  We won many trophies over those few years.

I was a messed up kid from the time we moved to DC (age 15) until after my freshman year of college.  During that summer after my freshman year I became a Christian (that story is under my “Faith” tab) and my life has never been the same.

I am married with lots of kids.  They are almost all grown (no more child tax credits), and have all turned out to be honorable, good children.

I have been an evangelical Protestant Christian my whole Christian life, and am becoming Catholic on Easter this year.

Although life has thrown in some challenges over the past few years, I am so thankful and grateful for my life, my family and my work.  I couldn’t have created a better life for me if I was the one creating it.

The day Joe Paterno got fired from Penn State, I was going to have wrist surgery, I weighed almost 300 lbs, I couldn’t get my wedding ring off and they threatened to cut it off, so my Lovely Wife “helped” me get it off.  Hmmm. That hurt.

I lost 100 lbs in under a year.

Running is a big deal to me because it has allowed me to do so much more in my life since I stated.  It was almost 2 years ago when  I ran my first 1.5 miles.  I have run many 5K’s a half marathon and a marathon since then.  I enjoy the outdoors for the first time since I was a child.  I am in great shape for the first time ever in my life.  Since the age of 49, my life has been more impacted from running than almost anything else.

Okay, I’m done.  I guess I wanted those who read this to know that running isn’t everything.  It is just a thing God has used to add value to my life and give me experiences that I never thought I would have.  One day when I finish this ultimate race I am running called life, I will look back and be in awe over my “midlife crisis” called running.

Thank you all for being a part of it.

Tom

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An unexpected consequence of being a runner

I love running.

Okay, when I am out there and it is really cold or really hot or I just don’t feel good, running can be a chore.

What I love most about running is the freedom that it gives me.  An unexpected consequence of being a runner.

Last Saturday was a rough day.  In fact it was a difficult week overall, it just came to a head on Saturday.  I needed to get away.  A couple of years ago that would have entailed driving to Walmart and surrounding stores and walking through the isles of stuff.  Not this time.  Instead, I walked.  In fact I turned off my phone and walked for hours.  I walked on a trail I have run before, but never actually just took the time to look at the surroundings.  It was really cool.  Waterfalls, beaver dams and quietness.

I realized that day that because of my running I could walk as far as I wanted and not worry about how to make it home.  I was able to just go and be free.  It was awesome.

The other time this “consequence of running” occurred to me was this week while shut in at work for two days because of the snow.  I was able to spend hours outside helping people get their cars going.  I walked miles to the pharmacy to pick up meds for a coworker (and buy toothbrushes).  I never once thought, “can I make it back?”  I had freedom.  Who needs a car!

So if you are debating if you should start running or you are a runner and are trying to encourage others to run, remember what I learned.  There is a lot of freedom in life once the chains of poor physical fitness are removed.  Once you run 26.2 miles, it dawns on you that if needed, you can walk the 23 miles home in an emergency.

Freedom.  A basic instinct.  One that I am glad I received almost 2 years ago when I started running.

Results – Running soon!

I got great overall news yesterday when I went an orthopedic sports medicine doctor.

My concerns were my hip, which hasn’t recovered since my marathon and my achilles which we really bad a couple weeks ago when I tried running.

He took X-rays and I told him about my desire need to run.  I told him how I weighed 100 lbs more that I do now just 2 years ago and running was the major reason I am where I am physically.  He seemed impressed and wanted to help.

For my hip, he said I had bursitis.  He said he wanted to inject it and then have me put heat on it and an anti-infamitory cream.  He also wants to send me to a physical therapist to get some help. So he came in with a needle and went to inject me.  At the point I thought he was numbing it, he was done.  No pain from the needle!  By the time I got into my car, I was in less pain.  For the first time in a long time, driving my stick shift didn’t bother my hip.  My walk yesterday afternoon felt great and, though I wanted to “try it out” running, I didn’t.

My achilles does have a spur on it.  He said he could operate on it but that could end my running completely.  He said it looked fine and I think the PT will help me with that some also.  He just said to stretch well use ice.

Before I left, I asked him if there was any reason I couldn’t run immediately and he said no, I can run as soon as I want.  He did say not to run hard for a bit, so no workouts – darn! 🙂

Everything checks out.  I figure I’ll keep walking through the weekend and maybe start running slowly starting next week.

Enjoy your running weekend.  I’ll be right there with you soon!!!

Who says running isn’t good for you!?!

Yesterday was a fitting way to enter my vacation and this weekend’s marathon.

I went to my doctor for a physical.

It was two years ago that I went in and was told I was pre-diabetic and if I didn’t start getting some sort of exercise that my future was not going to be hopeful.  Thinking back on my physical in 2011 I remember the following info:

  • Blood Pressure: 150/100
  • Weight: 268
  • Pulse: >90
  • Sugar: high
  • Cholesterol: Good was low and bad was high – Overall high
  • About a third of my blood test was going the wrong direction

Yesterday, two years and 2000 miles of running later, here were the same stats:

  • Blood Pressure: 100/60
  • Weight: 182
  • Pulse: 64
  • Sugar: Normal
  • Cholesterol: Good is high and bad is low – Overall it was good.
  • My blood test was in the normal range on every item.

My doctor made an interesting statement.  He said he was amazed that I had done so well.  I told him that he shouldn’t be surprised since he was the one who told me to begin exercising.  He said, “But no one usually listens to my advice”.

What a difference a couple years make.  I am heading out tomorrow not only excited about my race, but also excited that I probably just added about 30 years to my life.

I guess it was worth an hour a day of hitting the pavement.

OrthoLite Fusion Insole Review

I am hard on my running shoes.  I love my Saucony Fastwitch shoes, but they seem to “feel” worn out after 120 – 150 miles.  My solution… Purchase them on clearance from runningwarehouse.com at a great price and get 4 or 5 pair at one time.

I now, however,  have another option that doesn’t involve having to replace my shoes almost every month.  I was sent a pair of insoles in the mail from a company who saw my running blog.  I have never gotten  anything free from writing my blog, so it was pretty neat to get these and give them a try.

So, here are the details:

The insoles are “OrthoLite Fusion” insoles and can be found in many of the top athletic shoes such as Nike, New Balance, UnderArmour, Merrell.

At first glance, there didn’t seem to be much to the insoles.  “They are just insoles”, I thought to myself.  “I wonder how these will feel or will they even help?”

They helped a lot.

First I took out my old insoles from my Fastwitch’ and noticed how flat and worn they were.  Hmmm.  Maybe there is something to this.  Then I put in the Ortho Lite Fusion insoles into my shoes, tied up my laces and went out for my run.

I’m really not saying this for any reason than other how they felt…  It was like I had a new pair of shoes on.  Seriously, I have struggled with wearing out my shoes so much that this was like a gift to me.  I loved them.  I ran great that night and two days later had the best long run I’ve had ever.  I’m not saying that all of this is because of new insoles, but I was able to keep going strong for 3 – 4 miles longer than the week before.  Something helped, and I’m sure these were part of the solution.

Here is some info I got with the insoles:

OrthoLite Fusion Insoles

  • OrthoLite Fusion insoles are available at ortholite.com or amazon.com for $19.99. Features include:
  • Designed to fit all athletic and outdoor shoes or boots
  • Made with open-cell foam, allowing air to circulate around the foot, keeping it cooler and drier inside the shoe
  • Wicks moisture away from your foot leaving your foot cooler and drier
  • Unique spring-back technology ensures that your insole won’t flatten out and it will retain over 95% of its thickness over time
  • Our patented anti-microbial formulation (approved by the EPA and FDA) fights fungus, bacteria and shoe odor
  • Lightweight and fully washable
  • $1 from each purchase goes to  directly to the Level Field Fund, a grant-giving program that strives to bridge the gap in funding to uniquely talented athletes.

So, I will be using these insoles in the future when my shoes are low mileage, but the insoles are worn.  It made a huge difference in my running.

I hope this has been helpful to you also!

Did running in compression socks make me dizzy?

You might be able to tell from the title of this post that it was a rough run yesterday.  I was so excited to try out my new compression socks that I got from a local retailer and see how they would help my running.  Specifically I want to try and help my legs on long runs to have better endurance.  The sales guy from the local store said these socks are made for running and specifically long distance runs like a marathon.

Here is a list of several things that may have contributed to my difficult run:

  • Hottest day of the week.  Monday it was in the high 70s and Tuesday in the low 70s.  Yesterday it was back up in the high 80s.
  • I didn’t drink as much water as usual.  I drank 64 oz of water rather than my goal of 96 oz.
  • I had a bad night sleep.  I woke up at 1:00 AM and did manage to get back to sleep, but it was not a very restful sleep.
  • Low carb eating.  I was at my lowest weight ever (176 lbs) and have eaten very few carbs.  Usually if I get below 180, I have difficult runs.

That said, I have NEVER felt as I did yesterday.  I ran a bit fast in the beginning which was not good.  Then as I hit the 3 mile mark, I got light headed and felt really strange.  It was almost like I was in a dream as I ran.  I tried to keep going and did for another half mile, but I got weak and really tired, so I gave up on the run at that point.  After I got home and rested, I felt fine.

So it could be a coincidence that I got so dizzy in my new compression socks.  I know others who swear by them and several other bloggers have suggested I try them.  I will say that my legs felt more relaxed and it seemed to me that I didn’t need to put as much energy into my legs in order to run.  At least that was my impression.

So did my compression socks cause this problem or was it circumstantial?

I have a 7 mile run today and I plan to use them again, so I guess I’ll find out the answer… maybe.

Any thoughts would be appreciated.

Have a great weekend!

My running “adjustment”

A quick update as I need to get to work and didn’t get a chance to write this last night…

The Chiropractor went really well.  He took x-rays and said that everything looked great.  He did an adjustment that really did seem to help, but I was sore afterwards.  He then gave me some exercises to do and said that if I get my muscular issues taken care of, he thinks my pace will improve quite a bit.  I hope so!

One interesting thing.  This morning was the first morning in a LONG TIME that I walked down the steps after I woke up and had almost no pain!  Don’t get me wrong, my hip is still hurting a little, but my body wasn’t sore and my legs felt good.  That could the be the Chiropractor or the fact I’ve had 3 days off from running.  Either way, I’ll take it!!!

So he told me to take yesterday off and that I could run again today.  He then called me last night to see how I was doing.  I go back tomorrow morning for another round of adjustments.

Today, after work I’ll be running for the first time since Sunday.  I really thing this has been a good thing.  I felt like my body fell apart Sunday and I hope seeing this Chiropractor will begin getting me back in the running mode for the marathon.

BTW, I forgot to mention we have signed up for a 5K this weekend.  It is a fun race at 6:00 in the evening.  Summer evening, 5K, in the South – I can’t wait.  If I have too, I’ll walk the course; but I don’t think that will happen.  🙂