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Shoe review:  Itasca (manufacturer) Fairview (model) $25 (sale price) / $45 (current price)
I haven’t done a shoe review in quite a while.  Mostly because I haven’t been jogging much the last couple of years.  The spirit has been willing, but the heart (and various other parts) have not been entirely cooperative.  Be that as it may, this is my review of the “Itasca Fairview” hiking / walking shoe.  It can be used as a “heavy” / off-road jogging shoe if you don’t mind a stiff and knobby soled shoe.  I don’t.  I purchased this because I prefer a hard wearing inexpensive shoe.
First, the price was very good.  It was on sale at my local Big5 Sporting Goods store.  I was able to find my size (14) and it was wide enough for my “dogs”.  I have “paddles” for feet (much wider toe than heel area), so normal running shoes, which tend to the narrow fit, don’t really accommodate my feet.  As I began jogging a few years back with a mid-sole strike, my arches changed and I became no longer able to wear many of my older shoes.  My left foot (arch) in particular bars me from wearing size 13 shoes and most size 14 slip-ons.
I found these shoes very comfortable for my slow and steady jogging style.  I started off with a 1 mile jog and by the end of about 6 weeks I was consistently jogging about 4 miles a day.  Enough to get my 10K steps goal on my Fitbit.  All in all, I would estimate I jogged fewer than 100 miles during the pairs use and, if you add in another 50 (generous) miles for cool-down walks, I’d say the shoes were blown out by 135 to 150 miles of use.  By way of comparison, a good running shoe will probably cost you about $80-$120, and it is recommended you replace them every 400 miles or whenever they feel like they’ve lost their sponge under your forefoot.  So, the price I paid was about 1/3rd of a running shoe and the use was about 1/3rd.  I guess that’s considered equal value for relative cost.
Another significant factor on the shoes use is that I am extremely heavy (350+lbs) and therefore very hard on soles.  That is part of why I look for stiffer shoes with heavier tread – they tend to take a beating better than normal running shoe models.  Of course, the trade-off is you have to jog less upfront when the shoes are newer so you can break them in without giving yourself horrendous blisters.

Fresh from the box

Fresh from the box

View of new soles

View of new soles

Soles After 150 miles

Soles after 150 miles

Tops after use

Tops after use

After use:  You can’t really tell from the image, but center forefoot is completely worn through to the sponge padding under the forefoot.  The tops, on the other hand, were practically without blemish.  From the start, the shoe felt like I was jogging with a pair of wooden slats under my feet.  Again, on the other hand, the tops were very comfortable (once broken in), even when tied tightly.  Had the soles lasted another month, I would say the shoes were a very good value.  As it is, the best I could say was these would be good value (at sale price) if you were either normal weight or were only going to use them for actual hiking / path walking on the odd weekend out and about.
If you look at the “Soles after” image, you’ll probably notice a lot of outer heel wear and some “tippy-toe” wear.  The heel wear is from the daily walking where I do a lot of heel striking.  The toe wear is because I seem to push-off a lot when I do my jogging.  I should clarify.  I don’t “really” jog.  I would describe it as slogging (“slow jogging”) – basically, a little faster than walking with a jogging / shuffle motion.  In general, my heels wear out on my walking shoes, my forefoot wears out on my jogging shoes, and the top wears out if I try to get the comfortable light-weight mesh uppers common to many true jogging / running shoes.
Final recommendation: reasonable value for the price (I paid).  I went back to Big5 to get another pair.  Like most “sale” items at this type of discount store, “my” store no longer carries this model.  I also looked on-line and Itasca no longer manufactures this model.  It turns out other Big5 stores in my area do carry this model, but the current price is almost double what I paid on sale.  At that price, I leave them on the shelf…  I can find “real” running shoes for that price.
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On This Day In:
2017 Unseen Here, Too
2016 Criticized Anyway
2015 Sometimes The Truth Hurts
2014 All Agreed, Say “Aye”
2013 Two Books, Two Movies
Just Because
2012 God’s Requirements
2011 Greater Purity

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What you learn is often determined by what you need to know.  If you think you’re weak, you will learn that you are strong.  If you think you are indestructible, you will learn that you are fragile.  In the end though, you will learn that you are human.  You are no more and no less than all those who are learning their lessons as you learn yours.
    ―    John Bingham
[What running / jogging / walking  – a commitment to exercise – can teach you.    —    KMAB]
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On This Day In:
2017 Laugh Or Shake Your Head
2016 The Expected Cure
2015 Of Two Minds
2014 Pride And Remembrance
2013 Repeating Bad Memories
2012 No Sooner
2011 Just Cheesy!
Are You Illin’?

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Listen to your inner voice.  It’s telling you: “I’m your future.  Take care of me…”
   —   The UPS Man
[I am out jogging (laboring) around my block and a UPS van stops by the curb and the driver jumps out and drops off a package.  We greeted each other with a smile and: “Good morning!” and he then says something to me which I didn’t quite catch.  I pause and say pardon me…  His reply is above…  We gave each other a thumbs up and continued our day.    —    KMAB]
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On This Day In:
2017 Make Some Difference
2016 Still 99%
2015 Adolescent Opinion
2014 In A Big World
2013 Vacancy For God
2012 Sweat Equity
Try It… You’ll Like It
2011 Still Incomplete
2010 Happy New Year – 2010

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I have always imagined that Paradise will be a kind of library.
   ―  Jorge Luis Borges
Do not be afraid to fail.  Be afraid to accept that who you are right now is all you are going to be.
   ―  John Bingham
From his book: “Running for Mortals: A Commonsense Plan for Changing Your Life With Running
We are what we pretend to be, so we must be careful about what we pretend to be.
   ―  Kurt Vonnegut Jr.
From his novel: “Mother Night
I am nothing special, of this I am sure.  I am a common man with common thoughts and I’ve led a common life.  There are no monuments dedicated to me and my name will soon be forgotten, but I’ve loved another with all my heart and soul, and to me, this has always been enough…
   ―  Nicholas Sparks
From his novel: “The Notebook
[Happy New Year’s Day to all!  The years are beginning to run together (pun intended).  This year, my resolutions are (in addition to yesterday’s post) to read more books and to try to be more consistent in my working out so I can (hopefully) grow my mind as I shed my waist.  —  KMAB]
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On This Day In:
2017 Happy New Year — 2017!
2016 Happy New Year — 2016!
Remembering My Brother
2015 Happy New Year — 2015!
2014 Happy New Year – 2014!
2013 Another New Year’s Thought (In Case It Rains)
Happy New Year – 2013!
2012 Best Wishes For 2012!
Where Did You Spend New Year’s Eve?
2011 Happy New Year (2011)!!

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We were not designed to stand still.  If we were, we’d have at least three legs.  We were designed to move.  Our bodies are bodies that have walked across vast continents.  Our bodies are bodies that have carried objects of art and war over great distances.  We are no less mobile than our ancestors.  We are athletes.  We are warriors.  We are human.
   ―    John Bingham
From:  “Running for Mortals: A Commonsense Plan for Changing Your Life With Running
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On This Day In:
2016 And Without Expectation
2015 Just Do It
I Am A Runner
2014 Some Things I Learned (Mostly) In The Army:
2013 Who You Are
2012 Mine Stands
2011 Aversions

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Well, at long last I got back on the pavement!!  This morning, I forced myself out of my nice warm bed, strapped on my Keds and went out to pound some pavement.
The sun was just up.  The sky was cloudless and clear blue.  The frost was everywhere…  Despite my doubts and the persistent questions (“Why do you keep doing this to yourself?“), I managed to slow jog around the block three times (1.2 miles total according to Google maps).  This was my first time out doing anything other than walking my dog since mid-November when I had my electrical cardioversion.  I felt terrific, like I could go forever…  But tomorrow is another day.  I finished with a cool-down walk of my dog – for another mile.  All told, about 45 minutes and 2.2 miles.  And so it begins again (I hope).
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On This Day In:
2016 The Best Of Circumstances
2015 Reverberating Silence
2014 Wrong Again?
2013 Improper Faith
2012 One More Rung
2011 Sunday Morning Earlies (Hugging trees and smiling…)
Hurry
Updates On Life
2010 It’s Gettin’ Deep In Here

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Slogging

I just felt like hitting the bricks for a while, so I went for a VERY slow initial jog.  Hil was a bit concerned because I’ve had so many episodes of palpitations lately, but I got through it.  Weighed myself this morning – 350lbs.
Four(4) laps around the school yard.  Maybe, one(1) mile.  Five minutes of stretching afterwards and twenty-five incline push-ups.  Maybe a total of 30 minutes.  It felt good afterwards.  We’ll see how I feel tomorrow…  LOL!
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On This Day In:
2015 Memorial Day – 2015
Content People Love To Share
2014 I Resemble That Remark
2013 Long Range Exploration
2012 UBI
2011 Opportunity

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I Am A Runner

I used some credit hours to knock off of work a bit early today.  I am planning to go see the new “Star Wars” movie with my daughter (Sarah), so I wanted to get home and get my jog out of the way.  The jog was noon-“ish”.  A bright, clear, cloudless day.  Mid-60’s temperature, but with a cold, stiff breeze blowing.  It wasn’t constant, but it was more steady than intermittent.  It was really nice to get out in the mid-day sun to just see the brightness of the world.  I’m so used to the fluorescent lighting of work, it seems strange to see things in natural (bright) light.
Day 5.  The jog was same old-same old; 13 laps; 3.25 miles in 70 minutes.  I actually timed it today.  The time is even slower than it used to be, but that’s the way it goes when you’re starting back up.  The times will drop and the distance will increase before all is said and done.  So, now that my curiosity is satisfied, I don’t have to time myself again for a month or so.  By then I’ll be used to the activity and time, and distance will be more of a consideration.   Until then, it’s just one foot after the other…
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On This Day In:
2014 The Law Of The Perversity Of Nature
2013 One Standard Deviation
2012 High Anxiety
2011 And I’m Taking Me There
2010 1,000

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Day 4.  Sunset jog, finished in the dark; another 13 laps; another 3.25 miles; another hour(ish).  Fitbit is still saying 5 miles and about 65 minutes.  I’m not actually tracking the time.  I’m just trying to get through the distance each day.  The evening was dry and warm with a intermittent breeze which was cold but not steady.  The temperature was probably only a couple of degrees warmer than yesterday, but it felt much warmer without the rain.  The breeze was nice.
Sometimes, when you pull your eyes up from the pavement in front of you, you can see some amazing sights.  This evening’s was a partly cloudy sunset with the most brilliant turquoise sky I can remember seeing in ages.  The blue was framed by clouds with pink and yellow edges.  It looked like something out of a Cecil B. DeMille movie.  Anyway, it was definitely a high-light!
The process is starting to feel easier.  My legs and feet hurt less each day.  No change in weight yet (it’s only been four days), but my clothes feel better (slightly looser) – so that’s a good start.  Now I just have to keep it up.  It feels good to be a runner again…
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On This Day In:
2014 Some Things I Learned (Mostly) In The Army:
2013 Who You Are
2012 Mine Stands
2011 Aversions

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I Am A Runner

Day 3.  Another 13 laps; 3.25 miles; approx. 5K.  Fitbit still says it’s 5+ miles, and I still doubt it.
Raining and dark, but not cold.  Sometimes you just got to suck it up and get out there.  It’s more difficult mentally when you’re trying to do it after work and after walking the dog for 40 minutes.  Still, I found the gentle rain cooling.  Of course it stopped with two laps to go.  Legs hurt more during the day than when I’m actually out pounding.  Go figure…
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On This Day In:
2014 Just Dig ‘N It, Why?
2013 Additions
The Object Of Instruction
2012 Telling Her
2011 On Torture

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Yesterday, I started jogging again.  Today was day two.  As of yesterday, I am a “runner” again…  Like most things / types of activity, you can only “be” it if you “do” it.  In this case, in my case, running – or more precisely very slow jogging – which I call “slogging”.  (Not very original, I know.)  I am not timing myself yet.  I am counting the laps (around the schoolyard across the street from where I live) with my little “clicker” and my “Fitbit” says it’s about 5 miles.  I reckon it’s closer to 3 miles, but whatever, I’m back in my shoes and beatin’ feet!
I started one of my hundreds of diets back in July and lost 35 pounds by the end of August.  As of today, I am still down 20 of those.   And so the beat goes on…  I joined the “YMCA” back in September, but injured my left knee pretending to play basketball.  And by “pretend”, I mean literally pretending: I was playing by myself, missed a shot and was challenging for a rebound under the basket.  When I landed, my knee gave out (quite painfully) and I had to limp to the locker room to get my stuff and go home.  My knee cap swoll-up the size of a grapefruit and I couldn’t extend my leg straight for about a week.  The pain has mostly (now) gone but I’m still not able to push off of that leg the way I used to.  But I have been walking 40 to 60 minutes each day and I’ve now been able to begin jogging – slow but steady.
So, I am a runner again.  One day at a time.  One step at a time.  And today is day two.
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On This Day In:
2014 Changing Frequently
2013 Trifles
2012 Simple, Ordinary And Wonderous
2011 Humane Writers

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So, this last July 6th, I began my latest attempt to reduce weight.  My starting weight was 363 lbs.  As of yesterday, August 6th, I weighed in at 335 lbs.  So, I have lost my initial goal of 28 lbs (two stones).  Now, because of the way “juicing” works as a form of dieting, I have to lose another 8 to 12 lbs to legitimately say I’ve lost a full 28 lbs.  This is because the body normally holds about 5 to 7 lbs of food matter in the stomach when there is food available (when you’re not juice fasting) and (from experience) I’ve found normal eating generally adds about another 1/2 gallon of water to your weight due to the addition of salts and sugars back into your diet.  That’s another 3 to 4 lbs.  The bottom line is I need to drop another 12 lbs by Hil’s birthday (the end of October), before I can legitimately says I’ve lost the weight I promised to lose by her birthday.
General Observations:
I feel terrific.  I don’t have a tremendous amount of endurance energy, but I feel capable of most routine activity.  My “fast / diet” consisted of 1 to 2 days of “pure” juice, and then 1 to 2 days of “smoothie” juice.  My smoothies consisting of the left-over fiber from the vegetable roughage mixed with “no-added sugar, no-added fructose” fruit juices and water.  The intent was to prevent the stoppage which normally occurs if you aren’t passing fiber for an extended period of time.  I dislike enemas and this works for me.  Another benefit of this is “smoothie in, smoothie out” – my hemorrhoids are a lot better and the is no straining to pass.
Interestingly, I’m not experiencing any passage of grains of sand (tiny kidney stones) which I have a habit of passing every few weeks.  Of course, four weeks is a small sample size, but it “feels” like good news.  I also have almost no bloating in my hands or ankles.
Practically speaking, 28 lbs translates into four notches on my belt (at the waist), so all of my clothes fit much more comfortably.  Strangely, the weight loss is not at all evenly distributed.  The loss of four inches on my waist doesn’t mean I can wear smaller pants, only that my current pants are more comfortable.  That is, I can wear “normal” fit as opposed to only “relaxed” fit pants of the same size, but again, the waist size hasn’t decreased.  My best estimate is that I’ll need to lose another 15 to 20 lbs before I can switch to smaller pants.  That’s definitely not encouraging, but it is what it is…
Physically – I’m still walking for 35 to 45 minutes almost every day.  I walk my dog in the evening, before getting ready for bed.  Also, last Friday (7/31) I joined my local YMCA.  I reckon I’ve given my body enough of a break adjusting to just the juicing, so now I can add in a bit more exercise.  At the moment, I’m starting off with 30 min slow jog (or elliptical), 30 min of rowing on a machine, and then a final 30 to 45 min of weights and stretching.  I originally started off with 30 min of shooting around on the basketball court, but I sprained my left knee on the second day, so I’ve given that up indefinitely.
The bad news is that yesterday (8/6/15), I had another “bad” day with my AFib and had to spend the afternoon in the ER.  I reverted to normal rhythm on my own, but it remains a cautionary event to prompt me to lose weight and get into better shape.  So, onwards and downwards…!!  (Keep me in your prayers!)  🙂
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On This Day In:
2014 Tough Journalism
2013 Things I’ve Learned
2012 Abstainer, n.
2011 Rain, Rain, Rain
Test Your Strength
2009 End the mistakes…

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Today we (Hil, Sarah and I) went to the theater to see the new Disney movie: “Frozen“.  Wow!  This is a terrific movie!  It’s animation and it’s a musical, but it is still one of the best movies I’ve seen in some time…
There’s the princesses and the handsome hero.  The goofy sidekick and the animal friend.  There is magic, and singing, and incredible art.  And of course, since it IS a Disney movie, you know how it ends.
This is a movie which celebrates “girl power” but it does it in a very heartfelt way.  If you want to take you daughter or niece to a movie where the “heroes” are the girls, then this is the movie for you.  Definitely a highly-recommended and I can hardly wait for the DVD so I can watch it again.
Oh, yeah…  As a musical, the songs are both funny and powerful (in turn).  The lyrics are generally more mature than “The Lion King“, but every bit as catchy and, dare I say it, performed better.  That’s saying quite a bit because I’ve seen “The Lion King” dozens of times.
Other news:
I had to go to the dentist today.  I’m getting a crown and my temporary cracked and came out yesterday.  Fortunately, there was no pain involved.
I’m rapidly approaching 200 miles on my jogging.  I started back up again on 28 Dec ’13 and have been going steadily ever since.  My goal for 2014 is to jog 1,000 miles.  That’s about three times my best miles in a year from the recent past few years.  We’ll see if I can keep it going…
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On This Day In:
2013 The Lucky Few
2012 A Post-Valentine’s Day Message
2011 Risk, Lyrics, Starting Over, And My Trip To The ER
Lucky Choice

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Sometimes, but not often, you can hear the sound of perfection.  Sometimes perfection is felt.  More rarely (I believe), it’s both heard and felt.
I don’t play golf, but I do enjoy going to the driving range to bang out a bucket.  Every now and then – for me it’s about once every 100-150 balls – you can get a “perfect” drive.  The swing is easy.  The ball is struck cleanly and true.  You hear a certain “ping” sound that comes to your ears almost as much as it travels up the club and through your arms.  And the ball jumps away from you straight and far.  It doesn’t happen often (for me anyway), but it explains completely why some folks LOVE golf.
For other folks, it’s the sound of the ball/net when a basketball goes through at just the right angle to miss the rim but not get hung up in the net.  It’s a “swish” sound.  It’s not the “bump” sound of off the backboard or the “bong” sound when the ball goes in but catches a bit of the rim.  Sometimes, even, when the ball falls through, just so, there’s almost no sound at all.  But for me, it’s that “swish” sound that makes the “perfect” shot sound.
In running (or jogging), when you’re on a gravel track and you’re “floating” along in your run, there’s a certain “crush / squishy” sound your feet make.  It’s kind of like a cross between walking on icy snow (“crunch”) or autumn leaves (“crush”) on your driveway.  You can hear (in the background) your breathing and the sounds of anyone you’re running with, but it’s that “cooush, cooush, cooush” sound from your feet – coming up to your ears through your body as much as through actual sound – that makes running feel perfect.
By now you’re probably wondering what is the point of this post?  Well, today I went out and bought a couple of pairs of running shoes to reward myself for …  well, for nothing in particular.  If you know me, you know I buy books, books and more books – and occasionally – running shoes.  Anyway, today I picked up a pair of Reebok SmoothFlex Ride 3.0 running shoes.
My New Keds

My New ‘Boks

They are mostly greyish/black with a little bit of orange thread for trim.  Well, being a S.F. Giants fan, all things Orange and Black call out to me.  Soooo….
Lacing them up, I went out for a spin around the local schoolyard to break them in.  In honesty, I was not expecting much.  I’ve never owned a pair of Reeboks before and of late, the last five years or so, I’ve been kind of a “minimalist” shoe user.  I tend to buy cheap or garish.  The “cheap” shoes I use for jogging and working out in.  The garish shoes I wear as fashion statements.  What?  You don’t think old men make fashion statements? (LOL)  (By “minimalist” I mean “water” shoes, after a few goes with “FiveFingers”.)
Shock of my life!!  Within five steps I heard that “cooush, cooush, cooush” sound coming from my feet.  As I’ve not heard that sound in nearly forty years, my body kind of lurched with shock as I looked down at my feet.  Now, don’t get me wrong.  I am no longer a “runner”.  Heck, I’m not even a “jogger”.  I consider myself to be a “slogger” – that’s a very slow jogger.  But, never-the-less, there was that sound.  I began grinning from ear to ear and just settled into that joyous feeling of remembering what it was like to be young (again).  I have NO idea how this sound is being created because I was jogging on asphalt, not a gravel track, but this shoe has “perfect sound” marketing for me.
I will try to do a fuller review after I’ve had them out for a few more jogs and then a final review after I’ve worn them out.  By the way, I picked them up at my local Big5 Sporting Goods store.  Still the best value for money, general purpose, sporting goods store in our area.  You can follow my attempt to get back into “slogging” by checking out my “Sweat Equity” page for the first quarter of 2014.  (And wish me luck…!)
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On This Day In:
2013 Still Waiting For Answers
2012 Informal Leadership
2011 A Little More Progress
2010 Bec’s Gone Again…

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As a teenager, I sought out this transformed reality in the proverbial escape into books away from my unhappiness.  We like to lose this world, our very self, in a good book.  But reading isn’t just anesthesia or a verbal trip to the theme park.  We’re not only running from something, in many cases, but running to.
[Found at one of the blogs I follow: http://aholisticjourney.wordpress.com/
The specific post is: http://aholisticjourney.wordpress.com/2013/08/05/the-writing-process-ii-why-we-read-part-4/   —    KMAB]
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On This Day In:
2012 Suddenly
2011 Liberal Washington
2010 Giants Advance To NLCS!!

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