Monday, December 26, 2016

End of the Streak, Holidays, Looking Ahead

So I lost my running streak at Day #29 this year (the eve of Christmas Eve). There are a lot of reasons for it, but in the last month or so I've been lacking in sleep and having a really hard time making time to go for a run. We had the baby's first birthday party on Friday, and my wife got sick with a fever around that time as well, so I hosted the party while she rested and then have been helping care for her while she recovers.

Christmas Day was excellent. We woke up early, did gifts with the baby, and then ate before retiring to bed so my wife could rest. The baby absolutely loved her gifts, and has had a fun time playing with them (along with us.) We've been reading (playing, really) with board books lately, and she'll now ask me to read to her, or offer me books, and accept other books from me. That's a pretty cool thing that has had me thinking a lot about literacy and how important starting kids around books from day one is. I may do a post on that in the next couple of weeks.

I'm looking to get back out on the road, of course. But I'm not going to rush it. We have good years and bad, and I have to deal with the fact that this year was not one of the better ones in my running career. I'll get to all of that when I further assess my running goals and resolutions later this week.

Moving forward I'll be making a race calendar for 2017, and making the appropriate plans to support my running of those races. I'm hopeful that 2017 will be a more adventurous year for me, but truly as long as I'm able to keep moving I'm grateful for that.

Saturday, December 10, 2016

Holiday Run Streak, Days #9-#16

Well, fell off the wagon of blogging with every run. Things have just been so crazy, and I've not been well. But I'm keeping up the streak of at least a mile a day. I'm having to adjust expectations because of how different things are now than they were a year ago.

I've been running later at night (between 8pm and 11pm) depending on how much we have to do when we get home. I'm definitely feeling exhausted, and not in the best shape aerobically. There are a couple of big events coming in the next week, so if I can keep my streak alive until Thursday or so I should be in good shape to add in more miles approaching the end of December.

With regards to health, the whole family is constantly in one cold or starting another. My wife and I have been sick on and off, and last week I started to get a fever coming on. I took a couple of days off, which was good, but truth be told I'm still constantly running a low-grade fever. I can feel it in my body. I think maybe I have a flare up of mono? That's not super common for folks my age, but I've had it in the past and know it can come on in times of excess stress. Full time job? Check. Baby under the age of one year? Check. Adult responsibilities? Check. So, I've got all the stress I need plus ten extra tons of it.

I feel again like I've gotten lost from where I was. I was so happy at the end of the summer run streak, but I wasn't where I wanted to be running wise. Then I just absolutely fell off the running wagon. I haven't had a week where I put in more than twenty miles since October. That's really unlike me for the last few years. I need to find my way out of this rut that I'm in. But it isn't going well so far. A drastic change is going to need to take place, but I feel like I'm fumbling around in a dark room looking for a flashlight.

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Holiday Run Streak, Days #7 and #8

One mile each on days seven and eight. In addition to the frequently changing New England weather, I've also been sick with some sort of sinus thing. It has been accompanied by a fever, which is explains my shorter mileage.

Baby girl is doing well. She's clingy to us, and demanding of my attention. I'm not at all upset by this, and rather I'm taking it as a positive sign that I'm doing well bonding with her. She's using more sounds that resemble words now, too. "Auggie!" when she looks at the dog, for example. It's an exciting time, and crazy to think how much our lives have changed in just one year.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Holiday Run Streak, Day #4, #5, #6

Shorter runs this last couple of days -- 2 miles on day four, and 1 on days five and six. Getting colder now, and unpredictably rainy and windy. I'm dealing with it, I just need to ease into it. Couple that with a couple of truly draining work days, and I'm just doing what I can to keep the streak going.

Going easy on myself, tomorrow I'm looking forward to a slightly longer run with some dinner with family. These next couple of weeks until Christmas will be long, and undoubtedly the hardest weeks for me running-wise. But I'll push through it. The run gives me time to refocus, and it's such a part of me that I have a hard time stopping myself from going out once I'm on my feet.

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Holiday Run Streak, Day #3

7 miles even tonight. A bit chilly, but still a bit too warm for the real cold weather gear. That fun grey area of southern New England.

Another lazy day today. A little bit of housework, but still haven't put up the tree. That needs to happen soon, because once this week begins I really won't stop moving until Christmas, and there won't be any time for it. There won't be finding any time for it.

Holiday Run Streak, Day #2 (Black Friday)

Another 3.4 tonight, slower than last night. Feeling my way back, stopping occasionally to avoid being hit by cars. Humid and overcast. Not quite spitting.

Typically Black Friday is when I put up our Christmas tree. Going back some years (to when my wife and I actually shopped on Black Friday) I would put the tree up at midnight, watch Irving Berlin's "White Christmas" and then catch a couple hour catnap before going out. This year I decided to break with tradition, and my wife talked me into staying in bed all day with the family in our new matching set of pajamas. Have to tell you, I'm a little surprised that I'm that guy. But it was comfortable and a whole lot of fun.

So tomorrow I'll do some shopping, tidy up the house and put up the Christmas decorations. The older of our two cats (both of whom are eight years old, and six months apart) has decided he doesn't need to use the litter box. So I'm working on that. Poor guy is feeling a bit neglected since the baby has come along, and since we've been back to work.

So in addition to all the regular cleaning and decorating I want to see if there's a way I can set up an extra kitty friendly space in our basement. It has some nice windows he likes to sit in, so I'll see if I can ease access up there. I'm also putting more time into playing with him, and spoiling him with some turkey from Thanksgiving.

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Holiday Run Streak, Day #1 (Thanksgiving Day)

3.4 miles tonight. Overcast, chilly, but feeling good even though I took some time off from running. Last year's running streak saw me get to 39 days. We'll see how this one goes. Honestly, I'm tired and worn down. I still feel better after I drag myself out for a run, but it is (emotionally) more of a slog than it used to be.

Baby girl's first Thanksgiving. She slept through dinner. We spent the day at home, watched the parade and dog show, and had a low key night. This is our tradition for a couple of years now. We make plans to visit family on the weekends around Thanksgiving and keep the day just to our nuclear family. It is a really nice thing, overall, and I think it has given us a tighter bond.

Friday, November 11, 2016

Idle Days

My lessening involvement with sport continues. It's an inward battle most days to get out on the road. By the time I get in from work, and cooking, helping out with the baby, I'm just cooked. Then we're up early to do it all again. Somehow I've lost the ability to carve out time for a run.

I still walk about four miles a day at work, so my legs don't feel all the much different. When I actually do hit the road for a couple of miles I feel pretty good, although I'm admittedly taking it easier than I would in training. This is a sort of maintenance plan to just keep me going. This whole turn of events finds me in a great crisis of confidence, and doubting my own self image that I've crafted over the past few years. It's a dangerous feedback loop of sloth and self-loathing.

Have to throw a monkey wrench in those works.

I am going to do the Runner's World Holiday Run Streak again this year. Last year went very well, and then my summer run streak was so much fun. Once I'm totally committed to this thing I know I'll get back on the horse, so to speak.

Saturday, November 5, 2016


I turned 31 this past week. Overall it was an excellent day at work, which ended with spending some excellent quality time with my family.

Went out for a ten mile run the following morning, and felt like my "old self" again for the rest of the day. That definitely means that I'll be happier if I build the running more into my schedule in the morning, so I'm working up to that. I still haven't been running much, maybe a couple of times a week for a total of about fifteen miles.

The weekend should be good with a couple of trips out with family and friends. Next week we have two days out of work, so I'll be able to recharge my batteries quite a bit then as well.

Saturday, October 22, 2016

The Wall

I consider myself to be a pretty focused person. The skill I loved learning for the marathon, probably beyond the running, was the focus and mental strength it takes to endure such a long time engaged in motion. It can be really grueling, and you find ways to stay in the moment when you need to, and to drift off when you need to. Those things have to be controlled, though, to really put in a good effort.

I figured approaching fatherhood -- especially the infancy phase -- with this same attitude would make things a little better for me. After all, I've covered 26.2 miles before. How hard could night time feedings be?

Things worked out OK in that regard, mostly because we used formula to supplement early on, so I could do those feedings and be up with the baby. As my wife transitioned the baby off the bottle, I did less of those, and so I was actually getting pretty good sleep. That is really what allowed me to train for Big Sur earlier this year. It's how I was able to put in heavy weeks without totally losing my mind.

Then I had a tremendous summer of running. 94 days straight of at least one mile a day. I think I enjoyed running that streak more than any race I've ever run, although I have to admit that I didn't put as much time into my long runs as I would have hoped. I mean, the baby was six months old at the start of the summer. There were so many evening trips to the beach, out with friends. I put that time into being with my family, and loving the times I was running. I also put in a lot of good hikes this summer.

And now we're in fall. I've run two half marathons since August, I've thrown in a 5k. Work started up in a big way for us in September, and between that and surprise doctor's visits, days out from school sick, days that seem to stretch for twice their actual length, at some point, it happened. I had started writing a post several times in the midst of this period, and I never posted it:

Things are crazy now. Baby girl is getting her first tooth, which is really exciting but compounded with the unpleasantness of a case of pink eye. Found that out at the end of a long day Monday, and daycare has a 48 hour exclusion period.
The wife stayed home yesterday, and today is my turn I'm glad for the time with our 9 month old, but frustrated at an inability to get much done. I did manage to clean the kitchen and prepare breakfast this morning, but I felt bad about leaving baby girl in the high chair while I worked. We spent a bit of time after that to play, and she had a bottle.

You know that part in the marathon (for me it's twenty-mile mark, and then the twenty-two mile mark...) where you think, "I'm a little tired, but this is nothing, I've got this." and then a mile or two later you feel completely beaten and you're not sure how you're going to lift your feet?

So that's what happened. Back when I wrote that post I was already faltering on my running habits, and it was inevitable that I was going to need a break. But I wasn't ready to accept that mentally, because what really sucks the most for an endurance athlete is hitting the wall. And that's what happened. I hit the wall.

Not really in terms of parenting. I still have an inexhaustible amount of energy for the little one. But I certainly lost, at least for a couple of weeks, the need to kick myself out the door and on to the road. I took a couple of full weeks off in September, and I believe that I'm better for it. I can still throw down some miles, and I am happy with the amount of time I'm spending with my family. I'm not in the shape I need to be in to run that second marathon I was hoping to run this year. And that's OK. I've made peace with that. There will be other races, and other years in my running career. 

And more over, it has to be OK with me, because life doesn't really give you a choice on stuff like this. There are things you sacrifice when you have a kid, and for me the normal racing schedule is one of them. It is OK with me that this year looks different because this is the first year that I've ever been a dad. I wouldn't trade being a dad for anything.

So my daughter is perfect. She is well-loved, and confident, funny and socially advanced. She shares toys. She is starting to shout things that sound like "Doggie!" at the dog when she comes into the room. I love the time I get to spend with her, and I love focusing in on all these little stages of development. There will be time for running later. There will be years where I can focus on my goals later. I won't get this time with her back.

Excellent article over at Scary Mommy on attachment parenting, that my wife and I were in awe of. It was like we could have written it ourselves.

Watching the entire Star Wars Trilogy today with some friends. It will be baby girl's first time seeing it, so we made sure we found some copies of the movies without all the special edition garbage added in. It will be so much fun! She's totally going to sleep through it. She's ten months old.

If all goes well tomorrow I'll be walking the Pell Bridge in Newport, RI with some family. I have run it once, but since my family likes to walk it I walked it with them last year. We'll see, though, as it looks pretty rainy to be walking over the bridge...

Sunday, September 18, 2016

CCRI 5k (Race Review)

Ran the CCRI 5k up in Lincoln, RI today.

I'm a CCRI alum. At the end of my high school career, I knew I wanted to pursue higher education, but I didn't have the academic records from high school to make a four year college a reality right out of the gate. I had a lot of personal and family struggles in high school, and it just wasn't possible for me to achieve at the level I needed to then. Fortunately, I found CCRI, poured all of my time into my studies and then went on to a four year college to complete a bachelor's degree. As a favor to a retiring professor, I transferred my credits back from the four year school and also earned my Associate's Degree. I'm a really proud alum.

So I wanted to run the 5k mostly because the school doesn't sell any good gear. I've always wanted a decent hoodie from them, to show my pride, but they only really sell basketball and nursing hoodies. I signed up for that reason, and sort of as a joke.

This morning we headed up to Lincoln around 8am. The race was at 10am. This gave me some time to get the lay of the land, find bathrooms, registration, and have a quick bite before race time. Met up with some other friends who ran. With the CVS 5k in Providence today, expected the field to be small, which it was. The Providence Gay Men's Chorus did a lovely job with the national anthem (although I was surprised it wasn't the school chorus...?) and we all headed over to the start area. Some nice words by the school's new president, and some safety tips from the race director, and then we were off.

Did I mention this race was partially on trails? Because I had no idea it was going to be on trails. That was a hell of a surprise. It wasn't super technical, and it ended up being a really lovely course, but it was a surprise. I ended up falling in with the top ten pack before we hit the trails, but couldn't see the leader. Ran through the trails, and up a very big hill which caused me to slow down quite a bit. Back around the baseball and soccer fields before a final loop of the parking lot, and came through the chute in 22:45. Not too bad given that I haven't been training for the 5k, and I didn't know the race had trail segments. Ended up finishing sixth overall.

Afterwards, met up with some friends and decided to go out for a friend's birthday. We picked a diner, and took of. I figured we would be good as I placed sixth, so I didn't expect to be acknowledged at the awards thing, and honestly, that isn't why I run anyway. Headed to the diner, sat down, and got a text from the timing company. Won my age group! That was a real surprise. I don't think there were age group awards, but I do feel sort of bad skipping out now in case they read my name. Next year I'll pay more attention and wait around a bit more.

Overall, good time. Loved the course, and with it being so close to home I'll definitely run it again next year.

Up next on the race calendar: my return to the Jamestown half marathon. I'm not expecting a PR this year, but looking forward to challenging myself and getting some longer runs in the books before a late October marathon.

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Fall Running

So, I've fallen behind a bit on my mileage goal for the year.

I didn't intend to, but I came down with another bug that had me feverish and with some respiratory issues. I decided to take a couple of days off, and just spend time with my family.

The animals we live with have fleas. No fun. Some of my dogs when I was a kid had fleas, but it has been awhile since I've had to deal with it. Treatment can take up to three months to completely get them out of our house. In the meantime, it means lots and lots of cleaning. We wash the bedding every day, flea comb the animals, give the dog weekly baths. That whole new set of chores is really taking it's toll on me.

Got out for seven and a quarter miles tonight. Have a race coming up at CCRI this weekend (5k) and honestly just looking forward to running. Should be lots of fun.

Saturday, September 3, 2016

End of an Era

My run streak came to an end this past Thursday. There are a lot of reasons for that.

I wasn't feeling great after work, but I carried on as we had the social club that evening. Baby girl had a really rough day at school, so when we got home we all took a nap. I got up, cleaned the house, and held the social club meeting. During that time, it was pretty obvious to us that the baby was running a fever, and shortly after I checked her temp she began vomiting. Our guests headed out as we called the doctor, who told us there was a bug going around and to keep her home the following day.

Around that time I started feeling not-so-great again with a headache. Ordinarily I would have gone out and gotten a mile in, but the combination of concern and fatigue proved to be too much, so I went to bed and slept for ten hours.

My immediate reaction is that I'm somewhat disappointed I wasn't able to carry on until the end of September, but I'm also very happy with the 94 days of running I've put in since Memorial Day. I'll always remember this summer when my daughter was this little, and the fact that I loved every mile I put in on the road. This is the 'end of an era' as it were, but it certainly isn't the last time I'll do a run streak. There are more really good things on the horizon.

At this point the plan is to resume a normal three on, one off, two on, one off training schedule. I'll focus on putting in a long run, some speedwork/hill work, and possibly a tempo here and there. This should enable me to get to my fall half marathons in good trim, and also be in good enough shape to start my holiday run streak in November.

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Summer Running Streak, Day #94

Three and a half miles tonight, late. Real humidity.

Was very concerned that I wouldn't have the energy to run tonight, as I put in a very full day at work. Lots of physical stuff, like moving furniture and covering lots of stair cases. We got home and I was ready to go to bed for the night.

Then, had to wash the bedding at around 9:30, because the baby spit up, so I helped the wife relocate to the living room and set about on three miles while the bedding is in the dryer. It ended up being a good run in spite of the humidity, because we're getting so cooler temps here in New England this week.

Finally found a brand of cold pressed watermelon juice that I love. I had tried one back at Marine Corps Marathon, and remember the vendor talking about the electrolytes and potassium in the juice. I just love the taste of it, so I've been working it in before runs just to see if it helps.

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Summer Running Streak, Day #93

So I've hit ninety-three days. I keep going back to my Strava calendar and counting, thinking that I must have skipped a number in there. But sure enough, the math checks out. There is more summer to come, as you'll read below, but this is sort of the official end of summer for me.

Tomorrow the busy season begins at work. So the wife and I will be carpooling to daycare drop-offs, managing pick-ups along with all our other conflicts and generally back to the lifestyle of the 9-5 workforce. It's a bittersweet thing, because it's nice to belong to a professional community, but rough to feel apart from our child for that much time each day. For her part, baby girl is loving the daycare. Likes the staff, gets along with the kids, has been having fun playing with toys and exploring. I'll have to do my best in the coming weeks to manage my time, so that I can spend enough time with her. Which means either in the morning or late at night I'll need to run, while she is asleep.

I started this thing on Memorial Day as the RW Run Streak runs Memorial Day through Independence Day (July 4). Summer starts June 21 this year (Solstice) and ends on September 22nd (Autumnal Equinox). From that standpoint I have quite a few days of running ahead of me. I'm looking forward to getting there, and then taking some time off before my late October marathon. 

One mile tonight, as I had a very long day at work and am in need of rest. Felt easy, though, even climbing the big hill. Getting up early tomorrow. We'll see how much luck I have getting used to that again.

As a note, if anyone actually reads this blog I apologize for the recent lack of formatting in the posts. I've gone back and fixed it, but truly, that was some absurd wall-of-text stuff. My bad.

Monday, August 29, 2016

Summer Running Streak, Days #91 and #92

Day #91 was a nice long-ish run of about eleven miles. My legs were feeling tired, but I wanted a "long run" for that dialback week, and that worked out well to give me thirty miles total for the week.

Day #92 was a five mile recovery, feeling very strong.

I'm noticing now that I have a lot of staying power when I'm 'in the zone'. It may not be a super fast mile or anything, in fact, they're hanging around 9 minutes per mile, but I an finding a real flow state where I'm not working super hard, and churning out the miles. This is awesome, and I think it definitely is upping my game.

Saturday, August 27, 2016

Summer Running Streak, Day #90

Felt lousy this morning. Slept late, which was nice, but then felt dehydrated and really lacking in desire to do anything. Took awhile to get past that, but a good nap, some endurolytes and water later I was back on my feet.

 Went out and ran errands this evening, which baby girl was better about than usual. My wife had accepted an invitation from a friend to go swimming, and bring the baby, which she absolutely loved. We think maybe she likes the calm water more than the ocean, but whatever it was she tired herself out and slept for a few hours when they got home. Probably why we were able to get so many errands done in the evening. I went out for a four and a quarter mile run late tonight, but I was enjoying spending time with the family.

Given my recent burn out I'm turning this week into a dial back, so tomorrow will be my "long run" of about eleven miles. I am hungry for longer runs now, but I have to go with what I feel, and right now the cumulative affect on my legs is feeling pretty serious, and my nutrition has been nowhere close to "on point."

Summer Running Streak, Day #89

One and a quarter miles tonight, humid. Tired.

 Woke up around 3:30am, and stayed in bed until around 4am. Decided finally to get up, make breakfast, and watch the news while getting some work done. I used to be a morning person, and it was one of the things that made me a better runner. Maybe I need to get that part back in order to survive this phase of my life, I don't know. I'm starting to feel run down, and I'm fairly certain it is due to the volume I've been taking on in this streak. 89 days is a lot of days. Looking at the mileage week by week, and considering all the added miles from the hiking, I'm proud of this summer, but I'm coming to terms with the fact that it will have to end. I will go back to my three on, one off, two on, one off schedule in September as I work towards the late October marathon.

For right now I've been getting in some decent easy miles, a long run, and hill or speedwork each week, so I'm happy about that. I'm confident that I'll cover the marathon in late October, even though I doubt if it will be a PR. I haven't lost any weight this summer, I'm not sure when I'll really buckle down and fix my eating habits.

One thing is for certain on that, though. I want to keep running so I need to keep my weight under control so that this doesn't become painful.

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Summer Running Streak, Day #88

Strava is down, which is frustrating because I can't sync my run yet.

 One and one quarter miles tonight. Thirteen so far for the week. Planning a good long run for Saturday evening. Hadn't realized how much I had missed the long run (I haven't really run north of thirteen miles in awhile, thinking about it. It is about time to start putting in the duration work.)

 Long day at work, followed by dinner with friends and some night swimming in the Atlantic while my wife and the baby dozed in the pop up shelter on the beach. So much fun, and very relaxing. Tomorrow I'm hoping to sleep a bit late, meet some friends after breakfast and then I'll head into work in the afternoon to finish some things up.

We're rapidly approaching the daycare season, which has it's ups and downs but mostly it is hard not to feel upset at the idea of not spending as much time with baby girl. It has been an amazing summer though, and I'm very grateful that we got this kind of time together as a family because many folks don't.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Summer Running Streak, Day #87

Eight miles tonight. 50 miles behind pace for my end of the year goal, which feels very attainable.

I've been thinking a lot about how we converse with one another, and trying to see the bigger picture on a wide variety of topics. I won't get into politics here, although I do think that is the obvious example of polarization, but it goes for any topic you can think of. As a species we seem naturally inclined to aim towards these safe bubbles where we are in the orbits of those we agree with.

 I think I did my best in education when I was around a lot of ideas I didn't agree with. The whole notion of learning per Piaget was that we need to shake up our intellectual equilibrium - he actually called it disequilibration - so that we could make progress. I like the fact that I associate regularly with very different types of people, and I feel that it has a lot of benefits. I learn lots of viewpoints, I try to consume a lot of types of culture. I have a really strange viewpoint on sports, having grown up as an artist and trying to approach movement from a craft level.

I guess what I think ultimately is that it is a good thing to disagree with people. We're stronger for disagreements. I think a certain amount of disrespect for contrarian viewpoints is even normal and acceptable, but I generally think we still should display kindness to each other. Some of the people I am the most opposite from are the people who help me the most in other areas of life, and I try to repay that favor.

I think once we lose the ability to show a base level of kindness for each other, in spite of our differences, then we're going to be in a lot of trouble. So that was a bit ramble-y, but being as vague as possible I think that's true. Maybe I'll ramble more on philosophy as time goes on.

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Summer Running Streak, Day #86

Three and a half miles tonight, late.

Long day at work. Starting to feel more and more tired, so I need to prioritize sleep, I guess. I'm not really sure about when to end this running streak. It has to end sometime, I suppose, and I've enjoyed it, but I know I will want to take some time off before race season really winds up in the fall. So far the plan is to do a 5k, two half marathons, and then a full marathon at the end of October. That will leave a bit of time for recovery in November before I start up the Holiday running streak, which I do every year. 54 miles behind pace to hit my goal of 1,500 miles for 2016. Feeling more attainable all the time.

 Had a good day today with baby girl. The wife was working, so I had her for the bulk of the day. We had breakfast (I introduced her to eggs, hot salsa, and marmite - which she was sort of reluctant about.) Then she napped. Then we played, and she napped more. She came with us to a work function tonight, was OK for awhile and slept through most of it in the wrap on my chest.

It was a good day overall. I'm thinking more and more about upping my running volume to deal with stress. I used to do that back around the busy season at work, and I think it helped. I also know that won't really work without good nutrition, which has been lacking, but that there is also a chance that I'm starting to feel some burn out symptoms from this summer run streak. I'll use this week to reassess where I am and what I need to do.

Monday, August 22, 2016

Summer Running Streak, Day #85

One mile tonight, late, just to keep the streak alive. Absolutely beautiful out - 64, low humidity. Like running in fall, and I'm hoping we get more days like this.

 Busy day at work today moving and cleaning things, preparing to build some new storage into my new work-space. It was a time consuming day, but satisfying overall and featured a good long visit with baby girl's god parents. We have 'secular' god parents for her because we aren't religious, so the idea is that these can be trusted adults to her as she grows and ages, and needs help or advice from people who aren't us. Another busy day tomorrow, and I'm hoping to be able to get in a hike this weekend. Starting to feel like I can't see the "light at the end of the tunnel" on this workload, but I'll put my head down and grit through it.

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Summer Running Streak, Day #84

Three and a half miles tonight. Ended up covering about forty-one miles total for this week, making this my biggest load of the training cycle. I'd like to work in another couple forty mile weeks as I approach my late October marathon, but we'll see how that all goes. I'm confident in my ability to cover the distance, and not as interested in PRing the 26.2 as this will be my first year running two marathons in the span of a year. I'd like to be able to do that, stay healthy, and then revise goals heading into next Spring.

 Heck of a time watching the Olympic Marathon this morning. Was very impressed (as I think everyone was) with Galen Rupp, but also Jared Ward. Hell of a thing running in 90% humidity like that, even if the rain spared them from the heat. I live in a really humid environment, and the summer is the worst for it.

We have had a great time watching the games in general, although I find it hard to accept the rosy narrative that is pitched at us by the media. These are real places, with real people, and they have actual problems. I don't see the need to be super PC on all this stuff, but I don't see the sense in ignoring the facts, either. Anyway it has been fun following this as a family. During the busy season at work we don't watch much TV, so it is nice to spend some time together following something like this.

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Summer Running Streak, Day #83

Fifteen and a half miles tonight. Cool weather, and a nice night for a run along the coast. Sleepy getting out the door but good to be on my feet. The course took me back into my old stomping grounds two towns over, which meant some nice running through dark wooded areas (headlamp required) and along the bay with a nice view of the distant bridges.

Listened to the entirety of Holst's The Planets along the way, and reveled in the joy and dance-like motion of Jupiter. It has long been one of my favorite works, and it adds a really celebratory feel to any run, but especially a night run through the woods and along the coast with a clear sky and a view of several constellations!

Mahler once said that, "A symphony is like the world, it should contain everything," and I starting to feel similarly about running: without the discomfort of a long run one would never be able to truly appreciate the joy of movement in the good stretches. The contrast adds a lot to the fullness of the experience. Plus, nothing can spirit one out of mental discomfort quite like the soulful melody of Thaxted.

Went and did some shopping for clothes for work today. It was a big day at the outlets that left the wife, daughter, and I totally wiped. Came home, ordered pizza, and had a long nap for two hours. Could probably have slept through but I had wanted to get a long run in tonight.

About a year ago I registered this domain. Things were a lot different for me then: I was an expectant father full of nerves and excitement for the challenges to come. I didn't know how extensive the online parenting community was, and I was feeling a bit like I was about to jump into the ocean on New Year's Day.

I'm happy to say that all of that has changed, and that I have changed a bit, too. I've found a big online community of parenting enthusiasts and other fathers, and they have all been very friendly while we share our humor, insight and reading on the subject. I'm optimistic about the future ahead as I continue to develop my online space, so I've re-upped for another year with the intent of continuing to blog here as my family grows.

Friday, August 19, 2016

Summer Running Streak, Day #82

Two and a quarter miles tonight at the beach, some swimming, and then another three and a half miles at home. Feeling pretty good, but mostly just getting the miles in easy.

The baby is not quite sure about the ocean? She really enjoyed the first trip into the water in the sling, and the last couple times she was less sure. Tonight she out and out cried to go in. I imagine that will come and go, but living within an hour of the ocean we spend a fair amount of time at the beach and in the ocean. So she'll hopefully learn to love it.

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Summer Running Streak, Day #80 and #81

One and a quarter miles last night, just shy of seven miles tonight.

Lots of stuff going on at work, so I'm putting in some really full days getting ready for the busy season. It is making training somewhat tiresome only because I am usually spoiled in the first part of summer when all I really have to worry about is running and resting.

Baby girl woke up at 3:30am yesterday. She's almost eight months old now, so that doesn't happen much anymore. I think the dog woke her up, due to some itching. Hopefully those days are getting fewer and fewer, but this kid fights sleep like a champion.

Hopefully we'll be able to get to the beach a lot next week, so I should have some barefoot running in, even if it is only a couple of miles here and there.

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Summer Running Streak, Day #79

Six mile hike this morning at Pulaski (where the Run with the Beavers was) including a lovely stretch of the RI North-South Trail. Each time we hike we run through logistics of doing a thru-hike of the NST, camping along the way. I'd love to see that become a reality but it is going to take some logistical work.

Four and a quarter miles tonight. The humidity is just intense at 85%. I spent most of the evening putting off the run hoping that we'd get a thunderstorm to break some of it down, but to no avail. Maybe later in the week.

Divided out and re-fed the sourdough starters, which I now have three off. I'll see which is the most active in the coming days but will probably try to keep two of them going, so I can bulk them up on opposite days and use them for the following day's dough. In the past couple of days I've made about six loaves of bread, and my technique is coming back nicely, even if things aren't close to perfect yet. 

Tonight I used the dough to make a bunch of dinner rolls for tomorrow night. They sprung much more than expected in the oven, but that's fine and the flavor and texture is very pleasing anyway. I am not setting up a dough for tomorrow as I need to build some bulk and activity into my starters. We'll see how things look tomorrow and maybe I'll set up some loaves for the following day.

Big day at work tomorrow, and then hopefully the weather will be cooler tomorrow night so I can log some more pleasant miles.

Monday, August 15, 2016

Summer Running Streak, Day #78

Four and a quarter miles tonight. Only 63 miles behind pace for my yearly mileage goal, but honestly my feeling is that the most important part in that will be continuing to layer on the miles September-December.

Humid and miserable today. Very hot and I'm tired of this heatwave. We hunkered down in the house, and watched TV. I kept the windows closed up, the doors to rooms we don't use closed up, and the AC running (we have a big unit in the kitchen, a smaller unit in the bedroom) and the house stayed nice and cool. Cool enough that I actually was able to proof and bake the bread I had set up yesterday. I was very happy with this one, the crumb came out very nicely.

I used this sourdough to make garlic bread to accompany my wife's pasta, and I made french toast with the rest of it for myself. We gave the baby small bites of my french toast, and the plain bread and she loved it! That was a pretty good feeling.

Tried to make a boule with the other half of the dough, but I feel like the gluten didn't set up as well in it, so it didn't give me the oven spring I wanted. I'll try again tomorrow evening as I'm setting up another two balls of dough tonight. I also ordered a cast iron loaf pan! Hopefully I'll be able to make some good sourdough sandwich bread, and then use it to make some excellent grilled cheese sandwiches. Very excited.

Sunday, August 14, 2016

Summer Running Streak, Day #77 (East Bay Half Marathon)

Super hot today with a heat index of 105. I had signed up for the East Bay Half Marathon, so I decided to tough it out anyway. The course is on roads I train on regularly, so I knew what to expect. I planned to finish in two hours, and to think of this as one of my training runs as I work to peak at the Jamestown half marathon (for the half marathon, anyway.)

Going out there was a fair amount of climbing so I dialed it back on the downhills in an attempt to even out my pace on the uphills. The pack ended up splitting apart wildly in those opening four miles, so I suspect there were a good number of runners from out of town. I ran from miles four-six with only a few people around, so I dialed in an easy pace. Passing the Looff Carousel, which is a historic landmark in my city, I was disappointed at the lack of band organ music usually pumping out of there at a good volume this time of year. The carousel volunteers were not impressed with my insistence that there should be band organ music. Oh well.

Heading into mile seven I decided I should walk a bit, as it was getting really hot. I took the opportunity to dump water on my hot spots as I ran-walked through these miles, focusing mainly on walking the bigger hills and easily jogging the rest.

Much of the time I spent along the course joking around and talking to other runners, which was really nice. My experience racing in New England is that people are generally not super friendly, unless you already know them. That wasn't really the case with this event, and I was very happy about that. I also found the course volunteers to be really supportive, and I was surprised that the race director was out on the course checking in with the runners as often as he could. I even saw him at water stations filling cups with water a portion of the time. I have had some reluctance about this race company's events before, because I don't know many folks who have run them, but I was really impressed. I'll definitely run some of these again.

I came into the chute at 1:58 (1:57:57 chip time) feeling warm, but strong. Overall it was a good race that left me spent for much of the rest of the day.

After I got home I watched the end of the women's marathon in Rio with my wife and daughter. In light of the heat my wife decided to stay home and cheer on Desiree Linden in the marathon. Post-marathon I rented Chariots of Fire and the 1997 Prefontaine, both of which I've never seen. Then in the evening we tuned back into the Olympics track and field, and gymnastics programming which was fun to watch as a family.

Heading into day #78 of the running streak tomorrow!

Saturday, August 13, 2016

Summer Running Streak, Day #76

Two miles in the humidity tonight. Big half marathon tomorrow, and it is looking very hot. I'm planning to carry a frozen bottle of water, and a second bottle of water to keep my temp down as I cover the miles. But all in all I'm planning a two hour finish, because this is more of a long run than a race.

Prepared a chicken and gravy (Italian) meal for my wife tonight which was a big hit. Found the recipe on a friend's food blog, and it was a good chance to break in my cast iron dutch oven. I don't eat meat, but the wife swears I did a very good job.

Friday, August 12, 2016

Summer Running Streak, Day #75

One mile tonight.

We've had some really vicious thunderstorms today, and the power blinked a couple of times. Top that off with having a baby who was fussy all day and fought sleep like a true champion, and it was kind of rough. The dog also had an allergic reaction to something, so she spent much of the day in the vet's office while they monitored her.

But we're all doing well now, and having a great time watching the Olympics together. Looks like a very hot day on Sunday for the half marathon that I'm registered for, but I'm still planning to run it. Heat index could reach 105... but I'll tough it out. The plan is to bring ice with me in my waist band and dial in a steady run. Two hours should be doable even in that heat, as I've covered that distance a couple of times this summer already, but we'll see. At the end of the day it is all about finishing.

Tomorrow is pancake Saturday! We always do pancakes on Saturdays, but I haven't actually made pancakes in a couple of weeks so I'll be getting up (somewhat) early to do that. I have some peanut butter and chocolate chips ready to go, along with some bananas for the batter, so this should be a really memorable event.

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Summer Running Streak, Day #74

Three and a half tonight in some really awful humidity. No doubt it will be this bad on Sunday morning when I run the East Bay Half Marathon, but I'm hoping to dial in a steady pace and finish that half in about two hours. I'm treating it as a long run, as I would really like to peak for my Jamestown Half Marathon at the end of September.

I'll be running a smaller local marathon in late October, so I'm not focusing as much on the marathon right now, but obviously I will do some longer runs in September to get me ready for the distance.

Another long day at work today getting ready for the busy season. It was very, very warm but we still pushed on. Came home and took a good little nap before going out with some friends. Somewhere in there I also made a loaf of sourdough bread that I had in the fridge overnight. Took it out, let the yeast wake up, and gave it a quick shape-up just to make sure it held. I wouldn't say it came out perfectly, this starter is having a semi-dormant period so the yeast isn't exactly where I want it yet but the smell, flavor, and end result looks pretty good. Much easier cooking the loaves in the dutch oven, too.

Someday my kids can look back on this blog and wonder how I could blog this much about cast iron cookware, baking bread, and running.

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Summer Run Streak, Day #72 and #73

Quite busy at work the last couple of days - managed two and something miles yesterday at the beach, and then nine and something miles tonight.

I ran barefoot at the beach, which is always fun, and then tonight I ran in the new KSOs this time with some toe socks and bandages over the areas I rubbed raw on Monday. It didn't help entirely, but once I eased into my form things worked out.

Back in black.

I'm not entirely sure I have mentioned it on the blog before, but back in 2008/2009 I got very interested in bread making. I decided I wanted to learn how to make real artisan bread because I needed a hobby other than music, which is really my career. I picked up a copy of Reinhart's the Bread Baker's Apprentice, created an account at the Fresh Loaf and set about reading and practicing all I could. I got decent at it, but I wouldn't say I perfected it.

I was also reading a lot of the Russian realist authors then, and I felt like my hobbies were intersecting in a big way reading passages like the following: 

"What you call social position consists in the privilege of capital and education. Unwealthy and uneducated people earn their crust of bread by physical labor, and I see why I should be an exception,"
--Anton Chekov, My Life
I had just finished college, into the height of the depression and there were no real jobs. I had a hard time even getting a minimum wage job. I really wanted to do something where I created a real product, because I felt like that was lacking in my academic life. Other people I knew went through similar crises, and became carpenters.

There were themes in what I was reading that reflected hard work. Bread making seemed to be all about hard work, patience, technique. Music was the same basic thing. Years later, after I had given up making bread and started running, I found the same common themes: 

You practice the scales slowly, placing the notes, and then work them faster until the rhythm and articulation gel. Everything is about hard work and technique.

You knead the bread until it passes the window test, if you over knead it you hurt the gluten development and it doesn't rise as expected. 

You lift your leg, focus on not over striding, and you get faster with less impact on your hips. 

I am working on a loaf of sourdough bread at the moment. I milled down some wheat berries a couple of weeks ago, and then used a common fruit juice/flour method to cultivate some wild yeast starter. This is the first loaf I'm making with it, so we will see how it does. I'm not expecting perfection, right now, but hopefully something good enough. I have used the starter before to make sourdough pancakes and I was really impressed with the flavor I got out of it feeding it rye flour.

Monday, August 8, 2016

Summer Running Streak, Day #71

Six miles easy tonight.

Had to retire my (year) old Vibram KMDs. There was a rip in the right big toe, and also a hole through the right sole so it was just time. 586 miles doesn't come close to the lifespan of my first pair of Vibram Bikilas, but planned obsolescence is a real thing. The shoe companies can't make money unless they sell more shoes. Ugh.

So I ordered a pair of the KSO Classics which are out, and I'm very happy with them. They are noticeably thinner than the KMDs, and I don't think that I've ever had a pair of VFFs that fit so well, but the heel part is giving me a bit of friction, so some toe socks will be necessary for the next couple of weeks until they wear in.

Planning to register for some races in the next couple of weeks, as I'm debating getting more halfs in and then running a smaller local marathon in the fall. That will make life easier in terms of supporting my wife on her half marathon this fall, as well as giving me a chance to race without taking away too much time from my baby girl.

Great read over here on Life of Dad, Art Eddy interviews Dick Hoyt (of Team Hoyt.) Being a New Englander, I have run my share of events with Team Hoyt and their athletes, and I have so much respect for them as a family. It is really inspiring stuff.

Sunday, August 7, 2016

Summer Running Streak, Day #70

No long run today, just a three and a half miler.

I was looking at my training calendar and realized that the first week of the month this summer has been my dialback week. I didn't really think about that, I guess in my mind I had just planned to keep building miles until I collapsed. Given that my back hurt, that made dialing this week back make a lot of sense, and planning to build next week.

Work early this morning, which went very well. Drove home and spent some time with the family, lounging and watching the Olympics. Impressive stuff, for sure, but a very different idea of sport from my own.

Summer Running Streak, Day #69

Two miles tonight, running easy.

Eventful day. Have been having some back pain in the center of my back, so I had taken a pain reliever which had lingering effects into the morning (I don't like taking meds so I can't usually predict their effect on me.) Went to breakfast, returned home to find the dog broken out into hives after having consumed baby acetaminophen.

My wife took the dog to the vet, and she ended up being fine. Seems to have had a reaction to an additive, but they weren't concerned about acetaminophen poisoning due to the dog's size and strength of the med. That was a relief but a wake up call that we need to go through and really baby (and dog proof) our house again.

Then went off to the food truck festival, which was so much fun. Got to try some really tasty food and drinks, and then came home and watched the Olympics. It was a warm one today, and we didn't get the thunderstorm we expected when we expected it, so it was not only hot but also sunny at the park. I wore the baby for much of our time there, and she slept quite a bit while I kept the both of us cool with the occasional ice cube. Good times.

Some work tomorrow morning, and then I'm hoping we can take a bit of time to recover from these eventful last few days. I'd really like to get in a good run, as well.

Saturday, August 6, 2016

Summer Running Streak, Day #68

One easy mile tonight, but quite the eventful day.

Woke up early this morning, made breakfast, and headed up to the Northwest corner of RI to hike Buck Hill Management area. The loop of the management area leads up to the northwest corner along the Connecticut Border, and then heads along the Massachusetts border before heading back down into RI. We wanted to hike this to see the start of the North-South trail, which we are planning to hike next summer over the course of a few days.

Just like the highways, it was easy to tell when we were in RI, and when we were in Mass. In general the trails in li'l Rhody haven't been well kept this year, so the bug spay has been really important.

Anyway it was a fun seven-mile or so hike, and we headed back to the car. When I got home I had some food, took a brief nap, and my wife and I brought baby girl to the Zoo. The RI Breast Feeding Coalition hosted an evening there, hoping to promote breast feeding and remove social stigma around it. I carried baby girl through most of the evening. She especially liked the pronghorn sheep (I think because they were so close, and slightly resembled our dog...) and the Moon Bears (she actually made some vocalizations at us when she saw them!) So it was a fun night, overall.

When we got home we watched the opening of the Olympic Games, mostly because we like the athletes' parade.

Thursday, August 4, 2016

Summer Running Streak, Day #67

Just one mile tonight, as I had a social club meeting and a long day at work.

Very exciting night for the social club as I made some hand cut french fries topped with a Japanese curry sauce, and another member favored us with some sauerkraut, bratwurst and knackwurst cooked up in my cast iron skillet. We made up a large cookie in the skillet after dinner, to accompany the beer tasting. I also got to try Gulden Draak finally! I have always wanted to sample that beer, but found it out of my price range. It was on sale at the store today, and much to my delight as it is a delightful beer.

This once-a-month club has been a really important fixture in my life -- no matter how unpleasant a night's sleep is, or how tough it is to soothe a teething baby, my wife and I both enjoy a committed time to kick back with friends and enjoy ourselves while relating stories of our families. I've no doubt that these friendships have been strengthened by this annual meeting.

Off to hike the northernmost section of RI's North-South trail tomorrow -- hopefully about five miles. I have been there before, but have no recollection of the trail head so I'm looking forward to a jaunt down memory lane.

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Summer Running Streak, Day #66

Big day at work today moving heavy things, and moving more heavy things. It was a long one and I had probably seven thousand steps in before returning home at three o'clock.

Quite evening in with the family, otherwise. The baby is in a fun echo stage where we can giggle at each other until the giggles escalate to UNSUSTAINABLE PROPORTIONS! And then the giggling fit collapses in on itself. Truly, the most fun thing ever.

Out for an easy three and a half miles tonight, recovering from yesterday's 853 ft of climbing (Hey! I live below sea level!) Feeling pretty strong and confident about my workouts this week, so we'll see.

Sourdough starter continues thriving, and my new dutch oven should be in tomorrow so I may try making some sourdough bread this weekend! I'll post pictures if anything looks presentable, which I don't expect at present. It has been a few years since I've made bread, so I am surely off my game there.

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Summer Running Streak, Day #65

Amazing run tonight. Decent humidity, but pretty cool temperature so I went out for a mile warm-up, and then six repeats on my "Urban Mountain Goat" loop. I wasn't really planning on running hard for the climbing sections, but I did start to work harder as I progressed in the workout. Went on to run another two (ish) miles for a cool down. There is some work on the sidewalks around my house, which I usually do OK with. Tonight climbing up the last hill I went down like a sack of potatoes.

I aimed myself at a grassy patch next to the sidewalk, and almost bounced off the ground. I kept moving, as I wasn't bleeding or anything. Couple of scrapes. Bent my right foot, but it isn't swelling or anything, so I think I'm OK.

Big day at work tomorrow, so I'm planning to get up early and make the rest of my sourdough pancake batter. Pancakes and eggs before work! Sounds like a good time.

Summer Running Streak, Days #62, #63, #64

Man, got really behind on updating the blog! Not too much exciting, anyway, running wise.

Ran just under two miles on day #62, recovering from Blessing. #63 had a run of about four miles, and #64 (tonight) went out late for another mile. Feeling OK all around, but definitely in need of more rest.

Started a sourdough starter last week which has come along nicely. Milled the flour myself from wheat berries, and used a pineapple/flour method to bring the ph down to activate the wild yeasts. It was really active, and I've been doing the daily feedings with rye flour, so I'm looking forward to a nice couple of sourdough boules in the next couple of weeks.

Also! Had a fairly successful pineapple upside down cake this week. Added some crushed pineapple and pineapple juice to the batter, and it was really quite good. Still need to work on the technique of actually flipping it, which is more challenging than one would thing given the weight of a cast iron skillet.

Saturday, July 30, 2016

Summer Running Streak, Day #61 (Blessing of the Fleet 10 miler)

Yesterday was day #61 in the streak and the fourth time I have run the Narragansett Lions' Blessing of the Fleet 10 mile road race. This year wasn't the fastest I have ever run this race, but I thought it might be neat to look at the times I've run it and how this year stacks up. These numbers all come from my recorded data on various devices. The official chip times vary slightly, but not by too much.

My first run on this course: July 26, 2013

By the numbers:

Distance (mi): 10.19
Avg. Pace: 7'38"
Duration: 1:17:47
Avg. Heart Rate: --
Elevation Ascent (ft): 62

Back when I started running, I used Nike+ to log my runs on my phone. I kick myself about this a bit now, because I wish I had all the data in one place (like Strava) and that I'd consistently used the same stuff to record. But I wasn't really sure how long I was going to be into running, and so it made sense to do things on the cheap using what I had. I trained in bad weather in old hoodies, I bought my singlets and shorts on clearance at the local hardware store, and I used my phone to record data. Live and learn.

This first time is my fastest time recorded on the Blessing course. It is worth noting that I'd been running for about a year, was at my lowest weight, and had just run my first half marathon the previous May. I wasn't using a heart rate monitor, so I wasn't obsessed on effort, just covering miles.

It's also worth noting that the weather is recorded as rainy, but my memory is that it was overcast and a bit cool. Like, comfortable. That is not really common.

My second run on this course: July 25, 2014

By the numbers:

Distance: 10.1mi

Elapsed Time: 1:19:30

Pace: 7:48/mi

Heart Rate: --

Elevation: 130ft

Obviously this year was a bit slower. A respectable time, though. It was a bit warmer than the previous year, and I was also experimenting with what a good warm up for this distance would be. Given that it was warmer, I figured I would put in a five miler earlier that day to help adjust to the heat. It worked out OK but I probably would have been just as well served to cover three miles in the midday heat, and save something for the race later.

My third run on this course: July 24, 2015

By the numbers:

Distance: 10.1mi

Elapsed Time: 1:19:27

Pace: 7:48/mi

Heart Rate: --

Elevation: 124ft

For some reason, this one doesn't give me an average heart rate. It'll give me a rate for each mile, but not so much for the whole event. Oh well. I did another five mile warm up for this race, because it had served me fairly well the previous year. The five miler I did before this one, however, was much slower, taking in easy and just covering the distance.

This one was a good race. The time is only three seconds better than the previous year, but it was a great race that really lives in my memory and defines me as a runner. I headed down early, freaked out in traffic, got to the check in just in time and got set up. We had a storm pass through earlier in the day, but were expecting a clear race.

Went out fairly strong, figured I might as well see what I could do so I was putting in a really good effort. At about mile four there are some rolling hill climbs, all the way up to mile five, then another gradual climb of about a mile or so. I went into those comfortable, and by the time I got to mile five we heard the first crack of thunder. The race volunteers looked at us and said, "Now it is time to go fast."

I did, I guess. We got rained on and the deluge cooled us all off a bit. I actually was enjoying running in the rain, at six miles in you may as well have fun with it, because otherwise you're just in for four more miles of drudgery. I took my sunglasses off, carried the hat I had been wearing, and focused on form and playing in the puddles. The rain broke by the time I got to the finish line, and I saw some friends from work and caught up for a bit before heading back to the car.

Great race.

This year's run: July 29, 2016

By the numbers: 

Distance: 10.1mi
Elapsed Time: 1:24:30
Pace: 8:19/mi

Heart Rate: 170bpm

Elevation: 240ft

This year it was HOT. We have been having a heatwave in southern New England, so I've spent a lot of time in the house, going out for my runs late at night. I neglected a real warm up this year, which I think really cost me. I also have been having issues with my nutrition lately, and sleep (as comes with being a new parent.) Next year I will try to work to get those things back. It shouldn't be really hard, it just takes focus, and I know I can do that. I have been building a better base, and I know my body better now than I did three years ago, so I should be able to PR on this course in the next couple of years. I also ran a pretty grueling trail race last week, so I'm sure that may have some effect here.

That said, I still had a lot of fun on the course gritting it out through the stretches where the sun was really beating down. The other great thing about this race is that the crowd of spectators it attracts is really big -- it is a lot of fun to hear them and see them all cheering on the runners. Many of them will hand out water and orange slices, and the very kindest of them turn their hoses and sprinklers on the road for the really hot days like this. I ran through every hose in the last five miles. It made life a lot better.

At the end of the race I met up with my friend who was watching baby girl, and held the baby as we watched our friends and my wife come in. She was, as predicted, really upset by us being gone for awhile, but was OK after I came back. She was mad at me when I had to put her back in the stroller for the mile jog back to car, but at that point I think it was more from being sleepy and wanting to go home. All in all, it was a successful day out for our little family.

Next year I will try and plan for this race better. I'll focus on eating well starting weeks before, controlling my weight, and putting in a good warm up. Five miles may be too long of a warm up, but it served me well in the past.

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Summer Running Streak, Day #60

Just one and a quarter miles tonight. Crazy humidity. Warm, too.

Feeling like I will take it easy before tomorrow's race, as well. I've run this race three times before, so with regards to the course I know what to expect (more or less) but with the race being at the end of July and in the evening, by the ocean, that means that weather and temperature are often really up in the air. If the conditions are good, I could run it pretty fast. If the conditions aren't great, it could be a real slog. We'll see.

The plan is for one of our friends to watch baby girl while I'm running and my wife is walking. I expect to only be gone about an hour and ten minutes, so that isn't too bad. But we'll see... she has a habit of screaming and crying when one of us is gone for a period of time...

Had a good day otherwise. Have been doing lots of cooking in the cast iron skillet, and looking into new recipes. We always start out with the best of intentions on cooking meals and somehow a couple of days in we end up ordering food. I'm planning to rebound on that, though, and will start making some real meals again this week.

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Summer Running Streak, Days #58 and 59

Last night I had planned to go out for ten, but I got swept up in the motion and thinking about stuff and ended up extending it through my old neighborhood to come in at about thirteen miles. I haven't really done a run that long in July, so it was good to get the miles in, but I was foolishly unprepared -- no water bottle, no endurolytes, so I came back really dehydrated. Felt really woozy and took awhile to get right. Overall, though, not a terrible run. Really enjoyed myself and suffered no ill effects until after.

Tonight got out for four and a quarter miles, putting my current weekly total just shy of nineteen miles. That means with my ten mile race on Friday I will easily be able to hit thirty for the week.

Day #60 tomorrow! Planning an easy run to celebrate and allow me to get some rest before race day on Friday.

Monday, July 25, 2016

Summer Running Streak, Days #56 and #57

Did three and a half yesterday as recovery from the trail race. It was hot out, and I was still kind of beat. Upon getting home we packed up the car and headed up to a drive in, where I outfitted the Element with mosquito netting and turned the inside into a bed so we could lounge and watch the double feature of Ghostbusters (2016) and Star Trek: Beyond.

The baby slept on and off, and had fun crawling around in the car and climbing on us while we watched the movie. Good times. Got in really late, and then I didn't end up going to sleep until about five in the morning. Slept for a couple of hours, was up for a couple of hours, and that was sort of how today went.

Tonight I got in a mile and a quarter, slow, taking it easy. We're still in the midst of a heatwave so even at night it gets pretty steamy. Tomorrow is supposed to be my speedwork, but I may change it up depending on how I'm feeling. I'm also interested in getting some distance in this week, and seeing if I can hit 200km for the month, so we'll see what happens.

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Summer Run Streak, Day #55 (Run w. the Beavers Trail Race)

Today I ran a ten mile trail race in Northwest RI! The Run with the Beavers is a 5 mile loop with a 10 mile option, and runs around the Pulaski Management Area.

I've run a couple of trail races before -- the Leadville 10k in Colorado, and the Dandelion Half Marathon in Derby, VT. I loved both of those races, but I wouldn't exactly describe them as trails. They were both run on packed dirt roads, and the terrain wasn't super varied. Leadville was something I did more to say I visited and ran there, as it is really storied and important to runners. The Dandy has some excellent climbs and descents, and an awesome race culture, but it doesn't exactly satisfy in the primal "go for a run in the woods like a caveman" factor. This race really satisfied in that regard as the course was a pretty rugged five mile loop.

I've hiked this area, and camped here before, so I was really excited to run this race. Man, was it hot. I tend to do most of my miles at night or (a couple of years ago) really early. This race had a 9 am start time, so I was expecting it to be a bit of a slog. Combined with the fact that I've never done a race with any single-track technical trail, I didn't really know what to expect. But I can cover ten miles easy, so I was confident in my ability to take on the challenge.

The first .3 or so of the loop was up hill at a fairly decent grade, so I dialed in a reasonable effort on it, but made sure to save some effort for the trail ahead. Once we fell into the single track trail I was in the midst of a pretty steady stream of runners, and we were just going along. Found a real stream of consciousness flow state in interacting very immediately to the terrain, and trying to sync up my motions with the motions of those around me as we jumped off and over rocks, logs, and ducked under branches. A couple of places the trail let out onto unpaved roads, and the rolling hills were ongoing but not entirely unpleasant. By the time I was half way through loop one I felt like I was working really hard -- and I was, my heart rate was consistently in Z3.

Some more trails, some plank bridges over swamp, and then a really steep climb and we were done with loop one. There was a cool covered bridge, a beaver damn on the pond and the smell of water lilies as we ran along the pond too. Neat stuff.

About 250 people ran, which was a pretty good sized field but by the time we got to the second loop things had thinned out a bit among the pack, because the five milers had finished. As I started loop two I noticed only a few runners ahead and occasionally behind me. I decided to walk up the steeper hills to save something for that big hill at the end of the loop. With the mounting heat I think that was a good call, but walk breaks are a tough thing because they show cracks in the mental strength, and I have always felt like it is harder to start once you've stopped to walk part of a course. At least that is how it's been for me in the past.

I managed to run walk the last loop, and dial in a strong finish coming through the chute with about 1:47 on the clock. Not too bad considering the heat and technical nature of the course. The other runners were super friendly, and the experience on the whole was really positive. A lot of the time I feel like people in road races find the whole event to be drudgery, and that wasn't my experience with trail runners. They talk, joke, and go like hell the whole time. I could easily see doing more runs like this, even with the heat being a thing to contend with.

You know what else? Mentally I felt really stimulated by this race. I was ready to go out for another four miler last night, and had to talk myself out of it because I had been gone for half the day and really needed some family time. Usually after a road race the last thing I want to do is go out for another run on the same day, but yesterday all I could think about was running more. That's pretty special, and maybe it even means I'm finding the fun in the sport again.

So, overall: fun course, fun pack, great volunteers. I will probably try to run this race next year, depending on what summer plans look like. Next week I'll be running the blessing of the fleet in Narragansett, which is a road ten miler. It is a real classic of races in RI, and is one of my regular races every year.

Friday, July 22, 2016

Summer Running Streak, Day #53 and #54

A couple of days of running here, which I'm writing about after because I want to do a separate entry for my race. Day #53 was a brief three and a half miles, at a pretty easy pace. Day #54 was two miles through an impending thunderstorm. The storm was mostly cloud-to-cloud lightning (we used to call that 'heat lightning' when I was in scouts) but I managed to get home before the storm went into full tilt.

Also did a seven mile hike along RI's "North-South Trail." The total distance of that trail is 78 miles, and it runs from the northwest corner of the state down to the beach in Charlestown. We started at Charlestown and hiked from the beach up into Burlingame Management Area. It seems like a really nice trail, once you get off the road and into the trail part. I am interested to look at the other sections of the trail and possibly plan a thru-hike of the trail for another year. Could be a lot of fun to do it in twenty mile chunks and camp each night.

I'm starting to get frustrated at the summer running stuff. I always run a bit slower in training during the summer because of the heat, and I know that's to be expected. But it is irritating.

Now onto the race report.

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Summer Running Streak, Day #51 and #52

Went out and got in a bit over 10k on day #51, and then a mile and a quarter last night on day #52. The speed work was good, and I was focusing on downhill running (got some crazy speed going on) and I obviously need to do more work on my downhill technique. Really feeling the fatigue in my inner thigh muscle.

My speed seems to have dropped a bit these last couple of runs, and I don't think that's a terrible thing. Good to get some rest in through the miles, I figure, finding a way to recover on the move.

Taking baby girl to the beach today! We're going to head to a slightly smaller beach with some calmer water so she can maybe get to experience it a bit more. Should be a good time. I'm also hoping to get another few miles in tonight, on day #53.

Monday, July 18, 2016

Summer Running Streak, Day #50

Easy four miles tonight in the humidity. The humidity is really killer right now, and I'm pretty soaked from the run. Speedwork tomorrow, can't wait to practice some downhill running technique (it is important, isn't it?)

Made a goat cheese/mixed vegetable frittata for dinner tonight in the good ol' cast iron. Baby girl loved it! She's eating more table food and she doesn't protest at trying many new things, so that's good.

Happy to be at 50 days of running, and looking forward to races next week.

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Summer Running Streak, Day #49

Six mile hike this morning, then a one mile run in the evening. I will confess that I took a different route on tonight's run just to play around with the Pokemon app, and had some fun with it.

Moving into race gear for the next couple of weeks so Tuesday I will do some more hills, this time focusing on downhill technique and recovering on the climbs. Wednesday-Friday will be easy medium distance runs so I will be in good shape for Saturday's ten miler.

the twitter feed is up to 103 followers! There is a really great parenting/parent blog community on there and I really enjoy reading and interacting there.

Full disclosure if you just came from over there: this blog is more of a running journal that also chronicles my adventures as a new parent. I am not really writing for the audience, and I'm not doing sponsored posts or anything, this blog is really just for me. I am planning to keep it that way, but heading into the fall I will go back to my one big post a week, and otherwise blogging everyday I run during this streak (who knows how long that will go... hopefully a lot longer!)

Saturday, July 16, 2016

Summer Running Streak, Day #48

10.3 miles tonight, just shy of my 30 mile goal for the week so far. I'll get out and run tomorrow, in addition to the hike I have planned, and that will put me well over for the week. Humid out tonight, which made things a bit of a slog but I still had a lot of fun with it. As it turns out, the finale from Tchaikovsky's 2nd Symphony makes for some great running music (finale starts at 25:48):

Big props to Joseph Aknin for uploading this version to YouTube. It's a gem.

Now to get in some sleep before a four mile hike tomorrow! Hopefully we'll avoid the rain in the morning, but I expect to be running in it tomorrow night.

Friday, July 15, 2016

Summer Running Streak, Day #47

Brought the baby to the beach for the first time tonight! I got in a two mile run of the beach before we went in the water -- which she absolutely loved! I dipped her feet in the water first, then put her into this aquatic baby sling we bought, and we waded into the water. She giggled every time we got splashed by the waves. And she slept on the way home -- must have really tired herself out. Watching her experience sand, and the ocean for the first time was really cool.

The run I got in was from one end of the beach to the other -- about two miles. Fairly crowded, humid, but definitely a cool run. Also noticed that the far end of the beach links up very close to the road, so the next time we go I may see if I can sneak away and run the nearby wildlife sanctuary (which is a two mile trail loop.)

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Summer Running Streak, Day #46

3.4 miles tonight. 91% humidity according to NOAA, which made things tough, so I took it easy. Looking to just get in the time on my feet. Planning on a long run Saturday of about 10-12 miles, as I have a big hike the next morning. Will still plan to get in a run on Sunday, although I'm not planning more than a couple of miles just to keep the streak alive.

Then I'm running a ten mile trail race the next week! I don't do much running on trails (there aren't many trails in the city) so I am really excited about it. I'm choosing to not freak over it, as I've spent a decent amount of time on trails hiking, and I have run trail races up to the half marathon distance in the past. I'm pretty excited for it, actually.

Baby girl is crawling and babbling a lot now! She still likes being worn in the boba wrap though, which is nice for me. She slept on there for a few hours today (several one-hour segments) and that was good bonding time for us. But we also have a lot of fun playing and babbling back and forth. This kid is incredible, she's so happy.

My twitter is bustling, too, these days. I have never really used twitter before, and I (may have written this before) am impressed by the parenting community that has sprung up on the platform. I've even found some other endurance/outdoors like minded dads on there! Shout out to my peeps. There is something about showing up to twitter once or twice a week and finding a feed full of parenting articles and endurance sports that makes me feel really at home there. Good stuff.

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Summer Running Streak, Day #45

3.6 miles tonight! Put in easy miles. Mostly was feeling pretty good, but as I saw National French Fry Day trending, I made poutine for dinner with home made french fries. Good times.

The baby is crawling today! First time we have seen her crawl on her on, and she can cover quite a bit of ground. Baby-proofing is now a must, so that will be getting done this weekend (L-brackets! L-brackets everywhere!)

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Summer Running Streak, Day #44

Six and a half miles tonight, featuring four repeats on my "Urban Mountain Goat." Had pizza for dinner. Boy was that stupid. The heart burn from that kicked me all the way up and around those hills.

Good time otherwise. Already have in ten miles for the week, planning to get in a moderate long run tomorrow evening, so it should be a good week mileage-wise. Planning a hike at Mt. Monadnock on Sunday, and hopefully I will be in decent shape for that after the seven and a half hours of hiking last week.

Monday, July 11, 2016

Summer Running Streak, Day #43

3.4 miles tonight, late. Having the time sync issue again with my watch, so I'll try out the stuff I tried last time to see what's up. Felt pretty solid on the run, just some easy miles. Absolutely ate garbage the last couple of days so I'm feeling some heart burn. I will need to get my diet in check as I enter this next part of the running streak, which will work more like traditional marathon training.

Baby girl is doing a lot of pulling herself up to stand! It's very exciting, but this new found mobility is also completely terrifying so I'll be running around and baby-proofing my whole existence soon. She's also trying lots of new foods, and is really enjoying all the bonding time we've been getting as a family this last couple of weeks. It is a good time, and one I'll be sure to look back on fondly when things get hard.

Tried out a pineapple upside down cake recipe in my cast iron skillet today! Came out OK, except that the skillet is so big that I don't really have a platter big enough to flip the cake onto. I'll need to get a better platter so I can post some photos of it -- the one from today came out a little mangled. Drizzled with some dark rum, it is still a pretty good cake and an easy enough recipe that I'll certainly make it again.

Sunday, July 10, 2016

Summer Running Streak, Day #42

Went out for a mile and a quarter tonight. I know, right? No real "long" run this week. Sometimes we have to listen to our legs, and mine are telling me that seven hours of hiking was just a lot to try and do, while still expecting to get a fifteen mile run in this week. Next week, back to build miles (hopefully!)

Had a good day today with the wife. Got some shopping done, quite a bit of cooking, quite a bit of napping. Good times with our little family.

Heading into a new and interesting chapter, not only as new parents but also as friends of folks who are expecting. Not too long ago we were in that same boat and we were the first in our group of close friends starting a family. Now more of them are talking and some of them are starting families of their own, and so we enter a new phase of reciprocity for all the support they gave us. I'm looking forward to it, and I'm looking forward to real honest-to-goodness commiseration once they know what they new parent sleepless nights look like, haha.

Saturday, July 9, 2016

Summer Running Streak, Day #41

Feeling worn down from the hike yesterday, so I took it easy today. Decided to drag myself out this evening for four miles, because I figured the movement would be good for helping me recover. About a mile in, I was feeling in really good form so I focused on coasting in the rest of the way.

May end up being a 20 mile week instead of a 30 mile week. That's alright, I kept the streak going and I believe I am going to see some benefits from the hiking anyway. As it is I really only have two ten milers coming up in July, and then I'm looking towards some half marathons in the late summer/fall. I will run a marathon in the fall, but I haven't picked one yet. Partly I'd like my wife and daughter to be able to be there at the finish line. There's something about the idea of running 26.2 and then driving home all alone that I just don't love.

Had a good day, otherwise. Restful. Went to IHOP in the morning and the baby spent most of the time staring at other babies who stared back. She still loves eggs. This is a good thing. I eat lots of eggs. For dinner I made up a meat sauce in the cast iron skillet for my wife and little one, and I made some veggie meatballs for myself. All in all a pretty good day.

Friday, July 8, 2016

Summer Running Streak, Day #40

Well, here we are at Day #40. I've had a great streak, and now surpassed my holiday run streak, so let's keep it going. If you aren't too bored with this, I'm going to keep journaling here on the blog daily about how my run streak is going. I'll get back to regular "big" weekly posts sometime at the end of August -- I have a few in the hopper, they just need some more polishing. In the meantime the streak provides plenty of content! We'll see how long it lasts!

One mile tonight, after one really epic hike at the Big River Management Area. The trail total is about 18 miles -- we shaved off some because of time and did about 15.6 miles. All told it took about seven and a half hours, but that was a great thing. Lots of long meandering trail miles at a lower heart rate level for me proved to be really good for my nightly mile. In spite of being really wiped I knocked almost forty seconds off from last night's mile time. I wasn't pushing too hard either -- my heart rate actually stayed below my aerobic max of 151 for most of the mile. This bodes well for long very slow distances. I'll have to keep it up and see where it takes me.

The long hike did mean a lot more time away from the family today, and I hated that. But I did get a good nap in with the baby this afternoon and that was awesome. She slept for about 45 minutes on my chest before waking up and going back to her usual chipper self. She's showing a real preference for the dogs now, so we have been working on how to pet them.

OK so now I'm going to sleep for awhile. We'll see what tomorrow has in store (or how I'm feeling after that hike!)

Thursday, July 7, 2016

Summer Running Streak, Day #39

Later than usual social club meeting tonight, so I ended up only running one mile. Built in lots of rest through the day, felt pretty good. Took it easy because of the hike early tomorrow, but I also still have a goal of hitting 30-35 miles for the week. That is pretty do-able with a decent long run on Saturday, so I'm still sticking to my plan.

Starting tomorrow, however, I am making a pretty big change in that I'm planning to lay off beer save for my once-a-month social club. I am hoping between that and increased attention to my hydration I should be able to drop the pesky weight I've been working on for awhile. Here goes nothing.

Planning to hike a section of the Big River Trail in Exeter, RI tomorrow. It looks like it may rain, but I'm hoping that we will at least cover a few miles on foot. Shouldn't have the same crazy elevation changes on the Ell Pond trail, so my legs should have some time to recover on the move.

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Summer Running Streak, Day #38

Pretty easy mile tonight. I had planned to do another midweek long run, but my legs are sending off the old "back off" vibes, so I decided to just put in a mile and get some rest. Very little sleep last night, quite a bit of hill work, and then going into work today so my legs needed a break.

Additionally I've been building mileage for the past four weeks straight, so I need to dial it back a bit. This week will hopefully end up being 30-35 miles, and then I'll resume building next week.

On full-time dad mode tomorrow as my wife goes into work for a bit, so I'm looking forward to lots of baby wearing, cleaning, playing with blocks, and drooling (the baby, not so much me.) Should be a grand old time followed up with a 10k run in the evening, and then a social club meeting.

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Summer Running Streak, Day #37

Out for about six miles tonight. Tonight's workout featured a two mile warm up, four reps on my Urban Mountain Goat (Urban Mountain Bunny, due to my new companion) and about a mile and a half cool down. Learning a lot from this run already.

Owing to the fact that I have three Strava segments on this course, I get a better sense of my pacing. The entire "Urban Mountain Goat" is an out and back of about a half mile, as discussed last week. I also have a quarter mile segment representing the last two hills (trough to peak) and a segment for the first hill in the segment (which is the third down hill, as well.)

Owing to all those segments, I can tell that I could spread the effort out more. On the first real climb my pace numbers look like this: 8:48/mi, 9:04/mi, 8:41/mi, and 10:22/mi. The last two hills have paces that look like this: 6:47/mi, 6:37/mi, 6:32/mi, and 6:17/mi. I'm happy about the progressive nature of the paces on those later hills, but clearly the effort needs to be distributed a bit more evenly.

As each of the hills is a different length, and grade, that is going to be a big part of the challenge of working out here. But it will keep things interesting for me, anyway, and keep me adaptable (I hope) to the individualistic nature of hill running.

Called it a night early due to the heat and humidity. I'm planning to get out there for five reps on this same set of hills next week -- but with the hiking, responsibilities of being a parent, etc. I'm aware that I need more rest than I am currently getting.

Little girl is practicing some new sounds now -- including "dah" and "gah"! Very exciting. She's also sitting up for long periods of time on her own, playing with toys and the like. I wore her for a good long time today during a nap, and it was nice to have that cuddly baby time. More often than not my wife has been the one enjoying that lately. I thoroughly recommend baby wearing, to new dads, by the way. Good bonding time and a heck of a core workout if you wear them long enough.

Monday, July 4, 2016

Summer Running Streak, Day #36

Just a mile and a quarter tonight, taking it easy before tomorrow's hill work. Once again, crazy fireworks.

Excellent Independence Day today, made a mixed veggie frittata, as well as some home fries with my new cast iron skillet and griddle. I improvised the recipe off one I found in a search, adding in some diced peppers and zucchini as well as squash. I shredded some sharp cheddar on top of it, too, just to give it a little something else. I also had some salsa, guacamole, and sour cream to serve with it. Good stuff.

My cast iron technique is getting really good! I've been practicing a lot using the techniques I found over at The site itself is lacking in recent updates, but the information is timeless and tremendously useful. The food came out well, and even the baby enjoyed the frittata!

Went and spent some time with my family this evening, had a good time playing some cards and introducing the baby to her first ever swing. All she wanted to do was pet the dog, but there you go, she enjoyed herself.

Feeling pretty good about this running streak, and considering lining up some half marathons heading into the fall. I'm thinking about running a smaller, local marathon this fall.

Sunday, July 3, 2016

Summer Running Streak, Day #35

Out for 10k tonight during the biggest firework evening of the season. Stuck to some main roads, so for the most part I could just see the fireworks in the distance, but they were audible constantly. I figured main roads made the most sense, because people rarely stop on them, so less chance of running into folks drunk in public or lighting off fireworks in the middle of the road, which happens quite a bit on back roads this time of year.

Had a pretty good day, otherwise. Got some cleaning done, spent some time with the baby and caught up with friends from out of town. So odd to think a few years ago we were visiting and talking about life as recently married folk, then buying houses, and now raising kids. It is a new chapter in life, and one I welcome fully. I really love being a dad, and like seeing that reflected in the social circle as friends also find fulfillment in the new parental role.

Tomorrow is our Independence Day breakfast/brunch, which is a tradition my wife and I have been doing for some years now. I'm planning to make a mixed veggie frittata, some home fries, bacon, maybe some vegetarian sausage for me. We have been introducing the baby to more real food, so she'll get to try the frittata tomorrow -- quite a bit of pressure on me to deliver a good product!

Saturday, July 2, 2016

Summer Running Streak, Day #34

Legs were really feeling the hike yesterday, so I set my long run pace back a few miles to allow me some recovery. Ran about ten miles, in an hour and forty minutes. Pretty decent given how wiped I was. Planning a four or five mile recovery tomorrow, which will give me thirty-seven miles for the week, and keep me well within the ten percent rule. If I continue abiding by that ten percent rule, that means this coming week could be a forty mile week! Exciting stuff to be putting up those numbers again.

Going to see Peter Gabriel and Sting on their "Rock Paper Scissors" tour tonight. Big fan of Peter Gabriel (I've seen him every time he has performed in this region since 2003) so I am very excited. Sting's music I don't know as well, outside of the Police, but I'm looking forward to it.

Friday, July 1, 2016

Summer Running Streak, Day #33

Went on an excellent hike of the Ell Pond/Long Pond trail in Hope Valley, RI. Was a lot of fun -- and quite a bit of climbing. Came home and ran a mile to keep the streak alive.

Legs are really feeling tired after all the hill running and climbing in the past couple of days. Planning on an abbreviated long run tomorrow (ten miles) so that I can take it easy. Going to a concert tomorrow night with the wife! I will write more about that then.

Thursday, June 30, 2016

Summer Running Streak, Day #32

Went out for 4 miles tonight, just to see what I could do with my climbing goal of 2k meters for the month. When I got back I saw that Strava had me totaled at 1,908 meters, so I decided to hit up my Urban Mountain Goat loop a few times to bring in the last meters.

I ran it four times, this time not pushing on the hills (because it wasn't really a speed workout) I just focused on keeping an even pace. I certainly didn't run negative splits, but they weren't terrible all considering.

All week I've been running and seeing rabbits all over the place. Hopping along with and in front of me, really gracefully bounding off into the bushes in curvy patterns. I actually started thinking, "Hey, maybe I was wrong about this whole opossum thing, maybe the rabbit is more of my spirit animal."

As I came into the driveway from the mountain goat-ing I saw what I thought was one of my feral cats scurrying off into the back yard. Upon closer inspection, it was in fact an immense opossum. I didn't get too close to it or anything, so I didn't get hissed at by my spirit animal, but truly this is my spirit animal.

So with regards to my New Year's Resolutions: one of them was to "set and achieve a climbing goal at least 6 months of the year." I've been using Strava's 'climb' badge to set my goal and measure my effort, and doing that here are my results so far:

January: Goal of 1,000 meters. Climbed: 1,295 meters.
February: Goal of 1,500 meters. Climbed: 1,856 meters.
April: Goal of 1,750 meters. Climbed: 1,823 meters.
June: Goal of 2,000 meters. Climbed: 2,029 meters.

So, that's four months down. Two to go for that goal. Obviously, Strava is pushing the distances higher as we move into the summer and so July's goal is 3k meters of climbing. July should be a high mileage month for me, though, and I am starting to set heavier goals for myself in terms of hill workouts and midweek long runs. So we'll see if  I can meet it. I am hopeful, but as always getting lots of climbing in here is tough.

Going hiking tomorrow! Hoping to get in about 8 miles of good hiking, and then will do my mile or so to keep the streak alive.