Saturday, January 30, 2016

Long Run Saturday and Big Sur Training

Went out for a 14 and a half mile run tonight. Haven't run much this week -- bogged down with work things and baby things. Happy to be able to get my long run in and really reveled in being outside for a couple of hours.

I'm hoping to run my planned week ahead as scheduled on Runcoach. This has me covering quite a few miles but I'm confident I can do it, provided that I can find the time. Should be do-able with a couple of minor tweaks to my already tight schedule.

Lots of work stress this week. This run was very needed, and at the end of all the reflection I came out feeling that I really had made all the right decisions that were in my power to make. So that's a good thing. I know that's cryptic, but I am reluctant to share much more about it at this time.

Thinking lots about Big Sur and tweaking my mental approach to hills. Big Sur is more or less all up rolling hills and gaining elevation into Carmel's Highlands which means I need to be able to look at the hills instead of dropping my head and muscling through. That kind of thing might work on a challenging half but I can't imagine it getting me through 26.2. I've been practicing by trying to not shy away from decent climbs in my area -- and looking straight at them when I see them. Trying to welcome the pain.

At the end of the run tonight I housed a cup of greek yogurt, two clementines, some chocolate, and a protein shake. Crazy how famished I was at the end of that run. I later made chocolate chip banana pancakes for myself and my wife for dinner. You haven't lived until you've tried eating pancakes with a one-month-old baby in a Boba Wrap trying to rip out all your chest hair.

The adventure continues.

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

The Social Butterfly and the Loner / Knowing Your Limits and Asking For Help

I am alone in the wilderness 
I've swallowed the whole world 
the songs and dances of a thousand people 
in a thousand languages 
so I am not alone


Running and training at this time of year is an isolationist hobby for me. I end up going out alone in the cold, snowy or slushy New England roads about five times a week. I try to hit my 25 mile goal, which this year is actually become a 30 mile goal as I need to build more hill work in before Big Sur in April.

The problem is that my friends, although great New Englanders in their own right, don't like the cold much. Or the wet. January has been fairly nice so far, tolerable. We have had our share of days in the 40s. But as we are approaching February, we are starting to talk snowfall. It isn't uncommon for February to be a bitter cold, grey month. Even if it stays warmer, the quality of the snow will be wetter and heavier, and that is really rough on the feet. Soaking wet shoes in sub-50 degree weather is no recipe for a good time.

I'm forced to really buckle down this time of year because as much as I don't relish the idea of spending hours outside I really do love running. I know at times I may say things about how I "have to get the miles in," and in the past that has rubbed people the wrong way. The truth is I don't really view running as a chore, at least not while I am out and on the road. Motivating myself to get out the door is always a struggle, however.

It isn't so much that I take movement and my kinesthetic abilities for granted. It isn't that I really hate the weather. I think a large part of the reluctance comes from insecurity and having to overcome it. Having a poor self image for a large part of your life leaves you with a battle over your self worth. It is a fight worth having. It is a fight, nonetheless.

These are discussions that I really have with myself out on the road. I do a lot of inward reflecting this time of year -- I usually end up missing parts of songs, audio books, or whatever else I was listening to because of it -- and I think that is a good thing. I'm a calmer and nicer person because I put the hours in on the road. At times it is really suffering -- I've headed out on the road only to hit sleet and hail at mile 6, only to head home and have the sun break right as I step foot in my driveway -- but mostly even through the work it still feels like tremendous joy.

I also live with a conflict within, because as much as I hate going out in the weather like this, I'm also really proud of myself once I've done it. I start to see myself as an unstoppable force, a person who really loves and belongs outdoors. That statement flies directly in the face of the one a few paragraphs back. But that is the reality of the solitary winter runner, I think.

Training has also coupled with a really rough first month at home and back at work. We aren't sleeping as much, it isn't as restful. I'm trying to stay away from podcasts like Primal Endurance, or Endurance Planet. I love these podcasts, by the way. I just also know that following the advice in there would mean I would have to stop running for at least six months. That doesn't feel like an option to me.

Every time I hear these folks talk about the importance of "sleeping until you wake up," or "giving up the alarm clock to improve cardiac function," I want to throw my phone across the room. This might be true, but the reality is I'll never be able to do that. I have a job that requires me to get up at 5 am. I have a daughter that requires me to stay up until 1 am some nights. We can both be right on this topic, it is a big world. The reality they live in, though, is not my reality. It probably won't ever be, as much as I would like it to be. I'd love to run slow and really build a base -- is it worth doing that if I can't get the quality of rest they're talking about? Is it worth taking such large amounts of time off training post-race when I feel that I really need to be moving to stay sane?

I disagree on the other side, too. Seriously? I don't have the energy to run intervals without seriously injuring myself. When I'm running on a major sleep deficit, it is much easier for my form to slip up if I'm focusing on something like pace. I may be able to get in some one-mile repeats, but I'm not going anywhere close to my 5k pace, and if I were I know I would hurt myself. I've fallen down before due to speed training on a lack of sleep. I'm not interested in doing that again.

As much as I might disagree -- and fervently -- with some of these things, I also recognize that I need them. They do stir my mind to thought when I'm out on a run, and they make me feel connected to something, which does offer a degree of security. I love going for an early morning trail run by the ocean and listening to the waves, the birds, that deer that I'm about to run head-first into. But at the same time, I live in a city. So if I'm going out on a run in the middle of the night or afternoon (which in New England sometimes feels like the middle of the night) I like to have something to think about.

I'm not so afraid of the cold 
it isn't so bad 
once you're waterproof 
I wish this was a thing I could say 
for the rest of my existence

This time of year can be rough for my social circle. People are back at work and very into their own stuff. My friends dive into work and won't come out for a couple of months. Usually I'm with them, although this year I'm much more aware of my time spent at home. I've been going for a month doing the same chores three or four times a day (depending how many bottles we use, how many diapers we use, etc.) Some of my family travels for a couple of months to get out of here during the snowy season.  I need something to break up the monotony.

I decided back in November to restart the beer tasting night that I used to do in college. I've ordered a case of beer samples, to arrive in the last week of the month. Once a month on the first Thursday I'll have a small group of friends over to taste the beers and also play cards, talk music, whatever. Additionally, I think it would be good for my wife and me to get to hang out with some folks and do something different. We used to really relish time spent with our friends, and it would be nice to set a night aside for this purpose.

A social club has to have traditions, and we'll need to decide on some. But this has been something that has given my mind something to distract it -- while I'm washing dishes, while I'm making food, putting away groceries, cleaning, doing laundry. So that is a good thing, I think.

We have also been battling what has gone beyond baby blues for my wife and into postpartum depression - with some issues around separation anxiety thrown in there. We have sought out medical help and have a very supportive primary care doctor who is willing to refer us wherever we need to go. This is a really tough issue, and I was finding myself falling into a lot of the traps new dads do in this situation -- throwing myself into the chores, obsessing about what needs to be done, and therefore spending less time with my wife. We've taken steps to rectify that, and I feel better about having re-framed my priorities. I also took a couple of workouts off to spend more time at home. I also took some time out of work to be there for my wife and support her. This isn't her fault, and it is something that happens, and we will get through it together. I am sure of that. Our daughter is perfect, and we love her immensely.

There are some really excellent resources for dads helping out their partners with PPD over at Postpartum Dads. If you are a new dad like me in this situation, I strongly recommend checking it out -- and keep the stories you read in perspective. Everyone's situation is different, and what happens for one family may not happen for your's. It may not take you as long to get through it, or it could take twice as long. You may be able to get closer to your wife, or you may go through a really rough period. I wish you the best of luck.

Another site we are really keen on reading now is Postpartum Progress. Very good resources and a good community for moms dealing with this difficult mood disorder. Difficult is the word I use, but really the hardest part about this can be talking about it. There is still so much stigma against people with mental illness like depression and anxiety. It is an unwarranted stigma, and I would very much like to end it by being open about it here. My family has a history with mental illness, and to hide that or be ashamed of it would be to hide or be ashamed of people that I care a great deal about.

As we went through a very rough weekend of coming to terms with realizing this mood disorder was present, I decided that since our families are unwilling or unable to help us in the way that we need help, I am going to deputize my close friends. I texted them, told them I am "calling in all favors," and then had them pick nights to come and help with chores. Everyone thinks the help you need is someone to "sit with the baby," and that is not the case for us. We need help keeping our house in order so we can look after ourselves and the baby, and try and rebuild our time together.

Fortunately, I have some incredible friends, and when the situation was explained to them they were willing to do whatever we needed. Just knowing the support is there has been so calming to me. My wife is still going through the anxiety and depression, but I am there with her fully now. We have even gotten to a place where I can set aside some time to restart my running (which is part of how I deal with my own depressive issues.) We will see how the specialist she has been referred to treats things, but I am hopeful.

The referral has yet to call. I am unspeakably upset, and very impatient waiting for help. I may call if only to expedite things. Yet again I feel that the medical establishment treats us only as cattle and not as people. There are good days and bad at home, and I'm not so sure that I feel there is a balance in good days versus bad. I am exhausted and tireless all at the same time, feeling that there is endless tasks to be done and yet a remarkable cry for rest. I'm working hard to "get through" without breaking.

The little girl is excellent. She is absolutely worth the torment we've been through this last month, and we love her more than anything.

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Winter in New England

I have a post scheduled called 'Winter Running', so I'll let that explain most of my thoughts on the topic -- I just wanted to post a quick note about my 10k run tonight.

I didn't go out for my long run last night because in addition to the snowfall we received there were also 60 mph gusts of winds. There was a time when I would adventure out into big storms (blizzards and hurricanes around here) but I decided to take the night off last night.

Tonight I went out for my planned 10k, taking it easy. I decided to take my new boots for a spin (which you'll read about later. Spoiler alert: I love them.) I ended up trekking through ankle deep snow, bounding over snow banks, and having a generally fun time.

If the conditions stay like this (no back-to-back blizzards) through February, I'll be in really good shape for the Eastern States and then Big Sur. I haven't ever had this much fun running outside in the winter before.


As a late addition, I'd like to also say that with this run I achieved the Strava Run Climbing Challenge for January. The goal was to climb 1,000m over the month. I've exceeded that a bit. This one was an easier one to achieve, because previously they've been quite a bit higher in terms of climbing.

One of my goals, in any event, was to set a climbing goal each month and to meet it at least six months out of the year. We'll see how that goes -- this is one month down!

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Compromises for Success

In marathon running, or any endurance sport I suppose, it is a good idea to set goals. We don't just set one goal, often times we set more than one -- our ideal, and then variations descending down to the absolute minimum we will set for ourselves.

"I'm going to run 26.2 miles in 3 hours, 30 minutes."

Then you head through mile 17, and you realize that's impossible.

"I'm not going to take any walk breaks."

Then, maybe things break down. You get an injury or the weather, the course prove to be more than you bargained for.

"I'm going to finish this race, crawling if I have to."

We need to think like that, because endurance is gained over time and we're all in some state of progression in our lives as endurance athletes. We compromise on our definition of success to minimize the feeling of defeat we would surely meet by having one goal which was unattainable.

I'm finding a similar thing is true for parenting -- my wife and I went into this with really high ideals, and we've already had to compromise on some. Chiefly we've had to change our thinking on sleeping. We both went through a college program that crammed five years of work into a four year program. We've pulled all-nighters. At various stages of my life I have lived with insomnia. We know what it means to go without sleep.

Sleep is a thing we (as a society) talk about a lot to folks who are about to become parents.

"You won't be getting much sleep."


"No, really, you won't sleep anymore."


"Hahaha, you still think you'll get to sleep. Just wait."

There are issues that I have with this. I mean for one thing, if you're someone who absolutely does go unconscious after being awake for 40 hours and are un-roustable, you then feel like a crap parent because you aren't just somehow awake. Inexplicably awake. I mean, how could you sleep? You're responsible for another human life!

As if it would be possible to sit in a space awake and alert for days on end without losing consciousness. That is lunacy. No one should level those kinds of expectations on themselves or someone else.

But also it couples with this idea that babies should be in the bassinet or cradle, and that just isn't realistic all the time. My daughter doesn't like the bassinet. She can be tricked into sleeping in it for fifteen minutes at a time, but she'll sleep on my chest for two hours at a stretch. After the third night of two hour shifts, my wife and I reached our breaking point. We did what had previously been unimaginable to us: we bought a co-sleep bassinet.

Hold your gasps in. I hope none of you fainted.

This is a sort of "nest" with hard plastic sides designed to lay flat on the bed between the adult's pillows.

The first night wasn't perfect, but it was decidedly better than the previous nights. The baby would sleep for an hour at a stretch, and we were able to get some shut-eye during that span. We really beat ourselves up over this -- because everyone knows that co-sleeping can be dangerous. The way people talk about it, it is similar to actually trying to kill a child. Now that we've used the co-sleep system we have, I have to say it seems safe. She is between our heads, and the bassinet has hard plastic sides, so there is little chance that we could roll even near her without waking up. We also have a king-size bed, so we do not have a lack of space -- a concern I would feel stronger about if we were in a queen size bed.

Ultimately I've had to shift my thinking, though. Are we going to be able to do everything perfectly? No, certainly not. We will do our best to be there for this child, however. This is a compromise situation.

We need to develop a new set of skills, as well, when it comes to reflection and self-evaluation. We aren't people who have worked under this kind of physical stress before. I'm a marathon runner, but I'm not an ultra marathon runner. I'm not used to going for days and days without sleep while constantly moving at a good clip. That is the kind of endurance I think would be required to do this thing.

So we get moody when we're overtired, or hungry, and it can be hard to tell the difference between those things as well. Usually, if it is my wife who is angry with me I will encourage her to get a good chunk of sleep, and then to eat and she feels much better. Likewise, I need to get better at identifying when I am absolutely dead tired. I need to get better at realizing when I need to eat. In this game it is fair for me to expect to look after my wife, but I shouldn't expect anyone to look out for me. That would be selfish, I think.

I mean, there are a fair number of little things in any day that can add up to an argument. These things are really magnified when you're without sleep, or food. Sleep deprivation is real form of torture. I know. I'm living it.

Finished up the holiday running streak on New Year's Day, and I'm now looking forward to my training for Big Sur. I'm not usually the best with following running plans, and my last marathon I sort of did a free-form plan where I worked the different types of workouts in and ran for 60 days straight. I'm less confident about doing a similar thing for Big Sur, though, because it is Big Sur. It is supposed to be a very challenging marathon. I may want to step it up.

I've been working through what my wife and I call the "New Parent Adjustment Period" which is tough. Ran almost fourteen miles this past Sunday, came home and ate, slept, got eight hours of sleep (our daughter, and my wife, got six hours, which was really great.) I have not felt so wiped the day after a long run since I ran the Marine Corps. Marathon. I didn't feel this wiped the day after Baystate (my most recent marathon.) Clearly my exhaustion has had a toll on my endurance. I'll need to see to that as I continue to train, building in more time for productive rest while still keeping up with all the chores.

Saturday, January 16, 2016

Long and Easy Miles

Got out for 13.8 miles tonight. Took about 2 and a half hours, but I was reveling in the lovely temperature (about 40F) and listening to my podcasts, just keeping my breathing easy. My heart rate was still higher than I'd like it to have been, but I'll work on getting it lower this next week before marathon training picks up.

Managed to cover just shy of 400 ft of elevation over the course of the run. I have some local hills scoped that should allow me to do much more climbing over a shorter distance, though. I'll need to make that regular part of my training for Big Sur, even if I'm only walking or walk/running the biggest hills around here once a week. Given the grade of some of them, I may not run intervals on them at first. Want to avoid injury while developing that kind of volume and technique.

Planning to get an hour of active recovery in tomorrow, which should leave me with 27 or 28 miles for the week. Not too bad given the number of "rest" days I took!


So I haven't run much this week. I had my full training plan ready to go, but the sleep schedule has been very inconsistent and unpredictable. Often when I do sleep it isn't really restful, as I'm up most times my wife gets up with the baby even if only for a few minutes. I also had an extremely difficult week at work, which led to a lot of me not wanting to leave the child when I got home. I'm feeling guilty, too, because I want to make sure she and I bond, and I'm very concerned that work and my training will get in the way.

I have been taking January somewhat lighter anyway, because I don't think I need to really hammer down on a consistent plan until February (as Big Sur is in April.) I have just been hoping to keep up my aerobic base, and working on my mental approach to hills. My wife calls this approach the "New Parent Adjustment Period" because I'm trying to reconcile my home, training, and work life and figure out how to not die of sleep deprivation in the process. I suppose she's right, I should take this as a learning experience and really pay attention to what works and what doesn't -- but it is hard when you're battling the feelings that you should be home all the time.

I was hoping to get out for a long run today, but it is raining something fierce. As much as I would like to try out some of my new Brooks rain gear, I just don't have the footwear right now -- I still need to return my ill fitting shoes, and I haven't done that so I can't order new shoes. It is supposed to clear up tonight so if I can I will cover the miles then. In the meantime the daytime hours are dedicated to baby-wearing and doing chores so my wife can rest.

I've been looking into changing direction from the Vibrams, as well. Possibly towards some rubber sealed Tabi boots, since they even make ones with rubber spikes that might be good on ice. They're also fairly affordable, but we'll see how that goes.

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Resolutions: Part 2 (2016)

Alright, onto the current year!

I'm interested in setting 10 goals. I won't set more than that, but that way I can get a decent mix of attainable goals through to things that may at the present just be a far-off dream. About half of them will be running related, and about half will be parenting-related.

  1. Run two marathons in a year
  2. PR the 5k
  3. Barefoot a 5k
  4. Set and achieve a climbing goal at least 6 months of the year
  5. Lose as much weight as it takes to be efficient
  6. Continue making time to spend with daughter
  7. Re-begin date night with wife
  8. Read some parenting (specifically dad) books
  9. Research more of the dad-positive new media
  10. Learn and archive some terrible dad jokes
OK, so now a brief analysis of each goal.

I really want to run two marathons in a year. I wanted to do that last year, but this year I think I may be able to achieve that, because I am signed up for Big Sur in April. I should be able to find a fall marathon and run that later in the year. I am not thinking as far ahead as a fall marathon yet -- but I am enthusiastic about it. Feels attainable this year.

I don't expect to run a sub-20 5k. I'm making an effort to train more aerobically, aiming to have 150 bpm as my max heart rate (per the MAF Method.) As an aside, I haven't used a heart rate monitor for the last 23 days. This wasn't intentional, many times I had the strap on, but I look at the data so infrequently that I didn't notice that my hrm had not been syncing with my bluetooth on my phone. d'Oh. Eye-opening, though, because I need that data to keep working towards my potential. Hopefully, this training style will allow me to at least get closer to my PR in the 5k again. I'd also like to barefoot a 5k. I've never barefooted in a race before, I think it might be fun. Will aim for a spring or fall one.

I want to set a climbing goal and achieve it at least six times this year. Big Sur is well known for having lots of climbing, and I need to get better at that. I am already mentally training myself to look at the hills and not down when I approach them. I may also try to get six of the Strava running climbing badges, but we'll see how it goes.

I don't want to set a crazy weight goal. I'd like to be less obsessed with it, lose as much as I can to run as efficiently as I can. I mean, I know what I need to do nutrition-wise. I will do that, and combined with my training schedule hopefully I will be in good shape regardless of what the number on the scale is. [Full disclosure: I still won't let the number climb OVER 170, though. Never again.]

I want to be an involved parent, and an involved partner and to that end I will carve out time for my daughter. I won't set a minimum on that time spent, because I want to be with her as much as possible. I also want to restart date night with my wife. I expect that it will be dinners featuring the little one, but that is OK. The intent of the goal is to prioritize the time with family.

I'm very interested in learning more about parenting, dad-ing, and learning about the community of people who have similar enthusiastic experiences. It is easy and natural for me to look up information on running, it seems less easy for me to find father-based resources. Just today I've added several blogs to my reading list, so hopefully this will help me feel a part of a bigger community.

Lastly, need some terrible dad jokes. Maybe I'll start a feature on here to archive them. We'll see.

Sunday, January 10, 2016

Recovery miles tonight, more unseasonable weather

Had absolute torrential rain today, NOAA calling between 1 to 2 inches (which is a lot of rain.)

Usually that kind of rain means urban flooding, bad drivers, and so there are added hazards. In that kind of weather I put off runs as long as possible (not so in lighter rain, or even snow.) I ended up being very happy that I waited because it cleared up about 7 pm, and then the temp turned to be about 58 degrees! I swear, though, it felt like 60.

I went out to get in 7 easy recovery miles in my shorts and a t-shirt. I had actually worn my brooks waterproof rain coat but I took it off at mile 3 because the weather was just so nice out.

Hopefully things keep up for my Big Sur training!

I need to get serious about my nutrition this week. I'm up around 173 lbs now, and that's the continuation of a trend that can't continue. I am hoping to drop about 13 lbs now, and I think that should be reasonable provided that I can keep up my running schedule. The other big challenge on my time is sleep, and I think that is one of the things that is keeping my weight in that holding pattern.

Saturday, January 9, 2016

Fixed HRM, Long Run

Now that I've finally figured out my HRM situation, I headed out on a long run tonight. Planned for 10/11 miles, but I also wanted to try and keep my heart rate around 150 bpm per Maffetone's 180-age method. I used to run all my runs slow, and then as the paces crept up I just never really thought about how hard I was working.

I make a conscious effort now to run my long runs slower, and my intervals harder in my speedwork. I'm reluctant to use the 150bpm guideline for all of my runs... But I may try to do it more. It is a big battle with the ego over dealing with the slower average times, even though I can plainly state that I don't really think any less of myself for running slower.

Thursday, January 7, 2016

A return to Speedwork, tech frustrations

Went out for 7 miles. I basically surged every other mile, shooting for a split in the mid-7s on my hard miles, and close to 10 on my easy miles.

When I got back, found that my HRM hadn't been registering for the course of the workout. This really makes me angry, especially considering that I just changed the battery in it. It seems to read if I use the Wahoo utility, but it isn't showing up on the device bluetooth or the Strava workout screen. Irritating as all hell.


Upon reviewing the app settings, it looks like in the most recent Strava update I had to add my heart rate sensor as a "paired device." This seems pretty counter-intuitive given that I had been using the device before with no problems. I sort of feel like Strava just robbed me of a month's worth of valuable info pertaining to my workouts. Whatever.

Tomorrow is a rest day, and then I'm hoping to get a long run in of about 15 miles on Saturday. Should be good. Planning to have a family night on Saturday and rent a movie, hang out.

Having been back at work this week, I've really missed the time with my wife and daughter. I come home, wrap the baby in her boba wrap against my chest and spend a couple of hours with her getting chores done (if she is napping) or singing to her and playing with her. I'm trying to not take the time for granted.

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

New Training, New Sleep Patterns, Dead HRM.

I almost made it! Sleep deprivation got the better of me Monday, and I was not able to get out for my planned 5 miles. I needed to sleep. I know my limits, and I have no reason not to rest when I feel that beat.

I did still do some strength work, but I am down about losing out on extending the streak to 40 days. Oh well.

5 miles tonight, feeling very strong in spite of the arctic air that New England has been invaded by. Speedwork tomorrow. Run coach has some strides laid out for me after a warm up -- but I may actually do tomorrow's 7 miles of speedwork as fartlek work. I prefer working in the speed in different intervals, and that might be best as I'm phasing into this plan after quite some time of no formal speedwork.

In any event I don't see the need to strictly follow the plan until February -- 12 weeks would be the schedule for a normal marathon plan for me. So I'll do 16 this time around, but use the first four weeks to "phase" myself back into the routine.

For about 20 runs I've had no heart rate data. I had no idea why, and then realized I use this HRM (the Wahoo TICKR) all the time, and I've probably killed the battery. I've ordered some replacements, so hopefully soon I'll know if that is the issue -- really hoping to start aiming for lower heart rates, especially on my easy and long runs.

Resolutions, Part #1 (2013-2015)

I have set New Year's Resolutions since I started running. Usually, I reach for pretty lofty goals with a mix of other goals. This gives me a pretty even mix of "succeed" and "did not succeed." I figure it might be fun to look at some of the old resolutions, see what worked and what didn't before laying out my goals for this year.

"Running" Resolutions for 2013:
1. Get down to 150 lbs
2. Run a half marathon
3. Run a full marathon
4. Train more on roads
5. Go barefoot
I didn't really need to get down to 150 lbs. The lowest I weighed was 155, which was quite lean. I miss fitting into the really skinny jeans, but have to admit I think I run stronger and farther at 160. Of course, right now I'm at 170... So maybe that could change.

I did run a half marathon in 2013, and a full marathon. That was pretty cool. 5/12/13 I ran the Providence Half Marathon, and 10/20/13 was the year I ran the Baystate Marathon. I had such a blast in those races. I'll remember them forever.

Number 4 was about the fact that I had done so much training on treadmills. I really wanted to get out and see some new stuff on the roads! I've since become a road and trail-exclusive runner. I really don't care for the treadmill much these days.

Lastly, I really wanted to be a barefoot runner. I still do, as a matter of fact, but I've allowed the barefoot days to be few and far between in the interest of keeping my mileage up. To really go barefoot, I would need to slow down a lot, run a lot easier, and for shorter miles. In the years since setting this goal I've worked up to about three milers barefoot, with an average pace in the mid-9s. That isn't bad, but if I can race faster in a glove, then I choose to do that more of the time. Who knows, though, maybe I should set a goal to race barefoot this year, time be damned.

Resolutions for 2014:

1. Swim in the Atlantic Ocean once every month
2. Sub-20 5k
3. 1:30 HM
4. More barefoot running.
5. Trail Running
6. 3:20 M
7. Maintain 150 lbs for the year
8. Vegan for two months of the year (non-consecutive)
9. Run a trail race
10. Run the Hat Trick @ Heartbreak Hill

#1 came about because I had done the polar bear plunge two years in a row. I also live within a twenty minute drive of the Atlantic, and I consider it silly that I see it as infrequently as I do. I'd still like to do this goal, although I have no idea how I'll set up the time for it with the child running around. Priorities, people. I'm not afraid of the cold, either. I checked the water temps back in 2014, and they weren't worse in February or March than they were in January. I just couldn't find the time to get to the water and jump in during those months...

I still really want to run a sub-20 5k. I don't know when that will happen, but I leave it up on the list as a goal, just as I do with the 1:30 HM. Those are real reach goals, but maybe some day I'll be able to achieve them.

I also like to keep my focus on the barefooting, and trail running. Back in 2013 I ran my first trail race, the Leadville 10k, and I absolutely loved it. I haven't had much more opportunity for trail races out here, but in 2015 I did do quite a bit more hiking, which was so much fun.

#7 didn't happen, for the reasons listed above.

#10 was an event that Runner's World put on in Newton, MA in 2014. It was a three race weekend, with a 5k, 10k and Half-Marathon. The event was a lot of fun, but sadly didn't return in 2015. I have a lot of fun stories from that weekend, and I would love for them to bring it back so I can revisit the fun of the event.

Resolutions for 2015:

  1. Run two marathons
  2. PR the Half Marathon
  3. Sub-20 5k
  4. 45-minute 10k
  5. Everest over the course of 1 year (29,029 ft. of climbing)
  6. Blog

I didn't achieve #1 because I had injured myself in training for the Providence Marathon last year. I really wanted to run it, and I think the most realistic way for me to achieve that goal currently is to run a spring marathon and then a fall marathon. I'm not really sure how I would achieve the goal otherwise.

I didn't PR the Half Marathon this year, either, although I came within spitting distance of my PR at the Jamestown HM. With a 1:40:16 I didn't PR on that race -- but I was still really happy with it time be damned. It was a good effort and it was proof that I was ready for the Baystate Marathon a month later.

Still no sub-20 5k, and I didn't even race a 10k in 2015. I have technically covered 6.2 in that amount of time, by the way, but in a longer race, so I don't count it. Maybe 2016 will be the year of the 10k? We shall see...

Everest-ing was a goal I made because I've been interested in increasing my climbing skills, especially as I learn more about Big Sur. I actually managed to climb 45,095 ft. in 2015, so if I set an elevation goal again I feel like I could set a pretty ambitious one.

Lastly, you're reading #6 now.

I have to take some time and think about my 2016 resolutions now. I'll do a part 2 post pertaining to them, perhaps next week. With regards to running: I'm trying some new things this year in hopes to spur me to really decide what I want out of running. The goal can't always be faster, I also need to think about going farther, and maintaining good form.

I'm sure I'll have some blog related goals, and some parenting goals. I need to learn a lot more about parenting, and I think part of that will be doing a lot of reading and interacting with other dads. I want to keep using the resolutions to build on my ability as an athlete, but also branch that ambition into other areas of my life.

Sunday, January 3, 2016

Running Streak: Day 39

Hope you don't mind if I just continue these running streak posts. I figure we'll see how far I can get to with this streak, and in any event, it doesn't hurt me to keep writing once-a-day, even if it is only a couple of lines.

I went out for 4 miles tonight. Fairly cold. Nothing special to report otherwise. Lots of housework today. We have family coming to stay with us for a couple of days while I go back to work, so hopefully my wife will be able to get some rest. Having company means needing to have a well-kept house, though. So in addition to my normal chores of washing bottles and dishes, preparing food for my wife, walking the dog and the other day-to-day things I've also started cleaning up the basement and organizing the living space.

I've set myself up in the basement bathroom -- which is a full bath -- so as to be out of the way while people are staying here. It will just be easier as I normally rise between 5-530am. I may even put the Keurig down here at my desk so I can brew my morning cup of mud without disturbing anyone.

Fixing up the downstairs bath also meant fixing the toilet. We haven't used it since we moved over a year ago, because the tank was running. It cost me several hours to fix it owing to the eccentricities of this particular model, but now I have a nice full bath down stairs. Goodness help my water bill.

The baby is sleeping well, but at odd intervals, and she also has a cold. I put the shower on in the main bathroom (to create a steam room) a couple of times a day to help her breathe a little easier and it seems to work. I read on a parenting site that it is not uncommon for children to get between eight and ten colds in their first year of life! That is wild. I give up any guilt I was holding for being the one to give her the cold. It was inevitable. Such is life.

I'm kind of glum about returning to work this week. For one thing it means I need to regularize my sleep patterns, and that means less time with the little one wrapped close to my chest napping. I've come to really enjoy these late-night sessions. She is little and perfect and loves being wrapped up in the boba wrap, and I'll tell you that much of my writing of late has been done during these sleepless nights. We'll spend other times together, of course, but I'll never forget that about the first two weeks of her life.

Saturday, January 2, 2016

Running Streak: Day 38

Got in a long run of a little over 10 miles tonight.

I've signed up for run coach to help me get ready for Big Sur. I'm also a premium member on Strava, which means I get coaching through a McMillan plan, but I have some issues with McMillan. Among them, it doesn't allow me to pick specific days for rest, long run, cross training, etc. and it also only lets me set one goal race.

With run coach I can tell it the other races I'm running, and it will add them into the training calendar and adjust around them. I prefer this because while I am training for Big Sur I will also be planning to run the Eastern States, so I'd like to be able to have a good showing at both.

I don't like the fact that I can't integrate Strava with run coach, as it would be much easier to have the workouts automatically upload to my training calendar, but I will live with that. I also don't like being unable to change the first day of the week to Monday from Sunday. That is a fairly cosmetic problem, but it still irritates me. That should be a fairly easy level of customization for anything involving a calendar to achieve.

So yeah, that's the choice I've made for my training plan. It has me starting averaging around 30 miles a week, which should be fairly easy on me because I'm used to running between 25-28 miles a week, and building up to 46 miles. The big change is the addition of speed work (fartleks, strides, tempo) and a real long run again. I've missed the long run, and so far the weather in New England has held out well so I should be able to handle those kinds of distances. If we end up getting slammed in February again with blizzards, I may have to get creative to cover the miles, but I will tough it out and do my best. Big Sur is going to require a lot of hill climbing, so I will probably try to pick some routes where I can work in hill repeats, as well...

I'm in need of a new pair of Vibrams. I've been running in old pairs that had a couple of miles left, but I'm reaching the end of that barrel. I'll be ordering a new pair soon, and hopefully remembering to return the pairs I've been meaning to send back for awhile now. Can't order new ones until I do that...

Friday, January 1, 2016

Running Streak : Day 37

Last official day of the holiday running streak, although mine may continue a few more days.

Got in 1.2 miles tonight and ended up totaling 113 miles between Thanksgiving and New Year's Day.

That is significantly less than previous years, but given that I kept putting in the miles even during the period when my child was born, I am proud of the effort.