Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Summer Running Streak, Day #2

Got out for a very muggy three and a half miler tonight.

Decided to do some climbing on a set of hills near my house. During the winter (when there is less road to run on) I avoid this particular stretch of road because it has limited shoulder access for pedestrians. But the alternate route I have breaks the hill up with some cross roads that are flat, so you don't really get the experience of climbing a long rolling stretch of hills.

Boy, it is tough climbing that long rolling stretch of hill. Maybe if I'd done some repeats on it, I would have stood a better chance at Big Sur. In my head now I have all these ideas to throw into my training for the next time I run that race, although it remains to be seen how far in the future that is.

Weather should be cooler the rest of this week so I'm looking forward to some lovely early-summer running conditions.

Monday, May 30, 2016

Summer Running Streak, Day #1


So, the Runner's World Summer Run Streak starts today and runs through July 4th. I had planned to do my own variation from July through the end of August.

I've decided, why not, I'll start today. We'll see how long I can go but I anticipate going through July at least.

I'm planning to blog each day after I run (as I did during the winter streak.) I think this was good for my blogging habit, and kept me writing. But it is fair warning to anyone who regularly follows this blog (are any of you out there...?) that daily there will be quite a bit of blogging about running.

I'm still working on my weekly features about the intersection of fatherhood and endurance sport, so those will still be here.

Quite a bit of rainfall in New England on this memorial day (which makes for a great start to a run streak.) The wife and I needed to do some shopping, so always accepting of a challenge we decided to cart the baby out in the torrential rain and get our shopping done at the supermarket. We brought the jogging stroller (which needs to get more use, dammit.) and were really happy about how empty the store was. The baby was awesome.

She is a very contented, kid, always has a smile and only gets really fussy when she's fighting sleep. When it comes to fighting sleep, she is an absolute gladiator. I think she has another cold, though, so that's been a thing to get through.

I'll put more detail into the weekly feature this week, as in the meantime I need to get out and cover my miles.

**Afternoon Edit**

Just got back from my mile (well, 1.2 according to the gps -- lap of my neighborhood.) feeling strong. Nice to look down at the watch and see some quick pacing even for a reasonable heart rate effort.

My fastest mile times tend to come a few weeks into the holiday streak -- maybe I can do a similar thing over the summer?

Friday, May 27, 2016

Busy, busy week.

Late, late post this week. I'm in crunch time at work, and so this week was really busy. On top of the other stuff, I got very sick last weekend (fever, stomach stuff, the whole nine) and I never really recovered. I'm concerned that it may be something serious... so I'm going to make an appointment to have it checked out.

I spent most of the week crawling back from that, and still going to work, so I only got out for three miles this week. I'm planning to do a long run tomorrow (if I feel good) and otherwise hoping to have a good weekend around with the family.

I also need to put my garden together this weekend. My squash plants are irritated that I haven't put them out yet, and my tomato plants are threatening to rebel if they don't get into the ground. So I will be handling that tomorrow, and heading out to get some basil plants since my basil didn't work from seed this year. Oh well.

I will post again about how things go this weekend.

Friday, May 20, 2016

Days in Chaos

Approaching the end of my work season, and things are really kicking into gear. Partially because I work as a musician, so where most people in my profession are winding down, I'm really getting going.

Got to hang out with the daughter this afternoon, had dinner with my wife and watched a movie while the baby dozed. It was good to get to spend some time together as we have both been going nuts with work and the rigors of our new life as parents. The little one is now 5 months old, and I'm really happy I got to spend the time with her today.

Managed to only run twice this week so far, but covered 17 miles. Have a 5k on Sunday. The weather this week was ideal -- fairly comfortable around dusk, which is becoming my favorite time to head out. I like running in the dark when it is cool and sometimes a little breezy. Hopefully this will keep up over the summer, as I'm playing with the idea of starting a running streak through the summer.

Hoping to get out for a couple of easy miles tomorrow, sort of a shakeout for Sunday's race. I haven't really raced a 5k in some time, so I'll take this as a tune up for the summer racing season.

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Weekend Wrap-up

Got in 9.3 miles, but I'm having some trouble getting my new watch to sync.

I'm sure things will get sorted out, but I just want to be on record as having covered 15 miles this week! Working on building back up to my normal 30 mile weeks, but definitely coming back from Big Sur now.

Finished up the side job I'd been working on, so I'm looking forward to a full week at my normal job and some off time in the evenings with my little one and my wife.

Also, I'm going to set myself right this week on the nutrition front. I've been eating like garbage since I've been working so many hours. This week the plan is to actually eat meals during the day again, instead of skipping all meals and gorging myself on junk food at night. Hopefully this will help out my energy level, and I can shed some of the pounds I picked up from stress and poor eating.

Saturday, May 14, 2016

Mother's Day #1, and Life being Life

"When it rains, it pours."
--English Idiom, and the Morton Salt Slogan


So we have had a rough couple of weeks. Let me weave a little yarn for you, here.

Usually in the Spring I end up taking some second jobs, sort of odd jobs. I knew that I was going to want to do that again this year because the extra money helps us out especially towards the end of summer when things can be a bit lean. It means coming home from my main job and going out again, it means time away from my family (which I don't like), but it does mean a little extra dough.

Life has a way of throwing other stuff at you, too, when your stress level is the absolute highest. Last week I had my second job going Monday and Tuesday. On Wednesday, the dog got into some stuff at home and we ended up having to take her to the emergency vet. It was a really long night for all of us, and the following morning the baby got sick with a stomach bug that had been going around. This meant that my wife and I ended up also taking a couple of days out of work.

My wife had some outside of work commitments over the weekend, and then Saturday night I got monstrously sick. That meant that on Mother's Day, when I had planned to be cooking, cleaning, child rearing, and letting my wife get some much needed sleep, I was the one in bed feeling like death warmed over. I still feel really badly about that, but we have a makeup date set for the holiday for next Saturday (I'm working today, and tomorrow).

This is a hellish time of year. We'll get through it though.

The baby is awesome. More and more speech stuff, movement. She's eating solid foods now (well, OK, rice cereal, but it is a start!) I have even done daycare pickup TWICE now! A big hurdle for me because I get anxious in unfamiliar social situations, and my wife has been working to overcome her own separation anxiety.

Running wise I am slowly building up my mileage again, reversing the taper. 11 miles or so last week, and then hoping for 16 by the time this week is out. Have a couple of 5ks coming up I want to be in good shape for, so I'm also throwing in some bursts of speed here and there on my midweek jaunts. My hope is that these side jobs will help cover my race costs so I can go into the summer with a defined schedule of events and not worry about anything other than the training and spending time with my family. There are downsides to seasonal work, and forced work stoppages, but there are benefits in terms of time.

I've also been getting active on the twitter, and you can follow me on there @endurancedad. I've been really enjoying checking out the Life of Dad feed, as well as the AHDN feed. Great to see that there are so many folks out there enthusiastic about parenting.

So there might be a slow down in the content I'm writing here for a bit -- I'm planning to write next week on my summer schedule. But it may come later in the week than usual.

Friday, May 6, 2016

the Art of the Fugue

--Johann Sebastian Bach, Die Kunst der Fuge, BWV 1080


Shortly after I graduated college, I took a break from playing on my primary instrument. I had been doing some jobs on it, not making a good amount of money, but mostly I didn't have any fun with it anymore. I still felt a lot of love for music, so I kept pursuing composing, arranging, studying, and playing music on the recorder and a variety of other instruments. It was around this time I got into some other hobbies, too, such as bread baking and rekindling my love of visual art. I even bought some sneakers, but I didn't really start running seriously.

I became really obsessed with Bach's "Art of the Fugue". It became something I loved. I had a whole binder where I had arranged them into single-staff SATB arrangements. I still love these fugues. I have a lot of recordings of them. I would go to my lousy minimum-wage job, feeling very much like a cog in a machine, and I would think about the episodes from the second fugue.

I would go to my family's house, and I would work for two or three hours pruning a very large rose bush. Pruning very carefully, on a ladder, and listening to the Art of the Fugue. I don't know why I listened to it so much. We were playing it in an amateur group I started, but I didn't have some deep philosophical tie to it.


When I started running, I started listening to lots of kinds of music, and the Art of the Fugue came back to me. I follow the subject through the work. I chase it. I become it. Interactions in my life seem to find mirror in the events, the episodes. The subject and the counter subject -- it is a study in the nature of society and how we relate to it.

I believe that you should be the subject in the fugue of your own life. You need to make yourself a priority. That said, a part of the subject is the ability to move into the texture of the piece as it evolves. It comes back in bits, in pieces. At the beginning you should value yourself, as well as at the end.

The subject also relates and cooperates with the counter-subject. Whatever relationship you consider your counter-subject, I think that's important. It could be your spouse, your kids, your coworkers. You support them, and they support you. You exist because they do. You all develop together, even if you start at separate points.


Things are chaotic this week, and hence the belated post. On Wednesday, the dog got into something she should not have, and we had to take her in. The following day, my daughter came down with a stomach bug. There are a bunch of things that have been going around, so out of an abundance of caution we took her to the doctor who advised pulling her out of daycare for a couple of days. 

On top of everything else, the stress level has started to mount again as I'm working a couple of extra jobs, and we've been taking less and less help.

Luckily, my friends stepped up again and helped me out. I'm lucky to have the support system I have, I know I've said that before, and I'll certainly say it again.

Undoubtedly part of the mounting stress is that the side jobs mean I've gotten less sleep and had less time to run. I need to start putting some miles in, hoping to log at least a couple of miles a day over the next week. I'm looking at some races for the next month, so I'll certainly need to get my legs recovered to have a good time.

Tonight we're having some good daddy-daughter time. She is mostly napping, but since she's recovering from a stomach bug I can't blame her. Here's to hoping we have a good pancake Saturday tomorrow!