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.