Sunday, December 31, 2017

Holiday Run Streak, Days #37-#39 (Year's End)

Back from a successful trip to Vermont. Feeling restored, and (almost) ready to return to the real world.

A couple of easy miles while we were up in the great white north. With pretty incredible wind chill I kept it simple and dialed in miles. Seeing that I was about 8k from 200km this month, I decided to throw in a 5 miler when I got home. It went well, except that my phone got sapped from the cold, so I lost the miles on the Charity miles app. If they'd allow me to import activities from my watch, that wouldn't be a big deal. But whatever.

I'm going to be writing my resolutions down in a post tomorrow. For now I'm off to spend New Year's Eve with my family.

Thursday, December 28, 2017

Holiday Run Streak, Day #36

"Feels like" -8 outside. Balaclava with a buff over the mouth section did OK today (wanted to see what happened if I didn't double up the Balas.)

On our way to Vermont where tomorrow the wind chill will be -25. I'm planning on just doing a mile each of the next couple of days. Hopefully New Year's Eve I can get a couple of miles in.

Overall total for the streak sits at about 157 miles, so, 100 miles further than last year (when I dropped out in the middle.) Not quite the 200 I hoped for, but certainly not too bad.

Lots of driving today, so I'd better get to it.

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Holiday Run Streak, Day #35

Freakin' cold here. Going to be much colder in Vermont in the next couple of days, where we'll be visiting. So I'm planning on only running a mile each of the next couple of days.

I'll be double layering my gear, and I've found that I actually have a lot of success double layering my balaclavas. Anyway, it's not the most exciting way to end a streak, maybe, but it's more important to me to get it done.

I'm also planning to do the NYRR Resolution Run which is a virtual 5k. I want to race that on New Year's Day, and I'd like to put some speed onto it. So we'll see how that goes...

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

End of the 2017 Racing Season / Year in Review

2017 was a heck of a year. I found my way onto the roads in January in a total funk. Fell out of the wagon in 2016 during the holiday run streak, and I think that threw me off in a big way into the winter. I feel better going into 2018, and I think a big part of that has been keeping up the streak.

Year in Races:

March 11 : Black Cat 10 miler

April 1 : Newport Night Run 5k

April 9 : Fighting Seabees Half Marathon

April 23 : Blackstone Valley Half Marathon

May 7  : Providence Half Marathon

May 14 : Providence Police 5k

May 21 : Angry Unicorn Half Marathon

May 28 : Narragansett Bay Half Marathon

June 10 : Gaspee Days 5k

June 11 : Options Gay 5k

July 1 : Independence Day Half Marathon

July 3 : Finish at the 50 5k

July 15 : Run with the Beavers 10 miler

July 28 : the Blessing of the Fleet 10 miler

August 6 : Griswold Sunflower 6k

September 23 : Jamestown Half Marathon

October 8 : Boston Athletic Association Half Marathon

November 5 : TCS NYC Marathon

It's crazy to me that the race season started so late for me, and also that it didn't include the Eastern States. Looking at it now I know that I started to really hit my stride around the Angry Unicorn, but it would be really nice to see that strength come back sooner. I'm in fairly good shape now, but I know that the run streak has been taking a toll. I'd set a mental goal of hitting 200 miles for the streak, and so I am running very few one mile days.

Come January, still streaking or not, I'll have to start throwing in some easier days so that I can recover my legs a bit.

Maybe I'll be able to find some races earlier, in February or something. I need to shake out my cobwebs earlier in the season, I think. I think I also need more focus on easier races, and maybe some shorter distances. I wanted 2017 to be the year of the half marathon for me, and it certainly was with 8 of them run. I joined the Half Fanatics (HF #16238) and had a lot of fun gritting through some tough courses. I also did a lot of speedwork over the summer, which paid off in a big way at Jamestown where I ran just six minutes over my PR for the half. That isn't bad given that I'd fought much of the year to get my prior fitness back. I fell off the wagon on the speedwork when I returned to work, and also because I got sick a couple of times. I'll need to find more consistency in that going forward.

I'll post later about my plans for 2018.

Holiday Run Streak, Day #33 and #34

Christmas was excellent. Having a toddler, she doesn't really know she has to wake us up at 3am to get presents. I'm dreading those days.

Had an easy day, though. Rested, watched videos, had dinner. I went out late for a 4.3 miler. It was slow, but it was very late when I went out. Went out at a similar time tonight, though, and I must be getting used to it because I managed to run a mile further and it only took me eight or so minutes longer than last night.

Tomorrow we'll be bringing baby girl to daycare. We don't want her to get out of the habit of it, and we are also hoping to catch some time to ourselves. Then we'll be out of town for a couple of days. I may not post again until New Year's Eve, but I'll be sure to catch up when I get back.

Sunday, December 24, 2017

Holiday Run Streak, Day #32 (Christmas Eve)

Restful Christmas Eve, with lots of movies and chinese food.

Went out for a five miler, and had to cut the run shorter than intended (just a quarter mile or so) because of some gastric distress. Too much eggnog and cookies this time of year.

Otherwise feeling strong, and found my new very favorite version of the Coventry Carol.

Saturday, December 23, 2017

Holiday Run Streak, Day #31

Restful day, today. After all the excitement last night, we went out to a quiet breakfast with friends today, and returned home to take a long nap.

I went out for 7.5 miles tonight, which was actually quite nice in spite of the wet. It wasn't raining while I was running, just humid, but a lot of water on the ground. I find it interesting that sometimes the days you feel the most beat give you the most enjoyable workouts.

Now, off to have birthday cake round #2 with baby girl. More miles tomorrow!

Friday, December 22, 2017

Holiday Run Streak, Day #30

Very long day. Woke up with a gunky eye, and ended up with a diagnosis of conjunctivitis. It isn't too bad during the day, but I will start the meds for it tomorrow so it clears up.

Had the holiday / birthday party tonight, which was a lot of fun. We put together a handful of songs, and read Shakespeare's Twelfth Night, which was so much fun. The songs were really good, and the play went very well. One of our friends even used his song in the middle of the play to propose to his girlfriend, which was very exciting and well received.

Made macaroni and cheese (my daughter's favorite) and meatloaf, as well as wassail. Quite a few recipes to juggle while also hosting the party, singing, playing instruments, and reading. At the end of it it was about eleven o'clock, and I was extremely tired but got out on the road for a quick mile to keep the streak alive. Freezing fog made that interesting, as there was lots of black ice.

It's going to be a rough couple of days down here. Cold enough to get ice everywhere, but not cold enough for it to snow, so there's also a steady rainfall. When this happens, the whole world looks to be coated in glass, and it's wicked slippery. Not slippery enough to warrant the use of my spikes, though. It's a dilemma for sure. I may actually dig out my old YakTrax things, and wrap them around my shoes. Even without all the spikes, the rubber on those manages to give a bit more texture and traction.

Thursday, December 21, 2017

Holiday Run Streak, Day #29

Wassail, wassail, all over the town 
Our toast it is white and our ale it is brown, 
Our bowl it is made of the white maple tree, 
With the wassailing bowl, we'll drink to thee. 
Drink to thee, drink to thee, 
With a wassailing bowl we'll drink to thee.
--The Gloucestershire Wassail

Had a rehearsal tonight for baby girl's party/our solstice party tomorrow. We'll do all of our usual holiday traditions, folded in with the birthday traditions and we're starting a new one. With our friends we're going to be singing some songs and reading Shakespeare's Twelfth Night.

I really wanted to start the Twelfth Night tradition last year, as I thought it would be a fun way to work in the play as a tradition that could grow as my circle of friends started to have kids. We love all things renaissance England, so that seemed like a good fit, and know many of the songs of the season. The rehearsal tonight was super fun, and I'm hoping for a really good party tomorrow.

Twelfth Night is traditionally the old English New Year's celebration, but whatever. It'll be fun to get together and drink wassail, sing, and share the company of friends.

I got out for a quick mile tonight. It went by really quick, and felt effortless. I know tomorrow will be the hardest day of the streak for me. I'm not even sure I can entertain getting up early and running, as it will be eleven o'clock by the time I fall asleep now.

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

A Different Drum (Holiday Run Streak, Day #28)

comparisons to Scorsese...?
made to nameless forms in a faceless void
the Poet's son
adrift on the water
past the snowbanks, orange stained by the late solstice sun
in a long black cloak blown open by the frigid wind


Much stronger five and a quarter tonight. Total opposite from yesterday. Pretty cold, but otherwise much less effort involved, and I had a lot of fun.

I've been thinking a lot lately about a teacher I had who recently passed away. It wasn't that this teacher was particularly good, I'd say fairly mediocre, overall, but at a time in my life when I was in a lot of turmoil. 

I was a screwed up kid in my teenage years. My home life was rough, and academically I was completely directionless. I righted myself by attending a community college, and following my dreams in music, and eventually music education. I made a thing of myself. But I always remember an early time when I was about sixteen, when this particular teacher, talking to some other kid's parent, said of me that I "Marched to the beat of a different drum,"

I knew what that meant, that meant that I was an oddball. I was seen as taking a road less traveled and was probably doing things "the wrong way" by a conventional viewpoint. I did fine for myself and I'm proud of what I've managed to do, it's just odd to have that memory and to feel that judgement on me. Especially the need to explain my existence to someone completely incidental to my story. It doesn't even really matter who that person hearing the phrase from my teacher was. 

A few months later I watched Scorsese's Last Temptation of Christ. I'd loved Peter Gabriel's soundtrack to it for years before that, but I wasn't as familiar with the film. A Different Drum is track seven on that album, and had been a piece of music I loved listening to walking around New England in the height of winter, when the snow would be many feet high on the sidewalks.

Obviously, I don't think it was even a comparison to Scorsese's work, it just hangs closely together in the fabric of my memory. A really strange memory that's been floating around in my head since hearing of the death of this former teacher.

Lots of time to work this stuff out in my head on the road.


I dream in the winter
and Orion dreams with me
the city by the sea
and a twenty-six mile foot race
waiting for us in the Spring


Baby girl's second birthday today. I felt guilty about being at work all day while she was at daycare, but I know she had fun there. After work, we picked her up, sent the Christmas cards out, and came home to do some cleaning for this weekend's festivities. Baby girl and I read some books, and sang some songs.

Since she was born, I've really been aching to be able to feel like we're able to communicate, and that communication skill is developing more and more, as I'm able to get on her level now, encourage her to focus, and give her choices of things. We're able to breathe through frustrating moments, and move on to other things. It's pretty cool and I'm having so much fun.

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

In Doubt (Holiday Run Streak, Day #27)

I run with Orion
and Orion runs with me
from the dark slow miles in split-toed boots
with frost and chill
voices beckon to me from beyond the grave
of comparisons... to Scorsese?
Or only to my former self

Today was a long day. This morning at work, I had the chance to see myself through someone else's eyes, and it was tough. I take a lot of pride in my work, but I operate under some level of illusion, I suppose, about how little support I actually get. It was tough to see through unbiased eyes, what felt like, 'No matter how hard you try, there will be this impediment you can't overcome,' 

I guess it isn't uncommon to have some sense of futility in one's job, and that's why I don't live specifically for my job. I have tried to cultivate a rich existence of family, and art, and sport. But it was just a weird moment that threw me off, anyway.

Old voices, at Christmas
but belonging to the Easter season
and promising rebirth amidst the cold  
Aches in the legs, not really any particular concern but just tell tale signs of being worn out. I'm concerned that I won't be able to meet the goal I'd set for myself in this streak, and I'm hoping for a moment of inspiration and unexpected strength. Sometimes those come out of moments of exhaustion.

Five and one quarter miles today after dinner. We had dinner as a family, and around the table. It's sort of rare for us to have dinner at the table but something I'm sure we'll be doing more and more as the kid(s) get older.

Tomorrow my baby girl turns two years old. It's an impressive milestone, and I can't believe what she's able to do at this age already. Sentences (albeit with her own structure) of about eight to ten words, constantly singing, and able to follow simple instructions (when she isn't selectively ignoring us.) 

She's a sweet kid, and I have so much fun with her. 

Monday, December 18, 2017

Holiday Run Streak, Day #26

A cold, wet evening here in New England. Out for 5.2, and puddles caused my shoes to soak through. So ran most of the day in wet socks. Bummer.

Long day at the doctor's today, but tests went well. My wife and I enjoyed a brief 45 minute nap when we got home, and I went to get the kiddo. Ready for a holiday break next week, and I may even work to get some serious miles in around the holiday.

Sunday, December 17, 2017

Holiday Run Streak, Day #25

7.6 miles tonight in the cold.

Really dragged around today. Couple of late nights caught up to me, I think, so I took it easier today up until my run. Once I was out on the road, and on the way back home specifically, I started to feel good again.

Today felt a bit like feeling my seasonal depression again, which isn't great. I have no idea how I got through it when I trained for Big Sur, but I'm going to have to dig deep and find that motivation again because I can't afford to struggle with it this year with a toddler in the house. My daughter is a tremendous source of happiness for me, so maybe I can use the good feelings to power through it.

Early morning tomorrow for a doctor's appointment. I'm taking the day out because it's a long day of tests, so my wife won't be able to drive at the end of it. The little one will be in daycare. I hate having her in daycare if I'm not going to work, but we're going to be at the doctor's office most of the day, so she'll definitely have more fun playing with the other kids and the toys.

Hopefully I can will myself to run in the early afternoon tomorrow, because I'm going to need to get back to morning runs for the rest of this week. What killed my streak last year was that I was unable to cram a run in before baby girl's birthday party, so I won't let that happen again this year. I can avoid having to make that choice at all by just running early.

Saturday, December 16, 2017

Holiday Run Streak, Day #24

5.2 miles tonight with an identical moving time to yesterday's miles.

Not really hard work, or anything. Just getting the mileage done.

Some new races added to the calendar, including a spring marathon in Newport. Should be a good time.

Lots of working getting ready for next weekend. We're having a small get together celebrating baby girl's birthday, the solstice, and Christmas. We're going to read Shakespeare's Twelfth Night, and play music, sing songs, drink Wassail. It will be a lot of fun, but takes some work to prepare the music, and of course lots of cleaning the house.

I'll share some of the things as I get them together over the next week, including links to some of my very favorite recipes for parties like this.

Friday, December 15, 2017

Holiday Run Streak, Day #23

Snowing tonight and 24 degrees. Went out in my heavy gear, with my new white tabi boots. A rabbit crossed my path before I was even a quarter mile in, and that seemed to be a good omen as I felt pretty light on the snow, just kind of floating along.

Not too windy, but certainly a wet snow. It was a lot of fun, in any case. Ended up covering about five and a quarter miles, so that was good. My phone crashed at one point, so my run didn't get saved on the Charity Miles app.

I'm a little disappointed in that, but I'm disappointed in that app more and more for it's incompatibility with any sort of GPS watch or other service. I understand that you'd want to really verify that a person covered those miles, and at a pace (I guess.) but I don't understand why you can't just import a .gpx file into the app to do so. The timestamps and gps data would give the app all it needs.

Anyway, a long deserved weekend for my little family. The toddler drama seems to have mellowed out a bit, so I'm hoping tomorrow to clean up (sort, really) the living room so we can have company next week. Once that's done I can even let baby girl play in the living room, which I haven't done in awhile because there's just so much clutter.

Thursday, December 14, 2017

Holiday Run Streak, Day #22

A quick one and a quarter miles tonight! Social club soon!

I misplaced my balaclava and really need it because it's going to be like 10 degrees tonight!

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Holiday Run Streak, Day #21

Toddler. Drama.

A chilly "feels like" 14 tonight. The heavy gear cut through the cold no problem, but I'm in need of a new buff. Lost my last balaclava, so my neck was a bit chilly. I'm going to be continuing my training through the coldest part of the New England winter (February, always to my surprise) so it'll be important to get a new one in and get used to wearing it. I ordered two in case one isn't a good weight, or I hate the material, or whatever.

One and a quarter miles. Mentally the space one mile takes up is so small now, that I can cover it in what feels like a few minutes. In reality, it's about ten minutes when I'm taking it easy, but my mental game is on point with this streak. With this being a one miler, I'll need to put in a long run this weekend to bring up my average miles/day, but I think that's doable. I haven't been able to get a thirteen miler in this streak so far, so I really want to do one this weekend.

The toddler continues to be fussy as all get-out. It's a perfect storm, I think, of teething, sleep regression, and just generally being a toddler. She fights sleep, wakes up in the middle of the night, and emotionally torments me when I head out running by crying and screaming "Daddy, I miss you! Come baaack!"

So that's been hard. But my wife is a champ (she taught pre-school, and handled a toddler class) so she's training me on more of the early childhood stuff than my simple Bachelor's in Education gave me. I mean, I got pretty good training out of it, but I have to admit I didn't know there was a two year sleep regression.

It's a new challenge, for sure. And it's scary in the way that all new challenges in parenting have been scary. Like: what if I mess this up? If you screw up handling an outburst, does your child become completely unable to handle their emotions? And I think about the negative memories and complex feelings I harbor for my own parents. I don't know what's normal in any of this, or what's to be expected, but I'm trying my best and hoping for the best.

So let's hope that does the job for today...

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Holiday Run Streak, Day #20

Long day at work. Woke up at 4am, but it was raining, so I decided to run after.

I was happy I did, because while it did rain today it got up into the mid-40s, meaning it was in the mid-30s when I ran. So that felt pretty comfortable and I could run in lighter gear. I got a new pair of Jika-tabi in today, so I did my miles in those. Felt pretty good overall, and while I'm a few miles behind my average goal, it's not beyond redemption.

So things are calming down a bit at work, which will let me focus more on the streak and my family. I'm a big fan of that, and I'm very grateful for all the folks I have in my life supporting me.

Monday, December 11, 2017

Holiday Run Streak, Day #19

Tough day at work. Long day tomorrow.

Five and a quarter miles this evening. Pretty cold out, but I'm comfortable wearing the new running pants over a light pair of tights. It's more like running in Spring, and that's pretty nice when it's below 30.

I've decided to register for the Rhode Races Newport Marathon on April 14th. It's been awhile since I've done a Spring marathon, but I'm feeling the desire to cover some longer distances. I'll also use the Eastern States 20 miler as tune-up. I'm excited to go back to that race, especially after missing it last year. The marathon isn't a thing I enter lightly, but I'm so craving the mileage after the adrenaline-inducement of New York.

Sunday, December 10, 2017

Holiday Run Streak, Day #18 (plus Goal setting for 2018)

Long nap today, which was very well needed. Have had some muscle soreness, and the toddler is going through her two-year sleep regression a little early. Out for five and a quarter miles tonight, which brings the streak total to just shy of eighty-five and a half miles. Not too shabby.

Thinking a lot about goal setting for next season. I'm feeling like I need to pick between much more volume and distance, and speed. I already have a few half marathons on the calendar, which isn't too big of a deal because they can take the place of a weekend long run easily enough, but I'm fighting the desire for the "next big thing" in my running by introducing more speed work, and tempo runs.

It's not a great time for that, of course, because we'll have another baby around late May. While I'm sure I'll be able to carve out the time for workouts (because I'll run before everyone's awake if I have to, or late at night once everyone's asleep) I'm more concerned about my nutrition. I've really let it lag in the last year or so, and it's a lot of work to prep really solid meals for training. That wasn't a big deal before we had kids, but now that pulls me away from the family unit more, and I hate that.

I'm embarrassed to admit that I entered a drawing to run the Boston Marathon with a group that was looking to sponsor some teachers.  I told myself early on in this that if I was going to run Boston, I'd run it by qualifying. I wasn't sure I could pass up the entry into this thing, but I immediately felt ashamed after submitting my entry. I felt like the whole thing of equating teachers to the less fortunate, in need of aid and recognition, hurts my cause far more than it would ever help it. I also dreaded the idea of any interview because I run for me, and I teach for other people. The two are connected, sure, but I don't like exploiting my work to do something like that.

Anyway I didn't get picked, so it isn't really a big deal. But it did start me thinking about running Boston someday, and the amount of work I'd need to put in to be able to give the marathon that good of a performance. I've talked to my wife and I think I've settled on a Spring marathon for next year, details to come. I'm not sure I'll do a fall marathon next year, because the baby will be so young still, but we'll see. I've got a whole summer run streak between now and then to see how I feel, too, so you never know.

Saturday, December 9, 2017

Holiday Run Streak, Day #17

4.2 miles in the snow this afternoon. Lots of chunks of ice in my beard by the end.

I ran at a pretty decent pace, considering I wore heavier gear. New England is tough because I don't want to slip, but it's rarely enough actual ice on the ground through a whole route that it makes sense to wear spikes. I still wore the spike boots, as they're also rubberized so they keep my feet dry among the puddles on my route.

It's tough because I see people out in shorts and sneakers even in that weather, and I have to remind myself that we all have different goals. For all I know those guys are out for a quick mile or two, and I'm trying to stay out for a bit at an easy effort. My goal is always further distance, and I don't much care about speed.

Should be another few inches of snow on the ground tomorrow, so I'm looking forward to getting back out into it.

Friday, December 8, 2017

Holiday Run Streak, Day #16

Very long day today. Between work, and then coming home and running errands. Ended up going out for my four miles at around 9:30 at night. One of the longer runs I've done since this past marathon training cycle.

My performance in the early and late hours is really similar. I end up feeling sort of tired, and then once I'm warmed up I'm quickly too warm. I seem to have a longer comfortable middle ground when I'm running at mid-day.

Hoping for a good long run this weekend of about ten or so miles (possibly more?) We're also looking at our first snow storm, with a possibility of six inches over two days. A chance to run in the spike tabi boots, maybe, if there ends up being enough snow and ice.

Thursday, December 7, 2017

Holiday Run Streak, Day #15

A quick 4.3 tonight before the social club. Not too bad, weather wise, and kept my breathing easy. My pace ended up looking pretty good, too at about 8:35/mile.

I'm going to save tomorrow's miles for after work, with hopes that I can do about 10k. We're looking at some snow during the weekend, so I'd like to buffer in some distance, and I'm hungry to cover some ground.

Social club went well. Always fun to get together with my friends. I always plan a bunch of activities thinking about how I liked to play video games when I was around people my own age more, but we end up getting together, and because it's been so long we just end up talking and catching up. Maybe that's a part of the thing of getting older, I don't know.

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Holiday Run Streak, Day #14

Really dragging today. Very long day yesterday. Had to take a day out of work to bring my wife to a doctor's appointment, after which we took it easy and tried to recover. It has been a pretty draining couple of days, and we have at least another week that will be this busy. Had intended to clean the house but ended up not doing that. There's always tomorrow, I guess.

2.3 miles tonight, at an easy pace. Have to run tomorrow morning, so taking it easy and just shaking the rust off the legs. Covered about 13 and a half miles at work yesterday (counting the four mile run in the morning) so I was "post-race" tired today. Hopefully feel a bit better tomorrow, and hoping to also get a ten miler in this weekend. We'll see.

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Holiday Run Streak, Day #13

A very slow 4.3 miles this morning. Shins killing me. I expected this to happen because I had to run yesterday evening, and then had to run early this morning, so not much recovery time. Was kind of jazzed to see a familiar sponsor on my Charity Miles app this morning:

I don't actually endorse anything ever.

Woke up at about 4, and lazed in bed until 4:30 or so. I honestly wasn't fully committed to getting up until I looked at the weather and noticed that it is almost surely going to be raining from the middle of the day into the early hours tomorrow. That was enough for me to get out and suffer through my miles.

I mean, I say suffer but it's a mixed bag, for sure. I'm alternating between uncomfortable (because my legs are tired so soon after a run) and feeling fine (because I love running.)

Now off to a long day at work.

Monday, December 4, 2017

Holiday Run Streak, Day #12

Another cool-ish 4.3 miles tonight. 60.8 miles into the streak and twelve days.

The next couple of weeks are sort of make-or-break because I have some big events at work that will keep me out past my bed time. It means running early before work but also going to bed later. Boo.

In past years I've gone out late at night even after those events, but this time is a little different because we have a toddler and my wife has been really sick with this pregnancy. So I try to be home to help more, help carry more of the load. It's a fine balancing act but it means I have to really re-embrace my role as an early bird, and I have been kind of hit-or-miss with that lately.

Looking like a bit more rain this week, so that will also test my resolve to get my miles in. A few errands tonight before dinner, and then I'll be turning in early.

Sunday, December 3, 2017

Holiday Run Streak, Day #11

Had planned on a ten miler today, but looking at the mileage of the last two weeks, it's way past a 10% increase. That and the twinge in my right ankle has me holding off and putting in an easy five. I'll get a long run in at some point in the next week.

Colder here in New England, and I've been running in the afternoon. All considering I've been lucky weather wise, with mostly clear (if cool) days. Looks like we're in for some rain in the middle of this week, but I'm still thinking I'll get in some decent mileage midweek.

During the week I'll be back to early morning runs, and hopefully the contrast won't throw me off too much. It's nice to be able to sleep in, and better that I feel like I've dodged getting a bad cold (was starting to feel sick at the end of last week, but seems to have cleared up a bit...)

Saturday, December 2, 2017

Holiday Run Streak, Day #10

Pumpkin pancakes for breakfast this morning. Pretty tired, but with the feeling that once I got my miles in I'd be in good shape. Rested with the family, headed out in the evening for about 5 miles. Ended up being 4.9 on the GPS, but no worries. Close enough.

I'm starting to toy with the idea of a Spring marathon for next year. The timing is problematic because Spring is when the next baby will arrive, so I've got to be careful around the timing. Also, with the half marathons I'm signed up for, I have to be careful about overlap. This might take more coffee.

I want something big on the horizon, though. New York, Big Sur, those things were huge events, like mountains gleaming in the distance. I'm pulled on by stuff like that, so I want another goal like that. I'm not sure what the next thing will be, but I'm keeping my eye out.

Friday, December 1, 2017

Holiday Run Streak, Day #9

A very quick 4.3 after work today, in a pretty smoking 37 minutes.

The weather is all over the place this week, which I think explains most of my variation in performance. Today it was in the fifties and partly cloud, barely any wind. Doing the same run yesterday morning took me much longer, party due to the cold, additional layers, and headwind. It's a learning experience and I'm at a place in my running where I'm more mature and able to recognize outside factors far more than I ever could in the past.

Back to work for a bit tonight for an event, and then hopefully catching some rest. I'm all over the place with my sleep this week, too, so I am feeling pretty tired and in need of some catch-up on sleep.

Thursday, November 30, 2017

Holiday Run Streak, Day #8

Back at it this morning. Out of bed at 4am, all dressed up, and out on the road. Intentionally didn't put the trash out last night as extra motivation to get up early anyway.

About 30 degrees out, which isn't too bad, but I used it as an excuse to try out my new running pants. Love them, but by the end of mile 3 I was wishing I'd gone with tights. Well, now I know for the future.

Being that I had run such a fast pace last night, and this run is basically twelve hours later, I expected to take it much easier today. So I loaded up an old podcast and locked in a pretty stable 10 minute pace for the four miles. Overall, not the most fun I've ever had running, but definitely easy.

Hopefully tomorrow's run will be a little bit more on a pace I like running, because I'll have had that much more time to recover.

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Holiday Run Streak, Day #7

6.7 miles tonight, having a load of fun in some weird unseasonable warmth. Humidity wasn't too bad, either.

Got some new gear on black Friday which came in today. Some sweet light weight arm warmers that kept me nice and cozy tonight, a pair of pants to wear over my tights when it gets real cold (which will likely be February, but we'll see.) and an excellent LED vest that will have me feeling like a Christmas tree, but also be a cool addition to some night races.

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Holiday Run Streak, Day #6

Cold one this morning, with a "feels like" of 16. Double layered, tights, etc. Felt pretty good after mile one again, but decided to keep it at an easier pace as to not burn myself out.

Part of the habit building here is not only getting up at 4am, but also doing some things in a particular order. All my running stuff stays down in my little office set up, so when I get up, I put on the coffee maker, get ready and head out for my run. When I get back I pour a cup of coffee, put some eggs on the boil, and head down to my office to sync my run and change.

I figure if I can keep that routine up for a month or so I'll be sitting pretty as an early runner again.

Another habit builder is that I'm using a 4.3 mile route (out and back) from my house. Mentally, it takes up about the same space as a 1-mile run, because it's a really simple out and back, and I know all the hills and divots, places where there's wind, where it's shielded. Eventually when things start coming to me easier, I might mix up the routes in the morning, but to do longer (like a 10k or something) that might require some variation in the prep time, mostly because it might mean eating something before I run.

Also, looking at my sleep data it's no wonder I feel so tired. I woke up in the middle of the night last night (about 1am) and had a hard time getting back to sleep, meaning I banked less than 6 hours. Rough. I know at about 6+ I'm doing really well, and that's when I feel the most rested. I'll have to get to bed early again tonight and hope my circadian rhythms sort themselves out.

Monday, November 27, 2017

Holiday Run Streak, Day #5

Up at 1:30am, had a rough time falling back asleep. Not sure when I actually did, but I woke up at 4am with my alarm, and in the middle of a REM cycle. I set my alarm for another 8 minutes to see if I could shake it, and then willed myself out of bed, made coffee, got all my gear on and headed out.

I'm using the Charity Miles app for this streak (when I remember it) so today's 4.3 was donated to the ASPCA. I'm pretty frustrated that the app doesn't just sync my distance from fitbit or Strava, but that's life. It's for a good cause so I'll do my best to make it part of my habit.

A cold 4.3 today, but felt OK form wise after the first mile. Nearly ran into a buck head first on my way home. When it gets cold, for whatever reason, all manner of wildlife move further into the city, so I tend to see deer, coyotes, and foxes this time of year. Once he stumbled across the highway I cautiously headed on, ever weary that another deer might dart out of the bushes (as one did some years back, and ran head first into the back of my car.)

Sunday, November 26, 2017

Holiday Run Streak, Day #4

Shopping this morning, then a bunch of cleaning the house and cooking. Baby girl helped me "make" the bread this afternoon (sat in her chair, with her own measuring cup and bowl playing with cheerios.) It was fun, though, and I got a bunch of stuff done.

Out for 4.3 tonight. A little bit faster than a couple of days ago, but I'm mostly aiming to stay consistent. The big test in the streak will be tomorrow, because I have a long meeting after work, which means not being home until after dark (late afternoon in New England.)

I'm going to try my best to get up early and run before work, but we'll see how that goes after so many days of running straight. Fortunately, the coffee pot is nice and clean now, so I'll be well caffeinated when I get back.

I've added a bunch of runs to my calendar for next year, and I'm hoping to add more soon. The due date on kiddo #2 is in late May, which makes the planning tough, but I'm hoping to find a full marathon to do at some point next year as well (as I've done one per year to this point.) It may end up being a Spring marathon, but before I can commit to that training I want to see how this streak goes.

22 miles into the streak, and feeling pretty good!

Saturday, November 25, 2017

Holiday Run Streak, Day #3

Up early this morning. Went out to the diner to get breakfast, and then the children's museum after.

The children's museum is always a fun mix of folks. You get the full gamut of parents who are super involved, and then the folks who have no social skills what-so-ever and for reasons surpassing logic are still raising children. Very occasionally you meet people who will interact with their own children, your children, and you. Such people are rare. But they give me hope for society. We try to go when there aren't many folks, because it's just easier to get parking, and you can usually get to the stations with greater ease. We're members so we go often, and it's easy to hit those low-traffic times.

Got home, all three of us took a nap. I got up and got in a run. I had planned on doing four miles, but it was almost sixty degrees so I added on another three or so miles, so ended up with 7.6 for the day. Not too bad.

Also have started running with the CharityMiles, app. I was pretty averse to using yet another app, but it is for a good cause, so I'm going to use it for the rest of the streak to run for the ASPCA.

Friday, November 24, 2017

Holiday Run Streak, Day #2

Actually got 8 hours of sleep last night. Pretty happy about that.

I put the Christmas tree up last night before I went to bed, mostly because my tradition used to be to put it up on Black Friday at midnight, but now that we have a kiddo I figured I'd put it up and we could all decorate it together on Black Friday.

Said to my daughter this morning, "I've got a surprise for you!" and she said, "For me?!" and I carried her into the living room. When she saw the tree she said, "Wow! It's Halloween! Happy Halloween!"

I said, "No, it's a Christmas tree."

"Happy Christmas!" she said. Then she put her pirate hat on, from her Halloween costume, and proceeded to help decorate the tree while dressed as a pirate. That was pretty much the best thing ever.

We had left overs, and took a nap after decorating the tree. Woke up at about two thirty and went out for a four-miler for day two of the streak. Nasty headwind, belly full of leftovers, but pretty fun otherwise.

Thursday, November 23, 2017

Holiday Run Streak, Day #1

An early morning with the kiddo today. I've been rising early (about 4am) to try and jump start my morning running habit, but today I slept a bit later (730ish) to be awoken by my child. I made a small batch of pumpkin chocolate chip pancakes for breakfast, corned beef hash for my wife and the baby, and did a whole bunch of cleaning in the kitchen.

We do a bigger thanksgiving with several friends earlier in November, so the actual Thanksgiving Day we keep for our nuclear family. The wife opted for a ham this year, I have my vegetarian protein. Need to get back in those old habits.

Put the ham in the oven, and headed out at around noon for a 10k. Not too bad, if a little bit chilly. Heart rate monitor has been dead (needs a new battery, and conveniently doesn't take the same battery as my previous HRM) so I did the run with no feedback on my heart rate. Ran quite a bit faster than usual, although I'm sure I was working for it. Tried to go by feel and breathing, and just covered the miles. Got home and got to work finishing off dinner, we ate, and then I was absolutely wiped. 

Might be a rough time of year for some to find these habits, but I'm hopeful about getting back in shape. Being that we aren't at a huge gathering, I wasn't compelled to any of the bad habits like alcohol I normally would be. Still overate, but really only ate one meal today (plus two pancakes) so I think it'll work out. I'll check the food diary tonight, and see...

Looking forward to more miles tomorrow!

Happy Thanksgiving! (and a new beginning)

Happy thanksgiving to any and all who happen across my digital footprint.

It's odd to say, but the usual hoopla around this holiday has sort of been moved earlier in November for me, with our Friendsgiving. It allows for the actual day itself to be a much quieter one (even with a toddler.) A day we spend together, enjoying the comforts of our small nuclear family.

I've not written about this here yet, but this will be our last Thanksgiving as a family of three -- my wife and I are expecting our second child in the Spring of next year. It's exciting, and a little scary, and overwhelming, but a happy time to be sure.

I'll also be starting in on the Holiday Running Streak again. I've done one each year for the last four years. Last year was rough, and I abandoned the streak around the 23rd of December, so my goal this year is for redemption and maybe even to set a new personal distance record during the time frame. My highest distance covered in a streak was 153 miles, so we'll see what happens.

I'll be posting daily as I used to, with brief notes on each run and little stories from the day.

Friday, November 10, 2017

2017 NYC Marathon

Over the bridge, through the fog. 
Watching the buildings emerge -- one at a time, and never ending.
When we cross the bridge we see the others
joined in a common task, united in purpose
and then we're met by the full, warm, and raucous embrace of the city


I've been in a bit of a slump with running. Since the winter of 2016, I've been really dragging. I still love movement, but those bursts of enthusiasm at movement have been less and less. I've watched the pounds add up, and I've felt the joy in movement less and less.

When I got into running back in 2012, I had a list of races I wanted to do. Over time, I've plugged away at them, bit by bit. I've run Big Sur, and I've run Marine Corps. I've run in Leadville (at the 10k) and I've felt the joy of running (albeit only the half) in Boston, and on Heartbreak hill in a whole festival of races.

I'm not saying this as bragging, I'm just saying. I had a wellspring of motivation back then, and I have no idea why it started to dissipate, and I had no idea, really, what to do about that. I've had less time to sleep? But I was only sleeping five or six hours a night when I trained for my first marathon, so that was an excuse, anyway. I knew it.

Approaching NYC I had some of the usual drag I see when I taper. I don't taper well. Rest days are bad for me, and I just become lazy. I got really sick in September, and I knew I wasn't going to PR NYC. I started talking to my wife, and I started changing how I approached the race. I have wanted to run NYC for a few years, and I've entered the lottery three or four times. When it finally came through in February this year that I'd gotten in, I knew I was in some trouble as my inexplicable malaise was going to headbutt right into my marathon joy.

"Have fun with the race. Let go of the other stuff," came the advice from my wife. She was right, of course.


The morning of the race I headed down to the shuttles, which took awhile to get to. I had gone a block over, but figured it wouldn't matter because I was navigating to the library. When I arrived, I found that the que actually extended around an additional two blocks. That was frustrating, but the line moved, we put our stuff into clear bags, and got onto the buses. At this point I really had to use the bathroom, and that wasn't helped by the person in front of me exclaiming, "Is it really going to take 90 minutes to get to the fort?" Fortunately, it only took about forty minutes.

By the time we got to the fort, I was managing to put the race out of my mind and distract myself with other stuff. Food, making sure my gear was straight, that stuff. Fun free hats from a sponsor. I saved that one in my fuel belt to give to my daughter as a gift. I took a picture for some French runners, and people-watched most of the time.

After the three hours, I shucked my throw away clothes into the donation bins, and headed to the corral. I talked with some folks in the corral, I hung out. We spent awhile there. When the race started, it was obviously going to rain. It was windy and cold. I knew I wasn't in shape to run a PR in those conditions. I've never run a marathon in less than ideal conditions, to be honest. Still, I was committed to have a good time at the race I'd been dreaming of giving myself as a birthday present for four years. The race director amped us up, and the second wave started after a blast from a howitzer cannon.

We ran over the Staten Island bridge, and in the distance I could just make out the outlines of buildings in the fog. They seemed to emerge as we got closer, and I was reminded of the Pell Bridge back home -- although this bridge dwarfed that one in a very dramatic way. It was a huge bridge with two levels.

I cooked the first five kilometers, which was a mistake maybe, but I was just too exuberant. I knew at that point I was going to need to walk later on, and I accepted that. I was committed to enjoy the race, love the crowds, and drink in my surroundings.

That attitude got me to mile 11 or so, and I was tired. I started mixing in little bits of walking, talking to volunteers at aid stations, and talking to the other runners. By the time I got to mile twenty, I knew I was really cooked. I just kept on chatting with folks, inter mixing that with some running. I have never felt so embraced by a crowd. I've never seen such boundless enthusiasm, and such friendly runners. In New England (or maybe just further up in the pack) people can be pretty cold. That wasn't my experience in NYC. Volunteers told me how inspired they were to see the runners. There were bands. There were Taiko drummers, and I was reminded of Big Sur.

Big Sur stood out and made me emotional to see the landscapes I'd been dreaming of for countless miles of training, but New York City had a different thing to offer. It had the most incredible spectators, cheering, singing, blowing horns. They came onto the course, looked me straight in the eye and said, "Today is YOUR day. This belongs TO YOU. And you are going to DO this." It was an extremely emotional thing. I'm a people person, ultimately, and to feel the affection of so many people, so explosive a thing, it's almost impossible to describe.

Central Park was a bastard. I had walked it the day before, so I knew the hills. But I was not ready to be that dead in the legs by the time I got there. Still, every time I saw a "TAP FOR POWER" sign I'd give the person a, "This working today?" and tap it, jog a bit to the cheers of the crowd.

As I came through the finish chute I saw the time of 4:39 (my slowest marathon ever) and proceeded through the chute. I was tired -- but elated, and continued chatting. My wife called me, and as I wrapped myself in a thermal sheet it started to rain. A volunteer handed me a bag of food. "I have to be honest with you, I'm having a romantic relationship with this apple. I've never loved an apple this much in my life." I said, to the delight of some other runners.

Through the finish chute we walked, slowly, and in a massive crowd. I sang along with the music on the speakers (and in my head...?) I met a runner from Mexico who complimented my sandals. I proceeded on and got the medal, and the finisher poncho (which is heavy duty, fleece lined, and extremely nice.) And felt that I had gotten much more than I paid for.

I felt better at the end of that marathon than I have at the end of any other race. I'm more physically exhausted today, but I am in such a positive state of mind.

I know this won't be my last marathon. This won't be an end note on my life in distance running. I'm a new person, I'm born again with purpose and drive and a love unending.

There are many more things in store for me and endurance sport, I know that. Life has some more in store for me, too, but that will come later.

Saturday, October 14, 2017

Pre-Marathon Slump and NYC Bound

It's been awhile since I posted, but I wanted to post a brief update.

We're back to the busy season at work, and finding our rhythm. I'm amazed at what a confident kid our little toddler has become. Opinionated, too, but I suppose that isn't a bad thing.

She's a funny kid, too. Sings constantly, always wants to play. Even in a half asleep state I'm finding I have extra energy to sing one more Raffi song with her, one more story with her. Its such a blast.

With regards to running, I've fallen into some of the typical bad habits.

Fell off the wagon of marathon training a month ago -- came down with a digestive bug and ended up losing six pounds in two days. I rallied but never really recovered my rhythm post-streak, so now I'm finishing up a sporadic last couple of weeks on the marathon plan. My long runs have been rough, but otherwise things are alright.

I know from previous experience (most notably the MCM) that I have a really tough time maintaining enthusiasm at this point in the training cycle. I'm not sure how I'll improve on that in the next cycle, but I want to try some stuff. For one thing, I don't plan to completely lose my momentum post-NYC as I did when I ran Marine Corps three years ago.

I had a good tune up at Jamestown back in September, ran a 1:46, which I didn't know I had in my legs. A less than ideal performance at the BAA Half of 1:56, but it was very humid and my legs were dragging.

Thinking ahead I'm planning to revive my winter holiday running streak, and part of the goal there will be to get my running back into the early morning hours. It just works better that way. If I can fix the cycle, then hopefully I'll get better rest, and maybe even be able to return to the Eastern States next spring. That would be awesome.

Friday, August 25, 2017

Summer Catch-up (Toddler, Running, Training)

It's been two whole months since I've written anything for the blog!

Ok, so that isn't entirely true. I've got a handful of posts in the hopper than just need to be refined. But overall I've taken the summer to enjoy running and being with family. It has been a blast and we've made some great memories along the way. I'll write a bit to catch-up from the hiatus:

The baby is a toddler now. Crazy to think that not that long ago she was just watching and absorbing everything, but now the language is coming fast, she's singing songs and wandering off to play. She's even getting early signs of dramatic play (making some toys talk to each other, etc.) It's so neat to watch these early stages of child development unfold. We've had so much fun as a family this summer.

Frequent outings to the Zoo, the museum, and beyond! We got a zoo pass and a children's museum pass early on in the summer, so we have made those weekly (at least) trips. Trips to the beach, too, have been quite abundant and we hit the local historic carousel -- a favorite of mine from when I was little -- a bunch of times. This has had the effect that summer has felt pretty busy, but also fun and productive, so I can't complain much.

We're also reading a lot together, and singing a lot together. That makes me feel so great because most of my memories as a kid were of hating academic things. I didn't like reading, and so I'm really hopeful to reverse that in this generation of my family. My wife is brilliant, and has always been a great student, so maybe that's where the kiddo gets it from.

I'm in training for the 2017 NYC Marathon. When this post goes live I'll have ten weeks of training left! I'm heavier than I've been training for a marathon before, although I'm chipping away at the weight bit by bit. Being on a new-dad sleep schedule, plus all the bad eating habits summer brings has been tough. The speedwork is also something that I have to get used to, I haven't done a training plan like this since I trained for the 2016 Big Sur Marathon back in the winter of that year. The volume is intense, but I'm keeping up.

Summer Running Streak is going well. As of this writing I've done 91 days of running at least one mile every day. I made it to 94 days last year, so we'll see how far this year goes! I'm hoping to keep it up once the work schedule starts again in September. September, December, May, and June are always the hardest months for me to keep a streak going. If I can power through September there's no reason to think the streak should end.

I'll be returning to the Boston Athletic Association Half Marathon this fall. As a tune-up for New York I figured it would be fun to go back to the BAA Half, and got through the lottery! I used BAA as a tune-up for Marine Corps Marathon some years ago, and it is where I set my current 13.1 PR of 1:40. Will I set a new PR this year? Probably not, but you never know how I'll feel come October.

Friendships have tightened, others have faded. And that's OK. Sometimes life leads people on different paths, and this summer has been a revealing one in the area of social life. I'm lucky in the sense that when our social circle has shrunk, the existing relationships have become stronger and more supportive. I've even grown closer with some very old friends where the communication had not been as strong. It's a good thing to know that these changes can be weathered without too much discomfort, because there will undoubtedly be more change on the horizon. I've got a whole post in the hopper about friendships as an adult and my thoughts on them, but it is tough to ever feel like that post is "done."

So overall it has been a really restorative summer. I'm coming out of it with a stronger sense of self, and a deep and abiding affection for my family and friends. I mean, that's really all you can ask at the end of the day, I think.

Friday, July 21, 2017

Opossum meets Unicorn

And so with the sunshine and the great bursts of leaves growing on the trees, just as things grow in fast movies, I had that familiar conviction that life was beginning over again with the summer.
--F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby

Summer is well into full swing, and things are coming into focus lately. I've been doing my yearly running streak, as well as running races and planning the calendar, and taking many trips to the zoo, the beach, the museum, and playing around the house with the little one. It has been an excellent summer so far and it's helped put a lot back into perspective.

I'm 55 days into my summer running streak. This week marks the first full week of my training for NYC, and it has gone pretty well -- heat and humidity aside. I'm running my easier runs at an easier pace, and I'm putting a strong effort into my quality workouts. Hopefully that will yield dividends in the fall. More of my running has been in the daylight hours, and that's been good overall. I need to be adjusted to the heat and humidity, and I feel like I'm making progress on that front. I've also mixed up some of my supplements so that's given me a more fresh approach to this training cycle. Diet-wise I'm still a bit behind the curve, but not doing terribly.

Things are shaping up well for the NYC Marathon, and I've added the Boston Athletic Association Half Marathon as my tune up race, once again. I used it for a tune up prior to running the Marine Corps Marathon and it was the last time I PR'd the distance. It will be good to go back to a familiar course and see how hard an effort I can lay down, to help me figure out what NYC will look like. The BAA symbol is the Unicorn, and in my mind it's a symbol that represents speed. This is, of course, because of the notoriously high qualification standard of the Boston Marathon (which would require me to run close to a 3-hour marathon) and so it's been easier in the past for me to think of my endurance spirit animal as the possum -- hard to kill, and steady moving.

Parenting-wise things are going well. The baby is in full toddler mode now, and walking around, playing, singing songs, and getting more words all the time. It has been so much more fun than I ever imagined, and I'm really enjoying all the zoo trips, and playing with blocks and things at the children's museum. I've put more time into our house now, too, and we have a real dedicated play room in what was our living room. It's a better use of the space, and as it is I think it's good to have a room without a TV.

Friday, June 23, 2017

Stress, mindfulness, and marathons

Things have been remarkably busy lately, and I've been unable to slow down and write at all in the past few weeks.

We had a large amount of commitments from work in the past two months, and I took on work on top of that. So that meant more nights out, and time spent lugging around heavy equipment. My job has a large amount of work this time of year anyway, with having to take stock of resources, their conditions, and then making sure things are set for the following year.

This past week, baby girl got sick. Which meant her last couple of days in daycare, she had to spend with me at home. So I didn't get to do all of that wrapping up that I normally do. But that's life, I suppose, and obviously my child comes first in my priorities. I'm disappointed that more folks where I work can't understand the commitment that raising a child is. I don't expect everyone to want to be parents, but I expected more people to respect that my wife and I do want to be parents even if we have a different situation than everyone else. Chiefly that difference comes in the fact that we don't have a huge network of family support. We're doing a lot of stuff on our own, and it's really, really hard at times.

I've been practicing some mindfulness over the past couple of weeks and I do think it has given me more space to breathe when things get trying. I'm interested to see if I can use it to help me before races, where my pulse gets up and I typically have a hard time staying calm and just running.

Running-wise things are finally picking up this year. It was a rough Winter (and Spring) with more downtime than I like. But the whole running thing is a journey, it's a thing to enjoy, even for its ebbs and flows. I'm running a streak again between memorial day and September, as I have done in the past, and I'm up to day #27 already (I started a couple of days before memorial day...)

Training needs to start soon for the NYC Marathon for me. I'm looking into a 16-week plan, and planning to abstain from alcohol for the rest of the summer to aid in that goal (no more Tiki drinks! Why?!) I'm hoping for a good showing at NYC but as of right now I'm not forcing myself into a super strict time goal. Sub-4 would be nice. I'm only planning to run this one once because of the high entrance fee, so it'd be too bad to miss the sights!

I'm hoping to get out and do some hiking this summer, along with more beach trips and tons of trips to the zoo with the little one. I've even unplugged from Facebook for a couple of weeks, so maybe that will help me calm my mind a bit and find focus and clarity on other things (that app is without a doubt my biggest tech addiction.)

Monday, May 29, 2017

Narragansett Bay Half Marathon Review, Future Plannig

Yesterday I ran the Narragansett Bay Half Marathon.

I ran the inaugural running of this race back in 2014. That year the race was held in August, and it was mostly because Rock and Roll had pulled it's race series out of Providence, so the organizers wanted to give people another half to run. Funny to imagine that now, that there are half marathons everywhere in this tiny little state.

The race starts early, at about 7 am. It starts one mile from my house, so I run to the start line. I get up early, have breakfast, say to myself "You ain't no Dean Karnazes, kid." and head off at a lope towards the start. Dean runs from his house to the start of Big Sur, and I remember seeing him back when I ran that race last year. The guy is incredible. It's my little homage to him that I run to the start of this half, haha.

The race starts by heading down along the Veteran's Memorial Parkway, parallel to the East Bay Bike Path. That means there is a huge drop and then a steady hill to climb back up. Always have to pace myself up that hill, where the first aid station is at about a mile and a half. Slowly chip away at the hill before heading back down along Pawtucket ave and towards the Crescent Part Looff Carousel.

After the turn around and a bit of easy neighborhood running the course turns back up the bike path for another six miles or so, back towards the stadium where the race starts. There are some gnarly hills on that bike path, and I curse them as we run past volunteers. Previously I'd run 1:41 on this course, but that wasn't really in the cards for yesterday. I'd had too many halves too close together, so I just wanted a nice sub-2 pace.

I ended up walking two of the steeper hills in the last two miles, and then jogged in for an easy finish inside the stadium. Once inside I saw my wife and the baby, ringing the cowbell. I came through the chute at 1:51:51 on the clock (1:51:33 chip) which was faster than the half I'd run last week by a matter of seconds. Pretty cool stuff.

So I like that race, and I'll probably try to run the next one on this course in August. It's a miserable time to run that course, but a lot of fun. That race brought me to five half marathons in 2017, and bumped me up to Level 3 on my Half Fanatics qualifications. I'm not so interested in doing 50 states, but I'm looking to do New England as I only have Connecticut and Maine left, so I'll be thinking about that heading into next winter.

I just went through and mapped out my races for summer, and it is looking like a pretty full calendar. Some fun novelties at shorter distances, and another half in July. Additionally I'll try to return to the BAA Half this fall to see if I can PR, and tune up for the New York Marathon.

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Providence Half Marathon Review, Angry Unicorn Half Marathon Review, and HALF FANATICISM

It has been awhile, so I wanted to put up an update.

The Providence Rhode Races series was where I ran my first half back in 2013. I'd intended to run the full in 2014, but an injury prevented me from taking to the streets. It's a neat course with some hills, and I enjoyed the race a good deal.

As I'd run Fighting Seabees earlier pacing a friend, and set/met a goal of two hours at Blackstone Valley, I figured I'd use providence to see what I could do comfortably. I managed a 1:50 time there. No PR, but certainly finding my way back.

I also killed a pair of shoes in Providence! About mile eight or nine I felt like I was being stabbed in the foot, only to find at the end of the race that the sole of my shoe had a massive hole in it. At least I'm getting my money's worth out of them.

After running Providence I talked to my wife about a goal I'd always wanted. I've got friends on Strava who are in the Half Fanatics/Marathon Maniacs club, and I thought that would be a neat thing to do in 2017 (my year of the half marathon.) I qualified with that race at the entry level, and I'm well on my way to moving up a level if I complete two more marathons over the next couple of months. It's a neat little club with fun gear, deals on races, and I have always found the half fanatics so nice to meet at races.

After doing the dues form, my wife found the Angry Unicorn Running Festival stuff online, and encouraged me to sign up. I hadn't really planned on a half marathon today, but I love the logo, and Ocean State Multi Sport always puts on a fun event. Once again packet pickup was Saturday, and about five minutes from my house. Super convenient.

Woke up about 5am, made some eggs, took my vitamins. I arrived about a half hour before start time, being that the race is only about a half hour from me. Baby girl didn't sleep well, so my wife opted to stay home and catch up on sleep. The elementary school that hosts it has a massive field where we parked, which makes me think next year it would be a really nice place to hang out and picnic after the race.

The course is nice, scenic through some country roads and along the beach. The downfall of that, of course, is that in New England we have some seriously rolling hills. It's also an out-and-back course, which means that every downhill you run on the way out you eat on the way back. Nice tree shade along most of the course, though, and the weather was truly perfect: sunny with a high in the mid-60s.

At the end the timing company gives out a little receipt with times, place, etc.  A neat feature to be sure, and the folks all along the course and at the end were super friendly. I came in 5th place in my age group, 25th overall! Time of 1:51:37. A tad bit behind my Providence pace, but there were some more hills, plus running on sand, etc. Overall a challenging but fun race.

Next week: running the Narragansett Bay Half Marathon, which starts a mile from my house. I'd like to run to the start as I did the first year I ran it, but we'll see how things shake out.

Saturday, May 6, 2017

13.1 +.75 Miles (Blackstone Valley Half Marathon Review)

Do I understand your question, man? Is it hopeless and forlorn?
"Come in," she said, "I'll give you shelter from the storm."

--Bob Dylan, Shelter from the Storm

I'm a bit late on this one, but I ran the Blackstone Valley Half Marathon back on April 23. I'd gotten a bunch of emails about the race, and the Narragansett Bay Half, and decided to run both for the offered discount.

Blackstone Valley Half had absolutely gorgeous weather this year. Sunny, mild temps, with not too much wind. Couldn't ask for a better day to race. My Aunt and her boyfriend were back in town, so we ran the race together (on the one year anniversary of our running the Big Sur International Marathon!)

The race has some hills. Starts in Pawtucket near city hall and climbs up through Central Falls and into Lincoln before coming back down the Blackstone River bike path (greenway? Who knows.) Honestly the rolling hills didn't bother me terribly in the first half, but the gradual climb back up the bike path took a toll on me and I was feeling beat at mile 12. That said, my gps also seemed to be adding a mile to every mile, so I'd come through about three quarters of a mile ahead of the marker. Thought that was weird, but focused on getting to the end.

There were a lot of aid stops, as I know from previous years running races with this company. Lots of volunteers.

I came through the finish with 2:04 on the clock, which was pretty close to my target (I was aiming for an even 2.) I grabbed a couple of slices of pizza, a banana, and set in to watch my Aunt finish.

Turns out that several of us had taken a wrong turn on the course (an arrow had been put down by mistake) which added almost three quarters of a mile to the course. Some folks were really upset, the race directors offered free admission to the Narragansett Bay Half (of no use to me as I'd already signed up for it.) Honestly? Stuff happens.

I was in shape to cover more than thirteen miles anyway, so that didn't bother me, and it isn't like I'm going for the Olympics. I totally understand people being upset, but once you look down at your watch you can figure out the mistake, dial it in as an extra long run, and then race another time. These guys griping who finished around me, they still did a half marathon in two hours. I get that that's a big barrier for people, and a big deal to break. But it isn't the end of the world.

Also I've never had something like that happen in a race before. I'm willing to let that go. I got home, checked the pre-registered list for NB Half, and found that I wasn't on it. That DID set me off a bit, so I fired off an email to the reg company to see what was up. They emailed back (really quick, they were awesome) and took care of me, so I'm all set for that race on the 28th of May. I'm just saying, I get that things are frustrating, but it isn't the end of the world.

That said, I'm inspired to start adding more miles to my legs. I know if I can do that I'll shed some weight easily and be able to get in fighting trim over the summer, and hopefully have a good showing in my fall races. I'll be running the Providence Half Marathon tomorrow morning, which was the first HM I ever ran. I'm excited to see if the course is changed, as well as how I'll ease into the hills now that I have more experience. I don't expect to beat my previous time on the course, but that isn't the point. The point is in the doing of the thing.

Friday, April 21, 2017

Rainy Days in Motion

“To enjoy a thing exclusively is commonly to exlcude yourself from the true enjoyment of it.” 
― Henry David Thoreau, Walking

April showers, and all that.

I'm in an interesting place where I haven't been putting enough mileage on my legs, but I'm signed up for a whole bunch of races. And I'm not sweating that, just looking forward to it. Lots of Half Marathons in 2017, and then the NYC marathon this fall. I'm feeling a bit like taking less time on the road is meaning more enjoyment out of the time I do spend. I find myself smiling again in the later miles, and even giggling to myself as I top hills.

I am hoping to get back on my feet enough to do another run streak during my summer lazy-season. I mean, I'm also looking at doing a multiple day hiking trip, but I'll figure that out when I come to it. I enjoyed running a lot last summer, even when it left me totally exhausted, but I'm afraid that it also caused a bit of burnout in me. So I'll try to keep more to a schedule with real easy days, and real light days. That should keep me moving and also keep my mental game a bit more focused.

We have so much to do around the house now that the baby is a toddler. She's walking all over the place, and it's becoming more apparent to me that I have to finish all the projects I started (i.e: the house...) Mouldings will have to be put up, fix the little issues with certain door jams. It shouldn't be terrible but it will be enough detail work to keep me busy in the summer.

We're turning our living room into a more devoted playroom. The big TV will move (maybe eventually down to the basement) and a more reasonable size TV will go in. I put in a foam "tile" sort of flooring over the hard woods, which is fun and definitely kid friendly. We're also going to be putting her bookshelf in that room, once I have the hardware to secure it to the wall. All in all it will make a great play room.

There's a lot of other stuff I want to do to this place, of course. It could use a kitchen update so that it had actual storage, and the bathroom could use an overhaul, too. But who knows how long we'll be here. I've already put in new floors, added a half wall, and updated the kitchen quite a bit.

Ah well, exciting times in the life of my young family. Half marathoning again this weekend! Not sure that it will be a "race" in my eyes, but certainly I'll give it a strong effort. Supposed to be a hilly course, but Sunday is looking "partly sunny" and 60 degrees, so it should be a good day for it.

Monday, April 17, 2017

Both Sides, Now

I've looked at clouds from both sides, now 
From up and down, and still somehow 
It's cloud's illusions I recall 
I really don't know clouds at all.
--Joni Mitchell, Both Sides, Now

It is 3:30 in the morning. I've chosen (and I can sort of hardly believe it) to get up this early and have breakfast. Lately I've been on a kick of getting up early to go out for my runs, and this time it is a long run. I figure I'll allot myself two and a half, maybe three hours to cover fifteen miles. I don't have any idea what it will take to do this. I mean, I haven't run that distance before, but I figure if I can step up my distance to fifteen I'll be golden for my half marathon in a few weeks.

The plan is pretty simple: go out and run up the highway I live on, cross some intersections that have no cross walks, run up more highway that has no sidewalk, and then cross into the town my grandparents live in. At this point, I figure things will be pretty empty, and I'll be good to run a few miles in the country setting, before crossing another highway and entering into the town I grew up in. I'll run down a pretty main road, and then cross a bridge before running back up the highway I live on. Bam: 15 miles. OK. I've had my powerbar, a banana, some water, and I'm ready to go. It is now about 4:15am on May, 5, 2013. I'm 27 years old. This will be my longest run to date.


It is around 11pm at night. Since we have been home, my wife and I have been trying different arrangements to allow us to sleep, but we're a bit reluctant to not have one of us watching the baby at all times. This whole thing is so new, and we really don't have much support, so I'm not sure if any of this is normal. My wife heads to bed and I have the baby, asleep on my lap, as I sit down to tuck into some sweet video game action for a couple of hours.

It isn't long, of course, before she is fussing. I'm holding her, I'm rocking her, and I'm singing. I try to take the edge off, but I'm not really sure what to do. Eventually, I put her into the boba wrap on my chest and she falls back to sleep. There is something so satisfying about feeling my little one pressed to my chest and sleeping soundly. Even if it only last fifteen minutes or so, before I try the whole diaper-bottle-rewrap-singing-swaying routine again to get her back to sleep.


I started running last summer. I hated my boss, I hated my job, and I wanted to change everything about my life. Depression was getting really bad. My wife and I started logging calories at the suggestion of a friend, and then I secretly started using a treadmill. I figured the run/walk thing would be interesting. I don't know what drove me to keep moving, but I started really enjoying getting up early and then taking naps after I get home. Since I started running I found the confidence to go on seven job interviews last year, and earned an offer from one which I immediately accepted. Culturally, it is going to be a much better workplace for me, I can tell already.

Oddly, the longer I run the more I really enjoy the sensation of being thirsty for water. I am looking to plod along my miles, I'm looking to just go out and put in the distance. I've read some books on running, I've run some 5ks, I'm training for a half marathon. We'll see what happens. So far I'm in love with running, even though it is really pretty awful and painful. I mean it hurts. I mean, it is so hard and it hurts. But I keep going anyway.


I feel really alone in this whole endeavor. Obviously my wife is there but we don't have any experience doing this before. My in-laws aren't really in touch with us at this point, not that it is a rift or anything, just a life thing. My family can't really help out, and we haven't thought to ask our closest friends for help yet (although in a couple of weeks I'll break down, pass out, and when I wake up I will call in every favor from anyone I've ever met.)

She's awake again! And fussing. I can't game like this so I shut off the console and sway with her. I put on Debussy's 'Claire de Lune'. This particular video version of it shows an overhead of the pianist playing. His touch is delicate, and the melody is flowing and lovely. Like watching the river as it flows by. I'm not sure she really processes the melodies of the things we listen to, but she seems calmed anyway, and goes back to sleep for another half hour or so. 

God dammit this is tiring -- why did we choose to do this again? And what the hell makes me think I'll be any good at this, anyway? And did I really have the nerve and hubris to think that running a marathon gave me the mental toughness to sit up all night with this living, breathing, rubik's cube of love and frustration?


As I head out up the high way (at 4:27 now) it is still dark. The street lights are on, there are intermittent cars (and semi trucks) but no real people to speak of. When I reach the first intersection -- where I run across two lanes of a normally very quick moving highway -- I think to myself that I have never seen it like this. It is so desolate. It is like the apocalypse over here. I cross in front of a gas station, where not too long ago I was in a car accident, and I proceed to the next major highway.

This one is a four lane highway, and again, it is absolutely deserted. I cross gingerly, almost expecting a car to come from nowhere and obliterate me, but none does. I proceed into the country back-roads, past the old out-of-business cinema. "King Williams Rambles" comes on my phone on shuffle. My feet dance along the pavement. Running is really a lot like dancing. I suck at dancing. I know nothing about it and although I have rhythm I've always been way to self conscious about being in motion in front of others. That is probably a part of the reason I'm out here running at 4:30 in the morning when there is no (sane) person awake.

Now I'm crossing into the hills and the back roads of the countryside. The first embers of sunrise are off in the distance, and I'm still feeling a bit of a chill. I don't really even have running gear at this point -- just an old navy sweatshirt with holes cut in the cuffs for my thumbs.

Just keep dancing into the hills.


I mean, the reason we chose to do this is pretty obvious to me: I really wanted to be a dad. For a long time now, I've loved the idea of carrying on my family's traditions, our stories, our weird little eccentricities. In a patriarchal society, the last name carries on through a man. Well, I'm the last man who has this last name. I want the line to continue.

Since I've been with my wife, I feel that my life has blossomed and grown like an ivy climbing up the house -- we've added more of those odd little things that feel so perfectly in place with my character and existence. We chose to do this because we love each other, and we love our child. There are so many heart melting experiences I've had just in the last year (during the pregnancy, and now in the early years of her post-womb existence) that have already changed how I see myself. How could I have any purpose other than this? To be the father of this wonderful person who hasn't even smiled or spoken to me yet.

The time is now 2:30 am. I'm standing in our kitchen, and the 'Claire de Lune' is playing over the stereo. I'm swaying with the baby in the wrap. This feels just like dancing to me. I've always sucked at dancing. That isn't why I'm up this early -- I'm not trying to avoid being seen. I'm just dancing for my sanity here trying to bring comfort to this perfect little being on my chest.  In another twenty minutes, I'll go into the bedroom and wake my wife up early with several apologies before passing out for my four hours. Someday we'll get better at this? Someday I'll get better at this. I want to be better at this.

I'll learn to live with the crying and the frustration and the feelings which all seem to contradict each other, and settle for the love of my child and paternal instinct winning out. 

I'm just 30 year old guy who is ready to pass out. It is January 2016 and I am a completely new person trying to figure out how to integrate my two selves.


I've looked at life from both sides, now 
From up and down, and still somehow 
It's life's illusions I recall 
I really don't know life at all.
--Joni Mitchell, Both Sides, Now

I mean, that's sort of how I got here, I guess. I'm not sure from where the wellspring of willpower comes, but it drives me to move and also to parent. It keeps me fighting the forces of depression and self-doubt that might hold me back. I don't have all the answers. Actually, I have very few of the answers. I'm just a marathon-running lunatic looking to make his little girl laugh.

Here, in the middle of month 15 of parenthood, I'm going to post this thing. I'd written it awhile ago as a mash-up of my two lives, while I was trying to reconcile my identity. Now I'm feeling a bit more solid in my parenting skills, but I'm also comfortable in my skin as a mid-pack endurance athlete. We'll see where we go from here.

Friday, April 14, 2017

Spring in Motion

Spring has arrived in a big way here in New England, and I'm looking forward to being outside more. I've had a rough winter with regards to exercise, and I'm hoping to turn that around. I'm also looking to plan some big hikes for this summer (including a multiple day outing to complete the entirety of Rhode Island's North-South Trail.)

We're off to Vermont for a few days, and I've got a half marathon planned for my return. Will be nice to have a change of scenery for awhile, and I'll probably even log some miles there.

There is a lot of turmoil in my life. I swear, most of the time I don't go looking for it. I need to get back in motion to put my mind at ease, and remind me of what's important. Drama with the extended family, drama at work, drama with friends. It all amounts to a sense of overwhelming misery and dread.

When I'm out on the road my thoughts most often turn to my wife and daughter, and that is absolutely where my focus should be. I need running to remove my emphasis on the negative, and give me a chance at enjoying what I have. I'd like to write more on these topics, with greater detail, but I'll have to wait for a later time where I can plan the posts out more.

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Half Marathon Endorphins (Fighting Sea Bees Half Marathon Review)

This past Sunday I ran the Fighting Sea Bees half marathon in Quonset, RI.

Went to the packet pickup the day before as it was pretty close to home. Got the shirt, which is a really nice tech shirt. I know you can't please everyone, and I'm sure that's how race directors feel, but I have tons of tech shirts. Seems like every race gives them out, and I have my own nice training gear, so I'm not really in need of more tech stuff. The shirt is nice though, and maybe when I've run more halves, I'll have an HM quilt made from the logos.

On race day I screwed up my food pretty bad. Had planned on trying some of the new Pinole cereal I got, but it took so long to prepare that I didn't have time to eat it. Had to settle on some early morning nutrition of fruit and vegetable juice along with a couple handfuls of cashews. Arrived at the parking about an hour ahead, to find a massive crowd, and truly, the worst port-o-johns I have ever used.

If those port-o-johns could talk, man. Well, they'd probably just cry.

At about 8 am we headed to the start area, got the pre-race talk, and headed out.

I didn't have any goal for the time, just trying to cover the miles as I get back on my feet. Dialed in a comfy pace and tried helping one of my friends along to her desired 10:30/mile. We did OK for about half the race, but broke down in the final quarter of it as the hills, headwind, and beating sun started to take a toll on our game.

Races are fickle like that, the conditions have to align just right in order for you to perform at peak. Overall it was a really lovely race, great day, calm location, well marked course. The course support was very, very good. About every mile and a half there would be an aid stop, which meant even though we were running through a pretty empty part of the world we would see people every so often.

At the end the medal was nice, the timing company provided a little receipt with the completion time, pace info, etc. Pretty good system, again with good support.

My legs felt good at the end of the day, but I was stunned to find that the next day I popped awake at 5 am feeling more sunny than I have in MONTHS. The endorphin hit lasted for a full 16 hours. It was incredible, and it's driving me to sign up for more HMs to see if I can get going again.

Baby girl is incredible. 15 months (almost 16) and can do so much. Turns pages in the books, reads them to me (in her own toddler-language). Loves the cats and dog, loves Elmo. She's constantly walking, wandering off to pick stuff up, and then leave it later on. Such a cool thing to watch all the developmental stages I studied back in college first hand, and very happy knowing she's on track (or even ahead) in some categories.

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Two Miles in New England

"Mile 20 is nicknamed 'the Wall' because that is where normal people's bodies start to break down. But you aren't normal people -- you're marathoners."
-3:45 Pacer, Baystate Marathon, 2015


My head is in a fog. I would expect this kind of thing at 3am, but this is 3pm and all I can think about is going to sleep. This is a far cry from the days when I'd get up early, the beneficiary of some unexpected wellspring of energy to set out for six, seven, or eight miles. It was uncomfortable, sure, but my mental toughness was uncompromising. 

Like that run where I fell down? I was half way through a seven mile tempo run, pushing a seven minute-per-mile pace and lost my footing. Gushing blood from my kneecap, it just made sense to finish the run. I mean it was going to be seven miles either way. The look on the face of the guy up early getting his newspaper when I ran past his house. The quiet hush of the city streets as the sun started to stain the sky a dusty blue.

Why can't I find that? Where the hell did it go? That was an incredible feeling, and I loved it. I was fearless. I mean, running has never been comfortable. Learning to run is all *about* being uncomfortable, and learning to love that feeling. Right now I'm refusing to go lay down. I'm refusing to go take a shower, or eat a snack, because I know those things are distractions from getting myself out the door and moving. It is a tough thing to hold myself to, but in the long run I'm not going to be happier from taking a nap right now. In the long run I'll be much better off from summoning the will to get out the door.

I used to be that guy who fell down at least eighty-percent of the time. Now I feel like I'm him ten-percent of the time. I get little fluttery glimpses, after mile one, where it feels playful. A few strides after mile four, or an unexpected tingling in my legs when I see a big hill. I need to get that back.

So I'm pushing through an even tougher wall, and putting on my shoes to head out for a two mile run. If I can cover two miles each day, maybe add an extra mile on a day where the weather is nice, maybe I can help build this back into my life. This is going to be a balancing act, for sure. Too many days on, I'll burn out. Too many easy, lazy days, I'll spiral into depression. I need to watch what I eat more carefully, too. Food can have a profound effect on my habits.

I feel excited, and also a little scared, that I got into the New York City Marathon for this year. It is always around my birthday in early November, and this year I'll be running it when I am thirty-two years of age.  I'm hoping the motivation I'm feeling for it keeps me moving. I'm reading (and listening) to Meb Keflezighi's book Meb for Mortals to try and keep that going. I'm also planning to re-read Amby Burfoot's Big Book of Running. That book helped stoke my original enthusiasm for endurance running, so I'm hopeful about using nostalgia to rekindle that fire.

Heading out the door, I start out easy, because I know there are miles to cover, and this is about base building. There's some hills to climb, some slight variations in the terrain that make things interesting, but otherwise this run will be mostly unremarkable. For a time, a couple of years ago, I viewed my feet as a completely acceptable method of transport. I'd drop the car off in the shop, run home, run back to the shop. It was a neat experience -- a novelty to me, more than anything else. I kind of wish I could do that now, but with other people to transport it seems less realistic.

Looping back around, and now I'm running on the shoulder of a highway. I mean it's basically a highway. It is a two lane thoroughfare with a shoulder, where the speed limit is forty-five but everyone does sixty. I'm not particularly scared of these cars, everyone stays in their space, and the area off the shoulder is heavily wooded so it allots me plenty of extra room. This is the kind of place where I could turn down a side street, and happen across all manner of wildlife in the early morning hours. Deer, rabbits, my favorite opossums.

I have a spectrum in my head for how proficient one is at running. Somewhere in the middle, if you're like me, you're chugging through the miles at an easy pace, and you're doing it to better yourself, or because you like being outside, or because it fills some time. That's how I see the opossum. On the other end you have unicorns. Unicorns are graceful, they're efficient, they're quick. They're the mascot of the Boston Athletic Association and therefore the Boston Marathon. I'm not a Unicorn, not at this stage of my life, anyway. I'm an opossum, and I'm fine with that. You never know what the future will hold, though. Maybe someday I'll feel differently about doing all the really hard work to run a faster marathon.

For today, I'm happy to cover my two miles and be home. Slowly building myself back up to where I was.

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Personal Failings: Seeds for Redemption

“Beyond the very extreme of fatigue and distress, we may find amounts of ease and power we never dreamed ourselves to own; sources of strength never taxed at all because we never push through the obstruction.” 
-William James
I didn't run the Eastern States 20 mile today. I've run that race for the past three years, and I truly love it. I love it even when I'm not using it to train for a spring marathon. It is a lovely course, and a point-to-point, which is pretty rare to find in the racing world. I'm not happy about not running it. I'm not really all that happy at all, anymore.

I came to the realization that I wasn't ready for the race yesterday. I've been failing pretty dramatically at carving out time for myself lately, so my weekly long runs have been my only runs, and that's just not enough of a base to do a run like that with confidence. I'd be able to cover the distance, but I'd probably hurt myself, and it certainly wouldn't be enjoyable. It was the call I had to make but it also led to a long discussion with my wife. We are both suspecting that my depression is creeping back in.

I've had depressive bouts through the years, usually during the winter, and it is really challenging to overcome them. I've also continued to grow as a person, though, so this time, they don't look the same. I'm not staying in bed all the time, and I'm not eating tons and tons of junk food to cope. I'm not as bubbly, and I'm not running as much. I'm up about ten pounds from where I want to be, but certainly it's not the most weight I've gained in a period of depression.

"You're functioning. But you aren't yourself," my wife told me yesterday.

"This is why everyone thinks you're a pessimist. This isn't how you were when you were running all the time,"

That's true, no doubt. I'm in a crappy mood. It's like I'm exhausted all the time. I'm not happy with the way I look, the way I feel, the lack of activity. I'm not really sure how to jumpstart things again. I feel constantly overwhelmed by the amount of things to do at home, and at work. I used to be able to let things go, and now I feel like they stay with me. My long runs have barely been able to keep me sane because they're the only running I'm doing, and it isn't nearly enough to give me perspective.

But I'm going to keep trying, for sure. I can't give up on this, I've got too much left to do. I want to go run the ES20 again, I want to be able to redeem myself in my own eyes. I want to not feel like garbage.

The other thing that's so odd about all of this is that I really am happy with many things in my life. I actually feel worse when I don't mention this, because I don't take these things for granted. Our little family is very happy, the dog is great, the baby is healthy and so full of life, and we own our home (which my parents never could have dreamed of doing.) I don't take that for granted and I recognize that I'm lucky to have what I have. But, I still don't feel joy in many areas of my life, and they are the areas that made me a much more vibrant person. I need to find my way back to that.

I feel bad sometimes in calling this blog the "New Dad Endurance Blog." For one thing, at some point I won't be a new dad anymore, and for another thing, there are certainly athletes who are more qualified to speak to endurance than I am. I'm just hacking my way through things, really, doing the best that I can.

I believe firmly that endurance is also a mental thing. There's a lot written on that topic, and I think a lot of it holds true. I have the added thing of this depression problem creeping around, so in addition to the multitude of other stressors that one is really insidious when it's present.  It feels like a very heavy weight to lift all at once, to get back to who I was, and where I was. The only way I can think to approach it is to 'eat the elephant one bite at a time' as marathoners say.

It has been a very long winter. I need to come out of this on the other side, and try to turn myself around for the rest of 2017.

I'm signed up for a Night Run 5k this coming Saturday. I've run it before, but it wasn't in April the year I did it. One of my friends is also running, and I'm looking forward to getting decked out in glow bracelets and going for a run by the ocean. Maybe it will help revive my enthusiasm for the sport and my joi de vivre.