Funk is its own reward

After a great start to the summer (Half marathons at Vermont City and Mystic, two weeks backpacking at Philmont), work, life, and beer caught up with me. Weight’s up (but not to pre-summer high, and my Movescount dashboard is that of a slacker:


8 hours. 8 whole hours of logged exercise for an entire month.

Anyway, made it out this morning into the autumn early light. No fog, but low, cold clouds hanging over the trees. Cool, but not enough to have to put on long sleeves.

The run was unspectacular – 9 minute miles on an out-and-back I’ve run more times than I remember – downhill to just before the turn, then a small 20′ kicker at the midpoint, and about 100′ up in the mile and a half or so back to the house.

But it was a run. Which counts. 8 hours, 15 minutes a day … maybe that’s not so bad.

Bonk. Or Whatever

Really? Haven’t posted since March? Well, crap. This winter really, really, really, sucked the life out of me. Let’s see, what have I done since then:

Another YAM Scram and Relay Vermont City Marathon:


The Inaugural Mystic Half Marathon (Yep, that’s my boy, bringing home the age group hardware):

Mystic Half

A little bit of backpacking at Philmont in New Mexico:

Winter that never ends

Riding to get Ice Cream:


Riding because I’m married to the finest woman on the planet (person on the planet, actually)


Riding to fight homelessness:


Drinking some beers:

(Maybe lots of beers)

Anyway, today was the last day of the kids being at YMCA Camp Woodstock, so I did a pseudo-brick: Actually, a BSOTSD (Bike and Swim On The Same Day, if BRIC is a Bike and Run in Combination).

The swim was OUTSTANDING! We’ve been sending the kids up to YMCA Camp Woodstock in Woodstock, CT (Duh, but everyone assumes it’s Woodstock NY, so I usually mention it). The kids absolutely love it, and I’m jealous as all get out. It’s a plain, old traditional summer camp – swimming, and outside, and climbing, and stuff. Coed. I’m jealous.

Anyway, the last couple of years, on either dropoff or pickup we’ve gone on giant bike rides, or I’ve swum in the pond, or whatever.

Today? Well, can you ask for a nicer day?


No, no you cannot.

Swim was great – 10 minutes out, 10 minutes back. Water was perfect, and this everything felt smooth.

So, got the kids home, unpacking, etc. And decided to run out for a bike.

Occasionally, there’s beach traffic backed up on IH-95 south on Mondays, so I take a back road across the RI border. For about 10 years, I’ve been thinking “Man, that’d be an awesome ride.” So, today, I rode it.

I had an epiphany earlier this week: Cold Brew Coffee as the basis of an energy drink. 1 part Cold Brew, two parts Water, a pinch of salt, and a teaspoon of sweet. Loaded it up and hit the road.


I was right – the course was outstanding. Good long drag down CT 184 to the border for the first hour. An hour of mostly downhill and rollers to Westerly, through fields and dairys. The birds sang, the breeze blew, and the sun beat down on my ears.


The last hour was the drag from Westerly back to Mystic, which I’ve ridden a thousand times (Maybe hyperbole, maybe not…). And, after 2 hours in the sun, only two bottles of drink, and one Kashi granola bar, I pooped out.

If you’ve never bonked before, it’s kind of interesting. Just before, you are feeling somewhat fine – maybe in the hole, maybe a little on the good side. Then, in the space of 100 pedal strokes, everything just kind of leaves you. Air stops entering your lungs, your heart stops pumping, and your legs just don’t want to work. A saddle that’s been comfortably beneath you for thousands of miles is suddenly assaulting your rump.

Anyway, this happened to me just as I came to the light at RT 1 and Flanders road. I coasted through to the shade on the west side, and sat down. SOmehow after finishing my last bottle and sitting for a couple minutes, I was able to get back on the bike and limp home.

The bonk was glorious. Which isn’t to say I’d like to do it again anytime soon, but there’s something satisfying about finding the limit, pushing past it, and realizing that there’s work to be done to move that limit further out.

28 Days of March to Go

Mother Nature continues to be a Mother*.

Today, I went to pay my respects to the waters, to spend some time immersed and moving through them. A lovely mile in the pool ensued. “Ha”, I thought, pictures of lovely summer days swimming in the sound, bay, ocean, and lakes running through my head. “It can’t be winter while I’m swimming, right?”

The swim was good. Not noticeably faster, but still good. Form felt good, lungs felt good, and there was a little bit left as the pool closed and I had to call it quits. But, I felt good; convinced that I had this winter thing licked.

Winter had other plans.

As I left the pool, snowflakes were beginning to fall, and by the time I reached home, they were coming down pretty well. But, as Tony Robbins told me, I can’t let other people set my own reality – I must take control of what’s been given to me. So, after supper, Missy and I set out for our after-dinner stroll of the neighborhood. Tons of snow coming down; about an inch in the hour we’d had supper.

But, as I’ve unilaterally declared Winter over, we went for our usual after supper stroll. Kind of a lovely walk, with snow crunching underfoot, and gentle flakes falling down. Which would be great, ‘cept winter is done.

Wish it believed it.

Didn’t step on the scale today, but had a bad, bad eating day. Calorie counting says I ought to have broken even, but it needs to wait until I get back on the scale.

29 Days of March to go

Tony and I still have much work to do.

I arrived at the office today after a 2 hour work delay to allow New England to shovel out. Winter, it seems, doesn’t really believe in the power of positive thinking and goal setting. Or at least that’s what it thinks. So, I set a determined face, and decided to double down on my quest to end this season until sometime later in 2015 when I decide it’s time to break out the skis again.

Plowing being what it is, and work being what it is (namely, a time sink into which daylight hours disappear), resigned myself to a little bit of time riding the rollers in the basement. Fortunately, the past weekend was the beginning of the Belgian spring classics season, so there were plenty of quality youtube videos from Cyclocosm and others to get me through 50 minutes of trying to simultaneously:

  • Smooth out my pedal stroke
  • Not Puke
  • Not ride off the edge of the rollers
  • Playlist can be accessed here, or watched below:

    Quality pool of sweat under the bike when I was done.

    Progress to date:
    Still 4 lbs above beginning of winter weight, 19 lbs to semi-fighting weight. Winter gains an additional 4″ of snow.

    30 Days of March to go

    Screw it, I’m done with winter.

    There, I said it. D.O.N.E. Done.

    Part of the beauty of living in Southeastern Connecticut is that Winter’s usually sort of tepid. Sure, we’ll get a nor’easter once in a while, but those are generally to scare off the snowbirds or other folks who’d also complain that there’s no AC in summer, or that there’s no parking, or whatever. But usually, the winters come with breaks – snow one week, mid-40’s the next week. So nothing’s ever iced up too long, and you have to treasure snow the few times a year you get it. Makes the shoveling easy, too, since you don’t have to toss the snow up too far.

    But, Saturday rolled around and, since the temperatures were within spitting distance of freezing, I busted out the trusty old Cross bike and rolled down to the package store to pick up some beers. Mmmm, beers.

    Later that evening, drinking said beers with some like-minded neighbors, I came to a decision that kind of surprised me. Namely, that I could, unilaterally, declare winter over. Done, finished, finis, ended, omega. Power of positive thinking, right?

    I’d been catching up on TED talks Friday afternoon while working, and had caught this one by Tony Robbins. In general, I think he (and many other power of positive thinking folks) relies too heavily on anecdote, single examples, and survivor bias, but, sitting there Saturday night and then Sunday morning with a little bit of fuzzy head from the night before, I kind of wondered if maybe he wasn’t right? Maybe life is choices; maybe we do have the power to shape our reality.

    So, Sunday afternoon, I headed out for a run. Even though it was 20 degrees and snowing. “Winter,” I thought, “Tony Robbins and I are going to make you my (censored)”.

    5 miles later, sitting on the porch, ice falling off of my eyebrows, I looked around through the falling snow and gloated. Tony and I are going to kick this.


    PANO_20150212_122955I’m actually a little ashamed to admit it, but after a great start in January, I kind of fell off of the running wagon. Part of it is the massive snow we’ve had lately in Mystic, but mostly, it’s a regular, no-frills forgetting to get my butt out of the door. No excuses.

    Which isn’t to say I’ve been doing nothing – the log’s got a couple of trips to spin class, a couple of roller rides in the basement, a decent number of miles breaking trail on XC skis, and a return to the pool, which I’d missed more than I thought.

    Today I finally got off my duff for a lunchtime run, and have zero regrets. Right around freezing, not a lot of wind, and a lovely 4 miles through legs which were tighter than they should be considering the dearth of running I’ve been doing.

    Needless to say, I’ve missed it.

    I think I’ve turned the winter corner on weight, too. Peaked at a number I hadn’t seen in 5 years or so, and have been steadily below that and approaching 180.

    Posted in Run

    Get Elevated

    So, I’ve been headed to Albuquerque for business pretty regularly over the last year. And, I’ve got to admit, it’s a great place to run. Mostly, I’ve been running on Albuquerque’s great network of multi-use trails and bike paths. Well, that and swimming – found a great pool, good hours, great temperature.

    But, man, does the altitude get to me. (Well, that, and being only moderately in shape and fat). It’s been amazing for me to, as I’ve been getting back in shape, to feel better on the run. Or so I though…

    Anyway, I woke up this morning to snow pouring over the Sandia mountains like steam rolling over the edge of a cauldron. Amazing. Work wrapped up a little early this afternoon, so on my way back to the hotel, I did a quick search for trail runs. IMG_20150121_081530

    And, Runner’s World had a great recommendation about the 365 trail in the Sandia foothills. A quick google, and I had a trail and topo map, courtesy of the City of Albuquerque.

    Quick drive, and here I am. Parking lot at the top end of Copper Ave. 6,000, or so. The Rio Grande valley behind me, mountains in front of me.IMG_20150121_162429

    So, start running, and it’s up, up, up.

    And more up. Or, at least it feels like it. No air in my lungs for the entire first mile; mostly a walk-run. But, gentle snow was falling, and the trails were amazing. New England trails aren’t like this – they’re chunks of granite the size of babys’ heads and branches, branches, branches. These were AMAZING – like beautiful crushed rock stretching out for miles, and miles, and miles. Plenty of elevation, plenty of smoove.

    And the run was great. aside from the not being able to get oxygen to my lungs.

    Made it up to the entrance to the Sandia National Forest Wilderness area at the intersection of the 193 and 365 trails. PANO_20150121_162436 Beautiful.

    Decided to make a loop rather than an out and back. The second half of the run was, well, actually a run, more or less. Lots more down than up..

    Anyway, great run. “Rave” is probably an accurate description. Hopefully get to knock it out again before I head home.

    Posted in Run

    Call to me …

    I think I’ve exorcised my Halloween candy demons.

    I think.

    I hope.

    Gorged myself on starburst today at the office. Of which I’m not proud, not proud at all, but I think it’s important I get that out there.

    But, looking at the training log for this month, I’m off to a decent start. 15 miles running so far (injury free); 50 miles outside on the bike plus a spin class, and three hours spinning. AND, we’re not done with the first half of the month.

    Regardless, for the first time in a while, I actually feel fitness CALLING to me – my lungs are good, my legs are good, and, while winter’s knocking at the door, I really, really just want to say screw it and start to hammer.

    Now to get my stomach on board.

    End-ian summer

    October and November have been phenomenal.

    I just pulled back into the office after a day-ending run. Glorious sunset, near still winds, 60 degrees – I do not think there is a finer day for running in the world. Tomorrow’s supposed to be another decent day – sunny with a high of 50, but then possible snow on Friday.

    My mind’s in a funny place. My body’s fat. Like, my weight is higher than it’s been in a while, but my fitness is coming back. Good bike ride with Melissa yesterday, great run today, plenty of swimming – but, it’s candy season, and somehow I cannot control myself.

    January will be here soon enough.

    Save the soul of the New Haven 20K

    Runner types- the New Haven Road Race folks sent me an email survey, the gist of which was asking if they should ‘add’ a half marathon option to the Labor Day 20k.

    Please tell them ‘no’.

    The 20k is a great race as is, period, full stop.

    I was kind of upset when they trebeled the size of the crowd showing up Labor Day morning with the 5K; however, in hindsight, it works as an option to get the whole family running. Which is awesome, and adds to the great atmosphere.

    However, adding a half marathon would be a huge mistake, because you wouldn’t really add runners, rather just shift folks from the 20K field. Any new runners who came to the event to the event would be the dumb ones who can’t think metric and realize that 20k is only a half mile shy of a half marathon. The folks who care deeply about labels, and are just looking to check a distance box instead of running for the sake of running and reveling in the last day of summer. The types who won’t do a triathlon unless it’s got an M-Dot.

    From here on, we’re going to call the proposed half marathon the 21K. And I encourage you to drink beer.

    Not every event needs to be the same. There’s value in having some odd distances, in that it captures the essence of racing, which is “Hey, I bet I can get THERE faster than you”.

    Tarzan Brown should be to the top of River Road and back, construction dependent, and shouldn’t get truncated to a 5 mile race. Adding another 0.2502 miles would make the Manchester Road Race just another 5 miler instead of an almost 80 year Thanksgiving Tradition. Probably would start at 10 AM instead of “10:00 a.m. Sharp”.

    These traditions are what unite us in our local “tribes”, what give us opportunities to actually talk instead of just nodding while we pound out miles day to day to day. New Haven on Labor Day should be a 20k followed with beer on the green, and then pizza and more beer in the park.

    While I’m pretty convinced just based on tradition, being a stick in the mud, and getting into my mid-40s, I’m skeptical of the logistics of running a 21K alongside “The” 20K. I’ve run several marathons where there was a half marathon run on the same course, and where the races split has always been a giant bag of poop for mid-pack runners, regardless of which distance they’re running. Either the half runners miss the turn and get a slower half time, or the marathoners accidentally make the time and end up running 26.4 instead of 26.2. And that’s where there’s a HUGE difference between the race distances.

    Part of the reason the 5K and the 20K work alongside each other is because they are “alongside” each other, not on top of each other. The start areas are together, which is cool, and the finish areas are together, which works because even if you’re walking a 5K, you probably are going to finish ahead of the elite runners running the 20K.

    However, if they add a 21K, how are they going to break up the course? Is the 21K going to have a completely different course? Is the 20K finish line just going to be further up from the green and the 21K finish, robbing the 20K runners of the traditional finish? Imagine the confusion coming down Whitney to Temple where the diversion for the 21K happens. Logistically, it just doesn’t work without adding confusion to the runners and/or robbing either the 20K group or the 21K group

    Anyway, the idea stinks. I’d still run it if the only race was a 21K, just because the weather and green are glorious on Labor Day, and at the end of the summer, a 20K-ish distance is just fun to run, and to revel in a summer’s good training. But the idea of running both a 20K and a 21K doesn’t work for me, though I’d keep running the 20K out of spite, and griping about the split or the finish or something, which then spoils a great summer day.