Chasing Summer

Busy, busy, busy times. Grad school project due tomorrow, clustering happening at work (much like always), and in the thick of activities between Scouting, Church, and the part-time job.

But this afternoon, for a glorious 61 minutes and 33 seconds, it all slipped away, and I chased the sun as it plummeted from the sky far too early in the day.

We’ve been enjoying an outstanding autumn, almost an indian summer, but not quite warm enough. Last night into this morning, though, the weather changed. The wind picked up and blew, and the temperature dropped from the mid-60’s Friday evening into the 30’s this morning.

I think I’m finally getting my mojo back, getting into a regular habit of hitting the road, hitting the pool, and at least a weekly bike ride. Would be great to have more time to ride, but I’ll take what I’ve got.

Anyway, had a virtual meeting with some classmates about a project we’ve got due tomorrow; divvy’d up the remaining work, and headed out to hit the road. Laced ’em up, fired up the Ambit and the iPod, and hit the road. I was a little interested in how it was going to go – not sure when the last time I’d done back-to-back runs was, and not sure when the last time I’d done more than 10 miles in a week back-to-back was.

But, my race at Tarzan Brown was better than last year (shockingly), and that’s given me a little bit of a boost. Plus, my teenage son smoked me, and I’m not really ready to be an old man. It’s a lie to say it was easy today, but it felt good, and I just kept going.

There’s a hill near the house, Boston Post Road approaching Flanders Road from the east, that’s a classic coastal New England bump. Maybe 100′ of elevation total over almost 2 miles, but enough to notice. A couple of years, I decided that I’d stop avoiding the hill and embrace it, and today may have been the first time I’ve really, really loved it. The shadows and tall trees were stretched out, and the sun was plummeting towards the horizon. 6 weeks till the solstice, allegedly, and then the days will inch back towards something approaching reasonable.

I crested the hill, and decided to turn a 5 miler into an hour, kept running down the other side of Flanders Hill, and into the sun. A glorious, glorious patch of sun, a downhill, and a lee from the cold wind. Good legs, good lungs.

It’s a long four months until the end of March when we might see days like this again, but runs like today make it seem like I might get there again.

Holmes Run

Fall is awesome. Let me just start with that. Down in DC for meetings, and dealing with slowly getting back into shape. Stuck in a new hotel out in Alexandria in kind of a residential desert; it’s kind of unusual in that it’s one of the few places around DC without a robust bike/trail infrastructure like right out the door.

But, thanks to the good folks at the desk and the google maps, I was able to map out a run that turned out pretty much awesome. About a mile down the hill from the hotel was Holmes Run Trail. Beautiful mix of paved and unpaved options. The light was stunning.

However, every time I would see the “Holmes Run” sign, instead of reading:

Holmes Run

like the creek, I would read:

Holmes, Run

And start hearing either:


Anyway, it was one of those runs which was absolutely awesome. Happy to go.

Posted in Run

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.

Posted in Run

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