Haze Grey and Underway

Jon (from MA, not MI, and not a blogger)(yet) and I are working out a pretty good running relationship in addition to a good working relationship. Each morning, one of us calls and says “11:30?” The other says “OK.”

Then, about 11, one or the other will call to back out. “OK, fine,” the one who’s going to run, will say.

Then, on the way down to change, we’ll run into each other, and say “Hey, looks like I’ll make it after all”.

And then we run.

3 miles yesterday (3.3, actually). 5 miles today. Always good.

The weather has been what I would consider perfect running weather for 3-7 milers – about 80, humid, and breezy. Wow. Just warm enough to really angry up the blood and get the sweat pump running at full throttle, but not hot enough to be hot. A little bit of haze over the bay, giving the illusion that Rhode Island is bigger than a reasonably sized back yard.

Man, it’s good to be a runner.

Today ended up as a bit of a fiasco, though. In my excitement to get out into the sun, I left my socks at the desk. Decided to give the new shoes a go without socks. Even though it is humid. Even though it is hot. Even though we were going to stretch out the run to 5+ miles.

I got blisters.

Not awful ones, and when I get home and lance them, I won’t even notice them when I make the long run for the week on Sunday. But, bad enough that I had to send Jon on down the road at mile 4, and limp back.

Not that I minded another 10 minutes in the sun.


F. Landis (you decide what the F means, I’m kind of up in the air right now, but leaning towards “Floyd” instead of an adjective) was on NPR this morning. If he is a doper, he’s a darn good liar. I’m sympathetic at this point – the line about “Someone found a bottle of Jack” tugs at me as how I probably would have reacted to blowing up on Stage 16 for most of my life. I can see how the emotion of blowing up would play havock with my body chemistry, plus the strain of two and a half weeks of riding my butt off.

Freakin’ Frenchies.



“The Phonak Cycling Team was notified yesterday by (world cycling body) the UCI of an unusual level of testosterone/epitestosterone ratio in the test made on Floyd Landis after stage 17 of the Tour de France,” Phonak said in a team statement.

Freakin frogs, trying to destroy cycling. If Floyd’s a doper, then he should be strung up by his nether bits, no question.

But there’s a part of me that wonders if the elevated testosterone might have just been a natural physiological reaction – fight or flight, whatever.

(Insert French Joke Here – I’m too livid to make one up)

What is it? Is there too much money tied up in sport? Have we invested too much in the big stage?

Actually, that’s probably part of the problem. We expect others to provide excitement, instead of doing it ourselves. The solution is to get off our butts and enjoy the summer. Enough moping for me.
Are you part of the solution? Who are you racing? Who is being thrilled vicariously through what you’re doing?

Once more, with gusto

Another post that may or may not have been abandoned at some point…


The boy (6 yrs) is taking soccer camp this week. More accurately, the boy is going to soccer camp this week. But, he’s also going through a phase where all he wants to do is act a bleeding fool all the freakin’ time. His mom is on the verge of trading him in, and the coach at soccer camp is on the verge of leaving him at backfield, which, for 6 year old soccer is the equivalent of being the kid off in left field picking daisies. (I remember it vividly)

Anyway, after bath, I decided we’d try something a bit different tonight. It was cooling off, about 70, so I decided that it’s time that Jake learns to run.

Yeah, you read that right – “Learns to run”.

‘Cause I’ve come to realize that distance running isn’t a skill that comes naturally to most people. It really isn’t. We’re set up, physiologically, to sprint. The whole “Fight or Flight” response, and that instinct is what’s honed in us for most of our lives, especially in a world of fast twitch video games, sound bites, and deep philosophical discussions summed up in a 30 second ad on television.

So I said “Hey, let’s practice running down to the end of the block and back” – a trip of all of about half a mile. “Sure”, says the boy.

The out went like this – Jake would sprint as fast as he could for as long as he could without breathing, then stop and watch as I jogged by. Then he’d sprint again, laughing hysterically.

At the turn he was really starting to drag, so I summoned up the good parts of the OCS Battalion runs, and we started making up and singing jodies all the way back to the house. Next thing we know, we were passing the driveway – more than a quarter mile without me saying “C’mon, Jake…” I was happy, he was happy, the bees buzzed, the birds sang, and the last rays of twilight beat down on our ears.

Which is when it hit me – people do need to be taught how to run. As silly as that sounds, there is some level of skill involved – regulating pace, regulating breathing, etc. For a lot of us, being stubborn and working through pain is enough to learn those skills. But for others (and looking back, I’m in this category), rhythm, pace, and breathing don’t come naturally at all.

Which is another thing that might come in handy with the whole portable music player thing – running with tunes can be akin to having someone call cadence in your ear. Doesn’t do much for the breathing, unless you try to sing along.

Race Planning

Woah –

So, it suddenly hit me: New Haven is five weeks away, and Josh Billings is seven weeks away. And I’ve been kind of half-***ing training for most of the summer. Not that it hasn’t been productive – my motivation is way, way up, past where it’s been, well, pretty much ever.

But, I’ve been just kind of coasting along. Time to buckledown and kick some of my own rump.


Back on the Road

Went running at lunch with one of the guys on my team. Great time – he’s been a slacker for most of July, I’m in recovery mode.

WX was perfect – 80, humid, breezy – nice ozone haze on the bay rendered the boats beating down towards the Newport Bridge like something straight out of Impressionist France, and with neither of us having anything to prove, the run was the most relaxing thing I’ve done – well, since the RBF meetup on Thursday.

Nike+iPod continues to delight – even without the earbuds, it’s small, light, unobtrusive, and easy to read. I prefer it to my Forerunner by leaps and bounds, and think I like it more than the HRM – nice to look at pace rather than HR, which jumps around during the first part of the run since I’m too cheap to spring for electrolyte jelly. I’m even really starting to like the shoes – the more i wear them, the more they feel like a great pair of socks. There really isn’t much to the shoes as far as structure goes – I think I can feel the road better in the Nikes than in my Asics. The black ones are ugly as sin, though. But they’re light. We’ll see how they last through New Haven at least.

And I’m even looking forward to painting the house.

Didn’t run today

Felt pretty much fully recovered, but the doc had recommended I lay off for about a week after the family-planning related surgery on Friday. (If you want gory details, I’ll provide off-line. The short version is that I got more narcotics than Missy did for our first kid despite the fact that the ultimate discomfort from the procedure was less than any number of cleats to the nuts in intermural soccer (futbol). Which isn’t to say that I didn’t lay on the couch all weekend enjoying said prescriptions and the leisure of having a weekend to lay on the couch while the sky was cloudy, the humidity near saturation, and the AC both cool and a source of white noise.)

I really, really wanted to run. Really, really, really.

But I didn’t.

I will tomorrow. No doubt in my mind at all.

I registered for New Haven today. Yippie! Now, to see if I can still go 12+ miles – the longest I’ve gone in a month was the 6.8 with David almost two weeks ago. I’ll try that again this weekend.

And, when I found the details about the Josh Billings Tri, the wife said “Sure”. So, that’s two races in the space of two weeks, starting in 6 weeks. I’m pumped. I also get to paint the house over that time. The roof – contracted out, ’cause I’ve got no clue how to roof. Scraping, painting, and scraping again – I’ve been in the Navy, I can do that!

Life is good, good, good.

What would you do if you weren’t scared?

It’s a blog meme that hasn’t been recycled in too long – what would you do if you weren’t scared.

Weren’t scared of losing your job
Weren’t scared of losing your house
Weren’t scared of losing your reputation
Weren’t scared of anything

What is your big idea?

I ask, ’cause I’m scared right now. There’s a big idea we’re working at the office, which is interesting, ’cause the lab I work at doesn’t do big ideas. Sure, we do “change” and we do “improvements” and we do “new technologies”, and we do good jobs with all of that.

But we don’t do big ideas. They’re not written into the DoD 5000 procurement model. We’re engineers on the career track.

What would you do?

I ain’t skeered. GTBMS. There’s work to do.

Last night i dreamed

About running.

Kind of freaky, in hindsight. Dreamed I went running through the neighborhood, but as I ran, I ran into a neighborhood of the absolute cutest Arts and Crafts recreation homes – brand new, but smallish, 1400 sf 3Br 2B homes with large two car detached garages. Hardwood floors, really cool stained glass in the doors and around the windows – not like Angels and Saints stained glass, but the cool A&C geometric patterns – long rectangles of clear glass with some colored accent squares. Beautiful built in cabinets, airy living spaces.

The best part of the dream really was the running – just felt like I could go forever.

But I’m kind of amazed that my mind would come up with houses like that. I’ll admit, it’s what I’d build, given the time, but I’d never given that much thought to it.

Hola Amigos

Wow – Sunday night already.

If you haven’t checked out David and April Anne’s reports, we had one heck of a run trying to dodge the rain. I’d elaborate, but David pretty much nailed it. Well, with the exception of April Anne trying to drive me into heart failure as we raced over the state line and back.

Were I half a good writer, I’d work in the classic joke about “Crossing staid lions with immoral porpises”. But, it’s late, and I’m tired.

The run was outstanding, BTW. Trails are great, and AA has a way of suggesting “just a little further” that’s impossible to resist. I think I was still carrying the endorphin buzz when I had a bit of delayed elective surgery on Friday. So no running this weekend. The doc said I should take at least a week off – we’ll see. The legs are dying to go.

New Haven is, what 6 weeks away? And I’m halfway thinking about heading down to Mystic Places Marathon again, but on a lighter training schedule – work up to a 15 or 18 miler, and then just suffer, suffer, suffer through the race. We’ll see. More likely is I’ll run the 10 miler there. The wife’s doing the Tarzan Brown 5 miler the first weekend in November, and also the Old Saybrook 5 miler in two weeks.

But, mostly my mind’s on getting back into tri. The swim has been a complete and total bust this summer, other than cooling off after runs. I need to focus on that next winter, but as I’ve been telling anyone who will listen, this year’s focus on just getting out on the road, without stressing about results, has likely done way more long-term good than anything else I could think of.

But, one of Missy’s women’s fitness magazines mentioned the Josh Billings Triathlon on 17 September – Kayak, bike, Run. Wow. Sounds like a perfect weekend in my book. 34 mile bike, 5 mile paddle, and a 10K. I am so there if the wife says OK.

Other than that, I’m ready to lose some weight. The scales are down to 167 again, which is way positive. The hunger’s not raging, since I’m not creating two hour training deficits.

Oh, one other thing to mention: I’m going to be going to all Linux for recreational computing for the month of August, with the exception (AFAIK) of using OSX to send my runs into Nike. Unless I can figure out how to hack that. Follow the action over at (Site in need of a decent name). Part of the whole big idea thing I’ve been meaning to push for a while. I’m still planning on buying a MacBook in the fall/winter, but am really, really intrigued by Ubuntu – it’s the first Linux distro I’ve tried that really comes close to “just working” by design, not accident. Vista, schmista – grow your hair long, stir up the mulch pit and plant some organic veggies, and do something out of the goodness of your heart.