Canoe U

The older I get, the more I am drawn to folks with the innate ability to create things of beauty. There’s a case to be made, I think, that part of the ennui and dissatisfaction plaguing society these days comes from the disconnect of large parts of the population from the act of creation, and even moreso from the act of creation of beauty.

We picked up the new Lyle Lovett Album, “It’s not Big, it’s Large” this week, and MAN – the band sounds good. Highly recommended.

Spent last night down in Annapolis on business. I managed two runs down there – one immediately after checking into the hotel, about 7 in the evening. Ran through Old Town Annapolis onto the Naval Academy, and chased a couple of midshipmen who steadily pulled away from me the whole time. Great run, though – the last of the golden light of evening, through the twilight, and finishing up at the hotel as darkness settled in. Just the thing to get my stomached prepped for a lighter supper.

Woke up this morning, strapped on the sneakers, and did it again. Not quite the same route – this time I stayed on the civilian side of the fence, up past St. John’s College and over the USNA bridge, then back past the old statehouse, finishing up at the town dock for coffee and a bagel. ALMOST a perfect day, ‘cept when I ordered a blueberry bagel, toasted, with cream cheese, I got a wonderful bagel – really, really tough, chewy skin with a smooth chewy center – and (the horror!) a plastic bubble of cream cheese. Guess we’ll stay in New England, where they put the cheese on for you.

But I’m beat. Almost didn’t get a car yesterday afternoon; had to stay much further from my clients than usual (But Annapolis was a treat), and almost missed my flight back. But the trip was productive, the running was great, and I made it home in time for Jake’s soccer practice and Melissa’s book club.

Team Building

Man, so there are some days when the running is just GOOD.

Today was completely one of them.

Stressful day at work today, believe it or not. An event I’ve been planning for a long, long while went off without much of a hitch in front of an out-of-town crowd. They were completely in my court, but y’know how there’s always a chance that something’ll go wrong, whatever?

Not today.

It started near disaster – I forgot the keys to the room we were using, where we’ve been set up for quite literally weeks. But, it was padlocked, and we were working with a small boat – almost guaranteed they’re going to have either a bolt cutter or a pry bar. Which, to tell the truth, kind of made my day – there’s not much more fun than getting to do a little bit of sanctioned destruction first thing in the morning, before the coffee’s really had a chance to work.

So, we briefed, and negotiated, and made minor changes to the plan, ’cause, what, really, is a plan except for a document guaranteeing that something else will happen?

And the day was good. We got the data we wanted, we swapped stories, and the team really started to gel.

After the event was done, I asked one of the engineers from out of town with whom I’ve been working if he wanted to go for a quick run. He’d done at least a half marathon (picture on his desk with a 2:00 finish), so I knew he was a runner. “Sure”, so we headed on down to First Beach and hit the road.

Newport after Labor Day – suddenly it’s just a small town on the water. Rock on. There were still some retiree tourists strolling on the Cliff Walk, but traffic was nothing compared to what it is in the summer. I haven’t run from First Beach since before Memorial Day (How the heck did that happen?), and, man, do I need to do it more.

I think that New England’s finally seeped into my bones. Today dawned grey and misting, and it frankly warmed my heart, as I was getting tired of the blue skies and sunshine we’ve been having. The grey over the bay and the steel color of the water was picture perfect, the complement to the green-gold of the leaves beginning to turn. As we started to run, the ocean was moving in in small rollers, breaking just off the beach, the breeze was near calm.

We headed down the north end of the Cliff Walk, veering off of it after the Breakers and the first section of broken boulder sea wall. Just as we got to Salve Regina, we were passed by what must have been most of their women’s Cross Country team. Man, can I pick a team-building exercise or what?

We cut across the island, too far, if truth be told, until I saw the sign for Fort Adams. “Crap. Right turn, Clyde”, and we began straggling back towards town. Up Thames Street through the tourist district, and up and over the Memorial Drive hill. As we crested the hill, Brian said “Hey, look strong – the XC team is on their way up the other side.”

Rock on.

We did a quick little sprint on the hard sand, and wrapped up. Man, did the run feel good. 4.8 miles (think that’s pretty severely on the short side, measurement-wise), 9 minute pace. Not too speedy, but I completely finished with gas in the tank. I think Brian was taking it easy on me – he’s one of those darned tall and lanky guys who way about a buck-fifty soaking wet, and take one stride for every two of mine.

Life is good.

News from Mystic River


It’s been a quiet wee in Mystic, my hometown, out here on the edge of the Ocean. School’s back in session, and Terry Gross has just done an amazing interview with Alice Cooper. I’ve been busy, busy at work, sometimes doing great and creative things, and other times just trying to keep pushing the boulder up the hill. Not sure if I’m happy or sad about that; just worn out.

I will write about New Haven at some point this weekend – it was one of the best things to happen to my running in a long, long time. Now to capture that energy and keep moving.

Newest Janks / New Haven Teaser

First, huge congrats to my (not-so) little brother and his lovely wife on the birth of twins, Abigail and George. Mom and babies are doing fine.

And B) I logged my first DNF at New Haven. Chalk it up to Augustathon and a series of 3 milers getting the legs used to the shorter distance. Dropped out after about 10K with a huge blister on my left foot and nothing left in the tank. But, the 20 mile/week base is a good thing. It was great to see Danny again for the first time in a year – go say congrats on a 1:32 or so on the 20K. Dianna, Jon , Beth, and Chris were there as well, and it was great to have a little apizza with them the night before, though next year the Italian Bomb is off the menu. Post-race was a blast, as everyone tended to “linger longer”, to steal a phrase from the Rev. Dr. Mark.

Life’s good. Great actually. After running with Danny, I’m stealing my wife’s copy of “Run Less, Run Faster” to train for OKC. Even though I DNF’d, I think I’m where I need to be to start building. Diet starts tomorrow.