Steam

Good morning run with #1 son. High 30s, overcast, dry. 3-Ish miles, conversational pace.

On one hand, nothing special. Its morning, so we get up, run to rake care of mind and body. Then food and a day of good work.

On the other hand, holy crap, it doesn’t get more special than that. Some mornings, can’t get two words out of the guy. Other mornings, he just won’t shut up. But he’s here, and I’m here, and its just what we do.

Run and talk.

And I sit on the porch rocker watching steam pouring out of my shirt and big clouds rolling away when I breath, and cannot wait for the next normal day.

Shirtsleeves

Jimminy Christmas.

Actually, it’s blowing my mind – hit the 60’s up here today (Coastal Connecticut). Rode home tonight. In December. In shirtsleeves.

There’s another rider I see most evenings – always heading the other way, lit up like nobody’s business. Bundled up warmly. He’s a backpack, though, instead of a rack and panniers. Don’t think he’s got fenders, either, though. But it’s nice knowing there’s someone else out there, outside the cages.

6 AM and The Boy

The big kid is becoming kind of a pain in the rump.

Cross Country season is over, he’s noticed I’m a little portly, and he’s decided that there’s little better in the world than waking up at 0600 and going for a run. Especially if he can make his old man sweat.

Vermont City Marathon 2012 - two miler

In general, I jest – that he’s in middle school and still wants to hang with his old man is a sign that there’s something good going on between he and me. It’s also a chance for me to work out – the snooze button and the couch are my biggest foes, right after “The Daily Show” and having another beer after supper.

It’s also a challenge for me – there aren’t too many months left when I’m going to be faster than he is. If I keep heading out with him, there’s a chance I’ll hold him off for another couple weeks, at least. But, he’s already beaten Missy in a race; my time will come.

Posted in Run

Tough Run

No idea why, but it’s been tough to run lately. The weather is perfect, completely stunning, but the legs just aren’t there.

Part of it is soccer injury – popped a hammy three weeks ago. Part is weight – all the summertime weight is back. But there’s something else there that I can’t figure out what…

Anyway, I made it out the door today. 5 miles from the ballfield home. Beautiful sunny fall day, little bit of a tailwind. Didn’t have to walk up any hills. Done.

Posted in Run

Riding For Yellow

newport ride(1)

Last week, the bubble finally burst on the whole Lance Armstrong thing. I’d long since given up the idea that he’d raced clean, or that, in fact anyone had raced clean. Reading Tyler Hamilton’s “The Secret Race”, @Vaughters’ tweeting this summer, and the earlier USADA leaks had pretty much convinced me that cycling had been doped for most of the Postal/Disco run.

Reading some of the raw testimony, reading the statements of the confessed riders, and reading the continued denials from Armstrong himself were really kind of getting me down. On one hand, without a critical mass of cyclists confessing together, it’s really easy to keep the omerta going – reference Floyd Landis, Tyler Hamilton, and Bassons getting the cold shoulder from the entire cycling industry when they tried to shine a light (yes, after years of lying in the cases of Floyd and Tyler) on doping. So, giving out light punishment to lots of riders who confess at the same time has the effect of encouraging confessions.

On the other hand, think of a rider like Chris Horner – currently not implicated in any of the scandals – who spent the late 90s and the early 2000’s riding at the top of the US pro circuit, bringing in literally hundreds of dollars at races in office parks and beer primes, all because he chose to race clean. No podium girl wife for him, no villas in Girona, just a second shot at a EuroPro career once the peloton cleaned up.

The darkness was threatening to consume me – Armstrong’s story played a huge role in my becoming a cyclist.

Then, I got on my bike, and realized I had new yellow to ride for in the golden light of fall.

Longer shadows

So, I may or may not have turned 40 within the last month. If you’re only as old as you feel, I’m still 16 and probably ought not be trusted with much beyond car keys. Buying beer or raising children ought to be clean out.. If you’re as old as people give you responsibilities for, I’m probably in my mid 50’s. Or, if chronology represents age; well, let’s just say I’ll still lie and tell people I’m 29. Old enough to be trusted; not old enough to be wise.You wish you were here

Anyway, weather’s turning up here in New England. Saw a golden tree, and the shadows are definately longer on my commute. Sun’s waiting until 6A to come up, and it’s down by the time the kids are in bed. The weather’s still tossing between summer and fall – some days, we’re gettting hot and wet blown up from the tropics; other days, there’s cool and dry blown down from Canada (Thanks!).

But the pedals keep turning, and the feet ought to start striking pavement again on a regular basis following the New Haven Road Race.

Friday afternoon, I was supposed to spend the day riding Jamestown, RI. But, work intervened, and I didn’t get started until about 2 hours after I was supposed to (Stupid me, working first instead of riding first). Finally got out, and headed north on the island – great tailwind headed north. Kept taking turns I hadn’t taken once I’d rounded the head of the island; passed lots of cyclists out enjoying the beautiful day.

Then, while coming down Carr Lane, I hit a bump, and – dreaded pinch flat.

No worries – fixing a flat’s a 2 minute evolution.

‘Cept – The tube was a short valve tube, and just barely stuck above my Easton EA50 rims, and I hadn’t put a new CO2 cartridge after my last flat. There was enough gas to get the new tube up to about 60 lbs, which could pretty safely get me back to the car at Ft. Weatherill. Coming back up to the car, I was tempted to continue down to Beavertail, ’cause the day was that nice.

IN the end, I opted out – the rear end was squishy enough that one hard hit would have pinched this tube clean through, and I would have been hiking back to the car. And, I’ve been making a concerted effort to be home on time much more often, so didn’t want to risk irking the wife.

Soaked in the cove for a while to make up for it.

Longer shadows are all right.

New Haven Road Race 2012

Another 20K in the legs.
Post race

Long-time followers of this blog (hi, both of you) know that the New Haven Road Race is my absolute favorite race of the year. It’s the perfect combination of:

  • Distance – 20K isn’t a half-marathon, so there’s not a lot of folks skittish about running their first “long” race. 20K’s also long enough to be tough, but not so long as to require extensive taper or training. Go run for an hour or so every weekend, long runs of between 10 or 15, and you’re good to race the 20K
  • Venue – Starts and ends on the shady and grassy New Haven town green. Church steps to sit on at the start, grass to recover in at the end. There’s a Red Hook Beer truck (30 kegs this year), Chabaso bread, and a decent band at the end.
  • Weather – Labor Day in New England is spectacular. Some years it’s a little warm at the finish, but most years it’s 60’s at the start and mid-70’s at the finish. Nice day for a run
  • Course – 20K, pretty flat. They changed the course this year, taking out the 2 miles of no shade and fish stink along the waterfront, and the trip past the refinery at the end of the water front. I kind of missed the stretch they took out, but can’t say that the change wasn’t for the better. Most of the folks I talked to really liked the re-route.
  • The race is also one of my favorites, ’cause I know I’ll run into Dianna (hit up her Livestrong Page, ’cause cancer still sucks, and I’ve got two survivors who were helped) and Jon. Seriously, I can’t say enough about how great it is to run into the folks who supported me while I was making running a big part of my life.

    The race itself? OK, I suppose. I’m in better cardiovascular shape than I’ve been in a while, still overweight, and trying to break myself by playing soccer at work. I’ve also been trying just to run within myself – not too hard, not too soft.

    Which was the race I ran. Started off conservatively. With the exception of the last mile, all of the splits were between 8’31” and 9’12”. Had enough for a kick on Mile 12 down to 8’19”. Finished with a 1h52′. Not my fastest, but I’ll take it for where I was this summer.

    End of the race was over to Frank Pepe’s for pizza, Frank Pepe's pizza oven

    and to Columbus park for picnic.Pizza in Columbus Park

    And, a little rest in the shade.
    10 minutes for a nap in the shade

    Workers of the world, thanks for the day off.

    Harpoon Point-to-point Ride

    “Each year, the Feeding America network provides food assistance to more than 25 million low-income people facing hunger in the United States, including more than 9 million children and nearly 3 million seniors.” Up to 89,000 folks in Vermont, 500,000 folks in Connecticut, and over 4,000,000 in the Great State of Texas will face food insecurity this year.

    Melissa/Missy and I are going to be riding the Harpoon Point To Point ride next weekend. It’s a benefit ride to support the Vermont Food Banks. Mostly, we’re riding to celebrate turning 40 at the end of the month.

    However, the ride does have a fundraising component, so I’ll guilt y’all a little. Missy and I hit up our family for the ride in lieu of birthday stuff, and, frankly, ought to take it out of hide for the ride as well as being more pro-active about dropping off donations each Sunday morning at St. Andrew.

    So, figure out where you can go in your community and drop off cash or good quality food. (Or watch for the Cub Scouts/Boy Scouts to drop off food drive bags at the end of October).

    If you’ve pitched in in your community, and want to sponsor us and the good people of the Green Mountain State, links to our donation pages are below.

    Missy’s fundraising page

    Billy’s fundraising page

    Keep Kickin’

    Back from a week’s vacation up to Stowe, Vermont. We do this pretty much every year, and it’s one of the highlights of the year. I usually try to climb Smuggler’s Notch (VT State highway 108), and it’s been a couple of years since I’ve been successful.

    Made it this yearOn top

    Can’t say I set any speed records, but I made it. Up in the better part of an hour, down in about 10 minutes. Rest of vacation was focused mainly on relaxation, which was fully accomplished.

    Now that I’m back, my next big goal is the New Haven Road Race (Today’s the last day to register for cheap). That also means I’ve got my annual meeting with this guy (which isn’t often enough, but the internet world and the real world work at completely different speeds, and, despite being early bloggers, I know I’ve chosen to stay rooted in reality, family, and stuff I can touch).

    Anyhow, we’re both working on getting svelte, and by coincidence, we’d both landed on MyFitnessPal.com. I’d used it last year to drop about 5 pounds and get consistiently under 181 (though it looks like age-related shrinking is setting in, and 175 is probably safer). But it’s got a great iPhone and android app – track calories where you are. Scans barcodes, has most chain resturants, and lots of user-generated data. Always in my pocket, so I remember to use it.

    What’s interesting to me is that it doesn’t look like the site has a business model… Just works, and works well. (Can’t figure out how DailyMile makes money, either, but still love them, too)

    Enough. Time to sneak in a lunch run and earn a sandwich.