Friday, April 10, 2009

A Visit to Mount Felix

I took the day off from work and spent an enjoyable day with the family. I also got in a short run this morning. My IT band is still sore, but it is getting better. Just need to continue the stretch, ice, rest regimen.

This afternoon we stopped by the Mount Felix Vineyard & Winery, a vineyard located about four-and-a-half miles from our home.

Our intent, with two kids in tow, was to only stop long enough for a quick look and pick up a bottle or two of wine. However, owners Pete and Mary Ianniello are wonderful hosts and entertained Braedon with kite flying and the use of their children’s play fort. The wines are fantastic, and we brought home two bottles; a dry red for me, and a sweet white for my wife. We are big fans of food and drink, and try to buy our food and drink from local sources as often as possible. Finding gems like the Mount Felix Vineyard continues to make buying local a real treat.

We saw this speed limit sign on the way into the vineyard, and I just love unusual road signs.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Go Huskies!

My left leg is still slightly sore, but I feel it is getting better. If this continues, perhaps as soon as Friday, I’ll try some easy running. Work has kept be busy this week, and tomorrow will be another busy day. I got home almost two hours later than normal tonight. My wife greeted me at the door, then left for a run/walk with Joe Louis, while I stayed home with the boys; one sleeping, and one screaming. The highlight of my day was an email from my wife with this picture attached.

Brenden is wearing a Michigan Tech Huskies shirt. Michigan Tech, which is located on a peninsula on Lake Superior and is a dumping ground for lake effect snow, is where I went to college. My wife is from the Virginia Beach area, and although we lived in Michigan while I attended MTU, the snow in our town on Lake Michigan was nothing but a dusting compared to that of MTU. The one and only time my wife visited MTU was for my graduation. It was May 10. It snowed. Ice still covered vast portions Lake Superior. She was not impressed, and that, in part, is why we now reside in balmy Maryland.

Sunday, April 5, 2009


My left IT band is still causing soreness after only a mile or so of running, so I will be taking the next several days off. This changes my goals for next month’s Delaware Marathon. I was never anticipating running a personal record at Delaware, but I was planning to run strong and run faster during the second half of the race. How strong I am able to run remains to be seen and my biggest goal is now to complete the race so that I can again donate my finisher’s medal to Medals4Mettle.

Aside from the mental blues, one of the challenges of adjusting to less running is to recognize when I should be full. My eyes and stomach are telling me to eat as if I were still running thirty-five miles a week, while actually running less than ten miles the past couple of weeks means I’m gaining weight. Not too much, but a little. I guess I’m just storing up some extra energy for when I’m really able to run a long, long way.

Not running over the weekend has given me more time to pay attention (or cross-train) to the needed yard work. I mowed the lawn yesterday for the first time this year. We also enjoyed a visit from a Red-bellied Woodpecker.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Running Update and Other Ramblings

Running Update: My wife is doing well with her running progress and thanks everyone for the kind words of encouragement. She isn’t following any particular training program, but what she is doing is similar to the Couch-to-5K running plan. I, on the other hand, was rather sore for much of the week. With the exception of my left IT band, I feel pretty good now. I did anticipate two weeks of low intensity running/recovering after last week’s 50K. The IT band discomfort may delay things a little, but I have had IT band soreness in the past, although in my right leg, and am not too concerned at this point. My long run/walk of the week was this morning’s three miler to the grocery store and back.

Other Ramblings: My family moved into our current home five years ago. Since then, we have always maintained a bird feeder, but only recently, due in part to informative posts from the Frost Bottom Farm, have we taken an interest in the type of birds that visit our feeder. While my wife is still on maternity leave, our end of the work day, “how was your day,” chit-chat now includes a report of the birds that visited our yard on that particular day. Having an active feeder also brings in a fair amount of birds of prey, which can be exciting (well, not if you are a little bird – or at least not in a good way. But can be exciting for the people that maintain a bird feeder and do not have cable or satellite TV).

Last week, my wife took this picture of what we think is a young Sharp-shinned Hawk. He/She was perched in the maple tree in our front yard.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

A New Runner!

Regularly having blisters on my feet, blackened and/or missing toenails, and after watching me hobble around the house for a few days after last week’s race, why would anyone in my house want to start running? Well, I had to ask my wife that question yesterday when she got back from a run.

Braedon greets Mom returning from a run

She said she wanted to begin an exercise program and thought that running could be an activity that we do together. While she did make it very clear that I would not be gaining a new training partner for twenty-plus mile runs, I am happy for her and hope she learns to appreciate running as I have. The boys and I are cheering for her. One last piece of wisdom for her; the blisters don’t hurt that bad, and the blackened/missing toenails look way worse than they actually feel.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

HAT Run 50K

My lungs were fine for the entire run, but my legs were, and still are screaming at me for the hills I forced them to carry me over. I felt a little woozy for about a half an hour beginning around twenty miles. My feet were soaked most of the race and my left shoe was so water-logged that it made a squishing noise with every stride for the last, oh, twenty-six miles or so. Am I ready to sign up and do it all over again? Hell yeah!

The 21st Annual HAT Run began on a calm, clear, yet chilly morning with temperatures in the twenties. Once underway, it warmed up to near fifty degrees – perfect weather for running. I started out slow, knowing that the hills on the trails would demand a lot of energy as the run progressed. The trails concerned me, as none of my training runs were on trails. I was looking almost straight down during the first several miles of single track trails while I concentrated on avoiding tripping over tree roots, rocks, and the many other runners I was around early in the race. There were more stream crossings than I can remember, but only four of them required getting really wet feet. Some runners were good at skipping dryly across the rocks. I know if I tried that stunt I would have ended up swimming, and the water was cold, so I walked through the water.

Not being a trail running, I learned that my current fitness threshold of comfortable road running (or running over fairly benign terrain) for well over four hours is roughly equivalent to three hours and fifteen minutes of hilly trail running. At the 3:15 mark, I began to get very hungry, woozy, and thirsty all at the same time. I was eating GU every half hour, but at this point, the thought of another GU was revolting. I kept slow yet steady progress to the next aid station, which was about twenty minutes away. The volunteers at this event were wonderful. While they took my CamelBak and filled it up with water, I devoured some M&M’s, drank a cup of Gatorade, and grabbed a couple of pretzel sticks to go. Once I got going again I began to feel better, er, not to the point of running fast, but at least I had some calories to fuel me to the next aid station. Running between these two aid stations is probably the easiest part of the course. There is about a mile of trail and then roughly three miles of mostly downhill roads (some paved, some packed dirt). At the next aid station it was more M&M’s, and this time two chocolate chip cookies. Now there was only five miles to go and all but the slightest inclines looked daunting. My legs were complaining – and I was hearing them, but I told them to stop complaining and get me to the finish line. And they did. It took me nearly five hours and fifty-three minutes, but I finished. The post race food was great. The hot dogs and chili didn’t sound as appealing to me as the chocolate brownies and a nice glass of Coke.

Despite the minor physical discomfort, I enjoyed running through the forest, and chatting with other runners along the way. I also think that trail running is much more laid back than a road marathon. Oh, there is still a lot of competition, for sure, but I also sensed camaraderie amongst runners. Many of the fastest runners, some of whom finished nearly two hours before I did, were still on-hand, clapping and cheering, even as I crossed the line. You likely won’t see that at a road marathon, where the winners are whisked away as soon as they cross the finish line. So yes, I’ll be back again – probably next year!

Monday, March 16, 2009

Happy St. Urho’s Day

Heinäsirkka, heinäsirkka, mene täältä hiiteen!”
St. Urho, the Patron Saint of Finland, allegedly shouted the above saying (roughly translated as, “Grasshopper, grasshopper, go to Hell!”) as he rid Finland of grasshoppers, saving their grapes and crops. I am not Finnish, but I grew up in an area with a lot of Scandinavian influence. While the origins of the legend of St. Urho may be suspect, it makes for a good reason to celebrate. And tomorrow, when the entire world is Irish, I will be too. Enjoy, and be safe.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

A Light Week

Aside from running a few errands, I didn’t put too many miles in this week. And other than a sick week in January, this week is my lowest weekly mileage total so far this year. But that’s okay, because I have a big run planned for Saturday, and I can’t wait. Thirty-one miles of trails, mud, and streams. Although I have never run thirty-one miles, I know I have the aerobic capacity to cover the distance – and just knowing can carry you many miles after fatigue sets in. The unknown is how well will I run entirely on trails and through fields. I don’t get to run on many trails, and the event’s website claims there is nearly 9,800 feet of climbing. So, my plan is to run very conservatively, maintain forward progress, and finish efficiently. If all works out with nap time, my family may be on hand to greet me at the finish. And the exciting part, eight weeks later I get to run the Delaware Marathon!

Friday, March 13, 2009

Welcome Back Joe

Joe and I went on a nice night time run this evening. It was Joe’s first run in about two weeks due to a sore paw, thus I had to contain two weeks worth of Joe’s bound up energy. He did well though. As usual, it was rather still down by the river. I was hoping to see a little better across the river, but the overcast sky blocked the moonlight from shining down.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Cross Training

I woke up a little sore today, but in a good way, if that makes sense. Apologies to Joe Louis, but I decided to forego the easy run I had planned in favor of yard work/garden preparation.

The boys and I hung out again while Mom went off on her own – and this time it was for fun and not for chores. Once she got back, Braedon helped me with the yard work in the back yard.

Joe Louis supervising the work

It was another beautiful day and Mom and Brenden even came out to see what we were up to. I don’t know a lot about dirt, other than we have a lot of clay and rocks, but judging by the number of “healthy looking” worms I saw today, I’d say our dirt is capable of growing good vegetables.

Taking a break to wrestle with Hobbes

After our work was done, I cut Braedon’s hair and my hair with the clippers (for Perplexed – the clippers were dull, and I am wearing a hat as I type). Then we had to feed the animals. Though we don’t live on anything that resembles a farm, some of our relatives have suggested we live in a zoo.

Thomas, Momma Cat, and Wennel

At day’s end my legs feel great and ready to run. I’ll push them a little bit tomorrow, but enjoyed the “cross training” of working in the yard with my family today.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Back on Track

First off, thank you to all for your kind thoughts over the past week. The blogging community is awesome! Brenden is doing much better and life in our house has returned to its quasi-normal state.

Today was my wife’s first venture away from the house without Brenden, as she deserved a much needed break. Of course, her break was just another household chore - grocery shopping. As this was my wife’s first time away without Brenden, it was the first time the two boys and I hung out without Mom. We had a good time.

Prior the grocery trip, I went for one last long run before the 50k on the 21st. It was kind of surreal. With two young kids, I don’t have the luxury of rolling out of bed at a normal wake-up time and then going for a long run (well, I guess I could, but Mom would not be very happy). I helped with Brenden’s 4:15 feeding and was out the door before 5:00. Unfortunately, Mr. Joe has a sore spot on his paw and he did not accompany me this morning. My wife said that he was most dissatisfied when I left without him. I got twenty-four miles in and felt pretty good and enjoyed a beautiful sunrise. I was getting fatigued around mile fifteen, stopped and walked for a few minutes, stretched my legs a little, took a good swig of water, and felt great the rest of the way. Running mirrors life sometimes, there are peaks and valleys, just keep on keeping on. Despite the stopping, I ran the second twelve miles faster than the first, which surprised me. Strictly from a running perspective, I would have liked to get in a few more miles over the past couple of weeks in preparation for the 50k, but some things are infinitely more important than running in some silly race.

Saturday, February 28, 2009

Rough Week

The picture sums it up. Brenden (with Mom) spent two nights in the hospital with respiratory syncytial virus – as I understand, RSV is essentially a bad cold, but to an infant without the ability to clear the air way (blow your nose), it can be rather serious. He came home this afternoon and looks much better than when we took him to the emergency room. I stayed home with Braedon while Brenden and Mom were in the hospital, and that was tough for him. He was very concerned about his little brother. I tried to keep him occupied; we worked in the yard preparing the garden area, and we went on one run (with a flat tire) to the park. Now we will focus on resting and getting everyone healthy again.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Grocery Run

We enjoyed the company of some of our friends this afternoon. They brought over dinner and dessert and we provided the rest of the meal (we really made out on this one). Before they arrived I had to run to the store to purchase some of the rest of the meal. I ran to two stores, brought my own bag to haul the goods, and was in and out as quickly as possible. Total running distance was approximately two and a half miles, and I was gone for a total of forty minutes, which isn’t much more time than had I driven to the stores. Joe Louis was not very happy that he could not go on this run. We had a very enjoyable meal, conversation, and wine from a local vineyard. We also learned that our friends are participating in a community supported agriculture system and will receive produce weekly from May through October at one of the local farms. Sounds like a good idea to me.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Practice with Bernoulli First

Braedon has asked numerous times over the past few days if he can hold his brother, to which I’ll reply, “Practice with Bernoulli first.” Bernoulli is one of our indoor cats, and while he can be quite vicious with other cats, his only defense, once cornered by a person or another non-cat animal, is to curl up and play dead. Thus, Bernoulli is a magnet for three-year-old boys. While I don’t think we’ll allow Braedon to pick up Brenden just yet, Braedon is slowly learning how to be gentler with Bernoulli’s help.
Braedon, Joe, and I did get some nice runs in over the weekend. Braedon even fell asleep on our way to the park and he was most unhappy to wake up on our front porch, realizing that dad didn’t wake him up to play at the park. I did make it up to him, though, by taking him to the playground down the street.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Spring Planning

I intended to run today, but thought better of it, and decided to give my legs a rest. I think they are thanking me now and will be ready to carry me twice as far next time out.

Grandma Karen left our house yesterday. It was nice to have her here for two weeks to help with our adjustment to life with Braedon’s baby brother. I have been impressed with how excited Braedon still is in exclaiming that he is a big brother. I thought the excitement might have worn off by now, but he is very proud and helpful with caring for Brenden.

Braedon and I spent some time this afternoon planning for our garden. We mentally marked out a portion of the yard and thought about which vegetables would be best. Then we cleaned up the yard a bit, something I have neglected for the last month.

The goggles aren’t mandatory, just something Braedon likes to play with when he is allowed in the shed – home of the goggles.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

An Early Spring

Punxsutawney Phil may have predicted six more weeks of winter, but a mere one week after Groundhog’s Day feels an awful lot like spring. Last week definitely had a wintry feel, with cold temperatures, snow flurries, and strong winds. Then, all of a sudden, we’ve had temperatures near sixty degrees since Sunday. Braedon, Joe, and I enjoyed a nice run through the park on Sunday afternoon without the usual layers of clothing and hats, mittens, and scarves. To make it feel even more spring-like, the VA grounds, which is adjacent to the park, is hosting a training camp for AmeriCorps, and several groups of young volunteers were enjoying an afternoon in the park. All of this week I have been running in only shorts and a t-shirt, but it looks like hat and mittens weather will be back for the weekend. Brrrrr.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Because So Much Is Riding On Your…Shoes?

I “ran” two errands during our stay in the hospital. The first errand was to Barnes and Noble to buy some books for big brother with gift cards my wife received at a baby shower. The second errand was back to Barnes and Noble to return the books I purchased in exchange for the “correct” books (oops!). While on the second errand I also went to the running store in Bel Air, Charm City Run. Both of the stores I visited are within two miles of the hospital, so, in my opinion, it would have been more of a hassle to drive, plus I would have had to pay a fee each time I exited the hospital’s parking garage.

I don’t go to Charm City Run all too often, mainly because it is sort of out of our way. When I have a reason to be in that part of town, I enjoy visiting Charm City Run because it affords me the opportunity to look over different brands of shoes and gear. Most of my running gear is from Nike, not because I am a loyal Nike costumer, although I have never had any complaints about any of my Nike gear, but because there is a small Nike outlet about two miles from our house. Thus, at times I can purchase Nike shoes that retail for $90 on sale at the outlet for less than $60. Problem is, being a small outlet, finding the shoes that work best for me is sometimes a crapshoot.

Back to Charm City Run; in a span of thirteen minutes and fifty-six seconds, I tried on three pairs of shoes and down-selected to a pair of Saucony Progrid Omin 7s after a quick spin on the treadmill. These are my first pair of Sauconys. After paying at the register, I was on the run back to the hospital. And all the way back, Michelin’s little advertising slogan, “because so much is riding on your tires,” was stuck in my head. In essence, when I run with Braedon, and someday with Brenden, so much is riding on my shoes.

Friday, February 6, 2009

A New Training Partner!

Ok, I'm awake, bring on the world!

It’s been a busy week. A healthy Brenden arrived on Tuesday morning and everything since has been a blur. Braedon is a very proud big brother and even asked his mom if there were any more brothers inside her belly. That was a great quote, but we’ll just stick to one at a time, thank you. We got home from the hospital this afternoon and Joe Louis welcomed Brenden with a big ‘ole lick on the face. The first of many, I’m sure. I did “run” a few errands while we were in the hospital, but I’ll try to catch up a little on sleep before writing about it. Thank you for all of your kind thoughts, comments, and emails!

Hello brother

Braedon and Mom

Grandma Karen, Brenden, and Braedon

Me and Brenden getting acquainted

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Getting Close

My wife is pretty much miserable right now. I expect we will have a new baby in the family within the next couple of days. Grandma Karen is at our house awaiting the new arrival. I’ve been doing my best to keep Braedon entertained and out of Mom’s way. Joe and I did get in a nice long run early yesterday morning in the cold. Have a nice week everyone!

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

A Cat, a Stroller, and a Runner?

Meet Thomas. Thomas is one of three stray cats that reside mostly on our front porch. We first met Thomas about a year and a half ago, when he strolled into our backyard and decided to stay a while. Unlike the other strays, which are skittish and difficult to approach, Thomas is personable and even likes Joe. Thomas will sometimes even trot behind us at the start of a run, only to look dejected once we cross the street.

Being a stray cat at our house does have its perks. On cold nights, Thomas gets to sleep inside. Unfortunately for Thomas, one of our inside cats, Bernoulli, is not a very gracious host, and thus Thomas must go back outside come morning. But don’t feel bad for Thomas, because judging by his physique, we are not the only family in the neighborhood that leaves food on the porch.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

The Itsy Bitsy Spider

This morning Braedon wanted to race Joe in the kitchen. That is not unusual, but today we made it official. I found an old race number and taped it to Braedon’s shirt. Then I explained to both Braedon and Joe that whoever could run the most laps around the kitchen before getting yelled at by Mom would be declared the winner. I gave the “on your mark, get set, GO,” before proceeding to the less chaotic living room, from where I could do a little reading until I clearly heard the finish. Well, I don’t know why Mom’s finishing yell had to start in the living room, but I suppose tomorrow the race director won’t leave the race site until the race is done.

Then things got a little interesting. Braedon is in this annoying wishy-washy stage of “I want to do this,” and one minute later it’s “but I don’t want to do this.” That’s how our real run started this afternoon. He didn’t want to run, but at the same time he didn’t want me or Joe to leave either. Then he wanted to run, only to repeat the cycle again. Finally, the three of us left in the midst of an “I want to run” minute. Once on the run, everything was fine, as it is more times than not. Braedon held onto a bill until we got to the post office. The temperature seemed to drop during the hour or so we were gone, and the wind picked up too, but that didn’t dampen our spirits. At one point, completely out of the blue, Braedon began singing, quite loudly, “The Itsy Bitsy Spider, Went Up the Water Spout!” We got a few smiles from people nearby. The young growing pains are definitely overshadowed by the innocence and small musical repertoire of a three-year-old.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Slow Week

It’s been rather slow this week and I wasn’t feeling well for part of it. I even left work early one day with a fever and slept the rest of the day away. I’m feeling better now, though. I hoped to get in a little run over lunch today, but that didn’t work out. So, I got to run with my favorite four-legged running partner this evening. The temperature was rather mild, especially when compared to the cold air that moved through our area over the past week or two. I only needed two layers of clothing instead of the four layers I have grown accustomed to in the cold dark nights.

Monday, January 19, 2009

What a Run!

With the arrival of our second child only about two weeks away, my wife, understandably, is on edge and very uncomfortable. To keep Braedon out of trouble (and me too), Joe Louis, Braedon, and I went for a run to give mom the peace and quiet she deserves. There were the occasional snowflakes falling when we set out, but by mid-run we were in the midst of our heaviest snow fall this winter. We ran our usual route, though we took time to enjoy the snowy sights.
Braedon and Joe waving at a train crossing over the Susquehanna River from Havre de Grace to Perryville. These are the same tracks that President-Elect Obama traveled over on Saturday.
One of the stray cats came up on the road way to see who was passing by. The white in the background is the Susquehanna River/Chesapeake Bay.
Joe Louis sees something of interest out on the Bay.
Nice ice formations on the Bay.
It’s really starting to snow now. If Joe could stay still for longer than ½ a second, he’d be in the picture too!
One of our favorite parts of the run, through the “big, spooky woods.”
Cleaning up after our run.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Joe and the Stopwatch

I wear a watch when I run, more as a means to gauge the approximate distance we’ve gone based on our pace than to keep splits or precise running time. I loop Joe’s leash around my left wrist when we run, which is also the same wrist where my timekeeper resides. This has never been a problem. This morning, however, we startled “something” on the river bank and it screeched across the ice, scaring Joe, causing his hackles to rise before he sprinted away. As I was being dragged behind Joe, the tension in the leash hit a button or two on my watch, which, once the excitement was over, was beeping and flashing. My fingers, being partially numb from the cold, were not especially useful at trying to stop this noise and light show. So, we just ran the rest of the way home to the cadence of a beeping watch. Oh well, I hope it didn’t wear the battery down too much, and if it did, I guess I’ll be able to truthfully say my alarm didn’t go off the next time I’m late for work…

Thursday, January 15, 2009

228 Miles per Gallon

In continuing to “run” errands whenever possible, I ran to the bank during lunch to deposit a check today. Being too frugal to buy an iPod, I entertain myself with the random thoughts that float through my head while running. Today’s random thought: If I were a car on a sales lot, what number would occupy the space next to the miles per gallon line on my window sticker. According to Cool Running, I burn 126 calories (kilocalories, really) per mile. There are approximately 28,760 calories (kcal) in a gallon of Exxon’s finest, which does vary with the density, and the seasonal and regional additives included in gasoline. Next, I broke out a piece of paper and a pencil, err, I mean Excel, and started calculating. My results: If I could ingest a gallon of gasoline to fuel my next run, the available energy would be enough for me to run 228 miles! I must be an expensive car. By contrast, my own car consumes roughly 870 calories (kcal) per mile.

Monday, January 12, 2009

My Goofy Cousin

“We did it!!! Calvin and I finished the 1/2 marathon and I finished the marathon!!!”
This is what my goofy cousin, Joelene, emailed me tonight. She ran the Disney ½ Marathon on Saturday, with her son Cal, and the Disney Marathon yesterday to complete the Goofy Challenge. I never had any doubt that she would successfully complete both events; I ran my first marathon, Green Bay ’03, with her and if not for Joelene over the last four miles, I might still be on the course! And how cool is it that she ran a ½ marathon with her son. That’s awesome. From the rest of her email, I can tell that she is absolutely pumped, and she should be. Way to go Joelene and Calvin! You guys ROCK!!!

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Relief from the Common Cold: Go for a Run

Friday I woke up with a sore throat, yuck – the onset of a cold. Saturday, same thing, and while I planned on running farther than I did on Saturday, I turned Joe around and called it quits after three miles. Last night was about as miserable of a night as I can recall with only a cold. The kind of night where I went to bed exhausted, got all nice and comfortable in bed, only to realize that I couldn’t breathe in that position. So I rolled around a bit, propped my head up on an extra pillow, but then discovered that I would be too cold if I remained fixed in that position for very long…..and that type of restlessness remained until about 3:00 when I finally had enough and just got up. After eating some leftover soup and reading a little bit, I headed back to bed, where the madness continued. Anyway, I was not expecting much out of running today, except for my four-legged running partner can be quite annoying if he doesn’t get a regular dose of exercise (this, and I know Joe won’t be running tomorrow due to my work schedule). I had to force myself to get dressed to run and I kept telling myself to just take Joe for a two or three mile run/walk and be done with it. But by the time we got to the end of our street, a quarter mile or so away, I could tell today’s run was going to be just fine. No, it wouldn’t be fast, but I was already feeling relaxed, and I could breathe more freely than I had all day (or night). So, as two miles ran into three and we were both doing well I figured we might as well keep on going. We ran down on the soggy ground by the river, and scared a flock of geese. We ran through the woods, we ran through the town, we ran all around. And if it weren’t for lack of water and maybe a couple of dog treats, we might still be running. And I do feel better too. Now I hope I will still feel better once my head hits the pillow. Good night.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Good Advice

I “ran” into Jeff Hinte yesterday, the race director, and “H” in HAT Run, for the 50K that I am running in March. We ran for about a mile together. It was interesting to talk to someone that has run numerous 100-mile races. His 50K advice for me was to run the first twenty miles slow, and then, if I felt good, really start pushing the pace over the last ten. It sounds simple, but based on my last marathon, I will need to focus on setting a sustainable pace.

Joe and I again dropped a bill off at the post office today. This time I held the bill in my hand, rather than tuck it in my pants and risk another fiasco like Wednesday night. Braedon said he was cold, so he stayed home and played with his trains while Joe and I were running.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Neither Sleet, nor Rain, nor Hail

My errand “running” didn’t work out as well tonight. I had to pay a bill, so I thought I’d run to the post office to drop it in the mailbox. Problem was that it was raining. No big deal, I frequently run in the rain, right. Well, to keep it dry, I tucked the envelope inside my pants and under my jacket. Joe and I set off for the post office and all was well until we got to the mailbox and I have no envelope. The mailbox is in front of the window of a restaurant, and now there are several diners looking at this silly runner digging in his pants while his wet dog has a bewildered stare. I wave, and Joe and I hastily retreat in search of the lost envelope. We didn’t have to look too hard. There in the middle of the wet street, with tread marks crossing its width, sat our envelope. I quickly picked it up, wrung it out, stuffed it into the mailbox and continued on our way.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Miles to Run, One Stride at a Time

Recently, Perplexed had a link on her blog about two people running across Canada and around the U.S. to inspire environmental action. As an environmentally attentive person, I applaud their dedication and passion in bringing this message to towns across North America. To undertake an effort of this magnitude requires elite athlete type physical abilities, an iron will, and some sort of financial backing to go along with a good team to help publicize the message and exploits. Not being an elite athlete, never testing my will to that extreme, and certainly lacking the financial resources would make my environmentally conscious run around the world a foolish endeavor. I can, however, try to inspire environmental action in my own little corner of the world. I am fortunate to live near many businesses and service offices that I patronize; the post office, our town’s office, a rail road station, a handful of restaurants that we occasionally order out from, and several small stores. I often walk to these establishments, but I believe running will be more noticeable. From now on, I will make a point to “run” my nearby errands. It is not attention that I seek, but a statement I shall make. A runner with an arm full of groceries, especially at night, is bound to turn some heads. True, probably nine out ten people will think I’ve gone bonkers, or call me names, but it is the tenth person that I may challenge to leave the car at home for short trips, or to get out and exercise while enjoying the fresh air.

Over the past few days, Barry and I have been corresponding via email. He suggested that I read The Omnivore’s Dilemma. I find it all together fitting that the first errand I ran, with this new sense of purpose, was to the library to check out a book that, in part, is about the vast resources consumed in feeding America.

Thank you Perplexed, thank you Barry for the inspiration. Now I’ve got miles to run.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Go Ravens!

The Baltimore Ravens won their playoff game this afternoon, which will make a lot of my neighbors very happy. Not being a local, I am happy too that the Ravens won; however, my family doesn’t watch much football. Actually, make that any football. We cancelled our cable television service last year, and the antenna reception has never been very good. So, we were probably the only household in the area to take a nap precisely at game time. After naptime, Joe and I enjoyed a nice run in the cool afternoon air.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Joe the Super Dog

Joe Louis has two jobs in our house; bark at anything that moves remotely close to our yard, and ensure that I get out of bed to let him out and feed him each and every morning at about 5:15 – after which he generally goes back to sleep. I usually don’t take Joe with me on my early morning runs, but as I got ready for this morning’s run, I figured why not. So just before exiting the house, I barely brushed his leash and collar, the sound of which caused him to come bounding down the stairs, ready to run. The morning was cool, probably in the mid-twenties, but without a wind, so it wasn’t too bad at all. We set out on our five-mile loop, and Joe was running pretty well so I decided to take him on a second lap. To my surprise, Joe kept going strong for the entire second lap as well – good for ten miles. He had a lot of miles left in him this morning too. And then he was a tired dog. I think I will change some of my longer running routes to steer clear of narrow roads so Joe can safely run with me. While it is a little cool to be pushing Braedon, Joe seems to do well in the colder temperatures.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Happy New Year!

One last update on 2008. Joe and I went for our last run of the year on Tuesday evening after Braedon went to bed. Just about the time I start to think that Joe is the best running dog in the world, something happens. After running four miles, stride for stride, we were in the final stretch, and on a well lit street – which is an important piece information to note. Joe veered slightly left. No big deal I think, that is until I see the telephone poll we are approaching. I knew what was going to happen, but I couldn’t react; it was as if I was a casual observer, watching two fools. And with Joe on one side of the pole and me on the other, joined together with a four foot leash, well, we both made an abrupt stop as we met in the middle. Hopefully nobody saw us. And if anybody did see us, he or she probably got a laugh at our expense.

Enter 2009. I have never been one to be excited about staying up all night to welcome in the New Year. That, and because work has worn me out the past two weeks, I went to bed early. I did have every intention of waking up early to go run. But when that alarm went off at 4:45, there was no way I was getting out of my warm bed. I’m glad too, because it has been cold and windy all day. We took Braedon to our city park (the park we often run through), stayed about ten minutes and decided it was too cold and we should eat lunch instead. I have a very short memory, which is why after lunch, Mom and Braedon took a nap, and I thought, hey I should go for a run – the sun is out, it’s probably warmed up all of two degrees since we got back from the park. So I got all dressed up in my gear, wore extra shirts, I even wore a scarf. After a mile I decided I was too hot, stuffed the scarf in a pocket, and thought this wouldn’t be so bad. After mile three, once I crested one of the big hills and was greeted with a twenty mile an hour wind, I dug out the scarf and re-wrapped my face and thought this isn’t exactly what I envisioned. After that I guess I was kind of numb and just kept moving along, addressing the occasional passerby with a “Happy New Year.” Although cold, all in all it was a good run.