A couple of weeks ago, my daughter decided that she wanted to run the Manchester Road Race again. It had been a couple of years since we first ran it and I thought it would be fun. It would be just her and I running since neither my wife nor son had any interest. There was the thought that this would be a run and not a walk, but my daughter’s hips have really started bothering her lately (it’s a persistent, nagging issue for her). So, run, walk, or some combination would be fine. I got to spend a couple of hours 1-on-1 with my baby girl. We would start in the 40-minutes and up coral, the last of the running corals. I’m not sure where we were in that coral, but probably too close to the front for the run/walk effort we were about to undertake. The distance is a strange (to us) 4.748 miles, surely with some interesting history behind that specific distance.

With the temperatures in the upper 20s and a blustery, northwestern wind, we left the house shortly after 8 AM. We headed to our local Dunkin’ Donuts to get her a peppermint mocha hot coffee; nothing for me since I had my share of coffee before leaving the house. Knowing that we would be waiting around for an hour or more in the freezing cold was motivation enough for me not to need to find a port-o-potty before running. We arrived at Manchester Community College’s parking lot by 8:30 and promptly found our way to the bus that would take us to the race. We were surely not dressed warm enough – a few top layers including a windbreaker, hats, gloves, and leggings with shorts on top. I was wearing my Injinji toe socks, like with any long run or race. Without anyone else with us, we had no one we could hand off our extra clothes, meaning we would need to carry anything we brought for the entire race. This was a mistake, causing us to underdress for the very blustery morning of standing around.

We arrived in the area and walked through a wicked breeze to the starting coral. We had an hour to go and we were both already freezing cold. Fortunately, the 15,000 other runners helped to break the wind but unfortunately, didn’t do much to warm us up. It would be a long wait to the start. Finally, the sun rose above the buildings to provide a slight warm up, but not enough that we were warm by a long stretch. As the minutes clicked by, it was finally time for the (three) wheelchair competitors to start. Just 15 minutes more.

The coral fences were removed and a few minutes later, the starting gun was finally fired. We were off, although neither of us could feel our toes by then. Whisked off with the fury of a normal starting line, we ran down the first street and made the first turn. It was then that my daughter’s hip popped and really started hurting. We were walking. We ran a few more times but mostly walked until the end.

While we did not end up with fast times, we got to spend more than an hour walking together and chatting a bit. I won’t have these opportunities forever, so take each one I can. I am thankful on this holiday season, that I get to spend times like this with at least one of my children. Next year, who knows how things will play out, so living in the moment is the best I can do for now.

This week, my wife and I celebrated our 26th anniversary. As of the end of last year, we’ve been together for over half of my life. Tonight, we celebrate with dinner at one of the more fancy restaurants around Hartford. Max’s has several themed restaurants around Hartford and Springfield; we are heading to the seafood themed one in Glastonbury. It should be a lovely, relaxing dinner with fantastically prepared fresh seafood. I’m hungry just thinking about it.

Work has been ramping up lately due to both an acquisition and the fruition of an almost two year old project. Timing is critical for folding in the acquisition, but I am involved in just a small portion of the activities. It’s enough to keep me very busy with trying to figure out just how involved I need to be. The two year old project is one that is very visible to many in the organization. It involves changing the way that people work from home, both regularly and occasionally such as during a snow storm. To say that this is being handled with kid gloves is an understatement.

To keep my sanity, I have been running 3 – 4 days per week, no less than 3 miles, no more than 5 so far. The weather has kept me on the safe treadmill at my local YMCA, but it’s starting to look like outdoor runs can start to happen on the weekends. It’s still extremely dark when we head to the gym, so think it’s likely safer to stay there for a while longer during the week. It’s supposed to be in the 40s today, so may try to get in a quick run outside later.

I ran five miles on the treadmill yesterday morning, although my normally trusty Garmin 305 hiccuped and didn’t record it. I actually ran the first 3+ miles straight through, rather than using the Galloway run/walk/run method. I was pleased and not overly stiff afterwards, although the last two miles where I incorporated the walking were actually faster than the first three. I don’t get it, but think I just need to trust the numbers and incorporate walking for almost every run.

I have been seriously considering joining a training team to take on a longer distance race. Today, I’m heading into a town near here to determine if I can make a 6:30 AM Saturday run every weekend for 16+ weeks. If so, I’ll join the group and do my best to keep up. I heard back from the coordinator that there are runners at all levels, including those that incorporate walking and those that are at a much slower pace than I am. I really miss the comradery of running with a group – especially my gals from Richmond. But we became close during those long runs and were each other’s support when feeling down or discouraged when training for our first half marathon. My favorite runs were the 10K Wednesday runs. They were at night when it was quiet, and a perfect way to close out the middle of the week. It was there that I first talked to Erin about the plans to sell our home in Richmond, and the first time I revealed plans to relocate to New England. It was there that the reality of relocation started to hit.

I have a couple of training plans that I’m reviewing now, knowing that the longer runs would never be accomplished without some sort of external support. You can only run so many miles without refilling water or grabbing something to munch on. Doing loops around my neighborhood is not my idea of a good time (and there are way too many hills)! Hopefully, this group will be one where I can find my way and there will be other newbies like me that are slow and supportive of each other in our request to cross something off our personal bucket lists.


I am not a big fan of most sports. Every year, I watch college basketball during the sweet 16, I watch a couple of Red Sox games, maybe a game or two of the World Series, and at least one NASCAR race because it’s a great way to fall asleep. But the one game I watch without fail is the Super Bowl. Mostly, I don’t care about the outcome but love the commercials and mildly care that it’s a good game and worthy of the hype.

Tonight, I stayed up way too late watching a game where I didn’t give a flip about the final score and will pay for that choice all week. The fact that I’m heading to the gym in just five hours doesn’t help. Maybe I’ll ride on the adrenalin rush I’m sure to get with four miles on the treadmill. It might be easier if I hadn’t run five miles today. I’m too old to be running every day!

This morning was the second one this week that included a run. Monday, I felt great on the treadmill so the “just under 5 miles” came both quickly and without too much pain. Today, it was a much slower start, but quickly became a good run that actually felt good!

I have started running using the Jeff Galloway run, walk, run method of running. I’ve run a twice this week so far, on Monday evening and again this morning. Monday, I ran 4 1/4 miles using a 3/1 run/walk ratio – run for three minutes, walk for one minute. While it seems so easy for the first 10 or so repetitions, it gets progressively more difficult to run for the entire 3 minute period. The tool I’ve been using is a GymBoss MAX timer, purchased for about $30 from GymBoss. The second time I went to use it (Monday), it wasn’t working. What I found is that if you simply stick it in a gym bag that you carry to work, it likes to turn on and chew up the battery. On Monday evening, I ran using interval training. Tuesday, I lifted using the entire circuit at the YMCA. I am positive I over lifted since as I write this (Thursday), I’m still sore. Since I ran on Monday evening (close to 6:30 PM), and then lifted on Tuesday morning (starting at 5:30 AM or just 11 hours later), I pushed and lifted at weights I haven’t used for a month. I am feeling every bit of my age now.

I did make the mistake of throwing the GymBoss in my bag, only to find a dead battery on Monday, so ended up using the interval workout on the treadmill at work to manually make the 3/1 ratio. Run for minutes 1 through 3, walk for the fourth minute until you’ve covered the distance or worked out for the duration desired. While this was not nearly as brain-dead of a way to accomplish a workout, it does work if you’re willing to put in the effort to make the buttons work for you. Fortunately, the treadmill at work has a “jog” and “run” setting on the intervals that is very easy to configure. I set the jog to my walking speed of 4 MPH and the run to my jogging speed of 6.1 MPH. Each time I hit the interval button, it switched to the faster or the slower speed.

Today, I hit the treadmill at my local YMCA with my GymBoss with a new battery and with renewed effort to make this a strong run. The treadmill seems to have an interval setting but I must need to attend a remedial treadmill setting class because it wasn’t intuitive at all. So, I used the 4 MPH and 6 MPH buttons as a starting point for each interval setting. For my walk, I just pressed the 4 MPH setting. For running, I hit the 6 MPH button and then upped the speed to either 6.1 or a faster speed depending on how I was feeling at the start (or middle of) each run. At times, I was up to 6.2 or even 6.3 MPH. When all was said and done, I covered each of the five miles at a 10:10 pace – way faster than I thought and way faster than if I had just been running. Indeed, it is not much slower at all than plodding along with a run-only method.

While not the fastest way to cover longer distances, this is a new way to easily cover longer distances without any pain and without a significantly more tired body a few hours later.

Today is Monday, the day that we have set aside to honor Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. As such, both the kids and I are home. Some people have called this a national day of service, but we’re not performing service today. After a long day on Saturday, and robotics both days for Jake, we’re enjoying some downtime and homework time for the kids. I have Pandora playing in the background on my iPod – a jazz station that is very upbeat, and decided today was a good day to update some long overdue blogs.

We have a new contest at work. It is called the Biggest Winner, fashioned, of course, around the TV show with a similar name. It is not a 1-on-1 competition however. We are on teams of our own choosing, or on assigned teams if we joined as an individual. I am the captain of our four-person team that consists of a husband and wife, a manager in another part of our IT group, and me. All we have done to date is pick a team name, then a captain. I volunteered so I could hold everyone, including myself, accountable. I can’t be a slacker if I have to ask others about their goals, now can I?

Since the first half of the first month of 2010 is past, it’s time for me to get serious on my goals. I have only a few goals, mostly health related. While I remain in good to excellent health, I have a few things within my grasp before I hit 50 in October. Losing the 20 pounds will likely be the most challenging, but I would love to go into my next decade without the stigma of being classified as obese. I certainly don’t feel obese, but according to the standard, I am. My legs, for example, are significantly stronger than most. I can run further and, for the most part, faster than almost everyone I know outside of the running community. Not many obese people can run 4 miles non-stop at 9 miles per hour. So, while I think the standards are not quite right, they are goals for which I will aim. If I lose the 20 lbs., I will be at or just under 200. When I graduated from college, I was at about 180, but was what my wife refers to as too thin. I really didn’t eat much (or have much money to eat, for that matter), and I ran non-stop from early each morning until late each day with my low-pay job. I wasn’t sitting at a desk like I do now, and didn’t have a cafeteria with whatever I really want to eat a few floors down.

I have been eating much better until the past few days. My wife is an excellent cook, and is very conscious of fats, proteins, fiber, and so on, at least 5 days per week. We do splurge at home on occasion, but never two meals in one day. For example, this morning’s relaxed breakfast had the kids playing with breakfast pizzas (including plopping a raw egg for one edition), and Sue and I had waffles. For one, I put a piece of bacon on top of the batter, then flipped the maker over (it’s like the ones you find in many hotels). It was way better than I thought it would be!


So tomorrow, I head back to the gym and get serious about getting back in shape. I’ve been doing it right along, so am not starting as a couch potato or anything. But, I will be eating better, working more on my core and not just running, and leading the team at the contest at work. The waffle shown here will be the last one I eat for a while, so I wanted to be sure I would enjoy every last bite. The recipe for this is actually in the book that came with the waffle maker, and is just below the one we used. Since we had cooked bacon for the kids, it was only logical to try it! As Emeril Lagasse says, pork fat rules!

So, I haven’t posted in a long while. I have been blogging on my running blog (http://neversitstill.com), but that is mostly about the running I have done in the past year. As a very high level review, I completed two half marathons. They were completed within 5 weeks of each other, and all of the training was by myself on the back roads of northern Connecticut – plus a couple of runs at the gym at work.Speaking of work – it’s been a difficult year, but the year is almost done with a single day of work standing between me and the new year. I am taking the longest break from work I have ever taken, but feel that it is both deserved and very much needed. I’ll mostly be offline for the duration, although will be trying to keep up my blogs and email while offline. Work, however, will not be touched for the entire break other than during one of the trips and only to break up the drive (and of course, when I am NOT driving!).

One other event that happened this year was that I lost 25 lbs between August and October. While the majority of that was due to cranking up my distance, but also watching what I was eating thanks to my wife following the biggest loser quick start diet for dinners. There were a number of really delicious meals, so it has expanded our array of meal choices while reducing our waistlines!

I had a busy fall, running two half marathons and one 4.75 mile race on Thanksgiving day. The two half marathons were numbers 2 and 3 for me, and included 100% solo training. Running through the back roads of Connecticut was very interesting – and a great way to put running into perspective. The fact that the training was all done by myself, with no one asking if I would be there, or if I could go faster or slower,  or if I minded if they walked some. Those decisions were all mine. I was proud of the effort I put forth this year, and surprised myself at how many times I got up early and headed out for what I knew was going to be a very difficult effort. All in all, I enjoyed the overall experience, but am not sure I am ready to do that all over again anytime soon.

The last race was done with the entire family – a great way to start the day on Thanksgiving. Kaite started running with me, and stuck with me for over a mile. She put forth a great amount of effort – and knew when to pull up and wait for her mom and brother. At that point, I was able to put my head down and power through the rest of the first hill. After that hill, there was a very long downhill run – and I so enjoyed that! I just let my body flow down the hill, and ended the race with a 10:15 pace which is the best I’ve done on any run that long. Next year, I am shooting for a 9:30 pace for the race, but the crowd and my prep will be the things to determine if that is realistic. I loved the fact that the entire family participated – and that was the very best part about the race when all is said and done!

I have started a separate blog, trying to capture the running experience without so much non-running or training related discussion. That blog is appropriately named Never Sit Still, and located at http://neversitstill.com
I’ll try to keep the non-running discussion here down, unless it’s appropriate!

Saturday, I start the “official” training for the October 10th Hartford half marathon. My training for Richmond, a short 5-weeks later, will have to wait for the Hartford half training, although much of the training coincides (12 miles in my taper for Hartford is the same week that getting cranked up to 12 for Richmond occurs, and 13 for Richmond is the same day as the Hartford half). The only conflict is in the weeks between the races, when I am cranking up the mileage after completing the Hartford half. That plan has injury spelled all over it… so I will need to see how I feel.

It’s a good, 18-week program that basically has you running each Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Sunday. Tuesday and Thursday are short runs (3 miles for the first few weeks), Wednesday cranks it up a bit (4 miles for a few weeks, then 5 and eventually 6), and the Saturday runs are the longest and the ones that I fear.

I don’t fear the first long run since I’ve been already covering more than 5 miles while building my base mileage. It’s the 7, 8, 9+ mile trips that I fear. I’ve actually been having a difficult time figuring out where to run without subjecting myself to too many hills and being in a place that I could get picked up if all goes poorly and I get injured. I know I shouldn’t be worried about these things, but I’m running solo. I do carry my charged cell, my RoadID with my contact info, and a fuel belt with enough to make it through about 10 miles without replacement liquid. That means I’m prepared physically – I will need to get tough mentally to pull through. I have planned the work, and now I just need to work the plan.

My second and third half marathons this fall should fear me… at least that’s what I keep telling myself…