It’s two days after Christmas, and the family is all in Georgia visiting my mother in law. We’re in Northwest Georgia, basically we are about 10 miles south of the Tennessee border. We arrived via an 18-hour drive from New England. I believe that this is the single longest drive I’ve ever taken in a single, non-stop trip. Certainly, I have driven further over a multiple-day drive, but 18 hours in one day is very draining. The worse part was that I slept for only a few hours the night before leaving, then almost none in the car. I don’t sleep well (or at all) in cars or on planes. You’d think that I could find a way to get comfortable, but it doesn’t happen. So, we arrived exhausted, ready to collapse. We did, and after a solid night’s sleep, were refreshed and ready to start visiting.

It’s been cold here, as should be expected in late December in the mountains of Georgia — no snow, just a heavy frost on the car windows each morning. Sue got to see all three of her brothers this weekend, including David who lives in Florida and whom she hasn’t seen in many years. Late yesterday, my nephew showed up with his kids – peers of my own kids. They were instantly having fun. Today, after most got a good night’s sleep, they should have the opportunity to burn off some much needed energy. They haven’t see this family in several years, although the eldest (Alex) and my daughter have started chatting quite a bit via Facebook. It was an instant bond when they saw each other – and the hug was quite genuine!

We had quite a meal last night – 9 adults (ranging from 45 to 87) and 6 children, ranging from (3) 17-year olds to 12. I was glad to neither be the eldest nor the youngest! I had never eaten beef wellington before – it was very well prepared, but didn’t end up sitting with me well. I think the combination of very heavy foods and lack of salad-like substances, that my body is rejecting my holiday-eating patterns. We have eaten very well over the past year, so changing that pattern for more than a few meals in a row evoke havoc!

So far, the vacation has been a good bit of work, but all worth while getting in some visiting that has been long overdue, and never knowing when it will be the last time, is being embraced. At least my dog is getting spoiled with all of the attention!

Some of our best friends from Virginia visited recently. We spent two days relaxing, talking, and just getting back in touch. Then, last Saturday, both of our families headed to Pennsylvania. The three families are all great friends, and that really came through as soon as we got a chance to relax. I have a great deal of respect for Bill, for multiple reasons I won’t go into here. We always have a great time together – totally laid back with lots of laughs.

Debbie is just amazing. She came up with games, variations that we have played previously but always with twists that were only Debbie created. Take a ton of adults, most drinking, and the games are always a great deal of fun. For example, the first game started with two teams (partners were always on opposite teams), and each person had to pass the string with clothes articles attached through their clothes. It was interesting, and a great ice breaker for those of us from out of town.

The trip was relaxing, fun, full of friends, and very hard to end. Monday when the Ps headed back to VA and we headed back to CT, and the T’s headed to an appointment in Phila., it was the hardest goodbye we have said in a long time.

We just spent a week with fantastic friends who came to Connecticut from Virginia for a week of fun and relaxation. We did many things, including visiting Mystic (for pizza, of course), hiking at Kent Falls, canoeing or kayaking down the Housatonic River, taking a steam train and riverboat ride on the lower Connecticut River.
The week was relaxing and I feel somewhat disengaged from work for the first time in a year. Having adult conversation and catching up on life in Richmond helped us move past moving north. Life down south is crazy, and significantly more calm up here. While we sometimes question the move, those discussions helped to cement the fact that this was the right place and at the right time. We’ve been here almost a year now and are finally starting to feel at home.

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
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…

I received the confirmation of entry for the Richmond half marathon today. So, the goal is set for the fall and the plan laid out for the summer running! This morning, I headed out for a nice long run. I had run on Wednesday, although just a quick 2-miler on the treadmill at the gym. I had a 7:30 conference call to make and a water main break had increased my commute by about 15 minutes. I have not run back to back in a long while, so I had no clue how I would feel.

I started down the road with little more than “run as far as you feel like” plan. I ended up going on a new route, feeling really good for most of the run (finally) and ended with a 5 1/4 mile run under my belt. Of course, it took about an hour to cool off so I was somewhat late leaving for work but I finally felt good about a run. I knew it was bound to happen. Now if I can kick this apparent cold, I’ll head out for another run this long weekend. I did stop on the way to snap the attached photo. The sun was just starting to peak through as it was a bit after 5:15.

It is really hard to believe that it has been a full year since I’ve left Richmond. We spoke to a bunch of our friends last night who were at the pool, enjoying a cookout and drinks with friends. It’s not the area at all. It is the people that I miss the most. The daily interactions have slowly turned into an occasional chat as time permits. Losing that constant connection with the people who have been such an important part of my life is still the hardest part about leaving.

On a much more positive note, this May has been much more relaxing than last May was. The most important part is that I am here with my family. We still don’t have many friends in the area, but that will eventually come. The kids have found a home and a caring environment – definitely very important.

This weekend last year started a very lonely couple of months for me. I was in a hotel room, starting a new job, and in an area where I knew absolutely no one. I am not sure I’d like to do that again, but it did allow me to get firmly entrenched in my new job.

Twelve months – hard to believe.

Once again, I am trying to make my way out of a hell hole otherwise known as an airport. While the first leg of my flight was very uneventful, I now sit in the airport in Charlotte, North Carolina waiting for another US Air “issue” to be resolved. Today, the issue is a “maintenance issue” so has tacked a full 65 minutes onto my layover. Now I need to conserve batteries or find a plug to make the time last. What I don’t get is the fact that the originating flight left Jamaica on time, but there is a maintenance issue here. The funny thing is that since the plane has not landed, you have to wonder what that delay really is. If it was really a maintenance issue, would the plane have really taken off in the first place, or would it have returned to Jamaica to take care of the issue before endangering the passengers?

Personally, I think that this is the excuse de jour, equating to some miscellaneous issue that they didn’t want to explain.

The last trip, I had my originating leg canceled, then rerouted through Philadelphia, landing 3 hours late. The trip before that, my 30 minute layover at Dulles turned into a 4 hour delay, capping a 22 hour day. Every trip, I just need to expect pain and aggravation and add hours onto my expected trip. Good thing the people picking me up have cell phones…

Friday, I got the chance to see many of my good friends, both the guys and the gals. Some of us were together at the middle school ceremony Friday morning, then later at the pool. We also got together on Saturday, although for less time than Friday. Four of the couples went to eat at El Chaparal, a very authentic Mexican restaurant. Later, back to our house to chat, have a few beers, and just hang. This is why coming home is good.

The past two weeks go down in my life as being life changing. Last Thursday, we had a gathering at the house of many of my friends from work outside the City. These are the people outside of my wife and children that help me define my life these days. They are lifelong friends, all met in the past ten years. Not everyone was there, but many were to help me celebrate. My closest friends made a CD for my trip, to remind me that I always have a home in Richmond.

Friday, I left my job after more than ten years. I packed my last box, turned in my laptop, blackberry, and badge. Then, I made one final trip around the facility to say my goodbyes that I hadn’t previously said. While I still need to send an email to those folks, it was really strange saying goodbye. I went home and packed, then jammed as much as I could in my car.

Early on Saturday, I left the comfort of Richmond and headed north. It was a 12-hour drive, filled with phone calls from friends making sure I was awake and doing alright. At long last, I arrived in the Residence Inn located in West Springfield, Massachusetts – my home away from home for the next 60+ days. My GPS tried to self correct my intentional diversions from major highways, but that’s another story.

Sunday, I found a grocery store, Costco, and drove to my new office to be sure that the Monday commute would work. My GPS worked like a champ this time.

Monday, I started my new position, with a new company, doing things that scare the heck out of me. I am working for a very large company (again), but with many more corporate-based employees at the same building. The building is huge, old, and with the great style attributed to the early 20th century. There should be a picture above.

After a whirlwind week, I have settled into a basic routine. I have started to catch up on my sleep, and really got a chance to recharge yesterday. I was fairly restless last night, in part due to a loud snorer next door and in part due to my 2+ hour nap in the middle of the afternoon yesterday. I was up today at 5:30 AM, and was doing laundry at 6. Not much competition for washers and dryers at 6 AM.

This week, Sue and the kids come up. They will be visiting schools on Thursday and Friday, visiting northern houses with one of our realtors on Sunday, will be visiting CT and southern MA houses with our Realtor on Monday. Thank goodness for the three day Memorial Day weekend next week!