Run-Fessions, Blog-Fessions and Third Quarter Running Summary

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Happy Friday everyone! (OK, so let’s just agree to NOT discuss how many times I have changed the day in that greeting!?!)

Wait – WHO am I again?!?! Yeah, it has been more than three weeks since my last post. And it might be another three weeks unit my next … or three months … or forever! Who really knows. But I decided I wanted to check back in and share some quick thoughts … so let’s jump right into it!

Runfessions

Run-Fessions

I loved Harold’s Runfessions a couple of Fridays back, so naturally I stole the idea! It is only fair since he stole it himself, citing Michelle who in turn grabbed it from Marcia … whew! Anyway, here are some of MY run-fessions!

I love that top picture! – that was posted by the Wineglass Marathon on their Facebook Page in a post celebrating volunteers … but honestly all I saw was ME! We are a decent ways into the race as I can tell by how saturated my shorts are with sweat, but I am still running happy!

I love running – yeah, I know that is a theme I harp on, but Judith was writing recently about someone who pounded out miles and races and so on … and didn’t even LIKE running, I had to ask – WHY?!? Who the heck would do something they don’t like … find a new exercise!

It is REALLY hard figuring out how to dress for the weather – over the last few weeks we’ve had warm & humid and near-freezing and everything in between. I don’t like being cold, nor do I like feeling like I am overheating! I have done OK, with a couple of days where I wished I wore gloves or wish I had worn shorts instead.

I am not invincible – no, I have not been injured, but after running 8 days straight, including ~32 miles of speed & hills last weekend, I ran 9.75 miles on Monday in my Virratas … oh, boy are they DONE! I really felt it in my legs – nothing injury-like, just general fatigue that went away the next day with the Kinvaras.

Runners are gorgeous – this is non-gender-specific, but this year I saw more runners out and about than ever before, and I loved it. There is the son of a woman we chat with regularly when she is walking her dogs, who visits once or twice a year and is incredibly graceful and speedy (18-minute 5K range fast). There is a young woman who runs after dinner along the route that we drive taking the kids to marching band. There is the cyclist I see most mornings, the two women who moved from walking to running this year, and the various others I see on my weekend runs. They are all gorgeous … you are all gorgeous. WE … are all gorgeous.

Blog Confessiom

Blog-Fessions

While I am at it, how about blog-fessions? I would say that Michele made a blog-fession talking about how she wants to earn an income through blogging. Here are some of mine:

I am still reading ALL of your blogs! – Yes, I barely even comment anymore, but every day (or week, depending on the person) I look forward to reading what is going on with Harold and Suz and Ange and Em and Hollie and Amanda and Lisa and Sara and Sarah and Sara and Sarah (hmm, trend?) and Laura and Laura and Annie and Cori and Megan and Ann and Danielle and Rae and Nicole and Carmyy and Michele and Falyn and Sami and welcome back Olena and … several others in my feed! I don’t always even manage a ‘like’. But you are all awesome and I love what you are doing!

I have NO interest in making ANY money blogging – I don’t say this to counter Michele’s post above … in fact, I have been thinking about a post along the lines of ‘Are You Branding, Blogging or just blogging’. I differentiate them as follows: ‘Branding’ is what Danielle (T-Rex Runner) and Megan (Lyons Share Wellness) are doing, and Michele is doing with her three-prong attack of Paleo, runner, and Mom. Pretty strong brand material, really. Then there are Bloggers, people who have a focused approach and voice, and are trying to make enough money to support their blogs, getting ambassadorships, promoting products, doing giveaways, and so on.. Finally there are ‘bloggers’, people who have a blog and write. Like me. All are valid, but very different approaches. I think it is important to know what you WANT from your blog … I thought I might want to be a ‘Blogger’, but not really.

While I haven’t Published in 3 weeks, I have 7 new drafts – and that isn’t counting this one. I have also deleted several. Bottom line is that I haven’t come to any conclusions about what I am doing with this blog other than it is a lower priority than pretty much everything else in my life, from work and family and home and pets and running and music and so on. It isn’t like ideas dry up, or the process goes away … it is a matter of how I choose to spend time.

Some of the ‘blogging BS’ is more apparent – I feel like I can now see more stuff going on, things like humble-bragging, body-shaming, passive aggressive statements, run-snobbing, link-baiting, and YES, sadly this does occur in some of the blogs in my RSS and WordPress feeds on occasion. I suppose all of us do some of this – sometimes I assume it is pride at accomplishments. My tolerance for these sorts of things has definitely gone down considerably, and I have definitely not been reading as much as before. Let me be a bit more clear – over the last 2.5 years I lost 110lbs and took >33% off my pace – but that fat & slow person from 2012 is *ME*. If I spend time in my blog putting down my former self or speaking disparagingly about my speed or weight, I am putting down (a) me and (b) others who have and continue to struggle with these things. Enough said on THAT.

Not Blogging Has Propogated into More Offline Time – I have come to love my non-blogging time, but at the same time I don’t relax any more than before! I have been on a tech frenzy lately – Galaxy Note 3, Garmin vivoSmart, iPhone 6, Galaxy Tab Pro 8.4, Bluetooth keyboards, iPad synthesizer software (love iPhophet!), and so on. I was also away for business for a week. We’ve also had a lot going on between two birthdays, marching band madness, a newly licensed driver, and busy school year! I am looking forward to getting settled in and figuring out how to allocate some time, between music and writing (NaNoWriMo is beckoning!). My satisfaction with other stuff will dictate how/when/if I return to regular blogging.

Third Quarter Running Summary

So what were my goals? After the end of June I said “From now through the end of September, here is what I would like to do”:
– Keep my weekly volume between 50-60 miles (I honestly think 65-75 is too much and don’t want to do something stupid)
– Hit the track for some speed drills at least once or twice
– Sign up for at least one race this year … regardless of distance.

OK, well, here is the result:
– Not so much – my numerical average is 63 miles/week, but if you take out my ‘non-running vacation’ week the average jumps to 68.
– I basically did just that – I did the local high school track twice. Really, not great … but better than zero.
– OK, my last real chance is the Red Baron Half Marathon in November, let’s hope that happens!

Here are my thoughts on the last three months:

Running

Last time I said “I am running a solid volume and at a pace that feels pretty good to me.” I continue feeling that way – although I probably held my mileage too high this summer, I feel great and have had mostly great runs the whole 3rd quarter. I really didn’t attack anything, just worked to keep up my fitness and endurance, which worked great as I continue to be able to toss off ‘longer than half marathon’ runs regularly all summer.

Racing

Um, yeah. Nothing to report here. My feelings on the Wineglass Marathon were interesting – I decided back in January not to run, when it came to race weekend there is just so much activity here and I know so many people who ran and the weather was just absolutely perfect … I couldn’t help but feel a bit sentimental about not running.

Weight

During the summer the weight falls off me and I need to be extra careful about keeping fueled – and I have been really happy with how I have done. My goal since last year has been to follow my doctor’s orders, which were ‘do NOT lose any more weight’. Balanced with my own desire to not gain weight, I was worried about how it would work. It has been great – and easier than I thought.

Food & Eating

In a word – consistent and confident. My good eating is a habit, as is being careful on rest days. My intake remains great, dominated by fresh whole foods, balanced fruits and veggies and lean meats. I still have little desire for processed foods or packaged sweets. This is great, and I hope it keeps up that way!

Tracking/Tech

I am still loving the Garmin FR-15 and Magennal Echo for tracking runs, as well as the Polar Loop for fitness tracking. I switched to the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 for much of August and September, and found that Android is a total crap platform for fitness. Sync-ing the Loop took ~5x as long on the Note as the iPhone 5, the Echo was wonky and lost connection, and none of the fitness apps were as robust.

I have since moved back to iOS with the iPhone 6, and things went back to perfection immediately. I recently got Garmin’s new vivoSmart, which is a fitness tracker and ‘smartwatch’ that syncs with your phone. It is really cool, but occasionally problematic – which I hope continues improving through updates.

Everything Else

I have been much happier with not blogging than I would have thought. I have felt balanced, and so long as that holds I will not go back to regular blogging. Part of that is everything else is just nuts – work is super-busy and I seem to have doubled my responsibilities and the number of people reporting to me, Lisa’s work schedule has been busy, the kids have a crazy schedule which has made OUR schedules even crazier, and so on.

Lisa and I have made sure to take plenty of ‘us’ time as always, most recently taking a date night to see ‘Gone Girl’. We’d both read the book, but over a year ago so we knew all the basics but some details were sketchy. It was good enough that it made us want to re-read it!

We each also try to get some ‘alone time’ with the boys, which is challenging with their crazy schedules … but we try.

Outlook for 2015

I know it is early yet, but here are my basic thoughts for next year:
– Run more than 2000 miles.
– Maintain my weight and healthy eating habits
– Work on pace improvement.
– Run at least one 5k, a 10k, a half and full marathon.

Will I manage it all? Probably not! I know work will be busy through the whole year, as will Lisa’s work, and we will have Danny going off to college and Chris heading into his senior year. Crazy, eh?

Second Quarter Running Summary

Once again I decided to take my weekly summaries and chart them up. Here they are:

3rd Quarter Miles

Overall I am very pleased with my second quarter. By the numbers:
– Total miles – 821 miles (713 miles Q1, 812 Q2)
– Average weekly miles – 63* (55 Q1, 62 Q2)
– Half-year total – 2346 miles (on track to break 3000 miles)
– Longest run – multiple 23+ mile runs
– Shortest run – 5.25 miles (my ‘oh no, my mojo’ run!)

I have kept up with ‘runs with purpose’ throughout the period, which were mostly brutal hills, but also some speed work. I have hit the track … but I wanted to get in much more speedwork than I did.

Again, considering my goals for the year included staying injury-free, breaking 2000 miles, and running a couple of races … I am doing well on the key item. Which is being injury-free. I have already broken 2000 miles … and well, as the song says two out of three ain’t bad.

Fourth Quarter Goals

From now through the end of the year, here is what I would like to do:
– Break 3000 miles total (as of right now I am already over 2400 … so this is very doable)
– ‘Keep on Keepin’ On’ with the running – last week I ended up with an on-off-on-off-on-off schedule for Monday – Saturday due to birthdays, and it worked great for me. No stress, just running.
– Keep up my ‘runs with purpose’ – especially as it gets cold!
– Sign up for at least one race this year … regardless of distance.

How was your third quarter of running? How is your weather and have you broken out warmer clothes yet? What plans do you have for the rest of the year?

Sunday Tech Round-Up and Weekly Running Summary

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Happy Sunday! I hope everyone has had a great weekend so far! Just a couple of quick items today – new tech and my weekly running summary.

As for the picture above, that is my two-week old Samsung Galaxy Note 3 with a Perixx folding Bluetooth keyboard. It works really well, weighs next to nothing, is easy to carry, but some of the keys are a bit funky in size due to the folding split.

New Tech Roundup

This week at the IFA show in Berlin, the big focus was on wearable tech. Among all of the usual stuff there were a few fitness related items I wanted to share. If you want more on all of the wearables head here. But I wanted to highlight a few of my favorites that have a fitness angle:

Samsung Galaxy Note 4

Yeah, the Galaxy Note 4 really doesn’t bring much new to the fitness front according to this first impressions piece, but the one thing it does do is allow you to track your heart-rate using your finger and a built-in sensor below the camera the same way as the Galaxy S5. Here is how that works:

Also related to Samsung, they already have the Gear Fit ($149.99 at Amazon.com), which is an activity tracker that pairs with your Samsung phone … it has met with mediocre reviews.

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Sony Smartband Talk

Loads of info here, but here are some of my favorite details:
– Fitness centric design, counting steps, also has an altimeter for height
– Completely waterproof
– Curved e-ink desplay
– Microphone and speaker to use as a speakerphone.

At the estimated price of over $200, it isn’t clear this will be much of a hit, but it looks intriguing – especially the waterproof design.

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Wellograph

What I love about the Wellograph (official site) is that it is a great looking device, but it also has a three-LED heart-rate monitor that should be effective at tracking real-time activity. I am very excited and am hoping to get to check this one out for a review (at least that is the current plan).

Here are some more details:

Idle Time:
•Wellograph reminds users to sit less, move more and get active.

Activity:
•Wellograph expresses how much of a user’s day is idle vs. active, in hours and minutes. The device offers a today view to show how many calories users have burned each hour and their total for the day. Additionally, the week view feature displays frequency, intensity and time of their week’s activities.

Heart:
•Wellograph measures the quality and quantity of a user’s activity vs. simply the quantity, as the harder the heart works, the more calories burned. Wellograph encourages users to get their heart rates up via high-intensity physical activity and displays a user’s current pulse in beats per minute, including their high, average and resting heart rate each day. They are also provided with an exercise score based on how much aerobic activity they completed each day. After extended use, Wellograph will rank a user’s cardiovascular fitness and estimate their true fitness age, a feature unique to Wellograph.

Walk/Run:
•Users’ steps information is shown automatically as soon as they start moving and totaled to compare how much they ran or walked today vs. yesterday vs. their set goal. The device also offers users the ability to set a stopwatch, see their current pace and distance covered. After a run, Wellograph offers users summary stats about their run, including top pace, average pace, total calories burned and more.

Unfortunately all of those good looks and functionality don’t come cheap – the Wellograph is pre-ordering for $349 through the main site and also through Amazon.com.

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Garmin Vivosmart

I have already talked about how much I love the Garmin VivoFit I got for Lisa – it is a great activity tracker that is accurate, reliable, and has excellent battery life. Now Garmin has done one better by introducing the Vivosmart, which takes the Vivofit and turns it into a partner for your phone.

Personally I know I have been out running and my phone in my belt chimes and I wonder about stopping to check (only phone calls and texts will stop me usually unless I am expecting something from work). With this, I could look at my wrist and I would get a preview of what just arrived.

You can get a great ‘first hands-on’ from DC Rainmaker (whose reviews you should ALWAYS read on fitness devices), but a few things he noted included:
– Smartphone notifications
– Music control from the watch to your phone
– Vibration alerts

Garmin Touts These Key Features:

– Displays steps, calories, distance and time of day
– Vibration alerts for calls, texts and emails from your smartphone
– Easy operation using touch and swipe
– Inactivity alert reminds you to move
– Auto goal keeps you challenged

You can get more info or pre-order at Garmin or at Best Buy. The MSRP is $169.99.

Weekly Running Summary

This was definitely a weird week as I have noted, but I eventually got it together and ended up pretty strong over all. Here is how I did each day:

After coming back from our crazy tour of Providence and Boston, we were all exhausted and all of us felt a bit under the weather during the week, with Chris getting sick for real for most of the week. I took Tuesday off because I was feeling run-down, and then felt pretty good the rest of the week. But for whatever reason, I was still full-on motivated to get out and kill my runs and felt better every day for doing them – but paid in exhaustion at the end of each day! How did I do? Let’s take a look:

Sunday: ‘Rest’ Day – just 10 miles walking and shopping!
Monday: 16.5 miles
Tuesday: 5.25 miles … ugh, awful run!
Wednesday: 10.5 miles
Thursday: 10.5 miles
Friday: 7.5 miles after work
Saturday 23.5 miles with hill repeats

Um … yeah, so much for that ‘lost mojo’ I was worried about! I ended logging 73.75 miles this week. One thing that is clear – I am very much feeling the effects of burning the candle at both ends lately!

What new technology do YOU find compelling? How was YOUR week?

Step (Way) Back Week, Running Thoughts, and August Summary!

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Hi Friends! Well … when I said it had become much easier to disconnect, I wasn’t lying! In fact, I have enjoyed it so much I suddenly find myself very much disconnected on a regular basis … my posts two weeks ago were erratic, and I hadn’t done any since the previous Thursday until just a couple of days ago!

But when I say ‘step back’, I am really just talking about blogging – my running is still on track, as you will see below.

What are my blogging plans?

Well, I don’t know.

Here’s the thing – this was supposed to be posted on Sunday … or Monday … then Tuesday. Wednesday ended up with a different post – which is good because I don’t think this would have made it.

Funny thing – Wednesday’s post eased into one for Thursday and then Friday … and reconnecting through catching up on reading all of your posts and reading comments reminded me how much I love this community.

But at the same time I cannot deny that my relationship with blogging, and writing for the internet in general is evolving … and I really don’t know where it is going. So I will do what I always suggest to others – write when I want to, but never out of obligation.

So here goes!

Running Shoe Lifetimes

This past week seemed to be ‘how long do my shoes last?’ week, as there were great posts by Nicole and one from Cori where she referenced an earlier post about how she determines when to replace her running shoes.

In one comment I noted that my Saturday run of 18.5 miles put my Saucony Virrata 2s up over 1200 miles. They seemed to be doing fine – and I can generally start to feel it on runs or the same day. That tends to be my first indicator. And now that I have been rotating with the much newer Saucony Kinvara 5s (about 300 miles now) I really expected to notice it on my runs – and have been doing about 4:1 Virrata to Kinvara at this point.

But what I noticed was on Sunday. We picked up Danny’s girlfriend at Cornell in the morning and headed to the Destiny USA Mall in Syracuse (apparently it is the 6th largest in the country now) for back to school shopping and some fun. I noticed some tightness while driving in my calves and ankles, but we took Lisa’s car and … well, my 18.5 mile run had concluded after 8:30PM the night before.

We did a ton of walking on Sunday, close to 10 miles according to my S-Health app on my Galaxy Note 3 (yes, still loving this monster!). … and even though I’d walked more in Boston and New York City – I definitely felt it more in my ankles and calves.

My assumption? The Virratas are about done. I am wearing the Kinvaras all week and will rotate the Virratas in on a limited basis next week to see how they feel on shorter runs.

Update: I have worn the Virratas three times since writing this and feel fine. It wasn’t the shoes, apparently … it was me!

How do YOU know when it is ‘time to go’?

Shoe Reviews – Old and Used

Harold had a great post about why he is reviewing ‘last year’s shoes’. His thought:

Just because brands have a newer models to sell, that doesn’t mean the old running shoes, the ones that suddenly become much more affordable are irrelevant to runners?

And it is true – I handed off my Kinvara 4s to my son to use for bang-around shoes once they were ‘done’ as running shoes. But I have looked at them on Amazon and Running Warehouse, and they are now about $60 – but in very limited supply in my size 13.

But the point is, just because the Kinvara 5 arrives doesn’t mean the Kinvara 4 is suddenly of no value. I LOVED the Kinvara 4, and would buy another pair in a second … except that the sales on the Kinvara 5 are starting to ramp up as well.

Shopping for discount shoes often means dealing with older versions, and what you find searching for reviews is stuff that is old and almost always ‘first impressions’. I have talked about my disappointment at how quickly the New Balance Minimus 2 broke down … but have I written a full review? No. What I love that Harold is doing is his 50 mile reviews and longer term looks at shoes. You get not just the first impression, but a solid feel for how things last over time.

I would love to see that become more of a standard practice.

Injured Runner ‘Epidemic’

I mentioned this in a couple of comments, but so many people I know both ‘in real life’ and through blogging and otherwise on the internet have gotten injured that it is astounding. And something that really drove it home over the last week or so is the messages I have gotten from the Wineglass Marathon talking about opening up new entries. I intentionally didn’t sign up this year, but I know THREE people (including Hollie) who have deferred.

Now the Wineglass is a pretty popular marathon, enough that it allows 2000 people for both the full and half marathons, and also a decent size wait-list … and sells out by the spring. So for them to send along this message stunned me:

We have gotten enough Deferrals in that we have been able to open up 100 more slots in the Full Marathon! This is for the Full Marathon only at this time! If you or someone you know would still like to run please go to our web-site and click on Register Now for the Full Marathon! Thank you!

Still want to do the Half? Just opened up 100 Half Marathon entries.

So I was thinking – they already went through a couple of hundred people on wait-lists for each race, THEN they were able to add 100 more. They actually had opened up more slots for the wait list once already right after sign-ups closed.

I didn’t see this either of the last two years I have run the marathon, and it makes me wonder if there actually are more people getting hurt this year, and if so … WHY? What do you think?

Running Thoughts

Hollie had an awesome collection of posts she shared yesterday (she actually has had some great ones of her own this week – check them out if you don’t already follow her). A couple of my faves:

20 Things Every Seasoned Runner Knows (That Every New Runner Learns The Hard Way)
, which included gems such as:
* 12. Even if you’ve been running for years, every once in a while there’s just going to be a run that blows.

Which was my Wednesday theme.

Then there is this one I think many of us can identify with, I know Laura was talking about it this week as she returns from her summer off:

* 13. If you take a few weeks or even a few months off, getting back in the groove of things is going to feel impossible.

And finally something I do very well … but would rather not have to do quite so well – and certainly not so SOON!:

* 14. How to survive running in winter.

Grab a Gal: Why Men Should Run with a Woman
– there were some interesting things there, but one interesting one is about women and pacing:

Women are natural pacers. Studies of marathon runners have revealed that women have even pacing, which is a huge plus in long-distance racing. Biological reasons explain why. Males burn a greater percentage of carbohydrates for fuel, which deplete more quickly, whereas females will use more fat stores that last longer. Men tend to start out fast when the carbs are high and run out of fuel over the long haul. Pairing up with a woman might help even out this tendency, at least mentally.

Which explains why I never reading any blog posts from women about going out too fast! 😉 haha But seriously, the carb vs. fat stores thing is supported in at least one recent study.

But I had to double-check that the author was a woman, because of things like “Women smell better”. I mean, I certainly think that is true as a general rule – but my wife thinks she stinks after we do a long bike ride or whatever … weird.

Either way, I think running with others of either gender is a great thing – and I hope that we can run together if I am ever in your neck of the woods! Speaking of which – I will be in Cary, NC for the week of September 15 – 19 … anyone reading live down there?

August Running Summary

August was a big of a strange month for me. I had a half-marathon I had planned (Catharine Valley) that I decided to skip – and was glad I did because Lisa ended up with the morning off and we had a fantastic time together. The following weekend was a 5k/10k I thought about, but when Lisa’s plans at work shifted, I lost my gusto to get up and do it alone. Oh well – I still kept chugging along with my normal daily runs.

We had a whirlwind Boston college tour weekend, moving Danny’s girlfriend into Cornell, and a busy school shopping weekend. My month at work has been busy, and I ended the month getting into a technical area of exploration that is the deepest research stuff I have been able to do with this project – which is awesome.

Here are my weekly totals for August, by ‘week ending’ date:
– 8/1 & 2 – 24.5
– 8/9 – 54
– 8/16 – 72.57
– 8/23 – 68.55
– 8/30 – 67.5

And since I didn’t run on the 31st (but walked more than 10 miles!) my total for the month is 287.1 miles! I actually managed more than 300 miles in a month last summer … but this is still pretty nuts considering everything else that has been going on! No wonder I am exhausted!

How Did You Feel About Your August? Do You See More Injured Runners Than Usual This Year?

Monday Musings and Music and More

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Well, another long weekend of me not being around much … but something Megan said in response to a comment from me really rings true: “Isn’t it amazing that once you start to disconnect, it just seems so much easier to do so?” And the reality is – YES, it is true.

Sure I got runs in on Friday and Saturday, and had a very busy weekend, but normally I would have made sure I got some blogging done on Saturday … but instead I got in my run, and made sure I chatted with my older son about his girlfriend and how both were doing, and brought my younger son to do his DJ gig and then a few hours later had a late lunch with him and Lisa, and so on. What it comes down to is this: I prioritized reading and writing blogs lower than I ever have before. And that is OK.

1. Run for the Memories

I have talked before about how much I love exploring places by running, and for more than 2 years I have run everywhere I have visited. In fact, in a month I will be in North Carolina for a conference, and aside from meeting with some of the best minds in statistics and seeing one of my friends and colleagues speak, I am really looking forward to finding a new place to explore through running!

But this weekend Harold had a great post about when running is about MORE than just the run. He details what I would call a ‘run through the generations’ – his dad, an old coach, places where his siblings lived and grandparents and grat-grandparents lived, old factories long forgotten, and so on.

As I mentioned in the comments for his post, I wonder what that would be like for me. For the house I lived in until the middle of first grade it is impossible, as it and the whole neighborhood are now part of an industrial park. And my parents lived in a different town than their parents, who were half-way across the state from their parents. And for me, no one in my immediate family lives near where we grew up, and most of my extended family is scattered up and down the east coast.

What would a ‘running through your memories’ look like for you?

2. No Race Weekend

I didn’t run the race I was planning on Saturday, for several reasons:
– Friday was very busy with the move-in, and also emotion, and a long day (past midnight)
– Both Lisa and Chris had to work Saturday, and I knew they would be long days.
– The previous year had 700 runners and about 1400 people … and a parking lot that fits about 16 cars (and on the other end of the trail one that fits a dozen.
– I would have had to bike over due to logistics, and when we were sitting up past midnight the night before I thought ‘no … not gonna happen’.

Am I disappointed? A little … Lisa and I were planning to do it together, she would have walked and I would have run and it would have been fun. But ultimately I am more disappointed that we didn’t do it together than about my choosing not to go.

I had decided I would have done the 5k, because I really was interested in that ‘sustained pain’ feeling. I still haven’t run a 10k so it would have been ‘instant-PR’. Oh well … there are always other 5ks – even this coming weekend!

3. College Move-In

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The situation that had us with a fully loaded car last Friday morning is someone else’s story, but it was a fun and rewarding day and I was glad we could help out. The picture above is our son and his girlfriend.

Cornell is a beautiful campus that is really its own community, isolated by a few miles from the heart of Ithaca. It was a very busy day, but we were there to help every step of the way and got to see how much things have changed since Lisa and I had OUR first college move-in days 31 and 30 years ago respectively.

I do love how much has changed to really focus on the successful integration of new students. When I started it was more just a few social events then BAM into classes. Now they have loads of things throughout the calendar to help the kids learn how to navigate the school and their future.

4. New Phone

I posted about this on Instagram, but I got a new phone this weekend. It is a Samsung Galaxy Note 3 – and it is HUGE. The goal? To see if this device can replace both my iPhone and iPad for the majority of things, such as blogging, email, RSS feeds, and so on. Music software remains pathetic on Android so the iPad will remain for that, and I am really not doing much gaming recently, so it will be interesting to see if there is any impact on that front.

While I have had Apple products going back to 1979 and the Apple ][+, I have been an Android phone used from when they first came to Verizon right up until getting iPhone 5. At this point I have regularly been using the iPhone 5, iPad Air, Macbook Air, gaming PC laptop as well as a Kindle Paperwhite, Kindle Fire HDX, and Sony Playstation Vita. Yeah, too much stuff. Worse yet – I regularly find myself seeing something on the phone and then grabbing the iPad to type the reply. Makes no sense!

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One immediate thing? The Note 3 deoesn’t fit in my running belt. I see that the SPIBelt ‘large pocket’ fits these things well.

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And in general, I forgot how clunky so many things are in Android, as I work to get devices to pair, apps to link together and so on. I STILL haven’t gotten the Polar Loop to pair up correctly. Here is a good mantra: “With great flaxibility comes many hassles.”

5. Wealth vs. ‘Class’?

I subscribe to Quora because I love all of the discussions and reading great answers to questions. But sometimes the questions are … interesting. This one in particular documents parents who have shown their child a very warped view of the interaction between money and class.

Here is an interesting – and demonstrably true – view of reality from a different post:

in most cases lazy sons of multimillionaires end up better off than hardworking daughters of slum-dwellers

And from the post in question?

•My parents always told me to never leave a tip for waiters/waitresses at restaurants because they are just fishing for tips

Aside from being incorrect (and really just the tip of the iceberg of the article), it engenders an attitude of elitism that is unconscionable. And the wealth-based discrimination is every bit as real as any other type.

But the question I have for myself, and that I think we should all ask ourselves: in what ways do I have similar attitudes about things? I know that as a professionally employed, home-owning white Christian married male in America I have a position of considerable privelege. I just hope that when I can affect change, I do so to the best of my ability.

6. THIS Is America?

I have started and deleted many different things about the ongoing violence and racial tensions … and none of it felt right to me. I have always been a ‘question authority, but support your police & fire’. Because OF COURSE there is racism in police forces – these are people, and people are racist.

But there is also tremendous bravery and kindness and goodness and a desire to help – because these are people, people who choose a dangerous profession hoping to make a difference.

Here is my basic thought: the problem isn’t the police, it is US. Because they are us – and the problems reflected there in terms of race, religion, gender and so on … are problems endemic in our society at large.

My biggest problem comes with the militarization of America. When Reagan invaded Grenada, there was a groundswell of pride, and the decades since have built up the concepts of ‘American exceptionalism’ and ‘might = right’. More scary is how starting in the late 90s we have seen police forces equipped with tanks and so on.

So what we see more and more in the country is exactly what is shown here:

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7. Movies are Easily Diagrammed

You know how most times when you are watching a Rom-Com you can see the formula coming into play? Y’know, how the two people who will eventually end up together have a ‘near miss’ (or are just friends), there is at least one ‘other’ romantic interest, then in a dramatic turn there is the realization that ‘the one’ was always rigt there? Over at Neatorama this is diagrammed out for a number of genres:

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How do you feel about this? Is it accurate?

7. Do You See a Problem?

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I just started getting Tennis magazine, and two issues arrived at once. Both covers are from the very top playes in the field, one is male and the other female. One has a person playing tennis, the other has a sultry, over-the-shoulder barely clothed shot. Am I overly sensitive thinking WTF? Personally I think Maria Sharapova looks awesome playing tennis, just like Roger Federer.

8. Almost School Time!

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Hard to believe that we’re already at the point of heading back to school. This past week was band camp – a week of 9AM – 8:30PM spent playing and marching and drilling … the kids were lucky that the weather was generally nice. Two years ago we had a heat wave, last year alternated between hot and thunderstorms. There was only one rainy day this year.

If you are looking for my boys, they are the tuba on the left and bass drum on the right. This was as close as they got during the ‘public practice’ on the last night. The final song was rough – but what I love is that we will see an amazing progression from now through the competitions throughout September and October.

9. My Running Summary

For the most part this was a pretty ordinary summer week – out early, do my run, do my abs, get ready for work and go. Here is the summary:

Sunday: Bike trip with Lisa
Monday: 9.75 miles
Tuesday: 9.75 miles
Wednesday: 10.1 miles
Thursday: 9.75 miles
Friday: ‘Rest’ Day (College move-in)
Saturday 14.5 miles, fast & flat

The weekly total was about 54 miles running, plus a great long bike trip with Lisa, and a busy day walking around with heavy boxes at Cornell! I was definitely happy with my runs this week, especially my long run on Saturday – I really pushed the pace throughout, trying to keep my heart rate up at all times. And I continue enjoying trying to get in my ab work and planks every day! I don’t want to let this great habit stop!

10. Music New and Old

We watched a bit of the VMAs last night … and as always I don’t know why. For me, they represent the absolute WORST of music – it isn’t a celebration of artistry, or even of music … it is a self-gratifying celebration of celebrity as personified by those with the most marketing money to spend. I have very little good to say – except that I loved Ed Sheeren thanking and handing the mic to the ‘guy who made the song’. That is important – pop music isn’t made by the people singing them … they are just the new ‘Johhny Bravo’.

Anyway, the most annoying thing for me was Nicki Minaj, whose one-trick schtick of fast-rapping is played out, augmented for the video crowd by booty-shaking. The song she did shows the depths of the current state of pop music – she has made an entire song from a line from a throw-away one-hit gimmick song from the 90s. Here is the original:

And here is the new rip-off:

The distinction? One was a joke when it came out, the other is supposed to be ‘artistry’. Puh-lease.

Finally, Lisa came across a new song she loved this weekend, and we added it to our iTunes and listened on YouTube – ‘Night Like This’ by LP:

Myself? I have mentioned that I’ve been re-stocking my iPod with older music that has sat un-played for too long as I was reviewing more and more albums over the last 5 or so years. One song I had completely lost track of? ‘Night of the Iguanas’ by Joni Mitchell from her 2007 album Shine.

Did you do any races this weekend? Any cool new music? How was YOUR week?

Thoughts About Running Lately, Guest Post and Weekly Summary

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First off – thanks to everyone for the anniversary wishes. We had a great day of relaxing with coffee, kayaking for several hours on Keuka Lake, then eating at a restaurant with outdoor seating overlooking the lake (Snug Harbor in case anyone cares).

Guest Post

On Friday I had a guest post over at Life Between the Miles, talking about being a runner in a non-running family from both sides of the equation. Thanks to Sara for letting me ramble on her blog as well as here! I hope that her and her family are having a wonderful vacation!

Thoughts on Running Lately

There have been so many great posts about training, motivation, and so on lately, and I always feel a bit weird reading those because I am often not sure how I feel or what to say. This Sunday was one of the races I had planned on running at the beginning of the year – the Catharine Valley Trail Half Marathon.

But I am not racing it – and have absolutely no regrets. Why? In terms of non-running reasons, this is our anniversary weekend and we thought we might do a getaway, then there was the possibility of a college visit, so as we went back and forth with what would happen, I realized I didn’t want to be worried about a race over our anniversary, so mentally I pretty much crossed it off the list.

The moment I really knew it was gone was on Saturday when I had the chance to go for a run after Lisa headed to work and the kids were at marching band – and I went for a super-long run. That type of thing pretty much ensures I will be exhausted in general and my legs will be toast in the morning. I didn’t taper, didn’t ramp my fueling, and in general did nothing to prepare for a race.

1. It is Possible I Will Finish 2014 Race-Free … And That’s OK

This was a question I asked myself a bunch this week – as of August 1st there were three races I was thinking about: Catharing Valley, Can 50 Ultra and the Red Baron Half. A charity race next weekend popped up that I might do, but as of right now I am wait-listed on the Ultra and not signed up for anything.

The question? Do I care? And the answer? No. There are other years, other races, other times. Right now I have enough stuff going on that it just doesn’t easily fit in doing races. As I have said, you have to budget AT LEAST 4X the time impact for a race as for a run of the same distance … and often you lose the whole day.

2. I am Not Searching for Motivation

Last week was ‘keeping motivated week’ in the blog work, or so it seems. I wrote a post about it, and so did many other people. For many, they are struggling with motivation as they are working through their training plans – or they are struggling getting up in the morning, or getting in their runs due to weather, or just in some way having a rough time of things.

As for me, I came back after a whirlwind few day college tour, then headed out the next day and ran nearly 19 miles. For fun. You know what they say about messing with people who do this stuff for fun! haha

3. Races / PR / etc Don’t Motivate Me

I can’t say that I don’t LOVE going to races, that getting PRs or just doing well for myself aren’t all great – but they are NOT why I wake up at 4AM and go running every day. I mean, I ask myself the basic question – if I would never PR again, or if I could never run another race … would it impact getting up and running?

My easy answer is no. I would still get up and go every day, would still try to improve, and would still love running. For me, racing and everything associated with it is just ‘stuff’ – and is totally unnecessary … but fun.

4. I Don’t Care About Training Plans

After botching my first half-marathon two years ago, I took advantage of the six weeks I had before my first marathon to do things better. The same is true for my 2013 races – I would build volume, do some speed work, then taper off.

This year? I have set a pretty solid volume, done my ‘runs with purpose’ each week, and tried to hit on most of the things needed to work at my strengths and weaknesses, while still filling most weeks with easy runs. I know I need more track work, and hope to get more in before school starts up again in a few weeks.

But in general I don’t sweat training plans – I know that could limit me in some ways … but as I say, it really isn’t something I care all that much about.

5. I Just Freaking Love Running

This is the bottom line – everything else is secondary to just my pure love of running. Lisa was commenting before she left for work today, saying ‘head out for a nice long run, you could use it’ – she totally GETS me. And when she came home and we had dinner together, she knew I had a great one because I was totally chill. I loved getting out, pounding the pavement, running new places, battling exhaustion as I passed what would normally be ‘the wall’ in a marathon, and just having a great time.

Running and I have a long history – I started more than 25 years ago, while I have never had the passion or drive that I do now, and certainly never put in the hours and miles I do, it is something that has been with me – never out of obligation, always out of my own personal desire.

My Running Summary

After coming back from our crazy tour of Providence and Boston, we were all exhausted and all of us felt a bit under the weather during the week, with Chris getting sick for real for most of the week. I took Tuesday off because I was feeling run-down, and then felt pretty good the rest of the week. But for whatever reason, I was still full-on motivated to get out and kill my runs and felt better every day for doing them – but paid in exhaustion at the end of each day! How did I do? Let’s take a look:

Sunday: 18.79 miles
Monday: 9.75 miles
Tuesday: Rest Day (sickness prevention!)
Wednesday: 10.5 miles
Thursday: 10.1 miles
Friday: Anniversary – about 3.5 hours of rowing on a kayak!
Saturday 23.43 miles on a flat course

Um … yeah. So I clocked 72.57 miles this week. Highest volume in a while – and I guess based on this it makes sense that our kayaking against the wind felt like just another workout. Lisa gave me crap, talking about my planks and so on. And I guess it is true – I am benefiting from the non-running work I have been doing (thanks Megan for the challenge!)

How do YOU feel about races compared to just running? How was YOUR week?

Family Hiking > Blogging, and My Weekly Summary!

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See that water WAY down there? THAT is the destination!

Hey everyone! Thanks for all of the awesome comments and blog posts … my intent was to get in some reading and commenting this weekend … but I didn’t. In fact it is late and quiet here Sunday night as I finish this post.

We had talked about possibly going kayaking on Sunday, but had decided to hike the PA Grand Canyon instead. The last time we’d hiked it was back in 2008, and the last time we’d been there … well, a year ago this weekend for a little race.

We hiked along a different trail near where the marathon was held, and as we crossed by where the start/finish line was … Lisa commented ‘my memories of this place are not so great!’ Haha – they were driving in the dark and torrential rain to find a place that wasn’t marked and that basically no one in town knew about!

I look at it this way – what better way to follow up a nearly 22 mile run than with a nearly 10 mile hike on a narrow, steep and challenging path with my family – including our terriers?!? Well – here are some fun pics!

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The zig-zag narrow path down

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Looking to one side of the stream at the bottom

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And back up the other way … past fallen logs

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At the base of the gorge … the dogs had a blast!

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Riley, of course, went swimming … but the water was COLD!

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The rather steep ascent that faced us on the return trip!

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Came across a geocache site!

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Wellsboro was shut down by 6PM, but we found a place for a sweet treat!

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And to end the night? Fruit Smoothie, of course!

My Running Summary

My goal since returning from vacation was simple – miles and mix-it up! I wanted to mostly just rebuild my base, but also mix up how I did things and include some speed, fartleks and so on while still doing my normal courses. I was very pleased with how I did – I did just over 45 miles across 5 days the first week, and kept up my 9 mile average this week!

I also wanted a long run … and a hill run. And repeats. So yeah, that was Saturday. Let’s take a look:

Sunday: Rest day
Monday: 9.25 miles
Tuesday: 9.5 miles
Wednesday: 9.25 miles
Thursday: 9.75
Friday: 9.25 miles
Saturday 21.55 miles

My weekly total was 68.55 miles! The thing I mentioned was how great it felt being ‘marathon ready’ … now I just have to get ‘Ultra Ready’ … I am hoping to hit the track this week if time allows – Lisa has work travel and we have a trip to Syracuse to check out the film school on Friday!

Do you ever do challenging hikes with family/friends? What is YOUR next race goal?

Sunday Vacation Day, Award-Worthy and Weekly Summary!

Happy Sunday! Well, actually by the time you read this I will already be on vacation! WooHoo! I will say in advance that my intent is to be ‘mostly unplugged’ all week … so I apologize in advance if I don’t reply to comments, read blogs, or answer emails in a timely fashion. But for me, these unplugged times are really important since I tend to be an ‘always online’ person.

In my absence I haven’t set up any guests to post … instead I have pulled out three of my earliest posts – ones that seem to really resonate even now. I reworked them all a bit and reposted – hopefully you will enjoy!

Award-Worthy

When I did my Very Inspiring Blogger award post I sorta cheesed on nominating others … and it has bugged me since. I mean, it was one thing earlier this year when I had two in a row and had nominated all my faves in the first one … or even when I did the mega-awards post more recently. This time? I just didn’t make an effort – and worse yet, I realized that there are a bunch of new awesome blogs I am reading that deserve attention!

So here is what I am doing – I am just going to list 25 30 great blogs I read regularly, including old faves as well as new discoveries. If they would like to do a ‘Very Inspiring’ post (which is really mostly about listing a bunch of things about yourself) – great. But either way I encourage everyone to check them out!

1. T-Rex Runner
2. Runnah
3. Ann’s Running Commentary
4. Loving on the Run
5. The Lyons’ Share Wellness
6. The Gluten-Free Treadmill
7. She’s Going the Distance
8. SuzLyfe
9. Run Salt Run!
10. Paleo Running Momma
11. Life Between the Miles
12. Darlin’ Rae
13. Fit Fresh & Funny
14. Spiritual Creaminess
15. Carina’s Running Career
16. The Girl Who Ran Everywhere
17. Running Southern
18. Running Sunflower
19. Cowgirl Runs
20. Running Boston & Beyond
21. Carmy
22. Candies & Crunches
23. The Passion of Running
24. Running Out of Wine
25. So Very Slightly Mad
26. To a 5K and Beyond
27. Blonder side of life
28. Snack Therapy
29. Amazing in Motion
30. The Big Man’s World

Wow – I love a lot of blogs 🙂

My Running Summary

Another week without a Sunday or Saturday … and in spite of the heat and humidity I really enjoyed my runs. That said, having the cool dry breezy air of Friday was just amazing! I’ll take 365 days of THAT every year, thanks!

The funny thing was hitting my driveway and the Garmin saying 18.73 after I hit the button … and I really just didn’t care enough to make it 18.75 … oh well!

Sunday: ‘Rest’ day (Hike the gorge)
Monday: 10.25 miles, 2:32 plank
Tuesday: 11.4 miles, Abs, 2:17 plank
Wednesday: 9.75 miles, Abs, 2:39 plank
Thursday: 10.5, Abs, 2:07 plank
Friday: 18.73 miles, Abs, 2:32 plank
Saturday ‘Rest’ day (getting ready for vacation!)

This was an awesome week with a couple of late nights (Chris went to Fallout Boy/Paramour and got home after 1:30), but somehow I managed a total of just over 60 miles.

Have a great week and I look forward to catching up when I return!