Friday, June 29, 2012

Edie Brickell vs The Who

A few days ago I was given a week to come up with a real, honest, no BS answer to this question:
"Who are you?"
As in, who do i think i am. Who is at my 'core'.
It should come as no surprise to you that I am a black and white thinker. There really is no grey (for me. yet.). My answers to the "Who" question were decidedly simple: I am a husband, friend, father, brother, son, runner, nurse, coach.
But that isn't the correct answer. Those define "WHAT" i am (so i am told), but not "WHO" i am.
So i stand here, at my desk at work, trying to define WHO i am. On my runs last evening, I tried to search myself for WHO. I can only come up with WHAT, and those are listed above, and in my profile.

Any help is greatly appreciated.


Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Three Day’s Grace

I have three days off from work. Today, Tomorrow, and Thursday. The plan? Build a retaining wall to counter act the movement of the existing retaining wall that we built in our back yard 2 years ago.

By ‘we’ I mean the contractor that abandoned the project 3 days into it and ME. Yep. I nearly broke my back working on that backyard project, and now I have no choice but to work on it some more to make it closer to being right.

It has been stressed to me that the troubles with the yard are not ‘my’ fault; I did the best I could do with the knowledge that I have, and that the contractor is to blame. (presently, I need to find ‘fault’ or ‘blame’ in most situations that go awry. I’m ‘working on’ this.) I readily assume blame or (better yet) responsibility when situations end up not being what we had predicted or hoped. For me, it just seems easier that way.

Now, however, I am faced with a daunting task of building a 30’ by 5’ wall out of old railroad ties, back filled with gravel, much like you see along railroad tracks. The closest we could get the 30 ties to the project site is about 30’, and they weigh about 175 pounds each. Let’s do some math…..(30x175=5,250) holy crap. by project end, which is supposed to be thursday night, I will have moved 2.6 TONS of wood, not to mention the rocks.

Oh, and the rocks will be at the bottom of our 50’ driveway, which is conveniently on a slope. By the end of this week, I’ll be toast.

Get the butter…..

Friday, June 15, 2012

Running is 50% physical, 99% mental

This spring has driven that fact home to me in many ways. This past winter I established some early season goals, signed up with a  coach (Adam), bought a treadmill, and really went for it. I was stricken with some sort of respiratory bug early on, but I rested well and recovered fairly quickly.

My first goal was a new PR in the 5k distance. The target race was a local Shamrock Shuffle 5k. I’d run it before, and was confident that I had enough training under my shrinking belt to accomplish my goal. Three days before the event, my beloved Aunt passed away. My mind was all over the place. We booked flights to go to North Carolina to be with my cousin and my Mom. They left the afternoon of the race, and my mind just wasn’t in the race. I walked some. More than I should have. I cried. I nearly gave up, but I didn’t. My Aunt didn’t, and I wasn’t about to dishonor her by quitting. My wife raced back from a conference she was attending and met me a few minutes after I had finished. It was great to see her there, and it helped me to get over my non-PR race.

The next goal on my list was a pretty big PR at the Half Marathon. June 3rd was the date, so I set my feet to running for that goal. Adam was very understanding with me, but still kept me in line and accountable. He’s great. A few not-so-good things happened the week before that race, too, and I really wasn’t in the right mindset. My taper miles were at an all time low of ZERO for the week, sleep was nearly non existent, and nutrition was way out the window. But I showed up. I really like this race; it is local, classic, and draws people from pretty far away. The spots (3,000 I think?) filled in about 10 minutes this year, so I was very lucky to get in. I met a friend and her daughter in the parking area, and we rode the shuttle to the start. I bumped into some other runners from work, chatted a bit, did a warm up mile, and got ready to take on my PR. I won’t go into the full report here, but suffice to say I nearly threw in the towel at mile 4. Around mile 9, though, I had a change of heart. Best part of the race? This finish line photo:


After that disappointing race (#2, for those of you keeping score) I took the next week + ‘off’ from running, even though I really needed to be right back at it. My next goal is to finish a 50k, which will be in August. I really need to get back into running. A lot.

My running class on Tuesday was threatened by a storm, but we managed to get the training in before the weather arrived. I decided that I wanted to squeeze in a trail run before bed time, so I made arrangements to do so. I was bound and determined to get at least 4 good woodsy miles in before dark, so I headed to one of the local trailheads for the Appalachian Trail. The route is very rocky, muddy, and rooty. I was a bit nervous about my footing, but was very pleasantly surprised how my Adidas Kanadia TR’s handled the terrain. I reached my goal turn around point in about an hour, which was surprising as it was only about 2.6 miles. That’s pretty slow going. I had stopped a few times, and didn’t bother to stop my gps. At any rate, I snapped these photos before I headed back.IMAG0233IMAG0232

I headed back to the car recharged. My mindset changed into a more positive vibe. My legs didn’t feel heavy. My lungs were readily filled with oxygen, and I decided to try for a negative split. It was getting darker, the rain was falling heavier, and my energy was falling. Despite all of that, though, I was determined to make it back in less time than it took me to get to the swamp bridge.

And I did it. I did it in less than 55 minutes. The last half mile was done in nearly complete darkness. I had a small headlamp with me that isn’t very good for trails. But I made do.

That little victory has helped to turn my psyche around. I am in better spirits at the end of this week than I had been at the end of last week or the week prior.

How are you able to turn your frown upside down?

Monday, June 11, 2012

#Wellnesschat Q and A 6-7-12

I missed last week's #wellnesschat on twitter in favor of reading with our son and having him fall asleep on me. I'm not sure who was asleep first, actually. Anyway, I like to stay up with this chat, so here are my answers to the 5 questions asked.
 Questions asked on last week's #wellnesschat
Q1: Do you have a #garden?
Presently we only have flower gardens at our house. In the past, though, I have had several vegetable gardens. I really miss having them.
What do you grow? I love a fresh salad, so i basically grew salad. And, of course, zucchini. Who DOESN'T grow that? I think that it is a prerequisite here in Vermont.
Q2: Why do you think it’s important to grow some of our own food? I'm not sure if I consider it important to grow my own food, I just enjoy it. Always had gardens as a kid. There's something special about warm, fresh lettuce in my salad bowl.
Q3: What are some good beginner plants for new gardeners? I would start with herbs like basil, cilantro, and perhaps some mint. Be careful with the mint, as it usually wanders and takes over a space. Basil and cilantro are typically tough to kill, and very versatile. Soup, salad, sammiches, etc.
Q4: What do you do about garden pests? I ignore garden pests. I don't use chemicals. Perhaps some marigolds planted here and there. I hear that bugs don't like them.
Q5: What are the barriers that prevent you from growing more of your own food? Our lawn isn't quite right for planting a veggie garden. It is on a big slope, so it is more conducive to flowers. Some day....some day....
Q6: How can we support more people #gardening? Same as everything else: baby steps! Don't expect to have a huge, successful garden the first time out. We've learned that we can't all be marathoners the first time we lace up running shoes, so why should gardening (or anything new) be any different? Start small, manageable. Work up to something bigger.

How about you? What are your thoughts on gardening?

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

And so begins the summer of 2012

Things have been interesting lately, and not in the way that I’d like them to be. Enough about that, though. ONWARD~!

Tonight was the first meeting of the Beginner’s 5K Class that I teach through our town’s rec department. I held the class last summer, too, and apparently there was enough enthusiasm that the town asked me to do it again. You can read about it here.

Two weeks ago, there were only 4 people signed up for the class. Given the stuff that has been going on here lately, I haven’t really been enthusiastic about the class. It was suggested by a good friend that since there were only 4, and I had set the low limit at 5, that I was well within my ‘rights’ to cancel the class. I said that I couldn’t do that, given that one of the people was returning from last year (she injured her knee at work, and didn’t get as much out of the class as she had wanted) and that she was bringing her two kids to the class with her. I would feel that I was letting her down, so I would just wait and see.

Right before class started I received an updated roster from the Parks and Rec folks. Can you guess how many had signed up?

Fifteen. That’s right. FIFTEEN!!!! For my little class. I was very surprised! Good thing that I made a bunch of copies of this week’s training plan. Whew… It was nice to see that many people take time out of their busy lives to introduce or reacquaint themselves with running.

Thank you, Tracey, and all of my other IRL and online running buddies for giving me the encouragement and strength to chase this dream down and make it happen.



Friday, June 1, 2012

“Running the Edge” book review

When I ordered this book, I wasn’t quite sure what it was all about. My original assumption was that it was another collection of stories about running, achieving, and how running is a metaphor for live. Yadda Yadda Yadda. Oh! and when I bought it, they were including an autographed postcard of Shalane Flanagan AND one of these:

gone running

I mean, seriously. How could I pass that up??? I have nowhere to hang the flippin’ thing, but it is still COOOOL. and I have one!

I jumped right into the book and was greeted head-on by the fact that it is more of a self-help book than a book about actual running. Umm….yea. I wasn’t really sure how I’d like it. It has tasks and self reflection activities designed to help you become a better person, specifically a “Distance Maven”. Yea. really. “Distance Maven”. But I continued to read, because both authors (Adam Goucher and Tim Catalano) offer stories of their lives that play very nicely with the themes being discussed. This isn’t always played off well in other books, but these guys nail it.

There were a few things in the book that I found worth mentioning, but I won’t go into too much detail. One of the early chapters is called “Someday is today”, and the boys (I think I am almost twice their ages, so…boys) tell a great story of a time they decided that ‘someday’ typically means ‘never’, and made a pledge to each other that someday would be today. In essence, do it now, because you may never get the chance if you wait for ‘someday’. Wise young men….

In another chapter, later in the book, Adam tells a story about emotional deposits. He shares,

“I have damaged various relationships that are important to me.This is not who I want to be, and I am fully aware of the areas I must improve to become closer to my ideal. Although I believe I am kind and friendly 95% of the time, it is that 5 percent – when I lose my temper and say or do things to damage not just my public image, but also my image of myself – that I need to work on.”

Yep. HELLOOOO~! Have we MET? while I don’t really HAVE a public image, I sure have been know to cause damage to my FAMILY IMAGE.

The book contends that running IS a metaphor for life. If we take a close look at how we are in certain areas of our running, we can apply those same findings to how we are in our non-running life, and work to achieve success in ALL areas, one step at a time. Pick one thing each week that can be improved, and IMPROVE IT.

So what is my take? Here you go, and thanks for hanging around this long. I enjoyed the book. We ALL know I could use some help, and this book does a good job (IMHO) of linking running with life. My intent, now that I’ve read through the book, is to go BACK through the book and actually DO the exercises. To take the time to think honestly about each section and how they apply to me. How CAN I become a “Distance Maven”?? Toward the end of the book, they discuss guilds.

Here’s my challenge to you: read the book. if you like it, let me know. If you’d like to start a guild (as discussed in the book, no further spoilers here!), hit me up and we’ll explore it further. Find the book here: