Sunday, October 30, 2011

Letting Go


After I got home from work and had dinner, went out to the store to buy a new light to wear while running and a few other things and a small package of smoked salmon.  Barbie had been refusing to eat almost anything.  She started out the week being able to eat a half a can of dog food but then ate less and less each day.  Salmon is one of her favorite foods.  She ate a couple small pieces.


Ran up Starkey Blvd to the park and back with Raj. I forgot to set my alarm but woke up when Raj texted me to say that he was running late. Started at 6:00 instead of 5:45, so not too bad. Light rain most of the run but pleasant.  We ran a little over 14 miles together.
Then, I had to hurry off to take Thomas bowling.  We were going to head to Tae Kwon Do directly from there for his belt ceremony but decided to head home instead.


In the afternoon we took turns spending time with Barbie.  She was not able to walk, so Jenny carried her out in the backyard.  It was a nice day out. I brought her out some of the smoked salmon and to my surprise she ate all that I brought out with me, then I went back and brought some more to her which she ate, and finally had enough.  (Sammy got a few bites but his favorite food is chicken, so I just took some "no thank you" bites).

I sat down with her for about an hour or so.  We were laying on a beach towel below and oak tree.  I petted her and listened to the rustle of leaves.  I thought about how hard it is to let go.  But as I listened to the wind and lay next to Barbie I thought about it.

Let go of your fear,
Let go of your worry,
Let go of the sadness,
Let go of the doubt,
Just let go,
Let go of the pain, 
Let go of the anger,
Let go of the "coulda, shoulda, woulda's"
That time is past
Now just lay here, next to your old loyal brown sweet dog.
Keep the memories and the lessons, remember the richness,
Remember the love,
Appreciate the chance to say goodbye - you don't always get that,
But, just let go

Even on your last day with us Barbie, you still taught me something.

 Jenny sat with Barbie, and then I took the boys to their music lessons.  After the music lessons, we gathered the kids together and said it was time.  So, we all went to the weekend vet together to say goodbye to Barbie.  It was a sad and tough time for everyone.  It's time to remember the good things, let go and move on.  She will be missed.  It's times like these to remind yourself to appreciate what you have before it's gone.

One of my favorite Barbie Pictures (we have a blown up black and white version of this)

Barbie and Sammy when Sammy was a puppy

Barbie almost 12 years ago around Andy's birthday - she always looked out for the kids

Friday, October 28, 2011

Sometimes You Just Need to Run

Barbie from about a year ago, she's doing this now but does not look as good, I'd rather remember her this way.

Barbie is not doing well, she is eating less and less and her legs are getting thin.  But she is still a sweet dog and interested in what is going on.  I tried to get her to eat a little before I left for work this morning and to try and sneak in a pain pill.  She wouldn't take the food.  She doesn't outwardly act like she is in pain, but dogs are not very good at complaining, they can't tell you where it hurts.  We are waiting now.

Today's Run

10.46 in 1:30:55 , average pace 8:42

Light ran this morning, actually alternating between light rain and no rain.  Headed out just after 6:00 with Jenny and a group of her friends.  We ran into a couple more people that we know.  But shortly after that, everyone decided to turn back early because it looked like there was some heavy stuff on the radar.  I was going to turn back, too.  Jenny said "why?  you usually don't mind running in the rain."  I usually don't but there have been a few times when I wished I hadn't but if it stays nice and light.

But, almost always I need to listen to Jenny since she usually has good advice.

So, when we got to where everyone else was splitting off to go home, I kept on going and decided I'd turn back (or seek shelter) if it got really bad.

It never did get bad.

I headed a couple neighborhoods over, where I don't run much anymore.  I saw my friend Raj out running.  He was out doing a quick loop from the Y before lifting weights.  I talked him into joining me.  We talked and caught up on things.  It was a bit of luck to run into him like that.

Kept the pace easy and relaxed.   I had only been planning on about 6 or 7 miles this morning but ended up with a little over 10.  So, take it when you can get it.  It's nice when you run and it feels good, feels so good that you run more than you planned to run just because.

 After the Run
Did the usual morning stuff, post-run exercises, shower, helped Thomas with a little bit of homework which he had "forgotten" about.  Did a quick weight circuit.  Went through three times doing:
  • 20 "perfect" push-ups
  • 5 weighted pull-ups with 25 lb weight
  • 10 clean and press with 2 25 lb dumbbells
Did 7 pull-ups on the last round before it got hard.  The regular pull-ups feel much easier.
Cleaned up a little bit (made bed and started a laundry load) before heading off to work.

Any forward progress yet? Maybe, it will be easier when I can look back on this to see where I've been to know where I'm going.

The 100K is now just 16 weeks out.  The training is similar mileage to what I have done before but is distributed differently.  I also know I have some more work to do on staying on top of the rehab strengthening to make sure I don't fall apart before, during, or after the race.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

I Did Not Run Yesterday But I did Today

Monday morning I slept in (until just before 7:00).  I woke up and took Sammy for a walk.

I did some weights at home (with the dumbbells we have laying around the house). I did something like this:

  • 2 sets of shoulder presses 10x25lbs, super-setted with,
  • 2 sets of bicep curls
  • 3 sets by 25 "perfect" push-ups, with 1 set with my feet elevated, super-setted with:
  • 3 set by 5 pull-ups with 25lb dumbbell
  • 1 more set of pull-ups with 20 lb dumbbell
  • Walked up and down the stairs twice holding the two 25 lb dumbbells
  • 1 set of 10 reps, side raises with 20 lb dumbbells
In the evening I went to Jenny's boot camp.  I partnered up with a new guy which was fun to help him out a little bit since I was the "veteran".

For cardio, we did one of my favorites, which is 1 lap around the parking lot (about 1/4 mile) followed by 50 jump ropes, repeated 3 times.  Another guy at boot camp, Ralph, who has been going there since before Jenny took over is in awesome shape, but very low key.  He kicks my butt totally on the jumping rope.  I get ahead of him a little on the running but not enough.

Today, I woke up about two minutes before the alarm went off.  I ran with Jenny and two others.  It was the best run that I've had with Jenny since her 50K, it was good to see her in better spirits for running, she had been suffering from dead legs or something.

Last week, I think I ran a few more miles than planned, but that's ok.  That's part of the reason why I took off yesterday.  I might run on Sunday after doing a long run on Saturday, then take off on Monday.   I want to mix it up.

Last night I slept pretty good.  Since the end of September I started sleeping horribly more often than not and I started to relish the nights when I'd go to bed feeling tired and sleep through the night.  There were several stressful things going such as Chelsea (our oldest dog that we had for 17 years), a stressful deadline at work, as well as a general feeling that hit me that part of me has been asleep for a long time.  It was a wake up call and I hope I don't fall asleep again.

Anyway, as far as last night goes, I think the trick was to realize that sleep time is a time of rejuvenation, a time to let cares slip away and a time to heal.  It's a leap of faith but oh, so important.

Forward Progress Yet?

So, am I moving forward?  Not sure yet, however, whenever it has come to losing weight, gaining muscle, gaining endurance, remembering your dreams - all those things can be improved by writing down whatever it is you are trying to do by writing it down.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

A Run in the Woods

Saturday Morning Run

Saturday is usually my long run day, and I usually run someplace along a road or a bike path, sometimes with friends and sometimes by myself.   Sometimes I'm on a training plan and have committed to a schedule and sometimes I'm just running because I love to run.  My mind opens up, I get into a rhythm and thoughts flow especially if there is no time or pace goal and especially if there is some new scenery.  I often start early.  In the summer months it is to beat the heat or at least stay out of the direct sun as much as possible.

I had a lot to think about on this morning's run, the most recent crisis is:


On Friday morning, Jenny texted me that she was going to be taking Barbie into the vet at 4:00 that afternoon.   She had not been eating very much food at all, had been throwing up a lot more and had been looking more and more thin.   A year and a half ago she had a cancerous spleen removed.  The surgery went well but the long term outlook was very uncertain since it was an aggressive cancer.  But, she came home from that surgery and seemed so much younger.  I think that surgery was the best money we have ever spent.  I've appreciated every day we've had with her since then, but know it's not forever.

I finished work early and thought maybe I would stop in at the vet's office if Jenny and Barbie were still there, about 4:30 and, yes, still there, so I went in.   We waited together for a while, then finally about 5:00 the vet came in to tell us about the ultra sound.  It didn't look good, they said.  Perhaps it could be due to an infection, however it was more likely cancer.  They wanted to do an x-ray also, but it would be about 5:30 before they could.  I left the vet's office so I could order some pizza for dinner and have it home so maybe we could eat a a little after 6:00??

The wait went on and on, and Jenny was not home until after 7:00.  No good news, just sad news.  They gave Barbie some medicine to help her feel better.

Later, that evening I took Barbie and Sammy for a slow "sniff and walk".  She seemed to be feeling a little bit better.  It was a nice quiet time under the stars, letting the dogs do what dogs like to do on a walk.

 The Actual Run

If a run can be boiled down to some statistics, here they are:  11.42 miles in 1:38:45, average pace: 8:38, slowest mile 10:15, fastest mile 8:06.  Start temperature, about 50 degrees.

But,it can't be, at least this one can't.  I'm often told that I'm a numbers guy.  I do work well with numbers, but they are not my passion, they are a tool.  It's too easy to rely upon them, there's so much more.

So, I started out at the "horse corral" in Starkey park because that is where I have started before.  I had an idea of which path to take.  It was cold enough to see my breath and a little too cold at the start to be wearing just a short sleeve shirt, but I knew I'd warm up soon.  I also had a hat with a small led light on it which gave me a little bit of light but not very much.  There was a pretty bright moon out, not full, but still bright.

Eventually, I could see hints of light up in the sky off in one direction.
As I ran through the dark on the trail, I thought about the time I was running with my brother at the Thousand Islands.  It was a cool and foggy night and we had launched the boat and were driving it to my parents cottage.  As we crossed the channel, a heavy fog came in and we could barely see where we were going.  There was a large freighter coming close that we could hear, and when it did pass us, it was maybe less than 50 feet from us, we got caught in the bow wake and rode it up and down.  So, we stopped and tied up at the Coast Guard station and then ran to the cottage from there, about two miles.  Some of it was on a gravelly road and it reminded me of the trail section I was on that was kind of like a packed dirt road.

I stopped and texted Jenny to let her know I had my phone with me, just in case (either something with Barbie or if I got lost).  She asked how my run was going, how far and if it was going to be all trails.  Yes, all trails, today is the day.


I made some wrong turns while running in the dark, almost ended up going back to where I had started from and almost ended up on the bike path at one point, but eventually it became lighter out and I could see the trail marked better.  There were still decisions to make.  I had a map with me but could not quite sync up with where I'm at vs. what the map was saying.  Looking at the sign below made me think about choices in life, go left go right, or maybe turn around?  For now I'll just go.  Back in May I was going to go on a trail run with a small group.  I was still at the beginning of my long drawn out Boston recovery and there was a foot ball game that the kids needed to go to, so that day, instead of the trail I ran up and down Starkey Blvd. for 11 miles, pushed the pace at the end and started making things worse.  I think the trail might have been a good choice for me that day!  But, anyway, I made it out eventually.  A little later, but better late than never.  Just a different route to get there.

The sign made a good spot to rest my iPhone and get a quick picture of myself.  I had headphones with me just in case I felt like music, but there was too much to enjoy and explore today, so I forgot about the music.

I crossed past the big power lines, made a couple small wrong turns, and finally decided to just try and basically run east towards the sun.   That started to work out pretty well, and I also started to recognize some landmarks that I had passed by before when running here with Sean.

The last wrong turn I made led me to a section of the trail that stopped at the Anclote river.  I had been here before and don't think I could have found it if I had been trying to navigate to it.

After the wrong turn that led me to the river, I backed up a little bit and came to a wide grassy intersection.  A stopped there for a second wondering which way to go.  It looked familiar and I knew I was close to where the 4 mile bike trail water stop was.  Then, I could hear some people talking.  I ran in that direction, emerging from the trail.  I saw Chris A. and some ladies he was running with.  They asked if I had been running on the trail - yes, and if I was running with Sean, no just me today.  Someone was asking about the trails and what they were like, if they were well kept or if you were just scrambling through brush.   I told them how nice the trails are and how most of it is pretty easy with just some mud or water here and there.  I used to have different images of what the trail might be like.  So far, everyone I've talked to who has tried the trail has liked the trail.

I turned back towards where I was parked.  If it took me the same mileage to get back, then I'd have over 13 miles.  I was only planning on doing 10 miles originally.  But, the path back seemed much clearer, and I was able to just go.  I didn't push the pace, but it was definitely faster than on the way out.  It felt effortless and enjoyable.  One of those special runs you wish could be repeated.

After the Run
When I got to my truck there was a text from Jenny to please put out the old kitchen table we were trying to sell, since it was a nice day out and several houses in the neighborhood were having garage sales.  I put out the table once I got home, then went out about a 1/2 hour later to put my cell phone number on the sign in case I wasn't around.  A lady was walking her dog and wanted to buy the table.  Wow, that was easy.

Thomas's belt test went well and we celebrated that night with a trip to BD's Mongolian Grill.

It was a good day, a day to reflect, a day to get things done, a day to celebrate and a day to be thankful.

Friday, October 21, 2011



The end of the work week is finally here!  It's an important day to think about that.  If  you don't then the weeks blend together.  Some people aren't so lucky and the weekends are also for working, and some people are lucky but don't know it and forget to do something special.  It's easy to lose sight and forget what matters, to not take the opportunities when you have them, later wishing that you did.

So, I shaved, put on a button down shirt, attempted to set up eating out tonight (dinner already planned, so maybe next week), and headed into work early so I can be home early.

Try and make it special....

Today's Run

About 7 miles, just slower than a 9:00 pace, ran with Jenny (for first 2 miles) and Kathryn, there was a 40% chance of Jamie also.

I was considering not running today, but decided to take a chance and see what happens.  I thought about not running just to take off a random day.  I'll save those random days off for rainy days, blah days, days when no one else is running.

Listened to this song on Pandora this morning:

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Going Live?

This blog was kind of a crazy idea. What difference could it make? I've been blogging for years now, and I wanted this to be a different kind of blog.

I've taken down my automatic posting of my FRB blog as I felt it was coming across as very repetitive, and put up a link to this blog on Facebook.

As for today's run, basically it was a good decent run with much to be thankful for. Running with Jenny and Chris is always an interesting experience. Jenny is still kind of in recovery mode from the 50K and is on the verge of tapering for her marathon. Chris is in good spirits and is feeling ready for his marathon which he'll probably run some or all with Jenny.

I wasn't sure what I felt like running today, probably something around 6 miles? But, when Chris wanted to do more, I was more than happy to go along. I like being able to go along for the ride. It's a good and a bad quality. Sometimes you've got to be the driver, but when someone needs a passenger I'm more than happy to fulfill that role!

Another way of looking at it is thinking about Dumbledore in Chamber of Secrets when he said, "Help will always be given at Hogwarts to those who ask for it" - just substitute "at Hogwarts" with "to runners". Kind of dorky to quote Dumbledore, but it just popped into my mind.

So, I am thankful for my wife who understands running and runners because she is one, for friends who show up and help pull you along, for the cooler weather we had today, for health and the ability to run, and much, much more!

So, I guess I should "Go Live" and share this blog with everyone who might be interested, before it becomes a big deal that I haven't told anyone about this blog.

I just didn't want to make a big deal out of it!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Second Entry (I won't make this a habit)

I know I said I was not going to post here everyday but I felt like it today. I had more imagined posting about weekend long runs or races, or any other sort of momentous occasions or maybe a week in review type post.

But, anyway, ran with a good sized group starting out this morning - Jenny, Lisa, Kathryn, and Jamie. It was a bit humid and a lot of people were feeling kind of bleh. I was feeling pretty good and but was very happy to be running with such a nice group.

We did the usual route, but Jenny, Lisa, and Kathryn turned back after the water stop. I was going to go farther by myself but Jamie said she wasn't going to cut her run short since she was out here. So, we ran together to the light and did the last gated neighborhood by the light, headed back to the neighborhood. Chatted a bit while heading back around the neighborhood loop and ended up with just over 8 miles. Not feeling beaten up at all.

I want to "focus", or rather try not to focus on always enjoying the run, but run easy and shorter on a lot of days and when the opportunity to run with others who are running far, take that opportunity. There will be some days when I want to do a "hard" run, but if I've run the easy runs truly easy and fun and for the love of running, then the "hard" days will be more productive and satisfying.

Jenny had a short slot of time open this morning, so, if I really needed her to take Thomas to school she could have. But, I didn't have anything at work that couldn't wait so I biked him today. Before that we worked on some homework and hung out a bit. I also got in some upper body weights:
  • 3 x 25 push-ups w/ perfect push-up*, suppersetted with:
  • 3 x 6 pull-ups with 20 lb dumbbell between my knees for extra weight
  • 3 x10 shoulder presses w/ 25 lb dumbbells, supersetted with:
  • 3 x10 bicep curls
  • 1 x 10 single leg squats w/ 25 lb dumbbells, each side
There were so many mornings when I could have been more efficient and gotten into work early when I had a chance but was slow going and not motivated to move. Now, that I don't always have the ability to get in early it makes all those times in the past seem like a big waste. Water under the bridge and all that, but learn something and try not to forget the lesson!

Right now, listening to "Dope Nose" by Weezer - aka, the falling down the stairs song

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

First Entry


It's time to take one step forward. I've blogged at Fast Running Blog for over four years and have found wonderful support there, however things got a little bit stuck. Ruts happen, so sometimes you have to do one thing different, or maybe two or three, but you have to do at least one thing different! Run-run-run and nothing else. It's a recipe for disaster. It turns something healthy and good into something stale that can control you. Define your running, don't let your running define you. Define yourself, make yourself the person you want to be and love the ones close to you, enjoy life and value it.

Also, this is part of a book title I'm reading called Relentless Forward Progress, I thought about the title and how it applies to a lot of things, although I wasn't sure about "relentless" because sometimes you need to take one step back and look around to get to where you are going.

I'm going to be logging the basic stuff over at Daily Mile but wanted a place to write a little bit more about key runs and key thoughts and maybe an epiphany or two. It's also a lot easier to post pictures here and comments from everywhere are accepted and always appreciated.

Today's run with a little bit of background:

This morning I ran with Jenny, our first time running together, just us, since back in September on a Friday. She had just gotten back from work and it was just us, she picked up the pace a little faster than what we usually ran, and then a little bit faster. She was tough to keep up with as I had not been running fast for some time due to my injury. I felt so proud about how strong she had become vs. where we were when we would occasionally run together and our paces were farther apart. She's the one that got me into running because she believed that I could be a better runner. I believed in her and she became a better runner and we have often carried each other since then.