Wednesday, April 30, 2014

12 Thangs

12 things I learned while running and vacationing in Florida, at Disney World, in late April.

1. It's pretty much hot and muggy down here all the time. Even in the middle of the night. If I lived in Florida, I would not be a runner. I'd be a diver.

2. For the most part, there are two choices for running surfaces. Concrete (filled with cars) and thick, wet, grass.

3. If you're lucky, you can find an area of well-manicured grass. As long as you don't mind dodging hail the size of ...well balls.

4. If you're not lucky, the thick, wet grass will also contain snakes.

5. The best place to run, if you like trails, is directly below the monorail. Flat, smooth and well draining. Just make sure to stop when the monorail crosses a Lagoon.

6. People in Florida don't seem to mind guys with beer bellies and wearing stretched out (and stained) wife-beater t-shirts.

7. They do however, mind sweaty, shirtless, delirious but fit guys wandering around their hotel lobby muttering "I need electrolytes".

8. Be prepared for the "normal" tourists to look at you (while you are running outside) like you have two heads. Also, smiling doesn't help.

9. Even if you are really, really, thirsty, don't drink the pale yellow Gatorade from the Pepsi bottle that you find on the side of the road.

10. Palm fronds make for poor toilet paper.

11. Thunder / Lightning storms are excellent motivators for running quickly.

12. Walt Disney lied. It's NOT a small world, after all. Disney is freaking massive!

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Borrowed Time

When I was 17 years old I had a life-changing experience. And, if it wasn’t for a bit of dumb luck, or divine intervention, it very well could have been a life-ending experience. Since then, and for the last 28 ½ years, I’ve always felt a little like I’m living on borrowed time.

This story begins, as many great ones do, with a journey…

In the fall of my senior year in high school I took a trip to Upstate New York with my friends – Steve & Matt. And even though it happened almost three decades ago, I remember the details like it was yesterday. It wasn’t just memorable because these were my two best friends in the whole world. Or, because I was just one week removed from my first real kiss. Or, because this was the first time in my life that I'd be on my own, away from home. This trip was memorable because… we ALMOST didn’t make it back!

Monday, April 14, 2014

Doin' Work

Since we’re just past the quarter pole for the year (and for the 100 Mile Training Plan) I thought I’d post a quick progress report this week…

So far in 2014, I have run 1025 miles (in 15 weeks) which works out to be just over 68 miles a week. I have been building miles slowly – both in terms of weekly mileage as well as mileage in my back-to-back weekend long runs. This week I got up to 80 miles total, with 40 of those on the weekend - Saturday (20.5) and Sunday (19.5).

This 40-mile weekend represents my biggest 2-day training session since I did 64 miles last June during my Summer of 48. The biggest difference, however, is that these miles were done at a MUCH faster pace than last years “hiking” miles.  The 64 miles I did last year were covered in just over 20 hours – or 18:45 min/mile. The 40 miles I did this weekend were run in 5 hours and 17 minutes – or 7:55 min/mile. Of course, there was just one mountain this weekend, not eleven like last year!

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Cape or Apron?

As a father of a 4-year old boy, I live in a world filled with Cars, Legos and Superheroes.  That’s just the way it is in our house.  If he’s not loudly playing with one, he’s crashing together the other.  Sometimes, when he’s in a particularly boisterous mood, it’s all three going at once!  He’s been both Batman AND Superman for Halloween.  And, his last two birthday party themes have been Spiderman and Ninja Turtles.  So, it’s safe to say that, as a Dad, I have some pretty big (super?) shoes to fill!

Anyway, there is also another side to my son - a softer side.  It’s not always apparent, but in his quieter moments he can be quite caring to his stuffed animals. He cradles, feeds and changes his baby dolls.  And, he absolutely loves playing house.  One day, when he thought I wasn’t looking, he turned his superman cape around and was wearing it like an apron while working away at the play kitchen.   And it struck me, just how deeply symbolic that little gesture was.

Anyone can play superman - flying around town wearing figurative tights and a cape.  Leaping over tall problems in a single bound, defeating evildoers everywhere, righting wrongs, while saving the day (and presumably mankind) from chaos and destruction.  But, it takes a real man to turn that cape around and get down to the true superhero business - caring for your children.  Feeding them, dressing them and tending to their needs.  Listening to them, loving them and making sure that they understand you are there …just for them.

Pretty big lesson to be taught by a pretty small kid. Don’t you think?