How’s this for a pleasant surprise?

I’m actually looking forward to Saturday’s 10-mile training run, rather than dreading it, which is a nice change of pace from previous weeks. (See this post for more about that.) I don’t know if I’m going to make my time goal, but I’m anxious to get out there and try.

Happy running!

Hey, I Put Some New (Running) Shoes On and Suddenly Everything Is Right

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Paolo Nutini’s “New Shoes” is one of my favorite running tunes. It’s catchy and has just the right cadence. Last week it became my mantra.

I’d already gone way too long on my last pair of running shoes, and rather than buy new ones, I thought, Hey, my previous pair seem all right, and they can’t be any worse than what I’m wearing now, so I pulled them out and pressed them into service. If that thought ever crosses your mind, save yourself the grief and dismiss it. There was a reason I’d retired those old shoes in the first place. It took two 6-mile runs in them to realize they were not all right.

The rule of thumb—or is it big toe?—is to replace your shoes about every 300 to 500 miles. Because of my height, my toes strike the ground harder and I wear out the cushion sooner. At about 450 miles on my last pair, I was long overdue. I vowed to buy new kicks ASAP.

Oh, if only it were that easy.

Continue reading “Hey, I Put Some New (Running) Shoes On and Suddenly Everything Is Right”

Watch Your Mouth, Daddy

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When my wife and I were dating, she would come to watch me play slow-pitch softball. One time I was called out for leaving first base too early after a fly out, and I blew up. (THERE IS NO WAY I LEFT EARLY! THERE IS NO WAY! YOU’VE GOT TO BE KIDDING ME! No, really, I’m over it.) I used no foul language, mind you, but I wouldn’t let it go—some choice words for the ump as I walked to the dugout, a few more as I sat on the bench, fuming. It was so bad that the ump threatened to eject me.

After, my wife let me know how very embarrassed she was. I don’t blame her. It was embarrassing. I was embarrassing. “Is that how you’re going to act out there when we have kids?”

The answer was of course not. At least, I hope not. Besides, I have lots of time to work on how I react to things before we have kids.

Then there was last week.

Continue reading “Watch Your Mouth, Daddy”

I missed my target for Thursday’s 5-mile tempo run by 15 seconds per mile. That’s quite a bit IMO, but I’m calling it a victory. Here’s why.

  • I pushed through, even though everything in my body said stop (not even halfway!). I still don’t know how I managed to persevere, but I did.
  • As it became clear that I wouldn’t have enough in my tank, my mind drifted to Saturday’s 10-miler and how I could possibly finish that if I was already struggling so much with 5. I stopped that train of thought in its tracks. One thing at a time. I would deal with Saturday’s run on Saturday.

Now, to get ready for those 10 miles.

Maybe My Half-Marathon Goal Is Too Aggressive

Maybe My Half-Marathon Goal Is Too Aggressive

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What is this parasitic blob that has taken up residence in my head?

Ooooh, yeah. It’s doubt. Hello, old friend.

I’d been riding my runner’s high for about seven months, right up until week 1 of my new half-marathon training regimen. In March, I turned in a fantastic race in Washington, D.C., finishing the half in 1:55 after training to break 2:00. I wanted more.

Heck, if I could break 2:00 by five minutes, why couldn’t I break 1:55 by five minutes?

I’ll tell you why: To shave 10 minutes off a half-marathon is to shave 46 seconds off each mile. And lemme tell you, it’s hard. At least for these legs.

Finish time Pace per mile
2:00 9:10
1:55 8:47
1:50 8:24

It took me two years to break 2:00, and that whole time I trained for right around 9:00 miles. These days, to get in under 1:50, I’m training for 8:30 miles—I know 8:30 gives me a 1:51 finish, not 1:50, but I’m expecting to surprise myself.

Well, here’s a surprise: 8:30, at least so far, has proved nearly impossible.

Continue reading “Maybe My Half-Marathon Goal Is Too Aggressive”

Girl or Boy for Baby No. 2? We’re Going to Have a …

Girl or Boy for Baby No. 2? We’re Going to Have a …

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The week that we found out we were expecting Baby Morgan No. 2, I took to the internets for a refresher course on when we might find out the gender. (As always, Google finished my sentence. Oh, Google, you know me so well.)

To our surprise, we found out at 12 weeks. We happened to have two ultrasounds that week—lots of extra tests for those of us experiencing “advanced maternal age” pregnancies. The first tech said she could tell us the gender with 50% confidence. I chuckled. I could have told you THAT without the million-dollar equipment. Two days later, the second tech came to the same conclusion, though she was bold enough to label the ultrasound.

Still, we were not convinced. We kept telling people, “We think we’re having a—”

“Why do you only think?” they’d reply. Of course, that made me think. See, my online search in week 5 told me that we probably wouldn’t find out the gender till around week 18, so to find out in week 12, a month and a half earlier, well, that was a bit of a surprise.

Or maybe we weren’t ready to accept the answer.

Continue reading “Girl or Boy for Baby No. 2? We’re Going to Have a …”

Flying Pig Marathon Relay Recap

Flying Pig Marathon Relay Recap

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Note: Let’s all pretend that I wrote this in May and not October, OK? Thank you kindly.

One of my most enjoyable races was only a fraction of a race, hosted by a city that knows how to put on a race and also really knows how to have fun with it.

My brother, Doug, lives in the Cincinnati area, which is Flying Pig country. For the uninitiated, the Flying Pig Marathon is a 15-year-old event that includes a 5k, a 10k, a half, a full and a full relay. This year, the long races went down May 5.

Doug called me a couple months out to say he wanted to run the relay with some co-workers, and he wanted me to join. The Pig had been on my radar, and although I hadn’t planned to do it so soon, I couldn’t pass up a chance to experience this with my little bro. I made arrangements to fly in for a four-day weekend.

My fondness for this race started in the airport and continued throughout town, where I was greeted by big pig sculptures all decked out for the main event. At the expo, I LOL’d at the Batman-inspired T-shirts that said GOTHAM—except GOT and HAM were in two different colors. Volunteers there and on the course wore shirts that said GRUNT.

With our packets picked up, our foursome settled on the relay legs. Doug, as the organizer, preferred to run last and cross the finish line. I thought it would be great to run leg 3 so I could hand off to him. I also decided I’d run the last leg with him, unofficially, to give him encouragement along the way.

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Opening Day: 3 Reasons Why I’m Super-Excited for Running Season to Start

Opening Day: 3 Reasons Why I’m Super-Excited for Running Season to Start

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Tuesday can’t get here soon enough.

That morning—opening day, if you will, for my running season—I begin a 10-week training program for my next half-marathon. Although I ran more this summer than ever before, I’ve taken a break in the last few weeks, running some but resting mostly. I’m jonessing, man!

I’ve even penned the start of a ditty to commemorate. (Apologies to baseball’s slightly more popular ballad.) Feel free to sing aloud.

Take me out to the surface streets.
Take me out to the trails.

How do I love opening day? Let me count the ways.

Continue reading “Opening Day: 3 Reasons Why I’m Super-Excited for Running Season to Start”

The Moment I Saw What Kind of a Person My Young Son Might Become

The Moment I Saw What Kind of a Person My Young Son Might Become

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New parents wonder what their babies will grow up to be like. What type of big people these little people will become. Thankfully (or maybe not so much), you don’t have to look much further than the dinner table to piece together the genetic puzzle.

Will he have his dad’s serious and driven nature?
Will he be gregarious and altruistic like his mom?

Of course you want a perfect blend that includes all of the best and none of the worst less desirable traits. The reality is, your cute little kiddo’s personality will fall somewhere in between. And that’s a good thing.

You see glimpses all the time. In the playroom, he might furrow his brow as he works out a problem. (Serious.) Or in the sandbox, he might unselfishly share his shovel with a fellow digger. (Altruistic.)

I had the pleasure of seeing into my son’s future, just a little bit, at an Arizona Diamondbacks game of all places.

Continue reading “The Moment I Saw What Kind of a Person My Young Son Might Become”

Who Doesn’t Love Unexpected Race Bling?

Who Doesn’t Love Unexpected Race Bling?

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I left the Arizona Road Racers’ I-Did-A-Run (get it?) 5K last weekend with a giveaway protein shake in hand and mixed emotions in my head:

Meh …

  • To realize too late that I’d started out too fast.
  • To recall wondering when the next water station was, because it sure was hot out there.
  • To know by mile 2 that there was no way I was finishing strong.
  • To think that I probably could have, should have trained more.

Grateful …

  • To know that I’m able to run 3.1 miles at all, especially without keeling over.
  • To see a few of my co-workers in a (relatively) relaxed, nonwork setting.
  • To hang out with my dad, who got up at o-dark-hundred to see me compete in this modest little race.

What I didn’t realize at the time is that I happened to be the fastest 34- to 39-year-old in the field that day.

Continue reading “Who Doesn’t Love Unexpected Race Bling?”