Tag Archives: being a dad

Derailed this morning …

This morning’s run was derailed by the 2yr old’s meltdown around 2:30am.  I can get up early for a run, but I need a pretty solid night’s sleep to make it happen.  With somewhere between 4-6 hours a night, I definitely go for quality vs. quantity.  When the quality isn’t there, neither is the run.

She’s in a phase now where she wants covered up, but can’t won’t do it herself.  Sure, I could go in a few times a night and cover her up again, but that somewhat perpetuates the issue.

We chose cry it out last night – which means it lasted awhile.

Ok – so this blog post was just derailed by the 4yr old falling out of bed.  What’s going on here??

These events remind me of one of the reasons I started this blog.  When I first started running farther and farther, I didn’t know how I’d make it work with young kids at home.  I looked for blogs of folks who were ultrarunners w/kids to get some perspective, but I couldn’t find any.  Thus, I wanted to share my experiences of ultrarunning, with young kids at home, in the instance someone else is curious about it in the future.

So how do ultrarunners make it work with young ones at home?  I don’t have the whole answer yet, but there are days we don’t – like today.  The majority of the time it’s all good though.  It just takes some patience and some quality sleep.

What I will say is my family comes first.  I’ll always do my best for them before I do my best for myself.  If that means covering them up or letting them learn to do it on their own, and it costs me a run, I’m happy to do that.

Here’s to trying again tomorrow!

 

 

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Week of 11/9/15 in review …

Miles this week: 33

2015 YTD: 1044


I’m back.

Running-wise / health-wise, I feel like I’m finally back in action.

Guess what else is back – my appetite.  Holy moly, I packed on quite a few lbs. this week.  Beer will do that.  And donuts.  And more beer.

33 miles isn’t a huge number for me, by any stretch, but after the ankle issue post-GR Marathon, struggling through a chest cold and crawling out of ‘The Hole‘ I’m finally content with my running this week.

*sigh of relief*

Monday’s run was awesome.  I wasn’t expecting clear skies, but the stars were out (sweet!)  Not only was I treated to a beautiful sky full of stars, but I saw another meteor (double sweet!).  Seeing the stars is one of my favorite things about the early morning running.  Unfortunately we’re getting into the time of year, here in Michigan, where it clouds over until April.  Better enjoy them while I can!

Friday was supposed to be my first of the weekend double.  The weekend double is the biggest difference between training for a marathon and an ultramarathon.  When I was marathon training, I loved sleeping late on Sunday.  With ultramarathon training I don’t get that anymore – it’s back to back long runs.  That is, unless you move the weekend double to mid-week and go to work as a zombie.  This is the approach that I like to take, at least some weeks, so I can still sleep late on Sunday.  (By late I mean 6:45am today – kind disgusting really …)

Anyway, back to Friday – I was supposed run 12.  I’d done some reading recently about HR training and I thought I’d give it a go.  Seriously – how slow would it possibly be to run at 146 BPM?

SLOW!!!

I made a couple of laps around the blocks near here (they’re big – I live in the country) but then I had to bail due to Taco Bell from the previous day’s lunch.  Fire sauce doesn’t mix well with ultra running.  If you’re curious, that was a 10:25 pace for 8 miles @ 146BPM.

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Saturday was scheduled for 14 miles so I took the opportunity to run around Gull Lake.  I haven’t done that in awhile so that sounded nice.  I took the opportunity to run without a headlamp again for part of the run.  It’s very calming and relaxing.  Again I went for the HR training and ran at 146BPM.  When I say ‘ran,’ that’s somewhat deceiving.  There were definitely sections where I had to walk to keep the HR low, but this is a somewhat hilly course.  I also noticed the longer I went, the more easily my HR elevated.  That got me to thinking why … I don’t have an answer yet, but it’s something I’m going to look into.  I finished the run at 10:48 pace.  Slower than the first run.

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Venus as seen while running w/o Headlamp

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Good morning!

Today was the third HR training run.  I target 146BPM again and again I was even slower.  For 6 miles I clocked a blazing 12:05 pace.  WTF is going on here!?  Was it the beer I drank last night?  The coffee I drank this morning?  I don’t know.

What I do know – HR training isn’t for the ego.

I plan to stick with the HR training for at least the next couple of months.  I’ll write a post when I’m finished and let y’all know how it went and what I learned.  Based on what I’ve seen so far I’m definitely curious about what’s causing the HR to elevate higher than it seems like it should be.  I’m also curious to see if my pace eventually starts to drop.  That’s what’s supposed to happen.

Aside from the running this week …

I had a wonderful visit with some family I haven’t seen in awhile.  While in Columbus I enjoyed some Skyline Chili – my absolute favorite.  Damn that stuff is good.  I’m getting hungry just thinking about it.

My wife texted me Friday afternoon about a last minute babysitter.  Someone was back from college and in need of beer money.  I jumped all over that and we enjoyed a very good dinner at Four Roses. If you’re in the Kalamazoo area, check it out.  Very good food!  I recommend the maple mustard ribs.  They also have an awesome beer selection.

Speaking of awesome beer selection, we hit Bell’s Brewery after family photos yesterday afternoon.  For anyone who loves IPAs, they have a double Two Hearted Ale on tap at the restaurant.  It was fabulous!  Their food is amazing too.  I recommend their smoked wings and poutine (duck poutine!).

Today we took the girls out for a hike before lunch.  Southwest Michigan Land Conservancy does a tike hike once a month in their local preserves.   Bow in the Clouds has a creek so my kids were definitely in.  That means they have something to splash in and throw rocks in.  Score!

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Bow in the Clouds Preserve – Kalamazoo Michigan

That about wraps it up – how was your week?  Did you enjoy the miles?  See anything cool or drink any good beer?

I don’t always want to run

Here’s a secret that many non-runners don’t understand.  We (At least) I don’t always want to run.  I mean, I do, but I don’t.

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Not all runs generate viral Instgram shots.  They’re not all 45 degrees and sunny.  They’re not all beautiful fall sunsets.

As I stand in the kitchen prepping my Tailwind for tomorrow’s 12 miler, I hear the wind howling outside.  It’s November.  In Michigan.  It’s not really that unusual for this time of year, but this howlin’ session comes with 50mph gusts.  And rain.  There will be no stars.  No Meteors.  Just me and the rain and the wind.

By the way – mixing the Lemon w/caffeinated Raspberry rocks!

Couple that with a rough week that’s prevented me from running the last couple of days (the details don’t really matter at the moment) and prepping some Water Street coffee and sleeping in sounds much better at the moment.

I try to get at least one of my back to back long runs in during the work week.  That gives me at least a Saturday night to enjoy with my wife, where I’m not crawling into bed at 9pm.  And it gives me a morning to sleep in and cozy with her and the kids in the morning, watching Monkey George Curious George.

But that means getting up at 3am tomorrow.  And with 3am will come the November howlin’ wind and some rain.  It will be a mental test in the morning.  Am I complaining?  Eh, not really.  It’s kinda why I love this shit.  But even though I love it, doesn’t mean I always want to do it until it’s done.

And that brings me to another secret – I’ve never woken up early for a run and then regretted it after the fact.

So while there are days I don’t always want to run, I know in the end it’s worth it and I’ll most likely enjoy it in the end.  That’s what I mean by I do, but I don’t.  At this very moment I don’t, but thinking about how I’ll feel post run, I do.

After all, it’s only early if you’re still in bed and ultras don’t run themselves.  Who else is in for an early run tomorrow?

Week of 11/2/15 in review …

Miles this week: 25

2015 YTD: 1110


Although the week started out slowly, I finally feel like I’m starting to get back into the swing of things.  After a nice 7 mile run early in the week, I deliberately took a few days of rest to finally kick this nagging chest cold that seems like has been hanging on forever.

That brought me to the weekend, and it was awesome!

Saturday morning started out sleeping in (more rest for the cold) followed by my favorite time of the week – breakfast with my girls.  Eggos all around!  I run to eat worse, vs. eat to run better!

After swim lessons with the oldest, it was off to 7/11 for Slurpees (new tradition I guess, we’ve done it two weeks in a row) before heading out on the first of three runs over the weekend and our last stroller run of the season.  Even though it was a bit chilly, we enjoyed it.  No monsters or alligators chased us on Saturday – just leaves.  And lots of ’em, it was VERY windy.

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After the stroller 6 miler, I dropped her for a nap and headed out for a quicker second lap.  It felt good to get a little speed in the legs.

My wife and I had a chance to get out, as adults, on Saturday night and enjoyed an awesome meal at Principle Food & Drink.  If you’re ever in Kalamazoo, try it.  It’s awesome – specifically the spicy pork craklin’s and the Korean BBQ wings.  Wow, wonderful indeed!

Speaking of food, my wife killed it in the kitchen too by making two of my favorite meals and chocolate chip cookies (they’re the best chocolate chip cookies).  I’m a little scared of what the scale’s going to say in the morning.

Hey – I thought this was a running blog, not an eating blog …

Ok… back to running …

That brings me to this morning’s run, and it was AWESOME.  Wow, what a sky full of stars.  My wife told me Saturday night there was supposed to be a meteor shower overnight.  I’m glad I made it up in time to run under the stars.  This was the first time I ran w/o my headlamp.  I had it with me, and turned it on a couple times when there was a car nearby, but most of the time it was off so I could enjoy the stars.  I did see two meteors along the way as well!

I did cut he run short though.  My route took me past the house about half way.  That was a mistake – the coffee was calling my name and I bailed on the last few miles.  In the end, it was for the best.  My girls woke up right after that and it let me make banana bread with them while my wife slept in.

All in all though, 25 miles this week is finally a number I feel decent about again.

As for Western States – it’s time for those who’ve qualified to enter the lotto.  There are a few folks I follow on Twitter or Strava who are throwing their name in the hat.  I wish them all the best!  Two more years and I expect to do the same!

Week of 10/26/15 in review …

Miles this week: 18

2015 YTD: 1085


Definitely not my favorite week of running.  This was supposed to be the week that I begin rolling with my training for the Yankee Springs Winter Challenge 50k.  Instead – I was sucked further into ‘The Hole.

Monday started off well enough with an easy 6 miler to test the ankle.  The early morning brought lots of stars and a beautiful fat moon setting into the early morning sky.  My ankle held up ok, but was still a little sore through the day.

Tuesday / Wednesday / Thursday / Friday was disappointment after disappointment after disappointment after disappointment.

I couldn’t get out of bed to run.  For anything.  I’d been fully sucked into the hole.

With some prodding (begging?) from my wife I made it out for a 6 miler on Saturday, and it was beautiful.  Cold, pouring rain, beautiful.  One positive out of the run, I ran a mile in under 8 minutes.  I haven’t done that in a while, but 45 degrees and pouring rain can make one move a little faster.

One of my employees asked about my weekend today – I told him I ran.  It rained.  And I was wearing a t-shirt and shorts.  So you went right home then?  Nope.  I ran faster.  And it was awesome.  You’re crazy.  Aren’t we all?

Sunday was about as beautiful as a day comes in Michigan – Perfect cloudless sky and about 60 degrees.  I took the family over to Kellogg Forest for a hikeImage 11-2-15 at 9.54 PM

Family Hike – Kellogg Forest

The girls had a great time learning about moss and ferns and petting a little garter snake we found.  My oldest daughter taught us what a beech leaf was.  She’s 4.  My wife and I are a wee bit older.  I Googled it – and she’s right – my wife told me as we rounded another corner.  At least we’re getting our money’s worth at the Nature Center preschool??

After the run, the girls went home for a nap and I was back at Kellogg Forest to run trails.

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Sometimes Ma’ Nature stops me in my tracks and all I can say is ‘Whoa!’

The 6 miler took me past some of my favorite areas of Kellogg Forest – including the geocache where I proposed to my wife.  With a ring pop.  Time has changed things.  It was a bit overgrown now, and the pine trees that were about knee-high at the time towered over me.

I also spent some time running along the North Country Trail – the same trail I’m planning to run my first 50 mile race on in August – albeit a section much further North.  It’s cool that it’s so close to home.

That was the week – in a nutshell.

On side note, October was an odd running month.  It was by far my lowest total mileage for the year (barely over 70), but yet I crushed the Grand Rapids Marathon – so I feel great about that.

(By the way – I hear the coyotes raising hell outside at the moment.  I love hearing that.)

Let’s see what November brings.  For now, I’m off to see if I can find the Northern Lights.  They’re supposed to be visible here tonight.

Week in review – 10/12/15

Miles this week: 31.6

2015 YTD: 1064


I started the week with an easy 5 miler through the breezy drizzle.  As long it it’s not a hard rain, or 34 degrees, I typically enjoy running in the rain.  There’s something refreshing about the cool rain drops hitting my face that I enjoy – like a baptism by nature.  I also love how the rain / puddles play with lights in the dark morning.

That 5 miler would be my last run prior to the Grand Rapids Marathon.  I’d hoped to sneak another one in mid-week, but that didn’t happen.

Friday was a rare ‘off night,’ if you will.  Typically I’m up early to run on Saturdays.  That’s when I get my long runs in – before the ladies awake for the day.  My wife tolerates, for the most part, my running – as long as I’m home to hang with the girls in the morning so she can sleep in.  And let’s face it, that’s not really a chore.  Weekend breakfast with my girls is my favorite time of the week.  Especially when it involves strong coffee and waffles.

Anyway, since I was running the Grand Rapids Marathon on Sunday, Friday was an off night. I took my oldest to the local hockey game.  I spent the night carb loading, for my Sunday marathon, with Bell’s Two Hearted Ale and cotton candy.  The K wings lost, but we had a great time!IMG_3219 (1)

And then Sunday was my third Marathon.  Great week!