Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Wedding Day Dash 5k

Some guys do a golf game on the morning of their wedding.  I organized and ran a 5k.

The group of runners and walkers gathered beforehand

Fran and Amy demonstrating proper running form

Well, calling it a 5k implies that it was a race, which I had originally intended, but in the end I ran out of time to properly mark the course through the woods.  Though it would have been great to run a race in which I'm the only one who knows the course, we changed it to a group run.

Which way does the course go?

We ran all over camp on a chilly, sunny morning.  It was great to show everyone around the camp where I've spent so much of my time over the years.  When we got back to the dining hall, we all broke into a sprint.  My sister says the other guys let me win.

Then they threw me in the lake for good measure.

With friends like these, eh...?

Thursday, April 25, 2013

First death at a Tough Mudder

Article from a few days ago regarding the first ever death at a Tough Mudder event.

The author brings up many valid points, centered mostly around his surprise that it has taken this long for a death to occur.

Tough Mudder events seek to emulate military training obstacles to give people the same sense of accomplishment without the lengthy commitment to a branch of the armed services.  The problem is, in the military, one only reaches these extreme obstacle courses after previously completing a series of increasingly challenging mental and physical challenges.  In a Tough Mudder, anyone can join, no matter his or her level of training and fitness.

I am doing a Tough Mudder in Pennsylvania in June, and though I am not exactly nervous to do so, this young man's death will still be on my mind, especially as I approach the "walk the plank" obstacle on which he died.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

100 days of riding my bike: complete

Remember that bet I made with a fellow teacher last October?  The one in which I had to ride my bike to school for 100 (non-consecutive) days of the school year?

I won the bet today.

When asked what kind of beer I wanted, I told him I wanted a six-pack of his favorite beer.  Tomorrow I will reap the reward of a lot of biking this year.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Running in spring

Gorgeous day for a run.  4.5 miles around the Cooper.  Windy and chilly, but everything is starting to come back to life.

Five days until the wedding.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

The best laid plans...

My bachelor party is this afternoon/tonight.  So as not to endanger my current job, I'll simply say that a few of my college and high school friends are taking me out on a perfectly respectable tour of Philadelphia's finest drinking establishments.

I almost ruined it this morning though when I went on a 5.5 mile run.  I was a mere block from home, running down the crowded sidewalk, when a family appeared ahead of me.  Attempting to avoid them, I veered towards the curb between a tree and a parked car.  That's when the curb jumped up and grabbed me and made me roll the bejesus out of my ankle.  I screamed in shock/pain, steadied myself against a street sign as the immediate pain subsided, then hobbled home and immediately elevated it and applied ice.

The curb in question

I was annoyed that I may have ruined my own party and had pictures in my head of the guys carrying me all over the city tonight, but I think the worst is behind me now.  I can put weight on it, and it's only a little sore.

Off to the bachelor party...

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Pizza painting

I ran five miles tonight, and when I got home I started right on the pizza before showering.

It was a simple pizza margherita: dough, diced tomatoes, sliced mozzarella, olive oil, and chopped basil on top after baking.

When I started using the cutting board as a palette to add the olive oil, Stevie took a picture.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

The bridal shower

They say there's no such thing as a free lunch...

My co-workers, proving to have a wonderful sense of humor, threw me a surprise "bridal shower" luncheon yesterday.  I was told to come to the teachers' room for a meeting, and when I arrived there were cameras in my face and a lot of people yelling "surprise."

Yes, they got a sign that says "bridal shower."

But they also got me a nice card and a giant cake.

10 days to go.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Memorial Mile for Boston

In the space of ten hours, the owner of the Haddonfield Running Co. organized a one mile memorial run to show solidarity with those injured and killed in Boston.  It started at 9 and was held at my school's track, and Stevie and I joined hundreds of people from around South Jersey in a silent tribute to Boston.

118 candles lined the track (to symbolize next year's 118th running of the Boston Marathon).  People wore their medals and Boston gear, or just their favorite running shirt.

It was a perfect night for a run.  Cool, breezy... the first feeling of summer in the air...  The perfect night to be out with fellow runners and reflecting on the events of yesterday.

Monday, April 15, 2013


The moment

I've never run the Boston Marathon.  I haven't been to Boston in years.  I've even half-heartedly vowed to never set foot in the city again unless I'm on my way to run its marathon. Such is the reverence I feel for this race.  So despite never having taken part in one, when I learned of the bombing this afternoon, it hit particularly close to home.  It felt like not just an attack on America and the city of Boston, but on marathons and those who run them.

I'm sad.  Much like in this post, I feel deeply for those whose moment of pride and glory was stolen from them, replaced with horror and loss.

It's hard to believe there was a time in my life when I didn't think twice about going to school every day, or getting on a plane, or going to the movies.  Now, anytime I'm in a crowd, there is that little, morbid voice that asks, what if?  Now, when I cross the line of a marathon, even that hallowed line on Boylston Street, I will be forced to acknowledge the random acts of evil in the world that accompany so much beauty.

Boston, for me you have come to symbolize hard work, pride, hope, and a vexing frustration. Like many, I have a love/hate relationship with you.  But in this moment, I feel nothing but love for you, and we all, runners and non-runners alike, stand with you.

Saturday, April 6, 2013

The Batona Trail

My original attempt at the Batona Trail, a 50 mile trail through the Pine Barrens here in New Jersey, was in the summer of 2009.  I hadn't brought a tent that year, and the mosquitoes and not giving myself enough time to complete it forced me to turn back early.

My next attempt came with my then girlfriend Kathleen in 2010, but we cut the hike short at mile 32 when she started to suffer from heat exhaustion and blisters.

I am pleased to say that on my third attempt, I finally finished the trail.

At the end of the trail

Lugging the matching, obnoxiously orange, exterior frame packs that my parents bought in the seventies, Stevie and I started out on a gorgeous April morning last Thursday.  Hiking in April meant we wouldn't have to deal with the heat or ticks that one encounters in the summer.

We took in two fire towers, crossed lonely backwoods roads, followed the pink blazes, and even stopped for a few beers at a piney bar.

Unfortunately Stevie also started to suffer from blisters, and we ended up setting up our tent in the middle of nowhere 16 miles in rather than making it to the first campsite.  In the morning, we walked back to one of the fire towers where Stevie's friend was able to drive in and pick her up, and I continued on the trail on my own.

Spent the night again in the middle of nowhere rather than a designated campsite:

Good morning from the Pine Barrens
And this afternoon I finally finished the trail I first attempted so long ago.

I love the Pine Barrens, I really do, but after three days in the woods without showering, sleeping on the ground in 30 degree temps, and walking 50 miles with a full pack, I was more than ready to get back to Collingswood.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Windy city

Another five miler this afternoon.  Feels good to be upping the mileage again.

But I could seriously do without the wind in my face for forty consecutive minutes.  It's been awful this week, but I guess it's just that time of year when I could run in circles and still have gusts of wind hitting me the entire time.

Gotta suck it up and build some character.

Monday, April 1, 2013

Five Miles

  • Five miles tonight.  Most I've done in a long time.  But I have a Tough Mudder coming up June 1st and I want to do really well with it.
  • It's nice to finally be training for something again instead of just aimlessly heading out on runs.
  • I almost saw a cat die tonight.  It ran out into the street and tried to make a leap ahead of the front tire of a passing car.  Instead the cat hit the side of it and bounced off of it and ran back in the direction it had come.
  • I keep forgetting the basic fact that a Garmin needs to be charged, so I keep bringing my regular watch on runs.
  • In honor of April Fool's Day, I told Stevie I had spontaneously hired a German oompah band for our wedding.  She didn't buy it.  She knows me well.
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