MORE TIME OUTSIDE

I started posting on Flickr again (here).

I bought a 1Up bike rack, making it 1000x easier to get out and get moving during the week.

Been heading for the woods on the weekends for runs and bike rides.

Highly recommended.

MORE GOOD STUFF

It’s been a week of movement. Of steady forward motion. Not sure if it’s the weather, or the kick in the pants from a recent doctors visit, but I am not standing still.

More running, more walking, more biking.

I got a hitch mount installed on my Chevy Sonic. First time ever buying an “after-market” item like that. Ordered a 1UP Bike Rack, which should be showing up soon. All an investment in my overall happiness and joy in life. If it makes it easier to get out with the bike and smile, hell yeah, I’m gonna do it.

More solid running. I’m not trying to make it all about weight, but for me being lighter makes running more joyous. I know I’m supposed to love my body, and throw out the scale and all that, but I also have a family history with this stuff, and a blood pressure that’s creeping up. So fuck it. And honestly, being more sensible and not eating a row of Oreo cookies before noon as a way to cope with day job stuff is way more unhealthy for me than stepping on a scale every day.

I keep being flippant with the ‘ole “I could get hit by a bus tomorrow.” I mean, a local college student got hit by a distracted drive this past week, and days later is still in critical condition (here’s a GoFundMe link if you’d like to help out).

But honestly – I turn 46 next month. Luck runs out someday, right? So in the meantime, fuck it. I’m going to spend the money on shit that makes me smile, shit I use, and shit I want, because someday the oceans will boil and shit. Today is it.

A bit dark, sure. But hey, it’s Saturday morning and I’m up earlier than I am during the week. The upstairs neighbor is vacuuming and I’m planning on getting into the woods today. Make it great.

I SPIED ANOTHER PLACE TO RUN FROM THE ROAD

Spotted a section of paved path while driving with a friend today. On our way back I made sure to watch via Google Maps, and find out if it was a park, and sure enough it is.

Graphic design aside, the above map is from their website (hooray for websites in 2022), and it shows that the outer loop is just over a mile. And from the looks of things I could switch up some of the turns here, make loops within loops, and get some nice mileage in without going nuts, or being too far from my car.

GOT INTO THE WOODS

The start of the run was a slog, it was cold, windy, and raining just a bit, too. But then I found a trail I never checked out before, and the next mile was between giant trees on fluffy pine needles, and then a bit of raised walkway over a bog.

Many runs lately have felt hard, so I walk a bit, get the heart rate down, and get back to it. A slow run just means more time outdoors.

Afterwards I stopped at Target, and I thought my car looked tiny compared to the truck parked in the nearby space. I don’t want to know how much it cost to fill up the gas tank on that thing.

THE HOLY ERRAND

My friend is out west, and posted some amazing pics from the desert. The Grand Canyon. She desribed this adventyre as a holy errand, and that’s the first time I ever heard those two words together.

Holy errand.

I was out on my run tonight, on an old route. It’s always easy to to gauge the “success” of the run by the pace, the speed, the heart rate. Can I run to that tree without stopping? To the top of the hill?

Tonight was a holy errand. I heard crickets for the first time this year. Saw this amazing sky.

Pace? Distance? Eh. I was able to get to the top of some hills. Maybe not as fast as I would like, but I made it. And tomorrow I’ll do it again.

It’s a holy errand.

A LONG DRIVE

Sometimes something comes unblocked, and you just have to be intentionally grateful. This has happened to me over the years from being broke as fuck, to finally today earning a decent living.

Like, “not having a bank account,” broke. Grateful for a friend to PayPal me $20 so I can get food sort of broke. Tough times!

But then I financed a car in 2018 all on my own, without a co-signer. A 2015 Chevy Sonic. It’s paid off now, too. The first song I played in the car was ‘Outro’ by Vulfpek (above).

The weather is amazing now, and I went for a long drive to nowhere in particualr. Just needed to get out, working from home and all. Windows down, sun setting, listening to Kowloon Walled City.

Looking forward to some more adventures this year.

SPRING IS 28 DAYS AWAY

That means there are only 28 days remaining of winter, which honestly have been pretty rough. I’ve fought many bouts of the grumps which I’ve only handled by eating lots of cookies and taking advantage of all the food places within walking distance – pizza, Mexican food, cheese steaks, thai rice bowls, and DONUTS.

I finally put together back to back weeks of 14 miles running. I mean, I was in the single digits. Barely 10. But I kept running here and there. And now on Sunday I ran my first five miler in… forever. Took a solid hour, but whatever.

I’m never one to put too much stock in numbers and all that, but fuck it… we’re heading into our second spring during a fucking pandemic, so why not? As of Sunday, spring is 28 days away. About a month of the last few gasps of winter, of cold and darkness and wind. Onward to making some good things happen over the next 28 days.

Running to Stay Right Here

Tonight’s run was interrupted by a phone call from a dear friend. I was already out and about when I got the call, which I expected, and it was a good chat.

After about an hour on the phone, I got up and set off. I felt awful at first, since I had been sitting, but each mile was faster than the previous mile. I ran some unfamiliar streets, and it got dark, so I got to experience the first bit of running by street lights. I’m looking forward to more of that.

As I neared the end of my run ‘Here to Stay’ by Korn was playing, and that bridge part at the end got me stoked.

That final “GONNA BREAK IT” got me again. That got me running a little faster. Then ease it back, running down a hill, knowing another incline is coming.

I bolt up the first incline and have to rest at the next intersection. Heart screaming. I’m not out of breath, my legs aren’t shot, it’s just that my engine is at max RPMs and there’s no way to keep that effort.

Heart rate drops a bit, then I attack the next hill, because why not? I flame out 2/3rds of the way to the top, which is fine. I laugh to myself a bit. Grate at 45 to be doing this at all.

Finally reach the top and I see it. The big red mood, coming up over the horizon to the east. By this time it’s pretty dark. I dart down a side street with a lone street light. I see the moon. Just 12 or so hours earlier I watched the sun rise over that hill in the distance, from the same grave yard.

Something clicks, and I peel off another few quick bursts. Feels good, feels solid, and I keep it under control. Now I’m darting through the darkness. Now this is dangerous.

I round a corner towards my place, a nice 2.5% grade and just punch it. I cruise past a small crowd, a blur to my right. I just look up the hill, grateful I’m not running the entire thing.

I hit my parking lot and tap out.

There’s something about hitting your max. Hitting the limit.

Yeah, we hit limits with emails, with work, with bills, taxes… ahh, just gotta walk away!

But a physical limit. A point where there’s just nothing left. Where you taste the effort in your mouth.

Been talking a lot about mortality lately, with a lot of different people. And fuck, tomorrow ain’t a promise.

I ain’t got much, but I know tonights run was special, and that’ll stay with me.

Had a Good Time with Whoop

Back in June I said Whoop changed my life, but lately I’ve fallen out of love.

It’s still a great device. A great tool. It’s helped me improve my sleep habits, and the importance of recovery. I love all that. It got me back on track with running.

Lately, though, it just doesn’t bring me any joy. It’s not really adding anything, and at $30/mo, that’s not good math.

My buddy Dino put it best – if it helped you create some good habits, it was worth it. He’s right.

I had a run coach once. That wasn’t forever. And neither is Whoop, I guess. That’s okay.

I run because of skies like the one above. I run to blow off steam, to work out some of the stress of life, and work, and everything else.

Adding a Garmin watch, and the Whoop… oh wait, gotta make sure they’re both charged. Wait, this one is saying HR is way up, this one is stuck at 80bpm. What?

Yeah.

I just want my running to slow and low, without adding more stress to my day. COVID has really crossed off a lot of the big races and events that I’d do this fall. I’m going rouge, going solo, keeping to myself, and running with some good people, that’s about it.

A season for all things. I’ll still recommend the Whoop to anyone who asks. It’s just not for me anymore.

Head To The Hills

I used to hate getting my feet wet when running. Now, for this photo, I was standing completely still in this creek, getting soaked, and loving every second of it.

With the pandemic still raging, and idiocy everywhere, I’m withdrawn a bunch from the idea of heading to cities, or being around a bunch of people. It’s just not for me yet.

I got emails from the Broad Street Race in Philadelphia, the biggest 10 mile race in the US, and how they’re making their big return this year! The Philly 10K, the super slick, well organized race through the streets of mid and lower Philadelphia.

Then the 7 day average of new COVID cases just keeps going up here in PA:
500 on July 24th
1,000 on August 3rd (10 days)
2,000 on August 15th (12 days)

So I ordered a closeout bag from Ultimate Direction from REI and started getting ideas to head into the mountains, away from people.

They’ll be a time for densely packed 10Ks again in the future, but for me, right now? Not yet. Do what you wanna do, but for me, I’m looking at some tents and water filtration systems, and looking to disappear into the woods a bit.