Team then Family

The distance, the scenery, the speed, the desert, racing in the streets… yeah, I love all that. But the people, right? All those people. A team, a family of people from literally all around the globe coming together to work on this one goal, one mission, one project.

To be beat down, exhausted, tired, sore, in pain, along with your teammates, and to get out there and keep moving. That’s what makes a video like this so inspiring to me. Running is such a solo activity, run your own race, sort of deal. But this sort of event, this format, it really gets me going.

Snack Time for the Soul

Between working at my local Starbucks and picking up groceries for dinner (and snacks), I stopped by this little park to spend some quality time with the Schuylkill River. A short walk, catching up with an old friend, the smell of spring in the air.

My day is not spent next to rivers, on the trails, or climbing big hills. I don’t run trails from sun-rise until noon. This photo was just a small portion of my day, a little snack time for the soul, if you will.

Fast and Loose

One thing about using a “for-real” camera, is that it’s a little easier to be daring with some shots. As you can see below, I dangled some digital point-and-shoot cameras over the years when I was biking all over the US.

I was using a Canon PowerShot SD940IS when I snapped this photo in New Orleans (same bike, above).
Loved my Canon PowerShot S95, this one in Miami, FL when I had my Brompton folding bike. This was me cruising with kids I met off the internet after I rode an Amtrak Train from NYC all the way down to Miami.
Night time cruising in Tampa, FL.
Happy biking way outside Savannah, GA.
Biking with a Tumblr friend in Charleston, SC.
Somewhere near Selma, NC.
Riding up through Williamsburg into Greenpoint, in Brooklyn.
Riding over the George Washington Bridge, from New Jersey into Manhattan.
My last crack at the NYC Century, in 2011 (below). Made it “just” 70 miles, and was pretty much my last, “on the bike, moving, and taking a photo” sort of shot.

I don’t really ride much anymore, so I’m a little slower, but pulling out my iPhone Xr – the indispensable tool that I need to perform my job and make a living – just feels too risky.

It’s cold, or I’m covered in sweat, and the smart phone is the device I rely on for GPS directions to get back home from a race (one time my phone locked me out for 40 minutes because the “raise to wake” setting wasn’t turned off). Trying to handle my iPhone like I did for any of these photos above would have gave me a heart attack, even with some heavy duty phone case.

I think I want a real camera again, for the very purpose of documenting more of my running adventures.

Time with Creeks

A walk along the creek always does me good, getting close to water. I’m not much of a swimmer, not really a beach person. Just get me next to the water, though, and I’m content.

It reminds me of 2010, when I was getting ready to leave New York City. I had time to bike around to various parks on the water front, up and down Brooklyn. I remember my heart was troubled around that time, but the rivers helped me navigate. The East River heard a bunch of drama and never judged me for it.

Today, a small creek was enough. Just a casual stroll before lunch, in the cold, but it worked. Time in nature isn’t just there for the troubling times, but for the upswings, too.

Purpose

Week three of marathon training in the books, and today was my long run, a nice 10 miles on an unseasonably warm January day.

Lots of time to think on a 10 mile run, especially when alone (the friends I met up with were doing other routes and workouts). I somehow got thinking of why? The meaning of life, what’s the purpose? All these strands of DNA, this long abandoned railroad. What the heck are we doing here?

Then I remember that nothing needs to make sense. That everything doesn’t need to be figured out, or had apparent meaning. Just being in the woods with some good people is meaning enough.

New Years Day Adventures

Getting up at 4am on New Years Day didn’t sound so bad. First up was a run with the Early Miles crew, a group that meets and hour before November Project every Wednesday. Ran four-ish miles with a nice fella. A little fast, but felt good.

Then a 30 minute workout with the November Project crew (below). Absolutely bonkers. Scissor kicks, crunches, pushups, jumping jacks – sets of 30, in between running up and down the Art Museum steps.

After that we got coffee at a nearby Starbucks (one of the few places open on New Years Day) before we headed to a special meetup with the Chasing Trails group (below), where we set off on a 6-ish mile jaunt through the woods. I felt good a mile or two into the run, but didn’t refuel or hydrate enough, and just ran out of gas. Slowed my pace, tried to keep my heart rate down, pet some puppers, and got it done.

It was super rad to be around such a great group of people on New Years Day, when everyone had the ultimate excuse to just stay in, tucked into their warm beds, and skip a workout (or two).

Eleven miles in total, all done by 10:30am, with a bunch of amazing people. A bit different than my first run of 2019, which was after going to sleep at 4am on New Years Eve!

When You Love Skiing

My friend Dino sent me this video, “YETI Presents: John Shocklee | A Fairy Tale.”

Stuff like this used to weird me out. Like, sure, just live in a 215 sq. ft shack and be a ski guide! WHATEVER!

But bike adventures in my 30s, and now running in my 40s, like… it’s not so much about “quit everything, cancel your cell phone, and do what you love,” but… bits and pieces.

You gotta run three miles before you can run 10.
Gotta write one song before you write an album.
Have to camp for two nights before you can disappear into the woods for a month.

Nothing is zero to sixty. We’re all on course for something, somewhere, and sometimes we don’t realize it until 10 years later we’re left scratching our head and wondering, “how’d I get here?

Downtime

I spent about a week traveling, the first real deal road trip since I bought my car in December. The freedom to roam, along with my ability to work remotely for a handful of clients, is a double edged sword. I need to work, to be available, but I also need to drive… five hours to my next stop?

It’s somewhat maddening, and it’s the reason I cut my journey short. Maybe a few years ago I would have jumped at the chance for such an adventure, but lately I’m just not feeling that excitement. In part I loved it because I got to run in some new locations, but I also dreaded it because I chose to keep working. I mean, that’s the American thing to do, I guess, as a freelancer, to keep working, keep up the expectation that I’m just “always online” (even though I drove through some pretty remote areas with no cell coverage).

Then I think how I haven’t really gone fully offline in, well, forever. I think back to maybe 2007, when I went to Italy, when my only online responsibility was to my music blog at the time. Or when I left AOL Music back in 2011, and that following Monday I rode my bike to a mountain for a hike.

I’m damn grateful for the work, for sure. But I’m finding that I need to get away from work for longer stretches of time.

Flip the Script

After a five hour drive from the Outer Banks to Greensboro, NC, I was exhausted. Absolutely wiped out. I checked into my hotel room, put on some NFL football, and was ready to just lounge around the rest of the night.

Stress is real, and stress from five hours of driving is real. Lane changes, aggressive drivers, merging, it all adds up, and it feels nice to just relax it away.

Instead I did some online searching and found the Laurel Bluff Trail, about a 15 minute drive from my hotel. It’s a 3.1 mile trail, and it was absolutely gorgeous. As you can see from this photo, there’s an area covered in kudzu, and it was magic.

I knew how the other movie ended; hotel lounging, watch some football, watch TV too late, sleep like crap… but this other movie? I had no idea what to expect, and that’s what made it so great.

Rainy Day Fun

A handicap accessible trail to the ocean

Running isn’t always racing, or group runs. A lot of the time it’s a solo effort, and today I happened to be in the Outer Banks, of North Carolina. It was overcast, rainy, and the wind was fierce coming off the ocean, but these were eight fun miles and I wish I could do it again tomorrow.

Multiple times I thought of turning back to my car, walking, calling it a day, but one foot in front of the other, two miles turned into three, and I just kept it rolling.

One of the best things about running is it lets you explore new places in ways you can’t see otherwise. Most of this run was driveable, and I drove some of it before I actually started this run, but it’s just different on two feet, with sweat stinging your eyes, and wind gusts rushing right into your face.