Sunday, June 24, 2007


WARNING - this post may result in introspection and deep thoughts - WARNING

T and I leave for the NATA Annual Meeting in Anaheim, CA, on Tuesday morning. There will be familiar faces that we haven't seen in any number of months. There will also be familiar faces absent due to any variety of legitimate reasons.

This has started me thinking about the topic listed in the title of this blog.

I've lamented to both of you reading this that this past year has been a struggle professionally and socially. Professionally has been covered in a previous post.

So, this one is about the social aspects of our adaptation to life in West Michigan. In a nutshell, haven't made a lot of friends. Have made plenty of acquaintances, but just a very small number of friends here locally.

We haven't been able to find our niche. But to be honest, we haven't put forth a lot of effort. Unlike past situations coworkers have not resulted in the friendships and regularity of spontaneous interactions. Maybe part of it is the location we actually live in...while we tell people we live in Grand Rapids, Grand Rapids proper is about a 15 minute drive. We're really out in a rural area on the very outskirts of Grand Rapids.

Not a horrible place to live, just not the kind of place to which T and I would naturally gravitate. Lots of churches around us, not a lot of local neighborhood restaurants, 99.9% of our food options are chain restaurants,
and virtually no neighborhood bars. I would kill for a place like Cornucopia in Eugene. A place you could decide to go to, get there in five minutes, and then call friends to join you for a drink.

Back on topic - so we haven't found a place to meet new people with similar interests that we can interact with on a personal level here in Michigan. "here in Michigan" the key part of the previous phrase. I've mentioned a few times before the online running community that I am an active member of (ok, I like to think I'm an active member),, and more specifically the group of 30-somethings that post on a daily thread in the newbie forum.

Great people, a lot of them are from Minnesota - go to my post "Nice People" to see the difference at least one of them from Minnesota made - and have a great interaction with everyone there. I've really made some great friends there. Unfortunately they aren't the kind I can call up and say "hey, come on over, I've got a growler of Mad Hatter" without giving them at least a month or twos notice so they can check airfare and to see if they have any vacation left. Kind makes it difficult to have a drink with them.

So while my face-to-face interaction has been limited, I'd just like to say thank you to all of them for making this past year a bit more friendly.

You know who you are, I don't need to bother listing your names.

Thank you.

Saturday, June 23, 2007


Summer time…what do all the cool kids do? That’s right they ride bikes! What are two 30-somethings going to do on a beautiful Saturday? That’s right, go for a bike ride. Well, I went for a five mile run this morning and then on the bike ride.

A 15.64 mile bike ride.

Rode on the Kent Trails Bike Path…goes from the suburbs into downtown. It runs along the Grand River, and the pics of us on the bridge is where the trail crosses it. The Grand Rapid Marathon and the 5/3 River Bank Run are run on this trail.

We pretty much did a loop. My legs are shot, and I’ve got a long run on the schedule for tomorrow.

We get back to the truck and T decides to see what it’s like for triathletes to run right after the bike ride (probably because we passed a guy on the trail doing a brick workout…as we passed him I asked how far he was going today. His answer, 112 miles on the bike, now a 7 mile run. Nearly fell off my bike!)

All in all a pretty good Saturday.

Now tomorrow, we just need to start packing.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Sad Day for the Miami Family...

In my four years at Miami University, I had to opportunity to meet many remarkable coaches as I progressed through the athletic training education program. Two in particular stand out: Randy Walker, the head football coach at the time, and Terry Hoeppner, an assistant and future head coach of the football team.

Both of these men took the time to express gratitude/appreciation for what we were doing as athletic training students, would interact with us like we were people, and were genuinely nice guys.

Randy Walker died of a heart attack almost one year ago.

Terry Hoeppner died today of complications of a brain tumor.

They are, and will be missed.

Friday, June 15, 2007


Mentioned earlier my struggle to occupy the massive increase of free-time that I have due to the summer months/10 month work contract. Still haven't made much progress on that front, but I'm trying.

The thing I have realized is this: being back on in the eastern time zone you can only watch Sportscenter so much before you want to poke out your eyes in the morning. Back in Eugene I was lucky to be able to catch the last hour it was on because my mornings consisted of getting my run in, breakfast/coffee, and reading the paper.

I mentioned back near the start of this blog that I was unimpressed by the paper here in the greater Grand Rapids area. These lazy summer mornings would be perfect for reading the paper, if it was only worth reading!

Just makes me miss the Register Guard that much more.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Check This Out

If you want to see how incredibly bold/brave/crazy T is, just head over to her blog for a stunning reveal of something that she has been working on over the last month and a half.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Tattoo Update

Well, here it is. It's completely healed so I had T take another photo (god love her, but she can't hold the camera still enough so she had to take about 8 pics for one to turn out clear enough to post).

Mr. Cramer, since you asked: the design is one that I found on a logo for a running store in Eugene...with some modifications: made it bigger and the artist changed the shape of the head a bit. As for the colors, as you can see the yellow is a bit brighter now that it is healed. I liked the idea of red/orange/yellow to make "him" look like he is made out of flame.

So far the response has been good...hell, my mother didn't flip out so that's cool.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Green Thumb?

Posted pictures when we first potted the plants and put them out on the deck. It's been about a month since then so I thought I'd put up some pictures of their progress.

Lastly, here is proof that we actually have tomatos already!

State of the Blog

I've been putting this post off for about a week now. Wasn't sure how big of a deal I should make out of the 100th post. I was trying to come up with something profound to say...instead I thought I'd just go with this:

I started the blog as a way to stay connected with some of the friends I have scattered all throughout the country when we moved to Michigan. Still trying to do that.

Then I provided some comparisons between Michigan and Oregon. Plan on re-visiting that in an upcoming post.

And, I've tried to keep all three of the people reading this updated on my attempts at running. Check.

So, I guess you could say I'm making progress on what I intended to do when I started this whole thing.

Thursday, June 07, 2007


Wanted to share the following with all of you - some may recognize it (yes, I asked him first and screen names only) but it's worth reading again.

As indicated by the link to the right, I frequent the forums on - more specifically the 30's thread in the newbie cafe. Good group of people. When it comes to running ability we run the gamut there...from people just starting to someone who is a member of the Clifbar pacing team. The following was posted in response to someone new to the endeavor and their frustrations by PhillyTom (

It's hard to read advice online and not read between the lines but just keep in mind that most people here are just trying to help each other through the same sort of thing. I'm not trying to be critical, just to help.

First, patience. I know people have said this before, but the only impatient runners I know at our ages are ex-runners. We have all been there. There are people for whom running just comes naturally, and pain-free, but none of them post here as far as I know. There is an absolute wealth of knowledge coming from the 60+ people who hop in and out of here on a given week. I get more out of here than the books I read by coaching pros. (And keep in mind even they aren't sure about what they are talking about.)

Running can be a cruel master. But grappling with the fact that there is so much mystery in making our bodies do something that they are clearly genetically selected to do (i.e. run) is to me, half of what makes it fun.

There is no magic formula for how to get there. 3 x shoe size + 2 ^ sqrt(pi) will not give me my magic weekly mileage. C25K is not "right". It is also not "wrong". If the same thing worked for everyone, it would be easy, and it's not.

My $.02.

You are running too fast. Slow down. When you think you can go no slower, slow down. The key sentence to me in your post was that you ran a PR mile on Saturday and you are hurt now. I ran a PR 5K on Sat and I hurt. That's what PRs do. I have the benefit of having a bigger mileage base and faster recovery since I've been doing this longer (1.5 yrs) but since Sat I've run nothing but easy.

Recovery. To me the point of C25K and any training plan is to get the right balance of stress and recovery. I think this is the central idea of any plan. From the micro (run 200m, jog 200m), to the mini (hard day, easy day), to the macro (3 weeks hard, 1 week cutback), to the seasonal (~3 weeks down time after race season) it is all about tearing yourself down and letting your body build back up (recover).

Barring a pre-existing injury or genetic predisposition, if you are getting hurt it is likely overuse - i.e. you are tearing down too much and not building back up.
How do you recover better?

Don't work as hard. I remember last winter having to walk downstairs backwards on Mondays because I ran my 6-7m long runs too hard on Sunday. I was running too hard.
Recover more. RICE. Walk more. Cross train. Swim. Bike.

Use the resource here as best you can.

You want to know more about how to balance running and xtrain? Email LL or Theia. They do it right.

Maybe C25K is too aggressive. Work through the ideas there and come up with a less aggressive plan. Post it for feedback.

Lose weight. How much do you weigh? How tall are you? Running itself is hard enough, and added weight makes the stress even greater. You can lose 0.5 to 1 lbs a week while in a running plan without killing yourself (ask Moon, or Bard, or Voodoo, or me). The lighter you are the easier it is to recover.

The better you can recover, the more you can run. It's a virtuous cycle.

But even best conceived and best laid plans don't always work. Ask anybody here. Sometimes you think you are doing everything right and the goal race isn't there. There are surprise injuries, weather that screws up a goal race, and sometimes that training plan doesn’t give us the result we thought it would.

When people use that phrase 'listen to your body' this is what they are talking about. It's not about slowing down when it hurts. That, as you've seen, is probably too late. You need to find your personal line. Mine isn't yours and yours isn't anyone elses.

Oh, and I'm no expert either.

Great perspective and very well expressed.


I apologize about not posting anything in over a week.

Real life got in the way. T and I had to make an unexpected trip to Cincy over the weekend and into the first part of the week for my Grandmother's funeral.

We will return to regularly scheduled programming in a bit.