Thursday, April 30, 2015

The Promise of the Nap King

I fought the bed and I won. Sort of. I really wanted to go back to bed this morning but ended up convincing myself that I'd be able to take a nap later in the day. So that's the little promise I told myself. And one that I hope I can keep.

The rest of the run was fairly normal. Went way slow just because I was tired and because I felt like it. Managed to spot check most of my trail cameras and did some extra, off the books, hiking/running to move them around a bit. And that was it. Just another day in the woods.


Temps were about 50F. Sky was overcast. No wind. Humidity was moderate.

Fluids and Fuel:
Just a few sips of coffee before the run. During the run was plain water. Recovery was three slices of toast, three pieces of bacon, two eggs, and more coffee.

Aches and Pains:
Right foot was re-aggravated yesterday so it was a bit tender in the shower today after the run. Aside from that, everything else felt fine.

Wore shorts, long sleeve shirt, and BUFF.

Today's Motivation:
Seeing 40 minutes is nice on my plan. It's a short enough run that I can easily accomplish it without taking too much time out of my day. That doesn't always mean it's an easy run but the time investment is small.

Naughty Neil:
I had a beer last night. Just because. I must be getting old because I felt hungover this morning.

Mile 1 - 15:27
Mile 2 - 16:04
End - 8:29
Finish - 40:00

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Really Awesome Title

I had a really awesome title for today's run. But I forgot it somewhere in the last mile. Figures. I was all over the place today, mentally, during my run. So much so I revived my dead podcast to record part of an episode. Sheesh, what was I thinking?

Anyway, I snagged my camera cards and went for a nice run in the woods. I know the bugs are coming as I saw my first horsefly today. Damn things. The rest of the run was fairly uneventful. Pissed off a few geese who honked and honked at me.


Temps were about 40F at the start and quickly jumped to about 50F by the end. Sky was clear. No wind.

Fluids and Fuel:
Half a coffee before the run. During the run I had plain water and applesauce. Recovery was an egg sandwich, two blueberry muffins, yogurt, and coffee. I really, REALLY wanted a donut but got the muffins instead.

Aches and Pains:
Ran over a few rocks that reminded me my right foot was still a bit tender. Aside from that, I was feeling much better than yesterday. Still wheezy a bit and certainly coughed up and blew out a ton of mucus but it was all clear so that's good.

Wore shorts, thermal top, short sleeved shirt, gloves, and BUFF.

Naughty Neil:
I should have come home and had a "good" breakfast. But I was in the mood for not-so-good food. And just before I got there, I saw a license plate that looked like it said donut. So I was in the mood for a donut. But I didn't get one. I got two blueberry muffins. I'm sure they were just as unhealthy for me but it made me feel good about making a better choice. The breakfast sandwich I got wasn't great but it was about as healthy as I could get there. And instead of my kryptonite iced latte, I went with iced coffee with a dash of sugar and skim milk. So, good choices this morning. And last night I had popcorn instead of ice cream.

Today's Motivation:
My cameras. It's been a couple of days and I missed them. Starting to wonder if I should name them so I can keep track of them. Hmmm.....let me brew on that for a bit.

Begin - 11:08
Mile 1 - 14:46
Mile 2 - 14:10
End - 2:20
Finish - 42:25

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

I Blame Ethan

Still recovering from my sinus infection and allergies blowing up. Even though I've had two nights of decent sleep now, I'm still hacking and sneezing and dripping all over. Just not as much as before. So I powered through the start of my workout and promptly got smacked about for realizing the amount of effort I needed to finish it. An hour slaving away on the treadmill quickly became a few minutes of wheezing and then stopping for a walk break. That walk break turned into just a walk soon enough as it became apparent that I just wasn't going to make it.

And since walking was making me sweat but still let me breath, I figured it was better than nothing. So I walked. Sometimes fast, sometimes slow, but enough to tread that fine line between passing out from lack of oxygen and dripping with sweat.

Indoor temps were about 74F.

Fluids and Fuel:
Before the run was half a coffee. During the run was plain water and half an applesauce. Recovery was two ham, egg, and cheese burritos, two slices of toast, yogurt, and the rest of my coffee.

Aches and Pains:
Aside from the lungs being on fire, everything felt fine. Still some mild tenderness on the bottom of my right foot from the rock the other day but it's healing.

Wore shorts and t-shirt.

Naughty Neil:
I at too much for lunch but kept things in check during and after dinner.

Today's Motivation:
Trying to get back on track after being sick. It's rough but I want to keep things in the groove.

Time - 61:11
Distance - 2.5 miles
Incline - 3
Speed - 2.0 to 4.0 (AVG 2.5)
Elevation - 391 feet
Entertainment - LOST (the episode where they find the Dharma lab where Ethan took Claire)

Finish - 1:01:11

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Windy Run

Just a short, easy run today with a side of wind. Thankfully I expelled about 5 of the 6 ghosts of yesterday's black bean burritos. But that wasn't the wind I dealt with today, today was just regular wind from Mother Nature.

Sun was out with a few clouds. Wind was moderate to heavy. Temps were about 60F to 65F.

Fluids and Fuel:
Breakfast was a power sandwich from Panera, coffee, and a frozen mocha. During the run I had nothing (not even water). Recovery was GenUCAN and a salad.

Aches and Pains:

Wore shorts and a t-shirt. Dumped the shirt at the halfway point.

Naughty Neil:
Did I mention I ate 6 black bean burritos for lunch yesterday?

Today's Motivation:
Sometimes seeing 30 minutes on your plan is a good thing.

Finish - 31:53

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Damn Vandals

As a runner, there's a million and one things that piss me off. Litter. Asshole drivers. Vandalism. Running out of toilet paper. Snakes. Bugs. The list goes on. I've learned to deal with most of it but it still gets under my skin sometimes. This morning I had to deal with vandals. Idiots decided to break open the sign board, toss the lock, and rip the signs out. And of course I didn't have any cameras set up to watch. Guess I will now.

And then came the bugs. And inchworms and their spider-like web string things. GAH! So while I tried to cool off from the damage done to the sign board, I had to bob and weave and try not to swallow the bugs. And the gnats were out swarming in the sunshine. Made me wish I had a flamethrower.

And then there were the dogs. I get that you want to walk your dog without a leash, I really do. But if it threatens me with teeth or a retractable leash, I'll be tempted to do something you may regret. Thankfully, all five dogs I ran into this morning were hastily corralled by their owners and were well mannered enough to not even bark at me. Thank you. That made my day a little brighter.

But best of all, I came close enough to a 12 minute mile I could smell it. Probably could have ran it but opted to just chill and ease into things. Maybe next year I can break a 30 minute 5k.

Temps were about 50F. Sun was out. Light wind. Humidity was light.

Fluids and Fuel:
Had half a coffee and a banana before the run. Applesauce and water during the run. Recovery was two sausage and egg burritos, two slices of toast, and more coffee. Doing my best to cut back to just 2 cups a day. Rough.

Aches and Pains:
Around Mile 2 I hit a rock. One of those pointy ones. Worst part was that I landed on it on the tender side just behind the ball of my foot. Hurt just about as bad as getting hit in the balls. I walked if off and kept going. About a mile later the hole in my shorts started chafing enough to make things noticeably uncomfortable. No amount of adjusting things worked so I just kept plodding along.

Wore shorts, long sleeve shirt, and BUFF.

Naughty Neil:
I really wanted an extra snack last night. But I waited until I wasn't quite so stuffed from my extra helping of grilled potatoes from dinner. By that time it was nearly bed time so I was able to just barely pass on the snack. But I did have a nice serving of Kahlua.

Today's Motivation:
Um, didn't really have much motivation other than the weather was nice and I needed some trail therapy.

Start - 10:54
Mile 1 - 13:16
Mile 2 - 14:02 (includes a pee break)
Mile 3 - 12:27
End - 9:58
Finish - 1:00:39

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Shady's Back, Back Again

For the first time in, I don't know how long, I got the chance to go back out for a run. I know I shouldn't take it for granted, but I always do. Until I can't run, then I realize what a dope I've been for not appreciating it more. So today, I did my best to appreciate being back out there in the woods, on my feet, having fun.

I went out way too fast with about a 6 minute per half mile pace. Every half mile I added 30 seconds to keep myself in check and it felt nice. I wasn't really in a big rush but I could feel the need for speed.


Temps were 45F. Wind was light. Sun was out in full.

Fluids and Fuel:
Half a coffee before the run. Water and applesauce during the run. Recovery was 2 eggs, 2 sausage, 2 pieces of gluten free bread, yogurt, and coffee.

Aches and Pains:
Nothing hurt other than some residual aches due to running for the first time in weeks.

Wore thermal top, long sleeve top, shorts, BUFF, and gloves.

Naughty Neil:
I would say I feel guilty about eating ice cream last night but it was a celebration so to hell with it.

Today's Motivation:
The end of the busy season at work means less stress.

Mile 1 - 13:14
Mile 2 - 14:40
Finish - 27:56

Friday, April 10, 2015

Dinner Table Rules

A teammate asked a pretty interesting question about rules at the dinner table and how they could contribute to obesity. So instead of writing a dissertation on Facebook that would hijack the thread, I thought I'd write one here.

My Childhood

For me, I had two different sets rules at the dinner table because I grew up with divorced parents. When I was with my father, the rules weren't really clearly stated that I can remember other than I had to eat my vegetables. the worst for me was broccoli so I always covered it cheese to hide the flavor. But corn, green beans, and even peas were okay. I won't say I loved them, other than maybe creamed corn, but they were okay.

The unwritten rules were pretty simple though. First, you either ate what he fixed or found something on your own to eat. I rarely did this because I usually liked what he ate. When I didn't, I'd eat a bowl of cereal. The other unwritten rule was to finish what was on my plate. It wasn't really ground into me but there was an expectation to not waste food. So I'd finish what was on my plate. There was a third rule but that was less about eating and more about what we ate. And it wasn't really a rule as much as a trend. We'd almost always have meat, potatoes, and vegetables. Every dinner was a combo of those three in some form or fashion.

At my mother's, the rules were similar but slightly different. I was still expected to eat my vegetables and I was expected to eat what she made or find something on my own. Again, neither of these rules really bothered me much unless we had Brussels sprouts or lima beans or asparagus. But those were rare events and with enough butter and salt, you can hide the flavor of anything. I vaguely recall having the same rule about eating everything on your plate but I'm not positive. I do know there was a big rule about not wasting food. This was especially the case when I went back for a second helping and couldn't finish it. I think I got chewed out a few times for taking too much food. As I got older, there was a new rule put into place that I couldn't get a second helping of anything until everyone else at the table was done eating. This was mostly because I'd eat everything in sight if I was allowed, leaving nothing for my mother or step father.

So fairly basic rules and nothing that seemed out of the ordinary when I was a kid or even now when I'm an adult. But let's get into some extra tidbits that may skew your views a bit.

I've been allergic to poultry and nuts for as long as I can remember. My allergy to gourds came later in life. As a kid, I can remember being forced to eat turkey by my step father. Maybe it was chicken but I'm pretty sure it was turkey. He didn't believe me that I was allergic. Even after I ate it and barfed in the bathroom toilet. I can remember it now, crying at the dinner table on Downs Avenue in Charlotte, NC as I'm eating poultry and being harassed and teased about being a baby and that I wasn't really allergic to it. I recall there was some grumbling about me faking it when I was barfing but I think he eventually accepted the fact that I was indeed allergic to bird meat.

He also teased me when I wanted to eat hamburgers. Something about it was easier to chew and I should be eating real meat like a real man. I'm not really sure what he was getting at but I don't remember it impacting what I ate because, well, hamburgers were delicious.

As a kid that was allergic to nuts and chicken, I had to be slightly picky in what I ate to avoid an allergic reaction. Back in the days of yore when I was a kid (the 1980s), food wasn't labeled as well as it is now but I managed just fine. I knew what I could eat and what I couldn't and I just went on about my merry way. It wasn't until I got older that allergic reactions became more common place. But as a kid, I think that potential for an allergic reaction hanging over my head kept me from trying certain foods and that contributed to me being a picky eater.

But I don't think that's the biggest reason I grew into a picky eater. I think that resides in the nature of who we are and what we like. We change over time. Those Brussels sprouts I hated as a kid I love today. Lima beans, not so much. But I don't think being a picky eater is necessarily a bad thing, as long as it's done in moderation and there's room to grow new tastes over time.

My Kids

Both of my kids have food allergies (nuts and milk) and we've adapted fairly well to them. But they've developed into picky eaters. A little too picky for me but I'm dealing with it. And our rules at the dinner table could use some adjusting I'm sure.

Our latest rule is that we don't watch TV or phones during dinner. Except for Friday nights when we watch The Goldbergs. Or when I just feel like watching TV. But it helps us talk as a family and keep us in touch with each other. We don't adhere to this rule 100% of the time and some people (ahem) still like to surf Facebook but we do pretty good. This rule was my idea because I wanted to actually listen to the kids and learn about their day. And I wanted to involve everyone so we felt more like a family. Plus, when I was a kid, I ate dinner while watching TV with my Dad so we didn't talk much. I think that was a big contributing factor in my zombie-eating.

We also have a rule that's similar to mine as a kid where if you don't like what's been cooked, you're on your own. My wife has used the line "clear your plate" or something similar but I've tried to transition that to "if you're full, stop eating." This is mostly because I'm afraid that they will learn to clear their plate, even when they're full, thus contributing to bad eating habits.

But I do get on them about wasting food. I hate to waste food and I think that's partly because I know food isn't cheap and partly because my parents taught me to not waste my food. Which I'm sure they learned from their parents who lived through the Depression. Anyway, I hate wasting food so eating leftovers is always an option in our house (assuming there's any left).

But the picky eaters in both of them has led me to notice some trends. First, they're both under-weight. They're still trending up normally but they're both smaller than average but they're both proportionally the right size (in other words, they aren't obese). With my son, his medication decreases his appetite so it's always a chore to get him to eat. So much of a chore, that for years now we don't really care about what he eats as long as he eats. I can remember a few times we garnered dirty looks from other people when we'd go out to eat and he'd be eating Oreos and potato chips while the rest of us ate regular food. But with his food allergies and picky palate, that's the only thing he'd eat. And in the interest of not starving our child, we were fine with that. Would I like him to eat vegetables? Or grilled chicken? Or something semi-healthy? Sure. But getting food that's safe for him isn't easy. Just come out to dinner with us a few times and you'll find out.

As for my daughter, I think she's going to be a vegetarian by the time she's in high school. She doesn't like ground meat, rarely likes beef, and only sometimes like pork. She does love bacon but who doesn't?! She's slightly less picky in her eating and at least likes ketchup, the greatest invention ever when you need to cover up how horrible something tastes.

My Parents

As I said, my parents were pretty cool from what I remember as a kid. At least when it came to rules at the dinner table. I don't remember many stories from them about their childhood but I know my dad grew up on a farm with three other brothers and while his eating habits as a kid were probably not all that healthy, he did work a lot. In other words, when you're slopping hogs and milking cows, it's not that big of a deal if you eat some country fried steak.

My mother on the other hand, I know she had some issues with food as a kid. In fact I remember her telling my son that he shouldn't worry about somebody taking his food. And that was a big deal to her because she was the youngest of eight and they often didn't have enough food for everyone. It wasn't until I grew up that I learned that when I was a kid she had a hard time putting food on the table for me.

Bottom Line

I don't know if there is a bottom line. I don't know if the rules you grow up by define who you are as an eater. I do feel that it comes down to the basic concept taught in psychology classes; nurture vs. nature. We are all individual people that have no, or limited, control over certain things. Take food allergies. Despite what some the dumbass Food Babe thinks, allergies are real and can't be controlled in some cases. Yes, there's been some great advances but many of them are based on simply building a tolerance. Can you say iocaine powder?

So we have no (or limited) control over some things but we do have (or have some) control over other things. Going back for a second helping? Pigging out on a third late-night snack? These are things that we should be able to control. But yet again I'm going to sit on the fence because I think for some people, they have no control. I think for some people it's more in line with depression or an addiction. For me, it's more about being mindless when I eat. So that nurture part has trained me that when I watch TV, I should be eating. Just like when I was a kid. That click and hum from the TV is kind of like Pavlov ringing the dinner bell for me.

In the end, I think because we're individuals, we're all going to address the issue differently. What works for me, may not work for you and vice versa. Regardless of what the solution is, I do think we should give it a try. After all, what do we have to lose? Unless you tell me to eat a handful of nuts as a snack. Then I've got something to lose.

Monday, April 06, 2015


Yesterday's run went swimmingly. In fact, all of yesterday went swimmingly. But without any swimming of course. The day started off better than Saturday. It seems Friday night was the night for a bunch of nightmares to keep me awake nearly all night. So after a full day of work Saturday, I crashed, still in my clothes, around 2000 hours. I normally don't go to bed until about 2230. That's when I did wake up to finally get into my skivvies and under the covers. I slept until 0700 on Sunday and felt quite refreshed. Guess all I needed was lots of sleep.

So after breakfast and some light housework, I was out the door and into the woods. 7 miles later I was feeling pretty good and headed back home. Turns out my 7 mile run was the easier part of my day. After I showered and ate, it was back outside to do yard work, play baseball, play basketball, ride bikes, and feel old but satisfied in spending time with the family.

Tree bands.

Temps started out around 45F but quickly warmed to 55F by the end. By the end of the afternoon, temps were up to about 70F. Sky was clear. Light wind.

Fluids and Fuel:
Breakfast was coffee, eggs, toast, and yogurt. During the run I had two apple sauces, water, and GenUCAN electrolytes. Recovery was another GenUCAN electrolyte drink followed by a meal of rice and water. Rice doesn't make a good recovery meal.

Aches and Pains:
None during the run or after but my left knee felt tweaky after some baseball with my son. I must have hit too many homeruns.

Wore shorts, pants, thermal top, long sleeve shirt, gloves, and BUFF. The gloves lasted a mile or so. Pants came off after about 2 miles. Also took my hydration pack.

Naughty Neil:
Had wacky cake (aka depression cake) for dessert and I don't feel guilty at all. Not even when I had seconds with a small scoop of ice cream.

Today's Motivation:
Just felt like getting outside to clear my head. And I did. Thoroughly distracted and I'm glad for it.

Begin -  ?
Mile 1 - 12:21
Mile 2 - 13:52
Mile 3 - 16:31
Mile 4 - 12:57
Mile 5 - 13:48
Mile 6 - 12:56
Mile 7 - 12:18
End - ?
Finish - 1:41:21

Thursday, April 02, 2015


Saw lots of hidden things on today's run. Things that weren't really hidden but I just never noticed them before. I ran a section of trail that doesn't get a lot of traffic and did my best to have a better run that earlier this week. In the end, I'd succeed in having a good time.

Along the way I saw a building through the trees that I never noticed before, some cleared land that was new, and some vandalism. Outside of that, it was just a nice time in the woods with only a few minor interruptions that I created because I wanted to see where I was on the map in relation to these new things.

New name for this section is Briar Patch.

The Tower of Isengard is gone but the swamp has water again!

Pretty normal when you run in the boonies.

The sun will come out tomorrow!

Temps were about 40F at the start but warmed a hair to about 45F or 50F by the end. Sky was clear. Light wind.

Fluids and Fuel:
Just some coffee before the run. During the run I had lain water and an applesauce. Recovery was toast, eggs, sausage, yogurt, and coffee.

Aches and Pains:
None really. Stepped on a few pointy rocks but nothing terrible.

Wore shorts, thermal top, short sleeve shirt, gloves, and BUFF.

Naughty Neil:
Been managing my snacking fairly well this week. Made a few not-so-healthy choices but they were smaller portions.

Today's Motivation:
A bad run earlier in the week left me feeling a bit empty inside. Today's run helped top off my tank. Or at least put a few dollars in.

Start - 1:57
Mile 1 - 13:37
Mile 2 - 15:45 (includes detour)
Mile 3 - 14:53 (includes detour)
Mile 4 - 12:44
End - 2:19
Finish - 1:01:17