Tuesday, 28 December 2010


Hey, 2010...don't let the door slam you in the butt on the way out, huh?

I know it's only December 28th, but I'm pulling the plug on your ass right now. That way I have three days unmolested by your crap to get ready for your younger brother, 2011. I already like him more than I ever liked you, if for no other reason than sheer potential.

You and I are no longer Facebook friends and I'm not following you anymore on Twitter. As a matter of fact, I am blocking you on both.

I will be spending the next few days figuring out how to get myself back into shape, physically and mentally. There have been thoughts of late about asking my doctor for anti-bummed-out meds, but think I'll wait a bit more on that. Wondering if what I really need is to pump up my endorphin levels with a return to some sort of regular exercise. After pretty much not running for a solid year, after nine years of near-constant marathon training, I think those levels have been all but depleted.

In the last couple of weeks I've been back on the bike, doing a number of 20 mile rides. They've not been hard, but they've not been the piece of cake they used to be. During this week's big ride I realized that the reason it was hard was that physically I'm kind of a wreck. I'm back up to the weight I was when I ran my first marathon in 2003. My heart sank when I saw the bathroom scale needle pushing 195 again. At my most fit I've been 20 pounds lighter than that.

So, it's back to square one.

Don't expect to see reports of 20 mile runs anytime soon. I think it's back to 3-5 milers...and figuring out how to do it all again. I am sticking with my commitment to only running in my VFFs, so added caution is required in that regard.

One thing I am doing is taking part in a month long "competition" with a bunch of online friends in the UK, called Janathon. It's a low-key kind of "let's see what we can do" thing, and it's a way for me to keep in touch with what's happening in the old country. Should be a hoot. Oh, and there are PRIZES! (Wouldn't mind if some other stateside folks would sign up, by the way!)

All in all, 2010 has been about too much mental and physical weight. 2011 will be about lightening up.

Gotta run...gotta ride.

Thursday, 2 December 2010


For nine of the past ten years, normal, for me, has been about dreaming about running marathons...training for them...travelling to the venue cities...finishing the race...and starting all over again. This year, there has been no normal.

Long story short, lost a twelve year job in March, then spent much of the subsequent nine months dog-paddling in treacherous financial waters...until finally going under. That process included many sleepless nights, cold-sweat wake-ups at 2am, mad scramble job searches on line, a number of job interviews that did not pan out, all while angling for as many hours as I could snatch back among my big city radio newsroom colleagues. I could have survived quite nicely, thanks very much, without every one of those...except the latter.

During that time I have not run much. I have done a few stress-relief jogs, one official half marathon, and have utililized my gym membership to minimal advantage. I've rediscovered 12-15 pounds that I previously thought I'd vanquished...and placed them under my belt for safe keeping. 2010 has been mostly about bouncing off walls...with very little padding.

I have made a number of visits to this blog to make grand proclamations...among them, learning to swim, swearing off my running shoes in full-time favour of my Vibram Five Fingers, and committing to a return to the marathon world in Austin in February. I have stayed true to the VFF's plan, I rarely get my feet wet unless it's in a jacuzzi, and I'm not sure a trip to Austin is a wise investment, considering the current economy. I believe now those were attempts to inject some control...some "normal"...into an out-of-wack situation. I'm learning just how little real control I have.

The goal now is not necessarily to regain control, but to find the new normal in the madness, despite that madness, a way to be content with the changes that were forced upon me and mine. I have no idea to what degree running, marathons or otherwise, will fit into the new scheme. I only know I will not stop running altogether. And, I surely will NOT stop following the exploits of the hundreds...really, hundreds...of runners whom I count as friends, who've provided so much inspiration and support over the past decade.

The new normal, I think, is going to be about running like a kid again...maybe even leaving the Garmin at home once in a while. It's going to be about growing some of our own food in our new organic-only city-owned garden plot. It's going to be about becoming a "foodie" again, spending more time in the kitchen with my lovely wife. It's going to be about writing my marathon book.

In the past month or so I have posted on line, on Twitter and/or Facebook, at least three times, that I've been "trying" to get back into this running thing. Twice I've gotten the response that "there's no trying...there's just doing." I would like to state, without reservation, that I could NOT disagree more. I believe there are times in life when "try" is all we have. For those of you who've never been there...believe me...I will believe you, if and when you do. "Do" is great...but sometimes good is as good as it gets.

Gotta run!