Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Iron Girl Versus Ultrarunning Boy!

In the spirit of 2016's theme of comic book heroes fighting each other(see Batman vs Superman and Captain America: Civil War), Ultrarunning Boy is facing off against Irongirl on May 22!

Irongirl vs Ultrarunning Boy
That's right this weekend, on May 22, 2016, Irongirl faces off against Ultrarunning boy. Well sort of. With copious amounts of trash talking on both sides, someone threw down the gauntlet and challenged the other one to a battle royale.

Swim & Bike VS RUN.

More specifically on Sunday, Amber will be racing Chattanooga 70.3 and her swim and bike times will go head to head to Danny's marathon time in Tobago.

1.2 mile swim +56 mile bike vs 26.2 mile run

Amber's fastest swim is 24 and her bike 2:19 for a combined total of 2:43. Meanwhile Danny's marathon PR is 2:47:45 but that was in 2010. He hasn't been able to muster up a sub-3 hour marathon since 2014.
Hot off a stellar second place finish at Quabbin Bike race, Amber's bike fitness looks to be in top form. Her swim in Texas 70.3, however, wasn't great giving up some positions with a 26:xx swim. She realistically could put down a low 25 swim and a 2:20 bike(despite her improved bike fitness Chattanooga is hilly) for a time of 2:45.

Well, we know Danny cannot run that time, BUT what is in his favor is transitions. Amber will have to transition out of her wetsuit into bike gear which is usually accompanied by some distance run. Transitions can account for anywhere from 90 seconds to 10 minutes depending on the race. That time COUNTS towards the competition. So if Amber has a 8 minute transition time and swim/bike of 2:45. Danny will have to run a 2:53 for the tie. Unlikely in the hills and heat of Tobago.  

Well since I'm writing this blog, I will sandbag my own capabilities and put my money on Amber. Realistically that would be the smart decision especially with how fit she is this year. However, it'll be great motivation to keep pushing through those low points on the run. 

To see how all this unfolds, follow Amber at for live action and Danny's results with be posted at

Until next time,


Saturday, May 14, 2016

Finding a Niche; or Living Life Buffet-Style

I was reading a blog the other day about blogging and making money with blogging-which would be nice:) It talked about finding a niche. Specifically, she was talking about the differentiate her blog about living on a sailboat from all the other blogs.Really there are that many people living on sailboats who blog about it? Well, I guess if you're living on a boat, you probably don't have much else to do so why not write?

So anyway, she was writing about differentiating her blog from others so hers focuses on budget constraints and financial elements of living of a sailboat. Wow that is specific. And I guess from a reader standpoint, it's great because you know if you go to her blog you will be getting financial advice about living on a sailboat. But boy that is specific. I guess her nets her some cash flow, but doesn't she want to talk about her: misadventures, her destinations, storms, interactions with crazy locals, local foods, or any of the other aspects of her life living on a sailboat?

My approach probably won't net me any money, but there is way too much in life to specialize on one thing. I'm a buffet kind of guy- I want a little bit of everything. And like a buffet, I want to leave this life totally stuffed. Stuffed full of fun, diverse and rich experiences. And I look forward to sharing them all with you.
Yes please. Yes to a little more of everything life has to offer. 

Until Next Time,


Thursday, May 12, 2016

Taper Time for Tobago

Two months ago I wrote a blog about how it was time for me to taper before the French Guiana Marathon. I was excited to see how my increased weekly mileage would treat me during the race. Unfortunately, something didn’t click and I had an awful race(see Devil of a Marathon). Two months before I was preparing for the Trinidad Marathon where I had a solid 22 miles and then a keep from going to the bathroom in my shorts 4 mile jog. Two months before that I was preparing for the running the Guyana trail marathon and getting lost(See Guyana it's more than just Koolaid). The very next week, I walked myself to a 4th place finish at the Suriname Marathon-with a time equating to one of my worst marathon performances ever.
Hopefully I will have a better day than this sufferfest.
So my marathon results in the Caribbean/South America have been less than illustrious. And now it’s that time again. In 10 days I will be running the inaugural Sea to Sea Tobago Marathon. This is most likely my last marathon while I’m down in Guyana and I am hoping for a good one. I think that has been part of my problem in the past though. Lots of hope while ignoring the signs of under-training.

Luckily(or unluckily) for me, I can no longer do that. Kenny was nice enough to buy me a GPS running watch after my regular watch suffered a slow water logged death from the Caribbean seas. It was very nice of her but also cruel. For now I know exactly how fast(or slow to be precise), I have been running. Prior to this watch, I was estimating my distances assuming a (what I thought to be) conservation 8 minute/mile pace. Meaning if I ran for 64 minutes, I counted it as 8 miles. I figured some days I would be faster and others slower so a good average. I then had a rough estimate of distances-or so I thought. But the first time I ran my 10 mile loop came back with a ready of 9.25, I realized I was in the world of the Merrimack River Trail race mileage. I.e. I had been making myself feel good but not doing myself any favors.

Having the GPS watch has been great, however, to keep me honest and also has motivated me to go out for a run even if I don’t want to. That’s because I joined Strava. Strava allows me to waste time,errr I mean upload all my workouts. It also is like a free coach because it, at least while it’s still novel, holds me accountable and makes me want to go out for that run I was thinking about skipping. Obviously not as good as a real coach like Amber but far better than me running with no plan whenever I wanted for as far(or short) as I wanted. 

So much so that this past week I ran 101 miles. That’s the most I’ve ever run(unless you count Leadville and there was A LOT of walking then). And unlike last time where I had had that one big mileage week but then nothing much above 50, I have had four weeks in a row with weeks above 60 miles. By the end of this week I should be reaching 1,000 miles for the year. That didn't happen until October last year!

So while in the past, I had been relying primarily on hope with a smidgen of training, this marathon I am relying still on hope but with a bit better training and also more realistic expectations. My tempo runs have been in the low 7's so there's no reason for me to think I should be able to run high 6s for the marathon. Setting a more reasonable goal may keep me from getting discouraged as I see the miles click off a bit slower than I had wished. It's all about management of expectations:) And I expect I will just be happy being in Tobago.

Until Next Time,


Monday, May 9, 2016

Home is Where the Heart is; or Northeast Towards Home

I just finished Willie Morris’ North Towards Home which follows his life growing up in a very racist Mississippi in the 1950’s to his time spent in Austin, TX for college and then finally up to New York City. It was interesting to me that he chose North towards home as his title as it would seem like he had not yet found a home. He shunned Mississippi and Texas but he also does not paint New York as an ideal place for the heart to reside. And that is sad. I may be lucky but I think no matter how far I travel or long I stay away, New Hampshire will always be home.

Coming from the Northeast, there was a mass-exodus of my classmates who opted to try life out west where everything is bigger. And while a few of them are still out there, most come back. I don’t blame them. The time I spent out in Colorado working as an adaptive ski instructor was great and I love how powder makes me feel like a good skier. The peaks are definitely bigger but so are the personalities. Then my time working at a PT clinic in Park City was great-so many good rock climbing spots, huge mountain passes to bike through, and very friendly and welcoming people. But golly, I missed the water. Those places get so dry in the summer and everything dies and turns brown. In Colorado, you don’t even own your own water. It's great there's some big hills, but if you can't take a shower without hard water or even jump in a crystal clear river to cool off, who really cares?

Meanwhile back in humble old New Hampshire where our mountains have eroded over the millions of years that they’ve been around before the Rockies, they are just right for me. Not too big to make me work too hard, but not too small that it’s not worth hiking. Just right.

I’ve been to London, NYC, San Francisco, Chicago, Beijing, Cape Town, Frankfurt and many more over my years of travel and none hold a place in my heart like Boston. Again, not too big, not too small. Just right. And only an hour from where I live in New Hampshire. I love the walk-ability of the city, the history, the amount of various activities to do and just how quickly you can get out of it and back into Nature. Kenny and I camped 20 minutes outside of the City last year for the Adam Ezra Boat Cruise and we could have been in Northern New Hampshire for all we knew based on how quiet it was. Some of my favorite top-rope climbs are right there in Quincy Quarry and the Blue Hills provide plenty of trails to run.

But you don’t travel to Boston to run travels when you live in New Hampshire. From where my apartment is, I have a selection of dozens of trails to choose from, which while living there I didn’t fully appreciate. Now living in Guyana where I really have the choice of 3 running routes, I certainly do.

After this year of Caribbean vacations, New Hampshire clearly does not compare in that regard of crystal clear ocean waters, but where it lacks in its shoreline(the smallest shoreline of any coastal state in the US), it more than makes up for with its beautiful lakes and rivers. What? You don’t have to worry about a little fish swimming up your urethra when you swim? No, pirannahs, raw sewerage, caiman or anaconda either. New Hampshire may not have the biggest lakes nor the most, but I’d argue it does have some of the best. Just right.

The hospital I work for is a fairly good sized hospital, big enough to strive for excellence and demand competence and high quality work, but small enough where you know all your co-workers and can collaborate and consult about patients. Not too big, not too small, Just right.

And then you have loved ones. With the exception of one brother(who gets annoyed with me easily so it’s probably good we see each less frequently), all my loved ones live within about an hour of me. Even my furthest flung cousins are less than a 4 hour drive. But we’re also not living like Everyone Loves Raymond where we are all on top of each other and getting into each other’s business. Not too far, not too close. Just right.

So as I finish up my service in a couple months and have to decide next step plans, it is very tempting to consider working in some far-flung clime, there is an even larger part of me that is pulling me north to my home. And that may be just right.

Until next time,


Saturday, May 7, 2016

Back In Barbados

A couple weeks ago, I traveled to Barbados to meet up with my parents. They hadn't seen me(other than through Google Hangouts) since September which is actually the longest time in my life. Suffice it to say, I was excited to see them. 

After picking them up at the airport, we headed to St Lawrence Gap for lunch and a nice walk on the water.

We headed back to our Airbnb house fairly early as they had had a long day of traveling and I wasn't 100% sure I'd be able to find the place again(see Blessed)

The house was nice but fairly secluded and definitely off the beaten path. 
Yeah pretty secluded. 
The nice thing about Barbados is that you really cannot get too too lost, just find a bus stop and go towards or away from the city. 

The next morning we hoped on one of the to-city buses and spent the morning in Bridgetown a UNESCO heritage site.
Bridgetown Harbor

After several miles of walking around we thought it was high time to do some rest and relaxation, so we found a nice beach off the beaten path and settled in for a bit.

Mom requesting the camera to take a picture of her view

Her view

After getting our fill of the shade, we found some Banks and some sun and did some more relaxing:)

As you can imagine, most of our trip was comprised of rest and/or relaxation. This was the first time in a long time I've seen my parents enjoy the water(slightly warmer than the Cape).

And just to change things up a bit we found a really secluded beach closer to our house which was really great and had a nice little cliff walk.

After extensive beaching over the weekend, a nice beach-side lunch was in order:

Oh and did I mention the monkeys? They were our guard dogs, literally hanging alongside the walk to our house.

A very different one than when I visited with Kenny back in January, but equally enjoyable and it was very nice to see my parents and lose consistently to my mother in Scrabble:)

Until next time,