Running, Riding, Racing. And a Cookie.

anchormanhoorayAnother week in the books! Before I launch into Colby’s Week In Review, I’d like to take a quick second to say Happy Father’s Day to all of the Daddio’s out there! Dads are special folks. Especially My Other Half. Who is a kind man, a hard worker and a wonderful, loving father.  Muaaahhhh! Love fest complete.

On to Colby’s 3rd Week of Marathon Training! Note: I’m trying to be all peppy and shit about this, so as to keep my proverbial ‘marathon-ball’ rolling. These posts are purely self-serving. They are keeping my ass on track. They are holding me accountable. And they are keeping my honest. Please humor me and read them. Cheer or heckle, if you’d like. I’ve just gotta put them out there.  I’ve got a goal, dammit. And if I don’t achieve it, at least I can’t say I DIDN’T FREAKING TRY. It’s that damn Hanson Method. It’s got me all really running. Who am I?

Monday: 5.5 miles at the prescribed pace in the pouring rain. It was supposed to be 6 miles. But it started thundering and I screamed and ran straight home. I hate running in thunder and lightning. Snow? Sleet? Hail? Pouring rain? All fine. But Thunder and it’s nasty sister, Lightning? Game. Over.

Tuesday: 7 miles. INTERVALS. They’re not getting easier, but I am- dare I say- starting to enjoy them?? 12 x 400, 400 recovery. For what seemed like an eternity. But I did them. YES. And I have the sweaty mean mug to prove it. 

Game face.

 

Wednesday: Rest. Sweet Baby Jesus. Rest. And rest I did. I firmly planted my tired ass on the couch and binged on documentaries on Netflix. One of which was The Queen of Versailles. Totally engaging. I started watching it thinking it was merely going to be an extension of the Real Housewives Franchise,  but it quickly took a turn going from ‘Reality Series’ to ‘Shit Just Got Real.’ I couldn’t look away. Watch it if you haven’t. Sadly, one of the daughters in the documentary was recently found deceased which is what prompted me to watch it in the first place. The whole story is totally tragic yet, totally worth your time. 

Thursday: 6 pleasant miles. At the prescribed pace. I could have run all night. It was actually cool out. The storms broke that awful humidity, and my legs were feeling moderately “fresh.” Go figure.

Friday: 6 trail miles with My Other Half AND DRUNK OTIS!  This was our first foray together into the woods, as a little trail running family. And? Drunk Otis ain’t so drunk on the trails. He’s Sober Otis, Cover Dog for Field and Stream magazine. I couldn’t believe it. He’s a natural. He’s also quite big on the No Man Left Behind concept. He waited patiently for his sweaty human, showing her which way to go with the biggest, slobberiest smile. Such a good dog. He was made for this.  And when we busted around the corner, startling a deer? He stood like a statue and POINTED. He didn’t chase. He didn’t go off of the trail. He didn’t leave our sides. He freaking POINTED. We couldn’t believe it. Of course he swam in every puddle, stream and thimble full of water he could find, but that was AOK with us. So proud of our New Boy. Great kick off to the weekend. 

Drunk Otis, Cover Dog.

 

Saturday: I was supposed to run 6, but instead rode 47 miles with my girl, Carly! Such a great day. One that ended at a delicious new cookie shop in town, Red Rooster Gourmet Cookies. Fresh and Delicious.   

Cookie Monsters.

 I may or may not have yelled: COME ON! GET OUT OF THE SADDLE, CARLY. WE’RE GETTING COOOOOOOKIES!!!!!!! During our last climb. On the top of my lungs. Like a Crazy Person. Christ, we could almost smell the cookies from there. Talk about incentive. Those cookies tasted like heaven. If heaven was made out of buttery goodness. After the cookie stop, we headed back, picked up The Boys, who had been out shreddin’ the gnar, and refueled properly. That is, with beer and lobstah rolls. Such a perfect day with friends. 

Stony Creek Brewery. Cheers!

Sunday: I was supposed to run 8 miles, but instead raced 5. In the rain. On very tired legs. I woke up. Listened to the thunder, then promptly fell back asleep. I’m so not racing in this weather. (See Monday.)  Woke up again. Texted Tina. She agreed. Bullshit. Listened to rain drops. Drank coffee. Reassessed my legs. Meh. They’re moving. Gun goes off in 35 minutes. COME ON! YOU’RE DROPPING ME OFF.   

Super Janji!

I throw on brand new Janji singlet, grab a banana and a bottle of Skratch Labs and jump in Other Half’s car. Make it to the start area with 4 minutes to spare. Hear announcer. Run wildly. Score an open porta-potty. 3 minutes. Dash to the start. Wind up next to my friend whom I was supposed to meet an hour ago. What are the odds? We hug. I’m off. It sounds frenzied, but honestly, it was the calmest start EVER. I should always be running late. I didn’t even THINK about running. Or having to pee. Or not drinking enough. I JUST RAN. And considering that I felt like a broken down barnacle barge? I had a decent race. YAHOO! 

Miles Run: Just shy of 30.

Miles Ridden: 47.

Cookies Consumed: 1.5

Have you ever dashed to a starting line, and made it in the nick of time?Do you draw the line at thunder and lightning? If you were granted one day of Netfix Binge, what would you watch? 

Run. Read. Repeat. Who’s Up for a Challenge?!

reading-is-one-form-of-escape-running-for-your-quotesRun. Rest. Repeat.

That’s pretty much the story of my life. And I’m not complaining about it. I love to run. And do so nearly every day. In fact, I love to run so much, I registered for a half-marathon on snow shoes just last week. I suckered invited Tina and a whole slew of friends to join in. Amazingly enough, they did. Nothing like a little Race Peer Pressure to kick off the New Year. Strike while the Resolution Iron is HOT, I always say! This will be time number 3 for me. And it’s going to be a charm. Trust me. If it’s anything like previous years (read 2013 and 2014 here) we’re in for a doozy of a time. Or minimally another very colorful blog post.

PMC StartI also love to ride. And do so for roughly 6 months of the year. No. I don’t ride outdoors in the snow. My Psychotic Other Half does. And that’s his problem. Not mine, Crazy Pants. In fact, I love to ride so much, I registered for my 11th consecutive Pan-Mass Challenge last week as well. Ambitious week, right?!  And yes, I am beaming with pride. The Pan-Mass Challenge is so very special to me. 200 miles in 2 days to benefit cancer research at the Dana Farber Cancer Institute. It’s fantastic. Read several of of our many PMC posts here and here and here. Tina is also in for number 3. And it’s going to be a charm. Last year we needed snorkles and wetsuits. And it didn’t even matter. I guess it’s really: Run. Ride. Rest. Repeat. Pretty much.

With all of this Running and Riding on tap, I’d say I have my body covered for 2015. I haven’t decided on the rest of My 2015 Running Itinerary yet, but I will. TBD, Baby. TBD. I know it will include a marathon, several more half marathons and maybe, just maybe if the timing is right, another 50K. {Gulp!} But what about my mind? Where are the Mind intervals? Brain fartleks? An Ultra Cranium? I hate Sudoku. And Luminosity freaks me out. How about reading for pleasure? I read enough scientific literature for work. (I know. I’m a dork. And I love it.)  I recently re-discovered how much I love reading whist chilling on a sunny beach in Florida. You can read about The Shit That Occurred to Me While Running in Florida here. In a bizarre serendipitous twist, I came across this Reading Challenge a few days ago. Perfect stinking timing. I swear the Reading Gods smiled! Such a great idea! So I said, GAME ON! I paid my overdue library card fees AND I’M READY FOR IT! I’m stoked!  In fact, I wish I could take credit for it, but alas, Pop Sugar beat me to the punch. We exercise our bodies enough. It’s time to flex the old mind.  Run. Ride. READ. Rest. Repeat. Let’s Do It!

So how about it? Anyone game for the 2015 Reading Challenge with Tina and I? Tina reads like a FIEND. I am hoping to be as fiendish. Check off as many of these babies as you can this year! We’ll post our progress as well. Oh come on. It’ll be fun. Besides, who doesn’t love a challenge? 🙂

013

A Decade of Riding in the Pan-Mass Challenge. A Lifetime of Lessons Learned.

20140810-084712-31632832.jpg
A week ago I rode My Cancer Fighting Bike, in my 10th consecutive Pan-Massachusetts Challenge. Ten years. In a row. I am proud of that. Very proud.

Not proud that I have ridden thousands of miles.

Not proud of the training endured each and every year.

Not proud of hooking up My Bike to the trainer and spinning in the living room because it was too dark to get a decent ride in after a long day at work.

It’s not about the athletic achievement. Strange, but true.

The PMC is not about Me.
And that’s the beauty of it.

In the 10 years I have ridden, I have learned more about the human spirit than I ever thought possible. I have learned that people are at their very best when they’re doing something selfless.

And that is beautiful.

I have learned how riding in the PMC means more to the 100s upon 100s of people lining the streets along the route, than it ever will to me. And that’s saying a lot. Strangers. Clapping and cheering. And thanking me. Thanking ME. Over and over. In the pouring rain. In the extreme heat. Over and over. Thank you. Every year for 10 years. Some of the faces are the same. Some are new. All are grateful.

I am here, because of you.

To hear that. To see the look on their face, as they tell you that. Thanking you. With their whole heart. Sincere. Genuine. Pure. It means everything. Everything all at once. And it continues to overwhelm me. Year after year.

Here’s the thing: I believe them. We are making a difference. A real, life-saving, cancer fighting difference. They are living proof.

20140810-085036-31836061.jpg
I have learned that the most generous of people are the ones you barely know. But who know you. And believe in what you are doing. They move me to the core.

I have learned that people who volunteer their time at the PMC have a tougher job than any cyclist riding. They are kind, patient individuals who smile with their heart. Angels. All of them.

I have learned that the smallest of gestures, gestures requiring the most minimal of time, are the most profound. A kind word. A ribbon remembering a loved one, honoring their fight. A quick note saying, “I will be thinking of you this weekend” means the world to people. Find the time. You are not that busy. It’s worth it.

I am proud to be a part of the Pan-Mass Community. So proud. It has become a part of who I am. It has woven itself into the very fabric of my being. I feel like for one weekend a year, I am a part of something great. Really great. Impactful. To be surrounded by people doing the same is inspiring beyond words. I am finding, as the years go by, that the PMC feeling stays with me longer and longer each year. It changes your perspective. Your focus becomes on what is truly important in life. And isn’t that wonderful?

The PMC isn’t about me. But by accident, I have become a better human being because of it.

Here’s to the next 10 years.

20140810-084636-31596019.jpg

Top 10 Best Moments Riding in the Pan-Mass Challenge

Ready? Ok. Without further ado I present to you the Top 10 Best Moments riding in this year’s Pan Massachusetts Challenge! {Cue drumroll.}

10. Rise and Shine. Waking up in the ‘Bates Motel’ with your best friend, giddy with anticipation, kitting up, and dashing off to meet the shuttle bus to the start. There is nothing like the excitement that surrounds PMC Weekend, a 2-day, 193 mile cancer fighting odyssey across the great state of Massachusetts. Coffee. Bagel. Bike. LET’S DO THIS!

A Sea of Humanity.

A Sea of Humanity.

9. The Start. The Start is something. Truly. Thousands of bikes. Thousands of people. Thousands of reasons to feel like you’re a part of something epic. Such palpable energy. To my left, a rider with one leg mounts his bike, adjusts his helmet and pedals away, smiling. He is Living Proof of why I ride. The tears begin…

And they're off!  PMC2013 is rolling.  A beautiful sea of cyclists, united.

And they’re off! PMC2013 is rolling. A beautiful sea of cyclists, united.

8. Cherry Street. (Which should be named Cheery Street!, complete with the exclamation point.) The entire street is flooded with people. Some in costumes. Some with cowbells. All with huge, open warm hearts, waving signs and clapping. CHERRY STREET LOVES THE PMC! Ribbons on every tree. Bands around every bend. Cherry Street is like no other. And what do you hear? THANK YOU. Thank you for riding. Over and over and over….

Welcome to Cheery Street!  The happiest street on earth!

Welcome to Cheery Street! The happiest street on earth!

Amazing.

Amazing.

7. The Volunteers! The PMC would be nothing without the (seemingly) millions of happy, wonderful volunteers who feed you and help keep you safe. You can’t turn around at a rest stop without bumping into a smiling volunteer, purple Gatorade jug in one hand, peanut butter fluff sangy’s in the other asking you if you need anything. I have said it each of the 9 years I have ridden in the PMC, it is tougher to volunteer than it is to ride. There. I said it again. And I mean it. These people are happy little angels. With Sports Beans.

All lined up and ready to feed you!

All lined up and ready to feed you!

6. The Route. 2 days. 110 miles the first and roughly 83 the second. All well marked, well supported and littered with cheering supporters. Permanent PMC street signs along the whole, rolling, winding, beautiful ride. The towns you ride through along the way couldn’t be nicer or more supportive. They come together beautifully. Like we all should. And not just during PMC weekend.

073_PMC_Highlights_2012

0039_PMC_Highlights_20130247_PMC_Highlights_2013

5. The Stories. Every rider has a story. And every rider rides for a reason. Ride along and within about a mile, you’ll meet someone alongside you who asks you the most asked question of the weekend: Why are you riding? Your mother. Your daughter. Yourself. This year I heard all three. We wear our stories on our backs, on our bikes and in our hearts. Each story so very personal. Each rider so open to talk. It’s cathartic. To remember. To mourn. To celebrate. To put a face on this insidious disease. Cancer has faces. Lots of them, sadly. It’s not just about the disease itself. It’s about people. People connecting with other people. We become stronger, together with every pedal stroke. Our stories unite us.

0332_PMC_Highlights_2013

Me. And why I am riding. I dedicated this year’s PMC to my friend and colleague Bret Perry, Superman.

Who I am riding for...

Who I am riding for…

4. The Lunch Stop. Lining the road en route to the lunch stop are photos. Many. Many photos. They’re all of children who are currently fighting cancer at the Dana Farber Cancer Institute. These little super heroes are Pedal Partners, many of whom will be at the Lunch Stop to meet up with their Teams who are riding in support of their fight. These little kids are amazing. And I completely fall apart every time I ride into lunch and see their strong, brave, smiling faces. I pedal harder. I become more committed to this cause. All because of them.

Pedal Partners. The strongest, bravest kids on earth.

Pedal Partners. The strongest, bravest kids on earth.

3. Mass Maritime Academy. 110 miles. Day 1 Complete! BRING ON THE BEER! Sit. Chill. Drink and Laugh with friends. Park that bike, grab a Harpoon IPA, and head off to the showers! Off to the Ship I go! And by ship I mean SHIP. Like 3 bunks on top of each other. Like “ALL ABOARD!” Like a huge ship with REAL sailors and shit. It’s something. It’s also where I met my friend Stirling. We were bunkmates. We met 3 years ago while she was battling osteosarcoma. And she rode. While undergoing chemo. Under ‘Fighter’ in the dictionary should be her photo. I’ve never met anyone like her. I liked her immediately. She had this light. This ability to just completely light up a room. That might sound trite, but it’s the truth. Although I didn’t know Stirling long, I didn’t have to. The impact she had on me will stay with me. Forever. Stirling lost her battle with osteosarcoma one week before last year’s PMC. As then, the tears roll down my face as I sit here blogging. I will always ride in her honor. This year I rode in her team kit. It was an honor and a pleasure. I forever will be STIRLINGSTRONG.

Stirling.

My bunkmate, Stirling.

2. Fundraising. Weird that raising the required fundraising minimum is a “best moment” huh? 100% of all donations go directly to the Jimmy Fund at the Dana Farber Cancer Institute. Since 2007, every dollar raised by PMC cyclists goes straight to the Jimmy Fund. In total? $375 million dollars has been raised by PMC cyclists since 1980. (Wowzah!) PMC seed money allows clinicians and scientists to pursue innovative cancer research and make a difference in the cancer treatment landscape. (Lemme tell ya, as a research scientist, finding funding ain’t easy. Period.) Fundraising itself is NOT easy either. But you wind up figuring it out. Believe me. Commit. And you’ll figure it out. And along the way you will encounter generous, kind, giving, selfless individuals to support you. Kindness. Generosity. Selflessness. Those three words are synonymous with the PMC. They make my whole heart smile.

Living Proof.

Living Proof.

And the BEST MOMENT of riding in this year’s PMC???? This.

I proudly present to you THE NUMBER ONE BEST MOMENT RIDING IN THIS YEAR’S PAN MASSACHUSETTS CHALLENGE:

Photo credits: http://www.pmc.org