A Fond Farewell and A New Beginning (?)

Made my way over to Fleet Feet in Portland today for a new pair of running shoes. I’m figuring that the hip and feet sourness I’ve been experiencing is due to fatigued shoes. Maybe not, but armed with a birthday Visa card from my sister, I took the plunge on a new pair.

Before digressing into the benefits of a new pair of running shoes, it is fitting to bid farewell:

These Hoka Bondi 5’s were purchased at the Expo for the San Francisco Marathon. No, I did not run that race, but they carried me through training for and the 2016 Maine Marathon. After a long layoff, they put in a last 100 miles, or so, to put me on the road to Redemption. I thank them for that and hope my new Bondi 6’s carry me forward.

See you on the road!

-Mike

Rest Days Work!!!

Leave me alone, it’s a Rest Day!…

The streak was broken, but after 2 rest days my running was much improved…

Just over 10:00 pace for a 5K and the hip is feeling good. Beautiful day running along Portland Harbor.

See you on the road!

-Mike

On The Go Hydration Solutions

This summer has been a battle with dehydration.  The season has had higher than normal temperatures and humidity and I have found myself very dehydrated following runs which had ill effects when running on consecutive days.  Before every run, I have been trying to consume 16-32 ounces of water before hitting the road.  Additionally, to beat feeling thirsty I like to chew gum (cinnamon Trident is my favorite) during my runs.  This generally is my current plan, which I will adjust as my fitness hopefully gradually improves:

1-3 MILES: I figure for short runs that no additional hydration is necessary.  The water I drink before setting out will carry me through.

3-6 MILES: With the increased miles, I like to have the security of a splash of liquid refreshment when dry mouth sets in.  For this distance, I like my Nathan handheld water bottle:

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I mostly carry it in my left, but occasionally switch it, but with only 12 oz. of liquid I don’t think the weight is a factor.  I prefer this model because it fits comfortably in my hand and I hardly notice it’s there until I’m looking for a quick swallow of water.  I’m guessing that I’ve used this bottle for close to 100 runs and it has held up well.  You squeeze and then bite the top to get the water.  The top shows no sign of wear and there have been zero issues with mildew, even after long periods without use.

6-9 MILES: For longer runs (finally have built up to a couple lately), I choose to break our my Camelbak.  I purchased mine in 2015 once I ventured into double digit mile runs.

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This pack carries 50 oz. of liquid.  I like this amount because I worry that anymore liquid weight could result in some chafing on the shoulder from the straps.  This pack accompanied on one of my most memorable runs a few years ago, circumnavigating Rangeley Lake:

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Cue “Glory Days” here…Oh to be able to run that distance again or even to consider doing it without second thought.  Maybe down the road???

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fact is that despite some heavy pre-hydrating, I think I sucked the pack dry by mile 15.  The lesson learned was to carry cash or credit in the zipper pouch for a pit stop on the route (not that it is always an option).  Like the Nathan handheld, this pack has held up to biting on the tube end for water and has had zero mildew issues after a seriously long layoff from use.  I did however use a bleach solution to sanitize the pouch and tube before setting out a couple of weeks ago on my first venture back to an extended distance.

For training the hydration packs are essential.  For races however, I have used the handheld more often since most event will have a fair share of water station for refills which is much easier with the handheld.  I’m hoping that both my hydration systems get plenty of use in the coming months.

See you on the road!

-Mike

The Montreal Bagel Challenge – Fairmount vs. St. Viateur Bagels

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Another Montreal post (just a few more to do the trip justice).  So, Katie determined that the two ultimate stops for bagels in Montreal were Fairmount Bagel (the original I remember from our last trip) and St. Viateur Bagel (our son, Joe’s favorite from his summer of 2018 in Montreal).

BTW, Katie is a local legend with her bagel creations (Bootleg Bagels)…

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If you have not had them, Montreal-style bagels are smaller and much sweeter than NYC-style bagels.  Katie stated that this is due to Montreal bakers adding sugar to the dough.  However, it seemed that a lot of food in Quebec seemed to be a bit sweeter, especially the produce.  Maybe it’s something to do with the province’s farming techniques.  I don’t, probably Katie is right since she is far more the expert on baking.

That morning, we set out on our bikes from the hotel and made our way to the bagel Meccas of Montreal, Fairmount and St. Viateur.  We decided to keep our orders small, a plain (the true test), a sesame (seems to be the favorite in Montreal), and an everything (in Montreal the tradition is to use Montreal Steak Seasoning on the everything bagels).  Katie definitely had the look of excitement waiting in line at Fairmount…

We also got quite the kick out of the pay phone.

Once we had our haul we rode out to the park at the base of Mont Royal and conducted the Bagel Challenge.  the challenge simply was us doing a blind taste test to determine where the bagel was from and which we preferred.  We both were spot on.  What gave it away for me was that the sweet smell that permeated St. Viateur.  Their bagels were much sweeter and chewier, while the brick oven baking stood out with Fairmount’s.  In both cases they were fantastic!  In fact, I’m a Montreal-style convert.  It seems NYC bagels are a unicorn these days based on our trip to NYC in July.  There is such a variety there, that none of them seem distinct to the City.  When in Quebec, Montreal-style seems to always be the type.

If I had to choose though, I would go with St. Viateur.  I just loved the texture and that extra sweetness was bagel Heaven.  In either case, you can’t go wrong.

On se voit sur la route!

-Mike

 

The Streak Is Over

14 straight days and 55 miles, but I had to call an end to my consecutive day running streak. Ultimately it came down to diminishing returns and a sore hip.

Here’s an interesting read on one Runner’s streak:

https://www.nomeatathlete.com/50-lessons-running-streak/

And here’s why I’ll stick to regular rest days going forward:

https://www.runnersworld.com/health-injuries/a20864022/why-rest-days-are-important/

We did manage to have a nice lunch at a new Sebago Brewing Company in Gorham.I splurged and went for a lobster roll. It tasted very fresh and (most importantly I think) the bun was perfectly griddled with butter. Katie raves about the mashed potato pizza she had. Nice atmosphere and I liked the decor. They offer free brewery tours, but work was calling.

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Have a great weekend and see you on the road!

-Mike

Walk on Water Run – The Rockland Breakwater

Check out this run…

No, I did not channel my inner Jesus and run on water. Although, Jesus probably had a better pace than I did for this run. Katie had a overnight management meeting at the Samoset Resort in Rockport and I was able to join her for the evening.

We have wonderful memories of the Samoset. It was here that we had our wedding reception 25 years ago, which has been the best day of my life. It was a wonderful day and I still remember it like it was yesterday.

In high school, I also spent a summer bussing tables here. It was fun to drive part of the route I biked to work here since my house was only a few miles away.

While Katie was at dinner, I had the opportunity to set out for a run. My running miracle was actually on the Rockland Breakwater. A very cool destination, but running it definitely channeled some OCD since I had to avoid the crack(s), so I wouldn’t break this runner’s back.

The Breakwater is 7/8 of a mile long, so it was a good addition of distance to my run. I shut down the music from my headphones and enjoyed the ocean sounds as I navigated the stones, which was pretty amazing being the only person navigating the Breakwater at the time. Once I reached the lighthouse, I paused to take in the scenery of Rockland Harbor and the surrounding coast.

On the way back, I got lost meandered around the resort golf course. It was beautiful taking in the ocean view on a typical overcast and foggy mid coast evening. As I told Katie when I saw her later, the Mid Coast definitely feels more Maine than back home in Portland.

See you on the road!

-Mike

A Proper Crossing: A Coffee Oasis during a Long Run – The Proper Cup

I set out on a run yesterday with three goals: 1) Run at a liesurely an easy pace, 2) Run ten miles for a longer distance that usual, and 3) finally get across the Casco Bay Bridge during a run from home after several failed attempts.  I’m excited report the I for once met all of the goals.  It was a struggle and there were some necessary walk breaks, but it got done and there was a bonus stop at an oasis for an Iced Latte. Here’s where the run took me:

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Back in the days of being in better shape our original runs across the bridge, mile 3 would come when we were just about half way across the bridge, but of course that route involved the utter Hell of climbing Portland’s State Street hill, which is quite a climb.  I had the bright idea to find a route with less of an incline by running out by the Fore River campus of Mercy Hospital.  I did appreciate some downhill terrain, but there still was a fair share of hills and I underestimated the extra distance to get to the bridge (it added an extra mile).  Due to the extra distance and my fading endurance I changed my run to just getting across the bridge and then heading home rather than a running tour of South Portland.  Although it was a quick turn around in SoPo, I did have nice time running through the Knightville neighborhood.

On the way back home, I did make it up to the top of State Street, but at a considerably slower pace.  It then hit me that I needed a pit stop.  I found an oasis at The Proper Cup.

Before getting to my run stop at Proper Cup, Katie and I recently did a Bike for Breakfast there and enjoyed a nice time, some coffee, and a tasty breakfast sandwich.

I’m not a seasoned veteran of many coffee houses, but I love the atmosphere of Proper Cup.  Of course the first time I went there, the first thing to catch my eye was the Honda motorcycle perched on top of the creamer station.  I don’t know the significance of the bike, but I will have to ask some time.  There also is a lot of cool local art on the walls.  Our favorites are in the background of picture of the Honda.  They’re ink sketches of animals with a story included.  We actually met the artist there one Saturday, and he told us that the sketches were of animals he had encountered during his travels.

What drew me to Proper Cup for our bike adventure was a sign I noticed that morning saying that they now had breakfast sandwiches.  Previously, I think they only offered pastries with their coffee.  I went for the Veggie which had egg, mozzarella, tomato, cucumber, and spinach on an English muffin.  The sandwich was good and was plenty filling along with my Iced Latte.  I am wondering if they make the sandwiches on site, but Katie informed that the sandwiches are made by Sisters Gourmet Deli.  We will have to plan an excursion there soon to try something freshly made.

275px-MRE_No._23_(cropped)Speaking of the Iced Latte, I have to say that I am not really a coffee aficionado.  In fact, I remember my first foray into the coffee world being the instant coffee packs inside Army MREs.  For a boost we would empty the instant coffee grounds, powder creamer, and sugar packet into our mouths and then wash it down with a swig from our canteen.  I’ve yet to see that available on the menu boards in any of our local coffee shops.

I see all the names on the menu at coffee shops and really have no idea what they’re all about.  For a while I was into Flat Whites, because they were being reintroduced at Starbucks a while back and I wanted the baristas to think I was some old school coffee-ite happy that a classic offering was back on the menu.  Currently, Iced Lattes are my thing since Montreal.  I like Katie’s Mocha Lattes, so I order the Latte to be a little different.  I really quite like them now.  I especially like Proper Cup’s iced latte served in the large mason jar glass.  It’s a refreshing drink and lasts long enough for some good coffee shop conversation.  Bottom line is we both really enjoy trips to Proper Cup and highly recommend it.  In fact, some days you might find Katie doing some online work there (she is a bit of a regular).

Back to my Coffee Run…

By the time I hit Forest Ave (a little past mile 6), I was really fading.  My walk and run intervals were becoming increasingly equal in time.  First I saw the “OPEN” flag for Rose Food, but managed to push on.  Finally, I saw Proper Cup two blocks away and pushed a sprint there.

I was a bit conscious of that fact that I was dripping in sweat and felt a bit awkward walking in wearing a Camelback compared to the nicely summer-attired mostly Millennial weekday crowd.  Somehow, I feel my lack of coffee knowledge makes a bit unsophisticated for the coffee shop scene, but I went for it anyway.  Fortunately, I had brought a little cash in my Camelback pouch and put in my order for a large Iced Latte at $4.75 plus a $1.00 tip in the jar.

The latte was ready in a couple minutes, and for a special treat, I went to the Honda motorcycle station and added some simple syrup rather than my usual two packets of Splenda.  I figured six miles earned some high octane sweetener.  I found a corner by the window and just enjoyed a few minutes of AC and a nice beverage to give me a final boost back home.

Seeing a giant squash growing on the sidewalk of Danforth Street with “VOTE” carved into it was an intresting sight along the route.  The other pics include views along the Casco Bay Bridge, the fountain at Deering Oaks Park and part of Woodfords Corner. 

The final leg of the run was nice.  The pit stop at Proper Cup was just what I needed to shorten the walk intervals and get up the final hill on Woodford Street.  At the end, Runkeeper had me over eight miles!  Of course the f&!&ing “Fix GPS” feature on the app put my distance under eight and added ages to my average pace (more on that in future post).  All in all, the whole event was a great ending to the morning.

Whether drive, walk, bike, run or ride a Honda, make your way to Proper Cup.  You won’t be disappointed.

See you on the road!

-Mike