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!



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:


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.


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:




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!


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


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)…


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!



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:


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


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.



Have a great weekend and see you on the road!


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!


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:

Image-1 (2)

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!


Run For Breakfast TO GO at Rose Foods

I set out Monday morning to complete Week 5 of C25K.  This day’s training called for a two mile run at 10 minute pace.  On the fly, I decided I would push for that 10 minute pace for the first two miles and then add some distance afterwards.  The run was a great success as I was just under 10:00 pace for the two training miles and then added on an extra three miles of running with some walk breaks worked in.  Turned out to be a nice city loop:


While running down Congress Street, it hit me that I was going to be hungry for some breakfast after this run, but the cupboards at home were a bit bare of breakfast fare.  I then had the revelation to swing into Rose Foods.

We were very excited when Rose Foods came to Portland a couple of years ago.  It’s owner was also one of the founders of the amazing Palace Diner in Biddeford (I think we posted about Palace previously), so we had high expectations.  Rose Foods is in the mold of a classic NYC Jewish delicatessen.  Despite many trips to NYC in my lifetime, I’m not sure what makes a great NYC deli.  All I know is that I love Rose foods.  Their bagels are classic, and we have enjoyed many items including bagel sandwiches with combinations of toppings and their homemade flavored cream cheeses.  Among my favorites is their Matza Ball soup.

On this day I went for an everything bagel with plain cream cheese and the “Rose” salad which is a delightful combination of cottage cheese, radishes, and spices (mostly dill).  I ordered my treasure and did not mind a wait of any length because the AC was glorious on this warm day.  Once I received my order, I slipped in a few of the complimentary Goldenberg’s Peanut Chews (probably my favorite candy).

The run home was a bit slow and I had worries of the bag ripping, but I made it.  I had designs to eat half my order, then save some for lunch, but as usual, the bagel and salad were so good that I finished them off in one sitting.

Yes, that is a selfie I took of me rockin’ the Star Wars shirt running home with my take out bag.

See you on the road!


Last Montreal Morning Run Followed by Refreshing “Melk”

Image-1 Well as you have possibly noticed, I have not exactly been chronological in my Montreal posts.  I’m catching up when the spirit and good memories come to me.  This post also seems like a true Run for Breakfast post since it has a run and a breakfast review in it.  Definitely wanted to report about this run because it was my longest distance during the trip and probably the funnest run I did.  I was able to achieve the distance because I took the day prior off for our excursion to Mont Tremblant, and I was running on a high of having such a magical time with Katie north of the border even though we were heading home that day.

Nice parts of this run were that the temperature was perfect (around 60) and there was only one serious hill to climb at the beginning up to Sherbrooke Street.  After it was all flat and downhill which made things pleasant for one last look around the city.

My Runkeeper post sums up the run: “Last run before we depart Montreal 😒. Thought I had 20 miles for the week, but GPS fix put me at 19.8. I’ll take it though. Lots of pauses for crosswalks and photo ops (needed them to get the run done 😉). Great sights at St.Louis Square and a couple nice parks along Sherbrooke. Loved the neighborhood hood cutting back to St. Catherine. Cool art on St. Catherine and it was cool running under the bulbs along the street.”

I thought that the giant slingshot was impressive (it was in one of the parks along Sherbrooke) and I sure did a double-take on some of the art on display along St. Catherine Street.  Katie and I did not explore that end of St. Catherine during this stay, but we have it at the top of our list for our next visit.  This end had more of a feel of an older Montreal unlike the Times Square feeling on the other end.

After the run, we packed our things, but had time for one more stop for coffee and a light breakfast before checking out and heading back to reality home.  Katie found a great coffee shop nearby, MELK Bar à Café Saint-Urbain.




Besides the great reviews, I think Katie’s motivation to choose this destination is that her dad (aka “Tex”) pronounces “milk” as “melk”.  I’ll have to listen for that next time we are at The Farm.






Melk was great.  I was a bit overwhelmed by the amount of drink choices, but the “The London Fog” caught my eye on the wall.  It was Earl Gray tea mixed with steamed condensed milk and some other things that made a wonderful morning mix.  It was a nice change from coffee and it had a nice sweet flavor without any sugar added.  I believe Katie went for a mocha latte, but I might be wrong on that.  We also went sweet and savory with a chocolate chip cooked and a

Melk had a great atmosphere for a morning coffee and snack and we loved the carton of milk design at the bottom of our cups.  As was the case for most of our trip the service was very friendly (and forgiving of our elementary French).  It was a great send-off as we were about to head back south of the border.

Au revoir Montreal.  On se voit sur la route!


Bagel Ste-Rose – Quick Stop for a nice breakfast in Laval, Quebec


On our way to Mont Tremblant, we decided to make a breakfast stop once we cleared the early morning Montreal traffic.  Searching for local stops, Katie came across Bagel Ste-Rose in Laval, which is a large suburb of Montreal.  As we discovered, Laval appears to be a small town, but it is spread out over many square KM.  The restaurant itself is about a 10 minute drive off of Highway 15, so we were able to pass through several local neighborhoods in Laval, which was nice to see and get a feel for a city outside of Montreal.

After parking behind the building we noticed on the front a sign that said, “Cartes de credit non acceptees.  En especes seulement.”  Fortunately, Katie translated the sign that we needed cash to pay for our meal.  So, off we went in search of an ATM for some Canadian cash (we were trying to limit our cash haul in order not to bring any back over the border with us).  After that 10 minute excursion, we were finally able to find a seat and order our meal.  Below is the exterior and interior of Bagel Ste-Rose.  It’s nestled in a nice neighborhood with a few other family-owned restaurants.

The first thing I noticed upon receiving the menu, is that outside of Montreal, servers are less quick to switch to English with customers.  After seeing my struggles with the menu, the hostess was kind enough to come and offer a menu in English (I almost was able to get by with my minimal French reading translation, but it was a relief).

My meal consisted of a plain bagel, two poached eggs (it was unusual that poached was the only option), some fantastic sausage, beans, and fruit.  Katie just for a bagel and fruit.  We both had lattes with Katie making her’s a mocha.  The coffees had nice flavor and were hot.

We really enjoyed the meal. Everything was fresh and well prepared and we received excellent service.  The bagels were Montreal-style (not as sweet as those we had in Montreal -more on them later-), but interestingly, the hostess was finishing off the baking process using a conveyor-belt toaster.  While the bagels were great when prepared on a griddle with butter, the ones we took on the road were just good.  I think something is lost without the fire-roasting.

In the end, Bagel Ste-Rose is worth the stop if you are in Laval.

On se voit sur la route!