Social Icons

Featured Posts

The Attack of the Bimbler


Two days ago, I woke up with the biggest feeling of uncertainty going into a race that I’ve ever experienced. How the hell was I going to survive running 30+ miles, farther than I’ve even run before, through an ultra-trail race, when I had never run a trail race?

Months ago I signed up for the Bimbler’s Bluff wanting to take on my first ultra, so I could push myself to a whole new level. Now the day had come, and while I had spent the past 16 weeks preparing, the feeling that I could actually fail miserably at this left me more nervous inside than I had been for any race previously.

I grabbed a decent sized breakfast before heading out the door on what was a fairly cold morning. I had spent much of the previous day getting everything I would need ready: Music, hydration pack, gels, maps, shoes, clothes….I wanted to make things as easy as possible at 5AM so I could concentrate on the task at hand.


The drive to the race took just about an hour, and I kept eating on the way – a couple bananas, a bagel, some Gatorade. I had read several reports of this race and saw several people had a problem with bonking midrace. I wanted plenty of fuel in the tank to keep me going.

I picked up my bib and bag and saw an awesome shirt inside that I hoped I’d have the opportunity to wear. As I strapped on my hydration pack (another first for me) for the race and headed over to the starting line, I knew that I could do this.

The race kicked off and after a short look around a field we were off an into the woods. We hit a single track path that immediately went uphill and clogged with the 130 or so runners as we fell into line. Everyone slammed to a walk, and I started to wonder if the whole race was going to be like this. I hoped it would clear as the first 2 miles consisted of a lot of very slow jogging/walking through the terrain. It was a good opportunity for me to get a feel for the trails and test out the terrain.

Thanks to @ManzAmanda for the photo
The first section only lasted about three miles and once we were through that section, the course opened up and gave us a chance to get some running in. The next section was an six mile section that passed by pretty quickly and put us at the first real aid station. There, the awesome volunteers had all sorts of food and drinks lined up for us – sandwiches, cookies, candy, Gatordae, Heed, soda, water. It was a beautiful sight. I grabbed a couple cups of water before taking the turn back on the course which led smack into a section of non-runable course. The incline was so steep that you had to pretty much climb using your hands to get up through parts of it.

This was the beginning of the Bluff section of the course and it was rough. The course did seem to move quickly though and I came to an opening at what I thought was the top that gave some beautiful views. 


I failed to realize I still had more climbing to do. Finally, I did make it to the top, and then the course steeply started to drop down.

In my mind, I could see the course map, but what I didn’t realize that my mind was condensing the course maps down much further than they were. I wound through the trails for what seemed like forever until finally coming across a main road and up to the next aid station. It was on the paved road that I took my first digger. Leave it to me to run a trail race and fall on the smoothest part of the course like a moron.

What made matters worse is that I thought I was coming up on mile 20, but when I got to the aid station, the 15.9 mile mark really deflated me. I seriously was starting to feel really beat up at this point and was wondering if I would ever see the finish line. I contemplated throwing in the towel, but instead grabbed some soda (whoever brought ginger ale, thank you!), declined the grilled cheese sandwiches that the awesome volunteers were grilling fresh there (AWESOME!) and headed back into the woods. A few miles in, I found myself noticing that the orange tags marking the course weren’t visible, and the trail suddenly wasn’t noticeable anymore. Another runner thankfully came up behind me and after a few minutes of searching, we found our way back onto the trail.


I realized that hunger was starting to take over, so I grabbed some of the gummy bears I packed and felt immediately better. This section of the course kept going and I started having immense pain in my foot. When I was 16, I had been shot in the foot with a BB gun and the BB is still in my foot. The sharp rocks that made up this section of the course were driving into that part of my foot, making every step unbearable. To make matters worse, my shoe had started digging into my ankle right on the bone, and it just added to the pain.

I kept pressing through and eventually came to the mile 23 or somewhere close to that aid station. This aid station was packed with soups and sandwiches along with homemade cookies. I opted to stick just with some soda for a quick caffeine and sugar boost and one of the amazing volunteers helped me refill my hydration pack that was getting low.

The next section was a welcome sight as the trails started looking familiar again. I was finally back in the initial part of the course heading back to the finish line. “This is awesome, I recognize that tree!” I thought as a I ran through some familiar territory. Then all of a sudden my GPS started yelling at me to make a U-turn.

What the hell? Suddenly, the course looked a lot less familiar. I looked at the map on my phone and the GPS was right, I had veered off course again. I also noticed that I was 26.1 miles in. I did some quick math on my fingers and toes and deduced that I only had 5 miles to go to the finish. I was homefree! Hell no I wasn’t!

A mile later, a runner was coming back towards me. “Wow, he must love to run, he’s doing this again!” Turns out we both missed the turn. Oh well, at least a sign I saw said half a mile to the parking lot where I knew meant the entrance to the last section would be.

Or not.

We went on for another three miles before finally coming to the last aid station, which was by far my favorite, right up until they told me there was another three miles to go.

Okay, now, I know I was tired at this point, but I was already 30 miles in. Another 3 miles meant this 50K was a little more than a 50K by at least two miles. Forget that, I didn’t care how bad it hurt, I wanted to be done.

I took off into the last section and ran. Uphill, downhill, over rocks, through trees - I wanted to find that finish line.

I finally saw a road to the right of me (and then promptly tripped over a rock and drop the loudest “F” bomb of the day”) and then saw a golf course to the left of me (and then promptly tripped again, making the previous “F” bomb seem like a whisper in a library). Then suddenly, the course took a sharp turn and went down an incline where I could see the finish line! I just had to dodge getting hit by cars and run those last hundred feet.



And I did it! At six hours and fifty minutes I crossed the finish line happier than I have ever been to see a clock. I took my awesome finisher’s award – a pint glass that I knew that night would see some action – and headed off to the side where I promptly collapsed to the ground. 


Following the race, I felt surprisingly good. I thought I'd be totally unable to function, but after a hot shower and some food, my legs were treating me pretty well. I even managed to get a three mile recovery run in yesterday. While I don't think I'll be taking on any more ultra trail runs, I'm already planning on my next ultra in April. The tough choice now is deciding between a 50K or a 50 miler....





Jabra Sport Wireless+ - Keeping Your Music Active

For years, I’ve been tied to my music. I don’t mean that is a transcendental, existential kind of way; I mean I’ve literally had to be tied by a wire to my music for as long as I can remember (we’re talking 1980’s Walkman with the cassette tape and reverse switch to to get it play one side of the tape or the other here).

Then a few months ago, thanks to Jabra and BibRave, I had the opportunity to test out the Jabra Rox wireless headphones. They were an amazing concept in wireless headphones that helped me cut the cord on my music.


Now, thanks once again to the amazing people at BibRave and Jabra, I’ve had the opportunity to test out the Sport Wireless+ headphones and where I thought Jabra couldn’t improve upon themselves I stand corrected!


The Sport Wireless+ headphones are a substantial difference in headphones as compared to the Jabra Rox. Both sets of headphones have the great ability to connect to your music source via Bluetooth, which cuts that tether between your music and your ears, but the Sport Wireless+ take the music one step further with the addition of an FM receiver built right into the headphones! The headphones can be your source of music no matter where you go without having to carry any other outside devices.


The Sport Wireless+ feature a great over-the-ear design which provides extreme security that your music won’t go falling off your head, even in your most active moments.

The over-the-ear design also allows for volume controls and answer/end call features to be built right into the headphones. You can easily take a call without having to stop and fumble with your phone in the middle of your activity.

But, the most important factor in any set of headphones is the sound. What good are all of these features if your music sounds like it’s coming through tin cans connected by strings? Jabra doesn’t let you down when it comes to sound at all. The Sport Wireless+ fill your head with some of the richest and deepest sound, so much so that you’ll actually forget you’re wearing headphones. The earphones provide enough blockage of outside noise that it helps enrich the sound of your music, yet still provides enough pass-through of outside noises so you stay safe during your activities.



The Jabra Sport Wireless+ are easy to setup, just pair with your Bluetooth device and go! If you’re looking for a feature-rich set of headphones to set your ears ablaze, then the Jabra Sport Wireless+ are what you’re looking for. 

The 2014 Hartford Half Marathon - A Soggy Success

Running in the rain sucks. Let me rephrase that. Running in the cold rain sucks. And this Saturday I got more than my share of running in the cold rain.

Photo from HartfordCourant.com
Four years ago, a friend and I took on the Hartford Half Marathon. It was essentially my first race, and while it wasn’t anything spectacular, it was my gateway drug into the awesomely addictive world of racing.

The next three years after that race, I ran in the Hartford Marathon. It was my first marathon, and third, and fifth, and still holds my marathon PR from when I first ran it.

This year, with Bimbler’s Bluff a week later, I opted to take part in the half marathon portion of it as a warm-up run for my upcoming 50K. What I didn’t realize is that Mother Nature wasn’t going to cut me any slack and give me a beautiful day that I had become accustomed to in the previous four runnings I had through Hartford.

The forecast had been calling for rain on that Saturday for days, so I was hopefully that the weather people would be wrong as they inevitably are when they call for any type of weather that far off.

But no, they actually had to be right this time. By the time my wife and I got to Hartford and met up with some friends, the rain had started coming down steady. The rain itself wasn’t too bad, but the cold air made it miserable.

Photo from HartfordCourant.com
To make matters worse, the moisture kept screwing up my phone, and I was panicking as I tried to get the music to play right as the announcer was yelling go. Thankfully I had forgotten my card that would have given me access to the seeded corrals, so I had a few extra minutes since I was locked into the back of the pack at the starting line. A good hard smack knocked some sense into my phone and my music finally started playing correctly as I started off through the familiar streets of Hartford.

The first mile of the course has the half marathon and full marathon runners together before splitting up on to two separate courses. I felt a twinge of envy of those taking off on the 26.2 journey as I love doing the max miles in a race and felt like I was cheating a bit by taking on half the distance they were.

But the half course was certainly not without its charm. Thankfully I had dressed appropriately as the weather continued to keep us from achieving an overly arid state. What surprised me most was how many people were still out cheering runners on despite the crappy conditions.

Photo from HartfordMarathon.org
The course took us through Hartford and West Hartford, past sights such as the Harriet Beacher Stowe and Mark Twain Houses and the UCONN Law School campus. It was also a lot hillier than I remembered, though four years ago I had walked a great deal of the course.

The rain proved to be a great motivator as I found myself at Mile 11 on course for a possible PR. Up until this point, I had been fairly comfortable, despite the soggy conditions. My Under Armour Clutchfit shoes had done an awesome job of repelling the water, as had some new Nike shorts that I had recently invested in. But then mile 12 came and my shoes couldn’t keep the pool of water that I was forced into from filling my feet with sloppy, disgusting, sloshy Hartford rainwater. Each step just felt gross.


I kept pushing, but could feel the extra weight of the water wringing itself around my socks. The last turn under the big memorial arch showed that I had missed a PR, BUT, had actually set my second fastest finish time for a half ever. I ended up with a 1:40:21 finish which definitely came as a surprise as the only goal I had in mind was finishing. 


This is definitely a race I hope to keep up with yearly as it's become the race that I've run more than any. And with the great showing by the volunteers and spectators during this lousy weather, it shows how tremendous the support is for runners on this annual running party day in Connecticut. 

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

The Attack of the Bimbler


Two days ago, I woke up with the biggest feeling of uncertainty going into a race that I’ve ever experienced. How the hell was I going to survive running 30+ miles, farther than I’ve even run before, through an ultra-trail race, when I had never run a trail race?

Months ago I signed up for the Bimbler’s Bluff wanting to take on my first ultra, so I could push myself to a whole new level. Now the day had come, and while I had spent the past 16 weeks preparing, the feeling that I could actually fail miserably at this left me more nervous inside than I had been for any race previously.

I grabbed a decent sized breakfast before heading out the door on what was a fairly cold morning. I had spent much of the previous day getting everything I would need ready: Music, hydration pack, gels, maps, shoes, clothes….I wanted to make things as easy as possible at 5AM so I could concentrate on the task at hand.


The drive to the race took just about an hour, and I kept eating on the way – a couple bananas, a bagel, some Gatorade. I had read several reports of this race and saw several people had a problem with bonking midrace. I wanted plenty of fuel in the tank to keep me going.

I picked up my bib and bag and saw an awesome shirt inside that I hoped I’d have the opportunity to wear. As I strapped on my hydration pack (another first for me) for the race and headed over to the starting line, I knew that I could do this.

The race kicked off and after a short look around a field we were off an into the woods. We hit a single track path that immediately went uphill and clogged with the 130 or so runners as we fell into line. Everyone slammed to a walk, and I started to wonder if the whole race was going to be like this. I hoped it would clear as the first 2 miles consisted of a lot of very slow jogging/walking through the terrain. It was a good opportunity for me to get a feel for the trails and test out the terrain.

Thanks to @ManzAmanda for the photo
The first section only lasted about three miles and once we were through that section, the course opened up and gave us a chance to get some running in. The next section was an six mile section that passed by pretty quickly and put us at the first real aid station. There, the awesome volunteers had all sorts of food and drinks lined up for us – sandwiches, cookies, candy, Gatordae, Heed, soda, water. It was a beautiful sight. I grabbed a couple cups of water before taking the turn back on the course which led smack into a section of non-runable course. The incline was so steep that you had to pretty much climb using your hands to get up through parts of it.

This was the beginning of the Bluff section of the course and it was rough. The course did seem to move quickly though and I came to an opening at what I thought was the top that gave some beautiful views. 


I failed to realize I still had more climbing to do. Finally, I did make it to the top, and then the course steeply started to drop down.

In my mind, I could see the course map, but what I didn’t realize that my mind was condensing the course maps down much further than they were. I wound through the trails for what seemed like forever until finally coming across a main road and up to the next aid station. It was on the paved road that I took my first digger. Leave it to me to run a trail race and fall on the smoothest part of the course like a moron.

What made matters worse is that I thought I was coming up on mile 20, but when I got to the aid station, the 15.9 mile mark really deflated me. I seriously was starting to feel really beat up at this point and was wondering if I would ever see the finish line. I contemplated throwing in the towel, but instead grabbed some soda (whoever brought ginger ale, thank you!), declined the grilled cheese sandwiches that the awesome volunteers were grilling fresh there (AWESOME!) and headed back into the woods. A few miles in, I found myself noticing that the orange tags marking the course weren’t visible, and the trail suddenly wasn’t noticeable anymore. Another runner thankfully came up behind me and after a few minutes of searching, we found our way back onto the trail.


I realized that hunger was starting to take over, so I grabbed some of the gummy bears I packed and felt immediately better. This section of the course kept going and I started having immense pain in my foot. When I was 16, I had been shot in the foot with a BB gun and the BB is still in my foot. The sharp rocks that made up this section of the course were driving into that part of my foot, making every step unbearable. To make matters worse, my shoe had started digging into my ankle right on the bone, and it just added to the pain.

I kept pressing through and eventually came to the mile 23 or somewhere close to that aid station. This aid station was packed with soups and sandwiches along with homemade cookies. I opted to stick just with some soda for a quick caffeine and sugar boost and one of the amazing volunteers helped me refill my hydration pack that was getting low.

The next section was a welcome sight as the trails started looking familiar again. I was finally back in the initial part of the course heading back to the finish line. “This is awesome, I recognize that tree!” I thought as a I ran through some familiar territory. Then all of a sudden my GPS started yelling at me to make a U-turn.

What the hell? Suddenly, the course looked a lot less familiar. I looked at the map on my phone and the GPS was right, I had veered off course again. I also noticed that I was 26.1 miles in. I did some quick math on my fingers and toes and deduced that I only had 5 miles to go to the finish. I was homefree! Hell no I wasn’t!

A mile later, a runner was coming back towards me. “Wow, he must love to run, he’s doing this again!” Turns out we both missed the turn. Oh well, at least a sign I saw said half a mile to the parking lot where I knew meant the entrance to the last section would be.

Or not.

We went on for another three miles before finally coming to the last aid station, which was by far my favorite, right up until they told me there was another three miles to go.

Okay, now, I know I was tired at this point, but I was already 30 miles in. Another 3 miles meant this 50K was a little more than a 50K by at least two miles. Forget that, I didn’t care how bad it hurt, I wanted to be done.

I took off into the last section and ran. Uphill, downhill, over rocks, through trees - I wanted to find that finish line.

I finally saw a road to the right of me (and then promptly tripped over a rock and drop the loudest “F” bomb of the day”) and then saw a golf course to the left of me (and then promptly tripped again, making the previous “F” bomb seem like a whisper in a library). Then suddenly, the course took a sharp turn and went down an incline where I could see the finish line! I just had to dodge getting hit by cars and run those last hundred feet.



And I did it! At six hours and fifty minutes I crossed the finish line happier than I have ever been to see a clock. I took my awesome finisher’s award – a pint glass that I knew that night would see some action – and headed off to the side where I promptly collapsed to the ground. 


Following the race, I felt surprisingly good. I thought I'd be totally unable to function, but after a hot shower and some food, my legs were treating me pretty well. I even managed to get a three mile recovery run in yesterday. While I don't think I'll be taking on any more ultra trail runs, I'm already planning on my next ultra in April. The tough choice now is deciding between a 50K or a 50 miler....





Thursday, October 16, 2014

Jabra Sport Wireless+ - Keeping Your Music Active

For years, I’ve been tied to my music. I don’t mean that is a transcendental, existential kind of way; I mean I’ve literally had to be tied by a wire to my music for as long as I can remember (we’re talking 1980’s Walkman with the cassette tape and reverse switch to to get it play one side of the tape or the other here).

Then a few months ago, thanks to Jabra and BibRave, I had the opportunity to test out the Jabra Rox wireless headphones. They were an amazing concept in wireless headphones that helped me cut the cord on my music.


Now, thanks once again to the amazing people at BibRave and Jabra, I’ve had the opportunity to test out the Sport Wireless+ headphones and where I thought Jabra couldn’t improve upon themselves I stand corrected!


The Sport Wireless+ headphones are a substantial difference in headphones as compared to the Jabra Rox. Both sets of headphones have the great ability to connect to your music source via Bluetooth, which cuts that tether between your music and your ears, but the Sport Wireless+ take the music one step further with the addition of an FM receiver built right into the headphones! The headphones can be your source of music no matter where you go without having to carry any other outside devices.


The Sport Wireless+ feature a great over-the-ear design which provides extreme security that your music won’t go falling off your head, even in your most active moments.

The over-the-ear design also allows for volume controls and answer/end call features to be built right into the headphones. You can easily take a call without having to stop and fumble with your phone in the middle of your activity.

But, the most important factor in any set of headphones is the sound. What good are all of these features if your music sounds like it’s coming through tin cans connected by strings? Jabra doesn’t let you down when it comes to sound at all. The Sport Wireless+ fill your head with some of the richest and deepest sound, so much so that you’ll actually forget you’re wearing headphones. The earphones provide enough blockage of outside noise that it helps enrich the sound of your music, yet still provides enough pass-through of outside noises so you stay safe during your activities.



The Jabra Sport Wireless+ are easy to setup, just pair with your Bluetooth device and go! If you’re looking for a feature-rich set of headphones to set your ears ablaze, then the Jabra Sport Wireless+ are what you’re looking for. 

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

The 2014 Hartford Half Marathon - A Soggy Success

Running in the rain sucks. Let me rephrase that. Running in the cold rain sucks. And this Saturday I got more than my share of running in the cold rain.

Photo from HartfordCourant.com
Four years ago, a friend and I took on the Hartford Half Marathon. It was essentially my first race, and while it wasn’t anything spectacular, it was my gateway drug into the awesomely addictive world of racing.

The next three years after that race, I ran in the Hartford Marathon. It was my first marathon, and third, and fifth, and still holds my marathon PR from when I first ran it.

This year, with Bimbler’s Bluff a week later, I opted to take part in the half marathon portion of it as a warm-up run for my upcoming 50K. What I didn’t realize is that Mother Nature wasn’t going to cut me any slack and give me a beautiful day that I had become accustomed to in the previous four runnings I had through Hartford.

The forecast had been calling for rain on that Saturday for days, so I was hopefully that the weather people would be wrong as they inevitably are when they call for any type of weather that far off.

But no, they actually had to be right this time. By the time my wife and I got to Hartford and met up with some friends, the rain had started coming down steady. The rain itself wasn’t too bad, but the cold air made it miserable.

Photo from HartfordCourant.com
To make matters worse, the moisture kept screwing up my phone, and I was panicking as I tried to get the music to play right as the announcer was yelling go. Thankfully I had forgotten my card that would have given me access to the seeded corrals, so I had a few extra minutes since I was locked into the back of the pack at the starting line. A good hard smack knocked some sense into my phone and my music finally started playing correctly as I started off through the familiar streets of Hartford.

The first mile of the course has the half marathon and full marathon runners together before splitting up on to two separate courses. I felt a twinge of envy of those taking off on the 26.2 journey as I love doing the max miles in a race and felt like I was cheating a bit by taking on half the distance they were.

But the half course was certainly not without its charm. Thankfully I had dressed appropriately as the weather continued to keep us from achieving an overly arid state. What surprised me most was how many people were still out cheering runners on despite the crappy conditions.

Photo from HartfordMarathon.org
The course took us through Hartford and West Hartford, past sights such as the Harriet Beacher Stowe and Mark Twain Houses and the UCONN Law School campus. It was also a lot hillier than I remembered, though four years ago I had walked a great deal of the course.

The rain proved to be a great motivator as I found myself at Mile 11 on course for a possible PR. Up until this point, I had been fairly comfortable, despite the soggy conditions. My Under Armour Clutchfit shoes had done an awesome job of repelling the water, as had some new Nike shorts that I had recently invested in. But then mile 12 came and my shoes couldn’t keep the pool of water that I was forced into from filling my feet with sloppy, disgusting, sloshy Hartford rainwater. Each step just felt gross.


I kept pushing, but could feel the extra weight of the water wringing itself around my socks. The last turn under the big memorial arch showed that I had missed a PR, BUT, had actually set my second fastest finish time for a half ever. I ended up with a 1:40:21 finish which definitely came as a surprise as the only goal I had in mind was finishing. 


This is definitely a race I hope to keep up with yearly as it's become the race that I've run more than any. And with the great showing by the volunteers and spectators during this lousy weather, it shows how tremendous the support is for runners on this annual running party day in Connecticut.