Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Working From Home

This year I took a new job with a very large consulting firm based in Texas, that happens to do alot of work in PA. In the 15+ years that I have been in the industry, this is my first forray into "working from home."

I've dabbled with the concept here and there - with my previous employer I'd work from the house every so often, but not with any consistency. With my current employer, I am home 100% of the time.

Working from home has presented some unique challenges for me because I am - as many of you know - a "people person" and there's one thing that's lacking whilest working from home: PEOPLE.

So to put it bluntly, by Thursday in a typical week, I've usually lost my mind from the lack of any social interaction with people. I mean don't get me wrong - I am on the phone alot - but it's not the same. It's been a bit of a culture shock coming from a very small office with about ~25 people to, well, me. And the last place I worked was an insane asylum. I was the head nut-job in charge.

There are a number of "pro's" when it comes to working from home. I get to make my own schedule. I dont have to drive. I can sleep in. No more SEPTA (although truth be told, I do miss my morning commute occasionally). For all of the goofing off that I do around the house, I do get alot more done in 6 hours than I would probably do in an eight hour day at the office.

The con's - they speak for themselves. There's alot of distractions around this house. There's the lack of people.  On any given day, I might wind up talking to my cat for an inordinate amount of time.

I have to admit that maintaining motivation is a challenge sometimes. I am stepping into a new role within the organization in the next couple of weeks, which will have me out of the house more, which is good, because I don't think I could do this for the long haul. I am not wired for it. I know alot of people who love this shit. They think that "working from home" is the greatest thing ever. And this is the direction in which the industry is going - my company is the perfect illustration of that principle. We probably have more people working remotely than we do working in static offices. I guess I am just "old school."

I am contemplating running a 5k tomorrow morning that we're timing (I am off, but I'll run it then help Tim with the timing). What's a better way to kick off the New Year then to bang out a 5k? It's close and I know the course, as much of it overlaps my Wednesday Delco RRC run. I'd rather be mountain biking....

Sunday, December 28, 2014


I recently stepped into the role of my running club's "Newsletter Editor" which means I am responsible for producing a monthly newsletter. I start out each newsletter with a letter blurb from me to "set the tone" for the newsletter. For the first newsletter of 2015, I have adopted a new motto of "keeping it real" in 2015. Now I adopted this motto more as a gag than anything else, but the one thing that I realized as this year drew to a close, is that I have very little to show for it in terms of racing or partaking in some sort of crazy endurance event. This year, I didnt do a marathon or an ultra. As a matter of fact, I took off from running for most of the summer.

Clearly, we need to fix that for 2015. So I have compiled a preliminary list of events that I would like to try. There are many more that I would like to jump ino, but my timing commitments keep me tied up through most of the spring, so the result is a list that really isn't really my "A" list but it's a list none the less

"March Mahem" MTB Race at Camp Ockanickon in Medford, NJ (3/7/2015)- There used to be a really fun off-road duathlon that I have done a few times at this very same venue, but saddly, the promoters no longer host the event. The trails at this place are flat, twisty and fast. I used to crush the mountain bike portion of this event, and I want to race this venue just so I can ride those trails one more time. 

The Spartan Sprint, Blue Mountain PA (7/18/2015)- I am not a huge fan of gimmicky runs. Call me old fashioned, but color runs, mud runs, spartan runs, etc have never been on my radar screen. I don't want to take away from the effort that it takes one to complete some of these events, but these events are not for "runners" and truth be told, my running resume is impressive enough that I think I own the right to periodically look down my nose at events that I think are, well, silly. One of my boys from DU came up with the idea of a bunch of us soon-to-be-40 year olds jump into a team event and this is what he came up with. So I will give it a shot. 

1/2 Sauer/ 1/2 Kraut, Philadelphia PA (6/13/2015) - this is an smaller marathon at Penny Pack park. I chose it because it's a themed event and smaller, which I like. Downside:it's in the summer (think: heat) and I will probably have to work this weekend. But I am "penciling it in" for now.

Atlantic City Relay Challenge (6/28/2015) - this is where I make my triumphant return to multisport by only doing one "leg" of the race - the run. This is a half-iron event and I am doing the run. Not sure how/ why I agreed to do this. 

This list doesnt include the occasional 5k that I'll throw-in as an after thought when I am off from timing an event, but one of the other timers is working. I'll just show up, grab a bib, and jump in.

Thursday, December 18, 2014


Every once in a great while I get to actually jump into a race; a feat that is usually preceded by weeks if not months of the most minimal training I can do, that could still qualify as "running". Keeping the tradition alive, I jumped into the Reindeer Romp yesterday, and was subsequently reminded that running no more than eight miles a week is not the most effective way to train for a 5k.

In my own defense, I was kinda tired from having worked yesterday morning timing a race up in Horsham. Timing a race is generally a solid 3-4 hour effort of being on one's feet- it's draining. And I spent the day prior walking six miles all over NYC with the Family. In the long run, none of this probably would have made a huge difference. A lack of training trumps all other excuses.

Windy and cold. Not my favorite race conditions, but it beats rain, sleet, snow, slush, ice, locusts*, thunder, lighting, lava and any other forms of inclement weather that I havent listed. The Romp course is an out and back with a loop, same start and finish. Downhill start, uphill finish.

We came to Party, and instead, we got locusts

Since this was a Run The Day gig, I had to start the equipment and then jump into the fracas. I started off fine, averaging an 8 minute mile for the first mile. But any idiot can run a mile. It was the second mile that hit me hard because the lack of training really started to peak it's head in the door, and we hit some hills. I don't like hills. Hills = no good. But the inevitable fact of living in Delaware County is that there are hills. Everywhere. And judging by the sounds of the girl running maybe 15' behind me, the hills WEREN'T alive with the sound of Music. It sounded like either the sound of vomiting or asphyxiation. Definitely not music. And no Van Trapps. Or Nazis.

3rd mile, things start to level out, including my pace, when I realized that a sub 25 minute effort came and went. At that point, the mind starts to say to itself, "just finish."

The 3rd mile is a doozy. The last half mile is uphill back towards the finish. I have this off and on again issue with my calves. It's been that way for years - they don't react well to hills, on occasion. This happened to me last week on my Wednesday club run as well. Two miles in, and I was done. My calves were so tight they felt like they were going to burst. It's the hills. Anyways, same thing happens on the last half mile. I'd venture to guess it was a 8 out of 10 on the suffer scale. Anyways I finished in 26 minutes flat. I ran a 5k speed test at the gym about 2 weeks ago and humped out a 25:11 but that's of course on a treadmill, no hills, no wind.

7 out 18 in my age group, 35-39 males, 154th overall out  of 473

I have a 5k lined up on New Year's Day. We're timing it, but I'll get to run it. We'll see if I can break 26. I'd be happy with 25:30 right now.

* I think I would run a race in a torrential infestation of locusts just to check it off the list.