All posts by mike

Scenes from Saturday + Tacos and Indian

Today is my ninth Father’s Day. That is plenty long enough for habits and routines to become well worn. That is at least a thousand diapers. A thousand daycare pickups. A thousand water bottles filled. A thousand pieces of plain pasta cooked. A thousand soapy tubs emptied. As any parent knows these routines are critical for survival. These routines get us through the day with children on the bus, lunches packed, clothes laundered and bedtime stories read. They help us order our world.

It is impossible to see and feel all of those things for the first time, every time. If every experience brought that rush of the first experience, a single day would overwhelm and exhaust even the hardiest parent.  If each day were full of firsts, my legs would crumple and my chest would heave with effort before noon.

Habits and routine are every parent’s secret weapon. I fear they are also dangerous. Habits can quickly make the extraordinary seem ordinary. If you’re not careful, you find yourself looking at the world through a dull, gray gauze. A whisper of brown hair is Ally. Flecks of aquamarine eyes is Cecilia. But did I see them? Really see them? Routine is an insatiable thing. It will consume the familiar and make the everyday seem mundane. They can blind you to the insane miracle of your children. Of being a father.

Of course, miracle is not the first word that comes to mind when I hear little feet going down the stairs at 5:45. Insane on the other hand…..time to be a Dad. Continue Reading

How to Treat & Prevent 5 Common Runner Injuries

How to treat and prevent 5 common runner injuries

I’m currently dealing with a hamstring strain. So much for trying to do more strength training! Tuesday’s HIIT session ended prematurely as I felt my right hamstring tighten up and then give off a disturbing series of cracks and pops as I tried to stretch it out. 

Ice it? Heat it? Stretch it? Rest it? Roll it? What is the best approach to healing and rehab that will ensure you’re only out a few days or a few weeks and not a few months? It’s a common question to any injury.

Here are the best ways to treat and prevent 5 common runner injuries. Don’t neglect those aches and pains and definitely do no try to run through any nagging niggles or tweaks. Listen to your body. Heal it up and then get back to running or exercising at full strength. Continue Reading

Race Recap: Harvest Sprint Triathlon

It had been over a year since my last triathlon and I was nervous. I was nervous for the packing. I had forgotten just how much logistics and checklists are involved the day before a triathlon. Sometime mid-morning I felt a fluttering panic in my stomach and was sure that I was missing something major, something critical from the list. I had a crystal clear vision of showing up on race morning without my bike or my pants. Something that would be embarrassing and force me out of the race.

Turns out a few deep breaths and some double checking and then triple checking my race day list was all I needed. I drove the hour south to Wareham, just before the bridges to the Cape, still somewhat convinced that I had forgotten something, but I showed up at the race venue, unpacked my gear and found that it was all there. I was ready. It was time to race.  Continue Reading

Scenes from Saturday + Triathlons & Tacos

Like many, we are knee deep in end of school year activities. This week we attended Cecilia’s end of the year music and fine arts show. She was very excited. She, unlike me, quite enjoys performing on stage. The show was remarkably good for a third grade production.

The thing she is most looking forward in fourth grade is finally getting to play the trombone. That’s not a joke. And who knows, maybe she’ll love it and be great at it. 

So far, we haven’t really hit on Cecilia’s “thing” yet, which is completely fine. I might not have loved Little League (I was much better at getting hit than actually hitting) but I certainly took things from it that helped me in other areas. I believe kids should try a lot of things for as long as possible (probably adults, too). The trend, especially in youth sports, to specialize and focus on one thing earlier and earlier in an effort to create mini-Tiger Woods prodigies freaks me out. And given how Mr. Woods ended up, it should freak you out, too.  

So she hasn’t found her thing. No big deal. Let’s try the trombone. Lots of room in the world for a kick-ass female trombone player. But first, on to a Saturday that included triathlons, tacos and dance parties. There are always dance parties…. Continue Reading

Recent Non-fiction Reads

Every year, I have a goal of reading more non-fiction books and just about every year, I fail or succeed less than I think I should. Fiction is my weakness. When I’m tired at the end of the day, I just want to disappear into a story or a different world. I can rarely raise the mental energy to pick up anything too close to reality. But recently, I think I’ve hit on a solution. Audiobooks. 

Yeah, duh. Why didn’t I think of that before? I actually did, but the library’s audiobook app was awful and listening was a chore, but a recent update made it much, much better and I’ve found non-fiction audio often replacing podcasts on my walks with Dash or in the car. 

Not sure if it will stick, but here are 3 recent non-fiction audiobooks that I enjoyed. Continue Reading

Race Recap: Trillium 5k 2018

Trillium Brewery Spring 5k

One silver lining to being limited to shorter distances is that you can race more. You might find yourself racing four times in five weeks. I love racing. I love the nerves and possibility of the start line. I love suffering and pushing myself, at least after the fact. 

But even I’ll admit that four in five weeks might be a bit much. And I have two more weeks coming up of races. I’m going to need a break before I get injured or burn out. But back to last weekend. This one wasn’t my fault. Really. I hadn’t scheduled this one on the calendar. A friend who is not quite as obsessed with running and racing as I am suggested we try this race and, to support him, I agreed. Turns out the Trillium 5k is pretty popular and parking is pretty limited at the brewery so entry is a lottery system. You know the end of this story. I was selected. He was not. Therefor, four races in five weeks. Continue Reading

Scenes from Saturday + Chasing the Ice Cream Man

When I was in high school, some of the more talented musicians formed a band. I don’t think it lasted a month, but it did produce one memorable single: The Ice Cream Man Goes 80 MPH. I don’t remember much about the actual song other than it sounded like a wall of static on in my Pontiac 6000’s cassette player, but that is one great song title.

As the weather has become warmer, we’ve started eating dinner on the porch with the screen doors open. We live on a side street off a side street, but the sound carries. Specifically the dulcet, calliope tones of an ice cream truck trolling along a suburban street. On any halfway sunny day, Ally can hardly make it through her broccoli as she fidgets at every buzz or rattle straining to hear that siren song.

On those rare days (two so far this year) when she hears it, she transforms into a high-pitched puddle of pink and purple vibration. I’ve tried to rationally explain that you can buy just about every one of the novelties in the food store, but it makes no impact. There is something magical about a music-playing truck that delivers ice cream to your house.

But actually hearing the music is only the first step. The truck doesn’t come up our street, so we now need to scramble to actually catch up to him. He doesn’t quite go 80 miles per hour, but he doesn’t dawdle, either. Time is money. We need to hustle if Ally is going to her ice cream treat. 

Let me tell you, there is no greater hero in the world than when Dad catches up to the ice cream man…. Continue Reading