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Hurricane Bob Posts

You. Are. Ready.

  In August 2002, my racing had turned to a quiet place – it was idle.  Lynda and I had just bought our house, and the sheer volume of necessary work to make it our home was overwhelming.  For the first time since 1998, I wasn’t going to be lining up at Ironman Canada.  I felt lost, rudderless, unsure of just what to do with myself. So when race-week came, I wrote this.  It was sent to the Triathletes of the Dead Runners Society List-Serv on August 20, 2002 as a way to give my heart, and all this passion looking for a place to go, somewhere to just be.  Somewhere to let those feelings run down the course, beyond the sunset,…

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140.6 Reasons

The cycle of sentimentality is as perennial as the seasons.  When we turn away from June and into July, I always find myself recalling the days long since passed when I was putting down miles, miles, and more miles, en route towards the inevitable end of another Ironman summer.  From 1998 through 2003, every year had a set cycle – a rhythm of slow ascent that crawled in January, February, March, picked up some tempo in April and May, and then went absolutely vertical from there until race day. At the end of the build comes “The Taper.”  This is the three-week long cut-down in mileage where you desperately try and allow the body to rest up, while at the same time you…

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A Shot of Patience

One moment you’re cruising along, thinking about lunch, or that next meeting, or the weekend, or when is the sun ever going to come back – merrily surfing about the random stream of thoughts that wander through on an easy run.  And then it starts. “What is that?  What is that pain there?  When did that start?  Is it getting worse, or staying the same?” Anytime you’re asking that question during a run, it’s the equivalent of all of the warning lights on the Administrative Console of your body turning yellow.  It’s not an emergency – not yet – but something is amiss.  A smart runner would pay attention to such a warning sign.  A smart runner would realize that pain is…

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No Easy Pass

While skimming Twitter earlier today, a story caught my eye regarding a New Jersey driver who’d managed to rack up $12,000 in fines by blowing through EZPass booths all over the East Coast on 200+ occasions.  Some of you may be thinking, “How’d he manage to do that?  How could he have gone through so many times and not been caught?”   I can testify that doing such a thing is rather easy to accomplish.  I know this not from my own experiences, but let’s just say I might have had a hand in a similar tale some 20 years ago. In the summer of 1990 if you were driving in and around New York City, EZPass signs suddenly sprang up overnight.  There…

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4.12.1995

April 12th is always going to be a special day for me, almost as important as a birthday.  While everyone has a day where they were born, I’m not sure everyone has a day where they can point to and say, “That day, that’s the day I learned what it means to be alive.” Some parts of this piece appeared on Xtri.com in April of 2004.  It veers hard towards that triathlon audience at the very end, but no matter what it is you’re doing – running, walking, paddling, rowing, swimming – whatever it is that you’ve chosen to get up and do, this still applies.     If you’ve read my work before, you probably know I used to race bicycles. From…

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Making Sense of the Senseless

The news came in an email yesterday afternoon from Katie’s school, in the middle of the usual shambles of me trying to do far too many things at one time. I read the first few lines, and all of those things dropped away. I stared at the screen. Sounds stopped. My head went numb. “Earlier this morning, Mrs. Scallan passed away unexpectedly…” Nichole Scallan had been Katie’s first teacher at Chesterbrook Academy for Pre-Kindergarten back in 2010. She was a naturally funny woman with a voice and laugh that filled a room, and the necessary whimsical sense of presence and humor needed to manage a classroom of children just beginning to get used to a full-day away from home. She was a…

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Walking The High Wire

The essence of Parenthood in one scenario: Your daughter has a book report due for school tomorrow.  She has had one month to work on it.  She has finished reading the book (as of 11 minutes ago), but has done absolutely zero of the required prep for presenting to her class the following day. Your in-laws have called a Technical Support 911 request.  They have not used their DVD player since 2013, and cannot remember how to power it on and make it connect to the TV.  Normally, not an emergency.  However, they will be babysitting their three-year old granddaughter tomorrow.  They generally get her for 2-4 hours on the weekends, but this would be a full-work-day deal, 8+ hours.  If all…

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Breaking Worse

I do not play professional Jenga, as such a sport does not exist.  However, if it did, I’d be willing to bet that anyone who is tasked with juggling the Holy Trinity of Family, Work, and Training, would be an unstoppable boss.  This is because we have all become masters of moving multiple pieces of our lives in space and time, all while doing what need to be done to ensure that one never affects the other two. Every week I get a schedule from my long-suffering Running Coach, Debi Bernardes.  Luckily for me, none of these workouts are locked into a given day.  I have the usual assortment of Strength Training, Rowing on the C2, and of course, Running and Running…

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The Three Letter Curse

On Friday afternoon I received a text from one of my closest mates, the patriarch of my Circle of Idiots, Brian Gatens (nickname, Leeroy Jenkins). “You did that Chesapeake Bay Swim.  What’s it like?  Thinking about giving it a shot.” If he’d been able to see me, he’d have watched the color drain from my face.  He’d have seen my eyes close.  He’d have watched my head drop, followed by the sound of a long exhale.  He’d have seen a man forced to look back into the eyes of a heartbreak he’d rather not revisit. I replied, “I did.  In 2000.  DNF.  My only one.” I added, “I’ll find the archived race report and post it.” I knew exactly where to look…

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Driving Me Crazy

When you race bicycles, pills you spend a lot of time in tight packs. Even if there are 100+ bodies in the field, you move as one. You feel spaces and gaps in motion around you as much, if not more, than you see them. You also learn that there’s a definite mood – a personality – to any group. Some days the bunch is smooth, flowing, and calm, while on other days it would be ragged, snippy, twitchy, and angry. Those latter, nervous days would be the ones where I would quietly drop to the back of the show, and just get out of the middle before something bad happened. When I drive in traffic, my instincts still operate in the…

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