End of Month #Garminizing

So Sunday was the end of the month, and unlike many runners who check their mileage religiously, I don’t bother until the last couple of days of the month (and hurray for ending on a Sunday).

Garmin and my Monster Knee Brace.  This pic is a great example of why more people don't read this blog

Garmin and my Monster Knee Brace. This pic is a great example of why more people don’t read this blog

On Thursday I was having a great race pace run— well it was great until I heard my knee crack at mile 2.  By crack, I could hear it over my headphones and the GW Parkway traffic I was running next to (for those outside the DC area, it is heavy traffic thoroughfare).  So I did the smart thing and stopped.  Took inventory of my leg, and determined I didn’t tear anything (or at least it didn’t hurt badly).  Started to do my race walking practice heading back home and even was able to throw in a 1/4 mile of running, but I could tell my knee wasn’t 100%.  It was depressing because I had just started to make some progress in pace and distance and now I was starting to worry that I was going to have to take time off (because we all know I ALWAYS look on the bright side (if you are new to the this blog, I pretty much NEVER look at the bright side.  In fact there are usually dark shadows in my version of the bright side)).

Well fortunately my knee held in for a 5 miler on Saturday which brings me to the point of this post (yes, my post sometime have points (some even bonus points)).

So Sunday I look at my monthly stats on how far I have run.  Now when I started running, we kept track of our mileage on stone tablets, and you really had to hope that you didn’t cross up which tablet you were supposed to be chiseling on (and how often do you see chiseling in a running blog).  Then came tracking via pen and paper and after that Excel or other spreadsheets.  Honestly, I never really tracked my mileage, but Garmin does that for you, so of course I become obsessed with the stats.

I joked on Twitter that I was going for a “9.42 mile run “.  Then I had to explain that it would make an even hundred for the month (and in reality I only needed 8.32, but 9.42 sounded funnier).  Now typically I don’t get too hung up over monthly mileage, but I have only done a hundred a couple of times, so I wanted to make sure I got over a 100.

I put on my hydration pack and did a warm up run over to Crystal City where I start on the Mount Vernon Trail (and take all my Crystal City pre-run photos that are my Instagram account).  It was a warm and humid day, but the run went well until around mile 7 when my left ankle seized up (I have issues with my Peroneal tendon among other ankle issues).  Then the right ankle seized up with the same problem.  Well that brought me to a dead stop. I hobbled over to the grass and fell on the grass.  After about 15 minutes of massaging the areas and drinking water like it was the last drops on earth, I tentatively got up and was able to walk a few feet without pain.  I then stepped it up to a slow run and plodded my way back home.

103.09 miles for the month.  Hum, wonder if I should have done a extra .01 to make it 100 miles plus a 5K? Or maybe .91 to make it an even 104, or 6.91 to make it an even 110…





Bang Bang

I have seen a few odd things in my 30+ years running races (including my reflection), but I have to admit the start of the Cherry Blossom 10 Miler last April probably tops all of it.

The Cherry Blossom 10 Miler is a big race and if you are in the back of the corrals, you have a ton of people to weave in and out of for the first mile or two of the race. I had read about this in advance and got there early so when the corrals opened I could get near the front.  So when the corrals opened 45 minutes before the race, I was ready and got a spot in the 2nd row of people.

The only problem with this strategy was that it was below 40 degrees, the sun wasn’t even really up yet. I was in shorts and freezing my ass off.  Now the person who was in front of me must have been freezing her ass off as well because she started semi-jogging in place.  No biggie, except for the fact that her ass was jamming into my crotch with each step.

I paused at first because I honestly struggled with how you don’t notice your butt is hitting the crotch of the 6′ 2″ tall dude behind you.  After a couple of minutes, it actually turned into amusing just how utterly oblivious this person was.

Pre-race. No unicorn selfie this time.

Pre-race. No unicorn selfie this time.  No crotch shot either.

So you might wonder why I didn’t say anything.  First it was cold and having someone near helped keep me warmer (get your mind out of the gutter (OK, should have said that two paragraphs ago)).  The other, well look at the URL you are on and that should give you an idea.

To answer the next obvious set of questions: No, I did not ask her out. No, I did not buy her breakfast. Yes, she was faster than me.

Canadian trivia:

The person given credit for founding the sport of basketball, James Naismith, was Canadian.

Quebec passed the “Padlock Law” in 1936 which allowed the Quebec government to close down any place used for “subversive activity” (fortunately this blog wasn’t around then). The law was abused for over 20 years to close establishments that the ruling political party didn’t like.



Seen on My Run

One of the things about living in the DC area is that you get completely used to seeing iconic images like the Lincoln Memorial.  It becomes so commonplace that the only shots I have of the Lincoln Memorial were the one on my Twitter home page (and even that is a model of the Lincoln Memorial made of plant material).  So I thought I would take some pictures today of my long run route (OK, the 1st half or so).  This would give me an excuse to actually take pictures of DC.  For those in the general DC area, this post is going to be boring as all get out.

So my runs start in Crystal City in Virginia.

runpics 001

The picture above is my warm up area.

 Where I do my dynamic stretches (or since you can't see me let's pretend they are dynamics)

Where I do my dynamic stretches (or since you can’t see me let’s pretend they are dynamic)

So I start and about 3/4 of a mile into the run I am at the end of the runway for Reagan National Airport.  Unfortunately the planes were not landing right over the Mount Vernon Trail but you are right near the runway.


Despite the local, you still have to go through security to board a flight

Despite the locale, you still have to go through security to board a flight

Continuing on, I pass the 14th street bridge (DC area residents just shuddered at the mention of it) and then a picture of Lady Bird Johnson park (complete with statue AND flowers).

OK, maybe I oversold the picture.

OK, maybe I oversold the picture.

So then I go over to the marina where I sometime run to add mileage.

The only thing kinda interesting about this is that the Pentagon is in the background

The only thing kind of interesting about this photo is that the Pentagon is in the background

So back on the MVT and toward the Memorial Bridge:

Whoop there's a bridge

Whoop there’s a bridge

So after playing chicken twice with the GW Parkway traffic, (you have to run across traffic twice) it is on to the Memorial Bridge.

Nope, don't remember what that is about.

Nope, don’t remember what that is about.

Looking back to Arlington Cemetery

Looking back to Arlington Cemetery

I will leave it to the reader to determine why DC decided to have a horses ass face you when you come in from Virginia

I will leave it to the reader to determine why DC decided to have a horse’s ass face you when you come in from Virginia

Which brings us to the Lincoln Memorial:

Unlike Santa, it is not recommended you try to sit in his lap.

Unlike Santa, it is not recommended you try to sit in his lap.

Yeah, no one has ever taken this shot before.  Note the reflecting pool does reflect. I mostly took this to show you I had to climb stairs to get this shot for my readers.

Yeah, no one has ever taken this shot before. Note the reflecting pool does reflect. I mostly took this to show you I had to climb stairs to get this shot for my readers.

Climb steps during my long run no less.  So I ran to  to the WW II Memorial.

WW II Memorial

WW II Memorial

Then to the Washington Memorial which requires a small hill climb.

I wish the lighting had been better.

I wish the lighting had been better.

The two different tones of stone is because it came from different rock quarries at different times.  It is world's tallest obelisk and at one time was the tallest structure in the world.

The reason there are two different tones of stone is because it came from different rock quarries at different times (construction was stopped for 23 years). It is world’s tallest obelisk and at one time was the tallest structure in the world.  The fact that I ran by it is not in the Wikipedia entry yet.

So from the Washington Monument I headed over to the US Mint.  Why? Because that’s where the money is.  It was not free sample Sunday however.

US Mint. Free tours, yes. Free money, no.

US Mint. Free tours, yes. Free money, no.

Then I ran to the front of the Bureau of Engraving and Printing Building and toward the Jefferson Memorial.

No free money here.  Redesigned 100 dollar bill coming soon banner though.

No free money here either. Redesigned 100 dollar bill coming soon banner though.

Jefferson Memorial (and more steps)

Jefferson Memorial (and more steps)

Then after climbing the steps I was treated to something I have never seen during the summer.  I was the only one at the Jefferson Memorial.  That was cool for me just having the place to myself.

No tourist!!

No tourist!!

Then I left and finished up the rest of my long run.

Tidal Basin with the White House in the far background

Tidal Basin with the White House in the far background

That bush kinda looks like a mustache for the Jefferson Memorial

That bush kinda looks like a mustache for the Jefferson Memorial

Nothing beats the Washington Monument coming out of your head photo.

Nothing beats the Washington Monument coming out of your head photo. #unicornselfie





Friday so I reveal more

Well if it is Friday, it must be time for me to reveal more about myself.  Most of this qualifies as trivia, but it is info nevertheless.  Enjoy your weekend!

1. My first three girlfriends had the same birthday.  Easy to remember?  Even easier since it was my Dad’s birthday.

2. I had a streak where 5 of 6 girlfriends married the guy after me.  I like to think I was able to focus what they wanted in life (for instance they were wanted something in life other than me).

3. I was a little surprised that no one took me up on my offer to guest post on this blog.  I guess the glass half full take is that no one wanted to deprive my readers of one of my stellar posts.

4. Although my last few posts have tended toward the lighthearted, I suspect I will be taking a turn for the more serious/dark during the next couple of weeks.  One reason is that the reality of my training is about to clash with the reality of my race schedule.  Although my training is going much better, it isn’t marathon ready by any stretch. Even if I manage to do OK in my September half, I’m not sure of the magic wand needed to pull off Marine Corps Marathon in October.  I have a plan, but I wish I were surer it would work. I should be able make the cutoff times for MCM, but I still think about my goal time when I started my training back in May and it makes me a little wistful.  The other reason for the darker turn for the blog is an anniversary for me coming up with is both happy and sad together (more on that next week).

5. Although my Nathan hydration pack review had the fewest hits on for a post in this blog since June, I knew when I wrote it that product reviews were not really right for this blog.  However,  it was fun to write a product review in Running Lonely fashion (and remember my amusement is a big reason I blog).  As I side note I still think of myself as Running Lonely when I blog.  On the other hand the shoe infidelity post was a big hit.

6.Next weekend I hope to start my work of art to submit to the National Gallery of Canada for their Bluebeard in Black and White contest. My painting skill are WAY out of practice (and frankly aren’t stellar to start with).  My style is more modern than classical, and I think a classical take would work better for this contest.  Still, I am looking forward to coming up with something and giving it a shot.  Even a shot in the dark sometimes hits the target.  Of course, I will share with you my creations (guess there is a third reason this blog will be darker in the upcoming weeks).

Art is not just some guys name.  Yes this piece is mine.  If you think a 3rd grader could do better, you may keep that to yourself.

Art is not just some guy’s name. Yes this piece is mine. This is not the piece of mine that was in the Houston Museum of Modern Art.

Canadian Trivia

One of the founders of the Canadian Federation, Thomas D’Arcy McGee, was assassinated in 1868 (some thanks for helping to found Canada).  James Patrick Whelan was found guilty of the crime and was the last person hung in Canada.  This assassination toughened the government’s resolve to keep the fledgling federation strong.  This is in contrast to another political assassination around the same time, that of Abraham Lincoln.  Whereas Canada closed political ranks, in the US, Congress fought with the President and eventually brought up articles of impeachment against him (although he wasn’t convicted).



It’s Not You, It’s Me

I have never been a monogamous guy. I try to stay loyal to one, but somehow, at some point, I stray.  I have many dalliances over years.  I don’t even have a type, since at one time or another I have loved a variety of shapes, sizes and colors.   Yes, I have worn the Asics Nimbus since 2004, but I would rotate another brand of shoes at least one day of the week.  First it was a pair of New Balance, then a sleek Saucony model, but about 4 months ago, I started wearing a pair of Hokas (or moon boots as I call them).  It was a casual affair until June when I hurt my knee while wearing the Nimbus.

Was it my fault? Was it the shoe’s fault?  When you are hurt sometimes you blame those who are closest to you and in my case it was the Nimbus.

Me and my original sole mate (with pig)

Me and my original sole mate (with pig)

When I started running three weeks after the knee injury I ran in the Hokas.  The extra cushioning was nice for my joints and it pushes you to strike more mid foot which also good for my knees.  So I was exclusive to the Hokas through my race at the end of July, but after the recovery from that race, I felt slow.  Things didn’t feel right so my thoughts went back to my old love, the Nimbus.  I tried a speed workout in them but we couldn’t rekindle our old flame.  I begged the Hokas for forgiveness, but being a pair of shoes, they said nothing.  I guess they forgave me because the next run the spark was back and I ran the Mount Vernon Trail faster than any time since May.

My new flame

My new flame

Will this be the one that lasts?  It might, but I have seen a new pair of shoes and my heart is beginning to wander. Those Saucony’s are cooing at me and telling me they’d feel so good on my feet.  To top it off, they promise not to take it slow.





Hydration Packs

First off, I am not getting paid for this review. There were no free samples or any other enticements involved.  One of my early on followers, @natatopia ,requested a product review of the Nathan Hydration pack after I posted a picture of the pack on Twitter.  If you have been following me since the beginning, I think you deserve something out of the deal.  Since I was going to review the Nathan HPL 020 Vest anyway, I thought I would throw in a comparison to my Camelbak Rogue 70 oz Hydration Pack. If you don’t care about hydration packs (or my humor, or Canadian trivia), see you next post.

Picture of two hydration packs.  This has something to do with the post. VICTORY!!!

Picture of two hydration packs. The Nathan is the one on the right.  This picture has something to do with the post. VICTORY!!!

Although summer is coming to a close, there is plenty of hot weather left for those south of the Mason-Dixon Line.  Since my sweat rate resembles a water fall, a bottle isn’t going to cut it.  I tried fuel belts, but hated the way they bounced, so this summer I started trying hydration packs.  They weigh more than fuel belts, but have pockets for gels, phone, keys, and the really important things like my Starbucks gold card.  Hydration packs also give a certain ultra runner vibe.  This vibe hopefully causes people to think that the reason I am going so slowly is that I am going a few hundred miles.

I started with the Camelbak and have used it in training and for my 6 HR race.  It holds 70 oz of water, and has two pockets that will hold just about anything you might need.  I generally like it.  It is light, doesn’t bounce much, and it’s quick to refill.  One downside are all the pockets are in the back so unless you are double jointed or VERY flexible, you have to take the pack off to access the pockets.  Which bring me to another issue.  For me the front clasp would come undone about 1/3 time I took the pack off.  Now it isn’t hard to reattach the clasp, but when you are in the middle of a long run it can be a bit of a pain (particularly when your brain is operating at 1/100000th capacity like mine typically is toward the end of a long run).  The reservoir can be a dog to close (get it??, get it??).  Actually the design makes it very quick to open and close which is great when you need to refill it.  However, if you don’t close it correctly, and happen to pick up a gel wrapper off the ground, you might get an unintended shower.  Not that it occurred to me.  Nope, not me, EVER.

The Nathan weighs about the same as the Camelbak (maybe 1/2 oz more). It is shorter and thicker and has two pockets that are on the front straps as well as a larger pocket in the back.  One of the pockets in the front is open-ended (Nathan says it will fit a 20 oz TrueFlex bottle (I don’t have one so it doesn’t do me any good)). Not having to take the pack off is a big plus when you are on the run (OK, that pun was below even me).  The reservoir is opened and closed by removing a clasp at the top of the bladder.  This makes it easy, but time-consuming, to refill the bladder.  With a 2L capacity, maybe how quickly you can refill it matters a bit less.  I took the Nathan out on  6 miler and a 10 miler so I don’t know how it would feel after 6, 12 or 24 hours.  The Nathan did move around a little bit while it was full, and after 10 miles my shoulders were feeling a bit tight.  In the Nathan’s defense I didn’t spend much time adjusting the pack to the optimum configuration (and it has plenty of strap to configure).  I suspect even better configured, it wouldn’t sit as well for my body frame (big guy, tall torso).  Also, there are a lot of straps that flop around on the Nathan which might get annoying after long periods of time. I will say the front pockets were darn handy and I was able to unzip one pocket, grab my gel, and not accidentally run into the Potomac River. #2victory.

A look at the two bladders.  The top of the Nathan as a clasp. The Camelbak has the blue screw top.

A look at the two bladders. The top of the Nathan as a clasp. The Camelbak has the blue screw top. My days as a hand model are probably over at this point.

So what is the bottom line? (a question that many of you are regularly left wondering in this blog).  I like the Camelbak better mostly because it sits better on my shoulders.  I don’t plan on returning the Nathan and will use it for runs where I want access to items quickly or need to bring everything this side of a foam roller.  I currently plan on using both in my 24 hour race.

Canadian Trivia:

In 1961 the average French Canadian only earned about 60% of their English speaking counterpart in Quebec.  This lead to reform of the educational system in the province.



More Friday Confessions (sorta)

So it is time for another Friday blog post with info from/about me.

High Five for Friday

High Five for Friday


1. Would anyone be interested in guest posting here?  You don’t have to be a blogger, just have an interest to post.  Would prefer something vaguely running related (and if you read this blog, you know it can be rather vague).  If you are interested, let me know via the various means (email, DM, cosmic thoughts).

2. Finally had a couple of decent runs this week.  I have had problems recently getting my cadence consistently over 170, but I was able to do a couple of tempo runs this week and was able to average around 176 for the tempo portion of the runs.  This makes me feel a little better about my half in September, but worries me a bit that it takes this long to recover from a hard race.

3. On Tuesday I lost 6 lbs of water weight in a 6 mile run.  That includes drinking 24 oz of liquid during my run.  I managed to sweat through my shirt, shorts, and socks.  This sharing stuff doesn’t sound so great now does it?

4. I was again asked by Active Life DC to be part of their “Ask the Blogger” Series.  They ask a question and provide the answers from DC area bloggers.  I like doing it, but I can’t help but wonder if asking me about running is a little bit like asking an Amish person to explain the intricacies of nuclear fission.

5. My blog traffic used to be 75% in the DC area, but has dropped to a 50/50 split.  I find it amusing when people assume this is big blog (big ideas yes, big traffic not so much).  Although the days of zero hits seems to be in the past, 50 hits is a big day for this blog and 17-20 a day is the average of the last month and a half.  Traffic has doubled since April.  This is partially that more people follow me on Twitter and a bigger part is that I am posting three days a week (yes for you out there who told me to post more often, consider this acknowledgement of “I told you so”) .

6. I like to make lists.  Have you noticed?

7. I mostly think of people by their Twitter handle or by their blog name.  During my last race, I thought I recognized a blogger I read (and I knew was running the race).  However, there was NO WAY I was going up to someone and ask “Are you Dog Lick Baby?”

Canadian Trivia:

The Alaskan border wasn’t particularly well-defined when the US purchased it from Russia.  There was a dispute between the US and Canada on where the border should be drawn.  Since at that time Canadian foreign policy was still under England, England agreed with the US that a 5 member commission be named to resolve the dispute. In 1903 there was a vote.  The two Americans voted for the US position (duh).  The two Canadian members voted the Canadian position (duh).  The English rep voted for the country they didn’t want to go to war with (remember Teddy Roosevelt was the US President at the time and he was looking to stop speaking softly and use his stick).  Canada needless to say felt rooked by the deal and this fueled the fire for a completely independent Canada.


Race Photos (or duck and cover)

I was DMing with someone on Twitter and commented that “I have determined that race photos are taken by people that got paid by your exes to make you look bad.”  Now when I started racing, they didn’t have race photography.  There was a guy who was drawing on a cave wall and if you wanted to keep the drawing, you chiseled your pic out of the wall and coughed up a couple of pelts (so if you are ever in the Tennessee in a cave and see a drawing that might resemble Running Lonely as a young lad, well at least you know why it is there).

At some point the camera was invented, and you would get the in mail (or snail mail to most of you) a small thumbnail photo to entice you to buy a bigger package.  The only race photo I actually like is a thumbnail from a 5K about two week before I blew my knee out.  The picture made it look like I was passing everyone at the finish (I was) and winning the race (I wasn’t).

Eventually digital photography and the internet made the process much easier and somehow a boatload more expensive (well I have never purchased a race picture, so it doesn’t cost me a dime).

But no matter the format, the result is usually the same for me–a photo that makes me look like crap.  The usual culprits are:

1. My face is scrunched up like I want to kill someone, or worse I am attempting to smile.

2. My face looks just fine, but my running form looks like I am having very strange muscle spasms or maybe having a stroke.

3. The Claw (you will just have to trust me on this one).

4. Everything looks OK and in alignment, but I am sweating out my sunscreen and look like Casper the Ghost in a snowstorm on his deathbed (don’t think about that one too much).

I stopped even looking at my race photos and videos, until a recent trend of races that actually give away the race photos.  I have had two races this year (the Oddessey Half in Philly and the Endless Summer 6 HR Race) that have given away photos.   I have included a race photo at the end of this post from the Endless Summer race, so for those who don’t want to know what I look like (and skipped the selfie) you can stop reading now.  You will miss out on Canadian trivia, but hey, life is nothing if not a series of trade-offs.

Canadian trivia

A Canadian, Captain Arthur Roy Brown, is credited with killing the famed Red Baron during WWI.

So here is the pic:

It was not "almost there".  I still had 22 miles to go.  Total BS if you ask me.

It was not “almost there”. I still had 22 miles to go. Total BS if you ask me.  OK, now you understand “The Claw” (aka my hand)



My 6th Month Blogiversary

So it is my 6th month blogiversary. OK, that sounds bogus even to me, but it gives me a chance to reflect on my running and this blog. For starters the anniversary date was 10 days ago, so like my running, I am a bit slow getting this post out.

Honestly I had no clue what I was doing when I started this blog.  I didn’t know what I really wanted to say or how to say it.  It took about all of two posts to figure out I didn’t particularly enjoy writing serious (or even semi-serious) posts about running.  After the serious I tried my hand at pure humor posts.  This brought some hits (run-chat-answers-a-psychic-post) and some misses (What would have been my acceptance speech for best long run).  It took a while to find my voice which is an odd combination (insert you own snarky comment here) of the humorous and the serious.

This blog energized my training. What started as a push for the Cherry Blossom 10 miler turned into 6 races and 5 more planned the rest of the year (and although 11 is a really great number, I am thinking of how to fit in a 12th race to average 1 per month).  This will be the 2nd most races for me during a year (only to 1992′s 22).  Blogging about races makes the successes (1775K, Endless Summer 6 Hour Race)  more sweet but also makes the failures (like busting my knee during a half marathon) just a little bit harder.  Though I will say even with the disappointments, that support I get from my readers helps me turnaround my focus and move forward in a positive direction (or what passes for positive in my world (which not too dissimilar for what passes for intellect in Bevis and Butthead)).

Picture of a monkey blanket, duh

We were WAY overdue for a picture of the monkey blanket

So where do we go from here? Yes, I said WE— you aren’t getting out of this that easily. Well the tough part of my racing schedule is coming up so that will be good for a few laughs blog posts.  Coming up will be my 2nd foreign race, first marathon race, my 8K/Marathon make-your-own 50K, and the year-end finale in a 24 HR race (plus whatever race I squeeze in).  More importantly I will start meeting readers/Twitter followers at a more rapid rate in the next few months (not that it would take much to do better than 1 out of 900 in 6 months).  Drop me a note if you want to add yourself to the list (or conversely would like sufficient warning to be out of the general area).

Double trouble.

Double trouble.

But the best part of the blogging for me has been you (yes, I am talking to YOU).  I have enjoyed the interaction with you through the blog comments, via Twitter and Instagram.  You have pushed me out of rut I was in and gave me the confidence to challenge myself on a regular basis.  No matter how the year ends, I have accomplished more than I would have dreamed when I started this blog.

I would like to thank each and every one of you for reading this blog as well as for the feedback and support you have given me.  I look forward to where the journey goes from here.



<Canadian trivia will return in the next post>

More Friday Q&A

I noticed that my last post didn’t look right in Chrome.  No idea why, since it looked fine in the 3 other browsers I tried.  I will see what I can do.  I think it has to do with the numbering which unfortunately for you, this post has a lot of numbers.


So today we are going to mix things up (and face it, this blog is pretty darn mixed up already).  I am going to tell more stuff about me, and then I am going to ask some questions of you.  For your answers feel free to tweet them, comment on the blog, or email me at rl@runninglonely.com.  I can feel the excitement already, or maybe that is just the frayed power cord I am standing on.

1. My Granddad on my Dad’s side was a civil engineer.  My Dad was an electrical engineer, so it doesn’t come as a shock that I ended up as a mechanical engineer.  I originally thought of being a civil engineer, but I am a poor drafter, and back in the day you needed to be able to do that if you were going to be a civil engineer. I picked what I thought was the next closest profession without any real idea of what a mechanical engineer does.  I am still not entirely sure.

2. Remember to warm up before you aqua run.  It is just like actual running in the fact you don’t walk out the door and go full bore (or even 7/8th bore).  This isn’t new fact about me, but I thought I would throw it in since I know a couple of people who are injured and are aqua running.

3. No lie– I accidentally set myself on fire in college and was sober at the time it happened.  I was using a blow torch (raise your hand if you think someone should be fired for letting ME have an operational blow torch–you can all put your hands down now) and the sparks caught my jeans on fire.  You really haven’t lived until someone has come up to you and said “Excuse me, your pants are on fire.” I was able to kick the fire out before too much damage was done (well ignoring the damage to my self esteem).

4. There was a software system at work we were purchasing, and I was the project manager assigned to the project.  It was for audience response for training classes and I hated the project. So I gave the project a name that the acronym that spelled out ARSE.  I spelled out the full name in status reports and nobody ever figured it out.  Sticking it to the man!

5. My running has been increasingly frustrating in the last month.  The difference between what I think I can do, and what I can actually do is growing.  I realize my knee is the problem, but it is frustrating anyway.

6. A New York Times metro reporter is following Abby and The Pig .This beats the NATO General that follows me in the odd followers category.  No I have no idea why a metro reporter would be interested in a DC pig or a dog from Ottawa.

Pig with another of my InkNBurn Shirts.  Just putting a picture in for the pig lovers out there (OK, that is most of you)

Pig with another of my InkNBurn Shirts. Just putting a picture in for the pig lovers out there (OK, that is most of you).  Maybe a metro reporter is interested…



1. Despite my recent selfie explosion (and FYI if you use your computer to look at Instagram I kinda had one already  here. Of course that was back in the day when I had 20 followers and most of them were just being polite by not unfollowing.   Anyway, there is a question in here somewhere.  I wasn’t thinking of changing my twitter or blog AVIs, but any thoughts if I should put a real picture in either profile?

2. OK, who is from Burlington, Vermont?  Although I don’t know all the DC area people who visit the site, I generally have a pretty good idea of the ones elsewhere (doesn’t take a genius to figure out who is from Vaudreuil-Dorion).  I am just curious since Burlington has overtaken Ottawa for number 3 on hits on my blog (get it in gear Ottawa).

Top 10 cities that should have something better to do than read this blog

Top 10 cities that should have something better to do than read this blog

3. So who is the oddest follower that you have (excluding me)?

Canadian Trivia:

Kim Campbell was the first (and only so far) female Prime Minister of Canada.  She was only Prime Minster from June 25, 1993 to November 4, 1993.   She is also the only Prime Minister born in British Columbia and she never actually sat in Parliament as Prime Minister (this was due to the summer recess and fall elections (and for my US readers—you thought our Congress took big breaks)).