Category: Running

Running In The Pre-Dawn Stillness

There is something beautiful about running in the hour or so before dawn. Everything is still. Quiet. Awakening.

You see the animals coming out for their breakfast. Rabbits. Birds. Others.

The day is yet to begin.

Full of possibilities and opportunities.

Ours to discover. If we choose to do so.

There is something beautiful about running in the pre-dawn hours.

Running In The Pre-Dawn Stillness

Running In The Pre-Dawn Stillness

[Photos are from my run this morning at 5:45am in the Woodlawn and Greenlawn cemeteries in Keene, NH.]

My Four Words For 2015

2015 four words 300pxAs I have done for the past several years now, I like to start off on January 1 with a post about a few "words" that represent aspirations I have for the year. As I did last year for 2014, I'm going to write about four words for 2015, as compared to the three words I wrote about in 2013, 2012, 2011 and 2010. And while I've been doing this for my own reasons, I should credit Chris Brogan for starting the idea of writing in this way publicly many years ago. So here is my current thinking for 2015...


Over the past six months or so I've been giving a great amount of thought to what exactly I want to be doing - in many different aspects of my life. Part of that came about as part of looking at my role within the Internet Society and thinking about what makes the most sense for my particular skills and interests. But perhaps a larger part came about in some of the reading and discussions my wife and I have been having around what many call "minimalism" or variations on that theme. Basically... looking at how to do fewer things better. We only have so many hours in the day and we choose how we are going to spend those hours... and we choose what we give our attention to. My wife's ongoing experience with cancer treatments has certainly changed our overall perspective and made us think about what is most important to us.

This year I want to continue that effort into distilling things down to what are really the "essentials" in my life upon which I wish to focus. This may mean focusing more and putting aside some side projects... or admitting that some project ideas may just never happen - and that's okay.

To go back to that wonderful quote from the poet Mary Oliver:

Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?

And even more so... what will I do - or not do - in pursuit of that?


Given that my last book was published four years ago back in 2011, I do feel a bit of a desire to have another book come out some time soon. An obvious candidate is to pitch O'Reilly on doing a Second Edition of Migrating Applications to IPv6 given that a lot has changed in four years and that there is much more that can be said about IPv6 based on the deployment experience to date. I also have several ideas for books in the telephony/telecom/VoIP space.

I also have several ideas for books outside the pure technology space... more in the public relations / marketing / social media space. And there are some other ideas I have floating around my head...

Ideas for books are easy... it's making the time to create the book that is the challenge! I'd like to see what I can do in 2015 to at least get some book project underway.


"Health" was actually one of my three words back in 2010 and as I noted in my 2011 post I went far in 2010 dropping 45 pounds and starting to get into running. Last year "running" was one of my words and I'm now pretty confident that running is part of my lifestyle and just part of what I do.

But... now this year I need to focus a bit broader than just running. It's been a while since I've had a physical and there are some other health issues I'd like to address. It's time to do a bit more to ensure I'm around for the long term.


This is not so much an aspiration as an admission that this year may more heavily involve the sport of curling that I enjoy so much. There are two aspects here. First, my soon-to-be-13-year-old daughter enjoys curling and shows some interest in doing more competitively. IF she does that (and it's still an "if"), that will set us on a potential path of bonspiels (tournaments) and camps that may set the tone for much of our family activity for the year. We'll see. Second, I very much want to see this be the year when we start making some headway with starting up the Monadnock Curling Club and looking at bringing the sport of curling to our region of New Hampshire.

That's what I'm thinking about right now for this year... I have a sense that 2015 could be a big year on a number of different fronts... we'll have to see how it turns out.

Meanwhile... Happy New Year! May 2015 be a great year for you!

An audio version of this post is available:

If you found this post interesting or useful, please consider either:

It Is So Easy To Choose To NOT Go For A Run

Toronto runA true story - I wrote this email at about 5:00am at a recent conference where I had told someone that I would meet for a run at 6:00am:


Unfortunately I completely forgot about the <meeting> from 8-9am ... and since I also have to pack up to check out of the hotel as I'm flying home tonight, as well as get out some messages/posts *before* the meeting... there's just no way I can also fit in a run. :-(

If you get this before going out and could just fire back a quick acknowledgement that would be great. If I don't hear from you I'll be standing down in the lobby at 6am NOT in my running clothes.


I was about to hit the Send button.

My cursor was poised over the send icon button at the top of the message window on my MacBook Pro. All I had to do was tap my finger and the message would be off.

But I paused...

... and as I read that message and re-read it again and again... it just seemed like a really weak excuse.

There will always be reasons to NOT go for a run.

As I thought about it, I realized that if I were truly honest with myself some of those posts and messages that seemed so urgent to send off before the 8:00am meeting... really could wait a bit. Sure, it would be great to get them off first thing... but it wouldn't be the end of the world if they were published/sent a few hours later.

And I realized again that it is easy to NOT prioritize exercise and running.

And that it is all about the choices we make in every moment of our lives.

And that I had a choice right then that would define what were my priorities.

I paused.

And then I chose to NOT send that message!

I did get into my running clothes... and I was down in the hotel lobby at 6:00am... and it turned out that there was a group of about 8 runners who gathered there... and we all went out for a great 3.8 mile run!

And I felt great after doing that!

We all have choices. We choose whether to exercise - or not.

P.S. The photo with this post is one I took on a morning run in Toronto during an IETF meeting. My hard-core, ultra-marathon-runner friend Hannes took it easy and joined us slow runners for a nice run along the harbor front... that's him in the orange. :-)

Third Time’s A Charm, Right? (For A Half-Marathon)

This Sunday I'll be spending the middle of my 3-day Labor Day weekend running the Covered Bridges Half-Marathon in nearby Swanzey, NH. This will be my third run of the race and this year I have a very simple objective:
Make it through mile 12 and still have energy!

Both of the last two years I've done pretty well up until mile 12. In fact, last year I was running with a friend and we had a very constant 10-minute/mile pace all the way up through mile 10 and maybe even into mile 11.

And then we got to the mile 12 aid station and I walked through it to have a drink... and kept on walking. :-(

I did get enough energy back to run the final bit... but it was a hard slog and I looked like I was ready to collapse.

A year later I've been running a good bit these days, although not as long as a half-marathon, and in talking to multiple people it seems my issue is most likely all about a lack of fuel inside my body. A friend who runs full marathons (and longer distances!) said that our livers have about 2 hours worth of fuel in them to power our body... and, gee, it's right about the 2 hour mark that I'm fading!

I did eat a bit during the race last time, but not that much. So this time I'm going to make that a regular part of the running... plus I'm doing some pre-race fueling, too.

We'll see how it goes on Sunday... as we often say, "third time is a charm!" (Of course, we also say "three strikes and you're out!")

P.S. There's still time to register to run if you want to join in - and they do same day registration as well. This year they are also offering a 2-person relay race option, too.

Celebrating 3 Years of Exercise/Running – And Dropping 50 Pounds

Woodland cemeteryThree years ago yesterday I started down a path that would fundamentally change my life. At the time, I weighed around 255 pounds and couldn't really walk down our (short) street without feeling a bit winded. Caught up in the whirlwind of business travel and sitting at desks, I wasn't making the best choices.

I knew I needed to change.

Our second daughter was a year old and I realized that I had to do something for my health to ensure I was going to be around for my wife and our two girls.

So my wife and I started walking every day, or as close to that as we could. We have the privilege of having a beautiful large cemetery near us that has roads and trails through it where you can walk for quite some time.

Soon walking led to "jogging"... which led to (gasp!) running!

Running was something I swore I'd never do because I never saw any runner smiling. But slowly... very slowly... I became one of those people.

It was an iterative process - I started saying "let me see if I can run from the entrance to the cemetery down to the first fork in the road. Then it was "let's see if I can run to the flagpole." Then "beyond the flagpole to the next fork."

Woodland chapelThen, the BIG step... could I run from the entrance all the way up that big, enormous, huge, daunting, terrible hill to the chapel?

From there it was a test of looping the cemetery - and then starting to run into a second, attached cemetery (Greenlawn) that has another huge hill. And then it was looping both cemeteries... and then looping through the other side trails.

Ultimately it became a question of doing TWO loops through both cemeteries to get to a 5K distance.

And then my running left the cemetery and was out the roads...

The process took MANY months... and a lot of fatigue.

The good news is that running in the cemetery was very peaceful. There were generally no cars or road crossings. And very few spectators watching this fat guy huffing and puffing as he tried to make it up the hill.

Plus, on a morbid note, I always thought that if I died while running there, they could just dig a hole and toss my body in it. :-)

Three years later I ran that same loop yesterday at a pace around 9 minutes, 30 seconds per mile. And I've routinely run loops through that cemetery now AFTER having already run 5 or 6 miles. I don't even notice either of those "ginormous" hills that so intimidated me.

I had in fact hoped to do a 5 mile run around Washington, D.C., this morning (I'm here on business travel) but sadly left my running shorts back in N.H.

I have become a runner.

And here's the fascinating part to me: I love it!

In fact, it's now almost like a drug. I often feel a need to run. It helps clear my mind at times - and it just helps physically. As I've written here, I've enjoyed a number of races... and I'm looking forward to my 3rd time running the Swanzey Covered Bridges Half-Marathon this September (with the goal to not fade out at mile 12).

A beautiful effect, too, is that when I have to move quickly in an airport to catch a plane, I'm generally not boarding my plane looking like I am about to have a heart attack! (That used to be how it was...)

Running has been a savior of my sanity on business trips, too, getting me outside of the hotel rooms and conference centers. I recorded an audio segment about this a while back:

Given that I spend FAR too many hours in airplanes, running has provided an antidote to all the endless hours of sitting I do in airborne tin cans.

Running has also let me quickly see a bit of the places I've visited. Normally with the travel I do I wouldn't see much beyond the airports, taxis, hotels and restaurants... but going out for a run in the early morning has let me see the surrounding area. I've had the privilege of running around Red Square in Moscow, in Tiananmen Square in Beijing, underneath the Eiffel Tower in Paris, along back roads in Mumbai... and so many other places. Getting outside has been so critical - and running has enabled me to do that.

Along the way, I have lost some weight. Losing the first 45 pounds turned out to take about 6 months or so... and then I've been stuck in a plateau for most of the last couple of years:

Weight progress

This wasn't all through exercise. I also moderated my eating. A friend from back in Ottawa once wrote about his "S" diet:

No Seconds or Sweets, except on Saturdays and Sundays.

And I remembered that over all the years, and decided that it was a simple mantra to follow - and in particular the "no seconds" was a rule that I adopted.

Now, as that chart shows, I've not been entirely faithful. The travel I do presents meals where it's not always very easy to make the healthiest eating choices. And I freely admit that my willpower fades in the presence of the siren song of a chocolate chip cookie (and wilts completely when presented with a tray of said cookies!).

But I keep at it... and I keep running so that I can have a bit of wiggle-room on the eating. (Another friend says he runs specifically so that he CAN eat!)

And today, I celebrate the health I do have, and this new love of exercise that has so changed my life on so many levels.

If you are out there thinking about doing more exercise, I'd encourage you to get started... find a place where you can start walking, and start setting small, obtainable goals.

Perhaps soon you'll find yourself out there like me, doing something you never thought you'd do... running.

And doing so with a smile on your face! ;-)

Second Time Running The Covered Bridges Half-Marathon This Sunday

I'm going to do it again... only this time my goal is to run the entire race!

Tomorrow, Sunday, September 2, 2012, is the Swanzey Covered Bridges Half-Marathon, also known as "Elijah's Race".

Last September this was my first - and so far still my only - half-marathon, as I chronicled first in a post about the upcoming race and then in a post about the results which photos and charts.

It was a great race and I really enjoyed running it.  It was fun to put the "13.1" sticker on the back of my car when it was all over.

However, I had a severe problem with my running pace that I hope to change this time around.

If you look at the image to the left with the map produced by my Nike+ iPhone app, you can see the problem. It's showing the pace of my run and you can see from the color legend at the top the speed at which I was traveling going from fastest (green) to slowest (red).

I started out at the very fast (for me!) pace of about 7 minutes a mile... and then...

... I nearly collapsed at mile 12.


In fact, I walked through the water station at mile 12 as I had been walking through all the aid stations... but then I just kept on walking!

After what I remember was close to a half-mile, I said to myself that I "just" had a half-mile or so left and that I really should run that final bit. So I picked up my feet and struggled to the end.

My issue was that at the very beginning I had positioned myself in the middle of the pack of runners and so when they all took off... I took off with them all! Running very fast! My "normal" pace is about 10 minutes/mile and so dropping it to a 7 minute mile was a definite - and unsustainable - speed increase.

Added to the situation was that for a short bit near the beginning you run over a trail by some power lines that is quite narrow with little room to pass. So once you enter that section it is really a "channel" through which everyone must go and it's hard not to run fast with people right behind you.

This year my goal is to do the "tortoise approach" and run slower and steadier for the whole race. If I can run it all at around 10 minutes / mile that would be an excellent outcome. If I could even do it a bit faster in between 9 and 10 mins/mile that would be even better. Last year the official results had my overall time as 11:13/mile and I would like to do better than that.

My strategy, such that it is, will be to start out at the back of the pack so that I don't get sucked into the adrenaline-fueled initial surge. I also have a friend of mine who is running with me... and said he'll make sure I run the whole thing! ;-)

I've also had an entire year more of running, along with a set of other races (although none this long).

We'll see.

Regardless, I'm looking forward to the race!

P.S. If you are in the area (or want to travel here), information about the race is online. Online registration is closed but I believe you can register on the morning of the race.

My 3 Words for 2011 – How Did I Do?

2011So as 2011 enters its final hours, it's time to take a look back and see how I did with my "3 Words For 2011". As a reminder, they were:

Well, to start with, they - and most all my plans for 2011 - were rather subsumed by an extremely unwelcome fourth word that dominated my year:


Yes, indeed, the defining thread of 2011 has definitely been my wife's diagnosis and subsequent battle with breast cancer. It truly did consume the entire year - she had what was otherwise a routine doctor visit in January that started raising questions... and then her last chemo treatment was in early December.

In between, of course, were horrific months dealing with tests leading to the diagnosis in May, then the operation in July with the long recovery, and then the pathology reports of invasive breast cancer and then the start of chemotherapy in September and all the nastiness that followed.

She's not "done" now... next month she begins five years of a daily hormone therapy called Tamoxifen as well as one year of an every-three-week infusion of a drug called Herceptin.

But in theory we're through the worst of it. We hope.

So looking at 2011 through the cancer-colored lens, just surviving was a beautiful thing... but how did I do with the words that were to guide my activities? Let's see...


My big goal was to increase the amount of actual writing I was doing across my blogs and other sites. Unfortunately I don't have a count for 2010 to know how my writing exactly compares, but I know that I did write more this year. My total was:

Given that I was manually tracking all those entries across several different blogging platforms, it could certainly be off to a certain degree... but it's probably in the general area. Through the first half of the year I was writing more and averaging out about 2 to 3 posts each day. I had aimed to get at least one post out every day of 2011, but that goal feel by the wayside in March and then with all the cancer happenings it never really became a goal again.

Still, I'm pleased with a good body of work out there for 2011. Some of it shorter content... some of it the longer, deeper pieces I love to write. There's still a ton of stories left untold that are sitting in my queue... but I did get a good bit out.

Add to that, I believe, 51 podcast contributions to For Immediate Release. I seem to recall Shel & Neville taking one show off... and I don't think I missed any of the weeks. (And if they didn't take a week off this year, then it was 52 contributions.)

Plus, I published another book, this time with O'Reilly, "Migrating Applications to IPv6". The idea was that this was to be primarily an "ebook" that could then be frequently updated... which, given everything else going on, didn't happen (updates), despite my best of intentions. I'm looking forward to making some updates in 2012.

Where I had hoped to do more in 2011 was with photography and videos. My camera traveled with me a good bit... and I shot lots of photos... I just didn't have a whole lot of the curation/post-production time to then get photos online. 2012! Ditto video.


I made some progress on this... I haven't really publicized it yet, but I've been aggregating my content from across various blogs into a new site at:

It's my attempt to bring together all my content into one central site. There's still much I would like to do with that and it's still not working the way I want, but it's a start.

I never did move my main blogs off of TypePad... perhaps 2012 will be the year I finally make that happen. And I still would like to improve how this site ( presents me...


This is one where I did make serious progress. I had wondered a year ago if running would be something I really continued.

I did!

In fact, I ran 5 miles yesterday morning and will probably go for a similar run tomorrow. (Today's a resting day.) Over the course of 2011 I probably ran 400 or 500 miles... hard to know exactly as I'm not tracking all my running (such as on the treadmill).

I also ran in 6 actual races, including my first-ever half-marathon in September.

2011 also marked the time when I brought my running gear with me on every business trip and speaking engagement - and actually RAN!

Wellllll... except for the trip to Orlando where I left my shorts back in New Hampshire! On every other trip (including multiple trips to Orlando), I managed to get out and run at least once if not more. New York... Miami Beach... Toronto... San Francisco... Orlando... Virginia... Austin... I was quite pleased with this, actually, because it's so easy NOT to run while traveling.

So yes, running has become part and parcel of who I am.

Outside of running, there were some other lifestyle changes, too. Some tweaking of what we eat. Trying to do some more of the offline things I enjoy. Adding curling back into my life. Continuing to try to find that balance between the work I love and the family I love... The sudden job change from Voxeo to the Internet Society also brought some lifestyle changes, too.

Outside of the cancer chaos, or perhaps because of the chaos making me think more about priorities, 2011 was definitely one of thinking about - and acting on - lifestyle changes.

More changes to come, I hope, but this was a big part of 2011.

What's on tap for my 3 Words for 2012? Well... I'll write about that soon... ;-)

Awesome Video of NY Marathon – See What 47,000 Runners Looks Like!

Amazing video from the NY MTA showing the different waves of runners starting the 2011 New York City Marathon this past Sunday on the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge. Truly incredible to see what 47,000 runners looks like...

Running The 2011 Harpoon Brewery Octoberfest 5K…

It was, quite honestly, the hardest 5K race I've yet run.

Even with the promise of beer and bratwurst at the end, the Harpoon Brewery Octoberfest Race on October 9, 2011, was still a very tough race.

Why? One simple reason....

The first mile was pretty much entirely UPHILL!

Not "up and down hills".... not "uphill with breaks now and then"... no, it was just solidly a hill that went on and on at a pretty good angle the whole way. This picture doesn't really show it, but that's part of the big hill:


The hill was really the worst part. You ran up the hill for about a mile, then went off into a development where you went down and then back up ... and then you followed the same road back.

So the good news was that you went back down that same hill you climbed! The other good news is that at least you started climbing the hill!

Two other points you might gather from that photo:

  • There were a LOT of runners! A record-breaking 1,124 runners, in fact! The biggest race I've yet run in, personally.

  • It was in the middle of the day with the sun beating down on us. I usually run in the early morning, and even most of the races I've run have started at no later than 9am, so this was a switch. Thankfully it was Vermont in October so it didn't get too hot.

As I mentioned in my previous note, registration for the race did, in fact, get you two beers and a bratwurst... right on your race bib!


The race results are now posted on and a "find" on my name would show you that I finished #574 out of 1124. I was 66th out of the 95 runners among men ages 40-49 with a net time of 33:18 and a pace of 9:15/mile.

Not my fastest 5K ever, but given the course I'll take it!

Naturally I had to indulge in the bratwurst and at least one of the two free beers:

Octoberfest afterward

As you can tell, I did NOT go the extra bit to run in any kind of Germanic costume... but there were certainly lots of others running in costume, including the group of men that were in the image I used in my last post:


I was actually amazed by some of the costumes... which can't have been much fun to run in!

And yes, as you might expect for an Octoberfest gathering (or at least an American version of one) there was indeed the requisite "oompah" band:


All in all it was a great race on a great day for a great cause ... and followed up by great food and great beer!

Now I'm looking forward to next year - at least then I'll know the course!

P.S. For my runner friends, here was the course as measured/shown by the Nike+ app on my iPhone... the race was actually a bit over a 5K... really more like 3.5 miles:


1 Day Left To Register for the Harpoon Brewery Octoberfest 5K on Oct 9th


How can you go wrong with a 5K race where your entry fee gets you 2 beers, a bratwurst and a beer stein?

Plus, apparently, a lot of people running with you wearing "German" costumes?

Our local Harpoon Brewery in Windsor, VT, is holding their 9th annual Octoberfest 5K Race this Sunday, October 9, 2011, at 11:00am. Followed, of course, by the Vermont edition of Harpoon's Octoberfest celebration (there was also one last weekend in Boston).

I haven't finalized yet if I'll be running in it, but a neighbor of mine is, and it's tempting not only for all the fun and festivities but also because it is raising funds for the Friends of the Norris Cotton Cancer Center at Dartmouth (where I've recently had some personal experience).

If you are interested, one thing to note is that there is NO on-site registration. You must register online to run the race, and...

REGISTRATION ENDS TOMORROW, October 5th, at 12noon

From the pictures, it definitely looks like a fun time...