Puggles and Bicycles and Farmers Markets

Oh, dear. Where to begin? The primary focus of this site is supposed to be running events, but I’ve done fewer and fewer of them since I left Charleston for New England. It’s time to explain that, and to start writing again in general.

The first reason for the drop in races is the weather. New England just can’t compete with Charleston’s 11-month running season. During the winter, people tend to do other stuff. There are also fewer races up here, more distance between event locations, and a bit of trouble with organizing them. I’ve come to realize that I was spoiled by Charleston’s clockwork precision in the race organizing department. And of course, races cost money. We’ve had trouble with that over the past couple of years.

Farmers Markets

Most races are on Saturday or Sunday mornings, which has become a problem since my wife started a gluten free baking business. Well, okay, not at first. It only became a problem when things started picking up. We’re doing farmers markets now, so my weekends are just about blown.

Galley Goodies at the South Portland Farmers Market
When we have a sunny day, we sell quite a bit of stuff.

On the bright side, sales are steadily picking up. I miss my morning adventures to various running events, but it’s hard to argue with additional income. If things keep going this way, I’ll eventually end up working for my own wife instead of some stranger’s company. Seriously, one day I could quit my day job for this. We’re doing five different markets right now.

Bicycle as Transportation

I’ve never been the type to bicycle for sport or exercise, as I prefer running for that. However, I have a long history of biking to work when possible. Cara needs the car to make deliveries and run errands, so it seems like a waste for me to drive to work. It’s a 40-minute ride to work (including a downtown delivery), and a 20-minute ride home. This is transportation for me, but it also counts as exercise. If I miss a day of running, it won’t be so bad because I still have the bike ride ahead of me.

Brian in a bicycle helmet with rain clouds in the background.
More than once, I’ve raced home to stay ahead of angry clouds.

The only real problem is when it rains, but that works out because my boss is a sport cyclist. When he looks out the window and sees a wall of misery approaching, he tells me that I should probably jump on the bike and pedal hard. I’ll eventually get caught in a downpour, but I prepare for that. It’s not a bad deal.

Running with a Puggle

I get up at 4am now. Yeah, seriously. 4am. That’s what it’s like to be married to a baker. This means that the dogs are up and walked by 4:20am or so, and then I head out for my run. I haven’t done as many long runs lately for two reasons. First, I can’t push myself to exhaustion and still do all of my stuff.

I work a day job, help with my wife’s business, and spend a certain amount of time learning techie stuff for the aforementioned day job. I need to be awake and alert, and there’s no time for power naps. The second reason involves Finnea, our 1-year old puggle.

When her age and the weather permitted, I started taking Finnea with me. I like running with a dog, but the main reason is to get her out of the house and bleed off some of her energy surplus. Sometimes she cries or barks when I’m gone and Cara is in the kitchen. It doesn’t matter that Cara is working and I’m out running. Finnea wants her humans, and she wants them now! Taking her with me solves the problem. Finnea gets to play a bit by running, and it makes her a bit more reasonable for the rest of the day.

Finnea the puggle, running at Back Cove
Finnea likes to run along the water. She also likes to run in irregular sprints, combined with leaps to either side. We’re still working on the whole “steady pace” concept.

I don’t take her too far, because I don’t know what her limit is. I have to gradually work her up to it and watch her as I go. A dog will run because it loves you, and might push its limits a little too hard in the process. We have to be careful with our furry friends, to make sure we don’t overwork them. So she runs every other day at most, and I watch her on the off days to see if she’s doing okay.

So far, the results are impressive. A two-mile run means absolutely nothing to her, and has no effect on her behavior. A three-mile run doesn’t seem to affect her, but results in a power nap later. Four miles is as far as I’ve taken her, and that seems to result in an immediate power nap. In all cases, she’s crazy again by the middle of the day. Her recovery speed is incredible. I think she might eventually become a 10K dog.

But again, I should mention safety. It’s summer, and she’s black. Her fur will absorb light and warm her up a little more than dogs of lighter colors. This is why I run with her in the early morning, and take short breaks. If I go longer than three miles, I take a collapsible bowl with me and take advantage of the water fountains at Back Cove. And if I someday take her farther than four miles, I’ll most likely carry water with me as well.

Anyway, that’s the story behind the reduced number of races and my reduced frequency of writing. Life is just getting busy, and I need to manage my time a little better to fit everything in.