Epic weekend. Gunning, running and swimming. (RSD: 1417)

Run Streak Day: 1417

This weekend started the beginning of what will hopefully be a string of momentous training days.  Saturday began with an energizing breakfast, which lead to some time at the range, then some running in the woods and festivities.  But, as they say, a picture is worth a thousand words.  So below is about 8k worth of awesomeness.

  • Keep pushing the limits my friends.

This is how to get things started for an epic weekend.  Feed the body and you will be able to rock all of the awesomeness.

Home.  Home on the Range.  This is the first time shooting a gun since I left my beloved United States Marine Corps.  I am proud to say that I can still hit the target.  I forgot how much the smell of gunpowder can get your blood flowing.

First trail run in over a year.  This is the same park that part of my ultra will be in next year.  Slow and steady doesn’t win the race, but it sure does allow you to take in the pretty scenery.

Recovery Part 1.  What is the first thing you should eat or drink after running around in the woods for an hour?  Anything you dang well please.  In full disclosure, after this beer I had a protein shake and grilled chicken.

Recovery Part 2.  My friend’s house is near part of the course for my ultra, hence I have claimed it as my unofficial training center.  He has a pool in his backyard and it stays open until about November.  So even though it might be too cold some people to go swimming, not for us.  It soothes the legs while strengthening the soul.





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Damn the Crud (RSD: 1412)

The Crud Attacks

Only a few weeks into training and I am sidelined with a cold. Back to square one.

2016 Oct 12

Run Streak Day 1412

School is in full swing for my kiddo and the weather is getting cooler, so it can mean only one thing, cold season.  I got hit by a big cold last week which has slowed down my plans for a bit.  I affectionately call it “the crud.”  This was a term used when I deployed on ships in the Marine Corps and it defined the wicked cold everyone got from being sealed into a tin can with a few thousand strangers. Everyone’s funk just mixed together and no one was immune.  Now, for me, the crud is a cold I always get when I start a training program.  I feel it is a test from the running gods to see if I am serious.  I get about two weeks into training and start feeling good and then BAM! I can barely breathe and my head is pounding for days.  It sucks and it really can play mind games with you as you see the few weeks of progress slip away.  However, I have always survived and I think I am on the rebound as I type, so things are looking a bit brighter than they did yesterday.

One curse I have had with “the crud” was always “crud junior.”  That little bastard always got me just as I was recovering from the first bout of ickiness and would put me right back on my tushie for a few more days.  Granted, it was probably because I would go straight back to full fledge training the second I felt partially normal.  This year, I will hopefully combat that little creep.  I have one of those fancy sport watches which tracks everything, to include heart rate.  While sick, I could tell my resting heart rate was about 5 beats per minute higher than normal.  This morning, when I woke up and said “Yippee, I can breathe again.  Oh glory be.  Let’s go run 10 miles.” I checked my watch and my resting heart rate is still elevated. I know “crud junior” is just sitting there waiting for me to push a little too hard so he can jump on my back and drag me down.  Well not today you half sized wanna be.  I have science and a very expensive watch which will most likely give me wrist cancer on my side.

It helps that I am still in the pre-training phase.  The big fun does not start until January, so this is just working on getting a good base going.  I want to focus on increasing the miles on my legs, working on the core, and packing on some muscle so I look sexy.  All the important things.  Hopefully I can finish my running outline for 2017.  As is my tendency, it is completely illogical and senseless.  I have most of the first 4 months laid out and I get a queasy tummy just thinking about it.  With 8 more months to fill in, I am pretty sure I will be in complete panic mode by the end of this month.  It should be fun.  :)

  • Keep pushing the limits my friends
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A surprise LSD

2016 Oct 01

Run Streak Day 1401

**Warning, I tried to change some of the “salty” language to less offensive terms.  But I ain’t guaranteeing that poop worked.**


The best part of a post rainy run? Playing with new hair styles.

Went for a 3 mile run and came home with 6.  I am very used to sticking to a rigid training schedule which makes today such an oddity.  I know that, as I slip back into the warm embrace of Mother Running, I need to focus on not overdoing it and getting myself hurt before I even get really started.  But for some reason, when I got to the mile and a half mark, I felt like I would be a kitty cat if I turned around and headed home so soon.  Besides, it was raining and what better way to kick off the new month than to embrace the glory of the heavenly showers that the running gods bestowed upon us?  So yeah, I went for 3 miles before flipping a around and heading back to the house.

Luckily, I brought my handheld water bottle with me. It is something that I know I need to always practice with because the few ounces of fluid I carry during long runs actually strain my delicate shoulders.  So I try to run with the bottle I use at events as much as possible.  I was also taped up with some “Secret Life of Pets” band aides on my nips. I am damn happy I did so.  I guess, in hindsight, I know I wasn’t only going to do 5k.  But in hindsight, I should have let the rest of me know because I didn’t’ use any chafing protection.  And that makes the part of me that knew my plan a dick, because I didn’t realize that I had chafed until I got in the shower. That poop hurt!  Bastards!!!

  • Keep pushing the limits my friends

P.S. – LSD = Long Slow Day, uncase you were wondering🙂


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The running gods must be crazy

2016 Sep 29

Run Streak Day 1399


That is a light grey shirt, soaked with rain. The sign says it all.

**Warning, I tried to change some of the “salty” language to less offensive terms.  But I ain’t guaranteeing that poop worked.**

Do you want to make the running gods laugh? Then tell them your plans.  As I start my slow transition back into training, I have been struggling with the question of if I am still tough enough to handle the process.  After being low key for the last year I sort of got used to not having my legs cramp up while I sleep, or the horrible chafing on parts of the body that most people don’t even know exist, or the crushing, fall asleep while driving to work, fatigue that occurs on a daily basis.  I’m not sure if I can bounce back from my, sleeping in on the weekends, being able to wear sandals without scaring children, capable of getting off the toilet without assistance, kind of life I’ve been leading.  I know I’m going to be fine but I also know that I ain’t promising the future me a bed of roses.

This morning the running gods decided to teach me a small lesson for my lack of faith.  They needed to.  It is their job to test us, lay challenges at our feet and push us further at times when all we really need is a freaking bathroom during our long run.  For me, it was just a small reminder to stop being so soft.  Currently, I’m just trying to build up my base cardio, so I’ve been going out, running for about 10 minutes and then hitting the elliptical for another 41 minutes (the length of an episode of the CW show Arrow.)  So I got no more than 10 steps into the start of my run this morning when the running heavens opened up and a massive downpour started.  I’m talking the kind of rain that came hard, fast and in your face (…wait a minute…).

So there I was, feeling like I am running in place because the wind is so strong and all I can think of “Is it really freaking worth it?  If anything, I haven’t really started my training yet, I can call it for the day and go home and back to bed.”  I then felt a twinge of shame at having such thoughts, so I threw up the single digit salute to the skies above and told the running gods they could f’ off.  That’s when my headphones cut out.  Those bastards!  So I trudged on, cursing at the rain, calling it some “kitty cat butt poop” and that my backyard sprinkler could do a better job. That’s when the winds shifted and forced me sideways for a few steps, right into an ankle deep puddle.  Freaking female dogs.  So I proceeded to run a circuitous route, in order to hit every puddle, so I could jump in and cause a big splash.  Why?  Because, screw them, that’s why.

In the end, I went double the distance I had planned, which only ended up being a couple of miles anyway, but I think I gained much more than just another check in my box for my run streak.  I do admit, for the last few minutes of my run, the rains stopped and the winds died down.  I’m not sure if it was a sign of respect from the running gods, or if they were bored with me.  But at the very least, I know that they still consider me one of theirs.  I am still a runner worth testing and taunting.  Which feels good.  I just hope they don’t try to punish me over the winter for being gone for so long.  They can get really ornery during the cold months and it’s no fun for any of us.

-Keep pushing those limits my friends.-

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Is this the new beginning?

2016 Sep 27

Run Streak Day 1397


A man on a mission to see if he is still crazy enough to dedicate a ridiculous amount of time and effort to the simple task of running.

After about a year of taking it easy, I think I am ready to get back into the mix of, what I like to call, “crazy running.”  The desire to push myself beyond my limits has returned and I am going to jump on that train as fast as possible, for fear that it may not appear again for a long time.  Last year was amazing.  I completed my first ultra.  Then there was the week where I ran a half marathon in Virginia on a Sunday, followed by a trip to Buffalo the following weekend where I ran a 5k on Saturday and a full marathon on Sunday.  It was so much fun, the training, the comradery…the eating.  However, I felt like I needed to step back.  Like I was in a bad spot.  I wasn’t injured but I knew I was fighting against some issues with my body, mainly my hip flexors and back, and in hindsight, I was just burnt out.  Also, I wanted time to pursue other things, such as writing, art and music.  Running hours a day can really cramp your style when you also want some time to just sit down and explore photography or some other hobby.

So I decided to take some time to “deconstruct.” I stopped seeing the doctors who were keeping my body from falling apart.  I stopped participating with my running club. I even stopped running, except for the one mile a day to maintain my streak. I allowed myself to get out of shape.  I felt like I needed to build a new baseline.  In the last month I started to literally feel the weight of my decision.  As I ran, there was a bit of a jiggle going on in my midsection.  I felt that was a good indicator that my time had come to return from my hiatus.  So I looked online for 2017 races and within minutes I had three events picked out for the first have of the year.  A half marathon in February.  An event in March called the “Whale” which is an 8k on a Saturday followed by a marathon the next day. Then in April, a 100 miler.  I don’t know if I will actually do these events, but they are enough of a draw right now to make me start making training plans and looking forward to getting in longer workouts.

I should know in a few days if this is a true return to my running life or a false start.


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Teddy and the Night

This short story and accompanying sketch are inspired by The Daily Post and their prompt of the day – DARKNESS

Word Count = 921



Teddy sat still in the dimly lit room.  His ears searched for any noise in the distance.  It was just after eleven at night and Teddy knew that his day was just beginning.  He peered into the darkness and waited.  Then he heard it.  The slow, steady breathing.  He listened for a few minutes to make sure that it stayed constant. In. Out. In. Out.  Satisfied that she was asleep, Teddy slid off of his place on the shelf and headed to the closet. It was time for this bear to make the nightly rounds while Alice slept soundly in her bed.

The closet was all clear.  So was under the bed.  Teddy moved slower in his old age.  He remembered when he could inspect the entire house in a night but now he was happy to finish the one level.  His stitching was not as tight as it used to be.  He had a few patches from old rips which slowed him down.  And his right eye was missing.  Regardless, Teddy did his duty.

Teddy entered the hallway.  This part took him the longest because there were no windows to let any light in.  He had to rely on memory and feel in order to get around.  As he groped along the walls, he reminisced of the early days.  He and Alice used to be inseparable. She would take him to school, on play dates and all kinds of adventures.  Every night, they would sleep next to each other on her comfy bed.  That part made his job more difficult.  Sometimes, he wasn’t able to slip out of the covers or away from her embrace.  Luckily, Alice had other friends who could pick up the slack when he was tied up.  Duckey, Mr. Whiskers, Mee-Mee, Bow-Wow….all good toys.  Over the years, they were donated to other children but Teddy was the last of them to remain.  Alice even took him to college.  Those were interesting years.  That’s when his job mainly consisted of avoiding spilt beer and being a source of comfort because of some dumb boy or a mean teacher.

When Alice moved back in with her parents after graduation, Teddy thought maybe his time was up.  He didn’t mind the idea of sitting in a box in the attic.  It would be a well-deserved rest.  Instead, he was placed on a shelf next to some of Alice’s other childhood memories.  A picture of her at the beach.  Old dance shoes from her first recital.  And her first microscope, on which she learned the love of science.  Teddy thought it was a good spot to spend his days.  Quiet, relaxing, and far away from that little dog Alice’s parents adopted while she was off at college.  But it wasn’t.  Alice’s sleep was restless.  She tossed and turned in her old bed.  Some nights, Teddy could hear her crying.  She took to staying up late and not leaving her room until nearly lunch time.  It broke Teddy’s felt heart.

There is a secret that toys understand which humans do not.  The darkness is all connected.  The pitch blackness of your closet is connected to the somberness that can sometimes invade your spirit.  They are like portals to a dimension where fear, despair, loneliness, hate, anger, sadness and grief reside.  They can manifest creatures under your bed and bumps in the night.  However, toys like Teddy are there as guardians, combating the darkness and keeping it safe.  As Teddy watched Alice struggle night after night, he knew his dreams of retirement on the shelf had to be put on hold.  He started his rounds once again in the old house.  There were many battles during those first few months.  Some nights, Teddy could not even make it back to the shelf on his own.  Alice would find him laying in the hallway and think that maybe the puppy got him somehow.   More than once Teddy thought all was lost.  It felt like too much.  But he would never give up on Alice. She was worth fighting for every night. Then, one day, Alice started to fight back against the darkness too.  She found help from others and Teddy’s nightly rounds became less harrowing.

Teddy finally reached Alice’s parents’ room.  He peaked inside to make sure that everyone was fast asleep in bed.  Mom, Dad and puppy.  Check.  Teddy remembered how surprised he was to also find pockets of conflict here in the early days.  It had been a long time since his last battle on this side of the house, but he always checked, just in case.  Sometimes, kids are not the only ones who need a toys help.

Satisfied that everything was clear for the night, Teddy made his way back to Alice’s room.  He went over to the window and peaked through the curtains.  He could see the faintest hint of the rising sun.  Alice would be up soon.  She would be out for a jog before she went off to her new job.  Teddy thought about climbing back up on the shelf but decided to stay right there.  He would just lay down, peeking through the window and watching the world wake up to another day.  Soon enough Alice would be out of bed and, just like many times before, she would find  Teddy, brush him off, and give him a hug and kiss before placing him back amongst her other childhood memories.  And that, that alone was worth every scar and pulled button he had ever endured.

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^ that’s either a cool theme or I’m very unimaginative

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Pluck the Day: 12-29-2015

Thanks for checking out Pluck the Day! A challenge to myself to post an original drawing, sketch, cartoon, or comic at least 5 days a week.


Well, posting something 5 days a week is not possible right now, but I have been drawing almost every day, even with all the holiday chaos.  Here’s a concept I have been trying out.  The idea – who would go to a Disney Prom together.  Considering Disney has a universe filled of princesses and princes and Marvel superheroes, I wanted to see what it was like to match them up.  My daughter inspired the idea on Christmas day when she was playing with her new Disney Princess Castle and added her superhero toys to the dance party.  Man, I love this kid!

So, I started off with what I think is an obvious choice, Cinderella and Captain America.  I plan to do a more final version when I have more time.  Until then I am wrapping up a short story I wrote and hope to get published sometime next year.  I am finishing with the Beta Reading now and then it is off to the editor.  After that is the heart breaking journey to a million rejection letters, but all I need is just one yes. J

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Pluck the Day: 12-23-2015

Thanks for checking out Pluck the Day! A challenge to myself to post an original drawing, sketch, cartoon, or comic at least 5 days a week.

A quick sketch at the end of my workday yesterday.  The first picture was the concept I drew out on a page with a bunch of doodles and abandoned ideas.  When I went to recreate it, I didn’t quite nail it but it still looks okay.  In order to go out on a high note, I threw in the “Joe Cool” bear in the corner.  It made me smile.   

Next week I am going to start doing themed weeks, like: Disney Week, or musical instrument week, or things found in the trunk of a car week (I’m from Jersey, so that one could get interesting.)  If you have any theme suggestions, submit them in the comments.  If I use it, I will make sure to thank you and promote your blog, twitter, Facebook, or whatever you want throughout the week. 

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Pluck the Day: 12-20-2015

Thanks for checking out Pluck the Day! A challenge to myself to post an original drawing, sketch, cartoon, or comic at least 5 days a week.


We are in New Jersey (a.k.a.: the Motherland) for the weekend.  We will be celebrating an early Garden State Christmas before heading home to Northern Virginia so we can get ready for Santa.    

I didn’t bring any colored pencils or pens with me this trip but luckily there are crayons at the house.  I feel like a kid again.

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Pluck the Day: 12-17-2015

Thanks for checking out Pluck the Day! A challenge to myself to post an original drawing, sketch, cartoon, or comic at least 5 days a week.


Work in progress.  I am working on a big piece that is due in about a month and this is one of the characters I am hoping to add.   It is part of a competition for a DJ who is looking for promotional artwork in the style of a comic book cover.  This is definitely the point where my passion and my talent conflict.  I have great ideas but sure as heck can’t execute them, especially in 30 days.  But, I enjoy the challenge of trying to do a specific piece that requires me to try and capture someone’s spirit within a specific genre.

I have no absurd expectations at winning this competition but I do enjoy the mental exercise it requires.  It reminds me of running marathons.  It takes a lot of training and time but a lot of people do it and have no hope of winning.  Just finishing is a win for most people.  I wish people would take the same approach to other type of competitions, like art, writing, and singing.  I think then it would make it less scary for people, including myself, if it wasn’t viewed as for only the elite.

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