New Year, New Look, New Topics

Happy 2022, everyone! Time to bring y’all up to date on what’s going on with the RunCoffeeWrite family.

Top of the list is my wife Joyce, battling cancer in her liver. Things are pretty good at the moment. The chemo is doing its job shrinking the tumors, and the supporting meds (anti-nausea, etc.) are helping her cope with the side effects. We’ll know more after a couple more sessions and a CAT scan scheduled for early February.

Naturally, her condition, and that I have to avoid COVID exposure as much as possible, means my plans are still unsettled. I’m signed up for the Bigfoot Snowshoe 5K in two weeks, and the Grandmaster 100K in four weeks, and I’m training like they’re both a go. But if the Omicron variant continues to run rampant, I will need to seriously rethink them. Over the holidays, three people in my longtime D&D group contracted it. Fortunately I’d given up playing live several weeks ago, so I escaped that vector (whew).

And now for some updates on the new “Big Three” items that comprise this here blog.

Running

It’s peak training for the cycle ending with the Grandmaster 100K on February 11. This week I ran hill intervals, a tempo run (a 5K at 10K effort), and two long runs of 16 and 20 miles. Plus two sessions of strength work. Yeah, I’m pretty tired. But that’s part of the training, too. And I’ve explored new dirt roads and two nature areas with trails I’d never been on before. Fun stuff.

Snow is pretty much gone, so it looks like no more snowshoe practice until Bigfoot. That’s okay. I got my “snowshoe legs” back, and regular running will serve fine as training until then.

Shoe while the snow is cold!

Coffee

This is a new subject for me to write about, although I’ve been a coffee enthusiast (re: snob) for many years now. So I’ve been trying different roasts, blends, and brewing styles, and settled on a standard “coffee at home” method that seems to produce great results every time. So I’ll be sharing all that here.

Look for upcoming posts on how I evolved from “the red can of death” to Starbucks to a Costa Rican estate and more high quality beans. I’ll cover the coffee makers I use and have used, the other gear such as grinders, and water and filters. I’ll also talk about my favorite sources for coffee and the roasts I like best, and give my personal opinion (FWIW) on the best coffee shops in Ann Arbor and wherever I travel.

Writing

I’ve posted here that I completed my first novel in early 2021 and had it professionally critiqued, with an enthusiastic “send it out.” So last year I put together a query package (and had that professionally critiqued) and sent it out to about a half dozen carefully selected agents. No pickups yet, but no way will I give up on this. Whatever happens, though, it’s been a great learning experience.

In the meantime I’m rewriting the first few chapters based on some recent beta reader feedback. And I’m also actively working on my second novel, this one science fiction. At some point I’ll be looking for beta readers for that one, too.

Other Stuff

What about the other two parts of the former RunBikeThrow?

I’m still cycling, except in the winter. I enjoy long rides very much, and it’s a great for training when the knees need a break. No plans for another 600-mile trip, at least not yet. But you never know.

And as for Aikido, I haven’t been on a mat in several years. But Aikido is with me every day. Ten years of study left its mark, and very much in a positive way. It’s quite possible I don’t finish the 100 milers (and more) without that experience. I remain grateful for it, and recommend it to anyone who’s open to it. You don’t need to be in great shape to begin. You’ll get there.

I send my instructor airborne. This remains my favorite Aikido photo.

I may even hit the Wayback machine for some stories I haven’t posted yet, in particular what the advanced classes did for me. No trade secrets, just lessons learned.

That’s all for now. One more goal I have for this year is to post more – at least once per week. There, I’ve committed to it. That’s half the battle!

2 thoughts on “New Year, New Look, New Topics

  1. Candice

    Hello Jeff! Hope you are doing alright, i couldnt help but replying to you that iam so sorry to hear that Joyce has cancer. I admire her so si much, she is just so smart and my heart feels happy to hear that you are there for her.
    Iam back on my running journey and iam doing 5K every other day to run ny first marathon in Chicago this year and i’am tempted to participate on a mini ironman in July here in MI with a costarican friend.
    Sending all my best vibes and admiration

    1. That’s terrific, Candice! Chicago was my first marathon, too. Very good experience. I’m not into triathlons so much, but I admire those who do them. Thanks for your good thoughts about Joyce. We appreciate them!

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