Breaking Bad Habits : Eating a proper breakfast

Being a natural morning person, you would think that I would take the time to eat a nutritional breakfast.  

The reality is that the time between rolling out of bed and the time I disarm the codes at work is only about thirty minutes which includes a ten minute commute.  

I only have enough time to get dressed and get out the door.  Then I’m thrown into my morning ritual and it doesn’t hit me until about two hours later that I’m starving.  

By then the grill is going and well as the ovens.  Breakfast usually consists of pizza, pasta, or sandwich…I know, gross.  

So to break this habit that surely keeps me from dropping a couple pant sizes, I stopped by the local store and grabbed a dozen eggs and a bunch of bananas.

As soon as I got to work at 6AM I would crack a few open, grab a saute pan and scramble.  Then throw in whatever left -overs there were at the restaurant.  Maybe some spinach or broccoli.  Or if I was lucky there would be some ham.  

I love scrambled eggs and because they are so cheap, I can cut down my food cost while cutting down my weight at the same time.  I also found that I stay full longer when i’m not eating garbage.  

Web MD had the following to say about eating a healthy breakfast

“Studies show that eating a healthy breakfast (as opposed to the kind containing doughnuts) can help give you:

  • A more nutritionally complete diet, higher in nutrients, vitamins and minerals.
  • Improved concentration and performance in the classroom or the boardroom.
  • More strength and endurance to engage in physical activity.”

Clark’s Reservation

Needed an early morning hike and some much needed time to myself.  

Clark’s Reservation, south of Syracuse, offers some moderate hiking challenges as well as some awesome views.  

I was the only person here so it was nice to just sit and take it all in.  I could hear the undisturbed wildlife moving all around me.  

Return To Road Work

It’s been two weeks since the Boilermaker road race and I needed to give my legs a long rest. 

Running is arguably the best cardiovascular exercise.  However, it’s so high impact that it tears your body up.  And the bigger you are the higher the impact.  

So in the meantime, I indulged in a modest splurge, and bought a bike.   I haven’t rode a bike in almost 15 years so I was a little rusty but it was a great way to stay active.   Cycling is such a low impact sport that injury rarely occurred.

Today, I took a nice jog and it felt amazing.  I’m looking forward to cross training on the bike while I recover between runs. 

A Race Like No Other : Utica Boilermaker 


“I don’t want your time.  I want your best. ” 2014 Tough Mudder

For the 6th consecutive year I head to Utica for the greatest 15K race in America.

Every year, on the second Sunday of July local Uticans and running enthusiasts are joined by the most elite distance runners in the world for the annual Boilermaker

If you have been following my blog you know that I have been working very hard to get in shape for this event.  Not focusing so much on time but completing it without walking.

I may have finished this race 5 times before but I have only ran start to finish one time back in 2012.

I will touch on the pro and cons of straight running and using the run/walk method some other day.

Starting Line and Mile 1:

15,000 runners file into their starting areas  based on their running speed. as the national anthem is played.  8am on the dot, the gun fires while the Rocky Theme plays in an endless loop

As I reach the starting line on Culver Ave, I pass the street corner where I took my driving test to get my license all those years ago.  All East Utica Residents are out to cheer on their local runners.  I see one of my first managers from the grocery store on the side lines.


9,2 mile guy

Mile 2 The International Mile:

As you past the one mile mark to enter what is known as the International Mile.  Here you are met by volunteer organizations singing and dancing in support of the runners.

Irish Dancers, Egyptian Belly Dances, Etc all make appearances and it’s always a great site to see.

Mile 3 The Parkway:

After we pass the local Community College, MVCC we turn unto the historic Utica Parkway.

This is where the über rich of Utica live, but they all come out to show their support by handing out $100s of dollars in popicles  to the runners.

I’m still holding up well.  I’m going slow and steady because I know the worst part is coming

Mile 4 Valley View Hill

Hardest Part right here.  We hang a left and start heading up a steep hill towards the Valley View Golf Course.

Once you make the right onto the course you have to clime the most brutal switch back in the entire course.  I know that if I can make it up this hill without stopping,  I can do the entire race.

This is where I put my head down and just focus on putting one foot in front of the other.

When you hit the top you are on top of the world as you are met with the picturesque view of the Mohawk Valley, guess that’s where the golf course got its name.

Mile 5 – Return to the park way and South Utica

Down the hill and out the back exit of Valley View.    Make the left back unto the Parkway and don’t forget to pet the snake that’s waiting on the outside of the Utica Zoo entrance.

Now, we head into South Utica where I spent a lot of time growing up.  Just down the street is my grandmas house as well as my old school and church.

Mile 6 -Burrstone Road

Face a little bit of a hill here as we turn on Burrstone Road.  Just down the road is where I had my first job bagging groceries and played all my years of baseball.


Mile 7 Utica college

Make a right and there is St. Luke’s Hospital on the left where my brother Cameron was born and on the right is Utica College when I attended college.  Seems like forever ago.

And there it is “Michael Haddad’s Water Station”.  Dedicated to my cousin who went to Utica College and died of cancer at a very young age.


Mile 8 Yorkville

Here is where the fan support really picks up.

The entire race I make it a point to give “5” to anyone offering it and say hello to everyone I know. (Something I used to avoid)

The firefighters have the sprinkles out for a little cool down

Mile 9 Homestretch 

As we come to West Utica, my abdominal cramps start getting out of hand.  I need to take a 10 second breather to get it to stop.  But then I sprint for a good 15 second to make up the lost time and because I continued to run afterwards without stopping I don’t consider that a failure.

Now, I can see the finish line right outside the Saranac Brewery as I pick up the pace.

The announcer calls out my name as I finish my 6th Boilermaker and 2nd without stopping.

My wife and son are there to meet me as I bask in my own glory.

All my hard work has paid off.   Until next year Utica.


Cazenovia 5K : Return To Road Races

The last time I ran at 5K race was in December of 2012.   I may have done the TM and Boilermaker every year since but my training and performance were mediocre at best.

So on the morning of 4th of July with less than a week before the Boilermaker Race, I headed up to Cazenovia for their 45th Annual 4th of July Foot Races.

I love Caz.  So many cool restaurants and shops.  Not to mention so many interconnected hiking trails.

There was a 10 mile loop around the lake but I opted for the 3.1 Mile race considering I haven’t ran that long in so long and I have to do 9.3 miles this Sunday.


1K – “No Hurry” by Zac Brown Band

I start out at a moderate pace.  Biggest mistake by a runner is to “come out to early” I.e.  Starting too fast and wasting all your energy.

Turn the corner on Emory Drive and there it is…huge hill.  I flip on my music and on comes Zac Brown Band.

I won’t be in any hurry getting up this hill
2K – “Devil went down to Georgia” Charlie Daniels Band

At the top of the hill we hit the 1K mark.  Time to pick up the pace and the tempo.  Charlie Daniel’s awesome fiddle work will do the trick.


3K  “Lose Yourself” Eminem

Like so many races before,  I depend on my mind and music to get me through these runs.  It’s more of a mental sport than anything.   The minutes and miles can go so much faster if you let your mind wonder and let the music take you somewhere else.

I’m a big country music fan but I find it hard to run to.  So I keep some high tracks with a higher tempo handy for when I run.

 This song makes me think about my days in the boarding house.  When I had to worry about what time I came home in fear of being assualted.  And what it would take to dig myself out.  

The run is easier now.  Steady down hill. 


4K “Invincible” Machine Gun Kelley

Waking up sweatin from the stress of being caged down

Everything I write is played out like what is this?
Tear the whole page out
Man I come from holes in the wall but they don’t know the path
Even if I told them it all, they wouldn’t know the half”

I only snap back to reality when the volunteers shout out the times at each kilometer marker.  

I’m going up a hill again and now for the first time.  I’m winded.  

5K ” Not Afraid”  Eminem

The thought of walking crosses my mind…but only for an instant.  

I remember how much work I had to do just to get back to running 3 miles.  How just last year I had the beginnings of a bad little drinking habit  that left me very out of shape and irritable.  

“It was my decision to get clean, I did it for me
Admittedly, I probably did it subliminally
For you, so I could come back a brand new me you helped see me through”

Soon I could see the finish line and I turned up the heat. 

“If you can fill the unforgiving Minute with 60 seconds worth of distance run, yours is the earth and everything that’s in it”

It was a great run.  No personal records were broken but it feels great to be back at it.  


West Shore Trail

Usually over shadowed by the more popular Onondaga Lake Parkway East Shore Trail, there is still plenty to enjoy on the other side of the lake.  

The West Shore Trail spans from Long Branch Beach and travels all the way up to the new Lake View Amphitheatre.

Didn’t have the stroller with us so with the mighty toddler we only got so far.  

Not too crowded, this trail has lots of nice views and sub trails to explore.