Sunday, December 7, 2014


Waaayyy back in 2010, when I was close to turning 30, I decided I should go in for a physical. This would be the first physical I'd gotten since I was in college and on my parents' healthcare insurance. The results were fine. In fact, the nurse told me that my bloodwork was so healthy it was "sickening."

What wasn't fine was my weight.

I'm 5'9" and on the stocky side. During my senior year in high school, when I ran 40-50 miles a week in the spring/summer/fall and starved myself for wrestling in the winter, I weighed roughly 150 pounds. 

By the time I graduated college, at age 23, I weighed about 170 pounds, which I thought was fine, basically about what I should weigh given my age and frame. 

On May 10th, 2010, at age 29, I weighed 220 pounds.

As the nurse read my weight out loud on the scale, I shook my head and smiled. I believe she thought my smile meant, My, how that weight certainly does creep up! when in reality, I was thinking to myself, HOLY SHIT! HOLY SHIT! HOW THE HELL DID I GET SO GODDAM HEAVY?!

Immediate action was needed. I decided to do what I had done back in 2005: run a marathon. It wouldn't be easy, but it shouldn't be too bad. After all, I ran throughout high school, kept it up a bit in college, and was able to train pretty well for a marathon back in 2005. The extra 50 pounds I was now carrying shouldn't be that much of a factor. 

I believed this, because I was a moron. 

Training for a marathon in 2010 was one of the toughest summers of my life. It didn't help that the summer of 2010 in Chicago was disgustingly hot.  The marathon itself, though in October, also reached about 85 degrees Fahrenheit. My finishing time was 5 hours and 55 minutes. Five years earlier, at age 24, my finishing time for the Chicago Marathon was 4 hours and 15 minutes. 

Apparently the extra 50 pounds made a slight difference.

There were some other factors for such a shitty time: getting excited and starting out too fast, relying on a faulty Nike iPod odometer, which slighted over-calculated my distance over 3 months of training. 

The reason I ran, losing weight, did not produce the stunning results I'd been hoping for either. Oh, I'd lost some weight, down to about 210 lbs, but I'd been hoping to get to 180.

However, I did go from this:

To this:

within a year, so some success. (Both these pictures were taken at friends' weddings about a year apart).

I decided to run the Chicago Marathon again in 2011. Which I finished in 5:15. My weight was down to about 200 lbs. Not bad, but not where I wanted to be. So then I decided to run the Chicago marathon again, only this time, I was also going to watch what I ate as well as meticulously plan my runs using MapMyRun.

In the 2012 Chicago Marathon, I finished in 4:35 minutes. I am absurdly proud of this, though really, for a runner my age, it's barely in the middle of the pack, and also twenty minutes slower than when I ran it in 2005.

I also weighed about 185 pounds at that point, which I was unbelievably ecstatic about, as I was able to fit into all of my old clothes again. 

Over the next year, I did OK with running and my weight, keeping it around 185-190 and managing to get about 5-15 miles in per week. Not perfect, but not bad either. Maintainable. 

Flash forward to today... since moving out to Seattle, and discovering its wonderful food (I'm pretty certain they lace their sushi with crack), I was disappointed, though unsurprised, to see my weight has crept up to 205 lbs. 

And that's why, on June 14th, 2015, five days after my 34th birthday, I'll be running the Seattle Rock 'n Roll Half Marathon. Half-marathon, instead of a full, because Seattle is A LOT hillier than Chicago and I'm still getting used to running up and down the mountainous roads of the Pacific Northwest. Also, I've come to believe that a half-marathon is sort of an optimal healthy distance for running. I've felt great running a half-marathon, but in a full 26.2, there's I always hit a point where I think to myself, "OK, this is no longer beneficial to my body."

I'm not saying running is the healthiest or the best way to go about losing weight. I can only say that it works for me consistently. I burn more calories than I consume when I'm running regularly. That's just math, bitches. It also helps to eat right, get enough sleep, and not overindulge in anything worth overindulging in. There are some great training programs out there, and a lot of them are free.

So I would encourage any one of my friends who doesn't run to give it a try. It's a great time to think about things. (I frequently brainstorm story and book ideas.) You can listen to some fantastic music to get you motivated. (I think I'll post my running playlist soon.) And, though you may not believe it, you get the benefits of a runners' high, which is like Mother Nature's own anti-depressant/sedative.

Take a step out onto the road. You won't regret it. :)

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Getting Colder

Fall is coming! I've had to scrape off my vanpool window (long story--another update), and finally turn on the heater in my apartment. Oh well, I guess it's snowing in Chicago and Michigan, so it could be worse.

Here's the view of the trail I take when I bus/walk to work. You won't find this in Chicago!

Sadly, I have a feeling the leaves are going to get browner and the days a bit shorter. I'm told those in the PNW (Pacific North West) actually grow to prefer the dark and the gloom. I haven't reached that point yet, and I'm kind of hoping I never do. :)

Sunday, November 2, 2014

A Quick Story of Tricks and Treats

It has been ages since I last wrote anything on here, and for that I apologize. I will try and post more regular in the near future. A lots happened since last I wrote, and I will post updates on that soon. In the meantime, I thought I'd share a short little story of what happened to me this Halloween.

I didn't go out for Halloween this year. One reason was that I'm still in the midst of meeting friends and creating something resembling a social circle here in Seattle. Another reason was that I'd had friends visit from out of town earlier in the week, and had hung out quite late with them on both Sunday and Tuesday. Third, my office has a pretty fun and kickass Halloween party every year:

So I thought was good enough. Also, I was just exhausted. So I stayed in on Halloween Friday, but not before leaving out a little offering for any potential trick-or-treaters in my apartment complex:

A few weeks ago, I had posted a picture of the Halloween decorations on my neighbors' door, because I thought they were hilarious and I liked their style:

So I stayed in Friday, watched a few short, scary films online, had my traditional viewing of Ghostbusters, and then went to take the trash out before bed.

And this is what I found:

AHHHH! The mummy moved! It wanted candy! A trick, a fine trick indeed. I checked my watch. It was just ten minutes to midnight. Enough time to respond with a trick myself.

So this is what I placed outside their door:

And how would his dancing partner, the skeleton react?

I think I made my point. Anyway, Happy Halloween everyone! :)

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Photo of the day

Hmmm, I think they might be related, somehow. 

Wednesday, May 7, 2014


So, a little over two years ago I met a lovely girl named Amanda on an OKCupid date. After about three months and an interesting series of events, Amanda moved out to Seattle to attend graduate school. As a final date, I drove across the country with her and her dog, and helped her move into her new house in Seattle. Then we bid each other a heartfelt, tearful farewell at the SeaTac airport and I flew back to Chicago.

Except it didn't end there. 

Those who know me, know that I'm not a huge fan of long-distance relationships, to the point where a few years ago, I angrily vowed never to date anyone outside of the Chicago area code. 

You can probably see where this is going. Amanda and I began to spend every night talking for hours. My roommate at the time, Matt, smiled when I told him about this. When I asked him why he was smiling, he said, "Dude, you guys are totally dating."

I was surprised. Not at his pronouncement; on some level I knew that Amanda and I had been continuing our relationship long-distance. What surprised me was that I was delighted, even giddy at the thought. A few nights later, I laid it out there for Amanda, saying (with my typical tact), "Can we just call this what it is? We're clearly dating."

Several months later, after numerous flights across the country, I decided to see what life in Seattle might be like. This wasn't a decision I made lightly. I really liked my life in Chicago, as evidenced by the fact that I lived there for nine years. Chicago is close to family, friends, and right next to one of the most beautiful lakes in the world. There is literally somewhere new to try for dinner every night if I'd wanted to. I've run this city's marathon four times. I had a great job I enjoyed at a pretty awesome non-profit publishing company

And yet, the more I thought about it, the more I knew I needed to go to Seattle. 

I suppose at this point I should go for the 'ooh's' and 'aah's' by saying that I was moving for love and that's why I needed to go. 

That's part of the truth. I was moving because I loved an amazing woman. 

But that isn't the whole truth. The whole truth was that I didn't want fear or comfort being the reason I stayed in Chicago. I didn't want to look back on my life and wonder what it would have been like if I followed Amanda out to Seattle. 

In the deepest part of my heart, I knew I needed an adventure. 

Not a 2-3 week jaunt to another country. I've had plenty of those over the years. I'm talking about an extreme life change, the kind I used to make every other year when I was in college, when I lived in Ireland, then Peru, then Chicago, then Costa Rica, ultimately leading me back to my job and life in Chicago. 

Whether Amanda and I work out or not (and I very much hope we do), I knew that I had to at least try to move out to the Northwest. 

First, I asked the Great Books Foundation if they'd be willing to let me do my current job remotely. They weren't, but to their credit, they did offer me an different position in the Seattle area. Unfortunately, the position they offered (and I can't stress enough that I was grateful for the offer) wasn't something I could see myself doing. Also, I knew if I moved to do a I job I hated, it would only hurt my relationship.

So I started applying for publishing jobs, guessing it would probably be months and months before I got a bite, and thinking that if someone was interested in hiring me, I'd take that as a sign that I should move. 

Within a week, I got an interview with the second place I applied, as a Production Editor at an amazing company called becker&mayer book producers.  Please take a second to check out their website. Note the Star Wars, Star Trek, and Game of Thrones products they've worked on. 

I took the job and, as you can guess, I'm kind of in heaven at this office. :)

In fact, I'm loving Seattle. There's a troll under a bridge here. There's a science fiction museum.

There's mountains. Lakes and forests everywhere!

All built around an amazing city.

So far, life is good! Amanda and I live in a pretty nice little apartment right by Magnuson Park along Lake Washington. I've done a lot of writing. I've sold a few stories. I've joined a pretty fun writing group, and I've started training for a half-marathon in June. All of which will get their own future blog posts over the next few months.

And that's where my life is up until this point. I expect to be updating this blog a bit more frequently in the near future. Feel free to drop me a line and say hello!

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Penumbra eMag: Where Do They Come From?

Hey folks! I wrote a blog entry for Penumbra magazine about stories and how I came up with idea for the story "Little Green Soldiers" (which was published in their December 2013 issue). 

Check it out when you get a chance:

Penumbra eMag: Where Do They Come From?: by Patrick Hurley Ideas for stories are funny things. They come from the most random combination of thoughts and at completely unexpected ...

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Changes Are Coming

Hello, you old blog! How are things? 

Oh. Oh, really? I'm so very sorry. 

No, I had no idea I let you fall into disrepair and ruin.

Yes, yes, I've been busy with other things. 

What are those other things? Well... I have been, um writing. Short stories and working on a book. Yes! That's it! And running! Marathons and such. Also, I moved across the country and--

You're right. Yes. I have still managed to find time to play video games, watch Netflix, and dink around the internet during this period of great change. 

No, it's not that you're not important, I just haven't--

Fine. You're right. I will pay more attention to you. 

How about we take you to the blog spa and get you a blog makeover? 

Ohhh, you like that, don't you? All right! Deal! We're going to spruce you up a bit, you quirky old, blog you.