Nature’s Way

Spring is when our natural world emerges from hibernation—at least that’s how it works in places like New England—especially in the far-flung northern locales of the region. Buds appear, perennials poke up through the earth, and dormant lawns demand attention by way of a lawn mower.

Even in the midst of coping with the fallout from death and loss, it’s impossible not to notice and be affected by spring’s rousing “hallelujah.”

May moves forward and folds into June. Summer’s official commencement isn’t far off. And yet, the defining event rooted in winter’s cold and darkness travels with Mary and me, no matter how bright the sun shines, or how directly its rays reflect.

Upon returning from California, I was shoved into normalcy. I say “normal,” knowing that for us, normal will never be the same again. How can it be after losing someone we loved as deeply as Mark?

I’ve blogged about being a baseball umpire. Spring is a busy time when you officiate high school baseball in Maine. While our season is shorter than other parts of the country, by the first week of May, high school schedules are in full swing. With rainouts backing games up and umpiring numbers being down across all four umpiring boards in the state, you can work as many games as you want and can physically tolerate. Continue reading

From the Bike Seat

On Sunday, I was out biking around Massachusetts, and even up into New Hampshire, part of the Bicycles Battling Cancer (BBC) ride, which was staged from Hillside School, in Marlborough, Massachusetts. A fun time was had by all, or most of the riders, save for some Monday aches and soreness from riding anywhere from 30 to 100 miles.

Mary and I opted for the 70-mile leg, which today feels just about right. I’m sore, and a bit tired, but am grateful that I was able to help in some small way the battle against the scourge of cancer. I’m also appreciative of those who helped me double my fundraising total of $300. Stay tuned, as I want to give a public shout out to all of you later in this post.

Marlborough is like many places I’ve dropped in on in Massachusetts, always passing through. If all you ever do is drive to Boston, or blow through the state via the many interstates criss-crossing The Commonwealth, then you’d think the state is nothing but one big strip of convenience stores, strip malls, and business parks—and much of Massachusetts consists of these things.

The best part of BBC, save for the underlying purpose, was getting out on my bike and seeing things that you’d never experience from interstates like I-495, or I-290. Even better, biking slows travel down to where you actually notice things on the side of the road and can begin to assemble a different narrative, recognizing that Massachusetts is more than simply Boston, or Worcester, or even Cape Cod. Continue reading


Success is often attributed to developing certain habits. I think there is something to be said for developing traits that are replicable. That’s what we know as discipline.

There are a host of books that serve as guidelines for developing these routines designed to lead to successful outcomes. Here’s a recent one that comes to mind. Then there are the standards that have stood the test of time.

In my own life, certain rituals have evolved and have become ingrained. I rarely vary from them.

Getting up early is one of them. If I’m not up by 5:30 every morning, something’s certainly amiss. Many mornings, like Mondays and Fridays (my swim mornings), I’m up at 4:30, if not earlier. 5:00 a.m. is my preferred alarm clock setting.

Here's someone who was an advocate for routines.

Here’s someone who was an advocate for routines.

Continue reading

Another Chapter of Swim, Bike, Run

This is post-triathlon Monday for the Baumers of Old Orchard Beach (our temporary residence for at least one more day). I’m waking up pretty sore, especially in my quads and calves. Mrs. B is still asleep. I’m not going to wake her because she’s earned the right to sleep-in today.

My wife Mary—the reason that I do these crazy, swim, bike, run successions—shaved 22 minutes off her previous Olympic-length triathlon results, back in 2012, the last time she competed in that particular length race. Last year she tackled the half and the year before that, we were Team Baumer, completing that year’s Rev3 as a family unit of me, Mary, and Mark. I was also weeks from a collapsed lung.

Miss Mary was up to the Challenge (Maine).

Miss Mary was up to the Challenge (Maine).

Continue reading

Brighten Up

There’s no shortage of depressing topics to tackle on any given day. For whatever reason of late, the news seems worse than ever.  Even our local stories have been angling towards the negative.

I was thinking about offering my two cents worth about our “fiscally conservative” governor granting raises ranging from seven to 23 percent to a group of his administrators. Then, like nearly everyone else, I’ve gotten sucked into the Marcy’s Diner news and Facebook vortex. But alas, the thought of stirring up controversy on a perfect Friday morning during the height of Maine’s tourist season is just too freakin’ depressing.

So instead, I’m touching down today on talk about female empowerment and volunteerism. Can’t get in any trouble with that, can you? Continue reading

Put It in the Books

I have continued setting goals that stretch, and force me outside of my comfort zone. This is all part of continuing down the road that runs through reinvention and beyond. Some of these recent goals have really pushed me physically. Others involve continuing growing as a writer, another goal I set for myself a decade ago.

On Sunday, I completed my first Olympic triathlon. That’s something I had planned to accomplish last year, but a bike accident in early August derailed my plans. My wife, Mary, was even more amazing—she rocked her first half Rev—doubling my distances on the bike and in the run, and going .3 miles further on the swim.

The number tattoos have been applied--Rev3 2014.

The number tattoos have been applied–Rev3 2014.

Training began for me back in February. I remember my first tentative run at the Bath Y. I was happy that I ran 21 minutes on the indoor track without pain, as I was trying to push beyond a time in the fall when I couldn’t run at all due to excruciating left hip pain. Continue reading

Slowing Down the Aging Process

Becoming a triathlete was a positive step for me. I was simply following my wife’s lead. Mary launched a brand new fitness/exercise chapter in her own life, five years ago, when a group of co-workers competed in the Pirate Tri that year at Point Sebago.

Two years ago, she began training with a group of women called sheJAMs. I can say that this has changed her life in a positive way.

Last year, because I decided to stop making excuses, I became a swimmer, long after old dogs learn new tricks. Swimming is something I have come to appreciate and even enjoy. It’s a fitness activity I should be able do for the rest of my life that’s also good for me.

My first Pirate Tri in 2013 was just about finishing. This year, I was hoping to improve on my time. Continue reading

The Best Kind of Partner

Heading out for the Pirate Tri, 2013.

Heading out for the Pirate Tri, 2013.

On Sunday, I completed my first sprint triathlon. I’ve waited five decades to literally “take the plunge” and make this happen.

My wife, Mary, competed in her very first tri in 2010. Her coming out event was also the Pirate Tri, at Point Sebego Resort. I was a spectator at that one.

For the past few years, I’ve wanted to join her, but I considered the swim portion more than I could handle. I didn’t believe that something that I have never been very good at, could be brought up to a level where I could complete a 1/3rd mile swim, followed by a vigorous 15-mile bike ride, and ending with a 5k run. Continue reading

The Swimmer

Olympic swimmer, Ryan Lochte, at 2012 games in London.

Olympic swimmer, Ryan Lochte, at 2012 games in London.

2013 is setting up as a year of pushing boundaries and skirting limits. It’s all about embracing new things and recognizing fresh possibilities.

By the time you read this, I’ll be wrapping up my first swim lesson with my new coach.

In 2010, my lovely wife, Mary, decided that she was tired of all the smack-talking that her co-workers were doing about competing in a triathlon. She decided that she was going to show them what the Mary Baumer Experience was all about. That June she participated in her first sprint triathlon. Since then, she’s completed five sprints and last August, she completed her first Olympic-length triathlon. Continue reading