"The woods are lovely, dark and deep, but I have promises to keep, and miles to go before I sleep, and miles to go before I sleep."

Sunday, December 31, 2006

Climb Every Mountain

This morning Bill and I revisited our old familiar running route – the greenway along Willey Drive and the Roanoke River.

It was the first time we have run together in a while and I found it fitting we should do so along this course where we shared many a pre-dawn run while training for the Virginia Beach Rock and Roll Half Marathon.

A light misting of rain filled the sky but the temperature was moderate so overall, the running conditions were just fine. As we proceeded along our well known route, I began to think of what awaits tomorrow morning;

The run ↑ UP ↑ Mill Mountain.

Using the U.S. Track and Field website’s route mapping feature, reveals this little jaunt to be an approximate 5 mile climb of nearly 1100 feet. And while it might not be Mt. Everest, I’m pretty sure it will prove to be a daunting challenge.

I’ll let you know how we fare.

“Challenges are what make life interesting; overcoming them is what makes life meaningful.” – Joshua J. Marine

Saturday, December 30, 2006

And Then There Were Three

I went for a short 3 mile run this morning.

Thought I might do more when I started but didn't feel it today.

Have battled a bit of a cold for several days and am a bit fatigued from the fight so considering the circumstances, persevering for 3 miles is okay by me.

I'm still on for the annual run UP Mill Mountain on New Year's Day!

“Without perseverance talent is a barren bed” - Welsh Proverb

Friday, December 29, 2006

Reflections on 50

Turning 50 isn’t what it used to be.

Or maybe it only seems that way because this past July, I did so.

I remember as the day of reckoning neared, I felt no undue apprehension; no obsession with negative self-evaluation; no sense of pending doom and gloom. Instead a certain degree of excitement filled my days as the count down timer on my Google homepage kept me abreast of the number of days, hours, minutes and seconds remaining until I arrived at the beginning of my brand new decade.

As the days and weeks passed, I began to view the increasing lines in my face and my graying hair in a different light. The words distinguished and stately faintly echoed somewhere in the far regions of my consciousness. When the need for new glasses arose, I chose a frame style reminiscent of those worn by my father for my new progressive lens bifocals. And at some point, I considered smoking a pipe.

I was embracing my fifty-ness with open arms.

When the day finally arrived, a few friends and family members gathered with me to help celebrate my milestone. Those yet to cross this threshold of time showered me with the usual array of gag gifts; a box of Depends, some Rogaine, a walker, etc., while the over 50 contingent simply looked on with that recognizable, all knowing expression which says both, “It’s really not a big deal” and “Boy, I wish I were 50 again.”

My wife’s sister and husband gave me $12.50, the exact amount needed for an AARP membership. I promptly mailed it in.

My two adult children called to wish me well and in doing so, uncomfortably uttered the words old man no fewer than a dozen times.

And my college freshman (step) daughter assured me I didn’t at all look 50.

She’s really sweet.

Not long afterwards, I went for my obligatory physical examination and received a clean bill of health. This included the welcome news that I would not be subjected to the ever so humbling experience of another colonoscopy for 10 more years.

Words alone cannot adequately express my gratitude for this revelation.

And so as I look back over the course of time since my birthday, I realize I didn’t feel 50 then, nor do I now. In many ways in fact, I feel better than I have at any other time in my life.

For example in reaching this point, I’ve discovered there is either less stress in my life to contend with or dealing with it more effectively is simpler. Either way, it’s a win.

At 50, parental responsibilities, fiscal concerns and the concept of time are vastly different from when I was a younger man.

And physically, I’ve never been fitter.

Six years ago, I became a runner and since July I’ve run two half marathons. And even though my favorite running shirt states “In my mind, I am a Kenyan,” I haven’t set any speed records.

But I have finished.

And I intend to continue finishing in 2007 as a full race calendar awaits. This could be the year I run my first marathon, or triathlon, or ultra.

Who knows?

After all, I’m only 50.

“Age Doesn't Matter Unless You're a Cheese” - Kathryn and Ross Petras

Thursday, December 28, 2006

The Blacksburg Classic

Having dropped the entry form into the mail while in route to work this morning, my next race is now indelibly etched upon the calendar.

Sponsored by the Blacksburg Striders, the 22nd annual running of the Blacksburg Classic 10 Mile & 5K Run will be held on Saturday, February 24th and Bill and I will be there for the 10 miler.

Both routes are on rolling courses through Blacksburg VA, near the Virginia Tech campus and utilize residential roads as well as a local greenway, the Huckleberry Trail. (See above photo.)

Fortunately for me, I celebrated a Fleet Feet Christmas as Beth found everything I could possibly want and/or need relative to running within the confines of those four walls. (Excluding the way cool Garmin Forerunner 205 which she ordered on line.) From a much needed reflective vest to warm winter running apparel and new socks, I am pretty well set until spring when I will need to replace my shoes.

As a special surprise, she also framed my Virginia Beach Rock and Roll Half Marathon Triple F - finisher’s certificate, finish line photo and finisher’s medal.


“Only think of two things - the gun and the tape. When you hear the one, just run like hell until you break the other.” - Sam Mussabini

Sunday, December 24, 2006

'Twas The Morn Before Christmas

‘Twas the morn before Christmas, when all through the streets
A smattering of cars, I did happen to meet;
Filled with anxious faces of those not yet done,
They off to the malls and I off on a run;

I set out in earnest and down Grandin I sped,
While visions of a Garmin danced in my head;
Clad in my Under Armour, and Fleet Feet cap,
I settled my pace and followed my map,

When off in the distance there arose such a clatter,
I picked up my speed to see what was the matter.
Crossing Memorial I flew like a flash,
And on past the firehouse I continued to dash.

The sun of the morn on the pavement below
And 60 degree temperatures guaranteed no snow,
But what to my sweat filled eyes should appear,
But a beat up old pickup with no second gear,

With a harried little driver, so tense and distraught,
I knew in a moment no presents he’d bought.
More rapid than eagles his curses they came,
As he called his poor truck a bevy of names;

‘You Bastard, you Lemon, you Junk Pile and Heap!
I should dig a big hole and bury you deep!
Off to the stores! Off to the mall!
Now start! damn you start! Or Triple A I will call!’

In a panic he reached and jerked the glove box handle,
Knocking away a flashlight, some maps and a candle;
And with rage and a match, he held up the title;
When suddenly the old truck, began to idle.

His eyes - they now twinkled! His dimples how merry!
He threw it in first and left in a hurry.
Speeding on to the mall for his last minute shopping,
Hoping his truck had no thoughts of stopping.

I stood there and watched as he faded from sight,
The smoke from his exhaust obscuring my sight;
Grateful that I, share not his ill fate;
Of having to shop at such a late date.

For fortunate am I during the holiday spree,
As Beth does the shopping, wraps the gifts and trims the tree;
In addition, the cooking and the halls to bedeck;
All I have to do is hand her the check.

So as I began once again to finish my run;
I thought to myself, I am the lucky one.
To have such a friend, a lover and wife,
Happy Christmas to all, and to all a Good Life!

(My humblest apologies to Clement Clark Moore.)

Monday, December 18, 2006

It Is What It Is

Today marks yet another unseasonably warm day for the middle of December. It is projected to reach nearly 70 degrees! And while I’m not complaining, I do find it disturbingly odd … in a Twilight Zone-ish sort of way.

Perhaps this foreboding sense of gathering gloom is because I happened upon War of the Worlds on HBO last night. This of course is Stephen Spielberg’s adaptation of the H.G. Wells classic story of the same name. This eerily realistic tale of alien invasion was made all the more frightening as its starring role was played by Tom Cruise, whose bizarre behavior in recent months has led many to conclude that he is in fact, an alien himself.

Nevertheless, the weather is what it is. Regardless of how good, bad or bizarre, it brings what Mother Nature deems appropriate. And if she elects to offset today’s mildness with tomorrow’s bitterness, then so be it.

I’ll still be out there, dressed appropriately and keeping a sharp eye peeled for tentacle laden pods and sofa hopping Tom Cruises.

Five miles today.

“There will be a rain dance Friday night, weather permitting” – George Carlin

Sunday, December 17, 2006

An Epiphany

My running partner Bill called me Saturday and during the course of our conversation it became apparent to both us that our collective motivation and focus regarding training, is directly proportional to having set a goal.

What a surprise!

Of course we both knew this about ourselves. We, like many people merely tuck away information such as this in those dark and dusty corners of the brain where it often lays hidden and obscured for indeterminable amounts of time.

Modern science has yet to ascertain the cause of either this phenomenon or the reasons for the periodic re-emergence of these personal postulates. However, the initial epiphany like effect of these seemingly sudden revelations, is a given.

So now that we have once again embraced “Know thyself”, the profound adage spawned by the philosophy of Socrates, we’re back on track.

The Goal: The Blacksburg 10 Miler
The Date: February 24, 2007
The Training: Commences January 1, 2007 (with the Star City Striders annual run up Mill Mountain)

I got a jump start today with a 5 miler.

“Most powerful is he who has himself in his own power” - Seneca

Monday, December 11, 2006

A Father's Pride

I returned from Florida Saturday night and left again Sunday morning for Boone North Carolina. This one day trip was very special as I made this journey in order to attend my son’s college graduation from Appalachian State University.

Ben will be 26 years old in March and was therefore one of the oldest members of his graduating class but unlike many who finish college at an older age, his completion was not due to taking five or six years to complete a four year degree.

He spent the first four years after high school serving in the United States Marine Corp and in doing so, grew up. In the process, he developed the self discipline and determination required to see him through the collegiate phase of his life. Attending full time, including summers, Ben earned his degree in three years and I am immensely proud of him and his achievement.

Many people helped him along the way; my wife and I, his mom and her husband, other family memebers and Garrett, the special woman in his life.

But he deserves the real credit because he set his sights on his goal and never lost sight of it.

To celebrate, I ran 6 miles this morning.

Congratulations son!

Love you,


“The education of the will is the object of our existence.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

Florida In December

Among the many pleasant activities enjoyed while on vacation in Florida was being able to run in what I, a non-Floridian viewed as pristine December weather.

Sunday December 3rd – 3 miles
Monday December 4th – 3 miles
Tuesday December 5th – 3 miles
Thursday December 7th – 5 miles
Friday December 8th – 3 miles

This was good for many reasons not the least of which was the vast quantities of food consumed and the fact that while on vacation, the clock always indicates it’s beer-thirty.

“No one needs a vacation more than the person who just had one.” - Anonymous

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Drumstick Dash - Post Race Report

Given the immense success of the inaugural running of the Drumstick Dash, it seems an update is in order.

Total Participation:
Over 1550 runners and walkers
Over 100 volunteers
Over a dozen musicians
One Turkey

Kevin Spencer – Official Mascot

Total Money Raised for the Rescue Mission:
Over $100,000.00

Significant Finishers:
Beth Anne Woodward - my (step) daughter
2nd Place Finisher 15 – 19 Year Old Age Group
17th Place Overall Female
Finishing Time: 23:32

As a runner who has participated in numerous events, I know staging this race was no small undertaking. The sheer size alone made it the largest race ever held in our city … but it was managed flawlessly. Everything from the packet pickup, course layout, water stations, entertainment and post-race festivities were extremely well organized and went off without a hitch.

Lee Clark of the Roanoke Rescue Mission said, “People wanted two things. They wanted something to do with their family, and they wanted to help. People didn’t need to collect pledges from 30 of their friends; all they had to do is show up pay the entry fee and have fun.”

And that’s just what we did.

“The secret of success is constancy of purpose.” – Benjamin Disraeli

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Off To See The Wizard

After my last run and the home project labors of Sunday and Monday which followed, my left knee was bothering me a bit so I thought it best to give it a few days rest. Now it’s Wednesday and I’m beginning to feel the need to get back into it …. but I didn’t this morning.

This was likely a mistake as our current ridiculously un-November like weather (68 degrees) is bound to come to a screeching halt very soon. I fully expect to awaken one morning to an unexpected blizzard in order that we might properly atone for having enjoyed (too much) this weather system which might be expected in Florida at this time of the year, but certainly not in Southwest Virginia.

But speaking of Florida, that’s were I’m heading on Saturday. Beth and I, along with the remaining contingent of the Virginia RFWDG, are heading down for a week’s vacation with the Bell’s, the (temporary) Floridian complement of our group.

Much is planned in the way of activities so it’s sure to be a fun filled week.

Among other things on our agenda will be:

Advanced Relaxation Techniques Made Easy
The Unlimited Benefits of (Swimming) Pool Therapy
Complex Cigar and Adult Beverage Studies
Uninhibited Snacking – An Unfairly Maligned Past Time
Expanding Your Intellect with Crossword & Sudoku Puzzles
The Never Ending Nuances of Narcoleptic Napping
Dispelling Twain’s Contention Regarding Golf as a Good Walk Spoiled
101 Reasons not to Shop – An Essential Seminar for Men
Shamu; Killer or Not - The Debate Continues

As you can see, it’s shaping up to be an incredibly informative vacation week. And even though it will be difficult due to the packed schedule we have planned, I do intend to get in a few runs as well.

“Vacation is what you take when you can't take what you've been taking any longer.” - Anonymous

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Emotional Logic

Lest there be any misunderstandings as to the origins of this post, it is in reference to the angst I was experiencing over a job I hated and the helplessness of feeling I had no alternatives.

This morning was my first run since Thanksgiving Day.

It was a 6 miler.

It was a thinker.

Running through my mind as my body ran through my route was the conundrum that inevitably arises whenever a situation or circumstance pits emotion against logic and demands a decision.

The ensuing battle between these two diametrically opposed forces play out a variety of scenarios each designed to tip the scales in favor of their individual desired outcome. Rivaling the most skilled litigator, both are thorough, persistent, creative and convincing in their quest for victory.

But ultimately, there is no clear winner or clear loser when these two traits clash as elements of both gain and loss, by default exist. For when a choice is ultimately made, both sides of the same coin become plainly obvious.

If logic wins, a bitterly painful emotional loss is apt to follow. Likewise, giving in to one's emotional desires and wants will likely render it's own unpleasant consequences. Neither is good and in either case, the unknown remains a constant, always gnawing away, always playing the “what if” game...

... always remaining a mystery.

“I think that somehow, we learn who we really are and then live with that decision.” – Eleanor Roosevelt

Thursday, November 23, 2006

The DrumStick Dash

Happy Thanksgiving!

And what better way to start this holiday which is best known for family, food and football, than to go for a run?

So that’s what I did.

Only unlike the previous two years when Bill and I began this tradition, this year I ran a 5k race, the Drumstick Dash.

This was the first year for this event and judging from the turnout, will likely not be the last. As of yesterday afternoon, over 400 runners were registered to participate and according to an article in our local paper, 1000 runners and walkers were expected by the start of the run. By my estimation, it appeared as if at least that many people turned out.

Unlike some of our local runs, this one was held as a benefit to raise money for our local Rescue Mission. Last year, they provided 298,936 hot, nutritious meals to hungry families (both homeless families in Rescue Mission Shelters and families with a home but no way to put food on their tables). The goal for this event was to raise $50,000 to help feed hungry families at The Rescue Mission in 2007.

I truly hope they exceeded this goal for while their tag line, Move your feet so others can eat, is certainly applicable throughout the year, it is especially meaningful today. For as we sit at our tables, surrounded by those we love and enjoy the bountiful blessings of the season, it’s important to remember those who are less fortunate.

The Rescue Mission does just that … every day … 365 days a year.

Thank God for them.

“For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, a stranger and you welcomed me, naked and you clothed me, ill and you cared for me, in prison and you visited me.” – Matthew 25: 35-36

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Theory Confirmed

I do better on hills.

September 3, 2006 – Virginia Beach Rock & Roll Half Marathon – Virginia Beach VA - Flat as the proverbial pancake.

Finishing time: 2 hours 39 minutes 9 seconds.

November 18, 2006 – Star City Half Marathon – Roanoke VA – Nothing but hills.

Finishing time: 2 hours 6 minutes 58 seconds.

You do the math.

“The virtue of achievement is victory over oneself. Those who know this can never know defeat.” – Anon

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

The Star City

This morning’s run was a short 3 mile maintenance dash; the last before Saturday’s Star City Half Marathon.

Outside, it was brisk but not uncomfortable. The run was quick by my standards yet surely no records were in danger of being broken and overall, it was a good workout. I feel well prepared for the challenge which lies ahead.

For any readers unfamiliar with or confused by the origin of the name (Star City), it is the official nickname of our fair city (Roanoke) and is so named in honor of the man made star which sits atop Mill Mountain overlooking the downtown area.

Erected and first illuminated on Thanksgiving Eve, November 23, 1949 at a cost of $28,000, this 88.5 ft high star was originally conceived by the Roanoke Merchant’s Association, as a marketing tool to kick off the Christmas holiday season.

At a height of 1,045 feet above the city, the star is visible from the air for a distance of 60 miles. It contains 2,000 ft of neon tubing and consumes approximately 17,500 watts per hour as it burns nightly from dusk until midnight.

Many local business and groups have incorporated “Star City” into their names including our local running club, the Star City Striders. And while over the years, some have been known to decry the star as tacky and a bit of an eyesore, for those of us who grew up in its illuminated aura, the Mill Mountain Star is as much a part of our home as is the surrounding Blue Ridge Mountains.

“What is more agreeable than one's home?” – Marcus Tullius Cicero

Monday, November 13, 2006

A Few Random Thoughts

Random thoughts passing through my mind this morning while I ran:

· 5 more days until the Star City Half Marathon
· November is nearly half way over
· Ben (my son) graduates from Appalachian State University in less than a month
· Vacation in Florida in 3 weeks
· Thanksgiving is in 10 days
· Christmas seems to come faster and faster each year
· I’ll see my granddaughter this afternoon

“If you don't know where you are going, any road will get you there.” – Lewis Carroll

Saturday, November 11, 2006

A Week To Go

Happy Veteran’s Day to all my fellow veterans.

I celebrated with a 10 miler this morning before going to work.

It’s my last long run before next Saturday’s half marathon. The coming week will be one of tapering so I’ll hopefully be well rested before putting my theory to test regarding running in a hilly environment versus on flatlands.

I’ll keep you posted.

“Everyone is an athlete. The only difference is some of us are training and some are not.” – George Sheehan

Friday, November 10, 2006

Veteran's Day, NOT

During my morning run today, my thoughts ran faster than I did.

For according to my calendar, today is indicated as “Veteran’s Day Observed”. However it is not Veteran’s Day for Veteran’s Day is and, as far as I know, has always been on November 11th.

As a veteran, I’m not sure I like this seemingly arbitrary alteration. To me, it seems to diminish the significance of the day when its observance bounces willy nilly about the calendar like some sort of ping pong ball. You would think, especially given the present role our military is playing, that a greater significance would be afforded this special day.

But no, unfortunately it seems in today’s world, the importance of this and every other holiday for that matter, comes down to one thing: retail sales.

Having spent the last 20 years working in the car business, I speak with some degree of authority on this subject for my industry is by far one of the worst offenders when it comes to intentionally usurping the true meaning of any holiday in the hopes of bleeding one more dollar out of our narcissistic society.

“In honor of the veterans of America, we’ll be open till 10 pm! So come on down and drive home in your new car today!”

Am I naïve to think it should be otherwise?

I don’t think so. Idealistic perhaps but not naïve for if we as a nation lose sight of the importance of history and those who played a role in shaping it, where does that leave us?

“Don't forget your history nor your destiny” – Bob Marley

Thursday, November 09, 2006

A Crappy Experience

Turning 50 is a milestone in many ways I suppose.

It’s the half century mark.
It’s the start of a new decade.
It’s the new 30.

It’s also the point in one’s life when certain things occur.

You become eligible for AARP membership.
You enter a new age group when competing in races.
You have a colonoscopy.

Wait …. did I really just say that?

Yes I did and due to this “procedure,” I did not run on Monday, Tuesday or Wednesday.

Several of my fellow 50 and over friends assured me the procedure itself was no big deal It’s the preparations of the day before which are really crappy. They were correct as after drinking what might best be described as 3 ounces of plutonium enriched colon blow, the only running I did on Monday was repeatedly to the john.

The next morning I awoke in a foul mood.

I was very hungry as Monday’s limited intake of “clear liquids” did not quite keep pace with the mass exodus which took place. I was also anxious over the pending Fantastic Voyage which was about to occur and I was undecided on who to vote for. (I didn’t particularly like either candidate. Both ran sh***y campaigns.)

Around noon, I “reported in”, donned a strikingly handsome hospital gown, received an IV and began the pre-op litany of medical history questions all beginning with, “Have you ever had” or “Do you now have”.

“No,” I replied to each one.

With this monotonous task complete, I was then wheeled into the procedure room where I received an injection described by the nurse as “pain killer and joy juice”. As he plunged the hypo with the magical elixir into my vein, I asked if the drugs were fast acting.

“You tell me,” he said.

If I replied at all, I’m unaware as the next conscious thought I had was that of being shaken awake by what turned out to be a persistent nurse in the recovery room. I apparently do not wake easily when a near coma has been induced and so after a bit, she pulled me up, removed the strikingly handsome hospital gown and dressed me like a child. I vaguely remember this and will most likely need therapy as a result.

They then placed me in a chair and as I vacillated between totally unconscious to moderately aware of my surroundings, Beth came in with the Doctor who proceeded to give a play by play account of the “journey” and it’s resulting revelations, all of which were lost on me.

Beth tells me his report was very good in that nothing was found and as a result, I would not be subjected to a repeat of today’s events for another 10 years. At that point in my drug induced state, she said I asked the doctor if that meant I was a perfect a**hole to which he tactfully replied that he could only confirm I had a perfect a**hole. (My friend Don Musgrove relayed that comment to me some weeks before and I guess it was stuck in my subconscious just waiting for the opportunity to be used.)

I was then helped to the car, taken home and put to bed where I remained until around 8 pm. I then got up, had a light dinner (non-liquid) and then very soon, went back to bed.

The next morning (Wednesday), I got up early thinking I would go for a run that is until I walked down the steps and realized I was still significantly impacted by the previous day’s “joy juice”. I did go to work but frankly, I felt out of sorts all day and ended up going to bed early that evening.

At 3:30 this morning, I awoke and could not go back to sleep so after tossing and turning for 45 minutes, I got up, got dressed and ran for 6 miles. Boy did that feel good!

In hind sight, this wasn’t a difficult procedure at all and since cancer of the colon is the third leading type of cancer in males and fourth in females, it is not only recommended but in fact, essential.

Look at it this way; if nothing else, for at least a few days, no one can tell you you’re full of crap!

“Health is not valued till sickness comes.” – Thomas Fuller

Sunday, November 05, 2006

The Body Speaks

Whether you’re just engaging in routine exercise or training for a specific event, it’s always important to listen to your body. At least that’s what I’ve always heard. So after last Wendesday I took few days off from running.

At first, I really didn’t pay much attention to the subtle hints my body was dropping. Fatigue, soreness and insomnia are conditions I periodically combat. But after my last run, the messages went from being delivered by subtle hints to loud shouting. I could barely move the next day and my overall sense of well being was nowhere to be found. In short, I felt like crap ergo my brief sabbatical.

But today, I felt good and I wanted to run.

And so I did.

And it was good.

"There are clubs you can't belong to, neighborhoods you can't live in, schools you can't get into, but the roads are always open." – Nike

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Princess Barbie

Well as you can see, she was Princess Barbie.

And you better believe she cleaned up in the candy department!

I apparently had too much candy last night myself for this morning's run was like pouring molasses in the middle of winter.

S L O W .

"Run slowly, run daily, drink moderately and don't eat like a pig." - Dr. Ernest Van Aaken

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Back To Work

Today was my first day back to work after taking the week off to insure Beth was taken care of. I was not looking forward to re-entering the daily grind of chasing the almighty dollar in hopes of finding nirvana residing within the confines of financial security.

On the contrary, I’d much rather be finishing my current backyard project and then moving on to the next one on my list.

But that is not to be.
So to get my head straight prior to leaving this morning, I went for a nice short 4 miler and in doing so, thought of my granddaughter. I wondered what she might “be” tonight as she ventures out in search of too much candy.

Last year she was a ladybug, the year before a lion and her first year, she was a pumpkin. Every year she is more and more adorable. But then, I would give her all the candy if it were up to me.

Happy Halloween!

“The race is not always to the swift, but to those who keep on running.” - Anonymous

Sunday, October 29, 2006

A Long Run

Today is a very pretty fall day, sunny and clear but windy. Good day for a long run.

I’m a pretty slow runner under the best of circumstances but today while running along the river, I felt like I was on a treadmill; going nowhere fast.

It was really windy down there and at that point, I was 5 or 6 miles into a 12 mile run.

"Tough times don't last but tough people do." - A.C. Green

Saturday, October 28, 2006

A Good Week

I’ve been on vacation this week and since Beth had surgery, we didn’t go anywhere. Instead we stayed home and she alternated between resting and easing her way back towards normalcy.

She’s doing great with her post op recovery by the way; better than we expected. And with all the food brought over by family and friends, she hasn’t had to be subjected to my limited culinary skills.

During the course of the week, I’ve been able to work on the terracing project I’ve referred to in previous posts and as a result, have completed three of the four walls.

In addition, I saw every single game of the World Series – Way to go Cards! And I had some one on one time with my stepdaughter, Beth Anne who came in for a few days from the University of Georgia.

All in all, it’s been a very good week.

Oh yeah, I almost forgot. In 5 days, I logged 33.5 miles.


“Age doesn’t matter unless you’re a cheese.” - Unknown

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Semper Paratus Revisited

A few days ago, I spoke of reconnecting with one of my old Coast Guard buddies and as a result of this contact; I’ve enjoyed reliving a lot of great memories. Since then, no fewer than 20 of us, from all over the country and as far away as Indonesia, have been in almost daily email communication and are in the process of putting together a ships reunion.

We were all stationed aboard the USCGC Midgett in the mid to late 70’s. Some tours overlapped others often leaving one or more shipmates to serve as common denominators between those who were there at different times. But even though we didn’t all personally know one another then, we “know” one another now through our shared experiences and common friends.

I think there is a certain significance to our reconnecting at this point in time. A lot happens in a person’s life over the course of 30 years; marriage, divorce, children, grand children, careers, failures and successes, losses and gains. And with these changes and events, comes a perspective which we could not have possibly known all those many years ago.

So what is it that is fueling this fire of desire to link up? Is it merely nostalgia or some misguided attempt at regaining our youth? Maybe, but I believe its much more than that. We’re all around 50 years old now and while the current mantra of “50 is the new 30” certainly rings true, the fact remains we’re staring smack dab into the face of our own mortality. And with this realization comes a deeper sense of appreciation for our friendships, the bonds we have forged, those special times in our lives and the importance of our memories.

Our time together was but a fleeting moment in the big picture but it was a significantly important moment none-the-less. This is what occupied my mind as I ran this morning.

“A smile happens in a flash, but its memory can last a lifetime.” - Anonymous

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Creature Of Habit

Yesterday was work on the terracing project day. I got a lot accomplished and in the process woke up sore as hell so instead of heading out before the sun rose, I delayed my run until this afternoon. It wasn’t a great run and it wasn’t very long either.

I’m not sure if it was lackluster because of fatigue or if it had more to do with changing my routine. I am after all, a creature of habit and deviating from my established norm can play havoc with my psyche.

So perhaps the real reason I felt like I was merely going through the motions today was more a result of having to wear sunglasses while running instead of carrying a flashlight.

Or maybe I’m just tired. Either way, I got it done.

“Running is a lot like life. Only 10 percent of it is exciting. 90 percent of it is slog and drudge." - Dave Bedford

Monday, October 23, 2006

They Are Not Runners

The leaves have turned. The landscape is an incredibly beautiful collage of red, yellow and orange and the air is cool and crisp.

As I run along, the occasional pedestrian looks at me strangely, sometimes commenting on the colder temperatures and clearly bemused by the fact that I am (a) wearing shorts and (b) running.

They don’t understand.

They can’t.

They are not runners.

10.5 miles today.

“The obsession with running is really an obsession with the potential for more and more life.” ~ George Sheehan

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Breaks Over

After a week’s break from my running routine (see previous post for explanations), I got back out there today. I checked on Beth, whose post-op recovery is so far, going very well. And after she assured me she would be fine for an hour or so, I started for the door.

As I turned the knob and opened the front door, she called out, “Don’t over do it. You haven’t run in a week.”

It was then I heard myself reply, “Don’t worry I’m only going to do 6 miles or so.”

“6 miles or so” – damn it feels good to know that this distance which once seemed virtually unattainable, is now merely a maintenance run!

So now that I’ve re-started my motor so to speak, its time to get back on my training schedule for the Star City Half Marathon which is only 3 weeks away. I drove most of the route the other day and it is a hilly bugger indeed so from here on out, its time to focus.

"We can't all be heroes because someone has to sit on the curb and clap as they go by." - Will Rogers

Thursday, October 19, 2006

I Didn't Run Today

Monday and Tuesday I was rained out and Wednesday I was lazy. That brings us to today.

I didn’t run today.

At 4 am I got up, woke Beth and made coffee. She showered and got ready while I let the dogs out and downloaded crossword and sudoku puzzles from the L. A. Times and the USA Today in preparation of what lay ahead.

What lay ahead was surgery for Beth.

And while this procedure is considered somewhat routine, the act of cutting into and removing a part of the body is nonetheless unsettling. Arriving at the hospital long before the sun rose; we began the long process which precedes being put under.

And then, rather abruptly, they took her away.

At that moment, the periodic bickering, the occasional disagreements and the senseless spats of the past 11 years seemed ridiculously petty. And for the next couple of hours, time stopped.

At 8:45 am, I got the call from the surgeon.

All went well.

I breathed easier and time resumed its unending march towards infinity.

I didn’t run today.

“Your heart is my piñata.” – Chuck Palahniuk

Saturday, October 14, 2006

From Starbucks to the White House

Beth and I were in the District for the weekend and on Friday night; Beth Anne joined us from Athens Georgia. On this brisk Saturday morning, she and I along with my friend Scott (Common Interests) set out on an invigorating 5 mile loop which took us by several embassies, the White House, the Washington Monument and 123 Starbucks coffee houses.

Ok ... I'm exaggerating (slightly) about the number of Starbucks but of all the really interesting places I've run, D.C. is definitely at the top of the list. The historical significance, the architecture, the monuments and the diverse, multi-cultural melting pot of people all make for a fascinating experience that is not to be missed.

So if you find yourself inside the beltway, do yourself a favor and check it out.

Before I left for the weekend, I mapped out a route using the U.S. Track & Field’s website. If you’re unfamiliar with this site, it’s an excellent way to create and save favorite routes, map out routes in unknown and untried areas and accurately track your mileage.

"For some, running is an unnatural act, except when running from enemies and to the bathroom." - Anonymous

Thursday, October 12, 2006


All Points Bulletin

Please be on the lookout for my groove. As I set out on this morning’s run, I discovered it was missing. Initially I didn’t think much of it as often it doesn’t show up for the first few miles. However today, it was no where to be found.

As you may well imagine, its disappearance is quite troubling and I am more than prepared to offer a generous reward for its safe return.

Please refer to the following:

Name: Tim’s Groove

AKA: In the zone, on fire, cookin’, smokin’, the right mind-set and mojo

Last seen: Wednesday Morning - October 11, 2006

If you see my groove, please forward any information as to its whereabouts directly to this blog.

Thank you.

“Great works are performed not by strength, but by perseverance.” – Samuel Johnson

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Semper Paratus

I received an email the other day from an old service buddy who I’ve neither seen nor heard from in nearly 30 years. We served together in the U.S Coast Guard (Semper Paratus) from 1977 – 1978 in Alameda California. And like lots of people, over the years we just lost touch with one another. That’s what happens. He found me on a USCG web site called Fred’s Place.

As I ran this morning, I thought about my old Coast Guard days. I have many fond memories and of course, a few regrets. But this morning, it was the fond memories which flooded back.

I remember sharing the bonds resulting from an extended ALPAT (Alaskan Patrol) and the sensation of being at the ends of the earth as we sailed around the island of Attu and into the Bering Sea.

I remember crossing the International Date Line (180th Meridian) and surviving the age old traditions of becoming a Shellback, thereby entering the Domain of the Golden Dragon.

I remember the storms which seemed to last forever and the extreme sense of humility brought on by being at sea where all you can see in any direction is the sea.

I remember standing endless watches, losing consistently at poker, watching really bad movies and occasionally throwing up.

I remember becoming friends with some of the greatest people I’ll ever know.

All these great memories occupied my mind this morning while my body did its thing.

Thanks L.J.

It’s great to hear from you again.

“Life gives us brief moments with another...but sometimes in those brief moments we get memories that last a life time...” - Anonymous

Tuesday, October 10, 2006


Even though I am a certified morning person, I was less than enthusiastic about getting up at 4:45 today.

I was even less enthusiastic about getting dressed and meeting Bill for a short 3 mile maintenance run. I was tired and my pillow was really comfortable. I was inclined to be lazy and reach into my bag of lame excuses for any reason I could find not to get up and go.

“The president called seeking my counsel.”
“My alarm clock exploded.”
“My dog ate my shoes, socks, shirt, shorts and the cat.”
“Martial law was imposed in my neighborhood.”
“Aliens landed on my deck.”

I’ve amassed an impressive collection you know.

But I didn’t. Instead I got up and met my friend. And when I came home, I read the following:

“The question is how many days do you have left to ride your bike?"

This comes from a post by Fe-Lady (3 Sports) and is attributed to a guy named Ralph who owns a bike store she frequents. When I read this, it occurred to me how profoundly versatile a question this is.

"The question is how many days do you have left to (fill in the blank)?"

Ride your bike
Run a race
Hug your kids
Kiss your spouse
Say “I love you”
Help someone
Watch a sun rise / set
Make a difference
Write a book
Give your time
Taste adventure
Really live

The answer is, we simply do not know.

Thanks for readjusting my perspective Ralph.

“And in the end, it's not the years in your life that count. It's the life in your years.” – Abraham Lincoln

Sunday, October 08, 2006

A Wet One

Ok, today is the third day of rain in a row and as a result of this mess, I didn’t run Friday or Saturday. But when I got up this morning, I just had to.

So out into the elements I did venture and as I began, one of my more astute neighbors, who was outside retrieving his morning paper shouted, “You’re going to get wet!”

As you know, it’s always good to begin a long run with an uncluttered mind so I was very grateful for this clarification. For now that it was clear to me that I indeed would get wet, I could focus my attention on the task at hand without the nagging distraction of will, or will I not get wet.

Thanks neighbor!

10 ½ miles later and I’m ready for a shower.

“Sweat plus sacrifice equals success.” – Charlie Finley

Friday, October 06, 2006

Rainy Morning

It's raining

It's pouring

So I stayed in bed

And kept snoring!

Thursday, October 05, 2006


At 3:22 am, I found myself lying in bed wide awake for the second night in a row. These periodic bouts of insomnia are most unpleasant. Not enough rest seems to more than counteract the increased energy I normally derive from running.

The real cause of this random malady is unknown although I have my own theory as to why it’s reared its ugly head this time. My wife Beth and I have been overdosing on 24; seasons 1 – 4 in a misguided attempt to catch up before the new season begins in January.

We had never seen the show prior to a few weeks ago but had been told by others it was worth a look. So we’ve been renting the videos … non-stop. As a result, we have consequently discovered that our friends failed to mention this program is damn near as addictive as a heroin and crack cocaine cocktail. It’s also incredibly intense and thus winds me up like a double espresso macchiato.

Ergo my theory.

So anyway, we finished season 4 last night and will no doubt embark on 5 beginning tonight as Beth is determined to be on the mark for season 6’s debut. (Will I ever get 7 hours of sleep again?)

Watching this as we have (back to back to back to back) has revealed some things which I believe may be less noticeable when viewed normally, i.e. weekly. For example:

At least once an episode, Jack, the lead character says to someone, “You’re just going to have to trust me!” Invariably, this phrase is uttered to someone who is in a dire situation where their gut instincts are repeatedly screaming, “Run away! Run away!”

Generally however, they do not run away and as a result, are subjected to some unpleasant yet uniquely creative methods of torture thereby reaffirming my belief in the value of following one’s initial instincts in a crisis.

Also, every time a key bad guy is killed before he has yet to divulge all he knows, Jack screams, “Damnit” as if by this act alone, the recently deceased terrorist will be resurrected long enough to puke out enough info in order to avert a national disaster of epic proportion.

And then there’s Tony, the terse, single word response whisperer (“Yeah”) whose voice rarely rises above one octave and who must have sustained a debilitating neck injury at some point as his head is always cocked at an unnatural angle.

By far my favorite however, is President Palmer (former president in season 4). He is the epitome of calm and has the uncanny ability to always look as if he has just showered, shaved and dressed regardless of the fact he has been up for 22 hours dealing with the onslaught of Armageddon. I’m waiting for him to work in, “That’s Allstate’s stance. What’s yours?”

Don’t get me wrong, I think the show is very entertaining and as I said, very intense. These things just stick out.

At any rate, at 4:30 I finally got up, got dressed and got out there. I felt like a blob of lead, barely oozing along for the first mile or so but finally found somewhat of a groove and ended up completing 5.

Yeah …

“In running, it doesn't matter whether you come in first, in the middle of the pack, or last. You can say 'I have finished.' There is a lot of satisfaction in that.” – Anonymous

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Good Stuff

Bill and I met this morning for the 3 mile loop along the Roanoke River. It’s the first time we’ve run together in a while and it was great to relive what was such a regular event while training for the Virginia Beach ½ Marathon.

As we plodded along in the pre-dawn darkness, I began to contemplate this whole blogging experience. Until very recently, I’d never done this and quite frankly wasn’t sure what, if anything to expect.

It’s not the writing per se for that’s not new to me. I am the editor of our local running club newsletter as well as another for a wine dinner group of which I am a member but writing (nearly) everyday, in an environment where what I choose to espouse is available to any and all who stumble across it, is definitely a different gig.

When I began this exercise, two benefits were readily apparent. First, writing has always been and continues to be a therapeutic activity for me. It is a conduit through which I am often able to flush out that which if left unchecked, would clutter my mind like an over flowing clothes hamper clutters the closet. And second, the very act in and of itself is a tremendous mental exercise.

One additional benefit which I did not realize would be forthcoming (more than likely due to my complete and total ignorance of blogging) is the ability to connect with others who share the same passion.

“Duh ….,” you say. “That’s what it’s all about!”

Yes … now I know and as a result, I find myself reading the blogs of others as they share their running experiences and pursue their personal goals. Whether they are training for their first 5K, their first marathon or triathlon, to “tag along” in this fashion is as inspiring as it is a privilege. It reaffirms the value of being a part of something significantly larger than one’s self.

And there are countless numbers of us out there.

Like Lisa (Journey of a Lifetime), who in 18 days will run the Chicago Marathon; her first, but still takes time to offer me words of encouragement regarding my own first marathon aspirations.

Or Fe-Lady (3 Sports), who like myself is as she puts it, an “over 50” athlete. Her amazing accomplishments serve to remind us that "if you don't use it, you lose it” and that you’re not "old" until regrets take the place of your dreams.

Good stuff, this blogging.

“Dedication and commitment are what transfer dreams into realities.” - Anonymous

Monday, October 02, 2006

Who Was That Person?

Like several mornings of late, I set out from my house today unsure of how far I would go. It was an amazingly clear morning. Everything seemed plainly defined and intensely sharp. The temperature was comfortably cool and I felt good.

Feeling good was in contrast to how I felt yesterday when I labored intensely on my retaining wall project and as a result, not only suffered from extreme fatigue but also from self-imposed act like a jerk-ness.

Grumpy, irritable and short tempered are clearly characteristics that rightly keep one off everyone’s Christmas card list and I loathe being around anyone exhibiting such behavior; especially myself. I don’t really know why I felt this way nor why I couldn’t shake it but I knew I didn’t like it.

It’s a bit of a pickle when you don’t like being around yourself. It’s not like you can leave the person who is being a jerk and go find someone else to hang out with. So thank God that a**hole was gone when I awoke this morning.

Today was my longest distance run since the Labor Day ½ Marathon at Virginia Beach. I ended up doing 10 miles and it felt pretty darn good. My legs were there and I didn’t become overly tired.

It’s nice to be back.

To a runner, a side stitch is like a car alarm. It signifies something is wrong, but you ignore it until it goes away. ~Author Unknown

Saturday, September 30, 2006

Common Interests

As I set out on my run this morning, I thought about the events of the previous evening.

After I left work, I met my wife Beth at my brother-in-law, Austin’s house to share what turned out to be several glasses of wine in celebration of his birthday. Joining us there were our friends Don and Kathleen, a substantial contingent of Beth’s family and Scott, John and Keith’s friend from Florida.

Having never met Scott before, we sat about making the usual, polite small talk until Keith casually mentioned Scott was training for his first marathon, the Disney Marathon in January. As you might guess, our conversation quickly changed from the, we just met, friendly banter to everything running related. From training to motivation; from shoes to Body Glide; from finishing one event to planning for the next, our dialogue became that of those who knowingly share a common interest.

And within this interest lies a certain contagious passion. Part of it is the endorphin induced euphoria gleaned from increasing one’s mileage to new levels, part of it is the personal sense of accomplishment realized and certainly for me, part of it is knowing I’m doing something many will never even consider trying.

As we talked further, I told Scott I’m contemplating signing on with Team In Training and tackling my first marathon, the 2007 Marine Corp Marathon in Washington DC. I haven’t made the commitment yet but I’ve been reading numerous accounts of others, like Scott who have. Talking with them and reading their stories of the trials and tribulations they experience in pursuit of this goal is both inspiring and encouraging.

Thanks for pushing me a little closer to making the commitment and best of luck in Orlando!

“Human beings are made up of flesh and blood, and a miracle fiber called courage” - George Patton

Thursday, September 28, 2006


My running partner Bill and I were supposed to meet at Wiley Drive this morning for a quick run of the 3 mile loop along the river but at 5:30 am he called to say he had overslept and wouldn’t be able to make it.

Assuring him it was not a problem, I set out for what became a 6 miler and as I ran I realized Bill’s had a touch of the ROSS or, Repeated Over Sleeper Syndrome here of late. As one might imagine, this disruptive condition causes numerous problems for those afflicted and while theories abound as to its cause, the one at the forefront centers on preoccupation.

I’m pretty sure this is the case with Bill. He recently not only changed jobs but also careers. Consequently, he is currently engrossed in absorbing all the pertinent details relative to his new field. That along with developing and cultivating new associations with a totally different customer base and establishing interpersonal relationships with a new set of co-workers is more than enough to impede anyone’s scheduling capabilities.

Oh yea … he’s also getting married in October.

Don’t worry about it my friend. There’s a lot on your plate right now. Come on back when you’re ready.

“Mental will is a muscle that needs exercise, just like muscles of the body.” - Lynn Jennings

Wednesday, September 27, 2006


This morning it was chilly.

It wasn’t really cold but it wasn’t warm either.

It was chilly, that temperature that lies somewhere between the two. Warm enough to keep the furnace from cutting on but cool enough to ensure the AC stays off. That sensation that hints, sometimes forebodingly, of what’s to come. That crisp snap in the air which causes one to pull a long sleeve t-shirt from the drawer.

See your breath, wear your gloves chilly.


This morning I ran 21,120 feet

or 7,040 yards

or 4 miles

and it was chilly.

"There is no satisfaction without a struggle first." - Marty Liquori

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

A Morning Person

I am, and have always been, a morning person.

Non-morning people will likely not be interested in this entry as they consider me and those like me to be at best, anomalies of nature. We, who willingly choose to not only awaken and arise before the sun, but indeed to get outside and run for God’s sakes, must surely suffer from some sort of genetic flaw.

Genetics could very well figure into this behavior. Conceivably it was my earliest ancestors who were tasked with the responsibility of arising early to insure there might indeed be something to eat or perhaps more importantly, that they themselves did not become something to eat.

Whatever the reason, there is something I find incredibly special about the pre-dawn hour. There is a sense of solitude and quiet which I don’t find in any other part of the day and to immerse myself in it while running is something I’ve come to treasure.

The early fall mornings, like the one today, are particularly enjoyable as the darkened skies are filled with more and more recognizable constellations. Orion, Ursa Major and Cassiopeia to name but a few, act as brightly shining beacons for those of us who run the early morning roads and trails.

Ask any runner to tell you some of the things they love about the sport and invariably you will hear something akin to, “I do some of my best thinking while I’m running.”

When I first began, I had a very difficult time wrapping my head around this concept but over the years, I’ve come to realize and appreciate the raw truth of this idea. And during this time of the year when the skies offer such a beautiful and mysterious backdrop, this impression becomes clearer still.

“I do not run to add days to my life - I run to add life to my days.” - Ronald Rook

Monday, September 25, 2006

Piggy Back

I've discovered a new cause of lower back muscle strain: my 3 1/2 year old grand daughter, Lei Lei!

Fortunately, a couple of well placed Therma-Guards and a few Advil throughout the day Sunday, found me, for the most part devoid of soreness by this morning.

And so after a cup of coffee and a cursory glance at the newspaper, I headed out for mileage unknown.

The morning was overcast and comfortably cool and at 3 miles, I decided on 5.

It was a familiar route; one I've run many times. There is a point where you may choose to turn around, making it an out and back or turn right and turn it into a 6 mile loop. I turned right.

It felt really good to run after a three day hiatus. My head went to that magic place. That place where time ceases to be, where the surroundings fade and the stride is effortless. That place where all is right with the world as mind, body and soul flow seamlessly in sync. Man if you could only bottle that stuff!

It's interesting how the body becomes accustomed to and in fact, often demands the regularities of routine, even if the results are sometimes painful. Whether they be happily piggy backing one's grandchild all over the house or finding temporary nirvana in the middle of one's stride, there are some things in life that are just plain worth it.

"No Pain, no gain." - Athletic Proverb

Saturday, September 23, 2006

I Snoozed

I did something this morning I almost never do - I overslept.

And not just a little either. I have no idea why but when my alarm went off at 4:45, I hit the snooze as I always do thereby allowing me 8 minutes before getting up, getting dressed and getting out there.

However this morning when I hit the snooze - I snoozed.

When my eyes finally opened, it was light which was a clear indication to me that my morning run was not to be. Glancing at the clock I saw it was a quarter till 8, the time I'm supposed to be at work and so I got up, went downstairs and poured myself a cup of what was now mildly tepid coffee.

After a quick shower and breakfast for the dogs, I left for work. On my way, I saw a runner making his way up Jefferson Street towards Community Hospital and as I sat at the light and watched him climb the long steady grade, I thought about the many times I have run the same route. It's not an overly difficult run but it isn't all that easy either, particularly if you hit it 5 miles into a 10 or 12 mile run so as I waited for the light to change, I found myself mentally cheering this kindred spirit onward in his conquest and lamenting the fact that I was unable to get out there with him this morning.

"The pride you gain is worth the pain." - Dennis Ogilvie

Friday, September 22, 2006


Fridays and Sundays are my designated days of rest. No running (generally speaking).

I attended our monthly running club (Star City Striders) meeting last night and was very glad I did. Our guest speakers were Jamie Price, a former All American track and field athlete and Kevin Spencer, a 5th grade teacher at Raleigh Court elementary school whose enthusiasm for fitness has happily infected his students.

Jamie has started programs called Speed University and Fit Club. Through these, he's reaching out to athletes of all ages and skill levels in order to help them attain their goals whether they be just starting out, seeking moderate improvements in fitness or working towards achieving their maximum potential. He is especially interested in combating the ongoing childhood obesity problem which is reaching near epidemic proportions across the U.S.

Jamie's services are readily available and are tailored to fit the individuals needs and schedules. For more info on Jamie' s programs, please contact him at mailto:jp@jpspeeduniversity.com.

Kevin has also gotten his pupils involved in the sport. Two years ago, he started two running groups at Raleigh Court Elementary. His fifth-graders run laps in physical education class three days a week and on Thursday afternoons, students from all grades run behind the school or at a nearby track. He hands each runner a laminated card that helps the children keep track of how many laps they run and as of April 13th, Spencer's 37 fifth-grade pupils have logged 1,535 miles and the 35 after-school runners have completed 615 miles.

"In class, I tell my kids anybody can start a marathon, anybody can start running," Kevin said. "I ask them sometimes, 'What's your goal?' "If your goal is to run a 5K, you can't just wake up and run it," he said. "If your goal is to get straight A's in math, you have to do stuff to get there. You just can't get a report card and expect an A."

For more information, please visit http://run.spencersRus.com.

Both of these men are doing a great deal to help kids of all ages focus on the positive benefits of staying fit. Our community is lucky to have them.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Hidden Challenges

As I ran in the darkness before dawn this morning, one thought kept reoccurring to me:

58 Days and Counting.

That’s how long before I run my next half marathon. I say ‘my next’ as if I do this often but the truth is this will only be my second one. My first was the Virginia Beach Rock and Roll ½ Marathon this past Labor Day weekend and while I found it to be an incredible experience, I also found the straightness and flatness of the course to be a huge mental challenge.

My next one is here in Roanoke. This area is such that for the most part, one can’t go much farther than ¼ mile without having to make turns, climb hills or descend inclines. While often presenting a greater degree of physical difficulty, I find this constant state of flux to be of more interest and more clearly definable.

My theory, which I will put to the test in 58 days, is that I will do better here in my familiar hilly surroundings than I did in the flatlands.

I will let you know how that works out.

The difference between a jogger and a runner is an entry blank. ~George Sheehan

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Falling Back

This morning's run illustrated that Fall is indeed back.

It was 59 degrees and dark and stayed that way for the duration of the run.

Perfect running weather for the imperfect runner.

"Marathon runners with bad shoes suffer the agony of de feet." Anonymous

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Back at it

I played golf on Sunday and slaved away on an ongoing retaining wall project in the yard on Monday so this morning, it was back to the 5am wake up call followed by the donning of the running shoes.

Today's run was short, hilly and painful.

It was one of those 'gut it out' runs where each and every step reminded me of the previous day's labor.

It was one of those runs where I was completely convinced that if there was a walker about, he or she would have passed me by in such a blur, I would only have felt the rush of air in their wake.

It was one of those runs where I really felt my age.

It was one of those runs where I was glad it was over.

Saturday, September 16, 2006

First Light of Day

As the first hints of pink and orange streaked across the dark sky of the new day, I crested a knoll on Campbell Ave and took in the city’s adolescent, yet ambitious skyline. The horizontal rays of the slowly ascending orange sun danced and played, reflecting off the Wachovia Tower’s tinted glass.

I was about 5 miles into a 12 mile run when I greeted the first light of day. It was glorious; inspiring; motivating and part of me wanted to stop and freeze the moment so I could relish it a bit longer. But time does not allow itself to be controlled and so I continued onward, burning the image I’d just seen into my mind’s eye.

It’s somewhat strange yet wonderfully interesting how the mind fixates on something and refuses to let go; particularly that which it finds beautiful, intriguing and unattainable. It acts as an internal recorder of sorts; a mental TIVO replaying over and over the various takes, often allowing for a glimpse at the deleted scenes which might have been but were not.

The remainder of the run was automatic. My mind’s presence was no longer required, so as I traversed the remaining 7 miles, I remained in front of the screen, watching, not wanting to leave and not wanting it to end.

Dream as if you'll live forever, live as if you'll die today.” James Dean