"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."

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 piƱata.” – 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