"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."

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