Parts Unseen

Sitting to write
With Blind Willie Jefferson humming
The most haunting song ever,
Dark was the Night.
My bourbon is cooling in the freezer,
The Phillies are trying, and
All day I’ve been trying to get my head around
The run I took this morning.

This first day of the “Eff-It” list started,
“No exercise excuses,”
With me trying to decide about going to the Y,
Pounding out some minutes on my basement bike, or
Hitting the roads for a run.
The list’s streak was in trouble as fasting was hitting
A critical breaking point with only three hours to go.
A run seemed the best option.

The humidity was down,
Clouds blocked the sun,
Morning traffic at 9:50 had moved on, and
The roads felt like they would accept my plodding pace,
Potential hunger defeatism, and
Sheepish lungs, who long ago lost their endurance.
Besides, I could easily kill an hour and get myself
Closer to the peanut butter smoothie I dreamt about last night.

Runs have a way of taking a person places.
The more adversity encountered the more interesting the journey.
Since I live in the rolling hills of Chester County,
There are plenty of ups and downs along any route I take.
One minute in and the steepness of my neighborhood
Attacked my determination with full force
Making me question my choice to run outside
Instead of hitting the climate controlled air of the Y.

Somehow nature allowed me to continue and my legs
Stretched out for an easy downhill only to be confronted
By they hill across the way.
It sucked and by the fifth mailbox, I was breathing rocks,
Thinking how sad it is, for this used to be nothing but a warm up.
Negotiating the incline became a series of power deals
Where my will gave into to my legs and
My legs agreed to stick with the run.

In ten minutes, I hadn’t gone anywhere yet, but the run took over.
Thoughts of adding feet to the run in an effort to get to an hour
Rose from self-talk to real life action.
I took to the cul-de-sacs of the neighborhood next to mine
Running for as long as I could, before walking to catch my breath.
I saw old people pruning bushes, rows of cookie cutter condos,
Pregnant ladies walking on paved sidewalks, and a woman
On a big tricycle working with therapists to overcome the ravages of a stroke.

I found myself thinking less about agony,
Thinking about all kinds of stuff really.
Gump, Apple Watches, the kids whose father worked at the car dealership,
The one that burned to the ground.
I dodged the weeds in the abandoned site as my legs took me further from home.
Then a water crew guy yelled, “Give me two, buddy.”
I nodded and kept going thinking how wrong it is that I’m off all summer
While he digs in whatever weather comes this way.

A turn up another hill took me towards the Italian Social Club.
Only a mile and a half from my home and nearly an hour into the run,
Lot’s of cul-de-sacs, hills, and walking,
I found myself on a road that I had never been on before.
Nearly thirty years in this town and I had never run down this hill.
My mind was like a camera,
The sagging roof on the Boy Scouts clubhouse,
The abandoned trailer, and kids were playing next to their home,
A mushroom house converted into an apartment,
There were weeds and isolation was everywhere.

And I was pissed.
Five minutes by car are million dollar homes.
These kids are growing up in an area
Just two minutes from where they go to school
And I guessed most of my town knew nothing of this street.
The idea of their living here pushed me further down the hill
Where I planned on turning around and head back home.
This would not be, as the run back up looked to be too much for my heart.

Next was a dirt road next to the railroad tracks. Across the rails was a trailer Park that I pass on my way to school each morning.
It looked different from this side, larger, lower,
A creek, that I heard flooded regularly, snaked through without a care
For the damage it might cause.
My feet crunched with each step,
The homes along the track seemed nothing more than permanent tiny homes
Stuffed on this route to be hidden from the renaissance less than a mile away.

Somehow, I found a groove on this soft pavement.
Another mushroom house was being renovated,
There were tires strewn about, and dust
From the concrete plant drowned the weeds next to the train tracks.
The leaves looked like frosted Christmas decorations
Instead of nature’s deep green that they should have been.
It struck me, I had no idea of the concrete plant, its white powder everywhere
Except under the hose spewing water without an attendant or a current purpose.

Finally, I arrived at something I knew.
The edge of town, the high school fields, a beer garden, a fancy pottery store.
I turned right and ran up the hill, the houses looking well kept,
The yards manicured,
The people the same as the other street, only in better situations.
Another right turn and I was heading towards home.
I let the water guy know I had done his two,
He wished me a Happy Father’s Day and twenty minutes later I was walking my dog.

Running took me somewhere today,
Further from thoughts of fitness, marathons, and split times
And closer to the realities of economic injustice and my lack of awareness
About the struggles of people around town.
Maybe I covered seven miles today, I refuse to run with my phone,
In terms of enlightenment
I think I ran that marathon I’m training for.
Charlie Patton is singing, “I’m Goin’ Home.”

Some Discipline Would Help

Trying to be a radical is tough
I’m not political junkie, nor
Do I have any spiritual absoluteness,
But I am getting older, love food and beverages, and
Wanting of better living habits.

I’m not the type to put it on others,
Too often I don’t stand up for myself,
Against myself,
Giving in to the temptation of cinnamon sugar
Or smooth beverages from around the region.

Perhaps the test is not cleaning plates,
Washing the palette, or
Absorbing into the coach.
Maybe this really about my transformation
Into an assertive person.

A person who knows
How to say no.
One who acts on the plans
So enthusiastically put together, but
Often hijacked by my radical approach, given where I live.

It will be one o’clock pm before I eat again
That’s the price for finishing the cinnamon sticks
The kids left while I was out.
Dumb, weak me,
All I had to do was throw them away
Instead of ignoring that change voice yelling in my ear.

Tough times ahead…

Meeting

Coaches meeting,
Bar glass Xs and Os
The rankings more important
Than the strategy.
It’s important to know
How basketball tastes can vary
Yet be inspired by the same passions,
Screen to the ball,
Screen away from the ball,
Screen to the basket…
At this point, just screen,
And roll…
And roll…
And roll…

Marathon Journal: 6/10/17

The time sure has passed on this marathon training program. In fact, the projected date for this ludicrous endeavor has long passed.

I didn’t run the marathon.

Boo, you suck, you asked for donations and never did the race, you suck, boo!!!

Well, all of that is mostly true (I sound like a president of something…). Here’s the story, it’s not sad, but it is true.

Life got in the way.

Back in February when I last posted, basketball season was ending and I was sort of geared up for the final push to the “Just Me” marathon (400 and something laps on the track at my local YMCA). For a couple of weeks after the season ended, I basked in the free time and made use of the afternoons to run. Then one day I had a minor meltdown where the arrogance of wisdom met head on with the ignorance of adolescence. On that day, I barked at some baseball players in my school about attitude, commitment, and effort. From my lofty perch of life’s experience, I laughed at their absolute belief in their lack of class effort and how that translated to their prediction for the upcoming season. Early that evening, I went for a run on the track. Coincidently, the baseball team came out to practice on the football field as the snow had melted there.

Hang with me…

I’ve learned over the years to be careful about certain questions from my bosses. The most alarm sound of them all is, “Hey, I’ve got a question for you?” The day after my meltdown and track encounter, the athletic director was in my office posing that very question. I answered, “Uh-oh, that didn’t sound good.” We laughed and he proceeded to ask if I would like to coach BASEBALL. One of the coaches was quitting and the team needed someone to “ride the bus.” After talking to my real boss, Mrs. H., I said, “yes,” and so would begin my quick descent into baseball mode. Fortunately, I ended up doing more than riding the bus and the players and I saw each other in a different light. The season ended up great from that standpoint, but not so successful with the record.

During the basketball season, I sort of managed to keep my running going. Baseball killed that. I thought baseball was so much harder to coach than basketball. I don’t know if it was the time, the wind, the sun, or the standing, but I was dog tired after practice and games. My running stopped and here I am nearly four months passed my last training post. During that time, I lost my endurance, gained seven pounds, discovered Miller High Life (I had the time and they had the beer…), and started to feel really sluggish. All the while, I kept thinking that I needed to run this “race” because I said that I would.

It’s funny how little things can spur some motivation. 231 on the scale is an attention getter. An old blogger resurfacing with those cool Monday posts is another. YouTube can help. Even my AD brought a bit of motivation to my lethargy. So here’s how my “resurrection” began. I was working my way through YouTube. I did Brilliant Ideas and Chase Jarvis. I guess the folks at YouTube thought I would be interested in Bullet Journaling because they kept sending me videos about BOJOs. For kicks and giggles, I watched one and thought it was pretty cool. A couple of days later, I was drawing in a journal and trying to figure out how to use it to make the lifestyle changes that needed to be made. In the journal, I’m trying to focus on creating enjoyment, power, and endurance. The things that I put in my journal should be promoting those ideals. Out of that journal, I began getting better at scheduling my workouts. Even so, I’ve been hit or miss about the running.

Because it hurts, man…

The AD came to me with another proposition, volleyball? I signed on to be an assistant coach and with baseball over, I went to my first open gym. It was awesome! My fear, though, is that this is just something else to jam up my exercise schedule. Back to the BOJO and a few scribbles here and there made the three lifestyle priorities work together. The exercise began to ramp up…

Then YouTube dropped another vegetable on my plate, “Intermittent Fasting.” The idea is that there are big chunks of time where a person fasts and an eating window where the person eats normally. Today is my first day. I’ve committed myself to a month of at least fourteen-hour fasting. Although, I’m waiting until Monday to really start, so I can truly enjoy breakfast with my daughter tomorrow. However, today I rocked out a sixteen hour fast and can see the benefits to doing so. I survived the hunger pangs and never felt tired, even with a workout in the middle of the hunger alarms.

Okay, that gets me to today. I decided to hit the Y and lift weights. That turned into lifting weights and then getting on the track for an hour. Truth be told, I ran one lap and then walked one lap. The intensity was lacking, but I was more interested in seeing if I could stick to a goal. The 1:1 gave me the opportunity to get my legs going without the horrible feeling of over doing it. I got it done despite being asked about my ex-wife (twelve years people…), no music of my own, and the over enthusiastic cueing from the group exercise teacher down on the basketball court. That’s really the time when it sucks to be a visual learner. “Shhh, I’ve got it, bend my knees…”

I like to think that I’m motivated on my own. I guess YouTube, BOJOs, and my athletic director suggest that I am influenced by extrinsic factors, too. I have to give a welcome back to an amazing poet and all around good person from coppercranes.worpress.com. It’s hard to know why things make an influence on you, but I can say about “Ms. Crane’s” work that it is always thought provoking and moving. Better yet, she’s an encourager and while I only know her through the blogging world, I’m glad to have come across her site and wisdom.

So, now it all comes together. If it were a simple math equation, it might look like this: YouTube+BOJO+Volleyball+good poetry+frustration over lethargy=back to training, baby!

More to come!