Sometimes “Thanks” can be a dis,
Sometimes “Hate” a term of endearment,
Like when you get poked to run six miles,
And you offer a “thanks” to the person
Who made you feel like a loser
For not getting out of bed to get the run done
And that feeling is less than sincere,
More of an eff you with a smile.

On that other hand, “I hate you”
After finishing that six mile run
With the endorphins pumping
And the satisfaction of having gotten something done
Even if it was only 5.75, I’m sure Strava wouldn’t lie
If only it showed up in the feed,
Is a great way to give an actual, “Thank you.”

Just a few days ago,
My legs hurt,
My motivation was lacking,
My excuses were reaching adolescent proportions
When a friend sent me a video,
It whispered in my head overnight
Making me angry for being such a little whatever word is allowed now.
I hit the roads the next day and when I finished,
Texted my boy, eff you, and I did so with great hate,
The appreciative kind.

That’s why today made me laugh,
When the wise Goggins in his sit up glory
Let another friend hear the whisper
And be so moved by the morning run
To at least allow me the dignity to choose thanks or hate.
In this case, I chose the hate, it’s more honest
And fitting with the tone
Of sucking it up, buttercup and
“This ain’t no walk in the park, Kazansky…”

By the way, consider this even for the sit ups in the pool.
I really don’t like those effers.

I’m not sure how many people I ran with today,
All of them were dead,
I don’t say that smugly,
But it’s true,
I was running in a cemetery.

I get weird ideas running there,
Hands reaching out,
Me waking the dead with my heavy stepping,
Them down there partying
In some underground disco grotto
For the deceased.

I don’t mind running there,
I wonder how they all ended up there,
Illness, natural causes, the virus of the time.
They span generations from the 1800s
All the way to now,
Hopefully my running postpones joining their grotto.

So Bayard, Banta, McFarlan, and all those Clouds
I run lightly in your presence
Not wanting to bother your rest
I’ll see you in a few days
For now, entertain the squirrels
And that one crow over by the Mendenhalls.

You know, those things were told to aspire to.
They’re supposed to help us, right?
I suppose.

Certain goals motivate me,
Other things, eh,
But I’ve been pursuing a new one lately.

This week my challenge is in doubt,
Three days, many miles left for that helpful thing,
The goal.

For us, the weather has been spotty,
Lots of clouds, lots of wind, and
Enough cold to make it easy to ride a treadmill inside.

So today, when the weather got all crazy
With high sun and eighty degrees,
I figured it was a perfect time for two run.

The morning was still cloudy,
Not much to report,
Quickly finished, feeling kind of cocky.

That Mother Nature, though,
She knows when a man is a little too sure
And she can bust him down without even trying.

She was like a siren calling me towards the rocks,
Fast out of my neighborhood, faster down the hill,
Strava says my second fastest up State Street.

I listened to her call, going Gump and just running,
Not far mind you, about four miles out,
Without water and it was very hot and not shady.

I started thinking about hydrating as I ran by a Dunkin,
When I turned around at the light, I thought of asking for a cup,
But with no mask or money, I thought that too ballsy.

As I passed Victory and then Wawa, I took a walk break,
Picking back up a I passed the bookstore
Lest my mates, the owners, see me struggling as I ran by.

The dirt next to the railroad tracks was dry and dusty
Making my mouth feel like I had eaten a tums consistency pixie stick,
I was in survival mode and this was supposed to help, right?

Finally, I got to sections that were more manageable,
The walking breaks vanished and my mind shifted,
Home was beyond the last laughable hill.

I say laughable because I am 77,000th and something
In a running-climbing challenge online,
But this last four-tenths is always hard.

Just think, two more days in the week,
Only nine miles to go…
Then the goal changes.

One night a long time ago,
I was about to walk home in the dark,
When my soon to be friend’s very loud mother
Ordered me into my soon to be friend’s very quiet father’s cab
For a short ride to my house.

He didn’t charge me,
I’m not sure he even spoke to me
And that’s how it would go
All the way through high school
Except for that time when I ate all the chicken.

There are some people who talk a lot,
I tend to blow them off,
There are others who say almost nothing.
They are the ones to pay attention to.
Stew was that guy.

My friend’s father passed away recently.
“Tear drops and sadness have not gone out of style,”
Dwight Yoakam sang those words and they’re special today
As I think about Stew and his white t-shirts
And cab driver’s tan.

I used to kid him about Dwight before I appreciated country music,
He only took my bait once,
“He’s pretty good,” was all Stew said.
That little bit has stuck with me all these years later.
It was classic Stew, short and sweet.

Ninety-two is a long time,
But maybe his most important example to me
Was how to raise those who aren’t yours
Because if you’re a righteous dude you’ll
Welcome everyone into your house as if they are.

Even when they scarf up all the leftover chicken.
It’s 1986 for me right now, Dwight is blasting,
And all I can think about is Hickory Lane and
How Albert Stewart will be missed because
He, too, “Was pretty good.”

I read somewhere that email is essentially the same
As it was when it started.
It’s sucked for an awful long time, then.

This day, I spent sending digital communication
After digital communication.
That’s not normally part of my job,

So all you office folks who have no compassion
Since you toil in this sort of drudgery all day,
I feel your pain about the kids being home.

I’m realizing that how important the brick and mortar is,
The face to face time of school.
I’m missing that.

What kind of sucks,
Is that no matter how much or how hard
I work out,
I’m still not getting much better.
My times aren’t improving,
My soreness doesn’t go away as fast,
I’m really holding on.
As Jackson Browne sang, “Time the conqueror.”

It hit me hard today,
I was running with my stepson,
I ran my first marathon around the time he was born,
He’s sixteen now and ready to drive,
To bad for him DMV isn’t open for testing, yet, pandemic and all.
Anyway, I have one rule for people I run with
Go as fast as you go, slower or faster than me,
But go your own way.

And that he did,
Leaving me alone in a field as he sped into the woods
A mere two minutes or so into a four-mile run.
He’s powerful, assertive, unbothered by roots and rocks
Because he can pick his feet up when he runs.
I can’t sustain that, shuffle ensues, and then I have to be careful,
Not so much so that I don’t push, but
It is so that I’m not sixteen anymore.

Coming out of the woods
I felt relaxed,
That little stream crossing and single track
Always has me thinking of snakes,
I’ve never seen one,
But I suppose it’s that part of my father
Who always tells me about rattlesnakes down in Texas.

Today was a beautiful run,
Under confused skies,
One moment angry winds and annoyed clouds,
The next perfectly sunny and calm.
As the sky turned from one to another,
It was beautiful watching the tall grasses dance
Their salsa all over the field.

This was my first time to Barkingfield Farm,
Renowned for its fox hunts back in the day,
Now it’s a piece of pristine land protected from developers,
Someday surrounded by McMansions.
The trails are mowed grass
Except that one stretch,
Almost an oasis made of trees hiding a narrow stream.

I was so relaxed, not breathing hard,
Feeling a mental release from the virus and distance learning,
When ahead, out of the grass, only thirty yards or so,
Jumped a fox.
I was not barking and she did not seem afraid,
Just standing there, looking at me plod along,
Until she decided to run.

She could have gone back into the tall grass,
But she didn’t,
The fox just trotted ahead, keeping a safe distance,
Looking back like my dog on a lead,
Making sure I’m still there, not wanting me to be too far away.
This was my first time running with a fox, but
Probably not her first time running away from man.

As she got to the edge of the field,
A corner where I would have to turn right to keep the run going,
She stopped, looked back, to make sure I was still moving,
And then jumped into another stand of trees,
Off into the safety of more thigh high grass.
I would run by that corner five more times,
She was not to be seen again.

We were not running together,
She was probably leading me on,
Or away,
Away from a den that was somewhere near.
Having her there, on my first run was special,
A moment where nature was not too crazy
And left everything to the imagination.