Tonight, a little prehab while
Sitting in bed, hot pad blazing
After a cold shower
Where the water seemed
Straight from a river,
All in an effort to keep the motor running,
My motor,
The one my friends ran to empty this morning
When the scruffy gazelle
Found his stride
Which was more fluid than my ego was bold.
I kept with him due to his generosity in the form of
A short walk break so I could catch my breath and
A breezy conversation with questions easily answered
Without too much diverting of air
From my decade older lungs.
It was awesome cruising in the dark,
Pushing through October’s June-like feel,
Sweat pouring, muscles aching
Time ticking away,
Yet, afterwards nothing hurt.
Maybe this prehab thing works, after all,
Some quiet time,
Some breathing,
Some cold,
Some heat,
Lots of sleep,
It’s all good and it better keep working
Because the clock is ticking and soon
My friends will be charging around the corners
Pushing that pace again
And my old arse, or is it big ego,
Can’t stand giving in.

“Happy Fridaaayyy.”

Eff you,
I don’t want your BS cheerfulness,
Please know that this day is like all others,

Not that there is anything wrong with you,
I just prefer to celebrate all of the days, not just Friday,
Because I know I’m on the long course
To a hot after-life vocation,
Which kind of excites me.

Not like balls in the butt for some,
Because I don’t care for that,
Nor do I care if others do,
To each his, her, or it’s own
As it is with your Friday cheer, as well.

You can be as perky as you want,
I’ll be as grumpy as I want,
We’ll pass in the way people do,
You superficially giving well-wishes through a faux expression
Of happiness that masks some insecurity on your part.

You see, I just left a ten-miler
Where my hands nearly froze off,
My friends nearly got run over, and
I witnessed a fifty-year-old woman wearing gray spandex
From a Buck Rogers episode.

The beauty is that none of that was negative,
Sure my hands hurt,
Sure my friends and I got scared,
Sure the space cadet pushed my ability to be polite due to her
Jane Fonda era exercise gear, but

I loved it all
The pain, the fear, and
The subtle laugh my friend, who is fast-tracking
Her way to the same cauldron of eternity gave me
At the sight of Apollo 13 coming down the runway.

There were also human snakes in fogged up glasses,
Excited discussions of triathlon anatomy,
Inappropriate references to all that is sacred,
Lip reading of profane verbiage, and
Still more amazement at the way people dress to exercise.

After leaving my friends,
Who are all normal of course,
I was regaled by the awesomely incorrect musings of ZZ Top
Who put the icing on the cake and had the word deranged ringing in my soul.
With that, I knew the best part of the day was over.

So take your cheeriness, the kind that is so Hallmark,
And know that I appreciate the effort,
But your parking lot kindness will never rise to the level
Of Billy Gibbons’s expression of jewelry and passion
Or to the greatness that was this loud and wildly entertaining Friday 10.

Cold made its way into the morning. Finally. Two of us took to the roads in the dark. We talked training. We talked guy stuff. We shared our preferences for angrier music, the happy pop not fitting our slightly deranged view of the world. I found it comforting to know that I wasn’t the only one who still appreciated the Sex Pistols, although, my expertise paled in comparison to my running partner’s punk rock acumen. He did show his age, a few years ahead of my own, when he offered to let me borrow his copy of “Spunk.”

With that run done and the sun rising, we headed to the fields for a cross country-styled 5K organized by another friend and populated by a bunch of people we all mostly know. My plan was to chill, take it easy on the course, and simply enjoy the time. Like Goggins in Las Vegas and with “Anarchy” blaring on a loop in my head, I took off with a goal to catch the Mennonite woman running up ahead in their bonnets and dresses. Ego is a strange thing and mine was hooked to an adrenaline pump as I pushed harder than I have in many years. We caught the nattily clad runners and for the rest of the way, I ran scared of being passed from behind.

The community theme of the race was exhibited at the finish line. No egos, no trash talking, only the support for each runner as they finished. Times didn’t really matter. Places, either. Hanging with all my friends at the finish lines was awesome. The sun was out, the warmth everywhere, the angry music out of my head.

Thanks, y’all.

The other day another youthful fantasy
Got destroyed
When a sitcom siren was reportedly involved
In a naked knife-wielding domestic dispute.

Not sure who was supposed to be naked,
But either way,
It kind of killed the memory
Of what she brought to the table.

So with the gossipy news
Taking away the salacious thoughts
I was left with morning conversations
With the coolest old heads I know.

We ran through the dark,
Comparing food choices
That increasing include fewer bouts with sugar
And greater experimentation with lifestyle changes.

When cruised into the morning
Listening to a hoodied meathead
Grunt over creaking knees
As they provided a porn soundtrack to simple leg extensions.

We gathered at the watering hole
A table at the Y where swill coffee goes down
Better than the reality of whatever happens
During a shutdown week.

Farts on planes,
Attempts to move the burning air,
Recirculating an old friend’s Army story of
Clearing back blast areas.

Just another Friday with my mates…

So many people,
So many places,
Everyone out there reaching for it,
Whatever that is.

One woman,
Trekking across the country,
Single-minded in her focus
To run through a tunnel.

One man,
Over booked and hostage to time
Made a decision to bail,
To keep everything intact.

Three dudes,
Different in every way, but one,
Running the streets of Philly
With goals equally as different.

I can only speak for me,
But this group inspires,
Making the early morning workouts good,
Making Philly a lot more brotherly.

New challenges are ahead,
5Ks, triathlons, life
But the best thing about each
Is we never do them alone.

Thanks to all y’all.

I know these people who run,
Some of their stories I know,
Most I don’t.
One became drawn to running
With one hand in a bag of chips
While watching a weigh-in
For a heavyweight fight.
He realized he weighed more than them.
He started running the next day.
He’s like the wind.

Another is a woodworker,
At least as a hobby,
His motor runs fast,
Commuting or running,
Feet barely touching the ground,
Hardly even working
There’s grace in his stride
Ease in his sweat
A lack of awareness of friction and gravity.
He’s like the wind.

Still one other, full of steam,
A seller of meat so fresh
It’s nearly alive,
Unassuming, but grizzled from sports
And a bout with biology’s wayward cellular mayhem,
This guy just goes,
No complaining, except about winter,
But all the time full of the attitude
The keeps him pushing along the rails
As his steam trails off in the wind.

There are others,
Cardiac crazies who dare to push their limits,
And I find them to be so interesting,
My kind of people,
Riders of the wind,
Pounders of the pavement,
Folks I am struggling to keep pace with
For I have not quite taken up their flight…soon, though.

Adam, Eve, the snake,
Not things I normally associate
With running at the crack of dawn,
But my exercise partners have a way
Of making the unexpected
Come to life.

Okay, not so much Adam and Eve,
The biblical reference fit, but
Snakes, it had to be about snakes this morning,
For the record, I hate snakes,
So much so that I blasted a copperhead and black snake
With my trusty twenty-gauge back in the day.

There was talk of…
King Cobras killed by shovel stabbing grandmas,
Pythons wrapped around drive trains at Granite Run Mall,
Pet snakes stepping off the bar tour and getting all baked,
Costa Rican hombres doing naked yoga…downward facing dong?,
A licking or maybe it was sucking of the oil off a dipstick.

Certainly, the conversation was appropriate,
There were also ample opportunities for inappropriate as well.
That’s why I like this group,
Flexible, fertile, a frolicking sort,
Coffee drinkers, beer drinkers, maybe “drinkers” is the best term.
Oh, and we run, too.

The HR Momma is out there rocking away,
Not because she is old,
Broken down, or
Afraid of injury.

She’s out there rocking away
Because she can,
Loves the uncertainty, and
Wants the challenges to be real.

I’m sitting on my couch,
After an ocean of shrimp, Costanza style,
Two glasses of wine, a nap, the start of summer vacation,
And a bundle of peanut M&Ms.

Check that, I’m now rocking away,
Unwilling to accept the fifty minimum,
Unwanting of the bubbles in my gut,
So let these rocks squeeze that air out.

Thank you, HR Momma for your example.
I’ll get these rocks done today, and
I’ll stay on track
Just as you.

I’m not sure how to write this,
I was just caught in a social vortex,
At times traveling through Portland, Oregon,
Others passing through Vegas,
All the while standing in the effing
Self-proclaimed Mushroom Capital of the World.

Back in the day,
My family get-togethers weren’t happenings
Until my uncle and his brothers started wrestling.
A broken rib here lost teeth there,
It was a common thing,
Once one of them put a lampshade on, literally,
The party was over.

Tonight brought those feelings of youth back,
The slurred speech,
The banging buffet,
The overdeveloped cc’s of testosterone
That seem to follow brothers or those
Still living the dreams that are unrealized.

I’m not sure how to convey how great it was tonight,
I’m mean who can complain about such a spread,
Such companionship, the absolute ease of hanging
With people I’ve feared my whole career…

Especially the kind that might throw bicycles
Bust out the walls of a closet
All rock star style in a hotel.

Glad I didn’t know that at the start of the year…

But in this case the boundaries of school and life
We’re separated. I don’t know how
To get my mind around it.
It’s not something I’m used to.

Slow down. It’s all there…

Make a list…

1. It seems cake was expected, not delivered, but not missed either.
That is a testament to the quality of character of this group.

2. Poetic or not, fireworks in a neighborhood are always cool as long as
It isn’t my ‘hood.

3. Everything is better slippery…especially slip and slides. Dishwasher safe…

4. I met a guy named Joe about four or five times. It seems he knew the host.

5. Eddie Murray could hit, Darla. Listen to your husband. What am I saying,
That’s crazy talk. Wives don’t listen to husbands, especially about sports.

6. I only thought keg throwing happened on ESPN. That guy from Iowa is a beast.
Blue minivans work well as backstops.

7. Dogs are some manipulative mofos.

8. When the kegs are flying, the party is either just getting going or nearly over.
I hadn’t been to a dead keg party since college. I hope I pulled my weight.

9. Did I mention BBQ?

10. The last two strides of the Belmont were amazing…

I can’t begin to explain
How much fun I had tonight.
For a jackass who cowers in public,
This had to be the best party in a long time,
Because I was with the kind of people I once knew,
Just having fun without regard for pretense,
Reputation, or ambition.
I was with real people,
Unafraid, accepting.

My kind of folks.

I know some others who weren’t there,
They would have fit in well,
Too bad they weren’t
For the fireworks,
The keg throwing,
The Crispr demonstration
On how to clone a kid from a parent
While they play corn hole,
It was remarkable.

And now we also know,
There are some challenges
The HR Momma just won’t take…