Liability,
The stuff we want to avoid,
Like botox lipped sidewalks
Than interfere with a runner’s flow.
Who’s responsible for this shit,
Keeping things level,
Allowing our journeys to be safe?

People have the wherewithal to announce
Blue herons pick at eyes
So wear goggles when feeding them,
But who can say
When a fall
Might take us down.

Nobody,
Nobody claims any responsibility,
Lock and key lipped posers
Who only know that they are done
And not responsible for this shit,
Keeping things calm
Allowing journeys to be enjoyed.

It’s a wonder we don’t all fall,
The way things go,
All ragged, haggard, and torn
With scraped hands,
Bruised egos,
And scars over every last bit of vulnerability.
Maybe there’s a long ass form to fill out,
Something to document each fall,
When running,
From grace,
After a storm.

Eh, I’ll just keep picking my feet up
And putting them down.
Bumps happen.

pexels-photo-247477

“I challenge myself to stop comparing what I learn to the past.” Scott Belsky

An accomplishment,
Trees growing to touch the sky
Measure nature’s chi.
Running matters so little
Compared to life’s long journey.

 

Photo Credit: Pexels.com

There are many ways of looking at exercise. What I am about to write goes against my recent dabbling in high-intensity interval training, but this marathon I’m training for has been about me finding motivation and success and as I’ve written in the past, the clown thing worked for me in some respects and wasted me in others. I had a very hard time keeping my intensity high and keeping my volume of exercise in perspective. Since I’m a habit guy, I need routine and I could never find one suitable while doing CrossFit.

That would be a “me” problem and not a flaw of CrossFit.

I made some real progress this week by reaching into my old bag of tricks, namely, I slowed down and committed to time. However, I also kept with some of my favorite CrossFit methods and relied on AMRAPs this week. AMRAP stands for as many rounds as possible. The goal is to complete as many rounds of the prescribed exercises as possible in a given time. I chose to run on the indoor track this week and set my AMRAP goal for 90-minutes. Essentially, I was shooting for as many laps as I could get in an hour and a half.

I reasoned that I would push myself to run/walk as fast as possible while getting myself mentally in shape for extended runs. For those of you following along, you might be thinking that this would be too long of a time given the lack of training I’ve done, but I also thought walking might become a big part of what I was doing. Since I’m really only concerned with completing the distance, I’m not too concerned about how long it takes me to finish.

So here’s what happened…7.5 miles…disappointing compared to ten years ago but encouraging for yesterday. For stubbornness, I went ahead and finished the last half of mile for a total of 95-minutes of run/walking. I didn’t have any real issues. When my legs were too tired, I either slowed down or walked. Both of the group exercise classes on the gym floor below distracted me from being bothered and there was enough traffic on the track to give me obstacles to keep the monotony from setting in.

Then I woke up this morning… I’ve been sorer (see my first week after my first CrossFit workout), but I was determined to get back over to the Y. At 8:10, I started walking with a two-hour goal of nothing but walking. The gym was empty, the track was empty, and my mind was empty. After an hour there was a crowd building. For about twenty minutes, I talked with a woman I used to work with, but I could not remember her name. Then I followed an older guy who had amazing pace. He knew I was following along and he would surge from time to time. Finally, he turned right for the exit and I was left with about twenty minutes and an unofficial AMRAP goal of 128 laps. I was at about 113 with around 12-minutes to go.

With so little time left, I did what any overly competitive jerk would do, I started to run. I ran a lap and walked a lap. Time seemed to be moving faster at the end of the run, so I just went for it. Making the time felt great and I was not in the least bit bothered by running about six or seven laps during the workout. In fact, I was surprised at how well my legs felt in those short few laps.

The key to the last few days was getting over the mental barrier of time and once again learning that pacing is very important to how well I perform while exercising. I’m not a “balls to the wall” exerciser. I’m probably too analytical about what I’m doing, although some have suggested that I don’t think about things enough. Issues…

Tomorrow is the next big day. It will be my first three-day push and my first with new gear…thanks, Apple… I wonder what kind of nerdy data I can get from this thing.

Why are we here? Such a complex question, huh? I wrestle to find an answer and even though I just learned to drive a John Deere tractor, I know there is much more than the rest of what I have going on. That’s not to say that my life is unhappy or in some way lacking, but is work, eat, sleep all there is?

A Little History…

I’ve written about running before. The crib version goes like this: I grew up hating to run. As an adult, I started running because it was cheap. I began running marathons for complex social reasons. I quit running because the social stuff sort of simplified. Now I’m running again and I think I like it.

Marathon running was an escape. I don’t think I ever had any purpose in my running beyond getting away from the aggravation of life. I signed up for marathons unaware of the charities they supported. It was just something to do that was away from where I was then.

That being said, “I’m training for a marathon again.”

Before people get worried, I’m not running away from anything like I did last time around.

So What’s Going On?…

This time I’m running with purpose. Vanity, in the guise of improving my health, is the first. A classmate from high school commented that our hoops team could have used my “size” back in the day. He meant nothing by it and I thought I took nothing by it, but the truth is I took it the same way as my son calling me a whale back in the late 90s. As John Milton said, “Vanity, definitely my favorite sin.” I shouldn’t care how I look, but when I think about the effect of not exercising and my increasing waist line, I can’t help but get up off the couch.

Goal Number 1: Whittle my weight down to 200-pounds…

The goal is realistic, but it will take some serious effort on the eating front. I began toying with the idea of running a marathon back in the summer. To help, I also started modifying how I eat and saw great results on the weight loss front. I beat Halloween away and then the time change came around. Since then, I’ve had a hard time keeping true to my plan. Oh well, it’s part of the process, right?

The second purpose is just because. I want to see if I can. Back in the day I ran angry. There was such a negative energy to what I was doing that I’m not sure I realized any true health benefits from all those miles. My life is right where I want it and the nagging thought of past running foibles bugs me enough to want to put a period on that part of my life. The irony of it all is that running is the tool that I’m using to bridge unhappy and happy. I lost too much back then and I’ve allowed running to be a casualty of those times. Not now because I am happy and despite what I’ve written previously, I think I’ve always like running.

Goal Number 2: Run a marathon by April 8, 2017.

There are plenty of marathons out there to choose from, but I just don’t feel like driving anywhere to run one, so I’m going to do my own marathon. The race won’t show up on web sites or running store flyers and there will only be one contestant, but that doesn’t mean that there isn’t a cause. I have been given permission to run “my race” at my local YMCA. The Y has an indoor track (16 laps/mile, 419.2 laps=26.2 miles). That’s my race. I have an old school counter and I’m rounding up the race distance to 420 laps. Hopefully, I’ll finish between 4-4.5 hours and that will be that.

Goal Number 3: Raise some money for “organizations…”

Besides the running, I am hoping to raise some funds. I’m not much for soliciting help for causes, so I’m keeping this low key. First, I’m donating “a registration fee” amount to my local YMCA. They did not ask, but I love the Y and want to do right by them. If you would like to support my effort to help out the Y, the information is below.

But…

This is a personal cause of mine and I think the true purpose of this run is to find what it important for me. The Kennett YMCA might not be your thing, but there are other causes that are just as worthwhile. Giving to an organization that means more to you would be an equally appreciated way to support me on this journey.

Moving Forward…

Each week until I get to the “marathon” I am going to put a post on the blog about the week’s training. You know, so I can feel good about what I’ve done. There is a certain amount of ego in running and you know what I mean. Seriously, at a party get stuck talking to a runner. We are the worst. I’ll also remind people of the purpose of my journey and hopefully kick start someone on their fitness journey. Seriously, though, I think quite a bit when I run and there is always something to write about there. Finally, I’ll gently ask you to make a donation to a charity, but I’ll keep this subtle.

Thank you for your support with my blog and good luck with finding the reasons for why we are here. They are so elusive…

Pre-training Stats:

Running Laps: 731
Walking Laps: 160
Squats: 140
Lunges: 72 (How much do these su, I mean, hurt?)
Hip Raises: 40 (I need to do more of these.)
Calf Raises: 35

Longest Run: 6-miles

To donate to the Kennett Area YMCA use the following link:

ymcagbw.org

The clothes store owner charged Rory and Allen five dollars each for a shower. Rory thought this was the best fiver he had spent since showering after a week at Bonnaroo. After getting new clothes, Rory and Allen headed up to Beale Street to take in all Memphis had to offer. There were plenty of people on the street, but no traffic. Coming towards them was a wagon being pulled by a team of horses. The wagon looked like something out of a western, more covered wagon than Conestoga. An old man drove the team and sung a blues song about getting to Newport News. As he got to Rory and Allen, the old man tapped the reigns and the horses stopped.

“Hey boys, you made it. Get up on this wagon and let’s go see some Elvis zealots.”

Rory and Allen took this as another one of their journeys and hopped on the wagon.

“Furry Lewis is my name. I’m traveling around selling a curative for those handcuffed by indecision and self-begotten doubt.”

“I’m Rory and he’s Allen. Are you real?”

Furry started laughing and said, “Real as a mad woman and her .44. Hang on, we’re gonna hurry up.”

The wagon picked up its pace, although it seemed to Rory that the scenery was moving and the wagon was sitting still. In just a few seconds the shuttle was at Graceland. A steady stream of people were entering and leaving, each paying homage to the King at his graveside.

“Are we going in?” asked Allen.

“Naw, your boy her made the King mad once when he cursed him at Olde Town Pizza around Christmas time.”

Rory said, “So what, nobody liked that ‘Ahhh OOO Weee OOO bullshit anyway.”

“You better be careful, son, the King has his vindictive tendencies. He’ll make you walk like the skinny bowlegged boy who had that bad jock fungus when you were in high school,” said Furry.

“Okay, I like Suspicious Minds. Better?”

“Now you’re talking. Let’s head over to Brinkley Street.” Furry snapped the reigns and everything started spinning again.

“Where are we going?” yelled Allen.

“Going to see Miss Moon, she’s old, but one hot mama. Then a meeting.”

“Meeting?” asked Allen.

“Yep. Some folks are getting together to see you on.”

Rory and Allen looked at each other and wondered what it meant to ‘see you on.’ They had no idea that Miss Moon had actually been a spy during the Civil war, sailed the great intracoastal waterway of the Mississippi to her imprisonment in NOLA, and died in Greenwich Village, New York City. She was a woman of great business sense and something of an artist. People loved her and thought her a beautiful woman.

“Furry, where have you been?”

“Miss Moon, we stopped by the King’s grave.”

“The King my ass,” said Rory. “What did he write.”

“Ummm-Hmmm, the goat was right,” said Minnie as she put her hand on Rory’s arm. “They are going to love this one.”

They had barely stopped at Miss Moon’s boarding house before they were off again. Furry smiled and cracked the reigns again. They arrived at the Auditorium Theater where Mr. Hu Brinkley was hosting the Swami Vivekanada’s lecture on Hindu culture. Hu and the Swami were standing at the doors waiting for Furry.

“Furry, where have you been?” asked Hu.

“Mr. Brinkley, we stopped by the King’s grave.”

“He backed out for tonight. He said something about racquetball in Blow Gym. I worry about that guy.”

“He plays racquetball?” asked Rory.

“Yeah,” said Allen.

“Okay, maybe he’s not so bad after all,” said Rory.

“Something how the better you get to know something, the better it is,” said Miss Moon.

“Come on,” said the Swami, “we must meditate before the show.”

“And you guys must have my tonic,” said Furry. He opened a bottle and poured a thick syrup on a plate. “Wait, it’s got to harden, become a coagulation, then you can scrape it off.”

They did and were immediately hit with lightning and moonbeams, the essence of Memphis. Any turmoil they were experiencing disappeared. The cosmic energy wrought the pain of uncertainty and walking for five months from their bodies and shaped them into open vessels for whatever was about to happen. The Swami led a meditation that put Rory and Allen into the clearest state either had achieved. Furry began picking an acoustic guitar. The twang and tinge of the sound pushed Rory and Allen towards a deeper clarity. He was Ptah, the Creator, taking the guys back to a time when they were blank slates. Being so relaxed, they were able to accept Isaac Hayes on stage with a beautiful flower fixed to his outrageous pimp looking outfit. He offered an electric funk from his keyboards that kept pace with Furry, but recognized his place in the group. Isaac acted as Nefertem, straddling the worlds of group member and superstar with the sweet smell of honey suckle. Finally, Memphis Minnie brought a voice to the group. She was a war goddess, Sekhmet, bringing song so pure that it was nearly scary to hear. She tapped into the source, but Rory and Allen felt that she was there to protect them with her magical voice. This was the Trio of Memphis performing rhythms of discovery that Rory and Allen were soaking in.

Allen looked over to Rory and said, “They’re singing the Sex Pistols. It’s Sub-Mission.”

“Right!” said Rory, “In a Delta blues funk kind of way.”

The guys closed their eyes. The Swami said something about not thinking. Rory opened his eyes and saw the moon, sun, and earth floating above the stage. The Trio of Memphis was now performing ‘New York’ in the coolest, purest, and most inspiring way. They were everything the Sex Pistols were not.

“You must come to New York,” said Miss Moon. “Everything will be fine.”

Everyone got on the wagon and started humming “Holiday In the Sun.”