img_1433There are things that we commit to and regret. Maybe it’s a party in the neighborhood. Could it be trying to publish a novel? What about running a marathon? Well, I’m all in for all three, plenty of commitments and a wealth of regret to go around. About a year ago, I set my sights on running a marathon in my fiftieth year. I started out training well for an old guy who had let fitness kind of get away. It’s a funny thing about getting older, some aspects of life get harder. Running has never been the easiest thing for me, but I have managed to finish ten marathons and one ultra. None were particularly fast and I thought those days were over. Then, I had some blood work, got some numbers I never thought I’d have, and the idea of running a marathon was reborn.

Let me say my health is fine. My numbers were associated with too big a gut and a lifestyle that was slipping into that barley, hops, and mash routine. I also found little time to exercise because I began coaching. The only real time to go for a run was in the morning before school and that is great until winter. Even driving over to the YMCA is tougher because it’s so much easier to just sleep. After all, how important is it to run anyway? I noticed my clothes were getting bigger, my ties looser, and my attitude about me becoming worse. I decided that I would run a marathon at my YMCA.

There is a track at the Y and it says 16-laps per mile. That’s 419.2 laps for a marathon. Funny, I’m just realizing the .2, which is a stupid joke people who run marathons like to throw around, “Twenty-six is easy, it’s the .2 that’s hard.” I told you, stupid because I don’t think there is anything easy about going out for twenty-six miles and change. In all the races I did, there were moments of pain, moments of doubt, serious questioning of my sanity, and the realization that I had not trained enough. I always got hurt or justified that I could make up the miles on another day. My times in all the other races probably reflect my lack of commitment to following a training program to the letter of the law.


Besides the coaching, life tended to get in my way. Fifty has been much more difficult than forty. I have wrestled with bulging weight, too much alcohol, an unhealthy diet, and a level of confidence that’s more New Orleans than Mount Everest. I would not say that any of the issues were serious problems, but in my final analysis, each has contributed to a pretty blah year. Once my baseball season ended, I began training again and I had a moment of clarity that sometimes comes from nowhere. I need to get my act together for many reasons, physical, mental, and social. Where did I turn for help? The internet of course. I began binging YouTube videos like they were peanut M&Ms. My go to was Chase Jarvis Live. He does a show where he asks leaders from a variety of areas about their techniques, attitudes, and processes around being creative. I’ve learned a great deal about perspective from the people on his show and they have had a serious effect on how I approach writing, but the moment was, “Why aren’t you putting their lessons to use in your daily life also?” There are too many things to get into with this blog post, but Tim Ferriss, Jason Silva, Steven Kotler, Jamie Wheal, and a host of others dropped nuggets of information on me that took me places my mind had not been in such a long time. I was learning about experimenting with different nutritional aspects on micro levels. I was re-introduced to “flow,” which I knew as “being in the zone.” I started making changes to my nutrition (intermittent fasting, vegetables, cutting carbs) and the weight began to drop (ten pounds in eight weeks). I also began thinking in ways that promoted an easier way of being. I found that when I was exercising or even just hanging out that I could easily calm an over chatty brain. I felt different, but I was still in the awkward-new-skill-way where everything had to be planned and nothing felt natural.

Then I had a couple of evenings that I’d like to forget. Nothing tragic or illegal, but I’ll simply say that in my evolving minimalist attitude, I had to ask myself, “What value does alcohol bring to my life?” Don’t get me wrong, a cold beer or a neat glass of whiskey is amazing, but my ideas of drinking had become too much about bonding. I could go on about how that was symbolic of how I was feeling in other areas of my life, but after my own foul balls with the bottle and hearing of my neighbor dropping into (and thankfully out of) a coma due to alcohol poisoning, I made the choice to give up drinking. Over the last six weeks, I haven’t be 100% dry, but I don’t go seeking a beer and I politely refuse when I’m offered one at a pool or party. Since mid July, I’ve had 8-beers. That’s a big difference from a “nightly pop or two.” It’s weird not drinking and I must say it’s hard. Not because I crave alcohol, but because it is such of an important part of socializing for so many people. Anyway, it’s not something I’m looking for and I feel mostly better because of the change.

So, did you run or not?…

I did. I ran the race today. Just me and the miles on the track. There were other people training. There were exercise classes below on the gym floor. None of them knew what I was doing. It was great. The only problem was that my training had been as weak as ever. Maybe even weaker. My long run should have been in the low twenties a few weeks ago. That was when I was wrestling with the decision to quit drinking, so the training was kind of eh then. In fact, last Saturday I ran ten miles, my longest since 2007. Today, the first ten miles were a breeze. At eleven, I could feel tightness in my legs. By thirteen, I had introduced a survival technique of walking and running (1 lap walking, 4 laps running). Fifteen was the wall. I felt like quitting and sticking with my plan to run the whole thing in September. I texted my daughter and a friend, they both sent positivity that kept me going. The last hour sucked as nearly every step was a push as to whether my quads were going to cramp or allow me to move freely.

Finally, after six-hours and five minutes, my worst time ever, I was done. I didn’t cry like I did after my first marathon. So far, I haven’t had to go down the stairs backward. I didn’t see any actors from The Wire like I did in Baltimore. What I did was beat back some personal demons and prove to myself that all the excuse making and reliance on unhealthy coping mechanisms was killing me. I ran for charity, raising a couple hundred bucks for the Y, but the payout to my psyche was just as important for me. I needed this and while some may suggest that this was not that big of a deal, it meant everything to me.

Everyone, go do something big for yourself…

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.

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 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!

Before you read any further, know that this is part of an educational rant and part training journal. The two go together even though the ranting is about Physical Education and the journal is about training for my ridiculous marathon plan.

Still here? Good.

Some background: I have been a teacher for 23-years. I started in elementary school, moved to middle school, and currently teach high school. For a few years, I was also an adjunct to a well-respected teacher preparation college. My subjects are Health and Physical Education. I teach people. I’m opinionated about my profession and believe that my opinion is subject to criticism. Take this as you will…

The delivery of a sound educational program is grounded in some sort of theory. From that theory, programs are developed. The programs must be assessed against outcomes. I cannot cite the article that I learned that from, but please know that this is the foundation for many of the decisions that I make in my job as a GYM teacher. (Those of you in the profession who are offended by “GYM teacher,” I make no apologies. “We are what we are and what we are is an illusion…” Le Cage Au Folles, I believe…). For those of you not in the profession, PE/Gym teachers spend a great deal of time trying to improve the image of what they do. We have a professional organization with a cute name, “SHAPE,” (Society of Health and Physical Education) that works as an advocate for all things health and physical education. State departments of education have created standards, cultivated by physical educators, that stand on a buffet of themes that include, team sports, individual sports, dance, science, decision making, problem- solving, and fitness. All of the standards are meant to show the money brokers that physical education matters in an educational context. It’s as if the profession cannot stand on its own, so it took a shotgun planning approach to say, “Look at all the ways we matter.”

And still, the profession struggles for respectability. There are too many reasons to go into, but the major things that seem to keep people from liking PE are: that people see no reason for a gym class, that people do not want to sweat, or PE is not fun. The “PE Council of Higher Education” will say that the problems stem from a lack of coherent instruction or poorly designed programs. Practitioners will say that the schedules are messed up and that there is a disconnect between what professor types think should be happening in schools and what the constraints of PE in the real world are all about.

“Chris, what does all of this have to do with your marathon training? I don’t need an essay on education. Heck, I went to school. Duh…”

“I hear you. I’m also with you. Remember, I am ranting.”

Learning is a highly complex and messy process. My theory is that the messier the process the better, so I teach, I am purposefully vague with instructions or I place barriers up for students to work around. A member of fictitious PE Council of Higher Education asked me today if that meant, “handing kids a racquet and shuttlecock and sending them out to play badminton without any prior instruction.” My answer, “Why not?” was not received well. Here is my reasoning, people need to learn how to think and make choices. I see badminton as a tool to help my students think and as a means to have them moving around. Through all of that, I want them to have fun. Experience, learning, and research have shown me a few things about how people learn. First, people are capable of more than we believe, so we have to remove ourselves and allow them to grow. I am not suggesting that PE teachers leave a class to chaos, but I am saying to PE teachers that their students will find the answers and develop skills if we give them both the chance and time. We are not coaching a team, so our approach does not need to be limited by skill development, game strategy, or herding students into a large group game. We are facilitating learning experiences, so it’s okay to concentrate on outcomes beyond the physical. How about developing self-efficacy, decision-making, resilience, or sweat equity (I just made that up…)?

Second, the most powerful person in any class is every student. If they don’t buy into what is happening in class, the program will suffer and the profession will stay second class in the minds of the people bringing the next consumers of our product to life. Allowing and expecting that students find a way to understand the importance of physical activity (on their terms) is a very important aspect of what we do. Doing so allows students to participate in a self-directed and personally meaningful experience that has a real opportunity to tap into real life skills and social constructs like self-efficacy, resilience, or joy. Let the program be more than a bunch of rules or “official” looking sports. Allow the program to be flexible and in tune with the individual needs of the students. That individuality is how adults exercise. There is value in team sports, but the edge of the cliff for team sports participation rapidly approaches by high school.

Finally, all of what happens in PE can be around a culture of fun. Dodgeball is fun. Dance is fun. Team sports are fun. Experiencing all of those may not be fun for all students, but finding the types of things that students like should be something that PE teachers strive for. Fun makes everything else easier, more enjoyable, and I believe more meaningful.

“Okay, Chris, do you have data to support your theory and program?”

“Why yes, smarty pants, I do.” (Insert proper emoji)

The quick report on a study I did last year was to measure the general self-efficacy (belief a student can create success) through participation in a strength and conditioning class. Without all the educational research mumbo jumbo (doctoral terms!), the students’ self-efficacy scores rose from the pretest at the beginning of the year to the posttest at the end of the year. Think about this, though, I didn’t make a big deal about standards. I wasn’t cranky about perfect form. I didn’t even ask them to tell me about the scientific appropriateness of plyometrics training on the regeneration of muscle tissue. (I guess that’s a thing…). Strangely, though, students who were unable to sign up for the class again this year talk about how great that class was and how they are still exercising. There you have it…

I know that this rant about physical education teachers is exhausting, but too much of what we do in the gym (and in education in general) forgets that we teach people. We do not teach subjects. “Education through the physical” is my mantra. “Education of the physical” is a side dish for me. Getting students to feel good about themselves because they realize that they can create success (whatever their metric is) is my goal. The rest of this stuff, standards, scripted learning, public versus charter versus private is just BS…

“Marathon journal, yo?…”

“Here it is and thank you for staying with me.”


Take this marathon I’m running…it’s one of the dumbest ideas I’ve ever had. I’m running a marathon on an indoor track. Who does such a thing? Better than that, I’m only halfway training. I could care less about my time. There won’t be a crew, nobody will be getting paid overtime, and there won’t be any litter to pick up after I’m done.

It’s going to be great!

I started out on this journey simply wanting to prove that at my advanced age and level of ignored fitness that I could complete a marathon. My long run right now is about six miles. I’m running in about a month and should have a long run closer to twenty miles, but I don’t really care. I’ve got all day to go the distance. I’m not worried about a standard, pace, or a mileage/skill progression. I’m running for the fun of it. I’ll benefit from the exercise, but I’ll savor the accomplishment.

So in the name of denying essential content, as a protest against something with a #, and in the spirit of anyone who remembers a great day of dodgeball in gym class, I RUN!

Not really, I’m just doing this to see if I can. I believe it so.

Thanks to my PE teachers who understood what was important…

My Old Running Haunts…

The last couple of days have been about letting go of the coaching laziness and getting back to the running routine. It’s tough making life changes and made more difficult by the “crud” that is going around. I’ve been mixing in running here and there, but the distances have been hampered by lungs that are still trying to get clear. I added some indoor cycling to the mix and I hope that the fitness will come back quickly.

Tonight, as I try to fight off the incredible hunger I have after a Rock-n-Roll ride, I got to ride around some of my old running roads. How did it ever happen? There is no way I ever ran the hills and fought through the funk of the mushroom industry. I guess age has something do with it. When I went through my first running boom, I was about 15 years younger. I’m sure a lot of my running energy was due to being young. I’d bet my recoveries were faster too. Then there is the lighter factor, all those microbrews and Pop-Tarts add up.

When I think about it, though, this time around is not that different than back then. I grinding minutes wherever I can. Sometimes I run the track, sometimes on a treadmill, and others I’m just cruising with my dog. I just go and that’s the best part, just like when I got to the point when I could handle hills and real mileage. Maybe tonight was not so much about an awe of my running past, but instead seeing a hill and waiting for the day when I run it like I used to.

Thank you for reading my blog. I am running this marathon of one to support the Kennett Area YMCA. If you would like to support the Y, I have provided the link to their site below. Since this about running for a charity of my choice, I think it awesome if you would prefer to donate somewhere else. In fact, I would love it…good for this journey’s spirit!

Donate to the Kennett YMCA!

And now I cough…

The last few days have been up and down. I nearly wrote roller coaster, but that was too cliche, so I settled for up and down. Cliche… Sunday began my battle with the previous week of work where our tiny office served as an incubator for whatever viral-respiratory thing is going around. Since there were only two days left in my basketball season I stayed in the germ-laden environment about forty-eight hours longer than I should have. Finally, Wednesday arrived and I hunkered down for some serious recuperation.

What I didn’t know was that there would be little rest, except for the two-hour nap I took after watching Rectify and listening to the pundits go round and round about the latest whatever is going on in Washington fiasco. I’ll just say this, “Both sides, GET IT TOGETHER!” Did I mention that the temperature was a balmy sixty-three degrees. That’s about fifteen to twenty degrees above normal and all I could muster was a short walk with my dog and some time sitting on the deck. Yesterday was the perfect day to run, warm, sunny, and no real commitments, although I was home from work.

So I slept…

The weather has changed dramatically today. There will probably be about four or five inches of snow on the ground by the time this storm goes through. Schools are closed and when I awoke, the pundits were still lamenting alternate facts, media shaming, executive lies, double talk, and whether the Knicks need an intervention. Since the school cancellation call woke me at five, I watched the heavy snow falling nearly from it’s beginning. I noshed on a bagel and rushed through the New York Times Mini-Crossword puzzle in near record time, but something came over me. I had to go for a run despite the medical advice to sit the next few days out. The doctor pushed hard for me to get a flu shot, but on her recommendation, I held firm. She talked of resting for about a week so there would be less of a chance for my cold to turn into something else. She took my insurance and co-pay quickly after I said, “No.”

And then I ran…

I layered up, found some gloves and a knit cap, and asked my dog if he wanted to go. Since he took about a minute to do his business earlier in the morning, I already knew the answer. Into the white out, I went. The flakes were being blown around by a steady wind that made them feel more like sleet than snow. The salt trucks and plows were out and they had turned the roads in my little neighborhood into a slushy mess. The sky was gray and for a second I thought, “This is not a good day to run.” Still, though, I kept going, slowly of course, and left my neighborhood for the next one “up the way.” I made it past the oil change place, then the Dunkin, past the home style food restaurant and the shuttered ice cream stand, around the loop in the next neighborhood, and finally, home.

It sure felt good. Since then the coughing has started. My lungs are saying to the illness that it’s time to go. I’m not at all bothered by the hack. I’ve got nowhere to go today. So maybe I’ll catch the next episode of Rectify and take another nap. Maybe I’ll even grade some papers. Maybe not…

Thank you for reading my blog. I am running this “marathon of one” to support the Kennett Area YMCA. If you would like to support the Y, I have provided the link to their site below. Since this about running for a charity of my choice, I think it would be awesome if you donated to the Kennett Area YMCA, if you have a cause close to your heart, by all means, use the spirit of this challenge to give to a charity or organization you are more comfortable with. I would love that…good for this journey’s spirit!

Donate to the Kennett YMCA

What an interesting week of training. I didn’t run at all. For those of you following along, it would be reasonable to think something was up with my calf. Thankfully, there is nothing going on there. I just didn’t feel like running. Instead, I played basketball. Yes, I played basketball and risked injuring my calf again. I know, I’m crazy, stupid, or whatever negative label most appropriately describes my decision-making process. Here is the reality of this marathon training…I don’t care about it. I’m doing this because I want to and I’m going to do it my way. Sure, there are principles of training that I should be following. I know there are all sorts of programs I should be following, but this week was busy and I’m not going to miss the opportunity to shoot some pain free hoops if I can.

I marvel at people who have the single-minded focus to train with a strict discipline. I used to run with a group and there was a guy who was training for a 100-mile race. He would three hours in the darkness of the early morning, squeeze in a run at lunch, run three more hours at night. He was inspiring and off-putting at the same time. I could not fathom his ability to endure the hours of training, nor did I want the aches he often complained about. He ran his race and I think it took him about twenty-seven hours. He also came home with a bump on his head as he fell asleep while running at one point. After his story, I knew that kind of training was beyond me and that I need to keep things in perspective.

So on this day gray day, I write while watching golf in the desert, sipping tea from Mrs. Robinson’s shop, nursing a sinus infection, and glad to have sweated it out on the basketball court this week. Tuesday, my coaching season ends. Then I’m back to the serious training. Rest assured, though, I’m not going to go crazy. I’m not capable of doing that.

Thank you for reading my blog. I am running this “marathon of one” to support the Kennett Area YMCA. If you would like to support the Y, I have provided the link to their site below. Since this about running for a charity of my choice, I think it would be awesome if you donated to the Kennett Area YMCA, but if you have a cause close to your heart, by all means, use the spirit of this challenge to give to a charity or organization you are more comfortable with. I would love that…good for this journey’s spirit!

Donate-Kennett YMCA

This is the hat circa 2004-05…


The week got away from me with basketball and binge watching TV taking over. I think there should be an understanding that if a person takes a nap on Sunday, time stops for them to ensure that they do not lose valuable weekend time. My nap today, shortened the weekend by about two hours, but that was because my run started yesterday at about noon and ended around 9:30 this morning. I’ll explain later…

First, for those following along, my calf finally gave in and relaxed. Maybe it was the bananas. Maybe it was the near non-stop stretching. Could it have been “A Fine Pilsner” or two…or three… In desperation, I picked up a heating pad and turned my left leg into the human equivalent of a pig on a spit. Whatever it was, I felt good enough to go for a run today after bashing my calf like the guy in Washington bashing us with his Animal House float looking head. (Go watch the movie. He appears right before Otter gets beaten up! Hmmm, sounds like the Constitution.)

So about this one run of the week starting yesterday… My role as the 9th-grade basketball coach at school gives me the opportunity to sort of hang out with the JV and Varsity teams at their games. Yesterday, we were playing an away game and I was sitting at the end of the bench during warm ups scouting out the local team’s talent when an old man came over to talk to me. He started telling me all about John Wooden, John Thompson, and Bobby Knight. Each had been an inspiration to him and he learned a great deal from them that he used with his teams. Our talk was so relaxing and kind of took my mind away from my previous task. As he walked away, I must have been “blank slating” because my eyes went right to a man wearing a black hat from a trail race. The race is a 50K (31-miles) that I ran back in ’03 or ’04. We talked a bit about the race and he asked if I still had my hat (The race is called the Hat Run and they give out baseball caps instead of t-shirts.). I had mine up until a year ago when my pit bull decided to put an end to the hat. We got a laugh out of that and the game began.

Talking with the men must have affected me on some level. After a few cautious laps on the track this morning, I began thinking of both. They were older. Each was polite and willing to share their experiences. One was African American and the other white, which is not really important, except that I think there are people in our country who would shy away from either because of their “color.” People are people, people. Learn to appreciate each other.

So there I was on the run. I felt great and got buffet ideas about how much I was going to run. Below the track in a corner room off the gym, I could hear the Spinning instructor yelling and today her music was great (except for that “round and round” song…). The rest of the gym was empty for the first thirty minutes. My legs were fresh. My lungs were clear and I decided that I would go for ninety minutes. A few minutes before nine that all changed. The group exercise class started to “Walking Dead” into the gym. They shuffled across the floor with big water bottles, Coach bags, and yoga mats for the floor work. The “Sundayers” crack me up because they have unofficially assigned spots. Each week women go to the same places on the floor and God forbid someone new to the class take their spot. It cracks me up.

Fifteen minutes into the class, the music turned on me. The song had a sound that sounded like those crazy horns from the World Cup. I totally lost concentration and the calm of the empty gym floated away with the “EEEHEHEHEER” of the music. Then some guy in the front row started yelling the stereotypical aerobics yell and I was done. I did the self-talk thing to convince myself that this was good mental practice for the grind of running a marathon, but it didn’t work. I mixed in some thrusters, sit-ups, hip raises, and then hit the road.

From the calm of casual conversations to the beat down of thump-thump music… My run was today was awesome. Thinking about the two old guys was a relief from the news polarizing my country. Hopefully, this new governing style will understand that when one system pushes, other systems push back. Maybe whoever is running our country will step away and let the government represent all of the people and not just the egos of those holding office and the ledgers of those paying to get them elected. I’m glad I thought about that after the run. Too bad the country didn’t think about it before the election.

Thank you for reading my blog. The marathon I am training for is real, but I’m the only person running it. I am going to run 493 laps around the track at the Kennett Area YMCA and make a donation to the Y as my “entry fee.” If you would like to donate to the Kennett Y, I have included the link below. However, the true spirit of this run is to donate where you want, so feel free to donate to a charity you prefer if you are so inclined. I’d love that!

Donate to the Kennett YMCA

Let’s get right to the crux of things. I beat to a different drum, but not so different that I could be called “out there.” I’ve learned over the past few days, that I don’t get excited by comedies. They are okay, but I don’t hold onto the jokes from movies or television shows the way some people do. At the same time, though, I love banter with friends that is funny. Go figure. I also learned that I have a fashion sense that is polarizing. I wore a bolo tie the other day and it caused quite a stir. There weren’t any riots on the streets of the Nation’s capitol, but the tie was a love it or hate it proposition. For what it’s worth, I like the tie and will wear it again.

The shocker for me has been the reaction from people when I tell them about this marathon.They cannot get their heads around the idea that I am going to run twenty-six miles (and change) around a gym court. I was even told it was weird. I guess it’s weird in the context of normal marathon running. All of the marathons I ran in my thirties were point-to-point races. They were outside with cheering fans and regular water stops. Traffic was diverted so that we could run a race of individual accomplishment under the guise of raising money for charity. I always wondered if the police, who made the race safe by managing the traffic headache, were working for free. If not, a portion of my entry went to paying overtime and not to the charity for the race.

I find that weird. So, I’m running this race in a way that makes me feel like 100% of my efforts are going to the organization of my choice. If it’s not apparent from this post, I also have a fairly opinionated and stubborn streak. I just want to do this my way and I am more than a little surprised at the reactions of people. The track freaks them out. Ultimately, though, distance is distance.

As for the training, the week went well. My calf is sore and I have given into this being my challenge. I will continue to train and manage the pain smartly, but I will not give into this silly tightness. Go ahead, tell me of the future damage I could cause. I’ll listen, but I’m doing this race to test me and I’ll find a way to work around tight calves. After all, I’ve had them all my life. Despite the pain, I put in twelve miles this week and am ready for whatever comes next.

Weirdo, out…