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Trips home aren’t what they used to be,
I suppose everything changes…

This morning, in the Colonial Capital,
Much was the same,
June is hot, humidity rules,
The horses still poop in the streets,
Which at every turn seemed to be blocked by construction.

I found my way to a vacant lot,
It was the public library and since there wasn’t anyone there,
The easy joke would be,
That no one in Williamsburg can read,
Not true, of course, and the library would not open
For two more hours,
Which is why there were empty parking spaces.
There was no plan, this would be a Murderer’s run,
Cox’s run, whatever my friends up north call
My spur of the moment running routes.

I had forgotten my watch, so
Tracking this run would not happen.
I decided to run old school, digitally naked,
Letting my effort hang all out, letting my senses prevail.
Scotland Street brought the sweat,
The football stadium brought awe,
A construction closed road brought out my ballsy side
As I just ran by the dudes who were not building anything
Behind a less than menacing fence,
Their hardhats meant nothing to me. Safety be damned,
I was making this route up and just around the corner
Were parts of the ‘Burg I had not seen in decades,
Neighborhoods, with pines and magnolias, those smells
Tripping the nostalgia that keeps its talons in my soul, but
Truth be told, there is little else here for me now.

The sun was blaring, nearly one-hundred on the humidity,
Just about eighty for a temperature, and
I could hear everything, the little bit of traffic,
The clanging rattle of a chain hitting a chain guard on an old lady’s bike,
Two guys talking it up as they dumped trash by Campbell’s.
Then I heard my feet, a slide with a scratch as they hit the pavement,
A sign that my form sucked and I was working too hard,
“Pay attention, focus, forefoot, come on Hanee,”
My nickname down here.

The run ended after maybe four or five miles,
And I found a seat under a canopy at the library.
Sweat dripped from my hat,
The quick drying shirt I wore had no chance
Against the waves of effort pouring from my skin.
These are the workouts I love,
When perspiration is not enough to describe
How the fluids are flowing out of my body.
The kind of sweat that happens in the NBA,
Patrick Ewing sweat, this is how it was
In front of the waterfall behind the library
Where I had spent so many summer days and
Where I always park when I go to Williamsburg.

For a while, I just sat on the granite bench
Then Goggins popped into my head,
As did my hollow rocking mates from up north.
For some idiotic reason,
I started busting our daily rocks out right there
Under the canopy, next to the waterfall, on the granite,
Splashing in puddles of my own sweat.
It was awesome,
The spontaneity,
The relaxed aura,
The feeling of being home
Its talons massaging my soul,
Not poking them into my skull
Like that bald eagle and German shepherd story
A guy to told me the other day.

Nope, this run, in this place, on this day
Was about life,
About what I care about, and
How I want to live.

Chillin’…

Madonna?
ABBA?
Hornsby?

Why do we like who we like?

Running?
Swimming?
Cycling?

Why do we do what we do?

And we do them all.
I suppose there is no figuring them,
Especially, the ABBA thing,
Although, as I found today,
I know a whole lot more Madonna
Than my masculine membership probably allows,
But then, again,

Why do we like what we like?

Hornsby…the home connection, the stories, the variety.

Why do we do what we do?

Running…it what I’ve always done.

A bad reason, I know,
But I’m not ready to claim
The others in my fitness calling.
Not really ready for Madonna or ABBA, either.

Rains fell in that biblical kind of way yesterday,
They cleared out just about the time
We all started to run this morning.

We kept a pace that was too fast,
I dropped back, alone, until the turn for five,
When my bud slowed and brought me along for seven.

We talked, walked, never balked,
It was the good kind of run that happens
When the pace is right and the company solid.

We mentioned emotions and mechanics,
How important they are in triathlons,
Really, in everything we do.

He and I recognized that part of the journey
Is so important, maybe even more so than,
The pace, the distance, the medals.

When we were done,
I felt alive, ready for more, and
With work what it is, today, I was off to lift.

I have a rule, never exercise angry,
That’s the ingredient for tension,
Tension is what gets me hurt.

I got to work and hit the weights,
No distractions, no waiting for equipment,
My music, it was heaven.

Until the crush of gossip information
Entered the sanctity of the glorious grind.
Someone shared “compensation” information with me.

Why should I care what others make?
Why does it matter how people act?
I’m only in control of me.

And I could feel myself losing a little control.
My heart rate went up a couple of zones,
Literally, orange if you’re counting.

The sets and reps got checked off.
An old shoulder injury reminded me that it might still be there,
But I didn’t care, anger is tough to undo. Anger will not be denied.

Guilt too, I suppose, as I talked shit to myself when I finished,
Why did you listen?
When will you grow up?

After a super cold shower, by choice, it’s supposed to help something,
The anger was broken, a new realization was upon me, and
A renewed sense of emotional and mechanical purpose had been inspired.

Listen… Don’t own…
Deadlifts rock!
I’m mostly all “growed” up.

The winds whispered, “Now I have a goal,”
Breezy banter asked, “Are you doing that heart rate thing?”
My morning fog
Took them both in
And barely knew how to process them.

The first, a statement of comradery, made me think
Thoughts about my training
Where the ideas about how to get more fit
Fester in the comfort of a couch
And seem so easy when they are graphed out.

At 5-am the reality of what is really necessary,
The commitment, the drive, the smarts
Are nearly obstacles to getting things done.
Hearing someone say that they had a goal
Punched my gut bringing me out of a morning fog.

The second question, directed right at me, was a jolt of caffeine,
Making me realize my plan for being solo
Would not be good if I didn’t stick to the plan.
Run slower, keep my heart rate down,
Lessen the impact, and see far into my running future.

My talkative friends turned, I headed straight.
I’m guessing their pace was fast, mine would not be,
My watch became a coach, telling me to slow down
When it burned yellow, a cool green was the goal.
It was harder than it should have been.

Navigating the flattest streets in my little town
At a turtle-like pace took its toll on my motivation.
I wanted to let go, let my feet turn over quickly
So my heart and lungs could test their limits, so
My ego could be fulfilled.

But that wasn’t my goal,
That wasn’t my plan, so
I replayed those quotes from before,
Drawing strength from the awareness they inspired in me
To finish that run almost always in the green.

Volcanoes to the ancients,
Eclipses around the same time,
Things that were totally unexplainable,
Things that inspired awe.

That was our coffee table this morning,
Normally a place of sedate conversation,
Organized politely in a circle,
Accommodating for anyone who wants to sit in.

This is how it rolls,
We run, three, five, or seven
High fives in the parking lot,
Coffee around the table.

It’s great, just hanging,
Sometimes I listen,
Mostly I am procrastinating,
Putting work off.

Not true, I love hanging with this group,
But (not bad) we are creatures of habit.
Same routes, same paces,
Nearly always the same seats at the table.

This morning the flock was diverse,
Some took the three,
Some ran off for the five,
A couple sort of ran seven.

The seven’s conversation ran the gambit,
Life has many facets,
It’s cool talking things out, joking,
And taking serious walking breaks.

The run ended, the table was packed,
My overly big, old green shirt sagged with sweat
And I knew that whoever got the seat after me
Might need the sausage toed floaty to help them out.

I made the decision to stand,
Hanging on the fringe drinking my coffee,
Listening to the conversation, and
Making those telepathic jokes that the devilish ones tune into.

Then the volcanoes erupted,
The sun was blocked by the moon,
The unexplainable was in motion,
Everyone was standing.

It was a middle school party,
We were all up, circled up,
Talking shit, the kind that’s funny at six AM,
But might get you shot at six PM…we’re old…

There was an exploration of the word “It,”
Maybe the best personal pronoun,
Vague, lazy, and potentially inappropriate,
“It” is worthy of conversation. (See…)

Runner jokes flew,
Those being of the kind that are just above Dad jokes
Dumb and funny,
It was awesome.

Alas, work called, not really, but it was time to go,
I wanted margaritas to go,
But that would not go over well in my job.
So it is.

My son and I discuss some trivial stuff,
The other day we contemplated
Whether rock stars had lost all their mysticism
Which has helped to steal the life
From good old fashioned rock and roll.

We blamed the sedation for what was once
The rebellious energy driving youth
On too much access,
Too much streaming,
Too much coverage.

There is nothing left
No wondering about the women’s shirts,
No wondering about the party bus,
No myth, no fantasy
Just plain old fashioned reality.

A friend blames all of this change
On a lack of baseball.
He says that when kids stopped hitting,
Taking the easy way with trendy sports
Where the pressure is slight, deterioration happened.

His premise is built on the All-American pastime,
A game where the action is slow,
The consequences out in the open for all to see,
The required skills are high, and without a Mel Allen mysticism,
Baseball has become a video game inspired lift and jack-o-rama.

Which brings me to one of my running partners,
Who dispels all myths of mystery about access,
While at the same time proving to be on a level
I can’t quite get my head around, he’s a total
Mystic to me.

All of the folks I hit the pavement with are somewhat mysterious,
I know their paces, running styles, and coffee preferences
Much more than I know them as people,
My radar is bogey-free, telling me they are all cool,
But in this one fellow’s case, I can’t see him clearly.

Gentle.
Sedate.
Generous.
Confident.
Independent.

In this fellow’s case, I can’t figure him out.
Each of those qualities, so apparent,
Each of them so elusive for me,
They require such effort,
And it shouldn’t be that way.

I look in his direction whenever I can
Taking in that smile,
The positive energy,
The intelligence,
The mystery.

I’ve learned more about this dude
As we’ve run through the winter,
I have to say, he has warmed my soul,
Yet as close as we have been on the roads,
I’m still far from knowing how he is who he is.

I’m intrigued.
The way he is,
What I think it says about who I am,
Those qualities,
His examples.

My friend is no rock star,
He’s no mystery, just a good dude, some say, “salt of the Earth,”
He’s putting in the miles; running, cars, or secretly mentoring.
Maybe he’s not the root of my mystery, at all.
Who, then? So far to go…