Tuesday, January 29, 2008


Add 4 more to the tally, for a total of 18 on the year.  Not stellar, but close to on target.
2 big things today:  most miles in a day and most miles at a stretch.
I think that counts as something...  not sure what, but definately something.

Stomach bugs...

Oh, stomach bugs, how do I love thee?

Let me count the ways…


4 times in the morning, 2 more before lunch in new and exciting ways, 3 times shortly thereafter, …  you get the point.  I won’t go on.


Needless to say, no running over the weekend.


HOWEVER, I did get a mile in this morning and fully intend to get in some mileage this evening.


A real two-fer!!

Friday, January 25, 2008


Ok, here comes the string of excuses…


The weather has been bad.

Too cold.

Too rainy.

Too tired.

Long days at the office.

Long days at school.

My wife is sick.

My son is threatening to get sick.

I didn’t feel quite right the other day.

I woke up too late.

I woke up too early.

It was my one free evening, I didn’t want to waste it running.

I felt bloated.

I felt weak.

I felt heavy.

My IPod had no charge.

The baby went to sleep early and the elliptical squeaks.

Ummm….  Wolves?


Ok, I think that’s all the best excuses I have for doing absolutely nothing this week.  Yesterday I could have run, sure.  I had plenty of energy, but I got home too late.  Seriously, too late.  I don’t like to exercise within a couple hours of bed time.  Of course, because I had all that energy, I couldn’t get to sleep, which means I slept too late, which means I didn’t run this morning…  you see, it’s not my fault!!


I’m going to up the time on the treads today to 40 minutes, which is 4 miles by my reckoning.  I may even hit the pavement to try and lower my per-mile time which will make my elliptical training more efficient.  Maybe 40 minutes can become 5 miles some day?  Maybe I can sprout wings and a tail?


I have a somewhat ambitious goal this weekend of running the equivalent of 10 bonus miles (that’s 2 + 10), including tonight’s run of 3 bonus miles (1 + 3).  That will allow me to make up this lost week in one fell swoop.  Of course, I’d be happy with 5 bonus miles (or no bonus miles).  It really is hard doing this AND school.  Without school it’d be a breeze.  But without challenges life would be Kansas (all flat as far as the eye can see, no offense intended, Kansas).


More later.

Monday, January 21, 2008

3 more in the books

I got in 3 tonight on the eliptical.
I'm really not a big fan of the eliptical, mainly because outside I can speed up and get the run over with faster.  On the eliptical the "rule" is that my average mile on the road is a mile inside, so it's time based rather than pace based.  Consequently, a 3 mile run is 30 minutes, no slacking, no stopping.
As soon as the weather breaks, I'm going to get out there and run a fast 3 miles so that I can "run" faster miles inside...  no slacking, no stopping.
With tonight's 3 miles, I'm up to 13 miles on the year.  9 miles behind pace, but well inside the comfort envelope.  I suspect I'll catch up sometime around late February or early March.

A couple of observations

First, a running update:  things stalled last week.  After the 3 miler, I didn’t run a lick for the rest of the week and not a lick over the weekend.  I’m not upset about that, either.  I started a garden (blackberries, yum), I worked around the house, and relaxed a bit.  I’m not upset about not running in the least.  This week I’ll make up ground.  In fact, it may be the first week that I make up ground.


But now, a couple of observations.


I read somewhere that Dr. King’s most famous speech was only partially scripted.  The part that starts with what everyone knows was ad libbed.  If you read the speech, there is a distinct change in style right about where he utters those so very famous words from a mere speech to something more of a sermon—and a damn good one at that.  I don’t know if the scripted v unscripted anecdote is true—the change in style is certainly curious, though—but it’s very interesting that nobody remembers the first part of the speech, but EVERYONE knows how the second speech begins.


Also, as I’m reading through Dr. King’s most famous speech it strikes me odd that he doesn’t repeat himself (in the first part) like so many of today’s speakers are insistent upon doing.  He doesn’t use any memory tools like acronyms, or onomonopea, or lists of 3 or 5.  He doesn’t seem to make use of hyperbole.  He doesn’t make use of “individual stories” intended to tug on your heart strings, but not necessarily paint a fair picture of reality.  He simply says what he wants to say, and lays it out there in plain English.


It also strikes me that the decade of the 50s was a vastly different time that what we have today.  Forget the inequality of results, there was an inequality of access.  Quite literally doors were locked to black men and women, and I don’t just mean school doors.  Hotel doors, bathroom doors, hospital doors, doors all across the nation.  It wasn’t merely a question as to whether or not rooms were available, but rather whether or not rooms were available for us.  There may have been rooms available, sure.  But were rooms available where WE could sleep if we so happened to have dark skin.


It also strikes me that this speech was over 1600 words long, but most people know only 4 of them.  They don’t know that it was on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial, they don’t know that those 4 words come after more than 1000 had already passed, they don’t know that Dr. King mentions the very inequality I just wrote about in the paragraph above.  They know 4 words…  “I have a dream”.  That’s it.  What was the dream?  Why was the dream?  Who was it for?


I know it’s been done, just as posting the declaration of independence is done on July 4, but here’s the full text, for those the least bit interested:


"I HAVE A DREAM" (1963)

I am happy to join with you today in what will go down in history as the greatest demonstration for freedom in the history of our nation.

Five score years ago, a great American, in whose symbolic shadow we stand today, signed the Emancipation Proclamation. This momentous decree came as a great beacon light of hope to millions of Negro slaves who had been seared in the flames of withering injustice. It came as a joyous daybreak to end the long night of their captivity.

But 100 years later, the Negro still is not free. One hundred years later, the life of the Negro is still sadly crippled by the manacles of segregation and the chains of discrimination. One hundred years later, the Negro lives on a lonely island of poverty in the midst of a vast ocean of material prosperity. One hundred years later, the Negro is still languished in the corners of American society and finds himself an exile in his own land. And so we've come here today to dramatize a shameful condition.

In a sense we've come to our nation's capital to cash a check. When the architects of our republic wrote the magnificent words of the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence, they were signing a promissory note to which every American was to fall heir. This note was a promise that all men - yes, black men as well as white men - would be guaranteed the unalienable rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

It is obvious today that America has defaulted on this promissory note insofar as her citizens of color are concerned. Instead of honoring this sacred obligation, America has given the Negro people a bad check, a check that has come back marked "insufficient funds."

But we refuse to believe that the bank of justice is bankrupt. We refuse to believe that there are insufficient funds in the great vaults of opportunity of this nation. And so we've come to cash this check, a check that will give us upon demand the riches of freedom and security of justice. We have also come to his hallowed spot to remind America of the fierce urgency of now. This is no time to engage in the luxury of cooling off or to take the tranquilizing drug of gradualism. Now is the time to make real the promises of democracy. Now is the time to rise from the dark and desolate valley of segregation to the sunlit path of racial justice. Now is the time to lift our nation from the quicksands of racial injustice to the solid rock of brotherhood. Now is the time to make justice a reality for all of God's children.

It would be fatal for the nation to overlook the urgency of the moment. This sweltering summer of the Negro's legitimate discontent will not pass until there is an invigorating autumn of freedom and equality. Nineteen sixty-three is not an end but a beginning. Those who hoped that the Negro needed to blow off steam and will now be content will have a rude awakening if the nation returns to business as usual. There will be neither rest nor tranquility in America until the Negro is granted his citizenship rights. The whirlwinds of revolt will continue to shake the foundations of our nation until the bright day of justice emerges.

But there is something that I must say to my people who stand on the warm threshold which leads into the palace of justice. In the process of gaining our rightful place we must not be guilty of wrongful deeds. Let us not seek to satisfy our thirst for freedom by drinking from the cup of bitterness and hatred. We must forever conduct our struggle on the high plane of dignity and discipline. We must not allow our creative protest to degenerate into physical violence. Again and again we must rise to the majestic heights of meeting physical force with soul force. The marvelous new militancy which has engulfed the Negro community must not lead us to a distrust of all white people, for many of our white brothers, as evidenced by their presence here today, have come to realize that their destiny is tied up with our destiny. And they have come to realize that their freedom is inextricably bound to our freedom. We cannot walk alone.

And as we walk, we must make the pledge that we shall always march ahead. We cannot turn back. There are those who are asking the devotees of civil rights, "When will you be satisfied?" We can never be satisfied as long as the Negro is the victim of the unspeakable horrors of police brutality. We can never be satisfied as long as our bodies, heavy with the fatigue of travel, cannot gain lodging in the motels of the highways and the hotels of the cities. We cannot be satisfied as long as the Negro's basic mobility is from a smaller ghetto to a larger one. We can never be satisfied as long as our children are stripped of their selfhood and robbed of their dignity by signs stating "for whites only." We cannot be satisfied as long as a Negro in Mississippi cannot vote and a Negro in New York believes he has nothing for which to vote. No, no we are not satisfied and we will not be satisfied until justice rolls down like waters and righteousness like a mighty stream.

I am not unmindful that some of you have come here out of great trials and tribulations. Some of you have come fresh from narrow jail cells. Some of you have come from areas where your quest for freedom left you battered by storms of persecution and staggered by the winds of police brutality. You have been the veterans of creative suffering. Continue to work with the faith that unearned suffering is redemptive.

Go back to Mississippi, go back to Alabama, go back to South Carolina, go back to Georgia, go back to Louisiana, go back to the slums and ghettos of our northern cities, knowing that somehow this situation can and will be changed.

Let us not wallow in the valley of despair. I say to you today my friends - so even though we face the difficulties of today and tomorrow, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream.

I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal."

I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit down together at the table of brotherhood.

I have a dream that one day even the state of Mississippi, a state sweltering with the heat of injustice, sweltering with the heat of oppression, will be transformed into an oasis of freedom and justice.

I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.

I have a dream today.

I have a dream that one day down in Alabama, with its vicious racists, with its governor having his lips dripping with the words of interposition and nullification - one day right there in Alabama little black boys and black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls as sisters and brothers.

I have a dream today.

I have a dream that one day every valley shall be exalted, and every hill and mountain shall be made low, the rough places will be made plain, and the crooked places will be made straight, and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed and all flesh shall see it together.

This is our hope. This is the faith that I go back to the South with. With this faith we will be able to hew out of the mountain of despair a stone of hope. With this faith we will be able to transform the jangling discords of our nation into a beautiful symphony of brotherhood. With this faith we will be able to work together, to pray together, to struggle together, to go to jail together, to stand up for freedom together, knowing that we will be free one day.

This will be the day, this will be the day when all of God's children will be able to sing with new meaning "My country 'tis of thee, sweet land of liberty, of thee I sing. Land where my father's died, land of the Pilgrim's pride, from every mountainside, let freedom ring!"

And if America is to be a great nation, this must become true. And so let freedom ring from the prodigious hilltops of New Hampshire. Let freedom ring from the mighty mountains of New York. Let freedom ring from the heightening Alleghenies of Pennsylvania.

Let freedom ring from the snow-capped Rockies of Colorado. Let freedom ring from the curvaceous slopes of California.

But not only that; let freedom ring from Stone Mountain of Georgia.

Let freedom ring from Lookout Mountain of Tennessee.

Let freedom ring from every hill and molehill of Mississippi - from every mountainside.

Let freedom ring. And when this happens, and when we allow freedom ring - when we let it ring from every village and every hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God's children - black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics - will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual: "Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, we are free at last!"


Tuesday, January 15, 2008

3 steps forward, 1 step back

It occured to me that this year--2008--is a leap year.  That means I don't have 365 miles to run but 366 freakin' miles!!
I had to pick the longest possible freakin year to do this stupid "mile a day" idiocy.
Cest la vie.
In other news I think my little bro is trying to match me step for step.
Good luck, little bro.  Maybe we should do that "half beard contest" sometime this year, too.
Ok, now on with the running update.  3 miles today, so that's a total of 10.  That leaves me 5 miles behind as of tonight.  Easy peasy...  I can catch that up no problem.  10 down, 356 to go.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Old name

On a lark I checked to see if my finishing partner from 2006—“Monica Nielsen”, in 2006 she was listed as a 26 year old female from Kingwood; that is precisely everything I know about her except for vaguely what she looks like after 26 miles of running—ran the marathon again.  I can’t find any mention of her in either 2007 or 2008’s marathon finishing database.


I don’t see her running or finishing in the full or half in 2007 or 2008.  Oh well.  She was a one hit wonder just as I was.


Maybe she got married and “Monica Nielsen” ceased to exist and “Mrs. Monica SomethingElse” has taken her place?  Maybe she WAS married and had a kid, like me, and largely quit running?  Maybe she got a job outside of the city and moved away?  Who knows.  It would have been neat to find out that she kept running, though.  Cest la vie.


Mad props to you nutty marathoners, including our own John Walk and Jessica Alexander and just about everyone down the left side of this blog.  Considering John ran the new-year’s marathon out in Kingwood, I think he gets the “Short Bus Award” and a commemorative straight jacket.


All the same, CONGRATS!!  Especially to Steve who I think had the winning time from my list, but I’d have to check again to confirm that.  There were some awesome times out there.


As for myself, I notched 2 miles on Friday, and some pizza on Sunday.  No running, though.  That puts me down 8 miles so far, with plans to skip tonight’s run (9 miles) and double OR TRIPLE tomorrow’s run.  I haven’t updated the slider yet, but what do ya’ll care, right?


More updates soon.


And congrats, again!

Friday, January 11, 2008

2 days, 2 miles...

2 miles down, that is.  I’m falling behind a little bit, I know.  And I’m ok with that.


Tonight I’ll put in a mile on the road and maybe a couple of miles on the elliptical again.  I’d put in more on the road, but any further than a mile requires me to either retrace my steps or cross Tidwell in the dark—neither option is particularly palatable.  Maybe in a few weeks I’ll have the jogging stroller cleaned off so I can push the little monkey around a bit.


Besides all that, if I put in 3 miles today and make my runs over the weekend, this will be the first FULL week of the year AND the first FULL WEEK that I’ve at least stuck to my mileage commitment (and then some).


Also, I’ve lost a few lbs.  Howabout that, eh?  Exercise a little bit then you lose some weight.  Someone ought to do a study and see if those things are connected.


Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Another one down

Another mile in the books.
Only 360 left to go!!
I don't know if my time is dropping any, but I can say with relative certainty that the miles are getting easier.  Only 5 done, and they're already getting easier.
I'm considering changing around the running playlist so as to get a little more variety in my short runs.
I still hate running, though.

Something curious

I’ve been thinking about the “situation in Iraq” lately.

It started with the government collapsing under the weight of the US Military, then Shiite and Sunni militias fighting against the US military, then the Shiites gaining control of the new government and Al Queda gaining a foothold putting the Sunni militias on the outs with the US.  But while Shiites were slaughtering Sunnis, they were also still fighting the US Military and the nation effectively slid into a very messy civil war of sorts.


Since the “surge”, though, it would seem that the US has decided the Shiite government is permanently dysfunctional and has sided with the homegrown Sunni militias.  The Sunni militias have turned on Al Queda and the Shiite militias have laid down their arms—for now.


The result has effectively been the end of what appeared to be a civil war.  The Shiite militias are no longer cleaning out Sunni neighborhoods.  Sunni militias are no longer working with Al Queda to attack Shiites or, by association, US Soldiers.  Al Queda still slips through, but the frequency is markedly down.  Now what we have is the minority Sunnis patrolling their own streets warily eyeing the Shiites across the bridge, and the Shiites warily eyeing the Sunnis across the bridge, but not shooting at each other.  Meanwhile, the government is still in perpetual clusterfuck.


I think that’s a curious way to postpone a civil war.  I say postpone because once the biggest dog on the block leaves you’re going to have a predominantly Shiite and dysfunctional government and an armed, organized, citizen militia.  There will basically be a “govern or else” atmosphere at some point…

Feeling pretty good

My back is feeling pretty good right now, even despite the approximate 2 miles I “ran” last night on the elliptical.  Because the function of the elliptical is slightly different than honest to goodness running, I timed out 20 minutes to be 2 miles rather than the metered 2 miles on the machine.  I figured 20 minutes of constant motion was just as good as 15 or 18 minutes on the road.


The soundtrack was “Changes in Lattitudes” by Mr. Jimmy Buffet.  American Gladiator was on the tube, but it was hardly inspirational (though the chick gladiators—or, Gladiatettes—were surprisingly mega hot).


I also got the first GOOD night’s sleep in about as long as I can remember.  Not a GREAT night’s sleep, but good all the same.


At the rate I’m going, I might just have 30 miles by the end of this month.  Of course, I might just as likely have 15.


Interesting, too, that the music changes when I come inside.  Outside there’s “Rage” and “Eminem” and other high powered, up tempo jams.  Inside there are plenty more relaxed tunes like Mr. Buffet and some Allen Jackson or Willie or even Lou Bega (yes, he’s still alive and HUGE in Europe).  I could even imagine some Traveling Wilburys at some point.  I wonder why that is.


I see there is a 5k scheduled this weekend.  It might be a good opportunity to make up a couple of miles for me.  Not sure if I’m ready for 5k just yet, though.

2 miles last night

I made up one of me miles last night by hitting an eliptical for the equivalent of 2 miles.  It was easier on my back and turned out to be a pretty good workout.
So, as of today the score is minus 3 with 1 mile pending.
More later.

Monday, January 07, 2008

Down 4

I was ailing over the weekend and stayed home.  I did try and get up to run, but my back was quite opposed to the idea.

Consequently, I’m down 4 miles with 1 mile pending today.  No problem, though.  I still plan to keep the deficit within 10 to 15 miles, because that much can be made up in just a few days. 


1 mile a day, every day.  That is the discipline.  That is the target.


That is damn hard.


In other news, I read an article this morning about baby boomers neglecting their horses.  I think this falls into the “law of unintended consequences” category.  People with too much money and not enough common sense blow it on horses that they can’t really afford.  They discover that there are these horse slaughter operations and just can’t imagine their horses dying, so they rally to ban the practice of horse slaughter (and meat export) in the United States.  Now they’re stuck with horses they don’t want, can’t feed, and can’t ship off to benefit someone else.  Ban horse slaughter, invite horse neglect.  Good job, PETA.

Friday, January 04, 2008

2 in the book

Mile 2 down.  363 to go.
Still down 2 miles, may make it up next weekend or the weekend after.  Tonight was a LOT tougher than last night.
More later.

Quote of the day

“The words ‘I am…’ are potent words; be careful what you hitch them to.  The thing you’re claiming has a way of reaching back and claiming you.”

--A.L. Kitselman


I’ve said something like this for awhile now, when I discovered that people lean on “I am” as a crutch.  “Sorry, I’m bad with names” has a way of becoming a self fulfilling prophesy.  You’re bad with names, sure, but then you lean on that as a crutch to not learn names.  It’s one thing to know your personal limitations, it’s another thing entirely to define yourself by personal limitations.  “I am…” discriminated against.  “I am…” bad with names.  “I am…” liberal/conservative/undecided.  “I am…” and whatever comes next has a tendency to become permanent.


But I still hate running.

The morning after the day after the night before

Ok.  1 down.  364 to go.  2 miles behind, with 1 mile pending.  No time on the run, I’m not checking time this time around.  I DO know that the route I ran was 1.04 miles (according to my friends at Google Earth) and I DO know that I ran the whole shebang non-stop.  That may not mean much to you fanatical asphalt busters out there, but for me to run a full mile for the first time in 6 months or more without stopping tells me that I’m not in as bad shape as I thought I was.


2 miles is easy to make up, too.  No sweat.  I may hold on to that deficit for awhile and clean it up toward the end of the month.  I don’t mind building up a deficit early as long as it’s not too huge of a deficit.  I’ll try and keep it below 10 miles.  I do, however, want to stick relatively close to the original plan of 1 mile a day, every day, rain or shine, hot or cold, no matter what, no matter what.


And today, I don’t feel so bad.  The thing I was most worried about was recovery time.  Worrying about how I’d feel the morning after actually kept me from getting out there a couple of nights ago and more than once in the past I’ve decided to not bother doing ANYTHING because I didn’t want to be sore later.  If today is any indication of how tomorrow will be, I won’t have any problem running tonight.


Speaking of which…


A guy here at the office is running the half and popped in to inform me that he’s looking forward to the milder weather this weekend because it’s been too cold to run the last few days.


I asked him if he expected a dome to be put up over the race route.  Hehe…  sometimes it’s good to be running again.


He also said he was going to hit the treadmill, but he’d rather be on pavement.  I told him he better man up because it’s hard to run in high heels and a dress.


T’s a good guy.  We both had a good laugh.  I brought in my medal from the 2006 marathon to show him what he’s running for.  I still have it here.  It’s fun to look at.

Thursday, January 03, 2008

1 down, 364 to go

I got a slow start on the year.
So sue me.
Currently I'm 2 miles behind, but I can make that up easy.  Tonight's run was a solid mile, no stops.  Not bad for the first outing of the year.
More later.