Saturday, November 5, 2005

First Thoughts

Absolutely perfect morning for a run -- 54*, very light breeze, clear with a few wispy clouds, a few stars at 6 am, then pink cloud wisps as dawn approached. I left the house thinking 7+/- miles, about halfway through thought 5+/- sounded good, ended up running 8.7 miles at a pace of 07:54 mpm. This has been a great week of running, almost certainly the best week in 2.3 years of running -- 5 days, 30 miles, all under 8 mpm, and I felt good every day.

I have thought about my pace often. I have no illusions about being fast -- I guess I'm doing all right for a 51 year old man, but really am not fast. So, when I use the terms fast and slow, they are always only in relation to me.

When I run, I don't look at my watch -- I just run. If I want to speed up, I speed up; if I'm a little tired and need to slow down, I slow down. There have been days when I've felt really awful and thought, "Man, I must be cookin'!" but then my pace turns out to have been slow (08:20+ mpm). Other days, I feel so good that I figure I must be running slow but my pace will be closer to 8 mpm or faster. Go figure! This week has been 5 days of the latter. Only on one day did I try to run faster than 8 mpm and it was my shortest run of the week and one of my slowest paces.

Today, though, was pure icing -- 8.7 miles at a pace of 07:54 mpm. I'm pleased.

When I run, I always have one or two songs floating around in my head -- always Christian songs. It's my worship and the songs do help me maintain a reasonably steady pace, whatever that pace might be. Sometimes it's a hymn -- It Is Well is a good hymn for running. More often, it's a contemporary worship song. Today, I was singing We Speak to Nations. My problem with all of the songs is that I never know all the verses. Well, OK, not never because I do know all the words to You Are My All in All and Praise the Lord (K Wilson).

Some people, my wife is one, say they pray and quote Scripture while running. I find that my concentration on any one thing isn't continuous enough for that -- I've tried and will pray for a couple of things but then my mind jumps to something else. So, singing to myself, jumbled around a bunch of other thoughts is my pattern.

This morning, I enjoyed the sunrise and the changing leaves. The maples are really pretty -- not flaming red this year but more subtle -- and mixed with the oaks (yellow this year) and some other trees that I can't identify, it's a really pleasing combination.

Since it's election time in Virginia, I can't help but notice the campaign signs. The signs are as devoid of content as the TV and radio ads are. Mostly, they seem to be about name recognition. One thing that has struck me is that all the signs -- Republican, Democrat, Independent -- look the same except for the candidate's name. Every one of them is red, white, and blue; every one of them has stars and stripes. It's so boring.

I did have more significant thoughts on the election, though, than just the boring signs. I really cannot decide which candidate, Kaine or Kilgore, to vote for on Tuesday. My leanings are generally toward the Republican party but I'm not hard and fast there. I am anti-abortion but I'm also pro-environment but not to the extent that the needs of a small spider are taken more seriously than an individual's right to use (not abuse or destroy) his or her property. I'm fiscally conservative but my heart breaks for those who are poor and trapped by the excesses of a business-first economy. I don't know what the answer is, but I know we (the government but, more, the individuals who make up the middle and upper segments of the economic brackets) have responsibilities towards our brothers and sisters who need a helping hand. But, unregulated welfare doesn't seem to be the answer. I'm having a difficult time deciding which of the two (I'm discounting the Independent because my vote for him, if I chose to do that, would simply be a statement as he doesn't stand a chance) I should vote for. My run didn't get me to a decision, but it did give me time to think. I have a couple of more days to run before the election -- maybe I'll get some clarity.

Enough for the day. Enjoy your weekend.

Bob
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