Sunday, May 20, 2007

Rain and Shine

Stepped out my front door on Friday morning, got out from under the porch and, KUMBE!, it's raining. Not bad, so I headed out. Well, about 1/4 mile into it, the bottom dropped out. I was glad I left my glasses on the porch. It's interesting running in rain in the pre-dawn. It was heavy enough that I really couldn't see very far ahead. And I couldn't see where the puddles (or were they small lakes?) were. It was a new route for me so I knew I'd "have" to run it again soon to see what I'd missed.

Saturday morning and this morning were beautiful. Headed out about 6:30 each morning just before the sun came up. I was able to see the honeysuckle that I had been smelling. Both mornings fairly humid but cool at 48° -- absolutely perfect -- just cool enough for a long-sleeved shirt but not enough to chill. I'm not sure I'll have many more mornings like this one -- looks like next week will be back in mid- to upper-50's.

I ran the new route (Friday) again this morning. There are a couple of fairly long, gentle hills which are a bit of a challenge but not killers like the shorter steep hills. I'm still running slower than usual but it ain't bad.

Run well, y'all,
Bob

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Hints of Summer

Well, it looks like summer's coming to Richmond -- ugh! The humidity has been pretty bad the last couple of days at 89% on Friday and 83% this morning. I'm drenched at the end of a run. One pleasant sign of summer is the sweet smell of honeysuckle. I haven't seen the flowers, yet, but I sure smelled them yesterday and today. That brought back memories of childhood -- plucking the flowers, pulling out the stamen, and licking off the nectar.

This morning I was dying. Just after mile 6, I had to walk for about 30 seconds, ran for about 1:30, then walked again for about 1:15. I haven't had to do that in a long time. Then I met up with a friend, David Miller, at about mile 6.5. He was walking but picked up and ran with me for about 0.5 miles. That was just the encouragement I needed to finish running to the end. Thanks, David -- you didn't even know you were helping me along.

Run well y'all,
Bob

Wednesday, May 9, 2007

How Far Does Freedom of Expression Extend?

In the last few years, I have become convinced that often my greatest strength is also my greatest weakness. The steadiness that helps me get things done can be maddening when I need to be excited. I think the same is true of America -- our greatests strengths can be our greatest weaknesses if the strengths aren't used with self-control.

My dad used to tell me, Your freedom goes only as far as the end of the other person's nose. I treasure the freedom of expression that is my right as an American but when that freedom is exercised to the extreme, it's a glaring weakness. Here is a perfect example. I'm glad we have the freedom to express dissent but where does one get off going this far?

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (AP) - A Colorado man has been arrested for disrupting the Sunday service at a breakaway Episcopal parish by throwing a pie at the pastor. Witnesses told police that the man entered a side door of Grace Church and St. Stephen's Parish and hit the Reverend Donald Armstrong in the face as he preached a sermon on loving your enemies....Full Story
As a nation, we need to regain a sense of respect for others and learn how to dissent in appropriate ways.

Run well, y'all,
Bob

Tuesday, May 8, 2007

All or Nothing

DISCLAIMER: I do reserve the right to be wrong and to change my mind.

A couple of weeks ago, maybe longer, I taped a 20/20 show because they were going to talk about child molestation by Southern Baptist pastors (a topic for another day). Last night, I got around to watching it and was surprised to find that one of the segments was on Jim Karas and his campaign to ween America from cardiovascular exercise. (OK, I recognize that's a pejorative statement). I had seen most of the Good Morning America segment and wasn't impressed (I'm not the only one). He says that to lose weight, keep it off, and be fully healthy, we should stop doing cardio exercise and switch to his interval strength training routines. With a hot book and equipment.

This morning, while running, that segment kept coming to mind. I do not want to downplay the importance of strength training. I should incorporate strength training into my exercise routine -- without a doubt, I need to do something to ward of the muscle and strength loss that comes (well, OK, goes) with age. But, to eliminate all cardio exercise and sustitute only interval strength training doesn't make sense. One of Karas' arguments is that you don't see happy people in the cardio rooms of gyms but you see happy, toned people in the weight rooms. Cardio is mindless ... interval weight training is ... well, he implies it's fun and mentally stimulating but doesn't say that. Personally, as you know if you've read earlier postings, you know that I totally agree with his assessment of the dreadmill -- give me the outdoors where I'm going somewhere, seeing changing scenery. And, I've done strength training and find absolutely nothing mentally stimulating about it. It's better than the treadmill, maybe, but ....

Of course, on the other hand, if you are following my running log (see the right side of this blog), you'll see that my weight continues to hang around 178-181. To be at the right BMI for my height, I should weigh no more than 174.5. So, the running, by itself, is not getting me there.

But the details of the Cardio-Free Diet are not really what I was thinking about this morning. It seems to me that Mr. Karas' approach is a symbol of current US culture -- all or nothing. Rather than taking a moderate approach -- i.e., the best of both worlds -- we seem to feel compelled to take one or another of polar views on everything. Politics is certainly that way. It's either big business or the poor. Why else, when someone starts talking about how to control illegal immigration, they are accused of being anti-immigration of any kind -- and why must the only options for dealing with illegal immigration be building a fence or totally consequence-free amnesty? Even discussions about religion often boil down to whether one is a fundamentalist or a liberal. In general, it seems that the prevailing attitude is, if you don't completely agree with me, you are completely wrong. Is it really necessary to be in an extreme position on everything?

Well, I didn't solve anything while running (except to strengthen my heart, burn about 800 calories, hopefully raise my good cholesterol, clean out my pores, and get the lead out) but I did have some random thoughts while running. :-)

John 13:34-35A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another. (NIV)

Run well, practice big-heartedness,
Bob

Sunday, May 6, 2007

Running at 53!

Well, surprise, surprise, surprise -- running at 53 years old is no different from running at 52 years, 364 days! It's still hard. :-)

When I started this blog, I thought I would be posting about random things I thought about while I was running. In the ensuing months, I've realized that my random thoughts consist mostly of:

-> Why do I do this to myself?
-> I think I'll quit and go home -- oh, wait, it would take too long to walk?
-> Who says that Richmond's West End doesn't have bad hills?
-> Am I going to die before I get home? If I do, will anybody see me at this time of the morning?
-> Just let me get home before I get struck by lightening.
-> Who stole the oxygen?
-> My shoes must be eating pound cake at night -- they're gaining weight.
-> 8 blocks to go ... 7 blocks to go ... 6 blocks to go ....

There's not a whole lot of "umph" left for thinking deep thoughts. Hivyo ndivyo mambo yalivyo. (Swahili: That's the way things are.)


Run well y'all,
Bob