Friday, July 28


Well, I'm thoroughly excited about my upcoming vacation. Man was not meant to sit behind a computer screen all day. At least I wasn't!

For the next week or so there won't be any posts but hopefully when I get back I'll have some interesting things to say.

Thursday, July 27


I saw a great article this morning in the Washington Post about the Badwater Ultramarathon. 135 miles through Death Valley.

Wow was the word that kept going through my head as I read it. I feel nothing but awe for the competitors. It sure put some of the hot runs I've done around here lately into perspective.
I remember when I bought the book Ultramarathon Man: Confessions of an all-night runner by Dean Karnazes that the folks at my favorite used bookstore asked me if I was going to start running like him.
Nope, I said.
And while this article for me is definitely somewhat inspirational, I don't have any desire to do an ultramarathon ever. I am, however, hopeful of running more and faster marathons.

Here's my favorite passage from the article:

A few minutes before the race, running coach John Radich, 52, says, "This race doesn't care how hard you train, how far you can run, or who you are." He has run it five times. "It actually changes who you are. It challenges you physically, emotionally and . . . spiritually."
His mental game? "I like to think of the race as a lady. You want to respect her. You can't be overconfident. But you also cannot be a wimp."

Set yourself on fire

I went to sleep last night hoping to get up this morning and put in a good relaxing 12 mile run along the South Creek Greenway Trail. I got up this morning, tired, but looking forward to waking up while running on the trail. I was trying to tell myself that it was going to be a good run.

However, while trying to put my keys away while in the elevator, I dropped my bottle of gatorade — one of those things that happens when you're not completely awake. I didn't even completely realize what had happened until I heard it hit the ground.

So I spent the next ten minutes or so cleaning up the elevator floor. And I decided to do my old six mile run through the beautiful Rountree neighborhood instead of heading out to the trail. Six miles instead of 12. Always better than nothing.

Anyhow, I didn't have to worry about getting to work on time.

Here's a quote for the week to get you going today.

While reading a short chapter in a John Maxwell book on leadership this morning, I came across this thought from John Wesley: "When you set yourself on fire, people love to come and see you burn."

Tuesday, July 25

Thoughts on vacation part 3

I remember last year on vacation driving through South Dakota towards the Black Hills.

Car after car had bikes attached to the back of the car or the top of the van or whatever. Bikes. It was the one thing that would have made last year's vacation better - tremendous physical exertion. I did run on treadmills in the hotel but I hadn't been running for a month when we went on vacation then. It would have been nice to run around Sioux Falls or Rapid City or some of the other places where we stopped, but at that point I didn't know if I had the stamina.

This year's vacation at Camp Marafiki will combine running and sight-seeing and relaxation. And I feel pretty sure that I've got the stamina now to have a good time.

Paradigm for the big goal

I just read a rather pedestrian story from the Battle Creek Enquirer about marathon training.

However, one good thing about it was the following quote:
"The marathon is the paradigm for the big goal," said Dan Sarkipato, who runs a marathon training group. "That's something significant. To run and complete a marathon is a notable kind of thing, and that's the lure of it."

That quote made the whole story worthwhile.

Monday, July 24

Vacation, part II

Last year I had a pretty good vacation. I went to the Black Hills with my parents. I'd wanted to see the Black Hills ever since a class in Native American history in college when I learned that some Native American tribes believed all life started in the Black Hills.

Papa Saha, as I recall the Indians called the region.

My dad wanted to go to the region for all the history. And partially because he thought that's where Custer's Last Stand was.

However, Custer's Last Stand was not in South Dakota but several hundred miles further away in Montana. My mom mentioned this recently because Bill Moor made the same mistake as my dad.

Bill Moor is one of the main reasons I do what I do. I read something he wrote about Bo Jackson working out with the local minor league team in the newspaper just after the family moved to Indiana. I decided it seemed fun and I wanted to do it too. I wrote him a letter, and the rest, as they say, is history.

Anyhow, Bill Moor wrote a fun column about his recent vacation to the Black Hills. I recommend it.


This should be a good week at work. That's because next week I'm going on vacation! Santa Fe, New Mexico. Holy Faith, Nuevo Mexico.

Of course, it will still be a week at work. Sigh. I have two co-workers who are leaving this week. They're both excited to be going on to new jobs. I'm just a wee bit jealous of them. I don't have any professional goals. I haven't all year.

My goal to run a marathon really helped me. Now, I want to shave an hour off my time. Perhaps I could go even faster than that in my next marathon, but running an hour faster than last time seems like a good and reasonable goal, especially with the way I've been running lately. I'm about ready for the summer heat to be over. Then again, maybe that's all just in my head.

Sunday, July 23

Always been crazy

Today's run was good. I'm a little unsure how far I went, although I think it was close to 15 miles.
I know my hydration strategy didn't work today and I'll have to keep that in mind next time I try this route. I thought I'd go running late and miss the humidity. I definitely caught the heat though.
And my inner jukebox betrayed me just a bit. The last three or four miles I had one song - actually one line from the song - in an endless loop in my head.

I've always been crazy, it's kept me from going insane.

It could be a somewhat snappy comeback to that old phrase, you'd have to be crazy to run a marathon.
Well, I've always been crazy, it's kept me from going insane.
But it's insane to run a marathon.
Well, yeah, it's kind of nice to be insane.

Saturday, July 22

Timeless running

Today was a good day. I got up and ran six miles. The weather felt wonderful. It was a new route and I enjoyed it. My GPS thinging worked for the first time in a long time and everything was groovy.

I had a bottle of gatorade in my hand the whole way, but since it was just six miles, I chose not to drink from it and got some water at the end of the run.

The beautiful thing though was how timeless the run seemed. It was six miles, but it could have been 12. I love just getting out there and seeing where my legs will take me. It was great. In some ways it reminded me of the marathon, just shorter. But the thing I really enjoyed was just getting out there and following my feet. Hopefully tomorrow's run will be just as fun.

Friday, July 21

Not a good way to lose water weight

I love to literally run errands. I don't know, there's just something fun about it. Yesterday I took my car to get the oil changed and today I ran the four miles to the dealership to pick it up. I got going a little later than I wanted to and saw a flashing sign that said 8:05 95 degrees.

The weather guy said it was supposed to rain this morning.

Anyhow, I got the story of the week at the dealership. The service guy said that he figured yesterday would be a great day to lose some water weight. So, he said, he threw on a sweatshirt and went outside and ran a mile and a half after work. Now, I don't know exactly what time he did this, but the high would have been at least 101 yesterday afternoon not counting the heat index.
This is unfathomable to me for two reasons: 1) a cotton shirt strikes me as a bit heavy right now. I love the sweat wicking fabrics. 2) I can't imagine running just one and a half miles. Today's four mile run seemed too short, even with the heat.
And here's the moral to his story. He didn't lose any weight because when he got back home he was drinking water all day long.

Tomorrow's high is only supposed to be 88 so that should be great weather for another 14 mile run sometime this weekend.

Thursday, July 20


I woke up right before the alarm clock went off today. Around 5:55 or so. I got up and got out the door for a good three mile run. A good way to beat the heat when it's supposed to be a high of 101 today not counting the "heat index."

Feels good to get it done. It's a good discipline, getting up and running.

It reminds me of a quote I saw from Jack Foster in my Runners' World Training Log the other day. "I don't train. I just run my 3-15 mies everyday."

That's a great discipline. Reminds me of what my friend Van said about himself when I saw him last summer: "When I'm out of shape, I run 3-5 miles everyday." At the time it seemed crazy, but now a 3-5 mile run is so short it's almost like you just barely get out the door and then it's over.

Anyhow, I would have liked to have run a little faster today, but it was very hot and humid.

I like the summer. I like to sweat. And I like it hot. But right now it seems just a little bit too hot. I'll be glad when this temporary heat wave passes and the highs get back down in the 90s.

Wednesday, July 19


Today, I went for a quick run on the treadmill. I decided to do a bit of a speed workout, which is always easier to do on the treadmill. I was running about as fast as possible, about a 7:30 mile for 800 meters and then jogging more slowly for about 400 meters.
After one fast interval, the power went off for five seconds. I'm glad as I was going slow at that point. Then the power went off again. And then I decided that I'd run enough on the treadmill for today.
Our heat wave with record highs and humidities continues but tomorrow I'm going to try and run outside again.

Tuesday, July 18

It's not the heat

It's not the heat, it's the humidity.
It's the humidity. Boy, is it the humidity.

I rolled out of bed around 5 this morning. I ran six miles before the temperature got too far above 80. I can't help but wonder, how much is the humidity slowing me down? Is the humidity slowing me down at all? Is it all in my head?

Still, the line from Kipling comes back to me, the one about filling the unforgiving minute with sixty seconds worth of distance run. That doesn't talk so much about speed as it does about getting out there and putting in the time.

Monday, July 17

John Wooden

This weekend I ran 17 miles and finished two books. Not a bad toll for a hot summer weekend. The last mile I ran seemed to be a steady and steep uphill for more than half the way. And at that point in my run the sun was completely out and it seemed like the heat was starting to get to me.

Anyways, thefirst book I fnished this weekend was Jesse: the Man who Outran Hitler. My recommendation of the book still stands, although people who are hostile to Christianity or religion might not like it.

That caveat goes for the second book I finished this weekend: Wooden : a lifetime of observations and reflections on and off the court. Now, Wooden was a good book and it's clear Wooden was a great coach and an even better man. But he's not quite the character that Lou Holtz is. That's part of Wooden's philosophy though. Being a character can be counter-productive sometimes. One thing he said that made sense was how we can never be perfect. We really can't give 110 or 120 percent. We almost never give 100 percent. But we can get as close to 100 percent as we possibly can. For Wooden, that's what winning really is. Sometimes you win even though you get outscored, he said. I'm not sure I completely agree with that. But his point holds true: there's absolutely no shame in losing to someone who is better than you if you gave your all and the other person simply has more talent.

Sunday, July 16

Beat the Heat

I can imagine partying until 4 or 5 in the morning. Given the right people that could be fun. However, last night I went to bed around 8 and woke up today around 4. I felt like perhaps I should sleep a little longer. And I did. But I had a mission - to run 14 miles.

Since today's high is forecast to be near 100 - and with the heat index a little more than that. So I got out the door a little bit before 5. I saw one other runner around 5:30 but besides that I didn't see too many other people or cars on the road.

My first 14 mile run since the marathon. It was a success.

Saturday, July 15

Making fun of skinny people

It's becoming very clear to me that losing weight is not socially acceptable. Running is also not very socially acceptable, but in a different way.

People who are overweight may (or may not) want to lose weight, but one thing I'm finding is they sure love to make subtle barbs at people who are (or appear to be) skinny.

In the last week or so, a waitress asked if I'd been sick before saying oh, that's right you've been running a lot.
A city official said I'd just been wilting away to nothing. She observed that before I started running and losing weight - that's about 30 pounds ago for those keeping track - she thought I was real skinny and didn't need to lose weight.
A co-worked the next day said I was wasting away and clearly needed to eat more.

Meanwhile, I think that if I lose around 10 pounds I'd probably run better and faster.

Sure I'm sure fat people hear worse. Fat jokes. Cruel things. But it just feels like (and maybe my feelings are wrong) but it feels like it's equally if not moreso socially acceptable to poke fun at skinny people. And it also seems that no woman really ever wants to go out with a skinny guy but that they're always looking for huge bodybuilders or just huge people in general.

People might say they want to lose weight and be skinny or reach their ideal weight. But I doubt they mean it. Most people enjoy the taste of trans-fatty acids and twinkies and high fructose corn syrup. I like health foods and exercise and getting real sweaty.

I am more and more convinced that most people don't want to lose weight and they don't think it's particularly healthy. I know some people are naturally larger and gain weight easily. But still I'm becoming a wee bit bitter and I think most people just don't care to be disciplined and try to find a way to lose weight.

Heck, I didn't even start running to lose weight. I just couldn't stand so physically out of shape and I fell in love with the idea of running a marathon. And I got in much better shape and I finished the race. And I discovered a newfound joy in running.

Who cares if I'm not the average football star from your video?

Friday, July 14

Jesse - book recommendation

I started reading a book this week and already I'm halfway through. This is surprising because I didn't really expect the book to be but that good. And another thing, it's got an unusual structure.

Every chapter is preceded by a couple of lines from Longfellow's poem Excelsior.

The book is Jesse: The Man who Outran Hitler and I strongly recommend it.

Beutiful Day

Well, as I said in in my last post it was time to rest. I woke up today feeling great. I went to the Y and got in three quick miles on the treadmill. A great start to the day.

Thursday, July 13

Listening to my body - time to rest

Yesterday morning I went for a relaxed 11 mile run. It was the longest run since the marathon. It was nice to get up early and go for a nice long run before work, but midway through my left butt cheek felt a little funny. (I wish I had better words for explaining how I feel.)

Anyhow, just listening to my body makes it seem like this is a good day for rest. Although I did walk home from work and I can't really avoid walking up and down the spiral staircase in my apartment. And that alone would be a great workout for some people I bet.

Hopefully I'll feel much better tomorrow.

Wednesday, July 12

A clydesdale

I've learned a new running term: clydesdale. A clydesdale is a heavy runner. Someone who weighs in excess of 170 pounds according to the web site I linked to.

Around the time I started running, I weighed 240. Now, I'm dancing around 200. (I weigh myself a lot just for the fun of it.) Chances are by the end of the summer, I'll be closer to 190 or 195.

But I'll still be a Clydesdale at that weight. Perhaps taht could help me somewhat put some of my slow running times in perspective. But not too much. I definitely want to get faster. Perhaps losing weight is one inevitable stop along the way.

Tuesday, July 11


I just finished reading Pre: America's Greatest Running Legend. It was a decent biography of Steve Prefontaine, a legendary runner who died too young. Definitely inspirational.

One part, for instance, showed how Prefontaine didn't run races so much to win, but to see "who had the most guts." Yesterday at the Y, I was going for 30 minutes on my favorite cross-training contraption, the rowing machine. And I was trying to get as good a workout as possible from it. So in the last 10 minutes, as I was rowing, I kept repeating to myself, "Guts. Guts. Guts."

The book also started off with a really cool poem by Jack London. I'll share it with you:

I would rather be ashes than dust.
I would rather that spark should burn out in a brilliant blaze than it should be stilled by dry rot. I would rather be a superb meteor, every atom of me in magnificent glow, than a sleepy and permanent planet.
The proper function of man is to live, not exist.
I shall not waste my days trying to prolong them.
I shall use my time.


When I went out to do my early morning run today, it was real humid.

How humid was it?

It was so humid, I felt like I was running in the bottom of a swimming pool.

Thank you. I'll be here all week. Please tip your waitresses and bartenders.

Monday, July 10

A spiritual running blog

For those who are interested, I recently encountered this blog about meditation and running.

I figure maybe you'll find it interesting and maybe you won't but I thought I'd pass it on.

Sunday, July 9


This morning, the manager of the restaurant in the lobby here asked me if I ran in the marathon yesterday. What marathon I asked? Turns out he was talking about the 8K race.
Any race seems like a marathon to me, he said.

That brought a smile to my early morning face as I looked for my newspaper.

Anyway, I'm excited about my next race the Hot'N'Hilly Powerhouse 10K .

A new friend described it this way in an e-mail: "It's a great strenuous physical test. It's skill and endurance and confidence and strength balled together."

Describe something that way and I'm definitely intrigued.

Now, to make it even better, I must make a good, challenging goal for the race. But first, I will go to the desert to train.

Saturday, July 8

Thoughts on Progress

My first race ever as an adult, the Wichita River Run 10K in 2000 did not go well. I walked a portion of the way and that sprinted to the finish.

My second race, five and a half years later was much better although the time wasn't. But I did run that race all the way. I didn't have a big kick at the end, but it was nice not to run out of gas on the course.

And really, I was just starting to get moving. And I had a big goal, not a fast goal. To run the Memphis Half-Marathon. I did that and it was nice, but it was only half of my real goal. To run a marathon. I've done that.

Now, I'm hungry to go faster. I had two speed resolutions for 2006. To run a 5K in under 30 minutes and to run a 10K in under an hour. The first goal I achieved in late 2005.

What should my goals be know? A 5K in under 25 minutes. What else? I need to do some thinking on that.


Today I had a great race in the Y Not Run 8K. I had goal of running 9-minute miles or finishing in under 45 minutes. (The math doesn't quite work on that, I know.)

I achieved my goal! I ran the race in 43:19 for an 8:44 pace. The best part about it is that I know I can run a lot faster.

This seems like as good a time as any to look over all my races and reflect on my times.

First, the list:

May 13, 2000 Wichita River Run 10K
Time: 1:09:20
Pace: ???

Nov. 19, 2005 Run for Kids Sake 10K
Time: 1:05:27
Pace: 10:32

Nov. 24, 2005 Turkey Trot 5K
Time: 33:18
Pace: 10:45

Dec. 3, 2005 St. Jude Memphis Half-Marathon
Time: 2:19:41
Pace: 10:40

Dec. 10, 2005 Jingle Bell Run
Time: 29:52
Pace: 9:28

Feb. 4, 2006 Run with the Big Dogs 5K
Time: 28:36
Pace: 9:14

March 6, 2006 Little Rock Half-Marathon
Time: 2:10:32
Pace: 10:02

May 13, 2006 Wichita River Run 10K
Time: 56:37
Pace: ???

May 20, 2006 Bass Pro Conservation 5K
Time: 28:57
Pace: 9:20

June 3, 2006 Sunburst Marathon
Time: 4:56:50:20
Pace: 11:20

July 4, 2006 Beat-the-Heat 2 miler
Time: 17:16
Pace: 8:38

July 8, 2006 Y Not Run 8K
Time: 43:19
Pace: 8:44

Thursday, July 6

Y Not Race

Well, after the marathon I started doing a 4-week training plan for marathon recovery from Hal Higdon. It concludes with a race and luckily enough there is a race that starts right outside my door on Saturday.

The Y Not Run 8K. Hopefully this will be fun. Ideally I'll finish in under 44 minutes, but that might be pushing it. We'll see how it all goes.

Tuesday, July 4

My first trophy

Happy Fourth of July!

I ran a two-mile race today and it was great. I got my first trophy. My friend Mark noted that the field was pretty small and we might get trophies by default. Ha! My friend Mark ran the race about two minutes per mile faster than me. But he was correct in his prediction that we would place in our age group.

I came in second in the 30-39 age group. Unfortunately, no one came in third.

But still, I ran a good, hard race. I did the first minute in 8 minutes exactly. The second mile was somewhat slower, but still respectable. (The official time was 17:16. Incredible slowdown for the second mile, but still nothing to be too ashamed about.)

I'll post my exact time later, but I'm happy with this result. What a 4th of July! I think later on, maybe after 7, I'll go and run about six miles or so for the fun of it.

Monday, July 3


Perhaps, by the name of the post, you might expect something about Dan Rather. No.

I was flipping through a book on leadership today and found a great quote about courage. Almost worthy of Lou Holtz. It was actually from someone else who is discussed quite a bit in some classrooms at Notre Dame: Karl Barth.

Here's what he said: "Courage is fear that has said its prayers."


Sunday, July 2

Ten Miles

Today was my first 10 mile run since the marathon. I went to sleep early last night (easy since I was tired) and got up around 5:45. At least that's when my alarm was set for. I had trouble getting my contacts to fit right so I didn't hit the trail until just before 7. I decided to run before church today because the high is supposed to be 95. It was hot enough at 8.

Clearly a lot of bikers and other runners agreed as I passed tons of people. But I actually saw lots more rabbits than people. I saw more rabbits than I've ever seen before. I wondered if it is mating season for rabbits. But isn't it always mating season for rabbits? I saw other animals too, squirrels and birds mostly. But there were rabbits everywhere.

It was also a beautiful, beautiful morning. All in all, a good run. I love getting back into the double digit long runs.

What about "Mr. Garfield?"

So I just finished reading Sarah Vowell's book Assassination Vacation
for the book club I go to sometimes at the Well Fed Head.
It's about the assassinations of Abraham Lincoln and James Garfield and William McKinley and all sorts of tangentially related minutiae. Interesting stuff really. I wouldn't have finished the book if that weren't the case. The first chapter, about Lincoln, was the longest and most detailed. The rest of the book went much faster.
The second chapter was about the assassintion of President Garfield. I was disappointed. As I read through the long chapter of Lincoln, I looked forward to reading something, anything, about the Johnny Cash song "Mr. Garfield."
But nothing.
I searched for Sarah Vowell's e-mail address to ask about this omission.
But again, nothing. Granted, I didn't search that hard, but with the internet, how hard is it supposed to be.
Perhaps if Sarah Vowell is the sort of author who googles herself, I'll get an answer. Maybe I should seek out her editor.

Saturday, July 1

Inspirational movies

The American Film Institute has created a list of the 100 most inspirational movies of all time.

You can click here for the first 50 and here for the second 50.

It's interesting to see how this matches up to movies I've mentioned on this blog before. And I have to wonder where is St. Ralph?