Saturday, March 31


Apparently, there's a story that Manhattan is an old Indian word that means hilly island or something like that. Walking through Harlem, you can really see where they got that phrase. Running through Central Park, it's also quite clear.

At this point, all in all, a good week of vacation. I didn't run quite as much as I might have hoped but I did go pretty far. And I walked a ton.

I also drove a bit in New York City and rode the subway and plenty of cabs.

More to come...

Wednesday, March 28

Carib Beer

Well I'm having a good time on vacation in New York. I'm having too much fun to blog extensively.

But I thought I would make it a streak of two days in a row blogging about exotic beers. The only problem is that the beers aren't exactly all that exotic or strong tasting.

Tonight I went to a restaurant in Chelsea called Negril and saw a beer called Carib. I'd never heard of it before, let alone tasted it. So I ordered it. Heck, I'm here to do and try new things. Carib tasted better than Addis. I suppose you could call it light and refreshing. But I don't look for beer to be light and refreshing. Rather, dark, strong and impressive.

I mean Carlsberg is a lighter beer, but it's enjoyable and strong. But my favorites will remain Guiness and Celebrator Dobbelbock.

Addis Beer

Yesterday evening I ate at the Queen of Sheba restaurant here in Midtown Manhattan. It was the first time I had Ethiopian food since I moved away from Nashville and it was great. One of the things I miss most about Nashville is the Ethiopian food.
Also last night I had Ethiopian beer for the first time. The beer they served was called Addis. A nice light beer, but nothing spectacular or even special about it. Basically, it reminded me of Budweiser.

Tuesday, March 27

Remembering the Central Park run

It's a nice, bright, hot March day in New York City. Today I've walked all over. Up to the Metropolitan Museum of Art in Central Park and around Times Square and back. I'm a bit exhausted at the moment.

Yesterday when I was running around Central Park, I didn't even notice the Metropolitan museum. Also yesterday when I was running around Central Park, there were far fewer runners or joggers doing the loop than what I saw today. Maybe it was timing since I was running a bit before noon. Maybe it was the weather since it was around 20 degrees cooler yesterday. For me, yesterday's run was perfect. No need to carry water and I could just relax and go.

And fewer runners meant fewer people passing me. It also meant fewer people for me to pass. I remember this one runner, a lady who was relatively plump and running with a dog. When I saw her from the distance, I thought to myself that I should be able to pass her easily. But I was in a hilly section of Central Park and it wasn't like I just sprinted by. I started to think to myself how you can't always just a runner by the shape of her body. I started thinking to myself how maybe if I did pass her I'd have less motivation to keep running hard. Ha! When I did pass her I realized I didn't want to let her and her dog zip past me.

So I kept chugging along.

I know how far I've run here, but I'm not sure how many miles I've walked. I think I've got the longest runs in that I'm going to do here. My legs are started to get pretty tired. Maybe I should take the subways more but for just walking around in Manhattan, it doesn't really feel like 10 city blocks are all that far. And 20 blocks aren't that much further.

So, this vacation has been a good running experience so far.

Monday, March 26

New York

Today was a good day in New York City.
I woke up this morning and went for a nice easy run around Central Park. All told a pleasant 9 miles.
Then I wandered around the city people watching in Washington Square Park and Union Square Park and walking and walking and walking some more.
And I capped the evening off by going to an open mic poetry reading at Bar 13 and wowing the people with the Muhammad Ali poem I wrote last summer.

Sunday, March 25

Open mic Monday night

My plan for Monday night is to hit a New York poetry spot: Bar 13.
This website I found says they have slams but I e-mailed them and they said that tomorrow they're not having a slam but an open mic. So that should be fun.
I'm printing out a couple of things now to bring along and hopefully wow the New Yorkers.

Free advertising

So yesterday as I ran along the Hudson River, I wore one of my Camp Marafiki shirts.
As I got back and came up the elevator, a guy mentioned how he was admiring my shirt. I told him it was a running camp with the Kenyans.
Could you keep up, he asked? No, they slowed down, I said.
Anyhow, today was the 102nd birthday for my grandma Bea. And I ate too much. Me. Imagine that.
So tomorrow I'm going to head out to run around Central Park. I've got some calories to burn. I think I'll wear another of my Camp Marafiki shirts for some more free advertising. Hopefully I'll inspire some New Yorkers to head out to Santa Fe this summer.

Saturday, March 24

8 miles on the Huson River

This just feels great.

Thanks to, one of my favorite websites, I can tell you that I just ran 8 miles along the Hudson River.

I started just north of the Lincoln Tunnel and went straight down to around Battery Park where the path I was on seemed to deadend. And since I didn't really know where I was at, I turned around hoping to make it back in less time than it took me to get where I was.

Mission accomplished.

My next running goal for this vacation: To run around Central Park.

The speed of travel

Sometimes travel really amazes me. You can be stuck in your routine, going through your daily life and then, bam, you're someplace else. It's amazing.
Like this summer when I went from Missouri to New Mexico. That was a driving trip and an amazing variety in scenery.
Then yesterday in just a matter of hours, I flew in to New York City. And now I'm looking out over the river. And even though I'm on the 37th floor of this building, I can see the running trail next to the river that my cousin told me about. A lane for runners and a lane for bikers.
Who knows how much I'll post while I'm on vacation. It's always good when I can spend time away from the keyboard and the computer screen.

Friday, March 23

Running scared on Highway 1

Here's a pretty suspenseful story. Marathon training on a highway. This was actually like those movies told in first person flashback. You generally know the author is OK because she made it back safely to write about it.

But it also reminds me of why most of my running now is done on trails or treadmills. My growing dislike of cars and drivers.

Thursday, March 22


The weather report on the radio this morning honestly said,

"Today will be sunny, after the clouds burn off."

The clouds did burn off fairly early, and it is certainly sunny now, but I was very skeptical of that report when I heard it: isn't it always sunny after the clouds burn off? What about before then?

Wednesday, March 21

Thoughts on form

Here's a link to a Runners' World article on improving running form that I'm posting here on the blog so I don't lost it and can always find it when I want.

Also, I'm getting much better at standing on one foot. I even lifted weights at the gym for a while on Monday while balancing on one foot. But I'm not satisfied. The next step is to balance on the ball of one foot instead of using the whole foot to support my body weight. That will be really turning it up a notch.

Sunday, March 18

Quote of the day

"Time may be money, but your money won't buy time."
- James Taylor, singer/songwriter.

My goodness, my Guinness

I went to a great St. Patrick's Day party yesterday.

The only bad thing was that the Guinness ran out. But I'd drunk my fill by then. Other people, though, were in want.

The party had two kegs - a keg of Guinness and a keg of Coors Light.

The quote of the day was when the host said: Next year, two kegs of Guinness and a 6-pack of Bud Light.

Which left me thinking, if given the choice of a little bit of a great beer or a lot of a mediocre beer, which would you choose.

Quality or excess. I know it may be a false choice, but I'm posing a hypothetical question. It's kind of like a relationship with one woman or lots of one-night stands with different women.

Well, these are the random thoughts going through my head after an unusual weekend.

Staying the course

I got a finisher's certificate in the mail last week for the Rock'n'Roll Arizona marathon. And also a letter from Tim Murphy, founder and ceo of Elite Racing. It was one of the best letters I've seen in some time on racing and running. Here's an excerpt:
We know it was an especially chilly day in the "Valley of the Sun" this year - the coldest in 17 years as a matter of fact. However, there are always obstacles to overcome in racing, and in life. Finding the time to train while balancing a hectic work and personal schedule can be an enormous challenge, and just making it to the starting line healthy and injury-free is a feat in itself. So whether you set a PR, or barely covered the distance on race day - you stayed the course, and crossed the finish line. And we hope you are proud of what you accomplished.

As I look back, the training wasn't easy. More than once I wondered about the wisdom of what I was doing. But I more than barely covered the course. I set a PR. And right now, I'm thinking about the possibility of running another marathon in 2008. Right now, though, I just want to make it out of 2007 healthy and in decent physical and mental shape.

Saturday, March 17

Quote of the day

"People can't understand why a man runs. They don't see any sport in it, argue that it lacks the sight-thrill of body contact, the colour of rough conflict. Yet the conflict is there, more raw and challenging than any man versus man competition. In track it is man against himself, the cruelest of all opponents. The other runners are not the real enemies. His adversary lies deep within him, in his ability, with brain and heart, to control and master himself and his emotions."

- Glenn Cunningham, famous American miler. No relation to Glenn Campbell.

St Patrick's Day story of the day

Have you wondered what it might be like to be in Dublin today? The AP presents a fascinating story that tells all about it.
Here's an excerpt:
DUBLIN, Ireland - Lithuanian musicians, drum-beating Punjabis and West African dancers used Dublin's St. Patrick's Day parade on Saturday to celebrate their place in a booming Ireland that has become a land of immigrants.

One man dressed as St. Patrick in papal hat and sunglasses did the samba, while another float nearby featured "Miss Panty," Dublin's premier drag queen.

Dublin's freewheeling parade drew a half-million spectators and included Christine Quinn, the first openly gay leader of the New York City Council. Quinn is boycotting the more conservative New York parade because the organizers refuse to let gay and lesbian groups march.

Thursday, March 15

More thoughts on balance

Well, I've been thinking a lot lately about a quote from Zig Ziglar on one of his cd that I listen to. He talks about how people ask him how he finds time to do so much running. He says he doesn't have time not to run.

I know that feeling, but lately I haven't been running much. At least not this week. Too much stress from work, I guess.

However, I have been practicing balancing on one leg a lot more. And practice is making, well, better. Maybe not perfect, but lots better. And I'm very happy about that.

Wednesday, March 14

Running in Cairo

Here's a link to a fascinating AP story about training for a marathon while living in Cairo, Egypt.

Here's an excerpt:

A few days ago I got a rude awakening. I called up a doctor, a specialist in endurance sports, who told me bluntly: "If I were you, I wouldn't train for a marathon in Cairo."

Too late, I told him. I just ran 20 miles the other day.

For the past few months I have been running around the Egyptian capital in a desperate attempt to train for this month's Rome Marathon.

With its 20 million people and developing-world infrastructure, Cairo is one of the most heavily populated - and polluted - cities in the world. Its streets look like a sardine can full of cars, trucks and buses, along with the occasional donkey cart and horse-drawn carriage.

Sidewalks are uncommon. Broken pavement is the norm. Stray dogs are known to chase people, and men have an unpleasant way of heckling women with this awful hissing noise.

To sum it up, running is not a spectator sport in Cairo. It's more like an extreme urban adventure.

An adventure upon which I apparently should not have embarked.

PItter Patter 5K

I'd been planning on doing a local 5K this weekend, but things have been so hectic lately that I may postpone racing until sometime next month. There's so much to do on Saturday that it just might not happen. Add to that my recent penchant for just not running and I've got to get back in shape and in the habit of focusing on working out and training hard.


I just got an e-mail from a friend/business acquaintance who was trying to set me up with someone. It's actually a girl here who ran in the 2000 Olympics for St. Lucia.

Perhaps I shouldn't mention that here, but it just struck me as the most unusual thing to happen first thing in the morning. We'll see if anything develops.

Anyhow, the point of this post is the quote that she had in her signature line. It was from Eddie Rickenbacker, a World War I combat pilot: "Courage is doing what you're afraid to do. There can be no courage unless you're scared."

Tuesday, March 13


Perhaps this is a metaphor for everything in my life, but I can't balance.

I can't support myself on one foot for very long.

So even when I'm not running, I'm going to try to work on that.

I read something in a magazine about lifting weights while supporting yourself with one foot. The only thing that really made sense to me were curls. But I can't even stand on one foot for hardly 10 seconds. So my goal is to make it up to a minute of being able to stand on one foot. And then I'll be able to work out on one foot somewhat more. I have a feeling that will help my speed, but maybe I'm just crazy.

Quotes of the day

Part of me wants to go running right now. The part of me that will win, however, is the part that feels like I'm catching a cold and not dealing well with stress.
Thus, I'm going to stay home and rest tonight. Maybe get up and go running in the morning.
Meanwhile, I read an article that reminds me of why I want to get up and go running tomorrow morning and on as many other mornings as I can.
Here's an excerpt:
In the vein of staying in shape for climbing, one of Doug McKeever’s favorite quotes is from Roger Bannister, who in 1954 ran the first sub-four minute mile. Sir Roger said, “We run not only because we think it is doing us good, but … because it helps us do other things better.”

Ultramarathons appeal to McKeever because if there is one word he especially loves, it’s “perseverance.”

“One of the values which is most important to me in life and leisure,” he writes on his Web site, “is persistence or perseverance, the ability to stick to things that are worthwhile, to finish the race, to see the battle through.”

Running Hills

I love hills. Kenyan runners love hills. Amby Burfoot and Runners' World love hills.

What more do you need?

Here's an excerpt from a recent Runners' World article that popped up in my e-mail.

Medical research isn't exactly brimming with hill-training studies, but I located several with impressive results. A 1977 article in the European Journal of Applied Physiology concluded that runners who followed an intense six-week program of hard uphill running enjoyed "significant improvements in training distances, anaerobic capacity, and strength." A chapter in the International Olympic Committee's 1992 book Endurance and Sport reported a study of runners who did 12 weeks of regular training, plus "hill training with 'bounce running.'" After the 12 weeks, the subjects' running economy (or how efficiently they ran) increased by an average of three percent. That's a nice increase in a running variable that's not easy to improve.

Monday, March 12

A relatively common problem

You may be wondering what's on my mind today. OK. I'll share.

While googling today, I found out that
Diarrhea is a relatively common problem Diarrhea is a relatively common problem for endurance athletes. About one-third of long-distance runners will have problems with diarrhea at some point during training or competition. However, it is unusual for this to occur with every long run, and most runners never require specific treatment.

I searched for information such as this because I've had minor problems following runs of 8 and now 10 miles two weeks in a row. These aren't particularly long runs, in my opinion, but the what did I eat question doesn't seem to matter much compared to the what did I do question?
Perhaps next week I could go for a run of similar distance, but I think I'm going to dial it back for a while.

Sunday, March 11

Ten miles

Well, I am officially out-of-shape. I sent out to run 10 miles today, going 5 miles out and back on the South Creek greenway. With about two miles left to go, I completely ran out of gas. Perhaps this is because I ate next to nothing today. Perhaps it's that my muscles are incedibly tense and I couldn't relax or get loose. And maybe I'm just completely horrendously out-of-shape.

Saturday, March 10

Random thoughts on a Saturday evening

Well, I just got in my second run of the day on what's been a pretty blah day. I've done some reading and judged a debate contest, but besides that not much. Some basketball on tv.

I tried for the second time to watch Marathon Man, a 70s movie I bought on impulse a few weeks back. And for the second time I fell asleep. It's supposed to be a great movie.

I've also opened a box of Samoans aka Caramel Delites. Girl Scout Cookies. Apparently a serving of Samoans is 2 cookies and there are 8 servings in a box. My problem is that shortly after I open a box it's empty. And I'm the only one here. I'm hoping this box I opened today makes it to tomorrow. Here's some Girl Scout Cookie trivia. They changed the name from Samoans to Caramel Delites because it was culturally insensitive to call the cookies Samoans.

Anyways, I got the latest issue of the local running club newsletter. My classic slam poem Don't Kill Yourself was included. I'd submitted it a while back.

I'd planned to run 8 miles tomorrow with my friend Kat. But partially due to the daylight savings time change, she's had to cancel. Maybe I'll run 10 miles instead.

I'm thinking a lot about this 5K I want to run a week from today. I want to obliterate my old PR. That's all. Just get well under 25:45, hopefully under 25 minutes. But really I want to convince myself that my goal for the year of 21 minutes in the 5K is doable. I want to give myself some confidence there. Much-needed confidence.

Anyway, this has been a long and rambling post, but well I guess I kind of wanted somebody to talk to today.

Slip Sliding Away

I got in a pretty good workout at the Y today although I'm thinking it would be good to try to fix my ipod shuffle to help me out on the treadmills. A little bit of music sometimes helps break up the miles into more manageable segments. And the tv screens aren't much help at all. Today they were discussing whether Jesus would raise taxes on the rich and if global warming is a billion dollar hoax. Sigh.
I got in the workout I wanted but that's possibly also because I set my sights relatively low and have some running around to do. But it was a good hill workout. Running hills of at least 6 degrees each for one minute.
After the running, I went down to life weights for a few minutes. On the speaker system was one of the last songs I'd ever choose if I was trying to get pumped up.
Slip Sliding Away. But I suppose it was good because it spoke to how I've been feeling lately. And maybe it's uplifting in its own way.

God only knows, God makes his plan
The information's unavailable to the mortal man
We're workin' our jobs, collect our pay
Believe we're gliding down the highway,
when in fact we're slip sliding away

Thursday, March 8

Prioritizing the miles

My plan to continue running is moving forward in fits and starts.

Saturday I ran 8 miles. Sunday, well, I only left the house to go buy Pepto Bismol. My muscles were much more sore than they should normally be after an 8-mile run. I've convinced myself that it was something I ate. I believe that and today I feel practically back to normal. But that little episode definitely sapped some energy.

And the rest of the week has simply been a poor job of prioritizing. I hang out with friends typically on Wednesday nights at 7 but I could have gotten there later. I could have squeezed in three or four miles. Maybe 5.

Today my job had me running around until 8 o'clock. Then I sat and got sucked into the tv. I was just so tired. And at 9. Even more tired.

But Emil whispered in my earI am tired? That's besides the point. It's simply that I just have to.

And I slipped over to the Y to at least hop on the treadmill and pump out three relatively hard miles.

I'm still tired. But at least I got in a few miles today. Tomorrow is another story. But hopefully it will be a good one, a story that will include some good miles.

A thought for a new day

Tonight I was talking about the movie Invincible with a friend. Probably one of my favorite films and I should buy or rent it sometime soon.

That got me humming Jackson Browne's song "These Days," a song from one of the movies pivotal moments.

Here's the start of the third verse:

I'll keep on moving
Things are bound to be improving these days...

Wednesday, March 7

Today's thought.

Here's a fascinating quote: “How much more grievous are the consequences of anger than the causes of it.”
That's from Marcus Aurelius of emperor of the Roman Empire fame.

Tuesday, March 6

Quote of the day

Long distance running is particularly good training in perseverance.
- Chairman Mao Zedong

Another inspiring marathon training story

And here's another inspiring marathon training story that I'll read when I get the chance. that I thought I'd share with you.

A great quote: "I need to get faster. I get really comfortable and I can't push myself."

Brew to Brew

Here's a story about ultramarathons from the St. Louis Post-Dispatch that I'll read when I have more time.

Here's the lead:
It's a sport so grueling that even marathoners scratch their heads in bewilderment and ask, "What? Running 26.2 miles isn't enough?"
Running a 100-mile race
Forest Park training helps runners gear up for Spirit of St. Louis Marathon weekend
St. Louis Ultra Runners

The answer: Nope, not for some people.

Extreme fatigue, black toenails, hallucinations ... that's when those people know for sure that they've met their challenge.

Recent years have seen the ballyhoo surrounding ultramarathoner and author Dean Karnazes, who once ran 350 miles virtually nonstop and recently finished 50 marathons in 50 states in 50 consecutive days. But Karnazes isn't the oddity that he'd have you believe.

Gwen Heist-Hall ran her first marathon in 1997 and says she felt great at the end.

"So I thought, 'Let's see what I can do that's harder than this,' and I found it," she said.

Monday, March 5

Quote of the day

Mind is everything. Muscle — pieces of rubber. All that I am, I am because of my mind.
-Paavo Nurmi.

Congrats to Matt

Congrats to my friend Matt, who just finished his first half-marathon. I feel a connection because he ran the Little Rock Half-Marathon and last year I ran the Little Rock Half-Marathon while staying at his house.

It's beautiful.

Saturday, March 3

Gone shopping, gone crazy

Yesterday, when I bought my new shoes, I also bought new socks, those special tetrasocks witih five little slots for each toe.

Today I went for an 8-mile run, the longest run since the marathon. I thought about tacking on two more miles at the end of the run but my fingers were so cold I was ready to stop. And after all, I probably shouldn't increase mileage too soon. But, it was fun to have the new socks on if for nothing else but the novelty of it.

Papa's got a new pair of shoes

Well, I've got a new pair of shoes. It's always exciting to buy a new pair of shoes, but also a little bit nerve-wracking. Will these shoes treat me right or will they lead to some pain and discomfort?

I went into the store wearing some shoes I'd bought a little over a year ago.They worked pretty well and supported me over untold miles.
Do you still have these, I asked? Of course not. But they've got the new version. It almost doesn't make sense that shoes are like cars - every year a new make and model.

But anyhow, we'll see how it goes. I'm excited to see how it all works out with these new shoes.

Thursday, March 1

Quote of the day

"When you win, say nothing. When you lose, say less."
- Paul Brown

Slam results

Well, this has been a very crazy day. I was excited about the slam but I also felt like allergies were hitting me hard and I just wanted to sleep.

Anyways, I came in second in the slam.

Amazing. Especially considering that I drew the short straw each time and wound up going first in every round.

But, I had a great time. I'd only prepared two poems also - and I would have liked to have performed them better. I had a hunch on which poem to do in the final round, a change of piece I wanted to perform. I'll try to post it sometime this weekend.

Superwoman runs LA marathon

Here's a nice heart-warming inspiring story.
Superwoman is running the LA Marathon this weekend.

Here's an excerpt from the story:

Shirley Kane, a nurse from Anaheim, plans to run her first marathon dressed as Superwoman for her 10-month-old daughter, Emily, who has been in the hospital since August.

Emily is fighting to adapt to a newly transplanted heart and is the real superhero for having survived, Kane said. The girl has suffered from a severely thickened heart associated with Noonan syndrome, a genetic condition she was born with. She received a heart transplant in December and has since been housed in a small private room in the cardiothoracic intensive care unit at Childrens Hospital Los Angeles, enclosed by a pressure-sealed double door to stave off infection.

Kane spends five days a week at the hospital watching over Emily, but also works two 12-hour nursing shifts each week at a hospital in Downey.

Kane, 39, found the endorphin rush of marathon training helped her cope with the stress of not knowing whether her daughter would survive. She began running three days a week last fall with a group of friends.

"As my miles increased, I would think about how my heart was pounding so hard and it was so healthy and hers was so weak," she said.

Quote of the day

This is how I should focus my emotions as I approach tonight's poetry slam:

As a sportsman, I accept being beaten. Everybody tries to be a winner, but only one in a race will win. It’s fun to win. But I don’t find unhappiness if I lose.
-Kip Keino

Poetry slam tonight

It's 5 in the morning and tornado sirens just woke me up. Sigh. There's a poetry slam tonight. I like my poems even though I'm not sure that they're winning material. The way I feel though, I may just be tired when it all rolls around.

And I've got an appointment with the foot specialist in three hours. I don't have much hope for that, but hopefully it will go well.

It sounds like maybe hail will stop thundering down on the skylight in my bedroom and I might be able to get an hour or so more sleep.

--- update ---

The foot doctor called in sick today. Darn. Had to reschedule my appointment.