"Beware when the great God lets loose a thinker on this planet." ~Ralph Waldo Emerson US essayist & poet (1803 - 1882)

Friday, September 29, 2006

"You've gotten awfully brave, awfully suddenly"

-Ernest Hemingway, from the short story...

The Short Happy Life of Francis Macomber

My good friend Lisa, see blog link on the right side on your screen, emailed me recently and asked about my motivation, and what i am hoping to accomplish by attempting to complete the big run.

i'm honestly not sure. However, this question has led to this little series of posts that perhaps provide some insight. Thanks to my Anon. response correcting Marius vs Alexander. First, because i know now if i ever get serious about writing, i need a fact checker. Second, cause anybody who ever sat through Greek and Roman Lit. at Central would enjoy knowing how the professor erred on a big fact.

But, now, let's jump ahead a few thousand years...

Hemingway is one of my favorite writers. Not so much due to his detailed plot and descriptive nature, but rather his tone. For me reading Hemingway was all about the mood. He left out huge amounts of details in his writing, and most of his endings were a bit ambiguous. Mood and tone, though, does it for me. You always know how his characters feel, cause they're always real.

Francis Macomber is one of my favorite, along with Nick Adams (i grew up in the same part of Michigan), characters. Without ruining the ending, although by the title you can figure out what happens, Francis has a few brief true moments of happiness.

Hemingway's code is more obvious in this story than in any other. The details of the code go in so many directions, but for me....

Is it better to live long and unhappy and safe, or is it better to take risks, truly engage in the moment, and be vulnerable?

Also, if i make a decision to take this risk and make a conscious change. How does it affect the people around me?

'Cause Margot really flipped when Francis changed. It's a short story, go read it.

Good thing i don't own a gun, right Fun Guv'nor? Hope that doesn't totally blow the ending. What??!?, Bruce Willis was really dead the whole movie? Who'da thunk?

i think i can finish this little thought and tie all together into a nice little bow with my next post. i just might be able to answer Lisa question.

thanks for reading

Thursday, September 28, 2006

"Sing in me, oh muse, and through me tell the story"

-Homer, Greek poet, not Simpson

This is a rough translation from Greek of the opening line of The Odyssey.

i know this cause i had to take Greek and Roman Literature twice. It is burned into my conscious after spending two semesters taking the same class. This was a class taught by one professor at CMU, Mr. Koper.

Now, legend around the English Dept, was that Koper did not like his class being offered as a general education option. Since he wanted to rid the class of all but English majors and minors, per rumor, he made it as difficult as possible. I received a total failure the first time around, D+ the second. Just enough to count towards my major. Anyway, i received my degree but one lecture heard twice also stands out.

Marathon.... as heard in Greek and Roman Literature...

After Alexander the Great had conquered Persia he turned his eyes towards Greece. His army was much larger than the Greeks. However they had a plan. About a days march east was a place called Marathon. Marathon set in the bottom of a canyon. It would be impossible for Alexander's army to not pass through this very narrow opening. That is where the Greeks set out for. They had to hurry to get there. It they met Alexander's army there, victory was possible.

The Greeks stood side by side across the entire canyon floor, with short swords and large shields. And like teeth in shark mouths the Greeks stood in layers front to back so that as one was killed another could step up and take his place.

Alexander's army approached the narrow and thinned to fit. They carried long spears and pole arms as weapons. As they met the Greeks, they were totally unprepared and ill-fitted for this type of battle. Their weaponry was no use in tight quarters and the Greeks soundly defeated

Legend tells of a messanger sent to notify the King of their victory dying upon delivering the message. That's not important to me.

What is important is the battle against the odds.

Marathon historical importance has so little to do with the fact that the distance in 26 and some change. Greece was the birthplace of modern theater, art, logical thinking, scientific thought, and democracy, to name a few things.

Had Greece fallen, what would today's world look like?

An ancient Greek Playwrite, sorry the name escapes me, did not want his epitath to read of his great plays. His epitath reads that he stood in the line at Marathon.

That enough for now. i'll continue this thought in my next post.

thanks for reading

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

The masochist in me really is not looking forward to the taper.

See, i know after i run 20 miles saturday, things will slow down miles-wise. i really need to rest before the big run. i understand this is a fact of marathon training. i have weakened muscles and stamina due to the number of long runs i have done.

i, most likely, also have small tears in my muscles that use this taper period to heal and recover.

i will run a better marathon if i slow down next week.


i am obsessive. And, even though this is not a stop running cold turkey, it is significantly less running. Which leaves me no choice but to spend more time with my family.

So, while experienced runners look forward to the taper, i am dreading it, not cause of the family time (joke). My instincts will tell me to run more, and i'll need to rely even more on the training schedule to keep me from hurting myself.

Wish me luck, on this next phase of personal growth through marathon training.

thanks again for reading

After previewing future posts a few posts ago, i noticed some increased comments to my occasionally radical views, even with a massive brain dump. Let's try this again....

Soon..... observations from an idealist in a pragmatic world

Monday, September 25, 2006

who'da thunk 18 miles was a long way?

Ran a long 18 miles Saturday. Technically, i guess it 17.8 but close to enough to call it 18.

i guess looking at a marathon training schedule and looking at a map that finishes at 26.2 miles, sounds far on paper. i mean when i first started this i thought, piece of cake. Just add a few more miles each week. Three weeks from the marathon max out at twenty, and coast from then to the big run.

But really 18 miles is a long way.

but really what's another 8.2 at this point. If i felt this good after 18, and i'm not beat up, my nipples aren't bloody yet, and i have all my toenails still, what can be so different in the next 8.2?

Watch out, this saturday adding 2 more miles might put me into all those conditions.

Anyway, ran the first 8.9 with my good friend Lisa, and although she runs much slower than me. It was fun and a good workout. Yes, i went much slower than i've ran in a while, but really i just shortened my stride a little. I still did the distance. The second half was a bit quicker, but really i had a good sweat going at this point and it wasn't like i sprinted the final 8.9 miles. It was an awesome workout.

More than anything, this gave me an excuse to run for 3:20. Since a big part of being ready for the marathon is preparing for a 4 hour workout, i think this weekends run hit my goal for endurance preparation.

Thanks Lisa for allowing me to join you. No you did not hurt my run as increasing my ability to run for longer periods of time is just as important as putting in the miles. i wouldn't train this way every week but last week was perfect.

a few other Monday things:

it's finally fun to be a Tiger fan after 19 seasons of missing the playoffs, since this year is my 20th high school reunion, it really seems like a long time.

Thanks to marathon training, i may be able to attend my reunion looking sharp. No gray hair, i still have hair, and only 10-15 lbs heavier than when i finished high school. i mean i grew about two inches taller too.

Gonna miss Farve when he retires. Glad the Li-downs defense was able to assist his pursuit of Marino's TD pass record. Luckily Brett gets another game against the Honolulu Blue and Silver, what a lucky man he is.

Spartans snatch defeat from the jaws of victory again. Go Green.

Anyway, thanks for reading

Friday, September 22, 2006

Silly Republicans... phony,...i mean photo id's are for National ID cards,

not voter id's to cast your most basic of rights as an american.

So congress is looking to push through a bill requiring gov't issued photo ids to prove registration of voters starting in 2008.

See, here's a great example to my post from two posts ago about stupid waste of time and money.

It's an election year, and this will make great press and illegals have been a hot topic. Gotta keep the illegals from voting. How many illegals try to vote?

How is this not a national id card?
How is this going to be issued?
Who's going to pay for it?
If poor people can't afford it, and it will be paid for by the gov't, what's the cutoff amount to get it free?
Why can't i get a free one then, aren't i also a citizen, entitled to the same benefits?
How the hell can our gov't get these out on a timely manner?
What if i move?
What if i lose it a day before the election, can i still vote, it's my right?
If i can still vote, then why do i need a voting picture id?
How often do i need to update/renew it?
Who provides the training to the voter registration people to verify it's authenticity?
If it's going to swipe through a magnetic tape machine to verify it's authenticity, why is my picture on it?
If i'm a black man, in Mississippi, and a white voter registration person recently retired with bad eyesight and a former grand wizard, doesn't like my new haircut and even though i have a authentic card, based upon my recent change of appearance, then denies me my right to vote am i a second class citizen?
What if i vote absentee, do i need to mail a copy of my card?
If i mail a copy of my card how do you know it's a legit card without reading the magnetic strip on the back?
What the hell happens in Oregon, aren't all their ballots absentee?
What about our servicemen, they vote absentee?
How does this make our government smaller?
Don't republicans want smaller government?
Have the republicans pushed rezoning districts to minimize left wingers to the level where most districts are geographically thinner then most of their constituants waistelines, so that this is the next way to ensure results, by further surpressing the ability for anyone who isn't white middle american from even bothering to vote?

How many illegals try to vote again?
Doesn't this make for great press?
Doesn't this make congress look tough on illegals?

It's all class warfare baby.

Man, it feels good to dump this clutter out of my head

thanks again for reading

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Oh how i love election years...

First, a quick apology for yesterdays long winded, too many subjects, post. Too much for one post. i see that now.

Second, thanks to all who still read through it. Real big thanks to Animal for his well worded, just as tedious to read, response. It so re-enforces why we are such good friends. Almost as if we were characters in a Kevin Smith movie, or better yet...comic book.

Third had a great run last night. Summer is definitely over in Michigan as i ran in darkness, and brrrrrr cold weather. Not ready to break out the sweats yet, but it could be soon. 9 good miles, and now two days of rest before tackling 18 Saturday morning.

Real quick Bible update: Psalms has been too tough to read straight. So, i've skipped ahead to Isaiah. I'm now reading a few Psalms and then jumping up to the prophet books. Maybe that will help keep my interest.

i felt the bible update important cause, i read in the paper today our republican candidate for Guv'nor endorses the "theory of creative design" being taught in public schools. Having studied The Voyage of the Beagle, never read it, toooo boring. i have an understanding that the modern theory of evolution is based upon scientifically gathered material. See, Darwin noticed the same fish species in different islands had consistent differences, something, observable. Scientific Theory has a defined description by scientists as to what qualifies as theory. Data must be observed to support a designation of theory.

Creative Design has no such observable data, hell , no datum even exist to support this notion should be catagorized as a "theory".

So i'm thinking the idea of believing in something with no observable evidence is called...Faith.

So even if creative design is responsible for life there's no evidence to support it. It's not like i'm walking around with a barcode stamped on my a$$.

Hope this wasn't so wordy. i seem to be stuck on education.

thanks again for reading

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

i'm a big fan of healthy competition.

i also think that many laws, regulations, ordinances are created by lawmakers unnecessarily creating controversy to sway voters. i'm sure i'm not alone in this thought but i remember going to a middle school class about american government and the teacher told us once.

"the first objective of any elected official is to get re-elected"

As a 13 year old, i guess i wasn't sure what he meant. i thought and the occasional non-cynic me tries to think of elected officials as people who care about bettering our society. The truth is many elected officials do care, but not enough to make a stand which could cost votes. Too bad.

i like to also make comparision between the left and right. And also hear others peoples opinions of the two sides. here are some examples of what i've heard.

The right sees the world as black and white, while the left sees the world as shades of grey

The left vote the way the world is, the right vote the way they would like the world to be

The right see democracy as majority rules, the left see the democracy's job as protecting the minorities.

Both left and right try to accomplish the same things, they just go about it from different starting points.

My most favorite part of running is internal. i do my best thinking when lost in thought miles away from the house. The entire ordeal is very therapy for me. So here's my thoughts on charter schools from a man whose kids go to public schools.

i like charter schools. As an alternative to public schools, i think they would help produce better schools. i saw the John Stossel special on schooling and was surprised by how public schools fight the development of charters. Then i remembered back on elected officials again and it hit me..

more charter schools, means less money to public schools, since, in michigan, dollars are based on enrollment. Less dollars mean less programs, or God forbid, more efficient programs. Since School boards are elected officials and as elected, their first object is to get re-elected.

Then i thought, teachers are better in public schools, and they care most about the kids. But no, they care most about getting the first day of deer season off in their contract, two full weeks at christmas off, mid-winter full week off, spring break full week off, four day weekends out of every three day weekend normal people have. So now my kids won't get out off school until end of june. Or Early July depending on Snow days. Hell, let's work the July 4th holiday into the next contract.

And even though it's the same amount of days they work a year the teachers unions have fought hard to get all this time off for their workers. Of course more charter school teachers mean less money in the teachers unions bank accounts as charter schools are non-union. Again it's always comes back to money.

So now i see public education as all about the administrations needs and the needs of the unions and somehow our kids have gotten lost. And being the guy on the left, i see healthy competition as the only solution. Cause if it's one thing a liberal hates, it's a monopoly.

So, while i support the idea of unionized working, charter schools gives teachers an option to work in a union or non-union environment. It also forces schools boards to make better decisions to keep their customers, that's US by the way, happy. It would also force the unions to base their contract decisions on those that would better the students and keep more enrolled. More money to them, a good thing.

In the end, we all win.

Funny side note; Lincoln Park installed a new dress code policy banning any printed material on clothing wore to school. Twin students were suspended multiple times for wearing t-shirts with the first ammendment printed on the front. Whatever we do as educators, don't encourage free thought.

Ironic side note: Smoke Free bars and restaurants; back to unnecessary laws, if bars and restaurants just went smoke free or didn't go smoke free, they would either profit or lose from the new business or lack of business. Many bars and restaurants here in Michigan, where smoking is allowed, and has the 2nd highest population of adult smokers in the country, have gone smoke free and have seen an increase in business. The laws in other states were just a waste of time and money. Michigan may be getting on this craze shortly, but until then... btw... as a bartender in a business hotel i laugh at the number of californians who run to the gift shop and buy smokes realizing they can smoke at the bar. i swear those laws were supported by people who wanted to stop smoking but couldn't. Then they had to stop.

Lastly, i'm not anti-union, anti-teacher, or anti-big business. i'm anti-monopoly.

These are some of my thoughts while training for the big run.

Thanks again for reading

Thursday, September 14, 2006

i wonder how bad i stunk at the end of the Mackinac Island Race?

i'm thinking Tess was trying to smile for the picture but she's real short and i guess someones face that close to an armpit of a stinky runner is hard to mask.

It's like her thought bubble should read "Hurry up, someone take the picture or i'm gonna hurl"

Anyway, a million thanks to Tess for the invite again.

Movin' On

Bring on the windy city.

Lisa has been struggling a little with some pain, and nervous energy. i can't speak for the pain. i do know personally, pain sucks. So an injury 5 weeks to the big first marathon can be a major bummer, ergo...nervous energy.

So, my friend, and parent to my godchild. Relax....i bet you could stop training now for 2 weeks, just stick to your low impact, aerobic, i.e. biking, eliptical, etc... finish the last 2 weeks of training and still finish in Chicago.

I, ooooh a capital I (must be important), know you can and i'm betting you know it too.

Wanna know why i know? of course you do or you wouldn't keep reading this blog. Gawd, i hope someone reads this... i must be getting boring. i need a juicy political tirade or gossip item to pepper the blog with.

back to the thought... i know cause i feel i can finish a marathon today. If i can do it, 15 lbs overweight still, not quit smoking yet, eating bad foods too often, can feel i can finish a marathon, than so can you. And if you need a visual aid, check out the rock hard bod of the woman next to your profile. That is a finisher.

Coming soon.... a feel a thought surfacing about the unnecessary mystique celebrities feel their offspring don't unnecessarily deserve.

....a thought about the advantages of charter schools from a man whose kids go to public

....a thought about anything other than running, training, splits, pr's, gu, shoes, for christ's sake this can get obsessive.

thanks for reading

Monday, September 11, 2006

If only i had a picture...

Well the Mackinac Race is over, and it was great to only run for 8 miles after doing two 10 milers in the last month.

Ran great and hard. Before the race i had stated to i wanted to go for a PR as this was the last race until the Marathon.

My previous best time was an 8:19 pace per mile in St John's. i had dropped to 8:36 at The Crim and i wanted to improve on the Crim's time.

Well, i got my PR. My time was 1:04:56, 8:07/mile. 30 out of 66 finishers in my age/gender group and 239 out of 1050 finishers overall.

Also, i made a point to look at the sites. The day was awesome and the views of the Bridge and Arch Rock and the Water was amazing. Plus a day and a half of Island Time was the most relaxing time of the summer.

Thanks to Scott and Tess for inviting us. And super huge thanks to the Millers for allowing their daughter to invite us to their cottage. What an incredible treat!!!

Additionally Tess finished at 1:17:00, her best time ever. Kudos to you. Scott has decided to run next year and pick up his distance to enter a 8 miler, good for him. Hopefully, he doesn't ever decide he can fit in his circa 1991 speedo swim suit as he gets in better shape by adding extra miles.

Why no picture of my finish? Fun Guv'nor and Scott missed it cause i was about three minutes faster than they expected.

And if you still read my blog: Runner Girl- mile 5 was for you... i made a point to wish you well as i ran that mile. No real reason for mile 5, except i was getting a little tired and needed a little pick-me-up.

thanks for reading

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Timing is everything....

Well golf league is over for the season. Just in time to begin the big miles next week. My training plan is looking better every day.

Tomorrow Fun Guv'nor and i head to Mackinac Island. Saturday is the 8 mile race around the island. i'm looking forward to a couple things. First, that it is to be my last race until Chicago. it will be nice to just train for the last month and a half. Being OCD, i have jumped into this running thing with reckless abandon and have ran way more races than i ever intended.

It's not a compaint, more an observation to the crazy way i jump into new activities and become obsessed.

Second, we get to hang with Scott and Tess for a few days. That would be great without the run.

i did some speed work on Monday. Ran 4 miles, then stopped at the high school track by our house and did 2 400's at 1:45, with a 45 second rest between. After the second 400, i rested 45 seconds and did a 3:35 800. i intended to run the 800 under 4 minutes but did better than expected.

i enjoy speed work and having a rubberized track so close to home has really been a blessing. Speed work seems to have helped as today i ran 4 miles in 31 minutes. i'm not speedy yet and have no desire anymore to ruin my first marathon, hint first, as in i am already planning on doing more, by worrying about time and pace.

But i must admit to getting a kick when i run faster on my short runs. Another kick, when i call 4 or 5 miles a short run. i forget most people consider this to be a long run. From that thought alone, marathon training has been a success.

To go Zen with this entire year, 2006 goal of the marathon, the hopeful finish has nothing to do with the finish line. It's been the entire journey. Where i am now, were i was, and no more important, where i'll be as i cross the finish line. if i do.

At this just passed halfway point of training, i can look back and easily see the changes in my physical appearance. The emotional and psychological changes are just as drastic, i just have to remember to pay attention to them as well.

Thanks for reading and although this may be starting to sound redundant... Thanks to everyone who has expressed support as i have gone through this experience.

Most importantly, to my bride, my trophy wife, my fun guv'nor who i love more now than at anytime ever before for so many reasons, but also, for just dealing with the changes in our family dynamic and timing that the marathon training has created. you're simply the best. sing it Tina....

that's about as sappy as i can be

thanks again

Monday, September 04, 2006

14 non solitary miles...

A friend in my Rotary Club, yep, i'm a rotarian, is an experienced runner and has done a few marathons. His name is Rich and we are also in the Wednesday golf League together. BTW anyone ever need a good CPA? i got your guy right here. SHAMELESS PLUG OVER. MOVIN' ON....

So i ask if we would help me train since saturday's are his big run days and voi'la i have a running date.

New Baltimore, MI at 7:30 am., i never get up this early- marathon training is definitely changing me, we depart for 14 miles/2 hrs of running.

Our cast is myself, Rich, his lovely wife, Cindy (man i'd love to run with my wife, hint hint, since you are my one true constant reader, i'm sure you may read this), and a friend of theirs named Bob.

Our route was a figure 8. Cindy had to bail after one hour to get their kids to a sitter. First hour was almost all country roads, corn fields, dirt, real nice. We went for miles without seeing a car. That never happens at home. It was great.

Quick break after the first 7 miles and Rich, Bob, and i are out the door. Freshly hydrated and Gu'd up for the next half, we strode into downtown New Baltimore. We then ran along the shore of Lake St Clair for a while, headed to Rich's and finished our 14 miles.

First and foremost, a hearty thanks to Rich and Bob for going the whole way with me. Neither of them intended on doing the entire way with me but a funny thing happened. We had a great conversation the entire time. Now this is truly a unique occurrance cause i always run alone. This is the first time i've ever been able to really talk, without scaring people, while running.

Second thing was the advice about Chicago. Now Bob has done Chicago and quite honestly, is not a big fan of it. Too many People. Bob also thought it was a great first Marathon, and that although he would never do it again, i would have a blast if i did a couple things;

run slower than i want to go. the number of people on the course will make me anxious to create room by trying to move ahead of the packs of people. Don't try to do this and just go slow. In the total scheme of things a 30 second per mile decrease in speed accounts for roughly a 15 minutes. What's 15 minutes, really? and...

Look up... he spent so much time looking a the feet of people in front of him that the entire marathon was lost to him. He couldn't tell any of the scenic details to me. His advice to me was to not let this happen.

So i left my longest run ever with a couple new things to ponder. And i'm still trying to work out the details in my head... i felt great. The run tired me but i wasn't exhausted. i will finish the marathon in a respectable time, barring any injury. How much i enjoy the during and after parts of the marathon are dependent on me. I had just figured i would feel terrible at the end of the marathon. Feeling terrible would be a necessary evil to finish. Bob and Rich both helped me realize that i can feel good the entire time.

I have some new thoughts to work out,

More to come on this thought, but until next time...

thanks again for reading