Category Archives: goals

Everybody wants a rock to wind a piece of string around (yes, yet again)


I previously have written about this rock back last year on my running blog, then again in a reprint in July on this blog and referenced it in a post later that month. This morning, I found the rock underneath my desk and after I cleaned the cat hair off of it, I took the above photo.

Rather than repeat the unrealistic goals I set for myself, I will summarize: Get up way too early to

  1. Read the Liturgy of the Hours
  2. Exercise (run or gym) and
  3. Read books about running, specifically by George Sheehan, John Bingham and/or Jeff Galloway, to get motivated for rest of day.

Now the parts that are unrealistic are neither the exercise nor the reading, and maybe surprisingly not the early (well at least for me) either. The parts that are unrealistic are two-fold:

  1. “Too early,” with a goal of getting up by 5:30 a.m., which happens also to be the time my wife gets up.
  2. The order of the parts with starting with the Scripture readings, then the exercise, then the reading, also at specific times: 5:30, 6:30, then 7:30. As if I’m in the military and will get lashes if I don’t adhere to that schedule.

As to No. 1, because not to be too crude, one of the first things I need to do after I get up is visit the…um…lavatory, I’d rather not conflict with my wife’s…um…”lavatory time.” So 5:30 is out and also my wife likes to have time “to decompress” to start her day so I don’t want to conflict with that. So with that in mind, what’s more realistic?

I’m thinking 7 a.m. because then I should be able to get out the door to exercise whether gym (still need to renew membership, especially for the winter) or run by 7:30 a.m. (and with winter, 7:30 a.m. won’t be too hot).

As for No. 2 with the order, I’ll exercise first because I’m afraid if I start with reading, I’ll just be tempted to go back to bed or even lie down and…ahem…”mediate” while I’m reading. Then I can do the readings with breakfast and not lock in a time, because who knows how long I’ll be out on certain days. I am especially thinking of the days where I’m just beginning this and won’t be running, but walking. It might end up being an hour/hour and half of walking around town instead of a good solid half hour/hour of running.

Normally, I’m up by 8 a.m. anyway so an extra hour getting up is not going to hurt and I know in the past when I have gotten up earlier and exercised early, it gives me more energy through the day. So without further adieu, I begin tomorrow.

Here’s They Might Be Giants with “We Want A Rock,” part of the lyrics which I used as the title for this post:

This post also can be found on my main blog, an unfinished person (in an unfinished universe), where you can get a more complete picture of this unfinished person.


Watching my weight, Sparkin’ up (no, it’s not what you think) and heading to the beach

It’s been more than two months since my last Just A (Running) Fool post (and Motivation Monday post too). Today, hopefully I can begin a new streak of not only posting once a week for Just A (Running) Fool and Motivation Monday, but also exercising several times a week and continuing to motivate myself (and maybe, in turn, you).

How? A three-pronged approach:

It was the latter two, whom I met through Facebook, that helped re-motivate me to get back on track with a 90-day Fitness Challenge, starting today. I’ve committed to at least 30 minutes a day of exercise 6 days a week. That may change to 60 at some point, but I’m starting small so I won’t get too discouraged quickly.

However, in the past, I have had much success with both WeightWatchers and SparkPeople. First, WeightWatchers spurred me to my initial weight loss a few years ago (started by losing 50 pounds, and then with exercise, lost another 50, going from 280 to 180) and then SparkPeople kept me going when I didn’t want to go on with a great support system with teams there.

I’ve been paying for WeightWatchers Online since August (I believe, it’s been so long and I haven’t done that well yet with it), but am recommitting myself today to the program, because it’s the one thing that has helped me lose weight with diet. SparkPeople has helped me in the past with motivation, and I’m still friends on Facebook with many of the people I’ve met there even though I haven’t been active on the teams there for at least six months. As for Team Beachbody, we’ll see…but anything that can help get me going is a plus.

Now where’s the beach? I have a feeling I’m not going to find one too nearby in northcentral Pennsylvania.

This one’s for my wife, who really loves this group (okay, not so much):

This post also can be found on my main blog, an unfinished person (in an unfinished universe). If you are interested in getting a more complete picture of this incomplete person, you can subscribe to that blog.

Revise, revise, revise: A new schedule

For months now I’ve self-imposed a schedule that hasn’t worked. It is as follows: Monday, Wednesday, Saturday, Sunday – run; Tuesday, Thursday, strength training and Friday, off; with the addition of Wednesday as a “no-computer” day.

Today is Thursday and a new twist to the mix this week: getting up to exercise by 6:30 a.m. Monday through Thursday: has dwindled by now rationalizing to getting up 15 minutes later each morning as the week progressed. Monday, I was up at 6 a.m. and made it to the gym by 6:30 to get a good run in on the treadmill and elliptical. Tuesday, I was up at 6:15 a.m., but after getting ready to go to the gym, I decided I wouldn’t have enough time to get in a lengthy enough workout to make it worthwhile for me to go so I “bagged” it and then because of work commitments didn’t make it in afternoon either. Yesterday, I was up at 6:30 a.m. and then didn’t run until 8:30 a.m. because it was dark outside (waaah! and I didn’t have any reflective clothing). Today, I was up at 6:45 a.m. and too late for the gym, which closes at 7:30 a.m.

It seems like for me and I’ve noticed for some others, the real “Hump Day” isn’t Wednesday but Thursday. The let-down comes on Thursday. As a result, this morning I’ve decided instead of fighting it, I’m going to let it happen. Let the let-down happen naturally. Give in to the let-down for one day. By Thursday, I’m burnt out…so be it.

Let my week begin on a Friday. Run on Fridays, Sundays, Mondays and Wednesday, that way also no more than one day off between runs. Strength train at the gym on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

Further breakdown:

  • Friday, short run, starting at 2 to 5 miles, 6:30 a.m. run, preferably gym, treadmill and elliptical, physically the start of the week
  • Saturday, strength training, 8 a.m., gym, 1 1/2 to 2 hour workout
  • Sunday, medium run, starting a 5 to 7 miles, afternoon run 2-4 p.m. mentally and spiritually, leaves time for devotions and Mass in the morning, usually 11 a.m. Mass
  • Monday, short run, starting at 2 to 5 miles, 6:30 a.m. run, preferably gym, treadmill and elliptical (with borough council meeting I cover as correspondent for newspaper at 6 p.m. on second and fourth Mondays, this also works)
  • Tuesday, strength training, 3:30 p.m., gym, 1 1/2 to 2 hour workout (with school board meeting I cover as correspondent for newspaper at 7:30 p.m. on second Tuesdays this also works)
  • Wednesday, long run, starting at 7 to 10 miles, afternoon run 2-4 p.m., also fits in spiritually and mentally with Wednesday being a day off the computer, time for Eucharistic Adoration in morning, running in afternoon and reading and writing in evening when mind is free of distraction of computer
  • Thursday, no exercise, refuel physically and mentally restart week with new blog entries here and on my other two blogs

The main thing is I can focus on my running with this schedule, even if the strength training part gets thrown off, and I start off my days early enough on Fridays and Mondays that if something comes up later in the day, I won’t have an excuse not to run. The only “trick” will be devoting Wednesday afternoon to the long run and letting others know that I will be unavailable during that afternoon and pretty much that day. But I think this is much more workable and flexible than the schedule I self-imposed earlier this year.

(Note: This also does not mean that I will be giving up getting up by 6:30 a.m. To the contrary, I still will be getting up by 6:30 at least Monday through Friday to start my day.)

Recommitting myself to morning running

All my life, I’ve always wanted to be somebody, but now I see I should have been more specific.”

— Lily Tomlin in the character of Chrissy

On July 14 last year, I wrote an entry here based off the above quote (misquoted at the time/corrected since). At the time, I think I was missing the humor, as often one of my relatives tells me that I need to “lighten up,” but regardless, still a kernel of truth exists within this quote from Chrissy, one of her many characters. In that entry, I wrote that I needed to get to bed earlier than I had been and also conversely, get out of bed earlier to start my day than I had been. The impetus for my writing that entry was to exercise in the morning and also to have more time and energy to write throughout the day.

Since then, I’m not going to lie to you or myself, for the most part, I haven’t done this. Yes, sometimes I have gotten up earlier to do the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius of Loyola and then to write in my journal about it, but I have not gotten up earlier to exercise. Conversely, for the most part, I haven’t gotten to bed any earlier than I did back when I wrote that entry.

All this to say, I am recommitting myself to that original goal of both getting to bed earlier than I have been and also getting up earlier than I have been — in order to exercise first, and write second. If I’m ever going to get be that somebody I want to be, I need to more clearly define who that somebody is. One of the key things, I think, is that somebody I want to be is a morning person, one who gets up and gets his day started, as James Brown would say in a different context, on the good foot.

Referred to in this post:

Oh, and yes, I did run this morning, albeit at the gym on the treadmill and elliptical. But I did run.

My New Year’s resolutions for 2008

  1. To proclaim the year of 2008 “acceptable to the Lord” in keeping with Isaiah 61:2 and Luke 4:19. To wit, the following:
    a. Setting aside Sunday as a true day of rest: attend Mass, read holy books
    b. Continuing to serve as an Extraordinary Minister of Communion at church
    c. Continuing the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius of Loyola daily through May
    d. Starting every day with Spiritual Exercises/Scripture readings
    e. Ending every day with the Examen
  2. To run a marathon in October, either Niagara Falls or Toronto. To wit, the following:
    a. Continuing on my training schedule for the Hyner View Trail Challenge, a 15K trail hike in mid-April, with running at least three times a week, if not four on certain weeks
    b. Developing a strength training routine of at least three days a week with a trainer at the gym
    c. Finding a half-marathon this summer in which to run
    d. Continuing to track my runs on RunLog and
  3. To lose at least 20 pounds this year. To wit, the following:
    a. Exercising as listed above
    b. Eating well-balanced meals, incorporating more fruit and vegetables into my diet daily
    c. Holding myself accountable on SparkPeople, every day that I run to my Rookie Runners teammates there and every day, as much as possible, with the private team there, Runners on the right track
    d. Tracking my food daily on SparkPeople
  4. To hone my skills as a writer. To wit, the following:
    a. Continuing as a correspondent for a local daily newspaper
    b. Continuing seeking opportunities for magazine writing, including The Builder’s Journal
    c. Continuing maintenance of two blogs at WordPress: and
    d. Restarting my blog at SparkPeople and reporting there at least once a week
  5. To consider branch out beyond writing. To wit, the following:
    * Research the possibility of indexing as a job with the American Society of Indexers, as suggested by a friend of a friend

(Author’s note: This blog entry is being posted at all three of my blogs, two here at WordPress and one at SparkPeople.)

New Year’s Resolution No. 1: Run in a marathon in 2008

The Lord God is my help, therefore I am not disgraced; I have set my face like flint, knowing that I shall not be put to shame.”

Isaiah 50:7

I, Bryan G. Robinson, being of sound and disposing mind and memory and age 38 at the time of this writing, and not being actuated by any duress, menace, fraud, mistake, or undue influence, do make, publish, and declare this to be my resolution to run and finish a marathon in the Year of Our Lord (or Common Era, in the spirit of interfaith cooperation) 2008.

With y’all as my witnesses, I, Bryan G. Robinson, hereby set my face like flint toward the goal of running and finishing in a marathon in 2008, on this 22nd day of December, 22, 2007 at 3:12 a.m. in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, United States of America.

–Bryan Grant Robinson

Where I’m at today/my sixth morning run

This morning I didn’t get up as early as I wanted to, so instead of my scheduled 7 a.m. run, it became a 9:30 a.m. run. So instead of a 5-mile run, it became a 4-mile run around town and the cemetery, also because I needed to get a shower before Mass at 11 a.m.

Surprisingly, I started at a better clip than I anticipated after such a late start and ran the first three to three and half miles, including up the steady hill through the cemetery. I ended up walking most of the last mile to mile and a half. Sometimes the power of perseverance is stronger than one imagines, at least it was such today.

Tomorrow: another road run, around town, or outside of town, depending on what I feel like, a planned five miles, since this will be my last run of the month. With tomorrow’s run, I will have run 80 miles this month, more than double what I ran last month, a little over 36 miles and the most I have run in any month. The next closest month so far in total miles was March of this year, with almost 64 miles. While to elite runners, this seems like no large accomplishment, to me, it seems like the world. Next month, I am scheduled for 93 miles; the month after that, more than 100. It is, and will be, a far cry from the 23 miles I walked (using Leslie Sansone video tapes) that first month I began recording my mileage in February 2004.