Category Archives: Laddsburg

Motivator #1: My father

My father is 65.

However, you’d never know it. In fact, he looks like Mark Martin, who is 15 years younger than he is.

For the past two Saturdays, he’s run in 5Ks. This past weekend, he finished second in his age group, 60 to 65, in about 28 minutes.

Me? My best time ever in a 5K was just over 28 minutes and that was when I was really trying. My dad? No, he wasn’t even trying. He hasn’t even been training. In Saturday’s race, he beat another runner who regularly beats him, but the runner told him that he still had the course record. My dad thinks he can beat that next year with some training, and knowing my dad, he will.

So all this said, this past Saturday night, I stayed over at my parents after watching the Sharpie’s 500 (Mark Martin came in second in the 1,000th race of his career) and then when I got up Sunday morning, I was motivated to run. I ran/walked (mostly walked) a short 3.42 miles at 9 a.m., which was too late in the morning, because the sun was beating down pretty well at that point. However, I did it, because I knew if my dad could run in a 5K at age 65, I certainly could run (ahem, walk) 3.42 miles at age 40.

Age knows no bounds.

This post also can be found on my main blog, an unfinished person (in an unfinished universe). If you interested in seeing what makes up a complete unfinished person, you can subscribe to that blog, if you so choose.

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On The Road Again

“But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run and not be weary; and they shall walk and not faint.”

Isaiah 40:31

Today’s Scripture meditation: For some reason, while I was out on my run this afternoon, this Scripture came to mind. I think it not only applies in our devotion to God, or as Max Ehrmann once wrote, “whatever you conceive Him to be,” but also in our devotion to a discipline, or specifically, in my case, in keeping myself disciplined to a physical regimen. Or in a reinterpretation of the Scripture: They that keep themselves disciplined shall renew their strength…so if I can not only keep myself spiritually in shape, but also physically in shape, I will be able to complete the Megatransect at the end of this month (I can’t believe I’m saying that: “the end of this month.”)

Yesterday’s run/walk: Well, after a layoff of several days because of sore knees, I finally got back “on the road again” while at my parent’s (came over to watch NASCAR with my dad and going to a viewing for a family friend tonight, funeral tomorrow morning) as I went for a run “around the block.” As I may have mentioned in another post, “The Block,” in this case, is a 3 to 4-mile loop of roads, dirt and paved, near my parent’s.

Instead of going the way I usually go, where I end with a “large hill,” this time, I started with the “large hill,” which is Laddsburg Hill past the church here, Laddsburg Community Church. Somehow the hill looms larger in my memory, because yesterday, it didn’t look as intimidating from the bottom and looked more like a slight incline. And while I still didn’t run the entire thing, I did make it up halfway and then as I rounded the corner at the top, I sprinted.

Going down the other side of the hill, and coming up a small hill, I met a couple, Tommy and Ada Jordan, walking down the road. I would have stopped to say hello and tell them who I was (they know my parents and our families used to go to the same church, yep, the Laddsburg church mentioned earlier). But since I was I feeling pretty good, while I didn’t want to be rude, I thought it was better to keep going…I did yell back at them, I guess, to be polite: “It’s better coming down than going up.” Because the last time, I ran the hill past their house (I saw Tommy that day too), I “died,” having to call my wife to come pick me up. Of course, that day I went about 9 miles too.

Again, I passed the Laddsburg Mountain Winery and was half-tempted to stop for a sample since they were open. The last time I ran that way, they weren’t open. But then I thought better of it and kept going. Finally, though, shortly before getting to my parent’s, I did stop and saw parents of a childhood friend to see where he was now. He and I used to bike around the countryside: one of my fondest memories was riding out about 40 miles to a nearby lake and “beating” him out there, me on my old dusty 10-speed; he, on his fancy new 18-speed. Most of the time, he kicked my butt biking around the countryside, and was quite a good runner too. He, I and a couple of other neighbors were on the high school cross country team.

I ended up talking with his father and mother for a little bit (his dad was in the Navy and was on a carrier once when astronaut Wally Schirra splashed down in the Pacific, which I didn’t know about before) and then I walked back to my parent’s. When I got to the bridge at the bottom of the hill, I felt a pain again in my right knee, but up until then, I hadn’t felt pain in it all day. The only thing I forgot to do yesterday, which also was a part of the 30-day fitness challenge I’m doing is stretch for 10 minutes. Today, I have a few exercises scheduled, as per the challenge, but no cardio. I think the days off here in between my runs will only help.

Take me home, country roads

Take me home, country roads
Country roads, take me home
To the place I belong…
Take me home, country roads

— John Denver, Bill Danoff, Taffy Nivert

This past weekend I returned home for my 20th high school class reunion. On Friday night, our class had an informal gathering at the Wyalusing Hotel and then on Saturday night, we had a banquet at the Towanda Elks Club. And on Saturday morning, in between the two, I ran nine miles of a scheduled 12 miles on country roads around my hometown of New Albany, Pa., technically Laddsburg, Pa., home to among other things, and much to the chagrin of my teetotaling parents, the Laddsburg Mountain Winery.

When I was in high school, I used to run the roads around our home in Laddsburg with neighbors Ed, Steve, Sue and Pat Naspinski as we prepared for cross country. One of our favorite routes was a four mile loop that we, like other kids who have their favorite routes, called “The Block.” It started on U.S. Route 220, went down the Marsh Road, down what is called the Moxie Laddsburg Road on maps now, and then back around Jordan Road and down Laddsburg Hill Road back to 220. On Saturday, I did a variation of that, expanding the loop to 12 miles (of which I did nine) as I ran out from my parents on Drew Road to 220 to the Marsh Road almost to Dushore, went up Taylor Road to Dog Farm Road to Irish Settlement Road to Kane Road to Jordan Road.

I was to have finished going up Coyle Road, down Murphy Hill Road and then back to my parents on Drew Road, but since I had a late start Saturday morning after getting in late from the gathering the night before, I only made it part way up Jordan Road before I called my wife via cell phone to come and get me. I was only within a mile of my parent’s, but my energy level was waning as the humidity was rising and my thoughts were turning with memories from high school — and how far I really hadn’t gone since high school, not only in terms of physical geography (only 70 miles from where my parents live), but also in terms of emotional geography.

I enjoyed the first four miles of the run, which was mostly on the Marsh Road. When I was in high school, I remember I’d struggle to get to the top of this one hill, really more a slight incline now, and on Saturday, I felt a small sense of accomplishment in being able to get up it now more than 20 years later. I also recall making myself run from one pole to another just past that hill, just to keep myself going. On Saturday, I didn’t have to do that as I ran past all the poles there, again feeling a small sense of accomplishment. Partway out the Marsh Road, I took a detour on to a rail trail, which probably is on private property now, but it was probably the most fun on the run as it was nice and cool with the trees forming a tunnel through which I could run.

At one other point, later down the road, I thought I could find the rail trail, but unfortunately, it wasn’t cleared. Stubborn (or stupid) as I am, I kept pushing through the brush until I came out to Taylor Road. That pretty much ruined my momentum from there on out as I already had begun to walk and would walk most of the rest of the way, with a few exceptions, including past Cummiskey’s farm and another farm on Kane Road. (I just remember James Brown’s “Superbad” helped me a lot during that stretch.)

Funny thing about the reunion: in our yearbook, my photo was in there for cross country, even though I quit my senior year because I was sick of always coming in last for our team and sometimes in the race, period. I think the yearbook staff put together the proofs for the book before the season ended and didn’t cut me out. In both photos, I sported a mustache and a really bad haircut (no mullet, but still bad). In one photo, I also wore knee-high socks. One of my classmates kept taking it around and showing everyone. (I don’t have my scanner set up yet; otherwise, I’d post the photo here, really. 😉 It even made me laugh since now I’d never imagine wearing those large cotton $@$”>!?*$@$^&#@!) socks.

The only consolation in all of this is that I now wear much cooler running gear (yeah, those tight Under Armour pants are so much more hip and discreet than those short shorts I wore in high school) and no longer finish last (second or third to last, but hey, not last).