Category Archives: morning running

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.


A run with Brother Lawrence

I know that for the right practice of it [the presence of God], the heart must be empty of all other things; because God will possess the heart alone; and as He cannot possess it alone, without emptying it of all besides, so neither can He act there, and do in it what He pleases, unless it be left vacant to Him.

— Brother Lawrence of the Resurrection
in Practice of the Presence of God: The Best Rule of Holy Life,
Christian Classics Ethereal Library edition

As I ran this morning, I reflected on this passage from one of the letters Brother Lawrence wrote to a nun. I consciously made an effort to keep in mind this thought, “Lord, empty me so I can be filled with You.” I also considered that the emptying of myself each morning can be not only a spiritual practice, but also a mental practice– in divesting myself of the worries of the upcoming day– and a physical practice– in expending energy, or emptying myself of energy, as I run. In this act of running each morning, all the elements of myself: body, mind and soul: can be incorporated– and emptied, and thus can I leave them vacant for God to fill.

Lord, empty me each morning spiritually, mentally and physically so I can be filled with only You, and truly practice Your presence throughout the day. Amen.

This post was also published at an unfinished person (in an unfinished universe), Just A (Reading) Fool, Journeying with the Saints and Simply Ecclesia (of which I recently became a contributor and recommend to others seeking God).

Days 2, 3

Day 2

Yesterday, I did make it up by 6:30, was up by 6:15, but didn’t make it to the gym because the time I got around, I wouldn’t have had enough time to do anything productive at the gym. Note to self: need to get up earlier on days doing strength training. I had planned on going later in the day, but then an assignment came up for a newspaper for which I am a correspondent and was busy until 8 p.m. At least, though, I still got up early…

Day 3

This morning, again, I got up about 6:15, but waited until it got light to run since I don’t own any reflective clothes. After did Spiritual Exercises, that meant that I was out the door by 8:45 a.m. I went for a short 2-mile run down to a local grocery store and back. This evening, barring any unforeseen stories from the paper, I will go to the gym and run on both the treadmill and elliptical to get more mileage in for the day.

Footnote: Also what helped me get out the door this morning, even if it was for a short run was spying out my window a local runner by name of Deb Ruby out with another runner whom I didn’t know. Thanks, Deb, for the inspiration to get my butt out the door.

Day 1

So far, so good, but obviously, it’s only the first day. Out the door by 6:20 and to the gym by 6:30. Technically, I think I got started and it was 6:31, according to the TV. I got about 40 minutes in…tomorrow, I’ll need to get there a little earlier to make sure I have enough time for warm-up on treadmill, plus strength training.

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.

Starting a new streak

Be wise in the use of time. The question in life is not how much time do we have. The question is what shall we do with it.— Anna Robertson Brown

I admit it: I’ve been wasting time.

Up until yesterday, for the most part, I’ve been waking up at 9 a.m. or later and wasting a good part of my day. It began recently in August 2006 when I was fired from a job as a weekly newspaper editor. I then proceeded to allow myself become lazy and sleep in as I pretended to pursue my new career as a freelance writer.

But really my wasting time was a continuation from college and began not so recently at one of my first jobs, at a convenience store before my first year of college, where I worked an 8 p.m. to 3 a.m. shift. I think both mentally and physically, I have been on the same internal clock ever since and have suffered as a result.

So I’m now in the process of reattuning my internal clock and I also must admit that it is not easy for me, either physically or mentally. It’s like my body and my mind are rebelling against placing this imposition/discipline on it.

Yesterday, I imposed on them by awakening them at 5:30 a.m. to go for a 6-mile run at Sand Run Falls Trail; this morning, 6 a.m. to go to the gym and tomorrow morning, again 5:30 a.m. just to get up and live life. Then on Saturday morning, I will have the audacity to continue the streak by getting up at 5:30 a.m. again and then putting them through a 12-mile run.

Only on Sunday will I give them a rest, and that’s only because I’m going to my 20th high school class reunion and I have a feeling that I might be up late Saturday night so they may not want to awaken that early.

But then on Monday, I plan on awakening them again bright and early at 5:30 a.m. so that I can continue this new streak. I only hope they become reconciled to the fact that I am no longer going to allow them to waste my time.

I will again end with something from my July 14 entry: “I want to get up earlier to write, to run, to read, to breathe more, experience more, be more of myself, of yourself, of ourselves…” Again, let it be so.