Category Archives: motivation

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.


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.

Motivation Monday: Assessing where I am

Should your resting pulse be in the 55-60 range, you are an out-of-shape athlete with great endurance potential. You are missing out on some particularly satisfying sports experience. A sedentary individual with a resting pulse in the 50s may well have remarkable talent for endurance events.

…this baseline pulse can tell nonathletes just how bad things are– and how good things can be. Individuals with a pulse in the 90s are cheating themselves of an active life. Those in the 70s are settling for less than they can get. If you are in the low 60s you could be living those dreams of glory.
— George Sheehan in “On Assessing” in his book How To Feel Great 24 Hours A Day

Tomorrow morning I am going to take my resting pulse and measure the circumference of my calves, thighs, hips, waist and chest using a tape measure as suggested by Sheehan in the chapter and book above (I would do it tonight, but I can’t find the tape measure and need to ask my wife when she returns home where it is). This morning, I already weighed myself as part of the WeightWatchers program I recently started. I weighed in at 213, the same weight where I began with WeightWatchers a few weeks ago. I had dropped three pounds, but then over the last few weeks, have regained that same amount.

One other part of the assessment involves testing how far I can go in 12 minutes. Sheehan suggests using a quarter-mile track, usually available at the local high school. I suppose even with sports practices beginning this week, if I get there earlier enough in the morning, I will have no problem doing that. Sheehan also has included aerobic tables from Dr. Kenneth H. Cooper to tell you how you rate on the fitness ladder using maximal oxygen consumption as a baseline.

I already took my resting pulse about half an hour ago and it was at about 60. So I feel encouraged by what Sheehan wrote, but know that I have a long way to go. Plus I know that from being able to complete the 25.9 mile Bald Eagle Mountain Megatransect in 2007 that I have endurance already. It’s just a matter of regaining it.

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This post is also being crossposted at my main blog, an unfinished person (in an unfinished universe).

Saint Ralph

Tonight, I watched this movie:

A little bit of a pick-me up in the midst of winter. Not a true story, but still an inspirational running movie about a 14-year-old who runs the Boston Marathon in 1954 in hopes of winning it to bring his mother out of a coma. I highly recommend it for those like myself who are feeling those winter doldrums.

Plyometrics (postponed indefinitely for me)

At right, me after a run in a cold, light drizzle through the Wellsboro cemetery.

Today, I dropped out of plyometrics, not that I’ve been in for the last few weeks because of one thing or another. First, there was no class because of a day off at the high school, where the classes were being held. Then I had a mishap with the car last week, and this week, I decided by the time I get back to it, I’m going to be in so much pain that I’m not going to be able to build back my running where it needs to be.

Plus this morning, I had a reality check as I looked at the calendar, with only about 10 weeks to go until the Hyner View Trail Challenge, the 25K trail hike/run that I’m doing, on April 19. I need to get running. If I had my mileage up to begin with, I believe the plyometrics would definitely help, but as it is, I have virtually no mileage. So it’s time to build up the miles — slowly.

Today, I ran a short 5K (3.1 miles) around Wellsboro, what I call cemetery run. It was drizzling and cold outside, but I have a meeting at 3:30 p.m. at the high school so I decided if I didn’t get out now, since the gym opens at 3:30, I wouldn’t get out for a run. I do have to walk up to the school, since the car is still in the shop, but I don’t want to be all sweaty when I get there. But still the walk will do me good.

Next report: Thursday.

Running through the years

New shoes, new blog, new motivation?

My new pair of Keen Wasatch Crests Waterproof.
Woo hoo! (Modeled by my wife, Kim.)

Today for a good part of the day, I moved all my former running blogs here to, so that they all would be in one place. While transferring a few of the posts manually, I skimmed across a few of them. I saw many resolutions from years past that I hadn’t followed through on. I also couldn’t help but notice that the date of my last blog entry was more than two weeks ago. All of those things, along with the fact that I got a new pair of Keen trail running shoes, motivated me to get out the door and do something.

Because it was dark and the nearest trails aren’t very well-lit, though, I opted for the gym where I ran on the treadmill and the elliptical, each for about an hour, which I’ve been trying to make into a regular routine at the beginning of each week. I figure that any kind of running that I do will help me on my way toward my goal of getting ready for the 15K Hyner View Trail Challenge in April. At least, now I know I have the shoes there, just waiting to be broken in on a snow-covered trail – in the daylight, though. I think this weekend should be a good time to break them in. I’ll report in here later on how they work out.