Category Archives: 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.


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.

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).

Turning my mind to the task at the appointed hour

Let us always desire the happy life from the Lord God and always pray for it. But for this very reason we turn our mind to the task of prayer at appointed hours, since that desire grows lukewarm, so to speak, from our involvement in other concerns and occupations. We remind ourselves through the words of prayer to focus our attention on the object of our desire; otherwise, the desire that began to grow lukewarm may grow chill altogether and may be toally extinguished until it is repeatedly stirred into flame.

— St. Augustine in a letter to Proba

This morning’s second reading in the Liturgy of Hours, especially from the very first paragraph, struck me on two fronts: in terms of my running and also my devotions. I have not been very good about getting up early to run AND to pray Morning Prayer. I have been doing well on one front: praying Morning Prayer, but not on the running.

Also I have been slacking on (meaning not praying) the Evening Prayer part, which is something I’m being asked to do as an oblate candidate for the Benedictines– not to mention it is something I want to do because I know it helps calm my spirit for the rest of the night. Tonight, for example, was one of those nights, my spirit was anything but calm.

When I don’t get up early to run, my desire, as St. Augustine writes, “grows lukewarm” no thanks to my “involvement in other concerns and occupations.” In other words, I get “wrapped up” in this or that, sometimes important, sometimes not really. The same can be said for my Evening Prayer time. I need to remind myself “through the words of prayer to focus my attention” on God. Likewise, I need to remind myself through words of encouragement to focus my attention on the goal of running in a marathon on June 6.

For the last month and a half, in terms of my running– and also my Evening Prayer time, I know what it’s like for the desire that once was lukewarm to become lukewarm and totally extinguished. Now is the time for the desire to pray and to run not to be repeatedly stirred into flame, but for both to be kept alight.

So this morning, I did make it out for a short 5K run. It wasn’t the best run, but I was out there. Now at 11:16 as I write this, again it is too late to get up by 5:30 to pray and run. However, I still can be up by 6:30 to pray and then to run. And while tomorrow night, I have a training session for a volunteer group in which I’m involved from 3 to 7 p.m., still my wife will be at an ambulance meeting tomorrow night and I still can find time for Evening Prayer.

For that matter, I still can find time for Evening Prayer tonight– and the run tomorrow and Evening Prayer as well.

Lord, help me get the rest I need this night and keep the flame within my body, mind and soul burning tomrrow and the rest of this week. Amen.

Reg lets go with a snot rocket

A friend of mine from Canada recently shared this run with her husband with me:

Skip to 1:50 and play to 2:20 for the best stuff.

I just felt like I had to share, because it was too funny.

Um, as a (n once-in-a-while — lately) runner, I’ve never done anything like that! (Yeah, right, and I’ve never spit a loogey either in a race and accidentally hit somebody behind me either.)

Posted @ where you’ll find more parenthetical comments than you can…well…sneeze at.

God’s Country Marathon 2008


The last time I wrote in this blog, I wrote of discipline of the body, mind and soul. Then as too often is the case, I promptly fell and haven’t run in over a week.

Before this, I already had been thinking of “bowing out” of this year’s Bald Eagle Area Mountain Megatransect, but with less than three weeks to go to the event, this latest “slip” confirmed it. So this weekend, I sent an e-mail to one of the race organizers to say I would not be participating this year.


My goal when I began this blog was to run a marathon by the time I was 40. Earlier this year, I rationalized that by completing the 24.9 mile Megatransect last year, that with its total elevation gain of more than 5,000 feet across those 24.9 miles, it was more than equal to a marathon and so fulfilled my goal.

However, now I am thinking that in my mind– and perhaps in the minds of others– that 1.3 mile difference makes all the difference. If my goal originally was to run a marathon and I don’t complete that goal in mileage, then have I really completed the goal? In the end, the answer is no.


So to that end, I am signing up for The God’s Country Marathon in neighboring Potter County, Pennsylvania (I live in Tioga County), which is on June 6, 2009, three days before my 40th birthday.

On one hand, if you look at the course, it’s not a major change from the Megatransect, in that it has its share of hills, including one major one called Denton Hill. But on the other hand, it has something the Megatransect doesn’t: 1.3 miles.