Three years and counting

Three years, two days ago, I began blogging here, on my blog Just A (Running) Fool. My original purpose for blogging was to chronicle my journey to run a marathon by the time I was 40. On June 6, 2009, three days before my 40th birthday, I will be running that marathon, God’s Country Marathon in Potter County, Pa. (even though I am a long way from ready).

On Dec. 12, 2007, I began my second blog: Journeying with St. Ignatius to chronicle my journey that had begun in October to complete the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius of Loyola. My first post was What are these “Spiritual Exercises”? Since I completed the exercises in May, I have changed, and am continuing to change, the focus of the blog to incorporate other saints, hence, the title: Journeying with the Saints.

In January or February of 2008, I began a blog to chronicle my reading on a blogging platform I’d rather not mention because it sucked– and also I have since deleted that blog, though, some of the entries remain with another blog.

On March 31, 2008, I began a new blog an unfinished person (in an unfinished universe) with the idea of it serving as a portal to the other three blogs, connecting them all thematically: body, running; mind, reading and soul, devotions. The first post there was Hanging up and starting over (cue the music).

On April 21, 2008, I began a blog that didn’t fit into the body, mind, soul paradigm and was just for fun called Unfinished Rambling(s). My first post there was Sign sign everywhere a sign. Since then, the blog has become a “humor blog,” with it being listed on Humor-Blogs.com.

Then on April 25, 2008, I began another reading blog, Just A (Reading) Fool to chronicle my reading past, present and future with this post.

In all, since Oct. 27, 2005, I have had a total of 735 posts (not counting the posts on the blogging platform I didn’t want to mention and with some of those being cross-posts across several blogs) and a total of 30,446 viewers, which while nowhere nearing the number of viewers of Dooce (no link required, I’m sure you can find her), I’m still impressed, especially with the growth of my book blog, Just A (Reading) Fool, which continues to grow by leaps and bounds.

So what’s next?

What I’m planning on do within the next few months, probably toward the start of 2009, is combine four of the five blogs into one and switch from WordPress.com to WordPress.org. The four that will be combined under one umbrella, an unfinished person (in this unfinished universe) at unfinishedperson.com, are: just a (running) fool, Just A (Reading) Fool and Journeying with the Saints.

The fifth that will remain its own separate blog will be Unfinished Rambling(s), with the title perhaps being changed to (gasp! this is really drastic) Unfinished Rambling. I am leaving this one separate, because I consider it the alter ego to unfinished person with the persona there being unfinished rambler.

I already have four posts per subject, body: running; mind: reading; and soul: devotions, per week planned, which will include some themes I’ve already began. For example, I will continue participating in The Sunday Salon as well as my own Monday’s Memory and other theme-related days in which I either I participate or have started.

Why change it? The main reason is that from the start of unfinished person, I envisioned the other three blogs as showing the elements of what an unfinished person is: body, mind and soul. This will fit in with the holistic theme for which I was aiming from the beginning and give readers insights into the different pieces that make up this unfinished person (me) and in turn, make up us all.

At Just A (Reading) Fool, I already celebrated with a giveaway in celebration of my 200th post, but in the near future, I will celebrate my three-year anniversary of blogging on my other blogs with giveaways as well. I just haven’t decided what I will be giving away on the other ones, although I have one idea for just a (running) fool.

For more on my blogging, see this interview done with me for The Great Interview Experiment by Followthatdog from the blog From Stage Dives to Station Wagons.

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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 @ Humor-Blogs.com where you’ll find more parenthetical comments than you can…well…sneeze at.

I’m walking

It’s been over a week since I announced that I’ll be doing the God’s Country Marathon on June 6, 2009, three days before my 40th birthday and yet I haven’t restarted my running for almost three weeks now.

Not all is lost, though. I got a part-time job at a bookstore in my hometown and we got rid of my old, beat-up (mostly by me) car. So now, as the song says, “I’m walking”. It’s a start.

Until next time, I’ll leave you with this clip I found of Fats Domino and Ricky Nelson together singing Fats’s classic. Enjoy.

God’s Country Marathon 2008

I.

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.

II.

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.

III.

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.

Disciplining myself body, mind and soul

Simply I learned about Wisdom and ungrudgingly do I share — her wishes I do not hide away. For to men, she is an unfailing treasure; those who gain this treasure win the friendship of God, to whom the gifts they have from discipline commend them.

Wisdom 7:13-14

Discipline: It was to this word to which I was drawn the other morning. I have been attempting to get up every morning to pray and then most days also to run, and to pray in the evening as well. Morning and Evening Prayer as in the Liturgy of the Hours.

While I have been getting up at 5:30 a.m. and starting my day with prayer, I have neither been as attentive to my running nor to Evening Prayer. I have heard some call Morning and Evening Prayer “the hinges” of the Liturgy of the Hours. So while I am opening my day with praise (“Lord, open my lips and my mouth will proclaim your praise.”), I am not ending my day with praise or even continuing my day with praise. It is like in between I am straying.

It is similar with the running as I am not kickstarting my day with that burst of energy I need to carry me through the rest of the day. If I put it off until later, I become lethargic in my ways.

Lord, grant me the grace to be disciplined in my reading/praying of the Liturgy of the Hours and in my running regimen, so that I may be commended with Your wisdom. Amen.

This post also can be found at Journeying with the Saints.

Working on keeping my house in order

The major ethical advance of this century, according to Thomas Merton, has been the development of the ecological conscience. Ecology derives from the Greek word for “house.” Ecology is a study of the interrelationships within our environment, both internal and external. Basically, it is the matter of keeping our house in order. We have littered and polluted and dirtied our house over the past century; now we are trying to put it in order. The same ecological conscience applies to the house that is our body.

In raising our awareness toward what technology is doing to our environment, we ignore what technology is doing to our inner environment. The indifference and arrogance we have expressed toward our natural resources, we are still expressing by abusing our personal resources– psychological and spiritual.

George Sheehan in Chapter 4, On Sleeping,
in How To Feel Great 24 Hours A Day

Sheehan goes on to mention what former California Governor Jerry Brown says on the stewardship we have been given for the earth. Sheehan says that “we have the same responsibility to care for our bodies and our minds…” One way to do that is to listen to the circadian rhythms, to be lived, to “be acted out so that each of us gets the most out of the bodies we inhabit.” By the end of the chapter, he concludes that we need to listen to what our body clocks are telling us: the cliche “early to bed, early to rise…” again is here.

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This morning, while I made it up up at 5:30, by 8 a.m., I was back in bed, thanks to a debilitating allergy headache and not out on Sand Run Falls Trail as planned. My own circadian rhythm was thrown off with a couple of short naps throughout the day, thanks to headaches that just stopped me in my tracks, even with pain killers. However, tonight, when it looked light it might rain (although, of course, it didn’t), I went to the gym instead. Luckily, no conventions on the television sets (no one was there) and I was able to run about 20 minutes on each the treadmill and elliptical. I must have been doing something right, because I was covered in sweat.

Tomorrow: Day of rest, and then run around town on Friday, before long run on Saturday.