Tag 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).

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.

Reality check No. 222: lack of consistency/momentum

Well, here I am again, at a reality check. This month I’ve only run 10 miles. That’s right — 10…I’ve been to the gym once, maybe twice. I can’t seem to build any consistency, any momentum in my exercise routine.

It’s always “something.” The one week, it was that I was “busy” with a new stringer position. Another week, this week, it’s that I’m “not feeling too well,” which I really am not, despite the sarcasm in the quote marks, and am suffering from a physical ailment that I have had for a while. It’s slightly complicated, but basically has to do with my digestive tract, sort of.

It’s not that I don’t have goals. I do. I have a 10K coming up this weekend, a 15K in July, a half marathon in August and a 24.9 mile endurance hike/trail run and a marathon by next year. It’s that I can’t, no, just don’t, seem to be able to implement a consistent plan to get to those goals. I’ve tried one training plan, but I didn’t do it after about a month. Even when I started on a plan for the half marathon I did in March, I didn’t complete that either. I blamed…heck, I don’t even remember what I blamed…but I didn’t complete the plan and my half suffered as a result. Yes, I finished it and as others have said at SparkPeople, that is an accomplishment. However, I know that I could have, and should have, done better than I did.

So what am I going to do about this? “Do better” is the obvious answer. “Do or do not, there is no try,” says Yoda. And yet if you don’t know why you’re doing it, there is no do — if that makes any sense. I know why I’m doing it: to lose weight, to make myself a healthier person, to be a better husband…blah, blah, blah…not that they aren’t good reasons, but…sometimes, no, a lot of the time, I lose focus, even in my writing, as you can tell here.

And now I’ve completely lost my train of thought, and actually went off to check my lack of mileage on runningahead.com. Those empty spaces really frustrate me, as I’m sure they should…but now what? A boot, in terms of what we on our teams at SparkPeople say when we need to motivate each other, is great, but somehow I need something more, but what?

Hopefully, soon, I will figure it out.

The tyranny of the others

This isn’t mine, but is the response my wife, Kim, gave me to my last post. I post it here, because I thought it was a very apropos response to me and might apply to others:

Ah, other people. They’re fitter, thinner, richer, smarter, and have nice cars and attractive children. They seem to sail through life, meeting goals and exceeding expectations like a smiling athlete leaving the tunnel to run out onto the field, high-fiving a throng of adoring fans. They are just so wonderful and perfect.

The problem with comparing ourselves with these magic folk is that we tend to see them in a very skewed way. We string together their accomplishments and ask ourselves why we, weak and feeble, cannot do what they do. We don’t take into consideration, either because we fail to see it or simply do not know, how many failures and restarts they’ve had along the way. We don’t know if what they do represents a fraction of what they themselves wish to do. We don’t know what darkness lies beneath their seemingly effortless perfection, what demons they restrain every day to go out into the world and function. So much of success and failure is perception.

Ultimately, you are on your path in this moment in time. You are deciding what you want to do and taking the steps to get there. What others are doing is irrelevant. They are not climbing your path. You will not suffer their defeats or enjoy their successes.

The only thing you need to name is what you want. And go after it. Let the others worry about their side of the street.

“Moment of truth”

This is what my wife told me after I weighed in at the gym last night. So in that spirit of honesty, today’s blog is centered around truth.

  • Truth 1: I weighed in at 200 pounds, about 15 pounds heavier than I thought. However, I shouldn’t be surprised. The combination of getting used to eating after not eating for so long, thanks/no thanks to achalasia, and eating junk food and drinking alcohol at my neighbor Bob’s, is taking its toll.
  • Truth 2: I have to get back to keeping track of what I eat, whether it be with Weight Watchers or just keeping a log of what I eat every day. When I was using Weight Watchers, it really made a difference.
  • Truth 3: Alcohol, duh, adds up to calories. Two of my mentors, Dick and Barb Morgan, don’t drink and don’t eat red meat. I don’t know if I can go that far, although that’s probably just an excuse, and peer pressure of being at Bob’s, but I can at least cut back, way back, especially while I’m in training for the half…also it’s not like I can’t drink water when I’m at Bob’s.
  • Truth 4: While I ran the 5 miles today that was scheduled according to my 16-week training plan, I didn’t run the middle three miles as fast as I should have. It was supposed to be a 1 mile warm up, 3 miles at 11:03/mile, and then a 1 mile cool down. It was close, but no cigaro, at 1 mile warm up, 3 miles at 12:00/mile, and then 1 mile cool down. The warm up was at about 13 minutes, and the cool down was a lot of walking at 19 minutes per mile. Ouch!
  • Truth 5: I can’t beat myself up for not making the goal today. While yes, I’m disappointed, at least I can take some solace that I actually got off my lazy butt and went out there and did it, even though I didn’t feel much like it. I just have to keep plugging away. As one of my friends put in a recent “cheery” e-mail to me, we go on like “boats beating against the current,” borrowing a phrase from the end of The Great Gatsby. (F. Scott was such a happy soul, wasn’t he? But that’s another topic for a different blog sometime, I guess.) So I will go on…