Friday, March 29, 2013

The Waiting is the Hardest Part

March 29, 2013

Today I am 194.0 pounds of rolling thunder, trying to find grace in my life.

Songster Tom Petty told us years ago that the waiting is the hardest part.

About mid-afternoon yesterday, I got tired of waiting for the mail carrier, so I decided to go out for my daily run. We’ve been waiting about a month for some news about colleges, and April 1 was supposed to be a D-Day of sorts for the announcement.

It was one of the first mild weather days we've had in about two weeks. That early spring snowfall had coated the streets and sidewalks, making running tricky and treacherous, so it became more a labor of love than a fruitful jog.

April 1 was D-Day, but we had it on good authority that the news would come earlier (thanks, Twitter), every day this week I've played a game of hide-and-go-seek with the mailman. To this point, the waiting game has been the hardest part, and March the cruelest month.

 "Every day you see one more card," Tom says in his song. And every day, we waited by the mailbox for a decision that would change all our lives.

The next line in the song goes, "you take it on faith, you take it from the heart," and while everyone remembers "the waiting is the hardest part," perhaps that line about faith says more about how we live our lives than any other.

For countless generations we've all taken our existence and fate on faith. Every day you get to see one more card -- sometimes a couple, if you're lucky. But every day, you put your faith and hope into a belief that things will work out OK. That your kids will grow up safely. That you will grow old gracefully. That you will be surrounded by a world of grace.

I ran six miles for the first time since last fall. It was a mixture of walking and running, but it was a distance I needed to cover, even if it required a mix of walking and jogging. My hope was that I would turn the corner, heading to home and see a large envelope hanging from our mailbox.

I knew from my research that big envelope meant in and small was ... small. The run helped me get my mind off the wait -- at least for a bit. No matter how creaky your body feels, it's always good to get out and move your body.

While I wasn't going to win any speed races, at least I was moving. And so were countless others on a Thursday afternoon.

 As I dropped down the final hill, heading toward home, I my mind drifted back to the decision at hand. I looked around to see if any of the houses on my route had mail sticking out of their boxes.

I turned the corner for home. I spotted my mailbox off in the distance. You take it on faith. You take it from the heart.

The waiting is the hardest part.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Meet the New Road Warrior

March 27, 2013

Today I am 198.0 pounds of rolling thunder.

Somebody want to tell winter that it's spring, so it's time to pack your bags filled with snow and get the heck out of town?

Doesn't Old Man Winter realize were almost to weekend No.2 of the NCAA basketball tournament? It never snows this late in the year, and yet, here we are with six inches of the slushy stuff still under foot.

Last weekend's snowfall has made this week's running a bit of an adventure. Wasn't it just a week ago Friday that I ran five miles with no shirt on in 80-degree weather? What happened to that? What happened to all of spring break and it's promise of the oncoming spring?

Punxsutawney Phil you done me wrong son. I'm done with the snowy stuff. Bring on the spring. Recheck that shadow-watching thing, your gauges must be stuck or something.

So I clip-clopped my usual joggerly pace around the 'hood again today. The weather was cool, but the sun shone down and there was little wind to make it a bitter day out on the streets. 

Yes, it was a street day as the majority of sidewalks have yet to be plowed. My first half mile isn't so bad. It's on a wide street with moderate traffic, so it's a pretty safe go even when you run on the asphalt.

Then comes the tricky part. I hate to do it to my metal-contained friends, but with 5-6 inches of snow still packing many of the sidewalks there's little else a runner can do but to grab some space on the edge of the open road. Normally, I try and stay as near to the edge as I can, and most drivers are courteous enough to nudge their way over to the far side of the lane.

But some drivers are out to prove a point. These so-and-so's take pleasure in making you dive into the snowbanks, or hop up into the snow that's piled up on the sidewalk. 

When all is said and done, I've got nothing to complain about. I got out and ran, and that beats sitting inside on a stationary bike any day of the week.

So here's the deal, get out and run. Enjoy the snow before it's gone for another year. And if you see the world's slowest human taking up some road space, give me a wave.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Hey Old Man Winter, It's Spring!

March 19, 2013

Today I am 198.0 pounds of rolling thunder.

Winter had the last laugh today when I went out for my daily run.

The calendar knows that spring officially starts tomorrow, but that didn't stop Old Man Winter from keeping his icy grip on the landscape by providing a steady batch of light snow to accompany me on my familiar loop.

Although it was cold enough to snow there was little if any wind so it made for a great day to run. It's hard to believe just four days earlier I was running sans shirt and today, the day before the start of spring, I was out with four layers on top and two on the bottom.

Yesterday was not a great running day. Oh, the weather was fine, but I went out to run too soon after eating a really delicious but greasy chicken sandwich -- darn you, Chick-fil-A. So it was pretty much 50-50 walking and running.

Today was a different story. I ran better, and the snow made the miles seem to click by. I ran about 70 or 80 percent of the 5-mile loop, but there were still some walking moments. But that's OK. I am what I am as a distance runner.

I'm out there to get healthy and enjoy the moment. Sure, I'd love to get faster and have more stamina to climb the hills without walking. Hopefully, I can return to last summer's form when I could click off 6 miles without a walk.

For today, however, Old Man Winter and I did the dance of spring, and we were both better as a result.

The forecast is for more snow this weekend, so hopefully you'll see the world's slowest human beating the streets long before then. If you do, give me a wave and a smile.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Spring Break: I'm Headed to Colon-Cleansing Paradise

March 18, 2013
Today spring break started in earnest, and I haven't the foggiest notion how many pounds of rolling thunder I am. Just rest assured I'm still over the 190-pound mark.

But things they could be a changing come Friday. Well, temporarily change as I get to go for the dreaded colonoscopy, which I have been assured by countless friends, relatives and total strangers on the Internet that the prep is, in fact, worse than the test.

On Thursday I get to start taking something called MoviPrep to get ready for the test. Humorist Dave Barry described this substance as a "nuclear laxative" that tastes like "like a mixture of goat spit and urinal cleanser, with just a hint of lemon."

Friends have told me that you pass things out of your system that you ate for lunch in the third grade.

Ah so much to look forward to on spring break.

But you know what? I'd rather be safe than sorry. So it's a little inconvenient for a day or two. I'm sure my tune will be different as I go through the process, but you reach the age and you've got to buck up and do the dance.

Besides, you won't be missing the world's slowest human. Weather permitting, I'm still getting out there.

Today was no great run. After a couple of days off, it was all about moving and less about how far or how fast. But that's OK. At least it was out on the road and not down on the stationary bike.

So this week will be all about getting mentally and physically prepped for the big test. Just what I know I wanted to be doing on spring break. How about you?

At this point all I can say is if you see the world's slowest human out running, wave twice because I'm headed to colon-cleansing paradise.

Friday, March 15, 2013

Celebrate Pi Day With Pie

March 15, 2013

Today I am 192.2 pounds of rolling thunder.

Anybody else miss it? You know what I'm talking about. Come on, it was yesterday.

You want a hint? Think about it, March 14. Come on, I'm almost giving it away.

Yes yesterday was Pi Day. You know, 3.14 -- the 2013 is just a throw in.

Pi Day is celebrated annually on March 14 around the world as a tribute to the Greek letter Pi, which in mathematics is the ration of the circumference of a circle to its diameter. Or if my memory serves correct, 22/7ths or 3.14159.

Experts say that Pi has been calculated to over 1 trillion digits beyond the decimal point, but as far as we know you could go on forever without finding a repetition or pattern.

Not to be confused with Mole Day, which is celebrated from 6:02 a.m. to 6:02 p.m. on 10.23 and celebrates Avogadro's Number, which is a basic measure in chemistry. And in case you weren't awake for this in high school chemistry class, just be warned that your children will need to be at school early on October 23 for Mole Day.

So what does Pi Day have to do with running? Very little, unless you're calculating the fat rolls that jiggle off my cellulite-friendly midsection, then it has everything to do with running. Pi, moles, whatever you pick, I've got it in quantum amounts.

Man does warm weather really help the soul when it comes to running. For the first time in weeks I was able to get out and run without donning multiple layers of shorts, t-shirts, sweats, jackets and caps to keep warm.

In late winter, 60 might as well be the new 80. Everyone was out running in shorts, including the world's slowest human, who struggled but made a nice run/walk over five miles.

While it wasn't a thing of beauty, if I would have remember it, I would have rewarded my run with some pie, in honor of Pi Day.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Hills I've Got; Sprinter's Legs, Not So Much

March 11, 2013

Today I am 194.8 pounds of rolling thunder.

Good golly man, when will this winter weather ever be over?!?

Running was a labor of love the last two days as Old Man Winter tried his best to keep an icy death grip on the area. In the morning on both days I had convinced myself that it was going to be an inside workout day. But then, you know, those little voices remind you that going outside is much more fun and beneficial than staring into the abyss while riding a stationary bike.

So out I went. And you know what, the little voices were right. After the first 10 minutes or so, the biting cold lost its sting, and it was a great day to be outside.

I decided this spring to mix up my workouts a bit. Now I'm a huge slave to my routine. I run the same routes. I go the same speed. I expect miracle results. Some say that's the definition of insanity, and they may be right.

So I decided to shake it up a bit today and do some sprinting and hill work. Hills I've got. Sprinters legs and lungs, not so much. 

But how are you going to get those kinds of lungs and legs if you don't shake things up? So after a brief warm-up, I tried my first uphill sprint. I had read that I should start with a one-minute sprint, but mine probably lasted all of 20 seconds before both lungs and legs gave out -- and that was my long sprint.

I did manage to follow up with a series of uphill sprints of varying lengths and intervals. And I mixed in a few downhill sprints on the road home just for good measure.

Between the cold and the change of pace, it made for a different kind of workout. Hopefully, this will jump start my spring workouts. Either way, if you see the world's slowest human trying to sprint, give me a wave.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Sorry Marissa, I Run From Home

March 7, 2013

Super model Marissa Miller

Today I am 198 pounds of pudgy rolling thunder.

Don't tell Yahoo, but I run from home. Never run to the office. Never run while I'm at the office.

If Marissa Mayer, the new sheriff in Yahoo-town, wants to see the amazing world's slowest human being in action, she's going to have to come to mi casa. Heck, I'd even make super model Marissa Miller come to mi casa to catch a glimpse of my running prowess.

Jodi Arias
 Mayer, for those who have been glued to HLNTV watching Jodi Arias in action ad nauseum during her murder trial, is the new boss at Yahoo who just told about 5 percent of her workforce it was time to give up telecommuting and get their butts into the office.

And now comes the news that she got a $1 million dollar bonus after just six months on the job.
Marissa Mayer

 Wait a minute, I'm starting to rethink this plan. My running-for-hire scheme could be all about the Benjamins. If a woman with that kind of spending cash calls and wants to see the thunder roll, then what's the world's slowest human supposed to do? 

If the cash is right, wouldn't you, as they say, run for the money? Dash for the cash.

I doubt that either Marissa will be calling me anytime soon, so I'm just going to go run for myself. That's right Marissa, I'm not coming by the office for a jog on the treadmill in the company gym -- we still have a company gym, right? That wasn't part of the sell-off to make Yahoo look good for Wall Street was it?

Regardless, if there isn't significant cash involved, I'm not coming into the office just to run. The world's slowest human has set the bar, however low it might seem.

So you'll be seeing me out on the streets moving as slow as ever. Just remember I turned down two Marissas just to be with my running peeps on the streets, so give me a wave.


Monday, March 4, 2013

Time To Get Back Out On The Streets

March 4, 2013

Today I am 198.6 pound of rolling thunder.

Wow, what a difference a week away from running can make, and boy am I glad to be back out on the roads even if I am the world's slowest human.

No matter how many miles you spin on a stationary bike or shushes you make on the NordicTrack, a basement workout just isn't the same as running on the streets. Sure it's good to get your heart rate up and your body moving, but you just don't seem to get that same deep-down sweat riding the stationary bike that you do when you run outside.

In the past week and a half we've had more than 25 inches of snow. The snowplows have done a great job of moving the snow off the roads and depositing the drifts onto the neighborhood sidewalks. As a result, today's run was more of an adventure than a flat out job.

While I don't mind running in the road, I'd much rather be on the safe confines of the sidewalk. Most motorists are polite about yielding to an oncoming pedestrian who has been forced to take to the asphalt since the sidewalks are knee deep in snow. Still, the deposits of plowed snow along the edges of the road make passing narrow and tests the patience of motorists.

My neighborhood requires homeowners to shovel their sidewalks. Unfortunately, this was the first day for enforcement, and I can't really blame most people for not getting out and making the effort. The snow on most sidewalks is still at least a foot deep in many locations.

As a result, today's run took on an obstacle course quality. I'd for a long stretch on open road, then skip to the sidewalk or duck into a side road to let traffic pass. The result was kind of a stop and start adventure, but I was glad the skies were sunny and the temperature was mild.

When I finally made it to the last hill of my run, it came on a busy street so I was constantly on the lookout for sidewalks to escape onto. Perhaps the most interesting part was running through the narrow paths that had been cut through drifts that were piled nearly 3-feet deep. It was how I imagine an average winter run in snowy Minnesota or Buffalo might be.

Still, it was great to get out of the basement and back on the open road. It sounds like the weather is finally starting to make its turn toward spring, so temperatures should go up and the snow down.

Snow or no snow, if you see the world's slowest human out running, give me a wave.