Saturday, September 3, 2022
Monday, July 4, 2022
I suppose I should start writing about running again. Now you'll have to give me some slack because I've taken a bit of a break from both running and writing for a fair piece. The legs don't carry me quite like they used to and the words don't either. But one thing I love about running is that it's always there for you whenever you get your butt back around to it. I'm hoping words work the same way.
A whole bunch of stuff happened over the last couple years. It probably doesn't belong here and it sure as hell isn't going to dance off these old out of practice fingers onto this page. So let's just let it be.
I'm a good bit heavier and a whole bit slower, so how do you think I'm going to get back on that horse? Run some miles. Best way to do that is to get in some races around this new country I'm calling home. There's a not so little island that I see everyday when I go walk along the ocean. The Isle of Wight is just a short ferry ride from where I live. I've lived here for over 2 years and I've never ventured over there. Now mind you, a younger me used to watch a concert that's held on this island many times back when Rock and Roll was real but alas, I still had never been. So what better way to kick off my next running career than to run a half marathon over there.
I scheduled the ferry for the morning of the race. I had never done this ferry before but I had watched it leave from just up the road many times. So I figured that's where it always left from. I showed up early and got a nice seat where I could watch the ocean go by. It was a nice relaxing ride until I realized it wasn't going where I thought it was. It landed up the coast a bit from the 'normal' spot I'd seen the ferry go. Where they put me was a bit out of the way so the bus I'd planned to take out to the race start wasn't waiting for me like I'd planned. I did a quick search on old Google and found that the bus stops just up the road a bit from the ferry landing. So I took a walk, and a chance, and headed up to the bus stop. To my luck the bus showed up and I was on my way to the race.
The Isle of Wight is bigger than I thought. The bus(es) from my side of the island to the other side where the race started was a good hour or so. Thanks to Google I got there in plenty of time. Got my number and chip and a quick cup of tea and I was ready. It was a small race, which I like, so the race director did the briefing to all of us in short time. I had my hydropack full, a gel, and my phone and was off.
England has this wonderful thing where the public trails have right-of-way across the country. We were running through farmland and pasture before long. I was feeling pretty good and had fallen into a nice easy pace. I do love running through the woods. Everything was going pretty well until we started to climb. I never knew an island could have so many hills. Up and up we went. Not long ago, when I was in pretty good shape, I could always run a hill. I used to enjoy running up Mount Scott back in Oklahoma. It was never fast but it was a nice long grind up hill. I could run the whole thing without stopping. Well, on these hills there was no running. Or maybe these old bones just couldn't do it. Although I will say everyone else was walking too. One thing that jumping back on the horse does to you though is put some humility in you. I didn't care, walking up the climbs was fine, as long as I was moving. Somewhere near the top of one of the climbs someone looked over at me and said, "at least that's the last hill". I took them at their word and started pushing the pace a bit on the top. Well it turns out Brits can lie just as well as Americans because not long after that we started going up again. Bloody Brits!
The good thing about all the hills were the views from the tops. England sits on one big block of chalk. Beautiful white steep rocks line the whole island. This makes for some amazing views out over the ocean. Needles is the southwestern tip of the Isle of Wight. It's one big empty pasture that ends, very quickly, in a cliff of brilliant white. The white cliffs of Dover are the well-known spot, but most of England coast is made up of those. Needles is one of the best. I wish everyone could see it.
Sunday, April 12, 2020
If you live you life remembering that every day I believe you would take every chance, every opportunity, and jump at every glimmer of hope that you see. You shouldn’t even be here in the first place anyway. Why live like there’s a tomorrow when you weren’t guaranteed yesterday?
Your parents met because of chance, your grandparents met because of chance, multiply that by a few hundred more generations and you see. Every small meeting, every glance across a room, every accidental bump in a crowded elevator is astonishingly significant.
Thanks for listening.
Sunday, March 29, 2020
Just because I moved to the UK was no reason for the rest of you to have a pandemic. Geese. I really don’t know what to say about the current global situation. It’s all a bit larger than my feeble brain to find words to express. Everyone is struggling, people are sick, people are dying. I’m keeping my optimism but I am also looking to help as many people as I have the power to. If there was ever a time for everyone to help someone else this is it. I just don’t see how this gets better if everyone doesn’t step up and do what they can.
The UK locked down last Monday after the Prime Minister scolded us for not abiding by the recommended distancing. That was a very nice weekend weather-wise so I can’t blame the Brits, I know I got out and saw as much of this area as I could. Now that’s all over, the Prime Minister has the virus and the streets are empty except for the security who will tell you to go home.
We are allowed to leave for exercise. So being a marathoner who was cooped up all week in teleconferences, I took full advantage and spent a few hours out running on Saturday.
My little island, Portsmouth, is the only island city in the UK. At least that’s what I read. The best thing I found about it though is the trail, or trails, that go all around and over it. Most of the trail runs along the coast which is wonderful for this ocean loving running. The wind yesterday was pretty strong so I fought it all along the southern and eastern coast. When I got to the north side the wind was broken by the 15th century battlements. No kidding. The north side also was mostly dirt trails which was lovely. I ran by many little ponds and there were actual swans on them. I couldn’t have asked for a better greeting from a new country than a rugged dirt trail along historic monuments while the swans enjoyed the sunny day. Hello England.
Turns out my little island is 14 miles around. I was hoping to get 20 but discovering all the new trails meant a whole lot more to me than getting a mileage goal.
I’m looking at another week of teleconferencing with all my new coworkers, most of which I haven’t met in person. It’s not the ideal way to get started and I fear I’m not doing well at it. But in true marathoner spirit, the spirit I’ve tried to live up to, I have to say I’m glad it isn’t easy. Grand memories aren’t made from sauntering along the perfect course in great weather. They are made from those times when the course is all uphill, or the rain just wouldn’t quit, or whatever other challenge stood in the way and we still managed to finish.
Good luck and stay safe everyone. I miss you all but know you’ll make it through and I can’t wait to read the stories once things calm down.
Thanks for listening.
Sunday, March 22, 2020
So I had my insides in order and my plane ticket to leave 2 weeks later. I had a house, a dog, a car, kids, and a million other things to worry about. But somehow I knew things would work out. I didn’t stress about those things. Ok, that’s maybe a lie, I did stress about starting a new job with people I didn’t know. But I didn’t freak out about how things would get by at home. I told the kids and they were both excited. My oldest son planned to move into my house and take care of it and willie. My youngest would come over to England once school was out. Everything fell into place quickly and easily. I knew this was right. It was to be my next chapter in life and maybe it was happening because I was now ready for it. I am the person I want to be and I am to be where I want to be.
Sunday, July 23, 2017
Makes me understand the anguish that motivated poets and songwriters since the beginning of time.
One good psychic could have prevent it all. But then again what would we read?
Thanks for listening
Tuesday, July 18, 2017
Monday, July 17, 2017
It's also always been an admirable thing. People admire and appreciate those that work hard and refuse to accept handouts. Rugged individualism is the foundation of America and I've aspired to live up to that expectation.
I spent most of my earlier life pursuing the dream of achieving a career I really don't deserve given my birthplace and intelligence. I relished in the act of overachieving by working harder than most. It's what I was supposed to do and it gave me purpose. I achieved my goal and have a nice career to show for it.
Somewhere over the last few years, while I was working a job that I wanted so badly for so long, someone changed the rules of the game or maybe I switched games and brought the wrong skill set. Once the career is set what's left? Like so many middle aged fools before me I put my nose to a grindstone and drank the CoolAide that everything must be earned only to realize after so many years that the things I really want, the things that truly soothe my soul, can't be earned. They have to be accepted as gifts. I think I know now why some people become bitter in their old age. They're feet are cemented in a believe that self-reliance leads to happiness. Seeing, but refusing to accept, the things that bring the rainbow in their soul because they can't be earned and how can anything good be unearned, right?
It takes amazing courage to step out of old paradigms and truly follow your heart. It's scary as hell even though your heart is screaming MY GOD MAN! CAN'T YOU SEE HOW GREAT THIS IS? Head vs. Heart I suppose. It's that fear that makes it so rare for some to actually do it. It's also that fear that makes the reward so great when someone actually does leave the past behind and start a new way of thinking and living.
Thank for listening