Saturday, October 23, 2010
You CAN Go Home Again!
Today was a 10K in my home town, Hamburg PA. I left there in 1967, and had not been back since probably the early 1970's, but have kept in touch with my childhood pal over the years. I called her when I found out about the 10, asking if she wanted to do it with me. She is not a runner, not even a 'wrotter' (walk/trot) but loves to walk, yes, she would do it with me. It started just a block from where we grew up, at the back corner of the playground where we spent many hours every summer, and even sledding down the banks in the winter. I pulled into town this morning and was swept with such a wave of nostalgia as I drove the strange yet familiar streets. I found the start with no trouble at all, and saw Mary walking towards me. We were the first ones in line for our race packets and headed to my car to check out our goodie bags and pin on our bibs. We still had plenty of time before the race, so we took a walk.....across the playground, reminiscing about what used to be there and how things had changed. I could not resist sitting in a swing just to see if I could still do it..........I could, but the seat was not as comfy as I remembered! Down the alley that was behind our houses, peering into the back yards of strangers who now live where we once did. Up the side street and down North Third, our street, playing the 'do you remember' game and 'didn't there used to be....?' We passed where the corner 'Mom and Pop' store had been, peering in the window and talking about the old soda machine where you reached into the icy water for your drink , the penny candy counter with the gum ball machine that contained some 'winners', the trap door that the owner would lift to go down in the basement for barrel molasses.......they were all gone now, but our memories remained. We got back to the start, taking our places in the rear. We didn't see any girls our age, and I commented to Mary that we both might get a medal. She laughed.....she had never done an event before. We were off, the rest of the pack hard core and obviously serious runners. Within a block we were alone, nobody else in sight. The course was not marked..there were supposed to be volunteers along the course, but we only saw one or 2 through town. The promoter had gone over the course before we started, and fortunately we knew the landmarks, and Mary knew her way around better than I, so we had a general idea. We get through the first third of the course, back to the playground and again we had to sop and ask directions. Whoever we talked to was rather rude, informing us that they can't tie up traffic all day .....it seemed that they expected the walkers to do the 2 mile family event. All day? it had only been a half hour since the race started. The rest of the race was on a trail, and we headed to that, and again I was glad that Mary knew her way. We saw some runners coming back the road......it was to be an out and back on the trail, so apparently the runners had no one to give them direction either. We got to the Kernsville Dam and made our turnaround and headed back. I was still a bit annoyed at the dis-organization of the event, and we got back to the playground and made our block loop to the finish. The awards ceremony had already started, and there was nobody at the end to collect our bib tags. Eventually someone did come up to us and asked which one of us crossed the line first and he collected our tags and entered things in a laptop. We went for a snack, and a guy came up to Mary that she knew from her days as Drum Corps support staff member (and Mom.) He and I talked races, and we were familiar with many of the same events. Sure enough, they got to the 60 plus category and it was announced that there were only 4 of us, and Mary's name was called for second, mine for first. We collected our medals, and decided to take a walk along the toe path by the old canal......I walked that with my Mother at least 50 years ago! Back to her car, we made another trip down memory lane as we headed north out of town to 'The Rock', a place along the Schuylkill River where I swam as a kid. I never did, but there were some that dove into the river from the rock....I just remember diving off my Dad's shoulders when we went swimming in the river. Funny, the rock didn't look as high as I remember it nor the river as wide. It used to be a nice little picnic area for family fun, now it just looks like some illegal parities go on there nightly.
Bottom line, it was a great day, Full of good times, nostalgia, and a great friend and ending with good food. Yes, I splurged for a huge cheese steak and French fries with gravy AND a Captain and Coke.. We have some other tentative plans together in the near future..........Hamburg has a huge Halloween parade next weekend, I haven't seen one of them since I think 1964..in fact I probably have a picture of my 18-year old self from that parade! Maybe this year. The town may have changed, but the memories as well as the friendship that Mary and I share are still the same.
Wednesday, October 20, 2010
There is a difference between conceit and confidence.
- Johnny Unitas
I read this line and my mind went to the moron that told me I was 'full of myself.' I actually agreed with him, I AM full of myself, and I think I have every right to be. I know no others personally who have done what I have in the last four years...........maybe this person did a bit and that person did a bit, but not the whole lost-over-100-pounds-and-went-from-sedenta
ry-to-a-half-marathon. Plus when I talk about my accomplishments it is with the air of self-confidence rather than with the conceit of ego. I am proud of what I have done, and am willing to help others reach their goals., boost THEIR confidence. We are here to improve ourselves, and even if there is only 5 pounds to lose, it is still a victory when they are gone and we have earned the right to brag a little. Yes, we do it for self, but sharing our stories inspire others to emulate us and begin or continue their own journey. Yes, there is a huge difference between conceit and confidence. To me, conceit is saying, 'look at me, I am wonderful,' while confidence is saying, 'look at what I have done, how can I help you reach your goals?' Those who live by conceit just don't understand confidence, they are the center of their own universe, never giving, only taking don't think of myself as full of conceit, but certainly full of confidence. I know there will always be someone faster, stronger than me, and they do keep me humble. If I ever go on an ego trip, I hop someone has the decency to take my out and give me a good slapping down. I don't want to get to the top badly enough to climb on others to get there......to me it's just not worth it.
Tuesday, October 19, 2010
Before Spark, I blogged on a dating site, and decided to post the 'Stupid' blog there...had not posted a blog there all year. I was pleasantly surprised by 37 responses, as well as a warm welcome back by many familiar names, people that regularly read my blogs last year. It was nice, but there is still to much negativity and pessimism there, that just get me frustrated. I blog because I have something to share. Period. I don't do it to brag, just want to share my humble opinion. It may not be the same as yours, but that does not mean it is wrong, nor does it give you the right to imply that I should not think or feel the way I do. I get none of that here on Spark. I am sure there are those who disagree with me, but they have the courtesy to keep their opinions to themselves, or maybe they share them in their own blogs. Many of my early blogs had been posted there, and while I had excellent comments on my weight loss there, I also had comments belittling what I have done. Who needs that? I was never able to just shrug it off, and after the beginning of the year I just stopped posting, until just the other day. I did post another blog there yesterday, venting about cyber-stalkers and other forms of rudeness, and sure enough, someone just did not understand why I had a problem with stalkers. Heavy sigh. So, dear readers, I will continue to do my serious blogging here on Spark, sharing my thoughts and adventures. I will probably post there occasionally, my recent posts did bring in some new contacts and it was especially nice to reconnect with old friends.
Sunday, October 17, 2010
Today I was contacted by another jerk in the long line of jerks aka internet dating. I am sure that there are some really nice guys out there, in fact, I have met many of them, but it seems that for every decent one there is always one who is not so decent. Today I received the following email on one of the dating sites.........copied and pasted as it was sent to me:
Wow, incredible profile & you are stunning, gorgeous actually. I saw your profile and it caused and unusual impact, I
am interested in you. You have such a beautiful profile. Have you found your lover? If you are still searching, I would
like to know more about you, what motivates you? What makes your heart leap with passion? Love? Joy? I find your
intelligence and beauty very exciting.
Your profile drew me in and captivated me. Mine seems so barren compared to yours. I'm looking for a man who wants
to take the time to get to know me through email correspondence and an open sharing of the head and the heart first
through email and phone calls and then negotiating a meeting in person if we both remain interested. I am ready willing
and able to venture forth on a journey that will leave the past behind while preserving the best memories and forgiving
the ones that were hurtful and usually unintentional. I live life one day, one hour, one moment at a time. I want and
need the healing power of love physically emotionally and spiritually. I live as if time were on fire and I believe that
every day of the right relationship should be treated like the first day of our honeymoon. I want to share what I have
with one special man who will appreciate that I have a deep capacity to love that needs to be filled and fulfilled. We
can't keep it unless we give it away. I am writing these thoughts as the flow into my head and my sense is that they are
coming directly from my heart. I'm feeling very peaceful now and this seems like the appropriate place to stop.
If for some reason we happen not to be right for each other, I wish you the best in your search. I wish you continued
passion and an exciting lover to keep your fires burning. I appreciate and admire your intensity. have a nice day and
stay sweet all the time.....
I started reading, thinking 'ah, another one who is laying it on pretty thick' and then I go to the line, "I'm looking for a man who wants to take the time to get to know me through email correspondence......." What? He is looking for a MAN? Do I LOOK like a man? The words are beautiful, flowery and sweet, peptic even. And obviously not his own. Can you tell I have a HUGE problem with people who try to hog credit that is not rightfully theirs? My response?
'If you are going to copy and paste someone else's words and attempt to pass them off as your own, I suggest you proof read things a bit more carefully. I have no time for dishonest people.' At least he had the decency to take it like a man and simply delete my email, as I did his.
Thanks for listening, just needed to vent. 'Nuff said.
Saturday, October 16, 2010
Today I had my 9th 5K for the 2010. All year I have been trying to get my time under 40 minutes....had gotten close (40:11) but the 39 minute mark has just kept eluding me. Until today. * I knew the course, that was a help, and almost the entire second half was downhill. Not much of a downgrade, but enough to get a nice rhythm going. The race was at a local elementary school in my district, and the majority of it was along the LVRT, the same trail that I have biked and walked all year long, some blacktop but mostly crushed stone. I got there early and picked up my packet and bib....hm, nice tech shirt, a protein barmy a PayDay and a beef stick, the date of next years race......at least it wasn't filled with all kinds of papers that I just wind up trashing. I took my haul back to the car and pinned on my bib...I was #79 today. I started taking pictures of the crowd, a decent turnout, but not overly huge. There was a cop there giving stickers to the kids, a few dogs. We assembled at the start, and the music teacher sang the National Anthem, a real nice touch. And we were off. I trotted as long as I could, then settled into my normal speedwalk. This trail was once a railroad, so the grade is not steep, but as we rounded a corner I glanced back and saw no one.....I figured I was bringing up the rear. Not a problem I don't mind being last. The girls ahead of me slowed to a walk, and my walking pace had me passing them, but they trotted again to get ahead. I am not out there to compete agains others, I only want to do my best. The leaders were starting to come back, and some of them must have been hard core, insisting on running three abreast, almost forcing me off the trail twice. I guess some were born to be rude. I hit the turn-around, and grabbed some water, I knew the next half would be much easier, and I broke into a trot. I had passed and managed to stay ahead of the girls who had passed me earlier, and I was surprised to see at least 8 others still on the first leg. I trotted much of the way down the last leg, letting gravity work for me. I got to the road and glanced at my watch...only 35 minutes, I just KNEW I was going to finish in under 40! I get to the gate and there are people milling around in front of me, blocking my way to the chute; I was told I needed to go around. Okay, through the gate AND in under 40! Someone came up to me and asked if I wasn't sure which way to go, and when I explained that I came up the road and there were people blocking my way, I found out that I went farther than I should have! It seems that there was a volunteer on the trail that was directing runners to get OFF the trail way before it crossed the road, so I did about 3.2 instead of the 3.1, AND I did it in 38:365 an average speed of 5.1MPH.
Before I did the half, I found a site that had all kinds of tees, cups, magnets, etc. for racing, either 5K's, 10K's, Tri's, Du's, halves or full marathons, and there was a nice saying:
I know I'm only competing against mself
I set goals and work hard to accomplish then
I understand the power of human will
I strive to help others in their quest for success
I know that I can face whatever road lies ahead
I am not satisfied with the status quo
My true self shines through
I am a Half Marathoner
I think it can hold true for any of us. I know when I race I am only competing against myself. I know how hard I can push myself, and today I pushed myself harder than I have before. I don't need to be the fastest, I just need to be the best ME.
After the race a woman came up to me......we had met at the Palmyra trail run on 9-11, and we will be doing the same race on Thanksgiving Day also. We are in the same age group, and her time is a good 10 minutes faster than mine. She took 1st, I took 3rd. In addition to a medal, first place also got pies, second and third got cookies (mine are already in the freezer) I also saw several shirts from races I have done in the past. The day was beautiful, crisp and clear with a warm sun. A bit breezy, but I didn't even notice it back on the trail. I usually feel overwhelmed when I start a race, I didn't feel like that today. I guess after you have done 13 miles non-stop, 3 is just a drop in the bucket! And I get to do it all again next weekend, a 10K in my home town, with my hometown girlfriend, starting on the playground where her and I spent countless hours. I don't know if I am more excited to see her or do the race!
Today's race is one for my personal records.. I enjoy every one, but this was the day I set a new best time!
*There was one in Palmyra that I did in 32, but everybody had fantastic times, it had to be a short course, so I won't even count that.
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