Tuesday, September 13, 2011
It’s very hard in the beginning to understand that the whole idea is not to beat the other runners. Eventually, you learn that the competition is against the little voice inside you that wants you to quit.
Whether you are just starting to run or you are training for a marathon, you hear this voice. I call him Bad Coach.
Even if it's not running. If it's swimming, or biking, or just getting your rather ample butt out of the Fat-T-Boy recliner or switching off the football game when Sunday afternoon is so nice.
Here's a news flash: that football game will play out the same whether you watch it or not. Three hours with your nose stuck to the TV when the sun is shining is a no brainer.
What if it's just sticking to your lifestyle change program? Losing weight or getting fit is easy when the pounds are coming off and the exercise is fun. But when you have to see your weighins bounce around the same number week after week or, worse, go up. When you have to talk yourself into pulling on the sneakers for a 20 minute walk, forget about the Long Run, you need yo remember this:
Eventually, you learn that the competition is against the little voice inside you that wants you to quit.
As Winston Churchill said:
Stay thirsty, my friends!
Monday, September 12, 2011
I tried to climb the mountain today. As I inched my way up the path, I felt out of breath and had to turn back.
I tried to climb the mountain today. But, It was so hot outside, I thought I had better stay in my nice air-conditioned house and rest up for tomorrow's attempt.
I tried to climb the mountain today. On my journey, darkness started to fall and I was full of fear, so I had to return to a safe place.
I was ready to climb the mountain today. But I had so may other things to do, so instead of climbing the mountain I took care of the much more important tasks; I washed my car, mowed the grass and watched the big game. Today the mountain will have to wait.
I was going to climb the mountain today. But as I stared at the mountain in all it's majestic beauty, I knew I had no chance of making it to the top, so I figured why even begin trying.
I had forgotten about climbing the mountain today, until an old friend came by and asked what I was up to lately. I told him about all my plans to climb that mountain someday. I went on and on about how I was going to accomplish the task.
He stopped me and said, "I just got back from climbing that mountain. for the longest time I told myself I was going to try to climb it but never made any progress."
"I almost let the dream of making it to the top die. I came up with every excuse of why I could not make it up the mountain, but never once did I give myself a reason why I could. One day as I stared at the mountain and pondered, I realized that if I didn't make an attempt at this dream all my dreams would eventually die.
" The next morning, I started my climb. It was not easy, and at times I wanted to quit. But no matter what I faced, I placed one foot in front of the other, keeping a steady pace. When the wind tried to blow me over the edge, I kept walking. When the voices inside my head screamed, stop! I focused on my goal, never letting it out of sight. I kept moving forward. I could not quit because I knew I had come too far to stop now. Time and time again, I reassured myself that I was going to finish this journey. I struggled mightily to make it to the top, but I CLIMBED THE MOUNTAIN.
"I have to be going," my friend said. "Tomorrow is a new day to accomplish more dreams. By the way what are you going to do tomorrow?"
I looked at him, with intensity and confidence in my eyes, and said, "I HAVE A MOUNTAIN TO CLIMB."
-- Author unknown
Start by doing what is necessary, then do what i spossible, and suddenly you will be doing the impossible.
-- St Francis of Assisi
Sunday, September 11, 2011
Today was a day for us to stop and remember where we were and what we were doing 10 years ago.
Every generation has some of those days. For my parents it was December 7, 1941. It was the day Roosevelt died in 1945, ANd VE-Day and VJ-Day. Some cross generations. The Cuban Missile Crisis, JFK Assassination. For me I include RFK, MLKJr, Apollo1 fire, Apollo 13, John Lennon.
The one that had the greatest impact, the one that actually moved me to tears and fear was 9/11. 10 years on we are still feeling the reverberations. We had an exchange student this spring. When we went to NYC for a day, he marvelled at the paranoia behind the "Seesomething, say something" campaign. He felt it was a little fascist in that as he saw it through the lenses of a European, our government was trying to keep us afraid to control us. Maybe he had a point.
But then again we woke up this morning to the news of a truck bomb in Afghanistan. We are still there!! 10 year later.
Today I ran in the Baltimore Run to Remember 5k. Threre were speeches by politicians, and police commisioners and fire chiefs. There was patriotic music played. There was a color guard. And there were prayers offered by the Fire Chaplain/Rabbi. It was all quite nice and moving.
I was hoping to catch the entirety of the Shot tower behinf the crossed ladders, but the flage dropped at the last moment. It would have been a great iconic shot.
Now if you read my blog, you know I ran 12 miles yeaterday. I wanted to run this 5k today because it has become a tradition. I didn't expect much inasmuch as my legs were tired. On the other hand except for the last half mile or so as a gentle climb up Federal Hill, it was a pretty flat course.
Was I turned the corner into the park I saw on the clock I was not going to break a 9:00 minute mile. The clock shows Gun Time and there was no way I would be crossing the line at 27:54. So I let up. I entirely forgot that what was on the clock was gun time and it was chip time that counts, and I let up. Final gun time was 28:11. My chip time was 28:01. If I hadn't let up, I would have had 27:54 for a sub 9:00 mile. Oh well. I wasn't expecting even that much.
I have in other places expressed my three rules for runner:
3) If you can't afford a sitter, you can't afford the race. Leave the stroller home.
2) Your dog is not MY running companion. I don't know him he doesn't know me and that could be dangerous. Leave Rover at home.
1) Wear a fookin' shirt! It ain't that hot and neither are you. Ladies you too. Cover it up.
And here's why:
Maybe I need to also add that unless you have the legs, those pants are also on the verboten list.
Saturday, September 10, 2011
"It's always darkest just before the dawn."
I cannot speak to the veracity of the superlative there, but I have, since I started marathon training, been able to verify that it is indeed pretty darned dark before the dawn.
And it is a pretty neat time of day to see things you do not otherwise see.
I have been crawling out of the bed at 4:30 - 4:45 Saturdays for the last couple of months, pulling on my run gear, grabbing some carbs and coffee, and hitting the street before 5:15. And it has been getting darker at that hour as the year progresses.
The drunks and other ne'er-do-wells are all abed or passed out by this hour so the streets are pretty safe ... at least I think so ... at least I HOPE so.
It's pretty cool to see otherwise busy Frederick Road empty as far as the eye can see. The traffic lights silently going through their cycles. The warning sound for the visually-impaired at the crosswalks continue to chirp but they seem so much louder at this hour. I would hate to live right on one of those corners.
I have seen deer at this hour. And not ones or twos; whole herds of 8 or more. And just so you don't think "So What?" please look at a Google map for Catonsville, MD. It sits astride the Baltimore Beltway and adjoins the Southwest corner of Baltimore City. This is town. Not quite urban but way more than suburban. So deer are neat to see.
And foxes, too. I suppose they must be after the bunny rabbits you also see at this hour. As light starts to fill the sky, the squirrels start to come out.
Something else the foxes may be after is the rats. Before you go "Ewwww, Rats!" what was your reaction when I mentioned squirrels? "Awww, squirrels, so cute." Same disgusting, disease-ridden, nasty, little beasts but with a bushy tail and better PR. So leave the rats alone. (Ewwww, rats.) I almost stepped in a dead one this morning. Thank goodness for my headlamp. And my nose.
Today was odder (more odd?) than most. For a couple of minutes (probably only a few tens of seconds) I had a bat in my light as a running companion. I must have been drawing bugs to the light. That was different.
That was the second bat I have had contact with in as many weeks. During Irene, somehow, the cat got ahold of one inside the house. It must have come in an opened window for shelter from the wind, I suppose. The cat ripped its wing and the poor thing could not fly away so the cat was having a grand old time with it. I grabbed some work gloves, shooed the cat, pick the poor animal up, and put it outside. I know, it was just going to be food for some other predator or scavenger, but not on my carpet. I felt sorry for it.
As light started to spread across the sky, I saw the most dangerous animal there is ... an idiot who thinks that just because the sky is no longer black, he doesn't need his headlights when he drives. I nearly crossed the street right in front of him because I didn't see him. I had MY headlight on, what was his excuse? Oh, yeah, I already said it ... IDIOT!!!!
Right before dawn may or may not be the darkest hour. Living in town it's hard to tell. (Oh, look, it's a clear night, we can see the star.)
But you do see some pretty neat things.
Friday, September 09, 2011
My kitchen is my domain.
She(WMBO) and I were married 38 years ago in June. For our first Thanksgiving together I asked if we were having homemade bread with dinner. The answer came swift and sure: 'You want that you make it.'
So I did!
And it was good.
She had no idea.
She handed me the keys.
Over the years, I collected and rejected a number of gadgets. Once I started my weight loss journey, I discovered some things that I absolutely cannot do without. Here are 10.
1) Cast Iron. She(WMBO) wishes it would just go away. To her it is dirty because when you buy it it's a uniform grey, but as you use it and cure it it becomes black. And it stays a little oily. But, oh my goodness, it is the original no stick cookware. No Teflon pan can hold a candle to it. And it heats so evenly. Copper is good, but I love my irons.
2) Dutch Oven. Mine are of course, cast iron. This is the original slow cooker. Set it up. Put it in the oven at 300 for three hours and you have a perfect roast. Let it simmer all day on the top for chili. Take it outside and use burning embers and cook what ever you like in it. We did pizza last week. When we go camping we have veritable feasts.
3) Slow Cooker. I do still love my slow cooker. It's bigger than my Dutch Ovens so it will take virtuallty anything.
4) Kitchen Scale. Where would I be without that? When Weight Watchers was selling off the Points models in anticipation of the PointsPlus models at half price I snatched one up. It is the one I tem I use every time I am in the kitchen. (I could not care less about the points. The alphanumeric input is so slow it make that feature useless to me.)
5) Ice Cream Scoop. When I was first outfitting my kitchen for weight loss, I measured the size of everything. To my surpise, I had two sizes of scoops: 1/3 cup and 1/4 cup. So handy for dishing out rice, veggies, oatmeal, or and Ice cream in all the right portion sizes.
6) Serving Spoons. Not just any old set. These are measured, so if I use the large one, it's 1 cup. The medium is 1/2 cup and the small is 1/4 cup. The soup ladle is 1 cup.
7) Mandoline. If you don't already know, it's a slicer where you slide the veggie along a platforn and a stationary blade cuts to the thickness you desire. Why don't I just use the food processor? Because it's a beast, take up too much counter space, the stuff I am slicing rolls around int he tube and comes out note neat, and is a b¡tch to clean up.
8) Rice Cooker. It cooks rice without me watching it. But wait there's more! I also set up my oatmeal (aka porridge) in it, set the timer to be done at 6:00 AM, put it on the Porridge mode, and go to bed. In the morning, I smell whatever I flavored my oatmeal with throughout the house, usually apple pie, sometimes spices, pumpkin pin or my latest, banana nut bread. No fuss, no muss, breakfast is served!
9) On the Rocks Glasses. When you buy a set of galsses at Wamart, there are the tall glasses and those sort stubby ones. Those are called on-the-rocks glasses. I used to eventually throw those out. Never used them They are ten ounces to the brim. That won't even fit a soda, forget the ice. When I started my journey, I measured out 1 cup milk and poured it into the tumbler and groaned. It didn't even come up half way. The I remembered a maxim I learned in college while getting my engieering degree. "The glass is neither half full nor half empty. You just need to get the right sized glass" Ta-Da! The on-the-rocks glass is perfect! I now know just about exactly where 1 cup is on it and it's the right sized glass.
10) Sushi Plates. These are nice plates for the same reason the I like the on-the-rocks glasses. When I am eating proper sized portions of meat and rice, they look so lonely on a full sized plate. But they look great filling up the sushi plate. Put the veggies in a small 1-cup size bowl (those are perfect for cereal -- 3/4 cup with milk fits exactly) and I have some very full ooking dishes.
BONUS -- Breadmaker. I don't make bread the way I did nearly 40 years ago. Who needs all that kneading? It even cooks it. If I don't want that odd shaped loaf, and I usually do not, I put it on the Dough cycle and put the dough in a propper pan or form a loaf and bake it on a stone ... or in my dutch oven!
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