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Showing posts from March, 2010

5 Seems So Old in Blog Years

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Thanks for your comments and for sometimes holding your tongue. Thanks for your encouragement and for sometimes setting me straight. Thanks for the public kudos and for all the private emails when you could read between the lines. Thanks for the special mentions on your own blog, for listing me as one of your Favorites and for the retweets on Twitter. Thanks for meeting in person when I was in town and for meeting in person when you were visiting. Whether it be through family, friendship or fate, you played a small role in shaping the posts that have appeared here for the past five years. Thanks for being a small part of my blog and a big part of my life.

Weekday Warrior

I went back to school this year to learn new software skills to stay competitive in today’s anemic economy. About 80 percent of the students are professionals who lost their jobs; the other 20 percent fear the same fate. The classes take place at a satellite campus in Serra Mesa on Saturdays and Sundays. We have to arrive between 7 and 7:30 a.m. to get in line for a good seat in the Mac Lab. Some weeks, I am in class all day Saturday; others, it’s Sunday. Beginning after spring break next week, it’ll be both Saturdays and Sundays through May. I don’t know about the other 20-percenters who have day jobs, but I’m beginning to tire of weekends devoted to a life of the mind. I love it while I’m learning, but come Sunday evening I realize how little time I spent outside a cold classroom. This semester’s schedule also has created an exercise inversion. I basically now bulk all of my running, rowing, and gym time into Monday thru Friday. The key for me is to prepare well the night before

Wordless Wednesday

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I Am Not Worthy

One of my side jobs is helping professional speakers craft compelling presentation descriptions and biographies so some very busy people book them for appearances. As I sit here this morning wading through another huge pile, I am struck by how much the more seasoned executives give back with their time and talents. We're not just talking about joining the Rotary Club; these people invest in non-profits by leading their boards and contributing through considerable direct donations and/or in-kind services. In the past decade, I've dispense a lot of advice, often unsolicited, to new runners so that they can fully enjoy their experiences with minimum pain and suffering of the injury variety. I do sometimes wonder if I really know what I'm talking about, though, given my current state of physical decline. And I wonder if people privately snicker as I limp along in my larger-sized shirts and shorts. No matter. The San Diego Track Club last month appointed me to its board of dir

Haunted by Tuesdays Past

The other evening I went to my track club’s Tuesday night workout. Only I sat in the bleachers, passing time instead of passing people during a tempo run. More than two years ago I felt a stabbing pain during Tuesday night hill repeats and limped back to my car, never to return thanks to chronic achilles tendonitis. That annoying injury eventually became a full-blown tear last fall and is what had me, four-plus months after being given “the boot,” staring at all my fit friends circling the Mesa College oval as the sun set. I felt lumpy and misshapen and unworthy, sitting there overdressed in long sleeves and sweat pants. But I also felt inspired. I now have a new running goal, unglamorous as it is. I’m going to get back into shape so I can return to those track workouts, and in a singlet and shorts that show off a firmer form. The weather’s improving. My injury is improving. It’s time my ambitions improved too.

Wordless Wednesday

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The Other Side of the Equation

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During my recent four-month forced hiatus from running, I kept track of calories using a couple of popular calorie counters: Fitday and, later, MyPlate . According to my daily average intake, I should have lost 1.8 pounds a week. Instead, I gained five pounds. Part of the problem was something I wrote about last month : I vastly underestimated my recorded portions and serving sizes. But I also fell for miscalculations on how much I burned exercising. Basically, you cannot trust the accuracy of calorie estimates generated by machines, which tend to provide far more generous numbers than you’ve actually earned. Exercise machine manufacturers want you to believe you’re burning more than you might be so you’ll stick with their product. Calorie counters take your word on weight, age and especially effort. Your number is aggregated with others, from fat to fit, to come up with an average. But we all move mass differently and everything from proper form to a spicy burrito breakfast can i

What's a 'Lone Wolf' Runner To Do?

I was working out in the gym yesterday when I saw the story about the Alaskan runner who was believed to be killed by a pack of wolves -- a rare attack. The article makes a point of her running alone and while listening to music (instead of her wild surroundings, I presume). LA Times: Wolves kill teacher in Alaska Here locally we've been told for a couple of weeks now to not run alone, especially if you're a woman. This was prompted by the attack on one college student and murder of a high school runner on trails surrounded by suburban homes. A couple of days after Chelsea King's body was found, there was a news report of a woman attacked in Chula Vista while jogging in a park in the evening. The commenters were none to kind toward her, saying the victim was incredibly stupid to run alone and in the dark after what was known to have just happened elsewhere in the county. I planned to celebrate my first Sunday morning home in six weeks with a short run followed by a long

Wordless Wednesday

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Bookmark This Post

The Wall Street Journal claims people statistically have a midlife crisis at the age of 47 . For once, I’m with them. I have indeed undergone a great deal of turbulence and a major career transition that has transformed me in the past 365 days. I now arrive on my 48th birthday a lot less wealthy, a wee bit wiser and far more happy. And I didn’t even need a tummy tuck, sports car or boy toy to arrive here. I titled this post as such because it may serve as a handy reference when you too pass through life’s prism and turn from a sorry-ass to sage. Heretofore are some kernels of wisdom I have learned through mostly experience. Many more than appear here moved through my mind, but these are the only ones I could remember after recent runs. If you want adventures and great stories to tell, you must run into trouble, not away from it. A key to happiness is self-discipline. That means when you lose it or lack it, you will feel a little down. And that, I’m convinced, is why we really have

A Sad Note

No Wordless Wednesday photo today. Thousands gathered last night to mourn the assumed death of a local high school runner whose body was found yesterday not far from where I live . You might have seen the coverage on CNN and other national news media outlets or remembered reading about it here last week. The guy who is in custody now may be connected to another attack on a runner in that area and the disappearance of a 14-year-old a year ago. Her parents helped in this child's search. Both were abducted in plain view, and a third attack on a Colorado tourist took place in the middle of the day. We are not as safe as we think, even in familiar surroundings. Never forget that.

Now to Our Top Story...

I’ve been furiously clicking onto every station for the past two hours, and so far I’ve got nothin’. No coverage from channels 5, 6, 7, 8 or 10. No call-in to KPBS or KOGO. Even the normally reliable KUSI, which will dispatch its star reporters to a Del Taco grand opening, is uncharacteristically mum. Everyone’s athletics coverage is still focused on those dang Winter Olympics. The real news unfolded at approximately 5:05 a.m. PST on the northern edge of the city of San Diego. There, for the entire world to see, I ran for the first time in four very, very long months. It wasn’t pretty. But it wasn’t painful either.