Thursday, October 17, 2013

A New Day

I have not posted on this blog for well more than a year. And that is fine. I am sort of surprised to find that it is still here. I do no have any interest in it being a public venue. My purpose this afternoon is simple: just to mark the new beginning of my renewed Vegetarian focus. I have been leaning that way of late any way; following an out of control "meat" binge a couple of weeks ago (a weird way to handle a bout of maxed up stress) I have been turned off even thinking of eating meat at all - though I broke this focus last night in "celebration" of a family event. With this posting, however, I begin Day 1 of an as yet undetermined "streak" without consuming the flesh of another fellow critter.

Monday, June 18, 2012

My First Half Marathon!

After due thought and consideration, this afternoon I registered to run my first half-marathon ever! I chose one of the Rock & Roll series to take place in Las Vegas: December 2, 2012 gives me enough time to comfortably prepare for it, and the course ought to be comfortably flat, as well as dry and warm that time of year. So, let the training begin. I have been a little lost and undirected in my running and fitness this year. But now I have tangible incentive to train regularly and eat properly. This should be fun and satisfying. My goal, of course, is just to finish the race. I have never been a speed demon under the best of circumstances even in my long ago youth; but I kind of get into distances and fun destination runs. 

Thursday, March 29, 2012

As March Nears Its End

I just sat down at my office desk upon returning from a mid-day 3.33 mile run in the sun. This is one of those little outings that causes you to feel strong,  really strong. And happy. I actually am eager to get out there again. Vitamin D Sunshine and I have always been buddies. It also seems clear that my longer 10+ miler last Saturday acted to strengthen me, as well as my determined new friendship with the upward side of hills. Did I mention that this makes me happy?

I also noticed something interesting as I looked back on my DailyMile stats, comparing those of this uncompleted month with March 2011. At this moment, my total mileage for the two months, one year apart, are tied. I have realized that for the last few days, and found the fact relatively pleasing. What I only JUST realized is that there is actually a gaping distance between the two periods because last year in March I included lots of walking miles. I think I was walking to and from work at the time. But this year, I have hardly recorded any walking miles. The net effect is that I will have run 20 miles or so more this March than last. That happened without any planning or thought. Nice. I have a hunch, now that I am feeling good again - without foot pain - that this trend will actually accelerate.

Another bit of a milestone: last night I was talking with a smoker/sedentary friend of Sandra's and mine who is really suffering from pains in her knees, neck, and elsewhere. She complained, seriously, about the ill effects of growing old. It was with a start that I realized she is about 20 years younger than me, and really does have the body and health of a person 20 years older than me in some ways. Chalk part of it up to her chain smoking, and chalk another part of it up to me running. Hurray Running!

Monday, March 12, 2012

Blue River Trails

This past Saturday afternoon borrowed beagle, Sam, and I went together for a dandy run along one of the Blue River Trails in south Kansas City, Missouri. It was a sunny, completely cloudless, day. Not many others were on the trail by the time we did our mid - late afternoon exercise. It was a healthy and joyous activity on a perfect day with my best running buddy. We explored some new trails we had not ventured upon in earlier running ventures and the season of spring was just moments away from its explosive annual outpouring. Sam sniffed around with her super-beagle nose, and through the trees and past the cliffs I glimpsed the silent canoes drifting below on the Blue River. This running venue has been one of my favorites lately.

Sometimes as I run and explore here though, I find my thoughts focused on an important and dreadful Alig family event that occurred along this river, very close to this particular trail, more than 80 years ago - eons before I was born. But, I realize for the first time ever that it happened less than 24 years before I was born. Not so very long after all. On October 18, 1929, also a beautiful time of year - but perhaps one with less hope for what lay ahead, my Dad's father lost his life by drowning in that same river.And my father at age 6 lost his Daddy. And my grandmother at 29 years of age lost her husband of less than 10 years.

As I ran this spring weekend, I thought about how deeply isolated and wild this stretch of river land, hills, and forest, would have been in 1929 when handsome Otto Alig was 35 years old. It was apparently a crisp and sunny day, much like this one. Back then I think there would have been no adjoining golf course, nearby neighborhoods, or the surrounding network of well traveled and paved roads. Just a young man out on a pretty day, away from his work responsibilities. Of course, that was actually very odd for the young banker with the reputation for taking care of business at his place of employment all the way back at ____________ Bank in downtown Kansas City.

On this day in 2012 I thought about the beauty of this place, and wondered why he was drawn to it. How well did he know it? Did he wander trails here or put a canoe into the water? Had he ever brought his little boy to the Blue River valley? Was he an out-of-doors kind of guy who just wanted to be close to nature that day? Did he thrive on the same kind of vistas that enthralled me with Samantha Beagle? Was he lonely or lost?

It seems very complicated.Could he have been depressed or scared? There were rumors of suicide by drowning. And also -- at least in later years -- suspicions of murder. As an adult I believe my close mouthed father, who rarely discussed this painful childhood history, leaned toward the likelihood of wrongful death at the hand of another. (He even believed he had come up with the name of a likely culprit.) No proof was apparently presented for either speculation. But, Otto seems to have gone to this place in an ominous and solitary frame of mind. When his body was found the next day in the shallows of the river, his hands were still wrapped in his rosary. How does a person manage to take his own life in that way with prayer beads still neatly encircling his folded hands? That does not seem physically likely. Of course, that same evidence clearly rules out the possibility of an accidental death.

Somehow, his oldest son grew up through economic depression and world war and became an admired and successful business man in the same community. But, the loss in incalculable and to me - unimaginable. Young Charles would celebrate his own 89th birthday tomorrow - March 13. Without the example of a father through his own life, he became a terrific one and a model to both my sister and me in his own right.

But now, almost 84 years later, I am determined to redeem this place and this sad death for Otto and his  family, generations later, by running freely and happily with Sam. Not forgetting the past, but keeping a tie to this place as his grandchild in a way that perhaps he might appreciate. 

(To be continued, still in draft form)

Thursday, February 9, 2012

2012 Book List

January 2012.
1.  The Runner's Guide to the Meaning of Life. By Amby Burfoot.
2. Midnight Rising: John Brown and the Raid that Sparked the Civil War. By Tony Horwitz.
3. The Mark of the Horse Lord. By Rosemary Sutcliffe.
4. Destiny of a Republic: A Tale of Madness, Medicine and Murder of a President. By Candice Millard.

February 2012.
1. The River of Doubt: Theodore Roosevelt's Darkest Journey. By Candice Millard.
2. Lonely Planet Costa Rica.

March 2012.
1. Hunger Games.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

A New Year

2012 is happening. As I write these words, I have one daughter vacationing in Hawaii and one living in Costa Rica. I have so far been invited to Costa Rica, Connecticut, New York, and Switzerland during this new year. Maybe this time I will not just live vicariously through all my friends and family; but .... as always finances will tell the story.

This blog's reason for existence is to think out loud about my running. But, it maybe will expand to the bigger, more encompassing, metaphorical journey along with running. Today is 5th day of the new year, and I have not logged a single mile running or walking on road or trail. First, a very painful foot injury of some kind made it difficult to shuffle along, let alone run. And then, more recently a tenacious and debilitating seasonal cold kept me indoors and inactive. But, I think the bruising of my foot is mostly healed now, and the cold is on its way out. So, I will let the running begin again this weekend. It is fun to anticipate the first miles of the year, and high time.

Thursday, July 14, 2011


Not long ago I decided on a whim to do some physical activity sufficient so that I could legitimately make an entry on my Daily Mile log every day, consecutively, for 60 days. And then I actually accomplished it. I also decided to exceed 100 miles for the month of June on DM, and exceeded that comfortably.

When both of those self induced challenges were complete, I found myself ratcheting down and taking some time off from the focus. Not entirely...I have still gone out and done some satisfying runs and walks since then. But, not daily.

Now, the bug is burrowing inside me again. I feel an urgency to pick back up where I left off. Only this time with a modified - as yet undefined - new grander goal and objective. The new plan will definitely involve running and cycling. It will also involve a lot more yoga and shoulder/arm focus since that is where old age decrepitude seems to be creeping up more obviously.

I know about myself that one of the joys of running is exploration. It is an amazing way to see the world with a fresh eye and perspective. So, over the next two to three months I will do more travel-running. And, it is a good way to explore inward as well. I love to get away, with no agenda, in new places to think & plan & pray while I run. I nearly always find new perspectives of beauty and gratefulness and freedom in the stars, or blue skies and powerful clouds, on long roads, with wilder creatures about, and the normal restraints on me lifted by conditioning, reflection, flight.

I can not wait to get started again.