Thursday, August 21, 2014

Concrete As Illusion

From The Runner's Path
"Sprained head, here I come."

Just starting to write this hurts...

It appears that I'm running toward something that looks a lot like a concrete wall.

I know that I can make a choice between options of avoidance. 

They are all variations of stopping and changing direction, and their combinations thereof. 

As long as I remain focused on the solid mass which is the assembly of aggregate pebbles, ground limestone mortar, and a heavy modicum of reinforcing steel bars - there's a headache - dead ahead.

One dimensional focus.

Point taken.

But then, I hook a left: 
Suddenly I am at the mercy of 2-dimensional thinking. 
Length. Times. Width.
The length of the wall, and how far I have to go to regain my heading becomes a significant variable - in minutes.

Ther's a MULTIVERSE out there!

Or, I could just ignore the wall. In an alternate reality it does not even exist. Runners run through it on a regular basis. Writers call it a "block" and bombard it with words. A mime would just create a door.

Actually, now that I think about it, this is a picture looking back at the wall I just climbed over.

9,310 we don't need no thought control steps.

Monday, March 10, 2014

About a Million Steps...and more.

Taking The First Step (7/23/2011)
This is a Chronicle of my attempts to ready myself to run the Los Angeles Marathon. When I initiated this Photo Album on FaceBook, I was shooting for March 18, 2012. It would have been my 11th Marathon (8th LA) and would have been preceded my 60th birthday by 10 days. I was not successful. 

At that time, July 23, 2011, this page was named "A Half million steps or more..." It began this way: 

"The journey of a thousand miles begins with the first step." ~Lao-Tzu

They say 5 miles is 10,000 steps. I figure I have about half-a-million to go before this is done.


UPDATE: September 23, 2011
Santa Barbara Wine Country in the Fog (9/2011)

Since beginning this journey, I have logged nearly 115,000 steps - and that's skipping almost a month of training. My aim was too low. After reworking the data and making a modestly progressive assumption for the months of training to come, I have to restate my goal and change the name of this Album.

"Towards a Million Steps..." Catchy, eh?

UPDATE: January 27, 2012
I have been sucked in and mired in the reality of working in Los Angeles. The situation is less rosy. 

Dover, DE. 12/11
The last run was in Dover, DE just past Christmas. It's been another month since then. I have always had a problem with the Capricorn - Aquarius transit.

UPDATE: March 17, 2012
As it stands, this year's attempt has ended. I wish all the best to my friend Charlie Bates who IS running tomorrow. This is not the last of it.

"Off the Bench" 4/22/2012

UPDATE: Earth Day - April 22, 2012
I picked up the baton again. Weight is farther out of the nominal range than last year. the goal right now is to be able to run in next year's LA Marathon. I have almost a year this time to prepare.

UPDATE: June 27, 2012
A month after my last post and run we have traveled to beautiful Beaver Creek, Colorado for Ashley's Suzuki Violin Institute.  It's a special time.  A vacation that will most likely never be repeated  
Beaver Creek - Week of June 27, 2012
Either you walk or take a shuttle to get everywhere up here.  I have charged myself to walk.  Walking is so much more rewarding, if not exhausting due to the altitude. As it adds up I'm doing about 2 to 2.5 miles a day.  By the end of the week I should be feeling something besides light-headed
Last Evening on the Mountain Moon
July 1, 2012

At the end of the week on the mountain and after the drive back, I have managed to keep it on the road through July and August. I'm starting to see some results in the mirror again. All the time I have to run is being provided by the fact that Ashley is not in school yet. I hope I can keep it up even when that big scheduling hit occurs.  We'll see. Won't we?

(NOTE: Beginning August 19, 2012, there is an Interim in which exists one post from Thanksgiving Day, November 22, 2012 when it looks like I tried to get off the proverbial bench again.  I did, but for just that day.)

"The Tools of Dispair"

UPDATE: April 13, 2013 

I have picked up the tools of despair once more.

UPDATE: September 27, 2013
This time around I am more confident that I am on the correct path. I am - and this has not been the case for 12 years - finding the time, shoehorning it TO get out and run instead of using excuses to keep me inside on my duff. I also believe that I'm getting a little better at telling the story with the photographs. i should probably let you be the judges of that. 

Also, I have stopped drinking alcohol, something I have tried to do on several occasions in my past with varying levels and duration of success. By publicly stating it, I am attempting to manipulate the outcome of this excursion without the need of "meetings". 

"That's all I'm going to say about that."
~Forrest Gump

UPDATE: October 1, 2013 
It may be a dream, but I have read that "A Goal is a Dream with a due date." 

This Dream is due: Sunday, March 9, 2014 at 7:35AM.  I'll keep you up to date.

On the day the Government grinds to a standstill, I decide to keep things moving. I registered for the L.A. Marathon. 

UPDATE: December 1, 2013
I have passed a million steps. I passed a million steps 50,399 steps ago...About a week ago. No whistles blew. No bells rang. No lightning bolt struck from high Olympus. A milepost is no longer before me. 

To this all I say, "Onward."

PS: I have re-renamed this blog - "About a Million Steps...and more."

Run-up to a Run
(FaceBook Post, one week prior to Marathon.)
FINAL UPDATE and EPILOGUE March 11, 2014

This past Sunday, I finished in the 29th running of the Los Angeles Marathon. It took me 6 hours and 21 seconds (give or take) to cover the required 26.2 miles of the course "From the Stadium to the Sea".Actually it took 2 years and a little over 8 months to travel my personal course. There was ultimate success in this, and some failures along the way. I shall endeavor to celebrate the success and learn from the failures. 
It is complete. The miles have been run. The goal has been reached. A page turns.

Along the way on Sunday, I was evangelized via bull horn and loudspeaker at least 4 times. I was passed by three blind runners being guided by their hosts (Amazing!), passed by Gumby (Wierd!), hosed down by kindly bystanders along the route just exactly at the precise moments it was needed most. I kibitzed with five of the 182 "Legacy runners" (those who have run in EVERY LA Marathon since 1986), 

Of even greater note, I ran alongside a group of Elvis impersonators for a way. (one of whom has run 50 Marathons - I don't know which practice makes him crazier: the running or the Cosplay.) 

And, though I have never carried on a conversation about how cool the Kardashians are or how much an inspiration Bruce Jenner is, engaged in JUST that conversation for about a quarter mile of Sunset Boulevard with another runner... foreign, as evidenced by his selective use of English terms such as "Hollywood?" as he pointed up Sunset towards the Roosevelt Hotel... (I said, "Yes!") and "Kardashians!", this he uttered with a knowing smile and a nod as though to make me assured he knew ALL about Hollywood. (I said that I doubted the Kardashians were anywhere near today's festivities, but he continued...) "Bruce Jenner! Great athlete!" (To this I agreed. His 1976 Decathlon Gold made him a national hero...) He then launched into a listing the rest of the Kardashian spawn and their exploits as though he was reciting an epic poem.
All I needed to do was speed up a little. Oxygen choices. There was heat. Lots of heat. "Oppressive heat," said the news reports. One of the hottest marathons on record. Topped off at 88 degrees. But for some reason, that wasn't my biggest challenge of the day. I have Susan to thank for that. She had given me a really nice "Under Armour" shirt for a birthday (maybe Christmas) years ago. It is made of some special fabric that both clings to you and "wicks" the perspiration away from you and it's supposed to be great for this type of activity. I had never worn it. It was very... stretchy and... body-fitting and I felt WAY too self-conscious even putting it on. But I decided to christen it for my big day. Turned out to be a good choice, because the event tee-shirt that the Marathon folks gave to us was just loose enough to allow some air circulation under it, at the same time ITS own wicking properties really made the combination of the two garments a kind of an air conditioner. I felt positively cool throughout the race. Big thanks to Susan Spadaro for saving my bacon on that one.

Now if only we could have done something about the oppressive gravity on the course.

But then there was the finish line. The glorious finish line by the glorious sea. The glorious finish line by the glorious sea with my glorious family waiting right there for me. I had been counting down the miles since halfway along (yes I know that's not the best practice) but now it was in sight...out of focus...but in sight. And just beyond that - after the medal and the mylar blanket - was the biggest prize. Susan and Ashley had braved the crowds and the traffic and all the hullabaloo to greet Daddy as he finished the grand and crazy thing he'd been working on so long.

I didn't get as many pictures of the race as I'd hoped I would. A final flurry of images to round out the Lookback Movie of this album (if Facebook ever releases the technology to produce one of those precious little vignettes for our customization) would have been nice. I did get a few and have posted most. One or two may yet find their way here. If you have been following my posts in this quest/personal challenge, I want to thank you. It really is astounding what that little "thumbs up" icon can do for a person. Had it not been for that, your supportive comments, some gallows humor, and the ultimate humiliation of failing publicly, (I say that with the requisite "Smiley Face" attached) this would have been a much shorter blog. 

Expression of Humble Appreciation.


Since the first recorded workout I posted on Humana Fit (now called Map My Fitness) exactly 200 posted workouts

881.33 miles covered

217 hours 40 minutes 18 seconds invested

150,021 calories burned (total net loss of 85.3 pounds after gaining back a year ago)

...and 1,640,308 STEPS.

The next journey begins right now.


Here's a link to the whole story with all the pictures and commentary.