Thursday, March 15, 2018

A little run

I could hear the wind howling as I lay in the pre-dawn darkness of my bedroom under my covers, and felt my house shaking as the wind gusts buffeted it.  I had run two kilometers the day before in my attempt to return to running, and I almost succumbed to my inner urgings telling me to not run back-to-back days.

But I got out of my warm bed, put on my running togs and left the house as the sky started lightening with the dawn.  It was cold outside but I was warm enough at the start with three layers on so I knew that I was foolishly overdressed.  Still, I wasn't going far so I figured it wouldn't matter too much, except that I stupidly didn't bring gloves so my hands were frozen throughout the slow, loping mile and a half run.

The sky was streaked with colors as it often is at that time of the morning.  I occupied my mind, as I tried to ignore my labored breathing, with reflecting on signs that I passed along the way.  One roadside yard sign sarcastically told me to slow down, please, while another storefront sign mocked me with the name of the establishment, Jimmy John's, also the names of my two oldest children who have been long-estranged from me, and the sign on its door, Fresher Faster, seemed to be urging me to get a move on.

Then I finally arrived at my destination via my circuitous route, the McDonald's restaurant up the street on the corner just past the Stop sign, where I indeed stopped and went inside for my morning cup of java.  Running is a glorious sport.

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Hey Greg!

I was on Hains Point in DC last week, where there's free parking, intending to head over by a bike from the bike-share program docking station there across the bridge to L'Enfant Plaza to go running at noon with my former running buddy from work when another friend and former colleague ran by at a rapid pace on a tempo run.  I called out, "Hey, Greg!"

He glanced over, said, "Hello Peter," and kept on going.  I hadn't seen Greg in months and I thought he was going to skip this opportunity to catch up briefly because, well, he was on a timed speed run.  But after a few more steps he stopped, shut off his pacing watch, and came over to chat for a few minutes.  He didn't even evince that he had things to do (like finish his planned run) and places to be (like back at work in a few minutes) and we had a nice, unhurried talk.

I wouldn't have blamed him if he had just waved hello and kept on going.  Don't I know that runners are obsessive and compulsive; that's why they're runners and most write down the time and distance of each and every run.

But friendship won out over a runner's dedication in this instance and I appreciated that.  Greg's a great guy and shares his talents for running with sage advice when asked and mentors people at work in a way that not many other lawyers do.  After our brief conversation I hopped aboard a bike to go meet my running partner at noon and Greg took off on foot to run across the same bridge I was going to cross and don't you know, he beat me across it.  At noon I had a nice mile-long run with my past running buddy to the DAV Memorial in my attempted return to running ten months and forty pounds after achilles tendinitis felled me.

Monday, March 12, 2018

Have fun in Margaritaville

I checked in this month with my man Trevor, and he had some interesting speculation he passed on to me. He mans the corner two blocks from the house of the mother of my three estranged children, which is two miles from my house.

He told me that he had seen her and her husband on Valentine's Day, each in their own car, after an absence of several weeks and he thought she had moved on that day to parts unknown. This would sever my last tenuous link to my children, but it doesn't matter much because when I encountered her on the street a couple of years ago, I asked her if our children were all still alive and well and she stonily refused to answer.

Now there's a person you wouldn't want to spend over two decades with!

Sunday, March 4, 2018

And the best picture is . . . .

The Academy Awards for 2017 are upon us.  When they started nominating ten or more movies for Best Picture, I lost interest because I hadn't seen many or most of them.

It was too bad a winnowing process, with too many pictures vying for the top prize.  But I have seen Three Billboards in Missouri recently, a picture nominated for the Oscar, and I was stunned. 

It was wryly funny at first, but then it got real and horrifying, as the horrifying under-pining of the story would suggest.  (A raped and burned to death teenage girl, whose mother had cavalierly, unknowingly, invited her to walk to her destination instead of using the family car.)  There wasn't a sound in the theatre for the last hour as everyone watched, engrossed in the unfolding story as to the gruesome, oh-so-human consequences of each woman's choice.

And the ending is ambiguous, so it can finish (does anything ever finish, except school terms and life?) anyway a rapt, involved viewer thinks it should.  What a tightly constructed story, with excellent writing coupled with superior acting, and I think it should win the big prize.

Saturday, March 3, 2018


I think that I shall never see   
A poem lovely as a tree.
A tree whose hungry mouth is prest Against the sweet earth’s flowing breast;
A tree that looks at God all day, And lifts her leafy arms to pray;
A tree that may in summer wear A nest of robins in her hair;
Upon whose bosom snow has lain; Who intimately lives with rain.
Poems are made by fools like me, But only God can make a tree. Joyce Kilmer 1914.

Friday, March 2, 2018

A mile

It wasn't much of a run, only a solitary single mile in the 'hood.  I covered it in about 13 minutes, extraordinary slow even for my age, wherein I'll be full-retirement eligible for social security in a matter of weeks.  The notable thing to me was that it was a non-stop mile, the first non-stop mile that I had done in ten months, and I even broke a sweat during it in the unseasonably temperate 52 degree weather.

It might be a start to a return to what passes for fitness, at least I certainly hope so.  My plan is to do a mile three times a week for a couple of weeks and then start bumping up the mileage from there.  I well remember from my coaching days the dictum of only increasing mileage each week by ten percent, lest you court injury.

In a nod to my constant ankle woes these days, which threw me off of all running during the past year, I wore braces on both ankles and even stretched both achilles tendons before and after the jog.  I resisted succumbing to the constant warnings flitting through my mind even as I was huffing and puffing while I plodded along that I could feel twinges in both achilles and the ignored the mental commands to stop before I became a candidate for The Boot again.  The finish point of my lumber, my driveway on the short out-and-back jaunt, came into view a block away yet seemed to be receding instead of coming closer as I ran towards it.

But I made it to driveway finally, happy that I'd met my first (very modest) running goal this year, and I stopped gratefully and went inside the house, wheezing.  My run of about a mile and a half with my friend in the District a couple of days earlier was a good beginning but it was full of starts and stops, so this little outing was an immeasurably better start to my hopeful return to form, plus I was alone and thus more inclined to agree with my frantic, oxygen-deprived brain and slow to a walk somewhere during the second half of the barely elevated perambulation.  We'll see if this is truly the beginning of my return to good times.

Thursday, March 1, 2018

Runs go like this sometimes

I've been nursing an achilles strain for ten months now, a lingering and stubborn injury which put me into a boot for much of the summer and led to my ensuing inertia and sloth which caused me to put on a prodigious amount of weight, but I'm trying to come back.  This week I went for a run, or run/walk, with my past and future running buddy at my former workplace, and we went a mile and a half before I literally crashed and burned and we walked it back in.  Runners leave no person behind, except maybe during a race and even then they'll wait for you at the finish line.

The run started off well enough, an easy and very slow lope for half a mile to the Titanic statue down on the latest new DC waterfront, stopping to smell the flowers just starting to emerge from their winter sleep along the way.  Necessary stops on my part to quell the frantic thoughts racing through my overcharged body that oh yes, on this block I was going to die.  Good company promoted good talk so we whiled away the first 12-minute mile confirming with each other how calamitous our lives had become during the past year while we watched and worried about the non-stop, frenetic assaults upon our revered democratic institutions (we're both lawyers and we notice such things) that the unthinking and unseeing right cares, knows or does naught about (except to excoriate the liberal left with dripping, consuming, venomous hatred).

Torn up streets being worked upon by crews caused us to veer down unfamiliar sidewalks and as I was glancing behind me at an idle group of young men we had just passed I tripped over a riven sidewalk panel projecting upwards a good 8 inches due to an underlaying root from an adjacent tree.  Fixing the streets?  How about fixing the sidewalks, this hazard didn't develop overnight.  I went down hard, tossing my water bottle aside in my sudden descent and slamming the action camera in my other hand into the mud of the nearby grassy strip as I landed, sprawling.  I have tripped mightily over things three times due to momentary distraction since I acquired and started carrying this small camera in my free hand 5 years ago, and as during the two times I fell before, I was fortunately unhurt other than bloody road rash on my palms, an elbow and a knee.  Obviously when I descend suddenly and fast while running, I tend to come down on one side or the other except for my outstretched, bracing hands.

So we walked it in from there after I poured water from my bottle onto my wounds to wash the mud and bits of cement grit from them.  Once I rubbed the mud off my Pentax, it operated fine, another testimonial to its claim to be "shock-proof."  (The small print in the owner's manual stated this claim was verified by the camera being dropped once from a height of four feet onto a sheet of plywood without being damaged, quite the exhaustive scientific test.  But I'll vouch for its ruggedness and longevity.)  And as if in payment for my pain, a couple of blocks later we came upon three bills lying in the street, a ten and two singles.  Nobody was about except for another group of idle young men a block away in the wrong direction so we collected the money off the street and, with no apparent owner in sight, resolved to give it away to a good cause.  Since I had spotted the abandoned or lost currency first and had suffered a fall, my running partner left up to me to choose its use.  I said I would donate it to the campaign of the chief democratic opponent (Alison Friedman) of the republican incumbent congresswoman representing Virginia congressional district ten, one over from my district, a political hack (Barbara Comstock) who votes with the faux president 97% of the time but is very exposed in her district which encompasses both the conservative farm country (and vineyards and horse country) far to the west of DC and also the liberal suburbs of McLean and parts of Fairfax county.  This was a satisfactory resolution to our acquiring a small sum of money, which clearly wasn't ours, by happenstance with no prospect of finding its owner, and I have already forwarded $12.43 to the democratic candidate, which represents one ten-thousandth of the amount of money the republican has taken in from the NRA.  My friend went back to work and I drove home, glad to have finally undertaken a baby step, with the help of my running friend, towards my return to running, the first real (sort of) run I've had since last April.