Browse Category: Running/Fitness

“I Don’t Always Run, But When I Do…”

I don't always run, but when I do...
Does my head look big?

Someone asked me recently, “Sam, how many miles do you run every day?”

Well, I don’t always run, not every day. The premise of the question is mistaken. That happened in a way similar to the way in which messages become distorted in the child’s game, telephone. Two weeks ago, among a group of acquaintances, there was a conversation about running. It turned out that only a few of us were runners. While discussing goal setting, I said, clearly, that I run only two or three times per week and my goal is to run more often than that. Somehow, Sam is now the daily runner among the group, the star sprinter, the leader of the pack. Oh, that it were true! But look at me. I weigh 215 pounds. If I ran daily I’d certainly be less hefty.

I don’t always run, but when I do run, I run five miles.

Five miles is a good distance for a decent workout for me. It allows me 35 to 40 minutes … ok… 50 to 55 minutes (sometimes 57 if I walk too much) of effective aerobic exercise. It works my legs sufficiently. And it’s enough time to achieve a measure of stress reduction.

I don’t always run, but when I do run, the endorphins make me happy… and that is safer for everyone.

The psychological and emotional benefits of running are more of an incentive for me than the physical benefits. Analytically, I understand that running strengthens my heart and lungs, muscles and bones. It helps keep excess weight off. It’s good for my blood pressure. Having once had a blood pressure problem and having been on medication for it, I have proven that running and losing weight can significantly improve blood pressure. I have been off medication for three years now. Those things are all huge motivators for me to continue running. But the emotional uplift I get from running is even more appealing.

Think of this: I sit in a cube eight hours a day, chained to a computer, often working on complex logic problems, often having more on my to do list than can realistically be done in one day. In addition, my team spent the last three years working on a high priority project, all of us working many extra hours under a lot of pressure. In addition to that, our company has been going through continuing reorganization of our IT department. That equals STRESS indeed.

Phew! Writing that last paragraph makes me want to put my sneaks on and go for a run right now! (10:15 PM) I sit in my cube all day and I feel like a sponge that is sopping up all the stress and negativity all around me. I get soaked and soggy and STRESSED. I reach full saturation and then I need to sweat it out. I need to hit the road. Sometimes it’s tempting to run five miles straight away from the office and not come back! Getting out there and getting my feet moving helps my knotted thoughts unravel. Often, after spending half the day frustrated over a difficult problem, I find a solution while running at lunchtime. Sometimes this happens suddenly, as if my subconscious had been working on the problem while the rest of my brain was focused on keeping my legs going. When those problem solving runs occur, I tend to run a little faster so I can get back to my desk to put the solution into action!

I don’t always run, but when I do run, I become a genius.

Beyond that, running makes me happy. Don’t get me wrong. There is a lot about running that does not feel good. Almost without fail, the first half mile of every run makes me question what the hell I am doing to myself. “An object that is at rest will stay at rest unless an external force acts upon it.” So said some guy named Isaac Newton. It was his cousin, Fig Newton who similarly said, “A body at rest WANTS to stay at rest.” That is too often the precept by which I live. When I start down the road and get about 99 steps into a run, a voice inside my head starts yelling, “Hey, Sammy! Let’s go back and eat cookies! Or cake! Let’s eat cake!” The only external force that can act upon my desire to remain inert with a large piece of cake making its way to my belly is my own will power. And the thing that builds my will power is the incentive of tasting the sweetness of emotional release that waits for me somewhere around mile three of my runs. Runner’s high exists. It’s more satisfying than the most scrumptious banana split. But I’m talking about an emotional release that is more general than that. It’s a warmth that moves through my being. It grows slowly. It pervades me and I invariably end up thinking, Why don’t I run EVERY day?! Before the end of my five miles I always end up planning my next run. The emotionally benefits are that good.

I don’t always run, but when I do run, I can’t wait to do it again!

Hopefully I can manage to do it more than just a few times per week.

Irsty?

(Originally posted on the website Continuum…)

20031208sj

IRSTY?

Maybe what we need around here is another photo of a few cute girls. What do you think? Isn’t that better than some of yesterday’s photos? Unless you really dig salad, Spanish booze and my stinky old sneakers! To each his own. But I’d rather see cute girls any day.

No, I’m not going to tell you who they are or give any phone numbers out. They’re my girls! Well, at least one of them is.

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In other news…

I managed to run at lunchtime today. Curse the Spanish booze! Ironman and Spanish-brandy-man cannot inhabit the same body. Somebody has to go.

The girl who sits next to me at work ran today! Our goal is to run each day this week. It would be nice to run the whole course we set out without stopping.

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“Hey pig…” Today’s backgound music is Nine Inch Nails. No, I didn’t just call you pig. Don’t take it personally. Pigs have feelings too, you know.

Posted at 4:00 PM (EST)

At Least 50 Words

(Originally posted on the website Continuum…)

20031206snowViewFromMyRoom

A PICTURE IS WORTH A THOUSAND WORDS…

But I only need to write 50 words to meet my Holidailies commitment! For lack of a good solid topic to write a full journal entry, allow me to give you a little overview of my weekend. I’m sure I will exceed 50 words and everyone will get their money’s worth!

The photo above is the view from the window right next to my bed. Since I occupy the room formerly known as the attic, the ceilings are slanted and the windows are low to the floor. Plus, since I have the single-guy-mattress-on-the-floor bedding arrangement, all you have to do is roll over and peak out from behind the shade to see what kind of a day it is out there. But if “you” were to do so, I suppose there would be some question as to what “you” are doing in my bed in the first place! I know some of “you” personally. And… uh… well I don’t want to think about it! (Talk about an interesting journal entry!) But if “you” happen to be Meg Ryan, or maybe Gwen Stefani, give me a call and I’ll set up a time to give you a view from my window “again.”

All seriousness aside, folks…

This was the view on Saturday around noon. It was snowing hard at that time. We ended up with at least 10 inches here.

There are two things that caught my eye in this picture. The one is a chimney in the foreground which is covered with several inches of snow. Obviously, there is no heat coming through it. It struck me as an odd sight. The other thing that got my attention is that you can see a portion of the diner that my grandparents used to own. It is on the left side of the picture, above the middle, in front of the large dark building, which is the old theater building. The diner has a red border around the top. One day I will have to write of some of the times there. My grandparents build the original diner there long before I was born. They retired and sold the diner right after I graduated from high school. So, the diner and my grandparents were a huge part of my life growing up. Some day I’ll fill you in.

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20031207salad

Incidentally… I just made myself a killer salad before starting to write this. Lettuce, carrots, green peppers, grape tomatoes, onions, cucumbers, broccoli, tuna, croutons, and Ken’s balsamic vinegarette. Mmmm….

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Oh yeah… you can click on any of these pictures to enlarge them. If you want to…

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20031207sneaks

I thought about running on Saturday even though it was snowing. I ran in the snow on Friday. It’s very cool. But it just didn’t happen on Saturday. First, I slept until noon just to catch up on some much needed rest. Then I had that I-think-I-slept-too-much feeling in my head all day. I took S to work and T to a friend’s house. I went to Wal-Mart and bought a low priced (sounds better than “cheap,” huh?) pair of boots. The old pair of dress shoes from Payless just did not meet the challenge of the blizzard. Then I did a little food shopping. All the while I was hoping to get the motivation to actually run. Around 7 PM I got sucked in by the boob tube and watched, of all the worthless things, some dumb show about Michael Jackson.

However, after that a show about the Iron Man competition came on. “Watching” people swim 2.4 miles, then bike 121 miles, then run a marathon is almost as good as running myself, right? I was exhausted by the end of the show at 9 PM. Besides, that bag of M&Ms just wouldn’t leave me alone! And the Ponche Caballero…

I did run on Sunday afternoon. But I regretted sleeping late again. And I cursed every M&M that ever entered my mouth. And the Ruffles potato chips! And the Ponche Caballero…

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20031207ponche

Ah!!! The Ponche Cabarello! Delicious!

A super friend of mine from Virginia introduced me to Ponche Cabarello a while back. Nectar of the gods! Her brother brought it home from Spain. Neither she nor he could find more of it here in the States. She even went to Mexico recently and didn’t find it there either.

Yesterday, I stopped at a liquor store in my town to pick up a bottle of Yellow Tail Chardonney. I was also looking around for a certain Polish vodka that the guitarist in my band was talking about. I can’t remember its name. I turned to look at the shelf on the opposite side of the aisle from the vodka. There… at eye level… there it was… silver bottle… yellow label… Ponche Cabarello! “No F-ing way!” I called my friend in Virginia and told her. Then I bought the three bottles on the shelf.

Good, good stuff! It’s an orange liqueur, sort of like a brandy. Smooth. Excellent on the rocks. Excellent while writing. Excellent while listening to…

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20031207music

Tonight’s weblog soundtrack brought to you courtesy of Aerosmith. Usually, I write with some kind of rock music blasting. Come to think of it… I do most things with some kind of rock music blasting! Lately while writing I’ve been listening through my Aerosmith collection. At this very moment, 9:07 PM, “Toys in the Attic” is on.

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20031207drums

Speaking of toys in the attic… I did manage to squeeze in a little bit of practicing tonight. It was nearly as much as I should practice. Even if it’s only for a short time, it always feels good to play. Listening to Aerosmith right now sure brings back many memories of first learning to play and days of practicing after school for hours and hours. I used to put a stack of records on (especially Aerosmith) and play my brains out. Sometimes I played until my fingers bled. Sometimes I hated myself for not being able to play everything on the records to perfection. That’s the point of practicing though, keep at it until you love yourself again. Then you know you will do a good job at a show and not hate yourself for being a breathing embarrassment.

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20031207books

The only thing I love more than music is reading. This weekend I finished reading “Bloodclots in the Mainstream” by Rob Santello. He toured with the Bouncing Souls and was their merchandising representative. It was an interesting book, despite the fact that the author’s viewpoint was a little too negative for my liking. So, to balance things out, I started reading “The Phantom Tollbooth” by Norton Juster. My kids had to read this book when they were in fifth or sixth grade. I always wanted to read it. Now I have good motivation to do so as it is this month’s book for the TUS book club.

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20031207dinner

The weekend culminated with a great dinner of swiss steaks with onions, peppers and crushed tomatoes (nicely seasoned by Mom), along with fresh green beans and mashed potatoes (peeled and cut by T). Mmmm! Mmmm!

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20031207movies

Lastly, I picked up a few movies this weekend. “The Usual Suspects” and “Close Encounters of the Third Kind.” The totally cool and the totally geeky! I watched “The Usual Suspects” with Mom last night. I started “Close Encounters” but didn’t have time to finish it. Now, I hear the T has just started watching “The Suspects.” I can’t resist watching. I wrote at least 50 words today, right? Right. Okay, later!

Posted at 10:15 PM (EST)