Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Ice Rink Hi-jinks!

My sister, Kaye, is nothing if not charitable. She is also very creative and crafty. If there is a useful item that can be crafted by hand, Kaye will attempt to reproduce it. So it was that seven-year-old Gary came upon his Clown Pants. They weren’t really clown pants they only appeared to be such. Bright colors and parachute fabric were not to become popular apparel materials for many years to come. Gary’s pants were definitely before their time.

The bitter winters in Eastern Idaho call for added protection from wind and weather, especially for recent Floridian transplants. Kaye, the Do-it-yourself-er, fashioned a pair of baby blue “warm-ups” to keep her offspring dry and comfortable as he trudged to and from school. Unfortunately, the bounteous yards of fabric she used gave one the impression Gary was wearing a pair of Princess Jasmine’s harem pants! He dutifully donned the voluminous pants and marched to and from school enduring the bitter teasing of his school mates – and his aunts!

Hoping to ease his transition from tropical Florida to near Arctic conditions, Gary’s aunts determined to teach him to embrace the cold. We took him ice-skating!

In addition to his clown pants, Gary wore several layers on his upper half and a fuzzy stocking cap. He was forced to wear a nice white pair of girls’ ice skates. When he took to the ice, it was as if a cartoon character had come to life. Rather than wait for instructions, Gary attacked the rink with gusto! He began at one end of the rink using the toe pick – the jagged teeth at the front of a figure skate blade – for traction. Running the length of the rink, his legs whirring like fan blades, the sharp length of the skate blade never making contact with the ice, Gary stopped with only a few yards left before running out of rink. He appeared suspended in air as his legs whirred past one another. Then Gary would suddenly flatten his feet. They promptly slid in front of him as his softer more cushioned parts dropped onto the ice. Most victims of skating falls take a moment to evaluate well being and examine for broken body parts. Not Gary! He bolted upright facing the direction from which he had just arrived, and repeated the activity – step by step – whir by whir – crash by crash!

His enthusiasm was enviable. We had not, however, the energy to join him as we were spent from chuckling.

At length, his doting mother could no longer contain her curiosity, or maybe it was her concern for his welfare, and she joined us. Few can emit a full bodied laugh as does my sister. Our entertainment was now twofold – Gary, whirring and splatting while his mother shook with glee.

We tried to teach. Our attempts to slow Gary’s efforts in hopes that he might gain some control over his movements were futile. He repeatedly attacked the ice with gusto. The silly looking pants added to the visual effect. He truly appeared as a cartoon character and his enthusiasm never waned.

How often do we quell a person’s zeal in an attempt to improve his skills? Would it be better to let them be that they might live in the moment? I don’t know the answers, but I do know that I will never lose the image in my mind of Gary on Ice!

Monday, October 25, 2010

New Again

Several years ago I was suffering from a physical ailment. It came on so gradually that I did not know how poorly I felt until I began to recover. I felt a bit like these shoes … Let me introduce you to my running shoes. I put six miles on them last Saturday. I can't begin to imagine how many miles they must have covered in their career. I am a bit afraid to know. Running gurus would chastise me for keeping them for so long! Notice the gel heel inserts in the right shoe. They (yes, there are two of them) were placed there to lessen impact and alleviate the discomfort of an inflamed Achilles tendon. Closer inspection will reveal fabric wear at the top of the ankle and on the inside edge of the ankle as well. The first from sliding these shoes off after a run, and the second from rubbing the opposite tread against it on the run! The mesh on the outer toe is also beginning to break down.

Take a look at the tread. What tread? There should be much more pink, but it has worn away, especially on the outer edge of the heel. Why, one might ask, did I let them get so out of shape? Well, much like my health concerns of a few years ago, it came on gradually. After all, if they were good enough to wear on a run on Wednesday, then they should have been good enough to wear on my Saturday run. If they were good enough Saturday, wouldn't they still be good enough today or tomorrow? And so it goes. It is easy to delay change. Change, as we all know, is frightening. What if I purchased new shoes and discovered I didn't like them. What if the change was a mistake?

Look at my new shoes! Pretty, aren't they? I have yet to take them for a test run, but I love them already! No wear and tear! No gel inserts!

Check out that tread!

It wasn't until I brought them home that I realized how truly awful my old runners were. They even look faster! I can't wait to take them for a test run!

The moral of this story is:
Don't be afraid to try something new. That old comfort zone of yours may not be as nice as you might think!

Saturday, October 23, 2010

A Snail's Pace

Spotted in a rainforest in Puerto Rico, this little guy didn't seem at all disturbed as I invaded his space for a photo op. I thought, "How would I know if he was disturbed? It isn't like he can run away. He's a snail!" And a rather large one at that! His shell had nearly the same diameter as an Oreo cookie. (Pardon the food comparison, but it is effective, is it not? Everyone knows the size of an Oreo.)
I wonder if he knows he is slow, or ... does he consider his pace to be sufficient for his needs? Does a cheetah know he is fast, or does he simply use his speed to fulfill his needs? I know. I know! They probably don't have the capability to think about it at all, but what if they did? Would the snail competetively say, "Hey, I bet I can move slower than you!" Would the cheetah challenge, "Let's race!"
Is that what sets us apart from the rest of the Animal Kingdom? Our competetive natures? Our drive? Our need to always do more? Citius? Altius? Fortius?
Isn't a snail's pace enough at times?

Thursday, October 21, 2010


Amidst the business of Autumn (and around here it is busy!) it's nice to take a moment and enjoy the visual pleasures!

Cold enough to turn the leaves, yet warm enough to enjoy a Cross Country Meet in one's shirtsleeves. What a beautiful time of year!
It doesn't last for long. Soon, all of those leaves will be on the ground. Then - someone will clear them away and we'll have to wait another year to behold the brilliant colors of fall.

Blue skies! Appreciate it while it lasts!

I'm glad I was enjoying the scenery instead of running the race this time! So long Cross Country Season - until next year....

Wednesday, October 13, 2010


My running partner and I committed to the 2010 YMCA Christmas Run. It's a little longer (6.1 miles) than our usual races, so I downloaded a training plan from the SMARTCoach program on It is individualized - recent race times, how hard do you want to train, what day do you want to do a long run, etc. are entered and then it spits out a plan just for you ... or so it says.

Today's workout was "Speedwork." Speedwork is similar to interval training in that the total run of 5 miles is broken into a warm up, timed portions, jogs, and a cool down. It's those timed portions that got to me! I had to run a half mile three different times in a specified length of time. I remember the days when my goal was just to run a half mile without stopping! SMARTCoach spit out a pretty fast half mile pace - fast, that is, for me! The good news is that although my first two timed portions were a bit over the target pace, my third was several seconds under. I'm sure it helped that I was finally warmed up (35 degrees outside this morning) and that the only hill was a short incline.

I'm really hoping this Speedwork will pay off because my legs are really tired now! I have to go now - I have a Cross Country race to watch. Those crazy kids! Why do they like to run 3.1 miles?

Monday, October 11, 2010

Change is in the Air!

I thought, perhaps, the sky was falling last night at bedtime! The metal roof over my bedroom magnifies the sound of rain. A light drizzle to some sounds like a down pour to me. It was heightened, I am sure, by the fact that I haven't heard that patter in quite some time.

It is a bit like indulging in a treat one has avoided for some time. The satisfaction is greater due to the anticipation. I can't say that I anticipate rain storms with the same excitement as a hot fudge sundae, but the sensations are increased just the same.

Something else the patter reminded me about it the pending snow ski season! It's on its way!

Thursday, October 7, 2010


Leaves landing lightly
Looking forlorn lying low.

Listen. Larks are lilting
Lofting lines of longing.

Longer looms the low light
Leaving life a little lonely.

Lovely leisure lingers
Lounging lushly in the loam.