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Showing posts from August, 2012

A Youth Well (Mis)Spent: Paper Routes

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Do they even have paper routes any more?  I'm sure they do, but given the demise of the newspaper industry as a result of the internet, I doubt they are as abundant as they used to be.  It's been years since I've seen one.  But I grew up on a paper route delivering the Salem News.  I started with part of a route (the few farthest houses that my brother didn't want to do) when I was in second grade, and then, I took his route as he inherited an even closer route from someone else sometime around fourth grade and eventually both my route and my brother's route by sixth or seventh grade.

Implemented by my father to help my brother and I to learn to be responsible, it was one of the best decisions he forced upon us young boys.  The paper route paid me more than just a weekly allowance.  It generated a variety of life lessons and opportunities that helped me in myriad ways throughout my life.  

Monday through Wednesday, it was always a race to finish it and be off to oth…

Tales of 9 Runs: Born to Run

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As mentioned previously, I was and just finished reading Born to Run by Christopher McDougall.  This is not my first book on sports and health, but it is my first book about running and one that I enjoyed.  Though I find the sometime-meandering path and narrative McDougall laid out a bit tedious at times, there was still much to take from it.  Of course, in hindsight, McDougall's approach made sense.  Constantly, I was thinking in the back of my mind, "Tell me how they did it!"  And just as I thought I would get the answer, the book trailed off down other paths.  I realized that it was in part a representation of the story he was telling about the nature of running.  The impatient American mind (me) wants the "answer" (as if there was one singular clear answer) in a nice clean box and not have to hear about all these other things such as past races, the people involved, etc.

Indeed, McDougall's pacing was overall agreeable and interesting as he shifted back …

Tales of 9 Runs: Ok, Clearly Bit Off More Than I Could Chew

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So today's Greenbelt's 3rd Annual Beverly Commons Trail Run didn't go as expected.  I signed up for the 7.3 mile ride, but only completed the 3.6 mile trail. In the context of everything, I'll take that as a win.  This week as a whole has been a major epic win in running.  I ran about 35 miles...in a single week.

I talked about my major breakthrough on last Sunday.  This was followed up by a 5.4 mile run on Tuesday and then my friend and I went for a 10.8 mile run on Friday.  It was his first venture past the 9 mile mark and we had a good time of it.  Our time wasn't great, but we were aiming to finish.  More importantly, for me, I found my running with him impressive because I managed to have regular conversations over the nearly 2 hour.  We didn't talk the whole time, but we did talk.  I was never one that was good at conversing while running.  I always thought it crazy because I had enough trouble with breathing.  But sure enough, we fell into our rhythms of …

Verbal Handgranades, Vitriolic Banter, and Verifiable Rape

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Because I am a male, I need to preface this with certain key points.
1.  I understand the seriousness of sexual assault. I am thankful that I have never been a victim of it (more through luck than the fact that I'm male--on two specific times in my past, mere timing prevented it from in all likelihood occurring).  I have encountered a great many people professionally and personally that have been through it.  I've seen the way it impacted and continues to impact their lives.  In writing this, I don't look to undermine the seriousness of rape, sexual assault, or the continued sex, sexuality, and gender divide in this country.
2.  I understand that language is a powerful tool used to impair people's voices.  That is, I realize that poor means of discussing something tells us just how problematic something is in our society.  Many are not comfortable using the "correct" names of body parts (penis, vagina, anus), nevermind having a healthy discussion about having s…

Tale of 9 Runs: I ran 15 miles, I got assalted, my face hurts, and it's your fault!

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I just ran 15 miles.  True story.  It feels awesome.  I want to do more.  I set out today to just run, nothing else.  No clock, no distance tracking (till after), just me, my body and my music (ok, some Honey Stinger energy chews and $5 to buy a drink along the way).  But today was just me and the road and I totally rocked it.

I had a mental breakthrough this week (as opposed to a breakdown which people keep asking every time I tell them what I've been up to). As I mentioned in this post, I've been reading Christopher McDougall's Born to Run and it's been giving me ideas.  I'm still only about half way through it, but something seriously clicked during one section of it.  In one part, McDougall talks about a major element of the ultramarathoners and in particular, the Tarahumara, is their happiness.  They are happy when running.  Smiling, happy go-lucky, and joyous.  Hearing about this made me go back to a previous post that I written about with regard to emotional…

Tale of 9 Runs: Going the Distance

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Somewhere between preparing for this half-marathon, working through Born to Run by Christopher McDougall (my review will be posted), plotting out my fall semester, and thinking how the mere act of blogging has propelled me into this venture, I found myself adding two more runs to the fall:  The Applefest Half-Marathon and more importantly, the Nahant 30K.  Just 2 weeks after my first 25K, I'm gonna press my luck and up the ante.

30K...I took it up with no big whoop.  I saw the race in a listing at North Shore Road Race Guide and the question, "Can I do it?" never crossed my mind.  Instead, it was, "Does this fit my schedule?"  It did.  I signed up.  Then I realized.  "Dude, you just signed up for a 30K race?"  That's pretty much how it happened and I'm still rather proud of it.  Without blinking, I reached for it.  This tells me one of two things (though they are not mutually exclusive).

1.  You've gotten confident with your running.  Not co…

Tales from 9 Runs: Run 6: The One That Didn't Get Away

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So today's race was the 25 Annual Firefighters Road Race in Hamilton.  I did about 45:10, which was pretty decent given several factors.  I did a strong run, but not great and didn't improve by any means from my first run.  I was happy to see I came in as the 52 runner and before I left, it looked like there was at least 90 runners, so that put me close to the middle of the herd, which I'm more than happy to be.

Overall, it's been a long weekend and it's only Saturday evening.  Someone dear to me had a serious surgical procedure on Friday so that took up much of my time and attention the last few days.  I spent much of Friday hanging out at the hospital.  My mind in many ways wasn't in the race.


I had gone to be early (10pm) on Friday night, more from being wiped out from the day than actually getting read for the next day.  I set my alarm for 7am, knowing that I needed a good rest (the week as a whole didn't have as much sleep as I usually get).  7am rolled…

A Youth Well (Mis)Spent: The Magic of the Woods

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Other writers have harkened upon the power of the woods in a child's youth.  A forest is a beautiful opportunity for a youth to have access to.  In part because, it can help foster a sense of connection with nature, but also because a forest is a nether-region; a nonplace in conjunction to the human world.  The human world has addresses, landmarks, streets, names, but a forest lacks all but that which one pmay assign.     "Dad, I'm going to the woods" says and doesn't say where you are going.  It gives a sense but no approximation.  That the child gets to name his way through the woods as well as go on or off paths as he chooses, creates a deeper connection and magic.  Like magic, the child does not own it, but can work his way through it as he sees fit.  Then there's also the potential for danger that embodies the forest.  What could happen?  What is out there?  To the child, this is marvelous and exciting (though to some parents, frightening and due cause f…

Letter to the Editor: Columnist misleads on Chick-fil-A

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To the editor:

Deroy Murdock’s concern about hypocrisy or the supposed totalitarian slant of Democrats expressed in yesterday’s Salem News is disappointing and clearly misleading.

First, in all politicians, there are opportunities for totalitarian machinations. There are innumerable incidents in which the same rhetorical magic tricks could be shown to illustrate just how totalitarian Republicans are, trying to regulate people’s bodies and people’s choices. His biggest misdirect was his attempt to equate the bigotry of Dan Cathy with the more nuanced approach that President Barack Obama has taken. This is clear by the way he decontextualizes his quotes and doesn’t provide the full quotes of the president. The 2010 full quote: “I think it’s a fair question to ask. I think that I am a strong supporter of civil unions. As you say, I have been to this point unwilling to sign on to same-sex marriage primarily because of my understandings of the traditional definitions of marriage.”
For the res…

Tale of 9 Runs: Men Cry, Go Figure

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Sometimes when I run, I cry.

Somewhere with the intermix of powerful (for me) music, the physical exertion, and the realization that I'm doing things I never believed I could; my body wells up with an awesome force of energy and emotion that propels me forward in running and generates tears.  It doesn't happen every time I run, but regularly enough, usually when I take that mental step back to look at this arc of my life and what I'm doing:  running, and enjoying it.  It happened most recently when I breached 10 miles in my training without feeling it.  By that, I mean, getting from 9 to 10 miles didn't feel like a Herculean effort--there wasn't some imaginary bar that made it harder--I did rather well in terms of time and energy.

Crying with physical exertion is not something entirely new for me; I don't know about others.  In my younger days of sports in middle and high school, I cried a lot.  In the aftermath of practice (usually football, but also baseball;…

Recent Post on LETS Blog: I’m Digging Diigo; Are You?

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Over the last year, I’ve become a huge fan of Diigo.  Diigo is a social bookmarking site and tool that allows you to access your saved links on any computer.   But of course, it’s much more than that or we wouldn’t be talking about it here.  You can get a fuller sense of its capabilities by checking out our Youtube Playlist on Diigo.  But for now, let’s identify some of its best qualities.

For the full article, click through to the NSCC LETS Blog.



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