Life is a highway

I ran today. I ran ten miles, which if you’ve never run 10 miles, is a long way. I’ve run 10 miles before and it’s not easy. And, in the interest of full disclosure, I’ve never really run that far. I’ve run most of it, but I usually walk some. Today, I ran the Papa John’s 10-miler and I finished in 1:53:55 which, for those of you can’t do math, is pretty slow in the running world. It’s about a minute slower per mile than my race two weeksPapa John's 10-miler ago. It doesn’t put me in the top 50% of my age group. Still and all, it was better than my race last year. And, it was more effort than you put into your Saturday. Plus, to top it off, I mowed the yard when I got home, so there. And, as my wife will attest, I really didn’t train all that hard for it. Even when she insisted that I should be running instead of eating the last of the Triscuits. So, I only have myself to blame. But honestly, if you’ve seen the course, it really is very difficult for a person to run that far.

We started at Kroger at 3rd and Central and ran south to Iroquois Park, into the park and around the 3-mile loop which is chock full of hills (Damn you, Olmsted!)…but here’s the worst part in my opinion…the long trip north on Southern Parkway/3rd Street. It’s like the longest, straightest, flattest street in the world (even though it doesn’t look that way on the map). It seems as if they’re adding on to it as you run. Then there’s that final hill at Central Avenue…and to add insult to injury, once you’ve entered the stadium, you still have to run around the field.

I know, it sounds as if I don’t enjoy it. There are parts of it that I don’t, but I think, for me, the best part is the competition and the feeling of accomplishment. I ran 10 miles today. And, it was a beautiful day to run 10 miles. I’d do it all over again, just not tomorrow or anything.

In addition, there is an ulterior motive. I’m training for the mini-Marathon (March to the Mini update) and that requires an effort of 13.1 miles, which, based on last years’ run, makes this one seem like a walk in the park. It’s amazing how much further 5 kilometers is. But there’s nothing like receiving that medal at the end of the run. “Congratulations, you ran far and made it. We appreciate the effort.”

But now, I’m resting comfortably on the couch and I’ll be able to sit all day tomorrow and relax.

See you in the funny papers!

A new season

Can you smell it? Yeah, that’s it…breathe it in, deep. It’s like the feeling you get right before a thunderstorm when everythingBaseball is crisp and your senses are fiery. Close your eyes, picture yourself there. The open expanse of grass, the smooth feel of leather beneath your fingertips, the warm sun bearing down on you as you step across the lime onto the field. Yes…it’s baseball season. Opening Day is Sunday and that begins a tour of 162 days through the greatest season of the year. I’m so excited I can barely stand it. Every year I get like this and I practically want to leap out of my skin at the prospect of a new year. I love baseball. And, until late September, early October, I’m going to bore you with it. Unless you’re a fan, then come on down, have a beer, and we’ll discuss bizarre statistics until we can’t see straight.

In other news, I’m still running. I haven’t written much about it lately because I haven’t been running much. The workload at school has been getting to me. I have a project due in a month and I’m dreading working on it. Anyway, I’m running…tomorrow…ten miles. I should be fine. I’m not worried about it. The good thing about running is you can continue to do it and you don’t have to worry about lugging your equipment home. You’re usually wearing all of it. It’s not like a flat tire on a bicycle or a car that’s out of gas. If you live close to me, there’s an image in this morning’s paper of the route we’ll run. If you’re out and about tomorrow, look for me, I’ll be the one with the running shoes. Ha, ha!

Also, Holy Week begins on Sunday, Palm Sunday that is. I’m doing three services that day, so if you’re bored come on down and look me up. I’ll be the one in the choir robe. Ha, ha! I have 3 services on Palm Sunday, a choir rehearsal on Wednesday, a service on Thursday, a service at a different church on Friday, and 2 services on Easter. That’s right, I’m “holier-than-thou”. Right now, I have enough “frequent choir” miles to go straight to heaven. Do not pass go, do not collect $200.

And now…the Friday Five:

1. If you could suddenly speak one language fluently (that you don’t currently speak) what would it be? I think I would choose French. I like the sound of French as it rolls out of the mouth. I already have Spanish (mostly) and I think French would be a good addition. I might also like Mandarin, being as how there are more Chinese in the world than anyone, but I think I would enjoy French more.

2. If you were to suggest a foreign film, that you really enjoyed, what one would you suggest? I absolutely love L’auberge Espagnole. It’s about several foreign students gathered in Spain for a semester of education, well, I guess it’s more about the one student and his relationships with everyone else, but it’s a really good film. We have a copy somewhere. Also, if you’re reading this and you have my copy of “Hoosiers”, I’d really like to have it back. I can’t for the life of me remember where that film went.

3. If you had to call another country home (other than the one you currently live in) what one would you choose? Well, I’ve really only had experience with four other countries to have any real sort of comparison. I loved the climate of South Africa, the weather climate, not the political climate. I loved the history and bustle of France, although I might get tired of the tourist thing, but never the butter or the cheese. Plus, then my fluency from #1 would really come in handy. I didn’t see much of Canada, but it seemed a lot like here with a better transit system. And Mexico, well, I could definitely get used to Mexico provided I was able to stomach the water and live in the Yucatan. Still, I think I would choose France. It seemed the best choice. I don’t think I could choose a country sight unseen.

4. If you went out to buy an import music CD, what one would you buy? I would definitely get either Irish traditional music or something by Ali Farka Toure, I think he was from Mali. Both of those would be good choices for import CDs.

5. If you were to chose an ethnic dinner, what would it be? Now this is difficult. I love all sorts of food from all over the world. I love Pad Ke Mao from Thailand. I love Dublin Coddle from Ireland. I could definitely go for more springbok from South Africa, and some biltong to go with that. I enjoy fresh French bread and butter, with a little wine to wash it down. And, I’ve even been known to enjoy the curry and lentils from India and doro wat with injera from Ethiopia. I think I would love to have a dinner that encompassed the United Nations.

That about does it. See you in the funny papers!

The Perfect Day

There used to be a beer commercial a while back with manly-men sitting around a blazing fire tossing back a few brews, having recently just gutted a fish or slaughtered a deer, exclaiming that “it just doesn’t get any better than this.”  I believe I know what they mean.  Currently, we’re experiencing a wealth of beautiful weather in the Ohio Valley and as the recipient of Mother Nature’s good side, I can only respond…it just doesn’t get any better than this.

Currently, I’m sitting on my porch swing, a weeping cherry blooming in full view in the neighbor’s yard, a soft breeze caressing the slightest of melodies from surrounding wind chimes and I am content.  A beautiful blue sky, painted with clouds whose scientific names I once knew, hovers above the tops of the houses receiving the waning daylight.  The stillness is broken only by the songs of a host of different birds and even the neighbor’s obnoxious motorcycle cannot deter me from my primaveric* reverie.  I’m sipping the last of a winter ale as if to say goodbye to the cold earth.  I welcome back the dawning of a new season as I rock slowly back and forth watching the cat roll gently on the concrete.

It is as though all is right with the world, even though I know that in many places there are children who will never know a day of peace such as this one.  I would hope for this day to never end, but I know it will and that’s fine because it merely means that another one, hopefully very similar, but not the same, will follow it at some point in the future.  I look forward to that day and I hope that the world has progressed to the point where more people, maybe even all people, will be able to enjoy the peace and joy that I have experienced on this afternoon.

*Primaveric is a word I made up.  I wanted to convey the notion of Spring-like, but I felt that they hyphenation was lacking in beauty.  Weird, I know.  Anyway, the Spanish word for Spring is Primavera.  It more than makes up for the ugly hyphen.  Feel free to add it to your lexicon.  Or don’t, it’s all the same to me.

Friday 45

Welcome to the 2007 edition of getting to know your Friends. Feel free to answer these questions in the comments section. This should give Angie something to do the rest of the day.

The theory is that you will learn a lot of little things about your friends, if you did not know them already

1. What time did you get up this morning? 7:10 a.m., though not really by choice

2. Diamonds or pearls? I actually prefer the look of pearls. Something about pearls I like better than diamonds.

3. What was the last film you saw at the cinema? Charlotte’s Web

4. What is your favorite TV show? Studio 60, Grey’s Anatomy…everything else I can do without.

5. What did you have for breakfast this morning? breakfast? Who has time for breakfast?

6. What is your middle name? Patrick

7. What is you favorite cuisine? I have become a fan of Mediterranean (falafel, hummus, shish tawook, etc.)

8. What foods do you dislike? pickled beets, lima beans, cottage cheese, liver…and I think one other thing that I can’t think of right at the moment.

9. Favorite chips? pork rinds

10. What is your favorite CD at the moment? Mos Def’s “Black on Both Sides”

11. What kind of car do you drive? 2005 Giant hybrid bike

12. What is your favorite sandwich? Peanut Butter and jelly

13. What characteristics do you despise? narrow-mindedness and arrogance, I can deal with everything else.

14. What are your favorite clothes? My Boston Red Sox hat and whatever goes with it.

15. If you could go anywhere in the world on vacation, where would it be? Guatemala, New Zealand, Tanzania

16. Favorite brand of clothing? Whatever’s cheap and looks good.

17. Where would you want to retire? The Yucatan

18. Favorite time of day? The moment I slide into bed.

19. Where were you born? Louisville, KY…home of the Louisville Slugger

20. What is your favorite sport to watch? Baseball

21. Pepsi or Coke? Wild Cherry Pepsi

22. Beavers or ducks? Ducks…I hear beavers are volatile.

23 Are you a morning person or night person? I can be a morning person, but it has to be the right morning.

24. Pedicure or manicure? I’ve only ever had a pedicure. I don’t have enough fingernails for a manicure.

25. Any new and exciting news you’d like to share? I’m 2.5 semesters away from finishing my degree.

26. What did you want to be when you were little? a garbageman, I think.

27. What is your best childhood memory? Eating Vienna Sausages and watching Hee-Haw at my grandparents house.

28. Piercing? Not for it. Not against it. Don’t have any.

29. Ever been to Africa? Yes

30. Ever been toilet papering? No

31. Been in a car accident? 2, I think.

32. Favorite day of the week? Saturday is usually a good day for me.

33. Favorite restaurant? Safier’s Deli for cheap. Bistro 301 for expensive.

34. Favorite flower? I love lilies of just about every flavor.

35. Favorite ice cream? I don’t have a favorite. I like stuff with toffee in it though.

36. Favorite fast food restaurant? I do crave White Castle on occasion.

37. How many times did you fail your drivers test? Zero. I got 100, first try.

38. From whom did you get your last email? My choir director about choir practice tomorrow. *yay…extreme sarcasm*

39. In which stores would you choose to max out your credit card? Eddie Bauer or j.crew

40. Bedtime? Depends, some nights it’s 11:30, some nights it’s 9:30.

41. Who are you most curious about their responses to this? I’d be interested in Mom, Dad and Donna’s response to this.

42. Last person you went to dinner with? C

43. What are you listening to right now? The fan.

44. What is your favorite color? Dark Blue

45. How many tattoos do you have? Zero.

Waves

A clamor of bodies crowds into the street.  The icy fresh wave of cool morning air, whistling through the mob, beats a hasty path down the asphalt toward the western edge of the city.  A silent wave hushes the crowd as the anthem to a nation breaks the stillness.  More huddling against the cold; more shuffling, anxiety to begin.  An explosion and the people surge forth, slow at first and then bursting out into the sunlight, away from the cold gray edifice.  Waves of energy cover the crowd as they move up the hill, reaching ceaselessly toward the sun as they forge an eastern path.  Puffs of cold breath evoke past steam engines as the wave of people crashes down upon the street, beating a steady tempo against the morning.  And the race has begun.

Yes, this weekend was the Rodes City Run 10K.  It was a glorious race for me.  I managed a steady pace throughout the race and did not fall into my typical slump when I rounded onto Lexington Road.  I ran it in 1:04:14 which was a new personal best for me.  The March to the Mini continues.

Unfortunately, spring break is over now and the crush of the semester begins anew.  I’m looking forward to parts of it, and other parts, I’d just soon avoid altogether.  C and I did get to see a movie yesterday which was a nice change of pace from our usual Sunday hibernation pattern.  Also got a chance to have dinner with S & C at Kaelin’s which was a very nice evening event.  This vegetarian issue that I have is starting to wear on me.  I long for the texture of meat.   I don’t so much crave beef, but I long for the flavor of chicken or sausage.  Bacon is also high on my list of wants.  I miss bacon.  But, only two more weeks and I can go back to being an omnivore.  It has been nice to have a decent intake in vegetables and I have a newfound respect for the ability of vegetarians to eat in an increasingly meat-filled world, but it’s just not a lifestyle I care to partake in.

See you in the funny papers.

Got a case of the Mondays…

Without a doubt, I’m exhausted. I was tired when I went to bed last night and now I’m still tired, but I have to sit upright (or at least semi-upright) for the next 8 hours and try not to bite anyone’s head off. As Maxine would say…’Don’t worry. If I bite your head off, I’ll spit it back out.’ So where did I get this case of the Mondays? Anyone’s guess.

Friday was gorgeous. I left work early to attend the UofL baseball game. There are few things in this world that are more glorious than a free baseball game in 72 degree weather with $1 beer. Actually, I’m just gonna go ahead and say it…it was perfection. There is no alternative. A couple of homeruns, a win against Indiana State (ha, ha Ryan!) and the breeze of a lifetime wafting through the stands.

Saturday, I woke up and went for a run. Not just any run, a 10-mile run. March to the Mini update I should have known better. Ten miles is a very long way to run. It’s what Julie Andrews sings about when she says ‘Fa, a long, long way to run.’ Especially, when the furthest you’ve run all year is 10k (6.2 miles) and you haven’t run since the previous Monday. Saturday night, we picked up my father-in-law from the airport after his trip to Belize, which I understand was truly amazing. I’m looking forward to hearing more about it, even though we stayed and listened to anecdotes and vignettes for nearly 3 hours. I’m also looking forward to the pictures.

Sunday, I had church as usual. It was fine. I directed the choir again for the introit and I think I’m getting pretty good at it. It was a decent service and I drove home with the windows down as the day was once again gorgeous. I had to go back to church at 5 p.m. but it was still a decent service. Brett did a fine job as the new cantor. I played fine. After church, we went out to dinner with Claudia and Rob and their adorable little baby. It was a wonderful meal at Kashmir and then even more enjoyment at Heine Bros.

Yet, today, I’m exhausted and I have a pain in my neck and I didn’t sleep well, even thought the windows were open which I always love. It’s as if today were meant to be a long, bad day. So pardon me, if I don’t feel up to Monday.

See you in the funny papers!