April 29, 2012

Running into the wind

I have learned a lot from running over the past year.  I’ve learned practical tips – if I eat 2  waffles with peanut butter two hours before a long run, I will not hit the wall ½ way through the run.  I have to wear socks when I run – I experimented once with running sockless and ended up with 2 half dollar sized blisters on each foot.

I have also learned about running into the wind.

I went on a long run with a friend one spring weekend recently.  We’re always trying to plan our run to hit the right window during the day when weather and daylight are optimal (we tried running in the dark once and that didn’t go so well).  We opted for Saturday as it promised to be warmer than Sunday and relatively precipitation free……the downside to running on Saturday was to be strong winds.  We essentially ran in a big rectangle or some other variation of a parallelogram.  We ran north, then west, then south, until finally heading east and back to the car.  By some freak act of nature, we ran into the wind for what seemed to be ¾ of the run.   It seemed as though every time we turned a corner, we were still running into the wind.  We pushed through and kept on running – we logged in close to 9.5 miles which was our goal for the run.  It was laborious, but we finished without stopping even once.

That windy long run also made me realize that, sometimes in life, no matter what direction I take, the “wind” is going to be in my face.  I will be successful, but on some days there will be a constant resistance to progress.  I will struggle and stress, but ultimately I will finish the day.  I will simply have to encourage myself a little more to stand up against the winds I encounter.

Here’s to having the wind at your back; and when it is blowing into your face, the strength to keep pushing through….even when it’s coming at you in every direction.  You are strong.  You will finish the day.

April 21, 2012


I had a fabulous thing happen last weekend…..Tony asked me to go for a bike ride.

Let me tell you about my friend Tony.  He’s a good man.  He’s an athlete.  He’s a veteran.   Tony played basketball in Europe when he was in the service.   He’s 82 years old.  He is a cancer survivor….he battled that cancer with grace and determination.  Cancer that deposited a tumor in his brain that had to be removed last year and treated with many, many rounds of chemo therapy.    This year, Tony is back on his bike and he asked me to go for a ride.

Tony loaded up our bikes and we drove to a local bike path.  We rode side by side for an hour at a super steady pace and had easy conversation.  Tony taught me several things about the area, I learned a little more about his family and his own history.  He taught me about his love of biking and exercise.  And best of all, Tony taught me about quality.

Riding with Tony I was able to focus on maintaining good form on the bike.  I concentrated on maintaining a high cadence throughout the entire ride.  I didn’t worry about how fast I was going, or what my heart rate was, or how many miles we were logging.  I focused instead on the position of my feet as the pedals turned and the position my head and neck were in while I was riding.  I tried to shift my gears well to maintain the same cadence during the entire ride.  I focused on how great it was to be cycling and to be cycling well.  I focused on the quality of my ride and on quality of life for an entire hour.

Tony reminded me by example that, even though you may not be able to ride really fast or ride for a really long distance, the joy is in the ride.  He is a true role model for all of us.

Thank you, Tony.