Wednesday, August 31, 2016

TM Speech: Go! (No Running Content Whatsoever)

Dearest Readers,

I have recently given some speeches in connection with my Toastmasters International membership. Some are related to running, and some are not. When possible, I will publish the speeches. This is one of them.

"Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness” ~Mark Twain

"Oh, the places you'll go!" ~Dr. Seuss

  • The majority of us can
  • My goal: to convince you that you should
  • Along the way: pictures, stories, a couple tips
  • Some day…
  • Set a date, or time to plan
  • Just GO!

  • (I've been) Extremely fortunate
  • Started Little by little
  • Used a Travel Agent
  • Traveled for Consulting
  • (The travel bug) Once you have it…

Relaxation, as in: Life's a Beach

Indulgence and Fun, Possibly to Excess!

Adventure, Fitness and Scenic Beauty

Cultural Immersion, as in being an Anthropologist, or an Ambassador

A Few Tips:
  • Decide on the type of travel you think you may like, and don’t be nervous – there are relatively few places you can easily get to that are truly dangerous
  • Pick a place and time – use the latest thing: the Internet
  • If possible, use a travel agent
  • If possible, go off-season
  • Consider airline and hotel points and credit cards
  • Check and double-check your plans
  • Enjoy the planning – don’t let it get too stressful
  • Enjoy the anticipation – this can be better than the trip itself
  • Batten the hatches
  • Don’t blab on social media – till you get back
  • Take thousands of photos – then keep 50
  • Consider a photo book for your trip
  • Keep a journal

TM Speech: The Kid and I (Some, but Only a Little Running Content)

Dearest Readers,

I have recently given some speeches in connection with my Toastmasters International membership. Some are related to running, and some are not. When possible, I will publish the speeches. This is one of them.

The Kid and I

  • This is my Icebreaker speech. I believe the general purpose of icebreaker speeches is for new members to talk a little bit about themselves.
  • This will be a very slight departure from that format.

About the Kid
  • I am going to tell you about a “friend” of mine, who is known as “The Kid”.
  • I’ve known The Kid for a long time. He and I have many things in common. But we have some significant differences, too.
  • My goal is to inform you about The Kid, but in the process, have you also learn something about me.
  • They say you can’t give yourself a nickname.
  • But sometimes, that’s not true. In the late 1990’s a popular movie came out called, “The Big Lebowski”. It starred Jeff Bridges in the title role.
  • In the film, the Lebowski character, a bowler, gave himself a nickname of “The Dude.” The Dude’s friends merely put up with this. One of the film’s catch-phrases is, “The Dude Abides”.
  • It’s like this with The Kid. He gave himself the name, and I and our other friends, merely put up with it.

 The Kid’s Work Life
  • Like me, The Kid has over 40 years of experience in the IT world.
  • Like me, The Kid is a Project Planning Analyst (PPA) in the Enterprise Project Management Office (EPMO).
  • The Kid analyzes and estimates projects during their initiation. He also collects and analyzes other project metrics.
  • Me and The Kid are part of a great team, but here’s the difference between us: The Kid thinks he’s really good at what he does. He thinks he’s “special.” I, on the other hand, do really know better.

 Outside of Work
  • The Kid loves to travel. He even writes a travel blog. I also like to travel. But a blog? Who would want to read someone’s travel blog?
  • The Kid likes to cook and make his own beer. But I can tell you that The Kid’s cooking is pretty good sometimes, and pretty bad other times. And although he thinks his beer is pretty good, I think it’s actually pretty bad. (I don’t know how to tell him.)

  • Like me, The Kid is a keen and accomplished runner.
  • Unlike me, The Kid writes a running blog. I think: who on earth would want to read such a thing. What could be more boring or just plain stupid?
  • Most importantly, The Kid thinks he’s “still” a top runner. I know that he’s getting older and slowing down, but how can I tell him?

  • Narcissism is defined as “A disorder in which a person has an inflated sense of self-importance”.
  • I wondered if it was narcissistic to refer to oneself in the Third Person, so I asked The Kid about this.
  • The Kid doesn’t think so. He says he’s too important to be narcissistic.
  • As always, The Kid Abides.

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Say it Loud


"Did you just say, 'ouch'?" asked training partner Michelle Wolff. She and I and Debbie Sheele had been running silently along for a mile or so, but here at mile 6.66. I involuntarily said the 'O' word. My AT pain is always with me, but sometimes it becomes unbearable, and some of those times, I say so. That was Friday, I did it again today.

I needed a long run. The last time I went past the 18-mile (my definition of long) barrier was at the Mugrage Park 6-Hour run. And that was painful - so much so that my mileage is down even farther than it was then.

But pain and all, I need to get moving. NC24 is looming, and as noted in other posts, I want to at least be able to run a little there. This day, four weeks out, was better than most and as good as any.

I was out the door before four. Got five and a half in before meeting Debbie at Panera. We did seven together, so I still had five and a half to do. I decided to take the long way home. But I didn't get far.


This time there was no one to hear. Or to ask whether I just said what it sounded like. Now I needed to be able to get home, even though I was hobbling and running four minutes per mile slower than just a bit ago.

I did make it, but,


Let’s make Sports Great Again

Basketball and baseball take place nearly every day, and football once a week during their long annual seasons. Every four years during the Olympics, people enthusiastically watch sports that they aren’t at all used to, and one of them is essentially the same activity that I and my friends participate in on a nearly daily basis, year round.

When I was a kid, far fewer regular people ran. Road running and racing, for all intents and purposes, did not exist. Yet Track and Field was a much more prominent sport. I would turn on the ABC Wide World of Sports every Saturday, watch the skier suffer the agony of defeat, and then fairly often catch at least part of a track meet.

I absolutely love watching the track events at the Olympics. I was glued to the TV for much of the past week, and last night was the best of all. During my runs the last couple days, I couldn’t help thinking about how the guys and gals who are the best in the world do essentially what I do, only faster, longer and generally better. Of course I’m inspired by them, but I like to think that maybe, in some small way, they’re inspired by me too.

If only we could watch Track and Field on TV more often. Like we used to. Let’s make Sports Great Again!

Monday, August 15, 2016

Meatier Meteors

Every year at about this time, the Earth passes through the tail of Comet Swift-Tuttle, resulting in the Perseid Meteor Shower. This year forecast called for more shooting stars than usual, hence the title of this post. Every year I go out for my early morning runs, watching the sky, hoping to see some of the stars shoot. More often than not, I see few to none.

This year, in spite of the predicted meatiness, there were none. It didn't help that it was cloudy and raining for some of the days. Two things of note did happen, however.

First Thing of Note: During one of the cloudless moments, I did spot Orion rising for the first time of the season. This is always how I know that Fall is coming. And with this summer being as hot as it's been, that can't happen soon enough.

Second Thing of Note: I ran a fair amount, and much of it was with my old training buddies, Michelle Wolff and Debbie Scheel. It was nearly like old times, only slower - for all of us. Yes, we've all got our little injuries that we're battling.

Tuesday, August 09, 2016

Step, Ouch, Repeat

Over two years ago, when I thought this Achilles Tendonitis (AT) condition was still Plantar Fasciitis, I created a blog post called, Step, Ouch, Step, Ouch... I believe I had had the condition as much as a year prior to that. Much more recently, I posted something called AT: What Works, and What Ain’t, and this is probably even more relevant. And painful. I hate to do this, but I am about to reprise that pain.


Nearly every run hurts, and when it hurts, it hurts bad. Real bad. If I run less, or not at all, it hurts a little less. But even then I still hurt. But running is definitely the driving factor. Everything and everyone indicates that I need to cease and desist running until I can heal up completely.


I will. I promise that I will. But not until after NC24. NC24 is a month away. It would have been nice to be a contender there, but I will only be an also-ran. Even so, I’ve got to at least show up and run a little. I have to.


After MP6 I was hurting quite a bit again. Even so, I needed to try (a little) to still do some running. My mileage is way down now, but I’m trying to still do some. I ran about 20 very slow miles over the weekend in Geneva, NY. It was an idyllic running area, but the pain prevented too much enjoyment. This morning I did 13, the most since MP6. And I was really doing the step, ouch thing towards the end. It nearly killed me.


Yup. One more race, and then I can relax. And heel up.

North Canton YMCA 4th of July 5-mile

Since I have participated in the Ohio Challenge Series many years, I've done this race many times, albeit many moons ago. It's a fun...