Sunday, December 27, 2009

Anonymous said...

When I blog, I am mindful of those who might be reading.

For example, I don't swear, much, because, well, I just might be surprised to find someone young, or old, who could be mortally offended by a "choice" word. I really don't think, "Well, I'd best not swear because someone at ________[church, work, home ...fill in the blank] might read this." Rather, I'm more concerned about the person who doesn't know me, know my heart, reading a swear word and concluding that I'm a potty mouth, or that bad words are the tip of the moral iceberg that constitutes who Joel is.

I also don't expound at great lengths about my mental or emotional anguishes because,
1. sometimes running helps me sort through them and sometimes running only magnifies them,
2. I really don't anguish over much and to expound about it even a little may leave the occasional reader concerned that my inner being is like a little boat on an ocean of tumultuous waves, and then may feel compelled to help that little boat find some island of refuge, and
3. unless one writes really well about their anguishing, it tends to just sound like cry-baby-ass whining. Oops. Not being very mindful of my readers there.

I also try not to blog about anticipated runs. It feels like bragging about something I haven't done yet. There are bragging rights associated with a long run that every ultra runner is due. But to brag before doing is just plain bad taste.

There are lots of other thoughts that get tempered when I write, because I am thinking about you, the reader. However, a recent comment flipped this all on its head. The comment said, "Don't you love me[?]
You can see me here" and then left a url that I did not follow.

It made me realize that while I may be mindful of those who are reading my blog, there are others who aren't. So, I've added word verification to my comments now. (thanks Jenna). We'll all be a little safer.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Professional Photos - What one Does When One Isn't Running

After a year, I've taken the advice of a good friend, bit the bullet, and had professional photos taken of myself. I must say that it was not the most pleasant experience. I'd rather do it again than run a 3 mile run, but I'd rather run a 30 or 50 miler than sit through the photo shoot again.

Strange, isn't it? I'd much rather run 30 miles than 3. Probably because
1. the effort to get dressed and out the door is about the same for each run,
2. it usually takes me about 30 minutes to warm up and start feeling good,
3. on shorter runs, I run too fast and end up never relaxing, and
4. there's so many more bragging rights that come with a 30 miler than with 3.

Needless to say, here is one of the pro shots below. Maybe I'll try Glamour Shots next!

Sunday, December 13, 2009

When One's Mileage Creeps near the Temperature

Today, I spent with Zeke at the mall instead of at church. Zeke has an awful cold; in fact, when he coughs it sounds like a dog barking. The nursery at church has a strict rule about not taking children who are sick. In the past, I have tried to entertain Zeke in the lobby, a hallway, a spare room, the bookstore, the library, the fellowship hall.... all to little success. So, we headed to Target and the mall where we royally violated all high standards of a good sabbatarian.

Now, whenever we get within 20 miles of the mall, Zeke begins lobbying to visit the Apple store. Today, his efforts paid off. After priming myself with a half-caff cup of coffee, we set up shop in the Apple store, where Zeke contentedly played on an iPhone for 10 minutes...until he realized that that particular iPhone had no game apps on it. So, we struck camp, moved over the iPod Touch counter, and settled in. After 35 minutes, I said it was time to go. Zeke put the iPod back in its craddle and we struck camp again.

That was all to say that when we finally arrived home this afternoon, I was itchy. Instead of the customary Sunday afternoon nap, I dug out the wool and took off.
It was a glorious run. About three miles to the Browns Creek area where I tramped through the woods and along the creek trying to find the oft-spoken-of-but-elusive trout-fishing trail that runs along the creek. So, I climbed up the embankment and ran on the Zephyr railroad track and kept stopping to peer over the edge at the rushing creek about 100 feet below.

I then turned around and ran up Highway 95 to home. This was the coldest part as the wind tends to speed up as it blows through this narrower section of the St. Croix.
9.1 miles...temperature about 15.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Running Again

Today I ran Stillwater hills. Wow, did it feel great.
It is supposed to snow tomorrow. Maybe Marty and I can slip out for a quick evening run in the snow.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

2010 Race Calendar, Passion & Family

A big thanks to Kel for assembling in one place a nice list of runs in the midwest. Check it out at her web site.
I'll be putting together my 2010 race calendar in the next few weeks. I won't be able to run all the races I put on my calendar. However, just placing the possibilities on paper is part of what motivates me.

I have learned during the past three weeks that running, ultra running, is much more a part of my being than I had imagined. I am partially defined by it; thinking about running, planning to run, and actually running all play a significant role in motivating me in other areas of my life. There was concern that running was a greater passion than my family, that I spent more time and mental gymnastics thinking about running than about developing our family. Some of that concern was legitimate.

So I made a difficult choice three weeks ago to give it up. It was not an easy choice, but one which once made, was easy to accept. I was glad that I was able to choose my family over running.

What I realized during the past weeks, and what Marty realized, is that I am not as good without running. Without a Friday moonlit run to look forward to, I found that my motivation in all of life was waning. Without a long trail run to look back at, I missed having something significant to be proud of. I have much to be proud of in my family, and my great family sets me apart from most in this world. But, I found that I need a regular, significant accomplishment to fall back on during times when I doubt my abilities. What I hadn't realized is how looking back at a big accomplishment such as a long, night run actually gives me confidence and courage to deal with a difficult legal issue or stay hopeful when I finish a case, which happens to be my only paying case.

Ultra running has become who I am. I discovered that it can't be easily distilled from my life. It makes life sweeter, more full. I found that I do need large challenges that few others attempt. I don't think it's so much pride as it is purpose that makes ultra running so indispensable. And not just purpose, but passionate purpose that makes all of my life more sweet. It's not so much different from faith, except that faith's object is so much more valuable.

So, I am drafting a 2010 race calendar in the coming weeks. And I'm doing so with an eye to protecting my family. I'm not preferring a competing passion over my family, but pursuing a passion that enables me to more passionately love my family.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Sorting Through Life

Life is sifting itself through a strainer presently. I gave up Friday night soccer.
I'm not certain where running will sift out yet. All the running gear is packed away for now. Certainly, Arrowhead is out. Leadville is out. Chippewa isn't possible now since the race was terminated.
There's even a full moon this week and I most likely will not be out enjoying it.