Sunday, April 29, 2012

It was 37 degrees this morning when I climbed into the tights and went out for what ended up being a 7 mile run. I took a totally new route today which involved a hill that was easily be a mile long climb and one that if you were on a bike you'd be down shifting to a low gear. Then around the corner and up and down several hills. Yesterday I was running against 30 degree winds and didn't make it too far before turning back, but today the sun was out and while it was cold, the wind wasn't there.

Things have been crazy of late. I have written about some of that here and some is so personal and so lacking in clarity that I rarely speak of it let alone write. Heading out to the gym at lunch for a quick 40 minute run is what keeps my stress levels controlled and me from spinning out of orbit. The upside of these jaunts to the gym has been that I can set the treadmill to fit what I need and for the past could weeks its been a combination of sprints and heavy runs up good sized inclines. Both of these burn off adrenalin and also burn off the extra food that I find myself nibbling at work as stress fixes.

So this morning when I left my street and headed toward the long hill I normally would take a left and do a route that is rolling and goes into town. But this morning I kept on going straight and went downhill and then started to climb. To my great satisfaction my treadmill workouts had me ready to complete the hill and still have something to turn the corner and continue on.  On a long run it takes me about 20-25 minutes before I start to feel good and at about 40 minutes I am at my peak and that is when I start to think about returning back. At about an hour I am starting to feel tired and but usually by then pretty close to home, although I always have a last quarter mile hill to get up to my street.

Finishing up the run I felt great as usual but a short while later my butt was clearly reminding me that I gave myself a strong hill workout. A few Ibuprofens and even that is under control.

So why the hell did I even start writing about this?  I guess it's because with all going on around home and work I have been thinking a lot of how small changes can really have an impact when they start to accumulate. There aren't a lot of big changes I can make to make things better or calmer or more fulfilling, so I am seeking out even the smallest positive change.  One of them being to gradually increasing the incline and speed on the treadmill over several weeks of short runs reveled itself this morning in my ability to tackle a 7 mile run of mostly hills in just a about an hour. Not a shabby time at all.

So I will continue to seek out those little changes and continue to see where they bring me.

Monday, April 16, 2012

wish I had a picture

We were in New York City a few days ago and after a day seeing some sights some of the family of the family wanted to go shopping, but given the option of tagging along through the womens department, I chose to head back to the hotel and go out for a run. We weren't anywhere near central park so my option was running the treadmill in the basement fitness center or to hit the streets. Most who read this blog can guess my choice. I am an outdoors person even in the city. Running through traffic and around the crowded sidewalks was a rush and there was a bike lane that I could share with the occassional bikers.

Compared with my usual routes running in the city is great. It is flat and with the exception of having to stop for lights and the heat, it was easy to get up a fast pace and 5 miles was done pretty quickly. It was much more fun than my workout yesterday of walking up and down the 19 floors to our room. In a small stairwell the back and forth of the landings left me dizzy at the bottom.

But back to the title of this post. While out for my run, I did encounter bikers and the strangest one I encountered was the person texting with 2 hands coming toward me on 6th Avenue. As I approached him I thought it wiser to slip through the crowd on the sidewalk. On my return trip I encountered him again only this time he was one foot from hitting a cab parked on the road side. As he discovered the cab a bit of shock crossed his face followed by sheepeshness as he apologized to the driver. I am sure this wasn't his first crash and won't be his last. And no he wasn't wearing a helmet.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

The chucking of the sacred tennis balls - Happy Easter

For many years we have had a pre-Easter tradition of participating in and coordinating the chucking of the sacred tennis balls. Sounding a little irreverent on the surface it is a tradition started by an artist member of our church who figured out that if you attached fish line to a tennis ball you can hurl them up through the rafters and then connect one end to long spools of fabric that are pulled to the front and attached under the cross the other end tied off to the sides. The effect is quite dramatic effect and beautiful. Like streamers, some go the entire distance and some take off and seems to end in the middle of the air, like rays of sun.

Hurling a ball attached to a spool of fish line sounds easy until you try it. Thirty feet up with not much windup space requires a little practice as does picking out different lengths of fabric that work. While the process has been refined, every year it is a little different as it is up to the chucker which rafter is picked or accidentally hits and the different fabric used.

This all happens on the evening of Good Friday, appropriate in that everything breakable has been put away and is out of sight. Those balls do bounce and some people have really bad aim. But it is an event for all and anyone who shows up gets a chance to chuck a ball. There is one ball that several years back got stuck and hangs from one of the highest rafters dangling from a few feet of line. You have to be a certain angle to see it and whenever I see it throughout the year, it makes me smile and remember this wonderful Easter tradition.

We have been doing this for quite a while with both the kids and last year and this, my youngest coordinated the effort.

The streamers will stay up for quite a while and couples have even planned weddings to match the time that they will be up.

Happy Easter to to breakfast and Church