Monday, November 19, 2007

Running, Remodeling, Thanking


Forty-two minutes.
That was my time Saturday morning.
I was a bit tardy getting to the course from dithering around the house trying to decide what to wear.
It was supposed to be in the high thirties, according to my recollection.
My recollection was wrong.
It was in the high forties.
It makes a difference.
So I over-dressed a little.
The downside of such errors is that I am a bit uncomfortable (read: hot) if I overdo the clothing layers.
The upside?
I am warm even though the weather is “cold”.

I was tired from some extra effort at work this week.
I prepared myself for a tough slog and that is what I got.
The runner in me said, “This is not fun.”
The coach in me said, “Shuddup an' run.”
Running Central noted the sharp little pin-prick pain in the front of my right knee, and the stiffness in my left hip.
Somewhere in mile one, all the body part complaints disappeared.

I had not gone a good one-eighth of a mile when it became clear that the tension on my shoelaces was not even.
The right was much too loose.
It felt like it had come untied – a first ever event during a run, of any sort.
I had to STOP and retie my right shoelace.
I hate that.

Strangely, I had to stop AGAIN about a mile later to retie that SAME shoelace.
I do not know what happened.
My New Balance running shoes have never had a problem with laces coming loose.
My latest pair have special lumpy laces that, I was told by the salesperson, were designed lumpy so they would not come loose.
For me, they were fixing something that was not a problem to me.

At the end, I was tired.
I felt mentally good that I had done my duty and finished my run.
The last quarter mile was one of those blind trots where all you really want to see is the finish line/crack in the parking lot so you can stop.
As tired as I was, I knew that I would quickly recover from this effort and have a good day.
And it was so.


After church, Sunday, we partook of our annual Thanksgiving dinner.
The ladies of the congregation prepared a massive feast.
One look at the table and I felt inadequate for the task that lay ahead of me.
I got some turkey, some ham, sweet potato casserole, Lima beans, a cornbread muffin, cranberry sauce, and maybe some other stuff. (oh, yea, I had some stuffing, too.)
After cleaning my plate, I partook of some cake. (I left most of the too-thick but very good, cream cheese-based icing on the plate – too sweet!)
It was all good.
I did not partake of the two kinds of brownies, the fudge, the apple pie, the pan cake, the cookies, or any of the three pastel-colored cool-whip dishes. (we had pink, green, and white with red dots (strawberries?) in it.)


The big news this week (other than it being Thanksgiving week) is that I am taking the entire week off to remodel my bathroom.
I really do not expect to have this whole project completed by next weekend, but I will have most of it done.
I have taken the extra time off to allow for fixing unforeseen problems that always come up during remodeling projects.
And I will take most of Thursday off from the remodeling to cook (and eat!) my Thanksgiving dinner.

If you remember the tale of the flying bathtub a few weeks ago, well, this week is when the new tub gets its new home. (and I get to stop scrubbing tile)
Because I am taking ALL of the tile out of the bathroom, I must remove the toilet and the pedestal sink (which I hate).
Today I purchased a new, super-flushing toilet.

I dread this project but it will be nice when I get it all done.
Photos are being taken to document the progress.
They will be posted soon.


Remodling projects notwithstanding, I/we have many things to be thankful for.

First and formost, that God in mercy reached down to this helpless sinner and called me from my ignorance, rebellion, and selfishness to His kingdom/family/church.
A truly life-changing experience.
He has guided me, helped me, and taken care of me since that time.
I have had to exercise 1 John 2:1 a few times, but God has always been available to restore me.

Monday, November 12, 2007



A special thank you to all Americans who are serving or have served in our military services.
And a very special thank you to those families who have lost a family member in service to our country.
I realize that no words can ease your pain and loss, but please know that I am aware of your sacrifice and that of your lost loved one.
Thank you for your sacrifice.


The run Saturday was productive if not fun.
I was tired from my increased efforts at work during the week.
The question in my mind was how well would I do in my little micro marathon.
I got a late start because I was piddling around the house with various mental distractions regarding my upcoming remodeling project.

My watch read 6:15 when I finally began my run.
I started out expecting to have a tough time of it, thankfully I was mostly disappointed.
I broke into accelerated breathing near the top of hill two and it took me a few minutes to settle back down to my usual breathing level.
This was not unexpected.
By mid-mile three, various little aches and pains were squeaking in my hips and knees, but nothing rose to the level of show stopper.

The last quarter mile was a difficult slog.
I felt like I was running through molasses.
By this time I was pleased to be almost done and was determined to gallop to the end as best I could.
The time proved to be about average – forty-one minutes.

Thanks to the change in the clocks, I had semi-daylight on the whole course.

Sunday morning at five-thirty AM, the eastern sky lit up the few cirrus clouds in brilliant shades of gold, purple, and pink.
It was hard to keep my eyes on my walking course (the street) and not on the sky.
By the time I arrived home, the sun was almost peeking over the mountains.


I was driving home from church Sunday when an old song came on the radio.
I had not heard it in years (decades?)
I present the words below for your edification:

I was standing on the banks of the river (sic)
Looking out over life’s troubled sea
When I saw an ole ship that was sailing
Is that the ole ship of Zion I see?

Its hull was bent and battered
From the storms of life I could see
Waves were rough but that ole ship kept sailing
Is that the ole ship of Zion I see?

At the stern of the ship stood the captain
I could hear as he called out my name
“Get on board it’s the ole ship of Zion
It will never pass this way again.”

As I step on board I’ll be leaving
All my sorrows and heartaches behind
I’ll be safe with Jesus the captain
Sailing out on the ole ship of Zion.

I first heard this song by the Kingsmen quartet in the early(?) seventies.
I would like to get a copy now.

Sunday, November 04, 2007


Let the chronicles record that the flat sheets on the royal bed have been washed and retired for the winter, replaced by my nice, snuggly flannel sheets.

In other news.....

I am just two weeks away from the most major home project of my administration so far, the remodeling of my bathroom.
This will involve removal of all the tile on the walls, removal of the current steel bathtub, toilet, and sink, and installation of a new one-piece fiberglass tub, new high-fiber toilet and a custom vanity.
I will have to install new sheet rock on the lower four feet of the walls.
And then repaint the whole new bathroom. (color still to be determined)
I plan to keep the tile floor as is.

To install the new tub, I will have to tear out the entire wall behind the current tub, carry the new tub in the front door and pass it through the hole in the wall from the living room to the bathroom, then rebuild the wall and refinish it with new sheet rock and paint.
I very dread this project, but it needs to be done.

On a more pleasant topic.....

The thermometer on my back porch read 45 degrees when I stepped out for my morning run Saturday.
It was 5:45 AM.
I had dressed according to the prognostications of a local weatherperson from the night before.
That prediction proved to be accurate and in accordance with the reading on my thermometer.
I drove to research park – west and started my familiar journey.
My watch read: 6:00:00.
What a great way to measure my running time!

Interestingly, even though it was totally dark, there were no street lights on the first quarter mile of my course.
I assume this was either because of the new construction of Bridge Street, or because someone had already set the timing clock for the lights back in anticipation of daylight savings time this weekend.
My presumption about daylight savings time became less probable when I saw the street lights on along the second quarter mile of my course.

Going up the first hill it was really dark.
There are no street lights or office buildings here.
I could just barely see the lines in the road (I run down the center lane of the road here even though there is a sidewalk fifteen feet away.)
There was a faint quarter moon that provided a small amount of light all during my traverse.
I could even see my shadow in the darker areas.

Just about the time I was sure that the construction was the cause of the lights being out, I came across another section of darkened streetlights in mile two, almost a mile from the construction area.
Go figure.
And it was still really dark.

I was a bit concerned about my strength this session because my left knee tried to collapse Friday at work.
This was not a major event or even a “problem” other than I constantly am aware of how my body is functioning prior to a running event.
A collapsed knee is not a big deal at work where there are other people around to assist you to a chair, if need be, etc.
A collapsed knee when one is alone a mile and a half from one's car in near total darkness at 6:15 AM on Saturday morning, is quite another matter.
So I take notice of my physical resources constantly.

My concern was not needed.
I had a fine run up until the last half mile or so.
That was when my hip flexors began to whine.
Why they were complaining I know not.
It mattered not.
Every time I lifted a leg to take another step, the front of my hips barked.
Running Central duly noted the complaint.
The coach in me said, “Shuddup an run!”
Not a problem.

Steevee was in race mode again and pushed himself all the way to the finish line/crack.
Mind you, it prolly did not look impressive, but I was giving all I had the last few hundred feet of the session.
My watch read: 6:41:15.
I must have done too much sightseeing – even in the darkness.

When I finished, the eastern sky was light but the sun was not up.
This will be the last weekend this year for that circumstance.
In exchange for sunset at 4:30 in the afternoon, I will be able to run in the morning twilight from now on.


April 15 th of 2013 was my last year to work for HR Block. I disliked the corporate pressure to make us call customers to try ...