My wife Linda is looking for a job. She is incredibly skilled in her profession, which is in Change Management, Business Readiness and Project Management. Her industry has been Public Utilities for over 25 years but her skills translates into many other fields. She’s been applying now for a while. What has she learned during this time? That knowing everything doesn’t matter if you don’t know anybody who can either give you a job or introduce you to someone who can give it to you.
Sly vs Shrewd
It can be frustrating to those who want to be judged solely on their qualifications and their accomplishments. But what they forget is that being social and engaged is a qualification and an accomplishment. Doing most jobs successfully means more than accomplishing a task, it means working with other people and what is that but socializing at some level. The hard part of course is doing that in a forced way. It’s not natural to just ‘like’ a stranger on LinkedIn or Facebook. It seems like you are being fake because you don’t really want to be friends with them, you want to connect with them so you can perhaps get a job. Seems a bit sly. But the truth is it’s not sly, it’s shrewd.
What is Your Goal?
The most important question is, what do you need to do to reach your goal? If you want a job in a certain company or industry, then you need to connect to people at that company and in that industry, simple as that. If you aren’t willing to make that connection, even if it is a bit awkward, then you have to accept that your chances of reaching your goal drops dramatically. It won’t be because you aren’t appreciated, it will be because you weren’t willing to connect.
Drawing and commentary © Marty Coleman | napkindad.com
“A wise person knows everything, a shrewd one, everybody.” – Chinese Proverb
Available as a Print, framed or unframed
This is a tough one. But as hard as it seems to be able to do, from my experience it seems essential to self understanding. I don’t believe you can have love for yourself if there is no understanding of what it is you have gone through in life. And that love is only able to blossom if you have come to understand the experience deeper than just the hated part of it.
In my own life there were alcoholic parents, terrible physical injuries, uprooting myself from more than one college for reasons beyond my control, and an excruciating divorce after 20 years of marriage. And those are just the highlights. Could I have hated all those events? In fact I did have hate for them. But I wasn’t FILLED with hate. Hate was part of what I felt. But so was hope, fear, happiness, anger, frustration, determination, love. I developed resilience, perseverance, a sense of adventure, compassion, love, and strength that led me forward through those things. And I was deliberate in looking at the value those events had in creating the positive part of who I am and what I can do.
Here’s the thing. You will not get to be old in this life without events that hurt you, scare you, destroy you. You will not get old without injury, illness, failure. Those things will exist at some point in some way. Your decision is the label you give them. Is ‘hate’ the first word, maybe the only word, you attach to that event? Then I submit you haven’t looked deep enough at it. By giving more labels to these things you aren’t giving up the right to say you hated it. You are simply saying there was more to it than just the hated part. Focus on that other part. What did you learn, how did you grow, who did you help as a result?
Don’t Love Hating
I know I have lived just one life. It’s a life that didn’t include many terrible things, things that I can’t imagine having to deal with. I can’t say I would have been successful in overcoming the hate if any number of other things had happened. But I do know there are many who have so focused on what they hate about something or someone in their past (or present) that they aren’t able or willing to see beyond it. Their identity is attached to what they hate. And I know of no people who are happy being that way.
A few years ago I posted a napkin drawing using a quote by Sarah Haines that struck me profoundly. “Don’t love hating people.” It is a variation on this same theme and I hope you will go read what I had to say about it as well.
Drawing and commentary © Marty Coleman | napkindad.com
“In order to love who you are you cannot hate the experiences that shaped you.” – Andrea Dykstra
Last week we had Labor Day on Monday. That meant I didn’t have to coach. I could have run the ‘Escape from Turkey Mountain’ trail run but call me cautious but since I am not a trail runner (yet) I didn’t think it wise to go running around rocks and roots with a bazillion other people in front and behind me.
How I imagine it
Since I didn’t have to coach and I didn’t have to race that meant I was going to run on my own, right? Nope. It meant I was a lazy bum and didn’t run at all. I didn’t run the day before either. That means TWO WHOLE DAYS not running. Of course the Saturday before that I ran 18 miles so I had a ready excuse, I was recovering. And that’s just what it was, an excuse. My wife was also gone that weekend, off in Denver visiting her sister. So I ate pizza. And Cocoa Krispies. And Burger King. Why? Because I was bacheloring it. That was my excuse. And just to make sure I didn’t mess things up I skipped my morning stretching and calisthenics workouts over the weekend as well.
Ninja wanted some too
And I learned a lesson I have learned many times all over again. It is SO EASY to be a lazy bum. It makes me believe in the law of entropy. That is the law of the universe that says, and I will try to not get to scientific on you, if you are sitting on a couch you will stay seated on the couch until something comes and kicks you off. Wait, that might be a different law, they can be so confusing. Anyway, it’s the law that took over my life for those two days. Sometimes I like that law.
I also learned something else. I am glad my job is coaching runners. That job is the one that often is the thing that kicks me off the couch and into motion across the universe (or Tulsa, whichever is closest). So, Tuesday rolled around and I had no more excuses. I had to go to work and run. I like my job.
But seriously, if you are suffering from couchitis, find a group to do something with. You may not be a runner, but you are a something. Maybe a bird watcher, or a knitter, or a photographer, or a rock climber. It doesn’t matter. Find your way to a group and join in. You will find that the activity is just a small part of the benefit. The friendships you make while doing the activity are what will really become your joy and your motivation!
We are all different, we are all the same.
The actual runs I did do last week were pretty intense though. I scheduled speedwork for Pathways on Wed and Thurs and I ran both of those. That’s a lot of speedwork. My long run was not long in distance but it was mostly at race pace so it too was a hard work out.
Up next is what might end up being close to a 50 mile week. I have a 20 mile training run and will have to once again figure out how to go about doing it. Whether to do it completely solo or combine it with other runs. The problem is this week Fleet Feet has races so there are no organized training runs, either run the races or run on your own. My question is can I combine the 20 miler with the races. I will let you know what I decide to do.
That’s it for now. If you would like to read the rest of the series, click on the ‘Series’ drop down menu on the right and scroll to ‘Marathon Training’.
See you running,
The Unknowing Muse
She is only the second knitter I have drawn. The first was in Colorado, or wait, it was in an auto shop here in town but I made mountains in the background and they looked like Colorado so I always think I drew her there. Anyway, she definitely was not in Colorado. She was in Starbucks. Which of course, could have been in Colorado, but it wasn’t. It was here.
She didn’t know I was drawing her, she was busy knitting. Most people don’t know I am drawing them, though some do, like that Flight Attendant that one time that one night (who wrote on my website 4 years after the fact to comment on the drawing I did of her). But this time she didn’t. Or at least I didn’t think she did. Sometimes people do know I am drawing them but I don’t know they know because they only look at me when I am looking down drawing and I only draw them when they are looking down doing whatever it is they are doing, which is usually reading. Sometimes they are talking to someone or on the phone. Sometimes they are knitting.
If they have headphones on they are even more unlikely to know I am drawing them since they are double pre-occupied with whatever it is they are doing and their music or podcast or audiobook. Usually they are not talking to someone while they have their headphones in. But sometimes they are talking to someone through their headphones. She was doing neither. She was just listening and knitting.
But what was she listening to is the question. Well, it’s not really THE question, but it is a question. THE question is why did Hamilton agree to duel with Burr. I mean it is THE question if you just read that book about Hamilton, which I just did. But if you didn’t it isn’t. That is a good question though, what is your THE question? Anyway, the answer to the A question is in the drawing. See, that was simple.
When I was almost completely done with the drawing I saw that she was getting ready to go so I went over to her and showed her the drawing. As is often the case, she was surprised. I mean who expects to be drawn nowadays, right? We aren’t in Paris after all. Though I have been to Paris and drawn people and they were surprised to. So much for that idea.
After we introduced ourselves Debra told me she was blessed because her mother (or mother-in-law, I forget which) had taken her daughter (or son, I forget which) for the morning so she could go out and relax. I thought that was very nice. At the time I hadn’t yet filled in the thought bubble above her head so I told her I wanted to know what she was thinking so I could fill it in. She told me something that wasn’t what she was thinking but was perfect so I said, “That’s perfect.” and it was. I told her I would probably write a short story to go along with the drawing. This isn’t exactly the type of fictional short story I had in mind when I said ‘short story’ but it is the story I am writing so it will have to do. Or maybe it is a fictional short story. How would you know anyway, right?
Debra then left and I went about finishing up the drawing. A few minutes later Debra came back in and told me she was excited to have been my muse for the morning. I thought that was cool. Not many people think about themselves that way but almost everyone I draw is a muse to me and when someone gets that, I feel connected to that person. I gave her my card and told her I would be posting the drawing and the story on my website. She said she would go take a look. That is how most conversations go when I draw someone. And then more often than not it does not go that way. They don’t go take a look and they don’t comment. I think that is sad but oh well.
By the way, what you see in this drawing is not really Debra. It’s ink. That’s a conceptual joke, get it? But aside from that, the ink is not a representation of what was really there. Debra was there yes, but I could only see part of her. The part I couldn’t see I made up. If I hadn’t made it up I would have a drawn a bench and some coffee equipment and some chairs and a table and other stuff. But I wanted to draw her and not the table, chairs, equipment and bench so I made the rest of her up. That is why it looks funny, which a friend of mine pointed out.
The friend said it as sort of a swipe because she was under the assumption I was trying to draw Debra accurately, which was not my goal. Reasonably accurate so someone looking at the drawing would know it’s of a woman, not of a cell phone tower or of a cake, yes. But absolute accuracy so it looked just like Debra? no. My real goal was to put marks on a piece of paper so the marks were interesting to look at. In that I succeeded.
But succeeded according to whom? According to me. That is the great thing about art. You get to decide your own success.
Drawing and short story © 2017 Marty Coleman | napkindad.com
Some of you may have heard of ‘The Blerch’. It is the ‘fat, little cherub’ that follows you when you run. You can find his story at ‘The Oatmeal‘, a hilarious comic website. He sometimes follows me too but recently I have been enveloped by ‘The Blur’ instead. The Blur is an aerosol spray can of fog that releases its contents over you during these middle weeks of training. It makes you unable to remember individual runs because it’s all just one big run. It makes you unable to talk about anything but running because there is nothing but running. It makes you into a calculating machine trying to figure out the perfect pace, perfect nutrition regimen, perfect clothing and gear. Then once you figure all that out it is the culprit behind why you forget it all and try to figure it out again.
ok, I remember this one! Pathways PW1 in Broken Arrow after the 7 Hills of Hell
I have ‘The Blur’ bad right now. I want to tell you about specific runs but I don’t remember them for the most part. I can tell you about my 18 miler, because it was 2 days ago. But before that? A big blur. All I know is I ran a LOT in August, 156.5 miles to be exact. That is up 16.5 miles from July and is the most I’ve ever run in a month. To give you some perspective and to keep me humble, elite marathoners can easily run 100 miles in a week of training. So my 150 isn’t all that much by that count. But then again my Garmin statistics say it’s more than 99% of other runners my age (60-64) so enough of being humble, I did awesome!
The 18 miler
The memorable run was my longest yet of the training season and I had a lot of anxiety about it before hand. I was torn whether to do it on Saturday when all the groups I lead were running, or whether to just run the minimum on Saturday and get the 18 miles in on Sunday. Running long miles on your own is problematic though since you have to figure out a route, figure out how to have water available or stashed along the way, and get yourself out there to do it before the heat of the day takes you out. I knew Sunday was going to be hot and sunny.
But running with my groups means breaking up the long run into segments and I don’t want to have too much downtime between those segments. Plus I will still have to run most of it solo anyway. But I would have water, electrolyte drink, bathrooms and a route all taken care of in advance. I also knew that Saturday was supposed to be overcast and cooler.
The only pic I took during my long run
Rain Rain, Don’t Go Away
The difference in conditions made me choose Saturday. And it turned out to be my perfect conditions. What are those? First, overcast. Second, temps in the 60s. Third, RAIN. Yep, I love love love running in the rain…IF it’s not too cold or too much of a downpour. This rain was perfect. Rain is exhilarating, it’s cooling, it’s fun, and it makes you feel like a badass. My favorite marathon (Dallas, 2014) was in a light rain, WITH a torrential downpour from miles 22-25. It didn’t matter, I loved it and had my best finish ever as a result.
I had to run the 18 miles in segments, but it was very short downtime between them. I have 45 minutes between when the half marathoners take off and when my 15k runners take off. So, I ran 2 miles with my H2 half marathon group then turned around and headed back to the store. One of my coaches, Susan, was on her way back as well so we ran the 2 miles back together. Pathways, the 15k program I lead, was ready to go by the time we got back. I had just enough time to take some Endurolyte tablets, a Huma energy gel and go to the bathroom and we were off. I ran 4.5 miles with them.
Then I was on my own with 10 miles to go. I had a 4+ mile route that I had already done twice so it was a no brainer to follow that a few more times. That way I would have water along the way and wouldn’t have to think about the route very much. Even with that I did make a wrong turn but it was no big deal, I knew where I was and it added some needed distance anyway. The rain lightened then stopped by about mile 15, when I hit my final water stop. I called my wife at that point because I knew she was on her way to the airport to fly to Denver to visit her sister for the long weekend. That bit of rest made me ready to push out the final 3 miles. I felt great and was able to run the final 3 at the fastest pace of the entire run. I felt like I easily could have gone another 2-3 miles.
That is it for this week. Next week will be more of the same but less mileage on my long run. 7 weeks to go!
If you would like to read more of the series, you can find it here.
If you have advice or comments please feel free to do so here or connect with me on any social media. Just look up NapkinDad and you will find me.
Original drawing available, framed or unframed. Print also available.
Anxiety and Depression
I didn’t think of Hurricane Harvey when I first picked out this quote earlier this week. I was thinking about those with anxiety and depression. I was thinking about how hard it is to balance on what seems to be such a small path with the consequences of falling off the path being so severe. Then I read a friend’s Facebook post about how she basically just has to throw up her arms and laugh when things keep going wrong in her life. In her case I think it’s about financial and family issues. She always feels like she is just one step away from disaster. Sometimes she steps off the path (or is pushed) and tumbles down into the abyss. It is very hard to climb back up, but she always does.
It was only after that, while I was finishing the drawing that I started to connect it to natural disasters like Harvey. It might be comforting to feel like that sort of disaster doesn’t happen to everyone, and it’s true, it doesn’t. But how far away from that sort of disaster are we really? We live in Tornado Alley. We get in our storm shelter about once or twice a year because storms are bearing down on us. How narrow of a ledge we stand on at that moment.
So, how to deal with this. How do we stay on the path? I don’t know if we do. I think we all fall off the path at times. And I think it feels like an endless abyss when we do, as those on the Gulf Coast feel right now. As I felt when I got divorced 18 years ago. As the addict might feel when he or she falls off the wagon once again.
As a running coach I used to teach how to get the right running form. I don’t do that anymore. Now I accept that we all have our own unique running form. And with most runners, over the course of a 26.2 mile race, there is a good chance they are going to lose that form. So now what I do is teach how to regain your form once you have lost it. And that is how I think about this path we are on. We are going to fall off the path. The question is, do we have the ability, the friends and family, the tools we need to get back up on the path?
Houston in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey is showing that in that deep of an abyss you need an entire community and nation to lift one another back up on the path. We don’t all need that level of help, but we all need some help. If you need it, ask for it, no matter how hard it is to do so. It is worth suffering feelings of failure or embarrassment to get out of your abyss.
Drawing and commentary © Marty Coleman | napkindad.com
“Life is like a strip of pavement over an abyss.” – Virginia Woolf, 1882-1941, English writer
The worst way to make or take a selfie is to use filters that distort your reality so much that you don’t really see your true self when you look at the picture. Almost everyone uses some level of filtering, even if they say they don’t. For example, they take #nomakeup #nofilter pics and post them. But how many pictures did they take before they got the right one? Even if they only took two that still shows they are interested in how the appear to others. They want it to be a good ‘nofilter’ picture, not a bad one, right? And that is ok if you ask me. I don’t have a problem wanting the best version of myself to be presented.
But there are people who aren’t interested in any sort of real version of themselves being shown. They want to create a myth about themselves that isn’t based in reality, but is based on their own need for adoration or acceptance. These people tend to be braggarts. They extol their supposed virtues, not because the actually have attained those virtues but because they think the rest of the world will like them if they have those virtues. These are the people who pad their resume, make up professional experiences, lie about their schooling or grades, and hide examples of their weaknesses.
Job applicants and candidates for office are often tempted to do these sorts of things. Most don’t succumb to it in any flagrant sort of way. They might stretch the truth a bit, but they are still in the realm of reality in what they say.
But the orange man is beyond any of this. He is not tethered to a reality of who he is. His creation myth of self is built on his desperate need for adoration to make up for a crippling void of character and soul. He does not have an identity apart from what others think of him so he constantly needs to be built up from outside. He is a facade created so others will think there is substance inside. But there is not.
Don’t be like the Orange Man.
Drawing and commentary © 2017 Marty Coleman | napkindad.com
“He is a self-made man and worships his creator.” – anonymous
Between the Charlottesville issue, family visiting and the start of a new season of Pathways, I haven’t updated my training for the marathon in the past 2 weeks. But that doesn’t mean I haven’t been running. As a matter of fact I had my longest run and longest week yet.
If you saw the movie ‘Race’ last year, about Jesse Owen’s track triumphs in the 1936 Berlin Olympics, you know that there was an argument about whether he should participate or not. Don’t participate and you send a strong message that you will not contribute to the justification of the Nazi regime. Do participate and maybe prove their theory of Aryan racial supremacy false. In the end Owens, an African-American, participated and won four Gold Medals, definitively proving that theory wrong. Now it’s 80 years later and we just witnessed a gathering of people who believe in the same things Hitler believed in, that they are the superior race. It is sad and disturbing and wrong. But how do we overcome that in ourselves or in others?
I was thinking about this the other day in relation to running, how running is a great equalizer. I run with everyone; old and young, thin and wide, tall and short, male and female, black, white, brown, and more. Long haired blondes and bald, muscled macho types. People who are really quiet and people who are really talkative. Ambitious, competitive people and easy-going, mellow people. Really, really fast people and really, really slow people.
I also run with are CEOs, garbage collectors, homemakers, unemployed, retired, middle managers, entrepreneurs, burger flippers, orphans, widows and widowers, liberals and conservatives. I also run with black people and gay people and transgender people and recent immigrants (legal or otherwise) and ancestors of the Mayflower generation.
But who do I REALLY run with? I run with friends. Their identity is based on their desire to run, not the value of their pocketbook, the color of their skin or their agreement with my political ideas. I like that. It doesn’t solve the world’s problems, but it certainly helps.
The past two weeks have been pretty hot and humid, but I was still able to reach my goal of 30-40 miles each week. I have become a bit obsessed with those numbers because it’s an easy way for me to gauge my progress. I know it isn’t as important as quality workouts, but it’s easier to quantify and it’s my version of fun math. What I do is figure out day by day what my mileage is while I calculate what I will have to do the rest of the week to get to 30+. If it is a really long run on Saturday it usually isn’t a problem. Unless the long run distance will get me to 39.5 miles, which it did recently. I was supposed to do a 16 mile run but I needed 16.5 to get to 40. An arbitrary number I know, but I like saying I did 40 so I made sure I ran that extra half mile. Silly me.
The next week I had my daughter Caitlin visiting. She is just starting her training for a half marathon so her mileage was 6 miles. I did the 6 with her in one of the half marathon groups. It was very, very humid but we finished fine. I still needed to do another 6 to get my 12 miles in, which I decided I would do at home so she wouldn’t have to wait around for me. We drove home after our 6, had breakfast with her, her friend Courtney and Linda, my wife. We hung out for almost 2 hours just talking and visiting. Then I decided to go run the rest of my miles.
NOTE TO SELF: cooling down for 2 hours is not a good idea. My legs were stiff and tight and they didn’t want to run. Not only that but it was now 10:15am and the temperature, humidity and sun had all risen. I had a miserable run and got back close to my house right around the 4 mile mark. Here’s where My 30 mile goal came in handy. I was supposed to run 6 more, but really only needed 4.5 more to get to 30 for the week. So 4.5 miles it was!
Caitlin and me after a hot, sweaty run!
I have been diligent about making sure I take my electrolyte tablets before the runs and that I have my gels and tablets with me. I am using the Huma gels pretty exclusively, with a random other brand tossed in to take once in a while. I am practicing taking my nutrition at every water stop or every 45 minutes on the long runs so when I am in my race it will be trained into me to take them at the right time.
Gels on marathon program shirt
That is it for now. If you would like to read the other marathon training posts, you can find them here.
See you running,
I am not sure if this is really good advice or not. But it’s better than ‘get drunk as you can’ and ‘go kill someone’ so let’s say it’s good, ok?
The truth is, most of the time when we think we are in hot water, we aren’t, just like when we take a bath. We get in and it is HOT! But before too long it’s actually quite temperate. Bad events are often like that too. We see them as outrageous, unforgivable, irredeemable at first. Then we realize they aren’t as bad as we thought. It might take a while, weeks or months even, but eventually we find we will survive.
So, maybe the best thing to do when you are confronted with getting in trouble is to do exactly this, take a bath. Or a go for a walk, or a run. Or watch a movie. It doesn’t really matter what it is, just mellow out for a bit so you can calm down and see the situation through more reasonable eyes.
Then, if you are still in hot water, get a lawyer!
Drawing and commentary © Marty Coleman | napkindad.com
Quote is a Chinese proverb
This past weekend showed an utterly disgusting and dangerous side of America, that of the white nationalist and white supremacist. It’s easy to throw up your arms in outrage and frustration saying, ‘who are these people and why are they so angry and filled with hate?’ It’s a good question, especially in light of the fact that they say they are celebrating ‘heritage not hate’. So, let’s talk about this, shall we?
One of the young men who got a lot of attention was Peter Cvjetanovic, of Reno, Nevada. He is 20 years old. He is quoted as saying, “I came to this march for the message that white European culture has a right to be here just like every other culture.” He says he is not a racist yet he is at an obviously racist rally.
This got my attention for a number of reasons. One, I too am of European heritage. If I could choose to go anywhere on my travels, I again and again find myself wanting to go to Europe. It’s where my ancestors came from and it’s what I feel connected on a very personal level. But I don’t feel anything like what he feels. why is that? This is an exploration of why. Two, I am an old guy compared to him. I want to talk to this young man like I would talk to a son or daughter. I want to help him understand things just a little bit deeper if he will listen.
So, with that in mind here is my open letter to him.
Here are 5 ways you can love their heritage and not be a racist.
1. Learn it to Love It
Don’t be fooled by a simplistic, outdated and false narratives about your people and your culture, or any culture. You might be under the illusion that Europe did all the great things it did (and it did some pretty amazing things) because it’s people are genetically superior. This is not true. I suggest you read the book ‘Guns, Germs and Steel’ by Jared Diamond for a very thorough and insightful story of how history comes about. It will open your eyes to the advantages Europe had in many areas that allowed for its development, advantages that have nothing to do with genetics or the superiority of it’s people.I would then suggest you read up on the science of race, In particular how race was defined centuries and decades ago in ways that are no longer valid, how those divisions still cloud your understanding of a separation where none actually exist. It will be eye-opening.
The point is, of course, to educate yourself. Once you do that, your love for your heritage will be more complex, tinged with sadness at the terrible atrocities committed in Europe and by Europeans elsewhere, but also tinged with pride at the many amazing, loving and positive things Europeans have done as well. If you are going to have a relationships with the past, it should be like any deep relationship, achieved by really knowing the good and the bad.
2. Be Cultured to Know Culture
If you want to take pride in a culture, you must be cultured. That means you need to know something about the art, music, architecture, philosophy, literature, food, commerce, business, languages, history and religions of that culture. You can’t take pride in something you don’t know. You are in college now, nothing is easier to learn in almost any American college than western civilization. There are likely courses dedicated to every element I mentioned above. Study those things, immerse yourself in those things. Find out about the sweep of art from the Greek sculptures to the Abstract Expressionists. Learn why Beethoven was considered such a genius. Discover the difference between Wagner and Verdi. Look into the split between Luther and the Catholic Church.
When you do these things you will be amazed. You will also be enlightened, not just by ‘The Enlightenment’ (read Voltaire, by the way) but by the profound level of hate and anger that many of these artistic, cultural and religious geniuses endured as they put forth their vision. It should teach you that courage is about love, not hate. People don’t create lasting value in their culture by hating someone or something. They create it by following an idea they love. Focus on that.
3. Go There to Know There
If you want to love your heritage, go there. Instead of spending your money to go from Reno to Charlottesville to protest, take the money and go to England or France or Italy or wherever you feel your roots are. Go with your mother, father or better yet a grandparent, and together see where you were from. See the amazing structures, fantastic discoveries, and outrageous creativity of your ancestors. That is all good. But don’t just look at what is popular. Go search out what isn’t so great. Look into the slave trade that took hold in England and the Netherlands. Look at the treatment of people from different social classes and the extreme poverty so many lived in, look at how women and children were treated during the industrial revolution. I don’t say you should do this so you will feel bad about your heritage. I say it so you will fully know your heritage.
4. See that the River Has Many Sources
My wife, daughter and I once sat on the banks of the Mississippi river in New Orleans and I remember wondering where all that water came from. Years later we were up in Colorado and we went rafting on the Arkansas River. It wasn’t wide or majestic, but raw and wild. I remember realizing how it was the same great plains river that flows no more than 3 miles from my home in Oklahoma and it was part of that huge river I sat next to in Louisiana.
Your culture is like that. It may seem to be all about Europe, but it’s sources come from all over the world. The Greeks and Romans took inspiration from the Middle East and Egypt. The beauty of so much of Spain’s architecture has its roots in the Islamic religion that prevailed for hundreds of years on the Iberian peninsula. The Impressionists created some of their most iconic compositions as a result of the influx of Japanese prints. Genghis Khan and his empire from Mongolia spread ideas about politics, trade and commerce into Russia, Eastern Europe and the Middle East that had never been seen before.
Next, get your DNA researched. You will be amazed at how complex and convoluted the genetic path to you really is. It could be you are mostly European like I am, but you could also have African-American heritage like I do. You could be connected to Asia or Native America in ways you never could have guessed. It will get you out of your pre-conceived notions of who you are and where you came from. Check out this wonderful spot that explains it in ways I never could.
5. Repress Judgment, Express Curiosity
I like to think of myself as an amateur ‘expert’ on the Revolutionary War era in America. What that really means is I have read a lot of books on the subject. But recently many of my ideas about the personalities of that era have been blown apart by reading ‘Alexander Hamilton’ by Ron Chernow. It goes into much more detail about Jefferson, Madison, Washington, Adams and Hamilton than any other book I have read. The information has made me reevaluate all my settled opinions of these people. I could refuse to believe Chernow’s information, accuse him of lying about these characters I like so much, and be done with it. But I didn’t do that. I was open-minded to what I might find because I focused on learning and curiosity instead of judgment.
That doesn’t mean I don’t have opinions, but this book is a reminder that I need to hold my opinions lightly. If I really am going to be an ‘expert’ on something, then I need to be willing to learn new things about that thing and I can’t do that if I am constantly judging and proclaiming I already know everything about it. Do you want to really know your European culture? Then you have to be open-minded and curious, with as few assumptions and prejudices as possible for that to happen successfully.
Where To Go From Here
Now, look back at these ideas. Which one of these would make you a racist? None of them. None of these ideas will create hate in you for other cultures, other races, other individuals. As a matter of fact, they should lessen the fear you have and strengthen the love you have, both for your culture and for the amazing strands of ideas, art and humanity that led there. It should free you to see that yours is not the only culture deserving of interest, admiration and respect.
In the end I wish for you this realization. Your true heritage is both European and beyond that. It is Human. You can live side by side with someone who is not like you and you can learn and teach instead of fear and hate. If you do that I promise that feeling of hate will turn to love. And that is really where you want to be, right?
Well, here I am at the halfway point in my training. The funny thing about marathon training is there really often isn’t a start date in the traditional sense because people don’t start from scratch, just deciding to start running on day one of training. They’ve been running already, otherwise they really wouldn’t be able to even do the first week of training successfully. In my case there was a number of months of running increasing distances as I recovered from my surgery. The surgery was in November of 2016. in December and January went from a cast to walking. Then I started my ramp-up to training.
- Feb – 7.2 miles
- Mar – 39.6 miles
- Apr – 65.5 miles
- May – 57.6 miles
Training started in June and the mileage doubled.
- Jun – 120.8 miles
- July – 140.1 miles
August is shaping up to be 150+ miles and I expect September to be the same since all my really long runs will be during those two months. October will be less since I will be tapering the mileage as the marathon nears.
Taking the bull by the horns on a HOT day with our Broken Arrow runners!
Racing and Time Trials
One of the important things to calculate in training to race any distance is what is your sustainable pace. To do this it’s good practice to do time trials or races at various distances over the course of your training. This is what I have done recently.
- TU Track 1.5 mile time trial (July) – 11:41, a 7:45 pace. (very hot)
- Maple Ridge 5K (May) – 24:50, a 7:55 pace. (humid and hot)
- Bedlam Run 10K (Aug) – 54:37, an 8:38 pace. (good conditions)
- Tulsa Run 15K (October, before surgery) 1:29:20, a 9:31 pace (I can extrapolate from how I am running post-surgery that I would probably be able to do this race closer to a 9:00 pace)
So, the only distance I haven’t raced recently is a 1/2 marathon. I am contemplating doing one in September just to complete the time trials and get a fuller picture of what I can do. Once I do that I will calculate what looks to be a sustainable marathon pace. Right now it looks like about a 10 minute mile, but I will wait until closer to the race to make a definitive decision on what pace I will run.
After the Bedlam 10K
That is it for now. Feel free to ask any questions or give any comments you want!
In addition, those of you in Tulsa, our 15k running programs starts in less than 2 weeks. We will get you to the Tulsa Run and beyond! contact me if you are interested.
You can read the rest of the series here.
See you running,
The Dead but Alive Woman
She woke up every morning only seeing what was behind her. She sometimes would try to turn her head but could not. It was as if she was made of stone. So, she looked back. She remembered the many signs telling her not to go in that direction and how long the journey down the road had been. She cried remembering when she so terribly wanted shade and found only tree stumps. She was disgusted when she remembered going through the trash looking for something to eat and finding only rotting food, which she ate. She saw the snake and was scared all over again. She remembered the pain of the bite and the dizziness and fever she felt almost immediately afterward. She wondered if her eyes were fooling her because she didn’t remember the coyote being pink, though she did remember it howling as she fell in the hole. She didn’t want to look at the river at all, but couldn’t help it. It was where she drowned after she stumbled out of the hole.
The Woman in the Cabin
The woman in the cabin lived alone. The cabin was small but still had enough room to bring in strays that needed help. She had such a stray now. It was a dead but alive woman she had found in the river. The woman was dead but alive, a phenomenon she had seen many times before. There was no heartbeat, no breathing. She was cold but not hard. The woman in the cabin poured warm water over her and then laid a blanket of orange flowers on her naked body. She sprinkled grass on top of the blanket, then very fine pebbles on top of that. She left her alone and went to carve the rock.
The Indian with the Limp
At the edge of the plateau there lived an Indian with the limp who the woman in the cabin was friends with. She would tell him about her work carving the rock and he would sometimes help her move the broken stones to the waterfall so they could be washed away. He didn’t understand what she was carving but he enjoyed the sound of her hammering in the distance during the day. He sometimes brought her rabbit for dinner. She sometimes brought him corn for breakfast.
The indian with the limp asked her once what she was trying to do with the rock. All the woman in the cabin would say is she was working on creating a new face on the other side of it, facing the hills and mountains, similar but not exactly like the face facing the dry land. He didn’t see anything resembling a face yet but it didn’t matter, he encouraged her anyway because he liked her. She knew he didn’t see it but she didn’t mind, because she liked him.
The Indian with the limp had collected the orange flowers and the pebbles and brought them to the woman in the cabin the day before, when she had a stray coyote with a twisted tail come in. But the tail had straightened itself out with just a little burnt crepe myrtle paste put on it so the flowers and pebbles weren’t needed. The Indian was happy about this because he knew they would be helpful to the dead but alive woman from the river.
The Indian with the limp loved to gather things for the woman in the cabin. It was a chance for him to explore and have a purpose. He didn’t know what jobs were but if he did he would have called it his job and he liked his job very much. He also liked that he was helping animals and people heal. His favorite thing was to collect the little pebbles from the river. He often thought about how he helped her throw the big rocks into the river after she chiseled them off the carving, then he would bring back little pebbles that were just those big rocks having been broken down. The Indian with the limp thought that was amusing and would smile as carried them back up to the plateau.
The dead but alive woman took a long time to recover. She stayed at the woman in the cabin’s cabin for many months. She would sit in a chair and look back over the plateau to the dry land below and feel no better than the day before. The woman in the cabin saw what was happening and one morning moved the chair to the other side of the plateau. The dead but alive woman then was forced to look over the hills and mountains and to watch the woman in the cabin do her carving. She learned about the carving and would watch the woman in the cabin chisel every day as she sat in her chair. She met the Indian with the limp and thanked him for help the woman in the cabin get the supplies to make her better. When she felt strong enough she asked if she could be of any help and the woman in the cabin told her it would be helpful if she would sing for her while she carved. She she said she only knew 2 songs. The woman in the cabin told her not to worry, she would teach her many songs, which she did.
The dead but alive woman loved the new songs she learned and would sing them beautifully. The Indian with the limp started coming by each morning and would play along with a drum he had. The coyote with the no longer twisted tail would even come close once in a while and howl in harmony. The woman in the cabin was able to work faster and longer with the beautiful music being sung and soon the new carving was almost finished.
One morning, well before the sun rose, the woman in the cabin awoke the dead but alive woman and told her to get ready, she was going on a journey. The dead but alive woman asked what sort of journey. The woman in the cabin said she wasn’t able to tell her what sort of journey or how long it would last. All she said about the journey was that the Indian with the limp would help her as she got on her way.
The woman in the cabin had packed a nice backpack full of food, clothing, and supplies for the dead but alive woman. The dead but alive woman wanted to take one last look around, to remember where she had been healed. The woman in the cabin let her do that, but would not let her go to the edge of the plateau and look back at the dry land below.
The Indian with the limp was waiting at the other edge of the plateau with a lantern to help them down to the hills below in the dark. The dead but alive woman hugged the woman in the cabin and said she would see her later. The woman in the cabin said nothing, just smiled and gave her a kiss goodbye. The indian with the limp and the dead but alive woman hiked down the side of the plateau until they reached a trail going up the hills towards the mountains. They traveled over three sets of hills until mid-day. Then they took a break, sitting down for lunch. The Indian with the limp told her this was where he was going to leave her.
The Alive Woman
The dead but alive woman was about to ask why when she saw the carving in the distance. Up on the plateau, high and strong in the mid-day sun, was a beautiful face facing her. It was her face but it wasn’t. It was the face of an alive woman, not of a dead but alive woman. She forgot what she was going to ask the Indian with the limp and just stared. Then she looked in the direction the face in the rock was looking. It was looking towards the mountains.
The alive woman said goodbye to the Indian with a limp and asked him to make sure the woman in the cabin knew how grateful she was for her love. The indian with the limp said he would. Then he said his goodbye and went back towards the plateau. The alive woman hiked the backpack up onto her back and set off. As she walked she could hear the howl of the coyote with the no longer twisted tail. She started to sing along.
Drawing and story © 2017 Marty Coleman | napkindad.com
Is Nothing Impossible?
You want to make a popular meme? Have it say ‘Nothing is impossible’. You will get a lot of people agreeing with you. But it’s a lie, many things are impossible. You can’t grow another foot taller if you are already grown up. You can’t eat 2 tons of food at one sitting. You can’t become a young child again once you are older. You can’t run 500 miles an hour. Those things are impossible.
What that saying really means is this: things that you assume are impossible, but that are actually not impossible, can be accomplished if you set your mind to it. What or who decides it’s impossibility? You do. If you say it’s impossible, then it will be. But if you say it’s possible, then it may be.
I know this because I am a coach of long distance runners and a long distance runner myself. I started running when a new co-worker of mine turned out to be a casual runner. She would run at lunchtime and I decided to join her. At first I ran about 100 yards, then walked the rest of the way around the part of the river near where we worked. I was amazed she could run the whole 2.75 miles. It seemed impossible to me. I eventually was able to run the entire way with her, but it probably took about 6 months or so.
Making the impossible possible takes time.
My first race, a 5k in 2008
As you know I have been doing a lot of stretching, trying to get more limber and flexible. And it is working. I am able to move and stretch much farther than I ever have before. I never thought it was impossible, I just thought it was going to be difficult, and it has been. But I have stuck with it and am making progress.
Here is something that has made it more difficult than you may realize. When I was 18 years old I was burned on 70% of my body in a boat explosion. My back, the back of my arms and my legs were burned the worse, though much of my stomach and chest got it too. The reason I am telling you this is because of the scars. I have scars that travel the length of my arms all the way to the bottom of my back with no break. The resulting scars are very tight and that means my ability to stretch is limited by them. When I bend over and touch my toes (which I can do now!) it feels like I am one giant rubber band stretched to its limits and wants to snap back. Not letting it snap back can be painful. Not terribly, but painful nonetheless.
I knew I could increase my flexibility if I worked to do so. I knew my muscles could be stretched further. What I didn’t know is how far my scars would stretch. They are not like muscles or tendons. They are hard, fibrous scar tissue that does not want to stretch. How far can I stretch them? What is possible and what is impossible? There is only one way to find out, and that is to do the stretching.
Making the impossible possible is only found out in the doing.
Burn Scars – Left Arm, unstretched and stretched
I did a 14 miler this past Saturday. I did 2 miles with one of the half marathon groups, H2, and then turned around so I could be back at the store in time to lead Pathways. The fastest marathon group, M1, just happened to be passing us when I did the turn around so I joined them. Ok, I joined them for about a half a mile then I couldn’t keep up and had to slow down (they are wicked fast). But even with the slowing down I was still doing close to 9 minute miles back to the store. . At that point I still had over 10 miles to go, only 5 of which I would have company. Those 10 were at a very reasonable pace for me, but the fact I had pushed so hard at on an early mile or two really affected my abilities at the end.
What that taught me, which all runners learn again and again (because we are both a forgetful and optimistic bunch) is that going out too fast in a training run or a race will come back to bite you.
Making the impossible possible demands discipline.
As I write the temperatures have dropped 10-15º. A high of 85, though hot by some standards, feels like a cool ocean breeze when it hits Oklahoma in August. It will be interesting to see how my runs go with better temps and more overcast skies this week. We have a 10k goal race for Pathways this coming Saturday. I will be running as a coach but also as a time trial to help me gauge my racing abilities. Wish me luck!
That’s it for now. Thanks for tuning in. Here is a link to the entire series.
You can read the entire series by choosing ‘marathon training’ from the series drop down menu on the right.
Available for purchase – Original Napkin or Print
Knowing the Future
How many of you know the future? I bet you are all right now are saying, ‘of course I don’t know the future!’. But then, why do you act like you do? You are convinced you won’t find love, convinced you won’t get that job, convinced you won’t ever be happy or have money or be healthy or a million other things. Isn’t that a version of supposedly knowing the future?
I have already picked out what I want on my headstone. I want it to say ‘Life was much more unexpected…than I expected.’ It’s my favorite quote (I made it up too). Why do I like it? Because it tells the truth for almost every single human on earth. Of course, in some areas of the globe there are fewer opportunities for a life to go in an unexpected direction than in other areas, but even in the most restricted part of the world you still can’t control the future. What will your child or children be like? When will you get sick? What will you end up being really good at? None of those things are known in advance, even if you live in North Korea.
Love Can Find You
Have you ever played hide and seek so well that you weren’t ever found? That isn’t much fun, is it? The idea is to make it hard, but not TOO hard, to be found. The same is true in love. If you want love to find you, you can’t hide so well that it gives up. You have to be out in the world where it is looking. I mean, don’t go standing on the street corner in short shorts. The wrong type of love will find you if you do that. But by all means let yourself be known, be seen, be heard.
If you do that, it doesn’t matter if you are surrounded by concrete or redwoods. Love will find you, just as grass finds its way through the most inhospitable of circumstances.
Drawing and commentary © 2017 Marty Coleman | napkindad.com
“If grass can grow through cement, then love can find you at every time of your life.” – Cher Sarkisian, 1946 – not dead yet, American singer and actress
The Joy of Group Running
This past Wednesday I ran a few miles before the group run in Broken Arrow. I passed these 4 kids selling lemonade with profits going to a children’s cancer charity. I told them to be ready because I was going to bring back a LOT of customers. As we warmed up I told my group I had a little surprise for them along the route and off we went. The excitement the kids had in seeing all of us arrive was matched by the fun the runners had in having a ‘lemonade moment’ on a very hot summer’s eve. This is why group running is so awesome!
We found a lemonade stand!
The Open Ocean
A typical marathon training season is between 16-20 weeks. Mine is 19, so I am right smack dab in the middle of it about now. These middle weeks are when you have left the port and can no longer see it over the stern and you also can not yet see the port you are headed towards over the bow. You are on the open sea, at the mercy of the elements but without the ease of turning back or the excitement of knowing the next port of call is there on the horizon. It can be a time of creeping doubt, not sure whether you are headed in the right direction, even if the instruments say you are. I feel like I am best at avoiding falling prey to this problem when I stop looking at the horizon and look down at the water right in front of me. The other element that can have you worried is the state of your boat. It might be taking on more water than you want, or a sail might be ripped in a storm.
Hills just SEEM like they last forever, but they don’t.
Aches and Pains
Ok, enough with the analogy, Marty. What that really means is I just need to do each run as it comes. I know what my pacing and distances should be, I know what sort of tempo, hill or progression runs I should be doing, and I know when I should rest. If I stick with that plan, then the future should take care of itself. it also means, while I need to pay attention to various aches and pains, I don’t have to freak out about them and say the world is ending. It’s not. When you run marathon training miles you are going to have all sorts of random aches and pains. Some last for one run, some come the next day. Some last for a week then disappear, others seem to hang on forever. I have that happening in my elbow right now (did a wonky push up or 20 a few weeks ago) I have it in my side as well (did a wonky sit up or 20). They bug me a little bit, but they are annoyances, not injuries that are going to stop me. I am doing my best to take care of them (no push ups or sit ups lately) but overall I expect them to take a while to disappear, after all I am pretty old and at my age these things take a lot more time to heal than when I was 30 years younger. Of course, 30 years ago I was a lazy bum who never exercised so I didn’t have these issues to compare anyway!
About to hit the water stop!
Last week was even hotter than the week before, with 3 days over 100º. Luckily only one of those days coincided with an afternoon/evening run, which we cut down in distance and pace so all would be safe. That is the thing about having such a long season, any specific planned run can be changed if circumstances warrant and you aren’t going to damage your training. You have plenty of time to either make up the workout if you really feel like it, or just skip it. The only real problem will come if skipping that one workout leads to skipping more. That can sometimes turn into an avalanche that ends with you saying ‘I am too far behind, I am going to quit the season.’
Leading warm up at 98º in downtown Tulsa!
Now, there are times when one has to do that. Life does happen and that can sometimes means weeks on end of family obligations, or an injury that puts you out for months. In that case you do need to reconsider and adapt, maybe to a new distance or maybe to a new race farther in the future. But most of the time that is not what is happening. Most of the time all you need to do is get back on your plan, even if you missed a few workouts, and all will be fine.
As I mentioned last week I am trying to get in some morning runs. This is so I can get my miles in without having to do them all in the brutal heat of the afternoons in Oklahoma. I ran one last week of about 4 miles (ok, EXACTLY 4 miles) and it felt really good, with the sun barely up and the air much cooler, even if it still was quite humid. I was able to get 32 miles in last week with a long run of 10 miles. My average pace for the week (approx. 9:45 per mile) has slowed a bit, due to heat and longer mileage. That is ok because I need to work on endurance and that means slower pace. Next week I hope to do a few more morning runs and get in a few miles before whatever run I am scheduled to coach.
Sunrise as I ran
That’s it for now. Let me know if you have any questions or insights. Oh, and our 15k fall program starts the 3rd week of August. If you are interested, let me know!
You can read the entire Marathon Training Series HERE
See you running,
Adventures of Medusa #4
Medusa is a runner. She only runs 3/4 marathons. She always runs alone and never carries any mace, pepper spray, knife or gun. She was running in the wilds of Colorado the other day and a dog jumped out of a whole in the ground and tried to attack her. It didn’t end well for the dog.
Drawing © Marty Coleman | napkindad.com
Available for purchase | Print | Original |
The author of this quote, David Brooks, is one of my favorite authors and commentators on modern life. He is contemporary and current in politics but can also take a longer view of society and civilization. He wrote a great book called ‘The Social Animal – A Story of How Success Happens’. It was an examination of both the definition and course of success in American life. He told the story using two fictional characters as seen at various moments in their life. But the essence of the book was the philosophical evaluation of success itself, and how the understanding of success changes over the course of one’s life.
One of the take aways of the book was that to be successful you need to grow and learn from your experiences. This will make you adjust, adapt, mature and become wiser about gaining and maintaining success.
It’s what I find grossly missing in the world of the Orange Man.
“The incompetent person is too incompetent to understand their own incompetence.” – David Brooks
Drawing and commentary © 2017 Marty Coleman | napkindad.com
High Heat Training Camp
If you remember, last week I attended a High Altitude Training Camp (read – vacation at Sister-in-law’s house). This week I attended High Heat Training Camp (read Tulsa, Oklahoma all summer long). When I came back a number of people asked if it was easier to run now that I was back closer to sea level (700 ft vs 10,000 ft). I said ‘uh….no.’ as sweat poured down my face and body while running under a blazing sun at 96º with 103º heat index. That was the average day this past week in Oklahoma, and pretty much will be for the next month.
Mr. Gray (Coach Joe) and Mr. Neon after a VERY hot and humid run in Broken Arrow!
Luckily I am a pretty good high heat runner. I can go a long time as long as I keep a sustainable pace. But being good at it can be a problem. I can start to think I don’t need to do the basic things one should do, like hydrate! I haven’t had an issue yet this season but what I try to remember is I am not training for a training run, I am training for a marathon. That means the more I do in a training run what I would do in my marathon (proper hydration, nutrition, pacing, etc.) the more automatic and natural it will be when I am running my race. The other thing I have to remember is even if I can run 12 miles without hydration (I did it once, years ago) that doesn’t mean the next 14.2 miles would turn out to be good. I stopped after those 12 miles and drank a lot of fluids. But in a marathon I won’t be stopping in an air-conditioned home for a break to regain my strength and rehydrate. That means I need to be fueled up from the beginning of the race and not let my tank get empty.
Did I mention we got caught in another downpour this week? We loved it!
We talk about training runs but I sometimes like to think of them as practice runs instead. Just the same way a football or baseball player practices a play again and again, I want to practice all the elements of a real race again and again so when the race comes I can do it all without over thinking it. So this past Saturday I made sure to do nutrition and hydration like I would in a race. I took Endurolyte tablets (for electrolytes/minerals) before the run, ate a Huma Chia Energy Gel at mile 4 and a Gu Roctane Energy Gel with Caffeine at mile 10. I also drank Nuun Electrolyte drink and water at the 0, 4, 7 and 12 mile mark. It was probably more than I needed but much better to have too much than not enough in your tank. This is especially true when you are sweating profusely!
I also found another Fleet Feet runner this week who is doing the Marine Corps Marathon. I think he is close to my pace so we should be able to get in extra miles in together as needed. I will keep you informed.
Fleet Feet Full Marathon Program – Fall, 2017
Fleet Feet Half Marathon Program, Fall 2017
The other thing going on this week was the start of the Half and Full training program (called HIT and MIT) at Fleet Feet here in Tulsa. I am a co-coordinator for it, in charge of all the weekday maps and activities. It made for a very active and fun week. I was required to be at each location early to answer questions, introduce people, clear up issues about who is coaching where, who is running in which group, etc. I also made sure to be at the TU Track on Tues. to introduce new people to how we do track workouts and to help them figure out their pace group. But even with those obligations I was able to get extra miles in before or after most of the runs and meet my mileage goal for the week. Turns out I ran 45 miles, by far the most I have run in a week. I have already passed my May mileage and I am just barely half way through July. And the best part is, besides being a little sore after the long run yesterday (14 miles), my body is responding well to the increased mileage.
Half-Marathoners warming up
If you are interested in half or full marathon training, be sure to contact me. The program has just started and there is more than enough time to jump in and get ready!
That is it for this week. Feel free to ask me any questions or give comments.
You can read the entire Marathon Training Series HERE
See you running,
The original drawing or a print is available for purchase here.
When I was a kid growing in Los Angeles we were die-hard Dodger Baseball fans. The announcer for the games had a lot to do with that since we listened to most of the games on the radio. His name is Vin Scully and he started broadcasting for the Dodgers when they were still located in Brooklyn, New York. That was before I was born. He came with them to LA and announced their games until last year, 2016. That was 67 YEARS of broadcasting. I mean really, that is a ridiculously long time. That is 3 broadcasting careers, not one.
Why do I mention him? Because his magic was in never being cliché. Yes, he might repeat himself in describing a play on the field, but over the course of a game or a season he would pull out of his original mind a connection, or a word, or an analogy he hadn’t used before and give it to us in telling the story of the games. It really was incredible. I loved him as a kid, as a young adult and as an older man. He truly was an artist with words. Always unique and compelling.
Political and PR Speak
This happens all the time in politics. Politicians are pointedly bad at saying something original since they are constantly trying to make sure they don’t offend anyone or misstate something. They end up spewing clichés that no one is really listening to. That is why Trump garnered so much attention, because he didn’t say clichés. He spewed disgusting stuff in my opinion, and still does, but he can never be accused of being cliché.
The same thing holds true in corporations and their communications. The PR and Legal teams go over pronouncements with a fine tooth comb to make sure nothing will make them liable or unlikable in the marketplace. The end result is cliché patter that is not listened to and means nothing. It is the exception to the rule when a company leader steps out and actually says something real and original.
The clichés in life blind a person from seeing the beauty in life. That is why being you is more important that trying to be someone else. Be you or you won’t be seen. And that would be very sad.
Drawing and commentary © Marty Coleman | napkindad.com
“Beauty is a brief gasp between one cliché and another.” – Ezra Pound
Last week I went to ‘The Hills’, an elite high altitude training camp in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado. I was there to train my lungs, legs and mind in the thin air of 10,000 feet. Ok, I actually went with my wife to visit her sister, Cathie Hill and her family, who live in Breckenridge. But it is at 10,000 feet and I did go for a number of runs so I am going to stick with the training camp idea.
We had a fantastic time with family doing all sorts of fun activities. We rafted down the Colorado River one day and hiked 6+ miles up to a magnificent waterfall and back another day. We went to a cookout in Denver, then to a Colorado Rockies Major League Baseball game. And we witnessed and worried about a threatening forest fire near their home. There was also a fair amount of cooking, eating, game-playing, singing and general fun. In addition I read about 100 pages of my current book, Alexander Hamilton. However, I still have close to 600 pages to go so I definitely need another vacation.
4th of July Spirit!
There is anxiety for a runner when they face a new challenge. My worries up that high were simple: ‘Will I collapse and die?’ and ‘will I get eaten by a bear or stomped by a moose?’ I can safely report now that none of those things happened. But, when we got to their house and had to climb a flight of stairs I definitely thought any running would include a collapse. It’s SO easy to get out of breath in the mountains! But because the air is so much thinner, high altitude running is fantastic for building lung capacity and oxygenating the blood. It can be done, it just takes patience.
Plans and Expectations
My plan was to acclimate gradually by going a short distance the first day, then increasing that each successive day. Day one was a 3 mile run. I took a walk break after the first mile, then each half mile after that. I felt good at the end but it felt more like I had done 6 miles, not 3. Day two was a 5 mile run. I took a walk break at mile 2 and 4. Day three was 4th of July and I skipped that day.
The scenery made the miles easy
At this point my plan for day five was to do 7 miles and day six I would do 9. As I started my 7 mile run I definitely thought I was not going to make it 7 and certainly wouldn’t make it 9 the next day. It was tough, even when I tried to slow my pace. I took a walk break at each of the first four mile markers. Then I turned around and instantly realized I had been on a very slight but insistent uphill grade for those 4 miles. Once I headed back I felt great and didn’t stop at all, stretching the 7 miles to 9 miles! I was acclimated!
“I am NOT impressed!”
Day six we decided to do a rigorous hike. Because of that I didn’t want to wear myself out beforehand and decided to skip the 9 miler (since I had done 9 the day before anyway, right?). The hike was more of a challenge than the runs because it was a 1,000 ft climb over mostly rocky terrain. That pushed my Achilles and my legs in ways my running does not. I am not a trail runner but I took the opportunity to run a few times during the hike anyway. I loved the hike and it made me want to do some trail runs in the future.
WAY high up!
We got home late Friday and the next morning I was ready to lead Pathways and do extra miles to get in my scheduled long run of 12 miles. But, it was storming quite a bit and we were only able to get in about 3 miles, 2 of which were in a pouring deluge. It was invigorating and exhilarating (I love running in the rain) but it wasn’t 12 miles! I could have just let the long run go but as I mentioned before my goal has been to hit at least 30 miles a week running. So I did my 12 miles Sunday morning before church. It was a solo run, probably the longest solo run I have done in 3-4 years. I took a unique route along a busy street so that I could pass a pharmacy and get some hearing aid batteries I needed. It all went great and I averaged the pace I wanted (9:30). I could have gone longer even as the day heated up so that was a good sign.
This coming week will be filled with leading the start of the Fleet Feet Tulsa Fall half and full program and continuing to coach the Pathways group. Getting in my miles shouldn’t be a problem since I have a lot of running to do just covering those groups.
That’s it for now. Feel free to ask questions or give suggestions about running, training, etc.
You can read the entire Marathon Training Series HERE
I was proud to get up to 30 miles last week. I did it again this week and felt good about that. But ramping up the miles took its toll. Soreness, fatigue, random pain all came out of the woodwork. I thought the main reason was because I had run two long runs in a row. But I was reading the post of a friend who said she had run 220 miles in June and it started me wondering how many miles I had run. I knew it wasn’t anywhere near that far but checked just out of curiosity. My June miles were 120. That isn’t all that much for a marathoner but then I checked that against my May miles and it was more than double, from 55 to 120. That gave me a longer view of my progress, beyond day by day or week by week.
Another element of my training this time around has been a regimen of stretching. I am terribly unlimber, have been my entire life. But if I want to be able to increase my stride length and go longer distances without me tightening up, I really felt like I needed to be stretched out. My goal? To touch my toes. NOT an easy thing to accomplish for me! Month after month it really seemed like I was making no progress. But just recently I have been able to touch my toes in two different ways! I am not at the point where I can just bend straight over and do it, but I can do it sitting down on the floor and stretching out and I can do it with one hand to one foot. So, I am making progress after all!
People more limber than me!
I think we easily get stuck in the short view, that if we can’t see progress in the immediate present we can’t see it at all. We end up thinking none is being made. But that is a mistake. We are making progress, it’s just sometimes on a longer scale than it is easy to see.
I am currently in Colorado on vacation. I am at 9,500 feet and have a whole new set of running challenges ahead of me!
In the meanwhile, Have a happy Fourth of July!
You can read the entire Marathon Training Series HERE
My wife Linda once did this for a stranger. The car in front of her wrecked getting off a freeway and she was the first on the scene. She tended to the driver, who was seriously injured. She held him and let him know she was with him until the ambulance arrived. She found out later he died. She also found out later that he was the brother of one of her co-workers. His family was quite grateful to know that she was there with him and that he didn’t die alone. Linda felt good knowing that even as she was sad about the death.
Recently she was leaving church when two woman at a bus depot across from where she parked her car screamed they needed an ambulance. Linda didn’t see anything that led her to believe they really needed an ambulance and kept walking. The women started yelling and screaming at her, spewing hate and anger. Linda turned around and asked them if they really needed an ambulance. One of them yelled, “I need some food!”. Linda went across the street and offered the woman a protein bar. The woman said, “I don’t want that. I want a ride home!”. She then proceeded to throw the protein bar into the street toward Linda, who had started back towards her car. She got in and left. Linda felt bad at getting that response.
Two acts of kindness, two different circumstances, two different feelings. But that’s the thing about kindness.You have to do it because you just want to be a kind person. You can’t be kind with the expectation of a specific result. If that is the case you will quickly be disillusioned and bitter about being kind.
Drawing and commentary © 2017 Marty Coleman | napkindad.com
“No one ever became poor by being kind.” – adapted from a quote by Anne Frank
The Right Thing
Have you ever felt like your reason for doing ‘the right thing’ is because of what others would think of you if you didn’t? Think of how many areas that happens; giving in church, volunteering, forgiving someone, wearing something ‘appropriately modest’, dating only people in your age range, your choice of careers, etc. The list goes on and on.
What are we worried about? We are worried that we will be judged. At the least we will be judged ‘less than’. At the most we will be judged morally corrupt. We don’t want to be judged. it’s painful, it’s embarrassing, it’s shameful. And so we behave. And that is good and bad. For example, It’s good if your conscience keeps you from doing something hurtful and destructive but it’s bad if it keeps you from pursuing a lifelong dream.
Knowing God’s Will
For those of you of a religious bent, when I first became a Christian I heard a sermon called ‘Knowing God’s Will’. I expected it to be some tirade about sacrificing and doing what you didn’t want to do to prove how much you loved and followed God. It wasn’t. What the preacher said was basically, Whatever you want to do is God’s Will. That surprised me and has kept with me ever since. What I took it to mean was that God has instilled in you a desire to do or accomplish something and he is not interested in creating a desire in you only to condemn you for following it. If you love creating art, then create it with the full assurance that your desire was put there by God. If you want to be an aid worker helping victims of disasters, do that with the full assurance that your desire was put there by God.
Knowing the Difference
But how do you know whether what you want to do is ok or not? Simply and honestly ask yourself this: is what I want to do going to hurt myself or others? If you are going to go have an affair, then guess what? That is hurtful. It’s called cheating for a reason and there is a valid moral judgment on that. If you are going to pursue being a park ranger, even if your family doesn’t understand why, that is not hurtful to you or others. There is no legitimate moral judgment on it.
No Matter What
But guess what? Someone is going to think what you want to do is a bad idea. They will say you won’t be able to support your family that way. Or you will be putting yourself in harm’s way. They will say it is trivial, or shallow, or not important enough, or this or that. Someone will judge you. But your conscience, if it’s screwed on straight, will know whether what you are doing is harmful to yourself or others. It will know if you are rationalizing or are lying to yourself. Looking inside at that instead anticipating the opinions of others is key to living the life you want to live.
Drawing and commentary © Marty Coleman | napkindad.com
“Conscience is, in most people, the anticipation of the opinions of others.” – Sir Henry Taylor, 1800 – 1886, British Playwright
Thanks for continuing to read of my progress in my marathon training this summer. My goal for week 3 was to run 30+ miles and I did it. Depending on how I want to count it I also ran 40+ miles! That is because on Sunday (usually a rest day) I ran 10 miles as a pacer for a friend who is doing a fundraiser. Kevin Shank, a long time runner in one of my groups, is focused on his own Marathon training this season. He is running the New York City Marathon (Nov. 4th). He didn’t get in with the lottery but his wife Amy did. So he decided he would do the charity route and raise money for one of the causes the NYC marathon supports. Many people get into marathons that way and it’s a fantastic method to raise funds.
Me, Don Brough, Kevin Shank
Kevin was running a 25k to raise money and his plan was to have at least 1 pacer per 5k distance. I was going to run the 4th leg but arrived on the scene as he was just about the start his 3rd leg with Don. I decided to join them for that. Then I ran my own leg and after at that point I could either run the 5k back to my car, or run the last 5k with him and another pacer to the finish line. They had breakfast tacos waiting so it was a no brainer. Thus, my 5k turned into 16k (10 miles). This was on top of the 9 miles I had run the day before that brought me to 30 miles for the week.
One thing I am focused on during this season is proper pacing. After my surgery and weight loss I am much faster than in previous years. But faster at what distance? Just because I can run a certain pace doesn’t mean I can run that for 26.2 miles. I need to figure out what is my realistic pace for a marathon. There is a formula that can be used to decide that but the problem is it is dependent on recent race times at lower distances. I have a recent 5k and 10k, but my other races are from before and they aren’t really accurate reflections of what I could do now.
TIred Leg Technique
That brings me to the back-to-back runs this weekend. One training technique that some use is to run on tired legs. This simulates what it might be like later in a race when you are indeed likely to be running on tired legs. My Saturday run was at a 9:24 pace for 9 miles. I felt great until the last mile or so then I could feel myself tiring. The Sunday run with Kevin was a good test of running on tired legs. How would I respond to another long run? Knowing we would probably be slower than Saturday made me decide to test this theory out.
The result? Overall I felt great. My ankle that had the surgery let me know I was pushing it, but not terribly. The last mile I was starting to tire, but also not terribly. I could have gone further. A whole 26.2 miles? Not likely yet but I am on target and that feels good.
I learned a couple of things. One, my ankle can handle it. This morning it feels not much different from if I hadn’t run yesterday. Two, I have 2 paces to compare, the 9:24 of Saturday and the 11:00 of Sunday. I have more confidence now that my pace can be closer to the 9:30 pace than 11. I am starting to focus on 9:45-10:00 being a realistic pace for the marathon. But, this is still early in the training and I am not sold on it yet. It’s a benchmark I will keep in mind, that is all. Three, I loved running with Kevin and others to help him complete his goal. It was a beautiful morning with great company.
I also started using a pretty cool new app called ‘Relive’. It takes your GPS statistics and makes a video of your route over layed on a satellite map. It’s pretty cool. Here is the link to our Sunday run. RELIVE
That’s it for this week. The upcoming week will be a bit different because I have some coaches out and I have some marathon training informational meetings I need to lead when I usually would be running. The week after that we are going on vacation over 4th of July week and that will be a new set of training challenges.
If you have any questions or suggestions, by all means let me know!
Thanks for following my progress!
You can read the entire Marathon Training Series HERE
See you running,
Have you ever looked back on money leaving you and realized you were hurt by it? Perhaps you were scammed or lied to about something. Perhaps you spent money recklessly or maybe it was just bad luck. The saying ‘Buyer’s Remorse’ comes to mind. What is buyer’s remorse but regret about money leaving you?
When I was a young man I got a small settlement in a lawsuit of around $9,000.00. I had to decide how I was going to use the money, whether to invest it or to use it for Graduate school. I chose graduate school. I put the money in a money market fund and took it out little by little. It allowed me to work part-time while I went to grad school full-time and it lasted long enough for me to graduate. I don’t regret it and I don’t feel hurt by it being gone. But I do sometimes think what if I had instead invested that money in a relatively new local company where I lived. What would have transpired if I had invested in Apple in 1981? That $9,000.00 would be close to $2,000,000.00 now.
My Parent’s Money
One of the reasons I was conservative and deliberate about what I was going to do with my money is this story. My mother got an inheritance after her mother died of about $30,000.00. My parents used a good chunk of it to by a very nice boat. We had a lot of fun on that boat for a little over two years. I really loved living and working on the boat for my high school summers. It seemed worth it. But in the end, it blew up and I was burned on 70% of my body. At that exact same time the oil embargo hit the US and the aviation industry, which my father was employed in, went in the tank. My mother meanwhile had a brain hemorrhage and spent almost 9 months in the hospital and in recovery. The result was our family having a big change in financial fortunes. We didn’t go into dire poverty by any means, but it did make for a drastic change in things. My college bills couldn’t be paid and I had to leave school. I moved to California with some high school buddies and made my way on my own from there. The boat was nice but the loss of that money really did make a difference later. I look back and am amazed at how much stress my dad must have been under during that time.
Ah, 20/20 hindsight, right? It’s hard to say what would have happened. Maybe I would have invested in Acme Computer instead of Apple Computer and lost my shirt. My parents may have done the same with their money. All one can really do is learn from others and from experience and try to make the best decisions about where your money goes. It isn’t easy but one can become educated about how to handle money wisely. It’s worth it.
“That money talks, I’ll not deny. I heard it once, it said ‘Goodbye’.” – Richard Armour, 1906-1989, American Poet and Author
Drawing and commentary © Marty Coleman 2017