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