Running. And, slow sailing to a quiet dance.

drum-drumline
It’s a coincidence. (Again?)
It’s synchronicity. (Do you believe that?)
You made it up, you’re delusional. (Not yet, don’t think so, not just yet.)
It’s a sign, a message. It’s G – – . (Oh, boy.)

5:45 am. I round the corner to Cove Island – low tide.  The sulfur released from the exposed mud fills the lungs – gas, pungent smelling salts.

I inhale.

Geese float silently in the shadows.

I run.

I’m around the loop and back, 1/4 mile from the entrance.  GPS flashes 4.1 miles in. I don’t glance at the time, that’s been a year now, I’ve conceded. “Matured.”  Over 25 years of daily tracking of body weight and notating work-outs, first in a log book, then Excel spreadsheets and now Google Sheets.  And also, now, on a parallel path on a digital step tracker which automatically feeds volumes of data into machines and is charted and graphed and spliced into pieces – all of which I never look at.  The logging, the tracking, the effort, I mean Really! WHO CARES?

Yet, the tension pulls at both ends, a medieval body rack tearing the limbs from the torso. Wired to Do, whipped by a Mind that makes you Do and strapped to a Body that can no longer Do. And, the Head swims in rip currents.

[Read more…]

Running. With a Black-Winged Bird.

crow

Sunday morning, early, 5:40 am.  Out the door.

Temperature: 78° F.  Humidity? 1 zillion, and climbing. Visibility? Fair. Mist rises from the earth, still absorbing the 3 am deluge – one very large compost pile.  It’s August in the Connecticut rainforest, and I run.  This should be corrected, I used to run. Now I lean forward and move my feet hoping not to take a header.  I’m 1/2 mile in, all exposed body parts glisten with a high sheen…and the rest are feelin’ Heavy.  I flip my music player to Counting Crows and The Rain King.  Yes, if you’ve followed along with me on this blog, this song and its reference would be a repeat. You get old, you repeat sh*t. That’s how it goes.

….When I think of heaven, (Deliver me in a black-winged bird) I think of flying…

I triple click the up volume arrow, Rain King is boomin’ into the earbuds.  The tech gremlin pipes in a warning: “Sir, you can sustain ear damage at high volumes.” Honey, no worries, there’s ain’t nothing up there will be damaged.

I round the corner and approach a steep incline. You’re Usain Bolt. You’re a Kenyan. You’re in Rio. You’re amazing!

I take off. [Read more…]

Running. With Man on Wire.

spider-web-close-up-kim-westcott

This body is 6’1″ and yet it always seems to hit me head-high. On the chin. Wraps around my forehead. Straps across the eyes, like strings of celophane plastered on the corneas. And on a bad day, at the end of a long morning run when I’m heaving, it hits me full on the mouth like strands of cotton candy, without the sweet and the color. Here, the scene would be a middle aged man who’s lost his marbles, arms waving maniacally and spitting like a machine gun.

Yet, it’s so fine. A fraction of the electrical wires slung between the poles overhead. Thinner than the monofilament fishing line I would cast in the eddies of the Kootenay river. And thinner yet, than the fiber optic cable laid across the Atlantic.

Yet on this road, this morning, this path less travelled, it was apparent that overnight he was working. At 5:15 a.m., it hit me across both eyes. A single strand. Not on the forehead. Not on the chest. Not on the knees. Not even on the neck. Not one eye, square across both eyes, as if he had a plum bob, measured me up and said: to get him, it has to be right here. 5’x” off the ground, and assume a bit of up and down motion because he’s running.

The single web line was strung across a two lane highway, to a tree on the other side. Across a two-lane highway!

How? Now that is the question(s). [Read more…]

Running. With Blood.

aerial-highway-solitary

Captain’s Log.
Last run: March 13, 2016.  Jesus. 4 months.
I step on the scale. Hope springs eternal.
Flash. Flash. Flash. Bam: 204.6. Exactly the same weight. Well, that’s something.

I grip the Body Glide cylinder and rub it on the nipples.
There’ll be no breast pads for this Hombre after today’s run.
I pause before setting down the magic wax, and look down at my groins.  Are they touching? Can’t be. Must be the way I’m standing. I spread my legs. That’s better, pleased at the separation. Another year or so and you’ll be able to drive a bus between my legs – they’ll be spread that wide.

I’m out the door.
4:57 a.m.
66° F.  Cooler today.
Weather App calls for the sun to rise at 5:30 am.
My Goal: Exceed the 5.38 mile distance in March or run to the Sunrise, whichever comes first.

It’s like riding a bike. You don’t forget how to run. Right. A nerve in the upper left shoulder blade pinches. And this slides down to the lower right back achieving beautiful pain symmetry. Sedentary Suit on the move.  Jesus.

[Read more…]

Running. Without Tiger.

gif-water-ocean

Preparations started the night before.  Running jacket, shoes, pants, shirt, socks, hat, watch, ear buds – all placed near the front door to minimize obstructions and maximize propulsion, Out-The-Door.

4:30 am. I trudge down the stairs. I step out the door, barefooted, in shorts and a short sleeved white tee-shirt. A soft wind carries the smell of a black and white, a skunk, pre-dawn smelling salts. I inhale to clear the lungs, 39° F bites.

The Tiger clutches the cymbals with both hands, opening his arms wide and slams.  The noise, ear-splitting. He repeats and repeats.  Crashing. Slamming. Piling on.

Stay at it. Slow it down. Breathe. Quiet the Mind. Chant.
“Tame-the-Ti-ger.”
“Tame-the-Ti-ger.” 
“Tame-the-Ti-ger.”
“Tame-the-Ti-ger.”

Tiger separates from the body and ebbs higher, higher, and higher until reaching a crest. Salt kicks up in the mist where I stand, separate, still. The ebb makes its last gasp, the fight now gone, sighs and then releases. [Read more…]

5:00 PM Bell!


Let’s just say Wow.

“Suddenly, I spotted a white ostrich on my left, then this beast jumped on the road from the right and started chasing my friends! The ostrich didn’t have any problem to keep up at 50km/h.”

Running. Running Hot.

running-road-alone

Mile 0: Lori.

Lori slings out the bait: “It’s time for a run! Lace up those PF Flyers and get out there, man! The world (OK *I*) needs another running post!”  This challenge comes from a writer, no, a professional Writer. I do wonder, did she send the text from the Stop & Shop counter while flipping through The Enquirer?

She’s a blogger acquaintance.  We’ve never met. A lover of Dogs. A writer. A reader. A traveler. An Ivy Leaguer, stealthily unadvertised – someone who you would underestimate  – the kindness overpowering.  Would I recognize her if she walked by me in Grand Central Station? Is she tall or short?  Why does she follow along? Rubbernecking syndrome?

She baits me, I jump.
Could I be that simple?
Am I that shallow? Or is it “Callow?”

I can feel the weight of her eyes, her mind on these words – this sentence separator, whatever you call it – a Big Dash, a Double Wide Dash, A Long Dash.  But she’ll know. She’ll whisper, “It’s an x Dave.

Pavlov’s hand is stretched, reaching. I stand in her shadow.

It’s ‘Callow.’ (Should it be a double quotation mark?  A single? Should it be inside or outside the period?  The fullness of her weight, too much.)

I walk out the door.
I run. [Read more…]

Running With Anguilla. On Christmas Day.

palm-trees

“What are the winter months?”

The cab driver chuckled.  “You’ve not been to Anguilla Sir?”  He paused and continued.  “There are no winter months, Sir.”

Who you callin’ Sir? Aha. Old and stupid. 18° 15′ North – standing on the Equator. No seasons.

That was a week ago. It’s 6:10 am.  52° F.  We’re trudging up a severe incline at Mianus River Park in Connecticut, back to reality.  It’s Christmas Day.  391 acres. No humans, no superficial chit chat – ISTJ magic. Squirrels, Zeke and me.  He’s at my heels, the clanking of his steel tags breaking the morning silence.  He’s panting. I’m heaving.

It was a week ago.  It was 82° F, gusty, the fronds on the palm trees slapping.  Anguilla’s beach, fine white sand sifting through your toes, walking on cotton.  The sea is warm, clear, the white sand carpets the ocean floor.  I’m floating on a thick foam mattress, the tropical winds sashay the hammock.  Wispy clouds, paintings, lazily pass overhead.  If there was heaven….

That was a week ago. It’s a muddy track from the rains. Footing is sloppy.  The Sun is working to burn through the clouds. Mist is rising from the earth.  I’m over layered, overdressed and overheating during this December heat wave.  And there’s Anguilla. Ever present. But, could you live there? [Read more…]

Running. With Cream and Cheese. (TMI)

red-smoke

The Fast was not part of any religious experience, ‘Tis the season, but the execution of a containment exercise. We order cocktails before dinner.  Rachel was giddy in her counter: “the Dimwit thinks that skipping lunch is a Fast.”  There’s no point in arguing with the closed-minded so I sit quietly sipping my tap water watching the mocking escalate, with Mother and Son now piling on. Who’s she calling a Dimwit? Who raised this thing?

Yet, I knew.  I just knew, a bad outcome was coming.  The late night dinner was preceded by a full day in the Sun and an empty stomach following the end of my Fast.  My Fast.

I open with warm bread rolls (and who’s counting after three) – all carefully lathered with cheesy butter and baptized in virgin olive oil squeezed from some tree on an arid hill in Greece.  This was followed with a Caesar salad, fresh crispy greens, a light-just-right Caesar dressing and razor thin strips of Parmesan cheese cultured from some cow grazing on a hillside in Southern Italy.  The knife and fork then worked the entrée, a heaping portion of three-layered eggplant lasagna topped with cheese, broiled to a golden crisp.

This was chased down with three intermittent spoonfuls of Rachel’s garlic mashed potatoes, with the buttery succulence coating my tongue and lips. In my fourth attempt, the sharing was shut down: “Dad, ENOUGH!” – batting my spoon back and moving her dish beyond my reach.  [Read more…]

Running. In Warsaw.

warsaw-poland

The hotel lobby. (~2006)
High cathedral ceilings. Dark wood grain walls.  Turkish Rugs that run and run.
There’s a whiff of lemon in the air, the wood floors scrubbed by the overnight crew.
The Bellman, adorned with a red cap, offers a “God Morning” in broken English, and quickly drops his head back to his book.
A step back in time.

There’s no mistaking Warsaw (Poland, not Indiana) for the youth and flamboyance of Barcelona or the hushed old money wealth of Geneva or the modern efficiency and hum of Tokyo.

Warsaw is the Mickey Rourke in The Wrestler. Long past his prime and wearing deep scars of bone jarring defeat. Tired, hurt and a heaviness that lingers.

It was a slow run 9 years ago.
An early Sunday morning in autumn.
A single 40-minute run cutting deep furrows which are turned over and over again. [Read more…]

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