Monday, June 28, 2010

Where I run (Florida)

I did this one other time but used by cell phone and RAN when I took the video.  The feedback was, THIS SUCKS, or words similar to that.  So, when I was down in Florida running through Smyrna Dunes Park, I took another shot at this to capture where I run when I am down there.

I didn't want to speak over the audio and video to try to capture what it's like to run through this park with the waves crashing in the background.  I start the video on Ponce Inlet Lighthouse, across the Indian River, pan right to see Daytona Beach 10 miles north and then dolly back (sort of) to see the whole park.  I do a 360 of my surroundings and you can see the boardwalk that goes through the park that you run on.  The boardwalk is approximately 1 1/2 miles. 

At the end, you will see a white round dome, which is a NASA tracking station.  Seriously, pretty cool stuff.


Tuesday, June 22, 2010

A Good Sweat

I'm sitting here at the Daytona Beach (Florida) International Airport, in the shadows of the Daytona Speedway, waiting for my plane to take me back to Pennsylvania, so I thought I would share some thoughts.

I had a chance to run about three times down here on the boardwalk that runs through the Smyrna Dunes Park.  The boardwalk goes through a turtle nesting ground area and is about a mile and half long hugging along the ocean.  It's one of the my favorite places to run here or anywhere.  But, it does take some getting used to.

My first run was 3 miles and I was dying.  It is soooo hot when there is no breeze off the ocean and the sun is beating down on you.  The second time I went out, I did 3.7.  Juuuuuust a little bit longer.  And, finally, on the third run, I figured out there is a right way to run the boardwalk.  If you go counter-clockwise you get to see more of the ocean, Daytona Beach in the distance and the Ponce Inlet Lighthouse.  But, more important, you get a real nice breeze and the sun is behind you when you are finishing up when the breeze is still. 

So the third time out, I did 4 miles.  And, each time, I was drenched in sweat.  You know the kind.  The kind when, even when you take a shower afterwards, you are still sweating.  At the end of the run, my legs were wobbling, my clothes were drenched, I was hotter than hotter could be but, after I got some water, I felt like I accomplished something.  And, I couldn't wait to run it again the next day. 

For some reason, a run is different, in me, in Florida than it is in Pennsylvania.  If I ran in the same conditions at home, I would be complaining.  But, here, I was loving it.

I would much rather run in Florida in the hot and humid than Pennsylvania in the cold.  It just feels better. 

Friday, June 11, 2010

Slowly but Surely

I ran 6 miles yesterday. I ran 4 miles Tuesday. This is a big fat deal for me.

All this year, I have said, 'I'm coming back. Yup. Any day now. I'll be right on the road.' Only not to do so. I have been fine. But there has been some family health issues that I have been dealing with that have zapped my time and energy in dealing with. It has taken an emotional toll on me and running (or exercising) were not tops of my priority list. But, I've said this before and I apologize for doing so again.


Like others I have used food as a substitute for exercise. I looked at life and said, it's too short to not enjoy and I enjoy all kinds of fattening food so why not? Why the f*** not? '

I am now 10 pounds over my normal running weight. I always prided myself for being roughly the same weight as I was when I got married 21 1/2 years ago. Not right now. And, in truth, in some odd way, I had to gain that weight to snap me out of my exercise funk.

What I found, when I have been getting back into running, was the difficulty getting over the mental aspect of it. I would only go a few miles, look ahead over the next 500 yards or so and decide that it's just too hard and start walking. I could not bear down and plow through. Until last Tuesday...

Last Tuesday, I went out on a run on Kelly Drive in Philadelphia. I ran two miles out, turned around, and headed back to my car. For the past few weeks, I would look down Kelly Drive towards Center City and it looked like a looooooooooong way to go, convincing myself I didn't have the stamina. Tuesday, when I did the turnaround, I looked right instead of left and focused on the Philadelphia skyline. Joe, I said, you are going to do this. There is no reason you need to stop. I didn't think of the pain. I started to think of anything and everything else and wanted to enjoy the day.

After the run was over, I felt good. Real good. I felt I had broken a barrier that was keeping me back. And, it was my own doing.

So, slowly but surely, I am coming back to myself I have come to know over the past few years. My biking (did I tell you I got a new bike? White Lightning I call it) has picked up and am challenging myself more. Swimming has been spotty but still getting out when I can. And, I am eyeing either the Moyer & Sons 5k in Souderton, PA on July 5 or Phil's Tavern 5k in Blue Bell, PA on July 14 as my first race of the year.

My problems have not gone away. I'm still dealing with them. But, I'm starting to run again because of the reasons I started in the first place. To help deal with the stress and to make myself feel good again.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

St. John of the Cross School (Roslyn, PA) 1953-2010

I have been going there on weekends and reminiscing. Sitting on the steps and looking out over the playground. Looking at the walls on the outside of the building where I used to flip baseball cards in a child's version of gambling of our life savings away. Looking at the spot where, I swear to this day, I got in trouble for vandalizing the building, though thinking I was being efficient and smart, for banging the cloths used to erase the chalkboards against the wall. The smudge is still there. I guess Mrs. Paris was right.

I could go on and on about the lifetime memories I carry from belonging to this parish and this community. And, part of that is what makes me sad--it truly was the last time I felt a sense of community in my life.

So, these are the last days of my grade school before it closes down for good. So, thank you, St. John's.

Thank you, Sister Joan Bernard
Thank you, Miss Elgin
Thank you, Mrs. Dressler
Thank you, Miss Malloy
Thank you, Sister Amadeus (and Mrs. Adamo, and other substitutes that year)
Thank you, Mrs. Paris
Thank you, my seventh grade nuns whose names I have forgotten
Thank you, Sister St. Michael....

....for helping to make me the person I am today. You have been a great influence in my life and my classmates lives, and, let's face it, for good and/or bad. But, a major part of it, you were.

Looking at the school, it is showing it's age. What once was home for 8 hours a day to thousand of children at a time is now done to a few hundred. The last time alumni can walk the hallways is tomorrow night on June 4.

Good-bye, old school. You will be missed.