Rest

Today is Day 5 of the half marathon training schedule, which calls for rest. I’m choosing to interpret “rest” as a leisurely 3-1/2-mile walk.

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again:

I exercise every day because I lack the discipline to take a day off.

Is this a good thing or a bad thing? I’d love to hear your comments.

My Lunch with Melanie

We met for lunch at Café Red Onion. She ordered the spinach and goat cheese enchiladas. I ate the usual pupusas revueltas—fat cornmeal pancakes stuffed with shredded pork and other good things.

We talked about writing. Since that topic encompasses everything else that we both live and breathe, the conversation covered a lot of ground.

MelanieShe talked about inspiration and the nocturnal activities of her particular muse. There was a voice that came to her one night to dictate notes for years’ worth of writing projects. I speculated about the creative unconscious, the unknown workings of the mute machinery of our brains that collects, organizes, catalogs, and stores images, sounds, smells, emotions, and abstract ideas and then assembles them into dreams, long-term memories, and all the wonders of fantasy. I wondered why she was so eager to give the credit for her brilliance to something outside herself …[MORE]

Birds of a Feather, Part II: Frozen Fanatics

The July Project: Day 28

At the end of last November, in an effort to jump-start a weight-loss regimen that had stalled, I made up my mind to walk twice around the loop at Memorial Park every day for the month of December. November 30 was a Monday, so I started one day early for good measure. The next day, just in time for my “official” December Project kickoff, the weather turned nasty for two solid weeks. December 1, it was raining and 45 degrees by evening. Then a cooling trend set in. By Thursday, there was talk of snow. I woke up Friday morning to moderate flurries …[MORE]

Wet Sneakers, or the Moral Equivalent Thereof

The July Project: Day 21

I headed to the park for my walk early today because my first Learn to Row class was tonight. I arrived there around 3:30, the hottest part of the day. I didn’t have to wait long for relief from the heat, though. The sky clouded over, and then about halfway through the first lap, it started to sprinkle. It didn’t rain for very long—maybe about 10 minutes—just enough to get me miserably wet. Then the sun came back out and turned all the fresh rain into a layer of hot steam that hovered over the trail.

It was too humid to dry out from the wetting, but it didn’t matter, because another one was coming anyway. As I got to the last half-mile leg of the 6½‑mile walk, the sky opened up. This time, it was more than a sprinkle. The torrential rain continued until about the time I arrived back at my car …[MORE]

But Really…Every Day?

The July Project: Day 18

In 2008, I attended a lecture by Dr. Henry Lodge, one of the authors of Younger Next Year, a book that purports to offer ideas to help men fend off some of the physical symptoms of aging. The central theme of Dr. Lodge’s talk was a point that might seem counterintuitive: that we need more exercise as we get older, not less.

In the question-and-answer session that followed his presentation, someone asked Dr. Lodge, “So how much exercise is the right amount?” He replied that although no one has nailed down a precise, scientific answer to that question, a good rule of thumb might be four days a week in your 40s, five days a week in your 50s, and six days a week from your 60s on …[MORE]

Catch My Breath

The July Project: Day 11

Once in a while you might have a day when nothing goes quite right,

and all your best-laid plans fall flat,

and you’re tired because you haven’t had enough sleep all week,

and you have a million things to do,
but everything takes longer than you thought it would,

and distractions keep cropping up,

and in your panic to get something accomplished, you relax the rules, you try to quiet the sense of panic by stuffing yourself full of snacks,

and you know you’re doing it,
but you’re in that bruised mood where you can’t be bothered to care,

and then you force yourself back to banging away on tasks that refuse to yield an inch of progress,

and finally,

finally,

finally it’s late enough in the afternoon to say, “Screw it, I’m going to the park, at least I’ll get some exercise,”

and you think to yourself for about the thousandth time:

If you can’t do everything, you can at least do something.

You Can Make Up Rules, Too

The July Project: Day 9

A few days ago, I mentioned the rules of the exercise game that I’ve been playing:

Rule #1: Do something every day.
Rule #2: Everything counts.

On Wednesday, someone who’s been reading this blog lately said to me, “I just can’t exercise every day.”

I replied, “I’m not saying that you should …[MORE]

Make a Game of It, Then Play to Win

The July Project: Day 3

The first time I got serious about exercise, I became a member of the YMCA in downtown Knoxville, Tennessee. The Y offered an incentive program for runners. They gave out 6 x 9 index cards on which you could record your miles by inking in a grid of 500 tiny boxes. When you filled the card, you turned it in with $5 and got a downtown ymca 500‑mile club T‑shirt.

I filled up two cards, so I also got a 1,000‑mile club T‑shirt before I left Knoxville. I worked hard for those cheap T‑shirts. Even though the card program relied on the honor system, I scrupulously discounted fractional miles and pushed myself harder every time I neared the end of another row of boxes.

Fast-forward to the summer of 2004 …[MORE]

Still More Walking: White Rock Lake

Note: This post is a sequel to Update: Walking Wherever—Within Reason.


White Rock Lake, Dallas, TexasThe first hurdle in the way of my Friday walk was Dallas rush-hour traffic. Less than 24 hours into my trip, and I’d already lost track of what day it was, so I was surprised to find a few million other people on the road when I set out for White Rock Lake. The second impediment was having lost any understanding of Dallas freeways that I’d ever possessed, so I failed to find the spur that appeared to cut across from I-35E to northbound I-45 on the Google map. Then, although southbound I-45 was clearly marked, I drove for miles without finding any signs pointing toward the northbound direction. It’s been my experience that the northbound and southbound parts of an interstate highway usually connect somewhere …[MORE]

Update: Walking Wherever—Within Reason

Note: This post is a sequel to Walking Every Day, Wherever I Find My Feet.


DallasOn my way to Dallas yesterday, I ran into a traffic delay in Spring and another one near Centerville, where I-45 was reduced to one lane for about five miles. It took more than half an hour to crawl through the construction zone. So I didn’t get into town until about 8 p.m., only to discover that in the two months since I made my reservation, I’d somehow confused my hotel (the Marriott Suites Market Center) with another one nearby (the Marriott Residence Inn Market Center). That mistake added another half hour to my already-too-long journey.

Nevertheless, as soon as I finished checking in, I dressed in walking attire and headed up the freeway to Bachman Lake …[MORE]