Saturday, December 31, 2011

Musings from Boston to B'ham

"I'm an idealist. I don't know where I'm going, but I'm on the way" - Carl Sandburg

And so another trip to the frozen north comes to a close. If you've been following along with these RWA posts, you know I have family up in Boston along with two grandchildren, so we try to get up there every 2 months if possible. Adam, now 2 years old, was having his first Christmas where it was evident that something good was going on, and Emma, now just about 4 months old was having her first Christmas period.

We boarded a flight on Friday that I think must've been the "Day-Care Special". I swear, it was filled with babies, toddlers, screaming, crying, and all kinds of young children, hyped up on either sugar or just the excitement of Christmas itself. But, it got us to Boston, and that's what mattered. Adam has progressed from just putting some random words together to now speaking complete sentences, like "Grandpa, go sit over there", and I better sit "over there" quick. His mood swings from the absolute sweetest thing to the absolute poster boy for "terrible two's" is instantaneous. He is a Bell Curve on a see-saw in emotions. Every time his wrath was directed at me, I took it personally, UNTIL I saw this same behavior could be thrown at mommy, daddy, gram, or the Holy Pope himself. Each day it got easier to accept that this behavior was the norm for the course. Doesn't affect my son or DIL (Michael & Joanie) at all. One time, Joanie took a blueberry off Adam's breakfast dish at which point all hell broke loose with Adam yelling "Mommy took my blueberry". My son's only response, while he calmly sipped his coffee, was "Perfect English". He's also gotten very polite, like in...Mommy: "Adam come here right now"...Adam: "No, thank you".

Meanwhile, four month old Emma is a doll. She doesn't sleep a whole lot, doesn't cry a whole lot, but sure does like to hear her own voice all throughout the day and night. It's amazing that she just melts into restful quietness while you walk her, but don't dare sit down, or even stop walking. Then, the dark side of kicking and fussing appears. But, you can imagine that grandpa was way happy to walk her around as much as she wanted.

On Christmas morning, my wife & I took over the breakfast duties and produced pancakes in the shapes of Santa, a Snowman, or a Reindeer. This was very popular all around. Later that morning, with a full tummy all carbo-loaded, I decided to go for a run. As opposed to last year, there was no snow on the ground at all and most of the time the temperature was in the 40-50 degree range. But, when nature heard I was running, the temp dropped into the 20's and there were snow flurries - perfect for a Christmas run. Got a little lost when I decided to do some exploring. Without the sun to guide me through cloudy skies, I got a little turned around and my 6 miler became an 8 miler. I find when I run in Boston that folks you pass while running in the North are just not as friendly as in the South. I tend to say Good Morning or a simple Hey to most people I pass going the other way, but get few responses north of the Mason-Dixon line.

The next morning, I ran with Michael in a "race" called the Operation Jack Marathon, Half-Marathon, and Satellite Run. The marathon and half are actually in San Diego, put on as a fund raiser for autism, but you can enter and run anywhere you want and do basically any distance. We entered a few weeks ago and decided to run a 10k. Now, get enter, and they send you a shirt, a very nice medal, and a race bib! All for $35!!! I mean I just read where the entry fee to the NYC Marathon is $225, and a lot of that money goes to a bunch of Kenyan runners - not exactly a charity. Anyway, we ran a 6.7 mile course along a riverway to downtown Boston, ran the last mile on the Boston Marathon course, bowed in reverence to the BM Finish Line, and returned home. I thoroughly always enjoy running with Michael, and with all the highlights of the trip, this was at the top.

So, now back in Birmingham, this morning, the B'ham Track Club and the Trak Shak put on The Resolution Run. Usually, the End of the Year Run is on the roads at Oak Mountain, but this year we did a trail run on the newly opened trails of Red Mountain. Once, a heavily mined area, it is now turning into a great running and hiking trail system. It's pretty hilly, but not super-technical. On a personal level, I decided to wear my low-cut Mizuno Trail shoes for the first time in 2 years and my ankles didn't squeal at all. I have been wearing Merrill High tops on the trail which I think has allowed me to keep trail running (running is a relative term) to some degree. What I think has really improved my running is switching 2 months ago to Hoka Bondi B running shoes for the road. If you're a minimalist fan, then don't even look them up on the internet or you'll go into spasms. If shoes are a Bell Curve, you've got Vibrams on one side and Hokas on the other. I am completely sold on them. Any questions, just email me.

Tomorrow, a new year descends upon us, and one usually looks back and says we're glad the old year is gone. Sometimes, it has to do with running performance, and that is understandable as running certainly has it's grip on most of us. But, I'm not glad the old year is's just another mile in the race - some ups, some downs - and I look forward to the next mile. I hope you all have a great and wonderful 2012 in all aspects of your life and along the way, I'll see you on the roads - AL.

"One child lost is too child saved can change the world"

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