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Archive for April, 2008

Pace Setter

Posted by jbharp on April 22, 2008

I met a friend yesterday evening for a slow paced easy run. I’ve given her on a plan for a 10k run on Memorial Day, so I met her in the middle of my weekly long run to offer some running companionship and keep her at a beneficial pace. She’s into the second week and has experienced all three types of training runs: long, tempo and speed. We were discussing the first week of runs when she confessed that inside of her existed a ‘sprinter that wants to come out on every run.’ But when running a 10k (not to mention a marathon), sprinting isn’t the best strategy. It makes sense to distribute your energy evenly throughout the entire race and settle in for the long haul.

Fortunately, I don’t suffer from the sprinter syndrome. I prefer setting aside most of a summer Saturday morning and spending a few hours hitting the trails. A methodical, rhythmic crunching of gravel and dirt under my shoes for hours gives me delight. I realize that others have to fight the urge to truck through a slow, steady pace. But there are other urges within me that I have to fight.

There are times when nearing the end of a run, I get the urge to keep on running past my determined distance. And some days when I don’t even plan on running, I’ll crave to lace up my shoes. On the contrary, and a more frequent occurrence, I’ll be tempted to cut a run short or cut out a run completely. Although I sometimes give in, I do my best to adhere to the plan I have in place.

After we parted ways and I continued on the second half of my run, I was reminded of a line in the Jewish Passover Seder (since it was fresh on my mind from the night before – more on this later). It says ‘The key to freedom is to anticipate the future and make it real. The definition of maturity is the ability to trade a lower pleasure now for a higher pleasure later.’

This applies for all areas of life not just running. Freedom is often displayed in the ability to say ‘no.’ Freedom does not mean we can indulge in anything and everything we want, as our culure would sometimes lead us to believe. But it proves to be challenging (at least for me) to keep our lives on a daily course we have planned.

At times I try to go through life alone. I think I can do it better or I don’t want to bother anyone with my choppy pace and heavy breathing (sticking to the running metaphore). When I help someone out with their running (the few requests I’ve had) I am thrilled and not burdened in any way. Without a doubt, I have greatly benefited from people who run along with me in life to keep me at an appropriate pace. Afterall, life is a marathon and includes various types of training runs.


Posted in Religion, Running | 5 Comments »

Unending Adventures

Posted by jbharp on April 14, 2008

When I first moved to Colorado in early 2003, I found myself in a conversation with a group of people about everyone’s favorite season. Here in the Centennial State we are fortunate to have all four season throughout the year. Sometimes we have them all within a few days or even hours. In fact, the weather changed so much last week that I think that a fifth and possibly a sixth season were in there somewhere.

Back to the conversation…I was shocked and completely blown away when everyone said they enjoyed the summer months in Colorado more than the winter months. Nobody waffled. It was unanimous. Even though I had just moved here, I thought I knew the greatness this state has to offer during winter and these people didn’t have a clue. How could they be saying such anti-Rocky Mountain drivel?!?

I don’t know when it happened (most likely by the end of my first summer here), but I too converted to a Colorado summer enthusiast. Don’t doubt my love for winter though. With skiing and my latest passion for snowboarding winter is certainly a time for excitement and enjoyment. But the opportunities during the summer months are nearly endless. I quickly recognized I would need to live multiple lives (or not work) to enjoy all Colorado has to offer between April and September.

Last night I took the first steps to my next summer time hobby – kayaking. A friend and I will be participating in a short adventure race next Sunday in Pueblo. A portion of the race will be kayaking which I’ve never done before. I figured it was a good idea to practice before I get out in the middle of a reservoir (see mom I’m not completely reckless). A local kayak club has been opening a High School pool on Sunday evenings to allow new comers to practice. Perfect opportunity.

Fortunately, I found an instructor to teach me some of the basics of kayaking. Within 1.5 hours I was able to do a roll – I flip my kayak upside down then using my paddle and a ‘hip snap’ turn myself back upright. My instructor shouted with excitement and the entire pool (full of other kayakers practicing their techniques) erupted with cheers when I emerged from my first successful roll.

It was only a matter of time before kayaking became a new (expensive) hobby for me. But it is finally here. And so is summer…almost. The forecast calls for 1″-3″ of snow on Wednesday following a beautiful 77 deg Tuesday.

Posted in Outdoor | 2 Comments »

Porcupine Quills

Posted by jbharp on April 7, 2008

During the winter months, I frequently take my dogs out for a late night run at one of my favorite neighborhood parks. It’s close to my house and the loop is only 1.5 miles, which I usually run at least twice. That’s about all Charlie (the husky) can handle these days. Her slowing pace is partly due to her aging and gaining a little weight. But I’m partially to blame for that since I don’t take her with me all on my runs. On the other hand, CJ (the border collie mutt) ping-pong bounces all over the trail but stays close by my side no matter how far I’m running.

Nearly two weeks ago we started a run about 9:30 pm. Even though I’m familiar with nearly every rock, washout, and turn on this trail, a full moon lit up the path. It was a beautiful night; cool enough to need only a long sleeve shirt and shorts.

We weren’t the only ones enjoying a stroll in the lighted wilderness. Nearing the end of the first loop, CJ makes a quick bounce off the trail and an even faster return. Then the “bush” he bounced past waddled off a few dozen feet. Even though I knew Charlie as lagging behind I ran forward and called for her to catch up. A few strides later I notice something in CJ’s nose – three porcupine quills. By the time I was realizing the potential disaster, I turn around to see Charlie coming around the corner and pawing madly at her nose.

Charlie had gone in for the kill. It wasn’t until I got her back to the truck (not finishing the second loop) that I realized there was no possible way for me to remove them all myself. So I got to spend a few hours of the evening in the animal hospital ER. They partially sedated her to remove all the quills. One had gone all the way through her tongue. It was clear she was in pain. CJ wined a bit as I pulled each of the three quills from his nose, the last one with a pair of pliers.

My mom had a similar story with the dogs on the farm this weekend. There was one difference though. The small town vet, who primarily cares for livestock, charged a fee of $40. My bill was nearly six times that!!!

Here are a few pictures I managed to get on my cell phone. It was tough to get Charlie to hold still…understandably.


Posted in Outdoor | 3 Comments »