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Archive for May, 2008

Trail Running

Posted by jbharp on May 27, 2008

I ran the Oklahoma City Marathon a few weeks ago. Now that I have taken some time off for recovery, I’m moving on to the summer running season. I’ve been holding steady to some pretty light and easy running since OKC. The experts recommend one day of rest and recovery for every mile in a race. I endured about 20 days of minimal running and what little I did was at a jogging pace. But last week I jumped back into a routine. Even better though, I’m transitioning to trail running for the summer season.

I’ll be participating in the Pikes Peak Marathon for the third time on August 17. It’s my goal this year to place in my age group. It’ll be tough but I’m thrilled to be spending hours of my weeks on the trails, instead of on flat roads. Last week I climbed the Manitou Incline with a new record: 28 minutes and 56 seconds (that’s 26 seconds better than my previous record).

I’ve added a new page on my blog site (still working on it). It’s more for my use and benefit, but feel free to tab over and check it out. It’s a running page to show some of my biggest races and best times. Certainly nothing in the elite field. However, I’ve been breaking the top ten percent of the field in the last few races.

My most recent race was at a relaxed pace to enjoy the bands, beer and cupcakes along the course. I ran the Bolder Boulder yesterday with a fellow Stick Horse, Suz [here’s her story and more pics]. The Bolder Boulder is a race that should be ran purly for entertainment, that’s why we sported our own Horse Headbands. But now my running summer schedule is off to the races, which means I won’t be carrying a stick horse with me.

Here’s me and Suz with our horse headbands waiting for the official start. I carried a stick horse and rode him as I came into Folsom Stadium. I was on the big screen as I crossed the finish line.


Posted in Running | 7 Comments »

All Natural Tan

Posted by jbharp on May 19, 2008

Last week and yet again today at work a heard this phrase;”Looks like you’ve been getting a little sun.” My coworkers were referring to the mild darkening, slightly red tone of my skin complexion. Today I could easily excuse it because I spent a fair amount of time outside yesterday in a relay race. But caught off guard by the observation last week, I lumpishly affirmed the statement and nothing more; “Uhhh…yeah. I’ve been getting ready for summer.” And then I awkwardly slipped away from the conversation like a normal engineer.

Why was it awkward and what am I trying to excuse? Tanning. Yep. I fake bake approximately eight minutes a few times throughout the week. But I’m not going to hide it anymore.

Some may scoff or laugh at tanning simply due to the reason that it’s not natural. If natural, in terms of tanning, means skin tone that is a result of only the sun, then it is true that fake baking is not natural. But so what? There are many unnatural things we do in our everyday life. Isn’t wearing clothes unnatural? Isn’t brushing your teeth unnatural? Isn’t getting from one point to another by means other than your own two feet unnatural?

We as humans have the intellect and volition to make improvements in our lives and ourselves.  We have the ability to take what is natural and alter it. Being natural isn’t good or bad and neither is unnatural. Making such an assessment would be a flaw in thinking.

So, I’ll keep on tanning for the time being. Just because I converse awkwardly like an engineer, doesn’t mean I should have pasty white skin like an engineer, (but maybe that makes me an unnatural engineer).

Posted in Outdoor | 4 Comments »

The Results of Consistency

Posted by jbharp on May 12, 2008

Yesterday I had a few opportunities to observe the usefulness of consistency and repetitiveness, of which I’m becoming more of a fan and fully advocate. Changing for the sake of change, a popular mantra it seems, really has no legitimacy. But on with my small stories…

1) A friend and I have been going to the gym three times a week for nearly a month. I don’t have much wiggle room in my schedule these days, so the only time available is early morning. I set my alarm for 10 minutes before six o’clock, which gives me enough time to dress and make a quick drive to be there by the top of the hour (save for once when I completely missed my alarm).

But yesterday, a Sunday morning, I didn’t have to wake until eight o’clock. However my internal clock has slowly been adjusted to sound at 6. Fortunately, I am blessed (sometimes is a curse though) with the ability to roll over and fall right back to sleep. The consistent early morning rises are becoming much easier and just in time for the summer. There’s nothing like a morning run as the sun is coming up (which I’ll be doing in the morning).

2) It is funny how much my dogs share my personality. While I’m getting ready in the morning, Charlie enjoys as much time of coziness as possibly on her old sleeping bag bed. Just like me she’s hitting the snooze as long as possible.

She distinctly knows the sound of my keys as it’s the last thing I grab before I leave. It’s her final alarm signaling her to get up and go outside. As long as I’m in normal clothes, and not running gear, she is aware of the routine (don’t let the doggie door hit you on the way out).

3) Finally, yesterday morning I taught in children’s church reviewing the Hebrew names of God and their meanings. We’ve been learning them for the entire semester covering 12 different names of God. During the review it was obvious the kids had been soaking it in. They knew when they were lonely there is Jehovah Shammah, God is always there. They knew when a bully was threatening them there is Jehovah Nissa, God is our Battle. And they knew that even when they stressed about math tests there is Jehovah Shalom, God is our Peace.

Now repetition can lead to good things as long as the disciplines themselves are good ones, like those above. Counter example…when my roommate decides to feed my dogs at 3 in the morning, they eventually come barking at me for food. We changed that habit.

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Oklahoma City Marathon

Posted by jbharp on May 5, 2008


Flat land, strong wind, and Christian hospitality describes my memories from the 8th running of the Oklahoma City Memorial Marathon last weekend (4/27/08).

Obviously OKC is a flat area. The elevation varied through only a 140′ range. In Colorado, I can’t get something that mild unless it’s on a treadmill. So I enjoyed a nice steady pace throughout, no need to power up anything. But I did have to power against the wind, another attribute of OK. It was a power to reckon with, until reaching the turn around point.

What I enjoyed most about the marathon was the tasty pancakes and sausage I ate about 20 minutes before the race even began. Downtown OKC is the start and finish points for race and is also the location of a Methodist Church. The start line is just to the east of the church’s front doors. But thousands of runners and spectators filling the streets can be a hindrance to a church’s normal Sunday operations. So the kind people at the Methodist Church open their doors from 5:30 to 11:00 am and serve. I think these pancakes were a special touch to give me the boost for the race.

I ran a new personal record – 3:24:32. It was my goal to qualify for Boston (needed a 3:10), but I’m still pleased with the race. I felt good nearly the entire race. In fact I had enough energy after the race to walk around downtown with my brother and his family. I even gave Hayden a ride around on my shoulders.

So now I’m up to three completed flatland marathons (St Louis, NYC, and OKC). And I’m changing gears toward my third marathon on Pikes Peak in August. No chance of qualifying for Boston on that run…I’ll shoot for it again later this fall.

Posted in Running | 1 Comment »