Friday, March 29, 2013

Left foot, right foot

I ran 15 minutes the other day.  I shuffled over to the track and ran lane 8.  Some old guy hobbling along passed me in lane 1.  Oooof!!!!  Talk about a slap to the ego.  I sped up a little and at the 9 minute mark I thought I might have to walk.  I slowed back down and ran until 15minutes and called it a day.  My knees both hurt and my left foot was hurting.  A little pain in my lower back from hurting it moving the bathtub last weekend.  Today I just feel sore in my hamstrings and a spot on my left hip.

I decided instead of my marathon goal being 2:28 that I'd make it 2:44 and I registered for the Marine Corps Marathon.  I guess I just know I don't have the drive as of now to commit to such a lofty goal.  I still think it's in my realm of possibility but things would have to line up pretty perfect to run that fast.  2:44 seems pretty doable.  First things first is to fix these knees because 3 months completely off did absolutely nothing to help them.

I'm feeling a little down today because of some of the comments I got from posting that goal on facebook.  I guess I didn't expect that.  It angers me that folks would even question me running a 2:44.  Used to be that would be a long run.  It wasn't that dag gone long ago.  It's not like my little mitochondria all retired.  Anyways, sort of just angered me.  Then I got some comments about my last post that seemed a bit rude.  That's a sensitive subject I put out there in front of the world.  If you're to obtuse to realize that a little tact when addressing it is necessary......  grrrr....maybe I just need a friends list redo.  Then today I had a misunderstanding with my "girlfriend".  I joked to her because she told Zoya that when she first saw my picture she wasn't attracted to me because she likes guys with big muscles.   Her reaction to my joke sort of startled me.  She said....yeah...well that's ok, i don't mind dating people I'm not attracted to.  Or something along those lines.  Wow...way to make a guy feel good.   Maybe I'm just too sensitive.  I tried not to respond and just change the subject and then she said she might as well be talking to herself sometimes.  So I guess the chat sort of went off the rails from there.  C'est la vie.

well.   I'll go run it off. 

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

3 Inspiring words

My trip home this weekend allowed for a unique opportunity. Never did I imagine how that opportunity would play out, or what it would lead to, or even that I would have it. But it seems to have inspired a city. Hate, as I've often said here, is a powerful and motivating emotion. The hatred of the masses, against wealth and power and the corruption associated with it, is particularly powerful just now in an economy where the availability of wealth has evaporated to all but a select class. A chance meeting therefore, where I was able to pull together and assimilate a vast sum of clues, in front of a crowd, and use this information to insult a City Manager, a 4x Gold medalist, the head of USA Track & Field, and their well as inspire community action....all with 3 little words, is quite an accomplishment. Something that I feel a bit proud of.

For the purpose of this post I'll need to do two things, give a little background, and deliver to you my personal definition of corruption (since the world currently, seems to confuse what is legal, with what is right) Corruption to me, is the use of a position of power to serve a narrower interest than the scope of that position. So instead of serving everyone you have power over, you harm most of them to serve yourself and people close to you. Now most often that is done legally. Most of the US is suffering from an entire list of horrible things that have been done by businesses, politicians, and people that were completely legal. The mortgage crisis is a major example of this. So I want to steer us back to accepting only those things that are right, and just, and not confuse ourselves with what the privileged class have dictated to legal.

The background here is that Geneva's former city manager is also a huge developer. How that should ever be allowed is beyond me. Throughout the last 10yrs he has been steadily gutting the city services of our town and moving them out to the highway (where he owned land). Each step along the way (moving of the post office, consolidation of the school, moving of the library, etc) I researched and wrote Op Ed pieces to the local paper outlining why I think this pattern of development is disastrous and showing urban design studies from Maine, New Hampshire, Portland, St. Paul, etc that all showed the importance of keeping vital city services centrally located and accessible via foot traffic. In each case I was dismissed, with venom, as a fuddy duddy standing in the way of "progress". Now, in the last 3 years as that pattern of development has been largely seen by the locals as a horrible failure, and huge message, and my ideas, have become a bit accepted, and in some cases embraced.

That same former city manager, after moving all of the services to the highway, along with other developers, built the nations largest indoor track, multiple Olympic sized swimming pools, and all sorts of indoor athletic facilities. Throughout the construction he enraged to locals by bringing in cheap, non-local, non-union labor whenever possible. In those cases where he used local contractors and local companies....he declared bankruptcy and has never paid them.

Now that leads me to USA Track & Field. Throughout my early years of running, Boulder Colorado was the home of US distance running. During the early 90's however that slowly began to change. Runners like Bob Kennedy and Todd Williams for some reason decided that training at or near their alma maters was a better fit for them. The often lamented "lost 90's of American Distance Running" where people chose, instead of living in Boulder, to train on their own lead to a major downturn in US distance running. A policy adopted by USA T&F where they decided that their group should emulate the financial and marketing success of the NBA (in my opinion) was to blame. The purpose of USATF changed from promoting the sport and supporting its athletes, to making a corporate brand from which they could extract wealth.

Despite the best attempts of the bigwigs at USATF, the people of Boulder, and their love of running, running venues, climate, etc have all combined to still keep the area one of THE places to live for professional endurance athletes. That, coupled with groups like Hanson's, the Oregon Project, etc lead to a resurgence in US distance thanks to USATF.

So there I was on a miserable Sunday morning having breakfast at a local restaurant when in hobbles our trio of wealth gathering (track enthusiasts). Fresh from having won (*cough* stolen) the USATF contract from Boulder, making Geneva, Ohio the new headquarters of USATF. Not mind you, due to our wonderful running culture, or our access to mountain trails, or other running venues, our beautiful training weather, or any other logical reason to choose Geneva as a place distance athletes would love to live and train. But instead because our wonderful struggling developer turned city manager, turned millionaire developer was able to purchase them (ok, you can call it outbid them). So you have a millionaire ex-city manager who was willing to sell out the people he was supposed to have "spent his lifetime promoting and representing" dealing with a USATF president willing to be influenced more by personal greed than care for the athletes he represents....all of it legally...and none of it right.

As I was sitting there with my back to the group, the waitress hustled over to retrieve me. Excited for an opportunity to meet 4x Olympic gold medalist and 8x World Champion Michael Johnson I hurried over to their table. It was there that I sat listening to their dreams and plans, while a crowd slowly gathered, pushing in...filling the spaces between tables and any empty space available. The city manager introduced me to Michael who said he'd been hoping to run into me (wow I thought) because every time he mentions distance running in this town my name comes up from the locals (wow I thought again).

They then proceed to ask for my advice. You see...they are bankrupt. The population of distance runners have been hesitant to come to Geneva, save for their 2 competitions. The bankruptcy judgements against them are coming due, the amount of use in the form of memberships from the local community hasn't been what they expected...yada, yada, yada. How do we get the community to embrace distance running? How do we make this a destination for distance runners?

I slowly began to describe my long list of moves that have contributed to a community not interested in memberships, I told them (my own bitter feelings) for their removal of the town mural that had Anna Debevec (famous shot puter from the 70's), Brian Anderson (famous MLB pitcher) and myself (skinny guy who looks great in shorty shorts) and how the removal "to save money" gave children no recognizable local sports heroes. How not moving the trophy case (that holds hundreds of my and others high school trophies) to the new school gave children nothing to marvel at and aspire to. Then I dove into the desirability of the flat, cloudy, rainy, snow filled winters with zero trails for training and narrow snow choked roads for running.

After outlining a good bit of these, I slowly began to feel the tension in the room. Hearing all of these things, had reminded the locals of their hatred of the entire project. The last straw, as I later found out, was the promise (after a planned neglect of the downtown stadium and forced closing by our wonderful city manager during his tenure) that if the community matched funds they would be granted use of the facility for high school games, discount memberships for the community, etc. Which turned out to a 1 year free use by the school to it's athletic fields and then leases at insanely high rates and 1 free month trial for individuals followed by zero discount memberships. The crowding of the locals, the sour looks on their faces, and the hope resting on my shoulders to all involved that somehow I would have an idea that would bring the running world to Geneva and save the project.....seemed a bit awkward....and throughout my history I've proven I have rather a knack for handling awkward.

The best advice I can give you three? Yes (the crowd leans in) .....GO FUCK YOURSELF!!!

3 little words, inspired by my recent viewing of the movie Argo, catapulted the restaurant into a frenzy of cheering, then a firestorm on facebook, and finally to the founding of a group, to resurrect and refurbish the old stadium (Memorial Field). Once the facebook page went up, it seemed everyone in the community jumped in to be involved. In 2 days time we've established a charter, started application for a non-profit, and received a pledge from Brian Anderson for $300,000 to help resurrect the field, rebuild part of the grandstands that youths burned, refurbish the old cinder track, and build a new baseball field, effectively turning our backs on a failing multi-million dollar project that didn't have our support in the first place. We don't have the resources to throw good money and energy after bad. Or throw any money, for that matter, towards people who don't truly care about our community or the communites they are charged with supporting.

In less than 48hrs my 3 words seemed to have done more good for my little town than an entire team of people who's "projects" were more directed at putting money in their pockets than in helping the communities they serve. The same thing, you see, is damaging the entire population as you read. My message to you, is to tell them those 3 words. Scream them loud. Emulate my little town. Turn back the clock to a time when Americans didn't look to government to solve their problems for them. To a time when community groups, and people, working side by side caring for their communities decided what THEIR community needed, rolled up their sleeves and built it themselves. Rebuild local government and rely on that, and your neighbors. Everyone else has a different motive. So when they come to you with grand plans.....Give them the best......GO FUCK YOURSELF you can muster ;-)