President Throws Down “Last-Ditch” Gauntlet

June 19, 2010

Okay . . . most of us are in our 50’s.  I know that in the last 3 years I have actually felt my age and perhaps a couple more.  Tigger remains timeless, showing virtually no sign of accumulating birthdays.  Skipper doesn’t have a joint on his body that is pain free.  Gimli . . . well he has a Harley and a goatee to match . . . looks pretty good too.  Does anyone know if Gringo has entered his fifth decade?  I do know that the Argentinian training program is terminal for most of us especially seeing its effect on the one who developed it.

There are some younger ones . . . yes.  The kids and the kids, aside from Ruperts commitment aversion, seem fairly good with the last reduction in the President’s Challenge.  And maybe in reality, this is simply a dose of 50 + years of reality hitting hard.  I don’t know.


I am prepared to throw down one last effort at making the PC palatable to all of you old farts.  The young bucks can do this with ease and perhaps inspire the rest of us to reach a bit farther as well.

  • Whereas these and other circumstances constitute the current reality of an aging runner’s club;
  • Whereas there seems to be a general lack of grass roots response to the 1st and 2nd readings of the President’s Challenge;
  • Whereas the cost of the Gulf Coast clean up will likely impact our gas prices adversely . . . at some point;
  • Whereas the early morning noise of socks being pulled up over hairy legs, is a sleep deterrent to at least one of the wives of the 6AM’ers;
  • Whereas, coming to coffee dressed up like you ran, actually constitutes a run equal to half of what you would have run . . . if you had actually run;
  • Whereas coming late and leaving early, although unverifiable, also constitutes a 1 count in the monthly totals;
  • Whereas coming to St. Timothy’s, in and around the time that runners would converge on our early morning edifice, is important for the health and longevity of the group;
  • Whereas the motto of the group has recently changed from, “6AM Runners . . . not to fast . . . not to slow . . . half fast.” . . . to . . . “6AM Runners . . . running is optional and coffee is mandatory.”;
  • Whereas, the President, in life transition and exodus from pastoral ministry, has a little more time to waste on this kind of stupid stuff;

Be it therefore resolved once more that the President’s Challenge be further reduced to 12 times* a month.

Now if any of you continue to struggle with this, let’s just pretend that it is going to work for  you.  Pick up the oven mitt that I have thrown down and in the spirit of all that is feminine, rise to this “not-real-challenging” challenge.

I love you . . .

May God bless us every one . . .

President Warthog

*12 times a month is the reasonable suggestion of Johnnie O


President Throws Down Smaller Gauntlet

June 17, 2010

Okay . . . so Johnnie O., Tigger and Dexter were out today.  Dexter chased a terrified squirrel up the backstop in the ballpark . . . this squirrel narrowly escaped with his life.

When Dexter is not out in the morning, this is Tigger’s job.  He didn’t get the squirrel today but he got a raven yesterday . . . nailed him.  On the way to Woodstock I think . . . the raven was either sick, stupid or arrogant, all potentially fatal.  There is a dent in the grill of Tigger’s new car, to commemorate this rare occurrence.

Oh yes . . . Skipper showed for coffee around 7:00a when we were all leaving. Sorry Steve.

So . . . on my run today, I was doing math in my head and talking to God.  Perhaps I was a bit over zealous when I put yesterday’s challenge at 20 times a month.  Today, . . . out of pure concern for the rest of you, I have decided to reduce the size of the gauntlet and suggest that our target should be . . . ummm . . . let me see . . . let’s say 16 times a month without prejudice to distance covered.

So that’s my final offer . . . unless my run/prayer time produces something additional tomorrow.

Throwing Down the Gauntlet

June 16, 2010

Starting July 1, I am throwing down the gauntlet as opposed to throwing in the towel. This year has held tremendous change, physical challenges and upheaval in my personal life. Running has been a lifeline for me over the years in many ways. The obvious benefits are physical. The not-so-obvious benefits . . . mental, social, spiritual, perspective, stress management . . . the list goes on.

Currently, I am unable to log any great amount of distance. I was doing the Math as I was waddling along yesterday. 5 times a week at an average of 3 miles per run would give me 780 miles in a year. That would be a great year for me at this stage of my life.

Here’s my challenge to the 6AM buddies. I’d like to challenge you to 20 times out in a month. I don’t care how far you run . . . just that you come out 20 times. If you fall behind in a given week, you can make it up here or there. Or that would be 240 times a year. You can miss 125 times a year and still be “bang on”.

So, . . . respond to this post brothers . . . let me know if you are in?? I’ll keep the stats and chase you for them if you become a bit delinquent in your reporting.

Runner’s Etiquette

March 10, 2010

There’s a contradiction in terms . . . a paradox . . . ? One of the 30 yr. old freedoms that I enjoy as a 6AM runner is the freedom from behavioral expectations.

Many times I have reflected that my early morning, “not-so-polished” companions have been absolute angels of God, sent to keep me sane in the otherwise periodically maddening world of pastoral ministry. Every once in a while I realize that I haven’t shifted out of “Rev.” and then one of my buddies brings me back to early morning reality.

They don’t look so good in the morning. They don’t smell so good. They rarely say, “Excuse me . . . “. There is absolutely no sympathy to be had and quickly a fledgling 6AM’er surrenders this expectation to the therapeutic value of learning to laugh at oneself as opposed to feeling sorry for the same.

The refreshing thing is that they are REAL!

In the early morning pre-dawn hours before the world puts its masks in place, no one expects or wants anything else.

One thing that I am struggling with these days is the “No man runs alone.” thing. As I have tried to regain my slow status, I want to run alone.

Now this is one of those few “polite” gestures that we offer to people who want to start running. I think the intent is good and the sentiment . . . so lusciously thoughtful.

But . . .

leave me alone . . . please. I’ll meet you at coffee. The new motto of the aging group. “The 6AM Runners . . . where running is optional and coffee is mandatory.” This of course replaces the old one for those of us over 50. The old one was: “The 6AM Runners . . . not too slow . . . not to fast. Half fast!” Say it fast and let me know when you get it. So these days I am a half fast runner dedicated to coffee or tea in my case.

I really do love you guys. but I know what happens to people who get lured into a good “Tigger Tale”. I have seen too many people verbally dragged over the dark streets, trying to keep up with one of his addictive narratives that has little to no sense to it at all. The only one of the group who can tell a better story with no point at all is Gimli and he is on the “half fast” list right now as well.

Could someone else help me to develop our list of protocols?


PS . . . there is a non polite origin to this nickname that has earned me my uncontested place at the back of the pack.


October 1, 2008



It has been quite a period of time, well actually, it has been two months since I have had the time to write an article for this most worthy publication.  In any event I am sitting at home with a non-running injury, a tooth extraction to be exact, which has stopped me from running for a short period of time.  So as I reflect upon my situation, I am reminded of the common injuries that runners to which runners are exposed.  I believe that without doubt, the most common injury is related to the knee.  And when you think about it, there is no wonder.  After all, this joint is single-handedly (pardon the mix up in anatomy) responsible to make you move.  So, have you had any issues with your knees?  Do you think it is structural in nature (i.e. related to the skeletal make up of the body) or related to muscles?  It has been my experience over the last number of years that most knee injuries have a muscular component that is initially responsible for the pain in the knee.  So how can you discern this?  In this article I will touch upon the most frequently asked question.


What causes ongoing knee pain?

Knee pain may be age-related. If you are over 40 and have knee pain, one reason to consider is the overall wear and tear on your joints, which is also sometimes referred to as osteoarthritis or degenerative arthritis. In younger people, knee pain is commonly caused by trauma or bursitis, usually related to sports or some physical activity.


Osteoarthritis is the most common cause of knee pain and affects many Canadians and more than 16 million Americans. Its is the gradual and painful deterioration of the cartilage in your joints. That cartilage provides a pad between your bones. When it thins, your bones rub against the lining of your joints, which is full of nerves sensitive to pain. Osteoarthritis is more common in people over 40. However, it can strike anyone and often develops earlier in former athletes who suffered knee injuries during their youth. Its early symptoms are pain and stiffness in the morning or after strenuous activity. The morning stiffness usually resolves in less than an hour.


Another disease to be aware of is Rheumatoid Arthritis, an inflammatory disease, triggered by the immune system.   It does not affect the proportionally the same number of Canadians as Osteoarthritis, but it damages the cartilage and joint lining. The damaged tissue releases enzymes that eat into the cartilage, soft tissues, and even bone. No one knows what causes the immune system to begin attacking the body’s joints. The problem tends to strike between the ages of 20 and 45, is more common in women, and usually affects many different joints in the body — not just the knees. Early symptoms are fatigue, flu-like aching, joint pain, and morning stiffness that lasts longer than an hour.


Pseudogout occurs when the body forms calcium crystals that are deposited in joints, typically in the knees and wrists. It usually strikes later in life. It can cause quick, severe pain but can produce long-term pain in about half the people it affects, appearing much like osteoarthritis. Early symptoms are red and swollen joints — painful to touch — and sometimes fever in bad attacks. Treatment usually consists of anti-inflammatory drugs or injections of steroids directly into the joint. 


Bursitis of the knee occurs when the bursa, a fluid-filled sac that serves as a cushion between a bone and soft tissue, such as a tendon — becomes inflamed. It can be caused by extensive kneeling, infection, or an injury to the knee and usually lasts a few weeks. Early symptoms are pain and swelling just below the inside of the knee. Treatment includes stretching and anti-inflammatory drugs, either pills or injection of steroids. Rarely, surgery is needed.


Tendinitis is one of the most mis-diagnosed conditions for runners and falls within the major group of muscular injuries that I mentioned in my opening paragraph.  The tendon that connects the hamstrings in the back of the thigh to the knee can become inflamed and cause pain in the knee area. Treatment includes rest, anti-inflammatory drugs, and physical therapy for stretching and strengthening. Tendinitis requires a doctor’s care because rupture of the inflamed tendon can occur.


Finally, let me speak about Runner’s Knee which is caused by inflammation of the tendons, such as the Iliotibial Band (IT Band).  This symptom often develops when you run, ski, or bicycle too much or incorrectly. Symptoms are pain, and sometimes swelling, at the front of the knee. Ligaments are tough bands of tissue connecting bones in your joints that can be stretched or torn when your knee is twisted or hit. Symptoms are immediate and severe pain. Don’t attempt to walk on the leg until you’ve seen a doctor, but remember that often a massage therapist can offer more assistance in treating this injury that a doctor. 

Best Excuse Yet

August 16, 2008

Sleepy season was a good one.  You get over tired . . . don’t hear the alarm . . . early morning appointment.  It’s a bio-rhtyhmic thing.  As most of you know, I even tried sleeping with an Iron Man watch hanging out of my mouth so that I wouldn’t miss the alarm.  (Absolutely true!  Ask the Tin Man or Tigger)  They questioned me on it, over coffee, one morning.  My response was stupid by any standard.  “Oh, don’t try to tell me that you guys have never done that!”  Needless to say, this was a mistake and I have never heard the end of it.  But that’s the nature of the group.  So now I have the best excuse yet.  I had laser surgery and a “cryo” procedure on two retinal tears in my right eye.  The doctor tells me that I can’t run for at least a month.  So I have been sleeping in . . . coffee only twice  this past week.  Now I know that my friends are incredibly concerned for my well-being but I also know that sooner or later a runner has to face the music and I have to confess that I am not all that excited about the possibility.  I did compile a list . . . top ten good things about not being able to see that well.  Let me share it with you:


  1. No more bad-hair days.
  2. Justification for a bigger, big-screen TV.
  3. You get to ignore people that you don’t like.  You can walk right past them and never speak.
  4. You get to ignore the offering plate in church.
  5. No more ugly people.
  6. No more beautiful people.
  7. You get to see things that other people can’t see.
  8. You get to “not see” things that other people see.
  9. Easier to resist sexual temptation.
  10. The Word is a “light” unto my path and a “lamp” unto my feet.

Now I want you to know that I will be back, slower than ever, sometime in September if the good Lord is willing.  I miss you guys like crazy.



FOOTWEAR, the Foundational Step

July 25, 2008

At the outset, I have to admit that all equipment is important from socks, to shorts, to tops, to undergarments and even a runners best friend …. Vaseline. Yes, Vaseline can and is the most important accessory that you will ever possess, at least as a runner. It will stop chafing in the worst places, act as a layer of clothing on your face in the bitter cold of winter and prevent blisters on your feet even if you have the right shoes. It is a great source of laughter and discussion amongst your running group, especially if you purchase it in the mega size bottles and offer your friends the opportunity to use the communal bottle.  It also provides for a great source of humour if it has baby powder added.

All of that said however, running shoes are the most important of all pieces of equipment you will own and one should make certain that they buy the right shoes. Just to put this in perspective, in a marathon participants take over 30,000 steps, and that obviously does not include the number of steps that are taken in training. On average one takes about 700 to 725 steps for each kilometer that they run. This quickly translates to a lot of footsteps, and as the old song that we learned as children states so eloquently, “The foot bone is connected to the shin bone and the shin bone is connected to the knee bone and the knee bone is connected to the thigh bone ….” and on it goes. So, it does not take a “rocket scientist” or Sherlock Holmes to deduce that in order to reduce the chance of injury, a proper shoe is an absolute necessity.

When I refer to a “proper running shoe” I do not mean going to a generic running shop and buying the most expensive, the cheapest, the prettiest, the most popular or the most colourful shoe in the store. Everyone is an individual, and as such everyone is blessed with an individual gait that requires separate attention when it comes to purchasing shoes. Add to that everyone’s varying height, weight, leg length, foot size, foot type (flat footed or otherwise), training regime, preferred substrate upon which to run, goals and objectives and many other intangibles far too numerous to mention and you have a recipe for problems if you buy a pair of shoes that someone else recommends.

Although one may be immediately intimidated by these variables and therefore not willing to learn anything, in order to simplify matters there are specialty running stores that will assess your foot strike and recommend the proper shoe for you. And so it is my suggestion that you go to one of these stores with an old pair of running or walking shoes (these are of great help to the salesperson) and ask that you be assessed. Basically the clerk will watch you jog or walk in shoes and make his/her suggestions. You should listen to them and for the most part follow their suggestions. But make certain that the shoe fits properly. The toe box should be loose and you should not feel any rubbing anywhere in the shoe. On the other hand the heel box should be fairly tight so as to avoid as much as possible blistering.

During the assessment process you should be made aware of whether you are a pronator, a neutral runner or a suppinator. This determination will allow the clerk to recommend from one of these three basic types of shoe, a Stability Shoe, a Motion Control Shoe or a Cushioned/Neutral Shoe.

You can look up each of these terms but to help you;-

Pronator is a runner has a foot that rolls inward during the weight-bearing phase of the stride. A very low or flat arch, and heavier people often have feet of this type. A pronator strikes the ground with their heel and rolls excessively in toward the big toe.

Suppinator or under pronator is a person who’s foot hits the ground at the heel and then tends to roll out toward the little toe. Suppination is the rarest gait type.

Neutral Runner will hit the ground with the outside of the heel and then roll in toward to big toe. Neutral runners do not require gait correction from their running shoes.

Now go out and get yourself a proper pair of running shoes and next I will address the Galloway Method of training and how it can be utilized to get you running.