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.

Warthogs to the Back

July 3, 2008

No one in our group ever gets to choose their own nickname.  Some people come with some good ones that have been gradually adopted, having proved themselves to be worthy.  For instance, Layton Ford came with the nickname, “Tigger”.  Now that’s cute even for a 55 year old man.  With Layton, it is more than cute, it is explicit.  He loves life!  He has no functional, remaining “pain sensors”.  He doesn’t run, he bounces.  Adjusting this nickname is like watching the “Fonz” step in the mens room, take out his comb, look at his coif and then silently decide that there is no need to mess with what he is looking at.

I believe that one of my major gifts, and this borders on the “divine right of kings”, is to name those who wander innocently into our company.  While the tendency is to quickly name the new recruits, my method is to “watch” for dominant flaws or foibles that bring much joy to the already flawed group.  The great “glee” is to watch as people surrender to the inevitability of being discovered to be actually human, and then once discovered to learn to revel in their own laughability.  This is therapy at its finest, for we all come as “masters of disguise”, having practiced our performances to perfection for the sake of those who never discover their own nicknames. (for lack of questionable company)  Consequently “Murph” is now able to laugh at his tendency to discover new ways to hurt himself.  (Murphy’s Law, Runners Corollary 1 – “If there is a way for me to injure myself on a given run, I will do it.”)  Or, “Gringo”, the name bestowed on our only Argentinian runner.  Now “Gringo” means “white guy”.  This is irony at its best.  Gringo is one of our most beloved runners.  It is amazing that in this company, none are over-sensitive to ethnic reference because there is this unusual commitment to one another that makes words irrelevant and relationship supreme.

My name is Pumba.  I never gave myself this name.  It really came to me from my father, . . . not the name but the flaw.  It is an act of Providence that a runner with this particular flaw, should have shorter legs than anyone else.  Aside.  My son recently passed me in height.  I love that.  I was telling someone who had not seen him in some time that he was 6 feet tall.  That insensitive individual remarked that he must have gotten his height from the other side of the family.  Now that was a clever piece of deduction!  I said, “Yes.  On my side of the family our genes were . . . too long.  Get it?  Genes/jeans . . . . . ?

I have never in my lifetime participated in a sport that would be natural to me.  At 5’8″, I was a fair basketball player.  I should never have played basketball but on Grand Manan Island, it was that or nothing. And I became a runner . . . but I am built more like a Humvee.  Now when you try to move 28” inseams to keep up with the more graceful runners in our group, it puts you in one place alone.  That is at the back of the pack.  For 28 years, this has been my accustomed pole position.  This is not flattering but it is what it is.

Providence is rarely flattering.  But most any runner in our group is thankful for my short legs.  A runner gasping for air is better served by fresh air, something that I fear I would spoil for the others if I were a “front-of-the-pack” kind of guy. (remember the nickname now) Truthfully I might never have developed a “following” if this had been the case.  Instead, I have become my own following.  There is a life lesson that I have learned as well.  For people like myself, there is great freedom that comes when you discover that there is more room at the back of the “rat race” then there is at the front.  On the highways, driving under the speed limit will produce a greater expanse of open road than driving over the speed limit.  My wife lovingly tells me that, in this respect, I am weird.  I think she is right.  I also use less gas at the back of the pack.